Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/79

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Jews' wedding in the synagogue near by, and she asked leave to be allowed to witness it. Her mistress refused, but Mary was resolved not to be debarred the spectacle, so she persuaded a servant in a neighbouring house to write a letter to Mrs. Matthews, as if from a friend of hers, to say that she was hourly expecting her confinement and was short of domestics: would Mrs. Matthews lend her the aid of Mary Baker for a while? Mrs. Matthews could not refuse the favour and sent Mary out of the house, and Mary went to the synagogue and saw what was to be seen there.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Matthews had sent to inquire how her dear friend was getting through with her troubles, and expressed a hope that Mary had been of assistance in the house. To her unbounded surprise, she learned that the good lady was not in particular trouble just then, and that she really did not comprehend what Mrs. Matthews meant about Mary's assistance. When Mary returned to the house, having seen the breaking of the goblet and heard some psalm singing, she found that a storm was lowering. Her mistress had sent for the dissenting minister to give it hot and strong to the naughty girl. To escape this harangue Mary ran away, wandered about the streets, and seeing a Magdalen Reformatory, applied at the door for admission. "What! so young and so depraved!" was the exclamation with which she was received. She was admitted and remained in the institution some time, and was confirmed by the Bishop of London. Then it was discovered that she had all along not been qualified for admission, and was expelled.

She then exchanged her female garments for a boy's suit at a Jew's pawnshop, and started to walk back to Devonshire, begging her way. On Salisbury Plain she fell in with highwaymen, who offered to take her into