No! cried the old man, making signs to Nell to listen, why not, eh? why not?
Because it would destroy all the delusion, and take away all the interest, wouldnt it? replied the little man. Would you care a hapenny for the Lord Chancellor if you knowd him in private and without his wig? certainly not.
Good! said the old man, venturing to touch one of the puppets, and drawing away his hand with a shrill laugh. Are you going to show em tonight? are you?
That is the intention, governor, replied the other, and unless Im much mistaken, Tommy Codlin is a calculating at this minute what weve lost through your coming upon us. Cheer up, Tommy, it cant be much.
The little man accompanied these latter words with a wink, expressive of the estimate he had formed of the travellers finances.
To this Mr Codlin, who had a surly, grumbling manner, replied, as he twitched Punch off the tombstone and flung him into the box, I dont care if we havent lost a farden, but youre too free. If you stood in front of the curtain and see the publics faces as I do, youd know human natur better.
Ah! its been the spoiling of you, Tommy, your taking to that branch, rejoined his companion. When you played the ghost in the reglar drama in the fairs, you believed in everything except ghosts. But now youre a universal mistruster. I never see a man so changed.
Never mind, said Mr Codlin, with the air of a discontented philosopher. I know better now, and praps Im sorry for it.
Turning over the figures in the box like one who knew and despised them, Mr Codlin drew one forth and held it up for the inspection of his friend:
Look here; heres all this Judys clothes falling to pieces again. You havent got a needle and thread I suppose?
The little man shook his head, and scratched it ruefully as he contemplated this severe indisposition of a principal performer. Seeing that they were at a loss, the child said timidly:
I have a needle, Sir, in my basket, and thread too. Will you let me try to mend it for you? I think I could do it neater than you could.
Even Mr Codlin had nothing to urge against a proposal so seasonable. Nelly, kneeling down beside the box, was soon busily engaged in her task, and accomplishing it to a miracle.
While she was thus engaged, the merry little man looked at her with an interest which did not appear to be diminished when he glanced at her helpless companion. When she had finished her work he thanked her, and inquired whither they were travelling.
N-no further tonight, I think, said the child, looking towards her grandfather.
If youre wanting a place to stop at, the man remarked, I should advise you to take up at the same house with us. Thats itthe long, low, white house there. Its very cheap.
The old man, notwithstanding his fatigue, would have remained in the churchyard all night if his new acquaintances had stayed there too. As he yielded to this suggestion a ready and rapturous assent, they all rose and walked away together; he keeping close to the box of puppets in which he was quite absorbed, the merry little man carrying it slung over his arm by a strap attached to it for the purpose, Nelly having hold of her grandfathers hand, and Mr Codlin sauntering slowly behind, casting up at the
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