father, “the idea of your partaking of such lowly fare! But at least you must have your own loaf and your own penn’orth. One moment, my dear. The Dairy is just over the way and round the corner.”

Regardless of Bella’s dissuasions he ran out, and quickly returned with the new supply. “My dear child,” he said, as he spread it on another piece of paper before her, “the idea of a splendid—!” and then looked at her figure, and stopped short.

“What’s the matter, Pa?”

“ — of a splendid female,” he resumed more slowly, “putting up with such accommodation as the present! — Is that a new dress you have on, my dear?”

“No, Pa, an old one. Don’t you remember it?”

“Why, I thought I remembered it, my dear!”

“You should, for you bought it, Pa.”

“Yes, I thought I bought it my dear!” said the cherub, giving himself a little shake, as if to rouse his faculties.

“And have you grown so fickle that you don’t like your own taste, Pa dear?”

“Well, my love,” he returned, swallowing a bit of the cottage loaf with considerable effort, for it seemed to stick by the way: “I should have thought it was hardly sufficiently splendid for existing circumstances.”

“And so, Pa,” said Bella, moving coaxingly to his side instead of remaining opposite, “you sometimes have a quiet tea here all alone? I am not in the tea’s way, if I draw my arm over your shoulder like this, Pa?”

“Yes, my dear, and no, my dear. Yes to the first question, and Certainly Not to the second. Respecting the quiet tea, my dear, why you see the occupations of the day are sometimes a little wearing; and if there’s nothing interposed between the day and your mother, why she is sometimes a little wearing, too.”

“I know, Pa.”

“Yes, my dear. So sometimes I put a quiet tea at the window here, with a little quiet contemplation of the Lane (which comes soothing), between the day, and domestic—”

“Bliss,” suggested Bella, sorrowfully.

“And domestic Bliss,” said her father, quite contented to accept the phrase.

Bella kissed him. “And it is in this dark dingy place of captivity, poor dear, that you pass all the hours of your life when you are not at home?”

“Not at home, or not on the road there, or on the road here, my love. Yes. You see that little desk in the corner?”

“In the dark corner, furthest both from the light and from the fireplace? The shabbiest desk of all the desks?”

“Now, does it really strike you in that point of view, my dear?” said her father, surveying it artistically with his head on one side: “that’s mine. That’s called Rumty’s Perch.”

“Whose Perch?” asked Bella with great indignation.

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