Book the Second - the Golden Thread
5. V. The Jackal
"Ten o'clock, sir," said the man at the tavern, whom he had charged to
wake him--"ten o'clock, sir."
"WHAT'S the matter?"
"Ten o'clock, sir."
"What do you mean? Ten o'clock at night?"
"Yes, sir. Your honour told me to call you."
"Oh! I remember. Very well, very well."
After a few dull efforts to get to sleep again, which the man dexterously
combated by stirring the fire continuously for five minutes, he got up,
tossed his hat on, and walked out. He turned into the Temple, and,
having revived himself by twice pacing the pavements of King's Bench-walk
and Paper-buildings, turned into the Stryver chambers.
The Stryver clerk, who never assisted at these conferences, had gone home,
and the Stryver principal opened the door. He had his slippers on,
and a loose bed-gown, and his throat was bare for his greater ease.
He had that rather wild, strained, seared marking about the eyes,
which may be observed in all free livers of his class, from the portrait
of Jeffries downward, and which can be traced, under various disguises
of Art, through the portraits of every Drinking Age.
"You are a little late, Memory," said Stryver.
"About the usual time; it may be a quarter of an hour later."
They went into a dingy room lined with books and littered with papers,
where there was a blazing fire. A kettle steamed upon the hob, and in
the midst of the wreck of papers a table shone, with plenty of wine
upon it, and brandy, and rum, and sugar, and lemons.
"You have had your bottle, I perceive, Sydney."
"Two to-night, I think. I have been dining with the day's client;
or seeing him dine--it's all one!"