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The Pickwick Papers 270







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The Pickwick Papers

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small a compass as he could reduce himself to, only me, miss, only me. Mr. Pickwicks servant! said Arabella earnestly. The wery same, miss, replied Sam. Heres Mr. Vinkle reglarly sewed up vith desperation, miss. Ah! said Arabella, drawing nearer the wall. Ah, indeed, said Sam. Ve thought ve should ha been obliged to strait-veskit him last night; hes been a-ravin all day; and he says if he cant see you afore to-morrow nights over, he vishes he may be somethin unpleasanted if he dont drownd hisself. Oh, no, no, Mr. Weller! said Arabella, clasping her hands. Thats wot he says, miss, replied Sam coolly. Hes a man of his word, and its my opinion hell do it, miss. Hes heerd all about you from the sawbones in barnacles. From my brother! said Arabella, having some faint recognition of Sams description. I dont rightly know which is your brother, miss, replied Sam. Is it the dirtiest vun o the two? Yes, yes, Mr. Weller, returned Arabella, go on. Make haste, pray. Well, miss, said Sam, hes heerd all about it from him; and its the govnors opinion that if you dont see him wery quick, the sawbones as weve been a-speakin on, ull get as much extra lead in his head asll rayther damage the dewelopment o the orgins if they ever put it in spirits artervards. Oh, what can I do to prevent these dreadful quarrels! exclaimed Arabella. Its the suspicion of a priory tachment as is the cause of it all, replied Sam. Youd better see him, miss. But how?--where?cried Arabella. I dare not leave the house alone. My brother is so unkind, so unreasonable! I know how strange my talking thus to you may appear, Mr. Weller, but I am very, very unhappy-- and here poor Arabella wept so bitterly that Sam grew chivalrous. It may seem wery strange talkin to me about these here affairs, miss, said Sam, with great vehemence; but all I can say is, that Im not only ready but villin to do anythin asll make matters agreeable; and if chuckin either o them sawboneses out o winder ull do it, Im the man. As Sam Weller said this, he tucked up his wristbands, at the imminent hazard of falling off the wall in so doing, to intimate his readiness to set to work immediately. Flattering as these professions of good feeling were, Arabella resolutely declined (most unaccountably, as Sam thought) to avail herself of them. For some time she strenuously refused to grant Mr. Winkle the interview Sam had so pathetically requested; but at length, when the conversation threatened to be interrupted by the unwelcome arrival of a third party, she hurriedly gave him to understand, with many professions of gratitude, that it was barely possible she might be in the garden an hour later, next evening. Sam understood this perfectly well; and Arabella, bestowing upon him one of her sweetest smiles, tripped gracefully away, leaving Mr. Weller in a state of very great admiration of her charms, both personal and mental. Having descended in safety from the wall, and not forgotten to devote a few moments to his own particular business in the same department, Mr. Weller then made the best of his way back to the Bush, where his prolonged absence had occasioned much speculation and some alarm. We must be careful, said Mr. Pickwick, after listening attentively to Sams tale, not for our sakes, but for that of the young lady. We must be very cautious. WE! said Mr. Winkle, with marked emphasis. Mr. Pickwicks momentary look of indignation at the tone of this remark, subsided into his characteristic expression of benevolence, as he replied-- WE, Sir! I shall accompany you. You! said Mr. Winkle. I, replied Mr. Pickwick mildly. In affording you this interview, the young lady has taken a natural, perhaps, but still a very imprudent step. If I am present at the meeting--a mutual friend, who is old enough to be the father of both parties--the voice of calumny can never be raised against her hereafter. Mr. Pickwicks eyes lightened with honest exultation at his own foresight, as he spoke thus. Mr. Winkle was touched by this little trait of his delicate respect for the young PROTEGEE of his friend, and took his hand with a feeling of regard, akin to veneration. You SHALL go, said Mr. Winkle. I will, said Mr. Pickwick. Sam, have my greatcoat and shawl ready, and order a conveyance to be at the door to-morrow evening, rather earlier than is absolutely

The Pickwick Papers page 269        The Pickwick Papers page 271