At first, Mr Nadgett sat with his spectacles low down upon his nose, looking over them at his employer, and nervously rubbing his hands. After a little while, he changed his posture in his chair for one of greater ease, and leisurely perused the next document he held ready as if an occasional glance at his employer's face were now enough and all occasion for anxiety or doubt were gone. And finally he rose and looked out of the window, where he stood with a triumphant air until Tigg Montague had finished.
'And this is the last, Mr Nadgett!' said that gentleman, drawing a long breath.
'That, sir, is the last.'
'You are a wonderful man, Mr Nadgett!'
'I think it is a pretty good case,' he returned as he gathered up his papers. 'It cost some trouble, sir.'
'The trouble shall be well rewarded, Mr Nadgett.' Nadgett bowed. 'There is a deeper impression of Somebody's Hoof here, than I had expected, Mr Nadgett. I may congratulate myself upon your being such a good hand at a secret.'
'Oh! nothing has an interest to me that's not a secret,' replied Nadgett, as he tied the string about his pocket-book, and put it up. 'It always takes away any pleasure I may have had in this inquiry even to make it known to you.'
'A most invaluable constitution,' Tigg retorted. 'A great gift for a gentleman employed as you are, Mr Nadgett. Much better than discretion; though you possess that quality also in an eminent degree. I think I heard a double knock. Will you put your head out of window, and tell me whether there is anybody at the door?'
Mr Nadgett softly raised the sash, and peered out from the very corner, as a man might who was looking down into a street from whence a brisk discharge of musketry might be expected at any moment. Drawing in his head with equal caution, he observed, not altering his voice or manner:
'Mr Jonas Chuzzlewit!'
'I thought so,' Tigg retorted.
'Shall I go?'
'I think you had better. Stay though! No! remain here, Mr Nadgett, if you please.'
It was remarkable how pale and flurried he had become in an instant. There was nothing to account for it. His eye had fallen on his razors; but what of them!
Mr Chuzzlewit was announced.
'Show him up directly. Nadgett! don't you leave us alone together. Mind you don't, now! By the Lord!' he added in a whisper to himself: 'We don't know what may happen.'
Saying this, he hurriedly took up a couple of hair-brushes, and began to exercise them on his own head, as if his toilet had not been interrupted. Mr Nadgett withdrew to the stove, in which there was a small fire for the convenience of heating curling-irons; and taking advantage of so favourable an opportunity for drying his pocket-handkerchief, produced it without loss of time. There he stood, during the whole interview, holding it before the bars, and sometimes, but not often, glancing over his shoulder.
'My dear Chuzzlewit!' cried Montague, as Jonas entered. 'You rise with the lark. Though you go to bed with the nightingale, you rise with the lark. You have superhuman energy, my dear Chuzzlewit!'
'Ecod!' said Jonas, with an air of langour and ill-humour, as he took a chair, 'I should be very glad not to get up with the lark, if I could help it. But I am a light sleeper; and it's better to be up than lying awake, counting the dismal old church-clocks, in bed.'
'A light sleeper!' cried his friend. 'Now, what is a light sleeper? I often hear the expression, but upon my life I have not the least conception what a light sleeper is.'
'Hallo!' said Jonas, 'Who's that? Oh, old what's-his-name: looking (as usual) as if he wanted to skulk up the chimney.'
'Ha, ha! I have no doubt he does.'
'Well! He's not wanted here, I suppose,' said Jonas. 'He may go, mayn't he?'
'Oh, let him stay, let him stay!' said Tigg. 'He's a mere piece of furniture. He has been making his report, and is waiting for further orders. He has been told,' said Tigg, raising his voice, 'not to lose sight of certain friends of ours, or to think that he has done with them by any means.