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|Holiday Romance||Charles Dickens|
PART IV. - Romance. From The Pen Of Miss Nettie Ashford (Aged half-past six.)
|Page 2 of 6||
'I have just eight, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon.
'Most fortunate! Terms moderate, I think?'
'Very moderate, ma'am.'
'Diet good, I believe?'
'Most satisfactory! Corporal punishment dispensed with?'
'Why, we do occasionally shake,' said Mrs. Lemon, 'and we have slapped. But only in extreme cases.'
'COULD I, ma'am,' said Mrs. Orange, - 'COULD I see the establishment?'
'With the greatest of pleasure, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon.
Mrs. Lemon took Mrs. Orange into the schoolroom, where there were a number of pupils. 'Stand up, children,' said Mrs. Lemon; and they all stood up.
Mrs. Orange whispered to Mrs. Lemon, 'There is a pale, bald child, with red whiskers, in disgrace. Might I ask what he has done?'
'Come here, White,' said Mrs. Lemon, 'and tell this lady what you have been doing.'
'Betting on horses,' said White sulkily.
'Are you sorry for it, you naughty child?' said Mrs. Lemon.
'No,' said White. 'Sorry to lose, but shouldn't be sorry to win.'
'There's a vicious boy for you, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon. 'Go along with you, sir. This is Brown, Mrs. Orange. O, a sad case, Brown's! Never knows when he has had enough. Greedy. How is your gout, sir?'
'Bad,' said Brown.
'What else can you expect?' said Mrs. Lemon. 'Your stomach is the size of two. Go and take exercise directly. Mrs. Black, come here to me. Now, here is a child, Mrs. Orange, ma'am, who is always at play. She can't be kept at home a single day together; always gadding about and spoiling her clothes. Play, play, play, play, from morning to night, and to morning again. How can she expect to improve?'
'Don't expect to improve,' sulked Mrs. Black. 'Don't want to.'
'There is a specimen of her temper, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon. 'To see her when she is tearing about, neglecting everything else, you would suppose her to be at least good-humoured. But bless you! ma'am, she is as pert and flouncing a minx as ever you met with in all your days!'
'You must have a great deal of trouble with them, ma'am,' said Mrs. Orange.
'Ah, I have, indeed, ma'am!' said Mrs. Lemon. 'What with their tempers, what with their quarrels, what with their never knowing what's good for them, and what with their always wanting to domineer, deliver me from these unreasonable children!'
'Well, I wish you good-morning, ma'am,' said Mrs. Orange.
'Well, I wish you good-morning, ma'am,' said Mrs. Lemon.
So Mrs. Orange took up her baby and went home, and told the family that plagued her so that they were all going to be sent to school. They said they didn't want to go to school; but she packed up their boxes, and packed them off.
'O dear me, dear me! Rest and be thankful!' said Mrs. Orange, throwing herself back in her little arm-chair. 'Those troublesome troubles are got rid of, please the pigs!'
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