And it is likely enough that ten thousand other young men, within the limits of the London Post-office town delivery, made the same hopeful remark in the course of the same evening.
The wheels rolled on, and rolled down by the Monument and by the Tower, and by the Docks; down by Ratcliffe, and by Rotherhithe; down by where accumulated scum of humanity seemed to be washed from higher grounds, like so much moral sewage, and to be pausing until its own weight forced it over the bank and sunk it in the river. In and out among vessels that seemed to have got ashore, and houses that seemed to have got afloat among bowsprits staring into windows, and windows staring into ships the wheels rolled on, until they stopped at a dark corner, river-washed and otherwise not washed at all, where the boy alighted and opened the door.
You must walk the rest, sir; its not many yards. He spoke in the singular number, to the express exclusion of Eugene.
This is a confoundedly out-of-the-way place, said Mortimer, slipping over the stones and refuse on the shore, as the boy turned the corner sharp.
Heres my fathers, sir; where the light is.
The low building had the look of having once been a mill. There was a rotten wart of wood upon its forehead that seemed to indicate where the sails had been, but the whole was very indistinctly seen in the obscurity of the night. The boy lifted the latch of the door, and they passed at once into a low circular room, where a man stood before a red fire, looking down into it, and a girl sat engaged in needlework. The fire was in a rusty brazier, not fitted to the hearth; and a common lamp, shaped like a hyacinth-root, smoked and flared in the neck of a stone bottle on the table. There was a wooden bunk or berth in a corner, and in another corner a wooden stair leading above so clumsy and steep that it was little better than a ladder. Two or three old sculls and oars stood against the wall, and against another part of the wall was a small dresser, making a spare show of the commonest articles of crockery and cooking- vessels. The roof of the room was not plastered, but was formed of the flooring of the room above. This, being very old, knotted, seamed, and beamed, gave a lowering aspect to the chamber; and roof, and walls, and floor, alike abounding in old smears of flour, red-lead (or some such stain which it had probably acquired in warehousing), and damp, alike had a look of decomposition.
The gentleman, father.
The figure at the red fire turned, raised its ruffled head, and looked like a bird of prey.
Youre Mortimer Lightwood Esquire; are you, sir?
Mortimer Lightwood is my name. What you found, said Mortimer, glancing rather shrinkingly towards the bunk; is it here?
Taint not to say here, but its close by. I do everything reglar. Ive giv notice of the circumstarnce to the police, and the police have took possession of it. No time aint been lost, on any hand. The police have put it into print already, and heres what the print says of it.
Taking up the bottle with the lamp in it, he held it near a paper on the wall, with the police heading, BODY FOUND. The two friends read the handbill as it stuck against the wall, and Gaffer read them as he held the light.
Only papers on the unfortunate man, I see, said Lightwood, glancing from the description of what was found, to the finder.
Here the girl arose with her work in her hand, and went out at the door.
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