“You seem to have seen a great deal of Mr. Roger, Molly?” said Miss Browning, in a way intended to convey a great deal of meaning to her sister and none at all to Molly. But—

“The man recovered of the bite;
The dog it was that died.”

Molly was perfectly aware of Miss Browning’s emphatic tone, though at first she was perplexed as to its cause; while Miss Phœbe was just then too much absorbed in knitting the heel of her stocking to be fully alive to her sister’s words and winks.

“Yes; he was very kind to me,” said Molly slowly, pondering over Miss Browning’s manner, and unwilling to say more, until she had satisfied herself to what the question tended.

“I daresay you will soon be going to Hamley Hall again? He’s not the eldest son, you know, Phœbe! Don’t make my head ache with your eternal ‘eighteen, nineteen,’ but attend to the conversation! Molly is telling us how much she saw of Mr. Roger, and how kind he was to her. I’ve always heard he was a very nice young man, my dear. Tell us some more about him! Now, Phœbe, attend! How was he kind to you, Molly?”

“Oh, he told me what books to read; and one day he made me notice how many bees I saw”——

“Bees, child! What do you mean? Either you or he must have been crazy!”

“No, not at all. There are more than two hundred kinds of bees in England, and he wanted me to notice the difference between them and flies.—Miss Browning, I can’t help seeing what you fancy,” said Molly, as red as fire; “but it is very wrong; it is all a mistake. I won’t speak another word about Mr. Roger or Hamley at all, if it puts such silly notions into your head.”

“Highty-tighty! Here’s a young lady to be lecturing her elders! Silly notions, indeed! They are in your head, it seems. And, let me tell you, Molly, you are too young to let your mind be running on lovers.”

Molly had been once or twice called saucy and impertinent, and certainly a little sauciness came out now.

“I never said what the ‘silly notion’ was, Miss Browning; did I now, Miss Phœbe? Don’t you see, dear Miss Phœbe, it is all her own interpretation, and according to her own fancy, this foolish talk about lovers?”

Molly was flaming with indignation; but she had appealed to the wrong person for justice. Miss Phœbe tried to make peace, after the fashion of weak-minded people, who would cover over the unpleasant sight of a sore, instead of trying to heal it.

“I’m sure I don’t know anything about it, my dear. It seems to me that what Clarinda was saying was very true—very true indeed; and I think, love, you misunderstood her; or, perhaps, she misunderstood you; or I may be misunderstanding it altogether; so we’d better not talk any more about it. What price did you say you were going to give for the drugget in Mr. Gibson’s dining-room, sister?”

So Miss Browning and Molly went on till evening, each chafed and angry with the other. They wished each other good-night, going through the usual forms in the coolest manner possible. Molly went up to her little bed-room, clean and neat as a bed-room could be, with draperies of small delicate patchwork—bed- curtains, window-curtains, and counterpane; a japanned toilette-table, full of little boxes, with a small looking-glass affixed to it, that distorted every face that was so unwise as to look in it. This room had been to the child one of the most dainty and luxurious places ever seen, in comparison with her own bare, white-dimity bed-room; and now she was sleeping in it as a guest, and all the quaint adornments she had once peeped at as a great favour, as they were carefully wrapped up in cap-paper, were set out for her use. And yet how little she had deserved this hospitable care; how impertinent she had been; how cross she had felt ever since! She was crying tears of penitence and youthful misery, when there came

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