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so much about eating. It was always his besetting sin, and it seems to have grown stronger upon him as he has got older.”
“Who is Mr. Crosbie, papa ?" said Lucy.
“Mr Crosbie, my dear," said Mr. Fairchild, “lives in London. He has a large fortune, which he got in trade
He has given up business some years, and now lives upon his fortune. When your mamma and I were in London twelve years ago, we were at Mr. Crosbie's house, where we were very kindly treated : therefore we must do the best we can to receive Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie kindly, and to make them as comfortable as possible.”
When John went to church that same evening, Mr. Fairchild desired him to tell nurse to come the next day to help Betty, for nurse was a very good cook : and the next morning Mrs. Fairchild prepared everything to receive Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie, and Mr. Fairchild invited Mr. Somers to meet them at din
When the clock struck one, Mrs Fairchild dressed herself and the children, and then went into a little tea-room, the window of which opened upon a small grass-plat, surrounded by rose-bushes and other flowering shrubs. Mr. Somers came in a little before two, and sat with Mrs. Fairchild.
When the clock struck two, Mr. Crosbie's family were not come, and Mr. Fairchild sent Henry to the garden-gate to look if he could see the carriage at a distance. When Henry returned, he said that he could see the carriage, but it was still a good way off. “I am afraid the venison will be over-roasted,” said Mrs. Fairchild, smiling. Henry soon after went again to the gate, and got there just in time to open it wide for Mr. Crosbie's carriage. Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild ran out to receive their friends.
“I am glad to see you once again,” said Mr. Crosbie, as he stepped out of the coach, followed by
Mrs. Crosbie, Miss Crosbie, Miss Betty, and Mrs. Crosbie's maid.
Mr. Crosbie was a very fat man, with a red face ; yet he looked good-humoured, and had in his younger days been handsome.
Mrs. Crosbie was a little thin woman, and there was nothing in her appearance which pleased Emily and Lucy, though she spoke civilly to them. Miss Crosbie was as old as her brother, but she did not look so, for her face was painted red and white: and she and Miss Betty had sky-blue hats and tippets with white feathers, which Lucy and Emily thought very beautiful. “Have you any company,
[rs. Fairchild ?” said Miss Crosbie, as Mrs. Fairchild was leading them into the parlour.
Only one gentleman, Mr. Somers, our rector," said Mrs. Fairchild.
“Oh! then I must not appear in this gown l and my hair too is all rough !" said Miss Crosbie ; “I must put on another gown: I am quite frightful to look at !”
“Indeed,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “your dress is very nice : there is no need to trouble yourself to alter it."
“Oh, sister !" said Mrs. Crosbie,“ don't think of changing your dress : Mrs. Fairchild's dinner is ready, i dare say."
I Miss Crosbie would not be persuaded, but, calling the maid to attend her, ran up stairs to change her dress; and Mrs. Fairchild sent Lucy after her. The rest of the company then went into the tea-room where they sat round the window, and Mr. Crosbie said, “What a pretty place you have here, Mr. Fairchild; and a good wife, as I well knowand these pretty children! You ought to be a happy man."
"And so I am, thank God," said Mr. Fairchild ; as happy as any man in the world.
“ I should have been with you an hour ago,” said Mr. Crosbie, “that I might have walked over your garden before dinner, but for my wife there."
“What of your wife there ?" said Mrs. Crosbie, turning sharply towards him. “ Now mind, Mr. Crosbie, if the venison is over-roasted, don't say it is
Mr. Crosbie took out his watch : “It is now twentyfive minutes past two : the venison has been down at the fire twenty five minutes longer than it should have been. And did you not keep us an hour waiting, this morning, at the inn where we slept, whilst you quarrelled with the innkeeper and his wife ?”
Mrs. Crosbie answered : “ You are always giving people to understand that I am ill-tempered, Mr. Crosbie; which I think is
unhandsome of you, Mr. Crosbie. There is not another person in the world who thinks me ill-tempered but you. Ask Thomas, or my maid, what they know of my temper ; and ask your sister who has lived with me long enough.”
"Why don't you ask me what I think of it, mamma?” said Miss Betty, pertly.
“Hold your tongue, Miss !” said Mrs. Crosbie.
“ Must not I speak ?” said Miss Betty, in a low voice, but loud enough for her mamma to hear her.
When Miss Betty first came in, Emily admired her very much: for, besides the sky-blue hat and feather, she had blue satin shoes, and a very large pair of gold ear-rings : but when she heard her speak so boldly to her mamma, she did not like her so much. By this time John came to tell the company that dinner was on the table : and Mr. Crosbie got up saying, “The venison smells well-exceed
ing well !!!
“ But where is Miss Crosbie?!' asked Mr. Fairchild.
“Oh, my aunt thought herself not smart enough to show herself before Mr. Somers," said Miss Betsey, pertly.
“Be silent, Miss,” said Mrs. Crosbie.
“ Don't wait for her then," said Mr. Crosbie : “ let us go in to dinner. My sister loves a little finery : she would rather lose her dinner than not be dressed smart: I never wait for her at any meal. -Come, come! Ladies, lead the way: I am very hungry.”
So Mrs. Fairchild sent Emily to tell Miss Crosbie that dinner was ready, and the rest of the company sat down to table.
“Mrs. Crosbie," said Mr. Crosbie, looking at the venison, and then at his wife, “the venison is too much roasted ; I told you it would be so."
“What! finding fault with me again, Mr. Crosbie !” said Mrs. Crosbie.
hear Mr. Fairchild finding fault with his wife in this manner ?”
“Perhaps the venison is better than you think, Mr. Crosbie,” said Mr. Somers; “let me help you to some. Mr. Fairchild, I know, is not fond of carving.'
Mr. Crosbie thanked Mr. Somers; and Mr. Somers had just begun to cut the venison, when Mr. Crosbie called out as if in agony, “Oh! Mr. Somers! you will spoil the venison ! you must not cut it that way upon any account ! Do put the haunch by me and let me help myself.”
“What confusion you are making in the table, Mr. Crosbie !" said Mrs. Crosbie ; “ you are putting every dish out of its place! Surely Mr. Somers knows how to carve as well as you do.
is afraid Mr. Somers won't give him all the nice bits,” said Miss Betsey.
“ Learn to be silent, Miss !” said Mr. Crosbie. Miss Betsey was going to answer her papa, when Miss Crosbie came into the room newly dressed, in a very elegant manner. She came smiling in, fol. lowed by Lucy and Emily, who went to sit at a small table with Henry:
“ Sister,” said Mrs. Crosbie, “where was the need of your dressing again? If we had waited for you, the dinner would have been spoiled.” “But we did not wait for Miss Crosbie, so no harm done,”
” said Mr. Fairchild, smiling,
"My aunt would not lose an opportunity of showing her new-fashioned gown for the world !” said Miss Betsey.
"Indeed, niece," answered Miss Crosbie, “I do not know why you should say that I am fond of showing my clothes. I wish to be neat and clean ; but no person cares less than I do about fashions and finery.
“La !” says Miss Betsey, whispering to Mrs. Fairchild, “ hear my aunt! she says she does not care about finery! That's like mamma saying how good natured she is !"
“Fie, fie, Miss Betsey !" said Mrs. Fairchild, speaking low : "you forget your respect to your elders.'
Miss Betsey coloured, and stared at Mrs. Fairchild. She had not been used to be found fault with ; for she was spoiled by both her parents; and she felt quite angry.
“ Indeed,” she said, “I never was thought disrespectful to any one before. Can't I I see people's faults ? can't I see that mamma is cross, and my aunt fond of fine clothes, and that
loves eating ?”
“ Hush! hush !” said Mrs. Fairchild in a low voice ; "your papą and mamma will hear you."