“Thirty cents for cloth jackets! Indeed, Michael, that is too little. You used to give thirty-seven and a half.”

“Can’t afford to do it now, then. Thirty cents is enough. There are plenty of women glad to get them even at that price.”

“But it will take me a full day and a half to make a cloth jacket, Michael.”

“You work slow, that’s the reason; a good sewer can easily make one in a day; and that’s doing pretty well these times.”

“I don’t know what you mean by pretty well, Michael,” answered the seamstress. “How do you think you could manage to support yourself and three children on less than thirty cents a day?”

“Haven’t you put that oldest boy of yours out yet?” asked Michael, instead of replying to the question of Mrs. Gaston.

“No, I have not.”

“Well, you do very wrong, let me tell you, to slave yourself and pinch your other children for him, when he might be earning his living just as well as not. He’s plenty old enough to be put out.”

“You may think so, but I don’t. He is still but a child.”

“A pretty big child, I should say. But, if you would like to get him a good master, I know a man over in Cambridge who would take him off of your hands.”

“Who is he?”

“He keeps a store, and wants just such a boy to do odd trifles about, and run of errands. It would be the very dandy for your little follow. He’ll be in here to-day; and if you say so, I will speak to him about your son.”

“I would rather try and keep him with me this winter. He is too young to go so far away. I could not know whether he were well or ill used.”

“Oh, as to that, ma’am, the man I spoke of is a particular friend of mine, and I know him to be as kind-hearted as a woman. His wife’s amiability and good temper are proverbial. Do let me speak a good word for your son; I’m sure you will never repent it.”

“I’ll think about it, Michael; but don’t believe I shall feel satisfied to let Henry go anywhere out of Boston, even if I should be forced to get him a place away from home this winter.”

“Well, you can do as you please, Mrs. Gaston,” said Michael in a half offended tone. “I shall not charge any thing for my advice; But say! do you intend trying some of these jackets?”

“Can’t you give me some more pantaloons? I can do better on them, I think.”

“We sha’n’t have any more coarse trowsers ready for two or three days. The jackets are your only chance.”

“If I must, suppose I must, then,” replied Mrs. Gaston to this, in a desponding tone. “So let me have a couple of them.”

The salesman took from a shelf two dark, heavy cloth jackets, cut out, and tied up in separate bundles with a strip of the fabric from which they had been taken. As he handed them, to the woman he said—

“Remember, now, these are to be made extra nice.”

“You shall have no cause of complaint—depend upon that, Michael. But isn’t Mr. Berlaps in this morning?”

“No. He’s gone out to Roxbury to see about some houses he is putting up there.”

“You can pay me for them pantys, I suppose?”

“No. I never settle any bills in his absence.”

“But it’s a very small matter, Michael. Only a dollar and five cents,” said Mrs. Gaston, earnestly, her heart sinking in her bosom.

“Can’t help it. It’s just as I tell you.”

“When will Mr. Berlaps be home?”

“Some time this afternoon, I suppose.”

“Not till this afternoon,” murmured the mother, sadly, as she thought of her children, and how meagerly she had been able to provide for them during the past few days. Turning away from the counter, she left the store and hurried homeward. Henry met her at the door as she entered, and, seeing that she brought nothing with her but the small bundles of work, looked disappointed. This touched her feeling a good deal. But she felt much worse when Ella, the sick one, half raised herself from her pillow a said—

“Did you get me that orange, as you promised, mother?”

“No, dear; I couldn’t get any money this morning,” the mother replied, bending over her sick child and kissing her cheek, that was flushed and hot with fever. “But as soon as Mr. Berlaps pays me, you shall have an orange.”

“I wish he would pay you soon then, mother; for I want one so bad. I dreamed last night that I had one, and just as I was going to eat it, I waked up. And, since you have been gone, I’ve been asleep, and dreamed again that I had a large juicy orange. But don’t cry mother. I know you couldn’t get it for me. I’ll be very patient.”

“I know you will, my dear child,” said the mother, putting an arm about the little sufferer, and drawing her to her bosom; “you have been good and patient, and mother is only sorry that she has not been able to get you the orange you want so badly.”

“But I don’t believe I want it so very, very bad, mother, as I seem to. I think about it so much—that’s the reason I want it, I’m sure. I’ll try and not think about it any more.”

“Try, that’s a dear, good girl,” murmured Mrs. Gaston, as she kissed her child again, and then turned away to

Вы читаете Lizzy Glenn
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату