Mr Pancks, crushed and submissive, obeyed.
'He is not unlike what my daughter was, sir, when we began the Breach of Promise action of Rugg and Bawkins, in which she was Plaintiff,' said Mr Rugg. 'He takes too strong and direct an interest in the case. His feelings are worked upon. There is no getting on, in our profession, with feelings worked upon, sir.'
As he pulled off his gloves and put them in his hat, he saw, in a side glance or two, that a great change had come over his client.
'I am sorry to perceive, sir,' said Mr Rugg, 'that you have been allowing your own feelings to be worked upon. Now, pray don't, pray don't. These losses are much to be deplored, sir, but we must look 'em in the face.' 'If the money I have sacrificed had been all my own, Mr Rugg,' sighed Mr Clennam, 'I should have cared far less.'
'Indeed, sir?' said Mr Rugg, rubbing his hands with a cheerful air.
'You surprise me. That's singular, sir. I have generally found, in my experience, that it's their own money people are most particular about. I have seen people get rid of a good deal of other people's money, and bear it very well: very well indeed.'
With these comforting remarks, Mr Rugg seated himself on an office- stool at the desk and proceeded to business.
'Now, Mr Clennam, by your leave, let us go into the matter. Let us see the state of the case. The question is simple. The question is the usual plain, straightforward, common-sense question. What can we do for ourself? What can we do for ourself?'
'This is not the question with me, Mr Rugg,' said Arthur. 'You mistake it in the beginning. It is, what can I do for my partner, how can I best make reparation to him?'
'I am afraid, sir, do you know,' argued Mr Rugg persuasively, 'that you are still allowing your feeling to be worked upon. I don't like the term "reparation," sir, except as a lever in the hands of counsel. Will you excuse my saying that I feel it my duty to offer you the caution, that you really must not allow your feelings to be worked upon?'
'Mr Rugg,' said Clennam, nerving himself to go through with what he had resolved upon, and surprising that gentleman by appearing, in his despondency, to have a settled determination of purpose; 'you give me the impression that you will not be much disposed to adopt the course I have made up my mind to take. If your disapproval of it should render you unwilling to discharge such business as it necessitates, I am sorry for it, and must seek other aid. But I will represent to you at once, that to argue against it with me is useless.'
'Good, sir,' answered Mr Rugg, shrugging his shoulders.'Good, sir. Since the business is to be done by some hands, let it be done by mine. Such was my principle in the case of Rugg and Bawkins. Such is my principle in most cases. '
Clennam then proceeded to state to Mr Rugg his fixed resolution. He told Mr Rugg that his partner was a man of great simplicity and integrity, and that in all he meant to do, he was guided above all things by a knowledge of his partner's character, and a respect for his feelings. He explained that his partner was then absent on an enterprise of importance, and that it particularly behoved himself publicly to accept the blame of what he had rashly done, and publicly to exonerate his partner from all participation in the responsibility of it, lest the successful conduct of that enterprise should be endangered by the slightest suspicion wrongly attaching to his partner's honour and credit in another country. He told Mr Rugg that to clear his partner morally, to the fullest extent, and publicly and unreservedly to declare that he, Arthur Clennam, of that Firm, had of his own sole act, and even expressly against his partner's caution, embarked its resources in the swindles that had lately perished, was the only real atonement within his power; was a better atonement to the particular man than it would be to many men; and was therefore the atonement he had first to make. With this view, his intention was to print a declaration to the foregoing effect, which he had already drawn up; and, besides circulating it among all who had dealings with the House, to advertise it in the public papers.