Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
open that the air might pass freely through them all, Mr. Lorry,
smilingly observant of that fanciful resemblance which he detected
all around him, walked from one to another. The first was the best
room, and in it were Lucie’s birds, and flowers, and books, and
desk, and work-table, and box of watercolours; the second was the
Doctor’s consulting-room, used also as the dining-room; the third,
changingly speckled by the rustle of the plane-tree in the yard, was
the Doctor’s bedroom, and there, in a corner, stood the disused
shoemaker’s bench and tray of tools, much as it had stood on the
fifth floor of the dismal house by the wine-shop, in the suburb of
Saint Antoine in Paris.
“I wonder,” said Mr. Lorry, pausing in his looking about, “that he
keeps that reminder of his sufferings about him!” “And why
wonder at that?” was the abrupt inquiry that made him start.
It proceeded from Miss Pross, the wild red woman, strong of hand,
whose acquaintance he had first made at the Royal George Hotel at
Dover, and had since improved.
“I should have thought-” Mr. Lorry began.
“Pooh! You’d have thought!” said Miss Pross; and Mr. Lorry left
“How do you do?” inquired that lady then-sharply, and yet as if to
express that she bore him no malice.
“I am pretty well, I thank you,” answered Mr. Lorry, with
meekness; “how are you?” “Nothing to boast of,” said Miss Pross.
“Indeed?” “Ah! indeed!” said Miss Pross. “I am very much put out
about my Ladybird.” “Indeed?” “For gracious sake say something
else besides ‘indeed,’ or you’ll fidget me to death,” said Miss Pross:
whose character (dissociated from stature) was shortness.
“Really, then?” said Mr. Lorry, as an amendment.
“Really, is bad enough,” returned Miss Pross, “but better. Yes, I am
very much put out.” “May I ask the cause?” “I don’t want dozens
of people who are not at all worthy of Ladybird, to come here
looking after her,” said Miss Pross.
“Do dozens come for that purpose?” “Hundreds,” said Miss Pross.
It was characteristic of this lady (as of some other people before her
time and since) that whenever her original proposition was
questioned, she exaggerated it.
“Dear me!” said Mr. Lorry, as the safest remark he could think of.
“I have lived with the darling-or the darling has lived with me,
and paid me for it; which she certainly should never have done,
you may take your affidavit, if I could have afforded to keep either
myself or her for nothing-since she was ten years old. And it’s
really very hard,” said Miss Pross.