BOOK THE THIRD: A LONG LANE
Chapter 10: Scouts Out (continued)
'Are you so obstinate on the subject of a doll's dress for my
'Ah!' returned Miss Wren with a hitch of her chin, 'I am so
obstinate. And of course it's on the subject of a doll's dress--or
ADdress--whichever you like. Get along and give it up!'
Her degraded charge had come back, and was standing behind her
with the bonnet and shawl.
'Give 'em to me and get back into your corner, you naughty old
thing!' said Miss Wren, as she turned and espied him. 'No, no, I
won't have your help. Go into your corner, this minute!'
The miserable man, feebly rubbing the back of his faltering hands
downward from the wrists, shuffled on to his post of disgrace; but
not without a curious glance at Eugene in passing him,
accompanied with what seemed as if it might have been an action
of his elbow, if any action of any limb or joint he had, would have
answered truly to his will. Taking no more particular notice of him
than instinctively falling away from the disagreeable contact,
Eugene, with a lazy compliment or so to Miss Wren, begged leave
to light his cigar, and departed.
'Now you prodigal old son,' said Jenny, shaking her head and her
emphatic little forefinger at her burden, 'you sit there till I come
back. You dare to move out of your corner for a single instant
while I'm gone, and I'll know the reason why.'
With this admonition, she blew her work candles out, leaving him
to the light of the fire, and, taking her big door-key in her pocket
and her crutch-stick in her hand, marched off.
Eugene lounged slowly towards the Temple, smoking his cigar,
but saw no more of the dolls' dressmaker, through the accident of
their taking opposite sides of the street. He lounged along
moodily, and stopped at Charing Cross to look about him, with as
little interest in the crowd as any man might take, and was
lounging on again, when a most unexpected object caught his eyes.
No less an object than Jenny Wren's bad boy trying to make up his
mind to cross the road.