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of his own discovery. Now, Dobbs has been
troubled and abashed in all this; Dobbs's
voice, face, and manner, with a stubbornness
far beyond his control, have revealed his
uneasiness; Dobbs, leading the noble Marquis
away, has shown me in the expression of his
very shoulders that he knew I laughed at him,
and that he knew he deserved it; and yet
Dobbs could not for his life resist the shadow
of the Toady Tree, and come out into the
natural air!

The other day, walking down Piccadilly
from Hyde Park Corner, I overtook Hobbs.
Hobbs had two relations starved to death
with needless hunger and cold before
Sebastopol, and one killed by mistake in the
hospital at Scutari. Hobbs himself had the
misfortune, about fifteen years ago, to invent
a very ingenious piece of mechanism highly
important to dockyards, which has detained
him unavailingly in the waiting-rooms of public
offices ever since, and which was invented
last month by somebody else in France, and
immediately adopted there. Hobbs had been
one of the public at Mr. Roebuck's committee,
the very day I overtook him, and was burning
with indignation at what he had heard.
"This Gordian knot of red tape," said Hobbs,
"must be cut. All things considered, there
never was a people so abused as the English
at this time, and there never was a country
brought to such a pass. It will not bear
thinking of—(Lord Joddle)." The parenthesis
referred to a passing carriage, which
Hobbs turned and looked after with the
greatest interest. "The system," he
continued, "must be totally changed. We must
have the right man in the right place (Duke
of Twaddleton on horseback), and only
capability and not family connexions placed in
office (brother-in-law of the Bishop of
Gorhambury). We must not put our trust in
mere idols (how do you do!—Lady Coldveal
little too highly painted, but fine woman for
her years), and we must get rid as a nation
of our ruinous gentility and deference to mere
rank. (Thank you, Lord Edward, I am quite
well. Very glad indeed to have the honour
and pleasure of seeing you. I hope Lady
Edward is well. Delighted, I am sure)."
Pending the last parenthesis, he stopped to
shake hands with a dim old gentleman in a
flaxen wig, whose eye he had been exceedingly
solicitous to catch, and, when we went
on again, seemed so refreshed and braced by
the interview that I believe him to have been
for the time actually taller. This in Hobbs,
whom I knew to be miserably poor, whom I
saw with my eyes to be prematurely grey,
the best part of whose life had been changed
into a wretched dream from which he could
never awake now, who was in mourning
without and in mourning within, and all
through causes that any half-dozen
shopkeepers taken at random from the London
Directory and shot into Downing Street
out of sacks could have turned asidethis,
I say, in Hobbs, of all men, gave me so
much to think about, that I took little or
no heed of his further conversation until I
found we had come to Burlington House.
"A little sketch" he was saying then, "by
a little child, and two hundred and fifty
pounds already bid for it! Well, it's
very gratifying, isn't it? Really, it's
very gratifying! Won't you come in? Do
come in!" I excused myself, and Hobbs
went in without me: a drop in a swollen
current of the general public. I looked
into the courtyard as I went by, and
thought I perceived a remarkably fine
specimen of the Toady Tree in full growth

There is my friend Nobbs, A man of
sufficient merit, one would suppose, to be calmly
self-reliant, and to preserve that manly
equilibrium which as little needs to assert itself
overmuch, as to derive a sickly reflected
light from any one else. I declare in the
face of day, that I believe Nobbs to be
morally and physically unable to sit at a
table and hear a man of title mentioned,
whom he knows, without putting in his claim
to the acquaintance. I have observed Nobbs
under these circumstances, a thousand times,
and have never found him able to hold his
peace. I have seen him fidget, and worry
himself, and try to get himself away from the
Toady Tree, and say to himself as plainly as
he could have said aloud, "Nobbs, Nobbs, is
not this base in you, and what can it possibly
matter to these people present, whether you
know this man, or not?" Yet, there has
been a compulsion upon him to say, "Lord
Dash Blank? Oh, yes! I know him very
well; very well, indeed. I have known Dash
Blanklet me seereally I am afraid to say
how long I have known Dash Blank. It must
be a dozen years. A very good fellow, Dash
Blank!" And, like my friend Hobbs, he has
been positively taller for some moments
afterwards. I assert of Nobbs, as I have already
in effect asserted of Dobbs, that if I could be
brought blindfold into a room full of company,
of whom he made one, I could tell in a
moment, by his manner of speaking, not to say
by his mere breathing, whether there were a
title present. The ancient Egyptians in their
palmiest days, had not an enchanter among
them who could have wrought such a magical
change in Nobbs, as the incarnation of one
line from the book of the Peerage can effect
in one minute.

Pobbs is as bad, though in a different way.
Pobbs affects to despise these distinctions.
He speaks of his titled acquaintances, in a
light and easy vein, as "the swells." According
as his humour varies, he will tell you that
the swells are, after all, the best people a man
can have to do with, or that he is weary of
the swells and has had enough of them. But,
note, that to the best of my knowledge,
information, and belief, Pobbs would die of
chagrin, if the swells left off asking him to