It is not a phantom of his imagination. It is as active in other people's minds as in his. Witness Cousin Feenix, who comes from Baden-Baden, purposely to talk to him. Witness Major Bagstock, who accompanies Cousin Feenix on that friendly mission.

Mr. Dombey receives them with his usual dignity, and stands erect, in his old attitude, before the fire. He feels that the world is looking at him out of their eyes. That it is in the stare of the pictures. That Mr. Pitt, upon the bookcase, represents it. That there are eyes in its own map, hanging on the wall.

`An unusually cold spring,' says Mr. Dombey--to deceive the world.

`Damme, Sir,' says the Major, in the warmth of friendship, `Joseph Bagstock is a bad hand at a counterfeit. If you want to hold your friends off, Dombey, and to give them the cold shoulder, J.B. is not the man for your purpose. Joe is rough and tough, Sir; blunt, Sir, blunt, is Joe. His Royal Highness the late Duke of York did me the honour to say, deservedly or undeservedly--never mind that--"If there is a man in the service on whom I can depend for coming to the point, that man is Joe--Joe Bagstock."'

Mr. Dombey intimates his acquiescence.

`Now, Dombey,' says the Major, `I am a man of the world. Our friend Feenix--if I may presume to--'

`Honoured, I am sure,' says Cousin Feenix.

`--is,' proceeds the Major, with a wag of his head, `also a man of the world, Dombey, you are a man of the world. Now, when three men of the world meet together, and are friends--as I believe'--again appealing to Cousin Feenix.

`I am sure,' says Cousin Feenix, `most friendly.'

`--and are friends,'resumes the Major, `Old Joe's opinion is (J. may be wrong), that the opinion of the world on any particular subject, is very easily got at.'

`Undoubtedly,' says Cousin Feenix. `In point of fact, it's quite a self-evident sort of thing. I am extremely anxious, Major, that my friend Dombey should hear me express my very great astonishment and regret, that my lovely and accomplished relative, who was possessed of every qualification to make a man happy, should have so far forgotten what was due to--in point of fact, to the world--as to commit herself in such a very extraordinary manner. I have been in a devilish state of depression ever since; and said indeed to Long Saxby last night--man of six foot ten, with whom my friend Dombey is probably acquainted-- that it had upset me in a confounded way, and made me bilious. It induces a man to reflect, this kind of fatal catastrophe,' says Cousin Feenix, `that events do occur in quite a providential manner; for if my Aunt had been living at the time, I think the effect upon a devilish lively woman like herself, would have been prostration, and that she would have fallen, in point of fact, a victim.'

`Now, Dombey!--'says the Major, resuming his discourse with great energy.

`I beg your pardon,' interposes Cousin Feenix. `Allow me another word. My friend Dombey will permit me to say, that if any circumstance could have added to the most infernal state of pain in which I find myself on this occasion, it would be the natural amazement of the world at my lovely and accomplished relative (as I must still beg leave to call her) being supposed to have so committed herself with a person--man with white teeth, in point of fact--of very inferior station to her husband. But while I must, rather peremptorily, request my friend Dombey not to criminate my lovely and accomplished relative until her criminality is perfectly established, I beg to assure my friend Dombey that the family I represent, and which is now almost extinct (devilish sad reflection for a man), will interpose no obstacle in his way, and will be happy to assent to any honourable course of proceeding, with a view to the future, that he may point out. I trust my friend Dombey will give me credit for the intentions by which I am animated in this very melancholy affair, and--a--in point of fact, I am not aware that I need trouble my friend Dombey with any further observations.'

  By PanEris using Melati.

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