Poor Miss Finch
First Appearance of Jicks
THERE walked in, at the open door of the room--softly, suddenly, and composedly--a
chubby female child, who could not possibly have been more than three years old. She
had no hat or cap on her head. A dirty pinafore covered her from her chin to her feet. This
amazing apparition advanced into the middle of the room, holding hugged under one arm
a ragged and disreputable-looking doll; stared hard, first at Oscar, then at me; advanced
to my knees; laid the disreputable doll on my lap; and, pointing to a vacant chair at my
side, claimed the rights of hospitality in these words:
"Jicks will sit down."
How was it possible, under these circumstances, to attack the infamous system of modern
society? It was only possible to kiss "Jicks."
"Do you know who this is?" I inquired, as I lifted our visitor on to the chair.
Oscar burst out laughing. Like me, he now saw this mysterious young lady for the first
time. Like me, he wondered what the extraordinary nick-name under which she had
presented herself could possibly mean.
We looked at the child. The child--with its legs stretched out straight before it,
terminating in a pair of little dusty boots with holes in them--lifted its large round eyes,
overshadowed by a penthouse of unbrushed flaxen hair; looked gravely at us in return;
and made a second call on our hospitality, as follows:
"Jicks will have something to drink."
While Oscar ran into the kitchen for some milk, I succeeded in discovering the identity of
Something--I cannot well explain what--in the manner in which the child had drifted into
the room with her doll, reminded me of the lymphatic lady of the rectory, drifting
backwards and forwards with the baby in one hand and the novel in the other. I took the
liberty of examining "Jicks's" pinafore, and discovered the mark in one corner:--"Selina
Finch." Exactly as I had supposed, here was a member of Mrs. Finch's numerous family.
Rather a young member, as it struck me, to be wandering hatless round the environs of
Dimchurch, all by herself.
Oscar returned with the milk in a mug. The child--insisting on taking the mug into her
own hands--steadily emptied it to the last drop--recovered her breath with a gasp--looked
at me with a white mustache of milk on her upper lip--and announced the conclusion of
her visit, in these terms:
"Jicks will get down again."
I deposited our young friend on the floor. She took her doll, and stood for a moment deep
in thought. What was she going to do next? We were not kept long in suspense. She
suddenly put her little hot fat hand into mine, and tried to pull me after her out of the