Chapter 59

WHEN KIT, having discharged his errand, came downstairs from the single gentleman’s apartment after the lapse of a quarter of an hour or so, Mr Sampson Brass was alone in the office. He was not singing as usual, nor was he seated at his desk. The open door showed him standing before the fire with his back towards it, and looking so very strange that Kit supposed he must have been suddenly taken ill.

‘Is anything the matter, Sir?’ said Kit.

‘Matter!’ cried Brass. ‘No. Why anything the matter?’

‘You are so very pale,’ said Kit, ‘that I should hardly have known you.’

‘Pooh pooh! mere fancy,’ cried Brass, stooping to throw up the cinders. ‘Never better, Kit, never better in all my life. Merry too. Ha ha! How’s our friend above-stairs, eh?’

‘A great deal better,’ said Kit.

‘I’m glad to hear it,’ rejoined Brass; ‘thankful, I may say. An excellent gentleman—worthy, liberal, generous, gives very little trouble—an admirable lodger. Ha ha! Mr Garland—he’s well, I hope, Kit—and the pony—my friend, my particular friend, you know. Ha ha!’

Kit gave a satisfactory account of all the little household at Abel Cottage. Mr Brass, who seemed remarkably inattentive and impatient, mounted on his stool, and beckoning him to come nearer, took him by the button-hole.

‘I have been thinking, Kit,’ said the lawyer, ‘that I could throw some little emoluments into your mother’s way—You have a mother, I think? If I recollect right, you told me—’

‘Oh yes, Sir, yes certainly.’

‘A widow, I think? an industrious widow?’

‘A harder-working woman or a better mother never lived, Sir.’

‘Ah!’ cried Brass. ‘That’s affecting, truly affecting. A poor widow struggling to maintain her orphans in decency and comfort, is a delicious picture of human goodness.—Put down your hat, Kit.’

‘Thank you, Sir, I must be going directly.’

‘Put it down while you stay, at any rate,’ said Brass, taking it from him and making some confusion among the papers, in finding a place for it on the desk. ‘I was thinking, Kit, that we have often houses to let for people we are concerned for, and matters of that sort. Now you know we’re obliged to put people into those houses to take care of ’em—very often undeserving people that we can’t depend upon. What’s to prevent our having a person that we can depend upon, and enjoying the delight of doing a good action at the same time? I say, what’s to prevent our employing this worthy woman, your mother? What with one job and another, there’s lodging—and good lodging too—pretty well all the year round, rent free, and a weekly allowance besides, Kit, that would provide them with a great many comforts they don’t at present enjoy. Now what do you think of that? Do you see any objection? My only desire is to serve you, Kit; therefore if you do, say so freely.’

As Brass spoke, he moved the hat twice or thrice, and shuffled among the papers again, as if in search of something.

‘How can I see any objection to such a kind offer, Sir?’ replied Kit with his whole heart. ‘I don’t know how to thank you, Sir, I don’t indeed.’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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