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    Chapter 30

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    Chapter 65
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    CHAPTER 30

    Closing in

    The last day of the appointed week touched the bars of the
    Marshalsea gate. Black, all night, since the gate had clashed upon
    Little Dorrit, its iron stripes were turned by the early-glowing
    sun into stripes of gold. Far aslant across the city, over its
    jumbled roofs, and through the open tracery of its church towers,
    struck the long bright rays, bars of the prison of this lower

    Throughout the day the old house within the gateway remained
    untroubled by any visitors. But, when the sun was low, three men
    turned in at the gateway and made for the dilapidated house.

    Rigaud was the first, and walked by himself smoking. Mr Baptist
    was the second, and jogged close after him, looking at no other
    object. Mr Pancks was the third, and carried his hat under his arm
    for the liberation of his restive hair; the weather being extremely
    hot. They all came together at the door-steps.

    'You pair of madmen!' said Rigaud, facing about. 'Don't go yet!'

    'We don't mean to,' said Mr Pancks.
    Giving him a dark glance in acknowledgment of his answer, Rigaud
    knocked loudly. He had charged himself with drink, for the playing
    out of his game, and was impatient to begin. He had hardly
    finished one long resounding knock, when he turned to the knocker
    again and began another. That was not yet finished when Jeremiah
    Flintwinch opened the door, and they all clanked into the stone
    hall. Rigaud, thrusting Mr Flintwinch aside, proceeded straight
    up-stairs. His two attendants followed him, Mr Flintwinch followed
    them, and they all came trooping into Mrs Clennam's quiet room. It
    was in its usual state; except that one of the windows was wide
    open, and Affery sat on its old-fashioned window-seat, mending a
    stocking. The usual articles were on the little table; the usual
    deadened fire was in the grate; the bed had its usual pall upon it;
    and the mistress of all sat on her black bier-like sofa, propped up
    by her black angular bolster that was like the headsman's block.

    Yet there was a nameless air of preparation in the room, as if it
    were strung up for an occasion. From what the room derived it--
    every one of its small variety of objects being in the fixed spot
    it had occupied for years--no one could have said without looking
    attentively at its mistress, and that, too, with a previous
    knowledge of her face. Although her unchanging black dress was in
    every plait precisely as of old, and her unchanging attitude was
    rigidly preserved, a very slight additional setting of her features
    and contraction of her gloomy forehead was so powerfully marked,
    that it marked everything about her.

    'Who are these?' she said, wonderingly, as the two attendants
    entered. 'What do these people want here?'

    'Who are these, dear madame, is it?' returned Rigaud. 'Faith, they
    are friends of your son the prisoner. And what do they want here,
    is it? Death, madame, I don't know. You will do well to ask

    'You know you told us at the door, not to go yet,' said Pancks.

    'And you know you told me at the door, you didn't mean to go,'
    retorted Rigaud. 'In a word, madame, permit me to present two
    spies of the prisoner's--madmen, but spies. If you wish them to
    remain here during our little conversation, say the word. It is
    nothing to me.'

    'Why should I wish them to remain here?' said Mrs Clennam. 'What
    have I to do with them?'

    'Then, dearest madame,' said Rigaud, throwing himself into an arm-
    chair so heavily that the old room trembled, 'you will do well to
    dismiss them. It is your affair. They are not my spies, not my

    'Hark! You Pancks,' said Mrs Clennam, bending her brows upon him
    angrily, 'you Casby's clerk! Attend to your employer's business
    and your own. Go. And take that other man with you.'
    'Thank you, ma'am,' returned Mr Pancks, 'I am glad to say I see no
    objection to our both retiring. We have done all we undertook to
    do for Mr Clennam. His constant anxiety has been (and it grew
    worse upon him when he became a prisoner), that this agreeable
    gentleman should be brought back here to the place from which he
    slipped away. Here he is--brought back. And I will say,' added Mr
    Pancks, 'to his ill-looking face, that in my opinion the world
    would be no worse for his slipping out of it altogether.'

    'Your opinion is not asked,' answered Mrs Clennam. 'Go.'

    'I am sorry not to leave you in better company, ma'am,' said
    Pancks; 'and sorry, too, that Mr Clennam can't be present. It's my
    fault, that is.'

    'You mean his own,' she returned.

    'No, I mean mine, ma'am,' said Pancks,'for it was my misfortune to
    lead him into a ruinous investment.' (Mr Pancks still clung to
    that word, and never said speculation.) 'Though I can prove by
    figures,' added Mr Pancks, with an anxious countenance, 'that it
    ought to have been a good investment. I have gone over it since it
    failed, every day of my life, and it comes out--regarded as a
    question of figures--triumphant. The present is not a time or
    place,' Mr Pancks pursued, with a longing glance into his hat,
    where he kept his calculations, 'for entering upon the figures; but
    the figures are not to be disputed. Mr Clennam ought to have been
    at this moment in his carriage and pair, and I ought to have been
    worth from three to five thousand pound.'

    Mr Pancks put his hair erect with a general aspect of confidence
    that could hardly have been surpassed, if he had had the amount in
    his pocket. These incontrovertible figures had been the occupation
    of every moment of his leisure since he had lost his money, and
    were destined to afford him consolation to the end of his days.

    'However,' said Mr Pancks, 'enough of that. Altro, old boy, you
    have seen the figures, and you know how they come out.' Mr
    Baptist, who had not the slightest arithmetical power of
    compensating himself in this way, nodded, with a fine display of
    bright teeth.

    At whom Mr Flintwinch had been looking, and to whom he then said:

    'Oh! it's you, is it? I thought I remembered your face, but I
    wasn't certain till I saw your teeth. Ah! yes, to be sure. It
    was this officious refugee,' said Jeremiah to Mrs Clennam, 'who
    came knocking at the door on the night when Arthur and Chatterbox
    were here, and who asked me a whole Catechism of questions about Mr

    'It is true,' Mr Baptist cheerfully admitted. 'And behold him,
    padrone! I have found him consequentementally.'

    'I shouldn't have objected,' returned Mr Flintwinch, 'to your
    having broken your neck consequentementally.'

    'And now,' said Mr Pancks, whose eye had often stealthily wandered
    to the window-seat and the stocking that was being mended there,
    'I've only one other word to say before I go. If Mr Clennam was
    here--but unfortunately, though he has so far got the better of
    this fine gentleman as to return him to this place against his
    will, he is ill and in prison--ill and in prison, poor fellow--if
    he was here,' said Mr Pancks, taking one step aside towards the
    window-seat, and laying his right hand upon the stocking; 'he would
    say, "Affery, tell your dreams!"'

    Mr Pancks held up his right forefinger between his nose and the
    stocking with a ghostly air of warning, turned, steamed out and
    towed Mr Baptist after him. The house-door was heard to close upon
    them, their steps were heard passing over the dull pavement of the
    echoing court-yard, and still nobody had added a word. Mrs Clennam
    and Jeremiah had exchanged a look; and had then looked, and looked
    still, at Affery, who sat mending the stocking with great

    'Come!' said Mr Flintwinch at length, screwing himself a curve or
    two in the direction of the window-seat, and rubbing the palms of
    his hands on his coat-tail as if he were preparing them to do
    something: 'Whatever has to be said among us had better be begun to
    be said without more loss of time.--So, Affery, my woman, take
    yourself away!'

    In a moment Affery had thrown the stocking down, started up, caught
    hold of the windowsill with her right hand, lodged herself upon the
    window-seat with her right knee, and was flourishing her left hand,
    beating expected assailants off.

    'No, I won't, Jeremiah--no, I won't--no, I won't! I won't go!
    I'll stay here. I'll hear all I don't know, and say all I know.
    I will, at last, if I die for it. I will, I will, I will, I will!'

    Mr Flintwinch, stiffening with indignation and amazement, moistened
    the fingers of one hand at his lips, softly described a circle with
    them in the palm of the other hand, and continued with a menacing
    grin to screw himself in the direction of his wife; gasping some
    remark as he advanced, of which, in his choking anger, only the
    words, 'Such a dose!' were audible.

    'Not a bit nearer, Jeremiah!' cried Affery, never ceasing to beat
    the air. 'Don't come a bit nearer to me, or I'll rouse the
    neighbourhood! I'll throw myself out of window. I'll scream Fire
    and Murder! I'll wake the dead! Stop where you are, or I'll make
    shrieks enough to wake the dead!'

    The determined voice of Mrs Clennam echoed 'Stop!' Jeremiah had
    stopped already.
    'It is closing in, Flintwinch. Let her alone. Affery, do you turn
    against me after these many years?'

    'I do, if it's turning against you to hear what I don't know, and
    say what I know. I have broke out now, and I can't go back. I am
    determined to do it. I will do it, I will, I will, I will! If
    that's turning against you, yes, I turn against both of you two
    clever ones. I told Arthur when he first come home to stand up
    against you. I told him it was no reason, because I was afeard of
    my life of you, that he should be. All manner of things have been
    a-going on since then, and I won't be run up by Jeremiah, nor yet
    I won't be dazed and scared, nor made a party to I don't know what,
    no more. I won't, I won't, I won't! I'll up for Arthur when he
    has nothing left, and is ill, and in prison, and can't up for
    himself. I will, I will, I will, I will!'

    'How do you know, you heap of confusion,' asked Mrs Clennam
    sternly, 'that in doing what you are doing now, you are even
    serving Arthur?'

    'I don't know nothing rightly about anything,' said Affery; 'and if
    ever you said a true word in your life, it's when you call me a
    heap of confusion, for you two clever ones have done your most to
    make me such. You married me whether I liked it or not, and you've
    led me, pretty well ever since, such a life of dreaming and
    frightening as never was known, and what do you expect me to be but
    a heap of confusion? You wanted to make me such, and I am such;
    but I won't submit no longer; no, I won't, I won't, I won't, I
    won't!' She was still beating the air against all comers.

    After gazing at her in silence, Mrs Clennam turned to Rigaud. 'You
    see and hear this foolish creature. Do you object to such a piece
    of distraction remaining where she is?'

    'I, madame,' he replied, 'do I? That's a question for you.'

    'I do not,' she said, gloomily. 'There is little left to choose
    now. Flintwinch, it is closing in.'

    Mr Flintwinch replied by directing a look of red vengeance at his
    wife, and then, as if to pinion himself from falling upon her,
    screwed his crossed arms into the breast of his waistcoat, and with
    his chin very near one of his elbows stood in a corner, watching
    Rigaud in the oddest attitude. Rigaud, for his part, arose from
    his chair, and seated himself on the table with his legs dangling.
    In this easy attitude, he met Mrs Clennam's set face, with his
    moustache going up and his nose coming down.

    'Madame, I am a gentleman--'

    'Of whom,' she interrupted in her steady tones, 'I have heard
    disparagement, in connection with a French jail and an accusation
    of murder.'

    He kissed his hand to her with his exaggerated gallantry.

    'Perfectly. Exactly. Of a lady too! What absurdity! How
    incredible! I had the honour of making a great success then; I
    hope to have the honour of making a great success now. I kiss your
    hands. Madame, I am a gentleman (I was going to observe), who when
    he says, "I will definitely finish this or that affair at the
    present sitting," does definitely finish it. I announce to you
    that we are arrived at our last sitting on our little business.
    You do me the favour to follow, and to comprehend?'

    She kept her eyes fixed upon him with a frown. 'Yes.'

    'Further, I am a gentleman to whom mere mercenary trade-bargains
    are unknown, but to whom money is always acceptable as the means of
    pursuing his pleasures. You do me the favour to follow, and to

    'Scarcely necessary to ask, one would say. Yes.'

    'Further, I am a gentleman of the softest and sweetest disposition,
    but who, if trifled with, becomes enraged. Noble natures under
    such circumstances become enraged. I possess a noble nature. When
    the lion is awakened--that is to say, when I enrage--the
    satisfaction of my animosity is as acceptable to me as money. You
    always do me the favour to follow, and to comprehend?'

    'Yes,' she answered, somewhat louder than before.

    'Do not let me derange you; pray be tranquil. I have said we are
    now arrived at our last sitting. Allow me to recall the two
    sittings we have held.'

    'It is not necessary.'

    'Death, madame,' he burst out, 'it's my fancy! Besides, it clears
    the way. The first sitting was limited. I had the honour of
    making your acquaintance--of presenting my letter; I am a Knight of
    Industry, at your service, madame, but my polished manners had won
    me so much of success, as a master of languages, among your
    compatriots who are as stiff as their own starch is to one another,
    but are ready to relax to a foreign gentleman of polished manners--
    and of observing one or two little things,' he glanced around the
    room and smiled, 'about this honourable house, to know which was
    necessary to assure me, and to convince me that I had the
    distinguished pleasure of making the acquaintance of the lady I
    sought. I achieved this. I gave my word of honour to our dear
    Flintwinch that I would return. I gracefully departed.'

    Her face neither acquiesced nor demurred. The same when he paused,
    and when he spoke, it as yet showed him always the one attentive
    frown, and the dark revelation before mentioned of her being nerved
    for the occasion.

    'I say, gracefully departed, because it was graceful to retire
    without alarming a lady. To be morally graceful, not less than
    physically, is a part of the character of Rigaud Blandois. It was
    also politic, as leaving you with something overhanging you, to
    expect me again with a little anxiety on a day not named. But your
    slave is politic. By Heaven, madame, politic! Let us return. On
    the day not named, I have again the honour to render myself at your
    house. I intimate that I have something to sell, which, if not
    bought, will compromise madame whom I highly esteem. I explain
    myself generally. I demand--I think it was a thousand pounds.
    Will you correct me?'

    Thus forced to speak, she replied with constraint, 'You demanded as
    much as a thousand pounds.'

    'I demand at present, Two. Such are the evils of delay. But to
    return once more. We are not accordant; we differ on that
    occasion. I am playful; playfulness is a part of my amiable
    character. Playfully, I become as one slain and hidden. For, it
    may alone be worth half the sum to madame, to be freed from the
    suspicions that my droll idea awakens. Accident and spies intermix
    themselves against my playfulness, and spoil the fruit, perhaps--
    who knows? only you and Flintwinch--when it is just ripe. Thus,
    madame, I am here for the last time. Listen! Definitely the

    As he struck his straggling boot-heels against the flap of the
    table, meeting her frown with an insolent gaze, he began to change
    his tone for a fierce one.

    'Bah! Stop an instant! Let us advance by steps. Here is my
    Hotel-note to be paid, according to contract. Five minutes hence
    we may be at daggers' points. I'll not leave it till then, or
    you'll cheat me. Pay it! Count me the money!'

    'Take it from his hand and pay it, Flintwinch,' said Mrs Clennam.

    He spirted it into Mr Flintwinch's face when the old man advanced
    to take it, and held forth his hand, repeating noisily, 'Pay it!
    Count it out! Good money!' Jeremiah picked the bill up, looked at
    the total with a bloodshot eye, took a small canvas bag from his
    pocket, and told the amount into his hand.

    Rigaud chinked the money, weighed it in his hand, threw it up a
    little way and caught it, chinked it again.

    'The sound of it, to the bold Rigaud Blandois, is like the taste of
    fresh meat to the tiger. Say, then, madame. How much?'

    He turned upon her suddenly with a menacing gesture of the weighted
    hand that clenched the money, as if he were going to strike her
    with it.

    'I tell you again, as I told you before, that we are not rich here,
    as you suppose us to be, and that your demand is excessive. I have
    not the present means of complying with such a demand, if I had
    ever so great an inclination.'

    'If!' cried Rigaud. 'Hear this lady with her If! Will you say
    that you have not the inclination?'

    'I will say what presents itself to me, and not what presents
    itself to you.'

    'Say it then. As to the inclination. Quick! Come to the
    inclination, and I know what to do.'

    She was no quicker, and no slower, in her reply. 'It would seem
    that you have obtained possession of a paper--or of papers--which
    I assuredly have the inclination to recover.'

    Rigaud, with a loud laugh, drummed his heels against the table, and
    chinked his money. 'I think so! I believe you there!'

    'The paper might be worth, to me, a sum of money. I cannot say how
    much, or how little.'

    'What the Devil!' he asked savagely.'Not after a week's grace to

    'No! I will not out of my scanty means--for I tell you again, we
    are poor here, and not rich--I will not offer any price for a power
    that I do not know the worst and the fullest extent of. This is
    the third time of your hinting and threatening. You must speak
    explicitly, or you may go where you will, and do what you will. It
    is better to be torn to pieces at a spring, than to be a mouse at
    the caprice of such a cat.'

    He looked at her so hard with those eyes too near together that the
    sinister sight of each, crossing that of the other, seemed to make
    the bridge of his hooked nose crooked. After a long survey, he
    said, with the further setting off of his internal smile:

    'You are a bold woman!'

    'I am a resolved woman.'

    'You always were. What? She always was; is it not so, my little

    'Flintwinch, say nothing to him. It is for him to say, here and
    now, all he can; or to go hence, and do all he can. You know this
    to be our determination. Leave him to his action on it.'

    She did not shrink under his evil leer, or avoid it. He turned it
    upon her again, but she remained steady at the point to which she
    had fixed herself. He got off the table, placed a chair near the
    sofa, sat down in it, and leaned an arm upon the sofa close to her
    own, which he touched with his hand. Her face was ever frowning,
    attentive, and settled.

    'It is your pleasure then, madame, that I shall relate a morsel of
    family history in this little family society,' said Rigaud, with a
    warning play of his lithe fingers on her arm. 'I am something of
    a doctor. Let me touch your pulse.'

    She suffered him to take her wrist in his hand. Holding it, he
    proceeded to say:

    'A history of a strange marriage, and a strange mother, and a
    revenge, and a suppression.--Aye, aye, aye? this pulse is beating
    curiously! It appears to me that it doubles while I touch it. Are
    these the usual changes of your malady, madame?'

    There was a struggle in her maimed arm as she twisted it away, but
    there was none in her face. On his face there was his own smile.

    'I have lived an adventurous life. I am an adventurous character.
    I have known many adventurers; interesting spirits--amiable
    society! To one of them I owe my knowledge and my proofs--I repeat
    it, estimable lady--proofs--of the ravishing little family history
    I go to commence. You will be charmed with it. But, bah! I
    forget. One should name a history. Shall I name it the history of
    a house? But, bah, again. There are so many houses. Shall I name
    it the history of this house?'

    Leaning over the sofa, poised on two legs of his chair and his left
    elbow; that hand often tapping her arm to beat his words home; his
    legs crossed; his right hand sometimes arranging his hair,
    sometimes smoothing his moustache, sometimes striking his nose,
    always threatening her whatever it did; coarse, insolent,
    rapacious, cruel, and powerful, he pursued his narrative at his

    'In fine, then, I name it the history of this house. I commence
    it. There live here, let us suppose, an uncle and nephew. The
    uncle, a rigid old gentleman of strong force of character; the
    nephew, habitually timid, repressed, and under constraint.'

    Mistress Affery, fixedly attentive in the window-seat, biting the
    rolled up end of her apron, and trembling from head to foot, here
    cried out,'Jeremiah, keep off from me! I've heerd, in my dreams,
    of Arthur's father and his uncle. He's a talking of them. It was
    before my time here; but I've heerd in my dreams that Arthur's
    father was a poor, irresolute, frightened chap, who had had
    everything but his orphan life scared out of him when he was young,
    and that he had no voice in the choice of his wife even, but his
    uncle chose her. There she sits! I heerd it in my dreams, and you
    said it to her own self.'

    As Mr Flintwinch shook his fist at her, and as Mrs Clennam gazed
    upon her, Rigaud kissed his hand to her.
    'Perfectly right, dear Madame Flintwinch. You have a genius for

    'I don't want none of your praises,' returned Affery. 'I don't
    want to have nothing at all to say to you. But Jeremiah said they
    was dreams, and I'll tell 'em as such!' Here she put her apron in
    her mouth again, as if she were stopping somebody else's mouth--
    perhaps jeremiah's, which was chattering with threats as if he were
    grimly cold.

    'Our beloved Madame Flintwinch,' said Rigaud, 'developing all of a
    sudden a fine susceptibility and spirituality, is right to a
    marvel. Yes. So runs the history. Monsieur, the uncle, commands
    the nephew to marry. Monsieur says to him in effect, "My nephew,
    I introduce to you a lady of strong force of character, like
    myself--a resolved lady, a stern lady, a lady who has a will that
    can break the weak to powder: a lady without pity, without love,
    implacable, revengeful, cold as the stone, but raging as the fire."

    Ah! what fortitude! Ah, what superiority of intellectual
    strength! Truly, a proud and noble character that I describe in
    the supposed words of Monsieur, the uncle. Ha, ha, ha! Death of
    my soul, I love the sweet lady!'

    Mrs Clennam's face had changed. There was a remarkable darkness of
    colour on it, and the brow was more contracted. 'Madame, madame,'
    said Rigaud, tapping her on the arm, as if his cruel hand were
    sounding a musical instrument, 'I perceive I interest you. I
    perceive I awaken your sympathy. Let us go on.'

    The drooping nose and the ascending moustache had, however, to be
    hidden for a moment with the white hand, before he could go on; he
    enjoyed the effect he made so much.

    'The nephew, being, as the lucid Madame Flintwinch has remarked, a
    poor devil who has had everything but his orphan life frightened
    and famished out of him--the nephew abases his head, and makes
    response: "My uncle, it is to you to command. Do as you will!"
    Monsieur, the uncle, does as he will. It is what he always does.
    The auspicious nuptials take place; the newly married come home to
    this charming mansion; the lady is received, let us suppose, by
    Flintwinch. Hey, old intriguer?'

    Jeremiah, with his eyes upon his mistress, made no reply. Rigaud
    looked from one to the other, struck his ugly nose, and made a
    clucking with his tongue.

    'Soon the lady makes a singular and exciting discovery. Thereupon,
    full of anger, full of jealousy, full of vengeance, she forms--see
    you, madame!--a scheme of retribution, the weight of which she
    ingeniously forces her crushed husband to bear himself, as well as
    execute upon her enemy. What superior intelligence!'

    'Keep off, Jeremiah!' cried the palpitating Affery, taking her
    apron from her mouth again. 'But it was one of my dreams, that you
    told her, when you quarrelled with her one winter evening at dusk--
    there she sits and you looking at her--that she oughtn't to have
    let Arthur when he come home, suspect his father only; that she had
    always had the strength and the power; and that she ought to have
    stood up more to Arthur, for his father. It was in the same dream
    where you said to her that she was not--not something, but I don't
    know what, for she burst out tremendous and stopped you. You know
    the dream as well as I do. When you come down-stairs into the
    kitchen with the candle in your hand, and hitched my apron off my
    head. When you told me I had been dreaming. When you wouldn't
    believe the noises.' After this explosion Affery put her apron
    into her mouth again; always keeping her hand on the window-sill
    and her knee on the window-seat, ready to cry out or jump out if
    her lord and master approached.

    Rigaud had not lost a word of this.

    'Haha!' he cried, lifting his eyebrows, folding his arms, and
    leaning back in his chair. 'Assuredly, Madame Flintwinch is an
    oracle! How shall we interpret the oracle, you and I and the old
    intriguer? He said that you were not--? And you burst out and
    stopped him! What was it you were not? What is it you are not?
    Say then, madame!'

    Under this ferocious banter, she sat breathing harder, and her
    mouth was disturbed. Her lips quivered and opened, in spite of her
    utmost efforts to keep them still.

    'Come then, madame! Speak, then! Our old intriguer said that you
    were not-- and you stopped him. He was going to say that you were
    not--what? I know already, but I want a little confidence from
    you. How, then? You are not what?'

    She tried again to repress herself, but broke out vehemently, 'Not
    Arthur's mother!'

    'Good,' said Rigaud. 'You are amenable.'

    With the set expression of her face all torn away by the explosion
    of her passion, and with a bursting, from every rent feature, of
    the smouldering fire so long pent up, she cried out: 'I will tell
    it myself! I will not hear it from your lips, and with the taint
    of your wickedness upon it. Since it must be seen, I will have it
    seen by the light I stood in. Not another word. Hear me!'

    'Unless you are a more obstinate and more persisting woman than
    even I know you to be,' Mr Flintwinch interposed, 'you had better
    leave Mr Rigaud, Mr Blandois, Mr Beelzebub, to tell it in his own
    way. What does it signify when he knows all about it?'

    'He does not know all about it.'

    'He knows all he cares about it,' Mr Flintwinch testily urged.
    'He does not know me.'

    'What do you suppose he cares for you, you conceited woman?' said
    Mr Flintwinch.

    'I tell you, Flintwinch, I will speak. I tell you when it has come
    to this, I will tell it with my own lips, and will express myself
    throughout it. What! Have I suffered nothing in this room, no
    deprivation, no imprisonment, that I should condescend at last to
    contemplate myself in such a glass as that. Can you see him? Can
    you hear him? If your wife were a hundred times the ingrate that
    she is, and if I were a thousand times more hopeless than I am of
    inducing her to be silent if this man is silenced, I would tell it
    myself, before I would bear the torment of the hearing it from

    Rigaud pushed his chair a little back; pushed his legs out straight
    before him; and sat with his arms folded over against her.

    'You do not know what it is,' she went on addressing him, 'to be
    brought up strictly and straitly. I was so brought up. Mine was
    no light youth of sinful gaiety and pleasure. Mine were days of
    wholesome repression, punishment, and fear. The corruption of our
    hearts, the evil of our ways, the curse that is upon us, the
    terrors that surround us--these were the themes of my childhood.
    They formed my character, and filled me with an abhorrence of evil-
    doers. When old Mr Gilbert Clennam proposed his orphan nephew to
    my father for my husband, my father impressed upon me that his
    bringing-up had been, like mine, one of severe restraint. He told
    me, that besides the discipline his spirit had undergone, he had
    lived in a starved house, where rioting and gaiety were unknown,
    and where every day was a day of toil and trial like the last. He
    told me that he had been a man in years long before his uncle had
    acknowledged him as one; and that from his school-days to that
    hour, his uncle's roof has been a sanctuary to him from the
    contagion of the irreligious and dissolute. When, within a
    twelvemonth of our marriage, I found my husband, at that time when
    my father spoke of him, to have sinned against the Lord and
    outraged me by holding a guilty creature in my place, was I to
    doubt that it had been appointed to me to make the discovery, and
    that it was appointed to me to lay the hand of punishment upon that
    creature of perdition? Was I to dismiss in a moment--not my own
    wrongs--what was I! but all the rejection of sin, and all the war
    against it, in which I had been bred?' She laid her wrathful hand
    upon the watch on the table.

    'No! "Do not forget." The initials of those words are within here
    now, and were within here then. I was appointed to find the old
    letter that referred to them, and that told me what they meant, and
    whose work they were, and why they were worked, lying with this
    watch in his secret drawer. But for that appointment there would
    have been no discovery. "Do not forget." It spoke to me like a
    voice from an angry cloud. Do not forget the deadly sin, do not
    forget the appointed discovery, do not forget the appointed
    suffering. I did not forget. Was it my own wrong I remembered?
    Mine! I was but a servant and a minister. What power could I have
    over them, but that they were bound in the bonds of their sin, and
    delivered to me!'

    More than forty years had passed over the grey head of this
    determined woman, since the time she recalled. More than forty
    years of strife and struggle with the whisper that, by whatever
    name she called her vindictive pride and rage, nothing through all
    eternity could change their nature. Yet, gone those more than
    forty years, and come this Nemesis now looking her in the face, she
    still abided by her old impiety--still reversed the order of
    Creation, and breathed her own breath into a clay image of her
    Creator. Verily, verily, travellers have seen many monstrous idols
    in many countries; but no human eyes have ever seen more daring,
    gross, and shocking images of the Divine nature than we creatures
    of the dust make in our own likenesses, of our own bad passions.

    'When I forced him to give her up to me, by her name and place of
    abode,' she went on in her torrent of indignation and defence;
    'when I accused her, and she fell hiding her face at my feet, was
    it my injury that I asserted, were they my reproaches that I poured
    upon her? Those who were appointed of old to go to wicked kings
    and accuse them--were they not ministers and servants? And had not
    I, unworthy and far-removed from them, sin to denounce? When she
    pleaded to me her youth, and his wretched and hard life (that was
    her phrase for the virtuous training he had belied), and the
    desecrated ceremony of marriage there had secretly been between
    them, and the terrors of want and shame that had overwhelmed them
    both when I was first appointed to be the instrument of their
    punishment, and the love (for she said the word to me, down at my
    feet) in which she had abandoned him and left him to me, was it my
    enemy that became my footstool, were they the words of my wrath
    that made her shrink and quiver! Not unto me the strength be
    ascribed; not unto me the wringing of the expiation!'

    Many years had come and gone since she had had the free use even of
    her fingers; but it was noticeable that she had already more than
    once struck her clenched hand vigorously upon the table, and that
    when she said these words she raised her whole arm in the air, as
    though it had been a common action with her.

    'And what was the repentance that was extorted from the hardness of
    her heart and the blackness of her depravity? I, vindictive and
    implacable? It may be so, to such as you who know no
    righteousness, and no appointment except Satan's. Laugh; but I
    will be known as I know myself, and as Flintwinch knows me, though
    it is only to you and this half-witted woman.'

    'Add, to yourself, madame,' said Rigaud. 'I have my little
    suspicions that madame is rather solicitous to be justified to

    'It is false. It is not so. I have no need to be,' she said, with
    great energy and anger.

    'Truly?' retorted Rigaud. 'Hah!'

    'I ask, what was the penitence, in works, that was demanded of her?

    "You have a child; I have none. You love that child. Give him to
    me. He shall believe himself to be my son, and he shall be
    believed by every one to be my son. To save you from exposure, his
    father shall swear never to see or communicate with you more;
    equally to save him from being stripped by his uncle, and to save
    your child from being a beggar, you shall swear never to see or
    communicate with either of them more. That done, and your present
    means, derived from my husband, renounced, I charge myself with
    your support. You may, with your place of retreat unknown, then
    leave, if you please, uncontradicted by me, the lie that when you
    passed out of all knowledge but mine, you merited a good name."
    That was all. She had to sacrifice her sinful and shameful
    affections; no more. She was then free to bear her load of guilt
    in secret, and to break her heart in secret; and through such
    present misery (light enough for her, I think!) to purchase her
    redemption from endless misery, if she could. If, in this, I
    punished her here, did I not open to her a way hereafter? If she
    knew herself to be surrounded by insatiable vengeance and
    unquenchable fires, were they mine? If I threatened her, then and
    afterwards, with the terrors that encompassed her, did I hold them
    in my right hand?'

    She turned the watch upon the table, and opened it, and, with an
    unsoftening face, looked at the worked letters within.

    'They did not forget. It is appointed against such offences that
    the offenders shall not be able to forget. If the presence of
    Arthur was a daily reproach to his father, and if the absence of
    Arthur was a daily agony to his mother, that was the just
    dispensation of Jehovah. As well might it be charged upon me, that
    the stings of an awakened conscience drove her mad, and that it was
    the will of the Disposer of all things that she should live so,
    many years. I devoted myself to reclaim the otherwise predestined
    and lost boy; to give him the reputation of an honest origin; to
    bring him up in fear and trembling, and in a life of practical
    contrition for the sins that were heavy on his head before his
    entrance into this condemned world. Was that a cruelty? Was I,
    too, not visited with consequences of the original offence in which
    I had no complicity? Arthur's father and I lived no further apart,
    with half the globe between us, than when we were together in this
    house. He died, and sent this watch back to me, with its Do not
    forget. I do NOT forget, though I do not read it as he did. I
    read in it, that I was appointed to do these things. I have so
    read these three letters since I have had them lying on this table,
    and I did so read them, with equal distinctness, when they were
    thousands of miles away.'

    As she took the watch-case in her hand, with that new freedom in
    the use of her hand of which she showed no consciousness whatever,
    bending her eyes upon it as if she were defying it to move her,
    Rigaud cried with a loud and contemptuous snapping of his fingers.
    'Come, madame! Time runs out. Come, lady of piety, it must be!
    You can tell nothing I don't know. Come to the money stolen, or I
    will! Death of my soul, I have had enough of your other jargon.
    Come straight to the stolen money!'

    'Wretch that you are,' she answered, and now her hands clasped her
    head: 'through what fatal error of Flintwinch's, through what
    incompleteness on his part, who was the only other person helping
    in these things and trusted with them, through whose and what
    bringing together of the ashes of a burnt paper, you have become
    possessed of that codicil, I know no more than how you acquired the
    rest of your power here--'

    'And yet,' interrupted Rigaud, 'it is my odd fortune to have by me,
    in a convenient place that I know of, that same short little
    addition to the will of Monsieur Gilbert Clennam, written by a lady
    and witnessed by the same lady and our old intriguer! Ah, bah, old
    intriguer, crooked little puppet! Madame, let us go on. Time
    presses. You or I to finish?'

    'I!' she answered, with increased determination, if it were
    possible. 'I, because I will not endure to be shown myself, and
    have myself shown to any one, with your horrible distortion upon
    me. You, with your practices of infamous foreign prisons and
    galleys would make it the money that impelled me. It was not the

    'Bah, bah, bah! I repudiate, for the moment, my politeness, and
    say, Lies, lies, lies. You know you suppressed the deed and kept
    the money.'

    'Not for the money's sake, wretch!' She made a struggle as if she
    were starting up; even as if, in her vehemence, she had almost
    risen on her disabled feet. 'If Gilbert Clennam, reduced to
    imbecility, at the point of death, and labouring under the delusion
    of some imaginary relenting towards a girl of whom he had heard
    that his nephew had once had a fancy for her which he had crushed
    out of him, and that she afterwards drooped away into melancholy
    and withdrawal from all who knew her--if, in that state of
    weakness, he dictated to me, whose life she had darkened with her
    sin, and who had been appointed to know her wickedness from her own
    hand and her own lips, a bequest meant as a recompense to her for
    supposed unmerited suffering; was there no difference between my
    spurning that injustice, and coveting mere money--a thing which
    you, and your comrades in the prisons, may steal from anyone?'

    'Time presses, madame. Take care!'

    'If this house was blazing from the roof to the ground,' she
    returned, 'I would stay in it to justify myself against my
    righteous motives being classed with those of stabbers and

    Rigaud snapped his fingers tauntingly in her face. 'One thousand
    guineas to the little beauty you slowly hunted to death. One
    thousand guineas to the youngest daughter her patron might have at
    fifty, or (if he had none) brother's youngest daughter, on her
    coming of age, "as the remembrance his disinterestedness may like
    best, of his protection of a friendless young orphan girl." Two
    thousand guineas. What! You will never come to the money?'

    'That patron,' she was vehemently proceeding, when he checked her.

    'Names! Call him Mr Frederick Dorrit. No more evasions.'

    'That Frederick Dorrit was the beginning of it all. If he had not
    been a player of music, and had not kept, in those days of his
    youth and prosperity, an idle house where singers, and players, and
    such-like children of Evil turned their backs on the Light and
    their faces to the Darkness, she might have remained in her lowly
    station, and might not have been raised out of it to be cast down.
    But, no. Satan entered into that Frederick Dorrit, and counselled
    him that he was a man of innocent and laudable tastes who did kind
    actions, and that here was a poor girl with a voice for singing
    music with. Then he is to have her taught. Then Arthur's father,
    who has all along been secretly pining in the ways of virtuous
    ruggedness for those accursed snares which are called the Arts,
    becomes acquainted with her. And so, a graceless orphan, training
    to be a singing girl, carries it, by that Frederick Dorrit's
    agency, against me, and I am humbled and deceived!--Not I, that is
    to say,' she added quickly, as colour flushed into her face; 'a
    greater than I. What am I?'

    Jeremiah Flintwinch, who had been gradually screwing himself
    towards her, and who was now very near her elbow without her
    knowing it, made a specially wry face of objection when she said
    these words, and moreover twitched his gaiters, as if such
    pretensions were equivalent to little barbs in his legs.

    'Lastly,' she continued, 'for I am at the end of these things, and
    I will say no more of them, and you shall say no more of them, and
    all that remains will be to determine whether the knowledge of them
    can be kept among us who are here present; lastly, when I
    suppressed that paper, with the knowledge of Arthur's father--'

    'But not with his consent, you know,' said Mr Flintwinch.

    'Who said with his consent?' She started to find Jeremiah so near
    her, and drew back her head, looking at him with some rising
    distrust. 'You were often enough between us when he would have had
    me produce it and I would not, to have contradicted me if I had
    said, with his consent. I say, when I suppressed that paper, I
    made no effort to destroy it, but kept it by me, here in this
    house, many years. The rest of the Gilbert property being left to
    Arthur's father, I could at any time, without unsettling more than
    the two sums, have made a pretence of finding it. But, besides
    that I must have supported such pretence by a direct falsehood (a
    great responsibility), I have seen no new reason, in all the time
    I have been tried here, to bring it to light. It was a rewarding
    of sin; the wrong result of a delusion. I did what I was appointed
    to do, and I have undergone, within these four walls, what I was
    appointed to undergo. When the paper was at last destroyed--as I
    thought--in my presence, she had long been dead, and her patron,
    Frederick Dorrit, had long been deservedly ruined and imbecile. He
    had no daughter. I had found the niece before then; and what I did
    for her, was better for her far than the money of which she would
    have had no good.' She added, after a moment, as though she
    addressed the watch: 'She herself was innocent, and I might not
    have forgotten to relinquish it to her at my death:' and sat
    looking at it.

    'Shall I recall something to you, worthy madame?' said Rigaud.
    'The little paper was in this house on the night when our friend
    the prisoner--jail-comrade of my soul--came home from foreign
    countries. Shall I recall yet something more to you? The little
    singing-bird that never was fledged, was long kept in a cage by a
    guardian of your appointing, well enough known to our old intriguer
    here. Shall we coax our old intriguer to tell us when he saw him

    'I'll tell you!' cried Affery, unstopping her mouth. 'I dreamed
    it, first of all my dreams. Jeremiah, if you come a-nigh me now,
    I'll scream to be heard at St Paul's! The person as this man has
    spoken of, was jeremiah's own twin brother; and he was here in the
    dead of the night, on the night when Arthur come home, and Jeremiah
    with his own hands give him this paper, along with I don't know
    what more, and he took it away in an iron box--Help! Murder! Save
    me from Jere-mi-ah!'

    Mr Flintwinch had made a run at her, but Rigaud had caught him in
    his arms midway. After a moment's wrestle with him, Flintwinch
    gave up, and put his hands in his pockets.

    'What!' cried Rigaud, rallying him as he poked and jerked him back
    with his elbows, 'assault a lady with such a genius for dreaming!
    Ha, ha, ha! Why, she'll be a fortune to you as an exhibition. All
    that she dreams comes true. Ha, ha, ha! You're so like him,
    Little Flintwinch. So like him, as I knew him (when I first spoke
    English for him to the host) in the Cabaret of the Three Billiard
    Tables, in the little street of the high roofs, by the wharf at
    Antwerp! Ah, but he was a brave boy to drink. Ah, but he was a
    brave boy to smoke! Ah, but he lived in a sweet bachelor-
    apartment--furnished, on the fifth floor, above the wood and
    charcoal merchant's, and the dress-maker's, and the chair-maker's,
    and the maker of tubs--where I knew him too, and wherewith his
    cognac and tobacco, he had twelve sleeps a day and one fit, until
    he had a fit too much, and ascended to the skies. Ha, ha, ha!
    What does it matter how I took possession of the papers in his iron
    box? Perhaps he confided it to my hands for you, perhaps it was
    locked and my curiosity was piqued, perhaps I suppressed it. Ha,
    ha, ha! What does it matter, so that I have it safe? We are not
    particular here; hey, Flintwinch? We are not particular here; is
    it not so, madame?'

    Retiring before him with vicious counter-jerks of his own elbows,
    Mr Flintwinch had got back into his corner, where he now stood with
    his hands in his pockets, taking breath, and returning Mrs
    Clennam's stare. 'Ha, ha, ha! But what's this?' cried Rigaud.
    'It appears as if you don't know, one the other. Permit me, Madame
    Clennam who suppresses, to present Monsieur Flintwinch who

    Mr Flintwinch, unpocketing one of his hands to scrape his jaw,
    advanced a step or so in that attitude, still returning Mrs
    Clennam's look, and thus addressed her:

    'Now, I know what you mean by opening your eyes so wide at me, but
    you needn't take the trouble, because I don't care for it. I've
    been telling you for how many years that you're one of the most
    opinionated and obstinate of women. That's what YOU are. You call
    yourself humble and sinful, but you are the most Bumptious of your
    sex. That's what YOU are. I have told you, over and over again
    when we have had a tiff, that you wanted to make everything go down
    before you, but I wouldn't go down before you--that you wanted to
    swallow up everybody alive, but I wouldn't be swallowed up alive.
    Why didn't you destroy the paper when you first laid hands upon it?

    I advised you to; but no, it's not your way to take advice. You
    must keep it forsooth. Perhaps you may carry it out at some other
    time, forsooth. As if I didn't know better than that! I think I
    see your pride carrying it out, with a chance of being suspected of
    having kept it by you. But that's the way you cheat yourself.
    just as you cheat yourself into making out that you didn't do all
    this business because you were a rigorous woman, all slight, and
    spite, and power, and unforgiveness, but because you were a servant
    and a minister, and were appointed to do it. Who are you, that you
    should be appointed to do it? That may be your religion, but it's
    my gammon. And to tell you all the truth while I am about it,'
    said Mr Flintwinch, crossing his arms, and becoming the express
    image of irascible doggedness, 'I have been rasped--rasped these
    forty years--by your taking such high ground even with me, who
    knows better; the effect of it being coolly to put me on low
    ground. I admire you very much; you are a woman of strong head and
    great talent; but the strongest head, and the greatest talent,
    can't rasp a man for forty years without making him sore. So I
    don't care for your present eyes. Now, I am coming to the paper,
    and mark what I say. You put it away somewhere, and you kept your
    own counsel where. You're an active woman at that time, and if you
    want to get that paper, you can get it. But, mark. There comes a
    time when you are struck into what you are now, and then if you
    want to get that paper, you can't get it. So it lies, long years,
    in its hiding-place. At last, when we are expecting Arthur home
    every day, and when any day may bring him home, and it's impossible
    to say what rummaging he may make about the house, I recommend you
    five thousand times, if you can't get at it, to let me get at it,
    that it may be put in the fire. But no--no one but you knows where
    it is, and that's power; and, call yourself whatever humble names
    you will, I call you a female Lucifer in appetite for power! On a
    Sunday night, Arthur comes home. He has not been in this room ten
    minutes, when he speaks of his father's watch. You know very well
    that the Do Not Forget, at the time when his father sent that watch
    to you, could only mean, the rest of the story being then all dead
    and over, Do Not Forget the suppression. Make restitution!
    Arthur's ways have frightened you a bit, and the paper shall be
    burnt after all. So, before that jumping jade and Jezebel,' Mr
    Flintwinch grinned at his wife, 'has got you into bed, you at last
    tell me where you have put the paper, among the old ledgers in the
    cellars, where Arthur himself went prowling the very next morning.
    But it's not to be burnt on a Sunday night. No; you are strict,
    you are; we must wait over twelve o'clock, and get into Monday.
    Now, all this is a swallowing of me up alive that rasps me; so,
    feeling a little out of temper, and not being as strict as
    yourself, I take a look at the document before twelve o'clock to
    refresh my memory as to its appearance--fold up one of the many
    yellow old papers in the cellars like it--and afterwards, when we
    have got into Monday morning, and I have, by the light of your
    lamp, to walk from you, lying on that bed, to this grate, make a
    little exchange like the conjuror, and burn accordingly. My
    brother Ephraim, the lunatic-keeper (I wish he had had himself to
    keep in a strait-waistcoat), had had many jobs since the close of
    the long job he got from you, but had not done well. His wife died
    (not that that was much; mine might have died instead, and
    welcome), he speculated unsuccessfully in lunatics, he got into
    difficulty about over-roasting a patient to bring him to reason,
    and he got into debt. He was going out of the way, on what he had
    been able to scrape up, and a trifle from me. He was here that
    early Monday morning, waiting for the tide; in short, he was going
    to Antwerp, where (I am afraid you'll be shocked at my saying, And
    be damned to him!) he made the acquaintance of this gentleman. He
    had come a long way, and, I thought then, was only sleepy; but, I
    suppose now, was drunk. When Arthur's mother had been under the
    care of him and his wife, she had been always writing, incessantly
    writing,--mostly letters of confession to you, and Prayers for
    forgiveness. My brother had handed, from time to time, lots of
    these sheets to me. I thought I might as well keep them to myself
    as have them swallowed up alive too; so I kept them in a box,
    looking over them when I felt in the humour. Convinced that it was
    advisable to get the paper out of the place, with Arthur coming
    about it, I put it into this same box, and I locked the whole up
    with two locks, and I trusted it to my brother to take away and
    keep, till I should write about it. I did write about it, and
    never got an answer. I didn't know what to make of it, till this
    gentleman favoured us with his first visit. Of course, I began to
    suspect how it was, then; and I don't want his word for it now to
    understand how he gets his knowledge from my papers, and your
    paper, and my brother's cognac and tobacco talk (I wish he'd had to
    gag himself). Now, I have only one thing more to say, you hammer-
    headed woman, and that is, that I haven't altogether made up my
    mind whether I might, or might not, have ever given you any trouble
    about the codicil. I think not; and that I should have been quite
    satisfied with knowing I had got the better of you, and that I held
    the power over you. In the present state of circumstances, I have
    no more explanation to give you till this time to-morrow night. So
    you may as well,' said Mr Flintwinch, terminating his oration with
    a screw, 'keep your eyes open at somebody else, for it's no use
    keeping 'em open at me.'

    She slowly withdrew them when he had ceased, and dropped her
    forehead on her hand. Her other hand pressed hard upon the table,
    and again the curious stir was observable in her, as if she were
    going to rise.

    'This box can never bring, elsewhere, the price it will bring here.

    This knowledge can never be of the same profit to you, sold to any
    other person, as sold to me. But I have not the present means of
    raising the sum you have demanded. I have not prospered. What
    will you take now, and what at another time, and how am I to be
    assured of your silence?'

    'My angel,' said Rigaud, 'I have said what I will take, and time
    presses. Before coming here, I placed copies of the most important
    of these papers in another hand. Put off the time till the
    Marshalsea gate shall be shut for the night, and it will be too
    late to treat. The prisoner will have read them.'

    She put her two hands to her head again, uttered a loud
    exclamation, and started to her feet. She staggered for a moment,
    as if she would have fallen; then stood firm.

    'Say what you mean. Say what you mean, man!'

    Before her ghostly figure, so long unused to its erect attitude,
    and so stiffened in it, Rigaud fell back and dropped his voice. It
    was, to all the three, almost as if a dead woman had risen.

    'Miss Dorrit,' answered Rigaud, 'the little niece of Monsieur
    Frederick, whom I have known across the water, is attached to the
    prisoner. Miss Dorrit, little niece of Monsieur Frederick, watches
    at this moment over the prisoner, who is ill. For her I with my
    own hands left a packet at the prison, on my way here, with a
    letter of instructions, "FOR HIS SAKE"--she will do anything for
    his sake--to keep it without breaking the seal, in case of its
    being reclaimed before the hour of shutting up to-night--if it
    should not be reclaimed before the ringing of the prison bell, to
    give it to him; and it encloses a second copy for herself, which he
    must give to her. What! I don't trust myself among you, now we
    have got so far, without giving my secret a second life. And as to
    its not bringing me, elsewhere, the price it will bring here, say
    then, madame, have you limited and settled the price the little
    niece will give--for his sake--to hush it up? Once more I say,
    time presses. The packet not reclaimed before the ringing of the
    bell to-night, you cannot buy. I sell, then, to the little girl!'

    Once more the stir and struggle in her, and she ran to a closet,
    tore the door open, took down a hood or shawl, and wrapped it over
    her head. Affery, who had watched her in terror, darted to her in
    the middle of the room, caught hold of her dress, and went on her
    knees to her.

    'Don't, don't, don't! What are you doing? Where are you going?
    You're a fearful woman, but I don't bear you no ill-will. I can do
    poor Arthur no good now, that I see; and you needn't be afraid of
    me. I'll keep your secret. Don't go out, you'll fall dead in the
    street. Only promise me, that, if it's the poor thing that's kept
    here secretly, you'll let me take charge of her and be her nurse.
    Only promise me that, and never be afraid of me.'

    Mrs Clennam stood still for an instant, at the height of her rapid
    haste, saying in stern amazement:

    'Kept here? She has been dead a score of years or more. Ask
    Flintwinch--ask HIM. They can both tell you that she died when
    Arthur went abroad.'

    'So much the worse,' said Affery, with a shiver, 'for she haunts
    the house, then. Who else rustles about it, making signals by
    dropping dust so softly? Who else comes and goes, and marks the
    walls with long crooked touches when we are all a-bed? Who else
    holds the door sometimes? But don't go out--don't go out!
    Mistress, you'll die in the street!'

    Her mistress only disengaged her dress from the beseeching hands,
    said to Rigaud, 'Wait here till I come back!' and ran out of the
    room. They saw her, from the window, run wildly through the court-
    yard and out at the gateway.

    For a few moments they stood motionless. Affery was the first to
    move, and she, wringing her hands, pursued her mistress. Next,
    Jeremiah Flintwinch, slowly backing to the door, with one hand in
    a pocket, and the other rubbing his chin, twisted himself out in
    his reticent way, speechlessly. Rigaud, left alone, composed
    himself upon the window-seat of the open window, in the old
    Marseilles-jail attitude. He laid his cigarettes and fire-box
    ready to his hand, and fell to smoking.

    'Whoof! Almost as dull as the infernal old jail. Warmer, but
    almost as dismal. Wait till she comes back? Yes, certainly; but
    where is she gone, and how long will she be gone? No matter!
    Rigaud Lagnier Blandois, my amiable subject, you will get your
    money. You will enrich yourself. You have lived a gentleman; you
    will die a gentleman. You triumph, my little boy; but it is your
    character to triumph. Whoof!'
    In the hour of his triumph, his moustache went up and his nose came
    down, as he ogled a great beam over his head with particular
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