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dismounting, and giving his bridle to his servant,
"I do see it; and am as overcome as you can
possibly desire me to be, by the spectacle
afforded to my mental view. Nevertheless,
I may be allowed, I hope, to congratulate you
which I do with all my soul, I assure you
on your not having sustained a greater
loss."

"Thank'ee," replied Bounderby, in a short,
ungracious manner. "But I tell you what.
It might have been twenty thousand
pound."

"I suppose it might."

"Suppose it might? By the Lord, you
may suppose so. By George!" said Mr.
Bounderby, with sundry menacing nods and
shakes of his head, "It might have been
twice twenty. There's no knowing what it
would have been, or wouldn't have been, as
it was, but for the fellows' being disturbed."

Louisa had come up now, and Mrs. Sparsit,
and Bitzer.

"Here's Tom Gradgrind's daughter knows
pretty well what it might have been, if you
don't," blustered Bounderby. "Dropped, sir,
as if she was shot, when I told her! Never
knew her do such a thing before. Does
her credit, under the circumstances, in my
opinion!"

She still looked faint and pale. James
Harthouse begged her to take his arm; and
as they moved on very slowly, asked how the
robbery had been committed.

"Why, I am going to tell you," said
Bounderby, irritably giving his arm to Mrs.
Sparsit. "If you hadn't been so mighty
particular about the sum, I should have
begun to tell you before. You know this
lady (for she is a lady), Mrs. Sparsit?"

"I have already had the honor"—

"Very well. And this young man, Bitzer,
you saw him too on the same occasion?" Mr.
Harthouse inclined his head in assent, and
Bitzer knuckled his forehead.

"Very well They live at the Bank. You
know they live at the Bank perhaps? Very
well. Yesterday afternoon, at the close of
business hours, everything was put away as
usual. In the iron room that this young
fellow sleeps outside of, there was never
mind how much. In the little safe in young
Tom's closet, the safe used for petty purposes,
there was a hundred and fifty odd pound."

"Hundred and fifty-four, seven, one," said
Bitzer.

"Come!" retorted Boundevby, stopping to
wheel round upon him, "let's have none of
your
interruptions. It's enough to be robbed
while you're snoring because you're too
comfortable, without being put right, with
your
four seven ones. I didn't snore, myself,
when I was your age, let me tell you. I
hadn't victuals enough to snore. And
I didn't four seven one. Not if I knew it."

Bitzer knuckled his forehead again, in a
sneaking manner, and seemed at once
particularly impressed and depressed by the
instance last given of Mr. Bounderby's
moral abstinence.

"A hundred and fifty odd pound," resumed
Mr. Bounderby. "That sum of money, young
Tom locked in his safe; not a very strong
safe, but that's no matter now. Everything
was left, all right. Some time in the night,
while this young fellow snoredMrs. Sparsit,
ma'am, you say you have heard him snore?"

"Sir," returned Mrs. Sparsit, "I cannot
say that I have heard him precisely snore, and
therefore must not make that statement.
But on winter evenings, when he has fallen
asleep at his table, I have heard him, what I
should prefer to describe as partially choke.
I have heard him on such occasions produce
sounds of a nature similar to what may be
sometimes heard in Dutch clocks. Not,"
said Mrs. Sparsit, with a lofty sense of giving
strict evidence, "that I would convey any
imputation on his moral character. Far from
it. I have always considered Bitzer a young
man of the most upright principle; and to
that I beg to bear my testimony."

"Well!" said the exasperated Bounderby,
"while he was snoring, or choking, or Dutch-
clocking, or something orother being asleep
some fellows, somehow, whether previously
concealed in the house or not remains to be
seen, got to young Tom's safe, forced it, and
abstracted the contents. Being then
disturbed, they made off; letting themselves out
at the main door, and double-locking it again
(it was double-locked, and the key under
Mrs. Sparsit's pillow) with a false key, which
was picked up in the street near the Bank,
about twelve o'clock to-day. No alarm takes
place, till this chap, Bitzer, turns out this
morning and begins to open and prepare the
offices for business. Then, looking at Tom's
safe, he sees the door ajar, and finds the lock
forced, and the money gone."

"Where is Tom, by the by?" asked
Harthouse, glancing round.

"He has been helping the police," said
Bounderby, "and stays behind at the Bank.
I wish these fellows had tried to rob me
when I was at his time of life. They would
have been out of pocket, if they had invested
eighteenpence in the job; I can tell 'em
that."

"Is anybody suspected?"

"Suspected? I should think there was
somebody suspected. Egod!" said Bounderby,
relinquishing Mrs. Sparsit's arm to wipe his
heated head, "Josiah Bounderby of
Coketown is not to be plundered and nobody
suspected. No, thank you!"

Might Mr. Harthouse inquire Who was
suspected?

'' Well," said Bounderby, stopping and
facing about to confront them all, "I'll tell
you. It's not to be mentioned everywhere;
it's not to be mentioned anywhere; in order
that the scoundrels concerned (there's a gang
of 'em) may be thrown oil' their guard. So
take this in confidence. Now wait a bit."

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