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couldn't bear her?
What could I do, but kiss away her tears, and tell her how I doted
on her, after that!
'I am sure I am very affectionate,' said Dora; 'you oughtn't to be
cruel to me, Doady!'
'Cruel, my precious love! As if I would - or could - be cruel to
you, for the world!'
'Then don't find fault with me,' said Dora, making a rosebud of her
mouth; 'and I'll be good.'
I was charmed by her presently asking me, of her own accord, to
give her that cookery-book I had once spoken of, and to show her
how to keep accounts as I had once promised I would. I brought the
volume with me on my next visit (I got it prettily bound, first, to
make it look less dry and more inviting); and as we strolled about
the Common, I showed her an old housekeeping-book of my aunt's, and
gave her a set of tablets, and a pretty little pencil-case and box
of leads, to practise housekeeping with.
But the cookery-book made Dora's head ache, and the figures made
her cry. They wouldn't add up, she said. So she rubbed them out,
and drew little nosegays and likenesses of me and Jip, all over the
Then I playfully tried verbal instruction in domestic matters, as
we walked about on a Saturday afternoon. Sometimes, for example,
when we passed a butcher's shop, I would say:
'Now suppose, my pet, that we were married, and you were going to
buy a shoulder of mutton for dinner, would you know how to buy it?'
My pretty little Dora's face would fall, and she would make her
mouth into a bud again, as if she would very much prefer to shut
mine with a kiss.
'Would you know how to buy it, my darling?' I would repeat,
perhaps, if I were very inflexible.
Dora would think a little, and then reply, perhaps, with great