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<- Previous | Table Of Contents | Next -> Digital Library - Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Mr. Creakle's part of the house was a good deal more comfortable
than ours, and he had a snug bit of garden that looked pleasant
after the dusty playground, which was such a desert in miniature,
that I thought no one but a camel, or a dromedary, could have felt
at home in it. It seemed to me a bold thing even to take notice
that the passage looked comfortable, as I went on my way,
trembling, to Mr. Creakle's presence: which so abashed me, when I
was ushered into it, that I hardly saw Mrs. Creakle or Miss Creakle
(who were both there, in the parlour), or anything but Mr. Creakle,
a stout gentleman with a bunch of watch-chain and seals, in an
arm-chair, with a tumbler and bottle beside him.

'So!' said Mr. Creakle. 'This is the young gentleman whose teeth
are to be filed! Turn him round.'

The wooden-legged man turned me about so as to exhibit the placard;
and having afforded time for a full survey of it, turned me about
again, with my face to Mr. Creakle, and posted himself at Mr.
Creakle's side. Mr. Creakle's face was fiery, and his eyes were
small, and deep in his head; he had thick veins in his forehead, a
little nose, and a large chin. He was bald on the top of his head;
and had some thin wet-looking hair that was just turning grey,
brushed across each temple, so that the two sides interlaced on his
forehead. But the circumstance about him which impressed me most,
was, that he had no voice, but spoke in a whisper. The exertion
this cost him, or the consciousness of talking in that feeble way,
made his angry face so much more angry, and his thick veins so much
thicker, when he spoke, that I am not surprised, on looking back,
at this peculiarity striking me as his chief one.

'Now,' said Mr. Creakle. 'What's the report of this boy?'

'There's nothing against him yet,' returned the man with the wooden
leg. 'There has been no opportunity.'

I thought Mr. Creakle was disappointed. I thought Mrs. and Miss
Creakle (at whom I now glanced for the first time, and who were,
both, thin and quiet) were not disappointed.

'Come here, sir!' said Mr. Creakle, beckoning to me.

'Come here!' said the man with the wooden leg, repeating the

'I have the happiness of knowing your father-in-law,' whispered Mr.
Creakle, taking me by the ear; 'and a worthy man he is, and a man
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