“Myra once more uttered a sigh and cried:
“‘Oh, my feet are dreadful cold.’
“‘Take this bit of flannel,’ said Lettice, ‘and let me wrap them up.’
“‘Nay, you will want it,’ she replied.
“’Oh, I have only five minutes to sit up, and I can wrap this piece of carpet round mine,’ said Lettice.
“And she laid down her work and went to the bed, and wrapped her sister’s icy feet in the flannel, and then sat down and finished her task. How glad was Lettice to creep to the mattress and to lay her aching limbs upon it. A hard bed and scanty covering in a cold night are keenly felt. She soon fell asleep, while her sister tossed and murmured on account of the cold.
“Lettice awoke and drew her own little pillow from under her head, and put it under her sister’s, and tried every way to make her sister comfortable, and she partly succeeded; and at last Myra, the delicate suffering creature, fell asleep, and Lettice slumbered like a child.”
How thankful ought we to be for kind parents, a comfortable home, and a good fire in a cold night. I will tell you in the next story what Lettice did with her work.
Early in the morning, before it was light, and while the twilight gleamed through the curtainless windows, Lettice was up, dressing herself by the aid of the light which gleamed from the street lamp into the window. She combed her hair with modest neatness, then opened the draw with much precaution, lest she should disturb poor Myra, who still slumbered on the hard mattress—drew out a shawl and began to fold it as if to put it on.
“Alas!” said Lettice, “this will not do—it is threadbare, timeworn, and has given way in two places.” She turned it, and unfolded it, but it would not do. It was so shabby that she was actually ashamed to be seen with it in the street. She put it aside, and took the liberty of borrowing Myra’s, who was now asleep. She knew Myra would be awful cold when she got up, and would need it. But she must go with the work that morning. She thought first of preparing the fire, so that Myra, when she arose, would only have to light the match; but as she went to the box for coal she saw, with terror, how low the little store of fuel was, and she said to herself, “we must have a bushel of coal to-day—better do without meat than fire such weather as this.” But she was cheered with the reflection that she should receive a little more for her work that day than what she had from other places. It had been ordered by a benevolent lady who had been to some trouble in getting the poor women supplied with needle work so that they should receive the full price. She had worked for private customers before, and always received more pay from them than from the shops in London, where they would beat down the poor to the last penny.
Poor Lettice went to the old band-box and took out a shabby old bonnet—she looked at it, and sighed, when she thought of the appearance she must make; for she was going to Mrs. Danvers, and her work was some very nice linen for a young lady about to be married.