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44. Chapter Forty-four (continued)
'She's much about the same as usual,' returned Jonas. 'She sticks pretty close to the vinegar-bottle. You know she's got a sweetheart, I suppose?'
'I have heard of it,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'from headquarters; from my child herself I will not deny that it moved me to contemplate the loss of my remaining daughter, Jonas--I am afraid we parents are selfish, I am afraid we are--but it has ever been the study of my life to qualify them for the domestic hearth; and it is a sphere which Cherry will adorn.'
'She need adorn some sphere or other,' observed the son-in-law, for she ain't very ornamental in general.'
'My girls are now provided for,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'They are now happily provided for, and I have not laboured in vain!'
This is exactly what Mr Pecksniff would have said, if one of his daughters had drawn a prize of thirty thousand pounds in the lottery, or if the other had picked up a valuable purse in the street, which nobody appeared to claim. In either of these cases he would have invoked a patriarchal blessing on the fortunate head, with great solemnity, and would have taken immense credit to himself, as having meant it from the infant's cradle.
'Suppose we talk about something else, now,' observed Jonas, drily. 'just for a change. Are you quite agreeable?'
'Quite,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Ah, you wag, you naughty wag! You laugh at poor old fond papa. Well! He deserves it. And he don't mind it either, for his feelings are their own reward. You have come to stay with me, Jonas?'
'No. I've got a friend with me,' said Jonas.
'Bring your friend!' cried Mr Pecksniff, in a gush of hospitality. 'Bring any number of your friends!'
'This ain't the sort of man to be brought,' said Jonas, contemptuously. 'I think I see myself "bringing" him to your house, for a treat! Thank'ee all the same; but he's a little too near the top of the tree for that, Pecksniff.'
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