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The Pickwick Papers 288







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The Pickwick Papers

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him knew no limits. Now is there anything I can do for you, my dear Sir? said Smangle. Nothing that I am aware of, I am obliged to you, replied Mr. Pickwick. No linen that you want sent to the washerwomans? I know a delightful washerwoman outside, that comes for my things twice a week; and, by Jove!--how devilish lucky!--this is the day she calls. Shall I put any of those little things up with mine? Dont say anything about the trouble. Confound and curse it! if one gentleman under a cloud is not to put himself a little out of the way to assist another gentleman in the same condition, whats human nature? Thus spake Mr. Smangle, edging himself meanwhile as near as possible to the portmanteau, and beaming forth looks of the most fervent and disinterested friendship. Theres nothing you want to give out for the man to brush, my dear creature, is there? resumed Smangle. Nothin whatever, my fine feller, rejoined Sam, taking the reply into his own mouth. Praps if vun of us wos to brush, without troubling the man, it ud be more agreeable for all parties, as the schoolmaster said when the young gentleman objected to being flogged by the butler. And theres nothing I can send in my little box to the washer- womans, is there? said Smangle, turning from Sam to Mr. Pickwick, with an air of some discomfiture. Nothin whatever, Sir, retorted Sam; Im afeered the little box must be chock full o your own as it is. This speech was accompanied with such a very expressive look at that particular portion of Mr. Smangles attire, by the appearance of which the skill of laundresses in getting up gentlemens linen is generally tested, that he was fain to turn upon his heel, and, for the present at any rate, to give up all design on Mr. Pickwicks purse and wardrobe. He accordingly retired in dudgeon to the racket-ground, where he made a light and whole- some breakfast on a couple of the cigars which had been purchased on the previous night. Mr. Mivins, who was no smoker, and whose account for small articles of chandlery had also reached down to the bottom of the slate, and been carried over to the other side, remained in bed, and, in his own words, took it out in sleep. After breakfasting in a small closet attached to the coffee- room, which bore the imposing title of the Snuggery, the temporary inmate of which, in consideration of a small additional charge, had the unspeakable advantage of overhearing all the conversation in the coffee-room aforesaid; and, after despatching Mr. Weller on some necessary errands, Mr. Pickwick repaired to the lodge, to consult Mr. Roker concerning his future accommodation. Accommodation, eh? said that gentleman, consulting a large book. Plenty of that, Mr. Pickwick. Your chummage ticket will be on twenty-seven, in the third. Oh, said Mr. Pickwick. My what, did you say? Your chummage ticket, replied Mr. Roker; youre up to that? Not quite, replied Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. Why, said Mr. Roker, its as plain as Salisbury. Youll have a chummage ticket upon twenty-seven in the third, and them as is in the room will be your chums. Are there many of them? inquired Mr. Pickwick dubiously. Three, replied Mr. Roker. Mr. Pickwick coughed. One of ems a parson, said Mr. Roker, filling up a little piece of paper as he spoke; anothers a butcher. Eh? exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. A butcher, repeated Mr. Roker, giving the nib of his pen a tap on the desk to cure it of a disinclination to mark. What a thorough-paced goer he used to be sure-ly! You remember Tom Martin, Neddy? said Roker, appealing to another man in the lodge, who was paring the mud off his shoes with a five-and- twenty-bladed pocket-knife. I should think so, replied the party addressed, with a strong emphasis on the personal pronoun. Bless my dear eyes! said Mr. Roker, shaking his head slowly from side to side, and gazing abstractedly out of the grated windows before him, as if he were fondly recalling some peaceful scene of his early youth; it seems but yesterday that he whopped the coal-heaver down Fox-under-the-Hill by the wharf there. I think I can see him now, a-coming up the Strand between the two street-keepers, a little sobered by the bruising, with a patch o winegar and brown paper over his right eyelid, and that ere lovely bulldog, as pinned the little boy arterwards, a-following at his heels. What a rum thing time is,

The Pickwick Papers page 287        The Pickwick Papers page 289