Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
A Dark Night's Work Elizabeth Gaskell

Chapter IV

Page 6 of 8

Table Of Contents: A Dark Night's Work

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

More by this Author

And yet daily Mr. Wilkins was sinking from the intellectually to the sensually self-indulgent man. He lay late in bed, and hated Mr. Dunster for his significant glance at the office-clock when he announced to his master that such and such a client had been waiting more than an hour to keep an appointment. "Why didn't you see him yourself, Dunster? I'm sure you would have done quite as well as me," Mr. Wilkins sometimes replied, partly with a view of saying something pleasant to the man whom he disliked and feared. Mr. Dunster always replied, in a meek matter-of-fact tone, "Oh, sir, they wouldn't like to talk over their affairs with a subordinate."

And every time he said this, or some speech of the same kind, the idea came more and more clearly into Mr. Wilkins's head, of how pleasant it would be to himself to take Dunster into partnership, and thus throw all the responsibility of the real work and drudgery upon his clerk's shoulders. Importunate clients, who would make appointments at unseasonable hours and would keep to them, might confide in the partner, though they would not in the clerk. The great objections to this course were, first and foremost, Mr. Wilkins's strong dislike to Mr. Dunster--his repugnance to his company, his dress, his voice, his ways--all of which irritated his employer, till his state of feeling towards Dunster might be called antipathy; next, Mr. Wilkins was fully aware of the fact that all Mr. Dunster's actions and words were carefully and thoughtfully pre-arranged to further the great unspoken desire of his life--that of being made a partner where he now was only a servant. Mr. Wilkins took a malicious pleasure in tantalizing Mr. Dunster by such speeches as the one I have just mentioned, which always seemed like an opening to the desired end, but still for a long time never led any further. Yet all the while that end was becoming more and more certain, and at last it was reached.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

Mr. Dunster always suspected that the final push was given by some circumstance from without; some reprimand for neglect--some threat of withdrawal of business which his employer had received; but of this he could not be certain; all he knew was, that Mr. Wilkins proposed the partnership to him in about as ungracious a way as such an offer could be made; an ungraciousness which, after all, had so little effect on the real matter in hand, that Mr. Dunster could pass over it with a private sneer, while taking all possible advantage of the tangible benefit it was now in his power to accept.

Mr. Corbet's attachment to Ellinor had been formally disclosed to her just before this time. He had left college, entered at the Middle Temple, and was fagging away at law, and feeling success in his own power; Ellinor was to "come out" at the next Hamley assemblies; and her lover began to be jealous of the possible admirers her striking appearance and piquant conversation might attract, and thought it a good time to make the success of his suit certain by spoken words and promises.

Page 6 of 8 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
A Dark Night's Work
Elizabeth Gaskell

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004