Page:What will he do with it.djvu/187

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177
WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?

CHAPTER XIV.

It is the interval between our first repinings and our final resignation, in which, both with individuals and communities, is to be found all that makes a history worth telling. Ere yet we yearn for what is out of our reach, we are still in the cradle. When wearied out with our yearnings, desire again falls asleep; we are on the deathbed.

Sophy (leaning on her grandfather's arm, as they ascended the stair of the Saracen's Head). "But I am so tired, Grandy—I'd rather go to bed at once, please."

Gentleman Waife. "Surely you could take something to eat first—something nice, Miss Chapman?" (whispering close) "We can live in clover now"—a phrase which means (aloud to the landlady, who crossed the landing-place above) "grilled chicken and mushrooms for supper, ma'am! Why don't you smile, Sophy? Oh, darling, you are ill!"

"No, no, Grandy, dear—only tired—let me go to bed. I shall be better to-morrow—I shall indeed!"

Waife looked fondly into her face, but his spirits were too much exhilarated to allow him to notice the unusual flush upon her cheek, except with admiration of the increased beauty which the heightened color gave to her soft features.

"Well," said he, "you are a pretty child!—a very pretty child—and you act wonderfully. You would make a fortune on the stage; but—"

Sophy (eagerly). "But no, no, never!—not the stage!"

Waife. "I don't wish you to go on the stage, as you know. A private exhibition—like the one to-night, for instance—has (thrusting his hand into his pocket) much to recommend it."

Sophy (with a sigh). "Thank Heaven, that is over now, and you'll not be in want of money for a long, long time! Dear Sir Isaac!"

She began caressing Sir Isaac, who received her attentions with solemn pleasure. They were now in Sophy's room; and Waife, after again pressing the child in vain to take some refreshment, bestowed on her his kiss and blessing, and whistled Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre to Sir Isaac, who, considering that melody an invitation to supper, licked his lips, and stalked forth, rejoicing, but decorous.

Left alone, the child breathed long and hard, pressing her hands to her bosom, and sunk wearily on the foot of the bed. There were no shutters to the window, and the moonlight came in gently, stealing across that part of the wall and floor which