`Poor soul!' Camilla presently went on (I knew they had all been looking at me in the mean time), `he is so very strange!Would anyone believe that when Tom's wife died, he actually could not be induced to see the importance of the children's having the deepest of trimmings to their mourning? "Good Lord!" says he, "Camilla, what can it signify so long as the poor bereaved little things are in black?" So like Matthew! The idea!'

`Good points in him, good points in him,' said Cousin Raymond; `Heaven forbid I should deny good points in him; but he never had, and he never will have, any sense of the proprieties.'

`You know I was obliged,' said Camilla, `I was obliged to be firm. I said, "It WILL NOT DO, for the credit of the family." I told him that, without deep trimmings, the family was disgraced. I cried about it from breakfast till dinner. I injured my digestion. And at last he flung out in his violent way, and said, with a D, "Then do as you like." Thank Goodness it will always be a consolation to me to know that I instantly went out in a pouring rain and bought the things.'

`He paid for them, did he not?' asked Estella.

`It's not the question, my dear child, who paid for them,' returned Camilla. `I bought them. And I shall often think of that with peace, when I wake up in the night.'

The ringing of a distant bell, combined with the echoing of some cry or call along the passage by which I had come, interrupted the conversation and caused Estella to say to me, `Now, boy!' On my turning round, they all looked at me with the utmost contempt, and, as I went out, I heard Sarah Pocket say, `Well I am sure!What next!' and Camilla add, with indignation, `Was there ever such a fancy! The i-de-a!'

As we were going with our candle along the dark passage, Estella stopped all of a sudden, and, facing round, said in her taunting manner with her face quite close to mine:


`Well, miss?' I answered, almost falling over her and checking myself.

She stood looking at me, and, of course, I stood looking at her.

`Am I pretty?'

`Yes; I think you are very pretty.'

`Am I insulting?'

`Not so much so as you were last time,' said I.

`Not so much so?'


She fired when she asked the last question, and she slapped my face with such force as she had, when I answered it.

`Now?' said she. `You little coarse monster, what do you think of me now?'

`I shall not tell you.'

`Because you are going to tell, up-stairs. It that it?'

`No,' said I, `that's not it.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.