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-thin, sickly-looking creatures, wrapped up in gaudy scarfs, which strangely contrasted with their faded black ribbons and dresses, and complexions which varied in shades from whitey-brown to dingy-yellow. While Mrs. Vernon stooped to kiss and welcome the little strangers, the youngest of whom, from some cause unknown, was crying as if her heart would break, Flora pressed forward to assist the widow to alight. Instead of the lady, a very fat negress, very gaudily attired, with gilt bracelets on her wrists and beads in her ears, holding a screaming baby in her arms, slowly shoved her stout person through the doorway, and heavily descended to the ground. My dear sister!" exclaimed Flora, in a tone of sympathy, again pressing to the carriage, and leaning forward into it to greet the afflicted widow.
A very languid voice answered from within, Just see, do, that they are careful in taking down the parrot."
It was a chill to the feelings of Flora, and her first glance of her sister-in-law was little calculated to re-warm them into interest. Emma Vernon might once have been pretty, at
least something in her air conveyed the idea that she had—and perhaps still considered herself to be so; but she had a sallow, withered look on her face, an affected expression in her sleepy black eyes, a languid listlessness in her manner, which to Flora were almost repulsive. Coldness and indifference seemed conveyed in the very touch of her thin fingers, and the cheek which, half hidden by a profusion of black curls, she turned to receive Flora's kiss. Slowly, very slowly,
she descended from the carriage, leaning heavily on Mrs. Vernon and her daughter, and moving as though she were scarcely equal to the effort of placing one foot before the other. With many a pause, and many a sigh, she reached the lovely little boudoir which Mrs. Vernon, at considerable personal inconvenience, had appropriated to her use.
Emma sank on the sofa, and in an affected voice exclaimed, "Take away those flowers,— I can't bear them!-take them away or I shall faint!"
Flora hastened to remove the beautiful bouquet, while Mrs. Vernon offered a scentbottle to the languishing lady.
"I hope, dear Emma, that country quiet will soon restore you," she said soothingly.
66 Do open the window-there's not a breath of air this room is so small!" lisped the newly arrived.
"How strange it is," thought Flora, "that she neither asks nor thinks about her children! Nothing but her own comfort seems to occupy her mind, and it does not appear very easy to please her. I will go and look
after her little ones."
Flora was followed into the passage by her mother, who looked a little troubled and anxious. My dear child," said Mrs. Vernon, laying
make of the negro? I never calculated on Emma's bringing a man-servant with her." "I'm sure I don't know, mamma. very inconsiderate in her, I think. But everything seems so strange and confusing and uncomfortable, I am afraid❞—she stopped in her sentence.
We must make the best of everything, my love. Just go and see that the poor dear children are comfortable in their nursery." Flora obeyed without reply.
As Flora approached the nursery, its vicinity was sufficiently indicated by the sound of loud, passionate crying, and then that of several sharp slaps; which made her quicken her steps, lest the black nurse, whose looks she distrusted, should be maltreating any of the children. The first glance at the interior of the room, however, showed her that the fat old negress was not the giver, but the recipient of the blow! Before her was a little boy in a furious tempest of passion, kicking, striking, and roaring, while Flora's pretty book of pictures lay in a hundred fragments at his feet!
"Oh! Massa Johnny, Massa Johnny!" exclaimed old Chloe in an expostulating tone, as he struck her again and again with the ferocity of a little tiger.
Flora sprang forward and caught his hand, but only turned his passion upon herself. The child clutched at her flowing locks, and it was not without difficulty and pain that she extricated her hair from his grasp. He then flung
himself down on the floor, and rolled on it in impotent passion.
"What can be the meaning of all this?” exclaimed Flora, surprised and ruffled by the unexpected attack.
Oh! Massa Johnny, he only want to pull de swing 'uns off de clock; he very angry cause he cannot get em."
"I am afraid that Johnny is a very naughty boy," said Flora, smoothing down her disordered tresses, and looking down with the reverse of admiration on the dark little savage before her.
Oh! Massa Johnny, he have great speerit, he have mighty great speerit !" was the nonchalant reply, as the negress slowly rose from her seat to attend to the baby, who had been sleeping in a cradle, but who, awakened by the noise, now swelled it with his fretful cry.
"I'm sure, if one doesn't want a dozen hands atween them all!" pursued the old woman, trying to hush the child; "there's Miss Lyddie now, there's no knowing where 1. she's agone,-I've not set eyes on her this half hour!"
"Not know where she is?" said Flora,