The Green Silk Purse
Poor Joe’s panic lasted for two or three days; during which he did not visit the house, nor during that period did Miss Rebecca ever mention his name. She was all respectful gratitude to Mrs. Sedley; delighted beyond measure at the Bazaars; and in a whirl of wonder at the theatre, whither the good-natured lady took her. One day, Amelia had a headache, and could not go upon some party of pleasure to which the two young people were invited: nothing could induce her friend to go without her. “What! you who have shown the poor orphan what happiness and love are for the first time in her life–quit YOU? Never!” and the green eyes looked up to Heaven and filled with tears; and Mrs. Sedley could not but own that her daughter’s friend had a charming kind heart of her own.
As for Mr. Sedley’s jokes, Rebecca laughed at them with a cordiality and perseverance which not a little pleased and softened that good-natured gentleman. Nor was it with the chiefs of the family alone that Miss Sharp found favour. She interested Mrs. Blenkinsop by evincing the deepest sympathy in the raspberry-jam preserving, which operation was then going on in the Housekeeper’s room; she persisted in calling Sambo “Sir,” and “Mr. Sambo,” to the delight of that attendant; and she apologised to the lady’s maid for giving her trouble in venturing to ring the bell, with such sweetness and humility, that the Servants’ Hall was almost as charmed with her as the Drawing Room.
Once, in looking over some drawings which Amelia had sent from school, Rebecca suddenly came upon one which caused her to burst into tears and leave the room. It was on the day when Joe Sedley made his second appearance.
Amelia hastened after her friend to know the cause of this display of feeling, and the good-natured girl came back without her companion, rather affected too. “You know, her father was our drawing-master, Mamma, at Chiswick, and used to do all the best parts of our drawings.”
“My love! I’m sure I always heard Miss Pinkerton say that he did not touch them–he only mounted them.” “It was called mounting, Mamma. Rebecca remembers the drawing, and her father working at it, and the thought of it came upon her rather suddenly–and so, you know, she–“
“The poor child is all heart,” said Mrs. Sedley.
“I wish she could stay with us another week,” said Amelia.
“She’s devilish like Miss Cutler that I used to meet at Dumdum, only fairer. She’s married now to Lance, the Artillery Surgeon. Do you know, Ma’am, that once Quintin, of the 14th, bet me–“
“0 Joseph, we know that story,” said Amelia, laughing. Never mind about telling that; but persuade Mamma to write to Sir Something Crawley for leave of absence for poor dear Rebecca: here she comes, her eyes red with weeping.”
“I’m better, now,” said the girl, with the sweetest smile possible, taking good-natured Mrs. Sedley’s extended hand and kissing it respectfully. “How kind you all are to me! All,” she added, with a laugh, “except you, Mr. Joseph.”
“Me!” said Joseph, meditating an instant departure “Gracious Heavens! Good Gad! Miss Sharp!’
“Yes; how could you be so cruel as to make me eat that horrid pepper-dish at dinner, the first day I ever saw you? You are not so good to me as dear Amelia.”
“He doesn’t know you so well,” cried Amelia.
“I defy anybody not to be good to you, my dear,” said her mother.
“The curry was capital; indeed it was,” said Joe, quite gravely. “Perhaps there was NOT enough citron juice in it–no, there was NOT.”
“And the chilis?”
“By Jove, how they made you cry out!” said Joe, caught by the ridicule of the circumstance, and exploding in a fit of laughter which ended quite suddenly, as usual.