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Dombey and Son

7. A Bird's-eye Glimpse of Miss Tox's Dwelling-place: also of
the State of Miss Tox's Affections
Miss Tox inhabited a dark little house that had been squeezed, at some remote period
of English History, into a fashionable neighbourhood at the west end of the town, where
it stood in the shade like a poor relation of the great street round the corner, coldly
looked down upon by mighty mansions. It was not exactly in a court, and it was not
exactly in a yard; but it was in the dullest of No-Thoroughfares, rendered anxious and
haggard by distant double knocks. The name of this retirement, where grass grew
between the chinks in the stone pavement, was Princess's Place; and in Princess's
Place was Princess's Chapel, with a tinkling bell, where sometimes as many as five-
and-twenty people attended service on a Sunday. The Princess's Arms was also there,
and much resorted to by splendid footmen. A sedan chair was kept inside the railing
before the Princess's Arms, but it had never come out within the memory of man; and
on fine mornings, the top of every rail (there were eight-and-forty, as Miss Tox had often
counted) was decorated with a pewter-pot.
There was another private house besides Miss Tox's in Princess's Place: not to mention
an immense Pair of gates, with an immense pair of lion-headed knockers on them,
which were never opened by any chance, and were supposed to constitute a disused
entrance to somebody's stables. Indeed, there was a smack of stabling in the air of
Princess's Place; and Miss Tox's bedroom (which was at the back) commanded a vista
of Mews, where hostlers, at whatever sort of work engaged, were continually
accompanying themselves with effervescent noises; and where the most domestic and
confidential garments of coachmen and their wives and families, usually hung, like
Macbeth's banners, on the outward walls.'
At this other private house in Princess's Place, tenanted by a retired butler who had
married a housekeeper, apartments were let Furnished, to a single gentleman: to wit, a
wooden-featured, blue-faced Major, with his eyes starting out of his head, in whom Miss
Tox recognised, as she herself expressed it, 'something so truly military;' and between
whom and herself, an occasional interchange of newspapers and pamphlets, and such
Platonic dalliance, was effected through the medium of a dark servant of the Major's
who Miss Tox was quite content to classify as a 'native,' without connecting him with
any geographical idea whatever.
Perhaps there never was a smaller entry and staircase, than the entry and staircase of
Miss Tox's house. Perhaps, taken altogether, from top to bottom, it was the most
inconvenient little house in England, and the crookedest; but then, Miss Tox said, what
a situation! There was very little daylight to be got there in the winter: no sun at the best
of times: air was out of the question, and traffic was walled out. Still Miss Tox said, think
of the situation! So said the blue-faced Major, whose eyes were starting out of his head:
who gloried in Princess's Place: and who delighted to turn the conversation at his club,
whenever he could, to something connected with some of the great people in the great
 
 
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