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218             UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
Of course, there was rather a foolish silence. Finally, St. Glare got up, looked at his watch, and said he had an engagement down street. Eva tripped away after him, and Miss Ophelia and Marie remained at the table alone.
" Now, that's just like St. Clare ! " said the latter, with­drawing her handkerchief with somewhat of a spirited flourish, when the criminal to be affected by it was no longer in sight. " He never realizes, never can, never will, what I suffer, and have, for years. If I was one of the complaining sort, or ever made any fuss about my ail­ments, there would be some reason for it. Men do get tired, naturally, of a complaining wife. But I 've kept things to myself, and borne, and borne, till St. Clare has got into the way of thinking I can bear anything."
Miss Ophelia did not exactly know what she was ex­pected to answer to this.
While she was thinking what to say, Marie gradually wiped away her tears, and smoothed her plumage in a general sort of way, as a dove might be supposed to make toilet after a shower, and began a housewifely chat with Miss Ophelia, concerning cupboards, closets, linen-presses, store-rooms, and other matters, of which the latter was, by common understanding, to assume the direction, — giving her so many cautious directions and charges, that a head less systematic and business-like than Miss Ophelia's would have been utterly dizzied and confounded.
" And now," said Marie, " I believe I 've told you every­thing ; so that, when my next sick turn comes on, you '11 be able to go forward entirely, without consulting me ; — only about Eva, — she requires watching."
" She seems to be a good child, very; " said Miss Ophe­lia ; " I never saw a better child."
" Eva's peculiar," said her mother, " very. There are things about her so singular; she is n't like me, now, a particle ; " and Marie sighed, as if this was a truly melan­choly consideration.
Miss Ophelia in her own heart said, " I hope she isn't," but had prudence enough to keep it down.