Sir, returned the prentice, laying down his hammer, and rubbing his nose on the back of a very sooty hand, I scorn the Lord Mayor and everything that belongs to him. We must have another state of society, sir, before you catch me being Lord Mayor. How de do, sir?
The better, Mr Tappertit, for looking into your ingenuous face once more. I hope you are well.
I am as well, sir, said Sim, standing up to get nearer to his ear, and whispering hoarsely, as any man can be under the aggrawations to which I am exposed. My lifes a burden to me. If it wasnt for wengeance, Id play at pitch and toss with it on the losing hazard.
Is Mrs Varden at home? said Mr Chester.
Sir, returned Sim, eyeing him over with a look of concentrated expression,she is. Did you wish to see her?
Mr Chester nodded.
Then come this way, sir, said Sim, wiping his face upon his apron. Follow me, sir.Would you permit me to whisper in your ear, one half a second?
By all means.
Mr Tappertit raised himself on tiptoe, applied his lips to Mr Chesters ear, drew back his head without saying anything, looked hard at him, applied them to his ear again, again drew back, and finally whisperedThe name is Joseph Willet. Hush! I say no more.
Having said that much, he beckoned the visitor with a mysterious aspect to follow him to the parlour- door, where he announced him in the voice of a gentleman-usher. Mr Chester.
And not Mr Eddard, mind, said Sim, looking into the door again, and adding this by way of postscript in his own person; its his father.
But do not let his father, said Mr Chester, advancing hat in hand, as he observed the effect of this last explanatory announcement, do not let his father be any check or restraint on your domestic occupations, Miss Varden.
Oh! Now! There! Ant I always a-saying it! exclaimed Miggs, clapping her hands. If he ant been and took Missis for her own daughter. Well, she do look like it, that she do. Only think of that, mim!
Is it possible, said Mr Chester in his softest tones, that this is Mrs Varden! I am amazed. That is not your daughter, Mrs Varden? No, no. Your sister.
My daughter, indeed, sir, returned Mrs V., blushing with great juvenility.
Ah, Mrs Varden! cried the visitor. Ah, maamhumanity is indeed a happy lot, when we can repeat ourselves in others, and still be young as they. You must allow me to salute youthe custom of the country, my dear madamyour daughter too.
Dolly showed some reluctance to perform this ceremony, but was sharply reproved by Mrs Varden, who insisted on her undergoing it that minute. For pride, she said with great severity, was one of the seven deadly sins, and humility and lowliness of heart were virtues. Wherefore she desired that Dolly would be kissed immediately, on pain of her just displeasure; at the same time giving her to understand that whatever she saw her mother do, she might safely do herself, without being at the trouble of any reasoning or reflection on the subjectwhich, indeed, was offensive and undutiful, and in direct contravention of the church catechism.
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