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The Pickwick Papers 297







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The Pickwick Papers

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that I am a good deal looked up to, in my profession--it may be that I am not. Most people know. I say nothing. Observations have already been made, in this room, injurious to the reputation of my noble friend. You will excuse me, gentlemen; I was imprudent. I feel that I have no right to mention this matter without his concurrence. Thank you, Sir; thank you. Thus delivering himself, Mr. Pell thrust his hands into his pockets, and, frowning grimly around, rattled three halfpence with terrible determination. This virtuous resolution had scarcely been formed, when the boy and the blue bag, who were inseparable companions, rushed violently into the room, and said (at least the boy did, for the blue bag took no part in the announcement) that the case was coming on directly. The intelligence was no sooner received than the whole party hurried across the street, and began to fight their way into court--a preparatory ceremony, which has been calculated to occupy, in ordinary cases, from twenty-five minutes to thirty. Mr. Weller, being stout, cast himself at once into the crowd, with the desperate hope of ultimately turning up in some place which would suit him. His success was not quite equal to his expectations; for having neglected to take his hat off, it was knocked over his eyes by some unseen person, upon whose toes he had alighted with considerable force. Apparently this individual regretted his impetuosity immediately afterwards, for, muttering an indistinct exclamation of surprise, he dragged the old man out into the hall, and, after a violent struggle, released his head and face. Samivel! exclaimed Mr. Weller, when he was thus enabled to behold his rescuer. Sam nodded. Youre a dutiful and affectionate little boy, you are, aint you, said Mr. Weller, to come a-bonnetin your father in his old age? How should I know who you wos? responded the son. Do you spose I wos to tell you by the weight o your foot? Vell, thats wery true, Sammy, replied Mr. Weller, mollified at once; but wot are you a-doin on here? Your govnor cant do no good here, Sammy. They wont pass that werdick, they wont pass it, Sammy. And Mr. Weller shook his head with legal solemnity. Wot a perwerse old file it is! exclaimed Sam. always a-goin on about werdicks and alleybis and that. Who said anything about the werdick? Mr. Weller made no reply, but once more shook his head most learnedly. Leave off rattlin that ere nob o yourn, if you dont want it to come off the springs altogether, said Sam impatiently, and behave reasonable. I vent all the vay down to the Markis o Granby, arter you, last night. Did you see the Marchioness o Granby, Sammy? inquired Mr. Weller, with a sigh. Yes, I did, replied Sam. How wos the dear creetur a-lookin? Wery queer, said Sam. I think shes a-injurin herself gradivally vith too much o that ere pine-apple rum, and other strong medicines of the same natur. You dont mean that, Sammy? said the senior earnestly. I do, indeed, replied the junior. Mr. Weller seized his sons hand, clasped it, and let it fall. There was an expression on his countenance in doing so--not of dismay or apprehension, but partaking more of the sweet and gentle character of hope. A gleam of resignation, and even of cheerfulness, passed over his face too, as he slowly said, I aint quite certain, Sammy; I wouldnt like to say I wos altogether positive, in case of any subsekent disappointment, but I rayther think, my boy, I rayther think, that the shepherds got the liver complaint! Does he look bad? inquired Sam. Hes uncommon pale, replied his father, cept about the nose, which is redder than ever. His appetite is wery so-so, but he imbibes wonderful. Some thoughts of the rum appeared to obtrude themselves on Mr. Wellers mind, as he said this; for he looked gloomy and thoughtful; but he very shortly recovered, as was testified by a perfect alphabet of winks, in which he was only wont to indulge when particularly pleased. Vell, now, said Sam, about my affair. Just open them ears o yourn, and dont say nothin till Ive done. With this preface, Sam related, as succinctly as he could, the last memorable conversation he had had with Mr. Pickwick. Stop there by himself, poor creetur! exclaimed the elder Mr. Weller, without nobody to take his part! It cant be done, Samivel, it cant be done. O course it cant,

The Pickwick Papers page 296        The Pickwick Papers page 298