Early in the morning, before it was light, and while the twilight

gleamed through the curtainless windows, Lettice was up dressing

herself by the aid of the light which gleamed from the street lamp

into the window. She combed her hair with modest neatness, then opened

the draw with much precaution, lest she should disturb poor Myra, who

still slumbered on the hard mattrass--drew out a shawl and began to

fold it as if t
put it on.

"Alas!" said Lettice, "this will not do--it is thread-bare, time-worn,

and has given way in two places." She turned it, and unfolded it, but

it would not do. It was so shabby that she was actually ashamed to be

seen with it in the street. She put it aside and took the liberty of

borrowing Myra's, who was now asleep. She knew Myra would be awful

cold when she got up, and would need it. But she must go with the work

that morning. She thought first of preparing the fire, so that Myra,

when she arose, would only have to light the match; but as she went to

the box for coal, she saw, with terror, how low the little store of

fuel was, and she said to herself, "we must have a bushel of coal

to-day--better to do without meat than fire such weather as this." But

she was cheered with the reflection that she should receive a little

more for her work that day than what she had from other places. It had

been ordered by a benevolent lady who had been to some trouble in

getting the poor woman supplied with needle work so that they should

receive the full price. She had worked for private customers before,

and always received more pay from them than from the shops in London,

where they would beat down the poor to the last penny.

Poor Lettice went to the old band-box and took out a shabby old

bonnet--she looked at it, and sighed, when she thought of the

appearance she must make; for she was going to Mrs. Danvers, and her

work was some very nice linen for a young lady about to be married.

Just at this moment she thought of the contrast between all the fine

things that young lady was to have, and her own destitution. But her

disposition was such as not to cause her to think hard of others who

had plenty while she was poor. She was contented to receive her pay

from the wealthy, for her daily needle work. She felt that what they

had was not taken from her, and if she could gain in her little way by

receiving her just earnings from the general prosperity of others, she

would not complain. And as the thought of the increased pay came into

her mind, which she was to receive that day, she brightened up, shook

the bonnet, pulled out the ribbons, and made it look as tidy as

possible, thinking to herself that after buying some fuel she might

possibly buy a bit of ribbon and make it look a little more spruce,

when she got her money.

Lettice now put on her bonnet, and Myra's shawl, and looking into the

little three-penny glass which hung on the wall, she thought she might

look quite tidy after all. The young lady for whom she made the linen

lived about twenty miles from town, but she had come in about this

time, and was to set off home at nine o'clock that very morning. The

linen was to have been sent in the night before, but Lettice had found

it impossible to finish it. This was why she was obliged to start so

early in the morning. She now goes to the bed to tell Myra about the

fire, and that she had borrowed her shawl, but Myra was sound asleep,

so she did not disturb her, but stepped lightly over the floor and

down stairs, for it was getting late, and she must be gone. Read the

next story, and you will be deeply interested in the result.