in the clothes-basket, which put him in high good-humour directly, and stoutly determined to be talkative and make himself agreeable.
Ah, mother! said Kit, taking out his clasp-knife and falling upon a great piece of bread and meat which she had had ready for him, hours before, what a one you are! There ant many such as you, I know.
I hope there are many a great deal better, Kit, said Mrs Nubbles; and that there are, or ought to be, accordin to what the parson at chapel says.
Much he knows about it, returned Kit contemptuously. Wait till hes a widder and works like you do, and gets as little, and does as much, and keeps his spirits up the same, and then Ill ask him whats oclock and trust him for being right to half a second.
Well, said Mrs Nubbles, evading the point, your beers down there by the fender, Kit.
I see, replied her son, taking up the porter pot, my love to you, mother. And the parsons health too if you like. I dont bear him any malice, not I!
Did you tell me just now that your master hadnt gone out tonight? inquired Mrs Nubbles.
Yes, said Kit, worse luck.
You should say better luck, I think, returned his mother, because Miss Nelly wont have been left alone.
Ah! said Kit, I forgot that. I said worse luck, because Ive been watching ever since eight oclock, and seen nothing of her.
I wonder what shed say, cried his mother, stopping in her work and looking round, if she knew that every night, when she poor thing is sitting alone at that window, you are watching in the open street for fear any harm should come to her, and that you never leave the place or come home to your bed though youre ever so tired, till such time as you think shes safe in hers.
Never mind what shed say, replied Kit, with something like a blush on his uncouth face; shell never know nothing, and consequently, shell never say nothing.
Mrs Nubbles ironed away in silence for a minute or two, and coming to the fireplace for another iron, glanced stealthily at Kit while she rubbed it on a board and dusted it with a duster, but said nothing until she had returned to her table again, when holding the iron at an alarmingly short distance from her cheek, to test its temperature, and looking round with a smile, she observed:
I know what some people would say, Kit
Nonsense, interposed Kit with a perfect apprehension of what was to follow.
No, but they would indeed. Some people would say that youd fallen in love with her, I know they would.
To this, Kit only replied by bashfully bidding his mother get out, and forming sundry strange figures with his legs and arms, accompanied by sympathetic contortions of his face. Not deriving from these means the relief which he sought, he bit off an immense mouthful from the bread and meat, and took a quick drink of the porter, by which artificial aids he choked himself and effected a diversion of the subject.
Speaking seriously though, Kit, said his mother taking up the theme afresh, after a time, for of course I was only in joke just now, its very good and thoughtful, and like you, to do this, and never let anybody know it, though some day I hope she may come to know it, for Im sure she would be very grateful to you, and feel it very much. Its a cruel thing to keep the dear child shut up there. I dont wonder that the old gentleman wants to keep it from you.
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