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The Pickwick Papers 178







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The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




The moment he saw him eat, all doubt on the subject was removed, and he perceived at once that if he purposed to take up his temporary quarters where he was, he must make his footing good without delay. He therefore commenced proceedings by putting his arm over the half-door of the bar, coolly unbolting it, and leisurely walking in. Mother-in-law, said Sam, how are you? Why, I do believe he is a Weller! said Mrs. W., raising her eyes to Sams face, with no very gratified expression of countenance. I rayther think he is, said the imperturbable Sam; and I hope this here reverend genlmn ll excuse me saying that I wish I was THE Weller as owns you, mother-in-law. This was a double-barrelled compliment. It implied that Mrs. Weller was a most agreeable female, and also that Mr. Stiggins had a clerical appearance. It made a visible impression at once; and Sam followed up his advantage by kissing his mother-in-law. Get along with you! said Mrs. Weller, pushing him away. For shame, young man! said the gentleman with the red nose. No offence, sir, no offence, replied Sam; youre wery right, though; it aint the right sort o thing, ven mothers-in-law is young and good-looking, is it, Sir? Its all vanity, said Mr. Stiggins. Ah, so it is, said Mrs. Weller, setting her cap to rights. Sam thought it was, too, but he held his peace. The deputy-shepherd seemed by no means best pleased with Sams arrival; and when the first effervescence of the compliment had subsided, even Mrs. Weller looked as if she could have spared him without the smallest inconvenience. However, there he was; and as he couldnt be decently turned out, they all three sat down to tea. And hows father? said Sam. At this inquiry, Mrs. Weller raised her hands, and turned up her eyes, as if the subject were too painful to be alluded to. Mr. Stiggins groaned. Whats the matter with that ere genlmn? inquired Sam. Hes shocked at the way your father goes on in, replied Mrs. Weller. Oh, he is, is he? said Sam. And with too good reason, added Mrs. Weller gravely. Mr. Stiggins took up a fresh piece of toast, and groaned heavily. He is a dreadful reprobate, said Mrs. Weller. A man of wrath! exclaimed Mr. Stiggins. He took a large semi-circular bite out of the toast, and groaned again. Sam felt very strongly disposed to give the reverend Mr. Stiggins something to groan for, but he repressed his inclination, and merely asked, Whats the old un up to now? Up to, indeed! said Mrs. Weller, Oh, he has a hard heart. Night after night does this excellent man--dont frown, Mr. Stiggins; I WILL say you ARE an excellent man--come and sit here, for hours together, and it has not the least effect upon him. Well, that is odd, said Sam; it ud have a wery considerable effect upon me, if I wos in his place; I know that. The fact is, my young friend, said Mr. Stiggins solemnly, he has an obderrate bosom. Oh, my young friend, who else could have resisted the pleading of sixteen of our fairest sisters, and withstood their exhortations to subscribe to our noble society for providing the infant negroes in the West Indies with flannel waistcoats and moral pocket-handkerchiefs? Whats a moral pocket-ankercher? said Sam; I never see one o them articles o furniter. Those which combine amusement With instruction, my young friend, replied Mr. Stiggins, blending select tales with wood-cuts. Oh, I know, said Sam; them as hangs up in the linen-drapers shops, with beggars petitions and all that ere upon em? Mr. Stiggins began a third round of toast, and nodded assent. And he wouldnt be persuaded by the ladies, wouldnt he? said Sam. Sat and smoked his pipe, and said the infant negroes were-- what did he say the infant negroes were? said Mrs. Weller. Little humbugs, replied Mr. Stiggins, deeply affected. Said the infant negroes were little humbugs, repeated Mrs. Weller. And they both groaned at the atrocious conduct of the elder Mr. Weller. A great many more iniquities of a similar nature might have been disclosed, only the toast being all eaten, the tea having got very weak, and Sam holding out no indications of meaning to go, Mr. Stiggins suddenly recollected that he had a most pressing appointment with the shepherd, and took himself off accordingly. The tea-things had been scarcely put away, and the hearth swept up, when the London coach deposited Mr. Weller, senior, at the door; his legs deposited him in the bar;

The Pickwick Papers page 177        The Pickwick Papers page 179