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might have been expected, the result of Milly's escapade was a violent cold and feverish attack, which kept her in bed for some days.
She was so thoroughly ashamed of her behaviour, that, at Mr. Grant's request, Miss Horne said very little on the subject. Her brother, however, talked to her seriously, and she was not slow to confess her fault, being well aware how wrong she had been to set her governess at defiance, and to act in a manner which a moment's thought would have told her must have been disapproved of by her brother.
'I didn't forget the matter, as you supposed, Milly,' Mr. Grant said to her; 'but as I was giving orders to Robert about the brougham after our ride, he asked me if I had heard that scarlatina had broken out in the village, and then he went on to say that Mrs. Dickson's daughter was ill with it. On hearing this, I thought it better to leave the half-crown till this morning, as I didn't like to send any one from the house with it. I forgot what a little busybody I left behind me.'
Milly coloured. “I thought you would be so sorry to have forgotten your promise.'
*Ah ! my child, another time don't trouble your head about other people's promises, be satisfied with keeping
In the afternoon Herbert told her that he had seen Mr. Smith, who pronounced the girl to be a great deal better. "He was much surprised to hear this morning that it was you who came to his house last night, and said Mrs. Smith was afraid she had been
rude.' ‘Horrid woman !' said Milly, indignantly; "and he must be a horrid man too, to refuse to go out at night, only because it was to see a poor person.'
"You are judging too hastily, Milly; I don't think he is that sort of man at all. It seems he had gone to bed with a dreadful headache, and his wife did not choose to wake him. He was very much vexed to hear of what had passed.'
‘But I heard Mrs. Smith talking to him inside the room, said Milly, incredulously.
'No; you heard her speaking to some one; but it was to the servant, not to Mr. Smith.'
'She ought to have given him Mrs. Dickson's message, and let him decide for himself. Now, oughtn't she, Herbert?'
“Yes, of course; I am not defending her, but poor Mr. Smith, who really doesn't deserve blame. I daresay his wife will be wiser in future, thanks to your nocturnal visit, Milly!'
For some days Millicent was really very unwell; but, much to Miss Horne's relief, she showed no signs of having caught the scarlatina. The wetting she had had, however, produced a slight attack of rheumatism, which kept her confined to the house even after she was well enough to leave her bed-room.
Joe's visit to Milly.
Time hung very heavily on her hands, for she learnt very few lessons, and had no new story-books to read, or companions to play with. It was, therefore, quite an event to be told one day that little Joe Dickson was down stairs, and would like to see her.
Miss Horne, having first ascertained that he had not been to his mother's cottage, sent for him into the schoolroom, where Milly, seated in state in an arm-chair, was ready to receive her visitor. Joe was very shy, and stood close to the door shuffling his feet, and twirling his brimless hat round and round.
Well, Joe,' said Milly, 'I hope your sister is getting better.'
“Yes, Miss; please Miss, I've come to thank you for giving mother the ’arf-crown.'
Why, how did you hear anything about it?'
'I heerd tell as how you went down to mother's late at night and gave it her, and then went on for the doctor all alone in the dark,' and Joe's looks expressed the admiration and gratitude he was too shy to put into words.
Oh, nonsense,' said Milly, colouring up ; ‘I was afraid my brother had forgotten—that was all. But tell me, Joe, how did you get on with Ned when you went back to the farm?'
“Ned was that 'shamed of hisself, Miss, that he didn't say much. When I axed him for the 'arf-crown, he chucked it at me with a grunt; and, please Miss,' went on Joe nervously, taking something out of his pocket in a great hurry, 'here it is,' and, coming forward a few steps, he held out the half-crown between his finger and thumb, adding, * Please, Miss, will you take it? and thank you very much.'
• Oh, no,' said Milly; "it was my own half-crown I gave
away, and I don't want it back;' but on noticing little Joe's look of distress, Miss Horne whispered to her that it would be better to take it, or his feelings might be hurt. Upon this Milly went towards him, and, with a sigh of relief, Joe dropped the money into her hand.
‘Now go down, and have something to eat in the housekeeper's room,' said Miss Horne; but Joe still lingered, and seemed to have something more to say, which he was too shy to bring out. At last he made an effort, and plunging his hand into his pocket, produced a little white rabbit, with pink eyes and ears, which, with a great deal of stammering, he presented to Milly, who immediately went into perfect ecstasies over it.
'Is this for me? Oh, thank you, Joe; what a little darling! How kind of you! Don't you really want it?'
But Joe only shook his head, with a broad grin at her delight, then taking up his hat, shuffled out of the room as fast as he could. This visit, and the present she had received, gave Milly something to think about for the remainder of the day. If fine, she was to go out for the first time on the morrow; and she made Miss Horne promise that she might introduce the little stranger rabbit herself to his new companions, and amused herself by making up a grand speech to deliver on the occasion. The morrow, however, proved a pouring wet day, and Milly's little plans consequence
frustrated. In trying to think of some other amusement for her, Herbert suddenly remembered the old oak chest, which contained Lady Albertine's dresses, and a quantity of old rubbish besides.
‘Oh, shouldn't I like to have a good rummage in it!' said Milly, her eyes sparkling with delight, when he re
called the subject to her memory. May I, Herbert, after dinner?'
“Yes, to your heart's content; I will go and unlock it for you.'
What wonderful treasures did Milly not find in that old chest! The afternoon passed all too quickly for her, there were so many curiosities to look at besides Lady Albertine's old articles of dress.
Milly found it difficult to go to sleep that night ; her imagination was hard at work weaving stories about all those who had lived at Fairfield in bygone days.
“What funny tales this old house could tell!' she thought; ‘how I wish there was a talking chair or table! I should like to know more about poor Lady Albertine. What sweet little shoes those are of hers! they are not much too large for me; but then, I suppose, my feet are very big. I wish they had called me Albertine ; it's a much prettier name than Millicent. I wish I could go to sleep; oh dear! I never shall, bed is so hot. I wonder if there really are such things as ghosts! I don't believe there are; but I should like to know. What fun it would be to see Lady Albertine glide into the oak chamber and dress herself in all her old things! Mary declares she does so every night, and she says she should die of fright if she saw her. I think it would be great fun. I wonder,' starting up, 'if she's there now! I think I must just peep in and look. It's so warm, it can't hurt me; and while I'm away, the bed will get cool again.' And, acting on the impulse of the moment, as was her usual habit, up jumped Milly, threw her little blue dressing-gown over her shoulders, thrust her feet into her slippers, and the next moment was pattering down the corridor on her way