'I wish I may die,' said Mr Tigg, stretching out his body so far that his head was as much in Martin's little cell as Martin's own head was, 'but this is one of the most tremendous meetings in Ancient or Modern History! How are you? What is the news from the agricultural districts? How are our friends the P.'s? Ha, ha! David, pay particular attention to this gentleman immediately, as a friend of mine, I beg.'
'Here! Please to give me the most you can for this,' said Martin, handing the watch to the shopman. 'I want money sorely.'
'He wants money, sorely!' cried Mr Tigg with excessive sympathy. 'David, will you have the goodness to do your very utmost for my friend, who wants money sorely. You will deal with my friend as if he were myself. A gold hunting-watch, David, engine-turned, capped and jewelled in four holes, escape movement, horizontal lever, and warranted to perform correctly, upon my personal reputation, who have observed it narrowly for many years, under the most trying circumstances'--here he winked at Martin, that he might understand this recommendation would have an immense effect upon the shopman; 'what do you say, David, to my friend? Be very particular to deserve my custom and recommendation, David.'
'I can lend you three pounds on this, if you like' said the shopman to Martin, confidentially. 'It is very old-fashioned. I couldn't say more.'
'And devilish handsome, too,' cried Mr Tigg. 'Two-twelve-six for the watch, and seven-and-six for personal regard. I am gratified; it may be weakness, but I am. Three pounds will do. We take it. The name of my friend is Smivey: Chicken Smivey, of Holborn, twenty- six-and-a-half B: lodger.' Here he winked at Martin again, to apprise him that all the forms and ceremonies prescribed by law were now complied with, and nothing remained but the receipt for the money.
In point of fact, this proved to be the case, for Martin, who had no resource but to take what was offered him, signified his acquiescence by a nod of his head, and presently came out with the cash in his pocket. He was joined in the entry by Mr Tigg, who warmly congratulated him, as he took his arm and accompanied him into the street, on the successful issue of the negotiation.
'As for my part in the same,' said Mr Tigg, 'don't mention it. Don't compliment me, for I can't bear it!'
'I have no such intention, I assure you,' retorted Martin, releasing his arm and stopping.
'You oblige me very much' said Mr Tigg. 'Thank you.'
'Now, sir,' observed Martin, biting his lip, 'this is a large town, and we can easily find different ways in it. If you will show me which is your way, I will take another.'
Mr Tigg was about to speak, but Martin interposed:
'I need scarcely tell you, after what you have just seen, that I have nothing to bestow upon your friend Mr Slyme. And it is quite as unnecessary for me to tell you that I don't desire the honour of your company.'
'Stop' cried Mr Tigg, holding out his hand. 'Hold! There is a most remarkably long-headed, flowing-bearded, and patriarchal proverb, which observes that it is the duty of a man to be just before he is generous. Be just now, and you can be generous presently. Do not confuse me with the man Slyme. Do not distinguish the man Slyme as a friend of mine, for he is no such thing. I have been compelled, sir, to abandon the party whom you call Slyme. I have no knowledge of the party whom you call Slyme. I am, sir,' said Mr Tigg, striking himself upon the breast, 'a premium tulip, of a very different growth and cultivation from the cabbage Slyme, sir.'
'It matters very little to me,' said Martin coolly, 'whether you have set up as a vagabond on your own account, or are still trading on behalf of Mr Slyme. I wish to hold no correspondence with you. In the devil's name, man' said Martin, scarcely able, despite his vexation, to repress a smile as Mr Tigg stood leaning his back against the shutters of a shop window, adjusting his hair with great composure, 'will you go one way or other?'
'You will allow me to remind you, sir,' said Mr Tigg, with sudden dignity, 'that you--not I--that you--I say emphatically, YOU--have reduced the proceedings of this evening to a cold and distant matter of business, when I was disposed to place them on a friendly footing.