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HOME > Short Stories > Sue, A Little Heroine > CHAPTER IX. A TRIP INTO THE COUNTRY.
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 Saturday dawned a very bright and beautiful day. Mrs. Warren got up early, and Connie also rose, feeling somehow or other that she was going to have a pleasanter time than she had yet enjoyed since her imprisonment. Oh yes, she was quite certain now that she was imprisoned; but for what object it was impossible for her even to guess.  
Mrs. Warren bustled out quite an hour earlier than usual. She did not go far on this occasion. She seemed a little anxious, and once or twice, to Connie's amazement, dodged down a back street as though she were afraid. Her red face turned quite pale when she did this, and she clutched Connie's arm and said in a faltering voice:
"I'm tuk with a stitch in my side! Oh, my poor, dear young lydy, I'm afeered as I won't be able to take yer for a long walk this blessed morning."
But when Connie, later on, inquired after the stitch, she was told to mind her own business, and she began to think that Mrs. Warren had pretended.
They reached Waterloo at quite an early hour, and there they took third-class tickets to a part of the country about thirty miles from London. It took them over an hour to get down, and during that time Connie sat by the window wrapped in contemplation. For the first time she saw green grass and hills and running water, and although it was midwinter she saw trees which seemed to her too magnificent and glorious for words. Her eyes shone with happiness, and she almost forgot Mrs. Warren's existence. At last they reached the little wayside station to which Mrs. Warren had taken tickets. They got out, and walked down a winding country lane.
"Is this real, real country?" asked Connie.
"Yus—too real for me."
"Oh ma'am, it's bootiful! But I dunna see the flowers."
"Flowers don't grow in the winter, silly."32
"Don't they? I thought for sure I'd see 'em a-blowin' and a-growin'. Yer said so—yer mind."
"Well, so yer wull, come springtime, ef ye're a good gel. Now, I want to talk wid yer wery serious-like."
"Oh ma'am, don't!" said poor Connie.
"None o' yer 'dont's' wid me! You ha' got to be very thankful to me for all I'm a-doin' for yer—feedin yer, and cockerin' yer up, and makin' a fuss o' yer, and brushing out yer 'air, and giving yer blue ties, and boots, and gloves."
"Oh ma'am, yes," said Connie; "and I'm wery much obleeged—I am, truly—but I'd rayther a sight rayther, go 'ome to father; I would, ma'am."
"Wot little gels 'ud like isn't wot little gels 'ull get," said Mrs. Warren. "You come to me of yer own free will, and 'avin' come, yer'll stay. Ef yer makes a fuss, or lets out to anybody that yer don't like it, I've a little room in my house—a room widdout no light and no winder, and so far away from any other room that yer might scream yerself sick and no one 'ud 'ear. Into that room yer goes ef yer makes trouble. And now, listen."
Mrs. Warren gripped Connie's arm so tight that the poor child had to suppress a scream.
"I know wot ye're been saying to Agnes—a-grumblin' and a-grumblin' to Agnes, instead o' down on yer knees and thankin' the Almighty that yer've found Mammy Warren. I know all about it: Yer'll stop that—d'yer 'ear—d'yer 'ear?"
"Yus, ma'am," said Connie.
"Do yer, promise?"
"Yus, ma'am," said the poor child again.
"I'll see as yer keeps it—yer little good-for-nothing beggar maid as I'm a-pamperin' of! Don't I work for yer, and toil for yer? And am I to have naught but grumbles for my pains? Yer won't like that room—an' it's there!"
"I won't grumble," said Connie, terrified, and not daring to do anything but propitiate her tyrant.
Mrs. Warren's manner altered.
"Wull," she said, "I ha' brought yer down all this long way to 'ave a plain talk, and I guess we 'ave 'ad it. You please me, and I'll do my dooty by you; but don't please me, and there ain't a gel in the whole of Lunnon'll be more misrubble than you. Don't think as yer'll git aw'y, for yer won't—no, not a bit o' it. And now I've something else to say. There's a young boy as we're goin' to see to-day. 'Is name is Ronald; he's a special friend o' mine. I ha' had that boy a-wisiting o' me afore now, but he were took bad with a sort of fever. My word! din't I nurse him—the best o' good things didn't I give 'im! But his narves went wrong, and I sent him into the country for change of hair. He's all right now. He's a very purty boy, same as you're a purty gel, and I'm goin' to bring him back to be a companion for yer."
"Oh ma'am!"
"Yus," said Mrs. Warren. "Yer'll like that, won't yer?"33
"Oh yus, ma'am."
"Wull, now—we'll be calling at the cottage in a few minutes, and wot I want yer to do is to have a talk with that yer boy. Ye're to tell him as I'm wonnerful good; ye're to tell him the sort o' things I does for yer. The poor boy—he got a notion in his head w'en he had the fever—that I—I—Mammy Warren—wor cruel to him. You tell him as there ain't a word o' truth in it, for a kinder or more motherly body never lived. Ef yer don't tell him that, I'll soon find out; an' there's the room without winders an' without light real 'andy. Now—do yer promise?"
These words were accompanied by a violent shake.
"Do yer promise?"
"Yus, I promise," said Connie, turning white.
Mrs. Warren had an extraordinary capacity for changing her voice and manner, even the expression of her face. While she had been extracting two promises from poor Connie, she looked like the most awful, wicked old woman that the worst parts of London could produce; but when on two points Connie had faithfully promised to yield to her wishes, she immediately altered her tactics, and became as genial and affectionate and pleasant as she had been the reverse a few minutes back.
"I believes yer," she said, "and you're a real nice child, and there won't be any one in the 'ole of Lunnun 'appier than you as long as yer take the part of poor old Mammy Warren. Now then, yere's the cottage, and soon we'll see the little man. He'll be a nice companion for yer, Connie, and yer'll like that, won't you?"
"Oh yes, ma'am," said Connie.
She was not a London child for nothing. She had known a good deal of its u............
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