Appearance and Disappearance

‘Arthur, my dear boy,’ said Mr Meagles, on the evening of the following day, ‘Mother and I have been talking this over, and we don’t feel comfortable in remaining as we are. That elegant connection of ours—that dear lady who was here yesterday—’

‘I understand,’ said Arthur.

‘Even that affable and condescending ornament of society,’ pursued Mr Meagles, ‘may misrepresent us, we are afraid. We could bear a great deal, Arthur, for her sake; but we think we would rather not bear that, if it was all the same to her.’

‘Good,’ said Arthur. ‘Go on.’

‘You see,’ proceeded Mr Meagles ‘it might put us wrong with our son-in-law, it might even put us wrong with our daughter, and it might lead to a great deal of domestic trouble. You see, don’t you?’

‘Yes, indeed,’ returned Arthur, ‘there is much reason in what you say.’ He had glanced at Mrs Meagles, who was always on the good and sensible side; and a petition had shone out of her honest face that he would support Mr Meagles in his present inclinings.

‘So we are very much disposed, are Mother and I,’ said Mr Meagles, ‘to pack up bags and baggage and go among the Allongers and Marshongers once more. I mean, we are very much disposed to be off, strike right through France into Italy, and see our Pet.’

‘And I don’t think,’ replied Arthur, touched by the motherly anticipation in the bright face of Mrs Meagles (she must have been very like her daughter, once), ‘that you could do better. And if you ask me for my advice, it is that you set off to-morrow.’

‘Is it really, though?’ said Mr Meagles. ‘Mother, this is being backed in an idea!’

Mother, with a look which thanked Clennam in a manner very agreeable to him, answered that it was indeed.

‘The fact is, besides, Arthur,’ said Mr Meagles, the old cloud coming over his face, ‘that my son-in-law is already in debt again, and that I suppose I must clear him again. It may be as well, even on this account, that I should step over there, and look him up in a friendly way. Then again, here’s Mother foolishly anxious (and yet naturally too) about Pet’s state of health, and that she should not be left to feel lonesome at the present time. It’s undeniably a long way off, Arthur, and a strange place for the poor love under all the circumstances. Let her be as well cared for as any lady in that land, still it is a long way off. just as Home is Home though it’s never so Homely, why you see,’ said Mr Meagles, adding a new version to the proverb, ‘Rome is Rome, though it’s never so Romely.’

‘All perfectly true,’ observed Arthur, ‘and all sufficient reasons for going.’

‘I am glad you think so; it decides me. Mother, my dear, you may get ready. We have lost our pleasant interpreter (she spoke three foreign languages beautifully, Arthur; you have heard her many a time), and you must pull me through it, Mother, as well as you can.

I require a deal of pulling through, Arthur,’ said Mr Meagles, shaking his head, ‘a deal of pulling through. I stick at everything beyond a noun-substantive—and I stick at him, if he’s at all a tight one.’

‘Now I think of it,’ returned Clennam, ‘there’s Cavalletto. He shall go with you, if you like. I could not afford to lose him, but you will bring him safe back.’

‘Well! I am much obliged to you, my boy,’ said Mr Meagles, turning it over, ‘but I think not. No, I think I’ll be pulled through by Mother. Caval-looro (I stick at his very name to start with, and it sounds like the chorus to a comic song) is so necessary to you, that I don’t like the thought of taking him away. More

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