me it is quite indifferent; only, mamma will be so sorry to miss
you. You don't know how mamma loves you. She loves you almost as
a son. But go - go; pray go!'
"And then Crinoline looked at him. Oh! how she looked at him! It
was as though all the goddesses of heaven were inviting him to
come and eat ambrosia with them on a rosy-tinted cloud. All the
goddesses, did we say? No, but one goddess, the most beautiful of
them all. His heart beat violently against his ribs, and he felt
that he was almost man enough for anything. Instinctively his
hand went again to his waistcoat pocket.
"'You shan't look at your watch so often,' said she, putting up
her delicate hand and stopping his. 'There, I'll look at it for
you. It's only just two, and you needn't go to your office for
this hour;' and as she squeezed it back into his pocket, he felt
her fingers pressing against his heart, and felt her hair - done
all _a l'imperatrice_ - in sweet contact with his cheek. 'There,
I shall hold it there,' said she, 'so that you shan't look at it again.'
"'Will you stay till I bid you go?' said Crinoline.
"Macassar declared that he did not care a straw for the senior
clerk, or for Sir Gregory either. He would stay there for ever,
"'What! for ever in mamma's drawing-room?' said Crinoline,
opening wide her lovely eyes with surprise.
"'For ever near to you,' said Macassar.
"'Oh, Mr. Macassar,' said Crinoline, dropping her hand from his
waistcoat, and looking bashfully towards the ground, 'what can
"Down went Macassar on his knees, and down went Crinoline into
her chair. There was perhaps rather too much distance between
them, but that did not much matter now. There he was on both
knees, with his hands clasped together as they were wont to be
when he said his prayers, with his umbrella beside him on one
side, and his hat on the other, making his declaration in full
and unmistakable terms. A yard or two of floor, more or less,
between them, was neither here nor there. At first the bashful
Crinoline could not bring herself to utter a distinct consent,
and Macassar was very nearly up and away, in a returning fit of
despair. But her good-nature came to his aid; and as she quickly
said, 'I will, I will, I will,' he returned to his posture in
somewhat nearer quarters, and was transported into the seventh
heaven by the bliss of kissing her hand.
"'Oh, Macassar!' said she.
"'Oh, Crinoline!' said he.
"'You must come and tell papa to-morrow,' said she.
"He readily promised to do so.
"'You had better come to breakfast; before he goes into the
city,' said she.
"And so the matter was arranged, and the lovely Lady Crinoline
became the affianced bride of the happy Macassar.
"It was past three when he left the house, but what did he care
for that? He was so mad with joy that he did not even know
whither he was going. He went on straight ahead, and came to no
check, till he found himself waving his hat over his head in the
New Road. He then began to conceive that his conduct must have
been rather wild, for he was brought to a stand-still in a
crossing by four or five cabmen, who were rival candidates for
"'Somerset House, old brick!' he shouted out, as he jumped into a
hansom, and as he did so he poked one of the other cabbies
playfully in the ribs with his umbrella.
"'Is mamma don't know as 'ow 'e's hout, I shouldn't vonder,' said
the cabman - and away went Macassar, singing at the top of his
voice as he sat in the cab -
'The loveliest lady that ever was seen
Is the lovely Lady Crinoline.'
"The cab passed through Covent Garden on its way. 'Stop at the
pastry-cook's at the corner,' said Macassar up through the little
trap-door. The cab drew up suddenly. 'She's mine, she's mine!'
shouted Macassar, rushing into the shop, and disregarding in the
ecstasy of the moment the various customers who were quietly
eating their ices. 'She's mine, she's mine!
With her hair done all _a l'imperatrice_,
Sweetly done with the best of grease.
And now for Somerset House.'
"Arrived at those ancient portals, he recklessly threw
eighteenpence to the cabman, and ran up the stone stairs which
led to his office. As he did so the clock, with iron tongue,
tolled four. But what recked he what it tolled? He rushed into
his room, where his colleagues were now locking their desks, and
waving abroad his hat and his umbrella, repeated the chorus of
his song. 'She's mine, she's mine -
The loveliest lady that ever was seen
Is the lovely Lady Crinoline;
and she's mine, she's mine!'
"Exhausted nature could no more. He sank into a chair, and his
brother clerks stood in a circle around him. Soon a spirit of
triumph seemed to actuate them all; they joined hands in that
friendly circle, and dancing with joyful glee, took up with one
voice the burden of the song -
'Oh how she walks,
And how she talks,
And sings like a bird serene,
But of this be sure,
While the world shall endure,
The loveliest lady that ever was seen
Is still the Lady Crinoline -
The lovely Lady Crinoline.'
"And that old senior clerk with the thin grey hair - was he angry
at this general ebullition of joy? O no! The just severity of his
discipline was always tempered with genial mercy. Not a word did
he say of that broken promise, not a word of the unchecked
diocesan balance, not a word of Sir Gregory's anger. He shook his
thin grey locks; but he shook them neither in sorrow nor in
anger. 'God bless you, Macassar Jones,', said he, 'God bless
"He too had once been young, had once loved, had once hoped and
feared, and hoped again, and had once knelt at the feet of
beauty. But alas! he had knelt in vain.
"'May God be with you, Macassar Jones,' said he, as he walked out
of the office door with his coloured bandana pressed to his eyes.
'May God be with you, and make your bed fruitful!'
"'For the loveliest lady that ever was seen
Is the lovely Lady Crinoline,'
shouted the junior clerks, still dancing in mad glee round the
"We have said that they all joined in this kindly congratulation
to their young friend. But no. There was one spirit there whom
envy had soured, one whom the happiness of another had made
miserable, one whose heart beat in no unison with these jocund
sounds. As Macassar's joy was at its height, in the proud moment
of his triumph, a hated voice struck his ears, and filled his
soul with dismay once more.
"'There's two to one still on the Lying-in,' said this hateful
"And so Macassar was not all happy even yet, as he walked home to
"We have but one other scene to record, but one short scene, and
then our tale will be told and our task will be done. And this
last scene shall not, after the usual manner of novelists, be
that of the wedding, but rather one which in our eyes is of a
much more enduring interest. Crinoline and Macassar were duly
married in Bloomsbury Church. The dresses are said to have come
from the house in Hanover Square. Crinoline behaved herself with
perfect propriety, and Macassar went through his work like a man.
When we have said that, we have said all that need be said on
"But we must beg our readers to pass over the space of the next
twelve months, and to be present with us in that front sitting-
room of the elegant private lodgings, which the married couple
now prudently occupied in Alfred Place. Lodgings! yes, they were
only lodgings; for not as yet did they know what might be the
extent of their income.
"In this room during the whole of a long autumn day sat Macassar
in a frame of mind not altogether to be envied. During the
greater portion of it he was alone; but ever and anon some
bustling woman would enter and depart without even deigning to
notice the questions which he asked. And then after a while he
found himself in company with a very respectable gentleman in
black, who belonged to the medical profession. 'Is it coming?'
asked Macassar. 'Is it, is it coming?'
"'Well, we hope so - we hope so,' said the medical gentleman. 'If
not to-day, it will be to-morrow. If I should happen to be
absent, Mrs. Gamp is all that you could desire. If not to-day, it
will certainly be to-morrow,' - and so the medical gentleman went
"Now the coming morrow would be Macassar's birthday. On that
morrow he would be twenty-six.
"All alone he sat there till the autumn sun gave way to the
shades of evening. Some one brought him a mutton chop, but it was
raw and he could not eat; he went to the sideboard and prepared
to make himself a glass of negus, but the water was all cold. His
water at least was cold, though Mrs. Gamp's was hot enough. It
was a sad and mournful evening. He thought he would go out, for
he found that he was not wanted; but a low drizzling rain
prevented him. Had he got wet he could not have changed his
clothes, for they were all in the wardrobe in his wife's room.
All alone he sat till the shades of evening were hidden by the
veil of night.
"But what sudden noise is that he hears within the house? Why do
those heavy steps press so rapidly against the stairs? What feet
are they which are so busy in the room above him? He opens the
sitting-room door, but he can see nothing. He has been left there
without a candle. He peers up the stairs, but a faint glimmer of
light shining through the keyhole of his wife's door is all that
meets his eye. 'Oh, my aunt! my aunt!' he says as he leans
against the banisters. 'My aunt, my aunt, my aunt!'
"What a birthday will this be for him on the morrow! He already
hears the sound of the hospital bells as they ring with joy at
the acquisition of their new wealth; he must dash from his lips,
tear from his heart, banish for ever from his eyes, that vision
of a sweet little cottage at Brompton, with a charming dressing-
room for himself, and gas laid on all over the house.
"'Lodgings! I hate, I detest lodgings!' he said to himself.
'Connubial bliss and furnished lodgings are not compatible. My
aunt, my aunt, for what misery hast thou not to answer! Oh, Mrs.
Gamp, could you be so obliging as to tell me what o'clock it is?'
The last question was asked as Mrs. Gamp suddenly entered the
room with a candle. Macassar's watch had been required for the
use of one of the servants.
"'It's just half-past heleven, this wery moment as is,' said Mrs.
Gamp; 'and the finest boy babby as my heyes, which has seen a
many, has ever sat upon.'
"Up, up to the ceiling went the horsehair cushion of the lodging-
house sofa - up went the footstool after it, and its four wooden
legs in falling made a terrible clatter on the mahogany loo-
table. Macassar in his joy got hold of Mrs. Gamp, and kissed her
heartily, forgetful of the fumes of gin. 'Hurrah!' shouted he,'
hurrah, hurrah, hurrah! Oh, Mrs. Gamp, I feel so - so - so - I
really don't know how I feel.'
"He danced round the room with noisy joy, till Mrs. Gamp made him
understand how very unsuited were such riotous ebullitions to the
weak state of his lady-love upstairs. He then gave over, not the
dancing but the noise, and went on capering round the room with
suppressed steps, ever and anon singing to himself in a whisper,
'The loveliest lady that ever was seen
Is still the Lady Crinoline.'
"A few minutes afterwards a knock at the door was heard, and the
monthly nurse entered. She held something in her embrace; but he
could not see what. He looked down pryingly into her arms, and at
the first glance thought that it was his umbrella. But then he
heard a little pipe, and he knew that it was his child.
"We will not intrude further on the first interview between
Macassar and his heir."
* * * * *
'And so ends the romantic history of "Crinoline and Macassar",'
said Mrs. Woodward; 'and I am sure, Charley, we are all very much
obliged to you for the excellent moral lessons you have given
'I'm so delighted with it,' said Katie; 'I do so like that
'So do I,' said Linda, yawning; 'and the old man with the thin
'Come, girls, it's nearly one o'clock, and we'll go to bed,' said
the mother. 'Uncle Bat has been asleep these two hours.'
And so they went off to their respective chambers.
All further conversation in the drawing-room was forbidden for
that night. Mrs. Woodward would have willingly postponed the
reading of Charley's story so as to enable Katie to go to bed
after the accident, had she been able to do so. But she was not
able to do so without an exercise of a species of authority which
was distasteful to her, and which was very seldom heard, seen, or
felt within the limits of Surbiton Cottage. It would moreover
have been very ungracious to snub Charley's manuscript, just when
Charley had made himself such a hero; and she had, therefore,
been obliged to read it. But now that it was done, she hurried
Katie off to bed, not without many admonitions.
'Good night,' she said to Charley; 'and God bless you, and make
you always as happy as we are now. What a household we should
have had to-night, had it not been for you!'
Charley rubbed his eyes with his hand, and muttered something
about there not having been the slightest danger in the world.
'And remember, Charley,' she said, paying no attention to his
mutterings, 'we always liked you - liked you very much; but liking
and loving are very different things. Now you are a dear, dear
friend - one of the dearest.'
In answer to this, Charley was not even able to mutter; so he
went his way to the inn, and lay awake half the night thinking
how Katie had kissed his hand: during the other half he dreamt,
first that Katie was drowned, and then that Norah was his bride.
Linda and Katie had been so hurried off, that they had only been
just able to shake hands with Harry and Charley. There is,
however, an old proverb, that though one man may lead a horse to
water, a thousand cannot make him drink. It was easy to send
Katie to bed, but very difficult to prevent her talking when she
'Oh, Linda,' she said, 'what can I do for him?'
'Do for him?' said Linda; 'I don't know that you can do anything
for him. I don't suppose he wants you to do anything.' Linda
still looked on her sister as a child; but Katie was beginning to
put away childish things.
'Couldn't I make something for him, Linda - something for him to
keep as a present, you know? I would work so hard to get it
'Work a pair of slippers, as Crinoline did,' said Linda.
Katie was brushing her hair at the moment, and then she sat still
with the brush in her hand, thinking. 'No,' said she, after a
while, 'not a pair of slippers - I shouldn't like a pair of
'Why not?' said Linda.
'Oh - I don't know - but I shouldn't.' Katie had said that
Crinoline was working slippers for Macassar because she was in
love with him; and having said so, she could not now work
slippers for Charley. Poor Katie! she was no longer a child when
she thought thus.
'Then make him a purse,' said Linda.
'A purse is such a little thing.'
'Then work him the cover for a sofa, like what mamma and I are
doing for Gertrude.'
'But he hasn't got a house,' said Katie.
'He'll have a house by the time you've done the sofa, and a wife
to sit on it too.'
'Oh, Linda, you are so ill-natured.'
'Why, child, what do you want me to say? If you were to give him
one of those grand long tobacco pipes they have in the shop
windows, that's what he'd like the best; or something of that
sort. I don't think he cares much for girls' presents, such as
purses and slippers.'
'Doesn't he?' said Katie, mournfully.
'No; not a bit. You know he's such a rake.'
'Oh! Linda; I don't think he's so very bad, indeed I don't; and
mamma doesn't think so; and you know Harry said on Easter Sunday
that he was much better than he used to be.'
'I know Harry is very good-natured to him.'
'And isn't Charley just as good-natured to Harry? I am quite sure
he is. Harry has only to ask the least thing, and Charley always
does it. Do you remember how Charley went up to town for him the
Sunday before last?'
'And so he ought,' said Linda. 'He ought to do whatever Harry
'Well, Linda, I don't know why he ought,' said Katie. 'They are
not brothers, you know, nor yet even cousins.'
'But Harry is very - so very - so very superior, you know,' said
'I don't know any such thing,' said Katie.
'Oh! Katie, don't you know that Charley is such a rake?'
'But rakes are just the people who don't do whatever they are
told; so that's no reason. And I am quite sure that Charley is
much the cleverer.'
'And I am quite sure he is not - nor half so clever; nor nearly so
well educated. Why, don't you know the navvies are the most
ignorant young men in London? Charley says so himself.'
'That's his fun,' said Katie: 'besides, he always makes little of
himself. I am quite sure Harry could never have made all that
about Macassar and Crinoline out of his own head.'
'No! because he doesn't think of such nonsensical things. I
declare, Miss Katie, I think you are in love with Master
Katie, who was still sitting at the dressing-table, blushed up to
her forehead; and at the same time her eyes were suffused with
tears. But there was no one to see either of those tell-tale
symptoms, for Linda was in bed.
'I know he saved my life,' said Katie, as soon as she could trust
herself to speak without betraying her emotion - 'I know he
jumped into the river after me, and very, very nearly drowned
himself; and I don't think any other man in the world would have
done so much for me besides him.'
'Oh, Katie! Harry would in a moment.'
'Not for me; perhaps he might for you - though I'm not quite sure
that he would.' It was thus that Katie took her revenge on her
'I'm quite sure he would for anybody, even for Sally.' Sally was
an assistant in the back kitchen. 'But I don't mean to say,
Katie, that you shouldn't feel grateful to Charley; of course you
'And so I do,' said Katie, now bursting out into tears, overdone
by her emotion and fatigue; 'and so I do - and I do love him, and
will love him, if he's ever so much a rake! But you know, Linda,
that is very different from being in love; and it was very ill-
natured of you to say so, very.'
Linda was out of bed in a trice, and sitting with her arm round
her sister's neck.
'Why, you darling little foolish child, you! I was only
quizzing,' said she. 'Don't you know that I love Charley too?'
'But you shouldn't quiz about such a thing as that. If you'd
fallen into the river, and Harry had pulled you out, then you'd
know what I mean; but I'm not at all sure that he could have done
Katie's perverse wickedness on this point was very nearly giving
rise to another contest between the sisters. Linda's common
sense, however, prevailed, and giving up the point of Harry's
prowess, she succeeded at last in getting Katie into bed. 'You
know mamma will be so angry if she hears us,' said Linda, 'and I
am sure you will be ill to-morrow.'
'I don't care a bit about being ill to-tomorrow; and yet I do
too,' she added, after a pause, 'for it's Sunday. It would be so
stupid not to be able to go out to-morrow.'
'Well, then, try to go to sleep at once' - and Linda carefully
tucked the clothes around her sister.
'I think it shall be a purse,' said Katie.
'A purse will certainly be the best; that is, if you don't like
the slippers,' and Linda rolled herself up comfortably in the
'No - I don't like the slippers at all. It shall be a purse. I can
do that the quickest, you know. It's so stupid to give a thing
when everything about it is forgotten, isn't it?'
'Very stupid,' said Linda, nearly asleep.
'And when it's worn out I can make another, can't I?'
'H'm'm'm,' said Linda, quite asleep.
And then Katie went asleep also, in her sister's arms.
Early in the morning - that is to say, not very early, perhaps
between seven and eight - Mrs. Woodward came into their room, and
having inspected her charges, desired that Katie should not get
up for morning church, but lie in bed till the middle of the day.
'Oh, mamma, it will be so stupid not going to church after
tumbling into the river; people will say that all my clothes are
'People will about tell the truth as to some of them,' said Mrs.
Woodward; 'but don't you mind about people, but lie still and go
to sleep if you can. Linda, do you come and dress in my room.'
'And is Charley to lie in bed too?' said Katie. 'He was in the
river longer than I was.'
'It's too late to keep Charley in bed,' said Linda, 'for I see
him coming along the road now with a towel; he's been bathing.'
'Oh, I do so wish I could go and bathe,' said Katie.
Poor Katie was kept in bed till the afternoon. Charley and Harry,
however, were allowed to come up to her bedroom door, and hear
her pronounce herself quite well.
'How d'ye do, Mr. Macassar?' said she.
'And how d'ye do, my Lady Crinoline?' said Harry. After that
Katie never called Charley Mr. Macassar again.
They all went to church, and Katie was left to sleep or read, or
think of the new purse that she was to make, as best she might.
And then they dined, and then they walked out; but still without
Katie. She was to get up and dress while they were out, so as to
receive them in state in the drawing-room on their return. Four
of them walked together; for Uncle Bat now usually took himself
off to his friend at Hampton Court on Sunday afternoon. Mrs.
Woodward walked with Charley, and Harry and Linda paired
'Now,' said Charley to himself, 'now would have been the time to
have told Mrs. Woodward everything, but for that accident of
yesterday. Now I can tell her nothing; to do so now would be to
demand her sympathy and to ask for assistance;' and so he
determined to tell her nothing.
But the very cause which made Charley dumb on the subject of his
own distresses made Mrs. Woodward inquisitive about them. She
knew that his life was not like that of Harry - steady, sober, and
discreet; but she felt that she did not like him, or even love
him the less on this account. Nay, it was not clear to her that
these failings of his did not give him additional claims on her
sympathies. What could she do for him? how could she relieve him?
how could she bring him back to the right way? She spoke to him
of his London life, praised his talents, encouraged him to
exertion, besought him to have some solicitude, and, above all,
some respect for himself. And then, with that delicacy which such
a woman, and none but such a woman, can use in such a matter, she
asked him whether he was still in debt.
Charley, with shame we must own it, had on this subject been
false to all his friends. He had been false to his father and his
mother, and had never owned to them the half of what he owed; he
had been false to Alaric, and false to Harry; but now, now, at
such a moment as this, he would not allow himself to be false to
'Yes,' he said, 'he was in debt - rather.'
Mrs. Woodward pressed him to say whether his debts were heavy -
whether he owed much.
'It's no use thinking of it, Mrs. Woodward,' said he; 'not the
least. I know I ought not to come down here; and I don't think I
will any more.'
'Not come down here!' said Mrs. Woodward. 'Why not? There's very
little expense in that. I dare say you'd spend quite as much in
'Oh - of course - three times as much, perhaps; that is, if I had
it - but I don't mean that.'
'What do you mean?' said she.
Charley walked on in silence, with melancholy look, very
crestfallen, his thumbs stuck into his waistcoat pockets.
'Upon my word I don't know what you mean,' said Mrs. Woodward. 'I
should have thought coming to Hampton might perhaps - perhaps have
kept you - I don't exactly mean out of mischief.' That, however,
in spite of her denial, was exactly what Mrs. Woodward did mean.
'So it does - but - ' said Charley, now thoroughly ashamed of
'But what?' said she.
'I am not fit to be here,' said Charley; and as he spoke his
manly self-control all gave way, and big tears rolled down his
Mrs. Woodward, in her woman's heart, resolved, that if it might
in any way be possible, she would make him fit, fit not only to
be there, but to hold his head up with the best in any company in
which he might find himself.
She questioned him no further then. Her wish now was not to
torment him further, but to comfort him. She determined that she