enough to please him, used to stick pins in his legs, not being able to reach up any higher. I know thats a fact, for Maunders told it me himself.
What about the dwarfs, when they get old? inquired the landlord.
The older a dwarf is, the better worth he is, returned Mr Vuffin; a grey-headed dwarf, well wrinkled, is beyond all suspicion. But a giant weak in the legs and not standing uprightkeep him in the carawan, but never show him, never show him, for any persuasion that can be offered.
While Mr Vuffin and his two friends smoked their pipes and beguiled the time with such conversation as this, the silent gentleman sat in a warm corner, swallowing, or seeming to swallow, sixpennyworth of halfpence for practice, balancing a feather upon his nose, and rehearsing other feats of dexterity of that kind, without paying any regard whatever to the company, who in their turn left him utterly unnoticed. At length the weary child prevailed upon her grandfather to retire, and they withdrew, leaving the company yet seated round the fire, and the dogs fast asleep at a humble distance.
After bidding the old man good-night, Nell retired to her poor garret, but had scarcely closed the door, when it was gently tapped at. She opened it directly, and was a little startled by the sight of Mr Thomas Codlin, whom she had left, to all appearance, fast asleep downstairs.
What is the matter? said the child.
Nothings the matter, my dear, returned her visitor. Im your friend. Perhaps you havent thought so, but its me thats your friendnot him.
Not who? the child inquired.
Short, my dear. I tell you what, said Codlin, for all his having a kind of way with him that youll be very apt to like, Im the real, open-hearted man. I maynt look it, but I am indeed.
The child began to be alarmed, considering that the ale had taken effect upon Mr Codlin, and that this commendation of himself was the consequence.
Shorts very well, and seems kind, resumed the misanthrope, but he overdoes it. Now I dont.
Certainly if there were any fault in Mr Codlins usual deportment, it was that he rather underdid his kindness to those about him, than overdid it. But the child was puzzled, and could not tell what to say.
Take my advice, said Codlin: dont ask me why, but take it. As long as you travel with us, keep as near me as you can. Dont offer to leave usnot on any accountbut always stick to me and say that Im your friend. Will you bear that in mind, my dear, and always say that it was me that was your friend?
Say so where,and when? inquired the child innocently.
O, nowhere in particular, replied Codlin, a little put out as it seemed by the question; Im only anxious that you should think me so, and do me justice. You cant think what an interest I have in you. Why didnt you tell me your little historythat about you and the poor old gentleman? Im the best adviser that ever was, and so interested in youso much more interested than Short. I think theyre breaking up downstairs; you neednt tell Short, you know, that weve had this little talk together. God bless you. Recollect the friend. Codlins the friend, not Short. Shorts very well as far as he goes, but the real friend is Codlinnot Short.
Eking out these professions with a number of benevolent and protecting looks and great fervour of manner, Thomas Codlin stole away on tiptoe, leaving the child in a state of extreme surprise. She was still ruminating upon his curious behaviour, when the floor of the crazy stairs and landing cracked beneath the tread of the other travellers who were passing to their beds. When they had all passed, and the sound of their
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