“It’s of no use to move things,” she said. “Three removes are as bad as a fire; and nothing ever fits in to new places. Old wine and new bottles, you know! Clear all off with a country auction. Everybody comes, and they all fight for everything. Things bring more than their original cost. Then you’ve nothing to do but order according to your taste.”
Mr. Oldways had invited both his nieces to his own house on their arrival. But here again Mrs. Megilp advised,—so judiciously.
“There are too many of you; it would be a positive infliction. And then you’ll have all your running about and planning and calculating to do, and the good old gentleman would think he had pulled half Boston down about his ears. Your sister can go there; it would be only generous and thoughtful to give way to her. There are only three of them, and they are strange, you know, to every thing, and wouldn’t know which way to turn. I can put you in the way of rooms at the Bellevue, exactly the thing, for a hundred and fifty a month. No servants, you see; meals at the restaurant, and very good, too. The Wedringtons are to give them up unexpectedly; going to Europe; poor Mrs. Wedrington is so out of health. And about the house; don’t decide in a hurry; see what your uncle says, and your sister. It’s very likely she’ll prefer the Aspen Street house; and it would be out of the way for you. Still it is not to be refused, you know; of course it is very desirable in many respects; roomy, old-fashioned, and a garden. I think your sister will like those things; they’re what she has been used to. If she does, why it’s all comfortably settled, and nobody refuses. It is so ungracious to appear to object; a gift horse, you know.”
“Not to be refused; only by no means to be taken; masterly inactivity till somebody else is hooked; and then somebody else is to be grateful for the preference. I wish Mrs. Megilp wouldn’t shine things up so; and that mother wouldn’t go to her to black all her boots!”
Desire said this in secret, indignant discomfort, to Helena, the fourth in the family, her chum-sister. Helena did very well to talk to; she heard anything; then she pranced round the room and chaffed the canary.
“Chee! chee! chee! chiddle, iddle, iddle, iddle, e-e-ee! Where do you keep all your noise and your breath? You’re great, aren’t you? You do that to spite people that have to work up one note at a time. You don’t take it in away down under your belt, do you? You’re not particular about that. You don’t know much, after all. You don’t know how you do it. You aren’t learning of Madame Caroletti. And you haven’t learned two quarters, any way. You were only just born last spring. Set up! Tr-r-r-r-e-e-ee! I can do that myself. I don’t believe you’ve got an octave in you. Poh!”