'Oh! She? Little Dorrit? She's nothing; she's a whim of -- hers.' It was a peculiarity of Affery Flintwinch that she never spoke of Mrs. Clennam by name. 'But there's another sort of girl than that about. Have you forgot your old sweetheart? Long and long ago, I'll be bound.'

'I suffered enough from my mother's separating us, to remember her. I recollect her very well.'

'Have you got another?'

'No.'

'Here's news for you, then. She's well to do now, and a widow. And if you like to have her, why you can.'

'And how do you know that, Affery?'

'Them two clever ones have been speaking about it. -- There's Jeremiah on the stairs!' She was gone in a moment.

Mrs. Flintwinch had introduced into the web that his mind was busily weaving, in that old workshop where the loom of his youth had stood, the last thread wanting to the pattern. The airy folly of a boy's love had found its way even into that house, and he had been as wretched under its hopelessness as if the house had been a castle of romance. Little more than a week ago at Marseilles, the face of the pretty girl from whom he had parted with regret, had had an unusual interest for him, and a tender hold upon him, because of some resemblance, real or imagined, to this first face that had soared out of his gloomy life into the bright glories of fancy. He leaned upon the sill of the long low window, and looking out upon the blackened forest of chimneys again, began to dream. For, it had been the uniform tendency of this man's life -- as much was wanting in it to think about, so much that might have been better directed and happier to speculate upon -- to make him a dreamer, after all.


CHAPTER IV
MRS. FLINTWINCH HAS A DREAM

WHEN Mrs. Flintwinch dreamed, she usually dreamed, unlike the son of her old mistress, with her eyes shut. She had a curiously vivid dream that night, and before she had left the son of her old mistress many hours. In fact it was not at all like a dream, it was so very real in every respect. It happened in this wise.

-39-

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