that three or four inches over one's calculation makes a great hole in one's profits; especially when one has a family to provide for, sir.
As Mr. Sowerberry said this, with the becoming indignation of an ill-used man; and as Mr. Bumble felt that it rather tended to convey a reflection on the honour of the parish; the latter gentleman thought it advisable to change the subject. Oliver Twist being uppermost in his mind, he made him his theme.
By the bye, said Mr. Bumble, you don't know anybody who wants a boy, do you? A porochial 'prentis, who is at present a deadweight; a millstone, as I may say; round the porochial throat? Liberal terms, Mr. Sowerberry, liberal terms! As Mr. Bumble spoke, he raised his cane to the bill above him, and gave three distinct raps upon the words five pounds: which were printed thereon in Roman capitals of gigantic size.
Gadso! said the undertaker: taking Mr. Bumble by the gilt-edged lappel of his official coat; that's just the very thing I wanted to speak to you about. You know dear me, what a very elegant button this is, Mr. Bumble! I never noticed it before.
Yes, I think it is rather pretty, said the beadle, glancing proudly downwards at the large brass buttons which embellished his coat. The die is the same as the porochial seal the Good Samaritan healing the sick and bruised man. The board presented it to me on New-year's morning, Mr. Sowerberry. I put it on, I remember, for the first time, to attend the inquest on that reduced tradesman, who died in a doorway at midnight.
I recollect, said the undertaker. The jury brought it in, Died from exposure to the cold, and want of the common necessaries of life, didn't they?
Mr. Bumble nodded.
And they made it a special verdict, I think, said the undertaker, by adding some words to the effect, that if the relieving officer had
Tush! Foolery! interposed the beadle. If the board attended to all the nonsense that ignorant jurymen talk, they'd have enough to do.
Very true, said the undertaker; they would indeed.
Juries, said Mr. Bumble, grasping his cane tightly, as was his wont when working into a passion: juries is ineddicated, vulgar, grovelling wretches.
So they are, said the undertaker.
They haven't no more philosophy nor political economy about 'em than that, said the beadle, snapping his fingers contemptuously.
No more they have, acquiesced the undertaker.
I despise 'em, said the beadle, growing very red in the face.
So do I, rejoined the undertaker.
And I only wish we'd a jury of the independent sort, in the house for a week or two, said the beadle; the rules and regulations of the board would soon bring their spirit down for 'em.
Let 'em alone for that, replied the undertaker. So saying, he smiled, approvingly: to calm the rising wrath of the indignant parish officer.
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