BOOK THE FOURTH: A TURNING
Chapter 11: Effect Is Given to the Dolls' Dressmaker's Discovery
Mrs John Rokesmith sat at needlework in her neat little room,
beside a basket of neat little articles of clothing, which presented
so much of the appearance of being in the dolls' dressmaker's way
of business, that one might have supposed she was going to set up
in opposition to Miss Wren. Whether the Complete British Family
Housewife had imparted sage counsel anent them, did not appear,
but probably not, as that cloudy oracle was nowhere visible. For
certain, however, Mrs John Rokesmith stitched at them with so
dexterous a hand, that she must have taken lessons of somebody.
Love is in all things a most wonderful teacher, and perhaps love
(from a pictorial point of view, with nothing on but a thimble), had
been teaching this branch of needlework to Mrs John Rokesmith.
It was near John's time for coming home, but as Mrs John was
desirous to finish a special triumph of her skill before dinner, she
did not go out to meet him. Placidly, though rather
consequentially smiling, she sat stitching away with a regular
sound, like a sort of dimpled little charming Dresden-china clock
by the very best maker.
A knock at the door, and a ring at the bell. Not John; or Bella
would have flown out to meet him. Then who, if not John? Bella
was asking herself the question, when that fluttering little fool of a
servant fluttered in, saying, 'Mr Lightwood!'
Oh good gracious!
Bella had but time to throw a handkerchief over the basket, when
Mr Lightwood made his bow. There was something amiss with
Mr Lightwood, for he was strangely grave and looked ill.
With a brief reference to the happy time when it had been his
privilege to know Mrs Rokesmith as Miss Wilfer, Mr Lightwood
explained what was amiss with him and why he came. He came
bearing Lizzie Hexam's earnest hope that Mrs John Rokesmith
would see her married.
Bella was so fluttered by the request, and by the short narrative he
had feelingly given her, that there never was a more timely
smelling-bottle than John's knock. 'My husband,' said Bella; 'I'll
bring him in.'