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THE PUPILS HEAR MISS MAY'S STORY—A TALK
THE steady school-room labours went on, and the days were only marked by the usual events of schoolgirl life. On the whole the progress in drawing and music was the most strongly-marked feature in the efforts of the twin sisters. Miss May's talents as a teacher had not been exaggerated, and there certainly was something about her which compelled the attention of her pupils in a very marked manner. Wandering thoughts were seldom visitors to the Grange school-room, for an inattentive face was instantly detected by the governess, and Daisy and Lily soon endorsed Gerty's opinion, that it was very undesirable to "vex” Miss May.
One half-holiday in June the cousins were discussing all the delights they hoped to experience in the holidays which were approaching. First, the boys would be at home. That was a signal for many venturesome pleasures and distant rambles, that girls by themselves could not attempt. Then there was one matter on which the pupils looked dubiously, and
this was, that Miss May was to remain at the Grange throughout the summer.
“It won't seem like holidays if she is here," said Gerty; "although she will not have any lessons for me of course.”
“But doesn't she want to go away to her friends ?” asked Lily, who, in common with many other young people, thought every one had a “home” somewhere.
“Mama said it would be kinder to ask her to stay,” said Gerty, doubtfully, “and she didn't say why. I wonder what the reason is !”
“So do I,” said Daisy ; "it seems so very funny that a governess does not want to go home."
They were all seated on the grass, shaded by a clump of shrubs, and they had not heard any one near; and I daresay you will easily imagine that the young girls started to their feet in much dismay when their governess's voice surprised them.
Miss May had a troubled look on her dark, firm face as she spoke.
“My dear pupils, I did not intend to overhear your conversation ; but having heard Daisy's last speech, I feel you are all puzzled about me.
Shall I tell you something which will remove your surprise at my not going home?"
For an instant the girls remained silent, their faces flushed with shame at what they feared would be felt to be their unkindness; then Gerty said hurriedly
“Please don't say anything, Miss May; we did not mean
“We're so sorry”—began Daisy and Lily, who in their distress had clasped each other's hands.
Miss May's face had a sad expression as she answered
“I know, children—that your feeling about the holidays is natural, and you meant no unkindness; but I will tell you a short story about myself.
“Two years ago, I was living in a wealthy home, for my father was alive, and had a beautiful house in Yorkshire. There were only my sister and myselffor our mother and two brothers had died when we were young children, and it was always thought that we would be very rich. Suddenly my father, who was a merchant, failed--the shock killed him, and when my young sister Kate and I recovered from our first great trouble, we were told that nothing remained for us but to seek a livelihood. Kate is
Kate is very delicate -I am strong; so I chose the life of a governess, and my earnings have been sufficient to pay for a home for my sister in a happy country family; but” -and here her voice sank lower, and the earnest eyes that watched her grew dim with sympathetic tears“if I were to take a holiday just now, the expense of so doing would deprive my dear sister of the necessary luxuries I have been able to give her. This is the reason I do not go home.”
Shyly the three pupils whispered their few words of comfort.
"You'll forgive us, because we did not know !” said Gerty.
“And you'll like being here in the beautiful summer-I hope you will !” said Lily.
“Please let us help to make it a happy summer for you, then we shall know you have forgiven us !” said Daisy.
And a smile—a rare smile-lit up the face of the governess; and for the first time since they had known her, she stooped and kissed each of the young faces that were uplifted in such pure desire to comfort her.
Then the party were disturbed by the large mother of the pups bounding into their midst, followed by her fat, curly family.
“Oh!” exclaimed Gerty, as Brenda sprang up to greet her, “some one has left the gate open! I hope none of mama's flowers are spoiled.” As they all turned to see if mischief had been done, they beheld the stable-boy running wildly in search of the escaped dogs; and the pups waddled in all directions in order to escape the boy. However, Gerty's voice
. soon collected the truants. There were only two out of the six pups left at the Grange now, and one of these was to be taken home in a few days by the twin sisters.
“Are Master Hubert's mice all right, Mike?” asked Gerty of the stable-boy, as he fastened the gate of the yard.
"Oh, yes, Miss! and the young gentlemen will soon be home, won't they, Miss ?” said the boy, with
"In about a fortnight, Mike," answered Gerty; “and when they write they always ask about the rabbits and mice, so take good care of them, won't you?'
“ Indeed I will, Miss," and Mike's face was flushed with honest pleasure at the thought of the speedy return of his young masters; and the girls and their governess turned at the sound of the bell summoning them to school-room tea.
“Do you know, Miss May,” said Gerty, looking up brightly at her governess, who was pouring out tea, “next month is full of birth-days ! ”
“Is it ?” asked Miss May; “how very pleasant for the owners of the birth-days, as it is a holiday month!”
“Yes, that is just the fun of it! My birth-day is on the 12th, but Hubert's is on the 4th. Isn't it a pity Daisy and Lily have only one birth-day between them?"
"Oh, we like having it between us!” cried Daisy.
“Yes, it is much pleasanter to know we share everything—all our pleasures,” said Lily, fervently. And then she added with a shy, loving look at Daisy, “And we share our troubles always, so it wouldn't seem right to have anything nice alone.”
“When is your birth-day ?” inquired Miss May, with a kindly look, first at one twin, and then at the other.
“Not until the 20th of July," answered Lily; "and I hope—don't you, Daisy?—that Miss May and Gerty will come to a pic-nic with us that day.”