wohnzimmer möbel anordnung

wohnzimmer möbel anordnung

our mutual friend by charles dickenschapter 4 the r. wilfer family reginald wilfer is a name with rather agrand sound, suggesting on first acquaintance brasses in country churches,scrolls in stained-glass windows, and generally the de wilfers who came over withthe conqueror. for, it is a remarkable fact in genealogythat no de any ones ever came over with anybody else. but, the reginald wilfer family were ofsuch commonplace extraction and pursuits that their forefathers had for generationsmodestly subsisted on the docks, the excise


office, and the custom house, and theexisting r. wilfer was a poor clerk. so poor a clerk, though having a limitedsalary and an unlimited family, that he had never yet attained the modest object of hisambition: which was, to wear a complete new suit of clothes, hat and boots included, atone time. his black hat was brown before he couldafford a coat, his pantaloons were white at the seams and knees before he could buy apair of boots, his boots had worn out before he could treat himself to new pantaloons, and, by the time he workedround to the hat again, that shining modern article roofed-in an ancient ruin ofvarious periods.


if the conventional cherub could ever growup and be clothed, he might be photographed as a portrait of wilfer. his chubby, smooth, innocent appearance wasa reason for his being always treated with condescension when he was not put down. a stranger entering his own poor house atabout ten o'clock p.m. might have been surprised to find him sitting up to supper. so boyish was he in his curves andproportions, that his old schoolmaster meeting him in cheapside, might have beenunable to withstand the temptation of caning him on the spot.


in short, he was the conventional cherub,after the supposititious shoot just mentioned, rather grey, with signs of careon his expression, and in decidedly insolvent circumstances. he was shy, and unwilling to own to thename of reginald, as being too aspiring and self-assertive a name. in his signature he used only the initialr., and imparted what it really stood for, to none but chosen friends, under the sealof confidence. out of this, the facetious habit had arisenin the neighbourhood surrounding mincing lane of making christian names for him ofadjectives and participles beginning with


r. some of these were more or lessappropriate: as rusty, retiring, ruddy, round, ripe, ridiculous, ruminative;others, derived their point from their want of application: as raging, rattling,roaring, raffish. but, his popular name was rumty, which in amoment of inspiration had been bestowed upon him by a gentleman of convivial habitsconnected with the drug-markets, as the beginning of a social chorus, his leading part in the execution of which had led thisgentleman to the temple of fame, and of which the whole expressive burden ran:


'rumty iddity, row dow dow, singtoodlely, teedlely, bow wow wow.' thus he was constantly addressed, even inminor notes on business, as 'dear rumty'; in answer to which, he sedately signedhimself, 'yours truly, r. wilfer.' he was clerk in the drug-house of chicksey,veneering, and stobbles. chicksey and stobbles, his former masters,had both become absorbed in veneering, once their traveller or commission agent: whohad signalized his accession to supreme power by bringing into the business a quantity of plate-glass window and french-polished mahogany partition, and a gleaming and enormous doorplate.


r. wilfer locked up his desk one evening,and, putting his bunch of keys in his pocket much as if it were his peg-top, madefor home. his home was in the holloway region northof london, and then divided from it by fields and trees. between battle bridge and that part of theholloway district in which he dwelt, was a tract of suburban sahara, where tiles andbricks were burnt, bones were boiled, carpets were beat, rubbish was shot, dogs were fought, and dust was heaped bycontractors. skirting the border of this desert, by theway he took, when the light of its kiln-


fires made lurid smears on the fog, r.wilfer sighed and shook his head. 'ah me!' said he, 'what might have been isnot what is!' with which commentary on human life,indicating an experience of it not exclusively his own, he made the best ofhis way to the end of his journey. mrs wilfer was, of course, a tall woman andan angular. her lord being cherubic, she wasnecessarily majestic, according to the principle which matrimonially unitescontrasts. she was much given to tying up her head ina pocket-handkerchief, knotted under the chin.


this head-gear, in conjunction with a pairof gloves worn within doors, she seemed to consider as at once a kind of armouragainst misfortune (invariably assuming it when in low spirits or difficulties), andas a species of full dress. it was therefore with some sinking of thespirit that her husband beheld her thus heroically attired, putting down her candlein the little hall, and coming down the doorsteps through the little front court toopen the gate for him. something had gone wrong with the house-door, for r. wilfer stopped on the steps, staring at it, and cried: 'hal-loa?''yes,' said mrs wilfer, 'the man came


himself with a pair of pincers, and took itoff, and took it away. he said that as he had no expectation ofever being paid for it, and as he had an order for another ladies' school door-plate, it was better (burnished up) for the interests of all parties.' 'perhaps it was, my dear; what do youthink?' 'you are master here, r. w.,' returned hiswife. 'it is as you think; not as i do. perhaps it might have been better if theman had taken the door too?' 'my dear, we couldn't have done without thedoor.'


'couldn't we?' 'why, my dear!could we?' 'it is as you think, r. w.; not as i do.' with those submissive words, the dutifulwife preceded him down a few stairs to a little basement front room, half kitchen,half parlour, where a girl of about nineteen, with an exceedingly pretty figure and face, but with an impatient andpetulant expression both in her face and in her shoulders (which in her sex and at herage are very expressive of discontent), sat playing draughts with a younger girl, whowas the youngest of the house of wilfer.


not to encumber this page by telling offthe wilfers in detail and casting them up in the gross, it is enough for the presentthat the rest were what is called 'out in the world,' in various ways, and that theywere many. so many, that when one of his dutifulchildren called in to see him, r. wilfer generally seemed to say to himself, after alittle mental arithmetic, 'oh! here's another of 'em!' before adding aloud, 'how de do, john,' or susan, as the case mightbe. 'well piggywiggies,' said r. w., 'how de doto-night? what i was thinking of, my dear,' to mrswilfer already seated in a corner with


folded gloves, 'was, that as we have letour first floor so well, and as we have now no place in which you could teach pupilseven if pupils--' 'the milkman said he knew of two youngladies of the highest respectability who were in search of a suitable establishment,and he took a card,' interposed mrs wilfer, with severe monotony, as if she werereading an act of parliament aloud. 'tell your father whether it was lastmonday, bella.' 'but we never heard any more of it, ma,'said bella, the elder girl. 'in addition to which, my dear,' herhusband urged, 'if you have no place to put two young persons into--'


'pardon me,' mrs wilfer again interposed;'they were not young persons. two young ladies of the highestrespectability. tell your father, bella, whether themilkman said so.' 'my dear, it is the same thing.''no it is not,' said mrs wilfer, with the same impressive monotony. 'pardon me!''i mean, my dear, it is the same thing as to space.as to space. if you have no space in which to put twoyouthful fellow-creatures, however eminently respectable, which i do notdoubt, where are those youthful fellow-


creatures to be accommodated? i carry it no further than that. and solely looking at it,' said herhusband, making the stipulation at once in a conciliatory, complimentary, andargumentative tone--'as i am sure you will agree, my love--from a fellow-creaturepoint of view, my dear.' 'i have nothing more to say,' returned mrswilfer, with a meek renunciatory action of her gloves. here, the huffing of miss bella and theloss of three of her men at a swoop, aggravated by the coronation of anopponent, led to that young lady's jerking


the draught-board and pieces off the table: which her sister went down on her knees topick up. 'poor bella!' said mrs wilfer.'and poor lavinia, perhaps, my dear?' suggested r. w. 'pardon me,' said mrs wilfer, 'no!' it was one of the worthy woman'sspecialities that she had an amazing power of gratifying her splenetic or worldly-minded humours by extolling her own family: which she thus proceeded, in the presentcase, to do. 'no, r. w. lavinia has not known the trialthat bella has known.


the trial that your daughter bella hasundergone, is, perhaps, without a parallel, and has been borne, i will say, nobly. when you see your daughter bella in herblack dress, which she alone of all the family wears, and when you remember thecircumstances which have led to her wearing it, and when you know how those circumstances have been sustained, then, r.w., lay your head upon your pillow and say, "poor lavinia!"' here, miss lavinia, from her kneelingsituation under the table, put in that she didn't want to be 'poored by pa', oranybody else.


'i am sure you do not, my dear,' returnedher mother, 'for you have a fine brave spirit. and your sister cecilia has a fine bravespirit of another kind, a spirit of pure devotion, a beau-ti-ful spirit! the self-sacrifice of cecilia reveals apure and womanly character, very seldom equalled, never surpassed. i have now in my pocket a letter from yoursister cecilia, received this morning-- received three months after her marriage,poor child!--in which she tells me that her husband must unexpectedly shelter undertheir roof his reduced aunt.


"but i will be true to him, mamma," shetouchingly writes, "i will not leave him, i must not forget that he is my husband. let his aunt come!"if this is not pathetic, if this is not woman's devotion--!' the good lady waved her gloves in a senseof the impossibility of saying more, and tied the pocket-handkerchief over her headin a tighter knot under her chin. bella, who was now seated on the rug towarm herself, with her brown eyes on the fire and a handful of her brown curls inher mouth, laughed at this, and then pouted and half cried.


'i am sure,' said she, 'though you have nofeeling for me, pa, i am one of the most unfortunate girls that ever lived. you know how poor we are' (it is probablehe did, having some reason to know it!), 'and what a glimpse of wealth i had, andhow it melted away, and how i am here in this ridiculous mourning--which i hate!--akind of a widow who never was married. and yet you don't feel for me.--yes you do,yes you do.' this abrupt change was occasioned by herfather's face. she stopped to pull him down from his chairin an attitude highly favourable to strangulation, and to give him a kiss and apat or two on the cheek.


'but you ought to feel for me, you know,pa.' 'my dear, i do.''yes, and i say you ought to. if they had only left me alone and told menothing about it, it would have mattered much less. but that nasty mr lightwood feels it hisduty, as he says, to write and tell me what is in reserve for me, and then i am obligedto get rid of george sampson.' here, lavinia, rising to the surface withthe last draughtman rescued, interposed, 'you never cared for george sampson,bella.' 'and did i say i did, miss?'


then, pouting again, with the curls in hermouth; 'george sampson was very fond of me, and admired me very much, and put up witheverything i did to him.' 'you were rude enough to him,' laviniaagain interposed. 'and did i say i wasn't, miss?i am not setting up to be sentimental about george sampson. i only say george sampson was better thannothing.' 'you didn't show him that you thought eventhat,' lavinia again interposed. 'you are a chit and a little idiot,'returned bella, 'or you wouldn't make such a dolly speech.what did you expect me to do?


wait till you are a woman, and don't talkabout what you don't understand. you only show your ignorance!' then, whimpering again, and at intervalsbiting the curls, and stopping to look how much was bitten off, 'it's a shame!there never was such a hard case! i shouldn't care so much if it wasn't soridiculous. it was ridiculous enough to have a strangercoming over to marry me, whether he liked it or not. it was ridiculous enough to know what anembarrassing meeting it would be, and how we never could pretend to have aninclination of our own, either of us.


it was ridiculous enough to know ishouldn't like him--how could i like him, left to him in a will, like a dozen ofspoons, with everything cut and dried beforehand, like orange chips. talk of orange flowers indeed!i declare again it's a shame! those ridiculous points would have beensmoothed away by the money, for i love money, and want money--want it dreadfully. i hate to be poor, and we are degradinglypoor, offensively poor, miserably poor, beastly poor. but here i am, left with all the ridiculousparts of the situation remaining, and,


added to them all, this ridiculous dress! and if the truth was known, when the harmonmurder was all over the town, and people were speculating on its being suicide, idare say those impudent wretches at the clubs and places made jokes about the miserable creature's having preferred awatery grave to me. it's likely enough they took suchliberties; i shouldn't wonder! i declare it's a very hard case indeed, andi am a most unfortunate girl. the idea of being a kind of a widow, andnever having been married! and the idea of being as poor as ever afterall, and going into black, besides, for a


man i never saw, and should have hated--asfar as he was concerned--if i had seen!' the young lady's lamentations were checkedat this point by a knuckle, knocking at the half-open door of the room.the knuckle had knocked two or three times already, but had not been heard. 'who is it?' said mrs wilfer, in her act-of-parliament manner. 'enter!' a gentleman coming in, miss bella, with ashort and sharp exclamation, scrambled off the hearth-rug and massed the bitten curlstogether in their right place on her neck. 'the servant girl had her key in the dooras i came up, and directed me to this room,


telling me i was expected.i am afraid i should have asked her to announce me.' 'pardon me,' returned mrs wilfer.'not at all. two of my daughters.r. w., this is the gentleman who has taken your first-floor. he was so good as to make an appointmentfor to-night, when you would be at home.' a dark gentleman.thirty at the utmost. an expressive, one might say handsome,face. a very bad manner.in the last degree constrained, reserved,


diffident, troubled. his eyes were on miss bella for an instant,and then looked at the ground as he addressed the master of the house. 'seeing that i am quite satisfied, mrwilfer, with the rooms, and with their situation, and with their price, i supposea memorandum between us of two or three lines, and a payment down, will bind thebargain? i wish to send in furniture without delay.' two or three times during this shortaddress, the cherub addressed had made chubby motions towards a chair.


the gentleman now took it, laying ahesitating hand on a corner of the table, and with another hesitating hand liftingthe crown of his hat to his lips, and drawing it before his mouth. 'the gentleman, r. w.,' said mrs wilfer,'proposes to take your apartments by the quarter.a quarter's notice on either side.' 'shall i mention, sir,' insinuated thelandlord, expecting it to be received as a matter of course, 'the form of areference?' 'i think,' returned the gentleman, after apause, 'that a reference is not necessary; neither, to say the truth, is itconvenient, for i am a stranger in london.


i require no reference from you, andperhaps, therefore, you will require none from me.that will be fair on both sides. indeed, i show the greater confidence ofthe two, for i will pay in advance whatever you please, and i am going to trust myfurniture here. whereas, if you were in embarrassedcircumstances--this is merely supposititious--' conscience causing r. wilfer to colour, mrswilfer, from a corner (she always got into stately corners) came to the rescue with adeep-toned 'per-fectly.' '--why then i--might lose it.'


'well!' observed r. wilfer, cheerfully,'money and goods are certainly the best of references.' 'do you think they are the best, pa?' askedmiss bella, in a low voice, and without looking over her shoulder as she warmed herfoot on the fender. 'among the best, my dear.' 'i should have thought, myself, it was soeasy to add the usual kind of one,' said bella, with a toss of her curls. the gentleman listened to her, with a faceof marked attention, though he neither looked up nor changed his attitude.


he sat, still and silent, until his futurelandlord accepted his proposals, and brought writing materials to complete thebusiness. he sat, still and silent, while thelandlord wrote. when the agreement was ready in duplicate(the landlord having worked at it like some cherubic scribe, in what is conventionallycalled a doubtful, which means a not at all doubtful, old master), it was signed by the contracting parties, bella looking on asscornful witness. the contracting parties were r. wilfer, andjohn rokesmith esquire. when it came to bella's turn to sign hername, mr rokesmith, who was standing, as he


had sat, with a hesitating hand upon thetable, looked at her stealthily, but narrowly. he looked at the pretty figure bending downover the paper and saying, 'where am i to go, pa?here, in this corner?' he looked at the beautiful brown hair,shading the coquettish face; he looked at the free dash of the signature, which was abold one for a woman's; and then they looked at one another. 'much obliged to you, miss wilfer.''obliged?' 'i have given you so much trouble.''signing my name?


yes, certainly. but i am your landlord's daughter, sir.' as there was nothing more to do but payeight sovereigns in earnest of the bargain, pocket the agreement, appoint a time forthe arrival of his furniture and himself, and go, mr rokesmith did that as awkwardly as it might be done, and was escorted byhis landlord to the outer air. when r. wilfer returned, candlestick inhand, to the bosom of his family, he found the bosom agitated. 'pa,' said bella, 'we have got a murdererfor a tenant.'


'pa,' said lavinia, 'we have got a robber.''to see him unable for his life to look anybody in the face!' said bella. 'there never was such an exhibition.''my dears,' said their father, 'he is a diffident gentleman, and i should sayparticularly so in the society of girls of your age.' 'nonsense, our age!' cried bella,impatiently. 'what's that got to do with him?''besides, we are not of the same age:-- which age?' demanded lavinia. 'never you mind, lavvy,' retorted bella;'you wait till you are of an age to ask


such questions.pa, mark my words! between mr rokesmith and me, there is anatural antipathy and a deep distrust; and something will come of it!' 'my dear, and girls,' said the cherub-patriarch, 'between mr rokesmith and me, there is a matter of eight sovereigns, andsomething for supper shall come of it, if you'll agree upon the article.' this was a neat and happy turn to give thesubject, treats being rare in the wilfer household, where a monotonous appearance ofdutch-cheese at ten o'clock in the evening had been rather frequently commented on bythe dimpled shoulders of miss bella.


indeed, the modest dutchman himself seemedconscious of his want of variety, and generally came before the family in a stateof apologetic perspiration. after some discussion on the relativemerits of veal-cutlet, sweetbread, and lobster, a decision was pronounced infavour of veal-cutlet. mrs wilfer then solemnly divested herselfof her handkerchief and gloves, as a preliminary sacrifice to preparing thefrying-pan, and r. w. himself went out to purchase the viand. he soon returned, bearing the same in afresh cabbage-leaf, where it coyly embraced a rasher of ham.


melodious sounds were not long in risingfrom the frying-pan on the fire, or in seeming, as the firelight danced in themellow halls of a couple of full bottles on the table, to play appropriate dance-music. the cloth was laid by lavvy. bella, as the acknowledged ornament of thefamily, employed both her hands in giving her hair an additional wave while sittingin the easiest chair, and occasionally threw in a direction touching the supper: as, 'very brown, ma;' or, to her sister,'put the saltcellar straight, miss, and don't be a dowdy little puss.'


meantime her father, chinking mrrokesmith's gold as he sat expectant between his knife and fork, remarked thatsix of those sovereigns came just in time for their landlord, and stood them in a little pile on the white tablecloth to lookat. 'i hate our landlord!' said bella. but, observing a fall in her father's face,she went and sat down by him at the table, and began touching up his hair with thehandle of a fork. it was one of the girl's spoilt ways to bealways arranging the family's hair--perhaps because her own was so pretty, and occupiedso much of her attention.


'you deserve to have a house of your own;don't you, poor pa?' 'i don't deserve it better than another, mydear.' 'at any rate i, for one, want it more thananother,' said bella, holding him by the chin, as she stuck his flaxen hair on end,'and i grudge this money going to the monster that swallows up so much, when weall want--everything. and if you say (as you want to say; i knowyou want to say so, pa) "that's neither reasonable nor honest, bella," then ianswer, "maybe not, pa--very likely--but it's one of the consequences of being poor, and of thoroughly hating and detesting tobe poor, and that's my case."


now, you look lovely, pa; why don't youalways wear your hair like that? and here's the cutlet! if it isn't very brown, ma, i can't eat it,and must have a bit put back to be done expressly.' however, as it was brown, even to bella'staste, the young lady graciously partook of it without reconsignment to the frying-pan,and also, in due course, of the contents of the two bottles: whereof one held scotchale and the other rum. the latter perfume, with the fostering aidof boiling water and lemon-peel, diffused itself throughout the room, and became sohighly concentrated around the warm


fireside, that the wind passing over the house roof must have rushed off chargedwith a delicious whiff of it, after buzzing like a great bee at that particularchimneypot. 'pa,' said bella, sipping the fragrantmixture and warming her favourite ankle; 'when old mr harmon made such a fool of me(not to mention himself, as he is dead), what do you suppose he did it for?' 'impossible to say, my dear.as i have told you time out of number since his will was brought to light, i doubt if iever exchanged a hundred words with the old gentleman.


if it was his whim to surprise us, his whimsucceeded. for he certainly did it.' 'and i was stamping my foot and screaming,when he first took notice of me; was i?' said bella, contemplating the ankle beforementioned. 'you were stamping your little foot, mydear, and screaming with your little voice, and laying into me with your little bonnet,which you had snatched off for the purpose,' returned her father, as if the remembrance gave a relish to the rum; 'youwere doing this one sunday morning when i took you out, because i didn't go the exactway you wanted, when the old gentleman,


sitting on a seat near, said, "that's a nice girl; that's a very nice girl; apromising girl!" and so you were, my dear.''and then he asked my name, did he, pa?' 'then he asked your name, my dear, andmine; and on other sunday mornings, when we walked his way, we saw him again, and--andreally that's all.' as that was all the rum and water too, or,in other words, as r. w. delicately signified that his glass was empty, bythrowing back his head and standing the glass upside down on his nose and upper lip, it might have been charitable in mrswilfer to suggest replenishment.


but that heroine briefly suggesting'bedtime' instead, the bottles were put away, and the family retired; shecherubically escorted, like some severe saint in a painting, or merely human matronallegorically treated. 'and by this time to-morrow,' said laviniawhen the two girls were alone in their room, 'we shall have mr rokesmith here, andshall be expecting to have our throats cut.' 'you needn't stand between me and thecandle for all that,' retorted bella. 'this is another of the consequences ofbeing poor! the idea of a girl with a really fine headof hair, having to do it by one flat candle


and a few inches of looking-glass!''you caught george sampson with it, bella, bad as your means of dressing it are.' 'you low little thing.caught george sampson with it! don't talk about catching people, miss,till your own time for catching--as you call it--comes.' 'perhaps it has come,' muttered lavvy, witha toss of her head. 'what did you say?' asked bella, verysharply. 'what did you say, miss?' lavvy declining equally to repeat or toexplain, bella gradually lapsed over her


hair-dressing into a soliloquy on themiseries of being poor, as exemplified in having nothing to put on, nothing to go out in, nothing to dress by, only a nasty boxto dress at instead of a commodious dressing-table, and being obliged to takein suspicious lodgers. on the last grievance as her climax, shelaid great stress--and might have laid greater, had she known that if mr juliushandford had a twin brother upon earth, mr john rokesmith was the man.

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