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Charles Dickens > Dombey And Son > Chapter 60

Dombey And Son

Chapter 60

Chiefly Matrimonial

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:


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
my wife.'

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
ever lived.'

'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
perfectly blissful in a matrimonial life, as I am myself, you'll have
nothing to desire.'

'I don't forget my old friends, you see,' said Mr Feeder. 'I ask em
to my wedding, Toots.'

'Feeder,' replied Mr Toots gravely, 'the fact is, that there were
several circumstances which prevented me from communicating with you
until after my marriage had been solemnised. In the first place, I had
made a perfect Brute of myself to you, on the subject of Miss Dombey;
and I felt that if you were asked to any wedding of mine, you would
naturally expect that it was with Miss Dombey, which involved
explanations, that upon my word and honour, at that crisis, would have
knocked me completely over. In the second place, our wedding was
strictly private; there being nobody present but one friend of myself
and Mrs Toots's, who is a Captain in - I don't exactly know in what,'
said Mr Toots, 'but it's of no consequence. I hope, Feeder, that in
writing a statement of what had occurred before Mrs Toots and myself
went abroad upon our foreign tour, I fully discharged the offices of

'Toots, my boy,' said Mr Feeder, shaking his hands, 'I was joking.'

'And now, Feeder,' said Mr Toots, 'I should be glad to know what
you think of my union.'

'Capital!' returned Mr Feeder.

'You think it's capital, do you, Feeder?'said Mr Toots solemnly.
'Then how capital must it be to Me! For you can never know what an
extraordinary woman that is.'

Mr Feeder was willing to take it for granted. But Mr Toots shook
his head, and wouldn't hear of that being possible.

'You see,' said Mr Toots, 'what I wanted in a wife was - in short,
was sense. Money, Feeder, I had. Sense I - I had not, particularly.'

Mr Feeder murmured, 'Oh, yes, you had, Toots!' But Mr Toots said:

'No, Feeder, I had not. Why should I disguise it? I had not. I knew
that sense was There,' said Mr Toots, stretching out his hand towards
his wife, 'in perfect heaps. I had no relation to object or be
offended, on the score of station; for I had no relation. I have never
had anybody belonging to me but my guardian, and him, Feeder, I have
always considered as a Pirate and a Corsair. Therefore, you know it
was not likely,' said Mr Toots, 'that I should take his opinion.'

'No,' said Mr Feeder.

'Accordingly,' resumed Mr Toots, 'I acted on my own. Bright was the
day on which I did so! Feeder! Nobody but myself can tell what the
capacity of that woman's mind is. If ever the Rights of Women, and all
that kind of thing, are properly attended to, it will be through her
powerful intellect - Susan, my dear!' said Mr Toots, looking abruptly
out of the windows 'pray do not exert yourself!'

'My dear,' said Mrs Toots, 'I was only talking.'

'But, my love,' said Mr Toots, 'pray do not exert yourself. You
really must be careful. Do not, my dear Susan, exert yourself. She's
so easily excited,' said Mr Toots, apart to Mrs Blimber, 'and then she
forgets the medical man altogether.'

Mrs Blimber was impressing on Mrs Toots the necessity of caution,
when Mr Feeder, B.A., offered her his arm, and led her down to the
carriages that were waiting to go to church. Doctor Blimber escorted
Mrs Toots. Mr Toots escorted the fair bride, around whose lambent
spectacles two gauzy little bridesmaids fluttered like moths. Mr
Feeder's brother, Mr Alfred Feeder, M.A., had already gone on, in
advance, to assume his official functions.

The ceremony was performed in an admirable manner. Cornelia, with
her crisp little curls, 'went in,' as the Chicken might have said,
with great composure; and Doctor Blimber gave her away, like a man who
had quite made up his mind to it. The gauzy little bridesmaids
appeared to suffer most. Mrs Blimber was affected, but gently so; and
told the Reverend Mr Alfred Feeder, M.A., on the way home, that if she
could only have seen Cicero in his retirement at Tusculum, she would
not have had a wish, now, ungratified.

There was a breakfast afterwards, limited to the same small party;
at which the spirits of Mr Feeder, B.A., were tremendous, and so
communicated themselves to Mrs Toots that Mr Toots was several times
heard to observe, across the table, 'My dear Susan, don't exert
yourself!' The best of it was, that Mr Toots felt it incunbent on him
to make a speech; and in spite of a whole code of telegraphic
dissuasions from Mrs Toots, appeared on his legs for the first time in
his life.

'I really,' said Mr Toots, 'in this house, where whatever was done
to me in the way of - of any mental confusion sometimes - which is of
no consequence and I impute to nobody - I was always treated like one
of Doctor Blimber's family, and had a desk to myself for a
considerable period - can - not - allow - my friend Feeder to be - '

Mrs Toots suggested 'married.'

'It may not be inappropriate to the occasion, or altogether
uninteresting,' said Mr Toots with a delighted face, 'to observe that
my wife is a most extraordinary woman, and would do this much better
than myself - allow my friend Feeder to be married - especially to - '

Mrs Toots suggested 'to Miss Blimber.'

'To Mrs Feeder, my love!' said Mr Toots, in a subdued tone of
private discussion: "'whom God hath joined," you know, "let no man" -
don't you know? I cannot allow my friend Feeder to be married -
especially to Mrs Feeder - without proposing their - their - Toasts;
and may,' said Mr Toots, fixing his eyes on his wife, as if for
inspiration in a high flight, 'may the torch of Hymen be the beacon of
joy, and may the flowers we have this day strewed in their path, be
the - the banishers of- of gloom!'

Doctor Blimber, who had a taste for metaphor, was pleased with
this, and said, 'Very good, Toots! Very well said, indeed, Toots!' and
nodded his head and patted his hands. Mr Feeder made in reply, a comic
speech chequered with sentiment. Mr Alfred Feeder, M.A, was afterwards
very happy on Doctor and Mrs Blimber; Mr Feeder, B.A., scarcely less
so, on the gauzy little bridesmaids. Doctor Blimber then, in a
sonorous voice, delivered a few thoughts in the pastoral style,
relative to the rushes among which it was the intention of himself and
Mrs Blimber to dwell, and the bee that would hum around their cot.
Shortly after which, as the Doctor's eyes were twinkling in a
remarkable manner, and his son-in-law had already observed that time
was made for slaves, and had inquired whether Mrs Toots sang, the
discreet Mrs Blimber dissolved the sitting, and sent Cornelia away,
very cool and comfortable, in a post-chaise, with the man of her heart

Mr and Mrs Toots withdrew to the Bedford (Mrs Toots had been there
before in old times, under her maiden name of Nipper), and there found
a letter, which it took Mr Toots such an enormous time to read, that
Mrs Toots was frightened.

'My dear Susan,' said Mr Toots, 'fright is worse than exertion.
Pray be calm!'

'Who is it from?' asked Mrs Toots.

'Why, my love,' said Mr Toots, 'it's from Captain Gills. Do not
excite yourself. Walters and Miss Dombey are expected home!'

'My dear,' said Mrs Toots, raising herself quickly from the sofa,
very pale, 'don't try to deceive me, for it's no use, they're come
home - I see it plainly in your face!'

'She's a most extraordinary woman!' exclaimed Mr Toots, in
rapturous admiration. 'You're perfectly right, my love, they have come
home. Miss Dombey has seen her father, and they are reconciled!'

'Reconciled!' cried Mrs Toots, clapping her hands.

'My dear,' said Mr Toots; 'pray do not exert yourself. Do remember
the medical man! Captain Gills says - at least he don't say, but I
imagine, from what I can make out, he means - that Miss Dombey has
brought her unfortunate father away from his old house, to one where
she and Walters are living; that he is lying very ill there - supposed
to be dying; and that she attends upon him night and day.'

Mrs Toots began to cry quite bitterly.

'My dearest Susan,' replied Mr Toots, 'do, do, if you possibly can,
remember the medical man! If you can't, it's of no consequence - but
do endeavour to!'

His wife, with her old manner suddenly restored, so pathetically
entreated him to take her to her precious pet, her little mistress,
her own darling, and the like, that Mr Toots, whose sympathy and
admiration were of the strongest kind, consented from his very heart
of hearts; and they agreed to depart immediately, and present
themselves in answer to the Captain's letter.

Now some hidden sympathies of things, or some coincidences, had
that day brought the Captain himself (toward whom Mr and Mrs Toots
were soon journeying) into the flowery train of wedlock; not as a
principal, but as an accessory. It happened accidentally, and thus:

The Captain, having seen Florence and her baby for a moment, to his
unbounded content, and having had a long talk with Walter, turned out
for a walk; feeling it necessary to have some solitary meditation on
the changes of human affairs, and to shake his glazed hat profoundly
over the fall of Mr Dombey, for whom the generosity and simplicity of
his nature were awakened in a lively manner. The Captain would have
been very low, indeed, on the unhappy gentleman's account, but for the
recollection of the baby; which afforded him such intense satisfaction
whenever it arose, that he laughed aloud as he went along the street,
and, indeed, more than once, in a sudden impulse of joy, threw up his
glazed hat and caught it again; much to the amazement of the
spectators. The rapid alternations of light and shade to which these
two conflicting subjects of reflection exposed the Captain, were so
very trying to his spirits, that he felt a long walk necessary to his
composure; and as there is a great deal in the influence of harmonious
associations, he chose, for the scene of this walk, his old
neighbourhood, down among the mast, oar, and block makers,
ship-biscuit bakers, coal-whippers, pitch-kettles, sailors, canals,
docks, swing-bridges, and other soothing objects.

These peaceful scenes, and particularly the region of Limehouse
Hole and thereabouts, were so influential in calming the Captain, that
he walked on with restored tranquillity, and was, in fact, regaling
himself, under his breath, with the ballad of Lovely Peg, when, on
turning a corner, he was suddenly transfixed and rendered speechless
by a triumphant procession that he beheld advancing towards him.

This awful demonstration was headed by that determined woman Mrs
MacStinger, who, preserving a countenance of inexorable resolution,
and wearing conspicuously attached to her obdurate bosom a stupendous
watch and appendages, which the Captain recognised at a glance as the
property of Bunsby, conducted under her arm no other than that
sagacious mariner; he, with the distraught and melancholy visage of a
captive borne into a foreign land, meekly resigning himself to her
will. Behind them appeared the young MacStingers, in a body, exulting.
Behind them,                M~ two ladies of a terrible and steadfast
aspect, leading between them a short gentleman in a tall hat, who
likewise exulted. In the wake, appeared Bunsby's boy, bearing
umbrellas. The whole were in good marching order; and a dreadful
smartness that pervaded the party would have sufficiently announced,
if the intrepid countenances of the ladies had been wanting, that it
was a procession of sacrifice, and that the victim was Bunsby.

The first impulse of the Captain was to run away. This also
appeared to be the first impulse of Bunsby, hopeless as its execution
must have proved. But a cry of recognition proceeding from the party,
and Alexander MacStinger running up to the Captain with open arms, the
Captain struck.

'Well, Cap'en Cuttle!' said Mrs MacStinger. 'This is indeed a
meeting! I bear no malice now, Cap'en Cuttle - you needn't fear that
I'm a going to cast any reflections. I hope to go to the altar in
another spirit.' Here Mrs MacStinger paused, and drawing herself up,
and inflating her bosom with a long breath, said, in allusion to the
victim, 'My 'usband, Cap'en Cuttle!'

The abject Bunsby looked neither to the right nor to the left, nor
at his bride, nor at his friend, but straight before him at nothing.
The Captain putting out his hand, Bunsby put out his; but, in answer
to the Captain's greeting, spake no word.

'Cap'en Cuttle,' said Mrs MacStinger, 'if you would wish to heal up
past animosities, and to see the last of your friend, my 'usband, as a
single person, we should be 'appy of your company to chapel. Here is a
lady here,' said Mrs MacStinger, turning round to the more intrepid of
the two, 'my bridesmaid, that will be glad of your protection, Cap'en

The short gentleman in the tall hat, who it appeared was the
husband of the other lady, and who evidently exulted at the reduction
of a fellow creature to his own condition, gave place at this, and
resigned the lady to Captain Cuttle. The lady immediately seized him,
and, observing that there was no time to lose, gave the word, in a
strong voice, to advance.

The Captain's concern for his friend, not unmingled, at first, with
some concern for himself - for a shadowy terror that he might be
married by violence, possessed him, until his knowledge of the service
came to his relief, and remembering the legal obligation of saying, 'I
will,' he felt himself personally safe so long as he resolved, if
asked any question, distinctly to reply I won't' - threw him into a
profuse perspiration; and rendered him, for a time, insensible to the
movements of the procession, of which he now formed a feature, and to
the conversation of his fair companion. But as he became less
agitated, he learnt from this lady that she was the widow of a Mr
Bokum, who had held an employment in the Custom House; that she was
the dearest friend of Mrs MacStinger, whom she considered a pattern
for her sex; that she had often heard of the Captain, and now hoped he
had repented of his past life; that she trusted Mr Bunsby knew what a
blessing he had gained, but that she feared men seldom did know what
such blessings were, until they had lost them; with more to the same

All this time, the Captain could not but observe that Mrs Bokum
kept her eyes steadily on the bridegroom, and that whenever they came
near a court or other narrow turning which appeared favourable for
flight, she was on the alert to cut him off if he attempted escape.
The other lady, too, as well as her husband, the short gentleman with
the tall hat, were plainly on guard, according to a preconcerted plan;
and the wretched man was so secured by Mrs MacStinger, that any effort
at self-preservation by flight was rendered futile. This, indeed, was
apparent to the mere populace, who expressed their perception of the
fact by jeers and cries; to all of which, the dread MacStinger was
inflexibly indifferent, while Bunsby himself appeared in a state of

The Captain made many attempts to accost the philosopher, if only
in a monosyllable or a signal; but always failed, in consequence of
the vigilance of the guard, and the difficulty, at all times peculiar
to Bunsby's constitution, of having his attention aroused by any
outward and visible sign whatever. Thus they approached the chapel, a
neat whitewashed edifice, recently engaged by the Reverend
Melchisedech Howler, who had consented, on very urgent solicitation,
to give the world another two years of existence, but had informed his
followers that, then, it must positively go.

While the Reverend Melchisedech was offering up some extemporary
orisons, the Captain found an opportunity of growling in the
bridegroom's ear:

'What cheer, my lad, what cheer?'

To which Bunsby replied, with a forgetfulness of the Reverend
Melchisedech, which nothing but his desperate circumstances could have

'D-----d bad,'

'Jack Bunsby,' whispered the Captain, 'do you do this here, of your
own free will?'

Mr Bunsby answered 'No.'

'Why do you do it, then, my lad?' inquired the Captain, not

Bunsby, still looking, and always looking with an immovable
countenance, at the opposite side of the world, made no reply.

'Why not sheer off?' said the Captain. 'Eh?' whispered Bunsby, with
a momentary gleam of hope. 'Sheer off,' said the Captain.

'Where's the good?' retorted the forlorn sage. 'She'd capter me

'Try!' replied the Captain. 'Cheer up! Come! Now's your time. Sheer
off, Jack Bunsby!'

Jack Bunsby, however, instead of profiting by the advice, said in a
doleful whisper:

'It all began in that there chest o' yourn. Why did I ever conwoy
her into port that night?'

'My lad,' faltered the Captain, 'I thought as you had come over
her; not as she had come over you. A man as has got such opinions as
you have!'

Mr Bunsby merely uttered a suppressed groan.

'Come!' said the Captain, nudging him with his elbow, 'now's your
time! Sheer off! I'll cover your retreat. The time's a flying. Bunsby!
It's for liberty. Will you once?'

Bunsby was immovable. 'Bunsby!' whispered the Captain, 'will you
twice ?' Bunsby wouldn't twice.

'Bunsby!' urged the Captain, 'it's for liberty; will you three
times? Now or never!'

Bunsby didn't then, and didn't ever; for Mrs MacStinger immediately
afterwards married him.

One of the most frightful circumstances of the ceremony to the
Captain, was the deadly interest exhibited therein by Juliana
MacStinger; and the fatal concentration of her faculties, with which
that promising child, already the image of her parent, observed the
whole proceedings. The Captain saw in this a succession of man-traps
stretching out infinitely; a series of ages of oppression and
coercion, through which the seafaring line was doomed. It was a more
memorable sight than the unflinching steadiness of Mrs Bokum and the
other lady, the exultation of the short gentleman in the tall hat, or
even the fell inflexibility of Mrs MacStinger. The Master MacStingers
understood little of what was going on, and cared less; being chiefly
engaged, during the ceremony, in treading on one another's half-boots;
but the contrast afforded by those wretched infants only set off and
adorned the precocious woman in Juliana. Another year or two, the
Captain thought, and to lodge where that child was, would be

The ceremony was concluded by a general spring of the young family
on Mr Bunsby, whom they hailed by the endearing name of father, and
from whom they solicited half-pence. These gushes of affection over,
the procession was about to issue forth again, when it was delayed for
some little time by an unexpected transport on the part of Alexander
MacStinger. That dear child, it seemed, connecting a chapel with
tombstones, when it was entered for any purpose apart from the
ordinary religious exercises, could not be persuaded but that his
mother was now to be decently interred, and lost to him for ever. In
the anguish of this conviction, he screamed with astonishing force,
and turned black in the face. However touching these marks of a tender
disposition were to his mother, it was not in the character of that
remarkable woman to permit her recognition of them to degenerate into
weakness. Therefore, after vainly endeavouring to convince his reason
by shakes, pokes, bawlings-out, and similar applications to his head,
she led him into the air, and tried another method; which was
manifested to the marriage party by a quick succession of sharp
sounds, resembling applause, and subsequently, by their seeing
Alexander in contact with the coolest paving-stone in the court,
greatly flushed, and loudly lamenting.

The procession being then in a condition to form itself once more,
and repair to Brig Place, where a marriage feast was in readiness,
returned as it had come; not without the receipt, by Bunsby, of many
humorous congratulations from the populace on his recently-acquired
happiness. The Captain accompanied it as far as the house-door, but,
being made uneasy by the gentler manner of Mrs Bokum, who, now that
she was relieved from her engrossing duty - for the watchfulness and
alacrity of the ladies sensibly diminished when the bridegroom was
safely married - had greater leisure to show an interest in his
behalf, there left it and the captive; faintly pleading an
appointment, and promising to return presently. The Captain had
another cause for uneasiness, in remorsefully reflecting that he had
been the first means of Bunsby's entrapment, though certainly without
intending it, and through his unbounded faith in the resources of that

To go back to old Sol Gills at the wooden Midshipman's, and not
first go round to ask how Mr Dombey was - albeit the house where he
lay was out of London, and away on the borders of a fresh heath - was
quite out of the Captain's course. So he got a lift when he was tired,
and made out the journey gaily.

The blinds were pulled down, and the house so quiet, that the
Captain was almost afraid to knock; but listening at the door, he
heard low voices within, very near it, and, knocking softly, was
admitted by Mr Toots. Mr Toots and his wife had, in fact, just arrived
there; having been at the Midshipman's to seek him, and having there
obtained the address.

They were not so recently arrived, but that Mrs Toots had caught
the baby from somebody, taken it in her arms, and sat down on the
stairs, hugging and fondling it. Florence was stooping down beside
her; and no one could have said which Mrs Toots was hugging and
fondling most, the mother or the child, or which was the tenderer,
Florence of Mrs Toots, or Mrs Toots of her, or both of the baby; it
was such a little group of love and agitation.

'And is your Pa very ill, my darling dear Miss Floy?' asked Susan.

'He is very, very ill,' said Florence. 'But, Susan, dear, you must
not speak to me as you used to speak. And what's this?' said Florence,
touching her clothes, in amazement. 'Your old dress, dear? Your old
cap, curls, and all?'

Susan burst into tears, and showered kisses on the little hand that
had touched her so wonderingly.

'My dear Miss Dombey,' said Mr Toots, stepping forward, 'I'll
explain. She's the most extraordinary woman. There are not many to
equal her! She has always said - she said before we were married, and
has said to this day - that whenever you came home, she'd come to you
in no dress but the dress she used to serve you in, for fear she might
seem strange to you, and you might like her less. I admire the dress
myself,' said Mr Toots, 'of all things. I adore her in it! My dear
Miss Dombey, she'll be your maid again, your nurse, all that she ever
was, and more. There's no change in her. But, Susan, my dear,' said Mr
Toots, who had spoken with great feeling and high admiration, 'all I
ask is, that you'll remember the medical man, and not exert yourself
too much!'

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