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“How are you, Spelt?” he said, in an alto voice, noteworthy triad. On opposite sides of the table in which rung a certain healthy vigour, amounting sat the meek tailor and the hawk-expressioned to determination. “Just in time, I believe. My bookseller. The latter had a broad forehead and little woman has been busy in the parlour for the large clear light eyes. His nose-I never think a last hour, and I can depend upon her to the minute. face described when the nose is forgotten : Chaucer Step in."

never omits it-rose from between his eyes as if "Don't let me interrupt you,” suggested Mr. Spelt, intending to make the true Roman arch, but having meekly, and reverentially even, for he thought Mr. reached the key-stone, held on upon the same high Kitely must be a very learned man indeed to write level, and did not descend but ceased. He wore no so much about books, and had at home a collection beard, and bore his face in front of him like a banner, of his catalogues complete from the year when he A strong pediment of chin, and a long thin-lipped first occupied the nest in the passage. I had forgot mouth completed an expression of truculent good to say that Mr. Kitely was Mr. Spelt's landlord, nature. Plenty of clear-voiced speech, a breezy and found him a regular tenant, else he certainly defiance of nonsense in every tone, bore in it a would not have invited him to team

certain cold but fierce friendliness, which would “Don't let me interrupt you,” said Mr. Spelt. show no mercy to any weakness you might vaunt,

“ Not at all,” returned Mr. Kitely. “I'm very but would drag none to the light you abstained happy to see you, Spelt. You're very kind to my from forcing into notice. Opposite to him sat the Hattie, and it pleases both of us to have you to tea thoughtful thin-visaged small man, with his hair in our humble way."

on end ; and between them the staid old-maidenly His humble way was a very grand way indeed to child, with her hair in bands on each side of the poor Spelt-and Mr. Kitely knew that. Spelt could smooth solemnity of her face, the conceit of her

only rub his nervous delicate hands in token that gentle nature expressed only in the turn-up of her ! he would like to say something in reply if he could diminutive nose. The bookseller behaved to her as | bat find the right thing to say. What hands those if she had been a grown lady.

vere, instinct with life and expression to the finger “Now, Miss Kitely,” he said, “we shall have nails ! No hands like them for fine-drawing. He tea of the right sort, sha'n't we?” would make the worst rent look as if there never “I hope so," answered Mattie, demurely. “Help tad been a rough contact with the nappy surface. Mr. Spelt to a herring, father.”

The tailor stepped into the parlour, which opened " That I will, my princess. There, Mr. Spelt ! out of the back shop sideways, and found himself There's a herring with a roe worth millions. To in an enchanted region. A fire-we always see the think now that every one of those eggs would be a fire first, and the remark will mean more to some fish like that, if it was only let alone !" people than to others.. most respectable fire It's a great waste of eggs, ain't it, father ?” said barsed in the grate, and if the room was full of the Mattie. odour of red herrings, possibly objectionable per se, “Mr. Spelt won't say so, my princess," returned where was the harm when they were going to partake Mr. Kitely, laughing. “He likes 'em.” of the bloaters ? A consequential cat lay on the “I do like them,” said the tailor. heartb-rug. A great black oak cabinet, carved to repletion of surface, for which a pre-Raphaelite don't hurt them much," resumed Mattie, reflectpainter would have given half the price of one of ively. his best pictures, stood at the end of the room. This They'll go to his brains, and make him clever," was an accident, for Mr. Kitely could not appreciate said Kitely. “And you wouldn't call that a waste,

it. But neither would he sell it when asked to do would you, Mattie ?" 1. 30. He was not going to mix trades, for that was “Well, I don't know. I think Mr. Spelt's clever

against his creed; the fact being that he had tried enough already. He's too much for me sometimes. so many things in his life that he now felt quite I confess I can't always follow him.” respectable from having settled to one for the rest The father burst into a loud roar of laughter, and of his days. But the chief peculiarity of the room laughed till the tears were running down his face. 525 the number of birds that hung around it in Spelt would have joined him but for the reverence cages of all sizes and shapes, most of them covered he had for Mattie, who sat unmoved on her throne up now that they might go to sleep.

at the head of the table, looking down with calm After Mattie bad bestowed her approbation upod benignity on her father's passion, as if laughter Mr. Spelt for coming exactly to the hour, she took were a weakness belonging to grown-up men, in the brown tea-pot from the hoh, the muffin from which they were to be condescendingly indulged before the fire, and three herrings from the top of it, by princesses, and little girls in general. and put them all one after another upon the table. “Well, how's the world behaving to you, Spelt?” Then she would have placed chairs for them all, asked the bookseller, after various ineffectual but was prevented by the gallantry of Mr. Spelt, attempts to stop his laughter by the wiping of his and only succeeded in carrying to the head of the eyes. table her own high chair, on which she climbed up, “ The world has never behaved ill to me, thank and sat enthroned to pour out the tea. It was a God,” answered the tailor.

to "Well, I dare say they're good for him, and it

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“Now, don't you trouble yourself to say that. The bookseller's logic was, to say the least of it, You've got nobody to thank but yourself.”

queer. But Spelt was no logician. He was some“But I like to thank God," said Mr. Spelt, thing better, though in a feeble way. He could apologetically. “I forgot that you wouldn't like it. jump over the dry-stone fences and the cross

“Pshaw! pshaw ! I don't mind it from you, for ditches of the logician. He was not one of those I believe you're fool enough to mean what you say. who stop to answer arguments against going home, But tell me this, Spelt-did you thank God wben instead of making haste to kiss their wives and your wife died?”

children. “I tried hard not. I'm afraid I did though," “I've read somewhere--in a book I dare say you answered Spelt, and sat staring like one who has mayn't have in your collection, Mr. Kitely—they confessed, and awaits his penance.

call it the New TestamentThe bookseller burst into another loud laugh, There was not an atom of conscious humour in and slapped his band on his leg.

the tailor as he said this. He really thought Mr. “You have me there, I grant, Spelt.”

Kitely might have conscientious scruples as to But his face grew sober as he added, in a lower favouring the sale of the New Testament. Kitely but still loud voice,

smiled, but said nothing. “I was thinking of my wife, not of yours. Folk “I've read”-the tailor went on-“that God say she was a rum un.

winked at some people's ignorance. I dare say he “She was a splendid woman," said the tailor. may wink at Mr. Potter's." "She weighed twice as much as I do, and her “Anyhow, I wouldn't like to be Mr. Potter,” fist- Here he doubled up his own slender said the bookseller. hand, laid it on the table, and stared at it, with his “No, nor I,” returned Spelt. * But just as I mouth full of muffin. Then, with a sigh, he added, let that poor creature, Dolman, cobble away in my “She was rather too much for me, sometimes. She ground-floor-though he has never paid me more was a splendid woman, though, when she was than half his rent since ever he took itsober."

“Is that the way of it? Whew!” said Mr. Kitely. “And what was she when she was drunk ?" “About and about it," answered the tailor.

This grated little on the tailor's feelings, and “But that's not the point. he answered with spirit,

“What a fool you are then, Spelt, to-" “A match for you or any man, Mr. Kitely." “Mr. Kitely," interposed the tailor, with dignity, The bookseller said, “Bravo, Spelt!” and said "do I pay your rent?”

“You've got my receipts, I believe," answered They went on with their tea for some moments in the bookseller, offended in his turn. silence.

“Then I may make a fool of myself if I please,” “Well, princess !” said Mr. Kitely at last, giving returned Spelt, with a smile which took all offence an aimless poke to the conversation.

out of the remark. “I only wanted to say that “Well, father,” returned Mattie.

perhaps God lets Mr. Potter hold the living of Whereupon her father turned to Spelt and said, St. Jacob's in something of the same way that I let as if resuming what had passed before,

poor Dolman cobble in my ground-floor. No offence, “Now tell me honestly, Spelt, do you believe I hope.” there is a God?

“None whatever. You're a good-natured, honest “I don't doubt it."

fellow, Spelt; and don't distress yourself, you know, “And I do. Will you tell me that, if there was for a week or so. Have half a herring more? I fear a God, he would have a fool like that in the church this is a soft roe.” over the way there, to do nothing but read the “No more, I thank you, Mr. Kitely. But all service, and a sermon he bought for eighteenpence, the clergy ain't like Mr. Potter. Perhaps he talks and

such nonsense because there's nobody there to hear “From you ?” asked Spelt, with an access of it.” interest.

“There's plenty not there to do something for “No, no. I was too near the church for that. for his money," said Kitely. But he bought it of Spelman, in Holywell Street. — “That's true," returned the tailor.

“But seeing Well, what was I saying?”.

I don't go to church myself, I don't see I've any “You was telling us what Mr. Potter did for his right to complain. Do you go to church, Mr. money.”

Kitely?” Yes, yes. I don't know anything else he does “I should think not," answered the bookseller. but stroke his Piccadilly weepers, and draw his “But there's some one in the shop.” salary. Only I suppose they have some grand name So saying, he started up and disappeared. Prefor salary nowadays, out of the Latin Grammar or sently voices were heard, if not in dispute, yet in the Roman Antiquities, or some such, to make it difference. respectable. Don't tell me there's a God, when he “You won't oblige me

as that, Mr. puts a man like that in the pulpit. To hear him Kitely ?" haw-haw !"

“No, I won't. I never pledge myself. I've

no more.

so far

been too often taken in. No offence. A man goes fessed that it was not without a glow of inward away and forgets. Send or bring the money, and satisfaction that he saw her confusion and the rosy the book is yours; or come to-morrow. I daresay tinge that spread over her face and deepened the it won't be gone. But I won't promise to keep it. colour of her eyes when they thus happened to meet. There."

For Mary was a soft-hearted and too impressible “Very well, I won't trouble you again in a girl. I never said anything to her,” were the hurry."

words with which he would now and then apply an "That is as you please, sir," said the bookseller, unction to his soul, compounded of self-justification and no reply followed.

and self-flattery. But he could not keep an outward "That's Mr. Worboise,” said Mattie. “I wish appearance of coolness correspondent to the real father wouldn't be so hard

upon
him.”

coldness of his selfish heart, and the confusion which "I don't like that young man,” said Kitely, re- was only a dim reflection of her own was sufficient catering. “My opinion is that he's a humbug." to make poor Mary suppose that feelings similar to

"Miss Burton does not think so," said Mattie, her own were at work in the mind of the handsome quietly.

youth. Why he did not say anything to her had "Eh! what, princess ?” said her father. “Eh ! vot yet begun to trouble her, and her love was as ab! Well! well!"

yet satisfied with the ethereal luxuries of dreaming "You don't give credit, Mr. Kitely?” said the and castle-building. tailor.

It had been arranged between Amy Worboise and "No, not to my own father. I don't know, the Boxall girls, that if Christmas-Day were fine, though, if I had the old boy back again, now he's they would persuade their fathers to go with them dead. I didn't behave over well to him, I'm afraid to Hampstead Heath in the morning. How much I wonder if he's in the moon, or where he is, Mr. of this arrangement was owing to sly suggestion on Spelt, eh? I should like to believe in God now, if the part of Mary in the hope of seeing Tom, I do it were only for the chance of saying to my father, not know. I believe Jane contrived that Charles 'I'm sorry I said so-and-so to you, old man.' Do Wither should have a hint of the possibility. It is you think he'll have got over it by this time, Spelt? enough that the plan was accepted by the parents, You know all about those things. But I won't and that the two families, with the exception of have a book engaged and left and not paid for. I'd Mrs. Boxall, who could not commit the care of the rather give crédit and lose it, and have done with Christmas dinner to the servants, and the invalid it If young Worboise wants the book, he may Mrs. Worboise, who, indeed, would always have come for it to-morrow."

preferred the chance of a visit from Mr. Simon to “He always pays me—and pleasantly,” said the certainty of sunshine and extended prospect, Spelt

found themselves, after morning-service, on the "Of course," said Mattie.

platform of the Highbury railway-station, whence "I don't doubt it,” said her father; "but I like they soon reached Hampstead. thing neat and clean. And I don't like him. He The walk from the station, up the hill to the top thinks a deal of himself.”

of the heath, was delightful. It was a clear day, "Surely he's neat and clean enough,” said Spelt. the sun shining overhead, and the ground sparkling "Now, you don't know what I mean.

A man

with frost under their feet. The keen, healthy air ought always to know what another man means brought colour to the cheeks and light to the eyes before he makes his remarks. I mean, I like a book of all the party, possibly with the sole exception of to go out of my sight, and the price of it to go into Mr. Worboise, who, able to walk uncovered in the may pocket, right slick off. But here's Dolman keenest weather, was equally impervious to all the come to fetch you, Spelt,” said the bookseller, as gentler influences of Nature. He could not be said the cobbler made his appearance at the half-open to be a disbeliever in Nature, for he had not the door of the parlour.

smallest idea that she had any existence beyond an "No, I ain't,” said Dolman. “I only come to allegorical one. What he did believe in was the let the guv'ner know as I'm a going home.” law, meaning by that neither the Mosaic nor the “Where's that?" asked Kitely.

Christian, neither the law of love nor the law of " Leastways, I mean going home with a pair o' right, but the law of England, as practised in her boots," answered Dolman, evasively, wiping his courts of justice. Therefore he was not a very inDose with the back of his hand.

teresting person to spend a Christmas morning with, "Ah!" said the bookseller.

and he and Mr. Boxall, who was equally a believer

in commerce, were left to entertain each other. CHAPTER VI.—THE MORNING OF CHRISTMAS-DAY. Mary Boxall was especially merry; Amy Worboise It is but justice to Thomas Worboise to mention roguish as usual ; Jane Boxall rather silent, but still that he made no opportunities of going to his "go- bright-eyed, for who could tell whom she might vernor's" house after this. But the relations of the meet upon the heath? And with three such girls families rendered it impossible for him to avoid seeing Tom could not be other than gay, if not brilliant. Mary Boxall sometimes. Nor did he make any great True, Lucy was alone with her old grandmother in effort to evade such meetings ; and it must be con- dingy Guild Court ; but if she loved him, was not

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