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“ Not even Sunday nights — the heavy Sunday nights, whose shadow darkened the first waking burst of light on Sunday mornings — could mar those precious Saturdays. Whether it was the great seashore, where they sat and strolled together, or whether it was only Mrs. Pipchin's dull back-room, in which she sang to him so softly, with his drowsy head upon her arm, Paul never cared. It was Florence : that was all he thought of. So on Sunday nights, when the doctor's dark door stood agape to swallow him up for another week, the time was come for taking leave of Florence,
no one else. “Miss Nipper had returned one Sunday night with Florence, from walking back with Paul to the doctor's, when Florence took from her bosom a little piece of paper on which she had pencilled down some words.
"See here, Susan,' she said. These are the names of the little books that Paul brings home to do those long exercises with when he is so tired. I copied them last night while he was writing.'
666 Don't show 'em to me, Miss Floy, if you please,' returned Nipper. "I'd as soon see Mrs. Pipchin.'
"I want you to buy them for me, Susan, if you will, to-morrow morning. I have money enough,' said Flor
Well, miss, and why do you want 'em ? ' replied Nipper; adding, in a lower voice, “if it was to fling at Mrs. Pipchin's head; I'd buy a cart-load.'
“I think I could, perhaps, give Paul some help, Susan, if I had these books,' said Florence, and make the coming week a little easier to him. At least, I want to try. So buy them for me, dear, and I will never forget how kind it was of you to do it.'
“ It must have been a harder heart than Susan Nipper's that could have rejected the little purse Florence held out with these words, or the gentle look of entreaty with which she seconded her petition. Susan put the purse in her pocket without reply. and trotted out at once upon her errand.
“ The books were not easy to procure; and the answer at several shops was, either that they were just out of them, or that they never kept them, or they had had a great many last month, or that they expected a great many next week. But Susan was not easily baffled in such an enterprise ; and having entrapped a whitehaired youth, in a black calico apron, from a library where she was known, to accompany her in her quest, she led him such a life in going up and down, that he exerted himself to the utmost, if it were only to get rid of her, and finally enabled her to return home in triumph.
" With these treasures, then, after her own daily lessons were over, Florence sat down at night to track Paul's footsteps through the thorny ways of learning ; and being possessed of a naturally quick and sound capacity, and taught by that most wonderful of mas
ters, love, it was not long before she gained upon Paul's heels, and caught and passed him.
“Not a word of this was breathed to Mrs. Pipchin : but many a night when they were all in bed; and when Miss Nipper, with her hair in papers and herself asleep in some uncomfortable attitude, reposed unconscious by her side; and when the chinking ashes in the grate were cold and gray; and when the candles were burnt down and guttering out, - Florence tried so hard to be a substitute for one small Dombey, that her fortitude and perseverance might have almost won her a free right to bear the name herself.
“ And high was her reward, when one Saturday evening, as little Paul was sitting down as usual to resume his studies,' she sat down by his side, and showed him all that was so rough made smooth, and all that was so dark made clear and plain before him. It was nothing but a startled look in Paul's wan face, -- a flush, a smile, and then a close embrace ; but God knows how her heart leaped up at this rich payment for her trouble.
6650 Floy!' cried her brother. How I love you ! How I love you, Floy!'
" . And I you, dear! '
“He said no more about it; but all that evening sat close by her, very quiet; and in the night he called out from his little room within hers, three or four times, that be loved her.
“Regularly, after that, Florence was prepared to sit down with Paul on Saturday night, and patiently assist him through so much as they could anticipate together of his next week's work."
The chapter treating of little Paul's last hours is very touching and solemn. It is as follows:
“ Paul had never risen from his little bed. He lay there, listening to the noises in the street, quite tranquilly; not caring much how the time went, but watching it, and watching every thing about him, with observing eyes.
“ When the sunbeams struck into his room through the rustling blinds, and quivered on the opposite wall like golden water, he knew that evening was coming on, and that the sky was red and beautiful. As the reflection died away, and a gloom went creeping up the wall, he watched it deepen, deepen, deepen, into night. Then he thought how the long streets were dotted with lamps, and how the peaceful stars were shining overhead. His fancy had a strange tendency to wander to the river, which he knew was flowing through the great city; and now he thought how black it was, and how deep it would look reflecting the hosts of stars, and, more than all, how steadily it rolled away to meet the sea.
“ As it grew later in the night, and footsteps in the street became so rare that he could hear them coming,
count them as they passed, and lose them in the hollow distance, he would lie and count the many-colored rings around the candle, and wait patiently for day. His only trouble was the swift and rapid river. He felt forced, sometimes, to try to stop it, — to stem it with his childish hands, or choke its way' with sand ; and, when he saw it coming on resistless, he cried out. But a word from Florence, who was always at his side, restored him to himself; and, leaning his poor
upon her breast, he told Floy of his dream, and smiled. When day began to dawn again, he watched for the sun; and, when its cheerful light began to sparkle in the room, he pictured to himself - pictured! he saw-the high church-towers rising up into the morning sky, the town reviving, waking, starting into life once more, the river glistening as it rolled (but rolling fast as ever), and the country bright with dew. Familiar sounds and cries came by degrees into the street below; the servants in the house were roused and busy; faces looked in at the door; and voices asked his attendants softly how he
Paul always answered for himself, “I am better: I am a great deal better! thank you. Tell papa so.' By little and little, he got tired of the bustle of the day, the noise of carriages and carts, and people passing and repassing, -- and would fall asleep, or be troubled with a restless and uneasy sense again the child could hardly tell whether this were in his sleeping or waking moments — of that rushing river. . Why will it never