Nicholas Nickleby, by Charles Dickens

Chapter 52

Nicholas despairs of rescuing Madeline Bray, but plucks up his Spirits again, and determines to attempt it. Domestic Intelligence of the Kenwigses and Lillyvicks

Finding that Newman was determined to arrest his progress at any hazard, and apprehensive that some well-intentioned passenger, attracted by the cry of ‘Stop thief,’ might lay violent hands upon his person, and place him in a disagreeable predicament from which he might have some difficulty in extricating himself, Nicholas soon slackened his pace, and suffered Newman Noggs to come up with him: which he did, in so breathless a condition, that it seemed impossible he could have held out for a minute longer.

‘I will go straight to Bray’s,’ said Nicholas. ‘I will see this man. If there is a feeling of humanity lingering in his breast, a spark of consideration for his own child, motherless and friendless as she is, I will awaken it.’

‘You will not,’ replied Newman. ‘You will not, indeed.’

‘Then,’ said Nicholas, pressing onward, ‘I will act upon my first impulse, and go straight to Ralph Nickleby.’

‘By the time you reach his house he will be in bed,’ said Newman.

‘I’ll drag him from it,’ cried Nicholas.

‘Tut, tut,’ said Noggs. ‘Be yourself.’

‘You are the best of friends to me, Newman,’ rejoined Nicholas after a pause, and taking his hand as he spoke. ‘I have made head against many trials; but the misery of another, and such misery, is involved in this one, that I declare to you I am rendered desperate, and know not how to act.’

In truth, it did seem a hopeless case. It was impossible to make any use of such intelligence as Newman Noggs had gleaned, when he lay concealed in the closet. The mere circumstance of the compact between Ralph Nickleby and Gride would not invalidate the marriage, or render Bray averse to it, who, if he did not actually know of the existence of some such understanding, doubtless suspected it. What had been hinted with reference to some fraud on Madeline, had been put, with sufficient obscurity by Arthur Gride, but coming from Newman Noggs, and obscured still further by the smoke of his pocket-pistol, it became wholly unintelligible, and involved in utter darkness.

‘There seems no ray of hope,’ said Nicholas.

‘The greater necessity for coolness, for reason, for consideration, for thought,’ said Newman, pausing at every alternate word, to look anxiously in his friend’s face. ‘Where are the brothers?’

‘Both absent on urgent business, as they will be for a week to come.’

‘Is there no way of communicating with them? No way of getting one of them here by tomorrow night?’

‘Impossible!’ said Nicholas, ‘the sea is between us and them. With the fairest winds that ever blew, to go and return would take three days and nights.’

‘Their nephew,’ said Newman, ‘their old clerk.’

‘What could either do, that I cannot?’ rejoined Nicholas. ‘With reference to them, especially, I am enjoined to the strictest silence on this subject. What right have I to betray the confidence reposed in me, when nothing but a miracle can prevent this sacrifice?’

‘Think,’ urged Newman. ‘Is there no way.’

‘There is none,’ said Nicholas, in utter dejection. ‘Not one. The father urges, the daughter consents. These demons have her in their toils; legal right, might, power, money, and every influence are on their side. How can I hope to save her?’

‘Hope to the last!’ said Newman, clapping him on the back. ‘Always hope; that’s a dear boy. Never leave off hoping; it don’t answer. Do you mind me, Nick? It don’t answer. Don’t leave a stone unturned. It’s always something, to know you’ve done the most you could. But, don’t leave off hoping, or it’s of no use doing anything. Hope, hope, to the last!’

Nicholas needed encouragement. The suddenness with which intelligence of the two usurers’ plans had come upon him, the little time which remained for exertion, the probability, almost amounting to certainty itself, that a few hours would place Madeline Bray for ever beyond his reach, consign her to unspeakable misery, and perhaps to an untimely death; all this quite stunned and overwhelmed him. Every hope connected with her that he had suffered himself to form, or had entertained unconsciously, seemed to fall at his feet, withered and dead. Every charm with which his memory or imagination had surrounded her, presented itself before him, only to heighten his anguish and add new bitterness to his despair. Every feeling of sympathy for her forlorn condition, and of admiration for her heroism and fortitude, aggravated the indignation which shook him in every limb, and swelled his heart almost to bursting.

But, if Nicholas’s own heart embarrassed him, Newman’s came to his relief. There was so much earnestness in his remonstrance, and such sincerity and fervour in his manner, odd and ludicrous as it always was, that it imparted to Nicholas new firmness, and enabled him to say, after he had walked on for some little way in silence:

‘You read me a good lesson, Newman, and I will profit by it. One step, at least, I may take — am bound to take indeed — and to that I will apply myself tomorrow.’

‘What is that?’ asked Noggs wistfully. ‘Not to threaten Ralph? Not to see the father?’

‘To see the daughter, Newman,’ replied Nicholas. ‘To do what, after all, is the utmost that the brothers could do, if they were here, as Heaven send they were! To reason with her upon this hideous union, to point out to her all the horrors to which she is hastening; rashly, it may be, and without due reflection. To entreat her, at least, to pause. She can have had no counsellor for her good. Perhaps even I may move her so far yet, though it is the eleventh hour, and she upon the very brink of ruin.’

‘Bravely spoken!’ said Newman. ‘Well done, well done! Yes. Very good.’

‘And I do declare,’ cried Nicholas, with honest enthusiasm, ‘that in this effort I am influenced by no selfish or personal considerations, but by pity for her, and detestation and abhorrence of this scheme; and that I would do the same, were there twenty rivals in the field, and I the last and least favoured of them all.’

‘You would, I believe,’ said Newman. ‘But where are you hurrying now?’

‘Homewards,’ answered Nicholas. ‘Do you come with me, or I shall say good-night?’

‘I’ll come a little way, if you will but walk: not run,’ said Noggs.

‘I cannot walk tonight, Newman,’ returned Nicholas, hurriedly. ‘I must move rapidly, or I could not draw my breath. I’ll tell you what I’ve said and done tomorrow.’

Without waiting for a reply, he darted off at a rapid pace, and, plunging into the crowds which thronged the street, was quickly lost to view.

‘He’s a violent youth at times,’ said Newman, looking after him; ‘and yet like him for it. There’s cause enough now, or the deuce is in it. Hope! I SAID hope, I think! Ralph Nickleby and Gride with their heads together! And hope for the opposite party! Ho! ho!’

It was with a very melancholy laugh that Newman Noggs concluded this soliloquy; and it was with a very melancholy shake of the head, and a very rueful countenance, that he turned about, and went plodding on his way.

This, under ordinary circumstances, would have been to some small tavern or dram-shop; that being his way, in more senses than one. But, Newman was too much interested, and too anxious, to betake himself even to this resource, and so, with many desponding and dismal reflections, went straight home.

It had come to pass, that afternoon, that Miss Morleena Kenwigs had received an invitation to repair next day, per steamer from Westminster Bridge, unto the Eel-pie Island at Twickenham: there to make merry upon a cold collation, bottled beer, shrub, and shrimps, and to dance in the open air to the music of a locomotive band, conveyed thither for the purpose: the steamer being specially engaged by a dancing-master of extensive connection for the accommodation of his numerous pupils, and the pupils displaying their appreciation of the dancing-master’s services, by purchasing themselves, and inducing their friends to do the like, divers light-blue tickets, entitling them to join the expedition. Of these light-blue tickets, one had been presented by an ambitious neighbour to Miss Morleena Kenwigs, with an invitation to join her daughters; and Mrs Kenwigs, rightly deeming that the honour of the family was involved in Miss Morleena’s making the most splendid appearance possible on so short a notice, and testifying to the dancing-master that there were other dancing-masters besides him, and to all fathers and mothers present that other people’s children could learn to be genteel besides theirs, had fainted away twice under the magnitude of her preparations, but, upheld by a determination to sustain the family name or perish in the attempt, was still hard at work when Newman Noggs came home.

Now, between the italian-ironing of frills, the flouncing of trousers, the trimming of frocks, the faintings and the comings-to again, incidental to the occasion, Mrs Kenwigs had been so entirely occupied, that she had not observed, until within half an hour before, that the flaxen tails of Miss Morleena’s hair were, in a manner, run to seed; and that, unless she were put under the hands of a skilful hairdresser, she never could achieve that signal triumph over the daughters of all other people, anything less than which would be tantamount to defeat. This discovery drove Mrs Kenwigs to despair; for the hairdresser lived three streets and eight dangerous crossings off; Morleena could not be trusted to go there alone, even if such a proceeding were strictly proper: of which Mrs Kenwigs had her doubts; Mr Kenwigs had not returned from business; and there was nobody to take her. So, Mrs Kenwigs first slapped Miss Kenwigs for being the cause of her vexation, and then shed tears.

‘You ungrateful child!’ said Mrs Kenwigs, ‘after I have gone through what I have, this night, for your good.’

‘I can’t help it, ma,’ replied Morleena, also in tears; ‘my hair WILL grow.’

‘Don’t talk to me, you naughty thing!’ said Mrs Kenwigs, ‘don’t! Even if I was to trust you by yourself and you were to escape being run over, I know you’d run in to Laura Chopkins,’ who was the daughter of the ambitious neighbour, ‘and tell her what you’re going to wear tomorrow, I know you would. You’ve no proper pride in yourself, and are not to be trusted out of sight for an instant.’

Deploring the evil-mindedness of her eldest daughter in these terms, Mrs Kenwigs distilled fresh drops of vexation from her eyes, and declared that she did believe there never was anybody so tried as she was. Thereupon, Morleena Kenwigs wept afresh, and they bemoaned themselves together.

Matters were at this point, as Newman Noggs was heard to limp past the door on his way upstairs; when Mrs Kenwigs, gaining new hope from the sound of his footsteps, hastily removed from her countenance as many traces of her late emotion as were effaceable on so short a notice: and presenting herself before him, and representing their dilemma, entreated that he would escort Morleena to the hairdresser’s shop.

‘I wouldn’t ask you, Mr Noggs,’ said Mrs Kenwigs, ‘if I didn’t know what a good, kind-hearted creature you are; no, not for worlds. I am a weak constitution, Mr Noggs, but my spirit would no more let me ask a favour where I thought there was a chance of its being refused, than it would let me submit to see my children trampled down and trod upon, by envy and lowness!’

Newman was too good-natured not to have consented, even without this avowal of confidence on the part of Mrs Kenwigs. Accordingly, a very few minutes had elapsed, when he and Miss Morleena were on their way to the hairdresser’s.

It was not exactly a hairdresser’s; that is to say, people of a coarse and vulgar turn of mind might have called it a barber’s; for they not only cut and curled ladies elegantly, and children carefully, but shaved gentlemen easily. Still, it was a highly genteel establishment — quite first-rate in fact — and there were displayed in the window, besides other elegancies, waxen busts of a light lady and a dark gentleman which were the admiration of the whole neighbourhood. Indeed, some ladies had gone so far as to assert, that the dark gentleman was actually a portrait of the spirted young proprietor; and the great similarity between their head-dresses — both wore very glossy hair, with a narrow walk straight down the middle, and a profusion of flat circular curls on both sides — encouraged the idea. The better informed among the sex, however, made light of this assertion, for however willing they were (and they were very willing) to do full justice to the handsome face and figure of the proprietor, they held the countenance of the dark gentleman in the window to be an exquisite and abstract idea of masculine beauty, realised sometimes, perhaps, among angels and military men, but very rarely embodied to gladden the eyes of mortals.

It was to this establishment that Newman Noggs led Miss Kenwigs in safety. The proprietor, knowing that Miss Kenwigs had three sisters, each with two flaxen tails, and all good for sixpence apiece, once a month at least, promptly deserted an old gentleman whom he had just lathered for shaving, and handing him over to the journeyman, (who was not very popular among the ladies, by reason of his obesity and middle age,) waited on the young lady himself.

Just as this change had been effected, there presented himself for shaving, a big, burly, good-humoured coal-heaver with a pipe in his mouth, who, drawing his hand across his chin, requested to know when a shaver would be disengaged.

The journeyman, to whom this question was put, looked doubtfully at the young proprietor, and the young proprietor looked scornfully at the coal-heaver: observing at the same time:

‘You won’t get shaved here, my man.’

‘Why not?’ said the coal-heaver.

‘We don’t shave gentlemen in your line,’ remarked the young proprietor.

‘Why, I see you a shaving of a baker, when I was a looking through the winder, last week,’ said the coal-heaver.

‘It’s necessary to draw the line somewheres, my fine feller,’ replied the principal. ‘We draw the line there. We can’t go beyond bakers. If we was to get any lower than bakers, our customers would desert us, and we might shut up shop. You must try some other establishment, sir. We couldn’t do it here.’

The applicant stared; grinned at Newman Noggs, who appeared highly entertained; looked slightly round the shop, as if in depreciation of the pomatum pots and other articles of stock; took his pipe out of his mouth and gave a very loud whistle; and then put it in again, and walked out.

The old gentleman who had just been lathered, and who was sitting in a melancholy manner with his face turned towards the wall, appeared quite unconscious of this incident, and to be insensible to everything around him in the depth of a reverie — a very mournful one, to judge from the sighs he occasionally vented — in which he was absorbed. Affected by this example, the proprietor began to clip Miss Kenwigs, the journeyman to scrape the old gentleman, and Newman Noggs to read last Sunday’s paper, all three in silence: when Miss Kenwigs uttered a shrill little scream, and Newman, raising his eyes, saw that it had been elicited by the circumstance of the old gentleman turning his head, and disclosing the features of Mr Lillyvick the collector.

The features of Mr Lillyvick they were, but strangely altered. If ever an old gentleman had made a point of appearing in public, shaved close and clean, that old gentleman was Mr Lillyvick. If ever a collector had borne himself like a collector, and assumed, before all men, a solemn and portentous dignity as if he had the world on his books and it was all two quarters in arrear, that collector was Mr Lillyvick. And now, there he sat, with the remains of a beard at least a week old encumbering his chin; a soiled and crumpled shirt-frill crouching, as it were, upon his breast, instead of standing boldly out; a demeanour so abashed and drooping, so despondent, and expressive of such humiliation, grief, and shame; that if the souls of forty unsubstantial housekeepers, all of whom had had their water cut off for non-payment of the rate, could have been concentrated in one body, that one body could hardly have expressed such mortification and defeat as were now expressed in the person of Mr Lillyvick the collector.

Newman Noggs uttered his name, and Mr Lillyvick groaned: then coughed to hide it. But the groan was a full-sized groan, and the cough was but a wheeze.

‘Is anything the matter?’ said Newman Noggs.

‘Matter, sir!’ cried Mr Lillyvick. ‘The plug of life is dry, sir, and but the mud is left.’

This speech — the style of which Newman attributed to Mr Lillyvick’s recent association with theatrical characters — not being quite explanatory, Newman looked as if he were about to ask another question, when Mr Lillyvick prevented him by shaking his hand mournfully, and then waving his own.

‘Let me be shaved!’ said Mr Lillyvick. ‘It shall be done before Morleena; it IS Morleena, isn’t it?’

‘Yes,’ said Newman.

‘Kenwigses have got a boy, haven’t they?’ inquired the collector.

Again Newman said ‘Yes.’

‘Is it a nice boy?’ demanded the collector.

‘It ain’t a very nasty one,’ returned Newman, rather embarrassed by the question.

‘Susan Kenwigs used to say,’ observed the collector, ‘that if ever she had another boy, she hoped it might be like me. Is this one like me, Mr Noggs?’

This was a puzzling inquiry; but Newman evaded it, by replying to Mr Lillyvick, that he thought the baby might possibly come like him in time.

‘I should be glad to have somebody like me, somehow,’ said Mr Lillyvick, ‘before I die.’

‘You don’t mean to do that, yet awhile?’ said Newman.

Unto which Mr Lillyvick replied in a solemn voice, ‘Let me be shaved!’ and again consigning himself to the hands of the journeyman, said no more.

This was remarkable behaviour. So remarkable did it seem to Miss Morleena, that that young lady, at the imminent hazard of having her ear sliced off, had not been able to forbear looking round, some score of times, during the foregoing colloquy. Of her, however, Mr Lillyvick took no notice: rather striving (so, at least, it seemed to Newman Noggs) to evade her observation, and to shrink into himself whenever he attracted her regards. Newman wondered very much what could have occasioned this altered behaviour on the part of the collector; but, philosophically reflecting that he would most likely know, sooner or later, and that he could perfectly afford to wait, he was very little disturbed by the singularity of the old gentleman’s deportment.

The cutting and curling being at last concluded, the old gentleman, who had been some time waiting, rose to go, and, walking out with Newman and his charge, took Newman’s arm, and proceeded for some time without making any observation. Newman, who in power of taciturnity was excelled by few people, made no attempt to break silence; and so they went on, until they had very nearly reached Miss Morleena’s home, when Mr Lillyvick said:

‘Were the Kenwigses very much overpowered, Mr Noggs, by that news?’

‘What news?’ returned Newman.

‘That about — my — being —’

‘Married?’ suggested Newman.

‘Ah!’ replied Mr Lillyvick, with another groan; this time not even disguised by a wheeze.

‘It made ma cry when she knew it,’ interposed Miss Morleena, ‘but we kept it from her for a long time; and pa was very low in his spirits, but he is better now; and I was very ill, but I am better too.’

‘Would you give your great-uncle Lillyvick a kiss if he was to ask you, Morleena?’ said the collector, with some hesitation.

‘Yes; uncle Lillyvick, I would,’ returned Miss Morleena, with the energy of both her parents combined; ‘but not aunt Lillyvick. She’s not an aunt of mine, and I’ll never call her one.’

Immediately upon the utterance of these words, Mr Lillyvick caught Miss Morleena up in his arms, and kissed her; and, being by this time at the door of the house where Mr Kenwigs lodged (which, as has been before mentioned, usually stood wide open), he walked straight up into Mr Kenwigs’s sitting-room, and put Miss Morleena down in the midst. Mr and Mrs Kenwigs were at supper. At sight of their perjured relative, Mrs Kenwigs turned faint and pale, and Mr Kenwigs rose majestically.

‘Kenwigs,’ said the collector, ‘shake hands.’

‘Sir,’ said Mr Kenwigs, ‘the time has been, when I was proud to shake hands with such a man as that man as now surweys me. The time has been, sir,’ said Mr Kenwigs, ‘when a wisit from that man has excited in me and my family’s boozums sensations both nateral and awakening. But, now, I look upon that man with emotions totally surpassing everythink, and I ask myself where is his Honour, where is his straight-for’ardness, and where is his human natur?’

‘Susan Kenwigs,’ said Mr Lillyvick, turning humbly to his niece, ‘don’t you say anything to me?’

‘She is not equal to it, sir,’ said Mr Kenwigs, striking the table emphatically. ‘What with the nursing of a healthy babby, and the reflections upon your cruel conduct, four pints of malt liquor a day is hardly able to sustain her.’

‘I am glad,’ said the poor collector meekly, ‘that the baby is a healthy one. I am very glad of that.’

This was touching the Kenwigses on their tenderest point. Mrs Kenwigs instantly burst into tears, and Mr Kenwigs evinced great emotion.

‘My pleasantest feeling, all the time that child was expected,’ said Mr Kenwigs, mournfully, ‘was a thinking, “If it’s a boy, as I hope it may be; for I have heard its uncle Lillyvick say again and again he would prefer our having a boy next, if it’s a boy, what will his uncle Lillyvick say? What will he like him to be called? Will he be Peter, or Alexander, or Pompey, or Diorgeenes, or what will he be?” And now when I look at him; a precious, unconscious, helpless infant, with no use in his little arms but to tear his little cap, and no use in his little legs but to kick his little self — when I see him a lying on his mother’s lap, cooing and cooing, and, in his innocent state, almost a choking hisself with his little fist — when I see him such a infant as he is, and think that that uncle Lillyvick, as was once a-going to be so fond of him, has withdrawed himself away, such a feeling of wengeance comes over me as no language can depicter, and I feel as if even that holy babe was a telling me to hate him.’

This affecting picture moved Mrs Kenwigs deeply. After several imperfect words, which vainly attempted to struggle to the surface, but were drowned and washed away by the strong tide of her tears, she spake.

‘Uncle,’ said Mrs Kenwigs, ‘to think that you should have turned your back upon me and my dear children, and upon Kenwigs which is the author of their being — you who was once so kind and affectionate, and who, if anybody had told us such a thing of, we should have withered with scorn like lightning — you that little Lillyvick, our first and earliest boy, was named after at the very altar! Oh gracious!’

‘Was it money that we cared for?’ said Mr Kenwigs. ‘Was it property that we ever thought of?’

‘No,’ cried Mrs Kenwigs, ‘I scorn it.’

‘So do I,’ said Mr Kenwigs, ‘and always did.’

‘My feelings have been lancerated,’ said Mrs Kenwigs, ‘my heart has been torn asunder with anguish, I have been thrown back in my confinement, my unoffending infant has been rendered uncomfortable and fractious, Morleena has pined herself away to nothing; all this I forget and forgive, and with you, uncle, I never can quarrel. But never ask me to receive HER, never do it, uncle. For I will not, I will not, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!’

‘Susan, my dear,’ said Mr Kenwigs, ‘consider your child.’

‘Yes,’ shrieked Mrs Kenwigs, ‘I will consider my child! I will consider my child! My own child, that no uncles can deprive me of; my own hated, despised, deserted, cut-off little child.’ And, here, the emotions of Mrs Kenwigs became so violent, that Mr Kenwigs was fain to administer hartshorn internally, and vinegar externally, and to destroy a staylace, four petticoat strings, and several small buttons.

Newman had been a silent spectator of this scene; for Mr Lillyvick had signed to him not to withdraw, and Mr Kenwigs had further solicited his presence by a nod of invitation. When Mrs Kenwigs had been, in some degree, restored, and Newman, as a person possessed of some influence with her, had remonstrated and begged her to compose herself, Mr Lillyvick said in a faltering voice:

‘I never shall ask anybody here to receive my — I needn’t mention the word; you know what I mean. Kenwigs and Susan, yesterday was a week she eloped with a half-pay captain!’

Mr and Mrs Kenwigs started together.

‘Eloped with a half-pay captain,’ repeated Mr Lillyvick, ‘basely and falsely eloped with a half-pay captain. With a bottle-nosed captain that any man might have considered himself safe from. It was in this room,’ said Mr Lillyvick, looking sternly round, ‘that I first see Henrietta Petowker. It is in this room that I turn her off, for ever.’

This declaration completely changed the whole posture of affairs. Mrs Kenwigs threw herself upon the old gentleman’s neck, bitterly reproaching herself for her late harshness, and exclaiming, if she had suffered, what must his sufferings have been! Mr Kenwigs grasped his hand, and vowed eternal friendship and remorse. Mrs Kenwigs was horror-stricken to think that she should ever have nourished in her bosom such a snake, adder, viper, serpent, and base crocodile as Henrietta Petowker. Mr Kenwigs argued that she must have been bad indeed not to have improved by so long a contemplation of Mrs Kenwigs’s virtue. Mrs Kenwigs remembered that Mr Kenwigs had often said that he was not quite satisfied of the propriety of Miss Petowker’s conduct, and wondered how it was that she could have been blinded by such a wretch. Mr Kenwigs remembered that he had had his suspicions, but did not wonder why Mrs Kenwigs had not had hers, as she was all chastity, purity, and truth, and Henrietta all baseness, falsehood, and deceit. And Mr and Mrs Kenwigs both said, with strong feelings and tears of sympathy, that everything happened for the best; and conjured the good collector not to give way to unavailing grief, but to seek consolation in the society of those affectionate relations whose arms and hearts were ever open to him.

‘Out of affection and regard for you, Susan and Kenwigs,’ said Mr Lillyvick, ‘and not out of revenge and spite against her, for she is below it, I shall, tomorrow morning, settle upon your children, and make payable to the survivors of them when they come of age of marry, that money that I once meant to leave ’em in my will. The deed shall be executed tomorrow, and Mr Noggs shall be one of the witnesses. He hears me promise this, and he shall see it done.’

Overpowered by this noble and generous offer, Mr Kenwigs, Mrs Kenwigs, and Miss Morleena Kenwigs, all began to sob together; and the noise of their sobbing, communicating itself to the next room, where the children lay a-bed, and causing them to cry too, Mr Kenwigs rushed wildly in, and bringing them out in his arms, by two and two, tumbled them down in their nightcaps and gowns at the feet of Mr Lillyvick, and called upon them to thank and bless him.

‘And now,’ said Mr Lillyvick, when a heart-rending scene had ensued and the children were cleared away again, ‘give me some supper. This took place twenty mile from town. I came up this morning, and have being lingering about all day, without being able to make up my mind to come and see you. I humoured her in everything, she had her own way, she did just as she pleased, and now she has done this. There was twelve teaspoons and twenty-four pound in sovereigns — I missed them first — it’s a trial — I feel I shall never be able to knock a double knock again, when I go my rounds — don’t say anything more about it, please — the spoons were worth — never mind — never mind!’

With such muttered outpourings as these, the old gentleman shed a few tears; but, they got him into the elbow-chair, and prevailed upon him, without much pressing, to make a hearty supper, and by the time he had finished his first pipe, and disposed of half-a-dozen glasses out of a crown bowl of punch, ordered by Mr Kenwigs, in celebration of his return to the bosom of his family, he seemed, though still very humble, quite resigned to his fate, and rather relieved than otherwise by the flight of his wife.

‘When I see that man,’ said Mr Kenwigs, with one hand round Mrs Kenwigs’s waist: his other hand supporting his pipe (which made him wink and cough very much, for he was no smoker): and his eyes on Morleena, who sat upon her uncle’s knee, ‘when I see that man as mingling, once again, in the spear which he adorns, and see his affections deweloping themselves in legitimate sitiwations, I feel that his nature is as elewated and expanded, as his standing afore society as a public character is unimpeached, and the woices of my infant children purvided for in life, seem to whisper to me softly, “This is an ewent at which Evins itself looks down!”’

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 15:30