"Stuff! Nothing is too bad to _sell._"
"I really think you might," said Mrs. Dodd, "and I will help you."
"No, no, mamma, I want you for something better than the fine arts. You must go in one of the great grooves: Female vanity: you must be a dressmaker; you are a genius at it."
"My mamma a dressmaker," cried Julia; "oh Edward, how can you. How dare you. Poor, poor mamma!"
"Do not be so impetuous, dear. I think he is right: yes, it is all I am fit for. If ever there was a Heaven-born dressmaker, it's me."
"As for myself," said Edward, "I shall look out for some business in which physical strength goes further than intellectual attainments. Luckily there are plenty such. Breaking stones is one. But I shall try a few others first."
It is easy to settle on a business, hard to get a footing in one. Edward convinced that the dressmaking was their best card, searched that mine of various knowledge, the _'Tiser,_ for an opening: but none came. At last one of those great miscellaneous houses in the City advertised for a lady to cut cloaks. He proposed to his mother to go with him. She shrank from encountering strangers. No, she would go to a fashionable dressmaker she had employed some years, and ask her advice. Perhaps Madame Blanch would find her something to do. "I have more faith in the _'Tiser,_" said Edward, clinging to his idol.
Mrs. Dodd found Madame Blanch occupied in trying to suit one of those heart-breaking idiots, to whom dress is the one great thing, and all things else, sin included, the little ones. She had tried on a scarf three times; and it discontented her when on, and spoilt all else when off. Mrs. Dodd saw, and said obligingly, "Perhaps were I to put it on, you could better judge." Mrs. Dodd, you must know, had an admirable art of putting on a shawl or scarf. With apparent _nonchalance_ she settled the scarf on her shapely shoulders so happily that the fish bit, and the scarf went into its carriage; forty guineas, or so. Madame cast a rapid but ardent glance of gratitude Dodd-wards. The customer began to go, and after fidgeting to the door and back for twenty minutes actually went somehow. Then madame turned round, and said, "I'm sure, ma'am, I am much obliged to you; you sold me the scarf: and it is a pity we couldn't put her on your bust and shoulders, ma'am, then perhaps a scarf might please her. What can I do for you, ma'am?"