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"Flowers," he observed, " are indispensable, at
a wedding breakfast; I hear too it is considered
the right cheese to add something in the shape
of grub." Exit whistling in the tenor clef; and
keeping their hearts up, like a man.

So now there were two workshops in Albion
Villa; Ned's study, as he called it, and the
drawing-room: in the former shavings flew, and
settled at their ease, and the whirr of the lathe
slept not; the latter was all patterns, tapes,
hooks and eyes, whalebone, cuttings of muslin,
poplin, and paper, clouds of lining-muslin, snakes
of piping, skeins, shreds; and the floor literally
sown with pins, escaped from the fingers of the
fair, those taper fingers so typical of the minds
of their owners; for they have softness, suppleness,
nimbleness, adroitness, and "a plentiful
lack" of tenacity.

The days passed in hard work, and the evenings
in wooing, never sweeter than when it has
been so earned: and at last came the wedding-
eve. Dr. Sampson, who was to give the bride
away, arrived just before dinner-time: the party,
including Alfred, sat down to a charming little
dinner; they ate beetles' wings, and drank
Indian muslin fifteen years in the wood. For the
lathe and the chisel proved insufficient, and Julia
having really denied herself, as an aspirant to
Christianity, that assassin's robe, Mrs. Dodd
sold it under the rose to a fat old dowagerfor
whom nothing was too fineand so kept up

Julia and Alfred were profoundly happy at
bottom; yet their union was attended with too
many drawbacks for boisterous gaiety, and
Alfred, up to this time, had shown a seriousness
and sobriety of bliss, that won Mrs. Dodd's
gratitude. It was the demeanour of a delicate
mind; it became his own position, at odds with
his own flesh and blood for Julia's sake; it
became him as the son-in-law of a poor woman so
lately bereaved of her husband, and reduced to
poverty by one bearing the name of Hardie.

But now Dr. Sampson introduced a gayer
element. He had seen a great deal of Life;
i.e. of death and trouble. This had not hardened
him, but, encountering a sturdy, valiant, self-
protecting nature, had made him terribly tough
and elastic; it was now his way never to go
forward or backward a single step after sorrow.
He seldom mentioned a dead friend or relation;
and if others forced the dreary topic on him,
they could never hold him to it; he was away
directly to something pleasant or useful, like a
grasshopper skipping off a grave into the green
grass. He had felt keenly about David while
there was anything to be done: but now his
poor friend was in a madhouse, thanks to the
lancet; and there was an end of him. Thinking
about him would do him no good. The present
only is irresistible; past and future ills the
mind can bar out by a resolute effort. The
bride will very likely die of her first child!
Well then, forget that just now. Her father
is in an asylum! well then, don't remember him
at the wrong time: there sit female beauty and
virtue ready to wed manly wit and comeliness,
seated opposite; see their sweet stolen glances;
a few hours only between them and wedded
rapture: and I'm here to give the lovely virgin
away: fill the bumper high! dum vivimus vivamus.
In this glorious spirit he rattled on, and
soon drew the young people out, and silvery
peals of laughter rang round the genial board.

This jarred on, Mrs. Dodd. She bore it in
silence some time; but, with the grief it
revived and sharpened by contrast, and the polite
effort to hide her distress, found herself
becoming hysterical: then she made the usual
signal to Julia, and beat an early retreat. She
left Julia in the drawing-room, and went and
locked herself in her own room. "Oh, how
can they be so cruel as to laugh and giggle in
my David's house!" She wept sadly, and for
the first time felt herself quite lonely in the
world: for what companionship between the
gay and the sad-hearted? Poor thing, she lived
to reproach herself  even with this, the nearest
approach she ever made to selfishness.

Ere long she crept into Julia's room and
humbly busied herself packing her trunks for
the wedding tour. The tears fell fast on her
white hands.

She would not have been left alone a minute
if Julia's mind had not been occupied just then
with an affectionate and seemly anxiety: she
earnestly desired to reconcile her Alfred and his
sister before the wedding; and she sat in the
drawing-room thinking whether it could be done,
and how.

At last she sat down blushing and wrote a
little note, and rang the bell for Sarah, and sent
it courageously in to the dining-room.

Sarah very prudently listened at the keyhole
before entering; for she said to herself, "If
they are talking free, I shan't go in till it's

The persons so generously suspected were
discussing a parchment Alfred had produced,
and wanted signed: " You are our trustee, my
boy," said he to Edward: " so just write your
name here, and mine comes here, and the
witnesses there: the Doctor and Sarah will do.
Send for a pen."

"Let's read it first, please."

"Read it! What for?"

"Catch me signing a paper without reading
it, my boy."

"What, can't you trust me?" inquired Alfred,

"Oh yes. And can't you trust me?"

"There's a question: why I have named you
my Trusty in the deed; he, he."

"Well then trust me without my signing, and
I'll trust you without reading."

Sampson laughed at this retort, and Alfred
reddened; he did not want the Deed read. But,
while he hesitated, Sarah came in with Julia's
note, asking him to come to her for a minute.
This sweet summons made him indifferent to
prosaic things. "Well, read away," said he:
"one comfort, you will be no wiser."

"What is it in Latin?" asked Edward, with
a wry face.