Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 30

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"Yes, Pa!" cried Caddy, going to him and embracing him affectionately.

"My dear Caddy," said Mr. Jellyby.  "Never have—"

"Not Prince, Pa?" faltered Caddy.  "Not have Prince?"

"Yes, my dear," said Mr. Jellyby.  "Have him, certainly.  But, never have—"

I mentioned in my account of our first visit in Thavies Inn that Richard described Mr. Jellyby as frequently opening his mouth after dinner without saying anything.  It was a habit of his.  He opened his mouth now a great many times and shook his head in a melancholy manner.

"What do you wish me not to have?  Don't have what, dear Pa?" asked Caddy, coaxing him, with her arms round his neck.

"Never have a mission, my dear child."

Mr. Jellyby groaned and laid his head against the wall again, and this was the only time I ever heard him make any approach to expressing his sentiments on the Borrioboolan question.  I suppose he had been more talkative and lively once, but he seemed to have been completely exhausted long before I knew him.

I thought Mrs. Jellyby never would have left off serenely looking over her papers and drinking coffee that night.  It was twelve o'clock before we could obtain possession of the room, and the clearance it required then was so discouraging that Caddy, who was almost tired out, sat down in the middle of the dust and cried.  But she soon cheered up, and we did wonders with it before we went to bed.

In the morning it looked, by the aid of a few flowers and a quantity of soap and water and a little arrangement, quite gay.  The plain breakfast made a cheerful show, and Caddy was perfectly charming.  But when my darling came, I thought—and I think now—that I never had seen such a dear face as my beautiful pet's.

We made a little feast for the children upstairs, and we put Peepy at the head of the table, and we showed them Caddy in her bridal dress, and they clapped their hands and hurrahed, and Caddy cried to think that she was going away from them and hugged them over and over again until we brought Prince up to fetch her away—when, I am sorry to say, Peepy bit him.  Then there was old Mr. Turveydrop downstairs, in a state of deportment not to be expressed, benignly blessing Caddy and giving my guardian to understand that his son's happiness was his own parental work and that he sacrificed personal considerations to ensure it.  "My dear sir," said Mr. Turveydrop, "these young people will live with me; my house is large enough for their accommodation, and they shall not want the shelter of my roof.  I could have wished—you will understand the allusion, Mr. Jarndyce, for you remember my illustrious patron the Prince Regent—I could have wished that my son had married into a family where there was more deportment, but the will of heaven be done!"

Mr. and Mrs. Pardiggle were of the party—Mr. Pardiggle, an obstinate-looking man with a large waistcoat and stubbly hair, who was always talking in a loud bass voice about his mite, or Mrs. Pardiggle's mite, or their five boys' mites.  Mr. Quale, with his hair brushed back as usual and his knobs of temples shining very much, was also there, not in the character of a disappointed lover, but as the accepted of a young—at least, an unmarried—lady, a Miss Wisk, who was also there.  Miss Wisk's mission, my guardian said, was to show the world that woman's mission was man's mission and that the only genuine mission of both man and woman was to be always moving declaratory resolutions about things in general at public meetings.  The guests were few, but were, as one might expect at Mrs. Jellyby's, all devoted to public objects only.  Besides those I have mentioned, there was an extremely dirty lady with her bonnet all awry and the ticketed price of her dress still sticking on it, whose neglected home, Caddy told me, was like a filthy wilderness, but whose church was like a fancy fair.  A very contentious gentleman, who said it was his mission to be everybody's brother but who appeared to be on terms of coolness with the whole of his large family, completed the party.