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The Pickwick Papers 190







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The Pickwick Papers

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he was one o the largest patterns as was ever turned out--reglar fat man, as hadnt caught a glimpse of his own shoes for five-and-forty year. Lor! exclaimed Emma. No, that he hadnt, my dear, said Mr. Weller; and if youd put an exact model of his own legs on the dinin-table afore him, he wouldnt ha known em. Well, he always walks to his office with a wery handsome gold watch-chain hanging out, about a foot and a quarter, and a gold watch in his fob pocket as was worth--Im afraid to say how much, but as much as a watch can be--a large, heavy, round manufacter, as stout for a watch, as he was for a man, and with a big face in proportion. "Youd better not carry that ere watch," says the old genlmns friends, "youll be robbed on it," says they. "Shall I?" says he. "Yes, you will," says they. "Well," says he, "I should like to see the thief as could get this here watch out, for Im blessed if I ever can, its such a tight fit," says he, "and wenever I vants to know whats oclock, Im obliged to stare into the bakers shops," he says. Well, then he laughs as hearty as if he was a-goin to pieces, and out he walks agin with his powdered head and pigtail, and rolls down the Strand with the chain hangin out furder than ever, and the great round watch almost bustin through his gray kersey smalls. There warnt a pickpocket in all London as didnt take a pull at that chain, but the chain ud never break, and the watch ud never come out, so they soon got tired of dragging such a heavy old genlmn along the pavement, and hed go home and laugh till the pigtail wibrated like the penderlum of a Dutch clock. At last, one day the old genlmn was a-rollin along, and he sees a pickpocket as he knowd by sight, a-coming up, arm in arm with a little boy with a wery large head. "Heres a game," says the old genlmn to himself, "theyre a-goin to have another try, but it wont do!" So he begins a-chucklin wery hearty, wen, all of a sudden, the little boy leaves hold of the pickpockets arm, and rushes head foremost straight into the old genlmns stomach, and for a moment doubles him right up with the pain. "Murder!" says the old genlmn. "All right, Sir," says the pickpocket, a-wisperin in his ear. And wen he come straight agin, the watch and chain was gone, and whats worse than that, the old genlmns digestion was all wrong ever afterwards, to the wery last day of his life; so just you look about you, young feller, and take care you dont get too fat. As Mr. Weller concluded this moral tale, with which the fat boy appeared much affected, they all three repaired to the large kitchen, in which the family were by this time assembled, according to annual custom on Christmas Eve, observed by old Wardles forefathers from time immemorial. From the centre of the ceiling of this kitchen, old Wardle had just suspended, with his own hands, a huge branch of mistletoe, and this same branch of mistletoe instantaneously gave rise to a scene of general and most delightful struggling and confusion; in the midst of which, Mr. Pickwick, with a gallantry that would have done honour to a descendant of Lady Tollimglower herself, took the old lady by the hand, led her beneath the mystic branch, and saluted her in all courtesy and decorum. The old lady submitted to this piece of practical politeness with all the dignity which befitted so important and serious a solemnity, but the younger ladies, not being so thoroughly imbued with a superstitious veneration for the custom, or imagining that the value of a salute is very much enhanced if it cost a little trouble to obtain it, screamed and struggled, and ran into corners, and threatened and remonstrated, and did everything but leave the room, until some of the less adventurous gentlemen were on the point of desisting, when they all at once found it useless to resist any longer, and submitted to be kissed with a good grace. Mr. Winkle kissed the young lady with the black eyes, and Mr. Snodgrass kissed Emily; and Mr. Weller, not being particular about the form of being under the mistletoe, kissed Emma and the other female servants, just as he

The Pickwick Papers page 189        The Pickwick Papers page 191