I was not sure you had a workman of your own here, my dear friend, or we needn't have employed this person."
Grandfather Smallweed refers to Phil with a glance of considerable terror and a half-subdued "O Lord! Oh, dear me!" Nor in his apprehension, on the surface of things, without some reason, for Phil, who has never beheld the apparition in the black-velvet cap before, has stopped short with a gun in his hand with much of the air of a dead shot intent on picking Mr. Smallweed off as an ugly old bird of the crow species.
"Judy, my child," says Grandfather Smallweed, "give the person his twopence. It's a great deal for what he has done."
The person, who is one of those extraordinary specimens of human fungus that spring up spontaneously in the western streets of London, ready dressed in an old red jacket, with a "mission" for holding horses and calling coaches, received his twopence with anything but transport, tosses the money into the air, catches it over-handed, and retires.
"My dear Mr. George," says Grandfather Smallweed, "would you be so kind as help to carry me to the fire? I am accustomed to a fire, and I am an old man, and I soon chill. Oh, dear me!"
His closing exclamation is jerked out of the venerable gentleman by the suddenness with which Mr. Squod, like a genie, catches him up, chair and all, and deposits him on the hearth-stone.
"O Lord!" says Mr. Smallweed, panting. "Oh, dear me! Oh, my stars! My dear friend, your workman is very strong--and very prompt. O Lord, he is very prompt! Judy, draw me back a little. I'm being scorched in the legs," which indeed is testified to the noses of all present by the smell of his worsted stockings.
The gentle Judy, having backed her grandfather a little way from the fire, and having shaken him up as usual, and having released his overshadowed eye from its black-velvet extinguisher, Mr. Smallweed again says, "Oh, dear me! O Lord!" and looking about and meeting Mr. George's glance, again stretches out both hands.
"My dear friend! So happy in this meeting! And this is your establishment? It's a delightful place. It's a picture! You never find that anything goes off here accidentally, do you, my dear friend?" adds Grandfather Smallweed, very ill at ease.
"No, no. No fear of that."
"And your workman. He--Oh, dear me!--he never lets anything off without meaning it, does he, my dear friend?"
"He has never hurt anybody but himself," says Mr. George, smiling.
"But he might, you know. He seems to have hurt himself a good deal, and he might hurt somebody else," the old gentleman returns. "He mightn't mean it--or he even might. Mr. George, will you order him to leave his infernal fire-arms alone and go away?"
Obedient to a nod from the trooper, Phil retires, empty-handed, to the other end of the gallery. Mr. Smallweed, reassured, falls to rubbing his legs.
"And you're doing well, Mr. George?" he says to the trooper, squarely standing faced about towards him with his broadsword in his hand. "You are prospering, please the Powers?"
Mr. George answers with a cool nod, adding, "Go on. You have not come to say that, I know."
"You are so sprightly, Mr. George," returns the venerable grandfather. "You are such good company."
"Ha ha! Go on!" says Mr. George.
"My dear friend! But that sword looks awful gleaming and sharp. It might cut somebody, by accident. It makes me shiver, Mr. George. Curse him!" says the excellent old gentleman apart to Judy as the trooper takes a step or two away to lay it aside. "He owes me money, and might think of paying off old scores in this murdering place. I wish your brimstone grandmother was here, and he'd shave her head off."
Mr. George, returning, folds his arms, and looking down at the old man, sliding every moment lower and lower in his chair, says quietly, "Now for it!"
"Ho!" cries Mr. Smallweed, rubbing his hands with an artful chuckle. "Yes. Now for it. Now for what, my dear friend?"
"For a pipe," says Mr. George, who with great composure sets his chair in the chimney-corner, takes his pipe from the grate, fills it and lights it, and falls to smoking peacefully.