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to you; but mamma would not allow it, and she even cautioned Harry not to tell you too much ; she said “it would be quite soon enough for the sorrow to come upon you, when it could be kept away no longer. But the fact is we have no regular servant now; Sally Timmins comes in every morning to do the hard work, and the very dirty work; but everything else we do ourselves."
I was not prepared for this, and I felt inclined to follow my mother's example, and relieve myself by a hearty good cry; but I thought better of it, and asked if such a measure were really necessary.
“Quite necessary—at least I suppose so; but I do not think we should have thought of it, if Susan had not proposed it in the first instancé. She said, it would be wisest to begin to retrench immediately, and that we had better pay cook and Jane their wages, and let them go. And really, it has not been so bad as I anticipated; the cooking is the worst part, especially now, when we have to practise economy in trifles even."
“ But when did this begin ? How did it all happen ?”
“How it happened I cannot tell," said Rose, " for I do not understand business matters, neither does mamma; but, from what papa says, we gather that he has been unfortunate in speculations, that he has made bad debts; and one thing we all know the bank at Radenham has stopped payment, and papa had money in it, and shares as well. It has been going on some time-all the spring, indeed; and poor papa has been very low-spirited, and sometimes rather cross—and no wonder, with so much on his mind, and keeping it all to himself. wrote home, in April, about having a new silk dress, and mamma asked him for the money, he seemed at first quite put about, and inclined to refuse; but all of a sudden he changed his tone, mamma some notes, and told her to get us all new dresses, for we might as well have them while we could; and they would keep us decent till we could manage to buy our clothes with our own money. I thought what he said was very strange; and mamma was quite puzzled : Susan was the only one who had an idea of his meaning; but she did not dare to say anything about it to any one but myself; and I am sorry to say I only laughed at her, and told her she was always finding out some wonderful thing or other. She was not angry, but she said nothing more. Well, about a month ago, the bank failed, and papa came home looking so ill and miserable that evening we knew the truth. It was the first regularly hot day of the season, and we were drinking tea in the large parlour, with the windows thrown wide open; I remember exactly how everything looked and was. The hawthorn on the lawn was in full bloom, and it filled the room with its scent, and the children had been to Coxe's Farm and brought home huge bunches of lilacs and laburnum, and horse-chesnut spikes. I was pouring out the tea, and mamma was reading the paper, and Susan was giving the little ones some marmalade
to keep them quiet, because she thought papa had
most dreadful headache, when all of a sudden mamma said, quite quietly, Mr. Kendrick, I hope you will not lose much by this unfortunate affair of the Radenham Bank; though I suppose we shall all suffer from it more or less. I have been looking into my desk, my dear, and I find I have one of their notes; you had better give me another—a Bank of England note, if you have one by you.'
• Then my father said, in such a tone, Milly, I hardly knew his voice; it made mamma look up
a minute ; he said, 'I do lose a great deal by this mischance; and perhaps now I had better tell you what you must know in a few days at the furthest. The failure of the Radenham Bank is only me among many misfortunes. I am insolvent myself. ** I felt that I was turning pale and cold, and
Susan looked as if she nanıma looked quite scared. were quite prepared for the bad news.
Then mamma all My dear Mr. Kendrick, what a thing to say!
nully make me feel quite ill.' ...l cannot help it, my dear Mary,' replied papa;
& them is no use in keeping silence any longer; Z ,
1 nerer thought to see my wife and children
; I is AV and I have had mine; it's no use
* Ser that you were insolvent ? asked
mudah! Milly, with such a pale, nk het want to my very heart. I know it
did to papa's, for his eyes filled with tears, though he tried to hide them. Mamma, you know, was thinking of the Wrightons—how their father failed, and how they had to live in a miserable cottage, and take in plain sewing, and how poor Tom, in his desperation, went away to sea, and was never heard of any more. And then papa came round to mamma and kissed her, and said, "Don't be quite broken-hearted, Mary; many
a better man has failed before me; and if my wife, that took me for better and for worse, and for richer and for poorer, will keep up her courage, and help me to bear my trouble like a man, and if my children will try to be cheerful and do their best, it will not be so very bad after all.'
“But, Milly, you know mamma never could see things on the brightest side, and she only cried and lamented, and said she supposed everything must be sold, and we should not have a roof to cover
And that seemed to make papa very miserable, and I began to cry; I could not help it, seeing mamma set me on. But Susan looked quite brave and hopeful, and she said the first thing to be done was to bring down our minds to our circumstances, and the servants had better go, and we could all find out what sort of work we could do most easily, for of course we must all get our own living; and papa called her his good, brave little girl, and said she was like the pole-star on a cloudy night; and I felt ashamed of myself for crying, and made up my mind to bear everything courageously and patiently."
to keep them quiet, because she thought papa had a most dreadful headache, when all of a sudden mamma said, quite quietly, “Mr. Kendrick, I hope you will not lose much by this unfortunate affair of the Radenham Bank; though I suppose we shall all suffer from it more or less. I have been looking into my desk, my dear, and I find I have one of their notes; you had better give me another—a Bank of England note, if you have one by you.'
“ Then my father said, in such a tone, Milly, I hardly knew his voice; it made mamma look up in a minute; he said, 'I do lose a great deal by this mischance; and perhaps now I had better tell you what you must know in a few days at the furthest. The failure of the Radenham Bank is only one among many misfortunes. I am insolvent myself.'
“I felt that I was turning pale and cold, and mamma looked quite scared. Susan looked as if she were quite prepared for the bad news. Then mamma said, “My dear Mr. Kendrick, what a thing to say! you really make me feel quite ill.'
««•I cannot help it, my dear Mary,' replied papa; "but there is no use in keeping silence any longer; if I do not tell you the state of things, other people will. I never thought to see my wife and children come down in the world; but I suppose every dog has his day, and I have had mine; it's no fretting.'
“ Did you say that you were insolvent ? asked mamma; and oh! Milly, with such a pale, blank face, that it went to my very heart. I know it