Dear Fanny, what is the matter? Tell me.
Matter, you little Mole, said Fanny. If you were not the blindest of the blind, you would have no occasion to ask me. The idea of daring to pretend to assert that you have eyes in your head, and yet ask me whats the matter!
Is it Mr Sparkler, dear? Mis-ter Spark-kler! repeated Fanny, with unbounded scorn, as if he were the last subject in the Solar system that could possibly be near her mind. No, Miss Bat, it is not.
Immediately afterwards, she became remorseful for having called her sister names; declaring with sobs that she knew she made herself hateful, but that everybody drove her to it.
I dont think you are well to-night, dear Fanny.
Stuff and nonsense! replied the young lady, turning angry again; I am as well as you are. Perhaps I might say better, and yet make no boast of it.
Poor Little Dorrit, not seeing her way to the offering of any soothing words that would escape repudiation, deemed it best to remain quiet. At first, Fanny took this ill, too; protesting to her looking-glass, that of all the trying sisters a girl could have, she did think the most trying sister was a flat sister. That she knew she was at times a wretched temper; that she knew she made herself hateful; that when she made herself hateful, nothing would do her half the good as being told so; but that, being afflicted with a flat sister, she never was told so, and the consequence resulted that she was absolutely tempted and goaded into making herself disagreeable. Besides (she angrily told her looking- glass), she didnt want to be forgiven. It was not a right example, that she should be constantly stooping to be forgiven by a younger sister. And this was the Art of itthat she was always being placed in the position of being forgiven, whether she liked it or not. Finally she burst into violent weeping, and, when her sister came and sat close at her side to comfort her, said, Amy, youre an Angel!
But, I tell you what, my Pet, said Fanny, when her sisters gentleness had calmed her, it now comes to this; that things cannot and shall not go on as they are at present going on, and that there must be an end of this, one way or another.
As the announcement was vague, though very peremptory, Little Dorrit returned, Let us talk about it.
Quite so, my dear, assented Fanny, as she dried her eyes. Let us talk about it. I am rational again now, and you shall advise me. Will you advise me, my sweet child?
Even Amy smiled at this notion, but she said, I will, Fanny, as well as I can.
Thank you, dearest Amy, returned Fanny, kissing her. You are my anchor.
Having embraced her Anchor with great affection, Fanny took a bottle of sweet toilette water from the table, and called to her maid for a fine handkerchief. She then dismissed that attendant for the night, and went on to be advised; dabbing her eyes and forehead from time to time to cool them.
My love, Fanny began, our characters and points of view are sufficiently different (kiss me again, my darling), to make it very probable that I shall surprise you by what I am going to say. What I am going to say, my dear, is, that notwithstanding our property, we labour, socially speaking, under disadvantages. You dont quite understand what I mean, Amy?
I have no doubt I shall, said Amy, mildly, after a few words more.
Well, my dear, what I mean is, that we are, after all, newcomers into fashionable life.
I am sure, Fanny, Little Dorrit interposed in her zealous admiration, no one need find that out in you.
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