mother? If it be because I am so kind to you, be easy, my dear', says Amy; 'I'll be as kind to you still, as if I was your mother.'
'Ay, but', says the girl, 'I am sure you are my mother too; and what have I done that you won't own me, and that you will not be called my mother? Though I am poor, you have made me a gentlewoman', says she, and I won't do anything to disgrace you; besides', added she, 'I can keep a secret, too, especially for my own mother, sure'; then she calls Amy her dear mother, and hung about her neck again, crying still vehemently.
This last part of the girl's words alarmed Amy, and, as she told me, frighted her terribly; nay, she was so confounded with it, that she was not able to govern herself, or to conceal her disorder from the girl herself, as you shall hear. Amy was at a full stop, and confused to the last degree; and the girl, a sharp jade, turned it upon her. 'My dear mother', says she, 'do not be uneasy about it; I know it all; but do not be uneasy, I won't let my sister know a word of it, or my brother either, without you giving me leave; but don't disown me now you have found me; don't hide yourself from me any longer; I can't bear that', gays she, 'it will break my heart.'
'I think the girl's mad', says Amy; 'why, child, I tell thee, if I was thy mother I would not disown thee; don't you see I am as kind to you as if I was your mother?' Amy might as well have sung a song to a kettledrum, as talk to her. 'Yes', says the girl, 'you are very good to me indeed'; and that was enough to make anybody believe she was her mother too; but, however, that was not the case, she had other reasons to believe, and to know, that she was her mother; and it was a sad thing she would not let her call her mother, who was her own child.
Amy was so heart-full with the disturbance of it, that she did not enter farther with her into the inquiry, as she would otherwise have done; I mean, as to what made the girl so positive; but comes away, and tells me the whole story.
I was thunderstruck with the story at first, and much more afterwards, as you shall hear; but, I say, I was thunderstruck at first, and amazed, and said to Amy, 'There must be something or other in it more than we know of.' But, having examined farther into it, I found the girl had no notion of anybody but of Amy; and glad I was, that I was not concerned in the pretence, and that the girl had no notion of me in it. But even this easiness did not continue long; for the next time Amy went to see her, she was the same thing, and rather more violent with Amy than she was before. Amy endeavoured to pacify her by all the ways imaginable: first, she told her she took it ill, that she would not believe her; and told her, if she would not give over such a foolish whimsey, she would leave her to the wide world as she found her.
This put the girl into fits, and she cried ready to kill herself, and hung about Amy again like a child. 'Why', says Amy, 'why can you not be easy with me, then, and compose yourself, and let me go on to do you good, and show you kindness, as I would do, and as I intend to do? Can you think that, if I was your mother, I would not tell you so? What whimsey is this that possesses your mind?' says Amy. Well, the girl told her in a few words (but those few such as frighted Amy out of her wits, and me too) that she knew well enough how it was. 'I know', says she, when you left ——', naming the village, 'where I lived when my father went away from us all, that you went over to France; I know that too,