That I forgave you when my injuries were fresh, and when my bosom was newly wrung. It may be bitterness to you to hear it now, sir, but you will live to seek a consolation in it. May you find a consolation in it when you want it, sir! Good morning!'
With this sublime address, Mr Pecksniff departed. But the effect of his departure was much impaired by his being immediately afterwards run against, and nearly knocked down, by a monstrously excited little man in velveteen shorts and a very tall hat; who came bursting up the stairs, and straight into the chambers of Mr Chuzzlewit, as if he were deranged.
'Is there anybody here that knows him?' cried the little man. 'Is there anybody here that knows him? Oh, my stars, is there anybody here that knows him?'
They looked at each other for an explanation; but nobody knew anything more than that here was an excited little man with a very tall hat on, running in and out of the room as hard as he could go; making his single pair of bright blue stockings appear at least a dozen; and constantly repeating in a shrill voice, 'IS there anybody here that knows him?'
'If your brains is not turned topjy turjey, Mr Sweedlepipes!' exclaimed another voice, 'hold that there nige of yourn, I beg you, sir.'
At the same time Mrs Gamp was seen in the doorway; out of breath from coming up so many stairs, and panting fearfully; but dropping curtseys to the last.
'Excuge the weakness of the man,' said Mrs Gamp, eyeing Mr Sweedlepipe with great indignation; 'and well I might expect it, as I should have know'd, and wishin' he was drownded in the Thames afore I had brought him here, which not a blessed hour ago he nearly shaved the noge off from the father of as lovely a family as ever, Mr Chuzzlewit, was born three sets of twins, and would have done it, only he see it a-goin' in the glass, and dodged the rager. And never, Mr Sweedlepipes, I do assure you, sir, did I so well know what a misfortun it was to be acquainted with you, as now I do, which so I say, sir, and I don't deceive you!'
'I ask your pardon, ladies and gentlemen all,' cried the little barber, taking off his hat, 'and yours too, Mrs Gamp. But--but,' he added this half laughing and half crying, 'IS there anybody here that knows him?'
As the barber said these words, a something in top-boots, with its head bandaged up, staggered into the room, and began going round and round and round, apparently under the impression that it was walking straight forward.
'Look at him!' cried the excited little barber. 'Here he is! That'll soon wear off, and then he'll be all right again. He's no more dead than I am. He's all alive and hearty. Aint you, Bailey?'
'R--r--reether so, Poll!' replied that gentleman.
'Look here!' cried the little barber, laughing and crying in the same breath. 'When I steady him he comes all right. There! He's all right now. Nothing's the matter with him now, except that he's a little shook and rather giddy; is there, Bailey?'
'R--r--reether shook, Poll--reether so!' said Mr Bailey. 'What, my lovely Sairey! There you air!'
'What a boy he is!' cried the tender-hearted Poll, actually sobbing over him. 'I never see sech a boy! It's all his fun. He's full of it. He shall go into the business along with me. I am determined he shall. We'll make it Sweedlepipe and Bailey. He shall have the sporting branch (what a one he'll be for the matches!) and me the shavin'. I'll make over the birds to him as soon as ever he's well enough. He shall have the little bullfinch in the shop, and all. He's sech a boy! I ask your pardon, ladies and gentlemen, but I thought there might be some one here that know'd him!'
Mrs Gamp had observed, not without jealousy and scorn, that a favourable impression appeared to exist in behalf of Mr Sweedlepipe and his young friend; and that she had fallen rather into the background in consequence. She now struggled to the front, therefore, and stated her business.
'Which, Mr Chuzzlewit,' she said, 'is well beknown to Mrs Harris as has one sweet infant (though she DO not wish it known) in her own family by the mother's side, kep in spirits in a bottle; and that sweet babe she see at Greenwich Fair, a-travelling in company with a pink-eyed lady, Prooshan dwarf, and livin' skelinton, which judge her feelings when the barrel organ played, and she was showed her own dear sister's child, the same not bein' expected from the outside picter, where it was painted quite contrairy in a livin' state, a many sizes larger, and performing beautiful upon the Arp, which never did that dear child know or do; since breathe it never did, to speak on in this wale! And Mrs Harris, Mr Chuzzlewit, has knowed me many year, and can give you information that the lady which is widdered can't do better and may do worse, than let me wait upon her, which I hope to do.