Thank you. A general direction, I suppose, to Mr Pinch at Mr Pecksniff's--will that find you?'
'That'll find me,' said Tom. 'You had better put Esquire to Mr Pecksniff's name, if you please. Direct to me, you know, at Seth Pecksniff's, Esquire.'
'At Seth Pecksniff's, Esquire,' repeated Mr Tigg, taking an exact note of it with a stump of pencil. 'We said this week, I believe?'
'Yes; or Monday will do,' observed Tom.
'No, no, I beg your pardon. Monday will NOT do,' said Mr Tigg. 'If we stipulated for this week, Saturday is the latest day. Did we stipulate for this week?'
'Since you are so particular about it,' said Tom, 'I think we did.'
Mr Tigg added this condition to his memorandum; read the entry over to himself with a severe frown; and that the transaction might be the more correct and business-like, appended his initials to the whole. That done, he assured Mr Pinch that everything was now perfectly regular; and, after squeezing his hand with great fervour, departed.
Tom entertained enough suspicion that Martin might possibly turn this interview into a jest, to render him desirous to avoid the company of that young gentleman for the present. With this view he took a few turns up and down the skittle-ground, and did not re- enter the house until Mr Tigg and his friend had quitted it, and the new pupil and Mark were watching their departure from one of the windows.
'I was just a-saying, sir, that if one could live by it,' observed Mark, pointing after their late guests, 'that would be the sort of service for me. Waiting on such individuals as them would be better than grave-digging, sir.'
'And staying here would be better than either, Mark,' replied Tom. 'So take my advice, and continue to swim easily in smooth water.'
'It's too late to take it now, sir,' said Mark. 'I have broke it to her, sir. I am off to-morrow morning.'
'Off!' cried Mr Pinch, 'where to?'
'I shall go up to London, sir.'
'What to be?' asked Mr Pinch.
'Well! I don't know yet, sir. Nothing turned up that day I opened my mind to you, as was at all likely to suit me. All them trades I thought of was a deal too jolly; there was no credit at all to be got in any of 'em. I must look for a private service, I suppose, sir. I might be brought out strong, perhaps, in a serious family, Mr Pinch.'
'Perhaps you might come out rather too strong for a serious family's taste, Mark.'
'That's possible, sir. If I could get into a wicked family, I might do myself justice; but the difficulty is to make sure of one's ground, because a young man can't very well advertise that he wants a place, and wages an't so much an object as a wicked sitivation; can he, sir?'
'Why, no,' said Mr Pinch, 'I don't think he can.'
'An envious family,' pursued Mark, with a thoughtful face; 'or a quarrelsome family, or a malicious family, or even a good out-and- out mean family, would open a field of action as I might do something in. The man as would have suited me of all other men was that old gentleman as was took ill here, for he really was a trying customer. Howsever, I must wait and see what turns up, sir; and hope for the worst.'
'You are determined to go then?' said Mr Pinch.
'My box is gone already, sir, by the waggon, and I'm going to walk on to-morrow morning, and get a lift by the day coach when it overtakes me. So I wish you good-bye, Mr Pinch--and you too, sir-- and all good luck and happiness!'
They both returned his greeting laughingly, and walked home arm-in- arm. Mr Pinch imparting to his new friend, as they went, such further particulars of Mark Tapley's whimsical restlessness as the reader is already acquainted with.
In the meantime Mark, having a shrewd notion that his mistress was in very low spirits, and that he could not exactly answer for the consequences of any lengthened TETE-A-TETE in the bar, kept himself obstinately out of her way all the afternoon and evening. In this piece of generalship he was very much assisted by the great influx of company into the taproom; for the news of his intention having gone abroad, there was a perfect throng there all the evening, and much drinking of healths and clinking of mugs.