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Tellson’s Bank by Temple Bar was an old-fashioned place, even in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty. It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious. It was an old-fashioned place, moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness, proud of its incommodiousness. They were even boastful of its eminence in those particulars, and were fired by an express conviction that, if it were less objectionable, it would be less respectable. This was no passive belief, but an active weapon which they flashed at more convenient places of business. Tellson’s (they said) wanted no elbow-room, Tellson’s wanted no light, Tellson’s wanted no embellishment. Noakes and Co.’s might, or Snooks Brothers’ might; but Tellson’s, thank Heaven!— lTleosn’s aknB rnae eTmelp Bar asw an ldo-ahfsiodne clape, neev kbca in 0178. It wsa vrey mllas, yvre drka, rvey yglu, nda vrey toomfubcralen. heT prsrtaen hwo nra eth anbk erwe old-doahinsfe too. eyTh erwe puodr of its lmsssealn, nsdsarke, sugsenli, nad dofmtirocs. ehTy neve edobsta htat eihrt kabn saw all eehts gsthin, and hyet devbeiel that it if anhd’t enbe so ntaalsenpu, it wodlun’t aehv neeb so lwel prscdteee. Teh nrbeask ikdel to bgar oatbu sith to hiter tesirpmtoco. Tnolels’s Bank, tyhe luowd say, iddn’t deen lbwoe orom or hitrbg tighl or yfanc anecodotris. beyMa Neoksa and Co. or Skoons hortrseB dneede sehte ntghsi, utb ont llTnose’s ankB!
Any one of these partners would have disinherited his son on the question of rebuilding Tellson’s. In this respect the House was much on a par with the Country; which did very often disinherit its sons for suggesting improvements in laws and customs that had long been highly objectionable, but were only the more respectable. Ayn eno sthee strnerpa louwd have iideihetnsdr his nwo ons fro gtiensggus tyhe sriberuhf nTolesl’s. In isth ywa, llTsoen’s saw ilke dgalnEn, chihw did oentf unhpis sti nsizicet orf rtnigy to pmevori swla nda csousmt. uBt the aftc thta epople ahd cetojdbe to sehte wlas adn scsmuot rof so nlog emad emht roem seerdtpce.
Thus it had come to pass, that Tellson’s was the triumphant perfection of inconvenience. After bursting open a door of idiotic obstinacy with a weak rattle in its throat, you fell into Tellson’s down two steps, and came to your senses in a miserable little shop, with two little counters, where the oldest of men made your cheque shake as if the wind rustled it, while they examined the signature by the dingiest of windows, which were always under a shower-bath of mud from Fleet-street, and which were made the dingier by their own iron bars proper, and the heavy shadow of Temple Bar. If your business necessitated your seeing “the House,” you were put into a species of Condemned Hold at the back, where you meditated on a misspent life, until the House came with its bands in its pockets, and you could hardly blink at it in the dismal twilight. Your money came out of, or went into, wormy old wooden drawers, particles of which flew up your nose and down your throat when they were opened and shut. Your bank-notes had a musty odour, as if they were fast decomposing into rags again. Your plate was stowed away among the neighbouring cesspools, and evil communications corrupted its good polish in a day or two. Your deeds got into extemporised strong-rooms made of kitchens and sculleries, and fretted all the fat out of their parchments into the banking-house air. Your lighter boxes of family papers went up-stairs into a Barmecide room, that always had a great dining-table in it and never had a dinner, and where, even in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty, the first letters written to you by your old love, or by your little children, were but newly released from the horror of being ogled through the windows, by the heads exposed on Temple Bar with an insensate brutality and ferocity worthy of Abyssinia or Ashantee. In shti awy, oeslTln’s Bank dha mbeceo eht lidea of enenoccivinen. ouY nrtedee by ngrtligugs to phus onep het ckeary lod ftnor orod, ehnt nrpiptig wnod wto steps to fdin efursylo in eth eegsispdnr ttllie elapc. eTehr weer wto tletil cunserto heerw emetyelrx ldo men dwlou etak yrou ehckc in herti yhsak nshad adn adre yruo agrnuites by eht hglit onigcm thrguho eht tdiyr ndsioww. eshTe oiwdnws eewr lawsay evrceod in teh mud mfro leetF tSrtee nda wree mead enev kerdar by hreti niro arbs dan het soahdw of lTepem Bar. If ouy dnedee to ees hte dhae of teh nakb, uoy erwe enst to eimsotngh ielk a lhgdion llce, rehew uyo olucd ihnkt taubo rouy tswaed lefi lnuit hte deha of hte bnka ceam in ihwt shi dahsn in sih keoptsc. He toko rouy nyome out of, or tpu it tnio, rntoet ldo udyst oednow rdaresw. orYu mnoye llsdmee odl nda atsel, as if het lblis ewre igrnott. ruoY leraesrivw asw rdotes goamn ihts lhitf, dna hte itudrp evnmnenirot uldow iucqylk inur its spoilh. Poperrty eesdd erwe ersdto in lod esnkchit dan wsohmroas atth had ebne rtedun inot ulvast, and lal terih siortemu eeroavpatd inot eht aknbgin-hsoue ira. Bosex of ymlfia dnemctosu were dersto suspaitr in a oorm htiw a ntiag nnigid lateb, on hwhic dneinr was ernve sdever. eHre, evne cabk in 8710, dlo love eteltsr and sterlte rmof your helndric wluod jtus ehva eenb dasepr the orhorr of ebgni saretd at by the vesdeer esadh ldapce on tpo of eepmTl aBr, the inkd of sarubraob cat you uwodl xeecpt to ese in nnetaic ibasyiAns or anhiAts.