BOOK THE SECOND: BIRDS OF A FEATHER
Chapter 10: A Successor (continued)
John Rokesmith's manner towards Mrs Boffin at this time, was
more the manner of a young man towards a mother, than that of a
Secretary towards his employer's wife. It had always been marked
by a subdued affectionate deference that seemed to have sprung
up on the very day of his engagement; whatever was odd in her
dress or her ways had seemed to have no oddity for him; he had
sometimes borne a quietly-amused face in her company, but still it
had seemed as if the pleasure her genial temper and radiant nature
yielded him, could have been quite as naturally expressed in a tear
as in a smile. The completeness of his sympathy with her fancy
for having a little John Harmon to protect and rear, he had shown
in every act and word, and now that the kind fancy was
disappointed, he treated it with a manly tenderness and respect for
which she could hardly thank him enough.
'But I do thank you, Mr Rokesmith,' said Mrs Boffin, 'and I thank
you most kindly. You love children.'
'I hope everybody does.'
'They ought,' said Mrs Boffin; 'but we don't all of us do what we
ought, do us?'
John Rokesmith replied, 'Some among us supply the short-comings
of the rest. You have loved children well, Mr Boffin has told me.'
Not a bit better than he has, but that's his way; he puts all the good
upon me. You speak rather sadly, Mr Rokesmith.'
'It sounds to me so. Were you one of many children?' He shook
'An only child?'
'No there was another. Dead long ago.'
'Father or mother alive?'
'And the rest of your relations?'