Read CHAPTER IV - MRS. UPJOHN'S ENTERTAINMENT of Only an Incident, free online book, by Grace Denio Litchfield, on

Mrs. Upjohn was going to give an entertainment. She was about to open the hospitable doors of the great house upon the hill, which seemed to have chosen that pre-eminence that it might the better overlook the morals of its neighbors. Joppa held its breath in charmed suspense. The question was not, Will I be asked? that was affirmatively settled for every West-End Joppite of party-going years; nor was it, What shall I wear? which was determined once for all at the beginning of the season; but, What will be done with me when I get there? For to go to Mrs. Upjohn’s was not the simple thing that it sounded. She wished it to be distinctly understood that she did not ask people to her house for their amusement, but for their moral and spiritual improvement; any one could be amused anywhere, but she wished to show her guests that there were pleasanter things than pleasure to be had even in social gatherings, and to teach them to hunger and thirst after better than meat and drink, while at the same time she took pains always to provide a repast as superior to the general run as her sentiments, quite atoning to the Joppites for the spiritual accompaniments to her feast by its material and solid magnificence, which lingered appetizingly in their memories long after they had settled their consequent doctors’ bills. Yes, the Joppites were not asked to Mrs. Upjohn’s to eat and drink only, or merely to have a good time, with whatever ulterior intentions of so doing they may have gone thither. They were asked for a purpose, a purpose which it was vain to guess, and impossible to escape. Go they must, and be improved they must, bon gré mal gré, and enjoy themselves they would if they could.

So there were mingled feelings abroad when Mrs. Upjohn’s neatly written invitations found their way into each of the West-End houses, embracing natives and strangers alike in their all-hospitable sweep, and even creeping into some outlying less aristocratic quarters, where confusion worse confounded, in the shape of refurbishing and making over, followed agonizingly in their wake. The invitations were indited by Miss Maria Upjohn, it being an opportunity to improve that young lady’s handwriting which her mother could not have conscientiously suffered to pass, and stated that Mr. and Mrs. Reuben O. Upjohn requested the honor of your company on Thursday, July 14th, punctually at four o’clock. R.S.V.P. Joppa immediately R.S.V.P.’d that it would feel flattered to present itself at that hour, and then looked anxiously around and asked itself “What will it be this time?” The day dawned, and still the great question agitated public minds unsolved.

“There isn’t a word to be coaxed or threatened out of Maria,” said Bell Masters. “I believe it’s something too awful to tell. Mr. De Forest, can’t you hazard a guess?”

Mr. Ogden De Forest was lazily strolling past the Masters’ front steps, where a knot of girls had gathered after a game of lawn tennis, and were imbibing largely of lemonade, which was being fabricated on the spot, according to demand, by Phebe and Janet Mudge. The spoons stopped clinking in the various glasses as Bell thus audaciously called out to the gentleman. He was not a Joppite by either birth or education; indeed, he had but lately arrived on his first visit as a summer guest, and was hardly known to anybody personally as yet, though there was not a girl in the place but was already perfectly well aware of his existence, and had placed him instantly as “one of the very swellest of the swells.” He was a short, dark, well-dressed man, and so exceedingly handsome that every feminine heart secretly acknowledged that only to have the right to bow to him would be a joy and pride indescribable. And here was Bell, who had accidentally been introduced to him the day before, calling to him as unceremoniously as if he were Dick Hardcastle or Jake Dexter. He turned at her voice and paused at the gate, lifting his hat. “I beg you pardon, Miss Masters, you called me?”

“Yes,” said Bell. “Have some lemonade?”

“No, thanks.”

“Come in.”

“Thanks, not this morning. I shall see you later at Mrs. Upjohn’s, I suppose.”

“Yes, you’ll see us all later,” said Miss Bell, fishing out a lemon-seed from her goblet. “We shall have on different dresses, and you’ll be offering us lemonade instead of our offering it to you. Take a good look at us so as to see how much prettier we are now than we shall be then.”

Mr. De Forest obeyed literally, staring tranquilly and critically at each in turn, his glance returning slowly to the young lady of the house. “Unless you introduce me to your friends I shall not be able to tell them so,” he replied, in the slow, deliberate voice that seemed always to have a ring of suppressed sarcasm in it, no matter what he said.

“Then I’ll certainly not introduce you,” said Bell, composedly, with a saucy shot at him from her handsome black eyes. “And so I’ll be the only girl to get the compliment. Phebe, more sugar, please.”

“I will endeavor to work one up between now and then regardless of cost. Four o’clock, I believe. What is it to be? A dance?”

“Holy Moses! at Mrs. Upjohn’s!”

“Oh, she doesn’t go in for that kind of thing? A card-party, then?”

“Great heavens! Mr. De Forest, are you mad? I don’t doubt she struggles with herself over every visiting card that she uses, and playing-cards !”

“Theatricals, then?”

Bell gave a positive howl. “Theatricals! Hear him, girls!”

“We hear well enough. You don’t give us a chance to do any thing but listen,” said Amy Duckworth, pointedly.

“My dear, you’ll converse all the more brilliantly this afternoon for a brief period of silence now,” said Bell, sweetly. “Mr. De Forest, you are not happy in your guesses.”

“I have exhausted them, unless it is to be a musicale.”

“No. That’s what we are going to have to-morrow ourselves. I sing, you know.”

“Do you? Well, a garden party perhaps?”

“That’s what the Ripleys are going to have Thursday.”

“Then, so far as I can see, there is nothing left for it to be except a failure,” said De Forest, lifting his arms off the gate. “And, in view of so much coming dissipation, I feel constrained to retire and seek a little preparatory repose. Good-morning, Miss Masters.”

“How hateful not to introduce him, Bell! And when he distinctly asked you to! How abominably mean of you! How selfish, how horrid! I wouldn’t have done so,” broke out in an indignant chorus, as the gentleman walked off.

“Do you think I would be such a goose as to go shares in the handsomest man Joppa ever laid eyes on, so long as I can keep him to myself?” said Bell, honestly. “Fish for yourselves, girls. The sea is open to all, and you may each land another as good.”

Phebe’s lip curled very disdainfully. What a fuss to make over a man, and how Bell had changed in the last few years!

“Well, keep him, if you can, but I’ll be even with you yet,” said Amy, with an ominous smile. “And what luck! Here comes Mr. Moulton now, and I know him and you don’t, and I’ll pay you off on the spot. Good-morning, Mr. Moulton.”

The young gentleman stopped, in his turn, at the gate as Amy spoke to him.

“Oh, Miss Duckworth, I was on my way to call on you.”

“I will go home with you in a minute,” said Amy, graciously. “I wouldn’t miss your call for any thing. But first let me introduce you to my friends. Miss Mudge, Mr. Moulton, Miss Lane, the Misses Dexter. You will meet us all again at Mrs. Upjohn’s. Of course, you are going?”

“Certainly, now I am told that I shall meet you there, and if you will promise that I shan’t be called upon to do any thing remarkable. I have heard alarming reports.”

“That is out of anyone’s power to promise,” replied Miss Duckworth. “No genius is safe from her.”

“Amy, love,” broke in Bell, with infinite gentleness of tone and manner, “you have forgotten to present your friend to me, and I cannot be so impolite as to leave him standing outside my own gate. I am Miss Masters, Mr. Moulton. Pray excuse the informality, and come in to share our lemonade.”

Mr. Moulton, nothing loath, accordingly came in, took his glass, and sat himself just where Bell directed, on a step at her feet. Amy colored, and there was a subdued titter somewhere in the background, and Bell calmly resumed the reins of the conversation. “No, there is no knowing what we shall be put through this afternoon. One time when Mrs. Upjohn had got us all safely inside her doors, she divided us smartly into two classes, set herself in the middle, and announced that we were there for a spelling bee. We shouldn’t say we hadn’t learned something at her house. And upon my word we did learn something. Never before or since have I heard such merciless words as she dealt us out. My hair stands on end still when I recollect the horrors I underwent that day.”

“I’ll smuggle in a dictionary,” declared Mr. Moulton. “I’ll be ready for her.”

“No use. She never runs twice in the same groove. It’s only sure not to be a spelling bee this time.”

“When we last went there it turned out to be a French soiree,” said one of the Misses Dexter, “and she announced that there would be a penny’s fine collected at the end of the evening for each English word spoken.”

“Proceeds to go to a lately imported poor family,” added the sister Dexter. “There was quite a sum raised, and the head of the family decamped with it two days after, for Heaven knows where, leaving his wife and infants on Mrs. Upjohn’s hands poorer than ever.”

But Mrs. Upjohn’s entertainment proved to be neither orthographic nor linguistic. The guests arrived punctually as bidden, and their hostess, clad in her most splendid attire, received them with her most gracious manner. There was nothing to foretell the fate that awaited them. Her tall, awkward daughter stood nervously by her side. Mr. Upjohn, too, kept there valiantly for a time, then his round, ample figure and jolly face disappeared somewhere, under chaperonage of Mrs. Bruce, his latest admiration. But no one ever thought of Mr. Upjohn as the host, any way; beseemed rather to be a sort of favored guest in his own parlor; and his place was more than made good by Mr. Hardcastle, who, standing in the centre of the room, exactly as he always stood in the centre of everybody’s room on such an occasion, appeared himself to be quite master of ceremonies, from the grand way in which he stepped forward to meet each guest and hope he or she “would make out to enjoy it.” The rooms filled rapidly, and before long Mrs. Upjohn turned from the door and stood an instant reviewing her guests with the triumphant mien of a victorious general. Then she advanced solemnly to the middle of the room, displacing Mr. Hardcastle, who graciously made way and waved his hand to signify to her his permission to proceed.

“My friends,” said the great lady, with her deep, positive voice, drawing her imposing figure to its fullest height, “as you know, it is never my way to give parties. I leave that for the rest of you to do. When I ask you to my house, it is with a higher motive than to make a few hours lie less heavily on your hands.”

“Dear soul!” muttered Dick Hardcastle to his crony, Jake. “Nobody could have the conscience to charge her with ever having lightened them to us.”

“And therefore,” continued the lady, gazing around upon her victims with a benignant smile, “without further prelude, I will inform you for what object I have asked you to honor me with your presence this afternoon.”

She paused, and a cold chill ran through the company. What would she do? Would she open on them with the Westminster Catechism this time, or set them to shelling peas for some poor man’s dinner, or would she examine them in the multiplication table? A few had run it hastily over before leaving home to make sure that they were ready for such an emergency.

“I had thought first,” Mrs. Upjohn proceeded, “of a series of games as instructive as delightful, games of history and geography, and one particularly of astronomy, which I am persuaded would be very helpful. It brought out the nature of the spectroscope in a remarkably clear and intelligent light, and after a few rounds I am sure none of us could ever again have forgotten those elusive figures relative to the distances and proportions of the planets. However, that must be for another time. For today I thought it would be a pleasure as well as a benefit to us all to learn something about a gifted and noble person who, I am surprised to find, is not so well known in Joppa as she should be, and whom, I am convinced, we should all be infinitely the better and happier for knowing. I have, therefore, persuaded Mr. Webb, with whose powers as a reader long years of acquaintanceship have so pleasantly familiarized us, to read to us this afternoon extracts from the ’Life and Letters of the Baroness Bunsen.’”

“Good Lord!” ejaculated Dick beneath his breath, “who’s that?”

“Hush,” whispered Jake. “I’ve got a novel of Miss Braddon’s in my pocket. I thought it might come in handy. That’ll help us through till feed time.”

“You are all familiar with the name, of course,” pursued Mrs. Upjohn, smiling graciously around the dismayed circle of her guests. “The book has been in the library this long time past, and observing with regret that only its first fifty pages had been cut, I caught at this invaluable opportunity to make you further acquainted with it.”

Mr. Webb now came forward, a thick, green-bound volume in his hand, and a look on his face as if he were about to open the proceedings with a prayer, but Mrs. Upjohn held up her hand.

“One moment, please, before we begin. We ladies are so unaccustomed to sitting with idle hands, even when listening to so absorbing a theme as the virtues of this truly excellent Christian wife and mother, that I thought it would be a kindness to ourselves to provide some simple work which should occupy our fingers and at the same time be in itself a worthy object of industry. Maria, my dear.”

The silence in the room was appalling; one could almost hear the shiver of apprehension running down the silk-and muslin-clad backs. The sign was given, however, by the docile Maria, and immediately two enormous baskets were brought in: one, the smaller, containing every possible implement for unlimited sewing by unlimited hands; the other, of alarming dimensions, filled to overflowing with shapeless and questionable garments of a canton-flannel coarse, so yellow, so indestructible, so altogether unwearable and hideous, that had it been branded “charity” in flaming letters, its object could not have been more plainly designated. Mrs. Upjohn lifted the top article and unfolded it lovingly. It was a night-dress, atoning in lavishness of material for deficiency in grace of make, and would have been a loose fit for the wife of the giant Chang.

“These, ladies,” she said, “as you will have guessed, are for the winter wear of our parish poor. Though you are not all so fortunate as to belong to our church, still I feel there is not one of you here but will be more than glad to help forward so blessed a charity as clothing the naked” (Mrs. Upjohn, in view of the nature of the garments, spoke even more literally than she intended), “who none the less need your ministrations whether you worship with us or apart. Maria, my child, Bell, Phebe, Mattie, will you kindly distribute the work among the ladies? There is another basket ready outside if the supply gives out. Dick, I would like you to carry around the thimbles. Jake, here are the needles and the spools and the scissors. If I may be permitted, ladies, I would suggest that we should all begin with the button-holes.”

Nothing but the thought of the recompense in the coming supper could have sustained Mrs. Upjohn’s doomed guests in the prospect before them. Extracts from Baroness Bunsen, and buttonholes in canton-flannel charity nightgowns, and a hot July afternoon, made a sum of misery that was almost too great a tax upon even Joppian amiability.

“I say it’s a shame!” cried Bell Masters, in unconcealed wrath. “The idea of springing such a trap on us! Let Mrs. Upjohn’s parish sew for its own poor, I won’t crease my fresh dress holding that great, thick lump on my lap all the afternoon. I’m not going to be swindled into helping in this fashion.”

“Oh, yes you are,” said Mr. Halloway, bubbling over with suppressed merriment at the intense fun of it all. “There isn’t one of you here who will refuse. I never knew any thing so delightful and novel in my whole life. This condensed combination, in one afternoon party of charity, literature, and indigestion is masterly. Miss Mudge, here is a seat for you right by Miss Masters. Miss Phebe, let me find you a chair.”

And in a few moments, simply, it seemed, by the natural law of gravitation, without any engineering whatever, Mrs. Upjohn’s guests had resolved themselves into two distinct parties, the elders all in the drawing-room, the younger ones in the parlor across the hall, too far off from Mr. Webb for their gay whispering to disturb that worthy as he boldly plunged headlong at his work, to do or die written on every feature of his thin, long face.

“So this is what the party turned out, Miss Masters, is it?” said Moulton, pulling his moustache as he stood up beside her. “A first-class Dorcas society.”

“Charity covereth a multitude of sins,” said Bell, crossly, giving a vindictive snap with her scissors, “but it won’t begin to cover the enormity of Mrs. Upjohn’s transgressions on this occasion. You gentlemen must be very devoted to atone to us for the button-holes. There’s Mr. De Forest standing in the other room looking as if he wished he were dead. Go and bring him here.”

Thus summoned, Mr. De Forest came leisurely enough, looking, if possible, a little more languid and blase than he did in the morning. Bell instantly made a place for him on the sofa by her side.

“Thanks, I would rather stand. I can take it all in better.”

“Well?” asked Bell, after a pause, looking saucily up at him. “Was I right this morning? Didn’t we look prettier then?”


Bell colored rather angrily, and Phebe laughed outright. Mr. De Forest favored her with a stare, chewed the end of his side-whiskers reflectively a moment, then deliberately walked over to her. “Miss Lane, I believe.”

Phebe bowed, but somewhat stiffly.

“Excuse me,” continued De Forest, imperturbably. “There doesn’t seem to be any one to introduce us, and we know perfectly well who we each are, you know, and I wanted to ask about a mutual friend of ours, Miss Vernor.”

Phebe brightened and softened instantly. “Oh!” she exclaimed, dropping her work, “you know her? you have seen her? lately?”

“I know her, yes, quite well. I saw her some weeks since. I understood then that there was a little talk of her coming up here this summer. One of those fearful children, Olly, or Hal, or some one of the superfluous young ones, was a little off condition, not very well, you know, and the doctor said he mustn’t go with the rest to the sea-shore, and she mentioned bringing him up here to recruit. I heard her mention your name, too, and didn’t know but you might have heard something of it.”

“I have, I have!” cried Phebe, her face all aglow, “She is coming, she and Olly. She is going to stay with me. I wrote and begged her to.”

“Ah, that will be very pleasant for you. Do you expect her soon?”


“Ah!” Mr. De Forest ruminated silently a moment. “She’ll be bored to death up here, won’t she?” he asked, presently.

“Then she can go home again,” replied Phebe, shortly.

“True, true,” said her companion, thoughtfully. “I forgot that. And she probably will. It would be like her to go if it bored her.”

“Only there’s Olly,” said Phebe, grimly, the light fading out of her face a little. “She’ll have to stay for him.”

“Oh, no. She can put him to board somewhere and leave him. Miss Vernor doesn’t concern herself overmuch with the young ones. They are an awful nuisance to her.”

“She does every thing for them. You can’t know her,” said Phebe, indignantly. “Did you say you knew her well, Mr. De Forest?”

“I don’t remember just what I said, Miss Lane, but it would have been the truth if I did, and I generally speak the truth when it’s equally convenient. Yes, I do know Miss Vernor very well, and I have worsted her in a great many arguments, you know her argumentative turn, perhaps? If you will allow me, I will do myself the honor of calling upon her when she comes, and upon yourself, if I may have the pleasure.”

“Not if you come with the intention of putting Gerald out of conceit with Joppa. I want her to stay a long, long time.”

“Don’t be afraid, Miss Lane. I’ll do my best to help keep her here, so long, at least, as I stay myself. ‘Âpres cela lé deluge.’”

“I don’t speak French.”

“Ah? No? I regret it. You might have assisted me in my genders. I am never altogether sure of them.”

“Mr. De Forest,” called Bell, imperatively, from the other side of the room, displeased at the defalcation of her knight, “I want to introduce you to Miss Mudge.”

Miss Mudge tried to make Bell understand by frantic pantomime that she hadn’t meant just now, any time would do, but Bell chose it should be just now; and slightly lifting his eyebrows, Mr. De Forest took his handsome person slowly back to Bell to make an almost impertinently indifferent bow to the new claimant upon him.

Mr. Halloway had been standing near Phebe, too near not to overhear the conversation, and he turned to her now quickly.

“So this accounts for your beaming face,” he said in a low tone, as he took a seat just back of her in the window niche. “The mysterious Gerald is really coming, then. I wondered what had happened as soon as I saw you. Why did you not tell me?”

“I was only waiting till I had the chance,” she answered, all the brightness coming back into her bonny face as she smiled up at him.

“Do you think I could keep any thing so nice from you for long? It seems to make every thing nicer when you know it too. She is coming to-morrow, only think, to-morrow, just twenty-one hours more now. I can hardly wait!”

“It will be a great happiness to her, surely, to see you again,” said Denham.

“That’s what she writes in her letter. At least she says: ’I shall be glad to see you again, Phebe, my dear’ Isn’t that nice? ‘Phebe, my dear,’ she says. That is a great deal for Gerald to say.”

“Is it? But I believe some young ladies are less effusive with their pens than with their tongues.”

“It isn’t Gerald’s nature ever to be effusive. But oh, I’m so glad she’s coming! I only got her letter last night. See, doesn’t she write a nice hand?” And cautiously, lest any one else should see too, Phebe slipped an envelope into Denham’s hand. He bent back behind the lace curtains to inspect it.

“Do you generally carry about your letters in your pocket, Miss Phebe?”

“No, only Gerald’s. I love so always to have something of hers near me. Isn’t it a nice hand?”

Halloway looked silently at the upright, angular, large script. “It’s legible, certainly.”

“But you don’t like it?”

“Miss Phebe, I am torn between conflicting truth and politeness. It is like a man’s hand, if I must say something.”

“And so are her letters like a man’s. Read it and see. Oh, she wouldn’t mind! There is nothing in it, and yet somehow it seems just like Gerald. Do read it. Oh, I want you to. Please, please do.”

And led half by curiosity, half by the eagerness in Phebe’s pretty face, Denham opened the letter and read, Phebe glancing over it with him as if she couldn’t bear to lose sight of it an instant.

“DEAR PHEBE,” so ran the letter, “your favor of 9th inst. rec. I had no idea of intruding ourselves upon you when I asked you to look up rooms, but as you seem really to want us” ("seem!” whispered Phebe, putting her finger on the word with a pout) “I can only say we shall be very glad to come to you. You may look for Olly and myself Friday, July 15th, by the P.M. train. Olly isn’t really ill, only run down. He is as horrid a little bear as ever. All are well, and started last week for Narragansett Pier. I shall rejoice to get away from the art school and guilds, which keep on even in this intemperate weather, and I shall be glad to see you again, Phebe, my dear,” (Phebe looked up triumphantly in Denham’s face as she reached the words.) “Remember me to Mrs. Lane and Miss , I can’t think of her name, Aunt Lydia, I mean.

“Sincerely yours


“P.S. Olly only drinks milk.”

Phebe took back the letter and folded it up. “Well?” she said.

“Well?” said Denham, looking at her and smiling.

“It’s just like her,” declared Phebe. “It’s so downright and to the point. Gerald never wastes words.”

“You said it was like a man’s letter,” said Denham. “But I must beg leave to differ with you there. I don’t think it is at all such a letter as I would have written you, for instance.”

“Of course not. It wouldn’t be proper for you to say ‘Phebe, my dear,’ as Gerald does. Yours would have to be a very dignified, pastoral letter.”

“Yes, addressed to ‘My Lamb,’ which you couldn’t object to in a pastoral letter of course, and which sounds nearly as affectionate, blaming you for having caused me to lose the valuable information I might have gained about the Baroness Bunsen. I never got much farther than her birth in that famous history. I see poor Miss Delano casting longing glances in here. I’ll smuggle her in among you young people.”

He departed on his errand of mercy, and soon had the timid little old maid in the more congenial atmosphere of the parlor, where little by little, though in a very stealthy and underhand way, the talk grew more general, and the restraint slackened more and more, until sewing and reading were both forgotten and the fun became fast and furious, culminating in the sudden appearance of Jake Dexter dressed up as an ancient and altogether unlovely old woman, whom Dick Hardcastle presented in a stage whisper as “Baroness Bunsen in the closing chapter,” and who forthwith proceeded to act out in dumb show the various events of that admirable woman’s life, as judiciously and sonorously touched upon by Mr. Webb in the drawing-room opposite. Jake was a born actor, and having “done up” the Baroness, he proceeded to “do up” several other noted historical characters, not omitting a few less celebrated contemporaries of his own, each representation better and truer to life than the last; and winding up with snatching away their work from the young ladies’ not unwilling hands, and piling it in heaps on the floor around him, he sat himself in the middle with an armful hugged close and an air of comically mingled resignation and opulence, and announced himself as “a photo from life of ye destitute poor of Joppa.”

Mrs. Upjohn may have had suspicions that all was not going on precisely as she had planned in that other half of her domains which she had surrendered to Maria’s feeble guardianship, but it certainly could not be laid to her blame if young people would amuse themselves even at her house. If they wilfully persisted in neglecting the means of grace she had conscientiously provided for them, so much the worse for them, not for her; and if Mr. Upjohn found the contemplation of Mrs. Bruce’s profile, and her occasional smiles at him as she bent over her ugly work, not sufficient of an indemnity for his enforced silence, and chose to sneak over to the young people’s side and enjoy himself too, as an inopportune and hearty guffaw from thence testified just at the wrong moment, when Mr. Webb had reached the culminating point of the Baroness’ death, and was drawing tears from the ladies’ eyes by the irresistible pathos of his voice, why, Mrs. Upjohn owned in her heart that it was only what might be expected of him, and that she couldn’t help that either.

So at last the reading came to an end. Everybody said it had been unprecedentedly delightful, and they should never forget that dear Baroness so long as they lived, and they thought Mrs. Upjohn herself might have sat for the original of the biography, so identical were her virtues with those of the departed saint, and so exactly did she resemble her in every particular except just in the outward circumstances of her life. And Mrs. Upjohn modestly entreated them to desist drawing so unworthy a comparison, and said it was an example of a life they should each and all do well to imitate so far as in them lay, and then she went about collecting the nightgowns, and (oh, cruellest of all!) inspecting the button-holes. It was an excellent day’s work, she reported, fanning herself vigorously, and Miss Brooks, as champion button-hole-maker, having made three more than any one else, should have the post of honor and be taken in to supper by Mr. Upjohn, who was routed out from the parlor for the purpose, very red in the face, and still convulsed with laughter. Mrs. Bruce may have suspected this to be designed as a neat way of cutting her out, but there is no knowing to what lengths a flippant widow’s imagination will not go, and any way Mr. Upjohn quite atoned afterward for any temporary neglect, by paying her the most assiduous attentions right in the face of his wife, who apparently did not care a straw, and only thought her husband a little more foolish than usual. Did not everybody know that it was only Mr. Upjohn’s way, and that it did not mean any thing?

And so the doors were thrown open, supper was announced, and Joppa, as it swarmed around the loaded tables, felt that its hour of merited reward was come; and Mr. Hardcastle, when at last he could eat and drink no more, stood up and pronounced, in the name of the united assembly, that Mrs. Upjohn’s entertainment had been a very, very great success, as all that dear Mrs. Upjohn undertook always was sure to be, and particularly those devilled crabs were unapproachable for perfection. Nobody could make him believe that even the Baroness Bunsen with all her learning could ever have spiced them better.