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    Chapter 26

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    Chapter 61
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    CHAPTER 26

    Reaping the Whirlwind

    With a precursory sound of hurried breath and hurried feet, Mr
    Pancks rushed into Arthur Clennam's Counting-house. The Inquest
    was over, the letter was public, the Bank was broken, the other
    model structures of straw had taken fire and were turned to smoke.
    The admired piratical ship had blown up, in the midst of a vast
    fleet of ships of all rates, and boats of all sizes; and on the
    deep was nothing but ruin; nothing but burning hulls, bursting
    magazines, great guns self-exploded tearing friends and neighbours
    to pieces, drowning men clinging to unseaworthy spars and going
    down every minute, spent swimmers floating dead, and sharks.

    The usual diligence and order of the Counting-house at the Works
    were overthrown. Unopened letters and unsorted papers lay strewn
    about the desk. In the midst of these tokens of prostrated energy
    and dismissed hope, the master of the Counting-house stood idle in
    his usual place, with his arms crossed on the desk, and his head
    bowed down upon them.

    Mr Pancks rushed in and saw him, and stood still. In another
    minute, Mr Pancks's arms were on the desk, and Mr Pancks's head was
    bowed down upon them; and for some time they remained in these
    attitudes, idle and silent, with the width of the little room
    between them. Mr Pancks was the first to lift up his head and
    speak.

    'I persuaded you to it, Mr Clennam. I know it. Say what you will.

    You can't say more to me than I say to myself. You can't say more
    than I deserve.'

    'O, Pancks, Pancks!' returned Clennam, 'don't speak of deserving.
    What do I myself deserve!'

    'Better luck,' said Pancks.

    'I,' pursued Clennam, without attending to him, 'who have ruined my
    partner! Pancks, Pancks, I have ruined Doyce! The honest, self-
    helpful, indefatigable old man who has worked his way all through
    his life; the man who has contended against so much disappointment,
    and who has brought out of it such a good and hopeful nature; the
    man I have felt so much for, and meant to be so true and useful to;
    I have ruined him--brought him to shame and disgrace--ruined him,
    ruined him!'

    The agony into which the reflection wrought his mind was so
    distressing to see, that Mr Pancks took hold of himself by the hair
    of his head, and tore it in desperation at the spectacle.

    'Reproach me!' cried Pancks. 'Reproach me, sir, or I'll do myself
    an injury. Say,--You fool, you villain. Say,--Ass, how could you
    do it; Beast, what did you mean by it! Catch hold of me somewhere.

    Say something abusive to me!' All the time, Mr Pancks was tearing
    at his tough hair in a most pitiless and cruel manner.

    'If you had never yielded to this fatal mania, Pancks,' said
    Clennam, more in commiseration than retaliation, 'it would have
    been how much better for you, and how much better for me!'

    'At me again, sir!' cried Pancks, grinding his teeth in remorse.
    'At me again!'
    'If you had never gone into those accursed calculations, and
    brought out your results with such abominable clearness,' groaned
    Clennam, 'it would have been how much better for you, Pancks, and
    how much better for me!'

    'At me again, sir!' exclaimed Pancks, loosening his hold of his
    hair; 'at me again, and again!'

    Clennam, however, finding him already beginning to be pacified, had
    said all he wanted to say, and more. He wrung his hand, only
    adding, 'Blind leaders of the blind, Pancks! Blind leaders of the
    blind! But Doyce, Doyce, Doyce; my injured partner!' That brought
    his head down on the desk once more.

    Their former attitudes and their former silence were once more
    first encroached upon by Pancks.

    'Not been to bed, sir, since it began to get about. Been high and
    low, on the chance of finding some hope of saving any cinders from
    the fire. All in vain. All gone. All vanished.'

    'I know it,' returned Clennam, 'too well.'

    Mr Pancks filled up a pause with a groan that came out of the very
    depths of his soul.

    'Only yesterday, Pancks,' said Arthur; 'only yesterday, Monday, I
    had the fixed intention of selling, realising, and making an end of
    it.'

    'I can't say as much for myself, sir,' returned Pancks. 'Though
    it's wonderful how many people I've heard of, who were going to
    realise yesterday, of all days in the three hundred and sixty-five,
    if it hadn't been too late!'

    His steam-like breathings, usually droll in their effect, were more
    tragic than so many groans: while from head to foot, he was in that
    begrimed, besmeared, neglected state, that he might have been an
    authentic portrait of Misfortune which could scarcely be discerned
    through its want of cleaning.

    'Mr Clennam, had you laid out--everything?' He got over the break
    before the last word, and also brought out the last word itself
    with great difficulty.

    'Everything.'

    Mr Pancks took hold of his tough hair again, and gave it such a
    wrench that he pulled out several prongs of it. After looking at
    these with an eye of wild hatred, he put them in his pocket.

    'My course,' said Clennam, brushing away some tears that had been
    silently dropping down his face, 'must be taken at once. What
    wretched amends I can make must be made. I must clear my
    unfortunate partner's reputation. I must retain nothing for
    myself. I must resign to our creditors the power of management I
    have so much abused, and I must work out as much of my fault--or
    crime--as is susceptible of being worked out in the rest of my
    days.'

    'Is it impossible, sir, to tide over the present?'

    'Out of the question. Nothing can be tided over now, Pancks. The
    sooner the business can pass out of my hands, the better for it.
    There are engagements to be met, this week, which would bring the
    catastrophe before many days were over, even if I would postpone it
    for a single day by going on for that space, secretly knowing what
    I know. All last night I thought of what I would do; what remains
    is to do it.'

    'Not entirely of yourself?' said Pancks, whose face was as damp as
    if his steam were turning into water as fast as he dismally blew it
    off. 'Have some legal help.'

    'Perhaps I had better.'

    'Have Rugg.'

    'There is not much to do. He will do it as well as another.'

    'Shall I fetch Rugg, Mr Clennam?'

    'If you could spare the time, I should be much obliged to you.'

    Mr Pancks put on his hat that moment, and steamed away to
    Pentonville. While he was gone Arthur never raised his head from
    the desk, but remained in that one position.

    Mr Pancks brought his friend and professional adviser, Mr Rugg,
    back with him. Mr Rugg had had such ample experience, on the road,
    of Mr Pancks's being at that present in an irrational state of
    mind, that he opened his professional mediation by requesting that
    gentleman to take himself out of the way. Mr Pancks, crushed and
    submissive, obeyed.

    'He is not unlike what my daughter was, sir, when we began the
    Breach of Promise action of Rugg and Bawkins, in which she was
    Plaintiff,' said Mr Rugg. 'He takes too strong and direct an
    interest in the case. His feelings are worked upon. There is no
    getting on, in our profession, with feelings worked upon, sir.'

    As he pulled off his gloves and put them in his hat, he saw, in a
    side glance or two, that a great change had come over his client.

    'I am sorry to perceive, sir,' said Mr Rugg, 'that you have been
    allowing your own feelings to be worked upon. Now, pray don't,
    pray don't. These losses are much to be deplored, sir, but we must
    look 'em in the face.'
    'If the money I have sacrificed had been all my own, Mr Rugg,'
    sighed Mr Clennam, 'I should have cared far less.'

    'Indeed, sir?' said Mr Rugg, rubbing his hands with a cheerful air.

    'You surprise me. That's singular, sir. I have generally found,
    in my experience, that it's their own money people are most
    particular about. I have seen people get rid of a good deal of
    other people's money, and bear it very well: very well indeed.'

    With these comforting remarks, Mr Rugg seated himself on an office-
    stool at the desk and proceeded to business.

    'Now, Mr Clennam, by your leave, let us go into the matter. Let us
    see the state of the case. The question is simple. The question
    is the usual plain, straightforward, common-sense question. What
    can we do for ourself? What can we do for ourself?'

    'This is not the question with me, Mr Rugg,' said Arthur. 'You
    mistake it in the beginning. It is, what can I do for my partner,
    how can I best make reparation to him?'

    'I am afraid, sir, do you know,' argued Mr Rugg persuasively, 'that
    you are still allowing your feeling to be worked upon. I don't
    like the term "reparation," sir, except as a lever in the hands of
    counsel. Will you excuse my saying that I feel it my duty to offer
    you the caution, that you really must not allow your feelings to be
    worked upon?'

    'Mr Rugg,' said Clennam, nerving himself to go through with what he
    had resolved upon, and surprising that gentleman by appearing, in
    his despondency, to have a settled determination of purpose; 'you
    give me the impression that you will not be much disposed to adopt
    the course I have made up my mind to take. If your disapproval of
    it should render you unwilling to discharge such business as it
    necessitates, I am sorry for it, and must seek other aid. But I
    will represent to you at once, that to argue against it with me is
    useless.'

    'Good, sir,' answered Mr Rugg, shrugging his shoulders.'Good, sir.
    Since the business is to be done by some hands, let it be done by
    mine. Such was my principle in the case of Rugg and Bawkins. Such
    is my principle in most cases. '

    Clennam then proceeded to state to Mr Rugg his fixed resolution.
    He told Mr Rugg that his partner was a man of great simplicity and
    integrity, and that in all he meant to do, he was guided above all
    things by a knowledge of his partner's character, and a respect for
    his feelings. He explained that his partner was then absent on an
    enterprise of importance, and that it particularly behoved himself
    publicly to accept the blame of what he had rashly done, and
    publicly to exonerate his partner from all participation in the
    responsibility of it, lest the successful conduct of that
    enterprise should be endangered by the slightest suspicion wrongly
    attaching to his partner's honour and credit in another country.
    He told Mr Rugg that to clear his partner morally, to the fullest
    extent, and publicly and unreservedly to declare that he, Arthur
    Clennam, of that Firm, had of his own sole act, and even expressly
    against his partner's caution, embarked its resources in the
    swindles that had lately perished, was the only real atonement
    within his power; was a better atonement to the particular man than
    it would be to many men; and was therefore the atonement he had
    first to make. With this view, his intention was to print a
    declaration to the foregoing effect, which he had already drawn up;
    and, besides circulating it among all who had dealings with the
    House, to advertise it in the public papers. Concurrently with
    this measure (the description of which cost Mr Rugg innumerable wry
    faces and great uneasiness in his limbs), he would address a letter
    to all the creditors, exonerating his partner in a solemn manner,
    informing them of the stoppage of the House until their pleasure
    could be known and his partner communicated with, and humbly
    submitting himself to their direction. If, through their
    consideration for his partner's innocence, the affairs could ever
    be got into such train as that the business could be profitably
    resumed, and its present downfall overcome, then his own share in
    it should revert to his partner, as the only reparation he could
    make to him in money value for the distress and loss he had
    unhappily brought upon him, and he himself, at as mall a salary as
    he could live upon, would ask to be allowed to serve the business
    as a faithful clerk.

    Though Mr Rugg saw plainly there was no preventing this from being
    done, still the wryness of his face and the uneasiness of his limbs
    so sorely required the propitiation of a Protest, that he made one.

    'I offer no objection, sir,' said he, 'I argue no point with you.
    I will carry out your views, sir; but, under protest.' Mr Rugg
    then stated, not without prolixity, the heads of his protest.
    These were, in effect, because the whole town, or he might say the
    whole country, was in the first madness of the late discovery, and
    the resentment against the victims would be very strong: those who
    had not been deluded being certain to wax exceedingly wroth with
    them for not having been as wise as they were: and those who had
    been deluded being certain to find excuses and reasons for
    themselves, of which they were equally certain to see that other
    sufferers were wholly devoid: not to mention the great probability
    of every individual sufferer persuading himself, to his violent
    indignation, that but for the example of all the other sufferers he
    never would have put himself in the way of suffering. Because such
    a declaration as Clennam's, made at such a time, would certainly
    draw down upon him a storm of animosity, rendering it impossible to
    calculate on forbearance in the creditors, or on unanimity among
    them; and exposing him a solitary target to a straggling cross-
    fire, which might bring him down from half-a-dozen quarters at
    once.

    To all this Clennam merely replied that, granting the whole
    protest, nothing in it lessened the force, or could lessen the
    force, of the voluntary and public exoneration of his partner. He
    therefore, once and for all, requested Mr Rugg's immediate aid in
    getting the business despatched. Upon that, Mr Rugg fell to work;
    and Arthur, retaining no property to himself but his clothes and
    books, and a little loose money, placed his small private banker's-
    account with the papers of the business.

    The disclosure was made, and the storm raged fearfully. Thousands
    of people were wildly staring about for somebody alive to heap
    reproaches on; and this notable case, courting publicity, set the
    living somebody so much wanted, on a scaffold. When people who had
    nothing to do with the case were so sensible of its flagrancy,
    people who lost money by it could scarcely be expected to deal
    mildly with it. Letters of reproach and invective showered in from
    the creditors; and Mr Rugg, who sat upon the high stool every day
    and read them all, informed his client within a week that he feared
    there were writs out.

    'I must take the consequences of what I have done,' said Clennam.
    'The writs will find me here.'

    On the very next morning, as he was turning in Bleeding Heart Yard
    by Mrs Plornish's corner, Mrs Plornish stood at the door waiting
    for him, and mysteriously besought him to step into Happy Cottage.
    There he found Mr Rugg.

    'I thought I'd wait for you here. I wouldn't go on to the
    Counting-house this morning if I was you, sir.'

    'Why not, Mr Rugg?'

    'There are as many as five out, to my knowledge.'

    'It cannot be too soon over,' said Clennam. 'Let them take me at
    once.'

    'Yes, but,' said Mr Rugg, getting between him and the door, 'hear
    reason, hear reason. They'll take you soon enough, Mr Clennam, I
    don't doubt; but, hear reason. It almost always happens, in these
    cases, that some insignificant matter pushes itself in front and
    makes much of itself. Now, I find there's a little one out--a mere
    Palace Court jurisdiction--and I have reason to believe that a
    caption may be made upon that. I wouldn't be taken upon that.'

    'Why not?' asked Clennam.

    'I'd be taken on a full-grown one, sir,' said Mr Rugg. 'It's as
    well to keep up appearances. As your professional adviser, I
    should prefer your being taken on a writ from one of the Superior
    Courts, if you have no objection to do me that favour. It looks
    better.'

    'Mr Rugg,' said Arthur, in his dejection, 'my only wish is, that it
    should be over. I will go on, and take my chance.'

    'Another word of reason, sir!' cried Mr Rugg. 'Now, this is
    reason. The other may be taste; but this is reason. If you should
    be taken on a little one, sir, you would go to the Marshalsea.
    Now, you know what the Marshalsea is. Very close. Excessively
    confined. Whereas in the King's Bench--' Mr Rugg waved his right
    hand freely, as expressing abundance of space.
    'I would rather,' said Clennam, 'be taken to the Marshalsea than to
    any other prison.'

    'Do you say so indeed, sir?' returned Mr Rugg. 'Then this is
    taste, too, and we may be walking.'

    He was a little offended at first, but he soon overlooked it. They
    walked through the Yard to the other end. The Bleeding Hearts were
    more interested in Arthur since his reverses than formerly; now
    regarding him as one who was true to the place and had taken up his
    freedom. Many of them came out to look after him, and to observe
    to one another, with great unctuousness, that he was 'pulled down
    by it.' Mrs Plornish and her father stood at the top of the steps
    at their own end, much depressed and shaking their heads.

    There was nobody visibly in waiting when Arthur and Mr Rugg arrived
    at the Counting-house. But an elderly member of the Jewish
    persuasion, preserved in rum, followed them close, and looked in at
    the glass before Mr Rugg had opened one of the day's letters.

    'Oh!' said Mr Rugg, looking up. 'How do you do? Step in--Mr
    Clennam, I think this is the gentleman I was mentioning.'

    This gentleman explained the object of his visit to be 'a tyfling
    madder ob bithznithz,' and executed his legal function.

    'Shall I accompany you, Mr Clennam?' asked Mr Rugg politely,
    rubbing his hands.

    'I would rather go alone, thank you. Be so good as send me my
    clothes.' Mr Rugg in a light airy way replied in the affirmative,
    and shook hands with him. He and his attendant then went down-
    stairs, got into the first conveyance they found, and drove to the
    old gates.

    'Where I little thought, Heaven forgive me,' said Clennam to
    himself, 'that I should ever enter thus!'

    Mr Chivery was on the Lock, and Young John was in the Lodge: either
    newly released from it, or waiting to take his own spell of duty.
    Both were more astonished on seeing who the prisoner was, than one
    might have thought turnkeys would have been. The elder Mr Chivery
    shook hands with him in a shame-faced kind of way, and said, 'I
    don't call to mind, sir, as I was ever less glad to see you.' The
    younger Mr Chivery, more distant, did not shake hands with him at
    all; he stood looking at him in a state of indecision so observable
    that it even came within the observation of Clennam with his heavy
    eyes and heavy heart. Presently afterwards, Young John disappeared
    into the jail.

    As Clennam knew enough of the place to know that he was required to
    remain in the Lodge a certain time, he took a seat in a corner, and
    feigned to be occupied with the perusal of letters from his pocket.

    They did not so engross his attention, but that he saw, with
    gratitude, how the elder Mr Chivery kept the Lodge clear of
    prisoners; how he signed to some, with his keys, not to come in,
    how he nudged others with his elbows to go out, and how he made his
    misery as easy to him as he could.

    Arthur was sitting with his eyes fixed on the floor, recalling the
    past, brooding over the present, and not attending to either, when
    he felt himself touched upon the shoulder. It was by Young John;
    and he said, 'You can come now.'

    He got up and followed Young John. When they had gone a step or
    two within the inner iron-gate, Young John turned and said to him:

    'You want a room. I have got you one.'

    'I thank you heartily.'

    Young John turned again, and took him in at the old doorway, up the
    old staircase, into the old room. Arthur stretched out his hand.
    Young John looked at it, looked at him--sternly--swelled, choked,
    and said:

    'I don't know as I can. No, I find I can't. But I thought you'd
    like the room, and here it is for you.'

    Surprise at this inconsistent behaviour yielded when he was gone
    (he went away directly) to the feelings which the empty room
    awakened in Clennam's wounded breast, and to the crowding
    associations with the one good and gentle creature who had
    sanctified it. Her absence in his altered fortunes made it, and
    him in it, so very desolate and so much in need of such a face of
    love and truth, that he turned against the wall to weep, sobbing
    out, as his heart relieved itself, 'O my Little Dorrit!'
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