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The Pickwick Papers 312







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things exact pattern and copy by him (Stiggins), in which case he might calculate on arriving, sooner or later at the comfortable conclusion, that, like him, he was a most estimable and blameless character, and that all his acquaintances and friends were hopelessly abandoned and profligate wretches. Which consideration, he said, could not but afford him the liveliest satisfaction. He furthermore conjured him to avoid, above all things, the vice of intoxication, which he likened unto the filthy habits of swine, and to those poisonous and baleful drugs which being chewed in the mouth, are said to filch away the memory. At this point of his discourse, the reverend and red-nosed gentleman became singularly incoherent, and staggering to and fro in the excitement of his eloquence, was fain to catch at the back of a chair to preserve his perpendicular. Mr. Stiggins did not desire his hearers to be upon their guard against those false prophets and wretched mockers of religion, who, without sense to expound its first doctrines, or hearts to feel its first principles, are more dangerous members of society than the common criminal; imposing, as they necessarily do, upon the weakest and worst informed, casting scorn and contempt on what should be held most sacred, and bringing into partial disrepute large bodies of virtuous and well-conducted persons of many excellent sects and persuasions. But as he leaned over the back of the chair for a considerable time, and closing one eye, winked a good deal with the other, it is presumed that he thought all this, but kept it to himself. During the delivery of the oration, Mrs. Weller sobbed and wept at the end of the paragraphs; while Sam, sitting cross- legged on a chair and resting his arms on the top rail, regarded the speaker with great suavity and blandness of demeanour; occasionally bestowing a look of recognition on the old gentleman, who was delighted at the beginning, and went to sleep about half-way. Brayvo; wery pretty! said Sam, when the red-nosed man having finished, pulled his worn gloves on, thereby thrusting his fingers through the broken tops till the knuckles were disclosed to view. Wery pretty. I hope it may do you good, Samuel, said Mrs. Weller solemnly. I think it vill, mum, replied Sam. I wish I could hope that it would do your father good, said Mrs. Weller. Thankee, my dear, said Mr. Weller, senior. How do you find yourself arter it, my love? Scoffer! exclaimed Mrs. Weller. Benighted man! said the Reverend Mr. Stiggins. If I dont get no better light than that ere moonshine o yourn, my worthy creetur, said the elder Mr. Weller, its wery likely as I shall continey to be a night coach till Im took off the road altogether. Now, Mrs. We, if the piebald stands at livery much longer, hell stand at nothin as we go back, and praps that ere harm-cheer ull be tipped over into some hedge or another, with the shepherd in it. At this supposition, the Reverend Mr. Stiggins, in evident consternation, gathered up his hat and umbrella, and proposed an immediate departure, to which Mrs. Weller assented. Sam walked with them to the lodge gate, and took a dutiful leave. A-do, Samivel, said the old gentleman. Wots a-do? inquired Sammy. Well, good-bye, then, said the old gentleman. Oh, thats wot youre aimin at, is it? said Sam. Good-bye! Sammy, whispered Mr. Weller, looking cautiously round; my duty to your govnor, and tell him if he thinks better o this here bisness, to com-moonicate vith me. Me and a cabnet- maker has dewised a plan for gettin him out. A pianner, Samivel --a pianner! said Mr. Weller, striking his son on the chest with the back of his hand, and falling back a step or two. Wot do you mean? said Sam. A pianner-forty, Samivel, rejoined Mr. Weller, in a still more mysterious manner, as he can have on hire; vun as vont play, Sammy. And wot ud be the good o that? said Sam. Let him send to my friend, the cabinet-maker, to fetch it back, Sammy, replied Mr. Weller. Are you avake, now? No, rejoined Sam. There aint no vurks in it, whispered his father. It ull hold him easy, vith his hat and shoes on, and breathe through the legs, vich his holler. Have a passage ready taken for Merriker. The Merrikin govment will never give him up, ven vunce they find as hes got money to spend, Sammy. Let the govnor stop there, till Mrs. Bardells dead, or Mr. Dodson and

The Pickwick Papers page 311        The Pickwick Papers page 313