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“Thank you, ma’am.”

The woman in the blue blouse stood stolidly by the table. Mrs. Betty’s words made no evident impression on her. It was as though she regarded the visit as a necessary evil, and was only persuaded to be polite by such tangible blessings as might accrue.

“Have you any children?”

Mrs. Ripstone stared.

“Ten, ma’am.”

Her brevity was expressive.

“You

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must be very busy.”

“I am that, ma’am.”

“Are they all grown up?”

“Grow’d up?”

“Yes.”

“Well, ma’am,” and the woman in the blue blouse gave a peculiar smile, “if you’ll listen you’ll ’ear the baby ’ammerin’ a tin pot in the yard.”

The reek of the burned fat began to prove too powerful for Mrs. Betty’s sensitive soul. She and Mrs. Ripstone seemed out of sympathy. Conversation languished. The lady, with all her cleverness, 长沙桑拿SPA 长沙桑拿论坛吧 was wholly 长沙桑拿按摩预约at a loss what to say next.

Two minutes had passed when Dr. Steel’s wife rose. She smiled one of her perfunctory smiles at the woman in the blue blouse, and turned with a rustling petticoat towards the door.

“I hope your husband will like the soup, Mrs. Ripstone.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“Good-afternoon.”

“Good-afternoon, ma’am.”

The woman watched Mrs. Betty to her carriage, and then

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closed the door with an expression of rather sour relief. She turned to the flowers and parcels on the table, untied the string, and examined the contents.

“Wonder what she’s left ’em for;” such was Mrs. Ripstone’s solitary and cynical remark.

In her carriage Mrs. Betty was holding an enamelled scent-bottle to her nose.

“I wonder why they are so dirty and so reserved,” she thought; “I don’t think that woman was the least bit grateful. 长沙桑拿洗浴会所排名 I don’长沙桑拿酒店 t like the poor. Anyway, I have done my duty.”

The west was wreathed with the torn crimson of a wind-blown sky at sunset when Mrs. Betty drove home from her essay in almsgiving. St. Antonia’s spire, a black and slender wedge, seemed to cleave the vastness of the flaming west. The tall elms about the church were very restless with the wailing of the wind.

In Parker Steel’s dining-room there was an air of warmth and luxury, a sense of deep shelter from the blustering melancholy of the dying day. The table was laid for tea, a silver kettle singing above the spirit-lamp, a plate of hot cakes on the trivet before the piled-up fire. It was the hour of soft, slanting shadows, and of the wayward yet sleepy flickering of the flames. Betty swept into the room with the sensuous satisfaction of a cat. The thick Turkey carpet muffled her 长沙桑拿最好最高端 footsteps 长沙桑拿洗浴全攻略 like 长沙桑拿按摩论坛网 the moss of a forest “ride.”

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