Page:What will he do with it.djvu/165

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155
WHAT WILL HE DO WITH IT?

forehead. "Do not alarm yourself: stay here and repose; and don't let Sir Isaac out of the room on any account!"

He took off his hat, brushed the nap carefully with his sleeve, replaced it on his head,—not jauntily aside, not like a jeune premier, but with equilateral brims, and in composed fashion, like a pere noble; then, making a sign to Sir Isaac to rest quiet, he passed to the door; there he halted, and turning towards Sophy, and, meeting her wistful eyes, his own eye moistened. "Ah!" he murmured, "Heaven grant I may succeed now, for if I do, then you shall indeed be a little lady!"

He was gone.




CHAPTER X.

Showing with what success Gentleman Waife assumes the pleasing part of friend to the enlightenment of the age and the progress of the people.

On the landing-place, Waife encountered the Irish porter, who, having left the bundle in the drawing-room, was waiting patiently to be paid for his trouble.

The Comedian surveyed the good-humoured shrewd face, on every line of which was writ the golden maxim, "Take things asy." "I beg your pardon, my friend; I had almost forgotten you. Have you been long in this town?"

"Four years, and long life to your honour!"

"Do you know Mr. Hartopp, the Mayor?"

"Is it his worship the Mayor? Sure and it is the Mayor as has made a man o' Mike Callaghan."

The Comedian evinced urbane curiosity to learn the history of that process, and drew forth a grateful tale. Four summers ago Mike had resigned the "first gem of the sea" in order to assist in making hay for a Saxon taskmaster.

Mr. Hartopp, who farmed largely, had employed him in that rural occupation. Seized by a malignant fever, Mr. Hartopp had helped him through it, and naturally conceived a liking for the man he helped. Thus, as Mike became convalescent, instead of passing the poor man back to his own country, which at that time gave little employment to the surplus of its agrarian population beyond an occasional shot at a parson,—an employment, though animated, not lucrative, he exercised Mike's returning strength upon a few light jobs in his warehouse; and finally, Mike marrying imprudently the daughter of a Gatesboro' operative, Mr. Hartopp set him up in life as a professional messenger and