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I went down, and soon finished my solitary meal.
When it was cleared away, though I rejoiced in the calm I at present enjoyed, the thought of my desolate condition would force itself upon me.
Crowds of busy people kept passing and repassing in the streets, which made me feel more alone than if I had been in a desert. Not one human being in this immense place cares for me, thought I, and if I were to die this moment, no one would shed a tear.
Then I thought of the disagreeable family I was about to reside with, and the hopelessness I felt of ever, perhaps, being able to leave them quite overcame me.
In short, I was miserable and confused at my helpless, friendless condition, and laying my head on the table, I burst into tears.
I had been sobbing there for I dare say half an hour, when I was roused by the kind voice of Mrs. Davies, the mistress of the lodging house.
I felt ashamed at being caught thus occupied, but she apologized with such gentleness for intruding upon me, that, unused of late to kind language, my tears flowed afresh.
“My dear young lady,” said this friendly woman, “ I see that you are unhappy, but try to compose yourself, and if you wish to see any of your friends while you are here, you are very welcome to ask them to spend the time with you till you start for Edinburgh.”
“ Alas !” I replied, “ I have no friends, no relation in the wide world.”
Mrs. Davies was melted even to tears by this explanation, and it was some minutes before she could reply. When she did, it was to assure me of her pity and assistance. She soothed and caressed me, telling me at the same time that she would do every thing in her humble power to make me comfortable while I remained under her roof.
“Come, my dear,” said she, “dry your tears, and take a little walk with me. The fresh air will revive you wonderfully, and afterwards, if you will condescend to drink tea
with me, you will not think so much of your troubles as if you were quite alone.”
I gladly and thankfully accepted her kind offer, and she took me into one of the parks.
It being the first time that I had seen any thing so rural since my arrival in London, I felt refreshed and amused.
When we returned to the lodgings, I took tea with her, and I soon perceived that she was as intelligent as she was kindhearted.
Brought up as a lady's maid in a nobleman's family, and afterwards marrying the steward, she had never known want; and her husband dying three years previous to my acquaintance with her, and leaving his accumulations to her for her life, she was perfectly comfortable and independent. The house she at present occupied had also been left her on the same terms, and having no children, she had been induced to let lodgings, feeling solitary in so large a house, and being of an active cheerful disposiHaving thus given me her little history, I felt bound to give her mine.
She expressed great indignation at Miss Almeria Moreton's neglect of me at my tender age, and her unkindness in engaging me to so extremely disagreeable and heartless a person as Lady M James.
“However, my dear,” said Mrs. Davies “a year will soon be over, and then you can make a fresh engagement, so keep up your spirits. If you should then return to London, remember, if I am alive, I shall be delighted to see you, and you shall always find a bed and a welcome here."
The following day also this kind creature made me spend with her, taking me out again for a long walk. She had also insisted upon my sleeping on the first floor, saying she was quite grieved when she found that Mrs. Patterson had placed me in a room intended for a servant, while she herself took care to occupy the room which ought to have been mine.
On Wednesday morning, as I was preparing with a heavy heart for my departure, Mrs. Patterson arrived to say, that the smack did not sail till the following Monday, and that therefore I must write and inform Lady M•James, or she would be surprised at not meeting us at Edinburgh at the time ap. pointed.
This reprieve was as delightful as it was unexpected, particularly as Mrs. Patterson informed me that she meant to pass the intermediate time with some friends at Islington. She then took her departure without the least anxiety how I might fare in the mean time, though being, as she well knew, a perfect stranger, and only fourteen years of age, I required some little attention and kindness.
How differently did dear good Mrs. Davies act. No sooner did I inform her of my reprieve, than she instantly insisted upon my being her guest during the time I should remain in town.
It was in vain that I offered to pay her for my board, assuring her I had ten guineas, which poor Mr. Moreton had given me.
She would not hear of any remuneration,