Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
the shining oak floor, and the great beams in the ceiling. It was
a prettily furnished room, with a piano and some lively furniture
in red and green, and some flowers. It seemed to be all old nooks
and corners; and in every nook and corner there was some queer
little table, or cupboard, or bookcase, or seat, or something or
other, that made me think there was not such another good corner in
the room; until I looked at the next one, and found it equal to it,
if not better. On everything there was the same air of retirement
and cleanliness that marked the house outside.
Mr. Wickfield tapped at a door in a corner of the panelled wall,
and a girl of about my own age came quickly out and kissed him. On
her face, I saw immediately the placid and sweet expression of the
lady whose picture had looked at me downstairs. It seemed to my
imagination as if the portrait had grown womanly, and the original
remained a child. Although her face was quite bright and happy,
there was a tranquillity about it, and about her - a quiet, good,
calm spirit - that I never have forgotten; that I shall never
forget. This was his little housekeeper, his daughter Agnes, Mr.
Wickfield said. When I heard how he said it, and saw how he held
her hand, I guessed what the one motive of his life was.
She had a little basket-trifle hanging at her side, with keys in
it; and she looked as staid and as discreet a housekeeper as the
old house could have. She listened to her father as he told her
about me, with a pleasant face; and when he had concluded, proposed
to my aunt that we should go upstairs and see my room. We all went
together, she before us: and a glorious old room it was, with more
oak beams, and diamond panes; and the broad balustrade going all
the way up to it.
I cannot call to mind where or when, in my childhood, I had seen a
stained glass window in a church. Nor do I recollect its subject.
But I know that when I saw her turn round, in the grave light of
the old staircase, and wait for us, above, I thought of that
window; and I associated something of its tranquil brightness with
Agnes Wickfield ever afterwards.
My aunt was as happy as I was, in the arrangement made for me; and
we went down to the drawing-room again, well pleased and gratified.
As she would not hear of staying to dinner, lest she should by any
chance fail to arrive at home with the grey pony before dark; and
as I apprehend Mr. Wickfield knew her too well to argue any point
with her; some lunch was provided for her there, and Agnes went
back to her governess, and Mr. Wickfield to his office. So we were