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dence upon him, and had therefore sent him to wait on him. All was in vain; and the unreasonable man's anger at last waxed so hot, that he gave Mr. Steel to understand that all dealings between them were ended.
When Mr. Carson had taken his departure Mr. Steel went in search of John Graham, and asked him the particulars of his conduct. The youth was obliged to confess that he had not gone in his best coat, and as his ordinary one was not without a very strong smell of oil, from the nature of his occupation, his master was very much displeased with him. Nor was his displeasure at all diminished when he began to make inquiries about the coat; John Graham answered him at first so vaguely, then shuffled and stammered so much, and finally became so saucy, when he was hard pressed, that his master, who could not be insulted with impunity before the rest of his establishment, then and there paid him down a month's wages, and dismissed him.
To have lost so good a situation was a very serious thing; but John Graham did not at first take this much into account. His blood was hot, and “ What right had Mr. Steel to ask about his clothes ?- if he did his business for him, what more did he want? 'Twas no affair of his what he had done with the coat!” and inthis humour he walked towards home. But he did not go straight to his
own lodging; he turned in first to the " Golden Robin," and there he took enough to prevent his wrath cooling down.
Very much surprised were little Mary and Eddy at his appearance, at so early an hour ; but in the innocence of their hearts, they thought that he had a part of the day for a holiday, and they anticipated some pleasure in a walk. Their pleasant thoughts were, however, very soon dispelled; for when little Eddy began to urge him to take them out, he gave the poor little fellow a push which sent him against the corner of the bed, and seriously hurt his hip. Very loudly did the poor child cry, and with great difficulty was he pacified ; but at length he became quiet, and this did more than anything else to bring John Graham a little to his senses. For a while he was very kind to the two children; he gave them each a sixpence from the money he had received from Mr. Steel, and wound up the evening, so far as they were concerned, by reading for them out of one of their little books.
CHAPTER VI. So long as John Graham had the fear of losing his situation before his eyes, he was never drunk in the morning ; but slept away at night the effects of the liquor which he had taken. Now, however, that his situation was lost, he became quite reckless, and the following morning saw him at an unusually early hour entering the doors of the “Golden Robin."
And this went on day by day, so long as his money lasted. At last one evening came, and he did not make his appearance at the usual time. The children had prepared their scanty supper, but he did not come, and they did not sit down by themselves. Half hour after half hour was chimed by the clock of the neighbouring church, but he did not arrive, and little Eddy had many times picked little pieces from the loaf, besides having eaten up every crumb upon the plate.
“I wonder if he'll be very long," said the child; “I should so like to eat a little bit of the bread. Dear Mary, do you think he'll be kind to-night when he does come ?”
“Oh yes, Eddy, he has to work very hard, perhaps he's often tired, and that's why he doesn't seem kind.”
“He pushed me so hard," said the little fellow, as he limped up again to the loaf, and pounced upon a little scrap that he discerned half detached from it. "I'm very fond of him though, for all that.”
“Does it hurt you much?” asked his sister. “ I'm sure John wouldn't hurt you for all the world ; no, not even if Mr. Steel told him."
“It does hurt me a great, great deal sometimes," said Eddy, throwing his hands round his sister's neck, and the great tears standing in his eyes.
“Oh, but you must be a man,” said Mary, 6 and men don't cry.”
“But are men often hurt?" asked Eddy.
“Yes, very often," said his sister ; “ John is a man, though not a very big one, and you remember when he came home with his hand all tied up from that terrible cut.”
For a little time the boy said nothing, but looked very earnestly into the fire; he had the scrap of bread untasted in his hand ; at last he broke the silence and said, “ I will be a man.” Mary did not observe him, but instead of eating the bit of bread, he limped quietly to the table, and fixed it to its place in the loaf again; then he came back and sat by her side, and listened to the chimes for three more half hours, and still John Graham never came. Many a chime rang during the succeeding half hours, but the two children did not hear them; they were so weary with watching, and so hungry, that they fell fast asleep by the few embers of the fire, and it was the grey of the morning when they awoke. Eddy was the first to open his eyes, and he instinctively turned them to the loaf, and as instinctively went to it, and laid his hand on it to take a piece; but he quickly drew it back again, as though a thought had flashed across his mind, and muttered, “ Yes, I will be a man!” then he crept back again to his sister's side, and watched her until she awoke. It was not long before she too opened her eyes, and when she found that her brother John had not come home, and that they had been sitting up all the night, she began to cry; but Eddy comforted her, and they knelt down together, and said their prayers.
“I suppose he is kept very busy at his work,” said Mary, and they have given him his supper, and will give him his breakfast to-day, so we may eat this;" and then they rekindled the fire, and ate the scanty portion of the loaf. .
It was three days before John Graham made his appearance, and the desolate condition of the twins had become known, not only to Mrs. Schneegans, but through the charwoman to the schoolmistress. Steps were being taken by the clergyman of the district to have some provision made for them, and they might have been well cared for, had not their brother suddenly appeared one evening, and taken them away. He could not, however, do this, without coming in contact with his enemy Mrs. Schneegans, who met him on the stairs. As usual she gave him a piece of her mind, pretty strongly, and called him very hard names for having behaved so ill to the helpless twins.