“Preach as I please, I doubt
our curious men
Will choose a pheasant still before a hen.”
AMONGST the various occupations to which Mary devoted herself, there was none which merits to be recorded as a greater act of immolation than her unremitting attentions to Aunt Grizzy. It wa not merely the sacrifice of time and talents that was required for carrying on this intercourse; these, it is to be hoped, even the most selfish can occasionally sacrifice to the bienseances of society; but it was, as it were, a total surrender of her whole being. To a mind of any reflection no situation can ever be very irksome in which we can enjoy the privileges of sitting still and keeping silent—but as the companion of Miss Grizzy, quiet and reflection were alike unattainable. When not engaged in radotage with Sir Sampson, her life was spent in losing her scissors, mislaying her spectacles, wondering what had become of her thimble, and speculating on the disappearance of a needle—all of which losses daily and hourly recurring, subjected Mary to an unceasing annoyance, for she could not be five minutes in her aunt’s company without out being at least as many times disturbed, with—“Mary, my dear, will you get up?—I think my spectacles must be about you “—or, “Mary, my dear, your eyes are younger than mine, will you look if you can see my needle on the carpet?”—or, “Are you sure, Mary, that’s not my thimble you have got? It’s very like it; and I’m sure I can’t conceive what’s become of mine, if that’s not it,” etc. etc. etc. But her idleness was, if possible, still more irritating than her industry. When she betook herself to the window, it was one incessant cry of “Who’s coach is that, Mary, with the green and orange liveries? Come and look at this lady and gentleman, Mary; I’m sure I wonder who they are! Here’s something, I declare I’m sure I don’t know what you call it—come here, Mary, and see what it is “—and so on ad infinitum. Walking was still worse. Grizzy not only stood to examine every article in the shop windows, but actually turned round to observe every striking figure that passed. In short, Mary could not conceal from herself that weak vulgar relations are an evil to those whose taste and ideas are refined by superior intercourse. But even this discovery she did not deem sufficient to authorise her casting off or neglecting poor Miss Grizzy, and she in no degree relaxed in her patient attentions towards her.
Even the affection of her aunt, which she possessed in the highest possible degree, far from being an alleviation, was only an additional torment. Every meeting began with, “My dear Mary, how did you sleep last night? Did you make a good breakfast this morning? I declare I think you look a little pale. I’m sure I wish to goodness, you mayn’t have got cold—colds are