'My dear Mr Chuzzlewit, what shocking words! Of course, I shall quarrel with him. I should quarrel with any husband. Married people always quarrel, I believe. But as to being miserable, and bitter, and all those dreadful things, you know, why I couldn't be absolutely that, unless he always had the best of it; and I mean to have the best of it myself. I always do now,' cried Merry, nodding her head and giggling very much; 'for I make a perfect slave of the creature.'
'Let it go on,' said Martin, rising. 'Let it go on! I sought to know your mind, my dear, and you have shown it me. I wish you joy. Joy!' he repeated, looking full upon her, and pointing to the wicket-gate where Jonas entered at the moment. And then, without waiting for his nephew, he passed out at another gate, and went away.
'Oh, you terrible old man!' cried the facetious Merry to herself. 'What a perfectly hideous monster to be wandering about churchyards in the broad daylight, frightening people out of their wits! Don't come here, Griffin, or I'll go away directly.'
Mr Jonas was the Griffin. He sat down upon the grass at her side, in spite of this warning, and sulkily inquired:
'What's my uncle been a-talking about?'
'About you,' rejoined Merry. 'He says you're not half good enough for me.'
'Oh, yes, I dare say! We all know that. He means to give you some present worth having, I hope. Did he say anything that looked like it?'
'THAT he didn't!' cried Merry, most decisively.
'A stingy old dog he is,' said Jonas. 'Well?'
'Griffin!' cried Miss Mercy, in counterfeit amazement; 'what are you doing, Griffin?'
'Only giving you a squeeze,' said the discomfited Jonas. 'There's no harm in that, I suppose?'
'But there is great deal of harm in it, if I don't consider it agreeable,' returned his cousin. 'Do go along, will you? You make me so hot!'
Mr Jonas withdrew his arm, and for a moment looked at her more like a murderer than a lover. But he cleared his brow by degrees, and broke silence with:
'I say, Mel!'
'What do you say, you vulgar thing--you low savage?' cried his fair betrothed.
'When is it to be? I can't afford to go on dawdling about here half my life, I needn't tell you, and Pecksniff says that father's being so lately dead makes very little odds; for we can be married as quiet as we please down here, and my being lonely is a good reason to the neighbours for taking a wife home so soon, especially one that he knew. As to crossbones (my uncle, I mean), he's sure not to put a spoke in the wheel, whatever we settle on, for he told Pecksniff only this morning, that if YOU liked it he'd nothing at all to say. So, Mel,' said Jonas, venturing on another squeeze; 'when shall it be?'
'Upon my word!' cried Merry.
'Upon my soul, if you like,' said Jonas. 'What do you say to next week, now?'
'To next week! If you had said next quarter, I should have wondered at your impudence.'
'But I didn't say next quarter,' retorted Jonas. 'I said next week.'
'Then, Griffin,' cried Miss Merry, pushing him off, and rising. 'I say no! not next week. It shan't be till I choose, and I may not choose it to be for months. There!'
He glanced up at her from the ground, almost as darkly as he had looked at Tom Pinch; but held his peace.
'No fright of a Griffin with a patch over his eye shall dictate to me or have a voice in the matter,' said Merry. 'There!'
Still Mr Jonas held his peace.
'If it's next month, that shall be the very earliest; but I won't say when it shall be till to-morrow; and if you don't like that, it shall never be at all,' said Merry; 'and if you follow me about and won't leave me alone, it shall never be at all. There!v And if you don't do everything I order you to do, it shall never be at all. So don't follow me. There, Griffin!'
And with that, she skipped away, among the trees.
'Ecod, my lady!' said Jonas, looking after her, and biting a piece of straw, almost to powder; 'you'll catch it for this, when you ARE married.