A good man, rejoined the secretary, a staunch, sincere, and truly zealous man.
He should be encouraged, said Lord George. Make a note of Dennis. Ill talk with him.
Gashford obeyed, and went on reading from his list, The Friends of Reason, half-a-guinea. The Friends of Liberty, half-a-guinea. The Friends of Peace, half-a-guinea. The Friends of Charity, half-a-guinea. The Friends of Mercy, half-a-guinea. The Associated Rememberers of Bloody Mary, half-a-guinea. The United Bulldogs, half-a-guinea.
The United Bulldogs, said Lord George, biting his nails most horribly, are a new society, are they not?
Formerly the Prentice Knights, my lord. The indentures of the old members expiring by degrees, they changed their name, it seems, though they still have prentices among them, as well as workmen.
What is their presidents name? inquired Lord George.
President, said Gashford, reading, Mr Simon Tappertit.
I remember him. The little man, who sometimes brings an elderly sister to our meetings, and sometimes another female too, who is conscientious, I have no doubt, but not well-favoured?
The very same, my lord.
Tappertit is an earnest man, said Lord George, thoughtfully. Eh, Gashford?
One of the foremost among them all, my lord. He snuffs the battle from afar, like the war-horse. He throws his hat up in the street as if he were inspired, and makes most stirring speeches from the shoulders of his friends.
Make a note of Tappertit, said Lord George Gordon. We may advance him to a place of trust.
That, rejoined the secretary, doing as he was told, is all except Mrs Vardens box (fourteenth time of opening), seven shillings and sixpence in silver and copper, and half-a-guinea in gold; and Miggs (being the saving of a quarters wages), one and threepence.
Miggs, said Lord George. Is that a man?
The name is entered on the list as a woman, replied the secretary. I think she is the tall spare female of whom you spoke just now, my lord, as not being well-favoured, who sometimes comes to hear the speechesalong with Tappertit and Mrs Varden.
Mrs Varden is the elderly lady then, is she?
The secretary nodded, and rubbed the bridge of his nose with the feather of his pen.
She is a zealous sister, said Lord George. Her collection goes on prosperously, and is pursued with fervour. Has her husband joined?
A malignant, returned the secretary, folding up his papers. Unworthy such a wife. He remains in outer darkness and steadily refuses.
The consequences be upon his own head!Gashford!
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