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Chapter 75 (continued)
'Let him in,' said Sir John. 'My good fellow,' he added, when the door was opened, 'how come you to intrude yourself in this extraordinary manner upon the privacy of a gentleman? How can you be so wholly destitute of self-respect as to be guilty of such remarkable ill-breeding?'
'My business, Sir John, is not of a common kind, I do assure you,' returned the person he addressed. 'If I have taken any uncommon course to get admission to you, I hope I shall be pardoned on that account.'
'Well! we shall see; we shall see,' returned Sir John, whose face cleared up when he saw who it was, and whose prepossessing smile was now restored. 'I am sure we have met before,' he added in his winning tone, 'but really I forget your name?'
'My name is Gabriel Varden, sir.'
'Varden, of course, Varden,' returned Sir John, tapping his forehead. 'Dear me, how very defective my memory becomes! Varden to be sure--Mr Varden the locksmith. You have a charming wife, Mr Varden, and a most beautiful daughter. They are well?'
Gabriel thanked him, and said they were.
'I rejoice to hear it,' said Sir John. 'Commend me to them when you return, and say that I wished I were fortunate enough to convey, myself, the salute which I entrust you to deliver. And what,' he asked very sweetly, after a moment's pause, 'can I do for you? You may command me freely.'
'I thank you, Sir John,' said Gabriel, with some pride in his manner, 'but I have come to ask no favour of you, though I come on business.--Private,' he added, with a glance at the man who stood looking on, 'and very pressing business.'
'I cannot say you are the more welcome for being independent, and having nothing to ask of me,' returned Sir John, graciously, 'for I should have been happy to render you a service; still, you are welcome on any terms. Oblige me with some more chocolate, Peak, and don't wait.'
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