'If you persisted in ringing at the bell and claiming me,' said the bride of Tinkling to that gentleman, 'you would have things dropped on your head from the window over the handle, or you would be played upon by the garden-engine.'
'And at your own homes,' resumed the bride of the colonel, 'it would be just as bad. You would be sent to bed, or something equally undignified. Again, how would you support us?'
The pirate-colonel replied in a courageous voice, 'By rapine!' But his bride retorted, 'Suppose the grown-up people wouldn't be rapined?' 'Then,' said the colonel, 'they should pay the penalty in blood.' - 'But suppose they should object,' retorted his bride, 'and wouldn't pay the penalty in blood or anything else?'
A mournful silence ensued.
'Then do you no longer love me, Alice?' asked the colonel.
'Redforth! I am ever thine,' returned his bride.
'Then do you no longer love me, Nettie?' asked the present writer.
'Tinkling! I am ever thine,' returned my bride.
We all four embraced. Let me not be misunderstood by the giddy. The colonel embraced his own bride, and I embraced mine. But two times two make four.
'Nettie and I,' said Alice mournfully, 'have been considering our position. The grown-up people are too strong for us. They make us ridiculous. Besides, they have changed the times. William Tinkling's baby brother was christened yesterday. What took place? Was any king present? Answer, William.'
I said No, unless disguised as Great-uncle Chopper.
There had been no queen that I knew of at our house. There might have been one in the kitchen: but I didn't think so, or the servants would have mentioned it.
None that were visible.
'We had an idea among us, I think,' said Alice, with a melancholy smile, 'we four, that Miss Grimmer would prove to be the wicked fairy, and would come in at the christening with her crutch-stick, and give the child a bad gift. Was there anything of that sort? Answer, William.'
I said that ma had said afterwards (and so she had), that Great- uncle Chopper's gift was a shabby one; but she hadn't said a bad one. She had called it shabby, electrotyped, second-hand, and below his income.
'It must be the grown-up people who have changed all this,' said Alice. 'WE couldn't have changed it, if we had been so inclined, and we never should have been. Or perhaps Miss Grimmer IS a wicked fairy after all, and won't act up to it because the grown-up people have persuaded her not to. Either way, they would make us ridiculous if we told them what we expected.'
'Tyrants!' muttered the pirate-colonel.
'Nay, my Redforth,' said Alice, 'say not so. Call not names, my Redforth, or they will apply to pa.'
'Let 'em,' said the colonel. 'I do not care. Who's he?'
Tinkling here undertook the perilous task of remonstrating with his lawless friend, who consented to withdraw the moody expressions above quoted.
'What remains for us to do?' Alice went on in her mild, wise way. 'We must educate, we must pretend in a new manner, we must wait.'
The colonel clenched his teeth, - four out in front, and a piece of another, and he had been twice dragged to the door of a dentist- despot, but had escaped from his guards.