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Chapter 21 A Recognition

  • Nothing occurred in the night to flutter the tired dove; and the dove aros_efreshed. With Mr. Grewgious, when the clock struck ten in the morning, cam_r. Crisparkle, who had come at one plunge out of the river at Cloisterham.
  • 'Miss Twinkleton was so uneasy, Miss Rosa,' he explained to her, 'and cam_ound to Ma and me with your note, in such a state of wonder, that, to quie_er, I volunteered on this service by the very first train to be caught in th_orning. I wished at the time that you had come to me; but now I think it bes_hat you did as you did, and came to your guardian.'
  • 'I did think of you,' Rosa told him; 'but Minor Canon Corner was so near him —'
  • 'I understand. It was quite natural.'
  • 'I have told Mr. Crisparkle,' said Mr. Grewgious, 'all that you told me las_ight, my dear. Of course I should have written it to him immediately; but hi_oming was most opportune. And it was particularly kind of him to come, for h_ad but just gone.'
  • 'Have you settled,' asked Rosa, appealing to them both, 'what is to be don_or Helena and her brother?'
  • 'Why really,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'I am in great perplexity. If even Mr.
  • Grewgious, whose head is much longer than mine, and who is a whole night'_ogitation in advance of me, is undecided, what must I be!'
  • The Unlimited here put her head in at the door — after having rapped, and bee_uthorised to present herself — announcing that a gentleman wished for a wor_ith another gentleman named Crisparkle, if any such gentleman were there. I_o such gentleman were there, he begged pardon for being mistaken.
  • 'Such a gentleman is here,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'but is engaged just now.'
  • 'Is it a dark gentleman?' interposed Rosa, retreating on her guardian.
  • 'No, Miss, more of a brown gentleman.'
  • 'You are sure not with black hair?' asked Rosa, taking courage.
  • 'Quite sure of that, Miss. Brown hair and blue eyes.'
  • 'Perhaps,' hinted Mr. Grewgious, with habitual caution, 'it might be well t_ee him, reverend sir, if you don't object. When one is in a difficulty or a_ loss, one never knows in what direction a way out may chance to open. It i_ business principle of mine, in such a case, not to close up any direction, but to keep an eye on every direction that may present itself. I could relat_n anecdote in point, but that it would be premature.'
  • 'If Miss Rosa will allow me, then? Let the gentleman come in,' said Mr.
  • Crisparkle.
  • The gentleman came in; apologised, with a frank but modest grace, for no_inding Mr. Crisparkle alone; turned to Mr. Crisparkle, and smilingly aske_he unexpected question: 'Who am I?'
  • 'You are the gentleman I saw smoking under the trees in Staple Inn, a fe_inutes ago.'
  • 'True. There I saw you. Who else am I?'
  • Mr. Crisparkle concentrated his attention on a handsome face, much sunburnt; and the ghost of some departed boy seemed to rise, gradually and dimly, in th_oom.
  • The gentleman saw a struggling recollection lighten up the Minor Canon'_eatures, and smiling again, said: 'What will you have for breakfast thi_orning? You are out of jam.'
  • 'Wait a moment!' cried Mr. Crisparkle, raising his right hand. 'Give m_nother instant! Tartar!'
  • The two shook hands with the greatest heartiness, and then went the wonderfu_ength — for Englishmen — of laying their hands each on the other's shoulders, and looking joyfully each into the other's face.
  • 'My old fag!' said Mr. Crisparkle.
  • 'My old master!' said Mr. Tartar.
  • 'You saved me from drowning!' said Mr. Crisparkle.
  • 'After which you took to swimming, you know!' said Mr. Tartar.
  • 'God bless my soul!' said Mr. Crisparkle.
  • 'Amen!' said Mr. Tartar.
  • And then they fell to shaking hands most heartily again.
  • 'Imagine,' exclaimed Mr. Crisparkle, with glistening eyes: 'Miss Rosa Bud an_r. Grewgious, imagine Mr. Tartar, when he was the smallest of juniors, divin_or me, catching me, a big heavy senior, by the hair of the head, and strikin_ut for the shore with me like a water-giant!'
  • 'Imagine my not letting him sink, as I was his fag!' said Mr. Tartar. 'But th_ruth being that he was my best protector and friend, and did me more goo_han all the masters put together, an irrational impulse seized me to pick hi_p, or go down with him.'
  • 'Hem! Permit me, sir, to have the honour,' said Mr. Grewgious, advancing wit_xtended hand, 'for an honour I truly esteem it. I am proud to make you_cquaintance. I hope you didn't take cold. I hope you were not inconvenience_y swallowing too much water. How have you been since?'
  • It was by no means apparent that Mr. Grewgious knew what he said, though i_as very apparent that he meant to say something highly friendly an_ppreciative.
  • If Heaven, Rosa thought, had but sent such courage and skill to her poo_other's aid! And he to have been so slight and young then!
  • 'I don't wish to be complimented upon it, I thank you; but I think I have a_dea,' Mr. Grewgious announced, after taking a jog-trot or two across th_oom, so unexpected and unaccountable that they all stared at him, doubtfu_hether he was choking or had the cramp — 'I think I have an idea. I believe _ave had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Tartar's name as tenant of the top set i_he house next the top set in the corner?'
  • 'Yes, sir,' returned Mr. Tartar. 'You are right so far.'
  • 'I am right so far,' said Mr. Grewgious. 'Tick that off;' which he did, wit_is right thumb on his left. 'Might you happen to know the name of you_eighbour in the top set on the other side of the party-wall?' coming ver_lose to Mr. Tartar, to lose nothing of his face, in his shortness of sight.
  • 'Landless.'
  • 'Tick that off,' said Mr. Grewgious, taking another trot, and then comin_ack. 'No personal knowledge, I suppose, sir?'
  • 'Slight, but some.'
  • 'Tick that off,' said Mr. Grewgious, taking another trot, and again comin_ack. 'Nature of knowledge, Mr. Tartar?'
  • 'I thought he seemed to be a young fellow in a poor way, and I asked his leave — only within a day or so — to share my flowers up there with him; that is t_ay, to extend my flower-garden to his windows.'
  • 'Would you have the kindness to take seats?' said Mr. Grewgious. 'I have a_dea!'
  • They complied; Mr. Tartar none the less readily, for being all abroad; and Mr.
  • Grewgious, seated in the centre, with his hands upon his knees, thus state_is idea, with his usual manner of having got the statement by heart.
  • 'I cannot as yet make up my mind whether it is prudent to hold ope_ommunication under present circumstances, and on the part of the fair membe_f the present company, with Mr. Neville or Miss Helena. I have reason to kno_hat a local friend of ours (on whom I beg to bestow a passing but a heart_alediction, with the kind permission of my reverend friend) sneaks to an_ro, and dodges up and down. When not doing so himself, he may have som_nformant skulking about, in the person of a watchman, porter, or such-lik_anger-on of Staple. On the other hand, Miss Rosa very naturally wishes to se_er friend Miss Helena, and it would seem important that at least Miss Helena (if not her brother too, through her) should privately know from Miss Rosa'_ips what has occurred, and what has been threatened. Am I agreed wit_enerally in the views I take?'
  • 'I entirely coincide with them,' said Mr. Crisparkle, who had been ver_ttentive.
  • 'As I have no doubt I should,' added Mr. Tartar, smiling, 'if I understoo_hem.'
  • 'Fair and softly, sir,' said Mr. Grewgious; 'we shall fully confide in yo_irectly, if you will favour us with your permission. Now, if our local frien_hould have any informant on the spot, it is tolerably clear that suc_nformant can only be set to watch the chambers in the occupation of Mr.
  • Neville. He reporting, to our local friend, who comes and goes there, ou_ocal friend would supply for himself, from his own previous knowledge, th_dentity of the parties. Nobody can be set to watch all Staple, or to concer_imself with comers and goers to other sets of chambers: unless, indeed, mine.'
  • 'I begin to understand to what you tend,' said Mr. Crisparkle, 'and highl_pprove of your caution.'
  • 'I needn't repeat that I know nothing yet of the why and wherefore,' said Mr.
  • Tartar; 'but I also understand to what you tend, so let me say at once that m_hambers are freely at your disposal.'
  • 'There!' cried Mr. Grewgious, smoothing his head triumphantly, 'now we hav_ll got the idea. You have it, my dear?'
  • 'I think I have,' said Rosa, blushing a little as Mr. Tartar looked quickl_owards her.
  • 'You see, you go over to Staple with Mr. Crisparkle and Mr. Tartar,' said Mr.
  • Grewgious; 'I going in and out, and out and in alone, in my usual way; you g_p with those gentlemen to Mr. Tartar's rooms; you look into Mr. Tartar'_lower-garden; you wait for Miss Helena's appearance there, or you signify t_iss Helena that you are close by; and you communicate with her freely, and n_py can be the wiser.'
  • 'I am very much afraid I shall be —'
  • 'Be what, my dear?' asked Mr. Grewgious, as she hesitated. 'Not frightened?'
  • 'No, not that,' said Rosa, shyly; 'in Mr. Tartar's way. We seem to b_ppropriating Mr. Tartar's residence so very coolly.'
  • 'I protest to you,' returned that gentleman, 'that I shall think the better o_t for evermore, if your voice sounds in it only once.'
  • Rosa, not quite knowing what to say about that, cast down her eyes, an_urning to Mr. Grewgious, dutifully asked if she should put her hat on? Mr.
  • Grewgious being of opinion that she could not do better, she withdrew for th_urpose. Mr. Crisparkle took the opportunity of giving Mr. Tartar a summary o_he distresses of Neville and his sister; the opportunity was quite lon_nough, as the hat happened to require a little extra fitting on.
  • Mr. Tartar gave his arm to Rosa, and Mr. Crisparkle walked, detached, i_ront.
  • 'Poor, poor Eddy!' thought Rosa, as they went along.
  • Mr. Tartar waved his right hand as he bent his head down over Rosa, talking i_n animated way.
  • 'It was not so powerful or so sun-browned when it saved Mr. Crisparkle,'
  • thought Rosa, glancing at it; 'but it must have been very steady an_etermined even then.'
  • Mr. Tartar told her he had been a sailor, roving everywhere for years an_ears.
  • 'When are you going to sea again?' asked Rosa.
  • 'Never!'
  • Rosa wondered what the girls would say if they could see her crossing the wid_treet on the sailor's arm. And she fancied that the passers-by must think he_ery little and very helpless, contrasted with the strong figure that coul_ave caught her up and carried her out of any danger, miles and miles withou_esting.
  • She was thinking further, that his far-seeing blue eyes looked as if they ha_een used to watch danger afar off, and to watch it without flinching, drawin_earer and nearer: when, happening to raise her own eyes, she found that h_eemed to be thinking something about them.
  • This a little confused Rosebud, and may account for her never afterwards quit_nowing how she ascended (with his help) to his garden in the air, and seeme_o get into a marvellous country that came into sudden bloom like the countr_n the summit of the magic bean-stalk. May it flourish for ever!