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The Pickwick Papers 198







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The Pickwick Papers

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grown wiser. But this opinion, which was by no means a popular one at any time, gradually died off; and be the matter how it may, as Gabriel Grub was afflicted with rheumatism to the end of his days, this story has at least one moral, if it teach no better one--and that is, that if a man turn sulky and drink by himself at Christmas time, he may make up his mind to be not a bit the better for it: let the spirits be never so good, or let them be even as many degrees beyond proof, as those which Gabriel Grub saw in the goblins cavern.

CHAPTER XXX

HOW THE PICKWICKIANS MADE AND CULTIVATED THE ACQUAINTANCE OF A COUPLE OF NICE YOUNG MEN BELONGING TO ONE OF THE LIBERAL PROFESSIONS; HOW THEY DISPORTED THEMSELVES ON THE ICE; AND HOW THEIR VISIT CAME TO A CONCLUSION

Well, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, as that favoured servitor entered his bed-chamber, with his warm water, on the morning of Christmas Day, still frosty? Water in the wash-hand basins a mask o ice, Sir, responded Sam. Severe weather, Sam, observed Mr. Pickwick. Fine time for them as is well wropped up, as the Polar bear said to himself, ven he was practising his skating, replied Mr. Weller. I shall be down in a quarter of an hour, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, untying his nightcap. Wery good, sir, replied Sam. Theres a couple o sawbones downstairs. A couple of what! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, sitting up in bed. A couple o sawbones, said Sam. Whats a sawbones? inquired Mr. Pickwick, not quite certain whether it was a live animal, or something to eat. What! Dont you know what a sawbones is, sir? inquired Mr. Weller. I thought everybody knowd as a sawbones was a surgeon. Oh, a surgeon, eh? said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. Just that, sir, replied Sam. These here ones as is below, though, aint reglar thoroughbred sawbones; theyre only in trainin. In other words theyre medical students, I suppose? said Mr. Pickwick. Sam Weller nodded assent. I am glad of it, said Mr. Pickwick, casting his nightcap energetically on the counterpane. They are fine fellows--very fine fellows; with judgments matured by observation and reflection; and tastes refined by reading and study. I am very glad of it. Theyre a-smokin cigars by the kitchen fire, said Sam. Ah! observed Mr. Pickwick, rubbing his hands, overflowing with kindly feelings and animal spirits. Just what I like to see. And one on em, said Sam, not noticing his masters interruption, one on ems got his legs on the table, and is a-drinking brandy neat, vile the tother one--him in the barnacles--has got a barrel o oysters atween his knees, which hes a-openin like steam, and as fast as he eats em, he takes a aim vith the shells at young dropsy, whos a sittin down fast asleep, in the chimbley corner. Eccentricities of genius, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. You may retire. Sam did retire accordingly. Mr. Pickwick at the expiration of the quarter of an hour, went down to breakfast. Here he is at last! said old Mr. Wardle. Pickwick, this is Miss Allens brother, Mr. Benjamin Allen. Ben we call him, and so may you, if you like. This gentleman is his very particular friend, Mr.-- Mr. Bob Sawyer,interposed Mr. Benjamin Allen; whereupon Mr. Bob Sawyer and Mr. Benjamin Allen laughed in concert. Mr. Pickwick bowed to Bob Sawyer, and Bob Sawyer bowed to Mr. Pickwick. Bob and his very particular friend then applied themselves most assiduously to the eatables before them; and Mr. Pickwick had an opportunity of glancing at them both. Mr. Benjamin Allen was a coarse, stout, thick-set young man, with black hair cut rather short, and a white face cut rather long. He was embellished with spectacles, and wore a white neckerchief. Below his single-breasted black surtout, which was buttoned up to his chin, appeared the usual number of pepper- and-salt coloured legs, terminating in a pair of imperfectly polished boots. Although his coat was short in the sleeves, it disclosed no vestige of a linen wristband; and although there was quite enough of his face to admit of the encroachment of a shirt collar, it was not graced by the smallest approach to that appendage. He presented, altogether, rather a mildewy appearance, and emitted a fragrant odour of full-flavoured Cubas. Mr. Bob Sawyer, who was habited in a coarse, blue coat, which, without being either a greatcoat or a surtout,

The Pickwick Papers page 197        The Pickwick Papers page 199