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The Pickwick Papers 62







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The Pickwick Papers

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compassionate females to ladies who are endeavouring to ferment themselves into hysterics. Coach is ready, Sir, said Sam, appearing at the door. Come along, cried Wardle. Ill carry her downstairs. At this proposition, the hysterics came on with redoubled violence. The landlady was about to enter a very violent protest against this proceeding, and had already given vent to an indignant inquiry whether Mr. Wardle considered himself a lord of the creation, when Mr. Jingle interposed-- Boots, said he, get me an officer. Stay, stay, said little Mr. Perker. Consider, Sir, consider. Ill not consider, replied Jingle. Shes her own mistress--see who dares to take her away--unless she wishes it. I WONT be taken away, murmured the spinster aunt. I DONT wish it. (Here there was a frightful relapse.) My dear Sir, said the little man, in a low tone, taking Mr. Wardle and Mr. Pickwick apart--my dear Sir, were in a very awkward situation. Its a distressing case--very; I never knew one more so; but really, my dear sir, really we have no power to control this ladys actions. I warned you before we came, my dear sir, that there was nothing to look to but a compromise. There was a short pause. What kind of compromise would you recommend? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Why, my dear Sir, our friends in an unpleasant position--very much so. We must be content to suffer some pecuniary loss. Ill suffer any, rather than submit to this disgrace, and let her, fool as she is, be made miserable for life, said Wardle. I rather think it can be done, said the bustling little man. Mr. Jingle, will you step with us into the next room for a moment? Mr. Jingle assented, and the quartette walked into an empty apartment. Now, sir, said the little man, as he carefully closed the door, is there no way of accommodating this matter--step this way, sir, for a moment--into this window, Sir, where we can be alone --there, sir, there, pray sit down, sir. Now, my dear Sir, between you and I, we know very well, my dear Sir, that you have run off with this lady for the sake of her money. Dont frown, Sir, dont frown; I say, between you and I, WE know it. We are both men of the world, and WE know very well that our friends here, are not--eh? Mr. Jingles face gradually relaxed; and something distantly resembling a wink quivered for an instant in his left eye. Very good, very good, said the little man, observing the impression he had made. Now, the fact is, that beyond a few hundreds, the lady has little or nothing till the death of her mother--fine old lady, my dear Sir. OLD, said Mr. Jingle briefly but emphatically. Why, yes, said the attorney, with a slight cough. You are right, my dear Sir, she is rather old. She comes of an old family though, my dear Sir; old in every sense of the word. The founder of that family came into Kent when Julius Caesar invaded Britain;--only one member of it, since, who hasnt lived to eighty-five, and he was beheaded by one of the Henrys. The old lady is not seventy-three now, my dear Sir. The little man paused, and took a pinch of snuff. Well, cried Mr. Jingle. Well, my dear sir--you dont take snuff!--ah! so much the better--expensive habit--well, my dear Sir, youre a fine young man, man of the world--able to push your fortune, if you had capital, eh? Well, said Mr. Jingle again. Do you comprehend me? Not quite. Dont you think--now, my dear Sir, I put it to you dont you think--that fifty pounds and liberty would be better than Miss Wardle and expectation? Wont do--not half enough! said Mr. Jingle, rising. Nay, nay, my dear Sir, remonstrated the little attorney, seizing him by the button. Good round sum--a man like you could treble it in no time--great deal to be done with fifty pounds, my dear Sir. More to be done with a hundred and fifty, replied Mr. Jingle coolly. Well, my dear Sir, we wont waste time in splitting straws, resumed the little man, say--say--seventy. Wont do, said Mr. Jingle. Dont go away, my dear sir--pray dont hurry, said the little man. Eighty; come: Ill write you a cheque at once. Wont do, said Mr. Jingle. Well, my dear Sir, well, said the little man, still detaining him; just tell me what WILL do. Expensive affair, said Mr. Jingle. Money out of pocket-- posting, nine pounds; licence, three--thats twelve--compensation, a

The Pickwick Papers page 61        The Pickwick Papers page 63