'You see? Very good! Now Papa and Mama Meagles both!' here she rose; 'allow me to take the liberty of putting an end to this rather formidable controversy. I will not say another word upon its merits. I will only say that it is an additional proof of what one knows from all experience; that this kind of thing never answers-- as my poor fellow himself would say, that it never pays--in one word, that it never does.'
Mr Meagles asked, What kind of thing?
'It is in vain,' said Mrs Gowan, 'for people to attempt to get on together who have such extremely different antecedents; who are jumbled against each other in this accidental, matrimonial sort of way; and who cannot look at the untoward circumstance which has shaken them together in the same light. It never does.'
Mr Meagles was beginning, 'Permit me to say, ma'am--'
'No, don't,' returned Mrs Gowan. 'Why should you! It is an ascertained fact. It never does. I will therefore, if you please, go my way, leaving you to yours. I shall at all times be happy to receive my poor fellow's pretty wife, and I shall always make a point of being on the most affectionate terms with her. But as to these terms, semi-family and semi-stranger, semi-goring and semi- boring, they form a state of things quite amusing in its impracticability. I assure you it never does.'
The Dowager here made a smiling obeisance, rather to the room than to any one in it, and therewith took a final farewell of Papa and Mama Meagles. Clennam stepped forward to hand her to the Pill-Box which was at the service of all the Pills in Hampton Court Palace; and she got into that vehicle with distinguished serenity, and was driven away.
Thenceforth the Dowager, with a light and careless humour, often recounted to her particular acquaintance how, after a hard trial, she had found it impossible to know those people who belonged to Henry's wife, and who had made that desperate set to catch him. Whether she had come to the conclusion beforehand, that to get rid of them would give her favourite pretence a better air, might save her some occasional inconvenience, and could risk no loss (the pretty creature being fast married, and her father devoted to her), was best known to herself. Though this history has its opinion on that point too, and decidedly in the affirmative.
Appearance and Disappearance
'Arthur, my dear boy,' said Mr Meagles, on the evening of the following day, 'Mother and I have been talking this over, and we don't feel comfortable in remaining as we are. That elegant connection of ours--that dear lady who was here yesterday--'
'I understand,' said Arthur.
'Even that affable and condescending ornament of society,' pursued Mr Meagles, 'may misrepresent us, we are afraid. We could bear a great deal, Arthur, for her sake; but we think we would rather not bear that, if it was all the same to her.'
'Good,' said Arthur. 'Go on.'
'You see,' proceeded Mr Meagles 'it might put us wrong with our son-in-law, it might even put us wrong with our daughter, and it might lead to a great deal of domestic trouble. You see, don't you?'
'Yes, indeed,' returned Arthur, 'there is much reason in what you say.' He had glanced at Mrs Meagles, who was always on the good and sensible side; and a petition had shone out of her honest face that he would support Mr Meagles in his present inclinings.
'So we are very much disposed, are Mother and I,' said Mr Meagles, 'to pack up bags and baggage and go among the Allongers and Marshongers once more. I mean, we are very much disposed to be off, strike right through France into Italy, and see our Pet.'
'And I don't think,' replied Arthur, touched by the motherly anticipation in the bright face of Mrs Meagles (she must have been very like her daughter, once), 'that you could do better. And if you ask me for my advice, it is that you set off to-morrow.'
'Is it really, though?' said Mr Meagles. 'Mother, this is being backed in an idea!'
Mother, with a look which thanked Clennam in a manner very agreeable to him, answered that it was indeed.