BOOK THE THIRD: A LONG LANE
Chapter 2: A Respected Friend in a New Aspect
In the evening of this same foggy day when the yellow window-
blind of Pubsey and Co. was drawn down upon the day's work,
Riah the Jew once more came forth into Saint Mary Axe. But this
time he carried no bag, and was not bound on his master's affairs.
He passed over London Bridge, and returned to the Middlesex
shore by that of Westminster, and so, ever wading through the fog,
waded to the doorstep of the dolls' dressmaker.
Miss Wren expected him. He could see her through the window
by the light of her low fire--carefully banked up with damp cinders
that it might last the longer and waste the less when she was out--
sitting waiting for him in her bonnet. His tap at the glass roused
her from the musing solitude in which she sat, and she came to the
door to open it; aiding her steps with a little crutch-stick.
'Good evening, godmother!' said Miss Jenny Wren.
The old man laughed, and gave her his arm to lean on.
'Won't you come in and warm yourself, godmother?' asked Miss
'Not if you are ready, Cinderella, my dear.'
'Well!' exclaimed Miss Wren, delighted. 'Now you ARE a clever
old boy! If we gave prizes at this establishment (but we only keep
blanks), you should have the first silver medal, for taking me up so
quick.' As she spake thus, Miss Wren removed the key of the
house-door from the keyhole and put it in her pocket, and then
bustlingly closed the door, and tried it as they both stood on the
step. Satisfied that her dwelling was safe, she drew one hand
through the old man's arm and prepared to ply her crutch-stick
with the other. But the key was an instrument of such gigantic
proportions, that before they started Riah proposed to carry it.
'No, no, no! I'll carry it myself,' returned Miss Wren. 'I'm awfully
lopsided, you know, and stowed down in my pocket it'll trim the
ship. To let you into a secret, godmother, I wear my pocket on my
high side, o' purpose.'