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The Pickwick Papers 132







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atrocious in the appellation of old Fireworks, but still it is by no means a respectful or flattering designation. The recollection of all the wrongs he had sustained at Jingles hands, had crowded on Mr. Pickwicks mind, the moment Mr. Weller began to speak; it wanted but a feather to turn the scale, and old Fireworks did it. Ill follow him, said Mr. Pickwick, with an emphatic blow on the table. I shall work down to Ipswich the day arter to-morrow, Sir, said Mr. Weller the elder, from the Bull in Whitechapel; and if you really mean to go, youd better go with me. So we had, said Mr. Pickwick; very true; I can write to Bury, and tell them to meet me at Ipswich. We will go with you. But dont hurry away, Mr. Weller; wont you take anything? Youre wery good, Sir, replied Mr. W., stopping short;-- perhaps a small glass of brandy to drink your health, and success to Sammy, Sir, wouldnt be amiss. Certainly not, replied Mr. Pickwick. A glass of brandy here! The brandy was brought; and Mr. Weller, after pulling his hair to Mr. Pickwick, and nodding to Sam, jerked it down his capacious throat as if it had been a small thimbleful. Well done, father, said Sam, take care, old fellow, or youll have a touch of your old complaint, the gout. Ive found a sovrin cure for that, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, setting down the glass. A sovereign cure for the gout, said Mr. Pickwick, hastily producing his note-book--what is it? The gout, Sir, replied Mr. Weller, the gout is a complaint as arises from too much ease and comfort. If ever youre attacked with the gout, sir, jist you marry a widder as has got a good loud woice, with a decent notion of usin it, and youll never have the gout agin. Its a capital prescription, sir. I takes it reglar, and I can warrant it to drive away any illness as is caused by too much jollity. Having imparted this valuable secret, Mr. Weller drained his glass once more, produced a laboured wink, sighed deeply, and slowly retired. Well, what do you think of what your father says, Sam? inquired Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. Think, Sir! replied Mr. Weller; why, I think hes the wictim o connubiality, as Blue Beards domestic chaplain said, vith a tear of pity, ven he buried him. There was no replying to this very apposite conclusion, and, therefore, Mr. Pickwick, after settling the reckoning, resumed his walk to Grays Inn. By the time he reached its secluded groves, however, eight oclock had struck, and the unbroken stream of gentlemen in muddy high-lows, soiled white hats, and rusty apparel, who were pouring towards the different avenues of egress, warned him that the majority of the offices had closed for that day. After climbing two pairs of steep and dirty stairs, he found his anticipations were realised. Mr. Perkers outer door was closed; and the dead silence which followed Mr. Wellers repeated kicks thereat, announced that the officials had retired from business for the night. This is pleasant, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick; I shouldnt lose an hour in seeing him; I shall not be able to get one wink of sleep to-night, I know, unless I have the satisfaction of reflecting that I have confided this matter to a professional man. Heres an old ooman comin upstairs, sir, replied Mr. Weller; praps she knows where we can find somebody. Hollo, old lady, veres Mr. Perkers people? Mr. Perkers people, said a thin, miserable-looking old woman, stopping to recover breath after the ascent of the staircase--Mr. Perkers peoples gone, and Im a-goin to do the office out. Are you Mr. Perkers servant? inquired Mr. Pickwick. I am Mr. Perkers laundress, replied the woman. Ah, said Mr. Pickwick, half aside to Sam, its a curious circumstance, Sam, that they call the old women in these inns, laundresses. I wonder whats that for? Cos they has a mortal awersion to washing anythin, I suppose, Sir, replied Mr. Weller. I shouldnt wonder, said Mr. Pickwick, looking at the old woman, whose appearance, as well as the condition of the office, which she had by this time opened, indicated a rooted antipathy to the application of soap and water; do you know where I can find Mr. Perker, my good woman? No, I dont, replied the old woman gruffly; hes out o town now. Thats unfortunate, said Mr. Pickwick; wheres his clerk? Do you know? Yes, I know where he is, but he wont thank me for telling you,

The Pickwick Papers page 131        The Pickwick Papers page 133