BOOK THE SECOND: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Chapter 10: A Successor
Some of the Reverend Frank Milvey's brethren had found
themselves exceedingly uncomfortable in their minds, because
they were required to bury the dead too hopefully. But, the
Reverend Frank, inclining to the belief that they were required to
do one or two other things (say out of nine-and-thirty) calculated
to trouble their consciences rather more if they would think as
much about them, held his peace.
Indeed, the Reverend Frank Milvey was a forbearing man, who
noticed many sad warps and blights in the vineyard wherein he
worked, and did not profess that they made him savagely wise.
He only learned that the more he himself knew, in his little limited
human way, the better he could distantly imagine what
Omniscience might know.
Wherefore, if the Reverend Frank had had to read the words that
troubled some of his brethren, and profitably touched innumerable
hearts, in a worse case than Johnny's, he would have done so out
of the pity and humility of his soul. Reading them over Johnny, he
thought of his own six children, but not of his poverty, and read
them with dimmed eyes. And very seriously did he and his bright
little wife, who had been listening, look down into the small grave
and walk home arm-in-arm.
There was grief in the aristocratic house, and there was joy in the
Bower. Mr Wegg argued, if an orphan were wanted, was he not
an orphan himself; and could a better be desired? And why go
beating about Brentford bushes, seeking orphans forsooth who
had established no claims upon you and made no sacrifices for
you, when here was an orphan ready to your hand who had given
up in your cause, Miss Elizabeth, Master George, Aunt Jane, and
Mr Wegg chuckled, consequently, when he heard the tidings.
Nay, it was afterwards affirmed by a witness who shall at present
be nameless, that in the seclusion of the Bower he poked out his
wooden leg, in the stage-ballet manner, and executed a taunting or
triumphant pirouette on the genuine leg remaining to him.