'Yes; uncle Lillyvick, I would,' returned Miss Morleena, with the energy of both her parents combined; 'but not aunt Lillyvick. She's not an aunt of mine, and I'll never call her one.'
Immediately upon the utterance of these words, Mr Lillyvick caught Miss Morleena up in his arms, and kissed her; and, being by this time at the door of the house where Mr Kenwigs lodged (which, as has been before mentioned, usually stood wide open), he walked straight up into Mr Kenwigs's sitting-room, and put Miss Morleena down in the midst. Mr and Mrs Kenwigs were at supper. At sight of their perjured relative, Mrs Kenwigs turned faint and pale, and Mr Kenwigs rose majestically.
'Kenwigs,' said the collector, 'shake hands.'
'Sir,' said Mr Kenwigs, 'the time has been, when I was proud to shake hands with such a man as that man as now surweys me. The time has been, sir,' said Mr Kenwigs, 'when a wisit from that man has excited in me and my family's boozums sensations both nateral and awakening. But, now, I look upon that man with emotions totally surpassing everythink, and I ask myself where is his Honour, where is his straight-for'ardness, and where is his human natur?'
'Susan Kenwigs,' said Mr Lillyvick, turning humbly to his niece, 'don't you say anything to me?'
'She is not equal to it, sir,' said Mr Kenwigs, striking the table emphatically. 'What with the nursing of a healthy babby, and the reflections upon your cruel conduct, four pints of malt liquor a day is hardly able to sustain her.'
'I am glad,' said the poor collector meekly, 'that the baby is a healthy one. I am very glad of that.'
This was touching the Kenwigses on their tenderest point. Mrs Kenwigs instantly burst into tears, and Mr Kenwigs evinced great emotion.
'My pleasantest feeling, all the time that child was expected,' said Mr Kenwigs, mournfully, 'was a thinking, "If it's a boy, as I hope it may be; for I have heard its uncle Lillyvick say again and again he would prefer our having a boy next, if it's a boy, what will his uncle Lillyvick say? What will he like him to be called? Will he be Peter, or Alexander, or Pompey, or Diorgeenes, or what will he be?" And now when I look at him; a precious, unconscious, helpless infant, with no use in his little arms but to tear his little cap, and no use in his little legs but to kick his little self--when I see him a lying on his mother's lap, cooing and cooing, and, in his innocent state, almost a choking hisself with his little fist--when I see him such a infant as he is, and think that that uncle Lillyvick, as was once a-going to be so fond of him, has withdrawed himself away, such a feeling of wengeance comes over me as no language can depicter, and I feel as if even that holy babe was a telling me to hate him.'
This affecting picture moved Mrs Kenwigs deeply. After several imperfect words, which vainly attempted to struggle to the surface, but were drowned and washed away by the strong tide of her tears, she spake.
'Uncle,' said Mrs Kenwigs, 'to think that you should have turned your back upon me and my dear children, and upon Kenwigs which is the author of their being--you who was once so kind and affectionate, and who, if anybody had told us such a thing of, we should have withered with scorn like lightning--you that little Lillyvick, our first and earliest boy, was named after at the very altar! Oh gracious!'
'Was it money that we cared for?' said Mr Kenwigs. 'Was it property that we ever thought of?'
'No,' cried Mrs Kenwigs, 'I scorn it.'
'So do I,' said Mr Kenwigs, 'and always did.'
'My feelings have been lancerated,' said Mrs Kenwigs, 'my heart has been torn asunder with anguish, I have been thrown back in my confinement, my unoffending infant has been rendered uncomfortable and fractious, Morleena has pined herself away to nothing; all this I forget and forgive, and with you, uncle, I never can quarrel. But never ask me to receive HER, never do it, uncle. For I will not, I will not, I won't, I won't, I won't!'
'Susan, my dear,' said Mr Kenwigs, 'consider your child.'
'Yes,' shrieked Mrs Kenwigs, 'I will consider my child! I will consider my child! My own child, that no uncles can deprive me of; my own hated, despised, deserted, cut-off little child.' And, here, the emotions of Mrs Kenwigs became so violent, that Mr Kenwigs was fain to administer hartshorn internally, and vinegar externally, and to destroy a staylace, four petticoat strings, and several small buttons.