The window looked out upon the empty solitary street of the old town, and though little was to be seen from it which could interest the two girls, yet after the little ones were gone, they stood there talking for some minutes; Elizabeth inquiring after half the people about Merton Hall, a place which she knew almost as well as her own home.
‘When does Mrs. Hazleby come?’ said Anne, beginning to dress.
‘Oh! do not ask me,’ said Elizabeth, ’I do not know, and hardly care; quite late, I hope and trust.’
‘But, Lizzie,’ asked Anne, ’what have these unfortunate Hazlebys done to offend you?’
‘Done!’ answered Elizabeth, ’oh! a thousand things, all too small to be described, but together they amount to a considerable sum, I can tell you. There has been a natural antipathy, an instinctive dislike, between Mrs. Major Hazleby and me, ever since she paid her first visit here, and, seeing me listening to something she was saying to Mamma, she turned round upon me with that odious proverb, “Little pitchers have long ears."’
‘Perhaps she meant it as a compliment,’ said Anne; ’you know, Mary of Scotland says, that “Sovereigns ought to have long ears."’
‘I suppose her son was of the same opinion,’ said Elizabeth, ’when he built his famous lug. As to Mrs. Hazleby, she is never happy but when she is finding fault with someone. It will make you sick to hear her scolding and patronizing poor Mamma.’
‘She has been in India, has she not?’ said Anne, in order to avoid answering.
‘Yes,’ replied Elizabeth, ’she married the poor Major there, and the eldest son was born there. I often think I should like to ask old Mrs. Hazleby how she felt on her first meeting with her fair daughter-in-law. They were safe in Ireland when Papa married, and did not burst upon us in full perfection till Horace’s christening, when the aforesaid little pitcher speech was made.’