David Copperfield – Day 187 of 331

“Would you object to my mentioning it to him, sir?” I asked.

“By no means,” said Mr. Spenlow. “But I have some experience of Mr. Jorkins, Copperfield. I wish it were otherwise, for I should be happy to meet your views in any respect. I cannot have the objection to your mentioning it to Mr. Jorkins, Copperfield, if you think it worth while.”

Availing myself of this permission, which was given with a warm shake of the hand, I sat thinking about Dora, and looking at the sunlight stealing from the chimney-pots down the wall of the opposite house, until Mr. Jorkins came. I then went up to Mr. Jorkins’s room, and evidently astonished Mr. Jorkins very much by making my appearance there.

“Come in, Mr. Copperfield,” said Mr. Jorkins. “Come in!”

I went in, and sat down; and stated my case to Mr. Jorkins pretty much as I had stated it to Mr. Spenlow. Mr. Jorkins was not by any means the awful creature one might have expected, but a large, mild, smooth-faced man of sixty, who took so much snuff that there was a tradition in the Commons that he lived principally on that stimulant, having little room in his system for any other article of diet.

“You have mentioned this to Mr. Spenlow, I suppose?” said Mr. Jorkins; when he had heard me, very restlessly, to an end.

I answered Yes, and told him that Mr. Spenlow had introduced his name.

“He said I should object?” asked Mr. Jorkins.

I was obliged to admit that Mr. Spenlow had considered it probable.

“I am sorry to say, Mr. Copperfield, I can’t advance your object,” said Mr. Jorkins, nervously. “The fact is—but I have an appointment at the Bank, if you’ll have the goodness to excuse me.”

With that he rose in a great hurry, and was going out of the room, when I made bold to say that I feared, then, there was no way of arranging the matter?

“No!” said Mr. Jorkins, stopping at the door to shake his head. “Oh, no! I object, you know,” which he said very rapidly, and went out. “You must be aware, Mr. Copperfield,” he added, looking restlessly in at the door again, “if Mr. Spenlow objects—”

“Personally, he does not object, sir,” said I.

“Oh! Personally!” repeated Mr. Jorkins, in an impatient manner. “I assure you there’s an objection, Mr. Copperfield. Hopeless! What you wish to be done, can’t be done. I—I really have got an appointment at the Bank.” With that he fairly ran away; and to the best of my knowledge, it was three days before he showed himself in the Commons again.

Being very anxious to leave no stone unturned, I waited until Mr. Spenlow came in, and then described what had passed; giving him to understand that I was not hopeless of his being able to soften the adamantine Jorkins, if he would undertake the task.

“Copperfield,” returned Mr. Spenlow, with a gracious smile, “you have not known my partner, Mr. Jorkins, as long as I have. Nothing is farther from my thoughts than to attribute any degree of artifice to Mr. Jorkins. But Mr. Jorkins has a way of stating his objections which often deceives people. No, Copperfield!” shaking his head. “Mr. Jorkins is not to be moved, believe me!”

I was completely bewildered between Mr. Spenlow and Mr. Jorkins, as to which of them really was the objecting partner; but I saw with sufficient clearness that there was obduracy somewhere in the firm, and that the recovery of my aunt’s thousand pounds was out of the question. In a state of despondency, which I remember with anything but satisfaction, for I know it still had too much reference to myself (though always in connexion with Dora), I left the office, and went homeward.

I was trying to familiarize my mind with the worst, and to present to myself the arrangements we should have to make for the future in their sternest aspect, when a hackney-chariot coming after me, and stopping at my very feet, occasioned me to look up. A fair hand was stretched forth to me from the window; and the face I had never seen without a feeling of serenity and happiness, from the moment when it first turned back on the old oak staircase with the great broad balustrade, and when I associated its softened beauty with the stained-glass window in the church, was smiling on me.

“Agnes!” I joyfully exclaimed. “Oh, my dear Agnes, of all people in the world, what a pleasure to see you!”

“Is it, indeed?” she said, in her cordial voice.

“I want to talk to you so much!” said I. “It’s such a lightening of my heart, only to look at you! If I had had a conjuror’s cap, there is no one I should have wished for but you!”

“What?” returned Agnes.

“Well! perhaps Dora first,” I admitted, with a blush.

“Certainly, Dora first, I hope,” said Agnes, laughing.

“But you next!” said I. “Where are you going?”

She was going to my rooms to see my aunt. The day being very fine, she was glad to come out of the chariot, which smelt (I had my head in it all this time) like a stable put under a cucumber-frame. I dismissed the coachman, and she took my arm, and we walked on together. She was like Hope embodied, to me. How different I felt in one short minute, having Agnes at my side!

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