BOOK THE SECOND: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Chapter 14: Strong of Purpose (continued)
Another consequence that he had never foreshadowed, was the
implication of an innocent man in his supposed murder. He would
obtain complete retraction from the accuser, and set the wrong
right; but clearly the wrong could never have been done if he had
never planned a deception. Then, whatever inconvenience or
distress of mind the deception cost him, it was manful repentantly
to accept as among its consequences, and make no complaint.
Thus John Rokesmith in the morning, and it buried John Harmon
still many fathoms deeper than he had been buried in the night.
Going out earlier than he was accustomed to do, he encountered
the cherub at the door. The cherub's way was for a certain space
his way, and they walked together.
It was impossible not to notice the change in the cherub's
appearance. The cherub felt very conscious of it, and modestly
'A present from my daughter Bella, Mr Rokesmith.'
The words gave the Secretary a stroke of pleasure, for he
remembered the fifty pounds, and he still loved the girl. No doubt
it was very weak--it always IS very weak, some authorities hold--
but he loved the girl.
'I don't know whether you happen to have read many books of
African Travel, Mr Rokesmith?' said R. W.
'I have read several.'
'Well, you know, there's usually a King George, or a King Boy, or
a King Sambo, or a King Bill, or Bull, or Rum, or Junk, or
whatever name the sailors may have happened to give him.'
'Where?' asked Rokesmith.
'Anywhere. Anywhere in Africa, I mean. Pretty well everywhere,
I may say; for black kings are cheap--and I think'--said R. W.,
with an apologetic air, 'nasty'.
'I am much of your opinion, Mr Wilfer. You were going to say--?'