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to me, and often told her of the time when she was afraid she was
'a cross old thing'. I never saw my aunt unbend more
systematically to anyone. She courted Jip, though Jip never
responded; listened, day after day, to the guitar, though I am
afraid she had no taste for music; never attacked the Incapables,
though the temptation must have been severe; went wonderful
distances on foot to purchase, as surprises, any trifles that she
found out Dora wanted; and never came in by the garden, and missed
her from the room, but she would call out, at the foot of the
stairs, in a voice that sounded cheerfully all over the house:

'Where's Little Blossom?'

Mr. Dick fulfils my aunt's Predictions

It was some time now, since I had left the Doctor. Living in his
neighbourhood, I saw him frequently; and we all went to his house
on two or three occasions to dinner or tea. The Old Soldier was in
permanent quarters under the Doctor's roof. She was exactly the
same as ever, and the same immortal butterflies hovered over her

Like some other mothers, whom I have known in the course of my
life, Mrs. Markleham was far more fond of pleasure than her
daughter was. She required a great deal of amusement, and, like a
deep old soldier, pretended, in consulting her own inclinations, to
be devoting herself to her child. The Doctor's desire that Annie
should be entertained, was therefore particularly acceptable to
this excellent parent; who expressed unqualified approval of his

I have no doubt, indeed, that she probed the Doctor's wound without
knowing it. Meaning nothing but a certain matured frivolity and
selfishness, not always inseparable from full-blown years, I think
she confirmed him in his fear that he was a constraint upon his
young wife, and that there was no congeniality of feeling between
them, by so strongly commending his design of lightening the load
of her life.

'My dear soul,' she said to him one day when I was present, 'you
know there is no doubt it would be a little pokey for Annie to be
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