Luckily the boy was case-hardened, and would have smoked a small lime-kiln if anybody had treated him with it. Wherefore he only muttered a brief fragrance of his master, and did as he was ordered.
Is it good, Brass, is it nice, is it fragrant, do you feel like the Grand Turk? said Quilp.
Mr Brass thought that if he did, the Grand Turks feelings were by no means to be envied, but he said it was famous, and he had no doubt he felt very like that Potentate.
This is the way to keep off fever, said Quilp, this is the way to keep off every calamity of life. Well never leave off all the time we stop here smoke away, you dog, or you shall swallow the pipe.
Shall we stop here long, Mr Quilp? inquired his legal friend, when the dwarf had given his boy this last gentle admonition.
We must stop, I suppose, till the old gentleman upstairs is dead, returned Quilp.
He he he! laughed Mr Brass, oh! very good!
Smoke away! cried Quilp. Never stop! you can talk as you smoke. Dont lose time.
He he he! cried Brass faintly, as he again applied himself to the odious pipe. But if he should get better, Mr Quilp?
Then we shall stop till he does, and no longer, returned the dwarf.
How kind it is of you, Sir, to wait till then! said Brass. Some people, Sir, would have sold or removed the goods oh dear, the very instant the law allowed em. Some people, Sir, would have been all flintiness and granite. Some people, Sir, would have
Some people would have spared themselves the jabbering of such a parrot as you, interposed the dwarf.
He he he! cried Brass. You have such spirits!
The smoking sentinel at the door interposed in this place, and without taking his pipe from his lips, growled.
Heres the gal a comin down.
The what, you dog? said Quilp.
The gal, returned the boy. Are you deaf?
Oh! said Quilp, drawing in his breath with great relish as if he were taking soup, you and I will have such a settling presently; theres such a scratching and bruising in store for you, my dear young friend. Aha! Nelly! How is he now, my duck of diamonds?
Hes very bad, replied the weeping child.
What a pretty little Nell! cried Quilp.
Oh! beautiful, Sir, beautiful indeed, said Brass. Quite charming!
Has she come to sit upon Quilps knee, said the dwarf, in what he meant to be a soothing tone, or is she going to bed in her own little room inside here which is poor Nelly going to do?
What a remarkable pleasant way he has with children! muttered Brass, as if in confidence between himself and the ceiling; upon my word its quite a treat to hear him.
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