Pancabinet, who understood well the beauty of silence, would not begin the fray. Buggins was ever ready to talk, but he was cunning enough to know that a future opportunity might be more valuable than the present one. Then up jumped Poppins. Now Poppins was no orator, but he felt that as the friend of Robinson, he was bound to address the meeting on the present occasion.
This is mentioned here, in order that a fitting record may be made of the very high compliment which was paid to him on the occasion by old Pancabinet. Crowdy magnanimously seconded the motion, and the resolution, when carried, was communicated to Robinson by the worthy Grand.
"I may have been wrong to say baseness in this chamber, however base the worthy Goose may be; and, therefore, with permission of our worthy Grand, I will substitute 'hardihood." Whereupon the worthy Grand again bowed. But still there were cries of question from the side of the room opposite to that on which Robinson sat. Then old Pancabinet rose from his seat, and all voices were hushed.
Every one liked old Pancabinet, and though he did not now possess, and never had possessed, those grand oratorical powers which distinguished so highly the worthy Geese above mentioned, no Goose ever rose upon his legs more sure of respectful attention. The sway which he bore in that assembly was very wonderful, for he was an old man, and there were there divers Geese of unruly spirit.
Lately he had associated himself much with our friend Robinson, for which many blamed him. But old Pancabinet generally knew what he was about, and having recognized the tremendous power of the young merchant from Bishopsgate Street, was full sure that he could get on better with him than he could against him.
Turning the mouthpiece of his long pipe-clay out from him, he pointed it slowly to one after another, counting them as he so pointed. First he counted up old Pancabinet, and a slight twinkle might be seen in the eyes of the two old men as he did so. Then, turning his pipe round the room, he pointed at them all, and it was found that there were fifteen present.