Something had made her keenly and additionally sensitive just now. Now, was there some one in the hopeless unattainable distance? Or had the suspicion been brought into his mind, by his own associations of the troubled river running beneath the bridge with the same river higher up, its changeless tune upon the prow of the ferry-boat, so many miles an hour the peaceful flowing of the stream, here the rushes, there the lilies, nothing uncertain or unquiet?
He thought of his poor child, Little Dorrit, for a long time there; he thought of her going home; he thought of her in the night; he thought of her when the day came round again. And the poor child Little Dorrit thought of him--too faithfully, ah, too faithfully!-- in the shadow of the Marshalsea wall.
Machinery in Motion
Mr Meagles bestirred himself with such prompt activity in the matter of the negotiation with Daniel Doyce which Clennam had entrusted to him, that he soon brought it into business train, and called on Clennam at nine o'clock one morning to make his report. 'Doyce is highly gratified by your good opinion,' he opened the business by saying, 'and desires nothing so much as that you should examine the affairs of the Works for yourself, and entirely understand them. He has handed me the keys of all his books and papers--here they are jingling in this pocket--and the only charge he has given me is "Let Mr Clennam have the means of putting himself on a perfect equality with me as to knowing whatever I know. If it should come to nothing after all, he will respect my confidence. Unless I was sure of that to begin with, I should have nothing to do with him." And there, you see,' said Mr Meagles, 'you have Daniel Doyce all over.'
'A very honourable character.'
'Oh, yes, to be sure. Not a doubt of it. Odd, but very honourable. Very odd though. Now, would you believe, Clennam,' said Mr Meagles, with a hearty enjoyment of his friend's eccentricity, 'that I had a whole morning in What's-his-name Yard-- '
'A whole morning in Bleeding Heart Yard, before I could induce him to pursue the subject at all?'
'How was that?'
'How was that, my friend? I no sooner mentioned your name in connection with it than he declared off.'
'Declared off on my account?'
'I no sooner mentioned your name, Clennam, than he said, "That will never do!" What did he mean by that? I asked him. No matter, Meagles; that would never do. Why would it never do? You'll hardly believe it, Clennam,' said Mr Meagles, laughing within himself, 'but it came out that it would never do, because you and he, walking down to Twickenham together, had glided into a friendly conversation in the course of which he had referred to his intention of taking a partner, supposing at the time that you were as firmly and finally settled as St Paul's Cathedral. "Whereas," says he, "Mr Clennam might now believe, if I entertained his proposition, that I had a sinister and designing motive in what was open free speech. Which I can't bear," says he, "which I really
am too proud to bear."'
'I should as soon suspect--'
'Of course you would,' interrupted Mr Meagles, 'and so I told him. But it took a morning to scale that wall; and I doubt if any other man than myself (he likes me of old) could have got his leg over it. Well, Clennam. This business-like obstacle surmounted, he then stipulated that before resuming with you I should look over the books and form my own opinion. I looked over the books, and formed my own opinion. "Is it, on the whole, for, or against?" says he. "For," says I. "Then," says he, "you may now, my good friend, give Mr Clennam the means of forming his opinion. To enable him to do which, without bias and with perfect freedom, I shall go out of town for a week." And he's gone,' said Mr Meagles; that's the rich conclusion of the thing.'
'Leaving me,' said Clennam, 'with a high sense, I must say, of his candour and his--'
'Oddity,' Mr Meagles struck in.