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The Pickwick Papers 128







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to speak, but Fogg wouldnt let him, so he put the money in his pocket, and sneaked out. The door was scarcely shut, when old Fogg turned round to me, with a sweet smile on his face, and drew the declaration out of his coat pocket. "Here, Wicks," says Fogg, "take a cab, and go down to the Temple as quick as you can, and file that. The costs are quite safe, for hes a steady man with a large family, at a salary of five-and-twenty shillings a week, and if he gives us a warrant of attorney, as he must in the end, I know his employers will see it paid; so we may as well get all we can get out of him, Mr. Wicks; its a Christian act to do it, Mr. Wicks, for with his large family and small income, hell be all the better for a good lesson against getting into debt--wont he, Mr. Wicks, wont he?"--and he smiled so good-naturedly as he went away, that it was delightful to see him. He is a capital man of business, said Wicks, in a tone of the deepest admiration, capital, isnt he? The other three cordially subscribed to this opinion, and the anecdote afforded the most unlimited satisfaction. Nice men these here, Sir, whispered Mr. Weller to his master; wery nice notion of fun they has, Sir. Mr. Pickwick nodded assent, and coughed to attract the attention of the young gentlemen behind the partition, who, having now relaxed their minds by a little conversation among themselves, condescended to take some notice of the stranger. I wonder whether Foggs disengaged now? said Jackson. Ill see, said Wicks, dismounting leisurely from his stool. What name shall I tell Mr. Fogg? Pickwick, replied the illustrious subject of these memoirs. Mr. Jackson departed upstairs on his errand, and immediately returned with a message that Mr. Fogg would see Mr. Pickwick in five minutes; and having delivered it, returned again to his desk. What did he say his name was? whispered Wicks. Pickwick, replied Jackson; its the defendant in Bardell and Pickwick. A sudden scraping of feet, mingled with the sound of suppressed laughter, was heard from behind the partition. Theyre a-twiggin of you, Sir, whispered Mr. Weller. Twigging of me, Sam! replied Mr. Pickwick; what do you mean by twigging me? Mr. Weller replied by pointing with his thumb over his shoulder, and Mr. Pickwick, on looking up, became sensible of the pleasing fact, that all the four clerks, with countenances expressive of the utmost amusement, and with their heads thrust over the wooden screen, were minutely inspecting the figure and general appearance of the supposed trifler with female hearts, and disturber of female happiness. On his looking up, the row of heads suddenly disappeared, and the sound of pens travelling at a furious rate over paper, immediately succeeded. A sudden ring at the bell which hung in the office, summoned Mr. Jackson to the apartment of Fogg, from whence he came back to say that he (Fogg) was ready to see Mr. Pickwick if he would step upstairs. Upstairs Mr. Pickwick did step accordingly, leaving Sam Weller below. The room door of the one-pair back, bore inscribed in legible characters the imposing words, Mr. Fogg; and, having tapped thereat, and been desired to come in, Jackson ushered Mr. Pickwick into the presence. Is Mr. Dodson in? inquired Mr. Fogg. Just come in, Sir, replied Jackson. Ask him to step here. Yes, sir. Exit Jackson. Take a seat, sir, said Fogg; there is the paper, sir; my partner will be here directly, and we can converse about this matter, sir. Mr. Pickwick took a seat and the paper, but, instead of reading the latter, peeped over the top of it, and took a survey of the man of business, who was an elderly, pimply-faced, vegetable- diet sort of man, in a black coat, dark mixture trousers, and small black gaiters; a kind of being who seemed to be an essential part of the desk at which he was writing, and to have as much thought or feeling. After a few minutes silence, Mr. Dodson, a plump, portly, stern-looking man, with a loud voice, appeared; and the conversation commenced. This is Mr. Pickwick, said Fogg. Ah! You are the defendant, Sir, in Bardell and Pickwick? said Dodson. I am, sir, replied Mr. Pickwick. Well, sir, said Dodson, and what do you propose? Ah! said Fogg, thrusting his hands into his trousers pockets, and throwing himself back in his chair, what do you propose, Mr Pickwick? Hush, Fogg, said Dodson, let me hear what Mr.

The Pickwick Papers page 127        The Pickwick Papers page 129