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The Pickwick Papers 311







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his indignation appeared very real and unfeigned indeed. After Mrs. Weller and the red-nosed gentleman had commented on this inhuman usage in a very forcible manner, and had vented a variety of pious and holy execrations against its authors, the latter recommended a bottle of port wine, warmed with a little water, spice, and sugar, as being grateful to the stomach, and savouring less of vanity than many other compounds. It was accordingly ordered to be prepared, and pending its preparation the red-nosed man and Mrs. Weller looked at the elder W. and groaned. Well, Sammy, said the gentleman, I hope youll find your spirits rose by this here lively wisit. Wery cheerful and improvin conwersation, aint it, Sammy? Youre a reprobate, replied Sam; and I desire you wont address no more o them ungraceful remarks to me. So far from being edified by this very proper reply, the elder Mr. Weller at once relapsed into a broad grin; and this inexorable conduct causing the lady and Mr. Stiggins to close their eyes, and rock themselves to and fro on their chairs, in a troubled manner, he furthermore indulged in several acts of pantomime, indicative of a desire to pummel and wring the nose of the aforesaid Stiggins, the performance of which, appeared to afford him great mental relief. The old gentleman very narrowly escaped detection in one instance; for Mr. Stiggins happening to give a start on the arrival of the negus, brought his head in smart contact with the clenched fist with which Mr. Weller had been describing imaginary fireworks in the air, within two inches of his ear, for some minutes. Wot are you a-reachin out, your hand for the tumbler in that ere sawage way for? said Sam, with great promptitude. Dont you see youve hit the genlmn? I didnt go to do it, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, in some degree abashed by the very unexpected occurrence of the incident. Try an inard application, sir, said Sam, as the red-nosed gentleman rubbed his head with a rueful visage. Wot do you think o that, for a go o wanity, warm, Sir? Mr. Stiggins made no verbal answer, but his manner was expressive. He tasted the contents of the glass which Sam had placed in his hand, put his umbrella on the floor, and tasted it again, passing his hand placidly across his stomach twice or thrice; he then drank the whole at a breath, and smacking his lips, held out the tumbler for more. Nor was Mrs. Weller behind-hand in doing justice to the composition. The good lady began by protesting that she couldnt touch a drop--then took a small drop--then a large drop-- then a great many drops; and her feelings being of the nature of those substances which are powerfully affected by the application of strong waters, she dropped a tear with every drop of negus, and so got on, melting the feelings down, until at length she had arrived at a very pathetic and decent pitch of misery. The elder Mr. Weller observed these signs and tokens with many manifestations of disgust, and when, after a second jug of the same, Mr. Stiggins began to sigh in a dismal manner, he plainly evinced his disapprobation of the whole proceedings, by sundry incoherent ramblings of speech, among which frequent angry repetitions of the word gammon were alone distinguishable to the ear. Ill tell you wot it is, Samivel, my boy, whispered the old gentleman into his sons ear, after a long and steadfast contemplation of his lady and Mr. Stiggins; I think there must be somethin wrong in your mother-in-laws inside, as vell as in that o the red-nosed man. Wot do you mean? said Sam. I mean this here, Sammy, replied the old gentleman, that wot they drink, dont seem no nourishment to em; it all turns to warm water, and comes a-pourin out o their eyes. Pend upon it, Sammy, its a constitootional infirmity. Mr. Weller delivered this scientific opinion with many confirmatory frowns and nods; which, Mrs. Weller remarking, and concluding that they bore some disparaging reference either to herself or to Mr. Stiggins, or to both, was on the point of becoming infinitely worse, when Mr. Stiggins, getting on his legs as well as he could, proceeded to deliver an edifying discourse for the benefit of the company, but more especially of Mr. Samuel, whom he adjured in moving terms to be upon his guard in that sink of iniquity into which he was cast; to abstain from all hypocrisy and pride of heart; and to take in all

The Pickwick Papers page 310        The Pickwick Papers page 312