She was one of those old women, was Mrs Betty Higden, who by dint of an indomitable purpose and a strong constitution fight out many years, though each year has come with its new knock-down blows fresh to the fight against her, wearied by it; an active old woman, with a bright dark eye and a resolute face, yet quite a tender creature too; not a logically-reasoning woman, but God is good, and hearts may count in Heaven as high as heads.
For I aint, you must know,' said Betty, 'much of a hand at reading writing-hand, though I can read my Bible and most print.
At their little unsteady pace, they came across the floor, hand-in-hand, as if they were traversing an extremely difficult road intersected by brooks, and, when they had had their heads patted by Mrs Betty Higden, made lunges at the orphan, dramatically representing an attempt to bear him, crowing, into captivity and slavery.
A love-child,' returned Betty Higden, dropping her voice; 'parents never known; found in the street.
Johnny, my pretty,' continued old Betty, caressing the child, and rather mourning over it than speaking to it, 'your old Granny Betty is nigher fourscore year than threescore and ten.
The fright and abhorrence that Mrs Betty Higden smoothed out of her strong face as she ended this diversion, showed how seriously she had meant it.
Yes,' said Betty with a good-humoured smile and nod of the head.
Bless you, sir, there's not a bit of him,' returned Betty, 'that's not amiable.
As Johnny, with his chin tucked in and lips pouting, reclined in Betty's lap, concentrating his blue eyes on the visitors and shading them from observation with a dimpled arm, old Betty took one of his fresh fat hands in her withered right, and fell to gently beating it on her withered left.
I have seen,' said Betty, still with that light beat upon her hard rough hand, 'so many of them on my lap.
Mrs Betty Higden was herself in a moment, and brought them all to order with that speed, that Sloppy, stopping short in a polysyllabic bellow, transferred his energy to the mangle, and had taken several penitential turns before he could be stopped.
You must tell me what I can do for you, Betty my friend,' said Mrs Boffin confidentially, 'if not to-day, next time.
Old Betty was proud, and said it with a sparkle in her bright eyes.
It seems to me,' said Betty, smiling, 'that you were born a lady, and a true one, or there never was a lady born.
It was not until he had been piqued into competition with the two diminutive Minders, by seeing them successively raised to that post and retire from it without injury, that he could be by any means induced to leave Mrs Betty Higden's skirts; towards which he exhibited, even when in Mrs Boffin's embrace, strong yearnings, spiritual and bodily; the former expressed in a very gloomy visage, the latter in extended arms.