took the precaution of stepping into a chemist’s shop and buying a bottle of the very strongest smelling-salts. ‘By George!’ said Mr. Bounderby, ‘if she takes it in the fainting way, I’ll have the skin off her nose, at all events!’ But, in spite of being thus forearmed, he entered his own house with anything but a courageous air; and appeared before the object of his misgivings, like a dog who was conscious of coming direct from the pantry.
‘Good evening, Mr. Bounderby!’
‘Good evening, ma’am, good evening.’ He drew up his chair, and Mrs. Sparsit drew back hers, as who should say, ‘Your fireside, sir. I freely admit it. It is for you to occupy it all, if you think proper.’