BOOK THE THIRD: A LONG LANE
Chapter 16: The Feast of the Three Hobgoblins (continued)
'Then you shall have it if you're good, sir. I am very, very sorry,
dearest Pa, to have brought home all this trouble.'
'My pet,' returned her father, in the simplest good faith, 'don't
make yourself uneasy about that. It really is not worth mentioning,
because things at home would have taken pretty much the same
turn any way. If your mother and sister don't find one subject to
get at times a little wearing on, they find another. We're never out
of a wearing subject, my dear, I assure you. I am afraid you find
your old room with Lavvy, dreadfully inconvenient, Bella?'
'No I don't, Pa; I don't mind. Why don't I mind, do you think, Pa?'
'Well, my child, you used to complain of it when it wasn't such a
contrast as it must be now. Upon my word, I can only answer,
because you are so much improved.'
'No, Pa. Because I am so thankful and so happy!'
Here she choked him until her long hair made him sneeze, and
then she laughed until she made him laugh, and then she choked
him again that they might not be overheard.
'Listen, sir,' said Bella. 'Your lovely woman was told her fortune
to night on her way home. It won't be a large fortune, because if
the lovely woman's Intended gets a certain appointment that he
hopes to get soon, she will marry on a hundred and fifty pounds a
year. But that's at first, and even if it should never be more, the
lovely woman will make it quite enough. But that's not all, sir. In
the fortune there's a certain fair man--a little man, the fortune-teller
said--who, it seems, will always find himself near the lovely
woman, and will always have kept, expressly for him, such a
peaceful corner in the lovely woman's little house as never was.
Tell me the name of that man, sir.'
'Is he a Knave in the pack of cards?' inquired the cherub, with a
twinkle in his eyes.