And for the last time that evening Grandmamma again wiped her eyes—though these tears were of thankfulness and motherly pride in the thought of the sweet and pretty children upstairs, who at that moment were kneeling in their little white nightgowns, one on each side of old Nurse, as they solemnly repeated after her the Lord’s Prayer, and after that their own evening petitions that “God would bless dear Grandpapa and Grandmamma, and make ‘us’ very good children, and a comfort to them in their old age.”
BREAD AND MILK.
“Words which tenderness can
From the truths of homely reason.”
Grandmamma would probably have spoken to Nurse the next day about being careful as to what she said before the children, had not the next day brought rather a commotion. Nurse was ill, which, old as she, too, was, rarely happened. It was a bad attack of rheumatism, and very likely its coming on had made her less patient than usual the day before. However that may have been, Grandmamma was far too sorry to see her suffering to say anything which might have troubled her, for she was already distressed enough at not being able to get up and go about as usual.
“Never mind, Nurse,” said the children to console her, when a message had been brought from Grandmamma in the morning to say that Nurse was on no account to try to get up till the doctor had seen her, “us is going to be very good. Us can do all your work, and you can stay in bed till your legs is not cracked any more,” for they had heard her complaining of her knees and ankles being “wracked” with pain.
On the whole I am afraid Duke and Pamela did not think Nurse’s rheumatism altogether an “ill-wind,” as they sat on their high chairs at breakfast at the nursery table.
“Shall you eat all yours up, bruvver?” asked Pamela, pointing to the bowl of bread and milk which Duke was discussing.
“Shall you?” asked Duke warily, before committing himself.
Pamela looked contemplatively at her bowl.
“I think I’ll leave just a very little,” she said. “Cook won’t see. I wish the bowls wasn’t quite so big.”
“Cook wouldn’t see if us left a great deal,” said Duke insinuatingly, but Pamela looked shocked.
“That would be very naughty,” she said. “If you leave a great deal, Duke, I’ll have to put it in the cupboard myself.”
Upon which mysterious hint Duke set to work valiantly. But he had a small appetite, and so had Pamela. It was almost the only remains of their having been such delicate little children, and perhaps if they had been too much given in to about eating, they would have ended by eating almost nothing at all, and being much less strong and well than they were. Nurse, who had come to them from a family of great strong boys and girls at a country rectory,