BOOK THE SECOND: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Chapter 10: A Successor (continued)
'Dead--if I ever had any living. I never heard of any.'
At this point of the dialogue Bella came in with a light step. She
paused at the door a moment, hesitating whether to remain or
retire; perplexed by finding that she was not observed.
'Now, don't mind an old lady's talk,' said Mrs Boffin, 'but tell me.
Are you quite sure, Mr Rokesmith, that you have never had a
disappointment in love?'
'Quite sure. Why do you ask me?'
'Why, for this reason. Sometimes you have a kind of kept-down
manner with you, which is not like your age. You can't be thirty?'
'I am not yet thirty.'
Deeming it high time to make her presence known, Bella coughed
here to attract attention, begged pardon, and said she would go,
fearing that she interrupted some matter of business.
'No, don't go,' rejoined Mrs Boffin, 'because we are coming to
business, instead of having begun it, and you belong to it as much
now, my dear Bella, as I do. But I want my Noddy to consult with
us. Would somebody be so good as find my Noddy for me?'
Rokesmith departed on that errand, and presently returned
accompanied by Mr Boffin at his jog-trot. Bella felt a little vague
trepidation as to the subject-matter of this same consultation, until
Mrs Boffin announced it.
'Now, you come and sit by me, my dear,' said that worthy soul,
taking her comfortable place on a large ottoman in the centre of
the room, and drawing her arm through Bella's; 'and Noddy, you
sit here, and Mr Rokesmith you sit there. Now, you see, what I
want to talk about, is this. Mr and Mrs Milvey have sent me the
kindest note possible (which Mr Rokesmith just now read to me
out aloud, for I ain't good at handwritings), offering to find me
another little child to name and educate and bring up. Well. This
has set me thinking.'