If anyone had told Sponge that there was a rich papa and mamma on the look-out merely for amiable young men to bestow their fair daughters upon, he would have laughed them to scorn and said, ‘Why, you fool, they are only laughing at you;’ or ‘Don’t you see they are playing you off against somebody else?’ But our hero, like other men, was blind where he himself was concerned, and concluded that he was the exception to the general rule.

Mr and Mrs Jawleyford had their consultation too.

‘Well,’ said Mr Jawleyford, seating himself on the high wire fender immediately below a marble bust of himself on the mantelpiece; ‘I think he’ll do.’

‘Oh, no doubt,’ replied Mrs Jawleyford, who never saw any difficulty in the way of a match; ‘I should say he is a very nice young man,’ continued she.

‘Rather brusque in his manner, perhaps,’ observed Jawleyford, who was quite the ‘lady’ himself. ‘I wonder what he has?’ added he, fingering away at his whiskers.

‘He’s rich, I’ve no doubt,’ replied Mrs Jawleyford.

‘What makes you think so?’ asked her loving spouse.

‘I don’t know,’ replied Mrs Jawleyford; ‘somehow I feel certain he is -- but I can’t tell why -- all foxhunters are.’

‘I don’t know that,’ replied Jawleyford, who kenw some very poor ones. ‘I should like to know what he has,’ continued Jawleyford musingly, looking up at the deeply corniced ceiling as if he were calculating the chances among the filagree ornaments of the centre.

‘A hundred thousand, perhaps,’ suggested Mrs Jawleyford, who only knew two sums -- fifty and a hundred thousand.

‘That’s a vast of money,’ replied Jawleyford, with a slight shake of the head.

‘Fifty at least, then,’ suggested Mrs Jawleyford, coming down half way at once.

‘Well, if he has that, he’ll do,’ rejoined Jawleyford, who also had come down considerably in his expectations since the vision of his railway days, at whose bright light he had burnt his fingers.

‘He was said to have an immense fortune -- I forget how much -- at Laverick Wells,’ observed Mrs Jawleyford.

‘Well, we’ll see,’ said Jawleyford; adding, ‘I suppose either of the girls will be glad enough to take him?’

‘Trust them for that,’ replied Mrs Jawleyford, with a knowing smile and nod of the head: ‘trust them for that,’ repeated she. ‘Though Amelia does turn up her nose and pretend to be fine, rely upon it she only wants to be sure that he’s worth having.’

‘Emily seems ready enough, at all events,’ observed Jawleyford.

‘She’ll never get the chance,’ observed Mrs Jawleyford. ‘Amelia is a very prudent girl, and won’t commit herself, but she knows how to manage the men.’

‘Well then,’ said Jawleyford, with a hearty yawn, ‘I suppose we may as well go to bed.’

So saying, he took his candle and retired.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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