This was


when they were going to partake of the bloaters ? A consequential cat lay on the hearth-rug. A great black oak cabinet, carved to repletion of surface, for which a pre-Raphaelite painter would have given half the price of one of his best pictures, stood at the end of the room. an accident, for Mr. Kitely could not appreciate it; but neither would he sell it when asked to do

He was not going to mix trades, for that was against his creed; the fact being that he had tried so many things in his life that he now felt quite respectable from having settled to one for the rest of his days. But the chief peculiarity of the room was the number of birds that hung around it in cages of all sizes and shapes, most of them covered up now that they might go to sleep.

After Mattie had bestowed her approbation upon Mr. Spelt for coming exactly to the hour, she took the brown tea-pot from the hob, the muffin from before the fire, and three herri from the top of it, and put them all one after another upon the table. Then she would have

placed chairs for them all, but was prevented by the gallantry of Mr. Spelt, and only succeeded in carrying to the head of the table her own high chair, on (which she climbed up, and sat enthroned to pour out the tea. It was a noteworthy triad. On opposite sides of the table sat the meek tailor and the hawk-expressioned bookseller. The latter had a broad forehead and large clear light eyes.

His nose-I never think a face described when the nose is forgotten : Chaucer never omits it-rose from between his eyes as if intending to make the true Roman arch, but having reached the key-stone, held on upon the same high level, and did not descend but ceased. He wore no beard, and bore his face in front of him like a banner. A strong pediment of chin, and a long thin-lipped mouth completed an expression of truculent good nature. Plenty of clear-voiced speech, with a breezy defiance of nonsense in every tone, bore in it as well a certain cold but fierce friendliness, which would show no mercy to any weakness you might vaunt, but would drag none to the light you abstained from parading. Opposite to him sat the thoughtful thin-visaged small man, with his hair on end ; and between them the staid old-maidenly child, with her hair in bands on each side of the smooth solemnity of her face, the conceit of her gentle nature expressed only in the turn-up of her diminutive nose. The bookseller behaved to her as if she had been a grown lady.

“Now, Miss Kitely,” he said, “ we shall have tea of the right sort, sha'n't we?”

“I hope so," answered Mattie, demurely. Help Mr. Spelt to a herring, Mr. Kitely."

“ That I will, my princess. There, Mr. Spelt ! There's a herring with a roe worth millions, To think now that every one of those eggs would be a fish like that, if it was only let alone !"

“It's a great waste of eggs, ain't it, Mr. Kitely ?” said Mattie.

« Mr. Spelt wont say so, my princess," returned Mr. Kitely, laughing. “He likes 'em.” I do like them,” said the tailor.

Well, I dare say they're good for him, and it don't hurt them much,” concluded Mattie, reflectively.

They'll go to his brains, and make him clever," said Kitely. “And you wouldn't call that a waste, would you, Mattie ?

“ Well, I don't know. I think Mr. Spelt's clever enough already. He's too much for me sometimes. I confess I can't always follow him.

The father burst into a loud roar of laughter, and laughed till the tears were running down his face. Spelt would have joined him but for the reverence he had for Mattie, who sat unmoved on her throne at the head of the table, looking down with calm benignity on her father's passion as if laughter were a weakness belonging to grown-up men, in which they were to be condescendingly indulged by princesses, and little girls in general.

Well, how's the world behaving to you, Spelt ?” asked the bookseller, after various ineffectual attempts to stop his laughter by the wiping of his eyes.

“ The world has never behaved ill to me, thank God," answered the tailor.

“Now, don't you trouble yourself to say that. You've got nobody to thank but yourself.”

“But I like to thank God," said Mr. Spelt, apologetically. "I forgot that you wouldn't like it."

“ Pshaw! pshaw! I don't mind it from you, for I believe you're fool enough to mean what you say. But tell me this, Spelt—did you thank God when your wife died ?"

"I tried hard not. I'm afraid I did though,” answered Spelt, and sat staring like one who has confessed, and awaits his penance.

The bookseller burst into another loud laugh, and slapped his hand on his leg.

You have me there, I grant, Spelt.”

But his face grew sober as he added, in a lower but still loud voice,

“I was thinking of my wife, not of yours. Folk say

she was a rum un.” She was a splendid woman,” said the tailor. “She weighed twice as much as I do, and her

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