Page:Eliot - Middlemarch, vol. IV, 1872.djvu/286

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formed parliaments; when suddenly some inarticulate little sounds were heard which called everybody's attention.

"Henrietta Noble," said Mrs Farebrother, seeing her small sister moving about the furniture-legs distressfully, "what is the matter?"

"I have lost my tortoise-shell lozenge-box. I fear the kitten has rolled it away," said the tiny old lady, involuntarily continuing her beaver-like notes.

"Is it a great treasure, aunt?" said Mr Farebrother, putting up his glasses and looking at the carpet.

"Mr Ladislaw gave it me," said Miss Noble. "A German box—very pretty, but if it falls it always spins away as far as it can."

"Oh, if it is Ladislaw's present," said Mr Farebrother, in a deep tone of comprehension, getting up and hunting. The box was found at last under a chiffonier, and Miss Noble grasped it with delight, saying, "it was under a fender the last time."

"That is an affair of the heart with my aunt," said Mr Farebrother, smiling at Dorothea, as he reseated himself.

"If Henrietta Noble forms an attachment to any one, Mrs Casaubon," said his mother, emphatically,