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The Pickwick Papers 304







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The Pickwick Papers

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among em as the will prowided. Wot do you mean by leavin it on trust? inquired Sam, waking up a little. If it aint ready-money, weres the use on it? Its a law term, thats all, said the cobbler. I dont think that, said Sam, shaking his head. Theres wery little trust at that shop. Howsever, go on. Well, said the cobbler, when I was going to take out a probate of the will, the nieces and nevys, who was desperately disappointed at not getting all the money, enters a caveat against it. Whats that? inquired Sam. A legal instrument, which is as much as to say, its no go, replied the cobbler. I see, said Sam, a sort of brother-in-law o the have-his- carcass. Well. But, continued the cobbler, finding that they couldnt agree among themselves, and consequently couldnt get up a case against the will, they withdrew the caveat, and I paid all the legacies. Id hardly done it, when one nevy brings an action to set the will aside. The case comes on, some months afterwards, afore a deaf old gentleman, in a back room somewhere down by Pauls Churchyard; and arter four counsels had taken a day a-piece to bother him regularly, he takes a week or two to consider, and read the evidence in six volumes, and then gives his judgment that how the testator was not quite right in his head, and I must pay all the money back again, and all the costs. I appealed; the case come on before three or four very sleepy gentlemen, who had heard it all before in the other court, where theyre lawyers without work; the only difference being, that, there, theyre called doctors, and in the other place delegates, if you understand that; and they very dutifully confirmed the decision of the old gentleman below. After that, we went into Chancery, where we are still, and where I shall always be. My lawyers have had all my thousand pound long ago; and what between the estate, as they call it, and the costs, Im here for ten thousand, and shall stop here, till I die, mending shoes. Some gentlemen have talked of bringing it before Parliament, and I dare say would have done it, only they hadnt time to come to me, and I hadnt power to go to them, and they got tired of my long letters, and dropped the business. And this is Gods truth, without one word of suppression or exaggeration, as fifty people, both in this place and out of it, very well know. The cobbler paused to ascertain what effect his story had produced on Sam; but finding that he had dropped asleep, knocked the ashes out of his pipe, sighed, put it down, drew the bed- clothes over his head, and went to sleep, too. Mr. Pickwick was sitting at breakfast, alone, next morning (Sam being busily engaged in the cobblers room, polishing his masters shoes and brushing the black gaiters) when there came a knock at the door, which, before Mr. Pickwick could cry Come in! was followed by the appearance of a head of hair and a cotton-velvet cap, both of which articles of dress he had no difficulty in recognising as the personal property of Mr. Smangle. How are you? said that worthy, accompanying the inquiry with a score or two of nods; I say--do you expect anybody this morning? Three men--devilish gentlemanly fellows--have been asking after you downstairs, and knocking at every door on the hall flight; for which theyve been most infernally blown up by the collegians that had the trouble of opening em. Dear me! How very foolish of them, said Mr. Pickwick, rising. Yes; I have no doubt they are some friends whom I rather expected to see, yesterday. Friends of yours! exclaimed Smangle, seizing Mr. Pickwick by the hand. Say no more. Curse me, theyre friends of mine from this minute, and friends of Mivinss, too. Infernal pleasant, gentlemanly dog, Mivins, isnt he? said Smangle, with great feeling. I know so little of the gentleman, said Mr. Pickwick, hesitating, that I-- I know you do, interrupted Smangle, clasping Mr. Pickwick by the shoulder. You shall know him better. Youll be delighted with him. That man, Sir, said Smangle, with a solemn countenance, has comic powers that would do honour to Drury Lane Theatre. Has he indeed? said Mr. Pickwick. Ah, by Jove he has! replied Smangle.

The Pickwick Papers page 303        The Pickwick Papers page 305