Bucket, "that this gentleman he come into Krook's property, and a good deal of magpie property there was. Vast lots of waste-paper among the rest. Lord bless you, of no use to nobody!"
The cunning of Mr. Bucket's eye and the masterly manner in which he contrived, without a look or a word against which his watchful auditor could protest, to let us know that he stated the case according to previous agreement and could say much more of Mr. Smallweed if he thought it advisable, deprived us of any merit in quite understanding him. His difficulty was increased by Mr. Smallweed's being deaf as well as suspicious and watching his face with the closest attention.
"Among them odd heaps of old papers, this gentleman, when he comes into the property, naturally begins to rummage, don't you see?" said Mr. Bucket.
"To which? Say that again," cried Mr. Smallweed in a shrill, sharp voice.
"To rummage," repeated Mr. Bucket. "Being a prudent man and accustomed to take care of your own affairs, you begin to rummage among the papers as you have come into; don't you?"
"Of course I do," cried Mr. Smallweed.
"Of course you do," said Mr. Bucket conversationally, "and much to blame you would be if you didn't. And so you chance to find, you know," Mr. Bucket went on, stooping over him with an air of cheerful raillery which Mr. Smallweed by no means reciprocated, "and so you chance to find, you know, a paper with the signature of Jarndyce to it. Don't you?"
Mr. Smallweed glanced with a troubled eye at us and grudgingly nodded assent.
"And coming to look at that paper at your full leisure and convenience--all in good time, for you're not curious to read it, and why should you be?--what do you find it to be but a will, you see. That's the drollery of it," said Mr. Bucket with the same lively air of recalling a joke for the enjoyment of Mr. Smallweed, who still had the same crest-fallen appearance of not enjoying it at all; "what do you find it to be but a will?"
"I don't know that it's good as a will or as anything else," snarled Mr. Smallweed.
Mr. Bucket eyed the old man for a moment--he had slipped and shrunk down in his chair into a mere bundle--as if he were much disposed to pounce upon him; nevertheless, he continued to bend over him with the same agreeable air, keeping the corner of one of his eyes upon us.
"Notwithstanding which," said Mr. Bucket, "you get a little doubtful and uncomfortable in your mind about it, having a very tender mind of your own."
"Eh? What do you say I have got of my own?" asked Mr. Smallweed with his hand to his ear.
"A very tender mind."
"Ho! Well, go on," said Mr. Smallweed.
"And as you've heard a good deal mentioned regarding a celebrated Chancery will case of the same name, and as you know what a card Krook was for buying all manner of old pieces of furniter, and books, and papers, and what not, and never liking to part with 'em, and always a-going to teach himself to read, you begin to think-- and you never was more correct in your born days--'Ecod, if I don't look about me, I may get into trouble regarding this will.'"
"Now, mind how you put it, Bucket," cried the old man anxiously with his hand at his ear. "Speak up; none of your brimstone tricks. Pick me up; I want to hear better. Oh, Lord, I am shaken to bits!"
Mr. Bucket had certainly picked him up at a dart. However, as soon as he could be heard through Mr. Smallweed's coughing and his vicious ejaculations of "Oh, my bones! Oh, dear! I've no breath in my body! I'm worse than the chattering, clattering, brimstone pig at home!" Mr. Bucket proceeded in the same convivial manner as before.
"So, as I happen to be in the habit of coming about your premises, you take me into your confidence, don't you?"
I think it would be impossible to make an admission with more ill will and a worse grace than Mr. Smallweed displayed when he admitted this, rendering it perfectly evident that Mr. Bucket was the very last person he would have thought of taking into his confidence if he could by any possibility have kept him out of it.