Several People delighted, and the Game Chicken disgustedTHE Midshipman was all alive. Mr. Toots and Susan had arrived at last. Susan has run up stairs like a young woman bereft of her senses, and Mr. Toots and the Chicken had gone into the parlour.
`Oh my own pretty darling sweet Miss Floy!' cried the Nipper, running into Florence's room, `to think that it should come to this and I should find you here my own dear dove with nobody to wait upon you and no home to call your own but never never will I go away again Miss Floy for though I may not gather moss I'm not a rolling stone nor is my heart a stone or else it wouldn't bust as it is busting now oh dear oh dear!'
Pouring out these words, without the faintest indication of a stop, of any sort, Miss Nipper, on her knees beside her mistress, hugged her close.
`Oh love!' cried Susan, `I know all that's past I know it all my tender pet and I'm a choking give me air!'
`Susan, dear good Susan!' said Florence.
`Oh bless her! I that was her little maid when she was a little child! and is she really, really truly going to be married?' exclaimed Susan, in a burst of pain and pleasure, pride and grief, and Heaven knows how many other conflicting feelings.
`Who told you so?' said Florence.
`Oh gracious me! that innocentest creetur Toots,' returned Susan hysterically. `I knew he must be right my dear because he took on so. He's the devotedest and innocentest infant!And is my darling,' pursued Susan, with another close embrace and burst of tears, `really really going to be married!'
The mixture of compassion, pleasure, tenderness, protection, and regret with which the Nipper constantly recurred to this subject, and at every such recurrence, raised her head to look in the young face and kiss it, and then laid her head again upon her mistress's shoulder, caressing her and sobbing, was as womanly and good a thing, in its way, as ever was seen in the world.
`There, there!' said the soothing voice of Florence presently. `Now you're quite yourself, dear Susan!'
Miss Nipper, sitting down upon the floor, at her mistress's feet, laughing and sobbing, holding her pocket- handkerchief to her eyes with one hand, and patting Diogenes with the other as he licked her face, confessed to being more composed, and laughed and cried a little more in proof of it.
`I--I--I never did see such a creetur as that Toots,' said Susan, `in all my born days never!'
`So kind,' suggested Florence.
`And so comic!' Susan sobbed. `The way he's been going on inside with me with that disrespectable Chicken on the box!'
`About what, Susan?' inquired Florence timidly.
`Oh about Lieutenant Walters, and Captain Gills, and you my dear Miss Floy, and the silent tomb,' said Susan.
`The silent tomb!' repeated Florence.
`He says,' here Susan burst into a violent hysterical laugh, `that he'll go down into it now immediately and quite comfortable, but bless your heart my dear Miss Floy he won't, he's a great deal too happy in seeing other people happy for that, he may not be a Solomon,' pursued the Nipper, with her usual volubility, `nor do I say he is but this I do say a less selfish human creature human nature never knew!'
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