The Gospeler hurriedly related the material points of FLORA’S history to his recovered friend, who moaned with all the more cheerful parts, and seemed to think that the serious ones might be worked-up in comic miss-spelling for his paper.—“For there is nothing more humorous in human life,” said he, gloomily, “than the defective orthography of a fashionable young girl’s education for the solemnity of matrimony.”
Finally, they all set off for the appointed place of retirement, upon nearing which Mr. Dibble volunteered to remain outside as a guard against any possible interruption. The Gospeler led the way up the dark stairs of the building, when they had gained it; and the Flowerpot, following, on Jeremy BENTHAM’S arm, could not help glancing shyly up into the melancholy face of her escort, occasionally. “Do you never smile?” she could not help asking.
“Yes,” he said, mournfully, “sometimes: when I clean my teeth.”
No more was said; for they were entering the room of which the tone and atmosphere were those of a receiving-vault.
[Footnote 1: Shades of quintilian and Dr. Johnson, what a sentence!]
[Footnote 2: Quite independently of any specific design to that end by the Adapter, this Adaptation, carefully following the original English narrative as it does, can not avoid acting as a kind of practical—and, of course, somewhat exaggerative—commentary upon what is strained, forced, or out of the line of average probabilities, in the work Adapted.]
A confused state of things.
The principal office of the Comic Paper was one of those amazingly unsympathetic rooms in which the walls, windows and doors all have a stiff, unsalient aspect of the most hard-finished indifference to every emotion of humanity, and a perfectly rigid insensibility to the pleasures or pains of the tenants within their impassive shelter. In the whole configuration of the heartless, uncharacterized place there was not one gracious inequality to lean against; not a ledge to rest elbow upon; not a panel, not even a stove-pipe hole, to become dearly familiar to the wistful eye; not so much as a genial crack in the plastering, or a companionable rattle in a casement, or a little human obstinacy in a door to base some kind of an acquaintance upon and make one less lonely. Through the grim, untwinkling windows, gaping sullenly the wrong way with iron shutters, came a discouraged light, strained through the narrow intervals of the dusty roofs above, to discover a large coffin-colored desk surmounted by ghastly busts of Hervey, keble and Blair; a smaller desk, over which hung a picture of the Tomb of Washington, and at which sat a pallid assistant-editor in deep mourning, opening the comic contributions received by last mail; a still smaller desk, for the nominal writer of subscription-wrappers; files of the Evangelist, Observer and Christian Union hanging along the wall; a dead carpet of churchyard-green on the floor; and a print of Mr. PARKE GODWIN just above the mantel of momumental marble.