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My new life had lasted for more than a week, and I was stronger
than ever in those tremendous practical resolutions that I felt the
crisis required. I continued to walk extremely fast, and to have
a general idea that I was getting on. I made it a rule to take as
much out of myself as I possibly could, in my way of doing
everything to which I applied my energies. I made a perfect victim
of myself. I even entertained some idea of putting myself on a
vegetable diet, vaguely conceiving that, in becoming a
graminivorous animal, I should sacrifice to Dora.

As yet, little Dora was quite unconscious of my desperate firmness,
otherwise than as my letters darkly shadowed it forth. But another
Saturday came, and on that Saturday evening she was to be at Miss
Mills's; and when Mr. Mills had gone to his whist-club (telegraphed
to me in the street, by a bird-cage in the drawing-room middle
window), I was to go there to tea.

By this time, we were quite settled down in Buckingham Street,
where Mr. Dick continued his copying in a state of absolute
felicity. My aunt had obtained a signal victory over Mrs. Crupp,
by paying her off, throwing the first pitcher she planted on the
stairs out of window, and protecting in person, up and down the
staircase, a supernumerary whom she engaged from the outer world.
These vigorous measures struck such terror to the breast of Mrs.
Crupp, that she subsided into her own kitchen, under the impression
that my aunt was mad. My aunt being supremely indifferent to Mrs.
Crupp's opinion and everybody else's, and rather favouring than
discouraging the idea, Mrs. Crupp, of late the bold, became within
a few days so faint-hearted, that rather than encounter my aunt
upon the staircase, she would endeavour to hide her portly form
behind doors - leaving visible, however, a wide margin of flannel
petticoat - or would shrink into dark corners. This gave my aunt
such unspeakable satisfaction, that I believe she took a delight in
prowling up and down, with her bonnet insanely perched on the top
of her head, at times when Mrs. Crupp was likely to be in the way.

My aunt, being uncommonly neat and ingenious, made so many little
improvements in our domestic arrangements, that I seemed to be
richer instead of poorer. Among the rest, she converted the pantry
into a dressing-room for me; and purchased and embellished a
bedstead for my occupation, which looked as like a bookcase in the
daytime as a bedstead could. I was the object of her constant
solicitude; and my poor mother herself could not have loved me
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