Miss Abbot turned to divest a stout leg of the necessary ligature. This
preparation for bonds, and the additional ignominy it inferred, took a
little of the excitement out of me.
"Don't take them off," I cried; "I will not stir."
In guarantee whereof, I attached myself to my seat by my hands.
"Mind you don't," said Bessie; and when she had ascertained that I was
really subsiding, she loosened her hold of me; then she and Miss Abbot
stood with folded arms, looking darkly and doubtfully on my face, as
incredulous of my sanity.
"She never did so before," at last said Bessie, turning to the Abigail.
"But it was always in her," was the reply. "I've told Missis often my
opinion about the child, and Missis agreed with me. She's an underhand
little thing: I never saw a girl of her age with so much cover."
Bessie answered not; but ere long, addressing me, she said--"You ought to
be aware, Miss, that you are under obligations to Mrs. Reed: she keeps
you: if she were to turn you off, you would have to go to the poorhouse."