`Joey B., Sir,' the Major would say, with a flourish of his walking-stick, `is worth a dozen of you. If you had a few more of the Bagstock breed among you, Sir, you'd be none the worse for it. Old Joe, Sir, needn't look far for a wife even now, if he was on the look-out; but he's hard-hearted, Sir, is Joe--he's tough, Sir, tough, and de-vilish sly!' After such a declaration wheezing sounds would be heard; and the Major's blue would deepen into purple, while his eyes strained and started convulsively.

Notwithstanding his very liberal laudation of himself, however, the Major was selfish. It may be doubted whether there ever was a more entirely selfish person at heart; or at stomach is perhaps a better expression, seeing that he was more decidedly endowed with that latter organ than with the former. He had no idea of being overlooked or slighted by anybody; least of all, had he the remotest comprehension of being over-looked and slighted by Miss Tox.

And yet, Miss Tox, as it appeared, forgot him--gradually forgot him. She began to forget him soon after her discovery of the Toodle family. She continued to forget him up to the time of the christening. She went on forgetting him with compound interest after that. Something or somebody had superseded him as a source of interest.

`Good morning, Ma'am,' said the Major, meeting Miss Tox in Princess's Place, some weeks after the changes chronicled in the last chapter.

`Good morning, Sir,' said Miss Tox; very coldly.

`Joe Bagstock, Ma'am,' observed the Major, with his usual gallantry, `has not had the happiness of bowing to you at your window, for a considerable period. Joe has been hardly used, ma'am. His sun has been behind a cloud.'

Miss Tox inclined her head; but very coldly indeed.

`Joe's luminary has been out of town, Ma'am, perhaps,' inquired the Major.

`I? out of town? oh no, I have not been out of town,' said Miss Tox. `I have been much engaged lately. My time is nearly all devoted to some very intimate friends. I am afraid I have none to spare, even now. Good morning, Sir!'

As Miss Tox, with her most fascinating step and carriage, disappeared from Princess's Place, the Major stood looking after her with a bluer face than ever: muttering and growling some not at all complimentary remarks.

`Why, damme, Sir,' said the Major, rolling his lobster eyes round and round Princess's Place, and apostrophizing its fragrant air, `six months ago, the woman loved the ground Joe Bagstock walked on. What's the meaning of it?'

The Major decided, after some consideration, that it meant man-traps; that it meant plotting and snaring; that Miss Tox was digging pitfalls. `But you won't catch Joe, Ma'am,' said the Major. `He's tough, Ma'am, tough, is J. B. Tough, and de-vilish sly!' over which reflection he chuckled for the rest of the day.

But still, when that day and many other days were gone and past, it seemed that Miss Tox took no heed whatever of the Major, and thought nothing at all about him. She had been wont, once upon a time, to look out at one of her little dark windows by accident, and blushingly return the Major's greeting; but now, she never gave the Major a chance, and cared nothing at all whether he looked over the way or not. Other changes had come to pass too. The Major, standing in the shade of his own apartment, could make out that an air of greater smartness had recently come over Miss Tox's house; that a new cage with gilded wires had been provided for the ancient little canary bird; that divers ornaments, cut out of coloured card-boards and paper, seemed to decorate the chimney-piece and tables; that a plant or two had suddenly sprung up in the windows; that Miss Tox occasionally practised on the harpsichord,

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