Mr. Ebenezer Clayhill was a man who impressed his personality upon one, so that those who had once obtained but a passing glimpse of him could not fail but recognise him, however long afterwards. 'Fust it's his nose what strikes yer,' had declared old Isaac Webster, when ensconced with his bosom friends of an evening down in the snug parlour of the 'Three Pigeons.' 'It's just the most almighty one as ever I seed, and I've seed a power of noses, I have, Mr. Jarney.' He sniffed and looked across at that individual, as if he challenged him to disprove the statement, or even to doubt it; for Jarney was a cross-grained fellow, an old weather-beaten boatman, into whose composition quite a considerable quantity of salt seemed to have been absorbed. The man was short in stature and in manner. There was an acidity about his voice which made him the reverse of popular, though when he held forth in the cosy parlour of the public-house there were few who failed to listen; for Jarney had travelled. Unlike Isaac Webster, he had not been a stay-at-home all his days, but had seen things and people which were strange for the most part to the old cronies who gathered together of an evening. No one dare dispute Jarney's statements, for to do so was to lay oneself open to a course of scathing, biting sarcasm, in which Jarney excelled.
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