Mr and Mrs Quiverful are made happy. Mr Slope encouraged by the press
Before she started for Ullathorne, Mrs Proudie, careful soul, caused two letters to be written, one by herself and one by her lord, to the inhabitants of Puddingdale vicarage, which made happy the hearth of those within it.
As soon as the departure of the horses left the bishops stablegroom free for other services, that humble denizen of the diocese started on the bishops own pony with the two despatches. We have had so many letters lately that we will spare ourselves these. That from the bishop was simply a request that Mr Quiverful would wait upon his lordship the next morning at 11 A.M.; and that from the lady was as simply a request that Mrs Quiverful would do the same by her, though it was couched in somewhat longer and more grandiloquent phraseology.
It had become a point of conscience with Mrs Proudie to urge the settlement of this great hospital question. She was resolved that Mr Quiverful should have it. She was resolved that there should be no more doubt or delay; no more refusals and resignations, nor more secret negotiations carried on by Mr Slope on his own account in opposition to her behests.
Bishop, she said, immediately after breakfast, on the morning of that eventful day, have you signed the appointment yet?
No, my dear, not yet; it is not exactly signed as yet.
Then do it, said the lady.
The bishop did it; and a very pleasant day indeed he spent at Ullathorne. And when he got home he had a glass of hot negus in his wifes sittingroom, and read the last number of the Little Dorrit of the day with great inward satisfaction. Oh, husbands, oh, my marital friends, what great comfort is there to be derived from a wife well obeyed!
Much perturbation and flutter, high expectation and renewed hopes, were occasioned at Puddingdale, by the receipt of those episcopal dispatches. Mrs Quiverful, whose careful ear caught the sound of the ponys feet as he trotted up to the vicarage kitchen door, brought them in hurriedly to her husband. She was at the moment concocting the Irish stew destined to satisfy the noonday want of fourteen young birds, let alone the parent couple. She had taken the letters from the mans hands between the folds of her capacious apron, so as to save them from the contamination of the stew, and in this guise she brought them to her husbands desk.
They at once divided the spoil, each taking that addressed to the others. Quiverful,said she with impressive voice, you are to be at the palace at eleven tomorrow.
And so are you, my dear, said he, almost gasping with the importance of the tidings: and then they exchanged letters.
Shed never have sent for me again, said the lady, if it wasnt all right.
Oh! My dear, dont be too certain, said the gentleman. Only think if it should be wrong.
Shed never have sent for me, Q., if it wasnt all right, again argued the lady. Shes stiff and hard and proud as piecrust, but I think shes right at bottom. Such was Mrs Quiverfuls verdict about Mrs Proudie, to which in after times she always adhered. People when they get their income doubled usually think that those through whose instrumentality this little ceremony is performed are right at bottom.
Oh, Letty! said Mr Quiverful, rising from his wellworn seat.
Oh, Q! said Mrs Quiverful; and then the two, unmindful of the kitchen apron, the greasy fingers, and the adherent Irish stew, threw themselves warmly into each others arms.
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