wished to stop, to which proposal the pony (who seldom objected to that part of his duty) graciously acceded.
I beg your pardon, Sir, said Kit. Im sorry you stopped, Sir. I only meant did you want your horse minded.
Im going to get down in the next street, returned the old gentleman. If you like to come on after us, you may have the job.
Kit thanked him, and joyfully obeyed. The pony ran off at a sharp angle to inspect a lamp-post on the opposite side of the way, and then went off at a tangent to another lamp-post on the other side. Having satisfied himself that they were of the same pattern and materials, he came to a stop apparently absorbed in meditation.
Will you go on, Sir, said the old gentleman, gravely, or are we to wait here for you till its too late for our appointment?
The pony remained immoveable.
Oh you naughty Whisker, said the old lady. Fie upon you! Im ashamed of such conduct.
The pony appeared to be touched by this appeal to his feelings, for he trotted on directly, though in a sulky manner, and stopped no more until he came to a door whereon was a brass plate with the words WitherdenNotary. Here the old gentleman got out and helped out the old lady, and then took from under the seat a nosegay resembling in shape and dimensions a full-sized warming-pan with the handle cut short off. This, the old lady carried into the house with a staid and stately air, and the old gentleman (who had a club-foot) followed close upon her.
They went, as it was easy to tell from the sound of their voices, into the front parlour, which seemed to be a kind of office. The day being very warm and the street a quiet one, the windows were wide open; and it was easy to hear through the Venetian blinds all that passed inside.
At first there was a great shaking of hands and shuffling of feet, succeeded by the presentation of the nosegay, for a voice, supposed by the listener to be that of Mr Witherden the Notary, was heard to exclaim a great many times, oh, delicious! oh, fragrant, indeed! and a nose, also supposed to be the property of that gentleman, was heard to inhale the scent with a snuffle of exceeding pleasure.
I brought it in honour of the occasion, Sir, said the old lady.
Ah! an occasion indeed, maam, an occasion which does honour to me, maam, honour to me, rejoined Mr Witherden the Notary. I have had many a gentleman articled to me, maam, many a one. Some of them are now rolling in riches, unmindful of their old companion and friend, maam, others are in the habit of calling upon me to this day and saying, Mr Witherden, some of the pleasantest hours I ever spent in my life were spent in this officewere spent, Sir, upon this very stool; but there was never one among the number, maam, attached as I have been to many of them, of whom I augured such bright things as I do of your only son.
Oh dear! said the old lady. How happy you do make us when you tell us that, to be sure!
I tell you, maam, said Mr Witherden, what I think as an honest man, which, as the poet observes, is the noblest work of God. I agree with the poet in every particular, maam. The mountainous Alps on the one hand, or a humming-bird on the other, is nothing, in point of workmanship, to an honest manor womanor woman.
Anything that Mr Witherden can say of me, observed a small quiet voice, I can say with interest of him, I am sure.
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