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LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

quarter, you'll get no answer. I know better. There's nothing there but padding; and a greasy sort it is."

"Nay, Mark," urged Mr. Pinch, interposing to prevent hostilities, "tell me what I ask you. You're not out of temper, I hope?"

"Out of temper, Sir!" cried Mark, with a grin; "why no, Sir. There's a little credit—not much—in being jolly, when such fellows as him is a-going about like roaring lions; if there is any breed of lions, at least, as is all roar and mane. What is there between him and Mrs. Lupin, sir? Why, there's a score between him and Mrs. Lupin. And I think Mrs Lupin. lets him and his friend off very easy in not charging 'em double prices for being a disgrace to the Dragon. That's my opinion. I wouldn't have any such Peter the Wild Boy as him in my house, sir, not if I was paid race-week prices for it. He's enough to turn the very beer in the casks sour with his looks; he is! So he would, if it had judgment enough."

"You're not answering my question, you know, Mark," observed Mr. Pinch.

"Well, Sir," said Mark, "I don't know as there's much to answer further than that. Him and his friend goes and stops at the Moon and Stars till they've run a bill there; and then comes and stops with us and does the same. The running of bills is common enough Mr. Pinch; it an't that as we object to; it's the ways of this chap. Nothing's good enough for him; all the women is dying for him he thinks, and is overpaid if he winks at 'em; and all the men was made to be ordered about by him. This not being aggravation enough, he says this morning to me, in his usual captivating way, 'We're going to-night, my man.' 'Are you, sir?” says I. 'Perhaps you'd like the bill got ready, sir?' 'Oh no, my man,' he says; 'you needn't mind that. I'll give Pecksniff orders to see to that.' In reply to which, the Dragon makes answer, 'Thankee, sir, you're very kind to honour us so far, but as we don't know any particular good of you, and you don't travel with luggage, and Mr. Pecksniff an't at home (which perhaps you mayn't happen to be aware of, sir), we should prefer something more satisfactory;” and that's where the matter stands. And I ask," said Mr. Tapley, pointing, in conclusion, to Mr. Tigg, with his hat, "any lady or gentleman, possessing ordinary strength of mind, to say whether he's a disagreeable-looking chap or not!"

"Let me inquire," said Martin, interposing between this candid speech and the delivery of some blighting anathema by Mr. Tigg, "what the amount of this debt may be?"

"In point of money, Sir, very little,' answered Mark. "Only just turned of three pounds. But it an't that; it's the——"

"Yes, yes, you told us so before," said Martin. "Pinch, a word with you."

"What is it?" asked Tom, retiring with him to a corner of the room.

"Why, simply—I am ashamed to say—that this Mr. Slyme is a relation of mine, of whom I never heard anything pleasant; and that I don't want him here just now, and think he would be cheaply got rid of, perhaps, for three or four pounds. You haven't enough money to pay this bill, I suppose?"