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glancing round anxiously. Emmie, the youngest child but one, was quietly amusing herself in a corner, breaking off the legs of the wooden animals belonging to an ark which Mrs. Vernon had provided for her amusement. But no trace of Miss Lyddie was to be seen. Flora hurried from the room to search for the little truant.

It was not long before she found her in the dining-room, close to a small press in which various preserves and other little dainties were kept. Lyddie was several years older than the other children, and tall for her age; her lank over-grown form, untidy hair, awkward carriage and sickly face, conveying to the mind the idea that she was like some idle weed, which had sprung up uncared for and untended. She started slightly on seeing Flora, and hastily closed the door of the press, which had stood a little ajar.


O Lyddie!" exclaimed Flora," it is very wrong indeed to take sweets without asking leave!"

"I didn't!" said the child, shrinking back from her touch, and eyeing her with a furtive glance.

"Look there!" cried Flora, pointing very gravely to some unmistakable crimson stains on the dress and hands of the girl. “It is still worse to tell an untruth about it." The girl pouted, and put two fingers into her mouth.

'O Lyddie! has no one taught you Who sees our actions, and-;" Flora was commencing a gentle, but very serious reproof, when it was suddenly cut short by her auditor darting from the room.

"What dreadful children!" said poor Flora to herself; "they seem more unmanageable, more uncared for, both as regards their physical and moral condition, than the poorest cottager in the village! We must speak seriously to their mother about them; it is impossible to let them go on in this way."

To speak to Mrs. John Vernon was not at that moment practicable, as she had gone to sleep on the sofa, and was on no account to be disturbed. The dinner, which had been delayed for some hours for her arrival, was thus again indefinitely postponed, as both Mrs. Vernon and her daughter thought it more courteous to take their meal with their guest,

instead of sharing that prepared for the children. Flora felt irritated and tired, and very little disposed to look at the bright side of affairs. The noisy voices of the children seemed never to be silent. They penetrated every part of the house; no room appeared safe from the intrusion of unwelcome little guests: for a spirit of active curiosity was a characteristic of Lyddie, and Johnny was prosecuting a search for his negro Sambo, which carried him to places where he was unlikely, as well as those where he was likely to find him.

At length Emma awoke from her siesta, but Mrs. Vernon found that her politeness towards the lady had been carried to an unnecessary extent. Emma declined joining the family at table; she preferred having her dinner carried to her in her boudoir. Flora, desirous to please her new guest, herself took the refreshment to her, and had the mortification to find that it consisted of the only thing, as Emma declared with a sickly smile, that really she could not touch; while, when pressed to say what she fancied, she named something which it was difficult, if not impossible to procure!

Flora dined alone with her mother. This was a relief, for she was weary, and out of spirits, and out of patience. She resolved

not to trouble her mother more than she could possibly help with her own annoyances and perplexities, for Mrs. Vernon looked harassed and anxious already. When the lady had gone to superintend the sleeping arrangements of the children, Flora sought the boudoir of her sister-in-law, having previously rehearsed many times in her mind the conversation which she thought might take place between them, and having studied how she could tell painful truths in the most gentle and least irritating way.

The widow was still reclining on the sofa, her cap put aside on account of the heat, a fan and scent-bottle beside her; and she received Flora with the languid, affected smile, which to that young lady was peculiarly unpleasing. I hope that you have now recovered a little from your fatigue," said Flora, seating herself beside Emma.

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The only reply was a languid sigh, accompanied by a slight elevation of the eye-brows, and then a closing of the eyes.

Flora paused for a while, and played with the clasp of her bracelet, before she ventured to say, "Emma, there was one thing which I wished to ask you, dence in your black nurse?"

have you perfect confi

The lady opened her eyes.

"Oh! she's

the best creature in the world!" Here the scent-bottle was in requisition.

"You know, of course, whether she is a Christian?"

"Well-oh! why," (each word was drawled forth as though to speak were too fatiguing,) "yes; she has a crucifix and beads; she is a Christian, I am sure of it."

"And is it possible—;" Flora felt herself beginning to warm with her subject, but with an effort of self-control she commanded herself, and proceeded in the same gentle tones as those in which she had commenced.

66 Do you think it desirable to trust her so entirely with the children? I viewed a little scene in the nursery to-day which gave me an idea that Johnny's temper requires more judicious management?"

Emma looked so utterly indifferent, that Flora gave her a more lively description of the

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