Instantly Mrs. Bagnet put some pins into her mouth and began pinning up her skirts all round a little higher than the level of her grey cloak, which she accomplished with surpassing dispatch and dexterity.
"Lignum," said Mrs. Bagnet, "you take care of the children, old man, and give me the umbrella! I'm away to Lincolnshire to bring that old lady here."
"But, bless the woman," cried my guardian with his hand in his pocket, "how is she going? What money has she got?"
Mrs. Bagnet made another application to her skirts and brought forth a leathern purse in which she hastily counted over a few shillings and which she then shut up with perfect satisfaction.
"Never you mind for me, miss. I'm a soldier's wife and accustomed to travel my own way. Lignum, old boy," kissing him, "one for yourself, three for the children. Now I'm away into Lincolnshire after George's mother!"
And she actually set off while we three stood looking at one another lost in amazement. She actually trudged away in her grey cloak at a sturdy pace, and turned the corner, and was gone.
"Mr. Bagnet," said my guardian. "Do you mean to let her go in that way?"
"Can't help it," he returned. "Made her way home once from another quarter of the world. With the same grey cloak. And same umbrella. Whatever the old girl says, do. Do it! Whenever the old girl says, I'LL do it. She does it."
"Then she is as honest and genuine as she looks," rejoined my guardian, "and it is impossible to say more for her."
"She's Colour-Sergeant of the Nonpareil battalion," said Mr. Bagnet, looking at us over his shoulder as he went his way also. "And there's not such another. But I never own to it before her. Discipline must be maintained."