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The Pickwick Papers 261







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The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




Thats right. Ben, my fine fellow, put your hand into the cupboard, and bring out the patent digester. Mr. Benjamin Allen smiled his readiness, and produced from the closet at his elbow a black bottle half full of brandy. You dont take water, of course? said Bob Sawyer. Thank you, replied Mr. Winkle. Its rather early. I should like to qualify it, if you have no objection. None in the least, if you can reconcile it to your conscience, replied Bob Sawyer, tossing off, as he spoke, a glass of the liquor with great relish. Ben, the pipkin! Mr. Benjamin Allen drew forth, from the same hiding-place, a small brass pipkin, which Bob Sawyer observed he prided himself upon, particularly because it looked so business-like. The water in the professional pipkin having been made to boil, in course of time, by various little shovelfuls of coal, which Mr. Bob Sawyer took out of a practicable window-seat, labelled Soda Water, Mr. Winkle adulterated his brandy; and the conversation was becoming general, when it was interrupted by the entrance into the shop of a boy, in a sober gray livery and a gold-laced hat, with a small covered basket under his arm, whom Mr. Bob Sawyer immediately hailed with, Tom, you vagabond, come here. The boy presented himself accordingly. Youve been stopping to "over" all the posts in Bristol, you idle young scamp! said Mr. Bob Sawyer. No, sir, I havent, replied the boy. You had better not! said Mr. Bob Sawyer, with a threatening aspect. Who do you suppose will ever employ a professional man, when they see his boy playing at marbles in the gutter, or flying the garter in the horse-road? Have you no feeling for your profession, you groveller? Did you leave all the medicine? Yes, Sir. The powders for the child, at the large house with the new family, and the pills to be taken four times a day at the ill- tempered old gentlemans with the gouty leg? Yes, sir. Then shut the door, and mind the shop. Come, said Mr. Winkle, as the boy retired, things are not quite so bad as you would have me believe, either. There is SOME medicine to be sent out. Mr. Bob Sawyer peeped into the shop to see that no stranger was within hearing, and leaning forward to Mr. Winkle, said, in a low tone-- He leaves it all at the wrong houses. Mr. Winkle looked perplexed, and Bob Sawyer and his friend laughed. Dont you see? said Bob. He goes up to a house, rings the area bell, pokes a packet of medicine without a direction into the servants hand, and walks off. Servant takes it into the dining- parlour; master opens it, and reads the label: "Draught to be taken at bedtime--pills as before--lotion as usual--the powder. From Sawyers, late Nockemorfs. Physicians prescriptions carefully prepared," and all the rest of it. Shows it to his wife-- she reads the label; it goes down to the servants--THEY read the label. Next day, boy calls: "Very sorry--his mistake--immense business--great many parcels to deliver--Mr. Sawyers compliments--late Nockemorf." The name gets known, and thats the thing, my boy, in the medical way. Bless your heart, old fellow, its better than all the advertising in the world. We have got one four-ounce bottle thats been to half the houses in Bristol, and hasnt done yet. Dear me, I see, observed Mr. Winkle; what an excellent plan! Oh, Ben and I have hit upon a dozen such, replied Bob Sawyer, with great glee. The lamplighter has eighteenpence a week to pull the night-bell for ten minutes every time he comes round; and my boy always rushes into the church just before the psalms, when the people have got nothing to do but look about em, and calls me out, with horror and dismay depicted on his countenance. "Bless my soul," everybody says, "somebody taken suddenly ill! Sawyer, late Nockemorf, sent for. What a business that young man has!" At the termination of this disclosure of some of the mysteries of medicine, Mr. Bob Sawyer and his friend, Ben Allen, threw themselves back in their respective chairs, and laughed boisterously. When they had enjoyed the joke to their hearts content, the discourse changed to topics in which Mr. Winkle was more immediately interested. We think we have hinted elsewhere, that Mr. Benjamin Allen had a way of becoming sentimental after brandy. The case is not a peculiar one, as we ourself can testify, having, on a few occasions, had

The Pickwick Papers page 260        The Pickwick Papers page 262