water in the foot-bath beginning to get cool, he emptied the remainder of the hot into it, and lighting a fresh cigar, began speculating on how the match was to be accomplished.

The lady was safe, that was clear; he had nothing to do but ‘pop.’ That he would do in the evening, or in the morning, or any time -- a man living in the house with a girl need never be in want of an opportunity. That preliminary over, and the usual answer ‘Ask papa’ obtained, then came the question, how was the old boy to be managed? -- for men with marriageable daughters are to all intents and purposes ‘old boys;’ be their ages what they may.

He became lost in reflection. He eat with his eyes fixed on the Jawleyford portrait above the mantelpiece, wondering whether he was the amiable, liberal, hearty, disinterested sort of man, he appeared to be, indifferent about money, and only wanting unexceptionable young men for his daughters; or if he was a worldly-minded man, like some he had met, who, after giving him every possible encouragement, sent him to the right about like a servant. So Sponge smoked and thought, and thought and smoked, till, the water in the foot-bath again getting cold, and the shades of night drawing on, he at last started up like a man determined to awake himself, and poking a match into the fire, lighted the candles on the toilet-table, and proceeded to adorn himself. Having again got himself into the killing tights and buckled pumps, with a fine flower-fronted shirt, ere he embarked on the delicacies and difficulties of the starcher, he stirred the little pittance of a fire, and folding himself in his dressing-gown, endeavoured to prepare his mind for the calm consideration of all the minute bearings of the question by a little more Mogg. In idea he transferred himself to London, now fancying himself standing at the end of Burlington Arcade, hailing a Fulham or Turnham Green ’bus; now wrangling with a conductor for charging him sixpence when there was a pennant flapping at his nose with the words ‘All the way 3d.’ upon it; now folding the wooden doors of a Hansom cab in Oxford Street, calculating the extreme distance he could go for an eightpenny fare: until at last he fell into a downright vacant sort of reading, without rhyme or reason, just as one sometimes takes a read of a directory or a dictionary -- ‘Conduit Street, George Street, to or from the Adelphi Terrace, Astley’s Amphitheatre, Baker Street, King Street, Bryanston Square any part, Covent Garden Theatre, Foundling Hospital, Hatton Garden’ and so on, till the thunder of the gong aroused him to a recollection of his duties. He then up and at his neckcloth.

‘Ah, well,’ said he, reverting to his lady love, as he eyed himself intently in the glass while performing the critical operation, ‘I’ll just sound the old gentleman after dinner -- one can do that sort of thing better over one’s wine, perhaps, than at any other time: looks less formal too,’ added he, giving the cravat a knowing crease at the side; ‘and if it doesn’t seem to take, one can just pass it off as if it was done for somebody else -- some young gentleman at Laverick Wells, for instance.’

So saying, he on with his white waistcoat, and crowned the conquering suit with a blue coat and metal buttons. Returning his Mogg to his dressing-gown pocket, he blew out the candles, and groped his way downstairs in the dark.

In passing the dining-room he looked in (to see if there were any champagne-glasses set, we believe), when he saw that he should not have an opportunity of sounding his intended papa-in-law after dinner, for he found the table laid for twelve, and a great display of plate, linen, and china.

He then swaggered into the drawing-room, which was in a blaze of light. The lively Emily had stolen a march on her sister, and had just entered, attired in a fine new pale yellow silk dress with a point-lace berthe and other adornments.

High words had ensued between the sisters as to the meanness of Amelia in trying to take her beau from her, especially after the airs Amelia had given herself respecting Sponge; and a minute observer might have seen the slight tinge of red on Emily’s eyelids denoting the usual issue of such scenes. The result was, that each determined to do the best she could for herself; and free trade being proclaimed, Emily proceeded to dress with all expedition, calculating that, as Mr Sponge had come in wet, he would, very likely dress at once and appear in the drawing-room in good time. Nor was she out in her reckoning,

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