BOOK THE THIRD - GARNERING
2. Chapter Ii - Very Ridiculous
MR. JAMES HARTHOUSE passed a whole night and a day in a state of so
much hurry, that the World, with its best glass in his eye, would
scarcely have recognized him during that insane interval, as the
brother Jem of the honourable and jocular member. He was
positively agitated. He several times spoke with an emphasis,
similar to the vulgar manner. He went in and went out in an
unaccountable way, like a man without an object. He rode like a
highwayman. In a word, he was so horribly bored by existing
circumstances, that he forgot to go in for boredom in the manner
prescribed by the authorities.
After putting his horse at Coketown through the storm, as if it
were a leap, he waited up all night: from time to time ringing his
bell with the greatest fury, charging the porter who kept watch
with delinquency in withholding letters or messages that could not
fail to have been entrusted to him, and demanding restitution on
the spot. The dawn coming, the morning coming, and the day coming,
and neither message nor letter coming with either, he went down to
the country house. There, the report was, Mr. Bounderby away, and
Mrs. Bounderby in town. Left for town suddenly last evening. Not
even known to be gone until receipt of message, importing that her
return was not to be expected for the present.
In these circumstances he had nothing for it but to follow her to
town. He went to the house in town. Mrs. Bounderby not there. He
looked in at the Bank. Mr. Bounderby away and Mrs. Sparsit away.
Mrs. Sparsit away? Who could have been reduced to sudden extremity
for the company of that griffin!
'Well! I don't know,' said Tom, who had his own reasons for being
uneasy about it. 'She was off somewhere at daybreak this morning.
She's always full of mystery; I hate her. So I do that white chap;
he's always got his blinking eyes upon a fellow.'
'Where were you last night, Tom?'
'Where was I last night!' said Tom. 'Come! I like that. I was
waiting for you, Mr. Harthouse, till it came down as I never saw it
come down before. Where was I too! Where were you, you mean.'