��Miss Maggie, you��re to come down this
minute,�� said Kezia, entering the room hurriedly.
��Lawks! what have you been a-doing? I never see such a
But Tom, you perceive, was rather a
Rhadamanthine personage, having more than the usual share of boy��s
justice in him �� the justice that desires to hurt culprits as much as
they deserve to be hurt, and is troubled with no doubts concerning the exact amount
of their deserts. Maggie saw a cloud on his brow when he came home, which checked her
joy at his coming so much sooner than she had expected, and she dared hardly speak to
him as he stood silently throwing the small gravel-stones into the mill-dam. It is
not pleasant to give up a rat-catching when you have set your mind on it. But if Tom
had told his strongest feeling at that moment, he would have said,
��I��d do just the same again.�� That was
his usual mode of viewing his past actions; whereas Maggie was always wishing she had
done something different.The Dodsons were certainly a handsome family, and Mrs. Glegg
was not the least handsome of the sisters. As she sat in Mrs.
Tulliver��s arm-chair, no impartial observer could have denied that for
a woman of fifty she had a very comely face and figure, though Tom and Maggie
considered their aunt Glegg as the type of ugliness. It is true she despised the
advantages of costume, for though, as she often observed, no woman had better
clothes, it was not her way to wear her new things out before her old ones. Other
women, if they liked, might have their best thread-lace in every wash; but when Mrs.
Glegg died, it would be found that she had better lace laid by in the right-hand
drawer of her wardrobe in the Spotted Chamber than ever Mrs. Wooll of St.
Ogg��s had bought in her life, although Mrs. Wooll wore her lace before
it was paid for. So of her curled fronts: Mrs. Glegg had doubtless the glossiest and
crispest brown curls in her drawers, as well as curls in various degrees of fuzzy
laxness; but to look out on the week-day world from under a crisp and glossy front
would be to introduce a most dreamlike and unpleasant confusion between the sacred
and the secular. Occasionally, indeed, Mrs. Glegg wore one of her third-best fronts
on a week-day visit, but not at a sister��s house; especially not at
Mrs. Tulliver��s, who, since her marriage, had hurt her
sister��s feelings greatly by wearing her own hair, though, as Mrs.
Glegg observed to Mrs. Deane, a mother of a family, like Bessy, with a husband
always going to law, might have been expected to know better. But Bessy was always
��Well, if I may be allowed to speak, and
it��s seldom as I am,�� said Mrs. Glegg, with a tone of
bitter meaning, ��I should like to know what good is to come to the boy
by bringin�� him up above his fortin.��
��She��s so much acquaintance as I��ve
seen her legs when they was like bladders. And an old lady as had doubled her money
over and over again, and kept it all in her own management to the last, and had her
pocket with her keys in under her pillow constant. There isn��t many
old par_ish��ners like her, I doubt.��
��Here, Tom, cut it behind for me,�� said Maggie,
excited by her own daring, and anxious to finish the deed.
Mrs. Tulliver��s domestic sorrows seemed at this moment to
have reached the point at which insensibility begins. She took no notice of her
sister��s remark, but threw back her capstrings and dispensed the
pudding, in mute resignation.
��Ay, ay, a cool hundred a year,
that��s all,�� said Mr. Tulliver, with some pride at his
own spirited course. ��But then, you know, it��s an
investment; Tom��s eddication ��ull be so much capital to
��I pity your weakness, Mr. Glegg. I say
it��s unbecoming to be making a joke when you see your own kin going
headlongs to ruin.��