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She was as good as her word. She was one of those people who can
bear a great deal of pleasure, and she never flinched in her
perseverance in the cause. She seldom got hold of the newspaper
(which she settled herself down in the softest chair in the house
to read through an eye-glass, every day, for two hours), but she
found out something that she was certain Annie would like to see.

It was in vain for Annie to protest that she was weary of such
things. Her mother's remonstrance always was, 'Now, my dear Annie,
I am sure you know better; and I must tell you, my love, that you
are not making a proper return for the kindness of Doctor Strong.'

This was usually said in the Doctor's presence, and appeared to me
to constitute Annie's principal inducement for withdrawing her
objections when she made any. But in general she resigned herself
to her mother, and went where the Old Soldier would.

It rarely happened now that Mr. Maldon accompanied them. Sometimes
my aunt and Dora were invited to do so, and accepted the
invitation. Sometimes Dora only was asked. The time had been,
when I should have been uneasy in her going; but reflection on what
had passed that former night in the Doctor's study, had made a
change in my mistrust. I believed that the Doctor was right, and
I had no worse suspicions.

My aunt rubbed her nose sometimes when she happened to be alone
with me, and said she couldn't make it out; she wished they were
happier; she didn't think our military friend (so she always called
the Old Soldier) mended the matter at all. My aunt further
expressed her opinion, 'that if our military friend would cut off
those butterflies, and give 'em to the chimney-sweepers for
May-day, it would look like the beginning of something sensible on
her part.'

But her abiding reliance was on Mr. Dick. That man had evidently
an idea in his head, she said; and if he could only once pen it up
into a corner, which was his great difficulty, he would distinguish
himself in some extraordinary manner.

Unconscious of this prediction, Mr. Dick continued to occupy
precisely the same ground in reference to the Doctor and to Mrs.
Strong. He seemed neither to advance nor to recede. He appeared
to have settled into his original foundation, like a building; and
I must confess that my faith in his ever Moving, was not much
greater than if he had been a building.
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