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The Pickwick Papers 300







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The Pickwick Papers

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on the subject, it threatened to give rise to fresh altercation, when Mr. Weller and Mr. Pell most opportunely arrived. All right, Sammy, said Mr. Weller. The officer will be here at four oclock, said Mr. Pell. I suppose you wont run away meanwhile, eh? Ha! ha! Praps my cruel pa ull relent afore then, replied Sam, with a broad grin. Not I, said the elder Mr. Weller. Do, said Sam. Not on no account, replied the inexorable creditor. Ill give bills for the amount, at sixpence a month, said Sam. I wont take em, said Mr. Weller. Ha, ha, ha! very good, very good, said Mr. Solomon Pell, who was making out his little bill of costs; a very amusing incident indeed! Benjamin, copy that. And Mr. Pell smiled again, as he called Mr. Wellers attention to the amount. Thank you, thank you, said the professional gentleman, taking up another of the greasy notes as Mr. Weller took it from the pocket-book. Three ten and one ten is five. Much obliged to you, Mr. Weller. Your son is a most deserving young man, very much so indeed, Sir. Its a very pleasant trait in a young mans character, very much so, added Mr. Pell, smiling smoothly round, as he buttoned up the money. Wot a game it is! said the elder Mr. Weller, with a chuckle. A reglar prodigy son! Prodigal--prodigal son, Sir, suggested Mr. Pell, mildly. Never mind, Sir, said Mr. Weller, with dignity. I know wots oclock, Sir. Wen I dont, Ill ask you, Sir. By the time the officer arrived, Sam had made himself so extremely popular, that the congregated gentlemen determined to see him to prison in a body. So off they set; the plaintiff and defendant walking arm in arm, the officer in front, and eight stout coachmen bringing up the rear. At Serjeants Inn Coffee-house the whole party halted to refresh, and, the legal arrangements being completed, the procession moved on again. Some little commotion was occasioned in Fleet Street, by the pleasantry of the eight gentlemen in the flank, who persevered in walking four abreast; it was also found necessary to leave the mottled-faced gentleman behind, to fight a ticket-porter, it being arranged that his friends should call for him as they came back. Nothing but these little incidents occurred on the way. When they reached the gate of the Fleet, the cavalcade, taking the time from the plaintiff, gave three tremendous cheers for the defendant, and, after having shaken hands all round, left him. Sam, having been formally delivered into the warders custody, to the intense astonishment of Roker, and to the evident emotion of even the phlegmatic Neddy, passed at once into the prison, walked straight to his masters room, and knocked at the door. Come in, said Mr. Pickwick. Sam appeared, pulled off his hat, and smiled. Ah, Sam, my good lad! said Mr. Pickwick, evidently delighted to see his humble friend again; I had no intention of hurting your feelings yesterday, my faithful fellow, by what I said. Put down your hat, Sam, and let me explain my meaning, a little more at length. Wont presently do, sir? inquired Sam. Certainly, said Mr. Pickwick; but why not now? Id rayther not now, sir, rejoined Sam. Why? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Cause-- said Sam, hesitating. Because of what? inquired Mr. Pickwick, alarmed at his followers manner. Speak out, Sam. Cause, rejoined Sam--cause Ive got a little bisness as I want to do. What business? inquired Mr. Pickwick, surprised at Sams confused manner. Nothin partickler, Sir, replied Sam. Oh, if its nothing particular, said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile, you can speak with me first. I think Id better see arter it at once, said Sam, still hesitating. Mr. Pickwick looked amazed, but said nothing. The fact is-- said Sam, stopping short. Well! said Mr. Pickwick. Speak out, Sam. Why, the fact is, said Sam, with a desperate effort, perhaps Id better see arter my bed afore I do anythin else. YOUR BED! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, in astonishment. Yes, my bed, Sir, replied Sam, Im a prisoner. I was arrested this here wery arternoon for debt. You arrested for debt! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, sinking into a chair. Yes, for debt, Sir, replied Sam. And the man as puts me in, ull never let me out till you go yourself. Bless my heart and soul! ejaculated Mr. Pickwick. What do you mean? Wot I say, Sir, rejoined Sam. If its forty years to come, I shall be a prisoner, and Im very glad on it; and

The Pickwick Papers page 299        The Pickwick Papers page 301