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The Pickwick Papers 268







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his way what he might have sat there for a twelvemonth and yet not found without it. Into the lane where he sat, there opened three or four garden gates, belonging to as many houses, which though detached from each other, were only separated by their gardens. As these were large and long, and well planted with trees, the houses were not only at some distance off, but the greater part of them were nearly concealed from view. Sam was sitting with his eyes fixed upon the dust-heap outside the next gate to that by which the groom had disappeared, profoundly turning over in his mind the difficulties of his present undertaking, when the gate opened, and a female servant came out into the lane to shake some bedside carpets. Sam was so very busy with his own thoughts, that it is probable he would have taken no more notice of the young woman than just raising his head and remarking that she had a very neat and pretty figure, if his feelings of gallantry had not been most strongly roused by observing that she had no one to help her, and that the carpets seemed too heavy for her single strength. Mr. Weller was a gentleman of great gallantry in his own way, and he no sooner remarked this circumstance than he hastily rose from the large stone, and advanced towards her. My dear, said Sam, sliding up with an air of great respect, youll spile that wery pretty figure out o all perportion if you shake them carpets by yourself. Let me help you. The young lady, who had been coyly affecting not to know that a gentleman was so near, turned round as Sam spoke--no doubt (indeed she said so, afterwards) to decline this offer from a perfect stranger--when instead of speaking, she started back, and uttered a half-suppressed scream. Sam was scarcely less staggered, for in the countenance of the well-shaped female servant, he beheld the very features of his valentine, the pretty housemaid from Mr. Nupkinss. Wy, Mary, my dear! said Sam. Lauk, Mr. Weller, said Mary, how you do frighten one! Sam made no verbal answer to this complaint, nor can we precisely say what reply he did make. We merely know that after a short pause Mary said, Lor, do adun, Mr. Weller! and that his hat had fallen off a few moments before--from both of which tokens we should be disposed to infer that one kiss, or more, had passed between the parties. Why, how did you come here? said Mary, when the conversation to which this interruption had been offered, was resumed. O course I came to look arter you, my darlin, replied Mr. Weller; for once permitting his passion to get the better of his veracity. And how did you know I was here? inquired Mary. Who could have told you that I took another service at Ipswich, and that they afterwards moved all the way here? Who COULD have told you that, Mr. Weller? Ah, to be sure, said Sam, with a cunning look, thats the pint. Who could ha told me? It wasnt Mr. Muzzle, was it? inquired Mary. Oh, no. replied Sam, with a solemn shake of the head, it warnt him. It must have been the cook, said Mary. O course it must, said Sam. Well, I never heard the like of that! exclaimed Mary. No more did I, said Sam. But Mary, my dear--here Sams manner grew extremely affectionate--Mary, my dear, Ive got another affair in hand as is wery pressin. Theres one o my governors friends--Mr. Winkle, you remember him? Him in the green coat? said Mary. Oh, yes, I remember him. Well, said Sam, hes in a horrid state o love; reglarly comfoozled, and done over vith it. Lor! interposed Mary. Yes, said Sam; but thats nothin if we could find out the young ooman; and here Sam, with many digressions upon the personal beauty of Mary, and the unspeakable tortures he had experienced since he last saw her, gave a faithful account of Mr. Winkles present predicament. Well, said Mary, I never did! O course not, said Sam, and nobody never did, nor never vill neither; and here am I a-walkin about like the wandering Jew--a sportin character you have perhaps heerd on Mary, my dear, as vos alvays doin a match agin time, and never vent to sleep--looking arter this here Miss Arabella Allen. Miss who? said Mary, in great astonishment. Miss Arabella Allen, said Sam. Goodness gracious! said Mary, pointing to the garden door which the sulky

The Pickwick Papers page 267        The Pickwick Papers page 269