As the cab drew up before the address indicated, the fog lifted a little and showed him a dingy street, a gin palace, a low French eating house, a shop for the retail
of penny numbers and twopenny salads, many ragged children huddled in the doorways, and many women of many different nationalities passing out, key in hand, to have a morning glass; and the next moment the fog settled down again upon that part, as brown as umber, and cut him off from his blackguardly surroundings.
Mawmsey was not only an overseer (it was about a question of outdoor pay that he was having an interview with Lydgate), he was also asthmatic and had an increasing family: thus, from a medical point of view, as well as from his own, he was an important man; indeed, an exceptional grocer, whose hair was arranged in a flame-like pyramid, and whose retail
deference was of the cordial, encouraging kind--jocosely complimentary, and with a certain considerate abstinence from letting out the full force of his mind.
But it was neither in Elinor's power, nor in her wish, to rouse such feelings in another, by her retailed
explanation, as had at first been called forth in herself.
"I have already told you that we do not sell at retail