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Towards the city gate; I see
The lovely, languid Spartan Queen,
One white hand lifted up to screen
Her anxious eyes from noon-tide glare,
Searching for Hector's baughty crest,
Of all fraid things the loveliest.
The Gates of Hell unclose to me,
And Cerberus bangs his triple head,
The splendid legions of the dead.
I am the Lord of all the past,
The tyrant of the land of dreams;
I am the God of that which seems.
So let me flee this noisy age;
Blot out my name from memory's scroll;
St. John Lucas.
OLD BETTY AND HER LADYSHIP.
Old Betty Perkins lived in one room her sympathizing ears. And how it in the Borough. She was not largely had come about I do not know, but no blessed with this world's goods, but district visitor ever visited Betty, or Heaven had endowed her with a cheery had ever done so in all the old lady's soul, and she looked out on life with long life and she went on her serene serene old eyes that saw the bright side independent way, unhelped by any orof things by preference to the dark, ganization, parochial or otherwise, getand believed firmly in good times to ting along as best she could. come—somewhen, somewhere.
She was a simple, kindly old soul, She lived in a third-floor back, and and there was no one in the neighboralthough her room contained the mini- hood who had not a good word for her. mum number of articles possible for a One afternoon Betty sat alone in her minimum degree of comfort, she kept little room, resting, at the conclusion everything scrupulously clean and neat, of her "bit of cleaning," and watching and "and that is always something," as the kettle preparing to boil for her cup she was wont to say.
of tea. Her sole companion, a canary, Nobody ever came to see her, except in a small cage by the window, was her immediate neighbors, who resorted singing his very best, because a long to old Betty to pour out their woes into ray of sunshine had contrived to strag.
gle between the tall houses opposite asked, and the faintest flicker of surand to shine into the third-floor back. prise crossed her face as Betty seated Its coming cheered the canary, and old herself upon the only other seat in the Betty nodded and smiled as the bird
room, namely, the bed. sang.
"My name is Perkins," Betty anThere was a footstep on the stairs- swered, simply, "and I haven't the a slow, unaccustomed footstep, but the pleasure of knowing your name, canary's voice was so loud that old ma'am.” Betty did not hear the outside sound, The lady stared. until a knock at the door made her “Oh! my name is Lady Allerton," she start up hastily.
said, shortly, “and I am coming to visit "Well, there, my dear,” she said later down here." to a neighbor, "you could a' knocked "Do you live in these parts, may I me down with a feather when I opened ask, ma'am ?” that there door. I never see nothin' "Oh, no! I live a long way from here like her in my life!"
-in Eaton Square. Do you live only For standing on Betty Perkins's in one room?" she added, glancing threshold was the very smartest lady round it with curious eyes as she spoke. Betty's eyes had ever fallen upon. She “It must be rather cramped, I should was tall and graceful and faultlessly think-" dressed. She held a parasol in one "Well, no, ma'am, I don't seem to hand, a parcel in the other. She panted find it so. There's only me, you see, a little, out of breath, after her long and one old woman don't seem to take climb up the stairs.
much room, do she? And I couldn't Betty took the initiative, being, so manage not to pay for more than the she felt, on her own ground.
one room. Rents is rather high in "Was there anything I could do for these parts," she added, apologetically. you ma'am ?" she asked, looking at the “But I suppose you can get help from smart lady with kindly eyes.
the parish, and things?” her ladyship "I came to pay you a visit,” the lady asked, vaguely. answered—“I am going to visit in this Betty drew herself up a little, but if neighborhood," Her voice was conde. her tone was a trifle stiff it was still scending; she gathered her skirts dain- very courteous. She knew the rules of tily about her, and looked expectantly hospitality and politeness. at Betty.
“Oh, no, ma'am! I am glad to say I “I'm sure it's very kind of you, don't have no call to go to the parish, ma'am," the old woman said, in a be- nor nothing of that, and I hope I never wildered tone; "will you please to may have. Me and my pore husband come in?” And she drew the door we put away a mite, and what with wider open, that her visitor might en- odd jobs for the neighbors and that, I ter. "And will you please sit down ?" make my seven shillings a week.” She she added, drawing forward the one spoke proudly. chair-a somewhat dilapidated cane "But you can't live on that?" A faint one.
incredulous smile crept over the smart The smart lady seated herself, her lady's face. skirts still held closely round her.
"Oh, yes, ma'am, and pay my three “Which my room was as clean as a pence a week to the burial club, too," new pin," Betty said afterwards, Betty answered with pride. little resentfully to a friend.
“Dear me, it's very surprising! I "And what is your name?" the lady read, you know, about how the poor
live, but I never believed it. I thought ity isn't what they was, and she meant I should like to come and see. I've well, no doubt, a-bringing me a pound brought you some tea, by the way", of tea. Though it do seem queer, to and she laid the parcel she carried upon my thinkin', to go callin' on folks as the rickety table.
you don't know, and takin' of 'em Betty still looked puzzled.
pounds of tea. Why, how did she know “I'm sure it's very kind of you, as I wanted for her to come and call ?" ma'am,” she said, turning over in her Betty shook her head sagely. “But mind what in the world could have there, she meant well, no doubt, and made this fine lady come here, and why we've a' got to take things as they're she should have brought her that pack- meant." et of tea. But her instincts as a hostess were very strong.
“And you know," Lady Allerton said "You'll let me make you a cup of tea, to her husband that same evening, “the won't you, ma'am ?" she asked, and a poor in the Borough are quite different kindly smile lit up her wrinkled old from anything I expected. They didn't face. "The kettle is just on the boil, stand whilst I was in their rooms—they and a cup of tea 'ud do you good, after just sat and talked to me as if they the long way as you've come."
were as good as I was." Lady Allerton almost gasped. She "And so, no doubt, they are, my quite stared with amazement. More- dear,” Lord Allerton replied, lazily. over, she always drank China tea at "I daresay they wondered what on home. This courteous, hospitable old earth made you suddenly go and see body was a new revelation to her. them, and perhaps they thought it con
"Oh, no-no, thank you," she said, foundedly impertinent of you. And hurriedly; "I think I won't have any so it was,” he added, sotto roce. tea." Betty looked and felt profoundly disappointed. “I must be getting on Old Betty's views of etiquette were now”—and her ladyship rose with founded on those which held good in haste, and with her petticoats still held her immediate neighborhood, where, ir tightly about her. “I shall come and anybody stepped in to see you in friend. see you again some day-good-after- ly fashion one day, you generally noon!"
stepped in upon them in like fashion She bowed to the old woman, who during the course of the week. stood holding the door open for her, Three days after Lady Allerton's and eyed her with polite interest. visit to her, Betty dressed herself in “Good afternoon."
her best clothes,
very worn She passed rustling down the stairs, but perfectly tidy black dress, a bonnet and Betty returned to her chair and to of antediluvian design, and a neat black the contemplation of her kettle.
shawl, and prepared to sally forth. "Deary me," she spoke aloud, a habit "Wherever are you a-goin' to?" her she had acquired from much living neighbor below asked. alone-"deary me, now! I wonder “I'm a-goin' to see a lady as called on what brought that fine lady down here? me,” Betty announced, placidly, but in And to see me, too! Pore thing! she
a tone which forbade further question. haven't much idea of manners, neither, ing, and she went out in the glory of never to shake hands with me, nor her best clothes, feeling, dear soul, that nothin'. But there, perhaps she don't
the least she could do to repay the know no better, pore thing. I have kindness shown by the smart lady to heard say as the manners of the qual- her was to call upon the lady in return.
She had never before been to the West- "I-I just come to see her," Betty falend, and the length of the journey, the tered; "if you was to say as 'twas Mrs. grandeur of the streets and shops when Perkins of 125 William Street, she 'ud she did finally arrive impressed her remember. She come to see me the mightily.
day before yesterday, so I just come “I'd a' liked to a' took her a little round to see her to-day. Perhaps she somethin'," she thought, "just as a sort 'ud see me for a minute." of a return like for that tea, but I dun. The footman again left her standing no as I can afford anything much, un- on the doorstep, returning shortly to less it was a flower.” And Betty's eyes ask her to come inside a minute. brightened as she met a flower-girl Old Betty drew a long breath of laden with a basket of deep red roses. wonder when she saw the hall. She
“Pick me out a nice one, my dear," had never imagined anything so lovely she said to the girl; “I'm a-takin' of it and luxurious. The carpet was so soft to a lady as has been kind to me; I'm and beautiful. The very wall paper im. just a-goin' to return her call."
pressed her. Overhead there was a “There's a nice one, granny"-and murmur of voices and she could hear the girl thrust a soft, deep-colored bud the rattle of tea-cups. It was a wel. into the old woman's hand; "you looks come sound. Old Betty thought of her a bit tired."
far-off room, and the fire that would “Well, I be a bit tired, my dear-I've have to be lighted before the kettle come a long way, but I'll get rested
would boil for her own tea. The when I gets to the house, of course." footman had vanished—the old woman
It took Betty some time to find the stood humbly in the middle of that gorhouse, but a kindly postman pointed it geous hall for several minutes whilst out to her, and she climbed the steps a the clatter of tea-cups and chatter of little wearily and rang the bell.
voices went on upstairs. Then there A gorgeous footman answered it. He came the rustling of a silk dress, and looked her up and down with a super- Lady Allerton came quickly down. cilious air of surprise, but something stairs, an impatient little frown puckin Betty's gentle old eyes and dignified ering her forehead. manner made him ask her almost civ. She nodded rather frigidly to old illy what she wanted.
Betty. "I wanted to see Lady Allerton," she “Well, Mrs. Perkins," she said, "did said.
you want anything? Have you come “To see her ladyship?" The
to ask me to do soinething for you?” stared. “I don't think she'll see you “Dear me, no ma'am!"—there was unnow-she've got company. Wait here utterable surprise in Betty's voice. “I a minute and I'll see."
just come to see you, because you was So Betty stood humbly outside upon
good enough to come and see me, the steps and wondered over the curi. and" ous treatment bestowed by the great "You-came-to-see me?” Lady Alupon their visitors, and over many
lerton looked the old woman up and other things, and longed very much to down with well-bred insolence. “That sit down and rest her aching old limbs, was very kind of you, I am sure." The if it were only for a moment.
sarcasm passed unheeded over the sim. The footman returned to the door. ple old soul's head, she only noticed the
"Her ladyship wishes to know what words. you want,” he asked; "she is busy just "Not to say kind," she answered, now, and she doesn't know you."
"twas the least as I could do when