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The Pickwick Papers 369







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The Pickwick Papers

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hand, and you have both assumed a tone of forgiveness and high-mindedness, which is an extent of impudence that I was not prepared for, even in you. What, sir! exclaimed Dodson. What, sir! reiterated Fogg. Do you know that I have been the victim of your plots and conspiracies? continued Mr. Pickwick. Do you know that I am the man whom you have been imprisoning and robbing? Do you know that you were the attorneys for the plaintiff, in Bardell and Pickwick? Yes, sir, we do know it, replied Dodson. Of course we know it, Sir, rejoined Fogg, slapping his pocket --perhaps by accident. I see that you recollect it with satisfaction, said Mr. Pickwick, attempting to call up a sneer for the first time in his life, and failing most signally in so doing. Although I have long been anxious to tell you, in plain terms, what my opinion of you is, I should have let even this opportunity pass, in deference to my friend Perkers wishes, but for the unwarrantable tone you have assumed, and your insolent familiarity. I say insolent familiarity, sir, said Mr. Pickwick, turning upon Fogg with a fierceness of gesture which caused that person to retreat towards the door with great expedition. Take care, Sir, said Dodson, who, though he was the biggest man of the party, had prudently entrenched himself behind Fogg, and was speaking over his head with a very pale face. Let him assault you, Mr. Fogg; dont return it on any account. No, no, I wont return it, said Fogg, falling back a little more as he spoke; to the evident relief of his partner, who by these means was gradually getting into the outer office. You are, continued Mr. Pickwick, resuming the thread of his discourse--you are a well-matched pair of mean, rascally, pettifogging robbers. Well, interposed Perker, is that all? It is all summed up in that, rejoined Mr. Pickwick; they are mean, rascally, pettifogging robbers. There! said Perker, in a most conciliatory tone. My dear sirs, he has said all he has to say. Now pray go. Lowten, is that door open? Mr. Lowten, with a distant giggle, replied in the affirmative. There, there--good-morning--good-morning--now pray, my dear sirs--Mr. Lowten, the door! cried the little man, pushing Dodson & Fogg, nothing loath, out of the office; this way, my dear sirs--now pray dont prolong this-- Dear me--Mr. Lowten--the door, sir--why dont you attend? If theres law in England, sir, said Dodson, looking towards Mr. Pickwick, as he put on his hat, you shall smart for this. You are a couple of mean-- Remember, sir, you pay dearly for this, said Fogg. --Rascally, pettifogging robbers! continued Mr. Pickwick, taking not the least notice of the threats that were addressed to him. Robbers! cried Mr. Pickwick, running to the stair-head, as the two attorneys descended. Robbers! shouted Mr. Pickwick, breaking from Lowten and Perker, and thrusting his head out of the staircase window. When Mr. Pickwick drew in his head again, his countenance was smiling and placid; and, walking quietly back into the office, he declared that he had now removed a great weight from his mind, and that he felt perfectly comfortable and happy. Perker said nothing at all until he had emptied his snuff-box, and sent Lowten out to fill it, when he was seized with a fit of laughing, which lasted five minutes; at the expiration of which time he said that he supposed he ought to be very angry, but he couldnt think of the business seriously yet--when he could, he would be. Well, now, said Mr. Pickwick, let me have a settlement with you. Of the same kind as the last? inquired Perker, with another laugh. Not exactly, rejoined Mr. Pickwick, drawing out his pocket- book, and shaking the little man heartily by the hand, I only mean a pecuniary settlement. You have done me many acts of kindness that I can never repay, and have no wish to repay, for I prefer continuing the obligation. With this preface, the two friends dived into some very complicated accounts and vouchers, which, having been duly displayed and gone through by Perker, were at once discharged by Mr. Pickwick with many professions of esteem and friendship. They had no sooner arrived at this point, than a most violent and startling knocking was heard at the door; it was not an ordinary double-knock, but a constant and uninterrupted succession of the loudest single raps, as if the knocker were endowed with the perpetual motion, or the person outside had forgotten to leave off. Dear me, whats that? exclaimed Perker, starting. I think it

The Pickwick Papers page 368        The Pickwick Papers page 370