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woman, palsy-stricken and hideously ugly, who, wiping her
shrivelled face upon her dirty apron, inquired, in that subdued
tone in which deaf people commonly speak:
‘Was that you a calling, or only the clock a striking? My hearing
gets so bad, I never know which is which; but when I hear a noise,
I know it must be one of you, because nothing else never stirs in
‘Me, Peg, me,’ said Arthur Gride, tapping himself on the breast
to render the reply more intelligible.
‘You, eh?’ returned Peg. ‘And what do you want?’
‘I’ll be married in the bottle-green,’ cried Arthur Gride.
‘It’s a deal too good to be married in, master,’ rejoined Peg,
after a short inspection of the suit. ‘Haven’t you got anything
worse than this?’
‘Nothing that’ll do,’ replied old Arthur.
‘Why not do?’ retorted Peg. ‘Why don’t you wear your every-
day clothes, like a man--eh?’
‘They an’t becoming enough, Peg,’ returned her master.
‘Not what enough?’ said Peg.
‘Becoming what?’ said Peg, sharply. ‘Not becoming too old to
Arthur Gride muttered an imprecation on his housekeeper’s
deafness, as he roared in her ear:
‘Not smart enough! I want to look as well as I can.’
‘Look?’ cried Peg. ‘If she’s as handsome as you say she is, she
won’t look much at you, master, take your oath of that; and as to
how you look yourself--pepper-and-salt, bottle-green, sky-blue, or
tartan-plaid will make no difference in you.’