“I did not think Diana had been such a fool,” was the remark of Mrs. Hunstanton, when the arrangement was proposed to her. She made no objection to the joint journey. The invalid boy for whom they travelled, and in whom all her hopes were concentrated, was on the whole a fatiguing companion, dear as he was both to father and mother; and as Mrs. Norton was one of the women who are utterly beyond fatigue in the amusement of children, there was compensation for the risk of being bored by the helplessness of the two little women. But that Miss Trelawny should carry her “infatuation” about these trifling persons to the length of sending them off like an anxious mother because the girl had a cough, filled her with an angry surprise. If she had a cough, what had Diana to do with it? She had an aunt of her own to look after her, and they{33} had, Mrs. Hunstanton supposed, enough to live on, or what business had they there at Diana’s table meeting the best people in the county? 온라인룰렛 Her unaccountable fondness for them irritated her friend. What could she see in such commonplace persons? for indeed the mixture of amusement and habit and indulgence in Diana’s affection was incomprehensible to Mrs. Hunstanton, who either was fond of people or disliked them, and disapproved of such complications of feeling. To tell the truth, the Nortons themselves took Diana’s kindness as proof of a deep and absorbing love, and asked each other, with a gentle complacency, what they had done to make her so fond of them. “Not that I should wonder at any one being fond of you, my darling,” the aunt said; a sentiment which the niece echoed warmly, both putting Diana’s love down to the credit of the other. Diana herself smiled a little when they talked to her of her love. Yes; she supposed she was fond of them in a way, poor little souls! and she laughed at the indignation of Mrs. Hunstanton, which was so naïve and open. It was no harm to that good woman, did not take anything from her, that her friend should pet and spoil these little women. Still it irritated her; and to think of this extravagant indulgence of their weaknesses angered her almost beyond bearing.{34} “As for their coming with us, they are welcome to come, I am sure,” she said, thinking, not without a little relief, of Reginald, who was “a handful” on a long journey. She saw in her mind’s eye Mrs. Norton devoting herself to the boy, petting him—for it was her nature to be always petting somebody—reading to him, finding out endless stores of conundrums and foolish games for his amusement; and she was mollified. It was possible even that, though of themselves bores, they might be a kind of acquisition on the journey; but what Diana could mean by it! Mrs. Hunstanton shrugged her shoulders, and made up her mind that human creatures in general were more inscrutable than any other mystery on the face of the earth. She had occasion to learn this truth nearer home. There was her own husband always dancing about on somebody’s business, meddling with somebody’s affairs. No such temptation disturbed her mind. She was interested about her own people, loved them, and would have spent her last sixpence and her last hour in serving them. But people who did not belong to you! What right had you to be disturbed and deranged by their affairs?

Nevertheless, notwithstanding Mrs. Hunstanton’s objections to the whole business, she took a good deal{35} of trouble that evening in enlightening the inexperienced travellers, who had a thousand questions to ask.

“When I was at Geneva, there was a light kind of challis which I wore—a kind of dust-colour—with flowers upon it,” said Mrs. Norton.

“Oh, not dust-colour, dear auntie; let it be grey,” said Sophy.