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CHAPTER XV._A Girl in Ten Thousand

 They all sat down to dinner, which Effie further noticed was a great deal more luxurious than when she held the purse strings. There was a nice little joint of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, and one or two vegetables. This course was followed by an apple tart and custard; and then the board was graced with some russet apples and walnuts and a bottle of port wine.

Effie felt such a sense of consternation that she could scarcely eat this pleasant food. But Mrs. Staunton, George, Lawson, and the younger children enjoyed the dinner thoroughly. When the beef was taken away, there was very little left on the joint; and as to the fruit tart, it vanished almost as soon as it was cut. Effie could not help wondering to herself how £150 a year could meet this lavish style of living.

Lawson talked very pleasantly during dinner. After glancing toward Effie several times, he suddenly remarked:

"I cannot help feeling that I know your face," said he. "Where and when have we met before?"

"I saw you last night," said Effie, with a smile.

"You saw me last night! What in the world do you mean?"

"Yes," said Effie. "Don't you remember No. 17, in B Ward? You came in to stop that terrible112 hemorrhage from the lungs from which she was suffering."

"B Ward at St. Joseph's?" exclaimed Lawson.

"Oh, my dear Effie, now I beg of you not to allude to horrible things at dinner," exclaimed Mrs. Staunton.

"No, mother; I am sorry I mentioned it." Effie colored up.

"What have you to do with St. Joseph's?" said Lawson.

"I am a probationer in B Ward, under Sister Kate."

"Never! how extraordinary! Now I remember, you are the girl who held the basin. So you really are a probationer! A fresh one! Have you been there long?"

"Just a week."

"Well, let me congratulate you on one thing, you held that basin without shaking it; I expect you have got plenty of nerve. Of course, I knew I must have seen you before; I never forget a face."

Lawson presently went out with George for a walk. Agnes dressed the children and took them with her to the Sunday school, and Effie was alone with her mother.

"Come and sit by me, darling," said Mrs. Staunton. "It is so very nice to have you home again; I miss you very much, my dear daughter. But I am really getting better. George wants me to consult Dr. Davidson at St. Joseph's Hospital. He thinks that your dear father may have been mistaken about my heart, and that it may get quite strong and well again."

"If you feel better, I don't think I would consult anyone," said Effie, trembling a little.

"Well, dear, well, there's no hurry about it. But I always notice, Effie, and it distresses me not a little113 that any suggestion of George's you are likely to pooh-pooh; now, surely that is scarcely fair to him, dear fellow? You must notice, my love, how cheerful and pleasant we have made this room. George insisted on my getting new curtains—only white muslin, you careful child. They cost really very little, but they do make such a difference in the effect. Then he has also determined that I shall live better, plenty of meat and a little port wine. It is a most false economy, my dear, not to attend to one's diet. There's nothing else keeps up the health."

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