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The Pickwick Papers 154







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The Pickwick Papers

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of adwice to give you. If ever you gets to upards o fifty, and feels disposed to go a-marryin anybody--no matter who--jist you shut yourself up in your own room, if youve got one, and pison yourself off hand. Hangins wulgar, so dont you have nothin to say to that. Pison yourself, Samivel, my boy, pison yourself, and youll be glad on it arterwards. With these affecting words, Mr. Weller looked steadfastly on his son, and turning slowly upon his heel, disappeared from his sight. In the contemplative mood which these words had awakened, Mr. Samuel Weller walked forth from the Great White Horse when his father had left him; and bending his steps towards St. Clements Church, endeavoured to dissipate his melancholy, by strolling among its ancient precincts. He had loitered about, for some time, when he found himself in a retired spot--a kind of courtyard of venerable appearance--which he discovered had no other outlet than the turning by which he had entered. He was about retracing his steps, when he was suddenly transfixed to the spot by a sudden appearance; and the mode and manner of this appearance, we now proceed to relate. Mr. Samuel Weller had been staring up at the old brick houses now and then, in his deep abstraction, bestowing a wink upon some healthy-looking servant girl as she drew up a blind, or threw open a bedroom window, when the green gate of a garden at the bottom of the yard opened, and a man having emerged therefrom, closed the green gate very carefully after him, and walked briskly towards the very spot where Mr. Weller was standing. Now, taking this, as an isolated fact, unaccompanied by any attendant circumstances, there was nothing very extraordinary in it; because in many parts of the world men do come out of gardens, close green gates after them, and even walk briskly away, without attracting any particular share of public observation. It is clear, therefore, that there must have been something in the man, or in his manner, or both, to attract Mr. Wellers particular notice. Whether there was, or not, we must leave the reader to determine, when we have faithfully recorded the behaviour of the individual in question. When the man had shut the green gate after him, he walked, as we have said twice already, with a brisk pace up the courtyard; but he no sooner caught sight of Mr. Weller than he faltered, and stopped, as if uncertain, for the moment, what course to adopt. As the green gate was closed behind him, and there was no other outlet but the one in front, however, he was not long in perceiving that he must pass Mr. Samuel Weller to get away. He therefore resumed his brisk pace, and advanced, staring straight before him. The most extraordinary thing about the man was, that he was contorting his face into the most fearful and astonishing grimaces that ever were beheld. Natures handiwork never was disguised with such extraordinary artificial carving, as the man had overlaid his countenance with in one moment. Well! said Mr. Weller to himself, as the man approached. This is wery odd. I could ha swore it was him. Up came the man, and his face became more frightfully distorted than ever, as he drew nearer. I could take my oath to that ere black hair and mulberry suit, said Mr. Weller; only I never see such a face as that afore. As Mr. Weller said this, the mans features assumed an unearthly twinge, perfectly hideous. He was obliged to pass very near Sam, however, and the scrutinising glance of that gentleman enabled him to detect, under all these appalling twists of feature, something too like the small eyes of Mr. Job Trotter to be easily mistaken. Hollo, you Sir! shouted Sam fiercely. The stranger stopped. Hollo! repeated Sam, still more gruffly. The man with the horrible face looked, with the greatest surprise, up the court, and down the court, and in at the windows of the houses--everywhere but at Sam Weller--and took another step forward, when he was brought to again by another shout. Hollo, you sir! said Sam, for the third time. There was no pretending to mistake where the voice came from now, so the stranger, having no other resource, at last looked Sam Weller full in the face. It wont do, Job Trotter, said Sam. Come! None o that ere nonsense. You aint so wery andsome that you can afford to throw avay many o your good looks.

The Pickwick Papers page 153        The Pickwick Papers page 155