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HOME > Short Stories > Sue, A Little Heroine > CHAPTER VIII. COMPARISONS.
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 Mrs. Warren and Agnes talked together for quite three quarters of an hour. When they came out of the bedroom, Mrs. Warren was wearing a tight-fitting cloth jacket, which made her look more enormous even than the cloak had done. She had a small black bonnet on her head, over which she had drawn a spotted net veil. Her hands were encased in decent black gloves, her skirt was short, and her boots tidy. She carried in her hand a fair-sized brown leather bag; and telling Connie that she was "goin' out," and would be back when she saw her and not before, left the two girls alone in the little sitting-room.  
After she had shut the door behind her, Agnes went over to it, and possessing herself of the key, slipped it into her pocket. Then she stared hard at Connie.
"Well," she said, "an' 'ow do yer like it?"
"I don't like it at all," answered Connie, "I want to go—I will go. I'd rayther a sight be back in the factory. Mrs. Warren—she frightens me."
"You be a silly," said Agnes. "You talk like that 'cos you knows no better. Why, 'ere you are as cosy and well tended as gel could be. Look at this room. Think on the soft chair you're sittin' upon; think on the meals; think on yer bedroom; think on the beautiful walk you 'ad this morning. My word! you be a silly! No work to do, and nothing whatever to trouble yer, except to act the lydy. My word! ef you're discontent, the world'll come to an end. Wish I were in your shoes—that I do."
"Well, Agnes, get into them," said Connie. "I'm sure you're more than welcome. I'm jest—jest pinin' for wot you thinks naught on. I want to see Giles and Sue and—and—father. You git into my shoes—you like it—I don't like it."
Agnes burst into a loud laugh.
"My word!" she said, "you're be a gel and a 'arf.27 Wouldn't I jest jump at gettin' into your shoes if I could? But there! yer shoes don't fit me, and that's the truth."
"Don't fit yer, don't they?" exclaimed Connie. "Wot do yer mean by that?"
"Too small," said Agnes, sticking out her ugly foot in its broken boot—"too genteel—too neat. No one could make a lydy o' me. Look at my 'ands." She spread out her coarse, stumpy fingers. "Look at my face. Why, yere's a glass; let's stand side by side, an' then let's compare. Big face; no nose to speak of; upper lip two inches long; mouth—slit from ear to ear; freckles; eyes what the boys call pig's eyes; 'air rough and coarse; figure stumpy. Now look at you. Face fair as a lily; nose straight and small; mouth like a rosebud; eyes blue as the sky. No, Connie, it can't be done; what with that face o' yourn, and that gold 'air o' yourn, you're a beauty hout and hout. Yer face is yer fortoon', my purty maid."
"My face ain't my fortune."
"Things don't fit, Connie. You ha' got to stay yere—and be a fine lydy. That's the way you works for yer livin'—I ha' to work in a different sort."
"What sort? Oh, do tel me!"
"No; that's my secret. But I've spoke out plain with the old woman, and I'm comin' yere Saturday night—not to stay, bless yer! no, but to do hodd jobs for her; for one thing, to look arter you when she's out. I 'spect she'll get Ronald back now you ha' come."
"Ronald!" cried Connie. "Who's he?"
"Never you mind; you'll know when yer see of 'im."
"Then I'm a prisoner," said Connie—"that's what it means."
"Well, well! take it like that ef yer like. Ain't it natural that Mrs. Warren should want yer to stay now she ha' got yer? When yer stays willin'-like, as yer will all too soon, then yer'll 'ave yer liberty. Hin an' out then yer may go as yer pleases; there'll be naught to interfere. Yer'll jest do yer dooty then, and yer dooty'll be to please old Mammy Warren."
"Has my father missed me?" asked Connie, who saw by this time that she could not possibly cope with Agnes; if ever she was to effect her escape from this horrible place, it must be by guile.
"'Ow is father?" she asked. "'Ave he missed me yet?"
"Know nothing 'bout him. Don't think he have, for the boys, Dick and Hal, was 'ome when I come back. They 'ad no news for me at all."
"You saw Sue to-day?"
"Yus, I saw her, an' I kep' well away from her."
"Agnes," said Connie in a very pleading voice, "ef I must stay 'ere—an' I don't know wot I ha' done to be treated like this—will yer take a message from me to little Giles?"
"Wot sort?" asked Agnes.
"Tell 'im straight from me that I can't come to see 'im for28 a few days, an' ax him to pray for me; an' tell him that I 'ears the Woice same as he 'ears the Woice, and tell 'im as it real comforts me. Wull yer do that, Agnes—wull yer, now?"
"Maybe," said Agnes; then after a pause she added, "Or maybe I won't. I 'ates yer Methody sort o' weak-minded folks. That's the worst o' you, Connie; you're real weak-minded, for all ye're so purty, what wid yer 'prays' an' yer Woice, indeed!"
"Hark! it's sounding now," said Connie.
She raised her little delicate hand, and turned her head to listen. The splendid notes filled the air. Connie murmured something under her breath.
"I know wot Giles 'ud say 'bout the Woice to-night," she murmured.
But Agnes burst into a loud laugh.
"My word!" she said. "You 're talkin' o' Big Ben. Well, you be a caution."
"He that shall endure," whispered Connie; and then a curious hidden sunshine seemed to come out and radiate her small face. She folded her hands. The impatience faded from her eyes. She sat still and quiet.
"Wot hever's the matter with yer?" asked Agnes.
"Naught as yer can understand, Aggie."
"Let's get tea," said Agnes. She started up and made vigorous preparations. Soon the tea was served and placed upon the little centre-table. It was an excellent tea, with shrimps and bread-and-butter, and cake and jam. Agnes ate enormously, but Connie was not as hungry as usual.
"Prime, I call it!" said Agnes. "My word! to think of gettin' all this and not workin' a bit for it! You be in luck, Connie Harris—you be in luck."
When the meal was over, and Agnes had washed up and made the place tidy, she announced her intention of going to sleep.
"I'm dead-tired," she said, "and swallerin' sech a fillin' meal have made me drowsy. But I ha' the key in my pocket, so don't you be trying that little gime o'running away."
Agnes slept, and snored i............
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