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don't see 'em any more till night; and their pay is regular. So up goes the bill.
Some of my neighbours who let lodgins likewise in my street were a little bit surprised at seein' the bill, and sort of cooled in their manner to'rds me, makin' remarks as they passed my window about "people mindin' their own business, and lettin' other people's alone;" which, if they thought I didn't hear, never more deceived were they, for deaf I am not on account of failin' eyesight; and only sorry should I be to put my two front rooms in comparison with theirs, for clean mine certainly are, havin' turned everythin' completely out of window, so to speak, only a fortnight before.
Yoxmouth isn't much of a seaport for visitors; but for all that, there is several invalid parties comes here to stay the winter because it's quiet and sheltered, and spoke very highly of for consumption. Many is the time I have previously had application made to me to let my two front rooms, when I have said: No," says I; "I don't let my rooms, my good gentleman, or lady, as the case might be; but I can recommend you to parties in the Row, most 'ighly respectable, who can accommodate you; bein', to my sorrow, those very same ungrateful parties who now turned round upon me. Not that I wish to mention names, but Mrs. Mervin knows very well who I mean; and what I have done for that scorpion woman, nobody knows but myself.
On a warm evenin' last fall, not above a week after the bill was up, I was sittin' in the doorway of my address, No. 2 Gillyflower Row (the house with the pots of musk in the windows), with my glasses on, and a shawl over my shoulders, fearful of chill, doin' a bit of plain-work for myself. Not thinkin' of lodgers at the moment, but intent on my work, I heard the sound of wheels comin' up the road without payin' any heed; but observin' the noise to stop about opposite my door, I made so bold as to look up. There was a gentleman
in a Bath-chair in the road, with the chairman puffin' and gaspin', behind, for breath, glad enough of the rest, for it's hard work pushin' up-hill; and callin' the hill Mount Pleasant, which is its name, don't make it any the less steep to walk up, let alone shove. Unbeknown to me, close on the causeway (which is pebbles or bounders), with his arms akimbo, stood a dapper little man, readin' my bill.
"Evenin', old lady,” he said, makin' very free. "Good evenin' to you, sir," I replied, risin' and curtseyin' properly. And what might you please to require?"
Lodgins," he said, quite short. "Terms, fifteen shillin' a week for a couple of rooms for this single gentleman and me-find ourselves-not be botheredno questions asked. Is it a bargain, or shall I go farther on?"
"Well, sir,” I made reply-for I didn't like to seem too eager, although it was five shillins a week more than I should have asked myself "I suppose you would consider the attendance extra?"
"We want no attendance and no pryin'; so there 's an end of it, if you ain't satisfied;" and he was turnin' away.
"In regard of pryin', sir, you've mistook the party. It's what I was never given to; and bein' only a lone widow"
"That'll do," says he. "Here, Gaffer!" (to the chairman); "wheel up the young gentleman; " pointin' with his finger, the Bath-chairman bein' post-like deaf. "Is he a invalid, sir?" I inquired, pityin' the pore young man.
"Rather," he said. "Nothin' catchin'." Then he whispered: "Consumptive; overgrown his strength— that's all."
Between them they got the chair up my door-step, and lifted him out. I've seen such a many consumptives in my time, they bein' populous in Yoxmouth, and I born and bred there, that I ought to be
a judge of such. My pore dear old man was over nineteen stone when he became an angel through dropsy, but nothin' like the size this pore young fellow was. So weak with it, too, he couldn't do a thing for himself, not even move hand or foot; and he never spoke a word. But I suppose some people get took with the complaint various. The pore invalid was dressed like a soldier, with a knapsack at his back, for all he bein' too weak to carry himself, and a tall hat upon his head, but nothin' round his pore throat to keep him from takin' cold, though chilly, and a heavy dew comin' up the hill. They got him into the bedroom, and set him down upon the bed, where he set sort of helpless, takin' no notice of anythin'. Then the other gentleman came out, and locked the door, and gave the chairman somethin' handsome, I know, by the way in which he touched his hat, bein' boorish in general.
"Mum, you know!" the gentleman said, puttin' his hand to his lips.
'Right!" that chairman makes reply, and if my spectacles don't deceive me, he winked, which I remember thinkin' highly disrespectful, though puttin' it down to his ignorance.
"Now then, old lady, what's your name?" "Mrs. Dunch, sir,' I said, though not used to his sharp way of talkin'.
66 Look you here, then, Mrs. Dunch. My name is Bulliphant-chris'en name Hosea. The invalid young gentleman is my son-name Bulliphant likewisechris'en name Goliah. Here you have three weeks' rent down, and a couple of sovereigns for yourself into the bargain. I want no waitin' on. I'm used to rough it; and as to my son, he can't bear to see a strange face. If you so much as set foot in either of my rooms while I'm here, we shall quarrel. anythin' or blow anythin' up, I pay for it. ever you hear, hold your tongue, and don't understand me?"
If I bust
"You are a liberal gentleman, sir," I made answer; "and I would scorn the action. And when I do just look in of a mornin' to make the beds and lay a mossel of firin', and tidy up the place a bit, you'll find me very different from a young servant-gal what goes gaddin' and pokin' into everythin'."
"You'll just do nothin' of the kind," he said; "I do all that sort of thing myself; and if I only catch you so much as lookin' in, you'll have to look out-sharp. Now, do you understand?"
"I understand you," I said to him (just like that); "but my linen and things bein' a consideration to me, I should much prefer lookin' after them myself." For I didn't see bein' lorded over in my own house like this.
"No doubt, you would," he said (just so); "but you won't. That's what I paid you the two sovereigns not to do, and all damages will be extra.-Now, take me to the pump; ' and he put the key of the bedroom in his pocket.
"The pump, sir?" I said, thinkin' I had misunderstood.
'Pump-pump!" he repeated loud and imperative. I took him out in my little backyard and showed it him. He said it would do.
"Mr. Goliah takes a deal of water," he explained. "I am treatin' him on the Hacrobathic system."
"There's very little nootriment in water, sir," I took the liberty of remarkin', "especially for a young gentleman that has overgrowed himself. Could I make him a nice drop of beef-tea, now, or anythin' nourishin', to revive him after his journey?
"No," he said, singular unfeelin'. "I know his constitootion best, and water suits it.-Now, I'm goin' out, Mrs. Dunch, to buy a few things, and you needn't trouble to look through the keyhole, to see how Mr. Goliah is gettin' on, because I put a chair with a towel over it against the lock inside, and this is near about the time he takes his nap, and hates to be dis
turbed. I suppose you've got a place where one can put a hundred or two of coal?"
Although his continual remarks about pryin' were most hurtful to my feelins, his makin' mention about the coal was to me a joyful sound, bein' out of coal myself at the time, and he such a gentleman as I felt sure would not miss a shovelful or SO once now and then. So I made haste to show him the coal-hole. He said that would do, and then went out into the village.
I scorn the very name of pryin'; but bein' a lone woman in the same house with a sick gentleman, who seemed when brought in as if every breath he draw'd would be his last, and no one to tend him, I felt it behoved me to go and listen at the door, if so be he should call out for anythin' when no one was handy. But not a sound could I hear. So I had no doubt young Mr. Bulliphant was asleep, as his father had said.
Presently, Mr. Bulliphant returned; and by and by came a lot of things, groceries and cooked meat from the eatin'-house, and a ton of coal. As I heard the man shootin' it into my coal-hole, every knob that fell sounded like music of organs to my rejoicin' ears.
"Mrs. Dunch," Mr. Bulliphant said to me, comin' into my little back-room, "you've no coal in the house of your own; you can help yourself to mine. All I ask is, let me and young Mr. Goliah alone, and don't pry.
"Beggin' of your pardon, sir," I remarked, "I should never have thought of so demeanin' myself as to have used from another party's coal. I was just on the very point of puttin' on my bonnet, and runnin' round to order in a half-hundred, to be kept separate in the kitchin cupboard, so as to have no mistake."
"You heard what I said?" he made reply, sort of snappish. "Good-night, Mrs. Dunch;" and he went and locked himself into the room with Mr. Goliah.
I thought his proposal about the coal most ungentlemanly, as well as painful to my feelins. I should have