Here I heard myself apostrophised as a "hard little thing;"
and it was added, "any other woman would have been melted to marrow at hearing such stanzas crooned in her praise."
I assured him I was naturally hard -- very flinty, and that he would often find me so;
and that, moreover, I was determined to show him divers rugged points in my character before the ensuing four weeks elapsed:
he should know fully what sort of a bargain he had made, while there was yet time to rescind it.
"Would I be quiet and talk rationally?"
"I would be quiet if he liked, and as to talking rationally, I flattered myself I was doing that now."
He fretted, pished, and pshawed. "Very good," I thought; "you may fume and fidget as you please:
but this is the best plan to pursue with you, I am certain.
I like you more than I can say; but I'll not sink into a bathos of sentiment:
and with this needle of repartee I'll keep you from the edge of the gulf too;
and, moreover, maintain by its pungent aid that distance between you and myself most conducive to our real mutual advantage."