though there was a full-sized four-post bedstead in the window, such a tear stood trembling in his eye, as seemed to blot it out.

`Augustus, my love,' said Miss Pecksniff, `ask the price of the eight rosewood chairs, and the loo table.'

`Perhaps they are ordered already,' said Augustus. `Perhaps they are Another's.'

`They can make more like them, if they are,' rejoined Miss Pecksniff.

`No, no, they can't,' said Moddle. `It's impossible!'

He appeared, for the moment, to be quite overwhelmed and stupefied by the prospect of his approaching happiness; but recovering, entered the shop. He returned immediately: saying in a tone of despair

`Twenty-four pound ten!'

Miss Pecksniff, turning to receive this announcement, became conscious of the observation of Tom Pinch and his sister.

`Oh, really!' cried Miss Pecksniff, glancing about her, as if for some convenient means of sinking into the earth. `Upon my word, I--there never was such a--to think that one should be so very--Mr. Augustus Moddle, Miss Pinch!'

Miss Pecksniff was quite gracious to Miss Pinch in this triumphant introduction; exceedingly gracious. She was more than gracious; she was kind and cordial. Whether the recollection of the old service Tom had rendered her in knocking Mr. Jonas on the head had wrought this change in her opinions; or whether her separation from her parent had reconciled her to all human-kind, or to all that interesting portion of human-kind which was not friendly to him: or whether the delight of having some new female acquaintance to whom to communicate her interesting prospects was paramount to every other consideration; cordial and kind Miss Pecksniff was. And twice Miss Pecksniff kissed Miss Pinch upon the cheek.

`Augustus--Mr. Pinch, you know. My dear girl!' said Miss Pecksniff, aside. `I never was so ashamed in my life.'

Ruth begged her not to think of it.

`I mind your brother less than anybody else,' simpered Miss Pecksniff. `But the indelicacy of meeting any gentleman under such circumstances! Augustus, my child, did you--'

Here Miss Pecksniff whispered in his ear. The suffering Moddle repeated:

`Twenty-four pound ten!'

`Oh, you silly man! I don't mean them,' said Miss Pecksniff. `I am speaking of the--'

Here she whispered him again.

`If it's the same patterned chintz as that in the window; thirty-two, twelve, six,' said Moddle, with a sigh. `And very dear.'

Miss Pecksniff stopped him from giving any further explanation by laying her hand upon his lips, and betraying a soft embarrassment. She then asked Tom Pinch which way he was going.

`I was going to see if I could find your sister,' answered Tom, `to whom I wished to say a few words. We were going to Mrs. Todgers's, where I had the pleasure of seeing her before.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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