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The Pickwick Papers 260







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The Pickwick Papers

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on the counter, to attract the attention of anybody who might happen to be in the back parlour, which he judged to be the innermost and peculiar sanctum of the establishment, from the repetition of the word surgery on the door-- painted in white letters this time, by way of taking off the monotony. At the first knock, a sound, as of persons fencing with fire- irons, which had until now been very audible, suddenly ceased; at the second, a studious-looking young gentleman in green spectacles, with a very large book in his hand, glided quietly into the shop, and stepping behind the counter, requested to know the visitors pleasure. I am sorry to trouble you, Sir, said Mr. Winkle, but will you have the goodness to direct me to-- Ha! ha! ha! roared the studious young gentleman, throwing the large book up into the air, and catching it with great dexterity at the very moment when it threatened to smash to atoms all the bottles on the counter. Heres a start! There was, without doubt; for Mr. Winkle was so very much astonished at the extraordinary behaviour of the medical gentleman, that he involuntarily retreated towards the door, and looked very much disturbed at his strange reception. What, dont you know me? said the medical gentleman. Mr. Winkle murmured, in reply, that he had not that pleasure. Why, then, said the medical gentleman, there are hopes for me yet; I may attend half the old women in Bristol, if Ive decent luck. Get out, you mouldy old villain, get out! With this adjuration, which was addressed to the large book, the medical gentleman kicked the volume with remarkable agility to the farther end of the shop, and, pulling off his green spectacles, grinned the identical grin of Robert Sawyer, Esquire, formerly of Guys Hospital in the Borough, with a private residence in Lant Street. You dont mean to say you werent down upon me? said Mr. Bob Sawyer, shaking Mr. Winkles hand with friendly warmth. Upon my word I was not, replied Mr. Winkle, returning his pressure. I wonder you didnt see the name, said Bob Sawyer, calling his friends attention to the outer door, on which, in the same white paint, were traced the words Sawyer, late Nockemorf. It never caught my eye, returned Mr. Winkle. Lord, if I had known who you were, I should have rushed out, and caught you in my arms, said Bob Sawyer; but upon my life, I thought you were the Kings-taxes. No! said Mr. Winkle. I did, indeed, responded Bob Sawyer, and I was just going to say that I wasnt at home, but if youd leave a message Id be sure to give it to myself; for he dont know me; no more does the Lighting and Paving. I think the Church-rates guesses who I am, and I know the Water-works does, because I drew a tooth of his when I first came down here. But come in, come in! Chattering in this way, Mr. Bob Sawyer pushed Mr. Winkle into the back room, where, amusing himself by boring little circular caverns in the chimney-piece with a red-hot poker, sat no less a person than Mr. Benjamin Allen. Well! said Mr. Winkle. This is indeed a pleasure I did not expect. What a very nice place you have here! Pretty well, pretty well, replied Bob Sawyer. I PASSED, soon after that precious party, and my friends came down with the needful for this business; so I put on a black suit of clothes, and a pair of spectacles, and came here to look as solemn as I could. And a very snug little business you have, no doubt? said Mr. Winkle knowingly. Very, replied Bob Sawyer. So snug, that at the end of a few years you might put all the profits in a wine-glass, and cover em over with a gooseberry leaf. You cannot surely mean that? said Mr. Winkle. The stock itself-- Dummies, my dear boy, said Bob Sawyer; half the drawers have nothing in em, and the other half dont open. Nonsense! said Mr. Winkle. Fact--honour! returned Bob Sawyer, stepping out into the shop, and demonstrating the veracity of the assertion by divers hard pulls at the little gilt knobs on the counterfeit drawers. Hardly anything real in the shop but the leeches, and THEY are second-hand. I shouldnt have thought it! exclaimed Mr. Winkle, much surprised. I hope not, replied Bob Sawyer, else wheres the use of appearances, eh? But what will you take? Do as we do?

The Pickwick Papers page 259        The Pickwick Papers page 261