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eyes, have ordered out every man, woman, and child of the family, in search of his babes in the wood; so I waited, and, like the turnspit who, in the Spanish proverb, is made to console himself during his work on the culinary treadmill, with the certainty that " the largest leg of mutton must get done in time," sat to listen for the ladies, and think of my wife.'
At length, just as I pictured Harriet buried in the happy depth of her first sleep, up drove the carriage. The footman, no doubt irritated * by being kept up unusually late, and turned out for a second time, long after midnight, rang the house-bell with a force and power which made it reverberate through the hall and staircase loudly enough to have waked the dead. This set the three dogs barking all in different keys. Hutton and the footman hurried to let in the revellers, upsetting one of the hall chairs in their haste; all of which disturbance was followed by the loudest possible banging down of the carriage steps, immediately under my wife's window; the uproar only concluding after the car12
riage-door first, and the house-door next, had been also banged to and fastened—the former accompanied by the imprecations of Wells's servant outside the house, and the latter by the inevitable rattling of chains and scraping of bolts within.
"Well, dearest," said Cuthbert, "you have made it late—have you been very happy?"
"Yes, Pappy," said Kitty, "very. Oh, you mustn't look at me—I'm such a figure! danced every bit of curl out of my hair! I couldn't get away before—it was all Bessy's doing—her Pa went to bed the minute he came back, but Master Buggins and his cousin Harry would have two more dances, and after that, we had three of the new-fashioned things they call waltzes— Oh Pappy, it was so nice, and made me so giddy, and so pleased, you can't think !" *
"And how were you entertained, Jenny?" said I, standing candle in hand, prepared for a start.
• It was just about the period at which Mr. Gurney wrote this portion of his papers that this irritating indecency, which has since been so universally adopted, was first introduced into English society, Ed.
"I liked it very well, thank you, Uncle," said Jane, who looked as white as a sheet, with a pair of eyes as red as a ferret's.
"Gilbert," said Cuthbert to me, "what do you think this young lady has been whispering to me?"
"That she wants her maid, I suppose," said I.
"No," said Cuthbert, "something else—she says she should like a little bit of something to eat."
"Eat!" said I.
"Yes, uncle," said Kate; "we had only some lemonade and cakes, and that was at about halfpast nine, and we dined at two with Bessy, so"
"Come, come," said Cuthbert, "ring the bell, Kitty, love, and we'll get you some cold fowl, or something of that sort,—you would not like anything warm?"
"I am afraid," said I, "they are not likely to get anything warm. I surmise that Mrs. Habijam (so was my cook named) is fast asleep."
Hutton made his appearance to answer the bell, for, as he must inevitably sit up to undress his master, and put him to bed, he had relieved my butler.
"Hutton," said Cuthbert, " these young ladies want something to eat."
"Very well, Sir," said Hutton, in a tone which sounded like—very ill, Sir.
"Anything, Hutton," said Kate; "a bit of cold fowl and some tongue—nothing sweet."
"I'll go and see, Miss," said Hutton.
As I foresaw that Hutton, in order to put the young lady's commands into execution, must necessarily call up Mrs. Habijam, who, although my cook, acted also as housekeeper, in order to get at the larder, and that my wearied butler must be "rousted out," to get at the wine, or whatever other liquid the sylphs might select for their regale; and as I beheld Hutton, by way of a preliminary, return to the room with a pair of fresh candles, and feeling that, as my presence was, even if agreeable to the trio, by no means essential to their enjoyments, I ventured to take the liberty of saying that, as it was growing late, and I had an engagement early in the morning I would wish them good night.
To my proposal I found not the slightest objection made by any one of the company; and accordingly, having shaken hands with my brother, and having been kissed boisterously by Kate, and gently by Jane, I betook myself to my room, where I found poor Harriet sitting up in her bed, wondering at the noise in the house at so late an hour, and fancying ten thousand things had happened, about which she had no opportunity of inquiring.
I will not describe my feelings, because they are not purely fraternal. The conclusion of the affair, however, was not the least annoying part of it, for it was certainly past two before Kate and her sister came dancing up-stairs to their room, singing one of the airs to which they had been whisked about by Master Buggins and his cousin Henry, so loudly as to wake poor Harriet from the second sleep into which she had happily fallen.
What seemed so particularly odd in the whole