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The Pickwick Papers 173







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small corner, and so--it was nobodys fault but the mans who built the house--Sam and the pretty housemaid were necessarily very close together. Yes, this is it, said Sam. Good-bye! Good-bye! said the pretty housemaid. Good-bye! said Sam; and as he said it, he dropped the hat that had cost so much trouble in looking for. How awkward you are, said the pretty housemaid. Youll lose it again, if you dont take care. So just to prevent his losing it again, she put it on for him. Whether it was that the pretty housemaids face looked prettier still, when it was raised towards Sams, or whether it was the accidental consequence of their being so near to each other, is matter of uncertainty to this day; but Sam kissed her. You dont mean to say you did that on purpose, said the pretty housemaid, blushing. No, I didnt then, said Sam; but I will now. So he kissed her again. Sam! said Mr. Pickwick, calling over the banisters. Coming, Sir, replied Sam, running upstairs. How long you have been! said Mr. Pickwick. There was something behind the door, Sir, which perwented our getting it open, for ever so long, Sir, replied Sam. And this was the first passage of Mr. Wellers first love.

CHAPTER XXVI

WHICH CONTAINS A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PROGRESS OF THE ACTION OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK

Having accomplished the main end and object of his journey, by the exposure of Jingle, Mr. Pickwick resolved on immediately returning to London, with the view of becoming acquainted with the proceedings which had been taken against him, in the meantime, by Messrs. Dodson and Fogg. Acting upon this resolution with all the energy and decision of his character, he mounted to the back seat of the first coach which left Ipswich on the morning after the memorable occurrences detailed at length in the two preceding chapters; and accompanied by his three friends, and Mr. Samuel Weller, arrived in the metropolis, in perfect health and safety, the same evening. Here the friends, for a short time, separated. Messrs. Tupman, Winkle, and Snodgrass repaired to their several homes to make such preparations as might be requisite for their forthcoming visit to Dingley Dell; and Mr. Pickwick and Sam took up their present abode in very good, old-fashioned, and comfortable quarters, to wit, the George and Vulture Tavern and Hotel, George Yard, Lombard Street. Mr. Pickwick had dined, finished his second pint of particular port, pulled his silk handkerchief over his head, put his feet on the fender, and thrown himself back in an easy-chair, when the entrance of Mr. Weller with his carpet-bag, aroused him from his tranquil meditation. Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. Sir, said Mr. Weller. I have just been thinking, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, that having left a good many things at Mrs. Bardells, in Goswell Street, I ought to arrange for taking them away, before I leave town again. Wery good, sir, replied Mr. Weller. I could send them to Mr. Tupmans, for the present, Sam, continued Mr. Pickwick, but before we take them away, it is necessary that they should be looked up, and put together. I wish you would step up to Goswell Street, Sam, and arrange about it. At once, Sir? inquired Mr. Weller. At once, replied Mr. Pickwick. And stay, Sam, added Mr. Pickwick, pulling out his purse, there is some rent to pay. The quarter is not due till Christmas, but you may pay it, and have done with it. A months notice terminates my tenancy. Here it is, written out. Give it, and tell Mrs. Bardell she may put a bill up, as soon as she likes. Wery good, sir, replied Mr. Weller; anythin more, sir? Nothing more, Sam. Mr. Weller stepped slowly to the door, as if he expected something more; slowly opened it, slowly stepped out, and had slowly closed it within a couple of inches, when Mr. Pickwick called out-- Sam. Yes, sir, said Mr. Weller, stepping quickly back, and closing the door behind him. I have no objection, Sam, to your endeavouring to ascertain how Mrs. Bardell herself seems disposed towards me, and whether it is really probable that this vile and groundless action is to be carried to extremity. I say I do not object to you doing this, if you wish it, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. Sam gave a short nod of intelligence, and left the room. Mr. Pickwick drew the silk handkerchief once more over his head, And composed himself for a nap. Mr. Weller promptly walked forth,

The Pickwick Papers page 172        The Pickwick Papers page 174