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The Pickwick Papers 313







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Foggs hung (wich last ewent I think is the most likely to happen first, Sammy), and then let him come back and write a book about the Merrikins asll pay all his expenses and more, if he blows em up enough. Mr. Weller delivered this hurried abstract of his plot with great vehemence of whisper; and then, as if fearful of weakening the effect of the tremendous communication by any further dialogue, he gave the coachmans salute, and vanished. Sam had scarcely recovered his usual composure of countenance, which had been greatly disturbed by the secret communication of his respected relative, when Mr. Pickwick accosted him. Sam, said that gentleman. Sir, replied Mr. Weller. I am going for a walk round the prison, and I wish you to attend me. I see a prisoner we know coming this way, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, smiling. Wich, Sir? inquired Mr. Weller; the genlmn vith the head o hair, or the interestin captive in the stockins? Neither, rejoined Mr. Pickwick. He is an older friend of yours, Sam. O mine, Sir? exclaimed Mr. Weller. You recollect the gentleman very well, I dare say, Sam, replied Mr. Pickwick, or else you are more unmindful of your old acquaintances than I think you are. Hush! not a word, Sam; not a syllable. Here he is. As Mr. Pickwick spoke, Jingle walked up. He looked less miserable than before, being clad in a half-worn suit of clothes, which, with Mr. Pickwicks assistance, had been released from the pawnbrokers. He wore clean linen too, and had had his hair cut. He was very pale and thin, however; and as he crept slowly up, leaning on a stick, it was easy to see that he had suffered severely from illness and want, and was still very weak. He took off his hat as Mr. Pickwick saluted him, and seemed much humbled and abashed at the sight of Sam Weller. Following close at his heels, came Mr. Job Trotter, in the catalogue of whose vices, want of faith and attachment to his companion could at all events find no place. He was still ragged and squalid, but his face was not quite so hollow as on his first meeting with Mr. Pickwick, a few days before. As he took off his hat to our benevolent old friend, he murmured some broken expressions of gratitude, and muttered something about having been saved from starving. Well, well, said Mr. Pickwick, impatiently interrupting him, you can follow with Sam. I want to speak to you, Mr. Jingle. Can you walk without his arm? Certainly, sir--all ready--not too fast--legs shaky--head queer--round and round--earthquaky sort of feeling--very. Here, give me your arm, said Mr. Pickwick. No, no, replied Jingle; wont indeed--rather not. Nonsense, said Mr. Pickwick; lean upon me, I desire, Sir. Seeing that he was confused and agitated, and uncertain what to do, Mr. Pickwick cut the matter short by drawing the invalided strollers arm through his, and leading him away, without saying another word about it. During the whole of this time the countenance of Mr. Samuel Weller had exhibited an expression of the most overwhelming and absorbing astonishment that the imagination can portray. After looking from Job to Jingle, and from Jingle to Job in profound silence, he softly ejaculated the words, Well, I AM damnd! which he repeated at least a score of times; after which exertion, he appeared wholly bereft of speech, and again cast his eyes, first upon the one and then upon the other, in mute perplexity and bewilderment. Now, Sam! said Mr. Pickwick, looking back. Im a-comin, sir, replied Mr. Weller, mechanically following his master; and still he lifted not his eyes from Mr. Job Trotter, who walked at his side in silence. Job kept his eyes fixed on the ground for some time. Sam, with his glued to Jobs countenance, ran up against the people who were walking about, and fell over little children, and stumbled against steps and railings, without appearing at all sensible of it, until Job, looking stealthily up, said-- How do you do, Mr. Weller? It IS him! exclaimed Sam; and having established Jobs identity beyond all doubt, he smote his leg, and vented his feelings in a long, shrill whistle. Things has altered with me, sir, said Job. I should think they had, exclaimed Mr. Weller, surveying his companions rags with undisguised wonder. This is rayther a change for the worse, Mr. Trotter, as the genlmn said, wen he got two doubtful shillins and sixpennorth o pocket-pieces for a good half-crown. It is indeed, replied Job, shaking his head.

The Pickwick Papers page 312        The Pickwick Papers page 314