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The Pickwick Papers 253







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The Pickwick Papers

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are uncertain about the writer of a note--looked at the seal, and then at the front, and then at the back, and then at the sides, and then at the superscription; and, as a last resource, thought perhaps he might as well look at the inside, and try to find out from that. Its wrote on gilt-edged paper, said Sam, as he unfolded it, and sealed in bronze vax vith the top of a door key. Now for it. And, with a very grave face, Mr. Weller slowly read as follows-- A select company of the Bath footmen presents their compliments to Mr. Weller, and requests the pleasure of his company this evening, to a friendly swarry, consisting of a boiled leg of mutton with the usual trimmings. The swarry to be on table at half-past nine oclock punctually. This was inclosed in another note, which ran thus-- Mr. John Smauker, the gentleman who had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Weller at the house of their mutual acquaintance, Mr. Bantam, a few days since, begs to inclose Mr. Weller the herewith invitation. If Mr. Weller will call on Mr. John Smauker at nine oclock, Mr. John Smauker will have the pleasure of introducing Mr. Weller. (Signed) JOHN SMAUKER. The envelope was directed to blank Weller, Esq., at Mr. Pickwicks; and in a parenthesis, in the left hand corner, were the words airy bell, as an instruction to the bearer. Vell, said Sam, this is comin it rayther powerful, this is. I never heerd a biled leg o mutton called a swarry afore. I wonder wot theyd call a roast one. However, without waiting to debate the point, Sam at once betook himself into the presence of Mr. Pickwick, and requested leave of absence for that evening, which was readily granted. With this permission and the street-door key, Sam Weller issued forth a little before the appointed time, and strolled leisurely towards Queen Square, which he no sooner gained than he had the satisfaction of beholding Mr. John Smauker leaning his powdered head against a lamp-post at a short distance off, smoking a cigar through an amber tube. How do you do, Mr. Weller? said Mr. John Smauker, raising his hat gracefully with one hand, while he gently waved the other in a condescending manner. How do you do, Sir? Why, reasonably conwalessent, replied Sam. How do YOU find yourself, my dear feller? Only so so, said Mr. John Smauker. Ah, youve been a-workin too hard, observed Sam. I was fearful you would; it wont do, you know; you must not give way to that ere uncompromisin spirit o yourn. Its not so much that, Mr. Weller, replied Mr. John Smauker, as bad wine; Im afraid Ive been dissipating. Oh! thats it, is it? said Sam; thats a wery bad complaint, that. And yet the temptation, you see, Mr. Weller, observed Mr. John Smauker. Ah, to be sure, said Sam. Plunged into the very vortex of society, you know, Mr. Weller, said Mr. John Smauker, with a sigh. Dreadful, indeed! rejoined Sam. But its always the way, said Mr. John Smauker; if your destiny leads you into public life, and public station, you must expect to be subjected to temptations which other people is free from, Mr. Weller. Precisely what my uncle said, ven he vent into the public line, remarked Sam, and wery right the old genlmn wos, for he drank hisself to death in somethin less than a quarter. Mr. John Smauker looked deeply indignant at any parallel being drawn between himself and the deceased gentleman in question; but, as Sams face was in the most immovable state of calmness, he thought better of it, and looked affable again. Perhaps we had better be walking, said Mr. Smauker, consulting a copper timepiece which dwelt at the bottom of a deep watch-pocket, and was raised to the surface by means of a black string, with a copper key at the other end. Praps we had, replied Sam, or theyll overdo the swarry, and thatll spile it. Have you drank the waters, Mr. Weller? inquired his companion, as they walked towards High Street. Once, replied Sam. What did you think of em, Sir? I thought they was particklery unpleasant, replied Sam. Ah, said Mr. John Smauker, you disliked the killibeate taste, perhaps? I dont know much about that ere, said Sam. I thought theyd a wery strong flavour o warm flat irons. That IS the killibeate, Mr. Weller, observed Mr. John Smauker contemptuously. Well, if it is, its a

The Pickwick Papers page 252        The Pickwick Papers page 254