A Wayside Waif 15
' She did not beg of me,' said Lucille, ringing the bell.
' You may go, Pike; ' whereupon Pike pulled an imaginary
forelock, and retired.
Lady Lucille's summons was answered promptly by her
maid "Tompion, who had been sitting at work in a room open¬
ing into the corridor.
'Tompion, I want you to take particular care of this
young woman,' said Lucille. 'You will get her some soup
immediately—a small cup of soup, for she has been a long
time without food; and when she has eaten it, yon will let
her sleep as much as she likes for the next few hours. Then
when she wakes you will get her a bath, and some clean
linen out of my wardrobe, and one of my cotton gowns ; and
you will make her as comfortable as you possibly can. She
is to occupy this room till she has recovered her strength.
By that time I shall have made up my mind what to do with
Tompion had not a word to oppose to the calm authority
of these instructions. She was a strongly-built wholesome
woman of about thirty, who had been Lucille's attendant
since the departure of nurse and nursery-maid. She idolised
her young mistress, and was devoted to her duties, although
she would gladly have drawn the line at attendance uiDon
ragged and footsore tramps.
' I'm sure I don't know however I sliall get them things
off her. Lady Lucille,' she said. ' I expect they'll all drop to
pieces when I touch 'em, like a 'Gyptian mummy.'
' You must do your best, Tompion,' said Lucille. ' You
are so kind-hearted that I know you'll be good to the
' Lucille, are you coming away P ' remonstrated Miss Mar¬
Lucille put her arm. round the governess's skinny shoul¬
ders, and left the room with her. Bess had fallen asleep
after that half-tumbler of port and half-dozen mouthfuls
of cake. It was more nourishment than she had had for the
last three days.
' Lucille, you smell of tramps,' said Miss Marjorum
solemnly. ' If you take my advice, you'll give yourself a warm
bath before you resume the usual occupations of the day.'
' I will take your advice, dear. That poor thing was
dreadfully dusty. But is she not a lovely creature ? '
' Her features may be well formed; but I cannot bring
myself to see beauty in such abject degradation,' replied the