Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 21

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"I hope number two's as good?" snarls the old man.

"Why, no.  It's more of a selfish reason.  If I had found him, I must have gone to the other world to look.  He was there."

"How do you know he was there?"

"He wasn't here."

"How do you know he wasn't here?"

"Don't lose your temper as well as your money," says Mr. George, calmly knocking the ashes out of his pipe.  "He was drowned long before.  I am convinced of it.  He went over a ship's side.  Whether intentionally or accidentally, I don't know.  Perhaps your friend in the city does.  Do you know what that tune is, Mr. Smallweed?" he adds after breaking off to whistle one, accompanied on the table with the empty pipe.

"Tune!" replied the old man.  "No.  We never have tunes here."

"That's the Dead March in Saul.  They bury soldiers to it, so it's the natural end of the subject.  Now, if your pretty granddaughter—excuse me, miss—will condescend to take care of this pipe for two months, we shall save the cost of one next time.  Good evening, Mr. Smallweed!"

"My dear friend!" the old man gives him both his hands.

"So you think your friend in the city will be hard upon me if I fall in a payment?" says the trooper, looking down upon him like a giant.

"My dear friend, I am afraid he will," returns the old man, looking up at him like a pygmy.

Mr. George laughs, and with a glance at Mr. Smallweed and a parting salutation to the scornful Judy, strides out of the parlour, clashing imaginary sabres and other metallic appurtenances as he goes.

"You're a damned rogue," says the old gentleman, making a hideous grimace at the door as he shuts it.  "But I'll lime you, you dog, I'll lime you!"

After this amiable remark, his spirit soars into those enchanting regions of reflection which its education and pursuits have opened to it, and again he and Mrs. Smallweed while away the rosy hours, two unrelieved sentinels forgotten as aforesaid by the Black Serjeant.

While the twain are faithful to their post, Mr. George strides through the streets with a massive kind of swagger and a grave-enough face.  It is eight o'clock now, and the day is fast drawing in.  He stops hard by Waterloo Bridge and reads a playbill, decides to go to Astley's Theatre.  Being there, is much delighted with the horses and the feats of strength; looks at the weapons with a critical eye; disapproves of the combats as giving evidences of unskilful swordsmanship; but is touched home by the sentiments.  In the last scene, when the Emperor of Tartary gets up into a cart and condescends to bless the united lovers by hovering over them with the Union Jack, his eyelashes are moistened with emotion.

The theatre over, Mr. George comes across the water again and makes his way to that curious region lying about the Haymarket and Leicester Square which is a centre of attraction to indifferent foreign hotels and indifferent foreigners, racket-courts, fighting-men, swordsmen, footguards, old china, gaming-houses, exhibitions, and a large medley of shabbiness and shrinking out of sight.  Penetrating to the heart of this region, he arrives by a court and a long whitewashed passage at a great brick building composed of bare walls, floors, roof-rafters, and skylights, on the front of which, if it can be said to have any front, is painted GEORGE'S SHOOTING GALLERY, &c.