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'Not at all, I am certain,' said I.

'Not at all! You're right!' said Mr. Omer. 'Well, sir, her cousin
- you know it's a cousin she's going to be married to?'

'Oh yes,' I replied. 'I know him well.'

'Of course you do,' said Mr. Omer. 'Well, sir! Her cousin being,
as it appears, in good work, and well to do, thanked me in a very
manly sort of manner for this (conducting himself altogether, I
must say, in a way that gives me a high opinion of him), and went
and took as comfortable a little house as you or I could wish to
clap eyes on. That little house is now furnished right through, as
neat and complete as a doll's parlour; and but for Barkis's illness
having taken this bad turn, poor fellow, they would have been man
and wife - I dare say, by this time. As it is, there's a

'And Emily, Mr. Omer?' I inquired. 'Has she become more settled?'

'Why that, you know,' he returned, rubbing his double chin again,
'can't naturally be expected. The prospect of the change and
separation, and all that, is, as one may say, close to her and far
away from her, both at once. Barkis's death needn't put it off
much, but his lingering might. Anyway, it's an uncertain state of
matters, you see.'

'I see,' said I.

'Consequently,' pursued Mr. Omer, 'Em'ly's still a little down, and
a little fluttered; perhaps, upon the whole, she's more so than she
was. Every day she seems to get fonder and fonder of her uncle,
and more loth to part from all of us. A kind word from me brings
the tears into her eyes; and if you was to see her with my daughter
Minnie's little girl, you'd never forget it. Bless my heart
alive!' said Mr. Omer, pondering, 'how she loves that child!'

Having so favourable an opportunity, it occurred to me to ask Mr.
Omer, before our conversation should be interrupted by the return
of his daughter and her husband, whether he knew anything of

'Ah!' he rejoined, shaking his head, and looking very much
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