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said Miss La Creevy; ‘for I have thought of nothing but hammers,
nails, screwdrivers, and gimlets, morning, noon, and night.’

‘You never bestowed one thought upon yourself, I believe,’
returned Kate, smiling.

‘Upon my word, my dear, when there are so many pleasanter
things to think of, I should be a goose if I did,’ said Miss La Creevy.
‘By-the-bye, I have thought of somebody too. Do you know, that I
observe a great change in one of this family--a very extraordinary

‘In whom?’ asked Kate, anxiously. ‘Not in--’
‘Not in your brother, my dear,’ returned Miss La Creevy,
anticipating the close of the sentence, ‘for he is always the same
affectionate good-natured clever creature, with a spice of the--I
won’t say who--in him when there’s any occasion, that he was
when I first knew you. No. Smike, as he will be called, poor fellow!
for he won’t hear of a Mr before his name, is greatly altered, even
in this short time.’

‘How?’ asked Kate. ‘Not in health?’
‘N-n-o; perhaps not in health exactly,’ said Miss La Creevy,
pausing to consider, ‘although he is a worn and feeble creature,
and has that in his face which it would wring my heart to see in
yours. No; not in health.’

‘How then?’
‘I scarcely know,’ said the miniature painter. ‘But I have
watched him, and he has brought the tears into my eyes many
times. It is not a very difficult matter to do that, certainly, for I am
easily melted; still I think these came with good cause and reason.
I am sure that since he has been here, he has grown, from some
strong cause, more conscious of his weak intellect. He feels it

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