Mr and Mrs Boffin in Consultation

BETAKING himself straight homeward, Mr Boffin, without further let or hindrance, arrived at the Bower, and gave Mrs Boffin (in a walking dress of black velvet and feathers, like a mourning coach-horse) an account of all he had said and done since breakfast.

“This brings us round, my dear,” he then pursued, “to the question we left unfinished: namely, whether there’s to be any new go-in for Fashion.”

“Now, I’ll tell you what I want, Noddy,” said Mrs Boffin, smoothing her dress with an air of immense enjoyment, “I want Society.”

“Fashionable Society, my dear?”

“Yes!” cried Mrs Boffin, laughing with the glee of a child. “Yes! It’s no good my being kept here like Wax-Work; is it now?”

“People have to pay to see Wax-Work, my dear,” returned her husband, “whereas (though you’d be cheap at the same money) the neighbours is welcome to see you for nothing.”

“But it don’t answer,” said the cheerful Mrs Boffin. “When we worked like the neighbours, we suited one another. Now we have left work off, we have left off suiting one another.”

“What, do you think of beginning work again?” Mr Boffin hinted.

“Out of the question! We have come into a great fortune, and we must do what’s right by our fortune; we must act up to it.”

Mr Boffin, who had a deep respect for his wife’s intuitive wisdom, replied, though rather pensively: “I suppose we must.”

“It’s never been acted up to yet, and, consequently, no good has come of it,” said Mrs Boffin.

“True, to the present time,” Mr Boffin assented, with his former pensiveness, as he took his seat upon his settle. “I hope good may be coming of it in the future time. Towards which, what’s your views, old lady?”

Mrs Boffin, a smiling creature, broad of figure and simple of nature, with her hands folded in her lap, and with buxom creases in her throat, proceeded to expound her views.

I say, a good house in a good neighbourhood, good things about us, good living, and good society. I say, live like our means, without extravagance, and be happy.”

“Yes. I say be happy, too,” assented the still pensive Mr Boffin.

“Lor-a-mussy!” exclaimed Mrs Boffin, laughing and clapping her hands, and gaily rocking herself to and fro, “when I think of me in a light yellow chariot and pair, with silver boxes to the wheels —”

“Oh! you was thinking of that, was you, my dear?”

“Yes!” cried the delighted creature. “And with a footman up behind, with a bar across, to keep his legs from being poled! And with a coachman up in front, sinking down into a seat big enough for three of him, all covered with upholstery in green and white! And with two bay horses tossing their heads and stepping higher than they trot long-ways! And with you and me leaning back inside, as grand as ninepence! Oh-h-h-h My! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

Mrs Boffin clapped her hands again, rocked herself again, beat her feet upon the floor, and wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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