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The Pickwick Papers 74

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

at which hour he regularly condensed himself into the limits of a dwarfish French bedstead in the back parlour; and the infantine sports and gymnastic exercises of Master Bardell were exclusively confined to the neighbouring pavements and gutters. Cleanliness and quiet reigned throughout the house; and in it Mr. Pickwicks will was law. To any one acquainted with these points of the domestic economy of the establishment, and conversant with the admirable regulation of Mr. Pickwicks mind, his appearance and behaviour on the morning previous to that which had been fixed upon for the journey to Eatanswill would have been most mysterious and unaccountable. He paced the room to and fro with hurried steps, popped his head out of the window at intervals of about three minutes each, constantly referred to his watch, and exhibited many other manifestations of impatience very unusual with him. It was evident that something of great importance was in contemplation, but what that something was, not even Mrs. Bardell had been enabled to discover. Mrs. Bardell, said Mr. Pickwick, at last, as that amiable female approached the termination of a prolonged dusting of the apartment. Sir, said Mrs. Bardell. Your little boy is a very long time gone. Why its a good long way to the Borough, sir, remonstrated Mrs. Bardell. Ah, said Mr. Pickwick, very true; so it is. Mr. Pickwick relapsed into silence, and Mrs. Bardell resumed her dusting. Mrs. Bardell, said Mr. Pickwick, at the expiration of a few minutes. Sir, said Mrs. Bardell again. Do you think it a much greater expense to keep two people, than to keep one? La, Mr. Pickwick, said Mrs. Bardell, colouring up to the very border of her cap, as she fancied she observed a species of matrimonial twinkle in the eyes of her lodger; La, Mr. Pickwick, what a question! Well, but do you? inquired Mr. Pickwick. That depends, said Mrs. Bardell, approaching the duster very near to Mr. Pickwicks elbow which was planted on the table. that depends a good deal upon the person, you know, Mr. Pickwick; and whether its a saving and careful person, sir. Thats very true, said Mr. Pickwick, but the person I have in my eye (here he looked very hard at Mrs. Bardell) I think possesses these qualities; and has, moreover, a considerable knowledge of the world, and a great deal of sharpness, Mrs. Bardell, which may be of material use to me. La, Mr. Pickwick, said Mrs. Bardell, the crimson rising to her cap-border again. I do, said Mr. Pickwick, growing energetic, as was his wont in speaking of a subject which interested him--I do, indeed; and to tell you the truth, Mrs. Bardell, I have made up my mind. Dear me, sir,exclaimed Mrs. Bardell. Youll think it very strange now, said the amiable Mr. Pickwick, with a good-humoured glance at his companion, that I never consulted you about this matter, and never even mentioned it, till I sent your little boy out this morning--eh? Mrs. Bardell could only reply by a look. She had long worshipped Mr. Pickwick at a distance, but here she was, all at once, raised to a pinnacle to which her wildest and most extravagant hopes had never dared to aspire. Mr. Pickwick was going to propose--a deliberate plan, too--sent her little boy to the Borough, to get him out of the way--how thoughtful--how considerate! Well, said Mr. Pickwick, what do you think? Oh, Mr. Pickwick, said Mrs. Bardell, trembling with agitation, youre very kind, sir. Itll save you a good deal of trouble, wont it? said Mr. Pickwick. Oh, I never thought anything of the trouble, sir, replied Mrs. Bardell; and, of course, I should take more trouble to please you then, than ever; but it is so kind of you, Mr. Pickwick, to have so much consideration for my loneliness. Ah, to be sure, said Mr. Pickwick; I never thought of that. When I am in town, youll always have somebody to sit with you. To be sure, so you will. I am sure I ought to be a very happy woman, said Mrs. Bardell. And your little boy-- said Mr. Pickwick. Bless his heart! interposed Mrs. Bardell, with a maternal sob. He, too, will have a companion, resumed Mr. Pickwick, a lively one, wholl teach him, Ill be bound, more tricks in a week than he would ever learn in a year. And Mr. Pickwick smiled placidly. Oh, you dear-- said Mrs. Bardell. Mr. Pickwick started. Oh, you kind, good, playful dear, said Mrs. Bardell; and without more ado, she rose from her chair, and flung her arms round Mr. Pickwicks neck, with a cataract of

The Pickwick Papers page 73        The Pickwick Papers page 75