Dombey and Son
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 Next page
opportunity. Pray come in.'
'It is not likely that we may ever meet again, Walter,' returned
the other, gently resisting his invitation, 'and I am glad of this
opportunity too. I may venture to speak to you, and to take you by the
hand, on the eve of separation. I shall not have to resist your frank
approaches, Walter, any more.
There was a melancholy in his smile as he said it, that showed he
had found some company and friendship for his thoughts even in that.
'Ah, Mr Carker!' returned Walter. 'Why did you resist them? You
could have done me nothing but good, I am very sure.
He shook his head. 'If there were any good,' he said, 'I could do
on this earth, I would do it, Walter, for you. The sight of you from
day to day, has been at once happiness and remorse to me. But the
pleasure has outweighed the pain. I know that, now, by knowing what I
'Come in, Mr Carker, and make acquaintance with my good old Uncle,'
urged Walter. 'I have often talked to him about you, and he will be
glad to tell you all he hears from me. I have not,' said Walter,
noticing his hesitation, and speaking with embarrassment himself: 'I
have not told him anything about our last conversation, Mr Carker; not
even him, believe me.
The grey Junior pressed his hand, and tears rose in his eyes.
'If I ever make acquaintance with him, Walter,' he returned, 'it
will be that I may hear tidings of you. Rely on my not wronging your
forbearance and consideration. It would be to wrong it, not to tell
him all the truth, before I sought a word of confidence from him. But
I have no friend or acquaintance except you: and even for your sake,
am little likely to make any.'
'I wish,' said Walter, 'you had suffered me to be your friend
indeed. I always wished it, Mr Carker, as you know; but never half so
much as now, when we are going to part'
'It is enough replied the other, 'that you have been the friend of
my own breast, and that when I have avoided you most, my heart
inclined the most towards you, and was fullest of you. Walter,
'Good-bye, Mr Carker. Heaven be with you, Sir!' cried Walter with
'If,' said the other, retaining his hand while he spoke; 'if when
you come back, you miss me from my old corner, and should hear from
anyone where I am lying, come and look upon my grave. Think that I
might have been as honest and as happy as you! And let me think, when
I know time is coming on, that some one like my former self may stand
there, for a moment, and remember me with pity and forgiveness!
His figure crept like a shadow down the bright, sun-lighted street,
so cheerful yet so solemn in the early summer morning; and slowly
The relentless chronometer at last announced that Walter must turn
his back upon the wooden Midshipman: and away they went, himself, his
Uncle, and the Captain, in a hackney-coach to a wharf, where they were
to take steam-boat for some Reach down the river, the name of which,
as the Captain gave it out, was a hopeless mystery to the ears of
landsmen. Arrived at this Reach (whither the ship had repaired by last
night's tide), they were boarded by various excited watermen, and
among others by a dirty Cyclops of the Captain's acquaintance, who,
with his one eye, had made the Captain out some mile and a half off,
and had been exchanging unintelligible roars with him ever since.
Becoming the lawful prize of this personage, who was frightfully
hoarse and constitutionally in want of shaving, they were all three
put aboard the Son and Heir. And the Son and Heir was in a pretty
state of confusion, with sails lying all bedraggled on the wet decks,
loose ropes tripping people up, men in red shirts running barefoot to
and fro, casks blockading every foot of space, and, in the thickest of
the fray, a black cook in a black caboose up to his eyes in vegetables
and blinded with smoke.
The Captain immediately drew Walter into a corner, and with a great
effort, that made his face very red, pulled up the silver watch, which
was so big, and so tight in his pocket, that it came out like a bung.
'Wal'r,' said the Captain, handing it over, and shaking him
heartily by the hand, 'a parting gift, my lad. Put it back half an
hour every morning, and about another quarter towards the arternoon,
and it's a watch that'll do you credit.'
'Captain Cuttle! I couldn't think of it!' cried Walter, detaining
him, for he was running away. 'Pray take it back. I have one already.'
'Then, Wal'r,' said the Captain, suddenly diving into one of his
pockets and bringing up the two teaspoons and the sugar-tongs, with
which he had armed himself to meet such an objection, 'take this here
trifle of plate, instead.'
'No, no, I couldn't indeed!' cried Walter, 'a thousand thanks!
Don't throw them away, Captain Cuttle!' for the Captain was about to
jerk them overboard. 'They'll be of much more use to you than me. Give
me your stick. I have often thought I should like to have it. There!
Good-bye, Captain Cuttle! Take care of my Uncle! Uncle Sol, God bless
They were over the side in the confusion, before Walter caught
another glimpse of either; and when he ran up to the stern, and looked
after them, he saw his Uncle hanging down his head in the boat, and
Captain Cuttle rapping him on the back with the great silver watch (it
must have been very painful), and gesticulating hopefully with the
teaspoons and sugar-tongs. Catching sight of Walter, Captain Cuttle
dropped the property into the bottom of the boat with perfect
unconcern, being evidently oblivious of its existence, and pulling off
the glazed hat hailed him lustily. The glazed hat made quite a show in
the sun with its glistening, and the Captain continued to wave it
until he could be seen no longer. Then the confusion on board, which
had been rapidly increasing, reached its height; two or three other
boats went away with a cheer; the sails shone bright and full above,
as Walter watched them spread their surface to the favourable breeze;
the water flew in sparkles from the prow; and off upon her voyage went
the Son and Heir, as hopefully and trippingly as many another son and
heir, gone down, had started on his way before her.
Day after day, old Sol and Captain Cuttle kept her reckoning in the
little hack parlour and worked out her course, with the chart spread
before them on the round table. At night, when old Sol climbed
upstairs, so lonely, to the attic where it sometimes blew great guns,
he looked up at the stars and listened to the wind, and kept a longer
watch than would have fallen to his lot on board the ship. The last
bottle of the old Madeira, which had had its cruising days, and known
its dangers of the deep, lay silently beneath its dust and cobwebs, in
the meanwhile, undisturbed.
Mr Dombey goes upon a Journey
'Mr Dombey, Sir,' said Major Bagstock, 'Joee' B. is not in general
a man of sentiment, for Joseph is tough. But Joe has his feelings,
Sir, and when they are awakened - Damme, Mr Dombey,? cried the Major
with sudden ferocity, 'this is weakness, and I won't submit to it]'
Major Bagstock delivered himself of these expressions on receiving
Mr Dombey as his guest at the head of his own staircase in Princess's
Place. Mr Dombey had come to breakfast with the Major, previous to
their setting forth on their trip; and the ill-starved Native had
already undergone a world of misery arising out of the muffins, while,
in connexion with the general question of boiled eggs, life was a
burden to him.
'It is not for an old soldier of the Bagstock breed,' observed the
Major, relapsing into a mild state, 'to deliver himself up, a prey to
his own emotions; but - damme, Sir,' cried the Major, in another spasm
of ferocity, 'I condole with you!'
The Major's purple visage deepened in its hue, and the Major's
lobster eyes stood out in bolder relief, as he shook Mr Dombey by the
hand, imparting to that peaceful action as defiant a character as if
it had been the prelude to his immediately boxing Mr Dombey for a
thousand pounds a side and the championship of England. With a
rotatory motion of his head, and a wheeze very like the cough of a
horse, the Major then conducted his visitor to the sitting-room, and
there welcomed him (having now composed his feelings) with the freedom
and frankness ofa travelling companion.
'Dombey,' said the Major, 'I'm glad to see you. I'm proud to see
you. There are not many men in Europe to whom J. Bagstock would say
that - for Josh is blunt. Sir: it's his nature - but Joey B. is proud
to see you, Dombey.'
'Major,' returned Mr Dombey, 'you are very obliging.'
'No, Sir,' said the Major, 'Devil a bit! That's not my character.
If that had been Joe's character, Joe might have been, by this time,
Lieutenant-General Sir Joseph Bagstock, K.C.B., and might have
received you in very different quarters. You don't know old Joe yet, I
find. But this occasion, being special, is a source of pride to me. By
the Lord, Sir,' said the Major resolutely, 'it's an honour to me!'
Mr Dombey, in his estimation of himself and his money, felt that
this was very true, and therefore did not dispute the point. But the
instinctive recognition of such a truth by the Major, and his plain
avowal of it, were very able. It was a confirmation to Mr Dombey, if
he had required any, of his not being mistaken in the Major. It was an
assurance to him that his power extended beyond his own immediate
sphere; and that the Major, as an officer and a gentleman, had a no
less becoming sense of it, than the beadle of the Royal Exchange.
And if it were ever consolatory to know this, or the like of this,
it was consolatory then, when the impotence of his will, the
instability of his hopes, the feebleness of wealth, had been so
direfully impressed upon him. What could it do, his boy had asked him.
Sometimes, thinking of the baby question, he could hardly forbear
inquiring, himself, what could it do indeed: what had it done?
But these were lonely thoughts, bred late at night in the sullen
despondency and gloom of his retirement, and pride easily found its
reassurance in many testimonies to the truth, as unimpeachable and
precious as the Major's. Mr Dombey, in his friendlessness, inclined to
the Major. It cannot be said that he warmed towards him, but he thawed
a little, The Major had had some part - and not too much - in the days
by the seaside. He was a man of the world, and knew some great people.