Beulah (Chapter 4, page 2 of 7)

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Chapter 4

"You are Mrs. Martin's nurse, I believe, and the girl I saw at the
asylum?" said she frigidly.

"Yes, madam; I am Lilly's sister; you said I might come and see her.
Oh, if you only knew how miserable I have been since we were parted,
you would not look so coldly at me! Do, please, let me see her. Oh,
don't deny me!"

These words were uttered in a tone of imploring agony.

"I am very sorry you happen to be her sister, and I assure you,
child, it pains me to refuse you; but, when you remember the
circumstances, you ought not to expect to associate with her as you
used to do. She will be educated to move in a circle very far above
you; and you ought to be more than willing to give her up, when you
know how lucky she has been in securing a home of wealth. Besides,
she is getting over the separation very nicely indeed, and if she
were to see you even once it would make matters almost as bad as
ever. I dare say you are a good girl, and will not trouble me any
further. My husband and I are unwilling that you should see Lilly
again; and though I am very sorry I am forced to disappoint you, I
feel that I am doing right."

The petitioner fell on her knees, and, extending her arms, said
huskily: "Oh, madam! are we to be parted forever? I pray you, in the name of
God, let me see her! let me see her!"

Mrs. Grayson was not a cruel woman, far from it, but she was
strangely weak and worldly. The idea of a hired nurse associating
familiarly with her adopted daughter was repulsive to her
aristocratic pride, and therefore she hushed the tones of true
womanly sympathy, and answered resolutely: "It pains me to refuse you; but I have given good reasons, and
cannot think of changing my determination. I hope you will not annoy
me by any future efforts to enter my house. There is a present for
you. Good-evening."

She tossed a five-dollar gold piece toward the kneeling figure, and,
closing the door, locked it on the inside. The money rolled
ringingly down the steps, and the grating sound of the key, as it
was hurriedly turned, seemed typical of the unyielding lock which
now forever barred the child's hopes. The look of utter despair gave
place to an expression of indescribable bitterness. Springing from
her suppliant posture, she muttered with terrible emphasis: "A curse on that woman and her husband! May God answer their prayers
as she has answered mine!"

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