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/; 







^TT77 -'y 8 'Apr. 19 J3 - ; ■ 



THE REW TORKl 
PUBLIC LIBRARY I 



'AL FiHEXD. 



* V i ' ;: P >: ^. 



4 S 



\ 4 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEN] 



BT 



CHARLES DICKENS. 



ILLUSTRATED HOUSEHOLD EDITIOH. 



BOSTON: 

JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY, 
Latb Tiaarox & Folm, amd Fbloi, Osgood^ & C& 

1873. 



fTEENEWVORKl 
I PUBLIC LIBRARY I 

587704 

AffTOd, LENOX W*B 
•nuDEM FOUHOWIOM. 
1SI3 



THIS BOOK 

IB mCKIBBD BX III AITTKOB 



SIB JAUES EUERSON TENNENT 




CONTENTS. 



DOGE TSE ¥IS3I. Thb Ou« axs thi Lip. 

binnt—OKCBBLooxOm ...... 

Cur. n.— Tlie Man fnna Somewbcs* ■ • . • . 
Cur. m. — Another Mm. ....•.• 

Chip. IT.— The R. water Famflj 

Cur.V.— Boffin-sBowti- , 

Cur. TI.— Cot AdnA 

Cur. Til.— Mr. Wegir looks ■An Hiiii«elf .... 

Cur. Tin.— Ht. Boffin in ConiulCation 

Ciu. IX.— Ur. and Mm Baffin in Coniultatioa . 

Cut. Z. — A Uaniogs Contnull 

Cair. XI.— Podmappery 

Cur. XII.— The Sweat of an HonErtMan'i Brow , 

Cl*r, iUI.— Tracking the Bird of Prey 

Csir.XIV.— The Bird of Pray brought down 100 

Cup.XT.— ThoSewSeryttiila ...... 

Cb*p. XTI.— Minden and Rcmindara ...... 

Cur. XVIL—A DismiJ Swunp Viu 

BOOK THE EEBCOND. BiBsa or a Feaxeeb. 

^UvR L— Of an Blucalional Chanctor 13S 

Cur. II.— 8lj]] Educational U6- , 

Cur. m.— A Piece ofWork *■■•;. . .- IfiZ ■ 

Ce*p. IT,— Cnpid prompted ' . ■ i' '-"-t 15' ' ■ 

Ci*F. v.— Hereory ptompting . . . .'■;■".'. 167 . 
Cur. TL— A Kiddle without an Answer . , . ',■ i v. JT8 '. : 

ft*r. TU.- In which a Friendly Move ii originated . : l' '.'• , J S6 . '. 
Cur.TIIL — In which an Iimoceit Elopement oocun . • '. 192. • 
Cur. IX.— In which the Orphan makca hit Will . . ..^''t-aOlf- - 

Cur. X— A Successor ■. ■..' "; -.'Jttt ' '■ '■ 

Csir. XI.— Soma Aflaira of the Heart ' ' . 211 

Cur. XII— More Birds of Pruy 219 

Cru-. XJII.— a Solo and a Duett 228 

Cur.XlV.— KtronifofPutpoM 237 

^. XV.— The U^ula Ciue 80 far l.'.Si 

Cui. Xri.— An Annivenuy Oouasion ...... ^^ 




oosTsms. 



BOOK THE THCBD. A Lows Laa 

CsimK t. — Lodgen in Queer Street ...... 2 

Chat. II. — A Ite^ected Friend in k New Anect . . . . S 

CiUF. IIL— The iBiaa Beepected Friend in ACon Aipeota tlmn Om S 

Chap. IV.— A Happy ReCum of Qm Day £ 

CiuF. T.— The Oolden Duetmaii blla into Bad Compimy , . t 

Ciup. YI.— The Qolden Dustman &lla into Worn Company . . £ 

Coat. Vn.— The Friendly Move takes op « Strong Position , , » 

CHAp.TlII.^TheEndofaLonKJonnioy 3 

Chat. IX — Somebody beoome* ue Subject of ft Fndictlon > . t. 

Chap. X.— Scouts Out 3J 

CuAF. XI.— In the Dark . . . , , , . . .1^ 

CuAF. XII. — Meaning Miacliief . . t' 

CiLAP. Xin.— Give a Dog a Bad Naue, and hang Mm ... 31 

CaAr. XIV.— Mr. Weag raeparea a Grindstone for Mr. Boffln'a NoM 31 

Chap. XV.— The Golden DuJtman at hiaWoi«t .... 31 

Chap. XVI.— TheFeaatofthe-ThreeUobgoUiiia . . . . 3! 
Chap. XVU.— A Socia] Chonu ....•■.» 



£00Z THE FOUETH. A. Tnssmo, 

OHAPtm L— Setting TniM • > S! 

Chat. II.- The Golden Uiutman riaea a little . ■ . . . 1' 

Chap. III. — The Oolden Dualman ainlu again. . . • . 4( 

Chap. IV.— A Runaway Match 4 : 

Chap. V. — Coneeining the Mendicant'a Brida • • • ■ . 41 

Chap. VI.— A Cry for Help ........ 4; 

Cauf. VII.— Better to be Abel than Cain 4: 

Chap. VIII.— a few Grain* of Pepper . . . . , . 4- 

Chap. IX.— Two Plaoee vacated 4i 

Chap. X. — The Dolle' Dreesmafeer diacoveri a Word . , , . V 

Chap. XI. — Effect ia given to the DoUa' Dreaamoker'B DlKOvery , 4i 

Chap. XII.— The Pareing Shadow 4 

Chap. XIII. — Showing how the Golden Duitman helped to acaUer 

Dnst 41 

' 'C&AT. XIT.-~Checbmate to Qie fViendly More . . . . . 4i 

, CsAi^ X v.— "^Aiac was caught in the Traps that ware set . . 4' 



CHAPf^SVL-^fieAons and 'rhinga in General 
' Qa^xpmMuI'tA. — The Voice of Sode^ 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONa 

[Dnwn bj S. Ermras, Jt] 



L Tn BnD or Pbct 

n. Tm VcnBCRiHO Dmm pm> ■ 

m. Ub. ahd Hbs. Hoffiv M 

)fV. Tfe Six Jollt Pcllowihip-Pobteu 10 

V. Us. Wboo and Mb. Vsaus la CoNSDLTAnoa . . . . 4S 

I VI. PorSXAFTEBI TB 

ni. Hbi. Hiauxa, Slopft, ajtd thb Inrocmrn .... lit 

VQI, Bbidiat Headbtore AMD Cbah«t Hezam .... 1S4 

I IX. The Pebmh or the House add the Bad Child . . . lEO 

I 3. Ub. akd Ubi. AcrBBD Lamhlb US 

< II. Plidoebt abd Riab 17a 

I ZIL BooDK Bidkbhood abd Uiu Pt-KAaAirr at Home. . SIS 

Xllt JOBB HaBMOB ISS 

II V. Wbatbubh abd Liortwood BS4 

XV. Tbb Chebdb add the Lotelt Womax STi 

XVL Has. WiLrBB, Mus LAVtiitA, amd Ub. Obo. SAirnQK", .-.' '^'>' 




OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 

BOOK THE PIEST. THE COP AND THE UP. 



btheM times of oart, QiOTigb con- 
'■nimg the exact tou there it no 
xxtl to Im precise, k boat of diilv 
■id diarapntsble appMnince, vitn 
1*0 figures in it, floated oa the 
Tiaiaes, between Sonthwark BridRH 
■hidi u nf iron, and LondoD Bridge 
*ludi ii of stone, ai an autumn eren- 
m; vu cloamg- in. 

Tia £garee in thia boat vere tliose 
rfi itiong maa with ragged grizzled 
utr and a. Bun-bnjwned face, and a 
i>ii girl of nineteen or twenty, 
•oiidenlly lile h'Tii to be rccognis- 
ible u hia daughter. The girl rowed, 
polling a pair ot icuUi very easily ; 
Uie man, with the rudder linea alack 
ID liii handa, and hia banda loose in 
bit waiitbaiid, kept an eager loolc- 
OQt He had no net, hoolt, or line. 
And he could not be a Gshennan ; his 
Wt had no cushion for a sitter, no 
taint, no inscription, no appliance 
■iCfond a niaty boat-hook ancl a coil 
If rope, and he could not be a water- 
>un ; his boat was too crazy and too 
■luill to take in a cargo for delivery. 
Bid he could not be a lighterman or 
litcr-tarrier ; there waa no clua to 
oliat ho looked for, but he looked foT 
■nething, with a tnoat intent and 
tiatbiBf gxK. 31tB Hda, which j 



had turned an tuiur before, mu nm- 

ing down, and his eyes watched 
every little tace and eddy in it« 
broad sweep, aa the boat made alight 
headway against it, or drove stem 
foremost before it, according as he 
dirocted bis daughter by a movement 
of bis head. She watched his face aa 
eamc£tly as he watched the river. 
But, in the intOTisity of her look there 
waa a touch of di-cad or honor. 

Allied to the bottom of the rivoi 
rather than the Burfncc, by rcaaon o( 
the Blimo and ooze with which it woa 
covered, and its sodden state, this 
boat and the two figures in it ob- 
viously were doing something tbat . 
they often did, and ncie soaking - 
whattheyotlensovght, • H^'f'i.lvag? 
aa the man showed, wi{li no covijring 
on bis matted head, wi^iL l^ia -bro^o 
arms bare to between tl.D"olbcT7_aii/] , 
the shoulder, with the loose knot of a_. 
looser kerchief lying li^w orl l^s, ^arc 
breast in a wildcmesa fit 'liAiji^ind 
whisker, with such dicau as lie wore 
eeerning to be made out of the mud 
that begrimed bis boat, still therb 
was busiDGsa-like usage in his steady 
gaze. So with eveiy Hlho fcstwn ol 
the girl, with ovoty Vniri of 'tici w'tvA. 



t ot all with ^i: \iiKfit lA 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 






i 



dread or honor ; fhey were things of 
usage. 

" Keep her out, Lizzie. Tide runs 
fitroDg here. Keep her well afore 
fhe sweep of it." 

Trusting to the fnrYs sidll and 
making no use of the i udder, he eyed 
the coming tide xvith on absorbed 
attention. So the girl eyed him. 
But, it happened now, that a slant of 
light from the setting sun glanced 
into the bottom of the boat, and, 
touching a rotten stain there which 
bore some resemblance to the outline 
of a muffled human form, coloured it 
as though with diluted blood. This 
caught the girl's «ye« and she 
shivered. 

" What ails yon P" said the man, 
immediately aware of it, though so 
intent on the advancing waters ; " I 
see nothing afloat." 

The red nght was gone, the shudder 
was gone, and his gaze, which had 
come back to the boat for a moment, 
travelled away again. Wheresoever 
the strong tide met with an impedi- 
ment, his gaze paused for an instant. 
At every mooring chain and rope, at 
every stationary boat or barge that 
split the current into a broad-arrow- 
head, at the ofifsets from the piers of 
Southwark Bridge, at the paddles of 
the river steamboats as they beat the 
filthy water, at the floating logs of 
timber lashed together lying off" cer- 
tain wharves, his shining eyes darted 
a hungry look. After a darkening 
hour or so, suddenly the njdder-Hnes 
*tlg2ltccied ii; ^is hold, and he steered 
, hsftd to^ii&ii^dls jJnoTSviTey shore. 

*Alw»y&vrf\f^jiiiffd his face, the girl 
rin^Btly {^n^jv'erca to the action in 
r heu'/ssiilliiig; presently the boat 

* %^^uhg* "round, quivered as from a 
liUdden 4^^) ^^^ ^^ upper half of 

•^Z/Q VJEtfi*^fts stretched out over the 

* sterti.' •• • J • 

The girl pulled the hood of a cloak 
she wore, over her head and over her 
face, and, looking backward so that 
the front folds of this hood were 
turned down 11 ic liver, kept the boat 
in that dii*ectiou going ocfbre the 
luie. Until now, the boat had barely 



held her own, and had hovered aboi 
one spot ; but now^ the banks change 
swiftly, and the deepening shadov 
and Uie kindling lights of Londc 
Bridge were passed, and the tieis < 
shipping lay on either hand. 

It was not until now that tl 
upper half of the man came bac 
into the boat. His arms were wi 
and dirty, and he washed them ov( 
the side. In. his right hand he he! 
something, and he washed that i 
the river too. It was money. B 
chinked it once, and he blew upon ; 
once, and he spat upon it oncc,- 
" for luck," he hoarsely said — ^befoi 
he put it in his pocket. 

"Lizzie I" 

The girl turned her £bu» toward 
him with a start, and rowed in sDenc< 
Her face was very pale. He was 
hook-nosed man, and with that an 
his bright eyes and his ruffled hca( 
bore a certain likeness to a rouse 
bird of prey. 

"Take that thing off your face." 

She put it back. 

" Here ! and give me hold of tli 
sculls, m take the rest of tli 
spell." 

" No, no. father ! No ! I can 
indeed. Father! — I cannot sit f 
near it ! " 

He was moving towards her \ 
change places, but her tenified 63 
postulation stopped him and he n 
sinned his scat. 

" What hurt can it do you ?" 

" None, none. But I cannot bet 
it." 

" It's my belief you hato the sigl 
of the very river." 

"I— I do not like it, father." 

"As if it wasn't your living I I 
if it wasn't meat and diink to you! 

At these latter words the gi 
shivered again, and for a momcJ 
paused in her rowing, seeming i 
turn deadly faint. It escapea h 
attention, mr ho was glancing ovi 
the stem at something the boat ht 
in tow. • 

" How can you be so thankless 1 

your best friend, Lizzie P * * The vei 

\ lire thivt warave^'jQiU'vViaQ.'^wk'^c 



OUB HUTDAL FBIEND. 



I )^}ij, wu T^c^Bd ont of Uie river 
ibngtide the coal baigea. The very 
hil[«t that yon slept in, the tide 
nehed uhore. The very rocken 
ttut I put it npon to nulce a cradle 
of it, I cut out of a piece of wood that 
drifted fnnn oome uup or another." 

liizie took her right hand &om 
Qw Koll it held, and tonched her 
Bpl with it, and for a moment held it 
mt lovingly towude him ; then, 
vithoat ip^iinK, the reanmed her 
iDiFing, ae anouier boat of nmilor 
•ppearance, Ihongh in rather better 
trim, cime oat from a dark place and 
dioppod softly alongside. 

"In lack again, Gaflerf" laid a 
ntn viUi a eqnintiag: leer, who 
KuUed her, and who waa alone. " I 
bow'd yoD waa in lock again, by 
jottt wake ea yon come down." 

"Abl" replied the other, drily. 
'So Toa're out, are youF" 

There was now a tender yellow 
UMmliE-ht on the Tiver, and the new 
Nmer, keeping half his boat's length 
utem of the other boat, looked h^rd 
■titati«ck. 

"1 »aya to myaelf," he went on, 
"directly yon hoveinTiew, Yonder'a 
Gaffer, and in luck again, by George 
if he ain't! Scull it ia, pardnar — 
don't fret ^nreelf — I didn't touch 



onlioly intereat at tb* w«te of Gaf- 
fer' e boat. 

Easy doea it, betwixt na. BhalJ 
I take him aboard, panlDerf" 

" No," aoid the other, la n nu-ly 
a tone that the man, after ■ blank 
atare, acknowledged it with tha 

-Am't been eating noUiing a* 

liaa dioBgreed with you, have yoo, 

pardnorf" 

"■Why, yea, I have," aoid Gaffer. 
1 have been swallowing too much 

of that word, Pardner. I am no 

pardner of yours." 

"Sinre when WHS yon no pardnot 
mine. Gaffer Heiam, Esquire t " 
" Since you vaa accused of robbing 
man. Accused of robbing B live 
m!" said Qafler, with great in- 

dignatloo. 

"And what if I ~iad been accnsad 

of robbing a dead man. Goffer f" 






Thu 1 



ck impatient movement on 
t of Gafler : the speaker a; 
Hmo time nnshipping his sen 
that aide, and laying his hand o 
gunwale of Gaffer'* boat and holding 



ont, Goffer ] Been a knocking about 
with a pretty many tideo, am't he, 
Jiaidnerr Such ia my ont-of-luci 
■ays, you see 1 He moat have passed 
BM when he went up Isnt time, for I 
Tta on the look out halow bridge 
len. I a'most think you're like the 
■niton, pardner, and scent 'em out." 
He iipoke in a dropped voice, and 
vith more than one glanceat Lizzie, 
*ha had pulled on her hood tlgHin. 
ihtb mea thea looked with a waitd 



" You c( 



lit" 



Couldn't you, Gafferf 

■Ko. Has a dead man any use 

money F Is it possible for a dead 

n to have money ? What world 

does a dead man belong to t 'Tother 

world. What world does money 

belong to F This world. How can 

^^ be a corpse's F Can a corpse 

it, want it, spend it, claim it, 

itF Don't try to go confoond- 

ing the righta and wrongs of thinga 

in that way. But it's worthy of tii* 

■naaking spirit that robs a live mau." 

" I' 11 tell you what it is-^." 

"Ho yon won't J'U tell you 

whnt it u. You've (Tit off -mth a 

short time of it for putting your hand 

in Ihe pocket of i ■ailo>', a live sailor. 

Make Uie moat of it and think vnur- 

aelf lucky, but don't td\jk af>;ci' that 

to come over hm with youi paionera. 

We have worked together in tirie 

peat, but we work togcL-iei nil m^ne 

m time present nor } et ^are. Let 

go. Caatoff!" 

"Gaffcrl If yon think to get rid 
of me thia way- — ." 

"If I don't gotrid of you this ws.-^, 
I'll try saother, and chn^ ■701 o^cs 
ihe flngeia with the rtiWbeT,oT\*^* 
pick at 7011X tMA. vCCa. ^« ''wm^ 



OTJB HUTUAL FBIBKD. 



ook. Out off! Pan yoa, lizde. 
'uU home, since you won't let your 
ither pull.** 

Lizzie shot ahead, and the other 
oat fell astern. Lizzie's father, 
Dmposing himself into the easy atti- 
ide of one who had asserted the 
igh moralities and taken an nn- 
■sailahle position, slowly lighted a 
me, and smoked, and took a surrey 
I what ho had in tow. What he 



had in tow, limg«d itaalf d Iifi9 
sometimes in an awful manner when 
the hoat was checked, and sometimai 
seemed to tnr to wrench itself away, 
though for the most part it followed 
submissiTely. A neophyte might 
have fuicied that the npples pas^ntf 
over it were dreadfully like fai]^ 
changes of expression on a dghtlesv 
face; but Gaffer waa no neophyte 
yiH tia^j l no £uDUjioi» 



■••i 



OHAPTEBIL 



*R1 MAN FBOM aOXSWHBBai 



Vb. and Mra. Veneering were 
ran-new people in a bran-new house 
I a bran-new quarter of London, 
iverything about the Veneering 
UB spick and span new. All their 
imiture wsa new, all their friends 
'ere new, all their servants were 
ew, Uieir plate was new, their car- 
age was new, their hameas was 
ew, their horses were new, their 
ictures were new, they themselves 
ere new, they were as newly mar- 
ed as was lawfully compatible with 
leir having a bran-new oehy, and if 
ley had s^ up a great-gximdfather, 
s would have come home in matting 
om the Pantechnicon, without a 
aratch upon him, French polished to 
le crown of his head. 
For, in the Veneering establish- 
uent, from f^e hall-chairs with the 
» "-"/f^t^lJ'e Fand pUno- 
»fte with, top, ^0^ action, and up- 
aint^gai^ (9 the 'new fire-escape, 
l;t}iiais ^p^ in a state of high 
iftilSii at/d polish. And what was 
»8ew^bleinth(^fumiture, wasobserv- 
AoIv^Jth^rVejieerings — the surface 
nclt a 4cU^ |po much of the work- 
Lop and WHS a trifle stickey. 
Thcro was an innocent piece of 
nncr-funiiture that went upon easy 
iston and was kept over a livery 
iiblc-yard in Duke Street, Saint 
imes's, when not in use» to whom 
« Vcnocrings were a source of 



blind confrudon. The nama of 
article was Twemlow. Being firsts 
cousin to Lord Snigsworth, he waa 
in frequent requisition, and at many 
houses might be said to represent the 
dininff-table in its noimal state. Kr. 
and Mrs. Veneering, for example^ 
arranging a dinner, habitually started 
with Twemlow, and then put leavef 
in him, or added guests to hioL 
Sometimes, the table oonsistod ol 
IVemlow and half a dozen leaves; 
sometimes, of Twemlow and a dozen 
leaves; sometimes, Twemlow waa 
pulled out to his utmost extent of 
twenty leaves. Mr. and Mrs. Veneer> 
ing on occasions of ceremony Csoed 
each other in the centre of the board, 
and thus the parallel still held ; for, 
it always happened that the mora 
Twemlow was pulled out, the further 
he found himself from the centre^ 
and the nearer to the sideboard at 
one end of the room, or the window- 
curtains at the other. 

But, it was not this which steeped 
the feeble soul of Twemlow in confu- 
sion. This he was used to, and could 
take soundings of. The abyss to 
which he could find no bottom, and 
from which started forth the cngroa- 
sing and ever-swelling difficulty ol 
his life, was the insoluble question 
whether he was Vonecring's oldest 
friend, or newest friend. To the ex- 
cogitation of this problemi the haim- 




OUBUUTDAL FBIEKIX 



Iw grttbauot had dvroted mtaxj 

maiaat hoan, both in hu lodgion 
Ota tha lively rtkble-Tord, end m 
tte cold gloom, fsvouiable to medita- 
tKm, of 8t Jamea'B Square. Thiu. 
Tirendow had first knom VMMeriog 
U hii dab, when Venaehng them 
lmn> nobody bat tha mui who made 
tlim known to one another, who 
(Mmed to be the mart iDtimate biend 
lu bid in the world, and whom he 
i*i known two days— the bond of 
inun between their aaola, the nebii- 
OM Hnduct of the committee reepect- 
iog the oookory of a fillet of real, 
bnng been accidentally cemented 
Mttiat date. Immediately apon this, 
™«ilow receiTed an inritation to 
«iu with T«iieerin(f, and dined : the 
■ulieingof the pu^. Immediately 
■pan lhat,TwemIowTeceiTed an inn- 

VneeriogbeiiiKt^UwpaT^. Att^ 
Bu'i were a Member, on Eaginam, 
a Pi;er-off of the NatioDal Debt, a 
(W on Shakeniean, a Qneranoe, 
•od a Pablic Office, who aU seemed 
to be otter etnin^en to Veneering. 
And ret immediately aitar that, 
Twemiow receired an inTitHtion to 



•ff of Om National Debt, (he Poem 
on Shaheapeare, the Grievance, and 
tha Poblic Office, and, dlnijig, dieco- 
*tied that all of them were the moat 
failimata friends Yeneering bad in 
ili« worid, and that the wiTea of all of 
tham (who weie all there) wore the 
objecta of Hn. Veneeiing'i 



That it had oome about, that Mi. 
Twemiow had aaid to himself in his 
lodgingi, with his baud to hia fore- 
head: "I mnat not think of this. 
Ilua is enongh to soften any man'a 
biain," — and vet was always think- 
' ; of it, and could never form a 



This ereuing the Veneering* give 
a banqnet. Eleven leaves in the 
Twenilow ; fborteen in aampanr all 
told. Four pigeon-bieasted retainer! 
in plain cJoUiea atand in line in Hm 
lialL A flAh ntainer, pfooeedina np 



tbe staircase with a aoitnifal afa^-aa 
wha sbonld say, " Here is anol^^er 
wretched creature oome to dinner; 
such is lifel" — announces, " Mii'ler 
Twemiow I" 

- Ura. Veneering welcomes her sweat 
Mr. Twamlow. Mr. Veneering wel- 

neering dw 
TwenJow c 

for such insipid things as babie^ 
but SO old a friend must please took 
at baby. " Ah t You will know -M 
fi-iend of your family better, Zoot- 
lenms," says Mr. Veneering, o/jdding 
emotionally at that nev articl^ 
"when yoD begin to tsLe notioe. 
Be then begs to make bis dear 
Twemiow known to iits two biend^ 
Mr. Boota and Ur. Brewer — and 
clearly has no distinct idaa which it 

But nMf ft hattvi "*""■"■*-""- 

•'Mis-terand Mia-sis Podanapl" 

"My dear," aaya Mr.Veueermg to 
Mra. Veoeering, with an air of mudl 
friendly interest, while tha dooi 
stands open, " the Podsnaps." 

A too, too ip"i1*"g large man, witJk 
a btal bfahneea on him, appearing 
with his wife, instantly d^erts hu 
wife and darts at Twomlow with : 

" How do yoa do P So glad to 
know yoc Charming bonse you have 
here. I hope we are notlale. So glad 
of this opportunity, I am sure!" 

When the first ihock fell upon 
him, Twemiow twice skipped back in 
his neat little shoes and his neat little 
silk stockings of a bygone fiialiion. aa 
if impelled to leap over a sofa behind 
tiiTi ; bat tbe large man closed with 
him and proved too stronc 

"Let me," says the L 

" trying to attract the attei 

wife in the distance, " have the plea- 
sure of presentinr Mrs. Podsnap to 
her hoM. She will be," in his ^tal 
freshness ho leems to find perpetual 
verdure ant eternal youth in the 
phraao, "ahi nill be so glad of tha 
opportunity, Lamaure!" 

In the a ^ntime, Mrs. Podsnap, 




OUB inrXDAL FfilENIl. 



own aecDmit, lieMuM Mn. Vmeer- 1 
ing ii the oulj other l&dy there, doet 
her beet in the way of hundsomel^ 
cuppoitinR' her hiuiDuid's, by looking' ; 
toKBrds Uc. Twemlon with B plain- ' 
tive couDtemtnce and reimirlrirm to 
Hit. Veneering m a feeling 
flntly, that she feara he has been 
rnther bilioiu of l&le. and, aecondly, 
that the bat? ia alroody very like 

Iti< 

quite 1 . 

other man ; but, Ml Veneenng hai 
inK thia very evening set up Ihi 
aluit-front of the young Antlnoua (in 
new worked cambric just come home), 
ii not at all complimented by being 
■uppoted to be Twemlow, who is dry 
and weaien and some thirty years 
older. Mn. Teneering equally re- 
cent* the imputation of being the 
wife of Twendow. Ai to Twemlow, 
he ia w aenaible of being a much 
b^ter bred man than Veneering, 

ofieiuive aaa. 

In this complicated dilemma, Mr. 
Teneering approacheB the large man 
with extended hand and, mmlingly 
smurea that incorrigible j>enionBge 
that he is delighted to see him : who 
in his fatal freshnefia instsiitly replies: 

"Thank you. I am ashamed to 
ny that I cannot at thia moment 
recall where ve met, but I am so 
glad of this oppoituoity, I am bdis!" 

Then pouncing upon Twemlow, 
trho holds back with all his feeble 
might, he ia haling him olF to present 
him, as Veneering, t« ilra. Fodsnap, 
when the arrival of more guests un- 
iBvels the mistake. Whereupon, 
bsving re-ahakeu handa with VcDeer- 
ing aa Veueertng, he re.-shakes hands 
with Twemlow as Twemlow, aud 
winds it all up to his own perfect 
■atis&ction by saying to the last- 
named, "Ridiculous opportunity — 
but so gUd of it, I am sure!" 

Now, TwemJow having undcraone 
this terrific eiperienee, having like- 
wise noted the fusion of UJots in 
Brewer and Brewer in Boots, and 
Juving jiuthei observed that of the 



reniaining seven gnesfs fbnr disci 

chaiHclAiB enter with wandering e 
and wholly decline to commit thi 
selves as to which is Veneering, u 
Veneering has them tn his grasp 
Twemlow having profited by tb 
studies, finds his brain wholosom 
hardening as he approaches the c 
elusion that he really is Veneerii 
oldest friend, when his brain soft 
again and all is lost, through his e 
encountering Veneering and 
large man linked together as t* 
brothers in the back drawing-rc 
near the oooservatory door, i 
through his ears informing him 
the tones of Mrs. Veneering that 
same large man is to be bMiy's g 

" Dinner is on the table ! " 
Thus the melancholy retainer, 
who should say, " Come down c 
be poisoned, ye unhappy children 

Twemlow, bavingno ladyasrigi 
him, goes down in the rear, with 
hand lo his forehead. Boots e 
Biewcr, thinking liim indispos 
whisper, " Man feint. Had 
lunch." But he is only stunned 
Iho uQvanquishable difficulty of 

Eerived by wnp, Twemlow i 
courses mildly of the Court Circu 
with Boots and Brewer. Is appos 
to, at the fish stage of the lanqi 
by Veneering, on the disputed qo 
tion whether his cousin Lord Sni 
worth is in or out of town f Give 
that his cousin is out of town. " 
Snigeworthy Paikf" Veneering 
cjuires. " AtSuissworthy,"'r«eml 
rcjriins. Bouts and Brewer reg. 
this us a man to be cultivated ; i 
Veiiouring is clear that he is a ren 
nemtive article. Sleantime the 
tainer goes round, Ube a gloo 
Analytical Chemist; alwayssoem 
to say, after "Chablia, sirf 
"Tou wouldn't if you knew w 
it's made of. * 

The great looking-glaM above 
sideboard, reflects the table and 
company. Keflects the new Vent 
ing crest, in gold and eke . lili 




OUB MOTDAL FETEND. 



Anted ukd sIbo thawed, a carnal of 

illnork. The Heralds' Collefre found 
Oct a Cmsadm^ ancestor for VenOfr- 
ing irhD bore a camel on hia aiuold 
[or mig il hare doue it if he tad 
tbaD£;ht if it), and a caiaran of 
omeli take chane of the &uita and 
fl^wen and candlea, and kneel down 
to be loaded with the aoJt. RsSecta 
Veneering; fortf , wavy-haired, dark, 
teudinB to QurpuJence, sly, myateri- 
003, blniy — a kind of auSciuntly 
idl-looking veiled-prophet, not pro- 
pbwfing. Ileflacts Mn. Yeneenng ; 
luj, aquiline-noeed and fin^red, not 
K mmi light hair as she miaht have, 
gr'tgea OS in raiment andje«e!9,eDthu- 
■iut'i^ prapitiatory, conscious that a 
eomeraflisrhusbund'BTeilisoverhor- 
«lf. Eedecta Podsnap; prosperously 
fadins, two little light-coloured 
WT wings, one on either side of his 
else laid bead, looking aa like hia 
Liir-bnishea as hia hair, disaolving 
•iev of red beada on hie forehead, 
lui^ allowance of crumpled shirt- 
"ikt up behind. BoHecta Mrs, 
PodiDiip ; fine woman for Professor 
0»eii, quantity of bone, nock and 
iiMtrilB like a rocking-honse, hard 
'siturea, majestie head-dress in which 
Putsnap has hung golden offerinRS. 
HfBwla Twemlow ; grey, dry, polite, 
•aweptible to east wind, First- 
OoQtleman-in-Europe collar and 
tnnt, cheeks diawn in as if he had 
^e a great effort to retire into 
iimaell aome years ago, and had got 
M Eir and had never got any farther. 
^Socts mature yomtg lady ; raven 
^h, and complexion that lights up 
*«11 when well-powdered— as it is — 
^'TTiag on conaiderahly in the cap- 
tiMtion of mature young gentleman ; 
*ith too much nose in lug &ce, too 
ttnch ginger in his whiskers, tiM 
much tors) in his waistcoat, too 
niich iparkle in his studs, his eyes, 
ia buttons, his talk, and his teeth, 
nddects charming old Iddy Tipping 
ot Teneering'a right; wiUi an im- 
laase obtuse drab oblong face, like 
' face in a tablespoon, and a dyed 
I«ng Walk iij) the top of bar head, 
" ---a pabUe Mpproach to 



the bunch of &1s« hair behind, 

pleased to patronise lira. VeDeerin;^ 
opposite, who is pleased to ba 
patronised. Hefiecls a certain "Mor- 
timar,' another of Veneering's old- 
est fi4ends ; who never was in the 
house before, and appears not to 
want to come again, who aits discon- 
solate on Airs. Veneoring's lelt, und 
who was inveigled by Lady Tippini 
(a &iend of his buyhuod} to oome to 
these people's and talk, and who 
won't talk. Beflecki Eugene, friend 
of MortimeT; buried nlire in the 
back of hia chair, behind a shoulder 
^with a powder -epaulette on it — of 
the mature yoimg lady, and gloomily 
resorting to the champagne chalica 
whenever proffered by the Analytical 
Chemist. Lastly, the looking-gleeB 
refiecls Boots and Brewer, and two 
other stuffed Buffers interposod be- 
Feen the rest of the company and 

The Veneering dinnen are eicel- 
lent dinners — or new peopla wouldn't 
come — and all goes well. Notably, 
Lady Tippins has made « sorics of 
0!(pcrimenla on her digeative fiuio- 
tions, BO eitremely complicated and 
ilaring, that if they could ba pub- 
lished with their reanltj it mii;ht 
benefft the human race. Having 
taken in provisions from all parts of 
the world, this hardv old cruiser ha* 
lost touched at the North Pole, when, 
as the ice-plates are being removed, 
the following words fell from her ; 

" I aaeure yon, my dear Yeneer- 

(Poor Twemlow's hand apprcachea 
his forehead, for it would aoem now, 
that Lady Tippina is going to be the 
oldest friend.) 

"I assure yon, my dear Veneer- 
ing, that it is the oddest affair ! Like 
the advertising people, I don't ask 
you to trust me, without offering 
a respectable refarenoe. Mortimer 
there, is my reference, and kuowa all 

M u rtt mer raises his dn)opin)i;ey eliils, 
and slightly opSD»UaTnou<iV. ^uX,^ 
faint Binile, axnieau'^e ot "■^\oi.*£» 
the ukI" paa&ca otu U» fMM,«iA 



OUB MUTUAL TBJSSD. 



he drops bis eyelids and shuts his 
mouth. 

** Now, Mortimer," says Lady Tip- 
pins, rapping the sticks of her closod 
ffreen fan upon the knuckles of her 
left hand — ^which is particularly rich 
in knuckles, "I insist upon your tell- 
ing all that is to be told about the 
man from Jamaica/* 

<*Giye you my honour I never 
heard of any man from Jamaica, ex- 
cept tho man who was a brother," 
replies Mortimer. 

"Tobago, then." 

" Nor yet from Tobago." 

"Except," Eugene strikes in: so 
unexpectedly that the mature young 
lady, who has forgotten all about 
him, with a start takes the epaulette 
out of his way : " except our friend 
who long live^ on rice-pudding and 
isinglass* till at length to his some- 
thing or other, his physician said 
something else, and a leg of mutton 
somehow ended in daygo." 

A reviving impression goes round 
the table tliat Eugene is coming out. 
An unfulfilled impression, for he goes 
in again. 

" Now, my dear Mrs. Veneering," 
quoth Lady Tippins, "I appeal to 
you whether this is not the basest 
conduct ever known in this world? 
I carry my lovers about, two or three 
at a time, on condition that they are 
very obedient and devoted ; and here 
is my old lover-in-chief, the head of 
all my slaves, throwing off his alle- 
giance before company ! And here is 
another of my lovers, a rough Cymon 
at present. Certainly, but of whom I 
had most hopeful expectations as to 
his turning out well in course of time, 
pretending that he can't remember 
his nursery rhymes ! On purpose to 
annoy me, for he knows how I doat 
upon them I" 

A grisly little fiction oonceming 
her lovers is Lady Tippins*s point. 
She is always attended by a lover or 
two, and she keeps a little list of her 
lovers, and she is always booking a 
now lover, or striking out an old 
lover, or putting a lovor in her black 
itf4 or promoting a iovar to her blue 



list, or adding up her lovers, or other* 
u ise posting hor book. ilrs. Veneer* 
ing is charmed by the humour, and 
so is Veneering. Perhaps it is en- 
hanced by a certain yellow play in 
Lady Tippins*s throat, like the legs 
of scratching poultry. 

"I banish the false wretch fmn 
i this moment, and I strike him out of 
my Cupidon (my name for my Ledger, 
my dear) this very night. But I an« 
resolved to have the account of the 
man from Somewhere, and I beg you 
to elicit it for me, my love," to Mrs. 
Veneering, '* as I have lc»t my own 
influence. Oh, you perjured man !" 
This to Mortimer, with a rattle of 
her fan. 

" We are all very much interested 
in the man from Somewhere^" Ve- 
neering observes. 

Then the four Buffers, taking heaxt 
of grace all four at once, say : 
" Deeply interested I " 
"Quite excited I" 
" Dramatic !" 
^ " Man from Nowhere, perhaps ! " 

Tliad then Mrs. Veneering — for 
Lady Tippins' s winning wiles are 
contagious — folds her hands in the 
manner of a supplicating child, turns 
to her left neighbour, and says, "Tease I 
Pay! Man from Tumwhere!" At 
which the four Buffers, again myste- 
riously moved all four at once, ex- 
claim, " You can't resist!" 

"Upon my life," says Mortimer, 
languidly, " I find it immensely em- 
bairasaing to have the eyes of Europe 
upon me to this extent, and my otuy 
consolation is that you will all of 
you execrate Lady Tippins in your 
secret hearts when you find, as you 
inevitably will, the man from Some- 
where a bore. Sorry to destroy ro- 
mance by fixing him with a local 
habitation, but he comes irom the 
place, the name of which escapes me, 
but will sugg^t itself to everybodr 
else here, whero they make the wine. 

Eugene suggests ** Day and Maz^ 
tin's." 

" No, not that place," returns the 
unmoved Mortimer, " that's where 
they make Ui^ PotU M.^ man comes 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



I oovntry where they make 
I Wine. But look here, old 
t*8 not at all statistical and 
IT odd." 

Iways notioeahle at the table 
YeneeringB, that no man 
himiself much about the Ye- 
themeelTes, and that any 
hae anything to tell, gene- 
8 it to anybody elae in pre- 



n 



man," Mortimer goes on, 
ig Eugene, " whose name is 
, was only son of a tremen- 
rascal who made his money 



it 



velveteens and a bell P'* the 
Quffene inquires, 
a ladder and basket if you 
r which means, or by others, 
rich as a Dust Contractor, 
I in a hollow in a hilly coun- 
ely composed of Dust. On 
snail estate the growling old 
1 threw up his own mountain 
ike an old volcano, and its 
il formation was Dust. Coal- 
etable-dust, bone^ust, crock- 
rough dust and sifted dust, 
nner of Dust." 
sing remembrance of Mrs. 
L^, nere induces Mortimer to 
us next half-dozen words to 
sr which he wanders away 
ies Twemlow and finds he 
inswer, ultimately takes up 
I Buffers^ who receive him 
itically. 

inond being — ^I believe thafs 
t expression — of this exem- 
rson, derived its highest gra- 
from anathematising his 
relations and turning them 
ors. Having begun (as was 
by rendering these attentions 
nfe of his bosom, he next 
mself at leisure to bestow a 
ecognition on the claims of 
hter. He chose a husband 
mtirely to his own satisfac- 
not in the least to hers, and 
d to settle upon her, as her 
» portion^ I aoD*t know how 



girl reBpectfuUy intimated that she 
was secretly engaged to that popular 
chaxaoterwhom the novelists and ver- 
sifiers call Another, and that such a 
marriage would make Dust of her 
heart and Dust of her life — in short, 
would set her up, on a very extensivo 
scale, in her father's business. Im- 
mediately, the venerable parent — on 
a cold winter's night, it is said— 
anathematised and turned her out." 

Here, the Analytical Chemist (who 
has evidently formed a very low 
opinion of Mortimer's story) con* 
cedes a little claret to the Buflers : 
who, again mysteriously movM all 
four at once, screw it slowly into 
themselves with a peculiar twist of 
emoym^t, as they cry in chonu^ 
" Pray go on." 

'* The pecuniary resources of An- 
other were, as they usually are, of a 
very limited nature. I believe I am 
not using too strong an expression 
when I say that Another was haid 
up. However, he married the young 
lady, and they lived in a humble 
dwelling, probably possessing a porch 
ornamented with honeysuckle and 
woodbine twining, until she died. I 
must refer you to the Registrar of 
the District in which the humble 
dwelling was situated, for the certi- 
fied cause of death ; but early sorrow 
and anxiety may have had to do with 
it, though they may not appear in 
the ruled pages ana printed forms. 
Indisputably this was the case with 
Another, for he was so cut up by the 
loss of his yoimg wife that if he out- 
lived her a year it was as much as hi 
did." 

There is that in the indolent Mor* 
timer, which seems to hint that il 
good society might on anv account 
allow itself to be impressible, he, one 
of good society, might have the weak- 
ness to be impressed br what he here 
relates. It is hidden with great pains, 
but it is in him. The gloomy Eu- 
gene too. is not without some kindred 



touch; for, when that aT)mllin^IiAjlf 
I^ppins dedaroB that ii Ano^hss \iad^ 
w^ but aomethin^ immfmae. /suirjved, he shOTild IdaT^ ^'nA ^t^wn 
^ff^ciOm sOktr the jKXtf/attheheadof bfirli8tol\o^«c%-^a^ 



10 



OTJE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



by the three other Buffers with a Btosy 
stare, and attracting no further at- 
tention from, any mortal. 

" Venerable parent,** Mortimer re- 
peats with a passing remembrance 
that there is a Veneering at table, 
and for the first time addressing him 
—"dies." 

The gratified Veneering repeated 
gravely, *' dies ; " and folds his annfl) 
and composes his brow to hear it oat 
in a judicial manner, when he findf 
himself again deserted in the blesk 
world. 

"His will is found/' says M<ff^ 
timer, catching Mrs. Podsnap's rock- 
ing-horse's eye. "It is dated very 
soon after the son's flight. It leavef 
the lowest of the range of duet- 
mountains, with some sort of a dwell- 
ing-house at its foot, to an old servant 
who is sole executor, and all the rest 
of the property — which is very con- 
siderable — ^to the son. He directi 
himself to be buried with certain 
eccentric ceremonies and precautione 
against his coming to life, with which 
I need not bore you, and that's all^ 
except — " and this ends the story. 

The Analvticai Chemist returning* 
everybody looks at him. Not be- 
cause anybody wants to see him, but 
because of that subtle influence in 
nature which impels humanity to 
embrace the slightest opportunity oi 
looking at anything, rather than th9 
person who addresses it. 

« — ^Except that the son's inherit* 
in^ is made conditional on his mor^^ 
rymg a girl, who at the date of th9 
wUl, was a child of four or five year* 
old, and who is now a marriageabl* 
voong woman. Advertisement anl 
mquiry discovered the son in tto 
man m>m Somewhere, and at thft 

g resent moment, he is on his way 
ome from there — no doubt, in ^ 
state of great astonishment — ^to sno- 
ceed to a very laxge fortune, and to 
take a wife." 

Mrs. Podsnap inquires whether thi 
young person is a younff person of r 
personal charms P Morbmer is un^-^ 

melaDch oly example i being regarded \ lix. 'Poosna.'^ Vnc^juxna ^"^aX '^^s^ 



elso when the mature young lady 
ihrugs her epaulettes, and laughs at 
some private and confidential com- 
ment from the mature young gentle- 
man — ^his gloom deepens to that de- 
gree that he trifles quite ferociously 
with his dessert-knife. 

Mortimer proceeds. 

" We must now return, as the novel- 
ets say, and as we all wish they 
inmldn't, to the man from Some- 
where. Being a boy of fourteen, 
^eaply educating at Brussels when 
his sister's expulsion befell, it was 
some little time before he heard of it 
^probably from herself, for the mo- 
Cher was dead; but that I don't know. 
Instantly, he absconded, and came 
over here. He must have besn a boy 
of spirit and resource, to get here on 
% stopped allowance of five sous a 
week; out he did it somehow, and he 
burst in on his Either, and pleaded 
Ids sister's cause. Venerable parent 
promptly resorts to anathematisation, 
and turns him out. Shocked and ter- 
tified boy takes flight, seeks his for- 
tune, gets aboard ship, ultimately 
turns up on dir land among the 
CSape wine : small proprietor, £suiner, 
grower — ^whatever you like to call it." 

At this juncture, shuffling is heard 
m the hall, and tapping is heard at 
the dining-room door. Analytical 
Chemist ^oes to the door, confers 
angrily with unseen tapper, appears 
to become mollified by descrying rea- 
son in the tapping, and goes out. 

"So he was discovered, only the 
jther day, after having been expa- 
triated about fourteen years." 

A Bufier, suddenly astounding the 
^^er three, by detacmng himself and 
asserting individuality, inquires : 
<* How discovered, and why P" 

"Ah! To be sure. Thank you 
for reminding me. Venerable parent 
iies." 

Same Bufier, emboldened by suo- 
eess, says: "WhenP" 

"The other day. Ten or twelve 
months sgo." 

Same Bufiior inquires with smnrt- 
What of?" iut herein perishes 



OUB MUTUAL FHIEND. 



11 



become of the yeiy larg^ fortune, in 
t)ie eveut of the mairiuge condition 
not being fulfilled? Mortimer replies, 
that by special testamentary clause it 
would then go to the old servant 
above mentioned, passing over and 
excluding the son ; also, that if the 
ion had not been living, the same old 
■ervant would have been sole resi- 
duary legatee. 

Mrs. \ eneering has jnst succeeded 
in -waking Lady Tippins &om a snore, 
by dexterously shunting a train of 
piatG8 and dishes at her knuckles 
icroes the table; when everybody 
bat Mortimer himself becomes aware 
that the Analytical Chemist is, in a 
ghoetly manner, offering him a folded 
paper. Curiosity 'detains Mrs. Ve- 
neering a few moments. 

Moitimer, in spite of all the arts 
of the chemist, placidly refreshes him- 
lelf with a glass of Madeira, and re- 
mains onconscions of the document 
which engrosses the general atten- 
tion, until Lady Tippins (who has a 
habit of waking totally insensible), 
having rembered where she is, and 
recovered a perception of surround- 
ing objects, says : ** Falser man than 



Don Juan ; why don't you take the 
note from the Commendatore P " U pon 
which, the chemist advances it under 
the nose of Mortimer, who looks round 
at him, and says : 

"What's this P" 

Analytical Chemist bends aodwhiA* 
pers. 

»* IFho f" says Mortimer. 

Analytical Chemist again bends and 
whispers. 

Mortimer stares at him, and unfolds 
the paper. Beads it, reads it twioe^ 
turns it over to look at Ihe blank out- 
side, reads it a third time. 

" This arrives in aneztraordinari]7 
opportune manner," says Mortimer 
then, looking with an altered face 
round the table : " this is the conclu- 
sion of the story of the identical man.*' 

<* Already married P" one guesses. 

''Declines to marry P" another 
guesses. 

" Codicil among the dustP" another 
guesses. 

" Why, no," says Mortimer ; " re- 
markable thmg, you are all wrong. 
The story is completer and rather 
more exciting than I supposed. Man's 
drowned!" 



CHAPTEB KL 



ANOTHBBICAH. 



As the disappearing skirts of the 
ladies ascended the Veneering stair- 
case, Mortimer following them forth 
from the dining-room, turned into a 
library of bran-new books, in bran- 
new bindings liberally gilded, and 
requested to see the messenger who 
had brought the paper. He was a 
boy of about fifteen. Mortimer 
koked at the boy, and the boy looked 
at the bran-new pilgrims on the wall, 

Sing to Canterbury in more gold 
Lme than procession, and more carv- 
ing than country. 
•* Whose writing is this f" 
« Min^ sir. " 
^ Who toldyoa to write itf 



''My father, Jesse Hexam.** 

" Is it he who found the body?** 

" Yes, sir." 

" What is your fether P" 

The boy hesitated, looked reproach- 
fully at the pilgrims as if they had 
involved him m a little difficulty, then 
said, folding a plait in the right leg 
of his trousers, "He gets his living 
along-shore." 

" Is it far P" 

"IS'Which &rP" asked the boy, 
upon his guard, and again upon ths 
road to Canterbury. 

"To your father's?" 
/ "It's a goodish atroVftVi, wt. V 
/come up in a cab, and Oio ea\>'% -w^^ 



IS 



OUa MUTUAL FKIEND. 



ing to be paid. We could go back ' 
in it before you paid it, if you liked. 
I went Urst to your oliice, according 
to the direction of the papers fouud 
in the pockets, and there I see no- 
body but a chap of about my age who 
■int me on here." 

There was a curious mixture in the 
boy, of uncompleted savagery, and 
uncompleted civilisation. His voice 
was hoarse and coarse, and his face 
^ras coarse, and his stunted figure was 
ooarse; but he was cleaner than other 
boys of his t>'pe ; and his writing, 
though large and round, was good ; 
and he glanced at the backs of the 
books, with an awakened curiosity 
that went below the binding. No 
one who can read, ever looks at a 
book, even unopened on a shelf^ like 
one who cannot. 

** Were any means taken, do you 
know, boy, to ascertain if it was pos- 
•ible to restore Ufo y Mortimer in- 
quired, as he sought for his hat. 

" You wouldn' t ask, sir, if you knew 
bis state. Pharaoh's multitude, that 
were drowned in the Red Sea, ain't 
more beyond restoring to life. If 
Lazarus was only half as far gone, 
that was the greatest of all the mi- 
racles." 

"Halloa!" cried Mortimer, turn- 
ing round with his hat upon his head, 
'< you seem to be at home in the Bed 
8ea, my youn^ friend P" 

'* Eead of it with teacher ttt the 
■chool," said tbe boy. 

"And Lazarus P" 

''Tea, and him too. But donH 
you tell my father! We should have 
no peace in our place, if that got 
touched upon. It's my sister's con- 
triving." 

" You seem to have a good sister." 

« She ain't half bad," said the boy ; 
" but if she knows her letters it's the 
most she does — and them I learned 
her." 

The gloomy Sngene, with his 
liands in his pockets, had strolled in 
and assisted at the latter part of the 
dialogue ; when the boy spoke these 
woi^s slightingly of his sister, he 
took him roughly enough by tbe 



chin, and tamed op his £toe to look 
at it. 

"Well, I'm sure, sir!" said tho 
boy, res''^Kng; "I hope you'll know 
me again." 

Eugene vouchsafed no answer; but 
made the proposal to Moriimer, " I'U 
go with you, if you like P" So, they 
all three went away together in t^ 
vehicle that had brought the boy; 
the two firiends (once boys together 
at a publio school) inside, smoking 
cigars; the messenger on the box be* 
side the driver. 

"Let me see," said Mortimer, m 
they went along ; " I have been, Eu* 
gene, upon the honourable roll of 
solicitors of the High Court of Chan* 
oer>', and attorneys at Common Law, 
five years ; and— except gratuitously 
taking instructions, on an average 
once a fortnight, for the will of Lady 
Tippins who has nothine to leave— 
I have had no scrap of business but 
this romantic business." 

"And I," said Eugene, "have been 
* called' seven years, and have had 
no business at all, and never shall 
have any. And if I had, I shouldn't 
know how to do it." 

" I am far from being clear as to 
the last particular," returned Mor- 
timer, with great composure, " that I 
have much advantage over you." 

" I hate," said Eugene, putting bis 
legs up on the opposite seat^ " I hate 
my professioi)/* 

" Shall I incommode yon if I pvl 
mine up tooP" returned MortiAier. 
" Thank you. I hate mine." 

" It was forced upon me," said the 
gloomy Eugene, " because it was un* 
derstood that we wanted a barrister 
in the family. We have got a pre- 
cious one." 

"It was forced upon me," said 
Mortimer, "because it was understood 
that we wanted a solicitor in the 
family. And we have got a predouc 
one/* 

" There are four of us, with our 
names painted on a door-post in right 
of one black hole called a eet of 
chiunbers," said Eugene ; " and eadii 
of ue iuui the fourth of a ckjdt-* 




OUB MUTUAL FE1£HD. 



ChBDiB Bkba, in Out robber'a cave — 
ud Dusim ii the only respectable 
number of thfi party." 

"I un one if myaeU, one," itdd 
Uortimer, "bi^b up ta awful stair- 
cue commamimg » biuitJ-gi-ound, 
ind I have ft whole derk to myaeU^ 
■nd he has nolhiog to do buC look 
It the burial-ground, and what be 
will torn out when amTed at nutu- 
rity, I cannot conceive, 'Whether, 
in that ehabby icok's seal, he ia al- 
waja plotting wisdom, or plotting 
mnrder ; whether he will grow up, 
(fUr to much solitary brooding, ' 
t&hghlen hia fellow-creaturoa, or 
poison them ; is the only speck 
mtereat that pteaonla itself to my pio- 

feuienal view. Will you give 

light F Thank you." 

"Thau idiots talk," said Eugene, 
leaning back, folding hie oinu, smok- 
ing wj-Ji his eye* shot, and ■peaking 
llight^ J tttrongh his noae, "of £nei%y. 
If th je ia ft word in the dictionary 
tmdi^ *iiy letter from A to Z that I 
■bMrinate, it is ener^. It is such a 
conventional lupentilion, soch parrot 
gabble I What the deuce ! Am I 
(o Toah oat into the street, collu the 
Cnt man of a wealthy appearance 
that I meet, shake hJm, and say, ' Oo 
to knr upon the spot, you dog, and 
letain me, or I'll be the death of 
yoo'f Yet that would be energy." 

"Predaely my view ot the caae, 
Eugene. Butshowmeagood oppor- 
tunity, ihiTW me somet^ng really 
worth being enerKetic aboat, and J'il 
■how you energy. ' 

" And so wiU I," said Eugene. 
And it ia likely enough that ten 
thousand other young man, within 
the limils of the London Post-office 
town delivery, made the same hopeful 
lemark in the coone of the same 
evening. 

The wheels rolled on, ud rolled 
down by the llonument^ and by the 
Tower, and by the Docks ; down by 
BatcliBe, and by Kothorbiths; down 
by wbbiV BCCmnulated Kum of hu- 
Wunity Boemed to be washed from 
kigber grounds, like w much moral 



' own weight forosd It over the bank 

and sunk :t in Uio river. In and out 
among vessels that seemed to haie 
j^ot H^ore, and houses that seemeil to 
Imve Rot afloat — among bowsiiiiia 
staring into windows, and windan-s 
Blating into ships — the wheels rolled 
on, until they stopped at a dark cor- 
ner, rivei-waahcd and otherwise not 
washed at all, where the boy alighted 
and opened the dour. 

" You must walk the reel, sir ; it't 
not many yards," He spoke in the 
singular number, to the eijuea ex- 
clusion of KugBne. 

" This is a confoundedly out-of-the- 
way place," said Mortimer, ehpping 
over the stones and refuse on the 
slioro, M the boy turned the comei 

"Here's my father's, nt; where 
the hght is." 

The low building bad the look of 
having once been a miU. There wm 
a rotten wart of wood upon its fore- 
head (hat seemed to indicate when 
the sails luul been, but the whole wee 



It, and a girl sat eng^;ed in 
needlework. The fire was in a rtuty 
brazier, not fitted to the hearth ; and 



neck of a stone bottle on the table. 
There was a wooden hunk or berth in 
a comer, and in another comer a 
wooden stair leading above — so 
clumsy and steep that it wm tittle 
better than ■ ludder. Two or three 
old Bculle and oars stood against the 
■rail, and against another part of the 

i|>are show of the commonest srLiuhS 
of crockery and cooking- vessels. The 
roof of the room was not plastered, 
but was formed of the flooring of the 
room above. This, being very old, 
'mottod, seamed, and bcnmed, gave a 
lowering aspect to the cbiimbcr ; and 
rooC,andwaIls.and floor, alike ubouod- 
n old ia»»n of flou^ nd-loed 



14 



0T7B MUTUAL FRIEKD. 



(<0 some Bach stam which it had 
probalfly acquired in warehousing), 
and damp, alike had a look of decom- 
position. 

" The gentleman, feither." 

J lie figure at the red fire turned, 
od its ruffled head, and looked like 
a bii-d of prey. 

« You're Mortimer Lightwood, Es- 
quire ; are yon, sir?" 

" Mortimer Lightwood is my name. 
What you found," said Mortimer, 
glancing rather shrinkingly towards 
the bunk; "is it here P" 

"*Taint not to say here, but it's 
close by. I do everything reg'lar. 
I've giv* notice of the circumstamce 
to the ^lice, and the police have took 
possession of it. No time ain't been 
lost, on any hand. The police have 
put it* into print already, and here's 
what the pnnt savs of it." 

Taking up the bottle with the lamp 
Sn it, he neld it near a paper on the 
wall, with the police heading, Body 
Found. The two friends read the 
handbill as it stuck against the wall, 
and Gaffer read them as he held the 
light. 

" Only papers on the unfortunate 
mazL, I see, said Lightwood, glancing 
from the description of what was 
found, to the finder. 

" Only papers." 

Here the girl arose with her work 
in her hand, and went out at the 
door. 

" No money," pursued Mortimer ; 
^ but threepence ui one of the skirt- 
pockets." 

"Three. Penny. Pieces," said 
Oafler Hexam, in as many sentences. 

" The trousers pockets empty, and 
turned inside out. 

(Gaffer Hexam nodded. "But that's 
eommon. Whether it's the wash of 
the tide or no, I can't say. Now, 
here," moving the light to another 
similar placard, "Aif pockets was 
found empty, and turned inside out. 
And here," moving the light to an- 
other, " hir pocket was found empty, 
and turned inside out. And so was 
this one's. And so was that one's. 
I can't road, nor I doa't want to it^ 



for I know *em by their places on th^ 
wall. This one was a sailor, ^-ith tw(^ 
anchors and a flag and G. F. T. ox» 
his arm. Look and see if ha wam't.'^ 

« Quite right" 

« This one was the young woman 
in grey boots, and her linen marked 
wim a cross. Look and see if she 
warn t. 

" Quite right" 

"This is him as had a nasty cut 
over the eye. This is them two 
young sisters what tied tiiemselves 
together with a handkecher. This 
is the drunken old chap, in a pair of 
list slippers and a nightcap, wot had 
offered — it afterwards come out — to 
make a hole in the water for a 
quartern of rum stood aforehand, and 
kept to his word for the first and last 
time in his life. They jKretty well 
papers the room, you see; but I 
know 'em all. I'm scholar enough ! " 

He waved the light over the whole, 
as if to typify the light of his 
scholarly intelhgenoe, and then put 
it down on the table and stood behmd 
it looking intently at his visitors. 
He had the specoal peculiarity of 
some birds of prey, tiiat when he 
knitted his brow, his lufiied crest 
stood highest. 

" You did not find all tlieae your- 
self; did you P" asked Eugene. 

To which the bird of prey slowly 
rejoined, "And what might pow 
name be, now P" 

"This is my friend," Mortimer 
Lightwood interposed ; " Mr. Eugene 
Wraybum." 

"Mr. Eu^e Wraybum, is it? 
And what might Mr. Eugene Wray- 
bum have asked of me ?" 

" I asked you, simply, if yon found 
all these yourself P" 

"I answer you^ simply^ meet on 
'em." 

" Do you suppose there has been 
much violence and robbery, befor»- 
hand, among these cases P" 

" I don't suppose at all about it»" 
returned Ghiffer. "I ain't one of 
the supposing sort If you'd got 
your livmg to haul out of the river 
every day of your lifis^ you mighta*! 




OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



IS 



kn^h g 



n b> Bcppostsg. Am I 



As he opeued Uie door, in pnrsu- 
uce of a nod from Lightvood, an 
eitremeljr pala and disturbed face 
(ppeaied in the doorwaj — tlie bee 
tf • man much agitated. 

"A body mi«BingF" uked Qaffer 
BdJim, etupping short ; " or a body 
fcuad? Which F- 

" I am lost '. ' ' replied the nun, in 
( bnnied and an eagei manner. 
"Lortf" 

"I — I — am a rtranger, and don't 
know the way. I — I — want to find 
the place where I can see what ia 
docribed here. It ia poesible 1 may 
know it." He waa paatinR, and 
(DDld hardly apeak ; but, he showed 
1 copy of the newly-printed biU that 
Tu Etill wet upon Uie wall. Ferhaps 
iti newneeH, or perhajn the accuracy 
«f hia obHTTatioa of itx general look, 
guided GaBer to a, ready concliudoD. 
" This gentleman, Mr. Lightwood, 
|l<ni that buaincsB." 
"Mr. Liehtwoodf" 
During a pause, Mortimei and the 
itranger confronted each other. 
Keither know the other. 

"I think, air," laid Hoitinier, 
breaking the awkvard ailenco with 
bit air7 telf-poaseaidon, " that yon 
did me the bononr to mention my 

" T repeated it after this man." 
" You said yon were a stranger in 

" An nttor stranger." 

" Are yon seeking a tb. Humon f" 

-No.-' 

" Then I believe I can essure yon 
that you are on a fruitless errand, 
and will not find what yoa fear to 
find. Will yon come with uSP" 

A little winding through some 
modd^ alleys that might hjave been 
deposited by the last ill-savoured tide, 
brought them to the wicket-gate and 
bright lamp of a Police Station; 
Where they found the Night-Inspec- 
tur, with a pen and ink, and ruler, 
posting up his books in a whitewashed 
ofice, as stndionaly aa if he were * — 
KionatMa-y on the top of ' 



bowling fur; of ft drunken 
were banging henelf agaiiLtt 
a celt-door in the inck-yard at his 
elbow. With the same air of a re- 
cluse much given to stud]', he de- 
sisted &om his books to bestow a 
di&tniatful nod of recognition upon 
Gafler, plainly importing, "Ah! wa 
know oU about yim, and you' 11 overdo 
it some day;" and to inform Mr. 
Mortimer Lightwood and friends, 
thet he would attend them immedi- 
ately. Then, he finished ruling the 
work he hud in hand (it might have 
been illuminating a miasal, hs was so 
calm), in a very noat and methodical 
' "ujg not the slightest 
of the woman who was 
banging herulf i^'ith increased TiO- 
lence, and phriekiug must terrifically 
'' lame other woman's liver. 

A bullb-cyu," said the Night- 
pBCtOT.takingnphiakcj-B. Which 
defeientta] latelllte produced. 

Now, gentlemen." 

With one of his keys, he opened a 
cool grot at the end of the yard, and 
they all went in. They quickly coma 
out again, no one epcukiug but 
Eugene : who remarked to Mortimer, 
in a whisper, " Not shkA worse than 
Lady Tippins." 

So, Lack to the whitewashed library 
of the monnstery — with that liver 
shrieking requisition, aa it 
a loudly, while they looked 
at the silent sight they came to see — 
and there through the merits of the 
case aa summed up by the Abbot 
No cine to how body came into river. 
Very often was no clue. Too late to 
know for certain, whether injuries 
received before or after doath ; one 
excellent surgical opinion said, before ; 
other excellent surf^cal opinion said, 
after. Steward of ship in which 
gentleman came home passenger, had 
been round to view, and could awear 
to identity. Likewise could swear to 
clothes. And then, you tee, you had 
the papers, too. How was it he had 
totally disappeared on leaving ship, 
'tillfoundinrivorr Well! Probably 
had been upon some little game. 
PwbaUytbiMghtttahi— ' 



16 



OtJB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



wasn't np to things, and it tnmed oat 
a fatal game, inquest to-moirow, 
and no doubt open yerdict. 

" It appears to have knocked yonr 
friend over — ^knocked him oompletely 
off hifl legs," Mr. Inspector remarked, 
when ho had finished his summing 
up. " It has gi^en him a bad turn 
to be sure!" This was said in a yery 
low yoioe, and with a searching look 
(not tlie first he had cast) at the 
stranger. 

Mr. Lightwood explained that it 
was no friend of his. 

"Indeed?" said Mr. Inspector, 
with an attentiye ear; "wh^ did 
you pick him up ?'* 

Mr. Lightwood explained further. 

Mr, Inspector had deliyered his 
■umming up, and had added these 
words, with his elbows leaning on his 
desk^ and the fingers and thumb of 
his right hand, fitting themselyes to 
the fingers and thumb of his left. Mr. 
Lispector moyed nothing but his eyes, 
as he now added, raising his yoice : 

"Turned you £&int, sir! Seems 
you're not accustomed to this land of 
work?" 

The stranger, who was leaning 
against the chimney-piece with droop- 
ing head, looked round and answered, 

"No. It's a horrible sight 1" 

"Ton expected to identify, I am 
told, sir P" 

« Yes," 

" Sofft you identified P" 

" No. It's a horrible sight O ! 
a horrible, horrible sight ! " 

" Who did you think it might haye 
been P ' ' asked Mr. Inspector. "Give 
us a description, sir. Perhaps we 
oan help you." 

"No, no," said the stranger; "it 
would be quite useless. Good night.' ' 

Mr.^ Inspector had not moyed, and 
had given no order ; but, the satellite 
•lipped his back against the wicked 
and laid his left arm along the top of 
it, and with his right hand turned 
the bull's-eye ha had taken from his 
chief— in quite a casual wanner — 
towards the stranger. 

" You missed a friend, yon know ; 
or you miHod a Im^ y«a kaow; or 



Ton wouldn't have come h^re, yon 
know. Wen, then ; ain't it reason- 
able to ask, who was it P" Thus, Mr. 
Inspector. 

" You must excuse my telling yon. 
No doss of man can onderstaiMl 
better than you, that families may 
not choose to publish their disagree- 
ments and misfoiiuncs, except on tho 
last necessity. I do not dispute that 
yon discharge your duty in asking 
me the question ; you will not dispQt# 
my right to withhold the antwer. 
Good night." 

Again he turned towards tha 
wicket, where the satellite, with hia 
eye upon his chief, remained a dumb 
statue. 

"At least," said Mr. Inspector^ 
" you will not object to leaye me your 
caid,sirP" 

" I should not obi'ect, if I had one : 
but I haye not." He reddened and 
was much confused as he gaye tha 
answer. 

"At least," said Mr. Inspectoi^ 
with no change of yoioe or manner, 
" yon win not ohject to write down 
your name and address P" 

" Not at all." 

Mr. Inspector dipped a pen in his 
inkstand, and deftly laid it on a pieoa 
of paper close beside him ; then ra> 
sumed his fonner attitude. The 
stranger stepped up to the desk, and 
wrote in a rather tremulous hand — 
Mr. Inspector taking siddong note of 
every hair of his head when it wai 
bent down for the puipose — " Mr. 
Julius Hondford, Exchequer Coffee 
House, Palace Yard, Westminster." 

" Staying there, I presume, sir P" 

"Staying there." 

" Consequently, from the country P" 

« Eh P Yes— from the country." 

" Good-ni^ht, sir." 

The satellite remoyed his arm and 
opened the wicket, and Mr. Julius 
Handford went out. 

"Hoserve!" said Mr. Inspector. 
"Tako care of this piece of papei^ 
keep him in yiew without giving o£« 
fence, ascertain that he it staying 
there, and find oat anything yon okd 
aboothim." 




OUB UUTUAL IXIEND. 



11 



n* MttnUitfl WM gone ; ind Ilr. 

IJsipedor, becoming once *gam the 
qdet Abbot of tliBt Moniatery, dipped 
oil pen in bia ink and resinned bis 
hnlu. The two friends who bad 
InlcIiHl him, more unused by the 
prnfcaaional manner than euspitioiu 
tf Ur. Julius Hondford, inquired be- 
liireUldug tbeiidcpoi-tuie too whether 
in believ^ tbers was anything that 
Tollj looked bad here f 
The Abbot iqilied vith retiMlMM, 
I "coaldn'tMy, If a murder, anybody 
I mijht hare done it. IJui^iury or 
I pocket-picking wanted 'prcutieuahip. 
I Aot n, miirdoT. We were all of ui 
iptothot. Had aeen econl of peo- 
y [it (ona to identiiy, and never saw 

IuupenoD (tmck in that particulai 
mj. Might, however, have been 
EUoDtch and not Mind. If «o, nun 
•tomtch. Hut to bo lure there were 
lUD ereiythijigs. Pity there wai not 
!■ void of truth in that aupenrtitian 
•boat bodies bleeding when touehsd 
Ij ihe hand of the i igbt penon ; you 
Uver got a sign out of bodiee. You 
ptrov enough out of Bucb ai her— 
I •liewaj good for all night now " (re- 
ffniag here to the hanging, demands 
I of the ]ivor)f ** but you got nothing 
I, mlof bodioa if it was ever bo." 

I Three being nothing more to be 
iim imtil the inquest waa bald neit 
i^y, the Irienda went away together, 
ud GaEei Haiam and bia ton want 
I thai le^j^le way. But, arriving at 
the Ian comer, GafTer bode hia boy 
(0 hone while ha turned into a red' 
eurtaiued tavern, that llood dropei- 
' rally bul^-iagOTci the ouiMway, "fur 
, ahalf-a-pinL" 

. The boy littad the latch he had 
liBed before, and found hii i ' ' 
■gtia sealed before the Ere at ..._ 
work. Who raieed her bead Upon 



Lie coming in and aj 



;iug; 



"Where did you go, LiizP" 
"I went out in the dark." 
' There was no necevsity fbi that. 
It was all right enough." 

"One uf the gen^emen, the 
who didn't spouk while t was there, 
looked bard at me. And I was aboid 
ha might knew what 107 faoe m 



Bnt there! Dou'tmindmo, Charley' 
I was all in a tremble of another sort 
when you Owned to father yon could 

write a little." 

" Ah ! But I made believe I wrote 
so badly, as that it was odds if any 
oneoould read it. And when I wnita 
aloweat end smeared oat with mr 
finger most, father waa beat pleased, 
as ho stood looking over ma." 

The girl put atl'le her work, and 
drawing her scat cioae to his seat by 
the filvs laid her aim gently cm hu 

" You'll make the mott of your 
time, Chai ley ; won't youF" 

"Won't IF Comsl I like that. 
Don't IP" 

"Tea, Charley, ye* Ton work 
hnxd at your lenraing, I know. 



sleop contriving sometimea), hew t^ 
got together a shillinir uow, and « 
shilling then, that shall make I'uthor 
believe you are beginning to earn a 
stray living along-^ore." 

" You are laUior's favourite, and 
can make him believe anything." 

" I wish I could, Charley ! For if 
I could make biro boliave ihat learn- 
iii0; vas a good thing, and that we 
ni'^iit lead better lives, I should bl 

"Uuu't talk stuff about dying, Lis." 

She placed lior hands in one anothei 
aa his ahoulder, and laying her rich 
brown chcuk against tbom as sho 
looked down at the fire, went on 
thouabtfuUy : 

" Of an evening, Charley, when you 
are at the scliool, and father's " 

"At the Six Jolly Fellowaliip-Por- 
ters," the boy slnick in, with a back* 
ward nod of bis head towalds th» 
public-house. 

"Yea. Thenaslnta-lookingatth* 
&ro, I seem to see in the burning ooal— 
like whew tliat glow is now " 

"That's gaa, that is," said the bor, 
^ comini^ out of a bit of a fco'ost tbat'a 
been under the mud that wa* under 
the water in the days of Noah's Ark. 
Look here 1 When I lake th* pokor 



le 



OUB MUTUAL FBIENB. 



«*Don*t disturb it, Charley, or if U 
be all in a blaze. It's that dull glow 
near it, coming and going, that I 
mean. When I look at it of an even- 
ing, it comes like pictures to me, 
Charley." 

'* Show us a picture,*' said the boy. 
« Tell us where to look." 

"Ah! It wante my eyes, Charley." 

" Cut away then, and tell us what 
your eyes make of it»" 

**AVhy, there are you and me, 
Charley, when you were quite a bahy 
tiiat never knew a mother " 

*' Don't go saying I never knew a 
mother," interposed the boy, "lor I 
knew a little sister that was sister and 
mother both." 

The girl laughed deb'ghtedly, and 
her eyes filled with pleasant tears, as 
he put both his arms round her waist 
and so held her. 

" There are you and me, Charley, 
when father was away at work and 
locked us out, for fear we should set 
ourselves afire or fall out of window, 
sitting on the door-sill, sitting on 
other door-steps, sitting on the bank 
of the river, wandering about to get 
through the time. You are rather 
heavy to carry, Charley, and I'm 
often obliged to rest. Sometimes we 
are sleepy and £edl asleep together in 



a comer, sometimes we are 



very 

little 



hungry, sometimes we are a 
frightened, but what ia oftenest hard 
upon us is the cold. You remember, 
ChaileyP" 

" I remember," said the boy, press- 
ing her to him twice or thrice, " that 
I snuggled under a little shawl, and 
it was warm there." 

" Sometimes it raina, and we creep 
imder a boat or the like of that; 
sometimes it's dark, and we get among 
the gaslights, sitting watching the 
people as they go along the streets. 
At last, up comes father and takes us 
home. And home seems such a shel- 
ter after out of doors! And father 
pulls my shoes ofi^ and dries my feet 
at the fire, and has me to sit by him 
while he smokes his pipe long after 
vouarb abed, and I notice that father's 
^ s Jaige hand but neva: a heavy 



one when it touches me, and thai 
father's is a rough voice but never an 
angry one when it speaks to me. So^ 
I grow up, and little by little father 
trusts me, and makes me his com- 
panion, and, let him be put out as he 
may, never Qnce strikes me." 

The listening boy gave a grunt 
here, as much as to say, "But he 
strikes me though !" 

" lliose are some of the pictures of 
what is x^ast, Charley." 

" Cut away agaiu," said the boy, 
'* and give us a fortune-teUing one ; 
a future one." 

"Well! There am I, continuing 
with father and holding to father, 
because father loves me and I love 
father. I can't so much as read a 
book, because, if I had learned, father 
would have thought I was deserting 
him, and I should have lost my in- 
fluence. I have not the influence I 
want to have, I cannot stop some 
dreadful things I try to stop, but I 
go on in the hope and trust that the 
time will come. In the meanwhile 
I know that I am ia some things a 
stay to father, and that if I was not 
faithful to him he would — in revenge* 
like, or in disappointment, or both— 
go wild and bad." 

" Give us a touch of the fortone* 
telling pictures about me." 

*' I was imssingon to them, Charlev,*' 
said the girl, who had not changed her 
attitude since she began, and who now 
mournfully shook her head; "the 
others were all leading up. Theie 
are you " 

"Where am I, Liz P" 

" Still in the hollow down by tha 
flare." 

" There seems to be tha deuce-and- 
all in the hollow down by the iiare," 
said the boy, glancing from her eyes 
to the brazier, which had a grisly 
skeleton look on its long thin legs. 

" There are you, Charley, working 
your way, in secret from father, at 
the school ; and you get prizes ; and 
you go on better and better ; and vou 
come to be a — what was it you culed 
it when you told me about that P" 

^iia,ha\ ¥oK\MnM«2i\a3^^lQG»\Vaa« 




OUB UnniAL FBIEND. 



t» 



fttstne!" cried (li« b^, teeming to 
kmther relieved bv thu default on 
Ibe part of the hallow down by Ibe 
I flu*. "Pupil-teacher." 

i " Tou come to be a pupil-teacber, 

I ud JOQ still go OD better and better, 

I mil yOQ lise to be ■ master full of 

[ leunmg and rcepect. But the secret 

lia coma to tathei'i knowledge long 

before, and it has divided you imm. 

&ther, and from me." 

"Tea it has, Charley. I aee, as 
pUin as plain, (an be, that your way 
M not oora, and that eran if &thei 
wmld be got to forgive your taking it 
(which he never could be], that way 
of yoQii would be darkened by our 
■way. Bat I see too, Charley—" 

X Still as plain as plain cau be, liz r " 
Maked the boy playfully. 

" Ah I SLill. That it is a great 
■work to have cut you away bom 
ttOia't life, and to have mad? a new 
moA good beginning. Bo thae am I, 
Charley, left alone with fkther, keep- 
ing him as straight as I can, watch- 
ing for mole influence than I have, 
and hoping that through Mme for- 
tonate chance, or when ha is ill, or 
'vrlien — I don't know what — I may 
faim him to wish to do better things. 

" Yon aaid you cooldn't read a 
"book, Lizzie. Your library of boolis 
Ss thie hollow down by the flare, I 
-think." 

** I should he very glad to be able 
'to read r«al books. I feel my want 
of learning very much, Charley. But 
1 ahould (eel it much more, if I didn't 
know it to be a tie between me and 
fclher.— Hark ! Father's tr«ad ! " 

It being now past midnight, the 
tiird of prey went itmight to rooet. 
At mid-day following he re-appeared 
*t the Six Jolly FeUowsbip-Portcre, 
in tbe character, not new to ^ai, of 
a witness before a Coroner's Jury. 
Hr. Uortimer Lightwood, besides 
' ig the ihanjclcr of one of the 
a, doubled tbe part with that 
SI uie eminent suticitiir who watched 
the proceedings on behalf of the re- 
prwentalivcs of the deceased, as wns 
duljr lecordoilinUieuJSirspapeiS. Mr. 



Inspector «at<'hed the pTOceedinga 
too, and kept his watching iJosely to 
himself. Mr. Julius llandford having 
given his right address, and being 
reported in solvent circnmstancee aa ■ 
to his bill, though nothing mors waa 
known of him at his hotel except 
that his way of life was very retired, 
had no summons lo appear, and waa 
merely present in the shade* of Ur. 
Inspector's mind. 

The case waa made interesting to 
the public, by Mr, Mortimer Light- 
wood's evidence Itiuchiug the drcum- 
stsnces under which the deceased, 
ill. John Harmon, had returned to 
England', eiclusire private proprie- 
tor^ip in which circumstances *u9 
set up at dinner-tables for seveiiil 
days, by Veneering, Twemlow, Pod - 
snap, and all the Buffers: who all 
related them irreconcilably with uue 
another, and contnulicted themselves. 
It was also r'oAe interesting by llie 
testimony of Job Fotlerson, thediiiis 
BtenarJ, and one Mr. Jacob Kibllr. 
a fellow-passenger, that the deceasid 
Ur. John Harmon did bring ovei-, 
in a hand-valise with which he did 
disembark, the sum realised by the 
forced sale of hia little landed pre- 
perty, and that the sum exceeded, in 
ready money, seven hundred pounils. 
It was further made interesting, by 
the Temarkable eipericnaa of Jesse 
Heiam in having rescued &om the 
Thames so many dead bodies, and for 
whose behoof a rapturous admirer 
subscribing himself "A friend to 
Burial" (perhaps an nndortakn-), 
sent eighteen postage stamps, and (: \ e 
"Kow Sir"s to the editor of tlie 
Times. 

Upon the evidence adduced befnis 
Ihem, tbe Jury found, Thattboh.iiy 
of Mr. John Harmon bad been dis- 
covered floating in tbe Thames, in nn 
advauced state of decay, and mnch 
inj ured ; and that the said Hr. John 
Harmon had come by his dcuth uii- 
rlpi highly suspicious circumstanrrs, 
; thoufjh by whoso act or in whnt I'l 



r ther. 



o\Mi->- 



OUB MUTUAL FSIEND. 



viendation to the Home Office (which 
Hr. Inspector appeared to think 
highly Bensible), to offer a reward for 
the solution of the mystery. Within 
eight-and-for^ hours, a reward of 
Cme Hundred Poimds was proclaimed, 
together with a free paidon to any 
prson or persons not the actual 
perpetrator or perpetrators, and to 
forth in due form. 

This Proclamatioii rendered Mr. 
Inspector additionally studioiis, and 
Oiused him to stand meditating on 
river'Stain and causeways, and to go 
lurkiug about in boats, putting this 
and that together. Bu^ according 
to the success with which you put 
fhia aod that together, you get a wo- 



man and a fish apart^ or a Mermaid 
in combination. And Mr. Inspector 
could turn out nothing better than • 
Mermaid, which no Judge and Juiy 
would believe in. 

Thus, like the tides on which it had 
been borne to the knowledge of men, 
the Harmon Murder — as it came to 
be popularly called — ^went up and 
down, and ebbed and flowed, now ia 
the town, now in the country, now 
among palaces, now among hovfds, 
now among lords and ladies and gen- 
tlefolks, now among labourers and 
hammerers and ballast-heavers, until 
at last, after a long interval of slack 
water it got oat to sea and drifted 
away. 



OHAPTEE IV. 



BsonriLD Welfkb is a name with 
rather a g^nd sound, suggesting on 
first acquaintance brasses m country 
churches, scrolls in stained-glass win- 
dows, and gencally the De Wilfers 
who came over with the Conqueror. 
For, it is a remarkable fact in genea- 
logy that no De Any ones ever came 
over with Anybody else. 

But, the Reginald Wilfer family 
were of such common-place extraction 
and pursuits that their forefathers 
had for generations modestly sub- 
sisted on &e Docks, the Excise Office, 
and the Custom House, and the exist- 
ing B. Wilfer was a poor clerk. So 
poor a clerk, through having a limited 
salary and an unlimited fajoiily, that 
he had never yet attained the modest 
object of his ambition: which was, 
to wear a complete new suit of clothes, 
hat and boots included, at one time. 
His black hat was brown before he 
could afford a coat, his pantaloons 
were white at the seams and knees 
before he could buy a pair of boots, 
his boots had worn out before he 
could treat himself to new pantaloons, 
vad by the time he wonced round 



to the hat again, that shining modeiA 
article roofod-in an ancient rain of 
various periods. 

If the conventional Cherub could 
ever grow up and be clothed, he might 
be photographed as a portrait of Wil« 
fer. His chubby, smooth, innocent 
appearance was a reason for his being 
always treated with condescension 
when he was not put down. A 
stranger entering his own poor house 
at about ten o'clock p.m. might hav« 
been surprised to find him sitting up 
to supper. So boyish was he in mt 
curves and proportions, that his old 
schoolmaster mooting him in Cheap- 
side, might have been ux^able to with** 
stand the temptation of caning liim 
on the spot. In short, he was the 
conventional cherub, after the suppo- 
sititious shoot just mentioned, rather 
grey, with signs of care on his ex- 
pression, and in decidedly insolyent 
circumstancesL 

He was shy, and unwilling to own 
to the name of Iteginald, as being too 
aspiring anA self-assertive a name. 
In his signature he used only the 
initial B., ttnd imparted what it really 




ODB unruAL raiEHD. 



tui fiw, to nona Tmt cliaaan ftien^ 
nnjtrtlis aeal of confidence. Out of 
Uui, the facetious habit had arisen in 
bt neighbonrhood Eurrounding Min- 



Died tbeir point bom their 
mlication 1 u Raging, Rattling-, 
Bouing, RktGih. But, Lii popular 
~ w waa Romty, which in a moment 



bibili coimected vith the drog-mar- 
1^ u tlie begioiung of a wocial 
mrnM, hi* leading part in the eiecn- 
tion of which had led thia gentlemaD 
In llie Temple of Fame, and of which 
thiirkile ej.pieMiTe baiden nn : 



oonstaDtly addrsesed. 



etni tmdlelT, tsedldr. 

nuhe 

"Dm Bnmty;" in answer to which, 
ba loiately aigned himself, " Yoon 
WT,R.Wilfer." 

He vai clerk in the drag-house of 
Qiicbey, Veneering, and Stoblilea. 
Qiicknj and Stobblea, hii fonuer 
laden, had both become ahaorbed in 
Tmraiag, once their traveller or 
eomimimon agent: who had ngnaliaed 
llii (cceanon to lupreme power by 
bilging into the biuineea a quantit j 
«f pIita-gUM window and French- 
poliahed mahogany partition, and a 
glmning and enormoui door-plata. 
R Wilfer locked up hia deek one 

leye in his pocket much a« if it were ' 
hit peg-top, made for home, Hia | 
iKons waa in the Eolloway region ; 
north of London, and tbea divided 
from it by fields and treei. Between 
Battle Bridge and, that part of the 
BoUoway diatrict in which he dwelt, 
waa a tract of suburban li»haiB, where 
tilee and bricks were burnt, bonea 
were boilod, carpets were beat, rub- 
bish was ihot, dog« were fought, and 
dud waa heaped by contt — tnni. 



fog, R. Wilfer aigbed and shook hil 

"Ah mel" said he, "what might 

hsTo been ia not whnt ia!" 

With which commentary on human 
life, indicating an experience of it not 
eicluiively his own, he made the beet 
of his way to the end of hii journey. 

Urs, Wilfer was, of couiBe, a tall 
wconan and an angular. Her loid 
being cherubic, she was noceasorilj 
mBJeAic, accordiog to the principla 
which mfttrimonialiy unitee coatrasta. 
She was much given to tying up her 
bead inapocket^iandkerGhief, knotted 
under tho chin. Tiiia head-gear, in 
coniunction with a pair of glovee worn 
witliiD doors, ihe seemed to consider 
oa at once a kind of armour against 
misfortune (invariably assuming it 
when in low spirits or difScultiei), 
and as a species of full dreaa. It was 
therefore with loine sinking of the 
niirit that her husband behold her 
thus heroically attired, putting down 
her candle in the little hall, and 
coming down the doorsteps tlirough 
tho linle &ont court to open the gats 
for him. 

Something had gon« wrong with 
the house-door, for R. Wilfer stopped 
on tho steps, staring at it, and cried t 

"Hal— loaP" 

" Yob," said Mrs. Wilfer, "the maa 
came himself with a pair of pinccn^ 
and took it off, and took it away. Hs 
■ud that as he had no expectation of 
ever being paid fbr it, and as he had 
an order for another Ladies' Scjiooi, 
door-plate, it was better (bunii^od 
np) for the interests of all pnrtiea." 

" Perhaps it was, toy iMr; what 
do you think f" 

"You are master here, R.W.,'" i^ 
tumod his wife. "It iaaa yon think; 
not as I do. Perhaps it init,'ht h^vs 
been better if the man bod Uikcn tha 

" My dear, we conldu't hsTa dona 

without tbo door." 
" Couldn't we P" 
"AVb}-, my dear! Could wet" 



22 



OIJB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



*< It 18 08 Ton think, R. W. ; not 88 
I do." With those submissive words, 
the dutiful wife preceded \um down a 
few stairs to a little basement front 
room, half kitchen, half parlour, where 
a girl of about nineteen, with an ex- 
ceedingly pretty fig^ure and face, but 
with an impatient and petulant ex- 
pression both in her face and in her 
shaulders (which in her sex and at 
her age are very expressive of dis- 
content), sat playing draughts with a 
younger girl, who was the youngest 
of the House of Wilfer. Not to en- 
cumber this page by telling ofif the 
Wilfers in detail and casting them up 
in the gross, it is enough for the pre- 
sent that the rest were what is called 
" out in the world," in various ways, 
and that they were Many. So many, 
that when one of his dutiful children 
called in to see him, R. Wilfer gene- 
rally seemed to say to himself, after a 
little mental arithmetic, " Oh ! here's 
another of 'em ! " before adding aloud, 
" How de do, John," or Susan, as the 
cose might be. 

" WeU Piggywiggies," said R. W., 
•* how de do to-night P What I was 
thinking of, my dear," to Mrs. Wilfer 
already seated in a comer with folded 
gloves, " was, that as we have let our 
first floor so well, and as we have now 
no place in which you could teach 
pupils, even if pupils " 

*' The milkman said he knew of two 
▼onng ladies of the highest respecta- 
bility who were in search of a suitable 
establishment, and he took a card," 
interposed Mrs. Wilfer, with severe 
monotony, as if she were reading an 
Act of Parliament aloud. " Tell your 
£ither whether it was last Monday, 
Bella." 

"But we never heard any more 
of it, ma," said Bella, the elder 
girl. 

" In addition to which, my dear," 
her husband urged, ** if you have no 
place to put two young persons 

llitO " 

"Pardon me," Mrs. Wilfer again 

' interposed; "they were not young 

persons. Two young ladies of the 

hJ^heat respectability. Tell your 



father, Bella, whether the twnllwnto 
said so." 

" My dear, it is the same thing." 

" No it is not," said Mre. Wilfer, 
with the same impressive monotony. 
"Pardon me!" 

" I mean, my dear, it is the same 
thing as to space. As to space. li 
you nave no space in which to pui 
two youthful feUow-creatures, how- 
ever eminently respectable, which I 
do not doubt, where are those youth- 
ful fellow-creatures to be accommo- 
dated P I carry it no further than 
that. And solely looking at it," said 
her hiisband, making the stipulation 
at once in a conciliatory, compli- 
mentary, and argumentative tone — 
"as I am sure you will agree, my 
love — from a fellow-creature point of 
view, my dear." 

" I have nothing more to say," re- 
turned Mrs. Wilfer, with a mecJc 
renunciatory action of her gloves. 
" It is as you think, R. W. ; not as 
I do." 

Here, the huffing of Miss Bella and 
the loss of three of her • men at a 
swoop, aggravated by the coronation 
of an opponent, led to that yoimg 
lady's jerking the draught-board and 
pieces off the table : which her sister 
went down on her knees to pick up. 

" Poor Bella ! " said Mrs. Wilfer. 

" And poor Lavinia, perhaps, my 
dearP" suggested R. W. 

"Pardon me," said Mrs. Wilfer, 



<( 



no I 



i»» 



It was one of the worthy woman's 
specialities that she had an amazing 
power of gratifying her splenetic or 
worldly-minded humours by extollii^ 
her own family : which she thus pro- 
ceeded, in the present case, to do. 

" No, R. W. Lavinia has not 
known the trial that Bella has known. 
The trial that jour daughter Bella 
has undergone, is, perhaps, without a 
parallel, and has been borne, I will 
say. Nobly. When you see your 
daughter Bella in her black dress, 
which she alone of all the family 
wears, and when you remember the 
circumstances which have lod to her 
woaiing ijti) and ^\x&n 'jow. Yxluhi ^^-^ 




ouB unruAL fbiend. 



ftoM ciTCiiilutaDceB hsTS been nu- 
tibed, then, R. W., lay yoitr head 
upon irour pLloir and lay, ' Poor 

Here, Uiaa Idrmift, from her kneel- 
ing ntuation under the Lible, put in 
Out ahe didn't wnnt to be " poorod 
bj pr," or an)-bod)- cUo. 

"I »in saro )-oii do not, my dear," 
nfauned her mother, " for yau hare a 
Im brave apirlt. And yonr atstor 
Geolia has a fine bmve spirit of un- 
olher kind, n iplrit nt pnre devotion, 
tbein-ti-fiU ipirit! The »elf-»acrifica 
of Cecilia roTtala H pure and woTu&nly 
fancier, very aeldom equalled, Dever 
BupuHid. I have now m my pooket 
1 letler from your lister Cecilia, re- 
(ovsd this morning — received thr™ 
mmthi after her marriaKB, poor child ! 
—in vhicli ahe tcUi me that her hus- 
bud muit unexpectedly shelter under 
.tlidicciaf his reduced aunt. 'But I 
*ill bs true to him, mnmma,' she 
tnithingly writes, ' I will not leave 
Lim. I must not forget that he is my 
loiWd. Let his aunt corns t ' It 
tliia is not pathetic, if tbi* ii not 

•"Hun's devotion !" The good 

Uy iraved her gloves in a sense of 
Ok impcosibility of saying more, and I 
ted the pocket-handkerchief over hor 
budinatighter knot under her chin. 

B^Ua, who was now sealed on the 
ftg '^ warm herself, with her brown 
(yea on the fire and a handful of her 
biDwu curls in ber mouth, laagbed 
It this, and tben pouted md half 
cisd. 

"I am sow," said she, "though 
yon have no feelini; for me, pa, I am 
tae of the mo«t unfortunate girls that 
•fW Uved. You know how poor we 
^" (it is probable he did, having 
Kms reason to know it !), " and what 
* lUiDpse of wealth I had, and how it 
»«ll«d away, and how I am here in 
toil ridiculous monmlng — which I 
■ate!— a kind of a widow wbo never 
*ai married. And yet you don't feel 
fcf me. — Yes you do, yes you do." 

This abrupt change mu occasioned 
by bar bther's iace. She rtoppod to 
piiU him dowa 6om bia chair in an i 



on, and to rire him a Um and ■ 

or tvoon the cheek. 

But you ought to feel form^ yon 



'■ My di 



■, I do." 



, ind I say yon onght to. If 
they h.id only loft me nlonc and told 
me iloUiiiig about it, it would hnva 
mattered ranch less. But that nnsty 
Mr. Lightwood feels it his duty, as 
ho nye, to writo nnd toll me what ia 
in reacno for me, and then I am fl1)< 
ligcd to ("et rid of Gcorgo &implon." 

Here litvinia, rising to the aurf.ico 
with the I.nat draughtman rpspu.yl, in- 
f orposed,"Yuunover cared for Ouorgo 
Sampson, Bella," 

"And did I say I did, mtia?" 
Then, pouting again, with the curia 
in her mouth ; " George Samp'oti wiia 
very fond of me, and ndmired me 
very much, and put up with evory- 
thinc I did to him." 

" You were rudo enough to him," 
Lavinia at-ain interposed. 

" And did I say I wasn't, mina F 

about Gnorge Sarapeon. I only say 
George Sampson was better than ao- 

" You didn't ahow him that yoti 
thought oven that," liivinia again 

" "You are a chit and a llttlo idint," 
letutned Bella, "or you wouldn't 
mnko such a dolly speech. Whntdid 
you eiptct ma to do f Wait till you 
ere a woman, and don't talk ahnut 
what you don't nnderataad. You 
only ahow your ignorance 1 " Then 
-n-hirapcring again, and at interv.ils 
bitiog the curls, and stopping to laok 
bow much was hitten off, '^It's a 
ahame ! There never was such a bird 
case t I ahoiildn't care so much if it 
wasn't BO ridiculous. It was ridicu- 
lous enough to have tl stranger coming 
over to marry me, whethor he liked 
it or not. It was ndiculous enough 
to know what an embarrassing meet- 
ing it would he, and how ^e nevep 
could pretend to haiie wiv mi^'na.>uiik. 
of our own, either ot n»- "t^ ■«>* 
ridicnlooa enous^i to tavo^ 1^ ^riA\TC \ 
like him — hav coiilii 1 Ulu> 'tuin,\c& 



0X7B inTTUAL FBIENIX 



to liim in a wiDf like a doEan of §po<mB| 
Trith everything cut and dried before- 
hand, like oran^ chipa. Talk of 
orange flowers indeed! I declare 
again it's a shame ! Those ridiculous 
points would have been smoothed 
away by the mrtney, for I love money, 
and want money — ^want it dreadfully. 
1 hate to be poor, and we are de- 
giadingly poor, offensively poor, 
miserably poor, beastly poor. But 
here I am, left with all the ridiculous 
parts of the situation remaining, and, 
added to them all, this ridiculous 
dress ! And if the truth was known, 
when the Harmon murder was all 
over the town, and people were specu- 
lating on its being suicide, I dan say 
those impudent wretches at the clubs 
and places made jokes about the 
miserable creature's having preferred 
a watery grave to me. It's likely 
enough they took such liberties; 1 
shouldn't wonder! I declare it's a 
very hard case indeed, and I am a 
most unfortunate girl. The idea of 
being a kind of widow, and never 
having been married ! And the idea of 
beine^aspoor as ever after all, and going 
into black, besides, for a man I never 
saw, and should have hated — as far as 
ke was concerned — ^if I had seen ! " 

The young lady's lamentations 
were choked at this point by a knuckle, 
knocking at the half-open'door of the 
room. The knuckle had knocked two 
or three times already, but had not 
been heard. 

"Who is itP" said Mrs. Wilfer, 
in her Act-of-Farliaxnent manner. 
••Enter! »' 

A gentlema? coming in, Miss Bella, 
with a short and sharp exclamation, 
scrumbled off the hearth-rug and 
massed the bitten curls toge^er in 
their right place on her neck. 

** The servant girl had her key in 
the door^ as I came up, and directed 
me to this room, telling me I was ex- 
pected. I am afraid I should have 
aakcd her to announce me." 

"Pardon me," returned Mrs. Wil- 
fer. •* Not at all. Two of my daugh- 
ter], li, W., this is the gentleman 
^ho hTiS tiikcn your first-iloor. He 



waa BO good at to make a& appoint* 
ment f(»r to-night^ when you would 
be at home." 

A dark gentleman. Thirty at the 
utmost. An expressive, one might say 
handsome, iaoe. A very bad manna*. 
In the last degree constrained, re- 
served, diffident, troubled. His eyes 
were on Miss Bella for an instant, and 
then looked at the ground as he ad* 
dressed the master of the house. 

•' Seeing that I am quite satisfied, 
Mr. Wilfer, with the rooms, and with 
their situation, and with their price, I 
suppose a memorandum between ui 
of two or three lines, and a payment 
down, will bind the bargain r I wish 
to send in furniture without delay." 

Two or three times during this short 
address, the cherub addressed had 
made chubby motions towards a chair. 
The gentleman now took it, laying a 
hesitating hand on a comer of 3ie 
table, and with another hesitating 
hand lifting the crown of his hat to 
his lips, and drawing it before hit 
mouth. 

"The gentleman, B. W.," nid 
Mrs. Wilfer, " proposes to take your 
apartments by the quarter. A quar* 
ter's notice on either side." 

" Shall I mention, sir," insinuated 
the landlord, expecting it to be i-e* 
ceived as a matter of ooune^ ••Uie 
form of a reference P" 

*< I think," returned the gentleman, 
after a pause, "that a reference is not 
necessary; neither, to say the truths 
is it convenient, for I am a stranger 
in London. I require no reference 
from you, and perluips, therefore, you 
will require none from me. That 
will be fair on both sides. Indeed, I 
show the greater confidence of the 
two, for I will pay in advance what* 
ever you please, and I am going to 
trust my lui'niture here. Whereas, 
if you were in embarrassed circum* 
stances — this ia merely suppositi* 
tious " 

Conscience causing R. Wilfer ta 
colour, Mrs. Wilfer, from a comer 
(she always got into stately comers) 
came to the reacue with a oeap-toncd 
« Per-fecUy." 




OtJE MDTUAL PT.IEND. 



■— WI17 then I— might Io« it." 

"Well!" observed E. Wilfer, 
thoerfully, "money and goods ara 
tertoinlf the best of referencea." 

" Do jou think they urt tha beat, 
jaf" aakul Miaa Bells, in a low 
mire, and without looking over ber 
ihaulder oa ahe wtuioed her foot on 

" AmonK Ou) beat, my dear." 
"I ihoiddhSiVe thought, myaelf, it 
«ii 10 eaay to add the uaual kind of 
Du," uid Bella, with a toea of har 

The gentleman lialeocd to her, with 
1 tee of marked attention, thouch he 
neilher looked up nor chingcd hia 
iHitude. He sat, still and ai!cnt, 
lUil big future laodloid accepted hia 
popcaals, and brought writing ma- 
tenjili to complete the busincaa. He 
U, Hill and aileat, while the laud- 
bdviole. 

^Tien [he agreement wa* ready in 
lilJicate [the landlord having worked 
>t it like gome cherubic acribe, in 
*)utia conventionally called a doubt- 
ful, which meana a not at all doubt- 
H Old llaster), it wae signed hy the 
tontncting partie«, Bella looking on 
<■ Kom fill witness. The contracting 

gtie* wer« R. WUfar, and John 
Lamith, Eaqiiiie. 
. n'hea it cajne to BeUii's ttun to 
ngi her najne, Ur. Rokesmith, who 
*ai Banding, u he had sat, with s 
mJtatiQg hand upon the table, looked 
Uher ateulthily, hut nairovly. Ue 
iKiked at the pretty figure bending 
down over the paper and saying, 
'Whaieam I to go,paf Hero, m 
ttii cornerF" He looked at the 
beautiful brown hair, Shading the 
Qqnettiah &ce ; he looked at the free 
duh of the aignature, which was a 
lold one for a woman's ; and then 
tley looked at one another. 
"JIuch obliged to you, Hiss 

" Obliged f" 

" I hare given yon bo mncb 



As there was nothing mon to do 
but pay eight sovereigns in earnest of 
the hu^in, pocket the agreement, 
appoint a time for the arrival of bis 
furniture and himself, and go, Mr. 
Rokesmith did thut as awkwardly oa 
it might be done, and was escorted by 
his landlord to the outer air. When 
It. Wilfor returned, candleatick in 
hand, to the bosom of hia family, he 
found the bosom agitated. 

" Fa," s.iid Bella, " we have got a 
Murderer for a tenant." 

"Pii," said Lavinia, " we have got 
a Robber." 

" To ace him unable for hia life to 
look anybodyin the face!"said Bella. 
"There never waaaiich an exhibition." 

" Jly dears," said their father, "ho 
is a ditlidcut gontlomiu, and I should 
say paiticuturly so in the aocioty of 
girls ot your age." 

" Nonsense, our Ago ! " cried Bella, 
impatiently. "'What's that got to do 
with him f" 

" Itesiites, we are not of the aame 
a^e: — whidi ogef" demanded La- 

" Never ^M mind, Tawy," retorted 
Bella i " you wait till you are of an 
age to ask such questions. Pa, maii,- 
my wcnk ! liutvecn Mr. BokoaTnith 
and me, thcru is a natural anti|iiitliy 
and a deep distrust ; and something 
will come of itl" 

" My dear, and girls," (aid tho 
cherub-patriarch, "between Mr. 
Itukesimth and me, there is a matter 
of eight sovereigns, and something 
for supper shall come of it, if you'll 
agree upon the article.*' 

This was a neat and happy turn to 
give the subject, treats being rare in 
tho Wilfer household, where a mo- 
notonous apponraaco of Dutch-chcuso 
at ten o'clock in the evening had liocn 
rather frequently commented oa by 
llio dimpled shotildcrs of Mis9 Itulln. 
Indeed, Iho modest Dutchman biia- 
fieir seemed conscious of his want of 
variety, and goncr.iUy came bcfuro 
tho family in o stwla of apoloiiitio 
perspiration. After sumo discus'!t:i 
on tho rchiUve mcriU 01 vcal-ei;t;<.t, 
Bwcct-brcad, and lobsler, a dc ijiuu 



OUB MUTUAL FHIENI). 



was prDDOunced in flaToiir of tbaI- 
ctitlet. Mrs. Wilfer then solemnly 
divested herself of her handkerchief 
and gloves, as a preliminary sacrifice 
to preparing the frying-pan, and K. 
W. himself went out to purchase the 
Tiand. He soon returned, bearing 
the same in a iresh cahbagc-leaf, 
"where it coyly embraced a rasher of 
ham. MelodiouB sounds were not 
long in rising from the frying-pan on 
the fire, or in seeming, as the firelight 
danced in the mellow halls of a couple 
of full bottles on the table^ to play 
appropriate dance-music. 

The cloth was laid by Lawy. 
Bella, as the aclmowledged ornament 
of the fiEimily, employed both her 
hands in giving her hair an additional 
wave while sitting in the easiest 
chair, and occasionally threw in a 
direction touching the supper: as, 
•' Very brown, ma ; " or, to her sister, 
** Put the saltcellar straight miss, and 
don't be a dowdy little puss." 

Meantime her father, chinking Mr. 
Bokesmith's gold as he sat expectant 
between his knife and fork, remarked 
that six of those sovereigns came just 
in time for their landlord, and stood 
them in a little pile on the white 
tablecloth to look at. 

" I hate our landlord !" said Bella. 

But observing a fall in her father's 
£sice, she went and sat down by him 
at the table, and began touching up 
his hair with the handle of a fork. It 
was one of the girl's spoilt ways to 
be always arranging the family's 
hair — perhaps because her own was 
BO pretty, and occupied so much of 
her attention. 

" Tou deserve to have a house of 
your own ; don't you, poor pa ?" 

''I don't deserve it bettor than 
another, my dear." 

" At any rate I, for one, want it 
more than another," said Bella, hold- 
ing him by the chin, as she stuck his 
flaxen hair on end, " and I giTidge 
this money going to the Monster 
that swallows up so much, when we 
aH want — Everything. And if you 
■ay (as you want to say ; I know you 



reasonable nor honest, Bella,' then I 
answer, * Maybe not, pa — very Hkely 
— ^but it's one of the consequences of 
being poor, and of thoroughly hating 
and detesting to be poor, and that's my 
case.' Now, you look lovely, pa, ; why 
don't you always wear your hair lik6 
that P And here's the cutlet ! If it isn't 
very brown, ma, I can't eat it, and 
must have a bit put back to be doxDO 
expressly." 

However, as it was brown, even to 
Bella's taste, the young Lady gnfr* 
ciously partook of it without recoa— 
signmont to the frying-pan, and also^ 
in duo course, of the contents of thi9 
two bottles : whereof one held ScotctB- 
ale and the other rum. The latteP 
perfume, with the fostering aid v£ 
boiling water and lemon-peel, di^ 
fused itself throughout the room, ancS. 
became so highly ooncentrated aroun<]. 
tho warm fireside, that the win(ft^ 
passing over the house roof must hav9 
rushed off chiirged with a dclicioa9 
whiff of it, after buzzing like a grea^ 
bee at that particular ckimncy-pot. 

" Pa," said Bella, sipping the fr»» 
grant mixture and warming her £»» 
vourite ankle ; " when old Sir. Har— 
mon made sudi a fool of me (not i» 
mention himself as he is dead), wha^ 
do you suppose he did it for ?" 

"• Impossible to say, my dear. Afl 
I have told you times out of number 
since his will was brought to light, I 
doubt if I ever exchanged a huiidi*ed 
words with the old gontleman. If it 
was his whim to surprise us, his whim 
succeeded. For he certainly did it" 

<< And I was stamping my foot and 
screaming, when he first took notice 
of me; was I?" said Bella, contem- 
plating tho ankle before mentioned. 

"You were stamping your little 
foot, my dear, and screaming with 
your little voice, and laying into ma 
with your little bonnet, which you 
had snatched off for the purpose," re- 
turned her father, as it the rememr 
brance gave a relish to the nun; 
<<you were doing this one Sunday 
morning when I took yon out, becausa 

didn *t go the exact way you wautod, 

ViAii il'iA cAil trc\\ A} i\n\nn. fiiiti*ii.r nn a. 



\ 



V. unt to say so, pa) * that's neither ] when tlxe old gcutlomaD, ftittiu^ on a 



ouB vnruAL rsinsD. 



•Mt eeu, Mid, 'That'i k dIm ^ ; 

Giit'i a Mry niM gitl; promisuig 
lirir And W) yaa were, my dear." 
■■ And than ha asked my name, did 

"Then he allied your name, my 

Bomingv, when we walked his way, 
m Kw him aRnin, and— and teally 
tbit'BaU.-- 

Ai that iraa all the unn and water, 
too, or, in other woidi, at R. W. de- 
Hcately lif^nified that hia glaia waa 
aupty by Ihrowing back his bead and 
rtaiuiuig the gloM updde dawn on 
Ml nose and nppor lip, it mi jfht have 
Imi charitable in Mia. Wilfor to 
n^geat replenialmient. But that he- 
nmie briefly aoggeating "Bedtime" 
butcad, the bottlei were put away, 
ud the fiuntly retirod ; ahe cheru- 
Ucali^ ncorted, like aome aevere 

ttima aUegoricafly treated. 

"And by thia time to-montiw," 
nd larinia when the two ciria were 
lloce in tliEir R>om, " we ahall have 
Vi. Bokeamith here, and shall be 
■ipfcting to have onr throats cut." 

"You needn't itand between me 
M>il lli« candle for all that," retorted 
M», •> ibit it anoUier of the con- 



- iKdng poor! Tb* Um 

of a Kill with a really fine head ol 
hail, having to doit by ooe flat candle 
and a few inches of lookiD(;-g1asB 1 " 

"Yon caught George Sampson 
wiUi it, Bella, bad aa joiu means ot 
drening it are." 

"You low ]ittl« Uiing. Canght 
Ocorge Sampaon with it! Dtm't 
talk about catching people, miea, till 
your own time fox catching— M you 

" Perhaps it has come," muttered 

LTvy, with a toss of her head. 
"What did TOO sayr" asked 
Bella, Tenr shoiply. " WTiat did yon 
say, misa I" 

Lawy declining equally to Wpeat 
r to explain, Bella gradually lapsed 
rer her hair-dreeaiiig into a soliloquy 
a the miseries of being poor, aa ex- 
emplified in having nijUiing to put 
ilhing to go out in, nothing to 
by, only a nasty box to (utM 
at instead of a commomous dreonng- 
table. and being obliged to take in sus- 
picious lodgers. On tho Inst ^evance 
as her climax the laid great sbess — 
nd might havo laid greater, had she 
mown that if Mr. Julius Handfoi-d 
lad a twin brother upon eart^ Ur, 
John Bokeamitlt wa* tlw nMjb 



CHAPrEB V. 



Ont igafaut a lymdon honse, a 

, Wnat house not far &«m Cavendish 
^SSK, a man with a wooden leg had 
*1 lot some yeaiB, with his remain- 
1^ foot in a basket in cold weather, 
Mldig up a living on thia wise :— 
Efffly morning at eight o'clock, he 
■nnipcd to the comer, carrj-ing a 
"nil, a clothes-horse, a pair of tres- 
Ua. a board, a basket, nnd an um- 
li';Ua, all strarpci 1. .^-ctlicr. Scpa- 
P.lijig those, Ihe lio;i)d and trolii;. 
Ui:]n)e a rounlor. th.i b.isket sui^iilivl 
Uit friv small lots of fniLl and snci'Ii 
ILat he uHured tat sale upou it an,l 



became a tix)t-waniMr, Qie nnfoUed 
clolLes-horse displayed a choice col- 
lection of halfpenny ballads and be- 
came a screen, and the stool planted 
within it became his poet for the reet 
of the day. All wcatheia saw tha 
man at the post. This is to be ac- 
cepted in a double sense, for he con- 
tnvcd a bock to bis wooden stool by 
■ ■' 5 lanip-poa' 
a wot, he pi 
hU ■lui-.k-iTi 
self; when the 
mini that lailcd 
wl.ii a ^ijna iX 



98 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



jarn. and laid it croiB-wiBe under tiie 
trestles : where it looked like an nn- 
wholesomely-forced lettuce that had 
lost in colour and ciispness what it 
had gained in size. 

He had established his right to the 
€omer, by imperceptible prescription. 
He had never varied his ground an 
inchf but had in the beginning diffi- 
dently taken the corner upon which 
the side of the house gave. A howl- 
ing comer in the winter time, a dusty 
corner in the summer time, an unde- 
sirable comer at the best of times. 
Shelterless fragments of straw and 
paper got up revolving storms there, 
when tne main street was at peace ; 
and the water-cart, aa if it were drunk 
or short-sighted, came blundering and 
Jolting round it, making it muddy 
when all else was clean. 

On the front of his sale-board hung 
a little placard, like a kettle-holder, 
bearing the inscription in his own 
mall text : 



BmuidiaofiM 

On with fi, 

Delity By 

LadiKS and GmUuMm 

J rrnutin . 

Your humble Smftr 

Silas Weyg, 



He had not only settled it with him- 
self in the course of time, that he 
was errand-goer by appointment to 
the house at the comer (though he 
received such commissions not naif a 
dozen times in a year, and then only 
aa some sen'ant's deputy^ but also 
that he was one of the nouse's re- 
tainers and owed vassalage to it and 
was bound to leal and loyal interest 
in it For this reas^m, he always 
spoke of it as "Our l.'niise," and, 
though his knowledge of its affairs 
was mostly speculative and all wrong, 
claimed to be in its confidence. On 
similar grounds he never beheld an 
inmate at any one of its windows but 
he touched his hat. Yet, ho- knew 
so little about the inmates that he 
Rave them names of his own inven* 
Bou: as "Miss Elizabeth,** "Master 



Gsorge," « Aunt Jane," " Und 
ker*' — ^having no authority wh 
for any such designations, but 
cularly the last — ^to which, aa a 
ral consequence^ hs stack with, 
obstinacy. 

Over the house itself^ he ezc 
the same imaginary power as o 
inhabitants and their affairs, I 
never been in it, the length of i 
of fiit black water-pipe which \ 
itself over the area-door nto a 
stone passage, and had rather 1 
of a leech on the house tha 
"taken" wonderfully, but thi 
no impediment to his arrang 
according to a plan of his ow 
was a ffreat dingy house with a 
tity of dim side window and 
back premises, and it cost his e 
world of trouble so to lay it ou 
accoimt for everything in its ez 
appearance. But, this once don 
quite satisfactory, and he restec 
suaded, that he knew his way 
the house blindfold : frtnn the 1 
garrets in the high roo^ to th 
iron extinguishers before the 
door — which seemed to reane 
lively visitors to have the icii 
to put themselves out, beforo 
ing 

Assuredly, this stall of Silas \^ 
was the hardest little stall of s 
sterile little stalls in Londoi 
gave you the face-ache to look 
apples, the stomach-ache to 1< 
his oranges, the tooth-ache to I 
his nuts. Of the latter comn 
he had always a grim little he 
which lay a little wooden mi 
which had no discernible insid 
was considered to represent the 
n'orth appointed by Magna C 
Whether from too much east 
or no— it was an easterly coi 
the stall, the stock, and tiie k 
were all as dry as the Desert, 
was a knotty man, and a close-j 
ed, with a face carved out oj 
hard material, that had just as 
play of expression as a watch 
ratUe. When he laughed, c 
jerks occurred in it, and the 
sprung. Booth to say, hs in 




OnS UUTUAL FBISND. 



mubnamaii thattiBMemadtoluTB 
bkea hii wooden ]tg natunUly, and 
tuber BDggeat«d to the &iic'Cul ob- 
•orer, that be might be expected — 
if liii dsrelopment leceiTed no im- 
timelv check — to be completely nt 
Vf with a pair of iroodoD \egt in about 
aj montbt. 

Hi. WegB wM an obaetrant per- 
HO,, or, u he hinuelf aoid, " loolc a 
nrjrful aight of notice." He aa- 
' d all hia regular paaieit-by erery 
oiy, aa he aat <m hia atool backed-up 
hy the lamp-post; and on the adapt- 
kble cbxiBoter of these ealulc* he 



Medal 



tation at chmch ; to the doctor, 
oonfidentul bov, a« U> a gentleman 
'whoee Kcqnaintance with hia ioaide 
k begged respectfally to acknow- 
ledga ; before tho quoLty he delight- 
ed to sbaae hinuelf', and for Uacle 
Talker, who waa in the army (at 
least, BO he bad eetUed it), he put hia 
open hand to the aide of his hat, in a 
nulitary mAJinBr which that angiy- 

3ed battoned-up inflammatory- laced 
1 geotlem&D appeared bat imper- 
fectly to appreciate. 

The only article in which Bilas 
dealt, that waa not haid, was ginger- 
bmd. On ■ certain day, some 
metched infant having purchased the 
damp gingerbread-horse (fearfully 
out of conditioD), and the adbeeiTe 
bird-cage, which had been eipoeed 
in the day's sale, he had taken a tin 
tni from under hi* atool to produce a 
nhj at those dreadful specimens, 
ud was going to look in at the lid, 
*hen he Baid to himaelil paitsing : 
"Obi Here you are againl" 

The words referred to a broad, 
round-shmildered, one-sided, old fel- 

smblicg towatdfl iba oomer, dreeeed 
in a pea over-coat, and carrying a 
larg« stick. Hs wore thick shoes, 
•nd thick leathRr gait«is, and thick 
clovea like a hedgcr's. Both oa to 
bis di«M and to himself he was of an 
(Fvarlapping cbinoceros boild, with 






folds in his che«ks, and his forehead, 

and his eyelids, and his lipa, and hia 
ears ; but with bright, eager child- 
iahly-ioqoiiing, grey eyes, under his 
ragged eyebrows, and broad- brimmeii 
hat. A very odd-looking old fellow 
altogether. 

"Hers yon are again," repeated 
Mr. We^g, musing. " Aiid what ara 
vou no» :^ Are you in tha Funna, or 
9 are you r Have you lately 
to settle in this neighbourhood 
or do you own tc another neighbour- 
hood f Are you in inde^noent cir- 
cnmMances, or is it wasting the mo- 
tions of a how on yon F Come ! I'll 
speculate 1 I'll invest a bow in yon." 

Which Mr. Wegg. having replaced 
his tin box, accordingly £d, as he 
rose to bait his gingerbread- trap for 
some other devoted infant. The M- 
lut« was acknowledged with : 

ing!" 
7" Calls ma Sir I" said Mr. Wegg 



self. 



•Ul-m 



"Mommg, momm^, monung! 

" Appear* to bo rather a 'arty old 
cock, too," said Mr. Wegg, as brfore. 
" Good morning to yau, sir." 

"Do you remember nie, thenf" 
asked his new aaiuaintance, slipping 
in his amble, one-sided, before tha 
stall, and speaking in a pouncing 
way, though with great good-humour. 

" I have noticed you go past our 
house, sir, several tioics in tbe ooune 
of the last week or so." 

"Our boose," repeated the other. 



"Oh I Now, what," punned the 
old fellow, in an inquisitive mennei', 
carrying his knotted stick in his left 
arm aB if it were a baby, "what do 
they allow you nowf " 

" It's job work that I do for our 
house," returned Bilas, drily, and 
with roticence ; "it'inotyetbionght 
to an exact allowance." 

"Ohi It's not yet bnnsht to la 



OUB UUTUAL FBIEND. 



enct anonrBnee P No ! It's notyet 
brought to an exact allowance. Oh ! 
—Morning, morning, morning !" 

*' Appears to be rather a cracked 
old cock,*' thought Silas, qualifying 
his former good opinion, as the other 
ambled off. But, in a moment he 
was back a^^ain with the question : 

**How did yon get your wooden 
leffP" 

Mr. Wegg replied, (tartly to this 
personal inquiry), " In an accident" 

"Do you like it P" 

<«WeU! I haven't got to keep it 
warm," Mr. Wcprg made answer, in 
a sort of desperation occasioned by 
the singularity of the question. 

" He hasn't," repeated the other to 
his knotted stick, as he gave it a hug ; 
" he hasn't got--ha ! — ^ha ! — ^to keep 
it warm ! Did you ever hear of tho 
name of Boffin?" 

** No," said Mr. Wegg, who was 
growing restive under this examina- 
tion. ** I never did hear of the name 
of Boflln." 

" Do you Uke it P" 

"Why, no," retorted Mr. Wegg, 
again approaching desperation; "I 
can't say I do." 

" Why don't you like it P" 

" I don't know why I don't," re- 
torted Mr. Wegg, approaching frenzy, 
" but I don't at aU.'^ 

"Now, I'll tell you something 
that'll make you sorry for that," said 
the stranger, smiling. " My name's 
Boffin." 

"I can't help it!" returned Mr. 
Wegg. Implying in his manner the 
offensive addition, " and if I could, I 
wouldn't." 

"But there's another chance for 
you," said Mr. Boffin, smiling still, 
" Do you like the name of Nico- 
derausP Think it over. Nick, or 
Noddy." 

"It is not, sir," Mr. Wegg re- 
joined, as he sat down on his stool, 
with an air of gentle resignation, 
combined with melancholy candour ; 
" it is not a name as I could wish any 
one that I had a respect for, to call 
««by; but there may be persons that 
would not view it with the same ob- 



jectioii8.->I don't know why,'* Mr. 
Wers; added, anticipating another 
qnc^lioii. 

" Noddy Boffin," said that gentie- 
man. "Noddy. That's my name. 
Noddy— or Nick— Boffin. WTiat'i 
your name ?" 

" Silas Wegg.— I don't," said Mr. 
Wegg, bestirring himself to take the 
same precaution as before, " I don't 
know why Silas, and I don't knoir 
why Wegg." 

" Now, WeM," said Mr. Boffin, 
hugging his stick closer, " I want to 
make a sort of offer to you. Do you 
remember when you fiivt see me P" 

The wooden leg looked at him with 
a meditative eye, and also with a 
softened air as descrying possibility 
of profit. "Let. me think. I ain't 
quite sure, and yet I generally take 
a powerful sight of notice, too. Was 
it on a Monday morning, when the 
butcher-boy had been to our house 
for orders, and bought a ballad of me, 
which, being unacquainted with the 
tune, I run it over to him P" 

"Right, Wegg, right! But he 
bought more than one." 

" Yes, to be sure, sir , he bought 
several ; and wishing to lay out nis 
mone^ to the best, he took my opinion 
to guide his choice, and we went over 
the collection together. To be sure 
we did. Here was him as it might 
be, and here was myself as it might 
be, and there was you, Mr. Boffin, aa 
you identicallv are, with your self- 
same stick unaer your very same arm, 
and your very same back towards ua. 
To — be — sure!" added Mr. Weggr, 
looking a little round Mr. Boffin, to 
take him in the rear, and identify 
this last extraordinary coincidence, 
" your wery self -same back I " 

" What do you think I was doing, 
Wegg P" 

"I should judge, sir, that you 
might be glancing your eye down 
the street." 

" No Wegg. I was a listening." 

"Was you, indeed?" said Mr. 
Wegg, dubiously. 

"iiot in a dishonourable way, 
Wegg, because you was singing to 




ouii mrrnAL feiend. 



SI 



" It nerer bappened that T did bo 
Tet, to the brat of my reinemliraiic«," 
■id &lr. Wegg, cautiously. " But I 
might do it A man can't ny what 
it might wish to ilo Home d^y or 
iBothET." (This, not to nlease any 
litUe adruitjige be might derive from 
Hi. Boffin's avowal.) 

"Well," repeated Boffin, "I wa» « 
Ibteniug to you and to h™ And 
»hat do you — you haven't got an- 
tlher (tool haYe yoaF I'm rather 
lUck in my breath." 

"I havoa't got another, but you're 
wlrome to this," »aid Wpig, re- 
iguni; it. "It'a a treat to me to 

"I^idl" exclaimed Mr. Boffin, in 
* tone of great enjoynient, aa he 
Kttled himself down. Btill nursing 
ImiMc like a baby, "it's a jilca.™nt 
plue, this : And then to lie shut in 
en etch siile, vith these ballads, like 
K Diny book-leaf blinlcenl Why, 
il'i delightful I" 

"If I am not mistaken, dir," Mr. 
^tgj delioatelv hinted, resting 

Uie diiciUHive Bolhn, "you Glided 

to Kma offer or another that was 

joorniind?" 
"I'm coming to it! All right. 

rn coming to it 1 I was going to 
■7 that wheu I li<t«ned that mom- 
bg, I listened with hadmiration 
tmoDBting to haw. I thought to 
sjjsel^ ' Here'a a man with a wooden 

leg — a literary man with ' " 

" S—aot esactly »o, or," said Mr. 

" Why, yon know evory one ol 
these oongB by name and by time, and 
if yOQ want to read or to eing any 
One on 'era off straight, you've only 
to whip on your spectacle* " ' ' 

•tit!" 
" Well, air," letomed Mr. Wegg, 

with a GODHcioua inelination of the 
hesd ; " We'll Bay litemy, th^i." 

" ' A literaiy man — tcillt a wooden 
It)[ — ami all Pdnt ii open to him . 



That'a what I thought to myself, that 
morning," pursued Mr. Uollin, lean- 
ing forward to describe, uncrjini.ed 
by the c'olheB-hone, oa large an aro 
as hia right arm could make ; **' all 
Print is apm to bim;' And it ia, 
ain't it F" 

" Why, truly, air." Mr. Wegg ad- 
mitted with modesty ; " I beliove 
you couI'Jn't show mo the piece oi 
Knglisb print, that I wouldn't be 
equjil to collarinx and Ihrowiug." 

" On the itwt K " laid Mr. lioOin. 

"On the ipot." 

" I know'd it ! Then eonsider thii. 
Hero am T, a man without a wooden 
log, and vet a'l print is abut to me." 

"Inde^J, sirP" Mr. Wegg ra- 
toraed with increasing •elf-compla- 
cency. " IJluoation neglected P" 

"Neg— lected!" rc].eatcd Boffin. 
with emphasis. "That oin'tno Wunl 
for it. I don't mean to «ay but what 
if you showed me a B, I could CO far 
give you change lor i^ ai to answer 
Boffin." 

" CoTne,oomo, sir," mid Mr. Wegg, 
throning in a little encouragement, 



•that 



ncthing, 






"Perhapa it'a notaa much asoould 
be wished by an inquiring mind, air," 
Mr. Wegg sdmittod. 

"Now, look here. Tm ntired 
frombusiness. Me and Mra. Boffin — 
Honerietty Boffin— which her tatliorii 
name was Hcneiy, and hermotherit 
name was Uetty, and bo you fret it — 
we live on a compittanco, uooer the 
will of a diseased governor." 

" GeuUcniBn dead sir P" 

"Man alive, don't I loll yon t A 
diseased governor f Now. it's too 
l.ito for me to begin shovelling and 
silling at alphabeds and grammar- 
books. I'm getting to be a old bird, 
and I want to taJie it e«ay. But I 
want lome reading — aomo fine bold 
reading, lOme splendid book in a 
gorging Lord- Mayor' B-8how of wol- 
lumea" (probably meaning gorgeona, 
but misled hy asaociation of ideas) : 
" m'U reauh right down youi giat ui 



82 



OUB MI7TUAL FHIEND. 



Tiew, and taVe time to go by yoa. 
How can I get that reacling Wegp: ? 
By/' tapping him on the breast with 
the head of hia thick stick, ** paying 
a man truly qualified to do it, eo 
much an hour (say twopence) to 
come and do it." 

"Hem! Fkttered, sir, I am sure/* 
said Wegg, beginning to regard him- 
stilf in quite a new light "Hem! 
This is the offer yoa mentioned, 
BirP" 

"Yes. DoyouUkeitP" 

"I am considering of itL Mr. 
Boffin." 

" I don't," said Boffin, in a firee- 
handed manner, "want to tie a 
literary man — icith a wooden leg — 
down too tight. A halfpenny an 
hour, shan't part us. The hours are 
your own to choose, after you've 
done for the day with your house 
here. I live over Maiden-Lane way 
— outHoUoway direction — and you've 
only got to go £ast-and-by-North 
when you've finished here, and you're 
there. Twopence half-penny an 
hour," said Boffin, taking a piece of 
chalk from his pocket and getting o£f 
the stool to work the sum on the top 
of it in his own way ; " two long- 
'uns and a short' un — twopence half- 
penny; two short'uns is a long'im 
and two two long'uns is ft>ur long' una 
— making five long'uns ; six nights a 
week at five long'uns a night," scor- 
ing them all down separately, " and 
yon moimt up to thirty long'uns. 
A round' un ! Half a crown ! " 

Pointing to this result as a large 
and satisfactory one, Mr. Boilin 
smeared it out with his moistened 
glove, and sat down on the remains. 

" Half a crown," said "VVegg, 
meditating. '* Yes. (It ain't much, 
sir.) Half a crown." 

" Per week, you know." 

"Per week. Yes. Ab to the 
amount of strain upon the intellect 
now. Was you thinking at all of 
poetry P" Mr. Wegg inquired, musing. 

"Would it come dearer P" Mr. 
Boffin asked* 

" it would come dearer," Mr. Wegg 
returned. '*For when a person comes 



to grind off poetry night after nigl 
it is but right he should expect to 
paid for its weakening ellect on 1 
mind." 

" To tell yon the truth, Wegg 
said Boffin, "I wasn't thinking 
poetry, except in so fur as this :— 
you was to happen now and then 
feel yourself in the mind to tip d 
and Mrs. Boffin one of your ballac 
why then we should drop into poetry 

" I follow you, sir," said Weg 
"But not being a regular music 
professional, I should be loath to e 
gage myself for that ; and therefo 
when I dropped into poetry, I shou 
ask to be oonaidered in the light of 
friend." 

At thia, Mr. Boffin's eyes sparkle 
and he shook Silas earnestly by tl 
hand: protcstingthatitwasmorethi 
he could have aaked, and that he to< 
it very kindly indeed. 

" What do you think of the tom 
WeggF" Mr.' Boffin then demande 
with unconcealed anxiety. 

Silas, who had stimulated tfa 
anxiety by hia hard reserve of ma 
ner, and who had begun to u aderstai 
his man very well, replied with t 
air ; as if he were saying somcthii 
extraordinarily generous and great : 

" Mr. Boffin, 1 never bargain." 

" So I should have thought of yon I 
said Mr. Boffin, admiringly. 

" No, sir. I never did 'aggie ai 
I never will 'aggie. Conseqliently 
meet you at once, free and fair, wi 
Done, for double the money !" 

Mr. Bofiin seemed a little unpr 
pared for this conclusion, but assente 
with the remark, " You know bett 
what it ought to be than I do, W^egg 
and again shook hands with h\in up< 
it. 

" Could youbegin tonight, Wegg I 
he then demanded. 

" Yes, sir," said Mr. Wegg, care! 
to leave all the eagerness to hi] 
" I see no difficulty if you wish 
You are provided with the needi 
implement — a book, sir ?" 

" Bought him at a sale," said H 
Boffin. " Eight woUumes. Hed a] 
gold. Poxple ribbon in every vn 




ODE MUTUAL FBIENS. 



hmie^ to keep dia place whars joa 
, leaie olt Do you taiow him ?" 
{ ** The book'i name, ait" inquired 

! Klai. _ I 

" I Uioaglit;t>n might have biaw'd 

Um without it," uid Mr. BoSn 

■lightly dtRBppoiDted. " His Dtune is 

Dvdine-Aiid-Tall- Off-Tlie-Itwi«h&n- 

I Eminre." (Mr. Bofan went over: 

I UusB itoiiflB ilolrlr and with much 

I aution.) | 

. "A7 indeed!" Mid Ml. Wegg, 

Bgdding his head irith an ur of 

I friendly Mcognitioit. 

I "Yoo know him, Wi^gf" 

\ 'thUTRn't been not to uy li^ht 

I dip throoKh him, very lately," Mr. 

I Vegg made aniwer, " baring been 

I Mbowaya employed, Mr. Boffio. 

I But know him? Old bmiiiar de- 
dining and iklling off the Boo- 
doaf Bather, air! Ever since 
I Tu not 10 hi(;li aa toot stick. 
IEnr once my eldest brotlier left our 
Mtige to enlist inki the army. On 
■lidi oocsaion, as the iMllad that waa 
uds about it describe*: 
I 'Btodi that ooltiga door. ICr BaOa, 



-..jj.™ 



B, and alsobj the friendly 

I diipoaition of Mr. Wen, as exempli- 
I fed in his BO soon capping into 
Jm/trj, Mr, Boffin a.^aia shook hands 
vith thjit ligneous sharper, and be- 
Kught h't" to name his hour. Mr. 
^tgg named eight. 

"Where I liTe," said Mr. Boffin, 
"is called The Bower. Boffin's 
Bower is the name Mn, Boffin chris- 

property. If yon should meet with 
aii^>ody that don't know it by that 
Oama {which hardly anybody docs), 
when you've got nigh upon about a 
odd mile, or say and aquaitcr if you 
likii, up Maidmi Lone, Battle Bridce, 
Mk fat Hacmony Jftii, and you 'U be 



put rieht I shall expect you, We^," 

■aid Mr. BoQin, clapping him on ihs 
ahoulderwith the gmitcst enthusiasm, 
" most jyfully. I shall have do peace 
or patience till you come. Prmt ia 
now opening aJiead of me. Tbii 
night, a litentry man — in'M a wooden 
leg — " he bestowed an ndminng look 



upon t^t deoontioii, ■■ if it ^itly 
— ihanced the reliah of Mr. Wegg't 

toinments— " will begin t« leM me 
. new life ! My fist again, W^g. 
Morning, morning, mommg!" 

Left uone at his stall us the oUiet 
ambled off, Mr. Wcgg subsided into 
his screen, prodoced a small pocket- 
hand^etchief of a peniteDtislly-scrub- 
bing character, and took himself by 
the nose with a thoughtful aapect. 
Also, while he still grasped Ihatfe^urc, 
be directed sevenil thoughtful looks 
down the stieet, after the istiring 
figure of Mr. Boffin. But, profound 
grai'ity sat euthroued on Wegg's 
couDtensnce. For, while he con- 
sidered within himself that thia was 
an old fellow of rare aimplicitT, that 
this was an opportunity to be im- 
proved, and that heremight be money 
to be got beyond present calculation, 
still he compramised himself by no 
admission that his new engagement 
wsa at all out of his way, or invoWed 
the leaat element of the ridiculoui. 
Itlr. Wegg would even have picked a 
handsome quarrel with any one vho 
ahould have challenged his deep eu:- 
quointance with those aforesaid eight 
volumes of Decline and Fall. His 
gravity was unoaual, portentouSf and 
immeaeuiable, notbccanse ho admitted 
any doubt of liimMilf, but because be 
perceived it necessary to forestall any 
doubt of himself in others. And 
borein he ranged with that vary nu- 
mei-oua claai of impostors, who an 
quite as delennlned to keep up a^ 
pearancee to tbemselvei, u to their 
neighbouii. 

A tertain loftjneas, likewise, took 
poHsesBion of Mr. We^ ; a conde- 
scending sense of being in request as 
an official expounder of mysteries. 
It did not move him to comnicrcial 
but ntlier to littleness, in- 



84 



OUB MUTUAL FIOEXD. 



eonraeli tliat if it had been within the 
poBsibilitiet of things for the wooden 
measure to hold fewer nuts than usual, 
it would have done so that day. But, 
when nif^ht came, and with her yeiled 
eyes behold him stumping towards 
Bnflin's Bower, he was elated too. 

The Bower was as difficult to find, 
as Fair Rosamond's without the due. 
3Ir. Wegg, having reached the quar- 
ter indicated, inquired for the Bower 
half a dozen times without Ihe least 
success, until ho remembered to ttsk 
for Harmony Jail. This occasioned 
a quick change in the spirits of a 
hoarse gentleman and a donkey, 
whom he had much perplexed. 

"Why, yer mean Old Harmon's, do 
yerP" said the hoarse gentleman, who 
was driving his donkey in a truck, 
with a carrot for a whip. «Whydidn*t 
yer niver say so P Eddard and me is 
a goin' by him ! Jump in." 

Mr. Wegg complied, and the hoarse 
gentleman invited his attention to 
&e third person in company, thus ; 

" Now, you look at Eddard's ears. 
What was it as you named, agin P 
Whisper." 

Mr. Wegg whispered, ** Boffin's 
Bower." 

M£ddaid! (keep yer hi on his ears) 
•at away to Boffin's Bower!" Ed- 
ward, with his ears lying back, re- 
mained immoveable. 

" Eddard ! (keep yer hi on his eass) 
out away to Old Harmon's." 

Edward instantly pricked up his 
ears to their utmost, and rattled off 
at such a pace that Mr. Weg^'s con- 
versation was jolted out of mm in a 
most dislocated state. 

"Was-it-Ev-verajailP" aaked Mr. 
Wegg, holding on. 

"Not a proper jail, wot you and 
me would get committed to," returned 
his escort ; " they giv' it the name, 
on accounts of Old Harmon living 
solitary there." 

'^ And* why -did-they-callitharm- 
Ony?" asked Wegg. 

" On accounts of his never agreeing 
with nobody. Like a speedies of 
chaff. Harmon's Jail; Harmony 
Jail. Working it round like." 



" DoTouknow-Mist-Erboff-faiP" 
asked Wegpr. 

" I should think so ! Everybody 
do about here. Eddard knows him. 
(Keep yer hi on his ears.) Noddy 
Boffin, Eddard!" 

The effect of the name was so very 
alarming, in respect of causing a tem- 
porary disappearance of Edward's 
head, casting his hind hoo& in the aifi 
greatly accelerating the pace and in- 
creasinging the jolting, that Mr. Wegg 
was fain to devote his attention exclu- 
sively to holding on, and to relinquish 
his desire of ascertaining whether 
this homage to Boffin was to be con- 
sidered complimentary or the reverse- 
Presently, Edward stopped at a 
gateway, and Wegg discreetly loflt 
no time in slipping out at the bade 
of the truck. The moment he wa^ 
landed, his late driver with a wave oi 
the carrot, said *< Supper, Eddard! *' 
and he, the hind hoo&, the truck, an^ 
Edward, all seemed to fly into the aaJ 
together, in a kind of apotheosis. 

Pushing the gate, which stood ajar^ 
Wegg looked into an enclosed spac^ 
where certain tall dark mounds ros^ 
high against the sky, and where tb^ 
pathway to the Bower was indicftted^ 
as the moonlight showed, between^ 
two lines of broken crockery set im 
aahes. A white fig^ure advancing 
along this path, proved to be nothing^ 
more ghostly than Mr. Boffin, easily 
attired for the pursuit of knowled^e,^ 
in an undress garment of short white 
smock-frock. Having received his 
literary friend with great cordiality, 
he conducted him to the interior of 
the Bower and there presented him 
to Mrs. Boffin : — a stout lady of a 
rubicund and cheerful aspect, dressed 
(to Mr. Wegg's consternation) in a 
low evening £ress of sable satin, and 
a large black velvet hat and feathers. 
" Mrs. Boffin, Wegg," said Boffin, 
''is a highflyer at Fashion. And 
her make \b such, that she does it 
credit. As to myself, I ain't yet as 
Fash'nable as I may come to be. 
Henerietty, old lady, this is the 
gentleman that's a going to decline 
and fall off the Boodkn Empixa.** 



i=n 





O'jn MUTUAL FIlUa-R 



u 



"Ind t am mre I hnpo it'll do you 
nib good," said Un. Bofliu. 

ll wu the queerest of toomB, fitted 
id famuhed more like a luxurious 
m>t«ur tap-Toom than anything 
In within the ken of Bilas WeBi;- 
lere were two wooden getUea by 
le fire, one on either side of it, with 

coneaponding' table before enoh. 
D one of these tables, the ei^)it 
dnmes wore ranged flnt, in a row, 
it ■ gnlyanic battery ; on the other, 
itain iquat cane-bottlee of invitiiii; 
ipnranco leemed to elflod on tiptoe 

exchange glances with Mr. Wegg 
lei a front row of tumblers and a 
win of vbite SngBT. On the hob, 

kettle (teamed; on the hearth, a 
^t reposed. Faeieg the fire between 
a settles, a sofa, a footstool, and a 
tUe table, formed a centrepiece de- 
Afd to Mn. Boffin. They were 
uiih in tacte and colour, but were 
ipenmte articlea of drawing-room 
inituie that had a Tery odd look 
aide the settles and the oariiii; gae- 
jlit pendent from the ceiling, 

D^n WAS a flower? carpet on thn 
Mr; but, inMced of reaching to the 
reside, itaglowlng vegetation stopppil 
txnt at Mis. Uoffin's footfilool, and 
ire pUoe to a region of sand and 
iviiiut. Hr. Wegg also noticed, 
'iUi idmiring eyes, that, while the 
0"ery land displayed sucb hollow 
lumentKtion as stuffed birds and 
'ueu fruits under glafls shadeH, 
ins were, in the territory whore 
t),'<!t*tion ceased, compensntiiry 
iclree on which the beet part of a 
irgo pie and likewiee of a cold joint 
em plainly discernible among other 
ilidi. The room itself was larpc, 
idngh low ; and the heavy frames 
' its old-fi^diioned irindows, and the 
Mry beams ia iU crooked ceiling, 
cmed to indicate that it had onoo 
Ml a house of some mark standing 
one in the conntry. 

"Doyoa like it,W(^f" asked 
I. Boffin, in his pouncing manner. 

"I admire it greatly, sir," said 
'^t^- "Peculiar comfort at this 

"Do yuu understand it, WeggF' 



" Wby, In K general way, dr," 
Mr. Wegg was beginning slowly and 
knowingly, with his head stuck on 
one side, as evasive people do begin, 
when the other cut him Bh,ort : 

*'Yon iton'f understand it, W^egg, 
ana I'll explain it. These arrange* 
menta is made by mntual consent 
Ittween Mts. Bofhn and me. Mrs. 
tiottin, as I've mentioned, is a high- 
Hyei ut fashion ; at present I'm not. 
I don't go higher tluui comfort, and 
comfort of the sort that I'm equal to 
the enjoyment of. Well then. Where 
would bo the good of Mra. Boffin and 
me quarrelling over it F We never 
did qoarrel, before wo come into 
Boffin's Bower u a property; why 
quarrel when wa Asiv come into 
llofiin'a Bower as a property P 60 
Mrs. Boffin, she keeps up her part of 
the room, in her way ; I keep up my 
part of the room in mine. In ood' 
sequence of which we have at once, 
Sociability (I should go melancholy 
mud without Mrs. Buffin), Fiishion, 
And Comfort. If I get by degrees to 
be a high-flyer at Fashion, then Mrs. 
Ilollln will by degreeecome for'arder. 
I f Mrs. lioffin should ever be less of a 
dab at Fashion than she is at the pre- 
sent time, then Mrs. Boffin's carpet 
would go back'arder. If we should 
biilh coutinnyasweare,wbythen htn 
wti are, and give us a kiss, old lady." 

Mrs. Boffin, who, perpetually smil- 
ing, had approached and drawn her 
plump arm through her lord's, most 



feathers, tried to prevent it ; but got 
dcsoi-vedly cmahoil in the endeavour. 
"So now, Wep;g," said Mr. Boffin, 
wiping his mouth with an air of much 
retreshment, " yon begin to know us 
jLs we are. This ia a charming spot, 
is the Bower, but yon must got to ap- 
preciate it by degrees. It's a spot to 
find out the menls of, little by tittle, 
nnd a new'un every day. There's a 
serpentining walk up each of the 
mounds, that gi>ea you the yard and 
neighbourhood changing evoiy mo- 
ment. When you get to thu top, 
there's a view of the neighbounng 



86 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



rremfics, not to be surpassed. The 
premises of Ain. Boflin's late father 
(Canine Provision Trade), you look 
dowu into, as if they was your own. 
And the top of the High Mound is 
crowned with a lattice-work Arbour, 
in which, if you don't read out loud 
many a book in the summer, ay, and 
as a friend, drop many a time into 
poetry too, it shan't be my fault. Now, 
what'll you read on F" 

" Thank you, sir,*' returned Wegg, 
as if there were nothing new in his 
reading at all. "I generally do it 
on gin and water.*' 

*' Keeps the organ moist, does it, 
Wegg?" asked Mr. Boihn, with in- 
nocent eagerness. 

"N-no, sir,*' replied Wegg, coolly, 
** I should hardly describe it so, sir. 
I should say, meUers it. Mellers it, 
is the word I should employ, Mr. 
Boffin." 

His wooden conceit and craft kept 
exact pace with the delighted expec- 
tation of his victim. The visions 
rising before his mercenary mind, of 
the many ways in which this connec- 
tion was to be tui-ned to account, 
never obscured the foremost idea na- 
tural to a dull overreaching man, that 
he must not make himself too cheap. 

Mrs. Bof&n's Fashion, as a lees in- 
exorable deity than the idol usually 
worshipped under that name, did not 
forbid her mixing for her literary guest, 
or asking if he ifound the result to his 
liking. On his returning a gracious 
answer and taking his place at the 
literary settle, Mr. Boffin began to 
compose himself as a listener, at the 
opposite settle, with exultant eyes. 

** Sorry to deprive you of a pipe, 
Wegg," he said, filling his own, ** but 
you can't do both together. Oh! and 
another thing I forgot to name! 
When you come in here of an even- 
ing, and look round you, and notice 
anything on a shelf that happens to 
catch your fancy, mention it." 

^^STS^f ^ho hieul been going to put 
on his spectacles, immediately laid 
them down, with the sprightly ob- 
servation : 

*' Tou read my thoughts, sir. 2)o 



my eyes deceive me, or is that obji 
up there h — a pie? It can't be 
pie. 

"Yes, it's a pie, Wegg," repli 
Mr. Boffin, with a glance of some lit 
discomfiture at the Decline and Fa] 

" Have I lost my smell for fruits, 
is it a apple pie, sir P" asked Weg| 

"It's a veal and ham pie," si 
Mr. Boffin. 

" Is it indeed, sir F And it wot 
be hard, sir, to name the pie that ii 
better pie than a weal and hammei 
said Ikir. Wegg, nodding his he 
emotionally. 

" Have some, Wegg ?** 

"Thank you, Mr. Boffin, I thi 
I will, at your invitation. I wouldi 
at any other party's; at the prest 
juncture; but at yours, sir! — A 
meaty jelly too, especially when 
litUe salt, which is the case wh< 
there's ham, is mellering to the org; 
is very melloiing to the organ." ^ 
Wegg did not say what organ, I 
spoke with a cheerful generality. 

So, the pie was brought down, a 
the worthy Mr. Boffin exercised 1 
patience until Wegg, in tbe ezerc 
of his knife and fork, had finished i 
dish : only profiting by the opp< 
tunity to inform Wegg that althou 
it was not strictly Fashionable 
keep the contents of a larder thus < 
X>osed to view, he (Mr. Boffin) cc 
sidered it hospitable : for the reast 
that instead of saying, in a compa: 
tively unmeaning manner, to a visit 
" There are such and suchediblesdo' 
stairs ; will you have anything up 
you took the bold practical course 
sa}dng, "Cast your eye along 1 
shelves, and, if you see anything y 
like there, have it down." 

And now, Mr. Wegg at len^ 
pushed away his plate and put on 
spectacles, and Mr. Boffin lighted 
pipe and looked with beaming e; 
into the opening world before h: 
and Mrs. Boffin reclined in a fii^hii 
able manner on her so£a : as one ^ 
would be part of the audience if i 
found^ she could, and would go 
sleep if she found she couldn't 

"Hem!" began Wegg, " T] 




OttB MDTOAL FRIESD. 



Ifr. BotSa and Ltjy, ia the flist 

chapter of the Gnt walluma of the 

DiM^liiie and Fall off " h?ro he 

kiokeil bud at the book, and itupped. 
"Whafi the matter, WcsS^ 
" Why, it comm into my mind, do 
yon Imow, air,' ' laid Wegg with an 
•ir (if itmnuatina frankness (having 
fint again looked baitl at the bookj, 
" that you made a little miatoke thia 
morning, which 1 had meant to set 
jDu right in, only lometbing put it 
ODt of my head. I think yon wid 
Bdoshan Empire, lirF" 
■■'■ isllowhan; ain't it, We^F" 



"No, 



Itomi 



"Wbat'H tho diiference, Wea 



"Thed! 



Mr.^ 



ufalteiing and in danger of break- 
ing down, when a blight thought 

■ir F There you placa ma in a diffi- 
culty, Ur. Boffin. Suffice it to ob- 
ttne, Uiat the differenoi ia beat poet' 
poned to aoma other occaaion when 
Jjn. Boffin does not bononr ua with 
hei company. In Ui*. Boffin'i pre- 
*mce, air, we had better drop it." 

Hi. Wegg thua came out of hia 
diaadrantage with quite a cbivatrotu 
air, and not only that, but by dint of 
Wpeating with a manly delicacy, " In 
nil. Boffin'a presence, lir, we had 
better drop it! turned the disadvan- 
tage on Boffin, who fait that he hail 
committed hiin«nlf in a vary painful 

Then, Hr. We^,inadryiinflinch- 
ing way, enteied on hia task ; going 
Itraight acroaa country at everything 
that came before him ; taking aU the 
hard words, biograpliical and geogra- 
phical ; getting rather shaken by 
Hadiian, Trajan, and the Antonines; 
■tumbling at Folvhiua (pronounced 
Folly Beeioua, and supposed by Mr. 
BoQin to be a Roman virgin, and by 
Mis. Bi^n to be responsible for that 



again and giillo[Ting smoothly i 
Ausuitus ; tiuttlly, getting over tht 
graiind well with Cummodus: who, 



nnder the apppTln'ion of Commorli- 
oua, was hold by .Mr. BofUn to hitvs 
■ n quite unworthy of his English 
j^n, and " not to have acl«l up to 
name" in his government of the 
[nan people. With the deiilh of 
I petaonage, Mr. Wegg terminated 
first reading; long before which 
isunimation several total eclipses 
of Mra. Boffin's candle behind hor 
black velvet disc, would have been 
very alarming, but for being regu- 
larly accompanied bv a potent smell 
of burnt pens when her feathers took 
'hicb acted as a reatorutive and 
woke her. Mr. Wegg having read 
~ ~ by rote and attached as few ideas 
possible to the text, came out of 
the encounter &esh ; but, Mr. Boffin, 
who had soon laid down his un- 
finished pipe, and had ever since sat 
intently aturing with hia eye* and 
mind at the confounding enoraiitie* 
of the Itoraans, was so severely pun- 
ished that he could hardly moh hia 
literary friond Good-night, and arti- 
eulalo "To-morrow." 

" Commodioua," gasped Hr. Boffin, 
staring at the moon, after letting 
Wegg out at the gate and fastening 
it : " Commodious fights in that wild- 
beast-show, seven handled and thirty- 
five timea, in one character only 1 A* 
if that wasn't atunning enough, a 
hundred lions is turned mto the same 
wild-beast-show all at once 1 Aa if 
that wasn't stunning enough, Com- 
modioua, in another character, kills 
'em all off in a hundred goes! As if 
that wasn't stunning enough, Vitttc- 
us (and well named too) eats six mil- 
lions' worth, English money, in seven 
months ! Wegg take* it ea-iy, but 
upon-my-soul to a old bird like my- 
self theae are scaren. And even now 
that Commodious is strangled, I don't 
see a way to our bettering ourselves." 
Ur. Boffin added aa he turned hia 
pensive steps towards the Boner and 
abook his head, " I didn't tbink thia 
morning thure waa half so mao^ 
a Print. But I'm in for it 



OUB HUTUAL FfilEinX 



CHAPTER VI. 



CUT ADKOT* 



Tm Six Jolly Fellowahip-Poiten, 
tlready mentioned aa a tayern of a 
dropaical appearance, had long settled 
down into a state of hale izifixinity. 
In ita whole constitution it had not 
a straight floor, and hardly a straight 
line ; but it had outlasted, and clearly 
would yet ouUast, many a better- 
trimmed buildi^, many a sprucer 
public-house. £ztemaUy, it was a 
narrow lopsided wooden jumble of 
corpulent windows heaped one upon 
another as you might heap as many 
toppling oranges, with a crazy wooden 
verand^ impending over the water ; 
indeed the whole house, inclusive of 
the complaining flag-staJQTon the roof^ 
impended over the water, but seemed 
to have got into the condition of a 
fiiint-hearted. diver who has paused 
80 long on the brink that he will 
never go in at alL 

This deacripaon applies to the 
river-frontage of the tiix JoUy Fel- 
lowship-Porteis. The back of the 
establishment, though the chief en- 
trance was there, so contracted, that it 
merely represented in its connection 
with the front, the handle of a flat- 
iron set upright on its broadest end. 
This handle stood at the bottom of a 
wilderness of court and alley : which 
wilderness pressed so hard and close 
upon the Six Jolly Fellowship-Porters 
as to leave the hostelry not an inch 
of ground beyond its door. For this 
reason, in combination with the fact 
that the house was all but afloat at 
high water, when the Porters had a 
family wash the linen subjected to 
that operation might usually be seen 
drying on lines stretched across the 
Z)8ception-rooms and bed-chambers. 

The wood fonning the chimney- 
piecefl^ beams, partitions, floors, and 
doors, of the Six Jolly Fellowship- 
Portors, seemed in its ol9. ag:e fraught 
with confused memories of its youth. 
In many places it had become gnarled 

And liven, •^w^i^ing to ihB wiA-nn/MP 



of old trees ; knots started out of H: 
and here and there it seemed to twist 
itself into some likeness of boughs. 
In this state of second childhood, it 
had an air of being in its own way 
garrulous about its early life. Not 
without reason was it often asserted 
by the regular frequenters of ths 
Porters, that when the ligrht shone 
full upon the grain of certain panels, 
and particularly upon an old comer 
cupboard of walnut-wood in the bar, 
you might trace little forests there, 
and tiny trees like the parent tree, in 
full umbrageous leaf. 

The bar of the Six Jolly Fellow* 
ship-Porters was a bar to soften the 
human breast. The a^^dlable space 
in it was not much lai^ger than a 
hackney-coach; but no one could have 
wished the bar bigger, that space was 
so g^ in hjr corpulent littk casks, 
and by cordial-bottles radiant with 
fictitious grapes in bunches, and by 
lemons in nets, and by biscuits in 
baskets, and by the pohte beer-pullj 
that made low bows when customers 
were served with beer, and by the 
cheese in a snug comer, and by the 
landlady's own small table in a snug« 
ger comer near the fire, with th6 
cloth everlastingly laid. This haven 
was divided from the rough world by 
a glass partition and a half-door, ynui 
a leaden sill upon it for the conve- 
nience of resting your liquor; but^ 
over this half-door the bar's snug- 
ness so gushed forth, that, albeit cus- 
tomers drank there standing, in a 
dark and draughty passage where 
they were shouldered by other custo- 
mers passing in and out, they always 
appeared to drink under an enchimt- 
ing delusion that they were in the 
bar itself 

For the rest, both tfie tap and 
parlour of the Six JoUjr Fellowship- 
Porters gave upon the river, and had 
red curtains matching the noses of 
the I'ogttlar ouatomaai aod woe pro^ 




;UTUAL FRIEND. 



t» 



liiai with eomfortftlile Ei-etide tin 
itouili, lil[« modeli of sugar-loaf 
lili, nude in ttuLt shape tlmt thgy 
miffht, with thoir pointed endEi^ oeeh 
ml for themselves glowing nooks in 
thg depths of the red crals, when 
Uisr niiille>l joai ale, or boated for 
Toi those dalectable diinlo, Furl, 
flip, snd Dog's Nose. Tha first of 
thcsB h nmming compomids wss s 
■peciility of the Foiteis, which, 
lorongh oo inscription on its door- 
posts, gentlr appealed to vour feel- 
ings OS, "The Early Furl House." 
For, H would seem that Purl Qiust 
slwava be token early ; though 
whether for any mere distinctly 
Itomacbic reuan than that, as the 
SOily bird catches the worm, sc " 
Mrly purl catches the customer, 
not h^ be resolTed. It ocly Temains 
to odd that in the handle of the flat 
BOn, and opposite the bar, was a very 
hltle room like a Ihreo-comered hat, 
into which no direct ray of sun, 
moon, or star, ever penetrated, hut 
which was saperstitiously regarded 
u a sanctuary replete with comfort 
ud retirement by gaslight, and on 
the door of which was therefore 
[laintad its alluring name : Cosy. 

Uisa Fotteraon, sole proprietor an 
tuonager of the Fellowship- Porters, 
leigned supreme on her throne, " 
Bar, and a man must have d 
himself mad drunk indeed if 
thought he could contest a point with 
her. Bein^ known on her own autho- 
nty as Miss Abbey FotterBoo, some 
watar-side heads, which (like the 
water) were none of the cleare«l^ 
harboured muddled notions that, be- 
cause of her dignity and trmness, she 
was named aner, or in some sort 
nlated to, Uie Abbey at Weatmin- 
star. But, AbWy was only short for 
Abigail, by which name Miss Fottor- 
ion hod bean christened at L^e- 
hoose Chnjch, some sixty and odd 
jsaia before. 

** Now, you mind, you Rider- 
hood," said Miss Abbey Pottenoc 
»ith empliBtic foioflnger over th_ 
half-door, "the FcUowiihipB don't 
want jou at oil, 4iul would mtlisr by 



pany; bu 



for hsYB your room than yonrcom- 

but if you were as welcome 
QQ are not, you shouldn't 
have another drop of drink 
here this night, ait«r this preacnt 
pint of bear. 80 make the most of 

"But yon know, Uiai Potleison," 
this was saggesled very meekly 
though, " if I behave mysaUl yoa 
can't help serving me, miss." 

" CaH'i I '. " Kid Abbey, with ln> 
finite expressioD. 

"No, Uissrottersoo; 1]eoanse,yoit 

"1 am the law hare, my man," 

returned Miss Abbey, " and I'll soon 
coDvince you of that, if yoD doubt it 

" I never said I did donbt it at oil, 
UisB Abbey." 

" 80 much the better for yon." 

Abbey the supreme tl\rew the cus- 
tomer's halfpence into the till, and, 
seatii]g heni'ir in her fireside chair, 
resumed thi^ newspaper she had been 
reading. She was a tall, upright, 
well-favoured woman, though sevora 
of countenance, and had more of the 
air of a school muttreas than mistress 
of the Sii JoUy FeUowahip- Porters. 
The man on the other side of the halt- 
door, was s waterside-man with a 
squinting leer, and ha eyed her as il 
he were one of her pupils in disgi ace. 

" You're cruel hani npon me, Miss 
Pottcrson." 

Miss Fotterson read her newspaper 
with coutiacted brows, and took no 
notice until he whispered : 

"MiasFotUrson! Ma'amI Might 
I have half a word with you T" 

Deigning then to turn her eyes 
sideways towards the suppliimt, 
Uiss Fotlerson beheld himknuck'ing 
his low forehead, and ducking at her 
with his head, as if he were asking 
leave to fling himself head foremast 
over the half-door and alight on his 
feet in the bar. 

"WeU P" said Miss PotlfiTion, with 
a manner as short as she hctatlf was 
long, " say your half word. Biiug 

"JlissFottoiMfil Ma'amI n'ould 



u 



OTTB MUTUAL FEIENIX 



yoQ 'sxciue me taking the liberty of 
asking, is it my character that you 
take objections to P'* 

'* Certainly/' said Miss Potterson. 

•* Is it that you're afraid of " 

" I am not afraid of you/' interposed 
Miss Pottcrson, " if you mean Uiat.'* 

** But I humbly don't mean that, 
Miss Abbey." 

" Then what do you mean P *• 

"You really are so cruel hard up- 
on me! What I was going to make 
inquiries was no more than, might 
you have any apprehensions — least- 
ways beliefs or suppositions — that the 
( orapany's property mightn't be al- 
<o«;cther to be considered safe, if I 
used the house too regular? " 

** What do 3^u want to know forP" 

**Wcll, Miss Abbey, respectfully 
meaning no offence to you, it would 
btt some satisfaction to a man's mind, 
lo understand why the Fellowship- 
Porters is not to be free to such as me, 
and is to be free to sach as Gaffer." 

The &ce of the hostess darkened 
^vith some shadow of pei-plexity, as 
i-he replied : *' Gkiffer has never been 
^'here you hare been.' 

" Signifying in Quod, Miss P Per^ 
haps not. But he may have merited 
it He may be suspected of fu worse 
than ever I was." 

" Who suspects him P" 

" Many, perhaps, One, beyond all 
doubts. I do." 

" Tou are not much," said Miss 
Abbey Potterson, knittiiig her brows 
ngain with disdain. 

*'But I was his pardner. Mind 
you, Miss Abbey, I was his pardner. 
As such I know more of the ins and 
outs of him than any person living 
does. Notice this ! I am the man 
that was his pardner, and I am the 
man that suspects him." 

"Then," suggested Miss Abbey, 
though with a deeper shade of per- 
plexity than before, " you criminate 
yourself." 

"No I don't, Tifiss Abbey. For 
how does it stand P It stands this 
way. 'NVhen I was his pnrdner, I 
couldn't never give him satisfaction. 
Why couldn't I never give him satis- 



faction P Because my Tuck wu bad , 
because I couldn't find many enough 
of 'em. How was his luck P Always 
good. Notice this! Always good! 
Ah! There's a many games, Miss 
Abbey, in which there's chance, but 
there's a many others in which there's 
skill too, mixed along with it." * 

" lliat Gaffer has a skill in finding 
what he finds, who doubts, manP'* 
asked Miss Abbey 

"A skill in purwiding what ho 
finds, perhaps," said Riderhood shak- 
ing his evil head. 

Miss Abbey knitted her brow at 
him, as he daxkly leered at her. 

" If you're out upon the river pretty 
nigh every tide, and if you want to 
find a man or woman in the river, 
you'll greatly help your luck, Miss 
Abbey, by knocking a man or woman 
on the head aforehand and pitching 
'em in." 

"Gracious Lud!" was the in- 
voluntary exclamation of Mia Po* 
terson. 

" Mind you ! " returned the other, 
stretching forward over the half- 
door to throw his words into the bar ; 
for his voice was as if the head of his 
boat's mop were down his throat; 




book at last, if it's twenty year hence, 
I will 1 Who's he, to he favoured 
along of his daughter P Ain't I got 
a daughter of my own 1 " 

WitJi that flourish, and seeming to 
have talked himself rather more drunk 
and much more ferocious than he had 
begun by being, Mr. Rideiiiood 
took up his pint pot and swaggereil 
off to the tap-room. 

Gaffer was not there, but a pretty 
strong muster of Miss Abbey's pupils 
were, who exhibited, when occasion 
required, the greatest docility. On 
the dock's striking ten, and Miss 
Abbey's appearinp^ »t the door, and 
addressing a ccrtam person in a faded 
sciirlct jacket, with " George Jones, 
your time's up! I told your wife 
you should be punctual," Jones sub- 
missively rose^ gav« the oompany 




I 



\ ^\i«V.\0 



fV^ 







OUB UUTUAL FRIESD. 



<t 



Hood-night, and Mtirtd. At islf- 
pdittan.on Miss Abbov'B locldn? in 
■igun, nod saying, "William WLl- 
uLiu, liab Glamour, anj Jonathan, 
TOO Kre bU due." WilliumA, Bob, Hnd 
Jonallian with similar meekneu took 
Uicir leave and evaporated. Greater 
'ooder than thcGe, vhen ft bottle- 
loaed pcisaa in a glazed hat had 
iltn aoiiie camaderable heaitation 
nnlered another glaaa of gin and 
mUr of the attendsat potbojr, and 
vben Misa Abbey, imtead of leading 
■■ - ■ - "Cap- 



> word of protest, but the net of tl 

amfiay murmured, "Ay, ay, Ca 

I liin: Miss Abbey'* right; you 1 

; (uideil by Miiis Abbey, Captain 

to! vas Uias Abbey's vigilunce in 

Mjniso abated by thii submiBaioD, 

lut nitber iharpened ; for, looking 

luail OD the dGferimtial faces of Ihm' 

iiJ™i,flnddt6t;rying two other young 

Xtnuta in need of admnmtion, she thud 

t<ston-ed it ; " Turn Tootle, if > time 

furt young fellow who's going to Ite 

t norriad neit month, to be at homo 

'"i uleep. And you needn't nudgo 

W, Mr. Jark Mullins, for I know 

j J<m work begins early to-morrow, 

md I ny the same la yon. So come 1 

(>oul-night, like good lads ! " Upon 

»liioh, the blushing Tootle looked to 

. lIuliiD), and the blueliing Uullint 

i Ubed to Tootle, on the gusBtion - ' 

' ^iiidd riAe Gn-t, and fin^y both 

■"^er and went out on the broad 

pu, (oUawed bv Jliss Ahbe^ ; i 

^how presence the company did nt 

lolie the liberty of grinning likevise. 

Iniuch an entulilii^mcnt, the whito- 

•[iniiiedpot-boj^,with his alii rt- sleeves 

■in^inccd in a tight roll on each baie 

■l^'jldcr, was a mere hint of the poa- 

iliiiily of physical force, thrown cut 

*i a Duttcr of state and form. Exactly 

''UiedoainBhour.all the giitstsvvho 

."tii; left, liied out in the licst i-i-Jcr: 

■l"..\Li*y sUiidiii^- r.l l):e h.iU .lo.,i 









Mira Abhey good-ni^ht, and IHsi 

Aliboy wished good-ni^jht to all, ex- 
cept Ridcrhood. The sapient pot- 
boy, looliing on officially, then had 
the conviction borne id upon his soul, 
tliat the man was evcnnore outcast 
and excommunicate from the Sii Jolly 
Fellosvship-Portera. 

"You Bob Glibhery," said Miss 
Abbey to this pot-hoy, "run roand 
to Heiam's and toll his daughter 
Liizia that I want to apeftk to hor." 

With eiomplaiyswiitness Boh Olib- 
bery departed, and returned. Xjzzie, 
following him, arrived as one of the 
two female domestics of the Fellow. 
ship-Fortera arranged on the snur; 
little Ubie by the bar fire, Mi«» P.,t- 
tcrson'a supper of hot HiuagM and 
m&sfaed potutocs. 

" Cumo in and ait ye down, girl," 
said Miss Abbey. " Can you eat a 
bitP" 

" No thank yon, Uis*. IfaoTeliad 
my supper." 

" I Vuive had mine too, I think," 
said Wax Abbey, pushing away the 
untastcd dish, "and more than enough 
of it. I am put out, Lizzie." 

" I am veiy soriy for it. Miss." 

" Then why, in the name of Good- 
ness." quoth Miss Abbey, ahupty, 
"do youdoitP" 

" / do it. Miss I " 

"There, there. Don't look astn- 
nished. I ought to have begun with 
a word of explanation, hut it's my 
way to malie short cuts at things. 
I always was a pepperer. Ton Bob 
Glibbeiy there, put the chain upon 
the door and get ye down to yo.ir 

^Vith an alacrity that seemed no 
less referable to the pepperer fact than 
to the supper fact. Bob obeyed, and 
his boots wore hoard desceoding to- 
wonls the bed of the river, 

" Lizzie Hexom, Lizzie Heiam," 
then began Miss Potterson, "how 
often have I hold out to you the 
opportunity of getting dear of your 
tiillier, and doiiip »eU?" 

" Very oRou, "iVim." 

" Vrrv oftun? ■Ybb\ A.hM.iki^^ 
us ft eU have BtoVeft to Mie ^ron lunxiA 



43 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



of the BtroiigeBt gea-going steamer 
that passes the FeUowship-Forters." 

" Ko, ^liss," Lizzie pleaded , " be- 
cause tliat would not be thankful, 
and I am." 

"I Yow and declare I am half 
aahamed of myself for taking such an 
interest in you/' said Miss Abbey, 

Settishly, " for I don't believe I should 
it if you were not good-looking. 
Why ainH you ugly P" 

Lizzie merely answered this diffi- 
cult question with an apologetic 
glance. 

"However, yon ain't," resumed 
Misa Potterson, " so it's no use going 
into that. I must take you as I find 
you. Which indeed is what I've 
done. And you mean to say you ai*e 
still obstinate ?" 

" Not obstinate. Miss, I hope.' 

''Film (I suppose you call it) 
Ihen?" 

"Yes, Miss. Fixed Hke." 

''Never was an obstinate person 
yet, who would own to the word!" 
remarked Miss Potterson, rubbine 
ker vexed nose : "I'm sure I woul(^ 
]f I was obstinate ; but I am a pep- 
perer, which is dillerent. Lizzie 
Qexam, Lizzie Hexam, think again. 
Do you know the worst of your 
father?" 

** Do I know the wo: st of father I " 
ihe repeated, opening her eyes. 

" Do you know the suspicions to 
which your fath r makes himself 
liable P Do you know tne suspicions 
that are actually about, against 
himP" 

The consciousness of what he ha- 
bitually did, oppressed the girl 
heavily, and she slowly cast down 
her eves. 

"Say, Lizzie. Do you knowP" 
urged Miss Abbey. 
^ " Please to tell me what the sus- 
picions are, Miss,*' she asked after a 
•ilence, with her eyes upon the ground. 

" It's not an easy thing to tell a 
daughter, but it must be told. It is 
thought by some, then, that your 
father helps to their death a few of 
tlioae that he finds dead. 

The relief of hearing what she felt 



sore was a false suspicion, in pTaee 
the expected real and true ona 
lightened Lizzie's breast for the m 
ment, that Miss Abbey was amazi 
at her demeanour. She raised h 
eyes auickly, shook her head, and, 
a kina of triumph, almost laughed. 

" ThcA' little know father who tal 
like that:*' 

("She uikc' it," thought Mi 
Abbey, "very v^uitstly. She takem : 
with extraordinarv quietness!") 

"And perhaps, said Lizzie, as 
recollection liashed upon her, "it i 
some one who has a grudge agaim 
father ; some one who has threateofii 
father ! Is it Eiderhood, Alias P" 

^'Welli vesitis." 

"Yes I Ho was father's partner 
and father broke with him, and noi 
he revenges himself Father broki 
with him when I was by, and he va 
very angry at it. And besides. Mis 
Abbey! — ^\Vill you never, withou 
strong reason, let pass your lips wba 
I am going to say P" 

She bent forward to say it in 
whisper. 

" I promise," said Miss Abbey. 

"It was on the night when fl 
Harmon murder was found ou 
through father, just above bridg 
And just below bridge, as we wei 
sculling home, Riderhood crept 01 
of the dark in his boat. And man 
and many times afterwards, whc 
such great pains were taken to con 
to the bottom of the crime, and 
never could be come near, I thoug] 
in my own thoughts, could Hiderhoc 
himself have done the murder, ai 
did he purposely let father find tl 
body P It seemed a'most wicked ac 
cruel to so much as think such 
thing ; but now that he tries to thro 
it upon father, I go back to it as if 
was a tmth. Can it be a truth 
That was put into my mind by ti 
dead P" 

She asked fhis question, rather < 
the fire than of the hostess of tl 
Fellowship-Porters, and looked toui 
the little bar with troubled eyes. 

But, Miss Potterson, as a road 
schoolmistress accustomed to brin 




OUB UOIUAL FULnSTi. 



» lighi 



;ht Uut ns MHotiaUy of thu 



" Yon poor deloded girl," ihe nid, 
"doo't you tea that you can't open 
four mind to particular luspiciooB of 
ODB of the two, without opening youc 
mind to Rencral ■oBpicion^ of the 
other? Tbeyh^ workud together. 
Tbeir ^ings-OQ hod been ^ouig on 
Sot aome tims. Even granting that 
it «u M you bAVS had ia your 
IhoDgLla, what the two had done 

l(«eLllCr would OOme famllini- to the 

" You don't know &ther, Miss, 
vtian yon talk like that. Indeed, 
iadeed, you don't know father." 

Km. " Leavs him. Yo\i needn't 
tutak with him altogether, but leave 
Idm, Do well ftway from him ; not 
Wsaae of what I hare told you to- 
night — we'll pan no jud)^ent upon 
Uut, and we'll hope it may not De- 
ntal because of what I have urged on 
Jon before. Ha matter whetber it's 
iming to yonr good looks or not, J 
like you and I wajit to serve yuu. 
liizie, come under my direoLion. 
*'ia't fling yourself away, my girl, 

^ '- - peismuled into being mpect- 
uiemd happy." 

In the aoimd good feeling and 
tDoJ (enso of har entreaty, Miaa 
ihbej had aolWned into a Buothin(; 
tcoe, and had even drawn her arm 
numd the gicl's wairt. But, she only 
Relied, " 'Thank you, thank you 1 I 
Oa'L I won't. I must not think 
«f it The harder father ii homo 
qion,theinoieheneedsmetoleanon." 

And then Miu Abbey, who, like 
tH hard people when they do aoften, 
felt ibat there woa considerable com- 
ptuiBtion owing to her, underwent 
naction and became frigid. 

" I have done what I can, ' the 
Bid, "and you must go your way. 
Ton make your bed, and you must 
lie on it. But tell your father one 






"The Fel!ow«hip«," retiaiied Wiet 
Abbey, " hai ilaelf to look to, at well 
aa others. It haa been hard work to 
establish order here, and make th« 
FetlowshipB what it ia, and it in doily 
and nighUy hard work to keep it ao. 
The Fellowshifs must not have a 
taint upon it that may give it a bad 
i. X forbid the house to Hider- 
, and I forbid the hoiuie to 
Gaffer. I forbid both, eqaally. I 
find from Biderhood and you to- 
gether, that there are suspiciona 
against both men, and I'm not going 
take upon myself to decide be> 

ixt them. They ar« t>oth tarred 

th a dirty bnub, and I can't hav* 
the Fellowships tarred with the sam* 
brush. That's all I know." 

Good-night, MJMl" mid Linie 
HeiaiQ, Borrovi'tuily. 

"Hohl^Good-night 1" returned 

iiaa Abbey with a s^ikeof her head. 

" Believe me. Miss Abbey, I am 
truly grateful all the same." 

"I can believe a good deal," re- 
turned the stately Abbey, "aol'lltrx 
to believe that too, Lizzie." 

So supper did Miss Pottarson take 

tumbler of hot Fort Negus. And the 
female domestics— two robust slaters, 
with sUring black eyes, shintr.g dat 
red faces, blunt nosea, and BLrong 
black curls, like dolls — intercbanged 
the sentiment that Missis had had 
hei hair combed' the wrong way by 
somebody. And the pot-boy aller- 
words remarked, that he hadn't been 
"so rattled to bed," sines his late 
mother hod systenuitically accelerated 
his rttiiement to rest with a poker. 

The rtin'r in g of the door behind 
her, M she vent forth, disenchanted 
LiEzie Heiam of that first relief she 
had felt The night was black and 
bUtUI, the river-side wildomeea was 
melancholy, and there was a soond 
of casting-out, in the rattling of the 
iron-links, and the grating of the 
holts and staples under bliss Abbey'i 
hand. As she came beneath the lower- 
ing sky, a sense of bciii); involved 
in a murky shade of Munltr droj^ipod 
upon her j and, ar "'■ - ' ' -' 



IB the Uuii swtul al 



ii 



OTJB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



file river Inoln at her feet without 
her seeing how it gathered, so, her 
thoughts startled her by rushing out 
of an unseen void and striking at her 
heart 

Of her father's being groundlessly 
■ospected, she felt sure. Sure. Sure. 
And yet, repeat the words inwardly as 
often as she would, the attempt to 
reason out and prove that she was 
sure, always came after it and &iled. 
Riderhood had done the deed, and 
entrapped her father. Riderhocd had 
not done the deed, but had resolved 
in his malice to turn against her 
fJBtther, the appearences that were 
ready to his lumd to distort. Equally 
and swiftly upon either putting of 
the case, followed the frightful pos- 
sibility that her fi&ther, being inno- 
cent, yet might come to be believed 
guilty. She had heard of people 
Buffering Death for bloodshed of which 
they was afterwards proved pure, and 
those ill-fated persons were not> first, 
in that dangerous wrong in which 
her father stood. Then at the best, 
the beginning of his being set apart, 
whispered against, and avoided, was 
a certain &ct. It dated from that 
very ni^ht. And as the great black 
river with its dreary shores was soon 
lost to her view in the ^loom, so, she 
stood on the river's bnnk unable to 
see into the vast blank misery of a 
life suspected, and fallen away from 
by good and bad, but knowing that 
it lay there dim before her, streiching 
away to the great ocean. Death. 

One thing only was clear to the 
girl's mind. Accustomed from her 
very babyhood promptly to do the 
thing that could be done — whether 
to keep out weather, to ward off cold, 
to postpone hunger, or what not — 
she started out of her meditation, and 
ran home. 

The room was quiet, and the lamp 
burnt on the table. In the bunk in 
the comer, her brother lay asleep. 
She bent over him, softly kissed him, 
and came to the table. 

*^By the time of Miss Abboy'b 
c'o.^itjj^, and by the run <if tbo lijif. 
iL must bo one. Tidu's ruauiug up. 



Father at Chiswick, wouldn't think 
of coming down, till after the turn, 
and that's at half after four. I'll 
call Charley at six. I shall hear 
the church clocks strike, aa I sift 
here." 

Very quietly, she placed a chair 
before the scanty fire, and sat down 
in it, drawing her shawl about her. 

'* Charley's hollow down by tiio 
flare is not t here now. Poor Charley ! " 
The clock struck two, and the clock 
struck three^ and the dock struck 
four, and she remained there, with a 
won:ian's patience and her own pur- 
pose. Wnen the morning was weU 
on between four and five, she slipped 
off her shoes (that her going about 
might not walce Charley), trimmed 
the fire sparingly, put water on to 
boil, and set the table for breakfast 
Then she went up the ladder, lamp 
in hand, and came down again, and 
glided about and about, making a 
Uttle bundle. Lastly, from her pocket, 
and frt>m the chimzieypiece, and from 
an inverted basin on the highest 
shelf, she brought halfpence, a few 
sixpences, fewer shillings, and fell to 
laboriously and noiselessly counting 
them, and setting aside one little heap. 
She was still so engaged, v^hen sha 
was startled by : 

'<Hal-loa!'^ From her brother, 
sitting up in bed. 

"You made me jump, Charley." 

**Jump! Didn't you make m$ 
jump, when I opened my e^es a 
moment ago, and saw you sitting 
there, like the ghost of a girl-miser, 
in the dead of the night." 

" It's not the dead of the nighty 
Charley. It's nigh six in the morning." 

** Is it though f But what are yon 
up to, Liz ?" 

••Still tellingyourfortune,Charley." 

"It seems to be a precious small 
one, if that's it," said the boy. "What 
are you putting that litde pile ol 
money by itaelf for?" 

•• For you, Charley." 

" Wliat do yon nu;HC P" 

"(M't uiit of lfc<l, Charley, and get 
w.Msljod and dicsicd, and then I'll lell 
you." 




OUE UUTOAl PEIEND. 



', buin nf wkter, Kod out of it Bgun, 
Uul rioring at ho* through % ttorin of 
towcUing. 

" I nerer," towelling at himielf u 
If he were bis bitlerert enemy, " Baw 
tocb ■ girl u yon u«. What m the 

" Are ;oD almaat iwdj lor break- 
bt, ChuIeyF" 

" Yoa can poor it out. Ha]>Ioa 1 1 
mjt AndubnndloP" 
" And B bundle, Charley." 
"Yon doQ't mfan it's for me too P" 
'Yes, Charley ; 1 do, indeed." 
More leriou* of (ace, and more 
tlow of action, tlun he had been, the 
Wy completed hii dreuing, and como 
and aat down at the little breakfast- 
table, with his eyes amasadly directed 
lohnr face. 
, " You see, Charley dear, I have 
Btde np my mind that this is the 
light lime for your going away from 
u. Over and above all the lileBBed 
diaojie of by-and-bye, you'll be much 
lB]9;er, and do much heller, even so 
•nn a* next month. £ven so soon ■• 
■at wcfk." 
" Hew do yon know I shall t" 
"I daii't quits know how, Charley, 
Int 1 do.' ' In Bpite of her unchanged 
nuii^erof ■tpealiing,Bnd her onchanged 
•ppeinnce of compomre, she scarcely 
Iriuted herself to look at him, but 
bptfaerej'm employed on the cutting 
•nd buttering of his bread, and on 
tti! miiing of his tea, and other such 
liltle preparations. "Yon must leave 
father to me, Charley — I will do what 
1 cm with him — but you must ga" 

"Yon don't stand upon cerem' 
1 think." gnimblod the boy, thloi 
till biead and butter about, " ~~ 
hiiTnuur. 
She made him no answer. 
"I toll yoa what," said the boy, 
thoi, bunting out into an angry 



" II you beliuTe so, Charley, — yss, 



then I believe too, that I am a wlfiilt 
jade, and thnt I think there's not 
enough for three of us, and that I 
want to get rid of you." 

It was only when the boy nuhed 
at her, and threw his arma round her 
neck, that she lost her self-reattaint. 
But she lost it then, and wept over 

" Don't ay, don't C17 ! I am aatis- 
fied to go, Ijz ; I am salisBed to go. 
I know yon send ms away fi>r mj 

~TOd," 

" O, Charley, Charley, HM«aa 

above us knows I do ] " 

Yes yea. Don't mind what I 

said. Don't remember it. Eias me." 

After a silence, she loosed him, to 
dry her eyes and regain her strong 
quiet influence. 

" Now listen, Charley dear. Wa 
both know it must be done, and I 
alone know there is good reuon for 
ita being done at once. Oo sIrBi'cht 
to tlie school, and say that you and I 
agreed upon it — that we can't over- 
come father's oppoaition — that father 
rill never troable them, but will 
lever toke you back. You are s 
credit to the school, and you will bs 
a greater credit to it vet, and they 
will help you to get a Uviog. Show 
what clothes you have brought, and 
what money, and say that I will send 
some more money. If I can get 6om« 
in no other way, I will ask a little 
help of those two Kentlemen who 
conio here that niRht 

" I Bay ! " cried her brother, quickly. 
" Don't yoTi have it of that chap that 
took hold of me by the chin ! Don't 
you have it of that Wisybum One I" 

Perhaps a slight additioiml tinge of 
red flashed up into her face and brow, 
Hs wiih a nod she laid a hand upon 
his tip* to keep him silently atton- 

" And aboTS all things, mtnd thisj 
Charley! Be sure you always speak 
well of &thcr. Be sure you alwayt 
give father his full due. You cao't 
deny that because father has no learn- 
ing himself he is set against it in vou; 
but favour nothinc; else against Iiim, 
and bo sure jou shj-— aa yoa kIUn^— 



44 



OUR MUTUAL FRIENIX 



that jtmt Bfltar Is devoted to him. 
And if you ehould ever happen to 
hear anything said against father that 
18 new to you, it will not be true. Be- 
member, Charley ! It will not be true. ' ' 

The boy looked at her with some 
doubt and surprise, but she went on 
again without heeding it. 

*' Above all things remember ! It 
will not be true. I have nothing 
more to say, Charley dear, except, bs 
g(X>d, and get learning, and only 
think of some things in the old life 
here, as if you had dreamed them in 
a dPBam last night. Good-bye, my 
Darling!" 

Though so young, she infused into 
these parting words a love that was 
fax more like a mother'sthan a sister's, 
and before which the boy was quite 
bowed down. After holding her to 
hit breast with a passionate cry, he 
took up his bundle and darted out at 
the door, with an arm across his eyes. 

The white face of the winter day 
came sluggishly on, veiled in a frosty 
mist; and the shadowy ships in the 
river slowly changed to black sub- 
Btances; and the sun, blood-red on 
the eastern marshes behind dark 
mastff and yards, seemed filled with 
the ruins of a forest it had set on fire, 
tliizzie, looking for her father, saw 
him coming, and stood upon the 
causeway that he might see her. 

He had nothing with him but his 
boat, and came on apace. A knot of 
those amphibious human -creatures 
who appear to have some mysterious 
power of extracting a subsistence out 
of tidal water by looking at it, were 
gathered together about the cause- 
way. As her father's boat grounded, 
they became contemplative of the 
mud, and dispersed themselves. She 
saw that the muto avoidance had 
begun. 

Gaffer saw it, too, in so £ar as that 
he was moved when he set foot on 
■here, to stare around him. But, he 
promptl}'^ set te work to haul up his 
Doat, and make her fast, and take the 
sculls and rudder and rope out of her. 
Curr^nng these with Lizzie's aid, he 
pud:Kiid up to his dwelling. 



<*8it close to the fire, fkther, deai 
while I cook your breakfast. It's ai 
ready for cooking, and only beei 
waiting for you. Yoa must h 
frozen.*' 

"Well, Lizzie, I ain't of a glow 
that's certain. And my hands seemed 
nailed through to the sculls. 8e< 
how dead they are!" Something 
suggestive in their colour, and pe^ 
haps in her hct, struck him as ha 
held them up ; he turned his shouldsi 
and held them down to the fire. 

" You were not out in the perish- 
ing night, I hope, father P" 

'<No, my dear. Lay aboard a 
barge, by a blazing ooal - fixe.— 
Where's that boyP" 

" There's a drop of brandy for jtna 
tea, father, if you'll put it in while ] 
turn this bit of meat. If the rive 
was to get frozen, there would be i 
deal of distress ; wouldn't then 
father?" 

"Ah! there's always enoiis;h o 
that," said GaJer, dropping the uqua 
into his cup from, a so uat black bottle 
and dropping it slowly that it migh 
seem more; "distress is for ever i 
going about, like sut in the air.— 
Ain't that boy up yet P " 

"The meat's zeady now, father 
Eat it while it's hot and comfortable 
After you have finished, we'll tun 
round to the fire and talk." 

But, he perceived that he wai 
evaded, and, having thrown a hast] 
angry glance towards the bunk 
plucked at a comer of her apron amc 
asked : 

" What's gone with that boy ?" 

"Father, if you'U begin yoai 
breakfast, I'll sit by and tell you." 

He looked at her, stirred his tei 
and took two or three g^ulps, then cai 
at his piece of hot steak with hij 
case-kmfe, and said, eating : 

"Now then. What's gone wiil 
that boy?" 

" Don't be angry, dear. It seems 
father, that he has quite a gift o; 
learning." 

" Unnat'ral ronng b^gtir!" saic 
the parent, shaking nis knife in thi 
air. 



CUE MUTUAI. FBIEKD. 



** —And tliat hftTisg this gift, and 
*nt being aqnall; S'^ *t other 
tilings, be haa mads tniCl to get tome 
Mhootiiii;." 

"Unnaf 
proit again, . . . _ 

"—And that knoving yon bare 
uAhing to apare, father, and not 
vuhukg to bfl ^ bnrdcn on yon, ^ 
gnduslly mode np hia mind to 
wek bin fortune oat of leaining. He 
veat iway thia morning, father, and 
he cried very much at going, and he 
kopod yOQ woiild forgive him." 

"Let him never come a nigh me 
to Mk me my forgiveiicas," laid the 
fUIiBr, again em[£aii2ing hia vrordi 
with the Imife. " Let him never 
come within «ight of my eye>, nor 
TDt vithin reach of my aim. Hia 
vn father ain't good enough for 
W. He's diaownal his ovn father, 
flu awn fother therefore, disowns 
lim foi ever and ever, aa a minat'ial 
lining becgar." 

He had pushed away hii plate. 
Willi the natural need of I strong 
tough man in anger, to do aomething 
liitdtile, he nov clutched hia knife 
■"obuid, and strack downward with 
It It the end of every succeeding 
Kiit«(H«. As be would have Btmcii 
*iUi hia own clenched 6M if there 
^ chanced to be nothing in it. 

" He's welcome to go. He's mora 
•altame to go than to stay. But let 
™ never come hack. Let him never 
tnt iaa head inaide that door. And 
;r apeak a word more in 
r you'll disown your own 
•"^ucT, iiKewi^«, and what your father 
*)1Df him he'll have to come to aay 
•' Jon. Now I aee why them men 
Fwler held aloof Irom me. They 
"t'l to one another, ■ Here comes the 
"Wiu ain't good enough for his own 



bCi^ 



with I 



cry. 



mt quite atrange to him, stmnkiiig 
Wt against the wall, with her hands 
hlatB hei eyea. 
"folhw, don'tl I nn't bear to 



Bee yon atrlKng with It Pot it 

Ho looked at the knife; but in his 
astonishment he stiU held ifc 

"Father, it's too horrible. Oput 
it down, put it down I" 

Confounded by her appearance and 
exclamation, he tossed it away, and 
stood ap with hia open hands held 
oat before him. 

■•^Vbat'a cometo yooildfr Can 
yon think I would strike at yon with 
a knife F' 

" No, father, no ; yon wonid never 
hurt me." 

"\Vhat should I hurt r" 

"Nothing, dear father. On my 
knees, I am certain, in my heart and 
soul I am ceilnin, nothing I But it 
was too dreadful to bear ; for it 

looked " her hands covering hc-t 

face njrain, " O it looked " 

"What did it look like r" 

The recollection of his mnrderous 
figure, combining with her trial r.( 
last night, and her trial of the moiit- 
ing, cauoed her to drop at his feet, 
without having answered. 

He had never accn her so before. 
He raised her with the utmost ten - 
demeas, caUiog her the bert ut 
daughters, and "my poor pretty 
crectur," and laid her head upon bis' 
knee, and tried to restoie her. But 
foiling, he laid her head rently down 
agnin, ^t a pillow and placed it 
under her dark hair, and sought on 
the table for a spoonful of bmndt-. 
There being none left, ho hnrriciliy 
caught up the empty bottle, and run 
out at the door. 

He returned as hurriedly aa he hnd 
gone, with the bottle still empty. Ho 
kneeled down by her, took her head 
on hia arm, and moistened her lii'S 
with a little wat«r into which he 
dipped his finger*: saying, fiercely, 
OB he looked around, now over thin 
ahculdcr, now over that : 

" Have we got a pest in the tfoiise ? 
Is there summ'at deadly sticking to 
my clothes)' AV'hat'a let looaa of on 
ui? Who loosed itf" 



48 



OUB MUTUAL FBIENIX 



CHAPTEE VIL 

KB. WEOO LOOKS APTZB SimSLV. 



SiLAt Wboo, T>emg on his road to 
the Roman Empire, approaches it b^ 
way of Clerkenwell. The time is 
early in the evening; the weather 
moist and raw. Mr. Wegg finds 
leisure to make a little circuit, by 
reason tiiat he folds his screen early, 
now that he combines another source 
of income with it, and also that he 
feels it due to himself to be anxiously 
expected at the Bower. '* Boffin will 
get all the eagerer for waiting a bit," 
says Silas, screwing up, as he stumps 
along, first his right eye, and then 
his left. Which is something super- 
fluous in him, for Nature has already 
screwed both pretty tight. 

" If I got on with him as I expect 
to get on," Silas pursues, stumping 
and meditating, " it wouldn't become 
me to leave it here. It wouldn't be 
respectable." Animated by this re- 
flection, he stumps faster, and looks 
a long way before him, as a man 
with an ambitious project in abeyance 
often will do. 

Aware of a working-jeweller popu- 
lation taking sanctuary about the 
church in Clerkenwell, Mr. Wegg is 
conscious of an interest in, and a 
respect for, the neighbourhood. But, 
his sensations in this regard halt as 
to their strict morality, as he halts in 
h'S gait ; for they suggest the delights 
of a coat of invisibility in which to 
walk off safely with the precious 
stones and watch-cases, but stop short 
of any compunction for the people 
who would lose the same. 

Not, however, towards the "shops" 
where cunning artificers work in pearls 
and diamonds and gold and silver, 
making their Ij^ands so rich, that the 
enriched water in which they wash 
them is bought for the refiners; — not 
towards these does Mr. Wegg stump, 
but towards the poorer shops of small 
retail traders in commodities to eat 
and drink and keep folks warm, and 
of Italian frame-makers, and of bar- 
bers, and of brokers, azid of dealers 



in do^ and singmg-birds. Vi 
these, m a narrow and a dirty st 
devoted to such callings, Mr. M^ 
selects one dark shop-window wit 
tallow candle dimly burning in 
surrounded by a muddle of obj 
vaguely resembling pieces of leal 
and diy stick, but among which 
thing is resolvable into anything 
tinct, save the candle itself in its 
tin candlestick, and two presei 
frogs fighting a small-sword d 
Stumping with fresh vigour, he { 
in at the dark greasy entry, push 
little greasy dark reluctant side-d 
and follows the door into the 1 
dark greasy shop. It is so dark ' 
nothing can be made out in it, ov 
little counter, but another tal 
candle in anofJier old tin candlesi 
close to the face of a man stoo] 
low in a chair. 

Mr. Vikgg nods to the &oe^ *^Q 
evening." 

The face looking up is a sallow 
with weak eyes, surmountod b 
tangle of reddish-dusty hair, 
owner of the face has no cravat 
and has opened his tumbled si 
collar to work with the more c 
For the same reason he has no 
on : only a loose waistcoat over 
yellow hnen. His eyes are like 
over-tried eyes of an engraver, 
he is not that ; his expression 
stoop are like those of a shoema 
but he is not that. 

" Good evening, Mr. Venus. D 
you remember ?' 

With slowly dawning rem 
brance, Mr. Venus rises, and h 
his candle over the little counter, 
holds it down towards the legs, n 
i-al and vtificial, of l^ir. Wegg. 

"To be turer he saj-s, ti 
" How do you do ?" 

" Wegg, you know," that goi 
man explains. 

** Yes, yes," says the other. •* I 
pital ampule (lion ? " 

"Just so," says Mr. Wcg-q;. 




MB. WEGC AND MR. VENUS IN CONSULTATION. 



0T7B MUTUAL FRIEND. 



49 



qfQofth Tenm. " How I sen hes^n to appear, and l^fr. Wo^ 
Sit down by the lire, ' grudual^y acquires an imperfect no* 
r — ^yonr other one." | lion that over against him on the 
vnter being so short a { chimney-piece is a Hindoo baby in a 
t leaves the fireplace, ' bottle, curved up with his big head 
lave been behind it if i tucked under him, as though he would 
cmg;er, accessible, Mr. ; instantly throw a summei^sault if the 
m on a box in front of : bottle were large enough. 
hales a warm and com- { When he deems Mr. Venus's wheels 
winch is not the smell of : sufficiently lubricated, Mr. V^^f^gg ap- 



ir that," Mr. Wegg in- 
ly as he takes a correo- 
'Of " is mnsty, leathery, 
y, gluey, gummy, and," 
nun^ "as it might be, 
tairs of bellows." 
Lrawing. and my muffin 
\, Mr. Wegg ; will yoa 

of Mr. Wegg's guiding 
irays to partake, he says 
;, the little shop is so 
irk, is stuck so full of 
ind brackets and nooks 
lat he sees Mr. Venus' s 
r only because it is dose 
ndle, and does not see 
nysterious recess Mr. 
•08 another for himself, 
inder his nose. Con- 
egg perceives a pretty 
■d lying on the counter, 
. drooping on one side 
n of Mr. Venus's saucer, 
stiff wire piercing its 
f it were Cock l£obin, 
9 ballad, and Mr. Yenuj 
rrow with his bow and 
ir. Wegg were the fly 
! eye. 

dives, and produces an- 
yet untoasted, taking 
of the breast of Cock 
ceeds to toast it on the 
rucl instrument. When 
e dives again and pro- 
¥ith whicuQ he completes 

as an artful man who is 
pper by-and-by, presses 
host to soothe him into 
;ate of mind, or, as one 
t ;ri"<?aso his works. As 
HupiH;ar, little hy Utile, 
'viAj »nd nooks and coi- 1 



proaches his object by asking, as he 
lightly taps his hands together, to ex- 
press an undesigning frame of mind : 

** And how have I been going on, 
this long time, Mr. Venus ?" 

"Very bad," says Mr. Venus, un- 
oompromisi nglr. 

"What? Am 1 stiU at homeP" 
asks Wegg, with an air of surprise. 

" Always at home." 

This would seem to be secretly 
agieeable to Wegg, but he veils his 
feelings, and observes, ** Strange. To 
what do you attribute it P" 

"I don't know," replies Venus, 
who is a haggard melancholy man, 
speaking in a weak voice of queru- 
lous complaint, " to what to attribute 
it, Mr. We^-g. I can't work you 
into a miscellaneous one, nohow. Do 
what I will, you can't be got to fit. 
Anybody witii a passable knowledge 
would pick you out at a look, and 
say — * No go ! Don't match ! * " 

" Well, but hang it, ^Ir. Venus," 
Wegg expostulates with some little 
irritation, " that can't be personal 
and peculiar in me. It must often 
hap]X)n with miscellaneous ones." 

" With ribs (1 grant you) always. 
But not else. When I prepare a mis- 
cellaneous one, I know beforehand 
that I can't keep to nature, and be 
miscellaneous with ribs, because every 
man has his own ribs, and no other 
man's will spo with them ; but else- 
ways I can be miscellaneous. I have 
just sent home a Beauty — a perfect 
Heaiity — to a school of art. One log 
lieli^iau, one leg English, and the 
pickinp^ of oi^ht otlmr ]>co]tlo in it. 
Talk of not being (jualificd to be mis- 
cellaneous I By rifcjhts you 0(«jA< to 
bo, .Mr.V/c--/' 

iSiU6 Ic'jkb aa hard at \\\a ou^ \^^ 



60 



OXJH MUTUAL FiilEND. 



as h» can in the dim ligbt, and after 
a pause sulkily opines " that it most 
be the fault of the other people. Or 
how do you mean to say it comes 
ibout P*' he demands impatiently. 

** I don't know how it comes aoont. 
Stand up a minute. Hold the b'ght." 
'Mi, Veuus takes from a corner by his 
chair, the bones of a leg and foot, 
beautifully pure, and put together 
with exquisite neatness. These he 
compares with Mr. Wegg*s leg ; that 

fentleman looking on, as if he were 
eiog measured for a ridiog-boot. 
" No, I don't know how it is, but so 
it is. You have got a twist in that 
bone, to the best of my belief. / 
never saw the likes of you." 

Mr. We^g having looked distrust- 
fully at his own Inub, and suspici- 
ously at the pattern with which it has 
been compai^ makes the point : 

*'ril bet a pound that ain*t an 
English one!" 

"An easy wager, when we run so 
much into foreign! Ko, it belongs 
to Uiat French gentleman." 

As he nods towards a point of dark 
ness behind Mr. Wegg, the latter, 
with a slight start, looks round for 
"that French gentleman," whom he 
at length descries to be represented 
(in a very workmanlike manner) by 
his ribs only, standing on a shelf in 
another comer, like a piece of armour 
or a pair of stays. 

"Oh!" says Mr. Wegg, with a 
■ort of sense of being introduced; 
** I dare say you were aU right enough 
in 5^our own country, but 1 hope no 
objections will be taken to my saying 
that the Frenchman was never yet 
bom as I should wish to match." 

At this moment the greasy door is 
violently pushed inward, and a boy 
follows it> who says, after having let 
it slam: 

" Come for the stuffed canary." 

"It's three and ninepence," re- 
turns Venus; "have you got the 
money P" 

The boy produces four shillings. 
Mr. Venus, always in exceedingly 
low spirits and making whimpering 
souncb'i peers about lor the stuiled 



canary. On his takinff the oaocne t 
assist his search, Mr. y>^egg dbaem 
that he haa a convenient little she] 
near his knees, exclusively sppfo 
priated to skeleton hands, wnich havi 
very much the appearance of wantini 
to lay hold of hun. From these Mr 
Venus rescues the canary in a glssE 
case, and shows it to the (K<y. 

« There !" he whimpers. "Theie'i 
animation I On a twig, making up 
his mind to hop ! Take care of him ; 
he's a lovely specimen. — ^And three ii 
four." 

The boy gathers op his change and 
has pulled the door open by a leather 
strap nailed to it lor the puipose^ 
when Venus cries out : 

"Stop him! Come back, you yonog 
villain ! You've get a tooth amaag 
them halfpence." 

" How was I to know Td got it f 
You giv it me. I don't want nona 
^f your teeth , F ve got enough of my 
own." So the boy pipes, as he se* 
lects it fix)m his change, and thiowf 
it on the counter. 

"Don't sauce m$, in the widova 
pride of your youth," Mr. Venus re* 
torts paUietically. *» Don't hit «• 
because you see I'm down. I'm lo^ 
enough without that. It dropped into 
the till, I suppose. They drop int^ 
ever3rthing. There was two m thfl 
coffee-pot at breakfai«t time. Uo* 
law." 

" Very well, then," argues the hof 
" what Qo you call names for?" 

To which Mr. Venus only repliei 
shaking his shock of dusty hair, aH* 
winking his weak eyes, *' Don't bavlc 
fiM, in the wicious pride of your youU> 
don't hit fn«, because you see Tt 
down. You've no idea how sma^ 
you'd come out, if I had the artictf 
lating of you." 

This consideration seems to havi 
its effect upon the boy, for he goe 
out g^rumbhng. 

'* Oh dear me, dear me !" sighs Mr 
Venus, heavily, snuffing the candle 
" the world that appeared 8o flower 
has censed to blow ! You'ra castinj 
your eye round the shop, Mr. Wcy:?; 
Let me show you a Ught. l^Iy work 




OUB MUTUAL FBIENA 



M)h> Vj jonng nun'! baich. 
DO. Tooli. Bonea, warioui. 
mrioiu. Frawrred Indian 
African ditto. Bottled pi 
, mrious. Ersrjrthiogw 
at your hand, in good presei*- 
The mouldy oitea a-top. 
I in those Iiunpen orer them 
I don't quite rememtw. Say, 
. wuiaoi. Cats. Articulated 
h baby. Dogs. Ducks. Olam 
'arioua. Mummied bird. Dried 
, warioui. Ob, dear me 1 Tbat'l 
leral panoramic view." 

XK) held and waved the ean- 
t all these heterogoneoua 
I aeemed to come forward obe- 
r when tbe; were named, and 
Btire again, Mr. Veniu despoo- 
repekU, " Ob dear lae, dear 
resume* hii aeat, and with 
Dg deapondency apon him, faili 
ring hmuelf out more tea. 
bere am I ?" aikiMr. Wegg. 
>a'n >omowhere in the back 
Cron the yard, at ; and apeak- 
lite candidly, I wiih I'd never 
t yon of the Hoapital Porter." 
iw, look herc^ wh«t did you 

all," lepliea Venoa, blowing 
i; his head and (ace peerini^ 
the darknen, over the smoke 
IS if he were modemiiiDg the 
ginal rise in hiA family : " you 
na ^ a waiiou* lot, aod I don't 

I pnts his point in the improved 

f'Whatwill you take tor mef 
en," lepliea Venui, itill blow- 
» it*, " I'm not prepared, at a 
it'* notice^ to tell yon, Mr. 

ima 1 AceordiofT to youi own 
it I'm not worth much," Wegg 
s penuoaively. 

]t Car misccllaneooi working in, 
t you, Mr. Wegg; but you 

lum out valuable yot, as a " 

li'. Venus takes a gulp of tea, 
that it makva him ctioke, and 
ia weak eyes watering : "as 
rraity. if you'll eicu^u mo." 
iiasing an iiiJi-nuuL tool;, i 
e ol iUij-Liiiui,' Lul u liispcaitii 



to exenao htn, SIu ftanm Jui 

" I think yon know me, Mr, Teniu. 
. andlthinkyou knowlnoverbargain.' 

Ur. Venus takes gulps of hot tea. 
shutting hia eyes at eveiy gulp, and 
opociing them again io a spaKmodio 
maimer; but does not oommit him* 
self to aascut. 

"I haveapnwpect of gettingonin 
fe and elevating myself by my own 
[dependent eiartions," says Wegg, 
feelingiy, " and I shouldn't like— 1 
te!i you openly I should not like — 
under such circumstances, to be what 
I may call I'lipeised, a port of me 
here, and a par: of ma tlie[«^ but 
shoiUd wish to voUect myielf like a 
genteel person." 

"It'i a prospect at present ia if, 
Mr. Wegg P Then you haven't got 
the money for a deal about you ? 
ThoQ I'll ten you what I'U do willi 
you i I'll hold yon over. I am u 
man of my word, and yon needn't be 
afraid of my di^)osing of yon. I'll 
hold yon over. That's a pmnite. 
Oh dear mo, dear me !" 

Fain to accept his promise, and 
wishing bi propitiate him, Mr. Wegg 
looks on OS no sighs and pours him- 
self out more t«a, and then lay*, 
trying to get a sympathotio tone into 

" You seem very low, Ur, Teaus. 
[buaineasbadP" 
" Never waa so good." 
" Is your hand out at all F " 
" Never was so well in. Mr. Wegg, 
Fm not only Brst io the trade, but 
I'm lAt trade. You may go and buy 
a skeleton at the West Bud if ^ou 
like, and pay the West End price, 
but it'll M my putting together. 
I've as mush to do as I can posaibly 
do, with the assistance of my young 
man, and I take a pride and a plea- 

Ur. Venus thus delivers himself, 
his rijjht hand extended, his sniokiug 
e.iu('CT in bis left hund. protvsting us ' 
tliuugli he were going to burst into » 
Uuoil u( tears. 

'■ Tlidt uiri't n etnto of thing* to 
inaLc jou low, Mr. Vunna." 



6t 



OTJB MUTUAL FRIEND 



"Mr. Wegg,T know it ain't Mr. 
Wegg, not to name myself as a work- 
man without an equal, I've gone on 
improving myself in my knowledge 
of Anatomy, till both by sight and 
by name I'm perfect Mr. Wegg, if 
you was brougnt here loose in a hag 
to be articulated, I'd name your 
smallest bones blindfold equally with 
Your largest, as fast as I could pick 
'^em out, and I'd sort 'em all, and sort 
your wertebras, in a manner tiiat 
would equally suiprise and charm 
you. 

"Well," remarks Silas (though 
not quite so readily as last time), 
" that ain't a state of things to be 
low about. — ^Not for yoti to be low 
about, leastways." 

" Mr. Wegg, I know it ain't ; Mr. 
Wegg, I know it ain't But it's the 
heart that lowers me, it is the heart ! 
Be so good as take and read that card 
out loud." 

Silas receives one from his hand, 
whidi Venus takes from a wonderful 
ntter in a drawer, and putting on hia 
spectacles, reads: 

"» Mr. Venus," 

** Yes. Gk) on." 

"'Preserver of Animals and 
Birds,'" 

" Yes. Go on." 

** * Articulator of human bones.' " 

" That's it," with a groan. "That's 
it ! Mr. Wegg, I'm thirt^'-two, and 
a bachelor. Mr. Wegg, 1 love her. 
Mr. Wegg, she is worthy of being 
loved by a Potentate I " Mere Silas 
is rather alarmed by Mr. Venus 
s][irin^ng to his feet in the hurry of 
ma spirits, and haggardly confronting 
him with his hand on his coat collar; 
but Mr Venus, begging pardon, sits 
down again, saying, with the calm- 
ness of despair, "She objects to the 
business." 

" Does she know the profits of it?" 

'* She knows the profits of it, but 
■he don't appreciate the art of it, 
and she objects to it 'I do not 
wish,* sho writes in her own hand- 
writing, * to regard myself, nor yet to 
bo rcg.irdcd, in tliat bonoy light* " 

2ir. Venus poui-s hinisulf out more 



tea, with a look and in an idtitode oi 
the deepest desolation. 

" And so a man climbs to tiia top 
of the tree, Mr. Wegg, only to sec 
that there's no look-out when he'i 
up there! I sit here of a night 
surrounded by the lovely trophies oi 
my art, and what have they oone foi 
meP Ruined me. Brous^ht me to 
the pass of being infonned that 'she 
does not wish to regard henelf, noi 

Set to be regarded, in that boney 
ght!' " Having repeated tlie fata! 
expressions, Mr. Venus drinks more 
tea by gulps, and ofiers an eiplana^ 
tion of his doing so. 

** It lowers me. When I'm equally 
lowered all over, lethargy setti in. 
By sticking to it till one or two in 
the mominp:, I get oblivion. Don't 
let me detam you, Mr. Wegg. I'm 
not company for any one." 

" It is not on that account^" sayt 
Silas, rising, " but because I've got 
an appointment If s time I was at 
Harmon's." 

"EhP" said Mr. Venus. "Har- 
mon's, up Battle Bridge way P" 

Mr. Wegg admits that he is bound 
for that port 

" You ought to be in a good thingi 
if you've worked yourself in there. 
There's lots of money going, there." 

"To think," says Silas, "that you 
should catch it up so quick, and know 
about it Wonderful!" 

" Not at all, Mr. Wegg. The old 
gentleman wanted to know the nature 
and worth of everything that wai 
found in the dust; and many's the 
bone, and feather, and what not, that 
he's brought to me." 

"Really, now!" 

"Yes. (Oh dear me, dear me!) 
And he's buried quite in this neigh- 
bourhood, you know. Over yonder." 

Mr. We^g does not know, but he 
makes as if he did, by responsively 
nodding his head, ae also follows 
with his eyes, the toss of Vcnus'a 
head: as u to seek a direction to 
over yonder. 

"I took an mterest in that dis- 
covery in the river," says Venus. 
" ^She hadn't written her cutting re- 




OXJB MUTDAL FQIEND. 



Hal it ihat time.) Fts nit up 

there- nevar mind, though. ' 

H« hod raucd Ihe caniila at ann'i 

Slh tomtnlA one of the d&rk 
m, and Mr. Wegg had tonied 
to bok, when he broke off. 

"Ths old gentlcmui iraa well 
known &U round here. There oaed 
tr> be itoriee about bU having hidden 
•U kinds of propeitf in tboso dust 
Boiioda. I suppose there viu no- 
ttuDf in 'em. PTobabljr yuu know. 



"Don't lat ms detain yon. Good 
niehtl " 
_I^ nnfbrtiuuile Mi. Tsniu givea 



of his own h«ad, and droopinK down 

in bis chair, prtKordg to pour mmself 
out more lea. Ur. Wegg, looking 
back over hia shoulder its he pulU 
the door open by the atrap, notices 
that ths movomoDt eo ihakei tha 
<mxj shop, and *o shakes a momen- 
tary Qaro out of the candle, aa tliat 
the Isaliiee — Hindno, African, and 
Biitiah — t.he " human warious," tha 
French gentleman, the green glns£- 
eyeil cats, the dogs, the ducks, and 
all the rest of the collection, thow 
for an inalant aa if paialj-tically 
animated; while even poor little 
Cock Robin at Mr. Venus's elbow 
turns over on his innocent nde. 
Neit moment, Sir. Weag >■ stumping 
Under the saaLiAhbi uid Uuouflh tbs 



cnArrEB Tin. 



VmotowTM^ had gone out of Fleet 
BbMt into the Temple at the date of 
Uiii history, and had wandered dls- 
Muolate about the Temple until he 
Mmnhled on n dismal churchyaid, 
■ad bad looked up at the dismal wi 



"xm all he saw a dismal boy, would 
in him hare beheld, at ooe grand 
(miirehenBiTe swoop of the eye, the 
nuuing clerk, JBoior clerk, com- 
Kus-liw clerk, conveyancing clerk, 
cUacery clerk, every refinemerit and 
^aiiment of clerk, of Mr. Mortimer 
^ihtwood, erewhile called in the 
HtvtpapLrB eminent solicitor. 
_Ur. BoOin having been several 
hmea in communication with this 
derkly essence, both on its own 
eraiigd and at the Bower, bad no 
difficulty in identifying it when he 
«i» it up in its dusty eyrie. To the 
KcoDd floor on which the window 
*u iitnated, he ascended, much pre- 
ofnHed in mind by the uncertainties 
Kt...<.ug th« Bnman Empire, and 



DiJ^ last 
night had loft lie Imperia] aSoin in 
a state of great confuainn, by falling 
a victim to the fury of the poetoTian 

"Morning, morning, morning!" 
said Mr. Boffin, with a wave of hia 
as tlie office door wu opened by 
' ' )y, whose appropriata 
;££ " Governor mf" 

, . I thiiik f " 

" I don't want him to give it, yon 
know," returned Mr. Boffin, "I'll 
pay my way, my boy/' 

'• No doubt, SIT, Would you walk 
iuP Mr. Lightwood ain't m at the 
present moment, but I expect him 
back very shortly. Would you tuks 
a seat in Mr. L^ghtwood's room, sir, 
while I look over our Appointment 
Book t" Young Blight mude a great 
ahow of fetching fr^un bia desk a long 
thin manuscript volume with a brown 
paper cover, and running his finger 
down Uie day's — ■—•——^ 



54 



OUIt MUTUAL FBUSND 



miirfng, "Ifr. Aggs, Mr. Baggs, Mr. 
GaggSy Mr. D&p^b, Mr. Faggv, Mr. 
Oaggfl, Mr. Boilin. Yes, sir, quite 
right. You are a little before your 
time, sir. Mr. Lightwood will be Id 
directly." 

''I'm not in a btiny/* nid Mr. 
Boffin. 

'* Thank j;ou, sir. Til take the 
opportunity, if you please, of entering 
your nahie in our Callers' Book for 
the day." Young Blight made another 
great show of changing the Tolume, 
&king up a pen, sucking it, dipping 
it, and running over previous entries 
before he wrote. As, ** Mr. Alley, Mr. 
Bailey, Mr. Galley, Mr. Dalley, Mr. 
Falley, Mr. Galley, Mr. Halley, Mr. 
Lalley, Mr. Malloy. And Mr. Boflin.' ' 

" Strict system here , eh, my lad P" 
■aid Mr. Boffin, as he was booked. 

" Yes, sir," returned the boy. •" I 
couldn't ^et on without it." . 

By which he probably meant that 
his mind would nave been shattered 
to pieces without this fiction of an 
occupation. Wearing in his solitary 
confinement no fetters that he could 
polish, and being provided with no 
drinking-cup that he could carve, he 
had fallen on the device of ringing 
alphabetical changes into the two 
volumes in question, or of entering 
vast numbers of persons out of the 
Directory as transacting business with 
Mr. Lightwood. It was the more 
necessary for his spirits, because, be- 
ing of a sensitive temperament, he 
was apt to consider it personally dis- 
graceful to himself that his master 
had no clients. 

"How long have yon been in the 

aw, nowP" asked Mr. Boffin, with 

a pounce, in his usual inquisitive way. 

"I've been in the law, now, sir, 
about three years." 

" JMust have been as good as bom 
in it !" said Mr. Boffin, with admira- 
tion. "Do you like it P" 

"I don't mind it much," returned 
Young Blight, heaving a sigh, as if 
its bitterness were past. 

** What wages do you get P" 

" Half what I could wish," repKed 
yonng Blight 



" What's the whole tiiat y«Ni eonld 
wi6hP" 

" Fifteen shillings a week," Mid 
the boy. 

"About how long might ft take 
you now, at a average rate of going, 
to be a Jud^P" aaked Mr. Boffin, 
after surveying his small etatue in 
silence. 

The boy answered that he had not 
yet quite worked out that little calca- 
lation. 

" I Bupx)Ose there's nothing to pre- 
vent your going in for it P" said Mr. 
Boffin. 

The boy virtually replied that as 
he had the honour to oe a Briton 
who never, never, never, there was 
nothing to prevent his going in for 
it. Yet he seemed inelmed to eu^ 
pect that there might be somethiog 
to prevent his coming out with it 

"Would a couple of pound help 
you up at all P" adced Mr. Boffin. 

On this head, young Blight had no 
doubt whatever, so Mr. Bofi^ mads 
him a present of that sum of moaejf 
and thanked him fbr his attention to 
his (Mr. Boffin's) affairs, whidi, he 
added, were now, he believed^ as goo4 
as settled. 

Then Blr. Boffin, with his stick at 
his ear, like a Familiar Spirit explain- 
ing the office to him, sat staring at ft 
little bookcase of Law Practice and 
Law Beports, and at a window, and 
at an empty blue bag, and at a stick 
of sealing-wax, and a pen, and a box 
of wafers, and an apple, and a writing«- 
pad — all very dusty — ^and at a num- 
ber of inky smears and blots, and at 
an imperfectly-disguised gun-case 
pretending to be something legal, 
and at an iron box labelled Harm<ik 
EsTATB, until Mr. Lightwood ap- 
peared. 

Mr. Lightwood explained that he 
came from the proctor's, with whom 
he had been engaged in transacting 
Mr. Boffin's affairs. 

"And they seem to have taken a 
deal out of you!" said Mr. Boffin, 
with commiseration. 

Mr. lightwood, without explain- 
ing that niB wearinen waa chronic^ 




OUB MUTUAL FEIlrlND. 



th hia exposition that, all 
I having boen at leDi:rth 
th, will of Harmon de- 
g been poved, death of 
t inheritm^ having heen 

and HO foiUi, Court of 
iving boon moved, kc, 

he, Mr. XJghtwood, hod 
at gratification, honour, 
H, again &c. and bo forth, 
iting Ur. Bof^ii oa com- 
leaaioD, as residiury lega- 
I'da of one hundred thoAi- 
\, ilanding in the books 
nor and Company of thi) 

itia particularly el if^hle 
rty, Mr. liuffin, i», Uiat it 

trouble. Thard are no 
inaga, no renU to return 

cent- upon in bad times 
1 extremely dear way of 
r name into the news- 
otcm to became parboiled 

with, no a|;rn(8 to take 
rthemillfbuforeit' 
'ou could put tlis 

with you to — «ay, I 
.mtoins. Inaamuc 
' cOQcludod Mr. Light- 
on indolent amile, " ap- 
under a fatal spell which 

;k7 MountaiuB in a 
familiarity to some o 
1 you'll excuse my pi 
to the service of that 
re of geographical boras, 
olloving this Uat remark 
, Mr. Boflin cast his por- 

he remarked, " I don't 

to say about it, I 

taa well aa I w 

take care of." 

r Ur. Boffin, then d<m'( 

lid that gentleman, 
g now," returned Mortj- 
the irresponaible imbo- 
rivate individual, and not 
ifundity of a professional 



niivlaer, I thould aa^ that if Iha 
lumatonce of its boiny too mui'h, 

C9 upon your miDd, yon liava 
ven of consol.ilion open to you 
that you can eaaily malie it leaL 
And if you ahciuld be apprehensive of 
the trouble of doini; so, there is tha 
further haven of coniobtion that any 
lumber of people will take the trouble 
iff your hands." 

"Well! 1 .lon't quite see it," n>. 
tnrted Mr. Bcfliu, stiU pcrploied. 
"'fhat's not satislkitory, you know, 
what you're a-jiaying." 

la Anything satis&ctory, Ur, 
Doflin ?" asked Mortimer, laising hi* 

" I uieA to Snd it ao," answered 
[r. liollin, with a wistful look. 

\\niilo I was foreman at the Bowet 
— afore it vmh tha Bower — I con- 
sidered the business very satisfactory. 
The old man was a awful Tarlar 
(Haying it, I'm sure, without disre- 
spoct to his memory), but the busineaa 
wss a pleasant one to look after, from 
before clayli/<ht to past dadc It's 
a'most a pity," said Mr. Boffin, 
rubbing his ear, " that he ever went 
and made so much money. It would 
have been bett«c for him if he hadn't 
so given himself up to it You may 
depend npon it," making the dis- 
covery all of a sudden, " that Af found 
it a great lot to take care ofi" 

Mr. Lightwood coughed, not oon- 

" And speaking of aatis^tory," 
pursued Vix. BoQJn, " why. Lord save 
us '. when we come to take it to 

Eieces, bit by bit, where'i the aatia- 
ictotiness of the money aa yet P 
When the old man doea right the 
poor boy after all. the poor boy gets 
no good of it He gela made away 
with, at the nioment when he's lifting 
[as one may eay) the cup and sarser 
to hit lips. Mr. Lightwood, I will 
now name to you, that on behalf of 
the poor dear boy, me and Mis. 
Boffin have stood out againat the old 
man times out of number, till ha hoi 
called us every name he coulil lay hid 
tongue to. I have saen him, after 
Mrs. Boffin haa given him har mind 



H 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



respecting the claims of the nat'ral 
ail*, ctions, catch off Mm. Bollln's bon- 
net (she wore, in general, a black 
straw, perched as a matter of con- 
venience on the top of her head), and 
■end it spinning across the yard. I 
have indeed. And once, when he 
did this in a manner that amounted 
to personal, I should have given him 
a i-attlcr for himself, if Mrs. £offin 
hadn't thrown herself betwixt us, and 
received flush on the temple. Which 
dropped her, Mr. Lightwood. Drop- 
ped her." 

Mr. Lightwood murmured " Equal 
honor — Mrs. Boffin's head and heart." 

"You understand; I name this," 
pursued Mr. Bofiin, **to show you^ 
now the affairs are woimd up, that 
me and Mrs. Bolfin have ever stood, 
as we were in Christian honor bound, 
the children's friend. Mo and ^Irs. 
Bollin stood the poor g^l's friend ; 
me and Mrs. Boilin stood the poor 
boy's friend ; me and Airs. Boilin up 
and faced the old num when we mo- 
mently expected to be turned out for 
our pains. As to Mrs. BoQin," said 
Mr. Boffin, lowering his voice, " she 
mightn't wish it mentioned now she's 
Fashionable, but she went so far as 
to toll him, in my presence, he was a 
flinty -hearted rascal." 

Mx. Lightwood murmured "Vigor- 
ous Saxon spirit — Mrs. Boffin's an- 
cestors — bowmen — Agincourt and 
Cressy.** 

"'iLe last time me and Mrs. Boffin 
saw the poor boy," said Mr. Boffin, 
wai-ming (as fat usually does), with n 
tendency to melt, " he was a child ot 
seven year old. For when he come 
back to make intercession for his 
sister, me and Mrs. Boffin were away 
overlooking a country contract which 
was to be sifted before carted, and he 
was come and gone in a single hour. 
I say he was a child of seven year 
old. He was going away, all alone 
and forlorn, to that foreign school, 
and he come into our place, situate up 
the yard of the present Bower, to 
have a warm at our fire. There way 
his littlo scanty travelling clothes 
upon him. There was his little 



scanty box outside in the shiTpriiig 
wind, which I was going to carry for 
him down to the steamboat, as the 
old man wouldn't hear of aDowing 
a sixpence coach-money. Mrs. BofliiL 
then quite a young woman and a 
pictur of a fml-blown rose, stands 
him by her, kneels down at the iin*, 
warms her two open hands, and jails 
to rubbing his cheeks ; but seeing the 
tears come into the child's eyes, the 
tears come fast into her own, and she 
holds him round the neck, like as if 
she was protecting him, and cries to 
me, * I'd give the wide wide world, I 
would, to run away with him!' I 
don't say but what it cut me, and 
but what it at the same time height- 
ened my feelings of admiration for 
Mis. Boffin. The x>oor child clings 
to her for awhile, as she clings to 
him, and then, when the old man 
calls, he sayv ' I must go ! God bless 
you ! ' and for a moment rests his 
heart against her bosom, and looks up 
at both of us, as if it was in pain — iu 
agony. Such a look ! 1 went aboard 
with him (1 gave him first what little 
treat I thought he'd like), and I left 
him when he had fallen &i<Icop in his 
berth, and I came back to Mrs. 
Boffin. But tell her what I would 
of how I had left him, it all 'went for 
nothing, for, according to her thoughts, 
he never changed that look that he 
had looked up at us two. But it did 
one piece of good. Mrs. Boffin and 
me had no child of our own, and had 
£iometimes wished that how we had 
one. But not now. 'We might 
both of us die,' says Mrs. Bollin, 
* and other eyes might see that lonely 
look in our child.' So of a night, 
when it was very cold, or when the 
wind roared, or the rain dripped 
heavy, she would wake sobbing, and 
call out in a fluster, ' Don't you see 
the poor child's fieice P O shelter ^>>n 
poor child ! ' — till in course of yean 
it gently wore out, as many things do." 

"My dear Mr. Boffin, evorj'thing 
wears to rags," said Mortimer, with a 
light laugh. 

" I wont go BO ^ as to say every, 
thing," returned Mr. Bofi^, on whom 




OlIB HDTDAL FBIENU. 



«7 



finmriiTrniiiiilii. "became 
iDCTV ■ Bom* UiiDK* that I never fnural 
imoDgtbediut. W«ll,ni'. Bo Mrs. 
Boffla and ma pow oldar and older 
k the old 



ica, UTiDff 
working pretty hard in it, till tht 



. . Tared detid in hia bed. 
Thm Un. Boffin and nte leal up hia 
kn, alvaya atanding on the table at 
fk nde of hi* bed, and haTiitg &s- 
fnntlj he«id tell of tho Temple u a 
q»t where lawyar*! dust iicoatiBCt«d 
b, I oome dovn here in aearch of a 



choppiii a 
iw-aill mUi 



11 mUi hia penknife, and I 
giTe mm a H(^ I not then having 
ll» pleuiue of your acquaintance. 



"Bnl yon tnoir best. Than you and 
Doctor Soommona, yon go to vorli, 
ind yon do the thing that'i proper, 
ud you and Doctor o. take atepa for 
finding out the poor boy, and at last 
jan do find out the poor boy, and me 
ud iSn. Boffin often exchange Uia 
etMrratm, ' We shall aes him again, 
under happy diciunatancea.' But it 
VM never to be; and the iraat of 
MtJabctorineei ie, that alter all tho 
money nevBT getn to him." 

"But it get^" remarked Light- 
VDDd, with a languid inclination of 
tbg tkead, " into excellent hands." 

"It gets into the handa of me and 
lln. Boffin only this vary day and 
bour, and that's what I am working 
toimd b>, having wailed for thia day 
ud hour a' purpose. Hr. Light- 
*ood, here has been a iricked cruel 
muider. By that mnidar me and 
kis. Boffin mysteriously profit. For 
the apprehension and conviction of 
tlu murderer, vs ofier a nmid of 
<*i» tithe of Qie property — a reward 
of Ten IltouMud Found." 



" Mr. Boffin, it'i too much." 

" ilr, Liijlitwood, me and Hra. 
BalUa have liied the sum together, 
and wo stand to it." 

"But let me tepreacnt to yon," 
returned Lightwood, " aj'eakiiig uow 
with profesaional profuiidity, and not 
with individaal imbecility, that the 
offer of such an immense rewud it a 
temptation to forced suspicion, furccd 
eonstmctioQof circum^tojices, atroined 
accusation, a whuU tool-boz of edged 
tools." 

"Well," said Mr. Boffin, a little 
staggered, " that's the Hum we put o' 
one ude for the purpose. Whether it 
shall be openly declared in the new 
notices that must DOW be put about in 



" In your name, iSx. Boffin ; in 

" Very wdl ; in my name, whi^ 
is tho same ai Mn. Boffin'i, and 
iiieaus buth of us, is to be oonaideied 
ill drawing 'em ap. Butthiaislhefiriit 
instruction that I, ai the owner of the 
property, give to my lawyer on com* 

"Your lawyer, Mr. Boffin," re- 
turned Lightwood, mailing a veiy 
short note of it with a very nuty pen, 
" has tho gratification of taking the 
inetruction. There is another ? " 

" There is just one other, and no 
mot«. Make me as compact a little 
will as can be reconciled with tigUt- 
nesa, leaving the whole of the pro- 
perty to 'my beloved wife, Hens- 
rietty Boffin, sole eiccatrix.' Muka 
it an sboit as you con, using those 
words; but make it tight." 

At some loss to futhum Mr. Boffin's 
notions of a tight will, Lightwood 
felt his way. 

"I beg yl 
sional profui 
When you say tight " 

'■ I mean tight," Ur. Baffin ax- 

"Euctlyso. And nothing nan be 
ire laudable. But is the bghtoess 
bind Hrs. Boffin to any and what 



68 



OTJE MUTUAL FRIKKD. 



thinkmg of! What I want ia, to 
make it all hers ao tight as that her 
hold of it can't be loosed." 

** Hers freely, to do what she likea 
^thf HersabflolutelyP" 

" Absolutely P" repeated Mr. BofBn, 
with a short sturdy laugh. *' Hah 1 
I should think so I It would be hand- 
some in me to begin to bind Mxb. 
Boffin at this time of day I" 

60 that instruction, too, was taken 
by Mr. Lightwood; and Mr. Light- 
wood, having taken it, was in the act 
of showing Mr. Boffin out, when Mr. 
Eugene Wraybum almost jostled him 
in the doorway. Consequently Mr. 
Lightwood said, in his cool manner, 
** Let me make you two known to one 
another," and further signified that 
Mr. Wraybutn was counsel learned 
in the law, and that, partly in the 
way of business and partly in the 
way of pleasuzei he had imparted to 
Mr. Wraybum some of the interest- 
ing facts of Mr. Boffin's biography. 

*' Delighted," said Eugene— uiough 
he didn't look so— ''to know Mr. 
Boffin." 

" Thankee, sir, thankee," retomed 
that gentleman. ^And how do yon 
like £e kw." 

« A ^not particalarly/* retomed 

Eugene. 

••Too dry for yon, ehP Well, I 
suppose it wants some yean of stick- 
ing to, before you master it. But 
there's nothing like work. Look at 
the bees." 

"1 beg TOUT pardon,'* returned 
Gugene, with a reluctant smile, "but 
will you excuse my mentioning that 
I always protest against beingrefened 
to the bees?" 

••Do youl " said Mr. Boffin. 

" I object on nrincinle," said Eu- 
gene, •• as a biped 

••As a what?" askedMr. Boffin. 

'• Asatwo-footedcreature; — I object 
on pxindple, as a two-footed creature, 
to being oonstantly refeired to insects 
and four-footed creatures. I object 
to being required to model my pro- 
ceedings according to the proceedings 
of the bee, or the dog, or the spider, 
or the oamyaL I fully admit that the 



ksamel« for instance, is an exoessiTely 
temperate person ; but he has several 
stomachs to ent^tain himself with, 
and I have only one. Besides, I am 
not fitted up with a oonvenient cool 
cellar to keep my drink in." 

•• But I said, yon know," urged Mr. 
Bofiin, rather at i loss for an answer, 
•* the bee." 

••Exactly. And may I represent 
to you that it's injudidous to say the 
bee ? For the whole case is awnnned. 
Conceding for a moment that th^e is 
any analogy between a bee and a 
man in a £urt and pantaloons (which 
I denj), and that it is settled that the 
man is to leam from the bee (which I 
also deny), the question still remaixu^ 
what is he to leam? Toimitate? Or 
to avoid? When your friends the 
bees worry themselveB to that highly 
fluttered extent about their sovereign, 
and become perfectly distracted toudi- 
ing the slightest monarchical move- 
ment^ are #e men to leam the great- 
ness of Tuft-himtin^, or the littlenefli 
of the Court Circular? I am not 
dear, Mr. Boffin, but that the hive 
may be satirical." 

••At all events, they worik," said 
Mr. Boffin. 

••Ye-ea," retumed Eugene^ dia- • 
paragingly, ''they work; but don't i 
you think they overdo it? They work 1 
so much more than they need — iheif 
make so much more than they caa 
eat— they are so incessantljr boring 
and buzzing at their one idea tiH 
Death comes upon them— that don t 
you think they overdo it ? And axe 
human labourers to have no holidays, 
because of the bees ? And am I never 
to have change of air, because the beei 
don't? Mr. Boffin, I think honef 
excellent at breakfast; but regarded 
in the light of my conventional school* 
master and moralist, I protest agaaui 
the ^rrannical humbuf of your friend 
the bee. With the highest req^ect 
for you.** 

••Thankee," said Mr. Boffin. 
•' Morning, morning ! '* 

But, the worthy Mr. Boffin jog^^ 
away with a comfortlesa impression 
he oottld have dispensed with, that 



1^- 



OUE MUTUAL FEIEND. 



• m deal of nnuttisfartoniien 
jrtd, bastdeB what he had re- 

■ppciilaimng to the Harmon 
And he was itill joeging 
eet Street in this conditio- -' 
leo he became ftvue tha 
ij tracked and obeerred bir 

genteei appeaiviice. 
tbenF" aaid Mr. Bomn, 

short, with hie DiGditation. 
to an abrupt chedi, " what' 
utideF" 

■ joai pBidon, Hr. Boffin." 
lame too, eh P How did 7011 
it? I don't know POD." 
ar, 70U don't know me." 
iffin loolced full at the mi 
oan looked fuU at him. 
laid Mr. Boffin , after a glsT 
fement, aa if it were made of 

he were trjing to match the 
[ den' I know jou." 

nobody," said the etran 
t likely to be known; 
n"» wealth—" 
that'a Rot about alreadj, 
tered Ur. Boffin. 
1 his romantic marmei 
it, make him comrpicm 
I pointed ont to me the other 

," (aid Ur. Boffin, "I ahonld 
a disAppintment to jon. when 
eted out, if jronr politcnees 
ow yon to confess it, for I 
.ware I am not much to look 
it might yoa want with me T 
elaw, tnjonf" 

^formation to give. Ear a re- 



nay have.been a momentary 
in the faoe of the man as lie 
last answer, bat it paased 

on't mistake, you have fol- 
from my lawyer's and tried 
ittentJoo. &B.y out ! Hare 
' haven't you ? " demanded 
L, rattier angry. 

have yon f" 

will allow me to walk beaide 
BoSn, I will teU yon. 



ford's Inn — where t 

uiolhoT better than in the roaring 
street f" 

("Now," thought Mr. Boffin, "if 
he proposes a game at ikittlea, or meets 
a country gentleman just cume into 
property, or prodocoe any article of 
Jewolkry he haa found, I'll knock 
him down!" With thia discreet 10- 
flection, and carrying hia stick ID bis 
arms mnch aa Pimcb carries his, Ur. 
Boffin turned into Clifibrd's Inn afore- 
said.) 

" Mr. Boffin, I happened to b« in 
Chancery Lane this morning, when I 
savyougoin^alongbeforema. Itook 
the liberty of following you, trying to 
make up my mind (o spraJi to you, 
till you went into your lawyer'*. 
Then I waited ontaide till you cama 



("Don't quite sound like ddttlea, 

or yet country gentlei — " ' 

_ jweflery," thougiit Ur 
there's no knowing.") 

am a&aid my object is a bold 

am a&sid it has little of Iba 

practical world about it, but I 

re it. If you aek me, or if yon 

ask yourself — which is more likely — 

'bat emboldens me, I answer, I have 

een strongly esBurod that you aM 

man of rectitiide and plain dealing, 

with the lonndeet of sound hoarte, 
and that you are blesbad in a ivife 
distinguished by the same qualitiea." 

" Your information is trua of Mm 
Boffin, anybow," was Mr. Boffin's 
enswer, as he surveyed his new friend 
agiiin. There was something repie£scd 
in the strange man's manner, and ha 
walkrd with his eyes on the ground — 
th<Tngh conscious, for all that, of Ur. 
Boffin's observation — and lie spoke in 
a subdued voice. But his words uune 
easily, and his voice was agi«eable ia 
tone, albeit constrained. 

"When I add, I can discern &a 



myself what the general tongue saya 
of'^you — that yon are quite unspoiled 
by Fortune, and not uplifted— I trust 



60 



OUll MUTUAL FJilE^D. 



Ton, but will believe that all T mean 
IS to excuse myself, these beings my 
only excuses for my present intra- 
fiion." 

("How mnchP" thought Mr. 
Boffin. "It must be coming to 
money. Ho w much P * * ) 

-"You will probably change your 
manner of living, Mr. Boffin, in your 
changed circumstances. You will 
probably keep a larger house, have 
many matters to arrange, and be 
beset by numbers of correspondents. 
If you would try me as your Secre- 
tary " 

"As whatr*\ cried Mr. Boffin, 
with his eyes wide open. 

"Your Secretary. 

"Well," said Mr. Boffin, under 
his breath, " that's a queer thing ! " 

" Or," pursued the stranger, won- 
dering at Mr. Boffin's wonder, "if 
you would try me as your man of 
business under any name, I know 
you would find me faithful and 
grateful, and I hope you would find 
me useful. You may naturally think 
tliat my immediate object is money. 
Not so, for I would willingly serve 
you a year^ — ^two year*— any term 
you might appoint — before that 
should begin to be a consideration 
between us." 

"Where do yon come feomP" 
asked Mr. Boffin. 

"I come," returned the other, 
meeting his eye, " from many coun- 
tries." 

Mr. Boffin's acquaintance with 
the names and situations of foreign 
lands being limited in extent and 
somewhat confxised in quality, he 
shaped his next question on an 
elastic model. 

" From — any particular place P" 

" I have been m many places." 

"What have you been?" asked 
Mr. Boffin. 

Here again he made no great ad- 
vance, for the reply was, " I have 
been a student and a traveller." 

" But if it ain't a liberty to plump it 
out," said Mr. Boffin, " what do you 
do for your living ?" 

" I have mentioned " returned the 



other, with another look at him, 
a smile, "what I aspire to do 
have been superseded as to i 
slight intentions. I had, and I 
say that I have now to bc^^in lif 

Not very well knowing how t 
rid of this applicant, and feeling 
more embarraBsed because liis ma 
and appearance claimed a delicai 
which the worthy Mr. Boffin fc 
he himself might be deficient, 
gentleman glanced into the mo 
little plantation, or cat-preserv 
Clifford's Inn, as it was that da 
search of a suggestion. Spar 
were there, cats were there, dr 
and wet-rot were there, but it 
not otherwise a suggestive spot. 

" All this time," baid the strai 
producing a little pocket-book 
taking out a card, "I have 
mentioned my name. My nan 
Kokesmith. I lodge at one 
Willer's, at Holloway."^ 

Mr. Boffin stared again. 

" Father of Miss Bella Wilf< 
said he. 

"My landlord has a dam 
named Bella. Yes ; no doubt. 

Now, this name had been mo 
less in Mr. Boffin's thoughts al 
morning, and for days before , ti 
fore he said : 

"That's singular, too!" ui 
sciously staring again, past all bo 
of good manners, with the card i 
hand. " Though, by-the-bye, I 
pose it was one of that family 
pinted me out P" 

"No. I have never been ii 
streets with one of them.** 

" Heard me talked of among 
though ?" 

" No. I occupy my own n 
and have held scarcely any oox 
nication with them." 

"Odder and odder!" said 
Boffin. " Well, sir, to tell yoi 
truth, I don't know what to si 
you." 

" Say nothing," returned 
Rokesmith; "allow me to ca] 
you in a few days. I am not » 
conscionable as to think it likol} 
you would accc2:t mo oa ti'i;;il a.'. 




OUR MUTUAL .FEIBMD. 



■igb^ tad bke m* oat of the Tery 

•treet Let me coma to yon for your 
fii[th<T opiDion, at jour leiHuio. 

"That's fair, md I don t ohfect," 
■ud Mr. Boflin ; " bat it muat be on 
nuditian that it's full; uurleiitixxl 
Hut I no mora know thkt I BhaU 
erer be in want of any Rcntlenian s« 
Secretary — iticwSecratai/ you aaid; 

"Tea." 

Again Hr. Boffin'a eyu orened 

*iJe, and he storad at the av ilriuit 

from head to foot) repeatio) 

—You're aura it wr" 

AnTouf 
"I am snre I Said to." 
— "Aa Secretojy," repeated Mr. 

BoSn, meditating upon the word ; 

"I no moie know that I ma; ever 
not ■ Secrelaiv, or what not, than 
I do that I ahall ever be in want of 
the mas in the moon. He and Un. 
ficSn have not even aetUed that we 
ihall make on; change in our wa; 
of life. Mre. Boffin's indinationi 
certainly do tend towarda Faabion . 
tut, being already Bot np in a faahion- 
able way at Uia Bower, ihe may not 
make fiuther alterations. However, 
ST, aa yon don't preaa youiaelf, I 
*iih to meet ;on so far aa raying, by 



lUm 



s caS^a 



the I 



r if yo 



like. Callinthecouneofaweek . 
two. At the eama time, I conaider 
tliat I ought to name, in addition to 
^h*t I lik(a alnad; named, tbat I 



thooghla of parting fiom. 
' I re(^ct to hear I am m aoma 
t anticipatni," Jlr, Rokeamitli 
metod, ovidBntly having heard it 
with Burpi-isa; "but perbapa other 



duUcH 



light Bj 



You see," returned Mr. BofSn, 
with a confidential sense of dienity, 
" aa to my liUrary man's duUea, 
they're clear. Frofesaionallj be de< 
clinea and be folia, and u ■ Mend hs 
drops into poetry." 

"ithout observing that theee dntiea 
seemed by no meana clear to Mr. 
aatoniahed oomprehen- 



m,Mr. I 

" And ni 



pvent o- 



r, I'll wish yon good- 
day. You can call at the Bower any 
time in a week or two. It'snotabovea 
mile or so from you, and your landlord 
can direct you to it. But as he may 
not know it by its new name of Bof- 
fin's Bower, say, when you inquire 
othim.ifaHBimon's; wiUyouf" 

" liiirmcon's," repeated Mr. Hoke- 
Dnith. seeming to have caught the 
sound imperfectly, "Harmam'a. How 
doyouapoU itP" 

"Wby, as to the ipelling of it," 
^od M- "--- -"-•- 






Mi. BolGn, with great pie- 
— --.d, " that's iwiir look ont. 
all you-vi 



Uannon'a 

Aim. Morning. Tnoming, morning!" 
And ao departed, witAont looking 



GHA7TEB IX. 



BsTAnnta hinuelf straight home- 
*aid, ilr. Baffin, without further let 
or hindrance, arrived at the Bower, 
iiid gave M™. BofBn (in a walking 
drees of black velvet and feathers, 
like a mourning coach-horse) an ac- 
count of hU he had aaid and done 
tioce breakfast. 

" Thia brings ui round, my dear," 
i» then purauedi " to the question we 



R coxairiTATiMr. 



ncnt, "I want Society." 
fashionable Society, my dearF" 
"Yea!" cried Mrs. Boflin, lau^b- 
I ing with the glee of a ' ~ 



' "-Kai 



OVn MUTUAL FRIEND. 



It's no good my being kept here like 
Wax-Work ; ia it now P" 

"People have to pay to see Wax- 
Work, my dear," returned her hus- 
band, *' whereas (though you'd be 
cheap at the same money) the neigh- 
bours is welcome to see yon for no- 
thing." 

**But it don't answer," said the 
cheerful Mrs. BoiEn. ''When we 
worked like the neighbours, we suited 
one another. Now we have left work 
oftf we have left o£f suiting one an- 
other." 

" What, do you think of beginning 
work again P" Mr. Bo£Sn hinted. 

" Out of the question ! We have 
come into a great fortune, and we 
must do what's right by our fortune ; 
we must act up to it." 

Mr. Boffin, who had a deep respect 
for his wife's intuitive wisdom, re- 
plied, though rather pensively x **I 
suppose we must." 

*^ It's never been acted up to yet, 
and, consequently, no good has come 
of it," said Mrs. Boffin. 

^True, to the present time,*' Mr. 
Boffin assented, with his former pen- 
siveness, as he took his seat upon his 
settle. '* I hope good may be coming 
of it in the future time. Towards 
which, what's your views, old lady P" 

Mrs. Boffin, a smiling creature, 
broad of figure and simple of nature, 
>vith her hands folded in her lap, and 
>vlth buxom creases vq. her throaty 
proceeded to expound her views. 

I' J say a food house in a good 
neighbourhood, good things about us, 
f'ood living, and good society. I say, 
live like our means, without extrava- 
gance, and be happy." 

"Yes. I say be hanpy, too," as- 
sented the still pensive mr. Boffin. 

"Lor-a-mussy!" exclaimed Mrs. 
Boffin, laughing and clapping her 
hands, and gaily rocking her^lf to 
and fix), "when I think of me in a 
light vellow chariot and pair, with 
silver boxes to the wheels 



tt 



Oh! yon was thinking of that, 
was you, my dear ?" 

"Yes!" cried the delighted crea- 
ture. ** And with a footman up be- 



hind, with a bar across, to keep hiM 
legs from being poled 1 And with a 
cuachman up in mmt, sinking down 
into a seat big enough for tiiree of 
him, all covered with upholstery in 
green and white' Ana ^ith two 
bay hones tossing their heads and 
stepping higher than they trot long- 
ways! And with yon and me lean- 
ing back inside, as grand as nine- 
pence! Oh-h-h-hMy* Ha ha ha 
ha ha!" 

Mrs. Boffin clapped her hands 
again, rocked herself again, beat her 
fotit «i)K)n the floor, and wiped the 
tears of laughter from her eves. 

" And what, my old lady, inquired 
Mr. Boffin, when he also had sympa- 
thetically laughed' "what's your 
views on the subject of the Bower?" 

" Shut it up. Don't part with it^ 
but put somebody in it, to keep it." 

" Any other views P" 

" Noddy," said Mrs. Boffin, coming 
from her fashionable so& to his side 
on the plain settle, and hooking her 
comfortable arm through his, "Next 
I think — and I reaUy have been 
thinking early and late— of the dis- 
appointed girl ; her that was so 
cruelly disappointed, ^ou know, both 
of her husband and his riches. Don't 
vou think we might do something for 
her P Have her to live with us P Or 
something of that sort P" 

" Ne-ver once thought of the way 
of doing it! " cried Mr. Boffin^ smiting 
the table in his admiration. " What 
a thinking steam-ingein this old lady 
is. And she don't know how she 
does it. Neither does the ingein ! " 

Mrs. Boffin pulled his nearest ear, 
in acknowledgment of this piece of 
philosophy, and then said, gradually 
toning down to a motherly strain: 
<* Last, and not least, I have taken a 
fancy. Yon remember dear little 
John Hannon, before he went" to 
school P Over yonder across the 
yard, at our fire P * Now that he is 
past all benefit of the money, and it's 
come to us, I should like to find 
some orphan child, and take the boy 
and adopt him and give him John^ 
name^ and pronde m him. Some- 




OUB HDTDAL PAIENI}. 



kow, it vonld DuJn me sosier, I biuiy. 

8*]r it's only a whim " 

" But I don't BSf to," inUiposed 
tm hiubund. 

" Ko, but dett7, if yon did " 

" I ihould be a Beeut if I did," bar 
hubond iulerpceed again. 

" Tbat'a as much u to n; yon 
tgcee f Qood and kind of yon, and 
li« yon, dmry! And don't yon 
l^in to find it pleeaant now," wid 
Hn. Boffin, once more radiant in her 
touelj way from bead to foot, and 
Diwa more amootbing her dresa with 
immfinae enjoymuat, "don't you be- 
pn to Sod it pleuant alnady, to 
Uiiiik tbat a child will be made 
tirigbter, and better, and happier, 
Inaiue of tbat poor lod child that 
d»r [ And isn't it pleasant to know 
Uiat the good will be done with the 
pur nd child's own money ?" 

"Yea; and ife pleaoant to know 
Out yon are Mtb. Baffin," Hid her 
hnibuid, "and it'i been ■ pleasant 
Hung to tnow this many and many a 
yiii!" It wai ruin to Mn. Baffin's 
upitatianB, bnt, having so spoken, 
tliey sat aide by side, a hopelessly 
Hii&shioDable pair. 

These two ignorant and nnpolisbed 
fM^le bad goidod tbemselTea so (ai 
ta m their jouiney of life, by a leli' 
gioDS tenae of duty and deeire (o do 
tight. Ten thousand weaknesses and 
tUnrdities might have been detected 
in Ibe breasts of both ; ten thousand 
nnities additions!, possibly, in the 
liraut of the woman. But the hard 
vnlhful and sordid nature that had 
*nmg as much irork ont of them as 
onld be got in thoir best days, for 
•• little money as could be paid to 
hnity on their worst, had never been 
n <>aq>ed but that it knew their 
■Donl stiaightness end respected it. 
Jn its own despite, in a constant Con- 
littwith itself and them, it had done 
M. And this is the eternal law. For, 
Eril often stop* short at itself and 
^ with the doer ot it ; but Qood, 

ITirough his most inveterate puiv 
Mcs, the dead Jailer of Harmony 
Jsil had knows theaa two Iiithful 



nta to be honest and true. 
While he mged at them and reviled 
for opposing him with tha 
speech of the honeet and tme, it bad 
scratched bis stony heart, and he bad 
perceived the powerlessncaa of all hiN 
wealth to bnv them if he had ad- 
dressed himself to the attempt. So, 

while he was their griping task- 
master and never ^ve them a good 
word, he had written their namce 

. in his will. 80, even while it 
was his daily declaration that he mis> 
trusted all mankind — and sorely ia< 
deed he did mistrust all who bora any 
resemblance to himself— he was al 
certain that these two people, sur- 
viving him, would be tzustworlby in 
all tbings &om tbe greatest to the 
least, as he was that he must nnely 

Mr. and lira. Boffin, sitting side by 
side, with Fashion withdrawn to an 
measurable distance, fell to discus- 
LK how they could best find their 
orphan. Mrs. Boffin suggested ad- 
vertisement in the newspapera, re- 
Jnes^n^ orphan* answering annexed 
eecription to apply at the Bower 
on a («rtain day; but Mr. Boffin 
wisely apprcbending obstruction of 
the neigaboQiiag thoronghfares by 
orphan swarms, this course was nega> 
lived. Mrs. BoSn next sugge^cd 
ipplication to their clergyman for a 
liiely orphan. Mr. Bo&i tKinVJn g 
bett^ of this scheme, Ihey resolved to 
call upon the reverend gentleman at 
once, and to take the same oppor< 
tunity of making acquaintance with 
&liia BoUa WUfer. In order that 
these visits might be visile of state, 
Mrs. Boffin's equipage was ordered 



LttBched to a four* 

which had long been exclusively ueed 
by the Harmony Jail poultry as tbe 
favourite laying-ploce of several dis- 
creet hens. An miwontod application 
of com to tbe borse, and of paint and 
varnish to the carriage, when both 
fell in a* a part of Uw Boffin legaqyi 



64 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



had made what Mr. Boffin oonaidered 
a neat turn-out of the \\'hole ; and a 
driver being added, in the person of a 
long hammer-headed young man who 
was a very good match for the horse, 
left nothing to be desired. He, too, 
had been lormerly used in the busi- 
ness, but was now entombed by an 
honest jobbing tailor of the district in 
a perfect Sepulchre of coat and gaiters, 
•ealed with ponderous buttons. 

Behind this domestic, Mr. and Mrs. 
Bofiin took their seata in the back 
eomi)artment of the vehicle: which 
was sufficiently commodious, but had 
an undignified and alarming tendency, 
in getting over a rough crossing, to 
hiccup itself away from the front 
compartment. On their being des- 
cried emerging from the gates of the 
Bower, the neighbourhood turned out 
at door and window to salute the 
Boffins. Among those who were ever 
and again left behind, staring after 
the equipage, were many youthful 
spirits, who hailed it in stentorian 
tones with such congratulations as 
•'Nod-dv Bof.fin!'^ "Bof- fin's 
mon-ey! "Down with the dust, 
Bof-fin!" and other similar com- 
pliments. These, the hammer- 
headed young man took in such ill 
part that he often impaired the 
majesty of the progress bv pulling 
up short) and niaking as though he 
would alight to exterminate the 
ofienders ; a purpose frx)m which he 
only allowed ninuself to be dissuaded 
after long and lively arg^umenta with 
his employers. 

At length the Bower district was 
left behind, and the peaceful dwelling 
of the Eeverend Fxtmk Milvey was 
gained. The Hevercnd Frank Mil- 
vey's abode was a very modest abode, 
because his income was a very modest 
income. He was officially accessible 
to every blundering old woman who 
had incoherence to bestow upon him, 
and readily received the Bofims. He 
was quite a young man, expensively 
educated and wretchedly paid, wiui 
quite a young wife and half a dozen 
quite young childr^i. He was under 
ue necessity of teaching and tnas- 



lating from the classics, to eke out 
his scanty means, yet was generally 
expected to have more time to spare 
than the idlest person in the parish, 
and more money than the richest. 
He accepted the needless inequali- 
ties and inconsistencies of his lifo^ 
with a kind of oonventional submis- 
sion that was almost slavish ; and 
any daring layman who would have 
adjusted such burdens as his, more 
decently and graciously, would have 
had small help from him. 

With a ready patient ttuce and 
manner, and yet with a latent smile 
that showed a quick enough observa- 
tion of Mrs. Boffin's dren, Mr. Mil- 
vey, in his little back-room — charged 
with sounds and cries as though the 
six children above were coming down 
through the ceiling, and the roasting 
leg of mutton below were coming up 
through the floor — listened to ^Irs. 
Boffin's statement of her want of an 
orphan. 

" I think," said Mr. Milvey, "that 
you have never had a child of your 
own, Mr. and Mrs. Boffin P" 

Never. 

" But, like the Kings and Queens 
in the Fairy Tales, I suppose yoa 
have wished for one ?*' 

In a general way, yes. 

Mr. :&Iilvey smiled again, as he re- 
marked to himself^ " Those kings and 
queens were always wishing for 
children." ^ It occurred to him, per* 
haps, that if they had been Curates, 
their wishes might have tmded in the 
opposite direction. 

"I think," he pursued, **we had 
better take Mrs. l^Iilvey into our 
Council. Bhe is indispensable to me. 
If you please, I'll call her." 

So, Mr. Milvey called, "Marga- 
retta, my dear!*'^ and Mrs Milvey 
came down. A pretty, bright little 
woman, something worn by anxiety, 
who had repressed many pretty tastes 
and bright £Euicies, and substituted in 
their stead, schools, soup, flannel, 
coals, and all the week-day cares and 
Sunday coughs of a large population, 
young and old. As gallantly had Mr. 
Milvey repressed much in himseli 



OUB HUTDAL F&IEKD, 



, of," 

I Mn. Milvey, wiUi the moit Dn- 
iffpi'ted gnce in the world, congratu- 
' ktc^ tbem, anA ma glad to see Uiem. 
T(t btT engaging face, being an open 
txiEll at a percpjitive one, was not 
■ilhout her huiband'i latent Bmile. 

" itn. BotEn wiehea to adopt a 
litlle boy, my dear." 

Mn. Milvey, looking tather 
dinned, her huaband added : 

"An orphan, my dear." 

"Oh!" said Mrs. Milvey, Teanored 
fcrher own little boys. 

" And I wan thinking, MaigaiBtta, 
that perhaps old Mm. Qoody'i graod- 
eliild might answer the pm-poee." 

"Oh. my dtar Frank I J dim'l 
tbink that would do 1" 

"Kof 

-OhM.'" 

The nniling Un. Boffin, feeling: 
H incumbent on her to take part in 
thtconTersation, and being charmed 
vith the emphatic little wife and her 
reidj inlersit, heie offered her ac- 
knovlnlgmenta and inquired what 
there waa against him f 

"1 ion'l think," said Mn. Uilvey, 
lltncing at the KereieDd Frank 
~">nd I believe my husband will 
>pee with me when he conidderB it 
i^jn — that yon conid possibly keep 
ugtorphan clean from snuS. Because 

lii grandmother takes r " " " 

■oil drops it over him. 

" But he would not bo living with 
lit mandmother then, Margaretta," 
«id Ur. Milvey. 

" No, Prank, bat it would bo im- 
PMshle to keep her from Mrs. BofBn'g 
udk; and the nun there was to est 
^ drink there, the oftener she 
■i>niilgo. And ahe u an inconvenient 
■ociaa. 1 AiTw it's not uncharitable 
if iKnembcr that last Christmas Eve 
•lif rliank eleven cups of lea, and 
pnmblcd nil the time. And she i( 
'" 1 gTBtflfnl woman, Frank. Yon 



r^coITect her addrcsinng a crowd out- 
this house, about her wrongs, 
ivh<^, one night afler we had gone 
) bed, she broiif;ht back the petticoat 
r new Bannel that had been given 
er, because it was too short" 
"That's true," said Mr. HilTn. 
I don't think that would do. Woold 

little Harrison " 

"Oh, Fratii .'" remonstnted hi* 

.pbatic wife. 

" He ha* no grandmotbo', my 



That's true again," said Mr. 
Milve;, becoming hsfr^ard with per- 
plexity. "If a little girl would 

Bat, my dtar Frank, Mrs. BoCBn 
wants a boy." 

"That's tme again," nid Mr. 
Uilvey. "Tom Becker ia a nic« 
boy" (tionghtfully). 

" But I deuit, Frank," Mrs. UilTej 
hinted, after a little hedtatioQ, " if 
Boffin wants an orphan guilt 
een, who drives ■ cart and 
waters the roads." 

'. Milvey referred the point to 
Urs. Boffin in a look ; on that smilipg 
lady's ehaldngher black velvet bonnet 

id bows, he remarked, in lower 
spirits, " that's true again." 

"I am sure," said Mrs. Boffin, 
concerned at giving lo much trouble, 
" that if I had known yon would 
have taken so much pains, air — and 
yon too, ma'am — I don't think I 
would have come." 

" Fra^ don't say Uiat 1 " urged lira. 

"No, don't say that," assented 
Mr. Uilvey, "because we are so 
much obliged lo you for giving us 
the preference." Which Mrs. Milvey 
confirmed ; and really the kind, con- 
Bcicnticiia couple spoke ss if they 
kept some profitable orphan wari'- 
bouae and were personally patronised. 
^* But it is a responsible trust," addiil 
Mr. Milvev, "and diilitult to dis- 
charge, jit the same time, we are 
naturally very unwilling to loaa tiie 



6# 



CUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



chanoe yon lo kindly give yu, and if 
YOU could afford us a day or two to 
look about ua, — you Imow, Mar- 
garetta, we might carefully examine 
the workhouse, and the IniJBknt School, 
and your District" 

**To be tur$ /" said the emphatic 
little wife. 

" We have orphans, I know," pur- 
sued Mr. Milvey, quite with the air 
as if he might have added, " in stock," 
and quite as anxiously as it there 
were great competition in the busincFS 
and be were afnud of losing an order, 
'* over at the clay-pits ; but they are 
employed by relations or friends, and 
1 am afraid it would come at last to a 
transaction in the way of barter. And 
even if you exchanged blankets for 
the child — or books and firing — it 
would be impossible to prevent their 
being turned into liquor." 

Accordingly, it was resolved that 
Mr. and Mrs. Milvey should search 
for an orphan likely to suit, and as 
free as possible from the foregoing 
objections, and should communicate 
again with Mrs. Boffin. Then, Mr. 
Boffin took the libei-ty of mentioning 
to Mr. Milvey that if Mr. Milvey 
would do him the kindness to be per- 
petually his banker to the extent of 
*' a twenty-pound note or so," to be 
expended without any reference to 
him, he would be heartily obliged. At 
this, both Mr. Milvey and Mrs. Milvey 
were quite as much pleased as if they 
had no wants of their own, but only 
knew what povertv was, in the per- 
sons of other people ; and so the in- 
terview terminated with satisfaction 
f.nd good opinion on all sides. 

" Now, old lady," said Mr. Boffin, 
as they resumed their seats behind 
the hammer-headed horse and man : 
*' having made a very agreeable visit 
there, we'll try Wilfer's.^' 

It appeare<{, on their drawing up 
at the mmily gate, that to try Wilfcr's 
was a thing more easily projected 
than done, on account of the extreme 
difficulty of getting into that estab- 
lishment ; three p\ms at the bell pro- 
ducing no external result, thontrh 
each was attended by audible sotuidd 



of scampering and mshi 
At the fourth tug — vindi 
ministered by the ham] 
young man — Miss Lavinii 
emerging from the house 
dental manner, with a 1 
parasol, as designingto t 
templative walk. The ] 
was astonished to find visi 
gate, and expressed her 
appropriate action. 

"Here's Mr. and Mrs 
growled the hammer-hea 
man through the bai-s oi 
and at the same time shak 
he were on view in a i 
*' they've been nere half a 
"Who did you say P" i 
Lavinia. 

" Mr. and Mra. Boffin ! 
the young man, rising intt 
Miss Lavinia tripped u 
to the house-door, tripped 
steps with the key, tripped 
little garden, and opened 
'* Please to walk in, said 
vinia, haughtily. *'Our 
out." 

Mr. and Mrs. Boffin < 

and paufsin^ in the little 

Miss Lavinia came up to i 

where to go next, percei 

pairs of listening legs upoc 

above. Mrs.Wilfer'sleg8,]k 

legs, Mr. George Sam^tson* 

" Mr. and Mrs. Bofiin, 1 

said Lavinia, in a warning 

Strained attention on tl 

Mrs. wafer's legs, of Mi 

legs, of Mr. Geoige Samps 

"Yes, Miss." 

"If you'U step this w 

these stairs— I'll let Ma kn 

Excited flight of Mrs. Wi 

of Miss Bella's legs, of "M 

Sampson's legs. 

After waiting some qua] 
hour alone in the family sitt 
which presented traces of ha 
so hastily arranged after a ] 
one might have doubted v 
was made tidy for visitors, 
for blindman's buff, Mr. 
Hoffin became aware of the 
uf Mrs. Wilfer^ nuyestica 




OtJR MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



■ Pardon me," mii Vn. Wilfer, 

tftv the fitat ■alatatiooa, tni at aoon 
utae had tuljnited tha huidkerchief 
imler her chin, uid nved her gloved 
huida, " to wW am I indelited for 
tlia himoor F " 

"To make ahort of it, ma'am," 
wtamed Mr. Boffin, "perhaps yon 
Bay be aconainted with Out names of 
DB and Mn. Boffin, a« having come 
icto a certain property." 

"I haT8 heard, gir, ' returned Mra. 
WUfar, with B dignified bend of her 
ksbl, "of auch being the caae." 

" And I dare ny, ma'am," panned 
Hi. Boffin, while Mia. Boffin added 
KM-'inatioTj nodi and imilea, " you 
m not TOTT mnoh inclined to take 
UJlTtoniF" 

"Pifnlon mo," aaid Ura. Wilfer. 
"Tweie nnjoit to visit upon Hr. 
nd Hn. Boffin a calami^ which 
wtadmbtlaaadiBpeasation. Theae 
wad* weie tendated the more effec- 
lira ^ a aerenely hendo ezpresiion 
((anfiaimg. 

"That'a Adrly meant, I am mre," 
wurked the noneit Mr. Boffin; 
. "Hn. Boffin and me, ma'am, an 
jUin people, and we don't want to 
freCend to anything, taor jret to go 
nnnd and roond at anything : ' 

'^aiSt 

Conaequentl; 
■uks tMa call to toy, that wl _ — 
Ic gkd to have the tumour and plea- 
ma of your daughter's aoquaint- 
uee, and that we ahall be lejiced if 
Joni daughter will come to consider 
ou boon in the light of har home 
•i;Qilly with thii. In short, wa want 
to cheer your daughtor, and to give 
liB Uie opportunity of sharing such 
pieunrea aa wo aro a goine to take 
•nnelTes. We want to brisk her up, 
ud biisk het aboul^ and give bet a 



"Thatfs 



.hafsiti" said the open-hearted 

Vn. Boffin. " Iior I Lot'i ba com- 
fcrtible." 
U», WUfer bent her head in a dis- 



wjth majestic monotony replied to Qis 
gentieman: 

" Pardon me. T have asrera] dangh- 

ten. Which of my daogfatsn am I 
to understand ia thus favoured by the 
kind intentiona of Mr. Boffin aid hia 
ladyP" 

"Don't yon aeeF" the ever-amOing 
Mrs. Boffin put in. " Natnially, Uiaa 
Bella, yon know." 

'■Oh-h!"«aid Hn. Wilfer, with a 
iBverely unoonvinced look. " My 
daughter Bella is aooesaible and aball 
speiUE for herself " Then opening the 
door a little way, simultaneuual j with 
* sound of scuttling outside it, the 

•od lady made the proclamation, 

3end Misa Bella to me: " Which 
proclnmatioii, though groiidly ft^rmal, 

d one might almost say hoinldic, 

hear, was in bet enunciated with 
her malcmal eyea reproachfully glar- 
ing on that young lady in the flesh 
— and in so mnch of it that she waa 
retiring with difficulty into the iroall 
closet under the stairs, appreheoidTe of 
the emergence of Mr. and Mrs, Boffin. 

" The avocationa of E, W., my 
husband," Mra. Wilfer eiplained, on 
resuming her seat, " keep him fuUy 



bonODT of participating in your recep- 
tion beneath our humble roof." 

"Very pleasant premises!" aaid 
Mr. Boffin, cheerfully. 

"Pardon ma, air," retmrned Mrs. 
Wilfer, correcting him, "it ii the 
abode of conscious tboo^ indepen- 
dent Poverty." 

Finding it rather difBcolt to pnnue 
tbe convenation down this roaid, Mr. 
and Mrs. Boffin sat etaring at mid- 
air, and Mrs. Wilfer sat silently giving 
them to onderBtand that every breath 
she drew required to be drawn with a 
self-denial rarely paralleled in hia- 
tory, until Miss Sella appeared : 
whom Mia. Wilfer pnoentnd, and to 



sure," said Miss Bella, coldly shaking 
her corls, " bat I doubt if I have tb* 
inclination to go <mt at aU." 



70 



OUH MUTXJAL FRIEND. 



like aa omen, that yon ehoidd speak 
of Bhowin^ the Deaa to one so young 
and blooming.** 

Now, BelU BUBpected by this time 
that Mr. Kokesmith admired her. 
Whether the knowledge (for it was 
rather that than suspicion) caused 
her to incline to him a little more, or 
a little less, than she had done at 
first; whether it rendered her eager 
to find out more about him, because 
she sought to establish reason for her 
distrust, or because she sought to 
free him from it, was as yet dark to 
her own heart But at most times 
he occupied a great amoimt of her 
attention, and she had set her atten- 
tion doeely on this incident. 

That he knew it as well as she, she 
knew as well as he, when they were 
left together standing on the path by 
the g^en gate. 

** Those are worthy people, Miss 
Wilfer." 

" Do y<m know them well f asked 
Bella. 

He smiled, reproaching her, and 
she coloured, reproaching herself — 
both, with the knowled^ that she 
had meant to entrap hun into an 
answer not true — ^when he said **I 
know of them." 

" Truly, he told us he had seen you 
but once." 

*^ Truly, I supposed he did." 

Bella was nervous now, and would 
have been glad to recall her question. 

"You thought it strange that, 
feeling much interested in you, I 
shoula start at what sounded like a 
proposal to bring you into contact 
with the murdered man who lies in 
his grave. I might have known — of 
course in a moment should have 
known — ^that it could not have that 
meaning. But my interest remains." 

Re-entering the family-room in a 
meditative state, Miss Bella was re- 
ceived by the irrepressible Lavinia 
with: 

''There, Bella! At last I hope 
yott have got your wishes realized — 



by your Boi&na Yofi*]l 
enough now — with your 
You can have as much flirtii 
likeo— atyourBofiins'. Buty 
take m# to your Boffins, I cai 
— you and your Bofi&ns too T 

" I^" quoth Mr. George g 
moodily pulling his stopi 
''Miss Bella's &. Boffin oo: 
more of his nonsense to im 
wish him to understand, as 
man and man, that he does 

per " and was going to s 

out Miss Lavinia, having i 
dcnce in his mental powers, i 
ing his oration to have no 
application to any^ drcui 
jerked his stopper in agaix 
sharpness that made his eyec 

And now the worthy Mrs 
having used her youngest < 
as a uiy-figure for the edifi 
these ^ffins, became blanc 
and proceeded to develop hei 
stance of force of characte 
was still in reserve. This 
illuminate the family wiUi 
markable powers as a physio 
powers that terrified R. W. i 
let loose, as bein^ always 
with gloom and evil which 
rior prescience was aware 
this Mrs. Wilfer now did, 1 
served, in jealousy of these 
in the very same moments ' 
was already reflecting how s 
flourish these very same Bo 
the state they kept, over the 
her Boffinless friends. 

"Of their manners," 8( 
Wilfer, "I say nothing, 
ap^arance, I say nothmg. 
disinterestedness of their i 
towards Bella, I say nothi 
the craft, the secrecy, the d 
underhanded plotting, writte 
Boffin's countenance, make : 
der." 

As an incontrovertible p 
those baleful attributes 
there, Mrs. WHfer shudden 
spot 




OtIH MUTUAL FBIGHD. 
CHAPTEB X. 



TiMKB b excitement in the Ve- 
tKriDg mansiDn. The mature young 
Ur ia going to be married (ponder 
iMiU) to the matiiTe joung gentle- 
nu, and she ia to be nuuried Aijm 
tiu VeDearing houM, and the Ve- 
immngi are to give the breakfast. 
ThB Analytica], who objects as a 
~"""T of principle to everything 



tbitdc 



1 the 



ixia that to-monow'i feut maj be 
CTDvned with Boven. 

Ills mature yoong Udy is s lady 
»f property. The mature Toung 
putlemsii ii a gfntlemao of pro- 
perty. Qe iuvMtfl his properly. He 
pM, in a caodescending Hmateansh 
*>i, into the City, attends meetings 
cf Diitctors, and has to do with traf- 
te in Shares. As is we!) known to 
llu wise in their generation, truffic in 
Buns is the one thinz to have to do 
«ilh in this world. Ilave no antece- 
^ts, no established character, no 
mlliiitioEi, no idens, no manners ; 
JmShart* Have Shares enough to 
UoB Bosids of Direction in capital 
Hten, oscillate on mysteiious buai- 
lUHbetwcca London and Paris, and be 
pot. Where doee he come from t 
Bltires. Where is he going to r 
jUtM. What are his tastes t Shares. 
Hw he any principles F Sharee. 
Jp»t squeezes him into Parliameiit t 
™tit». Perhaps he never of him- 
*K schieved success in anything, 
Wet originated anything, nevnr nm- 



ing F Soffit 
; Shares. O mighty Shares I 
thoee blaring images so high, 



nidet the influBucB of henbane or 
*piiuii,Mcry out,ni);htaadday, "Re- 
^rg US of OUT money, scattor it far us, 
"T a* and eeU us, niin ua, only we 
■■vech ye take rank among the powers 
<I Ihs earth, and tatton on us 1" 



While tlie Lorei and Graeea Imts 
been preparing this torch for Hymen, 
which ia to be kindled to-morrow, 
Mr. Twemlow haa suffered much in 
his mind. It would seem that both 
the mature young lady and the ma- 
ture young gentlemaa must indubi- 
tably be Veneering's oldest friends. 
Wards of hia, perhaps F Tet that 
can scarcely be, for they are older 
than himself. Veneering has been 
in their conGdeoce throughout, and 
has done much to lure them to the 
altar. He has mentioned to Twemlow 
bowhesnidto Mrs. Veneering. "Anas- 
tatia, this must be a mstch. He haa 
mentioned to Twemlow how he 
rci;ards Sophtonia Akerahem (the 
mature young lady) in the light 
of a litUa, and Altred Lammls (the 
mature yoong gentleman) in the 
light *of a brother. Twemlow has 
asked him whether he went to school 
as a junior with Alfred P He hM 
answered, " Not exactly ." Whether 



so." Twemlow*! hand has gone I 
hia forehead wiUi a lost air 

But, two or three weeks ago. 
Twemlow, sitting over his news- 
paper, and over his dry-toast and 
weak tea, and over the atable-yBrd in 
Duke Street, St James's, received • 
highly-perfumed , cocked-hat and 
monogram from Uts. Veneering, 
entreating her dearest Mr. T., if not 
particularly engsged that day, to 
come like a charnung soul and make 
a fourth at diimer with dear Mr. 
p, for the discussion of an 



intor«tmg &mily topic ; the last 
three words doubly iinderlinad and 
pointed with a note of admiration. 
And Twemlow, replying, " Not en- 
gaged, and more than delighted," 
gucB, and this tskea place : 

" My dear Twemlow," says Veneer- 
ing, "your teady recponse to Anas- 



truly '""■'i and like m o^^ <>^ 



72 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



friend. You know our dear friend 
PodsnapP" 

Twemlow ought to know the dear 
friend Podanap who covered him 
with BO much confusion^ and he Bays 
he does know him, and Podsnap re- 
ciprocates. Apparently, Podsnap 
has been so wrought upon in a short 
time, as to believe that he has been 
intimate in the house many^, many, 
many years. In the friendhcst man- 
ner he is making himself quite at 
home with his oack to the fire, 
executing a statuette of the Colossus 
at Rhodes. Twemlow has before 
noticed in his feeble way how soon 
the Veneering guests become infected 
with the Veneering fiction. Not, 
however, that he has the least notion 
of its being his own case. 

" Our friends, Alfred and Sophro- 
nia," pursues Veneering* the veiled 
prophet: "our friends Alfred and 
oopnronia, you will be glad to hear, 
my dear fellows, are going to be 
married. As my wife and I dlake it 
fs family affair, the entire direction of 
which we take upon ourselves, of 
course our first step is to communi- 
cate the fact to our family friends." 

("Oh!" thinks Twemlow, with 
his eyes on Podsnap, " then there are 
only two of us, and he's the other.") 

"I did hope," Veneering goes on, 
'* to have had Lady Tippins to meet 
you; but she is always in request, 
and is unfortunately engaged." 

("Oh!" thinks Twemlow, with 
his eyes wandering, " then there are 
three of us, and »htti the other.") 

"Mortimer Lightwood," resumes 
Veneering, " whom you both know, 
is out of town ; but he writes, in his 
whimsical manner, that as we ask 
him to be bridegroom's best man 
when the ceremony takes place, he 
will not refuse, though he doesn't 
see what he has to do with it." 

("Ohl" thinks Twemlow, with 
his eyes rolling, "then there are 
four of us, and M» the other.") 

" Boots and Brewer,'* observes Ve- 
neering, " whom you also know, I 
have not asked to-day ; but I 
Btirve them for the occasion." 



i-e- 



("Then," thinks Twemlow, with 

his eyes shut, "there are si " 

But here collapses and does not com- 
pletely recover until dinner is over 
and the Analytical has been requested 
to withdraw.) 

" We now come," says Veneering, 
" to the point, the real point, of our 
little fiunily consultation. Sophronia, 
having lost both father and motheri 
has no one to give her away." 

"Give her away yourself" says 
Podsnap. 

" My dear Podsnap, no. For three 
reasons. Firstly, because I couldn't 
take BO much upon myself when I 
have respected family friends to re- 
member. Secondly, because I am 
not so vain as to think that I look 
the part. Thirdly, because Anastatia 
is a little superstitious on the subject 
and feels averse to my giving away 
anybody until baby is old enough to 
bo m&med 

"What would happen if he did?" 
Podsnap inquires of Mrs. Veneering. 

" My dear Mr. Podsnap, it's very 
foolish I know, but 1 have an in- 
stinctive presentiment that if Hamil- 
ton gave away anybody else first, he 
would never give away baby." Thus 
Mrs. Veneering , with her open hands 
pressed together, and each of her eight 
aquiline fingers looking so very Uke 
her one aquUine nose that the bran- 
new jewels on them seem necessary 
for distinction's sake. 

" But, my dear Podsnap," quoth 
Veneering, "there w a tried friend 
of our family who, I think and hope 
you will agree with me, Podaoap, is 
the friend on whom this agreeable 
duty almost naturally devolves. 
That friend," saying the words as if 
the company were about a hundred 
and fifty in number, " is now among 
us. That friend is Twemlow." 

" Certainly ! " From Podsnap. 

" That friend," Veneering rejKsatS 
with greater firmness, "is our dear 
good Twemlow. And I cannot 8uffi« 
ciently express to you, my dear Pod- 
snap, the pleasure I feel in having 
this opinion of mine and Anastatia'9 
bj readily confirmed by you, that 




OUB UUTUAL FRIEND. 



•Uiar equally hmiliaT uul tried 

friend whu stoiida in the piond poei- 

• tkia — I mean who proodly etanos in 
I tb pontion — or I ought rather to 
[ tn, irbo places Anaatatia and 

* wf in the proud position of hii 
I M.nJinj. JQ tiie simple poaitioa — of 
1 kby's god£ither." And, indoad, 
I Taweriog is much relieved in mind 
I to find that PcKlHaap betrays DO 

Ijolooiy of Xwemlov'B elevation. 
Eo, It has come to paai that the 
miag-ran is strewing flowcn on 
it loBf hours and on Che staircase, 
; ud that Twemlow is surveying the 
j paaai on which be ia to play his 
I iliniiiguiahed put to-moirow. He 
I ^ibeady been to the church, and 
; Uen not« of the various impedi- 

f moils in the aislo, under the auipicea 
tl ui extremely dreanr widow who 
cpau the pews, and whose left hand 
*P(Hir> to be in a state of aoute 
~ dimmatism, bat is in &ct voluntarily 
I doDbJed up to act as a money-box. 
I And now Veneering shoots out of 
I lln Study wherein be is accustomed, 
' when contemplative, to give bis mind 
I to the carving and gildiog of the Fil- 
r pina going to Canterbury, in order 
toihow Twemlow the litlie flourish 
[ it hu prepared for tbs trumpets of 
Uiion, describtcg huw that on the 
I Knnleentb instant;, at St. Jamea's 
Qmrch, the Keverend Blank Blanlc, 
I Miitol by the Beverend Dash Daeh, 
■ soiled in the bonds of matrimony, 

IAIInd Lumnle, Esquire, of Sock- 
vUn Street, Piocadilty, to Sophronia, 
nly daughter of the Ute Horatio 
liersheni, Eaquire, of Yorkshire. 
IAlig how the fair bride was married 
fnm the house of Hamilton Teneer- 
Bf, Esquire, of Stucconia, and was 
fifa awsy by Melvin Twemlow, 
UqnJra, of Boke Street, St. James"s, 
I >noiid cousin to Lord Soiggworth, of 
I SiiEbnorlby Parli. While perusing 
I *liich composition, Tivemlow makte 
I tutai opaque approach to perceiving 
thnt if the Reverend V-ltuik Blank 
•nd the Rererend Daab Dash fail, 
j ■ficr this inlroduclion, to become 
I ♦■imHaJ in the list of VeneerinR*s 
I <ieuM; and uliiost liiaiids, thoy will 



• bot themtalTM lo Uionlc 



tor it 

After which, appears Sopbronia 
(whom Twemlow has seen twico in. 
hia lifetime), to thank Twtmlow for 
countorleiting the late Hcnitio Aber- 
shem, Esquire, broadly of Yorkshire. 
And after hor, appears Alfred (wham 
Twemlow baa seen once in bu life- 
time), to do the same, and to make a 
pasty sort of glitter, u if he were 
constructed for candlelight only, and 
had bean let out into daylight by 
some grand miEtuko. And after that, 
comes ilia. Veneering, in a pervad- 
iiiKty aquiline state of figure, and 
wilh transparent little knobs on her 
temper, like the little tmnsparoot 
knob on the bridgo of her nose, 
" Worn out by wonr and eicile- 
mont," as eho tella her dear Mr. 
Twemlo"', and reluctantly revived 
with cura^oa by the Analytical. And 
after that, the bridesmaids begin to 
come by niili'oad from various parts 
of the country, and to come like 
adorable recruits enlisted by a ser- 
geant not present ; for, on arriving 
at the Vcni'oring depflt, they are in 
a barrack of Btrungerg. 

So, Twemlow bogb home to Duke 
trect, St. Jumea B, to take a plate of 
luttou broth with a chop in it, and 
look at the marriai^o service, in 
order that be may cut in at the right 
ilace to-niunowj and ho is low, and 
l^il'Ib it dull over the livery stable- 
ard, and ia distinctly aware of a 
iot in hii beait, made by the moat 
adorable of the adorable bridesmaids. 
For, the poor little hannless gentle- 
man once had hia fancy, like the rest 
of us, and she didn't anewer [as she 
often does not), and he thinks the 
adorable bridesmaid is like the fancy 
as ahe was then (which she ia not at 
all), and that if the fancy had not 
married aome one elea for money, 
but had married him for love, he and 
she would have been happy (which 
they wouldn't have boon}, and that 
nhe haa a tenderness for him still 
(wheifus her toughncas ia a proverb), 
Urnodini; ever tho Bre, with his driM 
little head in hia dried little faandBi 



74 



OUR ITDTUAL PETEKDl 



and las di*ied little elbows on his' 
dried little knees, Twemlow is me- 
laDcholy. ** No Adorable to bear me 
company here!" thinks he. ^'No 
Adorable st the club! A waste, a 
waste, a waste, my Twemlow ! '* And 
so drops asleep, and has galvanic 
starts aU over Imn. 

Betimes next morning, that horri- 
ble old Lady Tippins (relict of the 
late Sir Thomas Tippins, knighted in 
mistake for somebody else by His 
Majesty King Qeorge the Third, who, 
while performing the ceremony, was 
grvciously pleased to observe, "What, 
what, what ? Who, who, who ? Why, 
why, why P") begins to be dyed and 
▼anushed for the mteresting occasion. 
She has a reputation for giving smart 
accoimts of things, and she must be 
at these people's early, my dear, to 
lose nothmg of the fiin. Where- 
about in the bonnet and drapery 
annoimcod by her name, any frag- 
ment of the real woman may be con- 
cealed, is perhaps known to her maid ; 
but you could easily buy all you see 
of her, in Bond Street : or you might 
scalp her, and peel her, and scrape 
her, and make two Lady Tippinses 
out of her, and yet not penetrate to 
the genuine article. She has a large 
gold eye-glass, has Lady Tippins, to 
survey the proceedings with. If she 
had one in each eye, it might keep 
that other drooping lid up, and look 
more uniform. But perennial ycuth 
is in her artificial flowers, and her 
list of lovers is fulL 

"Mortimer, you wretch," says 
Lady Tippins, turning the e^e-glass 
about and about, ''where is your 
charge, the bridegroom P" 

"Give you mv honour," returns 
Mortimer, "I ion*t know, and I 
dim't care." 

" Miserable I Is that the way you 
do your duty P" 

"Beyond an impression that he 
Is to sit upon my knee and be seconded 
at some point of the solemnities, like 
a principal at a prize- ligl it, I assure 
you I have no notion what my duty 
18," returns Mortimer. 

Eugene is also in attendance, with 



a pervading air npon bim of 
presupposed the ceremony 1 
funeral, and of being disap 
The scene is the Yestry-rooi 
James's Church, with a nuj 
leathery old registers on sheb 
might be bound in Lady Tip] 

But, hark! A carriage 
gate, and Mortimer's man 
looking rather like a spuzic 
phistopheles and an nnackno' 
member of that gentleman's 
Whom Lady Tippins, su 
through her eye-glass, con: 
fine man, and quite a catch ; 
whom Mortimer remarks, 
lowest spirits, as he approac 
believe this is my fellow, e 
him!" More carriages at t] 
and lo the rest of the clu 
Whom Lady Tippins, standi 
cushion, surveying thix>ugh 
glass, thus checks off : " Brid 
and-forty if a day, thirty shi 
yard, veil fifteen poimds, 
handkerchief a present. Bride 
kept down for fear of oul 
bride, consequently not girls, 
and sixpence a yard. Yen 
flowers, snub-nosed one rathe 
but too conscious of her st 
bonnets three pound ten. 
low; blessed release for t 
man if she really was his di 
nervous even under the prete 
she is, well he may be. "hi 
neering ; never saw such vel 
two thousand pounds as she 
absolute jeweller's window, 
must have been a pawnbn 
how could these people do i 
tendant unknowns ; pokey." 

Ceremony performed, 
signed. Lady Tippins 68corte< 
sacred editice by Veneerii 
riagos rolling back to St 
servants with favours and 
Veneering' s house reached, d 
rooms most magnificent. H 
Podiinaps await the happy 
Mr. Podsnap, with his hair- 
made the most of; that : 
rocking-horse, "Mia. Podsnc 
jesticttlly skittish. Here, 1 
Boots and Brewer, and the U 



Jt- 



OITB HUTUiX FBIEND. 



K 



teh Bnflbr with % Sower' 
oa-hole, hu hair curled, 
ore* bnttoned on tight, 
oome prepared, if anv- 
happened U> the biide- 
9 m&rried iiutantlf. Hera, 
ide's aunt, and next rela- 
Lowed female af a Meduaa 
OOey cap, glaring petriliic- 
' fellow-creataraB. Here, 
ide'i Inutee; an oilcake- 
' liusineaa-gantleman with 
sctaclea, and an object of 
at Veneering launchinft 
■n this trustee aa hia oIde«t 
oh makes seven. Twemlow 
nd coofideDtiaUy retiring 



to whisper Thir-tv Thou- 



^estiva of the verjr finest 
okey unknowna, amazed la 
ntimately they know Ve- 
luck up spirit, fold their 

begin ti) contradict him 
akfkat. What time Mn. 

cariying bahy dreased us 
id. mta about among the 
nnitting flashes of nuinv- 

nd nibiea. 

ilylical, in course of time 

rbat he feels to be due to 

sever^ qnarrals ha has on 
the pastrycook's men, an- 
eakfusl Dining-room no 
]cent than dravong-room ; 
rb ; oil the camels out, and 
Splendid cake, covered 
is, silver, and true-loTere' 
lendid bracelet, produced 
og before going down, an ' 
m the arm of bride. Yi 
ma to think much more i 
TOgs than if they were 
iCiUord and landljidy doing 
n Ihe way of buaf 
id. The bride a 
[ and Uugh Kpa 
jn their manner . . _ . 
ik their way through the 



diahea with lyfteraatic p em * »ia nc«, 

as has always been Ihtir manner ; and 
the pokey aoknowns are exceedingly 
benevolent to one another in invita- 
tions to take glasses of champagne ; 
but Mrs. Podsnap, arching her mana 
and rocking her grandest, has a far 
more deferential audience than Ml*. 
Veneerine ; and Fodioap all but doe* 
the honoim. 

Another jjiirrfiftT circnmstanco is, that 
Veneering, having tho captivating 
Tippins on one side of him and the 
bnde'a aunt on the other, Snda it im- 
mensely difficult to keep the peace. 
For, Medusa, besides unmistalingly 
glaring petrifaction at the fascinatmg 
Tippins, follows every lively remark 
made by that dear creature, with aa 
audible «nort ; which may be refer- 
able to a chronic cold in the head, but 
may also be referable to indignation 
and contempt. And this mort beinj 
regular in its reproduction, at length 
cornea to be expeetAd by the company, 
who make embarrassing pauses when 
it is Ealing due, and by waiting for 
it, render it more emphatic when it 
comes. The stoney aunt has likewise 
an injurious way of rejecting all diahea 
whereof Lady Tippins partakes : say- 
ing aloud when they are proffered to 
her, " No, no, oo, not for me. Take 
it away!" As with a set puijioee of 



riahwl upon similar meata, ahe might 
come to be like that chaimer, which 
would be a fatal consummation. 
Aware of her enemy, I^dy Tippina 
tries a youthful sally or two, and tries 
the eye-glass ; but, from the impene- 
ti'able cap and snorting armour of th« 
stoney aunt all weapona rebound 
powerless. 

Another objectioDablecircnmstanoA 
ia, that tho pokey unknowns support 
each other in being unimpresiible. 
They persist in not Icing frii^hlened 
by the gold and ailver camels, and 
tliGy are banded together to defy the 
elaborately chased ice-pails. 'They 

utterance of the sentiment that the 
landlord and landlady will make • 
pretty good profit oat Of thia, aM 



76 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



ihey almort carry themselves like 
customen. Nor is there oompensat- 
ing influence in the adorable brides- 
maids ; for, having very little interest 
in the bride, and none at all in one 
another, those lovely beings become, 
each one on her own account, depre- 
ciatingly contemplative of the milli- 
nery present Wfiile the bridegroom's 
man, exhausted, in the back of his 
chair, appears to be improving the 
occasion by penitentially contemplat- 
ing all the wrong he has ever done ; 
Ihe difference between him and his 
^end Eugene being, that the latter, 
in the back of his chair, appears to be 
contemplating all the wrong he would 
Uce to ao — ^particularly to uie present 
company. 

In which state of affiurs, the usual 
ceremonies rather droop and flag, and 
the splendid cake when cut by the 
fair hand of the bride has but an in- 
digestible appearance. However, all 
the things indispensable to be said are 
said, ana all the things indispensable 
to be done are done including Lady 
Tippins's yawning, fadling asleep, 
and waking insensible), and there is 
hurried preparation for the nuptial 
journey to the Isle of Wight, and the 
outer air teems with brass bands and 
spectators. In full sight of whom, 
the malignant star of the Analytical 
has pre-ordained that pain and ridi- 
cule shall befall him. For he, stand- 
ing on the doorsteps to grace the de- 
parture, is suddenly caught a most 
prodigious thump on the side of his 
head with a heavy shoe, which a 
Buffer in the haU, champagne-flushed 
and wild of aim, has borrowed on 
the spur of the moment from the 
pastrvcook's porter, to cast after 
the departtng pair as an auspicious 
•men. 

So they all go up again into the 
gorgeous drawing-rooms— all of them 
lushed with breakfast, as having taken 
scarlatina sociably — and there the 
combined unknowns do malignant 
things with their legs to ottomans, 
and take as much as possible out of 
tAe splendid /timJture. And so. Lady 
T/ppius, quite undotormined whether 



to-day is the day before yesterday, a 
the day after to-morrow, or the week 
after next, fades away; and Mortimer 
Lightwood and Eugene f&de away, 
and Twemlow fiidos away, and the 
stonev aunt goes away — she declines 
to fiide, proving rock to the last — and 
even the unknowns are slowly strained 
off, and it is all over. 

All over, that is to say, for the tim« 
being. But, there is another time to 
come, and it comes in about a fort- 
night, and it comes to Mr. and Mrs. 
Lejnmle on the sands at Shimklin, in 
the Isle of Wight 

Mr. and Mrs. Lammle hare walked 
for some time on the Shanklin sands, 
and one may see by their footprints 
that they Itave not walked arm in 
arm, and that they have not walked 
in a straight track, and that they 
have walked in a moody humour; 
for, the lady has prodded little spirt- 
ing holes in the damp sand before her 
with her parasol, and the gentleman 
has trailed his stick after him. As if 
he were of the Mephistopheles fiunily 
indeed, and had walked with a droop* 
ing taiL 

**Do you mean to tell me^ then, 
Sophronia ** 

Thus he begins after a long silenoa 
when Sophronia flashes fiercely, aai 
turns upon him. 

« Don't put it upon «!«, sir. I ask 
you, do you mean to tell me ?" 

Mr. Lammle fiiUs silent again, and 
they walk as before. Mis. Lammle 
opens her nostrils and bites her under- 
lip ; Mr. Lammle takes his gingerous 
whiskers in his left hand, and bring- 
ing them together, frowns furtively 
at his beloved, out of a thick gingerous 
bush. 

*' Do /mean to say ! " Mrs. Lammle 
after a time repeats, with indignation. 
** Putting it on me ! The unmanly 
disingenuousness ! " 

Mr. Lammle stops, releases his 
whiskers, and looks at her. **Ths 
what P" 

Mrs. Lammle haughtily replies^ 
without stopping, and without look- 
infi" back. ** The meanness." 

tie Vi fttVuBt ndft «(5&ixi in a pace cc 




OTJB MtTTDAL i%IEND. 



I lid.' 



I'if' inthecaae. Ton 

I did. then. And what of itf" 

"Wlut of itF' mj» Mr. Lammla. 
'Hne TOO the &ceto otter the wind 
tome?'' 

'ITie bee, tool" replied His. 
Ummle,- itaniig at him with cold 
nm. "Pr&y, how due jo^ nr, 
tta the word to me ?" 

"1 Bever did." 

Ai thii happena to be true, Hn. 
Idzmile ifl thrown on the feminine 
nKmrue of aajring, "I don't care what 
jniBttaredordidnot ntter." 

After a liUle more waUdn^ and a 
EtUemore sileDceL Mr. I^mmle breaki 
ttelitUr. 

"Too «h«n proceed in yonr own 
m. Ton cUim a right to ask me 
Jslmeaji to tell fon. Dolmeanto 
M TOO what F" 

"That fon are a man of property F " 

"Then too married me on lalae 
jntenceaf'" 

"So be it. Noit cornea what yon 
DMn to tty. Do you mf an to taj 
m of property F" 

"Hen TOn married me on fidae 
pnteaces.'^ 

"If yon wen so dull a fbrtim»- 
Iniiita' that you deceived yonnelj; or 
it yon were m greedy and grasping 
Iw joQ were over-wulinK to bede- 
M>M by appearancea, ia it my ikult, 
im adventurer F" the lady d^nanda, 
■ith great asperity. 

"I aaked Veneering, and he told 
Oajou were rich." 

"Vmeeringl ' ' with great contempt. 
"And what doei Veneering Imow 



pm 



•ome odd ahiUinga at pence, if yoa 

are tbh' particular." 

Mr. Lajninle bestows a by no meani 
loving look upon the rartner of his 
joj-a and aorrowa, and he mutton 
something ; but checks hinuelf. 

" Question for question. It is mj 
turn again, Ura. X^mmle. What 
made von aappoae ma a man of pro- 
perty f" 

"You made me soppoea yoo to. 
Perhaps you will deny that yon al> 
ways presented yourself to ma in that 
chaiHcler t" 

"But yoo asked somebodj-, too. 
Come, Mrs. Idmmle, admiesion for 
admission. Too aak^ somebody F" 

" I asked Veneering." 

" And Veneering knew aa much of 
me as he knew of yoo, or ai anybody 
known of him." 

After more silent walking, the brida 
stops short, to say in ■ paaaionate 

"I never will for^ve the Veneer- 

ings for this ! " 

" Neither will I," retuiia the bride- 
groom. 

With that, they walk again ; she, 
making those angry spirts in the Sand 
he, dragging that dejected tail. The 
tide is low. and seems to have thrown 
them together high on the bare shore. 
A gull cornea sweeping by their heads, 
and flouts them. There was a golden 
Buriace on the brown cliSs but now, 
and behold they are only damp earth. 
A taunting ivac come! fiom (he H«, 
and the &T-out rollers mount opon 
one another, to look at the entra[^)ed 
impostote, and to join in impish and 
exultant gambols. 

'" Do you pretend to lielieve," Mrs. 
jjunmle resumes, sternly, "when you 
talk of my marrying you for worldly 
advantages, that it was within the 



tnntis not a very difficult- one, for 
Hnnly u) nmitiily of a hundred end 
tHecn pounda. I think there ate 



■olfF" 

•' Again there are two aides to the 
queation. Kirs. Lnmmle. VAiat do 
you protend to believe!'" 

" So you firft deceive me and tb«n 
insult me!" cries the lady, with A 
heaving bosom. 



T8 



OUK MUTUAL FBl£NI). 



'^Kot at an. I have originated 
nothing. The douhle-edged question 
wasyouTB." 

** Was mine !" the bride repeats, and 
herparasol breaks in her angry hand. 

Mis colour has turned to a livid 
white, and ominous marks have come 
to light about his nose, as if the finger 
of the very devil himaJRlf had, \^'ithin 
the last few moments, touched it here 
and there. But he has repressive 
power, and she has none. 

** Throw it away," he coolly re- 
commends as to the parasol; **yoa 
have made it useless ; you look ndi- 
cnlous with it." 

Whereupon she calls him in her 
rage, "a doliberate villain," and so 
casts the broken thing from her as 
that it strikes him in falling. The 
finger-marks are something whiter 
for the instant) but he walks on at 
her side. 

She bursts into tears, declaring 
herself the wretchedest, the most de- 
ceived, the worst-used, of women. 
Then she says that if she had the 
courage to kill herself, she would do 
it Then she calls him vile impostor. 
Then she asks him, why, in the dis- 
appointment of his base speculation, 
he does not take her Ufe with his 
own hand, under the present fiivour- 
able circumstances. Then she cries 
again. Then she is enraged again, 
and makes some mention of swindlers. 
Finally, she sits down crying on a 
block of stone, and is in all the 
Imown and unknown humours of her 
sex at once. Pending her changes, 
those aforesaid marks m his face have 
come and gone, now here now there, 
like white stops of a pipe on which 
the diabolical performer has played a 
tune. Also his Uvid lips are parted 
at last, as if he were breathless with 
running. Yet he is not. 

** Now, get up, Mrs. Lammlo, and 
let us speak reasonably." 

She sits upon her stone, and takes 
no heed of mm. 

" Get up, I tell you." 

Kaising her head, she looks con- 
temptuously in his face, and repeats, 
** You tell me I Tell me, forsooth ! " 



She affects not to know that hit 
eyes are fastened on her as she droops 
her head again ; but her whole 
figure reveals that she knows it im« 
easily. 

*' i^Inough of this. Come ! Do yoa 
hearf Get up!" 

Yielding to his hand, she rises, 
and they walk again ; but this time 
with their faces l^med towards their 
place of residence. 

" Mrs. Lammle, we have both been 
decehring, and we have both been 
deceived. We have both he&a. biting^ 
and we have both been bitten. In a 
niit-shellf there's the state of the 
case." 

" You sought me out ** 

''Tut! Let us have done with 
that We know very well how it 
was. Why should you and I talk 
about it, when you and I can't dis- 
guise itP To proceed. I am dis- 
appointed and cut a poor figure." 

"Am I no one P" 

" Some one— and I was coming to 
yon, if you had waited a moment. 
You, too, are disappointed and cot ^ 
poor figure." 

" An injured figure ! " 

"You are now cool enough, So— 
phronia, to see that you can^t 
injured without my being equall] 
injured ; and that therefore the men 
word is not to the purpose. When "2 
look back, I wonder how I can bav^ 
been such a fool as to take you to 
great an extent upon trust" 

" And when I look bade " tli^ 

bride cries, interrupting. 

"And when you look back, yofo. 
wonder how you can have been- — 
you'll excuse tne word P " 

"Most certainly, with bo mo<^ 
reason." 

" — Such a fool as to take meto^^ 
great an extent upon trust But tb;0 
folly is committed on both sides. ^ 
cannot get rid of you; j'ou caiU*^ 
got rid of me. What follows P " ^ _ 

"Shame and misery," the bri^ 
bitterly replies. 

" I don't know. A mutual imd^*^ 
standing follows, and I think it n^'^^ 
cany us through. Here I split tPJ 




PODSNAPPERY. 




OUa MUTUAL FttlEND. 



TB 



I (r{tb ms your aim, Bo- 

|>hroiiia) into three lieadi. to make 

It diorter and plainer. Firetly, il'B 

Mtouffh to have been done, wi tliont the 

moitilication of being known to have 

been done. So va agree to keep the 

bet to ouiselreB l[ou agree? 

" If it U possible, I do." 

^ Poaeibie I We have pretended 

well enoQRh to one anatheT. Can't 

ve, united, pretend to tho world P 

kS^raed. Secondly, we Ove tlin 

r ^ tfuecriogii a grudge, and ^a owe 

I all other people the grudge of wiah- 

1 teg them to be tjtkeu in, as we our- 

I Mliea have been tukea io. AgreedF" 

I "Yea. Agreed." 

\ "We come smoothly to thirdly. 

-- Ton have called me an adv,-nlurer, 

■ Gophronia. &o I am. In nlaiu un- 

I camplimontAry Engtiah. so I am. tio 

E tn yon, my dear. So are many 

" pKiple. We agios to keep oiir own 

Inoet, and to work together in 
fmlieraiice of our own schemes." 
"WhatschemesP" 
"Any scheme that will bring ns 
omey. Bv our own ichemcs, I 
*>mi our joint interest. Ai^eed? " 
Sie anawen, after a little heaita- 
lilo, "I suppose so. Agreed." 
'Ctetiod at once, jou see I Now, 



Bophronia, only half a dozini wonU 

more. We know one another per- 
fectly. Don't be tempted into twit- 
ting mo with the past knowlnije 
that ^ou Wve of me, becuuio it la 
identical with the past knowK'd.iq 
that I have of you, and in twtiin..; 
me, you twit yourBolf, and I don i 
want to hear you do it. \\'ilh II. is 
good undtjrbtiLDding eatubliahinl b<w 

To wind np all: — You have shunri 
temper to-day, Hophi-onia. Don t be 
betrayed into doii:^ aa ngain, beiMUso 
I have a Devil of u tomjier myself." 

tjo, the happy pair, with thu hopo- 
ful marriage contract thus siijned, 
sealed, and delivered, repair home- 
ward. If, when those infernal Bng<.'r- 
marks were on the white and brctlh- 
lesa countenance of Alfrid Lamuils, 
Esquire, they denoted that he con- 
ceived the purpose of subduing his 
dear wife Mrs. Alllnd Lommle, by 
at once divesting her of any lingeiing 
reality or pretence of self-respect, the 
puq)Ose would seem to have been 
pi-ct'.ntly Biecuted. The mature 
young lady has mighty little need of 
powder, now, fur her downoaat face, 
as he escorts her in the light of the 
setting sun to their abode of bliai. 



Vm. PoDRf ap was wen to do, and 

*»d vary high in Mr. Podsnap's 
opinion. Beginning with a good 
iiilientsnce, he bad mari-icd a good 
UiteriUmce, and had thriven cxeeed- 
i»gly in the llorine laaumnco way, 
ud was quite satisGed. He DC^'er 
Willi make out why everj-body was 
'"A q\u\e satinlicd, and ho felt con- 
>Mui that ho set a brilliuut social 
'umple in being poi-ticularly well 
''lislied with most things, and, above 
i'J MhtT Oiinga, wiih liiniBelf. 

'Ibiu lia|ipity n<j|i.uiiaed with his 
«tB lueiil and im^iuWULi:, Hi. Fod- 



anap setUed that whatorer he ptit 

behind him he put out of existence. 
There was a dignified conclusiveness 
— to add a grand CO " "~ 



establiohing Mr. Podsiiap in his lofty 
place in Mr. Podsnap's satisfjction. 
"I don't want to know about it; I 
don't choose to discuss it ; I don't 
admit iti" Mr. Podenap had even 
aequiixd a peculiar flourish of hi» 
right arm in often clearing lho"orld of 
itsmiwtdiflicnltproblenia !iyB"Tcping 

Uieui bcliuid hua (and cousuitucixtli 



80 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEND. 



sheer away) with those words and 
a flushed mce. For they affronted 
him. 

Mr. Podsnap's world was not a 
very large world, morally ; no, nor 
even geographically : seeing that al- 
though his business was sustained 
upon commerce with other countries, 
he considered other countries, with 
that important reservation, a mistake, 
and of their manners and customs 
Avould conclusively observe, "Not 
English!" when, Presto! with a 
flourish of the arm, and a flush of the 
face, they were swept away. Else- 
Avise, the world got up at eight,- 
shaved close at a quarter-past, break- 
fasted at nine, went to the City at 
ten, came home at half-past five, and 
dined at seven. Mr. Podsnap's no- 
tions of the Arts in their integrity 
might have been stated thus. Litera- 
ture ; large print, respectively de- 
scriptive of getting up at eight, 
shaving close at a quarter-past, break- 
fasting at nine, going to the City at 
ten, coming home at half-past nve, 
rmd dining at seven. Painting and 
Sculpture ; models and portraits re- 
presenting Professors of getting up 
at eight, shaving close at a quarter- 
yiisty breakfasting at nine, going to 
the City at ten, coming home at half- 
past five, and dining at seven. Music; 
a respectable performance (without 
vuiiations) on stringed and wind in- 
si I unicnts, scdiltely expressive of get- 
tiiig up at eight, shaving close at a 
tjuai-ter-past, breakfasting at nine, 
yoing to the City at ten, coming 
Ixnne at half-past five, and dining at 
.•^oven. Nothing else to be permitted 
to those Siime vagrants the Arts, on 
1 :iin of excommunication. Nothing 
cjIsc To Be — anywhere ! 

As a so eminently respectable man, 
Mr. Podsnap was sensible of its being 
i( qui red of him to take Providence 
binder his protection. Consequently 
If! always knew exactly what Pro\'i- 
' I -lice meant. Inferior and less re- 
^1 L'ctable men mii^ht fall short of that 
Milk, but Mr. Podsnap was always 
U|» to it. And it was vcrv remark- 
uble (and must havo been ver}- com- 



fortable) that what Providence meant* 
was invariably what Mr. Podsnap 
meant. 

These may be said to have been 
the articles of a faith and school 
which the present chapter takes the 
liberty of calling, after its repi-esen- 
tative man, Podsnappery. They were 
confined within dose bounds, as Mr. 
Podsnap's own head was confined by 
his shirt-collar ; and they were enun- 
ciated with a sounding pomp that 
smacked of the creaking of Mr. Pod* 
snap's own boots. 

There was a Miss Podsnap. And 
this young rocking-horse was being 
trained in her mother's art of pranc- 
ing in a stately manner without ever 
getting on. But the high x>arental 
action was not yet imparted to her, 
and in truth she was but an under- 
sized damsel, with high shoulders, 
low spirits, chilled elbows, and a 
rasped surface of nose, who seemed to 
take occasional frosty peeps out of 
childhood into womanhood, and \a 
shiink back again, overcome by hot 
mother's head-dress and her ^ther 
from head to foot — crushed by th* 
mere dead-weight of Podsnappery. 

A cei-tain institution in Mr. Pod- 
snap's mind which he called "tha 
young person" may be considered to 
have been embodied in Miss Podsnap, 
his daughter. It was an inconvenient 
and exacting institution, as ie(iuirin^ 
everything in the imiverse to be iil&l 
down and fitted to it. The question 
about everything was, would it bring 
a blush into the cheek of the young 
person P And the inconvenience of 
the young person was, that, accord- 
ing to Mr. Podsnap, she seemed 
always liable to burst into blushes 
when there was no need at all. There 
appeared to be no line of demarca- 
tion between the young person's ex- 
cessive innocence, and another per- 
son's guiltiest knowledge. Tako Mr. 
Podsnap's word for it, and the soberest 
tints of drab, white, lilac, and grrey, 
I were all flaming red to this trouble* 
! some Bull of a young person. 
I The Podsnaps lived in a shady 
angle adjoining Portman Square 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



»1 



I a Idnd of people certain 
L Uie shade, whereTer they 
LBS Podanap's life had been, 
first appearance on this 
x>ffetlier of a shady order ; 
'odsnap's young person was 
^et little good out of asso- 
th other young persons, and 
fore been restricted to com- 
p with not very congenial 
sons, and with massiye fur- 
Bliss Podsnap*s early views 
ing principally derived &om 
ctions of it in her father's 
d in the walnut and rose- 
les of the dim drawing-rooms, 
leir swarthy giants of look- 
ies, were oi a sombre cast; 
"as not wonderful that now, 
B was on most days solemnly 
irough the Park by the side 
other in a great tall custard- 
phaeton, she showed above 
m. of that vehicle like a de- 
rang person sitting up in bed 
a startled look at thin^ in 
and very strongly desuing 
ker head under &e counter- 
lin. 

Mr. Podsnap to Mrs. Pod- 
reorgiana is almost eighteen.*' 
Mrs. Podsnap to Mr. Pod- 
tenting, *< Almost eighteen." 
Mr. Podsnap then to Mrs. 
t, " Beally I think we should 
me people on Georgiana's 
." 

Mrs. Podsnap then to Mr. 
V **Which will enable us to 
r all those people who are 

■me to pass that Mr. and IMrs. 
reqnerted the honour of the 
r of seventeen friends of their 
dinner; and that they substi- 
ler friends of their souls for 
he seventeen original friends 
louls as deeply regretted that 
engagement prevented their 
he honour of oining with Mr. 
I. Podsnap, in pursuance of 
id invitation ; and that Mrs. 
• said of all these inconsolable 
fSfl^ MS she checked them off 
mdl in her list, ** Asked, M 



any rate, and got rid of; " and that 
they successfully disposed of a good 
many friends of thoir souls in tliis 
way, and felt their consciences much 
lightened. 

There were still other friends of 
their souls who wore not entitled to 
be asked to dinner, but had a claim 
to be invited to come and take a 
haunch of mutton vapour-bath at 
half-past nine. For the clearing off 
of these worthies, Mrs. Poduiap added 
a small and early evening to the 
dinner, and looked in at the music- 
shop to bespeak a well-conducted 
automaton to come and play quadrilles 
for a carpet dance. 

Mr. and Mrs. Veneering, and Mr. 
and Mrs. Veneering' s bran-new bride 
and bridegroom, were of the dinner 
company ; but the Podsnap establish- 
ment had nothing else m conmion 
with the Veneerings. ]&fr. Podsnap 
could tolerate taste in a mushroom 
man who stood in need of that sort of 
thing, but was far above it himself. 
Hideous solidity was the characteris- 
tic of the Podsnap plate. Everything 
was made to look as heavy as it coulc^ 
and to take up as much room as pos- 
sible. Everything said boastfully, 
" Here you have as much of me in my 
ugliness as if I were only lead ; but I 
am so many ounces of precious metal 
worth so much an ounce ; — wouldn't 
you like to melt me down?" A cor- 
pulent straddling epergne, blotched 
all over as if it had broken out in an 
eruption ratherthan been ornamented, 
delivered -this address from an un- 
sightly silver platform in the centre 
of the tabic. Four silver wine-coolers, 
each furnished with four staring 
heads, each head obtrusively carrying 
a big silver ring in each of its eais, 
conveyed the sentiment up and down 
the table, and handed it on to the pot- 
bellied silver salt-cellars. All the 
big silver spoons and forks widened 
the mouUis of the company expressly 
for the purpose of thrusting the senti- 
ment down their thioata with «v«i:^ 
morsel they ate. 

The majority of the gii«i^ 'w«ce 
Uke the plate, and incl>SL«i ««v«ci^ 



as 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



hmT^ uticles wdghin^ ever so much. 
But there was a foreipfn gentleman 
among them : whom Air. Podsnap 
had in\*ited after much debate with 
himself — believing the whole Euro- 
pean continent to be in mortal alliance 
against the young person — and there 
was a droll disposition, not only on 
the part of Mr. Podsnap, hut of every- 
body else, to treat him as if he were 
a child who was hard of hearing. 

As a delicate concession to this un- 
fortunatcly-bom foreigner, Mr. Pod- 
snap, in receiving him, had presented 
his wife as "Madame Podsnap;" 
also his daughter as " Mademoiselle 
Podsnap," with some inclination to 
add "ma fille," in which bold venture, 
however, he checked himself. The 
VeneeringB being at that time the only 
other arrivals, he had added (in |i 
condescendingly explanatory manner), 
'* Monsieur Yev-nair-reeng," and had 
then subsided mto English. 

"How Do Yon Like London P" 
Mr. Podsnap now inquired from his 
station of host, as if he were adminis- 
tciing something in the nature of a 
powder or potion to the deaf child; 
** London, Londres, London ? " 

The foreign gentleman admired it. 

"You find it Very Large P" said 
Mr. Podsnap, spaciousl}'. 

The foreign gentleman faand it Tery 
large. 

"And Very Rich?" 

The foreign gentleman found it, 
without doubt, enorm^ment riche. 

" Enormously Rich, We say," re- 
turned Mr. Podsnap, in a condescend- 
ing manner. " Our English adverbs 
do Not terminate in Mong, and We 
Pronounce the *ch' as if there were 
a » t • before it. We Say Ritch." 

**Reetch," remarked the foreign 
ffontleman. 

" And Do Yon Find, Sir," pursued 
Mr. Podsnap, with dignity, " Many 
Evidences that Stiike You, of our 
British Constitution in the Streets Of 
llie World's Metropolisy London, 
Londres, London f " 

The foreign gentleman begged to 
be pardoned, but did not altogether 
Ti ll" ^^rs tft^^d - 



of l^ 



"The (k)n8titution Britanniqne,'* r 
Mr. Podsnap explained, as if he wei«-' 
teaching in an infant schooL "Wa*- 
Say British, But You Say Britanniqus^t 
You Know " (forgivingly, as if thap 
were not his feiult). "The Ckmstitn* 
tion. Sir." 

The foreign gentleman said, "Mai^ 
yees ; I know eem." 

A youngish sallowish gentlenuin ia 
spectacles, with a lumpy forehead, 
seated in a supplementary chair at t 
comer of the table, here caused a pit)* 
found sensation by saying, in a linA 
voice, "EsKBB," and then stopping 
dead. 

" Mais oui," said the foreign gentle- 
man, turning towards him. "Est-o^ 
que? Quoidonc?" 

But the gentleman with the Inmpr 
forehead having for the time deliveit^ 
himself of all that he found behifl^ 
his lumps, spake for the time i>^ 
more. ~ 

« I Was Liquiring," said Mr. Po*^ 
snap, resuming the thread ~ " 
disburse, "Whether Yon Have 
served in our Streets as We Bho 
say, Upon our Pawy as Yon 
say, any Tokens " 

The toreign gentleman with pati 
courtesy entreated pardon ; 
what was tokens P " 

"Marks," said Mr. Podsnap^ 
"Signs, yon know, Ap] 
Traces." 

"Ah! OfaOrseP" inquixed 
foreign g^entleman. 

« We call it Hoiae," said Mr. Poc^-^ 
snap, with forbearance. "In £J[J|^^ 
land. Anglctcrre, England, "^? 
Aspirate the 'H,' and We Say 'Hona^^ 
Only our Lower Classes Saj *■ Orse!* 

"Pardon," said the foreign gentlfl 
man ; " I am alwiz wronf ! " 

"Our Langua^" said Mr. 
snap, with a gracious consciouBne«< 
being always right, "is 
Ours is a Copious Language, and Tijf^ 
ing to Strangers. I will not 
my Uuestion." 

"Butthe lumpy gentleman, nni 
ing to give it up, again madly 
** Esxaa," and again spake no 

« It merely xeforrod,'^ Mr. Pc 






OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



83 



explained, with a eense of meritorious I remarkable force to - davy becom* 



propiietorahip, ** to Our CJonstitution, 

bir. W e Englishmen are Very Proud 

of our Constitution, Sir. It Was 

Beetowed Upon Us By Providence. 

Ko Other Country is so Favonred as 

This Country." 

•*And ozer countries ? — " the foreipi 

eentieman was beginning, when Mr. 

rodsnap put him right again. 

"We do not say Ozer; we say 
Other: the letters are ' T ' and<H;' 
Toa say Tav and Aish, You Elnow ;" 
(^ill with clomency). ** The sound is 
*th'— 'th!**' 

^'And o^Aer countries," said the 
forei^ gentleman. " They do how ?" 
"They do. Sir," returned Mr. 
Podsnap, gravely [faking his head; 
"tbey do — I am sorry •to be obliged 
to say it — as they do. ' 

** It was a little particular of Pro- 
vidence," said the foreign gentleman, 
koghing; "for the frontier is not 
krge." 

** Undoubtedly," assented Mr. Pod- 
aap; "But So it is. It was the 
Ch^ier of the land. This Island 
*as Blest, Sir, to the Direct Exclu- 
Aon of such Other Countries as — as 
there may happen to be. And if we 
vere all Englishmen present, I would 
ar," added Mr. Pixlsnap, looking 
roimd upon his compatriots, and 
ftmnding solemnly with his theme, 
"that there is in the Englishman a 
eombination of qualities, a modesty, 
to independence, a responsibility, a 
tepoee, combined with an absence of 
ererything calculated to call a blush 
into the cheek of a youn^ person, 
vhich one would seek in vam among 
the Nations of the Earth." 

Having delivered this little sum- 
mary, Mr. Podsnap's fftce flushed, as 
M be thought of the remote possibility 
m. of its being at all qualifled by any pre- 
I fiidiocd citizen of any other country ; 
' and, with his fiivourite right-arm 
iourish, he put the rest of Europe 
tod the whole of Asia, Africa, and 
Aioerica nowhere. 
The audience were much ediBed by 



smiling and conversational. 

" Has anything more been heard. 
Veneering," he inquired, "of the 
lucky legatee?" 

" Nothing more," returned Ve- 
neering, *' than that he has come into 
possession of the property. I am told 
people now call him The Golden 
Dustman, I mentioned to you some 
time ago, I think, that the young 
lady whose intended husband was 
murdered is daughter to a clerk of 
mine.'^ 

'^ Yes, you told me that," said 
Podsnap; "and by-the-bye, I wish 
you would tell it again here, for it's 
a curious coincidence — curious that 
the first ne^s of the discovery should 
have been brought straight to your 
table (when I was there), and curious 
that one of your people should havo 
been so nearly interested in it. Just 
relate that, mil you ? " 

Veneering was more than ready 
to do it, for he had prospered exceed- 
ingly upon the Harmon Murder, and 
had turned the social distinction it. 
conferred upon him to the account ol 
making several dozen of bran-new 
bosom-friends. Inde^, such another 
lucky hit would almost have set him 
up m that way to his satisfaction. 
So, addressing himself to the most 
desirable of his neighbours, while 
Mrs. Veneering secured the next 
most desirable, he plunged into the 
case, and emerged from it twenty 
minutes afterwards with a Bank Di- 
rector in his arms. In the mean 
time, Mrs. Veneering had dived into 
the same waters for a wealthy Ship- 
Broker, and had brought him up, safe 
and sound, by the hair. Then Mrs. 
Veneering had to relate, to a larger 
circle, how she had been to see the 
girl, and how she was really pretty, 
and (considering her station) present- 
able. And this she did with such a 



successful display of her eight aqiu- 
line fingers and their encircling 
jewels, that she happiW laid \ioVi <A 
^ a drifting Greneral Ufticei, VHa Vvl^ 
ttus passa^ of words; and Mr. Pod- 1 nnd daughter, and not onVy xeeXoroA 
m/^ £seJag that lie was in rathiir j their anixoatioii wbick ^mA )a«icaai« 



84 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



Buapeikded, Imi made them lively thing miiBt he said about thu da5 

fiiendfl within an hoilr. Consequently this young damsel 

Although Mr. Podsnap would in a nativity was hushed up and lookt 

general way have higlily disapproved over, as if it were agreea on nil hrn<^ 

of Bodies in rivers as ineligible topics that it would have been better thi 
with reference to the cheek of the 



young person, he had, as one may 
Bay, a share in this all'air which made 
him a part proprietor. As its returns 
were immediate, too, in the way of 
restraining the company from speech- 



she had never been bom. 

The Lammles were so fond of tl 
dear Vcneerings that they could n< 
for some time detach tliemselves fro: 
those excellent friends ; but at lengtl 
either a very open smile on II 



less contemplation of the wine-coolers, ! Lammle's part, or a very secret el 



vation of one. of his gmgerous ey* 
brows — certainly the one or the otht 
— seemed to say to Mrs. Lamml 
"Why don't you play?" And s 
looking about her, ^e saw Mi 
Podsnap, and seeming to say respoi 
sively, *'That card?" and to I 



it paid, and he was satisfied. 

And now the haunch of mutton 
vapour-bath having received a gamey 
infusion, and a few last touches of 
sweets and coffee, was quite i-cady, 
and the bathers came; but not before 
the discreet automaton had got behind 

the bars of the piano music-desk, and answered ** Yes," went and sat besi( 
there presented the appearance of a Miss Podsnap. 
captive languishing in a rosewood jail, j Mrs. Lanmile was overjoyed to e 
And who now so pleasant or so well cape into a comer for a little qm( 
assorted as Mr. and Mrs. Alfred talk. 

Lammle, he all sparkle, she all gra- j It promised to be a very quiet tal] 
dous contentment, both at occasional for Wies Podsnap replied in a flutte 
intervals exchanging looks like part- *' Oh ! Indeed, it's very kind of ye 
ners at cards who played a game 
against All England. 

There was not much youth among 
the bathers, but there was no youth 
(the young person always excepted) 
in ^e articles of Podsnappcry. Bald 

bathers folded their anus and talked ^ ^ _. , 

to "Mr. Podsnap on the hcaiihru^ ; i Ma was talking then at her usu 
sleek- whiskered bathers, -v^-ith hats m | canter, with arched head and msn 
their hands, lunged at Mi's. Podsnap opened eyes and nostrils. 



but I am afraid I don't talk." 
" Let us make a beginning," ssi 

the insinuating Mrs. Lammle, wil 

her best smile. 
" Oh ! I am afraid you'll find n 

very dull. But Ma talks ! " 
That was plainly to be seen, f< 



" Fond of reading perhaps P" 
"Yes. At least I — don't mit 



and retreated ; prowling bathers went 

about looking into ornamental boxes 

and bowls as if they had suspicions that so much," returned Miss Fa 

of larceny on the part of the Podsnaps, snap. 

and expccte I to tind something they | " M — ^m — ^m— m — music" So i 

had lost at the bottom ; bathers of sinuating was Mrs. Lammle tliat d 

the gentler sex sat silently comparing got half a dozen ma into the wo: 

ivory shoulders. All tlus time and before she got it out. 

always, poor little Miss Podsnap, I " I haven't nerve to play even if 

whose tiny efforts (if she had made I could. Ma plays." 

any) were swallowed up in the mag- (At exactly Uio same canter, ai 

niiicenco of her mother's rocking, with a certain flourishing appearan 

kept herself as much out of sight and I of doing something. Ma did, in £s< 

mind as she could, and appeared to occasionally take a rock upon the i 



bo counting on many dismal returns 
of the day. It was somehow under- 
6t.ood, as a secret article in the state 



proprieties of Podsnapper>', that no- snap. 



strumcnt.) 



*' Of course you like dancing P" 
Oh xia, I don't»" said Miw Po 



(i 




OUB UUTUAL FBIEND. 



" I can't MJ." obMFTed Misa Pod- 
Dup, after hoaitating considuinbl}', 
lad iteAlin^ laveral timid li>oka at 
Un. Laaasiie'a carefully uran^^ 



-Mydewl Never!" 

" No, I am sure ma won'L I 
cu't saj then how I ihould have 
liked it, if I bod been a chimnej- 
neep oa May-day." 

FaA Uie excbirTiatiQi] 



■-"K 



it elicited from Mn. 



"There! I knew you'd wonder. 
M yoQ won't mention it, will youF" 

'UpoD my wotd, my love," said 
Un. LammJe, " yoa make ma ten 
timei mora desirous, now I talk to 
JOB, to know yoa well, than I was 
"im 1 sat over yonder looking at 
yfa. How I wish we could be real 
(rieodsl Try me ■■ a real friend. 
Come! Don't fancy mo a tcampy old 
muried woman, my dear ; I war 
■luried but the other day, you know . 
I un dressed as a bride now, yoa see 
About the chimnoy-Bwecps T'' 

"Hush! Ma'llhear." 

"She can't hear from when aha 

BtS-" 

" Don't yon be too wore at that," 
Bid Midi Podsnap, in a lower voice. 
" WbU, what I mean ia, that they 



,., it now P' 
.... bief" said Miss 
Fudjinap. " Oh, it is such a dreadful 
thing [ U I waa n-ickod enoagh- 
md itroDg enough — to kill anybod; 
it khould be my partner." 

This was such an entirely ne 
view of the Ti^riiaichorean art : 
Mcially practised, that Sirs. Lammle 
Ijoked at her young friend in i 

Durvously twiddling her liugen 



aed attitude, ai If slie ward tiy- 
hide her elbows. But tW 
latter Utopian object (in ihortaleevoa) 
always appearod to be the great in- 
offensive aim of her existence. 

" it sounds horrid, don't it t" laid 
!iss Fodanap, with a penitential 



ookofai 

I it is, and it always has 
been," pursued Miss Podanap, "luch 
■ triiU to me ! 1 so dread being 
.wful. And it u so awful! No one 
mows what I saffeTed at Madame 
iftutsuae'a, wher« I learnt to dance 
jid make prceautation-curtfieya, and 
other dreadful things— or at least 
where they tried to toach ma. Ma 
can do il.-'^ 

" At any rata, my lovB," Said Miw, 
Lammle, aoothiugly, " that's over." 

"Yea, ifa over," returcad Miat 
Podsnnp, "but there's nothing gained 
by tliat. It'a worse here than at 
tladame Sauteuse'a. Ma was there, 
and Ma's here ; but Pa wasn't there, 
and company wasn't there, and there 
were not real partners there. Oh, 
there's Ma apoaking lo the man at 
the piano ! Oh, there's Ma goine up 
lebody I Oh, I know die's 
going to bring him to me 1 Oh, 
please don't, please don't, please 

eyea cloaed, and her liaad leaning 
hack ngainat the wall. 

But the 0»ra advanced under tbt 
pilotage of Ma, and Ma said, " Oeoi^ 
giaoa. Mr. Giompui," and the Ogre 
clutched hia victim and bore her off 
to bi^ caFitle in the top couple. Then 
the discreet automaton who had sur- 
veyed liis ground, played a blo^som- 
loaa tuneless " set, and sixteen dis< 
ciples of Podsnappery went through 
the fisiirca of— I, Getting up at eight 
and shaving close at a quarter pavt 
—2, Itrcnkfaatingatnine— 3, Going 
to the (,'ilv at ten— 4, Coming home 
at lii.ll-iLi.-t five— 5, Diuiug at seven. 
and 'Ai: giuid chi i n. ^ 



86 



OUa MUTUAL FRIEKD. 



While these ■olomniti'^s were in 
nrop:i'css, ^Ir. Alh-ed Lainmle (most 
loving of hufibanda) approaclictl tlio 
chair of J^Irs. Alixed Lamnile (most 
loving of wives), and bending over 
the back of it, trifled for some few 
eecondn with Mrs. Lammle's brace- 
let. Slightly in contrast with this 
brief airy toying, one might have 
noticed a cei'tain dark attention in 
Mrs. Lammle*s face as she said some 
words with hor eyes on Mr. lAmmlo's 
waistcoat, and seemed in relnm to 
receive some lesson. But it was all 
done as a breath passes from a 
mirror. 

And now, the grand chain riveted 
to the last link, the discreet automa- 
ton ceased, and the sixteen, two and 
two, took a walk among the furniture. 
And herein the unconsciousness of 
the Ogre Grompua was pleasantly 
conspicuous; for, that complacent 
monster, believing that he was giving 
Miss Podsnap a treat, prolonged to 
the utmost stretch of possibility a 
perix)atetic account of an archery 
meeting; while hia victim, heading 
the procession of sixteen as it slowlv 
circled about, like a revolving funeral, 
never raiised her eyes except once to 
steal a glance at Mrs. Lammle, ex- 
pressive of intense despair. 

At length the procession was dis- 
solved by the violent arrival of a 
nutmeg, before which the drawing- 
room door bounced open as if it were 
a cannon-ball; and while that fragrant 
article, dispersed through several 
gLosses of coloured warm water, was 
going the round of society, Miss Pod- 
snap returned to her seat by her 
new friend. 

*'0h, my goodness," said Miss 
Podsnap. ^^ That* a over! I hope 
you didn't look at me." 

*'My dear, why not P" 

"Oh, I know all about myself," 
said Miss Podsnap. 

*' I'll tell you something I know 
about vou, my dear," returned Mrs. 
Xiammle in her winning way, "and 
that is, you are most unnecessarily 
thy." 

^Ma ain%" said Miss Podsnap. 



"—I detest you ! Goalor'*!" Th.y^ 
shot was levelled under hei breatlt «t^ 
the gallant Grompus for bestow in pj- 
an insinuating smile upon her in. 
passing. 

" Pardon me if I scarcely see, my 
dear Miss Podsnap," Airs. Lammle 
was beginning when the young Ir.dy 
mterposcd. 

" If we are going to be real fi-iends 
(and I suppose we are, for you ore 
the only person who ever proposed it) 
don't let us be awful. It's a^v-ful 
enough to be Miss Podsnap, with- 
out being called so. Call me GreoF- 
giana." 

** Dearest Georgiana " Mz& 

Lammle began again. 

"Thank you," siiid Miss Podsnap. 

" Dearest Georgiana, pardon me if 
I scarcely see, my love, why your 
mamma's not being shy is a reason 
why you should be." 

"Don't you really see thatP" 
asked Miss Podsnap, plucking at her 
fingers in a troubled manner, and 
fui-tively casting her eyes now on 
l^trs. Ijammle, now on the ground. 
"Then perhaps it i.sn't?" 

" My dearest Georgiana, yon defer 
much too readily to my poor opinion. 
Indeed it is not even an opinion, 
darling, for it is only a confession of 
my dulness." 

"Oh, you are not dull," returned 
Miss Podsnap. '* I am dull, but you 
couldn't have made me talk if you 
were." 

Some little touch of conscienoe 
answering this peiccption of her 
having gained a purpose, called 
bloom enough into Airs. Lammle's 
face to make it look brighter as she 
sat smiling her best smile on her 
dear Georgiana, and shaking her 
head with an affectionate playful- 
ness. Kot that it meant anythin<^, 
but that Georgiana seemed to like 
it 

" What I mean is," pursued Geor- 
giana, "that Ma being so endowed 
with awfulness, and Pa being so en- 
dowed with awfulness, and there 
being so much awfulness everywhens 
— ^I mean, at least> everywliMne when 



O0K MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



Itffl— fieriupi it auLw me vho am 
n defii^ioat in swiulnesf^ ftnd Mghf- 
sned at it — I aay it vary badly — I 
don't know whctner TDU can imdcr- 
Kiiid whit I meaaf' 

"PexfecUy, dcorert QoorgUna!" 
Ut^ T.ammTa voM pn>ceeding witli 
eccry reaaauring wile, when the beaa 
of that ^oung lady suddenly went 
back agauut the vail again and lusr 
^ncloeed. 

" Oh, theie'i Ma being awful with 
•cmebody with a glaaa in his eye I 
Ob, I know ihe'a going to bring him 
bare! Oh, don't bring him, don't 
bring: him ! Oh, he'll be my jiartncr 
vith hia claaa in liii eye I Oh, what 
•haU I do;" This rime Georgiaiia 
vumpanied her ejaculationa with 
tapi of her feet apon the H-Mt, and 
vaa illogether in quite a desperate 
CDEditiDn. But, Huae was no escape 
from the majeatic Ur«. Fodsnap'e 
production of an amlilinjt stranger, 
with one eye icrewed np mto eiUnc- 
tusi and the other framed and glazed, 
vho, havinf; looked down oat of that 
or^, as if he dcncried Mias Todsnap 
it <Jie bottom of some perpendicuUr 
■baft, brought her to the sur&co, 
and ambled off with her. And then 
tbe captive at the piano played 
another " set." eipresaive of hia 
oaurnful aapinitiona after freedom, 
■od other siitcen went throutth the 
former melancholy motions, and the 
ambler took Miaa I'odanap for a fur- 
niture wallc, as if he had atruck out 
an entirely original conteption. 

In the mean tune a stray peiBOnage 
of a moek demeanour, who ha ' 
wandered to the h':arlhrug and ec- 
among the beads of tribes uiseinbTed 
there in conference with Mr Fod- 
snap, eliminated Mr. Poduiap's fluel! 
and flo Uriah by n highly un polite 
remark; no less than a reference '" 
the circumstance that some h& 
dozen people had lately died in the 
•treeta, of starvation. It waa clearly 
ill-timed after dinner. It was not 
adapted to the cheek of the yoong 
{MnOD. It waa not in good taate. 

"I don't believe it," aaid Mr. 



The meek man was a&n<il we most 
talie it as proved, because tbere wera 
the Inquests and the Registrar's ra- 

" 'Then it was their own &nlt," 
said Mr. Fodmap. 

Veneering and other elders of 
tribes conuneaded thia way oat of it. 
At ooDe », whtat cat and a btoad 

The man of meek demeanonr in- 
timated that truly it would aaem 
from the facta as if itarvation had 
been forced upon the culprits in 
qneation — as if, in their wretched 
uner, they had made their weak 
□rotesta against it — as if they would 
nave taken the liberty of staving it 
off if they could— as if they would 
rather not have been starved upon 
the whale, if perfectly agreaable to 
»U parties. 

" Then ia not," aaid Mr. Fodan^ii 
fluahing angrily, "there is not a 
country in the world, sir. where ao 
noble a provisioii ia made for the 









The meek man was quite willing 
iceda that, but perhaps it ren- 
dered the matter even worse, a< 
showing that there muat be eame- 
thing appallingly wrong somewhere. 
" Wheret" sud Mr. Podenap. 
The meek man hinted Wouldn't it 
be well to try, very Berioasl;, to find 
where f 

Ah!'' aaid Mr. Podanap. "Easj 
to aay somewhere ; not so easy to say 
where! But I see what yon ara 
driving at. I knew it from the Gist. 
CentraJixation. Ha. Never with mj 
consent Not English." 

An approTing murmur arose &om 
the heada of tribes; as saving, 
" There you hava him I Hold him!" 
He waa not aware (the meek man 
submitted of himacif) that he wai 
driving at any ization. Ue had no 
favourite ization that he knew oL 
But he certainly was more staftROred 
by these terrible occurrences than be 
waa bynames, of howsoever so many 
syllables. Might he ask, was dying 
of destitution and nwileot mo e s s a n ly 
Kngliabd 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



"Y<m know what the population 
of London ia, I suppose, said Mr. 
Podsnap. 

The meek man supposed he did, 
hut supposed that had absolutely 
nothing to do with it, if its laws were 
well administered. 

"And you know; at least I hope 
you know," said Mr. Podsnap, with 
severity, *'tbat Providence has de- 
clared Uiat you shall have the poor 
always with you P " 

The meek man also hoped he knew 
that 

" I am ^lad to hear it»" said Mr. 
Podsnap with a portentous air. " I 
am glad to hear it. It will render 
you cautious how you fly in the face 
of Providence." 

Li reference to that absurd and 
irreverent conventional phrase, the 
meek man said, for which Mr. Pod* 
snap was not responsible, he the meek 
man had no fear of doing anything 

so impossible ; but 

But Mr. Podsnap felt that the time 
had come for flushmg and flourishing 
this meek man down for good. So he 
said: 

"I must decline to pursue this 
painful discussion. It is not pleasant 
tc my feelings; it is repugnant to 
my feelings. I have said that I do 
not admit these things. I have also 
said that if they do occur (not tiiat I 
admit it), the fault Ues with the 
sufierers tiiemselves. It is not for 
«#" — Mr. Podsnap pointed "me" 
forcibly, as adding by implication 
though it may be all very well for 
ffou — ** it is not for me to impugn the 
workings of Providence. I know 
better than that, I trust, and I have 
mentioned what the intentions of 
Providence are. Besides," said Mr. 
Podsnap, flushing high up among 
his hair-brushes, with a strong con- 
sciousness of personal affront, *'the 
subject is a very disagreeable one. 
I will go so far as to say it is an 
odious one. It is not one to be in- 
troduced among our wives and young 

persons, and jf " He finished 

with that flourish of his arm which 
added more expressively than any 



words, And I remove it from (he facs 
of the earth. 

Simultaneously with this quench- 
ing of the meek man's inetfectual 
fire, Georgiana having left the ambler 
up a lane of sofi^ in a No Thorough- 
fare of back drawing-room, to find 
his own way out, came back to Mrs. 
Lammle. And who should be with 
Mrs. Lammle, but Mr. T^mTny So 
fond of her ! 

"Alfred, my love, here is my 
friend. Georgiana, dearest girl, you 
must like my husband next to me." 

Mr. Lammle was proud to be so 
soon distinguished by this special 
commendation to Miss Podmap*s 
favour. But if Mr. Lammle were 
prone to be jealous of his dear 
Sophronia's friendships, he would be 

i'ealous of her feeling towards Miss 
Podsnap. 

"Say Georgiana, darling/' inters 
posed his wife. 

" Towards— shall I P— Georgiana." 
Mr. Lammle uttered the name, with 
a delicate curve of his right hand, 
from his lips outward *< For never 
have I known Sophronia (who is not 
apt to take sudden likings) so at- 
tracted and so captivated as she is 
by ^shall I once more P—Geoigi- 



» 



ana. 

The object of this homage sat un- 
easily enouch in receipt of it, and 
then said, turning to Mrs. Lammle^ 
much embarrassed : 

*' I wonder what you like me fori 
I am sure I can*t think." 

"Dearest Georgiana, for yourselfl 
For your difierence from all around 
you.'^ 

"Well! That may bo. For 1 
think I like you for your difierence 
from all around me," said Georgiana 
with a smile of relief. 

" We must be going with the reet," 
observed Mrs. LamnJe, rising with a 
show of unwillingness, amidst a 
general disp^^. "We are real 
friends, Georgiana dear f ** 

" Real." 

" Good night, dear girl ! ** 

She had established an attraction 
over the shrinking nature upon 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



01 



S'ened, vith a sigh, <*biit bo we 
IL I hope we may not prove too 
huch for one another." 

"Now, regarding yonr respected 
bther," aaid Lightwood, bringing 
lum to a subject they had expreissly 
appointed to discuss: always the 
Dost slippery eel of eels of subjects 
to lay hold o£ 

"Yes, regarding my respected 
fether," assented Eugene, settling 
himself in his arm-chair. ** I would 
lather have approached my respected 
biher by candlelight, as a theme re- 
quiring a little artificial brilliancy; 
,bot we will take him by twilight, en- 
livened with a glow of Wallsend." 

He stirred the fiie again as he 
ipoke, and having made it blaze, re- 
tained. 

'^My respected father has found, 
dovn m the parental neighbourhood, 
a wife for his not-generally-respected 
khl" 

"With some money, of course T* 

"With some money, of course, or 
ba would not have found her. My 
ftspected father — ^let me shorten the 
dntiiul tautology by substituting in 
futore M. R. F., which sounds mili- 
tary, and rather like the Duke of 
Wellington." 

" w£at an absurd fellow you are, 
Ettgene !" 

**Not at all, I assure you. M. R. 
F. having always in the clearest 
Bianner provided (as he calls it) for 
bia chilcbren by pre-arranginff from 
^ hour of the birth of each, and 
tometimes from an earlier period, 
what the devoted little victim's call- 
ing and course in life should be, M. 
K- F. pre-arranged for myself that I 
was to be the barrister I am (with 
the slight addition of an enormous 
practice, which has not accrued^, and 
•lao the married man I am not. 

" The first you have often told me." 

" The first I have often told you. 
Considering myself sufficiently incon- 
gruous on my legal eminence, I have 
tintil now suppressed my domestic 
dt'stiny. You know M. R. F., but not 
«s n<-ll as I do. If you knew him as 
Veil ua 1 do, he vvuali amuso you." 



" Filially spoken, Eugene f* 

"Perfectly so, believe me; and 
with every sentiment of affectionate 
deference towards M. R. F. But if 
he amuses me, I can*t help it. When 
my eldest brother was bom, of course 
the rest of us knew (I mean the rest 
of us would have known, if we had 
been in existence) that he was heir 
to the Family Embarrassments — ^we 
call it before company the Family 
Estate. But when my second brother 
was going to be bom by-and-by, 
» this,' says M. R. F., *is a litUe pil- 
lar of the church.* Wm bom, and 
became a pillar of the church ; a very 
shaky one. My third brother ap- 
peared, considerably in advance of 
his enpragement to my mother; but 
M. R. F., not at all put out by sur- 
prise, instantly declai^ him a Cir- 
cumnavigator. Was pitchforked into 
the Navy, but has not circumnavi- 
gated. I announced myself, and was 
disposod of with the highly satis- 
factory results embodied before you. 
When my younger brother was half 
an hour olo, it was settled by ^I. R. 
F. that he should have a mechanical 
genius, and so on. Therefore I say 
Uiat M. R. F. amuses me." 

" Touching the lady, Eugene P" 

"There M. R. F. ceases to bo 
amusing, because my intentions are 
opposed to touching the lady." 

*' Do you know her ?" 

** Not in the least." 

" Hadn't you better see herP* 

"My dear Mortimer, you have 
studied my character. Could I pos- 
sibly go down there, labelled ' Eli- 
GiBLiE. On view,' and meet the 
lady, similarly labelled ? Anything 
to carry out M. R. F.'s arranercmenta, 
I am sure, with the greatest pleasure 
—except matrimony. Could I pos- 
sibly support it ? I, so soon bored, 
so constantly, so fatally ?" 

" But you are not a consistent fel- 
low, Eugene." 

" In susceptibility to boredom,** 
returned that worthy, " I assure you 
I am the most consistent of man- 
kind." 

" Why, it was but now that '^0'^ 



I 



03 



OUB MUTUAL F&IEND. 



were dwelHng on the advantegee of 
A monotony of two." 

** In a lighthouse. Do me the jus- 
tice to remember the oondition. In 
a lighthouse." 

Mortimer laughed again, and Eu- 
gene, having laughed too for the first 
timoi as if he found himself on reflec- 
tion rather entertaining, relapsed into 
his usual gloom, and drowsily said, 
as he enjoyed his cigar, " No, there 
is no help for it ; one of the prophetic 
deliveries of M. R. F. must for ever 
remain un^filled. With every dis- 
position to oblige him, he must sub- 
mit to a failure." 

It had grown darker as they 
talked, and the wind was sawing and 
the sawdust was whirling outside 
paler windows. The underl^ricg 
churchyard was already settling into 
deep dim shade, and the shade was 
creeping up to the housetops among 
which thejr sat <*Asif," said Eu- 
gene, **as if the churchyard ghosts 
were rising." 

He had walked to the window with 
his cigar in his mouth, to exalt its 
flavour by comparing the fireside 
with the outside, when he stopped 
midway on his retum to his arm- 
chair, and said : 

** Apparently one of the ghosts has 
lost its way, and dropped in to be di- 
rected. Jjydk at this phantom !" 

Lightwood, whose back was to- 
wards the door, turned his head, and 
there, in the darkness of the entry, 
stood a something in the likeness of 
a man: to whom he addressed the 
not irrelevant inquiry, '^Who the 
devil are youP" 

*' I ask your pardons, (Jovemors," 
replied the ghosik, in a hoarse double- 
barrelled whisx)er, *<but might either 
on you be Lawyer Lightwood P" 

** What do you mean by not knock- 
ing at the door?" demanded Morti- 
mer. 

*'I ask your pardons. Governors," 
replied the ghost, as before, *<but 

Srobable you was not aware your 
oor stood open." 
" What do vou want P* 
Hereunto the ghost again hoarsely 



replied, in its donUe-barrellea man- 
ner, "I ask your pardons, Gover- 
nors, but might one on you be 
Lawyer Lightwood P' 

^ One of us is," said the owner of 
that name. 

" All right, Governors Both/' re- 
turned the ghost, carefully closing 
the room door ; *' 'tickler business." 

Mortimer lighted the candles. 
They showed the visitor to be an iU- 
loolong visitor with a squinting leer, 
who, as he spoke, fumbled at an old 
sodden fur cap, formless and mangey, 
that looked like a furry animal, dog 
or cat, puppy or kitten, drowned and 
decaying. 

<*Now," said Mortimer, « what is 
itr 

"Governors Both," returned the 
man, in what he meant to be a wheed- 
ling tone, " which on you might bo 
Lawyer Lightwood f" 

« I am." 

'* Lawyer Lightwood,*' ducUng 
at him with a servile air, "I am a 
man as gets my living, and as seeks 
to get my living, by the sweat of my 
brow. Not to risk being done out of 
the sweat of my brow, by any 
chances, I should wish afore going 
further to be swore in." 

" I am not a swearer in of people^ 
man." 

The visitor, clearly anything but 
reliant on this assurance, doggedly 
muttered " Alfred David." 

" Is that your name?" aaked light- 
wood. 

** My name P" returned the man. 
" No ; I want to take a Alfred David." 

(Which Eugene, smokinff and con- 
templating him, interpreted as mean- 
ing Affidavit.) 

" I tell you, my p)od icl V' said 
Lightwood, with his indolcut laugh, 
**ti^t I have nothing to do with 
swearing." 

"He can swear at you," Eugene 
explained ; " and so can L But we 
can't do more for you." 
^ Much discomfited by this informs* 
tion, the visitor turned the drowned 
dog or cat, puppy or kitten, about 
ana about) and looked trom one of the 




OTJB MUTUAL FSI£ND. 



Got«nim Botlt to tbe other of the 

OoTflmaiv Both, .vhilB hs deeply con- 

ndered within hinmif j^t length 

be decided : 

" Then I mutt he took down." 

" Wiore P" asted Lightvood. 

"Ken," Mid the matt. "In pen 

r " Fint, let ni know what your 
I Vnnew is about." 
I - If» aboat," ttid the man, taking 
I 1 itq) forward. dropF'"^ ^ hoaiae 
L ince, and ihadine it with his hand, 
1 *it'i about &om five to ten thoosand 

ImndToward. That' a what it'i about. 
It'i about Murder. That'a what it'« 
■boot." 
" Come nearer the table. Sitdown. 
WiD vDu have a glau of wine f " 
I "Tea I win," laid Uieman ; "and 
I Idon't deceive yoQ,Go¥emora." 
I It «u given him. Making a atiff 
I on to the elbow, ho poured the 
<riu into hie mouth, tilted it into hia 
I tight cheek, aa laying, " What do 
I niDlliink of it?" tilted it into hia 
I WlcliBek, aa raying, " What do 



itotitF" 



Tkea il 






li[i>, ai if all three replied, 

IlinkweUofit." 
"Will you have anotheiF" 
"Yea, I will," be re)>cuted, "and 

1 don't deceive you, Governors." 

ixi also repeated the other proceed- 

inja 
"Now," began Lightwood, "what's 



■», Law)-er Lightwood? 1 
yos'ta a little bit tatt I'm goit 
■un from five to ton thousand pi 
by the sweat of my brow 



Mt its being took down ?" 

Defei-i-ing to the znan's sense of the 
bindiDK powors of pen and ink and 
paper, L.ightwood nodded acceptance 
of Eu^enn'a nuddcd pcopo^ to take 
lh[»e tpelli io hanit. Eu^ne, bring- 



ing: them to the table, Mt down m 

clerk or notary. 

"Now," laid Ughtwood, "whal'e 
your niune f" 

But (uither precaution waa atill 
duo to the aweatof thii boneat tellow'e 

" I ahonld wish. Lawyer Lights 
wood," he stipulated, "to have that 
T'other Governor aa my witnegs thnl 
what I uid I said. Consequent,, will 
the T'other Ooveroor be so good a* 
chuck me hi* name and wheio he 
lives F" 

Eugens, cigar in montb and pen in 
band, tossed bim hia card. After 
■pelling it out slowly, the man made 
it into a little roll, and tied it np in 
an end of his neckerchief still mote 

"C4ow," said Ligbtwood, for Uia 
third time, " if yon have quite cmn- 

Sitetcd your various preparations, my 
riend, and have nilly ascertained 
that your spirita ace cool and not in 

: way hurried, what'* your namer' 

' Bogor RiderhooJ." 

' Dwelling-place f " 

'Lime'us Hole." 

'Calling or occupation f" 

iot quite so ^lib with this answer 

ivith the previous two, llr. liidei^ 
hood gave in the definitioo, " Water- 
■ character." 

Anything against you t" Eugene 
qtiietiv put in as he wrote. 

It:ithor baulked, Mr. RIderhood 
evasively remnrked, with an innocent 
air. that he belipvod the T'other Oo- 
vomor had asked him summn't." 

"EverintroubleP" said Eugene. 

" Once." (Slight happen to any 
man. Mr. BideriKiod added incidon- 
tally^ 

" On suspicion of 1" 

"Of Booman'B pocket," eaid lit. 
Riderhood. "WTioreliy I waa in 
reality the man's boat friend, and 
tried to take core of him." 

"With the sweat of your browf" 
asked Eugene. 

" Till it poured down like luin," 
said Roger Ridarhood- 

Jiugene leaned back in his ch.iir, 
and imoked with his eyes negligeoUy 



94 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEKD. 



turned on the iDformflri and his pen 

ready to reduce him to more writmg. 
Lightwood alao smoked, with his eyes 
negli.^enUy turned on Uio informer. 

*' Now let me be took down again," 
said Riderhood, when he had turned 
the drowned cap over and under, and 
had brushed it the wrong way (if it 
had a right way) with his sleeve. " I 
ffiye information that the man that 
done the Harmon Murder is (>a£fer 
Hexam, the man that found the body. 
The hand of Jesse Hexam, commonly 
called Gaffer on the river and along 
thore, ia the hand that done that deed. 
His hand and no other." 

The two friends glanced at one 
another with more serious faces than 
they had shown yet. 

**Tell us on what groimds yon 
make this accusation," said Mortimer 
Lightwood. 

" On Uie grounds," answered Rider- 
hood, wiping his face with his sleeve, 
**that I was Gaffer's pardner, and 
suspected of him many a long day 
and many a dark night. On the 
grounds that I knowed his ways. On 
the grounds that I broke the pardner- 
ship because I see the danger ; which 
I warn you his daughter may tell 
you another story about that, for any- 
think I can say, but you know what 
it'll be worth, for she'd tell you lies, 
the world round and the heavens 
broad, to save her father. On the 
grounds that it's well undei'stood 
along the cause'ays and the stairs 
that he done it. On the grounds 
that he's fell off &om, because he done 
it. On the grounds that I will swear 
he done it. On the grounds thut you 
may take me where you will, and get 
me sworn to it. / don't want to back 
out of the consequences. I have 
made up my mind. Take me any- 
wheres. 

'* All this 18 nothing," said Light- 
wood. 

** Nothing?" repeated Riderhood, 
indignantly and amazed ly. 

"Merely nothing, it goes to no 
more than that you suspect this man 
of the crime, xou may do so with 
■ome reason, or you may do sc with 



no rcnson, but he cannot be oonvicted 
on your suspicion." 

'* Haven't I said — I appeal to Che 
T'other Governor aa my witness- 
haven' t I said from, the 6rst minute 
that I opened my mouth in this here 
world-without-end-everlasting chair" 
(he evidently used that form of words 
as next in foroe to an ai&davit^, *^that 
I was willing to swear that ne done 
it? Haven't I said. Take me and 
get me sworn to it? Don't I say 
so now P You won't deny it. Lawyer 
Lightwood ?" 

**Sun?ly not; but you only offer 
to swear to your suspicion, ana I tell 
you it is not enough to swear to your 
teUBpieion." 

" Not enough, ain't it, Lawyer 
Lip 111 wood ? " he cautiously de- 
ma i.<!c>i1. 

" l\)sitively not" 

"And did I say it tt(U enough? 
Now, I appeal to the T'other Gover- 
nor. Now, fair ! Did I say so P " 

*' He oei'taiiily has not said that he 
had no more to tell," Eugene observed 
in a low voice xiathout lookin^j at him, 
" whatever he seemed to imply." 

" Hah ! " cried the informer, tri- 
umphantly perceiving that the re* 
mark was generally in his favour, 
though apparently not closely un- 
derstanding it. " Fort'nate for me I 
had a witness ! " 

"Go on, then," said Lightwood. 
" Say out what you have to say. No 
after-thought." 

"Lot mo be took down then!" 
cried the informer, eagerly and anxi- 
ously. " Let me be took down, for 
by Qeorge and the Draggin I'm a 
coming to it now ! Don't do nothing 
to keep back from a honest man the 
fruits of the sweat of his brow ! I 
give infonnation, then, that he told 
me that he done it. Is that enough ?" 

"Take care what you say, my 
friend," returned Mortimer. 

" Lawyer Lightwood, take care, 

ou, what I say ; loi* T indge you'll 

G answerable for lolloiijii; it up!" 
Then, slowly and emphatically beat- 
ing it all out with his open right 
hand on the palm of his left; '* I, Ro^;er 



I 




OUB MUTUAL FBI£ND. 



1, Urns' m Hole, Watonncle 
, tell joa, Lewjer Ligbt- 
Bt the man Jeasa Beiom, 
r called upon the river and 
m Qafler, told me tliAt he 
deed. What's more, he told 
hid oth lips that he done 
Wliat's more, he said that 
UiB deed. AM I'll ■wear 

re did he tell TOO nr" 
de," replied Riderhood, si- 
lting it out, with hit head 
>dly Bet Bikpw, and his ej*ea 
y dividicg their attention 
hii two auditora, "outeide 

of the Sii JoUy Fellow- 
rai^ a quarter oiier trelve 
t midnight — ^ut I will not 
iscience undertake to aweai 
a matter aa five minutea — 
ight when he picked up the 
On Six JoUy Fellowships 

the spot still. TheSixJotlf 



', tJiat he wam't at the Six 
]owslup« that nigbt «t mid- 

tdidhenyf" 
11 you (take me down, Totlier 
-, I ask no better). He come 
I come out hut. I might 
late aiier him ; I might be 



hligaUona o( a Alfred Darid, 

ind bim • waiting to speak 
fl says to me, ■ Roaue Eidi?r- 
ir that's (Le name I'm mosLly 
— not for any mcaoing in it, 
in§; it has none, but becaose 
□g similiir to Bogei.'' 
r mind that." 

e me, Ijawyer Lightrood, 
t of the truth, and as such I 
it, and I must mind it and 
od it. ' Rogue Qiilerhood,' 
words paaied betwixt us on 
to-night.' Which thsy had ; 
loghter! 'I thrcutcDcd you,' 
to chop yon over the Cneen 
boat's stretcher, or take ~ 



looking too bard at what I had ii 
tow, as if you was suspicious, and on 
accounts of your holding on to th« 
gunwale of my boat.' I sayH to him, 
' QaSer, I know it.' He says to mc^ 
' Rogue Riderhood, you are a man in 
a dozen ' — I think he said in a score, 
hat of that I am not positive, so tata 
the lowest figure, for precious be the 
obligstiona of ft Alfred David. 'And,' 
he saya, ' when your Cellow-men la 
up, be it their Uvea or be it thcif 
watches, sharp is ever the word with 
you. Hud ynu suspicious P' I saya, 
•Gafter, I hni] ; and what's more, I 
have.' He fails a shaking, and ha 
eaj-B, ■ Of what f " I saya, ' Of foul 
play.' He falls a ahakiii^ wot«e, and 
he says, ' There i«u foul play then. 
I done it for his money. Don't be- 
trayme!' Those were the woid* *■ 
eyer he used." 

There was n silence, broken only 
by the fall of the aaiics in the gnite. 
An opportunity which the informer 
improved by smearing himself all 
over the hcnd and neck and face with 
his drownod cap, and not at all im- 
proving bis owu appearance, 

" Wbat more ?' asked Ligbtwood. 

"Of him, d'ye mean, Lawyw 
Ligbtwood ?" 

" Of anything to the pnrpose." 

"Sow, I'm blest if I underslnnil 
you. Governors Both," (aid the in- 
former, in a creeping manner i pro- 
pitiating both, though only ooa 
hod spoken. "What? Ain't tIM 
onouadr' 

" Did you ask him how he did it, 
where he did it, when be did it ? " 

"Far be it from me. Lawyer Light- 
wood I I was 60 troubled in my mind, 
that I wouldn't have knowcd more, 
no, not for the sum as I expect to 
earn from you by the sweat of my 
brow, twice lold ! I bad put an end 
to the pardnership. I had cut the 
conneiion. I couldn't undo what 
and when he begs and 



r »p<?ak moUiBi voA 



00 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



to Boger Riderhood, nor look liim in 
fhe face !' and I shuns that man." 

Having g^ven these words a swing 
to make them mount the higher and 
go the farther, Kogae Riderhood 
poured himself out another glass of 
■wine unbidden, and seemed to chew 
it, as, with the half-emptied glass in 
his hand, he stared at the candles. 

Mortimer glanced at Eugene, but 
Eugene sat glowering at his paper, 
and would give him no responsive 
glance. Mortimer again turned to 
the informer, to whom he said : 

" Ton have been troubled in your 
mind a long time, man ?" 

Giving his wine a final chew, and 
swallowmg it, the informer answered 
in a single word : 

"Hages!" 

<*When all that stir was made, 
when the Gk>vemment reward was 
offered, when the police were on the 
alert, when the whole country rang 
with the dime ! " said Mortimer, im- 
patiently. 

** Hah ! '• Mr. Riderhood very slowly 
and hoarsely chimed in, with sevcru 
retrospective nods of his head. 
*'Wara't X troubled in my mind 
then!" 

** When conjecture ran wild, when 
the most extrava^l^ant suspicions were 
afloat, xihen half a dozen innocent 
people might have been laid by the 
heels any hour in the day ! *' said Mor- 
timer, almost warming. 

*' Hah !" Mr. Riderhood chimed in, 
as before. '' Wam't I troubled in my 
mind through it all ! *' 

'*£ut he hadn't," said Eugene, 
drawing a lady's head upon his writ- 
ing-paper, and touching it at intervals, 
''Uie opportunity then of timing bo 
much money, yoa see." 

**The T'other Governor hits the 
nail, Lawyer Lightwood! It was 
that as turned me. I had many times 
and again struggled to relieve myself 
of the trouble on my mind, but I 
couldn't ^t it off. I had once very 
nigh got it off to Miss Abbey Potter- 
fion which keeps the Six Jolly Fellow- 
sblpB^tbere is the 'ouse, it won't run 
away, — there lives tho lady, she ain*t 



likely to be struck dead afore yoa get 
there — ask her ! — ^but I couldn't do it 
At last, out comes the new bill with 
your own lawful name, Lawyer Light- 
wood, printed to it, and then I asla 
the question of my own intellects. Am 
I to have this tix>uble on my mind for 
ever P Am I never to throw it off? 
Am I always to think more of Gaffer 
than of my own self P If he's got a 
daughter, ain't /got a daughter ?" 

"And echo answered P" Eu- 
gene suggested. 

<<< Tou have,* " said Mr. Riderhood, 
in a firm tone. 

"Incidentally mentioning, at the 
same time, her ageP" inquired Eu- 
gene. 

"Yes, Gk>Teinor. Two-and-twenty 
last October. And then I put it to 
myself, * Regarding the money. It is 
a pot of money.' For it w a pot," 
said Mr. Riderhood, with candour, 
" and why deny it ?" 

" Hear ! " from Eugene aa be 
touched his drawing. 

" ' It is a pot of money ; but is it a 
sin for a labouring man that moistens 
every crust of bread he earns with 
his tears— or if not with them, with 
the colds he catches in his head — is it 
a sin for that man to earn it ? Say 
there is anything again earning it' 
This I put to myself strong, as in duty 
bound ; * how can it be said withoi^ 
blaming Lawyer Lightwood for offer- 
ing it to be earned P ' And was it for 
me to blame Lawyer Lightwood P 
No." 

** No," said Eugene. 

"Certainly not, GJovemor," Mr. 
Riderhood acquiesced. "So I made 
up my mind to get my trouble off my 
mind, and to earn by the sweat of my 
brow what was held out to me. And 
what's more," he added, suddenly 
turning bloodthirsty, " I mean to have 
it! And now I tell you, once and 
away. Lawyer Lightwood, that Jesse 
Hexam, commonly called Guffcr, his 
hand and no other, done the deed, on 
his own confession to me. And I 
give him up to you, and I want hiifl 
took. This night!" 
\ Ml«c wofilCkist ^«Qn^\sn>V»n onlf 



OUE MUTUAL FKiESP. 



»7 



t tha &I1 of tlie ubn in the grate, 

dich attracted the informer's atten- 
m aa if it were the chinking of 
ooej, Mortimer Li^htwcxid leaned 
tt nJft frieiid, and raid ui a whisper : 
" I suppose I muat go nilh this fel- 
V to our impertuibable friend at the 
ilJce-Blation." 

" I Buppose," laid Eugent^ "then 
ISO help for it." 

'' Bo you believe him F" 

"I believe him to be a thorough 
uciL But he may tell the truth, 
gc hii own poipose, and for this oc- 

"Itdoeen'tlooklikflit" 

"file doesn't," laid Eugene. "Bat 
inlher ia his late partner, whom he 
koounce*, a prepoaaesaing person. 
Da firm »~ -..•->i. — ■• i\.^..t. 
both, in app . 
)ik him one thisc;." 

The subject of this conference sat 
leehn^ at the ashee, trying «ilh all 
bit might to overhear what was said, 
bol feigning abstraction as the " Go- 
ntnora Botii " glanced at him. 

" You mentioiled (twice, I thinli) a 
tsnghler of this Uoxam'i," said 
EugEDB. aloud. " You don't mean to 
imdj- that she had any guilt; kooif' 
b&eofthecriiQB?" 

Ihe hooBBt man, after considering 
-pcibapa considering how hii 
lu^-ht affect the fruits of the i 
ti brov — replied unieservedly, " No, 

"And yon iiuplic«t« no ot^er pei- 

" It ain't what I implicate, it's 
*bit Gaffer impticnted,'' "Vas the 
icigged and determined answer. " I 
^'t pretend to know more than that 
Ui words to me was, 'I done it.' 
Iliaae was his words." 

"I most see this out, Uortimor," 
■tuipered Eugene, rising. '' Uow 
^wego?" 

■Let us walk," whinpered Light- 
■ood, " and givo this fellow time to 



a 



., fy prepared thcniiwlvea for 

out, and Mr. lliderhood rose. 



Lightwood, qmteaiamatttrof coniM 

took up the gloaa from which that 
honest gentleman had drunk, and 
coolly toased it under the grate, whera 
'' fill! shivering into fraBrnrntfl. 

"Now, if you will lake llio lead," 
■aid Lightwood, "Mr. Wraylumand 
I will follow. You know where to 
go, I suppose f" 

"I suppoM I do, lAwyor Light- 

" Take the Ipad. then." 

The waterside character pulled hi* 
drowned cap over bis cars vith both 
hands, and making hinj'^^lf mors 
round-shouldered than naliiie had 
made him, by the sullen and pcisi^tcnt 
slouch with »hiuh he v,(.Lt. n-oiit 
down lie stairs, round in- llic TcmplB 
Church, across theTemplo intu White- 
frian, and aa on by the waterside 

"Look at bis hang-dog air," said 
Light wood, following. 

"It strikes me rather as a hang-man 
air," returned Eugene. " lie h^ un- 
deniable intentions that nuv." 

They said little else as'thoy fol- 
lowed. He went on bcfure them aa 
an ugly Fate might have done, and 
they kept him in ■.-ion-, end would 
have been glad enough to lose si(;ht 
of him. But on he went before them, 
always at the same di.slunce, and th« 
same rate. Aslant a^-uiiist the hard 
implacable weather and the rough 
wind, he was no more to be driven 
back than hurried fomai-d, but held on 
like an advancing Destiny. There 
came, when they were about midway 
on their journey, a heavy rush of 
bail , which in a few minutes pelted 
the streets clear, and whitened them. 
It made no difference to him. A man's 
life beinsto be taken and the price of 
it ^t, tike hailstJines to arrest tha 
purpose must lie larger and deeper 
than those. He crushed tbrou((h 
them, leaving marks in the fast-mclt- 
ieg slush tbnt were mere shupclesa 
holes; one mi^ht hnve fancied, fol- 
lowing, that the very fiishion of hu- 
manity had departed from his feet. 

The blast went by, and the moon 
contended with the uat-flying doudi, 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



And fhe wild disorder reigning up 
there made the pitiful little tumults 
in the streets of no account. It was 
not that the wind swept ail the 
brawlers into places of shelter, as it 
had swept the hail still lingering in 
heaps wherever there was refuse for 
it; but that it seemed as if the 
streets were absorbed by the sky, and 
the night were all in the air. 

" If he has had time to think of it," 
said Eugene, " he has not had time to 
think better of it — or differently of it, 
if that's better. There is no sign of 
drawing back in him ; and as I recol- 
lect this place, we must be close upon 
the comer where we alighted that 
night" 

In &ct, a few abrupt turns brought 
them to the river side^ where they 
had slipped about among the stones, 
and wnere they now dipped more; 
the wind commg against them in 
slants and flaws, across the tide and 
the windings of the river, in a furious 
way. With that habit of getting 
under the lee of any shelter which 
waterside characters acquire, the wa- 
terside character at present in (Ques- 
tion led the way to the leeside oi the 
8iz Jolly Fellowship Porters before 
he spoke. 

** liook round here. Lawyer Light- 
wood, at them red curtains. It's the 
Fellowships, the 'ouse as I told you 
wouldn't run away. And has it run 
away ?" 

Not showing himself much im- 
pressed by this remarkable confirma- 
tion of the informer's evidence, Light- 
wood inquired what other business 
they had there ? 

*'I wished you to see the Fellow- 
ships for yourself. Lawyer Iiightwood, 
that you might judge whether I'm a 
liar ; and now I'll see Gaffer's win- 
dow for myself, that we may know 
whether he's at home." 

With that, he crept away. 

" He'll come back, I suppose f 
murmured Lightwood. 

"Ay! and go through with it, 
murmured Eugene. 

He came back after a very short 
interval indeed. 



»• 



ti 



<< Oaffer^B out, and his b(>ai*B m± 
His daughter's at home, sitting o- 
looking at the fire. But tiiero's some 
supper getting ready, so Gaffer's ex- 
pected. I can find what move he's 
upon, easy enough, presently." 

Then he beckoned and led the way 
again, and they came to the police- 
station, still as clean and cool and 
steady as before, saving that the flami 
of its lamp — being but a lamp-flam^ 
and only attached to the Force as an 
outsider — flickered in the wind. 

Also, within doors, Mr. Inspectoi 
was at his studies as of yore. Hi 
recognised the friends the iiutantthey 
reappeared, but their reappearanco 
had no effect on his composure. NoA 
even the circumstance that RiderhooA 
was tlioir conductor moved him, others 
wise than that as he took a dip of ink 
he seemed, by a settlement of hischixE 
in his stock, to propound to that per^ 
sonage, wiUiout looking at him, th» 
question, " What have you been up to, 
last?" 

Mortimer Lightwood asked him, 
would he be so good as look at those 
notes ? Handing him Eugene's. 

Having read the first few lines, Mr. 
Inspector mounted to that (for him) 
extraordinary pitch of emotion that 
he said, "Does either of you two gen- 
tlemen happen to have a pinch of 
snuff about him ?" Finding that nei- 
ther had, ho did quite as well without 
it, and read on. 

" Have you heard these read P" he 
then demanded of the honest man. 

" No," said Hiderhood. 

"Then you had better hear them.** 
And so read them aloud, in an ofiScial 
manner. 

** Are these notes correct, now, as to 
the information you biing here and 
the evidence j on mean to give ?" he 
asked, when he had finished reed 
ing. 

" They are. They are as correct,* 
returned Mr. Riderhood, *^ ^ I am. I 
can't say more than that for 'cm.** 

"I'll take this uon myself, sir,*' 

said Mr. Inspector to Lightwood. 

Then to Riderhood, " Is he at home \ 

I Whereishe? Whitt'shedoingP You 



OUB HUT1JAL FEIESD. 



g» 



hc*«inadaH ymu IniaiiuM to know 

lU alMnit him, no doubt." 

Bidi''j'hood said wlutt he did know, 

Ukd promued to End out in s fsw 

minutes what he* didn^t knov. 

" Stop," *aid Mr. Tnipedor ; " not 

tin I tell you. We miutn't look like 
1 Inumem. Wonid jou two gentlemen 
I (^jcct to mftking a pretence of taking 
P tglin of Muncthing in my company 



They replied tliftt tliey would he 
itfpj to tubrtitate ft reeJity for the 
inliaiee, which, in the main, appeared 
Id be aa one with Mr, Inspector's 

"Very good," mid he, takiog hii 



vira hii gloies. " Beaerre 
■Tie ntated. " You know where to 
find mef" Beaerve sgaia snluted. 
"Kideihood, when you have found 
«1 CTinceming his coming home, 
tmne nnmd to the window of Cosy, 
lip tvicB at it, and wait foe me. Now, 
gratlemen." 

Ai the three went out together, 
md Bidetbood slouched off from 
vaiet the tremblioK lamp hia aepa- 
We way, Lightwood aaked the officer 
Aatk thought of thiiF 



Tti. Inspector replied, with dm 

generality and reticence, that it was 
alwaya more likely that a man had 
doue a badthine than that ha hadn't. 
That he himself bad several times 
" reckoned up ' ' Gaffor, but bad never 
been able to bring him to a satis- 
factory criminal tolsL That if thia 
story was true, it was only in part 
true. That the two men, very shy 
chaiaders, would have been jointly 
and pretty equally "in it;" bat 
that this man had "spotted" th* 

money. 

"And I think," added Hr. In. 
spector, in conclusion, " that if all 
coea well with tiim, he's in a tolera- 
ble way of getting iL But as thi* 
is the Fellowships, gentlemen, where 
the lights aie, 1 recommend dropping 
the subject You can't do better 
than be interested in some lims 
worka nnywliere down about North- 
fleet, and doubtful whether some ol 
your lime don't get into bad com- 
pany as it comes up in barge*. 

"You hear, Eugene P" said Light- 
wood, over his shoulder. "You are 
deeply interested in lime." 

" Without lime," returned that 
unmoved barrittcr-at-law, "my ei- 
ietcnce would be ""iiiiirnina^j^ bj M 
ray of hope. 



CHAPTEEXin. 



Tem two lime merchants, with their 
Wor^ entered the dominions of Misa 
Abbey Potteiaon, to whom their 
ocort (presenting them and their 
f relended bnsiness over the balf-door 
of the bar, in a confidential way) 
Jtcferred his figurative requeet that 
'amoothful of tire" might bo lighted 
in Cosy, Always well '' 



. the I 



tituted 



Vm Abb^ bade Bob Gliddery attend 
0M gentlemen to that retreat, and 
promptly enliven it with fire and 
priighb Oi tbia c 



dark sleep 
and embrace diem warmly, the mo- 
ment they passed the lintels of iti 
hospitable door. 

•'They bom sherry very well 
here," said Mr. Inspector, as a piece 
of local intelligenco. " Perhaps yov 
gentlemen might like a bottle r" 

The answer being By all meaai^ 
Bob Gliddery received his iostruo. 
tions trom Mr. Inapector, and do* 



speedily ai 



100 



OUR MUTUAL FBIEND. 



paited in a Imoofodng itrnte of alacrity 
engoDdered by rererence for the mar 
ioSiy of the law. 

*'It'8 a certain &ct," said Mr. 
Inspector, '*that this man we have 
teceiTed our information from/' in- 
dicating Riderhood with his timrnb 
over lus shoulder, '*has for some 
time past given the other man a bad 
name arising out of your lime bargeSi 
and that the other man has been 
avoided in consequence. I don't say 
what it means or proves, but it's a 
certain f&ct. I had it first from one 
of the opposite sex of my acquaint- 
ance," vaguely indicating Miss Abbey 
with his thumb over his shoulder, 
"down away at a distance^ over 
yonder." 

Then probably Mr. Inspector was 
not quite unprepared for their visit 
that evening r Lightwo:«. I hinted. 

"Well you see," said Mr. In- 
MpedoTf ^it was a question of making: 
a move. It's of no use moving if 
you don't know what your move is. 
You had better by far keep still. 
In the matt^of this lime, I certainly 
had an idea that it might He betwixt 
the two men ; I always had that idea. 
Still I was forced to wait for a start, 
and I wasn't so lucky as to get a 
■tart. This man that we have re- 
ceived our information from, has got 
a start, and if he don't meet with a 
check he may make the running and 
come in first. There may turn out 
to be something considerable for him 
that comes in second, and I don't 
mention who may or who may not 
try for that place. There's duty to 
do, and I shall do it, under any dr- 
eumstances, to the best of my judg- 
ment and ability." 

"Speaking as a shipper of lime 
•— ' began Eugene. 

" Which no man has a better right 
to do than yourself, you know," said 
Mr. Inspector. 

"I hope not," laid Eagene; "my 
Ikther having been a shipper of lime 
before mo, and my grandfather before 
him — ^in feict we have been a family 
immersed to the crowns of our hea^ 
in lime during several generations — I 



beg to obnrve fhat if tiii 
lime could be got hold of wi 
young female relative of a 
gnished gentleman engagi 
mne trade (which I chexii 
my life) being present^ I 
might be a more agreeabli 
ing to the aisristing bystai 
is to sav, lime-burners." 

" I also," said Lightwooc 
his friend aside with a laugl: 
much prefer that." 

'* It shall be done, gentle 
can be done conveniently,' 
Inspector, with coolness, 
no wish on my part to cans 
tress in that quarter. Inc 
sorry for that quarter." 

" There was a boy in that 
remarked Eugene. " Hi 
there." 

"Ko," said Mr. Inspect 
has quitted those works. H 
wise disposed of." 

"Win she be left alon 
asked Eugene. 

"She will be left," aaic 
specter, " alone." 

Bob's reappearance with f 
jug broke off the oonversat 
although the jug steaxno 
delicious perfume, its con 
not received that last haf 
which the surpassing finii 
Six Jolly Fellowship Po 
parted on such momentous 
bob carried in his left ha 
those iron models of sugar 
before mentioned, into ^ 
emptied the jug, and thi 
end of which he thrust d 
into the fire, so leaving it : 
moments while he disappc 
reappeiued with three bng 
ing-glasses. Placing thei 
table and bending over the 
toriously sensible of the tryi 
of his duty, he watdied th 
of steam, until at the speci 
of projection he caught u 
vessel and gave it one deli< 
causing it to send forth o 
hiss. Then he restored th( 
to the jug ; held over the 
the jug, each of the thr 




0U£ MUTUiX FEI£ND. 



Ul 






. fbftUf flUod 
all. and with ■ dear eoii«cieiice 
ited the appUasa of hii fallow- 



1 bastowed (Mr. Inspector 

baving propoced aa «o sppropriuta 

Mntiment "The lima trade!"), and 

Bob vitbdrew (o report the oammen- 

datiooB of Uie guests to Miaa Abbe^ 

in the bar. It may be here in cou- 

Idoica admitted Uiat, the room beins 

doae Bhut in his absence, there lutd 

[ Bat ^ipe&red to be the slightest 

naioa for the elaborato mainteuanoa 

of this sama lime fiction. Oolji it 

I tud been reg&nled by Hr. Inspector 

1 U sa nneommonly satisfactory, and 

1 N fraught witJi myetBTious rirtues, 

ftit neither of his clients bad pre- 

I Umed to qoestion iL 

I Tvo taps were now heaid on the 

I nkids of the window. Mr. Inspeo- 

fan, hsstQy fbitiiying himself with 

I Bother glass, itroUed out with a 

I foot and an imoooupied 

mix. Aa one might go to 

' ntrey the weather and the general 

lipsct of the heavenly bodies. 

"This is becoming grim, Uoiti- 

' nier" eaid Eugene m a low Toics. 

< "1 don't like tius." 

"Sor V «ud Ligbtmod. "Sh«U 

I '*??^" 

"Being here, let ns stay. Ton 
nght to see it out, and I won't leave 

I JOS. Besideo, that lonely girl with 

I tlu dark hair mns in my head. It 
VII httle more than a glimpse we 
liad of her that last time, and yet I 

' ilmost see her waiting by the fire tO' 

i light Do you feel like a dark 
combination of traitor and pickpocket 
*hen you think of that girl f " 
''Bather," retorned Lightwood. 
"DoyouF" 
I " Vary much so." 
I Their escort strolled back again, 
md r^>ort«d. Divested of its variou! 
lime-lights and shaduws, his reporl 
■eat.to the effect that OaSer wa) 
sway in his boat, supposed to be or 
his old look-out i that he had beai: 
npacted last high-WKter ; that hav- 



tl&BT, 



mimMlri it £ 



• no^ maoor^iig to Us 



OBoal habits at night, to be ooimti^ 
on before next high-watai, or it 
might be an hour or so lator ; that 
his daughter, surveyed througli Ihs 
window, would seem to be eo expect- 
ing him, for the supper was not 
cooking, bnt set out ready to W 
cooked ; that it would be high-water 
at about one, and that it was now 
barely teu ; that there was nothing 
to be done bat watch and wait ; that 
the informer wis keeping watch at 
" instant of that present reporting, 
thu.t two beads were better thua 
(eepocially when the second waj 
Mr. Inspector's) ; and that the re- 
porter meant to share the watch. 
And forasmuch as crouching under 
the lee of a hauled-up boat on a 
night when it blew cold and strong, 
and when the weather was varied 
with blasts of hail at timaa, might be 
wearisome to amateurs, the reporter 
closed with the recommendation that 
the two gentlemen should remain, for 
awhile at sn^ iste, is their present 
quarters, which were weather-tight 
and warm. 

They were not inclined to dispute 
Hus recommendation, but they wanted 
to know when they could join the 
watchers when so disposed. Itathcr 
than tnUFl to a verbal description of 
lie place, which might mislead, Eo- 
gene (with a lees weighty sense of - 
parBOOal trouble On hint than hs 
usually had ) would go out with Ur. 
Inspector, note the spot, and oams 

On the shelving hank of the river, 
among the slimy Btone* of a cause- 
way — not the special causeway of tht 
Six Jolly Fellowships, which had a 
landing-place of its own, but another, 
a little removed, and very near to the 
old windmill which was the de- 
nounced man's dwelling-place — wen 
a few boats ; some, motned and al- 
ready beginning to float; other*, 
hauled up above the Mech of the 
tide. Under one of these latter 
Eugene's oompanioa disappetired. 
And when Eugene had obaurved it* 
poeition with roference to the other 
Doal^ and bad siftd* m« ttaik ^ 



102 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



could not miBs it, he tamed his eyea 
upon the building where, ae he had 
been told, the lonely girl with the 
dark hair sat by the fire. 

He could Bee the light of the fire 
shining through the window. Per- 
hape it drew him on to look in. 
Perhape he had come out with the 
express intention. That part of the 
bfuik having rank g^rass growing on 
it, there was no dilHculty in getting 
dose, without any noise of footsteps : 
it was but to scramble up a ragged 
face of Drotty hard mud some three 
or four feet high and come upon the 
ffrass and to the window. He came 
to the window by that means. 

She had no other light than the 
light of the fire. The unkiudled 
Ismip stood on the table. She sat on 
the ground, looking at the brazier, 
with her face leaning on her hand. 
There was a kind of tilm or flicker on 
her face, which at first he took to be 
the fitfal firelight ; but, on a second 
look, he saw that she was weeping. 
A sad and solitary spectacle, as shown 
him by the rising and the falling of 
the fire. 

It was a little window of but four 
pieces of glass, and was not cur- 
tained ; he chose it because the larger 
window near it was. It showed mm 
the room, and the bills upon the wall 
respecting the drowned people start- 
ing out and receding by turns. But 
he glanced slightly at them, though 
he looked lozig and steadily at her. 
A deep rich piece of colour, with the 
brown flush of her cheek and the 
shining lustre of her hair, though sad 
and solitary, weeping by the rising 
and the falling of the fire. 

She started up. He had been so 
▼ery still, that he felt sure it waa not 
he who had disturbed her, so merely 
withdrew from the window and stood 
near it in the shadow of the wsdl. 
6he opened the door, and said in an 
alarmed tone, " Father, was that you 
calling me ?" And again, " Father! " 
And once again, after listening, 
'< Father ! I thought I heard you call 
me twice before I " 
Jfo retpoBBA As she re-entered 



at the door, he dropped orer the bank 
and made his way back, cimong ih» 
ooze and near the hiding-pla^ to 
]^I or timer Li&;htwood: to whom he 
told what he nad seen of the girl, and 
how this was becoming very giim 
indeed. 

'* If the real man feels aa guilty as 
I do," said Eugene, "he is remoik- 
ably uncomfortable." 

*' Influence of secrecy," suggested 
Lightwood. 

*' I am not at all obliged to it for 
making me Guy Fawkes in the vault 
and a Sneak in the area both at once," 
said Eugene. ** Give me some more of 
that stuff." 

Lightwood helped him to some 
more of that stuff, but it had been 
cooling, and didn't answer now. 

" Pooh/' said Eugene, spitting it 
out among the ashes. '' Tastes Uke 
the wash of the river." 

''Are YOU so familiar with the 
flavour of the wash of the river P" 

" I seem to be to-night. I feel aft 
if I had been half drowned, and 
swallowing a gallon of it" 

" Influence of locality," suggested 
Lightwood. 

** You are mighty learned to-night^ 
you and your influences," returned 
Eugene. " How long shall we iUf 
here?" 

" How long do you think P * 

*' If I could choose, I should say ^ 
minute," replied Eugene, '*for th9 
Jolly Fello^prahip Porters are not th9 
jollicst dogs I have known. But T 
suppose we are best hero till they turn, 
us out with the other suspicious cha* 
racters, at midnight." 

Thereupon he stirred the fire, and 
sat down on one side of it. It stinick 
eleven, and he made believe to com- 
pose himself patiently. But gra- 
dually he took the fidgets in one leg, 
and then in the other leg, and then 
in one arm, and then in the other 
arm, and then in his chin, and then 
in his back, and then in his forehead, 
and then in his hair, and then in his 
nose ; and then he stretched himscU 
recumbent on two chairs, and groaned; 




OUE IIUTUAL FRIEND. 



103 



' imecta of dinbolicul ac- 
1 in Ihia place. I am 
■witched all over, llou- 
! DOW committed a bur- 

the mjimidons of justice 

jte as bad,' ' said Light- 
■ lip facing hira, witk a 
A, after going througli 
fill avolutiona, in which 
been tho lowest port nf 
> nntl<~«3iiG9a begun, with 
. AU the time rou were 
te Ouiliver willi the LU- 



air ; wo must join our 
aad brother, Riderhoud. 
tmnqiillHM ourselves by 
Dpaot. Next time (with 
IT peace of miad) we'll 
crime, mstead of taking 
You sneor it t" 



Lot Ti 

dang 






looItl« 



uig tho boll to pay the 
ob appiaicd to traosact 
f witli him: whom Eu- 
. careless eitravagance, 
could like a utoatioa in 
le? 

■ir, no sir," said Bob. 
. aitiwation here, sir." 
ikonge jour mind at any 
ned Euffene, "come to 
dHcs, am you'U always 



ntheli 






sir," said Bob. 
my partner," said Eu- 
keeps the books and 
la wagCB. A fair day's 



KOod'u 



t. gen- 



iving his fee, 
; a bow out of his hood 
it baud, very much as he 
drawn a pint of beer out 

' Mortimer apostrophized 
ig quite heartily whon 
one Hgain, " bow ea» von 



" I am in a ridiculous bami)QT." 
qiioCb Ku);oue: "I un a ridiculous 
fctluw. K very Hung- is ridiculous. 
Come along 1 ' ' 

It paaiicd into Mortimer Ught- 
wood's mind that a change of some 
sort, best cipTe&3Gd perhaps as aa in- 
tonsiQcuti'ju of aU that was wildest 
and most negligent and reckless in 
bis friend, hod come ujhiu him in the 
last half-hour or so. Thoroughly 
used to him as ho wus, be foimd 
something now and g'.raiaod in him 
that was for Uie moment perplexing. 
Tiiis passed into his mlud, and passed 
out again ; but he rumembarod it 
afterwards. 

" Tlitre's when) she sits, you see," 
baid Kugeno, when thty we^to staud- 
inK under the bank, i-oarod and rivea 
at by the wiud. " There's the light 
of her fire." 

I'll take a peep thtough the win- 
dow," s.iid ^lorlimcr. 

"No, don't!" Eugene caught him 
by the arm. " Best not make a show 
of her. Come to our honest friend." 

He led him to the post of walch, 
and they both dropped down and 
crept under the lee of the boat ; a 
bettor sheltor than it hud seemed be- 
foro. boing directly contrasted with 
tho blowing wind sjid tho bare ni^ht. 

"Mr. Inspector at homef" whis- 
pered Eugeue. 

" Here I am, dr." 

" And our friend of the peispiiinp 
brow is at the far comOT there P Good. 
Anything happened ? ■ 

" His daughter has been out, think' 
ing she heard him calling, unless it 
was a sign to him to keep out of the 
way. It might havo been." 

"It might have been Bule Bri- 
tannia," muttorcd Eugene, " but it 
wasn't. Mortimer!" 

"Hore!" (On the otlier dda of 
Mr. Inspector. J 

" Two burglarioB now, and a for* 



They ■n-era »31 slaoli. iot a. NoiiS 
while. A* it 6°*' *» ^ a«A-xiift, 



104 



OUH MUTUAL FBIEND. 



and the water came nearer to them, 
noises on the river became more £re- 

auentf and they listened more. To 
le tumiiiff of steam-paddlos, to the 
clinkincf oi iron chain, to the creak- 
ing of blocks, to the measured working 
of oars, to the occasional violent bark- 
ing of some passing dog on shipboard, 
who seemea to scent them lying in 
their hiding-place. The night was 
not so dark but that, besides the lights 
at bows and mastheads gliding to and 
fro, they could discern some shadowy 
bulk attached ; and now and then a 
ghostlv lighter with a large dark 
eail, like a warning arm, would start 
up very near them, pass on, and 
vanish. At this time of their watch, 
the water close to them would be 
often agitated by some impulsion 
given it from a distance. Often they 
believed this beat and plash to h% 
the boat they lay in wait for, run- 
ning in ashore ; and again and again 
they would have started up, but for 
the immobility with which the in- 
former, well used to the river, kept 
quiet in his place. 

The wind carried away the striking 
of the great multitude of city church 
clocks, for those lay to leeward of 
them ; but there were bells to wind- 
ward that told them of its being One — 
Two— Three. Without that aid they 
would have known how the night 
wore, by the falling of the tide, re- 
corded in the appearance of an ever- 
widening black wet strip of shore, 
and the emer^nce of the paved cause- 
wav from the river, foot by foot. 

As the time so passed, this slink- 
ing business became a more and more 
precarious one. It would seem as if 
the man had had some intimation of 
what waji in hand against him, or 
had taken fright. His movements 
might have been planned to gain for 
him, in getting beyond their reach, 
twelve hours' advantage. The honest 
man who had expended the sweat of 
his brow became uneasy, and began 
to complain with bitterness of the 
proneness of mankind to cheat liim — 
idm invested with the dignity of 
Jjslfoar/ 



Their retreat was so chosen that 
while they could watch the river, 
thev could watch the house. No one 
had passed in or out, since the daugh- 
ter thought she heard the father call- 
ing. No one could pose in or oat 
without bein"f seen. 

" But it will be light at five," said 
Mr. Inspector, ** and then icw shall be 
seen." 

** Look here," said Riderhood, " what 
do you say to this ? He may have 
been lurking in and out, and just 
holding his own betwixt two or three 
bridges, for hours back." 

"What do you make of that?" 
said 3ir. Inspector. Stoical, but oon« 
tradictory. 

** He may be doing so at this pr»> 
sent time." 

** What do you make of that /" said 
Mr. Inspector. 

*< My boat's among them boats hers 
at the cause' ay." 

** And what do you make of your 
boat ?" said Mr. Inspector. 

" AVhat if I put off in her and take 
a look round ? I know his ways, and 
the likely nooks he favours. I know 
where he'd be at such a time of the 
tide, and where he'd be at such another 
time. Ain't I been his pardner? 
None of you need show. None of 
you need stir. I can shove her off 
without help; snd as to me being 
seen, I'm about at all times." 

*' Tou might have given a worse 
opinion," said Mr. Inspector, after 
brief consideration. " Try it." 

" Stop a bit. Let's work it out If 
I want you, I'll drop round under the 
Fellowships and tip you a whistle," 

" If I might so far presume as to 
offer a suggestion to my honourable 
and gallant friend, whose knowledge 
of naval matters fai be it from me to 
impeach," Eugene struck in with 
great deliberation, " it would be, that 
to tip a whistle is to advertise mystery 
and invite speculation. ]SIy honour- 
able and gallant friend will, I trust, 
excuse me, as an independent member, 
for throwing out a remark which I 
feel to be due to this house and tb/6 
country" 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



105 



*Wa«that the T'other Governor, 

[•Lawyer Lightwood ? ' ' asked Rider- 

kod. For, they spoke as they 

ictmched or lay, without seeing one 

tt&Oifir's faces. 

I ^ In reply to the question put by 

lay honourable and gallant mend, 

'laid Eugene, who was lying on his 

' kek with hia bat on his fisice, as an 

ittrtode highly expressive of watch- 

folness, ** I can have no hesitation in 

laying (it not being inconsistent 

vith the public service) that those 

•ooentB were the Accents of the T'other 

Govwnor." 

** You've tolerable good eyes, ain't 
yoQ, Governor? Ton ve all tolerable 
food eyei^ ain't you ?" demanded the 



AIL 

** Then if I row iq> under the Fel- 
knnliips and lay there, no need to 
vhistleL Tou'U make out that there's 
a speck of something or another there, 
md you'll know ir s me, and you'll 
eome down that canae'ay to me. 
TJsdentoodallP" 

Understood alL 

*" Off she goee then!" 

Id a moment, with the wind cutting 
keeply at him sideways, he was stag- 
gering down to his boat ; in a few 
ttoments he was clear, and creeping 
9f the river under their own shore. 

Eogene had raised himself on his 
iflMw to look into the darknews after 
kirn. ** I wish the boat of my honour- 
iUe and gallant fri6nd,"hemurmured, 
Ipng down again and speakina^ into 
aahst, **may be endowedwith pmlan- 
tiuopy snou^ to turn bottom-upward 
tad eztinguiah him I — ^Mortimer." 

**Hy honoiirable friend." 

'*Tbzee burglaries, two forgeries 
ndaaidiught ^ " 



Yet in spite of having those 
weights on his conscience, Eugene was 
somewhat enlivened by the late slight 
change in the drcumstancee of affairs. 
So were his two companions. Its 
being a change was everything. The 
suspense seemed to have taken a new 
lease, and to have begun afresh from 
a recent date. There was something 
additional to look for. They were aU 
three more sharply on the alert, and 
less deadened by the miserable infla* 
ences of the place and time. 

More than an hour had passed, and 
they were even dozing, when one of 
the three— each said it was he, and 
he had not dozed — ^made out Rider- 
hood in his boat at the spot agreed 
on.^ They sprang up, came out frt>m 
their shelter, and went down to him. 
When he saw them coming, he dropped 
alongside the causeway ; so that they, 
standing on the causeway, could speak 
with him in whispei*s, under the 
shadowy mass of the Six Jolly Fellow- 
ship Porters fast asleep. 

''Blest if I can make it out!" said 
he, staring at them. 

" Make what out P Have yon seen 
himP" 

" No." 

"What have you leenP** asked 
Lightwood. For he was staring at 
them in the strangest way. 

^* I've seen his boat." 

"Not empty P" 

" Yes, empfy. And what's more,— 
adrift Ann what's more, — ^with one 
scull gone. And what's more, — with 
t'other scuU jammed in the thowels 
and broke uiort off. And what'a 
more, — the boat's drove tight by the 
tide 'atwizt two tiers of barges. And 
what's more,-^he's in lock again^ by 
George if he aia't P 



106 



OUE 21UTUAL FRTENB. 



CHAPTER XrV. 

TRB BIRD OF PRET BHOUOHT DOWIT. 



Gold on the ahore, in the raw cold 
of that leaden erisis in the four-and- 
twenty hoiu-s when the vital force of 
all the noblest and prettiest things 
that live is at its lowest, the three 
watchers looked each at the blank 
fiaces of the other two, and all at the 
blank £ice of Riderhood in his boat. 

"Gaffer's boat, Gaffer in luck 
again, and yet no Gaffer ! " So spake 
lUderhood, staring disconsolate. 

As if with one accord, they all 
turned their eyes towards tiie light of 
the fire shining through the window. 
It was fiiinter and duller. Perhaps 
fire, like the higher animal and ve^- 
table life it helps to sustain, has its 
greatest tendency towards death, 
when the night is dying and the day 
is not yet bom. 

*' If it was me that had the law of 
this here job in hand," growled 
Kiderhood with a threatening shake 
of his head, " blest if I wouldn't lay 
hold of ker^ at any rate ! " 

"Ay, but it 18 not you," said 
Eugene. With something so sud- 
denly fierce in him that the infoimer 
returned submissively ; "Well, well, 
-well, T'other Governor, I didn't say it 
was. A man may speak." 

" And vermin may be silent," said 
Eugene. "Hold your tongue, you 
water-rat ! " 

Astonished by his friend's unusual 
heat, Lightwood stared too, and then 
said: "What can have become of 
this man?" 

" Can't imagine. Unless he dived 
overboard." The informer wiped 
his brow ruefully as he said it, sittmg 
in his boat and always staring dis- 
consolate. 

'* Did you make his boat fast P" 

'* She's fast enough till the tide 
runs back. I couldn't make her faster 
than she is. Come aboard of mine, 
and see for your ownselves." 

There was a little backwardness in 

complying, for the freight looked too 

auah ior the hoai; but on Bider- 



hood's protesting " that ho had bad 
half a dozen, dead and alive, in her 
afore now, and she was nothing deep 
in the water nor down in the stem 
even then, to speak of," they carefully 
took their places, and trimmed the 
crazy thing. While they were doing 
so, Kiderhood still sat staring dis- 
consolate. 

"All right Give way!" sud 
Lightwood. 

" Give way, by Geor^!" repeated 
Riderhood, before shoving off. "If 
he's gone and made off any hov, 
Lawyer Lightwood, it's enough to 
make me give way in a different 
manner. £ut he always wot a cheat, 
con-found him! He always was a 
infernal cheat, was Gaffer. Nothing 
straightfor'ard, nothing on the square. 
80 mean, so underhajided. rTever 
going through with a thing, dot 
carrying it out like a man ! " 

"Hallo! Steady!" cried Eugene 
(he had recovered immediately on 
embarking), as they bumped heavily 
against a pile ; and then in a lower 
voice reversed his late apostrophe by 
remarking (" I wish the boat of injr 
honourable and gallant friend may to 
endowed with philanthropy enougb 
not to turn bottom-upward and ex* 
tinguish us!) Steady, steady! 8it 
close, Mortimer. Here's the hail 
again. See how it flies, like a troop d 
wild cats, at Mr. Riderhood's eyes ! ** 

Indeed he had the full benefit of iti 
and it so mauled him, though he beol 
his head low and tried to preset^ 
nothing but the mangy cap to it, tha^ 
he dropped under the lee of a tier of 
shipping, and they lay there until i^ 
was ovvr. The squall had come up 
like a spiteful messenger before the 
morning ; there followed in its wakti 
a ragged tier of light which ripped 
the dark clouds until they ^owed c 
great grey hole of day. 

They were all slavering, and every^ 

thing about them seemed tobe shiveri 

\i&g\ \3bft i^N«E \\a^^ <sndD^ rigsinjg 




CUE MUTUAL FEIEKD. 



lOT 



Kich earl; smoke as thara yet ' noolc. and wedded Mtehad deBciibed, 
on Uia gliuro. Black with wet, wbb Gallcr's lioot; that boat with the 
altored to the eye by white . atain atill in it. boaring EOme rosem- 
lea of hail and ileot, the haddled | blimce to a muffled human form, 
lings looked lower than luual, aa | "Now (ell me I'm a Uar! " aaid the 
ley were cowering, and had ! honest niaa. 

ak with the cold. Vcrj- little.' ("With a morbid expectation," 
raa to be seen on either bank. ! rourmured Eugeoe to Lightvood. 
owa and doors were shut, aud "lliat somebody is always goiDg to 
■taring black and white letteia tall him the ti'uth.") 

whaxrea and warehousea j "This is Hciom's boat," aaid Ur. 
lied," laid Eugene to Mortimer, Inspector. "I know her well." 
9 inscriptiona over the giBTea of | " Look at tha broken scuU. Look 
bnaineasea." i at the t'other scull gone, yew toll 

they glided slowly on, keeping me I am ■ liar '. " said the honoit 
r the ahore, and sneaking in and man. 

imong the shipping by back- Ifr. Insped«r stepped into the boat. 
9 of water, in a pilfering way Eugene and Mortimer looked on. 

■semed lo be Ihair boatman'i I "And aea now!" added Hidor- 
al manner of progression. kU the hood, deeping aft. and showing a 
ta among whioh they crept ware atretehed rope made fast thoro and 
geincontrastwiththeirvretehed towin); overboard. "Didn't I toll 
as to threaten to crush it. Not I yon he was in luck s^n F " 
p's hall, with its rusty iron links "Haul in," said Mr. Inspector. 
Die run out of hawse-holes long "Easy to say haul in," answered 
loured with the iron's rusty tear?, I Ridorbood. "Nnt so easy dons. Eil 
eemed to be there with a fell ' luck's gut fouled under the keels of 
tion. Not a flgare-head hut ' the barges. I tried to haul in last 
iie menacing look of bunting time, but I couldn't. See how ' ' " 



Ml b 



:ing look of 
1 them dowi 



Not 






gate, or a painted scale upon a I "I most bare it op," aaid Mr. In- 



r wall, showing the depth of 
', but seemed to hint, like the 
fully facetious Wolf in bed in 
dmamma's cottage, "That's to 
1 fou in, my dean!" Not a 
jring black barKa> with its 
ad and bliderod side impending 
them, but seemed to suck at 
iver with a thirat for Bucking 

under. And everything so 
ed the spoiling influences of 
' — discoloured copper, rotten 
, honey-combed itone, green 

deposit — that the afier-couse- 
»B of being cmshed, sucked 
;, and drawn down, looked as ugly 

Q«huf-haar of thi« work, and 
hood nnahipped hia scnlla, stood 
ng on to a MU'ge, and hand over 
long-vise along the barge's 
(tadiullj' wicked DiB boat under 
lead into a secret htUa nook of 
mj-watar. And diiraa into that 



spector. " I am going to take this 
iMtat ashore, and his luck along with 
it Try eosynow." 

He tried easy now ; but th« Im^ 
resisted ; wouldn't coma. 

" I mean to have it, and the lioat 
too," said Mr. Inspector, playing tba 

BatstdlltheluckTeaisted; wouldn't 

"Take care," said Riderhood. 
"Tou'Il diaSgnre. Or pnll asoiMler 
perhaps." 

** I am not goinff to do either, not 
even ^ your Oiandmother," said Mr* 
Inspector; "but I mom to have it. 
Come!" he added, at onoe persua- 
siraly and wiQi authiiritT to the hidden 
object in the wator, as ne pkyed the 
line again ; " it's no good this sort of 
game, you know. YoumuJ oomeup. 
I mean to have jwi." 

There -was so tnvi^ ■^Vrtoft id, \io» 
distinntly and dec^cdlj TOM" «n% '~ 



Ml 



108 



OUE MUTUAL FKIEND. 



I 



haye It, that it yielded a little, even 
while the line was played. 

"I told you BO," quoth Mr. In- 
spector, puUin^ off his outer coat, 
and leaning well over the stem with 
awilL "Come!" 

It was an awful sort of fishing, but 
it no more disconcerted Mr. Inspector 
than if he had been fishing in a punt 
on a summer evening by some sooth- 
ing weir high up the peaceful river. 
Alter certain minutes, and a few di- 
rections to the rest to '^ease her a 
little for*ard,*' and **now ease her a 
tiifle aft," and the like, he said com- 
posedly, "All clear!" and the line 
and the boat came free together. 

Accepting Lightwood's proffered 
hand to help him up, he then put on 
his coat, and said to Riderhood, 
" Hand me over those spare sculls of 
yours, and I'll pull Uus in to the 
nearest stairs. Go ahead you, and 
keep out in pretty open water, that I 
mayn't got ^uled again." 

^lis directions wore obeyed, and 
they pulled ashore directly; two in 
one boat, two in the other. 

"Now," said Mr. Inspector, again 
to Biderhood, when they were all on 
the slushy stones; "you have had 
more practice in tins than I have had, 
and ought to be a better workman at 
it. Undo the tow-rope, and we'll 
help Tou haul in." 

Kiaerhood got into the boat ao- 
oordingly. It appeared as if he had 
scarcely had a moment's time to touch 
the rope or look over the stem, when 
he came scrambling back, as pale as 
the morning, and gasped out : 

" By the Iiord, he's done me 1 " 

"What do you meanP" they all 
demanded. 

He pointed behind him at the boat, 
and gasped to that degree that he 
dropped upon the stones to get his 
breath. 

** Gaffer^B done me. It's Gaffer I " 

They ran to ih» rope, leaving him 
gasping there. Soon, the form of 
the bird of ptey, dead some hours, 
lay stretched upon the shore, with a 
new blast storming at it and ft^t^ing 
fha wet haJT with h^latAiMw. 



Father, was that yon calling mei 
Father ! I thought I heard you call 
me twice before! Words never U 
be answered, those, upon the earth* 
side of the grave. The wind swoepi 
jeerinply over Father, whips him 
with the frayed ends of his dress and 
his jagged hair, tries to turn him 
where he lies stork on his back, and 
force his iBtOG towards the rising sun, 
that he may be shamed the more. A 
lull, and the wind is secret and pryiitg 
with him; lifts and lets fall a rag; 
hides palpitating under another rag; 
runs nimbly through his hair and 
beard. Then, in a rush, it cruelly 
taunts him. Father, was that yov 
calling me P Was it you, the voic^ 
less and the dead P Was it you, thus 
bulFeted as you lie here in a heap ? 
Was it you, thus baptized unto Death, 
with these fl>'ing impurities now flung 
upon your face? Why not speak, 
Father P Soolving into this filthy 
ground as you lie here, is your own 
shape. Did you never see such a 
shape soaked into your boat P Speak, 
Father. Speak to us, the winds, tbo 
only listeners left you ! 

"Now see,'* said Mr. Inspector, 
after mature deliberation: kneeling 
on one knee beside the body, when 
they had stood looking down on tha 
drowned man, as he had many a time 
looked down on many another man : 
" the way of it was this. Of oouisfl 
you gentlemen hardly fsuled to ob- 
serve that he was towing by the necb 
and arms." 

They had helped to release the 
rope, and of course not* 

"And you will have observed be- 
fore, and you will observe now, thai 
this knot, which was drawn diock* 
tight round his neck by the strain oi 
his own arms, is a slip-knot: " holding 
it up for demonstration* 

Plain enough. 

" Likewise you will have observed 
how he Had run the other end of thif 
rope to his boat." 

It had the curves and indentatioiif 
in it still, where it had been twinec 
and bound. 

"Kow eea,'* mid 'hb. Jnapectoc 



OTJB UUl'UAL FRIEND. 



109 



"we bffw it worb roimd upon 
It's a wild tempestuouB eveiuQ); 
thu man that was," itoopinff tu wi|>c 
•ame hailrtonei out of hii hair with 
■n end of hii own drowned jacket, 
"—there! Now he's more like Iiir 
■eU. though he's badly bruised,- 
whea this man that wis, tows o 
Bpon the river oa hi* uau»l Uy. I_ 
carries with him this coil of rope. Be 
al ways carries wi th him this coil of rope. 
It's oa well known to me U he was 
himself. Sometimea it lay in the 
bottom of his boaL Sometimea he 
hong it loose round his neck. He 
was a light-dresser was this man ; 
you se«P' lifting the loose neokf 
chief over hia brcmt, and taking the 
oppoTtonity of wiping the dead lips 
witli it — '' and when it waa wet, or 
freezjna:, or blew cold, he would hang 
this cou of Uns mniid his neck. Last 
erening be does this. Wona for 
him ! He dodges about in his boat, 
does this m*", till he gets chilled. 
pirn hands," tjalt-i^ig- up one of them, 
which dropped like a leaden weif^ht, 
" get numbed. He sees some object 
tint's iu hia way of buiinesB, floatmg. 
He make* ready to secure that object. 
He nnwinda the and of bis coil that 
lie wants to take some turns on iu his 
boat, and he takes turns enough on it 
to secure that it shan't run out. He 
makes it too secure, as it happeni. 
fie is a little longer about this than 
BiBal, his hands being numbed. His 
object drifts up, before he is quite 
nady for it. Ha catches at it, thinks 
he'll make sure of the contents of the 
pockets anyhow, in ca^ he should be 
parted from it, bends right over the 
Kem, and in <mui of these heavy 
•quails, or in the cross-swell of two 
tteamers, or in not being quite pre- 
psred, or throogh all or most or some, 
gets a lurch, orerbalances, and goes 
head-foremost oTsrboerd. Now see ! 
He can swim, can this man, and in- 
stantly he atiikes out But in inch 
■tiikLag-out be taogles bis arms, puUs 
Arong OD the slip-knot, and it runs 
lume. The object be had expected 
to take in tow, float* h^, and Ilia 
own haU towabim dead, to wbtn we 



found him, all eutftn^Icd in his own 
lino. You'U ask me how I make out 
about the pockets F First, I'll tell 
voa more ; there was silver in 'em. 
How do I moke that outF Simple 
aud BStiKfactory. Because he's got it 
here." The lecturer held np tho 
tightly clenched iij;lit hand. 

" What is to be done with tlw n- 
mainsF" asked Ll^btwood. 

"If you wouldu t object to stand- 
ing hy him half a minute, sir," was 
the reply, "I'll find the neaj-est of our 
meo to come and take charge cf 
him:— I still coll it Aim, you see," 
said Kr. In^nector. lookinj^ back as 
he went, wiih a |ihMosophical tmilo 
upon the force of habit. 

"Eugene," said Lightwood— ai:d 
was about to add " we may wait st 
a little distance," when turning hii 
head he found that no Eng«ae wes 

He raised hia Toiw aod called 

"Eugcnol Holloa!" But no Eu- 
gene replied. 

It waa brood daylight now, and tie 
looked about. Butno Eugene was in 
aU the view. 

Ur, Inspector speedily letoming 
down the wooden stairs, with a police 
constable, Li):htwoad asked him if 
he had seen bis &iend leave thorn ? 
iSi. Inspector could not exactly say 
that he had seen him go, hut had 
noticed that he was restless. 

bination. sir, your friend." 

" I wish it had not been a part of 
his singular and entertainiiig com- 
biMtion to give me the slip under 
these dreary circumstancea at this 
time of the morning," said Light- 
wood. "Caa we get anything hotto 
drink P" 

Weconld, and wedld. Ibiapnhlic- 
houss kitchen wiUi a large fit«. We 
got hot bmndj and water, and it 
revived ns wonderfully. iSx. Inspec- 
tor having to Mr. Biderhood an- 
nounced bis official intention of 
"keeping bis eye upon him," stood 
him m a comei ol Uie &re->^lai:b,\^« 
a vet luahrtdla, au^ \jwAc ^lo futilDSc 
outward and virftlio luftiEia (A "^".^ 



no 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



honest man, except ordering a se- 
parate service of brandy and water 
for him : apparently out of the public 
funds. 

As Mortimer lightwood sat before 
the blazing fire, conscious of drinking 
brandy and water then and there in 
his sleep, and yet at one and the 
same time drinking burnt sherry at 
the Six Jolly Fellowships, and l>'ing 
under the boat on the river shore, 
and sitting in the boat that 'Rider- 
hood rowed, and listening to the 
lecture recently concluded, and hav- 
ing to dine in the Temple with an 
muaiown man, who described himself 
as M. R. F. Eugene Gaffer Harmon, 
and said he lived at Hailstorm, — as 
he passed through these curious vicis- 
situdes of fatigue and slumber, 
arranged upon Uie scale of a dozen 
hours to the second, he became aware 
of answering aloud a communication 
of pressing importance that had never 
been made to him, and then turned 
it into a cough on beholding Mr. 
Inspector. For he felt, with some 
natural indignation, that that func- 
tionary mic^ht otherwise suspect him 
of havmg closed his eyes, or wandered 
in his attention. 

''Here, just before ns^ yon see," 
■aid Mr. Inspector. 

<*/ see," said Lightwood, with 
dignity. 

*'And had hot brandy and water 
too, you see," said Mr. Inspector, 
" and then cut off at a great rate." 

" Who ?" said Lightwood. 

"Your friend, you know." 

"/know," he replied, again with 
dignity. 

After hearing, in a mist through 
which Mr. Inspector loomed vague 
and large, that the officer took upon 
himself to prepare the dead man's 
daughter for what had be&llen in the 
night, and generally that he took 
everything upon himself, Mortimer 
Lightwood stumbled in his sleep to a 
cab-stand, called a cab, and had 
enteixMl the army and committed 
a capital military offence and been 
tried by court-martial and foimd 
guilty and had arranged bis affairs 



and been mniThcd out to be flhoty 
before the door banged. 

Hard work rowing the cab through 
the City to the Temple, for a cup of 
from five to ten thousand pounds 
value, given by Mr. Boffin ; and hard 
work holding forth at that immea- 
surable length to Eugene (when he 
had been rescued with a rope from 
the nmning pavement) for making 
off in that extraordinary manner! 
But he offered such ample apolopics, 
and was so very penitent, that when 
Lightwood ^t out of the cab, he 
gave the driver a particular charge 
to be careful of him. Which the 
driver (knowing there was no other 
fare left inside) stai*ed at pro- 
digiously. 

In short, the night's work had so 
exhausted and worn out this actor in 
it, that he had become a mere som- 
nambulist. He was too tired to rest 
in his sleep, until he was even tired 
out of being too tired, and dropx)ed 
into oblivion. Late in the afternoon 
he awoke, and in some anxiety sent 
round to Eugene's lodging hard by, 
to inquire if he were up yet ? 

Oh yes, he was up. In £sict, he 
had not been to bed. He had just 
come home. And here he was, dose 
following on the heels of the message. 

** Why, what bloodshot, draggled, 
dishevelled spectacle is this!" cried 
Mortimer. 

"Are my feathers so Tery much 
rumpled ?' said Eugene, cooUy going 
up to the looking-glass. " They an 
rather out of sorts. But consider. 
Such a night for plumage !" 

<*Such a night P" repeated Mor- 
timer. " What became of you in the 
morning ?" 

"My dear fellow,'* said Eugene, 
sitting on his bed, "I felt that we 
had bored one another so long, that 
an unbroken continuance of those 
relations must inevitably terminate 
in our flying to opposite points of the 
earth. I also felt that 1 had com- 
mitted every crime in the Kewgata 
Calendar. So, for mingled considera- 
tions of friendship and felony, I took 
a walk." 



Oim MUTUAL FBIEND. 



CHAPTER XV. 



,Ua. and Hi*. Boffin sat Kftor break - 



I the I 



» prey to proa- 



r. Boffii 

•nd CamplicatioQ, Many disordered 
pap«n vere bsfore him, and he looked 
■t them about aa hopefully m an in- 
Doceut civilian might look at a croivd 
cf troopa whom he was required 



Are minntee' n 









Ben of his stamp 
exceedingly distniatful aud corrective 
thumb, that buiy member had eo 
often ioterposed to emeor his notea. 
that Ui«y were little mora letpblo 
Ihan the varioiu impreuiona of itself^ 
which blamd hii noee and forehead. 
It ia curiona to coneidec, in mch a 
case as lii. Boffin's, vhat a cheap 
article ink is, and how lar it may be 
made to eo. Aa a gisin of musk will 
nent a, drawer for many yeara, and 
Mill lose nollijng appreciable of ita 
oriRinal weight so a halfpenny- worth 
of mk would blot Mr. Bofiio to the 
TOota of hia hair and the caivea of his 
1^8, without inscribing a line on the 
paper befbre him, or appearing to 
iiminUh in the inkstand. 

Mr. BolHn was in snch severe lite- 
Earf difficulties that his eyes were 
prominent and Sied, and hia breath- 

aw»a Bt«rtoroat, when, to the great 
ef of Mn. Boffin, who obavved 
Uiesa symptoms with alarm, the jard 

"Who's that, I wooderF" said 
Hit. Boffin. 

Mr. Boffin drew a long breath, laid 
down his pen, looked at his notes aa 

donbluigwhether he bad the pleasure 
of their acgnainbuice, and appeared, 
on a aecond perusal of thoir counte- 
nances, to be confirmed in his impres- 
■oa that he bad not, when there was 
mnounced by the hammer' ' 



SEBTANT*. 

deed ! Onr and the WiireTa' Hntnal 
Friend, my dear. Yea. Ask him l« 

II r. Rokeamith appealed. 

"Sit down, sir," said Mr. Boffin, 
shaking hands with him. "Mm. 
Jiottin you're already aci|uaiDted with. 
Well, air, I am rather unprepared to 
see yon, for, to tell you the truth, I've 
been so busy with one thing and an. 
Other, that I've not had time to turn 
your offer over." 

"That's npolojry for both of oa: 
for Mr. BoQiii, and for me ai well," 
said the smiling Mn. Boffin. " But 



liling Mra. Bo 
in talk it over 



Mr. Bokemnith bowed, thanked her, 
and said he hoped so. 

" Let me see then," reanmed Ur. 
Boffin, with his hand to his iJun. " It 
was Secratary that you named ; wasn't 

"I said SecretaiT," Mwmtod llr. 

Rokesmith. 

" ItratherpDEsledmeatthe time," 
said Mr. Boffin, " and it rather pui- 
EJed me and Hia. Boffin when we 
spoke of it afterwards, becanae (not 
to make a mystery of our belief) we 
have always believed a Secretary to be 
a piece of fumitnre, mostly of maho- 
gany, lined with green baiie oi 
leather, with a lot of little drawers in 
it Now, you won't think I take ■ 
liberty when I mention that 70a cer- 
tainly ain't <A4(." _ 



of Steward. 

"Whv, as to Bteward, too see," 
returned Ur. Boffin, with Ais hand 
still to hia chin, " the odds are that 
Mrs. Boffin and me may never go 
upon the water. Being both Iwd 
sailors, we should want a Steward iJ 
we did ; bat theie'a generally one 
provided." 

Ur. Rokesmith again explained 1 
defining the dutiea be sought to 
nndfrt"*! ■■ tLoa* of genonl aupu- 



J 



112 



OUB MUTUAL F£I£ND. 



intendent, or man&ger, or overlooker, 
or man of businefis. 

'*Now, for instance — coxnol*' said 
Mr. BofEn, in his pouncing waj. *'If 
you entered mv employment^ what 
would you do ? 

" I would keep exact accounts of 
all tJie expenditure you sanctioned, 
Hr. Boffin. I would write your let- 
ters, under your direction. I would 
transact your business with people in 
your pay or emplojrment. I would," 
with a glance and a half-smile at the 
table, *' arrange your papers — " 

Mr. Boffin rubbed hja inky ear, 
and looked at his wife. 

<* — ^And so aixangethem asto hare 
them always in order for immediate 
reference, with a note of the contents 
of each outside it." 

'* I tell you what," said Mr. Boffin, 
dowl^ crumpling his own blotted 
note m his hsuid ; *< if yoa*ll turn to 
at these present papers, and see what 
you can make of 'em, I shall know 
better what I can make of you." 

Ko sooner said than done. Belin- 
quishin^ his hat and p:loyeB, Mr. 
Bokesmith sat down qmetly at the 
table, arranged the open papers into 
an orderly heajp, cast his eyes over 
each in succession, folded it, docketed 
it on the outside, laid it in a second 
heap, and, when that second heap 
was complete and the first gone, took 
from his pocket a i>iece of string and 
tied it together with a remarkably 
dexterous hand at a running curve 
and a loop. 

''Good!"BaidMr. BofEbo. ''Very 
good. Now let us hear what they're 
jdl about ; will you be so ^ood ?" 

John Bokesmith read his abstracts 
aloud. They were all about the new 
house. Decorator's estimate, so much, 
furniture estimate, so much. Esti- 
mate for furniture of offices, so much. 
Coach-maker's estimate, so much. 
Horse*dealer^s estimate, lo much. 
Harness-maker's estimate, so much. 
Goldsmith's estimate, eomudL Total, 
MO very much. Then came corre- 
«pondeaioe. Aooeptance of Mr. Boffin's 
c^QTer of such a date, and to such an 
«flQwt. B^eotun of Mr. Boffin'j pro- 



posal of such a date and to such a& 
eflfect. Concerning Mr. Boffin'sscheme 
of such another date to such another 
effect. All compact and methodical. 

"Apple-pie onler!" said Mr. lioflin, 
after checking off each inscription 
with his hand, like a man beating 
time. '* And whatever von do with 
your ink, / can't think, tor you're aa 
clean as a whistle after it. Now, as 
to a letter. Let's," said Mr. Boffin, 
rubbing his hands in his pleasantly 
childish admiration, ** let's try a letter 
next." 

"To whom shall it bo addroMed, 
Mr. Boffin ?" 

" Any one. Yourself." 

Mr. Kokesmith quickly wrote, and 
then read aloud : 

*' * Mr. Boffin presents hia compli- 
ments to Mr. John Bokesmith, and 
begs to say that he has decided cm 
giving Mr. John Bokesmith a trial in 
&ie capacity he desires to fiU. Mr. 
Boffin takes Mr. John Bokesmith at 
his word, in postponing to some in- 
definite pericd the consideration of 
salary. It is quite understood thai 
Mr. Boffin is in no way committed on 
that point. Mr. Boffin has merely te 
add, that he reUee on Mr. John Boke- 
smith's assurance that he will be ftdth- 
fill and serviceable. Mr. John Boke- 
smith will please enter on his duties 
immediately.' " 

" WeU ! Now, Noddy ! " cried Mrs. 
Boffin, clapping her hands, ''that i$ 
a good one ! 

Mr. Boffin was no len delighted: 
indeed, in his own bosom, he regarded 
both the composition itself and the 
device that had given birth to it, as a 
very remarkable monument of human 
ingenuity. 

" And I tell you, my deary," eaid 
Mm. Boffin, " that if you don't close 
with Mr. Bokesmith now at once, and 
if 3rott ever go a muddling yourself 
again with things never meant nor 
made for jrou, you'll have an apoplezgr 
— ^besides iron-moulding your linen^* 
and you'll break my heart" 

Mr. Boffin embraced his spoiue te 
these words of wisdom, and than, eon* 
gmtokluig Mm Jftakflniitii .nth* 



OUB MUTDAL FEIEND. 



lis 



hriniBiicy of hit achiov«ni«iit^ gare 
bini hia bvid in pledge of their new 
nbttiona. So did Mn. Boffin. 

"Now." laid Mr. BofGn. wbo, fn 
Ul frankiiess, felt that it did not be- 
taesi him to b&ve n gentleman in his 
■nploj-ment (Its niinul««, without 
Rposing Home coofidsnce in him^ 
■foil mnst be let a little more into 
gorafikin, Rokesmith. I mentioned 
to yon, when I made your acquaint- 
ince, or I might batt«T %*j «'hen 
Toa made mino, that Mra. Boffin's 
mdioationa wu iettios in the way 
of Fashion, bat that I didn't know 
kiw batdonable we might or might 
mt grow. WeU! Hn. BofGn haa 
mtied the day. and we're going in 
Beck and crt>p for Faahion." 

"I Tathsr inferred that, air," ro- 
flM John Bobeamith, "from the 
■ale «n which ^onr new ealablish- 
mant ia to be mamUined." 

•'Yea,"«aid Mr. Boffin, "it's to be 
■ SiBJikeT. The fact ia, my literarr 
mas named to me (hat a honse with 
vhich he is, aa I may aay, connected 

—ID which he haa an interest " 

"As property?" inquired John 
Bokfamitl). 

"Why no," eaid Mr. Boffin, "not 

aietly that; ■ tort of a family tie," 

"AnociationP" the Secretary mg- 

'■Ail!" aaidHr. Boffin. "Perbape. 
Anyhow, he named to me that the 
kaase bad a. board up, 'This Emi- 
Atctly Ariatocretic Mansion to be let 
o nld.' Ue and Mrs. Boffin wei 
to look at it, and finding it beyond 
doabt Eminently Aristocratic (though 
I t tnfle high and dull, which after all 
I U7 be part of the some thing] tiMlf 
I L Ut literary man wm bo friendly 
I a lo drop into a charming piece of 
I PMby on that occasion, in which he 
I {emplimented Mrs. Boffin ■ 

of— how did it go, my 



I Ura. 



Ttia hall*, ita luUi of dsnlinn li^ilit. 
"That's iti And it was made 
• uiter by there teaily being two 
I b tb« boiM«t a front 'nn and B t«ck 



'nn, beaidee the sermnta'. lie Tik»- 
wise dropped into a vert- prutty piece 
of poetry to be sure, respectinp the 
e^tlent lo which he would be willing 
lo put himself out of the way to bring 
Mm. Boffin round, in case the shoutd 
get low in her sptrita iu th<i 
house, Mn. Boffin hsa a wonderful 
memory- Will y ou repeat it, my dear P" 
Mn. BofEn complied, b^ redting 
the ver«ea in vhich this obliging ofTer 
had been mode, exactly as she had 
received them. 



□ iplcit ileiii, Hn. 



howlhf.r^«rtdr.wnlgll. 

til Hnke Uw Ir^bt giiiUr.' " 
"Correct to the letter!" said Mr. 
offin. "And I consider that the 
poetry brings us both in, in a beautiful 

The cS'ect of the poem on the Secre- 
tary being evidently to astonish him, 
Air, Boffin was con^j'med in his high 
opinion of it, and was greatly ploasod, 

" Now, yon see, Eolicamilh," hs 
went on, "a literary man— iciVA a 
wooden leg — is liable to jealousy. I 
shall therefore cast about for comfort' 
able ways and meana of not calling 
np Wegg'i jealousy, but of keeping 
you in your department, and keeping 

"Lor!" cried Mrs. Boffin. "What 
I say is, the world's vide enough for 
all of us!" 

"&oitis,m^deaT," saidMr. BofOa, 
"when not literary. Bui when so, 
not so. And I am bound to boar in 
mind that I took Wegg on, at a time 
when I had no thought of being 
fAshionablo or of leaving the Bower. 
To let him feel himself anyway* 
Blighted now, would be to be guilty 

one's beat! turned by the hoUs 1^ 
dai ding light. Which Iiord forbid ! 
Bokesmith, what shall we say about 
jaat living in the houM t" 



114 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND, 



"In tills hotisoP'* 

*• No, no. I have got other plana 
for this house. In the new house !•'" 

**That will he as you please, Mr. 
Bofhn. I hold myaolf quite at your 
disposal. You know where I live at 
present." 

" Well ! " said Mr. Boffin, after con- 
sidering the point ; **eupp^^6e you keep 
as you are for the present and we'll 
decide hy-and-hy. You'll hegin to 
take charge at once, of all that's going 
on in the new house, will you P 

" Most willingly. I will begin this 
very day. Will you g^ve me the 
address r " 

Mr. Boffin repeated it, and the Sec- 
retary wrote it down in his pocket- 
book. Mrs. Boffin took the oppor- 
tunity of his being so engaged, to get 
a better observation of his face than 
she had yet taken. It impressed her 
in his favour, for she nodded aside to 
Mr. Boffin, " I Uke him." 

" I will see directly that everything 
is in train, Mr. Boffin.*' 

" Thank' ee. Being here, would 
you care at all to look round the 
Bower P" 

" I should greatly like it I have 
heard so much of its story." 

"Come!" said Mr. Boffin. And 
he and Mrs. Boffin led the way. 

A gloomy house the Bower, virith 
sordid si^pis on it «f having been, 
through its lonp^ existence as Har- 
mony^ Jail, in miserly holding. Bare 
of paint, bare of paper on the walls, 
bare of furniture, bare of experience 
of human life. Whatever is built by 
man for man's occupation, must, like 
natural creations, fulfil the intention 
of its existence, or soon perish. This 
old house had wasted more from 
desuetude than it would have wasted 
from use, twenty years for one. 

A certain leanness falls upon houses 
not sufficiently imbued witli life (as 
if they were nourished upon it), which 
was very noticeable here. The 
staircase, oalustrades, and rails, had a 
pj^are look— an air of being denuded 
ti the bone — which the panels of the 
Wills and the jambs of the doors and 
windows also bore. The scanty move- 



ables partook of it; save for the dean- 
liness of the place, the dust into which 
they were all resolving would have 
lain thick on the floors; and those, 
both in colour and in grvLm, were 
worn like old faces that had kept 
much alone. 

The bedroom where the clntdiing 
old man had lost his grip on life, wai 
left as he had left it There was the 
old grisly four-post bedstead, with- 
out hanp^ings, and with a jail-like 
upper rim of iron and spikes; and 
there was the old patch- work counter- 
pane. There was the tight-clenched 
old bureau, receding atop like a bad 
and secret forehead ; there vras the 
cumbersome old table with twisted 
legs, at the bedside; and there was 
the box upon it, in which the will 
had lain. A few old chaii^ with 
patch-work covers, under which the 
more precious stuff to be preserved 
had slowly lost its quality of colour 
without imparting pleasure to any 
eye, stood against the wall. A hani 
family likeness was on all these 
things. 

*'The room was kept like this, 
Rokesmith," said Mr. Boffin, ^^against 
the son's return. In short, every- 
thing in the house was kept exacUy 
as it came to us, for him to see and 
approve. Even now, nothing is 
changed but our own room below- 
stairs that you have just left When 
the son came home for the last time 
in his life, and for the last time in hii 
life saw his father, it was most hkclj 
in this room that they met" 

As the Secretary looked, all romu 
it, his eye rested oa a side door in i 
comer. 

^Another staircase," said Mr 
Boffin, unlocking the door, <* leading 
down into the yard. We'll go dowi 
this way. as you may like to see th* 
yard, and it's all in Uie road. Whei 
the son was a little child, it was u] 
and down these stairs that he mostly, 
came and went to his father. H' 
was very timid of his father. Tv 
seen him sit on these stairs, in hi 
sliy wuy, poor child, many a time 
Me and Airs. Bollin have oomforto 



OIJB MUTUAL FEIEKD. 



115 



liira, atting with his little book on 
these stairs, often." 

''Ah! And his poor sister too,*' 
nid Mrs. Bofi&n. **And here's the 
eminy place on the white wall where 
they^ one day measured one another. 
Their own httle hands wrote up their 
names here, only with a pencil ; but 
the names are here still, and the poor 
dears gone for ever." 

** We must take care of the names, 
old lady,*' said Mr. BoJQin. «*We 
must take care of the names. They 
shan't be rubbed out in our time, nor 
yet, if we can help it, in the time 
after us. Poor little children ! " 

*'Ah, poor little children 1" said 
Mrs. BoMn. 

They had opened the door at the 
bottom of the staircase giving on the 
Yard, and they stood in the simlight, 
kokmg at the scrawl of the two un- 
steady childish hands two or three 
steps up the staircase. There was 
something in this simple memento of 
a blighted childhood, and in the 
tenderness of Mrs. Boffin, that touched 
the Secretary. 

Mr. Boffin then showed his new 
xnaa of business the Mounds, and his 
own particular Mound which had 
been left him as his legacy under the 
will before he aoquirsd the whole 
estate. 

^'It would have been enough for 
Qfl," said Mr. Boffin, ** in case it had 
pleased God to spare the last of 
those two young lives and sorrowful 
deaths. We didn't want the rest" 

At the treasures of the yard, and at 
the outside of the house, and at the 
detached building which Mr. Boffin 
pointed out as the residence of him- 
self and his wife during the many 
Teais of their service, the Secretary 
looked with interest. It was not 
imtil Mr. Boffin had sliown him every 
wonder of the Bower twice over, that 
he remembered his having duties to 
discharge elsewhere. 

'* You have no instructions to give 
me, Mr. Boffin, in reference to this 
place?" 
" Not any, Rokesmith. No." 
* Might i ask, without seeming 



impertinent, whether you have any 
intention of selling it P" 

"Certainly not In remembranco 
of our old master, our old master's 
children, and our old service, me and 
Mrs. Boffin mean to keep it up as it 
stands." 

The Secretary's eyes glanced with 
so much meaning in them at the 
Mounds, that Mr. Boffin said, as if in 
answer to a remark : 

*' Ay, ay, that's another thing. I 
may sell them, though I should bo 
sorry to see the neighbourhood de- 
prived of 'em too. It'll look but a 
gDor dead flat without the Mounds, 
till I don't say that I'm going to 
keep 'em always there, for tho sake 
of the beauty of the landscape. 
There's no hurry about it ; that's all 
I say at present. I ain't a scholar in 
much, Biokesmith, but I'm a pretty 
fair scholar in dust I can price tho 
Mounds to a fraction, and I know 
how they can be best disposed of, and 
likewise that they take no harm bv 
standing whore they do. You'll look 
in to-morrow, will you be so kind ?" 

^ Every day. And the sooner I 
can get you into your new house, 
complete, the better you will be 
pleased, sirP" 

"' Well, it ain't that I'm in a mortal 
hurry," said Mr. Boffin; "only when 
^ou do pay people for looking alive, 
it*s as well to know that they ar9 
looking alive. Ain't that your 
opmion ? 

"Quite!" replied the Secretary; 
and so withdrew. 

" Now," said Mr. Boffin to himself; 
subsiding into his regular series of 
turns in the yard, " if I can make it 
comfortable with Wegg, my affairs 
will be going smooth." 

The man of low cunning had, of 
course, acquired a mastery over the 
man of high simplicity. The mean 
man had, of course, got the better of 
the generous man. How long such 
conquests last, is another matter; 
that they are achieved, is every day 
experience, not even to bo flourishca 
away by Podsnapperv itself. Tho 
I ondesiirning Boffin had become oq tac 



116 



OUB MUTUAL FBIENIX 



Inunethed bj the wilv Wegg that 
hiB mind misgave him he wu a yery 
deogning man indeed in purposing 
to do more for Wegg. It seemed to 
him (so skilful was Wegg) that he 
was plotting darkly, when he was 
contnving to do the very thing that 
Wegg was plotting to get him to do. 
And thus, while he was mentally 
turning the kindest of kind faces on 
Wegg this morning, he was not ab- 
solutely sure but that he might some- 
how deserve the charge of turning 
his back on him. 

For these reasons Mr. Boffin passed 
but anxious hours untQ evenine came, 
and with it BIr. Wegg, stumpmg lei- 
surely to the Roman Empire. At about 
this period Mr. Boffin had become 
profoundly interested in the fortunes 
of a great military leader known to 
him as Bully Sawyers, but perhaps 
better known to fame and easier of 
identification by the classical student, 
under the less Britannic name of 
Belisaiius. Even this general's career 
paled in interest for Mr. Boffin before 
the dearinff of his conscience with 
Wegg; and hence, when that literary 
gentleman had according to custom 
eaten and dnmk until he was all 
a-glow, and when he took up his book 
with the usual chirping inteoduction, 
''And now, Mr. Boffin, sir. we'll de- 
cHne and we'll faU!" Mr. Boffin 
stopped him. 

"lou remember, Wegg, when I 
first told you that I want^to make a 
sort of offer to you P" 
^ " Let me get on my considering cap, 
sir,'* repliea that gentleman, turn- 
ing the open book face downward. 
"When you first told me that you 
'vantcd to make a sort of offer to mo P 
Kow let mc think" (as if there were 
the least necessity). ** Yes, to be sure 
I do, Mr. Boffin. It was at my comer. 
To be sure it was! You had first 
asked me whether I liked your name, 
and Candour had compelled a reply in 
the negative case. I littie thought 
then, sir, how familiar that name 
Vould come to be ! " 

"I hope it will be more fiimiliar 
•till, Wegg.'' 



<'Do yon, Mr. BofBnf Mudi 
obliged to you, I*m sure. Is it yoor 
pleasure, sir, that we decline and we 
fall P" with a feint of taking up tba 
book. 

*' Not just yet awhile, Wegg In 
tBuctf I have got another ofiiar to maks 
you." 

Mr. Wegg (who had had nothing 
else in his mind for several nigh^ 
took off his spectacles with an air of 
bhmd surprise. 

«< And I hope you'll like it, Wegg." 

''Thank ^ou, sir," returned l£at 
reticent individuaL ** 1 hope it may 
prove so. On all acoounta, I am sure. 
(This, as a philanthropic aspiration.) 

''What do you think," said Mr. Bof- 
fin, " of not keeping^ a stall, Wegg ?" 

"I think, sir,^ replied Wegg, 
" that I shoidd like to be shown tiie 
gentleman prepared to make it worth 
my while! 

" Here he is," said Mr. Boffin. 

Mr. Wegg was going to say. My 
Bene&ctor, and had said My Bene^ 
when a giandiloqueni change came 
over him. 

" No, Mr. Boffin, not yon, sir. Any- 
body but you. Do not fear, 2t&. Bof- 
fin, that I shall contaminate the pre> 
mises which your ^Id has bought, 
with my lowly pursuits. I am awars^ 
sir, that it would not become me to 
carry on my little traffic under the 
windows of your mansion. I have 
already thought of that, and taken my 
measures. No need to be bought 
out, sir. Would Stepney Fields be 
considered intrusive P If not remote 
enough, I can go remoter. In the 
words of the poet's song, which I do 
not quite remember: 

Thrown on the wide worid, doooi'd to 

and roam. 
Bereft of my parents, bereft of a home^ 
A stranger to something and what's his 

joy, 
Behold little Edmund the poor Peasant boy. 

— And equally," said Mr. Wegg, re- 
pairing the want of direct application 
in the last line, "behold myself on a 
similar footing!" 

'* Now, Wegg, Wegg, Wegg," re- 
monstrated the excellent Boflin. "Toa 
are too sensitiye.*' 



m- 



OtTB UtrrUAL FBIEKD. 



I'l famr I am, £t," retimed 
T^g, with obstumts magnanimity. 
" 1 )im ■cqaainted with my hulta. I 
■IwajB wBs, from a diild, too Miui- 
tive." 
I "But liften," ptmmed tlu Ooldac 
I Diataiaii ; " hear me out, Wegg. 
Too IwTe taken it into your head ^at 
' Imeaii to penman yonoff." 

"True, sir," returned Weggi, still, 

UB acquainted with my bolU. Far 
ba it from me to deny llMm. I Aom 
tiken it into my heiuL" 

" But I rfm' 1 mean it" 

Th« Mtnrance leemed hardly aa 
eanfoHing to Ur. Wen, aa Mr. 
BoSn intended it to be. Indeed, an 
■ppieciable elongation of hia viaage 
might have been observed u ha re- 
plied: 

"Don't yoa, indeed, airP" 

"No," punned Ur. Boffin; "be~ 
eanse that would expreaa, aa I nnder- 
rtand it, that you were not going to 
do anyUung to deaerre your money. 



"that, 
bearing nj 
pairofahoe 



replied Mr. "Wegg, 

BiaTely, " i» quite another 

Now, my independence 

■gain elevated. Now, I 



P behind bRckndio'n BorladiTl. 
'tu prtieat 

o proceed, Ur. Boffin." 
" Thank'ee, Wegg, both for yonr 
cni£dence in me and for your frequent 
irepping int o po etry ; lioth of which 
a friendly. Well, then ; my idea ia, 
Ititt you shoold give up your atall, 
tad that I ihould put you into Uie 
fiower here, to keep it for ua. It'i a 
pleuanl apot ; and a man with coali 
lod eandlea and a pound a week might 
ba in clover here." 

"Hem! Would that man, air— 
«e will aay that man, lor the purposea 
of argneyment;" Mr. Wegg made a 
niling demonatntion of great per- 
ipjcaity here; *' would that man, air, 



atailai 



ba a^wded to throw any other na^ 
dty m, or would any other capacity 
be conaidered extra P Now let ua 
(for the purpoeea of aigoeyment) aup- 
poae that man to be engaged aa a 
lender : aay (for the purpoaee of «r- 
gueyment) in the evening. Would 
that man a pay aa a reader in the 
evening, be added to the other amount^ 
which, adopting your language, we 
will call clover ; or would it merge 
into that amotmt, or clover F" 

" Well," said Mr. Boffin, "I aap* 
pc«e it would be added." 

" 1 Buppose it would, sir. Ton are 
right, air. Biactty my own views, 
Mr. BoIGn." Here We^ mse, and 
balancing himeolf on hi* wooden leg, 
fluttered over his prey with extended 
hand. " Mr. Bofon, candder it done. 
)re,sir,not» wordmore. My 

11 and 1 are for ever parted. The 

collection of ballads will in future be 
reserved for joivato study, with the 
ohiect of makiDg poetry tributary " 
— -Wegg was so proud of bavrng 
found this word, that he said it again, 
vrith a capiUl letter— " Trihutt^ to 
friendnhip. Ur. Boffin, don't allow 
yourself to be made uncomfortable by 
the pang it gives ms to part from my 
stock and stall. Similar emotiDa vaa 
undergone by my own father when 
promoted for his medta from bis occu- 
pation aa a waterman to a ntuation 
under Qovermnent, His Christian 
name waa Thomaa. Bia words at the 
time (1 waa then an infant, but So 
deep wai their impression on me, that 
I committed them to memory) were ; 
Tlien lanwall. Divtrln-bDilEwlmtj, 
Oua ind cou uid bailps fursiraUl 



— My &tlter got over it^ Mr. Boffin, 
andsoshaUI." 

While delivering these valedictory 
ohsorvationa, Wefrg continually dis- 
appointed Mr. BuHin of his hand bj 



flour 



ling 11 






He E 



and felt his mind relieved of a 
grciit weight : observing that as they 
had arranged their joint affiiiis so 
Mtiafactoily, ha would now be ^kd 



118 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEKD. 



to look into those of Bully Sawyen. 
Which, indeed, had been leil oyez- 
night in a veiy unpromising posture, 
and for whose impending expedition 
against the Persians the weather had 
been b j no means favourable all day. 

Mr. Wegg resumed his spectados 
therefore. But Sawyers was not to be 
of the party that night ; for, before 
Wegg had found his place, Mrs. 
Bofi&n's tread was heard upon the 
stairs, so unusually heavy and hurried, 
that Mr. Boffin would have started up 
at Uie found, anticipating some occurs 
rence much out of the common course, 
even though she had not also called to 
him in an agitated tone. 

Mr. Boffin hurried out, and found 
her on the dark staircase, panting, 
with a lighted candle in her hand. 

" What's the matter, my dear ? " 

*'I don't know; I don't know; but 
I wish you'd come up stairs." 

Much surprised, Mr. Boffin went 
up stairs and accompanied Mrs. Boffin 
into their own room : a second large 
room on the same floor as tJie room 
in which the late proprietor had died. 
^Ir. Boffin looked all round him, and 
saw nothing more unusual than various 
articles of folded linen on a large 
^hest, which Mrs. Boffin bad been 
y jrting. 

"Wiat is it, my dear? Why, 
you're frightened! You frightened?" 

**I am not one of that sort cer- 
tainly," said Mrs. Boffin, as she sat 
down in a chair to recover herself, 
and took her husband's arm; "but 
it's very strange ! " 

"What is, my dear P" 

" Noddy, the faces of the old man 
8 nd the two children are all over the 
liouse to-night." 

" My dear P " exclaimed Mr. Boffin. 
But not without a certain uncomfort- 
able sensation gliding down his back. 

**I know it must sound foolish, and 
yetitisso." 

"Where did yon think you flaw 
them P " 

" I don't know that I think I saw 
tliem anywhere. I felt them." 

"Touched them?" 
*^Ifo. Felt them in the air. 1 wu 



sorting those things on ^a diest, and 
not thinking of the old man or the 
children, but singing to myself, when 
I all in a moment 1 felt there was a 
tace growing out of the dark." 

" Uliat face ? " asked her husband, 
looking about him. 

" For a momentit was the old man'e^ 
and then it got younger. For a 
moment it was both the children's, 
and then it got older. For a moment 
it was a strange £EUse, and then it wm 
all the faces." 

** And then it was gone? *' 

"Yes; and then it was gone.** 

** Where were you then, old lady r*' 

"Here, at the chest Well; I got 
the better of it, and went on sortings 
and went on singing to myseff. 
*Lor!* I says, Til think of something 
else — somethingcomfortable — ^and put 
it out of my head.' So I thought of 
the new house and Miss Bella Wilfer, 
and was thinking at a great rate with 
that sheet there in my hand, when, 
all of a sudden, the faces seemed 
to be hidden in among the folds of it 
and I let it drop." 

As it still lay on the floor where it 
had fallen, Mr. Boffin picked it up 
and laid it on the dicst 

" And then you ran down stairs?" 

" No. I thought I'd try another 
room, and shake it ofi*. I savs to 
myself * I'll go and walk slowly up 
and down the old man's room three 
times, from end to end, and then I 
shall have conquered it.' I went in 
with the candle in my hand, but the 
moment I came near the bed, the air 
got thick with them." 

"With the faces?" 

"Yes, and I even felt they were 
in the dark behind the dde-door, 
and on tho little staircase, floating 
away into the yard. Then, I called 
you." 

Mr. Boffin, lost in amazement, 
looked at Mrs. Boffin. Mrs. Boffin, 
lost in her own fluttered inability to 
make this out, looked at Mr. Bofiin. 

" I think, mv dear," said Uie Golden 
Dustman, "I U at once got rid of 
We(^g for the night, bemuse he's 
commg Vk VD^bs^\^ ^^ '^q^k^s, vod it 



OTJR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



119 



nfrTii he pnt into his head or somo- 
ynaj else'a, if he heard this and it got 
about, that the honae is hannted. 
Whereas we know better. Don*t 
we?" 

^I never had the feeling in the 
house before," said Mrs. Boffin; 
'^and I have been about it alone at 
■h hours of the night. I have been 
in the house when Death was in it, 
and I have been in the house when 
Harder was a new part of its adven- 
tures, and I never had a fright in it 

** And won't agpain, my dear," said 
Hr. Boffin. ** Depend upon it, it 
eomes of thinking and dwelling on 
that dark spot" 

" Tes ; but why didn't it come he- 
lve?" asked Mrs. Boffin. 

This draft on Mr. Boffin's philo- 
sophy could only be met by that g^- 
tieman with the remark that every- 
thing that is at all, must begin at 
some time. Then, tucking his wife's 
arm under his own, that she miffht 
aot be left by herself to be troubled 
az^ain, he descended to release Wegg. 
"Who, being something drowsy after 
his plentiful repast, and constitution- 
ally of a shirking temperament, was 
well enough pleased to stump away, 
without doing what he had come to 
do, and vraa paid for doing. 

Mr. Boflin then put on his hat, 
and Mrs. Boffin her shawl ; and the 
paii; further provided with a bunch 
of keys and a lighted lantern, went 
•n oyer the di^uoial house — dismal 



everywhere, but fai their own two 
rooms — from cellar to cock-loft. Not 
resting satisfied with givine that 
much chase to Mrs. Boffin's mncies, 
they pursued them into the yard and 
outbuildings, and under the Mounds. 
And setting the lantern, when all 
was done, at the foot of one of the 
Mounds, they comfortably trotted to 
and frt> for an evening walk, to the 
end that the murky cobwebs in Mrs. 
Boffin's brain might be blown away. 

«' ITiere, my dear ! " said Mr. Boffin 
when they came in to supper. ** That 
was the treatment, you see. Com- 
pletely worked round, haven't you P" 

"Yes, deary," said Mrs. Boffin, 
laying aside her shawl. "I'm not 
nervous any more. I'm not a Lit 
troubled now. I'd go anywhere about 
the house the same as ever. But " 

*«Eh!"8aidMr. Boffin. 



f» 



** But I've only to shut my eyes.' 

"And what then?" 

"Why then," said Mrs. Boffin, 
speaking with her eyes closed, and 
her left hand thoughtfully touchiug 
her brow, "then, there thej are! 
The old man's face, and it gets 
younger. The two children's faces, 
and they get older. A face that I 
don't know. And then all the 
faces!" 

Opening her eyes again, and seeing 
her husband's lace across the table, 
she leaned forward to give it a pat on 
the cheek, and sat down to supper, 
declaring it to be the best fiace in the 
world. 



CHAPTEB XVI. 



KINDBBS AICD BEXINI)EB8. 



7 



TsB Secretary lost no time in get- 
ting to work, and his vigilance and 
oi^iod soon set their mark on the 
Golden Dustman's affairs. His e&- 
Aestness in determining to under- 
Btuid the leng:th and breadth and 
depth of every piece of work Bub- j 
nulU4 to 2um by hia employ qt^ was / 



as special as his despatch in transact- 
ing it. He accepted no information 
or explanation at second hand, but 
made himself the master of every* 
thing confided to him. 

One part o£ tih© ^cwXar/% twa.* 
duct, underlying all \ii^ t^eX.* TDi^\» 
have been miatcoftted. '\i'v i^inMk'^V>ii[ 




190 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEKB. 



a better knowledge of men than the 
(}oldon Dustman had. The Secretary 
was as fjBu: from being inquisitiTe or 
intrusiye as Secretary could be, but 
nothing less than a complete under- 
standing of the whole of the afiairs 
would content him. It soon became 
apparent (from the knowledge with 
which he set out) that he must have 
been to the office where the Harmon 
will was registered, and must have 
read the w3l. He anticipated Mr. 
Boffin's consideration whether he 
should be advised with on this or 
that topic, by showing that he already 
knew of it and understood it. He did 
this with no attempt at concealment, 
seeming to be satisfied that it was 
part of his duty to have prepared 
himself at all attainable points for its 
utmost discharge. 

This might— let it be repeated — 
have awakened some little vague mis- 
trust in a man more worldly-wise 
than the Gtolden Dustman. On the 
other hand, the Secretary was dis- 
cerning, discreet, and silent, though 
as zealous as if the affairs had been 
his own. He showed no love of 
patronage or the command of money, 
but distinctly preferred resigning both 
to Mr. Boffin. If^ in his limited 
sphere, he sought power, it was the 
power of knowledge ; the power de- 
rivable from a perfect comprehension 
of his business. 

As on the Secretary's face there 
was a nameless cloud, so on his manner 
there was a shadow equally indefin- 
able. It was not that he was embar- 
rassed, as on that first night with the 
Wilfer family; he was habitually un- 
embarrassed now, and yet the some- 
thing remained. It was not that his 
manner was bad, as on that occasion ; 
it was now very good, as being 
modest, gracious, and ready. Yet the 
something never left it. It has been 
written of men who have under- 
gone a cruel captivity, or who have 
passed through a terriblo strait, or 
who in Bclf-prcscrvation have killed 
a dcfeuceloss fellow-creature, that 
the record thereof has never faded 
fivm their cotintenanoos until they 



died. Was there aoj each veoonl 

here? 

He established a temporary office 
for himself in the new house, and all 
went well under his hand, with one 
singular exception. He manifestly 
objected to communicate with Mr. 
Boffin's solicitor. Two or three times, 
when there was some slight occasion 
for his doing so, he transterred the 
task to Mi. Bofl^; and his evasion 
of it soon became so curiously appa- 
rent, that Mr. Boffin spoke to him on 
the subject of his reluctance. 

** It IS so," the Secretary admitted. 
"I would rather not" 

Had he any personal objection to 
Mr. Lightwood P 

« I don't know him." 

Had he suffered from law-BUits? 

** Not more than other men," was 
his short answer. 

Was he prejudiced against the race 
of lawyers? 

<*No. But while I am in your 
employment, sir, I would rather be 
excused from goingbetween the lawyer 
and the client. Of course if you press 
it, I^Ir. Boffin, I am ready to comply. 
But I should take it as a great favour 
if you would not press it without 
urgent occasion." 

Now, it could not be said that there 
was urgent occasion, for Lightwood 
retained no other affairs in his hands 
than such as still lingered and lan- 
guished about the undiscovered cri- 
minal, and such as arose out of the 
purchase of the house. Many other 
matters that might have travelled to 
him, now stopp^ short at the Secre- 
tary, under whose administration they 
were far more expeditiously and satis- 
fdctorily disposed of than they would 
have been if they had ^t into Young 
Blight's domain. This the Golden 
Dustman quite understood. Even 
the matter immediately in hand was 
of very little moment as requiring 
personal appearance on the Secre- 
tary's part, for it amounted to uo 
moro than this : — The death of Hesam 
rendering the sweat of the honest 
man's brow unprofitable, the honest 
man hsA ^u^Vi^^ ^«c^^4^ to 



OTJE MUTOAL PRUaTD. 



121 



isten Ills lirow for nothing, with 
It serere exertion which ia known 
kgal circles as swearing your way 
rough a stone "wall. Consequently, 
St new li^bt had gone sputtering 
S. But, tihe airing of the old tucts 
id led Bome one concerned to sug- 
<at that it -would be well before they 
lere reconsigned to their gloomy 
6»lf— now probably for ever — ^to in- 
laoe or compel that Mr. Julius Hand- 
faid to reappear and be questioned. 
Aad all traces of Mr. Julius Hand- 
fed being lost, Lightwood now re- 
ined to his client for authority to 
Rek him through public advertise- 
ttot 

" Does your objection go to writing 
to lightwood, RokesmithF" 
*'KQt in the least, sir." 
•'Then perhaps you'll write him 
a fine, and say he is free to do 
viiat he likes. I don't think it pro- 
Biaes.'* 

" / don't think it promises," said 
the Secretary. 
"Still, he may do what he likes." 
"I will write immediately. Let 
Be thank you for so considerately 
yielding to my disinclination. It may 
Rem 1«B unreasonable, if I avow to 
TOQ that although 1 don't know Mr. 
ugl]^ood, 1 have a disagreeable 
laociation connected with him. It 
ii oot his &ult ; he is not at all to 
Uune for it, and does not even know 
ny name.'* 

lir. Boffin dismissed the matter 
vith a nod or two. The letter was 
tntten, and next day Mr. Julius 
Handford was advertised for. He 
vu requested to place himself in 
csBununication witn Mr. Mortimer 
Idghtwood, as a possible means of 
firthering the ends of justice, and a 
revard was offered to any one ac- 
quainted with his whereabout who 
voold conununicate the same to the 
lud Mr. Mortimer Lightwood at his 
^cc in the Temple. Every day for 
Bx weeks this advertisement appeared 
It the h&id of all the newspapers, 
aad every day for six weeks the 
•Secrctar>', when he saw it, said to ^ 
hituelj^ in the tone ia which ho had / 



said to his employer, — " / don't think 
it promises!" 

Among his first occupations the 
pursuit of that orphan wanted by 
Mrs. Boffin held a conspicuous place. 
From the earliest moment of his 
engagement he showed a particular 
desire to please her, and, knowing 
her to have this object at heart, he 
followed it up with unwearying alac- 
rity and interest. 

Mr. and Mrs. Milvey had found 
their search a difficult one. Either 
an eligible orphan was of the wrong 
sex (which almost always happened) 
or was too old, or too young or too 
sickly, or too dirty, or too much ac* 
customed to the streets, or too likely 
to run away ; or, it was found im- 
possible to complete the philanthropic 
transaction witiiout buying the or- 
phan. For, the instant it became 
Known that anybody wanted the or- 
phan, up started some affectionate 
relative of the orphan who put a 
price upon the orphan's head. The 
suddenness of an orphan's rise in the 
market was not to be paralleled by 
the maddest records of the Stock Ex- 
change. He would be at five thou- 
sand per cent, discount out at nurse 
making a mud pie at nine in tho 
morning, and (being inquired for) 
would go up to five thousand per 
cent, premium before noon. The 
market was "rigged" in various art- 
ful ways. Counterfeit stock got into 
circulation. Parents boldly repre* 
sented themselves as dead, and brought 
their orphans with them. Grenuine or- 
phan-stock was surreptitiously with- 
drawn from the market. It being 
announced, by emissaries posted for 
the purpose, that Mr. and Mrs. l^lil- 
vey were coming down the court, 
orphan scrip would be instantly con- 
cealed, and production refused, save 
on a condition usually stated by the 
brokers as ** a gallon of beer." Like- 
wise, fluctuations of a wild and South- 
Sea nature were occasioned by orphan- 
holders keepingback, and then rushing 
into the market a dozen together. But> 
the unifoim prindpVe aX. \3i<i xwi\. ^V 
all these variouE opesoAiciSA 'wsi^ \swl- 



122 



OTJB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



gain and sale; and that principle 
could not be recognised by Mr. and 
Mrs. Milvey. 

At length tidingps were received by 
the Reverend Fiank of a charming 
orphan to be found at Brentford. One 
of the deceased parents (late his pa- 
rishioners) had a poor widowed grand- 
mother in that agreeable town, and 
she, Mrs. Betty Higden, had carried 
ofif the orphan witii maternal care, 
but could not afford to keep him. 

The Secretary proposed to Mrs. 
Boffin, either to go down himself and 
take a preliminary survey of this 
orphan, or to drive her down, that 
• she might at once form her own 
opinion. Mrs. Boffin preferring the 
latter course, they set off one morning 
in a hired phaeton, conveying the 
hammer-beaded young man l^hind 
them. 

The abode of Mrs. Betty Higden 
•was not easy to find, lying in such 
complicated back settlements of muddy 
Brentford that they left their equi- 
page at the sign of the Three Mag- 
pies, and went in search of it on foot. 
After many inquiries and defeats, there 
'Was pointed out to them in a lane, a 
Tery small cottage i*esideuc6, with a 
boaxd across the open doorway, hooked 
on to which boara by the armpits was 
a young gentleman of tender years, 
angling for mud with a headless 
"wooden horse and line. In this youug 
sportsman, dii>tingULshed by a crisply 
curling auburn head and a bluff 
countenance, the Secretary descried 
theorphan« 

It unfortunately happened as they 
quickened their pace, that the orphan, 
lost toconsiderationsof personal safety 
in the ardour of the moment, over- 
balanced himself and toppled into 
tho street. Being on orpnan of a 
chubby conformuLion, ho then took 
to rolling, and had rolled into the 
gutter before they could como up. 
xVom tho gutter ho was rescued by 
John Iwokcsmith, and thus tho first 
meeting with Mrs. Iligden was inau- 
gurulci by tho awkward circum- 
stance of tiioir being in posfcssion— 
one frould say at first sight ux^wtul 



possession — of the orphan, npnde 
down and purple in the countenance- 
The board across the doorway tooy 
acting as a trap equally for the feet 
of Mrs. Higden coming out, and th0 
feet of Mrs. Boffin and John Roke^- 
smith going in, greatly increased tha 
difficulty of the situation : to whicb 
the cries of the orphan imparted m 
lugubrious and inhuman charactez. 

At first, it was impossible to ex- 
plain, on account of the orphan's 
'^ holding his breath : " a most terrifia 
proceeding, superinducing in the or- 
phan, lead-colour rigidity and a deadly 
silence, compared with which his cries 
were music yielding the height of 
enjoyment. JBut as he gradually re- 
covered, Mrs. Boffin gradually intro- 
duced herself, and smiling peace wa3 
gradually wooed back to Mrs. Betty 
Higden' s home. 

It was then perceived to be a small 
home with a lar^e mangle in it, at 
the handle of which machine stood a 
very long boy, with a very Httle 
head, and an open mouth of dispro- 
portionate capacity that seemed to 
assist his eyes in staring at tho 
visitors. In a comer below the 
mangle, on a couple of stools, sat two 
very little children : a boy and a girl ; 
and when the very long boy, in an 
interval of staring, took a turn at the 
mangle, it was alarming to see how 
it lunged itself at those two inno- 
cents, like a catapult designed fox 
their destruction, harmlessly retiring 
when within an inch of their heads. 
The room was clean and neat It 
had a brick floor, and a window oi 
diamond panes, and a flounce hang- 
ing below the chimney-piece, and 
stnngs nailed from, bottom to top 
outside tho window on which scarlet- 
beans were to grow in the coming 
season if the Fatca were propItiouA. 
However propitious they might haTO 
been in the seasons that were gone, to 
Betty Higden in tho matter of beans, 
they had not been very favourable in 
the matter of coins ; for it was easy 
to see that she was poor. 

She was one of those old women, 
\^?raA "^^x^ 1^V^ 'E^95ies^ ^vho by dint 




INNOCENTS, 



[ 




/ 



THE NEW YORK I 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOft, LENOX AMD 
TILDE fl roUNtkATIOMt. 



OUE MUTTJAL FKIEND. 



u indomitaltle purpou and a 
ng coiutitulion fight ont maoy 
n, Uiougb each j:»r baa come 
I ita new knock-down blow» freah 
lie fight agunat her, weaheil by 

an actire old woman, with a 
■ht dark eye and a reaolute face, 
qu'to a tooder creatore too ; not a 
inUv-ieaaoDing woman, but Ood 
pod, and hearts may oonot in 
iTen ia high aa heada. 

Yea sure!" aaid ahe, when the 
iiMW waa opened, " Hra. Milvoy 
. the kindness lo write to tat 
am, and I got Sloppy to read it 
vai a pret^ lelter. But aha'i ai 
btelad^." 

?he viailora glancad at the long 
', who aeemed to indicate by a 
■der atare of his month and evea 
t in lum Sloppy Bt'>od cortfesseJ. 

Pot I ain't, yon must know," 
1 Betty, "machof ahnndat read- 

■riting-hand, though I can rcail 

Bible and moet print. And I d< 
I a nowBpaper. Yon mightn' 

k it, bnt Sloppy ia a beaatiful 

s of a newipaper. He do the 
• in diOercnt voices." 
(Ti^lora again conndered it 
If poEtenes* to look at Sloppj 
loking at tbozn, suddenly thrci 
W bead, extended bis mouth t 

r width, and laughed loud 
At this tbe two mnoccnta, 
fai brains in that apparent 
llaughod, and Mrs. HiKden 
1 and the orphan lau^bed, 

Sbo visitorelauzbed. Which 
cbeerful than intelligible. 
Iloppy seeming to be seizod 

tthe mangle, and impelled 
da of the innocents with 
kldsg and rumbling, that 
^stopped him. 
Ulofolks can't hear tbem- 
t Sloppy. Bide a bit, 

ttie dear child in yonr 
Irs. BoIEn. 

Kthis is Johnny." 
'." cried Uia. Boffin, 
• Secretary, "already 
YoBeoftietwoaamea 



left to give him I He's ■ pntty 

bor." 

With hia chin tiiok»d down in bii 
shy, childish manner, he waa looking 
fuitivoly at Urs. BoCGn ont of hi* 
blue eyes, and reaching his fat 
dimpled hand up to the lipa of tha 
I old woman, who was kissmg it bj 

" Y««, ma'am, he's a pretty boy, 
he's a dear dairling boy, he's tha 
child of my own last left daaghter'a 
danghter. Bat she's gon« the way 
of ^ the lest" 

"ThoM are not his brother and 
aiater?" taid Mn. Bofiln. 

" Oh, dear no, ma'am. Thoae an 
Uindcra." 

"Uindenf" the Secretary re* 

" Ja-H to be Minded, dr. I keep 
a Minding-School. I can take only 
three, on accouct of the mongto. 
But I lova children, and Tour-pcnco 
a week is Four-pence. Come here, 
Toddles and Poddlee." 

Toddles waa the pet-name of th« 
boy ; PoddiM of the girL At their 
little nneteudy pace, they came acrosa 
the floor, haad-in-hand, aa if tboy 
were traversinsan ex tremcly difficult 
road intersected by brooks, and, whun 



tha orphan, drnmutir'ally representing 
an attempt to bear him, craving, 
into captivity and alavery. AH tha 



Sloppy again laughed long and loud. 
When it was discreet \a stop tha 
play, Betty Higden fiaid, " (Jo to your 
seals, Toddlee and Poddies," and they 
returned band-in-hand across coun- 
try, seeming to find tho brooks lattier 
svollen by late rains. 

" And Master — or MiHtcr— Slop- 
py ?" said the Secretary, in douM 
whether he was man, boy, or whet. 

"A love-child," returned Betty 
Higden, dropping her voice; "pa- 
icut4 never known ; found in tha 
street. Ha was toiuj^A ■o.-^ "wi 'd* 

" with tn sidver cit nsv^npiaa'^t 

" Uio Ho\iBo.'" . 



IM 



Otm Mtm7AL FBt£Kl>. 



"Tbe Poof^hontef** said the Secret 

Mrs. Higden set tliat reaolute old 
fkce of hen, and darkly nodded yea. 

" Ton difllike the mention of it." 

** Dislike the mention of itP" an* 
awered the old woman. *'Kill me 
sooner thim take me there. Throw 
this pretty child under cart-horsea' 
feet and a* loaded wagson, sooner 
th£ui take him there. Come to ns 
and find ns all a«dying, and set a 
light to ns all where we lie, and let 
ns all blaze away with the house into 
a heap of cinders, sooner than move 
a corpse of us there ! " 

A surprising spirit in this lonely 
woman after so many years of hard 
working, and hard living, my Lords 
and Gentlemen and Honourable 
Boards! What is it that we caUit 
in our grandiose speeches P British 
independence, rather perrerted P Is 
that, or something like it^ the ring of 
the cantP 

**Do I never read in the news* 
papers," said the dame, fondling the 
chud — " God help me and the l£ke of 
me I — how the worn-out people tiiat 
do come down to that, c^et driven 
from post to pillar and piUar to post, 
a-purpose to tire them out! Do I 
never read how they are put off, put 
oflEi put off— how thoy are grudged, 
ftrudged, grudged, the shelter, or the 
lector, or the drop of physio, or the 
bit of bread P Do I never read how 
they grow heartsick of it and give it 
tip, after having let themselves drop 
so low, and how they after all die 
out for want of help P Then I say, 
I hope I can die as well as another, 
and rll die without that diag^ce." 

Absolutely impossible, my Lorda 
and Gentlemen and Honourable 
Boarda, by any stretch of legislative 
wisdom to set these perverse people 
tight in their logic P 

"Johnny, my pretty" continued 
old Betty, caressmg the child, and 
rather mourning over it tbaw speak- 
ing to it, "youroldGtanny Betty is 
nigher fourscore year than, threescore 
and ten. She never begged nor had 
u penny of the Union momey in all 



h«r liii^ She paid toot aiid d 
lot when she had money to pa 
worked when she could, a 
starved when she must Tc 
that your Granny ibay have st 
enough left her at the laal 
strong for an old one, Johnny] 
\xp &Dm her bed and run ai 
herself, and swown to death in 
sooner than fhll into the hi 
those Gruel Jacks we read < 
dodge and drive^ and wor 
weary, and scorn and shame, I 
cent poor." 

A brilliant anccess, my Loa 
Gentlemen and Honourable 
to have brought it to this 
minds of the l^t of the poor 
der submission, might it be 
thinking of^ at any odd time f 

The fright and abhorren 
Mrs. Betty Higden smoothed 
her strong hce as she ended 
version, showed how aeriou 
had meant it. 

"And does he work for 
asked the Seorotary, gently b 
the discooxse back to Master 
ter Sloppy. 

"Ye8,'^said Betty with a 
humoured smile and nod of tl: 
"And well too." 

"Does he Hve here P" 

"He lives more here tfaa 
where. He was thought to 
better than a Natural, and fix 
to me as a Minder. I made 
with Mr. Blo^g the Beadle 
him as a Minder, seeing i 
chance up at church, and thii 
might do something with hix 
he was a weak rickety creetui 

" Is he called by his right i 

"Why, yon see, spittkin 
correctly, he has no right n 
always understood he toc^h 
from being found on a Sloppy 

" He seems aa amiable fell< 

" Bless you, sir, there's m 
of him," returned Betty, 
not amiable. ^ So you may ju< 
amiable he is, by Tanning y 
alouff his heighth." 

Of an unranly make was 
Too ttttoh i him longwise, i 




OUB UUTCTAL FBIENS. 



Ha tooadwlNt and too nun^ 
n >nglea of him uigle-wiaa. One 

ituisa, lorn to be inducreetly au- 
in tho revelation of button*; 
tj button he had about him glit- 



of knee and elbow and wrist and 
<lC bad Bloppy, and be didn't 
3W tiow to dispose of it to the beat 
rantage, but waa aJwayi invetting 
n wtDQ^ secutitiea, and to getting 
naelf into embamaaed eircnm- 
ncca. Full-Private Number One 
the Avkvard Squad of the rank 
d file of life, was Sloppy, and yet 
i hii glimmering notiona of etaad- 
j tone to the Colonn. 
"And now," said Ui*. BoffiOi 
•Deeming Johnnf." 
Aa Johnny, with hi« chin tucked 
and hii lipa pouting, nclined in 
4;'i lap, coDceatrating hia bine 
eaon thevisitcnarid (hading them 
m obaerration with a dimpled aim, 
) Bettj took one of hia ticah &t 



'TNiina'ani. ConeerningJoluui]'." 
'If yon trust the dear ebild to 
1," wid Mra. Boffin, with a (aca 
riting tnut, "he ahall havs 
it of homea, the beA of care, 
at of education, the beat of frienda. 
eaae Qod I will ba a true good 



.. _. a old enough taundet- 
■nd." Etill lightljr beating the 
tlehaBduponherown. "Iwouldn" 
md in the dear child's light, not i 
tud all my life before me inatead of 
TUTf little of it. Bat I hope yon 
HI t late it ill that I deave to the 
Qd ckacT than wotda can tell, for 
Tatbe laat living thing left me." 
" Take it ill, my dear aoul F li 
idy ? And you ao tender of him 
to tring him home hero ! " 
"I have Been," laid Betty, (till 
ith tlutt light beat upon hw hard 



a bnt 



m^ lap. And they a: 

■elfish, but I don't icallf mean it. 
It'll be tbo making of hu fortune, 
and he'U be a gentleman when I am 
dead. I — I — don't know what 

■ over me. I — try against it. 
Don't notice me I" The light beat 
stopped, the resolute m«uth gave 
Kay, and the Sna strong old boe 
broke up into weakneai and tears. 

Now, greatly to the relief of the 
viaitora, (he emotional Sloppy ao 
sooner beheld his patronea* in this 
condition, than, throwing back hia 
head and throwing open hia mouth, 
he liAod up his voice and bellowed. 
This alarming note of something 
wrong inatanUy teirifled Toddlea and 
Foddlea, who were no sooner heaid 
to roar surprisingly, than Johnny, 
Onrving himself the wrong way and 
striking out at Mis. fio&in with a 

of indiS'erent shoes, became a 
prey to despair. The absmdity of 
the situation put its pathos to the 
rout Mra. Betty Higden was her- 
self in a moment, and brought them 
all to order with that speed, that 
Sloppy, stopping short in a polysyl- 
labic bellow, transferred his energy 
to the mangle, and had taken eeversl 
penitential turns befoie he oould be 



"There, t 



>, there, thereJ " said Mr*. 
Bomn, aimoat regarding her kind 
■elf aa the moat nithlesa of women. 
"Nothing is going to be done. No- 
body need be Mghloned. We're all 
comfortable ; ain't we, lira. Hig- 
den T " 

"Sure and oertaiD we ate," i*- 
tnraed Betty. 

"And there really is nohnrry, you 
know," aaid Mra. Boffin in a lower 
voice. "Take time to think of it, 
my good creature!" 

" Don't you fear nu no mote, 
ma'am," said Betty; "I thought of 
it for good yeoterday. 1 don't know 
what come over me just now, but it'll 
never come again." 

"Well, then, Johnny shall have 
more time to think of it," returned 
Mwi Boffin; "Ih* prttty iM M ri^l 



126 




OUB MUTUAL FHIENB. 



liaTe tSme to get tued to it And 
Toii*ll get hint more used to it, if you 
think well of it ; won't you P " 

Betty undertook that, cheerfully 
ftnd raadily. 

" Lor/' cried Mrs. Boffin, looking 
radiantly about her, '*we want to 
make everybody happy, not dismal ! 
— And perhaps you wouldn't mind 
letting me know how used to it you 
begin to get, and how it all goes on?" 

<* m send Sloppy," said Mrs. Hig- 
den. 

** And this gentleman who has come 
vith me will pay him for his trouble," 
■aid Mrs. Boffin. ** And Mr. Sloppy, 
whenerer you come to m^ house, be 
sure you never go away without hav- 
ing had a good dinner of meat^ beer, 
T^tables, and pudding." 

This still further brightened the 
face of affairs ; for, the highly s^- 
pathetic Sloppy, first broadly staring 
and g^rinning, and then roaring with 
laughter. Toddles and Poddies fol- 
lowed suit, and Johnny trumped the 
trick. T and P considering these 
fiivourable drcumstanoes for the re- 
sumption of that dramatic descent 
upon Johnnv, again came across- 
country hond-in-hand upon a bucca- 
neering expedition ; and this having 
been fought out in the chimney cor- 
ner behind Mrs. Higden*s chair, with 
great valour on both sides, those 
desperate pirates returned hand-in- 
kand to their stools, across the dry 
bed of a mountain torrent 

" Ton must tell me what I can do 
for you, Betty my friend," said Mrs. 
Boffin confidentiidly, " if not to-day, 
next time." 

« Thank you all the same, ma'am, 
but I want nothing for myself. I 
can work. Fm strong. I can walk 
twenty mile if I'm put to it." Old 
Betty was proud, and said it with a 
sparkle in her bright eyes. 

" Yes, but there are some little 
comforts that you wouldn't be the 
worse for," returned Mrs. Boffin. 
** Bless ye, I wasn't bom a lady any 
more than you." 

"It seems to me," said Betty, 
mailing, ^tbMt yon wars bom a lady, 



and a true one, or there never was a 
lady bom. But I couldn't take any* 
thing from you, my dear. I never 
did take anything m)m any one. It 
ain't that I'm not grateful, but I Ioto 
to earn it better." 

"Well, well !" returned Mrs. Boffin. 
"I only spoke of little things, or I 
wouldn't have taken the liberty." 

Betty put her visitor's hand to her 
lips, in acknowledgment of the deU- 
cato answer. Wonderfully upright 
her figure was, and wonderfully self- 
reliant her look, as, standing facing 
her visitor, she explained herself fur- 
ther. 

"If I could have kept the dear 
child, without the dr^id that's always 
upon me of his coming to that fate I 
have spoken of, I could never have 
parted with him, even to you. For I 
love him, I love him, I love him ! I 
love my husband long dead and gone, 
in him ; I love my childr^i dead and 
gone, in him ; I love my young and 
hopeful days dead and gone, in him. 
I couldn't sell that love, and look you 
in your bright kind &ce. It's a free 
gift I am m want of nothing. When 
my strength fiiils me, if I can but die 
out quick and quiet, I shall be quite 
content I have stood between my 
dead and that shame I have spoken 
of, and it has been kept off frt>m eveiy 
one of them. Sewed mto my gown, 
with her hand upon her breast, " is 
just enough to lay me in the grave. 
Only see that it's rightly spent, so as 
I may rest free to the last from that 
cruelty and disgrace, and you'll have 
done much more than a littie thing 
for mo, and all that in this present 
world xny heart is set upon." 

Mrs. Betty Higden's visitor pressed 
her hand. There was no more break- 
ing up of the strong old face into 
weakness. My Lords and Gentlemen 
and Honourable Boaids, it really wai 
as composed as our own fSaoes, and 
almost as dignified. 

And now, Johnny was to be in- 
veigled into occupymg a temporary 
position on Mrs. Boffin's lap. It was 
not until he had been piqued into 
I compo^Vaon w\^ VXu& \.w^ ^^ss^ixfafitxv^ 




OUE MUTUAL FEIEND. 



rinjj Uicm enccesdveljr 
post and retire from it 
.-, that ho could lie by 
iduced to Icavo Mra. 
B skirts ; tooarda nhli^h 
ven irhcD in iMra. Bof- 

BtroDg yeamiuga, spi- 
ly: tho former eTprGssed 
uy visage, the Litter in 
), HoweTpr, a general 

tho toy-vondera lurk- 
Boffin'a honso, so for 
is woridly-minded 
uco him to etarc at 
ith a fist in his moi 
ength to cliQcldc when 
iaoned boTse on wheels, 
ulous gift of centering 

nas mentioned. Tbi 
ilccn up by theMindE 



127 









■which 



il, and Mrs. Bo(!iu 
ill were uitiiHol. 
ojipy, who undertook to 
iaitorB back by the brst 
rcc Magpiua, and whom 
caded young man much 

of bniinesa thus put in 
■etary droTo Mrs. Boffii 
Bower, and found em 
himself at Oie new housi 
. Whether, when even 
C took a way to hi: 
led through fields, witl 
)f finding MiB3 Belli 
M fields, is not 80 ccriaii 
golorly walked there a 

over, it i* cortaia that 

in mourning, Sliss Bella 
in BB J^elty coloure af 
tter. ThGre ia no dony^ 
was as pretty as they, 
1 and tho colour! - • 
I together. Bh 
le walked, and of 
errod, from her shon in(f 
;e of Sir! Eoktsmith'a 
it ahe did not know he 

i/:/ Mia BeUa, misiDg 



her eyes from her boolt, ' 
itoppoii bcluiu her. " Oh ! it a you. 
■Uiily I. A fine jailing!" 

" said Uella. looking coliUy 
, suppose it is, nou- you 
I luiv« not been thinlrin g 
ofthoovcmng.- 

So intent upon yourt)ookf " 
Yc-e-cs," replied Btila, witb * 
diawl of indiSbrenco, 

A love atury, iliaa Wilferf" 
Oh dour no, or I shouldn't be 
iing it. It'a moic about money 
3 Buything olsc." 
And docs it say that money Ii 
better than anything f " 

" Upon my word, returned Bella, 
" I forget what it says, but you can 
lind out for yourself, if you like, Mr. 
Riikcsmith. I don't want it any 

The Secretary took the book — ihe 
had fluttered the leavea as if it were 
-and walked facsido her. 
m charged with a message for 
you, Mies Wilier." 

" Im]ioe>sible, I think V laid Bella, 
witli another drawl. 

"From Mra. Boffin. She desired 
me to assure you of the pleasure she 
has in finding that ahe will bo ready 
' receive you in another week or 

!0 at fuTthest." 

Bella turned borhead towards him, 
irettily-insolent eyelirc 
her eyelids drooping, 
mucn aa v> say, " How did you coma 
by the meaaago, pmy f " 

"I have been waiting for Sn Op- 
portuiuty of telling you that I am 
llr. Boffin's Secretary." 

" I am as wiao as ever," said Mis* 
Bella, loftily, " for I don't know 
what a Secretary is. Not that it 



"Not 



t all." 



A covert glance at her &ce, ai ha 
walked beside her, showod him that 
ahe had not expected his i^ady assent 
to that proposition. 

" Then are you going to bo alwnyi 
there, llr. Rokesiiuthf" ehc im\\uioi, 
OS if th:it Toulii be n dnv^'Vaci. 

" Always? So. \et7nwKii**«**^ 
res." 



128 



OTJB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



''Dear mo!** drawled Bella in a 
lone of mortificatioiu 

" But my position there as Secre- 
tary, wall be very different from yours 
as guest. You will know little or 
nothing about me. I shall transact 
the business; you will transact the 
pleasure. I shall have my salary to 
earn ; you will have nothing to do 
but to enjoy and attract." 

"Attract, sirP" said Bella, again 
with her eyebrows raised, and her 
eyelids drooping. "I don't under- 
stand you." 

Without replying on this point, 
Hr. Hokesmith went on« 

<' Excuse me ; when I first saw you 
in your black dress " 

(" There ! " was Miss Bella's mental 
exclamation. "What did I say to 
them at home ? Everybody noticed 
that ridiculous mourning.") 

" When I first saw you in your 
black dress, I was at a loss to account 
for that distinction between yourself 
and your family. I hope it was not 
impertinent to speculate upon it P " 

" I hope not, I am sure," said Miss 
Bella, haughtily. "But you ought 
to know best how you speculated 
upon it." 

Mr. Hokesmith inclined his head in 
a deprecatory manner, and went on. 

" Since I have been entrusted with 
Mr. Boffin's affairs, I have necessarily 
come to understand the little mystery. 
I venture to remark that I feel per- 
suaded that much of your loss may 
be repaired. I speak, of course, 
merely of wealth. Miss Wilfer. The 
loss of a perfect stranger, whose 
worth, or worthlessness, I cannot 
estimate — nor you either — ^is beside 
the question. But this excellent 
gentleman and lady are so full of 
simplicity, so full of generosity, so 
inclined towards you, and so desirous 
to — how shall I express it P — ^to make 
amends for their good fortune, that 
you have only to respond." 

As ho washed her with another 
covert look, he saw a certain ambi- 
tious triumph in her face which no 
assumed coldness could conceaL 

" As we have been brought under 



one roof by an accidental comTyina* 
tion of circumstances, which oddly 
extends itself to the new relations 
before us, I have taken the liberty of 
saying these few words. You don't 
consider them intrusive I hope?" 
said the Secretary with deference. 

" Really, Mr. Rokesmith, I can't 
say what I consider them," returned 
the yoimg lady. "They are per- 
fectly new to me, and may be founded 
altogether on your own imagination.'* 

" xou will see." 

These same fields were opposite 
the Wilfer premises. The discreet 
Mrs. Wilfer now looking out of win- 
dow and beholding her daughter in 
conference with her lodger, instantly 
tied up her head and came out for a 
casual walk. 

" I have been telling Miss Wilfer," 
said John Hokesmith, as the majestio 
lady came stalking up, " that I have 
become, by a curious chance, Mr. 
Boffin's Seoi^tary or man of business." 

* ' I have not, ' * returned Mrs. Wilfer, z 
waving her gloves in her chronio - 
state of dignity, and vague ill-usage, 
' ' the honour of any intimate acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Boffin, and it is not ^ 
for me to congratulate that gentle- ^ 
man on the acquisition he has made." 

" A poor one enough," said Boko- ^ 
smith. p 

" Pardon me," returned Mrs. Wil- 
fer, "the merits of Mr. Boffin may . 
be highly distingfuished — may ba ^ 
more distinguished than the coimte- 
nance of mx^ Boffin would imply — ^ 
but it were the insanity of humility to -. 
deem him worthy of a better assistant" a 

" You are very good. I have also -^ 
been telling Miss Wilfer that she ft — 
expected very shortly at the new 
residence in town." 

"Having tacitly consented," nid 
IMrs. Wilfer, with a grand shrug of 
her shoulders, and another wave of 
her gloves, " to my child's acceptance 
of &e proffered attentions of Mrs. 
Boffin, 1 interpose no objection," 

Here Miss Bella offered the re- 
monstrance : " Don't talk noDsense^ 
ma, please." 

" Peace I " laid Mrs. Wil£Br. 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



120 



B, X «m not going to be 
iSQxd. Intorpoamg objec- 

'* repeated Mrs. Wilfer, 

ast acceos of grandeur, 

1 mot going to interpose ob- 

If Mis. JBoffin (to whose 



.? 



ce BO disciple of Lavater 
dbly for a single moment 
/' with a shiver, ^ seeks to 
her new residence in town 
attractions of a child of 
n content that she should 
«d by the company of a 
line, 

nae the word, ma'am, I 

elf used," said Bokesmith, 

lance at Bella, ** when you 

Miss Wilfer's attractions 

A me," rstnmed Ifrs. Wil- 

dreadfnl solemnity, **batl 

nished.'* 

ezcose me. 

B about to say,'* pursued 

for, who dearly had not had 

0t idea of simng anything 

that when I use the term 

a, I do so with tiie qualifioa- 

F do not mean it in any way 
If 

ceUent lady deliyered thii 
rtuoidatioa of her views 
dr of greatly obliging her 
and greatly distinguish- 
alf. Whereat Miss Bella 
% aoomfU Utile laugh and 

enough about this, I am 
ill aidei. Have the good- 
Sokeamith, to give my love 

oAn 

r eried Mn. Wilfer. 



"Love!" repeated Bella, with a 

little stiinip of her foot. 

**No!" said Mrs. Wilfer, monoto- 
nously. ** Compliments." 

(" bay Miss Wilfer's love, and Mrs. 
Wilfer's compliments," the Secrctai*y 
proposed, as a compromise.) 

** And I shall be very glad to oome 
when she is ready for me. The sooner 
the better." 

** One last word, Bella," said Mrs. 
Wilfer, *' before descending to the 
family apartment I trust that as a 
child of mine you will ever be sensible 
that it will be graceful in you, when 
associating with Mr. and Mrs. Boffin 
upon equal terms, to remember that 
the Secretary, Mr. Bokesmith, as your 
father's lodger, has a claim on your 
good word. 

The condescension with which Mrs. 
Wilfer delivered this proclamation of 
patronage, was as wonderful as the 
swiftness with which the lodger had 
lost caste in the Secretary. He smiled 
as the mother retired down stairs; 
but his fikoe fell, as the daughtei 
Hollowed. 

** So insolent, so trivial, so capri- 
cious, so mercenary, so careless, so 
hard to touch, so h£u?d to turn I" he 
said, bittorly. 

And added as he went up stairs. 
'* And yet so pretty, so pretty ! " 

And added presently, as he walked 
to and fro in his room. ** And if she 
knew!" 

She knew that he was shaking the 
house by his walking to and fro ; and 
she declared it another of the miseriea 
of being poor, that you couldn't get 
rid of a haunting Secretary, stump — 
stump — stumping overhead in the 
dark, like a Ghost 



CHAPTEB XVn. 

A, DISMAL SWAMT. 



w, in the blooming summer 
)ld Mr. and Mrs. Boffin es- 
in the eminently aristocratio 
auum, Mad behold all man* 



ner of crawling, creeping, flutteriiig^ 
and buzzing oreatures, attraoted by 
the gold duiA ol Uvft QKili^«^VQ#r 
man! 



I 



130 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



Foremost among those leaving cards 
At the eminently aristocratic door 
1>cidre it is quite painted, are the 
Voneorinp^s : out of bi*eath, one might 
imagine, from the impetuosity of their 
rush to the eminently aristocratic 
steps. One copper-plate ilrs. Ve- 
neering, two copper-plate Mr. Ve- 
neerings, and a connubial copper-plate 
^Ir. and Mrs. Veneerinff, requesting 
the honour of ^Ir. and Mrs. Boffin's 
company at dinner with the utmost 
Analytical solemnities. The enchant- 
ing Lady Tippins leaves a card. 
Twemlow leaves cards. A tall cus- 
tard-coloured phaeton tooling up in a 
solemn manner leaves four cards, to 
'«'it. a couple of Mr. Podsnaps, a Mrs. 
Podsnap, and a Miss Podsnap. All 
the world and his wife and daughter 
leave cards. Sometimes the world's 
wife has so many daughters, that her 
card reads rather like a Miscellaneous 
Lot at an Auction ; comprising Mrs. 
Tapkins, Miss Tapkins, Miss Frede- 
rica Tapkins, Miss Antonina Tapkins, 
Miss Malvina Tapkins, and Miss £u- 
phemia Tapkins ; at the same time, the 
same lady leaves the card of Mrs. Henry 
George Alfred Swoshle, n^e Tapldns ; 
also, a card, Mrs. Tapkins at Home, 
Wednesdays, Music, Portland Place. 

Miss Bella Wilfer becomes an in- 
mate, for an indefinite period, of the 
eminently aristocratic dwelling. Mrs. 
Boffin bears Miss Bella away to her 
Milliner's and Dressmaker's, and she 
^ets beautifully dressed. The Veneer- 
ings find with swift remorse that they 
have omited to invite Miss BeUa Wil- 
fer. One Mrs. Veneering and one 
Mr. and Mrs. Veneeiinff requesting 
that additional honour, mstantly do 
penance in white cardboaid on the 
hall table. Mrs. Tapkins likewise 
discovers her omission, and with 
promptitude repairs it; for herself, 
for Miss Tapkins, for Miss Frederica 
Tapkins, for Miss Antonina Tapkins, 
for Miss Malvina Tapkins, and for 
Miss Euphemia Tapkius. Likewise, 
for Mrs. Henry George Alfred Swoshle, 
flee Tapkins. Likewise, for Mrs. Tap- 
kins at Home, WedneadAyt, Music, 
rojtland Place, \ 



Tradesmen's books hunger, and 
tradesmen's mouths water, for ths 
gold dust of the Golden Dustman. 
As l^Irs. Boffin and Miss Wilfer drive 
out, or as &Ir. Boffin walks out at hii 
jog-trot pace, the fishmonger pulli 
off his hat with an air of reverence 
founded on conviction. His men 
cleanse their fingers on their woollen 
aprons before presuming to toucb 
their foreheads to Mr. Boffin or Lady. 
The gaping salmon and the golden 
mullet lying on the slab seem to tun 
up their eyes sideways, as they would 
turn up their hands if they liad any, 
in worshipping admiration. The 
butcher, though a portly and a pros- 
perous num, doesn't know what to do 
with himself, so anxious is he to ex- 
press humility when discovered by the 
passing Boflins taking the air in a 
mutton grove. Presents are made 
to the Boffin servants, and bland 
strangers with business-cards meeting 
said servants in the street, offer hy- 
pothetical corruption. As, " Suppos- 
ing I was to be £eivoared with an 
order from Mr. Boffin, my dear friend, 
it would be worth my while" — to do 
a certain thing that I hope might 
not prove wholly disagreeable to your 
feelings. 

But no one knows so weU as the 
Secretary, who opens and reads the 
letters, what a set is made at the man 
marked by a stroke of notoriety. Oh 
the varieties of dust for ocular uss, 
offered in exchange for the gold dust of 
the Golden Dustman! Fifty-aevea 
churches to be erected with half- 
crowns, forty-two parsonage houses 
to be repaired with shillings, seven- 
and-twenty organs to be built ^th 
halfpence, tw^ve hundred childrea 
to be brought up on postage stamps. 
Not that a half-crown, shilling, half- 
penny, or postage stamp, would be 
particularly acceptable from Mr. Bof- 
fin, but that it is so obvious he ii 
the man to make up the deficiency. 
And then the charities, my Christian 
brother ! And mostly in difficulties, 
yet mostly lavish, too, in the expensive 
articles of piint and paper. Lan^ 
fat YtrivatA double letter, sealed witi) 




ODE MDTXJAL FRIEND. 



131 



losi eorrmct "Kicodenms BniTir 
■quire. MyDcarSit, — Ilavingcon 
nled to preside at the forthcomin., 
[iDiul DiDUBr ot the Family Fajty 



lUa Institution and [he great im- 
irtaiiM of ita being aupported by a 
iit of Steirards that ahall prore to 

public the inlereat takeu in it by 

kve undertakeiL to o^ you to become 
Steward od tbat uccaaion. Solicit- 
t your foTounible reply befure the 
1th iiiBUiiit. I am. Sly Dear Sir, 
our faithTul aervout, Likeeeu. F.S. 
be Steward's fee is Umilod to three 
aineaa." Friendly this, on the 
irt of the Duke of Linseed (and 
oughtful in the postscript}, only 
hographed by the hundred and 
Wenting but « pale indiiiduality of 
Idresi to Kicodemui Boffin, Eaquire, 

£ite aoother hand. It takes two 
Earls and a Viacaunt, combined, 
inform NicodemuB BofGn, Esquire, 
an equally flattering manner, that 

1 estimable lady in the West of 
oglaud has offered to present a pume 
ntainiu^ tweuty pounds, to the 
idety for Granling- Annuities to 
oassuming Members of the Middle 
ansa, if twenty individuals will 
aTitnisly pieaent purses of oue hun- 
ed pouods each. And those bene- 
ilent noblemen very kindly point 
it that if NicodemuB Boffin, Ksquire, 
onld wish to proaont two or mora 
iiKs, it will not be inconsistent with 
» design of the estimalle lady in 
» West of Eogland, provided each 
ne be conpled with the name of 
ma member of bit hoooured and 
spected family. 

ThosB are the eorpomte beggara, 
ut there are, besides, the individual 
tggars; and how does the hcnrt of 
la tjeccetary fail him when he has 
I cope with Iktm .' And they must 
! coped with to some eitent, because 
ley all cnoloae documantH (they call 
leir KTHpa documents ; but they are, 
i to pripcra deserving the name, 
lilt minci-d v™l is to a e.ii/-., Wis 
Du-iMuu «/ iKJjui would be tiieir 



ruin. Thai is to lay, they at« utterly 
ruined now, but they would bo mora 
utttrly ruined then. Among these 
corres pendents are seTeral daughtci's 
of geaeral officeia, long accustomed 
to every luxury ot life (except spell- 
ing), who little thought, when their 
follant fathers waged war in the 
enioBula, that they would ever have 
to U]i|)eBl to those whom Providence, 
in ita iuscrutable wisdom, has blessed 
with untold gold, and from among 
whom they select the name of Nico- 
demus lio&n. Esquire, for a msiden 
eflort in thiswise, understanding that 
ho bos such a heart as never was. 
The Secretary learns, too, that confi- 
dence between man and wife would 
seem to obtain but rarely when virtue 
is in distress, so numerous ore the 
wives who take up their pens to aak 
Mr. Boffin for money without the 
knowledge of their devoted husbands, 
who would never permit it; while, 
~ ~ the other hand, so n 



ask Mr. Boffln for money v 
tbu kuowledge of their devoted wives, 
who would instantly go out of their 
Bcnsfs if they had the least suspicion 
of the circumstaucB. There are the 
inspired beggsrs, too. These were sit- 
ting, only yesterday evening, musing 
over a fragment of candle which 
must soon go out and leave them in 



of Kicodemua Boffin, Es- 
quire, to their souls, imparting rays 
of hope, nay confidenco, to which 
thoy had long been stmngera I Akin 
to those are the suggestively-be- 
friended heggsra. Tbey were pai^ 
taking of a cold potato and water 



(rent considerably L_ _, 

heartless luudliidy threatening eipul- 
Hion "like a dog" into the streets), 
when a gifted friend happening to 
look in, said, " Writa immediately to 
Nicodcmua BofflB, Esquire," and 
would take no denii.\. "SWie ».-to "ii* 
nobly indnniMiieul 'Vw^lijVTO, *W>. 
These, in Uie iivia oS to*« «>*m^ 



133 



0X7B MUTUAL FBIKNB. 



^anoe, ever regarded gold aa droas* I 
and have not yot got over that onl^ 
impediment in the way of theiz 
amaaaing wealth, hut they want no 
droaa from Nioodemua Boifin, Es- 
quire ; No, Mr. Bofi^ ; the world 
may term it pride, paltry pride if you 
will, hut they wouldn't take it if you 
offered it; a loan, sir — for fourteen 
weekfl to the day, interest calculated 
at the rate of five per cent per an- 
num, to he heatowed upon any chari- 
table institution you mav name — ie all 
they want of you, and if you have 
the meanness to refuse it, count on 
being despised by these great spirits. 
There are the hcggara of punctual 
Business-habits too. These will make 
an end of themselves at a quartei to 
one P.M. on Tuesday, if no Post-onice 
order is in the interim received from 
Kicodemus Boffin, Esquire ; arriving 
after a quarter to one p.m. on Tues- 
day, it need not be sent, hs they will 
then (having made an exact memo- 
Tandum of the heartless circum- 
stances) be *'cold in death.*' There 
are the beggars on horseback too, in 
another sense from the sense of the 
proverb. These are mounted and 
ready to start on the highway to afflu- 
ence. The goal is before them, the 
|t)ad is in ine best condition, their 
•purs are on, the steed is willing, but, 
at the last moment, for want of some 
apecial thing — a clock, a violin, an 
astronomical telescope, an electrify- 
ing machine — they must dismount 
ioi evei, unless they receive its equi- 
valent in money from Nicodemus 
Boffin^ Eaquixe. Leas given to detail 



are the beggars who mass apo 
ventures. Ihese, usually to hi 
dressed in reply under initials 
country post-office, inquire in ; 
nine hands, Dare one who a 
disclose herself to Nicodcmua B 
Esquire, but whose name u 
startle him were it revealed, a 
the immediate advance of two 
dred pounda from unexpected i 
exercising their noblest priv 
in the txust of a common hu: 
ityP 

In such a Dismal Swamp doc 
new house stand, and through it 
the Secretary daily struggle bi 
high. Not to mention aU the p 
alive who have made invention! 
won't act« and all the jobbers 
job in all the jobberies iobbed ; th 
these may be regarded as the A. 
tors of the Dismal Swamp, an 
always l>'ing by to drag the G 
Dustman under. 

But the old house. There a 
designs against the Golden Due 
there ? There are no fish of the i 
tribe in the Bower waters ? Pe 
not. Still, Wegg is established 1 
and would seem, judged by his t 
proceedings, to cherish a noti 
muking a discovery. For, when i 
with a wooden leg lies prone c 
stomach to peep under bedst 
and hops up ladders, like som 
tinct bird, to sun'cy the to] 
presses and cupboards ; and pre 
himself an iron rod which he 
ways poking and prodding into 
mounds ; the prooability is th 
ezpecta to find aomethingi 



BOOK THE SECOUD. BIRDS OF A, FEATHEB. 



Twt tdiool at which young Chsrlev 

H«iBm had first learned mia a boott 
—the itreeta beinii. for pupili □( hia 
lieffToe, the groat PreporaWiy Eatab- 
liahment in which »ery much that ii 
narfiT imleamed ia learned without 
and before book~waa a miserable 
loft in an muaTour]' yard. Ite at- 
wapbera waa opprawTe and dis- 
agiMsble; it mu crowded, noisy, 
aLd coo^isingf; half the pupils 
dropped asleep, or Felt into a itate 
cfnkiDg Btapebction; the other half 
b^ them in either oonditioa by 
UBizxtaiiiin^ a monotonous drouiiig 
ndie, u if they were performing', out 
nJ time and time, on a rader sort of 
lagpipe. The taachera, acimatcd 
nidy by good intentions, hud no 
idea of execution, uid s lamentable 
JDinble was the upahot of their kind 
mdeaTonra. 

It waa a school for all agea, and 

Idt both B«xM. The latter were ke^ 

fart, and the former were paru- 

boned off into aqnare assoitmeDta. 

But, all the place was pervaded by a 

I pimly ludicrous pretence that ever; 

I ppil was childuh and innocent. 

I Ilii pretence, much IkToured by the 

I lidy-visitws, lad to the ghastliest 

I ibmrdities. Young women old in 

I tb Ticfa of the oommoneet and woivt 

lif^ were expected to profess them- 

Htna enthialled by ttia good child's 

^k, the Adventnrea of Littlo Mar- 

'^, who resided bi the village 

g« by the mill; eeverelv re- 

pntred and morallj squashed the 

liDiii, when die was five and he was 

tty; dinded ber porridi^ with 

Bo^icig birds; dtT^wf Aenei/# Hffw 



nankeen bonnet, on the ground fliat 
the tumipe did not wear nankeen 
bonneta, neither did the sheep who 
ate Ihom ; who plaited straw and 
delivered tho dreariest orations to all 
comers, at all lorta of uneeaaonabls 
times. So, unwieldy young dressers 
and hulking mudlarks n-ere referred 
to the experiences of Thomas Two- 
pence, who, having resolved not to 
rob (under circumstancee of uncom- 
mon atrocity) his particular friend 
and benefactor, of BigWeeQ pence, 
presently came into Biipematursi 
posacaaion of three and nipencst 
and lived a shining llp-ht ever After- 
wards. (Note, that the benel^tor 
came to no good.) Bei'ei'al swagger- 



9 had I 



1 their 



biagiaphiee i 
always appearing from the lessons 
of those very brastful persons, that 
yoD were to do good, not because ft 
•rat good, bat becaose you ware to 
make a good thing of it. Cantinri- 
wise. the adult pupils were taught to 
TBOC (if they could learn] out of the 
New Testunent ; and by dint of 
stumbling over the syllablea and 
keeping their bewildered eyes on the 
particular syllables coming round to 
their turn, were as absolutely igni>. 
rant of the sublime hiaton-, as if thej 
hod never sem or heard of it. Aa 
exceedingly and confoundin^ly per- 
plexing jumble of a school, in fact 
where black spirit* and gnj, red 
spirits and white, jumhlod jombled 
jumbled jnmbled, jumbled every 
night. And particularly Q^erj %>>:&• 
day night ¥ot ttieo, oa. '■m£&nA. 
pUne of im£ottanftl« \DltB!ut '«o^^ 



134 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



Ye handed orer to the pro«iost and 
\\oi>t of all the teachers with good 
intent iocs, whom nobody older would 
endure. Who, taking his stand on 
tlie tJoor before them as chief execu- 
tioner, would be attended by a con- 
ventional volunteer boy as execu- 
tioner's assistant. When and where 
it first became the conventional 
system that a weary or inattentive 
infant in a class must have its face 
smoothed downward with a hot 
hand, or when and wheie the con- 
ventional volunteer boy first beheld 
such system in operation, and became 
iniiamed with a sacred zeal to ad- 
minister it, matters not. It was the 
function of the chief executioner to 
hold forth, and it was the function of 
Ihe acolyte to dart at sleeping infants, 
yawning infants, restless infants, 
whimpering infants, and smooth their 
wretched faces ; sometimes with one 
hand, as if he were anuiutiiiq: thciu 
for a whisker ; sometimes with both 
hands, applied after the fashion of 
blinkers. And so the juniblo would 
be in action in this department for a 
mortal hour ; the exponent drawling 
on to My Dearerr Childerrenerr, let 
ns say, for example, about the beau- 
tiful coming to the Sepulchre ; and 
repeating the word Sepulchre (com- 
monly used among infants) five 
hundred times, and never once hint- 
ing what it meant ; the conventional 
boy smoothing away right and left, 
as an infallible commentary; the 
whole hot-bed of flushed and ex- 
hausted infants exchanging measles, 
rashes, whooping-cough, fever, and 
stomach disorders, as if they were 
assembled in High Market for the 
purpose. 

^ K\ en in this temple of good inten- 
tions, an exceptionally sharp boy 
exceptionally determined to learn, 
could learn something, and, having 
learned it, could impart it mu(£ 
better than the teachers; as being 
more knowing than the^', and not at 
the disadvantage in which they stood 
towards the shrewder pupils. In 
this way it had come about that 
CSuwley Hexam had risen in the 



jumble, taught in (he jnmble, 
been received firom the jumble in 
better schooL 

'' So vou want to go and see } 
sister, liexamP" 

"If you please, M[r. Headstone 

'* I have half a mind to go ^'ith] 
Where does your sister live?'* 

*' Wliy, she is not settled yet, 
Headstone. I'd rather you dii 
see her till she's settled, if it waf 
the same to you." 

" I^»ok here, Hexam." MGp. Bi 
ley Headstone, highly certifia 
stipendiary schoolmaster, drew 
right forefinger through one of 
buttonholes of the boy's coat» 
looked at it attentively. "II 
your sister may be good comp 
for you?" 

"Why do you doubt it, Mr. H< 
stone 't " 

*' I did not say I doubted it.** 

" Is o, feii- ; you didn't say so." 

Bradley Headstone looked at 
finger j;;;;un, took it out of the but 
hole ai><I loulvcd at it closer, bit 
side of it and looked at it again. 

" You see, Hexam, you vnll be 
of us. In good time you are sux 
pass a creditable examination 
become one of us. Then tlie ques 
is " 

The boy waited so long for 
question, while the schoolms 
looked at a new side of his fin 
and bit it, and looked at it ag 
that at length the boy rei)eated : 

"The question is, sir — P " 

"Whether you had not better h 
well alone." 

" Is it well to leave my sister al 
Mr. Headstone?" 

" I do not say so, because I do 
know. I put it to you. I ask 
to think of it. I want you to < 
sider. You know how well you 
doing here." 

" After all, she got me here^" 
the boy, with a struggle. 

"Perceiving the necessity of 

acquiesced the schoolmaster, " 

making up her mind fiilly to the 

paration. Yes." 

\ Tke \yQ7t ^«n5&i ^ xctoaxn of 1 



I 



PTnewyorF 

''UBLIC LIBftARY 



*sro», LFNox ma 



OEB HimTAL FOIEHO. 



fumor TolDcUnoe or struggle 
■haterer it was, KGincd to dtbnte 
vith hiniielf. At length lie 
nising his eye* to the muster's i 

"I wish you'd ccme with me 
Ke her, llr. HeadBtone, though she 
il not settled. I wish you'd come 
*ilh me, and toke her in the rough, 
ud judge her for yoonelf." 

"Ton are Hure yon would not like," 
ulied t^e schoolmaster, " to prepare 



ml 



demands of rrtail dealen — historj- 
licre, (i^eo^phv there, wrtinDomy lo 
tho right, political economy b> thn 
left — imtiiral history, the phi 
BCiCDCca, figures, music, the l. _. 
mstliemntiiis, and what Dot, all in 
their several places — this care bod 
imparted lo his countenance a look 
■hile the habit of qucstion- 



Iuli^ 
wr 
■■> 

IHEid 
Iradi: 
Hi, 

Inith which he had twice conten< 
It iru his Letter nature to be tru 
ia, if it were his worse natui-e t 
AoUy seliish. And as yet thebi 



mi being 






HEidstoQo. What she ia, she is, and 
■hoot herself to be. Thore's no pre- 
Irading about my cister." 

His conEdence in her tat more 
(uily upon him than the indecision 
~" ' ■ ' ' ' ■ ■ - contended. 

!tter 
utore had the stronger hold. 

"Well, I can spare the evening," 
Md the schoolnuuler. " I am ready 
lowilk with you." 

"Thank you, Mr. Headstone. And 
Inn ready to go." 

Bndley Headstone, in his decent 
VkIi coat and waistcoat, and decent 
■bile shirt, and decent formal black 
lit, lod decent pantaloons of pepper 
*ul lalt, with his decent silver watch 
n hit pocket and its decent hnir- 
twi round bis neck, looked a 
wnnghly decent young man of 
u-«nd-tweDty. He was nerer seen 
in my other drees, and yet there 
*>il certain stifinesB in his manner 
tf wnring this, as if there were a 
*uit of adaptation between him and 
i^ recalling some mecbuiica in their 
ulidny clothes. He had acquired 
Mchimically a neat store of teacher's 
Diowleiige- He could" do men^ 
tsthmetic mechanically, sing at sight 
n^tchonit^Uy, blow various wind m- 
*nmients mechanically, even play 
t^gieat church organ mechanically. 
I^iom his early childhood up, bis 
Bind had been a place of mechanical 
■tonge. The arrangetnent of his 
■hi)t(Bi]e warehousGh w tJmt it 
night i» Almjv n»dy to ineet tho , 



him a Bu^icious manner, or a mim- 
ner that would be better described as 
one of lyiiip: in wait. There was a 
kind of settled trouble in the face. 
It was the face belonging to a natu- 
rally slow or innttontivB intpllcrl 
that had toiled hard to get what it 
had won, and thut had to hold it 
□ow that it was gotten. He always 
seemed to be uneasy lest anything 
Hliuiild be missine &om bit meDtul 
wurcheuse, and taking stock to assure 
himself. 

'm of io mnch to make 
much, had given htm a 
conali-ained manner, over and above 
there was e 



ss enough of whs 
of what was 



evy 
^Lnough smouldering^ still visible in 
him, to eu^gCBt that if young Bmit- 
ley Headstone, when a pauper lad, 
hud chanced to be told off for tb'' 
sea, he woold not have been the Ust 
man in a ship's crew. Begardinf 
that origin of bis, he was proudi 
moody, and sullen, desiring it to he 
Jora:otten, And few people knew of it. 
In some visits lo the Jiimbte his 
attention bad been attiacted to this 
boy Hoiam. An undeniable boy for 
a pupil- tpocher; an undeniable boy 
to do credit to the master who shoald 
bring him on. Combined with this 
consideration, there may have been 
some thought of the pauper lad now 
never to be mentioned. Be that bow 
it might, be had with pains gra- 
duaHy worked the boy into his own 
school, and procured him some offices 
to discharge there, which were repaid 
with food and lodging. 8ach were 
the circumstances thst bad brought 
together Bradley H-bbAbWhw kiA 
young Charley Hexaiu ttiat »'j,\»mji 
ereDiog. Autumn, ^teMWin faJ^ 'bi^^ » 



13A 



0T7B ICUTUAL FKlKN0i 



> oar had come and gone ainoe the bird 
bi mey lav dead upon the river-ahore. 
The schoola— for they were two- 
fold, aa the eexes — were down in 
that district of the flat cquntry tend- 
ing to the Thames, where Kent and 
{Surrey meet, and where the railways 
still bestride the market-gardens that 
M'ill aoon die under them. The 
schools were newly built, and there 
were so many like them all over the 
country, that one might have thought 
llie whole were but one restless edi- 
lice witli the locomotive gift of Alad- 
din's palace. Thev were in a neigh- 
bourhood which looked like a toy 
neighbourhood taken in blocks out of 
n box by a child of paiticularlv in- 
coherent mind, and set up anyhow ; 
here, one side of a new street ; there, 
a large solitary public-house &cing 
nowheire ; here, another unfinished 
street already in ruins; there, a 
church ; here, an immense new ware- 
house ; there, a dilapidated old 
countzy villa ; then, a medley of black 
ditdbi, aparkling cucumbor - frame, 
i-ank field, richly cultivated kitchen- 
garden, brick naduct, arch-spanned 
canal, and disorder of frowsiness and 
fog. As if the child had given the 
table a kicJc, and gone to sleep. 

But, even among school-buildings, 
school-teachers, and school-pupils, all 
according to pattern and all engen- 
dered in the Qght of the latest Gos- 
pel accordiog to Monotony, the older 
pattern into which so many fortunes 
have been shaped for good and evil, 
comes out. It came out in Miss 
Peecher the tchooUnistreas, watering 
her flowers, as Mr. Bradley Headstone 
walked forth. It came out in Miss 
Peecher the schoolmistress, watering 
the flowers in the litUe dusty bit of 
garden attiiched to her small official 
residence, with little windows like 
the eves in needles, and little doors 
like uie covers of sdiool booka. 

Small, shining, neat, methodical, 
and buxom was Miss Peecher; chorry- 
cbeeked and timeful of voice. A little 
pincushion, a little house^rife, a little 
book, a little workboz, a little set of 



a little woman, aJ In one. She oould 
write a little essay on any subject, 
exactly a slate long, beprinning at the 
left-hand top of one side and ending 
at the right'Uand bottom of the other, 
and the essay should be strictly ac- 
cording to rule. If Mr. Bradley 
Headstone bad addressed a written 
proposal of maxriage to her, she would 
probably have replied in a complete 
little essay on the theme exactly a 
slate long, but would certainly have 
replied les. For she loved him. The 
decent hair-guard that went round 
his neck and took care of his decent 
silver watch was an object of envy to 
her. So would Miss Peecher have 
gone round his neck and taken care 
of him. Of him, insensible. Because 
he did not love Misa Peecher. 

Miss Peecher's favourite pupil, who 
assisted her in her little household, 
was in attendance with a can of water 
to replenish her little watering-poi 
and sufficiently divined the state of 
Miss Peecher*s affectiona to feel it 
necessajnr that she herself should love 
young C&arley Hexam. So, there was 
a double palpitation among the double 
stocks and double wallflowers, whoi 
the master and the boy looked over 
the little gate. 

"A fine evening, Min Peecher,*' 
said the Master. 

** A ver^ fine evening, Mr. Head- 
stone," said Miss Peecher. ** Are yea 
taking a walk P" 

** Hexam and I axe going to take a 
long walk." 

** Charming weather," remarked 
Miss Peecher, ^for a long walk." 

'*Ours is rather on business than 
mere pleasure,*' said the Maimer. 

Miss Peecher inverting her wator- 
ing-pot, and very carefully shaking 
out the few last drops over a flower, 
aa if there were some special virtue in 
them which would make it a Jacl^s 
beanstalk before morning, cidled for 
replenishment to her pupU, who had 
been speaking to the boy. 

'< Good-night, Mils Peedhflr," moA 
the Master. 

"Qood-mght^ Mr. 



ODB MXTTUAL VKEEXn. 



The imia] hitd been, in hat itete of 

popilage, lo imbued with the clau- 
ciutom of stretching out an arm, na if 
to bnil s cab or omnibiu, whenever 
the found ahe bad an obwrvation on 
hind to olTer to Jliu Pcechec, that 
■he often did it in their domeBtic ralo- 

I tions ; and aba did it now. 

' "Well. Mary AnneF" nid Min 
Feecber. 

I " If you pleaw, ma'am. Eeiam laid 
Ibey were going to aee hii eirter." 

I " But that can't be, I think," ra- 
tsned 31i*B Peecher: "because Hr. 

I Headatone can have no biuineu with 
i(r." 

"WeU, Mary Anne f" 

" If you please, ma'am, pedupa it's 



J jUias Peecher, sightly 
loiri^ig and ahaJdnK her head, a little 
' Mt of bumonr ; " how often hare 
I iiM Tou not to uaa that vag^e e: 
I pnaion, not to apeak in that gene- 
1 n) way F Wben you say f A<y say, 
■hatdo you meanF Part of speech 

! Uary Anna booked her right arm 
I behind her in ber left hand, as being 
I under eiamination, and replied : 
" PeraonalproDoon." 
- Penan, lliay t " 
"Tbitd petaon." 
"Number, Theyf* 
" Plural numbed." 
"Then how many do yon mean, 
UaiyAnner Two? Or more f 
" I ieg your paidon, ma'am," eaid 
' Mary Anne, disconcerted now sh 
ome to think of it ; " but I don' 
know that I mean more than he 
tiTothn himself" As she said it, sb< 



" I felt Gonvinced of it," ratnmed 

Uaa PeeehcT, atniling again, " Norn 

p pnv, ilnry Aaae, be careful anotber 

lam. Htmjuit reijr iMareat from 



een be wyt and tb^ say f Oiva 

Mary Anne immediately hooked 

ber right arm liehtiid her in ber left 
band— on attitude absolutely neces- 
sary to the situation — and replied: 
" One is indicative mood, present 
•nae, third penton singular, verb 
ctive to say. Other is indicative 
mood, present teuse, third puaon 
plural, verb active to say." 

" Why verb active, Mary AnneF" 

" Because it fates a pronoun aAel 
it in the objective case, Mise Peecher." 

" Very good indeed," remarked 
Miaa Peecher, with encouiBgcment. 
" In fact, cuuld not bo bettor. Don't 
forget to ap^l^ it, another time, Mary 
Anne." This said, Miss Peecbcr 
finiabed the watarinE- of her flowen, 
and went into her bttle otEcial resi- 
dencB, and took a refresher of the 
principal rivers and mountains of the 
world, their breadths, deptba, and 
heights, before settling tbe meaeore- 
menfs of tbe body of a dreai for hei 
own personal occupation. 

Bradley Hoaditone and Charley 
Heiam duly got to the Surrey aide of 
Westmiuater Bridgo, and croeaed the 
bridge, and made aioog the Middlesex 
shore towards Milll>ank. In this re- 
gion are a certain little street called 
Church Street, and a certain little 
blind square, called Smith Square, i» 
the centre of which lait retreat is a 
very hideous church with four towsra 
at tbe four cotdois, generally resem- 
bling some petrified monster, frightful 
and gigrintic, on its back with its lega 
in the air. They found a tree near 
by in a corner, and a blacksmith's 
furge, and a timber yard, and a 
dealer's in old iron. \Vhat a rusty 
portion of a boiler and a great iron 
wheel or so meant by lying half- 
buricd in tbe dealer's fore-court, no- 
body seemed lo know or to want la 
know. Like tbe Miller of questjon- 
able jollity in the song, Tbey cared 
lor Nobody,no not they, ou^eIoVA^ 
cared for them. 

After making Vb» wmni ol ^i»« 
placo, aod uotiog tlifct ttwr* ^•» ■ 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD 



deadly kind of repoM on it, more as 
Uiuiigh it had tiikoD l&udanuin Ui.id 
fuUea iutoanatuisl rest, ihvy stop'.'Oil 
Bt tbfl point where the itroet and Iho 
■qunre joined, and where there were 

To theSG Charley U.'^um finally led 
the way, and at one of these slo]>]ied. 

"Thia muBt be where my b.^Ict 
lives, sir. This is iihere she came 
for a temporary lodging, soon alter 
liillicr's death." 

"Uow oIUd h&ve you nan her 

" Why, only twice, sir," returned 
the boy, with his former relucUnce ; 
"but that'! a* much her doing as 

" How does she support herself P" 
" i>be was alwnys a fair needle- 
woman, and she ktcpa the stockiouui 

"Does she ever work at her own 

lodging here f " 

'•Sometimes; Irat her itgnlar hours 
and regular occupation aie at thi'ir 
place of business, I believe, sir. Thia 
IS the number." 

The boy knocked at a door, and 
the door promptly opened witli a 
spring and a click. A parlour door 
vitliin a small entry Htood open, and 
disclcscid a child — a dwarf— a piii — a 
somctliing — sitting on a little low 
old- fasliioned arm-chair, which had a 
kind of little working bench before it. 

"1 can't get up, said the child, 
"because my beck's bad, sod my 
lega are queer. But Pm the person 
of the house." 

"Who dse ia at home?" asked 
Charley Hexam, staring. 

" Nobody's at home at present," 
retumed the child, with a glih asser- 
tion of her dignity, " except the per- 
son of the house. What did you 
want, young manP" 

" I wautul lo sea my dster." 

" Uany youtig men have sisters,' 
letumed the child. " Give me your 
name, young man." 

The queer little figure, and the 
((uecr but not ugly little face, '' 
its bright grey eyes, were so e 
thut uie sharpness of tho mi, 



unavoidable. As fl^ heiag 
tui-aed out of that mould, it must ba 

'■ Heiom is my nnme." 
" Ah. indeed i " said the pereon of 
the house. " I thought it might be. 
Your Kistor will be in in about a 
quarter of an hour. I am very fond 
'^' e's my particular 
seat. And this 
gentleman's name F" 

'- ^U. Ueadstone, my achool- 

"Take a seat. And would you 

f lease to shut the street door fimtf 
can't very wall do it myself, because 
my back's so bad, and my legs are so 
qiiier." 

They complied in sileQce, and the 
little iii;ure went on with its work of 
giiuiini^iij or gluing together with a 
cuiiicl'b hiiir-lii-ush cerbiin pieces of 
curdboard and thin wood, previously 
cut into various shapes. The acissot* 
and Luires upon the bench showed 
Ihat the child herself bad cut them ; 
iiiid Ihc bright scraps of velvet and 
liilk and ribbon also strewn upon the 
bench showed that when duly stuffed 
(and stuHtn^ too was there), she was 
tocover them amartly. Thedeitcrity 
of her niuible fingoia waa remarkabla, 
and. as she brought two tbin edges 
accurately together by giving Ihem 
a little bite, she would gUaco at the 
visitors out of the eomeiB of her grey 
eyes n-ith a. look that Oat-sharpened 
nil her other sharpness. 

" You can't tell me the nams of 
my trade, I'll be bound," she said, 
niter taking Mvenl of these obserrs- 

" You make pincushion^" wiA 

Charley. 

" What else do I makeF" 

" Pen-wipera," said llradley Hesd- 

"Ha! : 



" You do BomBtliing," he retumod, 
liming to a. coiner of the littlt 
inch, " with straw ; but I don't 
low "hiiU" 

"Well dona yon!" criod tlw per- 




UDB MUTDAL FItlEMD. 



ISO 



Iion of the house. "I onljr make 
pincmhioiM and pen-wipen to use 
np mv wBsto. Bat my strsi* TMlly 
diiM beloni; to my lioainesi. Tiy 
■gain. What do I make with my 
IMtttwf " 
"Dinnor-mit*." 
" A acbooImaBter, ind myi dinner- 
matal I'll give you a due to my 
^ bade, in a ^fame of forfuita. I love 
SI lore wilb a B becauee ehe'i Be^u- 
ol; I hate my love with a B bo- 
I caueeheiBBraien 1 I tooV her to tho 
' ago of the Blae Boar, and I tieatecl 

Ihn-vilh Bonnets ; ber name' a Bouncer, 
tad ahe lirea in Bedlam— Now, what 
do I maks vith my Btraw t " 
"Ladiee' bonneiaf " 
I "Fine ladiea','' eaid the pereon of 
thehoHBe, nodding aBsant "Doll*". 
I'd) ■ Doll'i Dresainnker." 
"I hope it's a good business F" 
The person of the house 8hrug:g;ed 
I Iter ahouldeni and shook her bend, 
I "No. Poorly paid. And I'm often 
I » pieEsed for timol I had a doll 
' married, lout week, and was obliged 
to work all night. And it's not good 
tx me, on account of my back being 
M bad and my le^ bo queer." 

They looked at the litlle creatore 
with a wonder that did not diminiHl 
BidtheBcboolmasterBiiid: '^lamsori' 
jODrSne ladiea are so inconsiderate, 

"Ifs the way with them," said 
(hs pereon of the house, Bhnigging 
her Bhonlden again. "And " — 
lake no care of their clothea, 
they nerer keep to the same faehiooa 
a month. I work for s doll with 
tfaim danghten. Bless you, she 
tnough to ruin her husbunul " 

The peraon of the house gKTC 
wriid IttUe laugh here, and gave 
them another look out of the comers 
of her eyee. She had an ollin chin 



" Are yon always u bnsy w yon 

"Hosier. Tta alack just now, I 
dniahed a targe moui'nio^ oi^er the 



day before yeatenlay. DnTI I vork 
for loat a cnnary-bird," The pacaoa 
of the houee gnve another little laugh, 
and then nodded her head several 
times, as who Ehould moralitie, " Oh 
rid, this world ! " 

von alone all day?" aaked 

Bradley tiendptone. " Don't any of 
■' neighbouiiiig children— f' 

Ah, lud! " cried the person of the 
house, with a little scream, as if the 
word had pricked her. "Don't talk 
of children. I can't bear childieu. 
J know their tricka and their man- 
era." She said this with an angry 
Itlc Bhake of her right GBtcloeehefuro 
her eyea. 

PeihapB it scarcely required the 
teacher-habit to perceive that the 
dreasnuiter was inclined to be 
bitter on the did'erence between her- 
eolf and other children. But both 
iter and pupil underatood it so. 
Alwaysrunningaboutand screech- 
ing, Blwtt« playing and fighting, 
always akip-akip-Bkijiping; on the 
pavement and chalking it for their 
games! Oh! /know tlicir tricks and 
their manners ! " Shaking the httle 
fist as before. "And that's not all. 
Ever BO often calling names in thrODgh 
a person's keyhole, and imitating a 
person'a tiack and legs. Oh! /know 
their tricks and their manners. And 
I'll tell you what I'd do to pnnish 
'em. There's doors under the church 
in the Square — black dnors, leadinir 
into black vaulls. WeU! I'd t 
one of thoee doora, and I'd cram . 
all in, and then I'd lock the door and 
tbroiieh the keyhole I'd blow in 
pepixr." 

"What wonid be the good of 
blowing in pepper f" aaked Charley 
Hexam. 

"To set 'era meeting," said tho 
person of the house, " and make their 
eyea water. And when they were ail 
sneezing and inBomed, I'd mock 'em 
ttiroogh the keyhole. JuBt as they, 
with their tricka and their mannen, 
mock a person through a person's 
keyhole!'' 

An uncommonly emphstio shake ol 
her little fist doM befoce bn «:)« 






140 



OUB HUTUAL FBXmD. 



teemed to etse the mind of the pertoa 
of the houM ; for she added with re- 
covered composure, "No, no, no. No 
children for ma. Give me grown- 
ups." 

It was difficult to guess the age of 
this strange creature, for her poor 
figure fiutiished no clue to it, and her 
&ce was at once so young and so old. 
Twelve, or at the most th&teen, might 
he near the mark. 

• '* I always did like grown-npsy" she 
went on, " and always kept company 
with them. So sensible. Sit so quiet. 
Don't go pranciog and capering ahout! 
And I moan always to keep among 
none but gi'own-ups till I marry. I 
suppose I must make up my mind to 
marry, one of these days." 

She listened to a step outside that 
caught her ear, and there was a soft 
knock at the door. Pulling at a handle 
within her reach, she said with a 
pleased laugh: **Now here, for in- 
stance, is a grown-up that's my par- 
ticular friend!" and Lizzie Hexam 
in a black di-ess entered the room. 

*' Charley! You!" 

Taking him to her arms in the old 
way — of which he seemed a little 
ashamed — ^she saw no one else. 

** There, there, there, Liz, all right, 
my dear. See ! Here's Mr. Head- 
atone come with me." 

Her eyes met those of the school- 
master, who had evidently expected 
to see a very different sort of person, 
and a murmured word or two oi salu- 
tation passed between them. She 
was a little fluzried by the unex- 
pected visit, and the schoolmaster was 
not at his ease. But he never was^ 
quite. 

"I told Mr. Headstone you were 
not settled, Liz, but he was so kind as 
to take an interest in comina^ and 
80 I brought him. How well you 
look!" 

Bradley seemed to think sa 

"Ah! Don't she, don't sheP" 
cried the person of the house, resum- 
ing her occu]Mitiuji, though the twi- 
li^lit was falling fast. " I believe 
you (the doo3 '. But {^o on with your 
<^^ one ftud all. 



«Toa eiM two thies^ 
Biy com-pft-nift. 
And doD't mind ma ; ** 

— ^pointing this imprompfca Armm 
with three points q| her thin nre* 
finger. 

" I didn't expect a visit ham. yon, 
Charley," said his sister. **I sup- 
posed that if yon wanted to see me 
you would have sent to me, appoint* 
mg me to come somewhere near the 
school, as I did last time. I saw my 
brother near the school, sir," to Bra^ 
ley Headstone, " because its easier for 
me to go there, than for him to eooie 
here. I work about midway be tw een 
the two places." 

"Ton don't see much of one an- 
other," said Biadl^, not improving in 
respect of ease. 

*' No." With a rather sad shake of 
her head. " Charley always does weD, 
Mr. Headstone f" 

*' He could not do better. I legaid 
his course as quite plain before him." 

**I hoped so. I am so thankfuL 
So well done of you, Cluurley dear ! 
It is better for me not to come (exoepi 
when he wants me) between him and 
his prospects. You think sql Mr. 
Headstone P" 

Conscious that his pupil-teadier was 
looking for his answer, and that he 
himself had suggested the boy's kee^ 
ing aloof from this sister, now seen for 
the first time face to £soe^ Biadley 
Headstone stammered : 

** Your brother is very much oeen- 
pied, you know. He has to work 
hard. One cannot but say that the 
less his attention is diverted from his 
work, the better for his future. Whsa 
he shall have estabh^bed himself why 
theur— « it will be another thing 
then." 

Lizzie shook her head again, and 
returned, with a quiet smOe: ''I 
always aa vised him as you advise him. 
Did I not, Charley?" 

" Well, never mind that now," said 
the boy. "How are you getting 

" Very well, Charley. I want lor 
nothing." 
^' You have your own room here f** 



0I7B KUTVAL FRIEND. 



141 



«Oby«i. Upttiizi. Andiflqmet, 
lad pleasant, and auy." 

*' And ihe always has the nse of this 
loom for yiaitors," said the person of 
ths house, screwing up one of her little 
bcay fista, like an opera-glass, and 
loolang through it, with her eyes and 
her chin in Uiat quaint accordance. 
"Always this room for Tintois; 
barren' t yon, lizzie dear P " 

It happened that Bradley Headstone 
noticed a very slight action of Lizzie 
Hezam's hand, as though it checked 
the doU's dressmaker. Audit happened 
that the latter noticed him in the same 
iartant ; for she made a double eye- 
glsss of her two hands, looked at him 
through it, and cried, with a waggish 
diake of her head: **AhaI Caught 
fw spying, did IP" 

It might have fiillen out so, any 
vay; but Bradley Headstone also 
ootioed that immediately after this, 
lizsifi^ who had not tidcen off hta 
bonnety rather hurriedly proposed 
that as the room was getting oark they 
ihoaJd go out into the air. They 
went out; the visiton saying good- 
night to the doll's dressmaker, whom 
ihij left, leaning back in her chair 
vith her arms crossed, singing to her- 
Bsll in a sweet thoughtful little voice. 

" I'll saunter on bv the river," said 
Bradley. ** ]f on will be glad to talk 
together." 

As tiis uneasy figure went on before 
them among the evening shadows, the 
boy said to his sister petulantly : 

"When are you goin^ to settle 
jooiself in some Christian sort of 
place, lizP I thought you were going 
to do it before now." 

"I am very well where I am, 
Charley." 

" Venr well where you are ! I am 
sibamed to have brought Mr. Head- 
stone with me. How came you to get 
bto such company as Uiat little 
witch's?" 

^ By chance at first, as it seemed, 
Charley. But I think it must hiive 
been by something more than chance, 

for that child You remember the 

bills upon the walls at home P " 

** Confound the bills VLpon the walls 



at home ! I want to fbig«t the bills 
upon the walls at home, and it would 
be better for you to do the same," 
grumbled the boy. ** W^ what of 
them P " 

*' This child is the grandchad of tho 
old man." 

"What old man P" 

" The terrible drunken old man, in 
the list slippers and the nightcap." 

The boy asked, rubbing his nose in 
a manner that half expressed vexation 
at hearing so much, and half curiosity 
to hear more : " How came vou to 
make that outP What a girl you 



are 



•• 



" The child's fiither is employed by 
the house that employs me; that's 
how I came to know it, Chariey. The 
father is like his own father, a weak 
wretched trembling creature, falling to 
pieces, never so ber. B ut a eood work- 
man too, at the work he does. The 
mother is dead. This poor ailing little 
creature has come to be what she is, 
surrounded b^ drunken people from 
her cradle--if she ever had one, 
Charley." 

** I don't see what you have to do 
with her, for idl that," said the boy. 

«* Don't you, Chariey P" 

The boy looked doggedly at the 
river. They were at Millbank, and 
the river ix>lled on their left. His 
sister gently touched him on the 
shoulder, and pointed to it. 

*'Any compensation — restitution— 
never mind the word, you know my 
meaning. Father's giave." 

But he did not respond with any 
tenderness. After a moody silence he 
broke out in an ill-used tone : 

*' It'll be a very hard thing, Liz, if, 
when I am trying my best to get up 
in the woild, you pull me back. 

"I, Charley?" 

** Yes, you, Liz. Why can't you 
let bygones be bygones ? Why can[t 
you, OS lilr. Headstone said to me this 
very evening about another matter, 
leave well alone ? What wo have got 
to do is, to turn our faces full in our 
new direction, and keep straight on." 

*' And never look back P Not even 
to try to make some amends P " 



CUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



U2 



" Ton are sneh a dxeamer," laid Uie 
boy, with his former x)etalanoe. " It 
was all very well when we sat before 
the fire — when we looked into the 
hollow down by the flare — but we are 
k'Oking into the real world, now.'* 

*^ Ah, we were looking into the real 
world then, Charley ! " 

'^ I understand what ^ou mean by 
that, bnt you are not justified in it X 
don't want, as I raise myself, to shake 
you off, Liz. I want to carry you up 
V ith me. That's what I want to do, 
aud mean to do. I know what I owe 
3'oa. I said to Mr. Headstone this 
very evening, * After all, my sister got 
me here.' Well, then. Don't pull 
ine back, and hold me down. That's 
all I ask, and surely that's not un- 
conscionable." 

She had kept a stead&st look upon 
]iim, and she answered with com- 
posure : 

" I am not here selfishly, Charley. 
To please myself, I could not be too 
fir from that river." 

'' Nor could you be too fiir from it 
to please me. Let us get quit of it 
equally. Why should you linger 
u I iout it any more than I ? I give it a 
wide berth." 

**I can't get away from it, I think," 
&iid Lizzie, passing her hand across 
hor forehea(L *'It's no purpose of 
mine that I live by it still. 

"There you go, Liz! Dreaming 
again! You lodge yourself of your 
c \vn accord in a house with a drunken 
--tailor, I suppose — or something of 
the sort, and a little crooked antic of 
a child, or old person, or whatever it 
U, and then you talk as if you were 
(liawn or driven there. Now, do be 
1 J tore practical." 

She had been practical enough with 
him, in sufTeiing and striving tor him; 
I'Ut she only laid her hand upon his 
h\ loulder — not reproachfully — and 
tipped it twice or thrice. She had 
boun used to do so, to soothe him 
when she carried him about, a child 
as hca\y as herself. Tears started to 
his e\'es. 

**Upon my word, Liz," drawing 
the back of his hand across them, '* I 




mean to be a good brother to yon, 
and to prove that I know what I owe 
you. All I say is, that I hope you'll 
control your mncies a little, on my 
account I'll get a school, and then 
you must come and live with me, and 
you'll have to control your fancies 
then, so why not now P Now, say I 
haven't vexed you." 

" You haven' t, Charley, youhaven't" 
"And say I haven't nurt you." 

'' You haven't, Charley." Bat this 
answer was less ready. 

^^ Say you are sure I didn't mean 
to. dome! There's Mr. Headstone 
stopping, and looking over the waU at 
the tide, to hint that it's time to go. 
Kiss me, and tell me that you know 
I didn't mean to hurt you." 

She told him so, and they embraoed, 
and walked on and came up with the 
schoolmaster. 

" But we go your listeria wa^," he 
remarked, when the boy told mm he 
was ready. And with his cumbrous 
and uneasy action he stiffly offered 
her his arm. Her hand was just 
within it, when she drew it back. 
Ho looked roxmd with a start, as if he 
thought she had detected something 
that repelled her, in the momentary 
touch. 

"I will not go in just yet,'* nid 
Lizzie. ''And you have a distance 
before you, and will walk £Eiater with- 
out me." 

Being by this time dose to Vaux- 
hall Bridge, they resolved, in conse- 
quence, to take that way over tha 
Thames, and they left her; Bradley 
Headstone giving her his hand at 
parting, and she thanking him for his 
care of her brother. 

The master and the pupil walked 
on, rapidly and silently. They had 
nearly crossed the bridge, when a 
gentleman came coolly sauntering 
towards them, with a cigar in his 
mouth, his coat thi'own back, and his 
hands behind him. Something in th? 
careless manner of this person, and in ^ 
certain lazily arrogant air with whit ;i 
he approached, holding posst'^Jsion i* 
twict^ as much )^avtiii.Mt as «nolh'^i 
would huvtf cliiiuit'd, iusluiiLly caught 




ODE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



Uh iofi attention- Ai tlie g^ntla- 
man passed, tho boy looked at him 
uuTOwly. and then stood Mill, looking 
after him. 

"Whoia it that jcm giam aSfirt" 
ukcd BmdlBj. 

" \\'hy ! ' ' said the boy, irith a con- 
fnxd and pondci-ing fcows upon bis 
tee, " It ii tbnl Wraybum OQB ! " 

Bisdlej HeadstoDs scrutinizetl the 
boy u closely oa the boy bad scruli- 
lised tho geDtlcmim. 
"■ St« your pan 
int I couldn t 
. the world brought /lim here! 
ThoDgb he aaid it aa if his woadcr 
me past — at the Eame time nauming 
llu valk — it waa not loal upon (he 
muter that ho looked Oroi his shoulder 
liter speaking, and that the ume pcr- 
plaed and pDnderiog frown waa 
it*\J on hia face. 

"You don't appear to lilra your 
bieod, Ueiamf" 
"I noN'T like him," said the boy. 

" Oe look hold of mo by the chin 
in 1 precioua impertinent way, the 
Aisi time 1 ever saw him," laid the 

"Again, why F" 

"Fornothiug. Or — it'a mach the 
■OS— bevauae Bomelhio^ I happened 
to ny nboMt my siatei didn't happen 
topl-.iehim." 

"'Ihcnht- knows your sialecf" 

"Ho didn't at th.it time," said tbo 
boy, still moodily pood^ring. 

'Does now?-' 

Tie boy had so lost himaelf that be 
looked al Mr, Ui-jJl.jy Ucadslooe as 
they walked on side by side, without 
attentpting to reply until the queatiun 
bml been repeated \ then ha nodded 
sad answered, " Yes, sir." 

" Going to sec her, I dare say." 

"It can't bel" said the boy, 
iptickly. " He doesn't know her Witll 

When they had walked on for a 
time, mere nipidly thun before, the 
■aster nid, clasping the pnpil's arm 
ktwecD the elbow and the shoulder 
Titb hia bond; 



you B,iy h 



IS?" 



" Wmybum. Mr. Eugene Wray- 
Dom. lie is what they call a bar- 
rister, with nothing to do. Tho first 
time he came to our eld place waa 
when my father was nlive, Ue camo 
on business ; not that it was hii busi- 
ness — hi never had any business — ha 
waa brought by a friend of bis." 

"And the oUier times P" 

"There was only one other time 
that I know of. When my father waa 
killed by oFciilent, ho clunced to be 
one of the t.nden. He was moonlDf; 
about^ I suppose, taking liberties wiUt 
people's ehms ; but Uiere he was^ 
somehow. He brought the newa bom* 
to my sister early in the morning, 
and brought Mias Abbey PotleiBOn, 
a neighbour, to help break it to hcT. 
Uo vaa mooning about the houaa 
when I was fetched home in the after- 
noon — they didn't know where to I'ni 
me till my sister could be brooght 
round suDiciently to tell them — anil 
then bo mooned away." 

"AndistliataUP'' 

"That's all, air." 

Bradley HeodaloQe gradually re- 
leased the boy's arm, aa if he wci~ 



1 them, Bradley resumed the 



" I BufOse — your sister " with 

a curioub break both before and after 
the woida, " hna received hardly any 
teaching, UexamF" 

'■ Hanlly any, sir." 

" BacHliced, no doubly to her father's 
objections. I remember them in your 
case. Yet — your sister — scaieely 
looks or apeaka like an igneiant pei- 

" Lizzie has aa much thought aa ths 
best, Air. Huadslone. Too much, per- 
haps, without teaching. I used U> coll 
the fire at home, her boeka, for she 
waa alwaya full of &ncios — sometimes 
quite wise fancies, considering — when 
abe aat looking at it." 

■< I don't l&e that," aaid Bradley 
Headstone. 



144 



OUB MUTUAL FRISKD. 



Hia ^ttpil was a litfle BorpriMd by 
this stnkinff in with ao sadden and 
decided and emotional an objection, 
bat took it as a proof of the master's 
interest in hinnwlf. It 6m]>oldened 
him to say: 

*' I have never brought myself to 
•nention it openly to you, Mr. Head- 
stone, and you're my witness that I 
couldn't even make up my mind to 
take it £rom you before we came out 
to-night ; but it's a painful thing to 
think that if I get on as well as you 
hope, I shall be — ^I won't say dis- 
graced, because I don't mean dis- 
placed — ^but — ^rather put to the blush 
if it was known — ^by a sister who has 
beoi very good to me." 

** Yes, said Bradley Headstone in 
a slurring way, for his mind acaroely 
Heemed to toudi that point, so smoothly 
did it glide to another, *' and there is 
this possibility to consider. Some man 
who had worked his way might come 
to admire — your sister — and might 
even in time bring himself to think 
of marrying — your sister — and it 
would be a sad drawback and a heavy 
penalty upon him, if, overcoming in 
nis mind other inc<^ualitie8 of condi- 
tion and other considerations against 
it, this inequality and this considera- 
tion remained in full force." 

"That's much my own meaning. 



'* Ay, ay," said Bradley Headstone, 
"but you spoke of a mere brother. 
Now, me case I have supposed would 
be a much stronger case ; because an 
admirer, a husband, would form the 
connection voluntarily, besides being 
obliged to proclaim it : which a bro- 
ther is not. After all, you know, it 
must be said of you that you couldn't 
help yourself: while it would be said 
of him, with equal zeasoD, thai he 



• « ThatTs trae, or. S o metimee i&m 
Lizzie was left free by other's death, 
I have thought that such a young 
woman might soon acquire more than 
enough to pass muster. And some- 
times I have even thought that per* 
haps Miss Peecher " 

"For the purpose, I would ad» 
vise Not Miss JPeecher," Bradley 
Headstone struck in with a recur^ 
renoe of his late decision of man- 
ner. 

"Would you be so kind as to think 
of it for me, Mr. Headstone F" 

"Yes, Hexam, yes. I'll think of 
it I'U think matui«ly of it I'll 
think well of it" 

Their ^alk was almost a silent 
one afterwards, until it ended at the 
school -house. There, one of neat 
Miss Peecher^s little windows, like 
the eyes in needles, was illuminated, 
and m a comer near it sat Mary 
Anne watching, while Miss Peecher 
at the table stitched at the neat 
little body she was making up by 
brown paper pattern for her own 
wearing. N.B. Miss Peecher snA 
Miss Peecher's pupils were not much 
encouraged in the unscholastic art of 
needlework, by Government 

Mary Anne with her £aoe to flie 
window, held her arm up. 

"Well, Mary Anne P" 

"Mr. Headstone coming homs^ 
ma'am." 

In about a minute^ Maiy Anne 
again hailed. • 

"Yes, Mary Anne P" 

"Qone in and locked bia door, 
ma'am." 

Miss Peecher repressed a sigh ai 
she gathered her work together for 
bed, and transfixed that part of her 
dress where her heart would have 
been if she had had the dress ozi| 
with a sharp, sharp aeedla 




OVR MtTTUil, FIOEHU. 



RTU. BDHClTiaifAIa 



■TBcm of the house, doll's 
■r aad manufacturer of ot- 
pincuRliiona and pen -wipers, 

quaint littJc low arm-chair, 
\ U>e dark, until Lizzie came 
ho person of the house hod 

that dignity while yet of 



1, Lizzie-Htzzia-'Wuiio. "said 
kingotTinhercODg. "What's 
sont of doors?" 
at's the news in doors P" re- 
Lizzie, playfully flmoothing 
ht long fair hair irhich grew 
luhant and beautiful oa the 

the doll 'a drcssmakor. 
. me see, said the blind man. 
he last news is, that I don't 
J marry your brother." 
f" 

-o," ihatdn^ her head and 
o. " Don't Tike the boy." 
lat do you say to his master F" 
«y that I think he's bcapoke," 
te finished putting the hair 
ly back over the misshapen 
en, and then lighted a candle, 
ved the UtUo parlour to be 

but orderly and clean. She 
it on Uie manteUhcli^ remote 
M dremmaber'B eyes, and then 
! room door open, and the house 
pen, and tamed the little low 
ind itA oeeupant towards the 
lir. It waa a sultiy night, and 
IS a fine-weather arrangement 
the day's work was done. To 
ie it, she seated heraclf in a 
by the side of the little chair, 
otcctingly drew under her aim 
ire hand that crept ap to her. 
lis is what your loving Jenny 
colb the best time in the day 
ight," said the peraon of the 
Her real name was Fanny 
T ; but afao had long ag^ choBcn 
low upon herself the appclla- 

UiM Jenny Wren. 
twTB been Ihinldnf," Jeoay 



■weM on, " as I Bat at irorlc to-daT, 
-'--'a thing it would bo if I ahould 
lie to have your company till I 
am married, or at least eourtcil Be- 
cause when I am courted, I shall 
make Him do some of the things (hat 
do for mo. He couldn't brubh 
my hair like you do, or help me up 
and down stairs like you do, and ho 
couldn't do anything like you do ; 
but he could take my work home, 
and he could call for orden in hia 
umayway. And he shaUlOO. r« 
ot bim ahout, I can loll him!" 
Jenny Wri'ti had her personal vani- 
lies— happily for her — and no inlen- 
wero Btrongct in her breast than 
arioua triaLi and torments that 
, in the fulness of time, to be in- 
flicted upon " him." 

"Wherever ho may happen to to 

st at present, or whoovtr he may 

ippen to be," said Miss Wren, "/ 

.. law hia tricks and his manners, 

and I give him womiiig to look 

" Don't you think you are rather 
hard upon himF" asked her tiicnd, 
smiling, and smoothing her hair. 

" Not a bit," rejilied the sago Misa 
Wren, with an air of vast eipori- 
enco. " My dear, they don't care for 
you, those fellows, if you're not hard 
upon 'em. But I was saying It I 
ahould be ablo to have your company. 
Ah! '^\'hat a large If! Ain'titf' 

"I have DO intention of parting 
com Tan y, Jenny," 

"Don't say that, or you'll go di- 

"Aml BolittlotobBioIicdoponF" 
"You're more (o bo relied upon 
than silver and gold." As she said 
it, Miss Wren suddenly broke off, 
screwed up her eyes and her chin, 
and looked prodigiously knowiny^ 
"Aha! 



Hd 



OUB MUTUAL FEIENB. 



Asd nothing else in the world, my 
. dear!" 

A man's figure paused on the pave- 
ment at the outer door. " Mr. Eu- 
gene Wraybum, ain't itP" aaid Miss 
Wren. 

'* So I am told," was the answer. 

"You may come in, if you're 
good." 

"I am not good," said Eugene, 
" but m come m." 

He gave his hand to Jenny Wren, 
and he gave his hand to Lizzie, and 
he stood leaning by the door at Liz- 
zie's side. He had been strolling 
with his cigar, he said (it was smoked 
out and gone by this time), and he 
had strolled round to return in that 
direction that he might look in as he 
passed. Had she not seen her brother 
to-night P 

'* Yes," said 'Lizzie, whose manner 
was a little troubled. 

Gracious condescension on our 
brother's part ! Mr. Eugene Wray- 
bum thought he had passed my 
young gentleman on the bridge jron- 
der. Who was his friend wim mm P 

" The schoolmaster." 

•* To be sure. Looked like it." 

Lizzie sat so still, that one oould 
not have said wherein the fact of 
her manner being troubled was ex- 
pressed ; and yet one could not have 
doubted it. Eugene was as easy as 
ever; but perhaps, as ^e sat with 
her eyes cast down, it might have 
been rather more perceptible that his 
attention was concentrated upon her 
for certain moments, than its concen- 
tration upon any subject for any 
short time ever was, elsewhere. 

'* I have nothing to report, Lizzie," 
said Eugene. "But, having pro- 
mised you that an eye shoula bo 
always kept on Mr. Ridcrhood 
through my Mend Lightwood, I like 
occasionally to renew my assurance 
that I keep my promise, and keep my 
friend up to the mark." 

"I should not have doubted it 
sir." 

"Generally, I confess myself a 
man to be doubted," returned Eu- 
gene, coolly, " for all that" 



"Why are you P** ukedthosharp _^ 
Miss Wren, I^ 

** Because, my dear," said the aiiy _, 
Eugene, " I am a bad idle dog." 

" Then why don't yon reform snd 
be a good aogP" inquired Misi 
Wren. 

" Because, my dear," returned En- 
gene, " there's nobody who makes it 
worth my while. Have you consi- 
dered my suggestion, Lizzie P " This 
in a lower voice, but only as if it 
were a graver matter ; not at all to 
the exclusion of the person of tha 
bouse. 

•* I have thought of it, Mr. Wray- 
bum, but I have not been able to 
make up my mind to accept it" 

" False pride ! " said Eugene. 

" I think not, Mr. Wraybuin. I 
hope not" 

" False pride ! " repeated Eugene. 
"Why, what else is it P The thing 
is worth nothing in itself. The thing 
is worth nothing to me. What caa 
it be worth to me P Tou know the 
most I make of it I proiKMe to be 
of some use to somebody — ^which I 
never was in this world, and nevrr 
snail be on any other occasion — by 
paying some qualified person of your 
own sex and age, so many (or rather 
so few) contemptible shillings, to 
come here, certain nights in the weei^ 
and give you certain instruction 
which you wouldn't want if you 
hadn't been a self-denying daughter 
and sister. You know that it's good 
to have it, or you would never have 
so devoted yourself to your brother's 
having it Then why not have it: 
especially when our friend Miss 
Jenny here would profit by it too P 
If I proposed to be the tocher, or 
to attend the lessons— obvioiidy in- 
congruous! — ^but as to Ihit, I might 
as well be on the oth r side of the 
globe, or not on the globe at alL 
False pride, Lizzie. Because true 
pride wouldn't shame, or be ashamed 
by, your thankless brother. True 
pride wouldn't have schoolmasters 
brought here, like doctors, to look at 
a bad case. True prido would go to 
work and do it You kaow Uiat 




OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



pif. Teirvoli. I add no mc 
dui. Yooz &lia pride doea wnnig 
10 yoimelf and doea vnuig to your 
d ad btOul." 



Kith an muuodi 



iw to mv fa' 



" Saw to yonr father f Cu 7OD 
ik ! By perpetoatinK the conie- 
.Douxa of nis i^oisnt and bliud 
ifetinacy. By reBolving not to Wt 
light the wrong he did von. By 
Irlprminin^ thnt the deprivation U> 
Thirh ha condenmed you, and which 
It [need npon yon, ahull alwaya reat 
tpoDlia head." 

It chanced to ba • anbtle atring 
to mmd. in her who had ao apoken 
k tcT brolhei wiUiin the hour. It 
nmded t»i more forcibly, becanle 
Bt tliB change in the apeaker for the 
" - snt ; the pBSging appearance of 
etneaa, complete conviction, in- 
limd resoitment of anipidon, gene- 
nm lod muelflah interest. All these 
([ulities, in him dbiuUj ao light and 
aniim, afaa felt to be inaeparahle 
bani aanie touch of their oppoaiteB 
b ha own breaat. She thought, had 
itie, ao ^ helow him and >o different, 
rvjuted thia disinterealcdneea bc- 
anas of aome vain Duigiving that 
it Boneht her Oat, Or heeded any 
Knonal attnctiona that he might 
May in her f The poor girl, pure 
tf beait ukd purpose, could not bear 
lo think it. Binliiiig before her own 

r, a« abe rupecttd her«elf of it, 
drooped her head aa though ahe 
lai done him aome wicked and 
pievoua injury, and broke into lilent 
lara. 

"Don't be distreeaed," 
ftna, vary, Tery Idnilly. " 
■ not I who have diatresaad yon. I 
Heant no more than to put the mat- 
ter in ita true light before you ; 
llunt~h I acknowledge I did it 
Kllithly enough, for I aa diaap- 

Tyiaapivinted a/ doing lur • ser- ^ 



je. How else mhU he be dlMDr 

intedF 

" It won't break my heart," 
ighed Eugene; "it won't atay by 
) ei;;ht-and- forty houra ; bat I am 
genuinely diaappointfd. I had aet 
my fimcy on doing thia little thing 
for yoQ and for our friend Hiaa 
Jenny. Thit novelty of my doing 
anything in the least useful hod ita 
chaima. I tee, now, that I might 
have managed it bett«r. I might 
have affected to do it whally for our 
&iend Miaa J. I might have got 
myaelf up, morally, as Sir Eugene 
BountifuL But upon my soul I 
can't make fiouriehea, and I would 
rather be disapiioiatod than try." 

If he meant to follow home what 
waa in Lizzie'B tliougbta, it waa akil- 
fully done. If he foUowed it by 
mere fbrtuitona coincidence, it wai 
done by an evil chance. 

" It opened out ao naturallr beftw* 
me," said Eugene. " The ball aecmed 
BO thrown into my handa by accident] 
I happen to be original^ brought 
iato contact with you, Lizzie, on those 
two oocaaiona that you Icnow of. I 
happen to be able to promise you that 
a watoh ehall be kept npon that &Im 
accuser, Riderhood. I happen to be 
able to rive you eome little consola- 
tion in the dukeat hour ot your dia- 
treas, by assuring yon that I don't 
believe him. On Uie same occasion 
I tell yon that I am the idlest and 
least of lawyete, but that I am better 

.!._ .._ _ — J have noted 

with my own h " 
you may be always en 
help, and incidentally of Lightwood' 
too, in your eCTorts to iJear your 
father. Bo, it gradually takes my 
fancy thatlroayhelpyon— aoeoailyl { 
— to clear yoor Sither of that other 
blame which I mentioned a few 
minutes ago, and which ia a just and 
real one. I hope I have explained 
myself, for I am heartily aorry to 
have distressed you. I hato to luaim 
tA mean well, but I really did meux 
honeutly and aimplj koQ., eiA\ -wu^ 



wit." 

I bave now do>]bte& ^O^V '^o*' 



Its 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



Wnybnrn,** Mud Lizzie ; the more 
repentant) the lees he claimed. 

**I am very fflad to hear it. 
Though if yon had quite understood 
my whole meaning at first, I think 
Tou would not have refiized. Do you 
think you would P" 

"I— I don't know that I ahould, 
Mr. Wrayhum." 

^Well! Then why xefuae now 
you do understand it P" 

*'It*s not easy for me to talk to 
TOU,*' returned Lizzie, in some con- 
Tosion, ''for you see all the oonse- 
quenoes of what I say, as soon aa I 
■ay it" 

"Take all the consequences/' 
laughed Eugene, "and takeaway my 
disappointment. Lizzie Hexam, aa 
I truly respect yon, and asl am your 
fiiend and a poor devil of a gentle- 
man, I protest I don't eyen now 
vnderstand why you hesitate." 

There was an appear^ce of open- 
ness, trustfulness, unsuspecting gene- 
rosity, in his words and manner, that 
won the poor girl over ; and not only 
won her over, but again caused her 
to feel as though she had been in- 
fluenced by the opposite qualities, 
with vanity at their head. 

*'I will not hesitate any longer, 
Mr. Wraybum. I hope you will not 
think the worse of me for having 
hesitated at alL For myself and for 
Jenny — you let me answer for you, 
Jenny dear P" 

The little creature had been lean- 
ing back, attentive, with her elbows 
resting on the elbows of her chair, 
and her chin upon her hands. With- 
out changing her attitude, she an- 
swered "Yes!" so suddenly that it 
rather seemed as if she had chopped 
the monosyllable than spoken it. 

"For myself and for Jenny, I 
thankfully accept your kind ofier." 

"Agreed! Dismissed!" said Eu- 
gene, giving Lizzie his hand before 
lightly wavmg it, as if he waved the 
whole subject away. " I hope it may 
not be often that so much is made of 
■0 Utile." 

Then he fell to talking playfiiUy 
with Jenny Wien. "I think of 



setting up a doll, M!n Jenny," be 
said. 

" You had better not," replied tha 
dressmaker. 

"Why not P" 

"You are sure to break it AH 
you children do." 

M But that makes good for trader 
you know, Miss Wren," returned 
Eugene. ^ "Much as j^eople's break* 
in^ promises and contracts and bar* 
gains of all sorts, makes good for my 
trade." 

"I don't know about that," Miss 
Wren retorted ; " but you had better 
by half set up a pen-wiper^ and turn 
industrious, and use it 

"Why, if we were dl as indus- 
trious as ^ou, little Busy-Body, we 
should begin to work as soon as we 
could crawl, and there would be a 
bad thing!" 

"Do you mean," retomed ibB 
little creature, with a flush suffusing 
her &oe, "bad for your backs and 
your legs P" 

'*No,no, no," said Eugene; shocked 
— to do him justice — at the thought 
of trifling with her infirmity. " Bad 
for business, bad for business. If we 
all set to work as soon as we could 
use our hands, it would be all over 
with the doll's dressmakers." 

"There's something in that," re- 
plied Miss Wren ; " you have a sort of 
an idea in your noddle sometimes." 
Then, in a changed. tone; "Talking 
of ideas, my Lizzie," they were sitting 
side by side as they had sat at first, 
'* I wonder how it happens that when 
I am work, work, working hare, all 
alone In the summer-time, I smell 
flowers." 

*' As a commonplace individual, I 
should say," Eugene suggested lui- 
guidly — for he was growing weary of 
Uie person of the house — " that you 
smell flowers because you do smell 
flowers." 

" No I don't," said the HtOe cros- 
ture, resting one arm upon the elbow 
of her chair, resting her diin upon 
that hand, and looking vacantiy be- 
fore her; ''this is not a floweiry 
neighbourhDod. It's anything hat 



4 

i 




OUB MUTUAL FBIEMD. 



Ufl 



it, u I dt at work, I 
flowets. I smell roaM, 

I >e« Uia rose-leavn 
I, boHhels. on the floor. 
leaTes, till I put down 
—and expect to make 

I *inell the vhite and 
f in the tiedges, and 
vera that I never was 

I have seen very few 

£uiciefl to have, Jean; 
her friend: with a 
la Eugene as if she 
sited him whether they 



ik, Lizzie, when they 
And the biida I hear ! 
le little creature, hold- 
jld uid looldng upward, 
agl" 

•omethiog in the bee 
■ the moment quite in- 
anUful. Then the chin 
ingly upon the hand 

■f my birda aing bettet 
oirda, and my flowera 
ban other flowers. '^ 
litUe child," in a to 
e agei aB;o, "the children 



. ever «aw. They ■ 
they wen not uiillod, 
ed, or beaten ; they 
L They were not 
>f the neiDhboun ', they 
me IrembiB all over, by 
brill noisea, and Uiey 
1 me. Such numbers of 
Ul in while dreagee, and 
ng whi^>'fig en the bor- 
tt^ heads, that I have 
ible to imitnte with my 
b I know it so well. 
to come down in long- 
ig rows, and say altoge- 
Is this in pain 1 Who is 
!' ^Vhen I toU them 
they answered, 'Come 
hus!' When I said. 'I 
I can't play" thej- 
wa» Mkd look me up, and 



made me light. Then It was aQ da- 
licioui ease and rest till they laid ma 
down, and said, all together, ' Have 
patience, and we will come again*' 
Whenever they came back, I used to 
know they were coming before I saw 
the long bright rows, by hearing 
them u£, all li^gotlier a long way oS, 
' Who is this in pain [ who is this io 
Join !' And I used to cry out, 'O my 
bleased childrep, it's poor me. Have 
'ty on me. Take me up and maka 
elightr" 

By degrees, aa abe pioeKMed in 
this remembrance, the hand was 
raised, the late ecstatic look letumod, 
and she became quite beautifuL Hav- 
ing so paused for a moment, silent, 
with a listening smile upon her foce^ 
she looked round and recalled her- 

Wbat poor Ain you think ta«; 

't jroQ, iti, Wraybum F You 
may wdl look tiied of me. But it'a 
Saturday night, and I won't detain 

" That is to say, Miaa Wrm," ob- 
Krred Eugene, quite ready to profit 
by the bint, " you wish me to go F" 

"Well, it's Saturday night," she 
returned, "and my child's coming 
homo. And my child is a booble- 
Bome bad child, and costs me a world 
of scolding. I would rather yon 
didn't see mv child." 

" A doll f said Eugene^ not under- 
standing, ■■"'^ looking for an axplana- 

But Lizzie, with bar lipa only, 
shaping the two words, " Her fa- 
ther," he delayed no longer. Ua 
took bis leave immediat*ly. At the 
comer of the street he stopped to 
jB-ht another cigar, and pflssibly to 
ask hiTTujlf what he was doing other- 
wise. If ao, the anawer was indefi- 
nite and vague. Who knows what 
he is doing, who is careless what he 

stombled against him as ha 
turned away, who mumbled some 
maudlin apoiogy. Looking after this 
man, Eugene saw him go in at tho 
door by which he himaelf bad just 



IM 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEN0. 



On the man's stambling Into the 
room, lizzie rose to leave it. 

"Don't go away, Miae Hezam," 
be said in a Bubmissive manner, 
■peaking thickly and with diificult^. 
** Don't fly from unfortunate man m 
shattered state of health. Give poor 
invalid honour of your company. It 
ain*t — ain't catching." 

Lizzie murmured that she had 
something to do in her own room, 
and went away up stairs. 

"How*s my Jenny P" said the 
man, timidly. ** How's my Jenny 
Wren, best of children, object dearest 
affections broken-hearted invalid." 

To which the person of the house, 
stretching out her arm in an attitude 
of command, replied with irrespon- 
sive asperity : *< Go along with you ! 
Go along mto your comer I G^ 
into your comer directly ! " 

The wretched roectacle made as if 
he would have offered some remon- 
strance ; but not venturing to resist 
the person of the house, thought 
better of it, and went and sat down 
on a particular chair of disgrace. 

" Oh-h-h ! " cried the person of the 
house, pointinff her bttle finger, 
"You bad old boy! Oh-h-h you 
naughty, wicked creature! What do 
you mean b^ it?" 

The shaking figpire, unnerved and 
disjointed from head to foot, put out 
its two hands a little way, as making 
overtures of peace and reconciliation. 
Abject tears stood in its eyes, and 
stamed the blotched red of its cheeks. 
The swollen lead-ccdoured under-lip 
trembled with a shameful whine. 
The whole indecorous threadbare 
ruin, from the broken shoes to the 
prematurely-grey scanty hair, gro- 
velled. Not wiui any senso worthy 
to be called a sense, of this dire 
reversal of the places of parent and 
child, but in a pitiful expostulation to 
be let off from a scolding. 

"/ know your triclra and your 

manners," cned Miss Wren. "/ 

know where you've been to ! " (which 

indeed it did not require discem- 

mont to discover). "Oh, you dis- 

STuceful old cb&p I" 



\** 



The very breathing of fhe figim 
was contemptible, as it laboured and 
rattled in that operation, like a blun* 
dering dock. 

" Slave, slave, slave, firom morning 
to night," pursued the person of the 
house, " and all for thisl What do 
you mean by it ?" 

There was something in that em* 
phasized "What," which absurdly 
fiightened the fig^ure. As often as 
the person of the house worked her 
way round to it — even as soon as he 
saw that it was coming — he collapsed 
in an extra degree. 

'* I wish you had been taken op^ 
and locked up," said the person of 
the house. "I wish you had been 
poked into cells and black holes, and 
run over by rats and spiders and 
beetles. / know their tricla and their 
manners, and they'd have tickled you 
nicely. Ain't yon ashamed of your- 
self P"^' 

"Tes, my dear," stammesed the 
fiither. 

"Then/* said the person of the 
house, terrifying him by a grand 
muster of her spirits and forces before 
recurring to the emphatic word, 
" What do you mean by it P" 

"Circumstances over which had 
no control," was the miserable crea- 
ture's plea in extenuation. 

" /'U circumstance you and control 
you too," retorted the person of the 
house, speaking with vehement sharp- 
ness, " if you talk in that waj. X 11 
give you in charge to the police, and 
have yon fined five shillings when 
you can't pay, and then I won't pay 
the money for you, and you'll Im 
transported for life. How should yon 
like to be transported for life P" 

"Shouldn't like it Poor shattered 
invalid. Trouble nobody long," cried 
the wretched figure. 

** Come, come ! " said the person of 
the house, tapping the table near her 
in a business-like manner, and shaking 
her head and her chin ; " you know 
what you've got to do. Put down 
your money this instanl" 

The obedient figure began to mm' 






w 



Yi 



^''-^;/^. 



<'J 



^Ry 







OUE UUTUAL FEIEND. 



Spent K foTtnne out of yonr waj;ps, 
m be bound : " suiil the porBon of the 
ioaie. "Put it hero! All }'Ou'vs gut 
left! Every fiirlliing !" 

Such a busiiieas Ba he made of col- 
Imiog it &om hia do^ l-csmil pockets ; 
ofupiKtiiig it in Ihu pocket, slid tiot 
buling il ; of not expecting it in that 
pckel, and pasaing it over ; of Siid- 
ng QD pocket whero tlut o(her pocket 
lu^ht to be '■ 

'-LithiaallF" demanded the person 
of Ihe houM, when a confused heap 
of peace and aliillingB lay on the 



'Let m* moke aore. Tm know 
that you've ^t 1« do. Turn all 
nu pockets inside out, and louve 
OD kI" cried the person of the 

He obeyed. And if anything coijld 
Intmado him look mora abject or 
wen dismally ridiculous, thsu beforo, 
it Nuld have been hii lo displaying 
bim^lf. 

" Here's but seven and eightpouce 
kiifpeuiiv!" exclaimed lUss Wren, 
Ilia reducing Uie heap to order. 
'' Oh, yon prodigal old son I Nov 

I IN ihiU be atarved," 
"So, don't staive me," bs urged, 
"Ilyou were bested M yon ought 
b be,'' Bid Miss 'Wren, " you'd be 
U opoD the akewen of cats' meat ; 
-fnly the akeweiB, after the caU 
kd had tLe meat. At it is, go to 

Ulien he atmnbled out of the comer 
I bctmply, he again put out both hia 
I kidi, and pleaded: " Circumstance 

iTD which DO control " 

"Get along with you to bed I" 
I nied tliss Wren, snapping him up. 



e forgive 



Go i 



bed this 



Bii;ing another emphatic "What" 
f ^wi ils way, he evuded it by com- 
fting, and was liOJiid lo aliiilHc hea- 
lie np iiaira, and shut his dooi'. and 
tLov hiiruwlf on his bed* WiUiin tk 



little while afterwards Lizxle camo 

SUnll we hsTO oor supper, Jenny 

Ah.! bless ns and save us, we 
need have something to keep ua 
going." returned Miss Jenny, sbnig- 
-Qg her shoulders. 
lTi7.;.ie laid a doth upon the little 
nch (moru handy for the person of 
the house tluin on ordinary table), 
and put upon it such plain fiira as 
they weie sccustomcd to have, and 
drew up a stool for hcivlf. 

" Now for supper ! What are yon 
thinking of, Jenny darling P" 

" ' wns thinking," she returned, 
og out of a deep study, " what I 
d do to Him, if he ^ould turn 
out a drunkard." 

"Oh, but he won't," said lixiia. 
You'll take oars of that, before- 

" I shall try to take c*re of it b»- 
forahond, but he might deceive me. 
Oh, my dear, all those fellows with 
tbeir tricks and theic mannera do de- 
ceive!" 'With the UtUe fist in full 
action. "And if BO, I teU yoo what 
I think I'd do. When be was Baleej), 
I'd make a spoon red hot, and I'd 
have some boiling liquor bubbling in 
a saucepan, and I'd take it out tiiss- 
iii'^, and I'd open his mouth with the 
otlior hand— or perhaps he'd sleep 
with bis mouth ready open. — and I'd 
pour it down his throat, and blister 
it and choke him." 

" I am sure you would do no aucb 
honible thing, ' said Lizzie. 

"Shouldn't I P Well ; perhape 1 
shouldn't. But I should like tol" 

" I am equally aure you would 

"Not even like to f Well, yoo 
generally know beet Only you 
haven't alwsj'a lived among it aa I 
have lived — and your back isn't bad 
and your legs are not queer." 

As they went on with their sapper, 
Li/.zie tried to bring her round to 
that pi-vttiet and better stale. But, 
the chLiim was broken. Tbo pei-son 
ol the house was the pei'soii of a 
house full of sordid ihtuouavo&tKnbi 



u% 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEND. 



with an npper room in which th&t 
abased figure was infecting even in- 
nocent sleep with Bensual brutality 
and degradation. The doll's dress- 
maker had become a little quaint 
9hrew ; of the world, worldly ; of the 
varthy eaiihy. 



Poor doU's dresBmaVer! H^r 
80 dragged down by hands that 
have raised her up; how oi 
misdirected when losing her ^ 
the eternal road, and asking 
ance! Poor, poor little doll'a 
maker I 



OHAPTEB m. 



A PIEOB OF WOBK. 



BKXTAKinA, ritting meditating one 
fine day (perhaps in the attitude in 
which she is presented on the copper 
coinage), discovers all of a sudden 
that die wants Veneering in Parlia- 
ment. It occuiB to her that Veneer- 
ing is a '^representative man" — which 
cannot in these times be doubted — 
and that Her Majesty's fiiithful Com- 
mons are incomplete without him. 
60, Britannia mentions to a legal 
gentleman of her acquaintance that 
if Veneering will "put down" five 
thousand poimds, he may write a 
couple of initial letters after his name 
at the extremely cheap rate of two 
thousand five hundred per letter. It 
is clearly understood between Britan- 
nia and the legal gentleman that no- 
body is to take up the five thousand 
poimds, but that being put down they 
will disappear by magical conjnration 
and enchantment. 

The legal gentleman in Britannia's 
confidence going straight from that 
lady to Veneering, thus commissioned, 
Veneering declares himself highly 
flattered, but requires breathing time 
to ascertain " whether his fiicnds will 
rally roimd him." Above all things, 
he says, it behoves him to be clear, at 
a crisis of this importance, " whether 
his friends will rally round him." 
The legal gentleman, in the interests 
of his client, cannot allow much time 
for this purpose, as the lady rather 
thinks she knows somebody prepared 
to put down six thousand pounds; 
but he says ha will give Veneeiing 
four hoars. 



Veneering then sayB to 
Veneering, "We must work 
throws himself into a Hansoi 
Mrs. Veneering in the same n 
relinquishes baby to Nurse; 
her aquiline hands upon her 
to arrange the throbbing ii 
within ; orders out the carriag 
re])eats in a distracted and ^ 
manner, compounded of Ophe 
any self-immolating female o 
quity you may prefer, **W< 
work." 

Veneering having instmct 
driver to charge at &e Public 
streets, like the Life-Guards at ^ 
loo, is driven furiously to Duke 
Saint James's. There, he finds ' 
low in his lodgings, fresh frc 
hands of a secret artist who hi 
doing something^ to his hai 
yolks of eggs. The process rec 
that Twendow shall, for two 
after the application, allow h 
to stick upright and dry gra 
he is in an appropriate state 
receipt of startlmg intelligence 
ing equally like the lilonumi 
Fish Street Hill, and King Pr 
a certain incendiary occasic 
wholly imknown as a neat pou 
the classics. 

" My dear Twemlow," savs "S 
ing, grasping both his han^ * 
dearest and oldest of my friend 

(" Then there can be no mow 
about it in future," thinks Tw< 
"and I am!") 

" — ^Are you of opinion tha 
cousin, Loiii Snigsworth, woa 




OUB UUTUAL FKIENB. 



1£] 



• Ma Membar of my Com- 
I don't go ao &r u to uk 
lordship ; I only uk for hii 
Do you think be voutd give 

Men low ipirita, Twemlow 
' I don't think he would." 
political opinioiu," Mya Ve- 
nd pievioiuly avue of har- 
, "are identical with thoss 

Snigiwoith. and perhaps aa 
■ of public feeling and public 
3, uad Snigawoitb would 
hianame." 

light be BO," aaja Twemlow ; 
" J^llA perplexedly Kiatch- 

head, forgetful of the yolka 

ia the mote diacomfited by 
minded how sticky he is. 
ireen such old and intimate 
aa ourseWea," poraues Ve- 

" there Bhonld in Buch a case 
•erre. Promise me that if I 
to do anything for mo which 
't like to do, iv feel the slight- 
attj in doing, yon will 6«ely 

Twemlow is so kind as to 

with every appearance o( 

aitily intending to keep hi* 

lid yon have any objection to 
own to Snigswortby Pork, 
tUa &VOUT of Lord Sniga- 
Of oouiM if it wen granted 
i know that I owed it solely 
while at the same time you 
at it to Lord Snigswortb en- 
xin public grounds. Would 
e any objectionP" 
Twemlow, with his hand to 
heed, " Yoa have exacted a 

ire, my dear Twemlow." 

I yoa expect ma to keep it 

1, my de«r Twemlow." 
the whole, theni^obwrre 
rgea Twemlow with great 
■a i:^ in the case of its having 
r the whole, he would have 
directly — "an the whole, I 
g you to excuse me from ad- 



" BleM yoa, hUm jaa !" says Ve- 

neering ; horribly disappointed, but 
^nsping him by both bands again, 
"" * particularly fervent numner. 

, ia not to be wondered at that 

poor Twemlow should decline to inflict 

a letter on his noble cousin (who baa 

gout in the temper), inasmuch as hia 

noble cousin, who allows him a small 

Luity on which he lives, takea it 

of him, aa the phrase Eoes, in ex- 

ne severity; putting [^ when 

he visits at Snigsvorthy Parl^ under 

~ kiad of m^tiol law ; ordaining 

it he shall hang bis hat on a parti- 
cular peg. sit on a particukr chair, 
talk en particular subjeed to particu- 
lar ]KopIe, and perform particular 
ciercLsui; such as souDding Uie piaiaea 
of the Family Varnish (not to say 
Pictures), and abstaining ErDm tha 
choicGit of the Family winea nnLBBS 
expressly invited to partake. 

" One thing, however, I mm do for 
you," sayt Twemlow; "and that is, 
work for vou." 

Veneermg blesses him anin. 

"I'll go, says Twemlow, in ■ . 
rising hurry of ipirita, " to the dub ; 
— let VM Me uow; what o'cdocJi ia 
itP" 

" Twenty minntes to eleven." 

"I'll be," sajs Twemlow, "at ttia 
club by ten mmatea to twetva, and 
I'll never leave it aU day;." 

Veneering feels that his Mends axa 
rallying round him, and saya, "Thank 
you, thank you. I knew I could 
rely upon ^ou. I nid ta Anostati* 
before leaving home jnstnowto come 
to you — of coorss the fitat biend I 
have seen on a si'bject so momenloua 
to me, my dear Twemlow— I Mid to 
Anastatia, ' We must work.' " 

" Yon were right, you were right," 
replies Twemlow. " Tell me. JJ (A# 
working f " 

"Sheia," Ml]ri Veneering. 

" Qood I " cries Twemlow, polit* 
little gentleman that he ia. "A. wo- 
man's ta«t ii invaluable. To have 
the dear sex with us, is to hav* every* 
thing with us." 

" But you have not imparted to 
ma," reuarkt Venaering, " what 70% 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEHD 



mv Botaring ihs Home of 

if'' 



"I think," rejoin* IVanilow, fed- 
jngl;. "thAt it ii the but dub in 
Iiondon." 

Veneering ■g&inblencaliini, pinnga 
down slain, insheii into iat Uaniom, 
•nd dirccta Ihe driver to be up uid at 
(he Briti^ Public, and to chuge into 
the City. 

Mianwhile Tiremlow, in an in- 
cnamng huny of ■pirits, gets his hair 
down as mil aa lie can^^vhich in not 
Terr well ; for, after theae glutinous 
•pplicationa it is restive, ^d has a 
BOT&oe on it aomewhat in the nature 
of pHBtry— and gets to the dub by 
the appointed time. At the dub he 
promptly securca a laire window, 
writing roatcriala, and all the newg- 
papen, and eatablishea himaelf, im- 
nOTcable, lo be reapectfully contem- 
plated by Pall BlalL Mimedmea, 
when a man enters who nods to 
him, Twemlow aaya, " Do yon know 
Veneering f" Man »aya, " No ; mem- 
ber of thjs dub F ' ' Twemlow aafs, 
"Yea. Coming in for Pocket- 
Breadua." Man says, "Ah! Hope 
he may find it worth the money!" 
yawna, and saonteia out. Towoida 
six o'clodc of the afternoon, Twem- 
low begins to perauade himsdf that 
ha is poaitively jaded with work, and 
thinks it much to be regretted that 
he vaa not brongbt up aa a Pailia- 
mentuy ag^nt. 

From TwemloV a, Veneering daahea 
at Podanap's place of buaineaa. Finds 
Podsnap reading the paper, standing, 
and inclined to be oratorieid over the 
astonishing discovery be haa made, 
.!.„. I..1 1 England. Eespect- 



it Italy u 



wisdom, and infonos >ii>n what _. ._ 
th« wind. Tdls Podanap that their 
political opinions are identical. Gives 
Fodsnap to nnderstand that he, Ve- 
Becring. formed his political opinions 
while sitting at the feet of him, 
Podsnap. Seeks eantcstly to know 
whether Podsnap "will rally tonnd 

Bays Podaoap, ■nTrM4 b'" g atemlrt 



iw, fimt of all. Veneering do yoo 
aaK my advice?" 

Veneering lidteTB that m ao old 
and so dear a friend— — - 

" Yes, yea, that's all very well," 
says Podsnap ; " but have you mads 
up your mind to take this borough of 
Pocket-Bi'cadiei on its own terms, or 
do you ask my opinion whether yoa 
shaU take it or leave it alone ?" 

Veneering repeats that his heart'a 
desire and bis soul's thirst are that 
Podsnap shall rally round him. 

" Now, 111 be plain wiih you, Ve- 



cue about Parliament, &om llu &ct 
of my not being there F ' ' 

Wby, of course Veneering knows 
that ! Of course Veneering knows 
thai if Podanap diose to go there, hs 
would be iLore, in a space of lim* 
that might be slated by the light and 
IhoQghuess as a jiSy. 

" it is not worth my wbUe," par- I 
Buea Podsnap, becoming handMmely ' 
mollilicd, " and it is the levene d 
important to my pontion. But it il 
not my wish to set myself up aa law 
for another man, difTercntly situated. 
You think it u worth your while, and 
it important to |«v position. Is that 



" Then you don't aak my advio^" 
says Podmiap. " Good. Tbea I 
won't give it you. But yon do ask 
my help. Good. Then 101 work fK 

Veneering instantly blcsKfl hiffi, 
and apprises him that Twemlow i* 
already working. Podsnap docs not 
quite approve that anybody should bs 
already working — regarding it isthEr 
in the light of a liberty— but tolerate* 
Twemlow, and says be la a well-oou- 
nected old female who will do no 

" I have nothing very partioulsr ta 
do to-day," adds Fodsnap, " and I'S 
mil with some ioBueDtial pooplo. I 

......If •. Jf I- !»-• 



d eoga^ 



I'll s 



1 KDt(« 



OVR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



16S 



I 



I 



going m3'se!f, and FH dine with you 
It eight. It* 8 important we should 
report progress and compare notes. 
Kow, ^ me see. You ought to 
^ve a couple of active energetic 
feUowSf of gentlemanly manners, to 
go about," 

Veneering, after cogitation, thinks 
flf Boots and Brewer. 

"Whom I have met at your 
base," says Podsnap. "Yes. They'll 
ij very well. Let them each have a 
ob, and ^ about." 

Veneering immediately mentions 
vhat a blessing he feels it, to possess 
t friend capable of such grand ad- 
Eiinistrative sugg^tions, and really 
ii elated at this going about of Boots 
asd Brewer, as an idea wearing an 
^fictioneering aspect and looking 
desperately like business. Leaving 
Podaiap, at a hand-gallop, he de- 
Keiids ux>on Boots and Brewer, who 
CDihosiastically rally round him by 
it ODce bolting ofif in cabs, taking 
oppodte directions. Then Veneering 
RpAirs to the legal gentleman in 
Britannia's confidence, and with him 
traniacts some delicate affairs of busi- 
ness, and issues an address to the 
independent electors of Pocket- 
Breves, announcing that he is 
tfmng among them for their suf- 
inges, as the mariner returns to the 
^e of his early childhood : a phrase 
^rbkh is none the worse for his never 
kviog been near the place iu his 
Kie, and not even now distinctly 
VsQfvingwhere it is. 

Mn. Veneering, dtmng the same 
tnntfal hours, is not idle. No sooner 
te the carriage turn out, all com- 
pete, than she turns into it, all com- 
pete, and g^ves the word, " To Lady 
ii;^>ins*s." That charmer dwells 
t*er a staymaker's in the Belgravian 
Joiders, with a life-size model in the 
^iodow on the ground floor, of a dis- 
Ib^shed beauty in a blue petticoat, 
^Mi^.lace in hand, looking over her 
' cr at the town in innocent 
As well Fhe may, to find 
If dressing under the circum- 

Ladjr Tippias at bcmeP Lady 



Tippins at home, with the room 
darkened, and her back (like the 
lady's at the ground-floor window, 
though for a diflerent reason) cun- 
ningly ^ turned towards the Hght. 
Lady Tippins is so surprised by seeing 
her dear Mrs. Veneering so early — 
in the middle of tbe night, Uie pretty 
creature calls it — that her eyelids 
almost go up, mider the influence of 
that emotion. 

To whom Mrs. Veneering inco- 
herently communicates, how that 
Veneermg has been ofiered Pocket- 
Breaches ; how that it is the time for 
rallying round ; how that Veneering 
has said, "We must work;" how 
that she is here, as a wife and mother, 
to entreat Lady Tipphis to work; 
how that the carriage is at Lady 
Tippins's disposal for purposes of 
work ; how that she, proprietress of 
said bran new elegant equipage, vnll 
return home on foot — on bleeding 
feet if need be — to work (not specify- 
ing how), until she drops by the dde 
of baby's crib. 

"My love," savs Lady Tippins, 
" compose yourself; we'll bring him 
in." And Lady Tippins really does 
work, and work the Veneering horses 
too ; for ^e clatters about town all 
day, calling upon everybody she 
knows, and showing her entertaining 
powers and green fan to immense 
advantage, by rattling on with, My 
dear soiu, what do you think P \\liat 
do you suppose me to be? You'll 
never guess. I'm pretending to bo 
an electioneering agent. And for 
what place of all places? Pocket- 
Breaches. And why ? Because the 
dearest friend I have in the world 
has bought it. And who is the 
dearest friend I have in the world ? 
A man of the name of Veneering. 
Not omitting his wife, who is the 
other dearest friend X have in the 
world ; and I positively declare I for- 
got their baby, who is the other. And 
we are carrymg on this little farce to 
keep up appearances, and. \sc!\i\\i x^ 
freshing! Then, my pT«i\o^M^ ^^iciSA, 
the fim of it is tiiat nobod.^ Vncr«% 
who tiiese Voneeringa aaw^ •aA. Vi>a^ 




OUB MCTUAL. FEIEND. 



_ i IheTntcaor th' 

Genii, and F:iva dioncrs out of tht 
ArabiaQ NigbU. Cui'ioiu to see 'em, 
my dearF Snj you'll know 'cm. 
" 9 and dine with '"" "" — 



- rn. and I'll engage that they shall 
not interfere irith you for on« (incio 
moment You rtilly ouglit 



ODDiB and dine with my VcuiGenngB, 
my own Venaerings, my eiclueive 
property, the dearest friendi I have 






B of 



plumpers for Pocket' Ureuchee ; 
we couldn't think of epending; eIx- 
pence on it, my love, and can only 
conzent h> be brought in by the 
(pontaneoua thincunumos of Che in- 
corruptible whatdoyoucallunis. 

Now, the point of Tici* seized by 
the bcwitehing Tippins, that this same 
working and rallying round ie U) ktiep 
up appcaiancos. may have Bomi;thiii); 
in it. but not all the truth, Jlore is 
done, or coosidered to ho done — which 
•loei aa well — by taking euba, and 
" going about," uian the fuir Tippine 
knew of. Many vs£t laene ireputa- 
tioni hare been made, aoTtly by tak- 
ing culw and going about. This 
particularly obtoma in all Parliament- 
ary offoira. Whether the buaincas 
in hand be to get a man in, or get a 
nmn out, or get a man over, or pro- 
mote a railway, or jockey a Tail way, 
or what eUe, nothing is uoderslood to 
be ao effectual aa acouring nowhere in 
a violent hurry— in short, aa taking 
cabs and going about. 

Frobabl]- bceauso this reason ia in 
the air, Twemlow, Jar from being 
lingular in hia persuasion that he 
works like a Trojan, ia capped by 
Fodsnap, who in his turn is capped 
by Buota and Brewer. At eight 
o clock, when all these hard workers 
nasomble to dine at Venccring'a, it ia 
iindemtood that the cabs of Boots and 
Zlrunor mustn't leave the door, but 



that paila of water most be brougU 
&om tho nearest baiting-place, ami 
cuat over tho horses' legs on the tcTT 
spot, li.^t Boots and Brewer >hould 
have instant occasion to mount and 
away. Those fleet measengeis require 
the AnnlylLi^ to sec that their hats 
arc dopoiited where they cen bs laid- 
hold of at an instant's notice; and 
they dine (remarkably well though) 
nith tho airof firemen in charge of an 
engine, expecting intelligence of ■em' 
tremendous conHaeration. 

Mrs. Veneering faintly remarks, V 
dinner opens, that many such it-f* 
would be too much for ber. 

" tiany such days would be to( 
much for all of us," says Podsnap- 
" but we'll bring him in ! " 

" We'll bring him in," says L«Jj 
Tippins, sportiicly waving ber gnet 
fan. " Veneering for ever ! " 

"We'll bring him in!" saysTwaai' 



Strictly speaking, it wonld be hsrc 
to show cause wby they should nol 
bring him in, Pocket-Breaches ha vinj 
closd its little bargain, and thcr* 
being no opposition. Howerer, it V 
agreed that they must "work " totb' 
lout, and that if they did not work 
something indefinite would happoP 
It is likewise agreed that they ai« al 
so exhausted with the work behinf 
them, and need to be so fortified Sal 
the work before them, as to require 
peculiar Btreogthening from Veneer' 
lag'scellai. Therefore, tho Analytic» 
has orders to produce the cteam Oi 
the cream of hia hinns, and thciefiK^ 
it fulls out that rallying become* 
lather a trjing word for tho occasion 
Lady Tippins being observed gami))} 
to inculcate tho nt-cossity of rcajtii£ 
round their dear Veneering; PodsnlJ 
advocatingrooringround him; BooW 
and Brewer declaring their intcntiitf 
of reeling round him; and Vencap 
ing thankinff his devoted friends m* 
and ail, with great emobon, f(rt 
rarulkuidliDg round him. 

In these inspiring moments, Bt«*W 
•Irikee out an idea which it tbe groJ 




OCK MUTUAL FBIEND. 



isr 



hit of tlia iaj. He consulta hia 

wiAJb. and lays (like On? Fnwkee). 
bo'll now go down to the llonae of 
Cammons and see how things look. 

"I'll keep ttbout the lubliy li't an 
hour or «)," lays Brewer, with a 
deeply Tnyflterioiu countcaanoe, "und 
if UiingB look well, I won't come 
back, but will order m; cab for nine 

" You coul^'t do better," nyi 
PodBiiap. 

Vcneeriag: expronea hia inability 
wra to acknowledge thif lost icrvice. 
Teaia stand in fllre. Veneering's 
■ffcctionate eyes. Boots ahows envy, 
loses cTDund, and ta regarded na 
pDeseaiung a second-rate mind. They 
ill crowd to the door to see Brewer 
oS. BrewersayB tohiadriver, '^Now, 
ii your hone pretty fresh F" eyuing 
the aninial with critical icruliny. 
Driver says he's as freah as butter, 
"Put him along then," sayi Brewer; 
" House of Common*." Driver d.irta 
np. Brewer leaps in, they chcor him 
u he departs, and Mr. Podanap says, 
" Mark ray words, sir. That's a man 
«f neounw ; Uiat'a a man to make his 

'VV'hea tha time cornea for Teneer- 

fng to deliver a neat and appropriate 
Mvnmer to the men of Pocket- 
Brcachea, only FodanBp and Twem- 
low accompany him bj railwajr to 
that sequeBteied spot. The legal 
gentleman is at the Pocket- Breaches 
Branch Station, with an open carriage 
with ■ printed bill, " Veneering tor 
aver ! " stuck upon it, as if it iroie a 
wall : and they gloriously proceed. 



with some oniona and bootlaces under 
it, which the legal gentleman says 
in a Market; and from the &ont 
window of that edifice Veneering 
■peaks to the listening earth. In the 
■someat of his taking his hat 



' hear ! and sometime*, when fa* can't 
by any m(«na back himself ont of 

some very nnlucky No Thoroughfare, 
" Hca-a-t He-a-a-r! " with an air of 
facetious conviction, as if the in- 
genuity of the thing gare them a 

Venceiing makca two remarkablj 
good pointa ; so good, that they aitt 
supposed to have been suggested to 
him by the legal gentleman in Bri- 
tannia's confidence, while briefly Con- 
ferring on the ataira. 

Point tha Erst is this. VBueerin^ 
institutes an original compaiison be- 
tween the country, and a ehip: 
pointedly calling the ship, tha Vestel 
of the ^late, and the AliniiileT the 
Klan at the Helm. Veneering's 
object is to let Pocket- Breaches 
know that his friend on his right 
(Poddoap) is a man of wealth. Con- 
sequently layi he, " And, gentlemen, 
when the timberj of the Vessel of 
the Stiite are unsound and the tlan 
at the Helm is unskilful, would thosa 
great Marine Insurers, who rank 
wnong our world-famed merchant- 
princes — would they inaore her, gen- 
tlemen T Would they onderwrita 
her? Would they incur a rink in 
her f Would they have conQdenca 
in her t Why, gentlemen, if I ap- 
pealed to my honourable friend upon 
my right, himself among the greatest 
and moat respected of that great and 
much respected class, he would 
answer No ! "' 

Point the second is this. The 
telling fact that Twemlow is related 
to Lord Snigsworth, most be let off. 
Veneering supposes a state of public 
affair? that probably never could b^ 
any possibility exist (though this is 
not quite certain, in consonueoee of 
his picture being unintelligible to 
himself and everybody else), and 
thus proceeds. " 'Why, gentlemen, 
if I were to indicate such a pro- 
gramme to any class of society, I 
say it would be received with deri- 
sion, would be pointed at by the 
linger of scorn. If I indicated such 
a programme to any worthy and in- 
lollioOot toadesman of yout town— 



_ 'w«wu uie ancestral 

K>d8 of hiB family, and under the 
reading beeches of Snigsworthv 
irk, approached the noble halt 
Dsaed the coiirtyard, entered by the 
or, went up the staircase, and, pass- 
es from room to room, found myself 
last in the august presence of my 
end's near kinsman, Lord Snigs- 
)rth. And suppose I said to that 
nerable earl, * My Lord, I am here 
fore your lordship, presented by 
ur lordship's near kinsman, my 
end upon my left, to indicate that 
ogramme ; ' what would his lordship 
fiwerP Why, he would answer, 
Lway with it!' That's what he 
)uld answer, gentlemen. *Away 
th it ! ' Unconsciously using, in 
I exalted sphere, the exact lan- 
ige of the worthy and intelligent 
desman of our town, the near and 
r kinsman of my friend upon my 
would answer in his wrath, 
wiywithit!'" 

'eneering finishes with this last 

tess, and Mr. Podsnap telegraphs 

Irs. Veneering, " He s down." 

fiien, dinner is had at the Hotel 

the legal gentleman, and then 

I are in due succession, nomi- 

H, and declaration. Finally 

Podsnap telegraphs to Mrs. Ve- 



says, in a pathetU 
weak manner : 

** You wiU all th 
me, I know, but I 
As I sat by Bab^r's o 
before the election, 
uneasy in her sleep." 

The Analytical d 
gloomily looking on^ 
mipulses to suggest 
throw up his situation 
them. 

" After an interval^ 
sive, Baby curled her 
one another and smilei 

Mrs. Veneerinp^ stop 
Podsnap deems itinci 
to say : " I wonder wl 

<' Could it be, I a 
says Mrs. Veneering, 
her for her pocket 
" that the Fairies wer 
that her papa would 
M.P. P " 

So overcome by tht 
Mrs. Veneering, that i 
to make a clear stage 
who goes round the 
rescue, and bears her 
with her feet imprest 
the carpet : after remi 
work has been too 




OUB MUTUAL FBIENTk 



IS» 



"Sndoat hBtreaiM t Ifmr I havs I forehead, the innoMnt Tvemlov n. 
liiiM to think of it, lie never caw tuinB to his sofa uid moiuu : 
me of hia coiutituiiDt» in oil his "I ihall either gu distmctad. Or 
itiji. ontil we saw them together ! " die, of this man. He comes upun 

iner having paced ths room in me too lute in life. I am not ttron^ 
idnm of mino, with bii hand to hii I eoongh to bear bim I " 



CHAPTEB IV. 



To JOB the wild Iragiuge of the 

TQild, Urs. Alfml Ijunmle tupidty 
iapnrred the acquaintance of lltu 
Fcdimap. To lue the vonn language 
cf itn. Lammle, ihe and her iwect 
Gcar^ona soon became one : in heart, 
iimind, in acnlimeDt, in soul. 

Whenever Georgiana could escape 
lanx the thraldom of Podsnappery ; 
(Odd throw off tho bcdclothra of the 
attard-«oloared phaeton, and get ap ; 
goold ihiink out of the range of her 
mothcr'i Tocbin)^, and (ao to apeak) 
rarae her poor LtlJe froaty toea from 
Wcg rocked over; slio repaired to 
ia friend, Mib. Alfred Laramie. 
Its. Podsnap by no means objected, 
li 1 conBciousIy "splendid woman," 
•cciutoined to overhear herself so de- 
Hmioaled by elderly osteolog^ists 
' pnisujng their studies in dinner so- 
i ciety, Uis. Fodanap could dispense 
I vith her daoghter. Mr. PoiLnup, 
I Ibr his p&rt^ on beinK informed where 
Gmrgiana was, swelled with patron- 
tgB of the Lammles. That they, 
vhen nnable to lay hold of him, 
^nld reapectfully gnup at the hem 
of his mantle ; that they, when they 
could not bask in the glory of him 
the >un, should take up with the pole 
reSedsd light of the watery young 
BUKo his daughter, appeared quite 
ottuial, becoming, and proper. It 
gave him a better opinion of the dis- 
eretion of the I^mznLes than he had 
heretofore held, as showing that they 
^ifiredated the value of the connec- 
BCm. So, Qeorgiana repairing to har 
fiicai. Mr. Fodanap went out to din- 



arm in am with Bin. Podiiup; 

settling his obstinate head in his cra- 
vat and shirt-collar, much a* if hs 
were peifonniog on the PondeMt 
pipea. in his own honour, the tri- 
umphal man^ See the conquerinff 
Poilsuap cooics, Soimd the tnunpeta, 
beat the drums 1 

It was a trait in Ur. Podtnap'i 
character (and in one form or other 
it will be geaeraUy seen to pervade 
the depths and shallows of Podsnap- 
pery), that he could not endure a 
hint of diaparagement of any friend 
or acquaintance of his. " How dare 
yon t" he would seem to say, in such 
a case. "'What do yon dikiqP I 
have licensed this person. This per- 
son has taken out my certiGcale. 
Through this person you strike at 
mo, Fodsnap the Great. And it is not 
that I particularly care for the per- 
son's dignity, but that I do most par- 
ticularly care for Podsoap's." Hence, 
if any one in his presence hod pre- 
sumed to doubt the responsibility of 
the lammles, he would have been 
mightily huffed. Not that any one 
did, for Veneering, M.P,, was always 
the authority for their being very 
rich, and perhaps believed it. As in- 
deed he might, if he chose, for any- 
thing he knew of the matter. 

Mr. and Mis. Lammle's house in 
Sack ville Street, Piccadilly, was but ■ 

rrary residence. It had done 
enough, the; 
friends, for Mr. 

bachelor, but it wouiu not ao now. 
they were always lookinff at pala- 

— J .._ jjj^ jij^ iituaiioa^ 



160 



OTJB MUTUAL FRIENB. 



and always rery nearly taking or 
buying one, but never quite conclud- 
ing the bargain. Hereby they made 
for themselves a shining little repu- 
tation apart. People said, on see- 
ing a vacant palatial residence, " The 
very thing K)r the Lammlea!" and 
wrote to the Lammles about it, and 
the Lammles always went to look at 
it, but unfortunately it never exactly 
answered. In short, thev sufifered so 
many disappointments, that they be- 
gan to think it would be necessary 
to bidld a palatial residence. And 
hereby they made another shining 
reputation ; many persons of their ao- 
Quaintance becoming by anticipation 
aissatifified with their own houses, and 
envious of the non-existent Laznmle 
structure. 

The handsome fittings and furnish- 
ings of the house in Sackville Street 
were piled thick and high over the 
skeleton up stairs, and if it ever 
whispered from under its load of up- 
holstery, ** Here I am in the closet ! " 
it was to very few ears, and certainly 
never to Miss Podsnap's. What Mias 
Podsnap was particularly charmed 
with, next to the graces of her friend, 
was the happiness of her friend's 
married life. This was frequently 
their theme of conversation. 

" I am sure," said Miss Podsnap, 
''Mr. Lammle is like a lover. At 
least I — I should think he was." 

*'6eorgiana, darling!" said Mrs. 
Lammle, holding up a forefinger, 
"Takecaie!" 

'*0h my goodness mo!" exclaimed 
Miss Podlsnap, reddening. **What 
have I said now P" 

" Alfred, you know," hinted Mrs. 
Lammle, playfully shaking her head. 
** You were never to say Mr. Lammle 
any more, Oeorgiana." 

'<0h! Alfr^, then. I am glad 
it's no worse. I was afraid I nad 
said something shocking. I am 
always saying something wrong to 
ma." 

^ To me, Georgiana dearest P " 

" No, not to you ; you are not ma. 
J wish you were." 

Mrs. Lammle bestowed a sweet and 



loving smile upon her friend, which 
Miss Podsnap retomed as she best 
could. They sat at lunch in Mia. 
Lammle*s own boudoir. 

**And so, dearest Georgiana, Al« 
fred is like your notion of a lover P" 

'<I don't say that, Sophronia," 
Georgiana repUed, beginning to con* 
ceal her elbows. ** I haven't any 
notion of a lover. The dreadful 
wretches that ma brings up at places 
to torment me, are not lovers. 1 only 
mean that Mr. '* 

'* Again, dearest G^rgiaaa P"* 

"That Alfred ** 

" Sounds much better, darling." 

** — Loves ^ou so. He always 
treats you with such delicate gal- 
lantry and attention. Now, don*t 
heP''^ 

"Truly, my dear," said Mis. 
Lammle, with a rather singular ex* 
pression crossing her face. '* I be- 
lieve that he loves me, fully as much 
as I love him." 

" Oh, what happiness 1 " exclaimed 
Miss Podsnap. 

'* But do yon know,my Gkorgiana," 
Mrs. Lammle resumed presently, 
<* that there is something suspicious 
in your enthusiatic sjnnpathy with 
Alfred's tenderness P " 

'* Grood gracious no, I hope not ! " 

''Doesn't it rather suggest," ssid 
Mrs. Lammle archly, "that my 
G^rgiana's Uttle heart is " 

*< Oh don't ! " Miss Podsnap blush- 
ingly besought her. " Please don't I 
I assure you, Sophronia, that I only 

g raise Alfred, biacause he is your 
usband and so fond of you." 
Sophronia's glance was as if a 
rather new light broke in upon her. 
It shaded off into a cool smile, as she 
said, with her eyes upon her lunch, 
and her eyebrows raised : 

'' You are quite wrong, my love, in 
your guess at my meaning. What I 
insinuated was, that my Geoigiana't 
little heart was growing conscious of 
a vacancy." 

" No, no, no," said Georgiana. ** I 
wouldn't have anybody sav anything 
to me in that way for I don't know 
how many ♦^^'fftnd pounds." 



k 




OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



161 



"In what mj, my OeorgiuuP" 
fnquirsd Mrs. Tjmmla gtJU smiling 
coolly witb her eyea upon her lunch, 
and her eyebrows railed. 

■' rbu know," retiunal poor little 
Uiaa Podsmip. ••! think I ahould 
go out of my mind, Sophronia, with 
Taxation and shynen and deCeitatioii, 
if anybody did. It's enough for me 
to see how loving you and your hoi. 
buid are. That's a different thing. 
I cuuldn't bear to havo anything of 
that sort goinff on with myaeU. I 
thould beg and piay to — to have the 
. peraoQ toien away and trampled 

I Ah! heie waa Al&ed. Having 

[ itolea in unobserTed, he playfully 

kuud on the back of Sophronia'g 

tduir, and, ai Misi Podsnap aaw him, 
pU one of Sophionia'i wandering 
locki to his lipa, and waTed a kim 
Eioin it towards Miu Podsnap. 
" What is this about husbandi and 
1 detotations f " inquired the captavat- 

iaS Alfred. 

I "Why, they lay," returned his 

vitg, " Uut liitenen nerer hear any 

emJ of themaelves; though you — 

but pray how long have yon been 

Lere.airP" 

" This instant arrived, my own." 

1 " Then I may go on— though if you 

bd been here a oiomeDt or two 

ij Moar, yOD would have heard your 

pniaee sounded by Georgiuna.*' 

1| "Only, if they were to be called 

I pnisea at all, which I really don't 

Uiiok they were," explained Miss 

I FolBiap in a ffntter, "for being M 

it'dted to Sophronia. 

"Sophronia!" murmured Alfred. 
''Hy lifel" and kiasod her hand. In 
ntwn for which she kisaed his watch- 

"Bat it waanot I who waatobe 
Isa Bwar and trampled upon, I 

ioftl" said ^'^"^, drawing a scat 

letweea them. 
"Ask aeorgiana,m7Mnil," Mplied 

;ly appealed to 

It nobody," replied Uisa 



fondS 



Bat if yOQ are deteimlnad to 
know, Mr. InquisitiTe Pet, as I lup- 
you are," said the happy and 
Sophronia, «miling, " it was any 
vho should venture to aspire to 
Oeorjfiana," 

" Sophronia, mj love," remon- 
strutedMr. I^inmle. becoming gniver, 
" you are not serioua^ " 

" Alfred, my love," returned hi* 
wife, "1 dare say Oeorgiana was not, 
but I am." 

"Now tbia," Mdd Ur. Lammie, 
" shows the accidental combination* 
that there are in things ! Could yOQ 
believe, my Owoest, that I came in 
here with the name of an aspirant to 






and the looks accompanying ti 
Now, if the skeleton up stain naa 
taken that opportunity, for instance, 
of calling out " Here 1 am, suffocating 
in the closet ! " 

"1 give yon my honour, my deai 

" And I know what that is, Ian," 

" Yon do. my darling — that I cams 
into the room all but utt ring young 
Fledgeby'a name. Ti-11 Oeoigiana, 
dearest, about young t'li dg 'by. 

"Oh no, don't! Fle.se dan'tt" 
cried Mint Podsnap, putting hw 
Gngen in her ears. "I'd rather 

Mrs. Lammie laughed in her gayest 
manner, and, removing her Geoi^- 
amL'siinresistin^ hands, and playrully 
holding tbem in her own at arms* 
length, Bomelimea near together and 

" You most know, yon dearly 
beloved little goose, that once upon a 
time there was a certain person called 
young Fledgeby. And this young 
Fledgeby, who was of an eicelluit 
ily and rich, was known to two 



family and r 



tain peraons, dearly attached 
uother and calLod Mi. kc4 



OUB UUTUAL FREE^ND. 



called '■ 

'■ No, don't mj Georgiaim Pod- 
■nap!" pleaded that young kdv 
alnioet ill tean. "Please don't. Ob 
do do da say Bomebody else '. Not 
GeorKiana Poduuip. Oh, don't, don't, 
dontl" 

"No otboT," said Mia. JjunmlB, 
laughiiig nirily, uid, full of affection- 
ate blaQdiflliiDeiitA, openlni^ and doa- 
icg Goorgiani ' '" ' * 



gota 






"Oh, ple-o-o-ea«e don't 1" cried 
Georgiana, bm if the gupplicatioo wore 
being equcezod out of her by power- 
ful comprcsaioQ. " I so hate him for 
•ayingitl" 

"Foe , 
laughed Mra. Lammle. 

" Oh, I don't know what he laid," 
cried Gecigiuna wildly, " but I hated 
him all the same for saying iL" 

"Hj dear," said Mia. Lammle. 
always laughing in her most eapli- 
vftting way, " the yoor young follow 
only sayi that lie IS Btridten all of a 

"Oh, what shall I ever do!" inter- 
posad Georgiana. "Oh, my good- 
noSB, what a Fool ho muat he '. " 

" — And implores to be asked to 
dinner, and to make a fourth at the 
play another time. And so he dines 
to-morrow and goes to tho Opors with 
lU. That's all. Except, my dear 
Oeorpana— and what will you think 
of this ! — that he is infinitely shyer 
than you, and far mors afraid of you 
than you ever were of an; one in all 
jour days!" 

Id perturbation of mind Miss Pod. 
snap still fumed and plucked at her 
hands a little, but Could not help 
laughing at tho notion of anybody's 
being afraid of her. With thst ad- 
vantoge, Sophronia flatl«red her and 
rallied her more successfully, and 
thon tiie ini'miBtfpg Alfred Oatteied 



her and nHied her, and imnnlsed tliat 
at any moment when she might re- 
quire that Berrice at hia hands, he 
would take young Fledgeby out and 
tiample on hini Thus it remainod 
amicably ondeietood that young 
Fledgeby was to come to admire, and 
that Georgiana wsa to come to be 
admired ; and Georgiana with the 
entireljr new senstilion in her breast 
of having that prospect boloro her, 
and with many kisnta from her dear 
Bojilironia in prcBcnt potiwssion, pte- 
ceded aix feet one of discontented 
footman (an amount of the article 
that alwsya came for her when aha 
walked home) to her fiither's dwell- 
ing. 

The happy pair being left together, 
Mia. Ta-TTimle aaid to her husband : 

"If I nndeiBtimd tbia girl, sir, 
your dangerous foscinations hara 
produced some effect upon her. I 
mentioD the conquest iu gi>od timt^ 
because I apprehend your achenie to 
be more impoitant to you than yam 

There was a mirror on th« wall b^ 
fore them, and her eyea just caught 
him smirking in it. She gave the 
roQcclod image a look of the doeiirat 
disdain, and the image received it in 
the glaaa. Next moment thay quietly 
eyed each other, as if they, th'^ pria- 
cipaK had had no put in that dzpres* 



conduct to herself by depredating the 



•I littli 



tiy deprec 



with acrimonious contempt. It 'may 
have been too that in this she did not 
quite succeed, for it is very diSicolt 
to resist confidence, and she knew 
she had G^eorgisoa'a. 

Nothing mora was said between 
the happy pair. Perhaps oonspira- 
tora who have once eatabliahed an 
understanding, may not be over fond 
of repeating the tMma and objecta of 



bud by this time si__ 
a good di:ul of the house and its fre> 
quentfn. As there wm k niHKin 




OVB. MUTUAL FBILND. 



liS 



xndnoM nom nitb « billiard fable 
D it — on th« gmmd floor, «tin^ out 
. backyuil — which might have been 
Jr. I^Lmmlo'i office, or librajy. hut 
rms caUed by cetther muDO, but sim- 
ilj' &[r. LoiTunle'a room, lo it would 
LAre been hard for stronger female 
iieads than Oeorgiana'i to deteimiue 
rfaether ita frequenten were men of 
ileMui« or men of btuinesB. Be- 
ween the room and the men thfire 
v«m (troag points of general resam- 
ilanco. Botji were too gandy, too 
ilmoKSji too odoroQl of cigars, end 
ioo mach giv«n to faoisellesh ; the 
«tter chuacteriltic being eiempli- 
Sed in the roan bj iu decorstions, 
ind in the men by their conveiss- 
tion. High-atepping horsea seemed 
neceuary to all Hr. Ltunmle'a friends 
_H neceesary ad their tranaaction of 
boaiiiess together in a gipsy way at 
mtimely hoar* of the morning and 
eveniui;, and in ru»hea and inalthes. 
Theie were frienda who aeemed to bo 
>l«a^ coming and going acroag the 
Channel, on erracda about the Bourse, 
■nd Greek and Spanish and India and 
Meikan and par and premium and 
discoont and three qnarten and Beren 

Stha. There were other friendB 
seemed to be always lolling snd- 
lonnging in and ont of the City, on 
quHtiona of the Bonrse, and Qreek 
■Dd Spanish and India and Mexican 
■nd par and premium and discount 
nd Uuce quarten and acTen eighths. 
Tbey were all feverish, boastfiiJ, and 
indeSaably loose ; and they all ate 
■ad drank a great deal ; and made 
hU in eatmg and drinking. They all 
ipoka of sums of money, and only 
EKntioDed the sums and left the money 
V> be understood -, " as live and forty 
UiOQBlnd Tom," Or "Two hnndrrd 
■ad twenty-two on eifwy individual 
tiare in the lot Joe." Thoy Bfcm^':| 
to divide the world into two tl.rs-iM 
of people; people who were mAkini^ 



e nothing tangible to 

do; except a few of them ^these, 
nsftly •fft*""**'" tad thick-hpped) 



who were f-jT ever demonstntinr to 
the rest, w;:h gold pencil-cases which 
they could hanlly bold bccauaeof the 
bi)5 rings on their forefingers, how 
moQey was to be made. Xjutly, they 
all swore at their grooms, and tha 
grooms were not quite as respectful 
or complete aa other men's grooms ; 
ing Bomohow to fall abort of the 
n point as thoir maatera fell 
^ort of the gcntloman point. 

Young Fledgoby was none of these. 
Toung Fled^ebyhad a peachy cheek, 
or a cheek compounded of the peach 
and the red red red wall on which it 
groWB, and was an awkward, sandy- 
haired, small-eyed youth, exceeding 
elini (his enemies would have said 
lanky), and prone to Belf-eiamina- 
tion in the articles of whiakor and 
moustache. While feeling for the 
whisker that he aniiously eipected, 
Flcdgeby underwent remarkable flue- 
tuationn of spirits, ranging along the 
whole scale from conlidencc to despair. 
There were timf» whfn he startod, aa 
exclaiming, "By Jupiter, here it is at 
last! ■' There were other times when, 
being equally depressed, he would be 
Been to shaks hia head, and give up 
hope. To Bco him at those periods 



meypii 



e, like I 



an nm containing the a^ee of his 
iimbition, with the cheek that would 
not sprout, upon the hand ou which 
that cheek lied forced conviction, was 
a diatreBsing Biirht. 

Not so was t'lodgoby seen on this 
occasion. Arraved in superb raiment, 
with his opeiu lint under his ana, he 
concloded hia self-examination hopo- 
fuUy, awaited the arrival of Uiea 
Pocbnap, and talked small-talk wiUi 
Mis. Lammle. In bcetious homage 
to the miidlnMS of hia talk, and the 
icrky nature of his manners, Fledgo- 
hy'a familiars had agreed to confer 
u|-on him (behind his back] the ho- 
norary title of Fascination Fltdgcby. 

"Warm weather, Mrs. Lammle," 
■aid Fascination Fledgeby. Mrs. 
lammle thought it scarcely at worm 
as it had been yesterday. " Pcrhiips 
not," said Fascination Fleilfteby, wiih 
gnat qaiokntM of k^aiVm; "Wbl 



164 



OUB MUTUAL FBIENB. 



expect it w31 he derilkh wann to- 

moiTow." 

lie threw off another little scin- 
tilliition. *' Been out to-day, Mrs. 
Lammle ? " 

Mrs. Lammle answered, for a short 
drive. 

*'Some people,*' said Fascination 
Flcdgeby, ^are accustomed to take 
long drives ; but it generally appears 
to me that if they make 'em too long, 
they overdo it." 

Being in such feather, he might 
have surpassed himself in his next 
sally, had not Miss Podsnap been 
announced. Mrs. Lammle new to 
embrace her darling little Qeorgj, 
and when the first transports were 
over, presented Mr. Fledgeby. Mr. 
Lammle came on the scene last, for 
he was alwajrs late, and so were the 
frequenters always late; all hands 
being bound to be made late, by 
private information about the Bourse, 
and Greek and Spanish and India and 
Mexican and par and premium and 
discount and three quarters and seven 
eighths. 

A handsome little dinner was 
served immediately, and Mr. Lammle 
sat sparkling at his end of the table, 
with his seri'ant behind his chair, 
and his ever-lingering doubts upon 
the subject of his wages behind lum- 
self. Mr. Lammle's utmost powers 
of spai'kling were in requisition to- 
day, for Fascination Fledgeby and 
Georgiana not only struck each other 
speechless, but struck each other into 
Bstonishinn^ attitudes ; Georgiana, as 
she sat facmg Fledgeby, making such 
efforts to conceal her elbows as were 
totally incompatible with the use of 
a knub and fork ; and Fledgeby, as 
he sat facing Georgiana, avoiding 
her countenance by every possible 
device, and bctmying the discompo- 
sure of his mind in feeling for ms 
whiskers with his spoon, his wine 
glass, and his broad. 

So, Mr. and ^Irs. Alfred Lammle 
had to prompt, and this is how they 
prompted. 

*' Gcor^ana,*' said Mr. Lammle, low 
and smilmg, and sparkling all over, 



Hke a harleqnin; *'jtm axe not in 
your usual spirits. 'Why are yoa 
not in your usual spii its, Georgiana P" 

Georgiana faltered that she was 
much the same as she was in grencral ; 
she was not aware of being different. 

"Not aware of bein^ different!" 
retorted Mr. Alfred Lammle. *' Yon, 
my dear Georgiana ! who are alwayt 
so natural and unconstrained with 
us ! who are such a rcUef from the 
crowd tbit are all alike 1 who art 
the embodiment of gentleneesi, aim- 
plieity, and reality ! 

Miss Podsnap looked at the door, as 
if she entertained confused thoughts 
of taking refuge from these compli* 
ments in flight. 

" Now, I will be judged,'* said Mr. 
Lammle, raising his voice a littlei, 
** by my friend Fledgeby." 

<' Oh don't ! " Miss Podsnap faintlT 
ejaculated : when Mrs. Lammle tc<>k 
me prompt-book. 

**I beg your pardon, Alfred, my 
dear, but I cannot part with Mr. 
Fledgeby quite yet; you must wait 
for him a moment. Mr. Fledgeby 
and I are engaged in a personal dis- 
cussion." 

Fledgeby must have conducted it 
on his side with immense art, for no 
appearance of uttering one syllable 
had escaped him. 

^ A personal discuasion, Sophronia, 
my love P What discussion ? Fledge- 
by, I am jealous. What discussion, 
Redgeby P" 

** Shaft I tell him, Mr. Fledgeby P" 
asked Mrs. Lammle. 

Trying to look as if he knew any- 
thing about it. Fascination replied, 
" Yes, tell him." 

**We were discussing then," said 
Mrs. Lammle, "if you must know, 
Alfred, whether Mr. Fledgeby waa 
in his usual flow of spirits." 

"Why, that is tiie very point 
Sophronia, that Georgiana and I 
wore discussing as to herself! What 
did Fledgeby say ?" 

*' Oh, a likely thing, sir, that I am 
going to tell you everything, and be 
told nothing ! What did Geonnana 
KivP" 




OUB MUTUAL FBIBND. 



IM 



"Ofloreinna nid die wu doing 
Imt niQsI justice to henelf to-da^, 
kud I aaid she wo* not" 

" Precisely," eiclaimed Hn. 
X^mmln, "what I Mud to Mr. 
PledBeby." 

Still, it wouldn't do. Th^ would 
DDt look Bt cms tmother. No, not 
•Ton whoD the (pvkling host pro- 
poaad that tlft quartette ahould take 
an appropriately iparkliag glaaa of 
wine. OeorgiaoB looked from her 
triae glan ^ Mr. Lammle and at 
Him. Lfunmls 1 but mightn't, couldn't, 
AoDldn't, wouldn't, look at Mr. 
Fledgeby. Fascinataan looked from 
ki* wine glaaa at Mn. Lanuole and at 
Mr. Lammle ; but mighta't, couldn't, 
riknildu't, wouldn' t, look at Georgians. 

Mor« prompting wai neceaaa^. 

Cupid must be brought np to ths 

, Kart. The manager hud pot him 

down in the bill tor the port, and he 

>t pUy it 

" ' ■*. n-j _. 

t like the colour of 

E ' yoor di«n." 

r< "J appeal," said Mra. I^mmle, 

■■ "to Mr. tTedgebv." 

**And I," Baid Mr. TjiTnTwIii **to 



_ - irgy, my 1o»b," remarked 
Hn. Lammle ande to her dear girl, 
"I rely upau yon not to go over to 
Ike oppoaition. Now, Mr. Fledgeby " 

Fudnation wished to know if the 
(QlCBr were not called roae-colour t 
Tai, nid Mr. Lammle ; actually hs 
knew eveiything ; it was really roBe- 
nloar. Faacination took roae>eolour 
to mean the coloor of roaes. (In 
lliis be waa Tery warmly supported 
l)f M[, and Mia. Lammle.) Fssci- 
■stion had heard the Una Queen 
tl Flowen applied to the Itoee. 
Bimilarly, it might b« Biid that the 
dren waa tha Queen of Dreoses. 
i" Very happy, Fledgeby ! " from Mr. 
Limml(0 Notwithstanding, Fascini- 
lion's opmion wai tbot we all hod our 
<je»— or at least a large majurity of 
OS — and that — and — and hia further 
opinioa was bctotoI ands, with 
NOthin'; bcvond them. 

"Ul^ iXr. FleJgoby,' eaid Un. 



Lammle. "todeaertnraln that way t 

Oh, Mr. Fledgeby, toabandon my poor 

dear inj urod rose anddeclare for blue 1 " 

" Victory, Tictory ! " cried Mr. 

Lammle ; *' yoor dresa ia condeouied, 

" But what," laid Kn. Lammle, 
stealing her affectionate band to- 
wards her dear girl'i, "what doM 
Georgy sByF" 

"She saya," replied Mr. Lammle, 
iterpreting for her, "that in her 
/es yon look well in any colour, 
Bophninia, and that if she had ex- 
pected to ba embamaaed by bo pretty 
a compliment aa she has received, 
the would have worn another coloni 
heraelf. Though I tell her, in reply, 
that it would not have saved her, for 
whatever colour she had worn would 
have keen Fledgeby** colour. But 
what does Fledgobjr say F" 

" He Bays," replied Mn, Lammis, 

rpreting for bim, and patting 

the back of her dear girl's hand, as it 

■■, were Fledgeby who was patting it, 

that it was no compliment, but a 
little natural act of homage that he 
couldn't resist. And," eipruMing 
more feeling as if it were more feel- 
ing on the part of Fledgeby, "he is 
right, he is right 1" 

Still, no not even now, would tbey 

ok at one another. Seeming to 
gnash his sparkling teeth, studs, eyes, 
and bnttona, all at once, Mr. Lammla 
secretly bent a dark frown on the two, 
exprewivs uf an intense desire to 
bring them togothor by knoclcing 
their heads togiilber. 

" Have you heard this open of to- 
night, Fledgeby F" he asked, stopping 
Tery short, to prevent himself from 
running on into " confound you." 

" Why an, not exactly." said 
Fledgeby. "In &ct I don't know a 

" Neither do you know Hi Qoorgyf* 
said Mrs. lammle. 

" N-no," replied OeorginHB.IiunUy, 
imdcr the syinpiillittic coincidence. 

" Why, then," soiil Mrs. Ijumnle^ 
chHrmcd by the discovery which 
DoiTi^ from lIinpromiaeB, '-you npiihci 
offonbiMwitl How g b at m i m '." 




OUH KDTUAL TBJSSD. 



ing, iHjttly toMra. LaromlB and parti, 
to the ciit:umftmbi6Qt aiTj " T cooaidcr 
myself veiT fortunate m being ie> 

•ervpd by " 

Ai he stopped dead, Mr. Idmmle, 
mnbiDg that gingeiouB bush of hii 
whUlccn to look oat of, offered him 
the word " Destiny." 

" No, I wasn't going to B»y that," 
Kiid Fledgeby, " I wm g^ing to say 
Pate. I conaider it very (ortunata 
that Fale has written in the book of— 
in tie book which is its own property 
— that I should go to that opo™ for 
the Grrt time imder the miMnorHble 
circumiluicM of going with Miss 
Podanap." 

To which Geoigisna repliei^ hook- 
ing ber tvo little fingers in one 
another, and addressing the table- 
cloth, "Thank you, but I generally 
go with no one but you, Sophronio, 
•nd I like that very much." 

Cootent perforce witb this success 
fbr the time, Mr. lammle let Miss 
Fodgnup out of the room, as if he 
were opening her ca^ door, and Ura* 
I^mmlo followed. Coffee being pre- 
sently seiTod up stairs, be kept 
waUih on Fledgeby mitil Miaa Po 
■nap's cup was empty, and then d 
Tcctod him with his finger (sa if that 
young gentleman were a slow Be- 
trievcr) to go and fetch it. This feat 
lie performed, not only without failure, 
but even with the original embellish- 
ment of informing Kfiss Podanap tbat 
green tea was considered bad for the 
Dorvcs- Though there Miss Podsnap 
uninteationally throw hitn out by 
fultering, "Oh, is it indeed f How 
does it actP" 'Which ba wm not 
prepared to eluddate. 

1110 carriage annonneed, Mrs. 
I>amnile mid, " Don't mind me, Mr. 
Fledgeby, my skirts and cloak occupy 
both my htuids ; take Alias Podsnap. 
And he tcok her, and Sirs. lAmmle 
Went next, and Sir. Lanmile wont 
lost, savagely following his little 
flock, like a drover. 
But he wu all spukla and glitter 



in the box at the Open, and than he 

and his dear wife made a conveiMtioa 
between Fledgeby and Oeoigiana in 
the following ingenious and skilfoi 
manner, lliey sat in this order: 
llrB. Lammle. Fascination Fledgeby, 
Oeorgiana, Mi. Lammle. His. 
Lsmmle made leadinf^ remarka to 
Fledgeby, only reqninng monosyl- 
labic leplies. Mr. Lammle did the 
like with Oeorsiuna. At times ftln. 
Lammle would lean forward to addreM 
Ur. Lammle to this purpoee. 

"Alfred, my dear, Mr. Fledgeby 
very justly says, apropoa of the lost 
Bceae, that true constancy would not 
require any lucb stimulant as the 
stage deems necesNtry." To which 
Mr. Lammle would reply, "Ay, So> 

Ctinia, my love, but aa Oeorgiana 
observed to me, the lady hod no 
sufficient reaton to know the state at 
the gentleman's affection." Towhicb 
Mrs. Lammle would rejoin, " Very 
true, Al&cd ; but Hr. Fledgeby pointi 
out," this. To which AL&ed would 
demur : " Undoobtedly, Bophrouia, 
but Gieoigiana acutely remarks," that 
Through this device the two young 
people convcrsod at great length and 
conunitted themselves to a variety of 
delicate sentiments, without having 
once opened their lipa, save to say yea 
or no, and even tbat not to one another. 
Fledgeby took hia leave of Hiss 
Podsnap at thecarriage door, and the 
Lamndes dropped her at ber own 
home, and on the way Mrs. lAmmIe 
archly tallied her, in her fond and 
protecting manner, by saying at in- 
tervals, "Oh, little Oeorgiann, little 
Gcorgiana 1 ' ' 'Which was not much ; 
but the tone added, ' You have en- 
slaved your Fledgeby." 

And thus the Idminles got home at 
last, and the lady sat down moody 
an 1 weary, looldng at her dark lord 
ciif^ged in a deed of violence with a 
bottle of soda-water, as thoogh ha 
were ringing .the neck of some un- 
lucky creature and pouring ita blood 
bis throat. As he wiped his 
whiskers in an ogreish way, 
ler eyes, and pausing, aai^ 
'eiy gentle voice i 



dripping wl 




OUB UDTUAL FEIEKS. 



107 



"Was mch an alMolate Booby 
nec.'ssery to the purpose t" 

■■ I know what I am doing. He i« 
no luch dolt OS yon Buppose." 

" A gcuius, perhaps <" 

" You aaeer, perhaps ; and yon 
take a lofty air upoo yoursolf, perhaps 1 
But I tell you this : — when that young 
fellow's interest is concemcd, he holds 
sa tight a> a horae-lecch. When 
money is in questioD willi that 
young fellow, he is a nuitch for the 



yon thonght me for jm. He ha* no 

quality of youtli in him , but such a* 
you have seen to-day. Touch him 
upon money, and you touch no booby 
then. Ub really la a dolt, 1 suppose, 
in other things; but it answen his 
one purpose very welL" 

" Has she money in her oim right 
in any casoF" 

" Ay ', she has money in her own 
light m any case. You have done so 
well to-day, Sophronia, that I answer 
the qucalion, though you know I ob* 
ject to [iny such qucslioos. You bars 
done 90 nell to day, Sophronia, thftt 
you must ba tired. Qet to bed." 



OHAPTEE V. 



I 



PuDOSTV deeerred Mr. Alfmd 

Lsnunlo't eulogium. He was the 
meanest cur existing, with a tingle 
(air of iegf. And instinct (a word we 
kll clearly understand) going largely 
DO four legs, and reason always on two, 
metnneas on four legs never attains 
the perfection of meanness on two- 
lie father of this young gentleman 
bsd been a money-lender, who had 
transacted prorcseioual business with 
tti« mother of this young gentleman, 
lita he, the latter, was waiting in 
the vast dark snte-chauibers of the 
prtscnt world to be botn. The lady, 
I widow, bi ing unable to pay the 
.ried him ; and 



:, F1.I 



itonod 



Btof the vast dark ante-chambtrs 
one and be presented to the Kcgis- 
traT'Genetal. Rather a curious spe- 
mlatioa how Fledgsby would other- 
*ue have disposed of his leisure until 
Doomsday. 

Fledgeby's mother offended her 
bmily by marrying tledgeby's father. 
It ia one of the easiest achievements 
to offend your family when youi 
family wanttogct rid of you. I'lcdgo- 
ij's molhcr'B family bad boco vory 
- idk offended " ith her fur bei;.g 
r, and bro'- -ith her for' 



ing compaiBtivBly rich. Pledgeby'i 
mother's family was the Snigsworth 
family. She had even the high 
honour to be cousin to Lord Snigs- 
worth^ — BO many times removed that 
the noble Eail would have hod na 
compunction in removing her ono 
'ne more and dropping her clean 

itaido the cousinly rale : but cousin 

rail that. 

Among her pre-mabTimonial trani- 

itions with Fledgeby's father,PWg6- 
by's mother had raiEod money of him 
at a great disadvantage on a certain 
reversionary interest. The reveision 
falHng in soon ajlcr they were marriod, 
tledgeby's bthcr laid hold of the 
rEi!.h fur his scpiirale use and benefit. 
This led to subjective differences of 
opinion, not to say objective intar- 
chaogca of boot-jacks, backgammon 
boards, and other such domcstio mi*- 
siles, between Fledgeby's father and 
Fledgeby's mother, and those led to 
Fledgeby's mother spending ds much 
money as she could, and to I'ledgcby't 
lather doing all he couldn't to restrain 
her. Hodgeby's childhood had been, 
in consoquonco, a stormy one ; but 
the winds and the waves hud gone 
down in the grave, and Fledgebj 
fluurished alone. 




ODE MTITUAL FJOIEND. 



He liTsd In chim^ien in the Albany, 



off, went out, BQil ncter warmed auy- 
tMng, bo siirc that Fledgeby had bia 
tools at the grindfltoDe, and tomed it 
with a wary eye. 

Mr. Alfred Lammle came roond to 
the Albany to brcakfoat witli FWge- 
bj. PrCBCnt on the table, one scanty 
pot of tea. one stanty loaf, two scanty 
pata of butter, two scanty rashers of 
bacoD, two pitiful eggs, and an abun- 
dance of handsome china bought a 
•econd-hnnd bargain. 

" What did you think of Geor- 
giana?" asked Mr. Lanunle. 

" Why, I'll tell van," said Fledge- 
by, very deliberately. 

" Do, my boy." 

" You Eaisunderstand me," nid 
Fledgeby. "I don't mean I'U teU 
. you that I mean I'U toll yon some- 
Uung else." 

" Tell me anything, old fellow ! ■' 

" Ah, but tliere yuu mUundenland 
me again," said Fledgeby. " i mean 
I'll [ell you nothing," 

Mr. Lammle sparkled at him, but 
&owned at him too. 

" Look here," said Fledgeby. 
" You're deep aitd you're ready. 
■Whether I am deep or not, never 
mind. I am not ready. But I can 
do one thing. Lammle, I can hold my 
tongue. And I intend always doing 

"Yon «M • long-hetided fellow, 
Fledgeby." 

" tlay be, or may not he. If I am 
a short- tongued fellow, it may amount 
to the same tbing. Now, lAmmle, I 
am never going to answer questiona," 

" ily dear feUo w. it was the simpleet 
qncntion in the world." 

"Iiever mind. It seemed so, but 
thingaare not always what they seem, 
I saw a man examined as a witness in 
■Westminater Hall. Questions potto 
him socmed the simplest in the world, 
but turned out to be nnythlog rather 
thnn tbflt, after he had answered 'em. 
Veiy well- Then he should have held 



histongne. If he had held fail tongm 

he would have kept out of sciapea Uiat 
he got into," 

" If I bad held my tongne. yoa 
would never have seen the subject of 
niy question," remarked I^mmle^ 
darkening. 

" Now, Jjimmle," said Fascination 
Fledgeby, calmly feeling for his « hia- 
Iter, ■' it won't do. I won't be led on 
into a discussion. I can't manage ■ 
diacuBsion. But I can manage to hold 
jny tnngue." 

"Canf" Mr. Lammle fell hack 
upon propitiation. " I should t>i'"^ 
you could ! Why, when these fellow* 
of our Bcquaintiuice drink and you 
drink with them, the more talkatiTa 
they get, the mora ailent you get 
The more they let out, the more yoa 

'■ I den't object, Lammle," returned 
Fledgeby, with an internal chuckle, 
"to being understood, though I object 
to being questioned. That certainly 
M the way 1 do it." 

" And when all the rest of ns an 
diacuBsing our ventures, none of us 
ever know what a aicgte venture o( 

" And none of you ever vrill from 

me, Lammle," replied Fledgeby, with 
another internal chuckle; "that cer- 
tainly u Ibe way I do it," 

"Why of couree it ia, I knowt" 
rejoined lammle, with a llouriHh of 
franknem, and ■ laugh, and Ktrelching 
out hia hands as if to show the uni- 
verse a remarkable man in Fledgeby. 
" If I hadn't known it of my Fledge- 
by, should I have proposed our litlte 
compact of advantage, to my Pledge- 
by f" 

" Ah," remarked Fascination, ehak 
ins his head slyly. " But 1 am not 
to bo got at in that way. I am not 
vain. That sort of vanity don't jay, 
Lammle. No, do, no. (jomplimenta 
only make me hold my tongue the 

Alfred Lammle pushed his plata 
way (no great HscriGce under the 
circumstances of there being bo litlla 
in it), thrust his hands in his pockety 
leaned back in his chair, and coolom* 




ouB mrruAL friend. 






gehy ia olmica. Tlieo be 
ised hi* left hand &om ita 
1 made that bush of hia 
till conlemplBting him in 
leD he slowly broke ailcnce, 
iiiid: "What— the— llcv-il 
V about tliii 
ook here^ I 
L Flcdg«by, with the mean- 
Lies in hia meanest of cyea : 
I too near together, by the 
Ic here, LaroirJe ; I am very 
g that I didn't show to 
laat nieht, and that you 
life — who, I conaider, la a 
woman and an B^rreeahle 
d. I un not calculated to 
rantage under that lort of 
»e. I know very well 
d ahow to advantago, and 
apitally. But don't you 
■ount oome t&lking to mo 
a your doll and puppet, 

I thia," cried Alfred, aftat 

tb a look the meajuusa that 
1 hare the meanest help, 

ie becaoM of otie timple 



- proprietor . 
shen you are in the gra- 
to gay anything about it 
" retorted Ijunmle, " pray . 

done it, I have aaid you | 
"""'"" You and youri 

doing my part. 



T yoJ'u 



r!" exclaimed Lammle, 
Ilia BhoulderB. 
iiBued the ofher — "or take 
head that peo^ile are your 
»use they don't come out 
>e at Ihe partipular mo- 
1 you do, with the assist- 
ifery clever and aprcouble 



thcrr 






'proper, and I hftT* tpeken nhen I 

thought proper, and there's ui end of 
that. And now the question ia," pro- 
ceeded tlcdgeby, with the greateHh 
reluctance, "will yon have another 

"No.Iwon't," said Lammle shortly- 

" Perhpipe you're right and will find 
youraelf better without it," replied 
Faacination. in greatly improved 
spirits. " To ask you if you'll have 
another rasher wonld be Unmeaning 
Snttcry, for it would make you thirsty 
all day. WiU you have some more 
bread and butterf" 

" No, I won't," repeated lammle. 

"ThcD I will," said Faseination. 
And it was not a mere retort for the 
Bound'a sake, but was a chMiful cogent 
consequence of the refusal ; for if 
Lammlo had applied himself agaip to 
the loaf, it would have been so heavily 
visited, in Flodgeby'a opinion, as to 
demand abalinenco from bread, on his 
part, for the rcnuiindurof that meal it 
least, if not for the whole of the next. 

Whether this young gentleman (for 
he waa but three-and -twenty) com- 
bined with the miaerly vice of an old 
man, any of the open-handed vices ot 
a young one, was a moot point ; n> 
very honourably did he keep hisown 
counsel. He was sensible of (he valuo 
of appearencea aa an invistment, and 
liked to drcsa well; but ho drove a 
bargain for every movoahle about 
him, from the coat on his back to thn 
china on his breakfast-lable ; anr* 
every bai^jain, by repraeenting some- 
body's ruin or sooiebody'a loss, ac- 
quired a peculiar charm for him. It 
waa s part of his avarice to take, 
within narrow bounds, long odds at 
races ; if he won, he drove bnrder 
bargains ; if he lost, he half stancd 
himself until nent time. Why money 
should be BO precious to an Asa too dull 
and mean to exchange It for an v other 
■atisfiiction, ia Btninge; but there is 
no animal so sure to get laden with it, 
as the Ass who sees nothing written 
on the face of the earth and akv but 
the three lettera L. S. D— not'l.iix- 
ury. Sensuality, Diasclutencss, which 
llioy often rtand for but tbe tliw* 




170 



OUB UUTUAL FBIEND. 



dr; letten. Tonr oencelttntod Fox | 
b soldum comparable to your concen- 
tinti.-d Am in mocey-breediDg, 

I^'oaciiuition Fledgeby feigned to be 
k young gentlemui liTicig on tuii | 
IDcanB, but wBa known (ccretty to be , 
k kind of ouUaw in the bill-broking 
line, and to put monej ont at high 
interest in variool wsyi. HijI dicle 
of fiimiliar acquainlanCB, bma Mr. 
Lununle round, all bad a toudi of the 
outluir, aa to tbcir roving in the 
meiry greenwood of Jobbery Forest, 
lying on the outskiria of the Kbare- 
Uarket and the Stock Exctisnge. 

"I Buppoie you, Laninile," said 
Flodgeby. eating his bread and butter, 
"alwuya did go in for female sodety F " 



a tolM of tin 
«noftliedoT(^ 



o yon, ehF" paid 



air," raid Lammle laUdly, but with 
the air of a nun who had not bean 
Able to help himaolf. 

" Made a pretty good thing of roar- 
lying, didn't ynu t ' ' aaked Fledgeby. 

The other amiled (an u^ly 101116), 
and tapped one tap upon hu noae. 

" My lata gOTemor made a meaa of 

it," aaid Flei^eby. " But Geor 

i* the right name Qeorgina or Oeor- 

" Georgiana." 

" I waa thinking yeatCTday, I didn't 
loiow there waa auch a name- 
thought it must end in ina." 

" Why f " 

" Why, yon play — if yon oan- 
tbe Concertina, you know," replied 
nedeol>J> nieditating VBiy aloi"'- 
** And you have— whtti you catch 
the Scarlatina. And yoa can 01. 

down from a balloon in a parach 

DO you can't though. "Well, tay 
Georgeuto — I mean Georgittna." 

"You were going to remark of 

Goorginna f Lammle moodily 

hinted, nftor waiting ' "~ 



b« violent Don t mr 

pitching-in order." 

'' She haa the gentlm 
Mr, Fledgeby." 

"Of course yon'U aiy «o," replied 
Fledgeby, sharpODicg, the momimt 
his iuteteat waa touched by another. 
" But yon know, the real look-out ia 
this : — what I Bay, not what yon mj. 
I Bay — having my late governor and 
my lata moUier in my eye — that 
GeoT^iaoa don't seem to b« of tb* 
[utching-in onler." 

The respected Mr, lammle waa a 
bully, by nature and by oaual pno- 
tics. Perceiving, as Fled^by a af- 
ftonto cumulated, that conciliation by 
no meana aniirered the porpoae hen, 
he now direoted a scowling look into 
Fledgeby'a amali eyes for the effect of 
the oppoaite treatment. Batiafled by 
what ha lav there, he burst into a 
violent panion and etnick hij hand 
upon the table, malHng the china ring 
and dance. 

"You are a very ofTenaive fello*, 
air," cried Mr. Lammle, riling. "Yon 
are a highly offensire scoondnL 
What do yon m«an by thii belw 



IS going 



. " aaid Flodgoby, not 

plonsrJ to be reminded of his ha^'ing 

ioijjullun it, " that sho don't " ' 



"I aayl" remonstntsd Fledgetiy- 
" Don't break out." 

" You an a very ofTenaTS feUoT 
air," repeated Mr, Lammle. "YM 
are a highly ofTenaive acoimdrel 1 " 

"I «ay, yonknowl" urged FledgS- 
by, quailing, 

" Why, you coarse and vulgar 
vagsb<,nd !" said Mr. Lammle, loolc- 
ing fiercely about him, "if your Mf- 
vant waa here to give me sixpence 0* 
yoot money to get my boots cleaned 
afterwards — for you an not worth tW 
eipenditore — I'a kick yon," 

"Noyou wouldn't," plnododFledgt- 

r. «■ T Dm anvA «,i,*<1 th^-Kb VatltT 



^iu- 



« you d tl 



I tell you what, Mr. Fledgeby," 
said lammle, advancing on bua- 
" Since you presume to contradict 
mcs I'll MHrt myaalf a little. GM 

fledgeby oorend it with hii hand 
inatood, and laid, letnating, " I beg 

you won't!" 




OUB UUTUAL FBIEND. 



*■ Gfra me yomiMM, nr," repeated 



tJdllcoTeringUiatfeitiiTeBndbBck' 
tug, Mr, Fledgeby reiterated (■pp&- 
Tently with k Bevere cold in hi« hMd), 
"I beg, I be((, you won't" 

" And tlui fellow,' ' exclaimed 
I^mmle, stopping and nutkiiig tlie 
matt of his che«t^"T!iil fellow prs- 
lurnee on my having Bclectod him oat 
of *1] the young fellovB I know, for 
■D adiantBgeoiu Opportunity 1 This 
fcllow preanmes od my having in my 
desk round the comer, hii dirty note 
sf hand for a wretched nim payable 
•n the occurrence of s certain event, 
vhich event con only be of mv and 
my nifo'i bringing about ! This fel- 

' low, Fledgeby, preeumes to be imper- 

I tincDt to ma, Lammle. Give ma 

I JDOT Doee, nr ! " 

[ "No! Stop! I begyow psidoo," 



•■Whatdoyouea^, — „ — 

Hi. Tj^mmle, teeming too fuiioiu to 
ndersUind. 

"I beg yoiiT pudon," npeftted 

Fledgeby. 
"Eepest your words louder, sir. 

Ttw ju£t indignation of a gentleman 

hsi Knt the blood boiling to my head. 

I don't hear you." 

"1 say," repeated Fledgeby, with 

j kborioni explanatory politeness, "I 

1 We your panlon " 

' Ur. I^Dunle t 

Dflioaour," aaid he, throwing bin 

SM a chair, " I am disarmed." 

Ur. Fledgeby also took a, chair, 
Ilmtigh lesB demon Btiatively. and by 
itw ^iproacbes removed his hand 
W his noee. Some natural diffi- 
iact aasaiJed bim as to blowing it, so 
■Wtly after its having assumed a 
paniMal and delicate, not to say puh- 
IK, character \ but he overcame his 
■cTiiplce by degrees, and modestly 
iMik that liberty under an implied 
Mtrt. 

"I^nunle," tie said sneakingly, 

. it (luii that was done, " I hope we are 

"ilr. Fledgeby," returned I^mmle, 

"I must have gone too far in 



"Say no more, say no more!" Mr. 
LfUnmle repeated In a magnilicent 
lone. "Give me your" — Fledgeby 
started — " hand." 

They shook hands, and on Mr. 
Laounle's port, in particidar, there 
ensued great geniality. For, he waa 
quite as much of a dastard as the 
Cither, and had been in eqnal danger 
of billing into the second place for 
good, when he took heart just in 
time, to act upon the information coo* 
vejed to hijn by Fledgeby's eye. 

The breakCut ended m a perfect 
understanding. Incfflsant machine' 
tions ncre to be kept at work by Mr. 
and Urs. Lammle ) love waa to be 
made for Fledgebjr, and conquest wa* 
to be insured bo him ; he on his part 
very humbly admitting his defects as 
to the solleriDcisl arts, and entreating 
to be bucked ta the utmost by his two 
able coadjuton. 

Little recked Ur. Pcdsnap of the 
trap* and t^ili besetting his Yoons 
Person. He regarded ner as safe 
within the Temple of Podsnappeiy, 
biding the fatness of time when sbc^ 
Gcergiana, should take bim, Fitz< 
Fodsnap, who with all his worldly 
goods should her endow. It would 
call a blush into the cheek of hii 
standard Young Person to have any- 
thing to do with such matters save ta 
take as directed, and with woildly 
goods as per settlement lobe endowed. 
Who giveth this woman to be mBr< 
ried to this man ? I, Podmap. Perisli 
the daring thought that any wnsUpT 
creation should come between 1 

It was a public holiday, and Fledge 
by did not recover his spirits or Iiia 
usual temperature of nose until the 
afternoon. W'alldng intotbeCityin Om 
holiday afternoon, ne walked against 
a living stream setting ont of it ; and 
thus, when he turned into tlie pre- 
cincts of St. Mary Axe, he found e 
prevalent repose and quiet there. A 
yellow overhangiDg plaster-ftentcd 
house at nhii^h bo stopped was quiet 
too. The blinds were all drawn down, 
and the inscription Fubscy and Coi 




ouB uirrcAL fbiend. 



Mdned to JozB in the conntin^-IioaM 
windaw on the gromid-flooT giving on 

the sleepy street. 



TOW street and looked up nt the hotue- 
-windows, but □obod; looked down at 
Flcdgeby. He got out of temper, 
crossed the nairow itreet again, and 

fulled tho house-bell aa if it were the 
ouae's noce, and he were t&ldnK ft 
hint from his lal« experience. Hia 
ear at tbe kcybola seomad then, at 



Iiut,t( 






that so 



tiued .. , . 

e.ppeared in tbe dark doorway. 

"Now you sir!" cried Ilodgehy. 
" These are nice games ! " 

He addressed an old Jewish mlui 
in an ancient coat, long of skirt, and 
wide of pocket. A venerable man, 
bald and shining at the top of bis 
head, and with long grey hair flow- 
ing down at its Bides and mingling 
with his beard. A man who with a 
graceful Eastern action of homage 
bent his head, and strclcbed out his 
Iiands with tbe palms downward, an if 
to dcpiecate the wrath of a superior. 

"MTant have you been up to?" 
nid Fledgebj, storming at him. 

"Generous Christian master," 
urged the Jewish man, "it being 
hoUday. I looked for no one." 

" Holiday be blowod I " said Fledge- 
by, entering. " What have yo» got 
to do with holidays r Shut the 

With his former action the old 
man obeyed. In the entry hang his 
insty large-brimmed low-crowned 
hat, as long out of date as his cent ; 
in the comer near it stood his staff — 
no wall; ing-stick, but a veritable 
•taff. Fledgeby turned into the 
counting-house, perthod hiinaiif on 
• business stool, and cocked bis hat. 
There wore iiHlit boies on shelves in 
tbe ooun tins-house, and ttrincs of 
moi.k Wadi liunijinii; up. 'i'hcie 



were samplM of cheap clocks 
samples of cheap Tasea of flo 
Foreign toys, alL 

Perched on the rtool with hi 
cocked on his head and one o 
legs dangling, the youth of Fled 
baldly contrasted to advantage 
the age of tbe Jewish man i 
stood with his bare head bowed 
hia eye* (which he only rai» 
speaking) on the ground. His i 
ing was worn down to the nut; 
of the hat in ths entiy, hat tt 
he looked shabby he did not 
mean. Now, Fledgeby, thoogl 
shabby, did look mean. 

"You have not told roe wbal 
were up to, ^on air," said Fled 
sciBtchiag hiB bead with the bi 
his bst. 

" Sir, I was breathiog tho air 

" In the cellar, that 30a t 
heart" 

" On the honsB-top." 

"Upon my soult Tha)f» & 

"Fiir," Uie old man. reprcs 
with a grave and patient air, " 
must b« two parties to the tn 
tion of business, and the holidn 
left roe alone." 

" Ah '. Can't be bnyer md 
too. That's what the Jews 
ain't !tF" 

"At least we say tmly, £f w 
BO," answerad the old man w 

" Yonr people need ipeal 
truth Eometimco. forlhevlieenoi 
remarked fascination tlcdsoby 

"Sir, there is," retumM th 
man with quiet emphosia, *' too 

Rather dashed, FasdnatieFD FI 
by took another scratch at hi 
tellectual head with hia hat, to 
timo for mllying. 

" For instance," he remme 
though it wore he who had e; 
last, " who but yon and I ever ', 
of apoor Jowf' 

'"Tbe Jewa," said the old 
rsijin^; his eyes fiom the gi 
with his former amilsh "'ilwy 




PLEDGEBY AND UAH. 



THE f;?.V/ VC'RK ( 
PUBLIC LiB.iARY 



TILO N FOLNOA- ION8. 



f 




OUB HUTOAL FBIEKD. 



171 



ler tint !" i«tiimed Pledge- 
Yan know what I meiui, 
■eiBnadfl me, if you could, 
a aia a poor Jew. I wish 
)iifeaa how much you really 
:e oat of my late govUDoi. 
1 hava a better opinion of 

ltd man «ilf bent hii head, 
itched out hi* hand* a« b«- 



Chriatian — 






id had lickDeas and miifor- 
id waa BO poor,' eaid the old 
aa hopeleaaly to owe the 
irincipal and interest. The 
riting, wse so irercitui u to 
ne both, and place me here." 
ule a little grature ua though 
d the hem of an imaginary 
. wotn hy the noble youth 
um. It wa* humhiy done, 
iresqaely, and waa not abaa- 

won't Bay more, I aee^" said 
y, looking at him aa if he 
ike to try the effect of ex- 
a doable-tooth or two, "and 
DO UM my patting it to you. 
Feaa this, Riah ; who believeB 



one." repeated the old man 
rave Blow wave of hia head. 
Fut it as a fable. Were I to 
ia little fancy bunneoa ia not 
with a lithe Bwecp of hia 
xning hand around him, to 
end the varioaa objecta on 
'ei; *" it IB the littlebuainesa 
iatian young gentleman who 
le, hia aerrant, in trnsC and 
lere, and to whom I am ac- 
e for every sing-la bead,' 
mid laugh. Whni, in the 
TiDriey-buiineeB, I tell the 



"I Bay, old chap!" interposed 
Fledgeby, " I hope yon mind what 
you do tell 'em P" 

" Sir, I tell them no more than I 
am about to repeat When I tell 
them, ' I cannot promise this, I 
cannot answer for Uie other, I must 
see my principal, I have not th« 
money, I am a poor man and it doca 
not roat with me,' thsy are so unbe- 
lieving and SO impatient, that they 
■omotimea cum me in Jehovah's 

•■'rhafa deuced good, that ill" 
said Fascinatjon tledgeby. 

" And at other timea they say, 
' Can it never be done without theB« 
tricks, Mi, Hiah t Come, come, Mr. 
Kiah, we know the arts of your 
people ■ — my people !^' If the money 
la to be lent, fateh it, fetch it ; if it u 
not to be lent, keep it and aay no.' 
They never believe me." 

" TAal'a all right," aaid Foacina- 
tion Fledgeby. 

"They say, 'Wa know, Mr. Riah, 
'" ' ^ - look at 



yoa,ai 






"Oh, a good 'un are yon for the 
post," thought Fledgeby, "and a 
good *un was I to mark you out for it ! 
I maybe slow, buti am precious aim." 

Not a ayllable of thia reflection 
shaped itself in any scrap of Mr. 
Fledgeby'a breath, lest it Bhould tend 
to put hia servant's price ap. But 
looking at the old man aa be Stood 
quiet with hia head bowed and hia 
eyes cast down, he felt that to lelin- 
quiah an inch of hia baldness, an inch 
of his gi«y hair, an inch of hia coai- 
ikirt, an inch of hia hat-brim, an 
inch of hia walking-staff, would be to 
relinquish hundreds of pounds. 

" Look hero, Hiah," said Fledgoby, 
mollified by these self-approving con- 
siderationa. " I want to go a little 
more into buying-up queer billa. 
Look out in that direction." 

"Sir, it ihall be done." 

" Casting my eye over the accounts, 
I find that branch of busincra pays 
pretty fairly, and I am game for ex- 
tending it. I like to Imaw peofde'a 
allain likewiM. . So bmk <»&;' 



174 



" Sir, I win, pTompOir." 

■■Put it ft bo lit in the right qrurtan, 
that jou'U buy quoer billa by tho 
lump — by Ibe pound weight if that'i 
■11— suppoffiDg you Boe your way to a 
fur chance on looking over the parcel. 
And thoro'i one thing more. Come 
to me with the booki for periodical 
{aspection ■■ lumal, at eight on Mon- 
day mominR." 

Riah drew some folding tableta 
6tim hii breast and noted it down. 

" That's all I wonted to sav at the 
prtlent time,' ' continued Fledgehy in 
a grudging vein, u he got off the 
ilool. " except that I wish you'd take 
the air where you can hc&r the bell, 
or the Imocker, either one of the two 
or both. By-the-bye, how A) you take 
th* air at the top of the home ? Do 
Ton (tick yourheadoutof achinmey- 
potP" 

" Sir, there are leads there, &od I 
bftTe made a little garden there." 

" To bury your money in, you ohl 
dodger f" 

" A tbombnaa'i apace of garden 
would iiold the tr^ure / bun-, 
nuuter," «id Kiab. "Twelve ehil- 
linga a week, even when they are 
Ml old man's wages, bury tham- 
Mlvea." 

" I should like to know what yon 
really are worth," returned Fledgeby, 
with whom hii growing rich on that 
•tipeed aod gratitude was a very 
Tenient Bction. " But come ! 
have a look at your garden on 
tiles> before J go ! " 

The old man took a itep back, and 
heaitated. 

" Truly, air, I have company there." 

"Have you, by George 1" said 
Fledgeby. " I suppose you happen 
to know whose premiaee those ore?" 

" Sir, they are yours, and I am 
your servant in thorn." 

" Oh I I thonght you might have 
OTOrlookod that," retorted Fledgeby, 
■with hia ej-ca on Riah's beari aa ho 
lelt for his own ; "having company 
on my premises, j-ou know ! " 

" Come up and sea the guests, sir. 
I hope toe your admission that (hey 
undo DO ham," 




UUA MUTUAL FRIES P. 



Passing him wlt)l i 
revcronce. specially unlike aoy at 
that Mr. t'lcdifcby could for his life 
hare impaitod to his own head and 
hands, the old man began to ascend 
the stairs. Aa he toiled on before, 
with bit palm npon the stair-rail, and 
his long black aldrt, « very gaber- 
dine, overhanging each successive 
step, he might have been tho leader 
some pilgrimage of devotional 
;ent to a pinphet's tomb. Kut 
mblcd by any such weak imagin- 
ing, KascinatiDn Fledgeby merely 
speculated on tho time of life at 
which his beard had b^^oo, and 
thonight once more what a good 'un 
' ) was for the part- 
Some final wooden (t«pa ctmduded 
lem, stooping under a low pvit- 
luse roof| to the house-top. Kisk 
stood still, and, turning to hia maatei, 
pointed out his gueals. 

Liizie Ueiam and Jenny Wren. 
For whom, perhaps with some old 
instinct of his race, the gentle Je* 
had spread a carpet. Beal«<l on it. 



a blackened chimney - stack era 
which some humble creeper had bem 
trained, they both pored over one 
book; both with attentive 6icm: 
Jenny with the sharper ; Liizie witk 
the mora perplei«d. Another litUs 
book or two were Ij-ing near, and a 
common basket of common fruit, sad 
another basket full of strings of \xa6l 
and tinsel scrape. A few boxes of 
humble Sowers and evergreeoa com- 
pleted the garden ; and the encom- 
passing wilderaeaa of dowager iM 
chimneys twirled their cowls asd 
fluttered thoir smoke, rather as if 
they were bridling, and fanntog 
themralvea, and looking on in a stsis 
of airy Burpriae. 

Taking her eyes off the book, t> 
test hor momory of aomelhing in Ht 
Liizie was the fint to see herself i>l>- 
aerved. As she rose, tlies Wrs 
likewise became conscious, and raid, 
irreverently eddresaing the gnst 
chief ot the premises ; " WTioeiW 

a are, / can't get up, because m] i 
's bad and my legt are queer." j 




"lUs U niT muter, 

rtepping forwmd. 

(" D(Hi't look like anybody's mus- 
ter.' obHrvad lliu Wren to her- 
nlf, with a hitch of her chin end 

" This, BIT," pnisned the old man, 
' ii a litUe dreesmaker for little peo- 
ple. Explain to the matter, JeoDy." 

"DoUh; that's all," said Jenny, 
tiuaiij. "Very difficult to fit too, 
Ittawe their figuicB are bo uiiccr- 
UId. Tou ueyer knoir where to ex- 
jed their woicta." 

"Her &iend," leanmed the old 
tun, motioniDg townirlB LW./.v- : 
"tnd Ii industrioas u virtuou'-. )'' ' 
thit Ihejr both are. They »!<■ 1. .-. ^ 
nrly and late, sir, early and l.iui ; 
od in bye-times, aa on thia holiday, 
ttey go to book-learning." 

' (iot much good to be got Ont of 
that," remarked Fledgcby, 

" Depends upon the person ! " 
QHotli Miss Wren, soajiping him ap. 



OUE MDTDAL FEIEND. 
1 Biah, 




"I B 






with I 



. , . TBued the Je' 
U evident puipose of drawing out 
the dressmaker, " through their com- 
ing here to buy of our damiige and 
vute for Uiss Jenny's millinery. 
Ou waste goes into the best of com- 
panv, rfr, on her rosy-cheeked little 
cndumers. They wear it in their 
hail, and on their ball-dresftcs, and 
tien (so she tells me] are yasantad 
It Court with it." 

"Ah!" said Fledgeby, on whose 
iitelligenee this doll -fancy made 
nlher strong demands ; "she's been 
tiDving that baaketful to-day, I sup- 
poor 

"I suppose she has," Miss Jenny 
hiierposea; "and paying for it too, 

" Let's haTC a look at it," said the 
niBpicious chief. Kiah handed it to 
kim. "How much for this now f" 

"Two precious silver ahillings," 
nid Miss Wren. 

Biah conGnncd her with two nods, 
u Fledgeby looked to him. A nod 
for each Ebilling. 

"Well," said Fledgeby, pokinp 
btothe contanta of the basket with 



And you," eaid Fledgeby, turning tA 
the other visitor, "do yon buy uiy- 
thing here, miss f " 

" No, sir." 

" Kor sell anything neitlier, niaf " 

Looking askew at the qneetioner, 
Jenny stolo hT hand uptohcr&iend'^ 
and drew hei biend down, eo thai 
nhe bent beside her on her knee. 

"We are thankful to come here for 
i-est, sir," aaid Jenny. " You see, 
yon don't know what the rest of thia 
place is to us ; does he, Lizzie F If* 
the quiet, and the air." 

"The quiet!" repeated Fledgeby, 
with a centempta <us turn of his head 
tonards the City's roar. "And the 
■ I'uof! " at the smoke. 



■' Ah : ■ 



aid Jon 



high. And you Bee the clouds nieh- 
ing on above the narrow sfreela, not 
minding them, and you see the golden 
arrows pointing at the mountains in 
the Bky from which the wind comes, 
and you feel as if you were dead." 

The little creature looked abore 
her, holding up her Blight transparent 

"How do yon feel when yon aM 
deadP" asked Fledgeby, mtich per- 

"Oh, Bo tnuuiuill" cried the littlo 
creature, smiling. " Oh, so peaceful 
and BO thankful ! And you near the 
people who are alive, crj-inp, and 
working, and culling to one another 
down in the closo dark Btrctts, and 
you seem to pity them bo I And euch 
a chain has fallen from you, and such 
ige good sorrowful happiness 



Her 



ml" 



with his hand* folded, quietly looked 

'" \\'liy it was only jiis! now," said 

"thut 1 landed I'mw hiui'tuma onL 



175 

of liii gnv« t Ha tailed oat at that 
low door so bant uid worn, and then 
he took his breath uid stood upn);ht, 
tnd lonked all round him Bt the tky, 
and the wind blew upon him, and his 
life down in the dark wa« ovorl — Til! 
ho was callod back to life," she added, 
looking round at Fledgoby with 
lower look of aharpnoii --■■" 
jou ciU him back f" 

anyhow," grumbled Fleii^by. 

*' Dot yDH arc not dead, you know," 
•aid Jonnr Wren. "Get down to 
life!" 

Mr. Fledgeby seemed to think it 
rather a good suggestion, and with a 
nod turned round. As liiab followed 
to attend him down the Main, the 
little creature called out to the Jew 

u thoy went down Ibey hoard the 
little »w( ■ ■ 

'■ '.h „ 

.0 back and be dead, Come 
and be dead!" 

When they got ilown into the entry, 
Fledgeby, pausing andor the shadow 
of tho broikd old hat, and mechani- 
cally poising the staff, said to the old 

"That'sB handsome girl, that ona 



OUB MUTDAL FBIEHD. 



" And aa good u h 

swered Riah. 

"At all eTents," obaorred Fledfjebj, 
with a dry whistle, " I hope she ain't 
bad enough to put any chap up to th« 
fastenings, end get the ptcmiiea 
broken open. You look out. Keep 
your weather eye awake, and don't 
make any more acgunintancee, how- 
evec handsome. Of coune you al- 
ways keep my name to yoursdtf " 

"Sir, assuredly I do. 

" If they aak it, say it'l PuWy, or 
say it's Co, or say it's anj'lhiug yoa 
like, but what it IS." 

His grateful servant — in nhoaa 
race f^ratitiide is docn, strong, and 
endunng — bowed his bead, and ac- 
tually Old now put the hem of his 
coat to his lipa : though so lightly 
that the wearer Icnew nothingof it 

Thus, Fascination Fled^eby went 
hia way, exulting in the artful clever- 
ness with which he had turned his 
thumb down on a Jew, and the old 
man went hia diftcrcnt way up stairs. 
As he mounted, the call orsongbegno 
to sound in his can again, and, look- 
iuif above, he saw the face of ths 
liLtlo creature looking down out of ■ 
Glory of her long bright radiant hair, 
and muaically repeating to him, like 
a vision: "Come no and b« detdt 
Coms up and bo deadl" 



AoATiT tfr. Mortimer Lightwood 

«nd Blr. Eugene Wraybum sat to- 
gether in the Temple. This evening, 
however, thi<y were sot together in 
tho place of tiuainess. of the eminent 
■oliuitor, but in another dismal set of 
clin-'ibers facing it on the same sccond- 
fioL.1'; on whose duncoun-like bhiclE 
outar.door appeared tho Icgood : 

pEtVATS. 

Mb. Euorhb WnAvncitK. 

Mb. Mohtimeb Liohtwooo. 

(ty Mr. Lithlwaufi Offier oppnUt.] 



Appeamnces Indicated that tUi 
establishment was a very recent insti- 
tution. The white Icttoia of the in- 
Hciiption were exlromoly while and 
eitremoly strong to tho sense of smoU. 
the complexion of the tables and 
chain was (like Lady Tippins'a) a 
little too blooming tj) be believed 
in, and the carpet* and floorcloth 
BccDicd to rush at tho bcholder'a foes ^ 
in the unuaual prominency of thcil j 
pattonu. But the Temple, areas- I 
tomed to tone down both the Stilt life ^ 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



177 



it, iroald Boon get the better of 

Uit. 

rVell!** said Eogene, on odo ride 

9 fire, " I feel tolerably comfort- 

I hope the upholsterer may do 



ime. 

Hiy shouldn't he?" asked Light- 

, firom the other ride of the fire. 

'o be sure," pursued Eugene, 

ting, " he is not in the secret of 

iccuniary affairs, so perhaps he 

tw in an easy frame of mind." 

ITe shall pay him,*' said Mor- 

» 

ban we, really ?" returned Eu- 

indolently surprised. **Ton 
My so!" 

mean to pay him, Eugene, for 
ixt," said Mortimer, in a slightly 
id tone. 

h! I mean to pay him, too," 
ed Eugene. '* But then I mean 
ich that I — that I don't mean." 
km't mean f " 

much tliat I only mean and 
always only mean and nothing 

my dear Mortimer. It's the 
thing." 
t friend, lying back in his easy 

watched him lying back in his 
chair, as he stretched out his 
n the hearth-rug, and said, with 
nuaed look that Eugene Wraj- 
oould always awaken in lum 
at seeming to try or care : 
nyhow, your vagaries have in- 
d the bin." 

alls the domestic virtues vaga- 
' exclaimed Eugene, raising his 

the ceiling. 

hia verj complete little kitchen 
rs," said Mortimer, *<in which 

ig will ever be cooked ** 

[j dear, dear Mortimer," re- 

1 hia friend, lazily lifting his 
a little to look .it him, ^how 
have I pointed out to yon that 
oral JTiflnence is the important 
f" 

\B moral influence on this fel- 
' exclaimed Lightwood, laugh- 

)o me the ikvonr," said Eugene, 
ig out of his chair with much 



feature of our establishment which 
you rashly disparage." With that, 
taking up a candle, he conducted his 
chum into the fourth room of the 
set of chambers — a little narrow room 
— which was very completely and 
neatly fitted as a kitchen. <'See!" 
said Eugene, ** miniature flour-barrel, 
roUing-pin, spice-box, shelf of brown 
jars, chopping- board, cofiee-miU, 
dresser elegantly furnished with 
crockery, saucepans and pans, roast- 
ing jack, a charming kettle, an ar- 
moury of dish-covers. The moral 
influence of these objects, in forming 
the domestic virtues, may have an 
immense influence upon me; not 
upon you, for you are a hopeless case, 
but upon me. In fact, I have an 
idea that I feel the domestic virtues 
already forming. Do me the favour 
to step into my bedroom. Secretaire, 
you see, and abstruse set of solid 
mahogany pigeon-holes, one for every 
letter of the alphabet. To what use 
do I devote them P I receive a bill 
— say from Jones. I docket it neatly 
at the secretaire, Jonbs, and I put it 
into pigeon-hole J. It's the next 
thing to a receipt and is quite as satis- 
factory to me. And I very much wish, 
Mortimer," ritting on his bed, with 
the air of a philosopher lectunng a 
disciple, **that my example might 
induce fou to cultivate habits of 
punctuality and method; and, bv 
means of the moral influences with 
which I have surrounded you, to 
encourage the formation of the do- 
mestio virtues." 

Mortimer laughed again, with hit 
usual commentaries of *'How can voa 
be soridiculous, Eugene!" and ^*What 
an absurd fellow yon are ! " but when 
his laugh was out, there was some- 
thing serious, if not anxious, in hie 
face. Deroite that pernicious assump- 
tion of lasritude and indifierence^ 
which had become his second nature, 
he was strongly attached to his friend. 
He had foundcKi himself upon Eugene 
when the^ were yet bovs at school; 
and at this hour imitatea him no less, 
admired him no len^ lo^cd Ydm ^o 



fy, '*tc oome and intpect (iiAiileii^ thaiiiaihoMdBS*isW4^'^ 




ITS 



OTIIt UDTUAL FBIEND. 



"Engeiif," mid he, ''it I oonld And 

yon in eamest for ^ minulB, I would 
try to «ay an eamort worJ W you." 
" An eamBrt word Y" ropoited Eu. 

Cp. "The moral influencM an 
inning to work. Say on." 

" Well, I will," returned the other. 
"though you are not enmeat yet." 

"In thie desire for euneabiMB," 
murmured Eugene, with the air of 
one who waa moditating deeply, " I 
tram the happy inflaencecoftiie little 
flour-barrel uid the ooffee-mill. Or&- 
tifying." 

" Euj;Biie." remimed Mortimer, dia- 
>«gardinK the light interruption, and 
laying a hand upon Eugene's shoul- 
der, at be, Mortinier, atood before 
him BeBt«d on hii bed, "you UB 

Eug>en« lookf 

"Ajf this past tDinnier, yon have 
been withholding aomethmg from 
me. Before we entered on our boat- 
ing Taction, you were s ^ 
it as I hara seen joa upon anytlmig 
since we firrt rowed together. But 
70U cared very little for it wbon it 
came, often found it a tie and a drag 
njion you, and wore constantly away, 

Which I know so well and like so 
macb, that your diaappeamuMa were 
precautions against our boHng 

another ; but of course alter a e 

while I began to know that they 
covered something. I don't ask what 
It is, as you have not told me; hut 
the fact is lo. Bay, is it not F " 

" I give yoo my word of honour, 
Uortimor," retomed Eugene, after a 
serious pinse of a few momenU, "that 
I don't know." 

"Don't Enow, Gogenef" 

"Upon my soul, don't know. _ 
know leas aboot myself than about 
BKnt people in the world, and I don't 



e dedgn In your 



"You Iwv* d 

" Have IP I don't think I have.' 
" At any tato, y«B Ikave MOM sob 



ject of interest thora which mad 

"I really can't «ay," t«p 
Eugene, shaking liia luod blau 
after pausing again to reconii 
"At times I have thought ye«. 
Other times I haye thought no. K 
t have boon inclioed to puiaus 1 
a subject ; now I have felt th> 
was absurd, and thst it tired 
embarrassod me. Abaolutely, I c 
Bay. FiBukly and faithfully, I Wi 
if I could." 



at upon the 
and said: 

" You must talie your &icnd a 
i*. You Imow what I am, mv 1 
Slortimer. You know how dii 
folly susceptible I am to boro^ 
You know that when I bec 
enough of a man to find mncL 
embodied conundrum, I bored m} 
to the laat degree by trying to 
out what I meant. You know 
at length I gave it up, and dec! 
to giicBs any more. 'Than how c 
poaaibly give you the answer thi 
have not discovered F The old 1 
•ery form runs, * Hiddle-me-rid 
m«-ree, p'raps you can't teQ 
what ttda may be F ' Uy reply r 
• Ko. Upon my life, I can'f '' 



withd 

not receive it aa a mere evas 
Besides, it was given with an 
gaging sir of op^ineaa. and of Ife 
eiomption of the one friend ha rail 
from hia reckloes indifference. 

" Ciane, dear boy ! " said £u«i 
"Let m tiT the effect of imati 
If it enlightens me at all on ' 
question, I will impart unreserved] 

They returned to the rDOm t 
had come from, and, finding it h<nl 
opraed a window. Having ligb 
their cigars, they leaned out of I 
window, amoking, and looking dc 
at the mooDligh^ aa it ahons into 
court below. 




OUB UtTTUAL FBIENS. 



ittat certun minutM of 
■ I feel Binoerely apologetic, 
UoTtimeTt bat notbiJig 

lin^ eomn," retomed Uor- 
otbing csut come &om it, 
. hope that tbia majr hold 
ighout. &nd. that there may 
i; on fuot. Notfaing in- 
you, Eugene, oc " 

BtByed iiim for n moment 
Land on his urn, wtiile he 
IM of eirth from an old 

on the windDw-nll, and 
y shot it at a. little point 
poeitA ; having dons which 
Action, he said, " Or P " 



mark, "hov mjurioiu to 

isF" 

nid Engans, Mjog, m he 
nd, anoUurshot, "toirhom 



his friend inquiringly and 
jpidooilj. IliBre was no 
or half-aipraiMd mMniiig 

iekt«d wsnderen in the 
the law," ssid Eugsne, 
by the sound of footateps, 
ling down fta ba ipoke, 
(o tiie oooit. They ei- 
door-poeto of number one, 
t name they want. Not 
at number one. thoy come 
two. On the bat of wsn* 
ber two. the nhorter one. I 
■eUet ~ Hitting him on tho 
oke eerenuly. and become 
in oontemplation of the 



smleWes to the door-posts 
'bora they seemed to dis- 
t they wanted, for they 
i &<sa TJ*w by witring 



at Ae doorway. 



BO prepared I 



Eugene, "you shall 
em both dnwn ; " and 
pellets for the pur- 



He I 



nckoned on their 

ilun^ his name, or Lightwood'a. 
Bat either the ons or the other 
would aeem to be in queetion, for 
now there came a knock at the door. 
"I am on duty to-night," aaid Uor- 
timor, "stay you where yon art, 
Eugene." Uequiriog no persuasion, 
be stayed there, smokinr quietly, 
and not stall curious to know who 
knocked, until Hortimer apoke to 
him &om within the room, and 
touched him. Then, drawing in his 
head, he found the visitore to be 
young Chailey Hexam and tha 
schoolmaiter ; both Btanding facing 
him, and both recognized at a glance. 

" You recollect Ihia young fellow, 
Eugene F" said Mortimer. 

" Let me look at him," retumcd 
WiBybuni, cotJly. " Oh, yes, ye*. 
I recollect him I 

He hod not been about to repeat 
that former action of taking him by 
the chin, but the boy had Huapecteil 
him of it, and had thrown ap liii 
arm with an angry start. Laugh- 
inKly, Wiaybum looked to Light- 
wood for an aipUziatian of this odd 

"He ny* ha ha* somsthing to 



" Surdy it n 



t be to yon, Mot' 



"80 I Uiooght, but ha says no- 
He aays it is to you." 

"Yes, I do say ao," interpoaed the 
boy. " And I moan to say what I 
want to say, too, Mr. Eugene Wny- 

Passing him with his OTC* as if 
there were nothing where he stood, 
Bugens looked on to Bradley Head- 
stone. With oonsummato indolence, 
he turned to Mortimer, inquLIng: 
"And who may this other person 
boP" 

"I am Ohartea Hexam's friend," 
said Bradley; "lam Charles Hexam's 




ODB UUTDAL FEIEKD. 



Composedly smoking, he leaned an 
elbow on the chimney pipre, at the 
■ide of the fiie, uid looked at the 
(chooimaHter. It wot a cruel look, 
in its cold diadain of htm, aa a crea- 
ture of DO vorth. The Khoolmastor 
looked at him, and that, 



and Qeiy wrath in it. 

Vei7 remarkably, nettlier Eugene 
'Wraybum nor Bradley Headstone 
looted at aU at the b " 
the ensuing dialogue, 
matter who apoku, oi wiiom waa aa- 
dressed, looked ut each other, lliere 
was some serifrt, eure perception be- 
tween them, whitJ] Bet them against 

"In gome high rcBpecta, Ur. Eugene 
'Wraybum," auid Ilradluy, aniweHng 
him with pa]D and quivering lipe, 
" the natuRil feelinga of my pupils 
are stronger than my teaching." 

" In most respects, 1 dare say," re- 
plied Eugene, enjoying bia cigar, 
" Ihough whether high or low is of 
DO importance. You have my name 
verycocreetly. Praywhotisyoursf" 

"It cannot conoam you much to 
Itnow, but " 

"True," interposed Eugene, atrilt- 
ing sharply and cutting Imn ^rt at 
Us mistake, " it does not concern me 
at all to Iniow, I can say School- 
master, which ia a most lespeclable 
title. Tou are right, Schoolmaster." 

It was not the dullest part of this 
goad in ils gallmg of liiadio; Head- 
stone, that be hod made it himself in 
a moment of incautious anger. He 
tiied to set his lips so as to prevent 
their quivering, but they quivered 

"Mr. Eugene Wraybum," aaid 
the boy, "I want a ir<»il with fou. 
I have wanted it so much, tJiat we 
have looked oat your address in tlie 
book, aDd ne have been to your 
ol£ce, and we h&ve come &i>m your 
office here." 

" Ton iim gtna youitelf mnch 



troable, ScbooliQaBler,'*ot«eiTed Em. 

Ce, blowing the feathery ash from 
cigar. "1 hope it may prove 
remunerative." 

" And I am glad to spcalc," par- 
sued the boy, "in presence of Mr_ 
Lightwood. Vcauso it was througb 
Mr. Lightwood that you erer aaw 

For a mere moment, Wraybom 
imud his eyes aside from the school- 
laster to note the cfTect of the last 
ord on Mortimer, who, Btandiiu(on 
the opposite side of the fire, as soon 
as the word was spoken, turned his 
face towards the fire and looked down 

_ , through Mr. 

Lightwood that you ever saw hrr 
again, for you were with him on the 
mght when my father was found, 

' so I found )-oo with her on Ihs 
day. Since thun, you have seen 
my aistcr often. Yon have seen my 

' 9- oHenor and oftener. And I 
ittolmwwhvF" 
Was this worth while, Schoot 
terf" murmured Eugene, with 
air of a disinterestM advisK. 
imuch trouble for nothing? YoB 
should know beat, but I think not" 

"I don't know, Mr. Wraybnni," 
answered Bradley, with his pasiiai 
rising, " why you address me " 

"I)on'tyouF"BaidEngene. "Hmd 
I won't" 

He nid it so tauntingly In lul 
perfect placidity, Uiat thb respectsbls 
right-hand clutdiing the respectable 
hair-guard of the reepectable wslcb 
could have wound it round his throst 

id strangled him witL it Mot 
another word did Eugene deem tt 
worth while to utter, but stood lean- 
ing his bead ufxin his hand, gmokiD^ 
and looting iniperturbably at lli» 
chafing Bradley Headstone with hll 
clutchmg right hand, until BnuUaf 
was wellnigh mad. 

" Mr. 'Wraybom," proceeded tlit 
boy, "we not only know this thai 
I have charged upon you, but ** 
know more. It has not yetcomtn 



fbond U out, bi 



hay*. We hid 



i- 




ODB MUTUAL FAIEND. 



ft [dan, Ui . Hcadatons and I. for my 
Rfiter'a education, mid for iti beiii; 
advised nnd overlooked by Mr. Hend- 
Itono, wlio ia a much mora com|ietent 
authority, whatever yoa may prutenJ 
to Uiinlc, as you smoko, than you 
coold produce, if you tried. Then, 
vhat do ve find? What do we 
find, Air. Lislitoood ? Why, wo 
End that my aistor i> alrendy bein); 
taught, witliout our iniowing it. We 
find that while my lostcr gives an 
snwiliingand cold ear to our Bchemcii 
lor her udvantngo — I, her brother, 
and ill. Headstone, the most com- 
peleat authority, oa hia celiiGcatea 
vould eaaiiy prove, that could be 
fmduced — Me is wilfully and will- 
tngly proCtiiig by other achemea. 
Ay, and taking pains, too. for I know 
what Buch |iaina are. And so does 
Jlr. IlendiitoDe 1 Well! Soihebody 

a I tor this, is a thought that oatu- 
V occurs to us; who pays? Vft 
pply our^lves to find out, ilv. LishC. 
id we find that your fiiciid, 
lhi> Mr. Eugene Wrayhum, here, 

Ey-a. Then I aak him what right hai 
to do it, and what doca he meuu 
by it, and how comes he to be taking 
neb a liberty without my cunseiit, 
« hen I am raising myself in the scale 
of lociety by my own oiertiona ai 
lit. Headstone's aid. and have i 
light to have any darkness cast upi 
my proapecta, or any imputatii 
VMa my respectability, through my 
•tterP" 

The bo}^h weabneMof this Hpcecb, 
■ with its . '- ■ 



apply 01 



Dude it a poor one indeed. Ac 
Undlcy Hcadetoae, used to the little 
iiulieace of a school, uul unused to 
lilt larger ways of men, showed ■ 
kind of exultation in it 

'■Now I tell Mr. Eugene Wray- 
tum," puTButd the boy, forced Into 
Uu use of tho third person by " 
Impclcsaness of addi-uasing him in 
Cnt, " that I object to his having any 

■Dii that 1 request him to drop it 
lilo~plheT. Uo ia not to take it into 
kii litail that I am afraid of my sister's 
taiiug for A«» -" 1 



181 

fAs the boy sneered, tlis Moslot 
snoen.ll, and Eu^-cne blew off Ihs 
feathcn' ash again.) 

But I ubiect to it, and that's 
ti. I am more important to ray 
than ho thinks. As I raise 
myself, I intend to raise her; sha 
that, and she has to look to me 
r prospects, Now I undeistand 
all this very woU, and so does ilr. 
Heodiitone. Bly sister is aji excellent 
girl, but she has some romantio 
■ ■ such thinga n« 
Wraybuma, but 
about tho lUviili of my father and 
other mutters of that sort. Mr. Wray< 
those notions to make 
himself ot imjiortonce, and so she 
thinks she ou^^bt to bo grateful to him, 
and perhaps even Itkcs to be, Nov 
I don't choose her to be grateful to 
him, or to bo grateful to anybody but 
me, except Air, Headstone. And I 
tell Mr. W'raybum that if he dou't 
take huxl of what I say, it will be 
worsu for her. Let him turn that 
over in his memory, and make sure o( 
it. Worseforher!" 

A pauic ensued, in which the 
Bcboolinostcr looked very awkward. 

" AIhi' I suggest. Schoolmaster," 
said Eugene, removing bis fast- 
waning cigar from his iips to glanca 
at it, •■ that you can now take your 

''And ilr. Lightwood." added the 
boy, with a burning face, under the 
lliiming uggrnviition of getting no soit 
of ans'cr or attention, " 1 hope you'll 
lake notice of what I have Said tu 

C\r fiiend, and of what your fHcnd 
he.it d me say, woi-d by n-oi-d, 
whatevi-r he pretends to the contrary. 
You ate bound Ui take notice of it, 
Mr. Liithtwood, for, as I have already 
mentioned, you first brought your 
friend into my aistor's company, and 
but for voa we never should have seen 
him. Lord knows none of ua evur 
wanted him, any more than nnv of ui 
'Ilcnd- 



a Jlr, El.; 



'J^andt^ouiai' 



e Wravbum 
hi-.(l- n-hiii r llit'l to 
, hell. lrm:ir]f,aiiaa» 
I to the kot woikI, vt 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEND. 



Ini 



Sont an we muted to do, and 



" (io dnwn Etnin, and loavo ine ft 
moment, Hcxam," he retumcd. The 
boy complying with an indignant 
look and lu mnch noiK as he could 
male, awnng- out of the room ; and 
] jghtwood went to the window, and 
leaned there, looking out. 

"Ton think me of no more TalnB 
than the dirt andcr your foot," said 
iinidley to Eugene, epeaking io a 
canfully weighed and meosured tone, 
or he could not have spaten at all. 

"I Msurs you, Schoolmaster," re- 
plied Eugene, "1 don't think about 

"That's not tmc," returned the 
other; "you know better." 

"That's coarae," Eugime retortod ; 
" Out you dm't know better." 

" iit. WiBybum, at least I know 
•vary well that it would bo idle to set 
myself against you in insolent words 
or overbearing maaneiB, That lad 
who has juat gone out could put you 
to shame in half-a-dozen bruichee of 
knowledge in half an hour, but yon 
can throw Lim aside like an inferior- 
Yon can do as much by me, I have 
no doubt, beforehand." 

" I'ossilily," remarked Eugene. 

" But I am more than a lad," said 
Bradley, with bia clutching band, 
" and I WILL be heard, sir." 

"Am a ichoolmasler," said Eugene, 
"you are always being beard. That 
ought to content you." 

" But it decs not content me," re- 
plied the other, white with passion. 
• ' Do ^ou suppose that a man, in form- 
ing himself for tbe duties I discharge, 
and in watching and repressing him- 
self daily to discharge them wdl, dis- 



for a good schoolnuuler. 

Bpoke, be totsed away the end of his 

" Passionate with you, sir, I admit 
I am. Passionate with you, sir, I 
respect myself for being. But I hava 
uot Devili tot mj pnpiU." 



"For ymir Tir-" — ?. I tkoM 
rather say," replied Eugcn*. 
'■ Mr. Wrajhiim," 
" t^choolmaster." 
" Bir, my uomo ii Bnffigf Head- 

" Aa 7011 jnsUy add, my good str, 
your name cannot ccDcem me. Kow, 
what more f 

" This moTO. Oh, wbat a misfbi^ 
tone is mine," cried Bradley, bmak- 
ing off to wipe the atartmg per- 
spiration from his face aa he shook 
from head to foot, " that I cannot so 
control Diyaolf as to appear a stnmgi^r 
creature ^an this, when a man who 
has not felt in all his life what I have 
felt in a day can so command him 
self 1 " He said it in a very agony, 
and even followed it with an errant 
motion of his hands aa if ha conld 
have tofn himself. 

Eugene Wreybnni looked on at 
him, OS if he found him beginning to 
be rather en entertaining study. 

"Mr. Wraybum, I deaiie to »y 
something to you on my own part." 

"Come, come, Schoolmaster," le- 
turned Eugene, with a languid ap- 
proach to impatience aa the other 
again struggled with himself ; " say 
what Ton hnve to say. And let m« 
remind you that the door is standing 
open, and your yoong friend waiting 
for you on the stairs. 

" When I accompanied that youth 
here, air, 1 did so with the purpose 0I 
adding, as a man whom you should 
not be permitted to pat aside, in case 
j-ou put him aside as a boy, that his 
mstinct is contwt and right." Thus 
Bradley Headstone, with great effort 
and difficulty. 

"la that all f" aiVed Eugeoa. 

"No, air," said the other, flnahed 

' fierce. " I strongly sapport him 

I what yon 

have taken upon yourself to dofor her.' ' 

"Is lAat allf " aaked Eugene. 

" No, air. I determined to tell yon 

thnt you ai« not justified iu these pro* 

ceedingB, and that they am iqjancM 



J - 



ouE mrrOAL friend. 



1E3 



" An yon her sdioolmMtcr u well 
>A her brothpf'lJ? — ^r pefhape you 
would lika M be P" Baid Eui^'Tie. 

It wa« a stab that the Llooil lullowed, 
in its msh to BinJIey Uc-atUtono's 
taiie, as iwiiUy m if it W been dealt 
-vith k doffger. "What do you mean 
by Ih&tf" was aa mudi aa be could 

" A natnnl ambition eooagh," uid 
Eag«ne, coolly. " Far bo it from me 
to «ay otherwise. The •iater— wboia 
■OmeUiiag loo much upon your lipa, 
perhapo — ia to very different &om all 
tike aasociationi to which she haa been 
mod, and from all the lov obscure 
people about hor, that it U k very 
aatuial ambilian." 

" Do you throw my obacuri^ in 
my teeth, Mr. WraybumP" 

"That can hardly be, for I know 
Dolhing oonceruing it, tichotdmaster, 
and seelc to know nothing." 

" Yon reproach me with my origin," 
nid Bndley Headstone; "you Caat 
iniinaations at my brin^png-np. But 
1 tell you, mi, I have worked my way 
•UTard, out of both and in spite of 
botb,and have a right to be considered 
a better man than you, with better 
naiooB for being proud." 

" How I can reproach yon with 
what is not within my knowledge, or 
how I can cast stones that were never 
u my hand, is a problom far the in- 
ganoity of a schoolaiaater to prove," 
tetumed Eugene. "IslAiMallF" 

"No, air. If jou luppoaa that 
Voy " 

" Who really will be tired of wait- 
iog," said Kugena, politely. 

" If you £uppas«> that boy to be 
biendloBa, Air. Wiuybum, yon de- 
ceive yontself . 1 am hi* Mead, and 

"And you will find Aim tm tlia 
riaiiB," ranaiked Eugene. 

"You may have promisod yonr- 
kI£ air, that you could do what you 
chose here, because you had to deal 
*ith a mere boy, inoziporienced, 
btendless, and unassisted. But I 
giro yoii waminf; that this mean 
calculation is wrong. You have to 
do viUt • mut also. You bare to 



do with me. I will support liim, 
and, it noed be, require reparation 
for him. lly hand and heart are in 
thin cuuso, and are open to him." 

" And — quite a coiiiciiicoce — the 
door is open," remarked Eaf^cne. 

" I scorn your shifty evasions, and 
I scorn you," said, tho Bchoolmaater. 
"In the meanness of your nature yon 
revile me with the meonnees of my 
birlh. I hold you in contempt for it. 
ut if you don't profit by this visit, 
111 net accordingly, you will find me 
. bitLurly in oaraest against you aa 
could lie if I deemed you worth a 
orij (bought on my own account." 
With a cooscioiialy bad grace and 
iff manner, us Wraybum looked so 
siiy and calmly on, he wont oat 
with tlicso wurda, and the heavy door 
clowd lihe a furnace-door upon hil 
nd while heats of cage. 
L curious monomaniac," nid 
Eugene. "The man SGcms to be- 
lieve that everybody was acquainted 
with his mother !" 

Mortimer LightwDod being still at 

e window, to which he hod in 

^llcacy withdrawn, Eugene called 

to bim, and he fell to slowly pacing 

the room. 

" ily dear fellow," said Eugene, aa 
he lighted another cigar, "I fear my 
unexpected visitors havo been trouble 
If as a set-off (eicuse th* 
phrase from a barrislec-at-law) 
vould like to ask Tippina Ui tea. 
I pledge myself to moke love to her.' 
" Eucene, Eugene, £ugene," rft- 
pUod Mortimer, still pacing the loom, 
" I am Boiry for this. And to think 
Uiat I have been ao blind 1 " 

" How blind, dear boy F" inquired 
his unmoved tiiend. 

" What woro your words that 
nipht at the river-side public-house?" 
ioid Lightwood, stopping. "What 
was it that you asked me ? Did I 
feel like a dark combination of traitor 
and pickpocket when I tliought of 
that girl P" 

" I seem to remembei tbe eipita< 
BJon." said Eugene. 

" How do you feel when yoo Utinlt 
of her just now f" 




1st 



OUB UUTDAL FBIEMIk 



nil friend m&de no direct reply, 
but observed, alter t. few whiffs of 
hill cigar. " Don't miatake the Bitua- 
tioD. There ia no better girl !□ all 
this IiondoD than Liztio Hoxam. 
There i« no tM>tt«r among my people at 
home ; no better among your people." 

" Granted. What followa f 

" There," said Eugene, looliing 
ftfler ^iin dubioualj as he paced away 
to the other end of the room, "you 
put me again upon gucBeing the 
tiddlo that I ha^e given up." 

' ' Eugene, do you design to capture ' 
and desert this girl t" 

"My dear fellow, no." 

" Do you design l« marry her t" 

•• My dear fellow, no." 

" Do yon design to pureue her f " 

" My dear fellow, I don't desig 
- ■'---- I havB no design what- 



are von doing f Wliare a 

ingf'* 



anything. 



n incapable of designs. If 
1 conceived a design, I should speedily 
abandon it, exhausted by thu opeia- 

" Oh Eugene, Eugene !" 

" Mt dear Mortimer, oot Out tone 
of melancholy reproach, I onlreat. 
What can I do more than tell yon all 
1 know, and Bcfenowledge my ignor- 
ance of all I don't know ! Mow does 
that little old song go, -which, under 
pretence of being cheerful, is by far 
the moat lugubnoua I ever heard ' 
my life F 

* Away wifh melBucholy, 



Don't let na sing Fal la, my dear 
Hortdmar (which ia eompaiatively 
immeaning), but let us aing that ws 
give up gueaaing llta riddle allo- 
gethar.'^ 

" Are yon in communication with 
thia girl, Eugene, and u wh«t Uleae 
peoptea^Uuef" 



I " I concede t>otli adnrdssions to nj 
honourablo and learned biend." 

'•Then what IB t 
What a 
you going! 

" My dear Mortimer, one would 
think the tchoolmaater had left be- 
hind him a catechizing infection. 
You are ruffled by the want of 
another cignr. Take one of these, I 
entreat. Light it at mine, which ia 
in perfect order. So ! Vow do ma 
the juBtice to observe that I am doing 
all I can towanla eelf-improvement, 
and that you hare a light Ukrown on 
thoae household implements vhich, 
when you only saw Uicm as in a glass 
darkly, you were hastily^ — I muat aay 
hastily — inclined to depreciate. Sen- 
sible of my deficiencies, I have sur- 
rounded myself with moral iofluencea 
eipreesly meant to promote the for- 
mation of the domestic virtuea. To 
those influencea, and to the improving 
society of my friend from bovhooi 
commend me with your beat wihee."* 
"Ah, Eugene I' said Lightwood, 
affectionately, now standing near 
him, BO that they both stood in one 
little cloud of smoke ; " I would that 
you ahsverod my three qnestionst 
What is to come of it r What ar« 
you doing P Where are you going f " 

"And my doa" ■■' ■■ 

imed Eugene, lij 

le amoke with ..._ 

betler expoaition of his &Bnkne» of 
feee and manner, " believe me, I 
would answer them instantly if I 
could. But to enable me to do so, I 
muat first have found out the ttoublo- 
some conundrum long abandoned* 
Here it is. Eugene Wraybum." 
Tapping his forehead and breast 
" Eiddle-me, riddle-me-t«e, perhapa 
you can't tell me what thia may be F 
—'So, upon my life I oa't. I sin 
ittopl" 




OUB MtlTUAL FaiENR 
CHAPTEB VIL 



Tm anangnnetit between Mr. 
BolEn Rod his literary man, ilt, 
Bilu V/egg, BO for altered with the 
illered halite of Mr. Boffin's lite, aa 
llint the Boman Empire nsoalljr de- 
clined in the moroiDfif and in the 
(inioently ariBtocrstic family roan- 
liou, nilher than in the evening, as 
of yore, and in Boffin'n Bower. There 
•me occasioaa, hoverer, when Hr. 
Boffin, seeking a brief refuge &om 
the blaDdighmente of faahjon, would 
pwent binuelf at the Bower after 
dark, lo anticipate the next aallyini:; 
fgrth of Wei^g, and would there, on 
the old eeltle, punue the downward 
furtnne^ of those enervated and cor- 
npted mastei* of the world who were 
br this time on their last len. I f 
fregg had been wotse paid for his 
iffice, or better qnaliSed to dischaT|;e 
it, he would have convdered these 
( Tigib complimentary and afreeable ; 
. but, holding the position of a hand- 
t Kniely- remunerated humbng. he re- 
l iented thorn. This was quite accord- 
P- ing to rule, for the incompetent 
•trrant, by whomsoever employed, is 
ilvayn against hie employer. Even 
' tkne bom goTomors, nobleand right 
bnoonrable creatures, who have been 
(he TBoat imbecile in high places, have 
Doifonnly shown themselves the most 
oppoeed (sometimes in belong dis- 
tnvt. sinnetimee in vapid insolence) 
Is Ikiir employer. What is in such 
vise tme of the public master and 
■m^nt, is equally true of the private 
natter and servant all the world over. 
When Mr. Silas Weg^ did at Ust 
obtain Ires access to " Our House," 
13 hfc had been wont to call the man- 
DoQ outside which he hadsatsheltcr- 
1ns ao long, and when be did at last 
fnd it in all particulars as dilTnrcnt 
tna his mental plana of it as accotd- 
ing to the nature of things it well 
(■.iild be, that far-seclng and far- 
p ;.':'iir?!' chnnittf^, by wjir of as-vrt- 



wir 



T out n 
OtWU to l^i i 



a melancholy strain of musing orer 
the mournful past; as if the house 
and he bad had a fall in life together. 
'^And this, sir," Silas would say to 
biB patren, sadly nodding bis head 
and musing, "was once Our House I 
This, sir, is the building from which 
I have so often seen those groat crea- 
tures, Mias Elizabeth, Master Oeo»ek 
Aimt Jane, and Uncle Parker — 
, whose very names were of his own 
inventing — " pass and repass I And 
has it come tothis, indeed 1 Ah dear 

So tender wore his lamentations, 
that the kindly Mr. Boffin was quite 
sorry for him, and almost felt mis- 
trustful that in buying the house hs 
had done him an irreparable injury. 

Two or three diplomatic interviews, 
the result of great subUety on Mr. 
Wogg's part, but assuming the maslc 
of careless yielding to a fortuitous 
combination of circumstances impel- 
ling him towards Clerkenwell, had 
enabled bim to complete his bargain 
with Mr. Venn*. 

" Bring me round to the Bower," 
said Silas, when the bai^ain waa 
closed, " neit Saturday evening, and 
i f a sociable gloss of old Jamaikey warm 
should meet your views, I am not the 
man to begrudge it." 

" You are aware of my being poor 
company, sir," replied Mr. Veno^ 
"but be it so." 

It being so, here is Saturday oven- 
ing come, and here is Mr. Vennt 
come, and ringing at the Bowor-gat& 

Mr. Wegg opens the gate, descries 
a sort of brown paper truncheon 
under Mr, Tenus's arm, and remark^ 
in a dry tene ; "Oh 1 I thought per- 
haps you might have come in a cab." 

" No, Mr. Wogg," repliea Veniii. 
"I am 1 t above a parcel." 

"Above a parcel! No!" say* 
WegK. with some diaaitis Faction. 
But does not openly i^wl, "a cor- 
Uiin sort of poreel miyht be above 







OUE MUTUAL FBMMD. 



Wejtg:," Kiya VenuB, politely hnnJ- 
insr it OTCr, " ftod I am glad to i-esWro 
it to the coorce Irom whence it — 
flowed." ! 

"Thnnltee," •ays Wegg. *'Now 
this afloii is conduded, I ma; men- ; 
tioD to you in a, frioadly vay that ' 
I bare m; doubti whether, if I had I 
consulted a lawyer, you could havD 
knut t)iis srljcle back from mo. I 
only throw it out as a legal point." 

" Do you tliink »o, Mr. Wegg f I 
bought you in open ooatract. 

"You can't tuy human fleah aai 
Uaod in tbia countn', or; not alivo, 
you can't," lays Wegg, »hiilting his 
taad. "Then query, boneP" 

"A« a legal p«int t" aaksVeoiiB. 

" Aa a legal point.'' 

" I am nut competent to speak 
upon that, Mr. Wegg," says Venus, 
nddoDing and growing ■omething 
louder ; " but apoo a point of fact I 
think myself compeUnt to speak ; 
tnd 03 a point of fact I woald have 
seen you — will you allow as to say, 
further?" 



n ha hai got hito a 



if I V 






cally. 



■. Wegg Huggestd, 



— "liefore I'd bave given that 
packet into your baud without being 

rd my price for it I don't pretend 
know how the point of law may 
■tand, but I'm thoroughly confident 
Bpan the point oF fact. 

Aa Ur. Venus is irritabla (no donbt 
owing to hiB disappointment in love), 
and 08 it is not the cue of Mr. Wegg 
to hare him out of tamper, Uic latter 
gcntloman soothingly reniuks, "I 
only put it u a little cose ; I only 
put it ha'porthctically." 



enus softens and complij 

him on his abode ; proliting by the 

oocacioa to lemiud Wegg that he 



na>) told h 

Toieiablc," Wegg rejoina. "But 
boar in mind, Mr. Venus, that there'i 
I no gold without its allo^. Mix teg 

{ouraclf a;id take a. soat m Uie chin^ 
ley -comer. Will you pcrfuim upon 
;»pipe,«irf" _ 

I *'l am hut anindifferent performer, 
air," return! the other : "hut I'll ac- 
company you with a whiff or two at 

So, Mr. Venus mixes, and Wegg 
jmiiGs; and Mr. Venus lights and 
puS's, and Wegg lif^hts and puQa. 

" And there's alloy ecen in Uui 
metal of yonra, Mr. Wegg, yon was 
remarking F" 

" Uystanr," returns W*^, "I 
don't like it, Mr. Youus. J don't 
like to have the life knocked out of 
former iahahilaats of this houoe, ia 
the gloomy daik, and not know who 

"Might yon have any "■t'-T'™h 
Mr. Wegg f" 

"Ko," retoma that gentleman. 
" I know who profits by it But 
Tve no auspiciona." 

Having said which, Mr. Wegg 
amokes and looks at the fire with a 
moat determined expression of Cha- 
rity ; as if he had caught that cardinal 
viiiue hy the skirla aa she felt it har 
painful duty to depart &om bim, and 
held her by m ■ " 






> W-egg, "1 



have observations aa X can offer upm 
certain points and partiea ; but I 
make no objectaons, Mr. Venus. Una 
is an immenae fortune drops &om Ihs 
clouds upon a poreon that shall be 
□amelees. Here is a weekly allow- 
ance, with a certain weight of coab, 
dropa &om the clouds apon ma. 
Which of uaia the better man? Kot 
the person that shall be namelGA 
That's an observation of mine, bat I 
don't make it an objection. I taks 
my alio nance and my certain wcigbt 
of coals. He takee his fottuco. Ttut'l 
the way it works." 

" It would bs a good thing for no, 
if I could see things in tno caln 
light you do, Mr. M'l^g." j 




OUB HUTUUi FBIEHSi 



"Agtia look hare," pjatntt Silu, 
•ith an (awtorical flouriBh of hia pipe 
Brd his woodsn leg : the Utter hftting^ 
m undi^itied tendoDcy to tilt him 
back in hia chair ; " hcre'i snotber 
Dhservatian, Mr. Venn*, imBCconi- 
puiied with an objection. Him that 
ihill be DiuneUss u luble to be talked 
orei. He geU talked OTer. Him 
Ihat ahall be namelev, bavins me at 
kii right hand, natut&Uy looking to 
1w promoted hi|;her, and yon may 
nrhapa tay meriting to be ptomotod 

(Ur. Veatu mazmazt i^Mt he doe* 

— " Him that shall be namelen, 
imder mich circumstance!, pasua me 
bf, and pets a talking-over atranger 
aboTB my head. Which of lu two 
IB the better man ? Which of iu two 
can repeat moat poetry ? Which of 
DB two has, in the service of him that 
siiall be nameUsa, tackled the Komana, 
both dvil and mililarj, till he has 
got aa husky aa if he'd beea weaned 
and erer since brought up on aaw- 
iiut ? Not the talldng-over atrangor. 
Tet the bouse is as tree to him aa if 
it was his, and he has his room, and 
is put upon a footing, and drawn about 
a Uonijand a year. 1 am haniahed to 
the Bower, to be found in it like a 
laece of furniture whenever wanted. 
Uerit, therefura, don't win. That' 



Uu way it worlis. I observe it, be- 

e I can't butp observing it, being 

iccnslomed to tue a powmful sight 



; but I don'£object £i 

ben before, Mr. Venus f" 
"Not inside the gate, Mr. Wogg. 
" Yoa've been as &T as the gate 

lien, Mr. Venus P" 
" Yea, Mr. Wc^, and peeped is 

Itom curiosity. " 
" Did you see anything f" 
" Notlmig but the dust-yard." 
Hr. 'Wegg rolls his eyes all ctnmd 



inert of hjs, and then rolls bis 
(11 round Mr. Venus ; aa if suspi 
of his having aomething about him to 



me voold have thought It nl^U 
hara been polite in you, too, to giv« 
him a call And you're naturallv of 
a polite disposition, you are." Ilia 
last clause aa a softening compliment 
to Mr. Venus. 

"It is true, sir," replies Tenua, 
winking hia weak eyea, and rmminr 
hia fingers through hia duety sho^ 
of hair, " that I was so. before a cer- 
tain obsen-atioii soured me. Yon 
understand to what I allude, Mr. 
Wogg F To a certain -written atate- 
meut respecting not wishing to be 
regarded in a certain li^t. Since 
that, aU is fled, save geiir 

"Not all," says Mr. Wegg, in • 
tone of aentimental condolence. 

"Tee, air." returns Viinufl, "alll 
The world may deem it baiih, hut 
I'd quite aa loon pitch into my boat 
friend aa not. Indeed, I'd aooner!" 

Involuntarily making a paaa with 
his wooden leg to guard himself al 
Mr. Venus springs up in the em- 

C' isis of this unsociable declaration, 
. Wegg tilts over his back, chair 
and all, and is reecued by that barm* 
less misanthrope, in a disjointed tteX* 
and ruefully rubbing his head, 

" Why, you loat your balance, Mr. 
Wegg," Bays Venus, hanriing him hia 
pipe. 

■> Aod about time to do it," gnun- 
blea Silas, " when a man's visitorg^ 
without a word of notice^ conduct 
tbDmaelTGfl with the sudden wicious- 
uess of Jacks-in-boxes I Don't coma 
fiying out of your chair like that, Mr. 



a^umeatatively, "a well-goven 
mind can be soorod sitting i And aa 
to being regarded in lights, thoro'a 
bumpey lights as well as bcny. In 
whicJi, again rubbing his hcod, " I 
object to regard mjsolt" 
" I'll bear it in memory, rir." 
"If you'll bo so good."' Mr.Wegff 
slowly lubdues bi* ironical tone and 
hia lingering irritation, and rcsumoa 



m being a Mend ^yoata." 



lU 



OUR ICDTUAL FBIEKD. 



eturna Wcag, with ■ Knfdj reliah. 
" Ke had always the look of it, 



" Not A JHond, lb. Wojnt- Only 
known to ipeak to, and to have a little 
deal with now and than. A vary in- 
quisitive character, Mr. "Waasf, n- 
gariiing' what waa found in Uie dust 
Aa inquiailive ai socret." 

Ton found hiin 

Kg, wiU 

■nd tho 

" Ah I " witli enothar roll of hia 
eyes. "Aa to what waa found in the 
dubt now. Did you ever hear him 
mention how he found it, my dear 
fiiendf Living on the myatBrioua 
Tiromises, one would like to know. 
Fosinataace, where he found things t 
Or, for inatjuice, how he set about it T 
Whether he be)(aa at the (Op of the 
mounds, or whether ha becan at the 
bottom. Whether he prodded;" Mr. 
Wegg'l pantomime la skilful and 
expressive here; "or whether he 
•cooped f tihuuld yoD say scooped, 
my dear Mt. Venua ; or should you — 
•a a man— aay prodded t " 

"I should sayneither, Mr. Wegg." 

" As a fellow-man, Mr. Venua — mix 
again — why neither ?" 

" Becanae I auppoee, sir, that what 
was found, waa found in the sorting 
tnd aifting. All the mounda are 
aorted and sifted f" 

" Yoa shall see 'em and pan yonr 
opinion. Mix again." 

On each occasion of hi« saying 
"mil again," Mr. Wegg, with a hop 
on hia wooden leg, hitchea hia chair a 
little nearer ; more aa if he were pro- 



ahould repleni^ Iheir glnHsea- 

" Living (aa I said before) 
myBtcrioua promisea," aays Wegg 
vhen the other haa acted on his hos- 
pitahio entreaty, " one likes to know. 
Would you bo inclined to say now — 
as a brother— -that he ever hid tbiugi 
in the duBt, ns well as found 'em ?" 

■' Mr. Wcffg, on the whole X should 
ny he might." 

Mi. Wcgg claps on hii spectacles, 
and admiringly surveys Mr. Venua 
from head to foot. 

" As a mtnial equally with myself 



whoee band I lak« in mloa for Cba 
flnt time thia day. having unaoconnt- 
ably overlooked that act ao full of 
boundless confidence binding a fellow, 
crcotur (o a fellow-crcotur," aayc 
Wegg, holding Mr. Venua's palm out, 
flat und nsuiy for smiting, and now 
■miting it ; "as each — and no other— 
for I scorn all lowlier ties betwixt 
myself and the man walking with hi* 
face erect that alone I call tny Twin 
— re^pirUcd and regarding in this 
trustful bond — what do yon think he 
might have hid P" 

" It is bnt a Buppoaition, Sir. W^fg." 
"Aa a Being with hia hand npon 
hia heart," cries Wegg; and the 
apostrophe ia not the less impreasive 
for the Beiiig's hand being actually 
m and water; "pnt your 
■uppoeition into language, and bring 
■' it. Mr. Venua!" 

Ue waa the species of old gentle- 
, air," alowlv returns that practi* 
inatomist, after drinking, " that I 
should judge likely to take such op- 
portunities as this place ofTered, of 
stowing away money, valuables, may- 
be papers." 

" Aa one that was ever en ornament 
to human life," says Mr. "W^v. again 
holding out Mr. Venus's paJm as if 
he weni going to tell hia fortune by 
chiromancy, and holding his own np 
ready for amiting it when the time 
Bbould come ; " aa one that the poet 
might have had hia eye on, in writing 
the national naval words : 
H»liB «-wMlhfr, now l»y ber clat^ 

cried I, Ur VeDu, (it* W fsthar 

tlmndi uHl grapplfl, ilr, u ib* flical 

aay. regarded in the liglit 






of true British Oak. for such yon aie 
— explain. Mr. Venus, the expreaaion 
'papers'!" 

" Seeing that the old gentleman 
was generally cutting off some near 
relation, or blocking out some natural 
aOection." Mr. Venua tcjoina, " he 
most likely made a good many will* 
and codicils." 

The palm of Silas "Wcgg deai*nds 
with a sounding smack upon the polD 




CUE lUmjAL TBJESD. 



ISB 



tf Tomii, and Wtgg UTithlj «x-' 
dsims. " Twin in opinion equftlly 
with feeling ! Mii a litUo more l" 

Bavin;; nov hitched hU wooden 
kg and tiis chair doae in fiont of Mr. 
Tenus, Mr. W^g rapidly miiea for 
Txith. give» his visitor hia gliua, louchen 
its lim with the rim of hii own, pnts 
hii own ta his Hpa, put^ it down, and 
ipreading his handA on hia viiitor'B 
kneea, thus addressea him : 

"tit. Venas. It ain't that I object 
to being passed over for a stranger, 
though I regard the itruiger as a mora 
than donbtiol cuBtomer. It ain't fbr 
tba sake of maldng- money, thonch 
nioney is ever welcome. It ain't tor 
iDTtelf. though I am not so haughtj 



-woold that 1)0, Mr. Venus, but fba 
<o of the wrong P" 
Say it was papers," Ur. Venut 
propounds. 

''According i<i what they contained 

should offer to dispose of 'em to 

the parties most interested," repliea 

Wegg, promptly. 

"In th 
Wegg P" 

"Always so, Ur. Venus. If the 
parties should use them in tbo causa 



Ur. Venna paseiTely winking his 
weak eyes both at once, demwids : 
"Wiatis, Mr.Woggf" 

" The friendly moro, sir. that I now 
jropoee. You see the move, sir F" 

"Till you have pointed it oat, Sir. 
Wemt.Ican'tsaywhelherldoornot," 

" II there u anything to be found 
tti these premises, let ns find it to- 
gether. X<et us make the hiendlj 
matB of agreeing to look for it to- 
gether. Let us mabe the friendly 
move of agreeing to share the proEta 
ef it equally betwixt us. In the i 
d the right" Thus Silu, assum 

"Then," says Mr. Venns, looking 
Dp, after meditating with his hair held 
b) his hands, as if he could only fix 
Ms attention by fixing his head ; " if 
uything was to be nnburied from 
under the dust, it would be kept 
secret by yon and ma P Would that 
be it. Ifr.WeggP" 

" That would depend upon what it 
was, Hr. Venus. Say it was money, 
a plata, or jewellery, it would be as 
moch oni« as anybody else'i 

Mr. Venus rubs an eyebrow, inter- 
iagaUvc!7. 

" Id the csnie of the right [t would. 
Berauso it would be nnknowingiy eold 
with the mounda else, and the buyer 
would «et what he was never meant to 
have, and never bftught. And what 



e of tlM right, Ur. 



opinion of you, sir, to which it is not 
easy to give mouth. Since I called 
upon you that evening when yon 
were, as I may say, floating your 
powerful mind in tea, I have lelt thafi 
■ou required to be roused with an 
ibject. In this friendly move, sii^ 
you will have a glorious object to 

Mr. Wegg then goes on to enlarga 
upon what throughout has been up- 
permoHt in his crafly mind : — tho 
qualifications of Mr. Venus for such a 
search. He expatiates on Ur. Venus'l 
patient habits and delicate manipula- 
tion; on his skill in piecing little 
things toother; on his knowledge of 
-arions tissues and t'^xtures ; on the 
ikolihood of small indications leading 
im on to the discovery of great con- 
cealments. " While as to myself," 
says Wegg, " I am not good at iL 
■ftTiether I gave myself up to prod- 
ding, or whether I gave myself up Ut 
«»>oping, I couldn't do it with that 
delicate touch so as not to show that 
I was disturbing the mounds. Uuite 
different with you, going to work (as 
)fDU would^ in the light ef a fellow- 
man, holily pledged in a fiiendly 
move to his brother man." Ur. 
Wegg next modestly remarks on tha 
want of adaptation in a wooden teg 
to ladders and such like airy perches, 
and also hints at an inhei'ent tendency 
that timber fiction, when callod 
BctiuD for the purposes (.f a pro- 
nade on an ashc^ slope, to stick 
itself into the yielding foothold, and 
; ita owner to one spot Then, 
iving this pait of the tuhiectt' bA 







0U& UUTUAL FBIEKD, 



that before his inBtnllation 
Ztower, it wu from Mr. Veov 
1]6 tint heard of Xho legend of hiddon 
wealth in tha Motmda: "which," ' 
Dbservcfl with a vaguely pioua 
" wu m rsly never meant ior nothin 
Lastly, he retunu to the CBiue of 
right, gloomilf forcBhadowing the 
poBHibility of loniDthinR being un- 
aaithed to crinunate Uj. Boffin ^of 
whom he once mora c&ndidlj admiti 
it cannot be denied that ha profits bjr 
a murder), and anticipating hii de- 
nunciation by tha friendly moven to 

'^\'egg eiprOBBly pointa out, not at all 
lor tbe lake of the reward — though it 
'would be ■ want of principle not to 
take it 

To all thit, Ur. Tenn*, vith bia 
■hockof duty hair cocked aOar the 
manner of a terrier's cara, attendi 

erofoundlj. Wben Mr. 'Wegg, hav- 
ig finished, opens hii anna wide, aa 
if to ahow Mr. Venui how bare hia 
breast ia, and then folds them pending 
a reply, Mr. Venus winks at hiin 
with bo^ eyea some little time before 
fpeaking. 

" I see yon hara triad it l)y yourself, 
Vi. Wegg," ha says when ha does 
apcalc "You have found out the 
duBcultiea by aipcHence." 

" No. it can hardly be said that I 
have tried it," ro^liei Wegg, a little 
dashed by the bmt " I hai 



"And found 
difficulties?" 

Wegg ahakea hia head. 

"I scarcolv know what to say to 
this, Mr. wegg," obserreB Venua, 
after ruminating for a while. 

"Say yea," Wogg naturally nrgea. 

" If I waan't soured, my answer 
would be No. Bat being soured, Mr. 
'Wogg, and driven to reckless madness 
and deaperation, I suppose it's Yes." 
_Wege joyfully reproduces the two 

E 'asses, repeats the ceremony of clink- 
g their rims, and inwaidly drinks 
with great heartiness to the heallh 
and Bocceaa in life of the young 
Ikdy wtbO has T«duced Mr. Vuiui 






1 to Itii [nwnt omvenimt ataJ 

1 ba articles of the friendly 
are than sererally recited and a. 
upon. They are bnt secrecy, Gd 
and peraeveranca. The Bower 
alwara free of access to Mr. '^ 
for his reeeaiches, and every pi 
tion to be taken against their at 
ing observslion im the neigfa 

"There's a footstep!" tai 

•■ When t " criea W^g, start 

"Outside. Stl" 

They sre in the act of latifyii 
treaty of friendly move, by *h 
hands upon it. They softly b[« 
light their pipes whiih have got: 
and lean back in their chaira. 
doubt, a footalep. It approacht 
window, and a hand tap* at the 
"Come in I" calls Wegg; ma 
oome round by tha door. Bt 
heavy old-fashioned sash ia ) 
raised, and a bead slowly looks i 
of Uia dark background of nigt 

"Pray is Mr. Gilaa Wegg 
Oh ! I saa him 1 " 

The friendly moTeis might nol 
been i^uite at their ease, even tl 
the vuitor had entered in the 
manner. But, leaning im the b 
high window, and staring ia ( 
the darknesB, they find the \ 
eitremely embarrassing. £ape 
Mr. Venus : who removes hia 
draws back his head, and stai 
the starer. as if it were his 
Hindoo baby come to fetch himl 

"Good evening, Mr. Wegg. 
yard gate-lock should be look< 
if you please ; it don't catch-" 

"Is it Mr. Eokeamithr" i 

"It is Mr. Kokeamith. Don 
me disturb yon. I am not comii 
I have only a message for you, i 
I undertook to dehvar on my 
home to my lodgings. I was u 
minds about cobiing b^ond tht 
without ringing: not knowing 
you might have a dog about." 

" 1 wish I had," mutters V 
witli bis lufk turned as he tvia 




ODE MUTUAI, PElEinX 



IBI 



hiidirir. "StI Hiulil ThetalkuiK- 
ercr itranger, Mr, Veoos." 

"Ii that any one I knowf io- 
qiiirea the staring Secrrtoiy. 

'"No. Mr. Rokeemith. Friend of 
■hie. PoaainK the evernDg with : 

"Oh! I Ijeg hia pardon. 
Boffin wishM ;on to know that he 
iota not eipect yoa to staji at home 
ic]> erening on the chance of hii 
raining. It has occmred to him that 
he may, withont intending it, havi 
ieen a tia npoa yon. In future, if 
lie ihoold come without notice, be 
vill take his chuncie of finding; jioo, 
aid it viU be all the same to him if 
ki does not. I undertook to tell yon 
oomyway. That" ■ all," 

With that, and "Oood night," 
the Secretary lowers the window, and 
diatppeara. They listen, and hear 
hii faot«tepa go back to the gate, and 
ima the gate cIo«e after him, 

"And for that indiTidual, Ur. 
TsDui," remarks Wegg, when he is 
fally gone, "J have been passed over! 
let me uk yoQ what yon think of 
kimf " 

Apj«renOy Mr. Veniu doe* not 
know what to think of him, for he 
Mko* sundry eJTorUtorepljr, without 
delivenng himself of any other or- 
ticulate nttcrauce than that he bas 
*a lingular look." 

"A double look, yon mean, air," 
vqoins Wegg, playing bitterly npon 
tlie word. " Thafa iii look. Any 
■nmnt of aingular look for me, but 
act a double look '■ That's an under- 
landed mind, sir." 

"Bo you BBv there's something 



„ _ mfVen 
"Something against himf" re- 
PMtB Wegg. "Something P What 
would the relief he to my feelings — 
m a follaw^ntB— if I mn't tli« 



■lave of truth, and didn't feel my- 
■df competled to answer, Every- 

Hca into whnt wonderful mntidlin 
refuges feotherlcss ostriches plurce 
their hends ! It is such unGpeakabls 
moral componaation to Wegg to b# 
overcome by the consideration that 
Mr. Eokesnuth has an underhanded 



showing that friendly ) . .. . __ 
across the yard, and both are lome- 
tbing the worse for miiing haain 
andiignic; "on this starlight mght 
to think that taltcing-over strangers, 
and underhanded nunds, can go walk- 
ing hume under the liky, a* if thef 
was uU aqnare!" 

" The spectacle of those Orbs," aayi 
Mr, Venus, gazing upward wit! hit 
hat tumbling off, "brings heavy on 
me her crushing woi^ that ^e did 
not wish to regard herself nor yet to 
be regarded in that- — — " 

"I know! I know] Ton needn't 
repeat 'em," says Wegg, pressing 
his hand. " But think how thosa 
stars steady me in the cause of ths 
right against some that shall bo 
nameless. It isn't that I bearmalice. 
But see how they glisten with old 
remembrances ! Old romembrancM 
of what, sirP" 

Mr, Venus begins drearily reply- 
ing, " of hnr wordi, in her own hand- 
writing, that she does not wish to 

regard herself, nor yet " whon 

Silas cuts him short with dignity. 

"No, airl Remembrances of Ooi 
House, of Master Goorge, of Aunt 
Jane, of Uncle Parker, all laid waste I 
All offered npsacriSceato the mini"!! 
of l!orttm» and the wona of tlw 




OUB HUT UAL FBIEND. 



CHAPTEE Tin. 



Tm inliijon of foitans uid tlie 
worm of tho hoar, or in Iom cut " 

laD^affG.Nicodemufl Boffin, Esqi 
the Qoldeo Dn«tm»n, hod becom 
much at home in bis eminently nris- 
tocratic (ainilv manBion aa he ' 
liliel; ever to be. Ho cou]d not ' 
feel that, like ui eminently aiii 
cnttic fikmilj cheese, it viia much 
JfiTRe for his wants, and bred an 
finite amount of panisites ; but be 
was contcut to regurd lliis drawback 
OD his prnjH'rty as a sort of perpetual 
Legacy Duty. He felt the more re 
■igoed to it, forasmuch as Mrs. Boffii 
enjoyed hcraclf completely, and Alise 
Bella was delighted. 

That young lady was, no doubt, 
•equiaibon *- "— ''' " 



iotllns. She wa 



. . _ . low tho tone of 
career. Whether it improved her 
heart might be a matter of taste that 
was open to queatiin : but as toach- 
ing another matter of taste, its im- 
provement of her appearance and 
nuoner, there could be do questioD 

And thoB it soon came about that 
Visa Bella began to set Mis. Boffin 
light ; and even further, that Miaa 
Bella began to feel ill at ease, and as it 
were responsible, when she saw Sirs. 
Boffin going wrong. Not that so 
•wcet a disposition and so Bound a 
nature could ever go very wrong 
even among the great visiting autho- 
rities who agreed that the Boffins 
were "charmingly vulgar" (which 
for certain was not their own case 
in saying so), but thjit when she 
made a slip on the social ice on which 
bU the cliiidren of Podsnappery, with 
geatccl Guuls to be saved, arc required 
to sbule in circles, or to slide in lung 
rows, she inevitably tripped Sliss 
Bella up [so tliat young lady folt), 
Mad caused her to experience great 
ooofiuion under the glances M tha 



more stcilful perfonnen engRgaS fa 
those ire-eiercises. 

At Miss Bella's time of life it was 
not to bo eipectfd that she should 
examine herself very closely on the 
congroity or sUibility of her position 
in Mr. Boffin's house. And as she 
had never been sparing of complaints 
of her old home when she had no 
other to compare it with, so thcra 
was no novelty of ingratitude or dis- 
dain in her very much preferriiig her 

" An invaluable man is Roke- 
smith," said Mr. Boffin, after some 
two or three months. " But I Csm't 
quite make him out." 

Neither could Bella, «o she finmd 
the subject rather interesting. 

" He takes more care of my aDoin, 
morning, noon, and night," said Mr. 
Boffin, '' than fifty other men put to- 
gether either oould or would ; and 
ret he has ways of his own that are 
like tying a Kaffolding-pole right 
across the road, and bringing me up 
short when I am almost B-waUdog 
arm-in-arm with him." 

"MaylMkhowso,mir">nqmred 
Bella. 

" Well, my dear," said Hr. Boffin, 
" he won't meet any company here, 
but yon. When we have visitors, I 
should wish him to have his regular 
place at the table like ounelvea ; bat 
no. he won't take it." 

" If he considers himself above it," 
said Miss Bella, with an airy tois 
of her head, "I should leave him 

" It ain't that, my dear," replied 

Mr Boffin, thinking it over. "H> 

't consider himself above it," 

Perhaps he considers himself b^ 

neath it," suggpitiyl Bella. "Uso, ■ 

he ought to know best." 

"No, my dear; nor it ain't that 
neither, ^o," repeated Mr. Boffin, > 




ODB MUTUAL EmEND. 



Bodeit man, bat ha don't oonEideT 

iimself beneatli it" 

"Then vhat doM ha coaler, 
Br?" uked Bella. 

"Dasbad if I know!" raid Mr. 
Boffin. " It seemed at fint as if it 
*u onl3r Lightwood that he objected 
to mseC Acd now it e ' ' 

(reiybodj-, except yon." 

"Ohol" thoughtSIuBBella. "In 
-deed! T^aCi it, isit!" For Mr. 
Hortimer Lif;htwo()d had dined there 
tm or three timea, and ahe had met 
ium elsewhere, ancl he had shown I 
nine attention. "Raider cool in 
Secretary — and Pa'a lndger — to ma 
~ « the subject of his jealousy 1 " 

That Pa's daughter should be 
ntemptuous of Pa'a lodger was 
odd ; but there were odder anomaliea 
than that in the mind of the spoilt 
|iil : the doubly spoilt airl : spoilt 
iM by poverty, and then by wealth. 
Be it this history's part, however, j 
to leave them to unravel themselves. 

"Alittle too much, I think," Mias 
Belh r«Sccted scornfully, "to have 
Ei'i lodger laying claim to me, and \ 
toping eligible people off! A little: 
fan much, indeed, to have the Oppor- ' 
tmiities opened to me by Mr. and ' 
Un. Bo£n, appropriated by a mere 
Becretary and Pa's lodger!'' : 

Yet it was not so very li>ng aM . 
tiat Bella had been fluttered by ^e ! 
Itnovery that tlii" same Becretary 
od lodger seemed to like her. ' ' ' 
Wt the eminently aristocratic Tn 
nd Mia. lioffin'i dressmaker bad not , 
toae into play then. 

In spite of bis seemingly mtiring' 
Bumeni,a veryintruaiTa peia>.s, this 
Sicrttary and lodger, in Mias Bella's 
ipuion. Always a light in bis office- 
Bom when wo came home from the 
. flay or Opera, and he alvrays at the 
ttiTiage-doartohandusout. Always 
• provoking radiance too on Mrs. 
Boffin'a face, and an abominably 
(bwrfol recoptioo of him, as if it 

v pcseible seriously to approve 
, vbat tbu man had in his mind! 

" You never charge me, Miaa Wil- 
'," said the Secretory, encountering 
r bjr chance alone in the great 



drawing-TDom, " with commtssiona 
for home. I shall b1wb;~^ be happy 
to Biecute any commands you may 
have in that direction." 



_ ._nyouriaUw» • 
house at llolloway." 

She coloured under the rstort — so 
aldl fully thrust, that the words seemed 
to bo merely a plain answer, given 
in plain good faith — and said, rather 
more emphatically and shaqily : 

"What commissionsand command* 
tin you speaking off" 

"Only such little words of remem- 
branco as I assume you send some- 
how or other," replied I ho Secretary, 
with bia former air. " It would be a 
pleasure to me if you would make m« 
the bearer of them. As you know, I 
come and go between the two houses 

" You needn't remiad me of that, 

She was too qnick in 'his petulant 
sally against "Fa's lodger;" and she 
felt that she had been so when she 
met hie qniet look. 

" Tliey don't send many — what was 
1 .itr eiprosaion f — words of remem> 
branco to me," said Belhi, miking 
haste to tiiko refuge in ill-usage. 

"Thev frequently ask me about 
' alight in- 



! I tellige 



LSICI 



hope it's truly given,' ' exclaimed 
Bella. 
" I hope you cannot doubt it, for 

it would m very much against yon, 
if you could." 

"No, Idonotdoubtit. Ideservelhe 
reproach, whichis veryjustindeed. I 
beg your pardon, Mr. Rokcsmith." 

"I should beg yon not to do so, 
but that it shows vou to snch ad- 
mirable advantage, he replied, with 
eameslaoss. " Fofgive me ; I could 
not help saying that. To return to 
what I have digresacd from, let me 
add that perhaps they think J import 
them to you, doliv ■t little mijisajies, 
and the like. But 1 forbear to trouble 
you, a* you never ask me." 




OUB MUTUAL FBIEND. 



"la that," ha Mked, hesitating, 



" Yoa can if yon like, Mr. Boke- 
«nilh. Uenage or no nuMage, I an 
gmag to we them to-moirow." 
^^OB I wiU tflU them *o." 

He lingored a moment, aethongh 
to give her the opportunity of pro- 
longing the conversation itBhewiBheil 
Aa ahe remained nilent, he toft her. 
Two tQcidenta of the little ister- 
■viow wore fclt Ijy Uiw Bella her- 
aeir, when alone again, to be veiy 
curioua. The first vas, that he nn- 
qoebtioDablj left her with a penitent 
air Dpon her, and a penitent feeling 
in her heart. The second was, Ihat 
ahe had not had an intention or a 
thought of going home, until she 
had onnouncod it to bim as a aettled 

"What con I mean hy it, or what 
can he menn by itf " waa hoc mental 
inquiry: "He has no right to any 
power over me, and how do I come 
to mind him when I don't care for 

Mrv Boffin, inaivting that Bella 
ah^uld make to-morrow's expedition 
in the chfl-riot, ahe went home in 
srreat grandeur. Mra. Wilfer and 
jUiu Lavinia hod speculataii macb on 
the probahilitioa and improhahilities 
of her oomins in this gorgeous state, 
and, on beholdiiig the chariot &Dm 
the window at which they were 
eocioted to look oat for it, agreed 
that it must be detained at the door 
(e long as posaihlo, for tho mortifica- 
tion and confusion of the neighbours. 
Then the; repaired to the usual family 
room, to receive Miss Bella with a 
becoming show of indifference. 

The family room looked very amall 
•nd very moon, and the downward 
itnircase by which it was iiluiined 
looked very naiiow and very crooked. 
The little house and all its hrraoge- 
■nenta ncre a poor contrast to Uie 



sntiy 



riatoaaSe awdHng. 



can hardly believe," thought fit 
"that I ever did endure life is 

Gloomy majesty cm Uis ptfl 
Mrs. Wilfer, and native pertness 
the part of I^vry, did not mend 
matter. Bella really stood in nsti 
need of a little hdp, and ibe 

"Thil," BBid Mrt. Wafer, ] 
sentin^ a cheek to be kissod, *« a; 
pathetic and responsive as the l 
of the bowl of a spoon, " is quiti 
honour! Ton will probaWy 
rrown, Bella." 
.vinia interpo 
"there can be no objection to j 
being aggravating, because E 
richly deserves it ; bat I really i 
request that you will not diaa 
such ridiculoua nonsense as my 1 
ing grown when I am past the gi 
ingage." 

"I grew, myaelf," Mi«. W. 
atomly pToclaimed, "aft«s J 
maiiied.' 

" Ve^ well. Ma," rvttunedLa' 
"then I think you had much Ix 
have left it alone." 

The lefty glare with which 
majestic woioan received this ans' 
might havo embamtseed a leas 
opponent, bat it had no effect n 
Lavinia : who, leaving her pa 
to the enjoyment of any amoun 
glaring that sbe might deem d( 
able under the circumstances, occo 
her sister, imdiamayed. 

" I suppose you won't eon* 
yourself quite disgraced, Bella, 
give you a kiss ? Well t And ! 
do yoa do, Bella t And how oie j 
Boffins f" 

"Peace!" exclaimed Mr*. 'Wi 
" Hold 1 I will not auffer this t 
of levity." 

" My goodness me I How are j 
Spoffing, thenP" said Jjtrvj, "s 
Ua aa vcty much ohjecla to \ 
Boffins." 

"DnpcrtinBnt girl! Minx!"i 
Mrs. Wilfer, with dread severity. 

"I don't caie whether I ai 
Minx, or a Sphinx," telniiKd 




OUa IIUTUAL FB3ESD. 



Uy,ioidaj[ her htad; "ifiidigiittiMt, and tapfing hn foot 

e nine thing to me, tad I'd Oie floor. " The; am mndi too kind 
u aoon be one u the other; 
w thia— I'll not grow ftftei 



wiUnotP Ttu-wmnot?" 
Ui*. Wilfer, lolenuilj. 
U>, I wm not Nothing 

filfar, haviog wared her 
came loftily pathetic. "But 
> be expected;" thai aha 
A child of mine deserts ma 
oad and prosperoos, and an- 
d of mine d«spi«et ma. It 
tting." 

Bdl« (track in, " Mr. end 
in are ptoeperoua, no doubt; 
Ave no right to aajr they are 
(on mutt know Teiy well 
are not" 

irt, Ua,"said Lavvy.boonc- 
10 the enemy without a word 
" you must know very well 
ron don't, more ihame for 
at Ur. and Mis. Baffin ate 
ate porfeddon." 
','" returned Mrs. Wilfei, 
ly receiving the deaorter. 









a for objecting to a tone or 
Uri. Boffin (of whose phfsi- 
[ on never speak with the 
:o I would deairo to preserre), 

mother, are not oi ' ' 

It is not foe a □ 
■ed Uiat she and her htuband 

presume to speak of this 
IS the Wilfers. I cannot 
I condescend to speak c ' 
iffins. Ko ; for aueh 

familiarity, levity, equality, 
yon will — would imply those 
iterchanges which do not 
)o I render myself intelli- 

lat taking the least notice of 
airy, slbeit delivered in an 
[ uid forensic manner, La- 
nindcd her Biater, " Aftfir all, 
w, Btlla, yoa haven't told us 

m't want to (peak of thorn 
«plied Bella, sappmnng in- 



I be drawn into tbsM 
discusaions." 

" Why put it ao?" deinandod Mn. 
Wilfer, with biting sarcasm. "Why 
adopt a dicuitooa form of apeedk t 
■" -- _polilfl and it is obliging; bn» 
lo it ? Why not openlv say that 
av much too kind and too good 
f We undervtAud the allnsioni 
Why disguise the phrase P" 

"Ma," said Bella, with one beat of 
her foot, " you are enough to drive a 
t nuid, and so is Lavvy." 
Unfortonate Lavry 1 oried Ura. 
Wilfer, in a tone of commisention. 
"She always comes in for it My 
,oor child r' But lawy, with the 
suddenness of her former deseitioD, 
low bounced over lo the other enemy : 
'Biy sharply remarking, " Don't pa- 
tronise «M, Ma, because I can iaka 
of myself," 

I only wonder," resomad Mrs. 
Wilfer, directing her observations to 

able younger, " Uiat you found tune 
and inclination to tear yourself &om 
Ur, and Mrs. Boffin, and come to sea 
us at all. I only wonder tliat out 

rior claims of Mr. uid Mrs. Bomu, 
had any weight I feel I ought to 

competition with Mr. and Mrs. Bof- 
Sn.'^ (The good lady bitterly em- 
r^iaiized the first letter of the wold 
Boffin, ■« if it lepreeented her chief 
objection to the owners of that namc^ 
and as if she could have borne Doffin, 
Moffiu, or Foffin much better.) 



I did come home, and that I ne 
will come home again, eicept wneii 
poor dear Pa is here. For, Pa is too 
magnaninLous to feel envy and spite 
towards my generous friends, and Pft 
is delicate enough and gentle enough 
to reincmber the sort of Uttle claim 
they thought I had npi,a them, and 
tlieunusuallytrying position in which, 
thiougli no actaf my own, I bad beeu 




OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



I 



y<™ p - ^ - , 

and I alwayi ihall!" 
Here Bella, deriTJng 

elegant di«n. bnist into tsan, 

" I think, E.W.,"criBd Mn.Wilfer, 
liftioff op her ^rea and apoitxophij- 
ing the air, " that if yon vere pro- 
aeot, it would be a tri^ to your feel- 
ingi to iiiai your wife and the mother 
of your familj' depreciated in jour 
name. But Fate hiu apared yoa this, 
E. W-iWhatBrer it mlybaTB thought 
proper to inflict upon hert" 
Here Mn. Wilier burst 
"I hate tbe Boffinj!" 
Hi» lavinia. "I don't care vho 
object* to thoir being called the Bof- 
flna. I WILL call 'em the Boffint. 
The Boflina, the BoffiiiB, the Boffins ! 
And I say they are tnischief-maliing 
BoffioB, uid I lay the Boffina have 
aet Bella against me, and I tell the 

not strictly the fact, bat the young 
l«dy was excited: "that they are 
detestable Boffina, disreputable Bof- 
fins, odious BoffitK, beastly Boffins. 
There!" 

Here Min LBvinia bunt into tears. 

The &ont garden-gate clanked, and 
the Secretary was seen coming at a 
brisk pace up the steps. "Leave Me 
to open the door to him," said Mrs. 
Wiffer, rising with stately resignn- 
lion as she shook her bead and dried 
her eyes ; " wa have at present no 
Btipendiary girl to do so. We have 
nothing to conceaL If he sees these 
tntces of emotion on our cheeks, let 
him construe them as he may." 

With those words she stalked out. 
In a few moments she stalked in 
•gain, proclaiming in her heraldic 
manner, " Mr. Hokosmtth is the bearer 
of a packet for Miss Bela Wilfer." 

Mr. Bokesmith followed close upon 
his name, and of conne saw vhat 
was amiss. But he discreetly affected 
to see nothing, and addreesed Alias 
Bella. 

" Mr. Boffin intended to have placed 
this in the carriage for you this morn- 



ing. He wished Ton to have i^ ■ 

little keepsake ho had prepared — i 
only a poise. Miss Wilfer — bnt as 
was disappointed in his &ncy, I vol 
teered to come after yon with it." 

Bella took it in her hand, i 
thanked tirin. 

" We haye been quarrelling hei 
little, Hr. Rokeimtth, but not a 
than we used ; you know our sgi 
able wayt among ourselTeS- You I 
me just going. Oood-bye, Tninn- 
Good-bye. laTTT ! " And with a ! 
for each' Miss BeUa turned to the dr 
The Secretary would bavo alten 
her, but Mrs, Wilfer advancing ; 
saying with dignity, ^^ Pardon t 
Permit me to aiaert my natural ri 
to escort my child to the equip 
which is in waiting for her, 
begged pardon and gave place, 
was a very magnificent spectacle 
deed, to see Un. Wilfer throw o 
the house-door, and loudlydemj 
with eitended clores, " The n 
domestic of Mre. Boffin ! " Towhi 
presenting himself, she delivered 
brief but majestic charge, "1 
Wilfer. Coming' out ! " and so d 
vered her over, ^ke a female liei 
nont of the Tower relinquiahin) 
State Prisoner. The effect of 1 
ceremonial was for some qoartei 
an hour afterwards perfectly pa 
lysing on the neighbours, and ' 
much enhanced by the worthy L 
airing henielf for that term in a k 
of splendidly serene tianca im the 

When Bella wa* sealed in the e 
riage, she opened the little packet 
her band. It containea a pre 

puTW, and the puise contained a bi 
note for fifty pounds. "This s)- 
be a joyful surprise for poor d 
Pa," said BeUa, "and I'll take it n 
self into the City ! " 

As she was nninfoimed raspecti 
the eiBct locality of the ^lace 
bniinesa of Chicly Veneenng ■ 
Slobblea, but knew it to be near Mil 
1^ Lane, she directed herself to 
driven to the comer of that darken 
spoL Thence she despatched "t 
male domeatio of Hn. Boffin" 




OUR HUTDAJ. FRIEND. 



»7 



MTcb of the uonntbig - boDM of 
Hiiekaey Venesriog »nd Stobble*, 
rith a messuga importmf( that if B. 
IVilfer could come out, there wai a 
idy waiting who would lie glad to 

njcu witli )iini The deliTery of 
ataa mvateiioiui words from the 
Donlh of a footman csiued ao great 
a eidtement in the coiintiog-hoiue, 
Jut a youthful scout was instantly 
iTipointod to follow Bomty, observe 
he lady, and come in with hii report, 
for was the agitation by any meana 
liminished, wfion the scout rushed 
■ck with the intelligence that the 
id; was " a (lap-up gal in a bang-up 

Bumty himself, with his pen be- 
ood his cor ondor his rusty hat^ 
irited at the carriage - door in a 
nathlea oondition, and had been 
■irly lugged into the vehicle by his 
nrat am embraced almoat onto 
iuAing, before be reownieed his 
iugbta. "Jly dear c£ild!" ha 
ban panted, incoherently. " Qood 
Tidouamel What a loTelv woman 
<oa axe! I thought you hftd been 
mkind and forgotten your mother 



« I have just been (< 



Imt.' 



e thmn,Pa 



" Oh ! and hew — how did yon find 
pa motherF" asked B. W., dn- 
kboily. 

" Very disagreeable, Pa, and to 

" They are lometiniM a little liable 
lo it," ob»erved the patisnt chenih ; 
'bnt I hope yoa oiade allowanoea, 
EUU, my dear ?" 

"No. I w»8 diSBgraeable too, Pa; 
■* were all of us disagreeable toge- 



~<^ a — Saveloy," repl 

■udestly dropping lus voice on ine 

>oid, as ha eyed the canary-colonred 

teaga. 
"Oh! That's nothing, Pal" 
"Truly, it ain't ns much as one 

mid fi>»u^inM wish it to be, my 



dear," be admitted, drawing his hand 
across his mouth. " Still, when cii- 
cnmstances over which you have ao 
control, interpose obstacles between 
yourself and Small Oermana, yon 
can'tdo better than bring a contented 
mind t<i bear on" — again dropping 
hia voice in deferenoa to the chariot 
— "Saveloyil" 

"Yon poor good Pa! Pa, do, I 
beg and pray, get leave for the rest 
of the day, and come and pass it with 

" Welt, my dear, I'U cnt back aiJ 

"But before yon out back," nid 
Bella, nho had already taken him by 
the chin, pulled his hat off. and begun 
to stick ap bis hair in her old way, 
" do say that you are sure I am giddy 
and inconsiderate, bnt have never 
really slighlod yon. Pa." 

" My dear, I say it with all my 
heart. And might I likewise ao- 
serve," her bther delicately hinted, 
with a glance out at window, " that 
perhaps it might be caJcukted to 
attract attention, harina; one's hair 
publicly done by a lovely woman in 
an elegant tarn-out in Fencbuioh 
Street f" 

Bella laughed and put on his hat 
again. But when hia bojiJi Bgure 
bobbed away, its shabbiness and 
cheerful patience smote the teoie out 
of her eyes. " I hate that Secretary 
for thinking it of me," ahe said lo 
herself, " and yet it seems half true I ' * 

Back came her father, more like a 
boy than ever, in his release from 
school. " All right, my dear. Iieavs 
given at once. Heally very hand- 
somely done!" 

" Now where con we find some 

Suiet place. Pa, in which I can wait 
ir you while you go on an errsad tot 
me, if I send the carriage away F" 

It demanded cositatioD. " Yon see, 
my dear," be eipuunad, " jon really 
have become such a very lovely 
woman, that it ought to be a very 
quietplace." At length he sngzeatei^ 
" Near the garden up by the 'Innity 
House on Tower Hill. ' So, they wers 
driven there, and Bulla df- ■-■"-- 



198 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEKD. 



tSiaxiot ; sending a pencilled note bv 
it to Mn, Boffin, that Bhe was with 
her fi&^er. 

**Now, Pa, attend to what I am 
going to say, and promise and tow to 
oe obedient." 
** I promise and tow, my dear." 
** Tou ask no questions. Yon take 
this purse; you go to the nearest 
place where &ey keep everything of 
&e rery very best, n^y made ; you 
buy and put on, the most beautiful 
suit of clothes, the most beautiful hat, 
and the most beautiful pair of bright 
boots (patent leather. Pa, mind !^ that 
are to be got for money; ana you 
oome back to me." 

" But, my dear Bella ** 

'*Take care. Pa!" pointing her 
forefinger at him, merrily. "You 
have promised and vowed. It's per- 
jury, you know, 
dfh 



lere was water in the foolish little 
fellow's eves, but she kissed them dry 
(though her own were wet), and he 
bobbed away again. After half an 
hour, he came back, so brilliantly 
transformed, that Bella was obliged 
to walk round him in ecstatic admi- 
ration twenty times, before she could 
draw her arm through his, and 
delightedly squeeze it 

"Now, Pa," said Bella, hnggmg 
him close, " take this lov^y woman 
out to dinner." 

" Where shall we go, my dear P '* 

«< Greenwich 1 " said Bella, vali- 
antly. *' And be sure you treat this 
lovely woman with everything of the 
best.*^ 

While they were going along to 
take boat, " Don't you wish, my dear,' ' 
eaid B. W., timidly, "that your 
mother waa hero P " 

"Ko, I don't, Pa, for I like tohave 
you all to myself to-day. I was 
always your little £ftvourito at home, 
and you were always mine. We 
have run a^ray together often, before 
now ; hax'en't we. Pa P " 

"Ah, to be sure we have I Many 

a Sunday when your mother was — 

was a little liable to it," repeating 

hjs former delicate expression b&/sx 

pausing to cough. 



" Yee, and I am afraid I was sel- 
dom or never aa good as I ought to 
have been, Pa. I made you cany 
me, over and over again, when yon 
should have made me walk ; and I 
often drove you in harness, when 
you would much rather have sat 
down and read your newspaper: 
didn't I P" 

" Sometimes, sometmies. But Lor, 
what a child you were! What a 
companion you were ! " 

"CompanionP That's just what I 
want to be to-day, Pa." 

" You are safe to succeed, my love. 
Your brothen and sisters have all 
in their turns been companions to 
me, to a certain extent, but only to a 
certain extent. Your mother has, 
throughout life, been a companion 
that any man might — might look up 
to — and — and commit the sayings o( 
to memory — and — form himself upon 
-.if he " 

"If he liked the modelP" wof- 
gested Bella. 

" We-ell, je-es," he returned, think- 
ing about it, not quite satisfied with 
the phrase: "or perhaps I might 
say, if it was in him. Supposing, 
for instance, that a man want^ to be 
always marching, he would find ytwr 
mother an inestimable companion. 



But if he had any taste for waUdng, 
or should wish at any time to break 
into a trot, he might sometimes find 
it a little difficult to keep step with 
your mother. Or take it this way, 
Bella," he added, after a moment'i 
refledaon ; " Supposing that a man 
had to go through me, we wcm't 
say with a companion, but we'll 
say to a tune. Very good. Sup- 
posing that the tune allotted to 
him was the Dead March in Saul 
Well. It would be a very suitable 
tune fSor particular occasions— none 
better — but it would be difficult to 
keep time with in the ordinary ni& 
of domestic transactions. For in- 
stance, if he took his supper after a 
hard day, to the Dead March in Saul, 
his food might be likely to sit heavy 
on Ymn. Ox^ vC he was at any Uxo^ 
mQ]^«d. \o x€^'<7«\Aa XDoaJ^Vi isiair 



V 




ova UFXUAL VSJSSD. 



omio ttmg or duuang a horn- 

nil waa oLli)^ to do it to the 

Harch in Saul, bs might find 

[ put out in Ui« execution of 

ily inUindonB.'' 

(u Fa 1 " thought Bella, as she 

ipuQ hia aim. 

iw, irhatl vill layfor you, my 

the cherub punued mildly and 

.t a Dolioa of complaining, " is, 

lu ore so adaptable. So aJapt- 

deed I am a&aid I have ahown 
^od temper, Fa. I am a&oid 
I becQ Teiy cotnploiiung, and 
•pricious. I seldom or Qemr 
It of it before. But when I 
the carriage jiut dow and >aw 
'^miag along the paiement, I 
;hetl myself." 
it at aU, my dear. Don'tipeok 

appy ^d a chatty maja was 
us new clothoa tlmt day. Take 
all in all, it nas perhnpa the 
st day he hod ever Iukjwd 
I ; DOt even eicepling that 
hia heroic poilner had i , 

Dead JUarch in Saul. 

little expedition down the 
waa delightful, and the little 
iverlooliing the river into which 
were shown for dii 
tfuL Everytlmu; was dolight- 
nie park was delightful, the 

-was delightful, the dish«e of 
ero delightful, t^ wine was 
tfij. Bella was more deligbt- 
ui any other item in the fes- 

drawin^ Pa out in the gayest 
t; making a point of aln- — 
ining herself OS the lo' . ., 
1 ; BlimuLiting Pa tO Order 
, by declaring tliat the lovely 
1 msistcd on being treated 
iem ; and in short causing Pa 
quite enraptured with the coii- 
tion that he icoi the Pa of such 
ming daughter. 
I then, OS they ^t looking 
hips and steamhoals nuiki 
wuv to the Mra with the ti 
BUS nnn.n^ d.iwn. the Icu 



Newcastle, tu fetch hlsck diunolid 

make his fuctune with ; now, Pa 

La going to China in that handaoma 

three-masted ship, to bring home 

opium, with which he would lor evor 

cut out Cliicksoy Veneering and Slob- 

bles, and to biing home siliii and 

' lis without end for the decots- 

of his charminit daughter. Now, 

John Harmon's disostioua fate wai 

and found tlio lovely woman jost the 
ajticio for him, and the lovely woman 
had fuund him Just the article for 
her, and they were going aws; on k 
ti-ip, in their gallant bu'k, to look 
after tbeir vines, with streamers flying 
at all points, a band playing on deck, 
and Pa established in the great cabin. 
Now, John Hannon was consigned 
U> his giave again, and a meich " 



h(na 



ra) 



had courted and married the lovely 
woman, and he waa so enormously 
rich that everythiug you saw upon 
the river sailing or stetuoini; belonged 
to him, and he kept a perfect Ucct of 
yachts for pleasure, and that httltt 
impudent yacht which you saw over 
there, with the great white sail, waa 
called The Bella, in honour of hit 
wife, and she hold her atate aboard 
when it pleased her, like a modern 
Cleopatra. Anon, there would em- 
hark in that tioop-ship when she got 
to Gravesend, a mighty general, ol 
la^e property (name also unknown), 
who wouldn't hear of going to vie* 
without his wife, aiid whose 
the lovely woman, and she 
was dcstmed to become the idol of all 
the rod coata and blue jackela alow 
and aloft. And then again : you saw 
that ship being towed out by a eteam- 
tugF Well! whore did yon suppoM 
she was going to? She was going 
;iinong the coral reefs and cocoo-nuls 
and lul Ihut sort of thing, and she 
waa chajtectd for a foi'tunate indivi- 
iliijU of the name of Fu. '.UimsiiLt w\ 
. DUtd, and much lenyiiKi^i \)^- »^ 
h^jjdd^, uid fct\ft "VfSA ft^Ju^d ^.^ ^^ 



;gj 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



■ole profit and advantage, to fetch a 
cargo of sweet-smelling woods, the 
xnoet beautiful that ever were seen, 
and the most profitable that never 
were heard of, and her cargo would 
be a great fortune, as indeed it ought 
to be: the lovelv woman who had 
purchased her and fitted her expressly 
for this voyage, being married to an 
Indian Prince, who was a Something- 
^r-Othcr, and who wore Cashmere 
shawls all over himself, and diamonds 
and emeralds blazing in his turban, 
and was beautifully cofiee-coloured 
and excessively devoted, though a 
little too jealous. Thus Bella ran 
on merrily, in a manner perfectly 
enchanting to Pa, who was as willing 
to put his head into the Sultan's tub 
of water as the beggar-boys below 
';he window were to put their heads 
in the mud. 

'*I suppose, my dear," said Pa after 
dinner, *^we may come to the con- 
clusion at home, that we have lost you 
'or good?" 

Bella shook her head. Didn't 
know. Couldn't say. All she was 
able to report was, that she was most 
handsomely supplied with everything 
she could possibly want, and that 
whenever she hinted at leaving Mr. 
and Mrs. Boffin, they wouldn't hear 
of it 

"And now, Pa," pursued Bella, 
'*I'll make a confession to you. I 
am the most mercenary little wretch 
that ever lived in the world." 

** I should hardly have thought it 
of you, my dear," returned her lather, 
first glancing at himself, and then at 
the dessert. 

" I understand what you mean. Pa, 
but it's not that. It's not that I care 
for money to keep as money, but I do 
care so much for what it will buy !" 

" Really I think most of us do," 
returned K. W. 

*'But not to the dreadful extent 
that I do, Pa. O-o!" cried Bella, 
screwing the exclamation out of her- 
self with a twist of her dimpled chin. 
*I AM so mercenary ! " 

"With a wistful glance R. W. said, 
la defiiult of having anything better 



to say : "About when did yon begin to 
feel it coming on, my dear ? " 

" That's it Pa. That's the terrible 
part of it. WTien I was at home, and 
only knew what it was to be | oor, I 
grumbled, but didn't so much inind. 
When I was at home expecting to be 
rich, I thought vaguely of all the 
great things I woidd do. But when 
I had been disappointed of my splendid 
fortune, and came to see it from day 
to day in other hands, and to have 
before my eyes what it could really 
do, then 1 became tht* mercenary little 
wretch I am." 

** It's your fancy, my dear.** 

"I can assure you it's nothing of 
the sort, Pa!" said Bella, nodding at 
him, with her very pretty eyebrows 
raised as high as they would go, and 
looking comically frightened. ^It'a 
a fact I am always avariciously 
scheming." 

"Lor! But how?" 

" I'll tell you, Pa. I don't mind 
telling youj because we have alwaj^a 
been favourites of each other's, and 
because you are not like a Pa, but 
more like a sort of a younger brother 
with a dear venerable chiibbiness on 
him. And besides," added Bella, 
laughing as she pointed a rallying 
finger at his face, '^because I have 
got you in my power. This is a 
secret expedition. If ever you tell 
of me, I'll teU of you. I'll tell Ma 
that you dined at Greenwich." 

"Well; seriously, my dear," ob- 
served R. W., with some trepidation 
of manner, " it might be as well not 
to mention it" 

" Aha ! " Itughed Bella. « I knew 
you wouldn't uke it, sir! So yon 
keep nw" confidence, and I'll keep 
yours. But betray the lovely woman, 
and you shall find her a serpent. 
Now, you may give me a kiss, Pa, 
and I should like to give your hair a 
turn, because it has been dreadfully 
neglected in my absence." 

R. W. submitted his head to tho 
operator, and th^) operator went on 
talking; at tho same time putting 
separate locks cf his hair through » 
curious process c f being smartly luUed 



OTJB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



201 



irsr her t^ro rerolTinff forefingers, 
which were then suddenly polled out 
of it in opposite lateral directions. 
Dneach of tnese occasions the patient 
vinced and winked. 

" I have made up my mind that I 
most have money, Pa. I feel that I 
csji't beg it, borrow it, or steal it; 
and so I have resolved that I must 
aarry it." 

R. W. cast up his eyes towards 
W, as well as he could under the 
operating circumstances, and said in 
ft tpne of remonstrance, '* My de-ar 
Bella!" 

" Hare resolved, I say. Pa, that to 
pi money I must marry money. In 
eonaequence of which, I am always 
looking out for money to captivate." 
« My de-a-r Bella ! " 
''Tea, Pa, that is the state of the 
case. If ever there was a mercenary 
plotter whose thoughts and designs 
irere always in her mean occupation, 
I im the amiable creature. But I 
don't care. I hate and detest being 
poor, and I won't be poor if I can 
narry money. Now you are de- 
Sdoiuly fluffy. Pa, and in a state to 
iitonish the waiter and pay^ the bill." 
*' But, my dear Bella, this is quite 
ftlarming at your age." 

'^Itold you so, Pa, but you wouldn't 
Miere it," returned Bella, with a 
pletsant childish gravity. '* Isn't it 
ihockingF" 

*^ It would be quite so, if you folly 
knew what you said, my dear, or 
neant it" 

'^ Wdl, IVl, I can only tell you that 
Imean nothing else. Talk to me of 
loTO ! " said Bella, contemptuously : 
tkoagh her face and figure certainly 
K-ndered the subject no incongruous 
I ODe. " Talk to me of fiery dragons ! 
! Bot talk to me of poverty and wealth, 
uid there indeed we touch upon 
lealities." 

" My De-ar, this is becoming Aw- 
fol-^" her father was emphatically 
^nning : when she stopped him. 

""Pa, tell me. Did yon marry 
■wncyP" 
*" You know I didn'i^ mv dear, " 
BaUk ianuaed tbe Dead March hk 



Saul, and said, after all it signified 
very little I But seeing him look grave 
ana downcast, she tooK him round the 
neck and kissed him back to cheerful- 
ness again. 

*< I didn't mean that lost touch, Pa ; 
it was only said in joke. Now mind ! 
You are not to tell of me, and I'U not 
tell of you. And more than that ; I 
promise to have no secrets from you, 
ra, and you may make certain that, 
whatever mercenary thinc^ go on, 
I shall always tell you all about them 
in strict confidence." 

Fain to be satisfied with this con* 
cession from the lovely woman, R. W. 
rang the bell, and paid the bill. "Now, 
all the rest of this, Pa," said Bella, 
rolling up the purse when thev were 
alone again, hammering it small with 
her little fist on the table, and cram- 
ming it into one of the pockets of his 
new waistcoat, "is for you, to buy 
presents with for them at home, and 
to pa^ bills with, and to divide as 
you like, and spend exactly as ]^ou 
think proper. Last of all take notice, 
Pa, that it's not the fruit of any 
avaricious scheme. Perhaps if it was, 
your little mercenary wretch of a 
daughter wouldn't make so fr^ee with 
it!" 

After which she tugged at his coat 
with both hands, and pulled him all 
askew in buttoning that garment over 
the precious waistcoat poa£et,and then 
tied her dimples into her bonnet- 
strings in a very knowing way, and 
took him back to London. Axrived 
at Mr. Boffin's door, she set him w«'th 
his back against it, tenderly took him 
by the ears as convenient handles for 
her purpose, and kissed him until hA 
knocked muffled double knocks at th<« 
door with the back of his head. That 
done, she once more reminded him of 
their compact and gaily parted from 
him. 

Not so gaily, however, but that tean 
filled her eyes as he went away down 
the dark street Not so gaily, but 
that she several times said, *' Ah, poor 
little Pa ! Ah, poor dear stni^'^Une 
shabby little Pa\" \iftloT^ iSt^^ V^wt 
heart to knock at \:bja doox. ^qN.v» 



2C3 



OUB MUTUAL FBIENB. 



gailj, bnt that the Mlliaiit famituTe 
Bccmed to staie her out of comite- 
fiance as if it inaisted on boing^ com- 
pared with the dingy fnmiture at 
nome. Not so gail^, but that she 
iell into very low spirits sitting late 
in hei own room, and yery heartily 
wep^ aa th» wished, now that the 



deceased old John Harmon had aer 
made a will about her, now that t 
deceased young John Harmon h 
lived to marry her. '* Contndicto 
things to wish/' said BeUa, ^' but n 
life and fortunes are 'SO oont^«dicto: 
altogether that what oaa i ezpc 
myself to be!'' 



i»» 



OHAPTEE TX. 



nr "WHIOH THB OBFHAir MAXX8 HI9 WILL. 



Th« Secretary, working in the Dis- 
mal Swamp betimes next morning, 
was informed that a youth waited m 
the hall who gave the name of Sloppy. 
The footman who communicated tins 
intelligence made a decent pause be- 
fore uttering the name, to express 
that it was forced on his reluctance 
by the youth in questicm, and that if 
the youth had had the good sense and 
ff ood taste to inherit some other name 
u would have spared the feeUngs of 
him the bearer. 

"Mrs. Boffin will be very well 
pleased/' said the Secretary in a per- 
fectly comjiosed way. "Show him m." 

Mr. Sloppy being introduced, re- 
mained dose to the door: revealing 
in various parts of his fonn many sur- 

£ rising, oonfoundingi and incompre- 
ensible buttons. 

" I am glad to see yon," nid John 
Bokesmith, in a cheerful tone of wel- 
come. " I have been ezpectinff you." 

Sloppy explained tiiat he had meant 
to come before, but that the Orphan 
(of whom he made mention as Our 
Johnny) had been ailing, and he had 
waited to report him weiW 

"Then he is well nowP" said the 
/Becratary. 

" No he ain't," said Sloppy. 

Mr. Sloppy having shaken his head 
to a oonsiderable extent, proceeded to 
zemark that he thought Johnny 
" must have took 'em from the Mind- 
ers." Being asked what he meant, 
he answered, them that come out 
upon him and partickler his chest. 
Being requested to SKoUun himself. 



he stated that there was some off 
wot you couldn't kiver with a si 
pence. Pressed to &U back upon 
nominative case, he opined that th< 
wos about as red as ever red could 1 
" But as long as they strikes out'an 
sir," continued Sloppy, "they aii 
so much. It's their striking in'az 
that's to be kep ofL" 

John Rokemnith hoped the dii 
had had medical attendance P ( 
yes, said Sloppy, he had been took 
the doctor's shop once. And wli 
did the doctor call it? Bokesmi 
asked him. After some perplexed i 
flection. Sloppy answered, brighte 
ing, " He called it something as w 
wery long for spots." Bokesmith sa 
gested measles. "No," said Slopp 
with confidence, ** ever so much long 
than th^nif sir!" (Mr. Sloppy w 
elevated by this fiu^ and seemed 
consider that it reflected credit on t 
poor little patient) 

" Mn. BoflBn will be cony to he 
this," said Bokesmith. 

" Mrs. Higden said so, rir, whi 
she kep it &om her, hoping as O 
Johnny would work round." 

" But I hope he wiU ?" said Bok 
smith, with a quick turn upon ti 



u 



" I hope so," answered Sloppy, 
all depends on their striking m'aida 
He then went on to say that wheth 
Johnny had "took 'em" from tl 
Minders, or whether the Mindeis hi 
" took *em" from Johnny, the Minde 
had been sent home and had ^'g 
Forthenaoreb that ^Ixs. Hij 



em. 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



208 



deo*8 days and nigphts being devoted 
to Oar Johnny, who was never out of 
bcr lap, the whole of the mangling 
arrangements had devolved upon him- 
nlfj and he had had '* rayther a tight 
time." The ungainly piece of honesty 
beamed and blushed as he said it, 
qm\e enraptured with the remem- 
brance of having been serviceable. 

" Last night," said Sloppy, " when 

I was a-tuming at the wheel pretty 

late, the mangle seemed to go like 

Our Johnny's breathing. It boj;;un 

beautiful, then as it went out it shook 

a little and got onsteady, tiien as it 

took the turn to come home it had 

a rattle-like and lumbered a bit, 

tken it come smooth, and so it went 

on till I scarce knoVd which was 

mangle and which was Our Johnny. 

Kor Our Johnny, he scarce know'd 

either, for sometimes when the mangle 

lumbers he says, ' Me choking. 

Granny!' and Mis. Higden holds 

him up in her lap and says to me, 

*Blde a bit, Sloppy,' and we all stops 

together. Ana when Our Johnny 

gets bis breathing again, I turns 

again, and we all goes on together." 

Sloppy had ^dually expanded 
vith his description into a stare and 
a vacant grin. He now contracted, 
being silent, into a half-repressed gush 
of tears, and, under pretonce of being 
b^tcd, di*ew the under part of his 
deeve across his eyes with a singularly 
awkward, laborious, and roundabout 
imear. 

** This is unfortunate," said Roke- 
■nith. '* I must go and break it to 
Mrs. Boffin. Stay you here. Sloppy. ' ' 

Soppy stayed there, staring at the 
pattern of the paper on the wall, imtil 
the Secrotai*y and Mrs. Boffin came 
back together. And with Mrs. Boffin 
was a young lady (Miss Bella Wilfer 
by name) who was better worth 
faring at, it occurred to Sloppy, than 
the b^ of wall-papering. 

••Ah, my poor dear j^retty little 
John Harmon!" exclauned Mrs. 
Boffin. 

^* Yes mum," laid the sympathetic 
Sloppy. 

** lou don't think he is in a ver^'. 



very bad way, do youP" asked the 
pleasant creature with her wholesome 
cordiality. 

Put upon his good faith, and find- 
ing it in collision with his inclinations, 
Sloppy threw back his head and ut- 
terea a mellifluous howl, rounded off 
with a sniff. 

" So bad as that ! " cried Mrs. Bof- 
fin. <* And Betty Higden not to tell 
me of it sooner!" 

** I think she might have been mis- 
tniRtful, mum," answered Sloppy, 
hesitating. 

" Of what, for Heaven's sake P" 

•* I think she might have been mis- 
trustful, mum," returned Sloppy with 
submission, " of standing in Our 
Johnny's light. There's so much 
trouble in illness, and so much ex- 
pense, and she's seen such a lot of its 
being objected to." 

" iSut she never can have thought," 
said Mrs. Boffin, "that I would grudge 
the dear child anything P" 

**No mum, but she mi^ht have 
thought (as a habit-like) of its stand- 
ing in Johnny's light, and mi^ht have 
tried to bring him through it unbe- 
knownst." 

Sloppy knew his ground well. To 
conceal herself in sickness, like a 
lower animal; to creep out of sight 
and coil herself away and die, had 
become this woman's instinct. To 
catch up in her arms the sick child 
who was dear to her, and hide it as if 
it were a criminal, and keep off all 
ministration but such as her own 
ignorant tenderness and patiencecould 
supply, had become tills woman's 
idea of maternal love, fidelity, and 
duty. The shameful accounts we read, 
every week in the Christian year, my 
lords and gentlemen and honourable 
boards, thu infamous records of small 
official inhumanity, do not pass by 
the people as they pass by us. And 
hence uiese irrational, blind, and ob- 
stinate prejudices, so astonishing to 
our ma^ficence, and having no more 
reason in them — Gk>d save the Queen 
and Con-found their politics — no, 
than smoke has in coming from fire ! 
'* It's not a right place for the poot 



201 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



cliilJ to stay in,** said Mrs. EolHn. 
*' Tell us, dear Mr. Rokesmith, what 
to do for the best." 

He had already thought what to do, 
ond the consultation was very short 
Jie could pave the way, he said, in 
half an hour, and then they would go 
ilijwn to Brentford. *' Pray take me," 
taid Bella. Therefore a carriage was 
Mdcred, of capacity to take them all, 
und in the meantime Sloppy was re- 
f^^aled, feasting alone in the Secre- 
tary's room, with a complete realiza- 
tion of that fairy vision — meat, beer, 
A epetables, and pudding. In conse- 
(jucnce of which his buttons became 
ii;ore importunate of public notice 
than before, with the exception of 
t wo or three about the region of the 
Avaistband, which modestly withdrew 
into a careasy retirement. 

Punctual to tlie time, appeared the 
carriage and the Secretary. He sat 
on the box, and Mr. Sloppy graced 
tlio rumble. So, to the Three Mag- 
])ie8 as before: where Mrs. Boflin 
und Miss Bella were handed out, and 
whence they all went on foot to Mrs. 
Betty Higden's. 

But, on the way down, they had 
stopped at a toy-shop, and had bought 
that noble charger, a descrij)tion of 
whose points and trappings had on 
the last occasion conciliated the then 
worldly-minded orphan, and also a 
Noah's ark, and also a yellow bird with 
an artificial voice in him, and also a 
military doll so well dressed that if 
he had only been of life-size his 
brother-officers in the Guards mi^ht 
never have foimd him out. Bcaiing 
these gilts, they raised the latch of 
Betty Higden's door, and saw her 
(dtting in the dimmest and furthest 
comer with poor Johnny in her lap. 

*'And how's my boy, Betty?" 
ankod Mrs. Boffin, sitting down beside 
her. 

"He's bad! He's bad !" said Betty. 
"I begin to be afeerd he'll not be 
yours any more than mine. All 
otheiti belonging to him have gone to 
the Power and the Glory, and I have 
A mind that they're drawing him to 
iMeiu — leading him away." 



t( 



No, no, no,** said Mrs. BolCn. 

" I don't know why else he clenthi 
his little hand as if it had hold of 
finger that I can't see. Look at it 
said B( tty, opening the wrappers i 
which the fluked child lay, andshoT 
ing his small riq:ht hand lying cloa 
upon his breast. **It'a always 6 
It don't mind me." 

"Is he asleep?" 

" No, I tliink not. You're n 
asloLD, my Johnny ?" 

" No," said Johnny, with a quiet a 
of pity for himself, and without opei 
ing his eyes. 

"Here's the lady, Johnny. Ai 
the horse." 

Johnny could bear the lady, wi 
complete indid'erence, but not 
horse. Opening his heavy eyes, 1 
slowly broke into a smile on behol 
ing &at splendid phenomenon, ai 
w anted to take it in his arms. As 
was much too big, it was put upon 
chair where he could hold it by tl 
mane and contemplate it. Which 1 
soon forgot to do. 

But, Johnny murmuring somethii 
wdth his eyes closed, and Mrs. Boil 
not knowmg what, old Betty be 
her ear to listen and took pains 
understand. Being asked by her 
repeat what he had said, he did 
two or three times, and then it cao 
out that he must have seen more tlu 
they supposed when he looked up 
see the horse, for the murmiurws 
"Who is the boofer lady?" No' 
the boofer, or beautiful, lady v 
Bella ; and whereas this notice fro 
the poor baby would have touch' 
her of itself^ it was rendered mo 
pathetic by the late melting of b 
heart to her poor little father, aJ 
their joke about the lo\cly woma 
So, Bella's behaviour was very tend 
and very natural when she kneel 
on the brick floor to clasp the chi' 
and when the child, with a chik 
admiration of what is voung m 
prettv, fondled the boofer ^ady. 

" l^ow, my good dear Betty,'* oa 

Mrs. Boffin, hoping that she saw I 

opportunity, and laying her ha: 

\']^ei:«\iaaa\<i5 oa. Vet «rcsi\ •* ^« ba 



i 




OVS. UUTDAL i>BIEND. 



2C;t 



umn t« i«inoT« Johnny from this 
wttage to where he can be taken 
better pare of," 

InsbuiUy, and before another word 
could be spoken, the old woman 
■tiirled up with blazing eyeSi and 
tiisbcd at the door with the mck child. 

" Sfaod awajr from me, every one 
of ye I" she cued out wildly. "I lee 
what ve mean now. Let me ao my 
way, hM of ye. I'd toonoi km the 
Pretty, and kill myself!" 

"Slay, stay!" eaid Rokesmith, 
■ootb'b.g her. "You don't imder- 



o'torl 
child, while there's 
water enough inBnelimdtoCOTOrus!" | 

The tenor, the shame, the passiDU 
of horror and repugnance, Sung the 
worn face and perfectly maddening it, I 
would have been a quite tcmble 
•igbt, if embodied in one old fellow- 
creature alone. Yet il " crope up " — 
la oar sIaqb gooB— my lords and gen- 
llemen and honourable boards, in 
other fellow- creaturea, rather fre- 
quently ! 

" It's been cbaoing me all my life, 
but it aball never take mo nor mine 
tlive!" cried old Betty. "I'vedone 
with ye. I'd have fastened door and 
window and starved out, afore I'd 
tver have let ys in, if I had known 
what ye came for!" 

Bu^ catching sight of Mn. Boffin's 
wholesome fiice, she relented, and 
Qeucbing down by the door and 
bending over her burden tA hush it, 
tud hnmbly : " Maybe my fears has 
pnt me wrong. If they have so, tell 
me, and the good Lord forgive me t 
I'm quick to take this fright, 1 know, 
ud my head is aumm'at light witli 
vcarying and watching," 

"'There, there, there!" rotnnied 
Un, BoSin. "Come, come! Say no 
IDOre of it, Betty. It wu a mistake, 
tmiiluke. Any one of oh might have 
made it in your place, and felt just as 

"The Lord blois ye.'" said the old 
ranuB, ttretcbiag oat bar luud. 



"Noiv, see, Betty," plumed the 
swcDt compassionate soul, holding the 
h.'vnd kindly. " what I really did 
mriin, and what I should have begun 
by K^i^'ing out, if 1 had only been a 
little wiser and handier. We wunt 
lo move Johnny to a place whore 
there ue none but children ; a place 
■et np on purpose for miM chiloren ; 
whore the good doctors and nurses 
pass their Uvea with cMldreo, talk to 
none hut children, touch none but 
children, comfort and cure none but 

" Ib there really such a place f" 
asked the old woman, with a gaze of 

" Yes. Betty, on my word, and you 
shall see it. If my home was a better 
place for the dsnr boy, I'd take him 
to it \ but indeed indeed it's not." 

"You shall take him," returned 
Betty, fervently kissing the comfurt- 
ing hand, " where you will, my deary. 
I am not so hard, but that Ibolievu 
your lace and voice, and I will, aa 
long aa I can see and b<»r." 

ThiB victory gained, Hokesmitb 
made haste to protit by it, for he saw 
how wofully time had bom lost He 
despatched Sloppy to bring the car- 
riage to the door ; caused lie child to 
bo carefully wrapped up ; bade old 
Betty got her bonnet on ; collected 
the toys, enabling the little fellow In 
comprehend that his treasures were 
to be transported with him ; and bad 
all things prepared so easily that Oiey 
were ready for the Carriage aa soon 
OS it appeared, and in a minute after- 
words were on their way. Sloppy 
they left behind, relieving his ovei- 
chorged breast with a paroxysm <<f 
mangling. 

At the Children's Hospital, tho 
gallant steed, the Noah's ark, the 
yellow bird, and the olEcer in the 
Quai-ds, were made as welcome as 
theii child-owner. But the doctoi 
said aside to Rokcemith, " This shoulil 
have been days ago. 'Too late I" 

However, Ihej' were all carried uu 
into a fnat airj toom, ani ■a«iio 
Johmiy came \a ^vn\Ec\l, q"A lA ^ 
deep or & bwooh oi v^Vevet * ■"*> 



80d 



CUE MXJTUAI. FBEEKB. 



to find himself lying in a little quiet 
bed, with a little platform over his 
breast, on which were already ai- 
rangcd, to give him heart and urge 
him to cheer up, the Noah's ark, the 
noble steed, ana the yellow bird , with 
the ofTicer in the Guaids doing duty 
over the whole, quite as much to the 
satisfaction of his country as if he 
had been upon Parade. And at the 
bed's head was a coloured picture 
beautiful to see, representing as it 
were another Johnny seated on the 
knee of some Angel surely who loved 
little children. And, marvellous fact, 
to lie and stare at * Johnny had be- 
come one of a little fanmy, all in 
little quiet beds (except two playing 
dominoes in little arm-chairs at a 
little table on the hearth) : and on all 
the little beds were little platforms 
"Whereon were to be seen dolls' houses, 
woolly dogs with mechanical barks in 
them not very dissimilar from the 
artificial voice pervading the bowels of 
the yellow bird, tin armies, Moorish 
tumblers, wooden tea things, and the 
riches of the earth. 

As Johnny murmured something in 
his placid aomiration, the ministering 
woman at his bed's head asked him 
what he said. It seemed that he 
wanted to know whether all these 
were brothers and sisters of his ? So 
they told him yes. It seemed then, 
that he wanted to know whether God 
had brought them all together there? 
60 they told him yes again. They 
made out then, that he wanted to 
know whether they would all get out 
of pain P So they answered yes to 
that question likewise, and maae him 
understand that the reply included 
himself. 

Johnny's powers of sustaining con- 
versation were as yet so very imper- 
fectly developed, even in a state of 
health, that in sickness they were 
little more than monosyllabic. But, 
he had to be washed and tended, and 
remedies were applied, and though 
those ofi&ces were far, far more skil- 
fully and lightly done than ever any- 
thing had been done for him in his 
lilUo lif«^ 90 rough and short* they J 



would have hurt and tired bfra Imt 
for an amazing cireumstance which 
laid hold of his attention. This was 
no less than the appearance on his 
own little platform in pairs, of All 
Creation, on its way into his own par- 
ticular ark : the elephant leading, 
and the fly, with a diffident sense of 
his size, politely bringing up Uie rear. 
A very little brother lying in the 
next bed with a broken leg, was so 
enchanted by this spectacle that his 
delight exalted its enthralling inter- 
est ; and so came rest and sleep. 

'* I see you are not afraid to leave 
the dear child here^ Betty," whis- 
pered Mrs. Boffin. 

'* No, ma'am. Most willingly, most 
thankfiilly, with all my heart and 
soul." 

So they kissed him, and left him 
there, and old Betty was to come 
back early in the morning, and no- 
body but Kokesmith knew for certain 
how that the doctor had said, '* This 
should have been days ago. Too 
late!" 

But, Rokesmith knowing it» and 
knowing that his bearing it in mind 
would be acceptable thereafter to that 
good woman who had been the only 
light in the childhood of desolate 
John Harmon dead and gone, resolved 
that late at night he would go back 
to the bedside of John Harmon's 
namesake, and see how it &red with 
him. 

The fjBimily whom Gkxl had brought 
together were not all asleep, but were' 
all quiet. From bed to bed, a light wo- 
manly tread and a pleasant fresh face 
passed in the silence of the night. A. 
little head would lift itself up into 
the softened light here and there, to 
be kissed as the face went by — for 
these little patients are very loving^ 
and would then submit itself to be 
composed to rest again. The mite 
with the broken leg was restless, and 
moaned ; but after a while turned hii 
face towards Johnny's bed, to fortify 
himself with a view of the ark, and 
fell asleep. Over most of the beds, 
the toys were yet grouped as the chil- 
dren had left tham when thc^ iMt- 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



207 



laid ffaemselTes down, and, in their 
innocent grotesqucness and incon- 
gruity, tiiey might have stood for the 
children's dreams. 

The doctor came in too, to see how 
it iaxed with Johnny. And he and 
Bokesmith stood together, looking 
down with compassion on him. 

"What is it, Johnny ?*' Bokesmith 
wtf the questioner, and put an arm 
xomid the poor baby as he made a 
ftniggle. 

*^mm!" said the litUe fellow. 
"Those!'* 

The doctor was quick to understand 
fihildreD, and, takuig the hozae, the 



ark, the yellow bird, and the man in 
the Guaros, from Johnny's bed, soflly 
placed them on that oi his nexfe 
neighbour, the mite with the broken 
leg. 

With a weary and ^et a pleased 
smile, and with an action as if he 
stretched his little finger out to rest» 
the child heaved his body on the stis« 
tainin^ arm, and seeking Bokesmith'a 
face with his lips, said : 
*< A kiss for the boofer lady." 
Having now bequeathed all he had 
to dispose of, and arranged his afilEiir* 
in this world, Johnny^ tLue spealdog^ 
left it. 



OHAPTEB X. 



A BL00E8EOB. 



Bom of the Bieverend Frank Mil- 
tey's brethren had found themselves 
ttceedingly uncomfortable in their 
minds, because they were required to 
Wy the dead too hopefully. But, 
the Reverend Frank, inclining to the 
Mief that they were required to do 
one or two other things (say out of 
nine-and-thirty) calculated to trouble 
their consciences rather more if they 
would think as much about them, held 
his peace. 

Indeed, the Boverend Frank Mil- 
vey was a forbearing man, who no- 
ticed many sad warps and blights in 
the vineyard wherem he worked, and 
did not profess that they made him 
savagely vdse. He only learned that 
the nfore he himself knew, in his little 
limited human way, the better he 
could distantly imagine what Omni- 
science might snow. 

Wherefore, if the Beverend Frank 
had had to read the words that 
troubled some of his brethren, and 
profitably touched innumerable hearts, 
m a worse case than Johnny's, he 
would have done so out of the pity 
and humility of his soul. Beadinjg^ 
them over Johnny, he thought of his 
own six children, but not of his 
porerfyf end read Uiem with dimmed 



eyes. And rery ieriotisly did he and 
his bright little wife, who had been 
listening, look down into the small 
grave and walk home arm-in-arm. 

There was grief in the aristocratic 
house, and mere was joy in the 
Bower. Mr. Wegg argued, if an 
orphan were wanted, was he not an 
orphan himself, and could a better be 
desired ? And why go beating about 
Brentford bushes, seeking orphans 
forsooth who had established no 
claims upon you and made no sacri- 
fices for you, when here was an 
orphan ready to your hand who had 
given up in your cause. Miss Eliza- 
beth, Master George, Aunt Jane, and 
Uncle Parker P 

Mr. Wegg chuckled, consequently, 
when he heiard the tidings. Nay, it 
was afterwards afiirmed by a witness 
who shall at present be nameless, 
that in the seclusion of the Bower he 
poked out his wooden leg, in the 
stage-ballet manner, and executed a 
taunting or triumphant pirouette on 
the genuine leg remaining to him. 

Jomn Bokesmith's maimer towards 
Mrs. Boflin at this time, was more the 
manner of a young man towards a 
mother, than that of a Secretary 
towaxda hii employer'a wifst It had 



208 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



ftlwayn been marked by a subdnod 
afTcctionate deference that seemed to 
have sprung up on the very day of 
his engagement; whatever was odd 
in her dress or her ways had seemed 
to have no oddity for him ; he had 
sometimes borne a quietl]^ amusod 
face in her company, but still it had 
seemed as if the pleasure her ^nial 
temper and radiant nature yielded 
him, could have been quite as natu- 
rally expressed in a tear as in a smile. 
The completeness of his sympathy 
\^'ith her fieuicy for having a little 
John Harmon to protect and rear, he 
had shown in every act and word, 



and now that the kind fiincy was dis- i ness. 



talk/' said Mrs. Boffin, "baf; tell mo. 
Are you quite sure, Mr. RokesnJth, 
that you have never had a disappoint- 
ment in love P ** 

"Quite sure. Why do von ask 
me?" 

''Why, for this reason. Some- 
times you have a kind of kept-down 
manner with you, which is not like 
your age. You can't be thirty ? " 

** I am not yet thirty." 

Deeming it high time to make her 
presence known, Bella coughed here 
to attract attention, begged pardon, 
and said she would go, fearing that 
she interrupted some matter of busi- 



apvoiated, he treated it with a manly 
tenderness and respect for which she 
could hardly thank him enough. 

** But I do thank you, Mr. Roke- 
smith," said Mrs. BoiHii, '* and I 
thank you most kindly. You love 
children." 

" I hope everybody does." 

"They ought," said Mrs. BofSn; 
''but we don't all 'of us do what we 
ought; do usP"^ 

John Rokesmith replied, "Some 
among us supply the shortcomings of 
the rest. You have loved children 
wdl, "Mr. Bofiin has told me." 

" Not a bit better than he has, but 



tipon me. You speak rather sadly, 
Mr. Rokesmith." 

"Do IP" 

"It sounds to me so. Were yon 
one of many children P " 

He shook his head. 

"An only child?" 

"No, there was another. Dead 
long ago." 

" Father or mother alive ?** 

" Dead." 

** And the rest of your relations?" 

" Dead — if I ever had any living. 
I never heard of anv." 

At this point of the dialogue Bella 
came in with a light step. She paused 
at the door a moment, heaitnting 
whether to remain or retire ; per- 
plexed by finding that she was not 
observed. 



"No, don't go," rejoined Mn. 
Boffin, "because we are coming to 
business, instead of having begun it, 
and you belong to it as much now, 
my dear Bella, as I do. But I want 
my Noddy to consult with UB. Would 
somebody be so good as find my 
Noddy forme?" 

Rokesmith departed on that errand, 
and presently returned accompanied 
by Mr. Boffin at his jog-trot. Bella 
felt a little vague trepidation as to the 
subject-matter of this same consulta- 
tion, until Mrs. Boffin announced it. 

** Now, you come and sit by me, 
my dear," said that worthy soul, 



that's his way ; he puts all the good ! taking her comfortable place on a 



large ottoman in the centre of the 
room, and drawing her arm through 
Bella's ; " and Noddy, you sit here, 
and Mr. Rokesmith you sit there. 
Now, you see, what I want to talk 
about, IS this. Mr. and Mrs. Milvey 
have sent me the kindest note possi- 
ble (which Mr. Rokc«?mith just now 
read to ms out loud, for I am*t good 
at handwritings^, offering to find me 
another little child to name and edu- 
cate and bring up. Well. This has 
set me thinking. 

(" And she is a steam-ingein at it," 
murmured Mr. Boffin, in an admiring 
parenthesis, " when she once bogina 
it mayn't be so easy to start her ; biA; 
once started, she's a ingein.") 

" — ^This has set me thinking, I 
^«ay " x«pea^M. "^t^. Boffin^ cordially 



"Now, don't fniriA an old lady*i \\>eamVn^ xm^ex >i:k^ V^xtfs&sA ^l\«r 




ODB UVTUAL FSIEND. 



7 



tnutmiid*! ctnnpliinent, "and I have 
thought tvo things Fust of all, 
that I have grown timid of reviving 
John Harmon's nama. IfB an uo- 
failtiTiuM name, and I fancy I should 
ie]iroach myBelT if I gave it to another 
dear child, and it proved again un- 

■■ Sow, whether," Kud Mr. Boffin, 
cravely propounding a caae for hia 
6*^"tet«ry'B opinion; " whethor one 
n.i)|ht call that a supentitian P" 

-' It is a matter of feeling with 
Mr^. Boffin," said Rokeamith, gently. 
"The name has alvays been unfor- 
tunate. It has now tiiis new unfor- 
tonata association connected with it. 
The name has died out. Why revive 
ft? Might I ask Miss Wilier what 
rhethiotsf" i 

" It has not be«n » foitnnate name 
tar mo," said Bella, colourinK— " or 
■t least it was not, until it led to my 
1«iDg hers — but that is not the point 
■" my thoughts. As we had given 
._] name to the poor child, and as the 
peer child took so lovingly to mc, I 
think I should feel jealous of calling 
uuUier child by it. I thinlc I should 
fed 33 if the name had become en- 
iJEued to me, and I had no right to 
UK it so." 



" I say again, it it a matter of feel' 
ing," returned the Secretary. " I 
Hunk UisB Wilfcr's feeling very 
vomuily and pretty." 

Koddy," said Hrs. Boffin. 

"My opinion, old lady," returned 
Uie Qolden Duatioan, '• is your opi- 

"Then," said Mis. Boffin, "wo 
ipct not to revive John Harmon's 
Qune, but to let it reat in the grave. 
It is, as Mr. Rokeamith says, a mat- 
ter of fetling, but Lor bow mnny 
maiiciaart matters of feeling! Well; 
>nd eo I come to the second thing I 
tnte thought of. You must know, 
IltilH. my deitr. and Mr. Ralresniitb, 
that when I Snt oamad to my hua- 



hand my thought* of adopting a 

liltla orplian boy in remi.Dibrance of 
John Harmon. I further named tu 
my husband that it wis comforting 
to think that hov the i>oor boy would 
be benefited by Jolui s own money, 
and protected from John's Own for- 
lomnesa." 

"Hear, hear!" cried Mr. Boffln. 
"So she did. AncOFir!" 

"Nu, notAncoar, Xuddy, mydear," 
returned Mis. Diflin, " because I am 
going to Bay somclhing cIm. I meant 
that, I am sure, as mufh as I still 



t this 



ittlo 



made me ask myself the question, 
seriously, whether I nasn't too beiil 
upon plcaning myself. Klse why did 
I seek out so much for a prettvchiltl. 
and a child quite to my liking ? 
Wanting to do good, why not do it 
'- -*- own sake, and put my tastes 



:^l poo: 

*l Ihir 



d Ukin, 



ibyP" 



said Bella; and per- 
nnp sne saia it with some little sen- 
Bitivoncss arising out of those old 
curious relaliona of hers towards the 
murdered man; "perhaps, in reviv- 
ing the name, yon voidd not have 
liked to give it to a less interestini; 
child than the originaL He interested 
you very much." 

"Well, my dear," retmtied Mrs. 
Boffin, giving her a squeeze, "it's 
kind of you to find that reason out, 
and I hope it may have been so, and 
indeed to a certain extent 1 beliere it 
WDS so, but I am afraid not to tho 
whole extent. However, that don't 
come in question now, because we 
have done with the name." 

" Laid it up as a remembrance," 
suggested Bella, musingly. 

"Much bettor said, my dear; laid 
it up as a rememhmnce. Well then ; 
I have been thinking if I take any 
orphun to provide fur, lot it not be a 
pet and a playthijii; for me, but a 
' ' helped for its ow.; 



"Not 



I pretty 



lhcn?"BaidBeUn. 



" Nor ptepoBBo^at <bwA" ««!^ 



210 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEIO). 



" No," rehimed Mrs. Boffin. ''Not 
necessarily so. That's as it may 
happen. A well-disposed boy comes 
in my way who may be even a little 
wanting in such advantages for get- 
ting on in life, but is nonest and 
industrious, and requires a helping 
hand, and deserves it. If I am very 
much in earnest and quite determined 
to be unselfish, let me take care of 
him." 

Here the footman whose feelings 
had been hurt on the former occasion, 
nppearod, and crossing to Rokesmith 
apologetically announced the objec- 
tionable Sloppy. 

The four members of Council 
looked at one another, and paused. 
*' Shall he be brought here, ma'am ?" 
asked Rokesmith. 

"Yes," said Mrs. Boffin. Where- 
upon the footman disappeared, reap- 
peared presenting Sloppy, and retired 
much disgusted. 

The consideration of Mrs. Boffin 
had clothed Mr. Sloppy in a suit of 
black, on which the tailor had re- 
ceived personal directioDB from Roke- 
smith to ezi)end the utmost cunning 
of his art, with a view to the con- 
cealment of the cohering and sus- 
taining buttons. But, 80 much more 
powextul were the frailties of Sloppy's 
form than the strongest resources of 
tailoring science, that he now stood 
before the Council, a perfect Argua 
in the way of buttons : shining and 
winking and gleaming and twiukling 
out of a hundred of those eyes of 
bright metal, at the dazzled specta- 
tors. The artistic taste of some un- 
known hatter had frurnished him with 
a hatband of wholesale capacity which 
was fluted behind, from the crown 
of his hat to the brim, and terminated 
in a black bunch, trom which the 
imagination shrunk discomfited and 
the reason revolted. Some special 
powers with which his legs were 
endowed, had already hitdied up 
his glossy trousers at the ankles, 
and ba^iged them at the knees; 
while similar gifts in his arms 
had raised his coat -sleeves from 
his wrists and accumulated Uiem at 



his elbows. Thus set fiirth, with iha 
additional embellishments of a very 
little tail to his coat, and a yawning 
gulf at his waistband, Sloppy stood 
confessed. 

"And how is Betty, m^ good 
fellow F" Mrs. Boffin asked Imn. 

"Thankee, mum," said Sloppy, 
" she do pretty nicely, and sendmg 
her dooty and many thanks for the 
tea and all faviours and wishing to 
know the family's healths." 

" Have you just come. Sloppy P" 

"Yes, mum." 

"Then you have not had your 
dinner yetr" 

"No, mum. But I mean to it 
For I ain't forgotten your handsome 
orders that I was never to go away 
without having had a good *un offof 
meat and beer and puddmg — no : there 
was four of 'em, for I reckoned 'em up 
when I had 'em ; meat one, beer two, 
vegetables three, and which was fourf 
— ^Why, pudding, he was four!" 
Here Sloppy threw his head bade, 
opened his mouth wide, and laughed 
rapturously. 

"How are the two poor little 
Minders?" asked Mrs. Boffin. 

"Striking right out, mum, and 
coming round beautiful.*' 

Mrs. Boffin looked on the other 
three members of Council, and then 
said, beckoning with her finger : 

" Sloppy." 

" Yes, mum." 

"Come forward, Sloppy. Should 
you like to dine here every day P*' 

** Off of all four on 'em, mum P Oh, 
mum!" Sloppjr's feelings obliged 
him to squeeze nis hat, and contract 
one leg at the knee. 

" Yes. And should you like to be 
always taken care of here, if von 
were industrious and deserving P' 

"Oh, mum! — But there's Mrs. 
Higdon," said Sloppy, checking him- 
self in his raptures, drawing back, 
and shaking his head with very 
serious meaning. " There's Mrs. 
Higden. Mrs. Higden goes before 
all. None can ever bo better fricnda 
to roe than Mrs. Hi^den's been. 
And she must be tumod fur, must 



i- 



OUB HITTDAL TBIEKD. 



:ii 



Hra. Hlsdm. Whm would Hi«. 
Bigden M if diemni't turned fori" 
At the mere thought of Hn. Uigden 
jn thii inoonceiTBUs afflictioD, Ur. 
"' ' ' 3 becuna p&le, 

t diitrenful 



" You are aa right as light can be, 
Etoppy," mid Un. BotGn, *'aQd far 
bo it niim mo to toll yon otherwUo. 
It ahall be aeen to. If Betty Higden 
can be turned ttx all the lame, you 
■hall come hore and be taken care of 
for life, and be made able to keep her 
in other wayi than the turning." 

" £t(hi aa to that, mom," aniwered 
a« eeatatio Sloppy, "the turning 
■ight be done m the ni^bt, don't 
jovaBeF I could be here m the day, 
•ttd torn in Ihe night I don't want 
no lleep, / don'L Or frren if I any 



On the gntel 
iment, Mr. 8 



nan ihoold mat a wink or two," 
added RIoppy, after a moment'* 
apologetic reflection, " I could take 
'em taming. I've took 'em turning 
many a time, and ei^oyed 'em woo- 
On the gnteful impnlae of the 
'^'>ppy kiawd Mra. 
id then detaching 
himself from that good creatore that 
he might bave nwm enough for hia 
feelings, threw back his beftd, opened 
hit mouth wide, and uttered a diim^ 
bowl. It was creditable to his ten- 
demeis of beait, bat luggoeled that 
he migbt on occasion give eoma 
offence to the neighboora: the rather, 
aa the footman looked in, and begged 
pardon, Ending he wae not wanted, 
bnt eicn«ed hunaelf) on the ground 
" that he thought it vu Cat*.'^ 



OHAPTEB XL 



IdTTLB Him PeeeheT, &om her 

Uttla offldal dwalling-hauEe, with its 
little windows like the eyei in needles, 
md its little doors like the corers of 
«hool-book«, waa very obearvttiit 
indeedof the object of her quiet sflbc- 
tions. Love, though said to be 
■iBicted with blindness, is a vigilant 
vatchman, and Miss Peachei kept 
him on double duty over Ur. Btadley 
Headstone. It waa not that she was 
mturally given to playing the spy — 
it waa not that she was at all secret, 
plotting, or m£an — it was simply that 
ihe loved the irresponsiva Bnidloy 
witli all the primitive and homely 
Hock of love that had never been 
aumined or oertiflcated out of her. 
If her faithful slate had bad the Utant 



a litUe treatise calculated to aetonUh 
Ihe pnpila would have come butstiDg 
Uirough the dr^Bums in school-time 
under tbt warming intluence of Misa 
Peecher'sboBom. For, oflontimea when 
•chool was not. and her calm leisure 



MisaPeecher would ooamittothecOB. 
fidential slate an imaginary descrip- 
tion of how, upon a Dolmy evening 
at dusk, two figures might have been 
observed in the market- garden ground 



dthect 






Hting 



manly form, bent over the other, 
being a womanly form of short statins 
and some compoctneas, and breathed 
in a low voice the words, " £mm» 
Peecher, wilt thou be my owm F " after 
which Hie womanly form's head 
reposed upon the manly form'* 
shoulder, and the nightingales tuned 
up. Though all unseen, and unsus- 
pected by Uie pupils, Bradley Head- 
stone even pervaded the school 
eiercisce. Was Qeography in que»- 
tiou F He would come triumphantly 
flying out of Veeuvius and ^tna 
ahead of the lava, and would boil un- 
harmed in the hot springs of Icehmd, 
and would float majeetically dawn the 
Googea and the Nile. Did History 
chromcle a king of men F Behold 
liim iu pepper-and-salt pantaloons, 
with his walch-guard round his nock. 
Were copiea to be wiiWonF la 



213 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



capital B*8 And H*b most of tlie girls 
under Miss Peecher'a tuition were 
half a year ahead of evexr other letter 
in the alphabet. And Mental Arith- 
xnetic, administered by Miss Peecher, 
often devoted itself to providing 
Bradley Headstono with a wardrobe 
of fabulous extent : fourscore and four 
neck -ties at two and ninepence-half- 
penny, two gross of silver watches at 
foui pounds fifteen and sixpenco, 
»eventy-four black hats at eighteen 
(hillings; and may similar super- 
fluities. 

The vigilant watchman, using his 
daily opportunities of turning his 
eyes in Bradley's direction, soon 
apprized Miss Pcecher that Bradley 
was more preoccupied than had been 
his wont, and more given to strolling 
about with a down(^ast and reserved 
face, turning something difficult in 
his mind that was not in the scholastic 
syllabus. Putting this and that to- 
gether— <;ombining under the head 
" this,'* present appearances and the 
intimacy with Charley Hoxam, and 
ranging under the head "that" the 
visit to his sister, the watchman re- 
ported to Miss Peecher his strong sus- 
picions that the sister was at the 
bottom of it. 

*' I wonder," said Miss Peecher, as 
she sat making up her weekly report 
on a half-holiday afternoon, ''what 
they (»11 Hexam's sister?" 

Mary Anne, at her needlework, 
attendant and attentive, held her arm 
up. 

"Well, Mary Anne ?•• 

" She is named Lizzie, ma'am.** 

*' She can hardly be named Lizzie, 
I think, Mary Anne," returned Miss 
Fccchcr, in a tunefully instructive 
voico. " Is Lizzie a Christian nam^ 
Mary Anne?" 

Mary Anne laiddown herwork,ro8e, 
hooked herself behind as being under 
cutechization, and replied: "No, it is 
% corruption, Miss Peecher." 

" Who gave her that name ? " Miss 
Peecher was going on, from the mere 
force of habit, when she checked her- 
self,' on Mary Anne's evincing theo- 
logical impatience to strike m with 



her godfathers and her godmothers, 
and said : ** I mean of what name is 
it a corruption ? " 

" Elizabeth or Eliza, Miss Peecher.*' 

"Right, Mary Anne. Whether 
there were any Lizzies in the early 
Christian Church must be considered 
very doubtful, very doubtfuL" Misi 
Peecher was exceedingly sage here. 
"Speaking correctly, we say, then, 
that Hexam's sister is called Lizzie : 
not that she is named so. Do we not» 
Mary Anne?" 

" We do. Miss Peecher." 

"And where," pursnod Mui 
Peecher, complacent in her little 
transparent fiction of conducting the 
exammation in a semi-official manner 
for Mary Anne's benefit, not her own, 
" where does this young woman, who 
is called but not named Lizzie, live P 
Think, now, before answering." 

" In Church Street, Smith Squareb 
by Mill Bank, ma'am." 

" In Church Street, Smith Square, 
by Mill Bank," repeated Miss Peecher, 
as if possessed beforehand of the book 
in which it was written. " Exactly 
BO. And what occupation does this 

5oung woman pursue, Mary Anne? 
^ake time." 

" She has a place of trust at an out- 
fitter's in the City, ma'am." 

" Oh ! " said Miss Peechor, ponder- 
ing on it ; but smoothly added, in a 
confirmatory tone, " At an outfitter's 
in the City. Ye-ee?" 

"And Charley " Mary Anne 

was proceeding, when Miss iPeecher 
stared. 

" I mean Hexam, Misb Peecher." 

«I should think you did, Mdry 
Anne. I am glad to hear yon dOb 
And Hexam— ?" 

"Says," Mary Anne went on, ''that 
he is not pleased with his sister, and 
that his sister won't be guided by his 
advice, and persists in Being guided 
by somebody else's ; and that ** 

" Mr. Headstone coming across the 
garden!" exclaimed Miss Peecher, 
with a flushed glance at the looking- 
glass. "You have answered very 
well. Mar}" Anne. You are form* 
ing an excellent habit of axranging 



k 




ottB mrruAL fsiend. 



31 s 



lB«ofTOI 

" Did yon say on yi 
Headatone F " uked Miaa Feecher. 



nor thoogbla ebtriy. That will 

The ducTSBt Usry Anns retmnod 
%er seat dnd har aileiiM, and ttitchad, 
mud Btilched, and waa Btitching whca 
the schoolmuler'a ahadow cams in 
before him, ajmouncing that he migliC 
be inalantly aipoctsd. 

" Good eveniog, Uiaa Feecher," he 

" Qond erenin^. Hi. Headftone. 
Mary Anne, a ohair." 

"Thanh 700," laid Bradley, aeat- 

'~\g himaelf in hia coaitrBiDed manner. 

a flying risit. I have 

looked in, on my way. lo uk a kind- 

On mj way to — wh^ I am 

pung." 

" Chtuch Street, Smith BqnaTe, by 
Kin Bank," repeated Min Feecher, 
in her own thoughts. 

" Charley Heiam has g^ne to get 
a book or two he wants, and will 
probably be back before me. As we 
leaTB my honsa empty, I took tho 
liberty of telling him I would leave 
Ibe key here. Would you kindly 
•How me to do mP" 

•'Certainly, Ur. Headatone. Q«ilig 
In an eTcning walk, sir F " 

" Fartiy for a walk, and partly taF~ 
nboaineaa." 

" Bosiness in Church Street, Smith 
Square, by Mill Bank," repeated Aliaa 
Pgechcr l/i hereelf. 

" Havine said whidi," pnraued 
Bradley, laying hia door-key on the 
lible, " I muat be already going. 
There 11 nothing I can do for you, 
HiwPcecher?" 

" Thank yon, Mr. Headstone. In 
■hioli direction P" 

" In the direction of ■Weatminslor.' 

"Mill Bank," Miss Pcncber ro 
pealed in har own thou[;hl8 once 
igun. " No, thank you, ilr. Head- 
Hone; rUnottrojbloyou." 

"You couldn't trouble me," aaid 
(1w Khoolmaaler. 

"Ahl" returned Miaa Peecher, 
ItHHigh not alood i " but yon tma 



trouble mi.'" And for all her qnlet 
manner, and her qniet amile, afae WM 
full of trouble aa he went hia way. 

She waa right touching his destina- 
tion. He held aa atraight a courae for 
the house of the dolls drcsamakcr as 
the wisdom of his ancestors, eicm* 
pliGed in the construction of tho in- 
terrening atreela, would lot him, and 
walked with a bent head hammeriDg 
at one fixed idea. It had been ao 
immoTeabls idea nnce ha first aet eye* 
upon her. It seemed to him as if all 
that be could suppress in himself ho 
had Huppressed, as if all that he could 
restrain in himself he had restrained, 
and the time had come — in a rush, in 
a moment — when the power of self- 
command had departed troai him. 
I-OTe at first sight la a trite eipreaeioa 
quite sufficiently discussed , enough 
that in certein smouldering nature* 
like this man's, that passion leapt 
into a blaze, and makes such head aa 
firfl does in a rage of wind, when 
other passions, but for its mastery, 
could be held in chains. As a mulu- 
tude of weak, imitative natures are 
always lying by, ready to go mad 
upon the next wrong idea that may 
be broached — in these times, generally 
Borne form of tribute to Somebody for 
Bomathing that never was done, or, if 
ever done, that waa done hy Samebody 
Else — so these less ordinary ruiturea 
may lie by for years, renity on tha 
touchof an instant to burst into Qane. 

The Bchoolmaster went his way, 
brooding and brooding, and a sensa 
of being vanquished in a struggla 
might have been pieced out of hia 
worried lace. Tmly, in his breast 
there lingered a rcaentfol shamo to 
find himself defeated by this paasioa 
for Charley Hoiam'a aiatar, though 
in the very self-same moments he waa 
eon contra ting himself upon the object 
of bringing Uie passion to a succeesful 

He apposed before the dolls' dre»- 
maker, sitting alone at her work. 
"Oho!" thought that sharp young 
penona^, "it's you, is itP / know 

inr tncki and your nannars, mj 






1" 



214 



OUR ICUTUAL FBI£in>. 



<*H«nm'8 Bfator," ttid Brftdler 
Headstone, *'ia not come home yet P 

*^Yoii are quite a conjuror," re- 
tained Mies Wren. 

<* I will wait, if yon pleaae^ £or I 
want to speak to her.*' 

«Do youP" returned Kiss Wren. 
*^ Sit down. I hope it's mutual." 

Bradley glanced distrustfully at 
the shrewd nice again bending over 
the work, and said, trying to conquer 
doubt and hesitation : 

" I hope you don't imply that my 
visit will be unacceptable to Hezam*s 
sister?" 

"« There! Don't call her that I 
oan't bear you to call her that," re- 
turned Hiss Wren, snapping her 
fingers in a volley of impatient snaps, 
*' for I don't like Hezam." 

"Indeed?" 

'' Ko." Miss Wren wrinkled her 
nose, to express dislike. *' Selfish. 
Thinks only of himsell The way 
with all of you." 

*< The way with all of uaP Then 
you don't like m#?" 

" So«so»" replied Miss Wren, with 
a shrug and- a laugh. ** Don't know 
much about you." 

** But I was not aware it was the 
way with all of us," said Bradlev, 
zetuming to the accusation, a little 
injured. "Won't you8ay,someofuBP" 

" Meaning," returned the little 
creature, ** eveir one of you, but you. 
Hah ! Now look this lady in the uice. 
This is Mrs. Truth. The Honour- 
able. Full-dressed." 

Bradley glanced at the doll she 
held up for his observation — which 
had been lyixi^ on its face on her 
bench, while with a needle and thread 
she fiEistened the drees on at the back 
— and looked from it to her. 

" I stand the Honourable Mrs. T. 
on my bench in this comer against 
the wall, where her blue eyes can 
shine upon you," pursued Miss Wren, 
doinjg^ so, and making two little dabs 
at him in the air with her needle, as 
if she pricked him with it in his own 
e}]C8 ; " and I defy you to tell me, 
with I^Irs. T. for a witnesp, what you 
have come here for*** 



«« To see Hezam's lister.** 

" You don't say so ! " retortod ISm 
Wren, hitching her dun. ** But oil 
whose account?" 

*' Her own." 

« Oh, Mrs. T. !'* ezdaimed Mi» 
Wren. " You hear him 1 " 

" To reason with her," puisoed 
Bradley, half humouring what was 
present and half angry with what waa 
not present ; ** for her own sake." 

''Oh, Mrs. T.!" exclaimed the 
dressmaker. 

''For her own sake/' repeated 
Bradley, warming, "and for her 
brother's, and as a peifectly disin- 
terested person." 

" Really, Mrs T.," remarked the 
dressmaker, " since it comes to this, 
we must positivaly turn you with 
vour face to the wall." She had 
hardly done so, when Lizzie Hexam 
arrived, and showed soma surprise 
on seeing Bradley Headstone thers^ 
and Jenny shaking her liUle fist at 
him dose before her eyes, and the 
Honourable Mrs. T. wiUi her face to 
the walL 

"Here's a perfectly disinterested 
person, Idzzie dear," said the know- 
mg Miss Wren, " oome to talk with 
you, for your own sake and your 
brother's. Think of that. I am sure 
there ought to be no third party pre- 
sent at anything so very kind and so 
very serious ; and so, if you'll remove 
the third part^ upstaiirs, my dear, the 
third party will retire." 

Lizzie took the hand which tba 
dolls' dressmaker held out to her fox 
the purpose of being supported away, 
but only looked at her with an in- 
quiring smile, and made no other 
movement. 

" The third party hobbles awfully, 
you know, when she's left to herself," 
said Miss Wren, "her back being so 
bad, and her legs so queer; bo she 
can't retire gracefully unless you 
hdp her, Lizzie." 

" She can do no better than staj- 
where she is," returned Lizzie, re- 
leasing the hand, and laying her own 
lightly on Miss Jenny's curls. And 
then to Bradley: "From Charley, sir J"' 






ous uuTUAL FBaant. 



In w fantohtte mj, and itealing 
t climuy look at her. Bradley rate to 
plac« a chair for her, and Uian re- 
tuTTied to his own. 

"Strictly Bpealdng," Bud ho, "I 
come £rom Charley, became I loft 
him only a little while ago ; but I 
un not commMflionod by Ch«iiev. 
1 come of my own apoutaneou* sot. 

With her elbows oD her bench, 
and hfr chiji upon hsr luindfl, MJu 
Jenny Wren sat looking at lii"! with 
a valfhTul sidelang lode. Lizzie, in 
her different way, tat looking at him 
too. 

"Hie tact is," began Biadley, with 
a mouth so djj thJit he had some 
diScolty in articulating his words : 
Qie conKiousneas of which lenderod 
hil manner still more ungainly and 
ondecided; "the truth ia,thatCharley, 
IwTing DO secrets from me (to the beet 
of my belief), luu coa£ded the whole 
of thu matter to me." 

He came to a stop, and Litde 
aiked : " What matter, sir P " 

" I thought," retnmed the *chool- 
maater, stealing another look at her, 
and seeming to tiy in rain to sustain 
it ; for the look dropped as it lighted 
on her eyes, "that it might be so 
mperHuouB aa to be almoat imperti- 
nent, to enter upon a dePmitibn of it> 
Hy allusion was to this matter of 
yoor having put aside yoni brother's 
I plana for you, and given the piefer- 
I ence to Uioeo of Mr. — I believe tlte 
name ii Mr, Eugene Wiaybum." 

He made this point of not being 
tertain of the name, with another on- 
eaiy look at her, which dropped like 
tlielast 

Nothing being said on the other 
nde, he bad to begin again, and began 
•ith new embarraasment. 

" Tour brother's plana were _ . . . 
DUnicated to me fvhen he Gr^t had 
Ihem in bis thoughts. In 
bet he spoke to me about th( 
I was last here — when we we 
ing back tofiether, and when I — when 
the impression wna treah u] 
having seen hie aUter." 

There might have bean no meaning 
Id i^ bat w Uttls diesimakei hero 



TfsOTcd OBO of li0r nppcrriinp handv 
from her chin, and moangly tnmed 
the Honourable Ura. T. wilb her face 
to the company. That done, ihe fdl 
into her former attitude. 

" I approved of hia idea," sdd 
Bradley, with hii mieasy look wan- 
dvHng to the doll, and unoonwdoiiHlf 
resting there loneer than it had 
rested on Liide, "both because your 
brother ought naturally to be the 
originator of any such scheme, and 
.use I hoped to be able to promote 
I shonld have had ineipresaibto 
pleaaimi, I ahonld have token inex- 
preesible interest, in promoting it. 
Therefore I mnst acknowledge that 
when your brother was disappointed, 
' '—I was disappoinlod. I wish to 



I fully acknowledge that" 

He appeared to have encouraged 
himself by having got BO fu. At aU 
eventa he went on with much greater 
limmess and force of em^asis : 
though with a cunons dispootion to 
sat his teeth, and with a curiou* 
tight-screwing movement of his nght 
hand in the clenching palm of his left, 
like the action of one who was bein(f 
physically hurt, and was onvilling to 
cry out. 

"I am a man of sttong feelinga. 
and I have strongly felt this disap- 
pointment. I do strongly feel it I 
don't Bbow what I feel ; some of ns 
are obliged habitually to keep it 
down. To keep it down. Bnt to 
return to your brother. Hehastaken 
the matter so much to heart that ha 
has lemonstrated (in ny presence he 
remonstrated) with lb. Eugene 
Wraybum, if that be the name. Ho 
did so, quite ineSectually. A* anj 
one not blinded lo the real cbaractei 
of Mr. — Mr. Eugene Wr»ybunH- 
wonld readily suppose-" 

He looked at Lizzie again, and held 
the look. And bis face turned from 
burning red to white, and from white 
back to burning red, and so for tho 
time to lasting deadly white- 

" Finally, Iresolved to come hero 
alone, and appeal to yon. I reaolved 
to oome here alone, and enti«at tm 



na 



OVB HUTDAL FBIEKD. 



H joa hiraohoMci, 

, o of moM insolent 
behavioor to yaut brother ajid othera 
— to prefer your brother and yo^ir 
brother' B friend." 

LiiziB Henun had changfed coloar 
when thoae changes name over him, 
and her face now eipreued aome 
anger, mora dislike, and even a touch 
of fear. But she aniwared him very 
rteadily. 

" I csnnot doubt, Wx. Headstone, 
that your viiit ii well meant. You 
have been lo good a friend toCbarley 
that I have no right to doulit it. I 
have aothing la toil Charley, but that 
1 accepted the help to which he ~~ 
iDuch objecta before he made any 
plana for me ', Or certainly before 1 
knew of any. It wae conaideratel 
and delicately oflered, and there wei 
retuona that had weight with m 
which BhonM be as dear to Charley 
M to me. I have no mi ' " 
Charley on thia subjoet." 

''ia lips' '■ ^ ' 






a lips ti 
follow, 



i and stood apar 
jon of her wotds I 



self, and lii 
her brother. 

" 1 ahould have told Charley, if he 
bad come to me," she resumed, aa 
thoughitweraan after-thought, "that 
Jenny and 1 find our teacher very 
able and very patient, and that she 
talcee great pains witli ns. So much 
CO, that we have said to her we hope 
in a very little while to be able to g 
on by ourselvos, Charley knowa aboi 
teachers, and I should also have tol 
him, for hia satiafaction, that ou: 
cornea from an institution where 
teachers are rej^larly brought np. ~ 

"I should like to aek you," i 
Bradley Ueadstone, grinding 
words alowly out, as though they 
came from arualy mill; "1 should like 
to ask you, it I may without offe 
whether you would have objecUd- 
no ; jsther, I should like to aav, 
mov without offence, that I wish I 
haa had the opportunity of 



vou, Hr. E 
But I fear," he pursued, after ■ 
pause, furtively wrenching at the seat 
of his chair with ane hand, aa if he 
rould have wrenched the chair to 
pieces, and gloomily obscn'ing her 
eyes were caat down, "that my humbl* 
services would not have found much 
with you f" 

made no reply, and the poor 
stricken wretch sat contending with 
himself in a heat of passion and tor- 
ment. After a whilo he took out hia 
handkerchief and wiped hia forehead 
and hands. 

" There is only one thing more I 
hod to say, but it is the most import- 
ant. There is a reason against Ihi* 
matter, there is a personal relation 
concerned in this matter, not yet ex- 
plained to you. It might — I don't 
say it would — it might — induce you 
to think differently. To proceed un- 
der ihe present circumstances is out of 
the queatioD. Will you please come 
to the understanding that there shall 
be another inten-iow on the aubjeclf " 
With Charley, Mr, Ueadfitonef" 
■With— woU,-' he answcicJ, break- 
ing oET, " yea ! Bay with him too. 
Will yon please eome to the under- 
~ that tbere must bo another 
w under more favourable cir- 
I, before the whole case can 



it my meaning for the pre- 
sent," he interrupted, " to the whole 
ease being submitted to you in aooUier 

"What case, Mr. Headstone? Whet 
ia wanting to itt" 

" You — you shall be informed in 
the other interview." Then he a.iid, 
as if in a burst of irrepressible despair, 
'■I— Ileaveitallinoum[)lete! I^era 
is a spell upon me, I thiuk ! " And 
then added, almoat as if he askod (6r 
piLv, " GLiod-night I " 

' ' " ' his hand. As sh^ 



here with your brother and devoting with manifeat hesilation, „„, _ _, 

my poor abilities and eiperiance to Te1uctance,touchedit,astraiigetrem- j 

your Borvice." | bio ptwsed over '■'"'1 and hia ^aa, n 



Jfc J 



OtTR UUTOAL FRIKND. 



aiT 



The dolls' dreamaker mt with her 
ftttitudB unchaneed, eyeiriK the door 
by which he had departed, antil 

Ildizie piishEid her bench aside and ut 
down neaj' her. Hien, nyelne Liz/ie 
■3 ahe had provlouBlj' eyed Bradley 
and the door, Min Wren chopped 
(hmt Tery sudden and keen chop in 
vbich her Java aometimes indulffed, 
leaned haei in her chair with folded 
unu, and thus eipreased henelf : 

" Humph ! If he— I mean, of 
eoone, my dor, the party who i* 
tonuBg U> court rat when the time 
comes — should be Ihat lort of man, he 
aay spare himself the trouble. 
wouldn't do to be trotted aboat and 
nade naeful. He'd take fire sod 
trw np while he was about it." 
" And so you would be rid of Imu, 
Mid Lizzie, humouring her. 

"Not ao easily," returned Miai 
Wren. " He wouldn't blow up alone. 
He'd cany me up with him. /know 
kia triclcB and his manceis." 

** Would he want to hart jon, do 
'on mesQ ?" asked Lizzie. 

" Miffhtn't eiacUy want to_do it, 
IT dear," returned M' 
but B lot of guapow 
lighted lucifer-matches 



"Hei« 



night almost as well be here.' 






Liziie, thoughtfully. 
" I wifih he was so very strange a 

I *a to be a total stranger," an- 

•wared the sharp little thing. 

It being Lizzie's regular occupa- 
tion when they were alone of ar 

ing to bruNh out and smooth the 
long fair hair of the dolls' dreflamakar, 
the an&alened a ribbon that kept it 
' ck -while the little creature was at 
r work, and it fell in a beaotiful 
shower o\-cr the poor shouliiem thn* 

I murh in need of SMch adominf; 

, '■ Not now, Lizzie, dear," «nid 
Jenny ; ''let us haro a talk by tho 
K™. ■' With those words, she in hi 
lo"BBnod hur friend's dark hai 
and it dropped of its own woight ovi 
her bnaom, in two rich niasees. Pre- 
tending to oompaie the colonn 



admire the oonintft, Jenny so man- 
aged a mere touch or two of her 
nimble hands, as that ahe herself lay- 
cheek on one of the dark folds, 
aeemed blinded by her own clustering 
-urls to all but the fire, while the flne 
nndsoma face and hro*. of Lizzie 
I'ere revenled without obstruction in 
the sober licht. 

"Let us havB a talk," said Jenny, 

ahout Mr, Eugene Wraybum." 

SoTnething sparkled down among 

the hir hair resting- on the dark hnir; 

and if it were not a star — which it 

couldn't be — it was an eye ; and if it 

were an eye, it was Jenny 'Wi'en'i 

ye, hrlp;-ht and watchful as the bird's 

ho!ie n:tme she had taken. 

"Whv about Mr. Wraybumf" 

hxic Hskcd. 



■'l'..or?" 

" 1 think so, fbr a gentleman." 

"Ah! To be sure! Yes, he's a 
gentlfman. Not of onr sort, is hsP" 

A shake of the head, a thoughtfol 
ahnke of the head, and the answer, 
softly spokp-i. " Oh no, oh no ! " 

The dolls' dif'^inabrr had an arm 
round her friend's waist Adjusting; 
the arm, she elvly t'>ok the oppor- 
tunity of hlowin" at her own hiur 
where it foil over her face; then the 
eye down there under lighter shadows 
sparkled more brightly and appeared 
more watchful. 

" When He tarns np, he shan't be 
agentloman; Til very soon scndhim 
packing, if he is. However, he's not 
flir. Wraybom ; I haven't captivated 
Aim. I wonder whathcT anybody baa, 

" Jt is very likely." 

"Isit very likely f Iwonderwho!" 

"Is it not verj- liknlj; that some 
lady has been taken by him, and that 
he may love her dearly ? " 

" Perhaps. I don't know. What 
would you think of him, Lizzie, if 
you wore a lidy f" 

"la lady ! " she repeated, langhing. 
" Such a fiuicy 1 " 



218 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



** Tes. But lay : Jnft «■ a fejicy, 
And for instanoe.*' 

** I a lady I I, a poor girl who 
used to row poor father on the river. 
I, who had rowed poor £Either out 
and home on the very night when 1 
saw him for the first time. I, who 
was made so timid bv his looking at 
me, that I ffot up and went out ! 

(" He dia look at you, even that 
night, though you were not a lady ! " 
thought Miss Wren.) 

<* I a lady ! " Lizzie went on in a 
low voice, with her eyes upon the fire. 
** I, with poor father's grave not even 
cleared of undeserved stain and 
■hame, and he trying to clear it for 
me ! la lady ! " 

" Only as a fancy, and for instance," 
urged Miss Wren. 

*' Too much, Jonny dear, too much ! 
My fancy is not able to get that far." 
As the low fire gleamed upon her, it 
showed her smiling, mournfully and 
abstractedly. 

" But I am in the humour, and I 
must be humoured, Lizzie, because 
after aU I am a poor little thing, and 
have had a hard day with my bad 
child. Look in the nre, as I hke to 
hear you tell how you used to do 
when you lived in that dreary old 
house that had once been a windmill. 
Look in the — what was its name when 
you told fortunes with your brother 
ihaitldonthke?" 

«* The hollow down by the flare ? '* 

'* Ah ! That's the name I You can 
find a lady there, /know." 

" More easily than I can make one 
of such material as myself, Jenny." 

The sparkling eye looked nteadfastly 
up, as the musiiig face looked thought- 
fully down. " Well ? " said the dolls* 
dressmaker, "We have found our 
la<h'P" 

Lizzie nodded, and asked, ^ Shall 
she be rich?" 

*' She had better be, as he's poor." 

"She is very rich. Shall she be 
handsome ? " 

" Even you can be that, Lizzie, to 
■he ou;>ht to be." 

"She is very handsome/* 

** What does she say about him P" 



asked Miss Jenny, in a low yolee: 
watchful, through an inter\*ening 
silence, of the fiuse looking down al 
the fire. 

<* She is glad, glad to be rich, that he 
may have the money. She is glad, glad 
to be beautiful, that he may be proud 
of her. Her poor heart '* 

"EhP Her poor heart?" said 
Miss Wren. 

'* Her heart — is given him, wi^ all 
its love and truth. She would joy- 
fully die with him, or, better than 
that, die for him. She knows he has 
failings, but she thinks they have 
grown up through his being hke one 
cast away, for the want of something 
to trust in, and care for, and think 
well of. And she says, that lady rich 
and beautiful that I can never coma 
near, ' Only put me in that empty 
place, only try how little I mind my- 
self, only prove what a world of things 
I will do and bear for you, and I hope 
that you might even come to be much 
better than you are, through me who 
am so much worse, and hardly worth 
the thinking of beside you.' 

As the face looking at the fire had 
become exalted and forgetful in the 
rapture of these words, the little crea- 
ture, openly clearing away her fair 
hair with her disengaged hand, had 
gazed at it with earnest attention and 
something like alarm. Now that the 
speaker ceased, the little creature 
laid down her head again, and moaned, 
"0 me, Ome, Ome!" 

"In pain, dear Jenny P" aiksd 
Lizzie, as if awakened. 

" Yes, but not the old pain. Lay ma 
down, lay me down. Don tgooutof my 
sight to-night. Lock the door and keep 
close to me." Then turning away 
her face, she said in a whisper to her* 
self, '*My Lizzie, my poor Lizzie! 
O my blessed children, come back in 
the long bright slanting rows, and 
come for her, not me. She wants help 
more than I, my blessed children ! " 

She had stretched her hands up 
with that higher and better look, and 
now she turned again, and folded 
them round Lizzie's neck, and rocked 
herself on Lizzie's breact^ 




OUB HDTDAL FBIEKa 
CHAFTEB Xn, 



BoovB BiDKBHOOD dwelt deep and 

agmt, and the inaat, o«r and black 
mikan, and tlie boat-bnilden, and 
the aail-lofts, aa in a kind of ihip's 
hold atored full of waterside eharac- 
tais> Boma no better than hinueltl 
•ome veiy much better, and none 
mneh wonw. The Hole, albeit in a 
^enenJ wajnotoveriuce in its choice 
of company, wa* ixlher shy in refer- 
vice to tha honour of cultivating 
the Rogue'a acqi 



DSrer drinking with him unleu at 
hi> own expenae. A part of the Hols, 
indeed, contained ao much public 
i^jixit and piirate virtue that not 
•Ten thii atronf^ leverage could mava 
it to good feUowahip with a tainted 
BGCoser. But, there may have been 
the drawback on thia magnanimoni 
morality, that its ezpoaenta held a 
tme witueaa before Justice to he the 
. nnseighbouriy and aocuned 



fiad it not been for the daughter 
whom he often mentioned, Mr, Ride 
hood might have found the Hole 
mere grave as to an; means it would 
vieldhimDfgettingali'nng, ButMiai 
Fleaaant Ridarhood had eome little 

Saition and connection in Limehoose 
ale. Dpon the smallest of small 
Kales, she was an unlicensed paim- 
bmker. keeping what was popalarlj 
called a Leaving Shop, by lending 
insignificant sums on insignificant 
article* of property deposited with 
liar aa security. In her four-and- 
Iwentieth year of life, Pleasant was 
I already in her fifth year of this way 
af trade. Her deceased mother had 
Ntabliahed (he business, and on that 
[ parent's demise she had appropriated 
I a secret capital of fifteen shillings to 
I artabLishing herself in it ; the eiist- 
I SQte of suc^ capital in a pillow being 
I Bis last intelligible confidential com- 
" tcatioa uada to her hy the de- 



ported, before (nooiimbing to diopaical 
conditions of snuff and gin, incom- 
patible equally with oohsrence and 
eiisianco. 

Whychr 

Ittrs. Hiderhood might poadbly have 
been able at some time to eiflalu, 
and possibly not. Her daughldr 
had no information on that point. 
Pleasant she found herself^ and sha 
couldn't help it. She bad not been 
consulted on tJie question, any more 
than on the question of her coming 
into these terrestrial parts, to want a 
name. Similarly, she found herself 
pQBSasaed of what is colloquially 
termed a swivel eye (derived from 
her fatherj, which Bhe might perhaps 
have declined if her sentiments on 
tha subject had been taken. She 
was not otherwise positively ill-look- 
ing, though aniioua, meagre, of a 
muddy compleiion. and looking aa 
old again as she really was. 

As some dogs have it in the blood, 
or are trained, to worry certain crea- 
tures to a certain point, so— not to 
make the comparison disrespectfully 
— Pleasant lUderhood had it in the 
blood, or had been trained, to ttgard 
seamen, within certain limits, as her 
prey. Show her a man in a blue 
jacket, and, figuratively sptekine, 
she pinned him instantly. Yet, all 
things considered, aha was not of an 
evil mind or an unldudly dispositioTi. 
For, obaervo how many things wore 
to be considered according to hir 
own unfortunate experienco. Sliovif 
Pleasant Ridarhood a Wedding in 
the street, and she only saw titu 
people taking out a regular licence 
to (quarrel and fight. Show her :i 
Christening, and she saw a little 
heathen personage having a quite 
BuperQuoua name bastowed upon it, 
inasmuch as it would be commonly 
addressed by some abusive epithc! : 
which little personage was not in the 
least wonted by anybody, and waiiM 
b* shored and banged oat of eTeiy- 



OtrE MUTUAL FBIESD. 



body'i mj, imtn it ihoold grow hig 
ODOUgh to ihove and b&ng. Show 
her a Fonoral, and she eaw an on- 



of & black maBquerade, conferring a 
tempomy gentilit;oii the performeis, 
at an immense expenaa, and repre- 
BentiiiK the only fonnol party 



'i taS 



pven by th« deceased, Kiow her > 
live bthor, and she aair but a dupli' 
rate of her own Cither, who &om her 
infancy bod been token with flta and 
atarta of discharging his duty to her, 
which duty was always incorpotiLtdd 
in the fonn of a fist or a leathern 
strap, and being dischai)^ hurt 
her. All things considered, therefore, 
Fleaaant Riilcrhood was not SO very, 
very bad. There waa eren a touch 
uf romance in her — of such romance 
as could creep into Limehouae Hole 






of a 



veiling, when she stood with folded 
anna at her shop-door, looking from 
the reeking street to the sky where 
the ann waa aetling, she may i^ve had 
some Taporonsviaiona of &r-off islands 
in the southern seas or elsewhere 
(not being geogtaphicaUy particular) 
where it would be good to room with 
a congenial partner amouK' grorea of 
bread-fruit, waiting for Bhfpa to be 
wafted from the hollow porta of 
civilisation. For aailois to be got 
the bettor of were eaaential to Uiss 
Pleaaant's Eden. 

Kot on a summer erening did ahe 
come to her little shop-door. when a 
certain man standing over against 
tho houao on the opposite aide of the 
street took notice of her. That was 
on a cold shrewd windy evening, after 
dork. Pleasant Itiderhood shared 
■with most of the lady inhabitants of 
the Hole, the pecnliarity that her 
hair was a ragged knot, conatantly 
I'oming down behind, and that she 
□ever could enter upon any under- 
tiiking without first twisting it intt 

thico. At that particular moment 
eing newly come to the thr«!9ho1d U 
lake a look out of doors, she wai 
winding herself up with hoth hands 



of a fight OT other distoAttnM (d Qm 

Hole, the ladin would be Been flock- 
^ from all quarters nniversaUj 
lating their baok-hair as they cams 
along, and many of them, in the bur 
of the moment, carrying tJ 
comhi in their mouths. 

It was a wretched little ahop^ witlk 
a roof that any man standing in it 
could touch with his hand ; littla 
better than a cellar or cave^ down 
tbrse steps. Tet in ita ill-lightad 
window, among a flaring handker- 
chief or two, an old peacoat or so, > 
few valuoloaa watcfaM and compasses, 
jar of tobacco and twocrosaed pipea, 
bottle of walnut ketchup, and soma 
jrrible Sweets — these cnature dii- 
mforta serving aa a blind to tha 
ain business of the Leaving Shop 
-was displayed the inacriptioii Su- 

Ut't BoABDINO-HotSB- 

Talcing notice of Flessuit Bid«r- 

wd at the door, the man crossed ao 

quickly that she waa still winding ho^ 

self up, when he atood close before her. 



dropping her arms ; ' 

It was a tentative reply, the man 
having a seafaring appearance. Hei 
father was not at homo, and Fleasotrt 
knew it, " Take a seat by the fire." 
were her hospitable words whan aba 
hod got him in ; *' men of your call* 
ing are always welcome here-" 

'- Thankee," aaid the man. 









sailor, and his handa were the handi 
of a stiilor, except that they wert 
smooth. Pleasant had an eye for 
Bailors, and she noticed the unuaed 
colour and teiture of the hands, sun- 
bumt though they were, aa iharplj 
as she noticed their unmistakable 
looseness and suppleness, as he ssl 
himBolf down with his left arm caie- 
leasly thrown acroa* his left teg * 
litllo above the knee, and the rigbl 
arm as careleaaly thrown over Ihe 
elbow of the wooden chair, with the 
hand cuncd, half open and half ahul* 
as if it had just let go a rope. 

"Mi«ht you be looking fora." "- 




OTJB ItCTDAL FETEND. 



Unof her olaamnt ituid en ons 

nde or the fire. 

" I don't right]; know my pUiu 
fot," retnnied the num. 

" Tdd ain't looking fbr a LMnng 

" No," nid the man. 

" No," ■mented PleMant, " yon've 
I got too much of an outfit on yon for 
that. But if yon ihootd want either, 
I thia ia both." 

I " Ay, ay 1" taid the man, glancing 

I round the pUca. " I know. Tre been 
I here before." 

I " Did yon Leare anything; when 

I Toawerenereberoref" asked Flouant, 
I with a Tiew to principal and intcicBt. 
' " No." The man ihook his head. 

"■lamprettyiure younever boarded 
I bvef" 
I "No." Tht man again diook hii 

' ** What did yon do here when you 

{ wer« here before f" aaked Pleasant. 
I ■ For 1 don't remember yon," 
I "It's not at all likely you should. 

I X only stood at the door, one night^ 
dn the lower step there—whilo a ship- 

I mite of mine looked in to speak to your 
Cather. I remember the place well." 
Looking Tery curiously round it. 
" Might that have been Ions ago t" 
t " Ay, a goodish bit ago. When I 

I csme off my laat voyage." 
I " Then you han iiot baan to aea 

f Wely?" 

I "Ho. Been in the sick bay nnc« 
■ fboD, and been employed aahore." 
I " Then, to be sur% that aocounta 
1 iDryonr hands." 
: \ 'nie man with • keen look, a quick 
^1 smile, and a r' " " ' "" 

A ^ "?:. " 

r 1 ^c*. That accounts for my 
,..1 Pleasant was somewhat d 
ti^ hii look, and returned 
ncnuly. Not only was his change of 
niuiner, though very sudden, quite 
collected, but bis former mai 
■bich he resumed, had a certain 
fnswd confidence and sen^c of power 
m it IhHt were half threattiiing. 
"Will your father be long-?' 

;hiliurBd. 
"/ i&B '* ioow, I can 't tty. " 



" A« von snpiNMMl he w*a at home, 
it would seem that he haa just gone 

,tf How's thalF" 

" I aupposi^ he had come homo," 

eosant ox plained, 

" Oh ! You supposed he hod come 
home ? 'llien ho lias been some tim^ 
autP How'sthatP" . 

Fithcr's on the river in his boat.'' 
'- At the old workF" aaked the man. 
" I don't know what you mean," 
mid Pleasant, shrinking a step bach. 
" What on earth d'ye want f '^ 

" I don't want to hurt yonr father. 
I don't want to say I mi^ht, if 1 
chose. 1 wont to speak to him. Not 
much in thst. is there ? There shsll 
be no secrets &om yon ; you shall 1 e 
by. And plainly. Miss Biderhood, 
there's nothing to be got Out of me, 
or made of me. I am not good for 
the Leaving Shop, I am not good fi^r 
tho ISourding-Uouse, I am not goo-l 



forai 



,thin| 



n you 



1 0^ ht 



the e 



ixpenn'orth of balance. 
idea aaide, and we shall get 
together." 

"But }-on're a seafaring tnanf" 
argued Pleasant, as if that were a 
sufficient reason for hia being goui 
for something in her way. 

"Yes and no. I have been, and I 
may be again. But J am not for you. 
Won't yon take my word for it P 

The conversation had arrived at a 
criaia to jostify Miss Pleasant's hair 
in tumbling down. It tumbled down 
accordingly, and she twisted it up, 
looking bom nnder bar bent forehead 
at the "I an In taking stock of his 



stockofaformidable knife in .. . 
at his waist ready to his hand, and of 
a whiatte hanging round his neck, 
and of a short jagged knotted dub 
with a loaded head that peeped out of 
a pocket of bis looao outfr jacket or 
frock. He sat quietly looking at her; 
but, with these appeQda|;cs partially 
revealing themselves, and wilt % 



Bbl« appeuaoce. 




OtJB MUTUAL FBIEND. 



" Won't yon take my wOTd fiw it f " 
he uked again. 

Pleannt anavered with a short 
duml Dod. He rejoined vith anotber 
Eiiort dumb nod. Then he got n 
end stood with hit anna folded, i 
front of the Gre, loolung down into 
occadonally,' as the stood vith her 
arms folded, leaning against the tide 
of the chinmoy-pLOCA. 

" To wila away the tiroe till yonr 
father comes," he laid, — "piay is 
there much rohbing and mtudering 
of seamen about the water-side now f 

" No," said Pleasant. 

'■AnyP- 

" Complaints of that sort are some- 
timea made, about HatcliSe and Wap- 

C'lng, and up that way. But who 
novs bow many are true F" 
" To be sore. And it don't seem 

"That's what I ssv," observed 
Plesaant "Where's the leason for 
itr Bless Ihe sailois, it lun't as if 
th^ erer could keep what they have, 
withont it" 

" You're right. Thur money may 
he soon got out of them, without vio- 
lence," said the man. 

" Of course it ma^," said Fleassiit; 
"and then tbey ship again, and get 
more. And the beat thing for '< 
too, to ship again as - 



" I'll tell yon why I ask," punued 
the vimtor, lixiking ap from Oie Sre. 
"I was once boaot that way myself, 
and left for dead." 

"NoP" said Pleasant. "Whore 
did it happen F" 

" It happened," returned the man, 
with a ruminative air, as he drew his 
right hand across hie chin, aod dipped 
the other in the pocket of his rough 
outer coat, "it happened somewhere 
about here as I reuon. I don't think 
it can have been a mile &om here." 

"Were yon dronkP" asked Plea- 

"I was muddled, but not with fair 
dnnkmg. I had not been driDking, 
1. A mouthful did it*' 



Pleasant with a gnre look Aaok 
her head ; importing that she oiuUr- 
stood tbe process, but decidedly dis- 
approved. 

" Fair trade is one thins,' ' said 
she, "but that's another. No ona 
has a right to cany on with Jack in 
(Aa(w-- ■■ 



"The 



doe« you credit," 
returned the man, with • grim sinile; 
and added, in a mutter, " the more bo, 
as I believe it's not your father's. — 
Tea, I had a bad time of it, that time. 
I lost everything, and bad a ahan 
struggle for my Hie, weak as I was. 
" Did you get the parties pnniitiedF" 
asked Pleasant. 

" A tremendoua pnnisbment fol- 
lowed," said tbe man, more seriously i 
"butitwBsnotof my bringing about." 
" Of whose, then F" asked Pleasant 
The man pointed apwaid with his 
forefinger, and, slowly recovering 
that band, iettled his clun in it again 
aa he looked at Uie fire. Bringing 
her inherited eye to bear upon him , 
Pleasant Riderhood felt more and 
more uncomfortable, his manner was 
BO mysterious, so Mem, so •eU-pc*- 






men gets a had name throngh d< 
of violence. I am aa much against 
deeds of violence being done to ses- 
&ring men, as Seafaring men can be 
themselves. I am of the same opinioa 
as my mother was, when she «u 
living. Fail trade, my mother usod 
to say, but no robbery and no blows." 
In the way of trade Misa Pleasinl 
would have taken — ^and indeed did 
take when she could— as much u 
thirty shillings a week for board tint 
would be dear at five, and likewiaa 
coaducted the Leaving bugioeu Dnm !■ 
correspondingly equitable princif 
jet she had that tenderness of con- 
science and those feelings of humanjtr, 
that the moment her ideas of tiada 
were overstepped, she became ^ 
seaman's champion, even against htf 
father, whc- -'-- - '■ - — ^ 




ODE MUTUAL FEIESD. 



Bat, ih* mt bore inl«rrnpt»d by 
tier bther'* voice eiclaJmiOE angrily, 
"Kow, Poll PaiTot!" and by her 
fitther'a hat beinK hearily Bang from 
his lAnd and atriking her face. Ac- 
Ciutomed to such occasional mani- 
teMationji of bis wnee of parental 
duty, Pleaaant merely wiped her 
&cfl on her hair (whioh of couiao had 
timibleil down) before ibe twisted it 
np. This wsM another common pro- 
cedore' on the put of tbe ladies of the 
Hole, when heated by verbal oi fislic 
altercation. 

" Bteot if I believe SDch a Poll 
Parrot aa yon wu ever leanied to 
■p«ak!"gKiwledHr.BiderbDod,etoop- 
inf to pick up his hat, and making a 
feint at her with bis heed and right 
elbow; for he took the delicate sub- 
ject of Fobbing seamen in eitraordi- 
naiy dudgeon, and was out of humour 
too, '• What are you Poll Parroting 
at now t Ain't you got nothing to do 
bat (bid yonr aims and (taod a FoU 
FamtingallnightP" 

" Let her bIodb," nrged the man. 
" £he was only spealdnff to me." 

"Let her aJone too I'' retorted Hr. 
Biderfaood, eyeing him all over. " Do 
TOO know she's my datighler f" 

"Yes." 

" And don't yon know that I won't 
have no Pall Parroting on tbo part of 
my daughter P No, nor yet that I 
won't take no Poll Parroting from 
no man ? And who may yoa be, and 
what may f«u wantF" 

"How can I tell yon until yon 
lie silent f " xetomed the oUier 
feicely'. 

" Well," said Mr. Riderbood, quail- 
ing a little, "I am willing tij bo silent 
br the porpose of hearing. But don't 
Poll Parrot me." 

" Are you thirsty, yon P" the roan 
ulted, in the same fierce abort way, 
■Itar returning his look. 

"Why nat'rally," said Mr. Eideiv 
bood," ain't I always thirsty F" (In- 
(iignant at tbe absurdity of the quet- 



it will yon diink F" demanded 



"What 



"Sbany wine," letumed Mr. I 



derhood, in the same sharp tons, "d 

you're capable of it." 

Themun put his hand in his pocke^ 
took out haif a sovereign, and begged 
the favour of Miss Plmsant tbat shB 
would fetch a bottle. "With tbs 
cork uDili-avn," he added, ampbati- 
oaily, looking at her fBthar. 

" I'll take my Alfmd David," mut- 
t«Tetl Sir. Uiderhood, slowly rataiing 
into a dark smile, " that you know a 
move. Do I know y w .' N — u — no, 
I don't know you." 

The man lephcd, "No, yon don't 
know me." Arid so they stood look- 
ing at one another surlily enough, 
until Pleaaant came back. 

"There's small glasses on th» 
■hel^" said Kiderhood to his daughter. 
" Give ^ne the one without a ft«t. I 
gets my living by the sweat of my 
brow, and it's gixid enough for ■»," 
This had a modest Belf.^Bnying ap- 
pearance ; but it soon turned cut Unit 
as, b^ reason of the impossibility of 
elanding the glass upright while there 
was anything in it, it required to Lo 
emptied as soon as filled, Mr. Sider- 
hood managed lo drink in the piopor- 
tioo of three to one. 

With his Fortunatus's goblet ready 
in his band, Mr. Biderhood sat down 
on one side of the table before the 
fire, and the strange man on the 
othor: Pleasant occupying a stool 
between the latter and the fireside. 
The background, composed of hand- 
kerchiefs, coals, shirts, bats, and otlier 
old artiiJes "On Leaving," bad a 
general dim resemblance to human 
listeners; especially where a shiny 
black sou'wester suit and hat hnng, 
looking very like a clumsy mariner 
with his back to the com|^any, who 
was BO curioua to overbear, tbat be 

Cosed for the purpose with bis coat 
if pulled on, and his shoulders up 
to his ears in the uncompleted action. 
The visitor Hut held the bottle 
against the light of tbe candle, and 
neit examined the lop of tbe cork. 
Gali.'^fied that it hod not been tam- 

Soreil with, he slowly took from his 
renstpocket a rusty clasp-knife, and, 
with a 09ikBcrew in the handle, opened 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEBD. 



TGw, ikid onch separately 
table, oud, vith the end of the milor's 
knot of hia neckerchief, duflt«d the 
iaside of the neck of the bottle. All 
Ihia with great doliberatioD. 

At first Itiderhoud h&d sat iriUl hi* 
footleu |:;]iiu extended iit Bim's lenRlh 
for filling, vhile the very deliberato 
d absoibed in his pre- 
it, RTadanlly hii arm 
to him, and his kUu 
was lowered and lowered until he 
Tested it upside down upon the tnble. 
By the same degrees his attention 
tiecame ooDcentmtad on tha knife. 
And ntnr, as the man held out the 
bottle to fill all round, Riderhood 
stood ap, leaned over the table Ifl 
I'^ok t^^oeer at the knife, and stared 

-WhatB Ui« mMitat" taked the 

"Why, I know that knife!" said 

Riderhood. 

"Yes, I dareaay yon do." 

He motioned to him ta hold op his 
fiiiiBa, and filled it. Siderhnod 
imptied it to the laat drop and begun 

"" That there tnifw— —" 
"Stop," said the man composedly. 
" I waa going to drink 
daugh'-- ""-- •■"'"■ " 

"That knih was the knife of a 
il George Hadfoot" 



jghter. Your health, Miss Hider- 



"Itw 



"Haw 



a well heknown 



"Whit's come to himP" 

"Death hna come to him. Death 
came to him in an ugly shape. He 
lookod," said the man, " very horrible 

"ArtCT whatf" said Riderhood, 
with a &owning etnre. 
"Alter he wHskillrd." 
"KUled. WhokilWhimP" 
Only answering with a shrug, the 
man GUed the footless ^iaaii, and ]tid<7- 
hood amptied it; looking amozedly 
tnaa his daughter to his Tisitor. 



" Ton don't mmn to tell a faonert 
man — " he was recommencing with 
his empty ghus in his hand, when hi* 
eya became &«eiEHted by thestmnger's 
outer cost He leaned serosa the 
table to see it naarer, touched the 
sleeve, turned the cuff to look at the 
sleeve lining (the man, in hia perfect 
compoanre, ofiering not the least ob- 
jection), and aiclaimed, "It's my 
belief aa this here coat was Clearga 
Badfoot'stoo!" 

" You are right He wore it the 
last time yon over sawhim.ond the last 
time you ever will see hiiri — in this 
world." 

" It's my bdief yon mean to ten ma 
tomyfaceyoukiUodhim!" exclaimed 
Biderhood ; bat, ne^'erthclasB, allow- 
inghis ghtss to be filled again. 

The man only answered with an- 
other shrug, and showed no aymptoa 
of confusion. 

"Wish I may die if I know what 
to be up to with this chap I " said 
RiderhoDd, after storing at him, and 
tobsing hia last glaasfnl down hi* 
throat. " Let's know what to maka 
of yon. Say aomething plain." 

"I will," retumed the other, lean* 
ing forward ucioaa the table, and 
sptaking in a low impressivB voice. 
" What a liar you are '. ' ' 

The honest witnoaa rose, and mods 
ns though ha would fling hia gloss in 
the man's face. The man not wincing, 
and merely shaking his forefingel 
half knowingly, half menacingly, the 
piece of honesty thought better of il 
and sat down again, putting the glafli 

'■ And when yon wont to tliat 
lawyer yonder in the Temple with 
tliat invented story," aaid the stronger, 
in an eiaaperatingly comfortable iurt oi 
confidence, *' yon might have had your 
strong suapicions of a friend of your 
own, yoo know. I think you Wd, 

"Me my luspictoniF Of what 
friend?" 

" Tell me B;;ain whose knife waa 
this?" demanded the man. 

"It was possessed by, and w«t til* 
property of<-^iim aa I have made men- 



3 H 



OUB MITTUAL FBIEND. 



" Tell m* uniD whoae coat mi 

" That there utide of elothing 
likewayB beloagsd to, and wu wore 
by — hJin u I have made mentian 
on," WIS again Uio dull Old Hiuley 

" I nintect that jon gBTe him the 
credit of the deed, uid of keepiog 
dererly oat of the waj. But there 
wu small clevemeM m iit keepinff 
out of the way. The devemeu would 
bave been, to have got back for one 

'■ Tbiose ia come to a pretty pan," 
Knurled Mr. Riderhood, rining to hif 
feet, goaded to itond at bay, "when 
bnllyeia oa ia wearing dead men's 
dothfe, and bnllyeie an i aimed with 
dead mea'i knives, a to coma into the 
houeea of honest lire men, getting 
their iivingi by the iweats of their 
brows, and is to niake theee here sort 
of charges with no rhyme and no 
reuon, neither the one nor yet the 
other '. Why ahould I hare had my 
■uipidoni uf hjmp" 

'■ Because yon knew him," implied 
the man ; " becanae yon had been one 
with him, and knew his real character 
under a fikii outside; because 
sight which yon had ofterwiLrds 
to belioTe to be the very night of the 
morder, he came in here, withia ~ 
I hoar of his having left his ship in ' 
dndu, and asked yon in what lodgings 
be could find room. ■*"— " — --■ 
OiBnrer with him F ' 

" ITI take my world-withoot-end 
ererlaatirg Alfred David that lou 
vsm't with him." answered Rider- 
hood. - Yon talk big, • ■ ■ 
things look pretty black against your- 
idf. to my thinking. You charge 
■gaia' me that George Radfoot got 
Iwt nght of, nod was no more thought 
of. What's that for a sailor P Why 
Ihen'ififty such, oat of light and ~ ' 
of mind, ten times as long as hii 
through entering in diflinvnt 
(•.lUpping wheD tba ovt'ud 



mntlcr made of it. Ask ray daughter. 
You could go on Poll Parroting enough 
with her, when I wani't come in: 
Poll PaiTOt a little with her on this 
pint. You and your 



d voyage 



What are my 
suspicions of you F You tell me 
" irge Badfoot got killed. I ask you 
I done it and how you know itF 
You carry his knife and you wear hi* 
coat. I ask you how you come bv 
'em P Hand over that there botUel'' 
Here Mr. Riderhood appeared to 
laboor under a Tiituous delusion tbat 
it was his own properW. " And you," 
he added, tunung to his daughter, as 
he filled the footless glass, "if it 
wam't wasting good shoiry wine on 
you, I'd chuck uiis at you, for Foil 
FaiTotina with this man. It's along 
of Poll Parroting that snch like a* 
him gets their suspidons, whereas I 
gets mine by argueymenl^ and being 
"rally a honest man, and sweating 

Sat tbe brow as a honest maa 
U" Here he tiUcd the footless 
goKlat again, and stood chewing one- 
half of its contents and looking down 
into the other m be ilowly rolled the 
wine about in the glass; while Pleasant, 
whose sympathetic hair had come 
down on her being apostrophised, re* 
arranged it, much in the style of the 
tail of a horse when proceeding to 
market to be sold. 

"WeUF Have youfiniahedf" Miked 
the strange man. 

"No," said Riderhood, "I ain't. 
Far &om it. Now then 1 I want to 
know how OeorgB Rodfoot come by 
his death, and how you come by bu 
kitf" 

"If you erer do know, you won't 
know now." 

" And next I want to know," pn>> 
coeded Eidarhood, " whether yon 
mean to charge that what-you-may- 

" Harmon murder, father," iOg- 
gested Pleasant. 

"No PoU Panotingr' he voci- 
tteated, in tetnm. " Keep your 
mouth ihut I — I want to know, yoa 




0U£ UUl'UAL FB.ESD. 



r, Trhatliar ;ini ebtrge tlut then 

Ime on Oeo^ Radtoot P " 

" If you ever do knon', you i 



" I alono know," Tetomed the m&D, 
■ternly ahakuig lus hend, "the m^i- 
terics of tbst crime. I alone know 
tbat voor trumped-up story 

niWy be true. I alone lau 
uet be tllogetlier falM, end that 
you must know it to be altogether 
tilae. I came here to-night to tell 
7011 BO much of what I know, and no 

Mr. Biderhood, witli hii crooked 
eye upon hii Tieitor, meditated for 
■ome moTnentJi, and then lo&lled hie 

floiis, and tipped the oontente down 
ia throat in tJiree tips. 
"Shut the shop-doort" he then 
Mid to hia daughter, patting the g'laa 
■uddunlf down. " And turn the liey 
and stand by it I If you know aU 
this, yon air," petting, as he spoke, 
betKeen the visitor and Cha door, 
" why han't yoa gone to Idwyei 
Lightwood f" 

" That, aleo, ia alone known to my- 
•el^" was the cool answer. 

" Don't you know that, if yon 

didn't do the deed, what joa aay you 

could tell is worUi from five to ten 

thousand pound P ' ' asked Eiderhood. 

" I know it T6ry well, and when I 

The honest miT. paunod, and drew 
B little nearer to the visitor, and • 
little further from the door. 

"I know it," repented the man, 
quietly, "BB well oa I know Uiat you 
and Oeorge Kadfoot were one toge- 
ther in more than one dark business ; 
and as well aa I know that you, 
Koger Hiderhood, conspired against 
an innocent man for blood-money ; 
and as well aa I know that I can — 
■nd that I swear I will ! — Bive you 
vp on both seorea, and be the proof 
against you in my own peraon, if 
you defy me '." 

'■Father!" cried Pleasant, bom 
tie dooi, "Doa't defy biml Qiv«< 



way to him! Don't gat into nun 

tn>u))l«, faiher:" 

" Will Tou leave off a Poll FarTob 
ing, I ask ycv F " Cried Mr. Rider 
hood, half beside himself betweei 
the two. Then, propitiatingly bq( 
crawlingly : " You s;r I You han'l 
said what yon ■ - ' - 

''lir, ia it worth} 
f my defying y< 
hat you want of dl . 
"1 don't want much," said thi 
lan. "Thia accusation of joun 
inat not be left half made and haU 
[unade. What was done for tlu 
lood-money mutt be thoroughly on- 

" Well ; but Shipmate " 

** Captein, thes," urged Mr. Hider- 
hood; "there I You won't object to 
Captain. It's a honourable title, and 
you fully look it Captain I Ain't 
the man dead ? Now I ask yon tui. 
Ain't Gaffer dead P" 

"Well," returned the other, with 

ipatience, " yea, he is dead. What 
thenP" 

" Oan words hurt a dead man. Cap- 
in F I only a^k you &ir." 

"Iliey can hurt the memory of • 
Jead man, and they can hart hi* 
living «-tiili<r»n How many children 

" Ueaning QaSer, Captain t " 

" Of whom else are we speakingF" 
returned the other, with a movemeni 
of his foot, as if Kogrue Riderhood 
were beginiiing to sneak before him 
in the body as well m the apirit, and 
he spumed him ofil "I have heard 
of a daughter, and a son. I ask for 
information ; I ask jiow daughter ; I 
prefer to apeak to her. What chkl- 
dren did Heiam leave T" 

Pleasant, looking to her Either for 
penniaBion to reply, that honest man 
exclaimed with great bittemeea: 

>' Why the devil don't you answer 
the Captain ? You can Poll PaiTot 
enough when you ain't wanted t» 
Poll Parrot, you perwersc jade I" 

Timt encoutaged. Pleasant si- 




OUE MUTUAL FEIiiND. 



*' It JB dreadfol that any rtigma 
riiouid attach to them," Hiid the visi- 
tor, whom the coDSideiBtioa readtired 
ID nnsaay that he rose, and paced to 
■nd fro, muttering, " Dreadful l Un- 
foreseen P How could it be fore- 
Hen '. ' ' Then ha stopped, and aakixl 
aloud: " Wherp do they live f " 

Pleasant further eiploiued that 
odIj the daughter had resided with 
the lather at the time of his accidental 
dnth, and that sho had immediately 
aftfi-wudi quitted the nsighbour- 

" I know that," aaid Ihs man, " for 
I lure been tn the place they dwelt 
in, at the time of the inqueet. Could 
'OH quietly find oat for me where >he 



■ Fleaaant had no doubt ahe coold do 

I that. Within what time, did she 
think f "Wilhin a day. The vis 
•aid that was well, and he would 
turn for the information, relying on 
iti being obtained. To tJua dialogue 
IBideihood bod attended in Bilence, 
aad be now obaequiously beapake the 
Captain. 
*' Captain I Uentioning Uiem nn- 
. fM'net woida of mine respecting 
I Gaffer, it is contraiiily to be bore in 
I mind that OaSer always were a pre- 
I dona nKai, and that his line were a 

Sthii^Ting line. Libenaj^ when I went 
to them two Govemo™, Lawyer 
Lightwood and the t'other Qorernor, 
*ith my information, I may have 
lieen a httle orer-eager for the cause 
of justice, or (to put it anotlier 
*ay) a little OTer-Btimilatcd by thcan 
feeling* which Touses a man np,when 
t pot of money is going about, to get 
bis hand into that pot of money for 
b iit bmily'B sake. ' Besides which, I 
i» think the wine of them two Oo- 
v«niorawBa — Iwillnotiaj^ahocussed 
" vine, but for from a wine aa was 
n (Uhy for the mind. And there's on- 
■ MKer thing to be remembered. Cap- 
tun. Did I stick to them woida 
*lien (lafTei was no more, and did I 
■*# V bobi te ^>sm two Qor«tnoit, 



I, wot I infbnned I 

still inform; wot was took down I 
hold to a ' No. I says, fisnk and 
open — no ahuffling, mind you. Cap- 
tain ! — ^ 1 may hare been mistoolc, 
I've been a thinking of it, it nioj-n't 
have been took down correct on this 
and that, and I won't swear to thick 
and thin, I'd rayther forfeit four 
good opinions than do it.' And so 
lar as I know,' ' concluded Ur. Bider- 
hood, by way of proof and evidence 
to character, "I Aart actiwallf for- 
feited the good opinions of several 



I " Tou shall sign," said the visitor, 
taking very little heed of this ora- 
tion, "a statement that it was all 

I utterly &lse, and the poor girl shall 
have It I will bring it with me for 
your signature, when I Dome again." 
"When might you be eipeclcd. 
Captain F" inquired Riderhood, again 
dubiously getting between him and 
the doer. 

"Quite Boon enough for you. I 
shall not diaappoint yon ; don't be 

"Might you be inclined to leavo 
any name. Captain t" 

" No, not at alL I have no auch 
intention." 

"'Shall' ia Eumm'at of a hard wotd. 
Captain," urged Riderhood, still 
fbebly dodgins between ^im and the 
door, as he advanced. "When you 
say a man ' shall ' sign this and that 
and t'other, Cajituiii, you order him 
about in a grand sort of a way. Don't 
it seem so to youieelf f" 

The man stood still, and angrily 



aant, from the door, with her dis- 
engaged hand nervously trembling 
at bet lips; "don'tt Don't get into 
trouble any mora!" 

" Hear me out, Captain, hear me 
out 1 All I was wishing to 'cnatiita. 
Captain, otore yoM looV ^ina ilQ^ni- 




oca iiU'iUAL ymcxD. 



Th« honpst mm vba gained 1 



■ livi 



V the B 



itof h 






" When I claim it," said Ihe man, 
in a tone vhich sccmod to leave some 
■uch worda aa " you dog," very dia- 
tinctl; understood, "you ahall ahaxe 
it" 

Looldng iteadfaatly at Biderhood, 
he onc« more add in a low voice, this 
time vith a grim sort of admiration 
of him as a perfoct pitos of BTil, 
" What a liar you are I " and, noddiDg 
hia head twice or Ulrica otet the com- 
i^ent, psased out of the shop. 
But, to PUannt he aaid good-night 
kindly. 



muined m a stnte akin to atupcfj 
tion, ur.lil the footlesa glass anJ t 
unliiiiBlied bottle conveyed thcmsd' 
into his mind. From his mind 
ronveynd them into bis hands, and 
conveyed the last of the wine into 
stomach. When that was done, 
awoke to a dear perception that I 
PatTotiDB was solely chargeable " 
what had paaed. Therefore, nol 
be remiss in his daty as a fsther. 
threw B pair of aea-hoota at Pleas 
which she diickod to avoid, and t 
cried, poor thing, using her hair 
a pocket-handkerchie£ 



CHAPTER Xm. 



blew him in again. Doora wcie 
■lamming violently, lompa wcie 
flickeriiiK or blown out, signs were 
rocking m their framce, the water of 
the kennels, wiod - dispersed, flow 
•boot in drope lite rain. Indifferent 
to the weather, and even prefii-ring 
it to better weather for its cliaranco 
of the BtreeU, the nmn looked about 
him with a scrutinizing glance. 
"Thus much I know," homurmured- 
"I have never been here siiice that 
night, and never was hci-o hi^rore that 
night, but IbuH much I rocosnise. I 
louder which way did we lake whon 
we came out of tlint shop. We turn od 
to the rij:ht as I have turned, but I 
can recall no more. Did we go by 
thisalloyf Or down that little lanef 

He tried both, hut both confused 
him equally, and ho cume straving 
hack to the same spot. " I remember 
there were poles pushed out of upper 
windows on which doth'js were dry in g , 
and I remember a low public -htiuau, 
and the aoand Sowing down aninow 
paisage belonging to it of the scrap- 



ing of a fiddle and the slinffliDf 
feet. But here are aU these tbi 
in the lane, and hen are all tl 
things in the allej. And I have 
thing else in my mind hut a waJ 
dark doorway, a flight of staiiB, tx 

He tried a new direction, but m 
nothing of it; walls, dark doorwi 
Sights of stairs and rooms, wen 
abundant. And, like moat peopl' 
piuzlcd, he B^in and a^nun dsscH 
a circle, and found hiinsolf at 
point from which he had beg 
" This IB like what I have resc 
narrativea of escape from prisi 
said he, "where the liltle tract 
the fugritivea in the night alw 
seems to take the shape of the g 
round world, on which they warn 

Here he censed to be the oaki 
headod, oakuni-whiakered man 
whom Miss Pleasant Biderhood 
looked, and, aUowing for his b: 
still wrapped in a nautical overc 
bccnnie aa like that aame lost wai 
l^fr- Julius Handford, as never i 
was like another in this world, 
the breast of the coat he stowed 




TilE liKW YORK 
PUCLIC LItil-iARY 



ASTOR» LFNOX mtD 
TiLDcN FOUNDATIONS. 



JlK- 



OUE MUTUAL FEIBND. 



221 



Bpnt, lei Uie fiiTonring wind wmit ' 
with bim down a Bolilary place thst 
it hmd swept clear of posnengcra. Tet 
in that same monieDt ho was the 
Eecrelitry also. Mr. Boffin's Socrplary. 
for John BiikesniiUi, too, wa* aa lika 
that aatne loet wanted Mr. Juliua 
Haadfacd aa never man wui like an- i 
other in thii wotld. 

"1 have no clue to the scene of my ' 
dtath," said he. " Not that it mattors ^ 
ion. Bat having riaketl diacorory ; 
If Tmtuiing here at all. I should ' 
live been glad to tracV some part of ' 
the way." With which singular ' 
weida be abandoned his warch, came I 
inout of Limehouse Hole, and took ' 
the way past Limohouse Church. At ' 
the great iron gate of the chun^byard j 
he Mopped and looked in. He looked 
Ip at the high tower spectnlly re- 
lating the wind, and be looked round i 
at the white tombstones, like enoui^h ' 
to the dead in their vindinf^-shects, 
•ndhs counted the nine tolk of the 
•lock-bsU. 

"It is » seniatioo not experienced 
tj many mortals," said he, "to ba ' 
ioibing into a churchyard on a wild 
■indy nicht, and to feel that I no | 
men held a place among the living '■ 
ttu these dead do, and even to know 
thit X lie huried somewhcm elao, as 
the^ lie buried here. Nctbinj^usesme 
to it A spirit that was once a man 
wnld hardly feel stranger or lonelier, 
ping unrecognised among mankind, 
thin I feel. 

" Bnt this ia tbe fanciful side of the 
Dilution. It has a real side, so dif- 
ficult that, though I think of it every 
iiy. I never thoroughly think it out. 
^ow, let me determine to think it 
^tu I walk home. I know I evade 
It, «t many men — perhaps most men — 
^ evade thinking their way through 
tbtir greatest perplexity. I will try 
to pin myaelf to mine. Don't evade 
t, John Harmon; don't evade it; 






itl 



" When I came back to England, 
•toarted to the country with which 
I.had none but most mioerxble aaao- 

^■tioaa, by the accooat* of my &&• 



inheritance that found me abroad, I 
came back, ahrinking&ommy f;ither'a 
money, shrinking from my father's 
memory, mistrustful of being forced 
on ft mprcenary wife, mistrustful of 
my father's intention in thrusting 
that marriaf^e on me, mistrustful that 
I was already growing avaricioos, 
miatrust^ that I was slackening in 
RTatitude to the two dear noble honMt 
Irionda who had made the only sun- 
light of my childish life or tnat of 
my heartbrokensister. I came back, 
timid, divided in my mind, afraid of 
myself and everybody here, knowing 
of nothing hut wretohedness that mv 
tnlhcr's wealth had ever hrouaht 
about. Now, stop, and so &r think 
it out, John Harmon. Ii that so t 
That is exactly so. 

"On board serving *« third mate 
was Georceltadfoot. I knewnotbing 
of him. His name first became known 
to me about a week before we sailed, 
through my being accosted hy one of 
the ship-agDnt'a clerks as 'Mr. Rad- 
foot.' It was one day when I had 
f^ne aboard to look to my prepara- 
tions, and the clerk, coming behind 
me as I stood on deck, tapped me on 
the shoulder, and said, 'Hr. Kadfoot, 
look here,' rEferring to some papers 
that he had in his hand. And my 
name first bocame known to Radfoot, 
through another clerk williin a day 
or two, and while the ship was yet in 

nrt, coming up behind him, tapping 
n on the shoulder and beginning, 

'Ibcgyour pardon, tfr. Harmon ' 

I believe we were alike in bulk and 
stature but not otherwise, and that 
we were not strikingly alike, oven itl 
those respects, when we wore together 
and cuiJd be compnred. 

" However, a sociable word or two 
on those mistakes became an easy 
introduction between us, and the 
weather was hot, and he helped ma 
to a cool cabin on deck alongside his 
own, and his Bret school had been at 
Brussels as mine had been, and ho 
had learnt French as I had learnt it, 
and he had a little history of himself 
to relate — God only knows how much 
of it true, and how mocli of it Uw— 



ISO 



0T7B MUTUAL FRIEND. 



that had its lilceneM to mine. I had 
been a seaman too. So we got to be 
confidential together, and tlio more 
easily j'et, becanse he and every one 
on board had known by general m- 
mour what I was making the voyage 
to England for. By such degrees 
and means, he came to the knowledge 
of my uneasiness of mind, and of its 
setting at that time in the direction 
of desiring to see and form some judg- 
ment of my allotted wife, before she 
could possibly know me for myself; 
also to try Mrs. Boffin and g^ve hera 
glad snrprise. So the plot was made 
out of our getting common sailon' 
dresses (as he was able to ^uide me 
about London), and throwmg our- 
selyeB in Bella Wilfer's neighbour- 
hood, and trying to put ourselves 
in her way, and doing whatever 
chance might favour on ike spot, and 
seeing what came of it. If nothing 
came of it, I should be no worse off, 
and there would merely be a short de- 
lay in my presenting myself to Light- 
wood. I have all these facts right P 
STes. They are all accurately right. 

"His advantage in all this was, 
that for a time I was to be lost It 
might be for a day or for two days, 
but I must be lost sight of on landing, 
or there would be recognition, anti- 
cipation, and failure. Therefore, I 
disembarked with my valise in my 
hand — as Pottcrson the steward and 
Mr. Jacob Kibble my fellow-passen- 
ger afterwards rememberea — and 
waited for him in the dark h^ that 
very Limehouse Church which 10 now 
behind me. 

"As I had always shunned the port 
of London, I only knew the church 
through his pointing out its spire 
from on board. Perhaps I might 
recall, if it were any good to try, the 
way by which I went to it alone from 
the river ; but how we two went firom 
it to Riderhood's shop, I don*t know — 
any more than I Imow what turns 
we took and doubles we made, after 
we left it. The way was purposely 
oonfiised, no doubt. 

"But let me go on thinking the 
iaati oul» tnd ftvoid oonfiiigng them 



with my speculations. Whether ht 
took me by a straight way or a 
crooked way, what is that to the pur- 
pose now P Steady, John Harmon. 

" When we stopped at Riderhood's, 
and he asked that scoundrel a ques- 
tion or two, purporting to refer only 
to the lodging-houses in which there 
was accommodation for os, had I thd 
least suspicion of him P None. Cer- 
tainly none until afterwards when I 
held the clue. I think he must have 
got firom Riderhood in a paper the 
drug, or whatever it was, tnat after- 
wards stupefied me, but I am far from 
sure. All I felt safe in charging oa 
him to-night was old compamon- 
ship in villainy between them. Their 
unoisg^uised intimacy, and the cha- 
racter I now know Riderhood to bear, 
made that not at aU adventurous. But 
I am not clear about the drug. Think- 
ing out the circumstances on which I 
found my suspicion, the^ are only 
two. One: I remember ms changing 
a small folded paper from one pocket 
to another, aft^ we came out, whidi 
he had not touched before. Two : I 
now know Riderhood to have been 
previously taken up for being con- 
cerned in the robb^ of an unlucky 
seaman, to whom some such poison 
had beoa given. 

" It is my conviction that we can- 
not have gone a mile from that shop, 
before we came to the wall, the dark 
doorway, the flight of stairs, and the 
room. The night was particularlT 
dark and it rained hard. As I thinj: 
the circumstances back, I hear the 
rain splashing on the stone pavement 
of the passage, which was not under 
cover. Hie room overlooked the 
river, or a dock, or a creek, and tho 
tide was out. Being possessed of the 
time down to that point, I know by 
the hour that it must have been 
about low water ; but while the coffee 
was ^tting ready, I drew back the 
curtam (a dark-brown curtain), and, 
looking out, knew by the kind of re- 
flection below, of the few neighbour- 
ing lights, that they were reflected in 
tidal mud. 
« He had carried under his «na a 




OUR MUTUAL FEIEND. 



eaana bsc, oontuning a luit of hii 
h clothea. I hsd no Changs of outei 
I dothet wilh me, as I tua to buj 

■ ilnjM. • You ue TOT vet, Kir. Har- 

■ moa,' — I can hear hini Kiyin^ — ' and 

I! am quite dry under Uu« giiod 
vaterproof coat. Put on Ibeae clothet 
of ouiu). You may find on trying 
Uiem dut they will anawei youc pur- 
pun to-moTTDw, M well as the slooa 
Ijnomean to buy, or better. While 
TOD chan)^ I'll horry the hot coffee. 
When ho came baclc, I had bii 
clothei on, and there «u a hlacl 
nan with him, wearing a linen 
jacket, like a abaward. who put the 
muddng coffee on the table ~~ ~ '~~ 
■nd never looked at ma. I 
litoal and exact? Literal and exact, 
lam certain. 

" Now, I poaa to aicb and doianred 
impreaaioiu ; they are so atruug, that 
I rely upon them ; but there a 
tpacea between them that I know n 
thing about, and they are not pc 
wded by any idea of time. 

" I had dnnk some coBee, when 
my aemae of aight he biigau to am 
immenaoly, and aomethiug urged :: 
to ruah at him. We hod a atruggle 
near the door. He got from mo, 
through my not Icnowing where to 
Arike, in the whirling round of the 
room, and the PmJiing of flamea of 
En between oa. I di'ij[)poi down. 
Lying helpleas on the ground, I waa 
tamed OTer by a foot. I was dragged 
by the neck into a comer. I heard 
men apeak together. I waa turned 
OTer by other feet. I aaw a Sgure 
like myaeU lying dreaaed in my 
dothee on a bed. What might have 
been, for anything I knew, a ailbnce 
of daya, weeka, months, yeara, waa 
broken by a violent wrestling of men 
all over the room. The figure like 
myaalf waa aiaailed, and my valiae 
waa in its hand. I waa trodden upon 
and fallen over. I heard a noise of 
Uowa, and thought it waa a wood- 
r cutting down a tree. I could 
»ot have said that my name was John 
Harmon — I could not have thought 
i^I didn't know it-^ot when I 
Aoaid tha bbwi, I ttaonght of the 



■■ Thia 



i bUU o 



Still o 



rect. with the exception that I cannot 
pt^ilily express it to myself without 
u^ing the word I. But it was not I, 
There was no such thing m I, within 
my knowledge. 

" It was only after a downward 
■lide through something like a tub^ 
and then a great noise and a spark- 
ling and a crackling as of Sres, that 
the consciousness came upon mo, 
'This is John Harmon drowning! 
John nnnnon, struggle tor your liio. 
John Harmon, call on Heaven and 
save yourself r I fiiik I cried it 
out aloud in a great agony, and then 
a heavy horrid unintelligible some- 
thing vaniahod, and it was I who wa« 
stru^'gling there alone in the water. 

" I was very weak and &in^ 
frightfully oppressed with drowsi- 
nesa, and driving £ist with the tide. 
Looking over the black water, I saw 
the lights racing past me on the two 
banks of the river, as if they were 
eager to be gone and leave me dying 
in the dark. The tide waa running 
down, hut I knew nothiuj^ of up or 
down then. Whan, guidmg myself 
safely with Heaven's aaaiatance be- 
fore the fierce set of the water, I at 
last caught at a boat moored, one of 
a tier of boata at a causeway, I waa 
sucked under her, and came up, onlj 
juat oliro, on the other side. 

" Was Ilong in the water F Long 
enough to be cnilled to the heart, biM 
' ' n't know how long. Yet tha 
waa merciful, for it was the cold 
: air and the rain that restored 
-cm a swoon on the Atones of the 
iway. They naturally aupposed 



me to hare toppled in, drunk, when I 
crept to the publ ' ' "' ' 

to; for I had : 



iblic-house it belonged 



and could not articulate — througli 
the poison that had made me inaen- 
sible having affected my speech — and 
' -ippoaed the night to be the pre- 
s night, aa it was still dark and 
ing. But I had lost twenty-four 

haT« dwoted the ealonlatiott 



232 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



often, and it must have been two 
nights that I lay recovering in that 
public-house. Let me eeo. Yes. I 
am sure it was while I lay in that 
bed there, that the thought entered 
my head of turning the danger I had 
passed through, to the account of 
being for some tune supposed to have 
disappeared mysteriously, and of 
proving Bella. The dread of our 
oeing forced on one another, and per- 
petuating the fate that seemed to 
have fallen on my father's riches — 
the fate that they should lead to no- 
thing but evil — was strong upon the 
moral timidity that dates from my 
childhood with my poor sister. 

** As to this hour I cannot under- 
■tand that side of the river where I 
recovered the shore, being the oppo- 
site side to that on which I was en- 
snared, I shall never understand it 
now. Even at this moment, while I 
leave the river behind me, going 
home, I cannot conceive that it rolls 
between me and that spot, or that 
the sea is where it is. But this is not 
thinking it out; this is making a 
leap to the present time. 

"I could not have done it, but for the 
fortune in the waterproof belt round 
my body. Not a great fortune, forty 
and odd pounds for the inheritor of a 
hundred and odd thousand ! But it 
was enough. Without it, I must 
have disclosed myself. Without it, I 
could never have gone to that Ex- 
chequer Coffee House, or taken Mrs. 
Wilfer's lodgings. 

'* Some twelve days I lived at that 
hotel, before the night when I saw 
tho corpse of Eadfoot at the Police 
Station. The inexpressible mentiil 
horror that I laboured under, as one 
of the consequences of the poison, 
makes the interval seem greatly 
longer, but I know it cannot have 
been longer. That suffering has 
gradually weakened and weakened 
since, and has only come upon me b^ 
starts, and I hope I am free fix)m it 
now ; but even now, I have some- 
times to think, constrain myself, and 
stop before speaking, or I could not 
■ay the words 1 want to say. 



** Again I ramble away from think* 
ing it out to the end. It is not so &r 
to the end that I need be tempted 
to break off. Now, on straight ! 

*' I examined tho newspapers every 
day for tidings that I was missing, 
but saw none. Going out that night 
to walk (for I kept retired while it 
was light), I found a crowd assembled 
round a placard posted at WhitehalL 
It described myself John Harmon, 
as found dead and mutilated in tho 
river under circumstances of strong 
suspicion, described my dress, de- 
scribed the papers in my pockets, and 
stated where I was lying for rec<^^« 
tion. In a wild incautious way I 
hurried there, and there — with the 
horror of the death I had escaped, 
before my eyes in its most appalling 
shape, add^ to the inconceivable 
horror tormenting me at that time 
when the poisonous stuff waa strongest 
on me — I perceived that Badfoot had 
been murdered by some unknown 
hands for the money for which he 
would have murdered me, and that 
probably we had both been shot into 
the river from the same dark place 
into the same dark tide, when tht 
stream ran deep and strong. 

*' That night I almost gave up my 
mystery, though I suspected no one^ 
could offer no information, knew abso- 
lutely nothing save that the murdered 
man was not I , but Eadfoot. Next day 
while I hesitated, and next day while 
I hesitated, it seemed as if the whole 
country were determined to have me 
dead. The Inquest declared me dead, 
the Government proclaimed me dead ; 
I could not listen at my fireside for five 
minutes to the outer noises, but it was 
borne into my ears that I was dead. 

" So John Harmon died, and Julius 
Handford disappeared, and John Roke- 
smith was bom. John Bokesmith's 
intent to-night has been to repair a 
wrong that he could never have ima* 
gined possible, coming to his ears 
through the Li^htwood talk related 
to him, and which he is bound by 
every consideration to remedy. In 
that intent John Rokesmith will per* 
severe, as his duty ia. 



H 



ir- 






OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



233 



Kow, is it an thooglit out P All 
hifi time ? Nothing omitted ? No, 
hms;. But beyond this time ? To 
.k it out through the future, is a 
ier though a much shorter task 
1 1^ think it out through the jtast. 
n Harmon is dead. Should John 
-men come to life ? 
J f yes, why ? If no, why P 
Take yes, first. To enlighten 
lan Justice concerning the offence 
oe far beyond it, who may have a 
a^ mother. To enlighten it with 
lights of a stone passage, a flight 
stairs, a brown window -curtain, 

a black man. To come into pos- 
ion of my father's money, and 
li it sordidly to buy a beautiful 
iturc whom I love— I cannot help 
reason has nothing to do with it ; 
>ve her against reason — but who 
lid as soon love me for my own 
e, as she would love the beggar at | 

comer. What a use for the 
aey, and how worthy of its old 
uses! 

' Now, take no. The reasons why 
m Harmon should not come to life. 
au5e he has passively allowed these 
r old faithful friends to pass into 
scasion of the property. Because 
lees them happy with it, making a 
d use of it, effacing the old rust 
I tarnish on the money. Because 
V have virtually adopted Bella, and 
1 provide for her. Because there 
ifection enough in her natiu^ and 
rmth enough in her heart, to de- 
op into something enduringly good, 
ipr favourable conditions Because 
' faults have been intensified by i 

* place in my father's will, and she 
a&eady growing better. Because 

* marrfaj^ wiui John Harmon, 
er what I have heard from her own 
B, would be a shocking mockery, 
which both she and I must always 
conscious, and which would degrade 
r in her mind, and me in mine, and 
^h of us in the other's. Because if 
bn Harmon comes to life and does 
t marry her, the property falls into 
5 very hands that hold it now. 
^'What would I have? Drad, I 
ve found the true /iiends of my life- j 



time still as true as tender and as 
faithful as when I was alive, and 
making my memory an incentive to 

f>od actions done in my name. Dead, 
have found them when thev might 
have slighted my name, and passed 
gfreedily over my grave to ease and 
wealth, lingering by the way, like 
single-hearted cMldi^ to recall their 
love for me when I was a poor 
frightened child. Dead, I have heard 
from the woman who would have been 
my wife if I had lived, the revolting 
truth that I should have purchased 
her, caring nothing for me, as a Sultan 
buvs a slave 

" What would I hare P If the dead 
could know, or do know, how the 
living use them, who among the hosts 
of dead has found a more disinterested 
fidelity on earth than IP Is not that 
enough for me P If I had come back, 
these noble creatures would have wel- 
comed me, wept over me, given up 
everything to me with joy. I did not 
come back, and they have passed un- 
spoiled into my place. Let them rest 
in it, and let Bella rest in hers. 

" What course for me then P Thia 
To live the same quiet Secretary life, 
carefully avoiding chances of recog- 
nition, until they shall have become 
more accustomed to their altered state, 
and until the g^reat swarm of swin- 
dlers under many names shall have 
found newer prey. By that time, the 
method I am establishmg through all 
the affairs, and with which 1 will 
every day take new pains to make 
them boUi familiar, will bo, I may 
hope, a machine in such working order 
as that they can keep it going. I 
know I need but ask of their gene- 
rosity, to have. When the right time 
comes, I will ask no more than will 
replace me in my former path of life, 
and John Rokesmith shaU tread it as 
contentedly as he may. But John 
Harmon shall come back no more. 

" That I may never, in the days to 
come afar off, have any weak mis- 
giving that Bella might, in any con- 
tingency, have taken me for m^ o^tv. 
sake if t had plainV-y aftV^dV^^A ^oVU 
plainly ask Yier ; piovin^ '\i^^^oiA t;^ 



{ 



%H 



0T7B MUTUAL FBIEKB. 



quertion wlial I already know too 
well. And now it is all thought out, 
from the beginning to the end, and 
my mind is easier.** 

So deeply engaged had the living- 
dead man been, in thus communing 
with himsdi^ tiiat he had regarded 
neither the wind nor the way, and had 
resisted the former as instinctively as 
he had pursued the latter. But being 
now come into the City, whore there 
was a coach-stand, he stood iilesolute 
whether to go to his lodgings, or to 

fo first to Mr. Boffin*8 house. He 
ecided to go round by the house, 
arguing, as he carried his overcoat 
upon his arm, that it was less likely 
to attract notice if left there, than if 
taken to HoUowa^ : both Mrs. Wilfer 
and Miss Lavinia being ravenously 
curious touching every article of which 
the lodger stood possessed. 

Arriving at the house, he found 
that Mr. and Mrs. Boffin were out, 
but that Miss Wilfer was in the 
drawing-room. Miss Wilfer had re- 
mained at home, in consequence of 
not feeling very well, and had in- 
quired in the evening if Mr. Roke- 
Bmith were in his room. 

"Make my compliments to Miss 
Wilfer, and say I am here now.'* 

Miss Wilfer's compliments came 
down in return, and, if it were not 
too much trouble, would Mr. Hoke- 
smith be so kind as to oome up before 
he went P 

It was not too much trouble, and 
Mr. Rokesmith came up. 

Oh, she looked very pretty, she 
looked very, very pretty! if the 
&ther of the late John Harmon had 
but left his money unconditionally to 
his son, and if his son had but lighted 
on this loveable girl for himself, and 
had the happiness to make her loving 
as well ai loveable ! 

" Dear me ! Are you not well, Mr. 
Eokesmith?** 

" Yes, quite well. I was sorry to 
hear, when I came in, tliat you wore 
not.*' 

** A mere nothing. I had a hriid- 
ache — ^'one now — and was not quiie 



fit for a hot theatre, so I stared al 
home. I asked you if you were not 
well, because you looked so white." 

** Do I P Ihavehadabusy evening." 

She was on a low ottoman before 
the fire, with a little shining jewel of 
a table, and her book and her work, 
beside her. Ah! what a different 
life the late John Harmon's, if it had 
been his happy privilege to take his 
place upon that ottoman, and draw 
his aim about that waist, and say,*'! 
hope the time has been long withoat 
meP What a Home Goddess yoa 
look, my darling ! " 

But, the present John Rokesmith, 
far removed from the late John Har> 
mon, remained standing at a distance. 
A little distance in respect of space^ 
but a great distance m respect (a 
separation. 

"* Mr. Rokesmith," said Bella, tak- 
ing up her work, and inspecting it all 
round the comers, " I wanted to say 
something to ^ou when I could have 
the opportunity, as an explanation 
why I was rude to you the other day* 
You have no right to think ill of me^ 
Sir. 

The sharp little way in which Bh0 
darted a look at him, half sensitively^ 
injured, and half pettishly, would 
have been very much admired by ih9 
late John Harmon. 

" You don't know how well I think 
of you, Miss Wilfer." 

" Truly you must have a very high 
opinion of me, Mr. Rokesmith, when 
ou believe that in prosperity I neg- 
ect and forget my old home." 

"DoIb^evesoP** 

''You di€^ sir, at any rate," n* 
turned Bella. 

'*! took the liberty of reminding 
you of a little omission into which 
you had fallen — ^insensibly and natu- 
rally fallen. It was no more than that** 

*'*Aiid I beg leave to ask you, Mr. 
Rokesmith," siiid Bella, *' why yoa 
took that liberty ? — 1 hojie there is no 
oHeiice in the phrase ; it is your own, 
ixjnioiuber." 

*' I'icwms" I am truly, deeply, pro* 
fontul y itjlcicslcdin yoa,Mias\Vilfcr. 
Lceuooc X vviah to see you always at 



I 






OUU MUTUAL VRTKvn 



i3» 






» I ihall I go 



"No, lir," Tetamed Bella, with t, 
laming face, " you have aaid more 
thao enough. I b^ that you will not 
go on. If yoQ have any genertwity, 
iDjhoiionr, yoa will say no more. 

The Ule John HannoQ, looldug at 
Qie proud face with the downcast 
eyes, and at the quick breathing at 
it atiired the &U of bright brown 
hair over the beautiful neck, would 
(VDbably have remained silent. 

" I wish to apeak to you, «ir," *aid 
Bella, "once for all. and 1 don't 
' know bow to do it. I have >at here 
all thia evening, wishing (o apeak to 
you, and determining to apeak to you, 
■ " gfora 



and feeling that I n 



Ib^fo 



1 speak. At length 



ihe would 

" You know how I am aituated 
itn, til, and yon know bow I am 
lituated at home. 1 muiit Hpaak to 
yau for mysdf, since there is no one 
■boat me whom I could ask 



1 yon, 1 



A not 



honourable in you, to conduct your- 
self towards me aa you do." 

" Is it ungenerous or diehononrable 
to be devoted to you ; &acinated by 
• youf" 

"Preposterous!" said Bella. 

The late John Harmon might have 
thought it rather a contemptuous and 
lofty word of repudiation. 

" I now feel obliged to go on," 
pnnoed the Secretary, " though it 
vere only in aelf-eiplanation and 
telf-dofencs. . I hope, Miss Wilfer, 
that it is not unpardonable — even in 
me — to make an honest declaration of 
an honest devotion to you." 

" Ad honest declaration t " Mpeated 
Bella, with emphasis. 

" Is it othorwiso f" 

" I mast request, air," said Bella, 
taking refuge in a touch of kindly 
. " thot I may not be quaa- 



"Oh. HiM Wilfer, tUi b hardly 
charitable. I oak yoa nothing bi^ 
what your own emphasis suggeata. 

But what I have declared, I take my 
stand by. I cannot recall the avow^ 
of my eameot and deep attachment tft 
you, and I do not recall it." 

" I reject it, sir," soitl Bella. 

" I shonld be blind and deaf if I 
were not prepared for the reply. 
For^ve my offence, tot it Cturica ita 
punishment with it." 

" What punishment P" aakedBell«. 

" Is my preaent enduiknoe none P 
But excuse me ; 7 did not mtma ta 
croaa-eiamine yoa again." 

" Yon take advantage of a haMlj 
word of mine," said Bella with a 
little ating of self-reproach, " to maks 
ma seem — I don't know what. I 
spoke without consideration when I 
used it. If that was bad, I am sorry ; 
but you repeat it after consideration, 
and that seems to me to be at least no 
better. For the rest, I beg it may ba 
undentood. Mr. Rolceamith, that there 
is an end of this between os, now and 

" Now and for erer," he repeated- 

"Te». I appeal to yon, gir," pro- 
ceeded Bella, with increasing spirit, 
" not to pursue me. I appeu to yon 
not to take advantage of your poei< 
tion in this house to make my posi- 
tion in it distressing and disagreeable. 
I appeal to ^ou to discontinue yonr 
habit of making your misplacod atten- 
tions oa plain to Mrs. Boffin as tome." 

"Have I done sof" 

" I should think yon have," replied 
Bella. "In any case it is not your 
fault if you have not, Air. Koke- 

" I hope yoD are wrong in that 



future there is no ap- 
prehension. It is all over." 

"I am much relieved to hear it," 
said Bella. " I have br other view* 
in life, and why ohould you wasta 



tioncd. Yon 

(Udine to be croas-eiuminod." 



s if I ' 



_ .. -at" 

Mine I" said the Secretary. "iSf 



OUB MDTDAL FBIEKU. 



Hii onrioiiB tons csuaed BeU« to 
glance at the cmioul Bmile with 
which hs said it. It wu gone as he 
ffliiDced hack. " Pardon ma, Miu 
Wilfer," he proceeded, when thair 
eyea met ; ^' you have uAod aome hard 
words, for which I do not doubt ^ou 
have a jnatiGcation in your mind, 
that 1 do net uailcrstaiid. Ungeofl- 
roiu and dishonourable in whatP" 

"I would rather not be aslced," 
said Bella, haughtily looking down. 

" I would rather not sak, but the 
question ia imposed upon ms. Kindly 
eiphun; or if not kindly, justly." 

"Oh, sir!" said Bella, raising her 
eyes to his, after a little straggle to 
forbear, " is it generous and honour- 
abls to oae the power here which, 
your fcvoor with Mr. and Mia. Boffin 
and your ability in your plAM gifa 
yon, against mo t" 

"Against you t" 

" Is it generous and hononrabls to 
form a plan for gradually bringing 
their itmuencfl to bear upon a suit 
which I have ahown you that I do 
not like, and which I teU you that I 
utterly rejectP" 

The late John Harmon oonld have 
bome a good deal, but he would have 
been cut to the heart by auch a sus- 
picion aa this. 

" Would it he generous and honoor- 
able to atop iulu your place — if you 
did aa, for I don't know that jou 
did, and I hope you did not — antici- 

riting, or knowing befbr^nd, that 
should come here, and designing to 
take me at this disadvantage?" 

"This mean and cruel disadran- 
Isge," said the Secretary. 

"TBS,"aa»enlod Bella. 

The Secretary kept silence for a 
little while ; then merely said, " Tou 
are wholly mistaken. Miss Wilfer ; 
wonderfully mistaken. 1 cannot say. 
howBTBT, that it is your fault If I 
draoTTO better things of you, you do 
not know it." 

" At least, ail," telorted Bella, with 
her old indignation rising, "you know 
Ilio history of my bchig here at all.' 



that will, aa yon ara master of bH h^ 
affaixs. And was it not enough that 
I should have been willed awuy, like 
a horsa, or a dog, or a bird ; but must 
you too begin to diaposa of ms in 
your mind, and apecuJato in me. aa 
soon as I had ceased to bo the talk 
and the laugh of the town t Am I 
for eVGT to be made the property of 
■trangers t" 

" Believe me," returned tha Secra- 
buy, "you are wonderfully mistaken." 

" I should be glad to know it," 
answered Bella. 

" I doubt it you ever wHl. Good- 
night. Of coune I shall be careful 
to conceal any traces of this interview 
from Ut. and Mrs. BoSn, as long ss I 
remainhere. Trust me, what youhava 
complained of is at an end for Gyer.' 

" I am glad I have rooken, then, 
Mr. Rokesmith, It haa been painful 
and difficult, but it is dons. If I hat* 
hart yon, J hope you will forgive me. 
I am inexperienced and impetuous, 
and I have been a little spoilt ; but I 
really am not so bad as I daresay I 
appear, or as you think me." 

He quitted the room when Bella 
had said this, relenting in her wilful 
inconsistent way. Left alone, she threw 
herself back on ber ottoman, and said, 
" I didn't know the lovely woman 
was such a Dragon 1" Then, she 
got up and looked in the glass, and 
said to her image, " You have been 
poeitively swelling your featureo, yon 
littlefboll" Then, she took an im- 
patient walk to (he other end of Iha 
room and back, and said, " I wish Pa 
was here to have a talk about an 



pull hifl hair if ho ttw* .here," 

then she threw her work away, and 
threw her book aftdr it, and sat down 
and hummed a tune, and hummed it 
out of tune, and quarrelled with it. 
And John Rokesmith, what did hsF 
He went down to tie room, and 
buried John Harmon many additional 
falhoms deep. He took his hat, and 
walked out, and, as he went to Hollo- 
way or anywhere else— not at aD 
minding wbera— hekped ""'niii upoa 




i THE NEW YORrI 
1 PUBLIC UOTkfWj 

o w rouiM>*'"0"*- 





ODB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



MT 



KBOoSa at earth avsr Jnbn Harmon's 
mve. Hia valldng didnotbrin^him 
EomBiuitil the dawn of day. And so 
bimyhad he been ulInii^htT piling aTid 
piling weighU upon weighta of earth 
iboia JahA Hannon'i gtava, that by 



that tune John Hannon lay InriFd 
uiidrrawholo Alpine raoge; and rtill 
the Sexton Rokosmith occumuUted 
mountoina over him, lightening hia 
labour witb the dirge, " Cover turn, 
crush him, keep him down 1 " 



CHAPTEE XIV. 



Ttx Mxton-tsak of piling enrth 
tboTe John Harmon all night long, 
m not ccnduciTa to sound steep; 
Irat Robeamith had lome brolcen 
lunuDg rest, and roea gtrengthened 
bH« purpose. It waa all over now. 
Do ghost shoiild trouble Mr. and Mrs. 
lomii'i peace ; invisible and voiceless, 
Uieghoat should look on for a little 
liiile longer at the stato of eiistence 
mt of which it had departed, and 
llwii ihould for evei cease to haunt 
tbe Bcenea in which it had no place. 

fle went over it all again. Ho had 
hpeed into the condition in which 
lis found himself, as many a man 
bpKs into many a condition, without : 
prawiving the accumulative power of : 
14 separate circnmfltaiicefl. When : 
b the distrust engendered by hia j 
VRlched childhood and the action for 
Mil— never yet fjr good within bis . 
howledge then — of his father and I 
liii lather's wealth on ell within thrlr , 
Wtnenco, ho conceived the idea of his ; 
Sitt deception, it was meant to bo ' 
bnuless, it was to last but a few i 
kun or daya, it was to involve in it 
*ii!y the girl to capriciously forced i 
"pan him, and apon whom he was ao j 
capriciously forced, and it waa 
iMiestly meant well towards her. 
^w, if he had found hor unhappy in ' 
1^ piospect of that mairiag-o (through 
Wheart inclining to anoUier man or 
Jt myother cause) . he would B erio usly 
hue said ; " This is another of the 
?lil perverted uses of the miacry-mab- 
■ng money. I will lot it go to my 
Jnd my siator'i only proleelirj and 
fiends." When the ansre into which 
't iiU to oaUuippod his Srtt uil3n- 



tion as that he fonnil h!m«elf placarded 
by the police authorities upon tho 
Ixindon wnlla for dead, he confusedly 
accepted the aid that fell upon him, 
without considering how fiimly it 
must seem to fix the Boffina in their 
accession to the fortune, '^'hen he 
aaw them and knew them, and even 
from hia vantage-ground of inspection 
could find no flaw in them, he sskcd 
himself) " And shall I come to life to 
dispoasess such people as these?" 
There waa no good to set against the 

Sitting of them to that hard proof, 
e had heard from Bella's own lip* 
when he alood tapping at the door on 
that ni^ht of bis taking the lodgings, 
that the marriage would have been on 
her part thoroughly mercenary. He 
had ain ce tried her, in his own unknown 
jwraon and supposed station, and ah* 



have the ahame of buying her, or the 
meanness of punishing her f Yet, by 
coming to life and accepting the con- 
dition of tbo inheritance, be must do 
the former; and by coming to life and 
rejecting it, he must do the latter. 
Another conaoquonce that ho had 
foreshadowed, was the imjilica- 



Q of a 






posed murder. He would obtam 
complete retractation from the accuser, 
and act the wrong right ; but clearly 
the wrong coiUd never hu»-e been 
done if be nad never planned a, decep* 
tion. Then, whatever inconvenience 
or distress of mind the deception coat 
him, it woa numEul Te^>cu.\iiii.\l'3 Xn 
accept aa among Ua i;];isw)Vusai:i%*B>^ 



Sd8 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



Thu John Bokeemith in the 
morning, and it buried John Harmon 
Btill many fathoms deeper than he 
had been buried in the night. 

Going out earlier than he waa 
accustomed to do, he encountered the 
cherub at the door. The cherub's 
vav was for a certain space his way, 
and they walked together. 

It was impossible not to notice the 
change in tne cherub's appearance. 
The cherub felt very conscious of it, 
and modestly remarked : '* A present 
irom my daughter Bella, Mr. Boke- 
•mith." 

The words gare the Secretary a 
■troke of pleasure, for he remembered 
the fifty pounds, and he still loved 
the girl, i^o doubt it was very weak 
• — it always it very weak, some autho- 
rities hold — ^but he loved the girl. 

*^ I don't know whether you happen 
to have read many books of African 
Travel, Mr. EokesmithP" said B. W. 

**I have read several." 

•* Well, you know, there's usually 
a King Gfeorge, or a Kixig Boy, or a 
King Sambo, or a King Bill, or 
Bull, or Bum, or Junk, or whatever 
name the sailors may have happened 
to give him." 

«* Where ? " asked Eokesmith. 

" Anywhere. Anywhere in Africa, 
I mean. Pretty well everywhere, I 
may say ; for black kings are cheap 
—and / think "—said B. W., with 
an apologetic air, '* nasty." 

" X am much of your opinion, Mr. 
Wilfer. You were going to say — ? " 

" I was going to say, the king is 
generally dressed in a London hat 
only, or a Manchester pair of braces, 
or one epaulette, or an uniform coat 
with his legs in the sleeves, or some- 
thing of that kind." 

*' Just so," said the Secretary. 

" In confidence, I assure you, Mr. 
Bokesmith," observed the cheerful 
cherub, "that when more of my 
family were at home and to be pro- 
vided for, I used to remind myself 
immensely of that king. You have 
no idea, as a single man, of the diffi- 
culty I have had m wearing more than 
one good article at a time." 



«<I can eaany heUere it» Mr. 

Wilfer." 

" I only mention it," said B. W. id 
the warmth of his heart, **a8 a proot 
of the amiable, delicate, and con- 
siderate affection of my daughter 
Bella. If she had been a little spoilt^ 
I couldn't have thought so very much 
of it, under the circumstances. But no, 
not a bit. And she is so very pretty ! 
I hope you agree with me in finding 
her very pretty, Mr. Bokesmith P " 

"Certamly I do. Eveiy on» 
must" 

**I hope 80," said the cherub. 
" Indeed, I have no doubt of it. This 
is a great advancement for her in life, 
Mr. Kokesmith. A great opening of 
her prospects ? " 

'^ Miss Wilfer could have no better 
friends than Mr. and Mrs. Boffin." 

<^ Impossible!" said the gratified 
cherub. *'BealIy I begin to think 
things are very well as ^ey are. II 
Mr. John Harmon had lived- 



>« 



'^ He is better dead," said the Secre* 
tary. 

'* No, I won't go so fiir aa to B&y 
that," urged the cherub, a little re- 
monstrant against the very decisive 
andunpityingtone; "buthe mightn't 
have suited Bella, or Bella mightn't 
have suited him, or fifty things^ 
whereas now I hope she can choose 
for herself." 

*< Has she — as you place the confi- 
dence in me of speaking on the sub- 
ject, you will excuse my asking — has 
she — ^perhaps — chosen F" faltered the 
Secretary. 

" Oh dear no!" returned B. W. 

"Young ladies sometimes," Boke- 
smith hinted, " choose without men- 
tionixig their choice to their fathers." 

" Not in this case, Mr. Bokesmith. 
Between my daughter Bella and me 
there is a regular league and cove- 
nant of confidence. It was ratified 
only the other day. The ratification 
dates from — these," said the cherub, 
gi>nng a little pull at the lappels of 
his coat and the pockets of his trou- 
sers. '< Oh no, she has not chosen. To 
. be sure, young; George Sampeon, in the 




'' . looked at him witli aurpriie, 

u thinking he had contraded an ua- 

ucDuntable apite agaioat the poor 

iaxaaed, and continoed , "In the 

I inji when Mr. John Hannon was 

being sought out, young Qeorge 

I Sampson certaiuly oaa hovering 

I itniut Bella, and Itella let him hover. 

arwaa KriouBly thought ot 



B itiU 1< 



> than 



II niay predict will many fortune. 
TMstiBie, youaee, «he n-ill have tha 
penon and the property before her 
logether, and will be able to make 
I ber choice with her eyea open. This 
I n my road. I am very flurry to part 
I company to soon. Good mommg, 
I «ir!^' 

. The Secretary pntsued bit way, 
I not very much elevated in aprilB by 
I Ihii conversation, and,aiTirini:atthe 
I BoSn mansioD, toond Betty Higden 
I waiting for him. 



■he liked, he told her ; aud took her 
into his room, and made her sit 

" 'Tie concerning Sloppy, sir," said 
Betty. "And that's how I come 
ben by myself. Not wishing him to 
know what I'm a-^ing to say to you, 
I got the start of Mm early and 
wJted up." 

*'You haTS wonderful energy," re- 
tomed Roke«mith. " You are as 
young as I am." 

Betty Higden gravely shook her 
liead. " I am strong for my time of 
life, sir, but not young, uank the 

"Are yoQ thankful for not being 
young P 

"Yea, sir. If 1 wu young, it 
would all have t« be gone through 
•gain, and the end womd be a weorj' 
way off, don't yoQ seBf But never 
mind m#/ 'ti* coacemiag Bioppy^" 



" And what abont him, Betty f" 
" "Tis just this, sir. It can't be 
reaaoDed out of hja head \ty any 
powers of mine bnt what that he can 
do right by your kind lady and geo- 
Ueman and do his work for me, botli 
together. Now he can'l To give 
himself up to being pat in the way 
of aming a good living and getting 
on, he must give me up. Well ; b« 

" I respect him for it," mid Roke. 

"Be ye, airP I don't know hut 
what I do myself. Still that don't 
make it right to kt liim have hi* 
way. 8a as he won't give me up, 
I'm a-j!oing to give him up." 

"How, Betty f" 

" I'm B-going to nm away from 

With an astonished look at the in- 
domitable old face and the bright 
eyea, the Secretary repealed, "Buit 
away from him F ' ' 

"Yes, sir," said Bcttr, with on* 
nod. And in the nod and in the fim 
■et of her mouth, there was a vigour 
of purpose not to be doubted. 

"Come, come," said the Secretary. 
" We must talk about this. Let u* 
take our time over it, and try to got 
at the true sense of the case aud Uis 
true course, by degrees." 

"Now, lookee here, my dear," re- 
turned old Betty — "asking your 
excuse fur being so familiar, but 
being of a time of life a'most to be 
your grandmother twico over. Now, 
lookee here. 'Tis a poor living and 
a hard as is to be got out of this work 
that I'm a-doing now, and but for 
Sloppy I don't know as I should have 



that I'm alone — with even Johnny 
gone— I'd lar sooner he upon mj 
feet and tiring of myself out, than 
a-sitting folding and folding by the 
Ere. And I'll tell you why. There's 
a deadnosa Bteols over me at times, 
that the kind of life favours and I 
don't like. Now, I seem. \ja ^ui.i« 
Johnny in my aim» — Tto^,^li&roK•'<X^<Tt 
—now, Ju* moUiat't moli^ei — iuxw,\ 



242 



OUB MUTUAL FRIEND. 



shftre in thti dispoml of him seemed 
to be the best port of Lightwood's 
account of the family. This voung 
fellow, Sloppy, stood in need o^ some 
instruction. If he, the Secretary, 
engaged that schoolmaster to impart 
it to him, the channel might be 
opened. The next point waa, did 
Mrs. Boffin know the schoolmaster^s 
name P No, but she knew where the 
school waa. Quite enough. Promptly 
the Secretary wrote to the master of 
that Hchool, and that very eTcning 
Bradley Headstone answered in per- 
son. 

The Secretary stated to the school- 
master how the object was, to send to 
him for certain occasional evening in- 
struction, a youth whom Mr. and 
Mrs. Boffin wished to help to an in- 
dustrious and useful place in life. 
The schoolmaster was willing to un- 
dertake the charge of such a pupil. 
The Secretary inquired on what 
terms? The schoolmaster stated on 
what terms. Agreed and disposed of. 

"May I ask, sir,** said Bradley 
Headstone, "to whose good opinion! 
owe a recommendation to you P" 

" You should know that I am not 
the principal here. I am Mr. Boffin's 
Secretary. Mr. Boffin is a gentleman 
who inherited a property of which 
you may have heanl some public men- 
tion ; the Harmon property." 

** Mr. Harmon," said Bradley : who 
would have been a great deal more at 
a loss than he was, if he had known 
to whom he spoke : " was murdered, 
and found in me river." 

" Was murdo^ and found in the 
river." 

" It was not 



t» 



"No," interposed the Secretary, 
smiling, " it was not he who recom- 
mended yon. Mr. Boffin heard of 
you through a certain Mr. Lightwood. 
I think you know Mr. Lightwood, or 
know of him?" 

" I know as much of him as I wish 
to know, sir. ^ I have no acquaintance 
with Mr. Lightwood, and I desire 
none. I have no objection to Mr. 
Lightwood, but I have a particular 
objection to some of Mr. Lightwood's 



friends — in short, to one of Mir. Light* 
wood's friends. His great friend." 

He could hardly get the words out, 
even then and there, so fierce did he 
grow (though keeping himself down 
with infinite pains of repression), 
when the careless and contemptuous 
bearing of Eugene Wraybum rose 
before his mind. 

The Secretary saw there was a 
strong feeling here on some sore point, 
and he would have made a diversion 
from it, but for Bradley's holding to 
it in his cumbersome way. 

"I have no objection to mention 
the friend by name," he said, dog« 
gedly. "The person I object to, is 
Mr. Eugene Wraybum." 

TTie Secretary remembered hinu 
In his disturbed recollection of that 
night when he was striving against 
the drugged drink, there was but a 
dim image of Eugene's person; but 
he remembered his name, and his 
manner of speaking, and how he bad 
gone with them to view the body, 
and where he had stood, and what he 
had said. 

" Pray, Mr. Headstone, what is the 
name," he asked, again tryingto make 
a diversion, " oi yoimg Hexam's 
sister P" 

<*Her name is Lizzie," said the 
schoolmaster, with a strong contrac- 
tion of his whole face. 

" She is a young woman of a re* 
markable character; is she not?" 

" She is sufficiently remarkable to be 
very superior to Mr. Eugene Wraybum 
— tJiough an ordinarj' person might 
be that," said the schoolmaster ; " and 
I hope you will not think it im- 
pertinent in me, sir, to ask why you 
put the two names together P" 

" By mere accident," returned the 
Secretary. "Obser\-ing that Mr. 
Wraybum was a disagreeable subject 
with you, I tried to get away from 
it: though not very cuccefisfully, it 
would appear." 

" Do you know Mr. Wraybum, air?" 

"No." 

" Then perhaps the names caniiot 
be put together on the authority of 
any repi-esentation of his ?" 



OVB HUTOAL FRIEHD. 



**I look the liberty to uk," wd 
Bmdley, kftor cuting bu eyes on Uie 
ground "beconw ha JH capabla of 
maHnj^ any represeDtatioii, in the 
naggering levity of his inaolance. I 
—I hope yon will not misundergUnd 
ma, lir. I — I am much interested in 
Uiii brother and sister, and the sub- 
ject avakeiu very strong feelinn 
vithia me. Very, very strong faal- 
kgs." With a «h«lring hand. Brsd- 

nped his broir. 

The Scci«tery thought, aa tie 
^Itoced ftt tbe schoalinul«i'i face, 
llut bo had opened a ctaaanel here 

pectodly dark and desp and stoimy 
000, and difficult to sound. All st 
too, in the midst of his turbuloat 
emotiDna, Bradley stopped and seemed 
tochallengehia look. MuchasthouKh 
io mdde^y asked him, "What do 
fsu see in me f " 

"The brother, young Heiam, was 
junt raJ roconunondabon hero," (aid 
the Secietarj ' " ,. .. . 

the point ; ' 



Anylhing tJiat I ask reepecting the 
btolher utd sister, or either of tiiem, 
I isk for myself oat of my own in- 
terest in the subject, and not in my 
sEcial character, or on Mr. Boffin's 
l>«hsl£ How I come to be interested. 
1 need not explain. Tou know the 
Uher'a connection wiih the dtacovery 
«fMr. Harmon'sbodyP" 

"Sir," reolied Bradley, v«y regt- 
Itnly indeed, " I know all ths dr- 
OBmslancee of that case." 

" my tell me, Mr. HoodstODe," 
Mid the Secretary. " Doea the sister 
rafTer under any stigma because of 
the impossible accusation — groundless 
would be a better word — that was 
made against the father, and sab- 
Stan tially withdrawn ?" 

" No, sir," returned Bradley, with a 
kind of anger. 



•peddng ta if h» wen repeatinc 

them from a book, " sufl'ers under no 
reproach that repels a man of un< 
impeachable character, who has mad# 
for himself every step of his way 
in life, Ecom placing hor in his own 
station. I will not say, raising bar 
to his own Btation ; I say, placing her 
in it. The sister labours under no 
reproach, unless she should unfor- 
tunately make it for herself. When 
such a man is not deterred from re- 
gardlng her as bis equal, and wheii 
he has convinced himself tliat there 
is no blemish on her, I think the fkot 
must be taken to be pretty expressire." 

"And there is such a man t" laid 
the Secretary. 

Bradley Headstone knotted hia 
browa, and squarsd his large lower 
jaw. and fixed hia eyes on the ground 
with an air of determiTuttion that 
seemed nnnoceasory to the occasion, 
as be replied: "And Uiere ia such » 

The Secretaiyhad no reaaanor ex- 
cuse for prolongiikg the conversation, 
and it ended nore. Within three 
hcnra tlie oakum-headed apparition 
once more dived into the Leaving 
Shop, and that night Bogue Eider- 
hood's recantation lay in the post- 
oftice, addressed undercover to T.i»i'« 
Ueiom at her right addreea. 

All these procoeiliugs occupied 
John Bokoamith so much, that it waa 
not until the following day that ha 
saw Bulla again. It seemed then ta 
be tacitly understood between them 
that they were to bo as distantly easy 
as the^ could, without attracting the 
attention of Mr. and Mrs. Bo£n to 
any marked cbanee in their manner. 
The fitting out of old Betty Uigdan 
was &vourable to this, aa keeping 
Bella engaged and interested, and aa 
occupying Uie general attention. 

" I Ihmk," aaid Bokesmith, when 
they all stood about her, nhile she 
packed her tidy baaket—oxcapt Bella, 
who was busily helping on her kneea 
at the chair on which it stood ; '' tbnt 
at least yon might keen a lette:- in 
your pocket, Mrs. Higden. which I 
would wrild for you and <Uta from 




OVB KDTDAL FEIENP. 



roar fiieodj ; — I von't ny patroaa, 
becanae they wouldn't like it." 

■■No, no. no," Uid Mr. Boffin; 
"do p&tTDnizing ! Lst's keep oat of 
thmt, wh&teTer va come to." 

" There'! more than enongh of 
fl»t about, vithoBt u> ; ain't thec^ 
Soddv F " said M™. Boffin. 

''IbelieTeToii,oldlad;! " retained 
(be Golden Ihutman. " Oveimuch 

" Bat people aometiniM like to be 
ntronirad; don't thay, Kxf" aAed 
Bella, looking np. 

"/don't. And itlAeyio, my dear, 
they ought to learn better," Mid Mr. 
Bomn. "Patron* and PatronesMB, 
•nd Vioe-Fatnna and Vice-Fatron- 
■uei, and DaceaMd Pationa and De- 
' eeaaod FatroDesaea, and Ez-Vice-Pa- 
troni and Ex- Y io-FafatiniMBce, what 
does it bU mean in the booki of the 
Charities that coma pooring in on 
Bokeamith as he sittamong 'cm pretty 
well ap to bit neck ! If Mr, Tom 
NoakM gives hii Atb ahilliDga. ain't 
he a Patron, and if Hia. Jack Styles 

E'Tea her five ahillinga, ain't ahe a 
ttronees P Wbat the deuce ia it all 
•bout? If it ain't (tarkstaringtiupn^ 
dence, vhat do you call it)"' 

"Don't be warn, Hoddy," Urt. 
Boffin urged. 

''W(uml"criBdMr. Boffin. "It'a 
«iangh to make a man Emoking hot. 
J oan't go anywhere without being 
Patroniied. I don't want to be Fa- 
tiomzcd. If I buy a tickft for a 
Flower Show, or a Hiuic Show, or 
any sort of Show, and pay pretty 
iu»vy for it, wbyam I to bePatnmed 
and FatronesHil as if the Patrons and 
Fatroneeses treated mer If tbere'e 
• good thing to be done, can't it bo 
don* on its own meritsF If there's 
a bad thing to be done, can it ever be 
PatronedandPatmnc^edrightP Yet 
when a new Institution 's going to be 
built, it aoema to me that the bricks 
•ltd mortar ain't made of Tmlf so 
much consequence as the Patrons and 
i^Cmnasses ; no, nor yet the objects. 
•f with Momebody would teU ton' 



whetherotho oonntrieagatBabmlfeA 
to anything like the extent of this 
one I And as to the Patrana and 
Patroneoaea themselves, I woodei 
they're not aihamBd of themaaliea, 
Th^ ain't Fills, or Hair-Waahn, or 
Invigorating Nervous Fjnnnrna, ta 
be puffed in that way !" 

Having delivered bimself of tiuM 
remarks, Mr. Boffin took a trot, ac- 
cording to his usual custcoUf and 
trotted back to the spot from which 
he had ctsriad. 

"Aa to the letter, Bokennith," Mid 
Ur. Boffin, " you're aa right aa a 
trivet. Give her the letter, make her 
take the letter, put it in her pocket 
by violence. She might fall sick. — 
Yon know yon might fall nek," Mid 
Mr. Boffin. "Don't deny it, Ui*. 
Higden, in your obstioacy ; you know 
you might. 

Old Betty laughed, and said that 
she would taka tha letter and bs 
tbanlrfuL 

"That's right! " said Mr. BvOn. 
" Come 1 That's Mguable. And don't 
be thankful to ua (for we never 
thought of it), but to Ur. Bokennith." 

The letter was wiittao, and read ta 
bar, and given to her. 

" Now, how do TOu feel f " (aid 
Mr. Boffin. " Do Ton like it f " 

"The letter, sirP" eaid Betty. 
"Ay, it's a beautiful letter I" 

" No, no, no ; not the letter," said 
Mr. Boffin; "Hm idea. An yoa 
snre you're strong enougti la cany 
out the idea P" 

"lahallbe stronger, and keep tte 
dcodness off better this way, than 
any way lefl open to me, air.' 

" Don't aay than any way left opeo, 
you know," urged Mr. Boffin; "be> 
cause there are ways without ^id. A 
honsekeeper vrould be acceptable avei 
vonder at the Bower, for instance. 
Wouldn't you like to see the Bower, 
and know ■ retired literary man at 
the name of Wegg that livea then— 
milk a wooden leg f " 

Old Betty was proof even agaimt 
this temptation, and fell to a^juitiv 




OtJB HUTOiX FBIEXTK 



MS 



asDM to Qua, tftsr bU," aid Mr, 
Boffin, " if I didn't hope tlutt it 1017 
m&ke a man and a workinan of Sloppy, 
fh u ahort * time aa aver ■ man and 
k workman waa mnde yet. Why, 
That have jaa eot there Bsttr t Not 

•daur- 

It was tb« nan to the Qoardt who 
W been on duty orar Johnny'it bod. 
The aolitaiy old woman ahowod nhnt 
it vas, and pat it ap quietly in her 
Jna. Tbni, aha gratofuUy took 
Inva of Hn. Boffin, aod of Mr. 



Boffln, and of Rokminitli, and Oien 
put her old vithered anna round 
Bella'syoung and blooming oeckiand 
raid, repeating Johnny 'a worda: "A 
kin tor the boofgr lady." 

The Socretary looked on bum a 
doorway at the boofor lady thiu en- 
circled, and Itill looked on at the 
boo for lady standing alone there, 
when the dctcnnineit old lipw^ with 
ibt MciiJy bri'^^ht uyes waa trudging 
through the aueeta, twiij from far- 



OHAPTEE XV. 



Buhlmt HiAiXTom held bat by 

But other interview ha waa to have 
*ilh Linie Heiani. In Itipulatiiig 
kt it, he had been impelled by a 
Jcding little abort of doaporation, and 
fin Ceeling abided by him. It was 
Toy loon after hia interview with 
the Seczetai7, that he and Charley 



have this daapeiaU interview oo 
(liihed. 

" That dolla' dreasmaker," aaid 
findley, "ia faTonrabla neither to 
nia nor to yon, Hezam." 

"A pert crooked little chit, Ur. 
Headstone ! I knew she would pat 
bnelf in Uie way, if aha could, and 
would tw sure to ateike in with a — 



it I proposed our going 1 
(Sty to-night and meeting niyaialer," 
"So I anppaeed," aaid Bradley. 

King his gloves on Lis nervous 
da as ha walked. "Solsupposed." 
" Nobody but my liater," puraued 
Charley, "would have found outauch 
in QxtTsordinajy companion. 8ho 
hat dma it in a ridiculoua fancy of 
giriog herself up to another. Shi 
told me so, that night when we wen 

"Why should iha give heraelf uj 
to the dimaxMterf" naked Bradley. 
"Ob I " ttid the boy, oolouimg. 



One of her romantle U«as t I 
tried to convince her so. but I didn't 
succeed. Uowevcr, what we have got 
to do ia, to ancceed to-night, Br. 
Headstone, and then ftU the rest fbl- 

" Yon are sl^ Htngnine, Heum." 

" Certainly I am, sir. Why, we 
have Bverjthing on our ode." 

" Eicopt your mater, perhaps," 
thought Bradley. But he only gloom- 
ily thought it, and said nothing. 

"Everj'thingonoursida," rep(>sto& 
the boy with boyish confidtoiee. " Be- 
■peclaAilitf, an excellent eonnectioii 
for me, comment aenss, ercrythingl " 

" To ba sure, your sistor baa alwayi 
shown herself a devoted rister," said 
Bradley, willing to sustain hiimmf on 
even that low ground of hopo. 

" Naturally, tic. Headstone, T havo 
a good deal of influence with her. 
And DOW that yon have honoured me 
with your confidence and spoken to 
me Girt, I ray oga ji, we bavo every- 
thing CD our aide." 

And Bradley thought again, "Ex- 
cept your sister, perhaps." 

A grey dusty wilhered erening in 
London dty haa not a hopeful aspect. 
The closed warehouses and offices 
have an air of death aboit them, and 
the national dread, of c«\ova ^uk nii 
sir of moumopg. Tan "icmfxt, «iA 
•teaplei of tha mns^ toaa* wrp n> 




Oim MUTUAL FSIEKD. 



vtxei dmrdut, iiA uid iingj _ 
the sky that Sfenn descending on 
them, are do relief to Iho pcueral 

Eloom ; a lan-dial on a churdi-wall 
as the took, in its useless black 
■hade, of having failod 
mterpriso and stopped pnymeDt for 
mvai ; mclanchol; vaib and strays of 
ItouBCkeepeis and nciteni 
' 'y "oifs and bIihtI 
IS into the keonala, 
nelancholy n-aifii and stmys 

3 lore th«n, searching and stooping 
poking for anything to sell. The 
•et of humanity outward from the 
City is as a set of prisoneis departing 
from gaol, and dismal Nengato seems 

nas Gt a stronghold for the mighty 
Mayor as his own stata-d welling. 
On such an evening, when the City 

E't gets into the hair and eyes and 
Q, and whGQ the fallen leaves of the 
few unhappy City trees grind down in 
comeifl under wheels of wind, the 
•choolmaster and the pupil emei^ed 
upon the Leadenhall Street rei^oD, 
■pyinff eastward for Lizzie. lieini 
something too aoon in their arrival 
they lurked at a comer, waiting fo 
her to appear. The best-lookini 
among ns will not look very well 
lurking at a comer, and Bradley cami 
out of that disadvantage very poorly 
indeed. 

" Here she cornea, Sir. Headitons 1 
Let us go forward and meet hci." 

As they advanced, she saw them 
eoming. and seemed rather troubled. 
But ahe greeted her brother with Iho 
usual warmth, and tcuched the ex- 
tended hand of Bradley. 

" Why, where ore Jon going, 
Charley," dear f" ahe askwi him then, 

" Nowhere. We cama on putpose 
to meet yon." 

" To meet me, Charley ?" 

" Yes. We are going to walk with 
TOn. But don't let us take the great 
leading streets where Overy one walka, 
and we can't hear ourselves speak. 
Iiet us go by the quiet backwavs. 
Here's a la^e paved court hy tW 
church, and quiet, too. Let us go op 

" But If a not In tbs way, ChaHey." 



"Tea it is," said the tioy, petn> 
lantly, "It's in my way, and my 
way is yours." 

She had not released his hand, and, 
still holding it, looked at him with a 
kind of apt:«al. He avoided her eyes, 



ider pretence of saying, "Coma 
along, Mr. Hraditone." Bradley 
■"'■''' ' ' 'at hers — and 



^^ Headstone 

walked at his aide — not 
the hrother and sister walked hand in 
hand. The court brooght them to ■ 
churchyard ; a paved square court, 
with a raised hank of earth about 
breast high, in the middle, endowd 
by iron rails. Here, conveniently 
and healthfully elevated above the 
level of the living, were the dead, and 
the tombstooes ; some of the latter 



the lies they told. 

They paoed the whole of this place 
once, in aconstxained and nncomfort* 
able manner, when the boy stopped 
and said: 

" Lizzie, Mr. Headstone has soms- 
thing to say to yoo. I don't wish to 
be an interruption either to him or to 
yon, and so I'll go and take a little 
stroll and Come back. I know in a 



general way what Mr. Headstone 
intends to aay, and I very highly 
approve of it, as 1 hope— »nd indeed 
I do not doubt— yon will. I needn't 
tell you, Lizaie, that I am nndtr 
great obligations to Mr. Headstona, 
and that I am very aniious for Mr- 
Headstone to succeed in all ho under- 
takes. As I hope— and as, indeed, I 
don't doubt— yon most be." 

"Charley," returned his dster, 
detBuiinR his hand as he withdrew it. 
" I think you had belter stay. I 
think Mr. Headstone bad better net 
say whathe thinks of saying." 

"Why, how do you know wbat it 
is f " retiuned the boy. 

" Perhaps I don't, but — " 

"Perhaps you don'tf Ko, Lia, I 
should think not If too knew what 
it was, you would give me a Tory 
different answer. There; 1st go; be 
sensible. I wonder you don't r^ 
member that Ur. Headatona u loot* 
ingon." 



e H 



OUU MUTUAL FHIEHD. 



W 



Shi! allowed bim to scparato him- 
Kir from hor. and he, after snjmg, 
" Not, Liz, be a rational giil and a 
good ^iat^r," walWed n^nj^ She re- 
mained Etanding alone with Bndlof 
EeiulstoDe, and it was not imtil ihe 
niied her eyes, tint he apoks. 

" I said," he began, " vhen I saw 
Jim lB«t, that there waa something 
nnei plained, which might perhiips 

iir.flucnco j-oo. I have come this 
mining to explain it. I hope you 
ir;!l not judyo at me by my hesitat- 
b; manner when I speak to you. Yon 
Itei me at my greatest disadvantage. 
11 is most nDfortpjiiate for mo thit I 
iTsh you to lee meat my best, and that 
I know yon Me me at my worst." 
She moved slowly on whoD ho 
mused, and be moved slowly on beside 
" It aeema egotistical to begin by 
(lying so muui about myself," ho 
nsumcd, " but whatever I say to you 
icoTis, avan in my own ears, bolow 
what I want to say, and difTcront from 
Thnt I want to Bay. I can't help it. 
So it is. You are the ruin jf mo." 

She startod at the passionate soim 1 
of the lost words, and at the passionate 
ution of his hands, witli which they 
Tere accompanied. 

" Tos ! you are the ruin— HiB min 
—the ruin— of me. I have no re- 
•nurcea in myself, I have no con- 
fidence in myself I have no (^vem- 
Hunt of myself when you are near 
me or in my thoughts. And you are 
always in my thoughts now. I have 
neter been quit of yon since I first 
nw you. Oh. that was a wretched 
djyforme! That ma a wretched, 
miierahle day ! " 

A toach of pity for him mingled 
vith her dislike of him, and she »ud 
" Mr. Headstone, I am grioved t 
have done you any harm, but 1 hav 

"There!" he cried, despairingh 

70U, instead of revealin[{ to you lii 
it^ite of my own mind! Bear with 
■Tie. I am always wrong wht'n 



times looking ap at tlie deserted 
windows of the houses as if there 
could be anything writtfo in their 
grimy panes that would help him, 
he paced the whole pavement at her 
~ ' ' ~ before he spoke again. 

must try to ^iro eipreasion to 
what is in my mind 1 it shall and 
luat be spoken. Though you see me 
J confounded — though you strike md 
) helpless — I BSk you to believe that 
there are manypetjple who think well 
I ; that there are aome pooplo who 
highly esteem me ; thit I have in my 
won a station which is oonsideied 

uroly, Mr. HeadstonO, I do 
FB it. Surely I hav* alwayi 
11 it from Charley." 
ask you to believe that if I were 
to offer my horns such as it is, my 
"in *ui^ BS it ia, my affectiooa 
such as they are, to any one of tho 
considered, and bast qualified, 
most diatinfpiished, among the 
g women engaged in my calling, 
they would probably be accepted. 
Even readily acrepted." 

"I do not doubt it," said LizEis^ 
with her eyes upun the ground. 

"I have BOTnt' meg had it in my 
thoughta to make that offer and to 
settle down M many men of my class 
do : I on the one aide of a school, my 
wife on the other, both of us intereM«d 
in the same work." 

"Why have you not done tot" 
asked Lizde Hezam. " Why do yoa 
not do «. f" 

"Far better that I never did] The 
only one grain of comfort I have had 
these man, weeks." he said, ulwayi 
speaking passionately, and, wbea 
most emphatic, repeating that former 
action of hia hnnda, which was like 
flinging hia heart's blood down before 
her in drops upon the pavement 
Btonee; "the only one grain o( 
comfort I have had thew many weoka 
is, that I never did. For if I had, 
and if tho same apcll bud a. 



■e broki-n that ti 



, [ knc 






I shuuld 



248 



OUE MUTUAL FRLEKD. 



of fear, and a shrinkinc^ gesture. He 
answered, as if she had spoken. 

**No! It would not have been 
voluntary on my part, any more than 
it is voluntary in me to be here now. 
You draw me to you. If I were shut 
up in a strong prison, you would draw 
me out. I should break through the 
wall to come to yoti. If I were lying 
on a sick bed, you would draw me up 
— to stagger to your feet and fall 
there." 

The wild energy of the man, now 
quite let loose, was absolutely terrible. 
He stopped and laid his baud upon a 
piece 01 the coping of the burial- 
ground enclosui^, as if he would have 
dislodged the stone. 

"No man knows till the time 
comes, what depths are within him. 
To some men it never comes ; let them 
rest and be thankful ! To me, you 
brought it; on me, ^"ou forced it; 
and the bottom of this raging sea,*' 
striking himself upon the breast, 
** has been heaved up ever since." 

**Mr. Headstone, I have heard 
enough. Let mo stop you here. It 
will be better for you and better for 
me. Let us find my brother." 

"Not yet. It shall and must be 
spoken. I have been in torments 
ever since I stopped short of it before. 
You are alarmed. It is another of 
my miseries that I cannot sj^eak to 
you or speak of you without stumb- 
ling at every syllable, unless I let the 
chock go altogether and run mad. 
Here is a man lighting the lamps. 
He will be gone directly. I entreat of 
you let us walk round this place again. 
You have no reason to look alai-med ; 
I can restrain myself, and I will." 

She yielded to the entreaty — how 
could she do otherwise! — and they 
paced the stones in silence. One by 
one the lights leaped up, making the 
cold g^ey church tower more remote, 
and they were alone again. He said 
no more until they had regained the 
spot where he had broken off; there, 
he again stood still, and again grasped 
the stone. In sapng what he said 
then, he never looked at her; but 
looked at it and wrenched at it. 



"Yon know what I am going to 
say. I love yon. What other men 
may mean when they use that ex- 
pression, I cannot tell ; what / mean 
IS, that I am under the influcLce of 
some tremendous attraction which I 
have resisted in vain, and which over- 
masters me. You could draw me to 
fire, vou could dniw me to water, you 
coidd draw me to the gallows, you 
could draw me to any death, you 
could draw me to anything I have 
most avoided, you could draw me to 
any exposure and disgrace. This and 
the confusion of my thoughts, so that 
I am fit for nothing, is what I mean 
by your being the ruin of me. Bat 
ii you woula return a favourable 
answer to my offer of myself in mar- 
^^S^f you could draw me to any 
good — every good — with equal force. 
My circumstances are quite eaay, and 
you would want for nothing. My 
reputation stands quite high, and 
would be a shield for yours. If you 
saw me at my work, able to do it 
well and respected in it, you might 
even come to take a sort of pride in 
me ; — I would try hard tliat you 
should. Whatever considerations I 
may have thought of against this 
offer, I have conquered, and I make 
it with all my heail;. Your brother 
favours me to the utmost, and it is 
likely that we might live and work 
together; anyhow, it is cei-tain that 
he would have my best influence and 
support. I don't know that I could 
say more if I tried. I might only 
weaken what is ill enough said as it 
is. I only add tliat if it is any claim 
on you to be in earnest, I am in 
thorough earnest, dreadful earnest." 

The powdered mortar from undei 
the stone at which he wrenched, 
rattled on the pavement to confim] 
hifl words. 

" Mr. Headstone ** 

" Stop ! I implore you, before jox 
answer me, to wa]k roimd this p{ao( 
once more. It will give you i 
minute's time to think, and' me t 
minute's time to get some fortitudi 
together." 

Again she yieldod to the entreatji 




OUB MUTUAL FEIESD. 



M 



, I thank you gratafi 
yon may find a worthy wife 
3 loDg and be Terj happy. Bat 

9 no (hort tiiDfl necevarr for 
tion; no weeka or dayif" ho 

Fone whatorer." 

re yoa quite decided, and il 

rf" 

an quite decided, Ur. H«ad- 
, and I am bound to aoairat I 
irtain tbera ii none." 
'hen," nid hn. suddenly chanf;- 
il tone and turning to hei, and 

the itone with a force that laid 
knucldea raw and bleeding ; 
n 1 hope that I may nevai kiU 

IS dark look of hatred and re- 
e irith which the wotdi broke 
his livid lips, and with which 
ilood holding ont his oneared 
, u if it held some weapon and 
jwt struck a mortal Mow, made 
K> afraid of him that she turned 
D away. But he caught her by 

tfr. Headftone, l«t me go. Ur. 
Isbue, I muatcall for help !" 
[t il I who should c&Il for help," 
lid ; " you don't know yet how 
1 1 nMd it." 

M woiUng of hii Uux ai she 
ak from it, glancing round for 
brother, ajid uncertain what to 
night have extorted a cry from 
in another instant ; but all at | 
he stendy stopped it and fixed 
I if Death it««lf had done so. 1 
Hum ! Yon see I have reooTsred 
ill Hear me out" I 

itb much of the dignity of| 
■» M aha recalled her wlf- 
Bt me and her right to be &«e 



froni arcnnnbibility to Qui man, the 
released her atui from hii gracp and 
stood looking lull at Aim. She had 
never been so handsome, in his eyes. 
A nhade come over .hem while ho 
looked back «t her, as if she drew Ukfl 
very light out of them to herself, 

" This time, at leut, J will leava 
nothing onsaid," he went on, folding 
hie hands before him, dearly to pr»- 
vent his being belnyed mto any 
impetuous gcbiute; "this last time 
Bt least I «ill not be tortoted with 
aftor-thcngbti of a lost apportimity. 
Mr. Eiigiine Wiaybum." 

" Was it of hira you (poke in yont 
ungovernable rnge and violence?" 
Iii.izie lloxum demanded with spiriL 

Hi^ bit his lip, and looked at her. 



n that yon 



wonl 
"Was il Jlr. Wraybnt 

threatened i" 

He bit his lip s.eain, and looked at 
her, and eaid never a word. 

' YoQ Hskcd me to bear yon Out, 
and yon will not speak. Let me find 
my brother." 

" 6tay I I threatened no one." 

Her look dropped for an tnEtant to 
his bleeding hand. He liiled it to 
his mouth, wijied it on his sleeve, and 
again folded it over the other. "Mr. 
Eugene Wraybum," he repeated. 

" Why do yon mention that nama 
•gain and again, Mr. Headstone F" 

" Because it is t^e text of the little I 
have left to say. Obaerve '. Thecv 
are no threats in it. If I utter » 
threat, stop me, and fasten it upon 
me. Mr. Eugene 'VVraybum." 

A woree threat than was conveyed 
in his manner of uttering the name. 
could hardly have etcapcd him. 

" He haunts yon. Ton accept 
fkvours from him. Yoo are willing 
enough to listen to Mm. I know it, 
as w^ as he doe«." 

Mr. Wraybum hai been oon> 
siderato and good to me, sir," said 
Lizzie, proudly, " in connection with 
the death and with the memory of my 
poor father." 

"No doubt. Heiaof«nmaaTei7 
conddeiato and a very good man, Mr. 
Eugene WiAjbam." 




OUE MUTUAL FEIEND. 



"Hsii nalliing to jod, I think," 
■ftid lizzie, with an indignation ahs 
could not rcpnru. 

"Oh ) •-- ' 
take. H_ _ 

" What win ho bo to yUu f " 

" He lyin be > rival to me bouhik 
other tbin^" said Brndloy. 

" Mr, Hcadstono," returned Lizrie, 
with a biiminf; face, " it ia cowardly 
in you to Bpeat to me in this way. 
But it makoa mc able to tell you that 
I do not like you, and that I never 
liave liked you from the first, and 
that no other li\-ini; creature has any- 
thing to do with the effect you have 
produced upon me for youiMlf." 

Hia head bent for a moment, as if 
voder a weight, and he then looked 
up again, moistening hii lips. " I 
wax going on with the little I had 
left to say. I knew all thia about 
Mr. Eugene Wraybum, all the while 
you were drawing me to you. I 
■trove against the knowledge, hat 
onite in Tain. It made no difference 
, m me. With Mr. Eugene Wrayhum 
in my mind, I went on. With Mr. 
Eugene ■A'raybnrn in mymind, I 
•poke to you just now. With Mr. 
Eugene Wraybum in my mind, I 
linvo been let aside aiLd J lUTe been 

"If yon give tliom name* to my 
Qianking ^ou for yonr proposal and 
declining it, is it my &ult, Mr. Head- 
atone F" said Lizzie, compassionating 
the bitter struggle he could not con- 



ning," he re- 
turned, "I am onl^ stating the case. 
I had to wTCsUo ^'ith my self-respect 
wtien I submitted to be drawn to you 
In Bpit« of Mr. Wraybum. You 
may imagine how low my self-respect 
Ilea now." 

She was bart and angry ; Int re- 
pressed herself in consideration of 
his saffcnngt and of hia being her 
Inotber'a friend. 

" And it lies under his f^et," said 
Bradley, unfolding his hands in spite 
of himself, and fieicely motioninx 
with them both toward* the stones ca 



he treads upon it and exults aben 
it" 

" He does not ! " said Lizzie. 

"He does!" said Bradley. "I 
have stood before him face to Eire, 
and he crushed me down in the dirt 
of his contempt, and walked ovn 
me. Why ? Because he knew witli 
triumph what was in store for ms to- 
night.^' 

" Oh, Mr. Headstone, yon talk quit* 
wildly." 

" Quite collectedly. I know wW 
I say t«o well. Kow 1 have Baid ill. - 
J have used no threat, remember ; 1 
have done no more than ahow yos 
how the case stands ; — how the eu> 
stands, so far." 

At this moment her brother (aim- 
tered into view close by. She dsrtai 
to him, and caught him by the hiciL 
Bradley followed, and laid his hetty 
band on the boy's opposite ohoolder. 

" Charley Heiam, I am goiiig 
home. 1 muet walk home by mpol 
to-night, and get shut up in mjriooi 
without being spoken to. Qive mt 
half an hour's start, and let me to, 
till yon find me at my work in Hit 
morning. I shall be at mywoAio 
the morning just as nsual." r 

Clasping his hands, he uttered • '~ 
short nneuihly broken cry, and went ~ 
bis way. The brothar and ditf ^ 
were left looking at one another nC ^ 
a lamp in the solitary churchvoKit ' 
and the boy's feoe clouded and dart ' 
' "he said in a rough tr"' 



'■^\'hBt is the mcuning of thiJ'r 
AVhat have yon done to my W ' 
friend f Out with the truth ! '' 

"Charley!" said his sister. "8p«itf 
a little more considerately ! " 

" I am not in tho humour tor w 
sidcralion, or for nonsense of bdT 
sort," replied the boy. "'Whatlia'' ■ 

eiQ been doing F Why has H'- 
eadstone gone btao us ii '''' 
way?" 

" He asked me — you know hi 
me — to be his wife, Charley." 
"WellF" nid the boy, bbJ* 




OUB UUTUAL FB1£ND. 



"And t was obliged to tell him 

Hut 1 couid not be bu wife." 

" Yon irere obligad to tell Jum," 
npcaled tbe boy angrily, between 
Iiii teetb, and rudely puihing her 
(way. " You were oblJeed ^ tell 
Urn ! Da yon know tlut he ii worth 
Ifty of you P " 



' Boy, 

ipnU 
An* 
the I 



Ibut yon can't appreciRte him, and 
don't deserve him, I luppowt" 

" 1 mean that I do not like him, 
Charley, and that I wiU never many 

" Upon my •on]," exclaimed the 
lioy, " yon are a nice picture of a 
•ister 1 Upon my eoul, you are a 
pntty piece of ditintereiitedneaa '. 
An^eo all my endeavours to cancel 
the past and to raise myself in the 
world, and to raise you with me, ore 
to be beaten down by yaw low 
whims ; are they f ' ' 

"I will not reproach yon, Charley," 
"Hear hsr!'* eiclaimed the boy, 
looking raond at the dorkneBn. " Bho 
won't reproach me! She doee her 
beet to destroy my fbrtimce and her 
own, and she won't reproiuh me I 
Why, you'll teU me, next, that you 
won't reproach Mi. Headstone for 
' coming out of the sphere to which he 
k an ornament, ijid putting him- 
telf at yaw feet, to be rqected by 

"No, Charley; I will only tell 
-a. aa I told himself, that I thank 
doing so, that I am soiry he 
and that I hope he will do 
Bnch better, and be happy." 
Borne touch of con 






ooked 
inbncy, his patient friend, adviser. 



. Histo 



I relented, and 



thing for 

lie drew her arm through his. 

"Now, come, Liz; don't let na 
qntnel : let ua be reasonable and 
b<1k thia oTer like brother and 
V,ll 



u listen ■ 
"Oh,CUu;ey! 



her starting lean; "do 1 not litlen 
to you. and hear many bard things!" 
"Then I am sorry. There. Liz I 
I am unfeignedly sonj. Only yon 
do pnt me oat so. Now see. Mr. 
Headstone is perfsLtly devoted to 
you. He has told me in the strongeet 
manner that he has never been hia 
old self for one aingte minute since I 
firat brought him to see you. MisS 
I'eccher, our Bchoolmiatreea — pretty 
and young, and all that — is knonn to 
be very much attached to him, and 
he won't so much as look at her or 
hear of her. Now, his devotion to 
you must b« a diiinterested one; 
mustn't itF If he married Mim 
Feccher, he would be a great deal 
better off in all worldly reepcct^ 
than in marrying you. Well then ; 
he has nothing to get by it, has hat" 
" Nothing, Heaven Imows I " 
"Very well then," said the boy: 
"that's sometliing in his favour, and 
a great thing. Then Jcfime in. Mr. 
Headatuno hasalwaya got me on, and 
he has a good deal in his power, and 
of course if he was my brother-in-law 
he wouldn't get me on leas, but would 
get me on more. i£i. Headstone 
eomea and conSdes in me, in a very 
delicate way, and says, ' I hope my 
marrj-ing your aiater would ha agree- 
able to you, Uoiam, and useml to 
you?' I say, 'There's nothing in the 
j world, Mr. Headstone, that I could 
be better pleased with.' Mr. Head- 
stone says, ' Then I ma; rely upon 
your intunate knowledge of me for 

Siur good word vrith your silrtra, 
eiamF" And I eay. 'Certainly, 
Mr. Headstone, and natnrally 1 have 
a good deal of inHuence with hw.' 
So I have ; haven't I, Liaf" 

" Yes, Charley." 

"Well said! Now, yon fee, W* 
hefrin to get on, the moment we 
begin to be really talking it over, 
tike brother and sister. Very well. 
Then ydu come in. As Mr. Hoad- 
Blone'e wife yon would be occupying 
a most respertable alslion, and voD 
would be holding a far butter place 
in Bociplv than yon hold nnw. and 
you wuulil at Icu^lh ^«t. i^Aof >iiA 




us 



Ol'E UUTUAL FKIESD. 



rirrr-side and tli* old diB^pTcrililea | 
Itclon^iiig to it, and vou won'd I'D rid 
for Rood of dolls' Iressmakers and | 
their drunken ratliera, nod thf like of ', 
that. Not that 1 want to di.sjjnrn^ | 
Midi Jenny Wren : I daresay eho is ' 
all very woll in hor way ; but hnr 
Vay ia not yonr wny as Mr. llead- 
ttone'i wife. Now, you svo, JJz, on 
all thi-ee accaunta — on Mr. llrad- 
■tone'»,on mine, on yours— no[t ing 
cotild be better or more desirable.*' 

They wen walking; alovty as the 
boy spoke, and here he ttooJ still, to 
aee what effect ho bad made. His 
■ister'a cj-es were fiied upon him ; 
but as they showed no yielilinR, and 
as she romained silent, he walked her 
on again. There was some discom- 
fiture in his tone as he i ' 
though be tried to conceal it. 

" Having so much influence with 

GU, I.Jg, OS I have, perhaps I should 
ve done better to liave W a little 
chat with you in the first instance, 
before Mr. llradstone spoke for him- 
Belf. But really all Ibis in his favour 
■eemed so plain and undeniable, and 
I tuew you to have always been so 
reasonable and sensible, thiit I didn't 
consider it worth while. Tory likely 
that was a mistake of mine. How- 
ever, it's soon set right. All that 
need be done to set it right i* for you 
to tell me at once that I may go homo 
and tell Mr. Headstone that wbat has 
taken place is not llnal, and that it 
■will all come round by-and-by." 

He stopped again. The pale bee 
looked anxiously and lovingly at h'"', 
but she shook her hood, 

■* Can't yoB ipoik ?" Bu'd tlte boy 
•barply. 

Charley. 

not authorise you to eny any such 
thing to Mr. Ilcadslone: I eaanot 
allow you to say any such thing to 
Sir. Headstone. NoDiinj^ ramuiDS to 
be said to him from nic, uller what I 
have said for good unJ all, to-nigbt." 
"And this girl," niu J Uio lioy, con- 
tcmptnously throwing her off again, 
"calls herself n sislcri" 

" Charlcf , ilcnr, UMt ii the Moond 



time th^t you haTS almost ttmck ue. 



Don't bp hurt b 



worris. Id 



Heaven 
tended it; but you liardly know with 
what a sudden swing you removed 
yourself from me." 

"However!" taid the boy, takici 
no heed of the remonetrance, and 
pursuing his own mortiQed dissp- 
pointmcut. " I know what this meuui 
and von shall not disgrace me." 

"It means whst I have told Jon, 
Charley, and nothing more." 

" That's not true," said the bey in 
a violent tone, " and you know it's 
not. It means your precious Mi. 
Wmyhum ; that's what it means." 

" Charley 1 If you remember any 
I old days ol' ours together, forbear ! " 

" But yon shall not disgrace mc," 
I doggedly pursued the boy. "I am 
deU'rmined that after I have climbed 
up out of the mire, you shall not pull 
me down. Yuu can't disgrace me il 
I have nothing to do with you, and I 
Kill have notluus to do with yon tor 
the future." 

" Charley ! On many s night liks 
this, and many a worse night, I have 
sat on the stones of the street, hushing 
yon in my arms. Dnaay those woidJ 
without oven aaying you are Sony 
for them, and my anus are open W 
jou still, and so is my heart." 

"I'll not unsay them. I'llsaytheni 
apain. You are an invelerately W 
girl, and a fnlse sister, and I have dons 
with yoo. Fur aver, I have done wifi 

Ho threw up his ungrateM isd 
nnjiracious hand aa if it set up s 
barrier between them, and Sung bun- 
self upon his heel and left her. Shi 
remained impaasive on the same^iA 
silent and motionless, until tho strik- 
ing of tho church dock rousod h*, 
and sho turned sway. But thm 
with the breaking up of her inimit- 
bility camo tho breaking up of tlw 1 
waters that the cold heart of tli» 
sclDshboyhad&o^on. And'-Oh,!!^ 
I n-ero iyir's hero with tha deed!' | 
and "Oh, Charley, Charley, thsttbil i 
should be the end of our pictuns i» i 
Hm Ure!" wore all the n-ordt ihi j 




OUB UUTUAL FBIEND. 



■Jd. H Rhn Infd her Cico in h«T handa 
«DUiett.,nBpm,ii.z. 

A tip;! :i; i i^.icil i>v, and passcJ on, 
bat Bta|>{i«u and looncd round at her. 
It was Uie ligui-o of an .:ld mnn with 
■ bowed head, wearing a large- 
brimincd low-crowiied hat, and a 
kiag-akit-ted coat. After heail&ting 
1 little, llie figure turned back, and, 
idvancing with an air of gentleneu 
and compaifflOQ, eaid: 

" Pardon me, yoong voman, for 
(peaking to you, but you are under 
Mune diatresB of mind. I aumot pass 
upon my way and leSTB you wecjiing 
beie alone, an if tliore wea nothing in 
the place. Can I help you ? Cnn 1 
do anything to give you comfort !■" 

£he rataud her head at the sound 
of theee kind worda. and anawered 
|l»dly, ■'Oh.Mr.Iliah.iaityonf 

" My daughter," said the old man, 
"I (land amaEsd 1 I apoke ai to a 
■tranger. Take my arm, take my 
arm. What giievea youP Who has 
done this t Poor girl, poor girl ! " 

'' My brother has quarrelled with 
tte," sobbed Liarie, " 



" Be ii a Uianklea dog," aaid the 

Jew, aQf>rily. "Let him go. Shake 
tlie duat liuia thy feet and let him go. 
Coma, diiughter ! Come home with 
ise — it i> but HCroB* thi) road— and 
bdia * little time to rocoTOr your 
peace and to make your eyea seemly, 
ud then I will bear you company 
through the streeta. Por it it pe'' 
your usual time, and will aoon be la 
nd the way ia long, and there 
auch company out of doors to-night." 

She accept^ the support he offered 
ber, and they alovly paaaed out of the 
churchyard. They were in the act 
cf cmci^ring into the main thorough- 
bie, when another figure loitermg 
diicontentedly by, and Uxiking up 
Ibe street and down it, and all about, 
ttarted and exclaimed, ''Lizzie I why, 
vhcse h»ve yon beenf Why, what'i 
the matter ?" 

Aa Eogene Wreybum Qiua ad. 
drcoed her, she drew closer to thu 
Jew, and bent her head. The Jew 
haTiiu taJten at tha ifIiqI^ of Soxme 



10 nhnrn-itTRnee, east bis ci 






"Mr. Wrayhi 



.tlellvou to-night if I 
■ can toll you. Pray leave me." 
Dut, Lizzie, I came expreaaly to 
join you. I come to walk home with 
you, having dined at a cofTee-houH 
ui this neighhonrhood and knowing 
your hour. And I have been linger* 
mg about," added Eugene. " like ft 
bailiff; or." withalook at lUah, "la' 
old clotliesman." 
'Jlic Jew liftcdup his eyes, and took 
Kugoue once more, at another 
glanco. 

■■ Mr. Wraybnin, pt«y, pray leave 
with this protector. And one 
g more. Pray, pray be caiei'ul 

- Myatcriea e( Udolpho ! " said 
Eugene, with a look of wonJcr. 
" Alav 1 be excused for asking, in thia 
elderly gentleman's preeeuce, who il 
this kind protector f* 

" A trustworthy friend, "said Lizzie. 

"I will relieve him of his truff 
retomed Eugene. " But you must 
tell me, Liizio, what is the mattijr^" 

" Her brother is the matter," Kiid 
the old man, lifting up his eyes again. 

" Our brother the mattor ?" r^ 
turned Eugene, with airy contempt 
" Our hrother is not wortli a thought, 
br leas a tear. What baa our bro- 
ther done?" 

The old man lifted up hii eyM 
again, with one grave look at Wray- 
bura, and one grave glance at Lizzie, 
ai ihe stood looking down. Bolii 
were so full of meaning that even 
Eugene was rhecked in his light 
csircer, and subsided into a thought- 
ful " Humph!" 

With an air of perfect patience Hit 
old man, remaining mute and keep- 
ing his eyes cast down, stood, retain- 
ing Lizzie's arm, as tliough, in hi* 
habit of passive endurance, it would 
be all one to him if he hod stood there 
motionless nil night. 

" If Hr. Aaron," said Eugcoe, who 
soon Itnmd this tatigaing, " will be 



%o4 



OUli MUTUAL FRIEND. 



to me, he wiH bo qtiite free for any 
eiiprngcmcni he may have at the 
6yiia,i;oj^ue. Mr. Aaron, will you 
have the kindness ?*' 

But the old man stood stock still. 

•* Good evening, Mr. Aaron," said 
£ugenc, politely ; *' we need not detain 
you." Then turning to Lizzie, "Is 
our friend Mr. Aaron a little deaf?" 

" My hearing is ver>' good. Chris- 
tian gentleman," replied the old man, 
calmly; "but I will hear only one 
voice to-night, desiring me to leave 
this damsel before I have conveyed 
her to her home. If she requests it, 
Iwilldoit Iwilldoitfornooneelse." 

"May I ask why so, Mr. Aaron P" 
said Eugene, quite undisturbed in his 
ease. 

"Excuse me. If she asks me I 
vill toll her," replied the old man. 
•* I will tell no one else." 

"I do not ask you," said Lizzie, 
''and I beg you to take me home. 
Mr. Wraybum, I have had a bitter 
trial to-night, and I hope you will 
not think me ungrateful, or myste- 
rious, or changeable. I am neiUier ; 
I am wTetched. Pray remember what 
I said to you. Pray, pray take care." 

"My dear Lizzie," he returned, in 
a low voice, bending over her on the 
other side; "of what? Of whom P" 

" Of any one you have lately seen 
and made ancjy." 

He snapped his fingers and laughed. 
**Come," sa'id he, "since no better 
may be, l^Ir. Aaron and I will divide 
this trust, and see you home together. 
Mr. Aaron on that side; I on this. 
If perfectly agreeable to Mr. Aaron, 
the escort will now proceed." 

He knew his power over her. He 
knew that she would not insist upon 
his leaving her. He knew that, ner 
fears for him being aroused, she would 
be uneasy if he were out of her sight 
For all his seeming levity and care- 
lessness, he knew whatever he chose 
to know of the thoughts of her heart 

And ^oin^ on at her side, so gaily, 
regardless of all that had been urged 
against him ; so superior in his sallies 
and self-possession to the gloomy con- 
■traint <» her suitor and the selfish 



petulance of her brother; so feithful 
to her, as it seemed, when her own 
stock was faithless ; what an immense 
advantage, what an overpowering 
influence, were his that night ! Ada 
to the rest, poor girL that she had 
heard him vilihed for her sake, and 
that she had suffered for his, and 
where the wonder that his occasional 
tones of serious interest (setting off 
his carelessness, as if it were assumed 
to calm her), that his lightest touch, 
his lightest look, his very presence 
beside her in the dark common street, 
were like glimpses of an enchanted 
world, which it was natural for jea- 
lousy and malice and all meanness to 
be unable to bear the brightness oi^ 
and to ^:ird at as bad spirits might 

Nothing more being said of i-epair- 
ing to Riah's, they went direct to 
Lizzie's lodging. A little short of 
the house-door she parted from tiiem, 
and went in alone. 

**Mr. Aaron," said Eugene, when 
the^r were left together in the street, 
"with many thanks for your com? 
pany, it remains for me unwillingly 
to say Farewell." 

** Sir," returned the other, " I give 
you good-night, and I wish that you 
were not so thoughtless." 

<*Mr. Aaron, returned Eugene, 
*' I give you good-night, and I wish 
(for you are a little dull) that yon 
were not so thoughtful." 

But now, that his part was played 
out for the evening, and when in 
turning his back upon the Jew he 
came off the stage, he was thoughtful 
himsel£ " How did Lightwood's 
catechism run?" he murmured, as 
he stopped to light his cigar. " What 
is to come of itP What are you 
doing ? Where are you going ? We 
shall soon know now. Ah\ " with a 
heavy sigh* 

The heavy sigh was repeated as if 
by an echo, an hour alterwards, when 
lUah, who had been sitting on some 
dark steps in a comer over against 
the house, arose and went his patient 
way ; stealing through the streets in 
his ancient dress, like the ghost of a 
departed Time. 




ova MUTUAL EMEKO. 
CnAPTEfi XTI. 



Teb wtlmslils Tvcmlov, dreaaing 
himself ID hii 1od[^ns:i over tUe 
•Uble-yard in Duke Htrcet, Saint 
Junea'a. and heajinj^ the honcB at 
thsir toilette below, Bnda himsolf on 
tlie whole in ■ disadvuitageoua posi- 
tion 08 compared with the noble 
(nimala at livery. For whoreBS, on 
tlie one hand, he hu do attondi>nt 
to ilap him aoundingly and require 
tum m gruff accents to come up 
and come over, still, on the other 
hand, he luu no attendant at ikll ; 
knd the mild gentlenuin's fingGr- 
ibinta and other joints work in); ruBtily 
ID the momiog, he could deem it 
agreeable even to bo tied up by the 
eountenancfl at his chamber-door, so 
he were there nkilfully rubbed down 
ind Blushed and sluiced and polished 
mid clothed, while himself taking 
merely a passive part in theae bying 
tnnBactiona. 



wilderment of the 
known only to tba Graces and her 
maid ; but perhaps oven that fln- 
gnging creature, though not rednced 
to the self-dopcndcnce of Tnemlon-, 
could dispense with a good deal of 
the tiouble attendant on the daily 
nstoration of her charms, seeing that 
ss to her &ce and neck this adorable 
divinity is, as it were, a diumol 

5~ ii?cies of lobster — throwing off a 
lell every furenoon, and needing to 
keep in a retired spot until the 
Oruat hamens. 

Dowbeit, Twemlow doth at length 
hieiit himself with collar and cravat 
and wiisthands to his knuckles, and 
RMth foith to breakfast. And 
Divakfast with whom but his r 
ndghbours, the lammles of Saokville 
Btrofct, who have imparted ' ' ' 
that he wm meet his dials, 
nan, Ur. Fledgebv. The awful 
6n ■j(BBorth might laboo and prohibit 
Ykdgebyibut the p««o—ble Twemlow 



reasons, " If he fi my fchwman I 
didn't make him so, and b> meet a 

is not to know him." 

is the first annivenary of the 
happy marriage of Mr. and Mrs. 
Lanimle, and the celebration is a 
breakfast, because a dinner on the 
deaired scale of Bvimptuoaity cannot 
be achieved within less limits than 
those of the noD-eiiatent palatial 



dnngei' of belnc; knocked down by 
■ift vehicles. To be sure that was 
the days when he hoped for le«TB 
from the dread BnigSworth tO do 
something, or be something, in life, 
and before that magniliccnt Tartar 
issued the ukase, "As he will never 
distinguish himself, he must be a poor 
gentleman-pensioner of mine, and let 
him hereby consider hiTn«plf pen* 

Ah I my Twemlow I Say, little 
feeble grey personage, what thonghle 
an in thy breast to-day, of the Fancy 
— 10 still to call her who bruised thy 
heart when it was green and thy head 
brown — and whether it be better or 
wone, more painful or less, to believs 
in the Fancy to this hour, than to 
know her tor a greedy armour-plated 
cnmodile, with no more capacity of 
imagining the delicate aiid sensttivs 
and tender spot behind thy waistcoat, 
than of goin^ itiaii^ht at it with a 
knitting-needle. Say likewise, my 
Twemlow, whether it be the bappir^ 
lot to be a poor relation of the great, 
or to aland m the wintry slush giving 
the hack horses to drink out of the 
shallow tub at the coach-aland, into 
which thou hast so nearly set thy iin- 
oertoin foot. Twemlow says noUking, 

As be approaches the Lammlea' 



250 



OUB MUTUAL FEIEKD. 



carriage, oontaining TippinB the 
divine. Tippins, let!ing down the 
window, playfully extols the vigilance 
of her cavalier m being in waiting 
there to hand her out, Twenilow 
hands her out with as much polite 
gravity as if she were anything real, 
and they proceed uustaii-s: Tippins 
all abroad about the legs, and seeking 
to express that those unsteady articles 
are only skipping in their native 
buoyancy. 

And dear Mrs. Lammle and dear 
Mr. Lammle, how do you do, and 
when are you going down to what' s-its- 
name place — Guy, Earl of Warwick, 
you know — what is it ? — Dun Cow — 
to claim the flitch of bacon ? And 
Moi-timer, whose name is for ever 
blotted out from my list of lovers, by 
reason first of fickleness and then of 
base desertion, how do you do, wretch P 
And Mr. Wraybum, you heace ! What 
can you come for, because we are all 
very sure beforehand that you are not 

going to talk ! And Veneering, M.P., 
ow are things going on down at the 
House, and when will yon turn out 
those terrible people for us? And 
Mrs. Veneering, my dear, can it posi- 
tively be true that you go down to 
that stifling place night after ni^ht 
to hear those men prose ? Talkmg 
of which, Veneering, why don't you 
prose, for you haven't opened your 
tips there yet, and we are dying to 
hear what you have got to say to us ! 
Miss Podsnap, charmed to see you. 
Fa, here ? No ! Ma, neither P Oh ! 
Mr. Boots ! Delighted. Mr. Brewer ! 
This is a gathering of the clans. 
Thus Tippins, and surveys Fledgeby 
and outsiders through golden glass, 
murmuring as she turns about and 
about, in her innocent giddy way, 
Anybody else I know P Ko, I think 
not. Nobody there. Nobody t/uire. 
Nobody anywhere! 

Mr. Lammle, all a-glitter, produces 
his friend Fledgeby, as dying for the 
honour of presentation to Lady 
Tippins. Fledgeby presented, has 
the air of going to say something, 
has the air of going to say nothing, 
hu an air successively of meditation. 



of resignation, and mf desolation, 
backs on Brewer, m^Ves the tour of 
Boi^tts, and fades into the extrftma 
background, feeling for his wliiskor, 
as if it might have turned up since 
he was there five m'nutes ago. 

But Lammle has him out agatn 
before he has so much as completely 
ascertained the bareness of the land, 
He would seem to be in a bad way, 
Fledgeby; for Lammle represents 
him as djring again. He is dying 
now, of want of presentation to 
Twemlow. 

Twemlow offers his hand. Glad to 
see him. " Your mother, sir, was a 
connection of mino." 

"I believe so," says Fledgeby, 
*' but my mother and her feimily were 
two." 

*' Are you stayirg in town P " aski 
Twemlow. 

" I always am," lays Fledgeby. 
" You like town," says Twexnlo^ 
But is felled flat by Fledgeby's taking 
it quite ill, and replying. No, hedob't 
like town. Lanmile ^es to brukk 
the force of the fall, by renuirking 
that some people do not like town. 
Fledgeby retorting tliat he never heard 
of any such case but his own, Twem- 
low goes down again heavily. 

" There is nothing new this morn- 
ing, I suppose P" says Twemlow, re- 
turning to the mark with great spirit. 
Fledgeby hasnot heard of an^i.h'aig. 
'*No, there's not a word of newv' 
says Lammle. 

**Not a particle," adds Boots. 
[^ *' Not an atom," chimes in Brewer. 
Somehow the execution of this little 
concerted piece appears to raise tht 
general spirits as with a sol se of duty 
done, and sets the company a-going. 
Everybody seems more equal th^ 
before, to tho calamity of being in 
the society of everybody else. Even 
Eugene standing ina window, moodily 
swinging the tassel of a blind, gives 
it a smarter jerk now, m if he found 
himself in better case. 

Breakfast announced. Everything 
on table showy and gaudy, but wit£ 
a self-assertingly temporary and no- 
madic air on the decorationiy m }jfMMl^ 



OUB MXTTDAL FBIEND. 767 

't.it [hey will be mad) mora ' them hia itor^ of the mso fton Mm»- 

and gaudy in thepalati&l rrsi- when, which afterwards became to 

Mr. Lammle's own particii- horribly interestiog and vulgarly 

^rtant behind his chair; the popular. 

tical behind Veneering' a cbair ; ^ "Yes, Duly Tippina," assente Mor- 

ce> in point that anch icrvants timer; " bb they aay on the atage, 

U> two claaseB : one mistniating Even bo ! " 

aaler'a acquaintancea, and the " Then we expect you," retoita the 
mistniating the master. &Ir. ' charmer, " to sustain your reputation, 

lie's servant, of the second cIbm. and IcU us someUiing dIbo." 

ring to be lost in womlcr and ^* lAdy Tippina, I exhansted my- 

lirita because tlie police are bo self for life that day, and there is 

□ coming to tnke his master up Dothin^ more to be got out of me." 

ic chargi! of the fint mat^tudo. MurLimer parries thus, with aaense 

leerini:, U.l'., on the ri^ht of apon ti im that elsowbcro it is Eugene 

..amnilo ; Twemlow on her left ; and not he who ia the jester, and that 
Veneering, W.M.P. (wife of in these droles where Eugene peraista 

er of Parliament), and Ijuly in being gpoechleu, fae. Mortimer, is 

IS on Mr. Ijimmle's right and but the double of the friend on whom 

But be sure that well within he has founded himself, 
)cinalian of Mr. Lammle's eye , "But," quoth the fiueinating 

Bile sits little Oeorgiana. And Tipping, "I am rcaolved on getting 

e that cloee to little Georgiana, something more out of you. 'Traitor! 

mder inspection by the same what is this I hear about another dis- 

rous gentleman, aits Fledgcby. appearance ? " 

■ner than twice or thrice while " Aa it ia you who have heard it," 

ut is in progress, Mr. Twemlow returns Lightwood, " perhaps you'll 

\ little sudden turn tewards tell lu," 

unmle, and th«n saya to ber, " Monster, away ! " retorts Lady 

■ your pardon!" This not Tippina. " Tour own Golden Dust- 

' ' 'a uaual way, why ia man referred ir " ' " 



o-day? Why, the truth Mr. I.ammle, striking in here, pro- 



Isw repeatedly labours under claims aloud that there is a seque) .. 

Wsion that ifra. Lommle is the gtory of the man from somewhere. 

Wieak to him, and turning, Silence ensues uponthe proclamation. 

'it is not so, and moBtly that "I assure yoo," aaya Ligbtwood, 

Ver eyes npon Venouring. glancing round the table, " I have 

M this impression so abides notliing to tell." But Eugene ad- 

^)w after bein; corrected, ding ii. a low voice, "There, tell it, 

I . tell iti ' he corrects hiHisclf with the 

ttpinspaitaking plentifully addition, "Nothing worth mention- 

■ of the earth (including ing-" 

ID the category^ becomes ' Booiaand Brewerimmediatelyper- 

l applies humelf Ut elicit ceive that it is immensely wortb men- 

Wortimer Li^htwood. It tioning, and become politely clamor- 

Heratood amung the ini- ous. Veneering is aJso visited by a 

•at faithless lover must porcention to the same effect. But it 

( table opposite to Lady is uniieratood that his attention is now 

iwill then strike conver- rather used up. and difticult to hold, 

kt of him. In a paii^a ^ that being the tons of the Houm of 

{and deglutition, Lady j Commons. 

nnpluting iloilimci, " Pray don't b« at the trouble of 
Wsatourdear Vonppr- composing yonnjelvea to listen," saya 
k prciience of a pnity Moitimer Li^htwciod. " bri nuae I 
111 hi^, that be tuld bIuU havo Ouiatuid long \KlV^<I« -^m 



2(8 



OUE MUTUAL FRIEND. 



have fallen into comfortable attitudes. 

It's like—" 

*' It's like," immtiently interrupts 
Eugene, "Uie children's narrative : 

••I'll tell yon«itory 
Of Jat'k a Mttiiorj', 
And now my swuy's begun; 
I'll lell y«'U H';(» inT 
Of Jack" and his lirother. 
And now oiy »lory u d<Mie»* 

«-^Get on, and get it over ! ** 

Euffone says this with a sound of 
Texation in his voice, leaning back iu 
his chair and looking balefully at 
Lady Tippins, who nods to him as 
hor dear Bear, and j)lay fully insinu- 
ates that she (a self-evident proposi- 
tion) is Beauty, and he Beast. 

"The reference," proceeds ilorti- 
mer, "which I suppose to be made 
by my honourable and fair enslaver 
opposite, is to the following circum- 
stance. Very lately, the young wo- 
man, Lizzie Ilexam, daughter of 
the late Jesse Hoxam, otherwise 
Gafifcr, who will be remembered to 
have found the body of the man from 
somewhere, mysteriously received, 
she knew not from whom, an explicit 
retractation of the charg:es made 
against her father by another water- 
side character of the name of Rider- 
hood. Nobody believed tliem, because 
little Rogue Ividei hood — I am tempted 
into the paraphrase by remembering 
tlie charming wolf who would hiive 
rendered society a great service if he 
had devoured Mr. Kiderhood's father 
and mother in their infancy — had 
previously played fast and loose with 
the saicl charges, and, in fact, 
auandoned them. However, the re- 
tiactation I have mentioned found its 
\vay into Lizzie Hexam's hands, 
"^ith a general flavour on it of having 
been favoured by some anonymous 
messenger in a dark cloak and 
slouched hat, and was by her for- 
"^ardcd, in her father's vindication, 
to Mr. BofUn, my client. You will 
excuse the phraseology of the shop, 
but as I never had another client, 
and in all likelihood never sliall liave, 
I am rather proud of him as a natui*al 
ouriojiity probably unique." 



Although as easr as usual on the 
surface, Lightwood is not quite u 
easy as usual below it. With an air 
of not minding Eugene at all, he feels 
that the subject is not altogether i 
safe one in that connection. 

" I'he natural curiosity which fonni 
the sole ornament of my professional 
museum," he resumes, "hereupon 
desires his Secrctary — an indiviuual 
of the hermit-cmb or oyster si-cties, 
and whoso name, I think, is Choke* 
smith — but it t^oesn't in the least 
matter — say Artichoke — to put him- 
self in communication with Lizne 
Hexam. Artichoke professes hii 
reailiness so to do, endeavours to do 
so, but fails." 

" WTiy fails P" asks Boots. 

" How fiiilsP" asks Brewer. 

" Paition me," returns Lightwood, 
** I must postpone the reply for one 
moment, or we shall have an anti- 
climax. Artichoke bailing signallyi 
my client refers the task to me : his 
purpose being to advance the interests 
of the object of his search. I proceed 
to put myself in communication with 
her ; I even happen to possess some 
siKJcial means," with a glance at 
Eugene, ** of putting myself in com- 
munication with her ; but I fail toc^ 
because she has x'anished." 

" Vanished ! " is the general echo. 

" Disappeared," says Mortimer. 
" Nobody knows how, nobody knows 
when, nobody knows where. And so 
ends the story to which my honour- 
able and fair enslaver opposite re- 
ferred." 

Tippins, with a bewitching littla 
scream, opines that we shall ever)' 
one of us be murdered in our beds. 
Eugene eyes her as if some of us 
would be enough for him. Mrs. 
Veneering, W.M.P., remarks that 
these social mysteries make one afraid 
of leaving Baby. Veneering, M.P^ 
wishes to be informed (with some- 
thin i^ of a second-hand airof seeing the 
Right Honoui-able Gentleman at th« 
head of the Home Department in his 
place) whether it is intended to bs 
conveyed that the vanished persos 
J has been spiiited away or otherwiK 




OUB HDTUAIi F&IENI). 



IH 



banned T Inrtead of Liglitwood't 

anBwering, Eugme aiuwen, and 
answers haatil j and TexedJy : " No, 
no, do; be doeao't mean that; he 
ueaiu ToInnUrilr TAuished — but 
■Iterl y— complelfily. " 

However, Uio great labject of Uie 
htppmeas of Mr. and Mrs. Ifmmle 
inust not be aUowed to *anuti with 
the other vanUhments — with Ihe 
Taniibing of the murderer, the van- 
UhiDg of Julius Hondford, the vanish- 
ing of LizEie Hexom, — and ther«- 
ibre Veoeeriug must itctll the preBoDt 
■beep to the pen from which thoy 
have ttnjed. Who lo fit to dis- 
coune of the happiness of Mr. and 



woiid ; or wha 



Kodience so St for 

. > his confidence as 

that andience, a ounn of multitude, or 
■Unifying many, who are all the 
cldcat and dearest friends he has in 
fte world r Bo Veneering, without 
ttie (oimality of rising, laUDChes into 
t *■■"!''»■• oration, gmdually toning 
bto the Parliamentary Bina:-iong, in 
vbich he aeee at that board his dear 
friend TwemJow, who on that day 
twelvemonth bestowed on his dear 
friend lAmmle the fiur hand of his 
dear friend Sophronia, and in which 
lie also aeos at that board hli dear 
friends Boots and Brewer, whose 
nllyiag round him at aperiod when 
his dear friend Lady T^ppins lilce- 
vise rallied round him — ay, and in 
the foremost nuik — ho can never for- 

S while memory holds her scat. 
1 he is free to confeaa that he 
nissea from that board hia dear old 
IrieDd Fodanap. though he ia well 
Rpresented fay his dear yoDDg friend 
Georgiana. And he further sees at 
that board (this he 
pomp, as if exulting 
an eitiBordiDarpp' loleecopej ms 
Mr. Iled^eby, if he will penni 
lo call hun BO. For all of these 
rea!,ijns, and many more which he 
tisht woU knows will have occurred 
to persons of your eiccptional ncute- 
ness, he ii here to submit to you that 
tiu> time bus uinvcd wbcn, with o 



hearta in our glasaes, with taan i-i 
eyea, with blessings on dot Ups, 
in a general way with a profoaion 
of gammon and spinach id our emo- 
tional larders, we shoold one and all 
dhufc to our dear friendt the 
Lammles, wishing thom many man; 
years as happy as the lost, and many 
many friends as congenially united 
aa themselves. And Ibis he will add; 
that Anaftatia Veneering (who is 
instantly heard to weep) is formed on 
the same model as her old and chcx D 
friend Sophronia Lammle, in respeil 
that she is devoted to the man whu 
wooed and won her, and nobly di.<- 
cban^ the duties of a wife. 

Seeing no better way oat of i(, 
Teneering here puUa up nil oratoric:! I 
Pegasus extremely short, and plnm|H 
down, clean over bis head, witii : 
" Lammle, Qod bless yoal" 

Then Lammle. Too much of hi.u 
everyway 1 pervadlngly too muchno-,^ 
of a coarse wrong shape, and hia noLe 
in bis mind and his monnera; lo» 
mnch smile to be real; too mui;h 
frown lo be false ; too many large 
teeth to be visible at Once without 
suggesting a bite. Be tbanlcs yoii, 
dear friends, for yonr kindly greo: - 
ing, and hopes to receive you — ii 
may be on the next of these dolighl - 
ful occaaioni — in a nisidenm better 
suited to your claims on the ritea uF 
ho^pitulity. He will never forget th:it 
at Veneenog's he first aaw Sophroniu. 
Sophronia will never forget that at 
Veneoring's aba first saw him. They 

ned, and agreed that they wouM 
never forget it. In fact, to Veneei- 
ing they owe their union. Thejho]ie 
to show their sense of this some day 
(" Ko, no," from Veneering)— oh yes 
yes, and let him rely upon it, Ihev 
will if they can ! His marria^ witli 
Sophronia was not a marnace of 
interest on either aide: she had her 
little fortune, he hod his Utile fui- 
tune: thpy joined their little fortune.. ■ 
it was a marriage of pure inclinatn'i 
and auitiibility. Thank you! S.- 
pbroaiaandbe are fond of the soci. i ' 
of young pooplo ', bviV lie » mA »"'* 



160 



OVR KtJTUAL FBIENB. 



that their hoiue would tw a good 
honfle for young people proposing to 
remain single, since the contempla- 
tion of its domestic bliss might induce 
them to chan^ their minds. He will 
not apply this to any one present; 
certainly not to their darling little 
Georgiana. Again thank you! Neither, 
b^-tho-bye, will he apply it to his 
mend Fledgeby. He thanks Veneer- 
ing for the feeling manner in which 
he referred to their conmion Mend 
Fledgeby, for he holds that gentle- 
nmn in the highest estimation. 
Thank you. In fact (returning un- 
expectedly to Fledgeby), the better 
vou know him, the more you find in 
him that you desire to know. Again 
thank you ! In his dear Sophronia^s 
name and in his own, thank you ! 

MiB. Lammle has sat quite still, 
with her eyes cast down upon the 
table-cloth. As Mr. Lammle's address 
ends, Twemlow once more turns to 
her involuntarily, not cured yet of 
that often recurring impression that 
she is going to speak to him. This 
time we imlly is g^ing to sx>eak to 
him. Veneering is talking with his 
other next neighbour, and uie speaks 
in a low voice. 

"Mr. Twemlow." 

He answers, " I beg your pardon P 
TesP" Still a little doubtful, because 
of her not looking at him. 

*' You have the soul of a gentle- 
man, and I know I may trust you. 
Will you give me the opportuni^ of 
saying a few words to you when you 
come up stairs ?" 

" Afi»uredly. I shall be honoured.*' 

*< Don't seem to do so, if you please, 
and don't think it inconsistent if my 
manner should be more careless than 
my words. I may be watched." 

Intensely astonished, Twemlow 
puts his hand to his forehead, and 
sinks back in his chair meditating. 
^]is. Lammle rises. All rise. The 
ladies go up stairs. The gentlemen 
roon saunter after them. Fledgeby 
has devoted the interval to taking on 
olJ^•ervation of Boots's whiskers, 
E.pwer's whiskers, and Lammle's 
^ liidkers, and conMueiing which pat- j 



tern of whisker he would pnftr id 
produce out of himself by fr' jtion, if 
the Genie of the cheek wou^d only 
answer to his rubbing. 

In the drawing-room, grronrje Ibni 
as usual. Lightwood, Boots, and 
Brewer, flutter like moths around 
that yellow wax candle — ^gLttering 
down, and with some hint of a wind- 
ing-sheet in it — Lady Tippine. Out- 
siders cultivate Veneering, M P., and 
Mrs Veneering, W.M.P. I^ixnmls 
stands with folded arms, Mephisto- 
phelean in a comer, with Georgiana 
and Fledgeby. Mrs. Lammle, on a 
sofa by « table, invites Mr. Twem- 
low's attention to a book of poitniii 
in her hand. 

Mr. Twemlow takes his statian on 
a settee before her, and Mrs. T^fntnU 
shows him a portrait. 

*' Tou have reason to be sorpriied," 
she says softly, **biit I wui^ you 
wouldn't look so.*' 

Disturbed Twemlow, 



ma 



an 



effort not to look so, looks muckuoTB 

80. 

** 1 think, Mr. Twemlow, you nem 
saw that distant oonnection of jwa 
before to-day P" 

" No, never." 

'* Now that you do see him, job 
see what he is. Tou are not proud 
of him ?" 

'* To say the truth, Mrs. liamml^ 
no." 

** If you knew more of hxm, yon 
would be less inclined to acknowlMigv 
him. Here is another portrait. WW 
do you think of it?" 

Twemlow has just presence of misd 
enough to say aloud: "Very like! 
Uncommonly like ! " 

" Tou have noticed, perhaps, whom 
he favours with his attentions f Tou 
notice where he is now, and how en' 
gaged P" 

" Tes. But Mr. Lammle " 

She darts a look at him which ha 
cannot comprehend, and shows him 
another portrait. 

" Very good ; is it not ?" 

" Charming I" says Twemlow. 

** So like as to be almost a caricar 
tmo ': — Mr. Twemlow, it is impooxibl0 




OOE MUTUAL FEIEND. 



SCI 



bo tdl yon wlmt tlie ttroggle in my 
Blind hsB 1>Mn, beforo I couM bring 
nyHelf to ■peak to yoa aa I do now. 
It it only in the coaTictioa that I 
may trust yon never to betray me, 
that I am pn>oe«d. Sincerely pro- 
miw mo that yoH never will betray 
my confidenco — -that yon will respect 
it, even tliough yon may no lon^^ 
napect me, — and I ihall be aa ulia- 
Bed aa if you tiad rwoia it." 

" Madam, on tbe honour of a poor 
(entleman— ' ' 

"Thank yon. I can desire no mora. 
Mr. Twemlow, I implors yor to Mve 
that child!" 
" That child f " 

"Georeiana. Bhe vill be Mciificed. 
She will De inveigled and manied to 
that connection of youra. It is a 
putncTBhip affair, a money -specula- 
tion. She has no fttrength of will or 
ctiaracter to help henelf, and ahe is 
o tju brink of being sold into 
netchedneBB for life.' 



■hocked and bewildered 

" Hero ii another portrait. And 

■otgood, ieitf" 

Aghast at the lisht manner of her 
tbciring her head back to look at it 
tritically, Twemlow still dimly per- 
(aives lie eipediancy of throwing his 
<i<rn head hack, and does bo. Though 
lie no more se«a the portrait than if it 
vue in China. 

"Decidedly not good," says Mrs. 
Ummle. " Stiff and exaggerated ! " 

"And ei— — " But Twemlow, 
h hia demoliahed slate, cannot < 
Bond the word, and trails off 

" Mr. Twemlow, your i 



Sophronia, my dear, what pot- 
traits are you showing TwemlowJ" 
"Public charactera, Alfred." 
" Show him the last of me." 
" Tea, Alfred," 

She puts the book down, take* 
another book up, turns the leave^ 
and preaeuta the portrait to Twem- 
low. 

That ia the last of Mr. L&mmle. 
Do you think it good f — Warn her 
father against me. I deeorro it, for 
1 have been in the scheme trom the 
Snit. It is my huabaad's schemes 
your connection's, and mine. I tell 
you this, only to show you the neces- 
sity of the poor little foolish affection- 
ate creature's being befriended and 
rescued. You will not repeat this to 
her father. You will spare me so far, 
and spare my husband. For, though 
tbia celebration of to-day ia all a 
Dckcry, he is my husband, and we 
ust live.— Do you think it like f " 
Twemlow, in a stunned ooudition, 
feigos to compare the portrait in his 
hand with the original, looking to- 
wards him from his Mephistophelean 

Vory well indeed ! " 



44 Enakee of your family. Lose 
fiBB. Worn him." 

" But warn him against whom F ' 

'* A gftinq j me." 

Bjr great ^ood fortune Tweratow 
nceives a stimulant at this ciitim' 
bitant. The stimulant is Lammle' 



" Vory well indeed 
ho words which Twi 



at length 
. . rith groat 
diffict Jty oitiactB from himself. 

" I am glad you think so. On the 
whole, I myseff consider it the best. 
The others are so dork. Now here, 
for instance, is another of Mr. 

But I don't nnderstand ; 1 don't 
see my way," Twemlow atammera, 
aa he CUteis over the book with his 
glass at his eye. " How warn her 
tlhor, and not tell him ? Tell him 
. iow much P TeU him how Uttle f I 
— I — am getting lost." 

" Tell him I am a match-maker ; 
tell him I am an artful and deaigning 
woman ; toll him you are sure his 
daughter is best out of my house and 
my company. Tell him any such 
things of mo ; they will all bo true. 
You know what a pull'eJ-up man he 
is, and how easily you can cause hit 
vanity to take tho alarm. Tell him 
as much as will give him tho alarm 
and maJce him careful of her, aod 



J 




OUB MUTUAL FBIEKD. 



-« me tha net yCr. Twemlow, I 



datioQ in my own eyea, I keenly fo 
the change that muet have come upon 
me in youn, in these laat few momenls. 
Uut I tnut to your good faith with 
me aa implicitly aa when I began. If 
yea knew how often I have tried to 
: ]ioak to yoo to-day, yoa would 
: Jmoft pity me. I want no new 
tromiasirom you on my own account, 
t -I I am satisfied, and I always shall 
I'S satisfied, with the promise you 
liave given me. 1 can venture to say 
ii» more, for I see that I am watched. 
I f yon wonld set my mind at rest 
with the assurance that you will in- 
IcrpoBO with the father and gave this 
I>:inn1esa girl, close that boolc hefore 
> ou return it to me, and I shall know 
v'hat yoa mean, and deeply thank 
vou in my heart. — Alfred. Mr. Twem- 
lutv thinks the last one the beat, and 
'.-'lie agnea with 700 and flWi'' 



Alfred adrancoi. The ponfl 
break up. Lady Tippine risei top, 
and Mia. Veneering folloss ba 
leader. For the moment, Kn 
Lammle does not turn to them, but 
lemaioB looking at Twemlow looking 
at Alfred's poi^ait through his <te- 
eloaa. The moment past, Tvemlo* 
drops his eyeglMi at ita libbon'i 
len){th, rises, and cloeet the book 
with an omphasia which makes tKtl 
fragile nursling of the taiiiea, Tip; ii4 

'ilien good-bya and good-bye^ fi 
charming occasion worthy of tht 
Golden Age, and more about tht 
Qitch of bacon, and the like of thit; 
and Twemlow goes staggering acrMi 
Piccadilly with his band to hii fan- 
head, and is nearly run down bj 1 
flushed letter-cart, and at last iioji 
safe in his easy chair, innocent giM 
gentleman, with his hand to bil 

whirL 




BOOK THE TimtD. A LONG LIS]!. 



It vu a toggj day in London, and 

t lag was heavy and dark. Ani- 
iteLoDdon, with smarting eyes and 
tilated luDss, was blinking, wheez- 
g, and choking ; inanimate London 
u a Booty spectre, divided in 
ae between being visible snd 
ble, and so being wholly nei 
ulighta flared in the ahopa w 
iggajd and unblert air, aa kno 
lemselveii to bs ni^jht'Creatures Ihut 
id DO business abroad under the 
in ; while the sun itself, when ii 
V a few momenta diinly indicated 
uim^li circling eddies of fog, showed 
I if It had gone out, and were col' 
ipCDg flat and cold. Even in the 
irroimdiDg country it was a foggy 
iy, but Uiert the fog was grey, 
'lierau in London it vas. at about 
he boundary line, dark yellow, and 

little within it brown, and then 
mwner, and then browner, until at 
be heart of the City— which tall Saint 
luyAie — it was ruaty-blaek. From 
ay point of the high ridge of land 
icithwaid, it might have been dia- 
*nied that the loftiest buildings made 
" occasional struggle to get their 
nsdi above the foggy sea, and espe- 
uUy that the great dome of Saint 
^oi'l seemed to die hard ; but this 
*<* not perceivable in the streets at 
*iw feet, where the whole metro- 
Mlii was a heap of vapour charged 
■ilh moQlcd sound of wheals, and 
'"'oldiDg a gigantic catarrh. 

At Dine o'clock on such a morning, 
*» place of business of Pubsey and 
po. VBs not the liveliest object even 
* Wat Mary Axe — ithich is not a 
*^hnfytfi^ — with ■ aoliiiig yTis- i 



light in the connting-honM vindcnr, 

and a burglarious stream of fog 
creeping in U> ttrsngle it through ths 
keyhole of the main door. But t&s 
light went out, and the main door 
opened, and Riah cam» fortii with • 
big under his arm. 

Almost in the act of coming out at 
the door, Riah went into the fug. and 
was lost to the oyes of Saint Mary 
Axe. But the eyes of this history cua 
foUow him westward, by CornhQl, 
Cheapsido, Fleet Street, and the 
Strand, to Piccadilly and the Albany. 
Thither he went at his grave and 
measured pace, staff in hand, skirt at 
heel ; and more than one head, turn- 
ing to look back at bis venerable 
QguTB already lost in the mist, sup- 
posed it Ui be some ordinary fiL'urS 
indistinctly seen, which fane; and the 
fog had worked inU> that passing 
likeness. 

Arrived at the house in which hia 
master' s chambers were on the second 
Hoor, Riah proceeded up the stuirs, 
and paused at Fasciuation Fledgeby's 
door. Making free with neither l>eU 
nor knocker, he struck upon the door 
with the top of his statT, and, having 
listened^ sat down on the threshold. 
It was choractaristio of his habitual 
submission, that he sat down on the 
raw dark stairceae, as many of his 
ancestors had probibly sat down in 
dungeons, taking what befall him at 
it might befall. 

After B time, when he had grown 
BO cold as te be fain to blow upon hia 
fingers, he atoaa and kuot^iA -«\i:&. 
his stuff agEda, and ^Icuisd a^vo, 
and again tat down lb -vtulk TlmsM 



2S1 



OTE MUTUAL FRIENB. 



h« rapeatod thaw BctioDB befars hii ' 
tutening ean were ^r^eted by the 
voice of Fledgeby, calling from his 
bed, "Hold your row! — ril come 
and open the door ilircctlv ! " But, 
in lieu of coming directly, he fell into 

hour more, during which added in- 
t£rv&1 Riah sat upon the atain and 
vajtsd with perfect patience. 

MiT'l.__„._^ 

plunged into bed again. 

it at a tespectfu] distance, liiuh 
paased into the bed-chamber, whete 
a fire had been Bometims lighted, and 
wa« burning briskly. 

" Why, what time of night do yon 
mean to call it f " inquired Fled goby, 
tuming away honenth tho clotht'B, 
and prCBenling a comlortablc rumpart 
of ahouldor to the chilled figure of 
the old man. 

■' Sir, it ij fnll half-past ten in the 
morning." 

"The deuce it ill Then it mnit 
he precious foggy ?" 

" Very foggy, sir." 

"And taw, thenP" 

"Chill and bitter," laid Riah, 
drawing out a bandkcrthicr, uiid 
wiping the moisture from hii beard 



acceptable fire. 

With a plunge of enjoyment, 
Fledgehy settled himself afreah. 

" Any scow, or slcct, or slush, or 
anythingof that sort?" he asked. 

" Ho, air, no. Not quite »o bad a« 
that. The streets are prelty clean." 

" You needn't hraj; about it," re- 
turned Fledgeby, diKippoinlcd in his 
deain to helglitcii the contrast be- 
tween his bed and tho streets. " But 
you're always brngging about some- 
thing. Got the books therof" 

" Theyare here, sir." 

"All right I'll turn the general 
subject over in my inind for a minute 
or two, and while I'm about it you 
:mpty youi bag and g«t ready 



!or: 



man, having obeyed bta dircctioni, 

down on the edj^e of a chAir, and, 

folding his bands before him, ^- 

dually peldcd to the influence of lit 

warmth, and dozed. He w'os mn&cd 

by Mr. Fledgeby's appearing ««* 

at the foot of the bed, in Turtiah 

slippers, rose-coloured Turkish tnra- 

sers (got cheap &om somebody v\ia 

bad cheated some other eosiebodf 

of them], and a gown and cap ta 

^espond. In that costume hs 

lid have loft nothing to be desinvl. 

if he had been further fitted out vilh 

a buttOQileaa chair, a lantani, u'l S 

bunch of matchea. 

iov, old 'un!" cried Fascins- 
tion, in his light raillery, " whit 
dodgery are you up to next, sitting 
there with your eyes shutf Yob 
ain't asleep. Catch a weasel at i^ 
and catch a Jew I" 

" Truly, sir, I fear I nodded," ni^ 
the old man. 

" Not you 1 " retiuTied Fledgtbj, 
with a cunning look. "A tuiliDE 
move with a good many, I dare aj, 
but it won't put «■< off my gusri 
Not a bad notion though, if you »iuit 
to look indifferent in driving a Ur- 
gain. Oh, you are a dodger 1 " 

The old mac shook hia head, gently 
repudiating the imputation, and tup- 
pnjBscd a sigh, and moved totlietabis 
at which Mi. Fledgehy was do* 
pouring out for himnelf a cup al 
steaming and fragrant coffee from > 
pot that had stood ready on the bob. 
It was an edifj'ing spectacle, tht 
young man in his easy chair takia; 
his coffee, and the old man with Lji 
gioy head bent, standing awaiting ^ 

"Now!" said Fledgeby. "Fm* 
out your balance in hand, and pnJ" 
by figures tiow you make it out that 
it ain't more. First of all, light that 

Kiuh obeyed, and then taking ■ 
bag from his bnaurt, and referriiig t' 



the 



n tho H 



i for whiA 



they made him responsible, told il 

out uiKin tho table. Fludgeby told il 

With nnothor eomfortaWe plunge, \n?;™iw\\liKn«.\.'»ie,aodniiig»Te<J 



J/r. i^/ni^bj- foil asleep again. Tbe\aoio['a5a. 







OUR UDTUAL FJUEND. 



IM 



; but 



r™ 



ImlcrMund whut BWKit- 
a pound means ; don't rouF" 
Sluch as you do, sir,' returned 
old man, with hia hands under 
osit6 cufFe of bia loose sleeves, OS 
ttood at the lablD, deferentially 
irvantof the master' b facn. '■M-iy 
,ke the liberty tc say something?" 
You may," Fledgeby graciously 

Do yon not, iir— without inlend- 

it — of a, surety without intoniliuc 
somelioiea mingle the charattor I 
ly earn in your employment, with 

character which it is your policy 
1 1 should bear F" 

I don't Gnd it worth my while 
mt thinga so fine as to go into 

inquiry," Fascination coolly an- 

NotinjuaticoP" 

Buther justice I" said Fledgeby. 

Not in generosity P " 

Jews ftnd genmwity!" said 
d|,-eby. " That's a good e&nnec- 
il Bring out your vouchers, and 
it talk Jcrusulem palaver." 
"he vouchers were prodiir^, and 

lie neit half-honi- Ur. Flcdgpjby 
centratEd hta sublime atlenliun on 
DL They and the aceouota were 

found correct, and the books and 

papers reaumiid their places in the 

' Hert," said Fledgeby, " ooncem- 
' that bill-brokins braneh of the 
liness; tho brsneh 1 tike beat, 
ut queer bills are to he bought, 
1 at what prices ? You have got 
ir list of what's in the market F ' ' 
'Bir, a long list," replii-il Biah, 
ina out a pocket-book, and select- 
: horn its contents a folded paper, 
ich, being uufulJcd. bec^ime a 
vt of fooUcap covered with close 

"Wlicw!" whistled Fledgeby. as 
lu,k it in hIa hand. "Queer 
rwt is tuU of loJgeis just at pre- 
'■-: Th-ae aro to be diiipt«ed of 



' In parcels as set fiirtii," retoroed 
the old man, looking over his masler"! 
shouliior; "or the lump." 

Halt the lump will ba wastfl- 
rnper, one knows beforehand," said 
Flcilijeby. '• Can you get it at 
waste-paper price t That's the ques- 

lUah shook his head, and Fledgebr 
eagt his small eyes down the liit. 
They presently began to twinkle, 
and he no sooner became consciom 
of their twinkling, tboa he looked up 
over his shoulder at the grave face 
above him, and moved to the ehim- 
ney-nicco. Making a desk of it, ha 
stood there with hia back to the old 
mivn, warming his knees, perns- 
iug the list at hin leisure, and oflca 
rotumingtoSomelincBof it, ns though 
tbcy were particulttrly interesting. 
At those times ho glanced in tbs 
chimney-glass to see what note the 
old man look of him. He took nono 
that could be detected, bat, aware o( 
Lis employer's auapiciona, stood witli 
his eyes on tho ground. 

Sir, Fledgeby was thus Rmiably eo- 
gaged when a step was heard at tho 
outer door, and the door was heard to 
open hastily. "Hark! lint's your 
diiing, you Pump of Israel," said 
ritdgoby ; " you can't have shut it." 
Then the step was heard within, and 
the voice of Mr. Alfred Lammla 
culled aloud, "Are you anywhere here, 
Fledgeby P" To which Fledgeby, 
after cautioning Riah in . lowvoico 
to take his cue aa it should be given 
him, replied, "Here I ami and 
opened his bedroom door. 

" Come in !" said Fledgeby. "Thil 
gentleman is only Pubaoy and Co. 
of Saint Mary Aie, that I am trying 
unfortanato 



with i 



:rof a. 






honoured bills. But really Pubaoy 
and Co. are so strict with their debtors, 
and so hard to move, thiit I seem to 
bo wasting my time. Can't I make 
niy terms wHh you on my frioud's 
part. Blr. RiahF" 

'■I am but the rc\iTOBEi\tati''o tA 
anothir, «ir," tiAutMwi '■^w i";"" "v^* 
low \o;ee. " t du ual um'Viv.ijiaft'^'i 



266 



0X7B MUTUAL FEI£ND. 



I 



my principal. It U not my capital 
that is invested in the business. It 
is not my profit that arises there- 
firom.' 

'*Ha ha!" laughed Fledgeby. 
••LammleP" 

*<Ua ha!" laughed Lammle. 
"Yes. Of coarse. We know." 

<* Devilish good, ain't it, Lammle P" 
said Fledgeby, unspeaJcably amused 
by his hidden ioke. 

^Always the same^ always the 
same!" said Lammle. "Mr. ** 

"Eiah, Pubsey, and Co., Saint Mary 
Axe," Fledgeby put in, tm lie wiped 
away the tous tliat tricJded £rom his 
eyes, so rare was his oigoyment of his 
secret joke. 

'* Mr. Rifth is bound to obeorve the 
invariable forms for such cases made 
and provided," said Lammle. 

" He is only the representative of 
another 1" cried Fledgeby. *^Does 
as he is told by his principal ! Not 
his capital that's invested in the busi- 
ness. Oh, that's ^ood! Ha ha ha 
ha!" Mr.Lammlojoinedin thelaugh 
and looked knowing; and the more 
he did both, the more exquisite the 
secret joke became for Mr. Fledgeby. 

'* However," said that fascinating 
gentleman, wiping his eyes again, 
" if we go on in this way, we shall 
seem to be almost making game of 
Mr. Riah, or of Pubsey and Co., Saint 
Mary Axe, or of somebody : \\ liich is 
far from our intention. Mr. Itiah, 
if you would have the kindu'jss to 
.step into the next room for a few 
moments while I speak with 3Ir. 
liTunmle hero, I should like to try to 
luake terms with you once again be- 
fore you go." 

The old man, who had never raised 
liis eyes during the whole transaction 
"fMr. Fledgeby's joke, silently bowed 
^<id passed out by the door which 
l'iedq:cby ox)oned for him. Ilavinj,' 
• lostri it on him, Fledgeby rt'tuniod 
t.4 Lammle, standing with hU b.icK 
■ J the bedroom fire, with one h^mJ 
< iiliT his coat-skirts, and all hid 
\ •ii.'<';t!iij in the otiicr. 

• II ;i:o:i:" sMiilFioJgeby. "There's 



^* How do you know it? " douaad 
Lammle. 

"Because yon show it," repli 
Fledgeby in unintentional rhvme. 

•*\VeU then, there is," said La 
mle ; " there w something wror 
the whole thing's wrong." 

**I say!" remonstrated Fawi 
tion very slowly, and sitting do 
with his hands on his knees to at 
at his glowering friend with his b 
to the fire. 

" I tell you, Fledgeby," repea 
Lammle, with a sweep of his ri 
arm,** the whole thing's wrong. ' 
game's up." 

"What game's npP" deman 
Fledgeby, as slowly as before, i 
more sternly. 

"Tus game. Oua game. B 
that." 

Fledgeby took a note from 
extended hand and read it &!( 
* *■ Alfred Lammle, Esquire. Sir : Al 
i^Irs. Podsnap and myself to exp 
our united sense of the polite at! 
tions of Mi's. Alfred Lammle 
yourbelf towards our daughter, G 
giana. Allow us, also, wholly to 
juct them for the future, and to c 
municate our final desire that the 
families may become entire stranfi 
I have the honour to be, Sir, ) 
most obedient and very humble 
vimt, John Podsxap." Fled^ 
looked at the thi-eo blank sides of 
note, quite as long and etimestl 
at the first expressive side, and 
looked at Lammle, who i-esjKii 
with another extensive sweep oi 
right arm. 

" Whose doing is thisF" 
Fledgeby. 

'* Impossible to imagine,'* 
Lammle. 

"Perhaps," sucrgested Fledg 
after i*eilecting with a very dis 
tented brow, '* somebody has i 
giving you a bad character." 

**0r you," said Lammle, wil 
deeper frown. 

Mr. Fledgeby appeared to 1m 
tlio verge of aumo nmlinous oxj 
^ioJls, when his hand li:ii»j>entt 




OUB MUTUAL FEIOID. 



1 wtth Out feature 
openting us a timely wftining. he 
toolf it tlLonghtfiilly betwueu hU 
Ulcunb and loic^ngcTj and pjudcreJ , 

blh'e Bvm. 

"Well!" nid Fledgeb}'. "Thu 
won't improve vith taiking about. 
Ifn ever find out vif> did it, wo'l] 
uuik Uut petbOD. Thi'ib'ig nothing 
toot to be laid, except Ihut you iin- 
derUiok to do what circuniatancol pre- 
tenl your doing.'* 

"And that yon ondertook to do 
■Iial yoD might liavD dune by this 
lime, if you had made a piumpti-r use 
oldtcumatances," snarlud IjirrLinle, 

"Huh: That,"ramiukudtlul^.,ljy, 
*ilh hii handi in the Xurki^ Irou- 
•Bn, "ii matter of opinion." 

''Ur. t'ludgoby," ifliiJ I^immle, in 
■ bnllj-in^ tone, " am I to uiulonilimd 
Uutyuu in any wa)' reUict iipuu iim, 
er hjjit difliatiafkclioQ with mi-, in 
thi,nH,drP" 
''Xo," raid Fledgoby i "provided 



fva have brought my promissor]* ui 
Drourpocket, and now hand lovor, 

Laitiiulo produced it, not without 
Iductance. FiiAlgcby ItX'kvd at it, 
idenlilied it. twim. d it u|>, and threw 
it into the fire. They bulli looliiid at 
H u it blazed, went out, and lle<r in 
bwhery aah up the chimney. 

" XnK, iklr. Bledgeby," Laromle 
MidiUbefore; "em I to unil<!rt.uitid 
Hut you in any way relloot upon me, 
Or hmt diaaatiH^iCtion villi me, in 
lliii iffair i" 

"No," said Flpdgsby. 

"Finally and mueserredly nof" 

" Fledgeby, my hand." 
Ur. Fled^^iiby took it, raying, "And 
4 woeror find out n'ho diil this, wo' 11 
nark that person. And in the mo«t 
bimdly manner, let tne mention ono 
Uung more. I don't know whitl jour 
• CncuiintaDces are, and 1 duii't oak. 
Vw have auittaiued u loss liGi-e. M>iuy 
y^a ue liable to be iiivuhuil at times, 
g^vo-. may bo, or yon mr;.v i.ut be. 
..■[(iilfivor you do, IjiihiilIu. don't 



ft don't; J I 



«.S,i 



^■ebi 



it of FuUjy and C'u. 



Itegular flayers and grind 
dear Lammle," repeated I „ 
with a peculiar relish, "and Uiey'Il 



and giiiid every inch of your skin to 
tooth-powder. You have seen what 
Mr. liiah is. Never tail into hU 
hands, Lammle, I beg of ;od as k 

Ur. Ijtmrole, dinloiiiig some alaiin 
at the solemnity of this affectionate 
adjuration, demanded why the devil 
he ever should fall into the hands of 
Pubsey and Co. P 

" To confess tlie &ct, I was mada 
a little uneasy,'' said the ciuidil 
Flcdseby, "by the manner in which 
that Jew looked at you when he heard 

giur name. I didn't like his eye. 
ut it may have been the heated 
(uucy of a fdeud. Of course, if you 
arc sura tlut you have no personal 
svciirity out, which you may not ba 
qiiitfl equal to meeting, and which 
can buve got into hid hands, it must 

his eye." 

The brooding Lanunle, with eer- 
tain white diub coming and going in 
his pulpitiiting noso. looked lu if Eom« 
torniunting imp were pincliirig iL 
Fteiigeliy, watching him with a 
twiteJi in his mean ^'e which did 
duty there for a smile, looked very 
lil>e the tormentor who wsi pindi- 
ing. 

" But I mustn't keep him waiting 
too long," suid I'icdgeby, "or he'U 
n-vniige it on my unfortunate fiiend. 
HoAs your very clever and agree- 
ublo n'ifof She knows wa navs 
broken down f " 

" I showed her the letter." 

"Very much surprised f" asked 
Fledgoly. 

"1 think she would hare been 
mo[» so." ansnerod Lammle, " if 
there liad beoa mora go in j/ou }" 

" Oh 1 — She lays it upon me, 
then f " 

•■ iir. FlBdKe\)y. 1 wtSI tm* Vii* 
mv words luiscous'.xM^A,** 



2C8 



OUB MUTUAL FiUEKD. 



Fledgeby, fn a lubmissive tone, ** be- 
cause there's no occasion. I only 
asked a question. Then she don t 
lay it upon meP To ask another 
question. 

•' No, sir." 

"Very good," said Fledgehy, 
I'lainly^ seeing that she did. "My 
L ompliments to her. Good-bye ! * ' 

They shook hands, and Lammle 
Ktrode out pondering. Fledgeby saw 
him into Uie fog, and, returning to 
the fire and musing with his face to 
it, stretched the legs of the rose- 
coloured Turkish trousers wide apart, 
aud meditatively bent his knees, aa if 
he were going oown upon them. 

*'You have a pair of whiskers, 
Lammle, which I never liked," mur- 
'iiured Fledgeby, ** and which money 
.'in't produce; you are boastful of 
your manners and your conversation ; 
you wanted to pull my nose, and you 
have let me in for a failure, and your 
«\ ifc says I am the cause of it. I'll 
luwl you down. I wDl, though I 
have no whiskers," here he nibbed 
the places where they were due, ' and 
no manners, and no conversation!" 

Having thus relieved his noble 
luind, he collected the legs of the 
rurloBh trousers, straightened him- 
self on his knees, and called out to 
Kiah in the next room, ''Halloa, 
\o\i sir!" At sight of the old man 
ic-entering with a gentleness mon- 
.' tiously in contrast with the charac- 
ter he had given him, Mr. Fledgeby 
wiis 80 tickled again, that he ex- 
claimed, laughing, '^Good! GKxkI! 
Upon my soul it is uncommon 
good!" 

" Now, old 'un," proceeded Fledge- 
!>}', when he had had his laugh out, 
" you'll buy up these lots that I mark 
\\ ith my pencil — there's a tick there, 
a; id a tick there, and a tick thei-e — 
and 1 wager twopence you'll aftcr- 
\> ai Js go on squeezing those Chris- 
iiaus hke the Jew you are. Now, 
Sittxt you'll want a cheque — or you'll 
.>..y you want it, tliough you've 
I. ,.iijd enough somewhere, if one 



gridiron before you'd own to it-ind 
that cheque I'll write." 

When he had imlocked a drawer 
and taken a key from it to open an- 
other drawer, in which was another 
key that opened another drawer, in 
which was another key that opened 
another drawer, in which was the 
cheque book ; and when he had 
written the cheque; and when, re- 
versing the key and drawer process, 
he had placed his cheque book in 
safety attain; ho beckoned the old 
man, with the folded cheque, to come 

And. fifi It ft it. 

"Old 'un," said Fledgeby, when 
the Jew had put it in his pocket- 
book, and was putting that in the 
breast of his outer garment; "M 
much at present for my affairs. Now 
a word about aflaira Uiat are not 
exactly mine. Where is she?" 

With his hand not yet withdrawn 
from the breast of his garment, Biah 
started and paused. 

*' Oho ! " baid Iledgeby. " Didn't 
expect it ! W^here have yon hidden 
her?" 

Showing that he was taken by so> 
prise, the old man looked at hil 
master with some passing confusion, 
which the master highly enjoyed. 

"Is she in the house 1 pay rent 
and taxes for in Saint Mary Axe V 
demanded Fledgeby. 

*' No, sir." 

'* Is she in your garden up a-ti9 
of that house — gone up to be dead^ 
or whatever the game iaP" aakal 
Fleds;eby. 

" No, sir." 

"Where is she then P** 

Eiah bent his eyea upon the 
ground, as if considering whether be 
could answer the question without 
breach of faith, and then silently 
niised them to Fledgeby's face, as u 
he could not. 

"Come!" said Fledgeby. "J 
won't pi*css that just now. But ^ 
want to know this, and I will kn' 



Un- 



ix new 
I'u^d and 



this, mind 
to-"' 



you. What are yo: 



on 



whvvry bill youM V>epcv-\ TVv^ o\d vcvwo., with an r 



•TV!'- 




OUa MDTUAL FRIEND. 260 

emnrehcndtng Uia mutor'B mean- 1 " The betUr I knew htr, the mora 

hg. addmied to him ■ look of mule istcrost I felt in her fortunea. They 
loqaiTy. gathered tO (I criiiis. I found hor 

"Yon can't be • gHllivanting beset by a wIGsb Bud ungmteful 
4oiJgTr,"Biid Fli^ireby. "For you're brother, beset by an unocteptabla 
• 'regular pity tiio Borron-s,' you i wooer, beset by the Boarea of a more 
kno*— if you do know any Chrixtiiui ! powciful lover, beset by the wilea ol 
riij^ne— 'whose trrmbling limbs have ' her own heart." 
We bun to'— et cvtriT. You're! "She l«ok to one ot Uw chaps 
flneof the Patriarchs ; you're a ijh;iky then ? " 

oldnml; and you can't be in bvel "Sir, it was onlynatorat that she 
Willi this Lizzie?" should incliue towards him, for ha 

"Oh, sir!" eipostnlated Biah. had many and groat advantages. 
"Oh. air, sir, sir I" But be was not of her stiition, and to 

"Then whyi" rctortfid Flcd^eby. many her was not in his mind. Perila 
%ith some slight tinge of a blush, were closing round hur. and the circle 
*daa't yon out with your reason for was fust darkening, when I — being as 
baring your spoon in the soup at' you have said, sir, too old and br~'"' 

-Sir, 1 wJU t 
Bot ^our pardon ^ 

it is in sacrad confidence; it iflslrittly ■ 
vpm honour.." ; danger when the hardest virtuous 

"Honour too!" cried Fledgoby, reeoTution to form is flight, and when 

*ifli a mocking Up. '■ Honour among " " ' ' "" 

Jews. Well. Cutaway." 

"It UnpOD honour, air?" the other 
rtiU stipidatbd, witb roapoctful fiim- 



spoon in the soup at ' you have said, sir, too old and broken 
' lo be Buspcclfd of any feeling for her 
U tell you the truth, but a fatbcr'a— atepped in, and 
don for the Btipuktion, 'unaelled flight I laid, 'Hy 
xinfideace ; it la strictly duui^bler, there am times of moral 



I mostheroic bravery isflight.' She 
iwered, slie bad had this in her 



thoughte ; but whither to fly without 
help she know not, and there were 
none to help her, I showed her 
there whs one to help her, and it was 
L And she ia gone. 

"What did you do with herP" 
aaked Fled{;oby, feeling his cheek. 

" I placed htr," said tbe old man, 
distance ;" with a grave SI 



" Oh, certainly. Honour blight," 
Hid Flcdgcby. 

The old man, never bidden to rit 
down, stood with an oamcst band 
kid on the back of the young ui-in's 
May chair. The young man sat look- 
in; at (ho fire with a faco of liatcniog ', outward sweep from o 
nuioeitv, ready to chock him oCt and his two open bands at 
cstch bun tripping. 

"Cut away," said Fledgeby. 
"Start with your motive." 

" Sir, I have no motive but to help 
the helpless." 

Mr. Fledgeby could only exfrcss 
Ois fecliDg;s to which thia loci-uUible 
ttalemcnt gave rise in his bicai ' 
by a pn^iigiously long dciLsi 






■■How I came to km 
to esteem andtorespoet, Uiisdainsol, I 
iiientioned w.' " " " " ' ' — 

PMr garden 



, . „ n the hoaso-top," Said 

tLo Jew. 

"Did youP" said Fledg'ebv, dii- 
I b'i'lWJr, " Well, piahapa you did, 



. jgth; 

distance — among certain of our 
people, where hor industry would serve 
her, and where shecould hope toexer- 
cise it, unassailed from anyquarter." 

Fledgcby'a eyes had come from tha 
Are to notice the action of his hands 
wheuhesaid "atadistance." Fledge- 
by now tried (vwy unsuccessfully) to 
iniitato that action, oa he shook his 
bc-:.d and said, "Phiecd her in that 
diiietion, did yonf Uh, you circular 
old dodger 1 " 

With ooe hand acron his bt«aat 
and tbe other on the easy chair, Kiah, 
without juBtifyiuBlunw«iU,w».\\jeiW 
fiiitherquiH.V.«uing. 'Bu.t,'iiv4.t '&■«»* 
Jio]A>iis» to qaealV.iv V\\'iti oa toA on* 
it.^vad point, Steia*3, 'Viii 'ta* 



170 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



■mall e^ea too neai together, saw full 
well. 

"lizzie,** said Fledgeby, looking 
at the fire again, and then looking up. 
** Humph, Lizzie. You didn't tell me 
the other name in your g^arden atop 
of the house. I'll be more communi- 
catiye with 70a. The other name*8 
Bexam.** 

Biah bent his head in assent. 

" Look here, you sir,** said Fledge- 
by. ** I have a notion I know some- 
tiling of the inveigling chap, the 

Sowerful one. Has he anything to 
with the law?'* 

"Nominally, Ibelieveithis calling.*' 

**I thought so. Name anything 
likeLightwood?" 

" Sir, not at all like." ^ 

"Come, old *un,*' said Fledgeby, 
meeting his eyes with a wink, *^ say 
the name." 

"Wraybum.'* 

" By Jupiter ! " cried Fledgeby. 
•• That one, is it? I thought it might 
be the other, but I never dreamt of 
that one. I shouldn't object to your 
baulking either of the pair, dodger, 
for they are both conceited enough ; 
but that one is as cool a customer as 
ever I met with. Got a beard besides, 
and presumes upon it. Well done, 
old *un ! Go on and prosper ! '* 

Brightened by- this unexpected 
commendation, Riah ask^ were there 
more instructions for him ? 

"No," said Fledgeby, "you may 
toddle now, Judah, and g^pe about 
on the orders you have got." Dis- 
missed with those pleasing words, the 
old man took his broad hat and staff, 
and left the great presence : more as 
if he were some superior creature 
benignantly blessing Mr. Fledgeby, 
than the poor dependent on whom he 
set his foot. Left alone, Mr. Fledgeby 
locked his outer door, and came back 
to his fire. 

" Well done you ! ** said Fascina- 
tion to himself. ** Slow, you may be; 
Bure, you are!** This he twice or 
thrice repeated with much com- 
placeDcyt slb he again dispei-sed the 
legs of the Turkish trousers and \>eiit 
the knees. 



« A tidy shot that, I flatter mysdt" 
he then soliloquised. " And a Je« 
brought down with it ! Now, when 
I heard the story told at Lammle's, I 
didn't make a jump at Riah. Nott 
bit of it ; I got at him by degreei** 
Herein he was quite accurate ; it being 
his habit, not to jump, or leap, or 
make an upward spring, at anything 
in life, but to crawl at everything. 

" I got at him," pursued Fledgeby, 
feeling for his whisker, " by degrees. 
If your Lammles or your LightwoodB 
had got at him anyhow, they would 
have asked him the qu^tion whether 
he hadn't something to do with that 
gal's disappearance. I knew a better 
way of going to work. Having got 
behind the hedge, and put him in the 
light, I took a £ot at hmi and brought 
him down plump. Oh! It don't 
count for much, being a Jew, in ft 
match against ffM/** 

Another dry twist in place of ft 
smile, made his face crooked here. 

"As to Christians,*' proceeded 
Fledgeby, "look out, feUow-ChriB- 
tians, particularly you that lodge in 
Queer Street ! I have got the run of 
Queer Street now, and you shall see 
some games there. To work a lot of 
power over you and you not know it, 
Knowing as you think yourselTes, 
would be almost worth laying out 
money upon. But when it comes to 
squeezing a profit out of you into ths 
bargain, it's something like ! *' 

With this apostrophe Mr. Fledgeby 
appropriately proceeded to divest hini' 
self of his iHirkish garments, and 
invest himself with Christian attire. 
Pending which operation, and his 
morning ablutions, and his anointing 
of himself with the last infallible 
preparation for the production of 
luxuriant and glossy hair upon the 
human countenance (quacks being 
tlie only sages he believed in l»eside8 
usurers), the murky fog closed about 
him and shut him up in its sooty 
embrace. If it had nevor let him 01^ 
any more, the world would have had 
no ixTQi^axiblQ loaa^ but could have 

\iaiia. 







OUB UDTUAL FfilEKD. 



Lr the erfning of thu mns toffgj 
Jiy nhen the yellow irindow-biinil 
cf Pubsey and Co. was drawn dowo 
upon tho day'« work, Riah tho Jew 
once more came forth Into Saint Mary 
Alt. Itut thia timo he curried no 
bu;,aadwuBiiot bound on hii maater's 
»l].-.ir3. III! paeecd over Lnniion 
Bridge, and returned to the tliddle- 
•ci diore by that of 'WeBtnimstBr, 
and «o, ever wading through Iho fog, 
*sdeil to the doorstep of the dolla' 
drca&iriakor. 

Miaa Wren expected him. He 
could M« her through the window by 
the light of her loir fire — carefully 
bauki^ up with damp cinders that it 
night last the longer and waste tho less 
when she went out — sitlinB waiting 
for him in her bonnet. His tap at 
the glass roused her from the musing 
Bolitudo in which she sat. and sho 
came to the door to open it; aiding 
W steps with a little enifdi-stick. 

"Good evi-ning, godmoth 

lissJc 

The 

"Won't you come in and warm 
nrnnelf, goJniotber F " asked llisa 
Joiny Wren. 

"Not if you are ready, Cinderella, 

"Well!" eiclaimed Miss Wren, 
ielighted. "Now yon xan a clever 
vld boy ! Xf we gave prizes at this 
WablisbmeDt (but we only keep 
bUnkg), yon should have Uie fint 
nlver modal, for taking me up so 
Quick." Aa she spake thus, Sliss 
Wren removed the key of the house- 
iaar from the keyhole and put it in 
lier pocket, and then bustliogly closed 
Die door, and tried it as they both 
Uood on the step. Satisfied that her 
duelling was safe, she drew one hand 
thrgugh the old man's arm and pre- 



that before thej started Blall pro- 
posed to cany it. 

" Ko, DO, no! rU carry it myaelr," 
returned Miaa Wren. "I'm awfully 
lopsided, you know, and stowed domi 
in my pocket it'll trim the ship. Tc 
let you into a secret, godmother, 1 
wcnr my pocket on my high side, o' 

With that they began their plod- 
ding through the foff. 

godmother," resumed 
with great approbation, "to undei- 
stand me. But, yoa sea, you art ei' 
like the fairy godmother in thebiigh- 
littla books! You look so unlike th'- 
rest of prople, and so much as if you 
had changHl youraelf into that shape, 

volcnt 6\ij<2Ct. Boh!" cried lliia 
Jenny, putting her face close to thi' 
old man's, "i con see your featurcp, 
godmother, behind the beard." 

" Does the fancy go to my chang- 
ing other objects too, Jenny t " 

"Abl I'hat it does! If you'd 
only borrow my stick and tap this 
piece of pavement — this dirty done 
tliat my foot taps — it would start U)> 
a coach and six. I say 1 Let's believe 

" With all my heart," replied the 
good old man. 

"And I'll toll you what 1 must ssl: 
yon to do, gcximother. I must ask 
you to be so kind as give my chikl 
a tap, and change him altogether. 
Oh, my child has been such a bad, bail 
child of late I It worries me nearly 
out of my wile. Not done a stroW.T 
of work these ten days. Has had 
the homrs, too, and fancied that 
four copper-colonrcd men in red 
wanted to throw him into a fiery fur- 

" But that's dMVBW»ift,5«ai.-a^" 

"Dangerous, goonio\.^«i^ ■^^■■\ia.»\ 

child ia idwayB dnngeioiia, '^'^^^..'i^ 

kM. He migW— Wee .liw "uXO*. 




272 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



creature glanced back over her 
Bhouldcr at the sky — " be sotting the 
house on fire at this present moment. 
I don't know who would have a child, 
for my part! It's no use shaking 
him. I have shaken him till I have 
made myself giddy. *Why don't 
Tou mind your Commandments and 
honour your ])arent, you naughty old 
boy ? ' I said to him all the time. 
But he only whimpered and stared 
at me." 

"What shall be changed, after 
him ?" asked Riah in a compassion- 
ately playful voice. 

" Upon my word, godmother, I am 
afraid I must be selfish next, and get 
you to set me right in the buck and 
the legs. It's a litUe tiling to you with 
your power, godmother, but it's a 
great deal to poor weak aching me." 

There was no querulous complain- 
ing in the words, but they were not 
the less touching for that. 

«* And then?" 

"Yes, and then — you know, god- 
mother. We'll both jump into the 
coach and six and go to Lizzie. This 
reminds me, godmother, to ask you a 
BeriouB question. You are as wise 
as wise can be (having been brought 
np by the fairies), and you can tell 
me this : Is it better to have had a 
good thing and lost it, or never to 
have had it?" 

*' Explain, goddaughter." 

*' I feel so much more solitary and 
helpless without Lizzie now, than 
I ubcd to feel before I knew her." 
(Tears wei^ in her eyes aa she said 
ao.) 

'* Some beloved companionship fades 
out of most lives, my dear," said the 
Jew, — "that of a wife, and a fair 
daughter, and a son of promise, has 
faded out of my own life — ^but the 
ha])pine8S was." 

" Ah ! " said Miss Wren thought- 
fully, by no means convinced, and 
chopi)ing the exclamation with that 
sharp little hatchet of heiti ; *' then I 
tell you what change I think you had 
better begin with, godmother. Y''ou 
had betti-T change Is into Was and 
Was into Is, and keep them so." j 



** Would that snit yoxir cawf 
Would you not be always in pain 
then ?" asked the old man tenderly. 

"Right!" exclaimed Miss Wieu 
with another chop. ** Y'ou have 
changed me wiser, godmother.— 
Not," she added with tlie quaint 
hitch of her chin and eyes, " that you 
need be a very wonderful godmoUicf 
to do that deed." 

Thus conversing, and having crossed 
Westminster Bridge, they traversed 
the ground that Riah had lately tra- 
versed, and new ground likewise; 
for, when they had recrossed the 
Thames by way of London Bridge, 
they struck down by the river and 
held their still foggier course that 
way. 

But previously, as they were going 
along, Jenny twisted her venerable 
friend aside to a brilliantly-lighted 
toy -shop window, and said : " Kow 
look at 'em ! All my work ! " 

This referred to a dazzling semi- 
circle of doll.«« in all the colours of the 
rainbow, \sho were dressed for pre- 
sentation at court, for going to balls, 
for going out driving, for going out 
on horseback, for going out walking, 
for going to get married, for going to 
help other dolls to get married, for all 
the gay events of life. 

" Pretty, pretty, pretty !" said the 
old man with a clap of his hands. 
*' Most elegant taste ! " 

" Glad you like *cm,** returned 
Miss Wren, loftily. " But the fun 
is, godmother, how I make the great 
ladies try my dresses on. Though 
it's the hardest pait of my business, 
and would be, even if my back were 
not bad and my legs queer." 

He looked at her as not under- 
standing what she said. 

" Bless you, godmother," said Miss 
Wren, "I have to scud about town 
at all hours. If it was only sitting at 
my bench, cutting out and se^dng, it 
would be comparatively easy work ; 
but it's the trjing-on by the great 
ladies that takes it out of me." 

" How, the trying-on ? " asked 
Riah. 

** Wnai a mooney godmother you 




CVS. UUTTFAL FRIEND. 



iraD!" rrtnrned Mks Wren. 
hero. Thore's a Dniwinj 
or a gmnd day in the Park, or 
', or a Fcts, or what j-ou like. 
•rcU. I squeeze amoap' tho 
and I look about me. V.'hca 
I great lady vbtt (iiitable for 
liaeBS, I Kay, ' You'll do. my 
and I take particular notuie of 
id run home and cut her out 
ste her. Then aDotbcr day, I 
jgdding back again to try on. 
en I take particular notice of 
ain. Sometimee she plainly 

Bay, 'Haw that little cren- 

gometimea don't, but much 
Fl«n yea than no. All the time 
aly saying to myidf, ' I muat 
out a bit here J I roust iHiiia 
Jiere;' and I am mukin^ a 
•lave of her, with making bar 

my doU's drco. Evcoing 
an ■ererer work for me, be- 
hete'i only a doorway for a 
iw, and what with hobbling 

the wheels of the carria-res 
e legs of the honea, I fuUy 
to be run over some night 
er, there I have 'em, juat the 

When they go bobbmg into 

1 from the auriage, and catch 
«e ot my little physiognomy 
int from behind a policeman's 
the lain, I dare say theythink 
undering and admiring with 
eyee and heart, but thcv little 
tiuy're only working toe my 

There was Ijidy Belinda 
M. I made her do doubls 

one night. I said when ehe 
it of the carriage, ' Yaii'U do, 
r!' and I ran straight home 
it her out and bnsted her. 

came again, and waited be- 
le men that called the car- 
Very bad night too. At 
^v Belinda Whitrose's cur- 
Lady BelindaWhitroae coning 

And I made her try on— oh ! 
le pains about it too — b^'fure 

wated. That's Lady Belinda 
i; up bf the waist, much too 
le gBsljght for • mx oils, 
B toM tiuned in." 



tbew 



ain tavern called the 



p PotU 



Fol- 



lowing the directions he r«c«ivcd, 
they arrircd, after two or three 
puzzled stoppagee for comdderatian, 
and some uncertain looking about 
them, at the door of Miss Abbey Pot< 
tcrson's dominions. A peep through 
thu glass portion of tho door revealed 
to them tho glories of the bar, and 
Miaa Abbey heraolf seated in state on 
her snug throne, reading (he news- 
paper. To whom, with deference, 
they presented themselves. 

Taking her eyes off her nowipopor, 
and pausmg with a scapendcd eiprrs> 
sion of countenance, as if she must 
finiah the paragraph in hand befoM 
undertaking any other bnsineHs what- 
ever. Miss Abbey demanded, with 
some slight asperity, " Now then, 
what's for you F'' 

"Could we see Miss PottorsonP" 
asked the old man, vnooTeiing his 

" You not only coidd, Wt yon can 
and you do," replied the Iiostea. 
" Might wa (peak with yon, 
laraf" 
_y this time Uiss Abbey's eyas 
bad poasoBsod themselves of the small 
figure of Miss Jenny Wren. Foi ths 
closer observation of which MiM 
Abbev laid aside her newspaper, rose, 
and looked over the half-door of the 
bar. The crutch-stick seemed to en- 
treat for its owner leave to come in 
and rest by the fire ; so, Miss Abbey 
opened the half-door, and said, S0 
lough replying to tho crutch-^tick: 
Yes. come in and rest by the fire." 
" My name is Riah," said the old 
an, with coniteoua action, "and my 
'Oeatdon is in London city. This, 

my young companion " 

" Stop a bit," interposed Miai 
Wran. "Til ^vethe lady myettd." 
Sha produced it from her pockot with 
an aiT, after stnigffling with the gi- 
gantic door-key which had got Dpon 
the top of it and kept it down. Misa 
Abbey, with manifest tokens of Mto- 
""^'-'^t, took the diminutiTA doou- 



374 



OUIl MTJTTJAL FRIEND. 



meat) and found it to nin concisely ' 
thus: — 



Miss JENNY WTtEN, 
dolls' dressmaxbh. 

DolU atttnded at that awn r tt id en et i . 



** Lud ! ** exclaimed Miss Potterson, 
■taring. And dropped the card. 

**We take the liberty of coming, mv 
young companion and 1, madam, ' 
said Kiah, ^' on behalf of Lizzie Hez- 
am. 

Miss Potterson was stooping to 
loosen the bonnet-strings of the dolls* 
dressmaker. She looked round rather 
angrily, and said : ** Lizzie Hezam is 
a very proud young woman.** 

*' She would be so proud/* returned 
Riah, dexterously, " to stand well in 
your good opinion, that before she 
quitted London for " 

*'For where, in the name of the 
Gape of Good Hope?'* asked Miss 
Potterson, as though supposing her 
to have emigrated. 

"For the country," was the cau- 
tious answer, — *' she made us promise 
to come and show you a paper, which 
she left in our hands for that special 
purpose. J am an unserviceable mend ; 
of hers, who began to know her after 
her departure trom this neighbour- 
hood. She has been for some time 
living with mv young companion, and 
has been a helpful and a comfortable 
friend to her. Much needed, madam,*' 
he added, in a lower voice. " Believe 
me ; if you knew all, much needed." 

'*! can believe that/* said Miss 
Abbey, with a softening glance at the 
little creature. 

" And if it's proud to have a heart 
that never hardens, and a temper that 
never tires, and a touch that never 
hurts," Miss Jenny struck in, flushed, 
'* she is proud. And if it's not, elie 

is NOT." 

Her set purpose of contradicting 
Miss Abbey pomt blank, was so far 
from offending that dread auUionly, 
^ to elicit a gracious smile, '^"^ou 



do right, child," said Hiss Abbey, 
** to speak well of those who deserra 
well of vou." 

"Riglit or wrong/* muttered Kiai 
Wren, inaudibly, with a visible hitch 
of her chin, *' I mean to do it, and you 
may nmke up your mind to tkatj old 
kdy." 

" Here is the paper, madam/' said 
the Jew, delivering into Miss Potfcff- 
son's hands the original docmnent 
drawn up by Rokesmitli, and signed 
by Riderhood. " Will you plesse to 
read it?" 

'* But first of all,'* said Miss Abbe^r. 
'* — did you ever taste shrub, child f" 

Miss Wren shook her head. 

•* Should you like top" 

*« Should if it's good,** r«tumcdMitt 
Wren. 

** You shall try. And, if you find 
it good, 1*11 mix some for you with 
hot water. Put your poor little feet 
on the fender. It's a cold, cold night, 
and the fog clings so.*' As Mis 
Abbey helped her to turn her chair, 
her loosened bonnet dropped on the 
floor. "Why, what lovely hair!" 
cried Miss Abbey. *• And enough to 
make wigs for all the dolls in the 
world. "NVhat a quantity ! *' 

" Call t/iat a quantity?" returned 
Miss Wren. " Poof ! What do you 
say to the rest of it P" As she spoke, 
she untied a band, and the golden 
stream fell over herself and over the 
chair, and flowed down to ihe ground. 
Miss Abbey*s admiration seemed to 
increase her perplexity. She beckoned 
the Jew towards her, as she reached 
down the shrub-bottle firom its niche, 
and whispered : 

*' Child, or woman P" 

'* Child in years,** was the answer; 
" woman in self-reliance and trial." 

" You are talking about Me, good 
people," thought Miss Jenny, sitting 
m her golden bower, warming her 
feet. **I can't hear what you say, 
but I know your tricks uid yooi 



manners ! " 



The shrub, when tasted from • 
spoon, perfectly harmonising with 
'^Wsa ^«iniiY^ ^^^\a^ a iudidoKS 



OUE MUTUAL FRIENa 



27- 



o's Bkflfnl handa, whereof Riah too 
trtook. After this preliminary, Miss 
bbey read the document; and, as 
ten as she raised her eyebrow's in 
> doing, the watch fal Miss Jenny 
xomp>anied the action with an ex- 
resaive and emphatic sip of the shrub 
nd water. 

**Ab for as this goes," said Miss 
l^bbey Potterson, when she had road 
i nreral times, and thought about it, 
"it proves (what didn't much need 
proring) that Rogue Ridcrhood is a 
tillain. I have my doubts whether 
lis is not the villdn who solely did the 
deed; but I have no expectation of 
those doubts ever beia^ cleared up 
Bov. I believe I did Lizzie's father 
wrong, but never Lizzie's self; be- 
cuse when things were at the worst 
I trusted her, had perfect confidence 
in her, and tried to persuade her to 
totaa to me for a refuge. I am very 
nny to have done a man wrong, 
Pirticidarly when it can't be undone. 
Be kind enough to let Lizzie know 
what I say; not forgetting that if 
die will come to the Porters, after all, 
bygones being bygones, she will find 
& home at the Porters, and a friend 
tt the Porters. She knows Miss 
Abbey of old, remind her, and she 
knows what-like the home, and what- 
fike the friend, is likely to turn out. 
I am generally short and sweet — or 
ibort and sour, according as it may be 
tnd as opinions vary — ** remarked 
Hiss Abbey, *' and that's about all I 
lure got to say, and enough too. " 

But before the shrub and water was 
lipped out, Miss Abbey bethought 
Herself that she would like to keep a 
copy of the paper by her. " It's not 
^ng, sir," said she to Riah, "and 
perhaps you wouldn't mind just jot- 
ting it down." The old man willingly 
pat on his spectacles, and, standing at 
the little desk in the comer where 
Hias Abbey filed her receipts and 
kept her sample phials (customers' 
Korea were interdicted by the strict 
■dministration of the Porters), wrote 
out the copy in a fair round character. 
At he stood there, doing hi3 method' 
ka} petunanablp, his Aadent flcnbe- 



like figure intent npon the work, and 
the little dolls' dressmaker sittinc: in 
her golden bower before the fire, Misi 
Abbey had her doubts whether sho 
had not dreamed those two rare 
fitcures into the bar of the Six Jolly 
Fellowships, and might not wake with 
a nod next moment and find them 
gone. 

^lisd Abbey had twice made the 
experiment of shatting her eyes and 
opening them again, still finding the 
figures there, when, dream-like, a 
confused hubbub arose in the public 
room. As she started up, and they all 
three looked at one another, it becamo 
a noise of clamouring voices and of 
the stir of feet ; then all the windows 
were heard to bo hastily thrown ui>, 
and shouts and cries came floating 
into the house {rom the river. A 
moment more, and Bob Gliddery caun* 
clatterinc: along the passage, with the 
noise of all the uails in his boots con- 
densed into eveiy separate nail. 

" Whnt is it ?^* asked Miss Abbey. 

"It's summut run down in the 
fog, ma'am," answered Bob. "There's 
ever so many people in the river." 

** Tell 'cm to putonall the kettles!" 
crieil Miss Abbey. "See that the 
boiler's full. Get a bath out. Harn^ 
some b!ankets to the fire. Heat 
some stone bottles. Have your senses 
about you, you girls down stairs, 
and use 'em.' 

While Wi^s Abbey partly delivered 
these directions to Bob — whom she 
seized by the hair, and whose head 
she knocked against the wall, as a 
general injunction to vigilance and 
presence of mind — and partly hailed 
the kitchen with them — the company 
in the public room, jostling one 
another, rushed out to the causeway, 
and the outer noise increased. 

" Come and look," said Miss Abbey 
to her visitors. They all three hui'- 
ried to the vacated public room, and 
passed by one of the windows into 
the wooaen verandah overhanging 
the river. 

" Does anybody dowii ^cr^ Vasyw 
what has happened V' dotQ3bSi^5!^'^^» 
Abbey, in bar yoioe oi •MNiaanteS* 



276 



OUE MUTUAL FEIEND. 



"It's a steamer, Misa Abbey," 
cried one blun-cd ligure in the fo^. 

**It always ia a steamer, Miss 
Abbey," cried another. 

"Them's her lights, Miss Abbey, 
wot you see a-blinking yonder," 
cried another. 

*' She's a-blowiiig ofif her steam, 
Miss Abbey, and that's what makes 
the fog and the noise worse, don't 
you see ?" explained another. 

Boats were putting off, torches 
were lighting up, people were rushing 
tumuUuouslv to the water's edge. 
Some man fell in with a splash, and 
was pulled out again with a roar of 
laughter. The drags were called for. 
A cry for the life-buoy pa^ed from 
mouth to mouth. It was impossible 
to make out what was going on upon 
the river, for every boat that put 
off sculled into the fog and was lost 
to view at a boat's length. Nothing 
was clear but that the unpopular 
steamer was ass; tiled with reproaches 
on all sides. She was the Murderer, 
boimd for Gallows Bay ; she was the 
Manslaughterer, bound for Penal 
Settlement ; her captain ought to Le 
tried for his life ; her crew ran down 
men in row-boats with a relish ; she 
mashed up Thames lightermen with 
her paddles ; she fired property with 
her funnels ; she always was, and she 
always would be, wreaking destruc- 
tion upon somebody or something, 
after the manner of all her kind. 
The whole bulk of the fog teemed 
with such taunts, uttered in tones of 
tmiversai hoarseness. All the while, 
the steamer's lights moved spectrally 
a very little, aa she lay-to, waiting 
the upshot of whatever accident had 
happened. Now, she began burning 
blue-^ghts. These made a luminous 
patch about her, as if she had set the 
10^ on fire, and in the patch— the 
cnes changing their note, and be- 
comii^ more fitful and more excited 
—shadows of men and boats could be 
Been moving, whHe voices shouted : 
••There!" »* There again!" "A 
couple more strokes a-head ! " " Hur- 
jraA/" <'Look out!" "Hold onV* 
"fiauJ in.'" and the like. LabVly 



with a few tumblinpj clots of Wa€ 
fire, the night closed in dark agidn, 
the wheels of the steamer were beard 
revolving, ar.d her lights glided 
smoothly away in the dii-ection of Uie 
sea. 

It appeared to Miss Abbey and her 
two com]>anions that a considerable 
time had been thus occupied. There 
was now as eager a set towards the 
shore beneath the house as there had 
been from it ; and it was only oo. the 
first boat of the rush coming in that 
it was known what had occurred. 

"If that's Tom TooUe," Miss 
Abbey made proclamation, in her 
most commanding tones, "let him 
in.stantly come underneath here." 

The submissive Tom complied, 
attended by a crowd. 

*' What IB it, Tootle ?" demanded 
Miss Abbey. 

"It's a foreign steamer, Miss, run 
down a whoii\ .' 

" IIow many in the wherry F** 

*' One man. Miss Abbey." 

•'Found?" 

*' Yes. He's been under water » 
long time. Miss ; but they've grappled 
up the body." 

*' Let 'em bring it here. You, Bob 
Gliddery, shut the house-door and 
stand by it on the inside, and don't 
you open till I tell you- Any police 
down there ?'* 

*' Here, Miss Abbey," was the oflBcial 
rejoinder. 

" After they have brought the body 
in, keep the crowd out, will you? 
And help Bob Gliddery to shut 'em 
out." 

*' All right, Miss Abbey." 
The autocratic hindlaJy withdrew 
into the house with Kiah and 3Ii8S 
Jenny, and disposed those forces, one 
on either side of her, within the half- 
door of the bar, as behind a breast* 
work. 

" You two stand close here," said 

Miss Abbey, " and you'll come to no 

hurt, and see it brought in. Bob, 

you stand by the door." 

I Tliat sentinel, smartly giving bis 

WoWen^ ^biT\.-^«s\«^ ^av ^Ttra. and • 




OUE ircniAL FltlEND. 



Sonnd of adTsncins voices, Bound 
of advancini; ntcps. S)iullte nod t.illi 
itilhout- Momentary jmiuo. T»o 
peculiarly blunt knocks or pokes at 
the door, hb if tho di^a'l man arrii-ini^ 
DO liiii back were striking at it wiLli 
the soles of hii motioolcBS (oct. 

" That'a the etietcher, or the ahnt- 
ttr, whichever of the two they are 
carrjing," said Miss Abbey, with 
?:cpenenced oar. " Opon you, Bob I " 

Door opened. Heavy trend of lidcn 
meo. A linlt. A ruuh. Stopjiage of 
rush. Door shut. Balllod hoots troni the 
Teied Bouli of disappointod outsidTS. 



Abliey ; for M potent waa she with 
her subjects that eveo thea the 
bonrcre an-ajted her penniaeioD. 
" First floor." 

The entry being- low, and tba 
BlaiicQse being low, thoy ao tiiok up 
the bniilen they bad set down, aa to 
carry that lew. The recumbent 
li),Nire. in p asaing, ky haidiy as high 
as the hall door. 

Miss Abbey started back at aight 
of it. " AVTiy. good God ! " said she, 
turning- to her two companions, 
'■ that's the very ni ' ' " 



cnAPTEE m. 



Is vooth, it is Riderhood and 
other, or it is the outer busk and shell 
of Eiderbood and no other, tluit 
borne into Uisa Abbey's Gnt-floor 
bediooiD. Supple to twist and tu~ 
as the Bogue baa ever been, he 
infficiently rigid now ; and not wit 
out much shuUling ot attendant fe 
and tilting of hia bier this way ai — 
that way. and peril even of hissliding 
ofl' it and being tumbled in a heap 
over the balastndet, can he be got 

"Futi * doctor," quoth Mis 
Abbey. And then, "Fetch hi 
dflucht«r." Onbothofwbicharrands, 
qui^ measengcrs depart. 

The doctor-seeking messengert 
tho doctor halfway, coming under 
cnnvoy of police. Doctor oxar 
the danfc carcase, and pronou 
not hopefully, that it is worth i 
tr^'ing- to rcaninuite the same- 

and Bvcrj-boJy present lends a 1 
ind a hcurt and soul. No oni 
the least regard for tha man ; 
Ihem all, he has been an object of 
ai-xiidaac®, suspicion, and av'ersion; 
but Ibe spark of life within him ie 
ggnouMlj- aepaiabie £tim himffjf no v^ 



and thoy have a deep interest in tt, 
prob^ibly because it <i lifb, and they 
are living and must die. 

In answer to the doctor's inquiry 
how did it happen, and waa any one 
to btome, Tom Tootle gives in his 
verdict, unavoidable accident and no 
ono to blame but the suflerer. "Ha 
was slinking about in his boat," says 
Tom, " whieJi slinking were, not to 
speak ill of the dead, the manner of the 
nun, when he come right athwart the 
steamer's bows and she cut him in 
two." Mr. Tootle is so for figurative, 
touching the dianiembemient, as that 
ho mcnns Uie boat, and not the man. 
Foi. the mnji lies whole before them. 

Captain Joey, tha bottle .nosed 
regular tustomer in the glazed hat, 
is u pupil of the much-reaiiected old 
school, and (h;iviiig inainunted him- 
self into the chamber, in the execu- 
tion of the important service of carry- 
ing the drowned man's neck-kctchief) 
favours the doctor with a Sagacious 
old-seholaatio snggcstlon that the 
body should be hung up by the heela, 
"sim'lar," says CftV^via 3<jb^, "^» 
mutton ia & txAtW'a Ato^." ™^ 
should then, aa a ^A\c\jiiii\:i Aiw-it 
nuutixavra (or pKrts«.*iQ%a>RS Tt«vfi»» 



273 



OUR MUTUAL FETEND. 



tion, be lolled tipon caslrs. These 
erraps of the wisdom of the Captain's 
ancestors are received with such 
rr eechless indipfnation by Miss Abbe j', 
that she instantly seizes the Captain 
by the collar, and without a single 
word ejects him, not presuming to 
remonstrate, from the scene. 

There then remain, to assist the 
doctor and Tom, only those thiee 
otherregulnr customers. Bob Glamour, 
William Williams, and Jonathan 
(family name of the latter, if any, 
unknown to mankind), who are quite 
enough. Miss Abbey having looked 
in to make sure that nothing is 
wanted, descends to the bar, and there 
awaits the result, with the gentle Jew 
and Miss Jenny Wren. 

If you are not gone for good, Mr. 
Hiderhood, it would be something to 
know where you are hiding at present. 
This flabby lump of mortality that 
we work so hard at with such patient 
perseverance, yields no sign of you. 
Jf you are gone for good, Rogue, it 
is very solemn, and if you are coming 
back, it is hardly less so. Nav, in 
the suspense and mystery of the 
latter question, involving that of 
where ^'ou may be now, there is a 
solemnity even added to that of death, 
making us who are in attendance 
alike aJraid to look on you and to look 
off you, and making those below start 
at the least sound of a creaking plank 
iji the floor. 

Stay! Did that eyelid tremble? 
Ro the doctor, breathing low, and 
closely watching, asks himself! 

No. 

Did that nostril twitch ? 

No. 

This artificial respiration ceasing, 
do I feel any faint flutter under my 
band upon the chest f 

No. 

Over and over again No. No. But 
try over and over again, nevertheless. 

See ! A token of life ! An indubi- 
table token of life ! The spark may 
Emoulder and go out, or it may glow 
and expand, hut see ! The four rough 
fellowB seeing, shed tears. Neither 
lUderhood in this n'orld, nor Bidei- 



hood in the other, coiild di-a"" 
from them; but a striving 
soul between the two can do it 

He is struggling to comeback 
he is almost here, now he is fa 
again. Now he is struggling 
to get back. And yet — like 
when we swoon — like us all,evi 
of our lives when we wake— h 
stinctively unwilling to be rest 
the consciousness of this existeii 
would be left dormant, if he c< 

Bob Gliddery returns with P 
Riderhood, who was out when 
for, and hard to find. She 
shawl over her head, and h( 
action, when she takes it off w< 
and curtseys to Miss Abbey 
wind her hair up. 

"Thank you, Miss Abbe 
having father here." 

" I am bound to say, gfirl, I 
know who it was, returm 
Abbey ; " but I hope it woulc 
been pretty much the same if 
known.** 

Poor Pleasant, fortified wit! 
of brandy, is ushered into th« 
floor chamber. She could not < 
much sentiment about her fa 
she were called upon to proi 
his funeral oration, but she 
greater tenderness for him tl 
ever had for her, and crying l 
when she sees him stretched i 
scions, asks the doctor with c 
hands : " Is there no hope, sir ! 
poor father ! Is poor father d 

To which the doctor, on on* 
beside the body, busy and wa 
only rejoins without looking i 
** Now, my girl, unless you ha 
self-command to be perfectly 
I cannot allow you to remain 
room." 

Pleasant, consequently, wip 
eyes with her back-hair, which 
fresh need of being wound u 
having got it out ofthe way, w 
with terrified interest all tha 
on. Her natural woman*8 aj 
soon renders her able to give a 
help. Anticipating the doctor*i 
oi \ifl& or \ii"B.V ^'fe QjisJvs*\^ 




Otm MUTUAL FEIESD. 270 

htrOBled with the charge of support- I He etarM kt bla daii|>ht«T, itann 
JDij: bKT fnther'g head upon her arm. all around hia, dotei ms e}'dB, ami 

It is something to new to PIpasant liea Blumberin|{ on her arm. 
to toe her futhcr an oLjoct of sym' | Tho thoit-li^ cd delusion begins to 
pathy and intorest, to Qod any ono I fade. Tlie low, bad, uninipioasililo 
Tcry willing to tiilccsto his society in face is coming up from the dopths of 
this world, not to aay pressingly and the river, or what Other depths, to 
foolhingly entreating him to belong the eiiiface afr^in. A8 he giowB 
to it, that it givei her a Bonaation «he ' warm, the doctor anil the four men 
never eiperionced before. Borne hazy j cool. As his lineaments aolten with 
idea that if affaiia could remain thus ' life, their fucea and tbeir heatt< 
for a long time it would be a respect^ | harden to him. 
ible change, floats in her mind. | " He will do now," siyi the doctor, 
Alio some vague idea that the old evil I waahin;; hia hands, and looking at 
ii drowned out of him, and that if he , the patient with growing disfavour. 
should happily come hack to rpsume ' "Miiny a hctti^r man," moralizea 
his occupation of the empty form that : Tom Tootle with a gloomy shake of 
lies upon the bed, his spirit will be the head, " ain't haahia luck." 
lltered. In which stat^ of mind she " It's to be hoped he'll nuke • 
kioes the stony lips, and quite be- { better use of hie life," says Bob 
Meves that the impassive hand she Glamour, " than I expect he wilL" 
diafca will revive a tender hand, if it " Or than he done afore," kddi 
revive ever. William Willianu. 

Sweet delusion for Pleasant Eider-] "But no, not he!" saj^ Jonathan 
bood, Bnt they ministertoliim with of the no surname, clmching- the 
snch eitraordinory intercut, their ' quartette. 

laiicty is so keen, their vigilance is I They speak in a low tone because 
BO great, their excited ioy grows so | of his daughter, but she sees that 
intense as the eiuDsofli^estrengthon, they have all drawn off, and that 
that bow can she resist it, poor thing ! they stand in a group at the other 
And now he begins to breathe natu- ' end ot the room, shunning him. It 
rally, and he stira, and the doctor do- would be too much to suspect them of 
dares hioi to have come back from being Borry that he didn't die when 
that inexplicable journey where he . be had done bo much towards it, but 
(topped on thednrk road, and to be here, they cleurlv wish that thcv had had 
'Tom Tootle, who is nearest to the . a better sulijcct (o bestow their pains 
doctor when he Bays this, grasps the on. Intelligence is conveyed to Miss 
doclJir fervently by the hand. Bob Abbey in the bar, who reappears on 
Glamour, ■William Williama, end the scene, and contemplates from ■ 
Jonathan of the no surname, all ' disbmce. holding whispered discourse 
(hake hands with one another round, | with the doctor. The spark of life 
and with Ibe doctor too. Bob Glamour I was deeply interesting while it was 
blows his nose, and Jonathan of the I in abeyance, but now that it has got 
BO Bumame is moved to do likewise, oatahbshed in Mr. Rtderhood, them 
hut lacking a pocket handkerchief, I appears to be a general desire that 

^(■andons that outlet for his emotion. ' '■- ^ .j_:t-..i -r ;i.. 

fleasant sheds tears deserving her 
own name, and her sweet delusion is 
«t its heig^hl 



There is intdligence in his eyes. 
.Be wonts to ask a qncstion. He 
'Vonders where Se is. Tell him. 

Father, jou were run down on 
are *t Mist Abbey Pot- 



"Father, yi 



circumstances had admitted of i 
being developed in anybodj else, 
rather than that gentleman. 

" However," says Miss Abbey, 
cheering them up, "yon have done 
your duty like good and true men, 
and you had better oq^ii« 4,!iv^ kiA. 

take unmp rtiinfr ^<t tto CO.'^VtQBf^ ^ *^Gl^ 

Porters." , _. 

This tiioy aU dft,\».'"ii%**™°^ 



280 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



ier watching the father. To whom, 
in their absence, Boh Gliddery pre- 
sents himself. 

" His gills look mm ; don't they?" 
Bays Boh, after inspecting the patient. 

rloasant faintly nods. 

** Uifl fi^illfl *11 look rummer when 
he wakes ; won't they P " says Boh. 

Pleasant hopes not. Why P 

*' WTien he finds himself here, you 
know," Boh explains. *' 'Cause Miss 
Abbey forbid him the house and 
ordered him out of it But what 
Tou may call the Fates ordered him 
mto it again. Which is rumness; 
nin'tit?" 

" He wouldn't have come here 
of his own accord," returns ^oor 
Pleasant) with an effort at a httle 
pride. 

"No," retorts Boh. "Nor he 
voxddn't have been let in, if he 
had." 

The short delusion is quite dis- 
pelled now. As plainly as she sees 
on her arm the old mther, unim- 
proYod, Pleasant sees that everybody 
there will cut him when he recovers 
consciousness. '* I'll take him away 
ever so soon as I can," thinks 
Pleasant with a sigh ; " he's best at 
home." 

Presently they all return, and wait 
for him to oecome conscious that they 
will all be glad to get rid of him. 
Some clothes are got together for him 
to wear, his own bemg saturated 
with water, and his present dress 
being composed of blankets. 

Becoming more and more uncom- 
fortable, as though the prevalent dis- 
like were finding him out somewhere 
in his sleep and expressing itself to 
him, the patient at last opens his eyes 
wide, and is assisted by his daughter 
to sit up in bed. 

'* Well, Riderhood," says the doctor, 
" how do you feel P " 

He replies gruffly, "Nothing to 
boast on." Having, in fact, re- 
turned to life in an uncommonly 
Bulky state. 

" I dox^'t mean to preach ; but I 



hope," says the doctor, gravely 
shaking his head, " that this escapa 
mav huve a good effect upon yon, 
Riderhood." 

The patient's discontented growl 
of a reply is not intelligible; his 
daughter, however, could interpret, 
if she would, that what he says is he 
" don't want no Poll-Parroting." 

Mr. Riderhood next demands his 
shirt ; and draws it on over his head 
(with his daughter's help) exactly aa 
if he had just had a Fight. 

*' Warn't it a steamer P " he pauses 
to a»k }ier. 

" Yc«, father." 

"I'll have the law on her, bosl 
her ! and make her pay for it." 

He tlicn buttons his linen very 
moodily, twice or thrice stopping to 
examine his arms and hands, as u to 
see what punishment he has received 
in the Fight. He then doggedly de- 
mands his other garments, and slowly 
gets them on, with an appearance of 
great malevolence towards his late 
opponent and all the spectators. He 
has an impression that his nose is 
bleeding, and several times draws the 
hack of his hand across it, and looks 
for the result, in a pugilistic manneri 
greatly strongthenmg that incongni" 
ous resemblance. 

" Where's my fur cap ? " he asks 
in a surly voice, when he has shuf- 
fled his clothes on. 

** In the river," somebody rejoins. 

" And wam't there no honest man 
to pick it up P O' course there was 
though, and to cut off with it arter- 
wards. You are a rare lot, aU on 
you: 

Thus, Mr. Riderhood : taking from 
the hands of his daughter, with special 
ill-^-ill, a lent cap, and grumbling as 
he pulls it down over his ears. Then, 

getting on his unsteady legs, leaning 
eavily upon her, and gro wung ' * Hold 
still, can't you P What ! You must 
be a staggering next, must yon P " he 
takes his departure out of the ring in 
which he has had that little tam*ttp 
with Death. 



OUa IICTUAL FT-IEKD. 
CHAPTE3 IT. 



lod Mn. Wilfer had Mieit a 
ricr of a himdied more aiiiii- 
I of their weddiog-day than 
I Mn. Lammle hiul iioen of 
lut they etill celtbruted the 
ID tho bosom of tlieir family. 
t those celebiutiooa ever re- 
I anything particuhirly ogreo- 
■ that the (lunily was over 
ntwi by that ciroiimatanco 
mt of living loolied foi wuid 
return of the aoeplcious day 
iguine anticipatioQS of eujoy- 
It was kept morally, rathor 
it than a Ifoast, enabling Alra. 
to hold a combre daikting 
hicb eibibitod tbat imprajsiv-o 
in hor choicost colours. 
loUe Lidy'tOaDdiUonon thcse 



I of haroio enilurance aiiJ 
forgivonesa. Lurid indicu- 
f the LetUr marriages i>ho 
lavo made, tihoae iitbwait the 
;loom of her composure, and 
revealed the cherub as a littlo 
■ uniccounlably favoured by 
, who had poi»CHSCii hiin^tlf 
isEiug for wtiich many of his 
'a had sued and conttuiiled in 

his trcotura become eata- 
that when the anaiveraary 
it always found bim in an 
Lie state. It is not impossible 
I modest penitence may havo 
me the leui-tU of someLimee 
/ reproving him for that ho 
ok the Uberty of making so 
» duuuctcr hia wife, 
jf the children of the union, 
ipciicDce of these feslivals 
en suthciently uncomfotUbii 
Ihcm annually to wish, whoi 
their tcndereat years, oillie. 
B had imuTied somebody else 
of mueh-teased I'lL, or tliat 
uuirtied aoinehoilyeliie inslead 
Wbea there c&ine to be but 
as lelt at home, the doling 



mind of Bella on the neit of thcM 

sailed the height of won* 
dering with di«ll veiatioa " what on 
earth Fa evot could have seen in Ma, 
to iniluce him to make aueh a little 
fuol of himaelf as to aslc her to have 
him." 

The revolving year now bringing 
Iho day round in its orderly sequence, 
llc'.]j, arrived in the Uollm chariot to 
ubji.iL at tbe celebration. It waa tbo 
I'.iiiiily costooi when the day recurredt 
t'j i»u:riljce a pair of fowls on the 
aikir of Hyrncn ; snd liella had sent 
a. note beforehand, to intimate that 
she would bring the rotive oQering 
with her. So.'iiella and the fowl^ 
by Iho united energies of two horses, 
tv.'O men, four wheels, and a plum- 
puJdiii^ carriage dog with as an 
ui^conil.iriablo a collar on as if he bad 
beou George tbo Fourth, were depo- 
sited at ibu Juor of the parental dwel- 
ling. Thoy wcro there roeoived by 
AlrH. Wilfor in pcrftoji, whose dignity 
on this aa on most special occasions, 
waa hoi^htaned by a mjateriouB tooth- 

"I shall not require the carrian 
at night)" aaid Bella. " 1 ahall walk 

The male domestio of Mrs. BoCSn 
touched hia hat, and in the act of 
dopaituro had an awful glare bestowed 
upon him by Mis. 'Wilfer, intended 
to carry deep into hia audacious soul 
the assurance that, whatever his pri- 
vate guaptciOQS might bo, male domea- 
tics in livory wcro no rarity there. 

'■Well, dear Mo," aoid Doila, " and 
how do you do i" 

- 1 am us well, DoUa," replied Hn. 
Wilfvr, "aacan be expected." 

'-Dear me. Mo," said Bella, "yon 
talk as if one was just boml " 

" That's exactly what Ma has beon 
doing," iuteti>o»e4 Iawj, osti "i^ua 
iiisl«mal shoulder, '■'ewei ^nta ■«* 
fot up this momiog- l-^"* *^^ "'^ 
weU to laugh, BuUa, tiA WS>.V"* 



S83 



OUB MUTUAL FBIEKB. 



more exaBperating it is impossible to 
conceive." 

Mrs. Wilfer, with a look too full of 
majesty to be accompiuiied by any 
words, attended both her daughters 
to the kitchen, where the sacrifice 
was to be prepared. 

**Mr. Bokesmith/' SBid she, re- 
signedly, **ha8 been so polite as to 
place his sitting-room at our disposal 
to-day. You will therefore, Bella, 
be entertained in the humble abode 
of your parents, so far in accordance 
with your present style of living, 
that there will be a drawing-room for 
your reception as well as a dining- 
room. Your papa invited Mr. Iloke- 
smith to partake of our lowly fare. 
In excusing himself on account of a 
particular engagement, he ofl'ered the 
use of his apartment." 

Bella happened to know that he 
had no engagement out of his own 
loom at Mr. Bofiin's, but she approved 
of his staying away. *' We should 
only have put one anotiier out of 
countenance," she thought, " and 
we do that quite often enough as 
it is." 

Yet she had sufficient curiosity 
about his room, to run up to it with 
the least possible delay, and make a 
close inspection of its contents. It 
was tastefully though economicallv i 
furnished, and very neatly arrangea. | 
I There were shelves and stands of i 
books, English, French, and Italian ; 
and in a portfolio on the writing- 
table there were sheets upon sheets of 
memoranda and calculations in figures, 
evidently referring to the Bofi[in pro- 
perty. On that table also, carefully 
backed with canvas, vamishea, 
mounted, and rolled like a map, was 
the placard descriptive of the mur- 
dered man who had come £rom afar 
to be her husband. She shrank from 
this ghostly surprise, and felt ouite 
frightened as she rolled and tied it up 
again. Peeping about here and there, 
she came upon a print, a graceful 
head of a pretty woman, elegantly 
framed, hangmg in the comer by the 
epsy chair. "Oh, indeed, sir!' said 
BoJJa, after stopping to raminate 'be- 



fore it. ** Oh, indeed, sir! liiQCf 
I can guess whom you think tMi 
like. But I'll tell you what it's moch 
more like — your impudence!" Hav- 
ing said whiqh she decamped: not 
solely because she was offended, but 
because there was nothing else to 
look at. 

" Now, Ma," said Bella, reappear- 
ing in the kitchen with some remaiDS 
of a blush, " you and Lavvy tliink 
magnificent me fit for nothing, but I 
intead to prove the contrary. I mean 
to be Cook to-day." 

" Hold ! " rejoined her majestic 
mother. *< I caxmot permit it Cook, 
in that dress!" 

" As for my dress, Ma," refcaned 
Bella, merrily searching in a dresser- 
drawer, <^I mean to apron it and 
towel it all over the front ; and as to 
permission, I mean to do without" 

"You cook?" said Mrs. Wilfer. 
" Tou, who never cooked when yoa 
were at home P" 

"Yes, Ma," returned Bella; "that 
is precisely tiie state of the case." 

She girded herself with a white 
apron, and busily with knots and pins 
contrived a bib to it, coming dose 
and tight under her chin, as if it had 
caught her round the neck to kisB 
her. Over this bib her dimples 
looked delightful, and under it her 
pretty figure not less so. "Now, 
Ma," said Bella, pushing back her 
hair from her temples with both 
hands, "what's first P" 

"First," rettaned Mrs. Wafer 
solemnly, " if you persist in what I 
cannot but regard as conduct utterly 
incompatible with the equipage in 
which vou arrived — " 

(« Which I do. Ma.") 

"First, then, you put the fowli 
down to the fire. 

"To—be — sur«!" cried Bella; 
"and flour them, and tw*irl then 
roimd, and there they go!" sending 
them Bpiiming at a great late 
"What's next, Map" 

"Next," said Mrs. Wilfer with i 
wov^ oi YvKc gloves, expressive o 




OUB MUTUAL FBIEND. 



iSS 



aMod vuunfaitUon of Qia bacon in the 
nnocpan on Iha Bn, and alio of the 
rotatoei 1iy the application of a fork. 
FreparatiuD of the ^reeni will further 
become necesBary if yoa persist in 

" A« of course I do, Ma." 
Peisialing, Bella gave her attention 
to one thing and forgot Hie othi^r, 
and gave Ii^ attention to the other 
and forgot the third, and remomber- 
ing the third was diBtraeled ty the 
fourlh, and ntade amende vhenovpr 
■he went wrong by giving the unfor- 
tunate fowls an extra spin, which 
made their chance of ever getting 
cooked exceedinf>1y donbtful. But it 
vu pleasant cootery too. Ueantime 
MiM Lavinia, oacillating between the 
Ktchen and tha opposite room, pro- 
pared the dining-Uihle in the latter 
dambor. This ofhco she (aln-ays 
doing her household spiriting «itli 
■awfllingneaa) performs in a start- 
big Belies of whiaks and bumpa ; lay- 
ing the table-cloth as if she ircic 
railing the wind, putting down the 
glmcn and salt-cellars as if she were 
hiDcking at the door, and clashing 
the knives and forks in a Bkirmisbinir 
Dumer suggeBtive of hand-to-hand 
ouSict, 

" Look at Ma," whispered Larlnia 
to Bella when this was done, and 
Uiey stood over the ivnsting fowls. 
"If one was the most dutiful child in 
tiillence (of course on the whole one 
hopes one is), ian't she enough to 
make one want to poke her with 
•ometbing wooden, sitting there boll 
npright in a comer ?*' 

"■Only suppose," tetomed Btlln, 
" that poor Fa was to sit bolt upright 
Id another oomer." 

" My dear, he couldn't do it." said 
lavvT. "Pa would loll directly. 
But mdeed I do not boliove there 
aver was any human crcntnre who 
could keep so bolt apright as Ma, or 
put snch an amount of aggravation 
into one back! ^Vhat'8 tho matter, 
Ua? Ain't yon well. Mo f" 

"Doubtless I ant very -'J," re- 
taaad ill*. Wilier, turning uer eyea 
i^poo btir yotutgcft bom, with acom- 



All fortitude. '■ What shonld be the 
matter with Mo!"' 

" You don't seem verr briak, Ma," 
retorted Lawy tho bold. 

" Brisk P" repeated her parent^ 
"Brisk? Whence the low expression. 
lAviniaf If I am uncompliiining, 
if I am ailently contented with my 
lot, let that BufHce for mj- family." 

" Well, Ma." returned liivvy, 
" since yon will foico it out of me, I 
must respectfully take leave to say 
that your family are no doubt under 
the greatest obligations to you for 
having an annual toothache on your 
wedding-day, and that it's very dis- 
interested in you, and an immense 
bk'ssing to them. Still, on the whole, 
it is possible to be too boastful even 
of that boon." 

" Yon incarnation of •aucinoss," 
said Mrs. Wilfer, "do yon aronl: like 
that to me r On thia day, of all days 
in the year? Pray do yon know 
what would have become of yon, if I 
had not bestowed my hand upon 
H. W., your father, on this day 1 '' 

"No, Ma," replied Lavvy, "I 
really do not ; and, i ith the grr atest 
respect for your abilities and infor- 
mation, I very much doubt if you do 
either." 

Whether or no the aharp vigonr of 
this sally on a weak point of Mra. 
Wilfcr'a entrencliments might have 
routed that heroine for tho time, is 
rendered uncertain by the arrival of a 
flag of trace in the person of Mr. 
Geoige Sampson : bidden to the feast 
as a friend ofthefcmily, whose affec- 
tions were now nndcrstood to bn in 
course of tranafcrcnee from Uella to 
Lnvinio, and whom Lavinin kept — 
possibly in remembionco of his bad 
insto in having ovrrlookid her in the 
first instance — undor a course of sting- 

'■I cougrutulato you, Mts. Wilfer," 
said Mr. George Sampson, who hod 
meditated this neat nddi ess while com- 
ingnlong, "onthoday." Mrs. Wilfei 
thanked him wilt n Toa^tiKKnwj-i* 
sigh, and agaiti \)CcameB.Ti.MOT™».^iii% 
prey to that mtcmtiMe^oo'Ciiw^^i*!- 



284 



OUB MUTUAL FMEND. 



i 



son feebly, " that Miss Bella oonde- 

ac^nda to cook.'* 

Hore Miss Lavinia desoended on 
the ill starred young gentleman with 
a cruHhidg supposition that at all 
events it was no business of his. This 
disposed of Mr. Sampson in a melan- 
choly retirement of spirit, until the 
cherub arrived, whose amazement at 
the lovely woman's occupation was 
great. 

However, she persisted in dishing 
the dinner as well as cooking it, and 
then sat down, bibless and apronless, 
to partake ot it as an illustrious guest : 
!Mi*s. Wilfer first responding to her 
husband's cheerful *' For what we are 
about to receive — ** with a sepulchral 
Amen, calculated to cast a damp upon 
the stoutest appetite. 

*^ But what," said Bella, as she 
watched the carving of tiie fowls, 
** makes them pink inside, I wonder, 
Pa! Is it the breed ?" 

" No, I don't think it's the breed, 
my dear," returned Pa. "I rather 
think it is because they are not done." 

♦'They ought to be," said Bella. 

*' Yes, I'm aware they ought to be, 
my dear," rejoined her father, "but 
they— ain't" 

So, the gridiron was put in requi- 
sition, and the good-tempered cheioib, 
who was often as un-cherubically 
employed in his own family as if he 
haa been in the emplo}'ment of some 
of the Old Masters, undertook to 
grill the fowls. Indeed, except in 
respect of staring about him (a branch 
of the public service to which the pic- 
torial cherub is much addicted), this 
domestic cherub discharged as many 
odd functions as his prototype ; wim 
the difference, say, that he performed 
^ith a blacking-brush on the family's 
boots, instead of performing on enor- 
mous wind instruments and double- 
basses, and that he conducted himself 
with cheerful alacrity to much useful 
purpose, instead of foreshortening him- 
self in the air with the vaguest inten- 
tions. 

Bella helped him with his supple- 
menta] cookery, and made him. very \ Wvo no \>^\A^TMi^? 
^PPyt ^"t put him in mortal terror \ '' B^' -wV^aXoN^t ^VJMst Kso^sos&atostf: 



too by asking him wlua ilbey «ft 
down at table again, how he sappowd 
they cooked fowls at the Oreenwicb 
dinners, and whether he behevedthe; 
really were such pleasant dimien u 
people said? Hia secret winks and 
nods of remonstrance, in reply, made 
the mischievous Bella laugh until she 
choked, and then Lavinia was obliged 
to slap her on the back, and then she 
laughed the more. 

But her mother was a fine correc- 
tive at the other end of the table; to 
whom her father, in the innocence oi 
his good-fellowship, at intervals ap- 
pealed with : " My dear, I am afraid 
you are not enjoying yourself?" 

"Why 80, R. W.?" she wonld 
sonorously reply. 

" Because, my dear, yon seem a 
little out of sorts." 

" Not at all, " would be the nrjoiiider, 
in exactly the same tone. 

**■ Would you take a merry-thought, 
my dear?" 

"Thank you. I will take what- 
ever you please, R. W." 

** Well, but my dear, do von like it?" 

" I like it as well as I like anything^ 
R. W." The stateljr woman woulfl 
then, with a meritorious a]^)eaiazice 
of devoting herself to the general 
good, pursue her dinner as if she 
were feeding somebody elae on high 
public grounds. 

Bella had brought desert and two 
bottles of wine, thus shedding unpre- 
cedented splendour on the occasion- 
Mrs. Wilfer did the honours of the 
first glass by proclaiming : <*R.W., I 
drink to you. ' 

** Thank you, my dear. And I to 

you." 

"Pa and Ma!*' said Bella. 

*^ Permit me," Mrs. Wafer inte^ 

r)sed, with outstretched glove. " No. 
think not. I drank to your papa. 
If, however, you insist on including 
me, I can in gratitude offer no objec- 
tion." 

" Why, Lor, Ma," interposed Lawy 
the bold, *' isn't it the day that made 
you and Pa one and the same? I 




OTJB UTDTUAL FHIENDk 



SS5 



«g — cay, comnuind! — that you vill 
ot pounce. H. W., it it appropriate 
> recall that it is for you to command 
id for me to obey. It a your houEia. 
id yo« are mnster at your own table, 
ottt OUT heolUia!" Drinking the 
jait with trcmcndona Bti9iiE«. 

"I r«&Ily am & litUs afnid, my 
»r," hinted the cheruh meekly, 
that you are not enjoying yourself ? " 

"On the contrary," returned Sirs. 
TOfer, "quile ao. Why should I 
at?" 

" I Qionght, my dear, tbat perhaps 
OUT hce might— — ' ' 

" Hy face might be a martyrdom, 
mt what would that import, or who 
hould know it it I Bmiled f " 

krtA the did Dnila ; manifestly 
b«dng the blood of Mr. George 
iampeon by so doing. For that young 
■entlemao, catching her smiling eye, 
<u 10 Tery much appalled by its 
:ipTOsion as to cast aliont in his 
longhts eoDComing what he had 
lone to bnng- it down upon himaelf. 

"The mind naturally falls," said 
Hn. WUfer, "shall I say into a 
'ererie, or shall I sav into a retrospect F 
in I d«y like this. 

Larry, sitting with defiantly fbldsd 
uma, replied (but not audibly), "For 
^Kldaen' sake say whichever of the 
*o yoQ like best, Ma, and get it 

" The mind," pnrtnod Mrs. Wilfer 
Q an omtoiical manner, "naturully 
ererts to Papa and Uamma — I here 
Uade to my parents — at a period 
«fbre the earliest dawn of tbis day. 
vas considered tall ; perhaps I woB. 

rand Alamma were nnqueation- 
toll. I hare rarely seen a finer 

>y father. 

"" e irropToarible Lavry remarked 
, " whatever grandpapa was, 
s wasn't a female." 

"Yoor i^nndpapa." retorted Mrs, 
rilf^, with an awful look, and in 
1 awful tonft " waa wftal I describe 
m to bmra beea, ami would have 






struck any of his grandchDdmi ta 
the earth who presumed to question 
it. It wan one of mamma's cheriehed 
hopes that I should become united to 
a tall member of society. It mar 
have been a weakness, but if so, it 
wall equally the weakness, I believe, 
of KbgFrederickofPruBsia." These 
remarks being offered to Mr. George 
8:iinpeon, who had not the coomgc ta 
come out for single combat, but 
lurked irith his chfot under the table 
and his eyes cast down, Mrs. Wilfer 
procteded, in s voice of iocreomng 
sternness and impressiveneEs, until 
she should force that skulker to pv» 
bimeolfi^p. "Momma would appear 
to have liad an indoSoable forobodiug 
of whnt afterwards happened, for she 
wou]d frequently urge upon me, 
* Kot a little man. Promise me, my 
child, not a little man., Kever, never, 
nevor marry a little man I ' Papa 
also would reznark tome (ho possessed 
ex tiootdinary humour), 'that a family 
of jwhalcs must not ally themselvei 
with sprats.' His company waa 
eagerly sought, aa may bo suppoaed, 
by tho wits of the day, and our house 
was their continual resort, I have 
known as many as three copper-plats 
en^rraven exohanging tho most ex- 
quisite sallies and retorts there, at 
one time." (Here Mr. Sampson de- 
livered himsuf captive, and said, with 
an uneasy movement on his chair, 
that three waa a large number, and it 
must have been highly entertaining.) 
" Among the most prominent mem- 
bers of that distinguished circle, waa 
a gentleman measuring six feet four 
in height. Ht was not an engraver." 
(Here Mr. Sampson said, with no 
reason whatever. Of oonrse not.) 
"11iia gentleman was so obliging as 
to honour me with attentions nbioh 
I could not foil to imderstand." 
(Here Mr. BsmpHOQ murmured that 
when it came to that, you could 
always tell.) "I immediately an- 
nounced to both my parcntH that 
those attentiona were misplncod, and 
that I could nob tbioos '^ok vcliIi- 
They inquiTvd. iraa ^ Vki 'irii^ J 
t«p!i©d it ■waa Tvot a » rtT.to.i*,'^^** 



2S6 



OUB MUTUAL FJRIEND. 



intellect was too lofty. At our house, 
I said, the tone was too hrilliant, the 
pressure was too high, to be main- 
tained by me, a mere woman, in 
every-day domestic life. I well re- 
member mamma's clasping her hands, 
and exclaiming, ' This will end in a 
little man!' " (Here Mr. Sampson 

glanced at his host and shook his 
ead with despondency.) " She 
afterwards went so far as to predict 
that it would end in a little man 
whose mind would be below the 
average, but that was in what I may 
denominate a paroxysm of maternal 
disappointment. Within a month," 
said Mrs. Wilfer, deepening her 
voice, as if she were relating a ter- 
rible ghost story, *' within a month, 
I first saw E. W., my husband. 
Within a year, I married him. It is 
natural for the mind to recall these 
dark coincidences on the present 
day." 

Mr. Sampson, at length released 
from the custody of Mrs. Wilfer' s 
eye, now drew a long breath, and 
made the original and striking re- 
mark, that there was no accounting 
for these sort of presentiments. R.W. 
scratched his heleul and looked apolo- 
getically all round the table until he 
came to his wife, when observing her 
as it were shrouded in a more sombre 
veil than before, he once more hinted, 
** My dear, I am really afraid you are 
not altogether enjoying yourself?" 
To which she once more replied, *' On 
the contrary, R. W. Quite so." 

The wretched Mr. Sampson's posi- 
tion at this agreeable entertainment 
was truly pitiable. For, not only 
was he exposed defenceless to the 
harangues of Mrs. Wilfer, but he re- 
ceived the utmost contumely at the 
hands of Lavinia; who, partly to 
show Bella that she (Lavinia) could 
do what she liked with him, and 
partly to pay him ofif for still obvi- 
ously admirmg Bella's beauty, led 
him the life of a dog. Illuminated 
on the one hand by the stately graces 
of Mrs. Wilfer's oratory, and sha- 
dowed on the other by th>3 checks 
Liid frowns of the young lady to 



whom he had devoted himself in Ui 
destitution, the sufferings of thif 
young gentleman were distre^ing to 
witness. If his mind for the momfflt 
reeled under them, it may be urged, 
in extenuation of its weiJoiess, that 
it was constitutionally a knock-lniee'd 
mind, and never very strong upon 
its legs. 

The rosy hours were thus begniled 
until it was time for Bella to have 
Pa's escort back. The dimples duly 
tied up in the bonnet-strings and the 
leave-taking done, they got out 
into the air, and the cherub drew a 
long breath as if he found it refresh- 
ing. 

*' Well, dear Pa," said Bella, "the 
anniversary may be considered over." 

"Yes, my dear," returned the 
cherub, ** there's another of 'em gone." 

Bella drew his arm closer through 
hers as they walked along, and gave 
it a numoer of consoktory pate. 
" Thank you, my dear," he said, ai 
if she had spoken ; " I am all right, 
my dear. Well, and how do you get 
on, Bella P" 

<* I am not at all improved. Pa." 

** Ain't you really though ?" 

<* No, Pa. On the contraiy, I am 
worse." 

" Lor !" said the cherub. 

" I am worse, Pa. I make so many 
calculations how much a year I must 
have when I marry, and what is the 
least I can manage to do with, that I 
am beginning to get wrinkles over 
my nose. Did you notice any wrinklee 
over my nose this evening, Pa ?" 

Pa laughing at this, Bella gave him 
two or three shakes. 

" You won't laugh, sir, when yon 
see your lovely woman turning hisi^ 
g:arcL You had better be prepared m 
time, I can tell you. I shall hot be 
able to keep my greediness for money 
out of my eyes long, and when you 
see it there you'll be sorry, and serve 
you right for not being warned ia 
time. Now, sir, we entered into a 
bond of confidence. Have you any* 
thing to impart P" 
^ *' I thought it was you who was to 




OUB UTJTUAL FBIEND. 



m 



« Oh 1 did jon Indeed, ail r Then 

why dida't you ask me, the momant 
we ouna out? Tho confideoceB of 
lovely women are cot to bo sli^htod. 
However, I furgive you this once, 
and look bore, Pn ; that'B*' — Bella laid 
the little forefinger of her riglit glove 
on her lip, and then laid it on her 
father's lip — "that's a Idsa for you. 
And now I am goini^ aerioiuly to tell 
you — let me lee bow many — four 
■ecreta. Mind! Bcrioue, grave, 
weighty secretB. Strictly between 
ourselves." 

"Number one, my dear f" raid her 
bthec, settling hsT aim comfortably 
tad confidDntmlly. 

"Nnmber one,' ' said Bella, "will 
electrify you, Pa. Who do you 
think has " — Hbe waa confuBed here 
in apita of her merry way of begin- 
ning— "has made an offer to me '!" 

Pa looked in hor face, and looked 
It the ground, and looked in her face 
•gain, and declared he could never 

"Mr. Bokeemith." 

"You don't tell ms >o, my dear!" 

"Mis— tor Roke— smith, Pa," said 
Bella, separating the syUablee for 
tnipbasiB. "What do you aay to 
Owl I" 

Pa aoawered quietly with the 
WDDter-question, "What did you say 
lothat, my loveF" 

"I said No," returned Bella 






■■ Of CI 



," said her father, 
meditating, 

■• And I told him why I thought it 
1 betrayal of trust on his part, and 
in iiffroDt to me," said Boila. 

"Yes. Tobesure. I am astonished 
indeed. I wonder he committed hli 
«ir without seeing more of his wi 
Jilt Now I think of it, I luspctt 
lie alwuye hM admired yun though, 
my dear." 

" A hackney coachman may ad- 
mire me," remarked Bella, with a 
t«uch of her mother's loftineas. 

"It's highly prob[i>ile, my love. 
Namber two, my deari^" 

-Number two, Pfl.i'»niucfi to the 
mag parpate, though not so prepos- 



tettins. Ur. Lightwood would pro- 
pose to me, if I would let him." 

" Then I understand, my dear, that 
yoti don't intend to let him P" 

Bella again saying, with her former 
emphasis, "Why, ot course not!" 
her father felt himself bonod to ochoL 
" Of course not." 

" 1 don't care for him," said Bella. 

"That's enough," her father inter- 

" No, Pa, it's tai enotigh," rejoined 
Bella, giving him another shako or 
two. "Haven't I told you what a 
mercenary little wretch I am? It 
only becomes enough when ho ho* 
no money, and no clients, and no 
eipFctations, and no anything but 

" Hnh ! " said the cherub, a littlo 
depressed, "Number three, mj 

" Number three. Pa, is ■ better 
thing. A generous thing, a noble 
thing, a dcliglitl'ul thing. Mrs. Bodia 
has herself told me, as a secret, ivith 
her own Idnd lips — and truer lipa 
never opened or closed in this life, [ 
am sura — that they wish to see ma 
well married ; and that when I Piany 
with their consent they will portion 
mc most handsomely. Itoro tha 
grateful girl burst out crying var^r 
iieartily, 

" Don't cry, my darling," said hsr 
father, with his hand to his eyes ; 
"ifa eMusablB in mo to bo a littls 
overcome when I find that my deal 
favourite child is. aft^r all disappoiat- 
mpnts. to bo so provided for and bo 
miscd in the world ; but don't yta 
cry, don't jniu cry. I am very thank- 
ful. 1 congratulate yon with all my 
heart, my dear." The good aotl little 
fellow, drying his eyes here. Helta 
put her arms round hie nect and 
tenderly kissed him on the high-road, 
patuioniitcly telling him he was tha 
best of fatliers and the bestof friends, 
end that on her wedding-morning nhs 
would go down on her kncca to bjm 
and beg bis pardon for having avet 
teased him or Beemeii. \iBeTisMiQ to 
the worth ot aui:^ & ipji.tunA, «^TO■^^ 
thetdc, (jenieil, fresh yom»s ^rkA. m. 



S8S 



Oim MUTUAL FRIEND. 



every one of her adjectires she re- 
doubled her kisses, and finally kissed 
his hat o£f, and then laughed im- 
modomtely when the wind took it 
and ho ran after it. 

When he had recovered his hat 
and his breath, and the^ were going 
on again once more, said her father 
then : ** Number four, my dear P " 

BeUa*8 countenance fell in the 
midst of her miilh. "After all, 
perhaps I had better put off number 
lour, I*a. Let me try once more, if 
for never so short a time, to hope 
that it may not really be so." 

The change in her strengthened 
the cherub's interest in number four, 
and he said quietly : " l^Iay not be so, 
my dear? May not be how, my 

Bella looked at him pensively, and 
ahook her head. 

** And yet I know right well it is 
00, Fa. I know it only too well.'* 

"My lovo," returned her father, 
" you make me quite uncomfortable. 
Have you said No to anybody else, 
my dear ? " 

"No, Pa." 

•* Yes to anybody P " he suggested, 
lining up his eyebrows. 

"No, Pa." 

** Is there anybody else who would 
take his chance between Yes and No, 
if you would let him, my dear ? " 

"Not tliat 1 Imow of, Pa." 

"There can't be aomebody who 



won't take his chance when yoa wnt 
him to f " said the chezub, as a liut 



resource. 



Why^, of course not, Pa," said 
Bella, giving him another shake or 
two. 

" No, of course not," he assentoi 
" Bella, my dear, I am afraid I must 
either have no sleep to-night, or I 
must press for number four." 

" Oh, Fa, there is no good in Dum- 
ber four ! I am so sorry for it, I am 
so unwilling to believe it, I have tried 
so earnestly not to see it, that it if 
very hard to tell, even to you. But 
Mr. Boffin is being spoilt by pros- 
perity, and is changing every day." 

" My dear Bella, I hope and truifc 
■not." 

*' I have hoped and trusted not too, 
Pa ; but every day he changes for the 
worse and for the worse. Not to m^— 
he is always much the same to me— 
but to others about him. Before my 
eyes he grows suspicious, capricious, 
hard, tyrannical, unjust. If ever a 
^ood man were ruinea by good fort<me, 
it is my benefactor. And vet, Pa, think 
how terrible the fascination of money 
is ! I see this, and hate this, and dread 
this, and don't know but that money 
might make a much worse change in 
me. And yet I have money always 
in my thoughts and my deeaiea ; and 
the whole life I place before myself 
is money, money, money, and what 
money can make of life f " 



CHAPTEE V. 

TBB OOLDKT DU8TUAN PALLS INTO BAD COMPANT. 

Were Bella Wilfer's bright and I an apartment at the side of the Boffin 



ready little wits at fault, or was the 
Golden Dustman passing through the 
furnace of proof and coming out 
di'oss 'f 111 news travels fast. We 
shall know full soon. 

On that very night of her return 
from the Happy lictum, something 
chanced which Bella closely followed 
nvth 2ier eyea and ears. There waa 



mansion, known as Mr. Boffin's room. 
Far less grand than the rest of the 
house, it was far more comfortable, 
being pervaded by a cci-tain air of 
homely snugness, which upholiitcr- 
ing despotism had banishod to that 
spot -when it inexorably set its face 
Uv^jiiust Mr. Boffin's appeals for mercy 




OUE MXTTDAL FRIEND. 



!%«, althoQgli k room of modest 
rtuation— for its viadowB gBTB on 
Silas WcgRH old comer— and of 
DO pretetisions to velvet, wtin, or 
gildin?. it had got iUclf osUblisheJ 
in t. domestic position analugoiu to 
that of an easy dicBding-gon-n or pnir 
of t1ip[iora ; aiid whenever the fumily 
»iuiled to enjoy a paiticularly plea- 
nut fireside oveniog, they enjoyed it, 
■sin institution that miut be, m &&. 
Boffin'i room. 

Ur. and ^Ira. Boffin were reported 
Biting in thi> room, when Bella got 
back. Entniing i^ ebe found the 
Earetary there too; inofficial altend- 
uice it would appear, for he was 
itanding with some papers in his 
land by a tuMc with shiided candles 
m it, at which Mr. Boffin was seati^d 
thrown back in his easy ehair. 

"You are busy, sir," aaid BeUn, 
Imitating at the door, 

"Not at all, my dear, not at all. 
Ton' re one of ourselves. We never 
make company of you. Come in, 
come in. Here's the old lady in ber 
«iua! place." 

lira. Boffin adding her nod and a 
■mile of welcome t4i Mr. Boffin's 
■»ordj, Bella took her book to a ch.iir 
in the fireside corner, by Mrs. Boffin's 
itork-table. Mr. Boffin's station whs 
QD the opposite slde. 

"How,Kokesmith|"«aidtheGo!den 
Duitman, so sharply rapping the table 
to bespeak his attention as Bella 
turned the leaves of her book, that 
•he started; "where were ne !■" 

"You were saying, sir," returned 
the Secretary, with an air of some 
K^luetance and a glance towards 
thoie Others who were present, "that 
you considered the tiiae had come 
&r filing my Balory." 

" Don't be above calling it wages, 
inan,"BaidUr.Boffin,tc3liIy. "What 
the deoce! I never tJilked of mi/ 
Mary when I was in service." 

"ily wnftcs," said the Secretary, 
Wnectins h^m-^elf. 

" P.o!ieBmilli. you are not proud, 1 
hnpc:" ob-oi'vel SIrl BoUio, eyeing 



" Because I never was, when I wm 
poor," said Mr. Boffin. "Poverty 
and prido don't go at all well toj;o- 
Ibcr. Mind that. Ilow can tliey 
go well together ? Why it stands to 

fpoor, to* 
It's l:jn. 



e pr^od c 



With a slight inclination of his 
bead, and a look of tome snrpri^, 
the Secretary seemed to assent by 
forming the syllables of the word 
"nonsense" on his lips. 

" Now, oonceraing these sams 
wages," said Mr. Boffin. " Git 
down." 

The Secrptar^ sat down. 

" Why didn I you sit down bft. 
fore ?■■ asked Jlr. Boffin, distrustfully. 
"I hope that wasn't pride P But 
about these wages. Now, I've gona 
into the matter, and I say two hun- 
dred a year. What do you think of 
it F Do you think it's enough ?" 

" Thank you. It is a lair pro- 

" I don't say, vou know," Mr. Bof- 
fin stipulated, "but what it may bo 
more than enou|>h. And I'll tell you 
why, Bokesmith. A man of pro- 
perty, like me, is bound to consider 
the market-price. At first I didn't 
enter into that as much as I might 
have done ; but I've got acquainted 
with other men of property since, and. 
I've got acquainted with the dutie* 
of property. I mustn't go putting th« 
market-pnce up, because money may 
happen nut to be an abject vim me. 
A sheep ii worth so much in th* 
market, and I Ought to give it and 
no more. A secretary ia worth so 
much in the market, and I ought to 
give it and no more. However, I 
don't mind stretching a pomt with 
you." 

" Mr. Boffin, you are very good," 
replied the Sccretiu7, with an effort. 

" Then wo put the figure," said 
BoIBd, " at two hundred a year. 
Then the figure's disyiescd of. sow, 
thei-o must t>e no nii;,underBtnndinis 
leyarding wlwt 1 ^i^s ^'^'' ^''"* ^'iJ'i- 
rlred a year. 1! \ vwi"-' ^°^ " Alwi'o,'^. 
1 ■■■■ )-. o'.iS iit\ uv,'- "S'^m^\^t^■!.^S■ »■ 



ouPw MUTUAL fiiie>:d. 



lygOTir 
nyee'i f 



a secretary, I buy Aim out 

her words, you purchase my 
ne?" 

:iinlv I do. Look here,*' 
Bo&n, ** it ain*t that 1 want 
)y your whole time ; you 
> up a hook for a minute or 
•n you've nothing better to 
igh I think you'll a'most 
jnd something uecfiil to do. 
'ant to keep you in alter. d- 
t's convenient to have you at 
» ready on the proiiiists, 
•e, betwixt your Diciiklast 
r supper,-— on the premises I 
) find you." 
ecretary bowed. 

da vs. when I was in 
" s-n.l Mr. Boffin, "I 
go cullii - abfut at my will 
isure, and you won't t xjAH-t 
tting about at your will and 
You've ratlier got into a 
that, lately; but pcrhai>8 it 
want of a right specification 
us. Now, let there bo a 
deification betwixt us, and lot 
is. If you want leave, ask 

the Secretary bowed. His 

was uneasy nnd astonished, 
red a seni-o of humilijition. 
lave a bell," 8i\id Mr. Boflin, 
rom this room to youi-s. and 
want you I'll touch it. I 
1 to mind that I have anything 
say at the present moment." 
secretary rose, gathend up 
'va, and withdrew. Bella's 
3wed him to the door, lighted 
1 otiin complacently tlu-own 
liis easy chair, and, drooped 
book. 

ive let that chap, that young 
mine," said air. Boflin, 
trot up and do^Ti the loom, 
>ve his work. It won't do. 
ave him down a j e^. A man 
rty owes a duty to o'iJ;ernieD 
arty, and must look sliaip 
inferiors." 
elt that Mrs. BoflSn was not 



her face what attention she had ghen 
to this discourse, and what impres- 
sion it hud made upon her. Ftti 
which reason Bella's eyes drooped 
n.ore engrossedly over her book, and 
bhe turned the page with an sir d 
^.loli'und absorption in it. 

•* Noddy," said Mrs. BoflRn, afla 
thoughifidly pausing in her work. 

"My dear, returned the Golden 
Dustman, stopping shoit in his trot. 

" Excuse my putting it to you, 
Nodtly, but now really! Haven't 
vou l)c< n a little strict with 3Ir. 
l^•kesllulll to-night? Haven't you 
been a little — just a little little— not 
quite like your old self ? " 

" Why, old woman, I hope so," rs- 
turned i^Ir. Boffin, cheerfully, if not 
boastfully. 

** Hope so, deary P " 

*' Our old selves wouldn't do here, 
old lady. Haven't you found that 
out yet? Our old selves would U 
fit for nothing here but to be robled 
and imposed upon. Our old selves 
weren't people of fortune ; our new 
selves are ; it's a great din».ience." 

**Ah!" said Mrs. Botliii, pausing 
in her work again, softly to draw a 
long breath and to look at the tiie> 
" A great dificrence." 

" And w e must be up to the dif« 
fcrcnce," pursued her husband , *'*« 
must be equal to the change ; thAt'i 
what we must be. We've got to 
hold our own now, against everybody 
(for everybody's hand is stretched 
out to be dipped into our pockets), 
and we have got to recollect th&t 
money makes money, as well ai 
makes ever)' thing else." 

" i^Ientioning recollecting," said 
Mrs. Boflin, with her work aban- 
doned, her eyes upon the fire, and 
her chin upon her hand, ** do you re- 
collect. Noddy, how you laid to Mr* 
Roke^inith when he first came to see 
us at the Bower, and you engaged 
him— how you said to him that il it 
had pleased Heaven to send Jobs 
Harmon to his fortune safe, we could 

.have been content "with the one 

bie, and that the eyes oIl t'haV.y'W.oMii^ -HiYs^tti -^^j^ wa \«»sjc^^ %3ad 
fupe eouuht -o discover ixom «\vo>A^ ix«N«t\i%.N^ ^%XL\M^^Ddb^ni^.V 



'^,1 



T - 



# ■> T« 



- S«r*^'€T8 



to il 

ZTuKi's rigli 
7 you I 

i£«» -&> value 

:.^£St, Ben 

Idi^:^ **Bm] 
^ _.ie in you, 
m^\ s*> with ti 




Jf. 



OUE MUTUAL FKlEKtt 



Ul 



* Af , I Tememlwr, old Iidj. Bat 
M hadn't tried what it wat to have 
the rest IbcD. Our now shoes had 
csmo home, but we hadn't put 'em 
CtL We're wefiriu^ 'em now, ve'rc 
t«aniiK 'em, &nd must atep out ac- 
nonlingly." 

Um. lloffin tnok up her worli again, 
ul plied her neMte in silence. 

"Al to Kokesmith, that yoOOg 
miD of mine," ssid llr. Daffin, drop- 
pia; his voico and gtuniirg towardi 
lie door uith an apprchciiBiou ol 
leir^overhcaid bjr soino eavesdrop- 
per there, " it's the same with him al 
with lie footmen. 1 have iound 
lial joii mutt either (crunch thi 
« let them Bciiinch you. If you 
lin't impeiTOui vriUi 'cm, they won't 
beli«ve in your being any bciterthaa 
IhemielveH, if aa gooiJ, uIIkt the 
tba-ixa (lie* mosUyJ that thoy have 
heanl of your be^nnings. Thore't 
nothing hclniit vtilfening yourself 
np. and thiuwiug yourself away ; 
lalie my « oid for that, old lady." 

Bella ventured for ■ moment to 
look sltaJlhily towards him tinder 
her eyelnsht's. dnd Bhe saw a dark 
clond ol' sus^jiciun, covotouaness, and 
MDceit, overshadow iug Uie on 
&ie. 

" Hows'ever," said he, " th 
mtcrtaioing to Miss Bella. 
BfsUa;" 

A deceiving Bella she was, 
it him with that pensively abstracted 
«ir, ai if her mind ncro full of her 
book, and abo had not heard a single 

"Hah! Better emploved than to 
attend to it," said .Mr. BoHId. 
"That's right, that's rii-ht. iLspe- 
dally aa you have no call to be told 
how to value yourself, my dear." 

Colouring a little under this com- 
pliment, Bella returned, " I hope, 
lir, vou don't thiak me vain?" 

"Kot a bit. mv dear," said Mr. 
Boffin. "But 1 think it's very ci«- 
diiable in you, at your age, to be so 
well up with the pace ot the world, 
and to know -■- ■ ■ - '-■ ■ - ■-- 



I make money of your good looks, and 
of the money Airs. Bo£n and ma 
will have the pleasure of scttliog 
upon you, and you'll lire and die 
rich. That'B thCBtutetoliveanddie 
in!" said Mr. BoQiD, in an mictuoua 

There waa an eipresaion of diatrdU 
in lira. Ei^lSn'fl fuM, a*. after waloh- 
ing her husliand'a, she turned to 
their adopted girl, and said : "Don't 
mind him, Btliii, my dear." 

"lihf" cried Sir. Boffin. "What! 
Not miod him t " 

" I don't mecTi that,'' aaid Mrs. 
Boffin, n'ilh a worried look, "but I 
moan, don't bdievc him to be any- 
thing but (rood iiiul t;eiierous, Bella, 
because ho ia th« beat of men. No, 
I must say that much. Noddy. You 
are alwuys the best of mon." 

She made tlie declaration u if ha 
were objecting to it: whichauuredlf 
he was not in any wdy. 

"And as to you, my dear Bella," 
said Mis. BoHin, still with that dis- 
tressed expression, "he is bo much 
attached to you, whatever he says, 
that your own father has not a truei 
' I est in you and con haidlj like 
better than he does." 
s.iys too!" cried Mr. BofGn. 
hiitevei he mys ! ^Vhy, I say so; 
openly. Give mo a kiss, my dear 
child, in saying Qood Night, and let 
confitm what my old lady tells 



-At Oo 1. 






Joi-ti Honey 'a the miivSo. 



ind you and 1 will take care that you 
thall be rich. These good looks of 

Kurs (which you have some right to 
vuin of, my dear, though you ai-e 
you know) are worth money, 
you shall make money of 'em. 
money you. will have, will bo 
h money, and you shall mnko 
money of that loo. There's a golden 
ball at youi' feet. Qooi Night, my 

^mehow, Bella was not so noil 
pleased with this aisuiance and thi^ 
prospect as she might Iib.\« tKSin. 
Somehow, w^on »h« 'V'A 'tos «ct>» 
mund Mrs. Bot6n.'» ■ttett wA ^vo. 
Uoi-1 liiglit, live ianvei ». «&»»» •* 



OUK MUTUAL FRIEND. 



for that of iUelf would not litTe hen 
much — in one exceptiunal kind c4 
book. 

** liOok in here, my dear/* Mr. Bofiio 
would say, checking Bella's arm at a 
bookseller's window ; " you can read 
at sight, and your eyee are as sharp 
as they're bright iKow, look ^eJl 
about you, my dear, and tell me if 
you see any book about a Miser." 

If Bella saw such a book, Hr. 
Boffin would instantlpr dart in and 
buy it. And still, if they had not 
found it, they would seek out another 
book-shop, and Mr. Boffin would say, 
'* Now, look well all round, my dear, 
for a Life of a >Iiser, or any book of 
that sort ; any Lives of odd charsoten 
who may have been Misers." 

Bella, thus directed, would examine 
the window with the greatest atten- 
tion, while Mr. Boffin would examine 
her face, llie moment she pointed 
out any book as being entitled Lives 
of eccentric personages. Anecdotes of 
strange characters, Hecords of re- 
markable individuids, or anything to 
that purpose, Mr. Boffin's counten* 
ance would light up, and he would 
instantly dart in and buy it. Size^ 
price, quality, were of no account. 
Any book that seemed to promise a 
cluuice of miserly biography, Mr. 
Boffin purchased without a moment's 
delay and carried home. Happening 
to be informed by a bookseller that a 
portion of the Annual Kegister was 
devoted to " Characters," Mr. Boffin 
at once bought a whole set of that 
ingenious compilation, and began to 
carry it home piecemeal, confiding a 
volimie to Bella, and bearing three 
himself. The completion of this 
labour occupied them about a fort- 
night. When the task was done, Mr. 
Boffin, with his appetite for Miseis 
whetted instead of satiated, began to 
look out again. 

It very soon became unnecessary 
to tell Bella what to look for, and an 
understanding was established be- 
tween her and Mr. Boffin that she 
was always to look for Lives of 
JntereBt began to centre m\l&.\aeta. sLoroiaiL^^Ax morning they 
\*s; and more than that — \xodxn»dL «^c)o\x^l ^« Vs^vm \ai^;^^> 



inen from the still anxions 
that good woman and her 
wish to excuse her husband, 
what need to excuse him ? " 

Bella, sitting down in her 
in. " "What he said was very 

I am sure, and very true, I 
It is only what I often say 
at Don't I like it then? 
»n't like it, and, though he is 
ral benefactor, I disparage 
it Then pray," said Bella, 
putting the question to her- 
the looking-glass as usual, 
lo you mean by this, you in- 
Qt little Beast?" 
)oking-gla8S preserving a dis- 
inistcrisu silence when thus 
ipon for explanation, Bella 

bed with a weariness upon 
it which was more than the 
)s of want of sleep. And 

the morning, she looked for 
id, and for tiie deepening of 
id, upon the Golden Dust- 
ice. 

lad begun by this time to be 
lent companion in his mom- 
Us about the streets, and it 
his time that he made her a 
> his engaging in a curious 
Having been hard at work 
dull enclosure all his life, he 
shild's delight in looking at 
It had been one of the first 
9 and pleasures of his freedom, 
s equally the delight of his 
For many years their only 
. London had been taken on 
I when the shops were shut ; 
n every day in the week be- 
eir holiday, they derived an 
nt from the variety and fancy 
luty of the disjplay in the 
I, which seemed mcapable of 
on. As if the principal streets 
great 'llieatre and the play 
Idishly new to them, Mr. and 
ffin, m)m the beginning of 
ntimacy in their house, had 
Qstantly in the front row, 

with all they saw, and ap- 

vigorously. But now Mr. 



to 



.1 



i_i 





OUH MUTUAL FBIEND. 



293 



log thil ringobo' rewaicK 
ly litaratnra not heing abond- 
le proportion of luiJurea to >uo> 

may bnve beea *b a hundred lo 
still Mr. Boffin, never weaned, 
ned as avaricioua for misen as 
A been at the first ODset. It 
otioua that Bella never saw the 

about the houjie« ngr did ohe 
liear trom Mr. Boi&n one word 
lerenee lo their cententa. He 
d to aave up his Misen aa they 
ived up UieiT money. Aa they 



J for tham, and secret about 
and hid them. But beyond all 
I it was to be noticeil, and was 
ella very clou'lj noticed, that, 
pnnued tbe acquisitioii of tboae 
J records nith the ardour of 
Juiiote for his books of chivalry, 
gsa to spend bis money with a 
sparing hand. And often when 
ma out of a shop wil!i some new 
nt of one of those wretched 
ics, she would almost shrii 
the >ly dry chuckle with which 
■Oali take her arm again and 
s«^. It did not appear that 
Baffin knew of this taste. He 
no allusion to it, eiccept in the 
ing walks when be and Bella 
always alone ; and Bella, paitiv 
: the impression that he took 
ito his confidouca by Implication, 
Mitly In remembrance of Mrs. 
I's anxioos face Uiat night, held 
une reserve. 

hila theae oceturencM were in 
'sss, Mn. I«mmle made the dis- 
y that Bella bad a fkscinatlng 
ince over her. The lAmmlea, 
tally presented by the dear Ve- 
ogs, visited the Boffins on all 
1 occasions, and Mrs. Lommlr 
not previously found this out; 
low the knowledge came upou 
n at once. It waa a most extra- 
arj thing (slie said to Mia 
a); she was foolishly susceptibli 
e power of beauty, but it wasn' 
suer that ; she neier bad been 
to reast a natural grace of man- 
at it muo 't altogether tW ; it 



t luore than that, and thorfl was 

name fbr the indescribable extent 
and degree to which she was capti- 
vated by this charming girt. 

This charming girl having th« 
words repeated to her by Mie. RofGn 
(who was proud of her being admired, 
would have done anything to 
her pleasure), naturally recog- 

penctiation and taste. BcspandlDg 
"le seutimenla, by bciug very 
gracious to Mrs. Lammle, she gave 
that lady the means of so improving 



r opportonity, ss that the capt 

■ ■• :h J. . 

ippeaisnce of greati 



•a became reciprocal, tbou| 






sobriety on Bella's part than o 
entbuBiastio Sopbronia's. Howbeit, 
they were so much together that, fiii 
a tune, the Boffin chai-iot held Mn. 
I^mmle oftener than iln. Boffin -. a 
preference of which the latter worthy 
soul was not in the least JealonSi 
placidly remarking, " Mrs. lammle 
IS a younger companion for her than 
I am, and Lor '. she's more &shion> 
able." 

But between Bella Wilfer and 
Georriana Podanap there was thil 
one difference, among many other*, 
that Bella waa in no danger of being 
captivated by Alfred, She diatrusted 
and disliked him. Indeed, her per- 
ception was BO quick, and htr obficr- 
vation so sharp, that after all sha 
mistrusted his wife too, though with 
her giddy Tanity and wilfulness she 
sqoeezed the mistrust away into a 
comer of her mind, and blocked it up 

Ml*. I^mmle took the friendliest 
interest in Bella's making a good 
match. Mrs. Lammle said, in a spor- 
tive way, she really must show her 
beautiful Bella what kind of wealthy 
creatures she and Alfred had on hand, 
who would as one man fall at her feet 
ftnibived. Fitting occasion made, Mrs. 
L^tmmle accordingly produced the 
most pnssable of those feverish, boast- 
lul, nnd indefinaWv \oqsb i(ii\i'OL»™«s\ 
who wen (dway* \o\m^Tv» «iB.i>i. wiS. 
of the Cily on oneaSiora Oi V"tv«'Bo'™«» 
andGt»eVan4aB^«4iM»i'^^-*™°' 



29i 



OUR MUTUAL FRIEND. 



Hexfcan and par and premimn and 
discount and three-quarters and 
aeven-eighthfl. Who in their agree- 
able manner did homac^ to Bella as 
if she were a compound of fine girl, 
thorough-bred hoi*se, well-built drag, 
and remarkable pipe. But without 
the least eficct, though even Mr. 
Fledgeby*8 attractions were cast into 
the scale. 

**I fear, Bella dear," said Mrs. 
Lammle one day in the chariot, 
"that you will be very hard to 
please." 

"I don't expect to be pleased, 
dear," said Bella, with a lang^d turn 
of her eves. 

"Truly, my love," returned So- 
phronia, shaking her head, and smil- 
ing her best smile, ** it would not be 
very easy to find a man worthy of 
your attractions." 

"The question is not a man, my 
dear," said Bella, coolly, "but an 
establishment." 

" My love," returned Mrs. Lammle, 
•*your prudence amazes me — where 
did you study life so well ! — ^you are 
right. In such a case as yours, the 
object is a fitting estabb'shment. You 
could not descend to an inadequate 
one from Lir. Bofiin's house, and even 
if your beauty alone could not com- 
inand it, it is to be assumed that Mr. 
and Mrs. Boffin will 



ti 



"Oh! they have already," Bella 
interposed. 

"No! Have they really?" 

A little vexed by a suspicion that 
she had spoken precipitately, and 
withal a little defiant of her own 
vexation, Bella determined not to re- 
treat. 

'^That 18 to say," she explained, 
"they have told me they mean to 
portion me as their adopted child, if 
you mean that. Butdon't mention it." 

** Mention it ! " replied Mrs. Ljimmle, 
as if she were full of awakened feel- 
ing at the suggestion of such an 
impossibility. " Men-tion it ! " 

"I don't mind telling you, Mrs. 
Lammle " Bella began again. 



"Ifr Jove, say Sopnioniit, at l\ai^m^' 
xnoi^ not «7 Bella." \ *' Sha3;i\ «a«Ba^^ 



With alittle short, jpetulant^Oh!** 
Bella complied. " Oh !— Sophronis 
then — I don't mind telling you, So- 
phronia, that I am convinced I have 
no heart, as people call it ; and that 
I think that sort of thing is non- 
sense." 

"Brave girl!" murmured Mn 
Lammle. 

"And so," pursued Bella, "aito 
seeking to please myself, I dont; 
except in the one respect I have men- 
tion^. I am indifferent otherwise." 

"But ^ou can't help pleasing, 
Bella," said Mrs. Lammle, rallying 
her with an arch look and her best 
smile, " you can't help making t 
proud and an admiring husband. 
You may not care to please yourself 
and you may not care to please him, 
but you are not a free