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But lookee here, Dick; you want to marry;
now, I don't intend to let you marry. I'm not
going to stand your being thrown away upon
any other than your own relations."

"Come out of that chair, Bill!"

"I won't. It's a comfortable chair. I'm
bent on telling you my mind. My mind has
been full of you, Dick, ever since you began to
build this house. That's a suspicious gallery,
shut off by a green baize door. I said when I
saw it, that means mischief. He means that
part of the house for a Nur—"

"Come out of that chair, Bill!"

"I tell you I won't. As to your getting
married, I'm not afraid of Fanny; her temper
will never stand a month's courtship. She'll
show her teeth in a fortnight. When I turned
this matter over in my mind, I said to myself,
'Dick is safe from her. But Florence,' I said,
'may be dangerous; therefore I'll pretend to be
a little affected that way myself.'"

"Here, Bill! Take five poundstake ten
poundsbut come out of that chair!"

"I would have done it for less than that,
Dick, but as you are so flush and free of money,
I'll take the ten. Good evening, Dick; I
promised mother to be back to tea."

With this sudden change, Mr. William took
himself out of the chair, and took his leave.
Mr. Richardtoo well pleased to have got
him out of the chair, to care for anything
more, and knowing that his nerves were
incapable of bearing further strainrushed up-stairs
and dived into bed. And, as if fearing that the
chair would pursue him even there, and entice
people to commit themselves, he pulled the bed-
clothes over his head, and was fortunate in
being unconscious during the rest of the night.




WHEN Mr. Blorage awoke in the morning, he
was reminded by a slight headache, that
something unusual had occurred; but he came out of
his cold bath as lively and fresh and full of
spirits as if he were the combined essence of
two or three dozen Mr. Blorages. He pranced
down stairshis own newly-built and Brussels
carpeted stairslike a young colt philandering
in a clover meadow.

This was the great day of the house-warming,
to be followed by events that were perfectly
bewildering from the ecstasy of their anticipation.
He was brought back to a state of common
human bliss by a strong smell of burnt
wood or varnish, and found that in making the
tea (he had lost himself in thinking how soon
some fair hand might be making tea for him) he
was endeavouring to stuff his little hot kettle
(which phizzed and sputtered a remonstrance)
into his new tea-poy, while the caddy appertaining
thereto was catching fire on the hob.

Remedying these mistakes with the utmost
expedition, in turning round he suddenly
encountered the chair, and suddenly remembered
its fatal property.

What was he to do? How get rid of the
chair? Should he send it away? Should he
lock it up? Should he destroy it? burn it?
annihilate it? bury it?

As he seized hold of it, with the intention of
performing one or other of these acts, he was
conscious of a shock; his arms fell powerless to
his sides; and a little fluttering noise made him
look up. There, on the head of a chair, was the
Lady Verita, her wings expanded, her tiny foot
just poised on the carved shining top of the

"It is of no use, Dick," she said, her little
voice tinkling like silver music. "This chair
was not enchanted merely for your whim. Sit
down, and listen to me."

Dick obeyed, and held out his palm. His
heart leaped with joy as the little lady sprang
lightly on to it.

"Lend me your watch, Dick, to sit upon."

Dick complied, and placed his watch with
infinite care and gentleness for her use.

She seated herself gracefully, having folded
her wings. Once more drawing out her fleecy
atom of a handkerchief, she used it after the
manner of mortals: though Dick hardly supposed
that anything so infinitely delicate as her nose
could stand the test.

"Now, Dick, how naughty you are! You do
not use my gift as you ought. Why were you
thinking of burning my chair? Simply because it
had done its duty in enabling you to see people
as they really are, and know their thoughts?"

"But I do not wish to know them."

"My dear Dick, infinite wisdom has given
you susceptibility, intelligence, and reason.
You only use the first. You are commanded to
love your neighbour, but your susceptibility
should not lead you into confounding all moral
distinctions among your neighbours. Reason
should step in, and enable you to make a
practical use of susceptibility and intelligence. Do
I make myself understood? I have had to read
up for it."

"Lovely and beloved little creature, I know
I am a fool, but let me reap the fruits of my
want of wisdom. I would rather be foolish for
life than entrap others into sitting in this chair."

"Dick, you require a lesson. Use it well, be
patient, be submissive, and all will end well,
both for you and for me. I hear your door-bell
ringing. Adieu, Dick. Be wise and prudent."

The radiant wings expanded, the little
handkerchief was tied under the tiny chin, and, as
Penge opened the door to usher in a visitor, the
little lady vanished.

"Be wise and prudent." The words kept
tinkling a little silver sound in the ears of Mr.
Blorage, as he rose and welcomed the visitor
shown in by Penge. His first essay at being
wise and prudent, made him hand her (for it
was a female) at once into the post of honour
the Chair of Truth.

He was glad to perceive that his visitor was
a pleasant little mild girl, whom he had met once