Our Mutual Friend, Version 2 | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Talking Book | English | 8/20

section 24 of our mutual friend by charles dickens this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to find out how you can volunteer please visit librivox.org section 24 of our mutual friend by charles dickens book ii chapter 7 in which a friendly move is originated the arrangement between mr. boffin and his literary man mr. silas wegg so far altered with the altered habits of mr. boffins life as that the Roman Empire usually declined in the morning and in the eminently aristocratic family mansion rather than in the evening as of yore and in boffins Bower there were occasions however when mr. boffin seeking a brief refuge from the blandishments of fashion would present himself at the bower after dark to anticipate the next sallying forth of Wegg and would there on the old settle pursue the downward fortunes of those enervated and corrupted masters of the world who were by this time on their last legs if Wegg had been worse paid for his office or better qualified to discharge it he would have considered these visits complimentary and agreeable but holding the position of a handsomely remunerated humbug he resented them this was quite according to rule for the incompetent servant by whomsoever employed is always against his employer even those born governors noble and right honourable creatures who have been the most imbecile in high places have uniformly shown themselves the most opposed sometimes in be lying distrust sometimes in vapin insolence to their employer what is in such wise true of the public master and servant is equally true of the arrived at master and servant all the world over when mr. silas wegg did at last obtain free access to our house as he had been want to call the mansion outside which he had sat shelterless so long and when he did at last find it in all particulars as different from his mental plans of it as according to the nature of things that well could be that far-seeing and far-reaching character by way of asserting himself and making out a case for compensation affected to fall into a melancholy strain of musing over the mournful past as if the house and he had had a fall in life together and this sir silas would say to his patron sadly nodding his head and musing was once our house this sir is the building from which I have so often seen those great creatures Miss Elizabeth master George Aunt Jane and uncle Parker whose very names were of his own inventing pass and repass and has it come to this indeed oh dear me dear me so tender were his lamentations that the kindly mr. boffin was quite sorry for him an almost felt mistrustful that in buying the house he had done him an ineffable injury to our three diplomatic interviews the result of great subtlety on mr. wegg's part but assuming the mask of careless yielding to a fortuitous combination of circumstances impelling him towards Clerkenwell had enabled him to complete his bargain with mr. Venus bring me round to the Bower said Silas when the bargain was closed next Saturday evening and if a sociable glass of old Jamaica warm should meet your views I am NOT the man to begrudge it you are aware of my being poor company sir replied mr. Venus but be it so it being so here is Saturday evening come and here's mr. Venus come and ringing at the bower gate mr. Wegg opens the gate describes a sort of brown paper truncheon under mr. Venus's arm and Mark's in a dry tone oh I thought perhaps you might have come in a cab no mr wegg replies Venus I am NOT above a parcel above a parcel no siz Wegg with some dissatisfaction but does not openly growl a certain sort of parcel might be above you here is your purchase mr. Wegg says Venus politely handing it over and I am glad to restore it to the source from whence it flowed thank you says Wegg now this affair is concluded I may mention to you in a friendly way that I've my doubts whether if I had consulted a lawyer you could have kept this article back from me I only throw it out as a legal point do you think so mr. Wegg I bought you an open contract you can't buy human flesh and blood in this country sir not alive you can't says Wegg shaking his head then query bone as a legal point asks meanness as a legal point I am NOT competent to speak upon that mr. Wegg says Venus reddening and growing somewhat louder but upon a point of fact I think myself competent to speak and as a point of fact I would have seen you will you allow me to say further I wouldn't say more than further if I was you mr. Wegg suggests specifically before I've given that packet into your hand without being paid my price for it I don't pretend to know how the point of law may stand but I'm thoroughly confident upon the point of fact as mr. Venus is irritable no doubt owing to his disappointment in love and as it is not the cue of mr. Wegg to have him out of temper the latter gentleman soothingly remarks I only put it as a little case I only put it hypothetically then I'd rather mr. Wegg you put it another time Penarth ethically as mr. Venus's retort for I tell you candidly I don't like your little cases arrived by this time in mr. Wegg sitting-room maid bright on the chilly evening by Gaslight and fire mr. Venus softens and compliments him on his abode profiting by the occasion to remind Wegg that he Venus told him he had got into a good thing tolerable Allegra joins but bear in mind mr. Venus that there's no gold without its alloy mix for yourself and take a seat in the chimbley corner will you perform upon a pipe sir I am but an indifferent performer sir returns the other but I'll accompany you with a whiff or two at intervals so mr. Venus mixes and Wegg mixes and mr. Venus lights and puffs and Wegg lights and puffs and there's alloy even in this metal of yours mr. Wegg you was remarking mr. e returns Wegg I don't like it mr. Venus I don't like to have the life knocked out of former inhabitants of this house in the gloomy dark and not know who did it might you have any suspicions mr. Wegg no returns that gentleman I know who profits by it but I have no suspicions having said which mr. Wegg smokes and looks at the fire with a most determined expression of charity as if he had caught that cardinal virtue by the skirts as she felt at her painful duty to depart from him and held her by main force similarly resumes Wegg I have observations as I can offer upon certain points and parties but I make no objections mr. Venus here is an immense fortune drops from the clouds upon a person that shall be nameless here is a weekly allowance with a certain weight of coals drop some of the clouds upon me which of us is the better man not the person that shall be nameless that's an observation of mine but I don't make it an objection I take my allowance on my certain weight of coals he takes his fortune that's the way it works it would be a good thing for me if I could see things in the calm light you do mr. Wegg and again look here pursues Silas with an oratorical flourish of his pipe and his wooden leg the latter having an undignified tendency to tilt him back in his chair here's another observation mr. Venus unaccompanied with an objection him that shall be nameless is liable to be talked over he gets talk over him that shall be nameless having me at his right hand naturally looking to be promoted higher and you may perhaps say meriting to be promoted higher mr. Venus murmurs that he does say so him that shall be nameless under such circumstances passes me by and puts a talking-over stranger above my head which of us too is the better man which of us too can repeat most poetry which of us too has in the service of him that shall be nameless tackled the Romans both civil and military till he has God as Husky as if he'd been weaned and ever since brought up on sawdust not the talking-over stranger yet the houses as free to him as if it was his and he has his room and has put upon a footing and draws about a thousand a year I am banished to the bower to be found in it like a piece of furniture when ever wanted merit therefore don't win that's the way it works I observe it because I can't help observing it being accustomed to take a powerful sight of notice but I don't object ever here before mr. Venus not inside the gate mr. Wegg you been as far as the gate then mr. Venus yes mr. Wegg and peeped in from curiosity did you see anything nothing but the dust yard mr. Wegg rolls his eyes all around the room in that ever unsatisfied quest of his and then rolls his eyes all around mr. Venus as if suspicious of his having something about him to be found out and yet sir he pursues being acquainted with old mr. Harmon one could have thought it might have been polite in you two to give him a call and you're naturally of a polite disposition you are this last Clause as a softening compliment to mr. Venus it is true sir replies Venus winking his weak eyes and running his fingers through his dusty shock of hair but I was so before a certain observation soured me you understand to what I allude mr. Wegg to a certain written statement respecting not wishing to be regarded in a certain light since that all is fled Goll not all says mr wegg in a tone of sentimental condolence yes sir returns Venus all the world may deem it harsh but I'd quite as soon pitch in to my best friend as not indeed I'd sooner involuntarily making a pass with his wooden leg to garden himself as mr. Venus springs up in the emphasis of his unsociable declaration mr. Wegg tilts over on his back chair and all and is rescued by that harmless misanthrope and a disjointed state and ruefully rubbing his head why you lost your balance mr. Wegg says Venus handing him his pipe and about time to do it grumbles Silas when a man's visitors without word of notice conduct themselves with the sudden wishest 'no subjects in the boxes don't come flying out of your chair like that mr. Venus I ask your pardon mr. Wegg I am so soured yes but hang it says Wegg argumentatively a well governed mine can be soured sitting and as to being regarded in lights there's bumpy lights as well as bony in which again rubbing his head I object to regard myself I bear it in memory sir if you'll be so good mr. Wegg slowly subdues his ironical tone and his lingering irritation and resumes his pipe we were talking of old mr. Harmon being a friend of yours not a friend mr. Wegg only known to speak to and to have a little deal with now and then a very inquisitive character mr. Wegg regarding what was found in the dust as inquisitive as secret ah you found him secret returns Wegg with a greedy relish he had always the look of it and the manner of it ah with another roll of his eyes as to what was found in the dust now did you ever hear him mention how he found it my dear friend living on the mysterious premises one would like to know for instance where he found things or for instance how he said about it whether he began at the top of the mounds or whether he began the bottom whether he prodded mr. wegg's pantomime is skillful and expressive here or whether he scooped should you say scooped my dear mr. Venus or should you as a man say parotid I should say neither mr. Wegg as a fellow man mr. Venus mix again why neither because I suppose sir that what was found was found in the sorting and sifting all the mounds are sorted and sifted you shall see him and pass your opinion mix again on each occasion of his saying mix again mr. Wegg with a hop on his wooden leg hitches his chair a little nearer more as if he were proposing that himself and mr. Venus should mix again than that they should replenish their glasses living as I said before on the mysterious premises says Wegg when the other has acted on his hospitable entreaty one likes to know would you be inclined to say now as a brother that he ever hid his things in the dust as well as found him mr. Wegg on the whole I should say he might mr. Wegg claps on his spectacles and admiring Li surveys mr. Venus from head to foot as a mortal equally with myself whose hand I take in mind for the first time this day having unaccountably overlooked that act so full of boundless confidence binding a fellow creature to a fellow creature says Wegg holding mr. Venus's palm out flat and ready for smiting and now smiting it as such and no other for I scorn all lowly or ties but tucks myself and the man walking with his face erect that alone I call my twin regarded and regarding in this trustful bond what do you think he might have hid it is but a supposition mr. Wegg as a being with his hand upon his heart cries Wegg and the apostrophe is not the less impressive for the beings hand being actually upon his rum and water put your supposition into language and bring it out mr. Venus he was the species of old gentlemen sir slowly returns that practical anatomist after drinking that I should judge likely to take such opportunities as this place offered of stowing away money valuables maybe papers as one that was ever an ornament to human life says mr wegg again holding out mr venus's palm as if he were going to tell his fortune by kuraman see and holding his own up ready for smiting it when the time should come as one that the poet might have had his eye on in writing the national naval words he'll know whether now layer closed yard arm and yard arm she lies again cried eye mr. Venus give her t'other dos man shrouds and grapple sir or she flies that is to say regarded in the light of true British oak for such you are to explain mr. Venus the expression papers seeing that the old gentleman was generally cutting off some near relation or blocking out some natural affection mr. Venus rejoins he most likely made a good many wills and codicils the palm of Silas Wegg descends with a sounding smack upon the palm of Venus and Wegg lavishly exclaims twin in opinion equally with feeling mix a little more having now hitched his wooden leg in his chair close in front of mr. Venus mr. Wegg rapidly mixes for both gives his visitor his glass touches its rim with the rim of his own puts his own to his lips puts it down and spreading his hands on his visitors knees thus addresses him mr. Venus it ain't that I object to being passed over for a stranger though I regard the stranger as a more than doubtful customer it ain't for the sake of making money though money is ever welcome it ain't for myself though I am not so haughty as to be above doing myself a good turn it's for the cause of the right mr. Venus passively winking his weak eyes both at once demands what is mr. Wegg the friendly move sir that I now propose you see the move sir till you have pointed it out mr. Wegg I can't say whether I do or not if there is anything to be found on these premises let us find it together let us make the friendly move of agreeing to look for it together let us make the friendly move of agreeing to share the profits of it equally betwixt us in the case of the right thus Silas assuming a noble heir then says Mr Venus looking up after meditating with his hair held in his hands as if he could only fix his attention by fixing his head if anything was to be unburied from under the dust it would be kept a secret by you and me would that be it mr. wig that would depend upon what it was mr. Venus say it was money or plate or jewelry it would be as much ours as anybody else's mr. Venus rubs an eyebrow interrogatively in the case of the right it would because it would be unknowingly sold with the mounds else and the buyer would get what he was never meant to have and never bought and what would that be mr. Venus but the cause of the wrong say it was papers mr. Venus propounds according to what they contained we should offer to dispose of them to the parties most interested replies Wegg promptly in the cause of the right mr. Wegg always so mr. Venus if the party should use them in the cause of the wrong that would be their act indeed mr. Venus I have an opinion of you sir to which it is not easy to give mouth since I called upon you that evening when you were as I may say floating your powerful mind and tea I have felt you required to be roused with an object in this friendly move sir you will have a glorious object to rouse you mr. Wegg then goes on to enlarge upon what throughout has been uppermost in his crafty mind the qualifications of mr. Venus for such a search he expatiate saan mr. Venus's patient habits and delicate manipulation on his skill in piecing little things together on his knowledge of various tissues and textures on the likelihood of small indications leading him on to the discovery of great concealments while as to myself says Wegg I am not good at it whether I gave myself up to prodding or whether I gave myself up to scooping I couldn't do it with that delicate touch so as not to show that I was disturbing the mound quite different with you going to work as you would in the light of a fellow man holily pledged in a friendly move to his brother man mr wegg next modest lemur marks on the want of adaptation in a wooden leg two ladders and suchlike Airy perches and also hints at an inherent tendency in that timber fiction when called into action for the purposes of a promenade on an ashy slope to stick itself into the yielding foothold and peg its owner to one spot then leaving this part of the subject he remarks on the special phenomenon that before his installation in the bower it was from mr. Venus that he first heard of the legend of hidden wealth in the mounds which he observes with a vaguely pious air was surely never meant for nothing lastly he returns to the cause of the right gloomily foreshadowing the possibility of something being unearthed to criminate mr. boffin of whom he once more candidly admits it cannot be denied that he profits by a murder and anticipating his denunciation by the friendly movers to avenging justice and this mr. Wegg expressly points out not at all for the sake of the reward though it would be a want of principle not to take it to all this mr. Venus with his shock of dusty hair cocked after the manner of the carrier's ears attends profoundly when mr. Wegg having finished opens his arms wide as if to show mr. Venus how bare his breast is and then folds them pending a reply mr. Venus winks at him with both eyes some little time before speaking I see you have tried it by yourself mr. Wegg he says when he does speak you have found out the difficulties by experience no it can hardly be said that I have tried it replies Wegg a little dashed by the hint I have just skimmed it skimmed it and found nothing besides the difficulties Wegg shakes his head I scarcely know what to say to this mr. Wegg observes Venus after ruminating for a while say yes Wegg naturally urges if I wasn't soured my answer would be no but being soured mr wegg and driven direct les madness and desperation I suppose it's yes wag joyfully reproduces the two glasses repeats the ceremony of clinking their rims and inwardly drinks with great heartiness to the health and success in life of the young lady who has reduced mr. Venus to his present convenient state of mind the articles of the friendly move are then severally recited and greet upon they are but secrecy fidelity and perseverance the bower to be always free of access to mr. Venus for his researches and every precaution to be taken against their attracting observation in the neighbourhood there's a footstep exclaims Venus where cries Wegg starting outside they are in the act of ratifying the treaty of friendly move by shaking hands upon it they softly break off light their pipes which have gone out and leaned back in their chairs no doubt a footstep it approaches the window and a hand taps at the glass come in calls Wegg meaning come round by the door but the heavy old-fashioned sash is slowly raised and ahead slowly looks in out of the dark background of night pray is mr. Silas Wegg here oh I see him the friendly movers might not have been quite at their ease even though the visitor had entered in the usual manner but leaning on the breast-high window and staring in out of the darkness they find the visitor extremely embarrassing especially mr. Venus who removes his pipe draws back his head and stares at the stare as if it were his own Hindu baby come to fetch him home good evening mr. Wegg the yard gate lock should be looked to if you please it don't catch is it mr. rokesmith falters Wegg it is mr. rokesmith don't let me disturb you I am NOT coming in I have only a message for you which I undertook to deliver on my way home to my lodgings I was in two minds about coming beyond the gate without ringing not knowing but you might have a dog about I wish I had mutters Wegg with his back turned he rose from his chair hush the talking-over stranger mr. Venus is that anyone I know inquires the staring secretary no mr. rokesmith friend of mine passing the evening with me oh I beg his pardon mr. boffin wishes you to know that he does not expect you to stay at home any evening on the chance of his coming it has occurred to him that he may without intending it have been a tie upon you in future if he should come without notice he will take his chance of finding you and it will be all the same to him if he does not I undertook to tell you on my way that's all with that and good night the secretary lowers the window and disappears they listen and hear his footsteps go back to the gate and hear the gate closed after him and for that individual mr. Venus remarks Wegg when he is fully gone I have been passed over let me ask you what you think of him apparently mr. Venus does not know what to think of him for he makes sundry efforts to reply without delivering himself of any other articulate utterance than that he has a singular look a double look you mean sir rejoins Wegg playing bitterly upon the word that's his look any amount of singular look for me but not a double look that's an underhanded mind sir do you say there's something against him Venus asks something against him repeats Wegg something what would the relief be to my feelings as a fellow man if I wasn't the slave of truth and didn't feel compelled to answer everything see into what wonderful maudlin refuges featherless ostriches plunge their heads it is such unspeakable moral compensation to Wegg to be overcome by the consideration that mr. rokesmith has an underhanded mind on this starlight night mr. Venus he remarks when he is showing that friendly mover out across the yard and both are something the worst for mixing again and again on this starlight night to think that talking-over strangers and underhanded minds can go walking home under the sky as if they was all square the spectacle of those orbs says Mr Venus gazing upward with his hat tumbling off brings heavy on me her crushing words that she did not wish to regard herself nor yet to be regarded in that I know I know you needn't repeat him says wegg pressing his hand but I think those stars steady me in the cause of the right against some that shall be nameless it isn't that I bear malice but see how they glisten with old remembrances old remembrances of what sir mr. Venus begins barely replying of her words in her own handwriting that she does not wish to regard herself nor yet when Silas cuts him short with dignity no sir remembrances of our house of master George savant Jane of uncle Parker all laid waste all offered up sacrifices to the minion of fortune and the worm of the hour end of section 24 of our mutual friend by charles dickens read by don w jenkins rancho san diego california shaggy bark dot blog spot.com section 25 of our mutual friend by charles dickens this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to find out how you can volunteer please visit librivox.org section 25 of our mutual friend by charles dickens book ii chapter 8 in which an innocent elopement occurs the minion of fortune and the worm of the hour or in less cutting language Nicodemus boffin Esquire the golden dustman had become as much at home in his eminently aristocratic family mansion as he was likely ever to be he could not but feel that likely an eminently aristocratic family cheese it was much too large for his wants and bread an infinite amount of parasites but he was content to regard this drawback on his property as a sort of perpetual legacy duty he felt the more resigned to it for as much as mrs. boffin enjoyed herself completely and miss Bella was delighted the young lady was no doubt an acquisition to the boffins she was far too pretty to be unattractive anywhere and far too quick of perception to be below the tone of her new career whether it improved her heart might be a matter of case that was open to question but as touching another matter of taste its improvement of her appearance and manner there could be no question whatever and thus it soon came about that miss Bella began to set mrs. boffin right and even further that miss Bella began to feel ill at ease and as it were responsible when she saw mrs. boffin going wrong not that so sweet a disposition and so sound a nature could ever go very wrong even among the great visiting authorities who agreed that the boffins were charmingly vulgar which for certain was not their own case in saying so but that when she made a slip on the social ice on which all the children of podsnappery with genteel souls to be saved are required to skate in circles or to slide in long rows she inevitably tripped miss Bella up so that young lady felt and caused her to experience great confusion under the glances of the more skillful performers engaged in those ice exercises at miss Bella's time of life that was not to be expected that she should examine herself very closely on the congruity or stability of her position in mr. boffins house and as she had never been sparing of complaints of her old home when she had no other to compare it with so there was no novelty of ingratitude or disdain her very much preferring her new one an invaluable man is rokesmith said Mr boffin after some two or three months but I can't quite make him out neither could Bella so she found the subject rather interesting he takes more care of my affairs morning noon and night said Mr boffin then 50 other men put together either could or would and yet he has ways of his own that are like tying a scaffolding pole right across the road and bringing me up short when I am almost all walking arm-in-arm with him may I ask how so sir inquired Bella well my dear said Mr boffin he won't meet any company here but you when we have visitors I should wish him to have his regular place at the table like ourselves but no he won't take it if he considers himself above it said miss Bella with an airy toss of her head I should leave him alone it ain't that my dear replied mr. boffin thinking it over he don't consider himself above it perhaps he considers himself beneath it suggested Bella if so he ought to know best no my dear nor it ain't that neither no repeated mr. boffin with a shake of his head and after thinking it over rokesmith some modest man but he don't consider himself beneath it then what does he consider sir asked Bella dashed if I know said Mr boffin it seemed that first as if it was only Lightwood that he objected to me and now it seems to be everybody except you oho thought miss Bella indeed that's it is it for Mr Mortimer Lightwood had dined there two or three times and she had met him elsewhere and he had shown her some attention rather cool in a secretary and pause lodger to make me the subject of his jealousy that paused daughter should be so contemptuous of pause lodger was odd but there were otter anomalies than that in the mind of the spoilt girl spoiled first by poverty then by well be it this histories part however to leave them to unravel themselves a little too much I think miss Bella reflected scornfully to have pause lodger laying claim to me in keeping eligible people off a little too much indeed to have the opportunities open to me by mr. and mrs. boffin appropriated by a mere secretary pause lodger yet it was not so very long ago that Bella had been fluttered by the discovery that this same secretary and lodger seemed to like her ah but the eminently aristocratic mansion and mrs. boffins dressmaker had not come into play then in spite of the his seemingly retiring manners a very intrusive person this secretary and lodger in Miss Bella's opinion always a light in his office room when we came home from the play or opera and he always at the carriage door to hand us out always a provoking radiance too on mrs. boffins face and an abominably cheerful reception of him as if it were possible seriously to approve what the man had in his mind you never charged me miss wilfer's said the secretary encountering her by chance alone in the great drawing-room with commissions for home I shall always be happy to execute any commands you may have in that direction pray what may you mean mr. rokesmith inquired miss Bella with languidly drooping eyelids by home I mean your father's house at Holloway she coloured under the retort so skilfully thrust the words seemed to be merely a plain answer given in plain good faith and said rather more emphatically and sharply what Commission's and commands are you speaking of only little words of remembrance as I assume you sent somehow or other replied the secretary with his former air it would be a pleasure to me if you would make me the bearer of them as you know I come and go between the two houses every day you needn't remind me of that sir she was too quick in this petulant Sally against pause lodger and she felt that she had been so when she met his quiet look they don't send many what was your expression words of remembrance to me said Bella making haste to take refuge in ill-usage they frequently asked me about you and I give them such slight intelligence as I can I hope it's truly given exclaimed Bella I hope you cannot doubt it for it would be very much against you if you could no I do not doubt it I deserve the reproach which is very just indeed I beg your pardon mr. rokesmith I should beg you not to do so but that it shows you to such admirable advantage he replied with earnestness forgive me I could not help saying that to return to what I have digressed from let me add that perhaps they think I report them to you deliver little messages and alike but I forbear to trouble you as you never asked me I am going sir said Bella looking at him as if he had reproved her to see them tomorrow is that he asked hesitating said to me or to them to which you please to both shall I make it a message you can if you like mr. rokesmith message or no message I am going to see them tomorrow then I will tell them so he lingered a moment as though to give her the opportunity of prolonging the conversation if she wished as she remained silent he left her to incidents of the little interview were felt by miss Bella herself went alone again to be very curious the first was that he unquestionably left her with a penitent err upon her and a penitent feeling in her heart the second was that she had not an intention or thought of going home until she had announced it to him as a settled design what can I mean by it or what can he mean by it was her mental inquiry he has no right to any power over me and how do I come to mind him when I don't care for him mrs. boffin insisting that Bella should make tomorrow's expedition in the chariot she went home in great Brender mrs. Wilfer and Miss Lavinia had speculated much on the probabilities and improbabilities of her coming in this gorgeous state and on beholding the chariot from the window at which they were secreted to look out for it agreed that it must be detained at the door as long as possible for the mortification and confusion of the neighbours then they repaired to the usual family room to receive miss Bella with a becoming show of indifference the family room looked very small and very mean and the downward staircase by which it was attained looked very narrow and very crooked the little house and all its arrangements were a poor contrast to the eminently aristocratic dwelling I can hardly believe that Bella that I ever did endure life in this place gloomy Majesty on the part of mrs. Wilfer and native pertness on the part of La Vie did not mend the matter Bella really stood in natural need of a little help and she got men this said mrs. Wilfer presenting a cheek to be kissed as sympathetic and responsive as the back of the bowl of a spoon is quite an honor you will probably find your sister Lavvy groaned Bella ma miss lavinia interposed there can be no objection to your being aggravating because Bella richly deserves it but I really must request that you will not drag in such ridiculous nonsense as my having grown when I am past the growing age I grew myself mrs. Wilfer sternly proclaimed after I was married very well Mobb returned Lavvy then I think you had much better have left it alone the lofty glare with which the majestic woman received this answer might have embarrassed a less pert opponent but it had no effect upon Lavinia who leaving her parent to the enjoyment of any amount of glaring at she might have deemed desirable under the circumstances accosted her sister undismayed I suppose you won't consider yourself quite disgraced Bella if I give you a kiss well and how do you do Bella and how are your boffins peace exclaimed mrs. Wilfer hold I will not suffer this tone of levity my goodness me how are your spa fans then said Lavvy since MA so much objects to your boffins impertinent girl minx said mrs. Wilfer with dread severity I don't care whether I am a minx or a sphinx returned Lavinia coolly tossing her head it's exactly the same thing to me and I'd every bit as soon be one as the other but I know this I'll not grow after I'm married you will not you will not repeated mrs. Wilfer solemnly no ma I will not nothing shall induce me mrs. Wilfer having waved her gloves became loftily pathetic but it was to be expected thus she spake a child of mine deserts me for the proud and prosperous and another child of mine despises me it is quite fitting ma bella struck in mr. and mrs. boffin are prosperous no doubt but you have no right to say they are proud you must know very well that they are not in short mosques said Lavvy bouncing over to the enemy without a word of notice you must know very well or if you don't more shame for you that mr. and mrs. boffin are just absolute perfection truly returned mrs. Wilfer courteously receiving the deserter it would seem that we are required to think so and this Lavinia is my reason for objecting to a tone of levity mrs. boffin of whose physiognomies ever speak with the composure I would desire to preserve and your mother are not on terms of intimacy it is not for a moment to be supposed that she and her husband dare to presume to speak of this family as the wilfer's I cannot therefore condescend to speak of them as the boffins no for such a tone call it familiarity levity equality or what you will would imply those social interchanges which do not exist do i render myself intelligible without taking the least notice of this inquiry albeit delivered in an imposing and forensic manner Lavinia reminded her sister after all you know Bella you haven't told us how your what's-his-name's are I don't want to speak of them here replied Bella suppressing indignation and tapping her foot on the floor there are much too kind and too good to be drawn into these discussions why put it so demanded mrs. Wilfer with biting sarcasm why adopt a circuitous form of speech it is polite and it is obliging but why do it why not openly say that they are much too kind and too good for us we understand the illusion why disguise the phrase MA said Bella with one beat of her foot you are enough to drive a saint mad and so is La Vie unfortunate Lavvy cried mrs. wolf in a tone of commiseration she always comes for it my poor child but Lavvy with the suddenness of her former desertion now bounced over to the other enemy very sharply remarking don't patronize me MA because I can take care of myself I only wonder resumed mrs. Wilfer directing her observations to her elder daughter as safer on the whole than her utterly unmanageable younger that you found time and inclination to tear yourself from mr. and mrs. boffin and come to see us at all I wonder that our claims contending against the superior claims of mr. and mrs. boffin had any weight I feel I ought to be thankful for gaining so much in competition with mr. and mrs. boffin the good lady bitterly emphasized the first letter of the word boffin as it represented her chief objection to the owners of that name and as if she could have borne Dauphin muffin or puffin much better MA said Bella angrily you forced me to say that I am truly sorry I did come home and I never will come home again except when poor deer paw is here poor paw is too magnanimous to feel Envy and spite towards my generous friends and paw is delicate enough and gentle enough to remember the sort of little claim they thought I had upon them and the unusually trying position in which through no act of my own I had been placed and I always did love poor dear paw better than all the rest of you put together and I always do and I always shall hear Bella deriving no comfort from her charming bonnet and her elegant dress burst into tears I think RW cried mrs. Wilfer lifting up her eyes and apostrophizing the air that if you were present it would be a trial to your feelings to hear your wife and the mother of your family depreciated in your name but fate has spared you this RW whatever it may have thought proper to inflict upon her here mrs. Wilfer burst into tears I hate the boffins protested Miss Lavinia I don't care who objects to their being called boffins I will call him the boffins the boffins the boffins the boffins and I say they are mischief-making Buffon's and I say the boffins have set Bela against me when I tell the boffins to their faces which was not strictly the fact but the young lady was excited that they are the detestable boffins disreputable boffins odious boffins beastly boffins there here miss Lavinia burst into tears the front garden gate clanked and the Secretary was seen coming at a brisk pace up the steps leave me to open the door to him said mrs. Wilfer rising with stately resignation as she shook her head and dried her eyes we have at present no stipendiary girl to do so we have nothing to conceal if he sees these traces of emotion on our cheeks let him construe them as he made with these words she stalked out in a few moments she stalked and again proclaiming in her heraldic manner mr. rokesmith is the bearer of a packet for miss bella wilfer mr. rokesmith followed close upon his name and of course saw what was amiss but he discreetly affected to see nothing and addressed miss Bella mr. boffin intended to have placed this in the carriage for you this morning he wished you to have it as a little keepsake he had prepared it is only a purse miss Wilfer but as he was disappointed in his fancy I volunteered to come after you with it Bella took it in her hand and thanked him we have been quarreling here a little mr. rokesmith but not more than we used you know our agreeable ways among ourselves you find me just going goodbye mama goodbye levee and with a kiss for each miss Bella turned to the door the secretary would have attended her but mrs. Wilfer advancing and saying with dignity pardon me permit me to assert my natural right to escort my child to the equipping which is in waiting for her he begged pardon and game place it was a very magnificent spectacle indeed to see mrs. Wilfer throw open the house door and loudly demand with extended loves the male domestic of mrs. boffin to whom presenting himself she delivered the brief but majestic charge miss Wilfer coming out and so delivered her over like a female the tenant of the tower relinquishing a state prisoner the effect of this ceremonial was for some quarter of an hour afterwards perfectly paralyzing on the neighbors and was much enhanced by the worthy lady airing herself for that term in a kind of splendidly serene trance on the top step when Bella was seated in the carriage she opened the little packet in her hand it contained a pretty purse and the purse contained a banknote for fifty pounds this shall be a joyful surprise for poor dear possible and I'll take it myself into the city she was uninformed respecting the exact locality of the place of business of chicksey veneering and stobbles but knew it to be near mincing lane she directed herself to be driven to the corner of that darksome spot then she dispatched the male domestic of mrs. boffin in search of the counting-house of chicksey veneering and stobbles with a message importing that if our Wilfer could come out there was a lady waiting who would be glad to speak with them the delivery of these mysterious words from the mouth of a footman caused so great an excitement in the Counting house that a youthful Scout was instantly appointed to follow room T observed a lady and come in with his report nor was the agitation by any means diminished when the Scout rushed back with the intelligence that the lady was a slap-up gal and a bang-up chariot rum ting himself with his pen behind his ear under his rusty hat arrived at the carriage door in a breathless condition and had been fairly lugged into the vehicle by his cravat and embraced almost into choking before he recognized his daughter My dear child he then panted incoherently good gracious me what a lovely woman you are I thought you had been unkind and forgotten your mother and sister I have just been to see them PAH dear oh and how how did you find your mother asked RW dubiously very disagreeable PAH and so was Lavvy they are sometimes a little liable to it observed the patient cherub but I hope you made allowances Bella my dear no I was disagreeable to PAH we were all of us disagreeable together but I want you to come and dine with me somewhere PAH why my dear I have already predict ANOVA if one might mention such an article in this superb chariot of saveloy replied R Wilfer modestly dropping his voice in one word as he eyed the canary-coloured fittings oh that's nothing PAH truly it ain't as much as one could sometimes wish it to be my dear he admitted drawing his hand across his mouth still when circumstances over which you have no control interpose obstacles between yourself and small Germans you can't do better than bring a contented mind to bear on again dropping his voice in deference to the chariot saveloy z– you poor good paw pod do I beg and pray get leave for the rest of the day and come and pass it with me well my dear I'll cut back and ask for leave but before you cut back said Bella who had already taken him by the chin pulled his hat off and began to stick up his hair in her old way do say that you are sure I am giddy and inconsiderate but have never really slighted you PAH my dear I say it with all my heart and might I likewise observe her father delicately hinted with a glance out at the window that perhaps it might be calculated to attract attention having one's hair publicly done by a lovely woman and an elegant turnout on Fenchurch Street Bella laughed and put his hat on again but when his boyish figure bobbed away it's shabby 'no sand cheerful patience smote the tears out of her eyes I hate that secretary for thinking it of me she said to herself and yet it seems half true back came her father more like a boy than ever in his release from school all right my dear leave given at once really very handsomely done now where can we find some quiet place PAH in which I can wait for you while you go on an errand for me if I send the carriage oi it demanded cogitation you see my dear he explained he really have become such a very lovely woman that it ought to be a very quiet place at length he suggested near the garden up by the Trinity house on Tower Hill so they were driven there and Bella dismissed the chariot sending a penciled note by it to mrs. boffin that she was with her father now PAH attend to what I'm going to say and promise and bout to be obedient I promise and bow My dear you ask no questions you take this purse you go to the nearest place where they keep everything of the very best ready-made you buy and put on the most beautiful suit of clothes the most beautiful hat and the most beautiful pair of bright boots patent leather PAH mind that are to be got for money and you come back to me but my dear Bella take care pop pointing her forefinger at him merrily you have promised and vowed it's perjury you know there was water in the foolish little fellows eyes but she kissed them dry though her own were wet and he bobbed away again after half an hour he came back so brilliantly transformed that Bella was obliged to walk around him in ecstatic admiration twenty times before she could draw her arm through his and delightedly squeeze it now paw said Bella hugging him close take this lovely woman out to dinner where shall we go my dear Greenwich said Bella valiantly and be sure you treat this lovely woman with everything of the best while they were going along to take boat don't you wish my dear said RW timidly that your mother was here no I don't paw for I like to have you all to myself today I was always your little favourite at home and you were always mine we have run away together often before now haven't we Pau to be sure we have many a Sunday when your mother was was a little liable to it repeating his former delicate expression after pausing to cough yes and I am afraid I was seldom or never as good as I ought to have been paw I made you carry me over and over again we should have made me walk and I often drove you in harness when you would much rather have sat down and read your newspaper didn't I sometimes sometimes but lor what a child you were what a companion you were companion that's just what I want to be today PAH you are safe to succeed my love your brothers and sisters have all in there turns been companions to me to a certain extent but only to a certain extent Your Mother has throughout life been a companion that any man might might look up to and and commit the sayings off to memory and form himself upon but if he if he liked the model suggested Bella well yes he returned thinking about it not quite satisfied with the phrase or perhaps I might say if it was in him supposing for instance that a man wanted to be always marching he would find your mother and inestimable companion but if he had any taste for walking or should wish at any time to break into a trot he might sometimes find it a little difficult to keep step with your mother or take it this way Bella he added after a moment's reflection supposing that a man had to go through life we won't say with a companion but we'll say to a tune very good supposing that the tune allotted to him was the dead march in Saul well it would be a very suitable tune for particular occasions none better but it would be difficult to keep time within the ordinary run of domestic transactions for instance if he took his supper after a hard day to the dead march in Saul his food might be likely to sit heavy on him or if he was at any time inclined to relieve his mind by singing a comic song or dancing a hornpipe and was obliged to do it to the dead march in Saul he might find himself put out in the execution of his lively intentions poor paw thought Bella as she hung upon his arm now what I will say for you my dear the cherub pursued mildly and without a notion of complaining is that you are so adaptable so adaptable indeed I am afraid I have shown a wretched temper paw I am afraid I have been very complaining and very capricious I seldom or never thought of it before but when I sat in the carriage just now and saw you coming along the pavement I reproached myself not at all my dear don't speak of such a thing and happy and a chatty man was paw in his new clothes that day take it for all in all it was perhaps the happiest day he had ever known in his life not even excepting that on which his heroic partner had approached the nuptial altar to the tune of the dead march in Saul the little expedition down the river was delightful and the little room overlooking the river into which they were shown for dinner was delightful everything was delightful the park was delightful the punch was delightful the dishes of fish were delightful the wine was delightful Bela was more delightful than any other item in the festival drawing paw out in the ghast Manor making a point of always mentioning herself as the lovely woman stimulating pot to order things by declaring that the lovely woman insisted on being treated with them and in short causing pot to be quite enraptured with the consideration that he was the paw of such a charming daughter and then as they sat looking at the ships and steamboats making their way to the sea with the tide that was running down the lovely woman imagined all sorts of voyages for herself and paw now paw in the character of owner of a lumbering square sail Collier was tacking away to Newcastle to fetch black diamonds to make his fortune with now paw was going to China in that handsome three-masted ship to bring home opium with which he would forever cut out chicksey veneering and stobbles and bring home silks and shawls without end for the decoration of his charming daughter now John Harmons disastrous fate was all a dream and he had come home and found the lovely woman just the article for him and the lovely woman had found him just the article for her and they were going away on a trip in their gallant bark to look after their vines with streamers flying at all points a band playing on deck and paw established in the great cabin now John Harmon was consigned to his grave again and a merchant of immense wealth named unknown had courted and married the lovely woman and he was so enormous ly rich that everything you saw upon the river sailing or steaming belonged to him and he kept a perfect fleet of yachts for pleasure and that little impudent yacht you saw over there with the great white sail was called the Bella in honor of his wife and she held her state aboard when it pleased her like a modern Cleopatra anon there would embark in that troop ship when she got to Gravesend on my general of large property name also unknown who wouldn't hear of going to victory without his wife and whose wife was the lovely woman and she was destined to become the idol of all the red coats and blue jackets a low and aloft and then again you saw that ship being towed out by a steam tug well where did you suppose she was going to she was going among the coral reefs and coconuts and all that sort of thing and she was chartered for a fortunate individual by the name of paw himself on board and much respected by All Hands and she was going for his sole profit and advantage to fetch a cargo of sweet-smelling woods the most beautiful that ever were seen and the most profitable that ever were heard of and her cargo would be a great fortune as indeed it ought to be the lovely woman who had purchased her and fitted her expressly for this voyage being married to an indian prince who was a something-or-other and who wore cashmere shawls all over himself and diamonds and emeralds blazing in his turban and was beautifully coffee colored and excessively devoted though a little too jealous thus Bella ran on merrily in a manner perfectly enchanting to Pau who was as willing to put his head into the Sultan's tub of water as the beggar boys below the window were to put their heads in the mud I suppose my dear said Paul after dinner we may come to the conclusion at home that we have lost you for good Bella shook her head didn't know couldn't say all she was able to report was that she was most handsomely supplied with everything she could possibly want and that whenever she hinted at leaving mr. and mrs. boffin they wouldn't hear of it and now Pau pursued Bella all making confession to you I am the most mercenary little wretch that ever lived in the world I should hardly have thought it of you My dear returned her father first glancing at himself and then at the desert I understand what you mean Pau but it's not that it's not that I care for money to keep as money but I do care so much for what it will buy really I think most of us do return to our W but not to the dreadful extent that I do PAH Oh cried Belle screwing the exclamation out of herself with a twist of her dimpled chin I am so mercenary with a wistful glance our W said in default of having anything better to say about when did you begin to feel it coming on my dear that's it paw that's the terrible part of it when I was at home and only knew what it was to be poor I grumbled but I didn't so much mine when I was at home expecting to be rich I thought vaguely of all the great things I would do but when I had been disappointed of my splendid fortune and came to see it from day to day in other hands and to have before my eyes what it really could do then I became the mercenary little wretch I am it's your fancy my dear I can assure you it's nothing of the sort paw said Bella nodding at him with her very pretty eyebrows raised as high as they could go I'm looking comically frightened it's a fact I am always avaricious ly scheming lor but how I'll tell you PAH I don't mind telling you because we have always been favourites of each others and because you were not like a paw but more like a sort of younger brother with a dear venerable chubby nasaan him and besides added Bella laughing as she pointed a rallying finger at his face because I have got you in my power this is a secret expedition if ever you tell of me I'll tell of you I'll tell ma that you dined at Greenwich well seriously my dear observed our W a some trepidation of manner it might be as well not to mention it aha laughed Bella I knew you wouldn't like it sir so you keep my confidence and I'll keep yours but betray the lovely woman and you shall find her a serpent now you may give me a kiss PAH and I should like to give your hair a turn because it has been dreadfully neglected in my absence our W submitted his head to the operator and the operator went on talking at the same time putting separate locks of his hair through a curious process of being smartly rolled over her – revolving four fingers which were then suddenly pulled out of it in opposite lateral directions on each of these occasions the patient winced and winked I have made up my mind that I must have money PAH I feel that I can't beg it borrow it or steal it so I have resolved that I must marry it RW cast up his eyes towards her as well as he could under the operating circumstances and said in a tone of remonstrance my dear Bella I have resolved I say paw that to get money I must marry money in consequence of which I am always looking out for money to captivate my dear Bella yes PAH that is the state of the case if ever there was a mercenary plotter whose thoughts and designs were always in her mean occupation I am the amiable creature but I don't care I hate and detest being poor and I won't be poor if I can marry money now you are a deliciously fluffy PAH and in a state to astonish the waiter and pay the bill but my dear Bella this is quite alarming at your age I told you saw PAH but you wouldn't believe it returned Bella with a pleasant childish gravity isn't it shocking it would be quite so if you fully knew what you said my dear or meant it well PAH I can only tell you that I mean nothing else talk to me of love said Bella contemptuously though her face and figure certainly rendered the subject no in Congress one talk to me of fiery dragons but talk to me of poverty and wealth and there indeed we touch upon realities my dear this is becoming awful her father was emphatically beginning when she stopped him PAH tell me did you marry money you know I didn't My dear Bella hum the dead march of saw and said after all it signified very little but seeing him look grave and downcast she took him round the neck and kissed him back to cheerfulness again I didn't mean that last touch PAH it was only sitting joke no mine you are not to tell of me and I'll not tell of you and more than that I promise to have no secrets from you PAH and you may make certain that whatever mercenary things go on I shall always tell you all about them in strict confidence feign to be satisfied with this concession from the lovely woman RW rang the bell and paid the bill now all the rest of this Pau said Bella rolling up the purse when they were alone again hammering it small with her little fist on the table and cramming it into one of the pockets of his new waistcoat is for you to buy presents with for them at home and to pay bills with and divide as you like and spend exactly as you think proper last of all take notice Pau that it's not the fruit of any avaricious scheme perhaps if it was your little mercenary wretch of a daughter wouldn't make so free with it after which she tugged at his coat with both hands and pulled him all askew and buttoning that garment over the precious waistcoat pocket and then tied her dimples into her bonnet-strings in a very knowing way and took him back to London arrived at mr. boffins door she set him with his back against that tender look took him by the ears as convenient handles for her purpose and kissed him until he knocked muffled double knocks at the door with the back of his head that done she once more reminded him of their compact and gaily parted from him not so gaily however but that the tears filled her eyes as he went away down the dark street not so gaily but that she several times said ah poor little paw ah poor dear struggling shabby little paw before she took heart to knock at the door not so gaily but that the brilliant furniture seemed to stare her out of countenance as if it insisted on being compared with the dingy furniture at home not so gaily but that she fell into very low spirits sitting late in her own room and very hardly wept as she wished now that the deceased old John Harmon had never made a will about her now that the deceased young John Harmon had lived to marry her contradictory things to wish said Bella but my life and fortunes are so contradictory altogether that what can I expect myself to be end of section 25 of our mutual friend by charles dickens read by Don W Jenkins Rancho San Diego California shaggy bark blogspot.com section t-6 of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to find out how you can volunteer please visit librivox.org section 26 of our mutual friend by charles dickens book ii chapter 9 in which the orphan makes his will the secretary working in the dismal swamp becomes next morning was informed that a youth waited in the hall who gave the name of sloppy the footman who communicated this intelligence made a decent pause before uttering the name to express that it was forced on his reluctance by the youth in question and that if the youth had had the good sense and good taste to inherit some other name it would have spared the feelings of him the bearer mrs. boffin will be very well pleased said the secretary in a perfectly composed way show him in mr. sloppy being introduced remained close to the door revealing in various parts of his form many surprising confounding and incomprehensible buttons I am glad to see you said John rokesmith in a cheerful tone of welcome I have been expecting you sloppy explained that he had meant to come before but that the orphan of whom he made mention as our Johnny had been ailing and he had waited to report him well then he as well now said the secretary no he ain't said sloppy mr. sloppy having shaken his head to a considerable extent proceeded to remark that he thought Johnny must have tooken from the minders being asked what he meant he answered them that come out upon him in particular his chest being requested to explain himself he stated that there was some of them what you couldn't cover with a sixpence breast to fall back upon a nominative case he apply that they was about as red as ever red could be but as long as they strike soldered sir continued sloppy they ain't so much it's their striking innards that's to be kept off John rokesmith hoped the child had had medical attendance oh yes said sloppy he had been took to the doctor shop once and what did the doctor call it rokesmith asked him after some perplexed reflection sloppy answered brightening he called something as was very long for spots rokesmith suggested measles no said sloppy with confidence ever so much longer than dancer mr. sloppy was elevated by this fact and seemed to consider that it reflected credit upon the poor little patient mrs. boffin will be sorry to hear this said rokesmith mrs. Higden said so sir when she kept it from her hoping as our Johnny would work around but I hope he will said rokesmith with a quick turn upon the messenger I hope so answered sloppy it all depends on their striking innards he then went on to say that whether Johnny had took him from the minders or whether the minders that took him from Johnny the minders had been sent home and had got him furthermore that mrs higden's days and nights being devoted to our Johnny who was never out of her lap the whole of the mangling arrangements had devolved upon himself and he had had rather a tight time the ungainly peace of honesty beamed and blushed as he said it quite enraptured with the remembrance of having been serviceable last night said sloppy when I was a turning at the wheel pretty late the mangle seemed to go like our Johnnie's breathing it begun beautiful then as it went out it shook a little and got unsteady then as it took the turn to come home it had a rattle like and lumbered a bit then it comes smooth and so it went till I scarcely note which was mangle and which was our Johnny nor our Johnny he scarce know to either for sometimes when the mangle lumbers he says meat choking granny and then mrs. Higden holds him up in her lap and says to me bide a bit sloppy and we all stops together now when our Johnny gets his breathing again I turns again and we all goes on together sloppy had gradually expanded with his description into a stare and a vacant grin he now contracted being silent into a half repressed gush of Tears and under pretence of being heated drew the under part of his sleeve across his eyes with the singularly awkward laborious and roundabout smear this is unfortunate said rokesmith I must go and break it to mrs. boffin stay you here sloppy sloppy stayed there staring at the pattern of the paper on the wall until the secretary and mrs. boffin came back together and with mrs. boffin was a young lady miss Bella Wilfer by name who was better worth staring at it occurred to sloppy than the best of wallpapering ah my poor dear pretty little John Harmon exclaimed mrs. boffin yes mum said the sympathetic sloppy you don't think he isn't a very very bad way do you ask the pleasant creature with her wholesome cordiality put upon his good faith and finding it in collision with his inclinations sloppy threw back his head and uttered a mellifluous howl rounded off with a sniff so bad as that cried mrs. boffin and Betty Higden not to tell me of it sooner I think she might have been mistrustful mum answered sloppy hesitating of what for heaven's sake I think she might have been mistrustful mum returned sloppy with submission of standing in our Johnnie's light there's so much trouble in illness and so much expense and she's seen such a lot of its being objected to but she never can have thought said mrs. boffin that I would grudge the dear child anything no mum but she might have thought as a habit like of its standing in Johnny's light I might have tried to bring him through it unbeknownst sloppy knew his ground well to conceal herself in sickness like a lower animal to creep out of sight and coil herself away and die had become this woman's instinct to catch up in her arms the sick child who was dear to her and hide it as if it were a criminal and keep off all ministry but such as her own ignorant tenderness and patience could supply had become this woman's idea of maternal love fidelity and duty the shameful accounts we read every week in the Christian year my lords and gentlemen and honourable boards the infamous records of small official inhumanity do not pass by the people as they pass by us and hence these irrational blind and obstinate prejudices so astonishing to our magnificence and having no more reason in them God saved the Queen and confound their politics No then smoke has incoming from fire it's not a right place for the poor child to stay in said mrs. boffin tell us dear mr. rokesmith what to do for the best he had already thought what to do and the consultation was very short he could pave the way he said in half an hour and then they would go down to Brentford pray take me said Bella there for a carriage was ordered of capacity to take them all and in the meantime sloppy was regaled feasting alone in the Secretary's room with a complete realization of that fairy vision meet their vegetables and pudding in consequence of which his buttons became more important of public notice than before with the exception of two or three about the region of the waistband which modestly withdrew into a Creasy retirement punctual through the time appeared the carriage and the secretary he sat on the box and mr. sloppy graced the rumble so to the three Magpies as before where mrs. boffin and miss Bella were handed out and whence they all went on foot to mrs betty higden's but on the way down they had stopped at a toy shop and had bought that noble charger a description of whose points and trappings had on the last occasion conciliated the then worldly-minded orphan and also on noah's ark and also a yellow bird with an artificial voice in him and also a military doll so well dressed that if he had only been of life size his brother officers in the guards might never have found him out bearing these gifts they raised latch of betty higden's door and saw her sitting in dimmest and furthest corner with poor Johnny in her lap and how's my boy Betty asked mrs. boffin sitting down beside her he's bad he's bad said Betty I began to be afeard he'll not be yours anymore than mine all others belonging to him have gone to the power and the glory and I have a mind that they're drawing him to them leading him away no no no said mrs. boffin I don't know why else he clenches his little hand as if it had hold of a finger that I can't see look at it said Betty opening the wrappers and which the flushed child lay and showing his small right hand lying posed upon his breast it's always so it don't mind me is he asleep no I think not you're not asleep my Johnny no said Johnny with a quiet air of pity for himself and without opening his eyes here's the lady Johnny and the horse Johnny could bear the lady with complete indifference but not the horse opening his heavy eyes he slowly broke into a smile on beholding that splendid phenomenon and wanted to take it in his arms as it was much too big it was put upon a chair where he could hold it by the mane and contemplate it which he soon forgot to do but Johnny murmuring something with his eyes closed and mrs. boffin not knowing what old Betty bent her ear to listen and took pains to understand being asked by her to repeat what he had said he did so two or three times and then it came out that he must have seen more than they supposed they looked up to see the horse for the murmur was who is the boofer lady now the Boober or beautiful lady was Bella and whereas the notice from the poor baby would have touched her of itself it was rendered more pathetic by the late melting of her heart to her poor little father and their joke about the lovely woman so Bella's behavior was very tender and very natural when she kneeled on the brick floor to clasp the child and when the child with the child's admiration of what is young and pretty fondled the boofer lady now my good dear Betty said mrs. boffin hoping that she her opportunity in laying her hand persuasively on her arm we have come to remove Johnny from this cottage to where he can be taken better care of instantly and before another word could be spoken the old woman started up with blazing eyes and rushed at the door with the sick child stand away from me every one of you she cried out wildly I see what you mean now let me go my way all of you I'd sooner kill the pretty and kill myself stay stay said rokesmith soothing her you don't understand I understand too well I know too much all about it sir I've run from it too many a year no never for me nor for the child while there's water enough in England to cover us the terror the shame the passion of horror and repugnance firing the worn face and perfectly maddening it would have been quite a terrible sight if embodied in one old fellow creature alone yet it crops up as our slang goes my lords and gentlemen and honourable boards and other fellow creatures rather frequently it's been chasing me all my life but it shall never take me in her mind alive cried old Betty I've done with ye I've fastened door and window and starved out a for I've ever let you in if I'd known what you come for but catching sight of mrs. boffins wholesome face she relented and crouching down by the door and bending over her burden to hush it said humbly maybe my fears has put me wrong if they have so tell me and the good Lord forgive me I'm quick to take this fright I know and my head is summit light with wearying and watching they're there they're returned mrs. boffin come come say no more of it Betty it was a mistake a mistake any of us might have made it in your place and felt just as you do the Lord bless he said the old woman stretching out her hand now see Betty pursued the sweet compassionate soul holding the hand kindly what I really did mean and what I should have begun by saying if I had only been a little wiser and handier we want to move Johnny to a place where there are none but children a place set up on purpose for sick children where the good doctors and nurses passed their lives with children talk to none but children touch none but children comfort and cured but children is there really such a place ask the old woman with a gaze of wonder yes Betty on my word and you shall see it if my home was a better place for the dear boy I'd take him to it but indeed indeed it's not you shall take him returned Betty fervently kissing the comforting hand where you will my dear II I am not so hard but that I believe your face and voice and I will as long as I can see and hear the victory gained rokesmith made haste to profit by it for he saw how woefully time had been lost he dispatched sloppy to bring the carriage to the door caused the child to be carefully wrapped up bade old Betty get her bonnet on collected the toys enabling the little fellow to comprehend that his treasures were to be transported with him and had all things prepared so easily that they were ready for the carriage as soon as it appeared and in a minute after words were on their way sloppy they left behind relieving his overcharged breast with a paroxysm of mangling at the Children's Hospital the gallant steed the Noah's Ark yellow bird and the officer of the guards remained as welcome as their child owner but the doctor said aside to Rocksmith this should have been days ago too late however they were all carried up into a fresh Airy room and there Johnny came to himself out of a sleep or a swoon or whatever it was to find himself lying in a little quiet bed with a little platform over his breast on which were already arranged to give him heart and urge him to cheer up the Noah's Ark the noble steed and the yellow bird but the officer in the guards doing duty over the whole quite as much to the satisfaction of his country as if he had been on parade and at the bed's head was a colored picture beautiful to see representing as it were another John he seated on the knee of some angels surely who loved little children and marvellous fact to lie in stare at Johnny had become one of a little family all in little quiet beds except two playing dominoes and little armchairs at a little table on the hearth and on all the little beds were little platforms whereon were to be seen dolls houses woolly dogs with mechanical bark not very dissimilar from the artificial voice pervading the bowels of the Yellowbird ten armies moorish tumblers wouldn't he things and the riches of the earth as Johnny murmured something in his placid admiration the ministering women at his beds head asked him what he said it seemed that he wanted to know whether all those were brothers and sisters of his so they told him yes it seemed then that he wanted to know whether God had brought them all together there so they told him yes again they made out then that he wanted to know whether they would all get out of pain so they answered yes to that question likewise and made him understand that the reply included himself Johnny's powers of sustaining conversation were as yet so very imperfectly developed even in a state of health that in sickness they were little more than monosyllabic but he had to be washed intended and remedies were applied and though these offices were far far more skillfully and lightly done than ever anything had been done for him in his little life so rough and short they would have hurt and tired him but for an amazing circumstance which laid hold of his attention this was no less than the appearance on his own little platform in pairs of all creation on its way into his own particular Ark the elephant leading and the fly with a diffident sense of his size politely bringing up the rear a very little brother lying in the next bed with a broken leg was so enchanted by this spectacle that his delight exalted its enthralling interest and so came rest then sleep I see you are not afraid to leave the dear child here Betty whispered mrs. boffin no ma'am most willingly most thankfully with all my heart and soul so they kissed him and left him there and old Betty was to come back early in the morning and nobody but rokesmith knew for certain how that the doctor had said this should have been days ago too late but rokesmith knowing it and knowing that his bearing in mind would be acceptable thereafter to that good woman who had been the only light in the childhood of desolate John Harmon dead and gone resolved that late at night he would go back to the bedside of John Harmons namesake and see how it fared with him the family whom God had brought together were not all asleep but were all quiet from bed to bed a light womanly tread and a pleasant fresh face passed in the Silence of the night a little head would lift itself up into the softened light here and there to be kissed as the face went by for these little patients are very loving and would then submit itself to be composed to rest again the might with a broken leg was restless and moan but after a while turned his face towards Johnny's bed to fortify himself with a view of the Ark and fell asleep over most of the beds the toys were yet grouped as the children had left them when they last laid themselves down and in their innocent grotesqueness and incongruity they might have stood for the children's dreams the doctor came in to to see how it fared with Johnny and he and rokesmith stood together looking down with compassion on him what is it Johnny rokesmith was the questioner and put an arm around the poor baby as he made a struggle him said the little fellow those the doctor was quick to understand children and taking the horse the Ark the Yellow Bird and the man from the guards from Johnny's bed softly placed them on that of his neighbor the mite with the broken leg with the weary and yet a pleased smile and with an action as if he stretched his little figure out to rest the child heaved his body on the sustaining arm and sinking rokesmith's face with his lips said a kiss for the boofer lady having now bequeath all he had to dispose of and arranged his affairs in this world Johnny thus speaking left it end of section 26 of our mutual friend by charles dickens read by don w jenkins rancho san diego california shaggy bark blogspot.com section 27 of our mutual friend by charles dickens this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to find out how you can volunteer please visit librivox.org section 27 of our mutual friend by charles dickens book ii chapter 10 a successor some of the reverend frank milvey brethren had found themselves exceedingly uncomfortable in their minds because they were required to bury the dead too hopefully but the reverend frank inclining to the belief that they were required to do one or two other things say out of nine and thirty calculated to trouble their consciences rather more if they would think as much about them held his peace indeed did the reverend frank milvey was a forbearing man who noticed many sad warps and blights in the vineyard wherein he worked and did not profess that they made him savagely wise he only learned that the more he himself knew in his little limited human way the better he could distantly imagine what omniscience might know wherefore if the Reverend Frank had had to read the words that troubled some of his brethren and profitably touched innumerable hearts in a worse case than Johnny's he would have done so out of the pity and humility of his soul reading them over Johnny he thought of his own six children but not of his poverty and he read them with dimmed eyes and very seriously did he and his bright little wife who had been listening looked down into the small grave and walk home arm-in-arm there was grief in the aristocratic house and there was joy in the power mr. Wegg argued if an orphan were wanted was he not an orphan himself and could have better be desired and why go beating about Brentford bushes seeking orphans forsooth who had established no claims upon you and made no sacrifices for you when here was an orphan ready to your hand who had given up in your cause Miss Elizabeth master George Aunt Jane and uncle Parker mr. Wegg chuckled consequently when he heard the tidings nay it was afterwards affirmed by a witness who shall at present be nameless that in the seclusion of the Bower he poked out his wooden leg in the stage ballet manner and executed taunting or triumphant pure way on the genuine leg remaining to him John rokesmith's mannered towards mrs. boffin at this time was more the manner of a young man towards a mother than that of a secretary towards his employer's wife it had always been marked by a subdued affectionate deference that seemed to have sprung up on the very day of his engagement whatever was odd in her dress or her ways had seemed to have no oddity for him he had sometimes borne a quietly amused face in her company but still it seemed as if the pleasure her genial temper and radiant nature yielded him could have been quite as naturally expressed in a tear as in a smile the completeness of his sympathy with her fancy for having a little John Harmon to protect and rear he had shown in every act inward and now that the kind fancy was disappointed he treated it with a manly tenderness and respect for which she could hardly thank him enough but I do Thank You mr. rokesmith said mrs. boffin and I thank you most kindly you love children I hope everybody does they ought said mrs. boffin but we don't all of us do what we ought do us John rokesmith replied some among us supplied the shortcomings of the rest you have loved children well mr. boffin has told me not a bit better than he has but that's his way he puts all the good upon me you speak rather sadly mr. rokesmith do I it sounds to me so were you one of many children he shook his head an only child no there was another dead long ago father or mother alive dead and the rest of your relations dead if I ever had any living I never heard of any at this point of the dial Bella came in with a light step she paused at the door a moment hesitating whether to remain or retire perplexed by finding that she was not observed you don't mind an old lady's talk said mrs. boffin but tell me are you quite sure mr. rokesmith that you have never had a disappointment in love quite sure why do you ask me why for this reason sometimes you have a kind of kept down manner with you which is not like your age you can't be thirty I am not yet thirty deeming it high time to make her presence known Bella coughed here to attract attention beg pardon and said she would go fearing that she interrupted some matter of business no don't go rejoined mrs. boffin because we are coming to business instead of having begin it and you belong to it as much now my dear Bella as I do but I want my naughty to consult with this would somebody be so good as to find my Noddy for me rokesmith departed on that errand and presently returned accompanied by mr. boffin at his jog-trot Bella felt a little vague trepidation as to the subject matter of this same consultation until mrs. boffin announced it now you come sit by me My dear said that worthy soul thinking her comfortable place on a large ottoman in the centre of the room and drawing her arm through Bella's and naughty you sit here and mr. rokesmith you sit there now you see what I want to talk about is this mr and mrs milvey have sent me the kindness note possible which mr. rokesmith just now read to me out aloud for I ain't good at hand writings offering to help find me another little child to name and educate and bring up well this has set me thinking and she is a steam-engine edit murmured mr. boffin in an admiring parenthesis when she once begins it mayn't be so easy to start her but once started she's an engine this has set me thinking I say repeated mrs. boffin cordially being under the influence of her husband's compliment and I have thought two things first of all that I have grown timid of reviving John Harmons name it's an unfortunate name and I fancy I should approach myself if I gave it to another dear child and it proved again unlucky now whether said Mr boffin gravely propounding a case for his Secretary's opinion whether one might call that a superstition it is a matter of feeling with mrs. boffin said rokesmith gently the name has always been unfortunate it has now this new unfortunate Association connected with it the name has died out why revive it may I ask Miss Wilfer what she thinks it has not been a fortunate name for me said Bella colouring or at least it was not until it led to my being here but that is not the point in my thoughts as we had given the name to the poor child and as the poor child took so lovingly to me I think I should feel jealous of calling another child by it I think I should feel as if the name had become endeared to me and I had no right to use it so and that's your opinion remarked mr. boffin observant of the Secretary's face and again addressing him I say again it is a matter of feeling returned the secretary I think miss wilfer's feeling very womanly and pretty now give us your opinion Noddy said mrs. boffin my opinion old lady returned the golden dustman is your opinion then said mrs. boffin we agreed not to revive John Harmons name but to let it rest in the grave it is as mr. rokesmith says a matter of feeling but lore how many matters are matters of feeling well and so I come to the second thing I have thought of you must know Bella my dear and mr. rokesmith that when I first named to my husband my thoughts of adopting a little orphan boy in remembrance of John Harmon I further named to my husband that it was comforting to think that how the poor boy would be benefited by John's own money and protected from John's own forlorn 'less hear hear cried mr. boffin so she did encore no not encore Noddy my dear returned mrs. boffin because I am going to say something else I meant that I am sure as much as I still mean it but this little death has made me ask myself the question seriously whether I wasn't too bent upon pleasing myself else why did I seek out so much for a pretty child and a child quite to my liking wanting to do good why not do it for its own sake and put my tastes and likings by perhaps said Bella and perhaps she said it was some little sensitiveness arising out of those old curious relations of hers towards the murdered man perhaps in reviving the name you would not have liked to give it to a less interesting child than the original he interested you very much well my dear returned mrs. boffin giving her a squeeze it's kind of you to find that reason out and I hope it may have been so and indeed to a certain extent I believe it was so but I am afraid not to the whole extent however that don't come in question now because we have done with the name laid it up as a remembrance suggested Bella musingly much better said my dear laid it up as a remembrance well then I have been thinking if I take any orphan to provide for let it not be a pet and a plaything for me but a creature to be helped for its own sake not pretty then said Bella no returned mrs. boffin stoutly not pre possessing then said Bella no returned mrs. boffin not necessarily so that's as it may happen a well disposed boy comes in my way who maybe even a little wanting in such advantages for getting on in life but as honest and industrious and requires a helping hand and deserves it if I am very much in earnest and quite determined to be unselfish let me take care of him here the footman whose feelings had been hurt on the former occasion appeared and crossing to rokesmith apologetically announced the objectionable sloppy the four members of counsel looked at one another and paused shall he be brought here ma'am asked rokesmith yes said mrs. boffin whereupon the footman disappeared reappeared presenting sloppy and retired much disgusted the consideration of mrs. boffin had clothed mr. sloppy in a suit of black on which the tailor had received personal directions from rokesmith to expend the utmost cunning of his art with a view to the concealment of the co hearing and sustaining buttons but so much more powerful were their frailties of sloppy's formed and the strongest resources of tailoring science that he now stood before the council a perfect Argus in the way of buttons shining and winking and gleaming and twinkling out of a hundred of those eyes of bright metal at the dazzled spectators the artistic taste of some unknown Hatter had furnished him with a hatband of wholesale capacity which was fluted behind from the crown of his hat to the brim and terminated in a black bunch from which the imagination shrunk discomforted and the reason revolted some special powers with which his legs were endowed had already hitched up his glassy trousers at the ankles and bagged them at the knees while similar gifts in his arms had raised his coat sleeves from his wrists and accumulated them at his elbows thus set forth with the additional embellishments of a very little tail to his coat and a yawning gulf at his waistband sloppy stood confessed and how is Betty my good fellow mrs. boffin asked him thank he mum said sloppy she do pretty nicely in sending her duty and many thanks for the tea and all failures and wishing to know the families Health's have you just come sloppy yes mum then you have not had your dinner yet no mum but I mean to it bryant forgotten your handsome orders that I was never to go away without having had a good'n off of meat and beer and pudding no there was four of them for I reckoned him up when I had a meet one beer two vegetables three which was four why pudding he was four here sloppy threw his head back opened his mouth wide and laughed rapturously how are the two poor little minders asked mrs. boffin striking right out mum and coming round beautiful mrs. boffin looked on the other three members of council and then said beckoning with her finger sloppy yes mum come forward sloppy should you like to dine here every day off of all four on a mum Oh mum sloppy's feelings obliged him to squeeze his hat and contract one leg at the knee yes and should you like to be always taken care of here if you were industrious and deserving Oh mom but there's mrs. Higden said sloppy checking himself in his raptures drawing back and shaking his head with a very serious meaning there's mrs. Higden mrs. Higden goes before all and then can ever be better friends to me than mrs. Higgins been and she must be turned for must mrs. Higden where would mrs. Higden be if she weren't turned for at the mere thought of mrs. Higden in this inconceivable affliction mr. sloppy's countenance became pale and manifested the most distressful emotions you are as right as can be sloppy said mrs. boffin and far be it from me to tell you otherwise it shall be seen too if Betty Higden can be turned for all the same you shall come here and be taken care of for life and be made able to keep her in other ways than the turning even as to that mom answered The Ecstatic sloppy the turning might be done in the night don't you see I could be here in the day and turn in the night I don't want no sleep I don't or even if I in any way should want a wink or two added sloppy after a moment's apologetic reflection I could take him turning I've took him turning many a time and enjoyed him wonderful on the grateful impulse of the moment mr. sloppy kissed mrs. boffins hand and then detaching himself from that good creature that he might have room enough for his feelings threw back his head opened his mouth wide and uttered a dismal howl it was creditable to his tenderness of heart but suggested that he might on occasion give some offense to the neighbors the rather as the footman looked in and beg pardon finding he was not wanted but excused himself on the ground that he thought it was cats end of section 27 of our mutual friend by charles dickens read by don w jenkins rancho san diego california shaggy bark blogspot.com

1 thought on “Our Mutual Friend, Version 2 | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Talking Book | English | 8/20

  1. Our Mutual Friend, Version 2 | Charles Dickens | Literary Fiction | Talking Book | English | 8/20

    24: [00:00:00] – 24 – Book 2 Chap. 07 IN WHICH A FRIENDLY MOVE IS ORIGINATED

    25: [00:27:56] – 25 – Book 2 Chap. 08 IN WHICH AN INNOCENT ELOPEMENT OCCURS

    26: [01:06:47] – 26 – Book 2 Chap. 09 IN WHICH THE ORPHAN MAKES HIS WILL

    27: [01:26:38] – 27 – Book 2 Chap. 10 A SUCCESSOR

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