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tail, in token of owning my acquaintance.
“A beautiful animal!” I commenced again. “Do you intend
parting with the little ones, madam?”
“They are not mine,” said the amiable hostess, more repellingly
than Heathcliff himself could have replied.
“Ah, your favourites are among these!” I continued, turning to
an obscure cushion full of something like cats.
“A strange choice of favourites!” she observed scornfully.
Unluckily, it was a heap of dead rabbits. I hemmed once more,
and drew closer to the hearth, repeating my comment on the
wildness of the evening.
“You should not have come out,” she said, rising and reaching
from the chimney-piece two of the painted canisters.
Her position before was sheltered from the light; now, I had a
distinct view of her whole figure and countenance. She was
slender, and apparently scarcely past girlhood: an admirable form,
and the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the pleasure
of beholding: small features, very fair; flaxen ringlets, or rather
golden, hanging loose on her delicate neck; and eyes, had they
been agreeable in expression, they would have been irresistible;
fortunately for my susceptible heart, the only sentiment they
evinced hovered between scorn and a kind of desperation,
singularly unnatural to be detected there. The canisters were
almost out of her reach; I made a motion to aid her; she turned
upon me as a miser might turn if any one attempted to assist him
in counting his gold.
“I don’t want your help,” she snapped; “I can get them for
“I beg your pardon,” I hastened to reply.