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has, however, proved the cause of much annoyanco from my mother's continually harping upon it." “ Have
you the letter of Lady Hercules ?" “I have a copy of it, which I took, intending to have sent it to you the next time that I wrote. I will bring it down, if you will wait a minute.”
When Virginia returned, she put the following epistle into my hand :
“ MRS. SAUNDERS,
"I have received a letter from your daughter, which, I presume, was forwarded as a specimen of her penmanship; otherwise it was your duty to have addressed me yourself. I said to you, when I met you at Greenwich, that you were educating your daughter above her condition in life, and I now repeat it. My patronage is extended only to those who are not above their situations, which, I am sorry to observe, most people are now. Nevertheless, as I did say that I would exert my influence in your daughter's behalf, in consequence of your having been a decent, well-behaved menial to me, I have made inquiry among my acquaintances, and find that I may be, possibly, able to place her with my friend, Lady Towser, as a ' boudoir assistant.' I have said possibly, as I am by no means sure that she will be equal to the situation, and the number of applicants are very numerous. The enclosed paper from Lady Towser will give you an idea of what will be requisite :
* • Morning, up at 6, and nicely dressed ; come in in list shoes, and wait at bedside, in case Lady Towser should be troubled with her morning cough, to hand
the emulsion, &c. At 9, to call and assist to dress Lady Towser's head tire-woman; follow her to Lady T.'s chamber, and obey orders. Breakfast in housekeeper's room. After breakfast assist houseniaid to dust ornaments, and on Saturdays and Wednesdays wash, comb, and examine dogs; other days, comb and examine them only : clean and feed macaw, cockatoo, and parrot, also canary and other birds; bring up dogs' dinners, and prevent them fighting at meals. After dogs' dinners read to Lady T., if required; if not, get up collars and flounces, laces, &c. for Lady T. and Lady T.'s tire-woman. After your own dinner, assist housekeeper as required in the still-room ; fine needlework ; repair clothes before they go to wash; dress and brush Lady T.'s perukes ; walk out with dogs if weather is fine, and be careful to prevent their making any acquaintances whatever.
Evening.—Read to Lady T., write notes, look over bills, and keep general accounts; if not wanted, to make herself useful in housekeeper's room, and obey all orders received from her or head tire-woman. At night see that the hot water is ready for Lady T.'s feet, and wait for her retiring to bed ; wash Lady T.'s feet, and cut corns, as required; read Lady T. to sleep, or if not required to read, wait till she is certain that Lady T. is so.'
“Now the only points in which I think your daughter may fail is in properly washing, combing, and examining the dogs, and cutting her ladyship's corns; but surely she can practise a little of both, as sho will not be wanted for a month. There can be no difficulty about the first; and as for the latter, as all
people in your rank of life have corns, she may practise upon yours or her father's. At all evonts there can be no want of corns in Greenwich Hospital among the pensioners. I am desired to say that Lady T. gives no wages the first year; and you will be expected to send your daughter neatly fitted out, that she may be able to remain in the room when there is company. If this offer will not suit, I can do nothing more; the difficulty of patronage increases every day. You will send an answer.
“ Virginia HAWKINGTREFYLYAN.
“ I was just closing my letter when Lady Scrimmage came in; she tells me that Lady Towser is suited, and that you have no hopes of this situation. I bave done my best. Lady Scrimmage has, however, informed me that she thinks she can, upon my recommendation, do something for you in Greenwich, as she deals largely with a highly respectable and fashionable milliner of the same name as your own, and with whom it would be of the greatest advantage to your daughter to be placed as an apprentice, or something of that sort. This is an opportunity not to be lost, and I therefore have requested Lady S. to write immediately; and I trust, by my patronaye, she will gain a most enviable situation."
“ That postscript is admirable,” observed I, “and ought to have put my mother in a good humour. Is she not called by Lady Hercules . highly respectablo and fashionable ?'”
“ Very true," replied Virginia ; " but my mother cannot get over the first part of the letter, in which she is mentioned as ' a decent and well-behaved menial.' Sto has since received a note from Lady Scrimmage, requesting her to take me in some capacity or another; adding, by way of postscript, 'You know you need not keep her if you do not like; it is very easy to send her away for idleness or impertinence; but I wish to oblige Lady Hercules, and so, pray, at all events, write and
will try her.'”
“She did not show me the answer; but from what I have collected from her conversation, she has written a most haughty, and, I presume it will be said, a most impertinent letter to both the ladies; the one to Lady Scrimmage accompanied with her bill, which has not been paid these three years. I am sorry that my mother has been annoyed. My father, to whom I related what had taken place, told me that my mother was very ill-treated by Lady Hercules ; and that she had smothered her resentment with the hopes of benefiting her children by her patronage ; but that was at a time when she little expected to be so prosperous as she is now."
“ It is all true, my dear girl; I recollect my father telling me the whole story. However, I presume my mother, now that she can venture upon defiance, has not failed to resort to it."
“ That I am convinced of. I only hope that she will carry her indignation against great people so far as not to court them as she has done, and abandon all her ridiculous ideas of making a match for me.
Aftur all, she has my welfare sincerely at heart, and, although
mistaken in the means of securing it, I cannot but feel that she is actuated solely by her love for me.”
We then changed the conversation to Janet, about whom I could now speak calmly; after which I narrated to her what had occurred during the night, and my intention to consult with my father and Anderson upon the subject.
Virginia then left me that she might assist her mother, and I hastened to my father's ward, where I found him, and, after our first greeting, requested that he would accompany me to Anderson's office, as I had something to communicate to them both. As I walked along with my father, I perceived Spicer at a corner, with his foot on a stone step, and his hand to his knee, as if in pain. At last he turned round and saw us. I walked up to him, and he appeared a little confused as he said, “Ah! Tom, is that you? I did not know you were at Greenwich.”
“I came here last night,” replied I; "and I must be off again soon. Are you lame ?"
“ Lame! No; what should make me lame?" replied he, walking by the side of us as if he were not so.
I looked at his coat, and perceived that the third button on the right side was missing.
“You've lost a button, Spicer," observed I.
“So I have,” replied he; and, as we had now arrived at Anderson's door, my father and I turned from him to walk in, and wished him good-bye.
Anderson was in his office; and as soon as the door was closed, I communicated to them what had occurred during the night, expressing my conviction that Spicer was the party who had attempted the murder. In cor