'Cheer up, sir,' said Mrs. Crupp. 'I can't abear to see you so, sir: I'm a mother myself.'
I did not quite perceive the application of this fact to myself, but I smiled on Mrs. Crupp, as benignly as was in my power.
'Come, sir,' said Mrs. Crupp. 'Excuse me. I know what it is, sir. There's a lady in the case.'
'Mrs. Crupp?' I returned, reddening.
'Oh, bless you! Keep a good heart, sir!' said Mrs. Crupp, nodding encouragement. 'Never say die, sir! If She don't smile upon you, there's a many as will. You are a young gentleman to be smiled on, Mr. Copperfull, and you must learn your walue, sir.'
Mrs. Crupp always called me Mr. Copperfull: firstly, no doubt, because it was not my name; and secondly, I am inclined to think, in some indistinct association with a washing-day.
'What makes you suppose there is any young lady in the case, Mrs. Crupp?' said I.
'Mr. Copperfull,' said Mrs. Crupp, with a great deal of feeling, 'I'm a mother myself.'
For some time Mrs. Crupp could only lay her hand upon her nankeen bosom, and fortify herself against returning pain with sips of her medicine. At length she spoke again.
'When the present set were took for you by your dear aunt, Mr. Copperfull,' said Mrs. Crupp, 'my remark were, I had now found summun I could care for. "Thank Ev'in!" were the expression, "I have now found summun I can care for!" — You don't eat enough, sir, nor yet drink.'
'Is that what you found your supposition on, Mrs. Crupp?' said I.
'Sir,' said Mrs. Crupp, in a tone approaching to severity, 'I've laundressed other young gentlemen besides yourself. A young gentleman may be over-careful of himself, or he may be under-careful of himself. He may brush his hair too regular, or too un-regular. He may wear his boots much too large for him, or much too small. That is according as the young gentleman has his original character formed. But let him go to which extreme he may, sir, there's a young lady in both of 'em.'
Mrs. Crupp shook her head in such a determined manner, that I had not an inch of vantage-ground left.
'It was but the gentleman which died here before yourself,' said Mrs. Crupp, 'that fell in love — with a barmaid — and had his waistcoats took in directly, though much swelled by drinking.'
'Mrs. Crupp,' said I, 'I must beg you not to connect the young lady in my case with a barmaid, or anything of that sort, if you please.'
'Mr. Copperfull,' returned Mrs. Crupp, 'I'm a mother myself, and not likely. I ask your pardon, sir, if I intrude. I should never wish to intrude where I were not welcome. But you are a young gentleman, Mr. Copperfull, and my adwice to you is, to cheer up, sir, to keep a good heart, and to know your own walue. If you was to take to something, sir,' said Mrs. Crupp, 'if you was to take to skittles, now, which is healthy, you might find it divert your mind, and do you good.'
With these words, Mrs. Crupp, affecting to be very careful of the brandy — which was all gone — thanked me with a majestic curtsey, and retired. As her figure disappeared into the gloom of the entry, this counsel certainly presented itself to my mind in the light of a slight liberty on Mrs. Crupp's part; but, at the same time, I was content to receive it, in another point of view, as a word to the wise, and a warning in future to keep my secret better.