A very, very dull thing, a very, very dull woman.”
“Oh,” said Jane; but she could draw no very good picture. It became so dark that the whole effect seemed to be lost. “Look at him,” said Anne; and suddenly at her desk she saw, all round the sofa itself, the same picture of a well proportioned man and a very, very well proportioned woman.
“Haven’t they been married lately?” said Mrs. Gardiner, laughing, and with a smile on her lips, who thought it quite amusing to see Anne, who had always looked so far round, now looking back towards the man.
Anne looked rather surprised.
“Why,” said she, “don’t you think that Mr. Gardiner is a bit mad?”
“Why?” said Mrs. Gardiner; and when Anne smiled and smiled to cover her smile, she said, “I am quite sure he isn’t.”
“No, he isn’t, Mrs. Gardiner,” said Anne, very resolutely; and then with just this self-confident self, this clear way of saying no, which was not at all like Jane’s, Anne said, “He is indeed so; he is mad. I have heard him say some very foolish things to me in our tea-parties in London, and he is a good-natured, very nice-hearted person, and I believe all of us, except myself, had rather think of myself as the devil than think of him as mad.”
“Why didn’t you say so sooner?” said Mrs. Gardiner, taking her sister’s hand in hers.
Anne, looking up at them both, sighed in a little deep, bitter sort of sigh, and shook her head sorrowfully. It was a sort of sigh that would make anyone weep, because it was so heavy. Mrs. Gardiner, seeing this sort of sigh, looked down upon her, and said:
“You are quite right, Anne, and you are quite right in your mother’s judgment too. He is mad. There doesn’t seem to be any other explanation for his saying such silly things to you, and he is a very nice man. Don’t you think of me as the devil, now?”
“No,” said Anne, “I don’t think so; don’t you, Mr. Gardiner? I think he is like her. I think she is not a
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