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THE DIARY OF ANNE RODWAY.

IN TWO CHAPTERS. CHAPTER THE FIRST.

MARCH 3rd, 1840. A long letter to-day
from Robert, which surprised and vexed and
fluttered me so, that I have been sadly
behind-hand with my work ever since. He
writes in worse spirits than last time, and
absolutely declares that he is poorer even
than when he went to America, and that he
has made up his mind to come home to
London. How happy I should be at this
news, if he only returned to me a prosperous
man! As it is, though I love him dearly, I
cannot look forward to the meeting him
again, disappointed and broken down and
poorer than ever, without a feeling almost ol
dread for both of us. I was twenty-six last
birthday and he was thirty-three; and there
seems less chance now than ever of our being
married. It is all I can do to keep myself by
my needle; and his prospects, since he failed
in the small stationery business three years
ago, are worse, if possible, than mine. Not
that I mind so much for myself; women, in
all ways of life, and especially in my dressmaking
way, learn, I think, to be more
patient than men. What I dread is Robert's
despondency, and the hard struggle he will
have in this cruel city to get his breadlet
alone making money enough to marry me. So
little as poor people want to set up in house-keeping
and be happy together, it seems hard
that they can't get it when they are honest
and hearty, and willing to work. The clergyman
said in his sermon, last Sunday evening,
that all things were ordered for the best, and
we are all put into the stations in life that
are properest for us. I suppose he was right,
being a very clever gentleman who tills the
church to crowding; but I think I should
have understood him better if I had not been
very hungry at the time, in consequence of my
own station in life being nothing but Plain
Needlewoman.

March 4th. Mary Mallinson came down to
my room to take a cup of tea with me. I read
her bits of Robert's letter, to show her that
if she has her troubles, I have mine too; but
I could not succeed in cheering her. She says
she is born to misfortune, and that, as long
back as she can remember, she has never
had the least morsel of luck to be
thankful for I told her to go and look in my
glass, and to say if she had nothing to be
thankful for then; for Mary is a very pretty
girl, and would look still prettier if she could
be more cheerful and dress neater. However,
my compliment did no good. She rattled her
spoon impatiently in her tea-cup, and said,
"If I was only as good a hand at needlework
as you are, Anne, I would change faces with
the ugliest girl in London." " Not you!"
says I, laughing. She looked at me for a
moment, and shook her head, and was out of the
room before I could get up and stop her. She
always runs off in that way when she is going
to cry, having a kind of pride about letting
other people see her in tears.

March 5th.— A fright about Mary. I had
not seen her all day, as she does not work at
the same place where I do; and in the evening
she never came down to have tea with
me, or sent me word to go to her. So just
before I went to bed I ran up-stairs to say
good-night. She did not answer when I
knocked; and when I stepped softly into the
room I saw her in bed, asleep, with her work
not half done, lying about the room in the
untidiest way. There was nothing remarkable                                                                 in that, and I was just going away on
tip-toe, when a tiny bottle and wine-glass
on the chair by her bed-side caught my eye.
I thought she was ill and had been taking
physic, and looked at the bottle. It was
marked in large  letters, " Laudanum
Poison." My heart gave a jump as if it was
going to fly out of me. I laid hold of her
with both hands, and shook her with all
my might. She was sleeping heavily, and
woke slowly, as it seemed to mebut still
she did wake. I tried to pull her out of
bed, having heard that people ought to be
aIways walked up and down when they have
taken laudanum; but she resisted, and
pushed me away violently.

"Anne! " says she in a fright. " For
gracious sake, what's come to you! Are you
out of your senses?"

"O, Mary! Mary! " says I, holding up
the bottle before her, " If I hadn't come in
when I did—" And I laid hold of her to shake
her again.

She looked puzzled at me for a moment
then smiled (the first time I had seen her do
so for many a long day)— then put her arms
round my neck.

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