Charles Dickens

But, becoming affectionate almost immediately, she flounced out of it again, and kneeled down on the floor to take her sister, chair and all, in her arms.

'Don't suppose I am hasty or unkind, darling, because I really am not. But you are such a little oddity! You make one bite your head off, when one wants to be soothing beyond everything. Didn't I tell you, you dearest baby, that Edmund can't be trusted by himself? And don't you know that he can't?'

'Yes, yes, Fanny. You said so, I know.'

'And you know it, I know,' retorted Fanny. 'Well, my precious child! If he is not to be trusted by himself, it follows, I suppose, that I should go with him?'

'It--seems so, love,' said Little Dorrit.

'Therefore, having heard the arrangements that are feasible to carry out that object, am I to understand, dearest Amy, that on the whole you advise me to make them?'

'It--seems so, love,' said Little Dorrit again.

'Very well,' cried Fanny with an air of resignation, 'then I suppose it must be done! I came to you, my sweet, the moment I saw the doubt, and the necessity of deciding. I have now decided. So let it be.'

After yielding herself up, in this pattern manner, to sisterly advice and the force of circumstances, Fanny became quite benignant: as one who had laid her own inclinations at the feet of her dearest friend, and felt a glow of conscience in having made the sacrifice. 'After all, my Amy,' she said to her sister, 'you are the best of small creatures, and full of good sense; and I don't know what I shall ever do without you!'

With which words she folded her in a closer embrace, and a really fond one.

'Not that I contemplate doing without You, Amy, by any means, for I hope we shall ever be next to inseparable. And now, my pet, I am going to give you a word of advice. When you are left alone here with Mrs General--'

'I am to be left alone here with Mrs General?' said Little Dorrit, quietly.

'Why, of course, my precious, till papa comes back! Unless you call Edward company, which he certainly is not, even when he is here, and still more certainly is not when he is away at Naples or in Sicily. I was going to say--but you are such a beloved little Marplot for putting one out--when you are left alone here with Mrs General, Amy, don't you let her slide into any sort of artful understanding with you that she is looking after Pa, or that Pa is looking after her. She will if she can. I know her sly manner of feeling her way with those gloves of hers. But don't you comprehend her on any account. And if Pa should tell you when he comes back, that he has it in contemplation to make Mrs General your mama (which is not the less likely because I am going away), my advice to you is, that you say at once," Papa, I beg to object most strongly. Fanny cautioned me about this, and she objected, and I object." I don't mean to say that any objection from you, Amy, is likely to be of the smallest effect, or that I think you likely to make it with any degree of firmness. But there is a principle involved--a filial principle--and I implore you not to submit to be mother-in-lawed by Mrs General, without asserting it in making every one about you as uncomfortable as possible. I don't expect you to stand by it--indeed, I know you won't, Pa being concerned--but I wish to rouse you to a sense of duty. As to any help from me, or as to any opposition that I can offer to such a match, you shall not be left in the lurch , my love. Whatever weight I may derive from my position as a married girl not wholly devoid of attractions--used, as that position always shall be, to oppose that woman--I will bring to bear, you May depend upon it, on the head and false hair (for I am confident it's not all real, ugly as it is and unlikely as it appears that any One in their Senses would go to the expense of buying it) of Mrs General!' Little Dorrit received this counsel without venturing to oppose it but without giving Fanny any reason to believe that she intended to act upon it.