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aunt. 'I knew, from the first moment when I saw her with that poor
dear blessed baby of a mother of yours, that she was the most
ridiculous of mortals. But there are good points in Barkis!'

Affecting to laugh, she got an opportunity of putting her hand to
her eyes. Having availed herself of it, she resumed her toast and
her discourse together.

'Ah! Mercy upon us!' sighed my aunt. 'I know all about it, Trot!
Barkis and myself had quite a gossip while you were out with Dick.
I know all about it. I don't know where these wretched girls
expect to go to, for my part. I wonder they don't knock out their
brains against - against mantelpieces,' said my aunt; an idea which
was probably suggested to her by her contemplation of mine.

'Poor Emily!' said I.

'Oh, don't talk to me about poor,' returned my aunt. 'She should
have thought of that, before she caused so much misery! Give me a
kiss, Trot. I am sorry for your early experience.'

As I bent forward, she put her tumbler on my knee to detain me, and

'Oh, Trot, Trot! And so you fancy yourself in love! Do you?'

'Fancy, aunt!' I exclaimed, as red as I could be. 'I adore her
with my whole soul!'

'Dora, indeed!' returned my aunt. 'And you mean to say the little
thing is very fascinating, I suppose?'

'My dear aunt,' I replied, 'no one can form the least idea what she

'Ah! And not silly?' said my aunt.

'Silly, aunt!'

I seriously believe it had never once entered my head for a single
moment, to consider whether she was or not. I resented the idea,
of course; but I was in a manner struck by it, as a new one

'Not light-headed?' said my aunt.
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