'My dear,' said he, 'I--ha--approve of your resolution. It will be--ha hum--much better not to speak of this to Amy. It might-- hum--it might distress her. Ha. No doubt it would distress her greatly. It is considerate and right to avoid doing so. We will-- ha--keep this to ourselves.'
'But the cruelty of Uncle!' cried Miss Fanny. 'O, I never can forgive the wanton cruelty of Uncle!'
'My dear,' said Mr Dorrit, recovering his tone, though he remained unusually pale, 'I must request you not to say so. You must remember that your uncle is--ha--not what he formerly was. You must remember that your uncle's state requires--hum--great forbearance from us, great forbearance.'
'I am sure,' cried Fanny, piteously, 'it is only charitable to suppose that there Must be something wrong in him somewhere, or he never could have so attacked Me, of all the people in the world.'
'Fanny,' returned Mr Dorrit in a deeply fraternal tone, 'you know, with his innumerable good points, what a--hum--wreck your uncle is; an(] I entreat you by the fondness that I have for him, and by the fidelity that you know I have always shown him, to--ha--to draw your own conclusions, and to spare my brotherly feelings.'
This ended the scene; Edward Dorrit, Esquire, saying nothing throughout, but looking, to the last, perplexed and doubtful. Miss Fanny awakened much affectionate uneasiness in her sister's mind that day by passing the greater part of it in violent fits of embracing her, and in alternately giving her brooches, and wishing herself dead.
Something Right Somewhere
To be in the halting state of Mr Henry Gowan; to have left one of two powers in disgust; to want the necessary qualifications for finding promotion with another, and to be loitering moodily about on neutral ground, cursing both; is to be in a situation unwholesome for the mind, which time is not likely to improve. The worst class of sum worked in the every-day world is cyphered by the diseased arithmeticians who are always in the rule of Subtraction as to the merits and successes of others, and never in Addition as to their own.
The habit, too, of seeking some sort of recompense in the discontented boast of being disappointed, is a habit fraught with degeneracy. A certain idle carelessness and recklessness of consistency soon comes of it. To bring deserving things down by setting undeserving things up is one of its perverted delights; and there is no playing fast and loose with the truth, in any game, without growing the worse for it.
In his expressed opinions of all performances in the Art of painting that were completely destitute of merit, Gowan was the most liberal fellow on earth. He would declare such a man to have more power in his little finger (provided he had none), than such another had (provided he had much) in his whole mind and body. If the objection were taken that the thing commended was trash, he would reply, on behalf of his art, 'My good fellow, what do we all turn out but trash? I turn out nothing else, and I make you a present of the confession.'
To make a vaunt of being poor was another of the incidents of his splenetic state, though this may have had the design in it of showing that he ought to be rich; just as he would publicly laud and decry the Barnacles, lest it should be forgotten that he belonged to the family. Howbeit, these two subjects were very often on his lips; and he managed them so well that he might have praised himself by the month together, and not have made himself out half so important a man as he did by his light disparagement of his claims on anybody's consideration.
Out of this same airy talk of his, it always soon came to be understood, wherever he and his wife went, that he had married against the wishes of his exalted relations, and had had much ado to prevail on them to countenance her. He never made the representation, on the contrary seemed to laugh the idea to scorn; but it did happen that, with all his pains to depreciate himself, he was always in the superior position.