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The Pickwick Papers 93







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




Tom. "His name is Jinkins, Sir," said the widow, slightly blushing. "Hes a tall man," said Tom. "He is a very fine man, Sir," replied the widow, "and a very nice gentleman." "Ah!" said Tom. "Is there anything more you want, Sir?" inquired the widow, rather puzzled by Toms manner. "Why, yes," said Tom. "My dear maam, will you have the kindness to sit down for one moment?" The widow looked much amazed, but she sat down, and Tom sat down too, close beside her. I dont know how it happened, gentlemen--indeed my uncle used to tell me that Tom Smart said he didnt know how it happened either--but somehow or other the palm of Toms hand fell upon the back of the widows hand, and remained there while he spoke. "My dear maam," said Tom Smart--he had always a great notion of committing the amiable--"my dear maam, you deserve a very excellent husband--you do indeed." "Lor, Sir!" said the widow--as well she might; Toms mode of commencing the conversation being rather unusual, not to say startling; the fact of his never having set eyes upon her before the previous night being taken into consideration. "Lor, Sir!" "I scorn to flatter, my dear maam," said Tom Smart. "You deserve a very admirable husband, and whoever he is, hell be a very lucky man." As Tom said this, his eye involuntarily wandered from the widows face to the comfort around him. The widow looked more puzzled than ever, and made an effort to rise. Tom gently pressed her hand, as if to detain her, and she kept her seat. Widows, gentlemen, are not usually timorous, as my uncle used to say. "I am sure I am very much obliged to you, Sir, for your good opinion," said the buxom landlady, half laughing; "and if ever I marry again--" "IF," said Tom Smart, looking very shrewdly out of the right- hand corner of his left eye. "IF--" "Well," said the widow, laughing outright this time, "WHEN I do, I hope I shall have as good a husband as you describe." "Jinkins, to wit," said Tom. "Lor, sir!" exclaimed the widow. "Oh, dont tell me," said Tom, "I know him." "I am sure nobody who knows him, knows anything bad of him," said the widow, bridling up at the mysterious air with which Tom had spoken. "Hem!" said Tom Smart. The widow began to think it was high time to cry, so she took out her handkerchief, and inquired whether Tom wished to insult her, whether he thought it like a gentleman to take away the character of another gentleman behind his back, why, if he had got anything to say, he didnt say it to the man, like a man, instead of terrifying a poor weak woman in that way; and so forth. "Ill say it to him fast enough," said Tom, "only I want you to hear it first." "What is it?" inquired the widow, looking intently in Toms countenance. "Ill astonish you," said Tom, putting his hand in his pocket. "If it is, that he wants money," said the widow, "I know that already, and you neednt trouble yourself." "Pooh, nonsense, thats nothing," said Tom Smart, "I want money. Taint that." "Oh, dear, what can it be?" exclaimed the poor widow. "Dont be frightened," said Tom Smart. He slowly drew forth the letter, and unfolded it. "You wont scream?" said Tom doubtfully. "No, no," replied the widow; "let me see it." "You wont go fainting away, or any of that nonsense?" said Tom. "No, no," returned the widow hastily. "And dont run out, and blow him up," said Tom; "because Ill do all that for you. You had better not exert yourself." "Well, well," said the widow, "let me see it." "I will," replied Tom Smart; and, with these words, he placed the letter in the widows hand. Gentlemen, I have heard my uncle say, that Tom Smart said the widows lamentations when she heard the disclosure would have pierced a heart of stone. Tom was certainly very tender- hearted, but they pierced his, to the very core. The widow rocked herself to and fro, and wrung her hands. "Oh, the deception and villainy of the man!" said the widow. "Frightful, my dear maam; but compose yourself," said Tom Smart. "Oh, I cant compose myself," shrieked the widow. "I shall never find anyone else I can love so much!" "Oh, yes you will, my dear soul," said Tom Smart, letting fall a shower of the largest-sized tears, in pity for the widows misfortunes. Tom Smart, in the energy of his

The Pickwick Papers page 92        The Pickwick Papers page 94