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The Pickwick Papers 365







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out. You appear to feel it so, rejoined Mr. Pickwick, smiling at the clerk, who was literally red-hot. Ive come along, rather, I can tell you, replied Lowten. It went the half hour as I came through the Polygon. Im here before him, though, so I dont mind. Comforting himself with this reflection, Mr. Lowten extracted the plug from the door-key; having opened the door, replugged and repocketed his Bramah, and picked up the letters which the postman had dropped through the box, he ushered Mr. Pickwick into the office. Here, in the twinkling of an eye, he divested himself of his coat, put on a threadbare garment, which he took out of a desk, hung up his hat, pulled forth a few sheets of cartridge and blotting-paper in alternate layers, and, sticking a pen behind his ear, rubbed his hands with an air of great satisfaction. There, you see, Mr. Pickwick, he said, now Im complete. Ive got my office coat on, and my pad out, and let him come as soon as he likes. You havent got a pinch of snuff about you, have you? No, I have not, replied Mr. Pickwick. Im sorry for it, said Lowten. Never mind. Ill run out presently, and get a bottle of soda. Dont I look rather queer about the eyes, Mr. Pickwick? The individual appealed to, surveyed Mr. Lowtens eyes from a distance, and expressed his opinion that no unusual queerness was perceptible in those features. Im glad of it, said Lowten. We were keeping it up pretty tolerably at the Stump last night, and Im rather out of sorts this morning. Perkers been about that business of yours, by the bye. What business? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Mrs. Bardells costs? No, I dont mean that, replied Mr. Lowten. About getting that customer that we paid the ten shillings in the pound to the bill-discounter for, on your account--to get him out of the Fleet, you know--about getting him to Demerara. Oh, Mr. Jingle, said Mr. Pickwick hastily. Yes. Well? Well, its all arranged, said Lowten, mending his pen. The agent at Liverpool said he had been obliged to you many times when you were in business, and he would be glad to take him on your recommendation. Thats well, said Mr. Pickwick. I am delighted to hear it. But I say, resumed Lowten, scraping the back of the pen preparatory to making a fresh split, what a soft chap that other is! Which other? Why, that servant, or friend, or whatever he is; you know, Trotter. Ah! said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile. I always thought him the reverse. Well, and so did I, from what little I saw of him, replied Lowten, it only shows how one may be deceived. What do you think of his going to Demerara, too? What! And giving up what was offered him here! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. Treating Perkers offer of eighteen bob a week, and a rise if he behaved himself, like dirt, replied Lowten. He said he must go along with the other one, and so they persuaded Perker to write again, and theyve got him something on the same estate; not near so good, Perker says, as a convict would get in New South Wales, if he appeared at his trial in a new suit of clothes. Foolish fellow, said Mr. Pickwick, with glistening eyes. Foolish fellow. Oh, its worse than foolish; its downright sneaking, you know, replied Lowten, nibbing the pen with a contemptuous face. He says that hes the only friend he ever had, and hes attached to him, and all that. Friendships a very good thing in its way--we are all very friendly and comfortable at the Stump, for instance, over our grog, where every man pays for himself; but damn hurting yourself for anybody else, you know! No man should have more than two attachments--the first, to number one, and the second to the ladies; thats what I say--ha! ha! Mr. Lowten concluded with a loud laugh, half in jocularity, and half in derision, which was prematurely cut short by the sound of Perkers footsteps on the stairs, at the first approach of which, he vaulted on his stool with an agility most remarkable, and wrote intensely. The greeting between Mr. Pickwick and his professional adviser was warm and cordial; the client was scarcely ensconced in the attorneys arm-chair, however, when a knock was heard at the door, and a voice inquired whether Mr. Perker was within. Hark! said Perker, thats one

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