Commonplace

However, she consoled herself by calling on the Gibsons; and, finding that Mrs Gibson (who was still an invalid) was asleep at the time, she experienced no difficulty in carrying off the unconscious Molly for a walk, which Lady Harriet so contrived that they twice passed through all the length of the principal street of the town, loitered at Grinstead’s for half an hour, and wound up by Lady Harriet’s calling on the Miss Brownings, who, to her regret, were not at home.

‘Perhaps, it is as well,’ she said, after a minutes consideration. ‘I’ll leave my card, and put your name down underneath it Molly.’

Molly was a little puzzled by the manner in which she had been taken possession of, like an inanimate chattel, for all the afternoon and exclaimed,–

‘Please, Lady Harriet–I never leave cards; I have not got any, and on the Miss Brownings, of all people; why, I run in and out whenever I like.’

‘Never mind, little one. To-day you shall do everything properly, and according to full etiquette. […] So spoke Lady Harriet, standing on the white door-steps at the Miss Brownings’, and holding Molly’s hand while she wished her good-by. […] [‘]And now good-by, we’ve done a good day’s work! And better than you’re aware of,’ continued she, still addressing Molly, though the latter was quite out of hearing. ‘Hollingford is not the place I take it to be, if it doesn’t veer round in Miss Gibson’s favour after my to-day’s trotting of that child about.’

~ Elizabeth Gaskell, Wives and Daughter

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