“Oh, seed for a bird,” said Teuzer, slowly; and putting down the jar he was about to give her, he returned to his work, saying to himself, “if you can afford to keep a bird you can pay me for my goods. Yes, yes, people are often so poor, so poor, and when one comes to inquire, they keep dogs, cats, or birds; and yet they will ask for alms.”
So the little girl had to go away without the jar; however, she returned at the end of four days for her cup. The crack could scarcely be perceived, and Teuzer asked sixpence for mending it. The little girl searched in her pocket, without being able to find more than four-pence.
“It wants two-pence,” said she, timidly, and looking beseechingly at the potter, who replied, dryly, “I see: well, you will bring it to me on the first opportunity,” he then gave her the cup, and she slipped away quite humbled.
“Now I have got rid of her,” said Teuzer, to his men, “we shall see no more of her here.”
But to his surprise, she returned in two days bringing the two-pence.
“It is well,” said he to her, “it is well to be so honest, had you not returned, I knew neither where you lived, nor your name. Who are your parents?”
“My father is dead, he was a painter, we live at No. 47 South Lane, and my name is Madelaine Tube.”
“Your father was a painter, and perhaps you can paint also, and better too, than my apprentice that you see there with his great mouth open, instead of painting his plates?”
The boy, looking quite frightened, took up his pencil and became red as fire, while Madelaine examined his work.
“Come here, Madelaine,” said Teuzer, “and make him ashamed, by painting this plate.”
Madelaine obeyed timidly. Even if she had performed her task badly—Teuzer would certainly have praised her to humiliate his apprentice; but this was not the case. With a firm and practised hand, the child drew some blue ornaments upon the white ground of the plate.
Without saying a word, Teuzer went to his warehouse, and returned with a Waldenburg jar which he gave to the little girl. “Take it,” said he, “it was intended for you some days since. One who although so little and so young as you are, is already so clover, can well afford to keep a bird. If you like to paint my plates and other little things you shall be well paid.”
Madelaine was delighted, her face shone with joy; she gladly consented to this proposal, and having thanked Master Teuzer, skipped away carrying her jar.
A PICTURE OF POVERTY.
Madame Tube, the mother of Madelaine, was a great sufferer from rheumatism. Severe pain had kept her awake almost the whole night; but towards morning a heavy sleep gave her some relief, and prevented her hearing the crowing of a cock in a neighboring yard, which usually disturbed her: Madelaine, however, heard it well, and making as little noise as possible, she rose from her miserable bed.