I see! said the young man, as he stooped carelessly over the child, and having kissed her, pushed her from him: Thereget you away now you have said your lesson. You neednt whimper. We part good friends enough, if thats the matter.
He remained silent, following her with his eyes, until she had gained her little room and closed the door; and then turning to the dwarf, said abruptly,
Meaning me? returned the dwarf. Quilp is my name. You might remember. Its not a long oneDaniel Quilp.
Harkee, Mr Quilp, then, pursued the other. You have some influence with my grandfather there.
Some, said Mr Quilp emphatically.
And are in a few of his mysteries and secrets.
A few, replied Quilp, with equal dryness.
Then let me tell him once for all, through you, that I will come into and go out of this place as often as I like, so long as he keeps Nell here; and that if he wants to be quit of me, he must first be quit of her. What have I done to be made a bugbear of, and to be shunned and dreaded as if I brought the plague? Hell tell you that I have no natural affection; and that I care no more for Nell, for her own sake, than I do for him. Let him say so. I care for the whim, then, of coming to and fro and reminding her of my existence. I Will see her when I please. Thats my point. I came here today to maintain it, and Ill come here again fifty times with the same object and always with the same success. I said I would stop till I had gained it. I have done so, and now my visits is ended. Come, Dick.
Stop! cried Mr Swiveller, as his companion turned toward the door. Sir!
Sir, I am your humble servant, said Mr Quilp, to whom the monosyllable was addressed.
Before I leave the gay and festive scene, and halls of dazzling light, Sir, said Mr Swiveller, I will, with your permission, attempt a slight remark. I came here, Sir, this day, under the impression that the old min was friendly.
Proceed, Sir, said Daniel Quilp; for the orator had made a sudden stop.
Inspired by this idea and the sentiments it awakened, Sir, and feeling as a mutual friend that badgering, baiting, and bullying, was not the sort of thing calculated to expand the souls and promote the social harmony of the contending parties, I took upon myself to suggest a course which is the course to be adopted to the present occasion. Will you allow me to whisper half a syllable, Sir?
Without waiting for the permission he sought, Mr Swiveller stepped up to the dwarf, and leaning on his shoulder and stooping down to get at his ear, said in a voice which was perfectly audible to all present,
The watch-word to the old min isfork.
Is what? demanded Quilp.
Is fork, Sir, fork, replied Mr Swiveller slapping his pocket. You are awake, Sir?
The dwarf nodded. Mr Swiveller drew back and nodded likewise, then drew a little further back and nodded again, and so on. By these means he in time reached the door, where he gave a great cough to attract the dwarfs attention and gain an opportunity of expressing in dumb show, the closest confidence
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