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sciousness of how unmerited was this eulogium, for so he evidently meant it to be; and, as a reward for my supposed tenderness, he offered to accompany me to Richmond, as if it were a sacrifice on his part, having, as he declared, a thousand things to do.
On arriving at a little damp-looking cottage, overgrown with ivy, situated in a rural lane at Richmond, we found the nurse absent; and the poor child I came to see, consigned to an untidy slip-shod girl of fifteen, who was endeavouring to pacify it, by jingling a bunch of keys, and singing, or rather screaming a tune. The nurse, she said, had gone out with a friend, only five minutes before.
“ No! she be gone out ever so long ago," exclainned a dirty child, of about six years old, who was torturing an unfortunate kitten ;
mammy went ever so long ago, with that cross man who eats half our dinner.”
“ Hold your tongue, Bessy,” ejaculated the elder, “and don't speak till you 're spoken to;" an advice that appeared by no means to gratify her to whom it was addressed.
Never had I beheld any thing offering such a disgusting picture of uncleanliness and discomfort as this abode; and its inhabitants were in perfect keeping with it.
The poor dear little boy was attired in a low-priced cotton dress, positively dirty; with a soiled and tattered lace cap, the remnant of former elegance, on his head; the face, pale and rigid, indicating that incipient disease had already assailed him: and his cries, or rather moans, were most painful to hear.
Lord Annandale was shocked.
“ This is very dreadful !” said he ; “ would you believe it, Augusta, I thought, until we came here, that this poor little fellow was in a most comfortable residence, which this was described to me to be; and for which, my steward told me, a large rent was paid. And see how the poor little wretched boy is clad positively like a beggar's child ; notwithstanding this abominable nurse sends such bills for his wardrobe !"
I ordered some water to be made warm,
and inquired for clean clothes, to dress the
They be mostly all at the wash,” replied the elder girl, opening a drawer, from which she drew forth two nearly worn-out frocks and
“ No, they be’nt at the wash," said the incorrigible younger girl ; “ mamy took 'em all with her to Lon'on to sell; the cross man made her.”
“It's no such a thing !” exclaimed the elder, looking much embarrassed; “ they're all at the wash.”
I took the poor and much neglected child, and, having performed the necessary and longdisused ablutions, dressed it as well as I could, this being my first attempt at any operation of the kind. Then, having sent one of the footmen for some Naples biscuits and milk, I succeeded in making a little panada, which the poor little fellow eagerly devoured. Wrapt in my shawl, and sleeping nearly all the time on my bosom, I brought the dear infant to London ; and, when he opened his eyes, I was repaid, amply repaid, by a smile, and the quiescence with which I was permitted to kiss its pale mouth.
Lord Annandale, although shocked at the scene we had witnessed, appeared to forget his own share in the culpable neglect of his child, in the anger he betrayed against its wicked nurse. He fancied, that, in allowing an unlimited sum for the support of his offspring, he was doing all that was required; never recollecting, that his profuseness encouraged the cupidity of the designing impostor to whom he confided it; and who, charging for luxuries the child never had, denied it the common comforts necessary for its preservation.
“ You are very good to that poor little animal,” said Lord Annandale, (how the word grated on my ears!) “ but pray don't kiss it until it is purified from the disgusting atmosphere it has so lately left.”
“ I feel no disgust towards the dear infant,” answered I, coldly.
" Ay, that may be, but I do; and I don't wish to fancy your red lips and fair cheeks associated in any way with the impurities from which we snatched him."
I cannot tell you, Mary, how the gross selfishness of this speech shocked me.
I have had the nursery rendered as comfort