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The Pickwick Papers 277

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

it came, Mr. Perker came too. Aha, my dear sir, said the little man, nailed at last, eh? Come, come, Im not sorry for it either, because now youll see the absurdity of this conduct. Ive noted down the amount of the taxed costs and damages for which the ca-sa was issued, and we had better settle at once and lose no time. Namby is come home by this time, I dare say. What say you, my dear sir? Shall I draw a cheque, or will you? The little man rubbed his hands with affected cheerfulness as he said this, but glancing at Mr. Pickwicks countenance, could not forbear at the same time casting a desponding look towards Sam Weller. Perker, said Mr. Pickwick, let me hear no more of this, I beg. I see no advantage in staying here, so I Shall go to prison to-night. You cant go to Whitecross Street, my dear Sir, said Perker. Impossible! There are sixty beds in a ward; and the bolts on, sixteen hours out of the four-and-twenty. I would rather go to some other place of confinement if I can, said Mr. Pickwick. If not, I must make the best I can of that. You can go to the Fleet, my dear Sir, if youre determined to go somewhere, said Perker. Thatll do, said Mr. Pickwick. Ill go there directly I have finished my breakfast. Stop, stop, my dear Sir; not the least occasion for being in such a violent hurry to get into a place that most other men are as eager to get out of, said the good-natured little attorney. We must have a habeas-corpus. Therell be no judge at chambers till four oclock this afternoon. You must wait till then. Very good, said Mr. Pickwick, with unmoved patience. Then we will have a chop here, at two. See about it, Sam, and tell them to be punctual. Mr. Pickwick remaining firm, despite all the remonstrances and arguments of Perker, the chops appeared and disappeared in due course; he was then put into another hackney coach, and carried off to Chancery Lane, after waiting half an hour or so for Mr. Namby, who had a select dinner-party and could on no account be disturbed before. There were two judges in attendance at Serjeants Inn--one Kings Bench, and one Common Pleas--and a great deal of business appeared to be transacting before them, if the number of lawyers clerks who were hurrying in and out with bundles of papers, afforded any test. When they reached the low archway which forms the entrance to the inn, Perker was detained a few moments parlaying with the coachman about the fare and the change; and Mr. Pickwick, stepping to one side to be out of the way of the stream of people that were pouring in and out, looked about him with some curiosity. The people that attracted his attention most, were three or four men of shabby-genteel appearance, who touched their hats to many of the attorneys who passed, and seemed to have some business there, the nature of which Mr. Pickwick could not divine. They were curious-looking fellows. One was a slim and rather lame man in rusty black, and a white neckerchief; another was a stout, burly person, dressed in the same apparel, with a great reddish-black cloth round his neck; a third was a little weazen, drunken-looking body, with a pimply face. They were loitering about, with their hands behind them, and now and then with an anxious countenance whispered something in the ear of some of the gentlemen with papers, as they hurried by. Mr. Pickwick remembered to have very often observed them lounging under the archway when he had been walking past; and his curiosity was quite excited to know to what branch of the profession these dingy-looking loungers could possibly belong. He was about to propound the question to Namby, who kept close beside him, sucking a large gold ring on his little finger, when Perker bustled up, and observing that there was no time to lose, led the way into the inn. As Mr. Pickwick followed, the lame man stepped up to him, and civilly touching his hat, held out a written card, which Mr. Pickwick, not wishing to hurt the mans feelings by refusing, courteously accepted and deposited in his waistcoat pocket. Now, said Perker, turning round before he entered one of the offices, to see that his companions were close behind him. In here, my dear sir.

The Pickwick Papers page 276        The Pickwick Papers page 278