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The Pickwick Papers 324







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The Pickwick Papers

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Pickwick mildly. Not quite, replied Perker. I cannot undertake to say, at this moment, whether the wording of the cognovit, the nature of the ostensible consideration, and the proof we can get together about the whole conduct of the suit, will be sufficient to justify an indictment for conspiracy. I fear not, my dear Sir; they are too clever for that, I doubt. I do mean to say, however, that the whole facts, taken together, will be sufficient to justify you, in the minds of all reasonable men. And now, my dear Sir, I put it to you. This one hundred and fifty pounds, or whatever it may be --take it in round numbers--is nothing to you. A jury had decided against you; well, their verdict is wrong, but still they decided as they thought right, and it IS against you. You have now an opportunity, on easy terms, of placing yourself in a much higher position than you ever could, by remaining here; which would only be imputed, by people who didnt know you, to sheer dogged, wrongheaded, brutal obstinacy; nothing else, my dear Sir, believe me. Can you hesitate to avail yourself of it, when it restores you to your friends, your old pursuits, your health and amusements; when it liberates your faithful and attached servant, whom you otherwise doom to imprisonment for the whole of your life; and above all, when it enables you to take the very magnanimous revenge--which I know, my dear sir, is one after your own heart--of releasing this woman from a scene of misery and debauchery, to which no man should ever be consigned, if I had my will, but the infliction of which on any woman, is even more frightful and barbarous. Now I ask you, my dear sir, not only as your legal adviser, but as your very true friend, will you let slip the occasion of attaining all these objects, and doing all this good, for the paltry consideration of a few pounds finding their way into the pockets of a couple of rascals, to whom it makes no manner of difference, except that the more they gain, the more theyll seek, and so the sooner be led into some piece of knavery that must end in a crash? I have put these considerations to you, my dear Sir, very feebly and imperfectly, but I ask you to think of them. Turn them over in your mind as long as you please. I wait here most patiently for your answer. Before Mr. Pickwick could reply, before Mr. Perker had taken one twentieth part of the snuff with which so unusually long an address imperatively required to be followed up, there was a low murmuring of voices outside, and then a hesitating knock at the door. Dear, dear, exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, who had been evidently roused by his friends appeal; what an annoyance that door is! Who is that? Me, Sir, replied Sam Weller, putting in his head. I cant speak to you just now, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. I am engaged at this moment, Sam. Beg your pardon, Sir, rejoined Mr. Weller. But heres a lady here, Sir, as says shes somethin wery partickler to disclose. I cant see any lady, replied Mr. Pickwick, whose mind was filled with visions of Mrs. Bardell. I wouldnt make too sure o that, Sir, urged Mr. Weller, shaking his head. If you knowd who was near, sir, I rayther think youd change your note; as the hawk remarked to himself vith a cheerful laugh, ven he heerd the robin-redbreast a-singin round the corner. Who is it? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Will you see her, Sir? asked Mr. Weller, holding the door in his hand as if he had some curious live animal on the other side. I suppose I must, said Mr. Pickwick, looking at Perker. Well then, all in to begin! cried Sam. Sound the gong, draw up the curtain, and enter the two conspiraytors. As Sam Weller spoke, he threw the door open, and there rushed tumultuously into the room, Mr. Nathaniel Winkle, leading after him by the hand, the identical young lady who at Dingley Dell had worn the boots with the fur round the tops, and who, now a very pleasing compound of blushes and confusion, and lilac silk, and a smart bonnet, and a rich lace veil, looked prettier than ever. Miss Arabella Allen! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, rising from his chair. No, replied Mr. Winkle, dropping on his knees. Mrs. Winkle. Pardon, my

The Pickwick Papers page 323        The Pickwick Papers page 325