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The Pickwick Papers 310







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at his respected progenitor, who was still giggling behind--at once led the way. Mother-in-law, said Sam, politely saluting the lady, wery much obliged to you for this here wisit.--Shepherd, how air you? Oh, Samuel! said Mrs. Weller. This is dreadful. Not a bit on it, mum, replied Sam.--Is it, shepherd? Mr. Stiggins raised his hands, and turned up his eyes, until the whites--or rather the yellows--were alone visible; but made no reply in words. Is this here genlmn troubled with any painful complaint? said Sam, looking to his mother-in-law for explanation. The good man is grieved to see you here, Samuel, replied Mrs. Weller. Oh, thats it, is it? said Sam. I was afeerd, from his manner, that he might ha forgotten to take pepper vith that ere last cowcumber he eat. Set down, Sir, ve make no extra charge for settin down, as the king remarked wen he blowed up his ministers. Young man, said Mr. Stiggins ostentatiously, I fear you are not softened by imprisonment. Beg your pardon, Sir, replied Sam; wot wos you graciously pleased to hobserve? I apprehend, young man, that your nature is no softer for this chastening, said Mr. Stiggins, in a loud voice. Sir, replied Sam, youre wery kind to say so. I hope my natur is NOT a soft vun, Sir. Wery much obliged to you for your good opinion, Sir. At this point of the conversation, a sound, indecorously approaching to a laugh, was heard to proceed from the chair in which the elder Mr. Weller was seated; upon which Mrs. Weller, on a hasty consideration of all the circumstances of the case, considered it her bounden duty to become gradually hysterical. Weller, said Mrs. W. (the old gentleman was seated in a corner); Weller! Come forth. Wery much obleeged to you, my dear, replied Mr. Weller; but Im quite comfortable vere I am. Upon this, Mrs. Weller burst into tears. Wots gone wrong, mum? said Sam. Oh, Samuel! replied Mrs. Weller, your father makes me wretched. Will nothing do him good? Do you hear this here? said Sam. Lady vants to know vether nothin ull do you good. Wery much indebted to Mrs. Weller for her po-lite inquiries, Sammy, replied the old gentleman. I think a pipe vould benefit me a good deal. Could I be accommodated, Sammy? Here Mrs. Weller let fall some more tears, and Mr. Stiggins groaned. Hollo! Heres this unfortunate genlmn took ill agin, said Sam, looking round. Vere do you feel it now, sir? In the same place, young man, rejoined Mr. Stiggins, in the same place. Vere may that be, Sir? inquired Sam, with great outward simplicity. In the buzzim, young man, replied Mr. Stiggins, placing his umbrella on his waistcoat. At this affecting reply, Mrs. Weller, being wholly unable to suppress her feelings, sobbed aloud, and stated her conviction that the red-nosed man was a saint; whereupon Mr. Weller, senior, ventured to suggest, in an undertone, that he must be the representative of the united parishes of St. Simon Without and St. Walker Within. Im afeered, mum, said Sam, that this here genlmn, with the twist in his countenance, feels rather thirsty, with the melancholy spectacle afore him. Is it the case, mum? The worthy lady looked at Mr. Stiggins for a reply; that gentleman, with many rollings of the eye, clenched his throat with his right hand, and mimicked the act of swallowing, to intimate that he was athirst. I am afraid, Samuel, that his feelings have made him so indeed, said Mrs. Weller mournfully. Wots your usual tap, sir? replied Sam. Oh, my dear young friend, replied Mr. Stiggins, all taps is vanities! Too true, too true, indeed, said Mrs. Weller, murmuring a groan, and shaking her head assentingly. Well, said Sam, I des-say they may be, sir; but wich is your partickler wanity? Wich wanity do you like the flavour on best, sir? Oh, my dear young friend, replied Mr. Stiggins, I despise them all. If, said Mr. Stiggins--if there is any one of them less odious than another, it is the liquor called rum. Warm, my dear young friend, with three lumps of sugar to the tumbler. Wery sorry to say, sir, said Sam, that they dont allow that particular wanity to be sold in this here establishment. Oh, the hardness of heart of these inveterate men! ejaculated Mr. Stiggins. Oh, the accursed cruelty of these inhuman persecutors! With these words, Mr. Stiggins again cast up his eyes, and rapped his breast with his umbrella; and it is but justice to the reverend gentleman to say, that

The Pickwick Papers page 309        The Pickwick Papers page 311