`Oh dear you, sir? What may your meaning be, Mr. Lorry?'
`My meaning,' answered the man of business, `is, of course, friendly and appreciative, and that it does you the greatest credit, and--in short, my meaning is everything you could desire. But--really, you know, Mr. Stryver ---' Mr. Lorry paused, and shook his head at him in the oddest manner, as if he were compelled against his will to add, internally, `you know there really is so much too much of you!'
`Well!' said Stryver, slapping the desk with his contentious hand, opening his eyes wider, and taking a long breath, `if I understand you, Mr. Lorry, I'll be hanged!'
Mr. Lorry adjusted his little wig at both ears as a means towards that end, and bit the feather of a pen.
`D--n it all, sir!' said Stryver, staring at him, `am I not eligible?'
`Oh dear yes! Yes. Oh yes, you're eligible!' said Mr. Lorry. `If you say eligible, you are eligible.'
`Am I not prosperous?' asked Stryver.
`Oh! if you come to prosperous, you are prosperous,' said Mr. Lorry.
`If you come to advancing, you know,' said Mr. Lorry, delighted to be able to make another admission, `nobody can doubt that.'
`Then what on earth is your meaning, Mr. Lorry?' demanded Stryver, perceptibly crestfallen.
`Well! I Were you going there now?' asked Mr. Lorry. `Straight!' said Stryver, with a plump of his fist on the desk. `Then I think I wouldn't, if I was you.'
`Why?' said Stryver. `Now, I'll put you in a corner,' forensically shaking a forefinger at him. `You are a man of business and bound to have a reason. State your reason.
Why wouldn't you go?'
`Because,' said Mr. Lorry, `I wouldn't go on such an object without having some cause to believe that I should succeed.'
`D--n ME!' cried Stryver, `but this beats everything.'
Mr. Lorry glanced at the distant House, and glanced at the angry Stryver.
`Here's a man of business--a man of years--a man of experience--in a Bank,' said Stryver; `and having summed up three leading reasons for complete success, he says there's no reason at all! Says it with his head on!' Mr. Stryver remarked upon tile peculiarity as if it would have been infinitely less remarkable if he had said it with his head off.
`When I speak of success, I speak of success with the young lady; and when I speak of causes and reasons to make success probable, I speak of causes and reasons that will tell as such with the young lady. The young lady, my good sir,' said Mr. Lorry, mildly tapping the Stryver arm, `the young lady. The young lady goes before all.'
`Then you mean to tell me, Mr. Lorry,' said Stryver, squaring his elbows, `that it is your deliberate opinion that the young lady at present in question is a mincing Fool?'
`Not exactly so. I mean to tell you, Mr. Stryver,' said Mr. Lorry, reddening, `that I will hear no disrespectful word Of that young lady from any lips; and that if I knew any man--which I hope I do not--whose taste
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|