Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
'Edward,' replied my mother, timidly, 'you are a far better judge
of all questions than I pretend to be. Both you and Jane are. I
only said -'
'You only said something weak and inconsiderate,' he replied. 'Try
not to do it again, my dear Clara, and keep a watch upon yourself.'
MY mother's lips moved, as if she answered 'Yes, my dear Edward,'
but she said nothing aloud.
'I was sorry, David, I remarked,' said Mr. Murdstone, turning his
head and his eyes stiffly towards me, 'to observe that you are of
a sullen disposition. This is not a character that I can suffer to
develop itself beneath my eyes without an effort at improvement.
You must endeavour, sir, to change it. We must endeavour to change
it for you.'
'I beg your pardon, sir,' I faltered. 'I have never meant to be
sullen since I came back.'
'Don't take refuge in a lie, sir!' he returned so fiercely, that I
saw my mother involuntarily put out her trembling hand as if to
interpose between us. 'You have withdrawn yourself in your
sullenness to your own room. You have kept your own room when you
ought to have been here. You know now, once for all, that I
require you to be here, and not there. Further, that I require you
to bring obedience here. You know me, David. I will have it
Miss Murdstone gave a hoarse chuckle.
'I will have a respectful, prompt, and ready bearing towards
myself,' he continued, 'and towards Jane Murdstone, and towards
your mother. I will not have this room shunned as if it were
infected, at the pleasure of a child. Sit down.'
He ordered me like a dog, and I obeyed like a dog.
'One thing more,' he said. 'I observe that you have an attachment
to low and common company. You are not to associate with servants.
The kitchen will not improve you, in the many respects in which you
need improvement. Of the woman who abets you, I say nothing -
since you, Clara,' addressing my mother in a lower voice, 'from old
associations and long-established fancies, have a weakness