He had gone through the interview so well, and it had terminated so admirably, that he almost began to wish he had expressly stipulated for the settlement of the annual five hundred on himself.
'May I come in?' said Mr. Gabriel Parsons, peeping in at the door.
'You may,' replied Watkins.
'Well, have you done it?' anxiously inquired Gabriel.
'Have I done it!' said Watkins Tottle. 'Hush--I'm going to the clergyman.'
'No!' said Parsons. 'How well you have managed it!'
'Where does Timson live?' inquired Watkins.
'At his uncle's,' replied Gabriel, 'just round the lane. He's waiting for a living, and has been assisting his uncle here for the last two or three months. But how well you have done it--I didn't think you could have carried it off so!'
Mr. Watkins Tottle was proceeding to demonstrate that the Richardsonian principle was the best on which love could possibly be made, when he was interrupted by the entrance of Martha, with a little pink note folded like a fancy cocked-hat.
'Miss Lillerton's compliments,' said Martha, as she delivered it into Tottle's hands, and vanished.
'Do you observe the delicacy?' said Tottle, appealing to Mr. Gabriel Parsons. 'COMPLIMENTS, not LOVE, by the servant, eh?'
Mr. Gabriel Parsons didn't exactly know what reply to make, so he poked the forefinger of his right hand between the third and fourth ribs of Mr. Watkins Tottle.
'Come,' said Watkins, when the explosion of mirth, consequent on this practical jest, had subsided, 'we'll be off at once--let's lose no time.'
'Capital!' echoed Gabriel Parsons; and in five minutes they were at the garden-gate of the villa tenanted by the uncle of Mr. Timson.
'Is Mr. Charles Timson at home?' inquired Mr. Watkins Tottle of Mr. Charles Timson's uncle's man.
'Mr. Charles IS at home,' replied the man, stammering; 'but he desired me to say he couldn't be interrupted, sir, by any of the parishioners.'
'_I_ am not a parishioner,' replied Watkins.
'Is Mr. Charles writing a sermon, Tom?' inquired Parsons, thrusting himself forward.
'No, Mr. Parsons, sir; he's not exactly writing a sermon, but he is practising the violoncello in his own bedroom, and gave strict orders not to be disturbed.'
'Say I'm here,' replied Gabriel, leading the way across the garden; 'Mr. Parsons and Mr. Tottle, on private and particular business.'
They were shown into the parlour, and the servant departed to deliver his message. The distant groaning of the violoncello ceased; footsteps were heard on the stairs; and Mr. Timson presented himself, and shook hands with Parsons with the utmost cordiality.
'Game!' exclaimed Ikey, who had been altering the position of a green-handled knife and fork at least a dozen times, in order that he might remain in the room under the pretext of having something to do. 'He's game enough ven there's anything to be fierce about; but who could be game as you call it, Mr. Walker, with a pale young creetur like that, hanging about him?--It's enough to drive any man's heart into his boots to see 'em together--and no mistake at all about it. I never shall forget her first comin' here; he wrote to her on the Thursday to come--I know he did, 'cos I took the letter. Uncommon fidgety he was all day to be sure, and in the evening he goes down into the office, and he says to Jacobs, says he, "Sir, can I have the loan of a private room for a few minutes this evening, without incurring any additional expense--just to see my wife in?" says he. Jacobs looked as much as to say--"Strike me bountiful if you ain't one of the modest sort!" but as the gen'lm'n who had been in the back parlour had just gone out, and had paid for it for that day, he says--werry grave--"Sir," says he, "it's agin our rules to let private rooms to our lodgers on gratis terms, but," says he, "for a gentleman, I don't mind breaking through them for once." So then he turns found to me, and says, "Ikey, put two mould candles in the back parlour, and charge 'em to this gen'lm'n's account," vich I did.