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Dombey and Son
by Charles Dickens
February, 1997  [Etext #821]
***The Project Gutenberg Etext of Dombey and Son, by Dickens***
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Dombey and Son was contributed by:
Neil McLachlan, nmclachlan@delphi.com
and Ted Davis, 101515.3105@compuserve.com
on behalf of the Talking Newspaper of the UK (TNAUK).
A Kurzweil flatbed scanner and Xerox Discover software were used to
produce the raw text files, which were edited using the TSEJR ASCII
text editor, with a user lexicon specially developed for this purpose.
Words split at the end of lines have been re-united, maintaining
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been reformatted to 70 columns.
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Dombey and Son was contributed by:
Neil McLachlan, nmclachlan@delphi.com
and Ted Davis, 101515.3105@compuserve.com
on behalf of the Talking Newspaper of the UK (TNAUK).
A Kurzweil flatbed scanner and Xerox Discover software was used to
produce the raw text files, which were edited using the TSEJR ASCII
text editor, with a user lexicon specially developed for this purpose.
Words split at the end of lines have been re-united, maintaining
hyphenation where appropriate; except for the Prefaces, the text has
been reformatted to 70 columns.

Chapters 1 to 62
Preface of 1848
Preface of 1867

     1. Dombey and Son
     2. In which Timely Provision is made for an Emergency that
     will sometimes arise in the best-regulated Families
     3. In which Mr Dombey, as a Man and a Father, is seen at the
     Head of the Home-Department
     4. In which some more First Appearances are made on the
     Stage of these Adventures
     5. Paul's Progress and Christening
     6. Paul's Second Deprivation
     7. A Bird's-eye Glimpse of Miss Tox's Dwelling-place; also
     of the State of Miss Tox's Affections
     8. Paul's further Progress, Growth, and Character
     9. In which  the Wooden Midshipman gets into Trouble 10. Containing the
Sequel  of the Midshipman's Disaster 11. Paul's  Introduction to a New Scene
12. Paul's Education 13. Shipping Intelligence and Office Business 14.  Paul
grows more and more Old-fashioned, and goes Home
     for  the  holidays 15. Amazing Artfulness of Captain  Cuttle, and a new
     for Walter Gay 16. What the Waves were always saying 17. Captain Cuttle
does  a little Business  for  the Young people 18.  Father  and Daughter 19.
Walter  goes away 20. Mr  Dombey goes  upon a journey 21.  New Faces  22.  A
Trifle of Management by Mr Carker the Manager 23. Florence solitary, and the
Midshipman mysterious 24. The Study of  a Loving  Heart 25. Strange News  of
Uncle  Sol  26.  Shadows  of  the  Past  and Future  27. Deeper shadows  28.
Alterations 29. The Opening of the Eyes of Mrs Chick 30. The Interval before
the Marriage  31. The Wedding 32. The  Wooden Midshipman goes  to Pieces 33.
Contrasts  34.  Another  Mother  and  Daughter  35.   The  Happy   Pair  36.
Housewarming  37. More  Warnings  than  One 38.  Miss  Tox  improves an  Old
Acquaintance 39. Further  Adventures  of Captain Edward Cuttle,  Mariner 40.
Domestic  Relations  41.  New  Voices  in  the  Waves  42.  Confidential and
Accidental  43. The Watches of the  Night 44. A  Separation  45.  The Trusty
Agent 46. Recognizant and Reflective 47.  The Thunderbolt  48. The Flight of
Florence 49. The  Midshipman makes a  Discovery 50. Mr Toots's Complaint 51.
Mr Dombey and the World 52. Secret Intelligence 53.  More  Intelligence  54.
The  Fugitives 55.  Rob  the  Grinder  loses his Place  56.  Several  People
delighted, and the  Game Chicken disgusted 57. Another Wedding 58.  After  a
Lapse 59. Retribution 60. Chiefly Matrimonial 61. Relenting 62. Final

     Dombey and Son
     Dombey sat in the corner of the darkened room in the great arm-chair by
the bedside,  and  Son  lay  tucked  up  warm  in a little basket  bedstead,
carefully disposed on a low  settee immediately  in front of  the  fire  and
close to it, as if his  constitution were analogous to that of a muffin, and
it was essential to toast him brown while he was very new.
     Dombey   was  about   eight-and-forty   years   of   age.   Son   about
eight-and-forty  minutes. Dombey was rather bald, rather red,  and  though a
handsome  well-made  man,  too  stern  and  pompous  in  appearance,  to  be
prepossessing. Son was very bald, and very  red,  and though (of course)  an
undeniably fine infant, somewhat crushed  and spotty in his general  effect,
as yet. On the brow of Dombey, Time and his brother Care had set some marks,
as on a tree that was to come down in good time - remorseless twins they are
for striding through  their  human forests, notching as they  go - while the
countenance of Son  was crossed with  a thousand  little creases, which  the
same deceitful Time  would take delight in  smoothing  out and wearing  away
with the flat part of his  scythe,  as a  preparation of the surface for his
deeper operations.
     Dombey,  exulting in the long-looked-for event, jingled and jingled the
heavy gold watch-chain  that depended from below his trim blue coat, whereof
the buttons sparkled  phosphorescently in the feeble  rays  of  the  distant
fire.  Son,  with his little fists curled up  and  clenched, seemed, in  his
feeble way,  to  be  squaring at  existence  for  having  come  upon  him so
     'The House will once again, Mrs Dombey,' said  Mr Dombey,  'be not only
in  name but in fact Dombey  and Son;' and he added, in a tone of  luxurious
satisfaction, with his eyes half-closed as  if he were reading the name in a
device of flowers, and inhaling their fragrance  at the same time;  'Dom-bey
and Son!'
     The words had such a  softening influence, that he  appended a term  of
endearment  to Mrs  Dombey's name  (though not  without some  hesitation, as
being a man but little used to that form of address): and said, 'Mrs Dombey,
my - my dear.'
     A transient flush of faint surprise overspread the sick lady's  face as
she raised her eyes towards him.
     'He will be christened Paul, my - Mrs Dombey - of course.'
     She feebly echoed, 'Of course,' or rather expressed it by the motion of
her lips, and closed her eyes again.
     'His  father's  name, Mrs  Dombey,  and his grandfather's! I  wish  his
grandfather  were  alive  this  day!  There  is  some inconvenience  in  the
necessity of  writing Junior,' said Mr Dombey, making a fictitious autograph
on  his  knee; 'but it is merely of a  private  and  personal complexion. It
doesn't enter  into the correspondence  of the House. Its  signature remains
the same.' And again he said  'Dombey and Son, in  exactly  the same tone as
     Those three words  conveyed the one idea of Mr Dombey's life. The earth
was made for Dombey and Son  to  trade in, and the sun and moon were made to
give  them light. Rivers and seas were formed to float their ships; rainbows
gave  them  promise of  fair  weather;  winds  blew  for  or  against  their
enterprises;  stars  and  planets  circled  in  their  orbits,  to  preserve
inviolate a system of which they were the centre. Common  abbreviations took
new  meanings  in  his eyes, and had sole reference  to them.  A. D.  had no
concern with Anno Domini, but stood for anno Dombey - and Son.
     He had risen, as his father  had before him, in the course of life  and
death, from Son to Dombey, and for nearly  twenty  years had been  the  sole
representative  of  the  Firm.  Of  those years  he had been married,  ten -
married,  as some said, to a lady with no heart to give him; whose happiness
was in the past,  and who was  content  to  bind her  broken  spirit to  the
dutiful  and meek endurance of the present. Such idle talk was little likely
to reach the ears of Mr Dombey, whom  it nearly  concerned;  and probably no
one in the world  would have received it with such  utter incredulity as he,
if it had reached him. Dombey and Son had often dealt in hides, but never in
hearts. They left that fancy ware to  boys and girls,  and  boarding-schools
and books.  Mr Dombey  would have reasoned: That a matrimonial alliance with
himself must, in the nature  of things, be gratifying  and honourable to any
woman of common sense.  That the hope of giving  birth to  a new  partner in
such a House, could not fail to awaken a  glorious and stirring ambition  in
the breast of the least ambitious of her sex. That Mrs Dombey had entered on
that social contract of matrimony: almost necessarily  part of a genteel and
wealthy station, even without reference to the perpetuation of family Firms:
with her eyes  fully open to these advantages. That Mrs Dombey had had daily
practical knowledge  of his  position in society. That Mrs Dombey had always
sat at the  head  of his table, and  done the  honours  of his  house  in  a
remarkably lady-like  and  becoming manner. That  Mrs Dombey must have  been
happy. That she couldn't help it.
     Or, at all events, with one  drawback. Yes. That he would have allowed.
With only one;  but that  one certainly involving much. With the drawback of
hope deferred. That hope deferred,  which, (as  the Scripture very correctly
tells us, Mr Dombey would have added  in a patronising way; for  his highest
distinct idea  even of Scripture, if examined, would  have been found to be;
that  as forming part  of  a general  whole,  of which Dombey and Son formed
another part, it  was therefore to be commended and upheld) maketh the heart
sick. They had been married ten years, and until this present  day on  which
Mr Dombey  sat jingling and jingling his heavy gold watch-chain in the great
arm-chair by the side of the bed, had had no issue.
     -  To speak of; none  worth mentioning. There had been a girl some  six
years before, and the child, who had stolen into the chamber unobserved, was
now crouching timidly, in  a corner  whence she could see her mother's face.
But what was  a girl to  Dombey and Son! In the capital of the House's  name
and dignity, such a  child was merely a piece of  base coin that couldn't be
invested - a bad Boy - nothing more.
     Mr Dombey's cup of  satisfaction  was so full at  this moment, however,
that he felt he could afford a drop or two of its contents, even to sprinkle
on the dust in the by-path of his little daughter.
     So he said, 'Florence, you may go and look  at your pretty brother,  if
you lIke, I daresay. Don't touch him!'
     The  child  glanced keenly  at  the  blue coat and stiff white  cravat,
which, with a pair of creaking boots and a very loud ticking watch, embodied
her  idea  of  a  father;  but  her  eyes  returned  to  her  mother's  face
immediately, and she neither moved nor answered.
     'Her insensibility is as proof against a brother as against every thing
else,' said  Mr  Dombey to himself  He seemed  so confirmed  in  a  previous
opinion by the discovery, as to be quite glad of it'
     Next moment, the lady had opened her eyes and seen  the  child; and the
child  had run towards her; and, standing  on tiptoe, the better to hide her
face in  her embrace, had clung about her with  a  desperate  affection very
much at variance with her years.
     'Oh  Lord bless me!' said Mr Dombey, rising testily. 'A very illadvised
and  feverish  proceeding  this, I  am sure. Please  to  ring there for Miss
Florence's nurse. Really the person should be more care-'
     'Wait!  I - had better ask Doctor Peps if he'll have  the  goodness  to
step upstairs again perhaps. I'll go down. I'll go down. I needn't beg you,'
he  added,  pausing for a moment  at the settee  before  the fire, 'to  take
particular care of this young gentleman, Mrs - '
     'Blockitt,  Sir?'  suggested  the  nurse,  a simpering piece  of  faded
gentility,  who did  not presume to state her name  as a  fact,  but  merely
offered it as a mild suggestion.
     'Of this young gentleman, Mrs Blockitt.'
     'No, Sir, indeed. I remember when Miss Florence was born - '
     'Ay,  ay,  ay,' said  Mr Dombey, bending over the  basket bedstead, and
slightly  bending  his brows at the  same time. 'Miss Florence  was all very
well, but  this is another matter. This young gentleman  has to accomplish a
destiny. A destiny, little  fellow!' As he thus apostrophised  the infant he
raised one of his hands to his  lips, and  kissed it; then, seeming  to fear
that the  action involved some compromise  of  his  dignity, went, awkwardly
enough, away.
     Doctor Parker Peps, one of the  Court Physicians,  and a man of immense
reputation for assisting at the  increase of great families, was  walking up
and down  the  drawing-room with  his hands  behind  him, to the unspeakable
admiration of the family  Surgeon, who had regularly puffed the case for the
last six weeks, among all  his patients, friends, and  acquaintances, as one
to which  he  was in hourly expectation day and night of being  summoned, in
conjunction with Doctor Parker Pep.
     'Well, Sir,' said Doctor Parker Peps  in a round, deep, sonorous voice,
muffled for the occasion, like the knocker; 'do you find that your dear lady
is at all roused by your visit?'
     'Stimulated as it were?'  said the family  practitioner faintly: bowing
at the same time  to the  Doctor, as much as to say, 'Excuse my putting in a
word, but this is a valuable connexion.'
     Mr Dombey  was  quite  discomfited by the question. He  had thought  so
little of the patient, that he  was not in a condition to answer it. He said
that  it  would be  a satisfaction to him,  if Doctor Parker Peps would walk
upstairs again.
     'Good! We must  not disguise  from you, Sir,' said Doctor Parker  Peps,
'that there is a want of power in Her Grace the Duchess - I beg your pardon;
I confound  names;  I should  say,  in  your amiable  lady.  That there is a
certain  degree of languor, and a  general absence  of elasticity,  which we
would rather - not -
     'See,' interposed the family practitioner  with another  inclination of
the head.
     'Quite so,' said Doctor Parker Peps,' which we would rather not see. It
would appear  that the system  of Lady Cankaby - excuse  me: I should say of
Mrs Dombey: I confuse the names of cases - '
     'So  very  numerous,'  murmured  the family  practitioner -  'can't  be
expected  I'm sure  - quite wonderful  if  otherwise - Doctor  Parker Peps's
West-End practice - '
     'Thank  you,'  said  the  Doctor,  'quite so.  It  would appear,  I was
observing, that the system of our patient has sustained a shock,  from which
it can only hope to rally by a great and strong - '
     'And vigorous,' murmured the family practitioner.
     'Quite so,'  assented the  Doctor  -  'and  vigorous effort. Mr Pilkins
here,  who from his position  of medical  adviser  in  this family  - no one
better qualified to fill that position, I am sure.'
     'Oh!'  murmured  the  family  practitioner.  '"Praise from  Sir  Hubert
     'You are good  enough,'  returned Doctor Parker Peps, 'to  say  so.  Mr
Pilkins  who,  from his  position,  is best acquainted  with  the  patient's
constitution in  its  normal state (an acquaintance  very valuable  to us in
forming  our  opinions in these  occasions), is  of  opinion, with  me, that
Nature must be called upon  to make a vigorous  effort in this instance; and
that if  our interesting friend the  Countess of Dombey - I beg your pardon;
Mrs Dombey - should not be - '
     'Able,' said the family practitioner.
     'To make,' said Doctor Parker Peps.
     'That effort,' said the family practitioner.
     'Successfully,' said they both together.
     'Then,' added  Doctor Parker  Peps, alone  and very  gravely, a  crisis
might arise, which we should both sincerely deplore.'
     With that, they stood for a few seconds looking at the ground. Then, on
the motion - made in dumb show - of  Doctor Parker Peps, they went upstairs;
the  family  practitioner  opening  the  room door  for  that  distinguished
professional, and following him out, with most obsequious politeness.
     To record of  Mr Dombey  that  he  was not in  his way affected by this
intelligence, would be to do him an injustice.  He was  not a man of whom it
could  properly  be said  that he  was  ever startled, or  shocked;  but  he
certainly  had a sense within him, that if his wife should sicken and decay,
he would be very  sorry, and that he would find  a something gone from among
his  plate and furniture,  and other  household possessions,  which was well
worth the having, and could  not be lost without sincere regret.  Though  it
would  be  a  cool,. business-like, gentlemanly,  self-possessed regret,  no
     His meditations  on  the  subject  were soon interrupted, first by  the
rustling of garments on the staircase, and then  by the sudden whisking into
the room of a  lady rather past the middle age than otherwise but dressed in
a very juvenile manner, particularly as to the tightness of her bodice, who,
running up to him with a kind of screw in her  face and carriage, expressive
of suppressed  emotion, flung her  arms around  his neck,  and  said,  in  a
choking voice,
     'My dear Paul! He's quite a Dombey!'
     'Well, well!' returned her brother - for Mr Dombey was her brother - 'I
think he is like the family. Don't agitate yourself, Louisa.'
     'It's very foolish of me,' said Louisa,  sitting down, and  taking  out
her pocket~handkerchief, 'but he's - he's such a perfect Dombey!'
     Mr Dombey coughed.
     'It's so extraordinary,' said Louisa; smiling through her tears,  which
indeed were not overpowering, 'as  to be perfectly ridiculous. So completely
our family. I never saw anything like it in my life!'
     'But  what  is this about  Fanny,  herself?' said  Mr  Dombey.  'How is
     'My  dear Paul,' returned Louisa, 'it's nothing whatever. Take my word,
it's nothing whatever. There is exhaustion, certainly, but nothing like what
I underwent myself, either with George or Frederick. An effort is necessary.
That's all. If  dear Fanny were a Dombey! - But I  daresay she'll make it; I
have no doubt she'll make  it. Knowing it to be required of her,  as a duty,
of course  she'll make it.  My dear Paul, it's very weak and silly of me,  I
know, to be so trembly and shaky from head to foot; but  I am so very  queer
that I must ask you for a glass of wine and a morsel of that cake.'
     Mr Dombey promptly supplied her with  these refreshments from a tray on
the table.
     'I shall not drink my love  to you, Paul,' said Louisa: 'I shall  drink
to the  little Dombey. Good gracious me! - it's the most astonishing thing I
ever knew in all my days, he's such a perfect Dombey.'
     Quenching this expression of  opinion in a short hysterical laugh which
terminated in tears, Louisa cast up her eyes, and emptied her glass.
     'I  know  it's  very weak  and  silly  of me,'  she repeated, 'to be so
trembly and shaky from head to foot, and to allow my  feelings so completely
to  get  the  better of me,  but  I  cannot help it. I thought I should have
fallen out of the staircase  window as I came down from  seeing dear  Fanny,
and that  tiddy ickle sing.' These last words originated  in a sudden  vivid
reminiscence of the baby.
     They were succeeded by a gentle tap at the door.
     'Mrs Chick,' said a very bland female voice outside, 'how are  you now,
my dear friend?'
     'My  dear Paul,' said Louisa in a low voice, as she rose from her seat,
'it's Miss Tox. The kindest creature! I  never could  have  got here without
her! Miss  Tox, my  brother Mr Dombey. Paul,  my  dear,  my  very particular
friend Miss Tox.'
     The lady thus specially presented, was a long lean figure, wearing such
a faded air that she seemed not to have been made in what linen-drapers call
'fast  colours'  originally, and  to have, by little and little, washed out.
But for this  she  might  have been  described as the  very  pink of general
propitiation  and politeness. From a long habit of  listening  admiringly to
everything  that was said in her presence, and looking at the speakers as if
she were mentally engaged in taking off impressions of their images upon her
soul,  never to part with the same but with life, her head had quite settled
on  one  side.  Her  hands  had contracted  a  spasmodic  habit  of  raising
themselves of their own accord as  in involuntary admiration. Her  eyes were
liable  to a similar  affection. She had the softest  voice  that  ever  was
heard; and her nose,  stupendously aquiline, had  a little  knob in the very
centre or key-stone of the  bridge, whence  it tended  downwards towards her
face, as in an invincible determination never to turn up at anything.
     Miss Tox's dress,  though perfectly  genteel  and good,  had  a certain
character of angularity and scantiness. She was accustomed to wear odd weedy
little  flowers  in  her  bonnets and caps.  Strange grasses were  sometimes
perceived in  her hair;  and it  was  observed  by the  curious, of all  her
collars, frills, tuckers,  wristbands, and other  gossamer articles - indeed
of everything she wore which had two ends to it intended to unite - that the
two  ends  were never on good  terms,  and  wouldn't  quite  meet  without a
struggle. She had  furry articles for  winter wear,  as tippets,  boas,  and
muffs, which stood up  on  end in rampant manner, and were not at all sleek.
She was much given to the carrying about  of small bags  with snaps to them,
that  went  off like  little pistols  when  they  were  shut  up;  and  when
full-dressed, she wore round her neck the barrenest of lockets, representing
a  fishy  old eye,  with no  approach to speculation  in it. These and other
appearances  of a similar nature, had served to propagate the  opinion, that
Miss  Tox was a lady  of what is called  a  limited independence,  which she
turned to the best account. Possibly her mincing gait encouraged the belief,
and suggested  that  her  clipping a step  of ordinary compass into  two  or
three, originated in her habit of making the most of everything.
     'I am sure,' said  Miss Tox, with a  prodigious curtsey, 'that to  have
the honour of  being  presented to Mr Dombey  is a distinction  which I have
long  sought, but very little  expected at the present moment. My  dear  Mrs
Chick - may I say Louisa!'
     Mrs  Chick  took Miss  Tox's  hand  in hers, rested  the  foot  of  her
wine-glass  upon it, repressed a  tear, and said in a low voice, 'God  bless
     'My  dear Louisa then,' said Miss Tox, 'my  sweet  friend,  how are you
     'Better,'  Mrs Chick returned. 'Take some wine. You have been almost as
anxious as I have been, and must want it, I am sure.'
     Mr Dombey of  course officiated, and also refilled his  sister's glass,
which  she  (looking  another  way, and  unconscious of his intention)  held
straight and steady the while, and  then regarded  with  great astonishment,
saying, 'My dear Paul, what have you been doing!'
     'Miss Tox, Paul,' pursued Mrs Chick, still retaining her hand, 'knowing
how much I have been interested in the anticipation of the event  of to-day,
and how trembly and shaky I have been from  head  to  foot in expectation of
it,  has been  working  at  a  little gift  for  Fanny, which I  promised to
present. Miss Tox is ingenuity itself.'
     'My dear Louisa,' said Miss Tox. 'Don't say so.
     'It is only  a pincushion for the  toilette  table, Paul,' resumed  his
sister;  'one  of those  trifles  which are insignificant  to  your  sex  in
general, as it's very natural they should be - we have no business to expect
they should be otherwise - but to which we attach some interest.
     'Miss Tox is very good,' said Mr Dombey.
     'And I  do  say,  and  will  say, and must  say,'  pursued his  sister,
pressing the foot of the wine-glass on Miss Tox's hand, at each of the three
clauses,  'that  Miss  Tox has very prettily  adapted  the sentiment to  the
occasion. I call "Welcome little Dombey" Poetry, myself!'
     'Is that the device?' inquired her brother.
     'That is the device,' returned Louisa.
     'But do me the  justice to remember, my dear Louisa,' said Miss Toxin a
tone  of  low and  earnest  entreaty,  'that nothing  but the - I have  some
difficulty in expressing myself - the dubiousness of  the result  would have
induced me to take so great a liberty: "Welcome, Master Dombey,"  would have
been  much  more congenial  to my feelings, as I  am sure you  know. But the
uncertainty  attendant on angelic strangers, will, I hope, excuse  what must
otherwise  appear an  unwarrantable familiarity.' Miss Tox made  a  graceful
bend  as she spoke, in favour of Mr Dombey, which that gentleman  graciously
acknowledged.  Even the sort of recognition of Dombey  and Son,  conveyed in
the foregoing conversation,  was  so palatable to him,  that his sister, Mrs
Chick - though he affected to consider her a weak good-natured person -  had
perhaps more influence over him than anybody else.
     'My   dear  Paul,'  that  lady   broke   out  afresh,   after  silently
contemplating his features for a few moments, 'I don't know whether to laugh
or cry when I look at  you, I declare, you do so remind me of that dear baby
     'Well!'  said  Mrs  Chick, with a  sweet smile, 'after this,  I forgive
Fanny everything!'
     It was a declaration in a Christian spirit,  and Mrs Chick felt that it
did her  good.  Not  that she had  anything  particular  to  forgive  in her
sister-in-law, nor  indeed  anything at  all, except her having  married her
brother - in itself a species of audacity - and her having, in the course of
events, given  birth to a girl  instead of  a  boy:  which, as Mrs Chick had
frequently observed, was not quite what she had expected of her, and was not
a pleasant return for all the attention and distinction she had met with.
     Mr Dombey being hastily summoned out of  the room at this  moment,  the
two ladies were left alone together. Miss Tox immediately became spasmodic.
     'I knew you would  admire  my brother. I told  you  so  beforehand,  my
dear,' said Louisa. Miss Tox's hands and eyes expressed how much. 'And as to
his property, my dear!'
     'Ah!' said Miss Tox, with deep feeling. 'Im-mense!'
     'But his deportment, my dear Louisa!' said Miss Tox. 'His presence! His
dignity!  No  portrait that I have  ever seen of  anyone  has been  half  so
replete   with  those  qualities.  Something  so  stately,   you  know:   so
uncompromising:  so very wide across the chest: so upright! A pecuniary Duke
of York,  my love, and nothing short of it!' said  Miss Tox. 'That's  what I
should designate him.'
     'Why,  my dear Paul!' exclaimed his sister,  as he  returned, 'you look
quite pale! There's nothing the matter?'
     'I am sorry to say, Louisa, that they tell me that Fanny - '
     'Now, my  dear Paul,' returned his sister rising, 'don't believe it. Do
not  allow  yourself to  receive  a  turn unnecessarily.  Remember  of  what
importance you  are to society,  and do not allow yourself  to be worried by
what is so very inconsiderately told you by people who ought to know better.
Really I'm surprised at them.'
     'I hope I know, Louisa,' said  Mr  Dombey, stiffly, 'how to bear myself
before the world.'
     'Nobody  better,  my  dear  Paul. Nobody half so  well.  They  would be
ignorant and base indeed who doubted it.'
     'Ignorant and base indeed!' echoed Miss Tox softly.
     'But,'  pursued Louisa,  'if  you have any reliance  on  my experience,
Paul, you  may rest assured that there is nothing wanting but  an effort  on
Fanny's part.  And that  effort,' she  continued, taking off her bonnet, and
adjusting  her  cap  and  gloves,  in a business-like  manner,  'she must be
encouraged, and really, if necessary, urged to make. Now, my dear Paul, come
upstairs with me.'
     Mr Dombey, who, besides  being generally influenced by  his  sister for
the reason already mentioned, had really faith in her as an experienced  and
bustling matron, acquiesced; and followed her, at once, to the sick chamber.
     The lady lay  upon her  bed  as  he  had left her, clasping her  little
daughter  to her  breast. The child clung close  about her,  with  the  same
intensity as before, and never raised her head, or moved her soft cheek from
her  mother's face, or looked on those who stood around, or spoke, or moved,
or shed a tear.
     'Restless without the little girl,' the Doctor whispered Mr Dombey. 'We
found it best to have her in again.'
     'Can nothing be done?' asked Mr Dombey.
     The Doctor shook his head. 'We can do no more.'
     The windows stood open, and the twilight was gathering without.
     The scent of the  restoratives that had been tried was  pungent  in the
room, but had no fragrance in the dull and languid air the lady breathed.
     There was such a solemn stillness  round the  bed; and the two  medical
attendants seemed to look  on the impassive form with so much compassion and
so little hope, that Mrs Chick was for the moment diverted from her purpose.
But presently summoning  courage, and what she called presence of mind,  she
sat  down by  the  bedside, and  said  in the  low precise tone of  one  who
endeavours to awaken a sleeper:
     'Fanny! Fanny!'
     There was no sound in answer  but the loud ticking of Mr Dombey's watch
and Doctor Parker Peps's watch, which seemed  in the silence to be running a
     'Fanny, my dear,'  said Mrs  Chick, with assumed lightness, 'here's  Mr
Dombey come to see you. Won't you speak to him? They want to lay your little
boy - the baby, Fanny, you know; you have hardly  seen him yet, I think - in
bed; but they can't  till you rouse  yourself a little. Don't you think it's
time you roused yourself a little? Eh?'
     She bent  her  ear to the  bed, and  listened: at the same time looking
round at the bystanders, and holding up her finger.
     'Eh?' she repeated, 'what was it you said, Fanny? I didn't hear you.'
     No word  or sound in  answer. Mr Dombey's  watch  and Dr  Parker Peps's
watch seemed to be racing faster.
     'Now, really,  Fanny  my  dear,' said  the sister-in-law,  altering her
position, and  speaking less  confidently,  and more earnestly, in spite  of
herself, 'I  shall have  to be  quite cross with you,  if  you  don't  rouse
yourself. It's necessary for you to make an effort, and perhaps a very great
and painful effort which you are not disposed to  make; but this is  a world
of  effort  you  know, Fanny, and we must never yield, when  so much depends
upon us. Come! Try! I must really scold you if you don't!'
     The  race  in the  ensuing pause  was fierce and  furious. The  watches
seemed to jostle, and to trip each other up.
     'Fanny!' said  Louisa, glancing round,  with  a  gathering alarm. 'Only
look at me. Only open your eyes to  show me that you hear and understand me;
will you? Good Heaven, gentlemen, what is to be done!'
     The two medical  attendants  exchanged a look across the  bed; and  the
Physician,  stooping  down,  whispered   in  the  child's  ear.  Not  having
understood  the  purport of  his  whisper, the  little  creature  turned her
perfectly  colourless face and  deep  dark  eyes  towards  him; but  without
loosening her hold in the least
     The whisper was repeated.
     'Mama!' said the child.
     The  little  voice, familiar and dearly  loved, awakened some  show  of
consciousness, even at that ebb. For a moment, the closed eye lids trembled,
and the nostril quivered, and the faintest shadow of a smile was seen.
     'Mama!' cried the child sobbing aloud. 'Oh dear Mama! oh dear Mama!'
     The  Doctor  gently  brushed the scattered ringlets of the child, aside
from the  face and mouth of the mother.  Alas how  calm they lay there;  how
little breath there was to stir them!
     Thus, clinging  fast  to that  slight spar within her arms,  the mother
drifted out upon the dark and unknown sea that rolls round all the world.

     In which Timely Provision is made for an Emergency that will  sometimes
arise in the best-regulated Families
     'I  shall  never cease  to  congratulate myself,' said Mrs  Chick,'  on
having said, when I little thought what was in store  for us, - really as if
I  was  inspired by something, - that I  forgave poor dear Fanny everything.
Whatever happens, that must always be a comfort to me!'
     Mrs Chick made this  impressive observation in  the drawing-room, after
having descended  thither from the inspection of the mantua-makers upstairs,
who were busy on the family mourning. She delivered it for the behoof  of Mr
Chick, who was a stout bald gentleman, with a very large face, and his hands
continually in his pockets, and who had  a tendency in his nature to whistle
and hum tunes, which, sensible of the indecorum of such sounds in a house of
grief, he was at some pains to repress at present.
     'Don't you over-exert yourself, Loo,' said Mr Chick, 'or you'll be laid
up  with spasms, I see. Right tol loor rul! Bless my soul, I  forgot!  We're
here one day and gone the next!'
     Mrs  Chick  contented  herself  with  a glance  of  reproof,  and  then
proceeded with the thread of her discourse.
     'I am sure,' she said, 'I  hope this heart-rending occurrence will be a
warning to all of us, to  accustom ourselves to rouse ourselves, and to make
efforts in time where they're required of us. There's a moral in everything,
if we would only avail ourselves of it. It will be our own faults if we lose
sight of this one.'
     Mr Chick invaded the grave silence which ensued on this remark with the
singularly inappropriate air of 'A cobbler there was;' and checking himself,
in some confusion, observed,  that it  was undoubtedly our  own faults if we
didn't improve such melancholy occasions as the present.
     'Which might be  better improved, I should think,  Mr C.,' retorted his
helpmate, after a  short  pause,  'than by  the  introduction, either of the
college  hornpipe,  or  the   equally  unmeaning  and  unfeeling  remark  of
rump-te-iddity, bow-wow-wow!' - which Mr Chick had indeed indulged in, under
his breath, and which Mrs Chick repeated in a tone of withering scorn.
     'Merely habit, my dear,' pleaded Mr Chick.
     'Nonsense! Habit!'  returned his  wife. 'If  you're  a  rational being,
don't make such ridiculous  excuses.  Habit! If I was to get a habit (as you
call it) of walking on the ceiling, like  the flies, I should hear enough of
it, I daresay.
     It appeared so probable  that such a habit might  be attended with some
degree of notoriety, that Mr Chick didn't venture to dispute the position.
     'Bow-wow-wow!'  repeated  Mrs  Chick  with  an  emphasis  of  blighting
contempt on  the last  syllable. 'More like a professional  singer with  the
hydrophobia, than a man in your station of life!'
     'How's the Baby, Loo?' asked Mr Chick: to change the subject.
     'What Baby do you mean?' answered Mrs Chick.
     'The poor bereaved  little baby,'  said  Mr Chick. 'I don't know of any
other, my dear.'
     'You don't know  of any other,'retorted Mrs Chick. 'More shame for you,
I was going to say.
     Mr Chick looked astonished.
     'I am  sure the morning  I  have had, with that dining-room downstairs,
one mass of babies, no one in their senses would believe.'
     'One  mass  of babies!'  repeated Mr  Chick,  staring with  an  alarmed
expression about him.
     'It would have  occurred to most men,' said Mrs Chick, 'that  poor dear
Fanny being no more, - those words of mine will always be a balm and comfort
to me,' here she dried her eyes; 'it becomes necessary to provide a Nurse.'
     'Oh!  Ah!' said Mr Chick. 'Toor-ru! - such is  life, I mean. I hope you
are suited, my dear.'
     'Indeed I am not,' said Mrs Chick; 'nor  likely to be, so  far as I can
see, and in the meantime the poor child seems likely to be starved to death.
Paul is  so very particular - naturally  so, of course, having set his whole
heart  on this one  boy - and there are so many objections to everybody that
offers,  that  I don't  see, myself, the  least chance  of  an  arrangement.
Meanwhile, of course, the child is - '
     'Going to the Devil,' said Mr Chick, thoughtfully, 'to be sure.'
     Admonished,  however, that he had committed himself, by the indignation
expressed in  Mrs Chick's countenance  at the  idea of a Dombey going there;
and thinking to atone for his misconduct by a bright suggestion, he added:
     'Couldn't something temporary be done with a teapot?'
     If  he had meant to bring the subject  prematurely to a close, he could
not have done it  more effectually. After looking at him for some moments in
silent  resignation,  Mrs  Chick  said  she trusted  he  hadn't  said it  in
aggravation,  because that would do  very little honour  to  his  heart. She
trusted  he  hadn't  said  it seriously, because  that would do very  little
honour to his  head.  As  in any case,  he couldn't,  however  sanguine  his
disposition, hope to offer a remark that would be a greater outrage on human
nature in general, we would beg to leave the discussion at that point.
     Mrs Chick then walked majestically to the window and peeped through the
blind, attracted by the sound of  wheels. Mr Chick, finding that his destiny
was, for the time, against him, said no more, and walked off. But it was not
always thus with  Mr Chick.  He was often  in the  ascendant himself, and at
those times punished  Louisa roundly.  In their matrimonial  bickerings they
were, upon the whole, a well-matched, fairly-balanced, give-and-take couple.
It would have been, generally speaking, very difficult to have betted on the
winner. Often  when Mr Chick seemed beaten, he would suddenly  make a start,
turn the  tables, clatter them about the  ears of  Mrs Chick, and carry  all
before  him. Being liable himself to similar unlooked  for  checks from  Mrs
Chick, their  little contests usually possessed  a  character of uncertainty
that was very animating.
     Miss  Tox had  arrived on  the  wheels just  now  alluded  to, and came
running into the room in a breathless condition. 'My dear Louisa,'said  Miss
Tox, 'is the vacancy still unsupplied?'
     'You good soul, yes,' said Mrs Chick.
     'Then, my dear Louisa,' returned Miss Tox, 'I hope and believe - but in
one moment, my dear, I'll introduce the party.'
     Running downstairs again as fast  as  she had run  up, Miss Tox got the
party out of the hackney-coach, and soon returned with it under convoy.
     It  then appeared that she had  used  the  word, not  in its  legal  or
business acceptation, when it merely expresses  an individual, but as a noun
of multitude, or signifying many: for Miss Tox escorted a plump rosy-cheeked
wholesome  apple-faced  young woman, with an infant in her  arms; a  younger
woman not so plump,  but apple-faced also,  who led a  plump and apple-faced
child in  each hand; another  plump and also apple-faced boy  who walked  by
himself; and  finally, a  plump and apple-faced man, who carried in his arms
another  plump and  apple-faced boy,  whom he stood down on  the floor,  and
admonished, in a husky whisper, to 'kitch hold of his brother Johnny.'
     'My  dear  Louisa,'  said Miss Tox, 'knowing  your  great anxiety,  and
wishing to  relieve it, I  posted off myself to  the Queen Charlotte's Royal
Married Females,' which  you had  forgot,  and  put the question, Was  there
anybody  there that  they thought would suit?  No,  they said there was not.
When they gave me that answer, I do assure you, my dear, I was almost driven
to despair on your account. But it did so  happen,  that  one  of the  Royal
Married Females, hearing the inquiry, reminded the matron of another who had
gone  to her  own home, and  who, she said, would in all likelihood  be most
satisfactory. The moment I heard this, and had it corroborated by the matron
- excellent references and unimpeachable  character  - I got the address, my
dear, and posted off again.'
     'Like the dear good Tox, you are!' said Louisa.
     'Not at all,'  returned Miss  Tox. 'Don't say so. Arriving at the house
(the cleanest place,  my dear! You might eat  your dinner  off the floor), I
found the whole family sitting at table; and feeling that no account of them
could be half so  comfortable  to you and Mr Dombey as the sight of them all
together, I brought them all away. This gentleman,' said Miss  Tox, pointing
out the apple-faced  man, 'is the father. Will you have the goodness to come
a little forward, Sir?'
     The apple-faced man having sheepishly complied with this request, stood
chuckling and grinning in a front row.
     'This is his wife,  of course,' said Miss Tox,  singling out  the young
woman with the baby. 'How do you do, Polly?'
     'I'm pretty well, I thank you, Ma'am,' said Polly.
     By way of bringing her out dexterously,  Miss Tox had made  the inquiry
as in  condescension  to an old  acquaintance whom  she  hadn't seen  for  a
fortnight or so.
     'I'm  glad  to  hear it,' said Miss  Tox. 'The other young woman is her
unmarried sister who  lives  with them, and would take care of her children.
Her name's Jemima. How do you do, Jemima?'
     'I'm pretty well, I thank you, Ma'am,' returned Jemima.
     'I'm very glad indeed to hear  it,' said Miss Tox. 'I hope  you'll keep
so. Five children.  Youngest six weeks. The fine little boy with the blister
on his nose  is the eldest  The blister, I believe,' said Miss  Tox, looking
round upon the family, 'is not constitutional, but accidental?'
     The apple-faced man was understood to growl, 'Flat iron.
     'I beg your pardon, Sir,' said Miss Tox, 'did you?
     'Flat iron,' he repeated.
     'Oh  yes,'  said  Miss Tox.  'Yes! quite  true.  I  forgot. The  little
creature,  in  his mother's  absence, smelt  a warm flat iron. You're  quite
right,  Sir. You  were  going to  have the  goodness to inform  me, when  we
arrived at the door that you were by trade a - '
     'Stoker,' said the man.
     'A choker!' said Miss Tox, quite aghast.
     'Stoker,' said the man. 'Steam ingine.'
     'Oh-h!  Yes!'  returned  Miss Tox,  looking thoughtfully  at  him,  and
seeming still to have but a very imperfect understanding of his meaning.
     'And how do you like it, Sir?'
     'Which, Mum?' said the man.
     'That,' replied Miss Tox. 'Your trade.'
     'Oh! Pretty well,  Mum. The ashes sometimes gets in here;' touching his
chest: 'and makes  a  man speak  gruff, as at  the present time.  But it  is
ashes, Mum, not crustiness.'
     Miss Tox seemed to be so little enlightened by this reply, as to find a
difficulty in pursuing the subject. But Mrs Chick relieved  her, by entering
into  a  close  private examination of Polly,  her  children,  her  marriage
certificate,  testimonials, and so forth.  Polly  coming out unscathed  from
this ordeal, Mrs Chick  withdrew with her  report to her brother's room, and
as  an  emphatic  comment  on it, and corroboration of it,  carried the  two
rosiest  little  Toodles  with  her.  Toodle being  the family  name  of the
apple-faced family.
     Mr Dombey  had remained  in his  own  apartment since the death  of his
wife,  absorbed in visions  of the youth,  education, and destination of his
baby son. Something lay at the bottom of his cool heart,  colder and heavier
than its ordinary load; but it was more a sense of the child's loss than his
own, awakening within him an almost angry sorrow. That the life and progress
on which he built such hopes, should be endangered  in the outset by so mean
a  want; that Dombey and Son should be tottering  for  a nurse,  was  a sore
humiliation. And  yet  in his pride  and  jealousy,  he viewed with  so much
bitterness the thought of  being  dependent for  the very first step towards
the accomplishment of his soul's desire, on  a hired serving-woman who would
be to the child, for the time, all that even his  alliance  could  have made
his own  wife,  that in every new rejection of a  candidate he felt a secret
pleasure. The time had now come, however, when he could no longer be divided
between these  two sets of feelings. The less  so, as there seemed to be  no
flaw in the  title of Polly  Toodle after his sister  had set it forth, with
many commendations on the indefatigable friendship of Miss Tox.
     'These children look healthy,' said Mr Dombey. 'But my God, to think of
their some day claiming a sort of relationship to Paul!'
     ' But what relationship is there!' Louisa began -
     'Is  there!' echoed  Mr Dombey,  who  had  not intended his  sister  to
participate  in the thought he had unconsciously  expressed. 'Is  there, did
you say, Louisa!'
     'Can there be, I mean - '
     'Why none,' said Mr Dombey, sternly.  'The  whole world  knows that,  I
presume. Grief has not made me idiotic,  Louisa. Take them away, Louisa! Let
me see this woman and her husband.'
     Mrs Chick bore off the  tender pair of  Toodles, and presently returned
with that tougher couple whose presence her brother had commanded.
     'My good  woman,'  said Mr Dombey,  turning round in his easy chair, as
one piece,  and not  as a man with limbs  and joints, 'I  understand you are
poor, and wish to earn money by nursing the little boy, my son, who has been
so prematurely deprived of what can never be  replaced.  I have no objection
to your adding to the comforts of your family by that means. So far as I can
tell,  you  seem to be  a  deserving  object. But I must  impose one or  two
conditions on you, before you enter my house in that capacity. While you are
here, I must stipulate that you are always known  as  - say as Richards - an
ordinary  name,  and  convenient.  Have you any  objection  to  be  known as
Richards? You had better consult your husband.'
     'Well?'  said  Mr Dombey, after  a pretty long  pause.  'What does your
husband say to your being called Richards?'
     As the husband did nothing but  chuckle and grin, and continually  draw
his  right hand  across his  mouth,  moistening the  palm, Mrs Toodle, after
nudging him twice or  thrice in vain,  dropped  a curtsey  and replied 'that
perhaps if she was to be  called out  of her name, it would be considered in
the wages.'
     'Oh, of course,' said Mr Dombey. 'I desire to  make it  a  question  of
wages, altogether. Now, Richards, if you nurse my bereaved child, I wish you
to remember this always. You  will receive a liberal  stipend in return  for
the discharge of certain duties, in the performance  of which, I wish you to
see as little of  your family as possible.  When those  duties cease  to  be
required and rendered, and the stipend ceases to be paid, there is an end of
all relations between us. Do you understand me?'
     Mrs Toodle  seemed doubtful about it;  and as to Toodle himself, he had
evidently no doubt whatever, that he was all abroad.
     'You have children of your own,' said Mr  Dombey. 'It is not at all  in
this  bargain that you need become attached  to  my child, or  that my child
need  become attached to you. I don't expect or desire anything of the kind.
Quite the reverse. When  you go away from here, you will have concluded what
is  a mere  matter of  bargain and sale,  hiring and letting:  and will stay
away. The  child  will cease to  remember  you;  and you will cease, if  you
please, to remember the child.'
     Mrs Toodle, with a little more colour in her  cheeks than  she  had had
before, said 'she hoped she knew her place.'
     'I hope you do, Richards,' said Mr Dombey. 'I have no doubt you know it
very  well.  Indeed  it is so plain  and  obvious  that  it could hardly  be
otherwise. Louisa, my dear,  arrange with  Richards about money, and let her
have it when and how she pleases. Mr  what's-your name, a word with you,  if
you please!'
     Thus arrested on the threshold  as he was following his wife out of the
room,  Toodle returned  and confronted  Mr  Dombey  alone. He was  a strong,
loose, round-shouldered,  shuffling, shaggy fellow, on  whom his clothes sat
negligently: with a good deal of hair  and whisker,  deepened in its natural
tint,  perhaps  by smoke and  coal-dust: hard  knotty  hands:  and a  square
forehead, as coarse  in grain as the  bark of an oak. A thorough contrast in
all respects, to  Mr Dombey, who was  one of  those  close-shaved  close-cut
moneyed gentlemen who are glossy and crisp like new bank-notes, and who seem
to be artificially braced  and tightened  as  by the  stimulating  action of
golden showerbaths.
     'You have a son, I believe?' said Mr Dombey.
     'Four on 'em, Sir. Four hims and a her. All alive!'
     'Why, it's as much as you can afford to keep them!' said Mr Dombey.
     'I couldn't hardly afford but one thing in the world less, Sir.'
     'What is that?'
     'To lose 'em, Sir.'
     'Can you read?' asked Mr Dombey.
     'Why, not partick'ler, Sir.'
     'With chalk, Sir?'
     'With anything?'
     'I could make shift to chalk a little bit, I  think,  if I  was  put to
it,' said Toodle after some reflection.
     'And  yet,'  said  Mr  Dombey, 'you are  two or  three  and  thirty,  I
     'Thereabouts, I suppose, Sir,' answered Toodle, after more reflection
     'Then why don't you learn?' asked Mr Dombey.
     'So I'm a going to, Sir. One of my little  boys is a going to learn me,
when he's old enough, and been to school himself.'
     'Well,' said Mr Dombey, after looking  at him attentively,  and with no
great favour, as  he  stood  gazing round  the  room (principally  round the
ceiling) and still  drawing his hand across and across his mouth. 'You heard
what I said to your wife just now?'
     'Polly heerd it,' said Toodle, jerking his hat over his shoulder in the
direction of the door, with an air of perfect confidence in his better half.
'It's all right.'
     'But I ask you if you heard it. You did, I suppose, and understood it?'
pursued Mr Dombey.
     'I heerd it,' said Toodle, 'but I don't know as I understood it rightly
Sir, 'account  of being  no scholar, and the words being - ask your pardon -
rayther high. But Polly heerd it. It's all right.'
     'As you appear to leave everything to her,' said Mr Dombey,  frustrated
in  his intention  of  impressing  his  views still  more  distinctly on the
husband,  as  the stronger  character, 'I suppose it  is of no use my saying
anything to you.'
     'Not a bit,' said Toodle. 'Polly heerd it. She's awake, Sir.'
     'I won't detain you any longer then,' returned Mr Dombey, disappointed.
'Where have you worked all your life?'
     'Mostly underground,  Sir,  'till I  got married. I come to  the  level
then.  I'm a going on one  of these here railroads when they comes into full
     As he added in one of his hoarse whispers, 'We means to bring up little
Biler to that line,' Mr Dombey inquired haughtily who little Biler was.
     'The eldest on 'em, Sir,' said Toodle, with a smile. 'It ain't a common
name. Sermuchser that when he was took to church the gen'lm'n said, it wam't
a chris'en  one, and he couldn't give it. But we always calls him Biler just
the same. For we don't mean no harm. Not we.
     'Do  you mean to  say,  Man,' inquired  Mr Dombey;  looking at him with
marked displeasure, 'that you have called a child after a boiler?'
     'No, no, Sir,' returned Toodle, with  a  tender  consideration  for his
mistake. 'I should hope not! No, Sir. Arter a BILER Sir. The Steamingine was
a'most as good as a godfather to him, and  so we called him Biler, don't you
     As  the  last  straw  breaks the  laden  camel's back,  this  piece  of
information  crushed  the  sinking spirits  of  Mr Dombey. He  motioned  his
child's foster-father to the door, who departed by no means unwillingly: and
then turning the key, paced up and down the room in solitary wretchedness.
     It would be  harsh, and perhaps not altogether true, to say of him that
he  felt these rubs and gratings against his pride more keenly  than  he had
felt his wife's death: but certainly they impressed that event upon him with
new force, and communicated to it added weight and bitterness. It was a rude
shock to his sense  of property in his child,  that these people  - the mere
dust of the earth, as he thought them  -  should be necessary to him; and it
was natural that in proportion as he felt disturbed by it, he should deplore
the occurrence which had made them  so. For  all his  starched, impenetrable
dignity and composure, he wiped blinding tears  from his eyes as he paced up
and  down his  room; and often said, with an emotion  of which he would not,
for the world, have had a witness, 'Poor little fellow!'
     It may  have been characteristic of Mr Dombey's pride,  that he  pitied
himself through the child.  Not  poor me.  Not  poor widower,  confiding  by
constraint in the wife  of an  ignorant Hind  who has been  working  'mostly
underground'  all  his life, and yet at whose door  Death had never knocked,
and at whose poor table four sons daily sit - but poor little fellow!
     Those words  being on  his lips,  it  occurred to him - and  it  is  an
instance of the strong attraction with which his hopes and fears and all his
thoughts were tending  to  one  centre -  that  a great temptation was being
placed  in this  woman's  way. Her  infant  was a boy too.  Now, would it be
possIble for her to change them?
     Though he was soon satisfied that he had dismissed the idea as romantic
and unlikely -  though  possible, there was no denying - he could  not  help
pursuing it  so  far as to entertain within  himself a picture  of what  his
condition  would be,  if he should discover such  an imposture  when  he was
grown old. Whether a  man so situated would be able to pluck away the result
of so  many years of  usage, confidence, and  belief, from the impostor, and
endow a stranger with it?
     But it  was  idle speculating thus.  It  couldn't happen. In  a  moment
afterwards he determined that it could, but that such women  were constantly
observed, and had no opportunity given them for the accomplishment of such a
design, even when they were so wicked as to entertain it. In another moment,
he  was remembering  how  few  such cases seemed  to  have ever happened. In
another moment  he was  wondering  whether  they ever happened  and were not
found out.
     As  his  unusual emotion  subsided,  these  misgivings gradually melted
away, though so much  of  their shadow remained behind, that he was constant
in his resolution to look closely after Richards  himself, without appearing
to  do so.  Being now in  an easier frame  of mind,  he regarded the woman's
station  as rather  an advantageous circumstance than otherwise, by placing,
in  itself, a broad distance between  her and the child, and rendering their
separation  easy  and natural. Thence he passed to the contemplation of  the
future glories of Dombey and Son, and dismissed the memory of his wife,  for
the time being, with a tributary sigh or two.
     Meanwhile  terms were ratified  and agreed upon  between Mrs Chick  and
Richards, with  the  assistance of  Miss Tox;  and Richards being with  much
ceremony invested with the Dombey baby, as if it were an Order, resigned her
own,  with many  tears and  kisses, to  Jemima.  Glasses  of wine were  then
produced, to  sustain  the  drooping  spirits of  the family; and  Miss Tox,
busying herself in dispensing 'tastes' to the younger branches, bred them up
to their  father's business with such surprising  expedition,  that she made
chokers of four of them in a quarter of a minute.
     'You'll  take a glass  yourself, Sir,  won't  you?' said Miss  Tox,  as
Toodle appeared.
     'Thankee, Mum,' said Toodle, 'since you are suppressing.'
     'And  you're  very  glad  to  leave  your  dear  good  wife in  such  a
comfortable home,  ain't you, Sir?'said Miss Tox, nodding and winking at him
     'No, Mum,' said Toodle. 'Here's wishing of her back agin.'
     Polly cried more than ever at this. So Mrs Chick,  who had her matronly
apprehensions  that  this indulgence  in  grief might be  prejudicial to the
little  Dombey ('acid, indeed,'  she whispered Miss  Tox), hastened  to  the
     'Your  little  child will  thrive charmingly with your  sister  Jemima,
Richards,' said Mrs Chick; 'and you  have only to make an effort - this is a
world of effort, you know, Richards - to be very happy indeed. You have been
already measured for your mourning, haven't you, Richards?'
     'Ye - es, Ma'am,' sobbed Polly.
     'And  it'll fit  beautifully.  I  know,'  said Mrs Chick, 'for the same
young person has made me many dresses. The very best materials, too!'
     'Lor, you'll be so smart,' said Miss Tox, 'that your husband won't know
you; will you, Sir?'
     'I should know her,' said Toodle, gruffly, 'anyhows and anywheres.'
     Toodle was evidently not to be bought over.
     'As  to living, Richards, you know,' pursued Mrs Chick, 'why, the  very
best  of everything will be at your  disposal.  You  will order your  little
dinner  every day;  and anything you take  a fancy to,  I'm sure will be  as
readily provided as if you were a Lady.'
     'Yes  to  be  sure!' said  Miss  Tox, keeping up  the  ball  with great
sympathy. 'And as to porter! - quite unlimited, will it not, Louisa?'
     'Oh, certainly!' returned  Mrs Chick  in the same tone. 'With  a little
abstinence, you know, my dear, in point of vegetables.'
     'And pickles, perhaps,' suggested Miss Tox.
     'With  such  exceptions,'  said  Louisa,  'she'll  consult  her  choice
entirely, and be under no restraint at all, my love.'
     'And then, of course, you know,' said Miss Tox, 'however fond she is of
her own dear little child  - and  I'm sure, Louisa, you don't blame her  for
being fond of it?'
     'Oh no!' cried Mrs Chick, benignantly.
     'Still,' resumed Miss  Tox,  'she naturally  must be interested in  her
young charge, and  must  consider it a  privilege to  see  a  little  cherub
connected with the superior  classes, gradually unfolding itself from day to
day at one common fountain- is it not so, Louisa?'
     'Most  undoubtedly!' said Mrs Chick. 'You see,  my  love, she's already
quite  contented and  comfortable,  and  means to say goodbye to  her sister
Jemima and her little pets, and her  good honest husband, with a light heart
and a smile; don't she, my dear?'
     'Oh yes!' cried Miss Tox. 'To be sure she does!'
     Notwithstanding which,  however, poor  Polly embraced them all round in
great distress, and coming to her spouse at last, could not make up her mind
to part from  him, until he gently  disengaged himself,  at the close of the
following allegorical piece of consolation:
     'Polly, old  'ooman, whatever you do, my darling, hold up your head and
fight low.  That's the only rule as I know  on, that'll carry anyone through
life. You always have held up your head and fought low, Polly. Do it now, or
Bricks  is no  longer so. God  bless you, Polly! Me and J'mima will  do your
duty by you;  and  with relating to your'n, hold up your head and fight low,
Polly, and you can't go wrong!'
     Fortified by this golden  secret,  Folly finally ran away to  avoid any
more  particular leave-taking  between  herself  and the  children.  But the
stratagem hardly succeeded as well as  it deserved; for the smallest boy but
one divining her intent, immediately began  swarming upstairs after her - if
that word of doubtful etymology be admissible - on his arms and  legs; while
the eldest (known in the family by the name of  Biler, in remembrance of the
steam engine) beat  a demoniacal tattoo with his boots, expressive of grief;
in which he was joined by the rest of the family.
     A quantity of oranges  and  halfpence  thrust indiscriminately on  each
young Toodle,  checked the first violence  of their  regret, and  the family
were speedily transported to their own  home, by means of the  hackney-coach
kept in waiting  for that purpose. The children, under the  guardianship  of
Jemima, blocked up the window, and dropped out oranges and halfpence all the
way along. Mr Toodle himself preferred to ride behind among  the spikes,  as
being the mode of conveyance to which he was best accustomed.

     In which  Mr Dombey,  as a Man and a Father, is seen at the Head of the
     The funeral of the  deceased lady having been 'performed  to the entire
satisfaction of the  undertaker,  as  well as of the neighbourhood at large,
which is generally  disposed to be captious on such a point, and is prone to
take  offence  at any  omissions  or  short-comings in  the  ceremonies, the
various members  of Mr Dombey's household subsided into their several places
in the domestic system.  That small world, like the great  one out of doors,
had the capacity of easily forgetting  its dead;  and when the cook had said
she  was  a quiet-tempered lady, and  the house-keeper  had said it  was the
common lot, and the butler had said who'd have thought it, and the housemaid
had said she couldn't hardly believe it,  and the footman had said it seemed
exactly like a dream, they had  quite  worn  the subject out,  and began  to
think their mourning was wearing rusty too.
     On  Richards, who  was established  upstairs  in a  state of honourable
captivity,  the  dawn of  her  new life seemed  to  break cold  and grey. Mr
Dombey's house  was  a  large  one,  on the  shady side  of  a  tall,  dark,
dreadfully  genteel  street  in  the   region  between  Portland  Place  and
Bryanstone Square.' It was a corner house, with great wide  areas containing
cellars frowned upon by barred windows, and leered at by crooked-eyed  doors
leading to dustbins. It was a house of dismal state, with a circular back to
it, containing a whole suite of drawing-rooms looking upon a gravelled yard,
where  two gaunt trees, with blackened trunks  and branches,  rattled rather
than rustled, their leaves were so smoked-dried. The summer sun was never on
the street,  but in the morning about breakfast-time, when it came with  the
water-carts and  the old clothes men, and the people with geraniums, and the
umbrella-mender, and the man who trilled the  little bell of the Dutch clock
as he went along. It was soon gone again to return no more that day; and the
bands of music  and the  straggling Punch's shows going after it, left it  a
prey to the  most  dismal  of  organs, and white mice; with  now and then  a
porcupine, to vary the entertainments; until the butlers whose families were
dining  out,  began to stand at the house-doors  in the  twilight,  and  the
lamp-lighter  made  his  nightly failure in attempting  to  brighten up  the
street with gas.
     It was as  blank a  house inside as outside. When the funeral was over,
Mr Dombey  ordered the furniture to be covered  up - perhaps  to preserve it
for the son with whom his plans were all associated -  and  the rooms  to be
ungarnished,  saving such  as he retained for himself  on the  ground floor.
Accordingly,  mysterious shapes  were made  of  tables  and  chairs,  heaped
together in the middle of rooms, and covered over with great winding-sheets.
Bell-handles,  window-blinds,  and  looking-glasses,  being  papered  up  in
journals, daily and weekly,  obtruded  fragmentary  accounts  of deaths  and
dreadful  murders. Every  chandelier or  lustre, muffled  in holland, looked
like  a  monstrous tear depending from the  ceiling's  eye. Odours, as  from
vaults and damp  places, came out  of the chimneys. The dead and buried lady
was  awful in a  picture-frame of ghastly bandages. Every gust of  wind that
rose,  brought  eddying  round  the corner  from the neighbouring mews, some
fragments of the straw that had been strewn  before  the house  when she was
ill, mildewed remains of which were still cleaving to the neighbourhood: and
these, being always  drawn by some invisible attraction to the  threshold of
the dirty house to let immediately opposite, addressed a dismal eloquence to
Mr Dombey's windows.
     The apartments which  Mr Dombey  reserved for his own inhabiting,  were
attainable from the hall,  and consisted of a sitting-room; a library, which
was in fact a dressing-room, so that the smell of hot-pressed paper, vellum,
morocco, and Russia leather, contended in it with the smell of  divers pairs
of boots; and  a kind of conservatory or little glass breakfast-room beyond,
commanding  a  prospect  of  the  trees  before  mentioned,  and,  generally
speaking, of a few prowling cats. These three rooms opened upon one another.
In the morning, when Mr Dombey was at his  breakfast  in one or other of the
two first-mentioned  of them, as well as in the afternoon when he came  home
to dinner, a bell was rung for Richards to repair to this glass chamber, and
there walk to and fro with her young charge. From the glimpses she caught of
Mr Dombey  at these times, sitting in the dark distance, looking out towards
the  infant from  among  the dark heavy  furniture  -  the  house  had  been
inhabited for  years  by his father, and in  many  of its  appointments  was
old-fashioned and grim - she began to entertain ideas of him in his solitary
state, as if he were a lone prisoner in a cell, or a strange apparition that
was not to be accosted or understood. Mr Dombey came to be, in the course of
a few days, invested in his own person, to her simple thinking, with all the
mystery and gloom of his house. As she walked up and down the glass room, or
sat  hushing the baby there - which she  very often did for hours  together,
when the dusk was closing  in, too - she would sometimes try  to pierce  the
gloom  beyond,  and  make  out how he was  looking  and  what he  was doing.
Sensible that she was plainly to be seen by him' however, she never dared to
pry  in  that direction but very  furtively  and  for  a moment at  a  time.
Consequently she made  out nothing, and Mr Dombey in his den remained a very
     Little Paul  Dombey's foster-mother had led this  life herself, and had
carried little Paul through it for some weeks; and had returned upstairs one
day from  a melancholy saunter through the dreary rooms of  state (she never
went out without Mrs Chick, who called on fine mornings, usually accompanied
by  Miss  Tox,  to take her and Baby  for an airing - or in other  words, to
march them gravely up and down the pavement,  like a walking funeral); when,
as she was sitting in her own room, the  door was slowly and quietly opened,
and a dark-eyed little girl looked in.
     'It's  Miss Florence come  home from  her  aunt's, no  doubt,'  thought
Richards, who had never seen the child before. 'Hope I see you well, Miss.'
     'Is that my brother?' asked the child, pointing to the Baby.
     'Yes, my pretty,' answered Richards. 'Come and kiss him.'
     But the child, instead of advancing, looked her earnestly  in the face,
and said:
     'What have you done with my Mama?'
     'Lord bless the little creeter!' cried  Richards, 'what a sad question!
I done? Nothing, Miss.'
     'What  have they done with my Mama?' inquired  the child,  with exactly
the same look and manner.
     'I never saw such  a  melting thing in all my life!' said Richards, who
naturally  substituted 'for this child one of her own, inquiring for herself
in like circumstances. 'Come  nearer here, my dear Miss! Don't be  afraid of
     'I am not afraid of you,' said the child,  drawing  nearer. 'But I want
to know what they have done with my Mama.'
     Her heart swelled so  as she stood before the woman, looking  into  her
eyes, that she was fain to press her little hand upon her breast and hold it
there. Yet there was a purpose in the child that prevented  both her slender
figure and her searching gaze from faltering.
     'My  darling,' said  Richards,  'you wear  that  pretty black frock  in
remembrance of your Mama.'
     'I can remember my  Mama,' returned the child, with tears  springing to
her eyes, 'in any frock.'
     'But people put on black, to remember people when they're gone.'
     'Where gone?' asked the child.
     'Come and sit down by me,' said Richards, 'and I'll tell you a story.'
     With a quick perception that it was  intended to relate to what she had
asked, little Florence laid aside the bonnet  she had held in her hand until
now, and sat down on a stool at the Nurse's feet, looking up into her face.
     'Once upon  a time,'  said Richards,  'there was  a lady - a very  good
lady, and her little daughter dearly loved her.'
     'A very good lady  and her  little daughter dearly loved her,' repeated
the child.
     'Who, when God thought it right that it should be so, was taken ill and
     The child shuddered.
     'Died, never to be seen again by anyone on earth, and was buried in the
ground where the trees grow.
     'The cold  ground?'  said  the child, shuddering again.  'No! The  warm
ground,' returned Polly, seizing her advantage, 'where the ugly little seeds
turn into beautiful flowers, and into grass, and corn, and I don't know what
all besides.  Where good people turn  into bright  angels,  and fly  away to
     The child, who  had dropped her head,  raised it again, and sat looking
at her intently.
     'So;  let  me  see,'  said  Polly, not  a little flurried  between this
earnest  scrutiny, her desire to comfort the child, her  sudden success, and
her  very slight confidence  in her own powers.'  So,  when this lady  died,
wherever they took her, or  wherever they put her, she went to GOD!  and she
prayed to Him, this lady did,' said Polly, affecting herself beyond measure;
being heartily  in earnest, 'to teach her little daughter to be sure of that
in her heart: and to know that  she was happy there and loved her still: and
to  hope  and try - Oh, all her life - to  meet  her there  one  day, never,
never, never to part any more.'
     'It  was my  Mama!' exclaimed the child, springing up, and clasping her
round the neck.
     'And the  child's  heart,' said  Polly, drawing her to her breast: 'the
little daughter's heart was so full of the truth of this, that even when she
heard  it  from a strange nurse that couldn't tell it right, but  was a poor
mother herself and that was all, she found a comfort in it - didn't  feel so
lonely - sobbed and cried upon her bosom - took kindly to the baby  lying in
her lap  - and - there,  there, there!'  said  Polly,  smoothing the child's
curls and dropping tears upon them. 'There, poor dear!'
     'Oh well, Miss Floy! And won't your Pa be angry neither!' cried a quick
voice at the door, proceeding from a short, brown, womanly girl of fourteen,
with  a little snub  nose,  and black  eyes  like  jet  beads. 'When it  was
'tickerlerly given out that you wasn't to go and worrit the wet nurse.
     'She don't worry me,' was the surprised rejoinder  of Polly. 'I am very
fond of children.'
     'Oh!  but begging  your  pardon, Mrs Richards, that  don't  matter, you
know,' returned the black-eyed girl, who was so desperately sharp and biting
that  she  seemed  to  make  one's  eyes  water.  'I  may  be  very fond  of
pennywinkles,  Mrs Richards, but it don't follow that  I'm  to  have 'em for
tea. 'Well, it don't matter,' said Polly. 'Oh, thank'ee, Mrs Richards, don't
it!' returned  the sharp girl. 'Remembering, however,  if you'll be so good,
that Miss Floy's under my charge, and Master Paul's under your'n.'
     'But still we needn't quarrel,' said Polly.
     'Oh no, Mrs Richards,' rejoined Spitfire. 'Not at all, I don't wish it,
we  needn't stand upon that  footing, Miss Floy being a  permanency,  Master
Paul a temporary.'  Spitfire made use of none but comma pauses; shooting out
whatever she had to say in one sentence, and in one breath, if possible.
     'Miss Florence has just come home, hasn't she?' asked Polly.
     'Yes, Mrs Richards, just  come, and here, Miss Floy, before you've been
in the house a  quarter of an hour, you go a smearing your wet  face against
the expensive  mourning that  Mrs Richards is a wearing  for your Ma!'  With
this  remonstrance,  young  Spitfire, whose  real  name  was  Susan  Nipper,
detached the child from her new friend by a wrench - as if she were a tooth.
But she  seemed  to do  it, more  in  the excessively sharp exercise of  her
official functions, than with any deliberate unkindness.
     'She'll  be  quite  happy, now  she  has  come home again,' said Polly,
nodding to her with an encouraging smile upon her wholesome  face, 'and will
be so pleased to see her dear Papa to-night.'
     'Lork, Mrs  Richards!'  cried Miss  Nipper,  taking up her words with a
jerk. 'Don't. See her dear Papa indeed! I should like to see her do it!'
     'Won't she then?' asked Polly.
     'Lork, Mrs Richards, no, her  Pa's a  deal  too  wrapped up in somebody
else, and before there was a somebody else to be wrapped up in she never was
a favourite, girls  are thrown away  in this house,  Mrs Richards, I  assure
     The  child  looked  quickly from one  nurse  to the other,  as  if  she
understood and felt what was said.
     'You surprise me!' cried Folly. 'Hasn't Mr Dombey seen her since - '
     'No,'  interrupted Susan  Nipper. 'Not once since, and he hadn't hardly
set his eyes upon her before that  for  months and months, and I don't think
he'd have known  her for his  own child if he had met her in the streets, or
would know her for  his  own child  if  he was to meet her  in  the  streets
to-morrow,  Mrs Richards, as to  me,' said Spitfire, with a giggle, 'I doubt
if he's aweer of my existence.'
     'Pretty dear!' said Richards; meaning, not Miss  Nipper, but the little
     'Oh!  there's a Tartar within a hundred  miles of where  we're  now  in
conversation, I  can tell you, Mrs Richards, present company always excepted
too,' said  Susan  Nipper; 'wish you  good  morning, Mrs Richards,  now Miss
Floy,  you  come along with  me,  and don't go hanging back like  a  naughty
wicked child that judgments is no example to, don't!'
     In spite  of being thus  adjured, and in  spite also of some hauling on
the  part  of Susan  Nipper, tending  towards the dislocation of  her  right
shoulder,   little  Florence  broke   away,  and   kissed  her  new  friend,
     'Oh dear! after  it was  given  out so  'tickerlerly, that Mrs Richards
wasn't to be made free with!' exclaimed Susan. 'Very well, Miss Floy!'
     'God bless the sweet thing!' said Richards, 'Good-bye, dear!'
     'Good-bye!' returned the child. 'God bless you! I shall come to see you
again soon, and you'll come to see me? Susan will let us. Won't you, Susan?'
     Spitfire  seemed to be in the main a good-natured little body, although
a  disciple of that  school  of  trainers of the young idea which holds that
childhood, like money, must be shaken and rattled and jostled about  a  good
deal  to  keep  it bright. For, being thus appealed  to with some  endearing
gestures and  caresses, she  folded  her small arms and shook  her head, and
conveyed a relenting expression into her very-wide-open black eyes.
     'It ain't  right of  you  to ask it,  Miss Floy, for  you know I  can't
refuse you,  but Mrs  Richards and  me  will  see what  can  be done, if Mrs
Richards  likes, I may  wish, you  see,  to  take  a  voyage to  Chaney, Mrs
Richards, but I mayn't know how to leave the London Docks.'
     Richards assented to the proposition.
     'This  house  ain't  so exactly ringing  with  merry-making,' said Miss
Nipper, 'that one need be  lonelier than  one must be.  Your Toxes and  your
Chickses may draw out my two front double teeth, Mrs Richards, but that's no
reason why I need offer 'em the whole set.'
     This proposition was also assented to by Richards, as an obvious one.
     'So  I'm  able, I'm  sure,'said  Susan  Nipper, 'to live  friendly, Mrs
Richards, while  Master  Paul continues a  permanency,  if the means can  be
planned out without going openly  against orders, but goodness gracious Miss
Floy, you haven't got your things  off yet,  you naughty child, you haven't,
come along!'
     With  these words,  Susan Nipper, in a  transport  of  coercion, made a
charge at her young ward, and swept her out of the room.
     The  child, in her  grief and  neglect,  was so gentle,  so  quiet, and
uncomplaining; was possessed of so much affection that no one seemed to care
to have, and so  much  sorrowful intelligence  that no one seemed to mind or
think  about the wounding of, that Polly's heart was  sore when she was left
alone again. In the simple  passage that had taken place between herself and
the motherless  little girl, her own motherly heart had been touched no less
than the child's; and she  felt, as the child did, that there  was something
of confidence and interest between them from that moment.
     Notwithstanding Mr Toodle's great reliance on Polly, she was perhaps in
point of artificial accomplishments very  little his superior. She  had been
good-humouredly working and  drudging  for her life all her life,  and was a
sober steady-going person, with matter-of-fact  ideas  about the butcher and
baker,  and the division of pence into  farthings.  But she was a good plain
sample of a nature that is ever, in the mass, better, truer, higher, nobler,
quicker  to feel, and much more constant to retain, all tenderness and pity,
self-denial and devotion, than the nature of men. And, perhaps, unlearned as
she was,  she could  have brought a dawning knowledge home to  Mr Dombey  at
that early day, which  would  not then  have  struck  him in  the  end  like
     But this  is  from  the purpose. Polly  only  thought, at that time, of
improving on  her successful propitiation  of Miss Nipper, and devising some
means of having  little Florence  aide her, lawfully, and without rebellion.
An opening happened to present itself that very night.
     She  had been rung  down into  the glass room as  usual, and had walked
about  and about it a  long  time, with  the baby in her  arms, when, to her
great surprise and dismay, Mr Dombey - whom she had seen at first leaning on
his  elbow at the table, and afterwards walking up and down the middle room,
drawing, each time, a  little nearer, she thought, to the open folding doors
- came out, suddenly, and stopped before her.
     'Good evening, Richards.'
     Just the same austere,  stiff  gentleman, as he  had appeared to her on
that  first  day.  Such a hard-looking  gentleman,  that  she  involuntarily
dropped her eyes and her curtsey at the same time.
     'How is Master Paul, Richards?'
     'Quite thriving, Sir, and well.'
     'He looks so,' said Mr Dombey, glancing with great interest at the tiny
face  she  uncovered  for  his  observation, and  yet affecting to  be  half
careless of it. 'They give you everything you want, I hope?'
     'Oh yes, thank you, Sir.'
     She suddenly  appended  such  an  obvious  hesitation  to  this  reply,
however, that Mr  Dombey,  who  had  turned  away; stopped, and turned round
again, inquiringly.
     'If you please, Sir, the child is very much disposed to  take notice of
things,'  said Richards,  with another curtsey,  'and - upstairs is a little
dull for him, perhaps, Sir.'
     'I  begged  them  to take  you out  for airings, constantly,'  said  Mr
Dombey. 'Very well! You shall go out oftener.  You're quite right to mention
     'I  beg your pardon, Sir,' faltered Polly,  'but we go out quite plenty
Sir, thank you.'
     'What would you have then?' asked Mr Dombey.
     'Indeed Sir, I don't exactly know,' said Polly, 'unless - '
     'I believe nothing is  so good for making children lively and cheerful,
Sir,  as seeing other children playing  about 'em,'  observed  Polly, taking
     'I  think  I mentioned to you,  Richards, when you came here,'  said Mr
Dombey, with a  frown, 'that I wished you to see as little of your family as
     'Oh dear yes, Sir, I wasn't so much as thinking of that.'
     'I am  glad of it,' said Mr Dombey hastily. 'You can continue your walk
if you please.'
     With  that, he  disappeared  into  his  inner  room; and  Polly had the
satisfaction of feeling that he had thoroughly misunderstood her object, and
that  she  had fallen  into  disgrace  without the least advancement  of her
     Next  night, she found him walking about the conservatory when she came
down.  As she  stopped at  the door,  checked  by  this unusual  sight,  and
uncertain whether to  advance or retreat, he called her in. His mind was too
much set on  Dombey  and  Son,  it soon  appeared, to  admit  of  his having
forgotten her suggestion.
     'If you  really think  that sort of society is  good for the child,' he
said sharply, as  if  there  had been no  interval  since  she  proposed it,
'where's Miss Florence?'
     'Nothing could  be better than Miss Florence, Sir,' said Polly eagerly,
'but I understood from her maid that they were not to - '
     Mr Dombey rang the bell, and walked till it was answered.
     'Tell  them  always  to  let  Miss Florence be with  Richards when  she
chooses, and go out with her, and so forth. Tell them to let the children be
together, when Richards wishes it.'
     The iron  was now  hot, and Richards striking on it boldly -  it  was a
good  cause and  she bold in it, though instinctively afraid of Mr  Dombey -
requested  that  Miss  Florence might be sent  down then and there,  to make
friends with her little brother.
     She  feigned to be dandling the child as  the  servant  retired on this
errand, but she thought  that she saw  Mr Dombey's colour changed;  that the
expression of his face quite altered; that he turned,  hurriedly, as  if  to
gainsay what he had said, or she had said, or both, and was only deterred by
very shame.
     And she was  right. The last time he had seen his slighted child, there
had been that in the sad embrace between her and her dying mother, which was
at once a revelation and a reproach to him. Let  him be absorbed as he would
in  the Son  on whom he  built such  high  hopes,  he could not  forget that
closing scene. He could not forget  that he had had no part in it.  That, at
the  bottom  of  its  clear  depths  of tenderness and truth' lay those  two
figures clasped in each other's arms, while he stood on the bank above them,
looking down a mere spectator - not a sharer with them - quite shut out.
     Unable to exclude  these things  from his  remembrance, or  to keep his
mind free from such  imperfect shapes of the  meaning  with  which they were
fraught, as were able to make themselves visible to him  through the mist of
his pride, his  previous  feeling of  indifference  towards little  Florence
changed into an uneasiness of  an extraordinary kind. Young as she  was, and
possessing in any  eyes but  his (and perhaps in his too) even more than the
usual amount of childish simplicity and confidence, he almost felt as if she
watched and distrusted him. As if she  held  the clue to something secret in
his breast, of the nature of which he was hardly informed himself. As if she
had an innate knowledge of one jarring and discordant string within him, and
her very breath could sound it.
     His feeling about the  child had  been negative  from her birth. He had
never conceived  an aversion to her: it had  not been worth his  while or in
his humour. She had never been a positively disagreeable object to  him. But
now  he was ill at ease  about  her. She troubled his peace. He  would  have
preferred to put  her idea aside  altogether, if he had known how. Perhaps -
who shall decide on such mysteries!  - he  was afraid that he  might come to
hate her.
     When  little Florence  timidly presented herself, Mr Dombey stopped  in
his pacing  up and down and looked towards her. Had he looked  with  greater
interest and with a father's eye, he might have read in her  keen glance the
impulses  and  fears that  made  her  waver;  the passionate  desire to  run
clinging to him, crying, as she hid her face in his embrace, 'Oh father, try
to love me! there's no one else!' the dread of  a repulse; the fear of being
too bold, and of offending him; the pitiable need in which she stood of some
assurance  and  encouragement;  and  how  her overcharged  young  heart  was
wandering to find some natural resting-place, for its sorrow and affection.
     But he saw nothing of  this.  He saw her pause irresolutely at the door
and look towards him; and he saw no more.
     'Come in,' he said, 'come in: what is the child afraid of?'
     She came in;  and  after  glancing  round  her  for  a  moment  with an
uncertain air,  stood pressing her small hands  hard together, close  within
the door.
     'Come here, Florence,' said her father, coldly. 'Do you know who I am?'
     'Yes, Papa.'
     'Have you nothing to say to me?'
     The tears that  stood in her  eyes as she  raised them  quickly to  his
face, were frozen by the expression it wore.  She looked down again, and put
out her trembling hand.
     Mr  Dombey took it loosely in his own, and stood looking  down upon her
for a moment, as if he knew as little as the child, what to say or do.
     'There! Be  a  good  girl,'  he  said, patting  her  on the  head,  and
regarding her as it were by stealth  with a disturbed and doubtful look. 'Go
to Richards! Go!'
     His little daughter hesitated for another  instant  as though she would
have clung about him still, or had some lingering  hope  that he might raise
her in  his arms and  kiss  her.  She  looked up in his face  once  more. He
thought how  like  her expression was  then,  to  what it had been when  she
looked round at the Doctor - that night - and instinctively dropped her hand
and turned away.
     It  was  not  difficult  to  perceive  that Florence  was  at  a  great
disadvantage in her father's presence. It was not only a constraint upon the
child's mind, but even upon the natural grace and freedom of her actions. As
she  sported and played about her  baby brother  that night, her  manner was
seldom so winning and so pretty as it  naturally  was, and sometimes when in
his pacing to and fro, he  came near her (she had,  perhaps, for the moment,
forgotten   him)  it  changed  upon  the   instant  and  became  forced  and
     Still, Polly persevered with all the better heart for seeing this; and,
judging of Mr Dombey by herself, had great confidence in the mute  appeal of
poor little Florence's  mourning dress.'  It's hard indeed,' thought  Polly,
'if he takes only to one little motherless child,  when he has another,  and
that a girl, before his eyes.'
     So, Polly kept  her before his  eyes, as long as she could, and managed
so  well with  little Paul,  as to  make it  very plain  that he was all the
livelier  for his sister's company.  When  it was time  to withdraw upstairs
again, she would have sent Florence into the inner room to say good-night to
her father, but the  child was timid and drew back; and when  she  urged her
again, said, spreading her hands before her eyes, as  if to shut out her own
unworthiness, 'Oh no, no! He don't want me. He don't want me!'
     The  little  altercation  between them  had attracted  the notice of Mr
Dombey, who inquired from the table where he was sitting  at his wine,  what
the matter was.
     'Miss Florence was afraid of interrupting, Sir,  if  she came in to say
good-night,' said Richards.
     'It doesn't matter,' returned Mr Dombey. 'You can  let her  come and go
without regarding me.'
     The  child shrunk  as she listened - and was  gone,  before her  humble
friend looked round again.
     However,  Polly   triumphed  not   a  little  in  the  success  of  her
well-intentioned scheme, and in the address with which she had brought it to
bear: whereof she made a  full disclosure to Spitfire when she was once more
safely  entrenched  upstairs.  Miss   Nipper  received  that  proof  of  her
confidence, as  well  as the  prospect  of  their free  association for  the
future,  rather   coldly,   and  was  anything  but  enthusiastic   in   her
demonstrations of joy.
     'I thought you would have been pleased,' said Polly.
     'Oh yes, Mrs Richards,  I'm  very  well pleased,  thank  you,' returned
Susan, who  had suddenly become so  very upright that she seemed to have put
an additional bone in her stays.
     'You don't show it,' said Polly.
     'Oh! Being only a permanency I couldn't  be expected to show it like  a
temporary,'  said Susan Nipper. 'Temporaries carries it all before 'em here,
I find, but though there's a excellent party-wall between this house and the
next, I mayn't exactly like to go to it, Mrs Richards, notwithstanding!'

     In  which some  more  First Appearances are made on  the Stage of these
     Though the  offices of Dombey and Son  were within the liberties of the
City of London, and within  hearing of Bow Bells, when their clashing voices
were  not drowned by  the uproar in the  streets,  yet were there  hints  of
adventurous and  romantic story  to  be  observed  in some  of  the adjacent
objects. Gog and Magog held their state  within ten minutes' walk; the Royal
Exchange was close at hand; the Bank of England, with its vaults of gold and
silver  'down  among  the  dead  men'  underground,  was  their  magnificent
neighbour. Just round  the corner stood the rich  East  India House, teeming
with suggestions of precious stuffs and  stones, tigers, elephants, howdahs,
hookahs, umbrellas, palm  trees, palanquins, and gorgeous princes of a brown
complexion sitting  on carpets,  with their slippers very much turned up  at
the toes. Anywhere in the immediate vicinity there might be seen pictures of
ships  speeding  away  full  sail  to  all  parts  of the  world; outfitting
warehouses  ready to  pack  off anybody anywhere, fully equipped in  half an
hour;  and  little timber midshipmen  in obsolete  naval uniforms, eternally
employed outside the shop  doors  of  nautical Instrument-makers  in  taking
observations of the hackney carriages.
     Sole master and proprietor of  one  of  these effigies  - of that which
might be called, familiar!y, the woodenest - of that which thrust itself out
above the pavement, right leg foremost, with a  suavity the least endurable,
and  had the shoe buckles  and flapped waistcoat the least reconcileable  to
human   reason,   and  bore   at   its  right  eye  the   most   offensively
disproportionate piece of  machinery - sole  master  and proprietor  of that
Midshipman, and proud of him too, an  elderly gentleman  in  a Welsh wig had
paid  house-rent,  taxes,  rates,  and  dues,  for more  years  than many  a
full-grown  midshipman of  flesh  and blood has  numbered in his  life;  and
midshipmen  who  have attained a pretty green old age, have not been wanting
in the English Navy.
     The  stock-in-trade  of  this  old  gentleman  comprised  chronometers,
barometers, telescopes, compasses, charts,  maps,  sextants, quadrants,  and
specimens  of  every kind of  instrument  used in the  working  of  a ship's
course, or the keeping of a ship's reckoning, or the prosecuting of a ship's
discoveries.  Objects  in  brass and  glass were in  his drawers and  on his
shelves, which  none but the  initiated  could  have found  the top  of,  or
guessed the  use of, or having once examined, could have ever got back again
into their mahogany nests without assistance. Everything was jammed into the
tightest cases, fitted into the narrowest corners, fenced up behind the most
impertinent  cushions, and screwed into  the acutest angles, to  prevent its
philosophical composure from being disturbed by the rolling of the sea. Such
extraordinary precautions were  taken  in every instance  to save  room, and
keep  the  thing  compact; and  so much practical navigation was fitted, and
cushioned, and screwed into every box  (whether the box was a mere  slab, as
some  were,  or  something between a cocked hat  and a star-fish, as  others
were,  and  those quite mild and modest boxes as compared with others); that
the shop itself, partaking of the general infection, seemed almost to become
a snug, sea-going, ship-shape  concern, wanting only good  sea-room,  in the
event of an unexpected launch, to work its way securely to any desert island
in the world.
     Many minor incidents in the household life of the Ships'
     Instrument-maker who  was proud of his little Midshipman,  assisted and
bore out this fancy. His acquaintance lying chiefly among ship-chandlers and
so forth, he had always plenty of the veritable ships' biscuit on his table.
It was  familiar with dried meats  and tongues,  possessing an extraordinary
flavour  of  rope yarn. Pickles  were  produced upon it,  in great wholesale
jars, with 'dealer in all kinds of Ships' Provisions' on  the label; spirits
were set forth in  case bottles  with no throats. Old prints of  ships  with
alphabetical references to  their various mysteries, hung in frames upon the
walls; the Tartar Frigate under weigh, was on the plates; outlandish shells,
seaweeds, and  mosses, decorated  the  chimney-piece; the little wainscotted
back parlour was lighted by a sky-light, like a cabin.
     Here he lived too, in  skipper-like  state, all  alone with his  nephew
Walter:  a  boy of fourteen  who looked  quite enough like a  midshipman, to
carry out the prevailing idea. But there it ended, for Solomon Gills himself
(more generally called old Sol) was far from  having a maritime  appearance.
To say nothing of his Welsh wig, which was as plain and stubborn a Welsh wig
as ever was worn, and in which he looked like anything but a Rover, he was a
slow, quiet-spoken, thoughtful  old fellow, with eyes  as red as if they had
been small suns looking at you through  a fog; and  a newly-awakened manner,
such  as he might have  acquired  by having stared  for three  or  four days
successively through every optical instrument in his shop, and suddenly came
back to the world again, to find it green. The only change ever known in his
outward man,  was from a complete suit of coffee-colour cut very square, and
ornamented with glaring buttons, to the same suit of coffee-colour minus the
inexpressibles, which were then  of  a  pale nankeen. He wore a very precise
shirt-frill, and  carried a pair of first-rate  spectacles on his  forehead,
and a tremendous chronometer in his fob,  rather  than doubt which  precious
possession, he would have believed in a conspiracy against it on part of all
the clocks and watches in the City, and even of the very Sun itself. Such as
he  was,  such  he had  been  in  the  shop  and  parlour  behind the little
Midshipman, for years upon years; going regularly aloft  to bed every  night
in  a  howling  garret remote from the  lodgers,  where, when  gentlemen  of
England  who lived below at ease had little or no idea  of the state  of the
weather, it often blew great guns.
     It is half-past five o'clock, and an  autumn afternoon, when the reader
and Solomon Gills  become acquainted. Solomon  Gills is in the act of seeing
what time it is by the unimpeachable  chronometer. The usual daily clearance
has been making in the City for an hour or more; and the human tide is still
rolling westward. 'The streets have thinned,' as Mr Gills says, 'very much.'
It threatens to be wet to-night. All the  weatherglasses in the shop  are in
low spirits, and  the  rain already shines upon the cocked hat of the wooden
     'Where's Walter, I wonder!' said Solomon Gills, after he had  carefully
put up the chronometer again. 'Here's dinner  been ready, half  an hour, and
no Walter!'
     Turning round upon  his  stool behind the counter, Mr Gills looked  out
among the instruments in the window, to see if his  nephew might be crossing
the  road. No. He was not among the bobbing umbrellas, and  he certainly was
not the  newspaper  boy in the oilskin cap  who was  slowly working his  way
along the piece of brass outside, writing his name over Mr Gills's name with
his forefinger.
     'If I didn't know he was too fond of me to make a run of it, and go and
enter himself aboard ship against my wishes, I should begin to be fidgetty,'
said Mr  Gills, tapping two or three weather-glasses  with  his knuckles. 'I
really should. All in the Downs, eh! Lots of moisture! Well! it's wanted.'
     I believe,'  said  Mr Gills, blowing the dust  off the  glass  top of a
compass-case, 'that you don't  point more direct and due to the back parlour
than  the boy's  inclination does after  all. And the parlour  couldn't bear
straighter either. Due north. Not the twentieth part of a point either way.'
     'Halloa, Uncle Sol!'
     'Halloa, my boy!' cried  the Instrument-maker, turning  briskly  round.
'What! you are here, are you?'
     A  cheerful looking,  merry boy, fresh with  running  home in the rain;
fair-faced, bright-eyed, and curly-haired.
     'Well, Uncle, how have  you got on without me all day? Is dinner ready?
I'm so hungry.'
     'As  to getting on,' said Solomon good-naturedly, 'it would be odd if I
couldn't get on without a young dog like  you  a great deal better than with
you. As to  dinner being ready, it's been  ready this  half hour and waiting
for you. As to being hungry, I am!'
     'Come along then, Uncle!' cried the boy. 'Hurrah for the admiral!'
     'Confound the admiral!' returned  Solomon Gills.  'You  mean  the  Lord
     'No I don't!' cried the boy. 'Hurrah for  the  admiral!  Hurrah for the
admiral! For-ward!'
     At this  word  of command,  the  Welsh  wig and  its wearer  were borne
without resistance into the back parlour, as at the head of a boarding party
of five hundred men; and Uncle Sol and his nephew were speedily engaged on a
fried sole with a prospect of steak to follow.
     'The Lord Mayor, Wally,' said Solomon, 'for ever! No more admirals. The
Lord Mayor's your admiral.'
     'Oh,  is he though!'  said the boy, shaking his  head. 'Why, the  Sword
Bearer's better than him. He draws his sword sometimes.
     'And  a pretty  figure  he cuts  with it for his  pains,' returned  the
Uncle. 'Listen to me, Wally, listen to me. Look on the mantelshelf.'
     'Why who  has cocked my silver mug up there, on  a nail?' exclaimed the
     I have,' said his Uncle. 'No more mugs now.  We must begin to drink out
of glasses to-day, Walter. We are men of business. We belong to the City. We
started in life this morning.
     'Well,  Uncle,' said the boy, 'I'll  drink out of anything you like, so
long as I can drink to you. Here's to you, Uncle Sol, and Hurrah for the
     'Lord Mayor,' interrupted the old man.
     'For  the  Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, Common Council,  and Livery,' said the
boy. 'Long life to 'em!'
     The uncle  nodded his head with great satisfaction. 'And now,' he said,
'let's hear something about the Firm.'
     'Oh! there's not much to be told  about the Firm, Uncle,' said the boy,
plying his knife and fork.' It's a precious  dark set of offices, and in the
room where  I  sit, there's a high fender, and an iron safe, and  some cards
about  ships  that  are going to sail, and  an almanack, and some desks  and
stools,  and an  inkbottle,  and some  books, and some boxes, and a  lot  of
cobwebs, and in one of 'em, just over my head,  a  shrivelled-up blue-bottle
that looks as if it had hung there ever so long.'
     'Nothing else?' said the Uncle.
     'No, nothing  else, except an old birdcage (I wonder how that ever came
there!) and a coal-scuttle.'
     'No bankers' books, or cheque books, or bills, or such tokens of wealth
rolling in from  day to day?' said old Sol, looking wistfully at his  nephew
out of the fog that  always seemed to hang about him, and laying an unctuous
emphasis upon the words.
     'Oh yes, plenty  of that I suppose,'  returned  his  nephew carelessly;
'but all that sort of thing's in  Mr Carker's  room, or Mr Morfin's,  or  MR
     'Has Mr Dombey been there to-day?' inquired the Uncle.
     'Oh yes! In and out all day.'
     'He didn't take any notice of you, I suppose?'.
     'Yes he did. He walked  up to my seat, - I wish he wasn't so solemn and
stiff,  Uncle, -  and  said,  "Oh! you are  the son  of Mr Gills  the Ships'
Instrument-maker." "Nephew, Sir," I said. "I said nephew, boy," said he. But
I could take my oath he said son, Uncle.'
     'You're mistaken I daresay. It's no matter.
     'No, it's  no matter,  but he  needn't have been so  sharp, I  thought.
There was no harm in it  though he did say son. Then he told me that you had
spoken to him about  me, and that he had  found me  employment in the  House
accordingly, and that I was expected to be  attentive and punctual, and then
he went away. I thought he didn't seem to like me much.'
     'You  mean, I suppose,' observed the Instrument-maker, 'that you didn't
seem to like him much?'
     'Well, Uncle,' returned the boy, laughing. 'Perhaps so; I never thought
of that.'
     Solomon looked a little graver as  he finished his  dinner, and glanced
from  time to  time at the boy's bright face. When dinner was done, and  the
cloth  was  cleared   away  (the  entertainment  had  been  brought  from  a
neighbouring eating-house), he lighted a candle, and went  down below into a
little cellar, while his nephew, standing on the mouldy staircase, dutifully
held  the  light.  After  a  moment's  groping here and  there, he presently
returned with a very ancient-looking bottle, covered with dust and dirt.
     'Why, Uncle  Sol!'  said  the  boy, 'what are  you  about?  that's  the
wonderful Madeira! - there's only one more bottle!'
     Uncle Sol nodded his head, implying that he knew very well what he  was
about; and having drawn the cork in solemn  silence, filled two  glasses and
set the bottle and a third clean glass on the table.
     'You  shall drink the other  bottle, Wally,' he said, 'when you come to
good fortune; when you are a thriving, respected, happy man; when  the start
in  life  you have made to-day shall have brought  you, as I pray  Heaven it
may! - to a  smooth part of the course you have to run, my child. My love to
     Some of the fog  that hung about  old  Sol seemed to have got into  his
throat; for he spoke huskily. His  hand shook too, as he clinked  his  glass
against his nephew's. But having once got the wine to his lips, he tossed it
off like a man, and smacked them afterwards.
     'Dear  Uncle,' said the boy,  affecting to make light of  it, while the
tears  stood in his eyes, 'for the honour  you have done me,  et  cetera, et
cetera. I shall now  beg to propose Mr Solomon Gills with  three times three
and  one cheer more. Hurrah! and  you'll return thanks, Uncle, when we drink
the last bottle together; won't you?'
     They  clinked  their glasses  again; and Walter, who was  hoarding  his
wine, took a sip of it, and held the glass up to his eye with as critical an
air as he could possibly assume.
     His Uncle  sat looking at him for some time in silence. When their eyes
at  last met,  he  began at once to pursue  the theme  that had occupied his
thoughts, aloud, as if he had been speaking all the time.
     'You see,  Walter,' he said, 'in truth this  business is merely a habit
with me. I  am so accustomed  to the habit  that  I  could hardly live if  I
relinquished it: but there's nothing doing, nothing doing. When that uniform
was  worn,'  pointing  out  towards  the  little  Midshipman, 'then  indeed,
fortunes were to be made, and were made. But competition,  competition - new
invention,  new  invention - alteration,  alteration - the world's gone past
me. I hardly know where I am myself, much less where my customers are.
     'Never mind 'em, Uncle!'
     'Since  you  came  home  from  weekly  boarding-school at  Peckham, for
instance - and that's ten days,' said Solomon, 'I  don't remember more  than
one person that has come into the shop.'
     'Two, Uncle, don't you recollect? There was the man who came to ask for
change for a sovereign - '
     'That's the one,' said Solomon.
     'Why  Uncle! don't you call the woman anybody, who came to  ask the way
to Mile-End Turnpike?'
     'Oh! it's true,' said Solomon, 'I forgot her. Two persons.'
     'To be sure, they didn't buy anything,' cried the boy.
     'No. They didn't buy anything,' said Solomon, quietly.
     'Nor want anything,' cried the boy.
     'No.  If they  had, they'd gone to another  shop,' said Solomon, in the
same tone.
     'But there were two  of 'em, Uncle,' cried the boy,  as if that were  a
great triumph. 'You said only one.'
     'Well, Wally,'  resumed the  old man,  after  a short pause: 'not being
like the Savages who came on Robinson Crusoe's Island,  we  can't live  on a
man who asks for change for a sovereign, and a woman who inquires the way to
Mile-End Turnpike. As I said just now, the world has gone  past me.  I don't
blame it; but I no longer understand it. Tradesmen are not the same  as they
used to be, apprentices are not the same, business is not the same, business
commodities are not the same. Seven-eighths of my stock is  old-fashioned. I
am  an old-fashioned  man in an old-fashioned shop, in a  street that is not
the same as I remember it. I have fallen behind the time, and  am too old to
catch it again. Even the noise it makes a long way ahead, confuses me.'
     Walter was going to speak, but his Uncle held up his hand.
     'Therefore, Wally -  therefore  it is that I  am anxious you should  be
early in the busy world,  and on the world's track.  I am only the ghost  of
this  business -  its substance vanished long ago; and when I die, its ghost
will be  laid. As it  is clearly no inheritance for you then, I have thought
it  best to  use for your  advantage,  almost the only  fragment of the  old
connexion that  stands by me, through  long habit. Some people suppose me to
be wealthy. I  wish for  your sake they  were  right.  But whatever  I leave
behind me, or whatever I can give you, you in  such a  House as Dombey's are
in  the road to use well  and make the most of. Be diligent, try to like it,
my dear boy, work for a steady independence, and be happy!'
     'I'll do everything I can, Uncle, to  deserve your affection. Indeed  I
will,' said the boy, earnestly
     'I know it,' said Solomon. 'I am sure of it,' and he applied himself to
a second glass  of the old Madeira,  with increased relish. 'As to the Sea,'
he pursued, 'that's  well enough in fiction, Wally, but it won't do in fact:
it  won't  do at  all.  It's natural enough that you  should think about it,
associating it with  all these familiar things; but  it  won't do, it  won't
     Solomon Gills rubbed his hands with an air of stealthy enjoyment, as he
talked  of the sea, though; and looked  on the  seafaring objects  about him
with inexpressible complacency.
     'Think of this wine for instance,' said old Sol, 'which has been to the
East Indies and back, I'm not able to say how often, and has been once round
the world.  Think of the  pitch-dark nights, the roaring winds, and  rolling
     'The thunder, lightning, rain, hail, storm of all kinds,' said the boy.
     'To be sure,' said Solomon, - 'that this wine has passed through. Think
what  a straining and  creaking of  timbers and  masts: what a whistling and
howling of the gale through ropes and rigging:'
     'What a clambering  aloft  of men, vying with each other who shall  lie
out first upon the yards to  furl the  icy sails, while the  ship  rolls and
pitches, like mad!' cried his nephew.
     'Exactly so,'  said Solomon: 'has gone on, over the old cask  that held
this wine. Why, when the Charming Sally went down in the - '
     'In the Baltic Sea, in the dead of night; five-and-twenty  minutes past
twelve when the captain's watch stopped in his pocket; he lying dead against
the main-mast - on the fourteenth of February, seventeen forty-nine!'  cried
Walter, with great animation.
     'Ay, to be sure!' cried  old Sol, 'quite right!  Then, there  were five
hundred casks of such  wine  aboard; and  all hands (except  the first mate,
first lieutenant,  two seamen, and a lady, in a leaky boat) going to work to
stave  the casks, got  drunk and died drunk, singing "Rule  Britannia", when
she settled and went down, and ending with one awful scream in chorus.'
     'But  when the George the Second drove ashore,  Uncle, on the  coast of
Cornwall, in a dismal  gale, two  hours  before daybreak,  on the  fourth of
March, 'seventy-one,  she had near two hundred horses aboard; and the horses
breaking loose down  below,  early in the  gale, and tearing to and fro, and
trampling  each  other  to  death, made such noises, and  set up such  human
cries, that the crew believing  the ship to  be full of devils,  some of the
best  men,  losing heart  and head, went overboard in despair,  and only two
were left alive, at last, to tell the tale.'
     'And when,' said old Sol, 'when the Polyphemus - '
     'Private  West  India  Trader,  burden  three  hundred  and fifty tons,
Captain, John Brown of Deptford. Owners, Wiggs and Co.,' cried Walter.
     'The  same,' said Sol; 'when she took fire, four days' sail with a fair
wind out of Jamaica Harbour, in the night - '
     'There were  two brothers  on board,'  interposed his  nephew, speaking
very fast and loud, 'and there not being room  for  both of them in the only
boat that wasn't swamped,  neither of  them would consent  to  go, until the
elder took the younger by the waist, and flung him in. And then the younger,
rising in the boat, cried out, "Dear Edward, think of  your promised wife at
home. I'm only a boy. No one waits at home for me. Leap down into my place!"
and flung himself in the sea!'
     The kindling eye and heightened colour of  the boy, who had risen  from
his seat in the earnestness of what he  said and felt,  seemed to remind old
Sol of something he had forgotten, or that his encircling mist  had hitherto
shut out. Instead of proceeding with any more anecdotes, as he had evidently
intended  but a moment before, he gave a short dry  cough, and  said, 'Well!
suppose we change the subject.'
     The  truth was, that the simple-minded Uncle  in his secret  attraction
towards the marvellous and  adventurous - of which  he was, in  some sort, a
distant relation, by his trade - had greatly encouraged the same  attraction
in the nephew; and that everything that had ever been put  before the boy to
deter him  from a life of adventure, had had the usual unaccountable  effect
of  sharpening his taste  for  it. This is invariable.  It would  seem as if
there never was a book written, or  a story told, expressly  with the object
of keeping boys on shore, which did not lure and charm them to the ocean, as
a matter of course.
     But an addition  to the little  party  now made its  appearance, in the
shape of a gentleman in a  wide suit  of blue, with a hook instead of a hand
attached to his right wrist; very bushy black eyebrows; and a thick stick in
his left hand, covered all over (like his nose) with knobs.  He wore a loose
black silk handkerchief round his neck, and such a very  large  coarse shirt
collar,  that it looked like a small sail. He  was  evidently the person for
whom the spare wine-glass  was intended,  and evidently knew it;  for having
taken off  his rough outer coat, and hung up, on a particular peg behind the
door, such a  hard glazed hat as  a sympathetic person's head might ache  at
the sight of, and which left a  red rim round his own forehead  as if he had
been wearing a tight basin, he brought a chair to where the clean glass was,
and sat  himself down behind it. He was  usually  addressed as Captain, this
visitor; and had been  a pilot, or  a skipper,  or  a  privateersman, or all
three perhaps; and was a very salt-looking man indeed.
     His face, remarkable for a brown solidity, brightened as he shook hands
with Uncle and  nephew; but he  seemed to be of  a laconic  disposition, and
merely said:
     'How goes it?'
     'All well,' said Mr Gills, pushing the bottle towards him.
     He  took  it  up,  and  having  surveyed   and   smelt  it,  said  with
extraordinary expression:
     'The,' returned the Instrument-maker.
     Upon that he whistled as  he filled his glass, and seemed to think they
were making holiday indeed.
     'Wal'r!' he said,  arranging his hair (which was thin)  with his  hook,
and  then  pointing it at the Instrument-maker, 'Look at him!  Love! Honour!
And Obey! Overhaul your catechism till you find that passage, and when found
turn the leaf down. Success, my boy!'
     He was so perfectly satisfied both with his quotation and his reference
to it, that he  could not help repeating the words again in a low voice, and
saying he had forgotten 'em these forty year.
     'But  I never wanted two or  three words  in my life that I didn't know
where to lay my hand upon 'em, Gills,' he observed. 'It comes of not wasting
language as some do.'
     The reflection  perhaps reminded  him that  he  had better, like  young
Norval's  father, '"ncrease  his store." At any rate  he became  silent, and
remained so,  until old Sol  went  out into the shop to light it up, when he
turned to Walter, and said, without any introductory remark:
     'I suppose he could make a clock if he tried?'
     'I shouldn't wonder, Captain Cuttle,' returned the boy.
     'And  it would go!' said Captain Cuttle, making a species of serpent in
the air with his hook. 'Lord, how that clock would go!'
     For a moment or two  he seemed quite lost in contemplating the pace  of
this ideal timepiece,  and sat looking at  the  boy as if his  face were the
     'But he's  chockful of science,' he observed, waving  his  hook towards
the stock-in-trade. 'Look'ye here! Here's a  collection of 'em.  Earth, air,
or  water.  It's  all one. Only say where you'll have it. Up  in a  balloon?
There you are.  Down in a bell? There  you are.  D'ye want  to put the North
Star in a pair of scales and weigh it? He'll do it for you.'
     It may be gathered from these  remarks that Captain Cuttle's  reverence
for  the  stock of  instruments was profound, and  that  his philosophy knew
little or no distinction between trading in it and inventing it.
     'Ah!' he said, with a sigh, 'it's a  fine thing  to understand 'em. And
yet it's a fine thing  not to understand 'em. I hardly know which  is  best.
It's  so comfortable  to  sit  here and  feel  that  you might  be  weighed,
measured, magnified, electrified, polarized, played the very devil with: and
never know how.'
     Nothing short  of  the wonderful  Madeira, combined with  the  occasion
(which  rendered  it desirable  to improve and expand  Walter's mind), could
have ever loosened  his tongue to  the  extent of giving  utterance  to this
prodigious oration. He seemed quite amazed himself at the manner in which it
opened up to view the sources of the taciturn delight he  had  had in eating
Sunday dinners in that parlour for ten years. Becoming a sadder and  a wiser
man, he mused and held his peace.
     'Come!' cried  the  subject of this admiration,  returning. 'Before you
have your glass of grog, Ned, we must finish the bottle.'
     'Stand by!' said Ned, filling his glass. 'Give the boy some more.'
     'No more, thank'e, Uncle!'
     'Yes, yes,' said  Sol, 'a little  more. We'll finish the bottle, to the
House, Ned -  Walter's House. Why it may  be his House one of these days, in
part. Who knows? Sir Richard Whittington married his master's daughter.'
     '"Turn again  Whittington, Lord  Mayor of London, and when you are  old
you  will never depart from it,"' interposed the  Captain.  'Wal'r! Overhaul
the book, my lad.'
     'And although Mr Dombey hasn't a daughter,' Sol began.
     'Yes, yes, he has, Uncle,' said the boy, reddening and laughing.
     'Has he?' cried the old man. 'Indeed I think he has too.
     'Oh!  I know he has,' said the boy. 'Some  of 'em were talking about it
in  the office today. And they do say,  Uncle and Captain Cuttle,'  lowering
his  voice, 'that  he's  taken  a  dislike  to  her, and  that  she's  left,
unnoticed, among the servants, and that his mind's so set all the while upon
having his son in the House, that although he's only a baby now, he is going
to  have balances struck  oftener than  formerly, and the  books kept closer
than  they  used to  be, and has even been seen (when he  thought he wasn't)
walking in the Docks, looking at his ships  and property and all that, as if
he was exulting like, over what he and his son will possess together. That's
what they say. Of course, I don't know.
     'He knows all about her already, you see,' said the instrument-maker.
     'Nonsense,  Uncle,'  cried  the  boy,  still  reddening  and  laughing,
boy-like. 'How can I help hearing what they tell me?'
     'The  Son's a little in our way at present, I'm  afraid, Ned,' said the
old man, humouring the joke.
     'Very much,' said the Captain.
     'Nevertheless, we'll drink him,' pursued Sol. 'So, here's to Dombey and
     'Oh,  very well,  Uncle,'  said  the  boy,  merrily.  'Since  you  have
introduced the mention of her,  and have connected me with her and have said
that  I know all about her, I shall make bold to amend the  toast. So here's
to Dombey - and Son - and Daughter!'

     Paul's Progress and Christening
     Little Paul, suffering no contamination from the blood  of the Toodles,
grew stouter  and stronger every day. Every day, too, he was  more and  more
ardently cherished by Miss Tox, whose devotion  was so far appreciated by Mr
Dombey that he began  to regard her as a  woman of great natural good sense,
whose feelings did her  credit and  deserved encouragement. He was so lavish
of  this condescension, that  he not  only  bowed to  her, in  a  particular
manner, on several occasions, but even entrusted such  stately  recognitions
of  her to  his  sister as 'pray tell your friend, Louisa, that  she is very
good,'  or  'mention  to   Miss   Tox,   Louisa,   that  I   am  obliged  to
her;'specialities   which   made  a  deep  impression  on   the  lady   thus
     Whether Miss Tox conceived  that  having been selected by the Fates  to
welcome the  little Dombey before he was born,  in Kirby, Beard  and Kirby's
Best Mixed Pins, it therefore  naturally devolved upon her to greet him with
all other forms of welcome in all other early  stages of his existence -  or
whether her overflowing goodness induced her to volunteer into the  domestic
militia as a substitute in some sort for his  deceased Mama - or whether she
was  conscious of  any other motives -  are questions which in this stage of
the  Firm's  history  herself only  could  have  solved.  Nor have they much
bearing on the fact (of  which there is no doubt), that Miss Tox's constancy
and zeal were  a heavy discouragement to  Richards, who  lost  flesh  hourly
under her patronage, and was in some danger of being superintended to death.
     Miss Tox  was  often in  the habit of assuring Mrs Chick,  that nothing
could exceed  her  interest in  all connected with the development  of  that
sweet child;' and an observer of  Miss Tox's proceedings might have inferred
so  much  without  declaratory  confirmation.  She  would preside  over  the
innocent repasts of the young heir, with ineffable satisfaction, almost with
an  air of  joint proprietorship with  Richards in the entertainment. At the
little ceremonies of the  bath  and  toilette, she assisted with enthusiasm.
The  administration of  infantine  doses  of  physic awakened all the active
sympathy of her character; and  being on one occasion secreted in a cupboard
(whither she had fled in  modesty), when  Mr Dombey was introduced  into the
nursery by his sister,  to behold his son, in the course  of preparation for
bed,  taking a  short walk uphill over Richards's gown, in a  short and airy
linen jacket, Miss Tox was so transported beyond the  ignorant present as to
be unable to  refrain from crying out, 'Is he not beautiful Mr Dombey! Is he
not a Cupid, Sir!'  and then  almost  sinking  behind the  closet door  with
confusion and blushes.
     'Louisa,' said Mr  Dombey, one day,  to his sister, 'I  really think  I
must  present your friend with  some little token, on the occasion of Paul's
christening. She  has  exerted herself so warmly in the child's behalf  from
the first, and seems to  understand her position so  thoroughly (a very rare
merit in this  world, I am sorry to say), that it would really be  agreeable
to me to notice her.'
     Let it be no detraction from the merits of Miss Tox, to hint that in Mr
Dombey's  eyes, as in some others that occasionally see the light, they only
achieved that  mighty  piece of knowledge, the  understanding  of their  own
position, who showed  a fitting reverence for his. It was not so  much their
merit that they knew themselves, as that they knew him, and bowed low before
     'My dear Paul,' returned his sister, 'you do Miss Tox but justice, as a
man of your penetration  was sure,  I knew, to  do.  I believe if there  are
three words in the English  language for  which she has  a respect amounting
almost to veneration, those words are, Dombey and Son.'
     'Well,' said Mr Dombey, 'I believe it. It does Miss Tox credit.'
     'And as to anything in the shape of a token, my dear Paul,' pursued his
sister, 'all I can say is that anything you give  Miss Tox  will be  hoarded
and prized, I am sure,  like a relic. But there  is a way, my  dear Paul, of
showing your sense of Miss Tox's friendliness in a still more flattering and
acceptable manner, if you should be so inclined.'
     'How is that?' asked Mr Dombey.
     'Godfathers, of course,' continued  Mrs Chick, 'are important in  point
of connexion and influence.'
     'I don't know why they should be, to my son, said Mr Dombey, coldly.
     'Very true, my  dear Paul,' retorted  Mrs Chick,  with an extraordinary
show of animation, to  cover the suddenness  of her  conversion; 'and spoken
like yourself.  I might  have expected  nothing else from you. I might  have
known  that such  would have  been your  opinion.  Perhaps;' here Mrs  Chick
faltered again, as not quite comfortably feeling her way; 'perhaps that is a
reason  why  you might have the less objection  to  allowing  Miss Tox to be
godmother to the dear thing, if it were only as deputy and proxy for someone
else. That it would be received  as a  great honour and distinction, Paul, I
need not say.
     'Louisa,'  said  Mr Dombey,  after  a  short pause, 'it  is not  to  be
supposed - '
     'Certainly not,' cried Mrs Chick, hastening to anticipate a refusal, 'I
never thought it was.'
     Mr Dombey looked at her impatiently.
     'Don't flurry me, my  dear  Paul,' said his sister; 'for that  destroys
me.  I am  far  from strong. I  have not been quite myself, since poor  dear
Fanny departed.'
     Mr  Dombey  glanced at the pocket-handkerchief which his sister applied
to her eyes, and resumed:
     'It is not  be supposed, I say 'And I say,' murmured Mrs Chick, 'that I
never thought it was.'
     'Good Heaven, Louisa!' said Mr Dombey.
     'No,  my dear  Paul,'  she  remonstrated with tearful  dignity, 'I must
really  be allowed  to speak. I am not  so clever,  or  so  reasoning, or so
eloquent, or  so  anything, as you are. I know  that very well. So much  the
worse for me. But if they  were  the last  words I had to  utter  - and last
words should be very solemn to you and  me, Paul, after poor dear  Fanny - I
would still  say I never thought it was. And  what is more,' added Mrs Chick
with  increased dignity, as if she had withheld her crushing argument  until
now, 'I  never did think  it was.' Mr Dombey walked to the  window  and back
     'It is not to be supposed, Louisa,'  he said  (Mrs Chick had nailed her
colours to the mast, and  repeated 'I know it isn't,'  but he took no notice
of  it),  'but that there  are many persons who, supposing that I recognised
any claim  at  all  in such a case, have  a  claim upon me superior  to Miss
Tox's.  But  I do  not. I recognise  no  such thing. Paul and myself will be
able, when the time comes, to hold our own - the House, in other words, will
be able to  hold  its own, and  maintain  its own,  and hand down its own of
itself, and without  any  such common-place aids. The  kind of  foreign help
which people usually seek for their children, I can afford to despise; being
above it, I hope. So that Paul's infancy and childhood pass away well, and I
see him becoming qualified without waste of time for the career  on which he
is destined to enter, I  am satisfied. He will make what powerful friends he
pleases  in after-life, when  he is actively maintaining - and extending, if
that  is possible -  the  dignity and  credit  of the Firm. Until then, I am
enough for him, perhaps, and  all in all. I have  no wish that people should
step  in  between  us. I  would  much  rather show my  sense of the obliging
conduct of a deserving person like your friend. Therefore let  it be so; and
your husband  and  myself  will do  well  enough for the other  sponsors,  I
     In  the  course  of  these  remarks, delivered with  great  majesty and
grandeur, Mr Dombey had truly revealed the secret feelings of his breast. An
indescribable distrust of anybody stepping in between himself and his son; a
haughty dread of  having  any  rival  or  partner  in  the boy's respect and
deference; a sharp misgiving, recently  acquired, that he was not infallible
in his power of  bending and binding human wills; as sharp a jealousy of any
second check or cross; these were, at that time the master keys of his soul.
In all his life, he had never made a friend. His cold and distant nature had
neither sought one, nor  found one.  And now, when that nature  concentrated
its whole force so strongly on a  partial  scheme  of  parental interest and
ambition, it seemed as if its icy current, instead of being released by this
influence, and running  clear  and free,  had  thawed for but an instant  to
admit its burden, and then frozen with it into one unyielding block.
     Elevated  thus to  the  godmothership of little Paul,  in virtue of her
insignificance, Miss Tox was from that hour chosen  and appointed to office;
and Mr Dombey further signified his pleasure that the ceremony, already long
delayed, should take place without further postponement. His sister, who had
been far from  anticipating  so  signal a  success, withdrew as  soon as she
could,  to communicate  it  to her best of friends;  and Mr Dombey was  left
alone in his  library.  He had  already laid his  hand upon  the bellrope to
convey his usual summons to Richards, when his eye fell upon a writing-desk,
belonging  to his deceased wife,  which had been taken,  among other things,
from  a cabinet in her  chamber. It was  not the first time that his eye had
lighted  on  it He carried the  key in his pocket; and he brought it to  his
table  and opened it  now - having previously  locked the room door - with a
well-accustomed hand.
     From beneath a leaf of torn and  cancelled scraps of paper, he took one
letter that remained entire. Involuntarily holding his  breath  as he opened
this document, and 'bating in the stealthy action something  of his arrogant
demeanour,  he s at down, resting his  head  upon  one  hand,  and  read  it
     He read it  slowly  and  attentively, and with a nice  particularity to
every syllable. Otherwise than as his great  deliberation seemed  unnatural,
and  perhaps  the result of an  effort equally  great, he allowed no sign of
emotion to escape  him. When he had read it through, he folded  and refolded
it slowly several  times, and tore it carefully into fragments. Checking his
hand  in the act of throwing these away, he put  them  in his pocket, as  if
unwilling to  trust  them  even  to  the  chances  of  being  re-united  and
deciphered;  and  instead of  ringing,  as  usual, for  little Paul,  he sat
solitary, all the evening, in his cheerless room.
     There was  anything but solitude in  the  nursery; for there, Mrs Chick
and Miss  Tox were enjoying a social evening, so much to the disgust of Miss
Susan Nipper, that that young lady embraced every  opportunity of making wry
faces  behind the door.  Her feelings were so much excited  on the occasion,
that  she found it  indispensable to afford them this relief,  even  without
having  the   comfort  of  any  audience  or  sympathy   whatever.   As  the
knight-errants of old relieved their minds by carving their mistress's names
in deserts, and wildernesses,  and  other savage places  where there was  no
probability  of  there ever  being anybody to  read them, so did Miss  Susan
Nipper curl her snub nose  into drawers and  wardrobes,  put away  winks  of
disparagement in cupboards, shed derisive squints  into stone  pitchers, and
contradict and call names out in the passage.
     The  two  interlopers, however,  blissfully  unconscious  of the  young
lady's  sentiments,  saw  little  Paul  safe  through   all  the  stages  of
undressing, airy  exercise, supper and bed; and  then sat down to tea before
the fire. The two children now  lay, through the  good  offices of Polly, in
one  room;  and  it  was  not  until  the ladies were  established  at their
tea-table that, happening to look towards  the  little beds, they thought of
     'How sound she sleeps!' said Miss Tox.
     'Why, you know,  my dear,  she  takes  a great deal of  exercise in the
course of the day,' returned Mrs Chick, 'playing about little Paul so much.'
     'She is a curious child,' said Miss Tox.
     'My dear,' retorted Mrs Chick, in a low voice: 'Her Mama, all over!'
     'In deed!' said Miss Tox. 'Ah dear me!'
     A tone of most extraordinary compassion Miss Tox said it in, though she
had no distinct idea why, except that it was expected of her.
     'Florence will never, never, never be a Dombey,'said Mrs Chick, 'not if
she lives to be a thousand years old.'
     Miss Tox elevated her eyebrows, and was again full of
     'I  quite fret and worry myself about her,' said Mrs Chick, with a sigh
of modest merit. 'I really don't see what is to become of her when she grows
older,  or what position she  is to  take. She don't gain on her Papa in the
least. How can one expect she should, when she is so very unlike a Dombey?'
     Miss Tox looked as if she saw  no way out  of such a cogent argument as
that, at all.
     'And the child, you see,' said Mrs Chick, in deep confidence, 'has poor
dear Fanny's nature. She'll never make an effort in after-life, I'll venture
to say. Never!  She'll never  wind and twine herself about her  Papa's heart
like - '
     'Like the ivy?' suggested Miss Tox.
     'Like the  ivy,' Mrs  Chick assented.  'Never! She'll  never glide  and
nestle into the bosom of her Papa's affections like - the - '
     'Startled fawn?' suggested Miss Tox.
     'Like the startled fawn,' said Mrs Chick. 'Never! Poor Fanny! Yet,  how
I loved her!'
     'You must not distress yourself, my dear,' said Miss Tox, in a soothing
voice. 'Now really! You have too much feeling.'
     'We have all our faults,' said Mrs Chick, weeping and shaking her head.
'I  daresay we have. I never was blind to hers. I never said I was. Far from
it. Yet how I loved her!'
     What a satisfaction it was to Mrs Chick - a common-place piece of folly
enough,  compared with  whom  her  sister-in-law  had been  a very angel  of
womanly intelligence  and gentleness - to patronise and  be  tender  to  the
memory  of  that  lady: in  exact  pursuance of her  conduct to  her in  her
lifetime: and to thoroughly believe herself,  and take herself  in, and make
herself  uncommonly  comfortable on  the strength of  her toleration! What a
mighty pleasant virtue toleration should be when we are right, to be so very
pleasant when we  are wrong, and quite unable to demonstrate how we come  to
be invested with the privilege of exercising it!
     Mrs  Chick was yet drying her eyes and  shaking her head, when Richards
made  bold  to caution her that Miss  Florence  was awake and sitting in her
bed. She  had risen, as the nurse said, and the lashes  of her eyes were wet
with  tears. But no  one  saw them  glistening save Polly. No one else leant
over  her,  and  whispered soothing words to her, or was near enough to hear
the flutter of her beating heart.
     'Oh!  dear nurse!' said the child,  looking  earnestly up  in her face,
'let me lie by my brother!'
     'Why, my pet?' said Richards.
     'Oh! I  think he loves me,' cried the child wildly. 'Let me lie by him.
Pray do!'
     Mrs Chick interposed with some motherly words about going to sleep like
a  dear, but Florence repeated her supplication, with a frightened look, and
in a voice broken by sobs and tears.
     'I'll not wake  him,' she said, covering  her face and hanging down her
head. 'I'll only touch him with  my  hand, and go to sleep. Oh, pray,  pray,
let me lie by my brother to-night, for I believe he's fond of me!'
     Richards took her without a word, and carrying her to the little bed in
which the infant was sleeping, laid her  down by his side. She crept as near
him as she could without disturbing his rest;  and stretching out one arm so
that  it  timidly embraced his neck, and hiding her face on the  other, over
which her damp and scattered hair fell loose, lay motionless.
     'Poor little thing,' said Miss Tox; 'she has been dreaming, I daresay.'
     Dreaming, perhaps, of loving tones for ever silent,  of loving eyes for
ever closed, of loving  arms  again wound round  her, and  relaxing  in that
dream  within  the  dam which  no tongue  can relate. Seeking, perhaps -  in
dreams - some natural comfort for a heart, deeply and sorely wounded, though
so young  a child's: and finding it, perhaps,  in dreams, if not  in waking,
cold,  substantial  truth.  This  trivial  incident  had so interrupted  the
current of  conversation, that it was difficult of resumption; and Mrs Chick
moreover  had been so affected  by  the  contemplation of her  own  tolerant
nature, that she was not in  spirits. The two  friends accordingly soon made
an  end of  their tea,  and  a servant  was despatched  to  fetch a  hackney
cabriolet for Miss  Tox. Miss Tox had great experience in  hackney cabs, and
her  starting in one was generally a work of time,  as she was systematic in
the preparatory arrangements.
     'Have the goodness, if you please, Towlinson,' said Miss Tox, 'first of
all, to carry out a pen and ink and take his number legibly.'
     'Yes, Miss,' said Towlinson.
     'Then, if you please, Towlinson,'said Miss Tox, 'have the goodness
     to  turn  the cushion.  Which,' said  Miss Tox apart to Mrs Chick,  'is
generally damp, my dear.'
     'Yes, Miss,' said Towlinson.
     'I'll trouble you also, if you please, Towlinson,' said Miss Tox, 'with
this card and this shilling. He's to drive to the card, and is to understand
that he will not on any account have more than the shilling.'
     'No, Miss,' said Towlinson.
     'And - I'm sorry to  give you  so  much trouble, Towlinson,' said  Miss
Tox, looking at him pensively.
     'Not at all, Miss,' said Towlinson.
     'Mention to  the man, then, if  you  please, Towlinson,' said Miss Tox,
'that the lady's uncle is a magistrate, and that if he  gives her any of his
impertinence  he will be punished terribly. You  can pretend to say that, if
you please, Towlinson, in a  friendly way, and because you  know it was done
to another man, who died.'
     'Certainly, Miss,' said Towlinson.
     'And now good-night to  my sweet, sweet, sweet, godson,' said Miss Tox,
with  a soft  shower of kisses  at each  repetition  of the  adjective; 'and
Louisa, my dear friend,  promise  me to take a little something  warm before
you go to bed, and not to distress yourself!'
     It was with extreme difficulty that Nipper,  the black-eyed, who looked
on steadfastly, contained herself  at this crisis, and  until the subsequent
departure  of Mrs Chick. But the  nursery being at length free of  visitors,
she made herself some recompense for her late restraint.
     'You might keep me  in a strait-waistcoat for  six weeks,' said Nipper,
'and when  I got it off I'd only be more aggravated, who ever heard the like
of them two Griffins, Mrs Richards?'
     'And then to talk of having been dreaming, poor dear!' said Polly.
     'Oh you beauties!' cried  Susan Nipper, affecting to salute the door by
which the  ladies had  departed.  'Never be  a Dombey won't she? It's  to be
hoped she won't, we don't want any more such, one's enough.'
     'Don't wake the children, Susan dear,' said Polly.
     'I'm very much beholden to you, Mrs Richards,' said Susan, who was  not
by any means discriminating in her wrath, 'and really feel it as a honour to
receive your commands, being a black slave and a mulotter. Mrs  Richards, if
there's any other orders, you can give me, pray mention 'em.'
     'Nonsense; orders,' said Polly.
     'Oh! bless your heart, Mrs  Richards,' cried Susan, 'temporaries always
orders permanencies here, didn't you know that, why  wherever was you  born,
Mrs Richards? But wherever  you was  born, Mrs Richards,' pursued  Spitfire,
shaking her head resolutely, 'and whenever, and however (which is best known
to  yourself),  you may bear  in mind, please, that it's  one thing  to give
orders, and  quite another thing to take 'em. A person may tell a  person to
dive off  a  bridge head  foremost into five-and-forty  feet  of water,  Mrs
Richards, but a person may be very far from diving.'
     'There  now,'  said Polly, 'you're angry  because you're a good  little
thing, and  fond  of Miss Florence;  and  yet you turn round on me,  because
there's nobody else.'
     'It's very easy for some to keep their tempers, and be soft-spoken, Mrs
Richards,' returned Susan, slightly  mollified, 'when  their child's made as
much of as a prince, and  is petted and  patted  till it wishes its  friends
further, but when a sweet young pretty innocent, that never  ought to have a
cross word spoken  to or  of it, is  rundown,  the case  is  very  different
indeed.  My goodness gracious me, Miss Floy, you  naughty, sinful child,  if
you don't  shut  your  eyes this minute, I'll call in them  hobgoblins  that
lives in the cock-loft to come and eat you up alive!'
     Here  Miss  Nipper made a  horrible  lowing, supposed to  issue from  a
conscientious goblin of  the bull species, impatient to discharge the severe
duty of his position.  Having further composed  her young charge by covering
her head with  the  bedclothes, and making three or four  angry dabs at  the
pillow, she  folded her arms, and  screwed up her mouth, and sat looking  at
the fire for the rest of the evening.
     Though little Paul was said,  in nursery phrase,  'to take  a  deal  of
notice  for his  age,'  he  took as  little notice  of all this  as  of  the
preparations for his christening on the next day but one; which nevertheless
went on about  him, as to his  personal  apparel, and that of his sister and
the two nurses, with great activity. Neither  did he, on the arrival  of the
appointed morning, show any sense of its importance; being, on the contrary,
unusually  inclined to sleep,  and unusually inclined to  take it ill in his
attendants that they dressed him to go out.
     It  happened to be an iron-grey autumnal day,  with a shrewd east  wind
blowing  - a day in keeping  with the proceedings. Mr Dombey represented  in
himself the wind,  the shade, and the autumn of the christening. He stood in
his library to receive the  company,  as  hard and cold  as the weather; and
when he  looked  out  through the glass room,  at the  trees  in the  little
garden,  their brown  and  yellow  leaves  came fluttering  down,  as if  he
blighted them.
     Ugh! They were  black, cold rooms; and seemed to  be in mourning,  like
the inmates of the house. The  books precisely matched as to size, and drawn
up in line, like soldiers, looked in their cold, hard, slippery uniforms, as
if they had  but one idea among them, and that was a  freezer. The bookcase,
glazed and locked, repudiated all familiarities. Mr Pitt, in bronze, on  the
top,  with  no  trace  of  his celestial  origin'  about  him,  guarded  the
unattainable  treasure like an  enchanted Moor. A  dusty  urn at  each  high
corner, dug up from an ancient tomb, preached  desolation and decay, as from
two pulpits; and the chimney-glass, reflecting Mr Dombey and his portrait at
one blow, seemed fraught with melancholy meditations.
     The  stiff and stark fire-irons appeared to claim a nearer relationship
than anything else there to  Mr  Dombey, with  his buttoned coat, his  white
cravat, his heavy gold watch-chain, and his creaking boots.
     But  this  was  before  the  arrival of  Mr and Mrs Chick,  his  lawful
relatives, who soon presented themselves.
     'My  dear  Paul,'  Mrs  Chick  murmured,  as  she  embraced  him,  'the
beginning, I hope, of many joyful days!'
     'Thank you, Louisa,' said Mr Dombey, grimly. 'How do you do, Mr John?'
     'How do you do, Sir?' said Chick.
     He  gave Mr Dombey his hand, as if he feared it might electrify him. Mr
Dombey  tool:  it  as if it were a  fish, or seaweed,  or  some  such clammy
substance, and immediately returned it to him with exalted politeness.
     'Perhaps, Louisa,'  said Mr Dombey, slightly turning his  head  in  his
cravat, as if it were a socket, 'you would have preferred a fire?'
     'Oh, my dear  Paul,  no,' said Mrs Chick, who  had much ado to keep her
teeth from chattering; 'not for me.'
     'Mr John,' said Mr Dombey, 'you are not sensible of any chill?'
     Mr John, who had already got both  his  hands in  his pockets over  the
wrists, and was on the very threshold of that  same  canine chorus which had
given Mrs Chick so much offence on a former  occasion, protested that he was
perfectly comfortable.
     He added  in a low voice,  'With my  tiddle tol toor rul' - when he was
providentially stopped by Towlinson, who announced:
     'Miss Tox!'
     And enter that fair enslaver, with a blue nose and indescribably frosty
face, referable to her being very thinly clad in  a  maze of fluttering odds
and ends, to do honour to the ceremony.
     'How do you do, Miss Tox?' said Mr Dombey.
     Miss  Tox, in the midst  of her  spreading gauzes, went down altogether
like an opera-glass shutting-up; she curtseyed so low, in  acknowledgment of
Mr Dombey's advancing a step or two to meet her.
     'I can never  forget this occasion, Sir,' said Miss Tox,  softly. ''Tis
impossible. My dear Louisa, I can hardly believe the evidence of my senses.'
     If Miss Tox could believe the evidence of one of  her  senses, it was a
very  cold  day. That  was quite  clear. She took  an  early opportunity  of
promoting the circulation in the tip of her nose by secretly chafing it with
her  pocket handkerchief,  lest, by  its very  low  temperature,  it  should
disagreeably astonish the baby when she came to kiss it.
     The  baby  soon appeared,  carried in  great glory  by  Richards; while
Florence, in custody of that  active young  constable, Susan Nipper, brought
up  the rear. Though  the whole  nursery party were dressed  by this time in
lighter  mourning than  at first, there was enough in the  appearance of the
bereaved children to make the day no brighter. The baby  too - it might have
been Miss Tox's nose - began  to cry. Thereby, as it happened, preventing Mr
Chick  from the awkward fulfilment of a  very honest purpose he  had;  which
was,  to make  much  of  Florence.  For  this  gentleman,  insensible to the
superior claims of a perfect Dombey (perhaps on account of having the honour
to be united  to  a  Dombey himself,  and being  familiar  with excellence),
really liked her, and showed  that he liked her, and was about to show it in
his own way now, when Paul cried, and his helpmate stopped him short
     'Now Florence, child!'  said  her  aunt,  briskly, 'what are you doing,
love? Show yourself to him. Engage his attention, my dear!'
     The atmosphere  became or might have  become colder and colder, when Mr
Dombey stood frigidly watching his little daughter, who, clapping her hands,
and standing On tip-toe before the throne of his son and heir,  lured him to
bend down from his high  estate,  and  look  at  her.  Some  honest  act  of
Richards's may have aided the effect, but he  did  look  down, and held  his
peace. As  his sister  hid behind her nurse, he followed her with his  eyes;
and when  she  peeped  out with a  merry cry to him, he sprang up and crowed
lustily - laughing  outright when she ran in upon him; and seeming to fondle
her curls with his tiny hands, while she smothered him with kisses.
     Was  Mr Dombey  pleased to  see this? He  testified no pleasure by  the
relaxation  of a nerve;  but  outward  tokens  of any kind  of  feeling were
unusual with him. If any sunbeam stole into  the room to light the  children
at their play, it  never  reached his  face.  He  looked  on so fixedly  and
coldly,  that the warm light vanished even from the laughing  eyes of little
Florence, when, at last, they happened to meet his.
     It was a dull,  grey, autumn day indeed, and in  a minute's  pause  and
silence that took place, the leaves fell sorrowfully.
     'Mr John,' said Mr Dombey, referring to his watch, and assuming his hat
and gloves. 'Take my  sister, if you please: my arm today is Miss Tox's. You
had better go first with Master Paul, Richards. Be very careful.'
     In Mr Dombey's carriage, Dombey and Son, Miss Tox, Mrs Chick, Richards,
and Florence.  In a little carriage following it, Susan Nipper and the owner
Mr Chick. Susan  looking out of window,  without  intermission, as a  relief
from the embarrassment of confronting the  large face of that gentleman, and
thinking  whenever  anything  rattled  that he was putting up  in  paper  an
appropriate pecuniary compliment for herself.
     Once  upon  the road to church,  Mr Dombey clapped  his  hands  for the
amusement of his son. At which instance of parental enthusiasm Miss Tox  was
enchanted. But exclusive  of this incident, the chief difference between the
christening party and a party in a  mourning coach consisted  in the colours
of the carriage and horses.
     Arrived  at  the  church  steps,  they  were received  by  a portentous
beadle.' Mr  Dombey dismounting first to  help the  ladies out, and standing
near him  at  the church  door,  looked  like another beadle. A  beadle less
gorgeous but more dreadful; the beadle  of  private life; the beadle  of our
business and our bosoms.
     Miss Tox's hand trembled as she slipped it through Mr Dombey's arm, and
felt  herself  escorted  up  the  steps,  preceded by a  cocked  hat  and  a
Babylonian   collar.   It  seemed  for  a  moment  like  that  other  solemn
institution, 'Wilt thou have this man, Lucretia?' 'Yes, I will.'
     'Please to  bring the child in quick out  of the air there,'  whispered
the beadle, holding open the inner door of the church.
     Little Paul might have asked with Hamlet 'into my grave?'  so chill and
earthy was  the place. The tall shrouded pulpit and reading desk; the dreary
perspective of  empty pews  stretching away under the galleries,  and  empty
benches mounting to the roof and lost in the shadow of the great grim organ;
the  dusty  matting and  cold stone  slabs;  the grisly  free  seats' in the
aisles; and the damp corner by the bell-rope,  where the black trestles used
for funerals were stowed away,  along with  some shovels and baskets,  and a
coil  or two  of  deadly-looking rope;  the strange,  unusual, uncomfortable
smell,  and  the  cadaverous light; were  all  in unison. It was a cold  and
dismal scene.
     'There's a wedding  just on,  Sir,' said the beadle, 'but it'll be over
directly, if you'll walk into the westry here.
     Before he turned again to lead the way,  he gave Mr Dombey a bow  and a
half smile of recognition, importing that he (the beadle) remembered to have
had the pleasure of  attending on him when he buried his wife, and  hoped he
had enjoyed himself since.
     The  very  wedding looked  dismal as they passed in front of the altar.
The bride was too old and the bridegroom too young, and a superannuated beau
with one eye and an eyeglass stuck in  its blank  companion, was giving away
the  lady,  while the friends  were shivering. In the  vestry  the  fire was
smoking;  and an over-aged and  over-worked and under-paid attorney's clerk,
'making a search,' was running his forefinger down the parchment pages of an
immense register  (one  of  a  long series of similar  volumes)  gorged with
burials. Over the fireplace was a ground-plan of  the  vaults underneath the
church; and Mr Chick, skimming the  literary portion of it aloud, by  way of
enlivening the  company, read  the reference  to Mrs Dombey's tomb  in full,
before he could stop himself.
     After another cold interval, a wheezy little  pew-opener afflicted with
an asthma,  appropriate to the churchyard,  if not to  the  church, summoned
them to the font - a rigid marble  basin which seemed to have been playing a
churchyard game  at  cup and  ball with its matter of fact  pedestal, and to
have been just that moment caught  on the top  of it. Here  they waited some
little time while the  marriage party enrolled themselves; and meanwhile the
wheezy  little pew-opener -  partly  in consequence  of  her infirmity,  and
partly  that  the  marriage  party  might not  forget her  - went about  the
building coughing like a grampus.
     Presently the clerk (the only cheerful-looking object there, and he was
an undertaker) came up with a jug of warm water, and  said something,  as he
poured  it  into the font, about taking  the  chill off; which  millions  of
gallons  boiling  hot  could  not  have  done  for the  occasion.  Then  the
clergyman, an amiable and mild-looking young curate, but obviously afraid of
the  baby, appeared like the  principal character in a ghost-story, 'a  tall
figure all in white;' at sight of whom Paul rent the air with his cries, and
never left off again till he was taken out black in the face.
     Even when that event had happened, to the great relief of everybody, he
was heard under the portico, during the  rest of  the ceremony, now fainter,
now louder, now hushed, now bursting forth again with an irrepressible sense
of his wrongs. This so distracted the attention of the two  ladies, that Mrs
Chick was  constantly deploying into the centre aisle, to send out  messages
by the pew-opener, while Miss Tox kept her Prayer-book open at the Gunpowder
Plot, and occasionally read responses from that service.
     During the whole of these proceedings,  Mr Dombey remained as impassive
and gentlemanly as ever, and perhaps assisted in making it so cold, that the
young curate smoked  at the mouth as he  read. The only  time that he unbent
his  visage  in  the  least,  was  when  the  clergyman, in delivering (very
unaffectedly  and  simply)  the  closing exhortation, relative to the future
examination  of  the child by  the sponsors, happened to  rest his eye on Mr
Chick; and then Mr  Dombey  might have been seen  to  express  by a majestic
look, that he would like to catch him at it.
     It might have been well for  Mr Dombey,  if  he had thought of  his own
dignity  a little less; and had thought of the great origin  and  purpose of
the ceremony in which he took so formal and so stiff  a part, a little more.
His arrogance contrasted strangely with its history.
     When it was all over, he again gave his  arm to Miss Tox, and conducted
her  to the vestry, where  he informed  the  clergyman  how much pleasure it
would have given him to have solicited the  honour of his company at dinner,
but for the unfortunate state of his household affairs. The register signed,
and the  fees paid, and  the  pew-opener  (whose  cough was  very bad again)
remembered, and the beadle  gratified, and the sexton  (who was accidentally
on the doorsteps, looking with great interest at the weather) not forgotten,
they got  into  the  carriage  again,  and  drove  home  in  the  same bleak
     There they found  Mr Pitt turning up his nose at  a cold collation, set
forth in  a cold  pomp of glass and silver, and  looking  more  like a  dead
dinner lying in  state  than a social refreshment. On their arrival Miss Tox
produced a mug for her godson, and Mr Chick a knife and  fork and spoon in a
case. Mr Dombey also produced  a  bracelet for Miss Tox; and, on the receipt
of this token, Miss Tox was tenderly affected.
     'Mr John,' said Mr Dombey, 'will you take  the bottom of  the table, if
you please? What have you got there, Mr John?'
     'I have got a cold fillet of veal here, Sir,' replied Mr Chick, rubbing
his numbed hands hard together. 'What have you got there, Sir?'
     'This,' returned Mr Dombey, 'is some cold preparation of calf's head, I
think. I see cold fowls - ham - patties - salad - lobster.  Miss Tox will do
me the honour of taking some wine? Champagne to Miss Tox.'
     There was a toothache in everything. The wine was  so  bitter cold that
it forced a little  scream from Miss Tox, which she  had great difficulty in
turning into a 'Hem!' The veal had  come from such  an airy pantry, that the
first taste  of it  had struck  a sensation  as of cold  lead  to Mr Chick's
extremities.  Mr Dombey alone remained unmoved. He  might have  been hung up
for sale at a Russian fair as a specimen of a frozen gentleman.
     The  prevailing influence was too much even for his sister. She made no
effort at flattery or small talk, and directed all her efforts to looking as
warm as she could.
     'Well, Sir,' said  Mr Chick, making  a desperate plunge,  after a  long
silence, and filling a glass of sherry; 'I shall drink this, if you'll allow
me, Sir, to little Paul.'
     'Bless him!' murmured Miss Tox, taking a sip of wine.
     'Dear little Dombey!' murmured Mrs Chick.
     'Mr John,' said Mr Dombey, with severe gravity,  'my son would feel and
express himself obliged to you, I have no doubt, if  he could appreciate the
favour you have done him. He  will prove, in time to come, I trust, equal to
any  responsibility  that  the obliging disposition  of  his  relations  and
friends, in private,  or the onerous nature of our  position, in public, may
impose upon him.'
     The tone in  which this  was  said admitting of nothing  more, Mr Chick
relapsed into low spirits and silence. Not so Miss Tox, who, having listened
to Mr Dombey with even a more emphatic attention than usual, and with a more
expressive tendency of her head to one side, now leant across the table, and
said to Mrs Chick softly:
     'My dear,' said Mrs Chick.
     'Onerous nature of our position in public may - I have forgotten
     the exact term.'
     'Expose him to,' said Mrs Chick.
     'Pardon me,  my  dear,' returned Miss Tox,  'I  think not. It  was more
rounded  and flowing.  Obliging disposition  of  relations  and  friends  in
private, or onerous nature of position in public - may - impose upon him!'
     'Impose upon him, to be sure,' said Mrs Chick.
     Miss  Tox struck  her delicate hands  together lightly, in triumph; and
added, casting up her eyes, 'eloquence indeed!'
     Mr Dombey, in the meanwhile,  had  issued orders for  the attendance of
Richards,  who now  entered curtseying,  but without  the baby;  Paul  being
asleep after  the fatigues of  the  morning. Mr Dombey, having  delivered  a
glass of wine to this vassal, addressed her in the following words: Miss Tox
previously  settling  her   head  on  one  side,  and  making  other  little
arrangements for engraving them on her heart.
     'During  the six months or so, Richards, which  have seen you an inmate
of  this house,  you have  done your duty. Desiring  to  connect some little
service to you with this occasion, I considered how I could best effect that
object, and I also advised with my sister, Mrs - '
     'Chick,' interposed the gentleman of that name.
     'Oh, hush if you please!' said Miss Tox.
     'I was about  to  say  to  you, Richards,' resumed  Mr  Dombey, with an
appalling glance at Mr John, 'that I was further assisted in my decision, by
the recollection of a conversation I held with your husband in this room, on
the occasion of your  being hired,  when he disclosed to  me the  melancholy
fact that your  family,  himself at the  head,  were  sunk  and  steeped  in
     Richards quailed under the magnificence of the reproof.
     'I  am far from being friendly,' pursued Mr  Dombey, 'to what is called
by persons of levelling  sentiments, general education. But  it is necessary
that the  inferior  classes  should  continue to  be taught  to  know  their
position, and to conduct themselves properly. So far I  approve  of schools.
Having the  power of nominating  a  child  on  the foundation  of an ancient
establishment, called  (from a worshipful company) the  Charitable Grinders;
where  not only  is a  wholesome education bestowed upon  the scholars,  but
where a dress  and  badge  is likewise  provided  for  them;  I have  (first
communicating, through Mrs  Chick, with  your family) nominated your  eldest
son to an  existing vacancy; and he has this day, I am informed, assumed the
habit.  The  number of her  son, I believe,' said Mr  Dombey, turning to his
sister and speaking of the  child as  if  he  were  a hackney-coach, is  one
hundred and forty-seven. Louisa, you can tell her.'
     'One hundred and forty-seven,' said Mrs Chick 'The  dress, Richards, is
a nice, warm, blue baize tailed coat and cap, turned up with orange coloured
binding;  red  worsted stockings; and very strong leather small-clothes. One
might  wear the articles one's self,' said Mrs Chick, with  enthusiasm, 'and
be grateful.'
     'There, Richards!' said Miss Tox. 'Now, indeed,  you may be proud.  The
Charitable Grinders!'
     'I am  sure I am  very  much obliged, Sir,'  returned Richards faintly,
'and take it very kind that you should remember my little ones.' At the same
time  a  vision of Biler as a Charitable Grinder,  with  his very small legs
encased  in  the serviceable clothing described by Mrs  Chick,  swam  before
Richards's eyes, and made them water.
     'I am very glad  to see  you have so much feeling, Richards,' said Miss
     'It makes one almost hope, it really does,' said Mrs Chick,  who prided
herself  on taking  trustful views of  human nature, 'that  there may yet be
some faint spark of gratitude and right feeling in the world.'
     Richards deferred to these compliments by curtseying and murmuring
     her thanks; but finding it quite impossible to recover her spirits from
the disorder into which they had been thrown by the  image of her son in his
precocious  nether  garments,  she  gradually  approached the  door  and was
heartily relieved to escape by it.
     Such temporary indications of  a partial thaw that  had  appeared  with
her, vanished with her;  and the frost  set  in  again, as cold  and hard as
ever. Mr Chick was twice heard to hum a tune at the bottom of the table, but
on both occasions  it was a fragment  of  the Dead March in Saul.  The party
seemed to get colder and colder, and to be gradually resolving itself into a
congealed and solid state,  like the collation round which it was assembled.
At length Mrs Chick  looked at Miss Tox, and Miss Tox returned the look, and
they both  rose and said it was really  time to go. Mr Dombey receiving this
announcement with perfect equanimity, they took leave of that gentleman, and
presently departed  under  the  protection of  Mr Chick; who,  when they had
turned their backs  upon the house and left its master in his usual solitary
state, put his hands in his pockets, threw himself back in the carriage, and
whistled  'With a hey ho chevy!' all through; conveying into his face  as he
did so,  an expression of such gloomy and terrible  defiance, that Mrs Chick
dared not protest, or in any way molest him.
     Richards, though she had little Paul  on  her lap, could not forget her
own first-born. She  felt  it was ungrateful; but the influence  of  the day
fell even on  the Charitable Grinders, and  she  could hardly help regarding
his pewter badge, number one hundred and forty-seven, as, somehow, a part of
its formality and sternness. She spoke, too, in the nursery, of his 'blessed
legs,' and was again troubled by his spectre in uniform.
     'I  don't  know  what I  wouldn't give,' said  Polly, 'to see  the poor
little dear before he gets used to 'em.'
     'Why, then,  I tell you what, Mrs Richards,'  retorted Nipper, who  had
been admitted to her confidence, 'see him and make your mind easy.'
     'Mr Dombey wouldn't like it,' said Polly.
     'Oh, wouldn't  he, Mrs Richards!' retorted Nipper,  'he'd  like it very
much, I think when he was asked.'
     'You wouldn't ask him, I suppose, at all?' said Polly.
     'No,  Mrs  Richards,  quite contrairy,'  returned Susan,  'and them two
inspectors Tox  and Chick, not intending to be on duty tomorrow, as  I heard
'em  say,  me and Mid  Floy  will  go along with you tomorrow  morning,  and
welcome,  Mrs Richards, if you like, for we may as well walk there as up and
down a street, and better too.'
     Polly  rejected  the  idea pretty stoutly at first;  but by little  and
little  she  began  to  entertain  it,  as  she  entertained  more  and more
distinctly  the  forbidden pictures  of  her children, and her own home.  At
length, arguing that there could be no great harm in calling for a moment at
the door, she yielded to the Nipper proposition.
     The matter being settled thus, little Paul began to cry most piteously,
as if he had a foreboding that no good would come of it.
     'What's the matter with the child?' asked Susan.
     'He's cold,  I  think,' said  Polly, walking  with him to and  fro, and
hushing him.
     It  was  a bleak  autumnal  afternoon  indeed;  and as she walked,  and
hushed, and, glancing through the  dreary windows, pressed the little fellow
closer to her breast, the withered leaves came showering down.

     Paul's Second Deprivation
     Polly was beset by so many misgivings in the  morning, that but for the
incessant promptings  of  her black-eyed companion, she would have abandoned
all  thoughts  of the expedition,  and  formally petitioned for leave to see
number one  hundred and forty-seven,  under the awful shadow of  Mr Dombey's
roof. But Susan who was personally disposed  in favour of the excursion, and
who  (like  Tony  Lumpkin), if she  could bear  the disappointments of other
people  with  tolerable  fortitude,  could not abide to disappoint  herself,
threw so many  ingenious  doubts  in  the way of  this second  thought,  and
stimulated  the  original intention with so  many ingenious  arguments, that
almost as soon as Mr Dombey's stately back  was turned, and  that  gentleman
was pursuing his daily road towards the City, his unconscious son was on his
way to Staggs's Gardens.
     This  euphonious  locality  was situated  in  a suburb,  known  by  the
inhabitants  of  Staggs's  Gardens   by  the  name  of  Camberling  Town;  a
designation  which the  Strangers' Map of London, as printed (with a view to
pleasant and commodious reference)  on pocket handkerchiefs, condenses, with
some  show  of reason,  into Camden Town.  Hither the two nurses bent  their
steps, accompanied by their charges; Richards  carrying Paul, of course, and
Susan leading  little Florence  by the hand,  and giving  her such jerks and
pokes from time to time, as she considered it wholesome to administer.
     The first  shock of  a  great earthquake had, just at that period, rent
the whole neighbourhood to its centre.  Traces of its course were visible on
every side.  Houses were knocked  down; streets  broken through and stopped;
deep pits and trenches  dug in the ground; enormous  heaps of earth and clay
thrown up; buildings  that were  undermined and  shaking, propped  by  great
beams of wood. Here, a chaos of carts, overthrown and jumbled  together, lay
topsy-turvy  at  the  bottom  of  a  steep  unnatural  hill; there, confused
treasures of  iron soaked  and rusted  in something  that  had  accidentally
become a pond. Everywhere were bridges  that led nowhere; thoroughfares that
were wholly impassable; Babel towers of chimneys, wanting half their height;
temporary wooden  houses  and enclosures, in the  most unlikely  situations;
carcases of ragged tenements, and fragments of  unfinished walls and arches,
and  piles  of scaffolding,  and wildernesses of  bricks, and giant forms of
cranes, and tripods straddling above nothing. There were a hundred  thousand
shapes and substances of incompleteness, wildly mingled out of their places,
upside down,  burrowing in the earth, aspiring in the air, mouldering in the
water, and unintelligible as any dream. Hot springs and fiery eruptions, the
usual attendants upon earthquakes, lent their contributions of  confusion to
the scene. Boiling water hissed and heaved within dilapidated walls; whence,
also, the glare and roar of flames  came  issuing forth; and mounds of ashes
blocked  up  rights  of  way, and  wholly changed  the law and custom of the
     In short,  the yet  unfinished  and unopened Railroad was in  progress;
and, from the  very core  of all  this dire disorder, trailed smoothly away,
upon its mighty course of civilisation and improvement.
     But as yet, the neighbourhood  was shy to  own the Railroad. One or two
bold speculators had projected streets; and one had  built a little, but had
stopped among the  mud and  ashes  to  consider farther of  it.  A  bran-new
Tavern, redolent of fresh mortar and size, and fronting nothing at  all, had
taken for its sign The Railway Arms; but that might be rash enterprise - and
then  it hoped to  sell drink to the workmen. So, the  Excavators' House  of
Call had  sprung  up from  a beer-shop; and the old-established Ham and Beef
Shop had  become the Railway Eating House, with a  roast leg of pork  daily,
through interested  motives  of a similar immediate and popular description.
Lodging-house  keepers  were  favourable in  like manner;  and  for the like
reasons were not to be trusted. The general belief was very slow. There were
frowzy  fields, and cow-houses,  and dunghills, and dustheaps,  and ditches,
and gardens, and summer-houses, and carpet-beating grounds, at the very door
of the Railway. Little  tumuli of oyster shells in the oyster season, and of
lobster  shells  in the lobster  season,  and  of broken crockery  and faded
cabbage leaves in  all seasons, encroached upon its high places. Posts,  and
rails, and  old cautions  to trespassers,  and  backs  of  mean  houses, and
patches of wretched vegetation,  stared it  out of  countenance. Nothing was
the better for it,  or thought of being  so. If  the miserable  waste ground
lying near  it could have laughed, it would have laughed  it  to scorn, like
many of the miserable neighbours.
     Staggs's Gardens was uncommonly  incredulous. It  was a  little row  of
houses, with little squalid patches of ground before them,  fenced off  with
old doors, barrel  staves,  scraps  of  tarpaulin,  and  dead  bushes;  with
bottomless  tin kettles  and  exhausted iron  fenders, thrust into the gaps.
Here, the  Staggs's Gardeners trained scarlet beans, kept fowls and rabbits,
erected rotten summer-houses  (one  was an  old  boat), dried  clothes,  and
smoked pipes. Some were of  opinion  that Staggs's Gardens derived its  name
from  a deceased  capitalist,  one  Mr  Staggs,  who had  built  it  for his
delectation.  Others, who had a natural taste for the country, held that  it
dated from  those rural  times  when the antlered  herd, under the  familiar
denomination of Staggses, had resorted to its shady precincts. Be this as it
may,  Staggs's Gardens was regarded by its population as a sacred grove  not
to be withered by Railroads;  and  so  confident were they generally  of its
long   outliving  any  such   ridiculous   inventions,   that   the   master
chimney-sweeper at  the corner, who was understood to  take  the lead in the
local politics of the Gardens, had publicly declared that on the occasion of
the Railroad opening, if ever it did open, two of his boys should ascend the
flues  of his dwelling, with instructions to hail the failure with  derisive
cheers from the chimney-pots.
     To  this  unhallowed spot,  the  very  name  of which had hitherto been
carefully concealed from Mr Dombey by his sister,  was little Paul now borne
by Fate and Richards
     'That's my house, Susan,' said Polly, pointing it out.
     'Is it, indeed, Mrs Richards?' said Susan, condescendingly.
     'And there's my sister  Jemima at  the door, I do declare' cried Polly,
'with my own sweet precious baby in her arms!'
     The sight added  such an extensive pair of wings to Polly's impatience,
that she set off down the Gardens at a run, and bouncing on  Jemima, changed
babies  with her  in  a  twinkling; to the  unutterable astonishment of that
young damsel, on whom the heir of the Dombeys seemed to have fallen from the
     'Why, Polly!' cried Jemima. 'You! what a turn you  have given me! who'd
have thought it! come along in Polly! How well you  do look to be sure!  The
children will go half wild to see you Polly, that they will.'
     That they did, if one might judge from the noise they made, and the way
in which they dashed at Polly and dragged her  to a low chair in the chimney
corner, where her own  honest apple  face became immediately the centre of a
bunch of smaller pippins, all laying their rosy cheeks close to it,  and all
evidently the growth of the same  tree. As to  Polly, she was full  as noisy
and vehement  as the  children; and it was not until  she  was quite out  of
breath,  and her  hair was hanging  all about her flushed face,  and her new
christening  attire was very much dishevelled,  that any pause took place in
the  confusion. Even then, the smallest Toodle but  one remained in her lap,
holding on tight  with both  arms round her neck; while the smallest  Toodle
but  two mounted on the back of the chair, and made desperate efforts,  with
one leg in the air, to kiss her round the corner.
     'Look! there's a pretty little lady  come to see you,' said Polly; 'and
see how quiet she is! what a beautiful little lady, ain't she?'
     This  reference  to  Florence, who  had been  standing  by the door not
unobservant of what passed,  directed the attention of the  younger branches
towards her;  and had  likewise the happy  effect  of  leading to the formal
recognition of Miss Nipper, who was not quite free from a misgiving that she
had been already slighted.
     'Oh do come in and sit down a minute, Susan, please,' said Polly. 'This
is my sister Jemima, this  is. Jemima, I don't  know  what  I should ever do
with myself, if it wasn't for Susan Nipper; I shouldn't  be here now but for
     'Oh do sit down, Miss Nipper, if you please,' quoth Jemima.
     Susan  took  the  extreme  corner  of  a  chair,  with  a  stately  and
ceremonious aspect.
     'I never was so glad to see anybody in all my  life; now really I never
was, Miss Nipper,' said Jemima.
     Susan relaxing, took a little more of the chair, and smiled graciously.
     'Do untie your bonnet-strings, and make yourself at home,  Miss Nipper,
please,' entreated Jemima. 'I am afraid it's a poorer place than you're used
to; but you'll make allowances, I'm sure.'
     The black-eyed was so softened by this deferential  behaviour, that she
caught  up little Miss  Toodle who was running past, and took her to Banbury
Cross immediately.
     'But where's my pretty boy?' said Polly. 'My poor fellow?  I  came  all
this way to see him in his new clothes.'
     'Ah what a pity!' cried Jemima. 'He'll break his  heart, when he  hears
his mother has been here. He's at school, Polly.'
     'Gone already!'
     'Yes. He went for the first time yesterday, for fear he should lose any
learning. But it's half-holiday, Polly: if you could only stop till he comes
home - you and Miss Nipper, leastways,' said Jemima, mindful in good time of
the dignity of the black-eyed.
     'And how does he look, Jemima, bless him!' faltered Polly.
     'Well, really he don't look so bad as you'd suppose,' returned Jemima.
     'Ah!' said Polly, with emotion, 'I knew his legs must be too short.'
     His legs  is  short,' returned Jemima; 'especially behind; but  they'll
get longer, Polly, every day.'
     It  was  a slow, prospective  kind of consolation; but the cheerfulness
and good nature with which it was administered, gave  it a  value it did not
intrinsically  possess.  After a moment's silence, Polly  asked,  in  a more
sprightly manner:
     'And  where's   Father,   Jemima  dear?'  -  for  by  that  patriarchal
appellation, Mr Toodle was generally known in the family.
     'There again!' said Jemima. 'What a pity! Father took his  dinner  with
him this morning, and isn't coming home till night. But he's always  talking
of you, Polly, and telling the children  about you; and is the  peaceablest,
patientest, best-temperedest soul in the world,  as he  always was and  will
     'Thankee, Jemima,' cried the simple Polly; delighted by the speech, and
disappointed by the absence.
     'Oh  you  needn't  thank  me,  Polly,' said her sister,  giving  her  a
sounding  kiss upon the  cheek, and then dancing little  Paul cheerfully. 'I
say the same of you sometimes, and think it too.'
     In spite of the  double disappointment, it  was impossible to regard in
the light  of a failure a visit which was greeted with such a  reception; so
the sisters  talked  hopefully about  family matters,  and  about Biler, and
about all  his brothers and sisters: while the black-eyed, having  performed
several  journeys  to  Banbury  Cross  and  back, took  sharp  note  of  the
furniture,  the Dutch  clock, the  cupboard, the castle on the  mantel-piece
with  red  and  green windows  in  it,  susceptible  of  illumination  by  a
candle-end within; and the  pair of small black velvet kittens, each with  a
lady's  reticule  in  its  mouth; regarded  by  the  Staggs's  Gardeners  as
prodigies of imitative art. The conversation soon becoming  general lest the
black-eyed  should  go off at  score  and  turn sarcastic,  that young  lady
related to Jemima a summary of everything she knew concerning Mr Dombey, his
prospects, family, pursuits, and character. Also an exact  inventory  of her
personal wardrobe, and some account of her principal relations  and friends.
Having  relieved her mind  of  these disclosures, she partook of shrimps and
porter, and evinced a disposition to swear eternal friendship.
     Little Florence herself was not  behind-hand in improving the occasion;
for, being conducted  forth by the young Toodles to inspect some toad-stools
and other curiosities of the Gardens, she entered with them, heart and soul,
on the formation of a  temporary breakwater across  a small  green pool that
had collected in a corner. She was still busily engaged in that labour, when
sought and found by Susan; who, such was her  sense  of duty, even under the
humanizing  influence   of  shrimps,   delivered  a  moral  address  to  her
(punctuated  with thumps) on her degenerate  nature, while  washing her face
and hands; and predicted that she would bring the  grey hairs of  her family
in general, with  sorrow to the grave.  After some  delay, occasioned  by  a
pretty  long  confidential  interview above  stairs  on pecuniary  subjects,
between Polly and Jemima, an interchange of babies was  again effected - for
Polly had all this timeretained  her own child, and Jemima little Paul - and
the visitors took leave.
     But  first  the young Toodles,  victims of a pious fraud, were  deluded
into repairing in a body to a chandler's  shop in the neighbourhood, for the
ostensible purpose of spending a penny; and  when the coast was quite clear,
Polly  fled:  Jemima  calling  after her  that if they could only  go  round
towards the City Road on their way back, they would be  sure to meet  little
Biler coming from school.
     'Do you  think that  we might make  time to  go a little round in  that
direction, Susan?' inquired Polly, when they halted to take breath.
     'Why not, Mrs Richards?' returned Susan.
     'It's getting on towards our dinner time you know,' said Polly.
     But lunch  had rendered her  companion  more than indifferent  to  this
grave consideration, so she allowed no weight to it, and they resolved to go
'a little round.'
     Now, it  happened  that  poor Biler's life had  been,  since  yesterday
morning, rendered weary by the costume of the Charitable Grinders. The youth
of the streets could  not endure  it. No  young vagabond could be brought to
bear its  contemplation for a  moment,  without  throwing  himself upon  the
unoffending wearer, and doing him a mischief. His social existence  had been
more  like  that  of  an  early  Christian, than  an innocent child  of  the
nineteenth  century.  He  had  been  stoned in  the  streets.  He  had  been
overthrown into  gutters; bespattered  with mud; violently flattened against
posts.  Entire strangers  to his  person had lifted  his yellow  cap off his
head, and  cast it  to the winds.  His legs had  not  only  undergone verbal
criticisms  and  revilings, but  had  been handled  and  pinched.  That very
morning, he had received a perfectly unsolicited black eye on his way to the
Grinders'  establishment,  and  had  been punished for it by the  master:  a
superannuated  old Grinder  of  savage  disposition, who had  been appointed
schoolmaster because he didn't know anything, and  wasn't  fit for anything,
and for whose cruel cane all chubby little boys had a perfect fascination.'
     Thus  it  fell  out that Biler, on his  way  home, sought  unfrequented
paths;  and  slunk along  by narrow passages  and back streets, to avoid his
tormentors. Being compelled to emerge  into the  main road, his  ill fortune
brought him at last where a small party of boys, headed by a ferocious young
butcher, were  lying in wait for  any means  of  pleasurable excitement that
might  happen. These, finding a Charitable  Grinder in  the midst  of them -
unaccountably  delivered over, as  it  were, into  their  hands -  set  up a
general yell and rushed upon him.
     But  it  so fell out likewise,  that, at  the same time, Polly, looking
hopelessly along the road before  her, after a good hour's walk, had said it
was no  use going  any  further, when suddenly  she  saw this sight. She  no
sooner saw it  than, uttering a  hasty exclamation, and giving Master Dombey
to the black-eyed, she started to the rescue of her unhappy little son.
     Surprises, like  misfortunes, rarely come alone.  The astonished  Susan
Nipper and her two young charges were  rescued by the bystanders from  under
the very wheels  of a  passing carriage  before they knew what had happened;
and at that moment (it was market day) a thundering alarm of 'Mad Bull!' was
     With a  wild confusion before her, of  people running up and  down, and
shouting, and  wheels  running over them, and  boys fighting,  and mad bulls
coming  up,  and the nurse in the  midst of all these dangers  being torn to
pieces,  Florence screamed and  ran. She ran till she  was exhausted, urging
Susan  to  do  the  same;  and then, stopping and  wringing her hands as she
remembered they had left the  other nurse behind, found, with a sensation of
terror not to be described, that she was quite alone.
     'Susan! Susan!'  cried Florence, clapping her hands in the very ecstasy
of her alarm. 'Oh, where are they? where are they?'
     'Where are they?' said an old  woman, coming hobbling across as fast as
she  could from the opposite side of the  way. 'Why did  you  run  away from
     'I was frightened,' answered  Florence.  'I didn't  know what  I did. I
thought they were with me. Where are they?'
     The old woman took her by the wrist, and said, 'I'll show you.'
     She was a  very ugly old woman, with red  rims  round  her eyes, and  a
mouth that  mumbled and chattered of  itself when she  was not speaking. She
was miserably  dressed, and carried  some skins over her  arm. She seemed to
have  followed Florence some little way at all events, for  she had lost her
breath; and this made  her  uglier still, as she  stood trying to regain it:
working her shrivelled yellow face and throat into all sorts of contortions.
     Florence was afraid of her, and  looked,  hesitating, up the street, of
which she had almost reached the bottom.  It was a solitary place  - more  a
back road than a street - and  there  was no one in it but her- self and the
old woman.
     'You needn't be frightened now,' said  the old woman, still holding her
tight. 'Come along with me.'
     'I - I don't know you. What's your name?' asked Florence.
     'Mrs Brown,' said the old woman. 'Good Mrs Brown.'
     'Are they near here?' asked Florence, beginning to be led away.
     'Susan ain't far off,' said  Good Mrs  Brown; 'and the others are close
to her.'
     'Is anybody hurt?' cried Florence.
     'Not a bit of it,' said Good Mrs Brown.
     The child  shed  tears of delight on hearing this,  and accompanied the
old  woman willingly; though she could not help glancing at her face as they
went  along - particularly at that industrious mouth - and wondering whether
Bad Mrs Brown, if there were such a person, was at all like her.
     They had not  gone far, but had gone by some very uncomfortable places,
such as brick-fields and tile-yards, when the old woman turned down a  dirty
lane, where the mud lay in deep  black ruts in the  middle of  the road. She
stopped before a shabby little house, as closely shut up as a house that was
full of cracks and crevices could be.  Opening the door with  a key she took
out of her bonnet, she pushed the child  before her into a  back room, where
there was a great  heap of rags  of different  colours lying on the floor; a
heap  of bones, and  a heap  of  sifted  dust or  cinders; but  there was no
furniture at all, and the walls and ceiling were quite black.
     The child  became  so terrified  the  she  was stricken speechless, and
looked as though about to swoon.
     'Now  don't be a young mule,' said Good Mrs Brown,  reviving her with a
shake. 'I'm not a going to hurt you. Sit upon the rags.'
     Florence  obeyed   her,   holding   out  her  folded   hands,  in  mute
     'I'm not a going to  keep you,  even, above  an hour,' said Mrs  Brown.
'D'ye understand what I say?'
     The child answered with great difficulty, 'Yes.'
     'Then,' said  Good  Mrs Brown, taking her own seat on the bones, 'don't
vex me. If you don't, I tell you I  won't hurt you. But if you do, I'll kill
you.  I could have you killed at any time - even if you was  in your own bed
at home. Now let's know who you are, and what you are, and all about it.'
     The  old woman's threats and promises; the dread of giving her offence;
and  the habit, unusual to a child, but  almost natural  to Florence now, of
being quiet, and repressing  what she felt,  and feared, and  hoped; enabled
her to do  this bidding, and to tell her little history, or what she knew of
it. Mrs Brown listened attentively, until she had finished.
     'So your name's Dombey, eh?' said Mrs Brown.
     'I want that pretty frock, Miss Dombey,' said Good Mrs Brown, 'and that
little bonnet,  and a  petticoat  or  two, and anything else  you can spare.
Come! Take 'em off.'
     Florence obeyed, as fast as  her  trembling hands would allow; keeping,
all the while, a frightened eye on Mrs Brown. When she  had divested herself
of all the articles of apparel mentioned by that lady, Mrs  B. examined them
at leisure,  and  seemed  tolerably  well satisfied with  their  quality and
     'Humph!' she said, running her eyes over the  child's slight figure, 'I
don't  see  anything else -  except the shoes. I must  have the shoes,  Miss
     Poor little  Florence took them  off with equal alacrity, only too glad
to  have  any  more means  of  conciliation  about  her. The old  woman then
produced some wretched  substitutes from  the bottom  of  the heap  of rags,
which she turned up  for that  purpose; together with a  girl's cloak, quite
worn out and very old; and the crushed remains of a bonnet that had probably
been  picked  up from some  ditch or dunghill.  In this dainty raiment,  she
instructed  Florence to dress  herself;  and  as  such preparation seemed  a
prelude to her release, the  child  complied  with increased  readiness,  if
     In hurriedly putting on  the  bonnet,  if  that  may be called a bonnet
which was more like a pad to carry loads on, she caught it in her hair which
grew luxuriantly, and could not immediately disentangle it.  Good  Mrs Brown
whipped out a large  pair of scissors, and fell  into an unaccountable state
of excitement.
     'Why couldn't you  let me  be!' said Mrs Brown, 'when  I was contented?
You little fool!'
     'I beg your pardon. I don't know what I have done,' panted Florence. 'I
couldn't help it.'
     'Couldn't help it!' cried Mrs Brown. 'How  do you expect I can help it?
Why, Lord!' said the old woman, ruffling her curls with a  furious pleasure,
'anybody  but me  would have had  'em  off, first  of all.' Florence was  so
relieved to find that it  was only her hair and not her head which Mrs Brown
coveted, that she offered  no resistance  or entreaty, and merely raised her
mild eyes towards the face of that good soul.
     'If I hadn't once had a gal of my own - beyond seas now- that was proud
of  her  hair,'  said Mrs Brown,  'I'd  have had every lock of it. She's far
away, she's far away! Oho! Oho!'
     Mrs Brown's  was  not  a melodious cry,  but, accompanied  with a  wild
tossing up of her  lean arms, it was full of passionate grief, and  thrilled
to  the heart of Florence, whom  it  frightened more  than ever. It  had its
part, perhaps, in saving her curls; for Mrs Brown, after hovering  about her
with the scissors for some  moments, like a new kind of butterfly,  bade her
hide them under the bonnet  and  let no trace  of them escape  to tempt her.
Having accomplished this victory over herself, Mrs Brown resumed her seat on
the bones, and smoked  a very  short black pipe, mowing and mumbling all the
time, as if she were eating the stem.
     When  the pipe was smoked out,  she gave  the  child  a  rabbit-skin to
carry, that  she might appear the more like her ordinary companion, and told
her that  she was now going to lead her to a public  street whence she could
inquire  her way to  her  friends.  But she  cautioned her,  with threats of
summary and  deadly  vengeance  in  case of  disobedience,  not  to  talk to
strangers, nor to repair to her own home (which may have been  too near  for
Mrs Brown's convenience), but to her  father's office  in the  City; also to
wait at the street corner  where  she would be left, until the  clock struck
three. These directions  Mrs Brown enforced with assurances that there would
be potent eyes and  ears  in her  employment cognizant of  all  she did; and
these directions Florence promised faithfully and earnestly to observe.
     At length,  Mrs  Brown, issuing forth, conducted her changed and ragged
little friend  through a labyrinth of  narrow streets  and lanes and alleys,
which emerged, after a long time, upon a stable yard, with a  gateway at the
end, whence the  roar of  a great thoroughfare made itself audible. Pointing
out this gateway, and informing Florence that when the  clocks struck  three
she  was to go to the left, Mrs Brown, after making  a parting grasp  at her
hair which seemed involuntary and quite beyond her own control, told her she
knew  what to  do,  and bade  her  go and  do it: remembering  that  she was
     With a lighter  heart,  but  still  sore  afraid, Florence felt herself
released,  and tripped  off to the  corner. When she reached  it, she looked
back and  saw the  head of  Good Mrs Brown  peeping  out  of  the low wooden
passage, where she had issued  her parting injunctions; likewise the fist of
Good  Mrs Brown  shaking  towards  her. But  though she  often  looked  back
afterwards - every minute,  at least, in her nervous recollection of the old
woman - she could not see her again.
     Florence  remained there, looking at the bustle in the street, and more
and more bewildered  by it; and in the meanwhile the clocks appeared to have
made up  their minds never to strike three  any more.  At last  the steeples
rang out three o'clock; there was one close by, so she couldn't be mistaken;
and - after  often looking  over her shoulder, and often going a little way,
and as often coming  back again,  lest the all-powerful spies  of Mrs  Brown
should take offence  - she hurried off, as fast as she could in her slipshod
shoes, holding the rabbit-skin tight in her hand.
     All she knew of her father's offices was  that they  belonged to Dombey
and Son, and that that was a great power belonging to the City. So she could
only ask  the way to Dombey and Son's in the City; and as she generally made
inquiry of children - being afraid to ask grown people - she got very little
satisfaction  indeed. But  by  dint  of  asking her way  to the City after a
while, and dropping the rest  of her inquiry for the present, she really did
advance, by  slow degrees, towards  the heart of that great  region which is
governed by the terrible Lord Mayor.
     Tired of walking, repulsed and  pushed about, stunned by the noise  and
confusion, anxious for her brother and the nurses, terrified by what she had
undergone,  and the prospect of encountering  her  angry father  in such  an
altered state; perplexed and  frightened alike by what had passed,  and what
was passing,  and what was yet before  her; Florence went upon her weary way
with tearful eyes, and  once or  twice could not  help stopping  to ease her
bursting  heart  by  crying bitterly. But  few  people noticed  her at those
times, in the garb she  wore: or if they did, believed that she was  tutored
to excite  compassion,  and passed on. Florence,  too, called to her aid all
the  firmness and self-reliance of a  character that her sad experience  had
prematurely formed and  tried: and keeping  the end she had in view steadily
before her, steadily pursued it.
     It was  full two hours later in the afternoon than when she had started
on this strange adventure, when, escaping  from the  clash and clangour of a
narrow street  full of carts and waggons, she peeped into a kind of wharf or
landing-place  upon the river-side, where there were  a great many packages,
casks, and boxes, strewn about; a large pair of wooden scales; and a  little
wooden house on wheels, outside of which, looking at  the neighbouring masts
and boats, a stout man stood whistling, with his pen behind his ear, and his
hands in his pockets, as if his day's work were nearly done.
     'Now then! 'said this man, happening  to  turn round.  'We haven't  got
anything for you, little girl. Be off!'
     'If you please, is this the City?'  asked the trembling daughter of the
     'Ah! It's the  City. You know that well enough,  I  daresay. Be off! We
haven't got anything for you.'
     'I don't want anything, thank  you,' was the timid answer.  'Except  to
know the way to Dombey and Son's.'
     The man who had been strolling carelessly towards her, seemed surprised
by this reply, and looking attentively in her face, rejoined:
     'Why, what can you want with Dombey and Son's?'
     'To know the way there, if you please.'
     The man looked at her yet  more curiously, and  rubbed the  back of his
head so hard in his wonderment that he knocked his own hat off.
     'Joe!' he called to another man - a labourer-  as  he picked it  up and
put it on again.
     'Joe it is!' said Joe.
     'Where's that young spark of Dombey's who's been watching the  shipment
of them goods?'
     'Just gone, by t'other gate,' said Joe.
     'Call him back a minute.'
     Joe ran up an archway, bawling as he went, and very soon returned
     with a blithe-looking boy.
     'You're Dombey's jockey, ain't you?' said the first man.
     'I'm in Dombey's House, Mr Clark,' returned the boy.
     'Look'ye here, then,' said Mr Clark.
     Obedient  to  the  indication  of  Mr Clark's hand, the  boy approached
towards Florence, wondering, as well  he might, what he had to  do with her.
But  she,  who had heard  what passed, and who, besides  the  relief  of  so
suddenly considering  herself  safe at  her  journey's  end,  felt reassured
beyond all measure by his lively youthful face and manner, ran eagerly up to
him, leaving one of the  slipshod shoes  upon the ground and caught his hand
in both of hers.
     'I am lost, if you please!' said Florence.
     'Lost!' cried the boy.
     'Yes, I was lost this morning, a long way from here - and I have had my
clothes taken away, since - and I am not dressed in my own now - and my name
is Florence Dombey, my  little brother's only sister  -  and, oh dear, dear,
take care of me, if  you please!' sobbed Florence,  giving full vent to  the
childish feelings she had so  long  suppressed, and bursting into  tears. At
the same time her miserable  bonnet falling off, her hair came tumbling down
about her face: moving to  speechless  admiration and  commiseration,  young
Walter, nephew of Solomon Gills, Ships' Instrument-maker in general.
     Mr  Clark stood rapt in amazement: observing under his breath, I  never
saw such a start on this wharf before. Walter picked up the shoe, and put it
on the little foot as the Prince in the story might have fitted Cinderella's
slipper on. He  hung the  rabbit-skin over his left  arm; gave the right  to
Florence;  and  felt, not  to  say like Richard Whittington - that is a tame
comparison -  but like  Saint George of England, with the dragon lying  dead
before him.
     'Don't cry, Miss Dombey,' said Walter, in a transport of
     'What a wonderful thing for me that I am  here! You are as safe now  as
if you  were guarded by a whole boat's crew of picked men from a man-of-war.
Oh, don't cry.'
     'I won't cry any more,' said Florence. 'I am only crying for joy.'
     'Crying for joy!' thought Walter, 'and I'm the cause of it! Come along,
Miss Dombey. There's the other shoe off now! Take mine, Miss Dombey.'
     'No, no, no,' said Florence, checking him in the act of impetuously
     pulling off his own. 'These do better. These do very well.'
     'Why, to be  sure,' said Walter, glancing at her foot, 'mine are a mile
too  large. What am I thinking about!  You never could walk  in  mine!  Come
along, Miss Dombey. Let me see the villain who will dare molest you now.'
     So Walter, looking  immensely fierce,  led off  Florence, looking  very
happy; and they went arm-in-arm  along the streets, perfectly indifferent to
any astonishment that their appearance might or did excite by the way.
     It was  growing  dark  and foggy,  and  beginning to rain too; but they
cared nothing for this: being both wholly absorbed in the late adventures of
Florence, which she related  with the  innocent good faith and confidence of
her years, while Walter listened  as if, far  from  the  mud and  grease  of
Thames Street,  they were rambling  alone  among the broad leaves  and  tall
trees of some desert island in the tropics - as  he very likely fancied, for
the time, they were.
     'Have we far to go?' asked Florence at last, lilting up her eyes to her
companion's face.
     'Ah! By-the-bye,' said Walter, stopping, 'let me see; where are we? Oh!
I know. But the offices are shut up now, Miss Dombey. There's  nobody there.
Mr Dombey has gone home long ago. I suppose we must go home  too?  or, stay.
Suppose  I take you to my Uncle's, where I live - it's very near here  - and
go to your house in a  coach to tell them you  are safe, and bring you  back
some clothes. Won't that be best?'
     'I think so,' answered Florence. 'Don't you? What do you think?'
     As  they  stood  deliberating  in  the  street, a man passed  them, who
glanced  quickly  at Walter  as he  went by,  as if he recognised  him;  but
seeming to correct that first impression, he passed on without stopping.
     'Why, I think it's  Mr Carker,' said Walter. 'Carker in  our House. Not
Carker our Manager, Miss Dombey - the other Carker;  the Junior - Halloa! Mr
     'Is  that  Walter  Gay?'  said  the other, stopping  and returning.  'I
couldn't believe it, with such a strange companion.
     As he stood near a lamp, listening with surprise  to  Walter's  hurried
explanation, he presented a  remarkable contrast to the two youthful figures
arm-in-arm before him. He was not old, but his hair was white; his  body was
bent,  or bowed as  if by the weight of  some great trouble:  and there were
deep  lines in his worn and  melancholy  face.  The  fire of his  eyes,  the
expression of  his features, the  very voice  in  which he spoke,  were  all
subdued and  quenched,  as  if the spirit  within him lay  in ashes.  He was
respectably, though very plainly dressed, in black; but his clothes, moulded
to  the  general  character of  his  figure,  seemed  to  shrink  and  abase
themselves upon  him,  and  to join in the sorrowful solicitation  which the
whole man from head to foot expressed,  to  be left  unnoticed, and alone in
his humility.
     And yet his interest in youth and hopefulness was not extinguished with
the other  embers of his  soul, for he watched the boy's earnest countenance
as  he  spoke with unusual  sympathy, though with  an  inexplicable  show of
trouble and compassion, which escaped into his looks, however hard he strove
to hold it prisoner. When Walter, in conclusion, put to him the question  he
had  put  to  Florence,  he still  stood  glancing  at  him  with  the  same
expression,  as  if  he  had  read some fate  upon his  face,  mournfully at
variance with its present brightness.
     'What do you advise, Mr Carker?' said Walter, smiling. 'You always give
me  good advice, you  know, when  you  do  speak  to  me. That's  not often,
     'I think your own idea is the best,' he answered: looking from Florence
to Walter, and back again.
     'Mr Carker,' said  Walter, brightening with a generous thought,  'Come!
Here's a chance for you. Go you to Mr Dombey's, and be the messenger of good
news. It may do you some good, Sir. I'll remain at home. You shall go.'
     'I!' returned the other.
     'Yes. Why not, Mr Carker?' said the boy.
     He merely shook  him by the  hand  in answer; he  seemed  in  a  manner
ashamed and afraid even to do that; and bidding him good-night, and advising
him to make haste, turned away.
     'Come, Miss Dombey,' said Walter, looking after him as they turned away
also,  'we'll  go  to my Uncle's as quick as we can. Did  you  ever  hear Mr
Dombey speak of Mr Carker the Junior, Miss Florence?'
     'No,' returned the child, mildly, 'I don't often hear Papa speak.'
     'Ah! true! more shame for him,' thought Walter. After a minute's pause,
during which he had been looking down  upon  the gentle patient  little face
moving on at his side, he said, 'The strangest man, Mr Carker the Junior is,
Miss  Florence,  that  ever you heard  of. If you could  understand  what an
extraordinary  interest he  takes in me, and yet how he  shuns me and avoids
me;  and  what  a  low place he  holds  in our  office,  and how he is never
advanced,  and  never complains, though year  after year  he  sees young men
passed over his  head, and  though his brother (younger than he is), is  our
head Manager, you would be as much puzzled about him as I am.'
     As  Florence could hardly  be expected  to  understand much  about  it,
Walter  bestirred  himself  with   his   accustomed   boyish  animation  and
restlessness to change the subject; and one of  the unfortunate shoes coming
off again opportunely, proposed  to  carry  Florence to his  uncle's in  his
arms. Florence, though very tired, laughingly declined the proposal, lest he
should let  her fall; and as they were  already near the  wooden Midshipman,
and as Walter went on to cite  various precedents, from shipwrecks and other
moving accidents, where younger boys  than  he had triumphantly rescued  and
carried off older girls than Florence, they were still in  full conversation
about it when they arrived at the Instrument-maker's door.
     'Holloa, Uncle Sol!' cried Walter, bursting into the shop, and speaking
incoherently and  out of breath,  from that time  forth, for the rest of the
evening. 'Here's a wonderful  adventure! Here's Mr Dombey's daughter lost in
the streets, and robbed of her clothes by an old witch of a woman - found by
me - brought home to our parlour to rest - look here!'
     'Good  Heaven!'  said Uncle  Sol,  starting back  against his favourite
compass-case. 'It can't be! Well, I - '
     'No, nor  anybody else,'  said Walter,  anticipating the  rest. 'Nobody
would, nobody could, you  know. Here! just help me lift the little sofa near
the fire, will  you, Uncle Sol - take  care of the plates  - cut some dinner
for her, will you, Uncle - throw those shoes under the grate.  Miss Florence
-  put  your feet  on  the  fender to  dry - how damp they are -  here's  an
adventure, Uncle, eh? - God bless my soul, how hot I am!'
     Solomon  Gills  was  quite  as  hot,  by  sympathy,  and  in  excessive
bewilderment. He patted Florence's head, pressed  her to eat, pressed her to
drink, rubbed the soles of her  feet  with his pocket-handkerchief heated at
the fire, followed his locomotive nephew with his eyes, and ears, and had no
clear perception of anything  except  that  he  was being constantly knocked
against and tumbled over by that excited young gentleman, as he darted about
the room attempting to  accomplish twenty things  at once, and doing nothing
at all.
     'Here, wait a minute, Uncle,' he continued, catching up a candle, 'till
I run upstairs,  and  get  another jacket on, and then I'll  be off. I  say,
Uncle, isn't this an adventure?'
     'My  dear boy,' said Solomon, who, with  his spectacles on his forehead
and the great chronometer in his pocket, was incessantly oscillating between
Florence on the sofa,  and his nephew in all parts of the parlour, 'it's the
most extraordinary - '
     'No,  but  do, Uncle, please -  do, Miss  Florence  - dinner, you know,
     'Yes, yes, yes,' cried Solomon, cutting instantly into a leg of mutton,
as  if he were catering for a  giant.  'I'll take  care  of  her,  Wally!  I
understand. Pretty  dear! Famished, of course. You  go and  get ready.  Lord
bless me! Sir Richard Whittington thrice Lord Mayor of London.'
     Walter was not very long in mounting to his lofty garret and descending
from it,  but in the meantime Florence, overcome by fatigue, had sunk into a
doze before the fire. The short interval of quiet, though only a few minutes
in  duration,  enabled Solomon Gills so  far to collect his wits as to  make
some little  arrangements for her  comfort, and  to  darken the room, and to
screen  her  from the blaze. Thus, when  the boy returned, she  was sleeping
     'That's capital!'  he  whispered, giving Solomon such  a  hug  that  it
squeezed  a new expression  into his face. 'Now I'm off. I'll  just  take  a
crust of bread with  me, for I'm very  hungry -  and  don't wake  her, Uncle
     'No, no,' said Solomon. 'Pretty child.'
     'Pretty,  indeed!' cried  Walter. 'I  never saw such a face, Uncle Sol.
Now I'm off.'
     'That's right,' said Solomon, greatly relieved.
     'I say, Uncle Sol,' cried Walter, putting his face in at the door.
     'Here he is again,' said Solomon.
     'How does she look now?'
     'Quite happy,' said Solomon.
     'That's famous! now I'm off.'
     'I hope you are,' said Solomon to himself.
     'I say, Uncle Sol,' cried Walter, reappearing at the door.
     'Here he is again!' said Solomon.
     'We met Mr  Carker the Junior in the street, queerer than ever. He bade
me good-bye, but came behind us  here  - there's an odd thing! - for when we
reached the shop door, I looked round, and saw  him going quietly away, like
a servant who  had seen me  home, or a faithful dog.  How does she look now,
     'Pretty much the same as before, Wally,' replied Uncle Sol.
     'That's right. Now I am off!'
     And  this  time he really  was: and Solomon Gills, with no appetite for
dinner,  sat on the opposite side  of  the fire,  watching  Florence in  her
slumber,   building  a  great  many  airy  castles  of  the  most  fantastic
architecture; and  looking,  in the dim shade, and  in the close vicinity of
all the instruments, like a magician disguised in a  Welsh wig and a suit of
coffee colour, who held the child in an enchanted sleep.
     In the meantime, Walter proceeded towards Mr Dombey's  house  at a pace
seldom achieved by a hack horse from the stand; and yet with his head out of
window  every  two  or  three  minutes,  in impatient remonstrance with  the
driver.  Arriving  at  his  journey's  end, he leaped  out, and breathlessly
announcing  his  errand  to the  servant,  followed  him straight  into  the
library, we there was a great confusion of tongues, and where Mr Dombey, his
sister, and Miss Tox, Richards, and Nipper, were all congregated together.
     'Oh! I beg your pardon, Sir,' said Walter, rushing up to him, 'but  I'm
happy to say it's all right, Sir. Miss Dombey's found!'
     The boy with his open face,  and  flowing  hair,  and  sparkling  eyes,
panting with pleasure and excitement, was wonderfully opposed to  Mr Dombey,
as he sat confronting him in his library chair.
     'I told you,  Louisa,  that  she would  certainly  be found,'  said  Mr
Dombey, looking slightly over his shoulder at that lady, who wept in company
with Miss Tox. 'Let the servants  know that no further steps are  necessary.
This boy who brings the information, is young Gay, from  the office. How was
my  daughter  found,  Sir?  I  know  how  she  was  lost.'  Here  he  looked
majestically at Richards. 'But how was she found? Who found her?'
     'Why, I believe  I found  Miss  Dombey, Sir,' said Walter modestly, 'at
least I don't know that  I can claim the merit of  having exactly found her,
Sir, but I was the fortunate instrument of - '
     'What do  you mean, Sir,'  interrupted  Mr Dombey, regarding the  boy's
evident  pride  and pleasure  in  his  share  of  the  transaction  with  an
instinctive dislike, 'by not having  exactly found my daughter, and by being
a fortunate instrument? Be plain and coherent, if you please.'
     It  was  quite out  of Walter's power  to be coherent; but he  rendered
himself as explanatory as he  could, in his breathless state, and stated why
he had come alone.
     'You hear this, girl?' said Mr Dombey sternly to the black-eyed.  'Take
what is necessary, and return immediately with this  young man to fetch Miss
Florence home. Gay, you will be rewarded to-morrow.
     'Oh!  thank you, Sir,' said Walter.  'You are very kind. I'm sure I was
not thinking of any reward, Sir.'
     'You  are a boy,'  said Mr Dombey, suddenly and  almost  fiercely; 'and
what you think of, or affect to think of, is of little consequence. You have
done well, Sir. Don't undo it. Louisa, please to give the lad some wine.'
     Mr Dombey's glance followed Walter Gay with sharp disfavour, as he left
the room  under the pilotage of Mrs Chick; and it may be that his mind's eye
followed  him with no greater relish,  as he rode back to his  Uncle's  with
Miss Susan Nipper.
     There they found that Florence, much refreshed by sleep, had dined, and
greatly  improved the  acquaintance of  Solomon Gills, with whom she was  on
terms of perfect confidence and ease. The black-eyed  (who had cried so much
that  she  might now  be called  the red-eyed,  and  who was very silent and
depressed) caught  her  in her arms  without  a  word  of  contradiction  or
reproach,  and made  a very  hysterical meeting of  it. Then  converting the
parlour, for  the nonce, into a private tiring  room,  she dressed her, with
great care, in proper clothes; and presently led her forth, as like a Dombey
as her natural disqualifications admitted of her being made.
     'Good-night!' said Florence, running up to Solomon. 'You have been very
good to me.
     Old Sol was quite delighted, and kissed her like her grand-father.
     'Good-night, Walter! Good-bye!' said Florence.
     'Good-bye!' said Walter, giving both his hands.
     'I'll  never forget you,'  pursued Florence.  'No! indeed I never will.
Good-bye, Walter!' In the innocence  of her grateful heart, the child lifted
up her face to his. Walter, bending down  his own, raised  it again, all red
and burning; and looked at Uncle Sol, quite sheepishly.
     'Where's  Walter?'  'Good-night,  Walter!'  'Good-bye, Walter!'  'Shake
hands once more, Walter!'  This was still Florence's cry, after she was shut
up with her  little maid, in the coach. And when the  coach  at length moved
off, Walter on the door-step  gaily  turned the waving of  her handkerchief,
while  the wooden Midshipman behind him seemed, like  himself,  intent  upon
that  coach  alone,  excluding  all  the  other  passing  coaches  from  his
     In good time Mr Dombey's mansion was gained again, and  again there was
a noise of tongues in the library. Again, too, the coach was ordered to wait
- 'for Mrs Richards,' one of Susan's fellow-servants ominously whispered, as
she passed with Florence.
     The entrance of  the lost child made a slight sensation, but not  much.
Mr Dombey, who  had never found  her, kissed her once upon the forehead, and
cautioned  her not  to run away again,  or  wander anywhere with treacherous
attendants. Mrs Chick stopped in her lamentations on the corruption of human
nature,  even when beckoned  to the paths of virtue by a Charitable Grinder;
and received her with a welcome something short of the reception due to none
but perfect Dombeys. Miss Tox  regulated her  feelings by the models  before
her. Richards, the  culprit Richards, alone  poured out her heart in  broken
words of welcome, and bowed herself over the little wandering head as if she
really loved it.
     'Ah, Richards!' said Mrs Chick, with a sigh.  'It would  have been much
more satisfactory to those who wish to think well of their fellow creatures,
and much  more  becoming in  you, if you had  shown some  proper feeling, in
time, for the little child that  is now going to  be prematurely deprived of
its natural nourishment.
     'Cut  off,' said  Miss  Tox, in a  plaintive whisper, 'from  one common
     'If it was ungrateful case,' said Mrs Chick,  solemnly, 'and I had your
reflections, Richards,  I should feel as if the Charitable  Grinders'  dress
would blight my child, and the education choke him.'
     For  the matter of that - but  Mrs  Chick didn't know it  - he had been
pretty well blighted by the dress already; and as to the education, even its
retributive effect might be produced in time, for it was a storm of sobs and
     'Louisa!'  said  Mr  Dombey.  'It  is  not  necessary to  prolong these
observations.  The woman  is  discharged and  paid. You  leave  this  house,
Richards,  for taking  my  son  - my  son,'  said  Mr  Dombey,  emphatically
repeating these two words, 'into haunts and into society which are not to be
thought of  without a shudder. As to the accident  which befel Miss Florence
this morning,  I regard that as, in  one great sense, a happy and  fortunate
circumstance; inasmuch as, but for that occurrence, I never could have known
- and from your own lips too - of what you had been guilty. I think, Louisa,
the other nurse, the young person,' here Miss Nipper sobbed aloud, 'being so
much younger, and necessarily  influenced by Paul's nurse,  may remain. Have
the  goodness  to direct that  this woman's coach is paid  to' -  Mr  Dombey
stopped and winced - 'to Staggs's Gardens.'
     Polly  moved towards the  door, with Florence holding to her dress, and
crying to her in the most pathetic manner not to go away. It was a dagger in
the haughty father's heart, an arrow in  his brain, to see how the flesh and
blood he could not disown clung to this obscure stranger, and he sitting by.
Not that he cared to whom his daughter turned, or from whom turned away. The
swift sharp agony struck  through him, as  he thought of what  his son might
     His son  cried lustily  that night, at all events.  Sooth to  say, poor
Paul had better  reason for his  tears than sons of that age often have, for
he had  lost his second mother - his first, so far as he knew - by  a stroke
as sudden as that natural affliction which had darkened the beginning of his
life.  At the same blow, his  sister  too,  who  cried herself  to  sleep so
mournfully, had lost as good and true a friend. But that is quite beside the
question. Let us waste no words about it.

     A Bird's-eye Glimpse of Miss Tox's Dwelling-place: also of the State of
Miss Tox's Affections
     Miss Tox inhabited a dark little house that had been squeezed, at  some
remote period of  English History, into  a fashionable  neighbourhood at the
west end of the town,  where it stood in  the shade like a  poor relation of
the  great  street  round the  corner,  coldly  looked  down upon by  mighty
mansions.  It was not exactly in a court, and it was not  exactly in a yard;
but it was in  the dullest of No-Thoroughfares, rendered anxious and haggard
by distant  double knocks. The  name  of this retirement, where  grass  grew
between the  chinks  in  the stone  pavement,  was  Princess's Place; and in
Princess's  Place  was  Princess's  Chapel,  with  a  tinkling  bell,  where
sometimes  as many as five-and-twenty people attended service  on a  Sunday.
The  Princess's Arms  was  also  there,  and  much  resorted to  by splendid
footmen. A sedan  chair  was  kept inside  the railing before the Princess's
Arms,  but  it  had never come out within  the  memory  of man;  and on fine
mornings, the top of every rail (there were eight-and-forty, as Miss Tox had
often counted) was decorated with a pewter-pot.
     There was another private house besides Miss Tox's in Princess's Place:
not to mention an immense Pair of gates, with an immense pair of lion-headed
knockers on them, which were never opened by any chance,  and  were supposed
to constitute a disused entrance to somebody's stables. Indeed, there  was a
smack  of  stabling in the air of  Princess's Place; and  Miss Tox's bedroom
(which  was  at  the  back) commanded a  vista of Mews, where  hostlers,  at
whatever sort of work engaged, were continually accompanying themselves with
effervescent  noises; and where the most  domestic and confidential garments
of coachmen  and  their  wives  and families,  usually hung,  like Macbeth's
banners, on the outward walls.'
     At this other private house in  Princess's Place, tenanted by a retired
butler who had married  a housekeeper,  apartments  were let Furnished, to a
single gentleman: to wit, a wooden-featured, blue-faced Major, with his eyes
starting  out of his  head, in  whom  Miss  Tox recognised, as  she  herself
expressed  it, 'something so truly military;' and between whom and  herself,
an occasional interchange  of newspapers  and pamphlets, and  such  Platonic
dalliance, was effected through the medium of a dark servant of the  Major's
who Miss Tox was quite content to classify as a 'native,' without connecting
him with any geographical idea whatever.
     Perhaps there never was a smaller entry and  staircase,  than the entry
and  staircase of  Miss Tox's  house. Perhaps, taken altogether, from top to
bottom, it  was  the  most  inconvenient  little  house in England, and  the
crookedest; but then, Miss Tox said, what a situation! There was very little
daylight to be got there in the winter: no sun at the best of times: air was
out of the question, and traffic was walled out. Still Miss Tox  said, think
of the situation! So said the blue-faced Major, whose eyes were starting out
of his head: who gloried in Princess's  Place: and who delighted to turn the
conversation  at his club, whenever he  could,  to something connected  with
some of the great people in the great street round the corner, that he might
have the satisfaction of saying they were his neighbours.
     In  short,  with Miss Tox and the  blue-faced Major,  it was enough for
Princess's Place - as with  a  very small fragment  of society, it is enough
for many a little hanger-on of another  sort -  to be well connected, and to
have genteel blood  in its veins. It  might  be  poor, mean, shabby, stupid,
dull. No  matter.  The  great  street  round  the  corner  trailed off  into
Princess's  Place;  and that  which  of  High Holborn would  have  become  a
choleric word, spoken of Princess's Place became flat blasphemy.
     The  dingy  tenement inhabited  by  Miss Tox  was  her own; having been
devised and bequeathed to her by the deceased  owner of the fishy eye in the
locket,  of whom a miniature portrait, with a powdered head  and  a pigtail,
balanced  the  kettle-holder on opposite sides of the parlour fireplace. The
greater  part of the furniture was of the powdered-head and pig-tail period:
comprising  a  plate-warmer,  always  languishing  and  sprawling  its  four
attenuated  bow  legs  in  somebody's  way;  and  an  obsolete  harpsichord,
illuminated round the maker's name with a painted garland  of sweet peas. In
any part  of the house,  visitors  were usually  cognizant  of  a prevailing
mustiness; and in warm weather Miss Tox had  been seen apparently writing in
sundry chinks and crevices  of the wainscoat with the the wrong end of a pen
dipped in spirits of turpentine.
     Although  Major Bagstock  had  arrived at  what  is  called  in  polite
literature, the grand meridian of life, and was proceeding  on  his  journey
downhill with hardly  any throat, and  a  very rigid  pair of jaw-bones, and
long-flapped  elephantine  ears, and his eyes and complexion in the state of
artificial excitement already  mentioned, he was mightily proud of awakening
an interest in  Miss Tox, and  tickled his vanity with the fiction that  she
was a splendid woman  who had  her  eye on  him. This he  had several  times
hinted at the club: in connexion with  little jocularities, of which old Joe
Bagstock,  old  Joey Bagstock,  old  J. Bagstock, old  Josh Bagstock,  or so
forth, was the perpetual theme: it being, as it were, the Major's stronghold
and donjon-keep of light humour, to be on the  most familiar terms with  his
own name.
     'Joey  B.,   Sir,'the  Major  would   say,  with   a  flourish  of  his
walking-stick,  'is worth a dozen  of you. If  you  had a  few  more  of the
Bagstock breed among you, Sir, you'd be none the worse for it. Old Joe, Sir,
needn't look far for a  wile  even now,  if he was on the look-out; but he's
hard-hearted, Sir,  is Joe  - he's tough, Sir,  tough,  and de-vilish  sly!'
After such  a declaration,  wheezing  sounds would be heard; and the Major's
blue  would  deepen  into  purple,  while  his  eyes  strained  and  started
     Notwithstanding  his  very liberal laudation of  himself, however,  the
Major  was selfish. It may be doubted whether there ever was a more entirely
selfish  person at  heart;  or at stomach  is perhaps  a better  expression,
seeing that  he was more decidedly endowed  with that latter organ than with
the former. He had no idea of being overlooked or slighted by anybody; least
of all, had he the  remotest comprehension of being overlooked  and slighted
by Miss Tox.
     And yet,  Miss Tox,  as it appeared, forgot him - gradually forgot him.
She began  to forget him soon after her discovery  of the Toodle family. She
continued to  forget  him  up to the time  of the christening. She  went  on
forgetting him with compound interest after that.  Something or somebody had
superseded him as a source of interest.
     'Good morning, Ma'am,'  said the Major,  meeting Miss Tox in Princess's
Place, some weeks after the changes chronicled in the last chapter.
     'Good morning, Sir,' said Miss Tox; very coldly.
     'Joe Bagstock,  Ma'am,' observed  the Major, with  his usual gallantry,
'has  not  had  the happiness  of  bowing  to  you  at  your window,  for  a
considerable  period. Joe has  been hardly used,  Ma'am.  His  sun has  been
behind a cloud.'
     Miss Tox inclined her head; but very coldly indeed.
     'Joe's  luminary has  been  out of town, Ma'am, perhaps,'  inquired the
     'I? out of town? oh no, I have not been out of town,' said Miss Tox. 'I
have  been much engaged lately. My time is nearly all devoted  to  some very
intimate friends.  I am afraid I have none to spare, even now. Good morning,
     As  Miss Tox, with her most  fascinating step and carriage, disappeared
from Princess's Place,  the Major stood looking after  her with a bluer face
than ever: muttering and growling some not at all complimentary remarks.
     'Why, damme, Sir,' said  the Major, rolling his lobster eyes round  and
round  Princess's  Place,  and apostrophizing its fragrant air, 'six  months
ago, the woman loved the ground Josh Bagstock walked on. What's  the meaning
of it?'
     The Major decided, after  some consideration, that  it  meant mantraps;
that it meant plotting and snaring; that Miss Tox was digging pitfalls. 'But
you won't catch Joe, Ma'am,' said the Major. 'He's  tough, Ma'am,  tough, is
J.B.  Tough,  and de-vilish  sly!' over which reflection he chuckled for the
rest of the day.
     But still, when that  day and  many  other days were  gone and past, it
seemed that Miss Tox took no heed whatever of the Major, and thought nothing
at all about him. She had been wont, once upon a time, to look out at one of
her  little dark  windows  by  accident, and  blushingly return  the Major's
greeting; but  now, she  never gave the Major a chance, and cared nothing at
all  whether he looked over  the way or not. Other  changes had come to pass
too. The Major, standing in  the  shade of his own apartment, could make out
that  an  air of greater smartness had recently come over Miss Tox's  house;
that a new cage with gilded wires  had been provided  for the ancient little
canary  bird; that  divers  ornaments, cut out  of  coloured card-boards and
paper, seemed to decorate  the chimney-piece and tables; that a plant or two
had suddenly sprung up in the windows; that Miss  Tox occasionally practised
on  the  harpsichord,  whose  garland  of  sweet peas  was  always displayed
ostentatiously, crowned with the Copenhagen and Bird Waltzes in a Music Book
of Miss Tox's own copying.
     Over and above all this, Miss Tox had long  been dressed with  uncommon
care and elegance in slight mourning. But this helped the  Major out  of his
difficulty; and  be determined within himself that she had come into a small
legacy, and grown proud.
     It was on the very  next day after he had eased his mind by arriving at
this  decision, that the Major, sitting  at his breakfast, saw an apparition
so  tremendous and  wonderful  in Miss Tox's little  drawing-room,  that  he
remained  for  some  time rooted to his  chair; then, rushing into the  next
room,  returned  with  a  double-barrelled  opera-glass,  through  which  he
surveyed it intently for some minutes.
     'It's a  Baby, Sir,' said the Major, shutting up the glass  again, 'for
fifty thousand pounds!'
     The  Major  couldn't forget it.  He could  do nothing  but whistle, and
stare to that extent, that his eyes, compared with what they now became, had
been in former  times quite cavernous and sunken. Day after day, two, three,
four times a week, this Baby reappeared.  The Major  continued  to stare and
whistle. To all other intents and purposes he was alone in Princess's Place.
Miss Tox had ceased to mind what he did. He might have been black as well as
blue, and it would have been of no consequence to her.
     The perseverance with which she walked out of Princess's Place to fetch
this baby and its nurse, and  walked back with  them, and walked  home  with
them again, and continually  mounted guard over them;  and the  perseverance
with which she  nursed it herself, and fed it, and played with it, and froze
its young  blood with airs upon the harpsichord, was extraordinary. At about
this same period too, she was seized with a passion for looking at a certain
bracelet;  also  with a passion for looking at the moon,  of which she would
take long observations from her chamber  window. But whatever she looked at;
sun,  moon,  stars,  or bracelet; she looked  no more at the  Major. And the
Major whistled, and  stared,  and wondered,  and dodged about  his room, and
could make nothing of it.
     'You'll quite  win my  brother Paul's heart, and that's the  truth,  my
dear,' said Mrs Chick, one day.
     Miss Tox turned pale.
     'He grows more like Paul every day,' said Mrs Chick.
     Miss Tox returned no other reply than by  taking the little Paul in her
arms, and making his cockade perfectly flat and limp with her caresses.
     'His mother, my dear,' said Miss Tox, 'whose acquaintance I was to have
made through you, does he at all resemble her?'
     'Not at all,' returned Louisa
     'She was - she was pretty, I believe?' faltered Miss Tox.
     'Why, poor dear  Fanny  was interesting,' said  Mrs  Chick, after  some
judicial consideration.  'Certainly  interesting. She  had  not that  air of
commanding superiority which one would somehow expect, almost as a matter of
course, to find in my brother's wife;  nor  had she that strength and vigour
of mind which such a man requires.'
     Miss Tox heaved a deep sigh.
     'But she was pleasing:' said Mrs Chick: 'extremely so. And she meant! -
oh, dear, how well poor Fanny meant!'
     'You Angel!' cried Miss Tox to little  Paul. 'You Picture  of your  own
     If  the Major  could have  known how  many  hopes  and ventures, what a
multitude of plans and speculations,  rested  on that  baby head; and  could
have seen them hovering, in all  their heterogeneous confusion and disorder,
round the puckered cap of the unconscious little  Paul; he might have stared
indeed. Then would he have recognised, among the crowd,  some  few ambitious
motes and beams belonging to Miss Tox; then would he perhaps have understood
the nature of that lady's faltering investment in the Dombey Firm.
     If  the  child  himself  could  have  awakened in the night,  and seen,
gathered about his cradle-curtains,  faint reflections  of  the dreams  that
other  people had of him,  they might have scared him, with good reason. But
he slumbered on,  alike unconscious of the kind  intentions of Miss Tox, the
wonder of the Major, the early sorrows of  his sister, and the stern visions
of his father; and innocent that any  spot of earth contained a Dombey  or a

     Paul's Further Progress, Growth and Character
     Beneath the watching and attentive  eyes of Time - so far another Major
- Paul's slumbers gradually changed. More and more light broke in upon them;
distincter  and  distincter dreams  disturbed them; an accumulating crowd of
objects  and  impressions  swarmed  about  his  rest; and so he  passed from
babyhood to childhood, and became a talking, walking, wondering Dombey.
     On the  downfall and banishment of Richards, the nursery may be said to
have been put into commission:  as a Public Department is sometimes, when no
individual Atlas can  be  found to  support it The  Commissioners  were,  of
course, Mrs Chick and Miss  Tox: who devoted themselves to their duties with
such astonishing ardour that Major Bagstock had  every day some new reminder
of  his being forsaken, while Mr Chick, bereft of domestic supervision, cast
himself upon the gay world, dined at clubs and coffee-houses, smelt of smoke
on  three different  occasions, went  to the play by  himself, and in short,
loosened  (as  Mrs  Chick  once told  him)  every  social  bond,  and  moral
     Yet,  in spite of  his early promise, all this vigilance and care could
not  make little Paul a  thriving boy. Naturally delicate, perhaps, he pined
and wasted  after the dismissal of his  nurse, and,  for a long time, seemed
but to wait  his opportunity of gliding through their hands, and seeking his
lost mother.  This dangerous  ground  in his  steeple-chase towards  manhood
passed, he still found it very rough riding, and was grievously beset by all
the obstacles in his course.  Every tooth was a  break-neck fence, and every
pimple in the measles a stone wall to him. He  was down in every  fit of the
hooping-cough, and  rolled upon and  crushed  by  a  whole  field  of  small
diseases, that came trooping on each other's heels to prevent his getting up
again. Some bird of prey got  into his throat instead of the thrush; and the
very chickens  turning ferocious - if they have  anything  to do  with  that
infant malady to which they lend their name - worried him like tiger-cats.
     The  chill  of Paul's christening  had  struck  home, perhaps  to  some
sensitive part of his  nature, which could not  recover  itself  in the cold
shade  of  his father; but he was an  unfortunate child from that  day.  Mrs
Wickam often said she never see a dear so put upon.
     Mrs Wickam was a waiter's wife  - which  would seem equivalent to being
any other man's widow - whose application for an  engagement in  Mr Dombey's
service  had  been  favourably   considered,  on  account  of  the  apparent
impossibility of her  having any  followers, or anyone to follow;  and  who,
from within a day or two of  Paul's sharp weaning, had  been engaged as  his
nurse.  Mrs Wickam was a meek woman, of a fair complexion, with her eyebrows
always elevated, and her head  always drooping; who was always ready to pity
herself, or to be pitied, or to pity anybody  else; and who had a surprising
natural gift of  viewing all subjects in  an utterly  forlorn  and  pitiable
light, and bringing dreadful precedents to bear upon them, and  deriving the
greatest consolation from the exercise of that talent.
     It  is  hardly necessary to observe, that no touch of this quality ever
reached  the  magnificent  knowledge  of  Mr  Dombey.  It  would  have  been
remarkable,  indeed, if any had;  when no one in  the house  -  not even Mrs
Chick  or Miss Tox -  dared  ever whisper to him that  there had, on any one
occasion, been the least  reason for uneasiness in reference to little Paul.
He had settled, within himself, that the child must necessarily pass through
a certain routine  of  minor maladies, and  that the sooner  he  did so  the
better. If he could have bought him off, or provided a substitute, as in the
case of an unlucky drawing  for the  militia, he would  have been glad to do
so, on  liberal terms. But as this was not feasible,  he merely wondered, in
his haughty-manner,  now and then, what  Nature meant by it;  and  comforted
himself with the reflection that there was another milestone passed upon the
road, and that the  great end of the journey lay so much the nearer. For the
feeling  uppermost  in  his  mind,  now  and  constantly  intensifying,  and
increasing in it as Paul grew older, was impatience. Impatience for the time
to come, when  his visions of their united consequence and grandeur would be
triumphantly realized.
     Some philosophers tell us that  selfishness  is at the root of our best
loves and affections.' Mr Dombey's young child was,  from the beginning,  so
distinctly important to him as a part of his own greatness, or (which is the
same thing) of the greatness of Dombey and Son, that there  is no doubt  his
parental  affection might  have  been  easily  traced, like  many  a  goodly
superstructure of fair fame, to a  very low foundation. But he loved his son
with  all the love  he had. If there were a warm place  in his frosty heart,
his son occupied it; if its  very hard surface could  receive the impression
of any  image, the image of  that  son was there;  though  not so much as an
infant, or as a boy,  but as a grown man -  the 'Son' of the Firm. Therefore
he was  impatient  to  advance  into  the  future, and  to  hurry  over  the
intervening passages of his history. Therefore he had  little or no anxiety'
about them, in spite of his love;  feeling as if the boy had a charmed life,
and must become the man with whom he held such constant communication in his
thoughts, and for whom he planned and projected, as for an existing reality,
every day.
     Thus  Paul  grew to be nearly  five years  old. He was  a pretty little
fellow; though there was something  wan and wistful in  his small face, that
gave  occasion to many  significant shakes of  Mrs  Wickam's head, and  many
long-drawn inspirations  of Mrs  Wickam's breath.  His temper gave  abundant
promise  of  being  imperious  in after-life;  and  he  had  as  hopeful  an
apprehension  of  his own  importance, and the rightful subservience of  all
other things and persons to it,  as heart  could desire. He was childish and
sportive enough  at  times, and not of a sullen disposition;  but  he had  a
strange, old-fashioned, thoughtful way, at  other times, of sitting brooding
in  his miniature  arm-chair, when he looked (and talked)  like one of those
terrible  little Beings in the  Fairy tales, who, at a hundred  and fifty or
two hundred years of age, fantastically represent the children for whom they
have been substituted. He would frequently  be stricken with this precocious
mood  upstairs in the  nursery; and would sometimes lapse  into it suddenly,
exclaiming that he was tired:  even while  playing with Florence, or driving
Miss Tox in single harness. But at no time did he fall into it so surely, as
when,  his little chair being  carried down  into his father's  room, he sat
there with him  after dinner, by the fire. They were  the strangest  pair at
such  a  time that ever firelight shone upon. Mr Dombey so erect and solemn,
gazing at the blare; his little image, with an old, old face,  peering  into
the red  perspective with  the fixed and rapt attention of a sage. Mr Dombey
entertaining  complicated  worldly  schemes  and  plans;  the  little  image
entertaining  Heaven knows  what  wild  fancies, half-formed  thoughts,  and
wandering  speculations. Mr Dombey  stiff  with starch  and  arrogance;  the
little image by inheritance,  and in unconscious imitation. The  two so very
much alike, and yet so monstrously contrasted.
     On one of  these occasions, when they had both been perfectly quiet for
a  long  time,  and  Mr  Dombey  only  knew  that  the  child  was awake  by
occasionally glancing at his eye, where the bright fire was sparkling like a
jewel, little Paul broke silence thus:
     'Papa! what's money?'
     The abrupt question had such immediate reference  to the  subject of Mr
Dombey's thoughts, that Mr Dombey was quite disconcerted.
     'What is money, Paul?' he answered. 'Money?'
     'Yes,' said  the child, laying his hands  upon the elbows of his little
chair, and turning the old face up towards Mr Dombey's; 'what is money?'
     Mr  Dombey was in a  difficulty.  He would have liked to give him  some
explanation  involving the terms circulating-medium,  currency, depreciation
of currency', paper, bullion, rates of exchange, value of precious metals in
the market, and so forth; but looking down at  the little chair, and  seeing
what a long way  down  it was, he answered: 'Gold,  and  silver, and copper.
Guineas, shillings, half-pence. You know what they are?'
     'Oh  yes, I know what they are,' said Paul. 'I don't mean that, Papa. I
mean what's money after all?'
     Heaven and Earth, how old his face was as he turned it up again towards
his father's!
     'What is money after all!' said Mr Dombey, backing his  chair a little,
that he might the better gaze  in sheer amazement at  the  presumptuous atom
that propounded such an inquiry.
     'I  mean, Papa, what can  it do?' returned Paul, folding his arms (they
were  hardly long enough to  fold), and looking at the fire, and up  at him,
and at the fire, and up at him again.
     Mr Dombey drew his  chair back to its  former  place, and patted him on
the head. 'You'll know better by-and-by, my man,' he said. 'Money, Paul, can
do anything.' He  took hold  of the little hand, and beat it  softly against
one of his own, as he said so.
     But  Paul  got his hand free as soon as he could; and rubbing it gently
to and fro on the elbow of his chair, as if his wit were in the palm, and he
were sharpening it - and looking at  the  fire again, as though the fire had
been his adviser and prompter - repeated, after a short pause:
     'Anything, Papa?'
     'Yes. Anything - almost,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Anything  means  everything,  don't  it,  Papa?' asked  his  son:  not
observing, or possibly not understanding, the qualification.
     'It includes it: yes,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Why  didn't money  save  me  my Mama?' returned the  child.  'It isn't
cruel, is it?'
     'Cruel!' said Mr Dombey, settling his neckcloth, and seeming to  resent
the idea. 'No. A good thing can't be cruel.'
     'If it's a good  thing, and can do  anything,'  said the little fellow,
thoughtfully, as he looked back at the fire, 'I wonder why it didn't save me
my Mama.'
     He didn't ask  the question  of  his father this time.  Perhaps he  had
seen,  with  a  child's  quickness,  that it  had  already made  his  father
uncomfortable. But he repeated the thought aloud, as if it were quite an old
one to him, and had troubled him very much; and sat with his chin resting on
his hand, still cogitating and looking for an explanation in the fire.
     Mr Dombey having recovered from his surprise, not to say his alarm (for
it  was the very  first occasion on which  the child  had  ever broached the
subject of his mother to  him, though he had had him sitting by his side, in
this same manner,  evening after evening), expounded  to him how that money,
though a very potent spirit, never to be disparaged on any account whatever,
could not keep people alive whose time was come to die; and how that we must
all die, unfortunately, even in the  City, though we were never so rich. But
how that  money caused us to be  honoured, feared, respected,  courted,  and
admired, and made us  powerful and glorious in the eyes  of all men; and how
that  it could,  very often, even keep off death,  for a long time together.
How, for  example, it had secured to his Mama the services of Mr Pilkins, by
which  be, Paul, had often  profited  himself; likewise  of the great Doctor
Parker Peps, whom he had never known. And how it could do all, that could be
done. This, with more to the same purpose, Mr Dombey instilled into the mind
of his son,  who listened attentively, and seemed to understand the  greater
part of what was said to him.
     'It can't make me strong and quite  well, either,  Papa; can it?' asked
Paul, after a short silence; rubbing his tiny hands.
     'Why, you are  strong and  quite well,'  returned  Mr Dombey. 'Are  you
     Oh!  the  age of the face that was turned up again, with an expression,
half of melancholy, half of slyness, on it!
     'You are  as strong  and well as  such little  people usually are? Eh?'
said Mr Dombey.
     'Florence  is older  than  I am,  but I'm not  as  strong and  well  as
Florence, 'I know,' returned  the  child; 'and I  believe that when Florence
was as little as me, she could play a great deal  longer  at  a time without
tiring herself.  I  am  so tired sometimes,'  said little Paul,  warming his
hands, and looking  in between the bars of  the  grate, as  if some  ghostly
puppet-show were performing there,  'and my bones ache  so (Wickam says it's
my bones), that I don't know what to do.'
     'Ay! But that's at night,' said Mr Dombey, drawing his own chair closer
to his son's, and laying his  hand gently on his back; 'little people should
be tired at night, for then they sleep well.'
     'Oh, it's  not at night, Papa,' returned  the child, 'it's in the  day;
and I lie down in  Florence's lap, and she sings  to  me. At night  I  dream
about such cu-ri-ous things!'
     And he went on, warming his hands again, and thinking about  them, like
an old man or a young goblin.
     Mr Dombey was so astonished, and so uncomfortable,  and so perfectly at
a loss how to pursue the conversation, that he could only sit looking at his
son by the light  of the fire, with his  hand resting on his  back, as if it
were detained there  by some magnetic attraction. Once he advanced his other
hand, and turned the contemplative face towards his own for a moment. But it
sought the fire again  as soon  as  he released it; and remained,  addressed
towards the flickering blaze,  until  the  nurse appeared, to summon him  to
     'I want Florence to come for me,' said Paul.
     'Won't you come  with your poor Nurse Wickam,  Master  Paul?'  inquired
that attendant, with great pathos.
     'No, I won't,' replied Paul, composing himself in his  arm-chair again,
like the master of the house.
     Invoking  a  blessing  upon his  innocence, Mrs  Wickam  withdrew,  and
presently Florence  appeared in her  stead. The child immediately started up
with  sudden  readiness  and  animation, and  raised towards his  father  in
bidding him good-night, a countenance so much brighter, so much younger, and
so much more child-like  altogether, that Mr Dombey, while  he  felt greatly
reassured by the change, was quite amazed at it.
     After they had left the room together, he thought he heard a soft voice
singing; and remembering that  Paul had said his sister sung to him,  he had
the curiosity to  open the door and listen,  and  look  after them.  She was
toiling up the great, wide, vacant staircase, with him in her arms; his head
was lying  on  her shoulder,  one of his arms  thrown negligently round  her
neck. So they  went, toiling up; she singing all the way, and Paul sometimes
crooning out a feeble accompaniment. Mr  Dombey looked after them until they
reached the top of the staircase - not without halting  to rest by the way -
and passed out  of his sight; and then he still stood  gazing upwards, until
the dull rays of the moon, glimmering in a melancholy manner through the dim
skylight, sent him back to his room.
     Mrs Chick and Miss Tox were convoked in council at dinner next day; and
when the cloth was removed, Mr Dombey opened the proceedings by requiring to
be informed, without any gloss  or reservation,  whether there was  anything
the matter with Paul, and what Mr Pilkins said about him.
     'For the child is hardly,' said Mr Dombey, 'as stout as I could wish.'
     'My   dear   Paul,'  returned  Mrs   Chick,  'with  your  usual   happy
discrimination, which I am weak enough to envy you, every time I  am in your
company; and so I think is Miss Tox
     'Oh  my  dear!' said  Miss  Tox,  softly, 'how could  it  be otherwise?
Presumptuous as it is to aspire to such a level; still, if the bird of night
may - but I'll not trouble Mr Dombey with the sentiment. It  merely  relates
to the Bulbul.'
     Mr Dombey bent  his  head in  stately recognition of  the Bulbuls as an
old-established body.
     'With  your  usual  happy  discrimination, my dear  Paul,'  resumed Mrs
Chick, 'you have hit the  point at once. Our darling  is altogether as stout
as we  could  wish. The fact is, that his mind is too much for him. His soul
is a great deal too large for his frame.  I  am sure the  way  in which that
dear child talks!'said Mrs Chick, shaking her head; 'no  one  would believe.
His expressions, Lucretia, only yesterday upon the subject of Funerals!
     'I am afraid,' said  Mr Dombey, interrupting her testily, 'that some of
those  persons upstairs  suggest improper  subjects  to the  child.  He  was
speaking to me last night about his  -  about his  Bones,' said  Mr  Dombey,
laying an irritated stress upon the word.  'What on earth has anybody  to do
with  the -  with the  -  Bones of my son?  He is not a  living  skeleton, I
     'Very far from it,' said Mrs Chick, with unspeakable expression.
     'I hope so,'  returned her  brother. 'Funerals again! who talks to  the
child  of funerals? We  are not undertakers, or mutes,  or grave-diggers,  I
     'Very  far  from it,'  interposed  Mrs Chick,  with the  same  profound
expression as before.
     'Then  who puts such  things into his head?' said Mr  Dombey. 'Really I
was  quite dismayed and shocked last night. Who  puts such things  into  his
head, Louisa?'
     'My dear Paul,' said Mrs Chick, after a moment's silence,  'it is of no
use inquiring. I do not think,  I will  tell  you candidly that Wickam is  a
person of very cheerful spirit, or what one would call a - '
     'A daughter of Momus,' Miss Tox softly suggested.
     'Exactly  so,' said  Mrs Chick;  'but she is exceedingly attentive  and
useful, and not at  all  presumptuous;  indeed I never saw  a  more biddable
woman. I would say that for her, if I was put  upon  my trial before a Court
of Justice.'
     'Well!  you are  not put upon your trial before a Court  of Justice, at
present,  Louisa,'  returned Mr  Dombey, chafing,' and  therefore  it  don't
     'My dear Paul,' said Mrs Chick, in  a warning voice, 'I must  be spoken
to kindly, or there is an end of me,' at the same time a premonitory redness
developed itself in  Mrs  Chick's  eyelids which was  an  invariable sign of
rain, unless the weather changed directly.
     'I was inquiring, Louisa,' observed Mr Dombey, in an altered voice, and
after a decent interval, 'about Paul's health and actual state.
     'If the dear child,' said Mrs Chick, in the tone of one who was summing
up what had been previously quite agreed upon, instead of saying it all  for
the first  time, 'is a little weakened by that last  attack,  and  is not in
quite such  vigorous health as we could wish;  and if he has  some temporary
weakness  in his system, and does  occasionally  seem about to lose, for the
moment, the use of his - '
     Mrs Chick was afraid to say  limbs, after Mr Dombey's  recent objection
to  bones, and therefore waited for a suggestion from Miss Tox, who, true to
her office, hazarded 'members.'
     'Members!' repeated Mr Dombey.
     'I think the  medical gentleman  mentioned legs this  morning, my  dear
Louisa, did he not?' said Miss Tox.
     'Why,  of  course  he  did,  my  love,'  retorted  Mrs  Chick,   mildly
reproachful. 'How can you ask  me?  You heard him.  I say,  if our dear Paul
should lose,  for the moment,  the  use of his  legs, these  are  casualties
common to many children at his time of  life, and not to be prevented by any
care or caution. The sooner you  understand that,  Paul, and admit that, the
better. If you  have any  doubt as to the  amount of care, and  caution, and
affection, and self-sacrifice, that has  been  bestowed upon  little Paul, I
should wish  to refer the question to  your medical attendant,  or to any of
your dependants  in this house. Call Towlinson,' said  Mrs Chick, 'I believe
he has no prejudice in our favour; quite the contrary. I should wish to hear
what accusation Towlinson can make!'
     'Surely you  must  know, Louisa,'  observed Mr  Dombey,  'that  I don't
question your natural  devotion to,  and regard for, the future  head of  my
     'I am glad to hear it, Paul,' said Mrs Chick; 'but  really you are very
odd, and sometimes  talk very  strangely, though without meaning it, I know.
If your  dear boy's soul is too much for his body, Paul, you should remember
whose fault that is - who he  takes after, I mean - and make the best of it.
He's as like his Papa as he can be. People have  noticed  it in the streets.
The  very  beadle,  I am  informed,  observed  it,  so  long  ago  as at his
christening. He's a very respectable man, with children of his own. He ought
to know.'
     'Mr Pilkins saw Paul this morning, I believe?' said Mr Dombey.
     'Yes, he did,' returned his sister. 'Miss Tox  and myself were present.
Miss Tox and myself are always present.  We make  a point of it.  Mr Pilkins
has seen him for some days  past, and a very clever man I believe him to be.
He says  it is nothing  to  speak of;  which I can confirm, if  that is  any
consolation;  but he recommended, to-day, sea-air. Very wisely, Paul, I feel
     'Sea-air,' repeated Mr Dombey, looking at his sister.
     'There  is  nothing to  be made uneasy by, in that,'said Mrs Chick. 'My
George and Frederick were  both ordered  sea-air, when  they were about  his
age; and I have been ordered  it myself a  great  many  times. I quite agree
with you, Paul, that  perhaps topics may be incautiously mentioned  upstairs
before him, which it would be as well for his  little mind  not to expatiate
upon; but I really don't  see how that is  to be  helped,  in the case of  a
child of his quickness. If he were a common child, there would be nothing in
it. I must say I think, with Miss Tox, that a short absence from this house,
the  air of Brighton,  and the bodily and mental training of so judicious  a
person as Mrs Pipchin for instance - '
     'Who is Mrs Pipchin,  Louisa?' asked Mr Dombey; aghast at this familiar
introduction of a name he had never heard before.
     'Mrs Pipchin, my dear Paul,' returned his sister, 'is an elderly lady -
Miss Tox  knows her whole  history - who  has  for some time devoted all the
energies of her mind, with the greatest success, to the study  and treatment
of infancy, and who has been extremely well connected. Her husband broke his
heart in - how  did you say her husband broke  his heart, my dear? I  forget
the precise circumstances.
     'In pumping water out of the Peruvian Mines,' replied Miss Tox.
     'Not  being a Pumper himself, of course,' said Mrs  Chick,  glancing at
her brother; and  it really did seem necessary to offer the explanation, for
Miss Tox  had spoken of him as if  he had  died at the  handle;  'but having
invested  money  in  the  speculation,  which failed.  I  believe  that  Mrs
Pipchin's  management  of  children is  quite  astonishing. I have heard  it
commended in private circles ever  since  I was  -  dear me - how high!' Mrs
Chick's eye wandered about the bookcase near the  bust of Mr Pitt, which was
about ten feet from the ground.
     'Perhaps I should say of Mrs Pipchin,  my dear Sir,' observed Miss Tox,
with an  ingenuous blush,  'having  been so pointedly referred to, that  the
encomium  which has  been  passed upon  her  by  your  sweet sister is  well
merited.  Many ladies  and gentleman, now grown up to be interesting members
of society,  have  been  indebted  to her  care.  The humble  individual who
addresses you was  once under her charge. I believe juvenile nobility itself
is no stranger to her establishment.'
     'Do I  understand that this respectable matron keeps an  establishment,
Miss Tox?' the Mr Dombey, condescendingly.
     'Why, I really don't know,' rejoined that lady, 'whether I am justified
in calling  it so.  It is not a Preparatory School by  any means.  Should  I
express my meaning,' said Miss Tox, with peculiar sweetness,'if I designated
it an infantine Boarding-House of a very select description?'
     'On an exceedingly limited and particular scale,' suggested Mrs  Chick,
with a glance at her brother.
     'Oh! Exclusion itself!' said Miss Tox.
     There was something in this. Mrs  Pipchin's  husband having broken  his
heart  of the Peruvian mines  was good. It had  a  rich sound.  Besides,  Mr
Dombey was in a state almost amounting to consternation at  the idea of Paul
remaining  where he was one hour  after his removal  had been recommended by
the  medical  practitioner. It was  a  stoppage and delay upon the  road the
child must traverse, slowly at the best, before the goal was reached.  Their
recommendation  of Mrs Pipchin  had great weight with him;  for he knew that
they  were jealous of any interference with their charge, and he never for a
moment took  it  into account that  they might be  solicitous  to  divide  a
responsibility, of which he had,  as  shown  just now,  his own  established
views. Broke  his heart of the Peruvian mines, mused Mr Dombey. Well! a very
respectable way of doing It.
     'Supposing we should decide, on to-morrow's  inquiries,  to  send  Paul
down  to Brighton to this  lady, who would go with him?' inquired Mr Dombey,
after some reflection.
     'I don't think you  could send  the  child anywhere  at present without
Florence, my  dear  Paul,' returned  his sister,  hesitating. 'It's quite an
infatuation with him. He's very young, you know, and has his fancies.'
     Mr Dombey turned  his head away,  and going slowly to the bookcase, and
unlocking it, brought back a book to read.
     'Anybody else, Louisa?' he said, without looking  up, and  turning over
the leaves.
     'Wickam, of  course.  Wickam  would be quite sufficient, I should say,'
returned his  sister. 'Paul being in such hands as Mrs Pipchin's, you  could
hardly send anybody who would be a further check upon her. You would go down
yourself once a week at least, of course.'
     'Of  course,' said  Mr Dombey; and sat looking at one  page for an hour
afterwards, without reading one word.
     This   celebrated   Mrs   Pipchin   was  a   marvellous   ill-favoured,
ill-conditioned  old  lady, of a stooping figure, with a  mottled face, like
bad marble, a hook  nose, and a  hard grey eye, that  looked  as if it might
have been hammered at on an anvil without sustaining any injury. Forty years
at  least had  elapsed  since the Peruvian mines  had been  the death  of Mr
Pipchin; but his relict still wore black  bombazeen,  of such  a lustreless,
deep, dead, sombre shade, that gas itself couldn't light her up  after dark,
and her presence was a quencher to any number of candles. She  was generally
spoken of as 'a great manager' of children; and the secret of her management
was,  to give  them  everything that they didn't like, and nothing that they
did - which was found to sweeten their dispositions very much.  She was such
a bitter old lady, that  one was  tempted to  believe there  had  been  some
mistake  in the application  of  the  Peruvian machinery,  and that  all her
waters of gladness and  milk of human kindness,  had been  pumped  out  dry,
instead of the mines.
     The Castle of this ogress and child-queller was in a steep by-street at
Brighton; where the soil was more than usually chalky, flinty, and  sterile,
and the houses were more  than usually  brittle  and  thin; where  the small
front-gardens had  the  unaccountable  property  of  producing  nothing  but
marigolds,  whatever  was  sown in  them; and where  snails  were constantly
discovered holding on to the street doors, and other public places they were
not  expected to  ornament, with  the tenacity of  cupping-glasses.  In  the
winter time the air couldn't  be got  out of the  Castle,  and in the summer
time it couldn't be got in. There was such a continual reverberation of wind
in  it,  that  it sounded  like a great  shell, which  the  inhabitants were
obliged to hold to their ears night and day, whether they liked it or no. It
was  not, naturally, a fresh-smelling house; and in the window of the  front
parlour, which was never opened, Mrs Pipchin  kept a collection of plants in
pots,  which  imparted an earthy flavour of their  own to the establishment.
However choice  examples of  their kind, too, these  plants  were  of a kind
peculiarly  adapted  to  the   embowerment  of  Mrs  Pipchin.   There   were
half-a-dozen  specimens of the  cactus,  writhing  round  bits of lath, like
hairy serpents; another  specimen  shooting out broad  claws, like  a  green
lobster;  several  creeping  vegetables,  possessed of  sticky and  adhesive
leaves;  and  one  uncomfortable  flower-pot  hanging to  the ceiling, which
appeared  to have  boiled over, and tickling people underneath with its long
green ends, reminded them of  spiders - in which Mrs  Pipchin's dwelling was
uncommonly  prolific, though perhaps it  challenged competition  still  more
proudly, in the season, in point of earwigs.
     Mrs Pipchin's scale of charges  being  high, however, to all who  could
afford to pay, and Mrs Pipchin very seldom sweetening the equable acidity of
her nature  in  favour  of  anybody,  she  was held  to be an  old  'lady of
remarkable  firmness, who was  quite  scientific  in  her  knowledge of  the
childish  character.' On  this reputation, and  on the  broken  heart of  Mr
Pipchin,  she  had contrived, taking  one  year  with another, to eke out  a
tolerable sufficient living since  her husband's demise.  Within  three days
after  Mrs Chick's  first allusion  to her, this excellent old lady  had the
satisfaction of  anticipating a handsome  addition to her current  receipts,
from the  pocket  of Mr Dombey;  and  of  receiving Florence and her  little
brother Paul, as inmates of the Castle.
     Mrs Chick and Miss Tox, who had brought them down on the previous night
(which they all passed at an Hotel), had just driven away from  the door, on
their journey home again; and Mrs Pipchin, with her back to the fire, stood,
reviewing  the  new-comers,  like an  old soldier. Mrs Pipchin's middle-aged
niece,  her good-natured and  devoted slave,  but  possessing  a  gaunt  and
iron-bound aspect, and much afflicted with boils on her nose,  was divesting
Master Bitherstone of the clean collar he had worn on parade.  Miss  Pankey,
the only other little boarder at present, had that moment been walked off to
the Castle Dungeon (an empty apartment at the back, devoted to  correctional
purposes), for having sniffed thrice, in the presence of visitors.
     'Well, Sir,' said Mrs Pipchin to Paul, 'how do you think you shall like
     'I don't think I shall like you at  all,'  replied Paul. 'I want  to go
away. This isn't my house.'
     'No. It's mine,' retorted Mrs Pipchin.
     'It's a very nasty one,' said Paul.
     'There's a worse  place  in it than  this  though,'  said Mrs  Pipchin,
'where we shut up our bad boys.'
     'Has he ever been in it?' asked Paul: pointing out Master Bitherstone.
     Mrs  Pipchin  nodded assent; and Paul had enough to do, for the rest of
that  day,  in surveying Master Bitherstone from head to  foot, and watching
all the workings of his countenance, with the interest attaching to a boy of
mysterious and terrible experiences.
     At one o'clock  there  was  a dinner,  chiefly  of the farinaceous  and
vegetable kind, when Miss Pankey (a mild little blue-eyed morsel of a child,
who  was shampoo'd every morning, and seemed in danger of being rubbed away,
altogether) was led in from captivity by the ogress herself,  and instructed
that nobody who sniffed before visitors ever went to Heaven. When this great
truth had been thoroughly impressed upon her, she was regaled with rice; and
subsequently repeated  the form of grace established in the Castle, in which
there was  a special  clause,  thanking Mrs  Pipchin  for a good dinner. Mrs
Pipchin's niece,  Berinthia, took cold pork. Mrs Pipchin, whose constitution
required warm nourishment, made a special repast of mutton-chops, which were
brought in hot and hot, between two plates, and smelt very nice.
     As it  rained  after  dinner, and they  couldn't  go out walking on the
beach, and Mrs Pipchin's  constitution required rest after  chops, they went
away with  Berry (otherwise Berinthia) to the Dungeon; an empty room looking
out upon  a  chalk wall and  a  water-butt,  and made  ghastly  by a  ragged
fireplace without  any stove in it. Enlivened by company, however,  this was
the best place after all; for  Berry  played with them there,  and seemed to
enjoy  a  game at romps  as much as  they  did;  until  Mrs Pipchin knocking
angrily  at the wall, like the Cock Lane Ghost' revived, they  left off, and
Berry told them stories in a whisper until twilight.
     For  tea there was plenty of milk and water, and bread and butter, with
a little  black  tea-pot  for  Mrs  Pipchin  and Berry,  and buttered  toast
unlimited  for  Mrs Pipchin, which  was brought  in, hot and  hot,  like the
chops.  Though  Mrs Pipchin got  very  greasy,  outside, over  this dish, it
didn't seem to  lubricate her internally, at all; for  she  was as fierce as
ever, and the hard grey eye knew no softening.
     After tea, Berry brought out a little work-box, with the Royal Pavilion
on the lid, and fell to working busily; while Mrs Pipchin, having put on her
spectacles and opened a great volume bound in green baize, began to nod. And
whenever Mrs Pipchin caught herself falling forward into  the fire, and woke
up, she filliped Master Bitherstone on the nose for nodding too.
     At last  it was the children's  bedtime, and after prayers they went to
bed. As little Miss Pankey  was afraid  of  sleeping alone in the  dark, Mrs
Pipchin always made a point of driving her  upstairs herself, like  a sheep;
and  it  was cheerful to hear  Miss Pankey  moaning long  afterwards, in the
least eligible chamber, and Mrs  Pipchin now and then going in to shake her.
At  about  half-past  nine  o'clock the  odour of  a  warm sweet-bread  (Mrs
Pipchin's constitution wouldn't go to sleep without sweet-bread) diversified
the prevailing fragrance of the house, which Mrs Wickam said was 'a smell of
building;' and slumber fell upon the Castle shortly after.
     The breakfast next morning was like the tea over night, except that Mrs
Pipchin took her roll instead of toast,  and seemed a little more irate when
it  was  over. Master Bitherstone  read aloud to  the rest a  pedigree  from
Genesis judiciously selected by Mrs Pipchin),  getting  over  the names with
the  ease  and  clearness of a person tumbling  up the treadmill. That done,
Miss Pankey was borne away to be  shampoo'd; and Master Bitherstone to  have
something  else done to him  with  salt water, from which he always returned
very blue and  dejected. Paul and Florence went out in  the  meantime on the
beach  with Wickam - who was constantly in  tears  - and at about  noon  Mrs
Pipchin presided over some Early Readings.  It being a part of Mrs Pipchin's
system not to encourage a  child's mind to develop and expand  itself like a
young flower, but  to open it by force like  an  oyster, the moral of  these
lessons was usually  of  a violent  and  stunning  character:  the hero -  a
naughty  boy  -  seldom,  in  the  mildest  catastrophe, being  finished off
anything less than a lion, or a bear.
     Such  was life at Mrs Pipchin's. On Saturday Mr  Dombey  came down; and
Florence and Paul would go to his Hotel, and have tea They passed the  whole
of  Sunday  with him, and  generally rode out  before dinner;  and on  these
occasions  Mr Dombey seemed to grow, like Falstaff's assailants, and instead
of being one man in buckram, to  become a dozen. Sunday evening was the most
melancholy evening in the week; for Mrs Pipchin always made a point of being
particularly cross on Sunday nights. Miss Pankey was generally  brought back
from an aunt's at  Rottingdean,  in deep  distress; and Master  Bitherstone,
whose relatives  were all in India, and who was required to sit, between the
services,  in an  erect  position with  his head  against the  parlour wall,
neither moving hand nor  foot, suffered so acutely in his young spirits that
he once asked Florence, on a Sunday night, if she could give him any idea of
the way back to Bengal.
     But  it was generally said that  Mrs Pipchin was a woman of system with
children; and  no doubt she  was. Certainly  the wild  ones went  home  tame
enough, after  sojourning for a  few months beneath  her hospitable roof. It
was  generally said, too,  that it was highly  creditable of Mrs  Pipchin to
have devoted herself to this way of life, and to have  made such a sacrifice
of her  feelings, and such a  resolute stand against her  troubles,  when Mr
Pipchin broke his heart in the Peruvian mines.
     At  this exemplary  old  lady, Paul would  sit  staring  in  his little
arm-chair by the fire, for any length of  time. He never seemed to know what
weariness was, when he  was looking fixedly  at Mrs Pipchin. He was not fond
of  her; he was not afraid of  her; but in those old, old moods of his,  she
seemed to have a grotesque attraction for him. There  he would sit,  looking
at her, and warming his hands, and looking  at her, until he sometimes quite
confounded  Mrs  Pipchin, Ogress  as she  was. Once she asked him, when they
were alone, what he was thinking about.
     'You,' said Paul, without the least reserve.
     'And what are you thinking about me?' asked Mrs Pipchin.
     'I'm thinking how old you must be,' said Paul.
     'You mustn't say such things  as that,  young  gentleman,' returned the
dame. 'That'll never do.'
     'Why not?' asked Paul.
     'Because it's not polite,' said Mrs Pipchin, snappishly.
     'Not polite?' said Paul.
     'It's not  polite,' said Paul, innocently, 'to eat all the mutton chops
and toast, Wickam says.
     'Wickam,'  retorted  Mrs  Pipchin,  colouring, 'is a wicked,  impudent,
bold-faced hussy.'
     'What's that?' inquired Paul.
     'Never you mind, Sir,' retorted Mrs Pipchin. 'Remember the story of the
little boy that was gored to death by a mad bull for asking questions.'
     'If  the bull  was mad,' said Paul, 'how did he  know  that the boy had
asked questions?  Nobody  can go  and whisper secrets to a mad bull. I don't
believe that story.
     'You don't believe it, Sir?' repeated Mrs Pipchin, amazed.
     'No,' said Paul.
     'Not if it should happen to have been a tame bull, you little Infidel?'
said Mrs Pipchin.
     As Paul had not  considered the subject  in that light, and had founded
his conclusions on the alleged lunacy of the bull, he allowed  himself to be
put  down for the present. But he sat turning it over in his mind, with such
an obvious intention of fixing Mrs Pipchin  presently,  that even that hardy
old lady deemed it prudent  to retreat until  he  should have forgotten  the
     From that time, Mrs Pipchin appeared to  have something of the same odd
kind of attraction towards Paul, as Paul had towards her. She would make him
move his  chair to her side  of the fire, instead  of sitting  opposite; and
there he would remain in a nook between Mrs Pipchin and the fender, with all
the  light  of his little  face absorbed into  the black bombazeen  drapery,
studying every line and wrinkle of her countenance, and peering at the  hard
grey  eye, until Mrs Pipchin was sometimes  fain to shut it, on pretence  of
dozing. Mrs Pipchin had an old black cat, who generally lay  coiled upon the
centre foot  of the  fender, purring egotistically,  and winking at the fire
until the contracted pupils  of his  eyes were like two notes of admiration.
The good old lady might have been  -  not  to record  it disrespectfully - a
witch, and  Paul and the cat her two familiars, as they  all sat by the fire
together.  It  would  have been quite in keeping with the  appearance of the
party if they had all sprung up the  chimney in  a  high wind one night, and
never been heard of any more.
     This, however, never came to pass. The cat,  and Paul, and Mrs Pipchin,
were  constantly to  be found in  their usual places after dark;  and  Paul,
eschewing  the  companionship of  Master Bitherstone, went  on  studying Mrs
Pipchin, and  the cat, and the fire,  night  after night, as if they  were a
book of necromancy, in three volumes.
     Mrs Wickam put her own construction on Paul's eccentricities; and being
confirmed in her low spirits by  a perplexed view of chimneys from the  room
where she  was accustomed to sit, and  by the noise of the wind, and  by the
general dulness  (gashliness was Mrs  Wickam's  strong  expression)  of  her
present  life,  deduced  the  most  dismal reflections  from  the  foregoing
premises.  It was a part of  Mrs Pipchin's  policy to prevent her own 'young
hussy' - that was  Mrs Pipchin's  generic  name  for  female  servant - from
communicating with Mrs Wickam: to which end she devoted much of her time  to
concealing herself behind doors,  and springing  out on that devoted maiden,
whenever she  made an approach towards Mrs Wickam's apartment. But Berry was
free to hold what converse she could in that quarter,  consistently with the
discharge of the  multifarious duties  at  which she toiled incessantly from
morning to night; and to Berry Mrs Wickam unburdened her mind.
     'What a pretty  fellow he is when he's asleep!' said Berry, stopping to
look at Paul in bed, one night when she took up Mrs Wickam's supper.
     'Ah!' sighed Mrs Wickam. 'He need be.'
     'Why, he's not ugly when he's awake,' observed Berry.
     'No, Ma'am.  Oh,  no. No more  was my Uncle's  Betsey Jane,'  said  Mrs
     Berry  looked as if  she  would like to  trace  the connexion of  ideas
between Paul Dombey and Mrs Wickam's Uncle's Betsey Jane
     'My Uncle's wife,' Mrs Wickam went on to say, 'died just like his Mama.
My Uncle's child took on just as Master Paul do.'
     'Took on! You don't think he grieves for his Mama, sure?' argued Berry,
sitting down on  the side of the bed. 'He can't remember anything about her,
you know, Mrs Wickam. It's not possible.'
     'No,  Ma'am,'  said Mrs Wickam  'No more did my Uncle's  child.  But my
Uncle's child said  very strange things sometimes,  and looked very strange,
and went on very strange, and was  very strange altogether. My Uncle's child
made people's blood run cold, some times, she did!'
     'How?' asked Berry.
     'I wouldn't  have  sat up all night alone with  Betsey  Jane!' said Mrs
Wickam,  'not  if  you'd  have  put Wickam  into  business next  morning for
himself. I couldn't have done it, Miss Berry.
     Miss Berry naturally asked  why not? But Mrs Wickam,  agreeably to  the
usage  of  some  ladies  in her  condition,  pursued her  own  branch of the
subject, without any compunction.
     'Betsey Jane,' said Mrs Wickam, 'was as sweet a child as I  could  wish
to see. I couldn't wish to see a sweeter. Everything that a child could have
in the way of  illnesses,  Betsey  Jane had come through.  The cramps was as
common to her,' said Mrs Wickam, 'as biles is to yourself, Miss Berry.' Miss
Berry involuntarily wrinkled her nose.
     'But Betsey  Jane,' said  Mrs Wickam,  lowering her voice,  and looking
round the room, and towards Paul in bed, 'had been minded, in her cradle, by
her  departed mother. I  couldn't say how,  nor  I couldn't say when,  nor I
couldn't say whether the dear child knew it or not, but Betsey Jane had been
watched by her mother, Miss Berry!'  and Mrs Wickam, with a very white face,
and with watery  eyes,  and with a tremulous  voice, again looked  fearfully
round the room, and towards Paul in bed.
     'Nonsense!' cried Miss Berry - somewhat resentful of the idea.
     'You  may say nonsense! I ain't offended, Miss. I hope you  may be able
to  think in  your own  conscience that  it is nonsense;  you'll  find  your
spirits all the better for it in this - you'll excuse my being so  free - in
this burying-ground of a place; which is wearing of me down. Master Paul's a
little restless in his sleep. Pat his back, if you please.'
     'Of course you  think,' said Berry, gently  doing  what she  was asked,
'that he has been nursed by his mother, too?'
     'Betsey Jane,' returned Mrs Wickam  in her most  solemn tones, 'was put
upon as that child has been put upon, and changed as that child has changed.
I have seen her sit,  often  and often,  think, think, thinking, like him. I
have seen  her  look, often and often, old, old, old, like him. I have heard
her, many a time, talk just like him. I consider that child and  Betsey Jane
on the same footing entirely, Miss Berry.'
     'Is your Uncle's child alive?' asked Berry.
     'Yes, Miss, she is alive,' returned Mrs Wickam with an  air of triumph,
for it  was evident. Miss Berry expected  the reverse; 'and  is married to a
silver-chaser. Oh yes, Miss, SHE is alive,' said Mrs  Wickam,  laying strong
stress on her nominative case.
     It being clear that somebody was dead, Mrs Pipchin's niece inquired who
it was.
     'I wouldn't wish to make you uneasy,' returned Mrs Wickam, pursuing her
supper. Don't ask me.'
     This was the surest way of being  asked  again. Miss Berry repeated her
question,  therefore; and after some resistance, and reluctance,  Mrs Wickam
laid  down  her knife, and again glancing round the room and at Paul in bed,
     'She  took fancies to people; whimsical fancies, some  of them; others,
affections that one  might expect to see -  only stronger than  common. They
all died.'
     This was so very unexpected and awful to  Mrs Pipchin's niece, that she
sat upright on the hard edge of the bedstead, breathing short, and surveying
her informant with looks of undisguised alarm.
     Mrs Wickam  shook her left fore-finger stealthily towards the bed where
Florence lay; then turned it upside down, and  made several emphatic  points
at the floor; immediately below which  was the parlour in which Mrs  Pipchin
habitually consumed the toast.
     'Remember my words, Miss Berry,' said Mrs Wickam, 'and be thankful that
Master Paul is not too fond of you. I am, that  he's not  too fond of me,  I
assure you; though there isn't much to live for - you'll excuse my  being so
free - in this jail of a house!'
     Miss Berry's emotion might have led to her patting Paul too hard on the
back, or might have produced a cessation of that  soothing  monotony, but he
turned in his bed just  now,  and, presently awaking, sat  up in it with his
hair  hot  and wet from the  effects of some childish dream,  and  asked for
     She was out of her own bed at the first sound of his voice; and bending
over his pillow immediately, sang him to sleep again. Mrs Wickam shaking her
head, and letting fall several tears, pointed out the little group to Berry,
and turned her eyes up to the ceiling.
     'He's asleep  now,  my  dear,' said  Mrs  Wickam after a pause,  'you'd
better go to bed again. Don't you feel cold?'
     'No, nurse,' said Florence, laughing. 'Not at all.'
     'Ah!'  sighed Mrs Wickam, and she  shook her head again, expressing  to
the watchful Berry, 'we shall be cold enough, some of us, by and by!'
     Berry took  the  frugal supper-tray,  with which Mrs Wickam had by this
time done, and bade her good-night.
     'Good-night, Miss!' returned  Wickam softly. 'Good-night! Your  aunt is
an old lady, Miss Berry, and it's what you must have looked for, often.'
     This  consolatory  farewell, Mrs  Wickam accompanied  with  a  look  of
heartfelt  anguish; and being left  alone  with the two  children again, and
becoming conscious that the wind was  blowing  mournfully,  she  indulged in
melancholy - that cheapest and  most accessible of luxuries -  until she was
overpowered by slumber.
     Although the niece of Mrs Pipchin did not expect to find that exemplary
dragon  prostrate on  the  hearth-rug  when  she  went downstairs,  she  was
relieved to find her unusually fractious and severe, and with  every present
appearance of intending to live a long time to be a  comfort to all who knew
her.  Nor had she any  symptoms of declining,  in the  course of the ensuing
week, when the constitutional viands still continued to disappear in regular
succession, notwithstanding that  Paul studied her  as attentively  as ever,
and occupied  his  usual seat between the black skirts and the  fender, with
unwavering constancy.
     But as Paul himself was no stronger at the expiration of that time than
he had  been  on his first  arrival, though he  looked much healthier in the
face,  a little carriage was got for him, in which he could lie at his ease,
with  an alphabet  and other elementary works  of reference, and  be wheeled
down to the sea-side.  Consistent in his  odd tastes, the child  set aside a
ruddy-faced  lad  who  was proposed  as the drawer  of  this  carriage,  and
selected,  instead, his grandfather  - a  weazen, old, crab-faced man, in  a
suit  of battered oilskin,  who had got tough and stringy from long pickling
in salt water, and who smelt like a weedy sea-beach when the tide is out.
     With this  notable attendant  to  pull him  along, and  Florence always
walking by his side, and the despondent Wickam bringing up the rear, he went
down to the margin of  the ocean every day; and there he would sit or lie in
his  carriage for  hours together: never so distressed  as by the company of
children - Florence alone excepted, always.
     'Go away,  if  you  please,' he would say to any child who came to bear
him company. Thank you, but I don't want you.'
     Some small voice, near his ear, would ask him how he was, perhaps.
     'I am very well, I  thank you,' he would answer. 'But you had better go
and play, if you please.'
     Then  he  would turn his head, and  watch  the child away, and  say  to
Florence, 'We don't want any others, do we? Kiss me, Floy.'
     He had even a dislike, at such times, to the company of Wickam, and was
well pleased when she strolled away, as she generally did, to pick up shells
and acquaintances. His favourite spot was quite  a lonely one, far away from
most loungers; and with Florence sitting  by his side at work, or reading to
him, or talking to him,  and  the wind  blowing  on his face, and  the water
coming up among the wheels of his bed, he wanted nothing more.
     'Floy,'  he said one day,  'where's  India,  where that  boy's  friends
     'Oh, it's a long, long distance off,' said  Florence, raising  her eyes
from her work.
     'Weeks off?' asked Paul.
     'Yes dear. Many weeks' journey, night and day.'
     'If you were  in  India,  Floy,' said  Paul,  after being silent  for a
minute, 'I should - what is it that Mama did? I forget.'
     'Loved me!' answered Florence.
     'No, no. Don't I love you now, Floy? What is it? - Died. in you were in
India, I should die, Floy.'
     She hurriedly put her work aside, and laid her head down on his pillow,
caressing him. And so  would she, she  said, if he were there. He  would  be
better soon.
     'Oh! I  am a great deal better now!' he answered. 'I don't mean that. I
mean that I should die of being so sorry and so lonely, Floy!'
     Another time, in the same place, he  fell asleep, and slept quietly for
a long time. Awaking suddenly, he listened, started up, and sat listening.
     Florence asked him what he thought he heard.
     'I  want to know  what  it says,' he answered, looking steadily in  her
face. 'The sea' Floy, what is it that it keeps on saying?'
     She told him that it was only the noise of the rolling waves.
     'Yes, yes,' he said. 'But I know that they are always saying something.
Always the same  thing.  What  place is  over  there?' He  rose  up, looking
eagerly at the horizon.
     She told  him  that there was another country opposite, but he said  he
didn't mean that: he meant further away - farther away!
     Very  often afterwards, in the midst of their talk, he would break off,
to try to understand  what it was  that the  waves were always  saying;  and
would rise up in his couch to look towards that invisible region, far away.

     In which the Wooden Midshipman gets into Trouble
     That spice of romance and love of  the marvellous, of which there was a
pretty strong  infusion in  the nature  of  young Walter  Gay, and which the
guardianship of  his Uncle, old Solomon Gills, had not very much weakened by
the waters of stern practical experience, was the occasion of his  attaching
an uncommon  and delightful  interest to the adventure of Florence with Good
Mrs Brown. He pampered and  cherished it in his memory, especially that part
of  it with which he had been associated:  until it became the spoiled child
of his fancy, and took its own way, and did what it liked with it.
     The recollection  of those  incidents, and his own share  in  them, may
have been made the more captivating, perhaps, by the weekly dreamings of old
Sol  and  Captain  Cuttle  on  Sundays.  Hardly  a  Sunday  passed,  without
mysterious references  being made by one  or other of those worthy  chums to
Richard Whittington; and the  latter gentleman had  even gone so  far  as to
purchase  a ballad of considerable antiquity, that had long fluttered  among
many  others, chiefly expressive of  maritime sentiments, on a dead  wall in
the  Commercial Road: which poetical performance set forth the courtship and
nuptials  of a promising young coal-whipper with a certain 'lovely Peg,' the
accomplished daughter of the master and  part-owner of  a Newcastle collier.
In this  stirring  legend, Captain Cuttle  descried  a profound metaphysical
bearing on the case of Walter and Florence; and it excited him so much, that
on  very  festive  occasions,  as  birthdays  and  a few other non-Dominical
holidays, he would roar through  the whole song  in the little back parlour;
making  an  amazing  shake on the  word  Pe-e-eg,  with  which  every  verse
concluded, in compliment to the heroine of the piece.
     But  a  frank,  free-spirited,  open-hearted boy, is not much given  to
analysing  the nature of  his  own feelings,  however strong their hold upon
him: and Walter would have found it difficult to decide this point. He had a
great affection for the wharf where he had encountered Florence, and for the
streets (albeit not enchanting in  themselves) by  which they had come home.
The shoes that had so often tumbled off by the way, he  preserved in his own
room; and, sitting in the little back parlour of an evening, he had  drawn a
whole gallery of fancy portraits of Good Mrs Brown. It may be that he became
a  little smarter  in  his dress  after  that  memorable  occasion;  and  he
certainly liked in his leisure time to walk towards that quarter of the town
where Mr Dombey's house was situated, on  the vague chance of passing little
Florence in the street.  But  the sentiment  of all this was as  boyish  and
innocent as could be. Florence was very pretty, and it is pleasant to admire
a pretty face. Florence was defenceless and weak, and it was a proud thought
that he had been able to render  her any protection and assistance. Florence
was the most grateful little creature in the world, and it was delightful to
see  her bright gratitude  beaming in her  face.  Florence was neglected and
coldly looked upon, and his breast  was  full  of youthful interest  for the
slighted child in her dull, stately home.
     Thus it  came about that, perhaps some half-a-dozen times in the course
of  the  year, Walter  pulled off his hat  to  Florence in  the  street, and
Florence would stop to shake hands. Mrs  Wickam (who, with  a characteristic
alteration of his  name, invariably spoke  of him as 'Young  Graves') was so
well used to this, knowing the story of their acquaintance, that she took no
heed  of it at all.  Miss Nipper, on the  other hand, rather  looked out for
these  occasions: her sensitive young heart  being  secretly propitiated  by
Walter's good  looks,  and  inclining to the belief that its sentiments were
responded to.
     In this way, Walter, so far  from forgetting  or  losing  sight of  his
acquaintance with Florence, only remembered it better and better. As to  its
adventurous  beginning, and  all those little circumstances which  gave it a
distinctive character  and  relish,  he took  them into  account, more as  a
pleasant story very agreeable to his  imagination,  and not to be  dismissed
from it, than as a part of any matter of fact with  which he was  concerned.
They set off Florence very much, to his fancy; but not himself. Sometimes he
thought (and then he walked very fast) what a grand thing it would have been
for him to have been going to  sea on the day after  that first meeting, and
to  have gone, and to have done  wonders there,  and to have  stopped away a
long  time, and  to  have come back an Admiral of  all  the colours  of  the
dolphin,  or  at  least  a  Post-Captain  with  epaulettes  of insupportable
brightness,  and  have married Florence  (then  a beautiful young woman)  in
spite of Mr Dombey's  teeth, cravat, and watch-chain, and borne her  away to
the  blue shores of somewhere or  other,  triumphantly. But these flights of
fancy seldom burnished the brass plate  of Dombey and Son's Offices  into  a
tablet of golden hope, or shed a brilliant lustre on  their dirty skylights;
and  when the Captain  and Uncle Sol  talked  about  Richard Whittington and
masters'  daughters,  Walter  felt that he  understood his true  position at
Dombey and Son's, much better than they did.
     So it was that he went on doing what he had to do from day to day, in a
cheerful,  pains-taking,  merry  spirit;   and  saw   through  the  sanguine
complexion of  Uncle Sol and Captain Cuttle; and yet entertained a  thousand
indistinct and visionary fancies of his own, to which theirs were work-a-day
probabilities. Such was his condition at the  Pipchin period, when he looked
a  little older  than of yore, but not much; and was the  same light-footed,
light-hearted, light-headed  lad, as when he charged into the parlour at the
head of Uncle Sol and  the  imaginary boarders,  and lighted him to bring up
the Madeira.
     'Uncle Sol,' said Walter, 'I don't think you're well. You haven't eaten
any breakfast. I shall bring a doctor to you, if you go on like this.'
     'He can't give me what I want, my boy,' said Uncle Sol. 'At least he is
in good practice if he can - and then he wouldn't.'
     'What is it, Uncle? Customers?'
     'Ay,' returned Solomon, with a sigh. 'Customers would do.'
     'Confound it,  Uncle!' said Walter, putting down his breakfast cup with
a  clatter, and striking his hand on the table: 'when I see the people going
up  and  down the street in shoals  all day, and passing  and re-passing the
shop every minute, by scores,  I  feel  half  tempted  to  rush  out, collar
somebody, bring him in, and  make him buy fifty pounds' worth of instruments
for ready money. What are  you  looking in  at the door for?  -  ' continued
Walter, apostrophizing an old gentleman with a  powdered head  (inaudibly to
him of course), who was staring at a ship's telescope with all his might and
main. 'That's no use. I could do that. Come in and buy it!'
     The  old  gentleman,  however,  having  satiated  his curiosity, walked
calmly away.
     'There he goes!'  said Walter. 'That's the way with 'em all. But, Uncle
-  I say, Uncle Sol' - for the old man was meditating and had not  responded
to his first appeal. 'Don't  be cast  down. Don't be  out of spirits, Uncle.
When orders do come, they'll come in such  a  crowd, you won't  be  able  to
execute 'em.'
     'I shall be past executing 'em,  whenever they come, my  boy,' returned
Solomon Gills. 'They'll never come to this shop again, till I am out of t.'
     'I say, Uncle! You musn't really, you know!' urged Walter. 'Don't!'
     Old  Sol endeavoured  to assume  a cheery look,  and smiled  across the
little table at him as pleasantly as he could.
     'There's  nothing  more than usual the matter;  is  there, Uncle?' said
Walter, leaning his elbows on the tea  tray, and  bending over, to speak the
more  confidentially and kindly. 'Be open with me, Uncle,  if there is,  and
tell me all about it.'
     'No, no, no,'  returned Old Sol.  'More than usual? No, no. What should
there be the matter more than usual?'
     Walter answered with an incredulous shake  of his  head. 'That's what I
want to know,' he said, 'and you ask  me! I'll  tell you what, Uncle, when I
see you like this, I am quite sorry that I live with you.'
     Old Sol opened his eyes involuntarily.
     'Yes.  Though nobody ever  was happier than I am  and always  have been
with you, I  am quite  sorry that  I  live with  you,  when I  see  you with
anything in your mind.'
     'I  am a  little dull at  such times, I know,' observed Solomon, meekly
rubbing his hands.
     'What I mean, Uncle Sol,' pursued Walter, bending over a little more to
pat him on the shoulder,  'is, that then I feel you ought  to  have, sitting
here and pouring  out the tea  instead  of  me, a nice  little dumpling of a
wife, you know,  -  a  comfortable, capital, cosy  old  lady, who was just a
match for you, and knew how to manage you, and keep you in good heart.  Here
am  I, as loving  a nephew as ever was (I am  sure  I ought to be!) but I am
only a  nephew,  and I  can't be such a companion to you when you're low and
out of sorts as she would  have made herself, years ago, though I'm sure I'd
give  any money if I could cheer you  up. And so I say, when I see you  with
anything  on your  mind,  that I feel quite sorry  you haven't got  somebody
better  about you than a  blundering young rough-and-tough  boy like me, who
has got the will to console you, Uncle, but  hasn't got the way - hasn't got
the way,' repeated Walter, reaching over further yet,  to shake his Uncle by
the hand.
     'Wally, my dear boy,'  said Solomon, 'if the  cosy little old lady  had
taken her place in this parlour five and forty years ago, I never could have
been fonder of her than I am of you.'
     'I  know that, Uncle Sol,'  returned Walter.  'Lord bless  you,  I know
that. But you  wouldn't  have  had  the  whole  weight  of any uncomfortable
secrets  if she had  been  with  you,  because she would  have known how  to
relieve you of 'em, and I don't.'
     'Yes, yes, you do,' returned the Instrument-maker.
     'Well  then, what's  the matter,  Uncle Sol?'  said Walter,  coaxingly.
'Come! What's the matter?'
     Solomon  Gills  persisted  that  there  was  nothing  the  matter;  and
maintained it so resolutely,  that his nephew had no  resource but to make a
very indifferent imitation of believing him.
     'All I can say is, Uncle Sol, that if there is - '
     'But there isn't,' said Solomon.
     'Very well,, said Walter.  'Then I've no more to say; and that's lucky,
for my time's up for going to business.  I shall look in by-and-by when  I'm
out, to see how you get  on,  Uncle. And mind, Uncle! I'll never believe you
again, and  never tell you anything more  about  Mr Carker  the Junior, if I
find out that you have been deceiving me!'
     Solomon Gills laughingly defied  him to find out anything of the  kind;
and Walter, revolving in  his thoughts  all sorts of  impracticable  ways of
making  fortunes  and  placing  the  wooden  Midshipman  in  a  position  of
independence, betook himself to the offices of Dombey and Son with a heavier
countenance than he usually carried there.
     There lived in those days,  round the corner  - in  Bishopsgate  Street
Without  - one Brogley, sworn broker  and appraiser, who  kept  a shop where
every  description  of  second-hand  furniture was  exhibited  in  the  most
uncomfortable  aspect, and under  circumstances and in combinations the most
completely  foreign   to  its  purpose.   Dozens  of  chairs  hooked  on  to
washing-stands, which with  difficulty poised themselves on the shoulders of
sideboards, which in their turn stood upon the wrong  side of dining-tables,
gymnastic  with their legs upward on the  tops of  other dining-tables, were
among  its most reasonable  arrangements. A  banquet array  of  dish-covers,
wine-glasses,  and decanters was generally to be seen, spread forth upon the
bosom of  a four-post bedstead, for the entertainment of such genial company
as  half-a-dozen  pokers, and  a hall lamp. A set of window curtains with no
windows  belonging to them, would  be seen gracefully draping a barricade of
chests  of drawers, loaded  with little jars from  chemists'  shops; while a
homeless hearthrug  severed from its natural companion  the fireside, braved
the  shrewd east wind in  its  adversity, and trembled in  melancholy accord
with the shrill complainings  of a cabinet piano, wasting  away,  a string a
day, and faintly resounding to the noises of the street  in its jangling and
distracted brain. Of  motionless clocks that  never  stirred  a finger,  and
seemed as incapable of being successfully wound up, as the pecuniary affairs
of their former owners, there was always great  choice in Mr Brogley's shop;
and  various  looking-glasses,  accidentally  placed at compound interest of
reflection and refraction,  presented to  the eye an eternal  perspective of
bankruptcy and ruin.
     Mr Brogley himself was a  moist-eyed,  pink-complexioned,  crisp-haired
man, of a bulky figure and  an easy temper - for  that class of Caius Marius
who sits upon the ruins of other people's Carthages, can keep up his spirits
well enough. He had looked in at Solomon's shop sometimes, to ask a question
about   articles  in   Solomon's  way  of  business;  and  Walter  knew  him
sufficiently to give him good day when they met in the  street. But  as that
was  the extent of the broker's acquaintance with Solomon Gills also, Walter
was not a little surprised when he came back in the course  of the forenoon,
agreeably to his promise, to  find Mr Brogley  sitting  in  the back parlour
with his hands in his pockets, and his hat hanging up behind the door.
     'Well, Uncle Sol!' said Walter. The old man was sitting ruefully on the
opposite side of the table, with his spectacles over his eyes, for a wonder,
instead of on his forehead. 'How are you now?'
     Solomon  shook  his head,  and waved one  hand  towards  the broker, as
introducing him.
     'Is there anything  the matter?'  asked Walter, with  a catching in his
     'No, no. There's nothing the matter, said Mr Brogley. 'Don't let it put
you out  of  the way.' Walter  looked  from the broker  to his Uncle in mute
amazement.  'The fact  is,' said Mr Brogley,  'there's a little payment on a
bond debt - three hundred and seventy odd, overdue: and I'm in possession.'
     'In possession!' cried Walter, looking round at the shop.
     'Ah!' said Mr  Brogley, in confidential assent, and nodding his head as
if he would  urge the advisability of their all being  comfortable together.
'It's an execution. That's what it is. Don't let it put you  out of the way.
I come  myself, because of keeping it quiet and sociable. You know me.  It's
quite private.'
     'Uncle Sol!' faltered Walter.
     'Wally,  my  boy,' returned his  uncle. 'It's the  first time.  Such  a
calamity never happened to me before.  I'm an old man to begin.'  Pushing up
his spectacles  again  (for they  were useless any  longer  to  conceal  his
emotion), he covered his face with his hand, and sobbed aloud, and his tears
fell down upon his coffee-coloured waistcoat.
     'Uncle Sol! Pray! oh don't!' exclaimed Walter, who really felt a thrill
of terror in seeing the  old man  weep.  'For God's sake  don't  do that. Mr
Brogley, what shall I do?'
     'I should recommend you  looking up a  friend or so,' said Mr  Brogley,
'and talking it over.'
     'To be sure!' cried Walter, catching  at anything. 'Certainly! Thankee.
Captain  Cuttle's the man, Uncle. Wait till  I  run to Captain Cuttle.  Keep
your eye upon my Uncle, will you, Mr Brogley, and make him as comfortable as
you  can while I  am gone?  Don't  despair, Uncle  Sol.  Try and keep a good
heart, there's a dear fellow!'
     Saying this with great  fervour, and disregarding the old  man's broken
remonstrances, Walter dashed out of  the shop again as hard  as he could go;
and, having hurried round to the office to excuse himself on the plea of his
Uncle's sudden illness, set off, full speed, for Captain Cuttle's residence.
     Everything  seemed altered as he ran along the streets.  There were the
usual entanglement and noise  of carts, drays,  omnibuses, waggons, and foot
passengers, but the misfortune that had fallen on the wooden Midshipman made
it strange and new. Houses and shops were different  from what they  used to
be, and bore Mr Brogley's  warrant on  their fronts in large characters. The
broker seemed to have got  hold of the very churches; for their spires  rose
into the sky with an unwonted air. Even the sky itself was changed, and  had
an execution in it plainly.
     Captain Cuttle lived  on the brink  of a little  canal  near  the India
Docks, where there was a swivel bridge which opened now and then to let some
wandering  monster  of  a ship come  roamIng up  the street like a  stranded
leviathan. The gradual change from land to water, on the approach to Captain
Cuttle's lodgings, was curious. It began with the erection of flagstaffs, as
appurtenances to public-houses; then came slop-sellers' shops, with Guernsey
shirts, sou'wester hats, and canvas pantaloons, at once the tightest and the
loosest of their order,  hanging up outside. These  were succeeded by anchor
and chain-cable forges,  where sledgehammers were dinging  upon iron all day
long. Then came rows of  houses, with little vane-surmounted masts uprearing
themselves  from  among  the  scarlet beans.  Then, ditches.  Then,  pollard
willows. Then,  more  ditches. Then,  unaccountable patches  of dirty water,
hardly to  be descried, for the ships that covered  them. Then, the air  was
perfumed  with chips; and all other trades were  swallowed  up in mast, oar,
and  block-making,  and  boatbuilding.  Then,  the ground  grew  marshy  and
unsettled.  Then,  there was nothing  to  be smelt but rum and  sugar. Then,
Captain Cuttle's lodgings - at once a first floor and  a top storey, in Brig
Place - were close before you.
     The Captain was one of those  timber-looking men, suits of  oak as well
as hearts, whom  it is almost  impossible for the liveliest  imagination  to
separate from  any part of their dress,  however insignificant. Accordingly,
when Walter knocked  at the door, and the Captain instantly  poked his  head
out of one of his little front windows, and hailed him, with the hard glared
hat  already on it, and the shirt-collar like  a  sail, and the wide suit of
blue, all  standing  as usual, Walter  was as fully persuaded  that  he  was
always  in that state, as if the  Captain had been a bird and those had been
his feathers.
     'Wal'r, my lad!'said Captain  Cuttle. 'Stand by and knock again.  Hard!
It's washing day.'
     Walter, in his impatience, gave a prodigious thump with the knocker.
     'Hard it is!' said Captain Cuttle, and immediately drew in his head, as
if he expected a squall.
     Nor  was he  mistaken: for a widow lady, with her sleeves rolled up  to
her  shoulders, and her  arms frothy  with soap-suds and  smoking  with  hot
water, replied to  the summons with startling rapidity. Before she looked at
Walter she looked at the knocker, and then, measuring him with her eyes from
head to foot, said she wondered he had left any of it.
     'Captain  Cuttle's at home, I  know,' said Walter  with  a conciliatory
     'Is he?' replied the widow lady. 'In-deed!'
     'He  has  just  been  speaking  to  me,'  said  Walter,  in  breathless
     'Has he?' replied  the widow  lady.  'Then p'raps you'll give  him  Mrs
MacStinger's respects, and say that the next  time he lowers himself and his
lodgings by talking out of the winder she'll thank him to come down and open
the door too.' Mrs MacStinger spoke  loud, and listened for any observations
that might be offered from the first floor.
     'I'll mention it,'  said Walter, 'if you'll have the goodness to let me
in, Ma'am.'
     For  he was repelled  by a  wooden  fortification extending  across the
doorway, and put there to prevent the little MacStingers in their moments of
recreation from tumbling down the steps.
     'A  boy   that  can   knock  my   door  down,'  said   Mrs  MacStinger,
contemptuously, 'can get over  that, I should hope!' But Walter, taking this
as a permission to  enter,  and getting over it,  Mrs MacStinger immediately
demanded  whether an Englishwoman's house was her castle or not; and whether
she was to  be broke  in upon by  'raff.'  On these subjects her thirst  for
information was still very  importunate, when Walter, having made his way up
the little staircase through an  artificial fog  occasioned by  the washing,
which  covered  the  banisters  with a clammy perspiration, entered  Captain
Cuttle's room, and found that gentleman in ambush behind the door.
     'Never owed her a penny, Wal'r,'  said Captain  Cuttle, in a low voice,
and  with visible marks of trepidation on his countenance. 'Done her a world
of good turns, and the children too. Vixen at times, though. Whew!'
     'I should go away, Captain Cuttle,' said Walter.
     'Dursn't do it,  Wal'r,' returned  the  Captain.  'She'd  find  me out,
wherever I went. Sit down. How's Gills?'
     The  Captain was dining (in his  hat)  off cold loin of mutton, porter,
and some smoking hot  potatoes, which he had cooked himself, and took out of
a little saucepan before  the fire as he wanted them.  He unscrewed his hook
at  dinner-time,  and screwed  a knife into its  wooden socket instead, with
which he had already begun to  peel one of these  potatoes  for  Walter. His
rooms were very small, and strongly impregnated with tobacco-smoke, but snug
enough:  everything  being  stowed  away, as  if  there  were  an earthquake
regularly every half-hour.
     'How's Gills?' inquired the Captain.
     Walter, who had by this time recovered his breath, and lost his spirits
- or such temporary spirits as his rapid journey had  given him - looked  at
his  questioner  for a  moment,  said 'Oh,  Captain Cuttle!' and  burst into
     No  words  can  describe the Captain's  consternation at this sight Mrs
MacStinger faded into nothing before it. He dropped the potato and  the fork
- and would have dropped the knife  too if he could -  and sat gazing at the
boy,  as if he  expected to hear next  moment that a gulf had opened in  the
City, which  had swallowed up his old friend, coffee-coloured suit, buttons,
chronometer, spectacles, and all.
     But when Walter told him  what was really  the  matter, Captain Cuttle,
after a moment's  reflection, started up into full  activity. He emptied out
of a little tin canister on  the top shelf of the  cupboard, his whole stock
of  ready money  (amounting to thirteen pounds  and half-a-crown), which  he
transferred to one of the pockets of his square blue coat; further  enriched
that repository with the  contents  of his  plate chest,  consisting of  two
withered  atomies  of  tea-spoons,  and  an obsolete  pair  of  knock-knee'd
sugar-tongs; pulled up his immense double-cased silver watch from the depths
in which  it reposed, to  assure  himself that that valuable was  sound  and
whole;  re-attached  the  hook  to his right  wrist;  and seizing the  stick
covered over with knobs, bade Walter come along.
     Remembering, however, in the midst of his virtuous excitement, that Mrs
MacStinger might be lying in wait below, Captain  Cuttle hesitated  at last,
not without glancing at the window, as  if he  had some thoughts of escaping
by  that unusual means of egress, rather than encounter  his terrible enemy.
He decided, however, in favour of stratagem.
     'Wal'r,' said the Captain,  with a timid wink, 'go afore, my  lad. Sing
out, "good-bye, Captain Cuttle," when  you're  in the passage,  and shut the
door. Then wait at the corner of the street 'till you see me.
     These  directions  were not issued without a previous  knowledge of the
enemy's tactics, for when Walter got  downstairs,  Mrs MacStinger glided out
of  the little back kitchen, like  an avenging  spirit. But  not gliding out
upon the Captain, as she had expected, she merely made a further allusion to
the knocker, and glided in again.
     Some five minutes elapsed before Captain Cuttle could summon courage to
attempt his  escape; for Walter waited so long at the street corner, looking
back at the house, before there were any symptoms of the hard glazed hat. At
length the  Captain  burst  out  of  the  door  with the  suddenness  of  an
explosion, and coming towards him at  a great  pace, and never once  looking
over his shoulder, pretended,  as soon as they were  well out of the street,
to whistle a tune.
     'Uncle  much  hove  down,  Wal'r?' inquired the  Captain,  as they were
walking along.
     'I am afraid so. If you had seen him this morning, you would never have
forgotten it.'
     'Walk  fast,  Wal'r,  my lad,' returned  the Captain, mending his pace;
'and  walk  the same all the days of your life. Overhaul  the  catechism for
that advice, and keep it!'
     The  Captain  was  too busy with  his  own  thoughts of Solomon  Gills,
mingled  perhaps  with  some  reflections  on  his  late  escape   from  Mrs
MacStinger, to offer any further quotations  on  the way for Walter's  moral
improvement They interchanged no other  word until they arrived at old Sol's
door,  where the unfortunate wooden Midshipman,  with  his instrument at his
eye, seemed to be surveying the whole  horizon in search  of some  friend to
help him out of his difficulty.
     'Gills!' said the Captain, hurrying into the  back  parlour, and taking
him by the hand quite  tenderly. 'Lay your head well to the wind, and  we'll
fight  through  it.  All  you've  got  to do,' said  the  Captain,  with the
solemnity of  a man who was delivering  himself of one of  the most precious
practical tenets ever discovered by human wisdom, 'is to lay your head  well
to the wind, and we'll fight through it!'
     Old Sol returned the pressure of his hand, and thanked him.
     Captain  Cuttle, then,  with  a  gravity suitable to the  nature of the
occasion, put down  upon the table the  two tea-spoons and the  sugar-tongs,
the  silver watch,  and the  ready money; and  asked Mr Brogley, the broker,
what the damage was.
     'Come! What do you make of it?' said Captain Cuttle.
     'Why, Lord help  you!'  returned  the  broker; 'you  don't suppose that
property's of any use, do you?'
     'Why not?' inquired the Captain.
     'Why? The amount's three hundred and seventy, odd,' replied the broker.
     'Never mind,' returned the Captain, though he was evidently dismayed by
the figures: 'all's fish that comes to your net, I suppose?'
     'Certainly,' said Mr Brogley. 'But sprats ain't whales, you know.'
     The  philosophy of  this observation  seemed to strike  the Captain. He
ruminated  for a minute; eyeing the broker, meanwhile, as a deep genius; and
then called the Instrument-maker aside.
     'Gills,' said  Captain Cuttle, 'what's  the  bearings of this business?
Who's the creditor?'
     'Hush!'  returned  the  old man. 'Come away. Don't speak before  Wally.
It's a matter of security for Wally's father - an old bond. I've paid a good
deal of it, Ned, but the times are  so bad with me that I can't do more just
now. I've  foreseen it, but I couldn't help it. Not a word before Wally, for
all the world.'
     'You've got some money, haven't you?' whispered the Captain.
     'Yes, yes - oh yes- I've got some,' returned old Sol, first putting his
hands into his empty pockets, and then squeezing his Welsh wig between them,
as if he  thought he might wring some gold out of it; 'but I  - the little I
have got, isn't convertible, Ned; it can't be got at. I have  been trying to
do something  with it for Wally, and I'm old fashioned, and behind the time.
It's here and there, and - and, in short, it's as good as nowhere,' said the
old man, looking in bewilderment about him.
     He  had so much the air of a half-witted person who had been hiding his
money in  a variety  of places, and  had  forgotten  where, that the Captain
followed his eyes, not  without a faint hope that he might remember some few
hundred  pounds concealed up the chimney, or down in the cellar. But Solomon
Gills knew better than that.
     'I'm  behind the time altogether, my dear Ned,' said Sol,  in  resigned
despair,  'a long way. It's no use my lagging on so far behind it. The stock
had better be sold - it's worth  more than this debt - and  I had better  go
and  die  somewhere,  on the balance.  I haven't any energy  left.  I  don't
understand things. This had better be the end of it. Let 'em  sell the stock
and  take  him  down,'  said  the old  man, pointing  feebly  to the  wooden
Midshipman, 'and let us both be broken up together.'
     'And what d'ye mean to do  with Wal'r?'said the Captain. 'There, there!
Sit ye down, Gills, sit ye down, and let me think o' this. If I warn't a man
on  a  small annuity, that was  large enough till to-day,  I  hadn't need to
think of it. But you only lay your head well to the wind,' said the Captain,
again administering that  unanswerable piece of consolation, 'and you're all
     Old Sol thanked him from  his  heart, and went  and laid it against the
back parlour fire-place instead.
     Captain  Cuttle walked up and down the shop for some  time,  cogitating
profoundly, and bringing his bushy black eyebrows  to bear so heavily on his
nose, like clouds setting on a mountain, that Walter was afraid to offer any
interruption to the current  of his  reflections. Mr Brogley, who was averse
to  being  any constraint  upon  the party, and who had an ingenious cast of
mind,  went,  softly whistling,  among the stock; rattling  weather-glasses,
shaking compasses as  if they were physic, catching up keys with loadstones,
looking through telescopes, endeavouring to make himself acquainted with the
use  of the globes,  setting parallel  rulers  astride  on to his nose,  and
amusing himself with other philosophical transactions.
     'Wal'r!' said the Captain at last. 'I've got it.'
     'Have you, Captain Cuttle?' cried Walter, with great animation.
     'Come this way, my lad,' said the Captain. 'The  stock's the  security.
I'm another. Your governor's the man to advance money.'
     'Mr Dombey!' faltered Walter.
     The Captain nodded gravely. 'Look at  him,' he said. 'Look at Gills. If
they was to sell off these things now, he'd die of it. You know he would. We
mustn't leave a stone unturned - and there's a stone for you.'
     'A stone! - Mr Dombey!' faltered Walter.
     'You run  round  to the  office, first of all, and see if he's  there,'
said Captain Cuttle, clapping him on the back. 'Quick!'
     Walter  felt  he must not dispute the command  - a glance  at his Uncle
would have determined him  if he had felt  otherwise  - and  disappeared  to
execute it. He soon returned, out of breath, to  say that Mr Dombey was  not
there. It was Saturday, and he had gone to Brighton.
     'I tell you what, Wal'r!' said the Captain, who seemed to have prepared
himself for  this  contingency in his absence. 'We'll  go to Brighton.  I'll
back  you, my  boy.  I'll  back you,  Wal'r.  We'll  go to  Brighton by  the
afternoon's coach.'
     If the application must be made to Mr Dombey at all, which was awful to
think of, Walter  felt that he would rather prefer it  alone and unassisted,
than backed by  the personal influence of Captain Cuttle, to which he hardly
thought Mr Dombey would attach much weight.  But as  the Captain appeared to
be of quite another opinion, and was bent upon it, and as his friendship was
too zealous and  serious  to  be  trifled with  by one so much  younger than
himself, he forbore to hint the least objection. Cuttle, therefore, taking a
hurried  leave  of  Solomon  Gills,  and  returning  the  ready  money,  the
teaspoons,  the  sugar-tongs, and the silver  watch, to his pocket - with  a
view, as Walter thought, with horror,  to making a gorgeous impression on Mr
Dombey - bore him  off to the coach-office, with- out a minute's delay,  and
repeatedly assured him, on the road, that he would stick by him to the last.

     Containing the Sequel of the Midshipman's Disaster
     Major Bagstock, after long  and frequent observation  of  Paul,  across
Princess's  Place,  through  his  double-barrelled  opera-glass;  and  after
receiving many minute reports, daily, weekly, and monthly, on that  subject,
from the native who kept  himself in constant communication with  Miss Tox's
maid for that purpose; came to the conclusion that Dombey, Sir, was a man to
be known, and that J. B. was the boy to make his acquaintance.
     Miss Tox,  however,  maintaining her reserved behaviour,  and  frigidly
declining to understand the Major whenever he called (which he often did) on
any little  fishing excursion connected with  this project,  the  Major,  in
spite  of  his  constitutional toughness and slyness, was fain to leave  the
accomplishment of his desire in some  measure to chance, 'which,'  as he was
used to observe with chuckles at his club, 'has been fifty to one in  favour
of  Joey B., Sir, ever since  his elder brother  died of Yellow Jack  in the
West Indies.'
     It  was  some  time coming to his aid  in the present instance, but  it
befriended  him at  last.  When  the  dark servant,  with  full particulars,
reported Miss Tox absent on Brighton service, the Major was suddenly touched
with  affectionate  reminiscences of his friend  Bill Bitherstone of Bengal,
who had written to  ask him, if he ever went that way, to bestow a call upon
his only son. But when the same dark servant reported Paul at Mrs Pipchin's,
and the Major, referring to the letter favoured by Master Bitherstone on his
arrival in  England - to which he had never had the least idea of paying any
attention - saw the opening that presented  itself,  he was made so rabid by
the  gout, with  which  he happened  to be  then  laid up,  that  he threw a
footstool at the dark servant in return for  his intelligence,  and swore he
would be the death of the rascal before he had done with him: which the dark
servant was more than half disposed to believe.
     At length  the Major being  released from  his fit,  went  one Saturday
growling down  to  Brighton, with the native behind him; apostrophizing Miss
Tox  all the way, and  gloating  over  the prospect of carrying by storm the
distinguished friend to whom she attached so much mystery,  and for whom she
had deserted him,
     'Would   you,  Ma'am,  would  you!'  said  the  Major,  straining  with
vindictiveness, and swelling every already swollen vein  in his head. 'Would
you give Joey  B. the go-by, Ma'am? Not yet, Ma'am, not yet! Damme, not yet,
Sir. Joe is awake, Ma'am. Bagstock is alive, Sir. J. B. knows a move or two,
Ma'am. Josh  has his weather-eye open, Sir.  You'll  find  him tough, Ma'am.
Tough, Sir, tough is Joseph. Tough, and de-vilish sly!'
     And  very tough indeed Master  Bitherstone found him, when he took that
young  gentleman out for a walk.  But the Major, with his complexion like  a
Stilton cheese, and  his eyes  like  a prawn's, went roving about, perfectly
indifferent  to   Master  Bitherstone's   amusement,   and  dragging  Master
Bitherstone along, while he looked about him high and low, for Mr Dombey and
his children.
     In good time the Major, previously instructed by Mrs Pipchin, spied out
Paul and Florence, and bore down upon them; there  being a stately gentleman
(Mr  Dombey, doubtless) in  their company.  Charging with Master Bitherstone
into  the very  heart of the little squadron, it  fell  out, of course, that
Master  Bitherstone  spoke  to his  fellow-sufferers.  Upon  that the  Major
stopped to notice and admire them;  remembered  with amazement  that  he had
seen and spoken to them at his friend Miss Tox's in Princess's Place; opined
that Paul was a devilish fine fellow, and his own little friend; inquired if
he remembered Joey B. the Major; and finally,  with a sudden recollection of
the conventionalities of life, turned and apologised to Mr Dombey.
     'But my little friend here, Sir,'  said the  Major, 'makes a  boy of me
again:  An  old  soldier,  Sir  - Major Bagstock, at  your service  - is not
ashamed to confess  it.' Here the Major  lifted his hat. 'Damme, Sir,' cried
the Major with sudden warmth, 'I envy you.' Then he recollected himself, and
added, 'Excuse my freedom.'
     Mr Dombey begged he wouldn't mention it.
     'An old campaigner, Sir,'  said the  Major, 'a  smoke-dried, sun-burnt,
used-up,  invalided  old  dog of a  Major,  Sir,  was  not afraid  of  being
condemned  for his whim by a  man  like Mr Dombey.  I  have  the  honour  of
addressing Mr Dombey, I believe?'
     'I  am  the  present  unworthy  representative  of that  name,  Major,'
returned Mr Dombey.
     'By G-, Sir!' said the  Major,  'it's a great  name. It's a name, Sir,'
said the  Major  firmly,  as if  he defied Mr Dombey to contradict  him, and
would feel  it his painful duty to bully him if he did,  'that is known  and
honoured in the British possessions abroad. It is a name, Sir, that a man is
proud to recognise. There is nothing adulatory in Joseph  Bagstock, Sir. His
Royal  Highness the Duke of York observed  on more than one occasion, "there
is  no adulation in Joey. He is a plain old soldier is Joe. He is tough to a
fault  is Joseph:" but it's a great name,  Sir. By  the  Lord, it's  a great
name!' said the Major, solemnly.
     'You  are good  enough  to  rate it higher than it  deserves,  perhaps,
Major,' returned Mr Dombey.
     'No,  Sir,' said  the  Major, in a severe tone. No,  Mr Dombey,  let us
understand  each other. That is not  the Bagstock vein, Sir.  You don't know
Joseph B.  He is a blunt old blade is Josh. No flattery in him, Sir. Nothing
like it.'
     Mr Dombey inclined his head, and said he believed him to be in earnest,
and that his high opinion was gratifying.
     'My little friend here, Sir,' croaked the Major,  looking as amiably as
he  could,  on  Paul,  'will certify  for  Joseph  Bagstock  that  he  is  a
thorough-going, down-right, plain-spoken, old Trump, Sir, and  nothing more.
That boy, Sir,' said the Major in  a lower tone, 'will live in history. That
boy, Sir, is not a common production. Take care of him, Mr Dombey.'
     Mr Dombey seemed to intimate that he would endeavour to do so.
     'Here  is a  boy here,  Sir,' pursued  the Major,  confidentially,  and
giving him a  thrust  with  his cane.  'Son  of  Bitherstone of Bengal. Bill
Bitherstone formerly of  ours. That boy's father and myself, Sir, were sworn
friends. Wherever you  went, Sir, you heard of nothing but  Bill Bitherstone
and Joe Bagstock. Am I  blind to that  boy's  defects? By  no means.  He's a
fool, Sir.'
     Mr Dombey glanced at the libelled  Master Bitherstone,  of whom he knew
at least as  much as the Major did, and  said, in quite a complacent manner,
     'That is  what he is, sir,' said the Major. 'He's a  fool. Joe Bagstock
never minces matters. The son of my old friend Bill Bitherstone,  of Bengal,
is a born fool, Sir.' Here  the Major laughed till  he was almost black. 'My
little friend is destined for a public school,' I' presume, Mr Dombey?' said
the Major when he had recovered.
     'I am  not  quite  decided,'  returned Mr Dombey.  'I think  not. He is
     'If he's  delicate, Sir,'  said the Major, 'you are right. None but the
tough fellows could live through it, Sir, at Sandhurst. We put each other to
the torture there, Sir. We roasted  the new fellows at a slow fire, and hung
'em out of a three pair of stairs window, with their heads downwards. Joseph
Bagstock, Sir,  was  held out of the window by  the heels of his boots,  for
thirteen minutes by the college clock'
     The Major  might have appealed to  his countenance  in corroboration of
this story. It certainly looked as if he had hung out a little too long.
     'But it  made us what we were, Sir,' said the Major, settling his shirt
frill. 'We  were  iron,  Sir, and  it forged  us. Are you remaining here, Mr
     'I generally come down once a week, Major,' returned that gentleman. 'I
stay at the Bedford.'
     'I  shall  have the honour  of calling at the  Bedford,  Sir, if you'll
permit me,'  said the Major. 'Joey B., Sir, is not in general a calling man,
but  Mr Dombey's  is  not  a common name.  I  am much indebted to  my little
friend, Sir, for the honour of this introduction.'
     Mr Dombey made a very gracious reply; and Major Bagstock, having patted
Paul  on  the head,  and said of Florence that her eyes would play the Devil
with the youngsters before long - 'and the oldsters too, Sir, if you come to
that,' added the Major, chuckling very much - stirred  up Master Bitherstone
with his walking-stick, and departed with that young gentleman, at a kind of
half-trot; rolling his head and coughing with great dignity, as he staggered
away, with his legs very wide asunder.
     In fulfilment of his promise, the Major afterwards called on Mr Dombey;
and Mr  Dombey, having referred to the army list, afterwards  called on  the
Major.  Then the Major  called at Mr Dombey's house in  town;  and came down
again, in the same coach as Mr Dombey. In short, Mr Dombey and the Major got
on uncommonly well together, and uncommonly fast: and  Mr Dombey observed of
the  Major, to his sister, that besides being  quite a military  man he  was
really something more, as he  had a very admirable idea of the importance of
things unconnected with his own profession.
     At length Mr Dombey, bringing  down  Miss Tox and  Mrs Chick to see the
children, and finding the Major again at Brighton,  invited him to dinner at
the Bedford, and complimented Miss Tox highly, beforehand,  on her neighbour
and acquaintance.
     'My dearest Louisa,' said Miss  Tox  to Mrs Chick, when they were alone
together,  on the morning of  the  appointed  day, 'if I should  seem at all
reserved to Major Bagstock, or under any constraint with him, promise me not
to notice it.'
     'My dear  Lucretia,' returned Mrs Chick, 'what mystery  is  involved in
this remarkable request? I must insist upon knowing.'
     'Since you are resolved to extort a confession from  me,  Louisa,' said
Miss Tox instantly, 'I  have  no alternative but to confide to  you that the
Major has been particular.'
     'Particular!' repeated Mrs Chick.
     'The  Major  has  long been very  particular  indeed, my  love, in  his
attentions,' said  Miss Tox, 'occasionally  they have  been  so very marked,
that my position has been one of no common difficulty.'
     'Is he in good circumstances?' inquired Mrs Chick.
     'I have  every reason to believe, my dear -  indeed  I may say I know,'
returned  Miss Tox, 'that he  is wealthy. He  is truly military, and full of
anecdote. I  have  been  informed that  his  valour,  when he was  in active
service, knew no bounds. I  am told that he  did  all sorts of things in the
Peninsula,  with  every description  of fire-arm; and in the  East and  West
Indies, my love, I really couldn't undertake to say what he did not do.'
     'Very creditable to him indeed,' said Mrs Chick, 'extremely so; and you
have given him no encouragement, my dear?'
     'If I were to say, Louisa,'  replied Miss Tox, with every demonstration
of making an effort  that rent her  soul,  'that  I  never encouraged  Major
Bagstock  slightly, I should not do justice to  the friendship which  exists
between you and me. It is, perhaps, hardly in the nature of woman to receive
such attentions as the Major  once  lavished  upon  myself without betraying
some sense of obligation. But  that  is past - long past. Between  the Major
and  me  there  is  now  a  yawning chasm, and  I  will not  feign  to  give
encouragement,  Louisa, where I  cannot give  my heart. My affections,' said
Miss Tox - 'but, Louisa, this is madness!' and departed from the room.
     All this Mrs Chick communicated to her brother before dinner: and it by
no means indisposed Mr Dombey to receive the Major with unwonted cordiality.
The Major,  for his part, was in a state of plethoric satisfaction that knew
no  bounds:  and  he  coughed, and  choked, and chuckled,  and  gasped,  and
swelled, until the waiters seemed positively afraid of him.
     'Your family monopolises Joe's light, Sir,' said the Major, when he had
saluted Miss Tox. 'Joe lives in darkness.  Princess's  Place is changed into
Kamschatka in  the  winter time. There is  no ray of sun, Sir,  for Joey B.,
     'Miss Tox is good  enough  to take a great  deal  of  interest in Paul,
Major,' returned Mr Dombey on behalf of that blushing virgin.
     'Damme  Sir,'  said the Major,  'I'm  jealous of my little friend.  I'm
pining away  Sir. The Bagstock  breed is degenerating in the forsaken person
of old Joe.' And the Major, becoming bluer and bluer and  puffing his cheeks
further and further over the stiff ridge of his tight cravat, stared at Miss
Tox, until  his  eyes  seemed  as if he were at  that moment  being overdone
before the slow fire at the military college.
     Notwithstanding  the  palpitation  of  the  heart which these allusions
occasioned  her, they  were anything but disagreeable  to Miss Tox,  as they
enabled  her  to  be extremely interesting, and  to manifest  an  occasional
incoherence and distraction which she  was not at all unwilling to  display.
The Major gave her abundant opportunities of exhibiting this  emotion: being
profuse in his complaints, at dinner, of her desertion of him and Princess's
Place: and as he  appeared to derive great enjoyment from making  them, they
all got on very well.
     None the  worse  on  account  of the  Major taking  charge of the whole
conversation, and  showing as great an appetite in that respect as in regard
of the  various dainties  on the table, among which he may be almost said to
have wallowed: greatly to the aggravation of his inflammatory tendencies. Mr
Dombey's habitual silence and reserve yielding  readily to  this usurpation,
the Major felt that  he was  coming out and  shining:  and  in  the flow  of
spirits thus engendered, rang such an infinite number of  new changes on his
own name that  he quite astonished  himself. In  a word,  they were all very
well  pleased. The Major was considered to possess an  inexhaustible fund of
conversation; and when  he took a late farewell, after  a  long  rubber,  Mr
Dombey  again  complimented the  blushing  Miss  Tox on  her  neighbour  and
     But all the  way home to his own  hotel, the  Major incessantly said to
himself, and of himself, 'Sly, Sir - sly, Sir - de-vil-ish sly!' And when he
got there, sat down in a chair, and fell into a silent fit of laughter, with
which he was sometimes  seized, and which was  always particularly awful. It
held him  so long on this occasion that the dark servant, who stood watching
him at a distance, but dared not for his life approach, twice or thrice gave
him over for lost. His whole form, but especially his face and head, dilated
beyond all  former experience; and presented to the dark man's view, nothing
but a heaving mass of indigo. At length he burst  into a violent paroxysm of
coughing, and when that was a little better burst into such ejaculations  as
the following:
     'Would  you,  Ma'am, would  you?  Mrs Dombey,  eh, Ma'am? I think  not,
Ma'am. Not while Joe B.  can put a spoke in your wheel,  Ma'am. J. B.'s even
with  you  now, Ma'am.  He isn't  altogether  bowled  out, yet,  Sir,  isn't
Bagstock. She's deep, Sir, deep, but Josh is deeper. Wide awake is old Joe -
broad awake, and staring,  Sir!' There was  no doubt  of this last assertion
being true, and to  a very fearful extent; as it continued to  be during the
greater part  of  that night,  which the  Major  chiefly  passed in  similar
exclamations,  diversified with  fits  of coughing and choking that startled
the whole house.
     It  was  on  the day  after this  occasion  (being Sunday)  when, as Mr
Dombey, Mrs  Chick, and Miss Tox were sitting at breakfast, still eulogising
the Major, Florence came running in: her face suffused with a bright colour,
and her eyes sparkling joyfully: and cried,
     'Papa! Papa! Here's Walter! and he won't come in.'
     'Who?' cried Mr Dombey. 'What does she mean? What is this?'
     'Walter, Papa!' said Florence  timidly;  sensible of having  approached
the presence with too much familiarity. 'Who found me when I was lost.'
     'Does  she mean  young Gay,  Louisa?' inquired Mr Dombey, knitting  his
brows. 'Really, this child's manners have become very boisterous. She cannot
mean young Gay, I think. See what it is, will you?'
     Mrs Chick hurried into the passage, and returned  with  the information
that it  was  young Gay,  accompanied by a very strange-looking person;  and
that young Gay said he would not take the liberty of  coming in, hearing  Mr
Dombey was at breakfast, but would wait until Mr  Dombey should signify that
he might approach.
     'Tell the  boy to come in now,' said Mr Dombey. 'Now, Gay,  what is the
matter? Who sent you down here? Was there nobody else to come?'
     'I beg  your  pardon,  Sir,' returned  Walter. 'I have not been sent. I
have been  so bold as to come on my own account, which I hope you'll  pardon
when I mention the cause.
     But  Mr  Dombey,  without  attending  to  what  he  said,  was  looking
impatiently on either side of him (as  if  he were  a pillar in his  way) at
some object behind.
     'What's that?' said Mr Dombey. 'Who is that? I think you have made some
mistake in the door, Sir.'
     'Oh,  I'm  very  sorry  to  intrude  with anyone,  Sir,'  cried Walter,
hastily: 'but this is - this is Captain Cuttle, Sir.'
     'Wal'r, my lad,' observed the Captain in a deep voice: 'stand by!'
     At the same time the Captain, coming  a little  further in, brought out
his wide suit of blue, his  conspicuous shirt-collar, and his knobby nose in
full relief, and stood bowing to Mr  Dombey, and waving his hook politely to
the  ladies, with  the  hard glazed hat in his one  hand, and a  red equator
round his head which it had newly imprinted there.
     Mr  Dombey regarded this phenomenon with amazement and indignation, and
seemed by his looks  to appeal to Mrs Chick and Miss Tox  against it. Little
Paul, who had come in after Florence, backed towards Miss Tox as the Captain
waved his book, and stood on the defensive.
     'Now, Gay,' said Mr Dombey. 'What have you got to say to me?'
     Again the Captain observed,  as a general  opening of the  conversation
that could not fail to propitiate all parties, 'Wal'r, standby!'
     'I  am afraid,  Sir,' began Walter, trembling, and looking down  at the
ground, 'that I take a very great liberty in  coming - indeed,  I  am sure I
do.  I should hardly have had the courage to ask to see you, Sir, even after
coming down, I am afraid, if I had not overtaken Miss Dombey, and - '
     'Well!' said  Mr  Dombey,  following his  eyes  as  he  glanced at  the
attentive Florence, and frowning unconsciously as she  encouraged him with a
smile. 'Go on, if you please.'
     'Ay, ay,'  observed the Captain, considering it  incumbent on him, as a
point of good breeding, to support Mr Dombey. 'Well said! Go on, Wal'r.'
     Captain Cuttle ought to have been withered by the look which  Mr Dombey
bestowed upon him  in acknowledgment of his patronage. But quite innocent of
this, he  closed  one  eye  in reply,  and gave Mr Dombey to understand,  by
certain significant motions of his hook, that Walter was a little bashful at
first, and might be expected to come out shortly.
     'It is entirely  a private  and personal  matter, that  has brought  me
here, Sir,' continued Walter, faltering, 'and Captain Cuttle
     'Here!' interposed the Captain, as an  assurance  that  he was at hand,
and might be relied upon.
     'Who is a very old friend of my poor Uncle's, and a most excellent man,
Sir,' pursued Walter, raising  his eyes  with  a look  of  entreaty  in  the
Captain's  behalf, 'was so good as to  offer to come with  me, which I could
hardly refuse.'
     'No, no, no;'  observed the Captain  complacently.  'Of course not.  No
call for refusing. Go on, Wal'r.'
     'And therefore, Sir,' said Walter,  venturing to meet Mr Dombey's  eye,
and proceeding  with better courage in the very desperation of the case, now
that there was no avoiding it, 'therefore I have come, with him, Sir, to say
that  my poor  old  Uncle is  in  very great affliction and  distress. That,
through the  gradual loss of  his business,  and  not being able  to make  a
payment, the  apprehension of which  has weighed very heavily upon his mind,
months and  months, as indeed I know, Sir, he has an execution in his house,
and is in danger of losing all he has,  and  breaking his heart. And that if
you  would,  in your  kindness,  and  in  your  old knowledge of  him  as  a
respectable  man, do anything to help  him out of his  difficulty,  Sir,  we
never could thank you enough for it.'
     Walter's  eyes filled with tears  as  he  spoke;  and so  did those  of
Florence.  Her  father  saw them glistening, though  he appeared to look  at
Walter only.
     'It is a  very large sum, Sir,'  said Walter. 'More than three  hundred
pounds. My Uncle is quite beaten down by his misfortune, it lies so heavy on
him; and is quite unable to do anything for his own relief. He doesn't  even
know  yet, that I have come to speak to you. You would wish me to say, Sir,'
added Walter, after  a  moment's hesitation, 'exactly what  it  is I want. I
really don't know, Sir. There is my Uncle's stock, on which I believe  I may
say, confidently, there are no  other demands, and there is  Captain Cuttle,
who  would wish  to be  security too.  I -  I  hardly like to mention,' said
Walter, 'such earnings as mine; but if you would allow  them -  accumulate -
payment -  advance - Uncle  -  frugal, honourable,  old man.' Walter trailed
off, through these broken  sentences, into  silence: and stood with downcast
head, before his employer.
     Considering this  a favourable moment for the display of the valuables,
Captain  Cuttle  advanced  to the  table; and  clearing  a  space among  the
breakfast-cups at  Mr  Dombey's elbow,  produced the silver watch, the ready
money, the teaspoons, and the sugar-tongs;  and  piling them up into  a heap
that  they might  look  as precious  as possible, delivered himself of these
     'Half a  loaf's better than  no  bread, and the same  remark holds good
with crumbs. There's a  few. Annuity of one hundred pound premium also ready
to be made over. If  there is a man chock full of science in the world, it's
old  Sol  Gills. If  there is  a lad of  promise -  one flowing,' added  the
Captain,  in one of his happy quotations, 'with milk  and  honey -  it's his
     The Captain then withdrew to his former place, where he stood arranging
his scattered locks with the air of a man  who had given the finishing touch
to a difficult performance.
     When Walter  ceased to speak, Mr Dombey's eyes were attracted to little
Paul, who, seeing his sister hanging down her head  and silently  weeping in
her  commiseration for the  distress she  had heard described, went over  to
her, and  tried to comfort  her: looking at Walter and  his father as he did
so, with a  very expressive face. After the momentary distraction of Captain
Cuttle's address, which he regarded with lofty indifference, Mr Dombey again
turned his eyes upon his son, and sat steadily regarding the child, for some
moments, in silence.
     'What was  this debt contracted for?' asked Mr Dombey, at length.  'Who
is the creditor?'
     'He  don't  know,'  replied the Captain,  putting his  hand on Walter's
shoulder.  'I do. It came of helping a man that's dead now, and that's  cost
my friend Gills  many a hundred pound  already. More particulars in private,
if agreeable.'
     'People who have enough to do to hold  their  own way,' said Mr Dombey,
unobservant of  the Captain's  mysterious signs  behind  Walter,  and  still
looking  at  his son,  'had better be content with their own obligations and
difficulties, and not increase  them by engaging for other men. It is an act
of  dishonesty  and  presumption,  too,'  said  Mr Dombey,  sternly;  'great
presumption; for the wealthy could do no more. Paul, come here!'
     The child obeyed: and Mr Dombey took him on his knee.
     'If you had money now - ' said Mr Dombey. 'Look at me!'
     Paul, whose eyes had wandered to his sister, and to  Walter, looked his
father in the face.
     'If you had money now,' said Mr Dombey; 'as much money as young Gay has
talked about; what would you do?'
     'Give it to his old Uncle,' returned Paul.
     'Lend it to his old Uncle, eh?' retorted Mr Dombey. 'Well! When you are
old  enough,  you know,  you  will  share  my  money,  and we  shall  use it
     'Dombey and Son,' interrupted Paul, who had been tutored early  in  the
     'Dombey  and Son,'  repeated his father. 'Would you like to begin to be
Dombey and Son, now, and lend this money to young Gay's Uncle?'
     'Oh! if you please, Papa!' said Paul: 'and so would Florence.'
     'Girls,' said Mr Dombey, 'have nothing to do with Dombey and Son. Would
you like it?'
     'Yes, Papa, yes!'
     'Then  you shall do it,' returned  his father.  'And you see, Paul,' he
added, dropping his voice, 'how powerful money  is, and how  anxious  people
are to get  it. Young Gay comes all this way to beg for money, and  you, who
are so grand  and great,  having got it, are  going to let him have it, as a
great favour and obligation.'
     Paul  turned  up the old face for a  moment, in which there was a sharp
understanding of the reference conveyed  in these words: but it was a  young
and childish  face immediately afterwards,  when  he  slipped down from  his
father's  knee, and  ran to tell Florence not  to  cry any more, for  he was
going to let young Gay have the money.
     Mr Dombey then turned to a side-table,  and wrote a note and sealed it.
During the  interval, Paul and  Florence whispered  to  Walter,  and Captain
Cuttle  beamed on the three,  with such aspiring and ineffably  presumptuous
thoughts as Mr Dombey never could have believed in. The note being finished,
Mr Dombey turned round to his former place, and held it out to Walter.
     'Give that,' he said, 'the first thing to-morrow morning, to Mr Carker.
He will immediately take care that one of my people releases your Uncle from
his  present  position,  by  paying  the amount  at  issue;  and  that  such
arrangements  are made for  its repayment as  may be  consistent  with  your
Uncle's circumstances. You will consider that this is done for you by Master
     Walter,  in  the emotion of holding in his hand the  means of releasing
his good Uncle from his trouble, would have endeavoured to express something
of his gratitude and joy. But Mr Dombey stopped him short.
     'You will consider that  it is  done,' he repeated, 'by Master  Paul. I
have  explained that  to  him, and he understands it. I wish  no more to  be
     As  he  motioned towards the door,  Walter  could only bow his head and
retire. Miss Tox, seeing  that the Captain  appeared  about to do  the same,
     'My  dear Sir,' she said, addressing  Mr Dombey,  at  whose munificence
both she  and Mrs  Chick  were shedding tears copiously; 'I  think  you have
overlooked something. Pardon me, Mr Dombey, I think, in the nobility of your
character, and its exalted scope, you have omitted a matter of detail.'
     'Indeed, Miss Tox!' said Mr Dombey.
     'The gentleman with the -  Instrument,'  pursued Miss  Tox, glancing at
Captain Cuttle, 'has left upon the table, at your elbow - '
     'Good Heaven!' said Mr  Dombey, sweeping  the  Captain's property  from
him,  as if it were  so much crumb  indeed. 'Take  these things  away.  I am
obliged  to  you,  Miss  Tox;  it  is like  your  usual discretion. Have the
goodness to take these things away, Sir!'
     Captain Cuttle felt he  had no alternative but to comply. But he was so
much  struck by the  magnanimity of  Mr Dombey, in refusing  treasures lying
heaped  up  to his  hand, that  when  he  had  deposited  the  teaspoons and
sugar-tongs in one pocket, and  the  ready money in another, and had lowered
the great watch down slowly into its proper vault, he could not refrain from
seizing that gentleman's right hand in his  own  solitary left, and while he
held it open with his powerful fingers, bringing the hook down upon its palm
in a  transport of  admiration. At this touch of warm feeling and cold iron,
Mr Dombey shivered all over.
     Captain Cuttle then  kissed his hook to the ladies  several times, with
great  elegance and gallantry; and having taken  a particular leave  of Paul
and Florence, accompanied Walter out of the room. Florence was running after
them in the  earnestness of her heart, to send some message to old Sol, when
Mr Dombey called her back, and bade her stay where she was.
     'Will  you never  be  a Dombey,  my dear  child!' said Mrs  Chick, with
pathetic reproachfulness.
     'Dear aunt,'  said Florence. 'Don't be angry  with me. I am so thankful
to Papa!'
     She would have run and thrown her arms about his neck if she had dared;
but as she did not dare, she glanced with  thankful eyes  towards him, as he
sat musing; sometimes bestowing  an uneasy glance on her, but, for the  most
part, watching Paul, who walked about the room with the new-blown dignity of
having let young Gay have the money.
     And young Gay - Walter- what of him?
     He  was  overjoyed to purge  the  old  man's  hearth from bailiffs  and
brokers, and  to  hurry back to  his  Uncle with the  good  tidings.  He was
overjoyed to  have it all arranged and settled next day before noon; and  to
sit down  at  evening in  the little back  parlour  with old Sol and Captain
Cuttle;  and to  see the Instrument-maker already reviving, and hopeful  for
the future, and feeling  that the wooden Midshipman was his own  again.  But
without  the  least impeachment of  his gratitude to Mr  Dombey, it must  be
confessed that  Walter was  humbled and  cast  down. It is  when our budding
hopes  are nipped beyond  recovery by some rough wind, that we are the  most
disposed to picture to ourselves what flowers they might have borne, if they
had  flourished; and now, when Walter found  himself cut off from that great
Dombey height, by the  depth of a new and terrible tumble, and felt that all
his old wild fancies had been scattered to the winds in  the fall, he  began
to suspect that they might have led him  on to harmless visions  of aspiring
to Florence in the remote distance of time.
     The Captain viewed the subject in quite a different  light. He appeared
to  entertain a belief  that the interview  at  which he had assisted was so
very satisfactory and encouraging, as to be only a step or two removed  from
a regular betrothal of Florence to Walter; and that the late transaction had
immensely  forwarded, if  not  thoroughly  established,  the  Whittingtonian
hopes.  Stimulated by this conviction, and by the improvement in the spirits
of his old friend, and by his  own consequent gaiety,  he even attempted, in
favouring them  with the ballad of  'Lovely Peg' for the third  time  in one
evening, to make an extemporaneous substitution of the name 'Florence;'  but
finding this difficult, on account of the word Peg invariably rhyming to leg
(in which personal beauty  the original was described as having excelled all
competitors),  he hit upon  the happy thought of  changing  it to  Fle-e-eg;
which he accordingly did, with an archness almost supernatural, and  a voice
quite vociferous, notwithstanding that  the time  was close at band when  he
must seek the abode of the dreadful Mrs MacStinger.
     That same evening the Major  was diffuse at his club, on the subject of
his friend Dombey in the City. 'Damme, Sir,' said the Major, 'he's a prince,
is my friend Dombey in the City. I tell you what, Sir. If you had a few more
men among you  like old Joe Bagstock and my friend Dombey in the  City, Sir,
you'd do!'

     Paul's Introduction to a New Scene
     Mrs Pipchin's constitution was made of such hard metal, in spite of its
liability to  the  fleshly weaknesses of  standing in  need of repose  after
chops, and  of requiring to be  coaxed  to sleep by  the soporific agency of
sweet-breads,  that it utterly set at naught the  predictions of Mrs Wickam,
and showed no symptoms of decline. Yet,  as Paul's rapt interest in  the old
lady continued unbated, Mrs Wickam would not budge an inch from the position
she had taken up. Fortifying and entrenching herself on the strong ground of
her Uncle's  Betsey Jane,  she  advised Miss Berry, as  a friend, to prepare
herself for the worst; and forewarned her that her  aunt might, at any time,
be expected to go off suddenly, like a powder-mill.
     'I hope, Miss Berry,'  Mrs Wickam would observe, 'that you'll come into
whatever little property there may be to leave.  You deserve it, I am  sure,
for yours is a trying life. Though there don't seem much worth coming into -
you'll excuse my being so open - in this dismal den.'
     Poor  Berry took it all in  good part,  and  drudged and slaved away as
usual; perfectly  convinced that Mrs Pipchin was one of the most meritorious
persons in the world, and making every day innumerable sacrifices of herself
upon the altar of that noble old  woman.  But all these immolations of Berry
were somehow carried  to the  credit of Mrs Pipchin by Mrs Pipchin's friends
and  admirers;  and  were  made to  harmonise  with,  and  carry  out,  that
melancholy fact of the deceased Mr Pipchin having  broken his  heart  in the
Peruvian mines.
     For example,  there  was an honest  grocer  and  general  dealer in the
retail  line of  business,  between whom  and Mrs Pipchin there was  a small
memorandum book, with  a  greasy  red cover,  perpetually  in question,  and
concerning  which divers secret councils  and  conferences were  continually
being held between the parties to that  register, on the mat in the passage,
and with closed doors in the parlour. Nor were there wanting dark hints from
Master Bitherstone (whose temper had been made revengeful by the solar heats
of India  acting on his blood), of balances unsettled, and  of a failure, on
one occasion within his  memory, in  the supply  of moist sugar at tea-time.
This grocer being a bachelor and  not  a man who looked upon the surface for
beauty, had  once made honourable offers  for  the hand of  Berry, which Mrs
Pipchin had, with contumely and scorn, rejected. Everybody said how laudable
this was in Mrs Pipchin, relict of a man who had died of the Peruvian mines;
and what a staunch, high,  independent  spirit the old lady had. But  nobody
said anything about poor Berry, who cried for six weeks (being soundly rated
by  her good aunt  all  the  time), and  lapsed  into  a state  of  hopeless
     'Berry's very fond of you, ain't she?' Paul once asked Mrs Pipchin when
they were sitting by the fire with the cat.
     'Yes,' said Mrs Pipchin.
     'Why?' asked Paul.
     'Why!'  returned  the disconcerted  old  lady. 'How  can  you  ask such
things, Sir! why are you fond of your sister Florence?'
     'Because she's very good,' said Paul. 'There's nobody like Florence.'
     'Well!' retorted Mrs Pipchin, shortly,  'and there's  nobody like me, I
     'Ain't there really though?' asked Paul, leaning forward in  his chair,
and looking at her very hard.
     'No,' said the old lady.
     'I  am  glad of that,' observed Paul,  rubbing his  hands thoughtfully.
'That's a very good thing.'
     Mrs  Pipchin didn't dare to  ask him  why, lest she should receive some
perfectly  annihilating  answer.  But  as  a  compensation  to  her  wounded
feelings, she  harassed  Master Bitherstone to  that extent  until bed-time,
that he began that very night to make arrangements for an overland return to
India, by secreting  from his supper  a quarter of  a round  of  bread and a
fragment  of moist Dutch cheese, as the beginning of a stock of provision to
support him on the voyage.
     Mrs Pipchin had kept watch and ward over little Paul and his sister for
nearly twelve months. They had been home twice, but only for a few days; and
had been  constant  in their weekly  visits to  Mr Dombey at the  hotel.  By
little and little  Paul had grown stronger, and had  become able to dispense
with his carriage;  though he  still looked  thin  and  delicate; and  still
remained the  same old,  quiet,  dreamy child  that  he had been  when first
consigned to Mrs  Pipchin's  care.  One Saturday afternoon,  at  dusk, great
consternation  was occasioned in the Castle by the unlooked-for announcement
of Mr Dombey as a visitor  to Mrs Pipchin. The population of the parlour was
immediately  swept upstairs as on the  wings of a whirlwind, and  after much
slamming of  bedroom doors, and trampling overhead,  and some knocking about
of Master Bitherstone by Mrs Pipchin, as a relief to the perturbation of her
spirits, the  black bombazeen garments  of the  worthy old lady darkened the
audience-chamber where  Mr Dombey was contemplating the vacant arm-chair  of
his son and heir.
     'Mrs Pipchin,' said Mr Dombey, 'How do you do?'
     'Thank you, Sir,' said Mrs Pipchin, 'I am pretty well, considering.'
     Mrs Pipchin always used that form of  words. It  meant, considering her
virtues, sacrifices, and so forth.
     'I  can't expect, Sir, to  be very well,' said  Mrs Pipchin,  taking  a
chair  and fetching her  breath; 'but such  health as I have, I  am grateful
     Mr Dombey  inclined his  head with the satisfied  air of a patron,  who
felt that this was  the sort of thing for  which he  paid so much a quarter.
After a moment's silence he went on to say:
     'Mrs  Pipchin, I have taken the  liberty of calling, to consult you  in
reference to my  son. I have had it in my mind to do so  for some time past;
but  have deferred it from time to time,  in order that his health  might be
thoroughly  re-established.  You  have no  misgivings on that  subject,  Mrs
     'Brighton has proved very beneficial, Sir,' returned Mrs Pipchin. 'Very
beneficial, indeed.'
     'I purpose,' said Mr Dombey, 'his remaining at Brighton.'
     Mrs Pipchin rubbed her hands, and bent her grey eyes on the fire.
     'But,' pursued Mr Dombey, stretching  out his forefinger, 'but possibly
that he should now make a change, and lead a different kind of life here. In
short, Mrs  Pipchin, that is the object of my visit. My  son is  getting on,
Mrs Pipchin. Really, he is getting on.'
     There was  something  melancholy  in the  triumphant air  with which Mr
Dombey said this. It showed how  long Paul's childish life  had been to him,
and  how  his hopes were set upon a later  stage of his  existence. Pity may
appear a strange word to connect with anyone so haughty and so cold, and yet
he seemed a worthy subject for it at that moment.
     'Six years old!'  said Mr Dombey, settling  his neckcloth -  perhaps to
hide an irrepressible smile that rather seemed to strike upon the surface of
his  face and glance away,  as finding no resting-place, than to  play there
for an instant. 'Dear me, six will be changed to  sixteen,  before  we  have
time to look about us.'
     'Ten  years,'  croaked  the  unsympathetic  Pipchin,   with  a   frosty
glistening  of her hard grey eye, and a dreary shaking of her bent head, 'is
a long time.'
     'It  depends on circumstances, returned Mr  Dombey; 'at all events, Mrs
Pipchin, my son is six years old, and there is no doubt, I fear, that in his
studies  he  is  behind  many children of his age  - or  his youth,' said Mr
Dombey, quickly  answering what he mistrusted  was a  shrewd twinkle of  the
frosty eye, 'his youth  is a  more appropriate expression. Now, Mrs Pipchin,
instead  of  being behind  his peers,  my son ought  to be before them;  far
before  them. There is  an eminence ready for him  to mount upon.  There  is
nothing of chance or doubt  in the course before my son. His way in life was
clear and prepared, and marked out before  he existed. The education of such
a young gentleman must not  be  delayed. It must not  be left imperfect.  It
must be very steadily and seriously undertaken, Mrs Pipchin.'
     'Well, Sir,' said Mrs Pipchin, 'I can say nothing to the contrary.'
     'I was quite sure, Mrs Pipchin,' returned Mr Dombey, approvingly, 'that
a person of your good sense could not, and would not.'
     'There is  a great deal of nonsense  - and worse  - talked  about young
people not being pressed too  hard at  first, and being tempted on,  and all
the rest of it, Sir,' said Mrs Pipchin, impatiently rubbing her hooked nose.
'It never was thought of in my time, and it has no business to be thought of
now. My opinion is "keep 'em at it".'
     'My good  madam,'  returned  Mr Dombey, 'you  have  not  acquired  your
reputation  undeservedly; and  I  beg you to believe, Mrs Pipchin, that I am
more than satisfied with your excellent system of management, and shall have
the greatest pleasure in commending it whenever my poor commendation - '  Mr
Dombey's loftiness when he affected  to disparage his own importance, passed
all  bounds  -  'can  be  of any service. I  have  been  thinking  of Doctor
Blimber's, Mrs Pipchin.'
     'My neighbour,  Sir?' said Mrs Pipchin. 'I believe  the Doctor's  is an
excellent establishment.  I've heard that it's very strictly  conducted, and
there is nothing but learning going on from morning to night.'
     'And it's very expensive,' added Mr Dombey.
     'And it's very expensive,  Sir,' returned Mrs  Pipchin, catching at the
fact, as if in omitting that, she had omitted one of its leading merits.
     'I have had some communication  with the  Doctor, Mrs Pipchin,' said Mr
Dombey, hitching his  chair anxiously a  little nearer to  the fire, 'and he
does  not  consider  Paul  at all  too young for his  purpose. He  mentioned
several  instances of boys in  Greek  at about the  same age. If  I have any
little uneasiness in my own  mind,  Mrs  Pipchin,  on  the  subject  of this
change,  it  is not  on that  head.  My  son not having known  a mother  has
gradually concentrated  much -  too much - of his childish affection on  his
sister. Whether their separation - ' Mr Dombey said no more, but sat silent.
     'Hoity-toity!'  exclaimed  Mrs Pipchin, shaking out her black bombazeen
skirts, and plucking up all the ogress within her. 'If she don't like it, Mr
Dombey, she must be taught to lump it.' The good lady apologised immediately
afterwards for using so common a figure of speech, but said (and truly) that
that was the way she reasoned with 'em.
     Mr Dombey waited until Mrs Pipchin  had  done bridling and shaking  her
head,  and frowning down a legion of Bitherstones and Pankeys; and then said
quietly, but correctively, 'He, my good madam, he.'
     Mrs Pipchin's system would have applied very much the same mode of cure
to any  uneasiness on the part  of Paul, too; but  as the  hard grey eye was
sharp  enough  to see that the  recipe, however Mr Dombey  might  admit  its
efficacy in the case  of the  daughter, was  not a  sovereign remedy for the
son,  she argued the point; and contended that change, and new society,  and
the  different  form of  life he  would lead at Doctor  Blimber's,  and  the
studies  he  would  have  to  master,  would   very  soon  prove  sufficient
alienations. As this chimed in with Mr Dombey's own hope and belief, it gave
that gentleman a still higher opinion of Mrs Pipchin's understanding; and as
Mrs Pipchin, at the same time, bewailed  the loss of  her dear little friend
(which  was  not an  overwhelming shock to her, as she had long expected it,
and had not looked, in the beginning, for his remaining with her longer than
three   months),  he  formed  an  equally  good  opinion  of  Mrs  Pipchin's
disinterestedness. It  was  plain  that  he  had  given  the subject anxious
consideration, for he  had formed a plan, which he announced to  the ogress,
of sending Paul to the Doctor's as a weekly boarder for the first half year,
during  which time Florence  would  remain at  the  Castle,  that  she might
receive her brother there, on Saturdays. This would wean him by  degrees, Mr
Dombey said;  possibly with a recollection of his not having been  weaned by
degrees on a former occasion.
     Mr  Dombey  finished  the  interview  by  expressing his hope that  Mrs
Pipchin would still remain  in office as general superintendent and overseer
of  his  son, pending his studies at Brighton;  and having  kissed Paul, and
shaken hands with Florence, and  beheld Master Bitherstone in  his collar of
state, and made Miss Pankey cry by  patting her on the head (in which region
she was uncommonly tender, on account of a habit Mrs Pipchin had of sounding
it with her  knuckles, like  a cask), he withdrew  to his  hotel and dinner:
resolved that Paul, now that he was getting  so old and well, should begin a
vigorous course of education  forthwith, to qualify  him for the position in
which  he was  to shine;  and that Doctor  Blimber should  take him in  hand
     Whenever  a young  gentleman  was taken  in hand by  Doctor Blimber, he
might  consider himself  sure of  a  pretty  tight squeeze.  The Doctor only
undertook the charge of ten  young gentlemen, but  he  had, always ready,  a
supply of learning for a hundred, on the lowest estimate; and it was at once
the business and delight of his life to gorge the unhappy ten with it.
     In fact, Doctor Blimber's establishment was a great hot-house, in which
there was a forcing apparatus incessantly at work. All the  boys blew before
their time. Mental green-peas  were produced at  Christmas, and intellectual
asparagus all the year round. Mathematical gooseberries (very sour ones too)
were  common at untimely seasons, and from  mere  sprouts  of bushes,  under
Doctor Blimber's cultivation. Every description of Greek and Latin vegetable
was got  off the driest  twigs of boys,  under  the frostiest circumstances.
Nature was of  no consequence at all. No matter  what a young  gentleman was
intended to bear, Doctor Blimber made him bear to pattern, somehow or other.
     This was all very pleasant and ingenious, but the system of forcing was
attended  with its usual disadvantages. There was not the right  taste about
the  premature productions, and they didn't  keep well.  Moreover, one young
gentleman, with  a swollen nose and an excessively large head (the oldest of
the ten who had 'gone  through'  everything), suddenly left  off blowing one
day, and remained in the establishment a mere stalk. And people did say that
the Doctor had rather  overdone it  with young Toots, and that when he began
to have whiskers he left off having brains.
     There young Toots was, at any rate; possessed of the gruffest of voices
and the  shrillest of minds; sticking  ornamental pins  into  his shirt, and
keeping a ring in  his  waistcoat  pocket to put  on  his  little  finger by
stealth, when  the pupils  went out walking;  constantly falling in  love by
sight with nurserymaids, who had no idea of  his existence; and  looking  at
the  gas-lighted world  over the little iron  bars  in the  left-hand corner
window  of the  front three pairs of stairs, after bed-time,  like a greatly
overgrown cherub who had sat up aloft much too long.
     The Doctor was a portly gentleman in  a suit of black, with strings  at
his knees, and stockings below  them. He had a bald head, highly polished; a
deep  voice; and a chin  so  very double, that  it was  a wonder how he ever
managed  to shave  into the creases. He had likewise  a pair  of little eyes
that were always  half shut  up, and a mouth that  was  always half expanded
into a grin, as  if  he had, that moment,  posed a  boy, and were waiting to
convict him from his own lips. Insomuch, that when the Doctor put his  right
hand into  the breast of his coat, and with his other hand behind him, and a
fly perceptible wag of his head, made the commonest observation to a nervous
stranger, it was like a sentiment from the sphynx, and settled his business.
     The Doctor's  was a  mighty fine house,  fronting the sea. Not a joyful
style of house within, but quite the contrary.  Sad-coloured curtains, whose
proportions  were  spare  and lean, hid  themselves despondently  behind the
windows. The tables and chairs were put away in rows, like figures in a sum;
fires were so  rarely lighted in the rooms of ceremony, that they felt  like
wells, and a visitor represented the bucket; the dining-room seemed the last
place in the world where any eating or drinking was likely  to  occur; there
was no sound through all the  house but  the ticking of a great clock in the
hall, which made itself audible  in the very  garrets;  and sometimes a dull
cooing of  young gentlemen  at  their  lessons,  like  the murmurings  of an
assemblage of melancholy pigeons.
     Miss Blimber,  too,  although  a slim  and graceful maid,  did  no soft
violence to the gravity of the house. There was no light nonsense about Miss
Blimber. She kept her hair short and crisp, and wore spectacles. She was dry
and sandy with working in the  graves of deceased  languages.  None of  your
live languages for Miss Blimber. They must be  dead -  stone dead - and then
Miss Blimber dug them up like a Ghoul.
     Mrs Blimber, her Mama,  was not learned  herself,  but she pretended to
be, and  that did  quite as  well. She said at  evening parties, that if she
could have known Cicero, she  thought she could have died  contented. It was
the steady  joy of her  life  to  see  the  Doctor's young  gentlemen go out
walking,  unlike  all  other  young   gentlemen,  in  the  largest  possible
shirt-collars,  and the stiffest possible cravats. It was  so classical, she
     As  to Mr  Feeder, B.A.,  Doctor Blimber's assistant, he was a kind  of
human barrel-organ, with  a little list of tunes at which he was continually
working, over and over  again,  without any variation. He  might  have  been
fitted up  with a change of barrels, perhaps, in early life, if his  destiny
had been favourable; but it had  not been;  and he had only one, with which,
in a monotonous round, it was his occupation  to bewilder the young ideas of
Doctor  Blimber's young gentlemen. The young gentlemen were prematurely full
of  carking anxieties.  They knew no rest  from the pursuit of stony-hearted
verbs, savage  noun-substantives, inflexible  syntactic passages, and ghosts
of  exercises that  appeared  to  them in their dreams.  Under  the  forcing
system, a young gentleman usually took leave of his  spirits in three weeks.
He had all the cares of the  world on his head in three months. He conceived
bitter sentiments  against his parents or guardians in four; he  was  an old
misanthrope, in  five;  envied Curtius that blessed refuge in  the earth, in
six; and  at the end of the first twelvemonth had arrived at the conclusion,
from which he never afterwards departed, that all  the fancies of the poets,
and  lessons of  the sages, were a mere collection of words and grammar, and
had no other meaning in the world.
     But he  went on blow, blow, blowing, in the Doctor's hothouse,  all the
time;  and the Doctor's glory  and reputation were  great, when he took  his
wintry growth home to his relations and friends.
     Upon  the Doctor's  door-steps  one day, Paul  stood with a  fluttering
heart, and with his small right hand in  his father's.  His other  hand  was
locked in that of Florence. How tight the tiny pressure of that one; and how
loose and cold the other!
     Mrs Pipchin hovered behind the victim, with her sable plumage  and  her
hooked beak, like a bird of ill-omen. She was out of breath - for Mr Dombey,
full of great thoughts, had walked  fast -  and she croaked hoarsely as  she
waited for the opening of the door.
     'Now, Paul,' said Mr Dombey, exultingly. 'This is  the way indeed to be
Dombey and Son, and have money. You are almost a man already.'
     'Almost,' returned the child.
     Even  his childish agitation could not  master  the sly and quaint  yet
touching look, with which he accompanied the reply.
     It brought a vague expression of dissatisfaction into Mr Dombey's face;
but the door being opened, it was quickly gone
     'Doctor Blimber is at home, I believe?' said Mr Dombey.
     The man said yes; and as they passed in, looked at Paul as if he were a
little mouse, and the house were a trap. He was  a weak-eyed young man, with
the first faint streaks or early  dawn of a grin  on his countenance. It was
mere  imbecility;  but  Mrs Pipchin  took  it  into  her  head  that  it was
impudence, and made a snap at him directly.
     'How  dare you  laugh behind  the gentleman's back?' said  Mrs Pipchin.
'And what do you take me for?'
     'I  ain't  a laughing at  nobody,  and I'm sure  I don't  take  you for
nothing, Ma'am,' returned the young man, in consternation.
     'A pack of idle dogs!' said Mrs  Pipchin, 'only fit to be turnspits. Go
and tell your master that Mr Dombey's here, or it'll be worse for you!'
     The weak-eyed young man went, very meekly, to discharge himself of this
commission; and soon came back to invite them to the Doctor's study.
     'You're  laughing again,  Sir,' said Mrs Pipchin,  when it  came to her
turn, bringing up the rear, to pass him in the hall.
     'I ain't,' returned the young man, grievously  oppressed.  'I never see
such a thing as this!'
     'What  is the matter, Mrs  Pipchin?'  said Mr  Dombey,  looking  round.
'Softly! Pray!'
     Mrs Pipchin, in her deference,  merely muttered at the young man as she
passed on, and said, 'Oh! he was a precious fellow' - leaving the young man,
who was all meekness and incapacity, affected even to tears by the incident.
But  Mrs  Pipchin  had a way  of falling  foul of  all meek people; and  her
friends said who could wonder at it, after the Peruvian mines!
     The Doctor was sitting in his  portentous  study, with a globe  at each
knee,  books  all round  him,  Homer  over  the  door,  and  Minerva  on the
mantel-shelf. 'And how do you do, Sir?' he said to Mr Dombey, 'and how is my
little  friend?'  Grave as  an  organ was the Doctor's speech; and  when  he
ceased, the great clock in  the  hall seemed (to  Paul at least) to take him
up, and to go on saying,  'how, is, my, lit, tle, friend?  how, is, my, lit,
tle, friend?' over and over and over again.
     The  little  friend  being something too small to be seen  at all  from
where  the  Doctor sat, over the books on his table, the Doctor made several
futile  attempts  to get  a  view of him round  the  legs;  which  Mr Dombey
perceiving, relieved the Doctor from his embarrassment by taking  Paul up in
his arms, and sitting him on  another little table, over against the Doctor,
in the middle of the room.
     'Ha!' said the Doctor,  leaning  back in his chair with his hand in his
breast. 'Now I see my little friend. How do you do, my little friend?'
     The clock in the hall wouldn't subscribe to this alteration in the form
of words, but continued  to repeat how, is, my, lit, tle, friend?  how,  is,
my, lit, tle, friend?'
     'Very well, I thank you, Sir,' returned Paul, answering the clock quite
as much as the Doctor.
     'Ha!' said Doctor Blimber. 'Shall we make a man of him?'
     'Do you hear, Paul?' added Mr Dombey; Paul being silent.
     'Shall we make a man of him?' repeated the Doctor.
     'I had rather be a child,' replied Paul.
     'Indeed!' said the Doctor. 'Why?'
     The child sat on the table looking at him, with a curious expression of
suppressed emotion in his face, and beating one  hand proudly on his knee as
if he had the rising tears beneath it, and  crushed them. But his other hand
strayed a little way the  while, a  little farther  - farther from him yet -
until it lighted on  the  neck of Florence. 'This is why,' it seemed to say,
and  then  the steady look  was  broken up and  gone; the  working  lip  was
loosened; and the tears came streaming forth.
     'Mrs  Pipchin,'  said his father, in a querulous  manner, 'I  am really
very sorry to see this.'
     'Come away from him, do, Miss Dombey,' quoth the matron.
     'Never mind,' said the Doctor,  blandly nodding  his  head, to keep Mrs
Pipchin  back.  'Never  mind;   we  shall  substitute  new  cares   and  new
impressions, Mr Dombey, very shortly. You would still wish  my little friend
to acquire - '
     'Everything, if you please, Doctor,' returned Mr Dombey, firmly.
     'Yes,' said the Doctor, who, with  his  half-shut  eyes,  and his usual
smile, seemed to survey Paul with the sort of interest that might  attach to
some choice little animal he was going to stuff. 'Yes, exactly. Ha! We shall
impart a  great variety of information to our little  friend, and bring  him
quickly forward,  I daresay.  I  daresay. Quite a virgin soil, I believe you
said, Mr Dombey?'
     'Except some ordinary preparation at home, and from this lady,' replied
Mr Dombey, introducing Mrs Pipchin, who instantly communicated a rigidity to
her  whole  muscular system, and snorted defiance beforehand,  in  case  the
Doctor should disparage  her;  'except so  far, Paul  has,  as yet,  applied
himself to no studies at all.'
     Doctor  Blimber  inclined   his  head,  in  gentle  tolerance  of  such
insignificant poaching as Mrs Pipchin's, and said he was glad to hear it. It
was much more satisfactory, he observed, rubbing his hands, to begin  at the
foundation. And again he leered at Paul, as if he would have liked to tackle
him with the Greek alphabet, on the spot.
     'That  circumstance,  indeed,  Doctor  Blimber,'  pursued  Mr   Dombey,
glancing at  his  little  son, 'and the  interview  I  have already  had the
pleasure  of  holding  with  you,  renders  any  further   explanation,  and
consequently,  any further intrusion on  your valuable time, so unnecessary,
that - '
     'Now, Miss Dombey!' said the acid Pipchin.
     'Permit me,' said  the  Doctor, 'one moment.  Allow me  to present  Mrs
Blimber  and my daughter; who  will be associated  with the domestic life of
our young Pilgrim to Parnassus Mrs Blimber,'  for the  lady, who had perhaps
been in waiting, opportunely  entered,  followed by her daughter,  that fair
Sexton  in  spectacles,  'Mr  Dombey.  My daughter Cornelia,  Mr  Dombey. Mr
Dombey, my love,' pursued the Doctor, turning to his wife,  'is so confiding
as to - do you see our little friend?'
     Mrs Blimber, in an excess  of politeness, of  which  Mr  Dombey was the
object, apparently  did not, for she was  backing against the little friend,
and very much  endangering his position on the table. But, on this hint, she
turned  to  admire  his classical  and intellectual lineaments, and  turning
again to Mr Dombey, said, with a sigh, that she envied his dear son.
     'Like a  bee,  Sir,' said Mrs  Blimber,  with uplifted eyes,  'about to
plunge  into a garden  of  the choicest flowers, and sip  the sweets for the
first time Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Terence, Plautus, Cicero.  What a world  of
honey  have  we  here. It may  appear remarkable, Mr Dombey, in one who is a
wife - the wife of such a husband - '
     'Hush, hush,' said Doctor Blimber. 'Fie for shame.'
     'Mr  Dombey will forgive the  partiality  of a wife,' said Mrs Blimber,
with an engaging smile.
     Mr Dombey answered 'Not  at  all:' applying those  words, it  is  to be
presumed, to the partiality, and not to the forgiveness.
     'And it may seem remarkable in one  who is a mother also,' resumed  Mrs
     'And such a mother,' observed Mr Dombey, bowing with some confused idea
of being complimentary to Cornelia.
     'But  really,' pursued Mrs  Blimber,  'I  think  if I could  have known
Cicero, and  been his  friend,  and  talked  with him in  his  retirement at
Tusculum (beau-ti-ful Tusculum!), I could have died contented.'
     A  learned  enthusiasm is  so  very  contagious,  that  Mr Dombey  half
believed this was exactly his case; and even Mrs Pipchin, who was not, as we
have seen, of an accommodating  disposition  generally,  gave utterance to a
little  sound between  a groan and a  sigh, as if she  would  have said that
nobody but Cicero could have proved a lasting consolation under that failure
of  the Peruvian MInes, but that he indeed would have  been a very Davy-lamp
of refuge.
     Cornelia looked at Mr  Dombey through her spectacles,  as if  she would
have liked  to  crack  a  few  quotations  with  him from  the authority  in
question. But this design, if she entertained it, was frustrated by a  knock
at the room-door.
     'Who  is  that?'  said  the Doctor. 'Oh!  Come in,  Toots; come  in. Mr
Dombey, Sir.' Toots bowed. 'Quite a coincidence!' said Doctor Blimber. 'Here
we have the beginning and the end. Alpha and Omega Our head boy, Mr Dombey.'
     The Doctor might  have called him their  head and shoulders boy, for he
was at least that much taller than  any of the rest. He blushed very much at
finding himself among strangers, and chuckled aloud.
     'An  addition  to our  little  Portico,  Toots,'  said the  Doctor; 'Mr
Dombey's son.'
     Young  Toots blushed  again; and finding,  from a solemn  silence which
prevailed, that he was expected  to say something,  said to  Paul, 'How  are
you?' in a voice so  deep, and  a manner  so sheepish, that if  a  lamb  had
roared it couldn't have been more surprising.
     'Ask Mr Feeder, if  you please,  Toots,' said the Doctor, 'to prepare a
few introductory volumes for Mr Dombey's son, and to allot  him a convenient
seat for study. My dear, I believe Mr Dombey has not seen the dormitories.'
     'If Mr Dombey will  walk upstairs,' said Mrs  Blimber, 'I shall be more
than proud to show him the dominions of the drowsy god.'
     With that, Mrs Blimber, who was a  lady of  great  suavity, and a  wiry
figure, and who wore  a cap  composed  of sky-blue  materials, pied upstairs
with  Mr Dombey  and Cornelia; Mrs Pipchin following, and looking out  sharp
for her enemy the footman.
     While they were gone, Paul sat upon the table,  holding Florence by the
hand,  and glancing timidly from the Doctor round  and round the room, while
the Doctor, leaning back in his chair, with his hand in his breast as usual,
held a  book  from him at  arm's length, and read. There was  something very
awful in this manner of reading. It  was such  a  determined, unimpassioned,
inflexible,  cold-blooded  way  of  going  to  work. It  left  the  Doctor's
countenance exposed to view; and  when the Doctor smiled suspiciously at his
author, or  knit his brows, or shook his  head and made wry faces at him, as
much as to say, 'Don't tell me, Sir; I know better,' it was terrific.
     Toots, too, had no  business  to be outside  the  door,  ostentatiously
examining  the wheels in  his watch, and counting his half-crowns. But  that
didn't  last  long; for Doctor Blimber, happening to change  the position of
his tight plump legs, as if he were going to get up, Toots swiftly vanished,
and appeared no more.
     Mr Dombey and his conductress were soon heard coming downstairs  again,
talking all the way; and presently they re-entered the Doctor's study.
     'I hope, Mr Dombey,' said the Doctor,  laying down  his book, 'that the
arrangements meet your approval.'
     'They are excellent, Sir,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Very fair,  indeed,' said  Mrs Pipchin, in a low voice; never disposed
to give too much encouragement.
     'Mrs  Pipchin,'  said  Mr  Dombey,  wheeling  round,  'will, with  your
permission, Doctor and Mrs Blimber, visit Paul now and then.'
     'Whenever Mrs Pipchin pleases,' observed the Doctor.
     'Always happy to see her,' said Mrs Blimber.
     'I think,'  said Mr  Dombey, 'I have given all the trouble I  need, and
may take my leave. Paul, my child,' he went close to him, as he sat upon the
table. 'Good-bye.'
     'Good-bye, Papa.'
     The limp  and  careless little hand  that Mr  Dombey took  in his,  was
singularly out of keeping with the wistful face. But he had no part  in  its
sorrowful expression. It was not addressed to him. No, no. To Florence - all
to Florence.
     If Mr  Dombey in his insolence of wealth, had ever  made an enemy, hard
to appease and cruelly vindictive in his hate, even such an enemy might have
received  the pang that wrung his proud heart then, as compensation  for his
     He bent down, over his boy, and kissed him. If his sight were dimmed as
he did so, by something that for  a moment blurred the little face, and made
it indistinct to him, his mental vision may have been, for that short  time,
the clearer perhaps.
     'I shall see you soon, Paul. You are free on Saturdays and Sundays, you
     'Yes,  Papa,' returned Paul: looking  at his  sister. 'On Saturdays and
     'And you'll try and learn a great deal here, and be a clever man,' said
Mr Dombey; 'won't you?'
     'I'll try,' returned the child, wearily.
     'And you'll soon be grown up now!' said Mr Dombey.
     'Oh! very soon!' replied the child. Once more the old, old look  passed
rapidly across  his features like a strange  light. It fell on Mrs  Pipchin,
and extinguished  itself in her  black dress.  That excellent ogress stepped
forward to take leave and  to  bear  off Florence, which  she  had long been
thirsting to do. The move on her part roused  Mr  Dombey,  whose  eyes  were
fixed on Paul. After patting him on  the head, and  pressing  his small hand
again, he took leave of Doctor Blimber, Mrs Blimber, and Miss Blimber,  with
his usual polite frigidity, and walked out of the study.
     Despite his  entreaty  that they would  not think  of  stirring, Doctor
Blimber, Mrs Blimber, and  Miss Blimber all pressed forward to attend him to
the hall; and thus Mrs  Pipchin got  into a state of entanglement  with Miss
Blimber and the Doctor, and was  crowded  out of the  study before she could
clutch Florence. To which happy accident  Paul stood afterwards indebted for
the  dear remembrance,  that Florence ran back to throw  her arms round  his
neck, and that  hers was  the last face  in the doorway: turned  towards him
with a  smile of encouragement, the brighter  for the tears through which it
     It made his childish bosom heave and swell  when it was gone; and  sent
the globes, the books, blind Homer and Minerva, swimming round the room. But
they stopped, all  of a sudden; and then he heard the loud clock in the hall
still gravely inquiring  'how,  is, my, lit, tle, friend? how, is,  my, lit,
tle, friend?' as it had done before.
     He sat, with  folded hands, upon his pedestal, silently  listening. But
he might have answered 'weary,  weary!  very lonely,  very sad!'  And there,
with  an aching void in his young heart, and all outside so cold, and  bare,
and  strange,  Paul  sat  as  if  he had  taken  life  unfurnished, and  the
upholsterer were never coming.

     Paul's Education
     After  the  lapse of  some minutes,  which appeared an immense time  to
little Paul Dombey on the table, Doctor Blimber came back. The Doctor's walk
was  stately,  and  calculated  to impress  the juvenile  mind  with  solemn
feelings.  It was a sort of march; but  when the Doctor  put out  his  right
foot, he gravely  turned upon  his axis, with a semi-circular sweep  towards
the left; and when he  put out his left foot, he turned in  the same  manner
towards the right. So that he seemed, at every stride he took, to look about
him as though he were saying, 'Can anybody have the goodness to indicate any
subject, in any direction, on which I am uninformed? I rather think not'
     Mrs Blimber and Miss Blimber came back in the Doctor's company; and the
Doctor,  lifting his new  pupil  off  the table, delivered him over to  Miss
     'Cornelia,' said  the Doctor, 'Dombey  will be your  charge  at  first.
Bring him on, Cornelia, bring him on.'
     Miss Blimber received her young ward from the Doctor's hands; and Paul,
feeling that the spectacles were surveying him, cast down his eyes.
     'How old are you, Dombey?' said Miss Blimber.
     'Six,'  answered  Paul,  wondering, as  he stole a glance at the  young
lady, why her hair didn't grow  long like Florence's, and why she was like a
     'How  much  do  you know  of  your  Latin Grammar, Dombey?'  said  Miss
     'None of  it,' answered Paul.  Feeling that the answer was  a  shock to
Miss  Blimber's sensibility, he  looked  up  at the three  faces  that  were
looking down at him, and said:
     'I  have'n't been well. I  have been  a  weak child. I couldn't learn a
Latin Grammar  when I was  out, every day, with old Glubb. I wish you'd tell
old Glubb to come and see me, if you please.'
     'What  a  dreadfully low  name' said  Mrs Blimber.  'Unclassical  to  a
degree! Who is the monster, child?'
     'What monster?' inquired Paul.
     'Glubb,' said Mrs Blimber, with a great disrelish.
     'He's no more a monster than you are,' returned Paul.
     'What!' cried the Doctor, in a terrible voice. 'Ay, ay, ay? Aha! What's
     Paul  was  dreadfully frightened; but  still  he made a  stand  for the
absent Glubb, though he did it trembling.
     'He's a very nice old man, Ma'am,' he said. 'He used  to draw my couch.
He knows all about the deep sea,  and the fish that are in it, and the great
monsters  that come  and lie  on rocks in the sun,  and dive into the  water
again when they're  startled, blowing and  splashing  so, that they  can  be
heard for miles.  There are some  creatures, said  Paul,  warming  with  his
subject, 'I  don't know how many yards  long, and I forget their  names, but
Florence knows, that  pretend to be in  distress; and when  a man  goes near
them, out of compassion, they open their great jaws, and attack him. But all
he has got to do,'  said Paul, boldly tendering this information to the very
Doctor himself,  'is to keep on  turning as he runs away, and then, as  they
turn  slowly, because they are so  long,  and can't  bend, he's sure to beat
them. And though old Glubb don't know why the sea should make me think of my
Mama that's dead, or what it is that it is always saying - always saying! he
knows a great deal about it. And I wish,' the child concluded, with a sudden
falling  of his countenance, and failing in his animation, as he looked like
one forlorn, upon the three strange faces, 'that  you'd let  old  Glubb come
here to see me, for I know him very well, and he knows me.
     'Ha!' said the Doctor,  shaking his head; 'this is  bad, but study will
do much.'
     Mrs Blimber opined,  with  something like  a  shiver, that  he  was  an
unaccountable  child; and, allowing for the difference of visage, looked  at
him pretty much as Mrs Pipchin had been used to do.
     'Take him round the house, Cornelia,' said the Doctor, 'and familiarise
him with his new sphere. Go with that young lady, Dombey.'
     Dombey obeyed; giving his hand to the abstruse Cornelia, and looking at
her  sideways,  with  timid  curiosity, as they went  away together. For her
spectacles,  by  reason  of  the glistening  of the  glasses,  made  her  so
mysterious, that he didn't  know where she  was looking,  and was not indeed
quite sure that she had any eyes at all behind them.
     Cornelia took him first  to  the schoolroom,  which was situated at the
back of the hall, and was approached through two baize doors, which deadened
and  muffled the  young  gentlemen's voices. Here,  there  were eight  young
gentlemen  in various  stages of mental prostration, all very hard at  work,
and very grave indeed. Toots, as an  old hand,  had a desk to himself in one
corner: and a  magnificent man,  of immense age, he looked, in  Paul's young
eyes, behind it.
     Mr Feeder,  B.A., who sat at  another little desk, had  his Virgil stop
on,  and was slowly  grinding  that  tune  to  four  young gentlemen. Of the
remaining four, two, who  grasped their foreheads convulsively, were engaged
in solving mathematical problems; one  with his  face like  a dirty  window,
from much  crying, was endeavouring to flounder through a hopeless number of
lines before dinner; and  one sat  looking at his task in stony stupefaction
and  despair  - which it  seemed had been his condition ever since breakfast
     The appearance of  a new  boy  did not create the sensation that  might
have been  expected. Mr Feeder, B.A. (who was in the  habit of  shaving  his
head for coolness, and  had  nothing but little bristles on it), gave  him a
bony  hand, and told him he was glad to see him - which Paul would have been
very  glad  to  have  told him,  if  he  could have  done  so with the least
sincerity.  Then Paul, instructed  by Cornelia, shook  hands  with  the four
young gentlemen  at Mr Feeder's desk; then with  the two  young gentlemen at
work on the problems, who were very feverish; then with  the young gentleman
at work against time, who was very inky; and lastly with the young gentleman
in a state of stupefaction, who was flabby and quite cold.
     Paul  having  been  already  introduced  to  Toots,  that pupil  merely
chuckled and breathed hard, as his custom was, and pursued the occupation in
which he was engaged. It  was not a severe one; for on account of his having
'gone through' so much (in more senses than one), and also of his having, as
before hinted, left  off  blowing in  his  prime, Toots  now had licence  to
pursue his own course of study: which  was chiefly to write  long letters to
himself  from  persons  of distinction, adds 'P.  Toots,  Esquire, Brighton,
Sussex,' and to preserve them in his desk with great care.
     These ceremonies passed,  Cornelia led Paul  upstairs to the top of the
house; which was rather a slow journey, on account of Paul being obliged  to
land both feet on every stair, before he mounted another.  But  they reached
their  journey's end at last; and there, in  a front room, looking  over the
wild sea, Cornelia showed him a  nice little bed  with white hangings, close
to the window,  on which there was already  beautifully written on a card in
round  text - down strokes very  thick, and up  strokes very fine -  DOMBEY;
while two  other little bedsteads  in the same  room were announced, through
like means, as respectively appertaining unto BRIGGS and TOZER.
     Just as they got downstairs again into the hall, Paul saw the weak-eyed
young man who had given that mortal offence to Mrs Pipchin, suddenly seize a
very large drumstick,  and fly at a gong that was hanging up, as  if  he had
gone mad, or  wanted  vengeance.  Instead of receiving warning,  however, or
being instantly taken into custody, the  young man left off unchecked, after
having  made  a dreadful  noise. Then Cornelia Blimber  said to Dombey  that
dinner would be ready in a quarter of an hour, and perhaps  he had better go
into the schoolroom among his 'friends.'
     So Dombey, deferentially passing  the great clock  which was  still  as
anxious as ever to know how  he found himself, opened  the schoolroom door a
very little way, and strayed in like a lost boy: shutting  it after him with
some difficulty.  His  friends were all dispersed about the room  except the
stony  friend, who remained immoveable. Mr Feeder was  stretching himself in
his grey gown, as  if, regardless of expense, he  were resolved to  pull the
sleeves off.
     'Heigh ho hum!' cried Mr Feeder, shaking himself like a cart-horse. 'Oh
dear me, dear me! Ya-a-a-ah!'
     Paul was quite  alarmed by  Mr Feeder's yawning; it was  done on such a
great  scale, and he was so terribly  in  earnest.  All the boys too  (Toots
excepted) seemed knocked up, and were getting ready for  dinner - some newly
tying their  neckcloths,  which were very  stiff  indeed; and others washing
their hands or brushing  their hair,  in an  adjoining ante-chamber -  as if
they didn't think they should enjoy it at all.
     Young Toots who was ready beforehand, and had therefore  nothing to do,
and had leisure to bestow upon Paul, said, with heavy good nature:
     'Sit down, Dombey.'
     'Thank you, Sir,' said Paul.
     His endeavouring to hoist  himself on  to a very high  window-seat, and
his slipping down again, appeared to prepare Toots's mind  for the reception
of a discovery.
     'You're a very small chap;' said Mr Toots.
     'Yes, Sir, I'm small,' returned Paul. 'Thank you, Sir.'
     For Toots had lifted him into the seat, and done it kindly too.
     'Who's your tailor?'  inquired Toots, after  looking  at  him  for some
     'It's a woman that has made my clothes as yet,' said Paul. 'My sister's
     'My tailor's Burgess and Co.,' said Toots. 'Fash'nable. But very dear.'
     Paul had wit enough to shake his head, as if he  would have said it was
easy to see that; and indeed he thought so.
     'Your father's regularly rich, ain't he?' inquired Mr Toots.
     'Yes, Sir,' said Paul. 'He's Dombey and Son.'
     'And which?' demanded Toots.
     'And Son, Sir,' replied Paul.
     Mr Toots  made one or two attempts, in  a low voice, to fix the Firm in
his mind; but  not quite succeeding, said he would  get Paul to mention  the
name again  to-morrow  morning, as  it was rather important. And  indeed  he
purposed nothing less than writing himself a private and confidential letter
from Dombey and Son immediately.
     By this time the other pupils (always excepting the stony boy) gathered
round. They were polite, but pale; and spoke low; and they were so depressed
in their spirits, that  in comparison with the general tone of that company,
Master Bitherstone was a perfect Miller, or complete Jest Book.' And yet  he
had a sense of injury upon him, too, had Bitherstone.
     'You sleep in  my room,  don't  you?' asked  a solemn  young gentleman,
whose shirt-collar curled up the lobes of his ears.
     'Master Briggs?' inquired Paul.
     'Tozer,' said the young gentleman.
     Paul  answered yes; and  Tozer pointing  out the stony pupil, said that
was Briggs. Paul had already felt certain that it must  be either Briggs  or
Tozer, though he didn't know why.
     'Is yours a strong constitution?' inquired Tozer.
     Paul  said he  thought  not.  Tozer replied  that he thought  not also,
judging from Paul's looks,  and that it was a pity, for it  need be. He then
asked Paul  if he were  going  to begin with  Cornelia; and  on Paul  saying
'yes,' all the young gentlemen (Briggs excepted) gave a low groan.
     It was  drowned in  the  tintinnabulation  of the gong,  which sounding
again  with great fury,  there was  a general  move towards the dining-room;
still  excepting Briggs the  stony boy, who remained where he was, and as he
was;  and  on its way  to whom  Paul presently encountered a round of bread,
genteelly  served  on  a plate  and  napkin, and  with a silver  fork  lying
crosswise on the top of it.
     Doctor Blimber was already in his place in the dining-room, at  the top
of the table, with  Miss Blimber and Mrs  Blimber on either  side of him. Mr
Feeder in a black  coat  was  at  the bottom. Paul's chair was next to  Miss
Blimber; but it being found, when he  sat in it,  that his eyebrows were not
much above the level of the table-cloth, some books were brought in from the
Doctor's study, on which he  was elevated, and on which  he always sat  from
that  time  - carrying  them  in and out himself on  after occasions, like a
little elephant and castle.'
     Grace having been said by the Doctor, dinner began. There was some nice
soup; also roast meat, boiled meat, vegetables, pie, and cheese. Every young
gentleman had a massive silver fork, and a  napkin; and all the arrangements
were stately and handsome. In particular, there was a butler in a  blue coat
and bright  buttons, who gave quite a winey  flavour to the table  beer;  he
poured it out so superbly.
     Nobody spoke, unless spoken to, except Doctor Blimber, Mrs Blimber, and
Miss Blimber, who conversed occasionally. Whenever a young gentleman was not
actually  engaged  with his  knife  and  fork  or spoon, his  eye,  with  an
irresistible attraction,  sought the eye of Doctor Blimber,  Mrs Blimber, or
Miss  Blimber,  and  modestly rested  there. Toots  appeared to  be the only
exception  to this rule. He sat next Mr Feeder on Paul's  side of the table,
and  frequently  looked  behind and before  the  intervening boys to catch a
glimpse of Paul.
     Only once  during dinner was  there any conversation that  included the
young  gentlemen. It happened at  the epoch  of the cheese, when the Doctor,
having taken a glass of port wine, and hemmed twice or thrice, said:
     'It is remarkable, Mr Feeder, that the Romans - '
     At the mention of this terrible people, their implacable enemies, every
young gentleman fastened his gaze upon the Doctor, with an assumption of the
deepest  interest.  One  of the number who happened to  be drinking, and who
caught the Doctor's eye glaring at him through the side of his tumbler, left
off so hastily that he was  convulsed for some  moments,  and in  the sequel
ruined Doctor Blimber's point.
     'It is remarkable, Mr Feeder,' said the Doctor, beginning again slowly,
'that the Romans, in  those gorgeous and profuse  entertainments of which we
read in the days of the Emperors,  when luxury had attained a height unknown
before  or  since,  and  when  whole  provinces  were ravaged  to supply the
splendid means of one Imperial Banquet - '
     Here  the offender, who had been swelling and straining, and waiting in
vain for a full stop, broke out violently.
     'Johnson,'  said Mr Feeder,  in a  low reproachful  voice,  'take  some
     The Doctor,  looking  very stern,  made a pause  until  the  water  was
brought, and then resumed:
     'And when, Mr Feeder - '
     But Mr Feeder, who saw that Johnson  must break out again, and who knew
that the Doctor would never  come to a period  before  the  young  gentlemen
until  he  had  finished all he  meant  to say, couldn't  keep  his eye  off
Johnson;  and thus was caught in the fact  of not looking at the Doctor, who
consequently stopped.
     'I beg your pardon,  Sir,' said  Mr  Feeder,  reddening.  'I  beg  your
pardon, Doctor Blimber.'
     'And when,' said the Doctor, raising his voice, 'when, Sir, as we read,
and have no reason to doubt - incredible as it may appear to the vulgar - of
our time -  the brother of Vitellius prepared for him a feast, in which were
served, of fish, two thousand dishes - '
     'Take some water, Johnson - dishes, Sir,' said Mr Feeder.
     'Of various sorts of fowl, five thousand dishes.'
     'Or try a crust of bread,' said Mr Feeder.
     'And one dish,' pursued Doctor Blimber, raising his voice still  higher
as he looked all round the table, 'called, from its enormous dimensions, the
Shield of Minerva, and made, among  other costly ingredients, of  the brains
of pheasants - '
     'Ow, ow, ow!' (from Johnson.)
     'Woodcocks - '
     'Ow, ow, ow!'
     'The sounds of the fish called scari - '
     'You'll  burst  some vessel in  your head,' said Mr  Feeder.  'You  had
better let it come.'
     'And  the  spawn of  the  lamprey, brought  from the  Carpathian  Sea,'
pursued  the  Doctor,  in his  severest  voice;  'when  we  read  of  costly
entertainments such as these, and still remember, that we have a Titus - '
     'What would be your mother's feelings if you died of apoplexy!' said Mr
     'A Domitian - '
     'And you're blue, you know,' said Mr Feeder.
     'A Nero, a Tiberius, a Caligula, a Heliogabalus, and many more, pursued
the Doctor; 'it is, Mr Feeder  - if you are doing me the honour to attend  -
remarkable; VERY remarkable, Sir - '
     But Johnson,  unable to suppress it any longer, burst  at  that  moment
into such an  overwhelming fit of coughing, that although both his immediate
neighbours thumped him on the back, and Mr Feeder  himself  held a  glass of
water  to his lips, and the  butler walked  him up  and  down  several times
between his own chair and the sideboard,  like a sentry, it  was a full five
minutes  before  he  was  moderately composed.  Then  there was  a  profound
     'Gentlemen,'  said  Doctor  Blimber, 'rise for  Grace!  Cornelia,  lift
Dombey down' - nothing of  whom but his scalp was accordingly seen above the
tablecloth. 'Johnson  will repeat  to me  tomorrow morning before breakfast,
without book, and from the Greek Testament, the first chapter of the Epistle
of  Saint  Paul to the Ephesians. We will resume our  studies, Mr Feeder, in
     The young gentlemen bowed and withdrew. Mr Feeder did  likewise. During
the half-hour, the young  gentlemen,  broken into pairs, loitered arm-in-arm
up and  down a small  piece  of ground behind  the house,  or endeavoured to
kindle a spark of animation in the breast of Briggs. But nothing happened so
vulgar as play. Punctually at the  appointed time, the gong was sounded, and
the studies, under the joint auspices of Doctor Blimber  and Mr Feeder, were
     As the Olympic  game of lounging up  and down had been cut shorter than
usual that day, on Johnson's account, they all went  out for  a  walk before
tea. Even Briggs (though he hadn't begun yet) partook  of  this dissipation;
in  the enjoyment  of  which  he  looked  over the  cliff two or three times
darkly. Doctor Blimber accompanied them;  and  Paul had the honour  of being
taken  in tow  by the Doctor himself:  a distinguished  state  of things, in
which he looked very little and feeble.
     Tea was  served in a style  no less polite  than the  dinner; and after
tea, the young gentlemen rising  and bowing as before, withdrew to fetch  up
the unfinished tasks of that day, or to get up the  already looming tasks of
to-morrow.  In the meantime Mr Feeder withdrew to his own room; and Paul sat
in a corner wondering whether  Florence  was thinking of him,  and what they
were all about at Mrs Pipchin's.
     Mr Toots, who had been detained by an important letter from the Duke of
Wellington, found Paul out after a time; and having looked at him for a long
while, as before, inquired if he was fond of waistcoats.
     Paul said 'Yes, Sir.'
     'So am I,' said Toots.
     No word more spoke Toots that night; but he stood looking at Paul as if
he liked him; and as there was company in that, and Paul was not inclined to
talk, it answered his purpose better than conversation.
     At  eight o'clock or so,  the gong  sounded  again  for prayers  in the
dining-room,  where the  butler  afterwards  presided  over a side-table, on
which bread  and cheese  and beer were  spread for such young  gentlemen  as
desired  to partake of those  refreshments. The ceremonies concluded by  the
Doctor's saying, 'Gentlemen, we will resume our studies at seven to-morrow;'
and then, for the first time, Paul  saw Cornelia Blimber's eye, and saw that
it  was upon him. When the Doctor had said these words, 'Gentlemen,  we will
resume our studies  at seven tomorrow,' the  pupils bowed again, and went to
     In the confidence of  their  own  room  upstairs, Briggs  said his head
ached ready to split, and that  he should wish himself dead if it wasn't for
his  mother,  and a  blackbird he had at home Tozer didn't say much,  but he
sighed  a  good  deal,  and told  Paul to look out, for his turn would  come
to-morrow.  After  uttering  those  prophetic  words, he  undressed  himself
moodily, and got into bed. Briggs was in his bed  too, and  Paul  in his bed
too,  before the weak-eyed young man appeared to take  away the candle, when
he  wished them good-night and pleasant  dreams.  But  his benevolent wishes
were in vain, as far  as Briggs and Tozer were  concerned; for Paul, who lay
awake  for a long while,  and often woke  afterwards,  found that Briggs was
ridden by his lesson as a nightmare: and that Tozer, whose mind was affected
in his sleep by similar causes, in a minor degree talked unknown tongues, or
scraps of Greek and Latin - it was all one to Paul- which, in the silence of
night, had an inexpressibly wicked and guilty effect.
     Paul had sunk into a sweet sleep, and dreamed that he was walking  hand
in hand with Florence through beautiful gardens,  when they came to  a large
sunflower which  suddenly expanded  itself into  a gong, and began to sound.
Opening his eyes,  he  found that  it  was  a  dark, windy  morning,  with a
drizzling  rain:  and  that  the  real gong  was  giving  dreadful  note  of
preparation, down in the hall.
     So  he got  up directly,  and found  Briggs with hardly  any  eyes, for
nightmare  and grief had  made  his  face puffy, putting his boots on: while
Tozer stood shivering and rubbing his shoulders in a very  bad humour.  Poor
Paul couldn't  dress himself easily, not being used to it, and asked them if
they would have  the goodness  to tie  some strings for him;  but  as Briggs
merely  said  'Bother!'  and  Tozer,  'Oh yes!' he  went  down when  he  was
otherwise ready, to  the next storey, where he saw a  pretty  young woman in
leather gloves, cleaning a  stove.  The young woman seemed surprised  at his
appearance, and asked  him where his mother was.  When Paul told her she was
dead, she  took her  gloves  off, and did  what  he wanted; and  furthermore
rubbed his hands to warm them; and gave him a kiss; and told him whenever he
wanted anything  of  that  sort - meaning in the dressing way  - to ask  for
'Melia; which Paul, thanking her very much, said he certainly would. He then
proceeded softly on his  journey  downstairs, towards  the room in which the
young gentlemen resumed  their studies,  when, passing by a door that  stood
ajar, a voice from within  cried, 'Is that Dombey?' On Paul replying,  'Yes,
Ma'am:' for he knew the voice to be Miss Blimber's: Miss Blimber said, 'Come
in, Dombey.' And in he went.  Miss Blimber presented exactly  the appearance
she had presented yesterday, except that she wore a shawl.  Her little light
curls were as crisp  as ever, and  she had already her spectacles  on, which
made Paul wonder whether  she  went to  bed  in them.  She had a cool little
sitting-room of her  own up there, with some books in  it, and no  fire  But
Miss Blimber was never cold, and never sleepy.
     Now, Dombey,' said Miss Blimber, 'I am going out for a constitutional.'
     Paul wondered what that was, and why she didn't send the footman out to
get  it  in  such unfavourable  weather. But  he made  no observation on the
subject: his attention being devoted to a little pile of new books, on which
Miss Blimber appeared to have been recently engaged.
     'These are yours, Dombey,' said Miss Blimber.
     'All of 'em, Ma'am?' said Paul.
     'Yes,'  returned  Miss Blimber; 'and Mr  Feeder will look you  out some
more very soon, if you are as studious as I expect you will be, Dombey.'
     'Thank you, Ma'am,' said Paul.
     'I am going out for a constitutional,' resumed Miss Blimber; 'and while
I  am  gone,  that  is to  say in  the interval between  this and breakfast,
Dombey, I wish you to read over what I have marked in  these  books,  and to
tell me if you quite understand what you have got to learn. Don't lose time,
Dombey, for  you  have none  to spare, but take them  downstairs, and  begin
     'Yes, Ma'am,' answered Paul.
     There were so  many of  them, that although Paul put one hand under the
bottom book and his other hand and his chin on the top book, and hugged them
all  closely, the  middle book slipped out  before he reached  the door, and
then  they all  tumbled down  on the floor. Miss Blimber said, 'Oh,  Dombey,
Dombey, this is really very careless!' and piled them up afresh for him; and
this  time, by dint of balancing them with great nicety, Paul got out of the
room, and  down a few stairs before  two of them escaped again.  But he held
the rest so tight, that he only left one more on the first floor, and one in
the passage; and when he had got the  main body down into the schoolroom, he
set off upstairs again to collect the stragglers. Having at last amassed the
whole  library, and climbed into his place, he fell to work, encouraged by a
remark from Tozer  to the effect that he 'was in  for it now;' which was the
only interruption he received till breakfast  time. At  that meal, for which
he had  no appetite, everything was quite  as solemn  and  genteel as at the
others; and when it was finished, he followed Miss Blimber upstairs.
     'Now, Dombey,'  said Miss  Blimber. 'How  have  you  got on  with those
     They comprised a little English, and a deal of Latin - names of things,
declensions of articles and substantives, exercises thereon, and preliminary
rules - a trifle of orthography, a  glance at ancient history, a wink or two
at modern ditto, a few tables, two  or three  weights  and measures,  and  a
little general  information. When poor  Paul had  spelt out  number two,  he
found he had no  idea of number one;  fragments whereof  afterwards obtruded
themselves into  number three, which  slided into number four, which grafted
itself on to  number two. So that whether twenty Romuluses made a Remus,  or
hic  haec  hoc was  troy weight, or a verb  always  agreed  with  an ancient
Briton, or three times four was Taurus a bull, were open questions with him.
     'Oh, Dombey, Dombey!' said Miss Blimber, 'this is very shocking.'
     'If you please,' said Paul, 'I think if I might sometimes talk a little
to old Glubb, I should be able to do better.'
     'Nonsense, Dombey,' said Miss Blimber. 'I couldn't  hear of it. This is
not  the place for  Glubbs  of any  kind. You  must take  the books down,  I
suppose, Dombey, one by one, and perfect yourself in the day's instalment of
subject A, before  you turn at all to subject B.  I am sorry to say, Dombey,
that your education appears to have been very much neglected.'
     'So Papa says,' returned Paul; 'but  I  told  you  - I have been a weak
child. Florence knows I have. So does Wickam.'
     'Who is Wickam?' asked Miss Blimber.
     'She has been my nurse,' Paul answered.
     'I  must  beg  you  not  to  mention  Wickam to  me, then,'  said  Miss
Blimber.'I couldn't allow it'.
     'You asked me who she was,' said Paul.
     'Very well,'  returned Miss  Blimber; 'but this  is all  very different
indeed  from  anything  of  that  sort,  Dombey,  and  I couldn't  think  of
permitting it. As to having been weak, you must  begin to be strong. And now
take  away the top book,  if you  please,  Dombey, and return when  you  are
master of the theme.'
     Miss  Blimber  expressed  her  opinions  on  the  subject   of   Paul's
uninstructed state with  a  gloomy  delight,  as if  she  had expected  this
result, and were glad  to find that they must be  in constant communication.
Paul  withdrew with the  top task,  as he was told, and laboured away at it,
down below: sometimes remembering every word of it, and sometimes forgetting
it  all, and everything  else  besides:  until at  last he ventured upstairs
again to repeat the lesson, when it  was nearly all driven out of  his  head
before he began, by Miss Blimber's shutting up the book, and  saying, 'Good,
Dombey!' a proceeding  so  suggestive of  the knowledge inside of  her, that
Paul looked upon the young lady with consternation, as a kind of learned Guy
Faux, or artificial Bogle, stuffed full of scholastic straw.
     He  acquitted  himself  very  well,  nevertheless;  and  Miss  Blimber,
commending  him as giving promise of  getting on fast, immediately  provided
him with subject B; from which he passed to C,  and even D before dinner. It
was  hard work, resuming his studies, soon after dinner;  and  he felt giddy
and  confused  and drowsy and  dull.  But  all the other young gentlemen had
similar  sensations, and were obliged to resume their studies too,  if there
were any comfort in that.  It was a wonder that the great clock in the hall,
instead of being  constant to its  first inquiry, never said, 'Gentlemen, we
will now resume  our studies,' for that phrase was often  enough repeated in
its neighbourhood. The studies went round like a mighty wheel, and the young
gentlemen were always stretched upon it.
     After tea there were exercises again, and preparations  for next day by
candlelight. And in due course there was bed; where, but for that resumption
of   the  studies  which  took  place   in  dreams,   were  rest  and  sweet
     Oh Saturdays!  Oh happy Saturdays, when Florence always  came at  noon,
and never  would, in any weather, stay away, though  Mrs Pipchin snarled and
growled,  and worried her bitterly. Those Saturdays  were  Sabbaths  for  at
least two little  Christians among all  the Jews, and  did the holy  Sabbath
work of strengthening and knitting up a brother's and a sister's love.
     Not even Sunday nights - the heavy Sunday nights, whose shadow darkened
the  first  waking burst of light  on  Sunday  mornings  -  could  mar those
precious Saturdays. Whether it was the  great sea-shore, where they sat, and
strolled  together; or whether it was only Mrs Pipchin's dull back  room, in
which she sang  to him so softly, with  his drowsy head  upon her  arm; Paul
never  cared. It was Florence. That was  all he thought of.  So,  on  Sunday
nights,  when  the  Doctor's dark door  stood agape to  swallow  him  up for
another week, the time was come for taking leave of Florence; no one else.
     Mrs Wickam had been drafted home to the house in town, and Miss Nipper,
now a smart young  woman, had come down. To many  a single combat  with  Mrs
Pipchin,  did Miss Nipper gallantly devote herself, and if ever Mrs  Pipchin
in all her life had found her match, she had found it now. Miss Nipper threw
away the scabbard the  first morning she arose in Mrs Pipchin's  house.  She
asked and gave no quarter. She said it must be war, and war it was;  and Mrs
Pipchin  lived  from that  time in  the midst of surprises,  harassings, and
defiances, and skirmishing attacks that  came bouncing in upon her  from the
passage, even in unguarded  moments of  chops, and carried desolation to her
very toast.
     Miss Nipper had  returned  one Sunday night with Florence, from walking
back  with Paul to the Doctor's, when Florence took from her  bosom a little
piece of paper, on which she had pencilled down some words.
     'See here, Susan,' she  said.  'These are the names of the little books
that Paul brings home to  do those long exercises with, when he is so tired.
I copied them last night while he was writing.'
     'Don't show 'em to me, Miss Floy, if you please,' returned Nipper, 'I'd
as soon see Mrs Pipchin.'
     'I want you to buy them for me, Susan, if you will, tomorrow morning. I
have money enough,' said Florence.
     'Why, goodness gracious me, Miss Floy,'  returned Miss Nipper, 'how can
you talk  like that,  when you have books upon books  already, and masterses
and mississes a teaching of you everything continual, though  my  belief  is
that  your Pa, Miss Dombey, never would have learnt you nothing, never would
have  thought of  it, unless you'd asked him - when be couldn't well refuse;
but giving consent when asked, and offering when unasked, Miss, is quite two
things; I may not have my  objections to  a young man's keeping company with
me, and  when he  puts the question,  may say  "yes," but  that's not saying
"would you be so kind as like me."'
     'But you can buy me the books, Susan; and you will, when you know why I
want them.'
     'Well,  Miss, and  why  do you want 'em?'  replied Nipper; adding, in a
lower  voice,  'If  it was to  fling  at  Mrs  Pipchin's  head,  I'd  buy  a
     'Paul has  a great deal  too  much to do, Susan,' said Florence,  'I am
sure of it.'
     'And well  you  may be, Miss,'  returned  her maid, 'and make your mind
quite easy that the willing dear  is  worked and worked away.  If  those  is
Latin  legs,' exclaimed  Miss Nipper, with  strong feeling -  in allusion to
Paul's; 'give me English ones.'
     'I am  afraid he  feels  lonely  and  lost at Doctor Blimber's, Susan,'
pursued Florence, turning away her face.
     'Ah,' said Miss Nipper, with great sharpness, 'Oh, them "Blimbers"'
     'Don't blame anyone,' said Florence. 'It's a mistake.'
     'I say nothing about blame, Miss,' cried Miss Nipper, 'for  I know that
you  object, but I may wish, Miss, that the  family was set to work to  make
new roads, and that Miss Blimber went in front and had the pickaxe.'
     After this  speech, Miss Nipper, who was  perfectly serious, wiped  her
     'I think  I could  perhaps give Paul some help,  Susan, if I  had these
books,' said Florence, 'and make the coming week a little easier to  him. At
least I want to try. So buy them for me, dear, and  I  will never forget how
kind it was of you to do it!'
     It must  have been a harder heart than  Susan  Nipper's that could have
rejected the little purse Florence held out with  these words, or the gentle
look of entreaty with which she seconded her  petition. Susan put the  purse
in her pocket without reply, and trotted out at once upon her errand.
     The books  were not  easy to procure;  and the answer at several  shops
was, either that they  were just out of  them, or that they never kept them,
or that they had had  a great many last month, or that they expected a great
many  next week But Susan was not easily baffled in  such an enterprise; and
having  entrapped  a white-haired  youth, in  a black  calico  apron, from a
library where she was known, to accompany her in her quest, she led him such
a life in going up and down, that  he exerted  himself to the utmost, if  it
were only to get rid  of  her; and finally  enabled  her  to  return home in
     With  these  treasures  then,  after  her  own daily lessons were over,
Florence sat down at night to track Paul's footsteps through the thorny ways
of  learning; and  being possessed of  a naturally quick and sound capacity,
and  taught by that most wonderful of masters, love, it was  not long before
she gained upon Paul's heels, and caught and passed him.
     Not a  word of this was breathed to Mrs Pipchin: but  many a night when
they were all in  bed,  and when Miss  Nipper, with her  hair in papers  and
herself asleep  in some uncomfortable attitude, reposed unconscious  by  her
side;  and when the chinking ashes in the grate were cold and grey; and when
the candles were burnt down and guttering out;  - Florence tried  so hard to
be a  substitute for one  small Dombey, that her fortitude and  perseverance
might have almost won her a free right to bear the name herself.
     And high was her reward, when one Saturday evening, as little Paul  was
sitting down as usual to 'resume his studies,' she sat down by his side, and
showed him all that  was  so rough, made  smooth, and all that was  so dark,
made clear and  plain,  before him. It was  nothing but  a startled  look in
Paul's wan  face -  a flush  - a smile -  and then a close embrace - but God
knows how her heart leapt up at this rich payment for her trouble.
     'Oh, Floy!' cried her brother, 'how I love you! How I love you, Floy!'
     'And I you, dear!'
     'Oh! I am sure of that, Floy.'
     He said  no more about it, but all that  evening sat close by her, very
quiet;  and in  the  night he called out  from his little room within  hers,
three or four times, that he loved her.
     Regularly,  after that, Florence  was prepared to sit down with Paul on
Saturday  night,  and  patiently  assist him through so  much as  they could
anticipate together  of his next week's  work. The cheering thought  that he
was  labouring  on where Florence  had  just  toiled before  him, would,  of
itself, have been a stimulant  to Paul in  the perpetual  resumption of  his
studies; but coupled with the actual lightening of  his load,  consequent on
this assistance, it saved him, possibly,  from sinking underneath the burden
which the fair Cornelia Blimber piled upon his back.
     It was not that  Miss Blimber  meant to be  too  hard upon him, or that
Doctor Blimber meant to bear too heavily  on the young gentlemen in general.
Cornelia merely held the faith in which  she had  been bred; and the Doctor,
in some partial confusion of  his  ideas, regarded the young gentlemen as if
they were all Doctors, and were born grown up. Comforted by the  applause of
the young gentlemen's nearest relations, and  urged on by their blind vanity
and ill-considered  haste, it would have been  strange if Doctor Blimber had
discovered his mistake, or trimmed his swelling sails to any other tack.
     Thus  in  the  case  of  Paul.  When Doctor  Blimber said he made great
progress and was naturally clever, Mr  Dombey was more bent than ever on his
being forced  and  crammed. In the  case  of  Briggs,  when  Doctor  Blimber
reported  that he did not make  great progress  yet,  and  was not naturally
clever, Briggs  senior was inexorable in the same purpose. In short, however
high and false the temperature at  which the Doctor kept his  hothouse,  the
owners  of  the plants  were always  ready  to lend  a helping  hand  at the
bellows, and to stir the fire.
     Such spirits as he had in the outset,  Paul soon lost of course. But he
retained all that was strange, and old, and thoughtful in his character: and
under  circumstances  so favourable to the  development of those tendencies,
became even more strange, and old, and thoughtful, than before.
     The only difference was, that he kept his character to himself. He grew
more thoughtful  and reserved, every  day; and had  no such curiosity in any
living member of the Doctor's household, as he  had had in  Mrs  Pipchin. He
loved to  be alone; and in those  short intervals when he was  not  occupied
with  his  books,  liked nothing  so well  as wandering  about the  house by
himself, or sitting on the stairs, listening to the great clock in the hall.
He  was intimate with all the paperhanging in  the house; saw things that no
one else saw in the patterns; found out miniature  tigers and  lions running
up  the  bedroom  walls,  and  squinting  faces leering  in the  squares and
diamonds of the floor-cloth.
     The  solitary child  lived on, surrounded by this arabesque work of his
musing fancy, and no one understood him. Mrs Blimber  thought him 'odd,' and
sometimes the servants said among themselves that little Dombey 'moped;' but
that was all.
     Unless  young Toots  had some idea on the subject, to the expression of
which  he was wholly unequal.  Ideas, like  ghosts (according  to the common
notion  of ghosts), must  be  spoken to  a little  before they will  explain
themselves; and Toots had long  left  off  asking  any questions of  his own
mind.  Some  mist there may  have been, issuing from that leaden casket, his
cranium, which, if it could  have taken shape  and form, would have become a
genie; but it could not; and it only  so  far  followed the  example  of the
smoke in the Arabian  story, as to roll out in a thick cloud, and there hang
and hover.  But  it left a  little  figure visible upon a lonely shore,  and
Toots was always staring at it.
     'How are you?'  he would say to Paul, fifty times  a day.  'Quite well,
Sir, thank you,' Paul  would answer. 'Shake  hands,' would  be Toots's  next
     Which  Paul, of course, would immediately do.  Mr Toots  generally said
again, after a long interval  of staring and hard breathing, 'How are  you?'
To which Paul again replied, 'Quite well, Sir, thank you.'
     One   evening  Mr  Toots  was  sitting  at   his  desk,   oppressed  by
correspondence, when a great purpose seemed to  flash upon him. He laid down
his pen, and went  off  to seek Paul, whom he found at last,  after  a  long
search, looking through the window of his little bedroom.
     'I say!' cried Toots, speaking the  moment he entered the room, lest he
should forget it; 'what do you think about?'
     'Oh! I think about a great many things,' replied Paul.
     'Do you, though?' said Toots, appearing to consider that fact in itself
surprising.  'If you  had to die,' said Paul, looking up into  his face - Mr
Toots started, and seemed much disturbed.
     'Don't you think you would rather die on  a  moonlight night, when  the
sky was quite clear, and the wind blowing, as it did last night?'
     Mr Toots said, looking doubtfully  at Paul, and  shaking his head, that
he didn't know about that.
     'Not blowing,  at least,' said Paul, 'but  sounding in the air like the
sea sounds  in the shells. It was  a beautiful night. When I had listened to
the water for a  long time, I got up  and looked out. There was  a boat over
there, in the full light of the moon; a boat with a sail.'
     The child looked at him so steadfastly, and spoke so earnestly, that Mr
Toots, feeling himself called upon to say  something about this  boat, said,
'Smugglers.'  But with  an impartial remembrance of there being two sides to
every question, he added, 'or Preventive.'
     'A  boat with a sail,'  repeated  Paul, 'in the full light of the moon.
The sail like an arm,  all silver. It  went away into the distance, and what
do you think it seemed to do as it moved with the waves?'
     'Pitch,' said Mr Toots.
     'It  seemed to beckon,' said the child,  'to beckon me to come! - There
she is! There she is!'
     Toots was almost beside himself with dismay at this sudden exclamation,
after what had gone before, and cried 'Who?'
     'My  sister  Florence!' cried  Paul, 'looking up  here, and  waving her
hand. She sees me - she sees me! Good-night, dear, good-night, good-night.'
     His  quick transition to a state of unbounded pleasure, as he stood  at
his  window, kissing and clapping his hands: and the way  in which the light
retreated  from  his features  as she passed out  of  his view,  and  left a
patient melancholy on the little face: were too remarkable  wholly to escape
even Toots's notice. Their interview being interrupted  at this moment  by a
visit from Mrs Pipchin, who  usually brought  her black skirts to bear  upon
Paul just  before dusk, once  or twice a  week, Toots  had no opportunity of
improving the occasion: but it left so marked an impression on his mind that
he twice returned,  after having exchanged the usual salutations, to ask Mrs
Pipchin how she  did. This the irascible old lady conceived  to be  a deeply
devised  and  long-meditated insult, originating in the diabolical invention
of the weak-eyed young man downstairs, against whom she accordingly lodged a
formal  complaint with Doctor Blimber  that very night; who mentioned to the
young man that if he ever did it again,  he  should be obliged  to part with
     The  evenings  being longer  now, Paul  stole  up  to  his window every
evening to look  out for  Florence.  She always passed  and  repassed  at  a
certain time, until she saw him; and their mutual recognition was a gleam of
sunshine in  Paul's daily  life. Often after dark,  one other  figure walked
alone before the Doctor's house. He rarely joined them on the Saturdays now.
He could not bear it. He would rather come unrecognised,  and look up at the
windows where his son was  qualifying for a man; and wait,  and  watch,  and
plan, and hope.
     Oh! could he but have seen, or seen as others did, the slight spare boy
above, watching the waves and clouds at twilight, with his earnest eyes, and
breasting the window of his solitary cage when birds flew by, as if he would
have emulated them, and soared away!

     Shipping Intelligence and Office Business
     Mr Dombey's offices were in a court where there  was an old-established
stall of choice fruit at the corner:  where perambulating merchants, of both
sexes, offered  for  sale  at any time  between  the hours  of ten and five,
slippers,  pocket-books, sponges,  dogs'  collars,  and  Windsor  soap;  and
sometimes a pointer or an oil-painting.
     The pointer always came  that way, with  a view to the  Stock Exchange,
where a sporting taste (originating generally in bets of new  hats) is  much
in  vogue. The other  commodities were addressed to  the general public; but
they were  never offered by the vendors to Mr Dombey. When he appeared,  the
dealers  in  those  wares  fell  off respectfully. The principal slipper and
dogs' collar  man -  who considered himself  a public  character,  and whose
portrait was screwed  on  to  an artist's door in  Cheapside  - threw up his
forefinger to the brim of his  hat as Mr Dombey went  by. The ticket-porter,
if he were not  absent on a job, always ran officiously before, to  open  Mr
Dombey's office door as wide as  possible,  and hold  it  open, with his hat
off, while he entered.
     The clerks  within were not a whit  behind-hand in their demonstrations
of respect. A solemn hush prevailed,  as Mr  Dombey passed through the outer
office. The wit of the Counting-House became in a moment as mute  as the row
of leathern fire-buckets hanging up behind him. Such vapid and flat daylight
as filtered through the  ground-glass windows and skylights, leaving a black
sediment  upon the panes,  showed  the  books  and papers, and  the  figures
bending over  them, enveloped in a studious gloom, and as much abstracted in
appearance, from the world  without, as if they were assembled at the bottom
of the sea; while  a mouldy  little strong room in the  obscure perspective,
where a shaded lamp was always burning, might have represented the cavern of
some ocean monster,  looking  on  with a red eye at these  mysteries  of the
     When Perch  the messenger, whose place was on  a little bracket, like a
timepiece,  saw Mr  Dombey  come in - or  rather when  he felt that  he  was
coming, for he had usually an instinctive sense of his approach - he hurried
into Mr Dombey's room, stirred the fire, carried fresh coals from the bowels
of the  coal-box,  hung the newspaper to  air upon the fender, put the chair
ready, and the  screen  in  its place, and was round  upon his  heel on  the
instant of  Mr Dombey's  entrance, to take his great-coat and hat, and  hang
them up. Then Perch took the  newspaper, and gave  it  a turn or two  in his
hands before the fire, and laid it, deferentially, at Mr Dombey's elbow. And
so  little objection had Perch to being deferential in the last degree, that
if he might have laid himself  at Mr Dombey's feet, or might have called him
by some such title as used to  be bestowed upon the Caliph Haroun Alraschid,
he would have been all the better pleased.
     As  this  honour would have been an innovation and an experiment, Perch
was  fain  to content himself by expressing  as  well as  he  could, in  his
manner, You are the light of my Eyes. You are the Breath of my Soul. You are
the commander of the Faithful Perch! With this imperfect happiness  to cheer
him, he would shut the door softly, walk away on tiptoe, and leave his great
chief to  be  stared at, through a dome-shaped window  in the leads, by ugly
chimney-pots  and backs of houses,  and especially by  the bold window  of a
hair-cutting saloon  on a first floor,  where  a waxen  effigy,  bald  as  a
Mussulman in the morning, and covered, after eleven o'clock in the day, with
luxuriant hair and whiskers  in the latest Christian fashion, showed him the
wrong side of its head for ever.
     Between Mr Dombey and  the common  world, as it was accessible  through
the medium of the outer office - to  which  Mr Dombey's  presence in his own
room may  be  said to have  struck like damp, or  cold air - there were  two
degrees of  descent.  Mr Carker in his  own office  was  the first  step; Mr
Morfin, in his own office, was the second. Each of  these gentlemen occupied
a  little chamber like  a  bath-room,  opening  from the  passage outside Mr
Dombey's  door. Mr  Carker, as Grand Vizier,  inhabited  the  room that  was
nearest to the Sultan. Mr Morfin, as an officer of inferior state, inhabited
the room that was nearest to the clerks.
     The gentleman last mentioned was a cheerful-looking, hazel-eyed elderly
bachelor:  gravely attired, as  to  his upper man, in black; and  as to  his
legs,  in  pepper-and-salt colour.  His  dark hair was just touched here and
there with specks of gray, as though the  tread of Time had splashed it; and
his whiskers were already  white. He had a mighty respect for Mr Dombey, and
rendered him due homage; but as he was of a genial temper himself, and never
wholly  at  his  ease  in that stately  presence,  he was  disquieted  by no
jealousy of  the many conferences enjoyed  by  Mr Carker, and felt a  secret
satisfaction in having duties  to discharge, which rarely  exposed him to be
singled out for such distinction. He was a great musical amateur in his  way
- after business; and had a  paternal affection for  his violoncello,  which
was once in every week transported from Islington, his place  of abode, to a
certain club-room hard by the Bank, where  quartettes of the most tormenting
and excruciating nature  were executed every Wednesday  evening by a private
     Mr Carker was a gentleman thirty-eight or forty  years old, of a florid
complexion, and with two unbroken rows of glistening teeth, whose regularity
and  whiteness were quite  distressing.  It  was impossible  to  escape  the
observation of them, for he  showed them whenever he spoke; and bore so wide
a  smile  upon  his  countenance (a  smile,  however,  very  rarely, indeed,
extending beyond his mouth), that there  was something  in it like the snarl
of  a cat.  He affected a  stiff  white  cravat,  after  the  example of his
principal,  and was always  closely buttoned  up  and  tightly dressed.  His
manner towards  Mr Dombey was  deeply conceived and perfectly expressed.  He
was  familiar  with  him, in the very extremity of his sense of the distance
between them. 'Mr Dombey, to  a  man in your  position  from a man  in mine,
there is no show of subservience compatible with the transaction of business
between us, that I should think sufficient. I frankly tell  you, Sir, I give
it up  altogether.  I feel that I could not satisfy my  own mind; and Heaven
knows, Mr Dombey, you can afford to dispense  with the endeavour.' If he had
carried these words about with him  printed on a placard, and had constantly
offered  it to Mr  Dombey's perusal on the breast of his coat, he could  not
have been more explicit than he was.
     This was Carker the Manager. Mr Carker the Junior, Walter's friend, was
his  brother;  two  or  three  years older  than  he, but widely removed  in
station. The younger  brother's post was on the top of  the official ladder;
the elder  brother's at  the bottom. The elder brother never gained a stave,
or raised  his foot to mount one. Young men passed above his head, and  rose
and rose; but he was always at  the  bottom. He was quite resigned to occupy
that  low  condition:  never complained of it:  and certainly never hoped to
escape from it.
     'How do you  do this morning?' said  Mr Carker the Manager, entering Mr
Dombey's room soon after his arrival one day: with a bundle of papers in his
     'How do you do, Carker?' said Mr Dombey.
     'Coolish!' observed Carker, stirring the fire.
     'Rather,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Any news of the young gentleman who is  so important to us all?' asked
Carker, with his whole regiment of teeth on parade.
     'Yes - not direct news- I hear he's very well,' said Mr Dombey. Who had
come from Brighton over-night. But no one knew It.
     'Very  well,  and becoming a  great  scholar,  no doubt?'  observed the
     'I hope so,' returned Mr Dombey.
     'Egad!' said Mr Carker, shaking his head, 'Time flies!'
     'I think so, sometimes,' returned Mr Dombey, glancing at his newspaper.
     'Oh! You! You have no reason  to think so,'  observed  Carker. 'One who
sits  on such an elevation  as  yours,  and can sit  there, unmoved, in  all
seasons - hasn't much reason to know anything about the flight of time. It's
men like myself, who are low down and are not superior in circumstances, and
who inherit new masters in the course of Time, that have cause to look about
us. I shall have a rising sun to worship, soon.'
     'Time  enough,  time  enough, Carker!' said Mr  Dombey, rising from his
chair, and standing  with his back to the fire. 'Have you anything there for
     'I don't know that I need trouble you,'  returned Carker, turning  over
the papers in his hand. 'You have a committee today at three, you know.'
     'And one at three, three-quarters,' added Mr Dombey.
     'Catch  you forgetting anything!' exclaimed Carker, still  turning over
his  papers.  'If  Mr  Paul inherits  your  memory,  he'll be  a troublesome
customer in the House. One of you is enough'
     'You have an accurate memory of your own,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Oh! I!'  returned  the manager. 'It's the  only capital  of a man like
     Mr  Dombey  did not look less pompous or at all displeased, as he stood
leaning against  the chimney-piece, surveying  his (of  course  unconscious)
clerk, from head to foot. The stiffness and nicety of Mr Carker's dress, and
a certain arrogance  of  manner, either natural  to  him or imitated  from a
pattern not far off, gave great additional effect to his humility. He seemed
a man who would contend against the  power that vanquished him, if he could,
but  who was utterly  borne down  by  the  greatness and  superiority  of Mr
     'Is Morfin here?' asked Mr Dombey after a short pause,  during which Mr
Carker had  been fluttering his  papers, and  muttering  little abstracts of
their contents to himself.
     'Morfin's  here,'  he  answered, looking up with his  widest and almost
sudden smile; 'humming musical recollections - of his last night's quartette
party,  I suppose - through the walls between us, and driving me half mad. I
wish he'd  make a bonfire of his violoncello, and  burn  his music-books  in
     'You respect nobody, Carker, I think,' said Mr Dombey.
     'No?' inquired  Carker, with  another wide and most feline  show of his
teeth. 'Well!  Not  many  people,  I believe. I wouldn't answer perhaps,' he
murmured, as if he were only thinking it, 'for more than one.'
     A dangerous quality, if real; and a not less dangerous one, if feigned.
But Mr Dombey hardly seemed  to think so, as he still stood with his back to
the fire,  drawn up to his full height, and looking at his head-clerk with a
dignified composure, in which  there seemed to  lurk a stronger latent sense
of power than usual.
     'Talking of Morfin,' resumed Mr Carker, taking out  one  paper from the
rest, 'he  reports a junior dead in the agency at  Barbados, and proposes to
reserve a passage in the  Son and  Heir - she'll sail in a month or so - for
the successor. You don't care  who  goes, I suppose? We  have nobody of that
sort here.'
     Mr Dombey shook his head with supreme indifference.
     'It's  no very precious appointment,' observed  Mr Carker, taking up  a
pen, with which to endorse a memorandum on the back of the paper. 'I hope he
may bestow it on some orphan nephew of a musical friend. It may perhaps stop
his fiddle-playing, if he has a gift that way. Who's that? Come in!'
     'I beg your pardon, Mr  Carker. I  didn't  know you  were  here,  Sir,'
answered  Walter;  appearing with  some letters in his  hand, unopened,  and
newly arrived. 'Mr Carker the junior, Sir - '
     At  the mention of this  name, Mr Carker the Manager was or affected to
be, touched to the quick with  shame and humiliation. He  cast his eyes full
on Mr Dombey with an altered and apologetic look, abased them on the ground,
and remained for a moment without speaking.
     'I thought, Sir,'  he said  suddenly  and  angrily, turning  on Walter,
'that you had been before  requested not to  drag Mr Carker the Junior  into
your conversation.'
     'I beg your pardon,' returned Walter. 'I  was only going to say that Mr
Carker the Junior had told me he believed you were gone out, or I should not
have knocked at  the  door when you were  engaged with Mr Dombey. These  are
letters for Mr Dombey, Sir.'
     'Very well, Sir,' returned Mr Carker the Manager, plucking them sharply
from his hand. 'Go about your business.'
     But in taking them with so  little ceremony,  Mr Carker  dropped one on
the floor, and did not see what he  had done; neither did  Mr Dombey observe
the letter lying near his feet. Walter hesitated for a moment, thinking that
one or other  of them would  notice it;  but  finding  that neither  did, he
stopped, came back, picked it up, and laid  it himself on  Mr Dombey's desk.
The letters were post-letters; and it happened  that the one in question was
Mrs Pipchin's regular report, directed as usual - for Mrs Pipchin was but an
indifferent penwoman - by Florence. Mr Dombey, having his attention silently
called to this letter by  Walter, started, and looked fiercely at him, as if
he believed that he had purposely selected it from all the rest.
     'You can leave the room, Sir!' said Mr Dombey, haughtily.
     He crushed the letter in his hand; and having watched Walter out at the
door, put it in his pocket without breaking the seal.
     'These continual references to  Mr  Carker  the Junior,' Mr  Carker the
Manager began, as  soon  as they were alone, 'are, to a man  in my position,
uttered before one in yours, so unspeakably distressing - '
     'Nonsense, Carker,' Mr Dombey interrupted. 'You are too sensitive.'
     'I am sensitive,' he returned. 'If one in your  position  could by  any
possibility imagine yourself in my place: which you cannot: you would be  so
     As Mr Dombey's thoughts were evidently pursuing some other subject, his
discreet ally broke  off here, and stood with his teeth  ready to present to
him, when he should look up.
     'You  want  somebody to send  to  the  West Indies, you  were  saying,'
observed Mr Dombey, hurriedly.
     'Yes,' replied Carker.
     'Send young Gay.'
     'Good,  very good indeed. Nothing easier,' said Mr Carker, without  any
show of surprise, and taking up the pen  to re-endorse the letter, as coolly
as he had done before. '"Send young Gay."'
     'Call him back,' said Mr Dombey.
     Mr Carker was quick to do so, and Walter was quick to return.
     'Gay,'  said Mr  Dombey, turning  a  little to  look  at  him  over his
shoulder. 'Here is a -
     'An opening,' said Mr Carker, with his mouth stretched to the utmost.
     'In  the West Indies.  At Barbados. I am going  to  send you,' said  Mr
Dombey, scorning to embellish the bare truth, 'to fill a junior situation in
the  counting-house at Barbados. Let your  Uncle know  from me, that  I have
chosen you to go to the West Indies.'
     Walter's breath  was so completely taken away by his astonishment, that
he could hardly find enough for the repetition of the words 'West Indies.'
     'Somebody must go,' said Mr Dombey, 'and you are young and healthy, and
your Uncle's  circumstances  are not  good. Tell  your  Uncle that  you  are
appointed. You will not go yet. There  will  be an interval of a month  - or
two perhaps.'
     'Shall I remain there, Sir?' inquired Walter.
     'Will you remain there, Sir!' repeated Mr Dombey, turning a little more
round towards him. 'What do you mean? What does he mean, Carker?'
     'Live there, Sir,' faltered Walter.
     'Certainly,' returned Mr Dombey.
     Walter bowed.
     'That's all,' said Mr Dombey,  resuming his letters. 'You will  explain
to him in good  time about the usual outfit and so forth, Carker, of course.
He needn't wait, Carker.'
     'You needn't wait, Gay,' observed Mr Carker: bare to the gums.
     'Unless,' said Mr Dombey,  stopping in his reading without looking  off
the letter, and seeming to listen. 'Unless he has anything to say.'
     'No, Sir,' returned Walter, agitated and confused, and almost  stunned,
as an infinite variety of  pictures presented themselves to  his mind; among
which Captain Cuttle, in his glazed hat, transfixed with astonishment at Mrs
MacStinger's, and his  uncle bemoaning his loss in the little back  parlour,
held prominent places. 'I hardly know - I - I am much obliged, Sir.'
     'He needn't wait, Carker,' said Mr Dombey.
     And as Mr Carker  again echoed the words, and also collected his papers
as if  he were  going away too, Walter felt  that his  lingering any  longer
would  be an unpardonable intrusion - especially as he had nothing to  say -
and therefore walked out quite confounded.
     Going  along   the  passage,   with   the  mingled   consciousness  and
helplessness of a dream, he heard  Mr Dombey's door shut again, as Mr Carker
came out: and immediately afterwards that gentleman called to him.
     'Bring  your  friend  Mr Carker  the  Junior  to my  room, Sir, if  you
     Walter went to the  outer office and apprised  Mr Carker the  Junior of
his errand, who accordingly  came out  from behind a  partition where he sat
alone in one  corner, and  returned  with  him  to the room of Mr Carker the
     That  gentleman  was  standing with his back to the fire, and his hands
under his coat-tails, looking over his white cravat,  as unpromisingly as Mr
Dombey himself could have looked. He received them without any change in his
attitude  or softening of his harsh and black expression: merely  signing to
Walter to close the door.
     'John Carker,'  said the Manager,  when this was done, turning suddenly
upon his brother,  with his two rows  of teeth bristling as if he would have
bitten him, 'what is the league between you and this young man, in virtue of
which I am haunted and  hunted by the mention of your name? Is it not enough
for you, John Carker, that I am your  near relation, and can't detach myself
from that - '
     'Say  disgrace, James,'  interposed the  other in a  low voice, finding
that he stammered for a word. 'You mean it, and have reason, say disgrace.'
     'From that disgrace,'  assented his brother with keen emphasis, 'but is
the fact to  be blurted out and trumpeted, and proclaimed continually in the
presence of the very House! In moments of confidence too? Do you think  your
name is  calculated to  harmonise  in this place with  trust and confidence,
John Carker?'
     'No,'  returned  the  other.  'No,  James.  God  knows  I have  no such
     'What is your  thought, then?' said his brother, 'and why do you thrust
yourself in my way? Haven't you injured me enough already?'
     'I have never injured you, James, wilfully.'
     'You are my brother,' said the Manager. 'That's injury enough.'
     'I wish I could undo it, James.'
     'I wish you could and would.'
     During  this  conversation, Walter had  looked from one  brother to the
other, with  pain and  amazement. He who was the Senior in years, and Junior
in the House, stood, with his eyes cast upon the ground, and his head bowed,
humbly  listening to the reproaches of the other. Though these were rendered
very  bitter by the tone and look with  which they were  accompanied, and by
the presence of Walter whom they  so  much surprised and shocked, he entered
no other protest against them than by slightly raising  his right hand  in a
deprecatory manner, as  if he would have said, 'Spare me!' So, had they been
blows, and  he a brave man, under strong constraint, and  weakened by bodily
suffering, he might have stood before the executioner.
     Generous and quick in all his  emotions, and regarding  himself  as the
innocent  occasion of  these taunts,  Walter  now  struck in, with  all  the
earnestness he felt.
     'Mr  Carker,' he said,  addressing  himself to  the  Manager.  'Indeed,
indeed, this  is  my fault solely. In  a  kind of  heedlessness, for which I
cannot blame myself enough, I have, I have no doubt, mentioned Mr Carker the
Junior much oftener than was necessary; and have allowed  his name sometimes
to slip through my lips, when it was against your expressed wish. But it has
been my own mistake, Sir. We have never exchanged one word upon the  subject
- very few,  indeed, on any  subject. And it  has  not been,'  added Walter,
after a moment's pause, 'all  heedlessness on  my part, Sir; for I have felt
an interest  in Mr Carker  ever since I have been here, and have hardly been
able to help speaking of him sometimes, when I have thought of him so much!'
     Walter said this from his soul, and with the very breath of honour. For
he looked upon the bowed head, and the downcast eyes, and upraised hand, and
thought,  'I have felt it; and  why should I not avow  it in  behalf of this
unfriended, broken man!'
     Mr  Carker  the Manager looked  at him, as  he  spoke, and when he  had
finished  speaking, with a  smile that  seemed  to divide his face  into two
     'You are an excitable  youth,  Gay,'  he said; 'and should endeavour to
cool  down  a little  now,  for  it would  be  unwise  to encourage feverish
predispositions. Be as cool as  you can, Gay.  Be  as  cool  as you can. You
might have asked Mr John Carker himself (if you have not done so) whether he
claims to be, or is, an object of such strong interest.'
     'James, do me justice,' said his brother. 'I have claimed nothing;  and
I claim nothing. Believe me, on my -
     'Honour?'  said his brother, with another smile,  as he warmed  himself
before the fire.
     'On my Me -  on my fallen life!'  returned the  other, in the  same low
voice, but with a deeper stress on his  words than he had yet seemed capable
of giving them. 'Believe me,  I have held myself aloof, and kept alone. This
has been unsought by me. I have avoided him and everyone.
     'Indeed, you have  avoided me, Mr  Carker,' said Walter, with the tears
rising  to  his  eyes;  so true  was  his  compassion. 'I  know  it,  to  my
disappointment and regret. When I first came here, and ever since, I am sure
I  have tried to be as much  your friend, as  one of my age could presume to
be; but it has been of no use.
     'And observe,' said the Manager, taking  him up quickly, 'it will be of
still less use,  Gay, if  you persist  in forcing Mr John Carker's  name  on
people's attention. That is not the  way to befriend Mr John Carker. Ask him
if he thinks it is.'
     'It  is no service to  me,' said the brother. 'It only leads to  such a
conversation as the present, which  I need not say I could have well spared.
No one can be a better friend to me:' he spoke here  very distinctly, as  if
he  would impress it upon Walter: 'than in forgetting me, and leaving me  to
go my way, unquestioned and unnoticed.'
     'Your memory not being retentive, Gay, of what you are told by others,'
said  Mr  Carker  the  Manager, warming  himself  with great  and  increased
satisfaction, 'I thought it  well that you should be told this from the best
authority,' nodding towards his brother.  'You are not likely  to forget  it
now, I hope. That's all, Gay. You can go.
     Walter  passed  out  at the door, and was about to close  it after him,
when, hearing the voices of the brothers again,  and also the mention of his
own name, he  stood irresolutely, with his hand upon the lock, and  the door
ajar, uncertain whether to return or go away. In this  position he could not
help overhearing what followed.
     'Think  of me  more leniently, if you  can, James,' said  John  Carker,
'when I  tell you  I  have had  - how  could I help having, with my history,
written here' - striking himself upon the breast - 'my whole heart  awakened
by my observation of  that boy, Walter Gay. I saw  in him when he first came
here, almost my other self.'
     'Your other self!' repeated the Manager, disdainfully.
     'Not as  I am, but  as  I was when I first came here too; as  sanguine,
giddy,   youthful,  inexperienced;  flushed  with   the  same  restless  and
adventurous fancies; and  full of the same qualities, fraught with the  same
capacity of leading on to good or evil.'
     'I hope not,' said his brother,  with some hidden and sarcastic meaning
in his tone.
     'You strike me  sharply;  and your hand  is steady, and  your thrust is
very  deep,' returned the other, speaking (or  so Walter thought) as if some
cruel weapon actually stabbed him as he spoke.  'I imagined all this when he
was a boy. I believed it. It was a truth to me. I saw him lightly walking on
the edge of an unseen gulf where so many others walk with  equal gaiety, and
from which
     'The old excuse,' interrupted his  brother, as he stirred the fire. 'So
many. Go on. Say, so many fall.'
     'From which ONE traveller fell,' returned  the other, 'who set forward,
on  his  way, a boy like  him, and  missed  his  footing more and more,  and
slipped a little and  a little lower; and went  on stumbling still, until he
fell  headlong and found  himself  below  a  shattered  man.  Think  what  I
suffered, when I watched that boy.'
     'You have only yourself to thank for it,' returned the brother.
     'Only myself,'  he assented with a sigh.  'I don't  seek to divide  the
blame or shame.'
     'You have divided the shame,' James Carker muttered through  his teeth.
And, through so many and such close teeth, he could mutter well.
     'Ah, James,' returned his  brother, speaking  for the first time  in an
accent of reproach, and seeming, by the sound of his  voice, to have covered
his face with his hands, 'I have been, since then, a useful foil to you. You
have trodden  on me  freely  in  your climbing up. Don't spurn me  with your
     A  silence  ensued.  After a  time,  Mr  Carker the  Manager  was heard
rustling among his papers, as if he had resolved to bring the interview to a
conclusion. At the same time his brother withdrew nearer to the door.
     'That's all,' he  said. 'I watched  him  with such  trembling  and such
fear, as was some little punishment to me, until he passed the place where I
first fell; and then, though  I had been his father, I believe I never could
have thanked God  more devoutly. I didn't dare to warn  him, and advise him;
but if  I had seen direct  cause, I would have shown  him my example. I  was
afraid to be seen  speaking with him, lest  it should be thought  I  did him
harm, and tempted  him to evil, and  corrupted him: or lest I really should.
There may be such contagion in me; I  don't know.  Piece out my  history, in
connexion with young Walter Gay, and what he has  made me feel; and think of
me more leniently, James, if you can.
     With  these words he came out to where Walter was standing. He turned a
little paler when he saw him there, and paler yet when  Walter caught him by
the hand, and said in a whisper:
     'Mr Carker, pray let me thank  you! Let me say how much I feel for you!
How  sorry I am,  to  have  been the unhappy cause of all this! How I almost
look upon you  now as my protector and guardian! How very, very much, I feel
obliged to you  and pity you!' said Walter,  squeezing  both his  hands, and
hardly knowing, in his agitation, what he did or said.
     Mr Morfin's room being close at hand and empty, and the door wide open,
they moved thither by one accord: the passage being seldom free from someone
passing to or fro. When they were there, and Walter saw in  Mr Carker's face
some traces of the emotion within, he  almost felt as if  he had  never seen
the face before; it was so greatly changed.
     'Walter,' he said, laying his hand  on his shoulder. 'I  am far removed
from you, and may I ever be. Do you know what I am?'
     'What you  are!' appeared to  hang on Walter's lips, as he regarded him
     'It was begun,' said Carker, 'before my twenty-first birthday  - led up
to, long before, but not begun till near that time. I had robbed them when I
came of age. I robbed them afterwards. Before my twenty-second birthday,  it
was all found out; and then, Walter, from all men's society, I died.'
     Again his last  few words hung  trembling upon  Walter's lips,  but  he
could neither utter them, nor any of his own.
     'The House was very  good to me. May  Heaven reward the old man for his
forbearance! This one, too, his son, who was then newly in the Firm, where I
had held great trust! I was called into that room  which is now his - I have
never entered  it  since - and came out, what you  know me. For many years I
sat in  my  present seat,  alone as now,  but  then  a known and  recognised
example  to  the  rest. They were all  merciful to me, and I lived. Time has
altered that part of my poor expiation; and I think,  except the three heads
of the  House, there is  no  one here who knows my story rightly. Before the
little boy grows up, and has it told  to him,  my corner may  be  vacant.  I
would rather  that it might be so! This is the only change to  me since that
day, when I left all youth, and hope, and good  men's company, behind me  in
that room. God bless you, Walter! Keep you, and all dear to you, in honesty,
or strike them dead!'
     Some  recollection  of  his  trembling  from head  to  foot, as if with
excessive  cold, and of  his bursting into tears,  was all that Walter could
add to this, when he tried to recall exactly what had passed between them.
     When  Walter  saw him next,  he was bending over  his  desk  in his old
silent, drooping, humbled way. Then, observing him at his work, and  feeling
how  resolved he  evidently  was that  no further  intercourse  should arise
between them, and thinking again and again on all he had seen and heard that
morning  in so short  a  time, in  connexion with  the  history  of both the
Carkers, Walter could hardly believe that he  was under orders for the  West
Indies,  and  would  soon be lost to  Uncle Sol, and Captain Cuttle,  and to
glimpses few and far between of Florence Dombey - no, he meant Paul - and to
all he loved, and liked, and looked for, in his daily life.
     But it was  true,  and the news  had  already penetrated  to the  outer
office; for while he sat with  a heavy heart, pondering on these things, and
resting  his  head upon  his arm, Perch  the  messenger, descending from his
mahogany  bracket, and  jogging his elbow, begged his pardon, but  wished to
say in his ear, Did he think he could arrange to send home  to England a jar
of preserved Ginger, cheap, for Mrs Perch's own eating, in the course of her
recovery from her next confinement?

     Paul grows more and more Old-fashioned, and goes Home for the Holidays
     When  the Midsummer vacation  approached, no indecent manifestations of
joy were  exhibited by  the  leaden-eyed young gentlemen assembled at Doctor
Blimber's. Any  such violent expression as  'breaking up,'  would have  been
quite inapplicable  to that polite establishment. The young  gentlemen oozed
away, semi-annually, to their own homes; but they never broke up. They would
have scorned the action.
     Tozer, who was  constantly galled  and  tormented by  a  starched white
cambric neckerchief, which he wore at  the express  desire of Mrs Tozer, his
parent, who, designing him  for the Church,  was of opinion that he couldn't
be in that forward state of preparation  too soon - Tozer said, indeed, that
choosing between  two  evils,  he thought he would rather stay where he was,
than  go home. However inconsistent this declaration might  appear with that
passage in Tozer's Essay on the subject,  wherein he  had observed 'that the
thoughts of  home and all its recollections, awakened in his  mind the  most
pleasing emotions of anticipation and delight,' and had also likened himself
to a  Roman General, flushed  with a recent victory over the Iceni, or laden
with Carthaginian spoil, advancing within a few hours' march of the Capitol,
presupposed, for the purposes of the simile, to be the dwelling-place of Mrs
Tozer, still it  was very  sincerely  made. For  it seemed that Tozer  had a
dreadful  Uncle, who  not  only  volunteered  examinations  of  him,  in the
holidays, on abstruse  points,  but twisted innocent events and things,  and
wrenched them  to  the same  fell purpose. So that if this Uncle took him to
the Play, or, on a similar pretence of kindness, carried him to see a Giant,
or a  Dwarf, or a Conjuror,  or  anything, Tozer  knew  he had read  up some
classical allusion to the subject beforehand, and was thrown into a state of
mortal  apprehension:  not foreseeing  where he  might  break  out, or  what
authority he might not quote against him.
     As  to Briggs, his father made no show of artifice about it.  He  never
would leave him alone. So numerous and severe were the mental trials of that
unfortunate youth  in vacation time,  that the friends of the  family  (then
resident near Bayswater,  London) seldom  approached the ornamental piece of
water in Kensington Gardens,' without  a  vague expectation of seeing Master
Briggs's hat floating on the  surface, and an  unfinished  exercise lying on
the bank.  Briggs,  therefore, was not at  all  sanguine  on the  subject of
holidays;  and these two sharers of  little Paul's  bedroom were  so fair  a
sample of the young gentlemen  in general, that the most  elastic among them
contemplated the arrival of those festive periods with genteel resignation.
     It was far otherwise  with little Paul. The end of these first holidays
was to witness his  separation from Florence, but who ever looked forward to
the end  of holidays whose  beginning was not yet come! Not Paul, assuredly.
As the  happy time drew near,  the lions and tigers climbing up  the bedroom
walls became quite tame  and frolicsome.  The grim sly faces  in the squares
and  diamonds of  the  floor-cloth, relaxed and peeped  out at him with less
wicked eyes. The grave old clock had more  of  personal interest in the tone
of its  formal inquiry; and the restless sea  went rolling  on all night, to
the sounding of  a  melancholy strain - yet it was  pleasant too - that rose
and fell with the waves, and rocked him, as it were, to sleep.
     Mr Feeder, B.A., seemed to think that he, too, would enjoy the holidays
very much. Mr Toots projected a life of  holidays from that time forth; for,
as he regularly informed Paul every day, it was  his 'last half'  at  Doctor
Blimber's, and he was going to begin to come into his property directly.
     It was perfectly understood between Paul and  Mr Toots, that they  were
intimate  friends,  notwithstanding  their distance  in  point of  years and
station. As the vacation approached, and Mr Toots breathed harder and stared
oftener in Paul's society, than he had done before,  Paul knew that he meant
he was sorry they were going to lose sight of each other, and felt very much
obliged to him for his patronage and good opinion.
     It  was  even  understood  by Doctor  Blimber, Mrs  Blimber,  and  Miss
Blimber,  as  well as by the  young  gentlemen  in general,  that Toots  had
somehow  constituted himself  protector  and  guardian  of  Dombey,  and the
circumstance  became so notorious, even  to  Mrs Pipchin, that the good  old
creature cherished feelings of  bitterness and jealousy against Toots;  and,
in  the   sanctuary  of  her  own  home,  repeatedly   denounced  him  as  a
'chuckle-headed  noodle.' Whereas the  innocent Toots  had no more  idea  of
awakening Mrs Pipchin's wrath, than he had of any other definite possibility
or proposition. On the contrary, he was  disposed  to consider her rather  a
remarkable  character, with  many points  of  interest  about her.  For this
reason he smiled on her with so much urbanity, and asked her how she did, so
often, in the course  of her  visits  to  little Paul, that at  last she one
night told him plainly,  she wasn't used to it, whatever he might think; and
she could not, and she would not  bear it, either from himself or  any other
puppy  then existing: at which unexpected acknowledgment of  his civilities,
Mr Toots was so alarmed that he secreted himself in a retired spot until she
had gone. Nor did he ever again face  the doughty Mrs  Pipchin, under Doctor
Blimber's roof.
     They were within two  or three  weeks  of the holidays,  when, one day,
Cornelia Blimber called Paul into her room, and said, 'Dombey, I am going to
send home your analysis.'
     'Thank you, Ma'am,' returned Paul.
     'You know what I mean,  do you, Dombey?' inquired Miss Blimber, looking
hard at him, through the spectacles.
     'No, Ma'am,' said Paul.
     'Dombey, Dombey,' said  Miss Blimber,  'I begin  to be afraid you are a
sad boy. When  you don't know the  meaning of an  expression,  why don't you
seek for information?'
     'Mrs Pipchin told me I wasn't to ask questions,' returned Paul.
     'I  must beg  you not to  mention Mrs  Pipchin to  me, on any  account,
Dombey,' returned Miss Blimber. 'I couldn't think of allowing it. The course
of study here, is very far removed from  anything of that sort. A repetition
of such allusions would make it necessary for me to request to hear, without
a mistake, before breakfast-time to-morrow  morning, from  Verbum  personale
down to simillimia cygno.'
     'I didn't mean, Ma'am - ' began little Paul.
     'I must trouble you not to tell me that you didn't mean, if you please,
Dombey,'  said  Miss Blimber,  who  preserved  an  awful politeness  in  her
admonitions. 'That is a line of argument I couldn't dream of permitting.'
     Paul felt  it  safest to say nothing at all, so  he only looked at Miss
Blimber's spectacles.  Miss Blimber having  shaken her head at him  gravely,
referred to a paper lying before her.
     '"Analysis of the character of P.  Dombey."  If my  recollection serves
me,'  said  Miss Blimber  breaking  off,  'the word analysis  as opposed  to
synthesis, is thus defined by  Walker. "The resolution of an object, whether
of the senses or of the intellect, into  its first elements." As opposed  to
synthesis, you observe. Now you know what analysis is, Dombey.'
     Dombey didn't seem to  be absolutely  blinded by the light let  in upon
his intellect, but he made Miss Blimber a little bow.
     '"Analysis,"'  resumed Miss  Blimber, casting  her eye  over the paper,
'"of the character of P. Dombey." I find that the natural capacity of Dombey
is extremely  good; and that his general disposition to study may be  stated
in an equal  ratio. Thus, taking eight as our standard and highest number, I
find these qualities in Dombey stated each at six three-fourths!'
     Miss Blimber paused to see how Paul received this news. Being undecided
whether  six  three-fourths  meant  six  pounds fifteen,  or sixpence  three
farthings, or six foot  three, or three quarters past six, or six somethings
that he hadn't learnt yet, with  three unknown something  elses  over,  Paul
rubbed his hands and looked  straight at Miss Blimber. It happened to answer
as well as anything else he could have done; and Cornelia proceeded.
     '"Violence two. Selfishness two. Inclination to low company, as evinced
in the case of a person  named Glubb,  originally seven, but since  reduced.
Gentlemanly demeanour four, and  improving with advancing years." Now what I
particularly  wish  to  call  your  attention to,  Dombey,  is  the  general
observation at the close of this analysis.'
     Paul set himself to follow it with great care.
     '"It may be generally observed of Dombey,"'  said Miss Blimber, reading
in a loud voice, and  at every second word  directing her spectacles towards
the  little figure  before her: '"that  his  abilities and inclinations  are
good, and that he has made as much progress as under the circumstances could
have been expected. But it is to be lamented of this young gentleman that he
is  singular (what  is  usually  termed old-fashioned) in his  character and
conduct,  and that, without  presenting anything in  either which distinctly
calls for reprobation, he is often very unlike other young  gentlemen of his
age  and social position." Now, Dombey,'  said Miss Blimber, laying down the
paper, 'do you understand that?'
     'I think I do, Ma'am,' said Paul.
     'This analysis, you see, Dombey,'  Miss Blimber continued, 'is going to
be sent home to your respected parent. It will naturally be  very painful to
him  to  find that  you are  singular in your character and  conduct. It  is
naturally painful to us; for we can't like you, you know, Dombey, as well as
we could wish.'
     She touched the child upon a tender point. He had  secretly become more
and more solicitous from day to day, as the time of his departure drew  more
near, that all  the  house  should like him.  From some  hidden reason, very
imperfectly  understood  by  himself - if  understood  at  all  - he  felt a
gradually  increasing  impulse of affection,  towards almost  everything and
everybody in the place. He could not bear to think that they would be  quite
indifferent to him when he was gone. He  wanted them to remember him kindly;
and he had made it  his business even  to conciliate  a  great hoarse shaggy
dog, chained up at the back of the house, who had previously been the terror
of his life: that even he might miss him when he was no longer there.
     Little  thinking  that  in this, he only  showed  again  the difference
between himself  and  his compeers,  poor  tiny  Paul set  it forth to  Miss
Blimber as well  as he  could, and begged her,  in despite  of the  official
analysis, to have the goodness  to try and like him. To Mrs Blimber, who had
joined them,  he preferred  the same petition:  and when that lady could not
forbear,  even in his presence, from giving utterance to  her often-repeated
opinion, that he was an odd child, Paul  told her  that he was sure  she was
quite right; that he thought it must be  his bones,  but he didn't know; and
that he hoped she would overlook it, for he was fond of them all.
     'Not so  fond,'  said Paul,  with a  mixture  of timidity  and  perfect
frankness, which was one of the most peculiar and most engaging qualities of
the child, 'not so fond as I am of Florence, of course; that could never be.
You couldn't expect that, could you, Ma'am?'
     'Oh! the old-fashioned little soul!' cried Mrs Blimber, in a whisper.
     'But  I  like  everybody  here very much,' pursued Paul, 'and I  should
grieve to go away, and think that anyone was glad that I was gone, or didn't
     Mrs  Blimber was now quite sure that  Paul was the oddest  child in the
world; and when  she  told  the Doctor what had passed, the  Doctor  did not
controvert his wife's opinion. But he said, as he had said before, when Paul
first came, that study would do much; and he  also said,  as he had  said on
that occasion, 'Bring him on, Cornelia! Bring him on!'
     Cornelia had always brought him on as vigorously as she could; and Paul
had had a hard life of it. But over and above the getting through his tasks,
he had long had another purpose always present to him, and to which he still
held  fast.  It was, to be a  gentle, useful,  quiet  little fellow,  always
striving to secure the  love and attachment of the rest; and though  he  was
yet often to  be seen at his  old post on the stairs, or watching the  waves
and clouds from his solitary window,  he was oftener  found,  too, among the
other boys, modestly rendering them some little  voluntary service.  Thus it
came to pass, that even among those rigid and absorbed young anchorites, who
mortified themselves beneath the roof  of Doctor Blimber, Paul was an object
of general interest; a  fragile little  plaything  that they all liked,  and
that no one would have thought of treating roughly. But he  could not change
his nature, or rewrite the analysis;  and so they all agreed that Dombey was
     There were some immunities, however, attaching to the character enjoyed
by no one else. They could  have better spared  a newer-fashioned child, and
that alone was much. When the others only bowed to Doctor Blimber and family
on retiring for the night, Paul would stretch out  his morsel of a hand, and
boldly shake the Doctor's; also Mrs  Blimber's;  also Cornelia's. If anybody
was  to  be  begged  off from  impending punishment,  Paul  was  always  the
delegate. The  weak-eyed  young  man  himself  had  once consulted  him,  in
reference to  a little  breakage  of glass  and  china.  And  it  was darKly
rumoured that the  butler,  regarding him with favour such as that stern man
had never shown  before to mortal boy, had sometimes mingled porter with his
table-beer to make him strong.
     Over and above these extensive privileges, Paul had free right of entry
to Mr Feeder's room, from which apartment he had twice led Mr Toots into the
open air in a state of faintness, consequent on an  unsuccessful attempt  to
smoke a very  blunt cigar:  one  of a  bundle which that young gentleman had
covertly purchased on the shingle  from a  most desperate smuggler, who  had
acknowledged, in confidence, that two hundred pounds was the price set  upon
his  head, dead  or alive,  by  the Custom House.  It was  a snug  room,  Mr
Feeder's,  with his bed  in another little room inside of  it;  and a flute,
which  Mr  Feeder  couldn't  play  yet,  but  was  going to make a  point of
learning, he said, hanging up over the  fireplace. There  were some books in
it, too,  and a fishing-rod; for  Mr Feeder said he  should certainly make a
point of  learning to fish, when he could find time. Mr Feeder  had amassed,
with  similar  intentions, a beautiful  little curly secondhand key-bugle, a
chess-board and  men, a Spanish Grammar, a set of sketching materials, and a
pair  of boxing-gloves. The art  of  self-defence  Mr  Feeder said he should
undoubtedly make a point of learning, as he  considered it the duty of every
man to do; for it might lead to the protection of  a female in distress. But
Mr Feeder's  great possession was a large green jar of snuff, which Mr Toots
had brought down as a present, at  the  close of the  last vacation; and for
which he  had paid  a high price,  having  been the genuine property of  the
Prince Regent. Neither Mr Toots nor Mr Feeder could partake of  this or  any
other  snuff,  even in  the most stinted and moderate  degree, without being
seized with convulsions of sneezing. Nevertheless it was their great delight
to moisten a box-full with cold tea, stir it up on a piece of parchment with
a paper-knife, and devote themselves to its  consumption then and there.  In
the  course of  which  cramming  of  their  noses,  they  endured surprising
torments  with  the  constancy  of  martyrs:  and,  drinking  table-beer  at
intervals, felt all the glories of dissipation.
     To little Paul sitting silent  in their company, and by the side of his
chief patron, Mr Toots, there was a dread charm in these reckless occasions:
and when Mr Feeder spoke  of the dark mysteries of London, and told Mr Toots
that he was going to observe it himself closely  in all its ramifications in
the approaching  holidays, and for  that purpose  had  made  arrangements to
board with two old maiden ladies at Peckham, Paul regarded him as if he were
the hero of some book of travels or wild adventure, and was almost afraid of
such a slashing person.
     Going  into this room  one  evening, when the holidays were  very near,
Paul found Mr  Feeder filling up the blanks  in some printed  letters, while
some others, already filled up and  strewn before him, were being folded and
sealed by Mr Toots. Mr Feeder said, 'Aha, Dombey, there you are, are you?' -
for they were  always kind  to  him, and  glad to  see him - and then  said,
tossing one of  the letters towards  him, 'And  there you are,  too, Dombey.
That's yours.'
     'Mine, Sir?' said Paul.
     'Your invitation,' returned Mr Feeder.
     Paul, looking at it, found,  in copper-plate print,  with the exception
of his  own name and the date, which  were in  Mr Feeder's penmanship,  that
Doctor and Mrs Blimber requested the pleasure  of Mr  P. Dombey's company at
an early party on Wednesday Evening the  Seventeenth  Instant;  and that the
hour  was half-past  seven o'clock;  and that the object was  Quadrilles. Mr
Toots also showed him, by holding up a companion sheet of paper, that Doctor
and Mrs  Blimber requested the pleasure of Mr  Toots's company  at an  early
party on  Wednesday Evening  the  Seventeenth  Instant,  when  the hour  was
half-past seven o'clock,  and when the object was Quadrilles. He also found,
on  glancing at the  table  where  Mr Feeder sat,  that the  pleasure  of Mr
Briggs's company, and of Mr Tozer's company,  and of every young gentleman's
company, was  requested  by Doctor  and  Mrs  Blimber  on  the same  genteel
     Mr Feeder then told him, to his great joy, that his sister was invited,
and that it  was a half-yearly event, and that, as the  holidays  began that
day, he  could go away with his sister  after the party, if  he liked, which
Paul interrupted him  to say he would like, very  much. Mr  Feeder then gave
him to  understand  that  he would  be  expected  to inform  Doctor and  Mrs
Blimber, in  superfine small-hand, that Mr  P. Dombey would be happy to have
the honour  of waiting on them, in  accordance with their polite invitation.
Lastly, Mr Feeder said, he had better not refer  to the festive occasion, in
the hearing of Doctor and Mrs Blimber; as these preliminaries, and the whole
of the arrangements, were conducted on  principles of  classicality and high
breeding; and that Doctor and Mrs  Blimber on the  one hand,  and  the young
gentlemen on the other, were supposed,  in their scholastic  capacities, not
to have the least idea of what was in the wind.
     Paul thanked Mr Feeder  for these hints, and  pocketing his invitation,
sat down on  a  stool by the  side  of Mr Toots,  as usual. But Paul's head,
which had long  been ailing more or less, and  was  sometimes very heavy and
painful, felt so uneasy that night, that he was obliged to support it on his
hand. And yet it dropped so, that by little and little it sunk on Mr Toots's
knee, and rested there, as if it had no care to be ever lifted up again.
     That  was no reason why  he  should be deaf; but he must have been,  he
thought, for, by and by, he heard  Mr Feeder calling in  his ear, and gently
shaking him to  rouse his  attention. And  when  he raised his  head,  quite
scared, and looked about him, he found that Doctor Blimber had come into the
room;  and that  the window  was open,  and  that his forehead  was wet with
sprinkled water; though how  all this had  been done without  his knowledge,
was very curious indeed.
     'Ah! Come, come! That's well! How is my little friend now?' said Doctor
Blimber, encouragingly.
     'Oh, quite well, thank you, Sir,' said Paul.
     But  there seemed  to  be something the matter with the floor,  for  he
couldn't stand  upon  it steadily;  and with the  walls too,  for they  were
inclined to turn round and round,  and could only be stopped by being looked
at  very hard indeed. Mr  Toots's head had the appearance of being  at  once
bigger and farther off than was quite natural; and when he took Paul  in his
arms, to carry  him  upstairs, Paul observed with astonishment that the door
was in quite a different  place from that in  which  he had expected to find
it, and almost thought, at first, that Mr Toots  was going to walk  straight
up the chimney.
     It was  very kind  of Mr Toots to carry  him to the top of the house so
tenderly;  and  Paul told him  that it was. But Mr Toots said he  would do a
great  deal more  than that, if he could;  and indeed he did more as it was:
for he helped Paul to undress,  and helped him to bed, in the kindest manner
possible, and then sat down by the bedside and chuckled very  much; while Mr
Feeder, B.A., leaning over the  bottom of  the bedstead,  set all the little
bristles on his head bolt upright with his bony hands, and then made believe
to spar at Paul with great science, on account of his being all right again,
which was so uncommonly facetious, and kind too in Mr Feeder, that Paul, not
being able  to make up his mind whether it was  best to laugh or cry at him,
did both at once.
     How Mr Toots melted away,  and Mr Feeder changed into Mrs Pipchin, Paul
never thought of asking; neither was he at all curious to know;  but when he
saw  Mrs Pipchin standing at the bottom of the bed, instead of Mr Feeder, he
cried out, 'Mrs Pipchin, don't tell Florence!'
     'Don't  tell Florence what,  my little Paul?' said Mrs Pipchin,  coming
round to the bedside, and sitting down in the chair.
     'About me,' said Paul.
     'No, no,' said Mrs Pipchin.
     'What do you think I mean to do when I  grow up, Mrs Pipchin?' inquired
Paul,  turning his  face  towards  her on his pillow,  and resting his  chin
wistfully on his folded hands.
     Mrs Pipchin couldn't guess.
     'I mean,' said Paul, 'to put my money all together  in one  Bank, never
try to get any more, go away into the country with my darling Florence, have
a beautiful garden, fields, and woods, and live there with her all my life!'
     'Indeed!' cried Mrs Pipchin.
     'Yes,' said Paul. 'That's what I mean to do, when I - ' He stopped, and
pondered for a moment.
     Mrs Pipchin's grey eye scanned his thoughtful face.
     'If I grow  up,' said Paul. Then  he went on  immediately  to  tell Mrs
Pipchin all about the party, about Florence's invitation, about the pride he
would  have in the  admiration that would be  felt for  her by all the boys,
about their being so kind to him and fond of him, about his being so fond of
them, and about his being so glad  of it. Then he told Mrs Pipchin about the
analysis,  and  about  his  being  certainly  old-fashioned,  and  took  Mrs
Pipchin's opinion on that point, and whether she  knew why  it was, and what
it meant. Mrs Pipchin denied the  fact altogether, as  the shortest  way  of
getting out of the  difficulty;  but  Paul was far from  satisfied with that
reply, and looked so searchingly at Mrs Pipchin for a truer answer, that she
was obliged to get up and look out of the window to avoid his eyes.
     There was a certain calm Apothecary, 'who attended at the establishment
when  any of the young gentlemen were ill, and somehow  he got into the room
and appeared at the bedside, with Mrs Blimber.  How  they came there, or how
long they  had been there, Paul didn't know; but when he saw them, he sat up
in  bed,  and  answered all the  Apothecary's questions at  full length, and
whispered to him  that Florence  was not to  know  anything about  it, if he
pleased, and that he had set his mind upon  her coming to the party. He  was
very  chatty with  the Apothecary, and  they parted excellent friends. Lying
down again with his eyes shut, he heard the Apothecary  say, out of the room
and quite a long way off - or he dreamed it - that there was a want of vital
power (what  was  that,  Paul wondered!) and great constitutional  weakness.
That as the little fellow had set his heart on parting with his school-mates
on the seventeenth,  it  would be better to indulge the fancy if  he grew no
worse.  That he was  glad to  hear from Mrs  Pipchin, that the little fellow
would go to his friends in London on the eighteenth.  That he would write to
Mr Dombey, when he should have gained a better  knowledge of  the  case, and
before that  day. That  there was no immediate cause  for - what? Paul  lost
that  word  And  that  the  little  fellow  had  a  fine  mind,  but  was an
old-fashioned boy.
     What old fashion could that be, Paul wondered with a palpitating heart,
that was so visibly expressed in him; so plainly seen by so many people!
     He could neither make it out, nor trouble himself long with the effort.
Mrs Pipchin was again beside him, if she had ever been away (he thought  she
had gone out with the Doctor, but it was all a dream perhaps), and presently
a  bottle and  glass got into her  hands magically, and she  poured out  the
contents for him. After that, he had some real good jelly, which Mrs Blimber
brought to him herself; and then he was so well, that Mrs Pipchin went home,
at his urgent  solicitation,  and  Briggs and Tozer came to bed. Poor Briggs
grumbled  terribly  about  his  own  analysis,   which   could  hardly  have
discomposed him more if it had been a chemical process; but he was very good
to Paul, and  so was Tozer, and  so  were  all the rest, for  they every one
looked in before going to bed, and  said, 'How are you now, Dombey?'  'Cheer
up, little Dombey!' and  so  forth.  After  Briggs had  got into bed, he lay
awake for a  long time, still bemoaning his analysis, and  saying he knew it
was all wrong, and they couldn't have analysed a murderer  worse, and -  how
would Doctor Blimber like it if his pocket-money depended on it? It was very
easy, Briggs said,  to make a  galley-slave of a boy all the half-year,  and
then score him up idle; and to crib two dinners a-week out of his board, and
then score him up  greedy;  but that wasn't  going  to  be submitted to,  he
believed, was it? Oh! Ah!
     Before the weak-eyed young man performed on the  gong next  morning, he
came  upstairs to  Paul and told  him he was to  lie still, which Paul  very
gladly  did.  Mrs Pipchin reappeared  a little  before the Apothecary, and a
little after the  good young woman whom Paul  had seen cleaning the stove on
that  first morning (how  long ago  it  seemed  now!)  had brought  him  his
breakfast.  There  was  another consultation a  long  way off, or  else Paul
dreamed it again; and then the Apothecary, coming  back  with Doctor and Mrs
Blimber, said:
     'Yes, I think, Doctor Blimber, we may release this young gentleman from
his books just now; the vacation being so very near at hand.'
     'By  all  means,'  said Doctor  Blimber.  'My  love,  you  will  inform
Cornelia, if you please.'
     'Assuredly,' said Mrs Blimber.
     The Apothecary  bending down, looked closely into Paul's eyes, and felt
his head, and his pulse, and his heart, with so much interest and care, that
Paul said, 'Thank you, Sir.'
     'Our little friend,' observed Doctor Blimber, 'has never complained.'
     'Oh no!' replied the Apothecary. 'He was not likely to complain.'
     'You find him greatly better?' said Doctor Blimber.
     'Oh! he is greatly better, Sir,' returned the Apothecary.
     Paul had  begun to speculate, in his own odd  way, on the  subject that
might  occupy the Apothecary's mind just  at that moment; so musingly had he
answered the  two questions  of Doctor Blimber. But the Apothecary happening
to meet his  little patient's eyes,  as the  latter  set  off on that mental
expedition, and coming  instantly  out of  his abstraction with  a  cheerful
smile, Paul smiled in return and abandoned it.
     He lay in bed all  that  day,  dozing and  dreaming, and  looking at Mr
Toots; but got up on the next, and went downstairs. Lo and behold, there was
something the matter with the great clock; and a workman on a pair  of steps
had taken its face off,  and  was  poking instruments into the  works by the
light  of  a candle! This was a great event for  Paul, who sat  down  on the
bottom stair, and  watched the  operation attentively: now and then glancing
at the clock face, leaning all askew, against  the wall hard by, and feeling
a little confused by a suspicion that it was ogling him.
     The workman on the  steps  was  very  civil;  and as  he said,  when he
observed Paul,  'How do you  do, Sir?' Paul  got into conversation with him,
and told him  he  hadn't been quite well lately.  The ice being thus broken,
Paul asked him a multitude of questions about chimes and clocks: as, whether
people  watched  up in the lonely  church steeples  by  night  to  make them
strike, and how the bells were rung when people died, and whether those were
different bells from wedding bells, or only sounded dismal in the fancies of
the living. Finding that his new acquaintance was not very  well informed on
the subject of the Curfew Bell of ancient days, Paul gave him an  account of
that institution; and also asked him, as a  practical man,  what he  thought
about King  Alfred's idea of  measuring  time by the burning  of candles; to
which the workman replied, that he thought it would be the ruin of the clock
trade if  it was to come up again. In fine, Paul looked on,  until the clock
had quite recovered its familiar aspect,  and resumed  its  sedate  inquiry;
when the  workman, putting  away his tools in a  long basket, bade him  good
day,  and went  away. Though not before  he had  whispered something, on the
door-mat,  to  the  footman, in which there was the phrase 'old-fashioned' -
for Paul heard it. What could that old fashion be,  that seemed to make  the
people sorry! What could it be!
     Having nothing  to learn now, he thought of this frequently; though not
so often as  he might have done, if he had had fewer things to think of. But
he had a great many; and was always thinking, all day long.
     First, there was Florence  coming to the party. Florence would see that
the boys were fond of him; and that would make her happy. This was his great
theme. Let Florence  once be sure that they were gentle and good to him, and
that he had become a little favourite  among them, and then the would always
think  of  the time he had passed there, without  being very sorry. Florence
might be all the happier too for that, perhaps, when he came back.
     When he came back! Fifty times a day, his noiseless little feet went up
the stairs  to  his  own  room, as he collected every book,  and  scrap, and
trifle  that belonged  to him, and put them all together there, down to  the
minutest thing, for taking home! There was no shade of coming back on little
Paul; no preparation for it, or other reference  to it, grew out of anything
he thought or  did, except this slight one in connexion with his  sister. On
the  contrary,  he had  to  think  of  everything  familiar to him,  in  his
contemplative moods and  in his  wanderings about the house, as  being to be
parted with; and hence the many things he had to think of, all day long.
     He had to peep into those  rooms upstairs,  and think how solitary they
would be when he was gone,  and wonder through how many  silent days, weeks,
months, and years, they would continue just as grave and undisturbed. He had
to think - would any other child (old-fashioned, like himself stray there at
any  time, to whom the  same grotesque distortions of pattern and  furniture
would manifest themselves; and would anybody tell that boy of little Dombey,
who had been there once? He had to think of a portrait  on the stairs, which
always  looked earnestly  after  him  as he went  away,  eyeing  it over his
shoulder;  and which,  when  he passed it  in the company of  anyone,  still
seemed to gaze at him, and not at his companion. He had much to think of, in
association with a print that hung up in another place, where, in the centre
of  a wondering group, one  figure that he knew, a figure with a light about
its head - benignant, mild, and merciful - stood pointing upward.
     At  his own bedroom window,  there  were crowds of thoughts that  mixed
with these, and  came on,  one upon another,  like  the rolling waves. Where
those wild  birds lived, that  were always  hovering out at  sea in troubled
weather;  where  the clouds rose and first began;  whence the wind issued on
its rushing  flight, and  where  it  stopped; whether the spot  where he and
Florence had so often sat, and watched, and talked about these things, could
ever be exactly as  it used to be without them; whether it could ever be the
same to Florence,  if he  were in  some distant  place, and she were sitting
there alone.
     He had  to think,  too, of Mr Toots,  and Mr Feeder, B.A.,  of  all the
boys; and of Doctor Blimber, Mrs  Blimber, and Miss Blimber; of home, and of
his aunt and Miss  Tox; of his father; Dombey and  Son, Walter with the poor
old  Uncle who  had  got the money he wanted,  and that gruff-voiced Captain
with the iron hand. Besides all  this,  he had a  number of little visits to
pay, in the course of the day; to the schoolroom, to Doctor Blimber's study,
to  Mrs Blimber's private apartment, to Miss Blimber's, and to the  dog. For
he was free of the  whole  house now,  to range it as he chose;  and, in his
desire  to part with  everybody on affectionate  terms, he attended, in  his
way,  to  them all. Sometimes he found  places in books  for Briggs, who was
always losing  them; sometimes he looked up words  in dictionaries for other
young gentlemen  who were in extremity; sometimes he held skeins of silk for
Mrs Blimber  to wind; sometimes he put Cornelia's  desk to rights; sometimes
he would even creep into the Doctor's study, and, sitting on the carpet near
his learned feet, turn the globes softly,  and go round the world, or take a
flight among the far-off stars.
     In those days immediately before the holidays, in short, when the other
young gentlemen were labouring for dear life through a general resumption of
the studies of the whole half-year,  Paul was such a privileged pupil as had
never been  seen in that house before.  He could  hardly believe it himself;
but his liberty  lasted from hour  to hour, and from day to day; and  little
Dombey was caressed by everyone. Doctor Blimber was so particular about him,
that  he  requested  Johnson  to retire from the dinner-table  one  day, for
having thoughtlessly  spoken to him  as  'poor  little  Dombey;' which  Paul
thought rather  hard and  severe, though he had flushed at  the  moment, and
wondered  why Johnson should pity him. It was the more questionable justice,
Paul thought, in the Doctor, from  his having certainly overheard that great
authority  give  his assent  on  the previous  evening, to  the  proposition
(stated by Mrs Blimber) that poor dear little  Dombey was more old-fashioned
than  ever. And now it  was  that Paul  began  to  think  it must surely  be
old-fashioned  to  be  very  thin, and  light,  and easily  tired,  and soon
disposed to lie down anywhere  and rest; for  he couldn't help feeling  that
these were more and more his habits every day.
     At last  the party-day arrived; and Doctor  Blimber said  at breakfast,
'Gentlemen, we will resume  our studies on the twenty-fifth of  next month.'
Mr Toots immediately threw off his  allegiance,  and  put on  his ring:  and
mentioning the Doctor in  casual  conversation shortly afterwards, spoke  of
him  as 'Blimber'!  This  act  of freedom  inspired  the  older  pupils with
admiration and envy;  but the  younger spirits were appalled,  and seemed to
marvel that no beam fell down and crushed him.
     Not  the  least allusion  was  made to  the ceremonies of the  evening,
either at  breakfast or at dinner; but there was  a bustle in the house  all
day,  and in the course of his perambulations, Paul  made acquaintance  with
various  strange  benches  and candlesticks,  and  met  a  harp  in a  green
greatcoat standing on  the landing outside the drawing-room door. There  was
something queer, too, about Mrs Blimber's head at dinner-time, as if she had
screwed  her hair up  too tight;  and though  Miss Blimber showed a graceful
bunch of plaited hair on  each  temple,  she seemed to have her  own  little
curls in paper underneath,  and  in a  play-bill too; for Paul read 'Theatre
Royal' over one of her sparkling spectacles, and 'Brighton' over the other.
     There was a grand  array of white  waistcoats and cravats  in the young
gentlemen's bedrooms as evening approached; and such a smell of singed hair,
that Doctor Blimber sent up the footman with his  compliments, and wished to
know if the house  was on fire. But it was only the hairdresser  curling the
young gentlemen, and over-heating his tongs in the ardour of business.
     When Paul was dressed - which was very soon  done,  for  he felt unwell
and drowsy, and was not able to stand about it very long - he went down into
the drawing-room; where he found Doctor Blimber pacing  up and down the room
full  dressed, but  with a dignified and  unconcerned  demeanour, as  if  he
thought it barely  possible that one or two people  might drop in by and by.
Shortly afterwards, Mrs Blimber appeared, looking lovely,  Paul thought; and
attired in such  a  number of  skirts that it was quite an excursion to walk
round her. Miss Blimber came down soon after her Mama; a  little squeezed in
appearance, but very charming.
     Mr  Toots and Mr Feeder were the next arrivals. Each of these gentlemen
brought  his hat in his hand, as if he lived  somewhere else;  and when they
were announced by the butler, Doctor Blimber said, 'Ay, ay, ay! God bless my
soul!'  and seemed  extremely glad to see them. Mr Toots was  one  blaze  of
jewellery and  buttons; and he  felt the circumstance so strongly, that when
he  had shaken hands with the Doctor, and had bowed to Mrs  Blimber and Miss
Blimber, he took Paul aside, and said, 'What do you think of this, Dombey?'
     But  notwithstanding  this  modest  confidence  in  himself,  Mr  Toots
appeared to be involved in a good deal of uncertainty whether, on the whole,
it was judicious to  button the bottom button of his waistcoat, and whether,
on  a  calm revision of  all  the circumstances, it was  best  to  wear  his
waistbands turned up or turned  down. Observing that Mr Feeder's were turned
up,  Mr Toots turned  his  up; but  the waistbands of the next arrival being
turned  down, Mr  Toots  turned  his  down.  The  differences  in  point  of
waistcoat-buttoning, not only at  the bottom, but at the top too,  became so
numerous  and complicated  as  the arrivals  thickened, that  Mr  Toots  was
continually  fingering that article of  dress, as  if  he were performing on
some instrument; and appeared to  find the incessant  execution it demanded,
quite bewildering. All  the young gentlemen, tightly cravatted, curled,  and
pumped,  and with their best hats in their hands, having  been at  different
times   announced  and  introduced,   Mr  Baps,  the  dancing-master,  came,
accompanied  by  Mrs Baps,  to  whom  Mrs  Blimber  was  extremely  kind and
condescending. Mr Baps was  a very grave gentleman, with a slow and measured
manner of speaking; and before he had stood under the lamp five  minutes, he
began to  talk to Toots (who had been silently  comparing  pumps  with  him)
about what  you were to  do with your raw materials when they came into your
ports in  return  for  your  drain of gold. Mr  Toots,  to whom the question
seemed perplexing, suggested 'Cook 'em.' But Mr Baps did not appear to think
that would do.
     Paul now  slipped away  from the cushioned corner of a sofa,  which had
been his post of observation, and  went  downstairs into the  tea-room to be
ready for Florence, whom he  had not  seen for nearly a fortnight, as he had
remained  at  Doctor Blimber's on the previous Saturday and Sunday,  lest he
should take  cold.  Presently she came:  looking so beautiful in her  simple
ball dress,  with her fresh flowers in her hand, that when she knelt down on
the ground to take Paul round the  neck and kiss  him (for  there was no one
there, but his friend and another young woman waiting to serve out the tea),
he could  hardly make up his mind to let her  go again, or to take away  her
bright and loving eyes from his face.
     'But what is the matter,  Floy?' asked Paul,  almost sure that he saw a
tear there.
     'Nothing, darling; nothing,' returned Florence.
     Paul touched her  cheek  gently  with  his finger - and it  was a tear!
'Why, Floy!' said he.
     'We'll go home together, and I'll nurse you, love,' said Florence.
     'Nurse me!' echoed Paul.
     Paul couldn't understand what that had to  do with it, nor why  the two
young  women looked  on so seriously, nor  why Florence turned away her face
for a moment, and then turned it back, lighted up again with smiles.
     'Floy,' said  Paul, holding a  ringlet of  her  dark  hair in his hand.
'Tell me, dear, Do you think I have grown old-fashioned?'
     His sister laughed, and fondled him, and told him 'No.'
     'Because I know they say so,' returned Paul,  'and I want  to know what
they  mean, Floy.' But a loud double knock  coming at the door, and Florence
hurrying to the table,  there  was no more said  between them. Paul wondered
again when he saw his friend whisper  to Florence, as if she were comforting
her; but a new arrival put that out of his head speedily.
     It was Sir Barnet  Skettles, Lady Skettles, and Master Skettles. Master
Skettles was  to be a new boy after the vacation, and Fame had been busy, in
Mr  Feeder's room, with his father, who was in the  House of Commons, and of
whom Mr Feeder  had said that when he did catch the Speaker's  eye (which he
had been expected to do for three or four years), it was anticipated that he
would rather touch up the Radicals.
     'And what room is this now, for instance?' said Lady Skettles to Paul's
friend, 'Melia.
     'Doctor Blimber's study, Ma'am,' was the reply.
     Lady Skettles took a panoramic survey of it through her glass, and said
to Sir Barnet  Skettles,  with  a nod of  approval, 'Very good.'  Sir Barnet
assented, but Master Skettles looked suspicious and doubtful.
     'And this little creature, now,'  said Lady Skettles,  turning to Paul.
'Is he one of the
     'Young gentlemen, Ma'am; yes, Ma'am,' said Paul's friend.
     'And what is your name, my pale child?' said Lady Skettles.
     'Dombey,' answered Paul.
     Sir Barnet Skettles  immediately interposed, and said  that he  had had
the honour of meeting Paul's father at a public dinner, and that he hoped he
was very well. Then Paul heard him say to Lady Skettles, 'City - very rich -
most respectable - Doctor mentioned it.' And then he said to Paul, 'Will you
tell  your  good Papa that Sir Barnet  Skettles rejoiced to hear that he was
very well, and sent him his best compliments?'
     'Yes, Sir,' answered Paul.
     'That is my brave  boy,' said Sir Barnet Skettles.  'Barnet,' to Master
Skettles,  who  was  revenging himself  for  the  studies to  come,  on  the
plum-cake, 'this  is a  young  gentleman you ought to know. This  is a young
gentleman you may know, Barnet,' said  Sir Barnet Skettles, with an emphasis
on the permission.
     'What eyes!  What  hair!  What a lovely  face!' exclaimed Lady Skettles
softly, as she looked at Florence through her glass. 'My sister,' said Paul,
presenting her.
     The satisfaction of the Skettleses was now complex And as Lady Skettles
had  conceived,  at first  sight, a liking for Paul,  they all went upstairs
together: Sir Barnet  Skettles  taking  care of Florence,  and young  Barnet
     Young Barnet  did  not remain  long in  the  background  after they had
reached  the  drawing-room, for Dr  Blimber had him out  in no time, dancing
with Florence. He  did  not  appear  to  Paul to be  particularly happy,  or
particularly  anything  but sulky, or to care much what he was about; but as
Paul heard Lady Skettles say to  Mrs  Blimber, while she beat time  with her
fan, that  her dear  boy  was evidently smitten  to death by that angel of a
child,  Miss Dombey,  it  would seem that Skettles Junior  was in a state of
bliss, without showing it.
     Little Paul thought it a singular coincidence that  nobody had occupied
his place among the pillows; and that when he came into the room again, they
should all make way for him to go back to it, remembering it was his. Nobody
stood before  him  either, when they observed that he liked to  see Florence
dancing, but  they  left  the space in  front quite clear, so  that he might
follow her  with  his eyes.  They were  so kind, too, even the strangers, of
whom there were soon a great many, that they came and spoke to him every now
and then,  and asked him how he was, and if his  head  ached, and whether he
was  tired.  He  was very much  obliged to them  for  all their kindness and
attention, and reclining propped up in his corner, with Mrs Blimber and Lady
Skettles  on the same sofa, and Florence coming and sitting  by  his side as
soon as every dance was ended, he looked on very happily indeed.
     Florence  would have sat by him all night, and would not have danced at
all of her own accord, but Paul made her, by telling her how much it pleased
him. And he told  her the truth,  too; for his small heart  swelled, and his
face  glowed, when he saw how much they all admired her, and how she was the
beautiful little rosebud of the room.
     From  his nest  among  the  pillows, Paul  could  see and  hear  almost
everything  that passed as if the whole  were being  done for his amusement.
Among other  little  incidents that he  observed, he  observed  Mr Baps  the
dancing-master get into conversation with Sir Barnet Skettles, and very soon
ask him, as  he  had asked Mr  Toots, what you  were  to  do  with your  raw
materials, when they came into your ports in return for your drain of gold -
which was such a mystery to Paul that he  was  quite desirous  to  know what
ought to be done with them. Sir  Barnet Skettles had much  to  say  upon the
question,  and said it; but it did not appear to solve the question, for  Mr
Baps retorted, Yes, but supposing  Russia stepped in with her tallows; which
struck Sir Barnet almost dumb, for he could only shake  his head after that,
and say, Why then you must fall back upon your cottons, he supposed.
     Sir  Barnet Skettles looked after Mr Baps when he went to  cheer up Mrs
Baps (who, being quite  deserted, was pretending to look over the music-book
of  the  gentleman who  played the harp), as if  he thought him a remarkable
kind of  man; and shortly afterwards he  said  so in  those words to  Doctor
Blimber, and inquired if he might take the liberty of asking who he was, and
whether he had ever  been in the Board of Trade. Doctor Blimber answered no,
he believed not; and that in fact he was a Professor of - '
     'Of something connected  with  statistics,  I'll swear?'  observed  Sir
Barnet Skettles.
     'Why no, Sir Barnet,'  replied Doctor Blimber, rubbing his  chin.  'No,
not exactly.'
     'Figures  of  some  sort, I  would  venture  a bet,'  said  Sir  Barnet
     'Why yes,' said Doctor Blimber, yes, but not of that sort. Mr Baps is a
very worthy  sort of  man, Sir Barnet,  and - in  fact he's our Professor of
     Paul was amazed to see that this piece of information quite altered Sir
Barnet Skettles's  opinion  of  Mr Baps, and  that  Sir  Barnet flew  into a
perfect rage, and glowered at Mr Baps over on the other side of the room. He
even went  so far as to D Mr Baps to Lady Skettles, in telling her what  had
happened, and to say that it was like his most con-sum-mate and con-foun-ded
     There  was another  thing that Paul observed. Mr Feeder, after imbibing
several  custard-cups of negus,  began  to  enjoy  himself. The  dancing  in
general was ceremonious, and the  music rather solemn - a little like church
music in fact -  but after the custard-cups, Mr Feeder told Mr Toots that he
was going to throw a little spirit into the thing. After that, Mr Feeder not
only began to dance as if he meant dancing and nothing else, but secretly to
stimulate the  music to perform wild tunes. Further, he became particular in
his attentions  to the ladies;  and dancing with Miss  Blimber, whispered to
her - whispered to  her! - though not so  softly but that Paul heard him say
this remarkable poetry,
     'Had I a heart for falsehood framed,
     I ne'er  could injure You!' This, Paul  heard him repeat to four  young
ladies, in succession. Well  might Mr Feeder  say to  Mr Toots, that  he was
afraid he should be the worse for it to-morrow!
     Mrs  Blimber was a little alarmed by this  -  comparatively  speaking -
profligate behaviour; and  especially  by the alteration in the character of
the  music, which, beginning to comprehend low melodies that were popular in
the streets, might  not  unnaturally be  supposed  to give  offence  to Lady
Skettles. But Lady Skettles was so very  kind as  to beg  Mrs Blimber not to
mention  it;  and  to  receive  her  explanation  that  Mr Feeder's  spirits
sometimes betrayed him into excesses on  these occasions, with  the greatest
courtesy and politeness;  observing, that he  seemed  a  very nice  sort  of
person  for his situation,  and that  she  particularly liked the unassuming
style of his hair - which (as already hinted) was about a quarter of an inch
     Once, when there was a pause in  the dancing, Lady  Skettles  told Paul
that he seemed very fond of music. Paul replied, that he was; and if she was
too, she ought to hear his sister, Florence, sing. Lady  Skettles  presently
discovered that she was dying with anxiety to have  that  gratification; and
though Florence  was  at first very much  frightened  at being asked to sing
before so  many  people, and  begged earnestly to be  excused, yet, on  Paul
calling her to him,  and  saying, 'Do, Floy!  Please! For  me, my dear!' she
went  straight  to the piano, and began.  When they all  drew a little away,
that Paul might see  her; and when he saw  her sitting there all  alone,  so
young, and  good,  and beautiful, and  kind to him; and  heard her thrilling
voice, so  natural and sweet, and such a golden link between him and all his
life's  love  and  happiness, rising out of the silence; he  turned his face
away, and hid his  tears. Not, as  he  told them when they spoke to him, not
that the music  was too plaintive or  too sorrowful,  but  it was so dear to
     They  all  loved  Florence. How  could  they help  it! Paul  had  known
beforehand that  they must  and would; and sitting in  his cushioned corner,
with calmly folded hands; and one  leg loosely doubled  under him, few would
have  thought what triumph and delight expanded  his childish bosom while he
watched her, or what  a sweet tranquillity  he  felt.  Lavish  encomiums  on
'Dombey's sister'  reached  his ears  from  all the boys: admiration of  the
self-possessed  and modest  little beauty was  on every  lip: reports of her
intelligence and  accomplishments  floated past  him, constantly; and, as if
borne in  upon the  air of the summer night,  there was a half  intelligible
sentiment diffused around, referring  to Florence and himself, and breathing
sympathy for both, that soothed and touched him.
     He  did not know why. For all  that the child  observed, and felt,  and
thought, that night - the present and the absent; what was then and what had
been -  were  blended like the  colours in the rainbow, or in the plumage of
rich birds when the sun is shining on them, or in the softening sky when the
same sun is setting.  The many things he had  had to think of lately, passed
before  him in the music; not as  claiming  his attention  over again, or as
likely  evermore  to occupy it, but  as peacefully  disposed of and gone.  A
solitary window, gazed through years ago,  looked out  upon an  ocean, miles
and miles away; upon its waters, fancies, busy with him only yesterday, were
hushed and lulled  to  rest like broken waves. The same mysterious murmur he
had wondered at, when lying on his couch upon the beach, he thought he still
heard sounding through his sister's song, and through the hum of voices, and
the tread of feet, and having some part in  the faces  flitting by, and even
in the heavy gentleness of Mr  Toots, who frequently came up to shake him by
the  hand.  Through the  universal  kindness he still  thought he heard  it,
speaking to him; and even  his  old-fashioned reputation seemed to be allied
to it, he  knew not how. Thus little Paul sat musing, listening, looking on,
and dreaming; and was very happy.
     Until the time arrived for taking leave: and  then, indeed, there was a
sensation  in  the party. Sir Barnet Skettles brought up  Skettles Junior to
shake hands with  him,  and asked him if he would  remember to tell his good
Papa, with his best compliments, that he, Sir Barnet  Skettles, had said  he
hoped  the two  young  gentlemen would  become intimately  acquainted.  Lady
Skettles kissed him,  and patted his hair upon his brow, and held him in her
arms;  and even Mrs Baps - poor Mrs Baps! Paul was glad of  that - came over
from  beside the music-book of the  gentleman who  played the harp, and took
leave of him quite as heartily as anybody in the room.
     'Good-bye, Doctor Blimber,' said Paul, stretching out his hand.
     'Good-bye, my little friend,' returned the Doctor.
     'I'm very much obliged  to you, Sir,' said Paul, looking innocently  up
into his awful face. 'Ask them to take care of Diogenes, if you please.'
     Diogenes was the dog: who had never in his life received  a friend into
his confidence, before Paul. The Doctor promised that every attention should
he  paid to Diogenes  in Paul's  absence, and Paul having again thanked him,
and shaken hands with him, bade adieu to Mrs Blimber  and Cornelia with such
heartfelt earnestness  that Mrs Blimber forgot from that  moment  to mention
Cicero  to Lady  Skettles, though she had fully intended it all the evening.
Cornelia, taking both Paul's  hands  in hers, said,'Dombey, Dombey, you have
always been my favourite pupil. God bless you!' And it showed, Paul thought,
how easily one might do injustice to  a person; for Miss Blimber meant  it -
though she was a Forcer - and felt it.
     A boy then went  round among the young  gentlemen, of 'Dombey's going!'
'Little Dombey's  going!' and  there  was  a general  move  after  Paul  and
Florence down the  staircase  and into the hall, in  which the whole Blimber
family  were  included. Such a  circumstance, Mr  Feeder said aloud,  as had
never  happened  in  the case  of  any former  young  gentleman  within  his
experience;  but it would be  difficult to say  if this were sober  fact  or
custard-cups. The  servants,  with  the butler at their  head,  had  all  an
interest  in seeing  Little  Dombey go;  and even the weak-eyed  young  man,
taking out  his  books and trunks  to  the  coach that was to  carry him and
Florence to Mrs Pipchin's for the night, melted visibly.
     Not even the influence  of the softer  passion on the young gentlemen -
and they all, to a boy, doted on Florence - could restrain  them from taking
quite a noisy leave of Paul; waving hats after him, pressing  downstairs  to
shake  hands with him,  crying individually 'Dombey, don't  forget  me!' and
indulging in many such ebullitions  of  feeling,  uncommon among those young
Chesterfields. Paul  whispered Florence,  as she  wrapped him up  before the
door was opened, Did  she hear them? Would she  ever forget it? Was she glad
to know it? And a lively delight was in his eyes as he spoke to her.
     Once, for a  last  look,  he turned  and  gazed  upon  the  faces  thus
addressed to him, surprised to see how shining  and how bright, and numerous
they were,  and  how  they were  all  piled and  heaped up,  as faces are at
crowded theatres. They  swam  before  him  as  he looked, like faces  in  an
agitated glass; and  next  moment he was in the dark coach outside,  holding
close  to Florence. From that time, whenever he thought of Doctor Blimber's,
it  came back as he had seen it in this last view; and it never seemed to be
a real place again, but always a dream, full of eyes.
     This was  not quite  the  last of Doctor  Blimber's, however. There was
something else. There was  Mr Toots.  Who, unexpectedly letting down  one of
the  coach-windows, and looking in, said, with a most egregious chuckle, 'Is
Dombey there?'  and immediately  put it  up again,  without  waiting  for an
answer. Nor  was this quite  the  last  of Mr Toots,  even; for  before  the
coachman could  drive  off, he  as suddenly let down the other  window,  and
looking  in  with a precisely similar chuckle,  said in  a precisely similar
tone of voice, 'Is Dombey there?' and disappeared precisely as before.
     How  Florence  laughed!  Paul often remembered it,  and laughed himself
whenever he did so.
     But there was much, soon afterwards - next day,  and after that - which
Paul could only recollect  confusedly. As, why they  stayed at Mrs Pipchin's
days  and nights, instead  of going home; why he  lay in  bed, with Florence
sitting by his side; whether that had been his father in the room, or only a
tall  shadow on the wall;  whether he had heard his doctor  say, of someone,
that if they  had  removed him before the occasion on which he had built  up
fancies, strong  in proportion to his own weakness, it  was very possible he
might have pined away.
     He could  not  even remember whether he had often said to Florence, 'Oh
Floy, take me home, and never leave  me!'  but he thought he had. He fancied
sometimes he  had  heard  himself repeating, 'Take me  home,  Floy!  take me
     But  he could  remember,  when  he  got  home,  and was carried up  the
well-remembered stairs, that there had been the rumbling of a coach for many
hours together, while he lay upon  the seat, with Florence still beside him,
and old Mrs Pipchin sitting opposite. He remembered  his old  bed too,  when
they  laid him down in  it: his aunt,  Miss Tox,  and  Susan: but there  was
something else, and recent too, that still perplexed him.
     'I want to speak to Florence, if you  please,' he said. 'To Florence by
herself, for a moment!'
     She bent down over him, and the others stood away.
     'Floy, my  pet, wasn't that Papa in the hall, when they brought me from
the coach?'
     'Yes, dear.'
     'He  didn't cry, and  go into his  room, Floy, did he, when he  saw  me
coming in?'
     Florence shook her head, and pressed her lips against his cheek.
     'I'm very glad  he didn't cry,'  said little  Paul. 'I  thought he did.
Don't tell them that I asked.'

     Amazing Artfulness of Captain Cuttle, and a new Pursuit for Walter Gay
     Walter could not, for  several  days, decide what to do in the Barbados
business;  and even cherished some faint hope that Mr Dombey  might not have
meant what he  had said,  or that he might  change his mind, and tell him he
was  not  to  go.  But as  nothing  occurred  to give  this  idea (which was
sufficiently improbable  in itself) any touch of confirmation,  and as  time
was slipping  by, and he had none to lose, he felt that he must act, without
hesitating any longer.
     Walter's  chief difficulty was, how to break the change in  his affairs
to Uncle Sol, to whom  he  was  sensible it would he a terrible blow. He had
the  greater  difficulty  in  dashing  Uncle  Sol's  spirits  with  such  an
astounding piece  of  intelligence, because  they had  lately recovered very
much, and the old man had become so  cheerful, that  the little back parlour
was itself again. Uncle Sol had paid the first appointed portion of the debt
to Mr Dombey, and  was hopeful of working his  way through the rest; and  to
cast him  down afresh, when he had sprung up so manfully from  his troubles,
was a very distressing necessity.
     Yet it  would never  do  to  run away  from  him.  He  must  know of it
beforehand; and how to tell him was  the point.  As to the question of going
or not going, Walter did not consider that he had any power of choice in the
matter. Mr Dombey had truly told him that he was young, and that his Uncle's
circumstances were  not  good; and Mr Dombey  had  plainly expressed, in the
glance with which  he  had accompanied that reminder, that if he declined to
go he might stay at  home if he  chose, but  not in  his counting-house. His
Uncle  and  he  lay  under a  great obligation to  Mr Dombey,  which was  of
Walter's  own soliciting. He might have  begun in secret to despair of  ever
winning that gentleman's favour, and might have thought that he was  now and
then  disposed  to put a  slight  upon him, which was hardly just. But  what
would have  been  duty  without that, was  still  duty with it  - or  Walter
thought so- and duty must be done.
     When  Mr Dombey had looked  at him, and told him he was young, and that
his Uncle's  circumstances  were not good, there had  been  an expression of
disdain in his face; a contemptuous and disparaging assumption that he would
be quite content to live idly  on a reduced old man, which  stung  the boy's
generous soul. Determined  to assure Mr Dombey, in so far as it was possible
to  give  him the  assurance without expressing it in words, that  indeed he
mistook his nature, Walter  had been anxious to show even  more cheerfulness
and activity  after the West Indian interview than  he  had shown before: if
that were possible,  in one of his quick and zealous disposition. He was too
young and inexperienced to think, that possibly this very quality in him was
not agreeable  to  Mr Dombey, and  that it was no stepping-stone to his good
opinion to  be elastic  and hopeful of  pleasing  under  the shadow  of  his
powerful displeasure, whether it were right or wrong. But it may have been -
it  may  have  been- that the great man thought  himself defied in this  new
exposition of an honest spirit, and purposed to bring it down.
     'Well! at last and at least,  Uncle  Sol must be told,' thought Walter,
with  a sigh. And as  Walter was apprehensive  that his voice  might perhaps
quaver  a little, and that his countenance might not be quite  as hopeful as
he could wish it to be, if he told the old man himself,  and  saw  the first
effects of his communication on  his  wrinkled  face, he  resolved to  avail
himself  of the services of that powerful mediator,  Captain  Cuttle. Sunday
coming round, he set  off  therefore, after breakfast, once more  to beat up
Captain Cuttle's quarters.
     It  was  not unpleasant  to  remember, on the  way  thither,  that  Mrs
MacStinger resorted to a great distance every  Sunday morning, to attend the
ministry  of  the  Reverend Melchisedech Howler, who,  having  been  one day
discharged from the West India Docks on a false suspicion (got up  expressly
against him by the general enemy) of  screwing  gimlets into puncheons,  and
applying his lips to the orifice, had announced the destruction of the world
for that day two years, at  ten in  the morning, and opened a  front parlour
for  the reception of  ladies and gentlemen  of the Ranting persuasion, upon
whom, on  the  first occasion of their  assemblage, the admonitions  of  the
Reverend Melchisedech had produced so powerful  an  effect, that,  in  their
rapturous  performance of a sacred jig, which closed the  service, the whole
flock broke through into a kitchen below, and disabled a mangle belonging to
one of the fold.
     This the Captain, in a moment of uncommon conviviality, had confided to
Walter and his  Uncle, between the repetitions of lovely Peg,  on the  night
when Brogley the broker  was  paid out. The Captain himself was  punctual in
his attendance at a church in his own neighbourhood, which hoisted the Union
Jack every Sunday morning; and where he was good enough - the lawful  beadle
being infirm - to keep an eye upon  the boys,  over whom he  exercised great
power,  in  virtue  of  his mysterious hook.  Knowing the regularity  of the
Captain's  habits, Walter  made  all  the haste  he  could,  that  he  might
anticipate  his going out; and  he  made such good  speed, that  he  had the
pleasure, on turning  into Brig  Place, to behold  the broad  blue coat  and
waistcoat hanging out of the Captain's oPen window, to air in the sun.
     It appeared incredible  that  the coat and waistcoat could be  seen  by
mortal eyes without the Captain; but he certainly was not in them, otherwise
his legs  - the houses in Brig Place not being lofty-  would have obstructed
the  street  door,  which was  perfectly  clear.  Quite  wondering  at  this
discovery, Walter gave a single knock.
     'Stinger,'  he distinctly heard the Captain  say, up in his room, as if
that were no business of his. Therefore Walter gave two knocks.
     'Cuttle,'  he  heard  the  Captain  say  upon   that;  and  immediately
afterwards the Captain, in  his clean shirt and braces, with his neckerchief
hanging loosely round his throat like a coil of rope, and his glazed hat on,
appeared at the window, leaning out over the broad blue coat and waistcoat.
     'Wal'r!' cried the Captain, looking down upon him in amazement.
     'Ay, ay, Captain Cuttle,' returned Walter, 'only me'
     'What's the matter, my lad?' inquired the Captain,  with great concern.
'Gills an't been and sprung nothing again?'
     'No, no,' said Walter. 'My Uncle's all right, Captain Cuttle.'
     The Captain expressed his  gratification, and said he  would  come down
below and open the door, which he did.
     'Though you're  early, Wal'r,'  said  the  Captain,  eyeing  him  still
doubtfully, when they got upstairs:
     'Why,  the fact is,  Captain Cuttle,' said Walter, sitting down, 'I was
afraid  you  would have gone out,  and  I  want to benefit  by your friendly
     'So you shall,' said the Captain; 'what'll you take?'
     'I  want  to take  your  opinion,  Captain  Cuttle,'  returned  Walter,
smiling. 'That's the only thing for me.'
     'Come on then,' said the Captain. 'With a will, my lad!'
     Walter related to him what had happened; and the difficulty in which he
felt respecting his Uncle, and the  relief  it would  be to  him if  Captain
Cuttle, in his  kindness, would help him to smooth it away; Captain Cuttle's
infinite consternation and  astonishment  at the prospect  unfolded to  him,
gradually swallowing that gentleman up, until it left his face quite vacant,
and the suit of blue, the glazed hat,  and the hook,  apparently without  an
     'You see, Captain  Cuttle,' pursued Walter, 'for myself, I am young, as
Mr Dombey said, and not  to be considered. I  am to fight my way through the
world, I know; but  there  are two points I  was thinking, as  I came along,
that I should be very particular about, in respect to my Uncle. I don't mean
to say that I  deserve to be the pride and delight of his life - you believe
me, I know - but I am. Now, don't you think I am?'
     The Captain seemed to make an endeavour to  rise from the depths of his
astonishment, and get back to his  face; but  the  effort being ineffectual,
the glazed hat merely nodded with a mute, unutterable meaning.
     'If I  live and have my health,' said Walter, 'and I am not  afraid  of
that, still, when I  leave England I  can hardly hope to see my Uncle again.
He is old, Captain Cuttle; and besides, his life is a life of custom - '
     'Steady,  Wal'r!  Of  a  want of custom?' said  the  Captain,  suddenly
     'Too  true,'  returned Walter, shaking his head: 'but I meant a life of
habit, Captain Cuttle - that sort of custom. And if (as you very truly said,
I am sure) he would have died the sooner for  the loss of the stock, and all
those objects to which he  has been  accustomed for so many years, don't you
think he might die a little sooner for the loss of - '
     'Of his Nevy,' interposed the Captain. 'Right!'
     'Well then,' said Walter,  trying to speak gaily, 'we  must do our best
to make him believe that the separation is but  a temporary one, after  all;
but as I know better, or dread that I know better,  Captain Cuttle, and as I
have so many reasons for regarding him with affection, and duty, and honour,
I  am afraid I should make but  a very  poor  hand at that, if  I  tried  to
persuade  him of it. That's my great reason for wishing you to  break it out
to him; and that's the first point.'
     'Keep her off a  point or so!' observed the Captain, in a comtemplative
     'What did you say, Captain Cuttle?' inquired Walter.
     'Stand by!' returned the Captain, thoughtfully.
     Walter  paused  to   ascertain   if  the  Captain  had  any  particular
information to add to this, but as he said no more, went on.
     'Now, the second point, Captain  Cuttle. I am  sorry to say, I am not a
favourite with  Mr Dombey. I  have always tried to  do  my best, and I  have
always done it; but  he  does not like  me.  He  can't help his  likings and
dislikings, perhaps. I say nothing of  that. I only say that I am certain he
does not like me. He  does not send  me to  this  post  as  a  good  one; he
disclaims to represent  it as being better than it is; and I doubt very much
if it will ever  lead me to advancement in the House - whether it  does not,
on the contrary, dispose of me for ever,  and put me out of the way. Now, we
must say  nothing of this to my Uncle, Captain Cuttle, but  must make it out
to be as  favourable and promising  as we can; and  when I tell you  what it
really is, I only do so, that in case any means should ever arise of lending
me a  hand, so far off,  I may  have  one friend at  home who knows  my real
     'Wal'r, my boy,' replied the Captain, 'in  the Proverbs of  Solomon you
will find the following  words, "May we  never want a friend  in need, nor a
bottle to give him!" When found, make a note of.'
     Here  the Captain stretched out  his hand  to  Walter, with  an air  of
downright good faith that spoke  volumes; at the same time repeating (for he
felt proud  of the accuracy and pointed application of his quotation), 'When
found, make a note of.'
     'Captain Cuttle,' said Walter, taking the immense  fist extended to him
by the  Captain in both  his  hands, which  it completely filled, next to my
Uncle  Sol, I love you. There is no one on earth in  whom I  can more safely
trust, I  am sure.  As to the mere  going away, Captain Cuttle, I don't care
for that; why should I care for that!  If I were free to seek my own fortune
-  if I were free to go as a common sailor - if I were free to venture on my
own account to the farthest end of  the  world - I would gladly go!  I would
have gladly gone, years  ago,  and taken my chance of what might come of it.
But  it was  against my Uncle's wishes, and against the  plans he had formed
for me; and  there  was  an end of that. But what I feel, Captain Cuttle, is
that  we  have been  a little mistaken  all along, and that,  so far  as any
improvement in my prospects  is concerned, I am no better off now than I was
when I first entered Dombey's House -  perhaps a little worse, for the House
may have been kindly inclined towards me then, and it certainly is not now.'
     'Turn  again, Whittington,' muttered  the disconsolate  Captain,  after
looking at Walter for some time.
     'Ay,'  replied  Walter,  laughing, 'and turn  a great many  times, too,
Captain Cuttle,  I'm afraid, before such fortune as his ever turns up again.
Not that I complain,'  he added, in his lively, animated,  energetic way. 'I
have nothing to complain of.  I am provided for. I can live. When I leave my
Uncle, I  leave him to you;  and I  can leave him to no  one better, Captain
Cuttle. I  haven't  told  you  all this because I  despair, not I;  it's  to
convince you that I  can't pick and choose in Dombey's House, and that where
I  am sent,  there I must go, and what I am offered,  that I must take. It's
better for my Uncle that I should be sent away; for Mr  Dombey is a valuable
friend to him, as he proved himself, you know when, Captain Cuttle; and I am
persuaded he  won't be less valuable when  he hasn't me there, every day, to
awaken his dislike. So hurrah for the West  Indies, Captain Cuttle! How does
that tune go that the sailors sing?
     'For the Port of Barbados, Boys!
     Leaving old England behind us, Boys!
     Cheerily!' Here the Captain roared in chorus -
     'Oh cheerily, cheerily!
     Oh cheer-i-ly!'
     The  last line reaching the quick ears of an  ardent skipper not  quite
sober, who lodged opposite, and who  instantly sprung out of  bed,  threw up
his window,  and  joined in,  across  the street, at  the top of his  voice,
produced a fine effect. When  it  was  impossible to sustain  the concluding
note any longer,  the skipper bellowed forth a terrific 'ahoy!' intended  in
part as a friendly  greeting, and in part to  show that  he  was  not at all
breathed. That done, he shut down his window, and went to bed again.
     'And now, Captain Cuttle,' said Walter,  handing him the blue coat  and
waistcoat,  and bustling very much, 'if  you'll  come and break  the news to
Uncle Sol (which  he  ought to have  known, days upon days ago,  by rights),
I'll leave you at the door, you know, and walk about until the afternoon.'
     The Captain, however, scarcely appeared to relish the commission, or to
be by any means confident of his powers of executing it. He had arranged the
future life and adventures of Walter so very differently, and so entirely to
his own satisfaction;  he had felicitated himself so often  on  the sagacity
and  foresight displayed in that arrangement,  and had found it  so complete
and perfect in all its parts; that to suffer it to go to pieces all at once,
and  even  to  assist in breaking it  up, required  a  great  effort of  his
resolution.  The Captain,  too, found it  difficult to unload his  old ideas
upon  the subject, and to take a  perfectly new  cargo  on  board, with that
rapidity  which  the  circumstances   required,  or   without  jumbling  and
confounding  the  two.  Consequently,  instead  of putting  on his  coat and
waistcoat with anything like the impetuosity that could alone have kept pace
with Walter's mood, he declined to invest himself with those garments at all
at  present; and informed Walter that on such  a serious matter, he  must be
allowed to 'bite his nails a bit'
     'It's an old  habit of mine, Wal'r,' said the Captain,  'any time these
fifty year. When you see Ned Cuttle bite his nails, Wal'r, then you may know
that Ned Cuttle's aground.'
     Thereupon the  Captain  put his  iron  hook between his teeth, as if it
were  a  hand; and with an air of wisdom and  profundity  that  was the very
concentration  and sublimation  of  all philosophical  reflection and  grave
inquiry, applied himself to the consideration of the  subject in its various
     'There's a friend of mine,' murmured the Captain, in an  absent manner,
'but he's  at present coasting round  to Whitby, that would deliver  such an
opinion on  this  subject, or any other that  could be named,  as would give
Parliament six and  beat 'em.  Been  knocked overboard, that  man,' said the
Captain, 'twice, and none the worse for it. Was beat  in his apprenticeship,
for  three weeks (off and on), about the head with a ring-bolt.  And  yet  a
clearer-minded man don't walk.'
     Despite  of  his respect  for Captain Cuttle,  Walter  could  not  help
inwardly rejoicing at the absence of this sage, and devoutly hoping that his
limpid intellect might not be brought to bear on his difficulties until they
were quite settled.
     'If  you was  to take  and show  that man the buoy at  the Nore,'  said
Captain Cuttle in the same tone, 'and ask him his opinion of it, Wal'r, he'd
give  you an  opinion  that was no  more  like  that  buoy than your Uncle's
buttons are. There ain't a man that walks - certainly not on two legs - that
can come near him. Not near him!'
     'What's his name,  Captain Cuttle?' inquired Walter, determined  to  be
interested in the Captain's friend.
     'His name's Bunsby, said the Captain. 'But  Lord, it might  be anything
for the matter of that, with such a mind as his!'
     The exact idea which the  Captain attached to this concluding  piece of
praise,  he did  not further elucidate; neither  did Walter seek to draw  it
forth. For  on his beginning to review, with the vivacity natural to himself
and  to  his  situation,  the leading  points in his own  affairs,  he  soon
discovered that the Captain had relapsed  into his  former profound state of
mind;  and  that  while he  eyed  him steadfastly  from  beneath  his  bushy
eyebrows, he evidently neither saw nor heard  him, but remained immersed  in
     In fact, Captain Cuttle was labouring with such great designs, that far
from being aground, he soon got  off  into  the deepest of water, and  could
find no bottom to his penetration.  By degrees it  became perfectly plain to
the Captain  that  there was some mistake here; that it was undoubtedly much
more likely  to be Walter's mistake  than his; that if there were really any
West India  scheme afoot,  it was a very different one from what Walter, who
was young and rash, supposed;  and could only be some  new device for making
his  fortune with unusual celerity. 'Or if there should  be any little hitch
between 'em,' thought the Captain, meaning between Walter and Mr Dombey, 'it
only wants a word in season  from a friend of both parties, to set  it right
and smooth,  and make all taut again.' Captain Cuttle's deduction from these
considerations was,  that as he already  enjoyed the pleasure of  knowing Mr
Dombey,  from  having spent  a very agreeable  half-hour  in  his company at
Brighton (on  the  morning  when they  borrowed the  money); and that, as  a
couple of men of the  world, who  understood  each other, and  were mutually
disposed  to  make  things  comfortable,  could easily  arrange  any  little
difficulty of this sort, and come at the real facts;  the friendly thing for
him  to do would  be, without saying anything about it to Walter at present,
just  to step up to Mr Dombey's house  - say  to the servant 'Would ye be so
good,  my  lad,  as  report Cap'en  Cuttle  here?'  -  meet  Mr  Dombey in a
confidential spirit-  hook him by the button-hole  - talk it over  - make it
all right - and come away triumphant!
     As these reflections presented themselves to the Captain's mind, and by
slow degrees assumed this shape and form, his visage cleared like a doubtful
morning when it gives  place  to a bright noon. His eyebrows, which had been
in  the highest degree portentous, smoothed  their  rugged bristling aspect,
and became serene; his eyes, which had been nearly closed in the severity of
his  mental  exercise, opened  freely;  a smile which had been at first  but
three  specks -  one  at the right-hand corner of his mouth, and one  at the
corner of each eye - gradually  overspread his whole  face, and, rippling up
into  his forehead, lifted the glazed hat: as if  that  too had been aground
with Captain Cuttle, and were now, like him, happily afloat again.
     Finally, the Captain  left off biting his nails, and said, 'Now, Wal'r,
my  boy, you may help me on with them slops.' By which the Captain meant his
coat and waistcoat.
     Walter  little  imagined  why  the  Captain  was so  particular  in the
arrangement of  his cravat, as  to  twist  the  pendent ends  into a sort of
pigtail, and pass them through a massive gold ring with a picture of a  tomb
upon  it, and  a neat iron  railing, and  a tree, in memory of some deceased
friend. Nor why the Captain pulled up his shirt-collar to the utmost  limits
allowed by the Irish linen below, and by  so doing decorated himself with  a
complete  pair of blinkers;  nor  why  he changed his  shoes, and put on  an
unparalleled  pair of  ankle-jacks,  which he  only  wore  on  extraordinary
occasions.  The  Captain  being  at  length  attired  to  his  own  complete
satisfaction,  and  having  glanced  at  himself  from  head  to  foot in  a
shaving-glass which  he  removed from a nail  for that purpose,  took up his
knotted stick, and said he was ready.
     The Captain's walk was more  complacent than  usual  when they  got out
into  the  street;  but  this  Walter  supposed to  be  the  effect  of  the
ankle-jacks, and took little heed  of. Before  they had gone very  far, they
encountered a woman selling flowers; when  the Captain stopping short, as if
struck by a happy idea, made a purchase of the largest bundle in her basket:
a  most glorious  nosegay, fan-shaped, some two feet  and a  half round, and
composed of all the jolliest-looking flowers that blow.
     Armed with this  little token which he designed  for Mr Dombey, Captain
Cuttle walked on with Walter until they reached the Instrument-maker's door,
before which they both paused.
     'You're going in?' said Walter.
     'Yes,' returned  the Captain, who felt that Walter must  be got rid  of
before he proceeded any further,  and that he had better  time his projected
visit somewhat later in the day.
     'And you won't forget anything?'
     'No,' returned the Captain.
     'I'll  go upon my walk  at once,' said Walter, 'and then I shall be out
of the way, Captain Cuttle.'
     'Take a good long 'un, my lad!' replied the Captain, calling after him.
Walter waved his hand in assent, and went his way.
     His way was  nowhere in particular; but he thought he would go out into
the fields, where  he could  reflect  upon the  unknown life before him, and
resting under some tree, ponder quietly. He knew no better fields than those
near  Hampstead, and no better means of getting at  them than by  passing Mr
Dombey's house.
     It was as stately and as dark  as ever, when  he went by and glanced up
at  its  frowning  front.  The blinds were  all pulled  down, but the  upper
windows stood  wide open, and the  pleasant air  stirring those curtains and
waving them to and fro was the only sign of animation in the whole exterior.
Walter walked softly as he passed, and was glad when he had left the house a
door or two behind.
     He looked back then; with the interest he had always felt for the place
since the  adventure of the lost child, years  ago; and looked especially at
those upper windows. While he was thus engaged, a chariot drove to the door,
and a portly gentleman  in black,  with  a heavy watch-chain,  alighted, and
went  in. When he afterwards  remembered  this  gentleman  and  his equipage
together, Walter had  no doubt  be was a physician; and then he wondered who
was ill;  but the discovery did not occur  to  him until he had walked  some
distance, thinking listlessly of other things.
     Though still, of  what  the  house had  suggested  to him;  for  Walter
pleased  hImself  with  thinking that perhaps the time might come,  when the
beautiful child who was his old  friend  and had always  been so grateful to
him  and so glad  to see him since, might interest her brother in his behalf
and influence his fortunes for the better. He liked to imagine this -  more,
at that moment, for the pleasure of imagining her  continued  remembrance of
him, than for any  worldly profit he might gain: but another and more  sober
fancy whispered  to him that if he were alive  then,  he would be beyond the
sea and forgotten; she married, rich, proud, happy. There was no more reason
why she should  remember him with any interest  in such  an altered state of
things, than any plaything she ever had. No, not so much.
     Yet Walter so idealised the pretty child whom he had found wandering in
the rough streets, and so identified her with her innocent gratitude of that
night and the simplicity  and truth  of its expression, that he  blushed for
himself as a libeller when he argued that she could ever  grow proud. On the
other  hand, his meditations were of  that fantastic  order  that it  seemed
hardly less libellous in him to imagine her grown a woman:  to think of  her
as anything but the  same artless, gentle, winning little creature, that she
had been in the days of Good  Mrs Brown. In a word, Walter found out that to
reason with himself  about Florence at all, was  to become very unreasonable
indeed; and that  he could do  no better than preserve her image in his mind
as   something  precious,  unattainable,  unchangeable,  and   indefinite  -
indefinite in all but its power of giving him  pleasure, and restraining him
like an angel's hand from anything unworthy.
     It was a long stroll in the fields that Walter took that day, listening
to the birds,  and  the Sunday bells, and the softened murmur of the town  -
breathing sweet scents; glancing sometimes  at the  dim horizon beyond which
his voyage and his place of destination lay; then looking round on the green
English grass  and  the home landscape. But he hardly  once thought, even of
going away, distinctly; and seemed to put  off reflection idly, from hour to
hour,  and  from minute to minute, while he yet went  on reflecting  all the
     Walter had left the fields behind him, and was plodding homeward in the
same abstracted mood, when  he heard a  shout from a man, and then a woman's
voice calling to him loudly by name. Turning quickly in his surprise, he saw
that a hackney-coach,  going in the  contrary direction,  had  stopped at no
great distance;  that the coachman was  looking back from his box and making
signals  to him with his whip; and that a young woman inside was leaning out
of the window, and beckoning  with immense energy. Running up to this coach,
he found  that the young woman was Miss Nipper, and that  Miss Nipper was in
such a flutter as to be almost beside herself.
     'Staggs's  Gardens,  Mr Walter!' said Miss Nipper;  'if you  please, oh
     'Eh?' cried Walter; 'what is the matter?'
     'Oh, Mr Walter, Staggs's Gardens, if you please!' said Susan.
     'There!' cried  the  coachman,  appealing  to  Walter,  with a sort  of
exalting despair;  'that's the  way  the young  lady's  been  a goin' on for
up'ards  of   a  mortal  hour,  and  me  continivally  backing   out  of  no
thoroughfares, where  she would drive up.  I've  had  a  many  fares in this
coach, first and last, but never such a fare as her.'
     'Do you want to go to Staggs's Gardens, Susan?' inquired Walter.
     'Ah! She wants to go there! WHERE IS IT?' growled the coachman.
     'I don't know where it is!' exclaimed  Susan, wildly. 'Mr Walter, I was
there once myself, along with Miss Floy and our poor darling Master Paul, on
the very day  when  you found Miss  Floy in the City, for we lost her coming
home, Mrs Richards  and me, and a  mad bull, and  Mrs Richards's eldest, and
though I  went there afterwards, I can't remember  where it is, I think it's
sunk  into the ground. Oh, Mr Walter, don't desert me, Staggs's  Gardens, if
you please! Miss Floy's darling  - all  our  darlings  - little,  meek, meek
Master Paul! Oh Mr Walter!'
     'Good God!' cried Walter. 'Is he very ill?'
     'The  pretty flower!' cried  Susan,  wringing her hands,  'has took the
fancy that he'd like to see his old nurse, and I've come to bring her to his
bedside, Mrs Staggs, of Polly Toodle's Gardens, someone pray!'
     Greatly  moved  by  what  he  heard, and catching  Susan's  earnestness
immediately, Walter, now that he understood the nature of her errand, dashed
into it with  such  ardour that  the  coachman  had enough  to  do to follow
closely as  he ran before, inquiring here and there and everywhere, the  way
to Staggs's Gardens.
     There was no such place as Staggs's  Gardens. It had vanished  from the
earth. Where the old rotten summer-houses once had stood, palaces now reared
their  heads, and granite columns  of gigantic girth opened a vista  to  the
railway  world beyond. The  miserable waste ground, where the  refuse-matter
had been heaped of yore, was swallowed up and gone; and  in its frowsy stead
were  tiers  of warehouses, crammed with rich goods and costly  merchandise.
The old by-streets now swarmed with passengers and  vehicles  of every kind:
the new streets  that had stopped disheartened  in  the mud and waggon-ruts,
formed  towns   within  themselves,   originating   wholesome  comforts  and
conveniences belonging  to  themselves, and never tried nor thought of until
they sprung into existence. Bridges that had led to nothing,  led to villas,
gardens,  churches,  healthy public walks.  The  carcasses  of  houses,  and
beginnings  of new thoroughfares, had started off upon the line  at  steam's
own speed, and shot away into the country in a monster train.'
     As to the neighbourhood which had hesitated to acknowledge the railroad
in its straggling days, that  had grown wise  and penitent, as any Christian
might  in such  a case,  and now  boasted  of its  powerful  and  prosperous
relation.  There were railway patterns in its  drapers'  shops,  and railway
journals  in  the  windows  of  its  newsmen.  There  were  railway  hotels,
office-houses, lodging-houses, boarding-houses; railway  plans, maps, views,
wrappers,  bottles,  sandwich-boxes, and  time-tables; railway hackney-coach
and  stands;  railway  omnibuses,  railway streets  and  buildings,  railway
hangers-on and parasites,  and flatterers out  of all calculation. There was
even  railway time observed in clocks, as  if the sun itself had  given  in.
Among the vanquished  was the master chimney-sweeper,  whilom incredulous at
Staggs's Gardens, who now lived in  a stuccoed house three stories high, and
gave  himself  out,  with  golden  flourishes upon  a  varnished  board,  as
contractor for the cleansing of railway chimneys by machinery.
     To  and  from  the heart  of  this great  change,  all day  and  night,
throbbing currents  rushed and  returned  incessantly like its life's blood.
Crowds of people and mountains of goods, departing and  arriving scores upon
scores  of times in every four-and-twenty hours, produced a fermentation  in
the place that was always in action. The very houses seemed disposed to pack
up  and take  trips. Wonderful Members of Parliament,  who, little more than
twenty  years before,  had  made themselves  merry  with the  wild  railroad
theories   of   engineers,   and   given   them   the   liveliest  rubs   in
cross-examination, went  down  into the  north with their  watches  in their
hands, and sent on messages before by  the electric  telegraph,  to say that
they  were  coming.  Night and day the conquering  engines  rumbled at their
distant work, or,  advancing  smoothly to  their  journey's end, and gliding
like  tame dragons into the allotted  corners grooved out to  the  inch  for
their reception, stood bubbling and trembling there, making the walls quake,
as  if  they were  dilating with the  secret  knowledge of  great powers yet
unsuspected in them, and strong purposes not yet achieved.
     But Staggs's Gardens had been cut up root and  branch. Oh woe  the  day
when  'not  a rood of  English ground' - laid out in Staggs's  Gardens -  is
     At last,  after much  fruitless  inquiry, Walter, followed by the coach
and Susan, found a  man who had once resided in that vanished land,  and who
was no  other  than the  master  sweep before  referred to, grown stout, and
knocking a double knock at his own  door. He  knowed  Toodle, he said, well.
Belonged to the Railroad, didn't he?
     'Yes' sir, yes!' cried Susan Nipper from the coach window.
     Where did he live now? hastily inquired Walter.
     He  lived in  the Company's own Buildings, second turning to the right,
down the  yard, cross over, and take the second  on the right again.  It was
number  eleven; they couldn't mistake it; but if  they did, they had only to
ask for  Toodle, Engine Fireman, and  any one would  show them which was his
house. At this unexpected stroke of success Susan Nipper dismounted from the
coach with all speed, took Walter's arm, and set off at a breathless pace on
foot; leaving the coach there to await their return.
     'Has the little  boy  been long ill, Susan?' inquired  Walter, as  they
hurried on.
     'Ailing  for  a deal  of time, but no one knew  how  much,' said Susan;
adding, with excessive sharpness, 'Oh, them Blimbers!'
     'Blimbers?' echoed Walter.
     'I couldn't  forgive  myself at such  a time as this, Mr  Walter,' said
Susan,  'and  when  there's so  much serious distress  to think about,  if I
rested hard  on anyone, especially on  them  that little darling Paul speaks
well of, but I may wish that  the  family was set to work in a stony soil to
make new roads, and that Miss Blimber went in front, and had the pickaxe!'
     Miss Nipper then took  breath, and went on faster  than  before,  as if
this extraordinary aspiration had relieved her. Walter, who had by this time
no  breath  of his  own to spare,  hurried  along without  asking  any  more
questions; and they soon, in their impatience, burst in at a little door and
came into a clean parlour full of children.
     'Where's Mrs  Richards?' exclaimed Susan Nipper, looking round. 'Oh Mrs
Richards, Mrs Richards, come along with me, my dear creetur!'
     'Why,  if it ain't Susan!' cried Polly, rising with her honest face and
motherly figure from among the group, in great surprIse.
     'Yes, Mrs Richards, it's me,' said Susan, 'and I wish it wasn't, though
I may not seem to flatter when I say so, but little Master Paul is very ill,
and told  his Pa today that he would like to see the face of his old  nurse,
and him and Miss  Floy hope you'll come along  with  me - and Mr Walter, Mrs
Richards - forgetting what is past, and do a kindness to the sweet dear that
is withering away.  Oh, Mrs Richards, withering away!'  Susan Nipper crying,
Polly shed  tears to see her,  and  to hear what she  had said; and all  the
children  gathered round (including  numbers of new babies);  and Mr Toodle,
who had just come  home from  Birmingham, and was eating his dinner out of a
basin, laid down his  knife and fork, and put on his wife's bonnet and shawl
for her, which were hanging up behind the door; then tapped her on the back;
and said, with more fatherly feeling than eloquence, 'Polly! cut away!'
     So they got back to the coach, long before the coachman expected  them;
and Walter, putting Susan and  Mrs Richards inside, took his seat on the box
himself that there  might be no more mistakes, and deposited them safely  in
the hall of Mr Dombey's  house - where, by the bye,  he saw a mighty nosegay
lying,  which reminded  him of the  one Captain Cuttle had purchased  in his
company  that  morning. He  would have lingered to know  more  of  the young
invalid,  or waited any length  of  time to see if he could render the least
service; but, painfully sensible that such  conduct would be looked  upon by
Mr Dombey as presumptuous and forward,  he  turned slowly, sadly, anxiously,
     He had  not  gone  five  minutes' walk from the door, when a  man  came
running  after him, and begged him to  return. Walter retraced his steps  as
quickly  as  he  could,  and  entered the  gloomy  house  with  a  sorrowful

     What the Waves were always saying
     Paul had  never  risen from his little  bed. He lay there, listening to
the  noises in the  street, quite tranquilly;  not  caring much how the time
went, but watching it and watching everything about him with observing eyes.
     When the sunbeams struck into his room through the rustling blinds, and
quivered on the opposite wall like golden water, he  knew  that  evening was
coming on, and that the  sky  was red  and beautiful. As the reflection died
away, and a gloom went creeping  up the wall, he watched it  deepen, deepen,
deepen,  into  night. Then he thought  how the long streets were dotted with
lamps,  and how  the peaceful stars were shining overhead.  His fancy  had a
strange  tendency to wander to the river,  which he knew was flowing through
the great  city; and now  he thought how black it was, and how deep it would
look, reflecting the  hosts of stars  -  and more than all, how steadily  it
rolled away to meet the sea.
     As it grew later in the  night, and footsteps  in the street  became so
rare  that  he could hear them coming,  count them as they passed, and  lose
them  in the hollow  distance, he would lie and watch the many-coloured ring
about the candle, and  wait  patiently  for day. His only  trouble  was, the
swift and  rapid river. He felt forced, sometimes, to  try  to stop it -  to
stem it with his childish  hands - or choke its way with sand - and when  he
saw  it coming  on,  resistless, he cried out! But a word from Florence, who
was  always at his side, restored him to himself; and  leaning his poor head
upon her breast, he told Floy of his dream, and smiled.
     When day began to  dawn again, he watched  for the  sun;  and  when its
cheerful light began  to sparkle  in  the  room, he  pictured to  himself  -
pictured! he saw -  the  high church towers rising up into the  morning sky,
the  town  reviving,  waking,  starting  into  life  once  more,  the  river
glistening as it rolled (but  rolling fast as ever), and the country  bright
with  dew. Familiar  sounds and cries came by degrees into the street below;
the servants in the house were roused and busy; faces looked in at the door,
and voices asked his attendants softly how he was.  Paul always answered for
himself, 'I am better. I am a great deal better, thank you! Tell Papa so!'
     By little and little, he got tired of the  bustle of the day, the noise
of  carriages  and carts, and people  passing and repassing; and  would fall
asleep, or be troubled  with a restless  and uneasy sense again - the  child
could hardly tell whether this were in his sleeping or his  waking moments -
of  that rushing river. 'Why, will it never stop,  Floy?' he would sometimes
ask her. 'It is bearing me away, I think!'
     But Floy could  always  soothe and  reassure him; and it  was his daily
delight to make her lay her head down on his pillow, and take some rest.
     'You  are always watching me, Floy, let me  watch you, now!' They would
prop him up with cushions in a corner of his bed, and there he would recline
the  while she lay beside him: bending  forward oftentimes to kiss her,  and
whispering to those who were near that she was tired, and how she had sat up
so many nights beside him.
     Thus,  the flush of the  day, in its  heat and light,  would  gradually
decline; and again the golden water would be dancing on the wall.
     He  was  visited  by  as many  as  three grave doctors -  they used  to
assemble downstairs, and come up together -  and the room  was so quiet, and
Paul  was so observant of them (though he never asked of anybody  what  they
said), that  he even knew the difference in the sound of  their watches. But
his interest centred  in Sir Parker Peps, who always took his  seat  on  the
side of the bed. For Paul had heard them say long  ago, that that  gentleman
had been with his Mama when she  clasped Florence in her arms, and died. And
he could not forget it, now. He liked him for it. He was not afraid.
     The people round him changed as unaccountably as on that first night at
Doctor Blimber's  - except Florence; Florence  never changed -  and what had
been Sir Parker  Peps, was now his  father,  sitting with his head  upon his
hand. Old Mrs Pipchin dozing in an easy chair, often changed to Miss Tox, or
his aunt; and Paul  was quite  content to  shut his eyes again, and see what
happened  next, without emotion. But this figure with its head upon its hand
returned so often, and remained so long,  and sat so still and solemn, never
speaking, never being  spoken to, and rarely  lifting up its face, that Paul
began to wonder languidly, if it were  real; and  in  the night-time  saw it
sitting there, with fear.
     'Floy!' he said. 'What is that?'
     'Where, dearest?'
     'There! at the bottom of the bed.'
     'There's nothing there, except Papa!'
     The  figure lifted up its  head,  and rose,  and coming to the bedside,
     'My own boy! Don't you know me?'
     Paul looked it in the face, and thought, was this  his father? But  the
face so altered to his thinking, thrilled  while he gazed, as if  it were in
pain; and before he could  reach out both his hands to take it between them,
and draw it towards him, the figure turned away quickly from the little bed,
and went out at the door.
     Paul looked at  Florence with a fluttering heart, but he knew what  she
was going to say, and stopped her with  his face  against her lips. The next
time he  observed the  figure sitting at the bottom of the bed, he called to
     'Don't be sorry for me, dear Papa! Indeed I am quite happy!'
     His father coming and bending down to him -  which  he did quickly, and
without first pausing by  the bedside -  Paul  held  him round the neck, and
repeated those  words  to him  several times,  and very earnestly; and  Paul
never saw him in his room  again at any time, whether it  were day or night,
but  he called out, 'Don't be  sorry for me! Indeed I am  quite happy!' This
was the beginning  of his always saying  in the morning that he was  a great
deal better, and that they were to tell his father so.
     How many times the golden water danced upon the  wall;  how many nights
the  dark, dark  river rolled towards the  sea in spite of him;  Paul  never
counted, never sought  to know. If their kindness, or his sense of it, could
have increased, they  were more kind, and he more  grateful every  day;  but
whether they were  many  days  or few, appeared of little moment now, to the
gentle boy.
     One night he had been thinking of  his  mother, and her  picture in the
drawing-room downstairs,  and thought  she  must have  loved  sweet Florence
better than his father did, to have held her in  her arms when she felt that
she was  dying  - for even  he, her brother, who had such dear love for her,
could have no greater  wish than that. The train of thought suggested to him
to inquire if he had ever seen his mother? for he could not remember whether
they had told him, yes or no, the river running very fast, and confusing his
     'Floy, did I ever see Mama?'
     'No, darling, why?'
     'Did I ever see any kind face, like Mama's,  looking at me when I was a
baby, Floy?'
     He asked, incredulously, as if he had some vision of a face before him.
     'Oh yes, dear!'
     'Whose, Floy?'
     'Your old nurse's. Often.'
     'And where is my old nurse?' said Paul. 'Is she dead too?  Floy, are we
all dead, except you?'
     There was a hurry in the room, for an instant - longer, perhaps; but it
seemed no more - then all was still again; and Florence, with her face quite
colourless, but  smiling, held his  head upon her arm. Her arm trembled very
     'Show me that old nurse, Floy, if you please!'
     'She is not here, darling. She shall come to-morrow.'
     'Thank you, Floy!'
     Paul closed  his eyes with those words, and fell asleep. When he awoke,
the sun was high, and  the broad  day was clear and He lay a little, looking
at  the windows, which were open, and the curtains rustling in  the air, and
waving to and fro: then he said, 'Floy, is it tomorrow? Is she come?'
     Someone  seemed to go  in quest  of  her.  Perhaps  it  was Susan. Paul
thought he heard her telling him when he had closed his eyes again, that she
would soon  be back;  but he did not open  them to see. She kept  her word -
perhaps  she had never been away  -  but the next thing that  happened was a
noise of footsteps on the stairs, and then Paul woke - woke mind and  body -
and sat upright in his  bed. He  saw  them now about him. There was  no grey
mist  before them, as there had  been sometimes in  the night.  He knew them
every one, and called them by their names.
     'And who is this? Is this my old nurse?' said the child, regarding with
a radiant smile, a figure coming in.
     Yes,  yes. No other  stranger would have shed  those tears at  sight of
him, and called  him her dear  boy, her  pretty boy, her  own  poor blighted
child. No other woman would have  stooped down by his  bed, and taken up his
wasted hand, and put it to her lips and breast, as one who had some right to
fondle it.  No other  woman  would have so forgotten everybody there but him
and Floy, and been so full of tenderness and pity.
     'Floy! this  is  a  kind good face!'  said Paul. 'I  am glad to  see it
again. Don't go away, old nurse! Stay here.'
     His senses were all quickened, and he heard a name he knew.
     'Who was  that, who said "Walter"?'  he  asked, looking round. 'Someone
said Walter. Is he here? I should like to see him very much.'
     Nobody replied directly; but his father  soon said to  Susan, 'Call him
back,  then:  let him come  up!' Alter a  short pause of expectation, during
which he looked with smiling interest and wonder, on his nurse, and saw that
she had not  forgotten Floy, Walter was brought into the room. His open face
and manner,  and his cheerful  eyes,  had always made him  a favourite  with
Paul; and when Paul saw him' he stretched Out his hand, and said 'Good-bye!'
     'Good-bye,  my child!'  said Mrs  Pipchin, hurrying to  his bed's head.
'Not good-bye?'
     For an instant, Paul looked at her with the wistful face with  which he
had  so often  gazed  upon  her in his corner by  the fire.  'Yes,' he  said
placidly, 'good-bye! Walter dear, good-bye!' - turning his head to where  he
stood, and putting out his hand again. 'Where is Papa?'
     He felt his father's breath upon his cheek, before the words had parted
from his lips.
     'Remember  Walter,  dear  Papa,'  he whispered,  looking in  his  face.
'Remember  Walter. I was fond of Walter!' The feeble  hand waved in the air,
as if it cried 'good-bye!' to Walter once again.
     'Now lay me down,' he said, 'and,  Floy, come close to  me, and  let me
see you!'
     Sister  and brother wound their  arms around each other, and the golden
light came streaming in, and fell upon them, locked together.
     'How  fast  the  river  runs, between its  green banks and  the rushes,
'Floy! But it's very near the sea. I hear the waves! They always said so!'
     Presently  he  told  her  the  motion of  the boat upon the  stream was
lulling him to rest. How green the banks  were now, how bright  the  flowers
growing on them, and how tall the  rushes!  Now the boat was out at sea, but
gliding smoothly on. And now there  was a shore before him. Who stood on the
bank! -
     He put his hands together, as he had been used to do at his prayers. He
did not remove his arms to do it; but they saw him fold them so,  behind her
     'Mama is like you, Floy. I know her by the face! But tell them that the
print upon the stairs at school is  not divine enough.  The light about  the
head is shining on me as I go!'
     The golden ripple on the wall came back again, and nothing else stirred
in  the room. The old,  old fashion! The fashion that came in with our first
garments, and will last unchanged until our race has run its course, and the
wide firmament is rolled up like a scroll. The old, old fashion - Death!
     Oh  thank GOD,  all  who  see  it,  for  that  older  fashion  yet,  of
Immortality! And look  upon us, angels  of young  children, with regards not
quite estranged, when the swift river bears us to the ocean!
     'Dear me, dear me!  To think,' said Miss Tox, bursting  out afresh that
night,  as  if  her heart  were broken, 'that Dombey  and  Son  should be  a
Daughter after all!'

     Captain Cuttle does a little Business for the Young People
     Captain Cuttle, in the exercise of that surprising talent for deep-laid
and  unfathomable  scheming,  with  which (as  is  not  unusual  in  men  of
transparent  simplicity)  he  sincerely believed  himself to be  endowed  by
nature, had gone to Mr Dombey's house  on the  eventful  Sunday, winking all
the way as a vent for his superfluous sagacity, and had presented himself in
the full lustre  of the ankle-jacks  before  the  eyes of Towlinson. Hearing
from  that individual,  to  his  great concern,  of  the impending calamity,
Captain  Cuttle,  in  his  delicacy, sheered off  again  confounded;  merely
handing in the nosegay as  a  small mark of his solicitude, and leaving  his
respectful compliments for the family in general, which  he accompanied with
an expression of  his hope that they would  lay their heads well to the wind
under existing circumstances, and a friendly intimation  that he would 'look
up again' to-morrow.
     The Captain's compliments were never  heard  of any more. The Captain's
nosegay, after lying in the hall all night, was swept into the dust-bin next
morning; and the Captain's sly arrangement, involved in one catastrophe with
greater  hopes and  loftier  designs, was  crushed  to  pieces.  So, when an
avalanche bears  down a mountain-forest, twigs and  bushes  suffer  with the
trees, and all perish together.
     When Walter returned home on the Sunday evening from his long walk, and
its memorable close, he was too much occupied at first by the tidings he had
to give them, and by  the emotions naturally awakened  in his breast by  the
scene  through  which  he had  passed, to observe either that his  Uncle was
evidently unacquainted with  the intelligence the Captain  had undertaken to
impart, or that the Captain made signals with his hook, warning him to avoid
the subject. Not that the Captain's signals  were calculated to  have proved
very comprehensible, however  attentively observed; for, like  those Chinese
sages who are  said in their  conferences  to write certain learned words in
the air  that are wholly impossible of pronunciation, the  Captain made such
waves and  flourishes as nobody without a previous knowledge of his mystery,
would have been at all likely to understand.
     Captain  Cuttle, however,  becoming  cognisant  of what  had  happened,
relinquished these  attempts,  as he perceived  the  slender chance that now
existed of his being able to obtain a little easy chat with Mr Dombey before
the  period of  Walter's  departure.  But in  admitting  to himself,  with a
disappointed and crestfallen countenance, that Sol Gills must be  told,  and
that Walter must go - taking  the case for the  present as he found  it, and
not  having it enlightened or improved beforehand by the knowing  management
of a friend  - the  Captain still felt an unabated confidence  that he,  Ned
Cuttle, was the man for Mr  Dombey; and that, to set Walter's fortunes quite
square, nothing was  wanted but  that they two should come together. For the
Captain never could forget how well he and Mr Dombey had got on at Brighton;
with  what nicety each  of them  had  put in a word when  it was wanted; how
exactly they had taken one another's measure; nor how Ned Cuttle had pointed
out that resources in the first extremity, and had brought the interview  to
the  desired  termination. On all these grounds the  Captain soothed himself
with thinking that though Ned Cuttle was forced by the pressure of events to
'stand by' almost  useless  for  the present, Ned would fetch  up with a wet
sail in good time, and carry all before him.
     Under the influence of this good-natured  delusion, Captain Cuttle even
went  so far as to  revolve in his own bosom, while he sat looking at Walter
and listening with a tear on his shirt-collar to what he related, whether it
might  not  be at  once genteel and  politic  to  give  Mr  Dombey  a verbal
invitation, whenever they should  meet, to come and  cut  his mutton in Brig
Place on some day  of his own naming, and enter on the question of his young
friend's  prospects over a social glass.  But the  uncertain  temper of  Mrs
MacStinger, and  the possibility of her setting up  her rest  in the passage
during  such  an  entertainment,  and there  delivering  some  homily of  an
uncomplimentary  nature, operated  as  a  check  on the Captain's hospitable
thoughts, and rendered him timid of giving them encouragement.
     One  fact  was  quite  clear  to  the  Captain,   as   Walter,  sitting
thoughtfully over  his  untasted  dinner, dwelt  on all that  had  happened;
namely,  that  however  Walter's modesty  might  stand  in  the  way of  his
perceiving it  himself, he  was, as one  might say,  a member of Mr Dombey's
family. He had  been,  in his own person, connected with the incident  he so
pathetically  described; he  had  been by  name  remembered and commended in
close association with it; and his  fortunes must have a particular interest
in his employer's eyes. If the Captain had any lurking doubt whatever of his
own conclusions, he had not the least doubt that  they were good conclusions
for the peace of mind of the Instrument-maker. Therefore  he availed himself
of so favourable a moment for breaking the  West Indian intelligence  to his
friend,  as a piece of extraordinary preferment; declaring that for his part
he would freely give a hundred thousand pounds (if he had  it) for  Walter's
gain in the long-run, and  that he  had  no doubt  such an investment  would
yield a handsome premium.
     Solomon Gills  was at  first  stunned by the  communication, which fell
upon the little back-parlour  like a  thunderbolt, and  tore  up  the hearth
savagely.  But  the  Captain flashed such golden  prospects  before his  dim
sight: hinted so  mysteriously at  'Whittingtonian  consequences; laid  such
emphasis on  what Walter  had  just  now  told  them: and appealed to it  so
confidently  as  a  corroboration  of  his predictions, and  a great advance
towards  the realisation of  the romantic  legend  of Lovely  Peg:  that  he
bewildered the old man. Walter, for his part,  feigned to be so full of hope
and ardour, and so sure of coming home again soon, and backed up the Captain
with  such  expressive shakings of  his head and rubbings of his hands, that
Solomon,  looking first at  him  then at Captain Cuttle, began to  think  he
ought to be transported with joy.
     'But I'm  behind  the  time, you understand,' he  observed  in apology,
passing his hand nervously down the whole row of bright buttons on his coat,
and then up again,  as if they  were beads  and he  were telling them  twice
over:  'and  I  would rather have  my  dear  boy here. It's an old-fashioned
notion, I  daresay. He  was  always fond of the  sea He's'  - and  he looked
wistfully at Walter - 'he's glad to go.'
     'Uncle Sol!' cried Walter, quickly, 'if you say that,  I won't go.  No,
Captain Cuttle, I  won't. If my Uncle thinks I  could be glad  to leave him,
though I was  going to  be made Governor  of all  the  Islands in  the  West
Indies, that's enough. I'm a fixture.'
     'Wal'r,  my  lad,'  said  the  Captain.  'Steady!  Sol  Gills,  take an
observation of your nevy.
     Following with his eyes the majestic action  of the Captain's hook, the
old man looked at Walter.
     'Here is a  certain craft,' said  the Captain, with a magnificent sense
of the allegory into which  he was soaring, 'a-going to put out on a certain
voyage. What name is  wrote  upon that craft indelibly? Is it The  Gay? or,'
said the Captain, raising his voice as much as  to say, observe the point of
this, 'is it The Gills?'
     'Ned,' said the old man, drawing Walter to his side, and taking his arm
tenderly through his, 'I know. I know. Of course I know that Wally considers
me more than himself always. That's in my mind. When I say he is glad to go,
I mean I  hope he is. Eh? look you, Ned and you too, Wally, my dear, this is
new and unexpected to me; and I'm afraid my being behind the time, and poor,
is  at  the bottom of it. Is it really good fortune for him, do you tell me,
now?' said the old man, looking anxiously from one to the other. 'Really and
truly? Is it? I can reconcile myself to almost anything that advances Wally,
but  I won't have Wally  putting  himself  at  any disadvantage  for me,  or
keeping anything from me. You, Ned Cuttle!' said the old man,  fastening  on
the Captain, to the manifest confusion of that diplomatist; 'are you dealing
plainly by your old friend? Speak out, Ned Cuttle. Is there anything behind?
Ought he to go? How do you know it first, and why?'
     As it was a contest of affection and self-denial, Walter struck in with
infinite  effect, to the  Captain's  relief; and between them they tolerably
reconciled old Sol Gills, by continued talking, to the project; or rather so
confused him, that nothing, not even the pain of separation, was  distinctly
clear to his mind.
     He had not much time to  balance the matter;  for on the very next day,
Walter received from Mr  Carker the Manager, the necessary  credentials  for
his passage and outfit, together with the information  that the Son and Heir
would sail in a fortnight, or within a day or two afterwards  at latest.  In
the  hurry  of  preparation: which Walter  purposely  enhanced  as  much  as
possible: the old man lost what little selfpossession he  ever  had; and  so
the time of departure drew on rapidly.
     The Captain, who did not fail to make himself acquainted with  all that
passed,  through inquiries  of  Walter from day to day, found the time still
tending on  towards his going away, without any occasion offering itself, or
seeming likely to offer itself,  for a better understanding of his position.
It was after much consideration of this fact, and much  pondering  over such
an unfortunate combination  of circumstances, that a bright idea occurred to
the Captain. Suppose he made a call on Mr Carker, and tried to find out from
him how the land really lay!
     Captain Cuttle  liked this idea very much. It came upon him in a moment
of  inspiration,  as  he  was smoking  an early  pipe in  Brig  Place  after
breakfast; and it was worthy of the  tobacco. It would quiet his conscience,
which  was an  honest one,  and was made a little uneasy by what Walter  had
confided to him, and what Sol Gills had said; and it would be a deep, shrewd
act of  friendship.  He  would sound Mr  Carker carefully, and  say much  or
little, just as he read that gentleman's character, and discovered that they
got on well together or the reverse.
     Accordingly,  without the fear of Walter before  his eyes (who he  knew
was at  home packing), Captain Cuttle  again  assumed  his  ankle-jacks  and
mourning brooch, and issued forth on this second expedition. He purchased no
propitiatory  nosegay on the present occasion, as he was going to a place of
business; but he put a small sunflower in his button-hole to give himself an
agreeable relish of the  country; and  with this, and the  knobby stick, and
the glazed hat, bore down upon the offices of Dombey and Son.
     After taking a  glass  of warm rum-and-water  at a tavern close by,  to
collect his thoughts, the Captain made a rush down  the court, lest its good
effects should evaporate, and appeared suddenly to Mr Perch.
     'Matey,'  said  the  Captain,  in  persuasive  accents.  'One  of  your
Governors  is  named  Carker.'  Mr  Perch  admitted  it;  but  gave  him  to
understand, as in official duty bound, that all his  Governors were engaged,
and never expected to be disengaged any more.
     'Look'ee  here, mate,' said the Captain  in  his ear; 'my name's Cap'en
     The Captain would have hooked Perch gently to him, but  Mr Perch eluded
the attempt; not so  much in design,  as in starting  at the  sudden thought
that  such a weapon unexpectedly exhibited to Mrs  Perch might, in  her then
condition, be destructive to that lady's hopes.
     'If you'll be so good as just report Cap'en Cuttle here, when you get a
chance,' said the Captain, 'I'll wait.'
     Saying which,  the  Captain  took  his seat on Mr  Perch's bracket, and
drawing  out his handkerchief  from the  crown of  the  glazed hat  which he
jammed between his  knees (without injury to its  shape,  for nothing  human
could  bend it),  rubbed his head well all over, and appeared refreshed.  He
subsequently arranged  his hair  with  his hook,  and sat  looking round the
office, contemplating the clerks with a serene respect.
     The Captain's equanimity was so impenetrable, and he was  altogether so
mysterious a being, that Perch the messenger was daunted.
     'What name was it you said?'  asked Mr Perch,  bending down over him as
he sat on the bracket.
     'Cap'en,' in a deep hoarse whisper.
     'Yes,' said Mr Perch, keeping time with his head.
     'Oh!' said  Mr Perch, in  the same tone, for he caught it, and couldn't
help it; the Captain, in his diplomacy, was so impressive. 'I'll see if he's
disengaged now. I don't know. Perhaps he may be for a minute.'
     'Ay,  ay, my lad, I won't detain  him longer than  a minute,' said  the
Captain,  nodding with all the weighty importance  that he felt within  him.
Perch, soon returning, said, 'Will Captain Cuttle walk this way?'
     Mr  Carker  the Manager, standing  on  the hearth-rug before  the empty
fireplace,  which  was ornamented with  a castellated sheet  of brown paper,
looked at the Captain as he came in, with no very special encouragement.
     'Mr Carker?' said Captain Cuttle.
     'I believe so,' said Mr Carker, showing all his teeth.
     The Captain liked his answering with a  smile; it looked pleasant. 'You
see,' began  the Captain, rolling his eyes slowly round the little room, and
taking in as much of it as his shirt-collar permitted; 'I'm  a seafaring man
myself, Mr Carker, and Wal'r, as is  on your books here, is almost a  son of
     'Walter Gay?' said Mr Carker, showing all his teeth again.
     'Wal'r Gay it  is,'  replied the Captain, 'right!' The Captain's manner
expressed  a warm  approval of Mr Carker's  quickness of perception. 'I'm  a
intimate friend of his and his Uncle's. Perhaps,' said the Captain, 'you may
have heard your head Governor mention my name? - Captain Cuttle.'
     'No!' said Mr Carker, with a still wider demonstration than before.
     'Well,' resumed the Captain, 'I've the pleasure of his acquaintance.  I
waited upon him down on the Sussex coast there,  with my young friend Wal'r,
when - in short, when there was a little accommodation wanted.'  The Captain
nodded  his  head in  a manner that  was  at  once  comfortable,  easy,  and
expressive. 'You remember, I daresay?'
     'I think,'  said  Mr  Carker,  'I  had  the  honour  of  arranging  the
     'To  be sure!'  returned  the Captain. 'Right again! you had.  Now I've
took the liberty of coming here -
     'Won't you sit down?' said Mr Carker, smiling.
     'Thank'ee,' returned the Captain, availing himself of the offer. 'A man
does get more  way upon himself, perhaps, in  his conversation, when he sits
down. Won't you take a cheer yourself?'
     'No thank you,' said the Manager, standing,  perhaps from the force  of
winter habit, with his back against the chimney-piece, and looking down upon
the Captain with an eye in every tooth and gum. 'You have taken the liberty,
you were going to say - though it's none - '
     'Thank'ee kindly,  my  lad,' returned the Captain: 'of coming  here, on
account of my friend Wal'r. Sol Gills,  his Uncle, is a man of  science, and
in  science  he may  be  considered  a clipper; but he  ain't  what I should
altogether call a able seaman - not man of practice. Wal'r is as trim a  lad
as ever stepped; but he's a little down by the head in one respect, and that
is,  modesty. Now what I  should  wish to  put  to you,'  said the  Captain,
lowering his voice,  and speaking in a  kind  of confidential  growl, 'in  a
friendly way, entirely between you and me, and for my own private reckoning,
'till your head Governor  has wore round a bit, and I can come  alongside of
him,  is  this  -  Is everything right  and  comfortable here,  and is Wal'r
out'ard bound with a pretty fair wind?'
     'What do  you think now, Captain Cuttle?' returned Carker, gathering up
his skirts and  settling himself in his position. 'You are a  practical man;
what do you think?'
     The acuteness and the significance of the Captain's eye as he cocked it
in reply, no words short of those unutterable Chinese words  before referred
to could describe.
     'Come!' said the Captain, unspeakably encouraged,  'what do you say? Am
I right or wrong?'
     So much had the Captain expressed in his eye, emboldened and incited by
Mr Carker's smiling urbanity, that he felt himself in as fair a condition to
put  the question, as  if he had expressed his  sentiments with  the  utmost
     'Right,' said Mr Carker, 'I have no doubt.'
     'Out'ard bound with fair weather, then, I say,' cried Captain Cuttle.
     Mr Carker smiled assent.
     'Wind right astarn, and plenty of it,' pursued the Captain.
     Mr Carker smiled assent again.
     'Ay, ay!' said Captain Cuttle, greatly  relieved and pleased. 'I know'd
how she headed, well enough; I told Wal'r so. Thank'ee, thank'ee.'
     'Gay has brilliant prospects,' observed Mr Carker, stretching his mouth
wider yet: 'all the world before him.'
     'All the  world  and  his wife  too,  as  the  saying is,' returned the
delighted Captain.
     At the word 'wife'  (which  he had uttered without design), the Captain
stopped, cocked his eye again, and putting the glazed  hat on the top of the
knobby stick,  gave it  a twirl,  and looked sideways  at his always smiling
     'I'd bet  a  gill  of  old  Jamaica,'  said  the  Captain,  eyeing  him
attentively, 'that I know what you're a smiling at.'
     Mr Carker took his cue, and smiled the more.
     'It goes no farther?' said the Captain, making a poke  at the door with
the knobby stick to assure himself that it was shut.
     'Not an inch,' said Mr Carker.
     'You're thinking of a capital F perhaps?' said the Captain.
     Mr Carker didn't deny it.
     'Anything about a L,' said the Captain, 'or a O?'
     Mr Carker still smiled.
     'Am  I  right,  again?'  inquired the  Captain in a  whisper, with  the
scarlet circle on his forehead swelling in his triumphant joy.
     Mr Carker, in reply,  still  smiling, and now nodding  assent,  Captain
Cuttle  rose and  squeezed him by the  hand, assuring him, warmly, that they
were on the  same  tack, and that as for him (Cuttle) he had laid his course
that way all along. 'He know'd  her  first,' said the Captain,  with all the
secrecy and gravity that the subject demanded, 'in an  uncommon manner - you
remember his finding her in the street when she was  a'most a babby - he has
liked  her ever  since, and she  him, as much  as  two youngsters can. We've
always said, Sol Gills and me, that they was cut out for each other.'
     A cat, or a monkey, or a hyena, or a death's-head, could not have shown
the Captain more teeth at one time, than Mr Carker showed him at this period
of their interview.
     'There's  a  general indraught that way,' observed  the  happy Captain.
'Wind and water sets in that direction, you see. Look  at  his being present
t'other day!'
     'Most favourable to his hopes,' said Mr Carker.
     'Look at his being  towed  along in  the wake of that day!' pursued the
Captain. 'Why what can cut him adrift now?'
     'Nothing,' replied Mr Carker.
     'You're  right  again,'  returned the  Captain, giving his hand another
squeeze. 'Nothing it  is.  So!  steady!  There's a son  gone:  pretty little
creetur. Ain't there?'
     'Yes, there's a son gone,' said the acquiescent Carker.
     'Pass the word, and there's another ready for you,'  quoth the Captain.
'Nevy of  a scientific Uncle! Nevy of Sol Gills! Wal'r! Wal'r, as is already
in  your business! And' - said  the Captain, rising gradually to a quotation
he was preparing for a final burst, 'who - comes from Sol Gills's  daily, to
your business,  and  your buzzums.'  The Captain's complacency as  he gently
jogged Mr Carker with his elbow, on concluding each  of  the foregoing short
sentences, could be surpassed by nothing but  the  exultation  with which he
fell  back and eyed  him when  he had  finished  this  brilliant display  of
eloquence  and sagacity; his great blue waistcoat heaving with the throes of
such a masterpiece, and his nose in a state of violent inflammation from the
same cause.
     'Am I right?' said the Captain.
     'Captain Cuttle,'  said Mr  Carker, bending  down at  the knees, for  a
moment, in an odd manner, as if he were falling together to hug the whole of
himself at once, 'your views in  reference to  Walter Gay are thoroughly and
accurately right. I understand that we speak together in confidence.
     'Honour!' interposed the Captain. 'Not a word.'
     'To him or anyone?' pursued the Manager.
     Captain Cuttle frowned and shook his head.
     'But merely for  your own  satisfaction and guidance - and guidance, of
course,' repeated Mr Carker, 'with a view to your future proceedings.'
     'Thank'ee kindly,  I  am sure,' said the Captain, listening with  great
     'I  have no  hesitation  in saying, that's the fact.  You have hit  the
probabilities exactly.'
     'And  with  regard  to  your head Governor,' said  the Captain, 'why an
interview had better come about nat'ral between us. There's time enough.'
     Mr Carker, with his mouth from ear to ear, repeated, 'Time enough.' Not
articulating the words, but  bowing his head affably,  and forming them with
his tongue and lips.
     'And as I know - it's what I always said- that Wal'r's in a way to make
his fortune,' said the Captain.
     'To make his fortune,' Mr Carker repeated, in the same dumb manner.
     'And as  Wal'r's going on this little  voyage is, as I may say, in  his
day's work, and a part of his general expectations here,' said the Captain.
     'Of his general  expectations  here,'  assented  Mr Carker,  dumbly  as
     'Why, so long as I know  that,' pursued the Captain, 'there's no hurry,
and my mind's at ease.
     Mr Carker still blandly assenting in the same voiceless manner, Captain
Cuttle  was strongly confirmed  in  his opinion that he was one of the  most
agreeable men he had ever met, and that even Mr Dombey might improve himself
on  such a model.  With great heartiness, therefore, the  Captain once again
extended his enormous hand (not unlike an old block in colour), and gave him
a grip that left  upon his  smoother flesh a  proof impression of the chinks
and crevices with which the Captain's palm was liberally tattooed.
     'Farewell!' said the Captain. 'I ain't a  man of many words, but I take
it very kind of you to be so friendly, and above-board. You'll excuse  me if
I've been at all intruding, will you?' said the Captain.
     'Not at all,' returned the other.
     'Thank'ee. My berth ain't very roomy,' said the  Captain,  turning back
again, 'but it's tolerably snug; and  if  you was to find yourself near Brig
Place, number  nine, at  any time - will  you make a note of it? - and would
come upstairs, without minding what was said by the person  at the  door,  I
should be proud to see you.
     With  that  hospitable  invitation,  the Captain  said  'Good day!' and
walked out and shut  the door; leaving Mr Carker still reclining against the
chimney-piece. In whose sly look and watchful manner; in  whose false mouth,
stretched but not laughing; in whose spotless cravat and very whiskers; even
in whose silent passing of his soft hand over his white linen and his smooth
face; there was something desperately cat-like.
     The unconscious  Captain walked out in a  state  of  self-glorification
that imparted quite a new cut to the broad blue  suit. 'Stand by, Ned!' said
the  Captain to himself. 'You've done a little  business for  the youngsters
today, my lad!'
     In his  exultation, and in  his familiarity,  present and  prospective,
with  the House,  the Captain, when  he reached the  outer office, could not
refrain from rallying Mr Perch a little,  and asking  him whether he thought
everybody was still engaged. But not to be  bitter on a man who had done his
duty, the Captain whispered in his ear, that if he felt disposed for a glass
of  rum-and-water,  and  would follow, he would be happy  to bestow the same
upon him.
     Before leaving the  premises, the Captain, somewhat to the astonishment
of the clerks, looked round from a central point of view, and took a general
survey of  the  officers part  and  parcel of a project in  which his  young
friend  was  nearly  interested.  The   strong-room  excited  his   especial
admiration; but, that he might not appear too particular, he limited himself
to an approving glance, and, with a graceful  recognition of the clerks as a
body, that was full of politeness and patronage, passed out into the  court.
Being promptly joined by Mr Perch, he conveyed that gentleman to the tavern,
and fulfilled his pledge - hastily, for Perch's time was precious.
     'I'll give you for a toast,' said the Captain, 'Wal'r!'
     'Who?' submitted Mr Perch.
     'Wal'r!' repeated the Captain, in a voice of thunder.
     Mr Perch, who seemed to remember having heard in infancy that there was
once a poet of  that name, made  no objection; but he was much astonished at
the Captain's coming  into  the City  to propose a  poet; indeed,  if he had
proposed to put a  poet's statue up  - say Shakespeare's for example  - in a
civic  thoroughfare,  he  could hardly have  done  a greater  outrage  to Mr
Perch's  experience.   On   the  whole,  he   was   such  a  mysterious  and
incomprehensible character, that Mr Perch  decided not to mention him to Mrs
Perch at all, in case of giving rise to any disagreeable consequences.
     Mysterious  and incomprehensible, the Captain,  with that lively  sense
upon him of having done a little  business  for the youngsters, remained all
day,  even to his most intimate friends; and but that  Walter attributed his
winks  and grins, and  other such  pantomimic  reliefs  of  himself, to  his
satisfaction in the success of their innocent deception  upon old Sol Gills,
he would assuredly have  betrayed himself before night.  As it was, however,
he  kept  his own  secret;  and went home  late from the  Instrument-maker's
house,  wearing the  glazed  hat  so much  on one side, and carrying  such a
beaming  expression in his eyes, that Mrs MacStinger (who  might  have  been
brought  up  at  Doctor  Blimber's, she was such  a Roman  matron) fortified
herself,  at  the  first  glimpse  of him, behind the open  street door, and
refused to come out to  the contemplation  of her blessed  infants, until he
was securely lodged in his own room.

     Father and Daughter
     There is a hush through Mr Dombey's house. Servants gliding up and down
stairs  rustle,  but  make   no  sound  of  footsteps.  They  talk  together
constantly, and sit long at meals,  making much of their meat and drink, and
enjoying themselves after a grim  unholy fashion. Mrs Wickam,  with her eyes
suffused  with tears, relates melancholy  anecdotes; and  tells them how she
always said at Mrs  Pipchin's that  it would be so, and takes more table-ale
than usual, and is very sorry but sociable. Cook's state of mind is similar.
She promises  a little fry for  supper,  and struggles about equally against
her feelings and the onions. Towlinson begins to think there's a fate in it,
and wants to  know  if anybody can tell him  ofany  good that  ever came  of
living in a corner house. It seems to  all of them as having happened a long
time  ago;  though yet the child  lies, calm  and beautiful, upon his little
     After dark there come some visitors - noiseless visitors, with shoes of
felt -  who  have  been there before;  and  with them comes that bed of rest
which is so strange  a one for infant sleepers. All this time, the  bereaved
father has  not been  seen even by his  attendant; for he  sits in an  inner
corner of his own dark room when anyone is there, and never seems to move at
other  times,  except  to pace  it to  and  fro. But  in  the morning it  is
whispered among the  household  that he was heard to go upstairs in the dead
night, and that he stayed there - in the room - until the sun was shining.
     At the offices in the City, the  ground-glass windows are made more dim
by  shutters;  and  while  the  lighted   lamps  upon  the  desks  are  half
extinguished by the day that wanders in, the day is half extinguished by the
lamps, and an unusual gloom prevails. There  is not much business  done. The
clerks are indisposed to work; and they  make assignations  to  eat chops in
the  afternoon,  and go up the river. Perch, the messenger,  stays long upon
his errands; and finds himself in bars of public-houses, invited  thither by
friends, and holding forth on the uncertainty of human affairs. He goes home
to Ball's Pond earlier in  the evening than usual, and treats Mrs Perch to a
veal cutlet and Scotch ale. Mr Carker the Manager treats no  one; neither is
he treated;  but  alone  in his own room he  shows his teeth all day; and it
would  seem  that  there  is something gone from  Mr  Carker's  path  - some
obstacle removed - which clears his way before him.
     Now the rosy children living  opposite to Mr Dombey's house, peep  from
their nursery windows down  into the street; for there are four black horses
at  his door,  with  feathers on their  heads;  and  feathers tremble on the
carriage that they draw; and these, and  an  array  of  men with scarves and
staves,  attract a crowd. The juggler who was going to twirl the basin, puts
his  loose  coat on  again  over his fine  dress;  and  his  trudging  wife,
one-sided with her heavy baby  in her arms, loiters to see the  company come
out. But closer to her  dingy breast  she presses her  baby, when the burden
that  is  so easily carried is borne  forth;  and the  youngest of  the rosy
children at the high window opposite, needs no restraining hand to check her
in her glee, when,  pointing  with her  dimpled  finger, she  looks into her
nurse's face, and asks 'What's that?'
     And  now,  among  the  knot of  servants dressed in  mourning, and  the
weeping women, Mr Dombey passes through the hall to the  other carriage that
is  waiting to receive him. He is not 'brought down,' these observers think,
by  sorrow and  distress  of mind. His walk is as  erect, his  bearing is as
stiff as ever  it has been. He hides his face  behind  no  handkerchief, and
looks  before him. But  that his face  is something  sunk and  rigid, and is
pale, it bears the same expression as of  old. He takes his place within the
carriage, and  three other gentlemen follow. Then  the  grand funeral  moves
slowly down the  street. The feathers are yet nodding in the distance,  when
the  juggler  has  the basin  spinning on a cane,  and has the same crowd to
admire  it.  But  the juggler's  wife  is  less  alert than usual  with  the
money-box, for a child's burial  has set her thinking that perhaps  the baby
underneath her shabby shawl may not grow up to be a man, and wear a sky-blue
fillet  round his  head, and salmon-coloured  worsted drawers, and tumble in
the mud.
     The feathers wind their gloomy  way along the  streets, and come within
the sound of a church bell. In this same church, the pretty boy received all
that will soon be  left of him on earth - a  name. All of  him that is dead,
they lay there,  near the perishable  substance of his mother.  It  is well.
Their ashes lie where Florence in her walks - oh lonely, lonely walks! - may
pass them any day.
     The  service over, and  the clergyman withdrawn, Mr Dombey looks round,
demanding  in  a low voice,  whether  the  person  who has been requested to
attend to receive instructions for the tablet, is there?
     Someone comes forward, and says 'Yes.'
     Mr Dombey intimates where he would have it placed; and shows him,  with
his hand upon  the  wall, the shape  and  size; and how it  is to follow the
memorial  to  the  mother.  Then,  with   his  pencil,  he  writes  out  the
inscription, and gives it to him: adding, 'I wish to have it done at once.
     'It shall be done immediately, Sir.'
     'There is really nothing to inscribe but name and age, you see.'
     The man bows, glancing at the paper, but appears to hesitate. Mr Dombey
not observing his hesitation, turns away, and leads towards the porch.
     'I beg  your  pardon, Sir;' a touch falls gently on his mourning cloak;
'but as you wish it done immediately, and it may be  put in hand when I  get
back - '
     'Will you be so good as read it over again? I think there's a mistake.'
     The statuary gives him back  the paper, and points out, with his pocket
rule, the words, 'beloved and only child.'
     'It should be, "son," I think, Sir?'
     'You are right. Of course. Make the correction.'
     The father, with a hastier step, pursues his way to the coach. When the
other three, who follow closely,  take their seats, his face is  hidden  for
the first time - shaded by his cloak. Nor do they  see it any more that day.
He  alights  first, and  passes  immediately  into his own  room.  The other
mourners (who are only Mr Chick,  and two of the medical attendants) proceed
upstairs to the drawing-room, to be received by Mrs  Chick and Miss Tox. And
what the face is, in the shut-up chamber underneath: or  what  the  thoughts
are: what the heart is, what the contest or the suffering: no one knows.
     The chief thing that they know, below stairs, in  the kitchen, is  that
'it seems  like Sunday.' They can hardly persuade themselves but that  there
is something unbecoming, if not  wicked, in the conduct of the people out of
doors,  who  pursue  their  ordinary occupations,  and  wear  their everyday
attire. It is quite a novelty to have the blinds  up, and the shutters open;
and they  make  themselves dismally comfortable over bottles  of wine, which
are freely broached as on a festival. They are much inclined to moralise. Mr
Towlinson  proposes with a sigh, 'Amendment to  us all!' for  which, as Cook
says with  another  sigh, 'There's room enough,  God knows.' In the evening,
Mrs  Chick and Miss  Tox take  to needlework again. In  the evening also, Mr
Towlinson goes  out to  take  the air, accompanied by the housemaid, who has
not  yet  tried her  mourning bonnet. They are very tender to  each other at
dusky street-corners, and Towlinson has  visions  of leading an altered  and
blameless existence as a serious greengrocer in Oxford Market.
     There is  sounder sleep and deeper rest  in Mr Dombey's house  tonight,
than there has  been for  many nights.  The  morning  sun  awakens  the  old
household, settled  down  once more in  their  old ways.  The rosy  children
opposite run past with hoops. There is a splendid wedding in the church. The
juggler's wife is active with the money-box in another  quarter of the town.
The  mason  sings and  whistles  as he chips out  P-A-U-L in the marble slab
before him.
     And  can  it  be that in a world so full and busy, the loss of one weak
creature makes  a  void in any heart, so  wide and deep that nothing but the
width and depth of  vast eternity  can fill it up! Florence, in her innocent
affliction, might have  answered,  'Oh  my brother,  oh  my dearly loved and
loving  brother! Only  friend and  companion of my slighted childhood! Could
any  less idea  shed the light already  dawning on your early grave, or give
birth to the softened sorrow that is  springing into life beneath this  rain
of tears!'
     'My dear child,' said  Mrs Chick, who held  it as  a duty incumbent  on
her, to improve the occasion, 'when you are as old as I am - '
     'Which will be the prime of life,' observed Miss Tox.
     'You will then,' pursued Mrs Chick, gently squeezing Miss Tox's hand in
acknowledgment of her friendly remark, 'you will then know that all grief is
unavailing, and that it is our duty to submit.'
     'I will try, dear aunt I do try,' answered Florence, sobbing.
     'I am glad  to hear it,' said Mrs Chick, 'because; my love, as our dear
Miss  Tox  -  of  whose  sound sense and  excellent  judgment,  there cannot
possibly be two opinions - '
     'My dear Louisa, I shall really be proud, soon,' said Miss Tox
     - 'will  tell  you, and confirm  by her experience,' pursued Mrs Chick,
'we are called upon on all occasions to make an effort It is required of us.
If any - my dear,' turning to Miss Tox, 'I want a word. Mis- Mis-'
     'Demeanour?' suggested Miss Tox.
     'No, no, no,' said Mrs Chic 'How can you! Goodness me, it's on, the end
of my tongue. Mis-'
     Placed affection?' suggested Miss Tox, timidly.
     'Good gracious,  Lucretia!'  returned  Mrs Chick  'How very  monstrous!
Misanthrope, is the word  I  want. The idea!  Misplaced affection! I say, if
any misanthrope were  to  put, in my  presence, the  question  "Why  were we
born?" I should reply, "To make an effort"'
     'Very good indeed,' said Miss Tox, much impressed by the originality of
the sentiment 'Very good.'
     'Unhappily,' pursued Mrs Chick, 'we have a warning under  our own eyes.
We have but too much reason to suppose, my dear child, that if an effort had
been  made  in  time,  in  this  family,  a  train of  the  most  trying and
distressing  circumstances  might  have  been  avoided.  Nothing shall  ever
persuade  me,'  observed  the good matron, with a resolute air, 'but that if
that  effort had  been made by poor dear Fanny,  the poor dear darling child
would at least have had a stronger constitution.'
     Mrs Chick abandoned herself to her  feelings for half a moment; but, as
a  practical  illustration of her doctrine, brought herself up short, in the
middle of a sob, and went on again.
     'Therefore, Florence,  pray  let us  see that you have some strength of
mind, and do not selfishly aggravate the distress in which your poor Papa is
     'Dear  aunt!' said Florence, kneeling quickly down before her, that she
might the better and more earnestly look into her face. 'Tell me more  about
Papa. Pray tell me about him! Is he quite heartbroken?'
     Miss Tox was of a tender nature, and there was something in this appeal
that moved her very much. Whether she saw it in a succession, on the part of
the neglected child, to the affectionate concern  so  often expressed by her
dead  brother - or a love  that sought to twine itself about the  heart that
had  loved him,  and that could  not  bear to be shut out from sympathy with
such a sorrow, in such sad community of love and grief - or whether the only
recognised  the earnest  and devoted spirit  which, although  discarded  and
repulsed, was wrung with tenderness  long unreturned, and  in the waste  and
solitude of this  bereavement cried to him to seek a comfort  in it, and  to
give some, by some small response - whatever may have been her understanding
of it, it  moved Miss  Tox.  For  the moment she forgot the  majesty  of Mrs
Chick, and, patting Florence hastily on the cheek, turned aside and suffered
the tears to  gush from her eyes,  without waiting for a lead from that wise
     Mrs Chick herself lost, for a moment, the presence of mind on which she
so much prided herself;  and remained mute, looking  on  the beautiful young
face that had so long, so steadily,  and patiently,  been turned towards the
little bed.  But recovering  her  voice  -  which was  synonymous  with  her
presence of mind, indeed they were one and the same thing - she replied with
     'Florence,  my dear  child, your poor Papa is peculiar at times; and to
question  me about him,  is to question me  upon a subject which I really do
not pretend to understand. I believe I have as much influence with your Papa
as anybody has. Still, all I can say is, that he has said very little to me;
and  that I have only  seen him once or twice for a minute at  a  time,  and
indeed have hardly seen him then, for his room has been dark. I have said to
your Papa, "Paul!" - that is the exact expression I used - "Paul! why do you
not take something stimulating?" Your Papa's reply has always been, "Louisa,
have the  goodness to leave me. I want nothing. I am better by myself." If I
was to be put  upon my oath to-morrow, Lucretia, before  a magistrate,' said
Mrs  Chick, 'I have  no doubt I  could venture  to  swear to those identical
     Miss  Tox  expressed  her  admiration  by  saying, 'My Louisa  is  ever
     'In short, Florence,' resumed her aunt,  'literally nothing has  passed
between your  poor  Papa and myself, until  to-day; when I mentioned to your
Papa that Sir Barnet  and Lady Skettles had written exceedingly kind notes -
our  sweet  boy!  Lady  Skettles  loved  him like  a  -  where's  my  pocket
     Miss Tox produced one.
     'Exceedingly  kind notes,  proposing  that  you should  visit them  for
change of scene. Mentioning to your Papa  that I thought Miss Tox and myself
might  now  go  home (in which he  quite agreed), I inquired  if  he had any
objection to your  accepting this invitation.  He said, "No, Louisa, not the
least!"' Florence raised her tearful eye
     'At  the same time,  if you  would prefer  staying  here, Florence,  to
paying this visit at present, or to going home with me - '
     'I should much prefer it, aunt,' was the faint rejoinder.
     'Why then, child,'said  Mrs  Chick, 'you  can. It's a strange choice, I
must say. But you always were strange. Anybody else  at your  time of  life,
and  after  what has  passed  - my dear  Miss  Tox, I have  lost  my  pocket
handkerchief again - would be glad to leave here, one would suppose.
     'I should  not like  to feel,'  said  Florence,  'as  if the house  was
avoided. I should not like to think that the - his - the rooms upstairs were
quite empty and dreary, aunt. I would rather  stay here, for the present. Oh
my brother! oh my brother!'
     It was a  natural emotion, not to  be suppressed; and it would make way
even  between the fingers of  the hands with which  she covered up her face.
The  overcharged  and heavy-laden breast  must some times have that vent, or
the poor  wounded solitary heart within  it would have fluttered like a bird
with broken wings, and sunk down in the dust'
     'Well, child!' said Mrs Chick, after a pause 'I wouldn't on any account
say anything unkind to  you, and  that  I'm sure  you know. You will  remain
here, then,  and do  exactly as you like.  No one  will  interfere with you,
Florence, or wish to interfere with you, I'm sure.
     Florence shook her head in sad assent'
     'I had no sooner begun to advise your poor Papa that he really ought to
seek some  distraction  and restoration in  a temporary  change,'  said  Mrs
Chick,  'than he told me he  had  already formed the intention of going into
the country for a short time. I'm  sure  I hope he'll go very soon. He can't
go too soon. But  I suppose  there  are some arrangements connected with his
private papers and so  forth, consequent on the affliction that has tried us
all so much - I can't think what's become  of mine: Lucretia, lend me yours,
my dear - that may occupy him for one or two evenings in his own  room. Your
Papa's a Dombey, child, if ever there  was one,' said Mrs Chick, drying both
her  eyes  at  once  with  great care on  opposite  corners  of  Miss  Tox's
handkerchief 'He'll make an effort. There's no fear of him.'
     'Is there nothing, aunt,' said Florence, trembling, 'I might do to -
     'Lord,  my dear  child,' interposed  Mrs Chick, hastily, 'what are  you
talking about? If your  Papa said to Me - I have given  you his exact words,
"Louisa, I want nothing; I am better by myself" - what do you think he'd say
to  you?  You mustn't show  yourself to him, child. Don't  dream  of  such a
     'Aunt,' said Florence, 'I will go and lie down on my bed.'
     Mrs Chick approved  of this resolution, and  dismissed her with a kiss.
But Miss Tox, on a faint pretence of looking  for the mislaid  handkerchief,
went upstairs after her; and tried in a few stolen minutes to  comfort  her,
in spite  of great discouragement from Susan Nipper. For Miss Nipper, in her
burning zeal, disparaged Miss  Tox  as a crocodile; yet her  sympathy seemed
genuine,  and  had at least the vantage-ground of  disinterestedness - there
was little favour to be won by it.
     And  was there  no one  nearer  and  dearer  than  Susan, to uphold the
striving heart in its  anguish? Was  there no other neck to  clasp; no other
face to turn to? no one else to say a soothing word to such deep sorrow? Was
Florence so  alone in the  bleak  world that  nothing else remained  to her?
Nothing. Stricken  motherless  and brotherless at once  - for in the loss of
little Paul, that first and greatest loss fell heavily upon  her  - this was
the only help she had. Oh, who can tell how much she needed help at first!
     At  first, when the house subsided into its accustomed course, and they
had all gone away, except the  servants, and her  father  shut up in his own
rooms, Florence  could do nothing  but weep,  and  wander up and  down,  and
sometimes, in a sudden pang of desolate remembrance, fly to her own chamber,
wring  her  hands, lay  her face down on  her bed, and know  no consolation:
nothing but the  bitterness and cruelty of grief. This commonly  ensued upon
the recognition of some spot  or object very tenderly dated with him; and it
made the ale house, at first, a place of agony.
     But  it is  not in  the  nature  of  pure love to burn so  fiercely and
unkindly  long. The flame that  in its grosser composition has the  taint of
earth may  prey upon the breast  that gives  it shelter; but  the fire  from
heaven is  as  gentle in the heart,  as when  it rested on the  heads of the
assembled  twelve,  and showed each  man his brother, brightened and unhurt.
The image conjured  up,  there soon  returned the placid  face, the softened
voice,  the  loving looks, the quiet trustfulness  and  peace; and Florence,
though she wept still, wept more tranquilly, and courted the remembrance.
     It was not very long before the golden  water, dancing  on the wall, in
the old place, at the  old serene time, had her calm eye fixed upon it as it
ebbed  away. It was not very long before that  room  again knew her,  often;
sitting there  alone, as patient and as  mild as when she had watched beside
the little bed. When any  sharp sense of its being empty smote upon her, she
could kneel beside it,  and pray GOD -  it was the  pouring out of her  full
heart - to let one angel love her and remember her.
     It was not  very long before, in the midst of  the dismal house so wide
and dreary, her low voice  in the  twilight, slowly and  stopping sometimes,
touched the old air  to which  he had so often listened,  with  his drooping
head upon her arm. And after  that,  and  when it was quite  dark, a  little
strain of music trembled in the room: so softly played and sung, that it was
more lIke the mournful recollection of what she had done  at  his request on
that last  night, than the reality repeated. But it  was  repeated, often  -
very often,  in the shadowy solitude; and broken murmurs of the strain still
trembled on the keys, when the sweet voice was hushed in tears.
     Thus she gained heart to look  upon the work with which her fingers had
been busy by his side on the sea-shore; and thus it was not very long before
she took to it again - with something  of a human love for it, as if it  had
been sentient and had known him; and, sitting in a window, near her mother's
picture,  in the unused  room  so long deserted,  wore away  the  thoughtful
     Why did the  dark eyes turn so  often  from this work to where the rosy
children  lived? They were  not immediate!y suggestive of her loss; for they
were all girls: four little sisters. But they were motherless like her - and
had a father.
     It was easy to know when he had gone out and was expected home, for the
elder child  was  always dressed and  waiting  for him  at  the drawing-room
window, or n the balcony; and when he  appeared, her expectant  face lighted
up with joy, while the others at  the  high window,  and always on the watch
too, clapped their hands, and drummed  them on the sill, and called  to him.
The elder child would come down to the  hall,  and put her hand in  his, and
lead him up the stairs; and Florence would see her afterwards sitting by his
side, or  on his  knee, or hanging coaxingly about  his  neck and talking to
him: and though they were always gay together, he would often watch her face
as if he thought her like her mother that was dead. Florence would sometimes
look no more  at this, and bursting into tears would hide behind the curtain
as if she were frightened, or would hurry from the window. Yet she could not
help returning; and her work would soon fall unheeded from her hands again.
     It was the house that had been empty, years ago. It had remained so for
a long time. At last, and while she had been away from home, this family had
taken it;  and it was  repaired and newly painted; and there  were birds and
flowers about it; and it  looked very  different from its old  self. But she
never thought of the house. The children and their father were all in all.
     When he  had dined,  she could see  them, through  the open windows, go
down  with their governess or nurse, and cluster round the table; and in the
still summer weather, the sound  of their childish voices and clear laughter
would come ringing across the  street, into the drooping  air of the room in
which she sat. Then they would climb and clamber upstairs with him, and romp
about him on the sofa, or group themselves  at his knee,  a very nosegay  of
little faces,  while he seemed to  tell  them some story. Or they would come
running out into the balcony; and then Florence would  hide herself quickly,
lest  it  should check  them in their joy, to see her  in  her  black dress,
sitting there alone.
     The elder  child remained with her father when the rest  had gone away,
and made his tea for him - happy little house-keeper she was then! - and sat
conversing with him, sometimes at the window, sometimes in the  room,  until
the  candles  came.  He made  her his  companion, though she  was some years
younger than Florence; and she could be as staid and pleasantly demure, with
her little  book or work-box, as a  woman.  When they had candles,  Florence
from her own dark room was not afraid to  look again. But when the time came
for the child to say 'Good-night, Papa,'  and go to bed, Florence would  sob
and tremble as she raised her face to him, and could look no more.
     Though still  she  would  turn,  again  and again, before  going to bed
herself  from the simple air that had lulled him to rest so often, long ago,
and from the other low soft broken strain of music, back  to that house. But
that she ever thought of  it,  or  watched it, was a secret  which she  kept
within her own young breast.
     And did that breast of Florence - Florence, so  ingenuous and true - so
worthy of the love that he  had  borne  her, and had  whispered  in his last
faint words - whose guileless heart was mirrored in the beauty of  her face,
and  breathed  in every accent of her gentle voice - did  that  young breast
hold any other secret? Yes. One more.
     When  no  one  in the house  was  stirring,  and  the lights  were  all
extinguished, she would softly leave her own  room, and with noiseless  feet
descend the staircase, and approach  her father's door. Against it, scarcely
breathing, she  would rest her  face  and head, and  press her lips, in  the
yearning  of  her love. She crouched  upon the cold stone  floor outside it,
every night, to listen even for his breath; and in her one absorbing wish to
be allowed to show him some affection,  to be a consolation  to him,  to win
him over to  the endurance of some tenderness from  her, his solitary child,
she would  have  knelt  down  at  his  feet,  if  she had dared,  in  humble
     No one knew it' No one thought of it. The door was ever  closed, and he
shut up within. He went out once or twice, and it was said in the house that
he was very soon  going on his country journey; but he lived in those rooms,
and lived alone, and never saw her, or inquired for her. Perhaps he  did not
even know that she was in the house.
     One  day, about a week after the  funeral, Florence was  sitting at her
work,  when Susan appeared,  with a face half laughing and  half crying,  to
announce a visitor.
     'A visitor! To me, Susan!' said Florence, looking up in astonishment.
     'Well, it is  a  wonder,  ain't  it now, Miss Floy?' said Susan; 'but I
wish  you had a many visitors, I do, indeed, for you'd be all the better for
it,  and it's  my opinion that the sooner you and  me goes even to  them old
Skettleses, Miss,  the better for both,  I  may not  wish to live in crowds,
Miss Floy, but still I'm not a oyster.'
     To  do Miss Nipper  justice, she spoke more for her young mistress than
herself; and her face showed it.
     'But the visitor, Susan,' said Florence.
     Susan, with an hysterical explosion  that was as much a laugh as a sob,
and as much a sob as a laugh, answered,
     'Mr Toots!'
     The smile that appeared on  Florence's face passed from it in a moment,
and  her eyes  filled with tears.  But at any rate it was  a smile, and that
gave great satisfaction to Miss Nipper.
     'My own feelings exactly, Miss Floy,' said Susan, putting  her apron to
her  eyes,  and  shaking her head. 'Immediately  I see that Innocent  in the
Hall, Miss Floy, I burst out laughing first, and then I choked.'
     Susan Nipper involuntarily proceeded to do the like  again on the spot.
In the  meantime Mr Toots, who had come upstairs after  her, all unconscious
of the effect he  produced, announced himself with his knuckles on the door,
and walked in very brisKly.
     'How d'ye do, Miss Dombey?' said Mr Toots. 'I'm very well, I thank you;
how are you?'
     Mr Toots - than whom there were few better fellows in the world, though
there may have been one  or two brighter spirits - had  laboriously invented
this long burst of discourse with the view of relieving the feelings both of
Florence and himself. But  finding that he had run  through his property, as
it were, in an injudicious manner, by squandering the whole  before taking a
chair, or before Florence had  uttered a word, or before  he had well got in
at the door, he deemed it advisable to begin again.
     'How d'ye do, Miss Dombey?' said Mr Toots. 'I'm very well, I thank you;
how are you?'
     Florence gave him her hand, and said she was very well.
     'I'm  very  well  indeed,' said Mr  Toots, taking  a chair. 'Very  well
indeed, I am.  I don't remember,' said  Mr Toots, after reflecting a little,
'that I was ever better, thank you.'
     'It's  very kind of you to come,' said Florence, taking up her work, 'I
am very glad to see you.'
     Mr  Toots responded  with a chuckle. Thinking that might be too lively,
he  corrected  it  with  a sigh. Thinking that might be too  melancholy,  he
corrected it with  a chuckle.  Not  thoroughly pleasing himself  with either
mode of reply, he breathed hard.
     'You were very kind to my dear brother,' said Florence, obeying her own
natural impulse to relieve  him by saying  so.  'He often talked to me about
     'Oh it's of no consequence,' said Mr Toots hastily. 'Warm, ain't it?'
     'It is beautiful weather,' replied Florence.
     'It agrees with me!'  said Mr Toots.  'I don't think I ever was so well
as I find myself at present, I'm obliged to you.
     After stating  this curious and unexpected fact, Mr Toots fell  into  a
deep well of silence.
     'You have  left Dr  Blimber's, I think?'  said Florence, trying to help
him out.
     'I should hope so,' returned Mr Toots. And tumbled in again.
     He  remained  at  the bottom,  apparently  drowned,  for  at  least ten
minutes. At the expiration of that period, he suddenly floated, and said,
     'Well! Good morning, Miss Dombey.'
     'Are you going?' asked Florence, rising.
     'I don't know, though. No, not just at present,' said Mr Toots, sitting
down again, most unexpectedly. 'The fact is - I say, Miss Dombey!'
     'Don't be afraid to speak to me,' said Florence, with a quiet smile, 'I
should he very glad if you would talk about my brother.'
     'Would you, though?' retorted Mr Toots, with sympathy in every fibre of
his otherwise  expressionless face. 'Poor  Dombey! I'm sure I  never thought
that Burgess and Co. - fashionable tailors (but very dear), that we used  to
talk about - would make  this suit of clothes for such a purpose.'  Mr Toots
was dressed in mourning. 'Poor Dombey! I say! Miss Dombey!' blubbered Toots.
     'Yes,' said Florence.
     'There's a friend he took to very much at last. I thought you'd lIke to
have him, perhaps,  as  a  sort  of  keepsake. You remember  his remembering
     'Oh yes! oh yes' cried Florence.
     'Poor Dombey! So do I,' said Mr Toots.
     Mr  Toots, seeing  Florence in tears, had great difficulty  in  getting
beyond this point, and had nearly tumbled into the well again. But a chucKle
saved him on the brink.
     'I say,'  he proceeded, 'Miss  Dombey!  I could have had him stolen for
ten shillings, if they hadn't given him up:  and I would: but they were glad
to get rid of  him, I think. If  you'd like to have him, he's at the door. I
brought him on purpose for you. He  ain't  a lady's dog, you know,'  said Mr
Toots, 'but you won't mind that, will you?'
     In  fact, Diogenes was  at that moment,  as they presently  ascertained
from looking down into  the street, staring through the window  of a hackney
cabriolet, into which, for conveyance to that spot, he had been ensnared, on
a false pretence of rats among  the straw. Sooth to say, he was  as unlike a
lady's  dog as might be; and  in his gruff anxiety to get out,  presented an
appearance sufficiently unpromising, as he gave short yelps out  of one side
of  his  mouth, and overbalancing  himself by the intensity of every one  of
those  efforts,  tumbled  down into the  straw, and  then sprung panting  up
again, putting out his tongue, as if he had come express to  a Dispensary to
be examined for his health.
     But though Diogenes was as ridiculous a dog as one would meet with on a
summer's  day;   a  blundering,  ill-favoured,  clumsy,  bullet-headed  dog,
continually  acting on  a  wrong  idea  that  there  was  an  enemy  in  the
neighbourhood,  whom it was meritorious to bark  at; and though  he  was far
from  good-tempered, and certainly was not clever, and had hair all over his
eyes, and a comic nose, and an inconsistent tail, and a gruff voice; he  was
dearer to Florence, in virtue of that parting remembrance of  him,  and that
request that he might be taken care of, than the most valuable and beautiful
of his kind. So dear, indeed, was this same ugly Diogenes, and so welcome to
her,  that  she  took the  jewelled hand of  Mr  Toots and kissed it in  her
gratitude.  And when  Diogenes, released, came  tearing up  the  stairs  and
bouncing  into the room (such a business as there was, first, to get him out
of the  cabriolet!), dived  under all the  furniture, and wound a long  iron
chain, that dangled from his neck, round legs of chairs and tables, and then
tugged  at  it until his eyes became  unnaturally visible, in consequence of
their nearly starting out  of his head; and when he growled at Mr Toots, who
affected  familiarity; and  went pell-mell at Towlinson,  morally  convinced
that  he  was the enemy whom  he had barked at round the corner all his life
and had never seen yet; Florence was as pleased with him as if he had been a
miracle of discretion.
     Mr  Toots was  so overjoyed by the success of  his present, and was  so
delighted to  see  Florence bending down over Diogenes, smoothing his coarse
back with her little delicate hand - Diogenes  graciously  allowing it  from
the first moment of their  acquaintance  - that he felt it difficult to take
leave, and would, no doubt, have been a much longer  time in  making  up his
mind to do so, if he had not been assisted by Diogenes himself, who suddenly
took it  into his head to bay Mr Toots, and to make short  runs at him  with
his  mouth  open.  Not  exactly   seeing  his  way  to  the  end   of  these
demonstrations, and  sensible that they placed the pantaloons constructed by
the art of Burgess and Co. in jeopardy, Mr Toots, with chuckles,  lapsed out
at the door: by which, after  looking  in again two  or three times, without
any object at all, and being on each occasion greeted with a  fresh run from
Diogenes, he finally took himself off and got away.
     'Come, then, Di! Dear Di!  Make friends with  your new mistress. Let us
love  each other,  Di!'said Florence, fondling his shaggy head.  And Di, the
rough and gruff, as if his hairy hide were pervious to the tear that dropped
upon it, and his dog's heart melted as it fell, put his nose up to her face,
and swore fidelity.
     Diogenes the man did not speak  plainer  to Alexander  the  Great  than
Diogenes the  dog  spoke to  Florence.'  He subscribed to  the offer  of his
little mistress  cheerfully, and devoted himself  to her  service. A banquet
was immediately provided  for him  in a corner;  and  when he had eaten  and
drunk his fill, he went to  the window  where Florence  was sitting, looking
on, rose up on his hind  legs, with his  awkward fore paws on her shoulders,
licked  her  face and  hands, nestled  his great head against her heart, and
wagged his  tail  till he was tired. Finally, Diogenes  coiled himself up at
her feet and went to sleep.
     Although  Miss  Nipper was nervous  in regard  of  dogs,  and  felt  it
necessary  to  come into the room with her  skirts carefully collected about
her, as  if she were crossing a brook  on  stepping-stones;  also  to  utter
little screams and  stand up on chairs  when Diogenes stretched himself, she
was in her own manner  affected by the  kindness  of Mr Toots, and could not
see Florence so  alive to the attachment and society of this  rude friend of
little Paul's, without some mental comments thereupon that brought the water
to her eyes. Mr Dombey, as a part of her reflections, may have been, in  the
association of  ideas,  connected with  the  dog; but,  at  any  rate, after
observing  Diogenes and  his  mistress  all the  evening, and after exerting
herself with  much  good-will to provide Diogenes a bed in  an  ante-chamber
outside his  mistress's door, she said hurriedly to Florence, before leaving
her for the night:
     'Your Pa's a going off, Miss Floy, tomorrow morning.'
     'To-morrow morning, Susan?'
     'Yes, Miss; that's the orders. Early.'
     'Do  you know,' asked Florence, without looking  at her, 'where Papa is
going, Susan?'
     'Not exactly, Miss. He's going to meet that precious Major first, and I
must say if  I was  acquainted with any Major myself (which Heavens forbid),
it shouldn't be a blue one!'
     'Hush, Susan!' urged Florence gently.
     'Well, Miss  Floy,'  returned  Miss Nipper,  who  was  full of  burning
indignation, and minded her  stops even less than usual.  'I  can't help it,
blue  he  is, and while  I was  a Christian, although humble, I  would  have
natural-coloured friends, or none.'
     It appeared  from  what she added  and had gleaned downstairs, that Mrs
Chick had proposed the Major for Mr  Dombey's companion, and that Mr Dombey,
after some hesitation, had invited him.
     'Talk of him being a  change, indeed!' observed Miss Nipper  to herself
with boundless contempt. 'If he's a change, give me a constancy.
     'Good-night, Susan,' said Florence.
     'Good-night, my darling dear Miss Floy.'
     Her tone of commiseration smote the chord so often roughly touched, but
never listened  to while she or anyone  looked on. Florence left alone, laid
her head upon her hand, and pressing the other over her swelling heart, held
free communication with her sorrows.
     It was a wet night; and the melancholy rain fell pattering and dropping
with a  weary sound. A sluggish wind was blowing, and went moaning round the
house, as if it were in pain or grief.  A shrill  noise quivered through the
trees. While she  sat  weeping, it grew late, and dreary midnight tolled out
from the steeples.
     Florence was little more than a child in years - not yet  fourteen- and
the loneliness and gloom of such an hour in the great  house where Death had
lately made  its own  tremendous devastation, might have set an older  fancy
brooding on vague  terrors. But her innocent imagination was too full of one
theme to admit them. Nothing wandered in her thoughts but love - a wandering
love, indeed, and castaway  -  but  turning always to  her father. There was
nothing in the dropping of the rain, the moaning of the wind, the shuddering
of  the trees,  the striking  of  the solemn clocks,  that  shook  this  one
thought, or diminished its interest' Her recollections of  the dear dead boy
-  and they were never absent  - were itself, the same  thing. And oh, to be
shut out: to be so  lost: never to  have  looked  into her  father's face or
touched him, since that hour!
     She  could not go to bed, poor child, and  never had  gone  yet,  since
then, without making her  nightly pilgrimage to his door. It would have been
a  strange sad sight,  to see her' now,  stealing  lightly down  the  stairs
through the thick gloom, and  stopping  at  it  with a  beating  heart,  and
blinded eyes, and hair that fell down loosely and unthought of; and touching
it outside with her wet cheek. But the night covered it, and no one knew.
     The moment that she touched the door on this night, Florence found that
it  was   open.  For  the  first  time  it  stood  open,  though  by  but  a
hair's-breadth: and there was a light within. The first impulse of the timid
child - and she yielded to it - was to retire swiftly. Her next, to go back,
and  to enter; and this  second  impulse held her  in  irresolution  on  the
     In its standing open, even by so much as that chink, there seemed to be
hope. There was encouragement in seeing a ray of light from within, stealing
through the dark  stern  doorway, and  falling in  a thread upon  the marble
floor. She turned back, hardly  knowing  what  she did, but urged  on by the
love within her, and the trial they had undergone together, but  not shared:
and with her hands a little raised and trembling, glided in.
     Her  father  sat at his old table  in  the  middle  room. He  had  been
arranging some papers, and destroying others, and the latter  lay in fragile
ruins before him. The rain dripped heavily upon the glass panes in the outer
room,  where  he had  so  often  watched poor  Paul,  a baby;  and  the  low
complainings of the wind were heard without.
     But not by him. He sat with his eyes fixed on the table, so immersed in
thought,  that a far heavier tread  than the light foot of  his  child could
make, might have failed to rouse  him. His face was  turned  towards her. By
the waning lamp, and at that haggard hour, it looked worn  and dejected; and
in  the utter loneliness  surrounding him,  there  was an appeal to Florence
that struck home.
     'Papa! Papa! speak to me, dear Papa!'
     He started at her voice,  and leaped  up from his seat.  She  was close
before him' with extended arms, but he fell back.
     'What is the matter?' he said, sternly. 'Why do you come here? What has
frightened you?'
     If anything had frightened her, it was the face he turned upon her. The
glowing love  within  the breast of his young  daughter froze before it, and
she stood and looked at him as if stricken into stone.
     There was not one touch of tenderness or pity in it.  There was not one
gleam  of  interest, parental recognition,  or relenting in  it. There was a
change in it, but not of that kind. The old indifference and cold constraint
had  given place to something: what, she never thought and did  not dare  to
think,  and  yet she felt it in its force, and knew it well without  a name:
that as it looked upon her, seemed to cast a shadow on her head.
     Did he  see before him the successful  rival of his son,  in health and
life? Did he look upon his own successful rival in that son's affection? Did
a  mad jealousy and  withered  pride, poison  sweet remembrances that should
have endeared and made her precious to him? Could it be possible that it was
gall to him to look upon her in her beauty  and her promise: thinking of his
infant boy!
     Florence  had no such thoughts. But love  is  quick  to know when it is
spurned and hopeless: and hope died out of hers, as she stood looking in her
father's face.
     'I ask you, Florence, are you frightened? Is there anything the matter,
that you come here?'
     'I came, Papa - '
     'Against my wishes. Why?'
     She  saw he knew why:  it was written broadly on his face: and  dropped
her head upon her hands with one prolonged low cry.
     Let him remember it in that room, years to come. It has  faded from the
air, before he breaks the silence. It may pass as quickly from his brain, as
he believes, but it  is  there. Let him remember it  in that room,  years to
     He took  her  by  the arm. His hand was cold,  and loose,  and scarcely
closed upon her.
     'You are tired, I  daresay,' he said, taking up the light, and  leading
her towards the door, 'and want  rest. We all  want  rest. Go, Florence. You
have been dreaming.'
     The dream she  had had, was over then,  God help her! and she felt that
it could never more come back
     'I will  remain here to light you up the  stairs.  The  whole  house is
yours  above  there,' said her  father,  slowly. 'You are  its mistress now.
     Still  covering  her face, she sobbed,  and answered  'Good-night, dear
Papa,'  and  silently ascended. Once she  looked back as if  she  would have
returned  to him, but for fear. It was a mommentary thought, too hopeless to
encourage; and her father  stood  there with the light - hard, unresponsive,
motionless - until  the fluttering dress of his fair  child was  lost in the
     Let him remember  it  in that room,  years to come. The rain that falls
upon the roof: the wind that mourns outside the door: may have foreknowledge
in their melancholy sound. Let him remember it in that room, years to come!
     The last time he had watched her, from the same place, winding up those
stairs, she  had  had her brother in  her arms. It  did  not move  his heart
towards  her now, it steeled it: but he went into  his room,  and locked his
door, and sat down in his chair, and cried for his lost boy.
     Diogenes  was  broad  awake  upon  his post, and waiting for his little
     'Oh, Di! Oh, dear Di! Love me for his sake!'
     Diogenes already  loved  her for her own, and didn't care how  much  he
showed  it. So he made himself vastly ridiculous by performing  a variety of
uncouth bounces in the ante-chamber, and concluded,  when poor  Florence was
at last asleep, and dreaming  of the rosy children  opposite, by  scratching
open her bedroom door: rolling up his bed into a pillow: lying  down on  the
boards,  at the  full  length of his tether, with his  head towards her: and
looking lazily at her, upside down, out  of the tops of his eyes, until from
winking and winking he fell  asleep himself,  and dreamed, with gruff barks,
of his enemy.

     Walter goes away
     The  wooden  Midshipman  at  the  Instrument-maker's  door,   like  the
hard-hearted little  Midshipman he  was,  remained  supremely indifferent to
Walter's going away, even when the very last day of his sojourn  in the back
parlour was on the decline. With his quadrant at his round black  knob of an
eye, and  his figure  in  its old  attitude  of  indomitable  alacrity,  the
Midshipman displayed his  elfin  small-clothes  to  the best advantage, and,
absorbed in scientific pursuits, had  no sympathy with worldly concerns.  He
was so far the  creature of circumstances, that  a  dry day covered him with
dust, and a misty day peppered him with little  bits of soot, and a wet  day
brightened up  his tarnished uniform  for the moment,  and  a very  hot  day
blistered  him;  but  otherwise  he  was   a  callous,  obdurate,  conceited
Midshipman,  intent  on his own discoveries, and caring  as  little for what
went on about him, terrestrially, as Archimedes at the taking of Syracuse.
     Such a  Midshipman he seemed to be, at least, in  the then  position of
domestic affairs. Walter eyed him kindly many a time in passing in and  out;
and poor old Sol, when Walter was not there, would come and lean against the
doorpost,  resting his weary  wig as near the  shoe-buckles  of the guardian
genius of his trade  and shop  as he could. But no  fierce idol with a mouth
from ear to ear, and a murderous  visage made of parrot's feathers, was ever
more  indifferent  to the appeals  of  its savage  votaries,  than  was  the
Midshipman to these marks of attachment.
     Walter's heart felt heavy  as he looked round his old bedroom, up among
the  parapets and chimney-pots,  and thought  that  one  more  night already
darkening would close his acquaintance with it, perhaps for ever. Dismantled
of  his  little  stock  of  books  and  pictures,  it   looked  coldly   and
reproachfully on him for his desertion, and had already a foreshadowing upon
it of  its coming strangeness. 'A few hours more,'  thought Walter,  'and no
dream I ever had  here when I was a schoolboy will be so little mine as this
old room.  The dream may come back in my sleep, and  I may  return waking to
this place, it may be: but  the dream at least will  serve no  other master,
and the room  may have  a score, and  every one of them may change, neglect,
misuse it.'
     But his  Uncle was not to be  left  alone in  the little  back parlour,
where he was then sitting by himself; for Captain Cuttle, considerate in his
roughness,  stayed  away against his will,  purposely that they  should have
some talk together unobserved: so Walter, newly returned home from his  last
day's bustle, descended briskly, to bear him company.
     'Uncle,'  he said gaily,  laying his  hand upon the old man's shoulder,
'what shall I send you home from Barbados?'
     'Hope, my dear Wally. Hope that  we shall  meet  again, on this side of
the grave. Send me as much of that as you can.'
     'So I will, Uncle: I have enough and to spare, and I'll not be chary of
it!  And  as  to lively  turtles, and limes  for Captain Cuttle's punch, and
preserves for you on Sundays, and all that sort of thing, why  I'll send you
ship-loads, Uncle: when I'm rich enough.'
     Old Sol wiped his spectacles, and faintly smiled.
     'That's right, Uncle!' cried Walter, merrily, and clapping him  half  a
dozen  times more upon  the  shoulder. 'You  cheer up me! I'll cheer up you!
We'll be as gay as larks to-morrow morning, Uncle, and we'll fly as high! As
to my anticipations, they are singing out of sight now.
     'Wally, my dear boy,' returned the old man, 'I'll  do my  best, I'll do
my best.'
     'And your best, Uncle,' said  Walter, with his pleasant laugh, 'is  the
best best that I know. You'll not forget what you're to send me, Uncle?'
     'No, Wally,  no,' replied the  old  man; 'everything I  hear about Miss
Dombey, now that she is left alone, poor lamb, I'll write.  I  fear it won't
be much though, Wally.'
     'Why,  I'll  tell  you  what, Uncle,'  said  Walter, after  a  moment's
hesitation, 'I have just been up there.'
     'Ay,  ay, ay?'  murmured  the old man, raising  his  eyebrows, and  his
spectacles with them.
     'Not to  see  her,' said  Walter,  'though  I  could  have seen her,  I
daresay, if I had asked, Mr Dombey being  out of town: but to say  a parting
word  to Susan. I  thought  I might venture to do that, you know, under  the
circumstances, and remembering when I saw Miss Dombey last.'
     'Yes, my boy, yes,' replied his Uncle, rousing himself from a temporary
     'So I saw her,'  pursued  Walter, 'Susan, I mean: and  I told her I was
off  and  away to-morrow. And I said, Uncle,  that  you had  always  had  an
interest in  Miss  Dombey since  that night  when  she  was here, and always
wished her well and  happy, and always  would be proud and glad to serve her
in the least: I thought I might say that, you know, under the circumstances.
Don't you think so ?'
     'Yes, my boy, yes,' replied his Uncle, in the tone as before.
     'And I added,' pursued Walter, 'that  if  she - Susan, I mean  -  could
ever let you know, either through herself, or  Mrs Richards, or anybody else
who might be coming this way, that Miss Dombey was well and happy, you would
take it very  kindly,  and would write so much  to me,  and I should take it
very kindly too. There! Upon my word, Uncle,' said Walter, 'I scarcely slept
all last night through thinking of doing this; and could not make up my mind
when I was out, whether  to  do it or not; and yet I am sure  it is the true
feeling of my heart,  and I should have been quite miserable afterwards if I
had not relieved it.'
     His honest voice  and  manner  corroborated  what  he said,  and  quite
established its ingenuousness.
     'So, if you ever see her,  Uncle,' said Walter, 'I mean Miss Dombey now
- and perhaps  you may, who knows! - tell her  how  much I felt for her; how
much I used to think of her  when  I was  here; how I spoke of her, with the
tears in my  eyes, Uncle, on this  last night before  I went away. Tell  her
that I said I never could forget her gentle manner,  or her beautiful  face,
or her sweet kind disposition that was better than all. And as I didn't take
them  from a  woman's  feet,  or  a  young lady's: only  a  little  innocent
child's,'  said Walter:  'tell  her, if you don't  mind, Uncle, that I  kept
those shoes - she'll remember how often they fell off, that night - and took
them away with me as a remembrance!'
     They were at that very moment going out at the  door in one of Walter's
trunks. A porter  carrying off  his baggage on a  truck  for shipment at the
docks  on board  the Son  and  Heir, had got possession of them; and wheeled
them away under the very eye of the insensible Midshipman before their owner
had well finished speaking.
     But that ancient  mariner might have  been excused his insensibility to
the  treasure  as  it rolled away. For, under  his eye at the  same  moment,
accurately  within his range of observation,  coming full into the sphere of
his  startled and intensely  wide-awake  look-out,  were Florence  and Susan
Nipper: Florence looking up  into his face  half timidly,  and receiving the
whole shock of his wooden ogling!
     More than this, they passed into the shop, and passed in at the parlour
door  before they were observed by anybody but the  Midshipman.  And Walter,
having  his back to the door, would have known nothing of  their  apparition
even then, but for seeing his Uncle spring out  of his own chair, and nearly
tumble over another.
     'Why, Uncle!' exclaimed Walter. 'What's the matter?'
     Old Solomon replied, 'Miss Dombey!'
     'Is it possible?' cried Walter,  looking round and  starting  up in his
turn. 'Here!'
     Why, It was so  possible and so actual, that, while  the words  were on
his lips, Florence hurried past him; took Uncle Sol's snuff-coloured lapels,
one in each  hand;  kissed him on the cheek; and turning,  gave  her hand to
Walter with  a simple truth and  earnestness  that was her own,  and  no one
else's in the world!
     'Going away, Walter!' said Florence.
     'Yes, Miss Dombey,' he replied, but not so hopefully as he endeavoured:
'I have a voyage before me.'
     'And your Uncle,' said  Florence, looking back at Solomon. 'He is sorry
you are  going,  I am  sure. Ah! I see he is!  Dear Walter,  I am very sorry
     'Goodness knows,' exclaimed Miss Nipper, 'there's a many we could spare
instead, if numbers is a object, Mrs Pipchin as a overseer  would come cheap
at her  weight  in  gold, and  if  a knowledge of  black slavery  should  be
required, them Blimbers is the very people for the sitiwation.'
     With  that  Miss  Nipper untied her bonnet strings,  and alter  looking
vacantly for some moments into a little black teapot that was set forth with
the usual  homely service on the table, shook her head  and a tin  canister,
and began unasked to make the tea.
     In the meantime Florence had  turned again to the Instrument-maker, who
was  as full  of  admiration  as  surprise. 'So  grown!' said  old Sol.  'So
improved! And yet not altered! Just the same!'
     'Indeed!' said Florence.
     'Ye - yes,' returned old Sol, rubbing his hands slowly, and considering
the matter half aloud, as something  pensive  in  the bright eyes looking at
him arrested his attention. 'Yes, that  expression was in the younger  face,
     'You  remember me,' said  Florence  with  a smile,  'and  what a little
creature I was then?'
     'My dear  young  lady,' returned  the  Instrument-maker,  'how  could I
forget you, often as I  have thought of you and heard of you  since! At  the
very moment, indeed, when you came in, Wally  was talking about you  to  me,
and leaving messages for you, and - '
     'Was he?' said Florence. 'Thank  you,  Walter! Oh thank you, Walter!  I
was afraid you might be going away and hardly thinking of me;' and again she
gave him her little hand so freely and so faithfully that Walter held it for
some moments in his own, and could not bear to let it go.
     Yet Walter did not hold it  as he might  have held it once, nor did its
touch awaken those old  day-dreams of  his boyhood that had floated past him
sometimes  even lately, and confused him  with their  indistinct and  broken
shapes.  The purity and innocence  of her endearing manner, and  its perfect
trustfulness, and the undisguised regard for  him that lay so deeply  seated
in  her constant eyes, and glowed upon her fair face through the smile  that
shaded - for  alas! it was a  smile too sad  to brighten - it,  were  not of
their romantic race. They  brought back to his thoughts the  early death-bed
he had  seen her tending, and the love the  child had borne her; and on  the
wings  of such  remembrances she  seemed  to  rise up,  far  above  his idle
fancies, into clearer and serener air.
     'I - I am afraid I must call you Walter's Uncle, Sir,' said Florence to
the old man, 'if you'll let me.'
     'My dear young lady,' cried old Sol. 'Let you! Good gracious!'
     'We always knew  you by that name, and  talked of you,' said  Florence,
glancing round,  and sighing gently. 'The nice old parlour! Just  the  same!
How well I recollect it!'
     Old  Sol  looked first at her, then at his  nephew, and then rubbed his
hands,  and rubbed  his spectacles, and said below  his  breath, 'Ah!  time,
time, time!'
     There  was  a  short  silence;  during  which  Susan  Nipper  skilfully
impounded  two extra  cups and saucers  from the cupboard,  and  awaited the
drawing of the tea with a thoughtful air.
     'I want to tell Walter's Uncle,' said Florence, laying her hand timidly
upon the  old man's  as it rested  on  the table,  to bespeak his attention,
'something that I am anxious about. He is going to be left alone, and if  he
will allow me - not to take Walter's place,  for that I  couldn't do, but to
be his true friend and help him if I  ever can while Walter is away, I shall
be very much obliged to him indeed. Will you? May I, Walter's Uncle?'
     The Instrument-maker, without speaking, put  her  hand to his lips, and
Susan Nipper, leaning back with her arms crossed, in the chair of presidency
into which she had voted herself, bit one end  of  her  bonnet  strings, and
heaved a gentle sigh as she looked up at the skylight.
     'You will let me  come to see you,' said Florence, 'when I can; and you
will tell me  everything about yourself  and Walter; and you  will  have  no
secrets  from Susan when she comes and I do not, but will confide in us, and
trust us, and rely upon us. And  you'll  try  to let us be a comfort to you?
Will you, Walter's Uncle?'
     The sweet  face looking into  his, the gentle  pleading eyes, the  soft
voice, and the light touch on his arm  made the more winning  by  a  child's
respect and honour for his age,  that gave  to all  an air of graceful doubt
and modest hesitation -  these, and her natural earnestness, so overcame the
poor old Instrument-maker, that he only answered:
     'Wally! say a word for me, my dear. I'm very grateful.'
     'No,  Walter,' returned Florence with her quiet smile. 'Say nothing for
him, if  you  please.  I understand him very well, and we must learn to talk
together without you, dear Walter.'
     The regretful tone in which she said these latter words, touched Walter
more than all the rest.
     'Miss  Florence,' he replied, with  an  effort  to recover the cheerful
manner he had preserved while talking with his Uncle, 'I know  no more  than
my  Uncle, what to say in acknowledgment of  such  kindness, I am sure.  But
what  could I  say, after all, if I had the  power of talking  for  an hour,
except that it is like you?'
     Susan  Nipper began upon a new part of her bonnet string, and nodded at
the skylight, in approval of the sentiment expressed.
     'Oh!  but,  Walter,' said Florence,  'there is something that I wish to
say to you before you go away, and you must call me Florence, if you please,
and not speak like a stranger.'
     'Like  a stranger!' returned Walter,  'No. I couldn't  speak  so.  I am
sure, at least, I couldn't feel like one.'
     'Ay, but  that is  not enough, and  is not what  I  mean. For, Walter,'
added  Florence,  bursting into  tears,  'he liked  you  very much, and said
before he died that he was fond of you, and  said "Remember Walter!"  and if
you'll  be a  brother to me, Walter, now  that he is gone and I have none on
earth, I'll be your  sister all  my life, and think of you like one wherever
we may be! This is what I wished to say, dear Walter, but I cannot say it as
I would, because my heart is full.'
     And  in  its fulness  and its sweet simplicity,  she  held out both her
hands to him. Walter taking  them, stooped down and touched the tearful face
that  neither  shrunk nor turned away, nor reddened as he did so, but looked
up  at him with confidence and truth.  In  that  one moment, every shadow of
doubt or  agitation passed away from Walter's soul. It seemed to him that he
responded to her innocent appeal, beside the  dead  child's bed: and, in the
solemn presence he had seen there, pledged  himself to cherish  and  protect
her  very image, in his banishment, with  brotherly regard; to garner up her
simple faith, inviolate; and hold himself degraded if  he  breathed upon  it
any thought that was not in her own breast when she gave it to him.
     Susan Nipper,  who  had bitten  both  her bonnet strings  at  once, and
imparted  a great  deal  of  private  emotion  to the skylight, during  this
transaction, now changed the subject by inquiring who took milk and who took
sugar; and being  enlightened on these points, poured out the tea. They  all
four gathered socially about the little table, and took tea under that young
lady's  active superintendence;  and  the presence of Florence  in  the back
parlour, brightened the Tartar frigate on the wall.
     Half an hour ago Walter, for his life,  would have hardly called her by
her name. But he could do so now when she entreated him. He  could  think of
her being there, without a lurking misgiving that it would  have been better
if she had not come.  He could  calmly think how beautiful she was, how full
of promise, what a home some happy man would find in such a heart  one  day.
He could reflect upon his own  place  in that heart, with  pride; and with a
brave  determination, if not to deserve it - he still thought that far above
him - never to deserve it less
     Some fairy influence must surely  have hovered round the hands of Susan
Nipper  when she made the tea, engendering the tranquil air  that reigned in
the back parlour during its discussion. Some  counter-influence must  surely
have  hovered  round  the hands of Uncle Sol's chronometer,  and  moved them
faster than the Tartar frigate ever went before the wind. Be this as it may,
the visitors had a coach in  waiting at a quiet corner not far off; and  the
chronometer, on being incidentally referred to, gave such a positive opinion
that it  had been waiting  a long time, that it was impossible to  doubt the
fact, especially  when stated on such  unimpeachable authority. If Uncle Sol
had been going  to be hanged  by his  own time, he  never would have allowed
that the chronometer was too fast, by the least fraction of a second.
     Florence at parting recapitulated to the old man all that  she had said
before, and bound him to the compact. Uncle Sol attended her lovingly to the
legs of the  wooden Midshipman, and  there resigned her  to  Walter, who was
ready to escort her and Susan Nipper to the coach.
     'Walter,'  said  Florence by the way, 'I have been afraid to ask before
your Uncle. Do you think you will be absent very long?'
     'Indeed,' said Walter, 'I don't know. I fear so. Mr Dombey signified as
much, I thought, when he appointed me.'
     'Is  it  a  favour,  Walter?'  inquired  Florence,  after   a  moment's
hesitation, and looking anxiously in his face.
     'The appointment?' returned Walter.
     Walter  would  have given anything to have answered in the affirmative,
but his face answered before his lips could, and Florence was too  attentive
to it not to understand its reply.
     'I am  afraid you have scarcely been a  favourite with Papa,' she said,
     'There is no reason,' replied Walter, smiling, 'why I should be.'
     'No reason, Walter!'
     'There  was  no reason,'  said Walter, understanding  what  she  meant.
'There are many  people employed in the House. Between Mr Dombey and a young
man like me, there's a wide space of separation. If I do my duty, I do  what
I ought, and do no more than all the rest.'
     Had Florence  any  misgiving  of which she  was  hardly conscious:  any
misgiving  that had sprung  into an indistinct and undefined existence since
that recent night when she had gone down to her father's room: that Walter's
accidental interest in her, and early knowledge of her, might  have involved
him in that powerful displeasure and  dislike? Had Walter any such idea,  or
any sudden thought that it was in  her  mind at that moment? Neither of them
hinted at it.  Neither of them  spoke  at all, for  some short  time. Susan,
walking on the other  side  of Walter, eyed them both sharply; and certainly
Miss  Nipper's thoughts travelled in  that  direction, and  very confidently
     'You may come back very soon,' said Florence, 'perhaps, Walter.'
     'I may come back,' said Walter, 'an old  man, and find you an old lady.
But I hope for better things.'
     'Papa,' said Florence,  after a  moment, 'will - will  recover from his
grief,  and - speak more freely to me one day, perhaps; and  if he should, I
will tell him how much I wish to see  you back again, and ask him to  recall
you for my sake.'
     There was a touching  modulation in these words about her  father, that
Walter understood too well.
     The coach being close at hand, he would have left her without speaking,
for now he felt what parting was; but  Florence held his hand when  she  was
seated, and then he found there was a little packet in her own.
     'Walter,' she said, looking  full upon him  with her affectionate eyes,
'like you, I hope for better things.  I will pray for them, and believe that
they will arrive. I  made this  little gift  for Paul.  Pray take it with my
love, and do not look at it until you are gone away. And now, God bless you,
Walter! never forget me. You are my brother, dear!'
     He was glad  that Susan Nipper came between them, or he might have left
her  with a sorrowful remembrance of him. He was glad  too  that she did not
look  out of the coach again, but  waved the little hand to  him instead, as
long as he could see it.
     In  spite  of her request,  he  could not help opening  the packet that
night when he went to bed. It was a little purse: and there was was money in
     Bright rose the sun next morning, from his absence in strange countries
and  up rose Walter with  it to receive the Captain, who was  already at the
door:  having  turned out earlier than was necessary, in order to  get under
weigh while Mrs MacStinger was still slumbering. The Captain pretended to be
in tip-top spirits, and brought a very smoky tongue in one of the pockets of
the of the broad blue coat for breakfast.
     'And, Wal'r,' said the Captain, when they took their seats at table, if
your  Uncle's the man I think  him, he'll  bring out the last bottle of  the
Madeira on the present occasion.'
     'No, no, Ned,'  returned the old man. 'No!  That shall be  opened  when
Walter comes home again.'
     'Well said!' cried the Captain. 'Hear him!'
     'There  it lies,' said Sol Gills, 'down in  the little cellar,  covered
with  dirt  and  cobwebs.  There may be dirt  and  cobwebs  over you and  me
perhaps, Ned, before it sees the light.'
     'Hear him! 'cried the Captain. 'Good  morality! Wal'r, my lad. Train up
a fig-tree in the way it should go, and when you are old sit under the shade
on it. Overhaul the - Well,'  said the  Captain on second thoughts, 'I ain't
quite certain where that's to be found, but when found, make a  note of. Sol
Gills, heave ahead again!'
     'But there or somewhere,  it shall lie, Ned, until  Wally comes back to
claim it,' said the old man. 'That's all I meant to say.'
     'And well said too,' returned the Captain; 'and if we three don't crack
that bottle in company, I'll give you two leave to.'
     Notwithstanding  the  Captain's excessive joviality, he made but a poor
hand at the smoky tongue, though he tried very hard,  when anybody looked at
him, to appear  as if he were  eating  with a vast apetite. He  was terribly
afraid, likewise, of being left alone with either Uncle or nephew; appearing
to consider that his only chance of safety as to keeping up appearances, was
in  there being always  three  together.  This  terror  on the part  of  the
Captain, reduced him to such ingenious evasions as running to the door, when
Solomon  went  to  put  his  coat  on,  under  pretence  of having  seen  an
extraordinary hackney-coach pass: and darting out into the road  when Walter
went upstairs to take leave of the lodgers, on a feint of smelling fire in a
neighbouring chimney.  These artifices Captain  Cuttle deemed inscrutable by
any uninspired observer.
     Walter was  coming  down from his parting  expedition upstairs, and was
crossing the shop to go back to the little parlour, when he saw a faded face
he knew, looking in at the door, and darted towards it.
     'Mr Carker!' cried Walter, pressing the hand of John Carker the Junior.
'Pray come in!  This is kind of you, to be here  so early to say good-bye to
me. You knew how glad it would make me to shake hands with you, once, before
going away. I cannot say how glad I am to  have this opportunity.  Pray come
     'It is not  likely  that we may ever meet again, Walter,' returned  the
other, gently resisting his  invitation, 'and  I am glad of this opportunity
too. I may venture to  speak to you, and to take you by the hand, on the eve
of separation. I shall not have to resist your frank approaches, Walter, any
     There was a melancholy in his smile as he said it, that  showed  he had
found some company and friendship for his thoughts even in that.
     'Ah, Mr Carker!' returned Walter. 'Why did  you resist them? You  could
have done me nothing but good, I am very sure.
     He shook  his head. 'If there were any good,'  he said, 'I could do  on
this earth, I would do it,  Walter, for  you.  The sight of you  from day to
day, has been at  once  happiness  and  remorse  to me. But the pleasure has
outweighed the pain. I know that, now, by knowing what I lose.'
     'Come in,  Mr Carker, and  make acquaintance with  my good  old Uncle,'
urged Walter. 'I have often talked to  him about you, and he will be glad to
tell  you  all  he  hears  from me. I have not,' said Walter,  noticing  his
hesitation, and speaking  with  embarrassment himself: 'I have not  told him
anything about our last conversation, Mr Carker; not even him, believe me.
     The grey Junior pressed his hand, and tears rose in his eyes.
     'If I ever make acquaintance with him, Walter,' he  returned,  'it will
be that I may hear tidings of you. Rely on my not wronging  your forbearance
and consideration. It would be to wrong it, not to  tell him  all the truth,
before  I sought a word of confidence from  him.  But I  have  no friend  or
acquaintance  except you: and even for your  sake, am  little likely to make
     'I wish,' said Walter, 'you had suffered me to be your friend indeed. I
always wished it, Mr Carker, as  you know; but never half  so much  as  now,
when we are going to part'
     'It is  enough replied the other, 'that you have been the  friend of my
own  breast, and that  when I have avoided  you most, my heart  inclined the
most towards you, and was fullest of you. Walter, good-bye!'
     'Good-bye, Mr  Carker.  Heaven be  with you,  Sir!' cried  Walter  with
     'If,' said the  other, retaining  his hand while he spoke; 'if when you
come back, you miss me from my old corner, and should hear from anyone where
I am  lying, come  and  look upon my grave. Think that I  might have been as
honest and as happy as you! And let me think, when I know time is coming on,
that  some  one  like my  former  self  may stand there,  for  a moment, and
remember me with pity and forgiveness! Walter, good-bye!'
     His figure  crept like a shadow down the bright, sun-lighted street, so
cheerful yet so solemn in the early summer morning; and slowly passed away.
     The relentless  chronometer at last announced that Walter must turn his
back upon the wooden Midshipman: and away they went, himself, his Uncle, and
the Captain,  in  a  hackney-coach to  a  wharf,  where  they  were to  take
steam-boat for  some Reach down the river, the name of which, as the Captain
gave it out, was a hopeless mystery to the ears of landsmen. Arrived at this
Reach  (whither  the  ship  had  repaired by last  night's tide),  they were
boarded by various excited watermen,  and among others by a dirty Cyclops of
the Captain's acquaintance, who, with his one eye, had made the Captain  out
some  mile and a half off, and had been exchanging unintelligible roars with
him  ever since.  Becoming  the  lawful prize  of  this  personage, who  was
frightfully  hoarse and constitutionally  in want of shaving, they  were all
three  put aboard the Son and  Heir. And  the Son and  Heir  was in a pretty
state of confusion,  with sails lying all bedraggled on the wet decks, loose
ropes tripping people up,  men in  red shirts  running barefoot to  and fro,
casks  blockading every foot of space, and, in the thickest  of the fray,  a
black cook in a black caboose up to his  eyes in vegetables and blinded with
     The  Captain immediately drew  Walter into  a corner, and  with a great
effort, that made his face very red, pulled up  the silver watch,  which was
so big, and so tight in his pocket, that it came out like a bung.
     'Wal'r,' said the Captain, handing it over, and shaking him heartily by
the hand,  'a parting  gift, my lad. Put it back half an hour every morning,
and about another quarter towards the arternoon, and it's a watch that'll do
you credit.'
     'Captain Cuttle! I  couldn't think of it!' cried Walter, detaining him,
for he was running away. 'Pray take it back. I have one already.'
     'Then, Wal'r,' said  the  Captain,  suddenly  diving  into one  of  his
pockets and bringing up the two teaspoons and the sugar-tongs, with which he
had  armed  himself  to  meet  such an objection, 'take  this here trifle of
plate, instead.'
     'No, no, I  couldn't indeed!'  cried Walter, 'a thousand  thanks! Don't
throw  them  away, Captain  Cuttle!' for the Captain was about to  jerk them
overboard. 'They'll be of much more use to you than me. Give  me your stick.
I have often thought I  should like  to have  it. There!  Good-bye,  Captain
Cuttle! Take care of my Uncle! Uncle Sol, God bless you!'
     They were over the side in the  confusion, before Walter caught another
glimpse of either; and when he ran up to the  stern, and looked  after them,
he  saw his  Uncle hanging  down his head  in the  boat, and Captain  Cuttle
rapping him on the back with  the great silver watch (it must have been very
painful), and  gesticulating  hopefully with the teaspoons and  sugar-tongs.
Catching sight of Walter,  Captain  Cuttle  dropped  the  property  into the
bottom  of the boat with perfect unconcern, being evidently oblivious of its
existence, and pulling off the glazed hat hailed him lustily. The glazed hat
made  quite a show in the sun with its glistening, and the Captain continued
to wave it until he could  be seen no  longer. Then the confusion on  board,
which  had been rapidly increasing, reached  its  height; two or three other
boats went away with a  cheer; the sails  shone bright  and  full  above, as
Walter watched them spread their surface to the favourable breeze; the water
flew  in sparkles from  the prow; and off  upon her voyage went  the Son and
Heir, as hopefully and trippingly  as many  another son and heir, gone down,
had started on his way before her.
     Day  after day, old Sol  and Captain Cuttle  kept her reckoning in  the
little hack parlour and worked out her course, with  the chart spread before
them on the round table. At night, when old Sol climbed upstairs, so lonely,
to the attic where it sometimes blew  great guns, he looked up at the  stars
and listened to the wind, and kept a longer watch  than would have fallen to
his lot on board the ship. The last bottle of the old Madeira, which had had
its cruising days, and known its dangers of the deep,  lay silently  beneath
its dust and cobwebs, in the meanwhile, undisturbed.

     Mr Dombey goes upon a Journey
     'Mr Dombey,  Sir,' said Major Bagstock, 'Joee' B.  is  not in general a
man of sentiment,  for Joseph is tough.  But Joe has his feelings,  Sir, and
when they are awakened  -  Damme, Mr  Dombey,? cried the  Major  with sudden
ferocity, 'this is weakness, and I won't submit to it]'
     Major Bagstock delivered himself of these  expressions on receiving  Mr
Dombey as his guest at the head of his own staircase in Princess's Place. Mr
Dombey had come to breakfast with the Major, previous to their setting forth
on their trip; and the  ill-starved Native had already  undergone a world of
misery  arising out of the  muffins, while,  in  connexion with the  general
question of boiled eggs, life was a burden to him.
     'It is  not  for an old  soldier  of the Bagstock  breed,' observed the
Major, relapsing  into  a mild state,  'to deliver himself up, a prey to his
own  emotions;  but  - damme, Sir,'  cried the  Major,  in another spasm  of
ferocity, 'I condole with you!'
     The  Major's purple visage deepened in its hue, and the Major's lobster
eyes  stood  out  in  bolder  relief,  as he  shook  Mr  Dombey by the hand,
imparting to that peaceful  action as defiant a character as  if it had been
the prelude to his immediately boxing Mr Dombey for a thousand pounds a side
and the championship of England. With a rotatory  motion of his head, and  a
wheeze very like the  cough of a horse, the Major then conducted his visitor
to  the  sitting-room, and  there  welcomed  him  (having now  composed  his
feelings) with the freedom and frankness ofa travelling companion.
     'Dombey,'  said the  Major, 'I'm glad to see you. I'm proud to see you.
There are  not many men in Europe to whom J. Bagstock would say  that -  for
Josh  is  blunt.  Sir: it's his  nature -  but Joey B. is  proud to see you,
     'Major,' returned Mr Dombey, 'you are very obliging.'
     'No, Sir,'  said  the  Major, 'Devil a bit! That's not my character. If
that  had  been  Joe's  character,  Joe  might  have  been,  by  this  time,
Lieutenant-General Sir Joseph  Bagstock, K.C.B., and might have received you
in very different  quarters. You don't  know old Joe yet, I  find.  But this
occasion, being special, is a source of pride to me. By the Lord, Sir,' said
the Major resolutely, 'it's an honour to me!'
     Mr Dombey,  in his  estimation of himself and his money, felt that this
was very true, and therefore did not dispute  the point. But the instinctive
recognition of such a  truth by the Major, and his  plain avowal of it, were
very able.  It was a confirmation to Mr Dombey, if he  had required any,  of
his not  being  mistaken in the Major.  It was an assurance to him  that his
power extended beyond his own immediate  sphere; and  that  the Major, as an
officer and a gentleman, had a no less becoming sense of it, than the beadle
of the Royal Exchange.
     And if it were ever consolatory to know this, or the  like of this,  it
was consolatory then, when the impotence of his will, the instability of his
hopes, the feebleness of wealth, had  been so direfully impressed upon  him.
What could it do,  his boy had  asked  him. Sometimes,  thinking of the baby
question,  he could  hardly  forbear  inquiring, himself,  what could it  do
indeed: what had it done?
     But  these  were lonely thoughts, bred  late  at  night in  the  sullen
despondency  and  gloom of  his  retirement,  and  pride  easily  found  its
reassurance in many  testimonies to the truth, as unimpeachable and precious
as the Major's. Mr Dombey, in  his friendlessness, inclined to the Major. It
cannot be said that he warmed towards him, but he thawed a little, The Major
had had some part - and not too much  - in the days by the seaside. He was a
man  of  the world, and  knew some  great people. He  talked  much, and told
stories; and Mr Dombey  was disposed  to regard him as  a choice spirit  who
shone in society, and who had not that poisonous ingredient of  poverty with
which choice  spirits  in general  are too much adulterated. His station was
undeniable. Altogether the Major was a creditable companion, well accustomed
to a life of leisure, and to  such places as  that they were about to visit,
and having an  air of gentlemanly ease about him that mixed well enough with
his own City character, and did not compete with it at all. If Mr Dombey had
any  lingering idea that the  Major, as a man accustomed, in  the way of his
calling, to  make light  of the ruthless hand  that  had lately crushed  his
hopes, might  unconsciously impart some  useful philosophy to him, and scare
away his weak  regrets, he hid  it  from himself, and left it lying  at  the
bottom of his pride, unexamined.
     'Where  is my scoundrel?' said the  Major, looking wrathfully round the
     The   Native,  who  had  no  particular  name,  but   answered  to  any
vituperative epithet, presented himself instantly at  the door  and ventured
to come no nearer.
     'You villain!' said the choleric Major, 'where's the breakfast?'
     The dark  servant  disappeared in  search  of it, and was quickly heard
reascending the stairs in such a tremulous state, that the plates and dishes
on the tray he carried, trembling sympathetically as he came, rattled again,
all the way up.
     'Dombey,' said the Major, glancing  at the  Native as  he  arranged the
table, and encouraging him with an  awful shake of his fist when he  upset a
spoon, 'here  is a devilled grill,  a savoury pie, a dish of kidneys, and so
forth. Pray sit down. Old Joe can give you nothing but camp fare, you see.
     'Very excellent  fare,  Major,'  replied  his  guest; and not  in  mere
politeness either;  for the  Major always took  the  best  possible care  of
himself, and  indeed  ate rather more of rich  meats than  was good for him,
insomuch that his Imperial complexion was mainly referred by the  faculty to
that circumstance.
     'You have been looking over  the way, Sir,' observed  the Major.  'Have
you seen our friend?'
     'You mean Miss Tox,' retorted Mr Dombey. 'No.'
     'Charming woman, Sir,' said the Major, with a  fat laugh  rising in his
short throat, and nearly suffocating him.
     'Miss Tox is a very good sort of person, I believe,' replied Mr Dombey.
     The  haughty coldness of  the  reply  seemed to  afford  Major Bagstock
infinite delight. He swelled  and  swelled, exceedingly:  and even laid down
his knife and fork for a moment, to rub his hands.
     'Old  Joe,  Sir,' said  the Major, 'was a  bit ofa  favourite  in  that
quarter  once.  But  Joe has  had  his  day. J.  Bagstock is extinguished  -
outrivalled - floored, Sir.'
     'I  should have supposed,' Mr  Dombey replied, 'that the lady's day for
favourites was over: but perhaps you are jesting, Major.'
     'Perhaps you are jesting, Dombey?' was the Major's rejoinder.
     There never was a more unlikely possiblity. It was so clearly expressed
in Mr Dombey's face, that the Major apologised.
     'I  beg your pardon,' he  said. 'I see you  are in earnest. I  tell you
what,  Dombey.' The Major paused in  his  eating,  and  looked  mysteriously
indignant. 'That's a de-vilish ambitious woman, Sir.'
     Mr Dombey said 'Indeed?' with frigid indifference: mingled perhaps with
some  contemptuous  incredulity  as  to Miss Tox having  the presumption  to
harbour such a superior quality.
     'That woman,  Sir,' said the Major, 'is, in her way, a Lucifer. Joey B.
has had  his day, Sir, but  he  keeps his eyes. He sees, does Joe. His Royal
Highness the late Duke of York observed of Joey, at a levee, that he saw.'
     The  Major accompanied this  with such  a  look, and,  between  eating,
drinking,  hot tea, devilled grill, muffins, and  meaning, was altogether so
swollen and inflamed about the head, that even Mr Dombey showed some anxiety
for him.
     'That  ridiculous old spectacle, Sir,' pursued the Major, 'aspires. She
aspires sky-high, Sir. Matrimonially, Dombey.'
     'I am sorry for her,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Don't say that, Dombey,' returned the Major in a warning voice.
     'Why should I not, Major?' said Mr Dombey.
     The  Major  gave no answer but  the  horse's cough, and  went on eating
     'She has taken an interest in your household,' said the Major, stopping
short again, 'and has been a frequent  visitor  at  your house for some time
     'Yes,'  replied  Mr  Dombey  with  great  stateliness,  'Miss  Tox  was
originally received there, at the time of Mrs Dombey's death, as a friend of
my sister's; and being a  well-behaved person, and showing a liking for  the
poor infant, she was permitted - may I say encouraged - to repeat her visits
with my sister,  and gradually to occupy a kind of footing of familiarity in
the family.  I have,' said Mr Dombey, in the tone of a  man who was making a
great and valuable concession, 'I have a respect for  Miss Tox. She his been
so obliging as  to  render many little services  in my  house:  trifling and
insignificant  services  perhaps,  Major,  but not  to be disparaged on that
account: and I hope I have had the good fortune to be enabled to acknowledge
them  by such  attention and notice  as it has been in my power to bestow. I
hold myself indebted to Miss Tox,  Major,' added  Mr  Dombey, with  a slight
wave of his hand, 'for the pleasure of your acquaintance.'
     'Dombey,'  said the Major, warmly: 'no!  No, Sir!  Joseph Bagstock  can
never permit that  assertion to pass uncontradicted.  Your knowledge of  old
Joe, Sir, such as he is, and old Joe's knowledge of you, Sir, had its origin
in a noble fellow, Sir - in a great creature, Sir. Dombey!' said the  Major,
with a struggle which it was not very difficult  to parade,  his  whole life
being  a struggle against  all kinds  of apoplectic  symptoms, 'we knew each
other through your boy.'
     Mr Dombey seemed touched, as it is not improbable the Major designed he
should be, by  this  allusion. He  looked  down and sighed:  and  the Major,
rousing himself fiercely, again said, in reference to the state of mind into
which he  felt himself in  danger of  falling,  that this was  weakness, and
nothing should induce him to submit to it.
     'Our  friend had  a remote connexion with that event,'  said the Major,
'and all the credit that belongs to her,  J. B. is willing to give her, Sir.
Notwithstanding  which,  Ma'am,' he added, raising his eyes from  his plate,
and  casting  them across Princess's  Place, to  where Miss Tox  was at that
moment visible at her window watering her flowers, 'you're a scheming  jade,
Ma'am, and your  ambition is a piece of monstrous impudence. If it only made
yourself  ridiculous,  Ma'am,'  said  the  Major,  rolling his  head  at the
unconscious Miss  Tox,  while  his starting eyes  appeared  to make  a  leap
towards her, 'you might do that to your heart's  content, Ma'am, without any
objection, I  assure you, on the part of  Bagstock.' Here  the Major laughed
frightfully up  in the tips of his ears and  in the veins of his head.  'But
when, Ma'am,' said the Major,  'you compromise other people,  and  generous,
unsuspicious  people too, as a  repayment for  their condescension, you stir
the blood of old Joe in his body.'
     'Major,' said Mr Dombey, reddening, 'I hope you do not hint at anything
so absurd on the part of Miss Tox as - '
     'Dombey,' returned the Major, 'I hint at nothing. But Joey B. has lived
in  the world, Sir: lived in the world with his eyes open, Sir, and his ears
cocked:  and  Joe  tells  you, Dombey,  that there's  a devilish artful  and
ambitious woman over the way.'
     Mr Dombey involuntarily  glanced over  the  way; and an angry glance he
sent in that direction, too.
     'That's all  on  such  a subject that shall pass  the  lips  of  Joseph
Bagstock,' said the Major firmly. 'Joe  is not a tale-bearer, but there  are
times when he must speak, when he will speak! - confound your arts,  Ma'am,'
cried the Major, again apostrophising his  fair neighbour, with great ire, -
'when the provocation is too strong to admit of his remaining silent.'
     The emotion of this outbreak threw the Major into a paroxysm of horse's
coughs, which held him for a long time. On recovering he added:
     'And now, Dombey, as you have  invited Joe - old Joe, who  has no other
merit, Sir, but that he is tough and hearty - to be your  guest and guide at
Leamington, command  him  in any  way you please, and  he is wholly yours. I
don't know, Sir,' said the Major, wagging his double chin with a jocose air,
'what  it  is  you  people see  in Joe  to make you hold  him in such  great
request, all  of you; but this I know,  Sir, that if he wasn't pretty tough,
and  obstinate  in  his  refusals,  you'd  kill  him  among  you  with  your
invitations and so forth, in double-quick time.'
     Mr Dombey, in  a few words,  expressed his  sense of the preference  he
received  over  those  other  distinguished  members  of  society  who  were
clamouring for the possession of Major Bagstock. But the Major cut him short
by giving him to understand that he followed his own  inclinations, and that
they had risen up in a body and said with one accord,  'J. B., Dombey is the
man for you to choose as a friend.'
     The Major being by this  time in a  state of repletion, with essence of
savoury pie oozing  out at the corners of  his eyes, and devilled  grill and
kidneys tightening his cravat: and  the  time  moreover approaching for  the
departure  of the railway train  to  Birmingham, by which they were to leave
town: the  Native got him  into his great-coat with  immense difficulty, and
buttoned him up until  his face looked staring and  gasping, over the top of
that  garment, as  if  he  were  in  a  barrel. The  Native then  handed him
separately, and with a decent interval between each  supply, his washleather
gloves, his thick stick,  and his hat; which latter  article the  Major wore
with  a rakish air  on  one  side  of  his head, by way  of  toning down his
remarkable visage. The Native  had previously  packed, in  all  possible and
impossible parts of Mr Dombey's chariot,  which  was in waiting, an  unusual
quantity  of  carpet-bags  and small  portmanteaus, no  less  apoplectic  in
appearance than  the Major  himself: and having  filled his own pockets with
Seltzer  water, East India sherry, sandwiches, shawls, telescopes, maps, and
newspapers, any or all of which light baggage the Major might require at any
instant of the journey, he  announced that everything was ready. To complete
the equipment  of this  unfortunate  foreigner  (currently believed  to be a
prince  in his own country), when he took his seat in the rumble by the side
of  Mr Towlinson,  a  pile of the Major's cloaks and  great-coats was hurled
upon him by the landlord, who aimed  at  him  from the  pavement with  those
great missiles like a Titan, and so covered him up, that  he proceeded, in a
living tomb, to the railroad station.
     But before the carriage moved away, and while the Native was in the act
of  sepulture,  Miss  Tox  appearing  at  her   window,  waved  a  lilywhite
handkerchief. Mr  Dombey received this parting salutation very coldly - very
coldly  even  for  him  - and  honouring  her  with  the slightest  possible
inclination   of  his  head,  leaned  back  in  the  carriage  with  a  very
discontented look. His marked behaviour seemed to afford the Major (who  was
all politeness in his recognition of  Miss Tox) unbounded satisfaction;  and
he  sat for a long time afterwards, leering,  and  choking, like an over-fed
     During the bustle of  preparation  at the  railway,  Mr  Dombey and the
Major walked up and down the platform side by  side; the former taciturn and
gloomy, and  the latter entertaining him,  or entertaining himself,  with  a
variety  of anecdotes and reminiscences, in  most of which Joe Bagstock  was
the  principal performer. Neither  of the two observed that in the course of
these walks, they attracted the attention of a working  man who was standing
near the engine, and who touched his  hat  every  time  they passed; for  Mr
Dombey habitually looked over the vulgar  herd, not  at them;  and the Major
was looking,  at the time, into the  core of one of his stories. At  length,
however, this  man stepped before them as they turned round, and pulling his
hat off, and keeping it off, ducked his head to Mr Dombey.
     'Beg your pardon, Sir,' said the man, 'but I hope you're a doin' pretty
well, Sir.'
     He was dressed in a canvas suit abundantly besmeared with coal-dust and
oil,  and  had cinders in his whiskers, and a smell of half-slaked ashes all
over  him. He was not  a bad-looking fellow,  nor even what could be  fairly
called a dirty-looking fellow, in  spite of  this; and, in short,  he was Mr
Toodle, professionally clothed.
     'I shall have the honour of stokin' of you down,  Sir,' said Mr Toodle.
'Beg your pardon, Sir. - I hope you find yourself a coming round?'
     Mr Dombey looked at him, in  return for his  tone of interest, as  if a
man like that would make his very eyesight dirty.
     ''Scuse the liberty, Sir,'  said  Toodle,  seeing  he was  not  clearly
remembered, 'but my wife Polly, as was called Richards in your family - '
     A change in Mr Dombey's face,  which seemed  to express recollection of
him,  and  so it  did, but it expressed in a much stronger  degree an  angry
sense of humiliation, stopped Mr Toodle short.
     'Your wife wants money, I suppose,' said Mr Dombey, putting his hand in
his pocket, and speaking (but that he always did) haughtily.
     'No thank'ee, Sir,' returned Toodle, 'I can't say she does. I don't.'
     Mr Dombey was stopped short now  in his turn:  and awkwardly: with  his
hand in his pocket.
     'No, Sir,' said Toodle, turning his oilskin cap round and round; 'we're
a  doin' pretty well, Sir; we haven't  no cause to complain in  the  worldly
way, Sir. We've had four more since then, Sir, but we rubs on.'
     Mr  Dombey would have rubbed on to his own carriage, though in so doing
he  had  rubbed the  stoker  underneath  the wheels;  but his attention  was
arrested by something in connexion with the cap still going slowly round and
round in the man's hand.
     'We lost one babby,' observed Toodle, 'there's no denyin'.'
     'Lately,' added Mr Dombey, looking at the cap.
     'No, Sir, up'ard of three years ago, but all the rest is hearty. And in
the matter o  readin', Sir,' said Toodle, ducking again, as  if to remind Mr
Dombey of what  had passed between them on that subject long ago, 'them boys
o'  mine, they  learned  me,  among  'em,  arter  all. They've  made a  wery
tolerable scholar of me, Sir, them boys.'
     'Come, Major!' said Mr Dombey.
     'Beg your pardon, Sir,' resumed Toodle, taking a  step before them  and
deferentially  stopping them again,  still  cap  in  hand:  'I wouldn't have
troubled you with such a pint except  as a way of gettin' in the name of  my
son  Biler  - christened  Robin  -  him as you  was  so  good as  to make  a
Charitable Grinder on.'
     'Well, man,' said Mr Dombey in his severest manner. 'What about him?'
     'Why, Sir,'  returned Toodle, shaking  his  head  with a  face of great
anxiety and distress, 'I'm forced to say, Sir, that he's gone wrong.
     'He has  gone  wrong,  has he?'  said  Mr Dombey, with  a hard kind  of
     'He has fell  into bad company, you see, genelmen,' pursued the father,
looking  wistfully  at  both,  and  evidently  taking  the  Major  into  the
conversation with the  hope  of  having his sympathy.  'He has got into  bad
ways. God send he may come to again,  genelmen, but he's on  the wrong track
now! You could hardly be off hearing of it somehow, Sir,' said Toodle, again
addressing Mr Dombey individually; 'and  it's better I should out and say my
boy's gone rather wrong.  Polly's  dreadful down about  it, genelmen,'  said
Toodle with the same dejected look, and another appeal to the Major.
     'A  son  of this man's whom  I caused to be educated, Major,'  said  Mr
Dombey, giving him his arm. 'The usual return!'
     'Take advice from plain old Joe, and never educate that sort of people,
Sir,' returned the Major. 'Damme, Sir, it never does! It always fails!'
     The  simple father was beginning to  submit  that he hoped his son, the
quondam Grinder, huffed and cuffed,  and flogged and badged, and  taught, as
parrots are,  by a brute  jobbed into his place of schoolmaster with as much
fitness  for it  as a hound, might not have  been educated on  quite a right
plan in some undiscovered  respect, when  Mr  Dombey angrily  repeating 'The
usual return!'  led the Major away. And the Major being heavy to hoist  into
Mr Dombey's carriage, elevated in mid-air, and having to stop and swear that
he would flay the Native alive,  and break every bone in his skin, and visit
other physical torments upon him, every time he couldn't get his foot on the
step, and fell back on that dark  exile, had barely time before they started
to  repeat hoarsely that it would never  do: that it always failed: and that
if he were to educate 'his own vagabond,' he would certainly be hanged.
     Mr  Dombey  assented bitterly;  but  there was something  more  in  his
bitterness,  and  in his moody  way of falling  back in  the  carriage,  and
looking with knitted brows at the changing objects without, than the failure
of that noble educational system  administered by  the Grinders' Company. He
had  seen upon the man's rough cap  a piece of new crape, and he had assured
himself, from his manner and his answers, that he wore it for his son.
     So] from high to low,  at home or abroad, from Florence  in  his  great
house to the coarse churl who was feeding the fire then smoking before them,
everyone  set up some claim or other to a share in  his dead  boy, and was a
bidder  against him! Could he ever forget how that woman  had wept over  his
pillow,  and called him her own child! or how he, waking from his sleep, had
asked for her, and  had raised  himself  in his bed and brightened when  she
carne in!
     To  think of  this presumptuous raker  among  coals and ashes going  on
before there, with his sign of mourning! To think that  he dared  to  enter,
even by a  common show  like that, into the  trial  and disappointrnent of a
proud gentleman's secret heart!  To think that this lost  child,  who was to
have divided  with him  his riches,  and his  projects,  and his power,  and
allied with whom he was to have shut out all the world as with a double door
of gold, should have  let in such a herd to insult him with  their knowledge
of his defeated hopes,  and their boasts  of  claiming community of  feeling
with  himself, so far removed: if not of having crept into the place wherein
he would have lorded it, alone!
     He  found no  pleasure  or relief in  the journey.  Tortured  by  these
thoughts he carried monotony with him, through  the rushing  landscape,  and
hurried headlong, not through a rich and varied country, but a wilderness of
blighted plans and gnawing jealousies. The very speed at which the train was
whirled along, mocked the swift course of the young life that had been borne
away  so steadily and  so inexorably  to  its foredoomed end. The power that
forced  itself upon its iron way - its own - defiant of all paths and roads,
piercing through the  heart of every obstacle, and dragging living creatures
of all classes, ages, and degrees behind  it, was  a  type of the triumphant
monster, Death.
     Away,  with a shriek, and a roar, and a rattle, from the town, burrowmg
among the dwellings of men and making the streets hum, flashing out into the
meadows  for a moment, mining  in  through the  damp earth,  booming  on  in
darkness and heavy air, bursting  out again into the sunny day so bright and
wide;  away, with a shriek,  and a roar,  and a rattle, through the  fields,
through  the woods, through the corn, through the  hay, through  the  chalk,
through the mould,  through the clay, through the rock, among  objects close
at  hand  and almost in the grasp,  ever flying from  the  traveller, and  a
deceitful  distance ever moving slowly within him:  like as in the  track of
the remorseless monster, Death!
     Through the hollow, on the height, by the heath, by the orchard, by the
park, by the garden, over the canal, across the  river, where the  sheep are
feeding,  where the mill is going,  where the barge  is floating,  where the
dead  are  lying, where the factory is smoking, where the stream is running,
where the village clusters, where the great cathedral rises, where the bleak
moor lies, and the wild breeze smooths or ruffles it at its inconstant will;
away, with a shriek, and a roar, and a rattle, and no trace to  leave behind
but dust and vapour: like as in the track of the remorseless monster, Death!
     Breasting the wind and  light, the shower and sunshine, away, and still
away, it rolls  and roars,  fierce and rapid, smooth and certain,  and great
works and  massive  bridges crossing up above, fall like a beam of shadow an
inch broad, upon the  eye, and then  are lost. Away, and  still away, onward
and  onward  ever:  glimpses  of cottage-homes, of  houses,  mansions,  rich
estates, of husbandry and handicraft, of people, of old roads and paths that
look deserted, small, and insignificant as they are left behind: and so they
do,  and  what  else  is  there  but  such glimpses,  in  the  track  of the
indomitable monster, Death!
     Away,  with a shriek,  and a roar, and a rattle, plunging down into the
earth again, and working on in such a storm of energy and perseverance, that
amidst the darkness and whirlwind  the motion  seems  reversed, and  to tend
furiously backward, until a ray of light upon the Wet wall shows its surface
flying  past like a fierce stream, Away once  more into the day, and through
the day,  with  a shrill yell of exultation, roaring,  rattling, tearing on,
spurning everything with  its  dark breath, sometimes pausing  for a  minute
where a crowd of faces are, that in a minute more are not; sometimes lapping
water greedily, and before the spout at which it drinks' has ceased  to drip
upon the ground, shrieking, roaring, rattling through the purple distance!
     Louder  and louder  yet, it  shrieks  and cries as it comes tearing  on
resistless  to the goal:  and now  its way, still like the way of  Death, is
strewn with  ashes thickly.  Everything around is blackened. There  are dark
pools of water,  muddy lanes, and miserable habitations far below. There are
jagged walls and  falling  houses close  at  hand,  and through the battered
roofs and broken windows, wretched  rooms  are seen, where 'want  and  fever
hide themselves in many wretched shapes, while smoke and crowded gables, and
distorted chimneys,  and deformity of brick and mortar penning up  deformity
of mind and body, choke the  murky  distance.  As Mr Dombey looks out of his
carriage  window, it  is  never in  his  thoughts  that  the monster who has
brought  him there has let the light of  day in on these things: not made or
caused them. It was the journey's fitting  end, and might have been  the end
of everything; it was so ruinous and dreary.'
     So, pursuing the one  course of  thought,  he had  the  one  relentless
monster still before him. All things looked black, and cold, and deadly upon
him, and he on them. He found a likeness to his misfortune everywhere. There
was a remorseless triumph going on about him, and it galled and stung him in
his pride and jealousy,  whatever form it took:  though most  of all when it
divided with him the love and memory of his lost boy.
     There was a face - he had looked upon it, on the previous night, and it
on him  with eyes that read his  soul, though they were dim with  tears, and
hidden  soon  behind two quivering  hands - that often  had attended him  in
fancy, on  this  ride. He had seen it,  with the  expression of  last night,
timidly pleading  to him. It was not reproachful, but there was something of
doubt,  almost of hopeful incredulity in it, which, as he once more saw that
fade away  into a desolate  certainty  of his dislike, was like reproach. It
was a trouble to him to think of this face of Florence.
     Because he felt any new compunction towards it? No. Because the feeling
it awakened in  him -  of which he had  had  some old foreshadowing in older
times - was full-formed now, and spoke out plainly, moving him too much, and
threatening  to  grow too  strong  for  his composure. Because the  face was
abroad, in the expression of defeat and persecution  that seemed to encircle
him like  the air. Because it barbed the arrow of that cruel and remorseless
enemy on which his thoughts  so ran,  and put into its grasp a double-handed
sword. Because  he knew full well, in his  own  breast,  as he  stood there,
tinging the scene of  transition before him with the morbid  colours of  his
own mind,  and  making it a ruin and a picture of decay, instead  of hopeful
change, and promise of better things, that life had quite as much to do with
his complainings as death. One child was gone, and one  child left. Why  was
the object of his hope removed instead of her?
     The  sweet,  calm,  gentle  presence in  his fancy,  moved  him  to  no
reflection but that. She had been unwelcome to  him from  the first; she was
an  aggravation of his  bitterness now. If his son had been  his only child,
and  the same blow had fallen on him, it would have  been heavy to bear; but
infinitely lighter than now, when it might have fallen on her (whom he could
have lost, or he believed it, without a  pang), and had not.  Her loving and
innocent face  rising before him, had  no softening or winning influence. He
rejected the angel, and took up  with the tormenting spirit crouching in his
bosom. Her patience, goodness, youth, devotion,  love, were as so many atoms
in the ashes upon which he set his heel. He saw her  image in the blight and
blackness all around him, not irradiating but deepening the gloom. More than
once  upon  this journey,  and  now  again  as he  stood  pondering  at this
journey's end, tracing figures  in the dust with his stick, the thought came
into his mind, what was there he could interpose between himself and it?
     The  Major, who  had been  blowing and  panting  all the way down, like
another engine, and whose eye had often  wandered from his newspaper to leer
at  the prospect, as if  there were a  procession of  discomfited Miss Toxes
pouring out in the  smoke of the  train, and flying  away over the fields to
hide themselves in any place of refuge, aroused his friends by informing him
that the post-horses were harnessed and the carriage ready.
     'Dombey,' said the Major, rapping him on the  arm with his cane, 'don't
be thoughtful. It's  a bad habit, Old Joe, Sir, wouldn't be as tough as  you
see him, if  he had ever encouraged it. You  are too great a man, Dombey, to
be thoughtful. In your position, Sir, you're far above that kind of thing.'
     The  Major  even in  his  friendly  remonstrrnces, thus consulting  the
dignity  and honour  of  Mr  Dombey, and  showing a  lively sense  of  their
importance, Mr Dombey felt  more than ever disposed  to defer to a gentleman
possessing so much good sense and such a well-regulated mind; acoordingly he
made  an effort to listen to the Major's stories,  as they trotted along the
turnpike road; and the Major,  finding both  the pace and  the road a  great
deal better adapted to his conversational powers than the mode of travelling
they had just relinquished, came out of his entertainment,
     But still the Major, blunt and tough as he was, and as he so very often
said he  was,  administered  some  palatable  catering  to  his  companion's
appetite. He related, or rather suffered it to escape him, accidentally, and
as one might  say,  grudgingly and against his  will, how  there  was  great
curiosity and excitement at the club, in regard of his friend Dombey. How he
was  suffocated with questions,  Sir. How old Joe Bagstock was a greater man
than  ever, there, on the strength of Dombey. How they said, 'Bagstock, your
friend Dombey now, what is the  view he takes of such  and such  a question?
Though,  by the Rood,  Sir,' said the Major, with  a  broad stare, 'how they
discovered that J. B. ever came to know you, is a mystery!'
     In this flow of spirits and conversation, only interrupted by his usual
plethoric symptoms, and by intervals of lunch, and from time to time by some
violent assault upon  the  Native, who  wore  a  pair  of  ear-rings  in his
dark-brown ears,  and on  whom his European  clothes sat with  an outlandish
impossibility of adjustment - being, of  their own accord,  and without  any
reference to the tailor's  art, long where  they  ought to be  short,  short
where they  ought to be long, tight where they ought to be loose,  and loose
where  they  ought to  be tight - and  to  which  he  imparted a  new grace,
whenever  the Major  attacked him, by shrinking  into them like a shrivelled
nut, or a cold monkey - in this flow of spirits and conversation, the  Major
continued all day: so that when evening  came  on, and found  them  trotting
through  the  green and leafy road near  Leamington, the Major's voice, what
with talking and eating and chuckling and choking, appeared to be in the box
under the rumble,  or  in  some neighbouring  hay-stack.  Nor did the  Major
improve it at the Royal Hotel,  where rooms and dinner had been ordered, and
where he so oppressed his organs of speech by eating and drinking, that when
he retired to bed he had no voice at  all,  except  to cough with, and could
only make himself intelligible to the dark servant by gasping at him.
     He  not only rose  next morning,  however, like a giant  refreshed, but
conducted himself,  at breakfast like a giant refreshing. At this  meal they
arranged  their  daily habits. The Major  was  to take the responsibility of
ordering evrything to eat and drink; and they were to have  a late breakfast
together every morning, and  a  late dinner  together every  day. Mr  Dombey
would  prefer  remaining in his  own room,  or  walking  in the  country  by
himself, on that first day of  their sojourn at Leamington; but next morning
he would be  happy to accompany the Major  to the Pump-room,  and  about the
town.  So  they parted  until  dinner-time.  Mr Dombey retired to nurse  his
wholesome thoughts  in his  own  way.  The  Major,  attended  by the  Native
carrying a camp-stool, a great-coat, and an umbrella, swaggered  up and down
through  all  the public places: looking into subscription books to find out
who was there,  looking up old ladies by whom he was much admired, reporting
J. B. tougher than  ever,  and puffing  his rich  friend  Dombey wherever he
went. There never was a man who  stood  by  a friend more staunchly than the
Major, when in puffing him, he puffed himself.
     It was surprising how much new conversation the Major had to let off at
dinner-time, and  what  occasion  he  gave Mr Dombey  to  admire  his social
qualities. At breakfast  next  morning, he  knew the  contents of the latest
newspapers  received; and mentioned several subjects in connexion with them,
on which his opinion had recently been sought  by persons of  such power and
might, that they were only to be  obscurely hinted at.  Mr Dombey,  who  had
been so  long shut  up  within  himself,  and who had  rarely,  at any time,
overstepped the  enchanted circle  within which the operations of Dombey and
Son were conducted, began to think this an improvement on his solitary life;
and in place of excusing himself for another day, as he had thought of doing
when alone, walked out with the Major arm-in-arm.

     New Faces
     The  MAJOR, more  blue-faced  and staring - more over-ripe, as it were,
than ever - and giving  vent,  every now  and  then, to one of  the  horse's
coughs,  not  so  much  of  necessity  as  in  a  spontaneous  explosion  of
importance, walked arm-in-arm with Mr Dombey up  the sunny side  of the way,
with his  cheeks swelling over  his tight stock, his legs majestically  wide
apart, and  his  great  head wagging  from  side to  side,  as  if  he  were
remonstrating within himself for  being such  a captivating object. They had
not walked  many yards, before the Major encountered  somebody he  knew, nor
many yards farther before the  Major encountered  somebody else he knew, but
he merely shook his  fingers  at  them as  he passed, and  led Mr Dombey on:
pointing out the localities as  they went, and enlivening the  walk with any
current scandal suggested by them.
     In this manner the Major and Mr Dombey were walking arm-in-arm, much to
their  own satisfaction, when they  beheld advancing towards them, a wheeled
chair, in which  a lady was  seated,  indolently steering  her carriage by a
kind  of rudder in front, while it was propelled by some unseen power in the
rear. Although the lady was  not young,  she was very blooming in the face -
quite  rosy- and  her dress and attitude were perfectly juvenile. Walking by
the side of the chair,  and carrying  her gossamer parasol with a proud  and
weary  air, as if so great an effort  must be soon abandoned and the parasol
dropped, sauntered  a  much younger  lady, very handsome, very haughty, very
wilful,  who  tossed her  head and drooped  her eyelids, as though, if there
were  anything in all the  world worth  looking  into,  save  a  mirror,  it
certainly was not the earth or sky.
     'Why,  what the devil have  we here, Sir!' cried the Major, stopping as
this little cavalcade drew near.
     'My dearest Edith!' drawled the lady in the chair, 'Major Bagstock!'
     The Major no sooner  heard the voice, than  he relinquished Mr Dombey's
arm, darted  forward, took the  hand of the lady in the chair and pressed it
to  his lips. With no less gallantry, the Major folded both his gloves  upon
his  heart,  and  bowed low  to the  other lady.  And now, the  chair having
stopped,  the motive power  became  visible in the  shape of a  flushed page
pushing behind, who seemed to have in part outgrown  and in  part out-pushed
his strength, for when he stood upright he was  tall, and wan, and thin, and
his plight appeared  the more forlorn from his  having injured the  shape of
his hat, by butting at the carriage with his head to urge it forward, as  is
sometimes done by elephants in Oriental countries.
     'Joe Bagstock,' said  the  Major to both ladies,  'is a proud and happy
man for the rest of his life.'
     'You false creature!  said the old lady in the chair, insipidly. 'Where
do you come from? I can't bear you.'
     'Then  suffer old Joe  to  present  a friend, Ma'am,'  said the  Major,
promptly,  'as a reason for  being  tolerated.  Mr Dombey, Mrs Skewton.' The
lady  in the chair was gracious. 'Mr Dombey, Mrs Granger.' The lady with the
parasol was faintly conscious of Mr Dombey's taking off  his hat, and bowing
low. 'I am delighted, Sir,' said the Major, 'to have this opportunity.'
     The Major seemed in earnest, for he looked at all the three, and leered
in his ugliest manner.
     'Mrs Skewton, Dombey,' said the Major, 'makes havoc in the heart of old
     Mr Dombey signified that he didn't wonder at it.
     'You perfidious goblin,' said the lady in  the  chair, 'have done!  How
long have you been here, bad man?'
     'One day,' replied the Major.
     'And can you  be a day, or even a minute,' returned the  lady, slightly
settling  her false curls  and false eyebrows with her fan,  and showing her
false  teeth,  set  off  by  her  false  complexion,  'in  the   garden   of
     'Eden, I suppose, Mama,' interrupted the younger lady, scornfully.
     'My  dear  Edith,'  said the  other,  'I cannot  help  it. I never  can
remember those  frightful names - without having your whole  Soul and  Being
inspired by the sight of Nature; by the perfume,' said Mrs Skewton, rustling
a handkerchief  that was  faint  and sickly with  essences, 'of her  artless
breath, you creature!'
     The  discrepancy between  Mrs Skewton's  fresh enthusiasm of words, and
forlornly faded manner, was  hardly less  observable than  that  between her
age, which was about seventy, and her dress, which  would have been youthful
for twenty-seven. Her attitude in the wheeled chair (which she never varied)
was one in which she had  been taken in a barouche, some fifty years before,
by a  then fashionable artist who had  appended  to his published sketch the
name of Cleopatra: in consequence of a discovery made by  the critics of the
time, that it bore an exact resemblance to that Princess as  she reclined on
board  her  galley.  Mrs   Skewton  was  a  beauty  then,  and  bucks  threw
wine-glasses over their  heads by dozens  in  her honour. The beauty and the
barouche had both passed away, but she still preserved the attitude, and for
this reason expressly, maintained  the wheeled  chair and the  butting page:
there being  nothing  whatever, except  the  attitude, to prevent  her  from
     'Mr Dombey is  devoted to Nature, I trust?' said  Mrs Skewton, settling
her diamond brooch. And by the way, she chiefly lived upon the reputation of
some diamonds, and her family connexions.
     'My friend Dombey,  Ma'am,'  returned the Major, 'may be devoted to her
in secret, but a man who is paramount in the greatest city in the universe -
     'No one  can be a stranger,' said  Mrs Skewton, 'to Mr Dombey's immense
     As Mr Dombey acknowledged the  compliment with a bend of his  head, the
younger lady glancing at him, met his eyes.
     'You reside here, Madam?' said Mr Dombey, addressing her.
     'No, we have been to a great many places. To Harrogate and Scarborough,
and into Devonshire. We have been visiting, and resting here and there. Mama
likes change.'
     'Edith of course does not,' said Mrs Skewton, with a ghastly archness.
     'I have not found that  there is any  change in  such  places,' was the
answer, delivered with supreme indifference.
     'They libel  me.  There  is only  one change, Mr  Dombey,' observed Mrs
Skewton, with a mincing  sigh, 'for  which I really care, and that I fear  I
shall never  be permitted to enjoy.  People cannot spare  one. But seclusion
and contemplation are my what-his-name - '
     'If you mean Paradise,  Mama, you had better say so, to render yourself
intelligible,' said the younger lady.
     'My dearest  Edith,'  returned Mrs Skewton, 'you know  that I am wholly
dependent upon you for those odious  names. I  assure you, Mr Dombey, Nature
intended  me  for  an Arcadian. I  am  thrown  away in society. Cows  are my
passion.  What I have ever sighed for,  has been to retreat to a Swiss farm,
and live entirely surrounded by cows - and china.'
     This  curious association of objects, suggesting a remembrance  of  the
celebrated bull who got  by  mistake into a crockery shop, was received with
perfect gravity by Mr  Dombey, who intimated his opinion that Nature was, no
doubt, a very respectable institution.
     'What I want,' drawled Mrs Skewton, pinching her shrivelled throat, 'is
heart.' It was frightfully  true in one  sense, if not in  that in which she
used   the   phrase.   'What  I  want,   is  frankness,   confidence,   less
conventionality, and freer play of soul. We are so dreadfully artificial.'
     We were, indeed.
     'In short,' said Mrs Skewton, 'I want Nature everywhere. It would be so
extremely charming.'
     'Nature  is inviting  us away now, Mama,  if  you are  ready,' said the
younger lady, curling her handsome lip. At this hint, the  wan page, who had
been surveying  the party over the top of the  chair, vanished behind it, as
if the ground had swallowed him up.
     'Stop a moment, Withers!' said Mrs Skewton, as the chair began to move;
calling to the page with all  the languid dignity with  which she had called
in  days of yore  to  a coachman  with a wig, cauliflower  nosegay, and silk
stockings. 'Where are  you staying,  abomination?' The Major  was staying at
the Royal Hotel, with his friend Dombey.
     'You may come and see  us any evening  when  you are good,'  lisped Mrs
Skewton. 'If Mr Dombey will honour us, we shall be happy. Withers, go on!'
     The  Major again pressed to  his blue lips the tips of the fingers that
were disposed  on the ledge  of the wheeled chair with careful carelessness,
after the Cleopatra model: and Mr Dombey bowed. The elder lady honoured them
both with a very gracious smile and a girlish wave  of her hand; the younger
lady with  the  very slightest  inclination of her head that common courtesy
     The  last glimpse of the wrinkled face of the mother, with that patched
colour on  it which the sun made infinitely more haggard and dismal than any
want of colour could have been, and of the proud beauty of the daughter with
her  graceful  figure  and erect deportment, engendered such  an involuntary
disposition on the part of both  the Major and Mr Dombey to look after them,
that they both turned at the same moment. The Page, nearly as much aslant as
his  own  shadow,  was  toiling   after  the  chair,  uphill,  like  a  slow
battering-ram;  the top of Cleopatra's bonnet was fluttering  in exactly the
same corner to the inch as before; and  the Beauty, loitering by  herself  a
little in advance, expressed in all her elegant form, from head to foot, the
same supreme disregard of everything and everybody.
     'I tell  you  what, Sir,'  said the  Major,  as they resumed their walk
again. 'If Joe Bagstock were a younger man, there's not a woman in the world
whom he'd prefer for Mrs  Bagstock to that woman. By George, Sir!'  said the
Major, 'she's superb!'
     'Do you mean the daughter?' inquired Mr Dombey.
     'Is Joey B. a turnip, Dombey,' said the Major, 'that he should mean the
     'You were complimentary to the mother,' returned Mr Dombey.
     'An ancient flame, Sir,' chuckled Major Bagstock. 'Devilish ancient.  I
humour her.'
     'She impresses me as being perfectly genteel,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Genteel, Sir,'  said the Major, stopping short,  and  staring  in  his
companion's  face. 'The Honourable Mrs  Skewton, Sir, is  sister to the late
Lord  Feenix,  and aunt to  the  present  Lord. The family are not wealthy -
they're poor, indeed - and she lives  upon a small jointure; but if you come
to  blood,  Sir!'  The Major  gave  a flourish  with his stick and walked on
again,  in despair  of being able to say  what  you came to, if you  came to
     'You addressed the daughter, I observed,' said Mr Dombey, after a short
pause, 'as Mrs Granger.'
     'Edith Skewton,  Sir,' returned the  Major, stopping  short again,  and
punching a mark in the ground  with his cane, to represent her, 'married (at
eighteen)  Granger  of  Ours;'  whom the  Major indicated  by another punch.
'Granger, Sir,' said the Major, tapping the last ideal portrait, and rolling
his  head emphatically,  'was Colonel of Ours; a de-vilish  handsome fellow,
Sir, of forty-one. He died,  Sir, in the second  year of his marriage.'  The
Major ran the representative of the deceased Granger through and through the
body  with his walking-stick, and went on again, carrying his stick over his
     'How long is this ago?' asked Mr Dombey, making another halt.
     'Edith Granger, Sir,' replied the Major, shutting one eye, putting  his
head on one side, passing  his cane into his  left  hand, and smoothing  his
shirt-frill with his right, 'is, at this present time, not quite thirty. And
damme, Sir,' said the Major, shouldering his stick once more, and walking on
again, 'she's a peerless woman!'
     'Was there any family?' asked Mr Dombey presently.
     'Yes, Sir,' said the Major. 'There was a boy.'
     Mr Dombey's eyes sought the ground, and a shade came over his face.
     'Who was drowned, Sir,'  pursued  the Major. 'When a  child  of four or
five years old.'
     'Indeed?' said Mr Dombey, raising his head.
     'By the upsetting of a boat in which his nurse had  no business to have
put  him,' said  the  Major. 'That's  his  history.  Edith  Granger is Edith
Granger  still; but if tough old Joey B., Sir,  were a little younger  and a
little richer, the name of that immortal paragon should be Bagstock.'
     The  Major heaved his shoulders,  and his cheeks, and laughed more like
an over-fed Mephistopheles than ever, as he said the words.
     'Provided  the  lady made no  objection,  I  suppose?' said  Mr  Dombey
     'By  Gad, Sir,' said the Major, 'the Bagstock breed are not  accustomed
to that  sort  of  obstacle. Though it's true enough that Edith  might  have
married twenty times, but for being proud, Sir, proud.'
     Mr Dombey seemed, by his face, to think no worse of her for that.
     'It's  a great quality after all,' said the Major. 'By the Lord, it's a
high quality! Dombey! You are  proud  yourself, and  your friend,  Old  Joe,
respects you for it, Sir.'
     With  this tribute  to the character of  his  ally, which seemed  to be
wrung from him  by the force of circumstances and the  irresistible tendency
of their conversation,  the  Major closed  the  subject,  and  glided into a
general exposition of the extent  to which he  had been beloved and doted on
by splendid women and brilliant creatures.
     On the next  day  but  one,  Mr  Dombey and the  Major encountered  the
Honourable Mrs Skewton and her daughter in  the Pump-room; on the day after,
they met them again very near the place where they had met them first. After
meeting  them thus, three or four times in  all, it became a  point  of mere
civility to old acquaintances that the Major should go there one evening. Mr
Dombey  had not  originally  intended  to  pay  visits,  but  on  the  Major
announcing  this  intention,  he  said  he  would  have   the   pleasure  of
accompanying him. So the Major told  the Native to  go  round before dinner,
and say, with his  and Mr Dombey's  compliments,  that  they  would have the
honour of visiting the ladies that same evening, if  the ladies were  alone.
In answer to which message, the Native brought back a very small note with a
very large quantity of scent about it, indited by the Honourable Mrs Skewton
to Major Bagstock, and briefly saying, 'You are a shocking bear and I have a
great  mind  not to forgive you, but if you are very good indeed,' which was
underlined,  'you  may  come. Compliments (in  which  Edith  unites)  to  Mr
     The Honourable  Mrs  Skewton and her daughter,  Mrs  Granger,  resided,
while  at  Leamington,  in lodgings that  were fashionable enough  and  dear
enough, but rather limited in  point of space and conveniences;  so that the
Honourable  Mrs  Skewton, being in bed,  had her feet in the window  and her
head in the fireplace, while the Honourable Mrs Skewton's maid was quartered
in  a  closet within  the drawing-room,  so extremely small, that, to  avoid
developing the whole of its accommodations, she was obliged to writhe in and
out  of the door like a beautiful  serpent. Withers, the wan page, slept out
of  the house immediately under the tiles  at a neighbouring milk-shop;  and
the  wheeled chair, which was the  stone of  that young Sisyphus, passed the
night  in  a shed belonging  to the  same dairy,  where  new-laid eggs  were
produced  by the poultry connected with  the establishment, who roosted on a
broken donkey-cart, persuaded, to  all appearance, that  it grew  there, and
was a species of tree.
     Mr Dombey and the Major found Mrs Skewton arranged, as Cleopatra, among
the cushions of  a sofa: very  airily dressed; and certainly  not resembling
Shakespeare's  Cleopatra,  whom age could not wither. On  their way upstairs
they  had heard the  sound of a  harp,  but  it had  ceased  on  their being
announced, and Edith now stood beside it  handsomer and haughtier than ever.
It was a remarkable characteristic of this lady's beauty that it appeared to
vaunt and assert itself without her aid, and against her will. She knew that
she was beautiful:  it  was impossible that  it could  be otherwise: but she
seemed with her own pride to defy her very self.
     Whether   she  held  cheap  attractions  that  could  only  call  forth
admiration that was worthless to her, or whether she designed to render them
more  precious to admirers by  this usage of them,  those to  whom they were
precious seldom paused to consider.
     'I  hope, Mrs Granger,' said Mr Dombey, advancing  a step towards  her,
'we are not the cause of your ceasing to play?'
     'You! oh no!'
     'Why do you not go on then, my dearest Edith?' said Cleopatra.
     'I left off as I began - of my own fancy.'
     The  exquisite   indifference  of  her  manner  in  saying   this:   an
indifference quite removed from dulness or insensibility, for it was pointed
with proud purpose: was well set off by the carelessness with which she drew
her hand across the strings, and came from that part of the room.
     'Do you know, Mr Dombey,'  said her languishing mother,  playing with a
hand-screen, 'that occasionally my  dearest Edith and myself actually almost
differ - '
     'Not quite, sometimes, Mama?' said Edith.
     'Oh  never  quite,  my  darling!  Fie,  fie, it would  break my heart,'
returned  her mother, making  a  faint attempt to  pat  her with the screen,
which Edith made  no movement to meet, ' - about these old conventionalities
of manner that are observed  in little things? Why are  we not more natural?
Dear  me! With all those yearnings, and  gushings,  and impulsive throbbings
that we have implanted in our souls, and which are so very charming, why are
we not more natural?'
     Mr Dombey said it was very true, very true.
     'We could be more natural I suppose if we tried?' said Mrs Skewton.
     Mr Dombey thought it possible.
     'Devil  a bit, Ma'am,' said  the Major. 'We  couldn't afford it. Unless
the world was  peopled with J.B.'s -  tough and blunt old Joes, Ma'am, plain
red herrings with hard roes, Sir - we couldn't afford it. It wouldn't do.'
     'You naughty Infidel,' said Mrs Skewton, 'be mute.'
     'Cleopatra commands,' returned the Major, kissing his hand, 'and Antony
Bagstock obeys.'
     'The man has  no  sensitiveness,' said  Mrs Skewton, cruelly holding up
the hand-screen  so as to shut the Major out.  'No sympathy. And  what do we
live for but sympathy!  What else  is  so extremely charming!  Without  that
gleam of sunshine on our cold  cold earth,' said Mrs  Skewton, arranging her
lace  tucker, and  complacently observing the  effect  of her bare lean arm,
looking  upward from the  wrist, 'how could we possibly  bear it?  In short,
obdurate  man!'  glancing at the  Major, round the screen, 'I would have  my
world all heart;  and Faith is so  excessively charming, that I  won't allow
you to disturb it, do you hear?'
     The Major replied that it was hard in Cleopatra to require the world to
be all heart, and yet to appropriate to herself the hearts of all the world;
which obliged Cleopatra to  remind  him that flattery  was insupportable  to
her, and that if he had the boldness to address her in that strain any more,
she would positively send him home.
     Withers the Wan, at this period, handing round the tea, Mr Dombey again
addressed himself to Edith.
     'There is not much company here, it would seem?' said Mr Dombey, in his
own portentous gentlemanly way.
     'I believe not. We see none.'
     'Why really,' observed Mrs Skewton fom her couch,  'there are no people
here just now with whom we care to associate.'
     'They  have  not  enough  heart,' said  Edith, with  a smile.  The very
twilight of a smile: so singularly were its light and darkness blended.
     'My dearest Edith rallies me, you see!' said  her mother,  shaking  her
head: which shook a  little of itself sometimes, as if the palsy Bed now and
then in opposition to the diamonds. 'Wicked one!'
     'You have  been  here before,  if I am not  mistaken?' said  Mr Dombey.
Still to Edith.
     'Oh, several times. I think we have been everywhere.'
     'A beautiful country!'
     'I suppose it is. Everybody says so.'
     'Your cousin Feenix raves about it, Edith,' interposed her  mother from
her couch.
     The  daughter  slightly  turned  her  graceful head,  and  raising  her
eyebrows by a hair's-breadth, as if her cousin Feenix were of all the mortal
world the least to be regarded, turned her eyes again towards Mr Dombey.
     'I  hope,  for  the credit of  my good  taste, that I  am tired  of the
neighbourhood,' she said.
     'You  have almost reason to  be,  Madam,'  he replied,  glancing  at  a
variety of landscape drawings, of which he had already recognised several as
representing neighbouring  points of view, and  which were strewn abundantly
about the room, 'if these beautiful productions are from your hand.'
     She gave him no reply, but sat in a disdainful beauty, quite amazing.
     'Have they that interest?' said Mr Dombey. 'Are they yours?'
     'And you play, I already know.'
     'And sing?'
     She  answered  all these questions with a  strange reluctance; and with
that remarkable air of opposition to herself, already  noticed as  belonging
to  her  beauty.  Yet  she  was not  embarrassed, but wholly self-possessed.
Neither did she  seem to  wish to avoid the conversation, for  she addressed
her face, and - so far as she could - her manner also, to him; and continued
to do so, when he was silent.
     'You have many resources against weariness at least,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Whatever  their efficiency may be,' she returned,  'you know  them all
now. I have no more.
     'May I hope  to prove them all?' said Mr Dombey, with solemn gallantry,
laying down a drawing he had held, and motioning towards the harp.
     'Oh certainly] If you desire it!'
     She  rose  as  she  spoke,  and crossing by  her  mother's  couch,  and
directing  a  stately  look towards  her,  which  was  instantaneous in  its
duration,  but  inclusive  (if  anyone  had  seen  it)  of  a  multitude  of
expressions,  among  which that  of  the twilight  smile,  without the smile
itself, overshadowed all the rest, went out of the room.
     The Major,  who was quite forgiven  by this time, had wheeled a  little
table up  to Cleopatra,  and was sitting down to play picquet  with  her. Mr
Dombey, not knowing the  game, sat down  to watch  them  for his edification
until Edith should return.
     'We are going to have some music, Mr Dombey, I hope?' said Cleopatra.
     'Mrs Granger has been kind enough to promise so,' said Mr Dombey.
     'Ah! That's very nice. Do you propose, Major?'
     'No, Ma'am,' said the Major. 'Couldn't do it.'
     'You're a barbarous being,' replied the lady, 'and my hand's destroyed.
You are fond of music, Mr Dombey?'
     'Eminently so,' was Mr Dombey's answer.
     'Yes. It's very nice,'  said Cleopatra, looking at her cards. 'So  much
heart in it - undeveloped recollections  of a previous state of existence' -
and all that - which is so truly charming. Do you know,' simpered Cleopatra,
reversing  the knave of clubs, who had come  into  her  game  with his heels
uppermost, 'that if anything could tempt  me to put a period to  my life, it
would be curiosity to find out what it's all about, and what it means; there
are so many provoking mysteries, really, that are hidden from us. Major, you
to play.'
     The Major played; and  Mr Dombey, looking on for his instruction, would
soon have been in a state  of  dire confusion, but that he gave no attention
to the game whatever, and sat wondering instead when Edith would come back.
     She  came  at  last, and  sat down to her harp,  and Mr Dombey rose and
stood beside her, listening. He had little taste for music, and no knowledge
of the  strain  she  played, but he saw  her bending over it, and perhaps he
heard among the sounding strings some distant music of  his own, that  tamed
the monster of the iron road, and made it less inexorable.
     Cleopatra  had a sharp  eye,  verily, at picquet. It  glistened like  a
bird's, and did not  fix itself upon the game, but pierced the room from end
to end, and gleamed on harp, performer, listener, everything.
     When the  haughty beauty had  concluded, she  arose,  and receiving  Mr
Dombey's thanks and  compliments in exactly the same manner  as before, went
with scarcely any pause to the piano, and began there.
     Edith Granger, any song but that! Edith Granger, you are very handsome,
and your  touch upon the keys is brilliant, and your voice is deep and rich;
but not the air that his neglected daughter sang to his dead son]
     Alas, he knows it not; and if  he did, what air of hers would stir him,
rigid man! Sleep, lonely Florence, sleep! Peace in thy dreams,  although the
night  has turned  dark,  and  the  clouds  are  gathering, and threaten  to
discharge themselves in hail!

     A Trifle of Management by Mr Carker the Manager
     Mr  Carker  the Manager  sat  at his  desk, smooth and  soft as  usual,
reading those  letters  which  were  reserved for him to open, backing  them
occasionally  with  such memoranda and references as their  business purport
required, and parcelling them out into little heaps for distribution through
the  several  departments  of  the  House. The post had come  in heavy  that
morning, and Mr Carker the Manager had a good deal to do.
     The general action of a man so engaged -  pausing to look over a bundle
of  papers in his hand,  dealing them round in  various portions,  taking up
another bundle and examining its contents with knitted brows and  pursed-out
lips  - dealing, and sorting,  and pondering by turns - would easily suggest
some whimsical resemblance to a player at cards.  The  face of Mr Carker the
Manager  was in good keeping with such a fancy. It was the face of a man who
studied his play, warily: who made himself master of all the strong and weak
points of  the game: who registered the cards in his mind as they fell about
him, knew exactly what was on  them, what they missed, and what  they  made:
who  was  crafty  to  find  out what the  other  players held, and who never
betrayed his own hand.
     The letters were in various  languages, but Mr Carker the  Manager read
them all. If  there had been  anything in the offices of Dombey and Son that
he  could  read, there would have been a card wanting in  the pack.  He read
almost at a glance, and made combinations of one letter with another and one
business with another as he went on, adding new matter to the  heaps -  much
as a man would  know the cards at sight, and work  out their combinations in
his mind after they were turned. Something  too deep for a partner, and much
too deep  for an adversary, Mr Carker the Manager sat in the rays of the sun
that came down slanting on him through the skylight, playing his game alone.
     And although it is not among the instincts wild or  domestic of the cat
tribe to play at cards, feline from sole to crown was Mr Carker the Manager,
as  he basked in the  strip  of summer-light and warmth that shone  upon his
table and the ground as  if they  were a crooked dial-plate, and himself the
only figure on it. With hair and whiskers deficient in colour  at all times,
but feebler than common  in  the rich sunshine, and  more like the coat of a
sandy tortoise-shell cat; with long nails, nicely pared and sharpened;  with
a natural antipathy to any speck of dirt, which made him pause sometimes and
watch the falling motes of dust,  and rub them off his  smooth white hand or
glossy linen: Mr Carker the Manager, sly  of manner, sharp of tooth, soft of
foot, watchful of eye, oily  of tongue, cruel  of  heart, nice of habit, sat
with a dainty steadfastness and patience  at his work, as if he were waiting
at a mouse's hole.
     At length the letters were disposed of, excepting one which he reserved
for   a   particular  audience.  Having   locked   the   more   confidential
correspondence in a drawer, Mr Carker the Manager rang his bell.
     'Why do you answer it?' was his reception of his brother.
     'The messenger is out, and I am the next,' was the submissive reply.
     'You are the  next?'  muttered  the Manager. 'Yes!  Creditable  to  me!
     Pointing to the heaps of opened letters, he turned  disdainfully  away,
in  his  elbow-chair, and broke the seal  of that one  which he held in  his
     'I am  sorry to trouble  you, James,' said the brother, gathering  them
up, 'but - '
     'Oh! you have something to say. I knew that. Well?'
     Mr Carker  the  Manager  did  not raise  his eyes  or turn  them on his
brother, but kept them on his letter, though without opening it.
     'Well?' he repeated sharply.
     'I am uneasy about Harriet.'
     'Harriet who? what Harriet? I know nobody of that name.'
     'She is not well, and has changed very much of late.'
     'She  changed very much, a great many years  ago,' replied the Manager;
'and that is all I have to say.
     'I think if you would hear me -
     'Why should  I hear you, Brother John?' returned the Manager, laying  a
sarcastic emphasis  on those two words,  and  throwing up  his head, but not
lifting his eyes. 'I tell you, Harriet Carker made her choice many years ago
between her two brothers. She may repent it, but she must abide by it.'
     'Don't  mistake me. I do not say she does  repent it. It would be black
ingratitude in  me to hint at  such a  thing,' returned  the other.  'Though
believe me, James, I am as sorry for her sacrifice as you.'
     'As I?' exclaimed the Manager. 'As I?'
     'As  sorry for her  choice - for what you call her choice -  as you are
angry at it,' said the Junior.
     'Angry?' repeated the other, with a wide show of his teeth.
     'Displeased. Whatever word you like best. You know my meaning. There is
no offence in my intention.'
     'There is offence in  everything you do,' replied his brother, glancing
at him with  a sudden scowl, which in a  moment  gave place to a wider smile
than the last. 'Carry those papers away, if you please. I am busy.
     His politeness was so much more cutting than his wrath, that the Junior
went to the door. But stopping at it, and looking round, he said:
     'When Harriet tried in vain  to  plead  for me with you,  on your first
just indignation,  and my first disgrace; and when she left  you, James,  to
follow my broken fortunes, and devote herself, in her mistaken affection, to
a ruined brother, because without her  he had no  one, and was lost; she was
young and pretty. I think if you could see her now - if you would go and see
her - she would move your admiration and compassion.'
     The Manager inclined his head, and showed his teeth, as who should say,
in answer to some careless small-talk, 'Dear me! Is that the case?' but said
never a word.
     'We thought in those days: you and I both: that she  would marry young,
and lead a happy and light-hearted life,' pursued the other. 'Oh if you knew
how cheerfully  she  cast  those  hopes away;  how cheerfully  she  has gone
forward on the  path she  took, and never once  looked back; you never could
say again that her name was strange in your ears. Never!'
     Again the Manager inclined his head and showed his teeth, and seemed to
say, 'Remarkable indeed! You quite surprise me!' And again  he uttered never
a word.
     'May I go on?' said John Carker, mildly.
     'On your way?'  replied  his smiling  brother. 'If  you will  have  the
     John Carker, with a sigh, was passing slowly out at  the door, when his
brother's voice detained him for a moment on the threshold.
     'If she has gone, and goes, her own way  cheerfully,' he said, throwing
the still unfolded letter on his  desk, and putting his hands firmly in  his
pockets, 'you may tell her that I go as cheerfully on mine. If she has never
once looked  back,  you may tell her  that  I have, sometimes, to recall her
taking part with you,  and that my resolution is no easier to wear away;' he
smiled very sweetly here; 'than marble.'
     'I tell her nothing  of you. We never speak about you. Once a  year, on
your birthday, Harriet says always, "Let us remember James by name, and wish
him happy," but we say no more'
     'Tell it then, if  you  please,' returned the other, 'to  yourself. You
can't repeat  it too  often,  as  a lesson to  you to  avoid the  subject in
speaking to me. I know  no Harriet Carker.  There is no such person. You may
have a sister; make much of her. I have none.'
     Mr  Carker the  Manager took up the letter  again, and waved it with  a
smile  of  mock  courtesy  towards  the  door. Unfolding it  as his  brother
withdrew,  and  looking  darkly aiter him  as he left the room, he once more
turned round  in his elbow-chair, and applied himself  to a diligent perusal
of its contents.
     It was in the  writing of  his great  chief, Mr Dombey,  and dated from
Leamington. Though he was  a quick  reader  of all other letters,  Mr Carker
read this slowly; weighing the words as he went, and bringing every tooth in
his head  to bear upon them. When he had read it  through once, he turned it
over  again, and picked out  these passages. 'I find myself benefited by the
change, and am not yet inclined to name  any  time for my return.' 'I  wish,
Carker, you would arrange to come down once and see me here, and let me know
how things are going on,  in person.' 'I omitted to speak to you about young
Gay. If not  gone  per Son  and Heir, or if Son and  Heir still lying in the
Docks,  appoint some  other  young man  and keep  him  in the City  for  the
present. I am not decided.'  'Now that's unfortunate!'  said Mr  Carker  the
Manager, expanding his  mouth, as if it were made of India-rubber: 'for he's
far away.'
     Still  that passage, which was in a postscript, attracted his attention
and his teeth, once more.
     'I think,' he said, 'my good friend Captain Cuttle  mentioned something
about  being  towed along in the wake  of that day.  What a pity he's so far
     He  refolded the letter, and  was sitting trifling with it, standing it
long-wise and broad-wise on his table,  and  turning it over and over on all
sides - doing pretty much the same thing, perhaps, by its contents - when Mr
Perch  the  messenger  knocked softly at the door, and coming  in on tiptoe,
bending his body at every step as if it were the delight of his life to bow,
laid some papers on the table.
     'Would you please  to  be engaged, Sir?' asked  Mr Perch,  rubbing  his
hands, and deferentially putting  his head on one side, like a man who  felt
he had no  business to hold it up in  such  a presence, and would keep it as
much out of the way as possible.
     'Who wants me?'
     'Why,  Sir,' said Mr  Perch, in a soft  voice, 'really nobody,  Sir, to
speak of at present. Mr Gills  the Ship's Instrument-maker, Sir, has  looked
in, about a little  matter of payment, he says: but I mentioned to him, Sir,
that you was engaged several deep; several deep.'
     Mr Perch coughed once behind his hand, and waited for further orders.
     'Anybody else?'
     'Well, Sir,' said Mr Perch, 'I wouldn't of my own self take the liberty
of mentioning, Sir,  that there was anybody else;  but that same  young  lad
that was here yesterday, Sir,  and  last week,  has  been hanging  about the
place;  and  it looks, Sir,'  added  Mr Perch,  stopping to  shut  the door,
'dreadful unbusiness-like to see him  whistling  to  the  sparrows  down the
court, and making of 'em answer him.'
     'You said  he wanted something to  do,  didn't  you,  Perch?' asked  Mr
Carker, leaning back in his chair and looking at that officer.
     'Why,  Sir,'  said  Mr  Perch,  coughing  behind  his  hand again, 'his
expression certainly  were that he was in wants of a sitiwation, and that he
considered  something might be done for  him about the Docks, being  used to
fishing  with a rod and line: but - ' Mr Perch shook his head very dubiously
     'What does he say when he comes?' asked Mr Carker.
     'Indeed, Sir,' said  Mr Perch, coughing another cough behind  his hand,
which was always his resource as an expression of humility when nothing else
occurred to him, 'his observation generally air that he would humbly wish to
see one of the  gentlemen, and that he wants to earn a living. But  you see,
Sir,'  added Perch,  dropping  his voice  to a whisper, and turning, in  the
inviolable nature of his confidence, to give the door a thrust with his hand
and knee, as  if that would shut it any more when it was shut already, 'it's
hardly  to be bore, Sir, that a common lad like  that should come a prowling
here, and saying  that his  mother  nursed our House's young gentleman,  and
that  he hopes our House will give him a chance on that account.  I am sure,
Sir,' observed Mr Perch, 'that although Mrs Perch  was at that  time nursing
as thriving a little girl, Sir, as we've ever took the liberty of  adding to
our family, I wouldn't have made so free as drop a hint of her being capable
of imparting nourishment, not if it was never so!'
     Mr Carker grinned at  him like a shark, but  in  an absent,  thoughtful
     'Whether,'  submitted  Mr Perch,  after  a  short silence,  and another
cough, 'it mightn't be best for me to tell him, that if he was seen here any
more  he would be  given  into custody; and  to keep to it! With  respect to
bodily fear,'  said Mr Perch, 'I'm so timid,  myself, by nature, Sir, and my
nerves is so unstrung by Mrs Perch's state, that  I could  take my affidavit
     'Let me see this fellow, Perch,' said Mr Carker. 'Bring him in!'
     'Yes, Sir.  Begging your pardon, Sir,' said Mr Perch, hesitating at the
door, 'he's rough, Sir, in appearance.'
     'Never mind.  If he's there, bring him  in. I'll see Mr Gills directly.
Ask him to wait.'
     Mr Perch bowed; and shutting the door, as precisely and carefully as if
he were not coming back  for a week, went on his quest among the sparrows in
the  court. While he was  gone,  Mr Carker  assumed his  favourite  attitude
before the  fire-place, and stood looking at the door; presenting, with  his
under lip tucked into the smile that showed his  whole row of upper teeth, a
singularly crouching apace.
     The messenger was not  long in  returning, followed by a pair  of heavy
boots that came bumping along the passage like boxes. With the unceremonious
words 'Come along with you!' - a very  unusual form of introduction from his
lips  - Mr  Perch  then  ushered  into  the presence a strong-built  lad  of
fifteen, with a round red face, a round sleek head, round  black eyes, round
limbs,  and  round  body, who,  to  carry out the  general rotundity  of his
appearance, had a round hat in his hand, without a particle of brim to it.
     Obedient to a nod from Mr Carker,  Perch had no  sooner  confronted the
visitor  with that  gentleman than he withdrew. The moment they were face to
face  alone,  Mr Carker, without  a word  of  preparation, took  him  by the
throat, and shook him until his head seemed loose upon his shoulders.
     The boy, who in the  midst of his  astonishment could  not help staring
wildly at the gentleman with so many white teeth who was choking him, and at
the office walls, as  though determined, if  he were  choked, that his  last
look should  be at the mysteries for his intrusion into which he was  paying
such a severe penalty, at last contrived to utter -
     'Come, Sir! You let me alone, will you!'
     'Let you alone!' said Mr Carker. 'What! I  have got you, have I?' There
was  no doubt of that, and tightly too. 'You dog,' said Mr  Carker,  through
his set jaws, 'I'll strangle you!'
     Biler whimpered, would he  though? oh no he wouldn't - and what was  he
doing of  - and why didn't he strangle some-  body of  his  own size and not
him: but Biler  was quelled  by the  extraordinary nature of his  reception,
and, as his head became stationary, and he looked the gentleman in the face,
or rather in the teeth, and  saw him snarling  at him, he  so far forgot his
manhood as to cry.
     'I  haven't  done  nothing to  you,  Sir,'  said  Biler, otherwise Rob,
otherwise Grinder, and always Toodle.
     'You  young scoundrel!' replied Mr  Carker,  slowly releasing  him, and
moving back a  step into his favourite position. 'What do you mean by daring
to come here?'
     'I  didn't mean  no  harm, Sir,' whimpered Rob, putting one hand to his
throat, and the knuckles  of the  other to his eyes. 'I'll never come again,
Sir. I only wanted work.'
     'Work,  young  Cain  that  you  are!' repeated  Mr  Carker, eyeing  him
narrowly. 'Ain't you the idlest vagabond in London?'
     The  impeachment,  while it much affected Mr Toodle Junior, attached to
his character so justly, that he  could not  say a  word in denial. He stood
looking at the gentleman, therefore,  with a frightened, self-convicted, and
remorseful  air. As to his looking at him,  it may be observed that  he  was
fascinated  by Mr  Carker,  and never took his  round  eyes off him  for  an
     'Ain't you a thief?' said Mr Carker,  with  his hands behind him in his
     'No, sir,' pleaded Rob.
     'You are!' said Mr Carker.
     'I  ain't indeed,  Sir,' whimpered Rob. 'I  never did such  a thing  as
thieve, Sir, if you'll believe me. I know I've been a going wrong, Sir, ever
since I took  to bird-catching' and walking-matching.  I'm sure a cove might
think,'  said  Mr Toodle Junior,  with  a burst of penitence,  'that singing
birds  was innocent  company,  but nobody knows what harm is  in them little
creeturs and what they brings you down to.'
     They seemed to have brought him down to a velveteen jacket and trousers
very  much the  worse  for wear, a particularly small  red waistcoat like  a
gorget, an interval of blue check, and the hat before mentioned.
     'I ain't been home twenty times since them birds got their will of me,'
said  Rob,  'and that's  ten months.  How can  I  go home  when  everybody's
miserable  to  see  me! I  wonder,'  said  Biler,  blubbering outright,  and
smearing  his  eyes with his coat-cuff,  'that I haven't  been and  drownded
myself over and over again.'
     All  of  which, including  his expression  of  surprise  at not  having
achieved this last scarce performance, the boy said, just as if the teeth of
Mr Carker drew it out ofhim, and he had no power of concealing anything with
that battery of attraction in full play.
     'You're  a  nice  young gentleman!' said Mr Carker, shaking his head at
him. 'There's hemp-seed sown for you, my fine fellow!'
     'I'm sure, Sir,' returned  the  wretched  Biler, blubbering  again, and
again having recourse to his coat-cuff: 'I shouldn't care, sometimes,  if it
was growed too. My misfortunes  all began in wagging, Sir; but what could  I
do, exceptin' wag?'
     'Excepting what?' said Mr Carker.
     'Wag, Sir. Wagging from school.'
     'Do you mean pretending to go there, and not going?' said Mr Carker.
     'Yes, Sir, that's  wagging, Sir,' returned  the  quondam  Grinder, much
affected. 'I was chivied through  the  streets, Sir, when I  went there, and
pounded when I got there. So I wagged, and hid myself, and that began it.'
     'And you  mean to tell me,' said Mr  Carker,  taking  him by the throat
again,  holding him  out at  arm's-length, and surveying him  in silence for
some moments, 'that you want a place, do you?'
     'I should be thankful  to  be  tried,  Sir,'  returned  Toodle  Junior,
     Mr Carker  the  Manager pushed him backward  into a  corner  -  the boy
submitting quietly, hardly venturing to breathe, and never once removing his
eyes from his face - and rang the bell.
     'Tell Mr Gills to come here.'
     Mr Perch was too deferential to express surprise  or recognition of the
figure in the corner: and Uncle Sol appeared immediately.
     'Mr  Gills!' said Carker, with a  smile, 'sit down. How do you do?  You
continue to enjoy your health, I hope?'
     'Thank  you, Sir,' returned Uncle Sol, taking out his  pocket-book, and
handing over some notes as he  spoke. 'Nothing ails me in body but  old age.
Twenty-five, Sir.'
     'You are as punctual and exact, Mr Gills,' replied the smiling Manager,
taking a paper from one  of  his many  drawers, and making an endorsement on
it, while Uncle Sol looked over him, 'as one of your own chronometers. Quite
     'The Son and Heir has  not been spoken, I find by the list,  Sir,' said
Uncle Sol, with a slight addition to the usual tremor in his voice.
     'The Son and Heir has not been  spoken,' returned Carker. 'There  seems
to have been tempestuous weather, Mr Gills, and she has probably been driven
out of her course.'
     'She is safe, I trust in Heaven!' said old Sol.
     'She is safe,  I trust in Heaven!' assented Mr Carker in that voiceless
manner  of his: which  made  the observant young Toodle trernble again.  'Mr
Gills,'  he added aloud, throwing himself back in  his chair, 'you must miss
your nephew very much?'
     Uncle Sol, standing by him, shook his head and heaved a deep sigh.
     'Mr Gills,' said  Carker, with his soft hand  playing  round his mouth,
and looking up into the Instrument-maker's face, 'it would be company to you
to have a young fellow in your shop just now, and it would be obliging me if
you  would  give one house-room for the present.  No,  to be sure,' he added
quickly, in anticipation of what the old man was going to say,  'there's not
much business doing there, I know; but you can make him clean the place out,
polish up the instruments; drudge, Mr Gills. That's the lad!'
     Sol Gills pulled down his spectacles from his forehead to his eyes, and
looked at Toodle Junior standing upright in the  corner: his head presenting
the  appearance  (which  it always did) of having been newly drawn out of  a
bucket of cold water; his small waistcoat rising and  falling quickly in the
play of his emotions; and his  eyes intently fixed on Mr Carker, without the
least reference to his proposed master.
     'Will you give him house-room, Mr Gills?' said the Manager.
     Old Sol, without being quite enthusiastic on the subject, replied  that
he was glad of any opportunity,  however slight, to oblige Mr Carker,  whose
wish  on such a  point was  a command: and that the wooden  Midshipman would
consider himself happy to receive in  his berth  any visitor of  Mr Carker's
     Mr Carker bared himself to the tops and bottoms of his gums: making the
watchful  Toodle  Junior  tremble  more  and  more:  and  acknowledged   the
Instrument-maker's politeness in his most affable manner.
     'I'll  dispose  of him so,  then, Mr Gills,' he  answered, rising,  and
shaking  the old man by  the hand, 'until I make up  my mind what to do with
him,  and what he deserves.  As I  consider myself responsible  for him,  Mr
Gills,' here he smiled a wide smile at Rob, who shook before it: 'I shall be
glad if you'll look sharply after him, and report his behaviour to me.  I'll
ask  a  question or two  of his  parents as I  ride home  this  afternoon  -
respectable people  - to  confirm  some particulars in  his own  account  of
himself;  and  that  done, Mr  Gills, I'll send him  round to  you to-morrow
morning. Goodbye!'
     His smile  at parting was  so full of teeth, that it confused old  Sol,
and made him  vaguely uncomfortable. He went  home, thinking of raging seas,
foundering ships,  drowning men, an ancient  bottle of Madeira never brought
to light, and other dismal matters.
     'Now,  boy!'  said  Mr Carker,  putting  his  hand  on  young  Toodle's
shoulder, and bringing him out into the middle of the room. 'You  have heard
     Rob said, 'Yes, Sir.'
     'Perhaps you understand,' pursued his patron, 'that if you ever deceive
or play tricks with me, you had better have  drowned yourself, indeed,  once
for all, before you came here?'
     There was nothing in any  branch of mental acquisition that Rob  seemed
to understand better than that.
     'If  you have lied to me,' said Mr Carker, 'in  anything, never come in
my way again.  If not, you may let me find you waiting for me somewhere near
your mother's house this afternoon. I shall leave this at five o'clock,  and
ride there on horseback. Now, give me the address.'
     Rob repeated it slowly, as Mr Carker  wrote it down.  Rob even spelt it
over a second time, letter by letter, as  if he thought that the omission of
a  dot or scratch would lead  to his  destruction. Mr Carker then handed him
out  of the room; and Rob, keeping  his round eyes fixed upon his patron  to
the last, vanished for the time being.
     Mr Carker the Manager did a great deal of business in the course of the
day, and stowed  his teeth  upon a great many  people. In the office, in the
court, in  the  street,  and on 'Change, they  glistened  and bristled  to a
terrible extent. Five o'clock arriving, and with it  Mr Carker's bay  horse,
they got on horseback, and went gleaming up Cheapside.
     As no one  can easily ride fast, even if inclined to do so, through the
press  and  throng of  the  City  at  that hour, and  as Mr Carker  was  not
inclined,  he  went leisurely  along, picking  his way  among the carts  and
carriages,  avoiding whenever  he could the wetter  and more dirty places in
the over-watered  road, and taking infinite pains to  keep himself  and  his
steed clean. Glancing at the passersby while he was thus ambling on his way,
he  suddenly  encountered the round  eyes  of the sleek-headed Rob  intently
fixed  upon  his face as if  they had  never been taken  off,  while the boy
himself,  with  a  pocket-handkerchief  twisted up  like a speckled  eel and
girded round  his  waist,  made  a  very  conspicuous demonstration of being
prepared to attend upon him, at whatever pace he might think proper to go.
     This attention,  however flattering, being one of  an unusual kind, and
attracting some notice from the  other  passengers, Mr Carker took advantage
of  a clearer thoroughfare and a cleaner road, and  broke  into a  trot. Rob
immediately did the same. Mr Carker presently tried a canter; Rob Was  still
in attendance. Then a  short gallop; it Was all one  to the boy. Whenever Mr
Carker turned his eyes to that side of the  road, he still saw Toodle Junior
holding  his course,  apparently without distress, and working himself along
by the  elbows after the most  approved manner of professional gentlemen who
get over the ground for wagers.
     Ridiculous as  this  attendance was,  it was  a  sign  of  an influence
established over the boy,  and therefore Mr Carker, affecting  not to notice
it, rode away into the neighbourhood of Mr Toodle's house. On his slackening
his pace  here, Rob appeared before him to point out the  turnings; and when
he called to a man at a neighbouring gateway  to hold his horse, pending his
visit to  the  buildings that  had succeeded Staggs's Gardens, Rob dutifully
held the stirrup, while the Manager dismounted.
     'Now, Sir,' said Mr Carker, taking him by the shoulder, 'come along!'
     The prodigal son  was evidently nervous of visiting the parental abode;
but Mr Carker pushing him on  before,  he had nothing for it but to open the
right door, and  suffer himself to be walked into the midst of his  brothers
and  sisters, mustered  in overwhelming force round the family tea-table. At
sight of  the  prodigal in the  grasp of  a stranger, these tender relations
united in a general howl, which  smote upon the prodigal's breast so sharply
when he saw  his mother  stand up among them, pale and  trembling,  with the
baby in her arms, that he lent his own voice to the chorus.
     Nothing doubting now that the stranger, if not Mr Ketch' in person, was
one of  that company, the whole of the young family wailed the louder, while
its  more infantine  members, unable to  control the  transports of  emotion
appertaining to their time  of life, threw themselves  on  their  backs like
young birds when terrified by a hawk, and kicked violently.  At length, poor
Polly making herself audible,  said,  with quivering lips, 'Oh Rob, my  poor
boy, what have you done at last!'
     'Nothing, mother,' cried Rob, in a piteous voice, 'ask the gentleman!'
     'Don't be alarmed,' said Mr Carker, 'I want to do him good.'
     At this announcement, Polly, who had not cried yet, began to do so. The
elder  Toodles,  who appeared to have been meditating  a rescue,  unclenched
their fists.  The younger  Toodles clustered round their  mother's gown, and
peeped from under their own chubby arms  at their desperado brother and  his
unknown friend. Everybody blessed  the gentleman with  the  beautiful teeth,
who wanted to do good.
     'This fellow,'  said Mr Carker to Polly, giving him a gentle shake, 'is
your son, eh, Ma'am?'
     'Yes, Sir,' sobbed Polly, with a curtsey; 'yes, Sir.'
     'A bad son, I am afraid?' said Mr Carker.
     'Never a bad son to me, Sir,' returned Polly.
     'To whom then?' demanded Mr Carker.
     'He has been a little  wild, Sir,'  returned Polly, checking the  baby,
who was making convulsive  efforts with his  arms and legs to launch himself
on Biler, through the ambient air,  'and has gone with wrong companions: but
I hope he has seen the misery of that, Sir, and will do well again.'
     Mr  Carker looked at Polly, and the clean room, and the clean children,
and  the  simple  Toodle  face,  combined  of father  and mother,  that  was
reflected and repeated  everywhere about  him - and seemed to have  achieved
the real purpose of his visit.
     'Your husband, I take it, is not at home?' he said.
     'No, Sir,' replied Polly. 'He's down the line at present.'
     The prodigal Rob  seemed very much relieved to hear it: though still in
the absorption of  all his faculties in his  patron, he hardly took his eyes
from Mr Carker's face,  unless for  a moment at  a time to steal a sorrowful
glance at his mother.
     'Then,' said Mr  Carker, 'I'll tell you how I have stumbled on this boy
of yours, and who I am, and what I am going to do for him.'
     This Mr Carker did, in his own way; saying that he at first intended to
have  accumulated  nameless terrors  on his presumptuous head, for coming to
the whereabout of  Dombey and Son. That he had relented, in consideration of
his youth, his professed contrition, and his friends.  That he was afraid he
took a rash step in doing  anything for the boy, and  one that  might expose
him to  the  censure of the prudent;  but that he did it of himself and  for
himself, and risked  the consequences single-handed;  and  that his mother's
past connexion with Mr Dombey's family  had nothing to do with  it, and that
Mr Dombey had nothing to do with it, but that he, Mr Carker, was the  be-all
and the  end-all of  this business.  Taking great credit to  himself for his
goodness, and receiving no less from all the family then present,  Mr Carker
signified,  indirectly  but  still  pretty   plainly,  that  Rob's  implicit
fidelity, attachment, and devotion, were for evermore his due, and the least
homage he could receive.  And  with  this  great  truth  Rob himself was  so
impressed, that, standing gazing on  his patron with tears rolling down  his
cheeks,  he nodded his shiny head until it seemed almost as loose as  it had
done under the same patron's hands that morning.
     Polly, who had passed Heaven knows how many sleepless nights on account
of this her  dissipated firstborn, and had not seen him for weeks and weeks,
could have almost kneeled to Mr Carker the Manager, as to a Good Spirit - in
spite of his teeth. But Mr  Carker  rising to depart, she  only  thanked him
with her mother's prayers and blessings; thanks so rich when paid out of the
Heart's mint,  especially for any service  Mr Carker  had rendered, that  he
might have given back a large amount of change, and yet been overpaid.
     As that gentleman made his way among the crowding children to the door,
Rob retreated on his mother, and took her and the baby in the same repentant
     'I'll try hard, dear mother, now. Upon my soul I will!' said Rob.
     'Oh do, my dear  boy! I am sure you will, for our sakes and your  own!'
cried  Polly, kissing him. 'But you're coming  back to speak to me, when you
have seen the gentleman away?'
     'I don't  know, mother.'  Rob  hesitated,  and looked  down. 'Father  -
when's he coming home?'
     'Not till two o'clock to-morrow morning.'
     'I'll  come back,  mother  dear!'  cried Rob. And  passing through  the
shrill  cry of  his brothers  and sisters  in reception of this promise,  he
followed Mr Carker out.
     'What!' said  Mr Carker, who  had heard this. 'You have a  bad  father,
have you?'
     'No, Sir!' returned Rob,  amazed. 'There ain't  a better  nor a  kinder
father going, than mine is.'
     'Why don't you want to see him then?' inquired his patron.
     'There's such a difference between a father  and  a mother,  Sir,' said
Rob,  after faltering for a moment. 'He couldn't  hardly believe yet that  I
was doing to do better - though I know he'd try to but a mother - she always
believes what's,' good, Sir; at least I know my mother does, God bless her!'
     Mr Carker's mouth expanded, but he said no more until he was mounted on
his horse,  and had dismissed  the man who held it,  when, looking down from
the saddle steadily  into  the attentive  and watchful  face  of the boy, he
     'You'll come to me tomorrow morning, and  you shall be shown where that
old gentleman lives; that old gentleman who was  with me this morning; where
you are going, as you heard me say.'
     'Yes, Sir,' returned Rob.
     'I have a great interest in that old gentleman, and in serving him, you
serve me, boy, do you understand? Well,' he added, interrupting  him, for he
saw his round face  brighten when he was told that: 'I see you do. I want to
know  all about that old gentleman, and how he goes on from day to day - for
I am anxious to be of service to him - and especially who comes there to see
him. Do you understand?'
     Rob nodded his steadfast face, and said 'Yes, Sir,' again.
     'I should like  to know that  he has  friends who are attentive to him,
and  that they don't desert him -  for  he  lives  very much alone now, poor
fellow;  but  that  they  are fond of  him, and  of his nephew who has  gone
abroad. There is a  very young lady who may perhaps come to see  him. I want
particularly to know all about her.'
     'I'll take care, Sir,' said the boy.
     'And  take care,'  returned his patron,  bending forward to advance his
grinning  face closer to the  boy's, and pat  him on the shoulder  with  the
handle of his whip: 'take care you talk about  affairs of mine to nobody but
     'To nobody in the world, Sir,' replied Rob, shaking his head.
     'Neither there,'  said Mr CarHer, pointing to the  place they  had just
left,  'nor anywhere else. I'll try how  true and grateful  you can be. I'll
prove  you!' Making this, by his display of teeth  and by  the action of his
head, as much a threat as a promise, he  turned from  Rob's eyes, which were
nailed upon him as if he had won the boy by a charm, body and soul, and rode
away. But again  becoming conscious,  after trotting a  short distance, that
his devoted henchman, girt  as before, was yielding him the same attendance,
to the great amusement of sundry spectators,  he reined up, and  ordered him
off. To ensure his  obedience, he turned in the saddle and watched him as he
retired.  It was curious to see  that  even then Rob could not keep his eyes
wholly averted from his patron's face,  but, constantly turning and  turning
again  to look after him'  involved himself in a tempest  of buffetings  and
jostlings from the other  passengers in the street: of which, in the pursuit
of the one paramount idea, he was perfectly heedless.
     Mr Carker the Manager rode on at a foot-pace, with the easy air of  one
who had performed all the business of the day  in a satisfactory manner, and
got it  comfortably off his mind. Complacent and affable as man could be, Mr
Carker picked his way along the streets and hummed a soft tune as he went He
seemed to purr, he was so glad.
     And in some  sort,  Mr  Carker, in his fancy, basked upon a hearth too.
Coiled  up snugly at certain feet, he was ready for a spring, Or for a tear,
or for a scratch, or for a velvet touch, as the humour took him and occasion
served. Was  there any  bird in  a  cage,  that came in  for  a share  ofhis
     'A very young lady!' thought Mr  Carker the Manager, through his  song.
'Ay! when I saw her last, she was a little child. With dark eyes and hair, I
recollect, and a good face; a very good face! I daresay she's pretty.'
     More affable and pleasant  yet, and humming  his song  until  his  many
teeth vibrated to it, Mr Carker  picked  his way  along, and  turned at last
into the shady  street where Mr  Dombey's house stood. He had been so  busy,
winding  webs  round  good  faces, and  obscuring them with  meshes, that he
hardly thought of  being at this point of his ride, until, glancing down the
cold perspective of tall houses, he reined in his horse quickly within a few
yards of the door. But to explain why Mr Carker reined in his horse quickly,
and what he  looked at  in  no  small  surprise,  a few digressive words are
     Mr  Toots, emancipated from the  Blimber  thraldom and coming  into the
possession of  a certain portion of his  wordly  wealth, 'which,' as  he had
been  wont, during his  last half-year's  probation,  to  communicate to  Mr
Feeder  every  evening as a new discovery, 'the executors couldn't  keep him
out of'  had applied himself with great  diligence, to the science of  Life.
Fired with a noble emulation to pursue a brilliant and distinguished career,
Mr Toots had furnished  a  choice  set  of apartments; had established among
them a sporting bower, embellished with the portraits of  winning horses, in
which he took no particle of interest; and a divan, which made  him  poorly.
In this delicious  abode,  Mr Toots  devoted himself to the  cultivation  of
those gentle arts which refine  and humanise existence, his chief instructor
in  which  was an  interesting  character called the  Game Chicken,  who was
always to be  heard of at the bar of the Black Badger,  wore a shaggy  white
great-coat in the warmest weather, and knocked Mr Toots about the head three
times a week, for the small consideration of ten and six per visit.
     The Game Chicken, who was quite the Apollo  of Mr Toots's Pantheon, had
introduced  to  him a marker  who taught billiards, a  Life Guard who taught
fencing, a jobmaster  who taught riding, a Cornish  gentleman who was  up to
anything in the athletic  line, and two or three other  friends connected no
less intimately  with the fine arts.  Under  whose auspices  Mr  Toots could
hardly fail to improve apace, and under whose tuition he went to work.
     But however it came about, it came  to pass, even while these gentlemen
had the gloss of novelty upon them, that Mr Toots felt, he  didn't know how,
unsettled  and uneasy. There were husks in his corn, that even Game Chickens
couldn't peck up;  gloomy  giants  in  his leisure, that even Game  Chickens
couldn't  knock down.  Nothing  seemed to  do  Mr  Toots  so  much  good  as
incessantly leaving cards at Mr Dombey's door. No taxgatherer in the British
Dominions -  that  wide-spread  territory on  which the sun never  sets, and
where the tax-gatherer never goes to bed - was more regular  and persevering
in his calls than Mr Toots.
     Mr Toots never went upstairs; and always performed the same ceremonies,
richly dressed for the purpose, at the hall door.
     'Oh! Good morning!'  would  be Mr Toots's first remark to  the servant.
'For Mr Dombey,' would be Mr  Toots's next remark,  as  he handed in a card.
'For Miss Dombey,' would be his next, as he handed in another.
     Mr Toots would then turn round as  if to go away; but the man  knew him
by this time, and knew he wouldn't.
     'Oh,  I  beg your  pardon,' Mr Toots would say,  as  if  a  thought had
suddenly descended on him. 'Is the young woman at home?'
     The man would rather think she was;, but wouldn't  quite know.  Then he
would ring  a bell that rang upstairs, and would look  up the staircase, and
would say, yes, she was at home, and was coming down. Then Miss Nipper would
appear, and the man would retire.
     'Oh! How de do?' Mr Toots would say, with a chuckle and a blush.
     Susan would thank him, and say she was very well.
     'How's Diogenes going on?' would be Mr Toots's second interrogation.
     Very well indeed. Miss Florence was fonder and fonder of him every day.
Mr Toots was sure to hail this with a burst of chuckles, like the opening of
a bottle of some effervescent beverage.
     'Miss Florence is quite well, Sir,' Susan would add.
     Oh, it's of no consequence,  thank'ee,' was the invariable reply  of Mr
Toots; and when he had said so, he always went away very fast.
     Now it  is  certain that Mr Toots had  a  filmy something  in his mind,
which  led  him  to conclude that  if he  could aspire successfully  in  the
fulness of  time, to the hand of Florence, he  would be fortunate and blest.
It is certain that Mr Toots, by some remote and roundabout road, had  got to
that point, and that there he made a  stand.  His heart was wounded;  he was
touched; he was in love. He had made a desperate attempt, one night, and had
sat up all night for the purpose, to  write an acrostic  on Florence,  which
affected  him to  tears in  the conception.  But he never proceeded  in  the
execution  further  than  the  words  'For when  I  gaze,'  -  the  flow  of
imagination in which he had previously written  down the initial  letters of
the other seven lines, deserting him at that point.
     Beyond devising  that very artful and politic measure of leaving a card
for Mr Dombey daily, the  brain of Mr Toots had not worked much in reference
to the  subject that  held his feelings prisoner. But deep  consideration at
length  assured   Mr  Toots  that  an  important  step  to  gain,  was,  the
conciliation of Miss Susan Nipper, preparatory to giving her some inkling of
his state of mind.
     A little light and playful gallantry towards this lady seemed the means
to employ  in  that early  chapter  of the history, for  winning her to  his
interests. Not being able quite to make up his mind  about it,  he consulted
the Chicken  - without  taking that  gentleman  into his confidence;  merely
informing  him that a friend in Yorkshire had written to him  (Mr Toots) for
his opinion on such a question. The Chicken replying that his opinion always
was, 'Go in and win,' and further, 'When your man's before you and your work
cut out, go in  and do it,' Mr  Toots  considered this  a  figurative way of
supporting  his own view of the case,  and  heroically resolved to kiss Miss
Nipper next day.
     Upon  the next day, therefore, Mr Toots, putting into  requisition some
of the greatest marvels that Burgess and Co.  had ever  turned out, went off
to  Mr Dotnbey's upon this design.  But his heart failed him so  much  as he
approached the scene of action, that,  although  he arrived on the ground at
three o'clock in the afternoon, it was six before he knocked at the door.
     Everything happened  as usual, down to  the point where Susan  said her
young mistress was well, and Mr  Toots said it  was ofno consequence. To her
amazement, Mr Toots,  instead  of  going  off,  like a  rocket,  after  that
observation, lingered and chuckled.
     'Perhaps you'd like to walk upstairs, Sir!' said Susan.
     'Well, I think I will come in!' said Mr Toots.
     But instead of walking upstairs, the bold Toots  made an awkward plunge
at Susan  when the door was shut, and embracing that  fair  creature, kissed
her on the cheek
     'Go along with you!~ cried Susan, 'or Ill tear your eyes out.'
     'Just another!' said Mr Toots.
     'Go along with you!' exclaimed Susan, giving him a push 'Innocents like
you, too! Who'll begin next? Go along, Sir!'
     Susan  was not in  any serious  strait, for she  could hardly speak for
laughing; but  Diogenes, on  the staircase,  hearing a  rustling against the
wall, and a shuffling of feet, and seeing  through the  banisters that there
was  some  contention  going on, and foreign invasion in the house, formed a
different opinion, dashed down to the rescue, and in the twinkling of an eye
had Mr Toots by the leg.
     Susan screamed, laughed,  opened the street-door,  and ran  downstairs;
the bold Toots tumbled staggering out into the street, with Diogenes holding
on to one leg of his pantaioons, as if  Burgess and Co. were his cooks,  and
had provided  that  dainty morsel  for his  holiday  entertainment; Diogenes
shaken  off, rolled over and over in the dust, got up' again,  whirled round
the giddy Toots and snapped at him: and all this turmoil Mr Carker, reigning
up his horse and sitting a little at a distance, saw to his amazement, issue
from the stately house of Mr Dombey.
     Mr  Carker remained watching the discomfited Toots,  when Diogenes  was
called in, and the door shut: and while that  gentleman, taking refuge  in a
doorway near at hand, bound up the torn  leg of his pantaloons with a costly
silk  handkerchief that had formed  part  of  his expensive  outfit for  the
     'I beg your pardon,  Sir,'  said  Mr Carker, riding  up, with his  most
propitiatory smile. 'I hope you are not hurt?'
     'Oh no, thank you,' replied Mr Toots,  raising  his flushed face, 'it's
of no consequence' Mr Toots would have signified, if he could, that he liked
it very much.
     'If the dog's  teeth have entered the leg, Sir - ' began Carker, with a
display of his own'
     'No,  thank  you,'  said Mr Toots, 'it's all  quite  right.  It's  very
comfortable, thank you.'
     'I have the pleasure of knowing Mr Dombey,' observed Carker.
     'Have you though?' rejoined the blushing Took
     'And you will allow me, perhaps, to apologise, in his absence,' said Mr
Carker, taking off his hat,  'for such a misadventure, and to  wonder how it
can possibly have happened.'
     Mr  Toots is so much gratified by this politeness, and the lucky chance
of making frends with a friend of Mr Dombey, that he pulls out his card-case
which he never loses an opportunity of using, and hands his name and address
to Mr  Carker: who responds to that courtesy by giving him his own, and with
that they part.
     As Mr Carker picks  his way so softly past the house, looking up at the
windows, and trying to make  out the pensive face behind the curtain looking
at the children  opposite, the rough head  of  Diogenes  came  clambering up
close by it,  and the dog, regardless of all soothing, barks and growls, and
makes at him from that  height, as ifhe would  spring down and tear him limb
from limb.
     Well  spoken, Di, so near your Mistress! Another, and another with your
head up, your eyes flashing,  and your vexed mouth worrying itself, for want
of  him! Another,  as he picks  his  way along! You have a good scent, Di, -
cats, boy, cats!

     Florence solitary, and the Midshipman mysterious
     Florence lived alone in the great  dreary house, and day succeeded day,
and still she lived  alone; and the blank walls looked down upon her with  a
vacant  stare,  as if  they had a Gorgon-like  mind to stare  her youth  and
beauty into stone.
     No magic dwelling-place in magic story, shut up in the heart of a thick
wood,  was  ever  more solitary  and  deserted  to  the fancy,  than was her
father's  mansion in its grim reality, as it stood  lowering on  the street:
always by night,  when lights were shining from neighbouring windows, a blot
upon  its scanty brightness; always by  day, a frown upon  its never-smiling
     There were not two dragon sentries keeping ward before the gate of this
above, as  in  magic  legend are usually found  on  duty  over  the  wronged
innocence imprisoned;  but  besides a glowering visage, with  its thin  lips
parted wickedly, that surveyed  all  comers  from above the archway  of  the
door, there was a monstrous fantasy of rusty iron, curling and twisting like
a petrifaction of an arbour over threshold, budding in spikes  and corkscrew
points,  and bearing, one on either side,  two  ominous  extinguishers, that
seemed  to  say,  'Who  enter  here,  leave light  behind!'  There  were  no
talismanic  characters  engraven  on the portal,  but  the house was  now so
neglected in appearance,  that boys chalked the railings and the  pavement -
particularly round the corner  where the side  wall was - and drew ghosts on
the  stable  door; and  being  sometimes driven  off  by Mr Towlinson,  made
portraits  of him, in  return, with his ears  growing  out horizontally from
under his hat. Noise ceased to be,  within the shadow of the roof. The brass
band that came into the street  once a week, in the  morning, never brayed a
note in at those windows; but all such company, down to a poor little piping
organ  of weak intellect,  with  an  imbecile  party of  automaton  dancers,
waltzing in and out at folding-doors, fell off from it  with one accord, and
shunned it as a hopeless place.
     The spell upon it was more  wasting  than  the  spell  that used to set
enchanted houses sleeping  once upon a time, but left their waking freshness
unimpaired.  The  passive  desolation  of  disuse  was  everywhere  silently
manifest about it.  Within doors, curtains, drooping heavily, lost their old
folds and shapes,  and  hung like  cumbrous palls.  Hecatombs  of furniture,
still piled  and covered up, shrunk like imprisoned and forgotten  men,  and
changed insensibly. Mirrors were dim  as with the breath of years.  Patterns
of carpets  faded and  became perplexed and faint,  like the memory of those
years'  trifling incidents. Boards,  starting at unwonted footsteps, creaked
and shook. Keys rusted in the locks of doors. Damp started on the walls, and
as the stains came out, the pictures seemed to go in and secrete themselves.
Mildew and mould  began to lurk  in closets. Fungus trees grew in corners of
the  cellars. Dust  accumulated, nobody knew whence nor how; spiders, moths,
and grubs were heard of every day. An exploratory blackbeetle  now  and then
was found immovable upon  the stairs, or in an upper room, as wondering  how
he  got there.  Rats began to squeak and scuffle in the  night time, through
dark galleries they mined behind the panelling.
     The dreary magnificence  of the  state  rooms,  seen imperfectly by the
doubtful light  admitted  through closed shutters, would  have answered well
enough for an  enchanted abode. Such as the tarnished paws of  gilded lions,
stealthily  put out from beneath  their wrappers;  the marble  lineaments of
busts on pedestals, fearfully revealing themselves through veils; the clocks
that never told the time, or, if  wound up by any chance, told it wrong, and
struck  unearthly  numbers, which are  not upon  the  dial;  the  accidental
tinklings among the pendant lustres,  more startling than  alarm-bells;  the
softened sounds and laggard air that made their way among these objects, and
a phantom crowd of others,  shrouded and hooded, and made spectral of shape.
But, besides, there was the great staircase,  where the lord of the place so
rarely  set his foot, and by which his little  child had gone  up to Heaven.
There  were other staircases  and  passages  where  no  one  went for  weeks
together; there  were  two closed  rooms associated with dead members of the
family, and with  whispered recollections  of them; and to all the house but
Florence, there was a gentle figure moving through  the solitude and  gloom,
that  gave  to every lifeless  thing a  touch of  present human interest and
     For Florence lived alone in the deserted house, and  day succeeded day,
and still  she lived alone,  and the cold  walls looked down upon her with a
vacant  stare,  as  if they had a  Gorgon-like mind  to stare  her youth and
beauty into stone
     The  grass  began  to grow  upon the roof,  and in  the crevices of the
basement   paving.  A  scaly   crumbling   vegetation  sprouted  round   the
window-sills.  Fragments of mortar lost  their hold upon the insides  of the
unused chimneys, and came dropping down. The two trees with the smoky trunks
were  blighted  high  up,  and the withered  branches  domineered above  the
leaves,  Through the whole building  white had  turned yellow, yellow nearly
black; and since the time when  the poor  lady died,  it had slowly become a
dark gap in the long monotonous street.
     But Florence bloomed there, like the king's fair daughter in the story.
Her books, her music, and her daily teachers, were her only real companions,
Susan Nipper and Diogenes excepted: of whom the former, in her attendance on
the  studies  of  her  young mistress, began  to grow quite learned herself,
while the latter, softened  possibly by the same  influences, would  lay his
head upon  the window-ledge, and  placidly open and shut his eyes  upon  the
street, all through a summer morning; sometimes pricking up his head to look
with great significance after some noisy dog in a cart, who was barking  his
way along, and sometimes, with an exasperated and unaccountable recollection
of  his  supposed enemy  in  the neighbourhood, rushing to the door, whence,
after a deafening disturbance, he would come jogging back  with a ridiculous
complacency  that  belonged  to him, and lay his  jaw  upon the window-ledge
again, with the air of a dog who had done a public service.
     So Florence lived in her wilderness of a home, within the circle of her
innocent pursuits and thoughts, and nothing harmed her. She could go down to
her father's rooms now, and think of him, and suffer her loving heart humbly
to  approach him, without fear of repulse. She could look upon  the  objects
that had surrounded him in his sorrow, and could nestle near his chair,  and
not dread the glance that she so well remembered. She could  render him such
little tokens of  her  duty and  service' as putting everything in order for
him with her own hands, binding little nosegays for table, changing them  as
one by one they withered  and he did  not come back, preparing something for
him  every' day,  and leaving some timid mark of her presence near his usual
seat. To-day, it  was a little painted  stand  for his  watch; tomorrow  she
would be afraid to leave it, and would substitute  some  other trifle of her
making not so likely to attract his eye. Waking in the  night, perhaps,  she
would tremble  at the thought of his coming home and  angrily  rejecting it,
and would hurry  down with  slippered feet  and  quickly beating heart,  and
bring it away.  At  another time, she would only lay her face upon his desk,
and leave a kiss there, and a tear.
     Still no  one knew  of this. Unless the household found it out when she
was not there - and they all held Mr Dombey's rooms  in awe - it was as deep
a secret in her breast as what had gone before it. Florence stole into those
rooms at twilight, early in the morning, and at times when meals were served
downstairs. And although they were in every nook the better and the brighter
for her  care, she entered and passed out as quietly  as any sunbeam, opting
that she left her light behind.
     Shadowy company attended Florence  up and down the  echoing house,  and
sat with  her  in  the dismantled  rooms. As if her life  were an  enchanted
vision,  there arose out of  her solitude ministering thoughts, that made it
fanciful  and unreal. She imagined so often what her life would have been if
her  father  could  have loved  her and she had been a favourite child, that
sometimes,  for the moment, she almost believed it was so, and, borne on  by
the current of that pensive fiction, seemed to remember how they had watched
her  brother  in  his grave together;  how they had  freely shared his heart
between  them; how they were united in the dear remembrance of him; how they
often spoke about him yet;  and her kind father, looking at her gently, told
her  of their  common hope and trust in God. At other times  she pictured to
herself her  mother yet alive. And oh the happiness of falling  on her neck,
and clinging to her with the love and confidence of all her soul! And oh the
desolation of the solitary  house again,  with evening coming on, and no one
     But there was one thought, scarcely shaped  out to herself, yet fervent
and strong within her, that upheld  Florence when  she strove and filled her
true young heart, so sorely tried, with constancy of purpose. Into her mind,
as  'into  all others contending with  the great affliction  of  our  mortal
nature,  there had stolen solemn wonderings  and  hopes,  arising in the dim
world  beyond  the  present  life,  and  murmuring,  like  faint  music,  of
recognition in the far-off land between her brother and her mother:  of some
present  consciousness in both  of her: some love and commiseration for her:
and some knowledge  of  her as she went her  way upon  the earth. It  was  a
soothing consolation to Florence to  give shelter  to  these thoughts, until
one day - it was soon after  she had  last seen her father in  his own room,
late at night  - the fancy came upon her, that, in weeping for his alienated
heart,  she  might stir the  spirits of the  dead  against him' Wild,  weak,
childish, as it may have been to think so, and to tremble at the half-formed
thought,  it  was the  impulse  of her loving nature;  and  from  that  hour
Florence strove against the cruel wound in her breast, and tried to think of
him whose hand had made it, only with hope.
     Her father did not know - she held to it from  that time - how much she
loved him. She was very young, and had no  mother, and had never learned, by
some fault  or  misfortune,  how to  express to him  that she loved him. She
would  be patient, and would try to gain that art  in time, and win him to a
better knowledge of his only child.
     This became the  purpose of her life. The  morning  sun shone down upon
the faded house, and found the resolution bright and fresh within  the bosom
of  its solitary mistress,  Through all the duties  of the day, it  animated
her; for Florence  hoped  that the  more she knew, and the more accomplished
she became,  the more glad he would  be when  he came to know  and like her.
Sometimes  she wondered, with a swelling heart and rising tear,  whether she
was  proficient enough in anything to surprise him when  they  should become
companions. Sometimes she tried to think if there were any kind of knowledge
that would  bespeak his interest  more readily than another. Always: at  her
books, her  music,  and her  work: in her morning walks, and in  her nightly
prayers: she  had her  engrossing aim in view. Strange study for a child, to
learn the road to a hard parent's heart!
     There  were many careless  loungers through the street,  as the  summer
evening  deepened into night,  who glanced  across the road  at  the  sombre
house, and saw the youthful figure at  the  window, such  a contrast to  it,
looking upward at the stars as they began to shine, who would have slept the
worse if they had  known on what design she mused so steady.  The reputation
of the mansion as  a haunted  house, would not have been the gayer with some
humble dwellers elsewhere, who were struck by its external gloom in  passing
and repassing on their daily avocations, and so named it, if they could have
read its story in  the darkening face. But Florence held her sacred purpose,
unsuspected and unaided:  and studied only  how  to bring her father  to the
understanding that she loved him,  and  made no appeal  against  him  in any
wandering thought.
     Thus Florence lived alone in the deserted house, and day succeeded day,
and  still she lived alone,  and the monotonous  walls looked down upon  her
with a  stare, as  if  they had  a Gorgon-like intent to stare her youth and
beauty into stone.
     Susan Nipper  stood opposite to her young mistress one morning, as  she
folded  and sealed a note  she had been  writing: and showed in her looks an
approving knowledge of its contents.
     'Better late than never, dear Miss  Floy,'  said Susan, 'and  I do say,
that even a visit to them old Skettleses will be a Godsend.'
     'It  is very good of  Sir Barnet  and  Lady Skettles,  Susan,' returned
Florence, with a mild correction of that  young  lady's  familiar mention of
the family in question, 'to repeat their invitation so kindly.'
     Miss  Nipper,  who  was perhaps the most thoroughgoing partisan on  the
face of the  earth, and  who carried her partisanship into all matters great
or  small, and perpetually waged war with it against society, screwed up her
lips  and  shook  her   head,  as  a  protest  against  any  recognition  of
disinterestedness in the Skettleses, and a plea in bar that they  would have
valuable consideration for their kindness, in the company of Florence.
     'They  know  what they're about, if  ever people  did,'  murmured  Miss
Nipper, drawing in her breath 'oh! trust them Skettleses for that!'
     'I  am  not  very  anxious to go  to  Fulham, Susan, I  confess,'  said
Florence thoughtfully:  'but it  will  be  right to  go. I think it  will be
     'Much  better,' interposed  Susan,  with another  emphatic shake of her
     'And so,' said Florence, 'though I would prefer to have gone when there
was no one there, instead of in this vacation time, when it  seems there are
some young people staying in the house, I have thankfully said yes.'
     'For which I say, Miss Floy, Oh be joyful!' returned Susan, 'Ah!
     This last ejaculation,  with which  Miss  Nipper frequently wound up  a
sentence,  at about that  epoch of time, was supposed below the level of the
hall to have a  general reference  to Mr Dombey,  and  to be expressive of a
yearning in  Miss  Nipper to favour that gentleman with a piece of her mind.
But  she  never  explained it; and it  had, in  consequence,  the  charm  of
mystery, in addition to the advantage of the sharpest expression.
     'How  long it is before we  have any news of  Walter, Susan!'  observed
Florence, after a moment's silence.
     'Long  indeed,  Miss Floy!' replied her maid.  'And Perch said, when he
came  just  now  to  see  for  letters - but what signifies  what he  says!'
exclaimed Susan, reddening and breaking off. 'Much he knows about it!'
     Florence raised her eyes quickly, and a flush overspread her face.
     'If I hadn't,' said Susan Nipper, evidently struggling with some latent
anxiety  and  alarm,  and  looking   full  at  her   young  mistress,  while
endeavouring to work herself into a state of resentment with the unoffending
Mr Perch's image, 'if I hadn't more manliness than that  insipidest  of  his
sex, I'd never take pride in my hair again, but  turn  it up behind my ears,
and wear coarse caps, without a bit of border,  until death released me from
my insignificance. I may not be a Amazon, Miss Floy,  and wouldn't so demean
myself by such disfigurement, but anyways I'm not a giver up, I hope'
     'Give up! What?' cried Florence, with a face of terror.
     'Why, nothing,  Miss,' said  Susan.  'Good gracious, nothing! It's only
that  wet curl-paper of  a man, Perch,  that anyone might  almost make  away
with, with a  touch, and  really it would be a blessed event for all parties
if someone would take pity on him, and would have the goodness!'
     'Does he give up the ship, Susan?' inquired Florence, very pale.
     'No, Miss,' returned Susan, 'I should like to see' him make so  bold as
do it to my face! No, Miss, but he goes 'on about some bothering ginger that
Mr Walter was to send to Mrs Perch, and  shakes his dismal head, and says he
hopes it  may be coming; anyhow, he  says, it can't come now in time for the
intended occasion, but  may do  for next, which  really,' said Miss  Nipper,
with aggravated scorn,  'puts me out of patience with the man, for  though I
can bear a great deal, I am not a camel, neither am I,' added Susan, after a
moment's consideration, 'if I know myself, a dromedary neither.'
     'What  else  does he say, Susan?'  inquired Florence, earnestly. 'Won't
you tell me?'
     'As if I wouldn't tell  you anything, Miss Floy, and everything!'  said
Susan. 'Why, nothing Miss,  he says that there begins to  be  a general talk
about the  ship, and that they have never had a  ship on that voyage half so
long unheard  of, and that  the Captain's wife was  at the office yesterday,
and seemed a  little put  out about it,  but anyone  could say that, we knew
nearly that before.'
     'I  must  visit  Walter's uncle,' said Florence,  hurriedly, 'before  I
leave home. I will go and see him this morning. Let us walk there, directly,
     Miss  Nipper having  nothing to urge against  the  proposal,  but being
perfectly acquiescent, they were soon equipped,  and  in the streets, and on
their way towards the little Midshipman.
     The state of mind in which poor Walter had gone to Captain Cuttle's, on
the day  when Brogley the broker came into possession, and when there seemed
to him to  be an execution in the very steeples, was pretty much the same as
that  in  which  Florence  now  took  her way  to  Uncle  Sol's;  with  this
difference, that Florence suffered the  added pain of  thinking that she had
been, perhaps,  the innocent occasion  of involving Walter in peril, and all
to  whom he was  dear, herself included, in an agony of  suspense.  For  the
rest,   uncertainty   and   danger  seemed   written  upon  everything.  The
weathercocks on  spires and housetops  were mysterious  with hints of stormy
wind,  and pointed,  like so many  ghostly  fingers, out to  dangerous seas,
where fragments of  great  wrecks were drifting,  perhaps, and  helpless men
were rocked upon them into a sleep as deep as the unfathomable waters.  When
Florence came into the City, and passed gentlemen who were talking together,
she dreaded  to  hear  them speaking of the ship,  an'd saying  it was lost.
Pictures  and prints  of vessels  fighting with the rolling waves filled her
with alarm. The smoke and clouds, though moving gently, moved too  fast  for
her  apprehensions,  and made  her fear there  was a tempest blowing at that
moment on the ocean.
     Susan Nipper may or  may not have  been affected similarly, but  having
her attention  much engaged in  struggles with boys, whenever there was  any
press of people -  for, between that grade of  human kind and herself, there
was  some natural animosity  that  invariably broke out,  whenever they came
together  -  it  would  seem that  she had not  much leisure on the road for
intellectual operations,
     Arriving in  good time abreast of the wooden Midshipman on the opposite
side of the way, and waiting  for an  opportunity to cross the  street, they
were a little  surprised at first to see, at  the Instrument-maker's door, a
round-headed  lad, with his chubby face  addressed towards  the sky, who, as
they  looked at him, suddenly thrust into his capacious mouth two fingers of
each  hand,  and  with  the  assistance  of  that machinery  whistled,  with
astonishing shrillness, to some pigeons at  a  considerable elevation in the
     'Mrs  Richards's eldest,  Miss!'  said  Susan,  'and  the worrit of Mrs
Richards's life!'
     As Polly had been to tell Florence of the resuscitated prospects of her
son and heir, Florence was prepared for the meeting: so, a favourable moment
presenting   itself,   they  both  hastened   across,  without  any  further
contemplation  of Mrs Richards's  bane' That sporting character, unconscious
of their approach, again  whistled with his utmost might, and then yelled in
a rapture of excitement, 'Strays!  Whip! Strays!' which  identification  had
such an effect upon  the conscience-stricken pigeons, that instead of  going
direct to some  town in the North of England, as appeared to have been their
original intention, they began to wheel and falter; whereupon Mrs Richards's
first born  pierced them with another whistle, and  again yelled, in a voice
that rose above the turmoil of the street, 'Strays! Who~oop! Strays!'
     From this transport, he was  abruptly recalled  to terrestrial objects,
by a poke from Miss Nipper, which sent him into the shop,
     'Is  this the way you show your penitence,  when Mrs Richards has  been
fretting  for  you  months  and  months?' said  Susan,  following  the poke.
'Where's Mr Gills?'
     Rob, who smoothed his  first  rebellious glance at Miss Nipper when  he
saw Florence  following,  put  his knuckles to his hair, in  honour  of  the
latter, and said to the former, that Mr Gills was out'
     Fetch him  home,' said Miss  Nipper, with authority, 'and say  that  my
young lady's here.'
     'I don't know where he's gone,' said Rob.
     'Is that your penitence?' cried Susan, with stinging sharpness.
     'Why how  can I  go and  fetch  him when I  don't  know  where to  go?'
whimpered the baited Rob. 'How can you be so unreasonable?'
     'Did Mr Gills say when he should be home?' asked Florence.
     'Yes, Miss,' replied  Rob, with another application of his  knuckles to
his  hair.  'He  said he should be home early in the  afternoon;  in about a
couple of hours from now, Miss.'
     'Is he very anxious about his nephew?' inquired Susan.
     'Yes,  Miss,' returned Rob, preferring  to address  himself to Florence
and slighting  Nipper; 'I should say he was, very much so. He ain't indoors,
Miss, not a quarter  of an hour together. He can't  settle in one place five
minutes. He  goes about, like a - just like a  stray,' said Rob, stooping to
get a glimpse of the pigeons through the window,  and checking himself, with
his fingers half-way to his mouth, on the verge of another whistle.
     'Do  you  know  a friend of  Mr Gills, called Captain Cuttle?' inquired
Florence, after a moment's reflection.
     'Him with  a hook, Miss?' rejoined Rob, with  an illustrative  twist of
his left hand. Yes, Miss. He was here the day before yesterday.'
     'Has he not been here since?' asked Susan.
     'No, Miss,' returned Rob, still addressing his reply to Florence.
     'Perhaps  Walter's  Uncle has  gone there,  Susan,' observed  Florence,
turning to her.
     'To Captain Cuttle's, Miss?' interposed Rob; 'no, he's  not gone there,
Miss. Because  he  left  particular  word that  if Captain Cuttle called,  I
should tell him  how  surprised he was, not to have seen  him yesterday, and
should make him stop till he came back'
     'Do you know where Captain Cuttle lives?' asked Florence.
     Rob replied in the affirmative, and turning  to a greasy parchment book
on the shop desk, read the address aloud.
     Florence again turned to her maid  and took counsel  with her in  a low
voice,  while Rob  the  round-eyed,  mindful of  his patron's secret charge,
looked on and  listened. Florence  proposed that  they kould go  to  Captain
Cuttle's  house; hear from his own lips, what  he thought  of the absence of
any  tidings ofthe Son  and  Heir; and bring  him, if they could, to comfort
Uncle Sol. Susan at first objected slightly, on the score of distance; but a
hackney-coach being mentioned by her mistress, withdrew that opposition, and
gave  in her  assent.  There were  some  minutes  of discussion between them
before they came to this conclusion, during which the staring Rob paid close
attention  to both speakers, and inclined his ear to each by turns, as if he
were appointed arbitrator of the argument.
     In time, Rob  was  despatched  for  a coach, the  visitors keeping shop
meanwhile; and when he brought it, they got into it,  leaving word for Uncle
Sol that they would be sure to call  again,  on their way  back.  Rob having
stared after  the  coach  until  it was as  invisible as the pigeons had now
become,  sat  down  behind the desk with a most assiduous  demeanour; and in
order that he  might forget nothing of what had transpired, made notes of it
on various small  scraps of paper, with a vast expenditure of ink. There was
no  danger of these documents betraying  anything, if accidentally lost; for
long before a word was dry, it became as profound a mystery to Rob, as if he
had had no part whatever in its production.
     While he  was yet  busy  with  these labours, the hackney-coach,  after
encountering  unheard-of  difficulties  from  swivel-bridges,   soft  roads,
impassable  canals,  caravans  of  casks,  settlements of  scarlet-beans and
little  wash-houses,  and many such  obstacles  abounding in  that  country,
stopped at the  corner  of Brig  Place.  Alighting here, Florence and  Susan
Nipper walked down the street, and sought out the abode of Captain Cuttle.
     It happened by evil chance to be one of Mrs MacStinger's great cleaning
days. On these occasions, Mrs MacStinger was knocked up  by the policeman at
a quarter before three in the morning, and rarely such before twelve o'clock
next night.  The chief  object  of this institution appeared to be, that Mrs
MacStinger should move all the furniture into the back garden at early dawn,
walk about the house in pattens all day,  and move the  furniture back again
after  dark.  These  ceremonies  greatly  fluttered  those doves  the  young
MacStingers,  who  were  not   only  unable  at  such  times  to  find   any
resting-place for the soles of their feet, but generally came in  for a good
deal  of  pecking  from  the  maternal  bird  during  the  progress  of  the
     At the moment  when Florence and  Susan Nipper  presented themselves at
Mrs MacStinger's door,  that worthy but redoubtable female was in the act of
conveying Alexander MacStinger, aged two years and three  months,  along the
passage, for  forcible  deposition  in  a  sitting  posture  on  the  street
pavement:  Alexander being  black in the face with holding his breath  after
punishment, and a cool paving-stone being usually found to act as a powerful
restorative in such cases.
     The feelings of Mrs MacStinger, as a woman  and a mother, were outraged
by  the  look of pity for Alexander  which she observed  on Florence's face.
Therefore, Mrs MacStinger asserting those  finest emotions of our nature, in
preference to weakly gratifying her curiosity, shook and buffeted  Alexander
both  before  and during the application  of the paving-stone,  and took  no
further notice of the strangers.
     'I beg your pardon, Ma'am,' said Florence, when the child had found his
breath again, and was using it. 'Is this Captain Cuttle's house?'
     'No,' said Mrs MacStinger.
     'Not Number Nine?' asked Florence, hesitating.
     'Who said it wasn't Number Nine?' said Mrs MacStinger.
     Susan  Nipper  instantly struck  in,  and  begged to  inquire  what Mrs
MacStinger meant by that, and if she knew whom she was talking to.
     Mrs MacStinger in retort,  looked  at her  all over. 'What  do you want
with Captain Cuttle, I should wish to know?' said Mrs MacStinger.
     'Should you? Then I'm sorry that you won't be satisfied,' returned Miss
     'Hush, Susan! If you please!' said Florence.  'Perhaps you can have the
goodness  to tell us where Captain  Cutlle lives, Ma'am  as  he  don't  live
     'Who  says he don't live  here?' retorted the implacable MacStinger. 'I
said  it wasn't Cap'en Cuttle's house - and  it ain't his  house -and forbid
it, that  it ever should be his house - for Cap'en Cuttle  don't know how to
keep a house - and don't deserve to have  a house - it's my house - and when
I let the upper floor to Cap'en  Cuttle, oh I do a thankless thing, and cast
pearls before swine!'
     Mrs  MacStinger pitched  her voice for the  upper  windows in  offering
these remarks, and cracked off each  clause sharply by  itself  as if from a
rifle possessing an infinity of  barrels. After the last shot, the Captain's
voice was heard to say, in  feeble remonstrance from his  own  room, 'Steady
     'Since  you want Cap'en Cuttle, there he is!' said Mrs MacStinger, with
an angry motion of her hand. On Florence  making  bold to enter, without any
more  parley,  and  on  Susan  following,  Mrs  MacStinger  recommenced  her
pedestrian  exercise in pattens,  and  Alexander  MacStinger  (still on  the
paving-stone), who had stopped in his crying to attend to  the conversation,
began to  wail  again, entertaining himself  during that dismal performance,
which  was  quite  mechanical,  with  a  general  survey  of  the  prospect,
terminating in the hackney-coach.
     The  Captain in his  own apartment was sitting  with  his hands in  his
pockets  and his legs  drawn  up under his chair, on a  very  small desolate
island,  lying  about  midway in an ocean of soap and water.  The  Captain's
windows had  been  cleaned, the walls  had been  cleaned, the stove had been
cleaned, and everything  the stove  excepted, was wet, and shining with soft
soap and  sand: the smell of which  dry-saltery impregnated  the air. In the
midst of the dreary scene,  the  Captain, cast away upon his island,  looked
round on  the waste of waters with a  rueful countenance, and seemed waiting
for some friendly bark to come that way, and take him off.
     But  when  the Captain, directing  his forlorn visage towards the door,
saw Florence  appear with her  maid, no words can describe his astonishment.
Mrs MacStinger's eloquence having rendered all other sounds but  imperfectly
distinguishable, he had  looked for no rarer visitor than the potboy  or the
milkman; wherefore, when  Florence  appeared, and coming to  the confines of
the island,  put  her hand in his,  the  Captain stood  up, aghast, as if he
supposed  her,  for  the  moment, to be  some  young  member  of  the Flying
Dutchman's family.'
     Instantly recovering his self-possession, however, the Captain's  first
care was to place her on  dry land, which he  happily accomplished, with one
motion  of his arm. Issuing forth,  then, upon the main, Captain Cuttle took
Miss Nipper round the  waist,  and bore  her  to  the island  also.  Captain
Cuttle, then, with great respect and admiration, raised the hand of Florence
to his lips, and standing off a little(for the island  was not  large enough
for three), beamed on her from the soap and water like a new description  of
     'You are amazed to see us, I am sure,'said Florence, with a smile.
     The  inexpressibly gratified  Captain  kissed  his  hook in reply,  and
growled, as if a choice and delicate compliment were included  in the words,
'Stand by! Stand by!'
     'But I  couldn't rest,' said Florence, 'without coming to ask you  what
you think  about  dear  Walter - who is my brother now- and whether there is
anything  to fear,  and whether you will  not go and  console his poor Uncle
every day, until we have some intelligence of him?'
     At these  words Captain  Cuttle, as by an involuntary gesture,  clapped
his hand  to his head, on  which the  hard glazed  hat  was not, and  looked
     'Have you any fears for Walter's safety?' inquired Florence, from whose
face the Captain (so  enraptured he was with  it) could not  take  his eyes:
while she,  in her turn,  looked  earnestly  at him, to  be assured  of  the
sincerity of his reply.
     'No, Heart's-delight,' said Captain Cuttle, 'I am not afeard. Wal'r  is
a lad as'll go through a deal o' hard weather. Wal'r is a lad as'll bring as
much  success  to that 'ere brig as  a lad  is  capable on. Wal'r,' said the
Captain,  his eyes glistening with the praise  of his  young friend, and his
hook  raised  to  announce a beautiful  quotation, 'is  what you may call  a
out'ard and visible sign of an in'ard  and  spirited  grasp, and  when found
make a note of.'
     Florence,  who  did  not  quite  understand this,  though  the  Captain
evidentllty thought  it  full  of meaning, and  highly  satisfactory, mildly
looked to him for something more.
     'I am  not  afeard, my Heart's-delight,' resumed the Captain,  'There's
been most uncommon bad  weather in  them latitudes, there's no denyin',  and
they  have drove and drove and been beat off, may be t'other side the world.
But the  ship's a  good ship, and the lad's a good  lad;  and it ain't easy,
thank the Lord,' the Captain made a little bow,  'to break up hearts of oak,
whether they're in brigs  or  buzzums. Here we have 'em both ways, which  is
bringing it up with a round turn, and so I ain't a bit afeard as yet.'
     'As yet?' repeated Florence.
     'Not a bit,'  returned the Captain, kissing his iron hand; 'and afore I
begin to be, my Hearts-delight, Wal'r will have wrote  home from the island,
or from some port  or  another, and  made all  taut and  shipsahape'And with
regard to old Sol Gills, here the Captain became solemn, 'who I'll stand by,
and not desert until death do us part, and when the stormy winds do blow, do
blow, do blow - overhaul the  Catechism,' said the Captain  parenthetically,
'and there you'll find  them expressions  - if it would console Sol Gills to
have  the opinion  of a  seafaring  man as has  got  a  mind  equal  to  any
undertaking that  he puts it alongside  of,  and as was  all but  smashed in
his'prenticeship, and of which the name is  Bunsby, that 'ere man shall give
him  such an  opinion in his own  parlour as'll stun him. Ah!'  said Captain
Cuttle,  vauntingly, 'as much as  if he'd  gone and knocked his head again a
     'Let us take this ~gentleman to see him, and let us hear what he says,'
cried Florence. 'Will you go with us now? We have a coach here.'
     Again  the  Captain  clapped his hand  to his head, on  which  the hard
glazed  hat was not, and  looked  discomfited. But  at  this instant  a most
remarkable  phenomenon  occurred. The door  opening,  without  any  note  of
preparation,  and  apparently of itself, the  hard  glazed hat  in  question
skimmed into  the room  like a bird,  and alighted heavily at  the Captain's
feet.  The door then shut as violently  as it had opened, and nothIng ensued
in explanation of the prodigy.
     Captain Cuttle picked up his hat, and having turned it over with a look
of interest and welcome, began to polish it  on his sleeve'  While doing so,
the Captain eyed his visitors intently, and said in a low voice
     'You  see I  should  have bore down on  Sol  Gills yesterday, and  this
morning,  but she -  she took it away and kep it. That's the long  and short
ofthe subject.'
     'Who did, for goodness sake?' asked Susan Nipper.
     'The  lady of the  house, my  dear,'returned the  Captain,  in  a gruff
whisper, and making signals of secrecy.'We had some words about the swabbing
of these  here planks, and  she  -  In short,'  said the Captain, eyeing the
door, and relieving himself with a long breath, 'she stopped my liberty.'
     'Oh! I wish she had me to  deal  with!' said  Susan, reddening with the
energy of the wish. 'I'd stop her!'
     'Would you,  do you, my dear?' rejoined the  Captain, shaking his  head
doubtfully,  but regarding the  desperate  courage of the fair aspirant with
obvious admiration.  'I  don't know. It's difficult  navigation.  She's very
hard to carry on with, my dear. You never can tell how she'll head, you see.
She's full one minute, and round upon you next.  And when  she in a tartar,'
said  the Captain,  with  the  perspiration breaking out upon his  forehead.
There  was nothing but a  whistle  emphatic enough for the conclusion of the
sentence,  so the Captain whistled tremulously.  After  which he again shook
his head, and  recurring to his admiration of Miss Nipper's devoted bravery,
timidly repeated, 'Would you, do you think, my dear?'
     Susan only replied with a  bridling smile, but that was so very full of
defiance, that there is no knowing how  long Captain Cuttle might have stood
entranced in  its  contemplation, if  Florence in her anxiety had not  again
proposed  their  immediately resorting to the oracular Bunsby. Thus reminded
of his duty, Captain  Cuttle Put on the glazed  hat  firmly, took up another
knobby stick,  with which  he had supplied  the place of that one  given  to
Walter,  and offering  his arm to Florence, prepared to cut his way  through
the enemy.
     It turned  out,  however, that  Mrs MacStinger  had already changed her
course, and that she  headed, as the Captain had  remarked she often did, in
quite a  new  direction.  For when  they  got  downstairs,  they  found that
exemplary woman beating  the mats  on the  doorsteps, with Alexander,  still
upon the paving-stone, dimly looming through  a fog of dust; and so absorbed
was Mrs MacStinger in her household occupation, that when Captain Cuttle and
his  visitors  passed, she beat  the harder, and neither by word nor gesture
showed any consciousness of their vicinity.  The Captain was so well pleased
with this easy escape - although the effect of the door-mats on him was like
a copious administration of snuff, and made him sneeze  until  the tears ran
down his face - that he could hardly believe his good fortune; but more than
once, between the door and the hackney-coach, looked over his shoulder, with
an obvious apprehension of Mrs MacStinger's giving chase yet.
     However, they got to the  corner  of Brig Place without any molestation
from that terrible fire-ship; and  the Captain mounting the  coach-box - for
his gallantry  would not allow him  to ride  inside with  the ladies, though
besought  to do so - piloted the driver on  his  course for Captain Bunsby's
vessel,  which  was  called  the Cautious  Clara,  and  was  lying  hard  by
     Arrived at  the wharf off which this great  commander's ship was jammed
in among  some  five hundred  companions, whose  tangled rigging looked like
monstrous   cobwebs  half  swept   down,  Captain  Cuttle  appeared  at  the
coach-window,  and invited  Florence and Miss Nipper  to  accompany  him  on
board; observing that Bunsby  was to the last degree soft-hearted in respect
of  ladies,  and  that nothing  would so  much  tend to bring  his expansive
intellect  into  a state of harmony  as  their presentation to  the Cautious
     Florence readily consented; and the Captain, taking  her little hand in
his  prodigious  palm,  led  her,  with  a  mixed  expression  of patronage,
paternity, pride, and ceremony, that was pleasant to see,  over several very
dirty decks,  until,  coming to the Clara, they  found  that cautious  craft
(which lay outside the tier) with her gangway removed, and half-a-dozen feet
of  river interposed between herself and her nearest neighbour. It appeared,
from Captain Cuttle's explanation, that  the great Bunsby, like himself, was
cruelly treated by his landlady, and that when her usage of him for the time
being was so hard that he could bear it no longer, he set  this gulf between
them as a last resource.
     'Clara a-hoy!' cried  the  Captain, putting a hand  to each side of his
     'A-hoy!' cried a boy, like the Captain's echo, tumbling up from below.
     'Bunsby aboard?'  cried  the Captain, hailing  the boy  in a stentorian
voice, as if he were half-a-mile off instead of two yards.
     'Ay, ay!' cried the boy, in the same tone.
     The boy then shoved out a plank  to  Captain  Cuttle,  who  adjusted it
carefully, and  led Florence across: returning presently for Miss Nipper. So
they stood upon the deck of the Cautious Clara,  in  whose standing rigging,
divers fluttering  articles of  dress  were curing,  in company with  a  few
tongues and some mackerel.
     Immediately there appeared, coming slowly up above the bulk-head of the
cabin, another bulk-head 'human, and very large - with one stationary eye in
the  mahogany  face,  and  one  revolving one,  on  the  principle  of  some
lighthouses. This head  was decorated with  shaggy hair,  like oakum,' which
had no governing inclination  towards the north, east, west,  or  south, but
inclined to  all four quarters of the compass, and to every  point  upon it.
The head was followed by a perfect desert of chin, and by a shirt-collar and
neckerchief, and by a dreadnought  pilot-coat, and by a pair of  dreadnought
pilot-trousers, whereof the waistband was  so very  broad  and high, that it
became  a succedaneum  for  a waistcoat: being ornamented near the  wearer's
breastbone with  some  massive wooden  buttons, like backgammon  men. As the
lower portions of these pantaloons became  revealed, Bunsby stood confessed;
his hands in their pockets, which  were of vast size; and his gaze directed,
not to Captain Cuttle or the ladies, but the mast-head.
     The profound appearance of this philosopher,  who was bulky and strong,
and on whose extremely red face an expression of taciturnity  sat enthroned,
not  inconsistent  with  his character,  in which  that  quality was proudly
conspicuous,  almost daunted  Captain Cuttle,  though on familiar terms with
him.  Whispering  to  Florence  that Bunsby had never in his life  expressed
surprise, and was considered not to know what it  meant, the Captain watched
him as he eyed his mast-head, and afterwards swept the horizon; and when the
revolving eye seemed to be coming round in his direction, said:
     'Bunsby, my lad, how fares it?'
     A deep, gruff, husky  utterance, which seemed to have no connexion with
Bunsby, and certainly had not the least  effect upon his face, replied, 'Ay,
ay,  shipmet,  how goes it?' At the  same time  Bunsby's right hand and arm,
emerging from a pocket, shook the Captain's, and went back again.
     'Bunsby,' said the Captain, striking home at once, 'here you are; a man
of mind, and a man as can give an  opinion. Here's a young lady  as wants to
take that opinion, in regard of my friend Wal'r; likewise my t'other friend,
Sol Gills, which is a character for you  to come within hail of, being a man
of science, which is the mother of inwention, and knows no law. Bunsby, will
you wear, to oblige me, and come along with us?'
     The  great commander,  who seemed  by  expression of his visage  to  be
always on the look-out for something in  the extremest distance' and to have
no ocular knowledge of any anng' within ten miles, made no reply whatever.
     'Here is  a  man,' said  the Captain, addressing  himself  to  his fair
auditors, and indicating the commander with his outstretched hook, 'that has
fell down, more than any  man alive; that  has had more accidents  happen to
his own  self  than  the  Seamen's Hospital to all  hands; that took as many
spars and bars and bolts about the outside of his head when he was young, as
you'd want a order for on  Chatham-yard  to build a pleasure yacht with; and
yet that his opinions in that way, it's my  belief,  for there ain't nothing
like 'em afloat or ashore.'
     The stolid commander appeared by a very slight vibration in his elbows,
to express some  satisfitction in this encomium; but if his face had been as
distant as his gaze was, it could hardIy have enlightened the beholders less
in reference to anything that was passing in his thoughts.
     'Shipmate,' said Bunsby, all of a sudden, and stooping down to look out
under some interposing spar, 'what'll the ladies drink?'
     Captain  Cuttle,  whose delicacy  was shocked  by  such  an  inquiry in
connection with Florence, drew the sage aside, and seeming to explain in his
ear, accompanied him  below; where,  that he  might  not  take  offence, the
Captain drank a dram  himself' which  Florence  and Susan, glancing down the
open  skylight, saw  the  sage,  with  difficulty  finding room for  himself
between  his berth and a very little brass fireplace, serve out for self and
friend. They soon  reappeared on deck, and Captain Cuttle, triumphing in the
success of  his enterprise,  conducted  Florence  back to  the  coach, while
Bunsby followed, escorting Miss Nipper, whom he hugged upon the way (much to
that young lady's indignation) with his pilot-coated arm, like a blue bear.
     The Captain put  his  oracle  inside, and  gloried  so  much in  having
secured  him, and having got that mind into  a hackney-coach, that he  could
not refrain from often  peeping in  at Florence  through  the little  window
behind  the driver,  and testifiing  his delight in smiles, and also in taps
upon  his forehead, to hint to her that the brain of Bunsby was  hard at it'
In  the meantime, Bunsby, still  hugging Miss  Nipper  (for his  friend, the
Captain,  had  not  exaggerated  the  softness  of  his  heart),  uniformily
preserved his  gravity of deportment, and showed no other  consciousness  of
her or anything.
     Uncle  Sol, who had come home,  received them at the door,  and ushered
them  immediately into the  little back parlour:  strangely  altered by  the
absence of Walter.  On the table, and about the  room,  were the charts  and
maps on which the heavy-hearted Instrument-maker had again and again tracked
the missing  vessel  across the sea,  and on which, with a pair of compasses
that he still had in his hand, he had been measuring,  a  minute before, how
far  she  must have  driven, to have driven  here  or  there: and trying  to
demonstrate that a long time must elapse before hope was exhausted.
     'Whether  she can have run,' said Uncle Sol, looking wistfully over the
chart; 'but no, that's almost impossible or whether she can have been forced
by stress  of weather,  - but that's not reasonably likely. Or whether there
is any hope she so  far changed  her course as -  but even I can hardly hope
that!' With such  broken  suggestions,  poor old Uncle  Sol roamed over  the
great sheet before him, and could not find a speck of hopeful probability in
it large enough to set one small point of the compasses upon.
     Florence saw immediately - it would  have been difficult to help seeing
- that there was a singular, indescribable change  in the  old man, and that
while  his manner was far more restless and unsettled  than usual, there was
yet a curious, contradictory decision in it, that perplexed her  very  much.
She fancied once  that he spoke wildly, and at random; for on her saying she
regretted not to have seen  him when she had been there before that morning,
he at first replied that he had been  to see  her,  and  directly afterwards
seemed to wish to recall that answer.
     'You have been to see me?' said Florence. 'To-day?'
     'Yes, my dear young lady,' returned  Uncle Sol, looking at her and away
from her in a confused manner. 'I wished to see you with my own eyes, and to
hear you with my own ears, once more before - ' There he stopped.
     'Before when? Before what?' said  Florence,  putting  her hand upon his
     'Did I  say "before?"'  replied old  Sol. 'If I did, I must have  meant
before we should have news of my dear boy.'
     'You  are not  well,' said Florence, tenderly.  'You have been so  very
anxious I am sure you are not well.'
     'I am as well,'  returned  the old man, shutting up his right hand, and
holding it out to show her: 'as well and firm as any man  at my time of life
can hope to be. See! It's steady. Is its master not as capable of resolution
and fortitude as many a younger man? I think so. We shall see.'
     There was  that  in  his  manner  more than in his words,  though  they
remained with her too, which impressed Florence so much, that she would have
confided her uneasiness to Captain Cuttle at that moment, if the Captain had
not seized that moment  for expounding the state  of  circumstance, on which
the  opinion of  the  sagacious Bunsby  was requested,  and  entreating that
profound authority to deliver the same.
     Bunsby, whose  eye continued  to be addressed  to  somewhere about  the
half-way house  between London and Gravesend, two or three times put out his
rough right arm, as seeking to wind it for inspiration  round the  fair form
of  Miss  Nipper;  but  that  young  female  having  withdrawn  herself,  in
displeasure,  to  the  opposite side of the  table,  the  soft heart  of the
Commander of the Cautious  Clara met with no response to its impulses. After
sundry  failures  in this wise, the Commander, addressing himself to nobody,
thus spake; or rather the voice within him said of its own accord, and quite
independent of himself, as if he were possessed by a gruff spirit:
     'My name's Jack Bunsby!'
     'He  was christened  John,' cried the  delighted Captain  Cuttle. 'Hear
     'And  what I  says,'  pursued  the voice,  after  some deliberation, 'I
stands to.
     The Captain,  with Florence  on  his arm,  nodded at the  auditory, and
seemed to say,  'Now he's  coming out. This  is what I  meant when I brought
     'Whereby,' proceeded the voice, 'why not? If so, what odds? Can any man
say otherwise? No. Awast then!'
     When  it had pursued its  train of  argument to this point,  the  voice
stopped, and rested. It then proceeded very slowly, thus:
     'Do I believe that this here Son and Heir's gone down, my lads? Mayhap.
Do I say so? Which? If a skipper stands out by Sen' George's Channel, making
for the  Downs,  what's right ahead of him? The Goodwins. He isn't foroed to
run upon the Goodwins, but he may.  The bearings of this observation lays in
the application on it. That ain't no  part of  my  duty. Awast then,  keep a
bright look-out for'ard, and good luck to you!'
     The voice here went out of the back parlour and into the street, taking
the  Commander of the  Cautious Clara with it, and accompanying him on board
again with all convenient expedition, where  he immediately  turned  in, and
refreshed his mind with a nap.
     The students of the sage's precepts, left to their  own  application of
his  wisdom - upon a principle  which was the main leg of the Bunsby tripod,
as it is perchance of some other  oracular stools - looked upon one  another
in a  little uncertainty; while Rob  the Grinder, who had taken the innocent
freedom of peering in, and listening, through the skylight in the roof, came
softly down from  the leads, in a  state  of  very  dense confusion. Captain
Cuttle,  however, whose admiration  of Bunsby was, if possible, enhanced  by
the splendid manner  in  which he had  justified  his  reputation  and  come
through  this  solemn  reference,  proceeded  to explain  that  Bunsby meant
nothing but  confidence; that  Bunsby  had no  misgivings; and that such  an
opinion as  that man had given, coming from such a  mind as his,  was Hope's
own anchor,  with good roads to cast  it in. Florence endeavoured to believe
that the  Captain was right; but  the Nipper,  with her arms  tight  folded,
shook her head in resolute denial, and had no more trust m Bunsby than in Mr
Perch himself.
     The philosopher seemed to have  left Uncle Sol pretty much where he had
found him,  for he still went roaming  about the watery  world, compasses in
hand, and discovering no rest for them. It was in pursuance  of a whisper in
his ear from Florence,  while the old man was absorbed in this pursuit, that
Captain Cuttle laid his heavy hand upon his shoulder.
     'What cheer, Sol Gills?' cried the Captain, heartily.
     'But  so-so,  Ned,'   returned  the  Instrument-maker.  'I   have  been
remembering, all this  afternoon,  that on the  very day when my boy entered
Dombey's House,  and  came home late to dinner, sitting just there where you
stand, we talked of storm  and shipwreck, and I could  hardly turn  him from
the subject'
     But  meeting  the  eyes  of  Florence,  which  were  fixed with earnest
scrutiny upon his face, the old man stopped and smiled.
     'Stand  by, old  friend!' cried  the Captain. 'Look  alive! I  tell you
what, Sol  Gills; arter I've  convoyed Heart's-delight  safe home,' here the
Captain kissed his hook to Florence, 'I'll come back and take you in tow for
the rest of this blessed day. You'll come and eat your dinner along with me,
Sol, somewheres or another.'
     'Not  to-day,  Ned!' said the  old  man  quickly,  and appearing to  be
unaccountably startled by the proposition. 'Not to-day. I couldn't do it!'
     'Why not?' returned the Captain, gazing at him in astonishment.
     'I - I  have  so  much  to do. I - I mean  to  think of, and arrange. I
couldn't do it, Ned, indeed. I must go out again, and  be alone, and turn my
mind to many things to-day.'
     The Captain looked at the Instrument-maker, and looked at Florence, and
again at the Instrument-maker. 'To-morrow, then,' he suggested, at last.
     'Yes,  yes. To-morrow,' said the  old man. 'Think of  me to-morrow. Say
     'I shall come here early, mind, Sol Gills,' stipulated the Captain.
     'Yes, yes. The  first  thing tomorrow morning,' said old Sol; 'and  now
good-bye, Ned Cuttle, and God bless you!'
     Squeezing both the  Captain's hands, with uncommon fervour,  as he said
it, the old man turned to Florence, folded hers in his own, and put  them to
his   lips;  then  hurried   her  out  to   the  coach  with  very  singular
precipitation. Altogether, he made such an effect on Captain Cuttle that the
Captain  lingered  behind, and instructed Rob  to be particularly gentle and
attentive  to his master until the morning: which injunction he strengthened
with the payment of one shilling  down, and the promise  of another sixpence
before noon  next  day.  This  kind  office  performed, Captain Cuttle,  who
considered  himself  the natural and lawful body-guard of  Florence, mounted
the box with a mighty sense of his trust, and escorted her home. At parting,
he assured  her that he would stand  by Sol Gills,  close and true; and once
again inquired  of Susan Nipper,  unable  to  forget  her  gallant  words in
reference to Mrs MacStinger, 'Would you, do you think my dear, though?'
     When the desolate house had closed upon the two, the Captain's thoughts
reverted to the old Instrument-maker, and  he felt uncomfortable. Therefore,
instead of going home, he walked up and  down the street several times, and,
eking out his leisure until  evening, dined late at a certain angular little
tavern in the City, with a public parlour like a wedge, to which glazed hats
much  resorted. The  Captain's principal intention was to pass Sol  Gills's,
after dark,  and  look in through the window: which he did, The parlour door
stood open,  and he  could see his old friend writing busily and steadily at
the table within, while the little  Midshipman, already  sheltered from  the
night dews, watched him  from the counter; under which Rob  the Grinder made
his own bed, preparatory to shutting the shop. Reassured by the tranquillity
that reigned within the precincts of the wooden mariner, the  Captain headed
for Brig Place, resolving to weigh anchor betimes in the morning.

     The Study of a Loving Heart
     Sir  Barnet and Lady  Skettles, very good people,  resided  in a pretty
villa at  Fulham,  on  the banks of  the Thames; which was one of  the  most
desirable residences in  the world when a rowing-match happened to  be going
past, but had its little inconveniences at  other times,  among which may be
enumerated the occasional  appearance of the river in  the drawing-room, and
the contemporaneous disappearance of the lawn and shrubbery.
     Sir  Barnet Skettles expressed his personal consequence chiefly through
an antique gold snuffbox, and a ponderous silk pocket-kerchief, which he had
an imposing manner of drawing out of his pocket like a banner and using with
both hands at once. Sir Barnet's object in life was constantly to extend the
range of  his acquaintance. Like a heavy  body dropped  into  water - not to
disparage so worthy  a gentleman by the comparison - it was in the nature of
things that Sir Barnet must spread an  ever widening circle about him, until
there  was no  room  left. Or, like a sound in air, the  vibration of which,
according to the speculation of an ingenious  modern philosopher, may  go on
travelling for ever  through the  interminable fields of space, nothing  but
coming to the end of his moral tether could stop  Sir Barnet Skettles in his
voyage of discovery through the social system.
     Sir Barnet  was proud of making people acquainted with people. He liked
the thing for its own sake, and it  advanced his  favourite object too.  For
example, if Sir Barnet had the good fortune to get hold of a law recruit, or
a country  gentleman, and ensnared him  to his hospitable villa, Sir  Barnet
would say to him, on the morning after his arrival,  'Now, my  dear  Sir, is
there  anybody you would like to know? Who is there you would wish  to meet?
Do you take any  interest in writing people,  or in  painting or sculpturing
people, or  in  acting  people, or in  anything of that  sort?' Possibly the
patient answered yes, and mentioned somebody, of whom Sir Barnet had no more
personal knowledge  than  of  Ptolemy  the Great. Sir  Barnet replied,  that
nothing on earth was easier, as he knew him very well: immediately called on
the aforesaid somebody, left his card,  wrote a short note, - 'My dear Sir -
penalty  of your eminent position - friend at my house  naturally desirous -
Lady Skettles and  myself participate - trust that  genius being superior to
ceremonies,  you  will  do  us  the  distinguished favour  of giving us  the
pleasure,' etc, etc. - and so killed a brace of birds  with  one stone, dead
as door-nails.
     With  the  snuff-box  and  banner  in full force, Sir  Barnet  Skettles
propounded his usual inquiry to Florence on the first  morning of her visit.
When Florence thanked him, and said there was no one in particular whom  she
desired  to see, it was natural she  should think with a pang, of poor  lost
Walter. When Sir Barnet Skettles, urging his kind offer, said, 'My dear Miss
Dombey, are you sure you can remember no one whom your good Papa - to whom I
beg you  present  the  best compliments of myself and Lady Skettles when you
write - might wish you to know?' it was natural, perhaps, that her poor head
should  droop a  little,  and that  her voice should  tremble  as it  softly
answered in the negative.
     Skettles Junior, much stiffened as to his cravat, and  sobered down  as
to his  spirits' was at home for the holidays, and appeared  to feel himself
aggrieved  by  the  solicitude  of  his excellent  mother  that he should be
attentive to Florence. Another and a deeper  injury under which the soul  of
young Barnet chafed, was  the company of Dr  and  Mrs Blimber, who had  been
invited  on  a  visit  to the  paternal  roof-tree, and  of  whom the  young
gentleman often said he would have  preferred their passing  the vacation at
     'Is there anybody you can suggest now, Doctor Blimber?' said Sir Barnet
Skettles, turning to that gentleman.
     'You are very kind, Sir Barnet,' returned  Doctor Blimber. 'Really I am
not  aware that there  is,  in particular. I  like to  know my fellow-men in
general,  Sir  Barnet. What does Terence say? Anyone who  is the parent of a
son is interesting to me.
     'Has Mrs  Blimber any  wish  to see any remarkable  person?' asked  Sir
Barnet, courteously.
     Mrs Blimber replied,  with a  sweet smile  and a shake of  her sky-blue
cap, that if Sir Barnet could have made her  known to Cicero, she would have
troubled him; but such an  introduction not  being feasible, and she already
enjoying the friendship of himself and his amiable lady, and possessing with
the Doctor her husband their joint confidence in regard to  their dear son -
here young Barnet was observed to curl his nose - she asked no more.
     Sir Barnet was fain, under these circumstances,  to content himself for
the  time with the company assembled. Florence was glad of that; for she had
a  study to pursue among  them, and it lay too near her heart, and  was  too
precious and momentous, to yield to any other interest.
     There  were some children  staying in  the house. Children who  were as
frank  and happy with fathers and with mothers as  those rosy faces opposite
home. Children who  had  no restraint upon their love. and freely showed it.
Florence sought to learn their secret; sought to find out what  it  was  she
had missed; what simple  art they knew, and  she knew  not; how she could be
taught by  them  to show her father that she loved him, and  to win his love
     Many a  day did Florence thoughtfully observe these children. On many a
bright morning did she leave her bed when the glorious sun rose, and walking
up and down upon the river's bank' before anyone in the house  was stirring,
look up at the windows of their  rooms, and think of them, asleep, so gently
tended and affectionately thought of. Florence would feel  more lonely then,
than in the great house  all alone; and would think  sometimes that  she was
better there than  here, and  that there was greater peace in hiding herself
than in mingling with others of her age, and finding how unlike them all she
was. But attentive to her study, though it touched her to the quick at every
little leaf she turned  in the hard book, Florence remained among them,  and
tried with patient hope, to gain the knowledge that she wearied for.
     Ah! how to gain it! how  to know the charm in its beginning! There were
daughters here, who rose up in the  morning, and lay down to rest  at night,
possessed  of fathers' hearts  already. They had no  repulse to overcome, no
coldness to dread, no frown to smooth away. As the morning advanced, and the
windows opened one by one, and the dew began to dry upon the flowers and and
youthful feet began to  move upon  the lawn, Florence, glancing round at the
bright faces, thought what was there she could learn from these children? It
was too late to learn from them; each could approach  her father fearlessly,
and put up her lips to meet the ready kiss, and wind her arm  about the neck
that  bent  down to  caress her. She could  not begin by being  so bold. Oh!
could it be that there was less and less hope as she studied more and more!
     She remembered well, that even  the old woman who had robbed her when a
little child - whose image  and whose house,  and all she had said and done,
were stamped upon her recollection, with the enduring sharpness of a fearful
impression made at that  early period  of life  - had spoken  fondly of  her
daughter, and how terribly even she had  cried out in the  pain of  hopeless
separation from  her child But her own mother,  she would  think again, when
she  recalled  this, had loved her well. Then, sometimes, when  her thoughts
reverted swiftly to the void between herself  and her father, Florence would
tremble, and the tears would start upon her face, as she pictured to herself
her mother living on, and coming also to dislike her, because of her wanting
the  unknown  grace that should  conciliate  that father naturally, and  had
never done  so from her cradle  She knew that this imagination did wrong  to
her mother's memory, and had no truth in  it, or  base to rest upon; and yet
she tried so hard  to justify him, and to find the  whole blame in  herself,
that  she  could not resist  its passing,  like a  wild  cloud,  through the
distance of her mind.
     There came among the other visitors, soon after Florence, one beautiful
girl, three or four years younger than she, who was an orphan child, and who
was accompanied by her aunt, a grey-haired lady, who spoke much to Florence,
and  who greatly  liked  (but  that  they all did) to hear  her sing  of  an
evening, and would always sit near her at that time, with motherly interest.
They had only been two days in the house,  when Florence, being in an arbour
in the garden one warm morning, musingly observant  of a youthful group upon
the  turf,  through some intervening boughs, - and wreathing flowers for the
head of one little creature among  them who was the pet and plaything of the
rest, heard this same lady and her niece, in pacing up  and down a sheltered
nook close by, speak of herself.
     'Is Florence an orphan like me, aunt?' said the child.
     'No, my love. She has no mother, but her father is living.'
     'Is  she  in  mourning  for her  poor  Mama,  now?' inquired  the child
     'No; for her only brother.'
     'Has she no other brother?'
     'No sister?'
     'I am very, very sorry!' said the little girL
     As they  stopped  soon afterwards  to watch  some  boats, and had  been
silent in the meantime, Florence, who had risen when she heard her name, and
had gathered up her flowers to go and meet them, that they might know of her
being within hearing, resumed her seat and work, expecting to  hear no more;
but the conversation recommenced next moment.
     'Florence is  a favourite with everyone here, and deserves  to be, I am
sure,' said the child, earnestly. 'Where is her Papa?'
     The  aunt replied, after a  moment's pause, that she did  not know. Her
tone of voice arrested Florence, who had started  from  her seat  again; and
held her fastened to the spot, with her work hastily caught up to her bosom,
and her two hands saving it from being scattered on the ground.
     'He is in England, I hope, aunt?' said the child.
     'I believe so. Yes; I know he is, indeed.'
     'Has he ever been here?'
     'I believe not. No.'
     'Is he coming here to see her?'
     'I believe not.
     'Is he lame, or blind, or ill, aunt?' asked the child.
     The flowers that  Florence held to  her breast  began to  fall when she
heard those words,  so  wonderingly spoke She held them closer; and her face
hung down upon them'
     'Kate,'  said the lady,  after another moment of silence, 'I will  tell
you the whole truth about Florence as I have heard it, and believe it to be.
Tell no one  else, my dear, because  it may  be little known here, and  your
doing so would give her pain.'
     'I never will!' exclaimed the child.
     'I know you never will,' returned the lady. 'I can trust you as myself.
I  fear then, Kate, that Florence's father cares little for her, very seldom
sees her, never was kind to her in  her  life, and  now  quite shuns her and
avoids her. She would love  him dearly if he would suffer  her, but  he will
not - though for no fault of hers; and she is greatly to be loved and pitied
by all gentle hearts.'
     More of the flowers that Florence held fell scattering  on the  ground;
those that remained  were wet, but not with dew;  and  her face dropped upon
her laden hands.
     'Poor Florence! Dear, good Florence!' cried the child.
     'Do you know why I have told you this, Kate?' said the lady.
     'That I may be very kind to her, and take great care  to try to  please
her. Is that the reason, aunt?'
     'Partly,' said  the lady, 'but not all. Though we see  her so cheerful;
with a pleasant smile for everyone; ready  to oblige us all, and bearing her
part  in every amusement  here: she can  hardly be quite happy, do you think
she can, Kate?'
     'I am afraid not,' said the little girl.
     'And you  can understand,' pursued  the lady, 'why her  observation  of
children who have parents who are  fond  of them, and  proud of them  - like
many here, just now - should make her sorrowful in secret?'
     'Yes,  dear aunt,' said the  child, 'I understand that very  well. Poor
     More  flowers strayed upon the ground, and those  she yet  held to  her
breast trembled as if a wintry wind were rustling them.
     'My Kate,' said the  lady, whose voice  was  serious, but very calm and
sweet,  and had so impressed Florence  from the first moment of  her hearing
it,  'of all  the  youthful  people here, you are  her  natural and harmless
friend; you have not the innocent means, that happier children have - '
     'There are  none happier, aunt!'  exclaimed  the child,  who seemed  to
cling about her.
     'As other children have, dear Kate, of reminding her of her misfortune.
Therefore I would have  you, when you  try to be her little friend,  try all
the  more  for  that, and feel  that  the  bereavement you sustained - thank
Heaven!  before you  knew its weight- gives  you  claim  and hold  upon poor
     'But I  am not without  a parent's love, aunt, and I  never have been,'
said the child, 'with you.'
     'However that may be, my dear,'  returned the lady, 'your misfortune is
a lighter one than Florence's; for not an orphan in the wide world can be so
deserted as the child who is an outcast from a living parent's love.'
     The  flowers were  scattered on the ground  like dust; the  empty hands
were spread upon  the face; and  orphaned Florence, shrinking down  upon the
ground, wept long and bitterly.
     But true of heart and resolute in her good purpose, Florence held to it
as her dying mother held by her upon the day that gave Paul life. He did not
know  how much  she loved him. However long the  time in coming, and however
slow  the interval, she  must  try  to bring that knowledge to  her father's
heart one day or other. Meantime she must be careful in no thoughtless word,
or look,  or  burst  of  feeling  awakened by  any chance  circumstance,  to
complain  against him,  or  to give  occasion  for  these  whispers  to  his
     Even  in the  response  she  made the  orphan child,  to whom  she  was
attracted strongly, and whom she had such occasion to remember, Florence was
mindful of him' If she singled her out too plainly  (Florence  thought) from
among the rest, she would confirm - in one mind certainly: perhaps in more -
the belief that he was cruel  and unnatural. Her  own delight was no set-off
to this, 'What she had overheard was a reason, not for soothing herself, but
for saving him; and Florence did it, in pursuance of the study of her heart.
     She did so always. If a book were  read  aloud, and there were anything
in  the  story that  pointed at an unkind father, she was in pain for  their
application  of  it to  him; not  for herself.  So  with  any  trifle of  an
interlude  that  was acted, or  picture  that was shown,  or  game  that was
played,  among them. The occasions for such  tenderness towards him were  so
many, that her mind misgave her often, it would indeed be better to  go back
to  the old house, and  live  again  within  the shadow  of its dull  walls,
undisturbed. How few who saw sweet Florence, in her spring of womanhood, the
modest little queen of  those  small revels, imagined what a  load of sacred
care lay heavy in her breast! How few of those who stiffened in her father's
freezing atmosphere, suspected what a heap of fiery coals was piled upon his
     Florence pursued  her study  patiently, and,  failing  to  acquire  the
secret of the nameless grace she sought, among the youthful company who were
assembled  in the house, often walked out alone, in the early morning, among
the children of the poor. But still she found them  all too far advanced  to
learn from. They had won their household places  long ago, and did not stand
without, as she did, with a bar across the door.
     There  was  one man whom she several times observed at work very early,
and often with a girl of about  her own age  seated near him' He was a  very
poor  man,  who seemed to  have no regular  employment, but now went roaming
about the banks of the river when the tide was low, looking out for bits and
scraps  in the  mud;  and  now worked  at  the unpromising  little patch  of
garden-ground  before his  cottage; and now tinkered up a miserable old boat
that  belonged  to  him;  or  did  some job of that kind for a neighbour, as
chance occurred. Whatever the man's labour, the girl was never employed; but
sat, when she was with him, in a listless, moping state, and idle.
     Florence had often wished to speak to this man; yet she had never taken
courage  to do so, as he made no  movement towards her. But one morning when
she happened to come upon him  suddenly, from a by-path  among  some pollard
willows which  terminated  in the little shelving piece of stony ground that
lay between his dwelling and the water, where he was bending  over a fire he
had  made to caulk the old boat which was lying bottom upwards, close by, he
raised his head at the sound of her footstep, and gave her Good morning.
     'Good morning,' said Florence,  approaching  nearer,  'you are  at work
     'I'd be glad to be often at work earlier, Miss, if I had work to do.'
     'Is it so hard to get?' asked Florence.
     'I find it so,' replied the man.
     Florence  glanced  to where  the girl was sitting, drawn together, with
her elbows on her knees, and her chin on her hands, and said:
     'Is that your daughter?'
     He  raised  his head  quickly,  and  looking  towards  the  girl with a
brightened  face, nodded to her, and said 'Yes,' Florence looked towards her
too, and  gave her a kind salutation; the girl muttered something in return,
ungraciously and sullenly.
     'Is she in want of employment also?' said Florence.
     The man shook his head. 'No, Miss,' he said. 'I work for both,'
     'Are there only you two, then?' inquired Florence.
     'Only us two,' said the  man. 'Her mother his been dead these ten year.
Martha!' lifted up  his head again, and whistled to  her)  'won't you say  a
word to the pretty young lady?'
     The girl made  an impatient  gesture with  her cowering shoulders,  and
turned her head  another  way.  Ugly, misshapen,  peevish,  ill-conditioned,
ragged, dirty - but beloved!  Oh  yes! Florence  had seen her  father's look
towards her, and she knew whose look it had no likeness to.
     'I'm  afraid  she's  worse  this morning, my poor girl!' said  the man,
suspending  his  work,  and  contemplating  his  ill-favoured child,  with a
compassion that was the more tender for being rougher.
     'She is ill, then!' said Florence,
     The man drew  a deep sigh 'I  don't believe my Martha's  had five short
days'  good health,' he  answered, looking  at her  still, 'in  as many long
     'Ay! and more than that, John,' said  a neighbour, who had come down to
help him with the boat.
     'More than that, you  say, do you?' cried the  other, pushing back  his
battered hat, and drawing his hand across his forehead. 'Very like. It seems
a long, long time.'
     'And  the more  the time,' pursued  the  neighbour,  'the  more  you've
favoured and humoured her, John, till  she's got to be a burden to  herself,
and everybody else'
     'Not to me,' said her father, falling to his work. 'Not to me.'
     Florence  could feel -  who better? - how truly  he spoke.  She  drew a
little closer to him, and would have been glad to touch his rugged hand, and
thank him for his goodness  to the miserable object that he looked upon with
eyes so different from any other man's.
     'Who would favour my  poor girl - to call it favouring -  if I didn't?'
said the father.
     'Ay,  ay,'  cried the  neighbour.  'In reason,  John. But you! You  rob
yourself to give to her. You bind yourself hand and foot on her account. You
make your life miserable along of her. And what  does  she  care!  You don't
believe she knows it?'
     The father lifted up his head again, and  whistled to her.  Martha made
the same impatient  gesture  with her crouching shoulders, in  reply; and he
was glad and happy.
     'Only for that, Miss,' said the neighbour, with a smile, in which there
was  more of secret sympathy than he expressed; 'only to get  that, he never
lets her out of his sight!'
     'Because the day'll  come, and  has been coming a long while,' observed
the other,  bending  low over his work, 'when  to get half as much from that
unfort'nate child of mine - to  get the trembling of a finger, or the waving
of a hair - would be to raise the dead.'
     Florence softly put some money  near his hand on the old boat, and left
     And now Florence  began to think, if she  were to fall ill, if she were
to fade like her dear brother, would  he then know that she had  loved  him;
would  she then grow dear to him; would he come to her bedside, when she was
weak and dim of  sight,  and take her into  his embrace, and  cancel all the
past? Would  he  so forgive her, in that changed condition, for  not  having
been able  to lay open her  childish  heart  to him, as to make  it easy  to
relate with what  emotions she had gone out of his room that night; what she
had  meant to say if she had had the courage;  and  how she had endeavoured,
afterwards, to learn the way she never knew in infancy?
     Yes, she thought if she were dying, he  would relent. She thought, that
if she  lay, serene  and  not unwilling to depart,  upon  the  bed that  was
curtained round with recollections of their darling boy, he would be touched
home, and  would say, 'Dear  Florence, live  for me, and  we will  love each
other as we might have done, and  be as happy as  we  might have  been these
many years!' She thought that if she  heard such words from him, and had her
arms clasped round him' she  could answer with a smile, 'It is  too late for
anything but this; I never could be happier, dear father!' and so leave him,
with a blessing on her lips.
     The golden water she remembered on  the wall, appeared to  Florence, in
the light of such reflections,  only as a current flowing on to rest, and to
a  region where the dear  ones, gone before, were waiting, hand in hand; and
often when  she  looked  upon the darker  river  rippling at  her  feet, she
thought with awful wonder, but  not terror, of that river which her  brother
had so often said was bearing him away.
     The father and  his sick daughter  were  yet fresh in  Florence's mind,
and,  indeed, that incident was not a week old, when Sir Barnet and his lady
going out walking  in the  lanes one afternoon, proposed to her to bear them
company. Florence readily consenting, Lady Skettles ordered out young Barnet
as a  matter of  course.  For  nothing delighted Lady  Skettles so  much, as
beholding her eldest son with Florence on his arm.
     Barnet,  to say the truth, appeared to  entertain an opposite sentiment
on the subject, and on  such occasions frequently expressed himself audibly,
though indefinitely, in reference to 'a parcel of girls.' As it was not easy
to ruffle her sweet temper, however, Florence generally reconciled the young
gentleman to his  fate after a few minutes, and  they strolled on  amicably:
Lady Skettles and  Sir  Barnet following, in a state  of perfect complacency
and high gratification.
     This  was  the order  of  procedure on  the  afternoon in question; and
Florence  had  almost  succeeded in  overruling  the present  objections  of
Skettles Junior to  his destiny, when a gentleman on  horseback  came riding
by, looked at them earnestly as he passed, drew  in his rein, wheeled round,
and came riding back again, hat in hand.
     The gentleman had looked particularly at  Florence; and when the little
party  stopped,  on  his riding back, he bowed  to her, before  saluting Sir
Barnet  and his lady. Florence had no  remembrance of  having ever seen him,
but she started involuntarily when he came near her, and drew back.
     'My horse is perfectly quiet, I assure you,' said the gentleman.
     It was  not  that, but something  in  the gentleman  himself - Florence
could not have said what - that made her recoil as if she had been stung.
     'I  have  the  honour to  address  Miss  Dombey, I  believe?'  said the
gentleman, with a most persuasive smile. On Florence  inclining her head, he
added, 'My  name  is  Carker.  I  can hardly hope  to be remembered by  Miss
Dombey, except by name. Carker.'
     Florence,  sensible of a strange inclination to shiver, though  the day
was  hot,  presented  him to  her  host and  hostess;  by whom  he was  very
graciously received.
     'I beg pardon,' said Mr Carker,  'a thousand times! But I am going down
tomorrow morning to Mr Dombey, at Leamington, and if Miss Dombey can entrust
me with any commission, need I say how very happy I shall be?'
     Sir  Barnet immediately divining  that Florence would desire to write a
letter to  her father, proposed  to return, and besought  Mr Carker to  come
home and dine in his riding gear. Mr Carker had the misfortune to be engaged
to  dinner, but if  Miss  Dombey wished to write, nothing would delight  him
more than to accompany them back, and to be her faithful slave in waiting as
long as  she pleased. As he  said this  with his widest smile, and bent down
close to her to pat his horse's neck, Florence meeting his eyes, saw, rather
than heard him say, 'There is no news of the ship!'
     Confused, frightened, shrinking from him, and not even sure that he had
said  those words, for  he  seemed  to  have  shown  them  to  her  in  some
extraordinary manner through his smile, instead  of uttering them,  Florence
faintly said that she was  obliged to him, but she  would not write; she had
nothing to say.
     'Nothing to send, Miss Dombey?' said the man of teeth.
     'Nothing,' said Florence, 'but my - but my dear love- if you please.'
     Disturbed  as Florence  was,  she raised her eyes  to  his face with an
imploring and expressive look, that plainly besought him, if he knew - which
he as plainly  did -  that  any message  between  her  and her father was an
uncommon charge,  but  that one most of all, to  spare her. Mr Carker smiled
and bowed low, and being charged by Sir Barnet  with the best compliments of
himself  and  Lady  Skettles,  took  his  leave, and  rode  away: leaving  a
favourable impression on that worthy couple. Florence was seized with such a
shudder  as  he  went,  that Sir Barnet, adopting the  popular superstition,
supposed somebody was passing over her grave. Mr Carker turning a corner, on
the instant, looked back,  and bowed, and disappeared, as if he rode  off to
the churchyard straight, to do it.

     Strange News of Uncle Sol
     Captain  Cuttle, though no sluggard, did not turn out so early  on  the
morning after he had seen Sol Gills, through the shop-window, writing in the
parlour, with the Midshipman upon the counter, and Rob the Grinder making up
his bed below it, but that the clocks struck six as he raised himself on his
elbow, and took a survey of his little chamber. The Captain's eyes must have
done  severe duty, if he  usually opened  them as wide on  awaking as he did
that morning;  and were  but  roughly rewarded for  their  vigilance,  if he
generally rubbed them half as hard. But the occasion was no  common one, for
Rob the Grinder had certainly never stood in the doorway of Captain Cuttle's
room before, and in it he stood then, panting at the Captain, with a flushed
and touzled air of Bed  about him, that  greatly heightened both  his colour
and expression.
     'Holloa!' roared the Captain. 'What's the matter?'
     Before  Rob could stammer a  word in answer, Captain Cuttle turned out,
all in a heap, and covered the boy's mouth with his hand.
     'Steady, my lad,' said  the Captain, 'don't ye speak a  word to  me  as
     The Captain, looking  at  his  visitor in  great consternation,  gently
shouldered  him into the next  room, after laying this  injunction upon him;
and disappearing for  a few  moments, forthwith returned  in  the blue suit.
Holding up his  hand in token of  the injunction not  yet  being  taken off,
Captain Cuttle walked up to the cupboard, and poured  himself out  a dram; a
counterpart of which he  handed to  the messenger.  The  Captain then  stood
himself up in a corner, against the wall, as if to forestall the possibility
of being knocked backwards by the communication that was to be made to  him;
and having swallowed his  liquor, with his eyes fixed on the  messenger, and
his face as pale as his face could be, requested him to 'heave ahead.'
     'Do  you  mean, tell you, Captain?'  asked  Rob, who  had  been greatly
impressed by these precautions
     'Ay!' said the Captain.
     'Well, Sir,' said Rob, 'I ain't got much to tell. But look here!'
     Rob produced a bundle of keys. The  Captain surveyed  them, remained in
his corner, and surveyed the messenger.
     'And look here!' pursued Rob.
     The boy produced a sealed packet, which Captain  Cuttle stared at as he
had stared at the keys.
     'When I  woke  this morning,  Captain,'  said  Rob, 'which  was about a
quarter after  five, I  found these on my pillow. The shop-door was unbolted
and unlocked, and Mr Gills gone.'
     'Gone!' roared the Captain.
     'Flowed, Sir,' returned Rob.
     The  Captain's voice was so  tremendous, and he came out of  his corner
with  such way on him,  that Rob retreated before him  into  another corner:
holding out the keys and packet, to prevent himself from being run down.
     '"For Captain Cuttle," Sir,' cried Rob,  'is on the keys,  and  on  the
packet too. Upon my  word and honour, Captain Cuttle,  I don't know anything
more  about it.  I wish I may die if  I do! Here's a  sitiwation  for a  lad
that's just got a sitiwation,' cried the unfortunate  Grinder, screwing  his
cuff into his face: 'his master  bolted  with his place, and him blamed  for
     These lamentations had reference  to Captain Cuttle's  gaze, or  rather
glare, which was  full of vague suspicions, threatenings, and denunciations.
Taking the proffered packet from his hand, the Captain opened it and read as
     'My dear Ned Cuttle.  Enclosed is my will!' The Captain turned it over,
with a doubtful  look -  'and Testament - Where's  the  Testament?' said the
Captain,  instantly impeaching the ill-fated Grinder.  'What  have you  done
with that, my lad?'
     'I never see it,' whimpered Rob.  'Don't keep on suspecting an innocent
lad, Captain. I never touched the Testament.'
     Captain  Cuttle shook  his head,  implying  that somebody  must be made
answerable for it; and gravely proceeded:
     'Which  don't  break  open  for  a  year,  or until you  have  decisive
intelligence  of  my  dear Walter, who is dear to you, Ned, too, I am sure.'
The  Captain  paused  and  shook  his head  in  some  emotion;  then,  as  a
re-establishment  of  his  dignity  in  this  trying  position, looked  with
exceeding sternness at the Grinder. 'If you  should never hear of me, or see
me more, Ned, remember an old friend as he will remember  you to  the last -
kindly; and at least until  the period I have mentioned  has expired, keep a
home in the old place for Walter. There are no debts, the loan from Dombey's
House is paid  off  and all my  keys I  send with this. Keep this quiet, and
make no inquiry for me; it is useless. So no more,  dear Ned, from your true
friend, Solomon  Gills.' The Captain took a long breath, and then read these
words written below:  '"The boy  Rob, well recommended, as I told  you, from
Dombey's House.  If all else should  come to the hammer,  take care, Ned, of
the little Midshipman."'
     To  convey to posterity any idea  of  the manner in  which the Captain,
after turning this letter over  and over, and  reading it  a score of times,
sat down in his chair,  and held  a court-martial on  the subject in his own
mind, would require the united genius of all the great  men, who, discarding
their own untoward days, have determined to go down to  posterity,  and have
never got there. At first the Captain was too much confounded and distressed
to think of anything but the letter itself; and even when his thoughts began
to  glance  upon the various attendant facts, they  might, perhaps,  as well
have  occupied  themselves with  their  former theme,  for  any  light  they
reflected on them. In this state of mind,  Captain Cuttle having the Grinder
before  the  court, and no  one  else,  found it  a great  relief to decide,
generally, that he was  an object of suspicion: which the Captain so clearly
expressed in his visage, that Rob remonstrated.
     'Oh, don't, Captain!'  cried  the Grinder.  'I wonder how you can! what
have I done to be looked at, like that?'
     'My lad,' said Captain  Cuttle, 'don't you sing out  afore you're hurt.
And don't you commit yourself, whatever you do.'
     'I haven't been and committed nothing, Captain!' answered Rob.
     'Keep her free, then,' said the Captain, impressively, 'and ride easy.
     With  a deep sense  of  the  responsibility imposed upon  him' and  the
necessity of thoroughly fathoming this mysterious affair  as became a man in
his  relations with  the parties, Captain Cuttle  resolved  to  go down  and
examine the premises, and to  keep the  Grinder with  him.  Considering that
youth as  under arrest  at present, the Captain was in some doubt whether it
might  not be expedient  to  handcuff  him, or  tie his  ankles together, or
attach  a weight to his legs; but not being clear as to the legality of such
formalities,  the Captain decided merely to hold him by the shoulder all the
way, and knock him down if he made any objection.
     However, he made none, and consequently got  to  the Instrument-maker's
house  without  being  placed under  any more  stringent restraint.  As  the
shutters were not yet taken down, the Captain's first care  was to  have the
shop opened; and  when the daylight was freely admitted, he proceeded,  with
its aid, to further investigation.
     The Captain's first  care  was to  establish himself  in a chair in the
shop,  as President of the solemn tribunal that was sitting within him;  and
to require Rob to lie down in his bed  under the counter, show exactly where
he discovered  the keys and packet when he awoke, how he found the door when
he went to try it, how he started off to  Brig Place - cautiously preventing
the latter imitation from being carried farther than  the threshold - and so
on to the end of the chapter. When all this had been done several times, the
Captain shook his head and seemed to think the matter had a bad look.
     Next,  the  Captain,  with some  indistinct idea  of  finding  a  body,
instituted a strict search over the whole house; groping in the cellars with
a lighted candle, thrusting his  hook behind  doors, bringing his head  into
violent contact with  beams, and covering himself  with cobwebs. Mounting up
to the  old man's bed-room, they  found that he had  not been in bed on  the
previous  night, but  had merely lain  down on the coverlet,  as was evident
from the impression yet remaining there.
     'And I think, Captain,' said Rob, looking round the room, 'that when Mr
Gills  was  going  in  and out so often, these last  few days, he was taking
little things away, piecemeal, not to attract attention.'
     'Ay!' said the Captain, mysteriously. 'Why so, my lad?'
     'Why,'  returned  Rob, looking about, 'I don't see his  shaving tackle.
Nor his brushes, Captain. Nor no shirts. Nor yet his shoes.'
     As each of these articles was mentioned, Captain Cuttle took particular
notice of the corresponding department of the Grinder, lest he should appear
to  have  been in recent  use, or should  prove  to be in present possession
thereof. But Rob  had no occasion to  shave,  was not brushed, and  wore the
clothes he had on for a long time past, beyond all possibility of a mistake.
     'And what should you say,' said the Captain  - 'not committing yourself
- about his time of sheering off? Hey?'
     'Why, I think, Captain,' returned Rob,  'that he must  have gone pretty
soon after I began to snore.'
     'What  o'clock  was  that?'  said  the  Captain, prepared  to  be  very
particular about the exact time.
     'How can I tell, Captain!'  answered Rob. 'I only know that I'm a heavy
sleeper at first, and a light one  towards morning; and if Mr Gills had come
through the  shop near  daybreak,  though ever so much on tiptoe, I'm pretty
sure I should have heard him shut the door at all events.
     On mature consideration of this evidence, Captain Cuttle began to think
that  the Instrument-maker must  have vanished of his own  accord;  to which
logical conclusion  he was assisted  by  the  letter  addressed  to himself,
which, as being undeniably in the old man's handwriting, would seem, with no
great forcing, to bear the construction, that he arranged of his own will to
go, and so went.  The  Captain had  next to consider where and  why?  and as
there  was  no  way whatsoever  that  he saw  to  the solution of  the first
difficulty, he confined his meditations to the second.
     Remembering the old man's curious manner, and the farewell he had taken
of  him; unaccountably fervent at the  time, but  quite intelligible  now: a
terrible apprehension strengthened on  the Captain, that, overpowered by his
anxieties  and  regrets for Walter, he  had been driven  to commit  suicide.
Unequal to  the  wear and tear of  daily  life,  as  he  had often professed
himself to be, and shaken as he no doubt was by the uncertainty and deferred
hope  he had undergone, it seemed  no violently strained misgiving, but only
too probable. Free from debt,  and with no fear for his personal liberty, or
the seizure of his goods, what else but such a  state of madness  could have
hurried  him away alone and secretly? As to his carrying some  apparel  with
him, if he had really  done  so - and  they  were not even sure of that - he
might  have done so, the Captain  argued,  to  prevent inquiry, to  distract
attention from  his probable  fate, or to ease the  very mind  that  was now
revolving  all these  possibilities. Such, reduced into plain language,  and
condensed  within a small  compass, was  the final  result and substance  of
Captain Cuttle's  deliberations:  which took  a long time to  arrive at this
pass, and  were, like some more public  deliberations,  very discursive  and
     Dejected and despondent in  the extreme, Captain Cuttle felt it just to
release Rob from the arrest in which he had  placed him, and to enlarge him,
subject  to  a kind of  honourable  inspection  which he  still  resolved to
exercise;  and  having  hired a man, from Brogley the  Broker, to sit in the
shop during  their absence, the Captain, taking  Rob with  him, issued forth
upon a dismal quest after the mortal remains of Solomon Gills.
     Not a  station-house, or bone-house, or  work-house  in the  metropolis
escaped a visitation from  the hard glazed hat. Along the wharves, among the
shipping on  the  bank-side,  up  the  river,  down  the river, here, there,
everywhere, it went gleaming where men were thickest, like the hero's helmet
in an epic battle. For a whole  week the Captain read of all  the  found and
missing  people  in all  the newspapers and  handbills,  and went  forth  on
expeditions  at  all hours of the  day  to  identify Solomon Gills,  in poor
little ship-boys who had fallen overboard, and in  tall foreigners with dark
beards who had taken poison - 'to make  sure,' Captain Cuttle said, 'that it
wam't him.' It is a  sure thing that it never was, and that the good Captain
had no other satisfaction.
     Captain Cuttle at last abandoned these  attempts as hopeless,  and  set
himself to consider what  was to be done next. After several new perusals of
his poor friend's  letter, he considered that the  maintenance of' a home in
the old place for Walter' was  the primary duty imposed upon him. Therefore,
the Captain's decision was, that  he would keep  house  on the  premises  of
Solomon  Gills himself, and would  go into the instrument-business, and  see
what came of it.
     But as this step involved the relinquishment  of  his apartments at Mrs
MacStinger's, and  he  knew  that resolute  woman  would never  hear  of his
deserting  them, the  Captain took the  desperate determination  of  running
     'Now, look  ye here, my lad,' said  the Captain  to  Rob,  when  he had
matured this notable  scheme,  'to-morrow, I  shan't  be found in  this here
roadstead  till night - not till arter  midnight p'rhaps. But you keep watch
till you hear me knock, and the moment you do, turn-to, and open the door.'
     'Very good, Captain,' said Rob.
     'You'll continue to be rated on  these here books,' pursued the Captain
condescendingly, 'and I don't say but what you may get promotion, if you and
me  should  pull together with  a will.  But  the moment  you hear  me knock
to-morrow night,  whatever time it is, turn-to  and show yourself smart with
the door.'
     'I'll be sure to do it, Captain,' replied Rob.
     'Because you  understand,' resumed the  Captain,  coming back again  to
enforce this charge upon his mind, 'there may be,  for anything I can say, a
chase;  and I might be took while I was waiting, if you didn't show yourself
smart with the door.'
     Rob again assured the Captain that he would be prompt  and wakeful; and
the  Captain  having  made  this  prudent  arrangement,  went  home  to  Mrs
MacStinger's for the last time.
     The sense the Captain had of its being the  last time, and of the awful
purpose hidden beneath his  blue waistcoat, inspired  him with such a mortal
dread of Mrs MacStinger, that the  sound  of that lady's foot  downstairs at
any time of the day, was sufficient to throw him into a fit of trembling. It
fell out,  too, that Mrs  MacStinger was in  a  charming temper  - mild  and
placid  as a house- lamb;  and Captain Cuttle's conscience suffered terrible
twinges, when she came up to inquire if she could cook  him nothing  for his
     'A nice small kidney-pudding  now,  Cap'en Cuttle,'  said his landlady:
'or a sheep's heart. Don't mind my trouble.'
     'No thank'ee, Ma'am,' returned the Captain.
     'Have a  roast fowl,' said Mrs MacStinger, 'with a bit of weal stuffing
and some egg sauce. Come, Cap'en Cuttle! Give yourself a little treat!'
     'No thank'ee, Ma'am,' returned the Captain very humbly.
     'I'm  sure you're out of sorts, and want to  be stimulated,'  said  Mrs
MacStinger. 'Why not have, for once in a way, a bottle of sherry wine?'
     'Well, Ma'am,' rejoined the Captain,  'if you'd  be  so good as take  a
glass or two, I  think I would try that. Would you do me the favour, Ma'am,'
said the  Captain, torn to pieces by his conscience, 'to accept  a quarter's
rent ahead?'
     'And  why so, Cap'en Cuttle?' retorted Mrs MacStinger - sharply, as the
Captain thought.
     The Captain was frightened to dead  'If you would  Ma'am,' he said with
submission, 'it would  oblige me. I  can't keep my money very well.  It pays
itself out. I should take it kind if you'd comply.'
     'Well, Cap'en  Cuttle,' said  the  unconscious MacStinger,  rubbing her
hands,  'you  can  do as  you please.  It's not for me, with my  family,  to
refuse, no more than it is to ask'
     'And would you, Ma'am,' said  the Captain, taking down the tin canister
in which he kept his cash' from the  top shelf of the cupboard, 'be so  good
as offer eighteen-pence a-piece to the little family all round? If you could
make it  convenient, Ma'am, to pass the  word presently for them children to
come for'ard, in a body, I should be glad to see 'em'
     These  innocent  MacStingers  were so many  daggers  to  the  Captain's
breast, when they appeared in  a  swarm, and tore at him with  the confiding
trustfulness he so little deserved. The eye of Alexander MacStinger, who had
been his favourite, was insupportable to the  Captain;  the voice of Juliana
MacStinger, who was the picture of her mother, made a coward of him.
     Captain Cuttle kept  up appearances, nevertheless, tolerably  well, and
for  an  hour or two was  very hardly used  and roughly handled by the young
MacStingers: who in their childish frolics,  did a little damage also to the
glazed hat, by sitting in it, two at  a time, as in  a nest, and drumming on
the inside of the crown  with their shoes. At length the Captain sorrowfully
dismissed them: taking leave of these cherubs with the poignant remorse  and
grief of a man who was going to execution.
     In the silence of night, the Captain packed up  his heavier property in
a chest,  which he locked, intending to leave  it  there, in all probability
for  ever, but on the forlorn chance  of one day finding  a man sufficiently
bold  and desperate to come and ask  for it. Of his lighter necessaries, the
Captain made  a bundle; and disposed  his plate  about his person, ready for
flight.  At the hour of midnight, when Brig Place was buried in slumber, and
Mrs  MacStinger  was lulled in sweet oblivion, with  her infants around her,
the guilty Captain, stealing  down on tiptoe, in the dark, opened the  door,
closed it softly after him, and took to his heels
     Pursued  by the image  of Mrs  MacStinger springing  out  of bed,  and,
regardless of  costume, following  and bringing him back;  pursued also by a
consciousness of his enormous crime; Captain Cuttle held on at a great pace,
and  allowed no  grass  to  grow  under his feet, between Brig Place and the
Instrument-maker's door. It  opened when  he knocked  - for  Rob was  on the
watch  - and  when it was bolted and locked behind him,  Captain Cuttle felt
comparatively safe.
     'Whew!' cried the Captain, looking round him. 'It's a breather!'
     'Nothing the matter, is there, Captain?' cried the gaping Rob.
     'No, no!' said Captain Cuttle, after  changing colour, and listening to
a passing footstep in the street. 'But mind ye, my  lad; if any lady, except
either of them two as you  see t'other day,  ever comes and  asks for Cap'en
Cuttle, be sure  to report no person  of that name known, nor never heard of
here; observe them orders, will you?'
     'I'll take care, Captain,' returned Rob.
     'You might say - if you liked,' hesitated the Captain, 'that you'd read
in the paper that a Cap'en of that name was gone to  Australia,  emigrating,
along with a whole  ship's  complement  of people as had all  swore never to
come back no more.
     Rob nodded his understanding of these instructions;  and Captain Cuttle
promising to make a man of him, if he obeyed orders, dismissed him, yawning,
to  his bed  under the counter,  and went aloft  to  the  chamber of Solomon
     What the Captain suffered next day,  whenever  a bonnet  passed, or how
often he darted out of the  shop to  elude imaginary MacStingers, and sought
safety in the attic, cannot be told. But to avoid the  fatigues attendant on
this  means of self-preservation, the Captain  curtained the  glass  door of
communication between  the shop and parlour, on the inside; fitted a key  to
it from the bunch  that had been sent to him; and cut a small hole of espial
in  the  wall. The  advantage of this fortification is obvious. On  a bonnet
appearing, the Captain  instantly slipped into his  garrison, locked himself
up, and  took  a secret observation of the  enemy. Finding it a false alarm,
the Captain  instantly slipped out again. And the bonnets in the street were
so very numerous, and alarms were so inseparable from their appearance, that
the Captain was almost incessantly slipping in and out all day long.
     Captain  Cuttle  found time,  however,  in the midst of  this fatiguing
service to inspect the stock; in  connexion with which he  had  the  general
idea (very laborious to Rob) that too much  friction could  not be  bestowed
upon  it, and  that it could  not be made too bright. He also ticketed a few
attractive-looking  articles  at  a venture,  at  prices  ranging  from  ten
shillings  to fifty  pounds, and  exposed  them in the window  to  the great
astonishment of the public.
     After  effecting these improvements, Captain  Cuttle, surrounded by the
instruments, began to feel scientific: and looked up at  the stars at night,
through  the skylight,  when  he  was  smoking his pipe in the  little  back
parlour before going to bed, as if  he had established a kind of property in
them. As a tradesman in the City, too, he  began to have  an interest in the
Lord  Mayor, and  the Sheriffs, and in Public  Companies; and felt bound  to
read the  quotations of the  Funds every day, though  he was  unable to make
out, on any principle of navigation, what the figures meant,  and could have
very  well  dispensed with the fractions. Florence, the  Captain  waited on,
with his strange  news of Uncle Sol, immediately after taking possession  of
the Midshipman; but she was away from home. So the Captain  sat himself down
in his  altered station of  life,  with  no company but Rob the Grinder; and
losing  count of time, as  men do when great changes come upon them, thought
musingly  of  Walter,  and  of Solomon  Gills,  and  even of  Mrs MacStinger
herself, as among the things that had been.

     Shadows of the Past and Future
     'Your most obedient, Sir,'  said the Major. 'Damme, Sir, a friend of my
friend Dombey's is a friend of mine, and I'm glad to see you!'
     'I  am infinitely  obliged,  Carker,'  explained  Mr Dombey, 'to  Major
Bagstock, for his company and conversation. 'Major Bagstock  has rendered me
great service, Carker.'
     Mr Carker  the Manager, hat in  hand, just  arrived at Leamington,  and
just introduced  to  the Major, showed the  Major his  whole double range of
teeth,  and  trusted he might take the liberty of thanking  him with all his
heart for having effected so  great an Improvement in Mr Dombey's  looks and
     'By Gad, Sir,' said the  Major, in reply, 'there  are no thanks due  to
me,  for it's a give  and take affair.  A great  creature  like  our  friend
Dombey, Sir,'  said the Major, lowering  his voice,  but not lowering it  so
much as to render it inaudible to that gentleman, 'cannot help improving and
exalting  his  friends.  He  strengthens  and invigorates  a  man, Sir, does
Dombey, in his moral nature.'
     Mr Carker snapped at  the expression. In his moral nature. Exactly. The
very words he had been on the point of suggesting.
     'But when  my friend  Dombey, Sir,'  added the Major, 'talks to  you of
Major Bagstock, I must crave leave to set him and you right.  He means plain
Joe, Sir - Joey B.  - Josh. Bagstock - Joseph- rough and tough Old J.,  Sir.
At your service.'
     Mr Carker's excessively friendly inclinations towards the Major, and Mr
Carker's  admiration of his roughness, toughness, and plainness, gleamed out
of every tooth in Mr Carker's head.
     'And now,  Sir,' said the Major,  'you and Dombey have  the devil's own
amount of business to talk over.'
     'By no means, Major,' observed Mr Dombey.
     'Dombey,' said the Major, defiantly, 'I know better; a man of your mark
- the Colossus  of commerce -  is not to  be  interrupted. Your moments  are
precious. We shall meet at dinner-time. In the interval, old Joseph  will be
scarce. The dinner-hour is a sharp seven, Mr Carker.'
     With that, the Major,  greatly  swollen as  to his face,  withdrew; but
immediately putting in his head at the door again, said:
     'I beg your pardon. Dombey, have you any message to 'em?'
     Mr  Dombey  in some  embarrassment, and  not  without  a  glance at the
courteous keeper of his  business confidence, entrusted the  Major  with his
     'By the Lord, Sir,' said the Major, 'you must  make it something warmer
than that, or old Joe will be far from welcome.'
     'Regards then, if you will, Major,' returned Mr Dombey.
     'Damme, Sir,'  said  the  Major,  shaking his  shoulders and his  great
cheeks jocularly: 'make it something warmer than that.'
     'What you please, then, Major,' observed Mr Dombey.
     'Our friend is  sly, Sir,  sly, Sir,  de-vilish sly,'  said  the Major,
staring  round the door at  Carker. 'So is Bagstock.'  But  stopping in  the
midst of  a chuckle, and  drawing himself up to  his  full height, the Major
solemnly exclaimed, as he struck himself on the chest, 'Dombey! I  envy your
feelings. God bless you!' and withdrew.
     'You  must have found the  gentleman  a great  resource,' said  Carker,
following him with his teeth.
     'Very great indeed,' said Mr Dombey.
     'He has friends here, no doubt,' pursued Carker. 'I perceive, from what
he has said, that you go into society here.  Do you know,' smiling horribly,
'I am so very glad that you go into society!'
     Mr Dombey  acknowledged  this display of  interest on  the part of  his
second in  command, by twirling his  watch-chain, and  slightly  moving  his
     'You were formed for society,' said Carker. 'Of all the men I know, you
are the best adapted, by nature and by position,  for society. Do you know I
have  been frequently amazed that you should have held it at arm's length so
     'I have had my reasons, Carker.  I have  been alone, and indifferent to
it.  But you have great social  qualifications yourself,  and are  the  more
likely to have been surprised.'
     'Oh! I!' returned the other, with ready self-disparagement. 'It's quite
another  matter in the case of a man  like me.  I don't come into comparison
with you.'
     Mr  Dombey  put  his hand to his  neckcloth,  settled  his chin in  it,
coughed,  and  stood looking  at  his faithful friend  and servant for a few
moments in silence.
     'I shall have the  pleasure, Carker,'  said Mr Dombey at length: making
as if he swallowed something a little too large for  his throat: 'to present
you to my - to the Major's friends. Highly agreeable people.'
     'Ladies among them, I presume?' insinuated the smooth Manager.
     'They are all - that  is to  say, they  are both - ladies,' replied  Mr
     'Only two?' smiled Carker.
     'They are only two. I have confined my  visits  to their residence, and
have made no other acquaintance here.'
     'Sisters, perhaps?' quoth Carker.
     'Mother and daughter,' replied Mr Dombey.
     As Mr Dombey dropped his eyes,  and adjusted his  neckcloth  again, the
smiling  face of Mr Carker  the Manager  became in a moment, and without any
stage of  transition,  transformed  into  a most intent  and frowning  face,
scanning his closely,  and with an ugly sneer. As Mr Dombey raised his eyes,
it  changed  back, no less quickly, to its old  expression,  and  showed him
every gum of which it stood possessed.
     'You  are very kind,' said  Carker, 'I shall be delighted to know them.
Speaking of daughters, I have seen Miss Dombey.'
     There was a sudden rush of blood to Mr Dombey's face.
     'I took the liberty of waiting on her,' said Carker, 'to inquire if she
could charge me  with any little commission. I am  not so fortunate as to be
the bearer of any but her - but her dear love.'
     Wolf's face that it was then, with even the hot tongue revealing itself
through the stretched mouth, as the eyes encountered Mr Dombey's!
     'What business intelligence  is there?' inquired  the latter gentleman,
after  a  silence,  during  which Mr  Carker had produced some memoranda and
other papers.
     'There is very little,' returned Carker. 'Upon the  whole we  have  not
had our usual good fortune of late, but that is of little moment to  you. At
Lloyd's, they give up the Son and Heir for lost. Well, she was insured, from
her keel to her masthead.'
     'Carker,' said Mr Dombey, taking a chair  near him,  'I cannot say that
young man, Gay, ever impressed me favourably
     'Nor me,' interposed the Manager.
     'But I wish,' said Mr Dombey, without heeding the interruption, 'he had
never gone on board that ship. I wish he had never been sent out.
     'It is  a pity you didn't  say  so, in  good time, is it not?' retorted
Carker,  coolly.  'However, I  think it's all for the best. I really,  think
it's all for the best. Did I mention that  there was something like a little
confidence between Miss Dombey and myself?'
     'No,' said Mr Dombey, sternly.
     'I have no doubt,' returned Mr Carker, after an impressive pause, 'that
wherever  Gay is, he is much better where  he is,  than at home  here. If  I
were, or could be, in your place, I should be satisfied of that.  I am quite
satisfied  of it myself. Miss Dombey is confiding and young - perhaps hardly
proud enough, for your daughter - if she have a fault. Not that that is much
though, I am sure. Will you check these balances with me?'
     Mr Dombey leaned back in his chair,  instead of bending over the papers
that  were laid before him, and looked the Manager steadily in the face. The
Manager,  with his eyelids slightly raised, affected to be  glancing  at his
figures, and  to await  the  leisure of  his  principal.  He showed  that he
affected  this, as if from great  delicacy, and  with a design to  spare  Mr
Dombey's feelings; and the latter, as he looked at him, was cognizant of his
intended  consideration, and felt  that but for it, this confidential Carker
would have said a great deal more, which he, Mr Dombey, was too proud to ask
for. It was his way in  business, often. Little  by little, Mr Dombey's gaze
relaxed, and  his  attention  became diverted  to the papers before him; but
while busy with the occupation they afforded him, he frequently stopped, and
looked  at Mr Carker again. Whenever he did so, Mr Carker was demonstrative,
as  before,  in  his delicacy, and  impressed it on his great chief more and
     While  they were  thus engaged; and under the skilful  culture  of  the
Manager, angry thoughts in reference to poor Florence brooded and bred in Mr
Dombey's  breast,  usurping  the place  of the  cold dislike that  generally
reigned there; Major Bagstock, much admired by the old ladies of Leamington,
and followed by the Native,  carrying  the  usual amount  of  light baggage,
straddled  along the shady side of the way, to  make  a morning  call on Mrs
Skewton. It  being midday when  the Major reached the bower of Cleopatra, he
had the  good fortune to find his  Princess on  her  usual sofa, languishing
over  a  cup  of coffee,  with the room so darkened and  shaded for her more
luxurious repose, that  Withers, who was in attendance on her, loomed like a
phantom page.
     'What insupportable creature  is this, coming in?' said Mrs Skewton, 'I
cannot hear it. Go away, whoever you are!'
     'You have not the heart to banish J. B., Ma'am!' said the Major halting
midway, to remonstrate, with his cane over his shoulder.
     'Oh it's you,  is  it?  On  second thoughts, you  may  enter,' observed
     The Major entered accordingly, and  advancing to  the sofa pressed  her
charming hand to his lips.
     'Sit down,' said Cleopatra, listlessly waving her fan, 'a long way off.
Don't come  too  near  me, for  I  am frightfully faint  and sensitive  this
morning, and you smell of the Sun. You are absolutely tropical.'
     'By  George,  Ma'am,'  said the  Major, 'the  time has been when Joseph
Bagstock  has been grilled and blistered by the Sun; then time was, when  he
was  forced, Ma'am, into such  full blow, by  high hothouse heat in the West
Indies,  that he was known as  the Flower. A man never  heard  of  Bagstock,
Ma'am, in  those days;  he  heard of the Flower -  the  Flower  of Ours. The
Flower may have faded,  more  or less, Ma'am,'  observed the Major, dropping
into a much nearer chair than had been indicated by his cruel Divinity, 'but
it is a tough plant yet, and constant as the evergreen.'
     Here  the Major, under  cover of the dark room, shut up one eye, rolled
his head like a Harlequin, and, in his great self-satisfaction, perhaps went
nearer to the confines of apoplexy than he had ever gone before.
     'Where is Mrs Granger?' inquired Cleopatra of her page.
     Withers believed she was in her own room.
     'Very well,' said  Mrs  Skewton. 'Go  away, and  shut  the  door. I  am
     As  Withers disappeared,  Mrs Skewton turned her head languidly towards
the Major, without otherwise moving, and asked him how his friend was.
     'Dombey,  Ma'am,' returned the Major, with a facetious gurgling  in his
throat, 'is  as well as a man  in  his condition can be.  His condition is a
desperate  one, Ma'am. He is touched, is Dombey! Touched!' cried  the Major.
'He is bayonetted through the body.'
     Cleopatra cast a sharp look at the Major, that contrasted forcibly with
the affected drawl in which she presently said:
     'Major Bagstock, although I know but  little of the world, - nor  can I
really regret  my experience,  for  I  fear  it  is  a  false place, full of
withering conventionalities: where Nature is but little regarded, and  where
the  music of the  heart, and the gushing  of the soul, and all that sort of
thing, which is so truly poetical, is seldom heard, - I cannot misunderstand
your meaning. There is an allusion to  Edith - to  my extremely dear child,'
said Mrs Skewton, tracing the outline of  her eyebrows with  her forefinger,
'in your words, to which the tenderest of chords vibrates excessively.'
     'Bluntness,   Ma'am,'   returned   the  Major,   'has  ever   been  the
characteristic of the Bagstock breed. You are right. Joe admits it.'
     'And that  allusion,' pursued Cleopatra, 'would involve one of the most
- if not positively the most - touching, and  thrilling, and sacred emotions
of which our sadly-fallen nature is susceptible, I conceive.'
     The Major laid  his hand upon his lips, and wafted a kiss to Cleopatra,
as if to identify the emotion in question.
     'I feel that I am weak.  I feel that I am wanting in that energy, which
should sustain a Mama: not to say  a parent:  on such a  subject,'  said Mrs
Skewton,  trimming her  lips with the laced edge of her pocket-handkerchief;
'but  I can hardly  approach  a topic so excessively momentous to my dearest
Edith  without a feeling  of faintness.  Nevertheless,  bad man, as you have
boldly remarked upon  it, and as  it has  occasioned me great anguish:'  Mrs
Skewton  touched  her left  side with her fan:  'I will not shrink  from  my
     The Major, under cover of the dimness, swelled, and swelled, and rolled
his purple face about, and  winked his lobster eye, until he fell into a fit
of wheezing, which obliged  him  to rise and  take a  turn or  two about the
room, before his fair friend could proceed.
     'Mr Dombey,'  said  Mrs  Skewton,  when  she  at length  resumed,  'was
obliging enough, now  many weeks  ago,  to do  us the honour of  visiting us
here;  in company, my  dear Major, with yourself. I acknowledge - let  me be
open -  that it is my failing to be  the creature of impulse, and to wear my
heart as it were, outside. I know my failing full well. My enemy cannot know
it better.  But I  am  not penitent;  I would rather not  be  frozen by  the
heartless world, and am content to bear this imputation justly.'
     Mrs Skewton arranged her tucker, pinched her wiry  throat  to give it a
soft surface, and went on, with great complacency.
     'It  gave  me  (my dearest Edith too,  I am sure)  infinite pleasure to
receive Mr Dombey.  As a friend of  yours, my dear  Major, we were naturally
disposed to be prepossessed in his favour; and I fancied that I  observed an
amount of Heart in Mr Dombey, that was excessively refreshing.'
     'There is devilish little heart in Dombey now, Ma'am,' said the Major.
     'Wretched man!' cried Mrs Skewton,  looking at him languidly,  'pray be
     'J. B. is dumb, Ma'am,' said the Major.
     'Mr Dombey,' pursued Cleopatra, smoothing the rosy hue upon her cheeks,
'accordingly repeated his visit; and possibly finding some attraction in the
simplicity and primitiveness of  our tastes - for there is always a charm in
nature  -  it is  so very  sweet - became  one of  our little  circle  every
evening. Little did I think of the awful responsibility into which I plunged
when I encouraged Mr Dombey - to -
     'To beat up these quarters, Ma'am,' suggested Major Bagstock.
     'Coarse person! 'said Mrs  Skewton,  'you anticipate my meaning, though
in odious language.
     Here Mrs Skewton rested her elbow on the little table at her side,  and
suffering her wrist to droop in what she considered a graceful  and becoming
manner,  dangled  her  fan to and  fro, and  lazily admired  her hand  while
     'The agony I have endured,' she said mincingly, 'as  the  truth has  by
degrees dawned upon me, has been too exceedingly terrific to dilate upon. My
whole existence is bound up in my sweetest Edith; and to see her change from
day to  day  - my  beautiful  pet, who has positively garnered up her  heart
since  the death of that  most delightful  creature,  Granger -  is the most
affecting thing in the world.'
     Mrs Skewton's world was not a very trying one, if one might judge of it
by the  influence of its most affecting circumstance upon her;  but this  by
the way.
     'Edith,' simpered Mrs Skewton, 'who is the perfect pearl of my life, is
said to resemble me. I believe we are alike.'
     'There  is  one  man  in  the world  who never will  admit  that anyone
resembles  you, Ma'am,' said the  Major; 'and  that man's  name  is Old  Joe
     Cleopatra  made  as if she would brain the flatterer with her fan,  but
relenting, smiled upon him and proceeded:
     'If my charming girl inherits any advantages from me, wicked one!': the
Major  was  the  wicked one:  'she inherits also my foolish nature. She  has
great force of character - mine has been said to be immense,  though I don't
believe  it - but  once moved,  she is susceptible and sensitive to the last
extent. What are my feelings when I see her pining! They destroy me.
     The Major advancing his  double chin, and pursing up his blue lips into
a soothing expression, affected the profoundest sympathy.
     'The confidence,' said  Mrs Skewton,  'that has subsisted between us  -
the free development of  soul, and openness of  sentiment -  is  touching to
think of. We have been more like sisters than Mama and child.'
     'J. B.'s own sentiment,' observed the Major, 'expressed by  J. B. fifty
thousand times!'
     'Do not interrupt,  rude man!' said  Cleopatra. 'What  are my feelings,
then, when I find that there is one  subject avoided by us! That there is  a
what's-his-name - a gulf - opened between us.  That  my own artless Edith is
changed to me! They are of the most poignant description, of course.'
     The Major left his chair, and took one nearer to the little table.
     'From day to day I see  this,  my dear  Major,' proceeded Mrs  Skewton.
'From day to day I feel this. From hour to hour I  reproach myself for  that
excess  of  faith  and  trustfulness  which  has  led  to  such  distressing
consequences; and almost from minute to  minute, I hope that  Mr  Dombey may
explain  himself,  and relieve the torture  I  undergo,  which is  extremely
wearing. But nothing happens, my dear  Major; I am the  slave  of remorse  -
take care  of the  coffee-cup: you are so very awkward - my darling Edith is
an  altered being; and I really don't see  what is to be done,  or what good
creature I can advise with.'
     Major  Bagstock, encouraged  perhaps by the  softened and  confidential
tone into which  Mrs Skewton,  after several  times  lapsing into it  for  a
moment, seemed now to have subsided for good, stretched out his  hand across
the little table, and said with a leer,
     'Advise with Joe, Ma'am.'
     'Then, you aggravating monster,' said Cleopatra, giving one hand to the
Major,  and tapping his knuckles with her fan, which she held in  the other:
'why  don't  you talk to me? you  know what  I  mean.  Why don't you tell me
something to the purpose?'
     The Major laughed, and  kissed the  hand she had bestowed upon him, and
laughed again immensely.
     'Is  there  as much  Heart in Mr  Dombey as I  gave  him  credit  for?'
languished  Cleopatra tenderly.  'Do you  think  he is  in earnest, my  dear
Major? Would you recommend his being spoken to, or his being left alone? Now
tell me, like a dear man, what would you advise.'
     'Shall  we marry  him to  Edith Granger,  Ma'am?'  chuckled  the Major,
     'Mysterious creature!' returned Cleopatra, bringing  her  fan  to  bear
upon the Major's nose. 'How can we marry him?'
     'Shall we marry him to Edith Granger, Ma'am, I say?' chuckled the Major
     Mrs Skewton returned no answer in words, but smiled upon the Major with
so much archness and vivacity, that that gallant officer considering himself
challenged, would have imprinted a kiss on her exceedingly red lips, but for
her interposing the fan with a very winning and juvenile dexterity. It might
have been in modesty; it might  have  been in apprehension of some danger to
their bloom.
     'Dombey, Ma'am,' said the Major, 'is a great catch.'
     'Oh,  mercenary  wretch!' cried Cleopatra,  with a little shriek, 'I am
     'And Dombey, Ma'am,' pursued the Major, thrusting forward his head, and
distending his eyes, 'is in  earnest. Joseph says it; Bagstock knows it;  J.
B. keeps him to  the mark. Leave Dombey to  himself, Ma'am. Dombey is  safe,
Ma'am. Do as you have done; do no more; and trust to J. B. for the end.'
     'You really think so, my dear Major?' returned Cleopatra,  who had eyed
him very cautiously, and very searchingly, in spite of her listless bearing.
     'Sure of it, Ma'am,'  rejoined the Major. 'Cleopatra  the peerless, and
her Antony  Bagstock, will  often speak of this, triumphantly, when  sharing
the elegance and wealth of Edith Dombey's establishment. Dombey's right-hand
man, Ma'am,' said the Major, stopping  abruptly in a  chuckle,  and becoming
serious, 'has arrived.'
     'This morning?' said Cleopatra.
     'This morning,  Ma'am,' returned  the Major.  'And Dombey's anxiety for
his arrival, Ma'am, is to be  referred - take J. B.'s word for this; for Joe
is devilish sly' - the Major tapped his nose, and screwed up one of his eyes
tight: which did not enhance his native beauty - 'to his desire that what is
in  the  wind  should become known  to  him'  without  Dombey's telling  and
consulting  him.  For  Dombey  is  as proud, Ma'am,'  said  the  Major,  'as
     'A  charming quality,'  lisped Mrs  Skewton; 'reminding  one of dearest
     'Well, Ma'am,' said the Major.  'I have thrown  out hints  already, and
the right-hand man understands 'em; and I'll throw out  more, before the day
is done.  Dombey projected this  morning a ride  to Warwick  Castle, and  to
Kenilworth,  to-morrow, to be preceded  by a breakfast with us.  I undertook
the delivery of this invitation. Will you honour us so far, Ma'am?' said the
Major, swelling with shortness of breath and slyness, as he produced a note,
addressed  to  the  Honourable Mrs  Skewton,  by favour of  Major  Bagstock,
wherein hers ever faithfully, Paul Dombey, besought her and her  amiable and
accomplished daughter  to  consent  to  the proposed  excursion;  and  in  a
postscript unto which,  the same ever faithfully Paul Dombey entreated to be
recalled to the remembrance of Mrs Granger.
     'Hush!' said Cleopatra, suddenly, 'Edith!'
     The loving mother can scarcely be described as resuming her insipid and
affected air when she  made this exclamation; for she had never cast it off;
nor was it  likely that  she ever would or could, in any other place than in
the grave. But hurriedly dismissing whatever shadow of earnestness, or faint
confession of a purpose,  laudable  or wicked,  that her  face, or voice, or
manner: had, for the moment, betrayed, she  lounged upon the couch, her most
insipid and most languid self again, as Edith entered the room.
     Edith, so  beautiful  and stately, but  so  cold and so repelling. Who,
slightly acknowledging the presence of Major Bagstock,  and directing a keen
glance  at  her mother, drew  back the  from  a window, and sat  down there,
looking out.
     'My dearest Edith,' said Mrs Skewton, 'where on earth have you been?  I
have wanted you, my love, most sadly.'
     'You said  you were engaged, and I stayed away,'  she answered, without
turning her head.
     'It was cruel to Old Joe, Ma'am,' said the Major in his gallantry.
     'It  was  very cruel, I  know,' she said,  still looking out - and said
with such calm  disdain, that the Major was  discomfited, and could think of
nothing in reply.
     'Major  Bagstock,  my darling  Edith,'  drawled  her  mother,  'who  is
generally the most useless and disagreeable  creature  in the  world: as you
know - '
     'It is surely not worthwhile,  Mama,' said Edith,  looking  round,  'to
observe these forms of speech. We are quite alone. We know each other.'
     The  quiet scorn  that  sat upon  her  handsome face  -  a  scorn  that
evidently lighted  on herself, no less than  them - was so intense and deep,
that her mother's simper, for the instant, though  of a  hardy constitution,
drooped before it.
     'My darling girl,' she began again.
     'Not woman yet?' said Edith, with a smile.
     'How  very odd you are to-day, my dear! Pray let me say, my love,  that
Major Bagstock has  brought the kindest of notes from Mr  Dombey,  proposing
that  we  should breakfast  with  him to-morrow,  and  ride  to Warwick  and
Kenilworth. Will you go, Edith?'
     'Will I go!' she  repeated, turning very red, and breathing  quickly as
she looked round at her mother.
     'I knew you would, my own, observed the  latter carelessly.  'It is, as
you say, quite a form to ask. Here is Mr Dombey's letter, Edith.'
     'Thank you. I have no desire to read it,' was her answer.
     'Then perhaps I had better answer it myself,' said Mrs Skewton, 'though
I had thought of asking you to be my secretary, darling.'  As Edith  made no
movement, and  no answer, Mrs  Skewton begged  the Major to wheel her little
table nearer, and to set open the desk it contained, and to take out pen and
paper  for  her;  all  which  congenial  offices   of  gallantry  the  Major
discharged, with much submission and devotion.
     'Your regards, Edith, my dear?' said Mrs Skewton, pausing, pen in hand,
at the postscript.
     'What you will, Mama,' she answered, without turning her head, and with
supreme indifference.
     Mrs Skewton wrote what she would, without seeking for any more explicit
directions, and  handed  her  letter to the  Major, who  receiving it  as  a
precious charge,  made a show of  laying it  near his heart, but was fain to
put it in the pocket of  his pantaloons on  account of the insecurity of his
waistcoat  The Major  then took a  very polished  and chivalrous farewell of
both ladies, which the elder one acknowledged in her usual manner, while the
younger,  sitting  with her face addressed to  the window, bent her  head so
slightly that it would have  been a greater compliment to the Major  to have
made  no sign at all,  and to  have left him to infer  that he had not  been
heard or thought of.
     'As  to  alteration in her, Sir,' mused the Major  on his way  back; on
which expedition - the afternoon being sunny and hot - he ordered the Native
and the  light  baggage to  the  front, and walked  in  the  shadow  of that
expatriated prince: 'as to alteration, Sir,  and pining, and  so forth, that
won't go down with Joseph Bagstock, None of that, Sir. It won't do here. But
as to there being something of  a  division between 'em  - or a  gulf as the
mother calls  it - damme, Sir, that seems true enough. And it's odd  enough!
Well, Sir!' panted  the  Major,  'Edith Granger and Dombey are well matched;
let 'em fight it out! Bagstock backs the winner!'
     The Major, by  saying these latter  words  aloud,  in the vigour of his
thoughts, caused the unhappy Native to stop, and turn  round,  in the belief
that he was personally addressed. Exasperated to the last degree by this act
of insubordination, the Major (though he was swelling with enjoyment of  his
own humour, at the moment of  its occurrence instantly thrust his cane among
the Native's ribs, and continued to stir him up, at short intervals, all the
way to the hotel.
     Nor was the Major  less  exasperated as he dressed for  dinner,  during
which  operation  the dark servant  underwent  the  pelting of  a  shower of
miscellaneous objects,  varying  in  size from  a boot to  a hairbrush,  and
including  everything  that came within his  master's  reach. For  the Major
plumed himself on having the Native in a perfect state of drill, and visited
the least departure  from strict  discipline with this kind of fatigue duty.
Add  to  this,  that  he  maintained  the  Native  about  his  person  as  a
counter-irritant against the gout,  and all other  vexations, mental as well
as bodily; and the  Native would appear to have earned his pay -  which  was
not large.
     At  length,  the Major having disposed  of all the  missiles that  were
convenient  to his  hand, and having called the Native  so many new names as
must have given him great occasion to marvel at the resources of the English
language,  submitted to  have  his cravat  put on;  and  being  dressed, and
finding  himself  in a  brisk  flow  of  spirits after this  exercise,  went
downstairs to enliven 'Dombey' and his right-hand man.
     Dombey was not yet in the  room, but the right-hand man was  there, and
his dental treasures were, as usual, ready for the Major.
     'Well, Sir!'  said the Major. 'How have you passed the time since I had
the happiness of meeting you? Have you walked at all?'
     'A saunter of  barely half  an  hour's  duration,' returned Carker. 'We
have been so much occupied.'
     'Business, eh?' said the Major.
     'A  variety of  little matters necessary to  be gone through,'  replied
Carker. 'But do  you  know -  this is quite  unusual with me, educated  in a
distrustful school, and who am not generally disposed to be  communicative,'
he said, breaking off, and speaking in a charming tone of frankness - 'but I
feel quite confidential with you, Major Bagstock.'
     'You do me honour, Sir,' returned the Major. 'You may be.'
     'Do you know, then,' pursued Carker, 'that I have not found my friend -
our friend, I ought rather to call him - '
     'Meaning  Dombey,  Sir?'  cried  the Major.  'You see  me,  Mr  Carker,
standing here! J. B.?'
     He was puffy enough to  see, and blue enough; and  Mr Carker  intimated
the he had that pleasure.
     'Then you see a  man, Sir, who would go through fire and water to serve
Dombey,' returned Major Bagstock.
     Mr Carker smiled, and said he was sure of it. 'Do you  know, Major,' he
proceeded: 'to resume where I left off' that I have not found our  friend so
attentive to business today, as usual?'
     'No?' observed the delighted Major.
     'I have found him a little abstracted, and  with his attention disposed
to wander,' said Carker.
     'By Jove, Sir,' cried the Major, 'there's a lady in the case.'
     'Indeed,  I begin  to  believe  there really is,'  returned  Carker; 'I
thought you might be jesting when you seemed  to hint  at it; for I know you
military men -
     The Major gave  the horse's cough, and shook his head and shoulders, as
much as to say, 'Well! we are gay  dogs, there's no denying.' He then seized
Mr Carker by the  button-hole, and with starting eyes  whispered in his ear,
that  she was a woman  of extraordinary charms, Sir.  That she  was a  young
widow, Sir. That she was  of a fine family, Sir. That Dombey  was  over head
and ears in love with her,  Sir, and that it would be  a good match  on both
sides;  for she had  beauty,  blood, and talent, and Dombey had fortune; and
what more could any couple have? Hearing Mr Dombey's  footsteps without, the
Major cut himself short  by saying, that  Mr  Carker would  see her tomorrow
morning, and would judge for himself; and between his mental excitement, and
the exertion of saying all this in  wheezy  whispers, the Major sat gurgling
in the throat and watering at the eyes, until dinner was ready.
     The  Major, like some other noble animals, exhibited himself  to  great
advantage at feeding-time. On this occasion, he shone resplendent at one end
of the table, supported by the milder  lustre  of Mr Dombey  at  the  other;
while Carker on  one  side  lent  his ray to either light, or suffered it to
merge into both, as occasion arose.
     During the first course or two,  the Major  was usually grave; for  the
Native,  in obedience  to general orders,  secretly issued, collected  every
sauce  and cruet round him, and gave him a great deal  to do, in taking  out
the stoppers, and mixing up  the contents in  his plate. Besides  which, the
Native had private zests and  flavours on a side-table, with which the Major
daily scorched himself; to say nothing of strange machines  out of which  he
spirited unknown liquids into the Major's drink. But on this occasion, Major
Bagstock, even amidst these many occupations, found time  to be social;  and
his  sociality consisted  in excessive slyness for the  behoof of Mr Carker,
and the betrayal of Mr Dombey's state of mind.
     'Dombey,' said the Major, 'you don't eat; what's the matter?'
     'Thank you,' returned the gentleman, 'I am  doing very well; I  have no
great appetite today.'
     'Why, Dombey, what's become of it?' asked  the Major. 'Where's it gone?
You haven't left it with our friends, I'll swear, for I can answer for their
having none to-day at  luncheon. I  can answer for one of  'em, at  least: I
won't say which.'
     Then  the Major winked at Carker, and became so frightfully  sly,  that
his dark attendant was obliged to pat him on the back, without orders, or he
would probably have disappeared under the table.
     In a later stage of the dinner:  that is to say, when the  Native stood
at the Major's elbow ready to serve the first bottle of champagne: the Major
became still slyer.
     'Fill this to  the brim, you scoundrel,' said the Major, holding up his
glass.  'Fill Mr  Carker's to  the brim too. And Mr Dombey's  too.  By  Gad,
gentlemen,'  said the Major, winking  at  his  new  friend, while Mr  Dombey
looked into his  plate with a conscious air, 'we'll consecrate this glass of
wine  to  a Divinity whom Joe is proud to know, and at a distance humbly and
reverently to admire. Edith,' said the Major, 'is her name; angelic Edith!'
     'To angelic Edith!' cried the smiling Carker.
     'Edith, by all means,' said Mr Dombey.
     The  entrance  of the  waiters  with new  dishes caused the Major to be
slyer  yet,  but in a more serious vein.  'For though  among  ourselves, Joe
Bagstock  mingles jest  and earnest on this subject, Sir,'  said the  Major,
laying his finger on his lips, and speaking half apart to  Carker, 'he holds
that name too  sacred  to be  made the property of these fellows,  or of any
fellows. Not a word!, Sir' while they are here!'
     This was respectful  and becoming  on  the Major's  part, and Mr Dombey
plainly  felt it so.  Although embarrassed  in  his own  frigid way, by  the
Major's allusions,  Mr  Dombey  had no objection to  such rallying,  it  was
clear, but  rather courted  it.  Perhaps the Major  had been pretty near the
truth, when  he  had  divined that  morning  that the  great man who was too
haughty  formally to consult with, or confide in his prime minister, on such
a  matter,  yet wished him  to  be fully possessed of it. Let this be how it
may,  he  often  glanced  at  Mr  Carker  while  the  Major  plied his light
artillery, and seemed watchful of its effect upon him.
     But  the  Major, having secured an attentive listener, and a smiler who
had not his match in all  the world - 'in short,  a devilish intelligent and
able fellow,' as he often afterwards declared - was not going to let him off
with a  little slyness personal to Mr Dombey. Therefore,  on  the removal of
the cloth, the Major developed himself as a choice spirit in the broader and
more comprehensive range  of  narrating  regimental  stories,  and  cracking
regimental  jokes, which he  did  with such prodigal exuberance, that Carker
was (or feigned  to be) quite  exhausted with laughter and admiration: while
Mr  Dombey  looked on over his starched cravat, like the Major's proprietor,
or like a stately showman who was glad to see his bear dancing well.
     When the Major was  too hoarse with meat and drink, and the display  of
his social powers, to render himself intelligible any longer, they adjourned
to coffee.  After which, the Major inquired of Mr Carker  the Manager,  with
little apparent hope of an answer in the affirmative, if he played picquet.
     'Yes, I play picquet a little,' said Mr Carker.
     'Backgammon, perhaps?' observed the Major, hesitating.
     'Yes, I play backgammon a little too,' replied the man of teeth.
     'Carker  plays at all games, I believe,' said Mr Dombey, laying himself
on a sofa  like a man of wood, without a hinge or a joint in him; 'and plays
them well.'
     In sooth, he played  the two in  question, to such perfection, that the
Major was astonished, and asked him, at random, if he played chess.
     'Yes,  I  play  chess  a little,' answered  Carker. 'I  have  sometimes
played, and won a game - it's a mere trick - without seeing the board.'
     'By Gad, Sir!' said the Major,  staring, 'you are a contrast to Dombey,
who plays nothing.'
     'Oh! He!' returned the Manager.  'He  has never had occasion to acquire
such little arts. To men like me, they  are sometimes useful. As at present,
Major Bagstock, when they enable me to take a hand with you.'
     It  might be only  the  false  mouth, so smooth and wide; and yet there
seemed to lurk beneath the humility and subserviency of this short speech, a
something like a snarl; and, for  a moment, one might  have thought that the
white teeth  were prone to bite the hand they  fawned  upon. But  the  Major
thought nothing about it;  and Mr Dombey  lay meditating with his  eyes half
shut, during the whole of the play, which lasted until bed-time.
     By that time, Mr Carker,  though the winner, had mounted high into  the
Major's good opinion, insomuch that when he  left the Major at his  own room
before going to bed, the Major as a special attention, sent the Native - who
always  rested  on a mattress spread upon  the ground at his master's door -
along the gallery, to light him to his room in state.
     There  was a  faint blur  on  the  surface of the mirror in Mr Carker's
chamber, and its reflection was, perhaps, a false  one. But it  showed, that
night, the  image  of a  man,  who  saw, in his  fancy,  a  crowd of  people
slumbering on the ground at his feet, like the  poor Native at his  master's
door:  who picked his way among them: looking  down, maliciously enough: but
trod upon no upturned face - as yet.

     Deeper Shadows
     Mr Carker the Manager rose  with the lark, and went out, walking in the
summer day. His  meditations - and he  meditated with contracted brows while
he strolled along - hardly seemed to soar as high as  the lark, or to  mount
in  that direction; rather they kept close to their nest upon the earth, and
looked about, among the dust and worms. But there was not a bird in the air,
singing  unseen,  farther  beyond the reach of  human eye  than  Mr Carker's
thoughts. He had his face  so  perfectly under control, that  few could  say
more, in  distinct terms, of its expression, than that it smiled or that  it
pondered. It pondered now, intently. As the lark rose higher, he sank deeper
in  thought. As the lark poured out her melody clearer and stronger, he fell
into a graver and profounder silence. At length, when the lark came headlong
down, with an accumulating stream of song, and dropped among the green wheat
near him,  rippling  in the breath of the morning like a river, he sprang up
from his  reverie, and looked round with a sudden smile, as courteous and as
soft as if he had had numerous observers  to propitiate; nor did he relapse,
after  being  thus awakened; but clearing his face,  like one  who bethought
himself that it might otherwise wrinkle and  tell tales, went smiling on, as
if for practice.
     Perhaps with  an eye to first impressions, Mr Carker was very carefully
and  trimly  dressed,  that morning.  Though always somewhat formal, in  his
dress, in imitation of the great man whom he served, he stopped short of the
extent of  Mr Dombey's stiffness: at  once perhaps because he knew it  to be
ludicrous, and  because in doing so he found another means of expressing his
sense of  the difference and distance between them. Some people  quoted  him
indeed, in this respect, as a  pointed commentary, and not a flattering one,
on his icy patron - but the world is prone to misconstruction, and Mr Carker
was not accountable for its bad propensity.
     Clean and florid:  with his light complexion, fading as it were, in the
sun, and his dainty step enhancing  the softness of  the turf: Mr Carker the
Manager strolled about meadows, and green lanes, and glided among avenues of
trees, until it was time  to return to breakfast. Taking a  nearer way back,
Mr Carker pursued it, airing his teeth, and said aloud as he did so, 'Now to
see the second Mrs Dombey!'
     He had strolled beyond the town, and re-entered  it by a pleasant walk,
where there  was  a deep shade of leafy  trees, and  where there were a  few
benches here and  there for those who chose to rest. It not being a place of
general resort at any  hour, and wearing  at that  time of the still morning
the air of being quite deserted and retired, Mr Carker had it, or thought he
had it, all to himself. So, with the whim of  an idle man, to whom there yet
remained twenty minutes for  reaching a  destination easily able in ten,  Mr
Carker threaded the great boles of the trees, and  went passing  in and out,
before this one and  behind that, weaving  a chain of footsteps on the  dewy
     But  he  found  he  was mistaken in supposing there was no one  in  the
grove, for as he softly rounded the trunk of one large tree,  on  which  the
obdurate  bark was knotted and overlapped like the  hide of a  rhinoceros or
some kindred monster of  the  ancient  days  before  the Flood,  he  saw  an
unexpected figure sitting on a  bench near at  hand, about which, in another
moment, he would have wound the chain he was making.
     It was that of a lady, elegantly dressed and very  handsome, whose dark
proud eyes were fixed  upon the ground, and in whom some passion or struggle
was raging. For as  she sat looking down, she held a corner of her under lip
within her mouth, her bosom heaved, her nostril quivered, her head trembled,
indignant tears were on her cheek,  and  her foot was set  upon the  moss as
though  she would have crushed it into nothing. And yet almost the self-same
glance  that  showed him this,  showed him the self-same lady rising with  a
scornful  air  of weariness and lassitude, and  turning  away  with  nothing
expressed in face or figure but careless beauty and imperious disdain.
     A withered and very ugly old woman, dressed not so much like a gipsy as
like  any  of that  medley race of  vagabonds who tramp  about the  country,
begging,  and stealing, and tinkering, and weaving rushes,  by turns, or all
together,  had been observing the lady, too; for,  as  she rose, this second
figure strangely confronting the first,  scrambled up from the ground  - out
of it, it almost appeared - and stood in the way.
     'Let  me  tell  your  fortune, my  pretty  lady,'  said the old  woman,
munching with her jaws, as if the Death's Head beneath  her yellow skin were
impatient to get out.
     'I can tell it for myself,' was the reply.
     'Ay, ay, pretty lady; but not right. You didn't tell  it right when you
were  sitting there. I see you! Give me a piece of  silver, pretty lady, and
I'll tell your fortune true. There's riches, pretty lady, in your face.'
     'I know,' returned the lady, passing her with a dark smile, and a proud
step. 'I knew it before.
     'What! You won't give me nothing?' cried the old woman. 'You won't give
me nothing to tell your fortune, pretty lady? How  much will you  give me to
tell  it, then? Give me something, or I'll call it  after  you!' croaked the
old woman, passionately.
     Mr Carker, whom  the lady was about to pass close, slinking against his
tree as  she crossed  to gain  the  path,  advanced so  as  to meet her, and
pulling off his hat as she  went by, bade the old woman hold her peace.  The
lady acknowledged his interference with an inclination of the head, and went
her way.
     'You give me something  then, or I'll call it after  her!' screamed the
old  woman,  throwing  up  her  arms,  and   pressing  forward  against  his
outstretched  hand.  'Or  come,'  she  added,  dropping her voice  suddenly,
looking at him earnestly,  and seeming  in a moment  to forget the object of
her wrath, 'give me something, or I'll call it after you! '
     'After me,  old lady!'  returned the Manager, putting  his hand in  his
     'Yes,' said the woman, steadfast in  her scrutiny, and  holding out her
shrivelled hand. 'I know!'
     'What do you know?' demanded  Carker, throwing her  a shilling. 'Do you
know who the handsome lady is?'
     Munching like that sailor's wife of yore, who had chestnuts In her lap,
and scowling like the witch who asked for some in vain, the old woman picked
the shilling  up, and going backwards, like a crab, or like a heap of crabs:
for  her alternately expanding and contracting hands might  have represented
two of that species, and her creeping face, some half-a-dozen more: crouched
on the veinous root of  an  old  tree,  pulled  out a short  black pipe from
within the crown of her  bonnet,  lighted  it  with a  match, and  smoked in
silence, looking fixedly at her questioner.
     Mr Carker laughed, and turned upon his heel.
     'Good!' said the old woman. 'One child dead, and  one child living: one
wife dead, and one wife coming. Go and meet her!'
     In  spite of himself,  the Manager looked round again, and stopped. The
old woman, who had not removed her pipe, and was munching and mumbling while
she smoked, as if  in conversation with an  invisible familiar, pointed with
her finger in the direction he was going, and laughed.
     'What was that you said, Beldamite?' he demanded.
     The woman  mumbled, and chattered, and smoked, and still pointed before
him; but remained silent Muttering a farewell that was not complimentary, Mr
Carker pursued his way;  but as he turned out of that place, and looked over
his  shoulder  at  the root  of the  old tree, he could yet see  the  finger
pointing before him, and  thought he heard the woman screaming, 'Go and meet
     Preparations  for a  choice repast were completed,  he  found,  at  the
hotel; and Mr Dombey, and the Major,  and the  breakfast, were  awaiting the
ladies. Individual constitution has much to do with the development  of such
facts,  no doubt; but  in this case,  appetite carried  it  hollow  over the
tender  passion; Mr  Dombey being  very  cool  and collected, and  the Major
fretting and fuming in a state of violent heat and irritation. At length the
door was thrown open by  the  Native, and,  after a  pause, occupied  by her
languishing along the gallery, a very blooming, but not very  youthful lady,
     'My dear Mr Dombey,' said the lady, 'I am afraid we are late, but Edith
has  been out already looking  for a favourable point of view  for a sketch,
and  kept  me  waiting  for her. Falsest of  Majors,' giving  him her little
finger, 'how do you do?'
     'Mrs Skewton,'  said Mr Dombey, 'let me gratify  my friend  Carker:' Mr
Dombey  unconsciously emphasised the word friend, as saying "no really; I do
allow him to  take credit for that distinction:" 'by presenting him to  you.
You have heard me mention Mr Carker.'
     'I am charmed, I am sure,' said Mrs Skewton, graciously.
     Mr Carker was charmed, of course. Would he have been more charmed on Mr
Dombey's  behalf, if Mrs Skewton had been  (as he at first supposed her) the
Edith whom they had toasted overnight?
     'Why, where,  for Heaven's  sake, is  Edith?'  exclaimed  Mrs  Skewton,
looking round.  'Still at the door, giving Withers orders about the mounting
of those drawings! My dear Mr Dombey, will you have the kindness -
     Mr  Dombey  was  already  gone  to seek her.  Next moment  he returned,
bearing on his arm the same elegantly dressed and very handsome lady whom Mr
Carker had encountered underneath the trees.
     'Carker - ' began Mr Dombey. But their recognition of each other was so
manifest, that Mr Dombey stopped surprised.
     'I am obliged to the  gentleman,' said Edith, with a stately bend, 'for
sparing me some annoyance from an importunate beggar just now.'
     'I am obliged to my good fortune,' said Mr Carker, bowing low, 'for the
opportunity of rendering so slight a service to one whose servant I am proud
to be.'
     As her eye  rested  on  him for an  instant,  and then  lighted on  the
ground,  he saw in  its bright and searching glance  a suspicion that he had
not come up at the moment of his interference, but had secretly observed her
sooner. As he saw that, she saw in his eye that her distrust was not without
     'Really,'  cried  Mrs  Skewton,  who  had  taken  this  opportunity  of
inspecting  Mr Carker through  her  glass,  and satisfying  herself (as  she
lisped audibly to the Major) that he was all heart; 'really now, this is one
of  the most  enchanting coincidences that  I  ever heard  of. The idea!  My
dearest Edith, there is such an obvious destiny in it, that really one might
almost be  induced to cross one's arms upon one's frock, and say, like those
wicked   Turks,   there   is   no   What's-his-name   but   Thingummy,   and
What-you-may-call-it is his prophet!'
     Edith designed  no revision  of this  extraordinary quotation from  the
Koran, but Mr Dombey felt it necessary to offer a few polite remarks.
     'It gives me great pleasure,' said Mr Dombey, with  cumbrous gallantry,
'that a  gentleman so nearly connected with myself as Carker is, should have
had the honour and  happiness  of  rendering the  least  assistance  to  Mrs
Granger.'  Mr  Dombey bowed to  her. 'But  it  gives  me  some  pain, and it
occasions  me to be really  envious of Carker;' he unconsciously laid stress
on  these  words,  as sensible  that  they  must  appear  to  involve a very
surprising proposition; 'envious  of Carker, that I had not that  honour and
that happiness myself.'  Mr Dombey bowed  again. Edith, saving for a curl of
her lip, was motionless.
     'By the  Lord, Sir,' cried the  Major, bursting into speech at sight of
the waiter, who was come to announce breakfast, 'it's an extraordinary thing
to me that no one can  have the  honour and  happiness of shooting all  such
beggars through the head without being brought to book for it. But here's an
arm for  Mrs Granger  if  she'll do J. B. the honour to accept  it;  and the
greatest  service Joe can  render you, Ma'am, just now, is, to lead you into
     With this, the Major gave his arm  to Edith; Mr Dombey led the way with
Mrs Skewton; Mrs Carker went last, smiling on the party.
     'I am quite rejoiced,  Mr Carker,' said the lady-mother, at  breakfast,
after another  approving survey of  him through  her  glass, 'that  you have
timed your  visit  so  happily, as  to  go with us  to-day.  It is the  most
enchanting expedition!'
     'Any expedition would be enchanting in such society,' returned  Carker;
'but I believe it is, in itself, full of interest.'
     'Oh!' cried  Mrs Skewton, with  a faded little scream  of rapture, 'the
Castle is charming! - associations of the Middle Ages - and all that - which
is so truly exquisite. Don't you dote upon the Middle Ages, Mr Carker?'
     'Very much, indeed,' said Mr Carker.
     'Such charming  times!' cried Cleopatra. 'So full of faith! So vigorous
and  forcible! So  picturesque! So perfectly  removed  from  commonplace! Oh
dear! If they would only leave us  a little more of  the poetry of existence
in these terrible days!'
     Mrs  Skewton  was looking sharp after  Mr Dombey all  the time she said
this, who was  looking at Edith: who was listening,  but who never lifted up
her eyes.
     'We are dreadfully real, Mr Carker,' said Mrs Skewton; 'are we not?'
     Few people had less reason to complain of their reality than Cleopatra,
who had as much that was false about her as could well go to the composition
of anybody  with a real individual existence. But Mr Carker commiserated our
reality  nevertheless,  and agreed that  we were  very hardly  used in  that
     'Pictures  at the  Castle, quite divine!'  said  Cleopatra. 'I hope you
dote upon pictures?'
     'I assure you, Mrs Skewton,' said Mr Dombey, with  solemn encouragement
of  his Manager, 'that Carker  has a  very good taste for pictures;  quite a
natural  power of appreciating them. He is a very creditable artist himself.
He will be delighted, I am sure, with Mrs Granger's taste and skill.'
     'Damme,  Sir!' cried Major  Bagstock, 'my opinion is,  that  you're the
admirable Carker, and can do anything.'
     'Oh!' smiled Carker,  with humility, 'you are much too  sanguine, Major
Bagstock.  I  can do  very  little. But  Mr  Dombey is  so  generous in  his
estimation of any  trivial  accomplishment  a man like  myself may  find  it
almost necessary to  acquire, and to which, in his very different sphere, he
is  far  superior,  that - ' Mr  Carker shrugged his shoulders,  deprecating
further praise, and said no more.
     All this time, Edith never  raised her  eyes, unless to glance  towards
her mother when that  lady's fervent  spirit  shone forth  in  words. But as
Carker ceased, she looked at Mr Dombey for a  moment. For a moment only; but
with a  transient gleam of  scornful wonder on her  face, not  lost  on  one
observer, who was smiling round the board.
     Mr  Dombey  caught  the  dark  eyelash  in  its  descent, and took  the
opportunity of arresting it.
     'You have been to Warwick often, unfortunately?' said Mr Dombey.
     'Several times.'
     'The visit will be tedious to you, I am afraid.'
     'Oh no; not at all.'
     'Ah!  You are like  your  cousin Feenix,  my dearest Edith,'  said  Mrs
Skewton.  'He has been  to Warwick Castle fifty  times, if he has been there
once; yet if he came to Leamington  to-morrow - I wish he would, dear angel!
- he would make his fifty-second visit next day.'
     'We are all  enthusiastic,  are we not, Mama?' said Edith, with  a cold
     'Too much so, for our  peace, perhaps,  my  dear,' returned her mother;
'but we won't complain. Our own  emotions  are our  recompense. If,  as your
cousin Feenix says, the sword wears out the what's-its-name
     'The scabbard, perhaps,' said Edith.
     'Exactly - a little too  fast, it is because it  is bright and glowing,
you know, my dearest love.'
     Mrs  Skewton  heaved a gentle sigh, supposed to  cast  a shadow on  the
surface  of  that  dagger  of  lath, whereof  her  susceptible bosom was the
sheath:  and leaning her head on  one side, in the Cleopatra manner,  looked
with pensive affection on her darling child.
     Edith  had turned her  face towards  Mr Dombey when he first  addressed
her, and had remained  in that attitude, while  speaking  to her mother, and
while her  mother  spoke to her, as though offering him her attention, if he
had anything  more to say. There was something in the  manner of this simple
courtesy: almost  defiant, and giving it the character of being  rendered on
compulsion, or  as a matter of traffic to  which  she  was a reluctant party
again not lost upon that  same observer  who was smiling round the board. It
set  him  thinking of her  as he had first seen her,  when she had  believed
herself to be alone among the trees.
     Mr  Dombey  having nothing else  to say, proposed - the breakfast being
now finished, and  the Major gorged,  like any Boa  Constrictor  - that they
should start. A  barouche being in waiting, according to  the orders of that
gentleman, the two ladies,  the Major and himself,  took  their seats in it;
the Native and the wan page mounted the box, Mr Towlinson being left behind;
and Mr Carker, on horseback, brought up  the rear. Mr Carker cantered behind
the carriage.  at the  distance of  a hundred  yards or  so, and watched it,
during all the ride,  as if he were  a cat, indeed, and its four  occupants,
mice. Whether  he  looked to  one side of the  road, or to the other -  over
distant landscape, with  its  smooth undulations,  wind-mills,  corn, grass,
bean fields,  wild-flowers,  farm-yards, hayricks,  and  the spire among the
wood -  or upwards in  the sunny air, where butterflies  were sporting round
his head, and  birds were pouring  out their songs -  or downward, where the
shadows of the branches interlaced, and made a trembling carpet  on the road
- or onward, where  the overhanging trees formed aisles and arches, dim with
the softened light that steeped through leaves - one  corner of his  eye was
ever on the formal head of Mr Dombey, addressed towards him, and the feather
in the bonnet, drooping so neglectfully and scornfully between them; much as
he had seen the haughty eyelids droop; not least so, when the  face met that
now  fronting  it.  Once, and once  only, did his  wary glance release these
objects; and that  was,  when a leap over a low hedge, and a gallop across a
field,  enabled him to anticipate the carriage coming by the road, and to be
standing  ready, at the journey's end, to hand the ladies out. Then, and but
then, he met her glance for  an instant in her  first surprise; but when  he
touched her,  in alighting,  with his  soft  white hand,  it  overlooked him
altogether as before.
     Mrs Skewton was bent on taking charge of Mr Carker herself, and showing
him the beauties of the Castle. She was determined to have his arm, and  the
Major's  too.  It  would do that incorrigible  creature:  who  was the  most
barbarous infidel in  point of  poetry: good  to  be in such  company.  This
chance arrangement left Mr Dombey at liberty  to escort Edith: which he did:
stalking before them through the apartments with a gentlemanly solemnity.
     'Those darling byegone times, Mr Carker,' said  Cleopatra,  'with their
delicious  fortresses,  and  their  dear old  dungeons, and their delightful
places  of  torture, and  their  romantic vengeances, and  their picturesque
assaults  and  sieges, and everything  that  makes life truly charming!  How
dreadfully we have degenerated!'
     'Yes, we have fallen off deplorably,' said Mr Carker.
     The peculiarity  of their  conversation was, that Mrs Skewton, in spite
of her ecstasies, and Mr  Carker, in spite of his urbanity, were both intent
on watching Mr  Dombey and Edith.  With all their conversational endowments,
they spoke somewhat distractedly, and at random, in consequence.
     'We have no Faith  left, positively,'  said Mrs Skewton,  advancing her
shrivelled ear;  for Mr Dombey was saying  something to Edith.  'We have  no
Faith in the dear old Barons, who were the most delightful creatures - or in
the dear old Priests, who were the most warlike of men - or even in the days
of that inestimable Queen Bess, upon the wall there, which were so extremely
golden. Dear creature! She was all Heart And that charming father of hers! I
hope you dote on Harry the Eighth!'
     'I admire him very much,' said Carker.
     'So bluff!' cried Mrs Skewton, 'wasn't he?  So burly. So truly English.
Such a picture,  too,  he makes,  with his dear  little peepy  eyes, and his
benevolent chin!'
     'Ah,  Ma'am!'  said  Carker,  stopping  short;  'but  if  you speak  of
pictures,  there's a composition! What gallery in the world  can produce the
counterpart of that?'
     As  the smiling gentleman thus spake,  he pointed through  a doorway to
where Mr Dombey and Edith were standing alone in the centre of another room.
     They were not interchanging a word or a look. Standing together, arm in
arm, they had the appearance of  being more divided  than if seas had rolled
between them.  There was  a difference  even in  the pride of  the two, that
removed them farther from each  other, than if one had been the proudest and
the  other  the  humblest  specimen   of  humanity  in  all   creation.  He,
self-important, unbending,  formal, austere. She, lovely and graceful, in an
uncommon degree, but totally regardless  of herself and  him  and everything
around, and spurning her  own  attractions with her haughty brow and lip, as
if  they  were a badge  or livery she hated.  So  unmatched  were  they, and
opposed, so forced  and linked  together by a chain which adverse hazard and
mischance had forged:  that fancy  might  have imagined the pictures  on the
walls around them, startled by the  unnatural  conjunction, and observant of
it in their several  expressions. Grim knights and warriors looked  scowling
on them.  A churchman, with his hand upraised, denounced the mockery of such
a  couple coming to  God's  altar. Quiet waters in  landscapes, with the sun
reflected  in their depths, asked,  if better  means of  escape  were not at
hand,  was  there no drowning left? Ruins cried, 'Look here, and see what We
are,  wedded to uncongenial  Time!' Animals,  opposed by nature, worried one
another, as  a moral to them.  Loves and  Cupids  took to flight afraid, and
Martyrdom had no such torment in its painted history of suffering.
     Nevertheless, Mrs  Skewton was  so  charmed  by the  sight to which  Mr
Carker  invoked  her attention, that she could not refraIn from saying, half
aloud, how  sweet, how very full  of soul it was! Edith, overhearing, looked
round, and flushed indignant scarlet to her hair.
     'My  dearest Edith knows I was admiring  her!' said  Cleopatra, tapping
her, almost timidly, on the back with her parasol. 'Sweet pet!'
     Again Mr Carker saw  the strife he had witnessed  so unexpectedly among
the trees. Again he saw  the haughty languor and indifference  come over it,
and hide it like a cloud.
     She did not raise her eyes to him; but  with a slight peremptory motion
of them,  seemed  to  bid her  mother  come  near.  Mrs  Skewton  thought it
expedient to understand  the  hint,  and advancing  quickly,  with  her  two
cavaliers, kept near her daughter from that time,
     Mr Carker  now, having nothing  to distract  his  attention,  began  to
discourse upon the pictures and to select the best, and point them out to Mr
Dombey:  speaking  with  his  usual  familiar  recognition  of  Mr  Dombey's
greatness,  and  rendering homage  by  adjusting his eye-glass  for  him, or
finding out the right place in his  catalogue, or holding his  stick, or the
like. These services  did not so much originate with Mr Carker, in truth, as
with  Mr Dombey himself, who was  apt to assert his chieftainship by saying,
with subdued  authority, and in an easy way - for him - 'Here,  Carker, have
the goodness to assist me, will you?' which the smiling gentleman always did
with pleasure.
     They made the  tour of the  pictures, the  walls, crow's  nest, and  so
forth; and as they were still one  little party, and the Major was rather in
the shade: being  sleepy during the  process of digestion: Mr  Carker became
communicative  and  agreeable. At first, he addressed himself  for the  most
part  to Mrs Skewton; but as  that sensitive lady was in such ecstasies with
the  works  of art, after the first quarter  of  an hour, that she could  do
nothing but  yawn (they  were  such perfect inspirations,  she observed as a
reason for  that  mark of  rapture), he  transferred  his attentions  to  Mr
Dombey. Mr Dombey said little  beyond an  occasional 'Very true, Carker,' or
'Indeed, Carker,' but he tacitly encouraged Carker to proceed, and  inwardly
approved of his behaviour very much: deeming it as well that somebody should
talk, and thinking that his remarks, which were, as one might  say, a branch
of  the  parent  establishment,  might amuse  Mrs  Granger. Mr  Carker,  who
possessed an excellent discretion, never took the liberty of addressing that
lady, direct; but she seemed to listen, though she never looked at him;  and
once or twice, when  he was emphatic in his peculiar  humility, the twilight
smile stole over her face, not as a light, but as a deep black shadow.
     Warwick  Castle being at  length pretty  well exhausted,  and the Major
very much so: to say  nothing of Mrs Skewton, whose peculiar  demonstrations
of  delight had become very frequent Indeed: the carriage  was  again put In
requisition,  and  they  rode  to  several admired  points  of  view  In the
neighbourhood. Mr  Dombey ceremoniously  observed  of one of  these, that  a
sketch,  however  slight,  from  the  fair hand  of Mrs  Granger, would be a
remembrance  to  him of that agreeable  day:  though he wanted no artificial
remembrance, he was sure (here Mr Dombey made another of his bows), which he
must always  highly value. Withers the lean having Edith's sketch-book under
his arm, was immediately called upon by Mrs Skewton to produce the same: and
the carriage stopped, that Edith might make the drawing, which Mr Dombey was
to put away among his treasures.
     'But I am afraid I trouble you too much,' said Mr Dombey.
     'By no means.  Where  would  you  wish it  taken  from?'  she answered,
turning to him with the same enforced attention as before.
     Mr  Dombey,  with another  bow, which cracked the starch in his cravat,
would beg to leave that to the Artist.
     'I would rather you chose for yourself,' said Edith.
     'Suppose  then,' said  Mr Dombey, 'we say from here. It appears  a good
spot for the purpose, or - Carker, what do you think?'
     There  happened to  be in the foreground,  at some little  distance,  a
grove of  trees,  not unlike that In which  Mr Carker had  made his chain of
footsteps  in  the  morning,  and  with  a  seat  under  one  tree,  greatly
resembling, in the general character of  its situation, the point  where his
chain had broken.
     'Might I venture to suggest to Mrs Granger,' said Carker, 'that that is
an interesting - almost a curious - point of view?'
     She followed the direction of his riding-whip with her eyes, and raised
them quickly to his face. It was the second glance they  had exchanged since
their introduction; and would have been exactly like the first, but that its
expression was plainer.
     'Will you like that?' said Edith to Mr Dombey.
     'I shall be charmed,' said Mr Dombey to Edith.
     Therefore the carriage was driven to the spot where Mr Dombey was to be
charmed;  and  Edith,  without  moving  from   her  seat,  and  openIng  her
sketch-book with her usual proud indifference, began to sketch.
     'My  pencils are  all pointless,' she said,  stopping and turning  them
     'Pray allow  me,' said Mr Dombey. 'Or Carker  will do  it better, as he
understands these things. Carker, have  the goodness to see to these pencils
for Mrs Granger.
     Mr Carker rode up close to the carriage-door on Mrs Granger's side, and
letting the rein  fall on his horse's neck,  took the  pencils from her hand
with a smile and a bow, and sat in the saddle leisurely mending them. Having
done so, he begged  to be allowed to hold  them, and  to hand them to her as
they were  required;  and  thus Mr Carker,  with  many commendations  of Mrs
Granger's extraordinary skill - especially  in  trees -  remained - close at
her side, looking over the drawing as she made it. Mr Dombey in the meantime
stood bolt upright in the carriage like  a highly respectable ghost, looking
on too; while Cleopatra and the Major dallied as two ancient doves might do.
     'Are you satisfied with that, or shall I finish it a little more?' said
Edith, showing the sketch to Mr Dombey.
     Mr Dombey begged that it might not be touched; it was perfection.
     'It is most extraordinary,' said Carker, bringing every  one of his red
gums to bear upon his praise. 'I was not prepared for anything so beautiful,
and so unusual altogether.'
     This might have applied to the sketcher no less than to the sketch; but
Mr Carker's  manner was openness itself -  not as to his mouth alone, but as
to his whole  spirit. So it continued to be while the drawing was laid aside
for Mr Dombey, and while the sketching materials were put up; then he handed
in the pencils (which were received with  a  distant  acknowledgment of  his
help, but without a  look), and tightening his rein, fell back, and followed
the carriage again.
     Thinking, perhaps,  as he rode,  that even this trivial sketch had been
made and delivered to its owner, as if it had been bargained for and bought.
Thinking,  perhaps,  that  although  she  had  assented  with  such  perfect
readiness  to  his  request, her  haughty  face,  bent over the  drawing, or
glancing at the distant  objects represented  in it, had been the  face of a
proud  woman,  engaged in a  sordid  and  miserable  transaction.  Thinking,
perhaps, of such things: but smiling certainly, and while he seemed  to look
about him freely, in enjoyment of the  air and exercise, keeping always that
sharp corner of his eye upon the carriage.
     A stroll among the haunted  ruins of Kenilworth, and more rides to more
points of  view:  most of  which, Mrs Skewton reminded Mr Dombey, Edith  had
already sketched, as he  had seen in looking  over her drawings: brought the
day's expedition to a close. Mrs Skewton and Edith were driven  to their own
lodgings; Mr Carker  was graciously invited by  Cleopatra  to return thither
with Mr Dombey and the Major, in the evening, to hear some of Edith's music;
and the three gentlemen repaired to their hotel to dinner.
     The dinner was the counterpart of  yesterday's,  except that  the Major
was twenty-four hours more triumphant and less mysterious. Edith was toasted
again. Mr Dombey was again agreeably embarrassed. And Mr  Carker was full of
interest and praise.
     There were no other  visitors at Mrs  Skewton's.  Edith's drawings were
strewn  about  the  room, a little more abundantly than usual  perhaps;  and
Withers,  the wan page,  handed  round a  little  stronger tea. The harp was
there; the piano was  there; and  Edith sang and  played. But even the music
was  played  by  Edith  to  Mr  Dombey's  order,  as it were,  in  the  same
uncompromising way. As thus.
     'Edith, my dearest love,' said Mrs Skewton, half an hour after tea, 'Mr
Dombey is dying to hear you, I know.'
     'Mr Dombey has life  enough left to say so for himself, Mama, I have no
     'I shall be immensely obliged,' said Mr Dombey.
     'What do you wish?'
     'Piano?' hesitated Mr Dombey.
     'Whatever you please. You have only to choose.
     Accordingly, she  began with the piano. It was  the same with the harp;
the same with her singing;  the same with the  selection of the  pieces that
she sang  and played. Such frigid and  constrained, yet  prompt and  pointed
acquiescence with  the wishes  he imposed upon her, and on no one else,  was
sufficiently  remarkable to penetrate through all the  mysteries of picquet,
and  impress itself on Mr Carker's  keen attention. Nor did he lose sight of
the fact  that Mr Dombey was evidently proud of his power, and liked to show
     Nevertheless, Mr Carker played so well - some games with the Major, and
some  with Cleopatra, whose  vigilance  of eye  in respect of Mr  Dombey and
Edith no lynx could have surpassed - that he even heightened his position in
the lady-mother's good graces; and when on taking leave he regretted that he
would be  obliged  to  return to  London  next  morning,  Cleopatra trusted:
community of feeling not being met with  every  day:  that it was  far  from
being the last time they would meet.
     'I  hope so,' said Mr Carker, with  an expressive look at the couple in
the distance, as he drew  towards  the door,  following the  Major. 'I think
     Mr Dombey, who  had taken a stately leave of  Edith, bent, or made some
approach to a bend, over Cleopatra's couch, and said, in a low voice:
     'I  have requested Mrs Granger's permission  to  call on  her to-morrow
morning  -  for a purpose - and she has appointed twelve o'clock. May I hope
to have the pleasure of finding you at home, Madam, afterwards?'
     Cleopatra was so much fluttered and moved, by hearing this,  of course,
incomprehensible speech,  that she could only shut her  eyes, and shake  her
head, and give Mr Dombey her hand; which Mr Dombey, not exactly knowing what
to do with, dropped.
     'Dombey, come along!' cried the Major, looking in at the  door. 'Damme,
Sir,  old Joe  has a great mind  to propose an alteration in the name of the
Royal  Hotel, and that it should be called  the  Three  Jolly Bachelors,  in
honour of ourselves  and Carker.' With this, the  Major slapped Mr Dombey on
the back, and winking over  his shoulder at  the  ladies, with  a  frightful
tendency of blood to the head, carried him off.
     Mrs  Skewton reposed on her sofa,  and Edith sat apart, by her harp, in
silence.  The  mother,  trifling  with  her  fan, looked stealthily  at  the
daughter more  than once,  but the daughter, brooding gloomily with downcast
eyes, was not to be disturbed.
     Thus they remained for a long hour, without a word, until Mrs Skewton's
maid appeared, according  to  custom, to prepare her gradually for night. At
night, she  should have been a  skeleton, with  dart  and hour-glass, rather
than  a woman, this attendant; for her touch was as  the touch of Death. The
painted  object shrivelled underneath her hand; the form collapsed, the hair
dropped off, the  arched dark eyebrows changed  to scanty tufts of grey; the
pale  lips  shrunk, the  skin  became  cadaverous  and loose;  an old, worn,
yellow, nodding  woman, with red eyes,  alone remained in Cleopatra's place,
huddled up, like a slovenly bundle, in a greasy flannel gown.
     The very voice was changed, as it addressed Edith, when they were alone
     'Why don't you tell me,'  it said  sharply,  'that  he is  coming  here
to-morrow by appointment?'
     'Because you know it,' returned Edith, 'Mother.'
     The mocking emphasis she laid on that one word!
     'You know  he has bought me,' she resumed. 'Or that he will, to-morrow.
He has  considered of his bargain; he has shown it to his friend; he is even
rather proud  of it;  he thinks  that  it  will  suit  him,  and may be  had
sufficiently cheap; and he will  buy to-morrow.  God, that  I have lived for
this, and that I feel it!'
     Compress into one  handsome face the conscious  self-abasement, and the
burning indignation of a hundred women, strong in passion and  in pride; and
there it hid itself with two white shuddering arms.
     'What  do you  mean?' returned the  angry mother. 'Haven't you  from  a
child - '
     'A child!'  said  Edith, looking  at her,  'when  was I a  child?  What
childhood  did you ever  leave  to me? I was  a woman -  artful,  designing,
mercenary,  laying  snares  for men - before I  knew myself, or you, or even
understood the base and wretched aim of every new display I learnt  You gave
birth to a woman. Look upon her. She is in her pride tonight'
     And  as  she spoke,  she struck  her  hand upon her beautiful bosom, as
though she would have beaten down herself
     'Look  at  me,'  she said, 'who have  never known what it is to have an
honest  heart, and love. Look at me, taught to scheme and plot when children
play; and married in my youth - an old age of design - to one for whom I had
no feeling but  indifference. Look at me, whom he left a widow, dying before
his inheritance descended  to him - a  judgment on you! well deserved! - and
tell me what has been my life for ten years since.'
     'We have been making every effort to endeavour to secure to you a  good
establishment,' rejoined her mother. 'That has been  your  life. And now you
have got it.'
     'There is no slave in a  market: there is no horse in  a fair: so shown
and  offered  and examined  and paraded,  Mother, as  I have been,  for  ten
shameful years,' cried  Edith,  with a  burning brow,  and  the  same bitter
emphasis  on the one word. 'Is it not so? Have I been made  the bye-word  of
all kinds  of men?  Have fools,  have profligates, have boys,  have dotards,
dangled  after me, and one by  one rejected  me, and fallen off, because you
were too  plain with  all your cunning:  yes, and too true, with  all  those
false pretences:  until  we have almost come to be notorious? The licence of
look and touch,' she said, with flashing eyes,  'have I submitted to it,  in
half the  places of resort upon the map  of England? Have I been hawked  and
vended here and there, until the  last grain of  self-respect is dead within
me,  and I loathe myself? Has been my late childhood?  I had none before. Do
not tell me that I had, tonight of all nights in my life!'
     'You  might have been well married,' said  her mother, 'twenty times at
least, Edith, if you had given encouragement enough.'
     'No! Who takes me, refuse that I am, and as  I well deserve to be,' she
answered, raising her head, and trembling in  her energy of shame and stormy
pride, 'shall take me, as this  man does, with no art of  mine put forth  to
lure him. He sees me at the auction, and he thinks it  well  to buy  me. Let
him! When he came to view me - perhaps to  bid - he required to see the roll
of  my accomplishments. I gave it to him. When he  would have me show one of
them, to  justify his purchase to his men, I require of him to say  which he
demands, and  I exhibit it. I will do no more. He makes the purchase  of his
own will,  and with his own sense of its worth, and the  power of his money;
and I hope  it may never disappoint him. I have not vaunted and  pressed the
bargain; neither have you, so far as I have been able to prevent you.
     'You talk strangely to-night, Edith, to your own Mother.'
     'It  seems so  to me; stranger to me  than  you,' said  Edith.  'But my
education was completed long ago. I am too old now, and have fallen too low,
by degrees, to take a new course, and to stop yours, and to help myself. The
germ of all that purifies a woman's breast, and makes  it true and good, has
never stirred in mine, and I have nothing else  to sustain me when I despise
myself.'  There had been a touching  sadness in her voice, but it was  gone,
when she went on to say, with a curled lip, 'So, as we are genteel and poor,
I  am content that we  should be made rich by  these means; all I say is,  I
have kept the  only  purpose I  have had the strength to form - I had almost
said the power, with you at my  side, Mother - and have not tempted this man
     'This man! You speak,' said her mother, 'as if you hated him.'
     'And  you thought I loved him, did you not?' she answered, stopping  on
her  way  across  the room,  and  looking  round.  'Shall  I tell  you,' she
continued,  with  her  eyes  fixed  on  her mother,  'who  already knows  us
thoroughly,  and reads us right,  and  before  whom  I  have  even  less  of
self-respect or confidence  than  before my  own inward self; being so  much
degraded by his knowledge of me?'
     'This is an  attack, I suppose,' returned her mother coldly, 'on  poor,
unfortunate what's-his-name  - Mr  Carker!  Your  want of  self-respect  and
confidence,  my dear, in reference to that person (who is very agreeable, it
strikes me), is not likely to have much effect on your establishment. Why do
you look at me so hard? Are you ill?'
     Edith  suddenly let  fall her  face, as if it had been stung, and while
she  pressed  her  hands upon it, a  terrible tremble crept  over her  whole
frame.  It was quickly gone; and with her usual  step, she passed out of the
     The maid  who should have been a  skeleton, then reappeared, and giving
one arm  to her mistress, who appeared to have taken off her manner with her
charms,  and to have put  on paralysis  with her flannel gown, collected the
ashes of Cleopatra, and carried them away in the other, ready for tomorrow's

     'So the day has come at length, Susan,'  said Florence to the excellent
Nipper, 'when we are going back to our quiet home!'
     Susan drew  in her  breath  with an  amount  of  expression  not easily
described,  further  relieving her  feelings  with a smart cough,  answered,
'Very quiet indeed, Miss Floy, no doubt. Excessive so.'
     'When I was a child,' said Florence, thoughtfully, and after musing for
some moments, 'did you ever see that gentleman who has  taken the trouble to
ride  down here  to  speak to  me, now  three  times - three times, I think,
     'Three  times, Miss,'  returned  the  Nipper. 'Once when  you was out a
walking with them Sket- '
     Florence gently looked at her, and Miss Nipper checked herself.
     'With Sir  Barnet and his  lady, I mean  to say, Miss,  and  the  young
gentleman. And two evenings since then.'
     'When  I was a child, and when  company used to come to visit Papa, did
you ever see that gentleman at home, Susan?' asked Florence.
     'Well, Miss,' returned  her maid, after considering, 'I really couldn't
say I ever did. When your  poor dear Ma died, Miss Floy, I was  very  new in
the family, you  see,  and  my element:' the Nipper bridled, as opining that
her merits had been  always  designedly extinguished by Mr Dombey: 'was  the
floor below the attics.'
     'To be sure,' said Florence, still thoughtfully; 'you are not likely to
have known who came to the house. I quite forgot.'
     'Not, Miss,  but what  we talked  about the  family and visitors,' said
Susan,  'and but  what I heard much said,  although  the  nurse  before  Mrs
Richards make  unpleasant remarks when I was in  company, and hint at little
Pitchers,  but that could  only be  attributed, poor thing,' observed Susan,
with  composed  forbearance, 'to habits of intoxication, for which  she  was
required to leave, and did.'
     Florence, who was  seated at her chamber window, with  her face resting
on her hand, sat looking out, and hardly seemed to hear what Susan said, she
was so lost in thought.
     'At all events, Miss,' said Susan, 'I remember very well that this same
gentleman, Mr Carker, was  almost, if not quite,  as great a gentleman  with
your Papa then, as he is now. It  used to be said in the  house then,  Miss,
that he was at  the head of  all your  Pa's affairs in the City, and managed
the  whole,  and that your  Pa minded  him more than anybody, which, begging
your pardon, Miss Floy, he might easy do, for he  never minded anybody else.
I knew that, Pitcher as I might have been.'
     Susan  Nipper,  with  an injured  remembrance of  the nurse  before Mrs
Richards, emphasised 'Pitcher' strongly.
     'And that Mr Carker  has not fallen off, Miss,'  she pursued, 'but  has
stood  his  ground, and  kept his  credit with your Pa, I  know from what is
always said among our  people by that Perch, whenever he comes to the house;
and  though  he's the weakest weed  in  the world, Miss Floy, and no one can
have  a  moment's patience with the man, he knows what goes on  in  the City
tolerable well, and says that  your Pa does  nothing without Mr  Carker, and
leaves all to Mr Carker, and acts according to Mr Carker, and has Mr  Carker
always  at his  elbow, and I do believe  that he believes  (that washiest of
Perches!) that after your Pa, the Emperor of India is the child unborn to Mr
     Not a word of this was lost on Florence, who, with an awakened interest
in Susan's speech, no longer gazed abstractedly on the prospect without, but
looked at her, and listened with attention.
     'Yes, Susan,' she said, when  that  young lady had concluded. 'He is in
Papa's confidence, and is his friend, I am sure.'
     Florence's mind ran high on this theme, and had  done for some days. Mr
Carker, in the two visits with  which he had followed up  his first one, had
assumed a  confidence between himself and  her - a right on his  part to  be
mysterious and stealthy, in telling her that the ship was still unheard of -
a kind of mildly restrained power and  authority  over her  - that made  her
wonder, and caused her  great uneasiness.  She had no means of repelling it,
or of freeing herself from the web he  was gradually winding about her;  for
that  would have  required some  art and  knowledge of the world, opposed to
such address as his; and Florence had none. True, he had said no more to her
than that there  was no  news of the ship, and that he feared the worst; but
how he came to know that she was interested  in the ship, and why he had the
right to signify his  knowledge to  her, so insidiously and darkly, troubled
Florence very much.
     This  conduct on  the  part  of  Mr  Carker,  and  her habit  of  often
considering it  with wonder and  uneasiness, began to  invest  him  with  an
uncomfortable   fascination   in  Florence's   thoughts.   A  more  distinct
remembrance of his features, voice, and manner: which she sometimes courted,
as a  means  of reducing him to  the level of a real  personage,  capable of
exerting no greater  charm over her than another:  did not  remove the vague
impression.  And yet he  never frowned,  or  looked upon her  with an air of
dislike or animosity, but was always smiling and serene.
     Again, Florence, in pursuit of her strong purpose with reference to her
father,  and  her  steady  resolution  to   believe  that  she  was  herself
unwittingly  to blame for their so cold  and distant relations, would recall
to  mind  that this gentleman was his confidential friend, and  would think,
with an anxious heart, could her struggling tendency to dislike and fear him
be a  part  of  that misfortune in  her, which had turned  her father's love
adrift, and left  her  so  alone? She  dreaded that it might  be;  sometimes
believed it was:  then she resolved that she would try to conquer this wrong
feeling;  persuaded  herself that  she  was  honoured  and encouraged by the
notice of her father's friend; and hoped that patient observation of him and
trust in him would lead her bleeding feet along that stony road  which ended
in her father's heart.
     Thus, with  no one  to advise her  - for she  could  advise with no one
without  seeming  to complain  against him -  gentle  Florence tossed on  an
uneasy sea  of doubt  and  hope; and Mr Carker, like  a scaly monster of the
deep, swam down below, and kept his shining eye upon her. Florence had a new
reason in all this for  wishing  to be at home again. Her  lonely  life  was
better  suited  to her course  of  timid  hope and  doubt;  and  she  feared
sometimes, that  in  her  absence  she might  miss  some hopeful  chance  of
testifying her affection for  her father. Heaven knows,  she  might have set
her mind at rest, poor child! on this  last point; but her slighted love was
fluttering  within her, and, even in her sleep, it flew away  in dreams, and
nestled, like a wandering bird come home, upon her father's neck.
     Of Walter she thought often. Ah! how often, when the  night was gloomy,
and the wind was blowing round the house! But hope was strong in her breast.
It is so difficult for the  young and ardent, even  with such  experience as
hers, to imagine youth and ardour quenched like a weak flame, and the bright
day of life merging into night, at noon, that hope was strong yet. Her tears
fell frequently for Walter's sufferings; but rarely for  his supposed death,
and never long.
     She had written to the old Instrument-maker, but had received no answer
to her note: which indeed required none. Thus matters stood with Florence on
the morning when she was going home, gladly, to her old secluded life.
     Doctor  and Mrs Blimber, accompanied  (much against his will) by  their
valued charge, Master Barnet, were already gone back to Brighton, where that
young gentleman and his fellow-pilgrims to Parnassus were then, no doubt, in
the continual  resumption of their  studies. The  holiday time  was past and
over; most of  the juvenile  guests at the  villa had taken their departure;
and Florence's long visit was come to an end.
     There was one guest, however, albeit not resident within the house, who
had  been  very  constant  in his  attentions to the family, and  who  still
remained devoted to them. This  was Mr Toots, who after renewing, some weeks
ago,  the  acquaintance  he had  had the  happiness of forming with Skettles
Junior,  on  the  night when he  burst  the Blimberian bonds and soared into
freedom with  his ring  on, called regularly every  other  day,  and left  a
perfect  pack of cards at the  hall-door; so many indeed, that  the ceremony
was quite a deal on the part of Mr Toots, and a hand at whist on the part of
the servant.
     Mr  Toots, likewise, with  the  bold  and happy idea  of preventing the
family  from forgetting  him  (but  there  is reason to  suppose  that  this
expedient originated in the teeming brain of the Chicken), had established a
six-oared cutter, manned by aquatic friends of the  Chicken's and steered by
that illustrious  character  in person, who wore a bright red fireman's coat
for the purpose, and  concealed  the perpetual black eye  with which  he was
afflicted,  beneath  a  green shade.  Previous  to the  institution  of this
equipage, Mr Toots sounded the Chicken on a hypothetical case, as, supposing
the  Chicken  to  be  enamoured  of  a young  lady  named  Mary, and to have
conceived the intention of  starting a  boat of his own, what would he  call
that boat? The Chicken replied, with  divers strong  asseverations,  that he
would  either christen it Poll  or The  Chicken's Delight. Improving on this
idea,  Mr  Toots,  after deep  study  and the  exercise  of  much invention,
resolved  to  call his  boat The Toots's  Joy,  as a  delicate compliment to
Florence, of  which  no man  knowing  the  parties, could  possibly miss the
     Stretched on a crimson cushion in his gallant bark, with  his shoes  in
the air,  Mr Toots, in the exercise of his project, had come up  the  river,
day  after  day, and week after week, and  had flitted to and fro, near  Sir
Barnet's garden, and had caused his crew  to cut across and across the river
at  sharp angles,  for his  better  exhibition  to any lookers-out from  Sir
Barnet's windows, and had had such  evolutions performed by the  Toots's Joy
as had filled all the neighbouring part of the water-side with astonishment.
But whenever he saw anyone in Sir Barnet's garden on the brink of the river,
Mr  Toots  always  feigned  to  be  passing  there,  by  a  combination   of
coincidences of the most singular and unlikely description.
     'How are you, Toots?' Sir Barnet would  say,  waving his hand from  the
lawn, while the artful Chicken steered close in shore.
     'How de do, Sir Barnet?' Mr Toots would answer, What a surprising thing
that I should see you here!'
     Mr Toots,  in his sagacity, always  said this, as if,  instead of  that
being Sir Barnet's house,  it were some deserted edifice on the banks of the
Nile, or Ganges.
     'I never was so surprised!' Mr Toots  would  exclaim. - 'Is Miss Dombey
     Whereupon Florence would appear, perhaps.
     'Oh, Diogenes is quite well,  Miss Dombey,' Toots would  cry. 'I called
to ask this morning.'
     'Thank you very much!' the pleasant voice of Florence would reply.
     'Won't you  come  ashore,  Toots?' Sir Barnet  would say  then.  'Come!
you're in no hurry. Come and see us.'
     'Oh, it's  of no  consequence,  thank you!'  Mr  Toots would blushingly
rejoin. 'I thought  Miss  Dombey might like to know, that's  all. Good-bye!'
And poor  Mr Toots, who was dying to accept the  invitation, but hadn't  the
courage to do it, signed to the Chicken, with an aching heart, and away went
the Joy, cleaving the water like an arrow.
     The Joy was lying in  a state of extraordinary splendour, at the garden
steps, on the morning of Florence's  departure. When she went  downstairs to
take leave, after her talk  with  Susan, she found  Mr Toots awaiting her in
the drawing-room.
     'Oh,  how  de  do,  Miss  Dombey?'  said  the  stricken  Toots,  always
dreadfully disconcerted  when the desire of his heart was gained, and he was
speaking to her; 'thank you, I'm very well  indeed,  I hope you're the same,
so was Diogenes yesterday.'
     'You are very kind,' said Florence.
     'Thank you,  it's  of  no  consequence,' retorted Mr Toots. 'I  thought
perhaps you wouldn't mind, in  this fine weather, coming home by water, Miss
Dombey. There's plenty of room in the boat for your maid.'
     'I  am very  much obliged to you,' said Florence, hesitating. 'I really
am - but I would rather not.'
     'Oh, it's of no consequence,' retorted Mr Toots. 'Good morning.'
     'Won't you wait and see Lady Skettles?' asked Florence, kindly.
     'Oh no, thank you,' returned Mr Toots, 'it's of no consequence at all.'
     So  shy was  Mr Toots  on  such occasions,  and so flurried!  But  Lady
Skettles entering at the moment, Mr Toots was suddenly seized with a passion
for asking her how she did, and hoping she was very well; nor could Mr Toots
by any possibility  leave  off shaking  hands  with her,  until  Sir  Barnet
appeared: to whom he immediately clung with the tenacity of desperation.
     'We are  losing,  today,  Toots,'  said  Sir  Barnet,  turning  towards
Florence, 'the light of our house, I assure you'
     'Oh, it's  of  no  conseq -  I mean yes,  to  be  sure,'  faltered  the
embarrassed Mr Toots. 'Good morning!'
     Notwithstanding the emphatic nature of this farewell, Mr Toots, instead
of going away, stood leering about him, vacantly. Florence, to relieve  him,
bade adieu,  with many  thanks, to  Lady Skettles, and gave her  arm  to Sir
     'May I beg of you, my dear Miss Dombey,' said her host, as he conducted
her to the carriage, 'to present my best compliments to your dear Papa?'
     It was distressing to Florence to  receive the commission, for she felt
as  if she were imposing on  Sir Barnet by  allowing him to  believe  that a
kindness  rendered to her,  was  rendered to her father.  As  she  could not
explain, however, she bowed her  head and thanked him; and again she thought
that the dull home, free from such embarrassments, and such reminders of her
sorrow, was her natural and best retreat.
     Such of her late friends and companions as  were  yet remaining at  the
villa, came running from within, and from  the garden, to say good-bye. They
were all attached to her, and very earnest in taking leave of her.  Even the
household  were  sorry for  her  going, and  the  servants  came nodding and
curtseying round  the carriage  door. As  Florence looked round on the  kind
faces, and saw among them those of Sir Barnet and his lady, and of Mr Toots,
who was chuckling and  staring at her from a distance,  she was  reminded of
the  night when Paul and she  had come from Doctor Blimber's:  and when  the
carriage drove away, her face was wet with tears.
     Sorrowful  tears,  but tears of  consolation, too;  for all  the softer
memories connected with  the  dull old house to which she was returning made
it  dear to  her, as they rose up. How long it seemed since she had wandered
through the silent rooms: since she had last  crept, softly and afraid, into
those her  father occupied: since she had felt the solemn but  yet  soothing
influence of the beloved  dead in every action of her daily life!  This  new
farewell  reminded her, besides,  of her parting  with poor  Walter:  of his
looks and words that night: and of the gracious blending she  had noticed in
him,  of tenderness for those he  left behind, with courage and high spirit.
His little history was associated with the old house too, and  gave it a new
claim and hold  upon her heart. Even Susan  Nipper softened towards the home
of so  many years, as they were on their way towards  it. Gloomy as  it was,
and rigid justice as she rendered to its gloom, she forgave it a great deal.
'I  shall be glad to see it again, I  don't  deny, Miss,'  said the  Nipper.
'There ain't much in it to boast  of, but I wouldn't have it burnt or pulled
down, neither!'
     'You'll be glad to  go through  the old rooms, won't  you, Susan?' said
Florence, smiling.
     'Well, Miss,'  returned the Nipper, softening more and more towards the
house, as they approached it nearer, 'I won't deny but  what I shall, though
I shall hate 'em again, to-morrow, very likely.'
     Florence felt that,  for  her,  there was greater  peace within it than
elsewhere. It was better  and easier to keep her secret shut up there, among
the tall dark walls, than to carry it abroad into the light, and try to hide
it from a  crowd of happy eyes. It was  better  to  pursue  the study of her
loving  heart, alone, and find no new discouragements in loving hearts about
her. It was easier to hope, and pray, and love on, all uncared for, yet with
constancy and patience,  in  the  tranquil  sanctuary  of such remembrances:
although it mouldered,  rusted, and decayed about her: than  in a new scene,
let its gaiety  be what it would. She welcomed  back her old enchanted dream
of life, and longed for the old dark door to close upon her, once again.
     Full of  such  thoughts,  they turned into the long and  sombre street.
Florence was not on that side of the carriage which was nearest to her home,
and as  the distance lessened  between them and it,  she looked  out of  her
window for the children over the way.
     She was thus engaged, when an exclamation from Susan caused her to turn
quickly round.
     'Why, Gracious me!' cried Susan, breathless, 'where's our house!'
     'Our house!' said Florence.
     Susan, drawing in her head from the window,  thrust it  out again, drew
it  in  again as  the  carriage  stopped,  and  stared  at  her  mistress in
     There was a labyrinth of scaffolding raised all  round the house,  from
the basement to the roof. Loads of bricks and stones,  and heaps  of mortar,
and piles of wood, blocked up half the width and length  of the broad street
at  the side. Ladders were raised against the walls; labourers were climbing
up and down;  men were at work upon  the steps of  the scaffolding; painters
and decorators were busy inside; great rolls of  ornamental paper were being
delivered from a cart at the door; an  upholsterer's waggon also stopped the
way;  no furniture was to be  seen through the gaping and broken windows  in
any  of the  rooms; nothing but workmen, and the implements of their several
trades, swarming from the kitchens to the garrets. Inside and outside alike:
bricklayers, painters, carpenters, masons: hammer, hod, brush, pickaxe, saw,
and trowel: all at work together, in full chorus!
     Florence descended from the coach, half doubting if it  were, or  could
be the right  house, until she recognised Towlinson,  with a sun-burnt face,
standing at the door to receive her.
     'There is nothing the matter?' inquired Florence.
     'Oh no, Miss.'
     'There are great alterations going on.'
     'Yes, Miss, great alterations,' said Towlinson.
     Florence  passed him as  if she were in a dream, and  hurried upstairs.
The garish light was in the long-darkened drawing-room and  there were steps
and  platforms, and men In paper caps,  in the  high  places.  Her  mother's
picture was gone  with the rest of the moveables,  and on the mark where  it
had been, was scrawled  in chalk, 'this room in panel. Green and  gold.' The
staircase was a labyrinth of posts and planks like the outside of the house,
and  a  whole Olympus  of plumbers  and  glaziers was  reclining in  various
attitudes,  on  the skylight. Her own room was not yet  touched within,  but
there  were  beams  and  boards  raised  against it  without,  baulking  the
daylight. She  went up swiftly to that  other bedroom, where the  little bed
was;  and  a dark giant of a man with a pipe in his mouth, and his head tied
up in a pocket-handkerchief, was staring in at the window.
     It was here that Susan Nipper, who had been in quest of Florence, found
her, and said, would she go  downstairs  to her Papa, who wished to speak to
     'At home! and wishing to speak to me!' cried Florence, trembling.
     Susan,  who  was  infinitely  more  distraught  than Florence  herself,
repeated  her errand; and Florence, pale  and  agitated, hurried down again,
without a moment's hesitation. She thought upon the way down, would she dare
to kiss him? The longing of  her heart resolved  her, and  she  thought  she
     Her father  might  have heard that heart  beat,  when it  came into his
presence. One instant, and it would have beat against his breast.
     But  he  was  not  alone.  There  were two ladies there;  and  Florence
stopped. Striving so hard with her emotion, that if  her brute friend Di had
not burst in and overwhelmed her with  his caresses as  a welcome home  - at
which  one of  the  ladies  gave  a little  scream,  and  that diverted  her
attention from herself - she would have swooned upon the floor.
     'Florence,' said her father, putting  out his hand:  so stiffly that it
held her off: 'how do you do?'
     Florence took the hand between  her own, and putting it timidly  to her
lips, yielded to  its withdrawal.  It touched the  door in shutting it, with
quite as much endearment as it had touched her.
     'What dog is that?' said Mr Dombey, displeased.
     'It is a dog, Papa - from Brighton.'
     'Well!'  said  Mr Dombey; and  a  cloud  passed  over his  face, for he
understood her.
     'He is  very good-tempered,' said Florence, addressing herself with her
natural grace and sweetness to the two  lady strangers.  'He is only glad to
see me. Pray forgive him.'
     She  saw  in  the glance they  interchanged,  that  the  lady  who  had
screamed, and  who was  seated, was old; and that  the other lady, who stood
near her Papa, was very beautiful, and of an elegant figure.
     'Mrs Skewton,' said her father,  turning  to the first, and holding out
his hand, 'this is my daughter Florence.'
     'Charming, I am  sure,' observed the lady, putting  up her  glass.  'So
natural! My darling Florence, you must kiss me, if you please.'
     Florence having done so,  turned towards  the other lady,  by  whom her
father stood waiting.
     'Edith,' said Mr Dombey,  'this is my daughter Florence. Florence, this
lady will soon be your Mama.'
     Florence started, and looked up at the beautiful  face in a conflict of
emotions, among which  the tears that name awakened, struggled  for a moment
with surprise, interest, admiration, and an  indefinable sort of fear.  Then
she  cried out, 'Oh, Papa, may you be happy! may you be very, very happy all
your life!' and then fell weeping on the lady's bosom.
     There was a  short silence. The beautiful lady, who at first had seemed
to hesitate whether or no she should  advance  to Florence, held  her to her
breast,  and pressed  the hand with which she clasped her, close  about  her
waist, as if to reassure her and comfort her. Not one word passed the lady's
lips. She bent her head down over Florence, and she kissed her on the cheek,
but she said no word.
     'Shall we go on through  the rooms,'  said Mr  Dombey, 'and see how our
workmen are doing? Pray allow me, my dear madam.'
     He said  this in offering his arm to  Mrs Skewton, who had been looking
at Florence through her glass, as though picturing to herself what she might
be made, by the infusion - from her own  copious storehouse, no doubt - of a
little more  Heart  and  Nature. Florence  was still sobbing  on  the lady's
breast, and  holding  to her,  when  Mr  Dombey was  heard  to say from  the
     'Let us ask Edith. Dear me, where is she?'
     'Edith,  my  dear!' cried Mrs Skewton,  'where are you?  Looking for Mr
Dombey somewhere, I know. We are here, my love.'
     The beautiful lady released her hold of Florence, and pressing her lips
once  more  upon  her  face, withdrew hurriedly, and  joined them.  Florence
remained standing In the same place: happy, sorry, joyful, and in tears, she
knew not how, or how long, but all at once: when her new Mama came back, and
took her in her arms again.
     'Florence,' said  the lady, hurriedly, and looking into  her face  with
great earnestness. 'You will not begin by hating me?'
     'By  hating you, Mama?' cried Florence, winding her arm round her neck,
and returning the look.
     'Hush! Begin by thinking well  of me,' said the  beautiful lady. 'Begin
by believing that I will try to make you happy,  and that  I am  prepared to
love you, Florence. Good-bye. We shall meet again soon. Good-bye! Don't stay
here, now.'
     Again she pressed her to her breast she  had spoken in a  rapid manner,
but  firmly - and Florence  saw her rejoin  them in the other room.  And now
Florence began to hope that she would learn from her new and beautiful Mama,
how to gaIn her father's love; and in her sleep that  night, in her lost old
home, her own Mama smiled radiantly upon  the hope, and blessed it. Dreaming

     The Opening of the Eyes of Mrs Chick
     Miss  Tox, all  unconscious  of  any such rare appearances in connexion
with  Mr  Dombey's house,  as scaffoldings and ladders,  and  men with their
heads tied up in pocket-handkerchiefs, glaring in at the windows like flying
genii  or strange  birds,  -  having breakfasted one  morning at  about this
eventful period of  time, on her customary viands;  to wit, one  French roll
rasped, one egg new laid (or  warranted to be), and one little  pot of  tea,
wherein  was infused  one little silver scoopful of that  herb  on behalf of
Miss Tox, and one little silver  scoopful on behalf of the teapot - a flight
of fancy in which good housekeepers delight; went upstairs to set  forth the
bird waltz on the harpsichord, to water and arrange  the plants, to dust the
nick-nacks,  and,  according  to  her  daily  custom,  to  make  her  little
drawing-room the garland of Princess's Place.
     Miss  Tox  endued  herself with  a pair of  ancient gloves,  like  dead
leaves, in which she  was  accustomed to  perform these avocations -  hidden
from human sight at other times in a table drawer - and went methodically to
work; beginning with the bird  waltz; passing,  by  a natural association of
ideas, to her bird - a  very high-shouldered canary, stricken in years,  and
much  rumpled, but a piercing singer, as Princess's Place well knew; taking,
next in order,  the little  china ornaments, paper fly-cages, and so  forth;
and coming round, in good time,  to the  plants, which generally required to
be snipped here and there with a pair of scissors, for some botanical reason
that was  very powerful with  Miss  Tox.  Miss Tox was slow in coming to the
plants, this morning. The weather was warm,  the  wind southerly; and  there
was  a sigh of the summer-time In Princess's Place,  that  turned Miss Tox's
thoughts upon the country. The pot-boy  attached to the Princess's Arms  had
come out  with  a can and trickled  water, in  a flowering pattern, all over
Princess's Place,  and  it  gave the weedy  ground a  fresh scent - quite  a
growing scent, Miss Tox said.  There was a tiny blink of sun peeping in from
the great street round the corner, and the smoky sparrows hopped over it and
back again, brightening  as they passed: or bathed in it, like a stream, and
became glorified sparrows,  unconnected with  chimneys. Legends in praise of
Ginger-Beer,  with pictorial representations of thirsty  customers submerged
in the effervescence,  or stunned by the  flying corks,  were conspicuous in
the window of the Princess's  Arms. They were making late hay, somewhere out
of town; and though the fragrance had a long  way to come,  and many counter
fragrances to  contend with among the dwellings  of the poor (may God reward
the  worthy gentlemen who stickle  for the Plague as part and parcel of  the
wisdom  of  our ancestors, and  who  do  their  little best  to  keep  those
dwellings  miserable!),  yet  it  was  wafted faintly into Princess's Place,
whispering of Nature and her  wholesome  air, as such things will, even unto
prisoners and captives, and those who  are desolate and  oppressed,  in very
spite of aldermen and knights to boot: at whose sage nod - and how they nod!
- the rolling world stands still!
     Miss Tox sat  down upon  the  window-seat, and thought of her good Papa
deceased -  Mr Tox,  of the Customs Department of the public service; and of
her childhood, passed at a seaport, among  a  considerable  quantity of cold
tar, and some rusticity. She fell into a softened remembrance of meadows, in
old time, gleaming  with buttercups,  like so many  inverted  firmaments  of
golden stars; and how  she had made chains  of dandelion-stalks for youthful
vowers of eternal constancy, dressed  chiefly in nankeen; and how soon those
fetters had withered and broken.
     Sitting on  the window-seat, and looking out upon  the sparrows and the
blink  of sun, Miss Tox thought likewise of her good Mama deceased  - sister
to  the owner  of the powdered  head and pigtail  - of her  virtues  and her
rheumatism.  And when a man with bulgy legs, and a rough  voice, and a heavy
basket on his  head that crushed  his  hat into  a  mere black muffin,  came
crying flowers  down  Princess's  Place,  making his timid little  roots  of
daisies  shudder in  the  vibration of every yell  he gave, as though he had
been an ogre, hawking little children,  summer recollections were so  strong
upon  Miss Tox,  that  she  shook  her  head,  and  murmured  she  would  be
comparatively old before she knew it - which seemed likely.
     In her pensive  mood, Miss Tox's thoughts went wandering on Mr Dombey's
track;  probably  because  the  Major  had  returned  home to  his  lodgings
opposite, and had just bowed to her from his window. What other reason could
Miss  Tox have for  connecting Mr Dombey with her summer  days and dandelion
fetters?  Was he  more cheerful? thought Miss Tox. Was he reconciled to  the
decrees of fate? Would he ever marry  again? and if yes, whom? What  sort of
person now!
     A flush - it  was warm weather - overspread Miss Tox's face, as,  while
entertaining these meditations, she turned her head,  and  was surprised  by
the  reflection of her thoughtful image In the  chimney-glass. Another flush
succeeded when  she saw a little carriage drive  into Princess's  Place, and
make  straight  for her  own door.  Miss Tox arose,  took  up  her  scissors
hastily, and so coming, at last, to the plants, was very busy with them when
Mrs Chick entered the room.
     'How is my sweetest friend!' exclaimed Miss Tox, with open arms.
     A  little stateliness  was mingled  with  Miss  Tox's sweetest friend's
demeanour, but she  kissed Miss  Tox, and  said, 'Lucretia, thank you, I  am
pretty well. I hope you are the same. Hem!'
     Mrs Chick  was labouring under a peculiar  little monosyllabic cough; a
sort of primer, or easy introduction to the art of coughing.
     'You call very early, and how kind that is, my dear!' pursued Miss Tox.
'Now, have you breakfasted?'
     'Thank  you,  Lucretia,' said  Mrs Chick, 'I  have.  I  took  an  early
breakfast' -  the  good lady  seemed  curious on the subject  of  Princess's
Place, and looked all round it as she spoke - 'with my brother, who has come
     'He is better, I trust, my love,' faltered Miss Tox.
     'He is greatly better, thank you. Hem!'
     'My dear Louisa must be careful of that cough' remarked Miss Tox.
     'It's nothing,' returned Mrs Chic 'It's  merely  change of weather.  We
must expect change.'
     'Of weather?' asked Miss Tox, in her simplicity.
     'Of everything'  returned Mrs Chick 'Of course we must. It's a world of
change. Anyone would surprise me  very  much,  Lucretia,  and would  greatly
alter my  opinion of their understanding, if they attempted to contradict or
evade  what is  so perfectly  evident.  Change!' exclaimed  Mrs  Chick, with
severe philosophy. 'Why, my gracious me, what is there that does not change!
even the  silkworm, who I  am  sure might be  supposed not to trouble itself
about  such   subjects,   changes   into  all  sorts  of  unexpected  things
     'My   Louisa,'   said  the  mild  Miss  Tox,  'is  ever  happy  in  her
     'You are so kind, Lucretia,' returned Mrs Chick, a little softened, 'as
to say so,  and to think so, I  believe. I hope neither of us  may ever have
any cause to lessen our opinion of the other, Lucretia.'
     'I am sure of it,' returned Miss Tox.
     Mrs  Chick  coughed as  before, and drew  lines on the  carpet with the
ivory end of her  parasol. Miss  Tox, who had experience of her fair friend,
and  knew  that under the pressure of any slight fatigue or vexation she was
prone to a discursive kind of irritability, availed herself of the pause, to
change the subject.
     'Pardon me, my dear Louisa,' said Miss Tox, 'but have I caught sight of
the manly form of Mr Chick in the carriage?'
     'He is there,'  said Mrs  Chick, 'but  pray leave him there. He has his
newspaper,  and would be quite contented for  the next two hours. Go on with
your flowers, Lucretia, and allow me to sit here and rest.'
     'My  Louisa  knows,'  observed  Miss Tox, 'that  between  friends  like
ourselves, any approach to ceremony would  be out of the question. Therefore
- ' Therefore Miss  Tox finished  the sentence, not in words but action; and
putting on her  gloves again, which she had taken  off,  and  arming herself
once more with her scissors, began  to  snip and  clip among the leaves with
microscopic industry.
     'Florence has returned home also,' said Mrs Chick, after sitting silent
for some time, with her  head on one side, and her parasol  sketching on the
floor; 'and really Florence is a great deal too old now, to continue to lead
that solitary life to which she has been accustomed. Of course she is. There
can be no doubt about it.  I  should  have very little respect, indeed,  for
anybody who could advocate a different opinion. Whatever my wishes might be,
I could not  respect them. We cannot command our  feelings to such an extent
as that.'
     Miss Tox  assented,  without being particular as to the intelligibility
of the proposition.
     'If she's  a strange girl,'  said Mrs  Chick,  'and if  my brother Paul
cannot feel perfectly  comfortable in her society,  after all the sad things
that  have happened,  and  all the terrible disappointments  that have  been
undergone, then, what is the reply? That he must make  an effort. That he is
bound to make an effort. We have always been a family remarkable for effort.
Paul is at the head of the family; almost the only representative of it left
- for what am I - I am of no consequence - '
     'My dearest love,' remonstrated Miss Tox.
     Mrs Chick dried her eyes, which  were, for the moment, overflowing; and
     'And  consequently he is more than  ever bound to make an  effort.  And
though his having done  so, comes upon me with a sort of shock - for mine is
a very weak and foolish nature; which is anything but a blessing  I am sure;
I often wish my heart was a marble slab, or a paving-stone -
     'My sweet Louisa,' remonstrated Miss Tox again.
     'Still, it is a triumph to me to  know that  he is so true  to himself,
and to his name of Dombey; although, of course, I always knew he would be. I
only hope,' said Mrs Chick,  after  a  pause, 'that she may be worthy of the
name too.
     Miss Tox filled a little  green watering-pot from  a jug, and happening
to  look  up  when she  had done  so,  was so  surprised  by the  amount  of
expression Mrs Chick had conveyed into her face, and was bestowing upon her,
that she  put the little watering-pot  on the table for the present, and sat
down near it.
     'My dear Louisa,' said Miss Tox, 'will it be  the least satisfaction to
you,  if I venture to  observe  in reference  to that remark,  that I, as  a
humble  individual, think your sweet  niece  in  every way most  promising?~
'What do you mean, Lucretia?' returned Mrs Chick, with increased stateliness
of manner. 'To what remark of mine, my dear, do you refer?'
     'Her being worthy of her name, my love,' replied Miss Tox.
     'If,'  said Mrs  Chick,  with solemn patience,  'I  have  not expressed
myself with  clearness, Lucretia,  the  fault of course is  mine.  There is,
perhaps, no reason why I should express myself at  all,  except the intimacy
that  has  subsisted  between  us, and  which I very much hope,  Lucretia  -
confidently hope - nothing will occur to disturb.  Because, why should  I do
anything else? There is no reason; it would be absurd. But I wish to express
myself clearly,  Lucretia; and therefore to  go  back to that remark, I must
beg to say that it was not intended to relate to Florence, in any way.'
     'Indeed!' returned Miss Tox.
     'No,' said Mrs Chick shortly and decisively.
     'Pardon  me, my  dear,'  rejoined  her  meek friend; 'but I cannot have
understood it. I fear I am dull.'
     Mrs Chick looked round the room and over the way; at the plants, at the
bird, at  the  watering-pot, at almost everything within  view,  except Miss
Tox; and finally dropping her glance upon Miss Tox, for a moment, on its way
to the ground, said, looking meanwhile with elevated eyebrows at the carpet:
     'When I speak, Lucretia, of her being worthy of the name, I speak of my
brother Paul's second wife. I believe I have already said, in effect, if not
in  the very words I  now  use,  that it is his intention to marry a  second
     Miss Tox left her seat in a hurry, and returned to her plants; clipping
among the stems and leaves, with as little favour as a  barber working at so
many pauper heads of hair.
     'Whether she  will be fully sensible of the distinction conferred  upon
her,' said  Mrs Chick, in a  lofty tone, 'is quite another question. I  hope
she may be. We are bound to think well of one another  in this world, and  I
hope she may  be. I have not been advised with  myself If I had been advised
with,  I  have no doubt  my  advice would have been cavalierly received, and
therefore it is infinitely better as it is. I much prefer it as it is.'
     Miss  Tox,  with head bent down,  still clipped among  the  plants. Mrs
Chick,  with energetic shakings of her own head from time to time, continued
to  hold  forth,  as if  in defiance  of  somebody. 'If my brother  Paul had
consulted with me, which  he sometimes  does -  or rather, sometimes used to
do; for he will naturally  do that no  more  now, and this is a circumstance
which  I  regard  as  a   relief  from  responsibility,'  said  Mrs   Chick,
hysterically,  'for I thank Heaven I am not jealous - ' here Mrs Chick again
shed tears: 'if my brother  Paul had come to me, and had said, "Louisa, what
kind of qualities would you advise me to look out for,  in a wife?" I should
certainly have answered, "Paul, you must have family, you must  have beauty,
you must  have dignity, you  must have connexion."  Those  are  the  words I
should  have   used.  You  might  have  led  me  to  the  block  immediately
afterwards,' said Mrs  Chick, as if that consequence were  highly  probable,
'but I  should have used them.  I  should  have said, "Paul! You  to marry a
second time  without  family! You to  marry  without  beauty!  You to  marry
without dignity!  You to  marry without connexion! There is  nobody  in  the
world, not mad,  who could dream of daring to entertain such a  preposterous
     Miss Tox stopped clipping; and with her head among the plants, listened
attentively. Perhaps Miss  Tox thought there was  hope in this exordium, and
the warmth of Mrs Chick.
     I should have adopted this  course of  argument,' pursued the  discreet
lady, 'because I trust  I am not a  fool. I make no claim to be considered a
person of  superior  intellect  -  though I believe  some  people have  been
extraordinary enough  to consider me  so;  one so little humoured  as  I am,
would very soon  be disabused  of  any such notion;  but I  trust I am not a
downright fool.  And to tell ME,' said  Mrs Chick  with  ineffable  disdain,
'that  my brother  Paul  Dombey  could  ever contemplate the possibility  of
uniting  himself to  anybody  -  I  don't care who' - she was more sharp and
emphatic in that short clause than in any other part of her discourse - 'not
possessing these requisites,  would be  to insult what understanding I  have
got,  as much as if I was to be told  that I was  born and bred an elephant,
which  I may be told next,'  said Mrs Chick,  with resignation. 'It wouldn't
surprise me at all. I expect it.'
     In the moment's silence that ensued, Miss Tox's scissors gave a  feeble
clip or two; but Miss Tox's face was still invisible, and Miss Tox's morning
gown was agitated. Mrs Chick looked sideways at her, through the intervening
plants,  and went  on to say,  in a  tone of bland  conviction,  and  as one
dwelling on a point of fact that hardly required to be stated:
     'Therefore, of course  my brother Paul has done what was to be expected
of him, and  what anybody might have foreseen he would do, if he entered the
marriage state  again. I  confess it takes me  rather  by  surprise, however
gratifying; because when Paul went out of town  I had no idea at all that he
would form any attachment  out  of town, and he certainly had no  attachment
when  he  left  here. However, it seems  to  be extremely desirable in every
point of view. I have  no  doubt the mother  is a  most  genteel and elegant
creature, and I have no right whatever to dispute  the policy of  her living
with them: which is Paul's affair,  not  mine  -  and  as  to Paul's choice,
herself, I have only seen her picture yet, but that is beautiful indeed. Her
name  is beautiful too,'  said  Mrs Chick, shaking her head with energy, and
arranging herself in her chair;  'Edith  is at  once uncommon, as it strikes
me, and distinguished. Consequently, Lucretia, I have  no doubt you  will be
happy to hear that the  marriage  is to take place immediately -  of course,
you  will:' great  emphasis again:  'and that  you are delighted  with  this
change in the  condition  of my brother, who has shown you a  great  deal of
pleasant attention at various times.'
     Miss  Tox made no verbal answer, but took  up the  little  watering-pot
with a trembling  hand, and  looked vacantly  round  as  if considering what
article of  furniture  would  be improved by  the contents.  The  room  door
opening at this crisis of Miss Tox's feelings, she  started,  laughed aloud,
and fell into  the arms  of the person entering; happily insensible alike of
Mrs Chick's indignant countenance and  of the  Major at his window over  the
way,  who had his double-barrelled eye-glass in full action,  and whose face
and figure were dilated with Mephistophelean joy.
     Not so the expatriated Native, amazed supporter of Miss  Tox's swooning
form, who, coming straight upstairs,  with a polite  inquiry  touching  Miss
Tox's health (in exact pursuance of the Major's malicious instructions), had
accidentally arrived  in the very nick of time  to catch the delicate burden
in his arms, and  to receive the content'  of the little watering-pot in his
shoe; both of which circumstances,  coupled with his consciousness of  being
closely watched by the wrathful Major, who had threatened the usual  penalty
in regard of every bone  in his  skin  in  case of  any failure, combined to
render him a moving spectacle of mental and bodily distress.
     For some moments, this afflicted  foreigner  remained clasping Miss Tox
to  his  heart, with an energy of  action  in remarkable opposition  to  his
disconcerted face, while that  poor lady trickled slowly  down upon  him the
very last sprinklings of  the  little watering-pot, as if he were a delicate
exotic (which indeed he was), and might be almost expected to blow while the
gentle  rain descended.  Mrs Chick, at length recovering sufficient presence
of mind to  interpose, commanded  him  to drop Miss  Tox upon  the sofa  and
withdraw;  and  the exile  promptly obeying, she  applied herself to promote
Miss Tox's recovery.
     But  none  of  that  gentle  concern which  usually  characterises  the
daughters of Eve in their tending of each other; none of that freemasonry in
fainting, by which they are generally bound together In a mysterious bond of
sisterhood;  was  visible  in  Mrs  Chick's  demeanour.   Rather  like   the
executioner who restores the victim to sensation previous to proceeding with
the torture (or was wont  to do so, in the good old times for which all true
men  wear perpetual mourning), did Mrs Chick administer the smelling-bottle,
the slapping  on the hands, the dashing of cold  water on the face, and  the
other proved remedies. And when, at length, Miss Tox opened  her  eyes,  and
gradually became restored to animation and consciousness, Mrs Chick drew off
as from a criminal,  and reversing  the precedent  of  the murdered  king of
Denmark, regarded her more in anger than In sorrow.'
     'Lucretia!' said Mrs Chick 'I will not attempt to disguise what I feel.
My eyes are  opened, all at once. I wouldn't have believed this, if  a Saint
had told it to me.
     'I am foolish to give way to faintness,' Miss Tox faltered. 'I shall be
better presently.'
     'You will be  better presently,  Lucretia!'  repeated  Mrs Chick,  with
exceeding  scorn.  'Do  you suppose  I am  blind?  Do you imagine I am in my
second childhood? No, Lucretia! I am obliged to you!'
     Miss  Tox  directed  an imploring, helpless  kind of  look  towards her
friend, and put her handkerchief before her face.
     'If anyone had told me this yesterday,' said Mrs  Chick,  with majesty,
'or  even half-an-hour ago, I should have been tempted, I almost believe, to
strike  them to the earth.  Lucretia Tox, my eyes are opened to  you all  at
once.  The scales:' here Mrs Chick cast down  an imaginary pair, such as are
commonly used in  grocers' shops: 'have fallen from my sight.  The blindness
of my confidence is past, Lucretia. It has been abused and played, upon, and
evasion is quite out of the question now, I assure you.
     'Oh! to what  do  you  allude  so  cruelly, my  love?'  asked Miss Tox,
through her tears.
     'Lucretia,' said Mrs Chick, 'ask your own heart. I must entreat you not
to  address  me by any  such  familiar term  as you  have just used, if  you
please. I have some self-respect left, though you may think otherwise.'
     'Oh, Louisa!' cried Miss Tox. 'How can you speak to me like that?'
     'How can I speak to you like that?' retorted Mrs Chick, who, in default
of  having  any  particular  argument  to   sustain  herself   upon,  relied
principally on such repetitions for  her most withering effects. 'Like that!
You may well say like that, indeed!'
     Miss Tox sobbed pitifully.
     'The  idea!' said  Mrs Chick, 'of  your having  basked  at my brother's
fireside, like  a serpent,  and wound  yourself, through me, almost into his
confidence, Lucretia, that you might, in secret, entertain designs upon him,
and dare to aspire to  contemplate the possibility of his uniting himself to
you! Why,  it  is  an idea,'  said  Mrs Chick, with sarcastic  dignity, 'the
absurdity of which almost relieves its treachery.'
     'Pray, Louisa,' urged Miss Tox, 'do not say such dreadful things.'
     'Dreadful  things!' repeated  Mrs Chick. 'Dreadful things! Is  it not a
fact, Lucretia, that you have  just now been unable to command your feelings
even before me, whose eyes you had so completely closed?'
     'I have made no complaint,' sobbed Miss Tox. 'I have said nothing. If I
have  been  a little overpowered by your news, Louisa, and have ever had any
lingering thought that  Mr Dombey was inclined to be  particular towards me,
surely you will not condemn me.'
     'She is going to say,' said Mrs Chick,  addressing herself to the whole
of the furniture, in a comprehensive glance of resignation and  appeal, 'She
is going to say - I know it - that I have encouraged her!'
     'I don't  wish  to exchange reproaches,  dear  Louisa,' sobbed Miss Tox
'Nor do I wish to complain. But, in my own defence - '
     'Yes,' cried Mrs Chick,  looking round the room with a prophetic smile,
'that's what she's going to say. I  knew it.  You had better  say it. Say it
openly! Be  open, Lucretia Tox,' said  Mrs Chick, with  desperate sternness,
'whatever you are.'
     'In my own defence,' faltered  Miss Tox, 'and  only  In  my own defence
against your unkind words, my  dear Louisa, I would  merely ask you  if  you
haven't often  favoured such a  fancy, and even  said  it might  happen, for
anything we could tell?'
     'There is a point,' said Mrs Chick, rising, not as if she were going to
stop  at the  floor, but as if she were  about to soar  up,  high,  into her
native skies, 'beyond which endurance becomes ridiculous, if not culpable. I
can bear  much; but not too much. What spell was on me when I came into this
house  this  day,  I  don't  know;  but  I  had  a  presentiment  -  a  dark
presentiment,' said Mrs  Chick, with a shiver, 'that something was  going to
happen. Well may I have had that foreboding, Lucretia, when my confidence of
many years is destroyed in an  instant, when my eyes are opened all at once,
and  when I find you  revealed in your true  colours.  Lucretia, I have been
mistaken in you. It is better for us both that this subject should end here.
I wish you  well, and I  shall ever wish you well. But, as an individual who
desires  to be  true  to herself  in her  own  poor  position, whatever that
position  may be, or may not be - and  as the sister of my  brother - and as
the sister-in-law of my brother's wife - and  as a connexion by  marriage of
my brother's wife's mother - may I be permitted to add, as a Dombey? - I can
wish you nothing else but good morning.'
     These words, delivered with cutting suavity, tempered and chastened  by
a  lofty air of moral rectitude,  carried the speaker to the door. There she
inclined her head in a  ghostly  and statue-like manner, and so withdrew  to
her carriage, to  seek comfort and consolation  in the arms of Mr Chick, her
     Figuratively speaking,  that is to say; for the arms of  Mr  Chick were
full of his newspaper. Neither  did that gentleman address  his eyes towards
his  wife otherwise than  by stealth. Neither  did he offer any  consolation
whatever.  In  short,  he sat reading, and humming fag  ends  of  tunes, and
sometimes  glancing furtively at her without  delivering himself  of a word,
good, bad, or indifferent.
     In  the meantime Mrs Chick sat swelling and bridling,  and  tossing her
head,  as if she were still repeating  that solemn  formula  of  farewell to
Lucretia Tox.  At length, she said aloud,  'Oh the extent to  which her eyes
had been opened that day!'
     'To which your eyes have been opened, my dear!' repeated Mr Chick.
     'Oh,  don't talk to me!' said  Mrs  Chic 'if you can bear to see  me in
this state,  and  not ask me what the  matter is, you  had  better hold your
tongue for ever.'
     'What is the matter, my dear?' asked Mr Chick
     'To think,' said Mrs  Chick, in a  state of soliloquy, 'that she should
ever have conceived the base idea of connecting herself with our family by a
marriage  with Paul!  To think that when she was playing at horses with that
dear child  who is  now in his grave - I  never liked  it  at the time - she
should  have been hiding  such a double-faced design! I wonder she was never
afraid  that  something  would happen to  her. She  is fortunate  if nothing
     'I  really thought, my dear,' said Mr  Chick  slowly, after rubbing the
bridge of  his nose for some time with his newspaper, 'that you had  gone on
the  same tack yourself,  all along, until this morning; and  had thought it
would be a convenient thing enough, if it could have been brought about.'
     Mrs Chick  instantly burst  into tears, and  told  Mr Chick  that if he
wished to trample upon her with his boots, he had better do It.
     'But with Lucretia  Tox  I have done,' said Mrs Chick, after abandoning
herself to her feelings for some minutes, to Mr Chick's great terror. 'I can
bear to resign Paul's confidence in favour of one who, I hope and trust, may
be  deserving  of it, and with whom he has a perfect  right to replace  poor
Fanny if  he chooses;  I can bear to be informed, In  Paul's cool manner, of
such a change in  his plans, and never  to be consulted until all is settled
and determined; but  deceit  I  can not bear, and  with Lucretia Tox  I have
done.  It  is better  as  it is,' said Mrs  Chick, piously; 'much better. It
would  have been  a  long  time  before  I could  have  accommodated  myself
comfortably with her, after this; and I really don't know, as Paul  is going
to  be very  grand, and these  are people of  condition, that she would have
been  quite  presentable, and might not have compromised myself.  There's  a
providence in everything; everything works for the best; I  have  been tried
today but on the whole I do not regret it.'
     In which Christian spirit, Mrs Chick dried  her  eyes and  smoothed her
lap, and sat as became a person calm under a  great wrong. Mr Chick  feeling
his unworthiness no doubt, took an  early opportunity of being set down at a
street corner  and  walking  away  whistling, with his  shoulders very  much
raised, and his hands in his pockets.
     While  poor  excommunicated Miss  Tox,  who, if she were a  fawner  and
toad-eater, was at least an honest and a constant one, and had  ever borne a
faithful friendship towards her  impeacher  and  had been truly absorbed and
swallowed  up  in  devotion to the magnificence of Mr Dombey  -  while  poor
excommunicated Miss Tox watered her  plants with her tears, and felt that it
was winter in Princess's Place.

     The interval before the Marriage
     Although  the enchanted  house  was  no more, and the working world had
broken  into it,  and was  hammering and  crashing and tramping up and  down
stairs  all day long keeping Diogenes in  an incessant paroxysm  of barking,
from  sunrise to sunset  - evidently convinced  that his  enemy had got  the
better of him  at  last, and  was  then  sacking the premises in  triumphant
defiance  -  there  was, at first, no  other great change  in the method  of
Florence's  life. At  night,  when  the workpeople went  away, the house was
dreary  and  deserted again; and Florence, listening to their voices echoing
through the  hall and staircase as they departed, pictured  to  herself  the
cheerful  homes  to which  the were  returning, and  the children  who  were
waiting for  them, and  was glad  to think that  they were  merry  and  well
pleased to go.
     She welcomed back the evening silence as an old friend, but it came now
with an  altered face, and  looked more kindly on her. Fresh hope was in it.
The beautiful  lady who had soothed and  carressed her, in the very room  in
which her heart had  been  so wrung, was a spirit  of promise  to  her. Soft
shadows of the bright life dawning, when  her father's  affection should  be
gradually won, and all, or much should  be restored, of what she had lost on
the  dark day when a mother's love had faded  with a mother's last breath on
her cheek, moved about her in the twilight and were welcome company. Peeping
at  the rosy children her neighbours, it was a new and precious sensation to
think that  they  might soon speak together  and  know each other; when  she
would not fear, as of old, to show herself before  them, lest they should be
grieved to see her in her black dress sitting there alone!
     In  her  thoughts  of  her  new  mother,  and  in the  love  and  trust
overflowing her pure heart towards her, Florence loved her own  dead  mother
more and more. She had no fear  of setting up a rival in her breast. The new
flower sprang from the deep-planted and long-cherished root, she knew. Every
gentle word that had fallen  from the lips of the beautiful lady, sounded to
Florence like an echo  of the voice  long hushed and  silent. How  could she
love that memory less for living tenderness, when  it was her memory  of all
parental tenderness and love!
     Florence was, one day, sitting reading in her room, and thinking of the
lady and her promised visit soon -  for her book turned on a kindred subject
- when, raising her eyes, she saw her standing in the doorway.
     'Mama!' cried Florence, joyfully meeting her. 'Come again!'
     'Not  Mama  yet,' returned  the lady, with  a  serious  smile,  as  she
encircled Florence's neck with her arm.
     'But very soon to be,' cried Florence.
     'Very soon now, Florence: very soon.
     Edith  bent her head  a  little, so as  to press the blooming cheek  of
Florence against  her  own, and  for  some few moments remained thus silent.
There was  something  so very tender in her  manner, that  Florence was even
more sensible of it than on the first occasion of their meeting.
     She  led Florence to a chair beside her, and sat down: Florence looking
in her  face, quite wondering at its beauty, and  willingly leaving her hand
In hers.
     'Have you been alone, Florence, since I was here last?'
     'Oh yes!' smiled Florence, hastily.
     She hesitated and cast down her eyes; for her new Mama was very earnest
in her look, and the look was intently and thoughtfully fixed upon her face.
     'I - I- am used to be alone,'  said Florence. 'I don't mind it at  all.
Di and I pass whole  days  together, sometimes.' Florence might  have  said,
whole weeks and months.
     'Is Di your maid, love?'
     'My dog, Mama,' said Florence, laughing. 'Susan is my maid.'
     'And these are your rooms,' said Edith, looking round. 'I was not shown
these rooms the other day. We must have them improved, Florence. They  shall
be made the prettiest in the house.'
     'If  I  might  change  them,  Mama,' returned  Florence; 'there  is one
upstairs I should like much better.'
     'Is this not high enough, dear girl?' asked Edith, smiling.
     'The other was my brother's room,'  said Florence,  'and I am very fond
of it. I  would have spoken to Papa about it when I came home, and found the
workmen here, and everything changing; but - '
     Florence dropped her  eyes, lest the same look should make  her  falter
     'but I was afraid it might distress  him; and as you said you  would be
here again soon, Mama, and are  the  mistress of everything, I determined to
take courage and ask you.'
     Edith sat looking at her, with her brilliant eyes intent upon her face,
until Florence raising her own,  she,  in  her turn, withdrew her gaze,  and
turned it  on the ground.  It was then  that  Florence thought how different
this lady's beauty  was, from what she had supposed. She had thought it of a
proud and lofty kind;  yet her manner was so subdued and gentle, that if she
had been of Florence's own age and character, it scarcely could have invited
confidence more.
     Except when a constrained and singular reserve crept over her; and then
she seemed (but Florence hardly understood this, though she could not choose
but notice it, and think  about it)  as if she were humbled before Florence,
and ill at ease. When  she had said that she was not  her Mama yet, and when
Florence had called her the mistress of everything there, this change in her
was quick and startling; and now, while the eyes of  Florence rested on  her
face, she sat as  though she would have shrunk  and hidden from her,  rather
than  as one about  to  love  and cherish  her,  in  right  of  such  a near
     She gave  Florence her ready promise, about her new room,  and said she
would  give directions  about  it  herself.  She then asked  some  questions
concerning poor Paul; and when they had sat in conversation  for some  time,
told Florence she had come to take her to her own home.
     'We have come to  London now, my mother  and  I,' said Edith,  'and you
shall stay with us until I am married. I wish that we  should know and trust
each other, Florence.'
     'You are very kind to me,'  said Florence, 'dear Mama. How much I thank
     'Let me say now, for it may  be the best opp