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The Pickwick Papers 380







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my asking the question, Mr. Samuel, continued the attorney in a lower voice, was your mother-in-law tall? Not wery, replied Sam. Mrs. Pell was a tall figure, said Pell, a splendid woman, with a noble shape, and a nose, gentlemen, formed to command and be majestic. She was very much attached to me--very much-- highly connected, too. Her mothers brother, gentlemen, failed for eight hundred pounds, as a law stationer. Vell, said Mr. Weller, who had grown rather restless during this discussion, vith regard to bisness. The word was music to Pells ears. He had been revolving in his mind whether any business was to be transacted, or whether he had been merely invited to partake of a glass of brandy-and- water, or a bowl of punch, or any similar professional compliment, and now the doubt was set at rest without his appearing at all eager for its solution. His eyes glistened as he laid his hat on the table, and said-- What is the business upon which--um? Either of these gentlemen wish to go through the court? We require an arrest; a friendly arrest will do, you know; we are all friends here, I suppose? Give me the dockyment, Sammy, said Mr. Weller, taking the will from his son, who appeared to enjoy the interview amazingly. Wot we rekvire, sir, is a probe o this here. Probate, my dear Sir, probate, said Pell. Well, sir, replied Mr. Weller sharply, probe and probe it, is wery much the same; if you dont understand wot I mean, sir, I des-say I can find them as does. No offence, I hope, Mr. Weller, said Pell meekly. You are the executor, I see, he added, casting his eyes over the paper. I am, sir, replied Mr. Weller. These other gentlemen, I presume, are legatees, are they? inquired Pell, with a congratulatory smile. Sammy is a leg-at-ease, replied Mr. Weller; these other genlmn is friends o mine, just come to see fair; a kind of umpires. Oh! said Pell, very good. I have no objections, Im sure. I shall want a matter of five pound of you before I begin, ha! ha! ha! It being decided by the committee that the five pound might be advanced, Mr. Weller produced that sum; after which, a long consultation about nothing particular took place, in the course whereof Mr. Pell demonstrated to the perfect satisfaction of the gentlemen who saw fair, that unless the management of the business had been intrusted to him, it must all have gone wrong, for reasons not clearly made out, but no doubt sufficient. This important point being despatched, Mr. Pell refreshed himself with three chops, and liquids both malt and spirituous, at the expense of the estate; and then they all went away to Doctors Commons. The next day there was another visit to Doctors Commons, and a great to-do with an attesting hostler, who, being inebriated, declined swearing anything but profane oaths, to the great scandal of a proctor and surrogate. Next week, there were more visits to Doctors Commons, and there was a visit to the Legacy Duty Office besides, and there were treaties entered into, for the disposal of the lease and business, and ratifications of the same, and inventories to be made out, and lunches to be taken, and dinners to be eaten, and so many profitable things to be done, and such a mass of papers accumulated that Mr. Solomon Pell, and the boy, and the blue bag to boot, all got so stout that scarcely anybody would have known them for the same man, boy, and bag, that had loitered about Portugal Street, a few days before. At length all these weighty matters being arranged, a day was fixed for selling out and transferring the stock, and of waiting with that view upon Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, stock-broker, of somewhere near the bank, who had been recommended by Mr. Solomon Pell for the purpose. It was a kind of festive occasion, and the parties were attired accordingly. Mr. Wellers tops were newly cleaned, and his dress was arranged with peculiar care; the mottled-faced gentleman wore at his button-hole a full-sized dahlia with several leaves; and the coats of his two friends were adorned with nosegays of laurel and other evergreens. All three were habited in strict holiday costume; that is to say, they were wrapped up to the chins, and wore as many clothes as possible, which is, and has been, a stage-coachmans idea of full dress ever since stage- coaches were invented. Mr. Pell was waiting at the

The Pickwick Papers page 379        The Pickwick Papers page 381