A PICTURE AND A RING
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Behind the most ancient part of Holborn, London, where certain
gabled houses some centuries of age still stand looking on the
public way, as if disconsolately looking for the Old Bourne that
has long run dry, is a little nook composed of two irregular
quadrangles, called Staple Inn. It is one of those nooks, the
turning into which out of the clashing street, imparts to the
relieved pedestrian the sensation of having put cotton in his ears,
and velvet soles on his boots. It is one of those nooks where a
few smoky sparrows twitter in smoky trees, as though they called to
one another, 'Let us play at country,' and where a few feet of
garden-mould and a few yards of gravel enable them to do that
refreshing violence to their tiny understandings. Moreover, it is
one of those nooks which are legal nooks; and it contains a little
Hall, with a little lantern in its roof: to what obstructive
purposes devoted, and at whose expense, this history knoweth not.
In the days when Cloisterham took offence at the existence of a
railroad afar off, as menacing that sensitive constitution, the
property of us Britons: the odd fortune of which sacred
institution it is to be in exactly equal degrees croaked about,
trembled for, and boasted of, whatever happens to anything,
anywhere in the world: in those days no neighbouring architecture
of lofty proportions had arisen to overshadow Staple Inn. The
westering sun bestowed bright glances on it, and the south-west
wind blew into it unimpeded.
Neither wind nor sun, however, favoured Staple Inn one December
afternoon towards six o'clock, when it was filled with fog, and
candles shed murky and blurred rays through the windows of all its
then-occupied sets of chambers; notably from a set of chambers in a
corner house in the little inner quadrangle, presenting in black
and white over its ugly portal the mysterious inscription:
In which set of chambers, never having troubled his head about the
inscription, unless to bethink himself at odd times on glancing up
at it, that haply it might mean Perhaps John Thomas, or Perhaps Joe
Tyler, sat Mr. Grewgious writing by his fire.
Who could have told, by looking at Mr. Grewgious, whether he had
ever known ambition or disappointment? He had been bred to the
Bar, and had laid himself out for chamber practice; to draw deeds;
'convey the wise it call,' as Pistol says. But Conveyancing and he
had made such a very indifferent marriage of it that they had
separated by consent--if there can be said to be separation where
there has never been coming together.
No. Coy Conveyancing would not come to Mr. Grewgious. She was
wooed, not won, and they went their several ways. But an
Arbitration being blown towards him by some unaccountable wind, and
he gaining great credit in it as one indefatigable in seeking out
right and doing right, a pretty fat Receivership was next blown
into his pocket by a wind more traceable to its source. So, by
chance, he had found his niche. Receiver and Agent now, to two
rich estates, and deputing their legal business, in an amount worth
having, to a firm of solicitors on the floor below, he had snuffed
out his ambition (supposing him to have ever lighted it), and had
settled down with his snuffers for the rest of his life under the
dry vine and fig-tree of P. J. T., who planted in seventeen-forty-
Many accounts and account-books, many files of correspondence, and
several strong boxes, garnished Mr. Grewgious's room. They can
scarcely be represented as having lumbered it, so conscientious and
precise was their orderly arrangement. The apprehension of dying
suddenly, and leaving one fact or one figure with any
incompleteness or obscurity attaching to it, would have stretched
Mr. Grewgious stone-dead any day. The largest fidelity to a trust
was the life-blood of the man. There are sorts of life-blood that
course more quickly, more gaily, more attractively; but there is no
better sort in circulation.
There was no luxury in his room. Even its comforts were limited to
its being dry and warm, and having a snug though faded fireside.
What may be called its private life was confined to the hearth, and
all easy-chair, and an old-fashioned occasional round table that
was brought out upon the rug after business hours, from a corner
where it elsewise remained turned up like a shining mahogany
shield. Behind it, when standing thus on the defensive, was a
closet, usually containing something good to drink. An outer room
was the clerk's room; Mr. Grewgious's sleeping-room was across the
common stair; and he held some not empty cellarage at the bottom of
the common stair. Three hundred days in the year, at least, he
crossed over to the hotel in Furnival's Inn for his dinner, and
after dinner crossed back again, to make the most of these
simplicities until it should become broad business day once more,
with P. J. T., date seventeen-forty-seven.
As Mr. Grewgious sat and wrote by his fire that afternoon, so did
the clerk of Mr. Grewgious sit and write by HIS fire. A pale,
puffy-faced, dark-haired person of thirty, with big dark eyes that
wholly wanted lustre, and a dissatisfied doughy complexion, that
seemed to ask to be sent to the baker's, this attendant was a
mysterious being, possessed of some strange power over Mr.
Grewgious. As though he had been called into existence, like a
fabulous Familiar, by a magic spell which had failed when required
to dismiss him, he stuck tight to Mr. Grewgious's stool, although
Mr. Grewgious's comfort and convenience would manifestly have been
advanced by dispossessing him. A gloomy person with tangled locks,
and a general air of having been reared under the shadow of that
baleful tree of Java which has given shelter to more lies than the
whole botanical kingdom, Mr. Grewgious, nevertheless, treated him
with unaccountable consideration.
'Now, Bazzard,' said Mr. Grewgious, on the entrance of his clerk:
looking up from his papers as he arranged them for the night:
'what is in the wind besides fog?'
'Mr. Drood,' said Bazzard.
'What of him?'
'Has called,' said Bazzard.
'You might have shown him in.'
'I am doing it,' said Bazzard.
The visitor came in accordingly.
'Dear me!' said Mr. Grewgious, looking round his pair of office
candles. 'I thought you had called and merely left your name and
gone. How do you do, Mr. Edwin? Dear me, you're choking!'
'It's this fog,' returned Edwin; 'and it makes my eyes smart, like
'Is it really so bad as that? Pray undo your wrappers. It's
fortunate I have so good a fire; but Mr. Bazzard has taken care of
'No I haven't,' said Mr. Bazzard at the door.
'Ah! then it follows that I must have taken care of myself without
observing it,' said Mr. Grewgious. 'Pray be seated in my chair.
No. I beg! Coming out of such an atmosphere, in MY chair.'
Edwin took the easy-chair in the corner; and the fog he had brought
in with him, and the fog he took off with his greatcoat and neck-
shawl, was speedily licked up by the eager fire.
'I look,' said Edwin, smiling, 'as if I had come to stop.'
'--By the by,' cried Mr. Grewgious; 'excuse my interrupting you; do
stop. The fog may clear in an hour or two. We can have dinner in
from just across Holborn. You had better take your Cayenne pepper
here than outside; pray stop and dine.'
'You are very kind,' said Edwin, glancing about him as though
attracted by the notion of a new and relishing sort of gipsy-party.
'Not at all,' said Mr. Grewgious; 'YOU are very kind to join issue
with a bachelor in chambers, and take pot-luck. And I'll ask,'
said Mr. Grewgious, dropping his voice, and speaking with a
twinkling eye, as if inspired with a bright thought: 'I'll ask
Bazzard. He mightn't like it else.--Bazzard!'
'Dine presently with Mr. Drood and me.'
'If I am ordered to dine, of course I will, sir,' was the gloomy
'Save the man!' cried Mr. Grewgious. 'You're not ordered; you're
'Thank you, sir,' said Bazzard; 'in that case I don't care if I
'That's arranged. And perhaps you wouldn't mind,' said Mr.
Grewgious, 'stepping over to the hotel in Furnival's, and asking
them to send in materials for laying the cloth. For dinner we'll
have a tureen of the hottest and strongest soup available, and
we'll have the best made-dish that can be recommended, and we'll
have a joint (such as a haunch of mutton), and we'll have a goose,
or a turkey, or any little stuffed thing of that sort that may
happen to be in the bill of fare--in short, we'll have whatever
there is on hand.'
These liberal directions Mr. Grewgious issued with his usual air of
reading an inventory, or repeating a lesson, or doing anything else
by rote. Bazzard, after drawing out the round table, withdrew to
'I was a little delicate, you see,' said Mr. Grewgious, in a lower
tone, after his clerk's departure, 'about employing him in the
foraging or commissariat department. Because he mightn't like it.'
'He seems to have his own way, sir,' remarked Edwin.
'His own way?' returned Mr. Grewgious. 'O dear no! Poor fellow,
you quite mistake him. If he had his own way, he wouldn't be
'I wonder where he would be!' Edwin thought. But he only thought
it, because Mr. Grewgious came and stood himself with his back to
the other corner of the fire, and his shoulder-blades against the
chimneypiece, and collected his skirts for easy conversation.
'I take it, without having the gift of prophecy, that you have done
me the favour of looking in to mention that you are going down
yonder--where I can tell you, you are expected--and to offer to
execute any little commission from me to my charming ward, and
perhaps to sharpen me up a bit in any proceedings? Eh, Mr. Edwin?'
'I called, sir, before going down, as an act of attention.'
'Of attention!' said Mr. Grewgious. 'Ah! of course, not of
Mr. Grewgious had meant to be arch--not that he in the remotest
degree expressed that meaning--and had brought himself into
scarcely supportable proximity with the fire, as if to burn the
fullest effect of his archness into himself, as other subtle
impressions are burnt into hard metals. But his archness suddenly
flying before the composed face and manner of his visitor, and only
the fire remaining, he started and rubbed himself.
'I have lately been down yonder,' said Mr. Grewgious, rearranging
his skirts; 'and that was what I referred to, when I said I could
tell you you are expected.'
'Indeed, sir! Yes; I knew that Pussy was looking out for me.'
'Do you keep a cat down there?' asked Mr. Grewgious.
Edwin coloured a little as he explained: 'I call Rosa Pussy.'
'O, really,' said Mr. Grewgious, smoothing down his head; 'that's
Edwin glanced at his face, uncertain whether or no he seriously
objected to the appellation. But Edwin might as well have glanced
at the face of a clock.
'A pet name, sir,' he explained again.
'Umps,' said Mr. Grewgious, with a nod. But with such an
extraordinary compromise between an unqualified assent and a
qualified dissent, that his visitor was much disconcerted.
'Did PRosa--' Edwin began by way of recovering himself.
'PRosa?' repeated Mr. Grewgious.
'I was going to say Pussy, and changed my mind;--did she tell you
anything about the Landlesses?'
'No,' said Mr. Grewgious. 'What is the Landlesses? An estate? A
villa? A farm?'
'A brother and sister. The sister is at the Nuns' House, and has
become a great friend of P--'
'PRosa's,' Mr. Grewgious struck in, with a fixed face.
'She is a strikingly handsome girl, sir, and I thought she might
have been described to you, or presented to you perhaps?'
'Neither,' said Mr. Grewgious. 'But here is Bazzard.'
Bazzard returned, accompanied by two waiters--an immovable waiter,
and a flying waiter; and the three brought in with them as much fog
as gave a new roar to the fire. The flying waiter, who had brought
everything on his shoulders, laid the cloth with amazing rapidity
and dexterity; while the immovable waiter, who had brought nothing,
found fault with him. The flying waiter then highly polished all
the glasses he had brought, and the immovable waiter looked through
them. The flying waiter then flew across Holborn for the soup, and
flew back again, and then took another flight for the made-dish,
and flew back again, and then took another flight for the joint and
poultry, and flew back again, and between whiles took supplementary
flights for a great variety of articles, as it was discovered from
time to time that the immovable waiter had forgotten them all. But
let the flying waiter cleave the air as he might, he was always
reproached on his return by the immovable waiter for bringing fog
with him, and being out of breath. At the conclusion of the
repast, by which time the flying waiter was severely blown, the
immovable waiter gathered up the tablecloth under his arm with a
grand air, and having sternly (not to say with indignation) looked
on at the flying waiter while he set the clean glasses round,
directed a valedictory glance towards Mr. Grewgious, conveying:
'Let it be clearly understood between us that the reward is mine,
and that Nil is the claim of this slave,' and pushed the flying
waiter before him out of the room.
It was like a highly-finished miniature painting representing My
Lords of the Circumlocution Department, Commandership-in-Chief of
any sort, Government. It was quite an edifying little picture to
be hung on the line in the National Gallery.
As the fog had been the proximate cause of this sumptuous repast,
so the fog served for its general sauce. To hear the out-door
clerks sneezing, wheezing, and beating their feet on the gravel was
a zest far surpassing Doctor Kitchener's. To bid, with a shiver,
the unfortunate flying waiter shut the door before he had opened
it, was a condiment of a profounder flavour than Harvey. And here
let it be noticed, parenthetically, that the leg of this young man,
in its application to the door, evinced the finest sense of touch:
always preceding himself and tray (with something of an angling air
about it), by some seconds: and always lingering after he and the
tray had disappeared, like Macbeth's leg when accompanying him off
the stage with reluctance to the assassination of Duncan.
The host had gone below to the cellar, and had brought up bottles
of ruby, straw-coloured, and golden drinks, which had ripened long
ago in lands where no fogs are, and had since lain slumbering in
the shade. Sparkling and tingling after so long a nap, they pushed
at their corks to help the corkscrew (like prisoners helping
rioters to force their gates), and danced out gaily. If P. J. T.
in seventeen-forty-seven, or in any other year of his period, drank
such wines--then, for a certainty, P. J. T. was Pretty Jolly Too.
Externally, Mr. Grewgious showed no signs of being mellowed by
these glowing vintages. Instead of his drinking them, they might
have been poured over him in his high-dried snuff form, and run to
waste, for any lights and shades they caused to flicker over his
face. Neither was his manner influenced. But, in his wooden way,
he had observant eyes for Edwin; and when at the end of dinner, he
motioned Edwin back to his own easy-chair in the fireside corner,
and Edwin sank luxuriously into it after very brief remonstrance,
Mr. Grewgious, as he turned his seat round towards the fire too,
and smoothed his head and face, might have been seen looking at his
visitor between his smoothing fingers.
'Bazzard!' said Mr. Grewgious, suddenly turning to him.
'I follow you, sir,' returned Bazzard; who had done his work of
consuming meat and drink in a workmanlike manner, though mostly in
'I drink to you, Bazzard; Mr. Edwin, success to Mr. Bazzard!'
'Success to Mr. Bazzard!' echoed Edwin, with a totally unfounded
appearance of enthusiasm, and with the unspoken addition: 'What
in, I wonder!'
'And May!' pursued Mr. Grewgious--'I am not at liberty to be
definite--May!--my conversational powers are so very limited that I
know I shall not come well out of this--May!--it ought to be put
imaginatively, but I have no imagination--May!--the thorn of
anxiety is as nearly the mark as I am likely to get--May it come
out at last!'
Mr. Bazzard, with a frowning smile at the fire, put a hand into his
tangled locks, as if the thorn of anxiety were there; then into his
waistcoat, as if it were there; then into his pockets, as if it
were there. In all these movements he was closely followed by the
eyes of Edwin, as if that young gentleman expected to see the thorn
in action. It was not produced, however, and Mr. Bazzard merely
said: 'I follow you, sir, and I thank you.'
'I am going,' said Mr. Grewgious, jingling his glass on the table
with one hand, and bending aside under cover of the other, to
whisper to Edwin, 'to drink to my ward. But I put Bazzard first.
He mightn't like it else.'
This was said with a mysterious wink; or what would have been a
wink, if, in Mr. Grewgious's hands, it could have been quick
enough. So Edwin winked responsively, without the least idea what
he meant by doing so.
'And now,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I devote a bumper to the fair and
fascinating Miss Rosa. Bazzard, the fair and fascinating Miss
'I follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and I pledge you!'
'And so do I!' said Edwin.
'Lord bless me,' cried Mr. Grewgious, breaking the blank silence
which of course ensued: though why these pauses SHOULD come upon
us when we have performed any small social rite, not directly
inducive of self-examination or mental despondency, who can tell?
'I am a particularly Angular man, and yet I fancy (if I may use the
word, not having a morsel of fancy), that I could draw a picture of
a true lover's state of mind, to-night.'
'Let us follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and have the picture.'
'Mr. Edwin will correct it where it's wrong,' resumed Mr.
Grewgious, 'and will throw in a few touches from the life. I dare
say it is wrong in many particulars, and wants many touches from
the life, for I was born a Chip, and have neither soft sympathies
nor soft experiences. Well! I hazard the guess that the true
lover's mind is completely permeated by the beloved object of his
affections. I hazard the guess that her dear name is precious to
him, cannot be heard or repeated without emotion, and is preserved
sacred. If he has any distinguishing appellation of fondness for
her, it is reserved for her, and is not for common ears. A name
that it would be a privilege to call her by, being alone with her
own bright self, it would be a liberty, a coldness, an
insensibility, almost a breach of good faith, to flaunt elsewhere.'
It was wonderful to see Mr. Grewgious sitting bolt upright, with
his hands on his knees, continuously chopping this discourse out of
himself: much as a charity boy with a very good memory might get
his catechism said: and evincing no correspondent emotion
whatever, unless in a certain occasional little tingling
perceptible at the end of his nose.
'My picture,' Mr. Grewgious proceeded, 'goes on to represent (under
correction from you, Mr. Edwin), the true lover as ever impatient
to be in the presence or vicinity of the beloved object of his
affections; as caring very little for his case in any other
society; and as constantly seeking that. If I was to say seeking
that, as a bird seeks its nest, I should make an ass of myself,
because that would trench upon what I understand to be poetry; and
I am so far from trenching upon poetry at any time, that I never,
to my knowledge, got within ten thousand miles of it. And I am
besides totally unacquainted with the habits of birds, except the
birds of Staple Inn, who seek their nests on ledges, and in gutter-
pipes and chimneypots, not constructed for them by the beneficent
hand of Nature. I beg, therefore, to be understood as foregoing
the bird's-nest. But my picture does represent the true lover as
having no existence separable from that of the beloved object of
his affections, and as living at once a doubled life and a halved
life. And if I do not clearly express what I mean by that, it is
either for the reason that having no conversational powers, I
cannot express what I mean, or that having no meaning, I do not
mean what I fail to express. Which, to the best of my belief, is
not the case.'
Edwin had turned red and turned white, as certain points of this
picture came into the light. He now sat looking at the fire, and
bit his lip.
'The speculations of an Angular man,' resumed Mr. Grewgious, still
sitting and speaking exactly as before, 'are probably erroneous on
so globular a topic. But I figure to myself (subject, as before,
to Mr. Edwin's correction), that there can be no coolness, no
lassitude, no doubt, no indifference, no half fire and half smoke
state of mind, in a real lover. Pray am I at all near the mark in
As abrupt in his conclusion as in his commencement and progress, he
jerked this inquiry at Edwin, and stopped when one might have
supposed him in the middle of his oration.
'I should say, sir,' stammered Edwin, 'as you refer the question to
'Yes,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I refer it to you, as an authority.'
'I should say, then, sir,' Edwin went on, embarrassed, 'that the
picture you have drawn is generally correct; but I submit that
perhaps you may be rather hard upon the unlucky lover.'
'Likely so,' assented Mr. Grewgious, 'likely so. I am a hard man
in the grain.'
'He may not show,' said Edwin, 'all he feels; or he may not--'
There he stopped so long, to find the rest of his sentence, that
Mr. Grewgious rendered his difficulty a thousand times the greater
by unexpectedly striking in with:
'No to be sure; he MAY not!'
After that, they all sat silent; the silence of Mr. Bazzard being
occasioned by slumber.
'His responsibility is very great, though,' said Mr. Grewgious at
length, with his eyes on the fire.
Edwin nodded assent, with HIS eyes on the fire.
'And let him be sure that he trifles with no one,' said Mr.
Grewgious; 'neither with himself, nor with any other.'
Edwin bit his lip again, and still sat looking at the fire.
'He must not make a plaything of a treasure. Woe betide him if he
does! Let him take that well to heart,' said Mr. Grewgious.
Though he said these things in short sentences, much as the
supposititious charity boy just now referred to might have repeated
a verse or two from the Book of Proverbs, there was something
dreamy (for so literal a man) in the way in which he now shook his
right forefinger at the live coals in the grate, and again fell
But not for long. As he sat upright and stiff in his chair, he
suddenly rapped his knees, like the carved image of some queer Joss
or other coming out of its reverie, and said: 'We must finish this
bottle, Mr. Edwin. Let me help you. I'll help Bazzard too, though
he IS asleep. He mightn't like it else.'
He helped them both, and helped himself, and drained his glass, and
stood it bottom upward on the table, as though he had just caught a
bluebottle in it.
'And now, Mr. Edwin,' he proceeded, wiping his mouth and hands upon
his handkerchief: 'to a little piece of business. You received
from me, the other day, a certified copy of Miss Rosa's father's
will. You knew its contents before, but you received it from me as
a matter of business. I should have sent it to Mr. Jasper, but for
Miss Rosa's wishing it to come straight to you, in preference. You
'Quite safely, sir.'
'You should have acknowledged its receipt,' said Mr. Grewgious;
'business being business all the world over. However, you did
'I meant to have acknowledged it when I first came in this evening,
'Not a business-like acknowledgment,' returned Mr. Grewgious;
'however, let that pass. Now, in that document you have observed a
few words of kindly allusion to its being left to me to discharge a
little trust, confided to me in conversation, at such time as I in
my discretion may think best.'
'Mr. Edwin, it came into my mind just now, when I was looking at
the fire, that I could, in my discretion, acquit myself of that
trust at no better time than the present. Favour me with your
attention, half a minute.'
He took a bunch of keys from his pocket, singled out by the candle-
light the key he wanted, and then, with a candle in his hand, went
to a bureau or escritoire, unlocked it, touched the spring of a
little secret drawer, and took from it an ordinary ring-case made
for a single ring. With this in his hand, he returned to his
chair. As he held it up for the young man to see, his hand
'Mr. Edwin, this rose of diamonds and rubies delicately set in
gold, was a ring belonging to Miss Rosa's mother. It was removed
from her dead hand, in my presence, with such distracted grief as I
hope it may never be my lot to contemplate again. Hard man as I
am, I am not hard enough for that. See how bright these stones
shine!' opening the case. 'And yet the eyes that were so much
brighter, and that so often looked upon them with a light and a
proud heart, have been ashes among ashes, and dust among dust, some
years! If I had any imagination (which it is needless to say I
have not), I might imagine that the lasting beauty of these stones
was almost cruel.'
He closed the case again as he spoke.
'This ring was given to the young lady who was drowned so early in
her beautiful and happy career, by her husband, when they first
plighted their faith to one another. It was he who removed it from
her unconscious hand, and it was he who, when his death drew very
near, placed it in mine. The trust in which I received it, was,
that, you and Miss Rosa growing to manhood and womanhood, and your
betrothal prospering and coming to maturity, I should give it to
you to place upon her finger. Failing those desired results, it
was to remain in my possession.'
Some trouble was in the young man's face, and some indecision was
in the action of his hand, as Mr. Grewgious, looking steadfastly at
him, gave him the ring.
'Your placing it on her finger,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'will be the
solemn seal upon your strict fidelity to the living and the dead.
You are going to her, to make the last irrevocable preparations for
your marriage. Take it with you.'
The young man took the little case, and placed it in his breast.
'If anything should be amiss, if anything should be even slightly
wrong, between you; if you should have any secret consciousness
that you are committing yourself to this step for no higher reason
than because you have long been accustomed to look forward to it;
then,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'I charge you once more, by the living
and by the dead, to bring that ring back to me!'
Here Bazzard awoke himself by his own snoring; and, as is usual in
such cases, sat apoplectically staring at vacancy, as defying
vacancy to accuse him of having been asleep.
'Bazzard!' said Mr. Grewgious, harder than ever.
'I follow you, sir,' said Bazzard, 'and I have been following you.'
'In discharge of a trust, I have handed Mr. Edwin Drood a ring of
diamonds and rubies. You see?'
Edwin reproduced the little case, and opened it; and Bazzard looked
'I follow you both, sir,' returned Bazzard, 'and I witness the
Evidently anxious to get away and be alone, Edwin Drood now resumed
his outer clothing, muttering something about time and
appointments. The fog was reported no clearer (by the flying
waiter, who alighted from a speculative flight in the coffee
interest), but he went out into it; and Bazzard, after his manner,
Mr. Grewgious, left alone, walked softly and slowly to and fro, for
an hour and more. He was restless to-night, and seemed dispirited.
'I hope I have done right,' he said. 'The appeal to him seemed
necessary. It was hard to lose the ring, and yet it must have gone
from me very soon.'
He closed the empty little drawer with a sigh, and shut and locked
the escritoire, and came back to the solitary fireside.
'Her ring,' he went on. 'Will it come back to me? My mind hangs
about her ring very uneasily to-night. But that is explainable. I
have had it so long, and I have prized it so much! I wonder--'
He was in a wondering mood as well as a restless; for, though he
checked himself at that point, and took another walk, he resumed
his wondering when he sat down again.
'I wonder (for the ten-thousandth time, and what a weak fool I, for
what can it signify now!) whether he confided the charge of their
orphan child to me, because he knew--Good God, how like her mother
she has become!'
'I wonder whether he ever so much as suspected that some one doted
on her, at a hopeless, speechless distance, when he struck in and
won her. I wonder whether it ever crept into his mind who that
unfortunate some one was!'
'I wonder whether I shall sleep to-night! At all events, I will
shut out the world with the bedclothes, and try.'
Mr. Grewgious crossed the staircase to his raw and foggy bedroom,
and was soon ready for bed. Dimly catching sight of his face in
the misty looking-glass, he held his candle to it for a moment.
'A likely some one, YOU, to come into anybody's thoughts in such an
aspect!' he exclaimed. 'There! there! there! Get to bed, poor
man, and cease to jabber!'
With that, he extinguished his light, pulled up the bedclothes
around him, and with another sigh shut out the world. And yet
there are such unexplored romantic nooks in the unlikeliest men,
that even old tinderous and touchwoody P. J. T. Possibly Jabbered
Thus, at some odd times, in or about seventeen-forty-seven.