My Lady's Money
THE next day, Mr. Troy (taking Robert Moody with him as a valuable witness)
rang the bell at the mean and dirty lodging-house in which Old Sharon received
the clients who stood in need of his advice.
They were led up stairs to a back room on the second floor of the house.
Entering the room, they discovered through a thick cloud of tobacco smoke, a
small, fat, bald-headed, dirty, old man, in an arm-chair, robed in a tattered flannel
dressing-gown, with a short pipe in his mouth, a pug-dog on his lap, and a
French novel in his hands.
"Is it business?" asked Old Sharon, speaking in a hoarse, asthmatical voice, and
fixing a pair of bright, shameless, black eyes attentively on the two visitors.
"It is business," Mr. Troy answered, looking at the old rogue who had disgraced
an honorable profession, as he might have looked at a reptile which had just
risen rampant at his feet. "What is your fee for a consultation?"
"You give me a guinea, and I'll give you half an hour." With this reply Old Sharon
held out his unwashed hand across the rickety ink-splashed table at which he
Mr. Troy would not have touched him with the tips of his own fingers for a
thousand pounds. He laid the guinea on the table.
Old Sharon burst into a fierce laugh--a laugh strangely accompanied by a
frowning contraction of his eyebrows, and a frightful exhibition of the whole inside
of his mouth. "I'm not clean enough for you--eh?" he said, with an appearance of
being very much amused. "There's a dirty old man described in this book that is a
little like me." He held up his French novel. "Have you read it? A capital story--