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42. CHAPTER XLII: In Mr. Tulkinghorn's Chambers (continued)
"Say it then." The lawyer turns, leans his arms on the iron railing at the top of the steps, and looks at the lamplighter lighting the court-yard.
"It is relating," says Mr. Snagsby in a mysterious low voice, "it is relating--not to put too fine a point upon it--to the foreigner, sir!"
Mr. Tulkinghorn eyes him with some surprise. "What foreigner?"
"The foreign female, sir. French, if I don't mistake? I am not acquainted with that language myself, but I should judge from her manners and appearance that she was French; anyways, certainly foreign. Her that was upstairs, sir, when Mr. Bucket and me had the honour of waiting upon you with the sweeping-boy that night."
"Oh! Yes, yes. Mademoiselle Hortense."
"Indeed, sir?" Mr. Snagsby coughs his cough of submission behind his hat. "I am not acquainted myself with the names of foreigners in general, but I have no doubt it WOULD be that." Mr. Snagsby appears to have set out in this reply with some desperate design of repeating the name, but on reflection coughs again to excuse himself.
"And what can you have to say, Snagsby," demands Mr. Tulkinghorn, "about her?"
"Well, sir," returns the stationer, shading his communication with his hat, "it falls a little hard upon me. My domestic happiness is very great--at least, it's as great as can be expected, I'm sure-- but my little woman is rather given to jealousy. Not to put too fine a point upon it, she is very much given to jealousy. And you see, a foreign female of that genteel appearance coming into the shop, and hovering--I should be the last to make use of a strong expression if I could avoid it, but hovering, sir--in the court-- you know it is--now ain't it? I only put it to yourself, sir.
Mr. Snagsby, having said this in a very plaintive manner, throws in a cough of general application to fill up all the blanks.
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