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The Pickwick Papers 382







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

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We want to make a little transfer, if you please. Oh, just come in, will you? said Mr. Flasher. Sit down a minute; Ill attend to you directly. Thank you, Sir, said Pell, theres no hurry. Take a chair, Mr. Weller. Mr. Weller took a chair, and Sam took a box, and the umpires took what they could get, and looked at the almanac and one or two papers which were wafered against the wall, with as much open-eyed reverence as if they had been the finest efforts of the old masters. Well, Ill bet you half a dozen of claret on it; come! said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, resuming the conversation to which Mr. Pells entrance had caused a momentary interruption. This was addressed to a very smart young gentleman who wore his hat on his right whisker, and was lounging over the desk, killing flies with a ruler. Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, was balancing himself on two legs of an office stool, spearing a wafer-box with a penknife, which he dropped every now and then with great dexterity into the very centre of a small red wafer that was stuck outside. Both gentlemen had very open waistcoats and very rolling collars, and very small boots, and very big rings, and very little watches, and very large guard-chains, and symmetrical inexpressibles, and scented pocket-handkerchiefs. I never bet half a dozen! said the other gentleman. Ill take a dozen. Done, Simmery, done! said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. P. P., mind, observed the other. Of course, replied Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, entered it in a little book, with a gold pencil-case, and the other gentleman entered it also, in another little book with another gold pencil-case. I see theres a notice up this morning about Boffer, observed Mr. Simmery. Poor devil, hes expelled the house! Ill bet you ten guineas to five, he cuts his throat, said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Done, replied Mr. Simmery. Stop! I bar, said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, thoughtfully. Perhaps he may hang himself. Very good, rejoined Mr. Simmery, pulling out the gold pencil-case again. Ive no objection to take you that way. Say, makes away with himself. Kills himself, in fact, said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Just so, replied Mr. Simmery, putting it down. "Flasher-- ten guineas to five, Boffer kills himself." Within what time shall we say? A fortnight? suggested Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Con-found it, no, rejoined Mr. Simmery, stopping for an instant to smash a fly with the ruler. Say a week. Split the difference, said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Make it ten days. Well; ten days,rejoined Mr. Simmery. So it was entered down on the little books that Boffer was to kill himself within ten days, or Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, was to hand over to Frank Simmery, Esquire, the sum of ten guineas; and that if Boffer did kill himself within that time, Frank Simmery, Esquire, would pay to Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, five guineas, instead. Im very sorry he has failed, said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Capital dinners he gave. Fine port he had too, remarked Mr. Simmery. We are going to send our butler to the sale to-morrow, to pick up some of that sixty-four. The devil you are! said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. My mans going too. Five guineas my man outbids your man. Done. Another entry was made in the little books, with the gold pencil-cases; and Mr. Simmery, having by this time killed all the flies and taken all the bets, strolled away to the Stock Exchange to see what was going forward. Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, now condescended to receive Mr. Solomon Pells instructions, and having filled up some printed forms, requested the party to follow him to the bank, which they did: Mr. Weller and his three friends staring at all they beheld in unbounded astonishment, and Sam encountering everything with a coolness which nothing could disturb. Crossing a courtyard which was all noise and bustle, and passing a couple of porters who seemed dressed to match the red fire engine which was wheeled away into a corner, they passed into an office where their business was to be transacted, and where Pell and Mr. Flasher left them standing for a few moments, while they went upstairs into the Will Office. Wot place is this here? whispered the mottled-faced gentleman to the elder Mr. Weller. Counsels Office, replied the executor in a whisper. Wot are them genlmen a-settin behind the counters? asked the hoarse coachman. Reduced counsels, I spose, replied Mr. Weller. Aint they the reduced counsels, Samivel? Wy, you dont suppose the reduced counsels is alive, do you? inquired Sam, with some disdain. How should

The Pickwick Papers page 381        The Pickwick Papers page 383