She was much given to the carrying about of small bags with snaps to them, that went off like little pistols when they were shut up; and when full-dressed, she wore round her neck the barrenest of lockets, representing a fishy old eye, with no approach to speculation in it. These and other appearances of a similar nature, had served to propagate the opinion, that Miss Tox was a lady of what is called a limited independence, which she turned to the best account. Possibly her mincing gait encouraged the belief, and suggested that her clipping a step of ordinary compass into two or three, originated in her habit of making the most of everything.
'I am sure,' said Miss Tox, with a prodigious curtsey, 'that to have the honour of being presented to Mr Dombey is a distinction which I have long sought, but very little expected at the present moment. My dear Mrs Chick - may I say Louisa!'
Mrs Chick took Miss Tox's hand in hers, rested the foot of her wine-glass upon it, repressed a tear, and said in a low voice, 'God bless you!'
'My dear Louisa then,' said Miss Tox, 'my sweet friend, how are you now?'
'Better,' Mrs Chick returned. 'Take some wine. You have been almost as anxious as I have been, and must want it, I am sure.'
Mr Dombey of course officiated, and also refilled his sister's glass, which she (looking another way, and unconscious of his intention) held straight and steady the while, and then regarded with great astonishment, saying, 'My dear Paul, what have you been doing!'
'Miss Tox, Paul,' pursued Mrs Chick, still retaining her hand, 'knowing how much I have been interested in the anticipation of the event of to-day, and how trembly and shaky I have been from head to foot in expectation of it, has been working at a little gift for Fanny, which I promised to present. Miss Tox is ingenuity itself.'
'My dear Louisa,' said Miss Tox. 'Don't say so.
'It is only a pincushion for the toilette table, Paul,' resumed his sister; 'one of those trifles which are insignificant to your sex in general, as it's very natural they should be - we have no business to expect they should be otherwise - but to which we attach some interest.
'Miss Tox is very good,' said Mr Dombey.
'And I do say, and will say, and must say,' pursued his sister, pressing the foot of the wine-glass on Miss Tox's hand, at each of the three clauses, 'that Miss Tox has very prettily adapted the sentiment to the occasion. I call "Welcome little Dombey" Poetry, myself!'
'Is that the device?' inquired her brother.
'That is the device,' returned Louisa.
'But do me the justice to remember, my dear Louisa,' said Miss Toxin a tone of low and earnest entreaty, 'that nothing but the - I have some difficulty in expressing myself - the dubiousness of the result would have induced me to take so great a liberty: "Welcome, Master Dombey," would have been much more congenial to my feelings, as I am sure you know. But the uncertainty attendant on angelic strangers, will, I hope, excuse what must otherwise appear an unwarrantable familiarity.' Miss Tox made a graceful bend as she spoke, in favour of Mr Dombey, which that gentleman graciously acknowledged.