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pleased that Simpson had suggested a widow. He was partial to widows. His mother had been a widow for several years before her death. He sighed. Would that the dear old lady had lived to conduct his establishment!

And then, Mrs. Revell, the sister of Mr. Metcalfe, his opposite neighbour-she also was a widow, and a charming one. He sighed again. Advertise! If,' said Gipps, as he walked home, 'Mrs. Revell would but consent to have me, (oh! that I dare-pop the question-I think they call it!) I'd see all the advertising at the No, I wouldn't; for it shouldn't be long before I'd advertise in all the papers a certain union at St. George's, Hanover Square.'

That very evening Gipps paid for the insertion of an advertise


He wanted a widow; and offered a comfortable home, and a very handsome stipend, to any lady of competent qualifications who might be disposed to accept them.


The Result.

On the following day Gipps procured a copy of the newspaper, and after much difficulty succeeded in discovering his advertisement. What a close phalanx of applicants! He had never before remarked how many people there were diurnally wanting something or other. Lodgings to be let upon which the army of Cyrus might have been comfortably billeted-light porters enough to carry the Himalaya mountains, or the pyramids of Egypt-cooks sufficient to dress the edible contents of Noah's Ark!

'Lord bless me!' said he, casting the newspaper from him; 'why, no widow will ever detect that narrow slip of a thing! She must be particularly in want of a situation, and possess a remarkably good sight, if she do. Well, a few shillings are of no great consequence.'

Notwithstanding this natural doubt, Gipps was careful to inquire, when he returned home in the evening, whether any lady had called during his absence; not that he had any fair reason to suppose a lady would call, seeing that his advertisement directed that application should be made between nine and ten o'clock on the morning of the morrow; but he thought that had it met the eye of some anxious female, she might have stirred in the matter ere the specified time, and so distanced any precise adherent to punctuality. Nobody had called but the washerwoman, who had brought home the things she had omitted to bring on the Saturday night, and who, as Betty informed her, had furnished him by mistake with two shirts and a nightcap marked 'Gibbs.'


'If I had but a housekeeper,' said Gipps to himself, these sad mistakes would not occur.'

By the time he had risen and dressed himself on the following morning, he had well nigh abandoned all hope of securing his desiderata through the channel of public communication; and he swallowed his breakfast with considerable dissatisfaction.


It was now, by Gipps' watch, (regulated by the Horse Guards',) precisely nine o'clock. The usual "traffic incident to Street, Strand, is by no means, and at no time, great. Was there not rather more bustle than ordinary in the street? Hark! There was a buzz,— a hum beneath his window-a muffled sound of footsteps, succeeded by a kind of semi-silence-a congregational hush. What could it be?-What did it mean? He would look out and satisfy himself as to the cause of this unusual stir.

The sight that met his eyes! Ha! ha! ha!'

For, as he shot from the window, his first impulse was to indulge (and he did so, as we have seen,) in a burst of vociferous laughter, which, however, after a prolonged gratification of it, partook consid erably more of hysteria than of merriment. His advertisement had been answered by the myriad. There they were their name being Legion-an array of candidates for the beneficial advantages propounded in his printed proposition-all eager for bed, board, and stipend-panting for the place-agog for a certainty.' Never was such a posse of widows seen in this country since the battle of Hastings. There they stood-compact, unflinching, massive, conglomerated-Westminster widows-lone women' from Islington--comfortable bodies' from the city-Radcliff Highway relicts!

'Now, the Lord have mercy on me!' cried the astounded Gipps. 'What human being, I should be glad to ask, could have foreseen this?'

Mr. Gipps, I have before said, was a reserved, shy man. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that this portentous spectacle struck a panic into him that nearly divested him of the power of motion or of thought. The idea of selection from among so awful a multitude was preposterous -He could not do it. They must be got away-ordered to move onbeseeched to disperse, at all events. And now he heard Betty in the passage on the double-quick move, proceeding towards the door, whilst uprose the voice of Nat Salter,-a voice which he seemed striving to overtake as he blunderingly scrambled up-stairs: I say, Mr. Gippsmaster! did you send for this 'ere blessed lot o' women, as is blocking up the blessed street at our door? The cabmen can't get along, and the waterman's crying out shame on 'em.'

'I did not-no, I have no hesitation in saying I did not. Go down stairs, that's a good boy.'

'But why are ye a shaking in that 'ere manner, sir?' asked Nat. 'Bother the whole boiling on 'em, I says.'

'Go down stairs-now, that's a good lad, go down, and tell Betty —' Betty was already in conference elsewhere. The door had been opened, and a sturdy foot planted in the passage.

'Mr. Gipps,' remonstrated a stout and well-to-do-looking woman of a certain age, Mr. Gipps, whose name is on the door, wants a widow lady. Let me in. First come, first served, I say; and I was the first here,' and she made a vigorous forward movement.

'Wants a widow ?-not he,' returned Betty. 'Stuff!-We want no widows here, nor wives either. Come, get away, all of ye-do.' So saying, Betty put forth an adequate amount of physical power, and ejected the stout lady from the premises.

A wild objurgatory shout rent the welkin.

Gipps, who had taken his station on the first-floor landing, and was leaning on the balustrade, heard the inhuman outcry, and cramming his

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fingers into his ears, bethought him of the back-garret. There was a chimney in it. At that moment, he wished he had been made of soluble material, that he might have melted utterly away.

'A respectable widow, who has seen better days, and has come a long distance, and won't take a denial,' he ejaculated. 'She'll have me up before Sir Frederick for a hoax.'

"They're a thickenin',' cried Nat Salter, running out of the area, and bawling upwards, in a tone between exultation and amazement. Blest, Mr. Gipps, if all the iron railings ar'n't got a chin between 'em. Well, this bangs all I ever see. Such lots o' women I never did see!'

Another assault upon the knocker. The door was at length opened. The power of association is mysterious. How was it (but so it was) that two lines of a popular melody should have entered the head of Gipps at so trying a moment:

"Hark! 'tis the Indian drum,

They come they come-they come!'

Somebody was rushing up

'God bless my soul, Mr. Gipps!' cried Mr. Metcalfe, his opposite neighbour, hurrying into the room wiping his forehead, 'what is the meaning of all this? Why is this mob of women, chiefly widows, at your door?'

Gipps laid hands upon the newspaper, and indenting his finger into the advertisement, thrust the journal into the face of his new companion. 'Look there!'

'An advertisement for a widow lady!' cried Metcalfe. 'Well, my good sir, why don't you choose one with all despatch? These ladies are an obstruction to the passengers. Be quick!"

'Mr. Metcalfe-my worthy neighbour,' said Gipps solemnly, 'I could no more see these widow ladies seriatim in this parlour, than I could select the best wife out of the eleven thousand virgins. Are there many still left? Are they not going?'

'Going? cried Metcalfe, glancing out of the window; 'they never will go. Here's an ocean of 'em, and little knots standing at the corners of streets looking on, waiting for their turn.'

Gipps groaned; but a thought of a sudden scintillated from his brain, and then played lambently about it.

'I'll tell 'em I've got one.'

'Do,' said Metcalfe.

He at once gave himself up for lost.


Gipps proceeded to the window, and raised the sash silently. He opened his mouth for speech, but the appalling vision before him was too much. There he stood, uttering no sound, but making the most outrageous variations of aspect.

'No-d- it, that's too bad,' cried a ruffian, who had observed Gipps, (for the male sex had long ago joined the group) 'here's a gentleman been advertising for a wife, and when they've all come to be picked and chose, if he ain't poking his fun at 'em, I'm blowed!'

A burst of derisive laughter in grand chorus followed this sally.

'It's of no use-they don't hear me,' said Gipps, appealing to Mr. Metcalfe. What in Heaven's name's to be done? What a terrible mob, to be sure!"


'Here,' answered Metcalfe, handing him a large sheet of cartridgepaper, in which Sam Slick' had been sent home a few days previously, here, write, "I am engaged" upon this, and hang it up at the window.'

Gipps mechanically proceeded to do what he had been bidden. Seizing the pen and ink, he printed the prescribed words in a large and bold character-thus:


This specimen of chirography was unheeded by the parties most interested in the announcement it contained-the widows, who still bent their total amount of eye upon the street door. The self-same humourist, however, who had before dislodged the unhappy Gipps from the window, either imperfect of sight, unskilful as a reader, or perfectly mistaking the tenor of the notification held aloft by its author, undertook to expound its contents to the throng about him. He says in that there paper,' cried he, 'says he, “I am enraged;" when what he's got to be in a rage about, I'm blowed if I think none of us can tell. It's us that ought to be in a rage-What d'ye say let's toddle to the market and fetch a few 'taturs and cabbage-stalks, and pelt the old muff— shall us?'

'I'll tell you what,' cried Metcalfe suddenly, this won't do any longer. Come from the window, Mr. Gipps, do. You're only exposing yourself. I'll be hanged if there's a window on the other side of the street that hasn't half-a-dozen heads thrust out of it; and very extraordinary; there's a decent sprinkling of widows among them, too. Now don't you think, Gipps,' taking that gentleman by the arm, if I can disperse this assembly, I shall do you a good turn?-Sha'n't I be entitled to your gratitude?

'You will, indeed,' returned Gipps, holding up his spread hands; ‘I shall almost be ready to worship you.'

'I'll do it then,' said Metcalfe. 'I wonder what my sister Revell thinks of this!'

Ah! what indeed!' cried Gipps.

Go, then, at once, and away with

them-all of them!' When Metcalfe was gone, Gipps threw himself upon his face on the sofa, and plunged his head under one of the cushions.


The Dispersion. The Widow, and Wind-up.

Metcalfe, having undertaken the desirable business volunteered by him, proceeded to go through with it in a business-like manner. By dint of coaxing some and terrifying others; by examining with the argumentative, explaining to the obtuse, and condoling with the disappointed, he succeeded in his mission. In half an hour the whole had disappeared. All this while Gipps' head was under the sofa cushion. Metcalfe did not return to restore confidence to him. He went forthwith to his own house, at the door of which, having knocked, he indulged in the following brief soliloquy.

'How precious absurd all this! That fellow Gipps is well to do in the world, and bears a respectable character. If he knew how

long I'd had my eye upon him! He advertised for a widow but he wants a wife; and it sha'n't be my fault if he doesn't get one, before any of us get much older.'

In the evening, when Gipps' self-possession returned, Mr. Metcalfe was announced-and a lady.

'I have brought my sister ;-Mrs. Revell Mr. Gipps,' introducing them: she has come with me to condole with you on your unlooked-for levee this morning.'

'I am most happy-this is indeed an unexpected pleasure,' stammered Gipps, a blush overspreading his face and temples, so extraordinarily fiery as almost to threaten the ignition of his partially grey hair. 'Pray, madam, be good enough to take this seat.'

A short silence ensued. Mrs. Revell did not speak; Gipps did not know what to say.

In the mean while, Mr. Metcalfe had been elevating his chin towards the pictures that ornamented the walls. Um '-'yes'-'good' -very sweet'-'breadth '-'fine tone'-' splendid colouring,' and the like.



By the way,' said he, turning about suddenly, what a fool I am. I have forgotten a particular business that of all things ought to be attended to. Will you excuse me, friend Gipps? I shall not be gone very long. I leave a good substitute, that's one comfort. Talk to my sister, will you? Louisa, do you pay particular attention, I beg of you, to Gipps' facetious stories. Our friend is full of anecdote !'

Now, was there ever such a wanton, such an unfounded assertion? However, Gipps did not much care. He did not know how it was, but he was not at all nervous this evening. He had had too many widows about him to-day to be afraid of one, and she, certainly a very charming woman. He had no idea before that she was so handsome. This comes of looking through the wretched medium of sheet glass.


'How very very ridiculous-the concourse of this morning, my madam,' observed Gipps.

'It is all your own fault,' returned Mrs. Revell. 'You single gentlemen, who are bent upon being old bachelors, deserve it


'Well but, my dear lady,' said Gipps, we can't do without housekeepers; we must have our little comforts-our-'

Well, sir, and why don't you marry, and get them,' innocently inquired Mrs. Revell.

Gipps looked as though he had never thought of that before, and then looked at Mrs. Revell, and was surprised to perceive that she


But, my dear Mrs. Revell, who'd have

He gathered fresh courage. me?'

I shall not relate how, before Metcalfe returned, Gipps, who had suddenly acquired the art of wooing, pestered Mrs. Revell till she was fain to answer 'I would,' to Gipps' question.

Suffice it to say, he had put his arm round the reasonably small waist of Mrs. Revell, and was just about to seal the bargain upon her lips, when (such things will happen) Metcalfe entered the


Fie! fie!' said he, that's very naughty, Gipps. Well, you wanted a widow this morning, and hav'n't you got one?'

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