Perhaps the little pinched faces around the scanty board—and both Kate's and Robert's looked pinched—struck unpleasantly upon Alice, for she was evidently in less good spirits than usual. She had come down by the omnibus, and taken them by surprise.

An idea, like a fear, flashed into the mind of Mrs. Raynor. It was so very unusual for Alice to come down in this unexpected manner. "You have brought bad news, child!" she faintly said. "What is it?"

And, for answer, Alice burst into tears. The knowledge of their home privations was to her as a very nightmare, for she had a warm heart. What with that and other thoughts, her spirits were always more or less subdued.

"I don't know how to tell you," she cried; "but it is what I have come to do. Mamma, I am going to leave Mrs. Preen's."

Mrs. Raynor sank back in her chair. "Oh, child! For

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