“Had you a pleasant journey?” she asked.
“It was rather cold,” answered Clarence, “and I am not accustomed to frosty weather.”
“And did you leave all your friends well?” she continued, as she chafed his hands.
“Quite well, I thank you,” he replied.
“I hear you have a little sister; were you not sorry to leave her behind?”
This question called up the tearful face of little Em and her last embrace. He could not answer; he only raised his mournful dark eyes to the face of Miss Ada, and as he looked at her they grew moist, and a tear sparkled on his long lashes. Miss Ada felt that she had touched a tender chord, so she stooped down and kissed his forehead, remarking, “You have a good face, Clarence, and no doubt an equally good heart; we shall get on charmingly together, I know.” Those kind words won the orphan’s heart, and from that day forth. Clarence loved her. Tea was soon brought upon the table, and they all earnestly engaged in the discussion of the various refreshments that Miss Ada’s well-stocked larder afforded. Everything was so fresh and nicely flavoured that both the travellers ate very heartily; then, being much fatigued with their two days’ journey, they seized an early opportunity to retire.
* * * * *
Here we leave Clarence for many years; the boy will have become a man ere we re-introduce him, and, till then, we bid him adieu.
Charlie seeks Employment.
Charlie had been at borne some weeks, comparatively idle; at least he so considered himself, as the little he did in the way of collecting rents and looking up small accounts for Mr. Walters he regarded as next to nothing, it not occupying half his time. A part of each day he spent in attendance on his father, who seemed better satisfied with his ministrations than with those of his wife and daughters. This proved to be very fortunate for all parties, as it enabled the girls to concentrate their attention on their sewing—of which they had a vast deal on hand.
One day, when Esther and Charlie were walking out together, the latter remarked: “Ess, I wish I could find some regular and profitable employment, or was apprenticed to some good trade that would enable me to assist mother a little; I’d even go to service if I could do no better—anything but being idle whilst you are all so hard at work. It makes me feel very uncomfortable.”
“I would be very glad if you could procure some suitable employment. I don’t wish you to go to service again, that is out of the question. Of whom have you made inquiry respecting a situation.”
“Oh, of lots of people; they can tell me of any number of families who are in want of a footman, but no one appears to know of a ’person who is willing to receive a black boy as an apprentice to a respectable calling. It’s too provoking; I really think, Ess, that the majority of white folks imagine that we are only fit for servants, and incapable of being rendered useful in any other capacity. If that terrible misfortune had not befallen father, I should have learned his trade.”