Biffen rose to enthusiasm in the contemplation of these dainties.
He ate his bread and dripping with knife and fork; this always made the fare seem more substantial.
'Is it very cold out?' he asked, rising from the table. 'Need I put my overcoat on?'
This overcoat, purchased second-hand three years ago, hung on a door-nail. Comparative ease of circumstances had restored to the realist his ordinary indoor garment--a morning coat of the cloth called diagonal, rather large for him, but in better preservation than the other articles of his attire.
Reardon judging the overcoat necessary, his friend carefully brushed it and drew it on with a caution which probably had reference to starting seams. Then he put into the pocket his pipe, his pouch, his tobacco-stopper, and his matches, murmuring to himself a Greek iambic line which had come into his head a propos of nothing obvious.
'Go out,' he said, 'and then I'll extinguish the lamp. Mind the second step down, as usual.'
They issued into Clipstone Street, turned northward, crossed Euston Road, and came into Albany Street, where, in a house of decent exterior, Mr Whelpdale had his present abode. A girl who opened the door requested them to walk up to the topmost storey.
A cheery voice called to them from within the room at which they knocked. This lodging spoke more distinctly of civilisation than that inhabited by Biffen; it contained the minimum supply of furniture needed to give it somewhat the appearance of a study, but the articles were in good condition. One end of the room was concealed by a chintz curtain; scrutiny would have discovered behind the draping the essential equipments of a bedchamber.
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