"The line is busy, Sir," chanted the operator. "Will I keep the call in?"
'Thank you, my dear Copperfield,' said Traddles, as we shook hands once more. 'Yes, I am as happy as it's possible to be. There's your old friend, you see,' said Traddles, nodding triumphantly at the flower-pot and stand; 'and there's the table with the marble top! All the other furniture is plain and serviceable, you perceive. And as to plate, Lord bless you, we haven't so much as a tea-spoon.'
Bond was sitting in the same upright posture, The Times still unopened in his hand. Major Townsend said cheerfully, "Well, that's fixed. Message from M. that he's tremendously relieved you're all right and he'll be free in about half an hour. Car should be here in ten minutes or so. And the Chief of Staff says he hopes you'll be free for lunch afterwards."
'Ain't he growed!' said Mr. Peggotty.
But then the feet began to sweat and slip. Twice Bond lost a yard before his shoulders, scalding with the friction, could put on the brake. Finally he had to stop altogether to let his sweat dry in the downward draught of air. He waited for a full ten minutes, staring at his faint reflection in the polished metal, the face split in half by the knife between the teeth. Still he refused to look up to see how much more there was, It might be too much to bear. Carefully Bond wiped each foot against a trouser-leg and began again.
'Don't you worry, sir. I'll keep my eye on him.'
鈥楴ov. 28.鈥擨n three days I am to go up to Amritsar, ... where I am to sleep on that Friday night.... By some afternoon train I shall probably then go to Lahore.... On Sunday there are to be special services for the Conference, and Holy Communion is to be administered; a meet commencement for a gathering together of sisters from nine different Societies. But Char has a special interest of her own. We have at least a dozen of those who were Batala boys at Lahore.... I have arranged that my boys should meet me on Sunday afternoon. This is to me one of the most interesting parts of my visit to Lahore.... I have been obliged to prepare two little papers, but have made them mercifully short. I think that one takes about five and the other three minutes to read aloud,鈥擨 timed the reading,鈥攕o no one will have time to be tired.鈥橖br> In this period of my father's life there are two things which it is impossible not to be struck with: one of them unfortunately a very common circumstance, the other a most uncommon one. The first is, that in his position, with no resource but the precarious one of writing in periodicals, he married and had a large family; conduct than which nothing could be more opposed, both as a matter of good sense and of duty, to the opinions which, at least at a later period of life, he strenuously upheld. The other circumstance is the extraordinary energy which was required to lead the life he led, with the disadvantages under which he laboured from the first, and with those which he brought upon himself by his marriage. It would have been no small thing, had he done no more than to support himself and his family during so many years by writing, without ever being in debt, or in any pecuniary difficulty; holding, as he did, opinions, both in politics and in religion, which were more odious to all persons of influence, and to the common run of prosperous Englishmen in that generation than either before or since; and being not only a man whom nothing would have induced to write against his convictions, but one who invariably threw into everything he wrote, as much of his convictions as he thought the circumstances would in any way permit: being, it must also be said, one who never did anything negligently; never undertook any task, literary or other, on which he did not conscientiously bestow all the labour necessary for performing it adequately. But he, with these burthens on him, planned, commenced, and completed, the History of India; and this in the course of about ten years, a shorter time than has been occupied (even by writers who had no other employment) in the production of almost any other historical work of equal bulk, and of anything approaching to the same amount of reading and research. And to this is to be added, that during the whole period, a considerable part of almost every day was employed in the instruction of his children: in the case of one of whom, myself, he exerted an amount of labour, care, and perseverance rarely, if ever, employed for a similar purpose, in endeavouring to give, according to his own conception, the highest order of intellectual education.