In which Timely Provision is made for an Emergency that will sometimes arise in the best-regulated Familiessometimes arise in the best-regulated Families `I SHALL never cease to congratulate myself,' said Mrs. Chick, `on having said, when I little thought what was in store for us,--really as if I was inspired by something,-- that I forgave poor dear Fanny everything. Whatever happens, that must always be a comfort to me!'
Mrs. Chick made this impressive observation in the drawing-room, after having descended thither from the inspection of the Mantua-Makers up stairs, who were busy on the family mourning. She delivered it for the behoof of Mr. Chick, who was a stout bald gentleman, with a very large face, and his hands continually in his pockets, and who had a tendency in his nature to whistle and hum tunes, which, sensible of the indecorum of such sounds in a house of grief, he was at some pains to repress at present.
`Don't you over-exert yourself, Loo,' said Mr. Chick, `or you'll be laid up with spasms, I see. Right tol loor rul! Bless my soul, I forgot! We're here one day and gone the next!'
Mrs. Chick contented herself with a glance of reproof, and then proceeded with the thread of her discourse.
`I am sure,' she said, `I hope this heart-rending occurrence will be a warning to all of us, to accustom ourselves to rouse ourselves, and to make efforts in time where they're required of us. There's a moral in everything, if we would only avail ourselves of it. It will be our own faults if we lose sight of this one.'
Mr. Chick invaded the grave silence which ensued on this remark with the singularly inappropriate air of `A cobbler there was;' and checking himself, in some confusion, observed, that it was undoubtedly our own faults if we didn't improve such melancholy occasions as the present.
`Which might be better improved, I should think, Mr. C.,' retorted his helpmate, after a short pause, `than by the introduction, either of the college hornpipe, or the equally unmeaning and unfeeling remark of rump-te-iddity, bow-wow-wow!'--which Mr. Chick had indeed indulged in under his breath, and which Mrs. Chick repeated in a tone of withering scorn.
`Merely habit, my dear,' pleaded Mr. Chick.
`Nonsense! Habit!' returned his wife. `If you're a rational being, don't make such ridiculous excuses. Habit! If I was to get a habit (as you call it) of walking on the ceiling, like the flies, I should hear enough of it, I dare say.'
It appeared so probable that such a habit might be attended with some degree of notoriety, that Mr. Chick didn't venture to dispute the position.
`How's the Baby, Loo?' asked Mr. Chick: to change the subject.
`What Baby do you mean?' answered Mrs. Chick. `I am sure the morning I have had, with that dining- room down stairs one mass of babies, no one in their senses would believe.'
`One mass of babies!' repeated Mr. Chick, staring with an alarmed expression about him.
`It would have occurred to most men,' said Mrs. Chick, `that poor dear Fanny being no more, it becomes necessary to provide a Nurse.'
`Oh! Ah!' said Mr. Chick. `Toor-rul--such is life, I mean. I hope you are suited, my dear.'
`Indeed I am not,' said Mrs. Chick; `nor likely to be, so far as I can see. Meanwhile, of course, the child is--'
`Going to the very Deuce,' said Mr. Chick, thoughtfully, `to be sure.'
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