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The Evil Genius

12. Two of Them Sleep Badly
Waiting for Sydney to come into the bedroom as usual and wish her good-night, Kitty
was astonished by the appearance of her grandmother, entering on tiptoe from the
corridor, with a small paper parcel in her hand.
"Whisper!" said Mrs. Presty, pointing to the open door of communication with Mrs.
Linley's room. "This is your birthday present. You mustn't look at it till you wake to-
morrow morning." She pushed the parcel under the pillow--and, instead of saying good-
night, took a chair and sat down.
"May I show my present," Kitty asked, "when I go to mamma in the morning?"
The present hidden under the paper wrapper was a sixpenny picture-book. Kitty's
grandmother disapproved of spending money lavishly on birthday gifts to children.
"Show it, of course; and take the greatest care of it," Mrs. Presty answered gravely. "But
tell me one thing, my dear, wouldn't you like to see all your presents early in the
morning, like mine?"
Still smarting under the recollection of her interview with her son-in-law, Mrs. Presty had
certain ends to gain in putting this idea into the child's head. It was her special object to
raise domestic obstacles to a private interview between the husband and wife during the
earlier hours of the day. If the gifts, usually presented after the nursery dinner, were
produced on this occasion after breakfast, there would be a period of delay before any
confidential conversation could take place between Mr. and Mrs. Linley. In this interval
Mrs. Presty saw her opportunity of setting Linley's authority at defiance, by rousing the
first jealous suspicion in the mind of his wife.
Innocent little Kitty became her grandmother's accomplice on the spot. "I shall ask
mamma to let me have my presents at breakfast-time," she announced.
"And kind mamma will say Yes," Mrs. Presty chimed in. "We will breakfast early, my
precious child. Good-night."
Kitty was half asleep when her governess entered the room afterward, much later than
usual. "I thought you had forgotten me," she said, yawning and stretching out her plump
little arms.
Sydney's heart ached when she thought of the separation that was to come with the next
day; her despair forced its way to expression in words.
"I wish I could forget you," she answered, in reckless wretchedness.
The child was still too drowsy to hear plainly. "What did you say?" she asked. Sydney
gently lifted her in the bed, and kissed her again and again. Kitty's sleepy eyes opened in
 
 
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