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ther had exhibited. Susan was a great help to her, and there was more sisterly love between them during that time than had ever before shown itself. At the funeral, Mr. Taylor presented himself in as decent a state of Gin as he could muster up
for the occasion; drivelled a little, trembled a great deal, and proclaimed himself a most unfortunate man. Finding that he obtained no sympathy for his miserable position from his children or from the neighbours, he, when the funeral was over, pawned his waistcoat, and dissolving the proceeds, wept tears of Gin over the death of his wife. While he was employed in that process of drowning his grief, the three children were sitting together in Dan's room, talking in hushed tones over their loss and over their prospects. After the funeral, Mrs. Marvel—who had helped to nurse Mrs. Taylor--quietly prepared tea in Dan's room, and with her usual sympathetic instinct of what was best, kept herself out of sight as much as possible. But at the last moment, when tea was ready and she was about to leave the children undisturbed, she placed her arm round Dan's neck, and whispered that Joshua's home was Dan's, and that he might come and occupy Joshua's room whenever he pleased.
• And be another son to us, my dear,' said good Mrs. Marvel ; 'so that we shall have two.' Dan thanked her, and looked at Ellen thoughtfully, and then Mrs. Marvel left the children to their meal.
Said Dan, “Mrs. Marvel has asked me to live in her house, and sleep in Joshua's room.'
It would be a good thing,' observed Susan.
Dan stole his hand into Ellen's, who had been looking down sadly; she felt the warm pressure, and her fingers tightened upon his. That little action was as good as words; they understood each other perfectly.
No,' he said, it would not be a good thing. It was a good thing for Mrs. Marvel to offer, but then she is Jo's mother, and as kind and good as Jo is; but it would not be a good thing for me to accept. For there's Ellen here; she is half of me, Susey, and we mustn't be parted. But indeed there will be no reason for it. I have a wonderful scheme in my head, but it wants thinking over before I tell it.'
Dan spoke bravely, as if he were a strong man, with all the world to choose from.
O Dan,' exclaimed Susan, tears coming to her eyes at his brave confident manner, 'if it
hadn't been for me you wouldn't have been a cripple, and your poor legs might have been of some use to you.'
They will be of more use to me perhaps than
• What, dear Dan ?' asked Susan.
What I should like is that we should all live together. Perhaps not just now, Susey, but by and by. What do you say to that, Susey ?
Susan thought of Basil and Minnie Kindred, and felt that it would be impossible for her to leave them. It would be very good, she said, but we can talk of that by and by, as you say.'
Very well. The first thing, then, we have to consider is bread-and-butter. Bread-and-butter,' he repeated, in reply to their questioning looks. • We must have it, and we must earn it.'
Susan nodded gravely, and said, “Ellen had better learn to be a dressmaker.'
Ellen looked up with joyful gratitude.
0, how good of you, Susey !' she exclaimed. • Then I could earn money. I wouldn't mind how hard I should have to work.'
• It is a capital idea,' said Dan, taking Susan's hand. The best thing you can do, Susey, is to bring some of your work here every day for a couple of hours, and let Ellen help you—she will soon learn.'
That I will,' said Ellen in a voice of quiet gladness.
These young people, you see, were not entirely unhappy.
"I wonder where Joshua is ? remarked Ellen during the evening. Ah, where ?' sighed Dan. But wherever he
" is, he is doing his duty, and we will do ours. How happy we all were that night at Mr. Meddler's ! What a beautiful day that was ! Like a dream ! Hark! There is the church-bell striking nine o'clock.' They listened in silence. That is like a wedding-bell. Now the other church is striking -how solemn it sounds !—like a funeral bell.'
The tears came to their eyes when Dan inadvertently made the last remark.
They did not speak for a long time after that, and then Dan said,
'I feel now just as I felt the day after Jo went away.'
They sat up talking until eleven o'clock. They spoke in low tones, and they sat in the dark.
'Don't you miss mother's step, Dan ? asked Susan.
'How strange it is to know that she is not in the house!' said Dan. Hush !'
There was a step outside the door; it was the drunken step of their father, who stumbled through the passage and up the stairs, shedding tears of Gin as he staggered to bed, bemoaning the death of his wife. They listened with feelings of grief and fear until they heard his bedroomdoor shut, and then turned to each other with deeper sighs. Shame for the living was more grievous to bear than sorrow for the dead.