Certain it is that, standing at his shop-door, in his coffee-coloured suit, with his chronometer in his pocket, and his spectacles on his forehead, he don't appear to break his heart at customers not coming, but looks very jovial and contented, though full as misty as of yore.
As to his partner, Captain Cuttle, there is a fiction of a business in the Captain's mind which is better than any reality. The Captain is as satisfied of the Midshipman's importance to the commerce and navigation of the country, as he could possibly be, if no ship left the Port of London without the Midshipman's assistance. His delight in his own name over the door, is inexhaustible. He crosses the street, twenty times a day, to look at it from the other side of the way; and invariably says, on these occasions, 'Ed'ard Cuttle, my lad, if your mother could ha' know'd as you would ever be a man o' science, the good old creetur would ha' been took aback in-deed!'
But here is Mr Toots descending on the Midshipman with violent rapidity, and Mr Toots's face is very red as he bursts into the little parlour.
'Captain Gills,' says Mr Toots, 'and Mr Sols, I am happy to inform you that Mrs Toots has had an increase to her family.
'And it does her credit!' cries the Captain.
'I give you joy, Mr Toots!' says old Sol.
'Thank'ee,' chuckles Mr Toots, 'I'm very much obliged to you. I knew that you'd be glad to hear, and so I came down myself. We're positively getting on, you know. There's Florence, and Susan, and now here's another little stranger.'
'A female stranger?' inquires the Captain.
'Yes, Captain Gills,' says Mr Toots, 'and I'm glad of it. The oftener we can repeat that most extraordinary woman, my opinion is, the better!'
'Stand by!' says the Captain, turning to the old case-bottle with no throat - for it is evening, and the Midshipman's usual moderate provision of pipes and glasses is on the board. 'Here's to her, and may she have ever so many more!'
'Thank'ee, Captain Gills,' says the delighted Mr Toots. 'I echo the sentiment. If you'll allow me, as my so doing cannot be unpleasant to anybody, under the circumstances, I think I'll take a pipe.'
Mr Toots begins to smoke, accordingly, and in the openness of his heart is very loquacious.
'Of all the remarkable instances that that delightful woman has given of her excellent sense, Captain Gills and Mr Sols,' said Mr Toots, 'I think none is more remarkable than the perfection with which she has understood my devotion to Miss Dombey.'
Both his auditors assent.
'Because you know,' says Mr Toots, 'I have never changed my sentiments towards Miss Dombey. They are the same as ever. She is the same bright vision to me, at present, that she was before I made Walters's acquaintance. When Mrs Toots and myself first began to talk of - in short, of the tender passion, you know, Captain Gills.'
'Ay, ay, my lad,' says the Captain, 'as makes us all slue round - for which you'll overhaul the book - '
'I shall certainly do so, Captain Gills,' says Mr Toots, with great earnestness; 'when we first began to mention such subjects, I explained that I was what you may call a Blighted Flower, you know.'
The Captain approves of this figure greatly; and murmurs that no flower as blows, is like the rose.
'But Lord bless me,' pursues Mr Toots, 'she was as entirely conscious of the state of my feelings as I was myself. There was nothing I could tell her. She was the only person who could have stood between me and the silent Tomb, and she did it, in a manner to command my everlasting admiration.