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3. Miss Tox directed an imploring, helpless kind of look towards her friend, and put her handkerchief before her face. “ If any one had told me this yesterday,” said Mrs. Chick, with majesty, " or even half an hour ago, I should have been tempted, I almost believe, to strike them to the earth. Lucretia Tox, my eyes are open to you all at once! The scales”here Mrs. Chick cast down an irnaginary pair, such as are commonly used in grocers' shops —“have fallen from my sight. The blindness of my confidence is past, Lucretia. It has been abused and played upon, and evasion is quite out of the question now, I assure you.”
4. “O! to what do you allude so cruelly, my love ?” asked Miss Tox through her tears. — “Lucretia," said Mrs. Chick, “ask your own heart! I must entreat you not to address me by any such familiar term as you have just used, if you please. I have sorne self-respect left; though you may think otherwise.”
5. “O Louisa!” cried Miss Tox, “how can you speak to · me like that?” — “ How can I speak to you like that! "retorted Mrs. Chick, who, in default of having any particular argument to sustain herself upon, relied principally on such repetitions for her most withering effects. “Like that! you may well say like that, indeed!” — Miss Tox sobbed pitifully.
6. “ The idea!” said Mrs. Chick,“ of your having basked at my brother's fireside, like a serpent, and wound yourself, through me, almost into his confidence, Lucretia, that you might, in secret, entertain designs upon him, and dare to aspire to contemplate the possibility of his uniting himself to you! Why, it is an idea,” said Mrs. Chick, with sarcastic dignity, “the absurdity of which almost relieves its treachery."
7. “ Pray, Louisa,” urged Miss Tox, “ do not say such dreadful things !” –“Dreadful things !” repeated Mrs. Chick. “ Dreadful things! Is it not a fact, Lucretia, that you have just now been unable to command your feelings, even before me, whose eyes you had so completely closed ?"
8. “I have made no complaint,” sobbed Miss Tox. “I have said nothing. If I have been a little overpowered by your news, Louisa, and have ever had any lingering thought that Mr. Dombey was inclined to be particular towards me, surely you will not condemn me.”
9. “She is going to say,” said Mrs. Chick, addressing herself to the whole of the furniture, in a comprehensive glance of resignation and appeal, “she is going to say — I know it - that I have encouraged her:" ---"I don't wish to exchange reproaches, dear Louisa,” sobbed Miss Tox. “Nor do I wish to complain. But, in my own defence "
10. “ Yes,” cried Mrs. Chick, looking round the room with a prophetic smile,“ that's what she's going to say! I knew it. You had better say it. Say it openly! Be open, Lucretia Tox,” said Mrs. Chick, with desperate sternness, “whatever you are!” “In my own defense,” faltered Miss Tox, “and only in my own defense against your unkind words, my dear Louisa, I would merely ask you if you have n't often favored such a fancy, and even said it might happen, for anything we could tell ?"
11. “ There is a point,” said Mrs. Chick, rising, not as if she were going to stop at the floor, but as if she were about to soar up, high, into her native skies, “ beyond which endurance becomes ridiculous, if not culpable. I can bear much ; but not too much. What spell was on me when I came into this house this day, I don't know; but I had a presentiment - a dark presentiment,” said Mrs. Chick, with a shiver, “ that something was going to happen.
12. “Well may I have had that foreboding, Łueretia, when my confidence of many years is destroyed in an instant,— when my eyes are opened all at once, and when I find you revealed in your true colors. Lucretia, I have been mistaken in you. It is better for us both that this subject should end here. I wish you well, and I shall ever wish you well. But, as an individual who desires to be true to herself in her own poor position, whatever that position may be, or may not be, - and as the sister of my brother, - and as the sister-in-law of my brother's wife, — and as a connection by marriage of my brother's wife's mother, — may I be permitted to add, as a Dombey, - I can wish you nothing else but good-morning.”
13. These words, delivered with cutting suavity, tempered and chastened by a lofty air of moral rectitude, carried the speaker to the door. There she inclined her head in a ghostly
and statue-like manner, and so withdrew to her carriage, to · seek comfort and consolation in the arms of Mr. Chick, her lord.
14. Figuratively speaking, that is to say; for the arms of Mr. Chick were full of his newspaper. Neither did that gentleman address his eyes towards his wife otherwise than by stealth. Neither did he offer any consolation whatever. In short, he sat reading, and humming fag ends of tunes, and sometimes glancing furtively at her, without delivering him. self of a word, good, bad, or indifferent.
15. In the mean time, Mrs. Chick sat swelling and bridling, and tossing her head, as if she were still repeating that solemn formula of farewell to Lucretia Tox. At length she said, aloud, “O! the extent to which her eyes had been opened that day!” —"To which your eyes have been opened, my dear?” repeated Mr. Chick.
16. “ O, don't talk to me!” said Mrs. Chick. “If you can bear to see me in this state, and not ask me what the matter is, you had better hold your tongue forever!”-“What is the matter, my dear?” asked Mr. Chick.
17. “ To think,” said Mrs. Chick, in a state of soliloquy, “that she should ever have conceived the base idea of connecting herself with our family by a marriage with Paul! To think that when she was playing at horses with that dear child who is now in his grave, - I never liked it, at the time, - she should have been hiding such a double-faced design! I wonder she was never afraid that something would happen to her. She is fortunate, if nothing does!”
18. “I really thought, my dear," said Mr. Chick, slowly, after rubbing the bridge of his nose for some time with his newspaper, “ that you had gone on the same tack yourself, all along, until this morning; and had thought it would be a convenient thing enough, if it could have been brought about.” Mrs. Chick instantly burst into tears, and told Mr. Chick that if he wished to trample upon her with his boots, he had better do it.
19. “ But with Lucretia Tox I have done !” said Mrs. Chick, after abandoning herself to her feelings for some minutes, to Mr. Chick's great terror. “I can bear to resign Paul's confidence in favor of one who, I hope and trust, may be deserving of it, and with whom he has a perfect right to replace poor Fanny,* if he chooses ; I can bear to be informed, in Paul's cool manner, of such a change in his plans, and never to be consulted until all is settled and determined; but deceit I cannot bear, and with Lucretia Tox I have done!
20. “It is better as it is,” said Mrs. Chick, piously, -"much better. It would have been a long time before I could have accommodated myself comfortably with her, after this; and I really don't know, as Paul is going to be very grand, and these are people of condition, that she would have been quite presentable, and might riot have compromised myself. There's a providence in everything; everything works for the best; 1 have been tried to-day, but, upon the whole, I don't regret it."
* Mr. Dombey's first wife.
21. In which Christian spirit, Mrs. Chick dried her eyes, and smoothed her lap, and sat as became a person salm under a great wrong. Mr. Chick — feeling his unworthiness, no doubt — took an early opportunity of being set down at a street corner, and walking away whistling, with his shoulders _very much raised, and his hands in his pockets.
22. While poor excommunicated Miss Tox, who, if she were a fawner and toad-eater, was, at least, an honest and a constant one, and had ever borne a faithful friendship towards her impeacher, and had been truly absorbed and swallowed up in devotion to the magnificence of Mr. Dombey, while poor excommunicated Miss Tox watered her plants with her tears, and felt that it was winter in Princess-place.
1. As yet amid this elemental war,
2. Though now full oft they felt the raging tide
3. Far other cares the master's mind employ ;
* Born 1730 ; perished at sea 1769.
Ungrateful task! for no asylum traced,
4. Fate seemed to guard with adamantine mound
2. And when the sun's last splendor lights the deep,
3. The moon is up- the watch-tower dimly burns — And down the vale his sober step returns ; But pauses oft as winding rocks convey