Our Mutual Friend
8. Mr Boffin In Consultation
Whosoever had gone out of Fleet Street into the Temple at the date of this
history, and had wandered disconsolate about the Temple until he stumbled on a
dismal churchyard, and had looked up at the dismal windows commanding that
churchyard until at the most dismal window of them all he saw a dismal boy,
would in him have beheld, at one grand comprehensive swoop of the eye, the
managing clerk, junior clerk, common-law clerk, conveyancing clerk, chancery
clerk, every refinement and department of clerk, of Mr Mortimer Lightwood,
erewhile called in the newspapers eminent solicitor.
Mr Boffin having been several times in communication with this clerkly essence,
both on its own ground and at the Bower, had no difficulty in identifying it when
he saw it up in its dusty eyrie. To the second floor on which the window was
situated, he ascended, much pre-occupied in mind by the uncertainties besetting
the Roman Empire, and much regretting the death of the amiable Pertinax: who
only last night had left the Imperial affairs in a state of great confusion, by falling
a victim to the fury of the praetorian guards.
'Morning, morning, morning!' said Mr Boffin, with a wave of his hand, as the office
door was opened by the dismal boy, whose appropriate name was Blight.
'Mr Lightwood gave you an appointment, sir, I think?'
'I don't want him to give it, you know,' returned Mr Boffin; 'I'll pay my way, my
'No doubt, sir. Would you walk in? Mr Lightwood ain't in at the present moment,
but I expect him back very shortly. Would you take a seat in Mr Lightwood's
room, sir, while I look over our Appointment Book?' Young Blight made a great
show of fetching from his desk a long thin manuscript volume with a brown paper
cover, and running his finger down the day's appointments, murmuring, 'Mr Aggs,
Mr Baggs, Mr Caggs, Mr Daggs, Mr Faggs, Mr Gaggs, Mr Boffin. Yes, sir; quite
right. You are a little before your time, sir. Mr Lightwood will be in directly.'
'I'm not in a hurry,' said Mr Boffin
'Thank you, sir. I'll take the opportunity, if you please, of entering your name in
our Callers' Book for the day.' Young Blight made another great show of
changing the volume, taking up a pen, sucking it, dipping it, and running over
previous entries before he wrote. As, 'Mr Alley, Mr Balley, Mr Calley, Mr Dalley,
Mr Falley, Mr Galley, Mr Halley, Mr Lalley, Mr Malley. And Mr Boffin.'