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The Pickwick Papers 144







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deprived of speech. He fell backward in his chair, and, clasping his hands together, gazed on the apparition with a mingled look of abhorrence and fear. "This day six years," said Heyling, "I claimed the life you owed me for my childs. Beside the lifeless form of your daughter, old man, I swore to live a life of revenge. I have never swerved from my purpose for a moments space; but if I had, one thought of her uncomplaining, suffering look, as she drooped away, or of the starving face of our innocent child, would have nerved me to my task. My first act of requital you well remember: this is my last." The old man shivered, and his hands dropped powerless by his side. "I leave England to-morrow," said Heyling, after a moments pause. "To-night I consign you to the living death to which you devoted her--a hopeless prison--" He raised his eyes to the old mans countenance, and paused. He lifted the light to his face, set it gently down, and left the apartment. "You had better see to the old man," he said to the woman, as he opened the door, and motioned the officer to follow him into the street. "I think he is ill." The woman closed the door, ran hastily upstairs, and found him lifeless. Beneath a plain gravestone, in one of the most peaceful and secluded churchyards in Kent, where wild flowers mingle with the grass, and the soft landscape around forms the fairest spot in the garden of England, lie the bones of the young mother and her gentle child. But the ashes of the father do not mingle with theirs; nor, from that night forward, did the attorney ever gain the remotest clue to the subsequent history of his queer client. As the old man concluded his tale, he advanced to a peg in one corner, and taking down his hat and coat, put them on with great deliberation; and, without saying another word, walked slowly away. As the gentleman with the Mosaic studs had fallen asleep, and the major part of the company were deeply occupied in the humorous process of dropping melted tallow-grease into his brandy-and-water, Mr. Pickwick departed unnoticed, and having settled his own score, and that of Mr. Weller, issued forth, in company with that gentleman, from beneath the portal of the Magpie and Stump.

CHAPTER XXII

Mr. PICKWICK JOURNEYS TO IPSWICH AND MEETS WITH A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE WITH A MIDDLE-AGED LADY IN YELLOW CURL-PAPERS

That ere your governors luggage, Sammy? inquired Mr. Weller of his affectionate son, as he entered the yard of the Bull Inn, Whitechapel, with a travelling-bag and a small portmanteau. You might ha made a worser guess than that, old feller, replied Mr. Weller the younger, setting down his burden in the yard, and sitting himself down upon it afterwards. The governor hisselfll be down here presently. Hes a-cabbin it, I suppose? said the father. Yes, hes a havin two mile o danger at eight-pence, responded the son. Hows mother-in-law this mornin? Queer, Sammy, queer, replied the elder Mr. Weller, with impressive gravity. Shes been gettin rayther in the Methodistical order lately, Sammy; and she is uncommon pious, to be sure. Shes too good a creetur for me, Sammy. I feel I dont deserve her. Ah, said Mr. Samuel. thats wery self-denyin o you. Wery, replied his parent, with a sigh. Shes got hold o some inwention for grown-up people being born again, Sammy--the new birth, I think they calls it. I should wery much like to see that system in haction, Sammy. I should wery much like to see your mother-in-law born again. Wouldnt I put her out to nurse! What do you think them women does tother day, continued Mr. Weller, after a short pause, during which he had significantly struck the side of his nose with his forefinger some half-dozen times. What do you think they does, tother day, Sammy? Dont know, replied Sam, what? Goes and gets up a grand tea drinkin for a feller they calls their shepherd, said Mr. Weller. I was a-standing starin in at the pictur shop down at our place, when I sees a little bill about it; "tickets half-a-crown. All applications to be made to the committee. Secretary, Mrs. Weller"; and when I got home there was the committee a-sittin in our back parlour. Fourteen women; I wish you could ha heard em, Sammy.

The Pickwick Papers page 143        The Pickwick Papers page 145