OR THE UNEXPECTED MEETING.
I must tell you who were Lettice and Myra. They were the daughters of
a clergyman, who held the little vicarage of Castle Rising. But
misfortune, which sometimes meets the wise and good, reduced the
family to poor circumstances. After the parents' decease, Lettice and
Myra located in London, for the purpose of doing needle work for a
We said in the last story, that Lettice had entered the street a
on her way with the work she had finished for the young lady. It was
a cold morning, the snow blew, and the street was slippery. She could
scarcely stand--her face was cold, and her hands so numbed that she
could scarcely hold the parcel she carried. The snow beat upon her
poor bonnet, but she comforted herself with the idea that she might be
supposed to have a better bonnet at home. She cheerfully trudged
along, and at last entered Grosvenor Square, where the lamps were just
dying away before the splendid houses, while the wind rushed down the
Park colder than ever. A few boys were about the only people yet to be
seen about, and they laughed at her as she held her bonnet down with
one hand, to prevent its giving way before the wind, while she carried
her bundle and kept her shawl from flying up with the other.
At last she entered Green Street, and came to the house of the kind
lady who had furnished her and many others with work; raised the
knocker, and gave one humble knock at the door. She had never been at
the house before, but she had sometimes had to go to other genteel
houses where she had been met with incivility by the domestics.
But "like master, like man," is a stale old proverb, and full of
truth. The servant came to the door. He was a grave old man about
fifty. His countenance was full of kind meaning, and his manners so
gentle, that before hearing her errand, observing how cold she looked,
bade her come in and warm herself at the hall stove.
"I have come," said Lettice, "with the young lady's work--I had not
time to come last night, but I hope I have not put her to any
inconvenience--I started before light this morning.'
"Well, my dear, I hope not," said the servant, "but it was a pity you
could not get it done last night. Mrs. Danvers likes to have people
exact to the moment. However, I dare say it will be all right."
As Reynolds, the servant-man, entered the drawing-room, Lettice heard
a voice, "Is it come at last?" And the young lady, who thus enquired,
was Catherine Melvin, who was then making an early breakfast before a
noble blazing fire.
"Has the woman brought her bill?" asked Mrs. Danvers.
"I will go and ask," said the servant. "Stay, ask her to come up. I
should like to enquire how she is getting along, this cold weather."
Reynolds obeyed, and soon Lettice found herself in a warm,
comfortable breakfast room.
"Good morning," said Mrs. Danvers. "I am sorry you have had such a
cold walk this morning. I am sorry you could not come last night. This
young lady is just leaving, and there is barely time to put up the
things." Catherine (for this was the young lady's name) had her back
turned to the door quietly continuing her breakfast, but when the
gentle voice of Lettice replied:
"Indeed, madam, I beg your pardon, I did my very best"--Catherine
started, looked up and rose hastily from her chair; Lettice, advancing
a few steps, exclaimed--"Catherine."
And Catherine exclaimed: "It is--it is you!" and coming forward and
taking her by the hand, she gazed with astonishment at the wan face
and miserable attire of the work-woman. "You," she kept repeating.
"Lettice! Lettice Arnold! Good Heavens! Where is your father? your
mother? your sister?"
"Gone," said the poor girl, "all gone but poor Myra!"
"And where is she? And you, dear Lettice, how have you come to this?"
Such was the unexpected meeting of these two persons, who were once
children of the same village of Castle Rising. Lettice had been
working for her schoolmate, Catherine Melvin. The result was a happy
one, and it was not long before, by the kindness of Catherine, that
the two orphan girls were situated pleasantly in life. But as you will
wish to know how all this came about, I will give you the
circumstances in another story.