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this was a holiday, it would be a favourable opportunity for Miss Southwell to view the interior of the school. This Matilda had never completely done; and her vacant mind caught with eagerness at the novelty. Alighting accordingly, without giving herself much trouble about Mr. Peter Pendennis, Miss Southwell ran up stairs, guided by Cobham, who began expatiating fluently upon eating-rooms and dormitories, when a new object caught Matilda's eye, and she eagerly demanded its destination.
That, madam," said Cobham, with his usual solemnity, “is a shower-bath: my uncle has just had it placed here, and a most useful addition it is to the health and comfort of the pupils.”
6 A shower-bath !” exclaimed Miss Southwell. 66 Dear me! I never saw one before."
" I shall be most happy to explain the mechanism of it to you, madam," said the
delighted delighted Cobham.
*** The cistern is now fortunately empty. The contrivance is among the most simple. You see this plug fastened to a string: you just pull out the plug.”
“ What, so ?” cried Miss Southwell, following the direction of Cobham's hand. She pulled the string, and had no sooner done so than a deluge of water flowed, in a resistless torrent, over her high-plumed head and hussar riding-habit. In an instant she was wet through, and the habit, being of a colour that does not endure damp, completely spoiled.
Unfortunately the cistern had been replenished without Cobham's knowledge, and he stood, the image of blank despair, awaiting the storm which he felt assured was not far distant.-“ Heavens, Mr. Cobham Pendennis! was ever any thing so intensely awkward ?” were Miss Southwell's first. words, as she shook her dripping garments; and, regardless that she
was the author of her own misfortune, she poured a torrent of reproaches on the illfated youth.
“ Come, come, Cobham! don't stand like a water-god that has forgot himself to stone,” said Diana Pendennis; “ let us make haste to see what can be done for Miss Southwell.”
Miss Southwell's “ pride” was obliged to submit to the mortification of borrow. ing a complete change of raiment from the Misses Pendennis; and she long afterwards declared, she did not know which was most disagreeable to her--this circumstance, or the wearisome condolences of Bridget and Olivia Pendennis. As it was impossible her change of dress should not be remarked, she deputed Diana Pendennis, on her return, to explain the matter to sir Charles. This she did with the best eloquence she was mistress of, and then continued, as was often her custom, to amuse the baronet with a recital of common occurrences, which she could always render humourous, as, lounging in his usual indolent way, he enjoyed his favourite recreation of caressing his faithful friend Lara.“ Well, what mischief have you been doing last, ma belle espiégle?” said sir Charles. 66 Confess
has it been powdering its uncle's wig with sawdust, or acting ghost among the villagers ? Whatever the story is, I long to hear it.”
La belle espiégle, as sir Charles had surnamed Diana, was really a favourite with him. Her drollery reanimated his exhausted spirits.--"I would not exchange the whimsical humour of Diana," he would say, " for the elegant sameness of half the misses of fashion who come to the house."
Miss Southwell too was fond of Diana's company, in her own selfish way: her at tachment resembled that attributed to Napoleon, for his confidante colonel Ba. cler d'Albe. She had Diana often with her, pour pouvoir la tourmenter tout à son aise."
Diana was sometimes revenged, as in the instance of the shower-bath; but she took very good care not to confess that it was a trick of her own preparing. She purposely directed Miss Southwell's curiosity towards the academy, and determined, if she had overlooked the shower. bath, to turn her attention to it. The prospect of spoiling, at one stroke, Miss Southwell's new riding-habit and Cobbam's flirtation, had proved to Diana temptation irresistible.