Just as he was turning into Holborn, he ran against a young gentleman in a livery. This youth was bold, though small, and with several lively expressions of displeasure, turned upon him instantly.
'Now, STOO-PID!' cried the young gentleman. 'Can't you look where you're a-going to--eh? Can't you mind where you're a-coming to--eh? What do you think your eyes was made for--eh? Ah! Yes. Oh! Now then!'
The young gentleman pronounced the two last words in a very loud tone and with frightful emphasis, as though they contained within themselves the essence of the direst aggravation. But he had scarcely done so, when his anger yielded to surprise, and he cried, in a milder tone:
'Why, it an't you, sure!' cried Poll. 'It can't be you!'
'No. It an't me,' returned the youth. 'It's my son, my oldest one. He's a credit to his father, an't he, Polly?' With this delicate little piece of banter, he halted on the pavement, and went round and round in circles, for the better exhibition of his figure; rather to the inconvenience of the passengers generally, who were not in an equal state of spirits with himself.
'I wouldn't have believed it,' said Poll. 'What! You've left your old place, then? Have you?'
'Have I!' returned his young friend, who had by this time stuck his hands into the pockets of his white cord breeches, and was swaggering along at the barber's side. 'D'ye know a pair of top- boots when you see 'em, Polly?--look here!'
'Beau-ti-ful' cried Mr Sweedlepipe.
'D'ye know a slap-up sort of button, when you see it?' said the youth. 'Don't look at mine, if you ain't a judge, because these lions' heads was made for men of taste; not snobs.'
'Beau-ti-ful!' cried the barber again. 'A grass-green frock-coat, too, bound with gold; and a cockade in your hat!'
'I should hope so,' replied the youth. 'Blow the cockade, though; for, except that it don't turn round, it's like the wentilator that used to be in the kitchen winder at Todgers's. You ain't seen the old lady's name in the Gazette, have you?'
'No,' returned the barber. 'Is she a bankrupt?'
'If she ain't, she will be,' retorted Bailey. 'That bis'ness never can be carried on without ME. Well! How are you?'
'Oh! I'm pretty well,' said Poll. 'Are you living at this end of the town, or were you coming to see me? Was that the bis'ness that brought you to Holborn?'
'I haven't got no bis'ness in Holborn,' returned Bailey, with some displeasure. 'All my bis'ness lays at the West End. I've got the right sort of governor now. You can't see his face for his whiskers, and can't see his whiskers for the dye upon 'em. That's a gentleman ain't it? You wouldn't like a ride in a cab, would you? Why, it wouldn't be safe to offer it. You'd faint away, only to see me a-comin' at a mild trot round the corner.'
To convey a slight idea of the effect of this approach, Mr Bailey counterfeited in his own person the action of a high-trotting horse and threw up his head so high, in backing against a pump, that he shook his hat off.
'Why, he's own uncle to Capricorn,' said Bailey, 'and brother to Cauliflower. He's been through the winders of two chaney shops since we've had him, and was sold for killin' his missis. That's a horse, I hope?'
'Ah! you'll never want to buy any more red polls, now,' observed Poll, looking on his young friend with an air of melancholy. 'You'll never want to buy any more red polls now, to hang up over the sink, will you?'
'I should think not,' replied Bailey. 'Reether so. I wouldn't have nothin' to say to any bird below a Peacock; and HE'd be wulgar. Well, how are you?'
'Oh! I'm pretty well,' said Poll. He answered the question again because Mr Bailey asked it again; Mr Bailey asked it again, because --accompanied with a straddling action of the white cords, a bend of the knees, and a striking forth of the top-boots--it was an easy horse-fleshy, turfy sort of thing to do.
'Wot are you up to, old feller?' added Mr Bailey, with the same graceful rakishness.