'"Queer sort of thing, this," said Tom Smart, looking first at the chair and then at the press, and then at the letter, and then at the chair again.
A casual observer might have supposed he did it, only to show his white teeth; but Tom Smart thought that a consciousness of triumph was passing through the place where the tall man's mind would have been, if he had had any.
'"Good-morning ma'am," said Tom Smart, closing the door of the little parlour as the widow entered.
I don't know how it happened, gentlemen--indeed my uncle used to tell me that Tom Smart said he didn't know how it happened either--but somehow or other the palm of Tom's hand fell upon the back of the widow's hand, and remained there while he spoke.
'"I scorn to flatter, my dear ma'am," said Tom Smart. "You deserve a very admirable husband, and whoever he is, he'll be a very lucky man." As Tom said this, his eye involuntarily wandered from the widow's face to the comfort around him.
'"IF," said Tom Smart, looking very shrewdly out of the right- hand corner of his left eye.
'"Pooh, nonsense, that's nothing," said Tom Smart, "I want money.
The chair was an ugly old gentleman; and what was more, he was winking at Tom Smart.
'"Because I like it, Tom Smart," said the chair; or the old gentleman, whichever you like to call him.
'"How do you know my name, old nut-cracker face?" inquired Tom Smart, rather staggered; though he pretended to carry it off so well.
'"I certainly am," said Tom Smart. "But how came you to know that?"
'Tom Smart was just on the point of protesting that he hadn't tasted a drop since his last birthday, but when his eye encountered that of the old gentleman he looked so knowing that Tom blushed, and was silent.
It might occasion some unpleasantness in the family." When the old rascal said this, he looked so extremely impertinent, that, as Tom Smart afterwards declared, he could have sat upon him without remorse.
'"Just serves you right, old boy," thought Tom Smart; but he didn't say anything.
'"I am very much obliged to you for your good opinion, Sir," said Tom Smart.