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Kitty swiftly threw open the door, and took her elder sister’s hand in her own and gently guided her inside the confines of Jedidiah’s apartment. Indeed, the quaint dwelling was bare and mostly unadorned, but it was clean and orderly, so Kitty could not be embarrassed to show Maud in. However, Kitty’s eagerness to welcome her sister into her residence for the whole of the summer was not to show off, but rather due to the fact that Maud had almost died in her absence; she had nearly lost her only elder sister, and the prospect of losing Maud at all brought tears to Kitty’s eyes. Though not an avid fan of displaying emotions, Kitty was capable of affection, and when it came to her siblings’ wellbeing and overall presence in her life, she could not fathom her life without each of them present.
“Oh Maudy,” she gently chastised, quite used to her elder sister’s excessive concerns regarding propriety, before proceeding to put on a pot of tea for she and her sister to consume, “Please cease your concerns; you ought to know by now how happy your presence makes me!” Indeed, Kitty was feeling quite jolly, and if she had not been aware that she possessed a certain amount of restraint, she would have been humming a merry song; quite out of character for Kitty, of course, but not unexpected. Kitty could be carefree and jolly when she wanted to, and her sister’s (or any of her siblings, really) company was the cause of her jolliness at present.
“You appear quite in good health, Sis,” she admitted, but Kitty could not help but examine Maud from the corner of her eye. As always, Maud was of a sickly complexion and rather thin (a little too
thin for Kitty’s liking), and she bit her lip in anxiousness. Of course, Maud had always possessed a sickly complexion and thin frame due to her consumption, but in Kitty’s frame of mind, the symptoms seemed to her multiplied and she was beginning to wonder if the healer that had attended to her had not poisoned her as well as partially cured her? Kitty became aware of how firmly her teeth were grazing her lips when she suddenly jumped, startled, from the whistle of the tea kettle, alerting her that the tea had finished brewing, and she quietly set herself to the task of preparing the teat tray when she acknowledged her sister once more, the warm and affectionate smile a younger sister displayed across her features, “Ah Maudy, it has been a long time since we have last just spoken, has it not? Indeed, your letters are a delight to receive and read, but nothing compares to true one-on-one socialization.”
Setting the tea tray down upon the small, cherry wood table, Kitty plopped herself down in a chair opposite Maud, and once again took Maud’s cold and bony hands in her own as she inquired softly, “Now, all questions about myself set aside, how about you; how have you
been faring? Mother is not an easy woman to impress, nor is she the best of company; you must be exhausted
. Come, have you some tea and relax. There is no Mother here to unsettle you.” And please refrain from inquiring any further about my health, Maudy; I am rather afraid you will balk at the truth of my radiance
, she thought to herself as she caressed Maud’s hands affectionately.
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