Our Mutual Friend
6. A Riddle Without An Answer
Again Mr Mortimer Lightwood and Mr Eugene Wrayburn sat together in the
Temple. This evening, however, they were not together in the place of business
of the eminent solicitor, but in another dismal set of chambers facing it on the
same second-floor; on whose dungeon-like black outer-door appeared the
MR EUGENE WRAYBURN
MR MORTIMER LIGHTWOOD
(Mr Lightwood's Offices opposite.)
Appearances indicated that this establishment was a very recent institution. The
white letters of the inscription were extremely white and extremely strong to the
sense of smell, the complexion of the tables and chairs was (like Lady Tippins's)
a little too blooming to be believed in, and the carpets and floorcloth seemed to
rush at the beholder's face in the unusual prominency of their patterns. But the
Temple, accustomed to tone down both the still life and the human life that has
much to do with it, would soon get the better of all that.
'Well!' said Eugene, on one side of the fire, 'I feel tolerably comfortable. I hope
the upholsterer may do the same.'
'Why shouldn't he?' asked Lightwood, from the other side of the fire.
'To be sure,' pursued Eugene, reflecting, 'he is not in the secret of our pecuniary
affairs, so perhaps he may be in an easy frame of mind.'
'We shall pay him,' said Mortimer.
'Shall we, really?' returned Eugene, indolently surprised. 'You don't say so!'
'I mean to pay him, Eugene, for my part,' said Mortimer, in a slightly injured tone.
'Ah! I mean to pay him too,' retorted Eugene. 'But then I mean so much that I--
that I don't mean.'