to set westward in the morning and during the greater part of the day, and eastward towards the evening. Two or three stragglers appearing in one week, who `spoke him'--so the captain entered it--on the subject of spectacles, and who, without positively purchasing, said they would look in again, the Captain decided that the business was improving, and made an entry in the day-book to that effect: the wind then blowing (which he first recorded) pretty fresh, west and by north; having changed in the night.

One of the Captain's chief difficulties was Mr. Toots, who called frequently, and who without saying much seemed to have an idea that the little back parlour was an eligible room to chuckle in, as he would sit and avail himself of its accommodations in that regard by the half-hour together, without at all advancing in intimacy with the Captain. The Captain, rendered cautious by his late experience, was unable quite to satisfy his mind whether Mr. Toots was the mild subject he appeared to be, or was a profoundly artful and dissimulating hypocrite. His frequent reference to Miss Dombey was suspicious; but the Captain had a secret kindness for Mr. Toots's apparent reliance on him, and forbore to decide against him for the present; merely eyeing him, with a sagacity not to be described, whenever he approached the subject that was nearest to his heart.

`Captain Gills,' blurted out Mr. Toots, one day all at once, as his manner was, `do you think you could think favourably of that proposition of mine, and give me the pleasure of your acquaintance?'

`Why, I tell you what it is, my lad,' replied the Captain, who had at length concluded on a course of action; `I've been turning that there over.'

`Captain Gills, it's very kind of you,' retorted Mr. Toots. `I'm much obliged to you. Upon my word and honour, Captain Gills, it would be a charity to give me the pleasure of your acquaintance. It really would.'

`You see, brother,' argued the Captain slowly, `I don't know you.'

`But you never can know me, Captain Gills,' replied Mr. Toots, steadfast to his point, `if you don't give me the pleasure of your acquaintance.'

The Captain seemed struck by the originality and power of this remark, and looked at Mr. Toots as if he thought there was a great deal more in him than he had expected.

`Well said, my lad,' observed the captain, nodding his head thoughtfully; `and true. Now look'ee here: You've made some observations to me, which gives me to understand as you admire a certain sweet creetur. Hey?'

`Captain Gills,' said Mr. Toots, gesticulating violently with the hand in which he held his hat, `Admiration is not the word. Upon my honour, you have no conception what my feelings are. If I could be dyed black, and made Miss Dombey's slave, I should consider it a compliment. If, at the sacrifice of all my property, I could get transmigrated into Miss Dombey's dog--I--I really think I should never leave off wagging my tail. I should be so perfectly happy, Captain Gills!'

Mr. Toots said it with watery eyes, and pressed his hat against his bosom with deep emotion.

`My lad,' returned the Captain, moved to compassion, `if you're in arnest--'

`Captain Gills,' cried Mr. Toots, `I'm in such a state of mind, and am so dreadfully in earnest, that if I could swear to it upon a hot piece of iron, or a live coal, or melted lead, or burning sealing-wax, or anything of that sort, I should be glad to hurt myself, as a relief to my feelings.' And Mr. Toots looked hurriedly about the room, as if for some sufficiently painful means of accomplishing his dread purpose.

The Captain pushed his glazed hat back upon his head, stroked his face down with his heavy hand-- making his nose more mottled in the process--and planting himself before Mr. Toots, and hooking him

  By PanEris using Melati.

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