Madame was intent on a water-color copy of Turner's "Rain, Wind, and
Hail," that pleasing work which was sold upsidedown and no one found
it out. Motioning Christie to a seat she finished some delicate
sloppy process before speaking. In that little pause Christie
examined her, and the impression then received was afterward
Mrs. Stuart possessed some beauty and chose to think herself a queen
of society. She assumed majestic manners in public and could not
entirely divest herself of them in private, which often produced
comic effects. Zenobia troubled about fish-sauce, or Aspasia
indignant at the price of eggs will give some idea of this lady when
she condescended to the cares of housekeeping.
Presently she looked up and inspected the girl as if a new servant
were no more than a new bonnet, a necessary article to be ordered
home for examination. Christie presented her recommendation, made
her modest little speech, and awaited her doom.
Mrs. Stuart read, listened, and then demanded with queenly brevity:
"Too long; I should prefer to call you Jane as I am accustomed to
"As you please, ma'am."