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Mr. Bounderby wiped his head again. "What
should you say to;" here he violently
exploded; "to a Hand being in it?"

"I hope," said Harthouse, lazily, " not our
friend Blackpot?"

"Say Pool instead of Pot, sir," returned
Bounderby, "and that's the man."

Louisa faintly uttered some word of
incredulity and surprise.

"O yes! I know!" said Bounderby,
immediately catching at the sound. "I know!
I am used to that. I know all about it.
They are the finest people in the world, these
fellows are. They have got the gift of the gab,
they have. They only want to have their
rights explained to them, they do. But I
tell you what. Show me a dissatisfied Hand,
and I'll show you a man that's fit for
anything bad, I don't care what it is."

Another of the popular fictions of Coketown,
which some pains had been taken to
disseminateand which some people really
believed.

"But l am acquainted with these chaps,"
said Bounderby. "I can read 'em off, like
"books. Mrs. Sparsit, ma'am, I appeal to
you. Wha.t warning did I give that fellow,
the first time he set foot in the house, when
the express object of his visit was to know how
he could knock Religion over, and floor the
Established Church? Mrs. Sparsit, in point
of high connexions, you are on a level with
the aristocracy,—did I say, or did I not say,
to that fellow, 'you can't hide the truth from
me; you are not the kind of fellow I like;
you'll come to no good.'?"

"Assuredly, sir," returned Mrs. Sparsit,
"you did, in a highly impressive manner,
give him such an admonition."

"When he shocked you, ma'am," said
Bounderby; "when he shocked your
feelings?"

"Yes, sir," returned Mrs. Sparsit, with a
meek shake of her head, "he certainly did
so. Though I do not mean to say but that
my feelings may be weaker on such points
more foolish, if the term is preferredthan
they might have been, if I had always
occupied my present position."

Mr. Bounderby stared with a bursting
pride at Mr. Harthouse, as much as to say,
"I am the proprietor of this female, and she's
worth your attention, I think?" Then,
resumed his discourse.

"You can recall for yourself, Harthouse,
what I said to him when you saw him. I
didn't mince the matter with him. I am
never mealy with 'em. I KNOW 'em. Very
well, sir. Three days after that, he bolted.
Went off, nobody knows where: as my mother
did in my infancyonly with this difference,
that he is a worse subject than my mother,
if possible. What did he do before he went?
What do you say; " Mr. Bounderby, with
his hat in his hand, gave a beat upon the
crown at every little division of his sentences,
as if it were a tambourine; "to his being
seennight after nightwatching the Bank?
To his lurking about there after dark ?—
To its striking Mrs. Sparsitthat he could
be lurking for no goodTo her calling Bitzer's
attention to him, and their both taking
notice of himAnd to its appearing on
inquiry to-daythat he was also noticed by
the neighbours?" Having come to the
climax, Mr. Bounderby, like an oriental
dancer, put his tambourine on his head.

"Suspicious," said James Harthouse,
"certainly."

"I think so, sir," said Bounderby, with a
defiant nod. "I think so. But there are
more of 'em in it. There's an old woman.
One never hears of these things till the
mischief's done; all sorts of defects are found
out in the stable door after the horse is
stolen; there's an old woman turns up now.
An old woman who seems to have been flying
into town on a broomstick, every now and
then. She watches the place a whole day
before this fellow begins, and, on the night
when you saw him, she steals away with him
and holds a council with himI suppose, to
make her report on going off duty, and be
damned to her."

There was such a person in the room that
night, and she shrunk from observation,
thought Louisa.

"This is not all of 'em, even as we already
know 'em," said Bounderby, with many nods
of hidden meaning. "But I have said
enough for the present. You'll have the
goodness to keep it quiet, and mention it to
no one. It may take time, but we shall have
'em. It's policy to give 'em line enough, and
there's no objection to that."

"Of course, they will be punished with the
utmost rigor of the law, as notice-boards
observe," replied James Harthouse, "and serve
them right. Fellows who go in for Banks
must take the consequences. If there were
no consequences, we should all go in for
Banks." He had gently taken Louisa's
parasol from her hand, and had put it up for
her; and she walked under its shade, though
the sun did not shine there.

"For the present. Loo Bounderby," said
her husband, "here's Mrs. Sparsit to look
after. Mrs. Sparsit's nerves have been acted
upon by this business, and she'll stay here a
day or two. So, make her comfortable."

"Thank you very much, air," that discreet
lady observed, "but pray do not let My
comfort be a consideration. Anything will do
for Me."

It soon appeared that if Mrs. Sparsit had a
failing in her association with that domestic
establishment, it was that she was so
excessively regardless of herself and regardful of
others, as to be a nuisance. On being shown
her chamber, she was so dreadfully sensible
of its comforts as to suggest the inference
that she would have preferred to pass the
night on the mangle in the laundry. True,
the Powlers and the Scadgerses were

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