The fates had conspired to make that old gentleman rich. He owned a number of lots on the outskirts of the city, on which he had been paying taxes a number of years, and he awoke one fine morning to find them worth a large sum of money. The city council having determined to cut a street just beside them, and the property all around being in the hands of wealthy and fashionable people, his own proved to be exceedingly valuable.
It was a sad day for the old man, as Kinch and his mother insisted that he should give up business, which he did most reluctantly, and Kinch had to be incessantly on the watch thereafter, to prevent him from hiring cellars, and sequestering their old clothes to set up in business again. They were both gone now, and Kinch was his own master, with a well-secured income of a thousand dollars a-year, with a prospect of a large increase.
They talked matters over fully, and settled all their arrangements before the time for parting, and then, finding the baby had scrambled into Mrs. Ellis’s lap and gone fast asleep, and that it was long after ten o’clock, each departed, taking their several ways for home.
The Fatal Discovery.
There is great bustle and confusion in the house of Mr. Bates. Mantua-makers and milliners are coming in at unearthly hours, and consultations of deep importance are being duly held with maiden aunts and the young ladies who are to officiate as bridesmaids at the approaching ceremony. There are daily excursions to drapers’ establishments, and jewellers, and, in fact, so much to be done and thought of, that little Birdie is in constant confusion, and her dear little curly head is almost turned topsy-turvy. Twenty times in each day is she called upstairs to where the sempstresses are at work, to have something tried on or fitted. Poor little Birdie! she declares she never can stand it: she did not dream that to be married she would have been subjected to such a world of trouble, or she would never have consented,—never!
And then Clarence, too, comes in every morning, and remains half the day, teasing her to play, to talk, or sing. Inconsiderate Clarence! when she has so much on her mind; and when at last he goes, and she begins to felicitate herself that she is rid of him, back he comes again in the evening, and repeats the same annoyance. O, naughty, tiresome, Clarence! how can you plague little Birdie so? Perhaps you think she doesn’t dislike it; you may be right, very likely she doesn’t.
She sometimes wonders why he grows paler and thinner each day, and his nervous and sometimes distracted manner teases her dreadfully; but she supposes all lovers act thus, and expects they cannot help it—and then little Birdie takes a sly peep in the glass, and does not so much wonder after all.
Yet if she sometimes deems his manner startling and odd, what would she say if she knew that, night after night, when he left her side, he wandered for long hours through the cold and dreary streets, and then went to his hotel, where he paced his room until almost day?