I again warmly repeated that it was a bad side of human nature (in
which sentiment, waiving its application, I have since seen reason
to think I was right), and I walked down the little path away from
Biddy, and Biddy went into the house, and I went out at the garden
gate and took a dejected stroll until supper-time; again feeling it
very sorrowful and strange that this, the second night of my bright
fortunes, should be as lonely and unsatisfactory as the first.
But, morning once more brightened my view, and I extended my
clemency to Biddy, and we dropped the subject. Putting on the best
clothes I had, I went into town as early as I could hope to find
the shops open, and presented myself before Mr. Trabb, the tailor:
who was having his breakfast in the parlour behind his shop, and
who did not think it worth his while to come out to me, but called
me in to him.
"Well!" said Mr. Trabb, in a hail-fellow-well-met kind of way. "How
are you, and what can I do for you?"
Mr. Trabb had sliced his hot roll into three feather beds, and was
slipping butter in between the blankets, and covering it up. He was
a prosperous old bachelor, and his open window looked into a
prosperous little garden and orchard, and there was a prosperous
iron safe let into the wall at the side of his fireplace, and I did
not doubt that heaps of his prosperity were put away in it in bags.
"Mr. Trabb," said I, "it's an unpleasant thing to have to mention,
because it looks like boasting; but I have come into a handsome
A change passed over Mr. Trabb. He forgot the butter in bed, got up
from the bedside, and wiped his fingers on the table-cloth,
exclaiming, "Lord bless my soul!"
"I am going up to my guardian in London," said I, casually drawing
some guineas out of my pocket and looking at them; "and I want a
fashionable suit of clothes to go in. I wish to pay for them," I
added - otherwise I thought he might only pretend to make them -
"with ready money."
"My dear sir," said Mr. Trabb, as he respectfully bent his body,
opened his arms, and took the liberty of touching me on the outside
of each elbow, "don't hurt me by mentioning that. May I venture to
congratulate you? Would you do me the favour of stepping into the
Mr. Trabb's boy was the most audacious boy in all that countryside.
When I had entered he was sweeping the shop, and he had sweetened
his labours by sweeping over me. He was still sweeping when I came
out into the shop with Mr. Trabb, and he knocked the broom against
all possible corners and obstacles, to express (as I understood it)
equality with any blacksmith, alive or dead.
"Hold that noise," said Mr. Trabb, with the greatest sternness, "or
I'll knock your head off! Do me the favour to be seated, sir. Now,
this," said Mr. Trabb, taking down a roll of cloth, and tiding it
out in a flowing manner over the counter, preparatory to getting
his hand under it to show the gloss, "is a very sweet article. I
can recommend it for your purpose, sir, because it really is extra
super. But you shall see some others. Give me Number Four, you!"
(To the boy, and with a dreadfully severe stare: foreseeing the
danger of that miscreant's brushing me with it, or making some
other sign of familiarity.)
Mr. Trabb never removed his stern eye from the boy until he had
deposited number four on the counter and was at a safe distance
again. Then, he commanded him to bring number five, and number
eight. "And let me have none of your tricks here," said Mr. Trabb,
"or you shall repent it, you young scoundrel, the longest day you
have to live."
Mr. Trabb then bent over number four, and in a sort of deferential
confidence recommended it to me as a light article for summer wear,
an article much in vogue among the nobility and gentry, an article
that it would ever be an honour to him to reflect upon a
distinguished fellow-townsman's (if he might claim me for a
fellow-townsman) having worn.