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"What is a quadruped, Tom?" said I.
"A large fish," replied Tom.
"That it an't, Tom," said Kitty. « I know what it is: it is an animal that runs upon the ceiling, with a great many legs."
Whether Cuthbert was himself not more enlightened than his dear daughter and son-in-law, or whether he thought it too much trouble to set them right, I don't pretend to say; he looked perfectly satisfied, and I thought it not worth while to endanger his repose by questioning the accuracy of their answers.
"Jenny, dear," said I to the simple creature, "what is a pedagogue?"
"A place to put statues in, uncle," said fair innocence.
"I wonder," said Kitty, " how you come to know that so well—somebody must have told you —I could not have guessed it."
» What king of England," said I to Kitty, "reigned immediately before George the First?"
"Before him?" said Kitty; "George the Second, uncle."
"Busli," said Tom, "how could that be, you fool? he reigned after im. I guess oo hit was that reigned directly afore him."
"Who?" said I.
"Heddud the Fifth," said Tom.
"It is unlikely," said I, reading from the newspaper, " that the French minister will be able to cajole the emperor into such a measure." "What does cajole mean?"
"To kill a man," said Tom.
"Well," said I, " I won't bore you any more, for your Pa is getting sleepy; but what are you, Tom—animal, vegetable, or mineral?"
"I am a vegetable," said Tom.
"Then," said I, " what is a cauliflower?"
"A mineral," said Tom.
"I know I'm an animal," said Kitty.
Yes, thought I, my dear; and rather a strange one too.
'' If this examination were written to meet the public eye, the reader would fancy its absurdities too gross to bear even the semblance of probability; but, nevertheless, I have put down this portion of it, verbatim from the lips of the hopeful children with whom my house is so elegantly furnished.
"How soon an accident happens," said Cuthbert, gravely raising himself in his usual manner on one elbow, and looking at Tom—" that dear boy might have lost his sight by the blow of that cannon. I'm sure I never see any thing of the kind without thinking of the day my poor dear father and I were coming down Shooter's Hill— near that Severndroog place, and the horses took fright at something in the road, and"
"Yes, Pa," said Kitty, " but then they stopped of themselves when they got to the bottom of the hill. You see I never forget any thing you tell me."
"Dear girl," said Cuthbert, making a sort of kissatory motion with his lips, to which Kitty immediately responded, by leaving his feet, and conferring on him a chaste and filial salute.
"I fancy," said I, " it is getting on for dinner-time. Who dines here ?—does anybody know?"
"I asked the Nubleys," said Cuthbert, " but they can't come."
"And Harriet has asked Mr. Merman," said Fanny.
"And I begged dear Bessy to stop," said Kitty.
"And I think," said Fanny, " Harriet has invited Ma, because Pa dines at Lord Fussborough's."
Well, thought I, this sounds to my ears very much as if I had painted over my door—" An ordinary here at six o'clock every day, Sundays not excepted;" or rather, as if I were the keeper of a table cC hote, at which, as hote, I was permitted to preside, rather as an accommodation to the company in the way of carving, than as being master of the house.
These were minor evils, but I could not, without pain and apprehension, witness the growing power and influence of the three alien children of the late Mr. Falwasser over my kindhearted placid brother. Upon every occasion, before and since his return from India, he had practically evinced his affection and regard for me, and I am the last person in the world to be jealous of any kindness or liberality which he may feel inclined to bestow upon others; but in this case he seemed to me to be entailing upon himself a responsibility of which he himself was not aware, and to sustain which he was physically as well as morally incapable.
When Kitty grew to be sixteen or seventeen —or rather when she became sixteen or seventeen, for she had grown in outward appearance to that age already—it was clear to me that with her character and disposition, her unflinching adherence to any favourite point until she had carried it, joined to a consciousness of the power she actually possessed over Cuthbert, she would lead him into all sorts of difficulties, against which he had not sufficient strength of mind to contend. Of course I was not constantly with them, and they were frequently alone, or perhaps with Jane as a third; and it is easy to imagine that entirely freed from restraint—although I must admit she never appeared much g$n£d by either my presence or that of Harriet—she spoke her mind and