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  My Lady Ludlow Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter X.

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The next morning, Miss Galindo made her appearance, and, by some mistake, unusual to my lady's well-trained servants, was shown into the room where I was trying to walk; for a certain amount of exercise was prescribed for me, painful although the exertion had become.

She brought a little basket along with her and while the footman was gone to inquire my lady's wishes (for I don't think that Lady Ludlow expected Miss Galindo so soon to assume her clerkship; nor, indeed, had Mr. Horner any work of any kind ready for his new assistant to do), she launched out into conversation with me.

"It was a sudden summons, my dear! However, as I have often said to myself, ever since an occasion long ago, if Lady Ludlow ever honours me by asking for my right hand, I'll cut it off, and wrap the stump up so tidily she shall never find out it bleeds. But, if I had had a little more time, I could have mended my pens better. You see, I have had to sit up pretty late to get these sleeves made"--and she took out of her basket a pail of brown-holland over-sleeves, very much such as a grocer's apprentice wears--"and I had only time to make seven or eight pens, out of some quills Farmer Thomson gave me last autumn. As for ink, I'm thankful to say, that's always ready; an ounce of steel filings, an ounce of nut-gall, and a pint of water (tea, if you're extravagant, which, thank Heaven! I'm not), put all in a bottle, and hang it up behind the house door, so that the whole gets a good shaking every time you slam it to--and even if you are in a passion and bang it, as Sally and I often do, it is all the better for it--and there's my ink ready for use; ready to write my lady's will with, if need be."

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"O, Miss Galindo!" said I, "don't talk so my lady's will! and she not dead yet."

"And if she were, what would be the use of talking of making her will? Now, if you were Sally, I should say, 'Answer me that, you goose!' But, as you're a relation of my lady's, I must be civil, and only say, 'I can't think how you can talk so like a fool!' To be sure, poor thing, you're lame!"

I do not know how long she would have gone on; but my lady came in, and I, released from my duty of entertaining Miss Galindo, made my limping way into the next room. To tell the truth, I was rather afraid of Miss Galindo's tongue, for I never knew what she would say next.

After a while my lady came, and began to look in the bureau for something: and as she looked she said--"I think Mr. Horner must have made some mistake, when he said he had so much work that he almost required a clerk, for this morning he cannot find anything for Miss Galindo to do; and there she is, sitting with her pen behind her ear, waiting for something to write. I am come to find her my mother's letters, for I should like to have a fair copy made of them. O, here they are: don't trouble yourself, my dear child."

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My Lady Ludlow
Elizabeth Gaskell

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