Page:Court Royal.djvu/206

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you become a prey to all kinds of vice and corruption of morals. You’re too grand now to do anything. Why wasn’t you a Jewess born, and then nothing you went through would have taken the love of economy out of you! I suppose you’ve seen such grand things that nothing here seems good. Perhaps you’d like plate glass in the kitchen window, and a silver stew-pan for the potatoes, and an eider-down petticoat, and a dado round the walls of the scullery!’

‘He who has seen the sea doesn’t call every puddle a lake,’ said Joanna. ‘I’d rather live in one of the Duke’s cottages with deal tables and clean plates than among your valuables, allowed only to use what is worthless. No, master,’ added Joanna, looking round, ‘it has done me good to go away. I’ve seen a bit of a new world, and I’m wiser than I was. You can’t get a shirt off a naked man, nor feathers off a toad, so I do not expect of you to let me have everything new and bright, but I will have things sound and clean.’

‘Whither are you going now?’ he asked, as she made a movement towards the stairs.

‘I am going after my flowers,’ she answered; ‘I want to see how they are. I’ve thought of them and longed to see them again, and they are about the only things here I have cared to see once more. I’ll tell you another thing. Get the sack of shavings from under the counter, and empty it in the cupboard under the stairs, where I keep my kindling. I’ll sleep in the shop no more. I’ll have a proper bed and a room to myself. I am eighteen; in another year mother will redeem me; if not, I shall redeem myself, my own way.’ Then she ascended the stairs.

Lazarus struggled out of his chair. Having his hands in his pockets, and sinking deeper through the place where the seat had been, he was nipped, and could not extricate himself with ease. He shook his head, and, when his hands were free, withdrew them from his pockets, and rubbed his frowsy chin. ‘What democratic ideas are afloat!’ he said. ‘What will the world come to?’

Then he seated himself on the flour-barrel. ‘She’ll be too proud to occupy this place of honour,’ said he, ‘where she’s squatted time out of mind. I made a sad mistake plunging her in the whirlpool; now, she’ll never be to me what she was—she’ll be exacting in her food, for one thing. That reminds me, I have not had my dinner. I’ll go and get something at the shop over the way.’