Bar was likewise always modest and self-depreciatory--in his way. Bar was a man of great variety; but one leading thread ran through the woof of all his patterns. Every man with whom he had to do was in his eyes a jury-man; and he must get that jury-man over, if he could.
'Our illustrious host and friend,' said Bar; 'our shining mercantile star;--going into politics?'
'Going? He has been in Parliament some time, you know,' returned the engaging young Barnacle.
'True,' said Bar, with his light-comedy laugh for special jury-men, which was a very different thing from his low-comedy laugh for comic tradesmen on common juries: 'he has been in Parliament for some time. Yet hitherto our star has been a vacillating and wavering star? Humph?'
An average witness would have been seduced by the Humph? into an affirmative answer, But Ferdinand Barnacle looked knowingly at Bar as he strolled up-stairs, and gave him no answer at all.
'Just so, just so,' said Bar, nodding his head, for he was not to be put off in that way, 'and therefore I spoke of our sitting in Banco to take a special argument--meaning this to be a high and solemn occasion, when, as Captain Macheath says, "the judges are met: a terrible show!" We lawyers are sufficiently liberal, you see, to quote the Captain, though the Captain is severe upon us. Nevertheless, I think I could put in evidence an admission of the Captain's,' said Bar, with a little jocose roll of his head; for, in his legal current of speech, he always assumed the air of rallying himself with the best grace in the world; 'an admission of the Captain's that Law, in the gross, is at least intended to be impartial. For what says the Captain, if I quote him correctly-- and if not,' with a light-comedy touch of his double eye-glass on his companion's shoulder, 'my learned friend will set me right:
"Since laws were made for every degree, To curb vice in others as well as in me, I wonder we ha'n't better company Upon Tyburn Tree!"'
These words brought them to the drawing-room, where Mr Merdle stood before the fire. So immensely astounded was Mr Merdle by the entrance of Bar with such a reference in his mouth, that Bar explained himself to have been quoting Gay. 'Assuredly not one of our Westminster Hall authorities,' said he, 'but still no despicable one to a man possessing the largely-practical Mr Merdle's knowledge of the world.'
Mr Merdle looked as if he thought he would say something, but subsequently looked as if he thought he wouldn't. The interval afforded time for Bishop to be announced. Bishop came in with meekness, and yet with a strong and rapid step as if he wanted to get his seven-league dress-shoes on, and go round the world to see that everybody was in a satisfactory state. Bishop had no idea that there was anything significant in the occasion. That was the most remarkable trait in his demeanour. He was crisp, fresh, cheerful, affable, bland; but so surprisingly innocent.
Bar sidled up to prefer his politest inquiries in reference to the health of Mrs Bishop. Mrs Bishop had been a little unfortunate in the article of taking cold at a Confirmation, but otherwise was well. Young Mr Bishop was also well. He was down, with his young wife and little family, at his Cure of Souls. The representatives of the Barnacle Chorus dropped in next, and Mr Merdle's physician dropped in next. Bar, who had a bit of one eye and a bit of his double eye-glass for every one who came in at the door, no matter with whom he was conversing or what he was talking about, got among them all by some skilful means, without being seen to get at them, and touched each individual gentleman of the jury on his own individual favourite spot. With some of the Chorus, he laughed about the sleepy member who had gone out into the lobby the other night, and voted the wrong way: with others, he deplored that innovating spirit in the time which could not even be prevented from taking an unnatural interest in the public service and the public money: with the physician he had a word to say about the general health; he had also a little information to ask him for, concerning a professional man of unquestioned erudition and polished manners--but those credentials in their highest development he believed were the possession of other professors of the healing art (jury droop)--whom he had happened to have in the witness-box the day before yesterday, and from whom he had elicited in cross-examination that he claimed to be one of the exponents of this new mode of treatment which appeared to Bar to--eh?--well, Bar thought so; Bar had thought, and hoped, Physician would tell him so.