Agnes Grey HTML version

The Rector
THE following day was as fine as the preceding one. Soon after breakfast Miss
Matilda, having galloped and blundered through a few unprofitable lessons, and
vengeably thumped the piano for an hour, in a terrible humour with both me and
it, because her mamma would not give her a holiday, had betaken herself to her
favourite places of resort, the yards, the stables, and the dog-kennels; and Miss
Murray was gone forth to enjoy a quiet ramble with a new fashionable novel for
her companion, leaving me in the schoolroom hard at work upon a water-colour
drawing which I had promised to do for her, and which she insisted upon my
finishing that day.
At my feet lay a little rough terrier. It was the property of Miss Matilda; but she
hated the animal, and intended to sell it, alleging that it was quite spoiled. It was
really an excellent dog of its kind; but she affirmed it was fit for nothing, and had
not even the sense to know its own mistress.
The fact was she had purchased it when but a small puppy, insisting at first that
no one should touch it but herself; but soon becoming tired of so helpless and
troublesome a nursling, she had gladly yielded to my entreaties to be allowed to
take charge of it; and I, by carefully nursing the little creature from infancy to
adolescence, of course, had obtained its affections: a reward I should have
greatly valued, and looked upon as far outweighing all the trouble I had had with
it, had not poor Snap's grateful feelings exposed him to many a harsh word and
many a spiteful kick and pinch from his owner, and were he not now in danger of
being 'put away' in consequence, or transferred to some rough, stony- hearted
master. But how could I help it? I could not make the dog hate me by cruel
treatment, and she would not propitiate him by kindness.
However, while I thus sat, working away with my pencil, Mrs. Murray came, half-
sailing, half-bustling, into the room.
'Miss Grey,' she began, - 'dear! how can you sit at your drawing such a day as
this?' (She thought I was doing it for my own pleasure.) 'I wonder you don't put on
your bonnet and go out with the young ladies.'
'I think, ma'am, Miss Murray is reading; and Miss Matilda is amusing herself with
her dogs.'
'If you would try to amuse Miss Matilda yourself a little more, I think she would
not be driven to seek amusement in the companionship of dogs and horses and
grooms, so much as she is; and if you would be a little more cheerful and
conversable with Miss Murray, she would not so often go wandering in the fields
with a book in her hand. However, I don't want to vex you,' added she, seeing, I