Both Mr. Childers and Master Kidderminster walked in a curious manner; with their legs wider apart than the general run of men, and with a very knowing assumption of being stiff in the knees.
They all assumed to be mighty rakish and knowing, they were not very tidy in their private dresses, they were not at all orderly in their domestic arrangements, and the combined literature of the whole company would have produced but a poor letter on any subject.
This vicious assumption of honesty in dishonesty — a vice so dangerous, so deadly, and so common — seemed, he observed, a little to impress her in his favour.
Besides being a rough handling of his wounded mind, it seemed to assume that he really was the selfinterested deserter he had been called.
Mrs. Sparsit complied, and assumed her old position at table.
’The proposal is like yourself, and if the position I shall assume at the Bank is one that I could occupy without descending lower in the social scale — ’ ’Why, of course it is,’ said Bounderby.
If he led them out of rooms where it was, if he shut up drawers and closets where it stood, if he drew the curious from places where he knew it to be secreted, and got them out into the streets, the very chimneys of the mills assumed that shape, and round them was the printed word.
I may assume that there is a second to be mentioned?’
In virtue thereof, it had become her habit to assume a woful look, which woful look she now bestowed upon her patron.
Walking through this extraordinarily black town, while they were getting dinner ready at the hotel, I asked a fellow whom I met; one of the working people; who appeared to have been taking a shower-bath of something fluffy, which I assume to be the raw material — ’ Mrs. Sparsit inclined her head.
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Bounderby,’ he resumed, in a lighter manner, and yet with a show of effort in assuming it, which was even more expressive than the manner he dismissed; ’it is no irrevocable offence in a young fellow of your brother’s years, if he is heedless, inconsiderate, and expensive — a little dissipated, in the common phrase.
But she had to take her farewell of the male part of the company yet, and every one of them had to unfold his arms (for they all assumed the professional attitude when they found themselves near Sleary), and give her a parting kiss — Master Kidderminster excepted, in whose young nature there was an original flavour of the misanthrope, who was also known to have harboured matrimonial views, and who moodily withdrew.
With the aid of a little more coaching for the political sages, a little more genteel listlessness for the general society, and a tolerable management of the assumed honesty in dishonesty, most effective and most patronized of the polite deadly sins, he speedily came to be considered of much promise.
Feeling it necessary to do something then, he stretched himself out at greater length, and, reclining with the back of his head on the end of the sofa, and smoking with an infinite assumption of negligence, turned his common face, and not too sober eyes, towards the face looking down upon him so carelessly yet so potently.
She was so humble withal, that when Louisa appeared, she rose, protesting she never could think of sitting in that place under existing circumstances, often as she had had the honour of making Mr. Bounderby’s breakfast, before Mrs. Gradgrind — she begged pardon, she meant to say Miss Bounderby — she hoped to be excused, but she really could not get it right yet, though she trusted to become familiar with it by and by — had assumed her present position.