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'I can't, upon my life. There's nothing I should like better, but
I must remain with these two fellows. We are all three off
together tomorrow morning.'

'Then bring them here to dinner,' I returned. 'Do you think they
would come?'

'Oh! they would come fast enough,' said Steerforth; 'but we should
inconvenience you. You had better come and dine with us

I would not by any means consent to this, for it occurred to me
that I really ought to have a little house-warming, and that there
never could be a better opportunity. I had a new pride in my rooms
after his approval of them, and burned with a desire to develop
their utmost resources. I therefore made him promise positively in
the names of his two friends, and we appointed six o'clock as the

When he was gone, I rang for Mrs. Crupp, and acquainted her with my
desperate design. Mrs. Crupp said, in the first place, of course
it was well known she couldn't be expected to wait, but she knew a
handy young man, who she thought could be prevailed upon to do it,
and whose terms would be five shillings, and what I pleased. I
said, certainly we would have him. Next Mrs. Crupp said it was
clear she couldn't be in two places at once (which I felt to be
reasonable), and that 'a young gal' stationed in the pantry with a
bedroom candle, there never to desist from washing plates, would be
indispensable. I said, what would be the expense of this young
female? and Mrs. Crupp said she supposed eighteenpence would
neither make me nor break me. I said I supposed not; and THAT was
settled. Then Mrs. Crupp said, Now about the dinner.

It was a remarkable instance of want of forethought on the part of
the ironmonger who had made Mrs. Crupp's kitchen fireplace, that it
was capable of cooking nothing but chops and mashed potatoes. As
to a fish-kittle, Mrs. Crupp said, well! would I only come and look
at the range? She couldn't say fairer than that. Would I come and
look at it? As I should not have been much the wiser if I HAD
looked at it, I declined, and said, 'Never mind fish.' But Mrs.

Crupp said, Don't say that; oysters was in, why not them? So THAT
was settled. Mrs. Crupp then said what she would recommend would
be this. A pair of hot roast fowls - from the pastry-cook's; a
dish of stewed beef, with vegetables - from the pastry-cook's; two
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