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objects, gradually smiled herself, one-sided herself, and rubbed
herself, out of the room.

'Dick!' said my aunt. 'You know what I told you about time-servers
and wealth-worshippers?'

Mr. Dick - with rather a scared look, as if he had forgotten it -
returned a hasty answer in the affirmative.

'Mrs. Crupp is one of them,' said my aunt. 'Barkis, I'll trouble
you to look after the tea, and let me have another cup, for I don't
fancy that woman's pouring-out!'

I knew my aunt sufficiently well to know that she had something of
importance on her mind, and that there was far more matter in this
arrival than a stranger might have supposed. I noticed how her eye
lighted on me, when she thought my attention otherwise occupied;
and what a curious process of hesitation appeared to be going on
within her, while she preserved her outward stiffness and
composure. I began to reflect whether I had done anything to
offend her; and my conscience whispered me that I had not yet told
her about Dora. Could it by any means be that, I wondered!

As I knew she would only speak in her own good time, I sat down
near her, and spoke to the birds, and played with the cat, and was
as easy as I could be. But I was very far from being really easy;
and I should still have been so, even if Mr. Dick, leaning over the
great kite behind my aunt, had not taken every secret opportunity
of shaking his head darkly at me, and pointing at her.

'Trot,' said my aunt at last, when she had finished her tea, and
carefully smoothed down her dress, and wiped her lips - 'you
needn't go, Barkis! - Trot, have you got to be firm and

'I hope so, aunt.'

'What do you think?' inquired Miss Betsey.

'I think so, aunt.'

'Then why, my love,' said my aunt, looking earnestly at me, 'why do
you think I prefer to sit upon this property of mine tonight?'

I shook my head, unable to guess.
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