Sidor som bilder

She retorted that if her leddy did not care for the little hump-back,she need not trouble herself. Seeing that this woman would only say things which I knew would cut Annie to the soul, I kept silent, but redoubled my attentions to this cruelly-neglected child.

After a miserable drive over stony rough roads, and being nearly shaken to death, we were glad when we stopped at the tall, drearylooking house in the old town of Edinburgh.

There had evidently been no fires in any of the rooms since the preceding winter, and nothing could be more dismal, damp, and disconsolate, than the interior of this large and most uncomfortable mansion ; besides which, here, as well as at Loch Ruff, the food was both scanty and coarse.

For the first week, the studies were at a stand still, as Lady.M+James (who was the most penurious person I ever met with) expected me to assist Patterson in arranging the apartments, altering and mending curtains, carpets, and sofa-covers, and making winter-dresses for the children.

I was never in bed till near two o'clock in the morning, and I was expected to be up again before the rest of the family were stirring, my hard taskmistress squeezing as much out of me as it was possible for a poor young creature to perform.

When this task was completed, which our lady thought very important, as she was about commencing what she called her winter-parties, I was directed again to pursue my avocations in the school-room.

A few days after, when we were a little settled, and I was endeavouring to pour instruction into the unwilling ears of Miss Jane, while the younger children were as rude and unmanage able as it was possible to be, the door opened, and their mother entered, bringing in Lady Eustace.

I was so pleased and surprised, that I quite started from my seat, but what was my mortification, when she appeared not to know me. I, who so well recollected her, and her kind manner towards me, forgot that it was possible so insignificant a young creature as myself might have entirely passed out of her remembrance.

Tears of disappointment were gathering in my eyes, when, a few minutes after, they were dried by the pleasure I felt in finding that I was not utterly forgotten; for, after looking at me rather attentively, Lady Eustace, turning to Lady MČJames, asked if I were not the young lady she had seen at her ladyship's lodgings in London.

Upon the latter answering in the affirmative, Lady Eustace came up to me, and shaking hands very kindly with me, said, “I did not at first recollect you, you are so grown; but I fear the air of Scotland does not agree with you, for you are much thinner, and have quite lost your pretty colour. I dare say you feel this country very bleak, after the soft breezes of the beautiful Isle of Wight.”

“She ought to look well,” observed Lady MJames, “ for she is treated exactly like one of the family.”

I fancied that Lady Eustace looked incredulous, but she said nothing, and turning to her god-daughter, who had crept to her side, inquired as to her progress in French, &c., &c.

She seemed much pleased with the result, and said that I had done wonders with my pupil in so short a space of time.

Her ladyship then addressed Miss Jane, who neither would, nor could, answer the kind querist.

"I am afraid you will let your younger sister get the start of you, my dear.”

“If Jane does not answer as perfectly as Annie, it is not her fault,” said Lady M James. “Miss Dornay devotes her whole time and care to her sister, in spite of all I can say to the contrary.”

I felt quite shocked that her ladyship should so unjustly accuse me of partiality, when I was conscious that I had taken much more pains and trouble with the sulky and stupid Jane, than with the persevering and neglected Annie.

Not wishing Lady Eustace to think so ill of me, I assured my patroness that I had devoted


more time and attention to her eldest daughter (according to her special directions) than to any of the others.

She desired me to hold my tongue, and not contradict her,-of course I obeyed.

Lady Eustace then prepared to take her leave, saying, that she should call again in an hour, when she hoped her little god-daughter would be ready to accompany her in a drive, and spend the rest of the day with her, promising to send her home in the carriage in the evening, under the care of her own woman.

Lady M$James looked any thing but pleased at this, and after a moment's pause, said, “If, my dear lady, you would take poor Jane instead, I should be so much obliged to you. It would be such a treat to her, and Annie, you know, is such a sickly creature she would not enjoy it.”

“It is because she is so sickly that I wish to take her,” replied the kind godmother. “Jane is strong and healthy, and quite able to enjoy a long walk, which her afflicted sister

« FöregåendeFortsätt »