Mr Tulliver of Dorlcote Mill, Declares His Resolution about Tom

`WHAT I want, you know,' said Mr Tulliver, `what I want, is to give Tom a good eddication: an eddication as'll be a bread to him. That was what I was thinking on when I gave notice for him to leave th' Academy at Ladyday. I mean to put him to a downright good school at Midsummer. The two years at th' Academy 'ud ha' done well enough, if I'd meant to make a miller and farmer of him, for he's had a fine sight more schoolin' nor I ever got: all the learnin' my father ever paid for was a bit o' birch at one end and the alphabet at th' other. But I should like Tom to be a bit of scholard, so as he might be up to the tricks o'these fellows as talk fine and write wi' a flourish. It 'ud be a help to me wi' these law-suits and arbitrations and things. I wouldn't make a downright lawyer o' the lad - I should be sorry for him to be a raskill - but a sort o' engineer, or a surveyor, or an auctioneer and vallyer, like Riley, or one o'them smartish businesses as are all profits and no outlay, only for a big watch-chain and a high stool. They're pretty nigh all one, and they're not far off being even wi' the law, I believe; for Riley looks Lawyer Wakem i' the face as hard as one cat looks another. He's none frighted at him.' Mr Tulliver was speaking to his wife, a blond comely woman in a fan-shaped cap. (I am afraid to think how long it is since fan-shaped caps were worn - they must be so near coming in again. At that time, when Mrs Tulliver was nearly forty, they were new at St Ogg's and considered sweet things.)

`Well, Mr Tulliver, you know best: I've no objections. But hadn't I better kill a couple o' fowl and have th' aunts and uncles to dinner next week, so as you may hear what Sister Glegg and Sister Pullet have got to say about it? There's a couple o' fowl wants killing!'

`You may kill every fowl i' the yard, if you like, Bessy; but I shall ask neither aunt nor uncle what I'm to do wi'my own lad,' said Mr Tulliver, defiantly.

`Dear heart,' said Mrs Tulliver, shocked at this sanguinary rhetoric, `how can you talk so, Mr Tulliver? But it's your way to speak disrespectful o' my family, and Sister Glegg throws all the blame upo' me, though I'm sure I'm as innocent as the babe unborn. For nobody's ever heard me say as it wasn't lucky for my children to have aunts and uncles as can live independent. Howiver, if Tom's to go to a new school, I should like him to go where I can wash him and mend him; else he might as well have calico as linen, for they'd be one as yallow as th' other before they'd been washed half-a-dozen times. And then, when the box is goin'backards and forrards, I could send the lad a cake, or a pork-pie, or an apple; for he can do with an extry bit, bless him, whether they stint him at the meals or no. My children can eat as much victuals as most, thank God.'

`Well, well, we won't send him out o' reach o' the carrier's cart, if other things fit in,' said Mr Tulliver. `But you mustn't put a spoke i' the wheel about the washin', if we can't get a school near enough. That's the fault I have to find wi' you, Bessy: if you see a stick i' the road, you're allays thinkin' you can't step over it. You'd want me not to hire a good waggoner, 'cause he'd got a mole on his face.'

`Dear heart!' said Mrs Tulliver, in mild surprise, `when did I iver make objections to a man, because he'd got a mole on his face? I'm sure I'm rether fond o' the moles, for my brother, as is dead an' gone, had a mole on his brow. But I can't remember your iver offering to hire a waggoner with a mole, Mr Tulliver. There was John Gibbs hadn't a mole on his face no more nor you have, an' I was all for having you hire him; an' so you did hire him, an' if he hadn't died o' th' inflammation, as we paid Dr Turnbull for attending him, he'd very like ha' been driving the waggon now. He might have a mole somewhere out o' sight, but how was I to know that, Mr Tulliver?'

`No, no, Bessy; I didn't mean justly the mole; I meant it to stand for summat else; but niver mind - it's puzzling work, talking is. What I'm thinking on, is how to find the right sort o' school to send Tom to, for I might be ta'en in again, as I've been wi' the 'Cademy. I'll have nothing to do wi' a 'Cademy again: whativer school I send Tom to, it shan't be a 'Cademy. It shall be a place where the lads spend their time i' summat else besides blacking the family's shoes, and getting up the potatoes. It's an uncommon puzzling thing to know what school to pick.'

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