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wishes; and I won't serve any one who comes in for a pennyworth of hair oil. For the rest, be assured I appreciate your intended kindness.”
And then the world—the Shrugg's worldshrugged its shoulders, and raised its hands, and prepared to pass such an infatuated man by on the other side. And the time drew on when No. 99, Sussex Gardens, must be deserted, and the rooms which had so long echoed to girlish voices be left to silence; but the Sussex Gardens world had to be still further astonished before the final exit.
CHAPTER III. “AH! HA! THE WOOIN O’T.” "I'm sure he's very polite; this is his third call,” Mrs. Shrugg exclaimed, as she took up a gentleman's visiting card, left while she was out one afternoon. “I wish you could see him Francis.”
“Who is it?"
At whose name the girls began to giggle, especially Norah.
Mr. Shrugg looked inquiringly.
"O, papa,” began Norah, "we watched him—Linda and I did—and he's so stiff; he came on horseback, and beckoned to a policeman to ring the bell; and he's so prim, and just like a clean poker ;” and then Nelly went off into smothered laughter; and the
twins grinned, and the elder girls looked as if a very little more would set them off too.
"I shall tell him what you say,” said papa, “and I shall look out for a school for you at once. At all events,” he added gravely, he must be a kind man to trouble himself about us now. I wonder why he does ? ”
“Mamma, is he married ?".
Mrs. Shrugg looked amused; perhaps the same idea was in her own, as was in Norah's thoughts. “I don't know; I believe not,” she answered.
Then Norah nodded towards Margaret meaningly.
“Well done, Norah!" Mr. Shrugg exclaimed; " Margaret evidently appreciates your innu
Margaret looked the personification of offended dignity.
“Indeed, papa,” she cried, “Norah is too impertinent. I have not spoken two words to him. Susy has; they made a dead set at each other; and such an old creature, too— the very idea!”
Susy's soft voice broke in.
“Well, papa, Margaret looked so awfully tall when he spoke to her, that I was obliged to make up by being extra civil.”
“Quite right, Susy; those giddy girls must be taught good manners; but you need not waste your imagination, Norah,” he added very gravely. “You must remember our changed position now: rich men of Mr. Seton's standing don't look after poor druggists' daughters” a remark that silenced and sobered even Miss Norah.
But the world is not so bad as is said ; and that very evening Mr. Shrugg had to revoke his opinion.
“Mr. Poker Severe' has been again,” Norah announced, as she laid a card and a note by her father. “Isn't that a good name for him ? Linda, and I made it up."
“An invitation, no doubt,” Mr. Shrugg said. “What a fine seal!"
“Now we shall hear if he's married," Margaret exclaimed. “Now, papa,—Mr. and Mrs. Polkely Seton.” Mr. Shrugg opened his letter. and as he was accustomed with all letters but those on business, at once began reading the contents aloud.
“101, HYDE PARK GARDENS. “Ah! that's a capital situation. He's a man of taste, you see, Susan.”
“ MY DEAR SIR.”—
“Very cordial, considering I've never seen the fellow yet.”
“ Failing to obtain an interview with you, and hearing from our mutual friends, Mr. and Mrs. Sims, that you are to leave town shortly, I am obliged to take this means of requesting your permission to pay my”—
Here Mr. Shrugg stopped short,—while his eyes ran on a little further, and a decided flush overspread his face. “What upon earth ?"-