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What with the novelty of this cookery, the excellence of it, the
bustle of it, the frequent starting up to look after it, the
frequent sitting down to dispose of it as the crisp slices came off
the gridiron hot and hot, the being so busy, so flushed with the
fire, so amused, and in the midst of such a tempting noise and
savour, we reduced the leg of mutton to the bone. My own appetite
came back miraculously. I am ashamed to record it, but I really
believe I forgot Dora for a little while. I am satisfied that Mr.
and Mrs. Micawber could not have enjoyed the feast more, if they
had sold a bed to provide it. Traddles laughed as heartily, almost
the whole time, as he ate and worked. Indeed we all did, all at
once; and I dare say there was never a greater success.

We were at the height of our enjoyment, and were all busily
engaged, in our several departments, endeavouring to bring the last
batch of slices to a state of perfection that should crown the
feast, when I was aware of a strange presence in the room, and my
eyes encountered those of the staid Littimer, standing hat in hand
before me.

'What's the matter?' I involuntarily asked.

'I beg your pardon, sir, I was directed to come in. Is my master
not here, sir?'


'Have you not seen him, sir?'

'No; don't you come from him?'

'Not immediately so, sir.'

'Did he tell you you would find him here?'

'Not exactly so, sir. But I should think he might be here
tomorrow, as he has not been here today.'

'Is he coming up from Oxford?'

'I beg, sir,' he returned respectfully, 'that you will be seated,
and allow me to do this.' With which he took the fork from my
unresisting hand, and bent over the gridiron, as if his whole
attention were concentrated on it.
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