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The Pickwick Papers 76







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Pickwick, whether you have any reason to be discontented with your present situation. Afore I answers that ere question, genlmn, replied Mr. Weller, I should like to know, in the first place, whether youre a-goin to purwide me with a better? A sunbeam of placid benevolence played on Mr. Pickwicks features as he said, I have half made up my mind to engage you myself. Have you, though? said Sam. Mr. Pickwick nodded in the affirmative. Wages? inquired Sam. Twelve pounds a year, replied Mr. Pickwick. Clothes? Two suits. Work? To attend upon me; and travel about with me and these gentlemen here. Take the bill down, said Sam emphatically. Im let to a single gentleman, and the terms is agreed upon. You accept the situation? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Certnly, replied Sam. If the clothes fits me half as well as the place, theyll do. You can get a character of course? said Mr. Pickwick. Ask the landlady o the White Hart about that, Sir, replied Sam. Can you come this evening? Ill get into the clothes this minute, if theyre here, said Sam, with great alacrity. Call at eight this evening, said Mr. Pickwick; and if the inquiries are satisfactory, they shall be provided. With the single exception of one amiable indiscretion, in which an assistant housemaid had equally participated, the history of Mr. Wellers conduct was so very blameless, that Mr. Pickwick felt fully justified in closing the engagement that very evening. With the promptness and energy which characterised not only the public proceedings, but all the private actions of this extraordinary man, he at once led his new attendant to one of those convenient emporiums where gentlemens new and second- hand clothes are provided, and the troublesome and inconvenient formality of measurement dispensed with; and before night had closed in, Mr. Weller was furnished with a grey coat with the P. C. button, a black hat with a cockade to it, a pink striped waistcoat, light breeches and gaiters, and a variety of other necessaries, too numerous to recapitulate. Well, said that suddenly-transformed individual, as he took his seat on the outside of the Eatanswill coach next morning; I wonder whether Im meant to be a footman, or a groom, or a gamekeeper, or a seedsman. I looks like a sort of compo of every one on em. Never mind; theres a change of air, plenty to see, and little to do; and all this suits my complaint uncommon; so long life to the Pickvicks, says I!

CHAPTER XIII

SOME ACCOUNT OF EATANSWILL; OF THE STATE OF PARTIES THEREIN; AND OF THE ELECTION OF A MEMBER TO SERVE IN PARLIAMENT FOR THAT ANCIENT, LOYAL, AND PATRIOTIC BOROUGH

We will frankly acknowledge that, up to the period of our being first immersed in the voluminous papers of the Pickwick Club, we had never heard of Eatanswill; we will with equal candour admit that we have in vain searched for proof of the actual existence of such a place at the present day. Knowing the deep reliance to be placed on every note and statement of Mr. Pickwicks, and not presuming to set up our recollection against the recorded declarations of that great man, we have consulted every authority, bearing upon the subject, to which we could possibly refer. We have traced every name in schedules A and B, without meeting with that of Eatanswill; we have minutely examined every corner of the pocket county maps issued for the benefit of society by our distinguished publishers, and the same result has attended our investigation. We are therefore led to believe that Mr. Pickwick, with that anxious desire to abstain from giving offence to any, and with those delicate feelings for which all who knew him well know he was so eminently remarkable, purposely substituted a fictitious designation, for the real name of the place in which his observations were made. We are confirmed in this belief by a little circumstance, apparently slight and trivial in itself, but when considered in this point of view, not undeserving of notice. In Mr. Pickwicks note-book, we can just trace an entry of the fact, that the places of himself and followers were booked by the Norwich coach; but this entry was afterwards lined through, as if for the purpose of concealing even the direction in which the borough is situated. We will not, therefore, hazard a guess upon the subject, but will at once proceed with this history, content with the materials which its characters have provided for us. It appears, then, that

The Pickwick Papers page 75        The Pickwick Papers page 77