Bleak House, p. 232 (ch. 23, "Esther's Narrative"). 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches. For text illustrated, see below. [Return to text of Steig.]by "Phiz" (Hablot Knight Browne) for
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"Engaged!" cried Mr. Turveydrop, reclining on the sofa and shutting out the sight with his hand. "An arrow launched at my brain by my own child!"
"We have been engaged for some time, father," faltered Prince, "and Miss Summerson, hearing of it, advised that we should declare the fact to you and was so very kind as to attend on the present occasion. Miss Jellyby is a young lady who deeply respects you, father."
Mr. Turveydrop uttered a groan.
"No, pray don't! Pray don't, father," urged his son. "Miss Jellyby is a young lady who deeply respects you, and our first desire is to consider your comfort."
Mr. Turveydrop sobbed.
"No, pray don't, father!" cried his son.
"Boy," said Mr. Turveydrop, "it is well that your sainted mother is spared this pang. Strike deep, and spare not. Strike home, sir, strike home!"
"Pray don't say so, father," implored Prince, in tears. "It goes to my heart. I do assure you, father, that our first wish and intention is to consider your comfort. Caroline and I do not forget our duty — what is my duty is Caroline's, as we have often said together — and with your approval and consent, father, we will devote ourselves to making your life agreeable."
"Strike home," murmured Mr. Turveydrop. "Strike home!" But he seemed to listen, I thought, too.
"My dear father," returned Prince, "we well know what little comforts you are accustomed to and have a right to, and it will always be our study and our pride to provide those before anything. If you will bless us with your approval and consent, father, we shall not think of being married until it is quite agreeable to you; and when we ARE married, we shall always make you — of course — our first consideration. You must ever be the head and master here, father; and we feel how truly unnatural it would be in us if we failed to know it or if we failed to exert ourselves in every possible way to please you."
Mr. Turveydrop underwent a severe internal struggle and came upright on the sofa again with his cheeks puffing over his stiff cravat, a perfect model of parental deportment.
"My son!" said Mr. Turveydrop. "My children! I cannot resist your prayer. Be happy!" [Project Gutenberg etext (see bibliography below)]
Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. London: Bradbury & Evans. Bouverie Street, 1853.
Dickens, Charles. Bleak House. Project Gutenberg etext prepared by Donald Lainson, Toronto, Canada (firstname.lastname@example.org), with revision and corrections by Thomas Berger and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D. Seen 9 November 2007.
Last modified 12 November 2007