LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 203
to reach it, she never actually did so, and of course was burdened with a constant and often harassing sense of deficiency; — this gave a severe and somewhat gloomy cast to her religious character.
But how in the world can Miss Ophelia get along with Augustine St. Clare, — gay, easy, unpunctual, unpractical, skeptical, — in short, walking with impudent and nonchalant freedom over every one of her most cherished habits and opinions ?
To tell the truth, then, Miss Ophelia loved him. When a boy, it had been hers to teach him his catechism, mend his clothes, comb his hair, and bring him up generally in the way he should go; and her heart having a warm side to it, Augustine had, as he usually did with most people, monopolized a large share of it for himself, and therefore it was that he succeeded very easily in persuading her that the " path of duty " lay in the direction of New Orleans, and that she must go with him to take care of Eva, and keep everything from going to wreck and ruin during the frequent illnesses of his wife. The idea of a house without anybody to take care of it went to her heart; then she loved the lovely little girl, as few could help doing; and though she regarded Augustine as very much of a heathen, yet she loved him, laughed at his jokes, and forbore with his failings, to an^extent which those who knew him thought perfectly incredible. But what more or other is to be known of Miss Ophelia our reader must discover by a personal acquaintance.
There she is, sitting now in her state-room, surrounded by a mixed multitude of little and big carpet-bags, boxes, baskets, each containing some separate responsibility which she is tying, binding up, packing, or fastening, with a face of great earnestness.
" Now, Eva, have you kept count of your things ? Of course you have n't, — children never do: there 's the spotted carpet-bag and the little blue bandbox with your best bonnet, — that's two; then the India-rubber satchel