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IT was really a curious thing as a study to
observe how profound a mistress of the art of
being disagreeable was our friend Miss Carrington.
To her own friends who came to see her
she would complain (whenever she could do so
before the unfortunate Gabrielle) of the inconveniences
which she had to endure. Miss Carrington's
friends in London were not numerous,
but they made up for it in spitefulness. They
were perpetually trying to make her alter her
plans, and one lady especially, who was known
by the name of Preedy, was always persuading
her dear friend to remove to a certain boarding-house
near at hand, where sheMiss Preedy
had resided for upwards of a twelvemonth.

"You've no idea," Miss Preedy would say,
"what good company we are. We're never
dull, our meals are feasts in season with the
flowing bowl." There seems reason to believe
that in saying these words Miss Preedy imagined
herself to be making use of a well-known quotation.
"And then," she would continue, " we
are all well connected, you know; people with
whom you would not be ashamed to be seen
talking. There's General Scrope, who heads
the tablea man whom anybody might be proud
to know. And such conversationsuch flow
of anecdote as that man possesses. Then
there's Lady Groves, charming person, hires her
brougham almost every day, and keeps it standing
at the door a good three-and-sixpennyworth
of the time, and giving quite a distinguished
aspect to the house. Though as to carriages,
there are times when you'll see as many as three
or four before the door at once, and the horses
champing their bits make it all feel quite aristocratic.
Now come and live among us, Diana
dear, and you'll see how you'll be understood
and made much of, and I'm sure Mrs. Penmore
wouldn't mind, would you, ma'am. You know
you'd easily get another lodger."

To which Mrs. Penmore, turning very red,
would reply, " That Miss Carrington was a relation,
a cousin, indeed, of Mr. Penmore's, and
that if she saw any reason for changing her
place of abode she would have no successor;"
and then Mrs. Penmore would take an early
opportunity of getting away out of the room,
and would break her heart by herself in private.

"Seems rather proud, your relation," Miss
Preedy would remark. " Ah, you may depend
upon it you'd be better with us in Wimpole-street,
and so much more cheerful."

Or another kind of temptation would be held
out by another of Miss Carrington's friends, a
widow this time, and one not bred at St.

"Take a little 'ouse," this lady would suggest,
"that's what I'd do, if I were youa
nice little 'ouse, with your own things about
you, and your own servants, and your own
way. I've got a little 'ouse myself, and I find
it answer, and therefore it is that I recommend
you to get one too; and here's Mrs. Cantanker
here, I'm sure you agree with me, Jane, don't

"Ah, mum," would be the reply of the personage
thus appealed to, " and that you may be
sure I do, and many and many's the time that
I've begged and implored my mistress to have
a place of her own, and not be at the mussy of
anybody, be it who it may."

But Miss Carrington would always reply,
with the air of a martyr, "That it could not be;
that Mr. Penmore" — she never alluded to Gabrielle,

who, however, in this case would not be
present — "that Mr. Penmore was her relation,
that his circumstances were somewhat embarrassed,
and that she would not, on any account,
withdraw her assistance, unless, indeed, anything
should occur that might make it inevitable.
That she was altogether comfortable, or that
her good Jane Cantanker was altogether comfortable,
she could not, consistently with truth,
assert, far from it. But she was determined to
stick by her relative to the last, though if,
indeed, circumstances should occur rendering a
separation unavoidable, then she would certainly
think of what her friend Miss Preedy, or
her friend the widow lady (as the case might
be), " had so kindly suggested."

Then at dinner-time, the period selected
always for agreeable remarks, Miss Carrington
would retail the substance of what had recently
transpired, taking care to show plainly what an
estimable character she was, and how she was
sacrificing her own comfort and advantage to
that of her relatives. And here the virtuous
Cantanker would be brought into the conversation,