Poor Miss Finch
Second Appearance of Jicks
FIVE more days passed.
During that interval, we saw our new neighbor constantly. Either Oscar came to the
rectory, or we went to Browndown. Reverend Finch waited, with a masterly assumption
of suspecting nothing, until the relations between the two young people were ripe enough
to develop into relations of acknowledged love. They were already (under Lucilla's
influence) advancing rapidly to that point. You are not to blame my poor blind girl, if you
please, for frankly encouraging the man she loved. He was the most backward man--
viewed as a suitor--whom I ever met with. The fonder he grew of her, the more timid and
self-distrustful he became. I own I don't like a modest man; and I cannot honestly say that
Mr. Oscar Dubourg, on closer acquaintance, advanced himself much in my estimation.
However, Lucilla understood him, and that was enough. She was determined to have the
completest possible image of him in her mind. Everybody in the house who had seen him
(the children included) she examined and cross-examined on the subject of his personal
appearance, as she had already examined and cross-examined me. His features and his
color, his height and his breadth; his ornaments and his clothes--on all these points she
collected evidence, in every direction and in the smallest detail. It was an especial relief
and delight to her to hear, on all sides, that his complexion was fair. There was no
reasoning with her against her blind horror of dark shades of color, whether seen in men,
women, or things. She was quite unable to account for it; she could only declare it.
"I have the strangest instincts of my own about some things," she said to me one day.
"For instance, I knew that Oscar was bright and fair--I mean I felt it in myself--on that
delightful evening when I first heard the sound of his voice. It went straight from my ear
to my heart; and it described him, just as the rest of you have described him to me since.
Mrs. Finch tells me his complexion is lighter than mine. Do you think so too? I am so
glad to hear that he is fairer than I am! Did you ever meet before with a person like me? I
have the oddest ideas in this blind head of mine. I associate life and beauty with light
colors, and death and crime with dark colors. If I married a man with a dark complexion,
and if I recovered my sight afterwards, I should run away from him."
This singular prejudice of hers against dark people was a little annoying to me on
personal grounds. It was a sort of reflection on my own taste. Between ourselves, the late
Doctor Pratolungo was of a fine mahogany brown all over.
As for affairs in general at Dimchurch, my chronicle of the five days finds little to dwell
on that is worth recording.
We were not startled by any second appearance of the two ruffians at Browndown--
neither was any change made by Oscar in his domestic establishment. He was favored
with more than one visit from our little wandering Jicks. On each occasion, the child
gravely reminded him of his rash promise to appeal to the police, and visit with corporal
punishment the two ugly strangers who had laughed at her. When were the men to be
beaten? and when was Jicks to see it? Such were the serious questions with which this
young lady regularly opened the proceedings, on each occasion when she favored Oscar
with a morning call.
On the sixth day, the gold and silver plates were returned to Browndown from the
manufactory in London.