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The Pickwick Papers 114







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Pipkin standing bolt upright inside, and shaking with apprehension from head to foot. Bless us! what an appalling look old Lobbs gave him, as he dragged him out by the collar, and held him at arms length. "Why, what the devil do you want here?" said old Lobbs, in a fearful voice. Nathaniel Pipkin could make no reply, so old Lobbs shook him backwards and forwards, for two or three minutes, by way of arranging his ideas for him. "What do you want here?" roared Lobbs; "I suppose you have come after my daughter, now!" Old Lobbs merely said this as a sneer: for he did not believe that mortal presumption could have carried Nathaniel Pipkin so far. What was his indignation, when that poor man replied-- "Yes, I did, Mr. Lobbs, I did come after your daughter. I love her, Mr. Lobbs." "Why, you snivelling, wry-faced, puny villain," gasped old Lobbs, paralysed by the atrocious confession; "what do you mean by that? Say this to my face! Damme, Ill throttle you!" It is by no means improbable that old Lobbs would have carried his threat into execution, in the excess of his rage, if his arm had not been stayed by a very unexpected apparition: to wit, the male cousin, who, stepping out of his closet, and walking up to old Lobbs, said-- "I cannot allow this harmless person, Sir, who has been asked here, in some girlish frolic, to take upon himself, in a very noble manner, the fault (if fault it is) which I am guilty of, and am ready to avow. I love your daughter, sir; and I came here for the purpose of meeting her." Old Lobbs opened his eyes very wide at this, but not wider than Nathaniel Pipkin. "You did?" said Lobbs, at last finding breath to speak. "I did." "And I forbade you this house, long ago." "You did, or I should not have been here, clandestinely, to-night." I am sorry to record it of old Lobbs, but I think he would have struck the cousin, if his pretty daughter, with her bright eyes swimming in tears, had not clung to his arm. "Dont stop him, Maria," said the young man; "if he has the will to strike me, let him. I would not hurt a hair of his gray head, for the riches of the world." The old man cast down his eyes at this reproof, and they met those of his daughter. I have hinted once or twice before, that they were very bright eyes, and, though they were tearful now, their influence was by no means lessened. Old Lobbs turned his head away, as if to avoid being persuaded by them, when, as fortune would have it, he encountered the face of the wicked little cousin, who, half afraid for her brother, and half laughing at Nathaniel Pipkin, presented as bewitching an expression of countenance, with a touch of slyness in it, too, as any man, old or young, need look upon. She drew her arm coaxingly through the old mans, and whispered something in his ear; and do what he would, old Lobbs couldnt help breaking out into a smile, while a tear stole down his cheek at the same time. Five minutes after this, the girls were brought down from the bedroom with a great deal of giggling and modesty; and while the young people were making themselves perfectly happy, old Lobbs got down the pipe, and smoked it; and it was a remarkable circumstance about that particular pipe of tobacco, that it was the most soothing and delightful one he ever smoked. Nathaniel Pipkin thought it best to keep his own counsel, and by so doing gradually rose into high favour with old Lobbs. who taught him to smoke in time; and they used to sit out in the garden on the fine evenings, for many years afterwards, smoking and drinking in great state. He soon recovered the effects of his attachment, for we find his name in the parish register, as a witness to the marriage of Maria Lobbs to her cousin; and it also appears, by reference to other documents, that on the night of the wedding he was incarcerated in the village cage, for having, in a state of extreme intoxication, committed sundry excesses in the streets, in all of which he was aided and abetted by the bony apprentice with the thin legs.

CHAPTER XVIII

BRIEFLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF TWO POINTS; FIRST, THE POWER OF HYSTERICS, AND, SECONDLY, THE FORCE

The Pickwick Papers page 113        The Pickwick Papers page 115