+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

"Sarah! What can be done by Trottle,
can be done by me. I am on terms of
acquaintance with every person of
responsibility in this parish. I am intimate at the
Circulating Library. I converse daily with
the Assessed Taxes. I lodge with the Water
Rate. I know the Medical Man. I lounge
habitually at the House Agent's. I dine with
the Churchwardens. I move to the Guardians.
Trottle! A person in the sphere of a
domestic, and totally unknown to society!"

"Don't be warm, Jarber. In mentioning
Trottle, I have naturally relied on my Right-Hand,
who would take any trouble to gratify
even a whim of his old mistress's. But, if
you can find out anything to help to unravel
the mystery of this House to Let, I shall be
fully as much obliged to you as if there was
never a Trottle in the land."

Jarber rose and put on his little cloak. A
couple of fierce brass lions held it tight round
his little throat; but a couple of the mildest
Hares might have done that, I am sure.
"Sarah," he said, " I go. Expect me on
Monday evening, the Sixth, when perhaps
you will give me a cup of tea; may I ask
for no Green? Adieu!"

This was on a Thursday, the second of
December. When I reflected that Trottle
would come back on Monday, too, I had
my misgivings as to the difficulty of keep-
ing the two powers from open warfare, and
indeed I was more uneasy than I quite
like to confess. However, the empty House
swallowed up that thought next morning, as
it swallowed up most other thoughts now,
and the House quite preyed upon me all that
day, and all the Saturday.

It was a very wet Sunday: raining and
blowing from morning to night. When
the bells rang for afternoon church, they
seemed to ring in the commotion of the
puddles as well as in the wind, and they
sounded very loud and dismal indeed, and
the street looked very dismal indeed, and
the House looked dismallest of all.

I was reading my prayers near the light,
and my fire was glowing in the darkening
window-glass, when, looking up, as I prayed
for the fatherless children and widows and
all who were desolate and oppressed, I
saw the Eye again. It passed in a moment,
as it had done before; but, this time, I was
inwardly more convinced that I had seen it.

Well to be sure, I had a night that night!
Whenever I closed my own eyes, it was
to see eyes. Next morning, at an unreasonably
and I should have said (but for that
railroad) an impossibly early hour, comes
Trottle. As soon as he had told me all
about the Wells, I told him all about the
House. He listened with as great interest
and attention as I could possibly wish, until
I came to Jabez Jarber, when he cooled in
an instant, and became opinionated.

"Now, Trettle," I said, pretending not to
notice, " when Mr. Jarber comes back this
evening, we must all lay our heads

"I should hardly think that would be
wanted, ma'am; Mr. Jarber's head is surely
equal to anything."

Being determined not to notice, I said
again, that we must all lay our heads

"Whatever you order, ma'am, shall be
obeyed. Still, it cannot be doubted, I should
think, that Mr. Jarber's head is equal, if not
superior, to any pressure that can be brought
to bear upon it."

This was provoking; and his way, when
he came in and out all through the day, of
pretending not to see the House to Let,
was more provoking still. However, being
quite resolved not to notice, I gave no sign
whatever that I did notice. But, when
evening came, and he showed in Jarber,
and, when Jarber wouldn't be helped off
with his cloak, and poked his cane into cane
chair-backs and china ornaments and his own
eye, in trying to unclasp his brazen lions of
himself (which he couldn't do, after all) I
could have shaken them both.

As it was, I only shook the tea-pot, and
made the tea. Jarber had brought from
under his cloak, a roll of paper, with which
he had triumphantly pointed over the way,
like the Ghost of Hamlet's father appearing
to the late Mr. Kernble, and which he had laid
on the table.

"A discovery?" said I, pointing to it,
when he was seated, and had got his tea-
cup. "Don't go, Trottle."

"The first of a series of discoveries,"
answered Jarber. "Account of a former
tenant, compiled from the Water-Rate, and
Medical Man."

"Don't go, Trottle," I repeated. For, I
saw him making imperceptibly to the door.

"Begging your pardon, ma'am, I might be
in Mr. Jarber's way?"

Jarber looked that he decidedly thought he
might be. I relieved myself with a good
angry croak, and saidalways determined
not to notice:

"Have the goodness to sit down, if you
please, Trottle. I wish you to hear this."

Trottle bowed in the stiffest manner, and
took the remotest chair he could find. Even
that, he moved close to the draught from
the keyhole of the door.

"Firstly," Jarber began, after sipping his
tea, "would my Sophon—"

"Begin again, Jarber," said I.

"Would you be much surprised, if this
House to Let, should turn out to be the
property of a relation of your own?"

"I should indeed be very much surprised."

"Then it belongs to your first cousin (I
learn, by the way, that he is ill at this time)
George Forley."

"Then that is a bad beginning. I cannot
deny that George Forley stands in the
relation of first cousin to me; but I hold no