A SCENE IN LONDON.
My young readers may have heard about the poor people in London. The
following story is a specimen of the hardships of many young girls,
in that famous city.
"Two young women occupied one small room of about ten feet by eight.
They were left orphans, and were obliged to take care of themselves.
Many of the articles of furniture left them had been disposed of to
supply the calls of urgent want. In the room
was an old four post
bedstead, with curtains almost worn out, one mattrass with two small
pillows, a bolster that was almost flat, three old blankets and cotton
sheets, of coarse description, three rush-bottom chairs, an old claw
table, a chest of draws, with a few battered band-boxes on the top of
it, a miserable bit of carpet before the fire-place, a wooden box for
coals, a little tin fender, and an old poker. What there was, however,
was kept clean, the floor and yellow paint was clean, and the washing
tub which sat in one corner of the room.
"It was a bitter cold night, the wind blew and shook the window, when
a young girl of about eighteen sat by the tallow candle, which burned
in a tin candlestick, at 12 o'clock at night, finishing a piece of
work with the needle which she was to return next morning. Her name
was Lettice Arnold. She was naturally of a cheerful, hopeful temper,
and though work and disappointment had faded the bright colors of
hope, still hope buoyed up her spirits.
"Her sister Myra was delicate, and lay on the mattrass on that night,
tossing about with suffering, unable to rest. At last Lettice says to
"'Poor Myra, can't you get to sleep?'
"'It is so cold,' was the reply; 'and when will you have done and come
"'One quarter of an hour more, Myra, and I shall have finished my
work, and then I will throw my clothes over your feet, and I hope you
will be a little warmer.'
"Myra sighed, and lifted up her head, and leaning upon her arm watched
the progress of her sister as she plied the needle to her work.
"'How slowly,' said Myra, 'you do get along. It is one o'clock, and
you have not finished yet.'
"'I cannot work fast, Myra, and neatly too; my hands are not so
delicate and nimble as yours,' and smiling a little, she added: 'Such
swelled clumsy things, I cannot get over the ground nimbly and well at
the same time. You, are a fine race horse, and I a drudging pony. But
I shall soon be through.'
"Myra once more uttered a sigh and cried:
"'Oh, my feet are dreadful cold.'
"'Take this bit of flannel,' said Lettice, 'and let me wrap them up.'
"'Nay, you will want it,' she replied.
"'Oh, I have only five minutes to sit up, and I can wrap this piece of
carpet round mine,' said Lettice.
"And she laid down her work and went to the bed and wrapped her
sister's icy feet in the flannel, and then sat down and finished her
task. How glad was Lettice to creep to the mattress and to lay her
aching limbs upon it. A hard bed and scanty covering in a cold night
are keenly felt. She soon fell asleep, while her sister tossed and
murmured on account of the cold.
"Lettice awoke and drew her over little pillow from under her head,
and put it under her sister's and tried every way to make her sister
comfortable, and she partly succeeded; and at last Myra, the delicate
suffering creature, fell asleep, and Lettice slumbered like a child."
How thankful ought we to be for kind parents, a comfortable home, and
a good fire in a cold night. I will tell you in my next story what
Lettice did with her work.