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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about Clemence.

“Just as I expected,” said Mrs. Hardyng.  “The true state of the case is this:  that woman is a jealous, narrow-minded, illiberal creature, with a tongue ‘hung in the middle.’  She wanted to get you there simply to satisfy her own idle curiosity, and insult you with her insolent patronage.  You have made another enemy, and that is all there is of it.”

“I hope it will prove all there is of it,” said Clemence, uneasily.  “I am sure I owe her no ill will, and I can’t imagine why any body should wish to injure me, for I try not to offend them, but simply wish to mind my own business, and allow others to do the same.”

Mrs. Hardyng laughed musically.  “Why, child, that is the supreme cause of all your unpopularity.  You mind your own business too much for these good people.  You are not as old as I am, and you seem to have got a one-sided view of matters and things generally.  I dare say, at this moment your unsophisticated mind harbors some such creed as this, that if you pursue your own poor and worthy way in meekness and humility, without obtruding yourself upon other people’s notice—­in short, only ask to be left in peace to follow the bent of your own harmless inclination, that you do not ask what it is impossible to accomplish.  But you are mistaken.  There is no one so poor and humble but what these little great people will find time to criticise and find fault with whatever they may undertake.  So, no matter how modest and unobtrusive you are, by comporting yourself in a dignified and lady-like manner, you offer an affront to these people, who, though themselves deficient in every attribute of politeness and good breeding, yet are sufficiently instructed by their dulled instincts, to realize your infinite superiority, and hate you accordingly.”

“Why, Ulrica,” said Clemence, startled by her friend’s vehemence, “you quite overwhelm me.  I wish, though,” she added; with a sigh, “that I could doubt the truthfulness of the picture.”

CHAPTER XII.

“What are you doing there, Clemence?” asked her friend; “not destroying that pretty article, I hope.”

“Yes and no,” was the reply.  “Upon examination, I find that it has become quite soiled, and thought I would make another frame to put these same flowers into.”

“Now, that is really too bad, making you so much extra trouble when you are feeling so ill.  I noticed, though, that it had lost its freshness and purity—­looking, in fact, as if some careless servant had swept on it.”

“I presume that is the case,” said Clemence; “any way, it is completely ruined now.”

“What can this mean?” she exclaimed, a moment after, holding up a lady’s gold pin.  “Is it not somewhat remarkable to find an article of this description here?”

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