appeared, and the sound of talking came. He retreated into a doorway to see who these talkers were, and to listen to them.
The light came to the level of the pavement as he did this, and a man ascended, bearing in his hand a torch. This figure unlocked and held open the grating as for the passage of another, who presently appeared, in the form of a young man of small stature and uncommon self-importance, dressed in an obsolete and very gaudy fashion.
Good night, noble captain, said he with the torch. Farewell, commander. Good luck, illustrious general!
In return to these compliments the other bade him hold his tongue, and keep his noise to himself, and laid upon him many similar injunctions, with great fluency of speech and sternness of manner.
Commend me, captain, to the stricken Miggs, returned the torch- bearer in a lower voice. My captain flies at higher game than Miggses. Ha, ha, ha! My captain is an eagle, both as respects his eye and soaring wings. My captain breaketh hearts as other bachelors break eggs at breakfast.
What a fool you are, Stagg! said Mr Tappertit, stepping on the pavement of the court, and brushing from his legs the dust he had contracted in his passage upward.
His precious limbs! cried Stagg, clasping one of his ankles. Shall a Miggs aspire to these proportions! No, no, my captain. We will inveigle ladies fair, and wed them in our secret cavern. We will unite ourselves with blooming beauties, captain.
Ill tell you what, my buck, said Mr Tappertit, releasing his leg; Ill trouble you not to take liberties, and not to broach certain questions unless certain questions are broached to you. Speak when youre spoke to on particular subjects, and not otherways. Hold the torch up till Ive got to the end of the court, and then kennel yourself, do you hear?
I hear you, noble captain.
Obey then, said Mr Tappertit haughtily. Gentlemen, lead on! With which word of command (addressed to an imaginary staff or retinue) he folded his arms, and walked with surpassing dignity down the court.
His obsequious follower stood holding the torch above his head, and then the observer saw for the first time, from his place of concealment, that he was blind. Some involuntary motion on his part caught the quick ear of the blind man, before he was conscious of having moved an inch towards him, for he turned suddenly and cried, Whos there?
A man, said the other, advancing. A friend.
A stranger! rejoined the blind man. Strangers are not my friends. What do you do there?
I saw your company come out, and waited here till they were gone. I want a lodging.
A lodging at this time! returned Stagg, pointing towards the dawn as though he saw it. Do you know the day is breaking?
I know it, rejoined the other, to my cost. I have been traversing this iron-hearted town all night.
You had better traverse it again, said the blind man, preparing to descend, till you find some lodgings suitable to your taste. I dont let any.
Stay! cried the other, holding him by the arm.
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