Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 13

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Chapter XIII: Mr Grimes Gets His Odd Money 

The handmaiden at George Vavasor's lodgings announced "another gent," and then Mr Scruby entered the room in which were seated George, and Mr Grimes the publican from the "Handsome Man" on the Brompton Road. Mr Scruby was an attorney from Great Marlborough Street, supposed to be very knowing in the ways of metropolitan elections; and he had now stepped round, as he called it, with the object of saying a few words to Mr Grimes, partly on the subject of the forthcoming contest at Chelsea, and partly on that of the contest last past. These words were to be said in the presence of Mr Vavasor, the person interested. That some other words had been spoken between Mr Scruby and Mr Grimes on the same subjects behind Mr Vavasor's back I think very probable. But even though this might have been so I am not prepared to say that Mr Vavasor had been deceived by their combinations.

The two men were very civil to each other in their salutations, the attorney assuming an air of patronizing condescension, always calling the other Grimes; whereas Mr Scruby was treated with considerable deference by the publican, and was always called Mr Scruby. "Business is business," said the publican as soon as these salutations were over; "isn't it now, Mr Scruby?"

"And I suppose Grimes thinks Sunday morning a particularly good time for business," said the attorney, laughing.

"It's quiet, you know," said Grimes. "But it warn't me as named Sunday morning. It was Mr Vavasor here. But it is quiet; ain't it, Mr Scruby?"

Mr Scruby acknowledged that it was quiet, especially looking out over the river, and then they proceeded to business. "We must pull the governor through better next time than we did last," said the attorney.

"Of course we must, Mr Scruby; but, Lord love you, Mr Vavasor, whose fault was it? What notice did I get,—just tell me that? Why, Travers's name was up on the liberal interest ever so long before the governor had ever thought about it."

"Nobody is blaming you, Mr Grimes," said George.

"And nobody can't, Mr Vavasor. I done my work true as steel, and there ain't another man about the place as could have done half as much. You ask Mr Scruby else. Mr Scruby knows, if ere a man in London does. I tell you what it is, Mr Vavasor, them Chelsea fellows, who lives mostly down by the river, ain't like your Maryboners or Finsburyites. It wants something of a man to manage them. Don't it Mr Scruby?"

"It wants something of a man to manage any of them as far as my experience goes," said Mr Scruby.

"Of course it do; and there ain't one in London knows so much about it as you do, Mr Scruby. I will say that for you. But the long and the short of it is this;—business is business, and money is money."

"Money is money, certainly," said Mr Scruby. "There's no doubt in the world about that, Grimes;—and a deal of it you had out of the last election."

"No, I hadn't; begging your pardon, Mr Scruby, for making so free. What I had to my own cheek wasn't nothing to speak of. I wasn't paid for my time; that's what I wasn't. You look how a publican's business gets cut up at them elections;—and then the state of the house afterwards! What would the governor say to me if I was to put down painting inside and out in my little bill?"

"It doesn't seem to make much difference how you put it down," said Vavasor. "The total is what I look at."

"Just so, Mr Vavasor; just so. The total is what I looks at too. And I has to look at it a deuced long time before I gets it. I ain't a got it yet; have I, Mr Vavasor?"

"Well; if you ask me I should say you had," said George. "I know I paid Mr Scruby three hundred pounds on your account."