He falters an awkward excuse or two for his failure.
"Is this all you have to say?" inquires Lady Dedlock, having heard him out — or as nearly out as he can stumble.
Mr. Guppy thinks that's all.
"You had better be sure that you wish to say nothing more to me, this being the last time you will have the opportunity."
Mr. Guppy is quite sure. And indeed he has no such wish at present, by any means.
"That is enough. I will dispense with excuses. Good evening to you!" And she rings for Mercury to show the young man of the name of Guppy out.
But in that house, in that same moment, there happens to be an old man of the name of Tulkinghorn. And that old man, coming with his quiet footstep to the library, has his hand at that moment on the handle of the door — comes in — and comes face to face with the young man as he is leaving the room.
One glance between the old man and the lady, and for an instant the blind that is always down flies up. Suspicion, eager and sharp, looks out. Another instant, close again.
"I beg your pardon, Lady Dedlock. I beg your pardon a thousand times. It is so very unusual to find you here at this hour. I supposed the room was empty. I beg your pardon!"
"Stay!" She negligently calls him back. "Remain here, I beg. I am going out to dinner. I have nothing more to say to this young man!"
The disconcerted young man bows, as he goes out, and cringingly hopes that Mr. Tulkinghorn of the Fields is well.
"Aye, aye?" says the lawyer, looking at him from under his bent brows, though he has no need to look again — not he. "From Kenge and Carboy's, surely?"
"Kenge and Carboy's, Mr. Tulkinghorn. Name of Guppy, sir."
"To be sure. Why, thank you, Mr. Guppy, I am very well!"
"Happy to hear it, sir. You can't be too well, sir, for the credit of the profession."
"Thank you, Mr. Guppy!"
Mr. Guppy sneaks away. Mr. Tulkinghorn, such a foil in his old- fashioned rusty black to Lady Dedlock's brightness, hands her down the staircase to her carriage. He returns rubbing his chin, and rubs it a good deal in the course of the evening.