The proprietor of the shooting gallery, alerted by the sounds of counterfeit combat, appears; bare-headed and bare-chested, still in the performance of his morning toilet. Mr. George is a swarthy brown man of fifty; well-made, and good-looking; with crisp dark hair, bright eyes, and a broad chest. His step is measured and heavy, and would go well with a weighty clash and a jingle of spurs. He is close-shaved now, but his mouth is set as if his upper lip had been for years familiar with a great moustache. Altogether, one might guess Mr. George to have been a trooper once upon a time. He rubs, and puffs, and polishes himself upon a large jack-towel, turning his head from side to side on occasion, the more conveniently to excoriate his throat; and when this chafing is over he pulls on a shirt, hoists a pair of braces onto his broad shoulders, and buttons up his tunic.
The Chicken makes the necessary introductions, and Mr.George makes Mr. Headstone’s acquaintance by shaking that gentleman firmly by the hand and clapping him roundly on the back, which gestures of familiarity provide the pedagogue with ample evidence of the trooper’s Herculean qualities. The Chicken having made known the purpose of their visit, Mr. George casts a professional eye upon Mr. Headstone’s lean frame and announces that it wants flesh, and proposes a turn at the dumb-bells. Obedient to his command, Phil Squod fetches a pair. He has a curious way of limping round the gallery with his shoulder against the wall, and tacking off at objects as he wants to lay hold of, instead of going straight to them. Phil returns in the same roundabout fashion with a pair of dumb-bells, which he carries in one hand as if had no idea what weight was. He tosses these instruments to Mr. Headstone under the mistaken assumption that that gentleman is endowed with both the dexterity and the strength required to receive them. The pedagogue deflects one of these projectiles with his shoulder, and the other with the crown of his head, and is laid out on the matting much as if he had received a knockout blow, which, indeed, he has. Mr.George, the Chicken, and Phil Squod gather round the prostrate form, and shake their heads in disappointment.