‘If the parish vould like him to learn a right pleasant trade, in a good ‘spectable chimbleysweepin’ bisness,’ said Mr Gamfield, ‘I wants a ‘prentis, and I am ready to take him.’
‘Walk in,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat. Mr Gamfield having lingered behind, to give the donkey another blow on the head, and another wrench of the jaw, as a caution not to run away in his absence, followed the gentleman with the white waistcoat into the room where Oliver had first seen him.
‘It’s a nasty trade,’ said Mr Limbkins, when Gamfield had again stated his wish.
‘Young boys have been smothered in chimneys before now,’ said another gentleman.
‘That’s a cause they damped the straw afore they lit it in the chimbley to make ‘em come down again,’ said Gamfield; ‘that’s all smoke, and no blaze; vereas smoke ain’t o’ no use at all in making a boy come down, for it only sends him to sleep, and that’s wot he likes. Boys is wery obstinit, and wery lazy, Gen’l’men, and there’s no think like a good hot blaze to make ‘em come down vith a run. It’s humane too, gen’l’men, acause, even if they’ve stuck in the chimbley, roasting their feet makes ‘em struggle to hextricate theirselves.’
The gentleman in the white waistcoat appeared very much amused by this explanation; but his mirth was speedily checked by a look from Mr Limbkins. The board then proceeded to converse among themselves for a few minutes, but in so low a tone, that the words ‘saving of expenditure,’ ‘looked well in the accounts,’ ‘have a printed report published,’ were alone audible. These only chanced to be heard, indeed, or account of their being very frequently repeated with great emphasis.