But, with all her temper, neither of them could have spared Mrs. Drabble, she made them so comfortable.
‘When the cat is away’
Aunt Philippa had one very good point in her character: she was not of a nagging disposition. When she scolded she did it thoroughly, and was perhaps a long time doing it, but she never carried it into the next day.
Jill always said her mother was too indolent for a prolonged effort; but then poor Jill often said naughty things. But we all of us knew that Aunt Philippa’s wrath soon evaporated; it made her hot and uncomfortable while it lasted, and she was glad to be quit of it: so she refrained herself prudently when I spoke of my approaching departure; and, being of a bustling temperament, and not averse to changes unless they gave her much trouble, she took a great deal of interest in my arrangements, and bought a nice little travelling-clock that she said would be useful to me.
Seeing her so pleasant and reasonable, I made a humble petition that Jill might be set free from some of her lessons to help me pack my books and ornaments. She made a little demur at this, and offered Draper’s services instead; but it was Jill I wanted, for the poor child was fretting sadly about my going away, and I thought it would comfort her to help me. So after a time Aunt Philippa relented, after extorting a promise from Jill that she would work all the harder after I had gone; and, as young people seldom think about the future except in the way of foolish dreams, Jill cheerfully gave her word. So for the last few days we were constantly together, and Fraeulein had an unexpected holiday. Jill worked like a horse in my service, and only broke one Dresden group; she came to me half crying with the fragment in her hand,—the poor little shepherdess had lost her head as well as her crook, and the pink coat of the shepherd had an unseemly rent in it,—but I only laughed at the disaster, and would not scold her for her awkwardness. China had a knack of slipping through Jill’s fingers; she had a loose uncertain grasp of things that were brittle and delicate; she had not learned to control her muscles or restrain