Dombey and Son
5. Paul's Progress and Christening
Little Paul, suffering no contamination from the blood of the Toodles, grew stouter and
stronger every day. Every day, too, he was more and more ardently cherished by Miss
Tox, whose devotion was so far appreciated by Mr Dombey that he began to regard her
as a woman of great natural good sense, whose feelings did her credit and deserved
encouragement. He was so lavish of this condescension, that he not only bowed to her,
in a particular manner, on several occasions, but even entrusted such stately
recognitions of her to his sister as 'pray tell your friend, Louisa, that she is very good,' or
'mention to Miss Tox, Louisa, that I am obliged to her;'specialities which made a deep
impression on the lady thus distinguished.
Whether Miss Tox conceived that having been selected by the Fates to welcome the
little Dombey before he was born, in Kirby, Beard and Kirby's Best Mixed Pins, it
therefore naturally devolved upon her to greet him with all other forms of welcome in all
other early stages of his existence - or whether her overflowing goodness induced her
to volunteer into the domestic militia as a substitute in some sort for his deceased
Mama - or whether she was conscious of any other motives - are questions which in this
stage of the Firm's history herself only could have solved. Nor have they much bearing
on the fact (of which there is no doubt), that Miss Tox's constancy and zeal were a
heavy discouragement to Richards, who lost flesh hourly under her patronage, and was
in some danger of being superintended to death.
Miss Tox was often in the habit of assuring Mrs Chick, that nothing could exceed her
interest in all connected with the development of that sweet child;' and an observer of
Miss Tox's proceedings might have inferred so much without declaratory confirmation.
She would preside over the innocent repasts of the young heir, with ineffable
satisfaction, almost with an air of joint proprietorship with Richards in the entertainment.
At the little ceremonies of the bath and toilette, she assisted with enthusiasm. The
administration of infantine doses of physic awakened all the active sympathy of her
character; and being on one occasion secreted in a cupboard (whither she had fled in
modesty), when Mr Dombey was introduced into the nursery by his sister, to behold his
son, in the course of preparation for bed, taking a short walk uphill over Richards's
gown, in a short and airy linen jacket, Miss Tox was so transported beyond the ignorant
present as to be unable to refrain from crying out, 'Is he not beautiful Mr Dombey! Is he
not a Cupid, Sir!' and then almost sinking behind the closet door with confusion and
'Louisa,' said Mr Dombey, one day, to his sister, 'I really think I must present your friend
with some little token, on the occasion of Paul's christening. She has exerted herself so
warmly in the child's behalf from the first, and seems to understand her position so
thoroughly (a very rare merit in this world, I am sorry to say), that it would really be
agreeable to me to notice her.'