Book the Second - the Golden Thread
11. XI. A Companion Picture
"Sydney," said Mr. Stryver, on that self-same night, or morning, to his
jackal; "mix another bowl of punch; I have something to say to you."
Sydney had been working double tides that night, and the night before,
and the night before that, and a good many nights in succession, making
a grand clearance among Mr. Stryver's papers before the setting in of
the long vacation. The clearance was effected at last; the Stryver
arrears were handsomely fetched up; everything was got rid of until
November should come with its fogs atmospheric, and fogs legal, and
bring grist to the mill again.
Sydney was none the livelier and none the soberer for so much application.
It had taken a deal of extra wet-towelling to pull him through the night;
a correspondingly extra quantity of wine had preceded the towelling;
and he was in a very damaged condition, as he now pulled his turban
off and threw it into the basin in which he had steeped it at intervals
for the last six hours.
"Are you mixing that other bowl of punch?" said Stryver the portly,
with his hands in his waistband, glancing round from the sofa where
he lay on his back.
"Now, look here! I am going to tell you something that will rather
surprise you, and that perhaps will make you think me not quite as
shrewd as you usually do think me. I intend to marry."
"Yes. And not for money. What do you say now?"
"I don't feel disposed to say much. Who is she?"
"Do I know her?"
"I am not going to guess, at five o'clock in the morning, with my
brains frying and sputtering in my head. if you want me to guess, you
must ask me to dinner."