apart. Paulina continued to watch them over her shoulder. Alfred Varley was now whispering in a thick eager voice; the words poured forth in a torrent of incoherent muttering.
Mrs. Purdie gave him a little push and turned away her face, which now resembled nothing so much as a huge overblown peony.
"For shame, Alfred Varley! Have done, will you? Don't you know an honest woman when you see one? I'm sure poor Purdie'd turn in his grave could he but hear what you're saying to me. . .
Mr. Varley was here heard to consign the late lamented Purdie to demonie regions. Brother Ted continued to snore. Paulina, sitting on her heels, listened in an agony of apprehension. Nor were her fears in any way exaggerated, for Mr. Varley, piqued, amorous, impatient and very drunk, tottered suddenly to his feet and smote the table loudly with his fist.
"Mrs. Purdie! Will you do me the favor of listening attentively to what I'm about to say? For the first, and, I may say, I hope the last time, then, Mrs. Purdie, fairest ornament of a sex ever esteemed and (from a distance) deeply respected, by Alfred Varley, I offer you my hand, my 'eart and a new wedding-ring. In fact, my all. Now, Mrs. Purdie, or rather Bertha "
But at this point in Mr. Varley's proposal of marriage his legs, the inexplicable feebleness of which had been for some moments perplexing him, now refused pointblank to function, and he subsided noisily and ungracefully into his chair. He gathered, however, from the exuberance of the caresses now lavished upon him by Mrs. Purdie, that his suit had not been entirely unsuccessful. He was at last affianced to the buxom landlady, and he hoped with all his heart that the reports of her savings had been in no way exaggerated.