‘I—ha—thought it was Young john!’ said Mr Dorrit. ‘The young man may come up,’ turning to the attendants, as he passed on: ‘oh yes, he may come up. Let Young John follow. I will speak to him above.’

Young John followed, smiling and much gratified. Mr Dorrit’s rooms were reached. Candles were lighted. The attendants withdrew.

‘Now, sir,’ said Mr Dorrit, turning round upon him and seizing him by the collar when they were safely alone. ‘What do you mean by this?’

The amazement and horror depicted in the unfortunate john’s face— for he had rather expected to be embraced next—were of that powerfully expressive nature that Mr Dorrit withdrew his hand and merely glared at him.

‘How dare you do this?’ said Mr Dorrit. ‘How do you presume to come here? How dare you insult me?’

‘I insult you, sir?’ cried Young John. ‘Oh!’

‘Yes, sir,’ returned Mr Dorrit. ‘Insult me. Your coming here is an affront, an impertinence, an audacity. You are not wanted here.

Who sent you here? What—ha—the Devil do you do here?’

‘I thought, sir,’ said Young John, with as pale and shocked a face as ever had been turned to Mr Dorrit’s in his life—even in his College life: ‘I thought, sir, you mightn t object to have the goodness to accept a bundle—’

‘Damn your bundle, sir!’ cried Mr Dorrit, in irrepressible rage. ‘I—hum—don’t smoke.’

‘I humbly beg your pardon, sir. You used to.’

‘Tell me that again,’ cried Mr Dorrit, quite beside himself, ‘and I’ll take the poker to you!’

John Chivery backed to the door.

‘Stop, sir!’ cried Mr Dorrit. ‘Stop! Sit down. Confound you,

sit down!’

John Chivery dropped into the chair nearest the door, and Mr Dorrit walked up and down the room; rapidly at first; then, more slowly. Once, he went to the window, and stood there with his forehead against the glass. All of a sudden, he turned and said:

‘What else did you come for, Sir?’

‘Nothing else in the world, sir. Oh dear me! Only to say, Sir, that I hoped you was well, and only to ask if Miss Amy was Well?’

‘What’s that to you, sir?’ retorted Mr Dorrit.

‘It’s nothing to me, sir, by rights. I never thought of lessening the distance betwixt us, I am sure. I know it’s a liberty, sir, but I never thought you’d have taken it ill. Upon my word and honour, sir,’ said Young John, with emotion, ‘in my poor way, I am too proud to have come, I assure you, if I had thought so.’

Mr Dorrit was ashamed. He went back to the window, and leaned his forehead against the glass for some time. When he turned, he had his handkerchief in his hand, and he had been wiping his eyes with it, and he looked tired and ill.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.