" said Effie. "Oh, I feel so ashamed!" she added.

"Why should you? You give us an equivalent. Besides, it makes matters more tolerable. I cannot forget——"

"Oh, don't, Walter—don't allude to that awful time!"—cried Mrs. Harvey.

The Squire shut up his lips. He took a little bundle of gold out of one of his pockets and put ten sovereigns into Effie's hand.

"It is a bargain," he said. "I cannot tell you how relieved we are. You'll be with us the morning after next Jingling the change in his hand he shook his head? Elfreda, my love, we must tell our little Freda what a pleasure is in store for her."

"Yes, I am more than delighted," exclaimed Mrs. Harvey. "This plan suits me in every way. You won't fail us, Miss Staunton? for, in case Freda by any chance has taken that awful whooping-cough, you can keep her in isolation from the very first."

"Oh, yes!" said Effie, smiling; "but I dare say she is all right."

She shook hands with her new employers and left the house.

The gold was in her pocket. She felt that she had sold herself and her mission in life for ten sovereigns. "It is the present need which makes the thing so desperate," she said under her breath. "If George has drawn all the money, they have absolutely nothing to live on; but more will come in, and there's this to go on with. We'll manage somehow now."

She returned to the lodgings, but before she went upstairs she had an interview with the landlady.

"What do you charge my mother for rent?" she asked.156

"Well, Miss Staunton," exclaimed the woman, "with the dinners and one thing and another, I am obliged to make it a pound a week."

"That is a great deal too much," said Effie. "I don't suppose it is too much for your rooms, but it is more than we can afford just now. When we first came to you, you agreed to let us the rooms without attendance for fifteen shillings a week. We cannot by any possible management afford to pay more."

"But Mrs. Staunton wished for attendance, miss—she said it made all the difference; there was half a crown for attendance and half a crown extra for kitchen fire."

"But the kitchen fire was included in the fifteen shillings a week."

"Then there wasn't late dinner."

"Surely there is no late dinner now?" exclaimed Effie.

"Oh, yes, miss; every evening Mr. Staunton requires a nice little bit of dinner sent up when he comes home. You see, miss, it is quite impossible for me to have extra fires without charging for them."

"Certainly. Well, I don't think there will be any extra dinner in future. And now please tell me exactly how much is due to you."

"Four pounds, miss; but if I'm paid one, on account, I shan't mind waiting. I'd be really sorry to dislodge such a nice lady as your mother, Miss Staunton."