?I am either a fool or a humbug: is that what you would say??

?Not a humbug, perhaps, not a conscious humbug: a cynic, that is what it is. You despise everybody, therefore you can manage to be good to them. Look at that now! I would not put up with it for a moment?turning over all your things?making your very gowns common???

This is a sort of desecration that goes to a woman?s heart?to bring down her newest fashion to the common level?to copy in poor materials the very finest and newest cuts! ?I could not away with it!? said Mrs. Hunstanton, and she meant what she said.

Diana laughed, which was quite exasperating in the circumstances. ?They like it,? she said, ?and it does me no harm. I am very glad to see Sophy looking so well{62}???

?My dear Diana, Sophy never looked the least ill, except in your anxious eyes. Well, I don?t intend to say anything more about it; you chose to do it, and that is enough. Tom is as ridiculous as you are. He insists that I should take them everywhere, and introduce them to all the people we know. I allow that they are very good to Reginald?oh, very good. They actually make his life happier, and of course I am grateful. It is not that I dislike them or grudge anything I can do; but you, Diana, you! to waste so much affection upon two little selfish?? ???? ?

?Unselfish, you mean.?

?It comes to the same thing,? said Mrs. Hunstanton, in her fervour. ?Oh yes, they are always giving in, thinking what you will like, and deferring to each other; and the result is that they have everything they wish, which, rich as you are and clever as you are, Diana, is more than could be said for you???

?I have a great many things I like,? said Diana, quietly; ?no one has more; and I have my own way?you don?t consider the blessedness of that. Above all things in the world, one likes one?s own way.?

?You have your own way by letting every one have theirs,? said her friend. ?What is Sophy about? Are you going to copy all Diana?s things, one after the{63} other? But you must allow for the difference of style: Diana?s things will never suit you.?