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re-entering “My opinion is that he's a humbug.”
“Miss Burton does not think so,” said Mattie, quietly.
“Eh ! what, princess ?” said her father. “Eh ! ah ! Well ! well !”
“You don't give credit, Mr. Kitely ?" said the tailor.
“No, not to my own father. I don't know, though, if I had the old boy back again, now he's dead. I didn't behave over well to him, I'm afraid. I wonder if he's in the moon, or where he is, Mr. Spelt, eh? I should like to believe in God now, if it were only for the chance of saying to my father, ' I'm sorry I said so-and-so to you, old man.'
Do you think he'll have got over it by this time, Spelt ?
You know all about those things. But I wont have a book engaged and left and not paid for. I'd rather give credit and lose it, and have done with it. If young Worboise wants the book, he may come for it to-morrow.”
“He always pays me--and pleasantly,” said Spelt.
“Of course,” said Mattie.
“I don't doubt it," said her father; "but I like things neat and clean. And I don't like him. He thinks a deal of himself.”
Surely he's neat and clean enough,” said Spelt.
“Now, you don't know what I mean. A man ought always to know what another man means before he makes his remarks. I like a book to go out of my sight, and the price of it to go into my pocket, right slick off. But here's Dolman come to fetch you, Spelt,” said the bookseller, as the cobbler made his appearance at the half-open door of the parlour.
“No, I ain't,” said Dolman. “I only come to let the guvner know as I'm a goin' home.”
“Where may that be ?” asked Kitely.
Leastways, I mean goin' home with a pair o'boots,” answered Dolman, evasively, wiping his nose with the back of his hand.
« Ah !” said the bookseller.
A Poor Adventure.
T is but justice to Thomas Worboise to
mention that he made no opportunities of going to his “governor's” house after this.
But the relations of the families rendered it impossible for him to avoid seeing Mary Boxall sometimes. Neither did he make any great effort to evade such meetings; and it must be confessed that it was not without a glow of inward satisfaction that he saw her confusion and the rosy tinge that spread over her face and deepened the colour of her eyes when they thus happened to meet. For Mary was a soft-hearted and too impressible girl. “I never said anything to her,” were the words with which he would now and then apply an unction to his soul, compounded of self-justification and self-flattery. But he could not keep an outward appearance of coolness correspondent to the real coldness of his selfish heart; and the confusion which was only a dim reflection of her own was sufficient to make poor Mary suppose that feelings similar to her own were at work in the mind of the handsome youth. Why he did not say anything to her had not yet begun to trouble her, and her love was as yet satisfied with the ethereal luxuries of dreaming and castle-building.
It had been arranged between Amy Worboise and the Boxall girls, that if Christmas Day were fine, they would persuade their fathers to go with them to Hampstead Heath in the morning. How much of this arrangement was owing to sly suggestion on the part of Mary in the hope of seeing Tom, I do not know. I believe, however, Jane contrived that Charles Wither should have a hint of the possibility. It is enough that the plan was accepted by the parents, and that the two families, with the exception of Mrs. Boxall, who could not commit the care of the Christmas dinner to the servants, and the invalid Mrs.
Worboise, who, indeed, would always have preferred the chance of a visit from Mr. Simon to the certainty of sunshine and extended prospect, found themselves, after morning-service, on the platform of the Highbury railway-station, whence they soon reached Hampstead.
The walk from the station up the hill to the top of the heath was delightful. It was a clear day, the sun shining overhead, and the ground sparkling with frost under their feet.
The keen, healthy air brought colour to their cheeks and light to the eyes of all the party, possibly with the sole exception of Mr. Worboise, who, able to walk uncovered in the keenest weather, was impervious to all the gentler influences of Nature. He could not be said to be a disbeliever in Nature, for he had not the smallest idea that she had
any existence beyond an allegorical one. What he did believe in was the law, meaning by that neither the Mosaic nor the Christian, neither the law of love nor the law of right, but the law of England, as practised in her courts of justice. Therefore he was not a very interesting person