He who had flitted from house to house for many years, distressing the souls of landladies, now lamented the prospect of a forced removal. It was open to him to accompany Mrs. Elderfield, but he shrank from the thought of living in so remote a district. Wood Green! The very name appalled him, for he had never been able to endure the country.
He betook himself one dreary autumn afternoon to that northern suburb, and what he saw did not at all reassure him. On his way back he began once more to review the list of old lodgings. But from that day his conversations with Mrs. Elderfield grew more frequent, more intimate.
It was Mr. Elderfield, the oldest tenant on the estate, and he was saying in a slow deliberate tone that he was told he was to propose his lordship's health. It was a great honour for the like of him, and his lordship must excuse him if he did not make a fine speech.
'I don't think I shall always stay here. The neighbourhood is too crowded. I should like to have a house somewhere further out. Mr. Jordan did not comment on this, but it kept a place in his daily thoughts, and became at length so much of an anxiety that he invited a renewal of the subject. 'You have no intention of moving just yet, Mrs. Elderfield?
At times he held forth to them on some topic of interest, suavely, instructively; if he gave in to their ordinary talk, it was with a half-absent smile of condescension. Mrs. Elderfield seeming as little disposed to gossip as himself, a month elapsed before he knew anything of her history; but one evening the reserve on both sides was broken.
He himself, in the old days, had plagued his landladies by insisting upon method and routine, by his faddish attention to domestic minutiae; he now learnt what it was to be subjected to the same kind of despotism, exercised with much more exasperating persistence. Whereas Mrs. Elderfield had scrupulously obeyed every direction given by her lodger, Mrs.
You know what we settled about the toasts. Hunt up old Farmer Elderfield as soon as he comes, and do not frighten him. If you could sit next to him and make him get up at the right time, it would be best. Tell him I will not let any one propose my health but my great-grandfather's tenant. You will manage it best. And tell Frank Hawkesworth, and Mr.
It was on the 1st of June, 1889, his forty-fifth birthday, that Mr. Jordan removed from quarters he had occupied for ten months, and became a lodger in the house of Mrs. Elderfield. Mrs. Elderfield, a widow, aged three-and-thirty, with one little girl, was but a casual resident in Islington; she knew nothing of Mr. Jordan, and made no inquiries about him.
He perused the items, and, much against his habit, reflected upon them. Having breakfasted, he rang the bell. 'Mrs. Elderfield He paused, and looked gravely at the widow. She had a plain, honest, healthy face, with resolute lips, and an eye that brightened when she spoke; her well-knit figure, motionless in its respectful attitude, declared a thoroughly sound condition of the nerves. 'Mrs.
Elderfield a complete knowledge of his commercial history, of his pecuniary standing matters of which he had never before spoken to a mere acquaintance. A change was coming over him; the foundations of habit crumbled beneath his feet; he lost his look of complacence, his self-confident and superior tone. Bar-parlours and billiard-rooms saw him but rarely and flittingly.