This artless inquiry might have led to turbulent results, but for the strong emotions of delight evinced by Bailey junior, whose relish in the turn the conversation had lately taken was so acute, that it impelled and forced him to the instantaneous performance of a dancing step, extremely difficult in its nature, and only to be achieved in a moment of ecstasy, which is commonly called The Frog's Hornpipe. A manifestation so lively, brought to their immediate recollection the great virtuous precept, `Keep up appearances whatever you do,' in which they had been educated. They forbore at once, and jointly signified to Mr. Bailey that if he should presume to practise that figure any more in their presence, they would instantly acquaint Mrs. Todgers with the fact, and would demand his condign punishment at the hands of that lady. The young gentleman having expressed the bitterness of his contrition by affecting to wipe away scalding tears with his apron, and afterwards feigning to wring a vast amount of water from that garment, held the door open while Miss Charity passed out: and so that damsel went in state up-stairs to receive her mysterious adorer.
By some strange occurrence of favourable circumstances he had found out the drawing-room, and was sitting there alone.
`Ah, cousin!' he said. `Here I am, you see. You thought I was lost, I'll be bound. Well! how do you find yourself by this time?'
Miss Charity replied that she was quite well, and gave Mr. Jonas Chuzzlewit her hand.
`That's right,' said Mr. Jonas, `and you've got over the fatigues of the journey have you? I say. How's the other one?'
`My sister is very well, I believe,' returned the young lady. `I have not heard her complain of any indisposition, sir. Perhaps you would like to see her, and ask her yourself?'
`No, no cousin!' said Mr. Jonas, sitting down beside her on the window-seat. `Don't be in a hurry. There's no occasion for that, you know. What a cruel girl you are!'
`It's impossible for you to know,' said Cherry, `whether I am or not.'
`Well, perhaps it is,' said Mr. Jonas. `I say! Did you think I was lost? You haven't told me that.'
`I didn't think at all about it,' answered Cherry.
`Didn't you though?' said Jonas, pondering upon this strange reply. `--Did the other one?'
`I am sure it's impossible for me to say what my sister may, or may not have thought on such a subject,' cried Cherry. `She never said anything to me about it, one way or other.'
`Didn't she laugh about it?' inquired Jonas.
`No. She didn't even laugh about it,' answered Charity.
`She's a terrible one to laugh, an't she?' said Jonas, lowering his voice.
`She is very lively,' said Cherry.
`Liveliness is a pleasant thing -- when it don't lead to spending money. An't it?' asked Mr. Jonas.
`Very much so, indeed,' said Cherry, with a demureness of manner that gave a very disinterested character to her assent.
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