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The Pickwick Papers 176







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fervently. And of them Dodson and Foggs, as does these sort o things on spec, continued Mr. Weller, as vell as for the other kind and genrous people o the same purfession, as sets people by the ears, free gratis for nothin, and sets their clerks to work to find out little disputes among their neighbours and acquaintances as vants settlin by means of lawsuits--all I can say o them is, that I vish they had the reward Id give em. Ah, I wish they had the reward that every kind and generous heart would be inclined to bestow upon them! said the gratified Mrs. Bardell. Amen to that, replied Sam, and a fat and happy liven theyd get out of it! Wish you good-night, ladies. To the great relief of Mrs. Sanders, Sam was allowed to depart without any reference, on the part of the hostess, to the pettitoes and toasted cheese; to which the ladies, with such juvenile assistance as Master Bardell could afford, soon afterwards rendered the amplest justice--indeed they wholly vanished before their strenuous exertions. Mr. Weller wended his way back to the George and Vulture, and faithfully recounted to his master, such indications of the sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg, as he had contrived to pick up in his visit to Mrs. Bardells. An interview with Mr. Perker, next day, more than confirmed Mr. Wellers statement; and Mr. Pickwick was fain to prepare for his Christmas visit to Dingley Dell, with the pleasant anticipation that some two or three months afterwards, an action brought against him for damages sustained by reason of a breach of promise of marriage, would be publicly tried in the Court of Common Pleas; the plaintiff having all the advantages derivable, not only from the force of circumstances, but from the sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg to boot.

CHAPTER XXVII

SAMUEL WELLER MAKES A PILGRIMAGE TO DORKING, AND BEHOLDS HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW

There still remaining an interval of two days before the time agreed upon for the departure of the Pickwickians to Dingley Dell, Mr. Weller sat himself down in a back room at the George and Vulture, after eating an early dinner, to muse on the best way of disposing of his time. It was a remarkably fine day; and he had not turned the matter over in his mind ten minutes, when he was suddenly stricken filial and affectionate; and it occurred to him so strongly that he ought to go down and see his father, and pay his duty to his mother-in-law, that he was lost in astonishment at his own remissness in never thinking of this moral obligation before. Anxious to atone for his past neglect without another hours delay, he straightway walked upstairs to Mr. Pickwick, and requested leave of absence for this laudable purpose. Certainly, Sam, certainly, said Mr. Pickwick, his eyes glistening with delight at this manifestation of filial feeling on the part of his attendant; certainly, Sam. Mr. Weller made a grateful bow. I am very glad to see that you have so high a sense of your duties as a son, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. I always had, sir, replied Mr. Weller. Thats a very gratifying reflection, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick approvingly. Wery, Sir, replied Mr. Weller; if ever I wanted anythin o my father, I always asked for it in a wery spectful and obligin manner. If he didnt give it me, I took it, for fear I should be led to do anythin wrong, through not havin it. I saved him a world o trouble this vay, Sir. Thats not precisely what I meant, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, shaking his head, with a slight smile. All good feelin, sir--the wery best intentions, as the genlmn said ven he run away from his wife cos she seemed unhappy with him, replied Mr. Weller. You may go, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. Thankee, Sir, replied Mr. Weller; and having made his best bow, and put on his best clothes, Sam planted himself on the top of the Arundel coach, and journeyed on to Dorking. The Marquis of Granby, in Mrs. Wellers time, was quite a model of a roadside public-house of the better class--just large enough to be convenient, and small enough to be snug. On the opposite side of the road was a large sign-board on a high post, representing the head and shoulders of a gentleman with an apoplectic countenance, in a red coat with deep blue facings, and a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered hat, for a sky. Over

The Pickwick Papers page 175        The Pickwick Papers page 177