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The Pickwick Papers 214







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The Pickwick Papers

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up among the aboriginal inhabitants of Southwark, disappeared, with the candle in her hand, down the kitchen stairs, perfectly satisfied that she had done everything that could possibly be required of her under the circumstances. Mr. Snodgrass, who entered last, secured the street door, after several ineffectual efforts, by putting up the chain; and the friends stumbled upstairs, where they were received by Mr. Bob Sawyer, who had been afraid to go down, lest he should be waylaid by Mrs. Raddle. How are you? said the discomfited student. Glad to see you --take care of the glasses. This caution was addressed to Mr. Pickwick, who had put his hat in the tray. Dear me, said Mr. Pickwick, I beg your pardon. Dont mention it, dont mention it, said Bob Sawyer. Im rather confined for room here, but you must put up with all that, when you come to see a young bachelor. Walk in. Youve seen this gentleman before, I think? Mr. Pickwick shook hands with Mr. Benjamin Allen, and his friends followed his example. They had scarcely taken their seats when there was another double knock. I hope thats Jack Hopkins! said Mr. Bob Sawyer. Hush. Yes, it is. Come up, Jack; come up. A heavy footstep was heard upon the stairs, and Jack Hopkins presented himself. He wore a black velvet waistcoat, with thunder-and-lightning buttons; and a blue striped shirt, with a white false collar. Youre late, Jack? said Mr. Benjamin Allen. Been detained at Bartholomews, replied Hopkins. Anything new? No, nothing particular. Rather a good accident brought into the casualty ward. What was that, sir? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Only a man fallen out of a four pair of stairs window; but its a very fair case indeed. Do you mean that the patient is in a fair way to recover? inquired Mr. Pickwick. No, replied Mr. Hopkins carelessly. No, I should rather say he wouldnt. There must be a splendid operation, though, to-morrow--magnificent sight if Slasher does it. You consider Mr. Slasher a good operator? said Mr. Pickwick. Best alive, replied Hopkins. Took a boys leg out of the socket last week--boy ate five apples and a gingerbread cake-- exactly two minutes after it was all over, boy said he wouldnt lie there to be made game of, and hed tell his mother if they didnt begin. Dear me! said Mr. Pickwick, astonished. Pooh! Thats nothing, that aint, said Jack Hopkins. Is it, Bob? Nothing at all, replied Mr. Bob Sawyer. By the bye, Bob, said Hopkins, with a scarcely perceptible glance at Mr. Pickwicks attentive face, we had a curious accident last night. A child was brought in, who had swallowed a necklace. Swallowed what, Sir? interrupted Mr. Pickwick. A necklace, replied Jack Hopkins. Not all at once, you know, that would be too much--you couldnt swallow that, if the child did--eh, Mr. Pickwick? ha, ha! Mr. Hopkins appeared highly gratified with his own pleasantry, and continued--No, the way was this. Childs parents were poor people who lived in a court. Childs eldest sister bought a necklace--common necklace, made of large black wooden beads. Child being fond of toys, cribbed the necklace, hid it, played with it, cut the string, and swallowed a bead. Child thought it capital fun, went back next day, and swallowed another bead. Bless my heart, said Mr. Pickwick, what a dreadful thing! I beg your pardon, Sir. Go on. Next day, child swallowed two beads; the day after that, he treated himself to three, and so on, till in a weeks time he had got through the necklace--five-and-twenty beads in all. The sister, who was an industrious girl, and seldom treated herself to a bit of finery, cried her eyes out, at the loss of the necklace; looked high and low for it; but, I neednt say, didnt find it. A few days afterwards, the family were at dinner--baked shoulder of mutton, and potatoes under it--the child, who wasnt hungry, was playing about the room, when suddenly there was heard a devil of a noise, like a small hailstorm. "Dont do that, my boy," said the father. "I aint a-doin nothing," said the child. "Well, dont do it again," said the father. There was a short silence, and then the noise began again, worse than ever. "If you dont mind what I say, my boy," said the father, "youll find yourself in bed, in something less than a pigs whisper." He gave the child a shake to make him obedient, and

The Pickwick Papers page 213        The Pickwick Papers page 215