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The Pickwick Papers 379

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

and this assistance having been secured, the party proceeded to the public-house in Portugal Street, whence a messenger was despatched to the Insolvent Court over the way, requiring Mr. Solomon Pells immediate attendance. The messenger fortunately found Mr. Solomon Pell in court, regaling himself, business being rather slack, with a cold collation of an Abernethy biscuit and a saveloy. The message was no sooner whispered in his ear than he thrust them in his pocket among various professional documents, and hurried over the way with such alacrity that he reached the parlour before the messenger had even emancipated himself from the court. Gentlemen, said Mr. Pell, touching his hat, my service to you all. I dont say it to flatter you, gentlemen, but there are not five other men in the world, that Id have come out of that court for, to-day. So busy, eh? said Sam. Busy! replied Pell; Im completely sewn up, as my friend the late Lord Chancellor many a time used to say to me, gentlemen, when he came out from hearing appeals in the House of Lords. Poor fellow; he was very susceptible to fatigue; he used to feel those appeals uncommonly. I actually thought more than once that hed have sunk under em; I did, indeed. Here Mr. Pell shook his head and paused; on which, the elder Mr. Weller, nudging his neighbour, as begging him to mark the attorneys high connections, asked whether the duties in question produced any permanent ill effects on the constitution of his noble friend. I dont think he ever quite recovered them, replied Pell; in fact Im sure he never did. "Pell," he used to say to me many a time, "how the blazes you can stand the head-work you do, is a mystery to me."--"Well," I used to answer, "I hardly know how I do it, upon my life."--"Pell," hed add, sighing, and looking at me with a little envy--friendly envy, you know, gentlemen, mere friendly envy; I never minded it--"Pell, youre a wonder; a wonder." Ah! youd have liked him very much if you had known him, gentlemen. Bring me three-pennorth of rum, my dear. Addressing this latter remark to the waitress, in a tone of subdued grief, Mr. Pell sighed, looked at his shoes and the ceiling; and, the rum having by that time arrived, drank it up. However, said Pell, drawing a chair to the table, a professional man has no right to think of his private friendships when his legal assistance is wanted. By the bye, gentlemen, since I saw you here before, we have had to weep over a very melancholy occurrence. Mr. Pell drew out a pocket-handkerchief, when he came to the word weep, but he made no further use of it than to wipe away a slight tinge of rum which hung upon his upper lip. I saw it in the ADVERTISER, Mr. Weller, continued Pell. Bless my soul, not more than fifty-two! Dear me--only think. These indications of a musing spirit were addressed to the mottled-faced man, whose eyes Mr. Pell had accidentally caught; on which, the mottled-faced man, whose apprehension of matters in general was of a foggy nature, moved uneasily in his seat, and opined that, indeed, so far as that went, there was no saying how things was brought about; which observation, involving one of those subtle propositions which it is difficult to encounter in argument, was controverted by nobody. I have heard it remarked that she was a very fine woman, Mr. Weller, said Pell, in a sympathising manner. Yes, sir, she wos, replied the elder Mr. Weller, not much relishing this mode of discussing the subject, and yet thinking that the attorney, from his long intimacy with the late Lord Chancellor, must know best on all matters of polite breeding. She wos a wery fine ooman, sir, ven I first knowd her. She wos a widder, sir, at that time. Now, its curious, said Pell, looking round with a sorrowful smile; Mrs. Pell was a widow. Thats very extraordinary, said the mottled-faced man. Well, it is a curious coincidence, said Pell. Not at all, gruffly remarked the elder Mr. Weller. More widders is married than single wimin. Very good, very good, said Pell, youre quite right, Mr. Weller. Mrs. Pell was a very elegant and accomplished woman; her manners were the theme of universal admiration in our neighbourhood. I was proud to see that woman dance; there was something so firm and dignified, and yet natural, in her motion. Her cutting, gentlemen, was simplicity itself. Ah! well, well! Excuse

The Pickwick Papers page 378        The Pickwick Papers page 380