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Now have I then eke this condicion That above all the flouris in the mede; Then love I most these flouris white and rede, Soche that men callin daisies in our town. To them have I so great affection, As I said erst, when comin is the Maie, That in my bed there dawith me no daie That I am up and walking in the mede, To see this floure agenst the sunne sprede.--CHAUCER.
"That is better!" said Margaret, contemplating a butterfly of the penwiper class, whose constitution her dexterous needle had been rendering less rickety than Blanche had left it.
Margaret still lay on the sofa, and her complexion had assumed the dead white of habitual ill-health. There was more languor of manner, and her countenance, when at rest, and not under the eye of her father, had a sadness of expression, as if any hopes that she might once have entertained were fading away. The years of Alan Ernescliffe's absence that had elasped had rather taken from her powers than added to them. Nevertheless, the habit of cheerfulness and sympathy had not deserted her, and it was with a somewhat amused glance that she turned towards Ethel, as she heard her answer by a sigh.
These years had dealt more kindly with Etheldred's outward appearance. They had rounded her angles, softened her features, and tinged her cheeks with a touch of red, that took off from the surrounding sallowness. She held herself better, had learned to keep her hair in order, and the more womanly dress, plain though it was, improved her figure more than could have been hoped in the days of her lank, gawky girlhood. No one could call her pretty, but her countenance had something more than ever pleasing in the animated and thoughtful expression on those marked features. She was sitting near the window, with a book, a dictionary, and pencil, as she replied to Margaret, with the sigh that made her sister smile.
"Poor Ethel! I condole with you."
"And I wonder at you!" said Ethel, "especially as Flora and Mrs. Hoxton say it is all for your sake;" then, nettled by Margaret's laugh, "Such a nice occupation for her, poor thing, as if you were Mrs. Hoxton, and had no resource but fancy-work."
"You know I am base enough to be so amused," said Margaret; "but, seriously, Ethel dear, I cannot bear to see you so much hurt by it. I did not know you were really grieved."
"Grieved! I am ashamed--sickened!" cried Ethel vehemently. "Poor Cocksmoor! As soon as anything is done there, Flora must needs go about implying that we have set some grand work in hand, and want only means--"
"Stop, Ethel; Flora does not boast."
"No, she does not boast. I wish she did! That would be straightforward and simple; but she has too good taste for that--so she does worse--she tells a little, and makes that go a long way, as if she were keeping back a great deal! You don't know how furious it makes me!"
"So," said Ethel, disregarding, "she stirs up all Stoneborough to hear what the Miss Mays are doing at Cocksmoor. So the Ladies' Committee must needs have their finger in! Much they cared for the place when it was wild and neglected! But they go to inspect Cherry and her school--Mrs. Ledwich and all--and, back they come, shocked-- no system, no order, the mistress untrained, the school too small, with no apparatus! They all run about in despair, as if we had ever asked them to help us. And so Mrs. Hoxton, who cares for poor children no more than for puppy-dogs, but who can't live without useless work, and has filled her house as full of it as it can hold, devises a bazaar--a field for her trumpery, and a show-off for all the young ladies; and Flora treats it like an inspiration! Off they trot, to the old Assembly Rooms. I trusted that the smallness of them would have knocked it on the head; but, still worse, Flora's talking of it makes Mr. Rivers think it our pet scheme; so, what does he do but offer his park, and so we are to have a regular fancy fair, and Cocksmoor School will be founded in vanity and frivolity! But I believe you like it!"
"I am not sure of my own feeling," said Margaret. "It has been settled without our interposition, and I have never been able to talk it over calmly with you. Papa does not seem to disapprove."
"No," said Ethel. "He will only laugh, and say it will spare him a great many of Mrs. Hoxton's nervous attacks. He thinks of it nearly as I do, at the bottom, but I cannot get him to stop it, nor even to say he does not wish Flora to sell."
"I did not understand that you really had such strong objections," said Margaret. "I thought it was only as a piece of folly, and--"
"And interference with my Cocksmoor?" said Ethel. I had better own to what may be wrong personal feeling at first."
"I can hardly call it wrong," said Margaret tenderly, "considering what Cocksmoor is to you, and what the Ladies' Committee is."
"Oh, Margaret, if the lawful authority--if a good clergyman would only come, how willingly would I work under him! But Mrs. Ledwich and--it is like having all the Spaniards and savages spoiling Robinson Crusoe's desert island!"
"It is not come to that yet," said Margaret; "but about the fancy fair. We all know that the school is very much wanted."
"Yes, but I hoped to wait in patience and perseverance, and do it at last."
"Now, Margaret! you know I was glad of Alan's help."
"I should think so!" said Margaret. "You need not make a favour of that!"
"Yes, but, don't you see, that came as almsgiving, in the way which brings a blessing. We want nothing to make us give money and work to Cocksmoor. We do all we can already; and I don't want to get a fine bag or a ridiculous pincushion in exchange!"
"Not you, but--"
"Well, for the rest. If they like to offer their money, well and good, the better for them; but why must they not give it to Cocksmoor--but for that unnatural butterfly of Blanche's, with black pins for horns, that they will go and sell at an extortionate rate."
"The price will be given for Cocksmoor's sake!"
"Pooh! Margaret. Do you think it is for Cocksmoor's sake that Lady Leonora Langdale and her fine daughter come down from London? Would Mrs. Hoxton spend the time in making frocks for Cocksmoor children that she does in cutting out paper, and stuffing glass bottles with it? Let people be honest--alms, or pleasure, or vanity! let them say which they mean; but don't make charity the excuse for the others; and, above all, don't make my poor Cocksmoor the victim of it."
"This is very severe," said Margaret, pausing, almost confounded. "Do you think no charity worth having but what is given on unmixed motives? Who, then, could give?"
"Margaret--we see much evil arise in the best-planned institutions; nay, in what are not human. Don't you think we ought to do our utmost to have no flaw in the foundation? Schools are not such perfect places that we can build them without fear, and, if the means are to be raised by a bargain for amusement--if they are to come from frivolity instead of self-denial, I am afraid of them. I do not mean that Cocksmoor has not been the joy of my life, and of Mary's, but that was not because we did it for pleasure."
"No!" said Margaret, sighing, "you found pleasure by the way. But why did you not say all this to Flora?"
"It is of no use to talk to Flora," said Ethel; "she would say it was high-flown and visionary. Oh! she wants it for the bazaar's own sake, and that is one reason why I hate it."
"I do believe it was very unfortunate for Flora that the Hoxtons took to patronising her, because Norman would not be patronised. Ever since it began, her mind has been full of visitings, and parties, and county families, and she has left off the home usefulness she used to care about."
"But you are old enough for that," said Margaret. "It would be hard to keep Flora at home, now that you can take her place, and do not care for going out. One of us must be the representative Miss May, you know, and keep up the civilities; and you may think yourself lucky it is not you."
"If it was only that, I should not care, but I may as well tell you, Margaret, for it is a weight to me. It is not the mere pleasure in gaieties--Flora cares for them, in themselves, as little as I do--nor is it neighbourliness, as a duty to others, for, you may observe, she always gets off any engagement to the Wards, or any of the town folk, to whom it would be a gratification to have her--she either eludes them, or sends me. The thing is, that she is always trying to be with the great people, the county set, and I don't think that is the safe way of going on."
Margaret mused sadly. "You frighten me, Ethel! I cannot say it is not so, and these are so like the latent faults that dear mamma's letter spoke of--"
Ethel sat meditating, and at last said, "I wish I had not told you! I don't always believe it myself, and it is so unkind, and you will make yourself unhappy too. I ought not to have thought it of her! Think of her ever-ready kindness and helpfulness; her pretty courteous ways to the very least; her obligingness and tact!"
"Yes," said Margaret, "she is one of the kindest people there is, and I am sure that she thought the gaining funds for Cocksmoor was the best thing to be done, that you would be pleased, and a great deal of pleasant occupation provided for us all."
"That is the bright side, the surface side," said Ethel.
"And not an untrue one," said Margaret; "Meta will not be vain, and will work the more happily for Cocksmoor's sake. Mary and Blanche, poor Mrs. Boulder, and many good ladies who hitherto have not known how to help Cocksmoor, will do so now with a good will, and though it is not what we should have chosen, I think we had better take it in good part."
"You think so?"
"Yes, indeed I do. If you go about with that dismal face and strong disapproval, it will really seem as if it was the having your dominion muddled with that you dislike. Besides, it is putting yourself forward to censure what is not absolutely wrong in itself, and that cannot be desirable."
"No," said Ethel, "but I cannot help being sorry for Cocksmoor. I thought patience would prepare the way, and the means be granted in good time, without hastiness--only earnestness."
"You had made a picture for yourself," said Margaret gently. "Yes, we all make pictures for ourselves, and we are the foremost figures in them; but they are taken out of our hands, and we see others putting in rude touches, and spoiling our work, as it seems; but, by- and-by, we shall see that it is all guided."
Ethel sighed. "Then having protested to my utmost against this concern, you think I ought to be amiable about it."
"And to let poor Mary enjoy it. She would be so happy, if you would not bewilder her by your gloomy looks, and keep her to the hemming of your endless glazed calico bonnet strings."
"Poor old Mary! I thought that was by her own desire."
"Only her dutiful allegiance to you; and, as making pincushions is nearly her greatest delight, it is cruel to make her think it, in some mysterious way, wrong and displeasing to you."
Ethel laughed, and said, "I did not think Mary was in such awe of me. I'll set her free, then. But, Margaret, do you really think I ought to give up my time to it?"
"Could you not just let them have a few drawings, or a little bit of your company work--just enough for you not to annoy every one, and seem to be testifying against them? You would not like to vex Meta."
"It will go hard, if I do not tell Meta my mind. I cannot bear to see her deluded."
"I don't think she is," said Margaret; "but she does not set her face against what others wish. As papa says of his dear little humming- bird, she takes the honey, and leaves the poison."
"Yes; amid all that enjoyment, she is always choosing the good, and leaving the evil; always sacrificing something, and then being happy in the sacrifice!"
"No one would guess it was a sacrifice, it is so joyously done--least of all Meta herself."
"Her coming home from London was exactly a specimen of that sacrifice--and no sacrifice," said Ethel.
"What was that?" said Norman, who had come up to the window unobserved, and had been listening to their few last sentences.
"Did not you hear of it? It was a sort of material turning away from vanity that made me respect the little rival Daisy, as much as I always admired her.
"Tell me," said Norman. "When was it?"
"Last spring. You know Mr. Rivers is always ill in London: indeed, papa says it would be the death of him; but Lady Leonora Langdale thinks it dreadful that Meta should not go to all the gaieties; and last year, when Mrs. Larpent was gone, she insisted on her coming to stay with her for the season. Now Meta thought it wrong to leave her father alone, and wanted not to have gone at all, but, to my surprise, Margaret advised her to yield, and go for some short fixed time."
"Yes," said Margaret; "as all her elders thought it right, I did not think we could advise her to refuse absolutely. Besides, it was a promise."
"She declared she would only stay three weeks, and the Langdales were satisfied, thinking that, once in London, they should keep her. They little knew Meta, with her pretty ways of pretending that her resolution is only spoiled-child wilfulness. None of you quite trusted her, did you, Margaret? Even papa was almost afraid, though he wanted her very much to be at home; for poor Mr. Rivers was so low and forlorn without her, though he would not let her know, because Lady Leonora had persuaded him to think it was all for her good."
"What did they do with her in London?" asked Norman.
"They did their utmost," said Ethel. "They made engagements for her, and took her to parties and concerts--those she did enjoy very much and she had lessons in drawing and music, but whenever she wanted to see any exhibitions, or do anything, they always said there was time to spare. I believe it was very charming, and she would have been very glad to stay, but she never would promise,and she was always thinking of her positive duty at home. She seemed afterwards to think of her wishes to remain almost as if they had been a sin; but she said--dear little Meta--that nothing had ever helped her so much as that she used to say to herself, whenever she was going out, 'I renounce the world.' It came to a crisis at last, when Lady Leonora wanted her to be presented--the Drawing-Room was after the end of her three weeks--and she held out against it; though her aunt laughed at her, and treated her as if she was a silly, shy child. At last, what do you think Meta did? She went to her uncle, Lord Cosham, and appealed to him to say whether there was the least necessity for her to go to court."
"Then she gained the day?" said Norman.
"He was delighted with that spirited, yet coaxing way of hers, and admired her determination. He told papa so himself--for you must know, when he heard all Meta had to say, he called her a very good girl, and said he would take her home himself on the Saturday she had fixed, and spend Sunday at Abbotstoke. Oh! he was perfectly won by her sweet ways. Was not it lucky? for before this Lady Leonora had written to Mr. Rivers, and obtained from him a letter, which Meta had the next day, desiring her to stay for the Drawing-Room. But Meta knew well enough how it was, and was not to be conquered that way; so she said she must go home to entertain her uncle, and that if her papa really wished it, she would return on Monday."
"Knowing well that Mr. Rivers would be only too glad to keep her."
"Just so. How happy they both did look, when they came in here on their way from the station where he had met her! How she danced in, and how she sparkled with glee!" said Margaret, "and poor Mr. Rivers was quite tremulous with the joy of having her back, hardly able to keep from fondling her every minute, and coming again into the room after they had taken leave, to tell me that his little girl had preferred her home, and her poor old father, to all the pleasures in London. Oh, I was so glad they came! That was a sight that did one good! And then, I fancy Mr. Rivers is a wee bit afraid of his brother-in-law, for he begged papa and Flora to come home and dine with them, but Flora was engaged to Mrs. Hoxton."
"Ha! Flora!" said Norman, as if he rather enjoyed her losing something through her going to Mrs. Hoxton. "I suppose she would have given the world to go!"
"I was so sorry," said Ethel; "but I had to go instead, and it was delightful. Papa made great friends with Lord Cosham, while Mr. Rivers went to sleep after dinner, and I had such a delightful wandering with Meta, listening to the nightingales, and hearing all about it. I never knew Meta so well before."
"And there was no more question of her going back?" said Norman.
"No, indeed! She said, when her uncle asked in joke, on Monday morning, whether she had packed up to return with him, Mr. Rivers was quite nervously alarmed the first moment, lest she should intend it."
"That little Meta," said Margaret. "Her wishes for substantial use have been pretty well realised!"
"Um!" said Ethel.
"What do you mean?" said Norman sharply. "I should call her present position the perfection of feminine usefulness."
"So perhaps it is," said Ethel; "but though she does it beautifully, and is very valuable, to be the mistress of a great luxurious house like that does not seem to me the subject of aspirations like Meta's."
"Think of the contrast with what she used to be," said Margaret gently, "the pretty, gentle, playful toy that her father brought her up to be, living a life of mere accomplishments and self-indulgence; kind certainly, but never so as to endure any disagreeables, or make any exertion. But as soon as she entered into the true spirit of our calling, did she not begin to seek to live the sterner life, and train herself in duty? The quiet way she took always seemed to me the great beauty of it. She makes duties of her accomplishments by making them loving obedience to her father."
"Not that they are not pleasant to her?" interposed Norman.
"Certainly," said Margaret, "but it gives them the zest, and confidence that they are right, which one could not have in such things merely for one's own amusement."
"Yes," said Ethel, "she does more; she told me one day that one reason she liked sketching was, that looking into nature always made psalms and hymns sing in her ears, and so with her music and her beautiful copies from the old Italian devotional pictures. She says our papa taught her to look at them so as to see more than the mere art and beauty."
"Think how diligently she measures out her day," said Margaret; "getting up early, to be sure of time for reading her serious books, and working hard at her tough studies."
"And what I care for still more," said Ethel, "her being bent on learning plain needlework and doing it for her poor people. She is so useful amongst the cottagers at Abbotstoke!"
"And a famous little mistress of the house," added Margaret. "When the old housekeeper went away two years ago, she thought she ought to know something about the government of the house; so she asked me about it, and proposed to her father that the new one should come to her for orders, and that she should pay the wages and have the accounts in her hands. Mr. Rivers thought it was only a freak, but she has gone on steadily; and I assure you, she has had some difficulties, for she has come to me about them. Perhaps Ethel does not believe in them?"
"No, I was only thinking how I should hate ordering those fanciful dinners for Mr. Rivers. I know what you mean, and how she had difficulties about sending the maids to church, and in dealing with the cook, who did harm to the other servants, and yet sent up dinners that he liked, and how puzzled she was to avoid annoying him. Oh! she has got into a peck of troubles by making herself manager."
"And had she not been the Meta she is, she would either have fretted, or thrown it all up, instead of humming briskly through all. She never was afraid to speak to any one," said Margaret, "that is one thing; I believe every difficulty makes the spirit bound higher, till she springs over it, and finds it, as she says, only a pleasure."
"She need not be afraid to speak," said Ethel, "for she always does it well and winningly. I have seen her give a reproof in so firm and kind a way, and so bright in the instant of forgiveness."
"Yes," said Margaret, "she does those disagreeable things as well as Flora does in her way."
"And yet," said Ethel, "doing things well does not seem to be a snare to her."
"Because," whispered Margaret, "she fulfils more than almost any one- -the--'Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.'"
"Do you know," said Norman suddenly, "the derivation of Margarita?"
"No further than those two pretty meanings, the pearl and the daisy," said Ethel.
"It is from the Persian Mervarid, child of light," said Norman; and, with a sudden flush of colour, he returned to the garden.
"A fit meaning for one who carries sunshine with her," said Margaret. "I feel in better tune for a whole day after her bright eyes have been smiling on me."
"You want no one to put you in tune," said Ethel fondly--"you, our own pearl of light."
"No, call me only an old faded daisy," said Margaret sadly.
"Not a bit, only our moon, la gran Margarita" said Ethel.
"I hear the real Daisy coming!" exclaimed Margaret, her face lighting up with pleasure as the two youngest children entered, and, indeed, little Gertrude's golden hair, round open face, fresh red and white complexion, and innocent looks, had so much likeness to the flower, as to promote the use of the pet name, though protests were often made in favour of her proper appellation. Her temper was daisy--like too, serene and loving, and able to bear a great deal of spoiling, and resolve as they might, who was not her slave?
Miss Winter no longer ruled the schoolroom. Her sway had been brought to a happy conclusion by a proposal from a widowed sister to keep house with her; and Ethel had reason to rejoice that Margaret had kept her submissive under authority, which, if not always judicious, was both kind and conscientious.
Upon the change, Ethel had thought that the lessons could easily be managed by herself and Flora; while Flora was very anxious for a finishing governess, who might impart singing to herself, graces to Ethel, and accomplishments to Mary and Blanche.
Dr. May, however, took them both by surprise. He met with a family of orphans, the eldest of whom had been qualifying herself for a governess, and needed nothing but age and finish; and in ten minutes after the project had been conceived, he had begun to put it in execution, in spite of Flora's prudent demurs.
Miss Bracy was a gentle, pleasing young person, pretty to look at, with her soft olive complexion, and languid pensive eyes, obliging and intelligent; and the change from the dry, authoritative Miss Winter was so delightful, that unedifying contrasts were continually being drawn. Blanche struck up a great friendship for her at once; Mary, always docile, ceased to be piteous at her lessons, and Ethel moralised on the satisfaction of having sympathy needed instead of repelled, and did her utmost to make Miss Bracy feel at home--and like a friend--in her new position.
For herself, Ethel had drawn up a beautiful time-table, with all her pursuits and duties most carefully balanced, after the pattern of that which Margaret Rivers had made by her advice, on the departure of Mrs. Larpent, who had been called away by the ill-health of her son. Meta had adhered to hers in an exemplary manner, but she was her own mistress in a manner that could hardly be the lot of one of a large family.
Margaret had become subject to languor and palpitations, and the head of the household had fallen entirely upon Flora, who, on the other hand, was a person of multifarious occupations, and always had a great number of letters to write, or songs to copy and practise, which, together with her frequent visits to Mrs. Hoxton, made her glad to devolve, as much as she could, upon her younger sister; and, "Oh, Ethel, you will not mind just doing this for me," was said often enough to be a tax upon her time.
Moreover, Ethel perceived that Aubrey's lessons were in an unsatisfactory state. Margaret could not always attend to them, and suffered from them when she did; and he was bandied about between his sisters and Miss Bracy in a manner that made him neither attentive nor obedient.
On her own principle, that to embrace a task heartily renders it no longer irksome, she called on herself to sacrifice her studies and her regularity, as far as was needful, to make her available for home requirements. She made herself responsible for Aubrey, and, after a few battles with his desultory habits, made him a very promising pupil, inspiring so much of herself into him, that he was, if anything, overfull of her classical tastes. In fact, he had such an appetite for books, and dealt so much in precocious wisdom, that his father was heard to say, "Six years old! It is a comfort that he will soon forget the whole."
Gertrude was also Ethel's pupil, but learning was not at all in her line; and the sight of "Cobwebs to catch Flies," or of the venerated "Little Charles," were the most serious clouds, that made the Daisy pucker up her face, and infuse a whine into her voice.
However, to-day, as usual, she was half dragged, half coaxed, through her day's portion of the discipline of life, and then sent up for her sleep, while Aubrey's two hours were spent in more agreeable work, such as Margaret could not but enjoy hearing--so spirited was Ethel's mode of teaching--so eager was her scholar.
His play afterwards consisted in fighting o'er again the siege of Troy on the floor, with wooden bricks, shells, and the survivors of a Noah's ark, while Ethel read to Margaret until Gertrude's descent from the nursery, when the only means of preventing a dire confusion in Aubrey's camp was for her elder sisters to become her playfellows, and so spare Aubrey's temper. Ethel good-humouredly gave her own time, till their little tyrant trotted out to make Norman carry her round the garden on his back.
So sped the morning till Flora came home, full of the intended bazaar, and Ethel would fain have taken refuge in puzzling out her Spanish, had she not remembered her recent promise to be gracious.
The matter had been much as she had described it. Flora had a way of hinting at anything she thought creditable, and thus the Stoneborough public had become aware of the exertions of the May family on behalf of Cocksmoor.
The plan of a fancy fair was started. Mrs. Hoxton became more interested than was her wont, and Flora was enchanted at the opening it gave for promoting the welfare of the forlorn district. She held a position which made her hope to direct the whole. As she had once declared, with truth, it only had depended on themselves, whether she and her sisters should sink to the level of the Andersons and their set, or belong to the county society; and her tact had resulted in her being decidedly--as the little dressmaker's apprentice amused Ethel by saying--"One of our most distinguished patronesses"--a name that had stuck by her ever since.
Margaret looked on passively, inclined to admire Flora in everything, yet now and then puzzled; and her father, in his simple-hearted way, felt only gratitude and exultation in the kindness that his daughter met with. As to the bazaar, if it had been started in his own family, he might have weighed the objections, but, as it was not his daughter's own concern, he did not trouble himself about it, only regarding it as one of the many vagaries of the ladies of Stoneborough.
So the scheme had been further developed, till now Flora came in with much to tell. The number of stalls had been finally fixed. Mrs. Hoxton undertook one, with Flora as an aide-de-camp, and some nieces to assist; Lady Leonora was to chaperon Miss Rivers; and a third, to Flora's regret, had been allotted to Miss Cleveland, a good-natured, merry, elderly heiress, who would, Flora feared, bring on them the whole "Stoneborough crew." And then she began to reckon up the present resources--drawings, bags, and pincushions. "That chip hat you plaited for Daisy, Margaret, you must let us have that. It will be lovely, trimmed with pink."
"Do you wish for this?" said Ethel, heaving up a mass of knitting.
"Thank you," said Flora; "so ornamental, especially the original performance in the corner, which you would perpetrate, in spite of my best efforts."
"I shall not be offended if you despise it. I only thought you might have no more scruple in robbing Granny Hall than in robbing Daisy."
"Pray, send it. Papa will buy it as your unique performance."
"No; you shall tell me what I am to do."
"Does she mean it?" said Flora, turning to Margaret. "Have you converted her? Well done! Then, Ethel, we will get some pretty batiste, and you and Mary shall make some of those nice sun-bonnets, which you really do to perfection."
"Thank you. That is a more respectable task than I expected. People may have something worth buying," said Ethel, who, like all the world, felt the influence of Flora's tact.
"I mean to study the useful," said Flora. "The Cleveland set will be sure to deal in frippery, and I have been looking over Mrs. Hoxton's stores, where I see quite enough for mere decoration. There are two splendid vases in potichomanie, in an Etruscan pattern, which are coming for me to finish."
"Mrs. Taylor, at Cocksmoor, could do that for you," said Ethel. "Her two phials, stuffed with chintz patterns and flour, are quite as original and tasteful."
"Silly work," said Flora, "but it makes a fair show."
"The essence of Vanity Fair," said Ethel.
"It won't do to be satirical over much," said Flora. "You won't get on without humouring your neighbours' follies."
"I don't want to get on."
"But you want--or, at least, I want--Cocksmoor to get on."
Ethel saw Margaret looking distressed, and, recalling her resolution she said, "Well, Flora, I don't mean to say any more about it. I see it can't be helped, and you all think you intend it for good; so there's an end of the matter, and I'll do anything for you in reason."
"Poor old King Ethel!" said Flora, smiling in an elder-sisterly manner. "You will see, my dear, your views are very pretty, but very impracticable, and it is a work-a-day world after all--even papa would tell you so. When Cocksmoor school is built, then you may thank me. I do not look for it before."
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