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Chapter 43

Chapter 10

SCOUTS OUT


'And so, Miss Wren,' said Mr Eugene Wrayburn, 'I cannot
persuade you to dress me a doll?'

'No,' replied Miss Wren snappishly; 'if you want one, go and buy
one at the shop.'

'And my charming young goddaughter,' said Mr Wrayburn
plaintively, 'down in Hertfordshire--'

('Humbugshire you mean, I think,' interposed Miss Wren.)

'--is to be put upon the cold footing of the general public, and is to
derive no advantage from my private acquaintance with the Court
Dressmaker?'

'If it's any advantage to your charming godchild--and oh, a
precious godfather she has got!'--replied Miss Wren, pricking at
him in the air with her needle, 'to be informed that the Court
Dressmaker knows your tricks and your manners, you may tell her
so by post, with my compliments.'

Miss Wren was busy at her work by candle-light, and Mr
Wrayburn, half amused and half vexed, and all idle and shiftless,
stood by her bench looking on. Miss Wren's troublesome child
was in the corner in deep disgrace, and exhibiting great
wretchedness in the shivering stage of prostration from drink.

'Ugh, you disgraceful boy!' exclaimed Miss Wren, attracted by the
sound of his chattering teeth, 'I wish they'd all drop down your
throat and play at dice in your stomach! Boh, wicked child! Bee-
baa, black sheep!'

On her accompanying each of these reproaches with a threatening
stamp of the foot, the wretched creature protested with a whine.

'Pay five shillings for you indeed!' Miss Wren proceeded; 'how
many hours do you suppose it costs me to earn five shillings, you
imfamous boy?--Don't cry like that, or I'll throw a doll at you. Pay
five shillings fine for you indeed. Fine in more ways than one, I
think! I'd give the dustman five shillings, to carry you off in the
dust cart.'

'No, no,' pleaded the absurd creature. 'Please!'

'He's enough to break his mother's heart, is this boy,' said Miss
Wren, half appealing to Eugene. 'I wish I had never brought him
up. He'd be sharper than a serpent's tooth, if he wasn't as dull as
ditch water. Look at him. There's a pretty object for a parent's
eyes!'

Assuredly, in his worse than swinish state (for swine at least fatten
on their guzzling, and make themselves good to eat), he was a
pretty object for any eyes.

'A muddling and a swipey old child,' said Miss Wren, rating him
with great severity, 'fit for nothing but to be preserved in the liquor
that destroys him, and put in a great glass bottle as a sight for other
swipey children of his own pattern,--if he has no consideration for
his liver, has he none for his mother?'

'Yes. Deration, oh don't!' cried the subject of these angry remarks.

'Oh don't and oh don't,' pursued Miss Wren. 'It's oh do and oh do.
And why do you?'

'Won't do so any more. Won't indeed. Pray!'

'There!' said Miss Wren, covering her eyes with her hand. 'I can't
bear to look at you. Go up stairs and get me my bonnet and shawl.
Make yourself useful in some way, bad boy, and let me have your
room instead of your company, for one half minute.'

Obeying her, he shambled out, and Eugene Wrayburn saw the
tears exude from between the little creature's fingers as she kept
her hand before her eyes. He was sorry, but his sympathy did not
move his carelessness to do anything but feel sorry.

'I'm going to the Italian Opera to try on,' said Miss Wren, taking
away her hand after a little while, and laughing satirically to hide
that she had been crying; 'I must see your back before I go, Mr
Wrayburn. Let me first tell you, once for all, that it's of no use your
paying visits to me. You wouldn't get what you want, of me, no,
not if you brought pincers with you to tear it out.'

'Are you so obstinate on the subject of a doll's dress for my
godchild?'

'Ah!' returned Miss Wren with a hitch of her chin, 'I am so
obstinate. And of course it's on the subject of a doll's dress--or
ADdress--whichever you like. Get along and give it up!'

Her degraded charge had come back, and was standing behind her
with the bonnet and shawl.

'Give 'em to me and get back into your corner, you naughty old
thing!' said Miss Wren, as she turned and espied him. 'No, no, I
won't have your help. Go into your corner, this minute!'

The miserable man, feebly rubbing the back of his faltering hands
downward from the wrists, shuffled on to his post of disgrace; but
not without a curious glance at Eugene in passing him,
accompanied with what seemed as if it might have been an action
of his elbow, if any action of any limb or joint he had, would have
answered truly to his will. Taking no more particular notice of him
than instinctively falling away from the disagreeable contact,
Eugene, with a lazy compliment or so to Miss Wren, begged leave
to light his cigar, and departed.

'Now you prodigal old son,' said Jenny, shaking her head and her
emphatic little forefinger at her burden, 'you sit there till I come
back. You dare to move out of your corner for a single instant
while I'm gone, and I'll know the reason why.'

With this admonition, she blew her work candles out, leaving him
to the light of the fire, and, taking her big door-key in her pocket
and her crutch-stick in her hand, marched off.

Eugene lounged slowly towards the Temple, smoking his cigar,
but saw no more of the dolls' dressmaker, through the accident of
their taking opposite sides of the street. He lounged along
moodily, and stopped at Charing Cross to look about him, with as
little interest in the crowd as any man might take, and was
lounging on again, when a most unexpected object caught his eyes.
No less an object than Jenny Wren's bad boy trying to make up his
mind to cross the road.

A more ridiculous and feeble spectacle than this tottering wretch
making unsteady sallies into the roadway, and as often staggering
back again, oppressed by terrors of vehicles that were a long way
off or were nowhere, the streets could not have shown. Over and
over again, when the course was perfectly clear, he set out, got half
way, described a loop, turned, and went back again; when he
might have crossed and re-crossed half a dozen times. Then, he
would stand shivering on the edge of the pavement, looking up the
street and looking down, while scores of people jostled him, and
crossed, and went on. Stimulated in course of time by the sight of
so many successes, he would make another sally, make another
loop, would all but have his foot on the opposite pavement, would
see or imagine something coming, and would stagger back again.
There, he would stand making spasmodic preparations as if for a
great leap, and at last would decide on a start at precisely the
wrong moment, and would be roared at by drivers, and would
shrink back once more, and stand in the old spot shivering, with
the whole of the proceedings to go through again.

'It strikes me,' remarked Eugene coolly, after watching him for
some minutes, 'that my friend is likely to be rather behind time if
he has any appointment on hand.' With which remark he strolled
on, and took no further thought of him.

Lightwood was at home when he got to the Chambers, and had
dined alone there. Eugene drew a chair to the fire by which he was
having his wine and reading the evening paper, and brought a
glass, and filled it for good fellowship's sake.

'My dear Mortimer, you are the express picture of contented
industry, reposing (on credit) after the virtuous labours of the day.'

'My dear Eugene, you are the express picture of discontented
idleness not reposing at all. Where have you been?'

'I have been,' replied Wrayburn, '--about town. I have turned up at
the present juncture, with the intention of consulting my highly
intelligent and respected solicitor on the position of my affairs.'

'Your highly intelligent and respect solicitor is of opinion that your
affairs are in a bad way, Eugene.'

'Though whether,' said Eugene thoughtfully, 'that can be
intelligently said, now, of the affairs of a client who has nothing to
lose and who cannot possibly be made to pay, may be open to
question.'

'You have fallen into the hands of the Jews, Eugene.'

'My dear boy,' returned the debtor, very composedly taking up his
glass, 'having previously fallen into the hands of some of the
Christians, I can bear it with philosophy.'

'I have had an interview to-day, Eugene, with a Jew, who seems
determined to press us hard. Quite a Shylock, and quite a
Patriarch. A picturesque grey-headed and grey-bearded old Jew, in
a shovel-hat and gaberdine.'

'Not,' said Eugene, pausing in setting down his glass, 'surely not
my worthy friend Mr Aaron?'

'He calls himself Mr Riah.'

'By-the-by,' said Eugene, 'it comes into my mind that--no doubt
with an instinctive desire to receive him into the bosom of our
Church--I gave him the name of Aaron!'

'Eugene, Eugene,' returned Lightwood, 'you are more ridiculous
than usual. Say what you mean.'

'Merely, my dear fellow, that I have the honour and pleasure of a
speaking acquaintance with such a Patriarch as you describe, and
that I address him as Mr Aaron, because it appears to me Hebraic,
expressive, appropriate, and complimentary. Notwithstanding
which strong reasons for its being his name, it may not be his
name.'

'I believe you are the absurdest man on the face of the earth,' said
Lightwood, laughing.

'Not at all, I assure you. Did he mention that he knew me?'

'He did not. He only said of you that he expected to be paid by
you.'

'Which looks,' remarked Eugene with much gravity, 'like NOT
knowing me. I hope it may not be my worthy friend Mr Aaron,
for, to tell you the truth, Mortimer, I doubt he may have a
prepossession against me. I strongly suspect him of having had a
hand in spiriting away Lizzie.'

'Everything,' returned Lightwood impatiently, 'seems, by a fatality,
to bring us round to Lizzie. "About town" meant about Lizzie, just
now, Eugene.'

'My solicitor, do you know,' observed Eugene, turning round to the
furniture, 'is a man of infinite discernment!'

'Did it not, Eugene?'

'Yes it did, Mortimer.'

'And yet, Eugene, you know you do not really care for her.'

Eugene Wrayburn rose, and put his hands in his pockets, and stood
with a foot on the fender, indolently rocking his body and looking
at the fire. After a prolonged pause, he replied: 'I don't know that.
I must ask you not to say that, as if we took it for granted.'

'But if you do care for her, so much the more should you leave her
to herself.'

Having again paused as before, Eugene said: 'I don't know that,
either. But tell me. Did you ever see me take so much trouble
about anything, as about this disappearance of hers? I ask, for
information.'

'My dear Eugene, I wish I ever had!'

'Then you have not? Just so. You confirm my own impression.
Does that look as if I cared for her? I ask, for information.'

'I asked YOU for information, Eugene,' said Mortimer
reproachfully.

'Dear boy, I know it, but I can't give it. I thirst for information.
What do I mean? If my taking so much trouble to recover her does
not mean that I care for her, what does it mean? "If Peter Piper
picked a peck of pickled pepper, where's the peck," &c.?'

Though he said this gaily, he said it with a perplexed and
inquisitive face, as if he actually did not know what to make of
himself. 'Look on to the end--' Lightwood was beginning to
remonstrate, when he caught at the words:

'Ah! See now! That's exactly what I am incapable of doing. How
very acute you are, Mortimer, in finding my weak place! When we
were at school together, I got up my lessons at the last moment,
day by day and bit by bit; now we are out in life together, I get up
my lessons in the same way. In the present task I have not got
beyond this:--I am bent on finding Lizzie, and I mean to find her,
and I will take any means of finding her that offer themselves. Fair
means or foul means, are all alike to me. I ask you--for
information--what does that mean? When I have found her I may
ask you--also for information--what do I mean now? But it would
be premature in this stage, and it's not the character of my mind.'

Lightwood was shaking his head over the air with which his friend
held forth thus--an air so whimsically open and argumentative as
almost to deprive what he said of the appearance of evasion--when
a shuffling was heard at the outer door, and then an undecided
knock, as though some hand were groping for the knocker. 'The
frolicsome youth of the neighbourhood,' said Eugene, 'whom I
should be delighted to pitch from this elevation into the churchyard
below, without any intermediate ceremonies, have probably turned
the lamp out. I am on duty to-night, and will see to the door.'

His friend had barely had time to recall the unprecedented gleam of
determination with which he had spoken of finding this girl, and
which had faded out of him with the breath of the spoken words,
when Eugene came back, ushering in a most disgraceful shadow of
a man, shaking from head to foot, and clothed in shabby grease
and smear.

'This interesting gentleman,' said Eugene, 'is the son--the
occasionally rather trying son, for he has his failings--of a lady of
my acquaintance. My dear Mortimer--Mr Dolls.' Eugene had no
idea what his name was, knowing the little dressmaker's to be
assumed, but presented him with easy confidence under the first
appellation that his associations suggested.

'I gather, my dear Mortimer,' pursued Eugene, as Lightwood stared
at the obscene visitor, 'from the manner of Mr Dolls--which is
occasionally complicated--that he desires to make some
communication to me. I have mentioned to Mr Dolls that you and
I are on terms of confidence, and have requested Mr Dolls to
develop his views here.'

The wretched object being much embarrassed by holding what
remained of his hat, Eugene airily tossed it to the door, and put him
down in a chair.

'It will be necessary, I think,' he observed, 'to wind up Mr Dolls,
before anything to any mortal purpose can be got out of him.
Brandy, Mr Dolls, or--?'

'Threepenn'orth Rum,' said Mr Dolls.

A judiciously small quantity of the spirit was given him in a wine-
glass, and he began to convey it to his mouth, with all kinds of
falterings and gyrations on the road.

'The nerves of Mr Dolls,' remarked Eugene to Lightwood, 'are
considerably unstrung. And I deem it on the whole expedient to
fumigate Mr Dolls.'

He took the shovel from the grate, sprinkled a few live ashes on it,
and from a box on the chimney-piece took a few pastiles, which he
set upon them; then, with great composure began placidly waving
the shovel in front of Mr Dolls, to cut him off from his company.

'Lord bless my soul, Eugene!' cried Lightwood, laughing again,
'what a mad fellow you are! Why does this creature come to see
you?'

'We shall hear,' said Wrayburn, very observant of his face withal.
'Now then. Speak out. Don't be afraid. State your business,
Dolls.'

'Mist Wrayburn!' said the visitor, thickly and huskily. '--'TIS Mist
Wrayburn, ain't?' With a stupid stare.

'Of course it is. Look at me. What do you want?'

Mr Dolls collapsed in his chair, and faintly said 'Threepenn'orth
Rum.'

'Will you do me the favour, my dear Mortimer, to wind up Mr
Dolls again?' said Eugene. 'I am occupied with the fumigation.'

A similar quantity was poured into his glass, and he got it to his
lips by similar circuitous ways. Having drunk it, Mr Dolls, with
an evident fear of running down again unless he made haste,
proceeded to business.

'Mist Wrayburn. Tried to nudge you, but you wouldn't. You want
that drection. You want t'know where she lives. DO you Mist
Wrayburn?'

With a glance at his friend, Eugene replied to the question sternly,
'I do.'

'I am er man,' said Mr Dolls, trying to smite himself on the breast,
but bringing his hand to bear upon the vicinity of his eye, 'er do it.
I am er man er do it.'

'What are you the man to do?' demanded Eugene, still sternly.

'Er give up that drection.'

'Have you got it?'

With a most laborious attempt at pride and dignity, Mr Dolls
rolled his head for some time, awakening the highest expectations,
and then answered, as if it were the happiest point that could
possibly be expected of him: 'No.'

'What do you mean then?'

Mr Dolls, collapsing in the drowsiest manner after his late
intellectual triumph, replied: 'Threepenn'orth Rum.'

'Wind him up again, my dear Mortimer,' said Wrayburn; 'wind him
up again.'

'Eugene, Eugene,' urged Lightwood in a low voice, as he complied,
'can you stoop to the use of such an instrument as this?'

'I said,' was the reply, made with that former gleam of
determination, 'that I would find her out by any means, fair or foul.
These are foul, and I'll take them--if I am not first tempted to break
the head of Mr Dolls with the fumigator. Can you get the
direction? Do you mean that? Speak! If that's what you have
come for, say how much you want.'

'Ten shillings--Threepenn'orths Rum,' said Mr Dolls.

'You shall have it.'

'Fifteen shillings--Threepenn'orths Rum,' said Mr Dolls, making an
attempt to stiffen himself.

'You shall have it. Stop at that. How will you get the direction you
talk of?'

'I am er man,' said Mr Dolls, with majesty, 'er get it, sir.'

'How will you get it, I ask you?'

'I am ill-used vidual,' said Mr Dolls. 'Blown up morning t'night.
Called names. She makes Mint money, sir, and never stands
Threepenn'orth Rum.'

'Get on,' rejoined Eugene, tapping his palsied head with the fire-
shovel, as it sank on his breast. 'What comes next?'

Making a dignified attempt to gather himself together, but, as it
were, dropping half a dozen pieces of himself while he tried in vain
to pick up one, Mr Dolls, swaying his head from side to side,
regarded his questioner with what he supposed to be a haughty
smile and a scornful glance.

'She looks upon me as mere child, sir. I am NOT mere child, sir.
Man. Man talent. Lerrers pass betwixt 'em. Postman lerrers.
Easy for man talent er get drection, as get his own drection.'

'Get it then,' said Eugene; adding very heartily under his breath,
'--You Brute! Get it, and bring it here to me, and earn the money for
sixty threepenn'orths of rum, and drink them all, one a top of
another, and drink yourself dead with all possible expedition.' The
latter clauses of these special instructions he addressed to the fire,
as he gave it back the ashes he had taken from it, and replaced the
shovel.

Mr Dolls now struck out the highly unexpected discovery that he
had been insulted by Lightwood, and stated his desire to 'have it
out with him' on the spot, and defied him to come on, upon the
liberal terms of a sovereign to a halfpenny. Mr Dolls then fell a
crying, and then exhibited a tendency to fall asleep. This last
manifestation as by far the most alarming, by reason of its
threatening his prolonged stay on the premises, necessitated
vigorous measures. Eugene picked up his worn-out hat with the
tongs, clapped it on his head, and, taking him by the collar--all this
at arm's length--conducted him down stairs and out of the precincts
into Fleet Street. There, he turned his face westward, and left him.

When he got back, Lightwood was standing over the fire, brooding
in a sufficiently low-spirited manner.

'I'll wash my hands of Mr Dolls physically--' said Eugene, 'and be
with you again directly, Mortimer.'

'I would much prefer,' retorted Mortimer, 'your washing your hands
of Mr Dolls, morally, Eugene.'

'So would I,' said Eugene; 'but you see, dear boy, I can't do without
him.'

In a minute or two he resumed his chair, as perfectly unconcerned
as usual, and rallied his friend on having so narrowly escaped the
prowess of their muscular visitor.

'I can't be amused on this theme,' said Mortimer, restlessly. 'You
can make almost any theme amusing to me, Eugene, but not this.'

'Well!' cried Eugene, 'I am a little ashamed of it myself, and
therefore let us change the subject.'

'It is so deplorably underhanded,' said Mortimer. 'It is so unworthy
of you, this setting on of such a shameful scout.'

'We have changed the subject!' exclaimed Eugene, airily. 'We have
found a new one in that word, scout. Don't be like Patience on a
mantelpiece frowning at Dolls, but sit down, and I'll tell you
something that you really will find amusing. Take a cigar. Look
at this of mine. I light it--draw one puff--breathe the smoke out--
there it goes--it's Dolls!--it's gone--and being gone you are a man
again.'

'Your subject,' said Mortimer, after lighting a cigar, and
comforting himself with a whiff or two, 'was scouts, Eugene.'

'Exactly. Isn't it droll that I never go out after dark, but I find
myself attended, always by one scout, and often by two?'

Lightwood took his cigar from his lips in surprise, and looked at
his friend, as if with a latent suspicion that there must be a jest or
hidden meaning in his words.

'On my honour, no,' said Wrayburn, answering the look and
smiling carelessly; 'I don't wonder at your supposing so, but on my
honour, no. I say what I mean. I never go out after dark, but I find
myself in the ludicrous situation of being followed and observed at
a distance, always by one scout, and often by two.'

'Are you sure, Eugene?'

'Sure? My dear boy, they are always the same.'

'But there's no process out against you. The Jews only threaten.
They have done nothing. Besides, they know where to find you,
and I represent you. Why take the trouble?'

'Observe the legal mind!' remarked Eugene, turning round to the
furniture again, with an air of indolent rapture. 'Observe the dyer's
hand, assimilating itself to what it works in,--or would work in, if
anybody would give it anything to do. Respected solicitor, it's not
that. The schoolmaster's abroad.'

'The schoolmaster?'

'Ay! Sometimes the schoolmaster and the pupil are both abroad.
Why, how soon you rust in my absence! You don't understand yet?
Those fellows who were here one night. They are the scouts I
speak of, as doing me the honour to attend me after dark.'

'How long has this been going on?' asked Lightwood, opposing a
serious face to the laugh of his friend.

'I apprehend it has been going on, ever since a certain person went
off. Probably, it had been going on some little time before I
noticed it: which would bring it to about that time.'

'Do you think they suppose you to have inveigled her away?'

'My dear Mortimer, you know the absorbing nature of my
professional occupations; I really have not had leisure to think
about it.'

'Have you asked them what they want? Have you objected?'

'Why should I ask them what they want, dear fellow, when I am
indifferent what they want? Why should I express objection, when
I don't object?'

'You are in your most reckless mood. But you called the situation
just now, a ludicrous one; and most men object to that, even those
who are utterly indifferent to everything else.'

'You charm me, Mortimer, with your reading of my weaknesses.
(By-the-by, that very word, Reading, in its critical use, always
charms me. An actress's Reading of a chambermaid, a dancer's
Reading of a hornpipe, a singer's Reading of a song, a marine
painter's Reading of the sea, the kettle-drum's Reading of an
instrumental passage, are phrases ever youthful and delightful.) I
was mentioning your perception of my weaknesses. I own to the
weakness of objecting to occupy a ludicrous position, and therefore
I transfer the position to the scouts.'

'I wish, Eugene, you would speak a little more soberly and plainly,
if it were only out of consideration for my feeling less at ease than
you do.'

'Then soberly and plainly, Mortimer, I goad the schoolmaster to
madness. I make the schoolmaster so ridiculous, and so aware of
being made ridiculous, that I see him chafe and fret at every pore
when we cross one another. The amiable occupation has been the
solace of my life, since I was baulked in the manner unnecessary to
recall. I have derived inexpressible comfort from it. I do it thus: I
stroll out after dark, stroll a little way, look in at a window and
furtively look out for the schoolmaster. Sooner or later, I perceive
the schoolmaster on the watch; sometimes accompanied by his
hopeful pupil; oftener, pupil-less. Having made sure of his
watching me, I tempt him on, all over London. One night I go
east, another night north, in a few nights I go all round the
compass. Sometimes, I walk; sometimes, I proceed in cabs,
draining the pocket of the schoolmaster who then follows in cabs.
I study and get up abstruse No Thoroughfares in the course of the
day. With Venetian mystery I seek those No Thoroughfares at
night, glide into them by means of dark courts, tempt the
schoolmaster to follow, turn suddenly, and catch him before he can
retreat. Then we face one another, and I pass him as unaware of
his existence, and he undergoes grinding torments. Similarly, I
walk at a great pace down a short street, rapidly turn the corner,
and, getting out of his view, as rapidly turn back. I catch him
coming on post, again pass him as unaware of his existence, and
again he undergoes grinding torments. Night after night his
disappointment is acute, but hope springs eternal in the scholastic
breast, and he follows me again to-morrow. Thus I enjoy the
pleasures of the chase, and derive great benefit from the healthful
exercise. When I do not enjoy the pleasures of the chase, for
anything I know he watches at the Temple Gate all night.'

'This is an extraordinary story,' observed Lightwood, who had
heard it out with serious attention. 'I don't like it.'

'You are a little hipped, dear fellow,' said Eugene; 'you have been
too sedentary. Come and enjoy the pleasures of the chase.'

'Do you mean that you believe he is watching now?'

'I have not the slightest doubt he is.'

'Have you seen him to-night?'

'I forgot to look for him when I was last out,' returned Eugene with
the calmest indifference; 'but I dare say he was there. Come! Be a
British sportsman and enjoy the pleasures of the chase. It will do
you good.'

Lightwood hesitated; but, yielding to his curiosity, rose.

'Bravo!' cried Eugene, rising too. 'Or, if Yoicks would be in better
keeping, consider that I said Yoicks. Look to your feet, Mortimer,
for we shall try your boots. When you are ready, I am--need I say
with a Hey Ho Chivey, and likewise with a Hark Forward, Hark
Forward, Tantivy?'

'Will nothing make you serious?' said Mortimer, laughing through
his gravity.

'I am always serious, but just now I am a little excited by the
glorious fact that a southerly wind and a cloudy sky proclaim a
hunting evening. Ready? So. We turn out the lamp and shut the
door, and take the field.'

As the two friends passed out of the Temple into the public street,
Eugene demanded with a show of courteous patronage in which
direction Mortimer would you like the run to be? 'There is a rather
difficult country about Bethnal Green,' said Eugene, 'and we have
not taken in that direction lately. What is your opinion of Bethnal
Green?' Mortimer assented to Bethnal Green, and they turned
eastward. 'Now, when we come to St Paul's churchyard,' pursued
Eugene, 'we'll loiter artfully, and I'll show you the schoolmaster.'
But, they both saw him, before they got there; alone, and stealing
after them in the shadow of the houses, on the opposite side of the
way.

'Get your wind,' said Eugene, 'for I am off directly. Does it occur
to you that the boys of Merry England will begin to deteriorate in
an educational light, if this lasts long? The schoolmaster can't
attend to me and the boys too. Got your wind? I am off!'

At what a rate he went, to breathe the schoolmaster; and how he
then lounged and loitered, to put his patience to another kind of
wear; what preposterous ways he took, with no other object on
earth than to disappoint and punish him; and how he wore him out
by every piece of ingenuity that his eccentric humour could devise;
all this Lightwood noted, with a feeling of astonishment that so
careless a man could be so wary, and that so idle a man could take
so much trouble. At last, far on in the third hour of the pleasures
of the chase, when he had brought the poor dogging wretch round
again into the City, he twisted Mortimer up a few dark entries,
twisted him into a little square court, twisted him sharp round
again, and they almost ran against Bradley Headstone.

'And you see, as I was saying, Mortimer,' remarked Eugene aloud
with the utmost coolness, as though there were no one within
hearing by themselves: 'and you see, as I was saying--undergoing
grinding torments.'

It was not too strong a phrase for the occasion. Looking like the
hunted and not the hunter, baffled, worn, with the exhaustion of
deferred hope and consuming hate and anger in his face, white-
lipped, wild-eyed, draggle-haired, seamed with jealousy and anger,
and torturing himself with the conviction that he showed it all and
they exulted in it, he went by them in the dark, like a haggard head
suspended in the air: so completely did the force of his expression
cancel his figure.

Mortimer Lightwood was not an extraordinarily impressible man,
but this face impressed him. He spoke of it more than once on the
remainder of the way home, and more than once when they got
home.

They had been abed in their respective rooms two or three hours,
when Eugene was partly awakened by hearing a footstep going
about, and was fully awakened by seeing Lightwood standing at
his bedside.

'Nothing wrong, Mortimer?'

'No.'

'What fancy takes you, then, for walking about in the night?'

'I am horribly wakeful.'

'How comes that about, I wonder!'

'Eugene, I cannot lose sight of that fellow's face.'

'Odd!' said Eugene with a light laugh, 'I can.' And turned over,
and fell asleep again.


Charles Dickens