His unusual tone of voice and agitated manner had sufficiently expressed his fear; but his face would have done so now, without that aid, as he again walked to and fro, glancing at him by the candelight.
He stopped at the window to think. An opposite shop was lighted up; and the tradesman and a customer were reading some printed bill together across the counter. The sight brought him back, instantly, to the occupation he had forgotten. 'Look here! Do you know of this? Is it found? Do you suspect ME?'
A hand upon the door. 'What's that!'
'A pleasant evenin',' said the voice of Mrs Gamp, 'though warm, which, bless you, Mr Chuzzlewit, we must expect when cowcumbers is three for twopence. How does Mr Chuffey find his self to-night, sir?'
Mrs Gamp kept particularly close to the door in saying this, and curtseyed more than usual. She did not appear to be quite so much at her ease as she generally was.
'Get him to his room,' said Jonas, walking up to her, and speaking in her ear. 'He has been raving to-night--stark mad. Don't talk while he's here, but come down again.'
'Poor sweet dear!' cried Mrs Gamp, with uncommon tenderness. 'He's all of a tremble.'
'Well he may be,' said Jonas, 'after the mad fit he has had. Get him upstairs.'
She was by this time assisting him to rise.
'There's my blessed old chick!' cried Mrs Gamp, in a tone that was at once soothing and encouraging. 'There's my darlin' Mr Chuffey! Now come up to your own room, sir, and lay down on your bed a bit; for you're a-shakin' all over, as if your precious jints was hung upon wires. That's a good creetur! Come with Sairey!'
'Is she come home?' inquired the old man.
'She'll be here directly minit,' returned Mrs Gamp. 'Come with Sairey, Mr Chuffey. Come with your own Sairey!'
The good woman had no reference to any female in the world in promising this speedy advent of the person for whom Mr Chuffey inquired, but merely threw it out as a means of pacifying the old man. It had its effect, for he permitted her to lead him away; and they quitted the room together.
Jonas looked out of the window again. They were still reading the printed paper in the shop opposite, and a third man had joined in the perusal. What could it be, to interest them so?'
A dispute or discussion seemed to arise among them, for they all looked up from their reading together, and one of the three, who had been glancing over the shoulder of another, stepped back to explain or illustrate some action by his gestures.
Horror! How like the blow he had struck in the wood!
It beat him from the window as if it had lighted on himself. As he staggered into a chair, he thought of the change in Mrs Gamp exhibited in her new-born tenderness to her charge. Was that because it was found?--because she knew of it?--because she suspected him?
'Mr Chuffey is a-lyin' down,' said Mrs Gamp, returning, 'and much good may it do him, Mr Chuzzlewit, which harm it can't and good it may; be joyful!'
'Sit down,' said Jonas, hoarsely, 'and let us get this business done. Where is the other woman?'
'The other person's with him now,' she answered.
'That's right,' said Jonas. 'He is not fit to be left to himself. Why, he fastened on me to-night; here, upon my coat; like a savage dog. Old as he is, and feeble as he is usually, I had some trouble to shake him off. You--Hush!--It's nothing. You told me the other woman's name. I forget it.'
'I mentioned Betsey Prig,' said Mrs Gamp.
'She is to be trusted, is she?'
'That she ain't!' said Mrs Gamp; 'nor have I brought her, Mr Chuzzlewit. I've brought another, which engages to give every satigefaction.'
'What is her name?' asked Jonas.
Mrs Gamp looked at him in an odd way without returning any answer, but appeared to understand the question too.
'What is her name?' repeated Jonas.
'Her name,' said Mrs Gamp, 'is Harris.'
It was extraordinary how much effort it cost Mrs Gamp to pronounce the name she was commonly so ready with. She made some three or four gasps before she could get it out; and, when she had uttered it, pressed her hand upon her side, and turned up her eyes, as if she were going to faint away.