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The Pickwick Papers 220

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

of the best gilt-edged letter- paper, and a hard-nibbed pen which could be warranted not to splutter. These articles having been promptly supplied, he walked on direct towards Leadenhall Market at a good round pace, very different from his recent lingering one. Looking round him, he there beheld a signboard on which the painters art had delineated something remotely resembling a cerulean elephant with an aquiline nose in lieu of trunk. Rightly conjecturing that this was the Blue Boar himself, he stepped into the house, and inquired concerning his parent. He wont be here this three-quarters of an hour or more, said the young lady who superintended the domestic arrangements of the Blue Boar. Wery good, my dear, replied Sam. Let me have nine- pennoth o brandy-and-water luke, and the inkstand, will you, miss? The brandy-and-water luke, and the inkstand, having been carried into the little parlour, and the young lady having carefully flattened down the coals to prevent their blazing, and carried away the poker to preclude the possibility of the fire being stirred, without the full privity and concurrence of the Blue Boar being first had and obtained, Sam Weller sat himself down in a box near the stove, and pulled out the sheet of gilt-edged letter-paper, and the hard-nibbed pen. Then looking carefully at the pen to see that there were no hairs in it, and dusting down the table, so that there might be no crumbs of bread under the paper, Sam tucked up the cuffs of his coat, squared his elbows, and composed himself to write. To ladies and gentlemen who are not in the habit of devoting themselves practically to the science of penmanship, writing a letter is no very easy task; it being always considered necessary in such cases for the writer to recline his head on his left arm, so as to place his eyes as nearly as possible on a level with the paper, and, while glancing sideways at the letters he is constructing, to form with his tongue imaginary characters to correspond. These motions, although unquestionably of the greatest assistance to original composition, retard in some degree the progress of the writer; and Sam had unconsciously been a full hour and a half writing words in small text, smearing out wrong letters with his little finger, and putting in new ones which required going over very often to render them visible through the old blots, when he was roused by the opening of the door and the entrance of his parent. Vell, Sammy, said the father. Vell, my Prooshan Blue, responded the son, laying down his pen. Whats the last bulletin about mother-in-law? Mrs. Veller passed a very good night, but is uncommon perwerse, and unpleasant this mornin. Signed upon oath, Tony Veller, Esquire. Thats the last vun as was issued, Sammy, replied Mr. Weller, untying his shawl. No better yet? inquired Sam. All the symptoms aggerawated, replied Mr. Weller, shaking his head. But wots that, youre a-doin of? Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, Sammy? Ive done now, said Sam, with slight embarrassment; Ive been a-writin. So I see, replied Mr. Weller. Not to any young ooman, I hope, Sammy? Why, its no use a-sayin it aint, replied Sam; its a walentine. A what! exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horror-stricken by the word. A walentine, replied Sam. Samivel, Samivel, said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, I didnt think youd ha done it. Arter the warnin youve had o your fathers wicious propensities; arter all Ive said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein and bein in the company o your own mother-in-law, vich I should ha thought wos a moral lesson as no man could never ha forgotten to his dyin day! I didnt think youd ha done it, Sammy, I didnt think youd ha done it! These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sams tumbler to his lips and drank off its contents. Wots the matter now? said Sam. Nevr mind, Sammy, replied Mr. Weller, itll be a wery agonisin trial to me at my time of life, but Im pretty tough, thats vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he wos afeerd he should be obliged to kill him for the London market. Wotll be a trial? inquired Sam. To see you married, Sammy--to see you a dilluded wictim, and thinkin in your innocence that its all wery capital, replied Mr. Weller. Its a dreadful trial to a fathers feelins, that ere, Sammy-- Nonsense, said Sam. I aint a-goin to

The Pickwick Papers page 219        The Pickwick Papers page 221