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10. Containing the Sequel of the Midshipman's Disaster
Major Bagstock, after long and frequent observation of Paul, across Princess's Place,
through his double-barrelled opera-glass; and after receiving many minute reports,
daily, weekly, and monthly, on that subject, from the native who kept himself in constant
communication with Miss Tox's maid for that purpose; came to the conclusion that
Dombey, Sir, was a man to be known, and that J. B. was the boy to make his
Miss Tox, however, maintaining her reserved behaviour, and frigidly declining to
understand the Major whenever he called (which he often did) on any little fishing
excursion connected with this project, the Major, in spite of his constitutional toughness
and slyness, was fain to leave the accomplishment of his desire in some measure to
chance, 'which,' as he was used to observe with chuckles at his club, 'has been fifty to
one in favour of Joey B., Sir, ever since his elder brother died of Yellow Jack in the
West Indies.'
It was some time coming to his aid in the present instance, but it befriended him at last.
When the dark servant, with full particulars, reported Miss Tox absent on Brighton
service, the Major was suddenly touched with affectionate reminiscences of his friend
Bill Bitherstone of Bengal, who had written to ask him, if he ever went that way, to
bestow a call upon his only son. But when the same dark servant reported Paul at Mrs
Pipchin's, and the Major, referring to the letter favoured by Master Bitherstone on his
arrival in England - to which he had never had the least idea of paying any attention -
saw the opening that presented itself, he was made so rabid by the gout, with which he
happened to be then laid up, that he threw a footstool at the dark servant in return for
his intelligence, and swore he would be the death of the rascal before he had done with
him: which the dark servant was more than half disposed to believe.
At length the Major being released from his fit, went one Saturday growling down to
Brighton, with the native behind him; apostrophizing Miss Tox all the way, and gloating
over the prospect of carrying by storm the distinguished friend to whom she attached so
much mystery, and for whom she had deserted him,
'Would you, Ma'am, would you!' said the Major, straining with vindictiveness, and
swelling every already swollen vein in his head. 'Would you give Joey B. the go-by,
Ma'am? Not yet, Ma'am, not yet! Damme, not yet, Sir. Joe is awake, Ma'am. Bagstock is
alive, Sir. J. B. knows a move or two, Ma'am. Josh has his weather-eye open, Sir. You'll
find him tough, Ma'am. Tough, Sir, tough is Joseph. Tough, and de-vilish sly!'
And very tough indeed Master Bitherstone found him, when he took that young
gentleman out for a walk. But the Major, with his complexion like a Stilton cheese, and
his eyes like a prawn's, went roving about, perfectly indifferent to Master Bitherstone's