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not prepared for this curious repulse—I have been entrusted—”
“Pooh, pooh!” said Nubley, “never mind that—you are a deucedly agreeable fellow and full of fun and all that— and I like you—umph (–that is—but my poor friend Cuthbert Gurney is a mere baby—a little baby in leading strings —he wants looking after—eh 4” “I am sure,” said Sniggs, “during Mr. Cuthbert Gurney's residence here I paid every attention to him, of which, as far as I am able to form a judgment, he is quite conscious —and as to the poor dear boy who is gone ** “Yes,” said Nubley, making a face which the illustrious Liston could scarcely emulate, “I know—two bottles of cherry-bounce—eh—I know you did—however, Sir, I must be permitted to act; write what you please to Mr. Gurney, and if you please tell him what I propose to do, but you will permit me to say that the young lady goes with me, and goes to-morrow—eh—don't you see 3–That's a finisher for him— eh Q" “Of course, Sir,” said Sniggs, evidently startled, “I can have no right to interfere—” “I know you haven’t,” said Nubley, “therefore don't —eh—that's plain sense any how ; I am going to my old friend and partner, and, as I have already told you, to talk of matters of great importance, and I shall take back his daughter-in-law.” “Daughters-in-law, I presume 3’” said Sniggs. “You do presume, Sir!” said Nubley; “eh—that's not so bad—eh—don't you see 1 for I mean to take but one—Jenny shall stop here ; we will save her at all events.” “Am I to write this, Sir " said Sniggs. “You may write what you please,” replied Nubley; “I never discovered what you had to write about at all—eh— don’t you see 3 but I have resolved upon my course, and shall take it; I care nothing for one man more than another; I made Cuthbert Gurney's fortune, and I hope to prevent his marring it; you may do what you please, but I take back the girl—eh 4—now he knows my mind.” “I was not aware,” said Sniggs, evidently cowed by Nubley's extraordinary animation, “ that your connexion with Mr. Cuthbert was so peculiar.” “I tell you what it is, Sir,” said Nubley; “it is so peculiar as this, that I am resolved, if I can help it, that the produce of a long life spent in a hot climate sha’n’t be wasted upon unworthy objects; he is surrounded by sycophants and blood-suckers; he is a mere child—a sleepy child; eh— don’t you see ? and I am off to-morrow to wake him if I can, and show him his state and condition, and rescue him from the rapacious wretches who are about him; now there, that's it—don't you see, Sir Tip’t it him there, I think—eh 4” “Of course,” said Sniggs, “under such circumstances, I have nothing to do but submit to your directions, Sir, I shall write my own statement to him.” “Write,” said Nubley, “as I said before, what you please ; but I know what I know ; small blame to you to make friends with Cuthbert—but in me he has a friend ready made ; and so you write to-night, and I’ll go to-morrow— that's all—and don’t mention the cherry-brandy. Let him put that in his pipe and smoke it—eh—don't you see ?” “I see, Sir,” said Sniggs, “that a very unfavourable feeling has been excited against me here, and I shall certainly not intrude any longer; I did not expect such treatment in this house.” “Didn’t, you, Mr. Sniggs?” said Harriet—“that seems very odd :'' “I know, Ma'am,” said Sniggs, “I have been the victim : prejudice from the beginning; Mrs. Wells, I–know— e
“My dear Mr. Sniggs,” said I, “do not let us try back upon old grievances; the whole of this question resolves itself into this, whether you should incur a certain degree of expense, and take a certain degree of trouble to convey Kitty Falwasser to Bath on the same day, or at least, within a day or two of that on which Nubley is upon other business going to the same house.” “That,” said Sniggs, gathering up his hat and cloak and stick, “is all reasonable enough—but having been commissioned, delegated, directed—” “There, there, Mr. Sniggs,” said Nubley, “that is all reasonable enough too—make out your bill—and I am sure Cuthbert will pay every farthing of it, and quite as much more as will compensate for all your trouble ; but do not try to interfere in family matters, Mr. Sniggs—eh—don't you see 3 we can manage all those without what they call extrinsic aid, Mr. Sniggs—eh—that's a settler—eh—don't you see : “I do Sir,” said Sniggs, “and I only regret that my constant endeavours to be useful here have been so ill-appreciated. I certainly never expected to hear such language in a house in which I have always been welcomed and well received ; but the truth is, that the best intentions are liable to perversion, and—so-I–wish you a very good afternoon.” Saying which Smiggs rose to depart—I felt vexed and annoyed at the whole scene; but I could neither check Nubley, nor indeed impeach the character of his reproaches, which I feared were but too well founded—still I hate to give pain ; I had long seen through Sniggs's duplicity—but then, what imperfect creatures we mortals are, and how earnestly throughout the world does every man of the world play his own game ! Sniggs bowed to Harriet, now formally, of course, in consequence of her “last words;” and to Nubley—I rang the bell—shook hands with him at the door “Tell Cuthbert to expect me to-morrow evening, if you please,” cried Nubley; “that's another settler—eh—don't you see '1'.' Sniggs heard, but did not answer—I went out on the stairs with him—he shook his head unconsciously, and not thinking he was observed—we parted. lay awake half the night worrying myself with this affair.—Sniggs might have been sly—he might have been selfinterested—he might have been deceitful—but we had parted often in Ashmead “And never so before.” And then there came the reflection that he might have meant well—and then the recollection that he lived by the exercise of his profession—and that perhaps it was doing him a serious injury to interfere with his reasonable profits—a thousand thoughts all tending thitherwise agitated and worried ine. I could not but be pleased with the line Nubley had taken; still, the notion that the good-humoured Sniggs and I had separated so differently from our usual mode of our taking o: of each other, made me very, very uncomfortable ineed.
My sensations with regard to a man by whom I had been frequently amused, and even instructed, in whose society I had felt much pleasure, and for whom I had begun to feel an interest and friendship, even in opposition to the prejudices of Mrs. Wells, who disregarded his private accomplishments as much as she undervalued his professional character, and who, with a prescience and pertinacity peculiarly feminine, used constantly to say to me, “Well—wait, only wait and see—some day you will find him out:” were any thing but comfortable or satisfactory. The consciousness that the day of discovery had actually arrived did not at all relieve my mind; nor was the triumphant fulfilment of my mother-inlaw's prediction at all likely to conduce to my tranquillity, if I went the whole length of discarding him entirely—a measure upon which, however, I had as yet by no means come to a determination. In the midst of all these domestic proceedings, I was sorry to see that Fanny Wells had grown grave and silent, and was looking pale and unhappy: I could hardly attribute the alteration which I perceived, to the unhandsome defection of her ungracious Lieutenant, and yet I could discover no other probable cause for the change. Her maid, Kerridge, it seemed, was not much more lively than her mistress, for Tom Lazenby had, after all he had promised, agreed to remain with Merman and his lady until he could get “suited;” Merman having enjoined him to secrecy with regard to every thing that had occurred at Blissfold. It appeared—although how I became acquainted with facts and circumstances about which I never made any inquiry I shall leave to my married readers to surmise—that Fanny, from having indignantly repelled the idea of reading Lazenby's letter to Kerridge, had brought herself, upon the occasion of a second offer of the “sight” of another epistle from him, to accept the proffered edification at the hands of her maid, inasmuch as she told her mistress that it contained a correct account of the state of affairs, and was, moreover, very curious in several other particulars.
Now, really, and truly, Fanny Wells's accession to Sally Kerridge's proposition was not the result of mere idle curiosity, or an unladylike desire to pry into the concerns of other people—it was based upon an interest of which a girl of feeling never can divest herself for one with whom she has long been associated upon terms of that kind of intimacy which had been naturally considered conducive to ulterior objects, the accomplishment of which would necessarily have linked the fate of their after-life together.
It was true that Merman had shown himself heartless and mercenary, but certainly he had secured a considerable portion of Fanny's heart before his conduct had become so unequivocally exceptionable ; and as many a woman can testify, it takes a great deal more pain and trouble to get rid of a once cherished feeling of such a nature as Merman had in the earlier part of their acquaintance inspired, than men imagine. Under the sanction of her father, she had been accustomed to look upon Merman as her future husband ; as the man with whom she was to pass her days, and her object then had been to accommodate her modes of thinking to his views, until at length she began to fancy all that he said was just and wise, and that his opinions upon all subjects were to be her guides and governors. It is very difficult—so completely are we creatures of habit—to get rid of the effects of this kind of influence to which the mind and feelings have been trained ; and although Fanny regarded his recent conduct with all the indignation it so richly and justly deserved, still she could not forget that it had not been always so, and that he had been acted upon by a power which, in a worldly point of view, he had been unable to withstand. In fact, she still cared enough for him, for what he had been in other days, to be anxious to know what he was doing now, and whether all he had done had, in fact, secured him the happiness in search of which he had deserted her.
This feeling was a weakness with which she could not bring herself to trust her father, who had so paternally interposed upon the former occasion, and therefore it was, that she availed herself of Sally Kerridge's offer to permit her to read her letter from Thomas, which was couched in the following terms:—
“Murrel Green, Thursday. “DEAR SARAH, ... “I should not wonder if you wasn't a little surprised at neither seeing nor hearing from me before this as I calculate you also will be at reading the date of this hepistol. The