Chapter 41 Containing some Romantic Passages between Mrs Nickleby and th_entleman in the Small-clothes next Door
Ever since her last momentous conversation with her son, Mrs Nickleby ha_egun to display unusual care in the adornment of her person, graduall_uperadding to those staid and matronly habiliments, which had, up to tha_ime, formed her ordinary attire, a variety of embellishments and decorations, slight perhaps in themselves, but, taken together, and considered wit_eference to the subject of her disclosure, of no mean importance. Even he_lack dress assumed something of a deadly-lively air from the jaunty style i_hich it was worn; and, eked out as its lingering attractions were; by _rudent disposal, here and there, of certain juvenile ornaments of little o_o value, which had, for that reason alone, escaped the general wreck and bee_ermitted to slumber peacefully in odd corners of old drawers and boxes wher_aylight seldom shone, her mourning garments assumed quite a new character.
From being the outward tokens of respect and sorrow for the dead, they becam_onverted into signals of very slaughterous and killing designs upon th_iving.
Mrs Nickleby might have been stimulated to this proceeding by a lofty sense o_uty, and impulses of unquestionable excellence. She might, by this time, hav_ecome impressed with the sinfulness of long indulgence in unavailing woe, o_he necessity of setting a proper example of neatness and decorum to he_looming daughter. Considerations of duty and responsibility apart, the chang_ight have taken its rise in feelings of the purest and most disintereste_harity. The gentleman next door had been vilified by Nicholas; rudel_tigmatised as a dotard and an idiot; and for these attacks upon hi_nderstanding, Mrs Nickleby was, in some sort, accountable. She might hav_elt that it was the act of a good Christian to show by all means in he_ower, that the abused gentleman was neither the one nor the other. And wha_etter means could she adopt, towards so virtuous and laudable an end, tha_roving to all men, in her own person, that his passion was the most rationa_nd reasonable in the world, and just the very result, of all others, whic_iscreet and thinking persons might have foreseen, from her incautiousl_isplaying her matured charms, without reserve, under the very eye, as i_ere, of an ardent and too-susceptible man?
'Ah!' said Mrs Nickleby, gravely shaking her head; 'if Nicholas knew what hi_oor dear papa suffered before we were engaged, when I used to hate him, h_ould have a little more feeling. Shall I ever forget the morning I looke_cornfully at him when he offered to carry my parasol? Or that night, when _rowned at him? It was a mercy he didn't emigrate. It very nearly drove him t_t.'
Whether the deceased might not have been better off if he had emigrated in hi_achelor days, was a question which his relict did not stop to consider; fo_ate entered the room, with her workbox, in this stage of her reflections; an_ much slighter interruption, or no interruption at all, would have diverte_rs Nickleby's thoughts into a new channel at any time.
'Kate, my dear,' said Mrs Nickleby; 'I don't know how it is, but a fine war_ummer day like this, with the birds singing in every direction, always put_e in mind of roast pig, with sage and onion sauce, and made gravy.'
'That's a curious association of ideas, is it not, mama?'
'Upon my word, my dear, I don't know,' replied Mrs Nickleby. 'Roast pig; le_e see. On the day five weeks after you were christened, we had a roast—no, that couldn't have been a pig, either, because I recollect there were a pai_f them to carve, and your poor papa and I could never have thought of sittin_own to two pigs—they must have been partridges. Roast pig! I hardly think w_ver could have had one, now I come to remember, for your papa could neve_ear the sight of them in the shops, and used to say that they always put hi_n mind of very little babies, only the pigs had much fairer complexions; an_e had a horror of little babies, to, because he couldn't very well afford an_ncrease to his family, and had a natural dislike to the subject. It's ver_dd now, what can have put that in my head! I recollect dining once at Mr_evan's, in that broad street round the corner by the coachmaker's, where th_ipsy man fell through the cellar-flap of an empty house nearly a week befor_he quarter-day, and wasn't found till the new tenant went in—and we had roas_ig there. It must be that, I think, that reminds me of it, especially a_here was a little bird in the room that would keep on singing all the time o_inner—at least, not a little bird, for it was a parrot, and he didn't sin_xactly, for he talked and swore dreadfully: but I think it must be that.
Indeed I am sure it must. Shouldn't you say so, my dear?'
'I should say there was not a doubt about it, mama,' returned Kate, with _heerful smile.
'No; but DO you think so, Kate?' said Mrs Nickleby, with as much gravity as i_t were a question of the most imminent and thrilling interest. 'If you don't, say so at once, you know; because it's just as well to be correct, particularly on a point of this kind, which is very curious and worth settlin_hile one thinks about it.'
Kate laughingly replied that she was quite convinced; and as her mama stil_ppeared undetermined whether it was not absolutely essential that the subjec_hould be renewed, proposed that they should take their work into the summer- house, and enjoy the beauty of the afternoon. Mrs Nickleby readily assented, and to the summer- house they repaired, without further discussion.
'Well, I will say,' observed Mrs Nickleby, as she took her seat, 'that ther_ever was such a good creature as Smike. Upon my word, the pains he has take_n putting this little arbour to rights, and training the sweetest flower_bout it, are beyond anything I could have—I wish he wouldn't put ALL th_ravel on your side, Kate, my dear, though, and leave nothing but mould fo_e.'
'Dear mama,' returned Kate, hastily, 'take this seat—do—to oblige me, mama.'
'No, indeed, my dear. I shall keep my own side,' said Mrs Nickleby. 'Well! _eclare!'
Kate looked up inquiringly.
'If he hasn't been,' said Mrs Nickleby, 'and got, from somewhere or other, _ouple of roots of those flowers that I said I was so fond of, the othe_ight, and asked you if you were not—no, that YOU said YOU were so fond of, the other night, and asked me if I wasn't—it's the same thing. Now, upon m_ord, I take that as very kind and attentive indeed! I don't see,' added Mr_ickleby, looking narrowly about her, 'any of them on my side, but I suppos_hey grow best near the gravel. You may depend upon it they do, Kate, an_hat's the reason they are all near you, and he has put the gravel there, because it's the sunny side. Upon my word, that's very clever now! I shouldn'_ave had half as much thought myself!'
'Mama,' said Kate, bending over her work so that her face was almost hidden,
'before you were married—'
'Dear me, Kate,' interrupted Mrs Nickleby, 'what in the name of goodnes_raciousness makes you fly off to the time before I was married, when I'_alking to you about his thoughtfulness and attention to me? You don't seem t_ake the smallest interest in the garden.'
'Oh! mama,' said Kate, raising her face again, 'you know I do.'
'Well then, my dear, why don't you praise the neatness and prettiness wit_hich it's kept?' said Mrs Nickleby. 'How very odd you are, Kate!'
'I do praise it, mama,' answered Kate, gently. 'Poor fellow!'
'I scarcely ever hear you, my dear,' retorted Mrs Nickleby; 'that's all I'v_ot to say.' By this time the good lady had been a long while upon one topic, so she fell at once into her daughter's little trap, if trap it were, an_nquired what she had been going to say.
'About what, mama?' said Kate, who had apparently quite forgotten he_iversion.
'Lor, Kate, my dear,' returned her mother, 'why, you're asleep or stupid!
About the time before I was married.'
'Oh yes!' said Kate, 'I remember. I was going to ask, mama, before you wer_arried, had you many suitors?'
'Suitors, my dear!' cried Mrs Nickleby, with a smile of wonderful complacency.
'First and last, Kate, I must have had a dozen at least.'
'Mama!' returned Kate, in a tone of remonstrance.
'I had indeed, my dear,' said Mrs Nickleby; 'not including your poor papa, o_ young gentleman who used to go, at that time, to the same dancing school, and who WOULD send gold watches and bracelets to our house in gilt-edge_aper, (which were always returned,) and who afterwards unfortunately went ou_o Botany Bay in a cadet ship—a convict ship I mean—and escaped into a bus_nd killed sheep, (I don't know how they got there,) and was going to be hung, only he accidentally choked himself, and the government pardoned him. The_here was young Lukin,' said Mrs Nickleby, beginning with her left thumb an_hecking off the names on her fingers—'Mogley—Tipslark— Cabbery—Smifser—'
Having now reached her little finger, Mrs Nickleby was carrying the accoun_ver to the other hand, when a loud 'Hem!' which appeared to come from th_ery foundation of the garden-wall, gave both herself and her daughter _iolent start.
'Mama! what was that?' said Kate, in a low tone of voice.
'Upon my word, my dear,' returned Mrs Nickleby, considerably startled, 'unles_t was the gentleman belonging to the next house, I don't know what it coul_ossibly—'
'A—hem!' cried the same voice; and that, not in the tone of an ordinar_learing of the throat, but in a kind of bellow, which woke up all the echoe_n the neighbourhood, and was prolonged to an extent which must have made th_nseen bellower quite black in the face.
'I understand it now, my dear,' said Mrs Nickleby, laying her hand on Kate's;
'don't be alarmed, my love, it's not directed to you, and is not intended t_righten anybody. Let us give everybody their due, Kate; I am bound to sa_hat.'
So saying, Mrs Nickleby nodded her head, and patted the back of her daughter'_and, a great many times, and looked as if she could tell something vastl_mportant if she chose, but had self-denial, thank Heaven; and wouldn't do it.
'What do you mean, mama?' demanded Kate, in evident surprise.
'Don't be flurried, my dear,' replied Mrs Nickleby, looking towards th_arden-wall, 'for you see I'm not, and if it would be excusable in anybody t_e flurried, it certainly would—under all the circumstances—be excusable i_e, but I am not, Kate—not at all.'
'It seems designed to attract our attention, mama,' said Kate.
'It is designed to attract our attention, my dear; at least,' rejoined Mr_ickleby, drawing herself up, and patting her daughter's hand more blandl_han before, 'to attract the attention of one of us. Hem! you needn't be a_ll uneasy, my dear.'
Kate looked very much perplexed, and was apparently about to ask for furthe_xplanation, when a shouting and scuffling noise, as of an elderly gentlema_hooping, and kicking up his legs on loose gravel, with great violence, wa_eard to proceed from the same direction as the former sounds; and before the_ad subsided, a large cucumber was seen to shoot up in the air with th_elocity of a sky-rocket, whence it descended, tumbling over and over, unti_t fell at Mrs Nickleby's feet.
This remarkable appearance was succeeded by another of a precisely simila_escription; then a fine vegetable marrow, of unusually large dimensions, wa_een to whirl aloft, and come toppling down; then, several cucumbers shot u_ogether; and, finally, the air was darkened by a shower of onions, turnip- radishes, and other small vegetables, which fell rolling and scattering, an_umping about, in all directions.
As Kate rose from her seat, in some alarm, and caught her mother's hand to ru_ith her into the house, she felt herself rather retarded than assisted in he_ntention; and following the direction of Mrs Nickleby's eyes, was quit_errified by the apparition of an old black velvet cap, which, by slo_egrees, as if its wearer were ascending a ladder or pair of steps, rose abov_he wall dividing their garden from that of the next cottage, (which, lik_heir own, was a detached building,) and was gradually followed by a ver_arge head, and an old face, in which were a pair of most extraordinary gre_yes: very wild, very wide open, and rolling in their sockets, with a dull, languishing, leering look, most ugly to behold.
'Mama!' cried Kate, really terrified for the moment, 'why do you stop, why d_ou lose an instant? Mama, pray come in!'
'Kate, my dear,' returned her mother, still holding back, 'how can you be s_oolish? I'm ashamed of you. How do you suppose you are ever to get throug_ife, if you're such a coward as this? What do you want, sir?' said Mr_ickleby, addressing the intruder with a sort of simpering displeasure. 'Ho_are you look into this garden?'
'Queen of my soul,' replied the stranger, folding his hands together, 'thi_oblet sip!'
'Nonsense, sir,' said Mrs Nickleby. 'Kate, my love, pray be quiet.'
'Won't you sip the goblet?' urged the stranger, with his head imploringly o_ne side, and his right hand on his breast. 'Oh, do sip the goblet!'
'I shall not consent to do anything of the kind, sir,' said Mrs Nickleby.
'Why is it,' said the old gentleman, coming up a step higher, and leaning hi_lbows on the wall, with as much complacency as if he were looking out o_indow, 'why is it that beauty is always obdurate, even when admiration is a_onourable and respectful as mine?' Here he smiled, kissed his hand, and mad_everal low bows. 'Is it owing to the bees, who, when the honey season i_ver, and they are supposed to have been killed with brimstone, in reality fl_o Barbary and lull the captive Moors to sleep with their drowsy songs? Or i_t,' he added, dropping his voice almost to a whisper, 'in consequence of th_tatue at Charing Cross having been lately seen, on the Stock Exchange a_idnight, walking arm-in-arm with the Pump from Aldgate, in a riding-habit?'
'Mama,' murmured Kate, 'do you hear him?'
'Hush, my dear!' replied Mrs Nickleby, in the same tone of voice, 'he is ver_olite, and I think that was a quotation from the poets. Pray, don't worry m_o—you'll pinch my arm black and blue. Go away, sir!'
'Quite away?' said the gentleman, with a languishing look. 'Oh! quite away?'
'Yes,' returned Mrs Nickleby, 'certainly. You have no business here. This i_rivate property, sir; you ought to know that.'
'I do know,' said the old gentleman, laying his finger on his nose, with a_ir of familiarity, most reprehensible, 'that this is a sacred and enchante_pot, where the most divine charms'—here he kissed his hand and bowe_gain—'waft mellifluousness over the neighbours' gardens, and force the frui_nd vegetables into premature existence. That fact I am acquainted with. Bu_ill you permit me, fairest creature, to ask you one question, in the absenc_f the planet Venus, who has gone on business to the Horse Guards, and woul_therwise—jealous of your superior charms—interpose between us?'
'Kate,' observed Mrs Nickleby, turning to her daughter, 'it's very awkward, positively. I really don't know what to say to this gentleman. One ought to b_ivil, you know.'
'Dear mama,' rejoined Kate, 'don't say a word to him, but let us run away a_ast as we can, and shut ourselves up till Nicholas comes home.'
Mrs Nickleby looked very grand, not to say contemptuous, at this humiliatin_roposal; and, turning to the old gentleman, who had watched them during thes_hispers with absorbing eagerness, said:
'If you will conduct yourself, sir, like the gentleman I should imagine you t_e, from your language and—and—appearance, (quite the counterpart of you_randpapa, Kate, my dear, in his best days,) and will put your question to m_n plain words, I will answer it.'
If Mrs Nickleby's excellent papa had borne, in his best days, a resemblance t_he neighbour now looking over the wall, he must have been, to say the least, a very queer-looking old gentleman in his prime. Perhaps Kate thought so, fo_he ventured to glance at his living portrait with some attention, as he too_ff his black velvet cap, and, exhibiting a perfectly bald head, made a lon_eries of bows, each accompanied with a fresh kiss of the hand. Afte_xhausting himself, to all appearance, with this fatiguing performance, h_overed his head once more, pulled the cap very carefully over the tips of hi_ars, and resuming his former attitude, said,
'The question is—'
Here he broke off to look round in every direction, and satisfy himself beyon_ll doubt that there were no listeners near. Assured that there were not, h_apped his nose several times, accompanying the action with a cunning look, a_hough congratulating himself on his caution; and stretching out his neck, said in a loud whisper,
'Are you a princess?'
'You are mocking me, sir,' replied Mrs Nickleby, making a feint of retreatin_owards the house.
'No, but are you?' said the old gentleman.
'You know I am not, sir,' replied Mrs Nickleby.
'Then are you any relation to the Archbishop of Canterbury?' inquired the ol_entleman with great anxiety, 'or to the Pope of Rome? Or the Speaker of th_ouse of Commons? Forgive me, if I am wrong, but I was told you were niece t_he Commissioners of Paving, and daughter-in-law to the Lord Mayor and Cour_f Common Council, which would account for your relationship to all three.'
'Whoever has spread such reports, sir,' returned Mrs Nickleby, with som_armth, 'has taken great liberties with my name, and one which I am sure m_on Nicholas, if he was aware of it, would not allow for an instant. Th_dea!' said Mrs Nickleby, drawing herself up, 'niece to the Commissioners o_aving!'
'Pray, mama, come away!' whispered Kate.
'"Pray mama!" Nonsense, Kate,' said Mrs Nickleby, angrily, 'but that's jus_he way. If they had said I was niece to a piping bullfinch, what would yo_are? But I have no sympathy,' whimpered Mrs Nickleby. 'I don't expect it, that's one thing.'
'Tears!' cried the old gentleman, with such an energetic jump, that he fel_own two or three steps and grated his chin against the wall. 'Catch th_rystal globules—catch 'em—bottle 'em up—cork 'em tight—put sealing wax on th_op—seal 'em with a cupid—label 'em "Best quality"—and stow 'em away in th_ourteen binn, with a bar of iron on the top to keep the thunder off!'
Issuing these commands, as if there were a dozen attendants all activel_ngaged in their execution, he turned his velvet cap inside out, put it o_ith great dignity so as to obscure his right eye and three-fourths of hi_ose, and sticking his arms a-kimbo, looked very fiercely at a sparrow har_y, till the bird flew away, when he put his cap in his pocket with an air o_reat satisfaction, and addressed himself with respectful demeanour to Mr_ickleby.
'Beautiful madam,' such were his words, 'if I have made any mistake wit_egard to your family or connections, I humbly beseech you to pardon me. If _upposed you to be related to Foreign Powers or Native Boards, it is becaus_ou have a manner, a carriage, a dignity, which you will excuse my saying tha_one but yourself (with the single exception perhaps of the tragic muse, whe_laying extemporaneously on the barrel organ before the East India Company) can parallel. I am not a youth, ma'am, as you see; and although beings lik_ou can never grow old, I venture to presume that we are fitted for eac_ther.'
'Really, Kate, my love!' said Mrs Nickleby faintly, and looking another way.
'I have estates, ma'am,' said the old gentleman, flourishing his right han_egligently, as if he made very light of such matters, and speaking very fast;
'jewels, lighthouses, fish-ponds, a whalery of my own in the North Sea, an_everal oyster-beds of great profit in the Pacific Ocean. If you will have th_indness to step down to the Royal Exchange and to take the cocked-hat off th_toutest beadle's head, you will find my card in the lining of the crown, wrapped up in a piece of blue paper. My walking-stick is also to be seen o_pplication to the chaplain of the House of Commons, who is strictly forbidde_o take any money for showing it. I have enemies about me, ma'am,' he looke_owards his house and spoke very low, 'who attack me on all occasions, an_ish to secure my property. If you bless me with your hand and heart, you ca_pply to the Lord Chancellor or call out the military if necessary—sending m_oothpick to the commander-in-chief will be sufficient—and so clear the hous_f them before the ceremony is performed. After that, love, bliss and rapture; rapture, love and bliss. Be mine, be mine!'
Repeating these last words with great rapture and enthusiasm, the ol_entleman put on his black velvet cap again, and looking up into the sky in _asty manner, said something that was not quite intelligible concerning _alloon he expected, and which was rather after its time.
'Be mine, be mine!' repeated the old gentleman.
'Kate, my dear,' said Mrs Nickleby, 'I have hardly the power to speak; but i_s necessary for the happiness of all parties that this matter should be se_t rest for ever.'
'Surely there is no necessity for you to say one word, mama?' reasoned Kate.
'You will allow me, my dear, if you please, to judge for myself,' said Mr_ickleby.
'Be mine, be mine!' cried the old gentleman.
'It can scarcely be expected, sir,' said Mrs Nickleby, fixing her eye_odestly on the ground, 'that I should tell a stranger whether I fee_lattered and obliged by such proposals, or not. They certainly are made unde_ery singular circumstances; still at the same time, as far as it goes, and t_ certain extent of course' (Mrs Nickleby's customary qualification), 'the_ust be gratifying and agreeable to one's feelings.'
'Be mine, be mine,' cried the old gentleman. 'Gog and Magog, Gog and Magog. B_ine, be mine!'
'It will be sufficient for me to say, sir,' resumed Mrs Nickleby, with perfec_eriousness—'and I'm sure you'll see the propriety of taking an answer an_oing away—that I have made up my mind to remain a widow, and to devote mysel_o my children. You may not suppose I am the mother of two children—indee_any people have doubted it, and said that nothing on earth could ever make
'em believe it possible—but it is the case, and they are both grown up. W_hall be very glad to have you for a neighbour—very glad; delighted, I'_ure—but in any other character it's quite impossible, quite. As to my bein_oung enough to marry again, that perhaps may be so, or it may not be; but _ouldn't think of it for an instant, not on any account whatever. I said _ever would, and I never will. It's a very painful thing to have to rejec_roposals, and I would much rather that none were made; at the same time thi_s the answer that I determined long ago to make, and this is the answer _hall always give.'
These observations were partly addressed to the old gentleman, partly to Kate, and partly delivered in soliloquy. Towards their conclusion, the suito_vinced a very irreverent degree of inattention, and Mrs Nickleby had scarcel_inished speaking, when, to the great terror both of that lady and he_aughter, he suddenly flung off his coat, and springing on the top of th_all, threw himself into an attitude which displayed his small-clothes an_rey worsteds to the fullest advantage, and concluded by standing on one leg, and repeating his favourite bellow with increased vehemence.
While he was still dwelling on the last note, and embellishing it with _rolonged flourish, a dirty hand was observed to glide stealthily and swiftl_long the top of the wall, as if in pursuit of a fly, and then to clasp wit_he utmost dexterity one of the old gentleman's ankles. This done, th_ompanion hand appeared, and clasped the other ankle.
Thus encumbered the old gentleman lifted his legs awkwardly once or twice, a_f they were very clumsy and imperfect pieces of machinery, and then lookin_own on his own side of the wall, burst into a loud laugh.
'It's you, is it?' said the old gentleman.
'Yes, it's me,' replied a gruff voice.
'How's the Emperor of Tartary?' said the old gentleman.
'Oh! he's much the same as usual,' was the reply. 'No better and no worse.'
'The young Prince of China,' said the old gentleman, with much interest. 'I_e reconciled to his father-in-law, the great potato salesman?'
'No,' answered the gruff voice; 'and he says he never will be, that's more.'
'If that's the case,' observed the old gentleman, 'perhaps I'd better com_own.'
'Well,' said the man on the other side, 'I think you had, perhaps.'
One of the hands being then cautiously unclasped, the old gentleman droppe_nto a sitting posture, and was looking round to smile and bow to Mr_ickleby, when he disappeared with some precipitation, as if his legs had bee_ulled from below.
Very much relieved by his disappearance, Kate was turning to speak to he_ama, when the dirty hands again became visible, and were immediately followe_y the figure of a coarse squat man, who ascended by the steps which had bee_ecently occupied by their singular neighbour.
'Beg your pardon, ladies,' said this new comer, grinning and touching his hat.
'Has he been making love to either of you?'
'Yes,' said Kate.
'Ah!' rejoined the man, taking his handkerchief out of his hat and wiping hi_ace, 'he always will, you know. Nothing will prevent his making love.'
'I need not ask you if he is out of his mind, poor creature,' said Kate.
'Why no,' replied the man, looking into his hat, throwing his handkerchief i_t one dab, and putting it on again. 'That's pretty plain, that is.'
'Has he been long so?' asked Kate.
'A long while.'
'And is there no hope for him?' said Kate, compassionately
'Not a bit, and don't deserve to be,' replied the keeper. 'He's a dea_leasanter without his senses than with 'em. He was the cruellest, wickedest, out-and-outerest old flint that ever drawed breath.'
'Indeed!' said Kate.
'By George!' replied the keeper, shaking his head so emphatically that he wa_bliged to frown to keep his hat on. 'I never come across such a vagabond, an_y mate says the same. Broke his poor wife's heart, turned his daughters ou_f doors, drove his sons into the streets; it was a blessing he went mad a_ast, through evil tempers, and covetousness, and selfishness, and guzzling, and drinking, or he'd have drove many others so. Hope for HIM, an old rip!
There isn't too much hope going' but I'll bet a crown that what there is, i_aved for more deserving chaps than him, anyhow.'
With which confession of his faith, the keeper shook his head again, as muc_s to say that nothing short of this would do, if things were to go on at all; and touching his hat sulkily—not that he was in an ill humour, but that hi_ubject ruffled him—descended the ladder, and took it away.
During this conversation, Mrs Nickleby had regarded the man with a severe an_teadfast look. She now heaved a profound sigh, and pursing up her lips, shoo_er head in a slow and doubtful manner.
'Poor creature!' said Kate.
'Ah! poor indeed!' rejoined Mrs Nickleby. 'It's shameful that such thing_hould be allowed. Shameful!'
'How can they be helped, mama?' said Kate, mournfully. 'The infirmities o_ature—'
'Nature!' said Mrs Nickleby. 'What! Do YOU suppose this poor gentleman is ou_f his mind?'
'Can anybody who sees him entertain any other opinion, mama?'
'Why then, I just tell you this, Kate,' returned Mrs Nickleby, 'that, he i_othing of the kind, and I am surprised you can be so imposed upon. It's som_lot of these people to possess themselves of his property—didn't he say s_imself? He may be a little odd and flighty, perhaps, many of us are that; bu_ownright mad! and express himself as he does, respectfully, and in quit_oetical language, and making offers with so much thought, and care, an_rudence—not as if he ran into the streets, and went down upon his knees t_he first chit of a girl he met, as a madman would! No, no, Kate, there's _reat deal too much method in HIS madness; depend upon that, my dear.'