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are a great consolation to them. There will be a deplorable scene,
whenever we are married. It will be much more like a funeral, than
a wedding. And they'll all hate me for taking her away!'

His honest face, as he looked at me with a serio-comic shake of his
head, impresses me more in the remembrance than it did in the
reality, for I was by this time in a state of such excessive
trepidation and wandering of mind, as to be quite unable to fix my
attention on anything. On our approaching the house where the
Misses Spenlow lived, I was at such a discount in respect of my
personal looks and presence of mind, that Traddles proposed a
gentle stimulant in the form of a glass of ale. This having been
administered at a neighbouring public-house, he conducted me, with
tottering steps, to the Misses Spenlow's door.

I had a vague sensation of being, as it were, on view, when the
maid opened it; and of wavering, somehow, across a hall with a
weather-glass in it, into a quiet little drawing-room on the
ground-floor, commanding a neat garden. Also of sitting down here,
on a sofa, and seeing Traddles's hair start up, now his hat was
removed, like one of those obtrusive little figures made of
springs, that fly out of fictitious snuff-boxes when the lid is
taken off. Also of hearing an old-fashioned clock ticking away on
the chimney-piece, and trying to make it keep time to the jerking
of my heart, - which it wouldn't. Also of looking round the room
for any sign of Dora, and seeing none. Also of thinking that Jip
once barked in the distance, and was instantly choked by somebody.
Ultimately I found myself backing Traddles into the fireplace, and
bowing in great confusion to two dry little elderly ladies, dressed
in black, and each looking wonderfully like a preparation in chip
or tan of the late Mr. Spenlow.

'Pray,' said one of the two little ladies, 'be seated.'

When I had done tumbling over Traddles, and had sat upon something
which was not a cat - my first seat was - I so far recovered my
sight, as to perceive that Mr. Spenlow had evidently been the
youngest of the family; that there was a disparity of six or eight
years between the two sisters; and that the younger appeared to be
the manager of the conference, inasmuch as she had my letter in her
hand - so familiar as it looked to me, and yet so odd! - and was
referring to it through an eye-glass. They were dressed alike, but
this sister wore her dress with a more youthful air than the other;
and perhaps had a trifle more frill, or tucker, or brooch, or
bracelet, or some little thing of that kind, which made her look
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