Our Mutual Friend HTML version

2. A Respected Friend In A New Aspect
In the evening of this same foggy day when the yellow window- blind of Pubsey
and Co. was drawn down upon the day's work, Riah the Jew once more came
forth into Saint Mary Axe. But this time he carried no bag, and was not bound on
his master's affairs. He passed over London Bridge, and returned to the
Middlesex shore by that of Westminster, and so, ever wading through the fog,
waded to the doorstep of the dolls' dressmaker.
Miss Wren expected him. He could see her through the window by the light of her
low fire--carefully banked up with damp cinders that it might last the longer and
waste the less when she was out-- sitting waiting for him in her bonnet. His tap at
the glass roused her from the musing solitude in which she sat, and she came to
the door to open it; aiding her steps with a little crutch-stick.
'Good evening, godmother!' said Miss Jenny Wren.
The old man laughed, and gave her his arm to lean on.
'Won't you come in and warm yourself, godmother?' asked Miss Jenny Wren.
'Not if you are ready, Cinderella, my dear.'
'Well!' exclaimed Miss Wren, delighted. 'Now you ARE a clever old boy! If we
gave prizes at this establishment (but we only keep blanks), you should have the
first silver medal, for taking me up so quick.' As she spake thus, Miss Wren
removed the key of the house-door from the keyhole and put it in her pocket, and
then bustlingly closed the door, and tried it as they both stood on the step.
Satisfied that her dwelling was safe, she drew one hand through the old man's
arm and prepared to ply her crutch-stick with the other. But the key was an
instrument of such gigantic proportions, that before they started Riah proposed to
carry it.
'No, no, no! I'll carry it myself,' returned Miss Wren. 'I'm awfully lopsided, you
know, and stowed down in my pocket it'll trim the ship. To let you into a secret,
godmother, I wear my pocket on my high side, o' purpose.'
With that they began their plodding through the fog.
'Yes, it was truly sharp of you, godmother,' resumed Miss Wren with great
approbation, 'to understand me. But, you see, you ARE so like the fairy
godmother in the bright little books! You look so unlike the rest of people, and so
much as if you had changed yourself into that shape, just this moment, with