The same night Mr. Briarley came home in a condition more muddled and disheveled than usual. He looked as if he had been hustled about and somewhat unceremoniously treated. He had lost his hat, and was tremulous and excited. He came in without the trifling ceremony of opening the door. In fact, he fell up against it and ran in, and making an erratic dive at a chair, sat down. Granny Dixon, who had been dozing in her usual seat, was roused by the concussion and wakened and sat up, glaring excitedly.
"He's been at it again!" she shouted. "At it again! He'll nivver ha' none o' my brass to inak' way wi'. He's been at———"
Mrs. Briarley turned upon her.
"Keep thy mouth shut," she said.
The command was effective in one sense, though not in another. Mrs. Dixon stopped in the midst of the word "at" with her mouth wide open, and so sat for some seconds, with the aspect of an ancient beldam ordinarily going by machinery and suddenly having had her works stopped.She would probably have presented this appearance for the remainder of the evening if Mrs. Briarley had not addressed her again.