Our Mutual Friend HTML version

10. A Successor
Some of the Reverend Frank Milvey's brethren had found themselves
exceedingly uncomfortable in their minds, because they were required to bury
the dead too hopefully. But, the Reverend Frank, inclining to the belief that they
were required to do one or two other things (say out of nine-and-thirty) calculated
to trouble their consciences rather more if they would think as much about them,
held his peace.
Indeed, the Reverend Frank Milvey was a forbearing man, who noticed many sad
warps and blights in the vineyard wherein he worked, and did not profess that
they made him savagely wise. He only learned that the more he himself knew, in
his little limited human way, the better he could distantly imagine what
Omniscience might know.
Wherefore, if the Reverend Frank had had to read the words that troubled some
of his brethren, and profitably touched innumerable hearts, in a worse case than
Johnny's, he would have done so out of the pity and humility of his soul. Reading
them over Johnny, he thought of his own six children, but not of his poverty, and
read them with dimmed eyes. And very seriously did he and his bright little wife,
who had been listening, look down into the small grave and walk home arm-in-
There was grief in the aristocratic house, and there was joy in the Bower. Mr
Wegg argued, if an orphan were wanted, was he not an orphan himself; and
could a better be desired? And why go beating about Brentford bushes, seeking
orphans forsooth who had established no claims upon you and made no
sacrifices for you, when here was an orphan ready to your hand who had given
up in your cause, Miss Elizabeth, Master George, Aunt Jane, and Uncle Parker?
Mr Wegg chuckled, consequently, when he heard the tidings. Nay, it was
afterwards affirmed by a witness who shall at present be nameless, that in the
seclusion of the Bower he poked out his wooden leg, in the stage-ballet manner,
and executed a taunting or triumphant pirouette on the genuine leg remaining to
John Rokesmith's manner towards Mrs Boffin at this time, was more the manner
of a young man towards a mother, than that of a Secretary towards his
employer's wife. It had always been marked by a subdued affectionate deference
that seemed to have sprung up on the very day of his engagement; whatever
was odd in her dress or her ways had seemed to have no oddity for him; he had
sometimes borne a quietly-amused face in her company, but still it had seemed
as if the pleasure her genial temper and radiant nature yielded him, could have
been quite as naturally expressed in a tear as in a smile. The completeness of