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Chapter 78 (continued)
'What have I done,' cried Joe, 'what have I done to meet with this reward?'
'You have taught me,' said Dolly, raising her pretty face to his, 'to know myself, and your worth; to be something better than I was; to be more deserving of your true and manly nature. In years to come, dear Joe, you shall find that you have done so; for I will be, not only now, when we are young and full of hope, but when we have grown old and weary, your patient, gentle, never-tiring wife. I will never know a wish or care beyond our home and you, and I will always study how to please you with my best affection and my most devoted love. I will: indeed I will!'
Joe could only repeat his former eloquence--but it was very much to the purpose.
'They know of this, at home,' said Dolly. 'For your sake, I would leave even them; but they know it, and are glad of it, and are as proud of you as I am, and as full of gratitude.--You'll not come and see me as a poor friend who knew me when I was a girl, will you, dear Joe?'
Well, well! It don't matter what Joe said in answer, but he said a great deal; and Dolly said a great deal too: and he folded Dolly in his one arm pretty tight, considering that it was but one; and Dolly made no resistance: and if ever two people were happy in this world--which is not an utterly miserable one, with all its faults-- we may, with some appearance of certainty, conclude that they were.
To say that during these proceedings Mr Willet the elder underwent the greatest emotions of astonishment of which our common nature is susceptible--to say that he was in a perfect paralysis of surprise, and that he wandered into the most stupendous and theretofore unattainable heights of complicated amazement--would be to shadow forth his state of mind in the feeblest and lamest terms. If a roc, an eagle, a griffin, a flying elephant, a winged sea-horse, had suddenly appeared, and, taking him on its back, carried him bodily into the heart of the 'Salwanners,' it would have been to him as an everyday occurrence, in comparison with what he now beheld. To be sitting quietly by, seeing and hearing these things; to be completely overlooked, unnoticed, and disregarded, while his son and a young lady were talking to each other in the most impassioned manner, kissing each other, and making themselves in all respects perfectly at home; was a position so tremendous, so inexplicable, so utterly beyond the widest range of his capacity of comprehension, that he fell into a lethargy of wonder, and could no more rouse himself than an enchanted sleeper in the first year of his fairy lease, a century long.
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