BOOK THE FOURTH: A TURNING
Chapter 2: The Golden Dustman Rises a Little
Mr and Mrs Lammle had come to breakfast with Mr and Mrs
Boffin. They were not absolutely uninvited, but had pressed
themselves with so much urgency on the golden couple, that
evasion of the honour and pleasure of their company would have
been difficult, if desired. They were in a charming state of mind,
were Mr and Mrs Lammle, and almost as fond of Mr and Mrs
Boffin as of one another.
'My dear Mrs Boffin,' said Mrs Lammle, 'it imparts new life to me,
to see my Alfred in confidential communication with Mr Boffin.
The two were formed to become intimate. So much simplicity
combined with so much force of character, such natural sagacity
united to such amiability and gentleness--these are the
distinguishing characteristics of both.'
This being said aloud, gave Mr Lammle an opportunity, as he
came with Mr Boffin from the window to the breakfast table, of
taking up his dear and honoured wife.
'My Sophronia,' said that gentleman, 'your too partial estimate of
your husband's character--'
'No! Not too partial, Alfred,' urged the lady, tenderly moved;
'never say that.'
'My child, your favourable opinion, then, of your husband--you
don't object to that phrase, darling?'
'How can I, Alfred?'
'Your favourable opinion then, my Precious, does less than justice
to Mr Boffin, and more than justice to me.'
'To the first charge, Alfred, I plead guilty. But to the second, oh
'Less than justice to Mr Boffin, Sophronia,' said Mr Lammle,
soaring into a tone of moral grandeur, 'because it represents Mr
Boffin as on my lower level; more than justice to me, Sophronia,
because it represents me as on Mr Boffin's higher level. Mr Boffin
bears and forbears far more than I could.'
'Far more than you could for yourself, Alfred?'
'My love, that is not the question.'