Page:Court Royal.djvu/213

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She entered the shop, and looked about for a little wooden box. When she had found one to her mind, she lined it with cotton-wool, and placed in it her necklace of Roman pearls. Then she wrote a letter in what she knew was servant-maid English, which she folded and fastened up in the box with the pearls. This was the letter:

‘For dear Lady Grace,—This is a present from her devoted, loving, faithful servant, Joanna. Joanna knows very well that it is not worthy of her acceptance (it cost only 2l. 18s. 6d. second-hand), but nevertheless she hopes Lady Grace Eveleigh will condescend to accept it, as Joanna has nothing in the world else except what she stands up in, and the pink silk dress which is spoiled. Joanna takes this opportunity of informing your ladyship that I didn’t run away from my place, nor misbehave myself any way, but was summoned home on urgent business. Joanna will never, never, never forget and cease to love dear, sweet Lady Grace, and she begs to inform her ladyship that I value my pot of lily of the valley above every treasure the world contains.’

The girl’s mind was relieved when she had written and fastened up this letter in the box. Then she directed the case, and as she had a few coppers still in her pocket, she was able to post and register it. Whilst she ran to the post-office, she left the shop locked. On her return she found a billsticker at the door, trying to get in.

‘All right,’ he said, ‘I don’t want to pawn nothing. Will y’ take a bill and place it in the winder, please?’

He handed Joanna a bill, and went his way.

Lazarus was accommodating in the matter of bills of this description. Notices of Missionary Meetings, Harvest Festivals, a Circus, Services of Song, Ethiopian Serenaders, Prayer-meetings, dramatic performances, all went into his window promiscuously. He argued that folks might be attracted to read the bills and then see and fancy an article lying adjacent exposed for sale, a watch, a china figure, a church-service, a pair of opera-glasses, Baxter’s ‘Saints’ Rest,’ a Methodist hymnal, some old lace, a bicycle, or the portrait of an ancestor. Accordingly Joanna accepted the bill, and, before placing it in the window, spread it on the counter, and read it.

The bill was a theatrical notice. It announced that the distinguished Polish actress, Mlle. Palma Kaminski, of the Court Theatre, Warsaw, who had created such enthusiasm in London by her abilities, was about to favour Plymouth with