…but there in its usual slipshod way memory failed.

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I watched, too, with the fascination that things have for an observant boy, the play of his lips–they were a little oblique, and there was something “slipshod,” if one may strain a word so far, about his mouth, so that he lisped and sibilated ever and again and the coming and going of a curious expression, triumphant in quality it was, upon his face as he talked.

For the most part he fretted at accumulating tasks, did them with slipshod energy or looked out of window.

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Worse, if possible, than ceremony was the other extreme of slipshod familiarity.

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To rise at noon, sit slipshod and undress’d,
To read the news or fiddle as seems best,
‘Till half the world comes rattling at his door,
To fill the dull vacuity ’till four,
And just when evening turns the blue vault grey,
To spend two hours in dressing for the day,
To make the sun a bauble without use,

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If a man’s brains were in’s heels, were’t not in danger of kibes?
Ay, boy.
Then I prythee be merry; thy wit shall not go slipshod.
Ha, ha, ha!

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The waiting–the hope–the disappointment–the fear–the misery– the poverty–the blight on his hopes, and end to his career–the suicide perhaps, or the shabby, slipshod drunkard. Am I not right about them?’

A low tap was heard at the room door. Mr. Bob Sawyer looked expressively at his friend, and bade the tapper come in; whereupon a dirty, slipshod girl in black cotton stockings, who might have passed for the neglected daughter of a superannuated dustman in very reduced circumstances, thrust in her head, and said–

Dirty, slipshod women passed and repassed, on their way to the cooking-house in one corner of the yard; children screamed, and fought, and played together, in another; the tumbling of the skittles, and the shouts of the players, mingled perpetually with these and a hundred other sounds; and all was noise and tumult–save in a little miserable shed a few yards off, where lay, all quiet and ghastly, the body of the Chancery prisoner who had died the night before, awaiting the mockery of an inquest.

The noise of unlocking and opening doors echoed and re-echoed on every side; heads appeared as if by magic in every window; the porters took up their stations for the day; the slipshod laundresses hurried off; the postman ran from house to house; and the whole legal hive was in a bustle.

A pair of slipshod feet shuffled, hastily, across the bare floor of the room, as this interrogatory was put; and there issued, from a door on the right hand; first, a feeble candle: and next, the form of the same individual who has been heretofore described as labouring under the infirmity of speaking through his nose, and officiating as waiter at the public-house on Saffron Hill.

She had no bonnet–nothing on her head but a great cap which, in some old time, had been worn by Sally Brass, whose taste in head-dresses was, as we have seen, peculiar–and her speed was rather retarded than assisted by her shoes, which, being extremely large and slipshod, flew off every now and then, and were difficult to find again, among the crowd of passengers.

The ways were foul and narrow; the shops and houses wretched; the people half-naked, drunken, slipshod, ugly. Alleys and archways, like so many cesspools, disgorged their offences of smell, and dirt, and life, upon the straggling streets; and the whole quarter reeked with crime, with filth, and misery.

And now,’ said Cousin Feenix, with a real and genuine earnestness shining through the levity of his manner and his slipshod speech, ‘I do conjure my relative, not to stop half way, but to set right, as far as she can, whatever she has done wrong–not for the honour of her family, not for her own fame, not for any of those considerations which unfortunate circumstances have induced her to regard as hollow, and in point of fact, as approaching to humbug–but because it is wrong, and not right.’

This is the Court of Chancery, which has its decaying houses and its blighted lands in every shire, which has its worn-out lunatic in every madhouse and its dead in every churchyard, which has its ruined suitor with his slipshod heels and threadbare dress borrowing and begging through the round of every man’s acquaintance, which gives to monied might the means abundantly of wearying out the right, which so exhausts finances, patience, courage, hope, so overthrows the brain and breaks the heart, that there is not an honourable man among its practitioners who would not give–who does not often give–the warning, “Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!”

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