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have been engaged this morning, of our own
Personality. Here am I, and there are you
let us say two Personalities. Are we a
permanent, or are we a transient thing?
There is the problem, my dear sir, that I
have been vainly trying to solve since
breakfast-time. Can you be one and the same
person, for example, for two moments
together, any more than two successive
moments can be one and the same moment?
My sister Kitty."

The door opened as he said these last
words, and a tall young lady glided serenely
into the room. I rose and bowed, and the
tall young lady sank softly into a chair opposite
me. Mr. Bettifer went on:

"You may tell me that our substance is
constantly changing. I grant you that; but
do you get me out of the difficulty? No;
you only plunge me in deeper. For it is not
substance, but—— My sister Maria."

The door opened again. A second tall
young lady glided in, and sank into a chair
by her sister's side. Mr. Bettifer went on:

"Not substance, but consciousness which
constitutes Personality. Now what is the
nature of consciousness?— My sisters Emily
and Jane."

The door opened for the third time and
two tall young ladies glided in, and sank into
two chairs by the sides of their two sisters.
Mr. Bettifer went on:

"Now the nature of consciousness I take
to be that it cannot be the same in any two
moments, nor consequently the personality
constituted by it. Do you grant me that?"

Not understanding a word he said, I, of
course, granted it directly. Just as I said
yes, the door opened again, a fifth tall young
lady glided in, and assisted in lengthening
the charming row formed by her sisters. Mr.
Bettifer murmured indicatively, "My sister
Elizabeth," and made a note of what I had
granted him, on the manuscript by his side.

"What lovely weather!" I remarked, to
change the conversation.

"Beautiful!" answered five melodious
voices.

The door opened again.

"Beautiful, indeed!" said a sixth
melodious voice.

"My sister Harriet," said Mr. Bettifer,
finishing his note of my metaphysical
admission.

They all sat in one fascinating row. It
was like being at a party. I actually felt
uncomfortable in my coloured trowsersmore
uncomfortable still, when "my sister
Harriet" begged that she might not interrupt
our previous conversation.

"We are so fond of metaphysical subjects,"
said Miss Elizabeth.

"Except that we think them rather
exhausting for dear Alfred," said Miss Jane.

"Dear Alfred!" repeated the Misses
Emily, Maria, and Kitty, in mellifluous
chorus.

Not having a heart of stone, I was so
profoundly touched, that I would have tried to
resume the subject. But, Mr. Bettifer waved
his hand impatiently, and said that he
rejected the conclusion at which he was now
obliged to arrive after my admissionthe
said conclusion being, that our present self
was not our yesterday's self, but another self
mistaken for it, which, in its turn, had no
connection with the self of to-morrow. As
this certainly sounded rather unsatisfactory,
I agreed with Mr. Bettifer that we had
exhausted that particular view of the subject,
and that we had better defer starting another
until a future opportunity. An embarrassing
pause followed our renunciation of
metaphysics for the day. Miss Elizabeth broke
the silence by asking me if I was fond of
pictures; and before I could say Yes, Miss
Harriet followed her by asking me if I was
fond of music.

"Will you show your pictures, dear?"
said Miss Elizabeth to Miss Harriet.

"Will you sing, dear?" said Miss Harriet
to Miss Elizabeth.

"Oh, do dear!" said the Misses Jane and
Emily to Miss Elizabeth.

"Oh, yes, dear!" said the Misses Maria
and Kitty to Miss Harriet.

There was an artless symmetry and balance
of affection in all that these six sensitive
creatures said and did. The fair Elizabeth
was followed to the end of the room where
the piano was, by Jane and Emily. The
lovely Harriet was attended in the direction
of the easel by Maria and Kitty. I went to
see the picture first. The scene was the bottom
of the sea; and the subject, A Forsaken
Mermaid. The unsentimental, or fishy lower
half of the sea nymph was dexterously hidden
in a coral grove before which she was
sitting, in an atmosphere of limpid blue water.
She had beautiful long green hair, and
was shedding those solid tears which
we always see in pictures and never in
real life. Groups of pet fishes circled around
her with their eyes fixed mournfully on their
forlorn mistress. A line at the top of the
picture, and a strip of blue above it,
represented the surface of the ocean and the sky;
the monotony of this part of the composition
being artfully broken by a receding golden
galley with a purple sail, containing the
fickle fisher youth who had forsaken the
mermaid. I had hardly had time to say
what a beautiful picture it was, before Miss
Maria put her handkerchief to her eyes,
and, overcome by the pathetic nature of the
scene pourtrayed, hurriedly left the room.
Miss Kitty followed, to attend on and
console her; and Miss Harriet, after covering
up her picture with a sigh, followed to assist
Miss Kitty. I began to doubt whether I
ought not to have gone out next, to support
all three; but, Mr. Bettifer, who had
hitherto remained in the back ground, lost
in metaphysical speculation, came forward to

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