Книга Dombey and Son. Содержание - CHAPTER 60 Chiefly Matrimonial
She clung closer to him, more endearing and more earnest.
'He is the darling of my heart, Papa I would die for him. He will love and honour you as I will. We will teach our little child to love and honour you; and we will tell him, when he can understand, that you had a son of that name once, and that he died, and you were very sorry; but that he is gone to Heaven, where we all hope to see him when our time for resting comes. Kiss me, Papa, as a promise that you will be reconciled to Walter — to my dearest husband — to the father of the little child who taught me to come back, Papa Who taught me to come back!'
As she clung closer to him, in another burst of tears, he kissed her on her lips, and, lifting up his eyes, said, 'Oh my God, forgive me, for I need it very much!'
With that he dropped his head again, lamenting over and caressing her, and there was not a sound in all the house for a long, long time; they remaining clasped in one another's arms, in the glorious sunshine that had crept in with Florence.
He dressed himself for going out, with a docile submission to her entreaty; and walking with a feeble gait, and looking back, with a tremble, at the room in which he had been so long shut up, and where he had seen the picture in the glass, passed out with her into the hall. Florence, hardly glancing round her, lest she should remind him freshly of their last parting — for their feet were on the very stones where he had struck her in his madness — and keeping close to him, with her eyes upon his face, and his arm about her, led him out to a coach that was waiting at the door, and carried him away.
Then, Miss Tox and Polly came out of their concealment, and exulted tearfully. And then they packed his clothes, and books, and so forth, with great care; and consigned them in due course to certain persons sent by Florence, in the evening, to fetch them. And then they took a last cup of tea in the lonely house.
'And so Dombey and Son, as I observed upon a certain sad occasion,' said Miss Tox, winding up a host of recollections, 'is indeed a daughter, Polly, after all.'
'And a good one!' exclaimed Polly.
'You are right,' said Miss Tox; 'and it's a credit to you, Polly, that you were always her friend when she was a little child. You were her friend long before I was, Polly,' said Miss Tox; 'and you're a good creature. Robin!'
Miss Tox addressed herself to a bullet-headed young man, who appeared to be in but indifferent circumstances, and in depressed spirits, and who was sitting in a remote corner. Rising, he disclosed to view the form and features of the Grinder.
'Robin,' said Miss Tox, 'I have just observed to your mother, as you may have heard, that she is a good creature.
'And so she is, Miss,' quoth the Grinder, with some feeling.
'Very well, Robin,' said Miss Tox, 'I am glad to hear you say so.
Now, Robin, as I am going to give you a trial, at your urgent request, as my domestic, with a view to your restoration to respectability, I will take this impressive occasion of remarking that I hope you will never forget that you have, and have always had, a good mother, and that you will endeavour so to conduct yourself as to be a comfort to her.'
'Upon my soul I will, Miss,' returned the Grinder. 'I have come through a good deal, and my intentions is now as straightfor'ard, Miss, as a cove's — '
'I must get you to break yourself of that word, Robin, if you Please,' interposed Miss Tox, politely.
'If you please, Miss, as a chap's — '
'Thankee, Robin, no,' returned Miss Tox, 'I should prefer individual.'
'As a indiwiddle's,' said the Grinder.
'Much better,' remarked Miss Tox, complacently; 'infinitely more expressive!'
' — can be,' pursued Rob. 'If I hadn't been and got made a Grinder on, Miss and Mother, which was a most unfortunate circumstance for a young co — indiwiddle.'
'Very good indeed,' observed Miss Tox, approvingly.
' — and if I hadn't been led away by birds, and then fallen into a bad service,' said the Grinder, 'I hope I might have done better. But it's never too late for a — '
'Indi — ' suggested Miss Tox.
' — widdle,' said the Grinder, 'to mend; and I hope to mend, Miss, with your kind trial; and wishing, Mother, my love to father, and brothers and sisters, and saying of it.'
'I am very glad indeed to hear it,' observed Miss Tox. 'Will you take a little bread and butter, and a cup of tea, before we go, Robin?'
'Thankee, Miss,' returned the Grinder; who immediately began to use his own personal grinders in a most remarkable manner, as if he had been on very short allowance for a considerable period.
Miss Tox, being, in good time, bonneted and shawled, and Polly too, Rob hugged his mother, and followed his new mistress away; so much to the hopeful admiration of Polly, that something in her eyes made luminous rings round the gas-lamps as she looked after him. Polly then put out her light, locked the house-door, delivered the key at an agent's hard by, and went home as fast as she could go; rejoicing in the shrill delight that her unexpected arrival would occasion there.
The great house, dumb as to all that had been suffered in it, and the changes it had witnessed, stood frowning like a dark mute on the street; baulking any nearer inquiries with the staring announcement that the lease of this desirable Family Mansion was to be disposed of.
The grand half-yearly festival holden by Doctor and Mrs Blimber, on which occasion they requested the pleasure of the company of every young gentleman pursuing his studies in that genteel establishment, at an early party, when the hour was half-past seven o'clock, and when the object was quadrilles, had duly taken place, about this time; and the young gentlemen, with no unbecoming demonstrations of levity, had betaken themselves, in a state of scholastic repletion, to their own homes. Mr Skettles had repaired abroad, permanently to grace the establishment of his father Sir Barnet Skettles, whose popular manners had obtained him a diplomatic appointment, the honours of which were discharged by himself and Lady Skettles, to the satisfaction even of their own countrymen and countrywomen: which was considered almost miraculous. Mr Tozer, now a young man of lofty stature, in Wellington boots, was so extremely full of antiquity as to be nearly on a par with a genuine ancient Roman in his knowledge of English: a triumph that affected his good parents with the tenderest emotions, and caused the father and mother of Mr Briggs (whose learning, like ill-arranged luggage, was so tightly packed that he couldn't get at anything he wanted) to hide their diminished heads. The fruit laboriously gathered from the tree of knowledge by this latter young gentleman, in fact, had been subjected to so much pressure, that it had become a kind of intellectual Norfolk Biffin, and had nothing of its original form or flavour remaining. Master Bitherstone now, on whom the forcing system had the happier and not uncommon effect of leaving no impression whatever, when the forcing apparatus ceased to work, was in a much more comfortable plight; and being then on shipboard, bound for Bengal, found himself forgetting, with such admirable rapidity, that it was doubtful whether his declensions of noun-substantives would hold out to the end of the voyage.
When Doctor Blimber, in pursuance of the usual course, would have said to the young gentlemen, on the morning of the party, 'Gentlemen, we will resume our studies on the twenty-fifth of next month,' he departed from the usual course, and said, 'Gentlemen, when our friend Cincinnatus retired to his farm, he did not present to the senate any Roman who he sought to nominate as his successor.' But there is a Roman here,' said Doctor Blimber, laying his hand on the shoulder of Mr Feeder, B.A., adolescens imprimis gravis et doctus, gentlemen, whom I, a retiring Cincinnatus, wish to present to my little senate, as their future Dictator. Gentlemen, we will resume our studies on the twenty-fifth of next month, under the auspices of Mr Feeder, B.A.' At this (which Doctor Blimber had previously called upon all the parents, and urbanely explained), the young gentlemen cheered; and Mr Tozer, on behalf of the rest, instantly presented the Doctor with a silver inkstand, in a speech containing very little of the mother-tongue, but fifteen quotations from the Latin, and seven from the Greek, which moved the younger of the young gentlemen to discontent and envy: they remarking, 'Oh, ah. It was all very well for old Tozer, but they didn't subscribe money for old Tozer to show off with, they supposed; did they? What business was it of old Tozer's more than anybody else's? It wasn't his inkstand. Why couldn't he leave the boys' property alone?' and murmuring other expressions of their dissatisfaction, which seemed to find a greater relief in calling him old Tozer, than in any other available vent.