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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 214 pages of information about Abbeychurch.
that Miss Woodbourne took care of her own clothes, she never touched them; and as Margaret’s work was not endowed with the fairy power of lasting for ever, I soon grew as ragged as any ragged-robin in the hedge.  Mamma used to complain of my slovenliness, but I am afraid I was naughty enough to take advantage of her gentleness, and out-argue her; so things grew worse and worse, till at last, one fatal day, Papa was aware of a great hole in my stockings.  Then forth it all came; he asked question after question; and dear kind Mamma, even more unwilling to expose me than I was myself, was forced to answer, and you may suppose how angry he was.  Oh!  Anne, I can hardly bear to think of the stern kindness of his voice when he saw I was really quite wretched.  And only think how kind it was in him, he spoke seriously to me, he shewed me that building the church, helping our poor people, even Mamma’s comforts, and the boys’ education, depend upon home economy; and how even I could make a difference by not wasting my clothes, and making another servant necessary.’

‘Then could you really gain neat habits immediately?’ asked Anne; ’there could be no doubt of your resolving to do so, but few people could or would persevere.’

‘Oh!  I am not properly tidy now,’ said Elizabeth, opening a most chaotic table-drawer, ’see, there is a proof of it.  However, I do not think I have been shamefully slovenly in my own person since that explosion, and I have scarcely been spoken to about it.  Who could disregard such an appeal?  But, Anne, are you not enchanted with sweet Mrs. Hazleby?’

‘I wish you would not ask me, Lizzie,’ said Anne, feeling very prudent, ‘you know that I know nothing of her.’

’No, and you never will know enough of her to say such savage things as I do,’ said Elizabeth, ’but at any rate you saw her when she came in.’

‘Certainly.’

’I mean the kissing; I am sure I am glad enough to escape it, and always think Mamma and the children seem to be hugged by a bear; but you know making such distinctions is not the way to make us like her, even if we were so disposed.  Oh! and about me in particular, I am convinced that she thinks that Mamma hates me as much as she does, for she seems to think it will delight her to hear that I am thinner than ever, and that such bright colour is a very bad sign, and then she finishes off with a hypocritical sigh, and half whisper of “It can be no wonder, poor thing!” trying to put everyone, especially Papa and Uncle Edward, in mind of my own poor mother.  I declare I have no patience with her or Harriet, or that ugly little wretch of a dog!’

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