Me and Mrs Boffin have not even settled that we shall make any change in our way of life. Mrs Boffin's inclinations certainly do tend towards Fashion; but, being already set up in a fashionable way at the Bower, she may not make further alterations. However, sir, as you don't press yourself, I wish to meet you so far as saying, by all means call at the Bower if you like. Call in the course of a week or two. At the same time, I consider that I ought to name, in addition to what I have already named, that I have in my employment a literary man--WITH a wooden leg--as I have no thoughts of parting from.'
'I regret to hear I am in some sort anticipated,' Mr Rokesmith answered, evidently having heard it with surprise; 'but perhaps other duties might arise?'
'You see,' returned Mr Boffin, with a confidential sense of dignity, 'as to my literary man's duties, they're clear. Professionally he declines and he falls, and as a friend he drops into poetry.'
Without observing that these duties seemed by no means clear to Mr Rokesmith's astonished comprehension, Mr Boffin went on:
'And now, sir, I'll wish you good-day. You can call at the Bower any time in a week or two. It's not above a mile or so from you, and your landlord can direct you to it. But as he may not know it by it's new name of Boffin's Bower, say, when you inquire of him, it's Harmon's; will you?'
'Harmoon's,' repeated Mr Rokesmith, seeming to have caught the sound imperfectly, 'Harmarn's. How do you spell it?'
'Why, as to the spelling of it,' returned Mr Boffin, with great presence of mind, 'that's YOUR look out. Harmon's is all you've got to say to HIM. Morning, morning, morning!' And so departed, without looking back.
MR AND MRS BOFFIN IN CONSULTATION
Betaking himself straight homeward, Mr Boffin, without further let or hindrance, arrived at the Bower, and gave Mrs Boffin (in a walking dress of black velvet and feathers, like a mourning coach- horse) an account of all he had said and done since breakfast.
'This brings us round, my dear,' he then pursued, 'to the question we left unfinished: namely, whether there's to be any new go-in for Fashion.'
'Now, I'll tell you what I want, Noddy,' said Mrs Boffin, smoothing her dress with an air of immense enjoyment, 'I want Society.'
'Fashionable Society, my dear?'
'Yes!' cried Mrs Boffin, laughing with the glee of a child. 'Yes! It's no good my being kept here like Wax-Work; is it now?'
'People have to pay to see Wax-Work, my dear,' returned her husband, 'whereas (though you'd be cheap at the same money) the neighbours is welcome to see YOU for nothing.'
'But it don't answer,' said the cheerfial Mrs Boffin. 'When we worked like the neighbours, we suited one another. Now we have left work off; we have left off suiting one another.'
'What, do you think of beginning work again?' Mr Boffin hinted.
'Out of the question! We have come into a great fortune, and we must do what's right by our fortune; we must act up to it.'
Mr Boffin, who had a deep respect for his wife's intuitive wisdom, replied, though rather pensively: 'I suppose we must.'
'It's never been acted up to yet, and, consequently, no good has come of it,' said Mrs Boffin.
'True, to the present time,' Mr Boffin assented, with his former pensiveness, as he took his seat upon his settle. 'I hope good may be coming of it in the future time. Towards which, what's your views, old lady?'
Mrs Boffin, a smiling creature, broad of figure and simple of nature, with her hands folded in her lap, and with buxom creases in her throat, proceeded to expound her views.
'I say, a good house in a good neighbourhood, good things about us, good living, and good society. I say, live like our means, without extravagance, and be happy.'
'Yes. I say be happy, too,' assented the still pensive Mr Boffin. 'Lor-a-mussy!' exclaimed Mrs Boffin, laughing and clapping her hands, and gaily rocking herself to and fro, 'when I think of me in a light yellow chariot and pair, with silver boxes to the wheels--'
'Oh! you was thinking of that, was you, my dear?'
'Yes!' cried the delighted creature.