Bye bye, Mrs Gamp!' waving his hand. 'There he goes; there he goes!'
So he did; for the coach rolled off as the words were spoken. Mr and Mrs Mould, in high good humour, went their merry way. Mr Bailey retired with Poll Sweedlepipe as soon as possible; but some little time elapsed before he could remove his friend from the ground, owing to the impression wrought upon the barber's nerves by Mrs Prig, whom he pronounced, in admiration of her beard, to be a woman of transcendent charms.
When the light cloud of bustle hanging round the coach was thus dispersed, Nadgett was seen in the darkest box of the Bull coffee- room, looking wistfully up at the clock--as if the man who never appeared were a little behind his time.
PROVES THAT CHANGES MAY BE RUNG IN THE BEST-REGULATED FAMILIES, AND THAT MR PECKNIFF WAS A SPECIAL HAND AT A TRIPLE-BOB-MAJOR
As the surgeon's first care after amputating a limb, is to take up the arteries the cruel knife has severed, so it is the duty of this history, which in its remorseless course has cut from the Pecksniffian trunk its right arm, Mercy, to look to the parent stem, and see how in all its various ramifications it got on without her.
And first of Mr Pecksniff it may be observed, that having provided for his youngest daughter that choicest of blessings, a tender and indulgent husband; and having gratified the dearest wish of his parental heart by establishing her in life so happily; he renewed his youth, and spreading the plumage of his own bright conscience, felt himself equal to all kinds of flights. It is customary with fathers in stage-plays, after giving their daughters to the men of their hearts, to congratulate themselves on having no other business on their hands but to die immediately; though it is rarely found that they are in a hurry to do it. Mr Pecksniff, being a father of a more sage and practical class, appeared to think that his immediate business was to live; and having deprived himself of one comfort, to surround himself with others.
But however much inclined the good man was to be jocose and playful, and in the garden of his fancy to disport himself (if one may say so) like an architectural kitten, he had one impediment constantly opposed to him. The gentle Cherry, stung by a sense of slight and injury, which far from softening down or wearing out, rankled and festered in her heart--the gentle Cherry was in flat rebellion. She waged fierce war against her dear papa, she led her parent what is usually called, for want of a better figure of speech, the life of a dog. But never did that dog live, in kennel, stable-yard, or house, whose life was half as hard as Mr Pecksniff's with his gentle child.
The father and daughter were sitting at their breakfast. Tom had retired, and they were alone. Mr Pecksniff frowned at first; but having cleared his brow, looked stealthily at his child. Her nose was very red indeed, and screwed up tight, with hostile preparation.
'Cherry,' cried Mr Pecksniff, 'what is amiss between us? My child, why are we disunited?'
Miss Pecksniff's answer was scarcely a response to this gush of affection, for it was simply, 'Bother, Pa!'
'Bother!' repeated Mr Pecksniff, in a tone of anguish.
'Oh! 'tis too late, Pa,' said his daughter, calmly 'to talk to me like this. I know what it means, and what its value is.'
'This is hard!' cried Mr Pecksniff, addressing his breakfast-cup. 'This is very hard! She is my child. I carried her in my arms when she wore shapeless worsted shoes--I might say, mufflers--many years ago!'
'You needn't taunt me with that, Pa,' retorted Cherry, with a spiteful look. 'I am not so many years older than my sister, either, though she IS married to your friend!'
'Ah, human nature, human nature! Poor human nature!' said Mr Pecksniff, shaking his head at human nature, as if he didn't belong to it. 'To think that this discord should arise from such a cause! oh dear, oh dear!'
'From such a cause indeed!' cried Cherry.