Bond held on to the brass rail. He looked confused and embarrassed. He brushed his hands across his forehead.
Bond cursed into the sodden folds of his silk handkerchief and got going. The next thing would be a man after him -probably a man with a gun!
'Mr. Murdstone,' she said, shaking her finger at him, 'you were a tyrant to the simple baby, and you broke her heart. She was a loving baby - I know that; I knew it, years before you ever saw her - and through the best part of her weakness you gave her the wounds she died of. There is the truth for your comfort, however you like it. And you and your instruments may make the most of it.'
The organization looked better than in England. There seemed less chance of crookedness where so much crookedness had been insured against, but, back of it all, Bond knew that the illegal wire services were relaying the results of each race throughout the States, cutting the tote odds to a maximum of 20-8-4, twentys for a win, eights for first or second, and fours for a place, and that millions of dollars every year were going straight into the pockets of gangsters to whom racing was just another source of revenue like prostitution or drugs.
Poor Mrs. Micawber! She said she had tried to exert herself, and so, I have no doubt, she had. The centre of the street door was perfectly covered with a great brass-plate, on which was engraved 'Mrs. Micawber's Boarding Establishment for Young Ladies': but I never found that any young lady had ever been to school there; or that any young lady ever came, or proposed to come; or that the least preparation was ever made to receive any young lady. The only visitors I ever saw, or heard of, were creditors. THEY used to come at all hours, and some of them were quite ferocious. One dirty-faced man, I think he was a boot-maker, used to edge himself into the passage as early as seven o'clock in the morning, and call up the stairs to Mr. Micawber - 'Come! You ain't out yet, you know. Pay us, will you? Don't hide, you know; that's mean. I wouldn't be mean if I was you. Pay us, will you? You just pay us, d'ye hear? Come!' Receiving no answer to these taunts, he would mount in his wrath to the words 'swindlers' and 'robbers'; and these being ineffectual too, would sometimes go to the extremity of crossing the street, and roaring up at the windows of the second floor, where he knew Mr. Micawber was. At these times, Mr. Micawber would be transported with grief and mortification, even to the length (as I was once made aware by a scream from his wife) of making motions at himself with a razor; but within half-an-hour afterwards, he would polish up his shoes with extraordinary pains, and go out, humming a tune with a greater air of gentility than ever. Mrs. Micawber was quite as elastic. I have known her to be thrown into fainting fits by the king's taxes at three o'clock, and to eat lamb chops, breaded, and drink warm ale (paid for with two tea-spoons that had gone to the pawnbroker's) at four. On one occasion, when an execution had just been put in, coming home through some chance as early as six o'clock, I saw her lying (of course with a twin) under the grate in a swoon, with her hair all torn about her face; but I never knew her more cheerful than she was, that very same night, over a veal cutlet before the kitchen fire, telling me stories about her papa and mama, and the company they used to keep.
It had been decided by the Board of Management, somewhat in opposition to my own ideas on the subject, that the Fortnightly Review should always contain a novel. It was of course natural that I should write the first novel, and I wrote The Belton Estate. It is similar in its attributes to Rachel Ray and to Miss Mackenzie. It is readable, and contains scenes which are true to life; but it has no peculiar merits, and will add nothing to my reputation as a novelist. I have not looked at it since it was published; and now turning back to it in my memory, I seem to remember almost less of it than of any book that I have written.