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The Pickwick Papers 384







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The Pickwick Papers

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eagerly. He has only just come home. He is not going to ask you for any more leave, Sir, he says. Mary might have been conscious that she had communicated this last intelligence with more warmth than seemed actually necessary, or she might have observed the good-humoured smile with which Mr. Pickwick regarded her, when she had finished speaking. She certainly held down her head, and examined the corner of a very smart little apron, with more closeness than there appeared any absolute occasion for. Tell them they can come up at once, by all means, said Mr. Pickwick. Mary, apparently much relieved, hurried away with her message. Mr. Pickwick took two or three turns up and down the room; and, rubbing his chin with his left hand as he did so, appeared lost in thought. Well, well, said Mr. Pickwick, at length in a kind but somewhat melancholy tone, it is the best way in which I could reward him for his attachment and fidelity; let it be so, in Heavens name. It is the fate of a lonely old man, that those about him should form new and different attachments and leave him. I have no right to expect that it should be otherwise with me. No, no, added Mr. Pickwick more cheerfully, it would be selfish and ungrateful. I ought to be happy to have an opportunity of providing for him so well. I am. Of course I am. Mr. Pickwick had been so absorbed in these reflections, that a knock at the door was three or four times repeated before he heard it. Hastily seating himself, and calling up his accustomed pleasant looks, he gave the required permission, and Sam Weller entered, followed by his father. Glad to see you back again, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick. How do you do, Mr. Weller? Wery hearty, thankee, sir, replied the widower; hope I see you well, sir. Quite, I thank you, replied Mr. Pickwick. I wanted to have a little bit o conwersation with you, sir, said Mr. Weller, if you could spare me five minits or so, sir. Certainly, replied Mr. Pickwick. Sam, give your father a chair. Thankee, Samivel, Ive got a cheer here, said Mr. Weller, bringing one forward as he spoke; uncommon fine day its been, sir, added the old gentleman, laying his hat on the floor as he sat himself down. Remarkably so, indeed, replied Mr. Pickwick. Very seasonable. Seasonablest veather I ever see, sir, rejoined Mr. Weller. Here, the old gentleman was seized with a violent fit of coughing, which, being terminated, he nodded his head and winked and made several supplicatory and threatening gestures to his son, all of which Sam Weller steadily abstained from seeing. Mr. Pickwick, perceiving that there was some embarrassment on the old gentlemans part, affected to be engaged in cutting the leaves of a book that lay beside him, and waited patiently until Mr. Weller should arrive at the object of his visit. I never see sich a aggrawatin boy as you are, Samivel, said Mr. Weller, looking indignantly at his son; never in all my born days. What is he doing, Mr. Weller? inquired Mr. Pickwick. He vont begin, sir, rejoined Mr. Weller; he knows I aint ekal to ex-pressin myself ven theres anythin partickler to be done, and yet hell stand and see me a-settin here taking up your walable time, and makin a reglar spectacle o myself, rayther than help me out vith a syllable. It aint filial conduct, Samivel, said Mr. Weller, wiping his forehead; wery far from it. You said youd speak, replied Sam; how should I know you wos done up at the wery beginnin? You might ha seen I warnt able to start, rejoined his father; Im on the wrong side of the road, and backin into the palins, and all manner of unpleasantness, and yet you vont put out a hand to help me. Im ashamed on you, Samivel. The fact is, Sir, said Sam, with a slight bow, the govnors been a-drawin his money. Wery good, Samivel, wery good, said Mr. Weller, nodding his head with a satisfied air, I didnt mean to speak harsh to you, Sammy. Wery good. Thats the vay to begin. Come to the pint at once. Wery good indeed, Samivel. Mr. Weller nodded his head an extraordinary number of times, in the excess of his gratification, and waited in a listening attitude for Sam to resume his statement. You may sit down, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, apprehending that the

The Pickwick Papers page 383        The Pickwick Papers page 385