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"When pay-day came she told Percy quietly,
that she was so much short that week. "I
cannot help it; but, in such a small family
as ours, one person in addition makes a
great difference. Our own expenses have
been just the same as usual; so that I
find your mother's cost exactly equals my

"You must provide for that out of the
allowance," said Percy, with hardness.

"Out of the allowance, Percy?"

"Yes. I am not able to afford you more;
and, by some means or other, you must make
what you have do."

"Very well, Percy; I will try," said Annie,

"Trying will be of no good if it is not done,
Annie." Percy spoke positively, as if on the
brink of displeasure.

"I will do my very best," she repeated.

"But for this past week, Percy, when I
did not know your arrangement, and so
made no provision—" She turned such a
pretty, pleading face to him that he said:

"I will pay you for this onceonly
for this once, mind; not again under
any ordinary circumstances"—emphasising
the ordinary. "Remember what I say,
Annie. You know I never speak without a
meaning. What was it you mentioned you
wanted in addition?"

"So much," said Annie, naming a large
sum; very large comparatively with the
whole. "I have had a great many things to
lay in."

"Here, then, is the money," said Percy,
slowly counting it out, coin by coin. "Now do
not let me hear the subject repeated. You
know what you have to do, and you must
do it."

Annie thought long and hard all that day.
In what could she retrench? Of course Percy
was right: husbands always are right in the
eyes of girlish wives not married a year. He
was right, and must be obeyed, of course; but
how? She would leave off sugar and profess
a sudden distaste for pastry; give up all beer
and wineof which she had but little as it
wasand put herself on lenten fare generally.
But, as yet, her proposed retrenchments did
not go beyond a few personal sacrifices, and
she felt that something more must be done.
At last it came to her like a bright inspiration
she would dispense with the extra
service she had been accustomed to pay for.
The washing was done at home; and the
young wife ironed, and starched, and stood
and stooped, and worked herself to the verge
of hysterics and fainting fits; all in the most
perfect good faith that such a life was the
normal condition of a good housekeeper, and
that she was only doing her ordinary duty.
No one knew how much she did, but the
servants. If old Mrs. Clarke knew it, she
kept it to herself, and thought it only as it
should be. Percy did not see, and never asked,
what his wife did in the house or out of it.
He was the most loose-handed husband
possible with the marriage-reins with regard
to everything except money; and his wife,
had she been so minded, might have enjoyed
any amount of questionable independence.
This non-interference was what Annie had
always liked in him, and what she specially
valued now in the pride of her secret household
heroism; and, for the next two weeks,
she was profoundly happy to find that she had
succeeded in her obedience, and that her
expenses were within the mark. Gratified, in
fact, that she could buy luxuries for her
peevish mother-in-law, and secure her
husband's comfort and approbation by the toil
and labour of her own hands. For that was
the English of the thing, said the superiorly
educated servant.

This could not go on for long. At the
proper time Annie's release from household
toil came in the form of a beautiful boy,
which seemed to her an angel come to lie on
her heart. This was Annie's happiest time of
life. She had never known a real emotion
before; never felt a real love. Her father
she had feared and shrunk from; her husband
she respected and obeyed; but her
childwhat a golden word of hope and love
that was!—what a treasury of divinest joy
the waxen touches and warm soft lips of
that little life unlocked! She would have
been contented to pass through years
of pain and sorrow for this gracious time;
and she felt she could now face any grief
with that precious nestling at her heart,
to reward her by its love and cheer her
by its progress and well-being. Pretty
she had always been; but now she was
beautiful; so beautiful that the old nurse
shook her head, and said she did not like the
glory of her young lady's looks; and then
she maundered off into half-a-dozen fatal
experiences, which made the servant girls
cry; whereat the old dame was satisfied, so
went sighing and shaking her head upstairs.

Mrs. Clarke was impatient of Annie's
illness. She missed her in the household;
she found that the servants were neither so
neat nor so thoughtful as Ann, as she used
to call her spitefully, eschewing the Annie as
too coaxing and refined; and she could not
bear that any one about her should need more
care than herself. She had been so long
accustomed to be the first consideration; so
long accustomed, too, to the moral coddling of
invalidship, that she did not yield the right of
superior care and sympathy to any one. Mrs.
Clarke's infirmities and sundry diseases were
her social stock in trade. They were her claims
to regard and attention, as some people's
riches, or as a pretty woman's beauties. She
was for ever urging upon Annie the
wholesomeness of early exertion and the infinite
evil of giving way. So that Annie "put herself
forward too soon," said the old nurse
despairingly, and was stirring about the house at