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their sable garb. She had felt it acutely, and feeling it at the
moment, could not quite restrain her tears.

‘I am very sorry to have wounded you by my thoughtless
speech,’ said her companion. ‘I did not think of it. You are in
mourning for some near relation?’

‘For my father,’ answered Kate.
‘For what relation, Miss Simmonds?’ asked Miss Knag, in an
audible voice.

‘Her father,’ replied the other softly.
‘Her father, eh?’ said Miss Knag, without the slightest
depression of her voice. ‘Ah! A long illness, Miss Simmonds?’

‘Hush,’ replied the girl; ‘I don’t know.’
‘Our misfortune was very sudden,’ said Kate, turning away, ‘or I
might perhaps, at a time like this, be enabled to support it better.’

There had existed not a little desire in the room, according to
invariable custom, when any new ‘young person’ came, to know
who Kate was, and what she was, and all about her; but, although
it might have been very naturally increased by her appearance
and emotion, the knowledge that it pained her to be questioned,
was sufficient to repress even this curiosity; and Miss Knag,
finding it hopeless to attempt extracting any further particulars
just then, reluctantly commanded silence, and bade the work

In silence, then, the tasks were plied until half-past one, when a
baked leg of mutton, with potatoes to correspond, were served in
the kitchen. The meal over, and the young ladies having enjoyed
the additional relaxation of washing their hands, the work began
again, and was again performed in silence, until the noise of
carriages rattling through the streets, and of loud double knocks at

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