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The Pickwick Papers 223







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The Pickwick Papers

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has somethin to remember us by. And Id give him somethin as ud turpentine and beeswax his memory for the next ten years or so, if I wos you, interposed Sam. Stop a minute, said Mr. Weller; I wos a-going to say, he always brings now, a flat bottle as holds about a pint and a half, and fills it vith the pine-apple rum afore he goes avay. And empties it afore he comes back, I spose? said Sam. Clean! replied Mr. Weller; never leaves nothin in it but the cork and the smell; trust him for that, Sammy. Now, these here fellows, my boy, are a-goin to-night to get up the monthly meetin o the Brick Lane Branch o the United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association. Your mother-in-law wos a-goin, Sammy, but shes got the rheumatics, and cant; and I, Sammy--Ive got the two tickets as wos sent her. Mr. Weller communicated this secret with great glee, and winked so indefatigably after doing so, that Sam began to think he must have got the TIC DOLOUREUX in his right eyelid. Well? said that young gentleman. Well, continued his progenitor, looking round him very cautiously, you and Ill go, punctiwal to the time. The deputy- shepherd wont, Sammy; the deputy-shepherd wont. Here Mr. Weller was seized with a paroxysm of chuckles, which gradually terminated in as near an approach to a choke as an elderly gentleman can, with safety, sustain. Well, I never see sitch an old ghost in all my born days, exclaimed Sam, rubbing the old gentlemans back, hard enough to set him on fire with the friction. What are you a-laughin at, corpilence? Hush! Sammy, said Mr. Weller, looking round him with increased caution, and speaking in a whisper. Two friends o mine, as works the Oxford Road, and is up to all kinds o games, has got the deputy-shepherd safe in tow, Sammy; and ven he does come to the Ebenezer Junction (vich hes sure to do: for theyll see him to the door, and shove him in, if necessary), hell be as far gone in rum-and-water, as ever he wos at the Markis o Granby, Dorkin, and thats not sayin a little neither. And with this, Mr. Weller once more laughed immoderately, and once more relapsed into a state of partial suffocation, in consequence. Nothing could have been more in accordance with Sam Wellers feelings than the projected exposure of the real propensities and qualities of the red-nosed man; and it being very near the appointed hour of meeting, the father and son took their way at once to Brick Lane, Sam not forgetting to drop his letter into a general post-office as they walked along. The monthly meetings of the Brick Lane Branch of the United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association were held in a large room, pleasantly and airily situated at the top of a safe and commodious ladder. The president was the straight-walking Mr. Anthony Humm, a converted fireman, now a schoolmaster, and occasionally an itinerant preacher; and the secretary was Mr. Jonas Mudge, chandlers shopkeeper, an enthusiastic and disinterested vessel, who sold tea to the members. Previous to the commencement of business, the ladies sat upon forms, and drank tea, till such time as they considered it expedient to leave off; and a large wooden money-box was conspicuously placed upon the green baize cloth of the business-table, behind which the secretary stood, and acknowledged, with a gracious smile, every addition to the rich vein of copper which lay concealed within. On this particular occasion the women drank tea to a most alarming extent; greatly to the horror of Mr. Weller, senior, who, utterly regardless of all Sams admonitory nudgings, stared about him in every direction with the most undisguised astonishment. Sammy, whispered Mr. Weller, if some o these here people dont want tappin to-morrow mornin, I aint your father, and thats wot it is. Why, this here old lady next me is a-drowndin herself in tea. Be quiet, cant you? murmured Sam. Sam, whispered Mr. Weller, a moment afterwards, in a tone of deep agitation, mark my vords, my boy. If that ere secretary fellow keeps on for only five minutes more, hell blow hisself up with toast and water. Well, let him, if he likes, replied Sam; it aint no bisness o yourn. If this here lasts much longer, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, in the same low voice, I shall feel it my duty, as a human bein, to rise and address the cheer. Theres a young ooman on the next form

The Pickwick Papers page 222        The Pickwick Papers page 224