For (said the Bleeding Hearts), if a gentleman with that head of hair and them eyes took his rents into his own hands, ma'am, there would be none of this worriting and wearing, and things would be very different.
At which identical evening hour and minute, the Patriarch--who had floated serenely through the Yard in the forenoon before the harrying began, with the express design of getting up this trustfulness in his shining bumps and silken locks--at which identical hour and minute, that first-rate humbug of a thousand guns was heavily floundering in the little Dock of his exhausted Tug at home, and was saying, as he turned his thumbs:
'A very bad day's work, Pancks, very bad day's work. It seems to me, sir, and I must insist on making this observation forcibly in justice to myself, that you ought to have got much more money, much more money.'
Little Dorrit received a call that same evening from Mr Plornish, who, having intimated that he wished to speak to her privately, in a series of coughs so very noticeable as to favour the idea that her father, as regarded her seamstress occupation, was an illustration of the axiom that there are no such stone-blind men as those who will not see, obtained an audience with her on the common staircase outside the door.
'There's been a lady at our place to-day, Miss Dorrit,' Plornish growled, 'and another one along with her as is a old wixen if ever I met with such. The way she snapped a person's head off, dear me!'
The mild Plornish was at first quite unable to get his mind away from Mr F.'s Aunt. 'For,' said he, to excuse himself, 'she is, I do assure you, the winegariest party.'
At length, by a great effort, he detached himself from the subject sufficiently to observe:
'But she's neither here nor there just at present. The other lady, she's Mr Casby's daughter; and if Mr Casby an't well off, none better, it an't through any fault of Pancks. For, as to Pancks, he does, he really does, he does indeed!'
Mr Plornish, after his usual manner, was a little obscure, but conscientiously emphatic.
'And what she come to our place for,' he pursued, 'was to leave word that if Miss Dorrit would step up to that card--which it's Mr Casby's house that is, and Pancks he has a office at the back, where he really does, beyond belief--she would be glad for to engage her. She was a old and a dear friend, she said particular, of Mr Clennam, and hoped for to prove herself a useful friend to his friend. Them was her words. Wishing to know whether Miss Dorrit could come to-morrow morning, I said I would see you, Miss, and inquire, and look round there to-night, to say yes, or, if you was engaged to-morrow, when.'
'I can go to-morrow, thank you,' said Little Dorrit. 'This is very kind of you, but you are always kind.'
Mr Plornish, with a modest disavowal of his merits, opened the room door for her readmission, and followed her in with such an exceedingly bald pretence of not having been out at all, that her father might have observed it without being very suspicious. In his affable unconsciousness, however, he took no heed. Plornish, after a little conversation, in which he blended his former duty as a Collegian with his present privilege as a humble outside friend, qualified again by his low estate as a plasterer, took his leave; making the tour of the prison before he left, and looking on at a game of skittles with the mixed feelings of an old inhabitant who had his private reasons for believing that it might be his destiny to come back again.
Early in the morning, Little Dorrit, leaving Maggy in high domestic trust, set off for the Patriarchal tent. She went by the Iron Bridge, though it cost her a penny, and walked more slowly in that part of her journey than in any other. At five minutes before eight her hand was on the Patriarchal knocker, which was quite as high as she could reach.
She gave Mrs Finching's card to the young woman who opened the door, and the young woman told her that 'Miss Flora'--Flora having, on her return to the parental roof, reinvested herself with the title under which she had lived there--was not yet out of her bedroom, but she was to please to walk up into Miss Flora's sitting-room.