Page:Aunt Jo's Scrap-Bag, Volume 2.djvu/194

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could make the awful avowal that parties at which the order of performance was, gossip, tea, music; then music, tea, and gossip, all together,—were not her idea of intellectual society. Their criticisms on pictures and statues cannot be recorded without covering their humble names with infamy, and why the sky did not fall upon or the stones rise up and smite these Vandals is a mystery to this day.

They did enjoy much in their own improper manner, but poor Amanda's sufferings can better be imagined than described. So when Lavinia, early in March proposed to flee to the mountains before they became quite demoralized, and learned to steal and stab, as well as lie and lounge, she readily assented, and they retired to Albano.

"The decline and fall of the Roman Empire was nothing to this, and never have I seen such unappreciative women as you two," sighed Amanda, as they rolled away from Numero Due Piazza Barberini, leaving Agrippina sobbing at the top of the stairs and the padrona bobbing little curtsies at the bottom.

"I am sure the Cenci will haunt me all my days, and so will many other famous things," said Matilda