"Of her having the pleasure," I added.
"Of ladies' company," said Joe. And drew a long breath.
"Well!" cried my sister, with a mollified glance at Mr. Pumblechook. "She might have had the politeness to send that message at first, but it's better late than never. And what did she give young Rantipole here?"
"She giv' him," said Joe, "nothing."
Mrs. Joe was going to break out, but Joe went on.
"What she giv'," said Joe, "she giv' to his friends. 'And by his friends,' were her explanation, 'I mean into the hands of his sister, Mrs. J. Gargery.' Them were her words; 'Mrs. J. Gargery.' She mayn't have know'd," added Joe, with an appearance of reflection, "whether it were Joe or Jorge."
My sister looked at Pumblechook: who smoothed the elbows of his wooden arm-chair, and nodded at her and at the fire as if he had known all about it beforehand.
"And how much have you got?" asked my sister, laughing. Positively, laughing!
"What would present company say to ten pound?" demanded Joe.
"They'd say," returned my sister curtly, "pretty well. Not too much, but pretty well."
"It's more than that, then," said Joe.
That fearful impostor, Pumblechook, immediately nodded, and said, as he rubbed the arms of his chair: "It's more than that, Mum."
"Why, you don't mean to say——" began my sister.
"Yes I do, Mum," said Pumblechook; "but wait a bit. Go on, Joseph. Good in you! Go on!"
"What would present company say," proceeded Joe, "to twenty pound?"
"Handsome would be the word," returned my sister.
"Well then," said Joe, "it's more than twenty pound."
That abject hypocrite, Pumblechook, nodded again, and said with a patronising laugh, "It's more than that, Mum. Good again! Follow her up, Joseph!""Then to make an end of it," said Joe, delightedly