'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!
My aunt had written her one of the odd, abrupt notes — very little longer than a Bank note — to which her epistolary efforts were usually limited. She had stated therein that she had fallen into adversity, and was leaving Dover for good, but had quite made up her mind to it, and was so well that nobody need be uncomfortable about her. Agnes had come to London to see my aunt, between whom and herself there had been a mutual liking these many years: indeed, it dated from the time of my taking up my residence in Mr. Wickfield's house. She was not alone, she said. Her papa was with her — and Uriah Heep.
'And now they are partners,' said I. 'Confound him!'
'Yes,' said Agnes. 'They have some business here; and I took advantage of their coming, to come too. You must not think my visit all friendly and disinterested, Trotwood, for — I am afraid I may be cruelly prejudiced — I do not like to let papa go away alone, with him.' 'Does he exercise the same influence over Mr. Wickfield still, Agnes?'
Agnes shook her head. 'There is such a change at home,' said she, 'that you would scarcely know the dear old house. They live with us now.'
'They?' said I.
'Mr. Heep and his mother. He sleeps in your old room,' said Agnes, looking up into my face.
'I wish I had the ordering of his dreams,' said I. 'He wouldn't sleep there long.'
'I keep my own little room,' said Agnes, 'where I used to learn my lessons. How the time goes! You remember? The little panelled room that opens from the drawing-room?'
'Remember, Agnes? When I saw you, for the first time, coming out at the door, with your quaint little basket of keys hanging at your side?'