ever good I may be fortunate enough to do the
children, you will more than pay back to me, if
you'll enter into this little bargain comfortably, and
easily, and good-naturedly, without another word
The bargain was ratified on the spot ; and Miss
Tox found herself so much at home already, that
without delay she instituted a preliminary examina-
tion of the children all round â€” which Mr. Toodle
much admired â€” and booked their ages, names, and
acquirements on a piece of paper. This ceremony,
and a little attendant gossip, prolonged the time
until after their usual hour of going to bed, and
detained Miss Tox at the Toodle fireside until it
was too late for her to walk home alone. The
gallant Grinder, however, being still there, politely
382 DOMBEY AND SON.
offered to attend her to her own door ; and as it
was something to Miss Tox to be seen home by a
youth whom Mr. Dombey had first inducted into
those manly garments which are rarely mentioned
by name, she very readily accepted the proposal.
After shaking hands with Mr. Toodle and Polly,
and kissing all the children, Miss Tox left the
house, therefore, with unlimited popularity, and
carrying away with her so light a heart that it
might have given Mrs. Chick offence if that good
lady could have weighed it.
Rob the Grinder, in his modesty, would have
walked behind, but Miss Tox desired him to keep
beside her, for conversational purposes ; and, as she
afterwards expressed it to his mother, " drew him
out " upon the road.
He drew out so bright, and clear, and shining,
that Miss Tox was charmed with him. The more
Miss Tox drew him out, the finer he came â€” like
wire. There never was a better or more promising
youth â€” a more affectionate, steady, prudent, sober,
honest, meek, candid young man â€” than Rob drew
out that night.
** I am quite glad," said Miss Tox, arrived at her
own door, "to know you, I hope you'll consider
me your friend, and that you'll come and see me as
often as you like. Do you keep a money-box ? "
" Yes, ma'am," returned Rob ; " I'm saving up
against I've got enough to put in the bank, ma'am."
"Very laudable indeed," said Miss Tox, "I'm
glad to hear it. Put this half-crown into it, if you
" Oh, thank you, ma'am," replied Rob, " but
really I couldn't think of depriving you,"
DOMBEY AND SON. 383
"I commend your independent spirit," said Miss
Tox, "but it's no deprivation, I assure you. I shall
be offended if you don't take it, as a mark of my
good-will. Good-night, Robin."
" Good-night, ma'am," said Rob, " and thank
you ! "
Who ran sniggering off to get change, and tossed
it away with the pieman. But they never taught
honor at the Grinders' School, where the system
that prevailed was particularly strong in the engen-
dering of hypocrisy. Insomuch that many of the
friends and masters of past Grinders said, If this
were what came of education for the common
people, let us have none. Some more rationally
said, Let us have a better one. But, the governing
powers of the Grinders' Company were always
ready for them, by picking out a few boys who liad
turned out well, in spite of the system, and roundly
asserting that they could have only turned out well
because of it. Which settled the business of those
objectors out of hand, and established the glory of
the Grinders' Institution.
FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN EDWARD
Time, sure of foot and strong of will, had so
pressed onward, that the year enjoined by the old
instrument-maker, as the term during which his
friend should refrain from opening the sealed packet
accompanying the letter he had left for him, was
now nearly expired, and Captain Cuttle began to
look at it of an evening with feelings of mystery
The captain, in his honor, would as soon have
thought of opening the parcel one hour before the
expiration of the term as he would have thought of
opening himself, to study his own anatomy. He
merely brought it out, at a certain stage of his
first evening pipe, laid it on the table, and sat
gazing at the outside of it, through the smoke, in
silent gravity, for two or three hours at a spell.
Sometimes, when he had contemplated it thus for a
pretty long while, the captain would hitch his chair,
by degrees, farther and farther off, as if to get
beyond the range of its fascination ; but, if this
were his design, he never succeeded : for even when
he was brought up by the parlor wall, the packet
DOMUEY AND SON. 385
still attracted him ; or if his eyes, in thoughtful
"wandering, roved to the ceiling or the fire, its image
immediately followed, and posted itself conspicu-
ously among the coals, or took up an advantageous
position on the whitewash.
In respect of Heart's Delight, the captain's
parental regard and admiration knew no change.
But, since his last interview with Mr. Carker, Cap-
tain Cuttle had come to entertain doubts whether
his former intervention in behalf of that young
lady and his dear boy Wal'r had proved altogether
so favorable as he could have wished, and as he at
the time believed. The captain was troubled with
a serious misgiving that he had done more harm
than good, in short; and in his remorse and modesty,
he made the best atonement he could think of, by
putting himself out of the way of doing any harm
to any one, and, as it were, throwing himself over-
board for a dangerous person.
Self-buried, therefore, among the instruments,
the captain never went near Mr. Dombey's house,
or reported himself in any way to Florence or ]Miss
Nipper. He even severed himself from ]\[r. Perch,
on the occasion of his next visit, by dryly inform-
ing that gentleman that he thanked him for his
company, but had cut himself adrift from all such
acquaintance, as he didn't know what magazine he
mightn't blow up, without meaning of it. In this
self-imposed retirement the captain passed whole
days and weeks without interchanging a word with
any one but Rob the Grinder, whom he esteemed as
a pattern of disinterested attachment and fidelity.
In this retirement, the captain, gazing at the packet
of an evening, would sit smoking, and thinking of
386 DOMBEY AND SON.
Florence and poor Walter, until they both seemed
to his homely fancy to be dead, and to have passed
away into eternal youth, the beautiful and innocent
children of his first remembrance.
The captain did not, however, in his musings,
neglect his own improvement, or the mental culture
of Rob the Grinder. That young man was gener-
ally required to read out of some book to the cap-
tain for one hour every evening ; and, as the
captain implicitly believed that all books were true,
he accumulated, by this means, many remarkable
facts. On Sunday nights the captain always read
for himself, before going to bed, a certain Divine
Sermon once delivered on a Mount ; and although
he was accustomed to quote the text, without book,
after his own manner, he appeared to read it with
as reverent an understanding of its heavenly spirit
as if he had got it all by heart in Greek, and had
been able to write any number of fierce theological
disquisitions on its every phrase.
Rob the Grinder, whose reverence for the inspired
writings, under the admirable system of the Grinders'
School, had been developed by a perpetual bruising
of his intellectual shins against all the proper
names of all the tribes of Judah, and by the
monotonous repetition of hard verses, especially by
way of punishment, and by the parading of him at
six years old in leather breeches three times a Sun-
day, very high up, in a very hot church, with a
great organ buzzing against his drowsy head, like
an exceedingly busy bee â€” Rob the Grinder made a
mighty show of being edified when the captain
ceased to read, and generally yawned and nodded
while the reading was in progress. The latter fact
DOMBEY AND SON. 387
being never so much as suspected by the good
Captain Cuttle, also, as a man of business, took
to keeping books. In these he entered observations
on the weather, and on the currents of the wagons
and other vehicles : which he observed, in that
quarter, 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 " â€” so the captain
entered it â€” 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 say-
ing much, seemed to have an idea that the little
back-parlor was an eligible room to chuckle in, as
he would sit and avail himself of its accommoda-
tions in that regard by the half-hour together, with-
out at all advancing in intimacy with the captain.
The captain, rendered cautious by his late expe-
rience, 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 hypo-
crite. His frequent reference to Miss Donibey was
suspicious ; but the captain had a secret kindness
for Mr. Toots's apparent reliance on him, and for-
bore to decide against him for the present ; merely
eying him with a sagacity not to be described,
whenever he approached the subject that was near-
est to his heart.
388 DOMBEY AND SON.
"Captain Gills," blurted out Mr. Toots one day
all at once, as his manner was, " do you think you
could think favorably of that proposition of mine,
and give me the pleasure of your acquaintance ? "
" Why, I'll 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
" Captain Gills, it's very kind of you," retorted
Mr. Toots. " I'm much obliged to you. Upon my
word and honor, Captain Gills, it would be a charity
to give me the pleasure of your acquaintance. It
" You see, brother," argued the captain slowly,
*â€¢' 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, nod-
ding his head thoughtfully ; " and true. Now,
lookee 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 honor, 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 transmi-
DOMBEY AND SON. 389
grated into Miss Dombey's dog â€” I â€” 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 com-
passion, " if you're in arnest â€” "
"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 â€”
making his nose more mottled in the process â€” and
planting himself before Mr. Toots, and hooking
him by the lapel of his coat, addressed him in
these words, Avhile Mr. Toots looked up into his
face with much attention and some wonder.
" If you're in arnest, you see, my lad," said the
captain, "you're a object of clemency, and clemency
is the brightest jewel in the crown of a Briton's
head, for which you'll overhaul the constitution, as
laid down in Kule Britannia, and, when found, that
is the charter as them garden angels was a-singing
of, so many times over. Stand by ! This here
proposal o' yourn takes me a little aback. And
why ? Because I holds my own only, you under-
stand, in these here waters, and haven't got no con-
sort, and maybe don't wish for none. Steady ! You
390 DOMBEY AND SON.
hailed me first, along of a certain young lady as
you was chartered by. Now, if you and me is to
keep one another's company at all, that there young
creetur's name must never be named or referred to.
I don't know what harm mayn't have been done by
naming of it too free afore now, and thereby I
brings up short. D'ye make me out pretty clear,
brother ? "
'* Well, you'll excuse me. Captain Gills," replied
Mr. Toots, " if I don't quite follow you sometimes.
But upon my word I â€” It's a hard thing. Captain
Gills, not to be able to mention Miss Dombey. I
really have got such a dreadful load here " â€” Mr.
Toots pathetically touched his shirt-front with both
hands â€” " that I feel, night and day, exactly as if
somebody was sitting upon me."
" Them," said the captain, " is the terms I offer.
If they're hard upon you, brother, as mayhap they
are, give 'em a wide berth, sheer off, and part com-
pany cheerily ! "
"Captain Gills," returned Mr. Toots, "I hardly
know how it is, but after what you told me when I
came here for the first time, I â€” I feel that I'd
rather think about Miss Dombey in your society
than talk about her in almost anybody else's.
Therefore, Captain Gills, if you'll give me the
pleasure of your acquaintance, I shall be very
happy to accept it on your own conditions. I wish
to be honorable. Captain Gills," said Mr. Toots,
holding back his extended hand for a moment, " and
therefore I am obliged to say that I can not help
thinking about Miss Dombey. It's impossible for
me to make a promise not to think about her."
" My lad," said the captain, whose opinion of Mr.
DOMBEY AND SON. 391
Toots was much improved by this candid avowal,
"a man's thoughts is like the wind, and nobody
can't answer for 'em for certain, any length of time
together. Is it a treaty as to words ? "
"As to words, Captain Gills," returned Mr.
Toots, "I think I can bind myself."
Mr. Toots gave Captain Cuttle his hand upon it,
then and there ; and the captain, with a pleasant
and gracious show of condescension, bestowed his
acquaintance upon him formally. Mr. Toots seemed
much relieved and gladdened by the acquisition,
and chuckled rapturously during the remainder of
his visit. The captain, for his part, was not ill
pleased to occupy that position of patronage, and
was exceedingly well satisfied by his own prudence
But rich as Captain Cuttle was in the latter
quality, he received a surprise that same evening
from a no less ingenuous and simple youth than Rob
the Grinder. That artless lad, drinking tea at the
same table, and bending meekly over his cup and
saucer, having taken sidelong observations of his
master for some time, who was reading the news-
paper with great difficulty, but much dignity,
through his glasses, broke silence by saying, â€”
" Oh ! I beg your pardon, captain, but you mayn't
be in want of any pigeons, may you, sir ? "
'' No, my lad," replied the captain.
" Because I was wishing to dispose of mine, cap-
tain," said Rob.
" Ay, ay ? " cried the captain, lifting up his
bushy eyebrows a little.
" Yes ; I'm going, captain, if you please," said
392 DOMBEY AND SON.
" Going ! Where are you going ? " asked the cap
tain, looking round at him over the glasses.
"What! didn't you know that I was going to
leave you, captain ? " asked Rob with a sneaking
The captain put down the paper, took off his
spectacles, and brought his eyes to bear on the
" Oh, yes, captain, I am going to give you warn-
ing. I thought you'd have known that beforehand,
perhaps," said Rob, rubbing his hands, and getting
up. " If you could be so good as provide yourself
soon, captain, it would be a great convenience to
me. You couldn't provide yourself by to-morrow
morning, I am afraid, captain ; could you, do you
think ? "
" And you're a-going to desert your colors, are you,
my lad ? " said the captain, after a long examina-
tion of his face.
" Oh, it's very hard upon a cove, captain," cried
the tender Rob, injured and indignant in a moment,
" that he can't give lawful warning, without being
frowned at in that way, and called a deserter. You
haven't any right to call a poor cove names, captain.
It ain't because I'm a servant, and you're a master,
that you're to go and libel me. What wrong have I
done ? Come, captain, let me know what my crime
is, will you ? "
The stricken Grinder wept, and put his coat-cuff
in his eye.
"Come, captain," cried the injured youth, "give
my crime a name ! What have I been and done ?
Have I stolen any of the property ? Have I set
the house afire ? If I have, why don't you give me
DO:^LBEY AXD SON. 393
in charge, and try it ? But to take away the char-
acter of a lad that's been a good servant to you, be-
cause he can't afford to stand in his own light for
your good, what a injury it is, and what a bad
return for faithful service ! This is the way young
coves is spiled and drove wrong. I wonder at you,
captain, I do."'
All of which the Grinder howled forth in a
lachrymose whine, and backing carefully towards
" And so you've got another berth, have you, my
lad ? " said the captain, eying him intently.
" Yes, captain, since you put it in that shape, I
have got another berth," cried Rob, backing more
and more ; "a better berth than I've got here, and
one where I don't so much as want 3'our good word,
captain, which is fort'nate for me, after all the dirt
you've throw'd at me, because I'm poor, and can't
afford to stand in my own light for your good. Yes,
I have got another berth ; and if it wasn't for leav-
ing you unprovided, captain, I'd go to it now, sooner
than I'd take them names from you, because I'm
poor, and can't afford to stand in my own light for
your good. Why do you reproach me for being
poor, and not standing in my own light for your
good, captain ? How can you so demean your-
self ? "
"Look ye here, my boy," replied the peaceful
captain. "Don't you pay out no more of them
"Well, then, don't you pay in no more of your
words, captain," retorted the roused innocent, get-
ting louder in his whine, and backing into the shop.
" I'd sooner you took my blood than my character."
394 DOMBEY AISTD SON.
" Because," pursued the captain calmly, " you
have heerd, maybe, of such a thing as a rope's end."
" Oh, have I, though, captain ? " cried the taunting
Grinder. ''No, I haven't. I never heerd of any
such a article ! "
" Well," said the captain, " it's my belief as you'll
know more about it pretty soon, if you don't keep
a bright lookout. I can read your signals, my lad.
You may go."
" Oh ! I may go at once, may I, captain ? " cried
Rob, exulting in his success. " But mind ! / never
asked to go at once, captain. You are not to take
away my character again, because you send me off
of your own accord. And you're not to stop any of
my wages, captain ! "
His employer settled the last point by producing
the tin canister, and telling the Grinder's money
out in full upon the table. Rob, snivelling and
sobbing, and grievously wounded in his feelings,
took up the pieces one by one, with a sob and a
snivel for each, and tied them up separately in
knots in his pocket-handkerchief ; then he ascended
to the roof of the house, and filled his hat and
pockets with pigeons ; then, came down to his bed
under the counter and made up his bundle, snivel-
ling and sobbing louder, as if he were cut to the
heart by old associations ; then he whined, " Good-
night, captain ; I leave you without malice ! " and
then, going out upon the doorstep, pulled the little
Midshipman's nose as a parting indignity, and went
away down the street grinning triumph.
The captain, left to himself, resumed his perusal
of the news as if nothing unusual or unexpected
had taken place, and went reading on with the
DOISIBEY AND SON. 395
greatest assiduity. But never a â€¢word did Captain
Cuttle understand, though he read a vast number,
for Rob the Grinder was scampering up one column
and down another all through the newspaper.
It is doubtful whether the worthy captain had
ever felt himself quite abandoned until now ; but
now, old Sol Gills, Walter, and Heart's Delight
were lost to him indeed, and now Mr. Carker de-
ceived and jeered him cruelly. They were all repre-
sented in the false Rob, to whom he had held forth
many a time on the recollections that were warm
Avithin him ; he had believed in the false Rob, and
had been glad to believe in him ; he had made a
companion of him, as the last of the old ship's
company ; he had taken the command of the little
Midshipman with him at his right hand ; he had
meant to do his duty by him, and had felt almost as
kindly towards the boy as if they had been ship-
wrecked and cast upon a desert place together. And
now that the false Rob had brought distrust, treach-
ery, and meanness into the very parlor, which was a
kind of sacred place. Captain Cuttle felt as if the
parlor might have gone down next, and not surprised
him much by its sinking, or given him any very
Therefore Captain Cuttle read the newspaper with
profound attention and no comprehension, and there-
fore Captain Cuttle said nothing whatever about Rob
to himself, or admitted to himself that he was think-
ing about him, or would recognize in the most dis-
tant manner that Rob had anything to do with his
feeling as lonely as Robinson Crusoe.
In the same composed, business-like Avay the cap-
tain stepped over to Leadenhall Market in the dusk,
396 DOMBEY AND SON.
and effected an arrangement with a private watch-
man on duty there, to come and put up and take
down the shutters of the Wooden Midshipman every
night and morning. He then called in at the eat-
ing-house to diminish by one-half the daily rations
theretofore supplied to the Midshipman, and at the
public-house to stop the traitor's beer, " My young
man," said the captain, in explanation to the young
lady at the bar, " my young man having bettered
himself, miss." Lastly, the captain resolved to take
possession of the bed under the counter, and to turn
in there o' nights instead of upstairs, as sole guard-
ian of the property.
From this bed Captain Cuttle daily rose thence-
forth, and clapped on his glazed hat at six o'clock
in the morning, with the solitary air of Crusoe
finishing his toilet with his goatskin cap ; and al-
though his fears of a visitation from the savage tribe,
MacStinger, were somewhat cooled, as similar appre-
hensions on the part of that lone mariner used to be
by the lapse of a long interval without any symp-
toms of the cannibals, he still observed a regular
routine of defensive operations, and never encoun-
tered a bonnet without previous survey from his
castle of retreat. In the meantime (during which
he received no call from Mr. Toots, who wrote to
say he was out of town) his own voice began to
have a strange sound in his ears : and he acquired
such habits of profound meditation from much pol-
ishing and stowing away of the stock, and from
much sitting behind the counter reading, or looking
out of window, that the red rim made on his fore-
head by the hard glazed hat sometimes ached again
with excess of reflection.
DOMBEY AND SON. 397
The year being now expired, Captain Cuttle
deemed it expedient to open the packet ; but as
he had always designed doing this in the presence
of Kob the Grinder, who had brought it to him, and
as he had an idea that it would be regular and ship-
shape to open it in the presence of somebody, he
was sadly put to it for want of a witness. In this
difficulty, he hailed one day with unusual delight
the announcement in the Shipping Intelligence of
the arrival of the Cautious Clara, Captain John
Bunsby, from a coasting voyage ; and to that phil-