Mr Bounderby, in his desire to make the most of it, really seemed mortified by being obliged to reply, Why, no; not of very much. But it might have been.
Of how much?
Oh! as a sum if you stick to a sum of not more than a hundred and fifty pound, said Bounderby, with impatience. But its not the sum; its the fact. Its the fact of the Bank being robbed, thats the important circumstance. I am surprised you dont see it.
My dear Bounderby, said James, dismounting, and giving his bridle to his servant, I do see it; and am as overcome as you can possibly desire me to be, by the spectacle afforded to my mental view. Nevertheless, I may be allowed, I hope, to congratulate you which I do with all my soul, I assure you on your not having sustained a greater loss.
Thankee, replied Bounderby, in a short, ungracious manner. But I tell you what. It might have been twenty thousand pound.
I suppose it might.
Suppose it might! By the Lord, you may suppose so. By George! said Mr Bounderby, with sundry menacing nods and shakes of his head. It might have been twice twenty. Theres no knowing what it would have been, or wouldnt have been, as it was, but for the fellows being disturbed.
Louisa had come up now, and Mrs Sparsit, and Bitzer.
Heres Tom Gradgrinds daughter knows pretty well what it might have been, if you dont, blustered Bounderby. Dropped, sir, as if she was shot when I told her! Never knew her do such a thing before. Does her credit, under the circumstances, in my opinion!
She still looked faint and pale. James Harthouse begged her to take his arm; and as they moved on very slowly, asked her how the robbery had been committed.
Why, I am going to tell you, said Bounderby, irritably giving his arm to Mrs Sparsit. If you hadnt been so mighty particular about the sum, I should have begun to tell you before. You know this lady (for she is a lady), Mrs Sparsit?
I have already had the honour
Very well. And this young man, Bitzer, you saw him too on the same occasion? Mr Harthouse inclined his head in assent, and Bitzer knuckled his forehead.
Very well. They live at the Bank. You know they live at the Bank, perhaps? Very well. Yesterday afternoon, at the close of business hours, everything was put away as usual. In the iron room that this young fellow sleeps outside of, there was never mind how much. In the little safe in young Toms closet, the safe used for petty purposes, there was a hundred and fifty odd pound.
A hundred and fifty-four, seven, one, said Bitzer.
Come! retorted Bounderby, stopping to wheel round upon him, lets have none of your interruptions. Its enough to be robbed while youre snoring because youre too comfortable, without being put right with your four seven ones. I didnt snore, myself, when I was your age, let me tell you. I hadnt victuals enough to snore. And I didnt four seven one. Not if I knew it.
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