Jobling looks hungry and also has the appearance of having run to seed in the market-gardens down by Deptford.

“I say! Just throw out half-a-crown, if you have got one to spare. I want to get some dinner.”

“Will you come and dine with me?” says Mr Guppy, throwing out the coin, which MrJobling catches neatly.

“How long should I have to hold out?” says Jobling.

“Not half an hour. I am only waiting here, till the enemy goes,” returns Mr Guppy, butting inward with his head.

“What enemy?”

“A new one. Going to be articled. Will you wait?”

“Can you give a fellow anything to read in the meantime?” says Mr Jobling.

Smallweed suggests the Law list. But Mr Jobling declares, with much earnestness, that he “can’t stand it.”

“You shall have the paper,” says Mr Guppy. “He shall bring it down. But you had better not be seen about here. Sit on our staircase and read. It’s a quiet place.”

Jobling nods intelligence and acquiescence. The sagacious Smallweed supplies him with the newspaper and occasionally drops his eye upon him from the landing as a precaution against his becoming disgusted with waiting and making an untimely departure. At last the enemy retreats, and then Smallweed fetches Mr Jobling up.

“Well, and how are you?” says Mr Guppy, shaking hands with him.

“So, so. How are you?”

Mr Guppy replying that he is not much to boast of, Mr Jobling ventures on the question, “How is she?” This Mr Guppy resents as a liberty; retorting, “Jobling, there are chords in the human mind—” Jobling begs pardon.

“Any subject but that!” says Mr Guppy with a gloomy enjoyment of his injury. “For there are chords, Jobling—”

Mr Jobling begs pardon again.

During this short colloquy, the active Smallweed, who is of the dinner party, has written in legal characters on a slip of paper, “Return immediately.” This notification to all whom it may concern, he inserts in the letter-box; and then putting on the tall hat, at the angle of inclination at which Mr Guppy wears his, informs his patron that they may now make themselves scarce.

Accordingly they betake themselves to a neighbouring dining-house, of the class known among its frequenters by the denomination Slap-Bang, where the waitress, a bouncing young female of forty, is supposed to have made some impression on the susceptible Smallweed; of whom it may be remarked that he is a weird changeling, to whom years are nothing. He stands precociously possessed of centuries of owlish wisdom. If he ever lay in a cradle, it seems as if he must have lain there in a tail-coat. He has an old, old eye, has Smallweed; and he drinks, and smokes, in a monkeyish way; and his neck is stiff in his collar; and he is never to be taken in; and he knows all about it, whatever it is. In short, in his bringing up, he has been so nursed by Law and Equity that he has become a kind of fossil Imp, to account for whose terrestrial

  By PanEris using Melati.

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