Dombey and Son
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accepted the proposal.
After shaking hands with Mr Toodle and Polly, and kissing all the
children, Miss Tox left the house, therefore, with unlimited
popularity, and carrying away with her so light a heart that it might
have given Mrs Chick offence if that good lady could have weighed it.
Rob the Grinder, in his modesty, would have walked behind, but Miss
Tox desired him to keep beside her, for conversational purposes; and,
as she afterwards expressed it to his mother, 'drew him out,' upon the
He drew out so bright, and clear, and shining, that Miss Tox was
charmed with him. The more Miss Tox drew him out, the finer he came -
like wire. There never was a better or more promising youth - a more
affectionate, steady, prudent, sober, honest, meek, candid young man -
than Rob drew out, that night.
'I am quite glad,' said Miss Tox, arrived at her own door, 'to know
you. I hope you'll consider me your friend, and that you'll come and
see me as often as you like. Do you keep a money-box?'
'Yes, Ma'am,' returned Rob; 'I'm saving up, against I've got enough
to put in the Bank, Ma'am.
'Very laudable indeed,' said Miss Tox. 'I'm glad to hear it. Put
this half-crown into it, if you please.'
'Oh thank you, Ma'am,' replied Rob, 'but really I couldn't think of
'I commend your independent spirit,' said Miss Tox, 'but it's no
deprivation, I assure you. I shall be offended if you don't take it,
as a mark of my good-will. Good-night, Robin.'
'Good-night, Ma'am,' said Rob, 'and thank you!'
Who ran sniggering off to get change, and tossed it away with a
pieman. But they never taught honour at the Grinders' School, where
the system that prevailed was particularly strong in the engendering
of hypocrisy. Insomuch, that many of the friends and masters of past
Grinders said, if this were what came of education for the common
people, let us have none. Some more rational said, let us have a
better one. But the governing powers of the Grinders' Company were
always ready for them, by picking out a few boys who had turned out
well in spite of the system, and roundly asserting that they could
have only turned out well because of it. Which settled the business of
those objectors out of hand, and established the glory of the
Further Adventures of Captain Edward Cuttle, Mariner
Time, sure of foot and strong of will, had so pressed onward, that
the year enjoined by the old Instrument-maker, as the term during
which his friend should refrain from opening the sealed packet
accompanying the letter he had left for him, was now nearly expired,
and Captain Cuttle began to look at it, of an evening, with feelings
of mystery and uneasiness
The Captain, in his honour, would as soon have thought of opening
the parcel one hour before the expiration of the term, as he would
have thought of opening himself, to study his own anatomy. He merely
brought it out, at a certain stage of his first evening pipe, laid it
on the table, and sat gazing at the outside of it, through the smoke,
in silent gravity, for two or three hours at a spell. Sometimes, when
he had contemplated it thus for a pretty long while, the Captain would
hitch his chair, by degrees, farther and farther off, as if to get
beyond the range of its fascination; but if this were his design, he
never succeeded: for even when he was brought up by the parlour wall,
the packet still attracted him; or if his eyes, in thoughtful
wandering, roved to the ceiling or the fire, its image immediately
followed, and posted itself conspicuously among the coals, or took up
an advantageous position on the whitewash.
In respect of Heart's Delight, the Captain's parental and
admiration knew no change. But since his last interview with Mr
Carker, Captain Cuttle had come to entertain doubts whether his former
intervention in behalf of that young lady and his dear boy Wal'r, had
proved altogether so favourable as he could have wished, and as he at
the time believed. The Captain was troubled with a serious misgiving
that he had done more harm than good, in short; and in his remorse and
modesty he made the best atonement he could think of, by putting
himself out of the way of doing any harm to anyone, and, as it were,
throwing himself overboard for a dangerous person.
Self-buried, therefore, among the instruments, the Captain never
went near Mr Dombey's house, or reported himself in any way to
Florence or Miss Nipper. He even severed himself from Mr Perch, on the
occasion of his next visit, by dryly informing that gentleman, that he
thanked him for his company, but had cut himself adrift from all such
acquaintance, as he didn't know what magazine he mightn't blow up,
without meaning of it. In this self-imposed retirement, the Captain
passed whole days and weeks without interchanging a word with anyone
but Rob the Grinder, whom he esteemed as a pattern of disinterested
attachment and fidelity. In this retirement, the Captain, gazing at
the packet of an evening, would sit smoking, and thinking of Florence
and poor Walter, until they both seemed to his homely fancy to be
dead, and to have passed away into eternal youth, the beautiful and
innocent children of his first remembrance.
The Captain did not, however, in his musings, neglect his own
improvement, or the mental culture of Rob the Grinder. That young man
was generally required to read out of some book to the Captain, for
one hour, every evening; and as the Captain implicitly believed that
all books were true, he accumulated, by this means, many remarkable
facts. On Sunday nights, the Captain always read for himself, before
going to bed, a certain Divine Sermon once delivered on a Mount; and
although he was accustomed to quote the text, without book, after his
own manner, he appeared to read it with as reverent an understanding
of its heavenly spirit, as if he had got it all by heart in Greek, and
had been able to write any number of fierce theological disquisitions
on its every phrase.
Rob the Grinder, whose reverence for the inspired writings, under
the admirable system of the Grinders' School, had been developed by a
perpetual bruising of his intellectual shins against all the proper
names of all the tribes of Judah, and by the monotonous repetition of
hard verses, especially by way of punishment, and by the parading of
him at six years old in leather breeches, three times a Sunday, very
high up, in a very hot church, with a great organ buzzing against his
drowsy head, like an exceedingly busy bee - Rob the Grinder made a
mighty show of being edified when the Captain ceased to read, and
generally yawned and nodded while the reading was in progress. The
latter fact being never so much as suspected by the good Captain.
Captain Cuttle, also, as a man of business; took to keeping books.
In these he entered observations on the weather, and on the currents
of the waggons and other vehicles: which he observed, in that quarter,
to set westward in the morning and during the greater part of the day,
and eastward towards the evening. Two or three stragglers appearing in
one week, who 'spoke him' - so the Captain entered it- on the subject
of spectacles, and who, without positively purchasing, said they would
look in again, the Captain decided that the business was improving,
and made an entry in the day-book to that effect: the wind then
blowing (which he first recorded) pretty fresh, west and by north;
having changed in the night.
One of the Captain's chief difficulties was Mr Toots, who called
frequently, and who without saying much seemed to have an idea that
the little back parlour was an eligible room to chuckle in, as he
would sit and avail himself of its accommodations in that regard by
the half-hour together, without at all advancing in intimacy with the
Captain. The Captain, rendered cautious by his late experience, was
unable quite to satisfy his mind whether Mr Toots was the mild subject
he appeared to be, or was a profoundly artful and dissimulating
hypocrite. His frequent reference to Miss Dombey was suspicious; but
the Captain had a secret kindness for Mr Toots's apparent reliance on
him, and forbore to decide against him for the present; merely eyeing
him, with a sagacity not to be described, whenever he approached the
subject that was nearest to his heart.
'Captain Gills,' blurted out Mr Toots, one day all at once, as his
manner was, 'do you think you could think favourably of that
proposition of mine, and give me the pleasure of your acquaintance?'
'Why, I tell you what it is, my lad,' replied the Captain, who had
at length concluded on a course of action; 'I've been turning that
'Captain Gills, it's very kind of you,' retorted Mr Toots. 'I'm
much obliged to you. Upon my word and honour, Captain Gills, it would
be a charity to give me the pleasure of your acquaintance. It really
'You see, brother,' argued the Captain slowly, 'I don't know you.
'But you never can know me, Captain Gills,' replied Mr Toots,
steadfast to his point, 'if you don't give me the pleasure of your
The Captain seemed struck by the originality and power of this
remark, and looked at Mr Toots as if he thought there was a great deal
more in him than he had expected.
'Well said, my lad,' observed the Captain, nodding his head
thoughtfully; 'and true. Now look'ee here: You've made some
observations to me, which gives me to understand as you admire a
certain sweet creetur. Hey?'
'Captain Gills,' said Mr Toots, gesticulating violently with the
hand in which he held his hat, 'Admiration is not the word. Upon my
honour, you have no conception what my feelings are. If I could be
dyed black, and made Miss Dombey's slave, I should consider it a
compliment. If, at the sacrifice of all my property, I could get
transmigrated into Miss Dombey's dog - I - I really think I should
never leave off wagging my tail. I should be so perfectly happy,
Mr Toots said it with watery eyes, and pressed his hat against his
bosom with deep emotion.
'My lad,' returned the Captain, moved to compassion, 'if you're in
'Captain Gills,' cried Mr Toots, 'I'm in such a state of mind, and
am so dreadfully in earnest, that if I could swear to it upon a hot
piece of iron, or a live coal, or melted lead, or burning sealing-wax,
Or anything of that sort, I should be glad to hurt myself, as a relief