Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
upstairs, and was now intent on fastening his apron.
‘Is Madame Mantalini in?’ faltered Kate.
‘Not often out at this time, miss,’ replied the man in a tone
which rendered “Miss,” something more offensive than “My dear.”
‘Can I see her?’ asked Kate.
‘Eh?’ replied the man, holding the door in his hand, and
honouring the inquirer with a stare and a broad grin, ‘Lord, no.’
‘I came by her own appointment,’ said Kate; ‘I am--I am--to be
‘Oh! you should have rung the worker’s bell,’ said the footman,
touching the handle of one in the door-post. ‘Let me see, though, I
forgot--Miss Nickleby, is it?’
‘Yes,’ replied Kate.
‘You’re to walk upstairs then, please,’ said the man. ‘Madame
Mantalini wants to see you--this way--take care of these things on
Cautioning her, in these terms, not to trip over a heterogeneous
litter of pastry-cook’s trays, lamps, waiters full of glasses, and piles
of rout seats which were strewn about the hall, plainly bespeaking
a late party on the previous night, the man led the way to the
second story, and ushered Kate into a back-room, communicating
by folding-doors with the apartment in which she had first seen
the mistress of the establishment.
‘If you’ll wait here a minute,’ said the man, ‘I’ll tell her
presently.’ Having made this promise with much affability, he
retired and left Kate alone.
There was not much to amuse in the room; of which the most
attractive feature was, a half-length portrait in oil, of Mr Mantalini,
whom the artist had depicted scratching his head in an easy