BOOK THE THIRD: A LONG LANE
Chapter 4: A Happy Return of the Day (continued)
'I shall not require the carriage at night,' said Bella. 'I shall walk
The male domestic of Mrs Boffin touched his hat, and in the act of
departure had an awful glare bestowed upon him by Mrs Wilfer,
intended to carry deep into his audacious soul the assurance that,
whatever his private suspicions might be, male domestics in livery
were no rarity there.
'Well, dear Ma,' said Bella, 'and how do you do?'
'I am as well, Bella,' replied Mrs Wilfer, 'as can be expected.'
'Dear me, Ma,' said Bella; 'you talk as if one was just born!'
'That's exactly what Ma has been doing,' interposed Lavvy, over
the maternal shoulder, 'ever since we got up this morning. It's all
very well to laugh, Bella, but anything more exasperating it is
impossible to conceive.'
Mrs Wilfer, with a look too full of majesty to be accompanied by
any words, attended both her daughters to the kitchen, where the
sacrifice was to be prepared.
'Mr Rokesmith,' said she, resignedly, 'has been so polite as to place
his sitting-room at our disposal to-day. You will therefore, Bella,
be entertained in the humble abode of your parents, so far in
accordance with your present style of living, that there will be a
drawing-room for your reception as well as a dining-room. Your
papa invited Mr Rokesmith to partake of our lowly fare. In
excusing himself on account of a particular engagement, he offered
the use of his apartment.'
Bella happened to know that he had no engagement out of his own
room at Mr Boffin's, but she approved of his staying away. 'We
should only have put one another out of countenance,' she thought,
'and we do that quite often enough as it is.'