The fact is, we must do it.'
'I cannot set myself right with it, Mr Rugg, and have no business to expect that I ever shall.'
'Don't say that, sir, don't say that. The cost of being moved to the Bench is almost insignificant, and if the general feeling is strong that you ought to be there, why--really--'
'I thought you had settled, Mr Rugg,' said Arthur, 'that my determination to remain here was a matter of taste.'
'Well, sir, well! But is it good taste, is it good taste? That's the Question.' Mr Rugg was so soothingly persuasive as to be quite pathetic. 'I was almost going to say, is it good feeling? This is an extensive affair of yours; and your remaining here where a man can come for a pound or two, is remarked upon as not in keeping. It is not in keeping. I can't tell you, sir, in how many quarters I heard it mentioned. I heard comments made upon it last night in a Parlour frequented by what I should call, if I did not look in there now and then myself, the best legal company--I heard, there, comments on it that I was sorry to hear. They hurt me on your account. Again, only this morning at breakfast. My daughter (but a woman, you'll say: yet still with a feeling for these things, and even with some little personal experience, as the plaintiff in Rugg and Bawkins) was expressing her great surprise; her great surprise.
Now under these circumstances, and considering that none of us can quite set ourselves above public opinion, wouldn't a trifling concession to that opinion be-- Come, sir,' said Rugg, 'I will put it on the lowest ground of argument, and say, amiable?'
Arthur's thoughts had once more wandered away to Little Dorrit, and the question remained unanswered.
'As to myself, sir,' said Mr Rugg, hoping that his eloquence had reduced him to a state of indecision, 'it is a principle of mine not to consider myself when a client's inclinations are in the scale. But, knowing your considerate character and general wish to oblige, I will repeat that I should prefer your being in the Bench.
Your case has made a noise; it is a creditable case to be professionally concerned in; I should feel on a better standing with my connection, if you went to the Bench. Don't let that influence you, sir. I merely state the fact.'
So errant had the prisoner's attention already grown in solitude and dejection, and so accustomed had it become to commune with only one silent figure within the ever-frowning walls, that Clennam had to shake off a kind of stupor before he could look at Mr Rugg, recall the thread of his talk, and hurriedly say, 'I am unchanged, and unchangeable, in my decision. Pray, let it be; let it be!' Mr Rugg, without concealing that he was nettled and mortified, replied:
'Oh! Beyond a doubt, sir. I have travelled out of the record, sir, I am aware, in putting the point to you. But really, when I herd it remarked in several companies, and in very good company, that however worthy of a foreigner, it is not worthy of the spirit of an Englishman to remain in the Marshalsea when the glorious liberties of his island home admit of his removal to the Bench, I thought I would depart from the narrow professional line marked out to me, and mention it. Personally,' said Mr Rugg, 'I have no opinion on the topic.'
'That's well,' returned Arthur.
'Oh! None at all, sir!' said Mr Rugg. 'If I had, I should have been
unwilling, some minutes ago, to see a client of mine visited in this place by a gentleman of a high family riding a saddle-horse. But it was not my business. If I had, I might have wished to be now empowered to mention to another gentleman, a gentleman of military
exterior at present waiting in the Lodge, that my client had never intended to remain here, and was on the eve of removal to a superior abode. But my course as a professional machine is clear; I have nothing to do with it. Is it your good pleasure to see the gentleman, sir?'
'Who is waiting to see me, did you say?'
'I did take that unprofessional liberty, sir.