Cupid Prompted

To use the cold language of the world, Mrs. Alfred Lammle rapidly improved the acquaintance of Miss Podsnap. To use the warm language of Mrs. Lammle, she and her sweet Georgiana soon became one: in heart, in mind, in sentiment, in soul.

Whenever Georgiana could escape from the thraldom of Podsnappery; could throw off the bedclothes of the custard- coloured phaëton, and get up; could shrink out of the range of her mother’s rocking, and (so to speak) rescue her poor little frosty toes from being rocked over; she repaired to her friend, Mrs. Alfred Lammle. Mrs. Podsnap by no means objected. As a consciously “splendid woman,” accustomed to overhear herself so denominated by elderly osteologists pursuing their studies in dinner society, Mrs. Podsnap could dispense with her daughter. Mr. Podsnap, for his part, on being informed where Georgiana was, swelled with patronage of the Lammles. That they, when unable to lay hold of him, should respectfully grasp at the hem of his mantle; that they, when they could not bask in the glory of him the sun, should take up with the pale reflected light of the watery young moon his daughter; appeared quite natural, becoming, and proper. It gave him a better opinion of the discretion of the Lammles than he had heretofore held, as showing that they appreciated the value of the connexion. So, Georgiana repairing to her friend, Mr. Podsnap went out to dinner, and to dinner, and yet to dinner, arm in arm with Mrs. Podsnap: settling his obstinate head in his cravat and shirt-collar, much as if he were performing on the Pandean pipes, in his own honor, the triumphal march, See the conquering Podsnap comes, Sound the trumpets, beat the drums!

It was a trait in Mr. Podsnap’s character (and in one form or other it will be generally seen to pervade the depths and shallows of Podsnappery), that he could not endure a hint of disparagement of any friend or acquaintance of his. “How dare you?” he would seem to say, in such a case. “What do you mean? I have licensed this person. This person has taken out my certificate. Through this person you strike at me, Podsnap the Great. And it is not that I particularly care for the person’s dignity, but that I do most particularly care for Podsnap’s.” Hence, if any one in his presence had presumed to doubt the responsibility of the Lammles, he would have been mightily huffed. Not that any one did, for Veneering, M.P., was always the authority for their being very rich, and perhaps believed it. As indeed he might, if he chose, for anything he knew of the matter.

Mr. and Mrs. Lammle’s house in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, was but a temporary residence. It had done well enough, they informed their friends, for Mr. Lammle when a bachelor, but it would not do now. So, they were always looking at palatial residences in the best situations, and always very nearly taking or buying one, but never quite concluding the bargain. Hereby they made for themselves a shining little reputation apart. People said, on seeing a vacant palatial residence, “The very thing for the Lammles!” and wrote to the Lammles about it, and the Lammles always went to look at it, but unfortunately it never exactly answered. In short, they suffered so many disappointments, that they began to think it would he necessary to build a palatial residence. And hereby they made another shining reputation; many persons of their acquaintance becoming by anticipation dissatisfied with their own houses, and envious of the non-existent Lammle structure.

The handsome fittings and furnishings of the house in Sackville Street were piled thick and high over the skeleton up-stairs, and if it ever whispered from under its load of upholstery, “Here I am in the closet!” it was to very few ears, and certainly never to Miss Podsnap’s. What Miss Podsnap was particularly charmed with, next to the graces of her friend, was the happiness of her friend’s married life. This was frequently their theme of conversation.

“I am sure,” said Miss Podsnap, “Mr. Lammle is like a lover. At least I — I should think he was.”

“Georgiana, darling!” said Mrs. Lammle, holding up a forefinger, “Take care!”

“Oh my goodness me!” exclaimed Miss Podsnap, reddening. “What have I said now?”

“Alfred, you know,” hinted Mrs. Lammle, playfully shaking her head. “You were never to say Mr. Lammle any more, Georgiana.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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