LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 221
really frightful, — he frightens me, — good natured as he looks in general. Now, he has set down his foot that, come what will, there shall not be a blow struck in this house, except what he or I strike ; and he does it in a way that I really dare not cross him. Well, you may see what that leads to; for St. Clave would n't raise his hand, if every one of them walked over him, and I — you see how cruel it would be to require me to make the exertion. Now, you know these servants are nothing but grown-up children."
"I don't know anything about it, and I thank the Lord that I don't! " said Miss Ophelia, shortly.
" Well, but you will have to know something, and know it to your cost, if you stay here. You don't know what a provoking, stupid, careless, unreasonable, childish, ungrateful set of wretches they are."
Marie seemed wonderfully supported, always, when she got upon this topic ; and she now opened her eyes, and seemed quite to forget her languor.
" You don't know, and you can't, the daily, hourly trials that beset a housekeeper from them, everywhere and every way. But it's no use to complain to St. Clare. He talks the strangest stuff. He says we have made them what they are, and ought to bear with them. He says their faults are all owing to us, and that it would be cruel to make the fault and punish it too. He says we should n't do any better, in their place; just as if one could reason from them to us, you know."
" Don't you believe that the Lord made them of one blood with us ? " said Miss Ophelia, shortly.
" No, indeed, not I! A pretty story, truly ! They are a degraded race."
" Don't you think they 've got immortal souls ? " said Miss Ophelia, with increasing indignation.
" Oh, well," said Marie, yawning, " that, of course — nobody doubts that. But as to putting them on any sort of equality with us, you know, as if we conld be compared,