BOOK THE FOURTH: A TURNING
Chapter 13: Showing How the Golden Dustman Helped to Scatter Dust (continued)
'At least, his name is John, I suppose?' said Bella.
'Ah! I should think so, deary!' cried Mrs Boffin. 'I should hope so!
Many and many is the time I have called him by his name of John.
But what's his other name, his true other name? Give a guess, my
'I can't guess,' said Bella, turning her pale face from one to
'I could,' cried Mrs Boffin, 'and what's more, I did! I found him
out, all in a flash as I may say, one night. Didn't I, Noddy?'
'Ay! That the old lady did!' said Mr Boffin, with stout pride in the
'Harkee to me, deary,' pursued Mrs Boffin, taking Bella's hands
between her own, and gently beating on them from time to time. 'It
was after a particular night when John had been disappointed--as
he thought--in his affections. It was after a night when John had
made an offer to a certain young lady, and the certain young lady
had refused it. It was after a particular night, when he felt himself
cast-away-like, and had made up his mind to go seek his fortune.
It was the very next night. My Noddy wanted a paper out of his
Secretary's room, and I says to Noddy, "I am going by the door,
and I'll ask him for it." I tapped at his door, and he didn't hear me.
I looked in, and saw him a sitting lonely by his fire, brooding over
it. He chanced to look up with a pleased kind of smile in my
company when he saw me, and then in a single moment every
grain of the gunpowder that had been lying sprinkled thick about
him ever since I first set eyes upon him as a man at the Bower,
took fire! Too many a time had I seen him sitting lonely, when he
was a poor child, to be pitied, heart and hand! Too many a time
had I seen him in need of being brightened up with a comforting
word! Too many and too many a time to be mistaken, when that
glimpse of him come at last! No, no! I just makes out to cry, "I
know you now! You're John!" And he catches me as I drops.--So
what,' says Mrs Boffin, breaking off in the rush of her speech to
smile most radiantly, 'might you think by this time that your
husband's name was, dear?'