“Well,” said Rose, “shall I go back for the guinea-hen?”
“The guinea-hen!” said Susan, starting from a dream into which she had fallen as she looked at the purse. “Certainly I do long to see my pretty guinea-hen once more; but I was not thinking of her just then—I was thinking of my father.”
Now Susan had often that day heard her mother wish that she had but money enough in the world to pay to the man who was willing to be trained to fight instead of her husband.
“This, to be sure, will go but a little way,” thought Susan; “but still it may be of some use.” She told her thought to Rose, and ended by saying that if the money was given to her to spend as she pleased, she would give it to her father.
“It is all yours, my dear, good Susan!” cried Rose. “This is so like you!—but I’m sorry that Miss Bab must keep your guinea-hen. I would not be her for all the guinea-hens, or guineas either, in the whole world. Why, the guinea-hen won’t make her happy, and you’ll be happy even without it, because you are good. Let me come and help you to-morrow,” she went on, looking at Susan’s work, “if you have any more mending to do—I never liked work till I worked with you. I won’t forget my thimble or my scissors,” she added, laughing—“though I used to forget them when I was a wilder girl. I assure you I am clever with my needle now—try me.”
Susan told her friend that she would most gladly accept her help, but that she had finished all the needlework that was wanted at present. “But do you know,” she went on, “I shall be very busy to-morrow. I won’t tell you what it is that I have to do, for I am afraid I shall not succeed, but if I do succeed, I’ll come and tell you directly, because you will be so glad.”
SUSAN VISITS THE ABBEY
Susan, who had always been attentive to what her mother taught her, and who had often helped her when she was baking bread and cakes for the family at the Abbey, now thought that she could herself bake a batch of bread. One of the new servants from the Abbey had been sent all round the village in the morning in search of loaves, and had not been able to procure any that were eatable. Mrs. Price’s last baking had failed for want of good yeast. She was not now strong enough to attempt another herself, and when the brewer’s boy came to tell her that he had some fine fresh yeast, she thanked him, but sighed and said she feared it would be of little use to her. But Susan went to work with great care, and the next morning when her bread came out of the oven, it was excellent: at least her mother said so, and she was a good judge. It was sent to the Abbey, and as the family had not tasted any good bread since they had come there, they also were warm in its praise. With some surprise, they heard from the housekeeper that this excellent bread was made by a young girl only twelve years old. The housekeeper, who had known Susan since she was a child, was pleased to have a chance to speak about her.