`Dr Turnbull thought him a deal better this morning,' said Mrs Tulliver; `he took more notice, and spoke to me - but he's never known Tom yet - looks at the poor lad as if he was a stranger, though he said something once about Tom and the pony. The doctor says his memory's gone a long way back, and he doesn't know Tom because he's thinking of him when he was little. Eh dear, eh dear!'

`I doubt it's the water got on his brain,' said aunt Pullet, turning round from adjusting her cap in a melancholy way at the pier-glass. `It's much if he ever gets up again, and if he does he'll most like be childish, as Mr Carr was, poor man! They fed him with a spoon as if he'd been a babby for three year. He'd quite lost the use of his limbs; but then, he'd got a Bath chair, and somebody to draw him; and that's what you won't have, I doubt, Bessy.'

`Sister Pullet,' said Mrs Glegg, severely, `if I understand right, we've come together this morning, t' advise and consult about what's to be done in this disgrace as has fallen upon the family, and not to talk o' people as don't belong to us. Mr Carr was none of our blood, nor noways connected with us, as I've ever heared.'

`Sister Glegg,' said Mrs Pullet in a pleading tone, drawing on her gloves again, and stroking the fingers in an agitated manner, `if you've got anything disrespectful to say o'Mr Carr, I do beg of you, as you won't say it to me. I know what he was,' she added, with a sigh. `His breath was short to that degree as you could hear him two rooms off.'

`Sophy!' said Mrs Glegg, with indignant disgust, `you do talk o' people's complaints till it's quite undecent. But I say again, as I said before, I didn't come away from home to talk about acquaintance, whether they'd short breath or long. If we aren't come together for one to hear what the other 'ull do to save a sister and her children from the parish, I shall go back. One can't act without the other, I suppose; it isn't to be expected as I should do everything.'

`Well, Jane,' said Mrs Pullet, `I don't see as you've been so very forrard at doing. So far as I know, this is the first time as here you've been, since it's been known as the bailiff's in the house, and I was here yesterday and looked at all Bessy's linen and things, and I told her I'd buy in the spotted table cloths - I couldn't speak fairer; for as for the tea-pot as she doesn't want to go out o' the family, it stands to sense I can't do with two silver tea-pots, not if it hadn't a straight spout - but the spotted damask I was allays fond on.'

`I wish it could be managed so as my tea-pot and chany and the best castors needn't be put up for sale,' said poor Mrs Tulliver, beseechingly, `and the sugar tongs, the first things ever I bought.'

`But that can't be helped, you know,' said Mr Glegg. `If one o' the family chooses to buy 'em in, they can, but one thing must be bid for as well as another.'

`And it isn't to be looked for,' said uncle Pullet, with unwonted independence of idea, `as your own family should pay more for things nor they'll fetch. They may go for an old song by auction.'

`O dear, O dear,' said Mrs Tulliver, `to think o' my chany being sold i' that way - and I bought it when I was married just as you did yours, Jane and Sophy: and I know you didn't like mine, because o' the sprig, but I was fond of it, and there's never been a bit broke, for I've washed it myself - and there's the tulips on the cups, and the roses, as anybody might go and look at 'em for pleasure. You wouldn't like your chany to go for an old song and be broke to pieces, though yours has got no colour in it, Jane - it's all white and fluted, and didn't cost so much as mine. And there's the castors - sister Deane, I can't think but you'd like to have the castors, for I've heard you say they're pretty.'

`Well, I've no objection to buy some of the best things,' said Mrs Deane, rather loftily. `We can do with extra things in our house.'

`Best things!' exclaimed Mrs Glegg, with severity which had gathered intensity from her long silence. `It drives me past patience to hear you all talking o' best things, and buying in this that and the other,

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