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thin faces get a little colour, as they trotted happily off with their few and scanty treasures cuddled up in their old ragged pinafores. We lay for a long time on the counter with our lid off, to tempt the young folks who came to the shop, so I had some opportunity to see all the different customers.' I
suppose my own busy, careful life, with all my tribe of young ones, has made me understand all these things better, for I remember so much of this time, while I have forgotten a great deal else. How often I have seen the richer class of children come in with their governesses or servants, and just glancing over the toys carelessly, they have selected what they wanted, and have gone off, with no more than a passing pleasure with their possessions. And very likely in a fortnight the same party have returned again, and carried off something else, feeling more careless than before at the sight of the playthings they had almost exhausted.
Different to them, as station and dress could make them, were Rose's little friends. The golden hair, or dark braids of the little ladies, and their flower-like faces, set off with their trim hats, and tasteful, cool, well-made dresses, did not contrast more strongly with the sallow faces, ragged, short locks, tangled with wind and weather, and the patched or ragged garments of the poorer children, than did their manners and wants. These latter little ones were the small evening audience who flattened their noses against the bright, gas-lighted window of the gay toy-shop, and who knew all its contents by heart, as well as its owner. But they never hoped, poor little souls ! except in dreams, for all these beautiful toys. Dirty little Polly, who stood pointing with her smutty finger, and elbowing her sister to look at the grand doll dressed in muslin and ribbon, only gazed at it in a sort of ecstatic rapture, and had no more idea, indeed far less, of having it for her very own, than little Lady Edith had of owning the Crystal Palace. Pence, scanty, hard-earned pence, were too much wanted for bread and food, to be easily got to lay out even in two half-penny dolls in a year! But when a happy piece of good fortune did come about, and these poor little creatures really had a whole penny they could call their own, oh, how difficult it was to spend it! How much they
wanted for it! and what a business it was to decide what it should be laid out in! And the one-jointed doll or penny cart was like a pot of gold to its happy little owner for months afterwards!
Rose had other friends as well, however, as these poor little ragged customers, for her pleasant face and gentle voice made her popular with all, and she had a tasteful way of arranging the one window of the toy-shop that made it quite attractive to older eyes than the children. One day in late autumn, a lady, with a nurse and a little girl, paused before it for a moment, and after a brief inspection they came into the shop.
“I think a box of tea-things will be almost the best thing for her, Lee,” said the lady to her nurse.
“I sould ike a bots of tea-sings wey mush!” said the little thing, as the servant sat down, and placed her on her lap.
“So you shall have some, my pet, and then you will be able to make tea for all the dollies,” replied the nurse.
“ Have you any boxes of wooden tea-things?” asked the lady.
Rose placed before them a tolerably large assortment; some made of china, very brightly ornamented with pink and blue flowers; some made of glass, white with tiny gold sprays and stars, but these were voted dangerous for baby, because they would break easily, and might cut her little fat hands. Then the wooden sets were examined, but they were painted freely, and mamma and nurse thought they might go to the rosy mouth more closely and often than would be quite wholesome, and baby would not look at the plain, white Swiss carved tea-sets, pretty as they were.
“Fower ike those, wey pitty,” cried she, eagerly, as Rose brought out our box of large polished leaden tea-things.
“ Then she shall have them!” decided Mamma at once, “and a very good choice too, Lee, don't you think so ? They will be quite safe, and neither break nor spoil so easily as the rest. How much are they? I will take these please!”
And so Rose packed us carefully up in paper and gave us to the nurse, who, taking up the little girl, carefully tied on her warm fur cape and carried her after the lady. They walked for a short distance, and then stopped at the door of a house in a handsome square. The lady's beautiful dress and elegant air had somewhat prepared me for our new home, which was one of luxury. The lady, after tenderly kissing the little one, stopped at the door of her dressing room, while the nurse and my new owner mounted another flight, and reached the spacious and airy day nursery. The little rosy girl was rolled out of all her velvet wraps, and a very pretty snowy embroidered pinafore was put on her, after her glossy bright flaxen curls had been carefully arranged by the nurse. The little thing had borne all this very impatiently, and had fretted and fidgeted to get away to her new toys; but her nurse would not let her go till:she was “made tidy,” as she called it.