fire, until--having sat himself down in a corner, and remarked that he would wait until the other customers had been served--the fat lady resumed the dialogue which his entrance had interrupted.
`Cook, Tom,' said the fat lady, still airing herself as aforesaid.
`Cook,' said Tom, turning over some leaves of the ledger. `Well!'
`Read out an easy place or two,' said the fat lady.
`Pick out very light ones, if you please, young man,' interposed a genteel female, in shepherd's-plaid boots, who appeared to be the client.
`"Mrs Marker,"' said Tom, reading, `"Russell Place, Russell Square; offers eighteen guineas; tea and sugar found. Two in family, and see very little company. Five servants kept. No man. No followers."'
`Oh Lor!' tittered the client. `That won't do. Read another, young man, will you?'
`"Mrs Wrymug,"' said Tom, `"Pleasant Place, Finsbury. Wages, twelve guineas. No tea, no sugar. Serious family--"'
`Ah! you needn't mind reading that,' interrupted the client.
`"Three serious footmen,"' said Tom, impressively.
`Three? did you say?' asked the client in an altered tone.
`Three serious footmen,' replied Tom. `"Cook, housemaid, and nursemaid; each female servant required to join the Little Bethel Congregation three times every Sunday--with a serious footman. If the cook is more serious than the footman, she will be expected to improve the footman; if the footman is more serious than the cook, be will be expected to improve the cook."'
`I'll take the address of that place,' said the client; `I don't know but what it mightn't suit me pretty well.'
`Here's another,' remarked Tom, turning over the leaves. `"Family of Mr Gallanbile, MP. Fifteen guineas, tea and sugar, and servants allowed to see male cousins, if godly. Note. Cold dinner in the kitchen on the Sabbath, Mr Gallanbile being devoted to the Observance question. No victuals whatever cooked on the Lord's Day, with the exception of dinner for Mr and Mrs Gallanbile, which, being a work of piety and necessity, is exempted. Mr Gallanbile dines late on the day of rest, in order to prevent the sinfulness of the cook's dressing herself"'
`I don't think that'll answer as well as the other,' said the client, after a little whispering with her friend. `I'll take the other direction, if you please, young man. I can but come back again, if it don't do.'
Tom made out the address, as requested, and the genteel client, having satisfied the fat lady with a small fee, meanwhile, went away accompanied by her friend.
As Nicholas opened his mouth, to request the young man to turn to letter S, and let him know what secretaryships remained undisposed of, there came into the office an applicant, in whose favour he immediately retired, and whose appearance both surprised and interested him.
This was a young lady who could be scarcely eighteen, of very slight and delicate figure, but exquisitely shaped, who, walking timidly up to the desk, made an inquiry, in a very low tone of voice, relative to some situation as governess, or companion to a lady. She raised her veil, for an instant, while she preferred the inquiry, and disclosed a countenance of most uncommon beauty, though shaded by a cloud of sadness, which, in one so young, was doubly remarkable. Having received a card of reference to some person on the books, she made the usual acknowledgment, and glided away.
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