For when she saw the book, as I had it got up,--the printed and pressed book,--lying on her desk in her cart, and saw the title, DOCTOR MARIGOLD'S PRESCRIPTIONS, she looked at me for a moment with astonishment, then fluttered the leaves, then broke out a laughing in the charmingest way, then felt her pulse and shook her head, then turned the pages pretending to read them most attentive, then kissed the book to me, and put it to her bosom with both her hands. I never was better pleased in all my life!
But let me not anticipate. (I take that expression out of a lot of romances I bought for her. I never opened a single one of 'em--and I have opened many--but I found the romancer saying "let me not anticipate." Which being so, I wonder why he did anticipate, or who asked him to it.) Let me not, I say, anticipate. This same book took up all my spare time. It was no play to get the other articles together in the general miscellaneous lot, but when it come to my own article! There! I couldn't have believed the blotting, nor yet the buckling to at it, nor the patience over it. Which again is like the footboard. The public have no idea.
At last it was done, and the two years' time was gone after all the other time before it, and where it's all gone to, who knows? The new cart was finished,--yellow outside, relieved with wermilion and brass fittings,--the old horse was put in it, a new 'un and a boy being laid on for the Cheap Jack cart,--and I cleaned myself up to go and fetch her. Bright cold weather it was, cart-chimneys smoking, carts pitched private on a piece of waste ground over at Wandsworth, where you may see 'em from the Sou'western Railway when not upon the road. (Look out of the right- hand window going down.)
"Marigold," says the gentleman, giving his hand hearty, "I am very glad to see you."
"Yet I have my doubts, sir," says I, "if you can be half as glad to see me as I am to see you."
"The time has appeared so long,--has it, Marigold?"
"I won't say that, sir, considering its real length; but--"
"What a start, my good fellow!"
Ah! I should think it was! Grown such a woman, so pretty, so intelligent, so expressive! I knew then that she must be really like my child, or I could never have known her, standing quiet by the door.
"You are affected," says the gentleman in a kindly manner.
"I feel, sir," says I, "that I am but a rough chap in a sleeved waistcoat."
"I feel," says the gentleman, "that it was you who raised her from misery and degradation, and brought her into communication with her kind. But why do we converse alone together, when we can converse so well with her? Address her in your own way."
"I am such a rough chap in a sleeved waistcoat, sir," says I, "and she is such a graceful woman, and she stands so quiet at the door!"
"_Try_ if she moves at the old sign," says the gentleman.
They had got it up together o' purpose to please me! For when I give her the old sign, she rushed to my feet, and dropped upon her knees, holding up her hands to me with pouring tears of love and joy; and when I took her hands and lifted her, she clasped me round the neck, and lay there; and I don't know what a fool I didn't make of myself, until we all three settled down into talking without sound, as if there was a something soft and pleasant spread over the whole world for us.