Dombey and Son
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sent by Florence, in the evening, to fetch them. And then they took a
last cup of tea in the lonely house.
'And so Dombey and Son, as I observed upon a certain sad occasion,'
said Miss Tox, winding up a host of recollections, 'is indeed a
daughter, Polly, after all.'
'And a good one!' exclaimed Polly.
'You are right,' said Miss Tox; 'and it's a credit to you, Polly,
that you were always her friend when she was a little child. You were
her friend long before I was, Polly,' said Miss Tox; 'and you're a
good creature. Robin!'
Miss Tox addressed herself to a bullet-headed young man, who
appeared to be in but indifferent circumstances, and in depressed
spirits, and who was sitting in a remote corner. Rising, he disclosed
to view the form and features of the Grinder.
'Robin,' said Miss Tox, 'I have just observed to your mother, as
you may have heard, that she is a good creature.
'And so she is, Miss,' quoth the Grinder, with some feeling.
'Very well, Robin,' said Miss Tox, 'I am glad to hear you say so.
Now, Robin, as I am going to give you a trial, at your urgent request,
as my domestic, with a view to your restoration to respectability, I
will take this impressive occasion of remarking that I hope you will
never forget that you have, and have always had, a good mother, and
that you will endeavour so to conduct yourself as to be a comfort to
'Upon my soul I will, Miss,' returned the Grinder. 'I have come
through a good deal, and my intentions is now as straightfor'ard,
Miss, as a cove's - '
'I must get you to break yourself of that word, Robin, if you
Please,' interposed Miss Tox, politely.
'If you please, Miss, as a chap's - '
'Thankee, Robin, no,' returned Miss Tox, 'I should prefer
'As a indiwiddle's,' said the Grinder.
'Much better,' remarked Miss Tox, complacently; 'infinitely more
' - can be,' pursued Rob. 'If I hadn't been and got made a Grinder
on, Miss and Mother, which was a most unfortunate circumstance for a
young co - indiwiddle.'
'Very good indeed,' observed Miss Tox, approvingly.
' - and if I hadn't been led away by birds, and then fallen into a
bad service,' said the Grinder, 'I hope I might have done better. But
it's never too late for a - '
'Indi - ' suggested Miss Tox.
' - widdle,' said the Grinder, 'to mend; and I hope to mend, Miss,
with your kind trial; and wishing, Mother, my love to father, and
brothers and sisters, and saying of it.'
'I am very glad indeed to hear it,' observed Miss Tox. 'Will you
take a little bread and butter, and a cup of tea, before we go,
'Thankee, Miss,' returned the Grinder; who immediately began to use
his own personal grinders in a most remarkable manner, as if he had
been on very short allowance for a considerable period.
Miss Tox, being, in good time, bonneted and shawled, and Polly too,
Rob hugged his mother, and followed his new mistress away; so much to
the hopeful admiration of Polly, that something in her eyes made
luminous rings round the gas-lamps as she looked after him. Polly then
put out her light, locked the house-door, delivered the key at an
agent's hard by, and went home as fast as she could go; rejoicing in
the shrill delight that her unexpected arrival would occasion there.
The great house, dumb as to all that had been suffered in it, and the
changes it had witnessed, stood frowning like a dark mute on the
street; baulking any nearer inquiries with the staring announcement
that the lease of this desirable Family Mansion was to be disposed of.
The grand half-yearly festival holden by Doctor and Mrs Blimber, on
which occasion they requested the pleasure of the company of every
young gentleman pursuing his studies in that genteel establishment, at
an early party, when the hour was half-past seven o'clock, and when
the object was quadrilles, had duly taken place, about this time; and
the young gentlemen, with no unbecoming demonstrations of levity, had
betaken themselves, in a state of scholastic repletion, to their own
homes. Mr Skettles had repaired abroad, permanently to grace the
establishment of his father Sir Barnet Skettles, whose popular manners
had obtained him a diplomatic appointment, the honours of which were
discharged by himself and Lady Skettles, to the satisfaction even of
their own countrymen and countrywomen: which was considered almost
miraculous. Mr Tozer, now a young man of lofty stature, in Wellington
boots, was so extremely full of antiquity as to be nearly on a par
with a genuine ancient Roman in his knowledge of English: a triumph
that affected his good parents with the tenderest emotions, and caused
the father and mother of Mr Briggs (whose learning, like ill-arranged
luggage, was so tightly packed that he couldn't get at anything he
wanted) to hide their diminished heads. The fruit laboriously gathered
from the tree of knowledge by this latter young gentleman, in fact,
had been subjected to so much pressure, that it had become a kind of
intellectual Norfolk Biffin, and had nothing of its original form or
flavour remaining. Master Bitherstone now, on whom the forcing system
had the happier and not uncommon effect of leaving no impression
whatever, when the forcing apparatus ceased to work, was in a much
more comfortable plight; and being then on shipboard, bound for
Bengal, found himself forgetting, with such admirable rapidity, that
it was doubtful whether his declensions of noun-substantives would
hold out to the end of the voyage.
When Doctor Blimber, in pursuance of the usual course, would have
said to the young gentlemen, on the morning of the party, 'Gentlemen,
we will resume our studies on the twenty-fifth of next month,' he
departed from the usual course, and said, 'Gentlemen, when our friend
Cincinnatus retired to his farm, he did not present to the senate any
Roman who he sought to nominate as his successor.' But there is a
Roman here,' said Doctor Blimber, laying his hand on the shoulder of
Mr Feeder, B.A., adolescens imprimis gravis et doctus, gentlemen, whom
I, a retiring Cincinnatus, wish to present to my little senate, as
their future Dictator. Gentlemen, we will resume our studies on the
twenty-fifth of next month, under the auspices of Mr Feeder, B.A.' At
this (which Doctor Blimber had previously called upon all the parents,
and urbanely explained), the young gentlemen cheered; and Mr Tozer, on
behalf of the rest, instantly presented the Doctor with a silver
inkstand, in a speech containing very little of the mother-tongue, but
fifteen quotations from the Latin, and seven from the Greek, which
moved the younger of the young gentlemen to discontent and envy: they
remarking, 'Oh, ah. It was all very well for old Tozer, but they
didn't subscribe money for old Tozer to show off with, they supposed;
did they? What business was it of old Tozer's more than anybody
else's? It wasn't his inkstand. Why couldn't he leave the boys'
property alone?' and murmuring other expressions of their
dissatisfaction, which seemed to find a greater relief in calling him
old Tozer, than in any other available vent.
Not a word had been said to the young gentlemen, nor a hint
dropped, of anything like a contemplated marriage between Mr Feeder,
B.A., and the fair Cornelia Blimber. Doctor Blimber, especially,
seemed to take pains to look as if nothing would surprise him more;
but it was perfectly well known to all the young gentlemen
nevertheless, and when they departed for the society of their
relations and friends, they took leave of Mr Feeder with awe.
Mr Feeder's most romantic visions were fulfilled. The Doctor had
determined to paint the house outside, and put it in thorough repair;
and to give up the business, and to give up Cornelia. The painting and
repairing began upon the very day of the young gentlemen's departure,
and now behold! the wedding morning was come, and Cornelia, in a new
pair of spectacles, was waiting to be led to the hymeneal altar.
The Doctor with his learned legs, and Mrs Blimber in a lilac
bonnet, and Mr Feeder, B.A., with his long knuckles and his bristly
head of hair, and Mr Feeder's brother, the Reverend Alfred Feeder,
M.A., who was to perform the ceremony, were all assembled in the
drawing-room, and Cornelia with her orange-flowers and bridesmaids had
just come down, and looked, as of old, a little squeezed in
appearance, but very charming, when the door opened, and the weak-eyed
young man, in a loud voice, made the following proclamation:
'MR AND MRS TOOTS!'
Upon which there entered Mr Toots, grown extremely stout, and on
his arm a lady very handsomely and becomingly dressed, with very
bright black eyes. 'Mrs Blimber,' said Mr Toots, 'allow me to present
Mrs Blimber was delighted to receive her. Mrs Blimber was a little
condescending, but extremely kind.
'And as you've known me for a long time, you know,' said Mr Toots,
'let me assure you that she is one of the most remarkable women that
'My dear!' remonstrated Mrs Toots.
'Upon my word and honour she is,' said Mr Toots. 'I - I assure you,
Mrs Blimber, she's a most extraordinary woman.'
Mrs Toots laughed merrily, and Mrs Blimber led her to Cornelia. Mr
Toots having paid his respects in that direction and having saluted
his old preceptor, who said, in allusion to his conjugal state, 'Well,
Toots, well, Toots! So you are one of us, are you, Toots?' - retired
with Mr Feeder, B.A., into a window.
Mr Feeder, B.A., being in great spirits, made a spar at Mr Toots,
and tapped him skilfully with the back of his hand on the breastbone.
'Well, old Buck!' said Mr Feeder with a laugh. 'Well! Here we are!
Taken in and done for. Eh?'
'Feeder,' returned Mr Toots. 'I give you joy. If you're as - as- as