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The Pickwick Papers 303







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four-poster afore I came here, and I find the legs of the table answer just as well, replied the cobbler. Youre a character, sir, said Sam. I havent got anything of the kind belonging to me, rejoined the cobbler, shaking his head; and if you want to meet with a good one, Im afraid youll find some difficulty in suiting yourself at this register office. The above short dialogue took place as Mr. Weller lay extended on his mattress at one end of the room, and the cobbler on his, at the other; the apartment being illumined by the light of a rush-candle, and the cobblers pipe, which was glowing below the table, like a red-hot coal. The conversation, brief as it was, predisposed Mr. Weller strongly in his landlords favour; and, raising himself on his elbow, he took a more lengthened survey of his appearance than he had yet had either time or inclination to make. He was a sallow man--all cobblers are; and had a strong bristly beard--all cobblers have. His face was a queer, good- tempered, crooked-featured piece of workmanship, ornamented with a couple of eyes that must have worn a very joyous expression at one time, for they sparkled yet. The man was sixty, by years, and Heaven knows how old by imprisonment, so that his having any look approaching to mirth or contentment, was singular enough. He was a little man, and, being half doubled up as he lay in bed, looked about as long as he ought to have been without his legs. He had a great red pipe in his mouth, and was smoking, and staring at the rush-light, in a state of enviable placidity. Have you been here long? inquired Sam, breaking the silence which had lasted for some time. Twelve year, replied the cobbler, biting the end of his pipe as he spoke. Contempt? inquired Sam. The cobbler nodded. Well, then, said Sam, with some sternness, wot do you persevere in bein obstinit for, vastin your precious life away, in this here magnified pound? Wy dont you give in, and tell the Chancellorship that youre wery sorry for makin his court contemptible, and you wont do so no more? The cobbler put his pipe in the corner of his mouth, while he smiled, and then brought it back to its old place again; but said nothing. Wy dont you? said Sam, urging his question strenuously. Ah, said the cobbler, you dont quite understand these matters. What do you suppose ruined me, now? Wy, said Sam, trimming the rush-light, I spose the beginnin wos, that you got into debt, eh? Never owed a farden, said the cobbler; try again. Well, perhaps, said Sam, you bought houses, wich is delicate English for goin mad; or took to buildin, wich is a medical term for bein incurable. The cobbler shook his head and said, Try again. You didnt go to law, I hope? said Sam suspiciously. Never in my life, replied the cobbler. The fact is, I was ruined by having money left me. Come, come, said Sam, that vont do. I wish some rich enemy ud try to vork my destruction in that ere vay. Id let him. Oh, I dare say you dont believe it, said the cobbler, quietly smoking his pipe. I wouldnt if I was you; but its true for all that. How wos it? inquired Sam, half induced to believe the fact already, by the look the cobbler gave him. Just this, replied the cobbler; an old gentleman that I worked for, down in the country, and a humble relation of whose I married--shes dead, God bless her, and thank Him for it!-- was seized with a fit and went off. Where? inquired Sam, who was growing sleepy after the numerous events of the day. How should I know where he went? said the cobbler, speaking through his nose in an intense enjoyment of his pipe. He went off dead. Oh, that indeed, said Sam. Well? Well, said the cobbler, he left five thousand pound behind him. And wery gen-teel in him so to do, said Sam. One of which, continued the cobbler, he left to me, cause I married his relation, you see. Wery good, murmured Sam. And being surrounded by a great number of nieces and nevys, as was always quarrelling and fighting among themselves for the property, he makes me his executor, and leaves the rest to me in trust, to divide it

The Pickwick Papers page 302        The Pickwick Papers page 304