He has the faded appearance of a gentleman in embarrassed circumstances; even his light whiskers droop with something of a shabby air.
His appetite is so vigorous that it suggests spare living for some little time back. He makes such a speedy end of his plate of veal and ham, bringing it to a close while his companions are yet midway in theirs, that Mr. Guppy proposes another. "Thank you, Guppy," says Mr. Jobling, "I really don't know but what I WILL take another."
Another being brought, he falls to with great goodwill.
Mr. Guppy takes silent notice of him at intervals until he is half way through this second plate and stops to take an enjoying pull at his pint pot of half-and-half (also renewed) and stretches out his legs and rubs his hands. Beholding him in which glow of contentment, Mr. Guppy says, "You are a man again, Tony!"
"Well, not quite yet," says Mr. Jobling. "Say, just born."
"Will you take any other vegetables? Grass? Peas? Summer cabbage?"
"Thank you, Guppy," says Mr. Jobling. "I really don't know but what I WILL take summer cabbage."
Order given; with the sarcastic addition (from Mr. Smallweed) of "Without slugs, Polly!" And cabbage produced.
"I am growing up, Guppy," says Mr. Jobling, plying his knife and fork with a relishing steadiness.
"Glad to hear it."
"In fact, I have just turned into my teens," says Mr. Jobling.
He says no more until he has performed his task, which he achieves as Messrs. Guppy and Smallweed finish theirs, thus getting over the ground in excellent style and beating those two gentlemen easily by a veal and ham and a cabbage.
"Now, Small," says Mr. Guppy, "what would you recommend about pastry?"
"Marrow puddings," says Mr. Smallweed instantly.
"Aye, aye!" cries Mr. Jobling with an arch look. "You're there, are you? Thank you, Mr. Guppy, I don't know but what I WILL take a marrow pudding."
Three marrow puddings being produced, Mr. Jobling adds in a pleasant humour that he is coming of age fast. To these succeed, by command of Mr. Smallweed, "three Cheshires," and to those "three small rums." This apex of the entertainment happily reached, Mr. Jobling puts up his legs on the carpeted seat (having his own side of the box to himself), leans against the wall, and says, "I am grown up now, Guppy. I have arrived at maturity."
"What do you think, now," says Mr. Guppy, "about--you don't mind Smallweed?"
"Not the least in the worid. I have the pleasure of drinking his good health."
"Sir, to you!" says Mr. Smallweed.
"I was saying, what do you think NOW," pursues Mr. Guppy, "of enlisting?"
"Why, what I may think after dinner," returns Mr. Jobling, "is one thing, my dear Guppy, and what I may think before dinner is another thing. Still, even after dinner, I ask myself the question, What am I to do? How am I to live? Ill fo manger, you know," says Mr. Jobling, pronouncing that word as if he meant a necessary fixture in an English stable. "Ill fo manger. That's the French saying, and mangering is as necessary to me as it is to a Frenchman. Or more so."
Mr. Smallweed is decidedly of opinion "much more so."
"If any man had told me," pursues Jobling, "even so lately as when you and I had the frisk down in Lincolnshire, Guppy, and drove over to see that house at Castle Wold--"
Mr. Smallweed corrects him--Chesney Wold.
"Chesney Wold. (I thank my honourable friend for that cheer.) If any man had told me then that I should be as hard up at the present time as I literally find myself, I should have--well, I should have pitched into him," says Mr. Jobling, taking a little rum-and-water with an air of desperate resignation; "I should have let fly at his head."
"Still, Tony, you were on the wrong side of the post then," remonstrates Mr. Guppy. "You were talking about nothing else in the gig."
"Guppy," says Mr. Jobling, "I will not deny it. I was on the wrong side of the post. But I trusted to things coming round."
That very popular trust in flat things coming round! Not in their being beaten round, or worked round, but in their "coming" round! As though a lunatic should trust in the world's "coming" triangular!
"I had confident expectations that things would come round and be all square," says Mr.