20 Floiver and Weed.
Just before the eight-o'clock dinner Lady Lucille went to
the room where the wanderer was lying. She found her
much restored, but still very weak. Tompion had washed
her, and put on clean linen; and the perfect face upon the
pillow looked all the more beautiful now the bronze-brown
hair had been carefully brushed, and was coiled in a loose
plait at the back of the small head.
' How good you have been to me, lady !' she murmured
softly, looking up with a grateful expression in her largo
dark eyes. 'I did not think there was anybody in this
world so good as you.'
' Then I'm afraid you have never read the Gospel; for
that would teach you that it is our duty to help the poor
' I'm not much of a hand at reading, lady,' the girl
answered meekly. ' I've forgot most what I was taught at
the ragged school when I was a little 'un. There was ladies
sometimes come down the alley where I lived, and they give
me tracks, and says I must read 'em if I wanted to save my
soul alive; but when I came in of a night, after tramping
half over London with a basket of violets or moss-rose
buds, I hadn't the strength left in me to tackle one of
them there tracks, which alius led off by tellin' me I was
goin' to hell.'
' There is better teaching in the Gospel than in those
tracts, Bess. The Gospel shows us the way to heaven.
Would you like me to come and read to you a little before
you compose yourself for the night ? '
' Yes, lady, I should like you to come and sit by me a bit.
I like to look at you, and to hear you talk; it ain't like
anything as I've been used to. It's like waking up out of a
bad dream and finding oneself in a new world. But you'll
be for packing me off to-morrer, I dessay, sending me back
to my parish, won't yer, lady ? '
' No, no, you poor soul. You shall not leave the Castle
till you are strong and well; and when you do go, I shall
try to find you a comfortable home where you can get an
honest living. We won't talk about it now. You are to
think of nothing except getting well.'
' I don't know that,' answered the girl, with a plaintive
look in the dark liquid eyes. ' It might be better for me
just to lie here till I die, and never know nothing more of
life and its troubles.'
' You shall find by-and-by that life is not all trouble; that
there are a great many things in this world worth living for.'