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and sweet were those dark blue eyes of her

"Your hands are very cold, my dear; take
off those gloves (I wore thick serviceable doe-
skin, and had been too shy to take them off
unbidden), and let me try and warm them
the evenings are very chilly." And she held
my great red hands in hers,—soft, warm,
white, ring-laden. Looking at last a little
wistfully into my face, she said—"Poor child!
And you're the eldest of nine! I had a
daughter who would have been just your
age; but I cannot fancy her the eldest of
nine." Then came a pause of silence; and
then she rang her bell, and desired her
waiting-maid, Adams, to show me to my

It was so small that I think it must have
been a cell. The walls were whitewashed
stone; the bed was of white dimity. There
was a small piece of red stair-carpet on each
side of the bed, and two chairs. In a closet
adjoining were my washstand and toilet-
table. There was a text of scripture painted
on the wall right opposite to my bed; and
below hung a print, common enough in
those days, of King George and Queen
Charlotte, with all their numerous children, down
to the little Princess Amelia in a go-cart.
On each side hung a small portrait, also
engraved; on the left, it was Louis the
Sixteenth, on the other, Marie-Antoinette. On
the chimney-piece there was a tinder-box
and a prayer-book. I do not remember
anything else in the room. Indeed, in those
days people did not dream of writing-tables,
and inkstands, and portfolios, and easy chairs,
and what not. We were taught to go into
our bedrooms for the purposes of dressing,
and sleeping, and praying.

Presently I was summoned to supper. I
followed the young lady who had been sent to
call me, down the wide shallow stairs, into
the great hall, through which I had first
passed on my way to my Lady Ludlow's
room. There were four other young
gentlewomen, all standing, and all silent, who
curtseyed to me when I first came in. They were
dressed in a kind of uniform; muslin caps
bound round their heads with blue ribbons,
plain muslin handkerchiefs, lawn aprons, and
drab-coloured stuff gowns. They were all
gathered together at a little distance from
the table, on which were placed a couple of
cold chickens, a salad, and a fruit-tart. On
the dais there was a smaller round table, on
which stood a silver jug filled with milk, and
a small roll. Near that was set a carved
chair, with a countess's coronet surmounting
the back of it. I thought that some one
might have spoken to me; but they were
shy, and I was shy; or else there was some
other reason; but, indeed, almost the minute
after I had come in to the hall by the door at
the lower end, her ladyship entered by the
door opening upon the dais; whereupon we
all curtseyed very low; I, because I saw the
others do it. She stood, and looked at us
for a moment.

"Young gentlewomen," said she, "make
Margaret Dawson welcome among you;" and they
treated me with the kind politeness due to a
stranger, but still without any talking beyond
what was required for the purposes of the
meal. After it was over, and grace was said
by one of our party, my lady rang her hand-
bell, and the servants came in and cleared
away the supper things; then they brought
in a portable reading-desk, which was placed
on the dais, and, the whole household trooping
in, my lady called to one of my companions
to come up and read the Psalms and Lessons
for the day. I remember thinking how afraid
I should have been had I been in her place.
There were no prayers. My lady thought it
schismatic to have any prayers excepting
those in the prayer-book; and would as soon,
have preached a sermon herself in the parish
church, as have allowed any one not a deacon
at the least to read prayers in a private
dwelling-house. I am not sure that even
then she would have approved of his reading
them in an unconsecrated place.

She had been maid of honour to Queen
Charlotte: a Hanbury of that old stock that
flourished in the days of the Plantagenets,
and heiress of all the land that remained to
the family of the great estates which had
once stretched into four separate counties.
Hanbury Court was hers by right. She had
married Lord Ludlow, and had lived for many
years at his various seats, and away from her
ancestral home. She had lost all her children
but one, and most of them had died at these
houses of Lord Ludlow's; and, I dare say,
that gave my lady a distaste to the places,
and a longing to come back to Hanbury
Court, where she had been so happy as a girl.
I imagine her girlhood had been the happiest
time of her life; for, now I think of it, most
of her opinions, when I knew her in later life,
were singular enough then, but had been
universally prevalent fifty years before. For
instance, while I lived at Hanbury Court, the
cry for education was beginning to come up;
Mr. Raikes had set up his Sunday Schools;
and some clergymen were all for teaching
writing and arithmetic, as well as reading.
My Lady would have none of this; it was
levelling and revolutionary, she said. When
a young woman came to be hired, my lady
would have her in, and see if she liked her
looks and her dress, and question her about
her family. Her ladyship laid great stress
upon this latter point, saying that a girl who
did not warm up when any interest or curiosity
was expressed about her mother, or the
"baby" (if there was one), was not likely to
make a good servant. Then she would make
her put out her feet, to see if they were well
and neatly shod. Then she would bid her say
the Lord's Prayer, and the Creed. Then she
inquired if she could write. If she could, and
she had liked all that had gone before, her