Page:Oliver Twist (1838) vol. 2.djvu/68

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Oliver Twist.

happy, so frolicsome, and so cheerful, that they are quite companions for me."

"Very nice animals, ma'am," replied Mr. Bumble approvingly; "so very domestic."

"Oh, yes!" rejoined the matron with enthusiasm; "so fond of their home too, that it's quite a pleasure, I'm sure."

"Mrs. Corney, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble slowly, and marking the time with his teaspoon, "I mean to say this, ma'am, that any cat or kitten that could live with you, ma'am, and not be fond of its home, must be a ass, ma'am."

"Oh, Mr. Bumble!" remonstrated Mrs. Corney.

"It's no use disguising facts, ma'am," said Mr. Bumble, slowly flourishing the teaspoon with a kind of amorous dignity that made him doubly impressive; "I would drown it myself with pleasure."

"Then you're a cruel man," said the matron vivaciously, as she held out her hand for the beadle's cup, "and a very hard-hearted man besides."

"Hard-hearted, ma'am!" said Mr. Bumble,