During this short conversation, Miss Morleena, as the eldest of the family, and natural representative of her mother during her indisposition, had been hustling and slapping the three younger Miss Kenwigses, without intermission; which considerate and affectionate conduct brought tears into the eyes of Mr Kenwigs, and caused him to declare that, in understanding and behaviour, that child was a woman.
`She will be a treasure to the man she marries, sir,' said Mr Kenwigs, half aside; `I think she'll marry above her station, Mr Lumbey.'
`I shouldn't wonder at all,' replied the doctor.
`You never see her dance, sir, did you?' asked Mr Kenwigs.
The doctor shook his head.
`Ay!' said Mr Kenwigs, as though he pitied him from his heart, `then you don't know what she's capable of.'
All this time there had been a great whisking in and out of the other room; the door had been opened and shut very softly about twenty times a minute (for it was necessary to keep Mrs Kenwigs quiet); and the baby had been exhibited to a score or two of deputations from a select body of female friends, who had assembled in the passage, and about the street-door, to discuss the event in all its bearings. Indeed, the excitement extended itself over the whole street, and groups of ladies might be seen standing at the doors, -- some in the interesting condition in which Mrs Kenwigs had last appeared in public, -- relating their experiences of similar occurrences. Some few acquired great credit from having prophesied, the day before yesterday, exactly when it would come to pass; others, again, related, how that they guessed what it was, directly they saw Mr Kenwigs turn pale and run up the street as hard as ever he could go. Some said one thing, and some another; but all talked together, and all agreed upon two points: first, that it was very meritorious and highly praiseworthy in Mrs Kenwigs to do as she had done: and secondly, that there never was such a skilful and scientific doctor as that Dr Lumbey.
In the midst of this general hubbub, Dr Lumbey sat in the first-floor front, as before related, nursing the deposed baby, and talking to Mr Kenwigs. He was a stout bluff-looking gentleman, with no shirt-collar to speak of, and a beard that had been growing since yesterday morning; for Dr Lumbey was popular, and the neighbourhood was prolific; and there had been no less than three other knockers muffled, one after the other within the last forty-eight hours.
`Well, Mr Kenwigs,' said Dr Lumbey, `this makes six. You'll have a fine family in time, sir.'
`I think six is almost enough, sir,' returned Mr Kenwigs.
`Pooh! pooh!' said the doctor. `Nonsense! not half enough.'
With this, the doctor laughed; but he didn't laugh half as much as a married friend of Mrs Kenwigs's, who had just come in from the sick chamber to report progress, and take a small sip of brandy-and- water: and who seemed to consider it one of the best jokes ever launched upon society.
`They're not altogether dependent upon good fortune, neither,' said Mr Kenwigs, taking his second daughter on his knee; `they have expectations.'
`Oh, indeed!' said Mr Lumbey, the doctor.
`And very good ones too, I believe, haven't they?' asked the married lady.
`Why, ma'am,' said Mr Kenwigs, `it's not exactly for me to say what they may be, or what they may not be. It's not for me to boast of any family with which I have the honour to be connected; at the same time, Mrs Kenwigs's is -- I should say,' said Mr Kenwigs, abruptly, and raising his voice as he spoke, `that my
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|