A House to Let by Collins and Dickens and Gaskell and Procter

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Page 1

Towers laughed, as he generally does when he has fidgetted me into any of
my impatient ways--one of my states, as I call them--and then he began,--

"Tone, ma'am, Tone, is all you require!" He appealed to Trottle, who
just then came in with the coal-scuttle, looking, in his nice black suit,
like an amiable man putting on coals from motives of benevolence.

Trottle (whom I always call my right hand) has been in my service two-and-
thirty years. He entered my service, far away from England. He is the
best of creatures, and the most respectable of men; but, opinionated.

"What you want, ma'am," says Trottle, making up the fire in his quiet and
skilful way, "is Tone."

"Lard forgive you both!" says I, bursting out a-laughing; "I see you are
in a conspiracy against me, so I suppose you must do what you like with
me, and take me to London for a change."

For some weeks Towers had hinted at London, and consequently I was
prepared for him. When we had got to this point, we got on so
expeditiously, that Trottle was packed off to London next day but one, to
find some sort of place for me to lay my troublesome old head in.

Trottle came back to me at the Wells after two days' absence, with
accounts of a charming place that could be taken for six months certain,
with liberty to renew on the same terms for another six, and which really
did afford every accommodation that I wanted.

"Could you really find no fault at all in the rooms, Trottle?" I asked

"Not a single one, ma'am. They are exactly suitable to you. There is
not a fault in them. There is but one fault outside of them."

"And what's that?"

"They are opposite a House to Let."

"O!" I said, considering of it. "But is that such a very great

"I think it my duty to mention it, ma'am. It is a dull object to look
at. Otherwise, I was so greatly pleased with the lodging that I should
have closed with the terms at once, as I had your authority to do."

Trottle thinking so highly of the place, in my interest, I wished not to
disappoint him. Consequently I said:

"The empty House may let, perhaps."

"O, dear no, ma'am," said Trottle, shaking his head with decision; "it
won't let. It never does let, ma'am."

"Mercy me! Why not?"

"Nobody knows, ma'am. All I have to mention is, ma'am, that the House
won't let!"

"How long has this unfortunate House been to let, in the name of
Fortune?" said I.

"Ever so long," said Trottle. "Years."

"Is it in ruins?"

"It's a good deal out of repair, ma'am, but it's not in ruins."

The long and the short of this business was, that next day I had a pair
of post-horses put to my chariot--for, I never travel by railway: not
that I have anything to say against railways, except that they came in
when I was too old to take to them; and that they made ducks and drakes
of a few turnpike-bonds I had--and so I went up myself, with Trottle in
the rumble, to look at the inside of this same lodging, and at the
outside of this same House.

As I say, I went and saw for myself. The lodging was perfect. That, I
was sure it would be; because Trottle is the best judge of comfort I
know. The empty house was an eyesore; and that I was sure it would be
too, for the same reason. However, setting the one thing against the
other, the good against the bad, the lodging very soon got the victory
over the House. My lawyer, Mr. Squares, of Crown Office Row; Temple,
drew up an agreement; which his young man jabbered over so dreadfully
when he read it to me, that I didn't understand one word of it except my
own name; and hardly that, and I signed it, and the other party signed
it, and, in three weeks' time, I moved my old bones, bag and baggage, up
to London.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 5th Jun 2020, 23:00