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.
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.
'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.
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!