Perhaps. The irresolute fingers went to the trembling lip. I hope she will. She may not think of it.
Or praps, said the turnkey, offering his suggestions from the the top of his well-worn wooden stool, as he might have offered them to a child for whose weakness he felt a compassion, praps shell get her brother, or her sister, to come along with her.
She has no brother or sister.
Niece, nevy, cousin, serwant, young ooman, greengrocer.Dash it!
One or another on em, said the turnkey, repudiating beforehand the refusal of all his suggestions.
I fearI hope it is not against the rulesthat she will bring the children.
The children? said the turnkey. And the rules? Why, lord set you up like a corner pin, weve a reglar playground o children here. Children! Why we swarm with em. How many a you got?
Two, said the debtor, lifting his irresolute hand to his lip again, and turning into the prison.
The turnkey followed him with his eyes. And you another, he observed to himself, which makes three on you. And your wife another, Ill lay a crown. Which makes four on you. And another coming, Ill lay half-a-crown. Whichll make five on you. And Ill go another seven and sixpence to name which is the helplessest, the unborn baby or you!
He was right in all his particulars. She came next day with a little boy of three years old, and a little girl of two, and he stood entirely corroborated.
Got a room now; havent you? the turnkey asked the debtor after a week or two.
Yes, I have got a very good room.
Any little sticks a coming to furnish it? said the turnkey.
I expect a few necessary articles of furniture to be delivered by the carrier, this afternoon.
Missis and little uns a coming to keep you company? asked the turnkey.
Why, yes, we think it better that we should not be scattered, even for a few weeks.
Even for a few weeks, of course, replied the turnkey. And he followed him again with his eyes, and nodded his head seven times when he was gone.
The affairs of this debtor were perplexed by a partnership, of which he knew no more than that he had invested money in it; by legal matters of assignment and settlement, conveyance here and conveyance there, suspicion of unlawful preference of creditors in this direction, and of mysterious spiriting away of property in that; and as nobody on the face of the earth could be more incapable of explaining any single item in the heap of confusion than the debtor himself, nothing comprehensible could be made of his case. To question him in detail, and endeavour to reconcile his answers; to closet him with accountants and sharp practitioners, learned in the wiles of insolvency and bankruptcy; was only to put the case out at compound interest and incomprehensibility. The irresolute fingers fluttered more and more ineffectually about the trembling lip on every such occasion, and the sharpest practitioners gave him up as a hopeless job.
Out? said the turnkey, hell never get out, unless his creditors take him by the shoulders and shove him out.
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