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linen and break every one of them. Nothing, however, could spoil the wildness of those honestly furtive eyes.
Seated beside Lucy at the table, she did nothing but first stare, then dart her eyes from one to another of the company with the scared expression of a creature caught in a trap, and then stare again. She was evidently anything but comfortable. When Lucy spoke to her she did not reply, but gazed appealingly, and on the point of crying, into her eyes, as if to say, “What have I done to be punished in this dreadful manner ?” Lucy tried hard to make her eat, but she sat and stared, and would touch nothing. Her plate, with the wing of a chicken on it, stood before her unregarded. But all at once she darted out her hand like the paw of a wild beast, caught something, slipped from her chair, and disappeared under the table. Peeping down after her, Lucy saw her seated on the floor, devouring the roll which had been put by the side of her plate. Judging it best not to disturb her, she took no more notice of her for some time, during which Poppie, having discovered a long row of resplendent buttons down the front of her dress, twisted them all off, with a purpose manifested as soon as the luncheon was
When the company rose from their seats, she crawled out from under the table and ran to Miriam, holding out both her hands. Miriam held out her hands to meet Poppie's, and received them full of the buttons off her own old frock.
“Oh! you naughty Poppie ! ” said Lucy, who had watched her. “Why did you cut off the buttons ? Don't you like them ?”
“Oh! golly ! don't I just ? And so does she. Tuck me up if she don't !”
Poppie had no idea that she had done anything improper. It was not as buttons, but per se, as pretty things, that she admired the knobs, and therefore she gave ihem to Miriam. Having said thus, she caught at another tommy, as she would have called it, dived under the table again, and devoured it at her ease, keeping, however, a sharp eye upon her opportunity. Finding one, when Lucy, who had remained in the room to look after her, was paying more attention to the party in the garden, she crawled out at the door, left open during the process of taking away, and with her hand on the ponderous lock of the street-door, found herself seized from behind by the porter. She had been too long a pupil of the London streets not to know the real position of the liveried in the social scale, and for them she had as little respect as any of her tribe. She therefore assailed him with such a torrent of bad language, scarcely understanding a word that she used, that he declared it made his “'air stand on hend,” although he was tolerably amiliar with such at the“ Spotted Dog”round the corner. Finding, however, that this discharge of cuttle-fish-ink had no effect upon the enemy, she tried another mode--and with a yell of pain, the man fell back, shaking his hand, which bore the marks of four sharp incisors. In one moment Poppie was free, and scudding. Thus ended her introduction to civilized life.
Poppie did not find it nice. She preferred all London to the biggest house and garden in it. True, there was that marvellous rose-tree. But free-born creatures cannot live upon the contemplation of roses. After all, the thing she had been brought up to, the streets, the kennels, with their occasional crusts, pennies, and bits of glass, the holes to creep into, and the endless room for scudding, was better. And her unsuitable dress, which did attract the eyes of the passers-being such as was seldom seen in connexion with bare hair and legs-would soon accommodate itself to circumstances, taking the form of rags before a week would be over, to which change of condition no care of Poppie's would interpose an obstacle. For like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, she had no care. She did not know what it meant. And possibly the great One who made her may have different ideas about respectability from those of dining aldermen and members of Parliament for certain boroughs that might be named.
At the porter's cry, Lucy started, and found to her dismay that her charge was gone. She could not, however, help a certain somewhat malicious pleasure at the man's discomfiture, and the baby-like way in which he lamented over his bitten hand. He forgot himself so far as to call her "the little devil ”—which was quite in accordance with his respectable way of thinking. Both Mrs. Morgenstern and Lucy, after the first disappointment and vexation were over, laughed heartily at the affair ; and even Miriam was worked up to a smile at last. But she continued very mournful, notwithstanding, over the loss of her sister, as she would call her.
Mr. Sargent did his best to enliven the party. He was a man of good feeling, and of more than ordinary love for the right. This, however, from a dread of what he would have called sentimen. tality, he persisted in regarding as a mere peculiarity, possibly a weakness. If he made up his mind to help any one who was wronged, for which, it must be confessed, he had more time than he would have cared to acknowledge, he would say that he had “taken an interest in such or such a case ;" or that the case in. volved “points of interest” which he was “ willing to see settled.” He never said that he wanted to see right done : that would have been enthusiastic, and unworthy of the cold dignity of a lawyer. So he was one of those false men, alas too few ! who always represent themselves as inferior to what they are. Many and various were the jokes he made upon Poppie and Jeames, ever, it must be confessed, with an eye to the approbation of Miss Burton. He declared, for instance, that the Armageddon of class-legislature would be fought between those of whom the porter and Poppie were the representatives, and rejoiced that, as in the case of the small quarrel between Fitz James and Roderick Dhu, Poppie had drawn the first blood, and gained thereby a good omen. And Lucy was pleased with him, it must be confessed. She never thought of comparing him with Thomas, which was well for Thomas. But she did think he was a very clever, gentlemanly fellow, and knew how to make himself agreeable.
He offered to see her home, which she declined, not even permitting him to walk with her to the railway.
THE TWO OLD WOMEN.
She found the two old women, of whom Mattie still seemed the older, seated together at their tea. Not a ray of the afternoon sun could find its way into the room. It was dusky and sultry, with a smell of roses. This, and its strange mingling of furniture, made it like a room over a broker's in some country town.
“Well, Miss Burton, here you are at last !” said Mattie, with a half-smile on the half of her mouth.
“Yes, Mattie, here I am. Has grandmother been good to
“Of course she has-very good. Everybody is good to me. 1 am a very fortunate child, as my father says, though he never seems to mean it.”
“And how do you think your patient is ?” asked Lucy, while Mrs. Boxall sat silent, careful not to obstruct the amusement which the child's answers must give them. “Well, I do not think Mrs. Boxall is worse.
She has been very good, and has done everything I found myself obliged to recommend. I would not let her get up so soon as she wanted to.”
“ And what did you do to keep her in bed ?” asked Lucy.
“ Well, I could not think of a story to tell her just then, so I got the big Bible out of the book-case, and began to show her the pictures. But she did not care about that. I think it was my fault, though, because I was not able to hold the book so that she could see them properly. So I read a story to her, but I do not think I chose a very nice one."
Mrs. Boxall made a deprecating motion with her head and hands, accompanied by the words,“ She will say what she thinks—Bible or Prayer-book.”
Well, and where's the harm, when I mean none? Who's to be angry at that? I will say,” Mattie went on, “ that it was an ugly trick of that woman to serve a person that never did her any harm; and I wonder at two sensible women like Mrs. Boxall and Deborah sticking up for her.”
“ Is it Jael she means, grannie ?" asked Lucy very softly.
“Yes, it is Jael she means," answered Mattie for herself, with some defiance in her tone.
“For my part," she continued, “I think it was just like one of Syne's tricks.”
“ Have you seen Mr. Spelt to-day, Mattie ? ” asked Lucy, desirous of changing the subject, because of the direction the child's thoughts had taken.
“Well, I haven't," answered Mattie, “and I will go and see now whether he's gone or not. But don't you fancy that I don't see through it for all that, Miss Burton," she continued. “I shouldn't have been in the way, though—not much, for I like to see young people enjoying themselves."
“What do you mean, Mattie ?” asked Lucy, with a bewilderment occasioned rather by the quarter whence the words proceeded than by the words themselves ; for she did expect to see Thomas that evening
Mattie vouchsafed no reply to the question, but bade them good. night, the one and the other, with an evident expression of hauteur, and marched solemnly down the stairs, holding carefully by the balusters, for she was too small to use the handrail comfortably.
Mr. Spelt's roost was shut up for the night : he had gone to take some work home. Mattie therefore turned towards her father's shop.
In the archway she ran against Thomas, or more properly, Thomas ran against her; for Mattie never ran at all, so that he had to clasp her to prevent her from falling.
“Well, you needn't be in such a hurry, Mr. Thomas, though she is a-waiting for you. She won't go till you come, I know.”
“You're a cheeky little monkey," said Thomas, good-naturedly. But the words were altogether out of tune with the idea of Mattie, who again feeling her dignity invaded, walked into the shop with her chin projecting more than usual.
Come, my princess," said her father, seating himself in an old chair, and taking the child on his knee. "I haven't seen my princess all day. How's your royal highness this night ?”
Mattie laid her head on his shoulder, and burst into tears.
“What's the matter with my pet ?" said her father, fondling and soothing her with much concern. “ Has anybody been unkind to you?"
“No, Mr. Kitely,” said the child ; “but I feel that lonely! I wish you would read to me a bit ; for Mr. Spelt ain't there, and I read something in the Bible this morning that ain't done me no good.”
“ You shouldn't read such things, Mattie,” said the bookseller. “ They ain't no good. I'll go and get a candle. Sit you there till I come back."
“No, no, father. Don't leave me here. I don't like the books to-night. Take me with you. Carry me.”
The father obeyed at once, took his child on his arm, got a candle from the back-room, for the place was very dusky-he did not care to light the gas this time of the year-and sat down with Mattie in a part of the shop which was screened from the door, where he could yet hear every footstep that passed.
“What shall I read now, my precious ?” he asked.
“Well, I don't think I care for anything but the New Testament to.night, father.”
“Why, you've just been saying it disagreed with you, this very morning," objected Mr. Kitely.
“No, father. It wasn't the New Testament at all. It was the very Old Testament, I believe ; for it was near the beginning of it, and told all about a horrid murder. I do believe,” she added, reflectively, “ that that book grows better as it gets older-younger, I mean."
The poor child wanted some one to help her out of her Bibledifficulties, and her father certainly was not the man to do so, for he belived nothing about or in it. Like many other children far more carefully taught of man, she was labouring under the misery of the fancy that everything related in the Old Testament without remark of disapprobation is sanctioned by the divine will. If parents do not encourage their children to speak their minds about what they read generally, and especially in the Bible, they will one day be dismayed to find that they have not merely the strangest but the most deadly notions of what is contained in that book-as, for instance, besides the one in hand, that God approved of all the sly tricks of Jacob—for was not he the religious one of the brothers, and did not all his tricks succeed? They are not able without help to gard the hist broadly, and see that just because of this bad that was in him, he had to pass through a life of varied and severe suffering, punished in the vices which his children inherited from himself, in order that the noble part of his nature might be burned clean of the filth that clung to it.
But such was Mr. Kitely's tenderness over his daughter, increased by some signs he had begun to see of the return of an affection of the brain from which he had been on the point of losing her some years before, that he made no further opposition. He rose again, brought an old“ breeches bible” from a shelf, and taking her once more on his knee, supported her with one hand and held the book with the other.
“Well, I don't know one chapter from another,” reflected Mr Kitely aloud. “I wonder where the child would like me to read. I'm sure I can't tell what to read."
“ Read about Somebody,” said Mattie. From the peculiar expression she gave to the word, her father