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when I was there, and I think at those seasons
his father would occasionally have some passing
perception that the opening he was looking
for, had not appeared yet. But in the general
tumbling up of the family, his tumbling out in
life somewhere, was a thing to transact itself
somehow. In the mean time Mr. Pocket grew
greyer, and tried oftener to lift himself out of
his perplexities by the hair. While Mrs. Pocket
tripped up the family with her footstool, read
her book of dignities, lost her pocket-handkerchief,
told us about her grandpapa, and taught
the young idea how to shoot, by shooting it into
bed whenever it attracted her notice.

As I am now generalising a period of my life
with the object of clearing the way before me,
I can scarcely do so better than by at once
completing the description of our usual manners
and customs at Barnard's Inn.

We spent as much money as we could, and
got as little for it as people could make up their
minds to give us. We were always more or
less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were
in the same condition. There was a gay fiction
among us that we were constantly enjoying
ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did.
To the best of my belief, our case was in the last
aspect a rather common one.

Every morning, with an air ever new,
Herbert went into the City to look about him. I
often paid him a visit in the dark back-room
in which he consorted with an ink-jar, a hat-
peg, a coal-box, a string-box, an almanack, a
desk and stool, and a ruler; and I do not
remember that I ever saw him do anything else
but look about him. If we all did what we
undertake to do, as faithfully as Herbert did, we
might live in a Republic of the Virtues. He
had nothing else to do, poor fellow, except at a
certain hour of every afternoon to "go to
Lloyd's"—in observance of a ceremony of seeing
his principal, I think. He never did anything
else in connexion with Lloyd's that I could find
out, except come back again. When he felt his
case unusually serious, and that he positively must
find an opening, he would go on 'Change at the
busy time, and walk in and out, in a kind of
gloomy country dance figure, among the assembled
magnates. "For," says Herbert to me,
coming home to dinner on one of these special
occasions, "I find the truth to be, Handel, that
an opening won't come to one, but one must go
to it——so I have been."

If we had been less attached to one another,
I think we must have hated one another
regularly every morning. I detested the chambers
beyond expression at that period of repentance,
and could not endure the sight of the Avenger's
livery: which had a more expensive and a less
remunerative appearance then, than at any other
time in the four-and-twenty hours. As we got
more and more into debt, breakfast became a
hollower and hollower form, and, being on one
occasion at breakfast-time threatened (by letter)
with legal proceedings, "not unwholly
unconnected," as my local paper might put it, "with
jewellery," I went so far as to seize the Avenger
by his blue collar and shake him off his feet
so that he was actually in the air, like a booted
Cupidfor presuming to suppose that we wanted
a roll.

At certain timesmeaning at uncertain times,
for they depended on our humourI would say
to Herbert, as if it were a remarkable
discovery:

"My dear Herbert, we are getting on badly."

"My dear Handel," Herbert would say to me,
in all sincerity, "if you will believe me, those
very words were on my lips, by a strange
coincidence."

"Then, Herbert," I would respond, "let us
look into our affairs."

We always derived profound satisfaction from
making an appointment for this purpose. I
always thought this was business, this was the
way to confront the thing, this was the way to
take the foe by the throat. And I know Herbert
thought so too.

We ordered something rather special for
dinner, with a bottle of something similarly
out of the common way, in order that our minds
might be fortified for the occasion, and we
might come well up to the mark. Dinner over,
we produced a bundle of pens, a copious supply
of ink, and a goodly show of writing and blotting
paper. For, there was something very comfortable
in having plenty of stationery.

I would then take a sheet of paper, and write
across the top of it, in a neat hand, the heading,
"Memorandum of Pip's debts;" with Barnard's
Inn and the date very carefully added.
Herbert would also take a sheet of paper, and write
across it with similar formalities, "Memorandum
of Herbert's debts."

Each of us would then refer to a confused
heap of papers at his side, which had been thrown
into drawers, worn into holes in pockets, half-
burnt in lighting candles, stuck for weeks into
the looking-glass, and otherwise damaged. The
sound of our pens going, refreshed us exceedingly,
insomuch that I sometimes found it difficult
to distinguish between this edifying business
proceeding and actually paying the money. In
point of meritorious character, the two things
seemed about equal.

When we had written a little while, I would
ask Herbert how he got on? Herbert probably
would have been scratching his head in a most
rueful manner at the sight of his accumulating
figures.

"They are mounting up, Handel," Herbert
would say; "upon my life, they are mounting
up."

"Be firm, Herbert," I would retort, plying
my own pen with great assiduity. "Look the
thing in the face. Look into your affairs. Stare
them out of countenance."

"So I would, Handel, only they are staring
me out of countenance."

However, my determined manner would have
its effect, and Herbert would fall to work again.
After a time, he would give up once more, on
the plea that he had not got Cobbs's bill, or
Lobbs's, or Nobbs's, as the case might be.

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