‘Out of the depths. Picked out of the mud—true as my word unvarnished,’ explained Joanna.
‘So is it with the water-lily,’ said Lady Grace, ‘one of the purest and most glorious of flowers. Its roots are in the basest slime, its flowers in the sunshine without soil. I am sure, Joanna, you will grow up as the water-lily.’
The girl shook her head. ‘You don’t understand. I am not a flower, but a grub.’
‘And the grub becomes a butterfly, that soars far above the garbage on which it crawled and fed.’
‘I can never be a butterfly.’
‘You can rise.’
‘I am rising,’ said Joanna, firmly; ‘I intend to rise. But you think your way and I think mine. You rise your way, which I cannot understand or copy, and I rise mine as I may, in whatever direction chance gives me an opening.’
Lady Grace looked into the girl’s face and tried to decipher its language. She saw that the mind was full of intelligence, precociously developed. She saw that ideas were working which Joanna was powerless to express. The girl misunderstood the intent look of the lady, and said, ‘I have made you angry. Everyone here is taught to agree with you. I say what I think. Whether it jumps or jars with the opinions of others matters little to me.’
‘I like you to speak out of your heart freshly what you think.’
‘Then,’ said Joanna, eagerly, ‘I think there is not a flower in all this place so sweet and so beautiful as you, lady.’
‘You must not say that.’ Lady Grace coloured.
‘Why not? It is true.’
‘No, it is not true.’
‘I think it.’
‘Never mind. Do not speak such things. I do not like them, and they will make me distrust you.’
Both were silent for a few minutes, and then Joanna said, ‘How very, very happy you must be here, my lady.’
‘Yes,’ answered the lady, in her soft, sweet voice, in which was a tone of sadness, ‘I am happy.’
Joanna noticed the omission.
‘Why do you not say very happy?’
‘I am indeed happy and thankful.’
Joanna now looked at her as intently as Lady Grace had previously observed her. The expression on Joanna’s face was