Thanking you kindly, sir, returned Miggs, I couldnt take my rest in peace, nor fix my thoughts upon my prayers, otherways than that I knew mistress was comfortable in her bed this night; by rights she ought to have been there, hours ago.
Youre talkative, mistress, said Varden, pulling off his greatcoat, and looking at her askew.
Taking the hint, sir, cried Miggs, with a flushed face, and thanking you for it most kindly, I will make bold to say, that if I give offence by having consideration for my mistress, I do not ask your pardon, but am content to get myself into trouble and to be in suffering.
Here Mrs Varden, who, with her countenance shrouded in a large nightcap, had been all this time intent upon the Protestant Manual, looked round, and acknowledged Miggss championship by commanding her to hold her tongue.
Every little bone in Miggss throat and neck developed itself with a spitefulness quite alarming, as she replied, Yes, mim, I will.
How do you find yourself now, my dear? said the locksmith, taking a chair near his wife (who had resumed her book), and rubbing his knees hard as he made the inquiry.
Youre very anxious to know, ant you? returned Mrs Varden, with her eyes upon the print. You, that have not been near me all day, and wouldnt have been if I was dying!
My dear Martha said Gabriel.
Mrs Varden turned over to the next page; then went back again to the bottom line over leaf to be quite sure of the last words; and then went on reading with an appearance of the deepest interest and study.
My dear Martha, said the locksmith, how can you say such things, when you know you dont mean them? If you were dying! Why, if there was anything serious the matter with you, Martha, shouldnt I be in constant attendance upon you?
Yes! cried Mrs Varden, bursting into tears, yes, you would. I dont doubt it, Varden. Certainly you would. Thats as much as to tell me that you would be hovering round me like a vulture, waiting till the breath was out of my body, that you might go and marry somebody else.
Miggs groaned in sympathya little short groan, checked in its birth, and changed into a cough. It seemed to say, I cant help it. Its wrung from me by the dreadful brutality of that monster master.
But youll break my heart one of these days, added Mrs Varden, with more resignation, and then we shall both be happy. My only desire is to see Dolly comfortably settled, and when she is, you may settle me as soon as you like.
Ah! cried Miggsand coughed again.
Poor Gabriel twisted his wig about in silence for a long time, and then said mildly, Has Dolly gone to bed?
Your master speaks to you, said Mrs Varden, looking sternly over her shoulder at Miss Miggs in waiting.
No, my dear, I spoke to you, suggested the locksmith.
Did you hear me, Miggs? cried the obdurate lady, stamping her foot upon the ground. You are beginning to despise me now, are you? But this is example!
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