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Angels’ Visits
by [?]

Mr. William Jobling leaned against his door-post, smoking. The evening air, pleasant in its coolness after the heat of the day, caressed his shirt-sleeved arms. Children played noisily in the long, dreary street, and an organ sounded faintly in the distance. To Mr. Jobling, who had just consumed three herrings and a pint and a half of strong tea, the scene was delightful. He blew a little cloud of smoke in the air, and with half-closed eyes corrected his first impression as to the tune being played round the corner.

“Bill!” cried the voice of Mrs. Jobling, who was washing-up in the tiny scullery.

“’Ullo!” responded Mr. Jobling, gruffly.

“You’ve been putting your wet teaspoon in the sugar-basin, and—well, I declare, if you haven’t done it again. ”

“Done what?” inquired her husband, hunching his shoulders.

“Putting your herringy knife in the butter. Well, you can eat it now; I won’t. A lot of good me slaving from morning to night and buying good food when you go and spoil it like that. ”

Mr. Jobling removed the pipe from his mouth. “Not so much of it,” he commanded. “I like butter with a little flavor to it. As for your slaving all day, you ought to come to the works for a week; you’d know what slavery was then. ”

Mrs. Jobling permitted herself a thin, derisive cackle, drowned hurriedly in a clatter of tea-cups as her husband turned and looked angrily up the little passage.

“Nag! nag! nag!” said Mr. Jobling.

He paused expectantly.

“Nag! nag! nag! from morning till night,” he resumed. “It begins in the morning and it goes on till bedtime. ”

“It’s a pity—” began Mrs. Jobling.

“Hold your tongue,” said her husband, sternly; “I don’t want any of your back answers. It goes on all day long up to bedtime, and last night I laid awake for two hours listening to you nagging in your sleep. ”

He paused again.

“Nagging in your sleep,” he repeated.

There was no reply.

“Two hours!” he said, invitingly; “two whole hours, without a stop. ”

“I ‘ope it done you good,” retorted his wife. “I noticed you did wipe one foot when you come in to-night. ”

Mr. Jobling denied the charge hotly, and, by way of emphasizing his denial, raised his foot and sent the mat flying along the passage. Honor satisfied, he returned to the door-post and, looking idly out on the street again, exchanged a few desultory remarks with Mr. Joe Brown, who, with his hands in his pockets, was balancing himself with great skill on the edge of the curb opposite.