Page:What will he do with it.djvu/164

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


couch with that tender respect for sex and childhood which so specially belongs to the high-bred. "The room will do, ma'am. I will let you know later whether we shall require beds. As to dinner, I am not particular,—a cutlet, a chicken, what you please, at seven o'clock. Stay, I beg your pardon for detaining you, but where does the Mayor live?"

"His private residence is a mile out of the town, but his counting-house is just above the Town Hall,—to the right, sir."

"Name?"

"Mr. Hartopp!"

"Hartopp! Ah! to be sure! Hartopp. His political opinions, I think, are" (ventures at a guess) "enlightened?"

LANDLADY.—"Very much so, sir. Mr. Hartopp is highly respected."

WAIFE.—"The chief municipal officer of a town so thriving—fine shops and much plate glass—must march with the times. I think I have heard that Mr. Hartopp promotes the spread of intelligence and the propagation of knowledge."

LANDLADY (rather puzzled).—"I dare say, sir. The Mayor takes great interest in the Gatesboro' Athemeum and Literary Institute."

WAIFE.—"Exactly what I should have presumed from his character and station. I will detain you no longer, ma'am" (ducal bow). The landlady descended the stairs. Was her guest a candidate for the representation of the town at the next election? March with the times!—spread of intelligence! All candidates she ever knew had that way of expressing themselves,—"March" and "Spread." Not an address had parliamentary aspirant put forth to the freemen and electors of Gatesboro' but what "March" had been introduced by the candidate, and "Spread" been suggested by the committee. Still she thought that her guest, upon the whole, looked and bowed more like a member of the Upper House,—perhaps one of the amiable though occasionally prosy peers who devote the teeth of wisdom to the cracking of those very hard nuts, "How to educate the masses," "What to do with our criminals," and such like problems, upon which already have been broken so many jawbones tough as that with which Samson slew the Philistines.

"Oh, Grandfather!" sighed Sophy, "what are you about? We shall be ruined, you, too, who are so careful not to get into debt. And what have we left to pay the people here?"

"Sir Isaac! and THIS!" returned the Comedian, touching his