Effect is Given to the Dolls' Dressmaker's Discovery

MRS. JOHN ROKESMITH sat at needlework in her neat little room, beside a basket of neat little articles of clothing, which presented so much of the appearance of being in the dolls’ dressmaker’s way of business, that one might have supposed she was going to set up in opposition to Miss Wren. Whether the Complete British Family Housewife had imparted sage counsel anent them, did not appear, but probably not, as that cloudy oracle was nowhere visible. For certain, however, Mrs. John Rokesmith stitched at them with so dexterous a hand, that she must have taken lessons of somebody. Love is in all things a most wonderful teacher, and perhaps love (from a pictorial point of view, with nothing on but a thimble), had been teaching this branch of needlework to Mrs. John Rokesmith.

It was near John’s time for coming home, but as Mrs. John was desirous to finish a special triumph of her skill before dinner, she did not go out to meet him. Placidly, though rather consequentially smiling, she sat stitching away with a regular sound, like a sort of dimpled little charming Dresden-china clock by the very best maker.

A knock at the door, and a ring at the bell. Not John; or Bella would have flown out to meet him. Then who, if not John? Bella was asking herself the question, when that fluttering little fool of a servant fluttered in, saying, “Mr. Lightwood!”

Oh good gracious!

Bella had but time to throw a handkerchief over the basket, when Mr. Lightwood made his bow. There was something amiss with Mr. Lightwood, for he was strangely grave and looked ill.

With a brief reference to the happy time when it had been his privilege to know Mrs. Rokesmith as Miss Wilfer, Mr. Lightwood explained what was amiss with him and why he came. He came bearing Lizzie Hexam’s earnest hope that Mrs. John Rokesmith would see her married.

Bella was so fluttered by the request, and by the short narrative he had feelingly given her, that there never was a more timely smelling-bottle than John’s knock. “My husband,” said Bella; “I’ll bring him in.”

But, that turned out to be more easily said than done; for, the instant she mentioned Mr. Lightwood’s name, John stopped, with his hand upon the lock of the room door.

“Come up stairs, my darling.” Bella was amazed by the flush in his face, and by his sudden turning away. “What can it mean?” she thought, as she accompanied him up stairs.

“Now, my life,” said John, taking her on his knee, “tell me all about it.”

All very well to say, “Tell me all about it;” but John was very much confused. His attention evidently trailed off, now and then, even while Bella told him all about it. Yet she knew that he took a great interest in Lizzie and her fortunes. What could it mean?

“You will come to this marriage with me, John dear?”

“N — no, my love; I can’t do that.”

“You can’t do that, John?”

“No, my dear, it’s quite out of the question. Not to be thought of.”

“Am I to go alone, John?”

“No, my dear, you will go with Mr. Lightwood.”

“Don’t you think it’s time we went down to Mr. Lightwood, John dear?” Bella insinuated.

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