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MISS MEREDITH'S

of one very terrible time to-day. And

Dollie felt that Miss Meredith was looking STORY

at her, she didn't know why.
OLLIE, late again!' • Anything will do ; your tales are all

said Miss Meredith, good,' said lazy Marian, choosing a soft
the governess, in a leafy seat for herself. “Dollie, give me my
tone of reproach to sewing, quick, and let ber begin.'
a little girl of ten, But there was no beginning yet.

Mawho stole, looking rian had to be corrected for speaking of rather ashamed, into

any one except the cat as 'her,' without a her place in the school- nominative case; and then there were

room at Tracy Grove. hems to be turned down, and needles and "A bad mark, I am sorry to say. And cotton to be chosen, so that ten minutes now I should wish to hear what has kept had passed before all was quiet, and the you.'

two children anxiously exclaimed, “Now, 'I was reading,' said Dollie, blushing, please, begin.' and I never heard the bell.'

The story is for Dollie to-day,' said * Reading your new story-book, Settlers Miss Meredith; it is about a dreadful at Home, I suppose ?' said Miss Meredith, thing I did six years ago. I don't like severely. Now, Dollie, this has happened to speak of it now, but I think it may so often-I mean, your not hearing the be good for her to hear it, and it may, perschool-bell through being so taken up with haps, explain why I seemed so strict in a book—that I must check it by insisting punishing her for being late to-day. that all story-books are forbidden to you Dollie here stopped sewing, and put her till after four o'clock in the day.'

hand softly on Miss Meredith's knee. She Poor Dollie sighed. Reading was her said nothing, but her governess knew what great pleasure and snare; for it she would she meant,—“I didn't mind your being leave her frock unmended and her lessons strict, because I love you.' half learnt. And yet in other respects she 'Go on, please,' said Marian, I love was a good, well-meaning girl, and secretly dreadful things; but I'm sorry you don't rather a favourite with Miss Meredith. like to speak of it. I'm afraid you'll make

It was a hot afternoon, and instead of it too short.' the usual walk, the governess proposed that Well, then, Dollie,' said Miss Merethe girls should take their sewing into the dith, “I was just like you once ; so fond Tracy Woods, which adjoined the gardens. of reading stories, and so wrapped up in Dollie and Marian were delighted. them, that I heard, saw, and felt nothing Shall you

read to us? asked Marian. else at the time: the girls at school used *No, dear, we shall talk,' said Miss to pinch me when I was in the middle of Meredith,

a very enticing book, and I hardly knew You tell us something about your

it. When I was at home, no one warned home, pleaded Dollie, taking the heavy me not to give way to this, as there were basket out of her governess's hands. only my father and my old nurse (mother

• It will be a sad bit of my life, then,' died when I was a very little girl), and said Miss Meredith, for I can only think they thought if I was quiet and amused it

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must be all right. But when I had to go had a dear little girl to take care of called out as a governess and earn my own living, Lilias Pardie. She lived with her aunt, I soon found this habit of taking up a book Mrs. Bertram, as her parents were in and becoming so engrossed in it that I India. Mrs. Bertram was very good to utterly forgot the world without and every- me, and made me sit with her and talk to body in it, very troublesome.'

her when Lily was in bed; for, being only • The little girls got into mischief while seven years old, she went to bed at seven, you read stories ?' suggested Marian. and did not learn many lessons. I loved · Hush!' said Dollie.

Lily dearly; but all the same, that did not Not quite that, little chatterbox,' said prevent me once doing her a terrible inMiss Meredith ; but you shall hear. I jury. Mrs. Bertram had found me once

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or twice reading very engrossing tales to Lily was feverish and ill, and Mrs. Bermyself while Lily did her sum or wrote · tram and I agreed she should go to bed her copy, I often forgetting to look up and take some medicine which she had when the sum was ended or the copy com- had prescribed for her once before, and of plete, and she warned me that it was not which a little was left in the bottle. James right to fret the child by keeping her was to ride into the town and get more waiting. So, as I meant to try to do my

made up. duty, I promised never to read again in 66 And order some of my drops, dear," school-time; and Mrs. Bertram was pleased said Mrs. Bertram ; "and then I'll go and with me, and said I took her rebuke in a lie down, too, for my head is bad.” right spirit. And we were all friends 66 Troubles never come singly,” I said, again.

“ for Mrs. Jones is complaining again of ‘But still I gave trouble in that way. her old sprain, and is obliged to keep on Once I snatched up a most exciting book the sofa.” after dinner, and forgot to get ready to go

Mrs. Jones was the housekeeper, a out in the carriage with Mrs. Bertram and petted old servant, but very kind to me; Lily; and there were the horses at the door so I often paid her a visit in her snug champing and fidgeting, and Lily in her best frock, and Mrs. Bertram waiting to take us • Mrs. Bertram's head grew worse.

She to spend the afternoon at Blair Hall, where sent for me, and asked me to look at Lily Lily's great friend lived ; and I had my the last thing, and then come and report brown-holland schoolroom dress on, all to her if she was at all restless. Gibbons, bespattered with ink. I was so ashamed, her maid, should sit up with her. I ran off in a dreadful hurry, and came "“No, let me do that,” I said.

“I am down so hot and untidy, having scrambled sure I should be quite as good a nurse as into my silk dress, and collected my gloves Gibbons." and handkerchief and cuffs into a bundle • Mrs. Bertram hesitated. in my hand." '

*“You might get reading, dear, and for* Like you scold me for doing,' said get her medicine.” Marian. 'Go on, though, do; I like your «« No, indeed, I wouldn't,” I protested. being untidy.

And then we settled that Gibbons should "Another time had to write a note-a sit with the child till eleven o'clock; and very particular one by the post-for Mrs. then I should go to bed in the room, as Bertram, and that was forgotten till it was my custom was, or sit up with her if the too late, because of three new red volumes little girl seemed restless enough to rewhich lay on the writing-table, and which I took up for a minute, the minute be- ““ Be sure and give her the medicine coming an hour as I read, and putting my again when James comes in,” reminded duties quite out of my head. After that, Mrs. Bertram. “Good night, dear. I I did make a resolution that I would never don't think it is anything serious with the trust myself with a book till everything child; but one feels anxious, with her pawas done that I ought to do, for I was rents so far off.” thoroughly disgusted with myself. And James was late. It was nine o'clock then things went a little better.

One day

when I heard his horse clattering in the

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quire it.

I was I went every

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stableyard ; ten minutes after I went down- "I don't know who sent James for the stairs. On the morning-room table were .

doctor, or who proposed taking Lily up, his parcels; white-covered bottles from the shaking and rousing her to prevent the chemist, odds and ends for Mrs. Bertram, terrible poison settling her down into a and a pile of books from the library. deathly sleep ; but some one did.

'It was not time yet for Lily's medi- almost wild with horror. cine, so I looked at the titles. Yes, there I

few minutes to the window to see if Dr. was the third volume of that delightful Green was in sight. On the toilette-table book which Mrs. Bertram and I had been (to mock me, it seemed) they had placed reading and longing to finish. . I must the right bottle of medicine. The two see if the hero gets out of his troubles. bottles I had seen below were Mrs. BerThe clock said a quarter past nine; at ten tram's drops and the fatal liniment I had I must go to Lily. I sat at the table given to the poor child. turning over the leaves, and I gave a great “When the doctor came he would say start when I saw - The End" at the bottom nothing ; but he continued the rousing of the page, and the clock at the same treatment, and it was most sad to see my i moment chimed half-past ten. I tore off poor, little, heavy, weary child, teased and the

paper cover of the larger bottle, ran shaken, and almost worried into life upstairs, and went straight to Lily. My again.' stupid habit had got the better of me She did get better, then ?' said Dollie, again, but luckily without much harm, anxiously. for Lily was sleeping quietly.

“Yes, my darling. Thank God, she ""Lift her up, Gibbons," I said, " for did !--but not for long. The poison and Mrs. Bertram wished her to take the medi- the after treatment made her very ill : cine regularly."

but I had not her life to answer for.' "So Gibbons roused the sleepy child, • Did they-did they,' asked Marian, and we got her to take her dose. She made hesitating, send you away?' a very wry face, and lay down again.

Oh, hush, Marian!' said Dollie, 6" Put the cork in the bottle, Gibbons," shocked. I said, " and then you may go."

No, dear; they were very kind--every Gibbons took the bottle, and I turned

The doctor and Mrs. Bertram away; but flew back on hearing a terrible both excused me on the score that Mrs. Ty, that I hardly recognised as her voice, Jones' medicine ought never to have been while her face was ashy pale.

placed where I found it; but in my heart "“What have you done ?” she said. I knew the fault lay in my becoming so “Look ! look what you have given the engrossed in that book when I had a duty poor child !"

to perform, and so not leaving myself time I did look at the bottle.

to examine the medicine before giving it labelled « Poison!I had taken Mrs. —a thing I was always told to do, for fear Jones' liniment for her sprain in place of of accidents. the right medicine, and all because of my 'I stayed two years longer with Lily,

and then she was sent to school, as it “Oh, that dreadful red book!

And oh,

was lonely for her at home without playthat dreadful night!

fellows,

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one was.

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fatal hurry.

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And you came here,' said Dollie. But curious little Marian lost the rest. • Thank you, Miss Meredith, for the story. Anyhow, Dollie did take care from that It is a dreadful one, because poor, dear time to keep out of what she called booklittle Lily, might have died, you know, and scrapes, by trying to read only in real then you would have been sorry all your spare time, and also by jumping up at life, and

And here Dollie whispered the first sound of anything like Dollie" something in her governess's ear about even if it was only Marian who spoke. 'never-never reading story-books till

H. A. F.

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Published for the Proprietors by W. WELLS GARDNER 2 Paternoster Buildings, London.

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