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61. CHAPTER LXI: A Discovery (continued)
I said it certainly was not business that I came upon, but it was not quite a pleasant matter.
"Then, my dear Miss Summerson," said he with the frankest gaiety, "don't allude to it. Why should you allude to anything that is NOT a pleasant matter? I never do. And you are a much pleasanter creature, in every point of view, than I. You are perfectly pleasant; I am imperfectly pleasant; then, if I never allude to an unpleasant matter, how much less should you! So that's disposed of, and we will talk of something else."
Although I was embarrassed, I took courage to intimate that I still wished to pursue the subject.
"I should think it a mistake," said Mr. Skimpole with his airy laugh, "if I thought Miss Summerson capable of making one. But I don't!"
"Mr. Skimpole," said I, raising my eyes to his, "I have so often heard you say that you are unacquainted with the common affairs of life--"
"Meaning our three banking-house friends, L, S, and who's the junior partner? D?" said Mr. Skimpole, brightly. "Not an idea of them!"
"--That perhaps," I went on, "you will excuse my boldness on that account. I think you ought most seriously to know that Richard is poorer than he was."
"Dear me!" said Mr. Skimpole. "So am I, they tell me."
"And in very embarrassed circumstances."
"Parallel case, exactly!" said Mr. Skimpole with a delighted countenance.
"This at present naturally causes Ada much secret anxiety, and as I think she is less anxious when no claims are made upon her by visitors, and as Richard has one uneasiness always heavy on his mind, it has occurred to me to take the liberty of saying that--if you would--not--"
I was coming to the point with great difficulty when he took me by both hands and with a radiant face and in the liveliest way anticipated it.
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