BOOK THE THIRD: A LONG LANE
Chapter 10: Scouts Out (continued)
'He's enough to break his mother's heart, is this boy,' said Miss
Wren, half appealing to Eugene. 'I wish I had never brought him
up. He'd be sharper than a serpent's tooth, if he wasn't as dull as
ditch water. Look at him. There's a pretty object for a parent's
Assuredly, in his worse than swinish state (for swine at least fatten
on their guzzling, and make themselves good to eat), he was a
pretty object for any eyes.
'A muddling and a swipey old child,' said Miss Wren, rating him
with great severity, 'fit for nothing but to be preserved in the liquor
that destroys him, and put in a great glass bottle as a sight for other
swipey children of his own pattern,--if he has no consideration for
his liver, has he none for his mother?'
'Yes. Deration, oh don't!' cried the subject of these angry remarks.
'Oh don't and oh don't,' pursued Miss Wren. 'It's oh do and oh do.
And why do you?'
'Won't do so any more. Won't indeed. Pray!'
'There!' said Miss Wren, covering her eyes with her hand. 'I can't
bear to look at you. Go up stairs and get me my bonnet and shawl.
Make yourself useful in some way, bad boy, and let me have your
room instead of your company, for one half minute.'
Obeying her, he shambled out, and Eugene Wrayburn saw the
tears exude from between the little creature's fingers as she kept
her hand before her eyes. He was sorry, but his sympathy did not
move his carelessness to do anything but feel sorry.
'I'm going to the Italian Opera to try on,' said Miss Wren, taking
away her hand after a little while, and laughing satirically to hide
that she had been crying; 'I must see your back before I go, Mr
Wrayburn. Let me first tell you, once for all, that it's of no use your
paying visits to me. You wouldn't get what you want, of me, no,
not if you brought pincers with you to tear it out.'