`Yes, I know that, Sir,' pleaded the submissive Rob; `I'm sure of that, Sir. If you'll only be so good as try me, Sir! And if ever you find me out, Sir, doing anything against your wishes, I give you leave to kill me.'
`You dog!' said Mr. Carker, leaning back in his chair, and smiling at him serenely. `That's nothing to what I'd do to you if you tried to deceive me.'
`Yes, Sir,' replied the abject Grinder, `I'm sure you would be down upon me dreadful, Sir. I wouldn't attempt for to go and do it, Sir, not if I was bribed with golden guineas.'
Thoroughly checked in his expectations of commendation, the crestfallen Grinder stood looking at his patron, and vainly endeavouring not to look at him, with the uneasiness which a cur will often manifest in a similar situation.
`So you have left your old service, and come here to ask me to take you into mine, eh?' said Mr. Carker.
`Yes, if you please, Sir,' returned Rob, who, in doing so, had acted on his patron's own instructions, but dared not justify himself by the least insinuation to that effect.
`Well!' said Mr. Carker, `You know me, boy?'
`Please, Sir, yes, Sir,' returned Rob, fumbling with his hat, and still fixed by Mr. Carker's eye, and fruitlessly endeavouring to unfix himself.
Mr. Carker nodded. `Take care, then!'
Rob expressed in a number of short bows his lively understanding of this caution, and was bowing himself back to the door, greatly relieved by the prospect of getting on the outside of it, when his patron stopped him.
`Halloa!' he cried, calling him roughly back. `You have been--shut that door.'
Rob obeyed as if his life had depended on his alacrity.
`You have been used to eaves-dropping. Do you know what that means?'
`Listening, Sir?' Rob hazarded, after some embarrassed reflection.
His patron nodded. `And watching, and so forth.'
`I wouldn't do such a thing here, Sir,' answered Rob; `upon my word and honour, I wouldn't, Sir, I wish I may die if I would, Sir, for anything that could be promised to me. I should consider it is as much as all the world was worth, to offer to do such a thing, unless I was ordered, Sir.'
`You had better not. You have been used, too, to babbling and tattling,' said his patron with perfect coolness. `Beware of that here, or you're a lost rascal,' and he smiled again, and again cautioned him with his forefinger.
The Grinder's breath came short and thick with consternation. He tried to protest the purity of his intentions, but could only stare at the smiling gentleman in a stupor of submission, with which the smiling gentleman seemed well enough satisfied, for he ordered him down stairs, after observing him for some moments in silence, and gave him to understand that he was retained in his employment.
This was the manner of Rob the Grinder's engagement by Mr. Carker, and his awe-stricken devotion to that gentleman had strengthened and increased, if possible, with every minute of his service.
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