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CAPTAIN WRAGGE stopped nearly midway in
the one little row of houses composing
Rosemary-lane, and let himself and his guest in at the
door of his lodgings, with his own key. As they
entered the passage, a careworn woman, in a
widow's cap, made her appearance with a candle.
"My niece," said the captain, presenting
Magdalen; "my niece on a visit to York. She has
kindly consented to occupy your empty bedroom.
Consider it let, if you please, to my nieceand
be very particular in airing the sheets. Is Mrs.
Wragge up-stairs? Very good. You may lend
me your candle. My dear girl, Mrs. Wragge's
boudoir is on the first floor; Mrs. Wragge is
visible. Allow me to show you the way up."

As he ascended the stairs first, the careworn
widow whispered piteously to Magdalen: "I
hope you'll pay me, miss. Your uncle doesn't."

The captain threw open the door of the front
room on the first floor; and disclosed a female
figure, arrayed in a gown of tarnished amber-
coloured satin, seated solitary on a small chair,
with dingy old gloves on its hands, with a
tattered old book on its knees, and with one
little bedroom candle by its side. The figure
terminated at its upper extremity, in a large,
smooth, white round face, like a moon
encircled by a cap and green ribbons; and dimly
irradiated by eyes of mild and faded blue, which
looked straightforward into vacancy, and took
not the smallest notice of Magdalen's appearance,
on the opening of the door,

"Mrs. Wragge!" cried the captain, shouting
at her, as if she was fast asleep. "Mrs.

The lady of the faded blue eyes slowly rose, to
an apparently interminable height. When she
had at last attained an upright position, she
towered to a stature of two or three inches over
six feet. Giants of both sexes are, by a wise
dispensation of Providence, created for the most
part gentle. If Mrs. Wragge and a lamb had
been placed side by sidecomparison, under
those circumstances, would have exposed the
lamb as a rank impostor.

"Tea, dear?" inquired Mrs. Wragge; looking
submissively down at her husband, whose
head when he stood on tiptoe barely reached
her shoulder.

"Miss Vanstone, the younger," said the
captain, presenting Magdalen. "Our fair relative,
whom I have met by a fortunate accident. Our
guest for the night. Our guest!" reiterated the
captain, shouting once more, as if the tall lady
was still fast asleep, in spite of the plain testimony
of her own eyes to the contrary.

A smile expressed itself (in faint outline) on
the large vacant space of Mrs. Wragge's countenance.
"Oh?" she said, interrogatively. "Oh,
indeed? Please, miss, will you sit down? I'm
sorryno, I don't mean I'm sorry; I mean I'm
glad——" She stopped, and consulted her
husband by a helpless look.

"Glad, of course!" shouted the captain.

"Glad, of course," echoed the giantess of the
amber satin, more meekly than ever.

"Mrs. Wragge is not deaf," explained the
captain. "She's only a little slow. Constitutionally
torpidif I may use the expression. I
am merely loud with her (and I beg you will
honour me by being loud, too) as a necessary
stimulant to her ideas. Shout at herand her
mind comes up to time. Speak to herand she
drifts miles away from you directly. Mrs.

Mrs. Wragge instantly acknowledged the
stimulant. "Tea, dear?" she inquired, for the
second time.

"Put your cap straight!" shouted her
husband. "I beg ten thousand pardons," he
resumed, again addressing himself to Magdalen.
"The sad truth is, I am a martyr to my own
sense of order. All untidiness, all want of
system and regularity, causes me the acutest
irritation. My attention is distracted, my
composure is upset; I can't rest till things are
set straight again. Externally speaking, Mrs.
Wragge is, to my infinite regret, the crookedest
woman I ever met with. More to the right!"
shouted the captain, as Mrs. Wragge, like a
well-trained child, presented herself with her
revised head-dress for her husband's inspection.

Mrs. Wragge immediately pulled the cap to
the left. Magdalen rose, and set it right for her.
The moon-face of the giantess brightened for the
first time. She looked admiringly at Magdalen's
cloak and bonnet. "Do you like dress, miss?"