She never could forget him, nor could she ever cease to think of him with feelings of the liveliest friendship, but people had begun to talk, the thing had been observed, and it was necessary that they should be nothing more to each other, than any gentleman and lady in society usually are. She was glad she had had the resolution to say thus much before her feelings had been tried too far; they had been greatly tried, she would admit; but though she was weak and silly, she would soon get the better of it, she hoped.
Moddle, who had by this time become in the last degree maudlin, and wept abundantly, inferred from the foregoing avowal, that it was his mission to communicate to others the blight which had fallen on himself; and that, being a kind of unintentional Vampire, he had had Miss Pecksniff assigned to him by the Fates, as Victim Number One. Miss Pecksniff controverting this opinion as sinful, Moddle was goaded on to ask whether she could be contented with a blighted heart; and it appearing on further examination that she could be, plighted his dismal troth, which was accepted and returned.
He bore his good fortune with the utmost moderation. Instead of being triumphant, he shed more tears than he had ever been known to shed before; and, sobbing, said:
'Oh! what a day this has been! I can't go back to the office this afternoon. Oh, what a trying day this has been! Good Gracious!'
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS IN EDEN, AND A PROCEEDING OUT OF IT. MARTIN MAKES A DISCOVERY OF SOME IMPORTANCE
From Mr Moddle to Eden is an easy and natural transition. Mr Moddle, living in the atmosphere of Miss Pecksniff's love, dwelt (if he had but known it) in a terrestrial Paradise. The thriving city of Eden was also a terrestrial Paradise, upon the showing of its proprietors. The beautiful Miss Pecksniff might have been poetically described as a something too good for man in his fallen and degraded state. That was exactly the character of the thriving city of Eden, as poetically heightened by Zephaniah Scadder, General Choke, and other worthies; part and parcel of the talons of that great American Eagle, which is always airing itself sky-high in purest aether, and never, no never, never, tumbles down with draggled wings into the mud.
When Mark Tapley, leaving Martin in the architectural and surveying offices, had effectually strengthened and encouraged his own spirits by the contemplation of their joint misfortunes, he proceeded, with new cheerfulness, in search of help; congratulating himself, as he went along, on the enviable position to which he had at last attained.
'I used to think, sometimes,' said Mr Tapley, 'as a desolate island would suit me, but I should only have had myself to provide for there, and being naturally a easy man to manage, there wouldn't have been much credit in THAT. Now here I've got my partner to take care on, and he's something like the sort of man for the purpose. I want a man as is always a-sliding off his legs when he ought to be on 'em. I want a man as is so low down in the school of life that he's always a-making figures of one in his copy-book, and can't get no further. I want a man as is his own great coat and cloak, and is always a-wrapping himself up in himself. And I have got him too,' said Mr Tapley, after a moment's silence. 'What a happiness!'
He paused to look round, uncertain to which of the log-houses he should repair.
'I don't know which to take,' he observed; 'that's the truth. They're equally prepossessing outside, and equally commodious, no doubt, within; being fitted up with every convenience that a Alligator, in a state of natur', could possibly require. Let me see! The citizen as turned out last night, lives under water, in the right hand dog-kennel at the corner. I don't want to trouble him if I can help it, poor man, for he is a melancholy object; a reg'lar Settler in every respect. There's house with a winder, but I am afraid of their being proud. I don't know whether a door ain't too aristocratic; but here goes for the first one!'
He went up to the nearest cabin, and knocked with his hand.