‘You deceive none but your consti–stit–stit; what do you call the people that carry you about in chairs and pelt you with eggs and apples when they make you a member of parliament?’

‘One another also, sometimes, signora,’ said Mr Slope, with a deanish sort of smirk on his face. ‘Country gentlemen do deceive one another sometimes, don’t they, Mr Thorne?’

Mr Thorne gave him a look which undressed him completely for the moment; but he soon remembered his high hopes, and recovering himself quickly, sustained his probable coming dignity by a laugh at Mr Thorne’s expense.

‘I never deceive a lady, at any rate,’ said Mr Thorne; ‘especially when the gratification of my own wishes is so strong an inducement to keep me true, as it now is.’

Mr Thorne went on thus awhile, with antediluvian grimaces and compliments which he had picked up from Sir Charles Grandison, and the signora at every grimace and at every bow smiled a little smile and bowed a little bow. Mr Thorne, however, was kept standing at the foot of the couch, for the new dean sat in the seat of honour near the table. Mr Arabin the while was standing with his back to the fire, his coat tails under his arms, gazing at her with all his eyes—not quite in vain, for every now and again a glance came up at him, bright as a meteor out of heaven.

‘Oh, Mr Thorne, you promised to let me introduce my little girl to you. Can you spare a moment?—will you see her now?’

Mr Thorne assured her that he could, and would see the young lady with the greatest pleasure in life. ‘Mr Slope, might I trouble you to ring the bell?’ said she; and when Mr Slope got up she looked at Mr Thorne and pointed to the chair. Mr Thorne, however, was much too slow to understand her, and Mr Slope would have recovered his seat had not the signora, who never chose to be unsuccessful, somewhat summarily ordered him out of it.

‘Oh, Mr Slope, I must ask you to let Mr Thorne sit here just for a moment or two. I am sure you will pardon me. We can take a liberty with you this week. Next week, you know, when you move into the dean’s house, we shall all be afraid of you.’

Mr Slope, with an air of much indifference, rose from his seat, and, walking into the next room, became greatly interested in Mrs Stanhope’s worsted work.

And then the child was brought in. She was a little girl, about eight years of age, like her mother, only that her enormous eyes were black, and her hair quite jet. Her complexion too was very dark, and bespoke her foreign blood. She was dressed in the most outlandish and extravagant way in which clothes could be put on a child’s back. She had great bracelets on her naked little arms, a crimson fillet braided with gold round her head, and scarlet shoes with high heels. Her dress was all flounces, and stuck out from her as though the object were to make it lie off horizontally from her little hips. It did not nearly cover her knees; but this was atoned for by a loose pair of drawers which seemed made throughout of lace; then she had on pink silk stockings. It was thus that the last of the Neros was habitually dressed at the hour when visitors were wont to call.

‘Julia, my love,’ said the mother,—Julia was ever a favourite name with the ladies of the family, ‘Julia, my love, come here. I was telling you about the beautiful party poor mamma went to. This is Mr Thorne; will you give him a kiss, dearest?’

Julia put up her face to be kissed, as she did to all her mother’s visitors; and then Mr Thorne found that he had got her, and, which was much more terrible to him, all her finery, into his arms. The lace and starch crumpled against his waistcoat and trousers, the greasy black curls hung upon his cheek, and one of the bracelet clasps scratched his ear. He did not at all know how to hold her. However, he had

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