The New Magdalen (Chapter 7, page 1 of 14)


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Chapter 7

"You look very pale this morning, my child."

Mercy sighed wearily. "I am not well," she answered. "The slightest
noises startle me. I feel tired if I only walk across the room."

Lady Janet patted her kindly on the shoulder. "We must try what a change
will do for you. Which shall it be? the Continent or the sea-side?"

"Your ladyship is too kind to me."

"It is impossible to be too kind to you."

Mercy started. The color flowed charmingly over her pale face. "Oh!" she
exclaimed, impulsively. "Say that again!"

"Say it again?" repeated Lady Janet, with a look of surprise.

"Yes! Don't think me presuming; only think me vain. I can't hear you say
too often that you have learned to like me. Is it really a pleasure to
you to have me in the house? Have I always behaved well since I have
been with you?"

(The one excuse for the act of personation--if excuse there could
be--lay in the affirmative answer to those questions. It would be
something, surely, to say of the false Grace that the true Grace could
not have been worthier of her welcome, if the true Grace had been
received at Mablethorpe House!) Lady Janet was partly touched, partly amused, by the extraordinary
earnestness of the appeal that had been made to her.

"Have you behaved well?" she repeated. "My dear, you talk as if you were
a child!" She laid her hand caressingly on Mercy's arm, and continued,
in a graver tone: "It is hardly too much to say, Grace, that I bless the
day when you first came to me. I do believe I could be hardly fonder of
you if you were my own daughter."

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