Old Heythorp nodded. The eight gentlemen took their hats, and went out one by one, Mr. Brownbee courteously bringing up the rear.
The old man, who could not get up without assistance, stayed musing in his chair. He had diddled 'em for the moment into giving him another month, and when that month was up-he would diddle 'em again! A month ought to make the Pillin business safe, with all that hung on it. That poor funkey chap Joe Pillin! A gurgling chuckle escaped his red lips. What a shadow the fellow had looked, trotting in that evening just a month ago, behind his valet's announcement: "Mr. Pillin, sir."
What a parchmenty, precise, thread-paper of a chap, with his bird's claw of a hand, and his muffled-up throat, and his quavery:
"How do you do, Sylvanus? I'm afraid you're not--"
"First rate. Sit down. Have some port."
"Port! I never drink it. Poison to me! Poison!"
"Oh! I know, that's what you always say.
You've a monstrous constitution, Sylvanus. If I drank port and smoked cigars and sat up till one o'clock, I should be in my grave to-morrow. I'm not the man I was. The fact is, I've come to see if you can help me. I'm getting old; I'm growing nervous...."