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[41] in this, we perceive, is the utility of maiden aunts vindicated.

It might seem, as we look around at these priceless relatives, as if there were a good many of them in the world, but in reality there are far too few. Their ranks are so easily depleted, also, by the possibilities of illness, school-keeping, foreign travel, or matrimony that there are seldom enough of them at hand in any family. It is said that young men are growing dilatory about marriage, and this is, if true, a blessing in disguise; for what would become of us if all the maiden aunts were married, and had to look round in vain for other maiden aunts to help take care of their babies? Consider bow many aunts a single baby needs: with what devouring rapidity these exhausting little creatures will use up one after another — in times of teething, for instance-till it seems as if only a very large old-fashioned family could supply aunts enough to go round. Illness makes a demand for aunts; temporary absences make room for them; they are needed when company is to be received, presents are to be made, new curtains to be decided upon, the family dress-making to be attended to; when, in short, are they not needed? Indeed, they are sometimes supposed to exist merely to “accommodate,” as the phrase is at intelligence-offices for a temporary supply; and there is sometimes as much

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