Charles Dickens

'Anything more?'

'Yes, sir, yes, sir, something more. I am not at all pleased, Mr Pancks, with my daughter; not at all pleased. Besides calling much too often to inquire for Mrs Clennam, Mrs Clennam, who is not just now in circumstances that are by any means calculated to--to be satisfactory to all parties, she goes, Mr Pancks, unless I am much deceived, to inquire for Mr Clennam in jail. In jail.'

'He's laid up, you know,' said Pancks. 'Perhaps it's kind.'

'Pooh, pooh, Mr Pancks. She has nothing to do with that, nothing to do with that. I can't allow it. Let him pay his debts and come out, come out; pay his debts, and come out.'

Although Mr Pancks's hair was standing up like strong wire, he gave it another double-handed impulse in the perpendicular direction, and smiled at his proprietor in a most hideous manner.

'You will please to mention to my daughter, Mr Pancks, that I can't allow it, can't allow it,' said the Patriarch blandly.

'Oh!' said Pancks. 'You couldn't mention it yourself?'

'No, sir, no; you are paid to mention it,' the blundering old booby could not resist the temptation of trying it again, 'and you must mention it to pay, mention it to pay.'

'Oh!' said Pancks. 'Anything more?'

'Yes, sir. It appears to me, Mr Pancks, that you yourself are too often and too much in that direction, that direction. I recommend you, Mr Pancks, to dismiss from your attention both your own losses and other people's losses, and to mind your business, mind your business.'

Mr Pancks acknowledged this recommendation with such an extraordinarily abrupt, short, and loud utterance of the monosyllable 'Oh!' that even the unwieldy Patriarch moved his blue eyes in something of a hurry, to look at him. Mr Pancks, with a sniff of corresponding intensity, then added, 'Anything more?'

'Not at present, sir, not at present. I am going,' said the Patriarch, finishing his mixture, and rising with an amiable air, 'to take a little stroll, a little stroll. Perhaps I shall find you here when I come back. If not, sir, duty, duty; squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, on Monday; squeeze on Monday!'

Mr Pancks, after another stiffening of his hair, looked on at the Patriarchal assumption of the broad-brimmed hat, with a momentary appearance of indecision contending with a sense of injury. He was also hotter than at first, and breathed harder. But he suffered Mr Casby to go out, without offering any further remark, and then took a peep at him over the little green window-blinds. 'I thought so,' he observed. 'I knew where you were bound to. Good!' He then steamed back to his Dock, put it carefully in order, took down his hat, looked round the Dock, said 'Good-bye!' and puffed away on his own account. He steered straight for Mrs Plornish's end of Bleeding Heart Yard, and arrived there, at the top of the steps, hotter than ever.

At the top of the steps, resisting Mrs Plornish's invitations to come and sit along with father in Happy Cottage--which to his relief were not so numerous as they would have been on any other night than Saturday, when the connection who so gallantly supported the business with everything but money gave their orders freely--at the top of the steps Mr Pancks remained until he beheld the Patriarch, who always entered the Yard at the other end, slowly advancing, beaming, and surrounded by suitors. Then Mr Pancks descended and bore down upon him, with his utmost pressure of steam on.

The Patriarch, approaching with his usual benignity, was surprised to see Mr Pancks, but supposed him to have been stimulated to an immediate squeeze instead of postponing that operation until Monday. The population of the Yard were astonished at the meeting, for the two powers had never been seen there together, within the memory of the oldest Bleeding Heart. But they were overcome by unutterable amazement when Mr Pancks, going close up to the most venerable of men and halting in front of the bottle-green waistcoat, made a trigger of his right thumb and forefinger, applied the same to the brim of the broad-brimmed hat, and, with singular smartness and precision, shot it off the polished head as if it had been a large marble.