Charles Dickens, Bleak House: Ch. 29

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The man's mind is not so well balanced but that he bores my Lady, who, after a languid effort to listen, or rather a languid resignation of herself to a show of listening, becomes distraught and falls into a contemplation of the fire as if it were her fire at Chesney Wold, and she had never left it.  Sir Leicester, quite unconscious, reads on through his double eye-glass, occasionally stopping to remove his glass and express approval, as "Very true indeed," "Very properly put," "I have frequently made the same remark myself," invariably losing his place after each observation, and going up and down the column to find it again.

Sir Leicester is reading with infinite gravity and state when the door opens, and the Mercury in powder makes this strange announcement, "The young man, my Lady, of the name of Guppy."

Sir Leicester pauses, stares, repeats in a killing voice, "The young man of the name of Guppy?"

Looking round, he beholds the young man of the name of Guppy, much discomfited and not presenting a very impressive letter of introduction in his manner and appearance.

"Pray," says Sir Leicester to Mercury, "what do you mean by announcing with this abruptness a young man of the name of Guppy?"

"I beg your pardon, Sir Leicester, but my Lady said she would see the young man whenever he called.  I was not aware that you were here, Sir Leicester."

With this apology, Mercury directs a scornful and indignant look at the young man of the name of Guppy which plainly says, "What do you come calling here for and getting ME into a row?"

"It's quite right.  I gave him those directions," says my Lady.  "Let the young man wait."

"By no means, my Lady.  Since he has your orders to come, I will not interrupt you."  Sir Leicester in his gallantry retires, rather declining to accept a bow from the young man as he goes out and majestically supposing him to be some shoemaker of intrusive appearance.

Lady Dedlock looks imperiously at her visitor when the servant has left the room, casting her eyes over him from head to foot.  She suffers him to stand by the door and asks him what he wants.

"That your ladyship would have the kindness to oblige me with a little conversation," returns Mr. Guppy, embarrassed.

"You are, of course, the person who has written me so many letters?"

"Several, your ladyship.  Several before your ladyship condescended to favour me with an answer."

"And could you not take the same means of rendering a Conversation unnecessary?  Can you not still?"

Mr. Guppy screws his mouth into a silent "No!" and shakes his head.

"You have been strangely importunate.  If it should appear, after all, that what you have to say does not concern me—and I don't know how it can, and don't expect that it will—you will allow me to cut you short with but little ceremony.  Say what you have to say, if you please."

My Lady, with a careless toss of her screen, turns herself towards the fire again, sitting almost with her back to the young man of the name of Guppy.