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was only my bonnet that I looked at, or a
gown of mother's hanging up behind the door,
or something at the top of the old cupboard,
the things seemed to grow larger and larger,
and I looked and looked till I became so
frightened, that I covered my head with
the blanket, and went on listening for mother's
return. What a joyful sound to me was the
sound of the key put into the door-lock! It
gave me courage in an instant: then I would
throw away the blanket; and, raising my
head with a feeling of defiance, would look
round for the things that had frightened me,
as if to say, "I don't care for you now."
Mother would light the fire, bring something
from the basket, and cook our supper. She
would then sit and talk to me, and I felt so
happy that I soon forgot all that had gone
before.

Mother could not always get work. I
was glad then; for those days were the
Sundays of my life;—she was at home
all day; and although we often had nothing
to eat but bread and potatoes, she had her
tea; and the potatoes always tasted to me at
these times better than they did on other
days. Mother was not a scholar, so she
could not teach me much in that way; but
she taught me how to keep our room clean
and free from dust. I did not know much of
other children; but I had a little cousin
about my own age, who came sometimes on
Sundays with my aunt, and sometimes we
went to see them.

At last mother was taken illso very ill
that she could not go out to work, and as I
could not do for her all that was wanted to be
done, my aunt came to be with us. Mother
became worse and worse, and the doctor said
he did not think she would ever get better.
I heard him say this to aunt, and he said
it in such a way as if he thought I could not
feel; and I do think there are some people who
think that children cannot feel; but I did feel
it very much. Aunt used to sit up at nights.
I had a little bed made in a corner of the
room on the floor. One night after I had
cried myself to sleep, I started up from a
bad dream about dear mother. At first I
could not remember where I was, not being
used to my strange bed; but, when I did
remember, I saw that the rush-light was just
burning out. All was very quiet. The
quietness frightened me. The light flared
for an instant, and then it was gone; but it
showed me my aunt lying on the floor with
her head leaning on the bed; she was fast
asleep. I thought mother was asleep too,
and I did not dare to speak. Softly creeping
out of bed, I groped my way as well as I
could to mother's side. I listened, but I
heard no sound; I got nearer to her; I could
not hear her breathe; I put out my hand to
feel her face; the face was clammy and
almost cold. "Mother! dear mother!" I
cried. The cry awoke my aunt; she got a
light. Mother was dead.

I cannot remember what happened for a
long time afterwards; for I was very ill, and
was taken to my aunt's house. I was very
miserable when I got better again. I felt
quite alone in the world; for though aunt
was kind, her kindness was not like mother's
kindness. Whenever I could get to be by
myself, I used to think of poor mother; and
often in the long long nights I would lie
awake thinking about her, fancying that she
was near, saying things to comfort me. Poor
mother!

Time passed on, and by degrees I began to
feel happier; for through the interest of a
kind ladya Mrs. JonesI was got into a
school, where I was kept entirely, and taught
not only reading, writing, arithmetic, and to
do needle-work; but was also taught how to
do every branch of household work, so as
to qualify me to be a servant. At the age of
sixteen, suitable places were provided for the
girls.

I pass over my school-days. They were
very happy ones; but, when I was selected to
be the servant of a lady in London, I was very
miserable at parting from everybody that I
knew in the world, and at going among
strangers who would not love me one bit.

It rained heavily on the day I left; and
everything to be seen out of the window of
the railway train looked dismal and dripping.
When I got to the station, in London, I
went into the waiting-room. I waited a long
time: one after another went away, till at
last I was left alone to watch the pouring
rain as it fell faster and faster. I was
beginning to feel very dismal indeed, when a
smartly dressed young woman came into the
waiting-room. At first I thought she was a
lady; she came towards me, "Are you the
young person from Birmingham?" she said.
I was up in a moment: saying, "Yes,
ma'am," curtsying as I spoke. But the
minute afterwards I was sorry that I had
curtsied; for I was sure she was not my
mistress.

We were soon in the cab. "Well," said my
companion, who I soon knew to be Maria
Wild, the housemaid, "and so you took me to
be your mistress, did you?" and she laughed
in a disagreeable way; "I shan't forget
your humble curtsy, and I'll try to keep you
up to it." The house at which we stopped
was a pretty stone house, standing at a
little distance from the road, surrounded by
a nice garden. I was glad it was in the
country, for the sight of trees and green fields
always called to mind those happy Sundays
when dear mother was alive. But the country
looked very gloomy just then; everything
seemed as dull as I was.

I was chilly and shivering, and glad to creep
to the fire; no one was in the kitchen. The
kettle was boiling: it sounded cheerily, like
the voice of friends I had often heard. The
tea-things were set ready, and everything
around looked comfortable. By-and-bye in

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