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Mr. Cruncher’s temper was not at all improved when he came to
his breakfast. He resented Mrs. Cruncher’s saying grace with
particular animosity.

“Now, Aggerawayter! What are you up to? At it again?” His wife
explained that she had merely “asked a blessing.” “Don’t do it!”
said Mr. Cruncher, looking about, as if he rather expected to see
the loaf disappear under the efficacy of his wife’s petitions. “I ain’t
a going to be blest out of house and home. I won’t have my vittles
blest off my table. Keep still!” Exceedingly red-eyed and grim, as if
he had been up all night at a party which had taken anything but a
convivial turn, Jerry Cruncher worried his breakfast rather than ate
it, growling over it like any four-footed inmate of a menagerie.
Towards nine o’clock he smoothed his ruffled aspect, and,
presenting as respectable and business-like an exterior as he could
overlay his natural self with, issued forth to the occupation of the

It could scarcely be called a trade, in spite of his favourite
description of himself as “a honest tradesman.” His stock consisted
of a wooden stool, made out of a broken-backed chair cut down,
which stool, young Jerry, walking at his father’s side, carried every
morning to beneath the banking-house window that was nearest
Temple Bar: where, with the addition of the first handful of straw
that could be gleaned from any passing vehicle to keep the cold
and wet from the odd-jobman’s feet, it formed the encampment for
the day. On this post of his, Mr. Cruncher was as well known to
Fleet-street and the Temple, as the Bar itself,-and was almost as ill-

Encamped at a quarter before nine, in good time to touch his three-
cornered hat to the oldest of men as they passed in to Tellson’s,
Jerry took up his station on this windy March morning, with young
Jerry standing by him, when not engaged in making forays
through the Bar, to inflict bodily and mental injuries of an acute
description on passing boys who were small enough for his
amiable purpose. Father and son, extremely like each other,
looking silently on at the morning traffic in Fleet-street, with their
two heads as near to one another as the two eyes of each were, bore
a considerable resemblance to a pair of monkeys. The resemblance
was not lessened by the accidental circumstance, that the mature
Jerry bit and spat out straw, while the twinkling eyes of the
youthful Jerry were as restlessly watchful of him as of everything
else in Fleet-street.

The head of one of the regular indoor messengers attached to
Tellson’s establishment was put through the door, and the word
was given: “Porter wanted!” “Hooray, father! Here’s an early job
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