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The Pickwick Papers 102







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The Pickwick Papers

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till she comes to agin. Thats philosophy, Sir, aint it? A very good substitute for it, at all events, replied Mr. Pickwick, laughing. It must have been of great service to you, in the course of your rambling life, Sam. Service, sir, exclaimed Sam. You may say that. Arter I run away from the carrier, and afore I took up with the vaginer, I had unfurnished lodgins for a fortnight. Unfurnished lodgings? said Mr. Pickwick. Yes--the dry arches of Waterloo Bridge. Fine sleeping-place --vithin ten minutes walk of all the public offices--only if there is any objection to it, it is that the sitivations rayther too airy. I see some queer sights there. Ah, I suppose you did, said Mr. Pickwick, with an air of considerable interest. Sights, sir, resumed Mr. Weller, as ud penetrate your benevolent heart, and come out on the other side. You dont see the reglar wagrants there; trust em, they knows better than that. Young beggars, male and female, as hasnt made a rise in their profession, takes up their quarters there sometimes; but its generally the worn-out, starving, houseless creeturs as roll themselves in the dark corners o them lonesome places--poor creeturs as aint up to the twopenny rope. And pray, Sam, what is the twopenny rope? inquired Mr. Pickwick. The twopenny rope, sir, replied Mr. Weller, is just a cheap lodgin house, where the beds is twopence a night. What do they call a bed a rope for? said Mr. Pickwick. Bless your innocence, sir, that aint it, replied Sam. Ven the lady and genlmn as keeps the hot-el first begun business, they used to make the beds on the floor; but this wouldnt do at no price, cos instead o taking a moderate twopennorth o sleep, the lodgers used to lie there half the day. So now they has two ropes, bout six foot apart, and three from the floor, which goes right down the room; and the beds are made of slips of coarse sacking, stretched across em. Well, said Mr. Pickwick. Well, said Mr. Weller, the adwantage o the plans hobvious. At six oclock every mornin they lets go the ropes at one end, and down falls the lodgers. Consequence is, that being thoroughly waked, they get up wery quietly, and walk away! Beg your pardon, sir, said Sam, suddenly breaking off in his loquacious discourse. Is this Bury St. Edmunds? It is, replied Mr. Pickwick. The coach rattled through the well-paved streets of a handsome little town, of thriving and cleanly appearance, and stopped before a large inn situated in a wide open street, nearly facing the old abbey. And this, said Mr. Pickwick, looking up. Is the Angel! We alight here, Sam. But some caution is necessary. Order a private room, and do not mention my name. You understand. Right as a trivet, sir, replied Mr. Weller, with a wink of intelligence; and having dragged Mr. Pickwicks portmanteau from the hind boot, into which it had been hastily thrown when they joined the coach at Eatanswill, Mr. Weller disappeared on his errand. A private room was speedily engaged; and into it Mr. Pickwick was ushered without delay. Now, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, the first thing to be done is to-- Order dinner, Sir, interposed Mr. Weller. Its wery late, sir." Ah, so it is, said Mr. Pickwick, looking at his watch. You are right, Sam. And if I might adwise, Sir, added Mr. Weller, Id just have a good nights rest arterwards, and not begin inquiring arter this here deep un till the mornin. Theres nothin so refreshen as sleep, sir, as the servant girl said afore she drank the egg-cupful of laudanum. I think you are right, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. But I must first ascertain that he is in the house, and not likely to go away. Leave that to me, Sir, said Sam. Let me order you a snug little dinner, and make my inquiries below while its a-getting ready; I could worm evry secret out O the bootss heart, in five minutes, Sir. Do so, said Mr. Pickwick; and Mr. Weller at once retired. In half an hour, Mr. Pickwick was seated at a very satisfactory dinner; and in three-quarters Mr. Weller returned with the intelligence that Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall had ordered his private room to be retained for him, until further notice. He was going to spend the evening at some private house in the neighbourhood, had ordered the boots to sit up until his return,

The Pickwick Papers page 101        The Pickwick Papers page 103