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The Pickwick Papers 131







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The Pickwick Papers

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voice, like some strange effort of ventriloquism, emerged from beneath the capacious shawls which muffled his throat and chest, and slowly uttered these sounds--Wy, Sammy! Whos that, Sam? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Why, I wouldnt ha believed it, Sir, replied Mr. Weller, with astonished eyes. Its the old un. Old one, said Mr. Pickwick. What old one? My father, sir, replied Mr. Weller. How are you, my ancient? And with this beautiful ebullition of filial affection, Mr. Weller made room on the seat beside him, for the stout man, who advanced pipe in mouth and pot in hand, to greet him. Wy, Sammy, said the father, I hant seen you, for two year and better. Nor more you have, old codger, replied the son. Hows mother-in-law? Wy, Ill tell you what, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, senior, with much solemnity in his manner; there never was a nicer woman as a widder, than that ere second wentur o mine--a sweet creetur she was, Sammy; all I can say on her now, is, that as she was such an uncommon pleasant widder, its a great pity she ever changed her condition. She dont act as a vife, Sammy. Dont she, though? inquired Mr. Weller, junior. The elder Mr. Weller shook his head, as he replied with a sigh, Ive done it once too often, Sammy; Ive done it once too often. Take example by your father, my boy, and be wery careful o widders all your life, specially if theyve kept a public-house, Sammy. Having delivered this parental advice with great pathos, Mr. Weller, senior, refilled his pipe from a tin box he carried in his pocket; and, lighting his fresh pipe from the ashes of the old One, commenced smoking at a great rate. Beg your pardon, sir, he said, renewing the subject, and addressing Mr. Pickwick, after a considerable pause, nothin personal, I hope, sir; I hope you hant got a widder, sir. Not I, replied Mr. Pickwick, laughing; and while Mr. Pickwick laughed, Sam Weller informed his parent in a whisper, of the relation in which he stood towards that gentleman. Beg your pardon, sir, said Mr. Weller, senior, taking off his hat, I hope youve no fault to find with Sammy, Sir? None whatever, said Mr. Pickwick. Wery glad to hear it, sir, replied the old man; I took a good deal o pains with his eddication, sir; let him run in the streets when he was wery young, and shift for hisself. Its the only way to make a boy sharp, sir. Rather a dangerous process, I should imagine, said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. And not a wery sure one, neither, added Mr. Weller; I got reglarly done the other day. No! said his father. I did, said the son; and he proceeded to relate, in as few words as possible, how he had fallen a ready dupe to the stratagems of Job Trotter. Mr. Weller, senior, listened to the tale with the most profound attention, and, at its termination, said-- Wornt one o these chaps slim and tall, with long hair, and the gift o the gab wery gallopin? Mr. Pickwick did not quite understand the last item of description, but, comprehending the first, said Yes, at a venture. T others a black-haired chap in mulberry livery, with a wery large head? Yes, yes, he is, said Mr. Pickwick and Sam, with great earnestness. Then I know where they are, and thats all about it, said Mr. Weller; theyre at Ipswich, safe enough, them two. No! said Mr. Pickwick. Fact, said Mr. Weller, and Ill tell you how I know it. I work an Ipswich coach now and then for a friend o mine. I worked down the wery day arter the night as you caught the rheumatic, and at the Black Boy at Chelmsford--the wery place theyd come to--I took em up, right through to Ipswich, where the man-servant--him in the mulberries--told me they was a-goin to put up for a long time. Ill follow him, said Mr. Pickwick; we may as well see Ipswich as any other place. Ill follow him. Youre quite certain it was them, governor? inquired Mr. Weller, junior. Quite, Sammy, quite, replied his father, for their appearance is wery singler; besides that ere, I wondered to see the genlmn so formiliar with his servant; and, more than that, as they sat in the front, right behind the box, I heerd em laughing and saying how theyd done old Fireworks. Old who? said Mr. Pickwick. Old Fireworks, Sir; by which, Ive no doubt, they meant you, Sir. There is nothing positively vile or

The Pickwick Papers page 130        The Pickwick Papers page 132