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second story, the spare furniture dwindled down to a couple of old
deal chairs, of which one, belonging to the back-room, was shorn
of a leg, and bottomless. The story above, boasted no greater
excess than a worm-eaten wash-tub; and the garret landing-place
displayed no costlier articles than two crippled pitchers, and some
broken blacking-bottles.

It was on this garret landing-place that a hard-featured square-
faced man, elderly and shabby, stopped to unlock the door of the
front attic, into which, having surmounted the task of turning the
rusty key in its still more rusty wards, he walked with the air of
legal owner.

This person wore a wig of short, coarse, red hair, which he took
off with his hat, and hung upon a nail. Having adopted in its place
a dirty cotton nightcap, and groped about in the dark till he found
a remnant of candle, he knocked at the partition which divided the
two garrets, and inquired, in a loud voice, whether Mr Noggs had
a light.

The sounds that came back were stifled by the lath and plaster,
and it seemed moreover as though the speaker had uttered them
from the interior of a mug or other drinking vessel; but they were
in the voice of Newman, and conveyed a reply in the affirmative.

‘A nasty night, Mr Noggs!’ said the man in the nightcap,
stepping in to light his candle.

‘Does it rain?’ asked Newman.
‘Does it?’ replied the other pettishly. ‘I am wet through.’
‘It doesn’t take much to wet you and me through, Mr Crowl,’
said Newman, laying his hand upon the lappel of his threadbare

‘Well; and that makes it the more vexatious,’ observed Mr

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