“And, Miss Rachel,” added the old servant, “you’ll excuse me, but they do say very odd things of the matron at that place, and I doubt you are deceived in her. Our lads went to the the-a-ter the other night, and I checked them well for it; but mother, says they, we had more call to be there than the governess up to Miss Rachel’s schule in Nichol Street, dressed out in pink feathers.”
“Well, Mrs. Rossitur, I will make every inquiry, and I do not think you will find anything wrong. There must be some one about very like Mrs. Rawlins. I have heard of those pink feathers before, but I know who the matron is, and all about her! Good-bye. I’ll see you again before you go, I suppose it won’t be till the seven o’clock train.”
Mrs. Rossitur remained expressing her opinion to the butler that dear Miss Rachel was too innocent, and then proceeded to lose all past cares in a happy return to “melting day,” in the regions of her past glories as cook and housekeeper.
Rachel repaired to her room to cool her glowing cheeks, and repeat to herself, “A mistake, an error. It must be a blunder! That boy that went to the theatre may have cheated them! Mrs. Rawlins may have deceived Mr. Mauleverer. Anything must be true rather than—No, no! such a tissue of deception is impossible in a man of such sentiments! Persecuted as he has been, shall appearances make me—me, his only friend—turn against him? Oh, me! here come the whole posse purring upstairs to take off their things! I shall be invaded in a moment.”
And in came Grace and the two younger ladies, and Rachel was no more her own from that moment.
THE FORLORN HOPE.
“She whipped two female ’prentices
And hid them in the coal-hole. For her mind
Shaped strictest plans of discipline, sage schemes,
Such as Lycurgus taught.”—Canning and Frere.
The favourite dentist of the neighbourhood dwelt in a grand mansion at St. Norbert’s, and thither were conducted Conrade and Francis, as victims to the symmetry of their mouths. Their mother accompanied them to supply the element of tenderness, Alison that of firmness; and, in fact, Lady Temple was in a state of much greater trepidation than either of her sons, who had been promised five shillings each as the reward of fortitude, and did nothing but discuss what they should buy with it.
They escaped with a reprieve to Conrade, and the loss of one tooth of Francis’s, and when the rewards had been laid out, and presents chosen for all the stay-at-home children, including Rose, Lady Temple became able to think about other matters. The whole party were in a little den at the pastrycook’s; the boys consuming mutton pies, and the ladies ox-tail soup, while waiting to be taken up by the waggonette which had of late been added to the Myrtlewood establishment, when the little lady thus spoke—