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"O, dear no, ma'am," said Trottle, shaking
his head with decision; " it won't let. It
never does let, ma'am."

"Mercy me! Why not?"

"Nobody knows, ma'am. All I have to
mention is, ma'am, that the House won't let?"

"How long has this unfortunate House
been to let, in the name of Fortune?"
said I.

"Ever so long," said Trottle. " Years."

"Is it in ruins?"

"It's a good deal out of repair, ma'am, but
it's not in ruins."

The long and the short of this business
was, that next day I had a pair of post-horses
put to my chariot for, I never travel
by railway: not that I have anything to say
against railways, except that they came in
when I was too old to take to them; and
that they made ducks and drakes of a few
turnpike-bonds I had and so I went up
myself, with Trottle in the rumble, to look at
the inside of this same lodging, and at the
outside of this same House.

As I say, I went and saw for myself.
The lodging was perfect. That, I was
sure it would be; because Trottle is the
best judge of comfort I know. The empty
housa was an eyesore; and that I was sure
it would be too, for the same reason. How-
ever, setting the one thing against the
other, the good against the bad, the lodging
very soon got the victory over the House.
My lawyer, Mr. Squares, of Crown Office
Row, Temple, drew up an agreement; which
his young man jabbered over so dreadfully
when he read it to me, that I didn't
understand one word of it except my own name;
and hardly that, and I signed it, and the
other party signed it, and, in three weeks'
time, I moved my old bones, bag and baggage,
up to London.

For the first month or so, I arranged to
leave Trotlle at the Wells. I made this
arrangement, not only because there was a
good deal to take care of in the way of my
school-children and pensioners, and also of a
new stove in the hall to air the house in my
absence, which appeared to me calculated to
blow up and burst; but, likewise because I
suspect Trottle (though the steadiest of men,
and a widower between sixty and seventy)
to be what I call rather a Philanderer,
mean, that when any friend comes down to
see me and brings a maid, Trottle is always
remarkably ready to show that maid the
Wells of an evening; and that I have more
than once noticed the shadow of his arm,
outside the room door nearly opposite my
chair, encircling that maid's waist on the
landing, like a table-cloth brush.

Therefore, I thought it just as well, before
any London Philandering took place, that ]
should have a little time to look round me,
and to see what girls were in and about the
place. So, nobody stayed with me in my new
lodging at first after Trottle had established
me there safe and sound, but Peggy
Flobhins, my maid; a most affectionate and at-
tached woman, who never was an object of
Philandering since I have known her, and is
not likely to begin to become so after nine-
and-twenty years next March.

It was the fifth of November when I first
breakfasted in my new rooms. The Guys
were going about in the brown fog, like mag-
nified monsters of insects in table-beer, and
there was a Guy resting on the doorsteps of
the House to Let. I put on my glasses, partly
to see how the boys were pleased with what
I sent them out by Peggy, and partly
to make sure that she didn't approach
too near the ridiculous object, which of
course was full of sky-rockets, and might go
off into bangs at any moment. In this way
it happened that the first time I ever looked
at the House to Let, after I became its oppo-
site neighbour, I had my glasses on. And
this might not have happened once in fifty
times, for my sight is uncommonly good for
my time of life; and I wear glasses as little
as I can, for fear of spoiling it.

I knew already that it was a ten-roomed
house, very dirty and much dilapidated; that
the area-rails were rusty and peeling away,
and that two or three of them were wanting,
or half-wanting; that there were broken
panes of glass in the windows, and blotches
of mud on other panes, which the boys had
thrown at them; that there was quite a
collection of stones in the area, also
proceeding from those Young Mischiefs; that there
were games chalked on the pavement before
the house, and likenesses of ghosts chalked
on the street-door; that the windows were
all darkened by rotting old blinds, or shutters,
or both; that the bills " To Let," had curled
up, as if the damp air of the place had given
them cramps; or had dropped down into
corners, as if they were no more. I had seen
all this on my first visit, and I had remarked
to Trottle, that the lower part of the black
board about terms was split away; that
the rest had become illegible, and that the
very stone of the door-steps was broken
across. Notwithstanding, I sat at my breakfast
table on that Please to Remember the
fifth of November morning, staring at the
House through my glasses, as if I had never
looked at it before.

All at oncein the first-floor window on my
rightdown in a low corner, at a hole in a
blind or a shutter I found that I was look-
ing at a secret Eye. The reflection of my
fire may have touched it and made it shine;
but, I saw it shine and vanish.

The eye might have seen me, or it might
not have seen me, sitting there in the glow
of my fireyou can take which probability
you prefer, without offencebut something
struck through my frame, as if the sparkle of
this eye had been electric, and had flashed
straight at me. It had such an effect upon
me, that I could not remain by myself, and I

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