Thankee, Mrs Sparsit, said the whelp. And gloomily fell to.
How is Mr Harthouse, Mr Tom? asked Mrs Sparsit.
Oh, hes all right, said Tom.
Where may he be at present? Mrs Sparsit asked in a light conversational manner, after mentally devoting the whelp to the Furies for being so uncommunicative.
He is shooting in Yorkshire, said Tom. Sent Loo a basket half as big as a church, yesterday.
The kind of gentleman, now, said Mrs Sparsit, sweetly, whom one might wager to be a good shot!
Crack, said Tom.
He had long been a down-looking young fellow, but this characteristic had so increased of late, that he never raised his eyes to any face for three seconds together. Mrs Sparsit consequently had ample means of watching his looks, if she were so inclined.
Mr Harthouse is a great favourite of mine, said Mrs Sparsit, as indeed he is of most people. May we expect to see him again shortly, Mr Tom?
Why, I expect to see him tomorrow, returned the whelp.
Good news! cried Mrs Sparsit, blandly.
I have got an appointment with him to meet him in the evening at the station here, said Tom, and I am going to dine with him afterwards, I believe. He is not coming down to the country house for a week or so, being due somewhere else. At least, he says so; but I shouldnt wonder if he was to stop here over Sunday, and stray that way.
Which reminds me! said Mrs Sparsit. Would you remember a message to your sister, Mr Tom, if I was to charge you with one?
Well? Ill try, returned the reluctant whelp, if it isnt a long un.
It is merely my respectful compliments, said Mrs Sparsit, and I fear I may not trouble her with my society this week; being still a little nervous, and better perhaps by my poor self.
Oh! If thats all, observed Tom, it wouldnt much matter, even if I was to forget it, for Loos not likely to think of you unless she sees you.
Having paid for his entertainment with this agreeable compliment, he relapsed into a hangdog silence until there was no more India ale left, when he said, Well, Mrs Sparsit, I must be off! and went off.
Next day, Saturday, Mrs Sparsit sat at her window all day long looking at the customers coming in and out, watching the postmen, keeping an eye on the general traffic of the street, revolving many things in her mind, but, above all, keeping her attention on her staircase. The evening come, she put on her bonnet and shawl, and went quietly out: having her reasons for hovering in a furtive way about the station by which a passenger would arrive from Yorkshire, and for preferring to peep into its round pillars and corners, and out of ladies waiting-room windows, to appearing in its precincts openly.
Tom was in attendance, and loitered about until the expected train came in. It brought no Mr Harthouse. Tom waited until the crowd had dispersed, and the bustle was over; and then referred to a posted list of trains, and took counsel with porters. That done, he strolled away idly, stopping in the street and looking up it and down it, and lifting his hat off and putting it on again, and yawning and stretching himself, and
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