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When Kit, having discharged his errand, came down-stairs from the single gentleman's apartment after the lapse of a quarter of an hour or so, Mr Sampson Brass was alone in the office. He was not singing as usual, nor was he seated at his desk. The open door showed him standing before the fire with his back towards it, and looking so very strange that Kit supposed he must have been suddenly taken ill.
'Is anything the matter, sir?' said Kit.
'Matter!' cried Brass. 'No. Why anything the matter?'
'You are so very pale,' said Kit, 'that I should hardly have known you.'
'Pooh pooh! mere fancy,' cried Brass, stooping to throw up the cinders. 'Never better, Kit, never better in all my life. Merry too. Ha ha! How's our friend above-stairs, eh?'
'A great deal better,' said Kit.
'I'm glad to hear it,' rejoined Brass; 'thankful, I may say. An excellent gentleman--worthy, liberal, generous, gives very little trouble--an admirable lodger. Ha ha! Mr Garland--he's well I hope, Kit--and the pony--my friend, my particular friend you know. Ha ha!'
Kit gave a satisfactory account of all the little household at Abel Cottage. Mr Brass, who seemed remarkably inattentive and impatient, mounted on his stool, and beckoning him to come nearer, took him by the button-hole.
'I have been thinking, Kit,' said the lawyer, 'that I could throw some little emoluments in your mother's way--You have a mother, I think? If I recollect right, you told me--'
'Oh yes, Sir, yes certainly.'
'A widow, I think? an industrious widow?'
'A harder-working woman or a better mother never lived, Sir.'
'Ah!' cried Brass. 'That's affecting, truly affecting. A poor widow struggling to maintain her orphans in decency and comfort, is a delicious picture of human goodness.--Put down your hat, Kit.'
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