BOOK THE FOURTH: A TURNING
Chapter 9: Two Places Vacated
Set down by the omnibus at the corner of Saint Mary Axe, and
trusting to her feet and her crutch-stick within its precincts, the
dolls' dressmaker proceeded to the place of business of Pubsey and
Co. All there was sunny and quiet externally, and shady and quiet
internally. Hiding herself in the entry outside the glass door, she
could see from that post of observation the old man in his
spectacles sitting writing at his desk.
'Boh!' cried the dressmaker, popping in her head at the glass-door.
'Mr Wolf at home?'
The old man took his glasses off, and mildly laid them down
beside him. 'Ah Jenny, is it you? I thought you had given me up.'
'And so I had given up the treacherous wolf of the forest,' she
replied; 'but, godmother, it strikes me you have come back. I am
not quite sure, because the wolf and you change forms. I want to
ask you a question or two, to find out whether you are really
godmother or really wolf. May I?'
'Yes, Jenny, yes.' But Riah glanced towards the door, as if he
thought his principal might appear there, unseasonably.
'If you're afraid of the fox,' said Miss Jenny, 'you may dismiss all
present expectations of seeing that animal. HE won't show
himself abroad, for many a day.'
'What do you mean, my child?'
'I mean, godmother,' replied Miss Wren, sitting down beside the
Jew, 'that the fox has caught a famous flogging, and that if his skin
and bones are not tingling, aching, and smarting at this present
instant, no fox did ever tingle, ache, and smart.' Therewith Miss
Jenny related what had come to pass in the Albany, omitting the
few grains of pepper.
'Now, godmother,' she went on, 'I particularly wish to ask you
what has taken place here, since I left the wolf here? Because I
have an idea about the size of a marble, rolling about in my little
noddle. First and foremost, are you Pubsey and Co., or are you
either? Upon your solemn word and honour.'