whelp yielded to this influence. He looked at his companion sneakingly, he looked at him admiringly, he looked at him boldly, and put up one leg on the sofa.
My sister Loo? said Tom. She never cared for old Bounderby.
Thats the past tense, Tom, returned Mr James Harthouse, striking the ash from his cigar with his little finger. We are in the present tense, now.
Verb neuter, not to care. Indicative mood, present tense. First person singular, I do not care; second person singular, thou dost not care; third person singular, she does not care, returned Tom.
Good! Very quaint! said his friend. Though you dont mean it.
But I do mean it, cried Tom. Upon my honour! Why, you wont tell me, Mr Harthouse, that you really suppose my sister Loo does care for old Bounderby.
My dear fellow, returned the other, what am I bound to suppose, when I find two married people living in harmony and happiness?
Tom had by this time got both his legs on the sofa. If his second leg had not been already there when he was called a dear fellow, he would have put it up at that great stage of the conversation. Feeling it necessary to do something then, he stretched himself out at greater length, and, reclining with the back of his head on the end of the sofa, and smoking with an infinite assumption of negligence, turned his common face, and not too sober eyes, towards the face looking down upon him so carelessly yet so potently.
You know our governor, Mr Harthouse, said Tom, and therefore you neednt be surprised that Loo married old Bounderby. She never had a lover, and the governor proposed old Bounderby, and she took him.
Very dutiful in your interesting sister, said Mr James Harthouse.
Yes, but she wouldnt have been as dutiful, and it would not have come off as easily, returned the whelp, if it hadnt been for me.
The tempter merely lifted his eyebrows; but the whelp was obliged to go on.
I persuaded her, he said, with an edifying air of superiority. I was stuck into old Bounderbys bank (where I never wanted to be), and I knew I should get into scrapes there, if she put old Bounderbys pipe out; so I told her my wishes, and she came into them. She would do anything for me. It was very game of her, wasnt it?
It was charming, Tom!
Not that it was altogether so important to her as it was to me, continued Tom coolly, because my liberty and comfort, and perhaps my getting on, depended on it; and she had no other lover, and staying at home was like staying in jail especially when I was gone. It wasnt as if she gave up another lover for old Bounderby; but still it was a good thing in her.
Perfectly delightful. And she gets on so placidly.
Oh, returned Tom, with contemptuous patronage, shes a regular girl. A girl can get on anywhere. She has settled down to the life, and she dont mind. It does just as well as another. Besides, though Loo is a girl, shes not a common sort of girl. She can shut herself up within herself, and think as I have often known her sit and watch the fire for an hour at a stretch.
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