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The Pickwick Papers 110

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

for the night, desiring Sam to fetch his candle when he rung. The bell did ring in due course, and Mr. Weller presented himself. Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, looking out from under the bed-clothes. Sir, said Mr. Weller. Mr. Pickwick paused, and Mr. Weller snuffed the candle. Sam, said Mr. Pickwick again, as if with a desperate effort. Sir, said Mr. Weller, once more. Where is that Trotter? Job, sir? Yes. Gone, sir. With his master, I suppose? Friend or master, or whatever he is, hes gone with him, replied Mr. Weller. Theres a pair on em, sir. Jingle suspected my design, and set that fellow on you, with this story, I suppose? said Mr. Pickwick, half choking. Just that, sir, replied Mr. Weller. It was all false, of course? All, sir, replied Mr. Weller. Reglar do, sir; artful dodge. I dont think hell escape us quite so easily the next time, Sam! said Mr. Pickwick. I dont think he will, Sir. Whenever I meet that Jingle again, wherever it is, said Mr. Pickwick, raising himself in bed, and indenting his pillow with a tremendous blow, Ill inflict personal chastisement on him, in addition to the exposure he so richly merits. I will, or my name is not Pickwick. And venever I catches hold o that there melan-cholly chap with the black hair, said Sam, if I dont bring some real water into his eyes, for once in a way, my name aint Weller. Good- night, Sir!



The constitution of Mr. Pickwick, though able to sustain a very considerable amount of exertion and fatigue, was not proof against such a combination of attacks as he had undergone on the memorable night, recorded in the last chapter. The process of being washed in the night air, and rough-dried in a closet, is as dangerous as it is peculiar. Mr. Pickwick was laid up with an attack of rheumatism. But although the bodily powers of the great man were thus impaired, his mental energies retained their pristine vigour. His spirits were elastic; his good-humour was restored. Even the vexation consequent upon his recent adventure had vanished from his mind; and he could join in the hearty laughter, which any allusion to it excited in Mr. Wardle, without anger and without embarrassment. Nay, more. During the two days Mr. Pickwick was confined to bed, Sam was his constant attendant. On the first, he endeavoured to amuse his master by anecdote and conversation; on the second, Mr. Pickwick demanded his writing-desk, and pen and ink, and was deeply engaged during the whole day. On the third, being able to sit up in his bedchamber, he despatched his valet with a message to Mr. Wardle and Mr. Trundle, intimating that if they would take their wine there, that evening, they would greatly oblige him. The invitation was most willingly accepted; and when they were seated over their wine, Mr. Pickwick, with sundry blushes, produced the following little tale, as having been edited by himself, during his recent indisposition, from his notes of Mr. Wellers unsophisticated recital. THE PARISH CLERK A TALE OF TRUE LOVE Once upon a time, in a very small country town, at a considerable distance from London, there lived a little man named Nathaniel Pipkin, who was the parish clerk of the little town, and lived in a little house in the little High Street, within ten minutes walk from the little church; and who was to be found every day, from nine till four, teaching a little learning to the little boys. Nathaniel Pipkin was a harmless, inoffensive, good-natured being, with a turned-up nose, and rather turned-in legs, a cast in his eye, and a halt in his gait; and he divided his time between the church and his school, verily believing that there existed not, on the face of the earth, so clever a man as the curate, so imposing an apartment as the vestry-room, or so well-ordered a seminary as his own. Once, and only once, in his life, Nathaniel Pipkin had seen a bishop--a real bishop, with his arms in lawn sleeves, and his head in a wig. He had seen him walk, and heard him talk, at a confirmation, on which momentous occasion Nathaniel Pipkin was so overcome with reverence and awe, when the aforesaid bishop laid his hand on his head, that he fainted right clean away, and was borne out of church in the

The Pickwick Papers page 109        The Pickwick Papers page 111