stood musing some time at the door, considering what to begin a talk upon, she perceived my friend the Quaker looked a little uneasy, as if she wanted to go in and shut the door, which stung her to the quick; and the wary Quaker had not so much as asked her to come in; for seeing her alone she expected she would be very impertinent, and concluded that I did not care how coldly she received her.
But she was not to be put off so. She said if the Lady —— was not to be spoken with, she desired to speak two or three words with her, meaning my friend the Quaker. Upon that, the Quaker civilly but coldly asked her to walk in, which was what she wanted. Note. She did not carry her into her best parlour, as formerly, but into a little outer room, where the servants usually waited.
By the first of her discourse she did not stick to insinuate as if she believed I was in the house, but was unwilling to be seen; and pressed earnestly that she might speak but two words with me; to which she added earnest entreaties, and at last tears.
'I am sorry', says my good creature the Quaker, 'thou hast so ill an opinion of me as to think I would tell thee an untruth, and say that the Lady —— was gone from my house if she was not! I assure thee I do not use any such method; nor does the Lady —— desire any such kind of service from me, as I know of. If she had been in the house, I should have told thee so.'
She said little to that, but said it was business of the utmost importance that she desired to speak with me about, and then cried again very much. 'Thou seem'st to be sorely afflicted', says the Quaker; 'I wish I could give thee any relief; but if nothing will comfort thee but seeing the Lady ——, it is not in my power.' 'I hope it is', says she again; 'to be sure it is of great consequence to me, so much that I am undone without it.'
'Thou troubles! me very much to hear thee say so', says the Quaker; 'but why, then, didst thou not speak to her apart when thou wast here before? 'I had no opportunity', says she, 'to speak to her alone, and I could not do it in company; if I could have spoken but two words to her alone, I would have thrown myself at her foot, and asked her blessing.'
'I am surprised at thee; I do not understand thee', says the Quaker. 'Oh!', says she, 'stand my friend if you have any charity, or if you have any compassion for the miserable; for I am utterly undone!'
'Thou terrifiest me', says the Quaker, 'with such passionate expressions, for verily I cannot comprehend thee I' 'Oh I', says she, 'she is my mother! She is my mother! and she does not own me!'
'Thy mother! 'says the Quaker, and began to be greatly moved indeed. 'I am astonished at thee: what dost thou mean?' 'I mean nothing but what I say', says she. 'I say again, she is my mother, and will not own me'; and with that she stopped with a flood of tears.
'Not own thee!' says the Quaker; and the tender, good creature wept too. 'Why', says she, 'she does not know thee, and never saw thee before.' 'No', says the girl, 'I believe she does not know me, but I know her; and I know that she is my mother.'
'It's impossible, thou talk'st mystery I 'says the Quaker; 'wilt thou explain thyself a little to me?' 'Yes, yes', says she, 'I can explain it well enough. I am sure she is my mother, and I have broke my heart to