Page:Court Royal.djvu/124

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‘Why so?’

‘I will give you my reasons presently.’

Joanna looked again at the advertisement with a puzzled face.

‘I am a maid-of-all-work. I am not an experienced housemaid, fit to go into a gentleman’s family.’

‘That does not matter. There is no mistress—no lady in the house to see if you do your work well or badly. Gentlemen do not care how they pig.’

‘Steady,’ said Joanna, thoughtfully; ‘I am steady as the Eddystone, but I am not more than seventeen, and the advertiser requires a servant to be over twenty.’

‘That does not matter. Gentlemen are no judges of the ages of ladies. Besides, you look old for your years.’

‘A churchwoman,’ mused Joanna; ‘I am nothing; I have not been to any place of worship except the board-school, and there we worshipped the inspector. How can I say I am a churchwoman when I’ve been neither to church nor chapel?’

‘That does not matter,’ answered the Jew. ‘It is all a matter of sitting and standing. When church does one thing chapel does contrary. Go to church for a Sunday or two, and you’ll get enough scrape of ideas to pass muster.’

‘Then, how about references? I do not suppose a character from you will count heavy.’

‘I do not suppose it will,’ answered the Jew. ‘I’ll get Mrs. Delany to give you one, the wife of Colonel Delany—a tip-top respectable party that.’

‘She has never seen me.’

‘That don’t matter. I have lent her money.’

Presently Lazarus said, ‘Go to the table, Joanna, and we will rough out a character for Mrs. Delany to put in form and write in her best hand.’

Joanna took a pen, dipped it in the ink, and drew a sheet of old dirty letter-paper before her. ‘Go ahead,’ she said, somewhat sulkily.

‘“Mrs. Delany presents her compliments to Mr. C. Worthivale, and begs to recommend a strong, healthy young woman, who has been in her service three years, with whom she would not have parted on any consideration had not the girl been called to nurse a dying mother.”’

‘No,’ said Joanna, putting down her pen, ‘I will not write that.’

‘It is as true as the rest.’