`That's Tulliver's son,' said the publican to a grocer standing on the adjacent door-step.
`Ah!' said the grocer, `I thought I knew his features, like. He takes after his mother's family: she was a Dodson. He's a fine, straight youth: what's he been brought up to?'
`Oh! to turn up his nose at his father's customers and be a fine gentleman - not much else, I think.'
Tom, roused from his dream of the future to a thorough consciousness of the present, made all the greater haste to reach the warehouse offices of Guest & Co. where he expected to find his uncle Deane. But this was Mr Deane's morning at the Bank, a clerk told him, with some contempt for his ignorance: Mr Deane was not to be found in River Street on a Thursday morning.
At the Bank Tom was admitted into the private room where his uncle was, immediately after sending in his name. Mr Deane was auditing accounts, but he looked up as Tom entered and, putting out his hand, said, `Well, Tom - nothing fresh the matter at home, I hope? How's your father?'
`Much the same, thank you, uncle,' said Tom, feeling nervous. `But I want to speak to you, please, when you're at liberty.'
`Sit down, sit down,' said Mr Deane, relapsing into his accounts, in which he and the managing clerk remained so absorbed for the next half hour that Tom began to wonder whether he should have to sit in this way till the bank closed - there seemed so little tendency towards a conclusion in the quiet monotonous procedure of these sleek, prosperous men of business. Would his uncle give him a place in the bank? it would be very dull, prosy work, he thought writing there, forever, to the loud ticking of a time-piece. He preferred some other way of getting rich. But at last there was a change: his uncle took a pen and wrote something with a flourish at the end.
`You'll just step up to Torry's now, Mr Spence, will you?' said Mr Deane, and the clock suddenly became less loud and deliberate in Tom's ears.
`Well, Tom,' said Mr Deane, when they were alone, turning his substantial person a little in his chair, and taking out his snuff-box, `what's the business, my boy, what's the business?' Mr Deane, who had heard from his wife what had passed the day before, thought Tom was come to appeal to him for some means of averting the sale.
`I hope you'll excuse me for troubling you, uncle,' said Tom, colouring, but speaking in a tone which, though tremulous, had a certain proud independence in it, `but I thought you were the best person to advise me what to do.'
`Ah?' said Mr Deane, reserving his pinch of snuff, and looking at Tom with new attention. `Let us hear.'
`I want to get a situation, uncle, so that I may earn some money,' said Tom, who never fell into circumlocution.
`A situation?' said Mr Deane, and then took his pinch of snuff with elaborate justice to each nostril. Tom thought snuff-taking a most provoking habit.
`Why, let me see, how old are you?' said Mr Deane, as he threw himself backward again.
`Sixteen - I mean, I am going in seventeen,' said Tom, hoping his uncle noticed how much beard he had.
`Let me see - your father had some notion of making you an engineer, I think?'
`But I don't think I could get any money at that for a long while, could I?'
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