LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY . 313
be taken good care of, now. I 'm sure I 'd rather give you anything of mine, than have you steal it."
It was the first word of kindness the child had ever heard in her life; and the sweet tone and manner struck strangely on the wild, rude heart, and a sparkle of something like a tear shone in the keen, round, glittering eye; but it was followed by the short laugh and habitual grin. No! the ear that has never heard anything but abuse is strangely incredulous of anything so heavenly as kindness; and Topsy only thought Eva's speech something funny and inexplicable, — she did not believe it.
But what was to be done with Topsy ? Miss Ophelia found the case a puzzler; her rules for bringing up did n't seem to apply. She thought she would take time to think of it; and by the way of gaining time, and in hopes of some indefinite moral virtues supposed to be inherent in dark closets, Miss Ophelia shut Topsy up in one till she had arranged her ideas further on the subject.
il I don't see," said Miss Ophelia to St. Clare, " how I 'm going to manage that child, without whipping her."
" Well, whip her, then, to your heart's content; I '11 give you full power to do what you like."
"Children always have to be whipped," said Miss Ophelia; " I never heard of bringing them up without."
" Oh, well, certainly," said St. Clare; " do as you think best. Only, I '11 make one suggestion: I 've seen this child whipped with a poker, knocked down with the shovel or tongs, whichever came handiest; and, seeing that she is used to that style of operation, I think your whippings will have to be pretty energetic, to make much impres-. sion."
" What is to be done with her, then! ' said Miss Ophelia.
" You have started a serious question," said St. Clare; " I wish you 'd answer it. What is to be done with a human being that can be governed only by the lash, — that fails, — it's a very common state of things down here !"