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The Pickwick Papers 271

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

necessary, in order that we may be in good time. Mr. Weller touched his hat, as an earnest of his obedience, and withdrew to make all needful preparations for the expedition. The coach was punctual to the time appointed; and Mr. Weller, after duly installing Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Winkle inside, took his seat on the box by the driver. They alighted, as had been agreed on, about a quarter of a mile from the place of rendezvous, and desiring the coachman to await their return, proceeded the remaining distance on foot. It was at this stage of the undertaking that Mr. Pickwick, with many smiles and various other indications of great self-satisfaction, produced from one of his coat pockets a dark lantern, with which he had specially provided himself for the occasion, and the great mechanical beauty of which he proceeded to explain to Mr. Winkle, as they walked along, to the no small surprise of the few stragglers they met. I should have been the better for something of this kind, in my last garden expedition, at night; eh, Sam? said Mr. Pickwick, looking good-humouredly round at his follower, who was trudging behind. Wery nice things, if theyre managed properly, Sir, replied Mr. Weller; but wen you dont want to be seen, I think theyre more useful arter the candles gone out, than wen its alight. Mr. Pickwick appeared struck by Sams remarks, for he put the lantern into his pocket again, and they walked on in silence. Down here, Sir, said Sam. Let me lead the way. This is the lane, Sir. Down the lane they went, and dark enough it was. Mr. Pickwick brought out the lantern, once or twice, as they groped their way along, and threw a very brilliant little tunnel of light before them, about a foot in diameter. It was very pretty to look at, but seemed to have the effect of rendering surrounding objects rather darker than before. At length they arrived at the large stone. Here Sam recommended his master and Mr. Winkle to seat themselves, while he reconnoitred, and ascertained whether Mary was yet in waiting. After an absence of five or ten minutes, Sam returned to say that the gate was opened, and all quiet. Following him with stealthy tread, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Winkle soon found themselves in the garden. Here everybody said, Hush! a good many times; and that being done, no one seemed to have any very distinct apprehension of what was to be done next. Is Miss Allen in the garden yet, Mary? inquired Mr. Winkle, much agitated. I dont know, sir, replied the pretty housemaid. The best thing to be done, sir, will be for Mr. Weller to give you a hoist up into the tree, and perhaps Mr. Pickwick will have the goodness to see that nobody comes up the lane, while I watch at the other end of the garden. Goodness gracious, whats that? That ere blessed lantern ull be the death on us all, exclaimed Sam peevishly. Take care wot youre a-doin on, sir; youre a-sendin a blaze o light, right into the back parlour winder. Dear me! said Mr. Pickwick, turning hastily aside, I didnt mean to do that. Now, its in the next house, sir, remonstrated Sam. Bless my heart! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, turning round again. Now, its in the stable, and theyll think the place is afire, said Sam. Shut it up, sir, cant you? Its the most extraordinary lantern I ever met with, in all my life! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, greatly bewildered by the effects he had so unintentionally produced. I never saw such a powerful reflector. Itll be vun too powerful for us, if you keep blazin avay in that manner, sir, replied Sam, as Mr. Pickwick, after various unsuccessful efforts, managed to close the slide. Theres the young ladys footsteps. Now, Mr. Winkle, sir, up vith you. Stop, stop! said Mr. Pickwick, I must speak to her first. Help me up, Sam. Gently, Sir, said Sam, planting his head against the wall, and making a platform of his back. Step atop o that ere flower-pot, Sir. Now then, up vith you. Im afraid I shall hurt you, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. Never mind me, Sir, replied Sam. Lend him a hand, Mr. Winkle. sir. Steady, sir, steady! Thats the time o day! As Sam spoke, Mr. Pickwick, by exertions almost supernatural in a gentleman of his years and weight, contrived to get upon Sams back; and Sam gently raising himself

The Pickwick Papers page 270        The Pickwick Papers page 272