`I shall take the usual licence, Mr Browdie,' said Nicholas, as he placed a chair for the bride.
`Tak' whatever thou like'st,' said John, `and when a's gane, ca' for more.'
Without stopping to explain, Nicholas kissed the blushing Mrs Browdie, and handed her to her seat.
`I say,' said John, rather astounded for the moment, `mak' theeself quite at whoam, will 'ee?'
`You may depend upon that,' replied Nicholas; `on one condition.'
`And wa'at may thot be?' asked John.
`That you make me a godfather the very first time you have occasion for one.'
`Eh! d'ye hear thot?' cried John, laying down his knife and fork. `A godfeyther! Ha! ha! ha! Tilly--hear till 'un--a godfeyther! Divn't say a word more, ye'll never beat thot. Occasion for 'un--a godfeyther! Ha! ha! ha!'
Never was man so tickled with a respectable old joke, as John Browdie was with this. He chuckled, roared, half suffocated himself by laughing large pieces of beef into his windpipe, roared again, persisted in eating at the same time, got red in the face and black in the forehead, coughed, cried, got better, went off again laughing inwardly, got worse, choked, had his back thumped, stamped about, frightened his wife, and at last recovered in a state of the last exhaustion and with the water streaming from his eyes, but still faintly ejaculating, `A godfeyther--a godfeyther, Tilly!' in a tone bespeaking an exquisite relish of the sally, which no suffering could diminish.
`You remember the night of our first tea-drinking?' said Nicholas.
`Shall I e'er forget it, mun?' replied John Browdie.
`He was a desperate fellow that night though, was he not, Mrs Browdie?' said Nicholas. `Quite a monster!'
`If you had only heard him as we were going home, Mr Nickleby, you'd have said so indeed,' returned the bride. `I never was so frightened in all my life.'
`Coom, coom,' said John, with a broad grin; `thou know'st betther than thot, Tilly.'
`So I was,' replied Mrs Browdie. `I almost made up my mind never to speak to you again.'
`A'most!' said John, with a broader grin than the last. `A'most made up her mind! And she wur coaxin', and coaxin', and wheedlin', and wheedlin' a' the blessed wa'. "Wa'at didst thou let yon chap mak' oop tiv'ee for?" says I. "I deedn't, John," says she, a squeedgin my arm. "You deedn't?" says I. "Noa," says she, a squeedgin of me agean.'
`Lor, John!' interposed his pretty wife, colouring very much. `How can you talk such nonsense? As if I should have dreamt of such a thing!'
`I dinnot know whether thou'd ever dreamt of it, though I think that's loike eneaf, mind,' retorted John; `but thou didst it. "Ye're a feeckle, changeable weathercock, lass," says I. "Not feeckle, John," says she. "Yes," says I, "feeckle, dom'd feeckle. Dinnot tell me thou bean't, efther you chap at schoolmeasther's," says I. "Him!" says she, quite screeching. "Ah! him!" says I. "Why, John," says she--and she coom a deal closer and squeedged a deal harder than she'd deane afore--"dost thou think it's nat'ral noo, that having such a proper mun as thou to keep company wi', I'd ever tak' opp wi' such a leetle scanty whipper-snapper as yon?" she says. Ha! ha! ha! She said whipper-snapper! "Ecod!" I says, "efther thot, neame the day, and let's have it ower!" Ha! ha! ha!'
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