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came Maria and another servant;—the cook.
She was so smart! I looked at her timidly.
'"Well!" she said, "now for your curtsy."
I knew at once that Maria had been tolling
her about my mistake. I looked grave, and
felt, very uncomfortable; but I did not curtsy.
"Come, come," said she, "I'll excuse you
tonight; you shall have some tea to cheer you
up a bit. But don't look so down-hearted,
girl; this'll never do; you must pluck
up."

Then we sat down. She asked me a great
many questions, all about the place I had come
from; the relations that I had; everything
about the school; what I had done there;
till at last I was quite tired of answering.
Then I asked some questions in my turn.

The family consisted of a master and
mistress, three children (all young), and four
servants. My business, I heard, was the care of
the second drawing-room, to help the nurse
till two o'clock, and after that time to
help the cook. I wished that it had fallen
to my chance to have had a place more
decidedly a one place than this seemed to
be; but I did not dare to say a word. I was
very much tired, and cook told me that I
might go to bed; for mistress (who was out)
would not return till too late to speak to me
that night. Very glad I was to go. I was to
sleep in the room with the cook and housemaid;
but had a small bed to myself. Tired
as I was, I could not sleep. When they came
into the room, they believed me to be asleep,
and they went on talking for a long time.
I wished not to hear what they said; for
though I could not understand half of it, I was
sure that what they talked about was very
wrong. With such companions I felt that I
could never be happy. I longed for morning,
that I might write at once to the matron of
my school and tell her so.

But what would the matron say? I knew
well that she would chide me; for in the
very last advice she gave me, she said that
I must expect, when I went into the world,
to meet with evil-speakers and with evil-
doers, and that it must be my constant care
to keep myself unspotted from bad example.
I thought of this over and over again, and
determined that whatever might happen I
would try to do right. Besides, I had not seen
the nurse yet; she might be a person that I
could like; and in this hope I went to sleep.

When I awoke, the bright sunlight was
shining in through the window; I was alone
in the room, and I was sure that it was very
late. I was dressing hurriedly when the door
softly opened. It was Maria Wild. "How
soundly you have slept!" she said; "I had not
the heart to awake you; but you must make
haste now, for mistress is down, and has asked
for you, and we have finished breakfast." I was
not long in following her. The cook had kept
some tea warm for me; her manner seemed
kinder, and I wished that I could forget what
had passed. By-and-bye the parlour bell rang.
It was for me; and, with a beating heart, I
prepared to go into the presence of my first
mistress.

What a pretty, sweet, gentle lady! and
so very young that I could scarcely believe
she could be my mistress. She spoke to me
most gently, hoped I should prove a good
girl; and, without entering into the nature
of my duties, merely said that the cook
and the nurse would put me in the right
way. Dear lady! she was like many other
ladies who marry as soon as they leave
school; and who, without knowing anything
at all about the management of a house, rush
into housekeeping.

I wish I could have had all my instructions
from my mistress. As it was, I had three
distinct mistresses; my real one knowing less
about what I did, than either of the others.
I was often very much tempted to peep into
the beautiful books which were lying about
the drawing-room I had the care of. As
I dusted them with my brush, once or twice
I could not resist; and, one morning I opened
the prettiest, in which there were such
beautiful engravings, that I turned them all over
till I came to the end. One engraving seemed
so very interesting that I could not resist
reading a little of the story which told about
it. I was standing with the book in one
hand, the dusting brush in the other, forgetting
everything else, when I was startled by
the sound of my own name. I turned round
and saw my mistress. "Fanny!" repeated my
mistress, "this is very wrong; I do not allow
this." I could not speak, but I felt myself
turn very red, and I put the book hastily
on the table. I did not try to make any
excuse for what I had done. I was touched
by the gentleness with which my mistress had
reproved me.

Several weeks passed. I was very miserable,
but I struggled hard to bear all as well as I
could. I was sure that both the nurse and the
cook gave me a great many things to do that
they ought to have done themselves; so that
I had very little rest, and was very tired
when night came. I was certain that I was a
restraint on what they had to say to each other:
they were by no means sure of me; and, when
I entered the kitchen unexpectedly, I knew
by their altered tone and manners that they
spoke of something different to what they had
been speaking about before. I saw many
signs pass between them, which they did not
think I saw. Sometimes I knew they were
trying to see how far they might trust me,
and I had a strong wish that they would find
out they never would be able to trust me.

One day I was cleaning the children's shoes
in a little out-house near the kitchen, when
my mistress came down to give orders for
dinner. The cook did not know I was there.
Most of what was said I could hear very
distinctly; for the kitchen-door was open. "Oh!
indeed, ma'am," said the cook, "these young
girls eat a great deal; you'd be astonished to

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