BOOK THE FIRST: THE CUP AND THE LIP
Chapter 7: Mr Wegg Looks After Himself (continued)
It being one of Mr Wegg's guiding rules in life always to partake,
he says he will. But, the little shop is so excessively dark, is stuck
so full of black shelves and brackets and nooks and corners, that he
sees Mr Venus's cup and saucer only because it is close under the
candle, and does not see from what mysterious recess Mr Venus
produces another for himself until it is under his nose.
Concurrently, Wegg perceives a pretty little dead bird lying on the
counter, with its head drooping on one side against the rim of Mr
Venus's saucer, and a long stiff wire piercing its breast. As if it
were Cock Robin, the hero of the ballad, and Mr Venus were the
sparrow with his bow and arrow, and Mr Wegg were the fly with
his little eye.
Mr Venus dives, and produces another muffin, yet untoasted;
taking the arrow out of the breast of Cock Robin, he proceeds to
toast it on the end of that cruel instrument. When it is brown, he
dives again and produces butter, with which he completes his
Mr Wegg, as an artful man who is sure of his supper by-and-bye,
presses muffin on his host to soothe him into a compliant state of
mind, or, as one might say, to grease his works. As the muffins
disappear, little by little, the black shelves and nooks and corners
begin to appear, and Mr Wegg gradually acquires an imperfect
notion that over against him on the chimney-piece is a Hindoo
baby in a bottle, curved up with his big head tucked under him, as
he would instantly throw a summersault if the bottle were large
When he deems Mr Venus's wheels sufficiently lubricated, Mr
Wegg approaches his object by asking, as he lightly taps his hands
together, to express an undesigning frame of mind:
'And how have I been going on, this long time, Mr Venus?'
'Very bad,' says Mr Venus, uncompromisingly.
'What? Am I still at home?' asks Wegg, with an air of surprise.
'Always at home.'