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where he kept company with a cash-box, a Directory, a Law-list, and
other books and papers.
'Mr. Traddles,' said the spare waiter. 'Number two in the Court.'
The potential waiter waved him away, and turned, gravely, to me.
'I was inquiring,' said I, 'whether Mr. Traddles, at number two in
the Court, has not a rising reputation among the lawyers?'
'Never heard his name,' said the waiter, in a rich husky voice.
I felt quite apologetic for Traddles.
'He's a young man, sure?' said the portentous waiter, fixing his
eyes severely on me. 'How long has he been in the Inn?'
'Not above three years,' said I.
The waiter, who I supposed had lived in his churchwarden's pew for
forty years, could not pursue such an insignificant subject. He
asked me what I would have for dinner?
I felt I was in England again, and really was quite cast down on
Traddles's account. There seemed to be no hope for him. I meekly
ordered a bit of fish and a steak, and stood before the fire musing
on his obscurity.
As I followed the chief waiter with my eyes, I could not help
thinking that the garden in which he had gradually blown to be the
flower he was, was an arduous place to rise in. It had such a
prescriptive, stiff-necked, long-established, solemn, elderly air.
I glanced about the room, which had had its sanded floor sanded, no
doubt, in exactly the same manner when the chief waiter was a boy
- if he ever was a boy, which appeared improbable; and at the
shining tables, where I saw myself reflected, in unruffled depths
of old mahogany; and at the lamps, without a flaw in their trimming
or cleaning; and at the comfortable green curtains, with their pure
brass rods, snugly enclosing the boxes; and at the two large coal
fires, brightly burning; and at the rows of decanters, burly as if
with the consciousness of pipes of expensive old port wine below;
and both England, and the law, appeared to me to be very difficult
indeed to be taken by storm. I went up to my bedroom to change my
wet clothes; and the vast extent of that old wainscoted apartment
(which was over the archway leading to the Inn, I remember), and