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'not quite right,' but the few who were more
discerning, shook their heads, and observed,
'Right she was not, poor thing, but it was
not want of sense; she had more of that than

And such was the opinion of her mother
and sister. They perceived that Nancy had
received a shock of which she must bear the
effects through life. Circumstances might
bring her feeble but sensitive nerves much
misery. She required to be guarded and
sheltered from the rudenesses of the world,
and the mother trembled to think how much
she might be exposed to them. But in
everything that related to sound judgment, they
knew that she surpassed not only them, but
any of their acquaintance. If any difficulty
had to be decided, it was Nancy who pondered
on it, and perhaps at some moment when least
expected, pronounced an opinion that might
be taken as confidently as an oracle.

The affection of the two sisters was something
beyond the ties of this world. Jane had
watched and attended to her from the time of
her constitutional injury with a love that
never seemed to know a moment's weariness
or change; and the affection which Nancy
evinced for her was equally intense and affecting.
She seemed to hang on her society for
her very life. Jane felt this, and vowed that
they would never quit one another. The
mother sighed. How many things, she thought,
might tear asunder that beautiful resolve.

But now they were of an age to obtain work
in the mill. Indeed, Jane could have had
employment there long before, but she would
not quit her sister till she could go with her,
and now there they went. The proprietor,
who knew the case familiarly, so ordered it
that the two sisters should work near each
other; and that poor Nancy should be as
little exposed to the rudeness of the work-
people as possible. But at first so slow and
awkward were Nancy's endeavours, and such
an effect had it on her frame, that it was
feared she must give it up. This would have
been a terrible calamity; and the tears of the
two sisters, and the benevolence of the
employer enabled Nancy to pass through this
severe ordeal. In a while she acquired
sufficient dexterity, and thenceforward went
through her work with great accuracy and
perseverance. As far as any intercourse with
the workpeople was concerned, she might be
said to be dumb. Scarcely ever did she
exchange a word with any one, but she returned
kind nods and smiles; and every morning and
evening, and at dinner-time, the two sisters
might be seen going to and fro, side by side,
Jane often talking with some of them; the
little, odd-looking sister walking silent and

Five more years and Jane was a young woman.
Amid her companions, who were few of them
above the middle size, she had a tall and
striking appearance. Her father had been a
remarkably tall and strong man, and she
possessed something of his stature, though none
of his irritable disposition. She was extremely
pretty, of a blooming fresh complexion, and
graceful form. She was remarkable for the
sweetness of her expression, which was the
index of her disposition. By her side still
went that odd, broad-built, but still pale and
little sister. Jane was extremely admired by
the young men of the neighbourhood, and had
already many offers, but she listened to none.
'Where I go must Nancy go,' she said to herself,
'and of whom can I be sure?'

Of Nancy no one took notice. Her pale,
somewhat large features, her thoughtful silent
look, and her short, stout figure, gave you
an idea of a dwarf, though she could not
strictly be called one. No one would think of
Nancy as a wife,—where Jane went she must
go; the two clung together with one heart
and soul. The blow which deprived them of
their brother seemed to bind them inseparably

Mrs. Dunster, besides her seaming, at which,
in truth, she earned a miserable sum, had now
for some years been the post-woman from the
village to the Bull's Head, where the mail,
going on to Tideswell, left the letter-bag.
Thither and back, wet or dry, summer or
winter, she went every day, the year round.
With her earnings, and those of the girls', she
kept a neat, small cottage; and the world went
as well with them as the world goes on the
average with the poor. Cramps and rheumatisms
she began to feel sensibly from so much
exposure to rain and cold; but the never-varying
and firm affection of her two children was a
balm in her cup which made her contented
with everything else.

When Jane was about two-and-twenty, poor
Mrs. Dunster, seized with rheumatic fever,
died. On her death-bed she said to Jane,
'Thou will never desert poor Nancy; and
that's my comfort. God has been good to me.
After all my trouble, he has given me this
faith, that come weal come woe, so long as
thou has a home, Nancy will never want one.
God bless thee for it! God bless you both;
and he will bless you!' So saying, Betty
Dunster breathed her last.

The events immediately following her death
did not seem to bear out her dying faith; for
the two poor girls were obliged to give up
their cottage. There was a want of cottages.
Not half of the workpeople could be
entertained in this village; they went to and fro
for many miles. Jane and Nancy were now
obliged to do the same. Their cottage was
wanted for an overlooker,—and they removed
to Tideswell, three miles off. They had thus
six miles a-day to walk, besides standing at
their work; but they were young, and had
companions. In Tideswell they were more
cheerful. They had a snug little cottage; were
near a Meeting; and found friends. They did
not complain. Here, again, Jane Dunster
attracted great attention, and a young, thriving
grocer paid his addresses to her. It was an

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