THE PAGAN CHILD. 57
were anointing his hair with some rare unguent, she
patted him on the back, and returned to her room.
The result of this and one or two other equally
sympathetic interviews was to produce a change in
Mr. McClosky's manner, which was, if possible,
still more discomposing. He grew unjustifiably
hilarious, cracked jokes with the servants, and re¬
peated to Jinny humorous stories, with the attitude
of facetiousness carefully preserved throughout the
entire narration, and the point utterly ignored and
forgotten. Certain incidents reminded him of funny
things, which invariably turned out to have not
the slightest relevancy or application. He occasion¬
ally brought home with him practical humorists,
with a sanguine hope of setting them going, like
the music-box, for his daughter's edification. He
essayed the singing of meliAlies with great freedom
of style, and singular limitation of note. He sang
" Come haste to the wedding, ye lasses and maidens,"
of which he knew a single line, and that incorrectly,
as being particularly apt and appropriate. Yet
away from the house and his daughter's presence
he was silent and distraught. His absence of mind
was particularly noted by his workmen at the
Empire Quartz-mill. "Ef the old man don't look out
and wake up," said his foreman, " he'll hev them feet
of his yet under the stamps. When he ain't givin'
his mind to em' they is altogether too promiskuss."