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----""-..1 A STORY OF A LATHI-KEY.…

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-1 A STORY OF A LATHI-KEY. So you are off again That's always the j way now You rest in your own house. I've seen you fidgetting all the evening. But I'm determined I won't lose my health tor the best man breathing." Thank you, my dear," said Mr Brownson, i (i for the compliment. But I shall not be late, and I 'm going on business." j. Oh, YO;, of course! Always businessâ but you 've no business to keep me up till two or three in the morningâand 1 can't stand it âand I won'tâso there!" Very well, thenâI'll take the latch-key, and you can go to bed as soon as you like, Only leave the supper on the table, and mind that there is a good fire in the grate, and I shall do very well." So Mr Brownson took the 1atch-key-ard his departure promising that he would not be late to which Mrs B. affectionately replied that she did not care whether he was late or notâshe should not sit up. But she did sit up, nevertheless, and very much longer than she needed to have done, as the sequel will show. She sat awhile thought- fully over her solitary supperâthen sent the servant to bed, and was just preparing to re- tire to her own couch, when a cab drove up to the doorâa loud,rat-tat-tatâand who should be ushered into the parlour but Miss Smith- son?âwho rushed towards her and hugged) and kissed her, all the time exclaiming, Oh my dear Mrs Brownson !âsuch an accident! âand I couldn't think of passing your door without calling to see such a dear old friendâ how lucky that I remembered the address the tunnel must have fallen in on purpose that I should have the chance of seeing you!âj there is no one hurt, but the line is stopped upâI was on my way to London, you knowâ"j and I must stay till morning, and I couldn't think of going to an hotel without seeing you." Going to an hotel, indeed !âdo you think I will allow you to go to an hotelâ(Mrs Brownson returns the kisses of her visitor)â while I have a bed in the house ? I should be ashamed of myself. Come, dear, take off your things, and here 's supperâit is laid for Mr Brownsonâoh, not seen my dear Charlie yet!âwell, you '11 see him soonâhe promised me he would not be late-âbusiness, you knowâbut he has taken the latch-key rather than keep me upâOh 1 he is so kind and thoughtful! Now, dear, do make a sup- perâOh how glad I am to see you!" They had much to talk ofâthe old delightful school-daysâand the night sped on. Twelve o'clock came, but no Mr Brownson. The journey and the excitement began to show their usual effects on the traveller, and she begged pardon for confessing what could not be con- cealedâshe teas sleepy. So Mrs Brownson put her in her own bed, saying that she would sit up for Mr B., who would not be long and wishing her good night, hurried away to prepare the spare bed" for themselves. Having done so, she went back to the par- lour, stirred up the fire, and tried to stir up with a bookâbut to no purpose then, reclining back in the easy chair, she gave her- self up to thoughts of the dear old school-days. Her eyes closed unconsciouslyâdreams took the place of thoughtsâand the night sped on. Mr Brownson had met with a friendâa not very uncommon occurrenceâand had stayed later than he cared to own even to himself, But the Missis," he thought, is asleepâ | that's all right!âI'11 slip into bed without! awaking her, and she 'il know nothing about it. Accordingly, without troubling about sup- per, and turning the gas off at the metre, which was in the hall, he glided softly up to his bed- room. All was still; and he took his place in the bed so gently, that he did not in the least disturb the sleeper. He and his companion slept soundly, and all was silent throughout the house, until the usual hour for the servant to get up and pre- pare fur the morning meal. The kitchen nr" having been lit, and the kettle boiled, Betsy Jane, whose accustomed duty it was, duly pre- sented herself at the bedroom door, with a knoek and Hot water, sir She was an- swered by a scream, and hastily looking in to discover the cause, saw, to her horror, a strange lady where her mistress ought to be !âthe lady looking unutterable things, and Mr Brown- son, not less startled, rubbing his eyes, and wondering where on earth he had got to, and whom he could possibly have for a bedfellow The screams of the lady were answered by the screams of the maid, and the noise aroused Mrs Brownson from her happy dreams in the arm-chair. She speedily made her appearance on the scene, and after some difficulty and con- fusion, explanations ensued and we are happy to say that Mrs Brownson and her visitor re- mained good friends in spite of appearances, and, beyond some natural blushes and embar- rassment on the part of the unmarried lady, no harm came of the adventure, though neither she nor Mr B has probably yet heard the last of it. Poor fellow he has never since been allowed to have a latch-key. IxsnAW.

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