Our Mutual Friend HTML version

4. Cupid Prompted
To use the cold language of the world, Mrs Alfred Lammle rapidly improved the
acquaintance of Miss Podsnap. To use the warm language of Mrs Lammle, she
and her sweet Georgiana soon became one: in heart, in mind, in sentiment, in
Whenever Georgiana could escape from the thraldom of Podsnappery; could
throw off the bedclothes of the custard- coloured phaeton, and get up; could
shrink out of the range of her mother's rocking, and (so to speak) rescue her poor
little frosty toes from being rocked over; she repaired to her friend, Mrs Alfred
Lammle. Mrs Podsnap by no means objected. As a consciously 'splendid
woman,' accustomed to overhear herself so denominated by elderly osteologists
pursuing their studies in dinner society, Mrs Podsnap could dispense with her
daughter. Mr Podsnap, for his part, on being informed where Georgiana was,
swelled with patronage of the Lammles. That they, when unable to lay hold of
him, should respectfully grasp at the hem of his mantle; that they, when they
could not bask in the glory of him the sun, should take up with the pale reflected
light of the watery young moon his daughter; appeared quite natural, becoming,
and proper. It gave him a better opinion of the discretion of the Lammles than he
had heretofore held, as showing that they appreciated the value of the
connexion. So, Georgiana repairing to her friend, Mr Podsnap went out to dinner,
and to dinner, and yet to dinner, arm in arm with Mrs Podsnap: settling his
obstinate head in his cravat and shirt-collar, much as if he were performing on
the Pandean pipes, in his own honour, the triumphal march, See the conquering
Podsnap comes, Sound the trumpets, beat the drums!
It was a trait in Mr Podsnap's character (and in one form or other it will be
generally seen to pervade the depths and shallows of Podsnappery), that he
could not endure a hint of disparagement of any friend or acquaintance of his.
'How dare you?' he would seem to say, in such a case. 'What do you mean? I
have licensed this person. This person has taken out MY certificate. Through this
person you strike at me, Podsnap the Great. And it is not that I particularly care
for the person's dignity, but that I do most particularly care for Podsnap's.' Hence,
if any one in his presence had presumed to doubt the responsibility of the
Lammles, he would have been mightily huffed. Not that any one did, for
Veneering, M.P., was always the authority for their being very rich, and perhaps
believed it. As indeed he might, if he chose, for anything he knew of the matter.
Mr and Mrs Lammle's house in Sackville Street, Piccadilly, was but a temporary
residence. It has done well enough, they informed their friends, for Mr Lammle
when a bachelor, but it would not do now. So, they were always looking at
palatial residences in the best situations, and always very nearly taking or buying
one, but never quite concluding the bargain. Hereby they made for themselves a