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a web of many textures

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The conversation turned upon various burglaries that
had been committed in the town, and Mrs. Partington
gave it as her opinion that any one who would bulgariously
break into a house would be mean enough to
steal, particularly if he took anything. This opinion
was given without any hesitation, and the listeners
admitted that they thought so too. The old dame was
standing with her snuff-box in her left hand, and her
right fore-finger raised, preparatory to making some
new remark, when a door was heard to slam violently
in the attic. “What can that be?” said one, listening
attentively, with ears and eyes wide open. — “It must be
the cat,” replied Mrs. Partington, calmly. “I am not


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infected with fear of bunglers. Blessed is he that has
nothing, for it can't be taken away from him.” A noise
as of a stealthy step on the attic stairs was heard a
moment after. “What 's that?” was asked by one of
the most timid. — “Don't be decomposed,” said Mrs.
Partington; “it may be a breath of air, but we will go
and see what it is.” She was always very resolute,
and never heard a sound in the house that she did not
ascertain at once what caused it. The dame and her
guests opened the door, and proceeded to the attic; but
there was no evidence of disarrangement there. They
then proceeded through all the rooms to the cellar,
with the same result. They stopped a moment to listen,
when they heard the door of a closet in the room above
gently closed. There were numerous garments hung
in this closet; and, among the rest, the black bombazine
dress that had mourned for forty years the loss of Paul.
Cautiously moving towards the spot, they opened the
door. Everything hung in its position. There were
the dress and sundry flannel garments, that we forget
the name of, and Ike's Sunday jacket, and lots of other
things. They were just about turning their attention
to a search in other quarters, when the timid one cried
out, “There is the bugler!” And sure enough, there,
from beneath the bombazine dress, protruded a pair of
legs encased in blue woollen stockings, and terminating
with a pair of thick brogans. “Who are you, and
what do you want?” said Mrs. Partington, in a tone
denoting great strength of mind, and some lungs. There
was no answer to the question, though a spasmodic
movement in one of the blue stockings denoted consciousness.
“What do you want here?” she repeated,
a little tremulous, as if she were slightly “infected.”
“Do you come here to rob us in our beds, and murder


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our propriety?” She probably meant “murder us in
our beds and rob us of our property,” but she evidently
was confused. The blue yarn stockings still maintained
their position. “If you don't come out, I 'll call in a
policeman and have you shut up in solitary confinement.”
The stockings moved; and now a chink opened
among the pendent garments, through which protruded
a face glowing with mirth and mischief, and a laugh,
rich and unctuous with boyish glee, broke the silence.
“Why, Isaac!” said the good dame, “how could you
do so? I have a great mind to punish you severally for
your naughty conduct.” But Ike and the blue stockings
passed out of the door, and anger passed from the
memory of Mrs. Partington. But Miss Prew, who had
reached the period when chance for matrimony had
become a sort of dead reckoning, said to Mrs. Spry,
another of the party, that if that boy was her'n, she
guessed he 'd have to take some.