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The Pickwick Papers 239







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The Pickwick Papers

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Mr. Pickwick firmly; not one halfpenny. Hooroar for the principle, as the money-lender said ven he vouldnt renew the bill, observed Mr. Weller, who was clearing away the breakfast-things. Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, have the goodness to step downstairs. Certnly, sir, replied Mr. Weller; and acting on Mr. Pickwicks gentle hint, Sam retired. No, Perker, said Mr. Pickwick, with great seriousness of manner, my friends here have endeavoured to dissuade me from this determination, but without avail. I shall employ myself as usual, until the opposite party have the power of issuing a legal process of execution against me; and if they are vile enough to avail themselves of it, and to arrest my person, I shall yield myself up with perfect cheerfulness and content of heart. When can they do this? They can issue execution, my dear Sir, for the amount of the damages and taxed costs, next term, replied Perker, just two months hence, my dear sir. Very good, said Mr. Pickwick. Until that time, my dear fellow, let me hear no more of the matter. And now, continued Mr. Pickwick, looking round on his friends with a good- humoured smile, and a sparkle in the eye which no spectacles could dim or conceal, the only question is, Where shall we go next? Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass were too much affected by their friends heroism to offer any reply. Mr. Winkle had not yet sufficiently recovered the recollection of his evidence at the trial, to make any observation on any subject, so Mr. Pickwick paused in vain. Well, said that gentleman, if you leave me to suggest our destination, I say Bath. I think none of us have ever been there. Nobody had; and as the proposition was warmly seconded by Perker, who considered it extremely probable that if Mr. Pickwick saw a little change and gaiety he would be inclined to think better of his determination, and worse of a debtors prison, it was carried unanimously; and Sam was at once despatched to the White Horse Cellar, to take five places by the half-past seven oclock coach, next morning. There were just two places to be had inside, and just three to be had out; so Sam Weller booked for them all, and having exchanged a few compliments with the booking-office clerk on the subject of a pewter half-crown which was tendered him as a portion of his change, walked back to the George and Vulture, where he was pretty busily employed until bed-time in reducing clothes and linen into the smallest possible compass, and exerting his mechanical genius in constructing a variety of ingenious devices for keeping the lids on boxes which had neither locks nor hinges. The next was a very unpropitious morning for a journey-- muggy, damp, and drizzly. The horses in the stages that were going out, and had come through the city, were smoking so, that the outside passengers were invisible. The newspaper-sellers looked moist, and smelled mouldy; the wet ran off the hats of the orange-vendors as they thrust their heads into the coach windows, and diluted the insides in a refreshing manner. The Jews with the fifty-bladed penknives shut them up in despair; the men with the pocket-books made pocket-books of them. Watch- guards and toasting-forks were alike at a discount, and pencil- cases and sponges were a drug in the market. Leaving Sam Weller to rescue the luggage from the seven or eight porters who flung themselves savagely upon it, the moment the coach stopped, and finding that they were about twenty minutes too early, Mr. Pickwick and his friends went for shelter into the travellers room--the last resource of human dejection. The travellers room at the White Horse Cellar is of course uncomfortable; it would be no travellers room if it were not. It is the right-hand parlour, into which an aspiring kitchen fireplace appears to have walked, accompanied by a rebellious poker, tongs, and shovel. It is divided into boxes, for the solitary confinement of travellers, and is furnished with a clock, a looking-glass, and a live waiter, which latter article is kept in a small kennel for washing glasses, in a corner of the apartment. One of these boxes was occupied, on this particular occasion, by a stern-eyed man of about five-and-forty, who had a bald and glossy forehead, with a good deal of black hair at the sides and back of his head, and large black whiskers. He was buttoned up to the chin in a brown coat; and had a large sealskin travelling- cap, and

The Pickwick Papers page 238        The Pickwick Papers page 240