He soon returns with the intelligence that Mr. Krook is at home and that he has seen him through the shop-door, sitting in the back premises, sleeping "like one o'clock."
"Then I'll pay," says Mr. Guppy, "and we'll go and see him. Small, what will it be?"
Mr. Smallweed, compelling the attendance of the waitress with one hitch of his eyelash, instantly replies as follows: "Four veals and hams is three, and four potatoes is three and four, and one summer cabbage is three and six, and three marrows is four and six, and six breads is five, and three Cheshires is five and three, and four half-pints of half-and-half is six and three, and four small rums is eight and three, and three Pollys is eight and six. Eight and six in half a sovereign, Polly, and eighteenpence out!"
Not at all excited by these stupendous calculations, Smallweed dismisses his friends with a cool nod and remains behind to take a little admiring notice of Polly, as opportunity may serve, and to read the daily papers, which are so very large in proportion to himself, shorn of his hat, that when he holds up the Times to run his eye over the columns, he seems to have retired for the night and to have disappeared under the bedclothes.
Mr. Guppy and Mr. Jobling repair to the rag and bottle shop, where they find Krook still sleeping like one o'clock, that is to say, breathing stertorously with his chin upon his breast and quite insensible to any external sounds or even to gentle shaking. On the table beside him, among the usual lumber, stand an empty gin- bottle and a glass. The unwholesome air is so stained with this liquor that even the green eyes of the cat upon her shelf, as they open and shut and glimmer on the visitors, look drunk.
"Hold up here!" says Mr. Guppy, giving the relaxed figure of the old man another shake. "Mr. Krook! Halloa, sir!"
But it would seem as easy to wake a bundle of old clothes with a spirituous heat smouldering in it. "Did you ever see such a stupor as he falls into, between drink and sleep?" says Mr. Guppy.
"If this is his regular sleep," returns Jobling, rather alarmed, "it'll last a long time one of these days, I am thinking."
"It's always more like a fit than a nap," says Mr. Guppy, shaking him again. "Halloa, your lordship! Why, he might be robbed fifty times over! Open your eyes!"
After much ado, he opens them, but without appearing to see his visitors or any other objects. Though he crosses one leg on another, and folds his hands, and several times closes and opens his parched lips, he seems to all intents and purposes as insensible as before.
"He is alive, at any rate," says Mr. Guppy. "How are you, my Lord Chancellor. I have brought a friend of mine, sir, on a little matter of business."
The old man still sits, often smacking his dry lips without the least consciousness. After some minutes he makes an attempt to rise. They help him up, and he staggers against the wall and stares at them.
"How do you do, Mr. Krook?" says Mr. Guppy in some discomfiture. "How do you do, sir? You are looking charming, Mr. Krook. I hope you are pretty well?"
The old man, in aiming a purposeless blow at Mr. Guppy, or at nothing, feebly swings himself round and comes with his face against the wall. So he remains for a minute or two, heaped up against it, and then staggers down the shop to the front door. The air, the movement in the court, the lapse of time, or the combination of these things recovers him. He comes back pretty steadily, adjusting his fur cap on his head and looking keenly at them.
"Your servant, gentlemen; I've been dozing. Hi! I am hard to wake, odd times."
"Rather so, indeed, sir," responds Mr. Guppy.
"What? You've been a-trying to do it, have you?" says the suspicious Krook.
"Only a little," Mr. Guppy explains.
The old man's eye resting on the empty bottle, he takes it up, examines it, and slowly tilts it upside down.
"I say!" he cries like the hobgoblin in the story. "Somebody's been making free here!"
"I assure you we found it so," says Mr.