Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
stifling little shop; full of all sorts of clothing, made and
unmade, including one window full of beaver-hats and bonnets. We
went into a little back-parlour behind the shop, where we found
three young women at work on a quantity of black materials, which
were heaped upon the table, and little bits and cuttings of which
were littered all over the floor. There was a good fire in the
room, and a breathless smell of warm black crape - I did not know
what the smell was then, but I know now.
The three young women, who appeared to be very industrious and
comfortable, raised their heads to look at me, and then went on
with their work. Stitch, stitch, stitch. At the same time there
came from a workshop across a little yard outside the window, a
regular sound of hammering that kept a kind of tune: RAT - tat-tat,
RAT - tat-tat, RAT - tat-tat, without any variation.
'Well,' said my conductor to one of the three young women. 'How do
you get on, Minnie?'
'We shall be ready by the trying-on time,' she replied gaily,
without looking up. 'Don't you be afraid, father.'
Mr. Omer took off his broad-brimmed hat, and sat down and panted.
He was so fat that he was obliged to pant some time before he could
'Father!' said Minnie, playfully. 'What a porpoise you do grow!'
'Well, I don't know how it is, my dear,' he replied, considering
about it. 'I am rather so.'
'You are such a comfortable man, you see,' said Minnie. 'You take
things so easy.'
'No use taking 'em otherwise, my dear,' said Mr. Omer.
'No, indeed,' returned his daughter. 'We are all pretty gay here,
thank Heaven! Ain't we, father?'
'I hope so, my dear,' said Mr. Omer. 'As I have got my breath now,
I think I'll measure this young scholar. Would you walk into the
shop, Master Copperfield?'