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The Pickwick Papers 106







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The Pickwick Papers

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be near this door that you speak of? You cannot mistake it, Sir; its the only one that opens into the garden. Tap at it when you hear the clock strike, and I will open it instantly. I dont like the plan, said Mr. Pickwick; but as I see no other, and as the happiness of this young ladys whole life is at stake, I adopt it. I shall be sure to be there. Thus, for the second time, did Mr. Pickwicks innate good- feeling involve him in an enterprise from which he would most willingly have stood aloof. What is the name of the house? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Westgate House, Sir. You turn a little to the right when you get to the end of the town; it stands by itself, some little distance off the high road, with the name on a brass plate on the gate. I know it, said Mr. Pickwick. I observed it once before, when I was in this town. You may depend upon me. Mr. Trotter made another bow, and turned to depart, when Mr. Pickwick thrust a guinea into his hand. Youre a fine fellow, said Mr. Pickwick, and I admire your goodness of heart. No thanks. Remember--eleven oclock. There is no fear of my forgetting it, sir, replied Job Trotter. With these words he left the room, followed by Sam. I say, said the latter, not a bad notion that ere crying. Id cry like a rain-water spout in a shower on such good terms. How do you do it? It comes from the heart, Mr. Walker, replied Job solemnly. Good-morning, sir. Youre a soft customer, you are; weve got it all out o you, anyhow, thought Mr. Weller, as Job walked away. We cannot state the precise nature of the thoughts which passed through Mr. Trotters mind, because we dont know what they were. The day wore on, evening came, and at a little before ten oclock Sam Weller reported that Mr. Jingle and Job had gone out together, that their luggage was packed up, and that they had ordered a chaise. The plot was evidently in execution, as Mr. Trotter had foretold. Half-past ten oclock arrived, and it was time for Mr. Pickwick to issue forth on his delicate errand. Resisting Sams tender of his greatcoat, in order that he might have no encumbrance in scaling the wall, he set forth, followed by his attendant. There was a bright moon, but it was behind the clouds. it was a fine dry night, but it was most uncommonly dark. Paths, hedges, fields, houses, and trees, were enveloped in one deep shade. The atmosphere was hot and sultry, the summer lightning quivered faintly on the verge of the horizon, and was the only sight that varied the dull gloom in which everything was wrapped --sound there was none, except the distant barking of some restless house-dog. They found the house, read the brass plate, walked round the wall, and stopped at that portion of it which divided them from the bottom of the garden. You will return to the inn, Sam, when you have assisted me over, said Mr. Pickwick. Wery well, Sir. And you will sit up, till I return. Certnly, Sir. Take hold of my leg; and, when I say "Over," raise me gently. All right, sir. Having settled these preliminaries, Mr. Pickwick grasped the top of the wall, and gave the word Over, which was literally obeyed. Whether his body partook in some degree of the elasticity of his mind, or whether Mr. Wellers notions of a gentle push were of a somewhat rougher description than Mr. Pickwicks, the immediate effect of his assistance was to jerk that immortal gentleman completely over the wall on to the bed beneath, where, after crushing three gooseberry-bushes and a rose-tree, he finally alighted at full length. You hant hurt yourself, I hope, Sir? said Sam, in a loud whisper, as soon as he had recovered from the surprise consequent upon the mysterious disappearance of his master. I have not hurt MYSELF, Sam, certainly, replied Mr. Pickwick, from the other side of the wall, but I rather think that YOU have hurt me. I hope not, Sir, said Sam. Never mind, said Mr. Pickwick, rising, its nothing but a few scratches. Go away, or we shall be overheard. Good-bye, Sir. Good-bye. With stealthy steps Sam Weller departed, leaving Mr. Pickwick alone in the garden. Lights occasionally appeared in the different windows of the house, or glanced from the staircases, as if the inmates were retiring to rest. Not caring to

The Pickwick Papers page 105        The Pickwick Papers page 107