A person who can’t pay gets another person who can’t pay to guarantee that he can pay. Like a person with two wooden legs getting another person with two wooden legs to guarantee that he has got two natural legs. It don’t make either of them able to do a walking-match.

Background.

Little Dorrit.itemA person who can’t pay gets another person who can’t pay to guarantee that he can pay. Like a person with two wooden legs getting another person with two wooden legs to guarantee that he has got two natural legs. It don’t make either of them able to do a walking-match” is a quotation taken from Little Dorrit (Book 1, Chapter 23).

item Little Dorrit was the eleventh novel from Charles Dickens, serialised between 1855 and 1857. A rags to riches story set in the 1820’s, Little Dorrit centres around the changing fortunes of the Dorrit family.

 

Context.

item Quotation said by the character Mr. Pancks.

item Taken from the following passage in Book 1, Chapter 23 of Little Dorrit :

The Patriarch turning his head in a lumbering way towards Pancks, that assistant put up the note-book in which he had been absorbed, and took him in tow.

‘You didn’t recommend her, you know,’ said Pancks; ‘how could you? You knew nothing about her, you didn’t. The name was mentioned to you, and you passed it on. That’s what YOU did.’

‘Well!’ said Clennam. ‘As she justifies any recommendation, it is much the same thing.’

‘You are glad she turns out well,’ said Pancks, ‘but it wouldn’t have been your fault if she had turned out ill. The credit’s not yours as it is, and the blame wouldn’t have been yours as it might have been. You gave no guarantee. You knew nothing about her.

‘You are not acquainted, then,’ said Arthur, hazarding a random question, ‘with any of her family?’

‘Acquainted with any of her family?’ returned Pancks. ‘How should you be acquainted with any of her family? You never heard of ’em. You can’t be acquainted with people you never heard of, can you? You should think not!’

All this time the Patriarch sat serenely smiling; nodding or shaking his head benevolently, as the case required.

‘As to being a reference,’ said Pancks, ‘you know, in a general way, what being a reference means. It’s all your eye, that is! Look at your tenants down the Yard here. They’d all be references for one another, if you’d let ’em. What would be the good of letting ’em? It’s no satisfaction to be done by two men instead of one. One’s enough. A person who can’t pay, gets another person who can’t pay, to guarantee that he can pay. Like a person with two wooden legs getting another person with two wooden legs, to guarantee that he has got two natural legs. It don’t make either of them able to do a walking-match. And four wooden legs are more troublesome to you than two, when you don’t want any.’ Mr Pancks concluded by blowing off that steam of his.

 

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