'- was induced and persuaded by me,' I went on, swallowing that colder designation, 'to consent to this concealment, and I bitterly regret it.'
'You are very much to blame, sir,' said Mr. Spenlow, walking to and fro upon the hearth-rug, and emphasizing what he said with his whole body instead of his head, on account of the stiffness of his cravat and spine. 'You have done a stealthy and unbecoming action, Mr. Copperfield. When I take a gentleman to my house, no matter whether he is nineteen, twenty-nine, or ninety, I take him there in a spirit of confidence. If he abuses my confidence, he commits a dishonourable action, Mr. Copperfield.'
'I feel it, sir, I assure you,' I returned. 'But I never thought so, before. Sincerely, honestly, indeed, Mr. Spenlow, I never thought so, before. I love Miss Spenlow to that extent -'
'Pooh! nonsense!' said Mr. Spenlow, reddening. 'Pray don't tell me to my face that you love my daughter, Mr. Copperfield!'
'Could I defend my conduct if I did not, sir?' I returned, with all humility.
'Can you defend your conduct if you do, sir?' said Mr. Spenlow, stopping short upon the hearth-rug. 'Have you considered your years, and my daughter's years, Mr. Copperfield? Have you considered what it is to undermine the confidence that should subsist between my daughter and myself? Have you considered my daughter's station in life, the projects I may contemplate for her advancement, the testamentary intentions I may have with reference to her? Have you considered anything, Mr. Copperfield?'
'Very little, sir, I am afraid;' I answered, speaking to him as respectfully and sorrowfully as I felt; 'but pray believe me, I have considered my own worldly position. When I explained it to you, we were already engaged -'
'I BEG,' said Mr. Spenlow, more like Punch than I had ever seen him, as he energetically struck one hand upon the other - I could not help noticing that even in my despair; 'that YOU Will NOT talk to me of engagements, Mr. Copperfield!'