At length the whispering ceased; and the members of the board, having resumed their seats and their solemnity, Mr Limbkins said: ‘We have considered your proposition, and we don’t approve of it.’
‘Not at all,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat.
‘Decidedly not,’ added the other members.
As Mr Gamfield did happen to labour under the slight imputation of having bruised three or four boys to death already, it occurred to him that the board had, perhaps, in some unaccountable freak, taken it into their heads that this extraneous circumstance ought to influence their proceedings. It was very unlike their general mode of doing business, if they had; but still, as he had no particular wish to revive the rumour, he twisted his cap in his hands, and walked slowly from the table.
‘So you won’t let me have him, gen’l’men?’ said Mr Gamfield, pausing near the door.
‘No,’ replied Mr Limbkins; ‘at least, as it’s a nasty business, we think you ought to take something less than the premium we offered.’
Mr Gamfield’s countenance brightened, as, with a quick step, he returned to the table, and said,
‘What’ll you give, gen’l’men? Come! Don’t be too hard on a poor man. What’ll you give?’
‘I should say, three pound ten was plenty,’ said Mr Limbkins.
‘Ten shillings too much,’ said the gentleman in the white waistcoat.
‘Come!’ said Gamfield; ‘say four pound, gen’l’men. Say four pound, and you’ve got rid of him for good and all. There!