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The Pickwick Papers 348

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

bring some soda-water, said Bob Sawyer. Soda-water, Sir! Yes, Sir. With his mind apparently relieved from an overwhelming weight, by having at last got an order for something, the waiter imperceptibly melted away. Waiters never walk or run. They have a peculiar and mysterious power of skimming out of rooms, which other mortals possess not. Some slight symptoms of vitality having been awakened in Mr. Ben Allen by the soda-water, he suffered himself to be prevailed upon to wash his face and hands, and to submit to be brushed by Sam. Mr. Pickwick and Bob Sawyer having also repaired the disorder which the journey had made in their apparel, the three started forth, arm in arm, to Mr. Winkles; Bob Sawyer impregnating the atmosphere with tobacco smoke as he walked along. About a quarter of a mile off, in a quiet, substantial-looking street, stood an old red brick house with three steps before the door, and a brass plate upon it, bearing, in fat Roman capitals, the words, Mr. Winkle.The steps were very white, and the bricks were very red, and the house was very clean; and here stood Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Benjamin Allen, and Mr. Bob Sawyer, as the clock struck ten. A smart servant-girl answered the knock, and started on beholding the three strangers. Is Mr. Winkle at home, my dear? inquired Mr. Pickwick. He is just going to supper, Sir, replied the girl. Give him that card if you please, rejoined Mr. Pickwick. Say I am sorry to trouble him at so late an hour; but I am anxious to see him to-night, and have only just arrived. The girl looked timidly at Mr. Bob Sawyer, who was expressing his admiration of her personal charms by a variety of wonderful grimaces; and casting an eye at the hats and greatcoats which hung in the passage, called another girl to mind the door while she went upstairs. The sentinel was speedily relieved; for the girl returned immediately, and begging pardon of the gentlemen for leaving them in the street, ushered them into a floor-clothed back parlour, half office and half dressing room, in which the principal useful and ornamental articles of furniture were a desk, a wash- hand stand and shaving-glass, a boot-rack and boot-jack, a high stool, four chairs, a table, and an old eight-day clock. Over the mantelpiece were the sunken doors of an iron safe, while a couple of hanging shelves for books, an almanac, and several files of dusty papers, decorated the walls. Very sorry to leave you standing at the door, Sir, said the girl, lighting a lamp, and addressing Mr. Pickwick with a winning smile, but you was quite strangers to me; and we have such a many trampers that only come to see what they can lay their hands on, that really-- There is not the least occasion for any apology, my dear, said Mr. Pickwick good-humouredly. Not the slightest, my love, said Bob Sawyer, playfully stretching forth his arms, and skipping from side to side, as if to prevent the young ladys leaving the room. The young lady was not at all softened by these allurements, for she at once expressed her opinion, that Mr. Bob Sawyer was an odous creetur; and, on his becoming rather more pressing in his attentions, imprinted her fair fingers upon his face, and bounced out of the room with many expressions of aversion and contempt. Deprived of the young ladys society, Mr. Bob Sawyer proceeded to divert himself by peeping into the desk, looking into all the table drawers, feigning to pick the lock of the iron safe, turning the almanac with its face to the wall, trying on the boots of Mr. Winkle, senior, over his own, and making several other humorous experiments upon the furniture, all of which afforded Mr. Pickwick unspeakable horror and agony, and yielded Mr. Bob Sawyer proportionate delight. At length the door opened, and a little old gentleman in a snuff-coloured suit, with a head and face the precise counterpart of those belonging to Mr. Winkle, junior, excepting that he was rather bald, trotted into the room with Mr. Pickwicks card in one hand, and a silver candlestick in the other. Mr. Pickwick, sir, how do you do? said Winkle the elder, putting down the candlestick and proffering his hand. Hope I see you well, sir. Glad to see you. Be seated, Mr. Pickwick, I beg, Sir. This gentleman is-- My friend, Mr. Sawyer, interposed Mr. Pickwick, your sons friend. Oh, said Mr. Winkle the elder, looking rather grimly at Bob. I hope

The Pickwick Papers page 347        The Pickwick Papers page 349