9. CHAPTER IX
The doctor's pretty housemaid stood waiting for me, with the street
door open in her hand. Pouring brightly into the hall, the morning
light fell full on the face of Mr. Candy's assistant when I turned,
and looked at him.
It was impossible to dispute Betteredge's assertion that the appearance
of Ezra Jennings, speaking from a popular point of view, was against him.
His gipsy-complexion, his fleshless cheeks, his gaunt facial bones,
his dreamy eyes, his extraordinary parti-coloured hair, the puzzling
contradiction between his face and figure which made him look old
and young both together--were all more or less calculated to produce
an unfavourable impression of him on a stranger's mind. And yet--
feeling this as I certainly did--it is not to be denied that Ezra
Jennings made some inscrutable appeal to my sympathies, which I found it
impossible to resist. While my knowledge of the world warned me to answer
the question which he had put, acknowledging that I did indeed find
Mr. Candy sadly changed, and then to proceed on my way out of the house--
my interest in Ezra Jennings held me rooted to the place, and gave
him the opportunity of speaking to me in private about his employer,
for which he had been evidently on the watch.
"Are you walking my way, Mr. Jennings?" I said, observing that he held
his hat in his hand. "I am going to call on my aunt, Mrs. Ablewhite."
Ezra Jennings replied that he had a patient to see, and that he was walking
We left the house together. I observed that the pretty servant girl--
who was all smiles and amiability, when I wished her good morning
on my way out--received a modest little message from Ezra Jennings,
relating to the time at which he might be expected to return,
with pursed-up lips, and with eyes which ostentatiously looked
anywhere rather than look in his face. The poor wretch was evidently
no favourite in the house. Out of the house, I had Betteredge's
word for it that he was unpopular everywhere. "What a life!"
I thought to myself, as we descended the doctor's doorsteps.