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Sketches by Boz. Charles Dickens

When I was left in this way, I used to sit, think, think, thinking, till I felt as lonesome as a kitten in a wash-house copper with the lid on; but I believe the old brokers′ men who are regularly trained to it, never think at all. I have heard some on ′em say, indeed, that they don′t know how!

′I put in a good many distresses in my time (continued Mr. Bung), and in course I wasn′t long in finding, that some people are not as much to be pitied as others are, and that people with good incomes who get into difficulties, which they keep patching up day after day and week after week, get so used to these sort of things in time, that at last they come scarcely to feel them at all. I remember the very first place I was put in possession of, was a gentleman′s house in this parish here, that everybody would suppose couldn′t help having money if he tried. I went with old Fixem, my old master, ′bout half arter eight in the morning; rang the area- bell; servant in livery opened the door: "Governor at home?"— "Yes, he is," says the man; "but he′s breakfasting just now." "Never mind," says Fixem, "just you tell him there′s a gentleman here, as wants to speak to him partickler." So the servant he opens his eyes, and stares about him all ways—looking for the gentleman, as it struck me, for I don′t think anybody but a man as was stone-blind would mistake Fixem for one; and as for me, I was as seedy as a cheap cowcumber. Hows′ever, he turns round, and goes to the breakfast-parlour, which was a little snug sort of room at the end of the passage, and Fixem (as we always did in that profession), without waiting to be announced, walks in arter him, and before the servant could get out, "Please, sir, here′s a man as wants to speak to you," looks in at the door as familiar and pleasant as may be. "Who the devil are you, and how dare you walk into a gentleman′s house without leave?" says the master, as fierce as a bull in fits. "My name," says Fixem, winking to the master to send the servant away, and putting the warrant into his hands folded up like a note, "My name′s Smith," says he, "and I called from Johnson′s about that business of Thompson′s."—"Oh," says the other, quite down on him directly, "How IS Thompson?" says he; "Pray sit down, Mr. Smith: John, leave the room." Out went the servant; and the gentleman and Fixem looked at one another till they couldn′t look any longer, and then they varied the amusements by looking at me, who had been standing on the mat all this time. "Hundred and fifty pounds, I see," said the gentleman at last. "Hundred and fifty pound," said Fixem, "besides cost of levy, sheriff′s poundage, and all other incidental expenses."—"Um," says the gentleman, "I shan′t be able to settle this before to-morrow afternoon."—"Very sorry; but I shall be obliged to leave my man here till then," replies Fixem, pretending to look very miserable over it. "That′s very unfort′nate," says the gentleman, "for I have got a large party here to-night, and I′m ruined if those fellows of mine get an inkling of the matter—just step here, Mr. Smith," says he, after a short pause. So Fixem walks with him up to the window, and after a good deal of whispering, and a little chinking of suverins, and looking at me, he comes back and says, "Bung, you′re a handy fellow, and very honest I know.

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