A little girl was coming down a flight of stairs that led up from a great hall, slowly letting her feet pause on each stair, while the light touch of her hand on the rail guided her. The very thoughtful little face seemed to be intent on something out of the house, and when she reached the bottom, she still stood with her hand on the great baluster that rested on the marble there, and looked wistfully out of the open door. So the sunlight came in and looked at her; a little figure in a white frock and blue sash, with the hair cut short all over a little round head, and a face not only just now full of some grave concern, but with habitually thoughtful eyes and a wise little mouth. She did not seem to see the sunlight which poured all over her, and lit up a wide, deep hall, floored with marble, and opening at the other end on trees and flowers, which shewed the sunlight busy there too. The child lingered wistfully. Then crossed the hall, and went into a matted, breezy, elegant room, where a lady lay luxuriously on a couch, playing with a book and a leaf-cutter. She could not be busy with anything in that attitude. Nearly all that was to be seen was a flow of lavender silk flounces, a rich slipper at rest on a cushion, and a dainty little cap with roses on a head too much at ease to rest. By the side of the lavender silk stood the little white dress, still and preoccupied as before—a few minutes without any notice.
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