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TONO-BUNGAY

how are you?" he said. "I was never so surprised in my life. Fancy! . . . You!"

He shook my mother's impassive hand and then mine very warmly, holding his glasses on with his left forefinger.

"Come right in!" he cried—"come right in! Better late than never!" and led the way into the parlour behind the shop.

After Bladesover that apartment struck me as stuffy and petty, but it was very comfortable in comparison with the Frapp living-room. It had a faint, disintegrating smell of meals about it, and my most immediate impression was of the remarkable fact that something was hung about or wrapped round or draped over everything. There was bright-patterned muslin round the gas-bracket in the middle of the room, round the mirror over the mantel, stuff with ball fringe along the mantel and casing in the fireplace,—I first saw ball-fringe here—and even the lamp on the little bureau wore a shade like a large muslin hat. The table-cloth had ball-fringe, and so had the window curtains, and the carpet was a bed of roses. There were little cupboards on either side of the fireplace, and in the recesses, ill-made shelves packed with books, and enriched with pinked American cloth. There was a dictionary lying face downward on the table, and the open bureau was littered with foolscap paper and the evidences of recently abandoned toil. My eye caught, "The Ponderevo Patent Flat, a Machine you can Live in," written in large firm letters. My uncle opened a little door like a cupboard door in the corner of this room, and revealed the narrowest twist of staircase I had ever set eyes upon. "Susan! he bawled again. "Wantje. Some one to see you. Surprisin'."