Under the influence of this fiery dram he started off for London without more ado. Arriving there in the middle of the night, and not knowing where to find a tavern open, he was fain to stroll about the streets and market-places until morning.
He found himself, about an hour before dawn, in the humbler regions of the Adelphi; and addressing himself to a man in a fur-cap, who was taking down the shutters of an obscure public-house, informed him that he was a stranger, and inquired if he could have a bed there. It happened by good luck that he could. Though none of the gaudiest, it was tolerably clean, and Martin felt very glad and grateful when he crept into it, for warmth, rest, and forgetfulness.
It was quite late in the afternoon when he awoke; and by the time he had washed and dressed, and broken his fast, it was growing dusk again. This was all the better, for it was now a matter of absolute necessity that he should part with his watch to some obliging pawn- broker. He would have waited until after dark for this purpose, though it had been the longest day in the year, and he had begun it without a breakfast.
He passed more Golden Balls than all the jugglers in Europe have juggled with, in the course of their united performances, before he could determine in favour of any particular shop where those symbols were displayed. In the end he came back to one of the first he had seen, and entering by a side-door in a court, where the three balls, with the legend 'Money Lent,' were repeated in a ghastly transparency, passed into one of a series of little closets, or private boxes, erected for the accommodation of the more bashful and uninitiated customers. He bolted himself in; pulled out his watch; and laid it on the counter.
'Upon my life and soul!' said a low voice in the next box to the shopman who was in treaty with him, 'you must make it more; you must make it a trifle more, you must indeed! You must dispense with one half-quarter of an ounce in weighing out your pound of flesh, my best of friends, and make it two-and-six.'
Martin drew back involuntarily, for he knew the voice at once.
'You're always full of your chaff,' said the shopman, rolling up the article (which looked like a shirt) quite as a matter of course, and nibbing his pen upon the counter.
'I shall never be full of my wheat,' said Mr Tigg, 'as long as I come here. Ha, ha! Not bad! Make it two-and-six, my dear friend, positively for this occasion only. Half-a-crown is a delightful coin. Two-and-six. Going at two-and-six! For the last time at two-and-six!'
'It'll never be the last time till it's quite worn out,' rejoined the shopman. 'It's grown yellow in the service as it is.'
'Its master has grown yellow in the service, if you mean that, my friend,' said Mr Tigg; 'in the patriotic service of an ungrateful country. You are making it two-and-six, I think?'
'I'm making it,' returned the shopman, 'what it always has been--two shillings. Same name as usual, I suppose?'
'Still the same name,' said Mr Tigg; 'my claim to the dormant peerage not being yet established by the House of Lords.'
'The old address?'
'Not at all,' said Mr Tigg; 'I have removed my town establishment from thirty-eight, Mayfair, to number fifteen-hundred-and-forty-two, Park Lane.'
'Come, I'm not going to put down that, you know,' said the shopman with a grin.
'You may put down what you please, my friend,' quoth Mr Tigg. 'The fact is still the same. The apartments for the under-butler and the fifth footman being of a most confounded low and vulgar kind at thirty-eight, Mayfair, I have been compelled, in my regard for the feelings which do them so much honour, to take on lease for seven, fourteen, or twenty-one years, renewable at the option of the tenant, the elegant and commodious family mansion, number fifteen- hundred-and-forty-two Park Lane. Make it two-and-six, and come and see me!'
The shopman was so highly entertained by this piece of humour that Mr Tigg himself could not repress some little show of exultation. It vented itself, in part, in a desire to see how the occupant of the next box received his pleasantry; to ascertain which he glanced round the partition, and immediately, by the gaslight, recognized Martin.