The History of Pendennis, by William Makepeace Thackeray

CHAPTER XXXII

In which the Printer’s Devil comes to the Door

Pen, in the midst of his revels and enjoyments, humble as they were, and moderate in cost if not in kind, saw an awful sword hanging over him which must drop down before long and put an end to his frolics and feasting. His money was very nearly spent. His club subscription had carried away a third part of it. He had paid for the chief articles of furniture with which he had supplied his little bedroom: in fine, he was come to the last five-pound note in his pocket-book, and could think of no method of providing a successor: for our friend had been bred up like a young prince as yet, or as a child in arms whom his mother feeds when it cries out.

Warrington did not know what his comrade’s means were. An only child, with a mother at her country house, and an old dandy of an uncle who dined with a great man every day, Pen might have a large bank at his command for anything that the other knew. He had gold chains and a dressing-case fit for a lord. His habits were those of an aristocrat — not that he was expensive upon any particular point, for he dined and laughed over the pint of porter and the plate of beef from the cook’s shop with perfect content and good appetite — but he could not adopt the penny-wise precautions of life. He could not give twopence to a waiter; he could not refrain from taking a cab if he had a mind to do so, or if it rained, and as surely as he took the cab he overpaid the driver. He had a scorn for cleaned gloves and minor economies. Had he been bred to ten thousand a year he could scarcely have been more free-handed; and for a beggar, with a sad story, or a couple of pretty piteous-faced children, he never could resist putting his hand into his pocket. It was a sumptuous nature, perhaps, that could not be brought to regard money; a natural generosity and kindness; and possibly a petty vanity that was pleased with praise, even with the praise of waiters and cabmen. I doubt whether the wisest of us know what our own motives are, and whether some of the actions of which we are the very proudest will not surprise us when we trace them, as we shall one day, to their source.

Warrington then did not know, and Pen had not thought proper to confide to his friend, his pecuniary history. That Pen had been wild and wickedly extravagant at college, the other was aware; everybody at college was extravagant and wild; but how great the son’s expenses had been, and how small the mother’s means, were points which had not been as yet submitted to Mr. Warrington’s examination.

At last the story came out, while Pen was grimly surveying the change for the last five-pound note, as it lay upon the tray from the public-house by Mr. Warrington’s pot of ale.

“It is the last rose of summer,” said Pen; “its blooming companions have gone long ago; and behold the last one of the garland has shed its leaves;” and he told Warrington the whole story which we know of his mother’s means, of his own follies, of Laura’s generosity; during which time Warrington smoked his pipe and listened intent.

“Impecuniosity will do you good,” Pen’s friend said, knocking out the ashes at the end of the narration; “I don’t know anything more wholesome for a man — for an honest man, mind you — for another, the medicine loses its effect — than a state of tick. It is an alterative and a tonic; it keeps your moral man in a perpetual state of excitement: as a man who is riding at a fence, or has his opponent’s single-stick before him, is forced to look his obstacle steadily in the face, and braces himself to repulse or overcome it; a little necessity brings out your pluck if you have any, and nerves you to grapple with fortune. You will discover what a number of things you can do without when you have no money to buy them. You won’t want new gloves and varnished boots, eau de Cologne and cabs to ride in. You have been bred up as a molly-coddle, Pen, and spoilt by the women. A single man who has health and brains, and can’t find a livelihood in the world, doesn’t deserve to stay there. Let him pay his last halfpenny and jump over Waterloo Bridge. Let him steal a leg of mutton and be transported and get out of the country — he is not fit to live in it. Dixi; I have spoken. Give us another pull at the pale ale.

“You have certainly spoken; but how is one to live?” said Pen. “There is beef and bread in plenty in England, but you must pay for it with work or money. And who will take my work? and what work can I do?”

Warrington burst out laughing. “Suppose we advertise in the Times,” he said, “for an usher’s place at a classical and commercial academy — A gentleman, B.A. of St. Boniface College, and who was plucked for his degree —”

“Confound you,” cried Pen.

“— Wishes to give lessons in classics and mathematics, and the rudiments of the French language; he can cut hair, attend to the younger pupils, and play a second on the piano with the daughters of the principal. Address A. P., Lamb Court, Temple.”

“Go on,” said Pen, growling.

“Men take to all sorts of professions. Why, there is your friend Bloundell-Bloundell is a professional blackleg, and travels the Continent, where he picks up young gentlemen of fashion and fleeces them. There is Bob O’Toole, with whom I was at school, who drives the Ballynafad mail now, and carries honest Jack Finucane’s own correspondence to that city. I know a man, sir, a, doctor’s son, like — well, don’t be angry, I meant nothing offensive — a doctor’s son, I say, who was walking the hospitals here, and quarrelled with his governor on questions of finance, and what did he do when he came to his last five-pound note? he let his mustachios grow, went into a provincial town, where he announced himself as Professor Spineto, chiropodist to the Emperor of All the Russians, and by a happy operation on the editor of the country newspaper, established himself in practice, and lived reputably for three years. He has been reconciled to his family, and has succeeded to his father’s gallypots.”

“Hang gallypots,” cried Pen. “I can’t drive a coach, cut corns, or cheat at cards. There’s nothing else you propose.”

“Yes; there’s our own correspondent,” Warrington said. “Every man has his secrets, look you. Before you told me the story of your money-matters, I had no idea but that you were a gentleman of fortune, for, with your confounded airs and appearance, anybody would suppose you to be so. From what you tell me about your mother’s income, it is clear that you must not lay any more hands on it. You can’t go on spunging upon the women. You must pay off that trump of a girl. Laura is her name? — here is your health, Laura! — and carry a hod rather than ask for a shilling from home.”

“But how earn one?” asked Pen.

“How do I live, think you?” said the other. “On my younger brother’s allowance, Pendennis? I have secrets of my own, my boy;” and here Warrington’s countenance fell. “I made away with that allowance five years ago: if I had made away with myself a little time before, it would have been better. I have played off my own bat, ever since. I don’t want much money. When my purse is out, I go to work and fill it, and then lie idle like a serpent or an Indian, until I have digested the mass. Look, I begin to feel empty,” Warrington said, and showed Pen a long lean purse, with but a few sovereigns at one end of it.

“But how do you fill it?” said Pen.

“I write,” said Warrington. “I don’t tell the world that I do so,” he added, with a blush. “I do not choose that questions should be asked: or, perhaps, I am an ass, and don’t wish it to be said that George Warrington writes for bread. But I write in the Law Reviews: look here, these articles are mine.” And he turned over some sheets. “I write in a newspaper now and then, of which a friend of mine is editor.” And Warrington, going with Pendennis to the club one day, called for a file of the Dawn, and pointed with his finger silently to one or two articles, which Pen read with delight. He had no difficulty in recognising the style afterwards — the strong thoughts and curt periods, the sense, the satire, and the scholarship.

“I am not up to this,” said Pen, with a genuine admiration of his friend’s powers. “I know very little about politics or history, Warrington; and have but a smattering of letters. I can’t fly upon such a wing as yours.”

“But you can on your own, my boy, which is lighter, and soars higher, perhaps,” the other said, good-naturedly. “Those little scraps and verses which I have seen of yours show me, what is rare in these days, a natural gift, sir. You needn’t blush, you conceited young jackanapes. You have thought so yourself any time these ten years. You have got the sacred flame — a little of the real poetical fire, sir, I think; and all our oil-lamps are nothing compared to that, though ever so well trimmed. You are a poet, Pen, my boy,” and so speaking, Warrington stretched out his broad hand, and clapped Pen on the shoulder.

Arthur was so delighted that the tears came into his eyes. “How kind you are to me, Warrington!” he said.

“I like you, old boy,” said the other. “I was dev’lish lonely in chambers, and wanted somebody, and the sight of your honest face somehow pleased me. I liked the way you laughed at Lowton — that poor good little snob. And, in fine, the reason why I cannot tell — but so it is, young ’un. I’m alone in the world, sir; and I wanted some one to keep me company;” and a glance of extreme kindness and melancholy passed out of Warrington’s dark eyes.

Pen was too much pleased with his own thoughts to perceive the sadness of the friend who was complimenting him. “Thank you, Warrington,” he said, “thank you for your friendship to me, and — and what you say about me. I have often thought I was a poet. I will be one — I think I am one, as you say so, though the world mayn’t. Is it — is it the Ariadne in Naxos which you liked (I was only eighteen when I wrote it), or the Prize Poem?”

Warrington burst into a roar of laughter. “Why, young goose,” he yelled out —“of all the miserable weak rubbish I ever tried, Ariadne in Naxos is the most mawkish and disgusting. The Prize Poem is so pompous and feeble, that I’m positively surprised, sir, it didn’t get the medal. You don’t suppose that you are a serious poet, do you, and are going to cut out Milton and Aeschylus? Are you setting up to be a Pindar, you absurd little tom-tit, and fancy you have the strength and pinion which the Theban eagle bear, sailing with supreme dominion through the azure fields of air? No, my boy, I think you can write a magazine article, and turn a pretty copy of verses; that’s what I think of you.”

“By Jove!” said Pen, bouncing up and stamping his foot, “I’ll show you that I am a better man than you think for.”

Warrington only laughed the more, and blew twenty-four puffs rapidly out of his pipe by way of reply to Pen.

An opportunity for showing his skill presented itself before very long. That eminent publisher, Mr. Bacon (formerly Bacon and Bungay) of Paternoster Row, besides being the proprietor of the legal Review, in which Mr. Warrington wrote, and of other periodicals of note and gravity, used to present to the world every year a beautiful gilt volume called the Spring Annual, edited by the Lady Violet Lebas, and numbering amongst its contributors not only the most eminent, but the most fashionable, poets of our time. Young Lord Dodo’s poems first appeared in this miscellany — the Honourable Percy Popjoy, whose chivalrous ballads have obtained him such a reputation — Bedwin Sands’s Eastern Ghazuls, and many more of the works of our young nobles, were fast given to the world in the Spring Annual, which has since shared the fate of other vernal blossoms, and perished out of the world. The book was daintily illustrated with pictures of reigning beauties, or other prints of a tender and voluptuous character; and, as these plates were prepared long beforehand, requiring much time in engraving, it was the eminent poets who had to write to the plates, and not the painters who illustrated the poems.

One day, just when this volume was on the eve of publication, it chanced that Mr. Warrington called in Paternoster Row to talk with Mr. Hack, Mr. Bacon’s reader and general manager of publications — for Mr. Bacon, not having the least taste in poetry or in literature of any kind, wisely employed the services of a professional gentleman. Warrington, then, going into Mr. Hack’s room on business of his own, found that gentleman with a bundle of proof plates and sheets of the Spring Annual before him, and glanced at some of them.

Percy Popjoy had written some verses to illustrate one of the pictures, which was called The Church Porch. A Spanish damsel was hastening to church with a large prayer-book; a youth in a cloak was hidden in a niche watching this young woman. The picture was pretty: but the great genius of Percy Popjoy had deserted him, for he had made the most execrable verses which ever were perpetrated by a young nobleman.

Warrington burst out laughing as he read the poem: and Mr. Hack laughed too but with rather a rueful face. —“It won’t do,” he said, “the public won’t stand it. Bungay’s people are going to bring out a very good book, and have set up Miss Bunyan against Lady Violet. We have most titles to be sure — but the verses are too bad. Lady Violet herself owns it; she’s busy with her own poem; what’s to be done? We can’t lose the plate. The governor gave sixty pounds for it.”

“I know a fellow who would do some verses, I think,” said Warrington. “Let me take the plate home in my pocket: and send to my chambers in the morning for the verses. You’ll pay well, of course.”

“Of course,” said Mr. Hack; and Warrington, having despatched his own business, went home to Mr. Pen, plate in hand.

“Now, boy, here’s a chance for you. Turn me off a copy of verses to this.”

“What’s this? A Church Porch — A lady entering it, and a youth out of a wine-shop window ogling her. — What the deuce am I to do with it?”

“Try,” said Warrington. “Earn your livelihood for once, you who long so to do it.”

“Well, I will try,” said Pen.

“And I’ll go out to dinner,” said Warrington, and left Mr. Pen in a brown study.

When Warrington came home that night, at a very late hour, the verses were done. “There they are,” said Pen. “I’ve screwed ’em out at last. I think they’ll do.”

“I think, they will,” said Warrington, after reading them; they ran as follows:—

The Church Porch

Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot
Sometimes I hover,
And at the sacred gate,
With longing eyes I wait,
Expectant of her.

The Minster bell tolls out
Above the city’s rout
And noise and humming
They’ve stopp’d the chiming bell,
I hear the organ’s swell
She’s coming, she’s coming!

My lady comes at last,
Timid and stepping fast,
And hastening hither,
With modest eyes downcast.
She comes — she’s here — she’s past.
May Heaven go with her!

Kneel undisturb’d, fair saint,
Pour out your praise or plaint
Meekly and duly.
I will not enter there,
To sully your pure prayer
With thoughts unruly.

But suffer me to pace
Round the forbidden place,
Lingering a minute,
Like outcast spirits, who wait
And see through Heaven’s gate
Angels within it.

“Have you got any more, young fellow?” asked Warrington. “We must make them give you a couple of guineas a page; and if the verses are liked, why, you’ll get an entree into Bacon’s magazines, and may turn a decent penny.”

Pen examined his portfolio and found another ballad which he thought might figure with advantage in the Spring Annual, and consigning these two precious documents to Warrington, the pair walked from the Temple to the famous haunt of the Muses and their masters, Paternoster Row. Bacon’s shop was an ancient low-browed building, with a few of the books published by the firm displayed in the windows, under a bust of my Lord of Verulam, and the name of Mr. Bacon in brass on the private door. Exactly opposite to Bacon’s house was that of Mr. Bungay, which was newly painted and elaborately decorated in the style of the seventeenth century, so that you might have fancied stately Mr. Evelyn passing over the threshold, or curious Mr. Pepys examining the books in the window. Warrington went into the shop of Mr. Bacon, but Pen stayed without. It was agreed that his ambassador should act for him entirely; and the young fellow paced up and down the street in a very nervous condition, until he should learn the result of the negotiation. Many a poor devil before him has trodden those flags, with similar cares and anxieties at his heels, his bread and his fame dependent upon the sentence of his magnanimous patrons of the Row. Pen looked at all the wonders of all the shops, and the strange variety of literature which they exhibit. In this were displayed black-letter volumes and books in the clear pale types of Aldus and Elzevir: in the next, you might see the Penny Horrific Register; the Halfpenny Annals of Crime and History of the most celebrated murderers of all countries, The Raff’s Magazine, The Larky Swell, and other publications of the penny press; whilst at the next window, portraits of ill-favoured individuals, with fac-similes of the venerated signatures of the Reverend Grimes Wapshot, the Reverend Elias Howle, and the works written and the sermons preached by them, showed the British Dissenter where he could find mental pabulum. Hard by would be a little casement hung with emblems, with medals and rosaries with little paltry prints of saints gilt and painted, and books of controversial theology, by which the faithful of the Roman opinion might learn a short way to deal with Protestants, at a penny apiece, or ninepence the dozen for distribution; whilst in the very next window you might see ‘Come out of Rome,’ a sermon preached at the opening of the Shepherd’s Bush College, by John Thomas Lord Bishop of Ealing. Scarce an opinion but has its expositor and its place of exhibition in this peaceful old Paternoster Row, under the toll of the bells of Saint Paul.

Pen looked in at all the windows and shops, as a gentleman who is going to have an interview with the dentist examines the books on the waiting-room table. He remembered them afterwards. It seemed to him that Warrington would never come out; and indeed the latter was engaged for some time in pleading his friend’s cause.

Pen’s natural conceit would have swollen immensely if he could but have heard the report which Warrington gave of him. It happened that Mr. Bacon himself had occasion to descend to Mr. Hack’s room whilst Warrington was talking there, and Warrington, knowing Bacon’s weaknesses, acted upon them with great adroitness in his friend’s behalf. In the first place, he put on his hat to speak to Bacon, and addressed him from the table on which he seated himself. Bacon liked to be treated with rudeness by a gentleman, and used to pass it on to his inferiors as boys pass the mark. “What! not know Mr. Pendennis, Mr. Bacon?” Warrington said. “You can’t live much in the world, or you would know him. A man of property in the West, of one of the most ancient families in England, related to half the nobility in the empire — he’s cousin to Lord Pontypool — he was one of the most distinguished men at Oxbridge; he dines at Gaunt House every week.”

“Law bless me, you don’t say so, sir. Well — really — Law bless me now,” said Mr. Bacon.

“I have just been showing Mr. Hack some of his verses, which he sat up last night, at my request, to write; and Hack talks about giving him a copy of the book — the what-d’-you-call-’em.”

“Law bless me now, does he? The what-d’-you-call-’em. Indeed!”

“‘The Spring Annual’ is its name — as payment for those verses. You don’t suppose that such a man as Mr. Arthur Pendennis gives up a dinner at Gaunt House for nothing? You know as well as anybody, that the men of fashion want to be paid.”

“That they do, Mr. Warrington, sir,” said the publisher.

“I tell you he’s a star; he’ll make a name, sir. He’s a new man, sir.”

“They’ve said that of so many of those young swells, Mr. Warrington,” the publisher interposed, with a sigh. “There was Lord Viscount Dodo, now; I gave his Lordship a good bit of money for his poems, and only sold eighty copies. Mr. Popjoy’s Hadgincourt, sir, fell dead.”

“Well, then, I’ll take my man over to Bungay,” Warrington said, and rose from the table. This threat was too much for Mr. Bacon, who was instantly ready to accede to any reasonable proposal of Mr. Warrington’s, and finally asked his manager what those proposals were? When he heard that the negotiation only related as yet to a couple of ballads, which Mr. Warrington offered for the Spring Annual, Mr. Bacon said, “Law bless you, give him a check directly;” and with this paper Warrington went out to his friend, and placed it, grinning, in Pen’s hands. Pen was as elated as if somebody had left him a fortune. He offered Warrington a dinner at Richmond instantly. “What should he go and buy for Laura and his mother? He must buy something for them.”

“They’ll like the book better than anything else,” said Warrington, “with the young one’s name to the verses, printed among the swells.”

“Thank God! thank God!” cried Arthur, “I needn’t be a charge upon the old mother. I can pay off Laura now. I can get my own living. I can make my own way.”

“I can marry the grand vizier’s daughter: I can purchase a house in Belgrave Square; I can build a fine castle in the air!” said Warrington, pleased with the other’s exultation. “Well, you may get bread and cheese, Pen: and I own it tastes well, the bread which you earn yourself.”

They had a magnum of claret at dinner at the club that day, at Pen’s charges. It was long since he had indulged in such a luxury, but Warrington would not baulk him: and they drank together to the health of the Spring Annual.

It never rains but it pours, according to the proverb; so very speedily another chance occurred, by which Mr. Pen was to be helped in his scheme of making a livelihood. Warrington one day threw him a letter across the table, which was brought by a printer’s boy, “from Captain Shandon, sir” — the little emissary said: and then went and fell asleep on his accustomed bench in the passage. He paid many a subsequent visit there, and brought many a message to Pen.

F. P. Tuesday Morning.

“MY DEAR SIR — Bungay will be here today, about the Pall Mall Gazette. You would be the very man to help us with a genuine West-end article — you understand — dashing, trenchant, and d —— aristocratic. Lady Hipshaw will write; but she’s not much you know, and we’ve two lords; but the less they do the better. We must have you. We’ll give you your own terms, and we’ll make a hit with the Gazette.

“Shall B. come and see you, or can you look in upon me here? — Ever yours,

C. S.”

“Some more opposition,” Warrington said, when Pen had read the note. “Bungay and Bacon are at daggers drawn; each married the sister of the other, and they were for some time the closest friends and partners. Hack says it was Mrs. Bungay who caused all the mischief between the two; whereas Shandon, who reads for Bungay a good deal, says Mrs. Bacon did the business; but I don’t know which is right, Peachum or Lockit. But since they have separated, it is a furious war between the two publishers; and no sooner does one bring out a book of travels, or poems, a magazine or periodical, quarterly, or monthly, or weekly, or annual, but the rival is in the field with something similar. I have heard poor Shandon tell with great glee how he made Bungay give a grand dinner at Blackwall to all his writers, by saying that Bacon had invited his corps to an entertainment at Greenwich. When Bungay engaged your celebrated friend Mr. Wagg to edit the ‘Londoner,’ Bacon straightway rushed off and secured Mr. Grindle to give his name to the ‘Westminster Magazine.’ When Bacon brought out his comic Irish novel of ‘Barney Brallaghan,’ off went Bungay to Dublin, and produced his rollicking Hibernian story of ‘Looney MacTwolter.’ When Doctor Hicks brought out his ‘Wanderings in Mesopotamia’ under Bacon’s auspices, Bungay produced Professor Sandiman’s ‘Researches in Zahara;’ and Bungay is publishing his ‘Pall Mall Gazette’ as a counterpoise to Bacon’s ‘Whitehall Review.’ Let us go and hear about the ‘Gazette.’ There may be a place for you in it, Pen, my boy. We will go and see Shandon. We are sure to find him at home.”

“Where does he live?” asked Pen.

“In the Fleet Prison,” Warrington said. “And very much at home he is there, too. He is the king of the place.”

Pen had never seen this scene of London life, and walked with no small interest in at the grim gate of that dismal edifice. They went through the anteroom, where the officers and janitors of the place were seated, and passing in at the wicket, entered the prison. The noise and the crowd, the life and the shouting, the shabby bustle of the place, struck and excited Pen. People moved about ceaselessly and restless, like caged animals in a menagerie. Men were playing at fives. Others pacing and tramping: this one in colloquy with his lawyer in dingy black — that one walking sadly, with his wife by his side, and a child on his arm. Some were arrayed in tattered dressing-gowns, and had a look of rakish fashion. Everybody seemed to be busy, humming, and on the move. Pen felt as if he choked in the place, and as if the door being locked upon him they never would let him out.

They went through a court up a stone staircase, and through passages full of people, and noise, and cross lights, and black doors clapping and banging; — Pen feeling as one does in a feverish morning dream. At last the same little runner who had brought Shandon’s note, and had followed them down Fleet Street munching apples, and who showed the way to the two gentlemen through the prison, said, “This is the Captain’s door,” and Mr. Shandon’s voice from within bade them enter.

The room, though bare, was not uncheerful. The sun was shining in at the window — near which sate a lady at work, who had been gay and beautiful once, but in whose faded face kindness and tenderness still beamed. Through all his errors and reckless mishaps and misfortunes, this faithful creature adored her husband, and thought him the best and cleverest, as indeed he was one of the kindest of men. Nothing ever seemed to disturb the sweetness of his temper; not debts: not duns: not misery: not the bottle, not his wife’s unhappy position, or his children’s ruined chances. He was perfectly fond of wife and children after his fashion: he always had the kindest words and smiles for them, and ruined them with the utmost sweetness of temper. He never could refuse himself or any man any enjoyment which his money could purchase; he would share his last guinea with Jack and Tom, and we may be sure he had a score of such retainers. He would sign his name at the back of any man’s bill, and never pay any debt of his own. He would write on any side, and attack himself or another man with equal indifference. He was one of the wittiest, the most amiable, and the most incorrigible of Irishmen. Nobody could help liking Charley Shandon who saw him once, and those whom he ruined could scarcely be angry with him.

When Pen and Warrington arrived, the Captain (he had been in an Irish militia regiment once, and the title remained with him) was sitting on his bed in a torn dressing-gown, with a desk on his knees, at which he was scribbling as fast as his rapid pen could write. Slip after slip of paper fell off the desk wet on to the ground. A picture of his children was hung up over his bed, and the youngest of them was pattering about the room.

Opposite the Captain sate Mr. Bungay, a portly man of stolid countenance, with whom the little child had been trying a conversation.

“Papa’s a very clever man,” said she; “mamma says so.”

“Oh, very,” said Mr. Bungay.

“And you’re a very rich man, Mr. Bundy,” cried the child, who could hardly speak plain.

“Mary!” said Mamma, from her work.

“Oh, never mind,” Bungay roared out with a great laugh; no harm in saying I’m rich — he, he — I am pretty well off, my little dear.”

“If you’re rich, why don’t you take papa out of piz’n?” asked the child.

Mamma at this began to wipe her eyes with the work on which she was employed. (The poor lady had hung curtains up in the room, had brought the children’s picture and placed it there, and had made one or two attempts to ornament it.) Mamma began to cry; Mr. Bungay turned red, and looked fiercely out of his bloodshot little eyes; Shandon’s pen went on, and Pen and Warrington arrived with their knock.

Captain Shandon looked up from his work. “How do you do, Mr. Warrington,” he said. “I’ll speak to you in a minute. Please sit down, gentlemen, if you can find places,” and away went the pen again.

Warrington pulled forward an old portmanteau — the only available seat — and sate down on it, with a bow to Mrs. Shandon and a nod to Bungay: the child came and looked at Pen solemnly and in a couple of minutes the swift scribbling ceased; and Shandon, turning the desk over on the bed, stooped and picked up the papers.

“I think this will do,” said he. “It’s the prospectus for the Pall Mall Gazette.”

“And here’s the money for it,” Mr. Bungay said, laying down a five-pound note. “I’m as good as my word, I am. When I say I’ll pay, I pay.”

“Faith that’s more than some of us can say,” said Shandon, and he eagerly clapped the note into his pocket.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 19:07