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gentleman to walk into the parlour and wait while she called "missis." This little man was a singular-looking mortal, very singular indeed. He was an extremely sallow-countenanced body, with small grey twinkling eyes. A casual observer would have been in doubt as to whether he was a master tailor, or a journeyman hairdresser, or a valet. Upon a close scrutiny, however, the advantages would certainly appear in favour of the latter profession. He was dressed in a fashionably-cut surtout, which reached nearly to his knees, under which he wore biliouslooking trowsers, strapped tightly over a pair of polished high-lows. His coat was buttoned close up to his throat, and in his hand he carried a dress cane with its attendant tassel. This, then, was the gentleman that applied to view Mrs. Bloomer's apartments. “Missis " having been called up, that lady made her appearance in a morning dress, the most conspicuous parts of which were å green velvet turban and a rather extensive bustle. The little gentleman politely moved, and Mrs. Bloomer bowed in a most enchanting manner, smiling bewitchingly. The small gentleman inquired the rent of the apartments, and Mrs. Bloomer satisfied him; at the same time expatiating on the excellence of her establishment, she concluded ber encomium by administering a strong dose of the “
sauce." The bargain was ultimately struck, and the little gentleman left the parlour, a tenant under Mrs. Bloomer. That lady with smiles conducted the little man to the street, and the morning air gently agitated the curls of her front as she wished good day to Mr. Scrapington.
On the following day Mr. Scrapington entered upon the occupation of the apartments of Mrs. Bloomer. In answer to that lady's iuquiries, he had previously informed her that he was an artist and a teacher of music; and Mrs. Bloomer was so much prepossessed in favour of the stranger, that she did not even ask for a reference. Mr. Scrapington's luggage soon afterwards arrived in a hand-cart. It consisted of an easel, sundry books of old music, one small trunk, and a very dilapidated carpet-bag. Mrs. Bloomer displayed more than her ordinary assiduity in her endeavours to make everything as comfortable as possible on the day Mr. Scrapington arrived.
As the little man was taking his breakfast the next morning, Mrs. Bloomer stepped up to inquire how he had slept, and to know if there was anything she could do for him. He expressed himself perfectly satisfied with his new apartments, and complimented their fair proprietress upon
her taste in their arrangement. “ By-the-bye, Mrs. Bloomer," said Mr. Scrapington, “can you tell me of any music-seller who has a good piano to let out to hire ? I have left my own in the country, and I feel, of course, quite lost without it."
Mrs. Bloomer at once referred the little man, for whom she had taken a most extraordinary liking, to a friend of hers, who, as luck would have it, (luck will always have his own way, and always steps in just when he's least expected) had a piano she was confident would exactly suit Mr. Scrapington. The servant was accordingly despatched to the lender of pianos, and, in the course of the day, the sitting room of Mr. Scrapingto. was further enriched by a fine-toned Broadwood piano.
Weeks rolled on, during which time Mr. Scrapington regularly paid his rent, and had daily advanced in the good opinion and attachment of the widow Bloomer. At the end of that time, however, Mr. Scrapington was under the painful necessity of informing the widow that his remittance fronı the country which he had expected had not arrived, consequently he could not have the pleasure of paying her account for a few days. This information Mrs. Bloomer treated with the most praiseworthy indifference. It was not, she said, of the slightest consequence.
Some weeks passed on, but still no money came; yet Mrs. Bloomer's confidence was not shaken. One morning Mr. Scrapington came down to the parlour, and said he wished to speak to Mrs. Bloomer. lle drew a chair to the fire, and most affectionately took the widow's hand; at which the amiable lady became so much fluttered, that she actually, and without intention, placed her other hand on the top of Mr. Scrapington's.
"Mrs. Bloomer," commenced that little gentleman, prefacing his speech with a slight sigh; “Mrs. Bloomer, I have been thinking that the room up stairs is too large for a man of my retiring habits.” Mr. Scrapington's eye slightly twinkled as he uttered this sentence, but whether it was the effect of accident, or whether it was from his finding himself in the singular fact of accusing himself of bashfulness, of course we are unable to say; and therefore, if it is at all interesting to our readers, they will please to supply the information from their own imagination. We confine ourselves simply to fact.
"I have been further thinking,” continued Mr. Scrapington, and here he gave the widow's hand a slight squeeze, “that as you are all alone in this room, it must be rather dull for you all day; and as I am not out much, that I could board with you in this room.
The dear considerate little man, thought the widow; she said nothing though, but cast her eyes on the ground.
“I will continue to pay the same terins that I have lately done for the rooms up stairs, with something extra for my board."
This was strictly true. This was his intention, and his sincerity was most commendable.
The widow felt more attachment to the little man than ever; but as she considered that compliance at once would not have so much real romantic pleasure in it as a little coquettish delay, she said, with a smile, and most determined effort to manufacture a blush, “that the preposition was so unexpectedly made to her, that she would require a little time to consider, and she would give the answer in the evening.”
Mr. Scrapington rose with a sprightly air, and, shaking the widow by the hand, said “that this was what he wished, and he would take the liberty of looking in in the evening, for her resolve.” He then left the room, feeling pretty confident as to the result of his mission, which was rendered evident by the violent twinkling of both his little eyes.
Mrs. Bloomer's resolve was already taken, and that good lady's brain was occupied in planning a suitable reception for the dear Mr. Scrapington. Mrs. Bloomer was well pleased ; the two servants giggled with delight when they heard of the new arrangement which was about to be made; and satisfaction pervaded the house.
Gracias a 15":" The idea of marrying Mr. Scrapington had never for a moment entered the widow's head; flirtation and coquetry were far mote pleasing to her than even the prospect of marriage. Still her singularly.formed attachment to Mr. Scrapington was not friendship-it was not love. What was it then? We are unable to answer the question. 10.11
Mr. Scrapington, punctual to his appointment; appeared in the evening, and then Mrs. Bloomer, with a little well-feigned hesitation, informed him that she had "duly considered of his preposition, and was willing to agree to it.”
Mr. Scrapington said he was delighted, and so did his little eyes.
“Mrs. Bloomer," said he, taking her hand, “in me you will find a friend, and I hope a pleasing companion.”
Mrs. Bloomer smiled, and said, “she knew, she felt convinced that he was the most perfect gentleman the first moment she put her eyes on him; and if any body could bear him play-oh! that was warrant of the splendour of his connexions."
atli * Mr. Scrapington felt the greatest pride in this opinion of Mrs. Bloomer, and could assure her that it was not misplaced. Thus went they on flattering each other until near supper time; and then everything appeared so delightful, and Mrs. Bloomer felt so happy, that a message was sent off to two friends to come to supper. The piano was got down stairs-supper was quickly despatched, and gin and rum were placed on the table. The music was exhilarating--the spirits were most enlivening--and the whole party made a delightful night of it. Mr. Scrapington got quite drunk on the premises ; Mrs. Bloomer was sent to bed trying to sing the first part of “Mynheer Van Dunk,' which Mr. Scrapington and one of the friends had been executing; and the three guests were sent home in a cab, in a decided state of har. mony, and with a full determination of singing all the way.
Mrs. Scrapington was comfortably located in Mrs. Bloomer's parlour, and everything went on regularly except the payment of the rent. Mrs. Bloomer became more romantic than ever, and was continually out with Mr. Scrapington, either at the theatre, or some other place of amusement. Things went on in this delightful state of harmony for several weeks, and Mr. Scrapington got as deep into his amiable landlady's good graces as into her debt. It was observed that Mrs. Bloomer became suddenly fond of small parties, and at these parties Mr. Scrapington was the lion. One morning, after one of these delightful réunions, as Mrs. Bloomer lolled languidly in her easy chair, Mr. Scrapington having gone out, the dirty housemaid came stealthily into the room, and with a most mysterious air, exclaimed
“ Missis !"
Mrs. Bloomer started, and looked with lazy curiosity at the mysterious maid, and at length inquired what she wanted.
The girl advanced, and, in an awful tone, said, “Is Mr. Scrapington out, mum ?"
Mrs. Bloomer turned sharply round and said he was, and then inquired, What of that. The girl then stated that an unknown individual had appeared at the house that morning, and inquired for Mr. Scrapington. That genhaving proceeded to the door, a long converastion passed between them. The deponent, in a very laudable spirit of curiosity, had immediately stationed herself in the area, out of sight, but not out of hearing, and had then and there, in the said position, heard, to her a most alarming conversation pass between Mr. Scrapington and the unknown.
4 What did he say?" inquired Mrs. Bloomer, with eager curiosity, and partially rising from her seat.
“Why, mum, he axed how the old blowen vos, and vether the old gal vos quite bled.”
The bearing of Mrs. Bloomer towards the slipshod, on receiving this piece of intelligence, immediately changed, and in an instant she was a boiling cauldron bubbling over.' She attributed this information to a base attempt on the part of the girl to injure Mr. Scrapington. That Mr. Scrapington had low connexions she never could for a moment believe. After a little bubbling about the throat, her indignation burst upon the girl in all its fury.
"You howdacious minx, you; but I'll be calm to such a slut, miss." Acting up to this determination, she dealt the trembling kitchenmaid a violent blow on the ear, and followed up this bit of pleasantry by a month's warning on the spot. 9:"I tells you what, mum," said the girl, “ if you 'its me agin, see what you'll cotch; and I hopes that ere man in the parlour will do you yet; you old cat !” and the girl bounced from the room.
This last attack thoroughly knocked Mrs. Bloomer off her legs, if we may use the expression, seeing that she was sitting at the time, and she entertained very serious thoughts of fainting away at the idea of Mr. Scrapington being called “a man," and the horrible indignity of having it supposed that he would attempt " to do” her, as insinuated by the girl. As no one, however, was present to see the effect, and to support her in her chair, she thought better of it, and sat up.
During the remainder of the day, Mrs. Bloomer was in a continual state of ferment, and, on more than one occasion, meditated a descent in the kitchen, with a view to the infliction of summary chastisement on its offending inmate. Mr. Scrapington, however, returned in the evening, and her good humour was restored. The night was passed, as usual, with music and rum-and-water, and the occurrence of the morsing was forgotten. >Some weeks rolled on; the kitchenmaid had sought another kitchen, and a more dissembling substitute had been procured, when a slight derange of the household affairs of Mrs. Bloomer took place. v The usual hour for breakfast had arrived, and Mrs. Bloomer was seated in the parlour waiting the coming down of Mr. Scrapington. Half-an-hour passed, but no Mr. Scrapington appeared. It was very strange;--could he be ill? This latter thought was distracting, and made Mrs. Bloomer's nose quite red. She went to the head of the kitchen stairs, and, in a heary, subdued tone, called to the kitchenmaid to go up and see if Mr. Scrapington was unwell. The maid obeyed the order, and proceeded to the little gentleman's room. She knocked, but no answer was returned; knocked again, louder, but still no answer was given; and at length the maid boldly opened the door, and walked into the room. The bed was there, certainly, but Mr. Scrapington was not. Singular thing, the bed had not been slept in either. The girl was down stairs in a moment.
“ He aint there, mum."
Mrs. Bloomer asked no further questions, but proceeded herself at once to Mr. Scrapington's room. He was gone, certainly, and the bed had not been slept in.
The maid was then strictly interrogated as to what time Mr. Scrapington went to bed. That he went up stairs was proved beyond all doubt, and the whole house was, consequently, in a high state of excitement.
The recollections of the disclosures of the kitchenmaid who had been so summarily deposed came in painful intensity on Mrs. Bloomer's mind. Her first impulse was to feel for her keys. She rushed wildly up stairs to her drawers. They were unlocked. Her ready.money was gone – her plate could not be found. The family gold watch, so long worn by the late Mr. Bloomer, ticked no more on the drawing-room chimney-piece; and the little silver Cupid that once smiled so beautifully over the fire-place, smiled there no more. The casket of valuables was empty—a complete clearance had taken place.
Mrs. Bloomer's įmpulse, on discovering this accumulation of losses, was to send for the police; but at that moment her eye fell upon the portrait of Mr. Scrapington, which that gentleman had kindly left her in the parlour.
Further defalcations were discovered in the course of the day, and Mrs. Bloomer was, before night, nearly distracted; but she took comort, and some brandy, and went to bed.
Mrs. Bloomer still resides in Gower Street, and still lets lodgings; but she eschews all young men, and particularly those who are a variety of professions combined in their own proper persons. Her friends, though they laugh in their sleeve, never allude at all to Mr. Scrapington; and now that years have rolled on, Mrs. Bloomer herself has almost forgotten him, but she has made a vow, and kept it, never to become intimute with a musical lodger, or to have a parlour boarder.