Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/300

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
266
MARIA J. B. BROWNE.

burned like a fever, and her arms trembled with fatigue, as she tossed the baby hither and thither to quiet him, and alternately soothed and scolded poor little terrified James. Mr. Skates indicated, as soon as he could collect his recreant faculties, that they would like to engage board “for a spell, and see if they liked;” and the landlord, whose keen eye was so familiarly educated to the mensuration of pretensions, and who could detect at a glance the spurious from the genuine coin, after some demurring and some adroitly directed regrets that his house was so crowded he should not be able to accommodate the gentleman for a few days as well as he could desire, to all of which Mr. Skates obligingly replied “it was just as wal,” he ordered a servant to conduct Mr. and Mrs. Skates to No. 150!

Oh what a journey it was, superadded to the day’s weariness, to reach No. 150, and through what a labyrinth of endless halls, walled up on both sides by rows of green window-blind-looking doors! and up, up, up what flights and flights of stairs, and round what numbers of corners! Katy felt as if she should drop down, and Mr. Skates, whose good temper outlasted everything, jocosely remarked to his baggage-laden conductor, “Wal, sir, if it’s much further, we’ll stop in somewhere and rest. I hope when you get us up here you’ll be sure to come and show us the way out again!”

Poor Katy was sick enough by the time she reached her room; and as she entered it, her thoughts would revert to her own bed chamber at the cottage home—vastly larger than this little hot “six by eight” enclosure—so pleasantly and commodiously furnished, and commanding a view of such a green and flowing landscape from its windows; here she could see from the one window, she knew not what it was, some great dark object, which gradually developed into the brick wall of a neighbouring building, and that bounded the prospect. But she was too ill to care much that night,—her head ached violently, and spun round with dizziness, and all she could do was just to go to bed, sweltering and fainting, and leave the charge of unrobing and quieting the children to her husband. Mr. Skates thought the undertaking too hopeless to get down stairs