Thus, night pursues its leaden course; finding the court still out of bed through the unwonted hours, still treating and being treated, still conducting itself similarly to a court that has had a little money left it unexpectedly. Thus, night at length with slow-retreating steps departs, and the lamplighter going his rounds, like an executioner to a despotic king, strikes off the little heads of fire that have aspired to lessen the darkness. Thus, the day cometh, whether or no.

And the day may discern, even with its dim London eye, that the court has been up all night. Over and above the faces that have fallen drowsily on tables, and the heels that lie prone on hard floors instead of beds, the brick and mortar physiognomy of the very court itself looks worn and jaded. And now the neighbourhood waking up, and beginning to hear of what has happened, comes streaming in, half-dressed, to ask questions; and the two policemen and the helmet (who are far less impressible externally than the court) have enough to do to keep the door.

“Good gracious, gentlemen!” says Mr Snagsby, coming up. “What’s this I hear!”

“Why, it’s true,” returns one of the policemen. “That’s what it is. Now move on here, come!”

“Why, good gracious, gentlemen,” says Mr Snagsby, somewhat promptly backed away, “I was at this door last night betwixt ten and eleven o’clock, in conversation with the young man who lodges here.”

“Indeed?” returns the policeman. “You will find the young man next door then. Now move on here, some of you,”

“Not hurt, I hope?” says Mr Snagsby.

“Hurt? No. What’s to hurt him!”

Mr Snagsby, wholly unable to answer this, or any question, in his troubled mind, repairs to the Sol’s Arms, and finds Mr Weevle languishing over tea and toast; with a considerable expression on him of exhausted excitement, and exhausted tobacco-smoke.

“And Mr Guppy likewise!” quoth Mr Snagsby. “Dear, dear, dear! What a Fate there seems in all this! And my lit—”

Mr Snagsby’s power of speech deserts him in the formation of the words “my little woman.” For, to see that injured female walk into the Sol’s Arms at that hour of the morning and stand before the beer-engine, with her eyes fixed upon him like an accusing spirit, strikes him dumb.

“My dear,” says Mr Snagsby, when his tongue is loosened, “will you take anything? A little — not to put too fine a point upon it — drop of shrub?”

“No,” says Mrs Snagsby.

“My love, you know these two gentlemen?”

“Yes!” says Mrs Snagsby; and in a rigid manner acknowledges their presence, still fixing Mr Snagsby with her eye.

The devoted Mr Snagsby cannot bear this treatment. He takes Mrs Snagsby by the hand, and leads her aside to an adjacent cask.

“My little woman, why do you look at me in that way? Pray don’t do it.”

“I can’t help my looks,” says Mrs Snagsby, “and if I could I wouldn’t.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.