terminating his unpremeditated after-supper stroll of ten minutes long from his own door and back again, Mr Snagsby approaches.

“What, Mr Weevle?” says the stationer, stopping to speak. “Are you there?”

“Ay!” says Weevle, “Here I am, Mr Snagsby.”

“Airing yourself, as I am doing, before you go to bed?” the stationer inquires.

“Why, there’s not much air to be got here; and what there is, is not very freshening,” Weevle answers, glancing up and down the court.

“Very true, sir. Don’t you observe,” says Mr Snagsby, pausing to sniff and taste the air a little; “don’t you observe, Mr Weevle, that you’ re — not to put too fine a point upon it — that you’re rather greasy here, sir?”

“Why, I have noticed myself that there is a queer kind of flavour in the place to-night,” Mr Weevle rejoins. “I suppose it’s chops at the Sol’s Arms.”

“Chops, do you think? Oh! — Chops, eh?” Mr Snagsby sniffs and tastes again. “Well, sir, I suppose it is. But I should say their cook at the Sol wanted a little looking after. She has been burning ’em, sir! And I don’t think;” Mr Snagsby sniffs and tastes again, and then spits and wipes his mouth; “I don’t think — not to put too fine a point upon it — that they were quite fresh, when they were shown the gridiron.”

“That’s very likely. It’s a tainting sort of weather.”

“It is a tainting sort of weather,” says Mr Snagsby; “and I find it sinking to the spirits.”

“By George! I find it gives me the horrors,” returns Mr Weevle.

“Then, you see, you live in a lonesome way, and in a lonesome room, with a black circumstance hanging over it,” says Mr Snagsby, looking in past the other’s shoulder along the dark passage, and then falling back a step to look up at the house. “I couldn’t live in that room alone, as you do, sir. I should get so fidgetty and worried of an evening, sometimes, that I should be driven to come to the door, and stand here, sooner than sit there. But then it’s very true that you didn’t see, in your room, what I saw there. That makes a difference.”

“I know quite enough about it,” returns Tony.

“It’s not agreeable, is it?” pursues Mr Snagsby, coughing his cough of mild persuasion behind his hand. “Mr Krook ought to consider it in the rent. I hope he does, I am sure.”

“I hope he does,” says Tony. “But I doubt it.”

“You find the rent high, do you, sir?” returns the stationer. “Rents are high about here. I don’t know how it is exactly, but the law seems to put things up in price. Not,” adds Mr Snagsby, with his apologetic cough, “that I mean to say a word against the profession I get my living by.”

Mr Weevle again glances up and down the court, and then looks at the stationer. Mr Snagsby, blankly catching his eye, looks upward for a star or so, and coughs a cough expressive of not exactly seeing his way out of this conversation.

“It’s a curious fact, sir,” he observes, slowly rubbing his hands, “that he should have been—”

“Who’s he?” interrupts Mr Weevle.

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