Shadows of the Past and Future

`YOUR most obedient, Sir,' said the Major. `Damme, Sir, a friend of my friend Dombey's is a friend of mine, and I'm glad to see you!'

`I am infinitely obliged, Carker,' explained Mr. Dombey, `to Major Bagstock, for his company and conversation. Major Bagstock has rendered me great service, Carker.'

Mr. Carker the Manager, hat in hand, just arrived at Leamington, and just introduced to the Major, showed the Major his whole double range of teeth, and trusted he might take the liberty of thanking him with all his heart for having effected so great an improvement in Mr. Dombey's looks and spirits.

`By Gad, Sir,' said the Major, in reply, `there are no thanks due to me, for it's a give and take affair. A great creature like our friend Dombey, Sir,' said the Major, lowering his voice, but not lowering it so much as to render it inaudible to that gentleman, `cannot help improving and exalting his friends. He strengthens and invigorates a man, Sir, does Dombey, in his moral nature.'

Mr. Carker snapped at the expression. In his moral nature. Exactly. The very words he had been on the point of suggesting.

`But when my friend Dombey, Sir,' added the Major, `talks to you of Major Bagstock, I must crave leave to set him and you right. He means plain Joe, Sir--Joey B.--Josh. Bagstock--Joseph--rough and tough Old J., Sir. At your service.'

Mr. Carker's excessively friendly inclinations towards the Major, and Mr. Carker's admiration of his roughness, toughness, and plainness, gleamed out of every tooth in Mr. Carker's head.

`And now, Sir,' said the Major, `you and Dombey have the devil's own amount of business to talk over.'

`By no means, Major,' observed Mr. Dombey.

`Dombey,' said the Major, defiantly, `I know better; a man of your mark--the Colossus of commerce--is not to be interrupted. Your moments are precious. We shall meet at dinner-time. In the interval, old Joseph will be scare. The dinner-hour is a sharp seven, Mr. Carker.'

With that, the Major, greatly swollen as to his face, withdrew; but immediately putting in his head at the door again, said:

`I beg your pardon. Dombey, have you any message to 'em?'

Mr. Dombey in some embarrassment, and not without a glance at the courteous keeper of his business confidence, entrusted the Major with his compliments.

`By the Lord, Sir,' said the Major, `you must make it something warmer than that, or old Joe will be far from welcome.'

`Regards then, if you will, Major,' returned Mr. Dombey.

`Damme, Sir,' said the Major, shaking his shoulders and his great cheeks jocularly: `make it something warmer than that.'

`What you please, then, Major,' observed Mr. Dombey.

`Our friend is sly, Sir, sly, Sir, de-vilish sly,' said the Major staring round the door at Carker. `So is Bagstock.' But stopping in the midst of a chuckle, and drawing himself up to his full height, the Major solemnly exclaimed, as he struck himself on the chest, `Dombey! I envy your feelings. God bless you!' and withdrew.

`You must have found the gentleman a great resource,' said Carker, following his with his teeth.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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