and she took Clementina with her, because the doctor
said it would do them both good; but otherwise the
girl remained pent in their apartment. The doctor
found her a teacher, and she kept on with her French,
and began to take lessons in Italian; she spoke with
no one but her teacher, except when the doctor came.
At the table d’hote she heard talk of the things
that people seemed to come to Florence for: pictures,
statues, palaces, famous places; and it made her ashamed
of not knowing about them. But she could not
go to see these things alone, and Mrs. Lander, in the
content she felt with all her circumstances, seemed
not to suppose that Clementina could care for anything
but the comfort of the hotel and the doctor’s
visits. When the girl began to get letters from
home in answer to the first she had written back,
boasting how beautiful Florence was, they assumed
that she was very gay, and demanded full accounts of
her pleasures. Her brother Jim gave something
of the village news, but he said he supposed that
she would not care for that, and she would probably
be too proud to speak to them when she came home.
The Richlings had called in to share the family satisfaction
in Clementina’s first experiences, and Mrs.
Richling wrote her very sweetly of their happiness
in them. She charged her from the rector not to
forget any chance of self-improvement in the allurements
of society, but to make the most of her rare opportunities.
She said that they had got a guide-book to Florence,
with a plan of the city, and were following her in
the expeditions they decided she must be making every
day; they were reading up the Florentine history in
Sismondi’s Italian Republics, and she bade Clementina
be sure and see all the scenes of Savonarola’s
martyrdom, so that they could talk them over together
when she returned.
Clementina wondered what Mrs. Richling would think
if she told her that all she knew of Florence was
what she overheard in the talk of the girls in the
hotel, who spoke before her of their dances and afternoon
teas, and evenings at the opera, and drives in the
Cascine, and parties to Fiesole, as if she were not
The days and weeks passed, until Carnival was half
gone, and Mrs. Lander noticed one day that Clementina
appeared dull. “You don’t seem to
get much acquainted?” she suggested.
“Oh, the’e’s plenty of time,”
“I wish the’e was somebody you could go
round with, and see the place. Shouldn’t
you like to see the place?” Mrs. Lander pursued.
“There’s no hurry about it, Mrs. Lander.
It will stay as long as we do.”
Mrs. Lander was thoughtfully silent. Then she
said, “I declare, I’ve got half a mind
to make you send that letta to Miss Milray, after all.
What difference if Mrs. Milray did act so ugly to
you? He never did, and she’s his sista.”
“Oh, I don’t want to send it, Mrs. Landa;
you mustn’t ask me to. I shall get along,”
said Clementina. The recognition of her forlornness
deepened it, but she was cheerfuller, for no reason,
the next morning; and that afternoon, the doctor unexpectedly
came upon a call which he made haste to say was not