“How delightful—Kinch to be groomsman,” said Esther, “that is very kind in you, Kinch, to assist us to get Charlie off our hands.”
“And who is to be bridesmaid?” asked Walters.
“Oh, Caddy of course—I couldn’t have any one but Caddy,” blushingly answered Emily.
“That is capital,” cried Charlie, giving Kinch a facetious poke, “just the thing, isn’t it, Kinch—it will get her accustomed to these matters. You remember what you told me this morning, eh, old boy?” he concluded, archly. Kinch tried to blush, but being very dark-complexioned, his efforts in that direction were not at all apparent, so he evidenced his confusion by cramming a whole short-cake into his mouth, and almost caused a stoppage in the tunnel; Caddy became excessively red in the face, and was sure they wanted more cakes.
But Mr. Walters was equally confident they did not, and put his back against the door and stood there, whilst Mrs. Ellis gravely informed them that she soon expected to be her own housekeeper, for that she had detected Caddy and Kinch in a furniture establishment, pricing a chest of drawers and a wash-stand; and that Kinch had unblushingly told her they had for some time been engaged to be married, but somehow or other had forgotten to mention it to her.
This caused a general shout of laughter around the table, in which baby tumultuously joined, and rattled her spoon against the tea-urn until she almost deafened them.
This noise frightened Mr. Ellis, who cried, “There they come! there they come!” and cowered down in his great chair, and looked so exceedingly terrified, that the noise was hushed instantly, and tears sprang into the eyes of dear old Ess, who rose and stood by him, and laid his withered face upon her soft warm bosom, smoothed down the thin grey hair, and held him close to her throbbing tender heart, until the wild light vanished from his bleared and sunken eyes, and the vacant childish smile came back on his thin, wan face again, when she said, “Pray don’t laugh so very loud, it alarms father; he is composed now, pray don’t startle him so again.”
This sobered them down a little, and they quietly recommenced discussing the matrimonial arrangements; but they were all in such capital spirits that an occasional hearty and good-humoured laugh could not be suppressed.
Mr. Walters acted in his usual handsome manner, and facetiously collaring Charlie, took him into a corner and informed him that he had an empty house that be wished him to occupy, and that if he ever whispered the word rent, or offered him any money before he was worth twenty thousand dollars, he should believe that he wanted to pick a quarrel with him, and should refer him to a friend, and then pistols and coffee would be the inevitable result.
Then it came out that Caddy and Kinch had been, courting for some time, if not with Mrs. Ellis’s verbal consent, with at least no objection from that good lady; for Master Kinch, besides being an exceedingly good-natured fellow, was very snug in his boots, and had a good many thousand dollars at his disposal, bequeathed him by his father.