BOOK THE FOURTH: A TURNING
Chapter 4: A Runaway Match
Cherubic Pa arose with as little noise as possible from beside
majestic Ma, one morning early, having a holiday before him. Pa
and the lovely woman had a rather particular appointment to keep.
Yet Pa and the lovely woman were not going out together. Bella
was up before four, but had no bonnet on. She was waiting at the
foot of the stairs--was sitting on the bottom stair, in fact--to receive
Pa when he came down, but her only object seemed to be to get Pa
well out of the house.
'Your breakfast is ready, sir,' whispered Bella, after greeting him
with a hug, 'and all you have to do, is, to eat it up and drink it up,
and escape. How do you feel, Pa?'
'To the best of my judgement, like a housebreaker new to the
business, my dear, who can't make himself quite comfortable till
he is off the premises.'
Bella tucked her arm in his with a merry noiseless laugh, and they
went down to the kitchen on tiptoe; she stopping on every separate
stair to put the tip of her forefinger on her rosy lips, and then lay it
on his lips, according to her favourite petting way of kissing Pa.
'How do YOU feel, my love?' asked R. W., as she gave him his
'I feel as if the Fortune-teller was coming true, dear Pa, and the fair
little man was turning out as was predicted.'
'Ho! Only the fair little man?' said her father.
Bella put another of those finger-seals upon his lips, and then said,
kneeling down by him as he sat at table: 'Now, look here, sir. If
you keep well up to the mark this day, what do you think you
deserve? What did I promise you should have, if you were good,
upon a certain occasion?'
'Upon my word I don't remember, Precious. Yes, I do, though.
Wasn't it one of these beau--tiful tresses?' with his caressing hand
upon her hair.