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part from an impotent desire to lacerate somebody’s countenance
with her fair finger-nails.

This state of things had been brought about by divers means
and workings. Miss Squeers had brought it about, by aspiring to
the high state and condition of being matrimonially engaged,
without good grounds for so doing; Miss Price had brought it
about, by indulging in three motives of action: first, a desire to
punish her friend for laying claim to a rivalship in dignity, having
no good title: secondly, the gratification of her own vanity, in
receiving the compliments of a smart young man: and thirdly, a
wish to convince the corn-factor of the great danger he ran, in
deferring the celebration of their expected nuptials; while
Nicholas had brought it about, by half an hour’s gaiety and
thoughtlessness, and a very sincere desire to avoid the imputation
of inclining at all to Miss Squeers. So the means employed, and
the end produced, were alike the most natural in the world; for
young ladies will look forward to being married, and will jostle
each other in the race to the altar, and will avail themselves of all
opportunities of displaying their own attractions to the best
advantage, down to the very end of time, as they have done from
its beginning.

‘Why, and here’s Fanny in tears now!’ exclaimed Miss Price, as
if in fresh amazement. ‘What can be the matter?’

‘Oh! you don’t know, miss, of course you don’t know. Pray don’t
trouble yourself to inquire,’ said Miss Squeers, producing that
change of countenance which children call making a face.

‘Well, I’m sure!’ exclaimed Miss Price.
‘And who cares whether you are sure or not, ma’am?’ retorted
Miss Squeers, making another face.

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