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The Pickwick Papers 179







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The Pickwick Papers

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and his eyes showed him his son. What, Sammy! exclaimed the father. What, old Nobs! ejaculated the son. And they shook hands heartily. Wery glad to see you, Sammy, said the elder Mr. Weller, though how youve managed to get over your mother-in-law, is a mystery to me. I only vish youd write me out the receipt, thats all. Hush! said Sam, shes at home, old feller. She aint vithin hearin, replied Mr. Weller; she always goes and blows up, downstairs, for a couple of hours arter tea; so well just give ourselves a damp, Sammy. Saying this, Mr. Weller mixed two glasses of spirits-and-water, and produced a couple of pipes. The father and son sitting down opposite each other; Sam on one side of the fire, in the high-backed chair, and Mr. Weller, senior, on the other, in an easy ditto, they proceeded to enjoy themselves with all due gravity. Anybody been here, Sammy? asked Mr. Weller, senior, dryly, after a long silence. Sam nodded an expressive assent. Red-nosed chap? inquired Mr. Weller. Sam nodded again. Amiable man that ere, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, smoking violently. Seems so, observed Sam. Good hand at accounts, said Mr. Weller. Is he? said Sam. Borrows eighteenpence on Monday, and comes on Tuesday for a shillin to make it up half-a-crown; calls again on Vensday for another half-crown to make it five shillins; and goes on, doubling, till he gets it up to a five pund note in no time, like them sums in the rithmetic book bout the nails in the horses shoes, Sammy. Sam intimated by a nod that he recollected the problem alluded to by his parent. So you vouldnt subscribe to the flannel veskits? said Sam, after another interval of smoking. Certnly not, replied Mr. Weller; whats the good o flannel veskits to the young niggers abroad? But Ill tell you what it is, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, lowering his voice, and bending across the fireplace; Id come down wery handsome towards strait veskits for some people at home. As Mr. Weller said this, he slowly recovered his former position, and winked at his first-born, in a profound manner. it certnly seems a queer start to send out pocket-ankerchers to people as dont know the use on em, observed Sam. Theyre alvays a-doin some gammon of that sort, Sammy, replied his father. Tother Sunday I wos walkin up the road, wen who should I see, a-standin at a chapel door, with a blue soup-plate in her hand, but your mother-in-law! I werily believe there was change for a couple o suvrins in it, then, Sammy, all in hapence; and as the people come out, they rattled the pennies in it, till youd ha thought that no mortal plate as ever was baked, could ha stood the wear and tear. What dye think it was all for? For another tea-drinkin, perhaps, said Sam. Not a bit on it, replied the father; for the shepherds water- rate, Sammy. The shepherds water-rate! said Sam. Ay, replied Mr. Weller, there was three quarters owin, and the shepherd hadnt paid a farden, not he--perhaps it might be on account that the water warnt o much use to him, for its wery little o that tap he drinks, Sammy, wery; he knows a trick worth a good half-dozen of that, he does. Howsever, it warnt paid, and so they cuts the water off. Down goes the shepherd to chapel, gives out as hes a persecuted saint, and says he hopes the heart of the turncock as cut the water off, ll be softened, and turned in the right vay, but he rayther thinks hes booked for somethin uncomfortable. Upon this, the women calls a meetin, sings a hymn, wotes your mother-in-law into the chair, wolunteers a collection next Sunday, and hands it all over to the shepherd. And if he aint got enough out on em, Sammy, to make him free of the water company for life, said Mr. Weller, in conclusion, Im one Dutchman, and youre another, and thats all about it. Mr. Weller smoked for some minutes in silence, and then resumed-- The worst o these here shepherds is, my boy, that they reglarly turns the heads of all the young ladies, about here. Lord bless their little hearts, they thinks its all right, and dont know no better; but theyre the wictims o gammon, Samivel, theyre the wictims o gammon. I spose they are, said Sam. Nothin else, said Mr. Weller, shaking his head gravely; and wot aggrawates me, Samivel, is to see em a-wastin all their time and labour in making clothes for

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