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The Pickwick Papers 387







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of a young ooman as is undeniably good-looking and well-conducted. Certainly not, said Mr. Pickwick. Not by no means, acquiesced Mr. Weller, affably but magisterially. So far from thinking there is anything wrong in conduct so natural, resumed Mr. Pickwick, it is my wish to assist and promote your wishes in this respect. With this view, I have had a little conversation with your father; and finding that he is of my opinion-- The lady not bein a widder, interposed Mr. Weller in explanation. The lady not being a widow, said Mr. Pickwick, smiling. I wish to free you from the restraint which your present position imposes upon you, and to mark my sense of your fidelity and many excellent qualities, by enabling you to marry this girl at once, and to earn an independent livelihood for yourself and family. I shall be proud, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, whose voice had faltered a little hitherto, but now resumed its customary tone, proud and happy to make your future prospects in life my grateful and peculiar care. There was a profound silence for a short time, and then Sam said, in a low, husky sort of voice, but firmly withal-- Im very much obliged to you for your goodness, Sir, as is only like yourself; but it cant be done. Cant be done! ejaculated Mr. Pickwick in astonishment. Samivel! said Mr. Weller, with dignity. I say it cant be done, repeated Sam in a louder key. Wots to become of you, Sir? My good fellow, replied Mr. Pickwick, the recent changes among my friends will alter my mode of life in future, entirely; besides, I am growing older, and want repose and quiet. My rambles, Sam, are over. How do I know that ere, sir? argued Sam. You think so now! Spose you wos to change your mind, vich is not unlikely, for youve the spirit o five-and-twenty in you still, what ud become on you vithout me? It cant be done, Sir, it cant be done. Wery good, Samivel, theres a good deal in that, said Mr. Weller encouragingly. I speak after long deliberation, Sam, and with the certainty that I shall keep my word, said Mr. Pickwick, shaking his head. New scenes have closed upon me; my rambles are at an end. Wery good, rejoined Sam. Then, thats the wery best reason wy you should alvays have somebody by you as understands you, to keep you up and make you comfortable. If you vant a more polished sort o feller, vell and good, have him; but vages or no vages, notice or no notice, board or no board, lodgin or no lodgin, Sam Veller, as you took from the old inn in the Borough, sticks by you, come what may; and let evrythin and evrybody do their wery fiercest, nothin shall ever perwent it! At the close of this declaration, which Sam made with great emotion, the elder Mr. Weller rose from his chair, and, forgetting all considerations of time, place, or propriety, waved his hat above his head, and gave three vehement cheers. My good fellow, said Mr. Pickwick, when Mr. Weller had sat down again, rather abashed at his own enthusiasm, you are bound to consider the young woman also. I do consider the young ooman, Sir, said Sam. I have considered the young ooman. Ive spoke to her. Ive told her how Im sitivated; shes ready to vait till Im ready, and I believe she vill. If she dont, shes not the young ooman I take her for, and I give her up vith readiness. Youve knowd me afore, Sir. My minds made up, and nothin can ever alter it. Who could combat this resolution? Not Mr. Pickwick. He derived, at that moment, more pride and luxury of feeling from the disinterested attachment of his humble friends, than ten thousand protestations from the greatest men living could have awakened in his heart. While this conversation was passing in Mr. Pickwicks room, a little old gentleman in a suit of snuff-coloured clothes, followed by a porter carrying a small portmanteau, presented himself below; and, after securing a bed for the night, inquired of the waiter whether one Mrs. Winkle was staying there, to which question the waiter of course responded in the affirmative. Is she alone? inquired the old gentleman. I believe she is, Sir, replied the waiter; I can call her own maid, Sir, if you-- No, I dont want her, said the old gentleman quickly. Show me to her room without announcing me. Eh,

The Pickwick Papers page 386        The Pickwick Papers page 388