Say likewise, my Twemlow, whether it be the happier lot to be a poor relation of the great, or to stand in the wintry slush giving the hack horses to drink out of the shallow tub at the coach-stand, into which thou has so nearly set thy uncertain foot. Twemlow says nothing, and goes on.
As he approaches the Lammles' door, drives up a little one-horse carriage, containing Tippins the divine. Tippins, letting down the window, playfully extols the vigilance of her cavalier in being in waiting there to hand her out. Twemlow hands her out with as much polite gravity as if she were anything real, and they proceed upstairs. Tippins all abroad about the legs, and seeking to express that those unsteady articles are only skipping in their native buoyancy.
And dear Mrs Lammle and dear Mr Lammle, how do you do, and when are you going down to what's-its-name place--Guy, Earl of Warwick, you know--what is it?--Dun Cow--to claim the flitch of bacon? And Mortimer, whose name is for ever blotted out from my list of lovers, by reason first of fickleness and then of base desertion, how do YOU do, wretch? And Mr Wrayburn, YOU here! What can YOU come for, because we are all very sure before-hand that you are not going to talk! And Veneering, M.P., how are things going on down at the house, and when will you turn out those terrible people for us? And Mrs Veneering, my dear, can it positively be true that you go down to that stifling place night after night, to hear those men prose? Talking of which, Veneering, why don't you prose, for you haven't opened your lips there yet, and we are dying to hear what you have got to say to us! Miss Podsnap, charmed to see you. Pa, here? No! Ma, neither? Oh! Mr Boots! Delighted. Mr Brewer! This IS a gathering of the clans. Thus Tippins, and surveys Fledgeby and outsiders through golden glass, murmuring as she turns about and about, in her innocent giddy way, Anybody else I know? No, I think not. Nobody there. Nobody THERE. Nobody anywhere!
Mr Lammle, all a-glitter, produces his friend Fledgeby, as dying for the honour of presentation to Lady Tippins. Fledgeby presented, has the air of going to say something, has the air of going to say nothing, has an air successively of meditation, of resignation, and of desolation, backs on Brewer, makes the tour of Boots, and fades into the extreme background, feeling for his whisker, as if it might have turned up since he was there five minutes ago.
But Lammle has him out again before he has so much as completely ascertained the bareness of the land. He would seem to be in a bad way, Fledgeby; for Lammle represents him as dying again. He is dying now, of want of presentation to Twemlow.
Twemlow offers his hand. Glad to see him. 'Your mother, sir, was a connexion of mine.'
'I believe so,' says Fledgeby, 'but my mother and her family were two.'
'Are you staying in town?' asks Twemlow.
'I always am,' says Fledgeby.
'You like town,' says Twemlow. But is felled flat by Fledgeby's taking it quite ill, and replying, No, he don't like town. Lammle tries to break the force of the fall, by remarking that some people do not like town. Fledgeby retorting that he never heard of any such case but his own, Twemlow goes down again heavily.
'There is nothing new this morning, I suppose?' says Twemlow, returning to the mark with great spirit.
Fledgeby has not heard of anything.
'No, there's not a word of news,' says Lammle.
'Not a particle,' adds Boots.
'Not an atom,' chimes in Brewer.
Somehow the execution of this little concerted piece appears to raise the general spirits as with a sense of duty done, and sets the company a going. Everybody seems more equal than before, to the calamity of being in the society of everybody else. Even Eugene standing in a window, moodily swinging the tassel of a blind, gives it a smarter jerk now, as if he found himself in better case.
Breakfast announced. Everything on table showy and gaudy, but with a self-assertingly temporary and nomadic air on the decorations, as boasting that they will be much more showy and gaudy in the palatial residence.