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fist -" Here he doubled
own slender hand, laid it on the table, and stared at it, with his mouth full of muffin. Then, with a sigh, he added, “ She was rather too much for me, sometimes. She was a splendid woman, though, when she was sober."
“ And what was she when she was drunk ?"
This grated a little on the tailor's feelings, and he answered with spirit,
“A match for you or any man, Mr. Kitely.” The bookseller said, “Bravo, Spelt !” and said
They went on with their tea for some moments in silence.
Well, princess !” said Mr. Kitely at last, giving an aimless poke to the conversation.
“ Well, Mr. Kitely !” responded Mattie.
Whereupon her father turned to Spelt and said, as if resuming what had passed before,
“Now tell me honestly, Spelt, do you believe there is a God ?"
“I don't doubt it."
" And I do.
Will you tell me that, if there was a God, he would have a fool like that in the church over the way there, to do nothing but read the service, and a sermon he bought for eighteenpence,
and“ From you ?” asked Spelt, with an access of interest.
“No, no. I was too near the church for that. But he bought it of Spelman, in Holywell-street. -Well, what was I saying?”
“You was telling us what Mr. Potter did for his money."
“Yes, yes. I don't know anything else he does but stroke his Piccadilly weepers, and drawr it. Don't tell me there's a God, when he puts a man like that in the pulpit. To hear him haw-haw !” The bookseller's logic was, to say the least of
But Spelt was no logician. He was something better, though in a feeble way.
He could jump over the dry-stone fences and the cross-ditches of the logician. He was not one of those who stop to answer arguments against going home, instead of making haste to kiss their wives and children.
I've read somewhere—in a book I dare say you mayn't have in your collection, Mr. Kitely —they call it the New Testament
There was not an atom of conscious humour in the tailor as he said this. He really thought Mr. Kitely might have conscientious scruples as to favouring the sale of the New Testament. Kitely smiled, but said nothing.
“I've read”--the tailor went on" that God winked at some people's ignorance. I dare say he may wink at Mr. Potter's."
Anyhow, I wouldn't like to be Mr. Potter," said the bookseller.
No, nor I,” returned Spelt. “But just as I let that poor creature, Dolman, cobble away in my ground-floor—though he has never paid me more than half his rent since ever he took the place “Is that the way of it?
Whew !” said Mr. Kitely.
“About and about it," answered the tailor. “ But that's not the point.”
“What a fool you are then, Spelt, to"
“Mr. Kitely," interposed the tailor, with dignity,“ do I pay your rent ?”
“ You've got my receipts, I believe," answered the bookseller, offended in his turn.
“Then I may make a fool of myself if I please," returned Spelt, with a smile which took all offence out of the remark. "I only wanted to say that perhaps God lets Mr. Potter hold the living of St. Jacob's in something of the same way that I let poor Dolman cobble in my ground-floor. No offence, I hope.”
« None whatever. You're a good-natured, honest fellow, Spelt; and don't distress yourself, you know, for a week or so. Have half a herring more? I fear this is a soft roe.”
“No more, I thank you, Mr. Kitely. But all the clergy ain't like Mr. Potter. Perhaps he talks such nonsense because there's nobody there to hear it."
“There's plenty not there to do something for, for his money," said Kitely.
“That's true," returned the tailor.
seeing I don't go to church myself, I don't see I've any right to complain. Do you go to church, Mr. Kitely ?"
“I should think not,” answered the bookseller. “ But there's some one in the shop.”
So saying, he started up and disappeared. Presently voices were heard, if not in dispute, yet in difference.
“ You wont oblige me so far as that, Mr. Kitely ?”
“No, I wont. I never pledge myself. I've been too often taken in. No offence. A man goes away and forgets. Send or bring the money and the book is yours. Or come to-morrow. I dare say it wont be gone. But I wont promise to keep it. There !”
* Very well, I wont trouble you again in a hurry.”
“ That is as you please, sir," said the book. seller, and no reply followed.
“That's Mr. Worboise," said Mattie. "I wish Mr. Kitely wouldn't be so hard upon him."
“I don't like that young man,” said Kitely,