'Him, Him, Him!'
'Him, him, him?' repeated Sloppy; staring about, as if for Him.
'Him who is coming to court and marry me,' returned Miss Wren. 'Dear me, how slow you are!'
'Oh! HIM!' said Sloppy. And seemed to turn thoughtful and a little troubled. 'I never thought of him. When is he coming, Miss?'
'What a question!' cried Miss Wren. 'How should I know!'
'Where is he coming from, Miss?'
'Why, good gracious, how can I tell! He is coming from somewhere or other, I suppose, and he is coming some day or other, I suppose. I don't know any more about him, at present.'
This tickled Mr Sloppy as an extraordinarily good joke, and he threw back his head and laughed with measureless enjoyment. At the sight of him laughing in that absurd way, the dolls' dressmaker laughed very heartily indeed. So they both laughed, till they were tired.
'There, there, there!' said Miss Wren. 'For goodness' sake, stop, Giant, or I shall be swallowed up alive, before I know it. And to this minute you haven't said what you've come for.'
'I have come for little Miss Harmonses doll,' said Sloppy.
'I thought as much,' remarked Miss Wren, 'and here is little Miss Harmonses doll waiting for you. She's folded up in silver paper, you see, as if she was wrapped from head to foot in new Bank notes. Take care of her, and there's my hand, and thank you again.'
'I'll take more care of her than if she was a gold image,' said Sloppy, 'and there's both MY hands, Miss, and I'll soon come back again.'
But, the greatest event of all, in the new life of Mr and Mrs John Harmon, was a visit from Mr and Mrs Eugene Wrayburn. Sadly wan and worn was the once gallant Eugene, and walked resting on his wife's arm, and leaning heavily upon a stick. But, he was daily growing stronger and better, and it was declared by the medical attendants that he might not be much disfigured by-and-by. It was a grand event, indeed, when Mr and Mrs Eugene Wrayburn came to stay at Mr and Mrs John Harmon's house: where, by the way, Mr and Mrs Boffin (exquisitely happy, and daily cruising about, to look at shops,) were likewise staying indefinitely.
To Mr Eugene Wrayburn, in confidence, did Mrs John Harmon impart what she had known of the state of his wife's affections, in his reckless time. And to Mrs John Harmon, in confidence, did Mr Eugene Wrayburn impart that, please God, she should see how his wife had changed him!
'I make no protestations,' said Eugene; '--who does, who means them!--I have made a resolution.'
'But would you believe, Bella,' interposed his wife, coming to resume her nurse's place at his side, for he never got on well without her: 'that on our wedding day he told me he almost thought the best thing he could do, was to die?'
'As I didn't do it, Lizzie,' said Eugene, 'I'll do that better thing you suggested--for your sake.'
That same afternoon, Eugene lying on his couch in his own room upstairs, Lightwood came to chat with him, while Bella took his wife out for a ride. 'Nothing short of force will make her go, Eugene had said; so, Bella had playfully forced her.
'Dear old fellow,' Eugene began with Lightwood, reaching up his hand, 'you couldn't have come at a better time, for my mind is full, and I want to empty it. First, of my present, before I touch upon my future. M. R. F.