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The Pickwick Papers 130







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The Pickwick Papers

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Fogg. Perhaps you would like to call us swindlers, sir, said Dodson. Pray do, Sir, if you feel disposed; now pray do, Sir. I do, said Mr. Pickwick. You ARE swindlers. Very good, said Dodson. You can hear down there, I hope, Mr. Wicks? Oh, yes, Sir, said Wicks. You had better come up a step or two higher, if you cant, added Mr. Fogg. Go on, Sir; do go on. You had better call us thieves, Sir; or perhaps You would like to assault one Of US. Pray do it, Sir, if you would; we will not make the smallest resistance. Pray do it, Sir. As Fogg put himself very temptingly within the reach of Mr. Pickwicks clenched fist, there is little doubt that that gentleman would have complied with his earnest entreaty, but for the interposition of Sam, who, hearing the dispute, emerged from the office, mounted the stairs, and seized his master by the arm. You just come away, said Mr. Weller. Battledore and shuttlecocks a wery good game, vhen you aint the shuttlecock and two lawyers the battledores, in which case it gets too excitin to be pleasant. Come avay, Sir. If you want to ease your mind by blowing up somebody, come out into the court and blow up me; but its rayther too expensive work to be carried on here. And without the slightest ceremony, Mr. Weller hauled his master down the stairs, and down the court, and having safely deposited him in Cornhill, fell behind, prepared to follow whithersoever he should lead. Mr. Pickwick walked on abstractedly, crossed opposite the Mansion House, and bent his steps up Cheapside. Sam began to wonder where they were going, when his master turned round, and said-- Sam, I will go immediately to Mr. Perkers. Thats just exactly the wery place vere you ought to have gone last night, Sir, replied Mr. Weller. I think it is, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. I KNOW it is, said Mr. Weller. Well, well, Sam, replied Mr. Pickwick, we will go there at once; but first, as I have been rather ruffled, I should like a glass of brandy-and-water warm, Sam. Where can I have it, Sam? Mr. Wellers knowledge of London was extensive and peculiar. He replied, without the slightest consideration-- Second court on the right hand side--last house but vun on the same side the vay--take the box as stands in the first fireplace, cos there aint no leg in the middle o the table, which all the others has, and its wery inconvenient. Mr. Pickwick observed his valets directions implicitly, and bidding Sam follow him, entered the tavern he had pointed out, where the hot brandy-and-water was speedily placed before him; while Mr. Weller, seated at a respectful distance, though at the same table with his master, was accommodated with a pint of porter. The room was one of a very homely description, and was apparently under the especial patronage of stage-coachmen; for several gentleman, who had all the appearance of belonging to that learned profession, were drinking and smoking in the different boxes. Among the number was one stout, red-faced, elderly man, in particular, seated in an opposite box, who attracted Mr. Pickwicks attention. The stout man was smoking with great vehemence, but between every half-dozen puffs, he took his pipe from his mouth, and looked first at Mr. Weller and then at Mr. Pickwick. Then, he would bury in a quart pot, as much of his countenance as the dimensions of the quart pot admitted of its receiving, and take another look at Sam and Mr. Pickwick. Then he would take another half-dozen puffs with an air of profound meditation and look at them again. At last the stout man, putting up his legs on the seat, and leaning his back against the wall, began to puff at his pipe without leaving off at all, and to stare through the smoke at the new-comers, as if he had made up his mind to see the most he could of them. At first the evolutions of the stout man had escaped Mr. Wellers observation, but by degrees, as he saw Mr. Pickwicks eyes every now and then turning towards him, he began to gaze in the same direction, at the same time shading his eyes with his hand, as if he partially recognised the object before him, and wished to make quite sure of its identity. His doubts were speedily dispelled, however; for the stout man having blown a thick cloud from his pipe, a hoarse

The Pickwick Papers page 129        The Pickwick Papers page 131