On returning to the sitting-room Mr. Carlyle inquired the cause of the servants' negligence.
"I sent them away because they were superfluous encumbrances," hastily replied Miss Carlyle. "We have four in the house, and my lady has brought a fine maid, I see, making five. I have come up here to live."
Mr. Carlyle felt checkmated. He had always bowed to the will of Miss Corny, but he had an idea that he and his wife should be better without her. "And your house?" he exclaimed.
"I have let it furnished; the people enter to-day. So you cannot turn me out of East Lynne into the road, or to furnished lodgings, Archibald. There'll be enough expense without our keeping on two houses; and most people in your place would jump at the prospect of my living here. Your wife will be mistress. I do not intend to take her honors from her; but I will save her a world of trouble in management--be as useful to her as a housekeeper. She will be glad of that, inexperienced as she is. I dare say she never gave a domestic order in her life."
This was a view of the case, to Mr. Carlyle, so plausibly put, that he began to think it might be all for the best. He had great reverence for his sister's judgment; force of habit is strong upon all of us. Still he did not know.
"Did you buy that fine piano which has arrived?" angrily asked Miss Carlyle.
Miss Corny groaned. "What did it cost?"
"The cost is of no consequence. The old piano here was a bad one, and I bought a better."