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The Pickwick Papers 361







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The Pickwick Papers

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thus engaged, a very buxom- looking cook, dressed in mourning, who had been bustling about, in the bar, glided into the room, and bestowing many smirks of recognition upon Sam, silently stationed herself at the back of his fathers chair, and announced her presence by a slight cough, the which, being disregarded, was followed by a louder one. Hollo! said the elder Mr. Weller, dropping the poker as he looked round, and hastily drew his chair away. Wots the matter now? Have a cup of tea, theres a good soul, replied the buxom female coaxingly. I vont, replied Mr. Weller, in a somewhat boisterous manner. Ill see you-- Mr. Weller hastily checked himself, and added in a low tone, furder fust. Oh, dear, dear! How adwersity does change people! said the lady, looking upwards. Its the only thing twixt this and the doctor as shall change my condition, muttered Mr. Weller. I really never saw a man so cross, said the buxom female. Never mind. Its all for my own good; vich is the reflection vith vich the penitent school-boy comforted his feelins ven they flogged him, rejoined the old gentleman. The buxom female shook her head with a compassionate and sympathising air; and, appealing to Sam, inquired whether his father really ought not to make an effort to keep up, and not give way to that lowness of spirits. You see, Mr. Samuel, said the buxom female, as I was telling him yesterday, he will feel lonely, he cant expect but what he should, sir, but he should keep up a good heart, because, dear me, Im sure we all pity his loss, and are ready to do anything for him; and theres no situation in life so bad, Mr. Samuel, that it cant be mended. Which is what a very worthy person said to me when my husband died. Here the speaker, putting her hand before her mouth, coughed again, and looked affectionately at the elder Mr. Weller. As I dont rekvire any o your conversation just now, mum, vill you have the goodness to re-tire? inquired Mr. Weller, in a grave and steady voice. Well, Mr. Weller, said the buxom female, Im sure I only spoke to you out of kindness. Wery likely, mum, replied Mr. Weller. Samivel, show the lady out, and shut the door after her. This hint was not lost upon the buxom female; for she at once left the room, and slammed the door behind her, upon which Mr. Weller, senior, falling back in his chair in a violent perspiration, said-- Sammy, if I wos to stop here alone vun week--only vun week, my boy--that ere ooman ud marry me by force and wiolence afore it was over. Wot! is she so wery fond on you? inquired Sam. Fond! replied his father. I cant keep her avay from me. If I was locked up in a fireproof chest vith a patent Brahmin, shed find means to get at me, Sammy. Wot a thing it is to be so sought arter! observed Sam, smiling. I dont take no pride out on it, Sammy, replied Mr. Weller, poking the fire vehemently, its a horrid sitiwation. Im actiwally drove out o house and home by it. The breath was scarcely out o your poor mother-in-laws body, ven vun old ooman sends me a pot o jam, and another a pot o jelly, and another brews a blessed large jug o camomile-tea, vich she brings in vith her own hands. Mr. Weller paused with an aspect of intense disgust, and looking round, added in a whisper, They wos all widders, Sammy, all on em, cept the camomile-tea vun, as wos a single young lady o fifty-three. Sam gave a comical look in reply, and the old gentleman having broken an obstinate lump of coal, with a countenance expressive of as much earnestness and malice as if it had been the head of one of the widows last-mentioned, said: In short, Sammy, I feel that I aint safe anyveres but on the box. How are you safer there than anyveres else? interrupted Sam. "Cos a coachmans a privileged indiwidual, replied Mr. Weller, looking fixedly at his son. Cos a coachman may do vithout suspicion wot other men may not; cos a coachman may be on the wery amicablest terms with eighty mile o females, and yet nobody think that he ever means to marry any vun among em. And wot other man can say the same, Sammy? Vell, theres somethin in that, said Sam. If your govnor had been a coachman,

The Pickwick Papers page 360        The Pickwick Papers page 362