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a web of many textures

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Phiz! snap! bang! and a half-bunch of red crackers
cut up mad capers in Mrs. Partington's little kitchen,
while the old lady mounted in a chair, with terror on
her face and blue yarn stockings on her feet, to get
out of the way of the concussion. The crackers were
thrown into the windows, and the smoke of the villanous
saltpetre scaled the newly whitewashed ceiling,
and rolled up in volume before the profile of the old
corporal that hung upon the wall, a fitting offering to
the military hero thus preserved. “Gracious goodness!”
said Mrs. Partington, with a voice of alarm,
looking amid the smoke like the sun in foggy morning.
“What upon airth is coming now? who throwed
them snap-dragons in here to frighten me into my
grave before my time comes?” Snap! went another
cracker, directly beneath the chair on which she was


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standing. “Bless me! who 's a-doing of it? I see you,
you inflammable scamp!” said she, looking hard at
the window; but it was a pleasant fiction, an expedient
of her fancy that the exigency suggested. She waited
a moment and got down from the chair, when, bouncing
in through the window, came another cracker, exploding
close to Mrs. Partington's ear. Incensed at this, she
looked from the window to see the perpetrator of the
outrage, but could see nothing. Could she but have
looked around the corner of the house, she would have
detected Ike's red face wrinkled with mirth, and a piece
of port-fire about an inch long between that promising
young gentleman's fingers. “Something certainly must
be afire,” said she, shortly afterwards, searching round,
under the table, in the clothes-basket, in the reticule
upon the chair; but not a spark of fire could she find.
“It must be cotton a burning,” continued she, feeling
anxious. — “Your cap 's blazing,” said Ike, looking in
innocently; and the old lady tore the burning muslin
from her head and threw it on the floor. As she told
the story to Ike about the crackers, how he wished he
had been at home that he might have defended her!
and the dame gave him a bright dime for his earnest