[Illustration: “Charlie had ’ad as much as ’e wanted and was lying on the sea-chest.”]
“Yes? Wot d’ye want?” ses Dixon, with a growl, as Bob came in at the door.
He was such a ’orrible figure, with the blood on ’is face and ’is beard sticking out all ways, that Bob, instead of doing wot he ’ad come round for, stood in the doorway staring at ’im without a word.
“I’m paying off,” ses Dixon. “’Ave you got any-thing to say agin it?”
“No,” ses Bob, drawing back.
“You and Charlie’ll go now,” ses Dixon, taking out some money. “The old man can stay on for a month to give ’im time to look round. Don’t look at me that way, else I’ll knock your ’ead off.”
He started counting out Bob’s money just as old Burge and Mrs. Dixon, hearing all quiet, came in out of the kitchen.
“Don’t you be alarmed on my account, my dear,” he ses, turning to ’is wife; “it’s child’s play to wot I’ve been used to. I’ll just see these two mistaken young fellers off the premises, and then we’ll ‘ave a cup o’ tea while the old man minds the bar.”
Mrs. Dixon tried to speak, but ’er temper was too much for ’er. She looked from her ’usband to Charlie and Bob and then back at ’im agin and caught ’er breath.
“That’s right,” ses Dixon, nodding his ’ead at her. “I’m master and owner of the Blue Lion and you’re first mate. When I’m speaking you keep quiet; that’s dissipline.”
I was in that bar about three months arterward, and I never saw such a change in any woman as there was in Mrs. Dixon. Of all the nice-mannered, soft-spoken landladies I’ve ever seen, she was the best, and on’y to ’ear the way she answered her ’usband when he spoke to ’er was a pleasure to every married man in the bar.
[Illustration: “The way she answered her ’usband was a pleasure to every married man in the bar.”]
Mr. John Blows stood listening to the foreman with an air of lofty disdain. He was a free-born Englishman, and yet he had been summarily paid off at eleven o’clock in the morning and told that his valuable services would no longer be required. More than that, the foreman had passed certain strictures upon his features which, however true they might be, were quite irrelevant to the fact that Mr. Blows had been discovered slumbering in a shed when he should have been laying bricks.
[Illustration: “Mr. John Blows stood listening to the foreman with an air of lofty disdain.”]
“Take your ugly face off these ’ere works,” said the foreman; “take it ’ome and bury it in the back-yard. Anybody’ll be glad to lend you a spade.”
Mr. Blows, in a somewhat fluent reply, reflected severely on the foreman’s immediate ancestors, and the strange lack of good-feeling and public spirit they had exhibited by allowing him to grow up.
“Take it ’ome and bury it,” said the foreman again. “Not under any plants you’ve got a liking for.”