dirty skylights; and when the Captain and Uncle Sol talked about Richard Whittington and masters' daughters, Walter felt that he understood his true position at Dombey and Son's much better than they did.
So it was that he went on doing what he had to do from day to day, in a cheerful, pains-taking, merry spirit; and saw through the sanguine complexion of Uncle Sol and Captain Cuttle; and yet entertained a thousand indistinct and visionary fancies of his own, to which theirs were word-a-day probabilities. Such was his condition at the Pipchin period, when he looked a little older than of yore, but not much; and was the same light-footed, light-hearted, lightheaded lad, as when he charged into the parlour at the head of Uncle Sol and the imaginary boarders, and lighted him to bring up the Madeira.
`Uncle Sol', said Walter, `I don't think you're well. You haven't eaten any breakfast. I shall bring a doctor to you, if you go on like this.'
`He can't give me what I want, my boy,' said Uncle Sol. `At least he is in good practice if he can--and then he wouldn't.'
`What is it, Uncle? Customers?'
`Aye,' returned Solomon, with a sigh. `Customers would do.'
`Confound it, Uncle!' said Walter, putting down his breakfast cup with a clatter, and striking his hand on the table: `when I see the people going up and down the street in shoals all day, and passing and re- passing the shop every minute, by scores, I feel half tempted to rush out, collar somebody, bring him in, and make him buy fifty pounds' worth of instruments for ready money. What are you looking in at the door for?--' continued Walter, apostrophizing an old gentleman with a powdered head (inaudibly to him of course), who was staring at a ship's telescope with all his might and main. `That's no use. I could do that. Come in and buy it!'
The old gentleman, however, having satiated his curiosity, walked calmly away.
`There he goes!' said Walter. `That's the way with'em all. But, Uncle--I say, uncle Sol'--for the old man was meditating, and had not responded to his first appeal. `Don't be cast down. Don't be out of spirits, Uncle. When orders do come, they'll come in such a crowd, you won't be able to execute 'em.'
`I shall be past executing 'em, whenever they come, my boy,' returned Solomon Gills. `They'll never come to this shop again, till I am out of it.'
`I say, Uncle! You musn't really, you know! urged Walter. `Don't!'
Old Sol endeavoured to assume a cherry look, and smiled across the little table at him as pleasantly as he could.
`There's nothing more than usual the matter; is there, Uncle?' said Walter, leaning his elbows on the tea tray and bending over, to speak the more confidentially and kindly. `Be open with me, Uncle, if there is, and tell me all about it.'
`No, no, no,' returned Old Sol. `More than usual? No, no. what should there be the matter more than usual?'
Walter answered with an incredulous shake of his head. `That's what I want to know,' he said, `and you ask me! I'll tell you what, Uncle, when I see you like this, I am quite sorry that I live with you.'
Old Sol opened his eyes involuntarily.
`Yes. Though nobody ever was happier than I am and always have been with you, I am quite sorry that I live with you, when I see you with anything on your mind.'
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