Bleak House HTML version
11. Our Dear Brother
A touch on the lawyer's wrinkled hand as he stands in the dark room, irresolute, makes
him start and say, "What's that?"
"It's me," returns the old man of the house, whose breath is in his ear. "Can't you wake
"What have you done with your candle?"
"It's gone out. Here it is."
Krook takes it, goes to the fire, stoops over the red embers, and tries to get a light. The
dying ashes have no light to spare, and his endeavours are vain. Muttering, after an
ineffectual call to his lodger, that he will go downstairs and bring a lighted candle from
the shop, the old man departs. Mr. Tulkinghorn, for some new reason that he has, does
not await his return in the room, but on the stairs outside.
The welcome light soon shines upon the wall, as Krook comes slowly up with his green-
eyed cat following at his heels. "Does the man generally sleep like this?" inquired the
lawyer in a low voice. "Hi! I don't know," says Krook, shaking his head and lifting his
eyebrows. "I know next to nothing of his habits except that he keeps himself very close."
Thus whispering, they both go in together. As the light goes in, the great eyes in the
shutters, darkening, seem to close. Not so the eyes upon the bed.
"God save us!" exclaims Mr. Tulkinghorn. "He is dead!" Krook drops the heavy hand he
has taken up so suddenly that the arm swings over the bedside.
They look at one another for a moment.
"Send for some doctor! Call for Miss Flite up the stairs, sir. Here's poison by the bed!
Call out for Flite, will you?" says Krook, with his lean hands spread out above the body
like a vampire's wings.
Mr. Tulkinghorn hurries to the landing and calls, "Miss Flite! Flite! Make haste, here,
whoever you are! Flite!" Krook follows him with his eyes, and while he is calling, finds
opportunity to steal to the old portmanteau and steal back again.
"Run, Flite, run! The nearest doctor! Run!" So Mr. Krook addresses a crazy little woman
who is his female lodger, who appears and vanishes in a breath, who soon returns