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Mrs. Norris. Good evening, Mrs. Smith ; mistress wished me to call upon you this evening to speak about Letty.
Mrs. Smith. Oh, Mrs. Norris ! that girl does vex me so. I have told her it will break my heart if you send her away-girls are so trying!
Mrs. Norris. Oh, don't you flurry yourself, my good woman ; mistress has no thought of such a thing; but Letty don't seem to settle, or feel herself contented, and so I sent her to see you on Sunday.
Mrs. Smith. She has nothing in the world to complain of, that I can see. I am sorry now that I let her go to Mrs. Jones's, where she went as company to Mrs. Jones more than anything, for she don't keep a servant; but, feeling poorly, she said Letty might come and hold the baby, and I think that set her up.
Mrs. Norris. Very likely, and Letty, in many ways, is a very nice girl. She always keeps to the truth, which I care about more than most things. She is very good-tempered with the children, and would do very well, but for one fault-she can't bear to be spoken to. Now, Mrs. Smith, you are very sensible that girls can't know things out of their own heads, and that babies and little children require a deal of care, pretty dears; my heart often aches to see how they are neglected by the slips of girls, who think of nothing but dress and nonsense. Now Letty isn't one of that sort; she's steady enough, I dare say ; but she can't know gentlefolks' ways, not if she was a conjuror, unless she's told.
Mrs. Smith. Very true, ma’am; I'm always telling her so. But, to speak my mind, I'm afraid she has met with those that uphold her in those ideas, or she'd never be so headstrong.
Mrs. Norris. Well, she's had a caution in Jack Wilton. That beggar-boy told the coachman the other day he wasn't going to be his slave. Master overheard him, and told him to pull off his livery that very minute, paid him his wages, and sent him off. I don't know what he put on to go away in.
Mrs. Smith. Served him right.
Mrs. Norris. It did; but I felt sorry for the friendless boy, too. You see, this is what it is : girls and boys don't know what life is; they only care for the shoe that pinches at the moment, and don't look forward : but you and I were young once, and must make allowance for them. But what I came to say is, that we are going to the sea-side for a month, and mistress thinks Letty won't be wanted, as the under-housemaid will do for me there. She will give her board wages, but she thinks she had better come home; or, perhaps, you could find her a temporary place. And you'll tell her, that when she comes back, she must make up her mind to take orders from me without tossing her head, or flouncing about; for if she won't, there's others that will.
Mrs. Smith. Thank you, ma’am; I think I know of a place-of-all-work, where she can go for a month ; and that will bring her to her senses.
Letty. Oh, mother! when will Stanley's people come back ?
Mother. Who do you mean by Stanley's people ? Mr. and Mrs. Stanley ?
Letty. Yes, to be sure. I never thought to long so to get back to prim Mrs. Norris ; but I do think, if I'm much longer at the Badsdons, I shall go crazy.
Mother. What's the matter, now? are there too many rules, there?
Letty. Oh, no, I wish there were. There's ten children, who all do as they like, and I have to cook and clean ; my work is never done; and the place is always in a dirty muddle. The boys are so rude, and call me all the names that ever you heard. My mistress only laughs when I complain, and says hard words break no bones; and if the boys are tiresome, why don't I slap them ?
Mother. I hope you won't; they are more likely to slap you. But, my dear, you didn't like Mrs. Norris's way of bringing up children. Does Mrs. Badsdon please you better?
Letty. Oh, they are so many savages compared ; and so dirty! My back is almost broken with all I have to do. Mistress scolds at me all day, and I would give all the world to get back. Do you think Mrs. Norris will let me ?
Mother. Now, child, you have bought a little experience; and having paid for it, I hope you will keep it. You see that it may be a much easier and better thing to have a servant over you who knows her business, than a mistress that don't.
Letty. And this is the first five minutes I can call my own since I went there. Sundays are just like work-days, or worse ; for they have company, generally, and I have never seen the inside of a church since I went there. Do ask Mrs. Norris to let me go back; I will try to please her, indeed I will !
And so she did.
WHAT MAY HAPPEN TO A THIMBLE.
Come about the meadow,
Hunt here and there :
Can you tell where?
Fan saw it fall,
That she dropped it at all.
Has a mouse carried it
Down to her hole-
Shady, small soul ?
Ere the light fails,
Tiny torn tails ?
Did a finch fly with it
Into the hedge ?
Down in the sedge ?
Are they carousing there
All the night through ? Such a great goblet,
Brimful of dew !
Have beetles crept with it
Where oak-roots hide ? There have they settled it
Down on its side ? Neat little kennel,
So cosy and dark, Has one crept into it
Trying to bark ?
Have the ants covered it
With straw and sand ? Roomy bell-tent for them,
So tall and grand. Where the red soldier ants
Lie, loll, and lean; While the blacks steadily
Build for their queen.
Has a huge dragon-fly
Borne it (how cool!) To his snug dressing-room
By the clear pool ? There will he try it on
For a new hat, Nobody watching
But one water-rat ?