"Precious warm walking, isn't it?" said Lowten, drawing a Bramah key from his pocket, with a small plug therein, to keep the dust out.
"You appear to feel it so," rejoined Mr. Pickwick, smiling at the clerk, who was literally red hot.
"I've come along rather, I can tell you," replied Lowten. "It went the half hour as I came through the Polygon. I'm here before him, though, so I don't mind."
Comforting himself with this reflection, Mr. Lowten extracted the plug from the door-key, and having opened the door, replugged and repocketed his Bramah, and picked up the letters which the postman had dropped through the box. He then ushered Mr. Pickwick into the office. Here, in the twinkling of an eye, he divested himself of his coat, put on a threadbare garment which he took out of a desk, hung up his hat, pulled forth a few sheets of cartridge and blotting-paper in alternate layers, and sticking a pen behind his ear, rubbed his hands with an air of great satisfaction.
"There you see, Mr. Pickwick," he said, "now I'm complete. I've got my office coat on, and my pad out, and let him come as soon as he likes. You haven't got a pinch of snuff about you, have you?"
"No, I have not," replied Mr. Pickwick.
"I'm sorry for it," said Lowten. "Never mind. I'll run out presently, and get a bottle of soda. Don't I look rather queer about the eyes, Mr. Pickwick?"
The individual appealed to, surveyed Mr. Lowten's eyes from a distance, and expressed his opinion that no unusual queerness was perceptible in those features.
"I'm glad of it," said Lowten. "We were keeping it up pretty tolerably at the Stump last night, and I'm rather out of sorts this morning. Perker's been about that business of yours, by the bye."
"What business?" inquired Mr. Pickwick. "Mrs. Bardell's costs?"
"No, I don't mean that," replied Mr. Lowten. "About getting that customer that we paid the ten shillings in the pound to the bill discounter for, on your account--to get him out of the Fleet, you know--about getting him to Demerara."
"Oh! Mr. Jingle!" said Mr. Pickwick, hastily. "Yes. Well?"
"Well, it's all arranged," said Lowten, mending his pen. "The agent at Liverpool said he had been obliged to you many times when you were in business, and he would be glad to take him on your recommendation."
"That's well," said Mr. Pickwick. "I am delighted to hear it."
"But I say," resumed Lowten, scraping the back of the pen preparatory to making a fresh split, "what a soft chap that other is!"
"Why, that servant, or friend, or whatever he is; you know; Trotter."
"Ah?" said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. "I always thought him the reverse."
"Well, and so did I, from what little I saw of him," replied Lowten, "it only shows how one may be deceived. What do you think of his going to Demerara, too?"
"What! And giving up what was offered him here!" exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
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