LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 217
stairs, and they every one of them live just as they please. The fact is, our servants are over-indulged. I suppose it \s partly our fault that they are selfish, and act like spoiled children ; but I 've talked to St. Clare till I am tired."
" And I, too," said St. Clare, taking up the morning paper.
Eva, the beautiful Eva, had stood listening to her mother, with that expression of deep and mystic earnestness which was peculiar to her. She walked softly round to her mother's chair, and put her arms around her neck.
" Well, Eva, what now ? " said Marie.
" Mamma, could n't I take care of you one night, —just one ? I know I should n't make you nervous, and I should n't sleep. I often lie awake nights, thinking " —
" Oh, nonsense, child, —nonsense ! " said Marie ; " you are such a strange child ! "
" But may I, mamma ? I think," she said, timidly, " that Mammy is n't well. She told me her head ached all the time, lately."
" Oh, that's just one of Mammy's fidgets! Mammy is just like all the rest of them, — makes such a fuss about every little headache or finger-ache ; it '11 never do to encourage it, — never ! I 'm principled about this matter," said she, turning to Miss Ophelia; " you '11 find the necessity of it. If you encourage servants in giving way to every little disagreeable feeling, and complaining of every little ailment, you '11 have your hands full. I never complain myself, — nobody knows what I endure. I feel it a duty to bear it quietly, and I do."
Miss Ophelia's round eyes expressed an undisguised amazement at this peroration, which struck St. Clare as so supremely ludicrous that he burst into a loud laugh.
" St. Clare always laughs when I make the least allusion to my ill health," said Marie, with the voice of a suffering martyr. "I only hope the day won't come when he '11 remember it! " and Marie put her handkerchief to her eyes.