I had not the courage to see any one that night. I had not even the courage to see myself, for I was afraid that my tears might a little reproach me. I went up to my room in the dark, and prayed in the dark, and lay down in the dark to sleep. I had no need of any light to read my guardians letter by, for I knew it by heart. I took it from the place where I kept it, and repeated its contents by its own clear light of integrity and love, and went to sleep with it on my pillow.
I was up very early in the morning, and called Charley to come for a walk. We bought flowers for the breakfast-table, and came back and arranged them, and were as busy as possible. We were so early, that I had a good time still for Charleys lesson, before breakfast; Charley (who was not in the least improved in the old defective article of grammar) came through it with great applause; and we were altogether very notable. When my guardian appeared, he said, Why, little woman, you look fresher than your flowers! And Mrs Woodcourt repeated and translated a passage from the Mewlinn-willinwodd, expressive of my being like a mountain with the sun upon it.
This was all so pleasant, that I hope it made me still more like the mountain than I had been before. After breakfast, I waited my opportunity, and peeped about a little, until I saw my guardian in his own room the room of last night by himself. Then I made an excuse to go in with my housekeeping keys, shutting the door after me.
Well, Dame Durden? said my guardian; the post had brought him several letters, and he was writing. You want money?
No, indeed, I have plenty in hand.
There never was such a Dame Durden, said my guardian, for making money last.
He had laid down his pen, and leaned back in his chair looking at me. I have often spoken of his bright face, but I thought I had never seen it look so bright and good. There was a high happiness upon it, which made me think, he has been doing some great kindness this morning.
There never was, said my guardian, musing as he smiled upon me, such a Dame Durden for making money last.
He had never yet altered his old manner. I loved it, and him, so much, that when I now went up to him and took my usual chair, which was always put at his side for sometimes I read to him, and sometimes I talked to him, and sometimes I silently worked by him I hardly liked to disturb it by laying my hand on his breast. But I found I did not disturb it at all.
Dear guardian, said I, I want to speak to you. Have I been remiss in anything?
Remiss in anything, my dear!
Have I not been what I have meant to be, since I brought the answer to your letter, guardian?
You have been everything I could desire, my love.
I am very glad indeed to hear that, I returned. You know, you said to me, was this the mistress of Bleak House. And I said, yes.
Yes, said my guardian, nodding his head. He had put his arm about me, as if there were something to protect me from; and looked in my face, smiling.
Since then, said I, we have never spoken on the subject except once.
And then I said, Bleak House was thinning fast; and so it was, my dear.
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