Dombey and Son | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Book | English | 17/20

Dombey and son chapter 52 this LibriVox recording is in the public domain reading by Brad Philip own Dombey and son by Charles Dickens chapter 52 secrets intelligence good mrs. Brown and her daughter Alice kept silent company together in their own dwelling it was early in the evening and late in the spring but a few days had elapsed since mr. Davi had told major bag stock of his singular intelligence singularly obtained which might turn out to be valueless and might turn out to be true and the world was not satisfied yet the mother and daughter sat for a long time without interchanging a word almost without motion the old woman's face was shrewdly anxious and expectant that of her daughter was expectant too but in a less sharp degree and sometimes it darkened as if with gathering disappointment and incredulity the old woman without heeding these changes in its expression though her eyes were often turned towards it sat mumbling and munching and listening confidently their abode though poor and miserable was not so utterly wretched as in the days when only good mrs. brown inhabited it some few attempts at cleanliness and order were manifest though made in a reckless gypsy way that might have connected them at a glance with the younger woman the shades of evening thickened and deepened as the two kept silence until the blackened walls were nearly lost in the prevailing gloom then Alice broke the silence which had lasted so long and said you may give him up mother he'll not come here death get him up returned the old woman impatiently he will come here we shall see said Alice we shall see him returned her mother and doomsday said the daughter you think I'm in my second childhood I know croaked the old woman that's the respect and duty I get from my own gal but I'm wiser than you take me for he'll come to the day when I touched kote in the street he looked round as if I was a toad but Lord to see him when I said their names and asked him if he'd like to find out where they was was it so angry asked her daughter roused to interest in a moment angry asked if it was bloody that's more like the word angry haha to call that only angry said the old woman hobbling to the cupboard and lighting a candle which displayed the workings of her mouth – ugly advantage as she brought it to the table I might as well call your face only angry when you think or talk about him it was something different from that truly as she sat as still as a crouched tigress with her kindling eyes hark said the old woman triumphantly I hear a step coming it's not a tread of anyone that lives about here or comes this way often we don't walk like that we should grow proud of such neighbors do you hear him I believe you are right mother replied Alice and a low voice peace open the door as she drew herself within her shawl and gathered it about her the old woman complied and peering out and beckoning gave admission to mr. Dombey who stopped when he had set his foot within the door and looked distrustfully around it's a poor place for a great gentleman like your worship said the old woman curtseying and chattering I told you so but there's no harm in it who is that asked mr. Dalby looking at her companion that's my handsome daughter said the old woman your worship won't mind her she knows all about it as shadow fell upon his face not less expressive than if he had groaned aloud who does not know all about it but he looked at her steadily and she without any acknowledgment of his presence looked at him the shadow on his face was darker when he turned his glance away from her and even then it wandered back again furtively as if he were haunted by her bold eyes and some remembrance they inspired wolven said mr. Dobby to the old witch who was chuckling and leering close at his elbow and who when he turned to address her Poyet stealthily at her daughter and rubbed her hands and pointed again woman I believe that I am weak and forgetful of my station in coming here but you know why I come and why you offered when you stopped me on the street the other day what it is that you have to tell me concerning what I want to know and how does it happen that I can find voluntary intelligence and a hollow like this with a disdainful glance about him when I have exerted my power and means to obtain it in vain I do not think he said after a moment's pause during which he had observed her sternly that you are so audacious as to mean to trifle with me or endeavor to impose upon me but if you have that purpose you had better stop on the threshold of your scheme my humor is not a trifling one of my acknowledgment will be severe Oh a proud hard gentleman chuckle the old woman shaking her head and rubbing her shriveled hands Oh hard hard hard but your wish upsell see with your own eyes and hear with your own ears not with ours and if your worships put upon their track you won't mind paying something for it will you honorable Deary money returned mr. Dhabi apparently relieved it assured by this inquiry will bring about unlikely things I know it may turn even means as unexpected and unpromising as these two account yes for any reliable information I receive I will pay but I must have the information first and judge for myself of its value do you know nothing more powerful than money asked the younger woman without rising or altering her attitude not here I should imagine said mr. Dom B you should know us something that is more powerful elsewhere as I judge she returned do you know nothing of a woman's anger you have a saucy tongue jane said mr. Dom be not usually she answered without any show of emotion I speak to you now that you may understand us better and rely more on us a woman's anger is pretty much the same here as in your fine house I am angry I have been so many years I have as good cause from my anger as you have for yours and it's object is the same man he started in spite of himself and looked at her with astonishment yes she said with a kind of laugh why does the distance be seen between us it is so how it is so is no matter that is my story and I keep my story to myself I would bring you and him together because I have a rage against him my mother there is avaricious and poor and she would sell any tithing she could glean or anything or anybody for money it is fair enough perhaps that you should pay her some if she can help you to what you want to know but that is not my motive I have told you at mine is and it would be as strong and all-sufficient with me if you hadn't bargained with her for a sixpence I have done my saucy tongue says no more if you wait here till sunrise tomorrow the old woman who had shown great uneasiness during this speech which had a tendency to depreciate her expected gains pulled mr. donkey softly by the sleeve and whispered to him not to mind her he glared at them both by turns with a haggard look and said in a deeper voice that was usual with him go on what do you know oh not so fast your worship we must wait for someone answered the old woman it's to be got from someone else wormed out screwed and twisted from him what do you mean said mr. Dom be patience she croaked laying her hand like a claw upon his arm patience I'll get at it I know I can if he was to hold it back from me said good mrs. Brown cooking her ten fingers I'd tear it out of him mr. Dom he followed her with his eyes as she hobbled to the door and looked out again and then his glance sought her daughter but she remained impassive silent and regardless of him do you tell me woman he said when the bent figure of mrs. Brown came back shaking its head and shattering to itself that there is another person expected here yes said the old woman looking up into his face and nodding from whom you are to exact the intelligence that is to be useful to me yes said the old woman nodding again a stranger chat said the old woman with a shrill laugh what signifies well well no no stranger to your worship but he won't see you he'd be afraid of you and wouldn't talk you'll stand behind that door and judge him for yourself we don't ask to be believed on trust what your worship doubts the room behind the door Oh with a suspicion of you rich gentle folks look at it then her sharp eye had detected an involuntary expression of this feeling on his part which was not unreasonable under the circumstances in satisfaction of it she now took the candle to the door she spoke of mr. Dom be looked in assured himself that it was an empty crazy room and signed her to put the lamp back in its place how long he asked before this person comes not long she answered would your worship sit down for a few odd minutes he made no answer but began pacing the room within a resolute air as if he were undecided whether to remain or depart and as if he had some quarrel with himself for being there at all but sued his tread grew slower and heavier and his face more sternly thoughtful as the object with which he had come fixed itself in his mind and dilated there again we need us walked up and down with his eyes on the ground mrs. Brown in the chair from which she had risen to receive him sat listening anew the monotony of his step or the uncertainty of age made her so slow of hearing that a footfall without had sounded in her daughter's ears for some moments and she had looked up hastily to warn her mother of its approach before the old woman was roused by it but then she started from her seat and whispering here he is hurried her visitor to his place of observation and put a bottle and glass upon the table with such alacrity as to be ready to fling her arms round the neck of rob the grinder on his appearance at the door and here's my bonny boy cried mrs. Brown at last a ho ho you're like my own son Robbie Oh mrs. Brown remonstrate hit the grinder don't can you be fond of a cope without squeezing and throttling of him take care of the birdcage in my hand will you thinks of a birdcage of for me cried the old woman apostrophizing the ceiling me that feels more than a mother for him well I'm sure I'm very much obliged to you mrs. Brown said the unfortunate youth greatly aggravated but you're so jealous of a Cove I'm very fond of you myself and all that of course but I don't smother you do i mrs. brown he looked and spoke as if he would have been far from objecting to do so however on a favorable occasion and a talk of both bird cages to whimpered the grinder as if that was a crime why looky here do you know who this belongs to to master dear said the old woman with a grin ha replied the grinder lifting a large cage tied up in a wrapper on the table and I'm tying it with his teeth and hands it's all parrot this is mr. cockers parrot rob will you hold your tongue mrs. Brown return the goat at Grindr what do you go naming names for I'm blessed said Rob pulling his hair with both hands and the exasperation of his feelings if she ain't enough to make a cove run wild what do you snap me thankless boy cried the old woman with ready vehemence good gracious mrs. brown no returned the grinder with tears in his eyes was there ever such a total dote upon you mrs. Brown do you sweet Rob do you truly chicka bitty with that mrs. Brown held him in her fond embrace once more and did not release him until he had made several violent and ineffectual struggles with his legs and his hair was standing on end all over his head Oh returned the grinder what a thing it is to be perfectly pitched in to with affection like this here I wish she was how have you been mrs. Brown ah not here since this night weak said the old woman contemplating him with a look of reproach good gracious mrs. Brown returned the grinder I said two nights a week that I'd come tonight didn't I and Here I am how you do go on I wish you'd be a little rational mrs. Brown I'm hoarse with saying things in my defense and my very face is shining with being hugged he rubbed it hard with his sleeve as if to remove the tender polish in question drink a little dropped a compa to my Robin said the old woman filling the glass from the bottle and giving it to him thank you mrs. Brown returned the grinder here's your health and long may you etcetera which to judge from the expression of his face did not include any very choice blessing and here's her health said the grinder glancing at Alice who sat with her eyes fixed as it seemed to him on the wall behind him but in reality on Zombies face at the door and wishing her the same of many of them he drained the glass to these two sentiments and set it down what I say mrs. Brown he proceeded to go on a little rational now you're a judge of birds and up to their ways as I know to my cost cost repeated mrs. Brown satisfaction I mean returned the grinder how you do take up a Cove mrs. Brown you've put it all out of my head again judge of Birds Robbie suggested the old woman ah said the grinder well I've got to take care of this parrot certain things being sold and certain establishment broke up and as I don't want no notice took a present I wish you'd attend her for a week or so would give her more than lodging will you if I must come backwards and forwards use the grinder with a dejected face amazed well of something to come for something to come for screamed the old woman besides you I mean mrs. Brown returned the Craven Rob not that I want any inducement but yourself mrs. Brown I'm sure don't begin again for good to sake he don't care for me he don't care for me as I care for him cried mrs. Brown lifting up her skinny hands but I'll take care of his bird take good care of it too you know mrs. Brown said Rob shaking his head if he was so much as to stroke its feathers what's the wrong way I believe it will be found out ah so sharp as that Rob said mrs. Brown quickly sharp mrs. Brown repeated Rob but this is not to be talked about checking himself abruptly and not without a fearful glance across the room Rob filled the glass again and having slowly emptied it shook his head and began to draw his fingers across and across the wires of the parent's cage by way of a diversion from the dangerous theme that had just been roached the old woman eyed him slyly and hitching her chair nearer his and looking in at the parrot who came down from the gilded dome at her call said out of place now Robbie never you mind mrs. Brown returned the grinder shortly board wages perhaps Rob said mrs. Brown Pretty Polly said the grinder the old woman darted a glance at him that might have warned him to consider his ears in danger but it was his turn to look in at the parrot now and however expressive his imagination may have made her angry scowl it was unseen by his bodily eyes i wonder master didn't take you with him rob said the old woman in a wheedling voice but with increased malignancy of aspect rob was so absorbed in contemplation of the parrot and controlling his forefinger on the wires that he made no answer the old woman had her clutch within a hair's breadth of his shock of hair as it stooped over the table but she restrained her fingers and said in a voice that choked with its efforts to be coaxing Robbie my child well mrs. Brown returned the grinder I say I wonder master didn't take you with him dear never you mind mrs. Brown returned the grinder mrs. Brown instantly directed the clutch of her right hand at his hair and the clutch of her left hand at his throat and held on to the object of her fond affection with such extraordinary fury that his face began to blacken in a moment mrs. Brown exclaimed the grinder let go will you what are you doing of help young woman mrs. brow brow the young woman however equally had moved by his direct appeal to her and by his inarticulate utterance remained quite neutral until after struggling with his assailant into a quarter rob disengaged himself and stood there panting and fenced in by his own elbows while the old woman panting to and stamping with rage and eagerness appeared to be collecting her energies for another swoop upon him at this crisis Alice interposed her voice but not to the grinders favour by saying well done mother tear him to pieces what young woman beloved Rob are you against me to what have I been and done what am i taught of pieces for I should like to know why do you take in choke a Cova was never done you any harm neither of you call yourselves females too said the frightened and afflicted grinder with his coat cuff at his eye I'm surprised at you where's your feminine tenderness you thankless dog gasps mrs. Brown you impudent insulting dog what have I've been and done to go and give you a fence mrs. brow retorted the fearful Rob he was very much attached to me a minute ago to cut me off with his short answers at his sulky words said the old woman me because I happen to be a curious tad a little bit of gossip about master and the lady to dare and play it fast and loose with me but I'll talk to you no more my latin outgo i'm sure mrs. brown returned the object writer i never insinuated that i wish to go don't talk like that mrs. Brown if you please I won't talk at all said mrs. Brown with an action of her crooked figures that made him shrink into half his natural compass in the corner not another word with him shall pass my lips he's an ungrateful hound I cast him off now let him go and I'll slip those after him that shall talk too much that won't be shook away that'll hang to him like leeches and sleek are trim like foxes what he knows him he knows his old games in his old ways if he's forgotten him they'll soon remind him now let him go and see how he'll do master's business and keep masters secrets with such company always following him up and down ha ha ha he'll find him a different sort from you and me Alley close as he is with you and me now let him go now let him go the old woman to the unspeakable dismay of the grinder walked her twisted finger round and round in a ring of some four feet in diameter constantly repeating these words and shaking her fist above her head and working her mouth about mrs. Brown pleaded Rob coming a little out of his quarter I'm sure you wouldn't injure a Cove on second thoughts and in cold blood would you don't talk to me said mrs. Brown still wrathful II pursuing her circle now let him go now let him go mrs. Brown urged the tormented grinder I didn't mean to oh what a thing it is for a Cove to get into such a line as this I was only careful of talking mrs. Brown because I always am on account of his being up to everything but I might have known it wouldn't have got any further I'm sure I'm quite agreeable with a wretched face for any little bit of gossip mrs. Brown don't go on like this if you please Oh couldn't you have the goodness to put in a word for a miserable Cove here said the grinder in desperation to the daughter come mother you hear what he says she interposed in her stern voice with an impatient action of her head try them once more and if you fall out with him again ruin him if you like and have done with him mrs. Brown moved as it seemed by this very tender exhortation presently began to howl and softening by degrees took the apologetic Grider to her arms who embraced her with a face of unutterable woe and like a victim as he was resumed his former seat closed by the side of his venerable friend whom he suffered not without much constrained sweetness of countenance combating very expressive physio nominal revelations of an opposite character to draw his arms through hers and keep it there and house master Deary dear said mrs. Brown when sitting in this amicable posture they had pledged each other hush if you be so good mrs. Brown to speak a little lower Rob implored he's pretty well thank you I suppose you're not out of place Robbie said mrs. Brown in a wheedling tone why I'm not exactly out of place nor in faltered Rob I was still in pain mrs. Brown and nothing to do Rob nothing particularly to do just now mrs. Brown but to keep my eyes open said the grinder rolling them in a forlorn way master abroad Rob oh for goodness sake mrs. Brown couldn't you gossip with a Cove about anything else cried the grinder in a burst of despair the impetuous mrs. Brown rising directly the tortured grinder detained her stammering yes mrs. Brown I believe he's abroad what she's staring at he added in allusion to the daughter whose eyes were fixed upon the face that now looked out behind don't mind her lad said the old woman holding him closer to prevent his turning round it's her way her way tell me Rob did you ever see the lady Deary Oh mrs. Brown what lady cried the grinder in a tone of piteous application what lady she retorted the lady mrs. Dombey yes I believe I zero once replied Rob the night she went away Robbie Avis the old woman in his ear and taking note of every change in his face aha I know it was that night well if you know it was that night you know mrs. Brown replied Rob it's no use putting pincers into moko to make him say so where did they go that night Rob straight away how did they go where did you see her did she laughed and she cried tell me all about it cried the old hag holding him closer yet putting the hand that was drawn through his arm against her other hand and searching every line in his face with her bleared eyes calm begin I want to be told all about it what Rob boy you and me can keep a secret together eh we've done so before where did they go first Rob the wretched grinder made a gasp and a pause I you done said the old woman angrily Lord mrs. Brown oh you expect a code to be a flash of lightning I wish I was the electric fluency muttered the bewildered grinder I'd have a shock at somebody that one settled their business what'd you say asked the old woman with a grin I'm wishing my love to you mrs. Brown returned the faults were all seeking consolation in the glass where did they go at first was it him and her do you mean I said the two women eagerly them too why they didn't go nowhere not together I mean answered Rob the old woman looked at him as though she had a strong impulse upon her to make another clutch at his head and throat but was restrained by a certain dog of mystery in his face that was the art of it said the reluctant grinder that's the way nobody saw him go or has been able to say how they did go they went different ways I tell you mrs. Brown III to meet at an appointed place chuckled the old woman after a moment's silence and keen scrutiny of his face why if they weren't going to meet somewhere I suppose they might as well have stayed at home whitened a brown returned the unwilling grinder well Rob well said the old woman drawing his arm yet tighter through her own as if in her eagerness she were afraid of his slipping away what haven't we talked enough yet mrs. Brown returned the grinder who between his sense of injury his sense of liquor and his sense of being on the rack had become so lachrymose that at almost every answer he's his coats into one or other of his eyes and uttered an unavailing whine of remonstrance did she laugh that night was it didn't you ask if she laughed mrs. Brown or cried at it the old woman nodding assent neither said the grinder she kept her steady when she and me oh I see you will have it out of me mrs. Brown but take your solemn oath now that you'll never tell anybody this mrs. Brown very readily did being naturally Jesuitical and having no other intention in the matter than that her concealed visitor should hear for himself she kept a steady then when she and me went down to Southampton said the grinder as an image in the morning she was just the same mrs. Brown and when she went away in the packet before daylight by herself me pretending to be her servant and seeing her safe aboard she was just the same now are you contented mrs. Brown no Rob not yet answered mrs. Brown decisively oh here's a woman for you cried the unfortunate Rob in an outburst of feeble lamentation over his own helplessness what did you wish to know next mrs. Brown what became of master where did he go she inquired still holding him tight and looking close into his face with her sharp eyes upon my soul I don't know mrs. Brown answered Rob upon my soul I don't know what he did know where he went or anything about him I only know what he said to me as a caution to hold my tongue when we parted and I tell you this mrs. Brown as a friend that sooner than ever repeat a word of what we're saying now you had better take and shoot yourself as shut yourself up at this house and set it afire for there's nothing he wouldn't do to be revenged upon you you don't know how so well as I do mrs. Brown you're never safe from him I tell you haven't I taken an oath retorted the old woman and won't I keep it well I'm sure I hope you will mrs. Brown returned Rob somewhat doubtfully and not without a latent threatening it is matter for your own sake quite as much as mine he looked at her as he gave her this friendly caution and emphasized it with a nodding of his head but finding it uncomfortable to encounter the yellow face with its grotesque action and the ferret eyes with their keen old wintry gaze so close to his own he looked down uneasily and sent skulking in his chair as they were trying to bring himself to a sudden declaration that he would answer no more questions the old woman still holding him as before took this opportunity of raising the forefinger of her right hand in the air as a stealthy signal to the concealed observer to give particular attention to what was about to follow rob she said in her most coaxing tone good gracious mrs. Brown what's the matter now returned the exasperated grinder Rob where did the lady and master a point to meet Rob shuffled more and more and looked up and looked down and bit his thumb and dried it on his waistcoat and finally said eyeing his tormentor askance how should I know mrs. Brown the old woman held up her finger again as before and replying a calm lad it's no use leading me to that and they're leaving me I want to know waited for his answer Rob after a discomforted pause suddenly broke up with how can I pronounce the name of foreign places mrs. Brown with an unreasonable woman you are but you have heard it said Robbie she retorted firmly and you know what it sounded like come I never heard it said mrs. Brown returned the grinder then retorted the old woman quickly you have seen it written and you can spell it Rob with a petulant exclamation between laughing and crying for he was penetrated with some admiration of mrs. brown's cunning even through this persecution after some reluctant fumbling in his waistcoat pocket produced from it a little piece of chalk the old woman's eyes sparkled when she saw it between his thumb and finger and hastily clearing a space on the deal table that he might write the word there she once more made her signal with a shaking hand now I tell you beforehand what it is mrs. Brown said Rob it's no use asking me anything else I won't answer anything else I can't how long it was to be before they met or whose planet was that they was to go away alone I don't know more than you do I don't know any more about it if I was to tell you how I found out this word you'd believe that shall I tell you mrs. Brown yes Rob well mrs. Brown the way now you won't ask anymore you know said Rob turning his eyes which were now fast getting drowsy and stupid upon her not another word said mrs. Brown well then this way it was when a certain person left the lady with me he put a piece of paper with the direction written on it in the lady's hand saying it was in case she should forget she wasn't afraid of forgetting for she tore it up as soon as his back was turned and when I put up the carriage steps I shook out one of the pieces she sprinkled the rest out of the window I suppose for there was none there afterwards though I looked for him there was only one word on it and that was this if you must and will know but remember you're upon your oath mrs. Brown mrs. Brown knew that she said Rob having nothing more to say began to chalk slowly and laboriously on the table he the old woman read aloud but he had formed the letter well you hold your tongue mrs. Brown he exclaimed covering it with his hand and turning impatiently upon her I won't have it read out be quiet will you then writes large Rob she returned repeating her secret signal for my eyes are not good even at print muttering to himself and returning to his work with an ill will Rob went on with the word as he bent his head down the person for whose information he's so unconsciously labored moved from the door behind him to within a short stride of his shoulder and looked eagerly towards the creeping track of his hand upon the table at the same time Alice from her opposite chair watched it narrowly as it shaped the letters and repeating each one on her lips as he made it without articulating it aloud at the end of every letter her eyes and mr. Dom B's met as if each of them sought to be confirmed by the other and thus they both spelt D I J o n there said the grinder moistening the palm of his hand hastily to obliterate the word and not content with smearing a dote rubbing and planing all trace of it away with his coat-sleeve until the very colour of the chalk was gone for the tale now I hope you're contented mrs. Brown the old woman in token of her being so released his arm and patted his back and the grinder overcome with mortification cross-examination and liquor folded his arms on the table laid his head upon them and fell asleep not until he had been heavily asleep some time and was snoring roundly did the old woman turned towards the door where mr. dawn be stood concealed and beckoned him to come through the room and pass out even then she hovered over Rob ready to blind him with her hands or strike his head down if he should raise it while the secret step was crossing to the door but though her glazed took sharp cognizance of the sleeper it was sharp too for the waking man and when he touched her hand with his and in spite of all his caution made a chinking golden sound it was as bright and greedy as a Raven's the daughter's dark gaze followed him to the door and noted well how pale he was and how his hurried tread indicated that the least delay was an insupportable restraint upon him and how he was burning to be active and away as he closed the door upon him she looked round at her mother the old woman trotted to her opened her hand to show what was within and tightly closing it to gain in her jealousy and avarice whispered what will he do Ali mischief said the daughter murder asked the old woman he's a madman it is wounded pride and may do that for anything we can say or he either her glance was brighter than her mother's and the fire that's shown it it was fiercer but her face was colorless even to her lips they said no more but sat apart the mother communing with her money the daughter with her thoughts the glance of each shining in the gloom of the feebly lighted room Rob slept and snored the disregarded parrot only was in action it twisted and pulled at the wires of its cage with its crooked beak and crawled up to the dome and along its roof like a fly and down again headforemost and shook and bit and rattled at every slow underbar as if it knew its master's danger and was wild to force a passage out and fly away to warn him of it end of chapter 52 Diaby and sun chapter 53 this LibriVox recording is in the public domain reading by Brad Philip own Dombey and son by Charles Dickens chapter 53 more intelligence there were two of the traitors own blood his renounced brother and sister on whom the weight of his guilt rested almost more heavily at this time than on the man whom he had so deeply injured prying and tormenting as the world was it did mr. Dom be the service of nerving him to pursuit and revenge it roused his passion stung his pride twisted the one idea of his life into a new shape and made some gratification of his wrath the object into which his whole intellectual existence resolved itself all the stubbornness and implacability of his nature all its hard impenetrable quality all its gloom and moroseness all its exaggerated sense of personal importance all its jealous disposition to resent the least flaw in the ample recognition of his importance by others set this way like MIDI stream united into one and bore him on upon their tide the most impetuously passionate and violently impulsive of mankind would have been a milder enemy to encounter than the sullen mr. Dom be brought to this a wild beast would have been easier turned or soo than the grave gentlemen without a wrinkle in his starched cravat but the very intensity of his purpose became almost a substitute for action in it while he was yet uninformed of the traitors retreat it served to divert his mind from his own calamity and to entertained it with another prospect the brother and sister of his false favorite had no such relief everything in their history past and present gave his delinquency a more afflicting meaning to them the sister may have sometimes sadly thought that if she had remained with him the companion and friend she had been once he might have escaped the crime into which he had fallen if she ever thought so it was still without regret for what she had done without the least doubt of her duty without any pricing or enhancing of her self devotion but when this possibility presented itself to the erring and repented brother as it sometimes did it smote upon his heart with such a keen reproachful touch as he could hardly bear no idea of retort upon his cruel brother came into his mind new accusation of himself afresh inward lamenting 'he's over his unworthiness and the ruin in which it was at once his consolation and his self reproach that he did not stand alone where the sole kind of reflections to which the discovery gave rise in him it was on the very same day whose evening set upon the last chapter and when mr. dom b's world was busiest with the elopement of his wife that the window of the room in which the brother and sister sat at their early breakfast was darkened by the unexpected shadow of a man coming to the little porch which man was perched the messenger i've stepped over from balls pond at an early hour said mr. perch confidentially looking in at the room door and stopping on the map to wife his shoes all round which had no mud upon them agreeable to my instructions last night they was to be sure to bring a note to you mr. Cocker before he went out in the morning I should have been here a good hour and a half ago said mr. perch weakly but for the state of health of mrs. P who I thought I should have lost in the night I do assure you five distinct times is your wife so ill as Theriault yuc said mr. perch first turning round to shut the door carefully she takes what has happened at our host so much to heart miss her nerves is very much so delicate you see and soon unstrung not but what the strongest nerves had good need to be shook I'm sure you feel it very much yourself no doubts harriet repressed a sigh and glanced at her brother I'm sure I feel it myself and my humble way mr. perch went on to say with the shake of his head in a manner I couldn't have believed if I hadn't been called upon to undergo it is almost the effect of drink upon me I literally feels every morning as if I'd been taking more than was good for me overnight mr. purchase appearance corroborated this recital of his symptoms there was an air of feverish lassitude about it that seemed referral to drams and which in fact might no doubt have been traced to those numerous discoveries of himself in the bars of public houses being treated in questioned which he was in the daily habit of making therefore I can judge said mr. perch shaking his head and speaking in a silvery murmur of the feelings of such as is at all pecuniary situated in this most painful revelation here mr. perch waited to be confided in and receiving no confidence coughed behind his hand this leading to nothing he coughed behind his hat and that leading to nothing he put his hat on the ground and sought in his breast pocket for the letter if I rightly recollect there was no answer said mr. perch with an affable smile but perhaps you'll be so good as to cast your eye over it Sir John Karkar broke the seal which was mr. Dom B's and possessing himself off the contents which were very brief replied no no answer is expected then i shall wish you good morning miss said perch taking a step toward the door and hoping I'm sure that shall not permit yourself to be more reduced in mind than you could help by the late painful revelation the papers said mr. perch taking two steps back again and comprehensively addressing both the brother and sister in a whisper of increased mystery is more eager for news of it than you'd suppose possible one of the sunday ones in a blue cloak and a white hat that had previously offered fur to bribe me need I say with what success was dodging about our Court last night as late as twenty minutes after eight o'clock I see myself with a sigh at the counting-house keyhole which being paitent is impervious another one said mr. perch with military frogs as in the powder of the Kings arms all the blessed day I happened last week let a little observation fall there and next morning which was Sunday I see it worked up in print in a most surprising manner mr. perch resorted to his breath pocket as if to produce the paragraph but receiving no encouragement pulled out his beaver gloves picked up his hat and took his leave and before it was High Noon mr. perch had related to several select audiences at the King's Arms and elsewhere how miss Karkar bursting into tears had caught him by both hands and said oh dear dear perch the sight of you was all the comfort I have left and how mr. John Karkar had said in an awful voice perch I disown him never let me hear him mentioned as a brother more Dear John said Harriet when they were left alone and had remained silent for some few minutes there are bad tidings in that letter yes but nothing unexpected he replied I saw the writer yesterday the writer mr. Dombey he passed twice to the Counting house while I was there I had been able to avoid him before but a course could not hope to do that long I know how natural it was that he should regard my presence as something offensive I felt it must be so myself he did not say so no he said nothing but I saw that his glance rested on me for a moment that I was prepared for what would happen for what has happened I am dismissed she looked as little shocked and as hopeful as she could but it was distressing news for many reasons I need not tell you said John Karkar reading the letter why your name would henceforth have an unnatural sound in however remote a connexion with mine or why the daily sight of anyone who bears it would be unendurable to me I have to notify the cessation of all engagements between us from this date and to request at no renewal of any communication with me or my establishment be ever attempted by you enclosed is an equivalent in money to a generously long notice and that is my discharge heaven knows Harriet it is a lenient and considerate one when we remember all if it be lenient and considerate to punish you at all John for the misdeed of another she replied gently yes we have been an ill-omened race to him said John Cocker he has reason to drink from the sound of our name and to think that there is something cursed and wicked in our blood I should almost think it to Harriet but for you brother don't speak like this if you have any special reason as you say you have and think you have though I say no to love me spare me the hearing of such wild mad words he covered his face with both his hands but soon permitted her coming near him to take one in her own after so many years this parting is a melancholy thing I know said his sister and the cause of it is dreadful to us both we have to live too and must look about us for the means well well we can do so undismayed it is our pride not our trouble to strive John and to strive together a smile played on her lips as she kissed his cheek and entreated him to be of good cheer Oh dearest sister tide of your own noble will to a ruined man whose reputation is blighted who has no friend himself that has driven every friend of yours away John she laid her hands hastily upon his lips for my sake in remembrance of our long companionship he was silent now let me tell you dear quietly sitting by his side I have as you have expected this and when I have been thinking of it in fearing that it would happen and preparing myself for it as well as I could I have resolved to tell you if it should be so that I have kept a secret from you and that we have a friend what's our friend's name Harriet he answered with a sorrowful smile indeed I don't know but he once made a very earnest protestation to me of his friendship and his wish to serve us and to this day I believe him Harriet exclaimed her wondering brother where does this friend live neither do I know that she returned but he knows us both in our history all our little history John that is the reason why at his own suggestion I have kept the secret of his coming here from you lest his acquaintance with it should distress you here has he been here Harriet here in this room once what kind of man not young gray-headed as he said and fast growing grayer but generous and frank and good I am sure and only seen once Harriet in this room only once said his sister with the slightest and most transient glow upon her cheek but when here he entreated me to suffer him to see me once a week as he passed by in token of our being well and continuing to need nothing at his hands for I told him when he proffered us any service he could render which was the object of his visit that we needed nothing and once a week once every week since then and always on the same day and at the same hour has he gone past always on foot always going in the same direction towards London and never pausing longer than to bow to me and wave his hand cheerfully as a kind guardian might he made that promise when he proposed these curious interviews and has kept it so faithfully and pleasantly that if I ever felt any trifling uneasiness about them in the beginning which I don't think I did John his manner was so plain and true it very soon vanished and left me quite glad when the day was coming last Monday the first sense this terrible event he did not go by and I have wondered whether his absence can have been in any way connected with what has happened how inquired her brother I don't know how I have only speculated on the coincidence I have not tried to account for it I feel sure he will return when he does dear John let me tell him that I have at least spoken to you and let me bring you together he will certainly help us to a new livelihood he is entreaty was that he might do something to smooth my life in yours and I gave him my promise that if we ever wanted a friend I would remember him then his name was to be no secret Harriet said her brother who had listened with close attention described this gentleman to me I surely ought to know one who knows me so well his sister painted as vividly as she could the features stature and dress of her visitor but John Carter either from having no knowledge of the original or from some Fault in her description or from some abstraction of his thoughts as he walked to and fro pondering could not recognize the portrait she presented to him however it was agreed between him that he should see the original when he next appeared this concluded the sister applied herself with a less anxious pressed to her domestic occupations and the gray-haired man the late jr. of Dom B's devoted the first day of his unwonted liberty to working in the garden it was quite late at night and the brother was reading aloud when the sister plied her needle when they were interrupted by a knocking at the door in the atmosphere of vague anxiety and dread that lowered apollomon connection with their fugitive brother this sound unusual there became almost alarming the brother going to the door the sister sat and listened timidly someone spoke to him and he replied and seemed surprised and after a few words the two approached together Harriet said her brother lighting in their late visitor and speaking in a low voice mister Morphin the gentleman so long in dom b's house with james his sister started back as if a ghost had entered in the doorway stood the unknown friend with a dark hair sprinkled with gray the ruddy face the broad clear brow and hazel eyes whose secret she had kept so long john she said half breathless it's just a gentleman i told you of today the gentleman miss Harriet said the visitor coming in for he had stopped him over to the doorway is greatly relieved to hear you say that he has been devising ways and means all the way here of explaining himself it has been satisfied with none mr. John I am not quite a stranger here you were stricken with astonishment when you saw me at your door just now I observe you are more astonished at present well that's reasonable enough under existing circumstances if we were not such creatures of habit as we are we shouldn't have reason to be astonished half so often by this time he had greeted Harriet with that able mingling of cordiality and respect which she recollected so well and had sat down near her pulled off his gloves and throw them into his hat upon the table there's nothing astonishing he said in my having conceived a desire to see your sister mr. John Oren my having ratified it in my own way as to the regularity of my visits sense which she may have mentioned to you there is nothing extraordinary in that they soon grew into a habit and we are creatures of habit creatures I'll have it putting his hands into his pockets and leaning back in his chair he looked at the brother and sister as if it were interesting to him to see them together and went on to say with a kind of irritable thoughtfulness it's this same habit that confirms some of us who are capable of better things in Lucifer's own pride and stubbornness that confirms and deepens others of us in villainy more of us in indifference that hardens us from day to day according to the temper of our clay like images and leaves us as susceptible as images to new impressions and convictions you shall judge of his influence on me John for more years than I need name I had my small and exactly defined share in the management of Dom bees house and saw your brother who has proved himself a scoundrel your sister will forgive my being obliged to mention it extending and extending his influence until the business and its owner were his football and saw you toiling at your obscured desk every day and was quite content to be as little troubled as I might be out of my own strip of duty and to let everything about me go on day by day unquestioned like a great machine that was its habit than mine and to take it all for granted and consider it alright my Wednesday nights came regularly round our quartet parties came regularly off my violin cello was in good tune and there was nothing wrong in the world or as anything not much or little or much it was no affair of mine I could answer for your being more respect and beloved during all that time that anybody in the house sir said John Karkar Pooh good-natured and easy enough I dare say returned the other a habit I had it suited the manager its suited the man he managed it suited me best of all I did what was allotted to me to do made no Court to either of them and was glad to occupy a station in which none was required so I should have gone on till now but that my room had a thin wall you can tell your sister that it was divided from the managers room by a Wainscott partition they were adjoining rooms had been one perhaps originally and were separated as mr. Morphin says said her brother looking back to him for the resumption of his explanation I have whistled hum tunes gone accurately through the hole of Beethoven sonata in B to let him know that I was within hearing said mr. Morphin but he never heeded me it happened seldom enough that I was within hearing of anything of a private nature certainly but when I was and couldn't otherwise avoid knowing something of it I walked out I walked out once John during a conversation between two brothers to which in the beginning young Walter gay was a party but I overheard some of it before I left the room you remember it sufficiently perhaps to tell your sister what its nature was it referred Harriet said her brother in a low voice to the past and to our relative positions in the house its matter was not new to me but not presented in a new aspect it shook me and my habit the habit of nine-tenths of the world of believing that all was right about me because I was used to it said their visitor and induced me to recall the history of the two brothers and to ponder on it I think it was almost the first time in my life when I fell into this train of reflection how will many things that are familiar in quite matters of course to us now look would we come to see them from that new and distant point of view which we must all take up one day or other I was something less good-natured as the phrase goes after that morning less easy and complacent altogether he sat for a minute or so drumming with one hand on the table and resumed in a hurry as if he were anxious to get rid of his confession before I knew what to do Oh whether I could do anything there was a second conversation between the same two brothers in which their sister was mentioned I had no scruples of conscience in suffering all the waves and strays of that conversation to float to me as freely as they would I consider them mine by right after that I came here to see the sister for myself the first time I stopped at the garden gate I made a pretext of inquiring into the character of a poor neighbor but I wandered out of that tract and I think miss Harriet miss trusted me the second time I asked leave to come in came in and said what I wish to say your sister showed me reasons which I dared not dispute for receiving no assistance from me then but I established a means of communication between us which remained unbroken until within these few days when I was prevented by important matters that have lately devolved upon me from maintaining them how little I have suspected this said John Carter when I have seen you every day sir if Harriet could have guessed your name why to tell you the truth John interposed the visitor I kept it to myself for two reasons I don't know that the first might have been binding alone but one has no business to take credit for good intentions and I made up my mind at all events not to disclose myself until I should be able to do you some real service or other my second reason was that I always hoped there might be some lingering possibility of your brother's relating toward you both and in that case I felt that where there was the chance of a man of his suspicions watchful character discovering that you had been secretly befriended by me there was the chance of a new and fatal cause of division I resolved to be sure at the risk of turning his displeasure against myself which would have been no matter to watch my opportunity of serving you with the head of the house but the distractions of death courtship marriage and domestic unhappiness have left us no head but your brother for this long long time and it would have been better for us said that visitor dropping his voice to have been a lifeless trunk he seemed conscious that these latter words had escaped him against his will and stretching out a hand to the brother and a hand to the sister continued all I could desire to say and more I have now said all I mean goes beyond words as I hope you understand and believe the time has come John though most unfortunately and unhappily come would I may help you without interfering with that redeeming struggle which has lasted through so many years since you were discharged from it today by no act of your own it is late I need say no more tonight you will guard the treasure you have here without advice or reminder from me with those words he rose to go but go you first John he said good-humouredly with a light without saying what you want to say whatever that may be John Carter's heart was full and he would have relieved it in speech if he could and let me have a word with your sister we have talked alone before and in this room too though it looks more natural with you here following him out with his eyes he turned kindly to Harriet and said in a lower voice and with an altered and graver matter you wish to ask me something of a man whose sister it is your misfortune to be I dread to ask said Harriet you have looked so earnestly at me more than once rejoined a visitor but I think I can divine your question has he taken money is it that yes he has not I thank heavens and Harriet for the sake of John that he has abused his trust in many ways said Mr Morphin but he has oftener dealt and speculated to advantage for himself than for the hosts he represented that he has led the house on to produce ventures often resulting in enormous losses that he has always pampered the vanity and ambition of his employer when it was his duty to have held him in check and shown as it was it is power to do to what they tended here or there will not perhaps surprise you now undertakings have been entered on to swell the reputation of the house for vast resources and who exhibited in magnificent contrast to other merchants houses of which it requires a steady head to contemplate the possibly a few disastrous changes of affairs might render them the probably ruinous consequences in the midst of the many transactions of the house in most parts of the world a great labyrinth of which only he has held the clue he has had the opportunity and he seems to have used it of keeping the various results afloat Wynn ascertained and substituting estimates and generalities for facts but latterly you follow me miss Harriet perfectly perfectly she answered with her frightened face fixed on his pray tell me all the worst at once latterly he appears to have devoted the greatest pains to making these results so plain and clear that reference to the private books enables one to grasp them numerous and varying as they are with extraordinary ease as if he had resolved to show his employer at one broad view what has been brought upon him by administration to his ruling passion that it has been his constant practice to minister to that passion basely and to flatter it corruptly is indubitable in that his criminality as it is connected with the affairs of the house chiefly consists one other word before you leave me dear sir said harriet there is no danger in all this how danger he returned with a little hesitation to the credit of the house I cannot help answering you plainly and trusting you completely said Mr Morphin after a moment's survey of her face you may indeed you may I am sure I'm a danger to the houses credit no none there may be difficulty greater or less difficulty but no danger and less and less indeed the head of the house unable to bring his mind to the reduction of its enterprises and positively refusing to believe that it is or can be in any position but the position which he has always represented it to himself should urge it beyond its strength then it would taught her but there is no apprehension of that asked Harriet there shall be no half confidence he replied shaking her hand between us mr. Davi is unapproachable by anyone and his State of Mind his haughty rash unreasonable and uncover noble now but he is so disturbed and agitated now beyond all common bounds and it may pass you now know all both worst and best no more tonight and good night with that he kissed her hand and passing out to the door where her brother stood awaiting his coming put him cheerfully aside when he essayed to speak told him that as they would see each other soon and often he might speak at another time if he would but there was no leisure for it then and went away at a round pace in order that no word of gratitude might follow him the brother and sister sat conversing by the fireside until it was almost day made sleepless by this glimpse of the new world that opened before them and feeling like two people shipwrecked long ago upon a solitary coast to whom a ship had come at last when they were old in resignation and had lost all thought of any other home but another and different kind of disquietude kept them waking to the darkness out of which this light had broken on them gathered around and the shadow of their guilty brother was in the house where his foot had never trod nor was it to be driven out nor did fade before the Sun next morning it was there at noon at night darkest and most distinct at night as is now to be told John Karkar had gone out in pursuance of a letter of appointment from their friend and Harriet was left in the house alone she had been alone some hours a dull grave evening and a deepening Twilight were not favourable to the removal of the oppression of her spirits the idea of this brother long unseen and unknown flitted about her in frightful shapes he was dead buying calling to her staring at her frowning on her the pictures in her mind were so obtrusive and exact that as the Twilight deepened she dreaded to raise her head and look at the dark corners of the room lest his Wraith the offspring of her excited imagination should be waiting there to startle her once she had such a fancy of his being in the next room hiding though she knew quite well when a distemper'd fancy it was and had no belief in it that she forced herself to go there for her own conviction but in vain the room resumed its shadowy terrors the moment she left it and she had no more power to divest herself of these vague impressions of dread that if they had been stone giants rooted in the solid earth it was almost dark and she was sitting near the window with her head upon her hand looking down when sensible of a sudden increase in the gloom of the apartment she raised her eyes and uttered an involuntary cry close to the glass of pale scarred face gazed in vacantly for an instant as searching for an object then the eyes rested on herself and lighted up let me in let me in I want to speak to you and the hand rattle on the glass she recognized immediately the woman with the long dark hair to whom she had given warmth food and shelter one wet night naturally afraid of her remembering her violent behavior Harriett retreating a little from the window stood undecided and alarmed let me in let me speak to you I am thankful quiet humble anything you like but let me speak to you the vehement manner of the entreaty the earnest expression of a face the trembling of the two hands that were raised imploringly a certain dread and terror in the voice akin to her own condition at the moment prevailed with Harriet she hastened to the door and opened it may I come in or shall I speak here said the woman catching at her hand what is it that you want what is it that you had to say not much but let me say it out or I shall never say it I am tempted now to go away there seem to be hands dragging me from the door that they come in if you can trust me for this once her energy again prevailed and they passed in to the firelight of the little kitchen where she had before sat and ate and dried her clothes sit there said Alice kneeling down beside her and look at me you remember me I do you remember what I told you I had been and where I came from ragged and lame with the fierce wind and weather beating on my head yes you know how I came back that night and threw your money in the dirt and you and your race now see here upon my knees and my less earnest now than I was then if what you asked said carry it gently is forgiveness but it's not returned the other with a proud fierce look what I asked us to be believed now you shall judge if I am worthy of belief both as I was and as I am still upon her knees and with her eyes upon the fire and the fire shining on her ruined beauty and her wild black hair one long tress of which she pulled over her shoulder and wound over her hand and thoughtfully bit and tore while speaking she went on when I was young and pretty and this plucking contemptuously at the hair she held was only handled delicately and couldn't be admired enough my mother who had not been very mindful of me as a child found out my merits and was fond of me and proud of me she was covetous and poor and thought to make a sort of property of me no great lady ever thought that of a daughter yet I'm sure or acted as if she did it's never done we all know and that shows only the instances of mothers bringing up their daughters wrong and evil coming of it are among such miserable folks as us looking at the fire as if she were forgetful for the moment of having any auditor she continued in a dreamy way as she wound the long tress of hair tight round and round her hand what came of that I needn't say wretched marriages don't come of such things in our degree only wretchedness and ruin wretchedness and ruin came on me came on me raising her eyes swiftly from their moody gaze upon the fire to Harriet's face and said I am wasting time when there's none to spare yet if I hadn't thought of all I shouldn't be here now wretchedness and ruin came upon me I say I was made a short-lived toy and flung aside more cruelly and courtesy than even such things are by whose hand you think why do you ask me said why do you tremble rejoined Alice with an eager look his usage made a devil of me I sunk in wretchedness and ruined lower and lower yet I was concerned in a robbery in every part of it but the gains and was found out and sent to be tried without a friend without a penny though I was but a girl I would have gone to death sooner than ask him for a word if a word of his could have saved me I would too when he death it could have been invented but my mother covetous always said to him in my name told the true story of my case and humbly prayed in petition for a small last gift for not so many pounds as I have fingers on this hand who was it do you think who snapped his fingers at me and my misery lying as he believed at his feet and left me without even this poor sight of remembrance well satisfied that I should be sent abroad beyond the reach of further trouble to him and should die and rot there who was this do you think why do you ask me repeated Harriet why do you tremble said Alice laying her hand upon her arm and looking in her face but that the answer is on your lip it was your brother James Herriot trembled more and more but did not avert her eyes for the eager look that rested on them when I knew you were his sister which was on that night I came back weary and lame to spurn your gift I felt that night as if I could have traveled weary and lame over the whole world to stab him if I could find him in a lonely place with no one near do you believe that I was in earnest and all that I do good heaven why you come again since then said Alice with the same grasp of her arm and the same look in her face I have seen him I have followed him with my eyes in the broad day if any spark of my resentment slumbered in my bosom it sprung into a blaze when my eyes rested on him you know he has wronged a proud man and made him his deadly enemy what if I have given information of him to that man information repeated Harriet what if I had found out one who knew your brother's secret who knew the matter of his flight and who knew where he and the companion of his flight were gone what if I had made him utter all his knowledge word by word before his enemy concealed to hear it what if I had sat by at the time looking into this enemies face and seeing a change that it was scarcely human what if I had seen him rush away mad in pursuit what if I knew now that he was on his Road morphine than mad and must in so many hours come up with him remove your hand said Harriet recoiling go away your touch is dreadful to thee I have done this pursued the other with her eager look regardless of the interruption do I speak and look as if I really had do you believe what I'm saying I fear I must let my arm go not yet a moment more you can think what my revengeful purpose must have been to last so long and urge me to do this dreadful said Harriet then when you see me now said Alice hoarsely here again kneeling quietly on the ground with my touch upon your arm with my eyes upon your face you may believe that there is no common earnestness in what I say and that no common struggle has been battling in my breast I am ashamed to speak the words but I relent I despise myself I have fought with myself all day and all last night but i relent toward him without reason I wish to repair what I have done if it is possible I wouldn't have them come together while his pursuer is so blind and headlong if you had seen him as he went out last night you would know the danger better how can it be prevented what can I do cried Harriet all night long pursued the other hurriedly I had dreams of him and yet I didn't sleep it is blood all day I have had him near me what can I do cried Harriet shuddering at these words if there is anyone who will write or send or go to him let them lose no time he is at Dijon you know the name and where it is yes warn him that the man he has made his enemy is in a frenzy and that he doesn't know him if he makes light of his approach tell him that he is on the road I know he is and hurrying on urge him to get away while there is time if there is time and not to meet him yet a month or so will make years of difference let them not encounter through me anywhere but there any time but now let his foe follow him and find him for himself but not through me there is enough upon my head without the fire cease to be reflected in her jet-black hair uplifted face and eager eyes her hand was gone from Harriet armed and the place where she had been was empty end of chapter 53 Dombey and son chapter 54 this LibriVox recording is in the public domain reading by Brad Philip own Dombey and son by Charles Dickens chapter 54 the fugitives teatime an hour short of midnight the place of French apartment comprising some half-dozen rooms a dull cold hall or corridor a dining room a drawing-room a bedroom and a dinner drawing room or boudoir smaller and more retired than the rest all these shut in by one large pair of doors on the main staircase but each room provided with two or three pairs of doors of its own establishing several means of communication with the remaining portion of the apartment or with certain small passages within the walls leading as is not unusual in such houses to some back stairs with an obscure outlet below the hole situated on the first floor of so large an Hotel that it did not absorb one entire row of windows upon one side of the square courtyard in the center upon which the whole four sides of the mansion looked an air of splendor sufficiently faded to be melancholy and sufficiently dazzling to clog and embarrass the details of life with a show of state reigned in these rooms the walls and ceilings were gilded and painted the floors were waxed and polished crimson drapery hung in festoons from window door and mirror and candelabra gnarled and Inter twisted like the branches of trees or horns of animals stuck out from the panel's of the wall but in the daytime when the lattice blinds now closely shut were opened and the light let in traces were discernible among this finery of wear and tear and dust of Sun and damp and smoke and Lathan intervals of want of use and habitation when such shows and toys of life seemed sensitive like life and waste as men shut up in prison do even night and clusters of burning candles could not wholly efface them though the general glitter threw them in the shade the glitter of bright tapers and their reflection in looking glasses scraps of gilding and gay colors were confined on this night to one room that smaller room within the rest just now enumerated seen from the hall where a lamp was feebly burning through the dark perspective of open doors it looked as shining and precious as a gem in the heart of its radiance sat a beautiful woman Edith she was alone the same defiant scornful woman still the cheek a little worn the eye a little larger in appearance and most lustrous but the haughty bearing just the same no shame upon her brow no late repentance bending her disdainful neck imperious and stately yet and yet regardless of herself and of all else she sat with her dark eyes cast down waiting for someone no book no work no occupation of any kind but her own thought beguiled the tardy time some purpose strong enough to fill up any pause possessed her with her lips pressed together in quivering if for a moment she released him from her control with her nostril inflated her hands clasped in one another and her purpose swelling in her breast she sat and waited at the sound of a key in the odor door and a footstep in the hall she started up and cried who's that the answer was in French and two men came in with jingling trays to make preparation for supper who had bad than to do so Mischa had commanded it we did was his pleasure to take the apartment miss Shaw had said when he stayed there for an hour unrooted left the letter for Madame Madame had received it surely yes a Thousand pardons the sudden apprehension that it might have been forgotten had struck him a bald man with large beard from a neighbouring restaurant with despair Mischa has said that the Supper was to be ready at that hour and that he had forewarned Madonna the commands he had given in his letter miss sure had done the golden head the honour to request that the Supper should be choice and delicate sure would find that his confidence in the golden head was not misplaced Edith said no more but looked on thoughtfully while they prepared the table for two persons and set the wine upon it she arose before they had finished and taking a lamp passed into the bedchamber and into the drawing-room where she hurriedly but narrowly examined all the doors particularly one in the former room that opened on the passage in the wall from this she took the key and put it on the outer side she then came back the men the second of whom was a dark bilious subject in a jacket close shaved and with a black head of hair close-cropped had completed their preparations of the table and were standing looking at it he who had spoken before inquired whether Madame thought it would be long before Misha arrived she couldn't say it was all one Pardo there was the supper it should be eaten on the instant miss sure who spoke French like an angel or a Frenchman it was all the same had spoken with great emphasis of his punctuality but the English nation had so grand a genius for punctuality ah what noise great heaven year was Monsieur behold him in effect we're sure admitted by the other of the two came with his gleaming teeth through the dark rooms like a mouth and arriving in that sanctuary of light in color a figure at full length embraced Madame and addressed her in the French tongue as his charming wife my god Madame is going to faint Madame is overcome with joy the bald man with the beard observed it and cried out Madame had only shrunk and shivered before the words were spoken she was standing with her hand upon the velvet back of a great chair her figure drawn up to its full height and her face movable Francois has flown over to the golden head for supper he flies on these occasions like an angel or a bird the baggage of issue is at his room all is arranged the sufferer will be here this moment these facts the bald man notified with boughs and smiles and presently the supper came the hot dishes were on a chafing the cold already set forth with a change of service on a sideboard miss sure was satisfied with this arrangement the supper-table being small it pleased him very well let them set the chafing dish upon the floor and go he would remove the dishes with his own hand Pardo said the bald man politely it was impossible bisher was of another opinion he required no further attendance that night but Madame the bald man hinted Madame replied Ashiya has her own maid it was an F a million paddles no madam has no maid I came here alone said Edith it was my choice to do so I am well used to travelling I want no attendants they need send nobody to me Mischa accordingly persevering in his first proposed impossibility proceeded to follow the two attendants to the outer door and secure it after them for the night the bald man turning round to bow as he went out observed that Madame still stood with her hand upon the velvet back of the great chair and that her face was quite regardless of him though she was looking straight before her at the sound of car kurz fastening the door resounding through the intermediate rooms and seemed to come hushed and stilled into that last distant one the sound of the cathedral clock striking twelve mingled with it in Edith's ears she heard him pause as if he heard it too and listened and then came back towards her laying a long train of footsteps through the silence and shutting all the doors behind him as he came along her hand for a moment left the velvet chair to bring a knife within her reach upon the table then she stood as she had stood before how strange to come here by yourself my love he said as he entered what she returned her tone was so harsh the quick turn of her head so fierce her attitude so repellent and her frown so black that he stood with the lamp in his hand looking at her as if she had struck him motionless I say he at Laith repeated putting down the lamp and smiling his most courtly smile how strange to come here alone it was unnecessary caution surely and might have defeated itself you were to have engaged and attended at half all ruin and have had abundance of time for the purpose though you had been one of the most capricious and difficult as you are the most beautiful my love of women her eyes gleamed strangely at him but she stood with her hand resting on the chair and said not a word I have never resumed Kocher seen you look so handsome as you do tonight even the picture I have carried in my mind drawing this cruel probation and which I have contemplated night and day is exceeded by the reality not a word not a look her eyes completely hidden by their drooping lashes but her head held up hard and relenting terms they were said Kocher with a smile but they are all fulfil and past and make the present most delicious and more safe Cicely shall be the place of our retreat in the idealist and easiest part of the world by soul we'll both seek compensation for old slavery he was coming gaily towards her when in an instant she caught up the knife from the table and started one pace back standstill she said or I shall murder you the sudden change in her the towering fury and intense abhorrent sparkling in her eyes and lighting up her brow made him stop as if a fire had stopped him stand still she said come no nearer me upon your life they both stood looking at each other rage and astonishment were in his face but he controlled them and said lightly calm calm cash we are alone and out of everybody's sight and hearing do you'll think to frighten me with these tricks of virtue do you think to frighten me she answered fiercely for many purpose that I have at any course I am resolved upon by reminding me of the solitude of this place and there being no help near me who I'm here alone decidedly if I feared you should I not have avoided you if I feared you should I be here in the dead of night telling you to your face what I am going to tell and what is that he said you hansoms through handsomer so that any other woman in her best humor I tell you nothing she returned until you go back to that chair except this once again don't come near me not a step nearer I tell you if you do as heaven sees us I shall murder you do you mistake me for your husband he retorted with a grin disdaining to reply she stretched her arm out pointing to the chair he bit his lip frowned laughed and sat down in it with a baffled ear resolute inpatient air he was unable to conceal and biting his nail novice Lee and looking at her sideways with bitter discomfiture even while he feigned to be amused by her Caprice she put the knife down upon the table and touching her bosom with her hand said I have something lying here there is no love trinket and sooner then enjoy your touch one more I would use it on you and you know it while I speak with less reluctance that I would on any other creeping thing that lives he affected her to laugh jestingly and entreated her to act her play out quickly for the supper was growing cold but the secret look with which he regarded her was more sullen and lowering and he struck his foot once upon the floor with a muttered oath how many times said Edith bending her darkest glance upon him has your bold knavery assailed me with outrage and insult how many times in your smooth manner in mocking words and looks have I been twitted with my courtship and my marriage how many times have you laid bare my wound of love for that sweet injured girl and lacerated it how often have you fanned the fire on which for two years I have writhed and tempted me to take a desperate revenge with it as most tortured me I have no doubt BAM he replied that you have kept a good account and that it's pretty accurate Kameda 'the to your husband poor wretch this was well enough why if she said surveying him with a haughty contempt and disgust that he's shrunk under let him brave it as he would if all my other reasons for despising him could have been blown away like feathers his having you for his counselor and favourite would have almost been enough to hold their place is that a reason why you have run away me he asked her tauntingly yes and why we are face to face for the last time wretch we meet tonight and part tonight for not one moment after I've ceased to speak will I stay here he turned upon her with his ugliest look and gripped the table with his hand but neither rose nor otherwise answered or threatened her I am a woman she said confronting him steadfastly who from her childhood has been shamed and steeled I have been offered and rejected put up and appraised until my very soul has sickened I have not had an accomplishment or grace that might have been a resource to me but it has been paraded and vended to enhance my value as if the common crier had called it through the streets my poor proud friends have looked on and approved and every time between us has been deadened in my breast there is not one of them for whom I care as I could care for a pet dog I stand alone in the world remembering well what a hollow world it has been to me and what a hollow part of it I have been myself you know this and you know that my fame with it is worthless to me yes I imagined that he said and calculated on it she rejoined and so pursued me grown too indifferent for any opposition but indifference to the daily working of a hand that had molded me to this and knowing that my marriage would at least prevent there Hawking of me up and down I suffered myself to be sold as infamously as any woman with a halter around her neck has sold in any marketplace you know that yes he said showing all his teeth I know that and calculated upon it she rejoined once more and so pursued me from my marriage day I found myself exposed to such new shame to such solicitation and pursuit expressed as clearly as if it had been written in the coarsest words and thrust into my hand at every turn from one mean villain that I felt as if I had never known you Millie a SHhhh until that time this shame my husband fixed upon me hem me round with himself steeped me in with his own hands and of his own act and repeated hundreds of times and thus forced by the two from every point of rest I had forced by the two to yield up the last retreat of love and gentleness within me or to be a new misfortune on its innocent driven from each to each and beset by one would I escape the other my anger rose almost a distraction against both I do not know against which it rose higher the master or the man he watched her closely and as she stood before him in the very triumph of her indignant beauty she was resolute he saw undaunted with no more fear of him than of a worm what should I say of honour and chastity to you she went on what meaning would it have to you what meaning would it have for me but if I tell you that the lightest touch of your hand makes my blood cold with antipathy that from the hour when I first saw and hated you to now and my instinctive repugnance is enhanced by every minutes knowledge of you I have sense head you have been a loathsome creature to me which has not it's like on earth how then he answered her with a faint laugh I how then my queen on that night when emboldened by the scene you had assisted at you dare come into my room and speak to me she said what passed he shrugged his shoulders and laughed what passed she said your memory is so distinct he said that I have no doubt you can recall it I can she said here it proposing then this flight not this flight but the flight you thought it you told me that in having given you that meeting and leaving you to be discovered there if you so thought fit and in the having suffered you to be alone with me many times before and having made the opportunities you said and in the having openly a vow to you that I had no feeling for my husband but a version and no care for myself I was lost I had given you the power to troduce my name and I lived in virtuous reputation at the pleasure of your breath all stratagems in love he interrupted smiling the old addage on that night said he death and then the struggle that I long had had with something that was not respect for my good Fame that was I knew not what perhaps the clinging to that last retreat was ended on that night and then I turned from everything but passion and resentment I struck a blow that laid your lofty master in the dust and set you there before be looking at me now and knowing what I mean he sprung up from his chair with a great oath she put her head into her bosom and not a finger trembled and not a hair upon her head was stirred he stood still she to the table and chair between them when I forget that this man put his lips to mine that night and held me in his arms as he has done again tonight said Edith pointing at him when I forget the taint of his kiss upon my cheek the cheek that Florence would have laid her guiltless face against when I forget my meeting with her when that taint was hot upon me and in what a flood the knowledge rushed upon me when I saw her that in releasing her from the persecution I had caused by my love I brought a shame and degradation on her name through mine and in all time to come should be the solitary figure representing at her mind her first avoidance of a guilty creature then husband from whom I stand divorced henceforth I will forget these last two years and undo what I have done and undeceive you her flashing eyes uplifted for a moment light it again on Cocker and she held some letters out in her left hand see these she said contemptuously you have addressed these to me in the false name you go by one here some elsewhere on my road the seals are unbroken take them back she crunched them in her head and tossed them to his feet and as she looked upon him now a smile was on her face we meet and part tonight she said you have fallen on Sicilian days and sensual rest too soon you might have cajoled and fond and played your traitors part a little longer and grown richer you purchase your voluptuous retirement dear Edith he retorted menacing her with his hand sit down have done with this what devil possesses you their name is legion she replied up rearing her proud form as if she would have crushed him you and your master have raised them in a fruitful house and they shall tear you both faults to him false to his innocent child false every way and everywhere go forth and boast of me an a surety for once to know that you are lying he stood before her muttering and menacing and scowling round as if for something that would help him to conquer her but with the same indomitable spirit she opposed him without faltering in every vaunt you make she said I have my triumph I single out in you the meanest man I know the parasite and tool of a proud tyrant that his wound may go the deeper and may rankle more boast and revenge me on him you know how you came here tonight you know how you stand cowering there you see yourself in colors quite as despicable if not as odious as those in which I see you boast then and revenge me on yourself the foam was on his lips the wet stood on his forehead if she would have faltered once for only one half moment he would have pinioned her but she was as firm as rock and her searching eyes never left him we don't part so he said do you think I am drilling to let you go in your mad temper do you think she answered that I am to be stayed I'll try My dear he said with a ferocious gesture of his head God's mercy on you if you try by coming near me and what he said if there are none of these same boast and once on my part what if I were to turn to come and his teeth fairly Shon again we must make a treaty of this or I may take some unexpected course sit down sit down too late she cried with eyes that seemed to Sparkle fire I have thrown my fame and good name to the winds I have resolved to bear the shame that will attach to me resolve to know that it attaches falsely that you know it too and that he does not never can and never shall I'll die and make no sign for this I am here alone with you at the dead of night for this I have met you here in a false name as your wife for this I have been seen here by those men and left here nothing can save you now he would have sold his soul to rout her in her beauty to the floor and make her arms drop at her sides and have her at his mercy but he could not look at her and not be afraid of her he saw a strength within her that was resistless he saw that she was desperate and that her unquenchable hatred of him would but nothing his eyes follow the hand that was put with such rugged uncongenial purpose into her white bosom and he thought that if it struck at him and failed it would strike there just as soon he did not venture therefore to advance towards her but the door by which he had entered was behind him and he stepped back to lock it lastly take my warning look to yourself she said and smiled again you have been betrayed as all betrayers are it has been made known that you are in this place or were to be or have been if I live I saw my husband in a carriage in the street tonight strumpet it's false cry Karkar at the moment the bell rang loudly in the hall he turned white as she held her hand up like an enchantress and whose invocation the sound had come hark do you hear it he set his back against the door for he saw a change in her in fancied she was coming on to pass him but in a moment she was gone to the opposite doors communicating with the bedchamber and they shut upon her once turned once changed in her inflexible and yielding look he felt that he could cope with her he thought a sudden terror occasion by this night alarm had subdued her not the less readily for her overwrought condition throwing open the doors he followed almost instantly but the room was dark and as she made no answer to his call he was fain to go back for the lamp he held it up and looked round everywhere expecting to see her crouching in some corner but the room was empty so into the drawing room and dining room he went in succession with the uncertain steps of a man in a strange place looking fearfully a boat and prying behind screens and couches but she was not there no nor in the hall which was so bare that he could see that at a glance all this time the ringing of the Bell was constantly renewed and those without were beating at the door he put his lamp down at a distance and going near it listened there were several voices talking together at least two of them in English and though the door was thick and there was great confusion he knew one of those too well to doubt whose voice it was he took up his lamp again and came back quickly through all the rooms stopping as he quitted each and looking round for with a light raised above his head he was standing thus in the bedchamber when the door leading to the little passage in the wall caught his eye he went to it and found it fastened on the other side but she had dropped a veil and going through and shut it in the door all this time the people on the stairs were ringing at the Bell and knocking with their hands and feet he was not a coward but these sounds would had gone before the strangeness of the place which had confused him even in his return from the hall the frustration of his schemes for strange to say he would have been much bolder if they had succeeded the unseasonable time the recollection of having no one near to whom he could appeal for any friendly office above all the sudden sense which made even his heart beat like led that the man whose confidence he had outraged and whom he had so treacherously deceived was there to recognize and challenge him with his mask plucked off his face struck a panic through him he tried the door in which the veil was shot but couldn't force it he opened one of the windows and looked down to the lattice of the blind into the courtyard but it was a highly panned the stones were pitiless the ringing and knocking still continuing his panic – he went back to the door in the bedchamber and with some new efforts even more stubborn than the last wrenched it opened seeing the little staircase not far off and feeling the night air coming up he stalled back for his hat and coat made the door as secure after him as he could crept down lamp in hand extinguishing it on seeing the street and having put it in a corner went out where the stars were shining end of chapter 54

1 thought on “Dombey and Son | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Book | English | 17/20

  1. Dombey and Son | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Book | English | 17/20
    52: [00:00:00] – Secret Intelligence
    53: [00:33:39] – More Intelligence
    54: [01:11:44] – The Fugitives

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