The Pickwick Papers
Part 16 out of 20
gentlemanly dog, Mivins, isn't he?' said Smangle, with great feeling.
'I know so little of the gentleman,' said Mr. Pickwick,
hesitating, 'that I--'
'I know you do,' interrupted Smangle, clasping Mr. Pickwick
by the shoulder. 'You shall know him better. You'll be delighted
with him. That man, Sir,' said Smangle, with a solemn countenance,
'has comic powers that would do honour to Drury Lane Theatre.'
'Has he indeed?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Ah, by Jove he has!' replied Smangle. 'Hear him come the
four cats in the wheel-barrow--four distinct cats, sir, I pledge you
my honour. Now you know that's infernal clever! Damme, you
can't help liking a man, when you see these traits about him.
He's only one fault--that little failing I mentioned to you, you know.'
As Mr. Smangle shook his head in a confidential and sympathising
manner at this juncture, Mr. Pickwick felt that he was
expected to say something, so he said, 'Ah!' and looked restlessly
at the door.
'Ah!' echoed Mr. Smangle, with a long-drawn sigh. 'He's
delightful company, that man is, sir. I don't know better company
anywhere; but he has that one drawback. If the ghost of his
grandfather, Sir, was to rise before him this minute, he'd ask him
for the loan of his acceptance on an eightpenny stamp.'
'Dear me!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes,' added Mr. Smangle; 'and if he'd the power of raising
him again, he would, in two months and three days from this
time, to renew the bill!'
'Those are very remarkable traits,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but
I'm afraid that while we are talking here, my friends may be in a
state of great perplexity at not finding me.'
'I'll show 'em the way,' said Smangle, making for the door.
'Good-day. I won't disturb you while they're here, you know. By
As Smangle pronounced the last three words, he stopped
suddenly, reclosed the door which he had opened, and, walking
softly back to Mr. Pickwick, stepped close up to him on tiptoe,
and said, in a very soft whisper--
'You couldn't make it convenient to lend me half-a-crown till
the latter end of next week, could you?'
Mr. Pickwick could scarcely forbear smiling, but managing to
preserve his gravity, he drew forth the coin, and placed it in
Mr. Smangle's palm; upon which, that gentleman, with many
nods and winks, implying profound mystery, disappeared in
quest of the three strangers, with whom he presently returned;
and having coughed thrice, and nodded as many times, as an
assurance to Mr. Pickwick that he would not forget to pay, he
shook hands all round, in an engaging manner, and at length
took himself off.
'My dear friends,' said Mr. Pickwick, shaking hands alternately
with Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass,
who were the three visitors in question, 'I am delighted to see you.'
The triumvirate were much affected. Mr. Tupman shook his
head deploringly, Mr. Snodgrass drew forth his handkerchief,
with undisguised emotion; and Mr. Winkle retired to the
window, and sniffed aloud.
'Mornin', gen'l'm'n,' said Sam, entering at the moment with
the shoes and gaiters. 'Avay vith melincholly, as the little boy
said ven his schoolmissus died. Velcome to the college, gen'l'm'n.'
'This foolish fellow,' said Mr. Pickwick, tapping Sam on the
head as he knelt down to button up his master's gaiters--'this
foolish fellow has got himself arrested, in order to be near me.'
'What!' exclaimed the three friends.
'Yes, gen'l'm'n,' said Sam, 'I'm a--stand steady, sir, if you
please--I'm a prisoner, gen'l'm'n. Con-fined, as the lady said.'
'A prisoner!' exclaimed Mr. Winkle, with unaccountable vehemence.
'Hollo, sir!' responded Sam, looking up. 'Wot's the matter, Sir?'
'I had hoped, Sam, that-- Nothing, nothing,' said Mr.
There was something so very abrupt and unsettled in Mr.
Winkle's manner, that Mr. Pickwick involuntarily looked at his
two friends for an explanation.
'We don't know,' said Mr. Tupman, answering this mute
appeal aloud. 'He has been much excited for two days past,
and his whole demeanour very unlike what it usually is. We
feared there must be something the matter, but he resolutely
'No, no,' said Mr. Winkle, colouring beneath Mr. Pickwick's
gaze; 'there is really nothing. I assure you there is nothing, my
dear sir. It will be necessary for me to leave town, for a short
time, on private business, and I had hoped to have prevailed
upon you to allow Sam to accompany me.'
Mr. Pickwick looked more astonished than before.
'I think,' faltered Mr. Winkle, 'that Sam would have had no
objection to do so; but, of course, his being a prisoner here,
renders it impossible. So I must go alone.'
As Mr. Winkle said these words, Mr. Pickwick felt, with some
astonishment, that Sam's fingers were trembling at the gaiters, as
if he were rather surprised or startled. Sam looked up at Mr.
Winkle, too, when he had finished speaking; and though the
glance they exchanged was instantaneous, they seemed to understand
'Do you know anything of this, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick sharply.
'No, I don't, sir,' replied Mr. Weller, beginning to button with
'Are you sure, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Wy, sir,' responded Mr. Weller; 'I'm sure so far, that I've
never heerd anythin' on the subject afore this moment. If I makes
any guess about it,' added Sam, looking at Mr. Winkle, 'I
haven't got any right to say what 'It is, fear it should be a
'I have no right to make any further inquiry into the private
affairs of a friend, however intimate a friend,' said Mr. Pickwick,
after a short silence; 'at present let me merely say, that I do not
understand this at all. There. We have had quite enough of the
Thus expressing himself, Mr. Pickwick led the conversation to
different topics, and Mr. Winkle gradually appeared more at
ease, though still very far from being completely so. They had all
so much to converse about, that the morning very quickly passed
away; and when, at three o'clock, Mr. Weller produced upon the
little dining-table, a roast leg of mutton and an enormous meat-
pie, with sundry dishes of vegetables, and pots of porter, which
stood upon the chairs or the sofa bedstead, or where they could,
everybody felt disposed to do justice to the meal, notwithstanding
that the meat had been purchased, and dressed, and the pie
made, and baked, at the prison cookery hard by.
To these succeeded a bottle or two of very good wine, for
which a messenger was despatched by Mr. Pickwick to the Horn
Coffee-house, in Doctors' Commons. The bottle or two, indeed,
might be more properly described as a bottle or six, for by the
time it was drunk, and tea over, the bell began to ring for
strangers to withdraw.
But, if Mr. Winkle's behaviour had been unaccountable in the
morning, it became perfectly unearthly and solemn when, under
the influence of his feelings, and his share of the bottle or six,
he prepared to take leave of his friend. He lingered behind, until
Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass had disappeared, and then
fervently clenched Mr. Pickwick's hand, with an expression of
face in which deep and mighty resolve was fearfully blended with
the very concentrated essence of gloom.
'Good-night, my dear Sir!' said Mr. Winkle between his set teeth.
'Bless you, my dear fellow!' replied the warm-hearted Mr.
Pickwick, as he returned the pressure of his young friend's hand.
'Now then!' cried Mr. Tupman from the gallery.
'Yes, yes, directly,' replied Mr. Winkle. 'Good-night!'
'Good-night,' said Mr. Pickwick.
There was another good-night, and another, and half a dozen
more after that, and still Mr. Winkle had fast hold of his friend's
hand, and was looking into his face with the same strange expression.
'Is anything the matter?' said Mr. Pickwick at last, when his
arm was quite sore with shaking.
'Nothing,' said Mr. Winkle.
'Well then, good-night,' said Mr. Pickwick, attempting to
disengage his hand.
'My friend, my benefactor, my honoured companion,' murmured
Mr. Winkle, catching at his wrist. 'Do not judge me
harshly; do not, when you hear that, driven to extremity by
hopeless obstacles, I--'
'Now then,' said Mr. Tupman, reappearing at the door. 'Are
you coming, or are we to be locked in?'
'Yes, yes, I am ready,' replied Mr. Winkle. And with a violent
effort he tore himself away.
As Mr. Pickwick was gazing down the passage after them in
silent astonishment, Sam Weller appeared at the stair-head, and
whispered for one moment in Mr. Winkle's ear.
'Oh, certainly, depend upon me,' said that gentleman aloud.
'Thank'ee, sir. You won't forget, sir?' said Sam.
'Of course not,' replied Mr. Winkle.
'Wish you luck, Sir,' said Sam, touching his hat. 'I should very
much liked to ha' joined you, Sir; but the gov'nor, o' course,
'It is very much to your credit that you remain here,'
said Mr. Winkle. With these words they disappeared down the stairs.
,Very extraordinary,' said Mr. Pickwick, going back into his
room, and seating himself at the table in a musing attitude.
'What can that young man be going to do?'
He had sat ruminating about the matter for some time, when
the voice of Roker, the turnkey, demanded whether he might
'By all means,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I've brought you a softer pillow, Sir,' said Mr. Roker, 'instead
of the temporary one you had last night.'
'Thank you,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Will you take a glass of wine?'
'You're wery good, Sir,' replied Mr. Roker, accepting the
proffered glass. 'Yours, sir.'
'Thank you,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I'm sorry to say that your landlord's wery bad to-night, Sir,'
said Roker, setting down the glass, and inspecting the lining of
his hat preparatory to putting it on again.
'What! The Chancery prisoner!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'He won't be a Chancery prisoner wery long, Sir,' replied
Roker, turning his hat round, so as to get the maker's name
right side upwards, as he looked into it.
'You make my blood run cold,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'What do
'He's been consumptive for a long time past,' said Mr. Roker,
'and he's taken wery bad in the breath to-night. The doctor said,
six months ago, that nothing but change of air could save him.'
'Great Heaven!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick; 'has this man been
slowly murdered by the law for six months?'
'I don't know about that,' replied Roker, weighing the hat by
the brim in both hands. 'I suppose he'd have been took the same,
wherever he was. He went into the infirmary, this morning; the
doctor says his strength is to be kept up as much as possible; and
the warden's sent him wine and broth and that, from his own
house. It's not the warden's fault, you know, sir.'
'Of course not,' replied Mr. Pickwick hastily.
'I'm afraid, however,' said Roker, shaking his head, 'that it's
all up with him. I offered Neddy two six-penn'orths to one upon
it just now, but he wouldn't take it, and quite right. Thank'ee, Sir.
'Stay,' said Mr. Pickwick earnestly. 'Where is this infirmary?'
'Just over where you slept, sir,' replied Roker. 'I'll show you, if
you like to come.' Mr. Pickwick snatched up his hat without
speaking, and followed at once.
The turnkey led the way in silence; and gently raising the
latch of the room door, motioned Mr. Pickwick to enter. It was
a large, bare, desolate room, with a number of stump bedsteads
made of iron, on one of which lay stretched the shadow of a man
--wan, pale, and ghastly. His breathing was hard and thick, and
he moaned painfully as it came and went. At the bedside sat a
short old man in a cobbler's apron, who, by the aid of a pair of
horn spectacles, was reading from the Bible aloud. It was the
The sick man laid his hand upon his attendant's arm, and
motioned him to stop. He closed the book, and laid it on the bed.
'Open the window,' said the sick man.
He did so. The noise of carriages and carts, the rattle of
wheels, the cries of men and boys, all the busy sounds of a mighty
multitude instinct with life and occupation, blended into one
deep murmur, floated into the room. Above the hoarse loud
hum, arose, from time to time, a boisterous laugh; or a scrap of
some jingling song, shouted forth, by one of the giddy crowd,
would strike upon the ear, for an instant, and then be lost amidst
the roar of voices and the tramp of footsteps; the breaking of the
billows of the restless sea of life, that rolled heavily on, without.
These are melancholy sounds to a quiet listener at any time; but
how melancholy to the watcher by the bed of death!
'There is no air here,' said the man faintly. 'The place pollutes
it. It was fresh round about, when I walked there, years ago; but
it grows hot and heavy in passing these walls. I cannot breathe it.'
'We have breathed it together, for a long time,' said the old
man. 'Come, come.'
There was a short silence, during which the two spectators
approached the bed. The sick man drew a hand of his old fellow-
prisoner towards him, and pressing it affectionately between both
his own, retained it in his grasp.
'I hope,' he gasped after a while, so faintly that they bent their
ears close over the bed to catch the half-formed sounds his pale
lips gave vent to--'I hope my merciful Judge will bear in mind
my heavy punishment on earth. Twenty years, my friend, twenty
years in this hideous grave! My heart broke when my child died,
and I could not even kiss him in his little coffin. My loneliness
since then, in all this noise and riot, has been very dreadful. May
God forgive me! He has seen my solitary, lingering death.'
He folded his hands, and murmuring something more they
could not hear, fell into a sleep--only a sleep at first, for they saw
They whispered together for a little time, and the turnkey,
stooping over the pillow, drew hastily back. 'He has got his
discharge, by G--!' said the man.
He had. But he had grown so like death in life, that they knew
not when he died.
DESCRIPTIVE OF AN AFFECTING INTERVIEW BETWEEN Mr.
SAMUEL WELLER AND A FAMILY PARTY. Mr. PICKWICK
MAKES A TOUR OF THE DIMINUTIVE WORLD HE
INHABITS, AND RESOLVES TO MIX WITH IT, IN FUTURE,
AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
A few mornings after his incarceration, Mr. Samuel Weller,
having arranged his master's room with all possible care, and
seen him comfortably seated over his books and papers, withdrew
to employ himself for an hour or two to come, as he best could.
It was a fine morning, and it occurred to Sam that a pint of
porter in the open air would lighten his next quarter of an hour
or so, as well as any little amusement in which he could indulge.
Having arrived at this conclusion, he betook himself to the
tap. Having purchased the beer, and obtained, moreover, the
day-but-one-before-yesterday's paper, he repaired to the skittle-
ground, and seating himself on a bench, proceeded to enjoy
himself in a very sedate and methodical manner.
First of all, he took a refreshing draught of the beer, and then
he looked up at a window, and bestowed a platonic wink on a
young lady who was peeling potatoes thereat. Then he opened
the paper, and folded it so as to get the police reports outwards;
and this being a vexatious and difficult thing to do, when there is
any wind stirring, he took another draught of the beer when he
had accomplished it. Then, he read two lines of the paper, and
stopped short to look at a couple of men who were finishing a
game at rackets, which, being concluded, he cried out 'wery
good,' in an approving manner, and looked round upon the
spectators, to ascertain whether their sentiments coincided with
his own. This involved the necessity of looking up at the windows
also; and as the young lady was still there, it was an act of
common politeness to wink again, and to drink to her good
health in dumb show, in another draught of the beer, which Sam
did; and having frowned hideously upon a small boy who had
noted this latter proceeding with open eyes, he threw one leg over
the other, and, holding the newspaper in both hands, began to
read in real earnest.
He had hardly composed himself into the needful state of
abstraction, when he thought he heard his own name proclaimed
in some distant passage. Nor was he mistaken, for it quickly
passed from mouth to mouth, and in a few seconds the air
teemed with shouts of 'Weller!'
'Here!' roared Sam, in a stentorian voice. 'Wot's the matter?
Who wants him? Has an express come to say that his country
house is afire?'
'Somebody wants you in the hall,' said a man who was standing by.
'Just mind that 'ere paper and the pot, old feller, will you?'
said Sam. 'I'm a-comin'. Blessed, if they was a-callin' me to the
bar, they couldn't make more noise about it!'
Accompanying these words with a gentle rap on the head of the young
gentleman before noticed, who, unconscious of his close vicinity to
the person in request, was screaming 'Weller!' with all his might,
Sam hastened across the ground, and ran up the steps into the hall.
Here, the first object that met his eyes was his beloved father sitting
on a bottom stair, with his hat in his hand, shouting out 'Weller!' in
his very loudest tone, at half-minute intervals.
'Wot are you a-roarin' at?' said Sam impetuously, when the old
gentleman had discharged himself of another shout; 'making
yourself so precious hot that you looks like a aggrawated glass-
blower. Wot's the matter?'
'Aha!' replied the old gentleman, 'I began to be afeerd that
you'd gone for a walk round the Regency Park, Sammy.'
'Come,' said Sam, 'none o' them taunts agin the wictim o'
avarice, and come off that 'ere step. Wot arc you a-settin' down
there for? I don't live there.'
'I've got such a game for you, Sammy,' said the elder Mr.
'Stop a minit,' said Sam, 'you're all vite behind.'
'That's right, Sammy, rub it off,' said Mr. Weller, as his son
dusted him. 'It might look personal here, if a man walked about
with vitevash on his clothes, eh, Sammy?'
As Mr. Weller exhibited in this place unequivocal symptoms
of an approaching fit of chuckling, Sam interposed to stop it.
'Keep quiet, do,' said Sam, 'there never vos such a old picter-
card born. Wot are you bustin' vith, now?'
'Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, wiping his forehead, 'I'm afeerd
that vun o' these days I shall laugh myself into a appleplexy, my boy.'
'Vell, then, wot do you do it for?' said Sam. 'Now, then, wot
have you got to say?'
'Who do you think's come here with me, Samivel?' said Mr.
Weller, drawing back a pace or two, pursing up his mouth, and
extending his eyebrows.
'Pell?' said Sam.
Mr. Weller shook his head, and his red cheeks expanded with
the laughter that was endeavouring to find a vent.
'Mottled-faced man, p'raps?' asked Sam.
Again Mr. Weller shook his head.
'Who then?'asked Sam.
'Your mother-in-law,' said Mr. Weller; and it was lucky he did
say it, or his cheeks must inevitably have cracked, from their
most unnatural distension.
'Your mother--in--law, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, 'and the
red-nosed man, my boy; and the red-nosed man. Ho! ho! ho!'
With this, Mr. Weller launched into convulsions of laughter,
while Sam regarded him with a broad grin gradually over-
spreading his whole countenance.
'They've come to have a little serious talk with you, Samivel,'
said Mr. Weller, wiping his eyes. 'Don't let out nothin' about the
unnat'ral creditor, Sammy.'
'Wot, don't they know who it is?' inquired Sam.
'Not a bit on it,' replied his father.
'Vere are they?' said Sam, reciprocating all the old gentleman's grins.
'In the snuggery,' rejoined Mr. Weller. 'Catch the red-nosed
man a-goin' anyvere but vere the liquors is; not he, Samivel, not
he. Ve'd a wery pleasant ride along the road from the Markis
this mornin', Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, when he felt himself
equal to the task of speaking in an articulate manner. 'I drove the
old piebald in that 'ere little shay-cart as belonged to your
mother-in-law's first wenter, into vich a harm-cheer wos lifted
for the shepherd; and I'm blessed,' said Mr. Weller, with a look
of deep scorn--'I'm blessed if they didn't bring a portable flight
o' steps out into the road a-front o' our door for him, to get up by.'
'You don't mean that?' said Sam.
'I do mean that, Sammy,' replied his father, 'and I vish you
could ha' seen how tight he held on by the sides wen he did get
up, as if he wos afeerd o' being precipitayted down full six foot, and
dashed into a million hatoms. He tumbled in at last, however, and avay
ve vent; and I rayther think--I say I rayther think, Samivel--that he
found his-self a little jolted ven ve turned the corners.'
'Wot, I s'pose you happened to drive up agin a post or two?'
'I'm afeerd,' replied Mr. Weller, in a rapture of winks--'I'm
afeerd I took vun or two on 'em, Sammy; he wos a-flyin' out o'
the arm-cheer all the way.'
Here the old gentleman shook his head from side to side, and
was seized with a hoarse internal rumbling, accompanied with a
violent swelling of the countenance, and a sudden increase in the
breadth of all his features; symptoms which alarmed his son
not a little.
'Don't be frightened, Sammy, don't be frightened,' said the
old gentleman, when by dint of much struggling, and various
convulsive stamps upon the ground, he had recovered his
voice. 'It's only a kind o' quiet laugh as I'm a-tryin' to come, Sammy.'
'Well, if that's wot it is,' said Sam, 'you'd better not try to
come it agin. You'll find it rayther a dangerous inwention.'
'Don't you like it, Sammy?' inquired the old gentleman.
'Not at all,' replied Sam.
'Well,' said Mr. Weller, with the tears still running down his
cheeks, 'it 'ud ha' been a wery great accommodation to me if I
could ha' done it, and 'ud ha' saved a good many vords atween
your mother-in-law and me, sometimes; but I'm afeerd you're
right, Sammy, it's too much in the appleplexy line--a deal too
This conversation brought them to the door of the snuggery,
into which Sam--pausing for an instant to look over his shoulder,
and cast a sly leer at his respected progenitor, who was still
giggling behind--at once led the way.
'Mother-in-law,' said Sam, politely saluting the lady, 'wery
much obliged to you for this here wisit.--Shepherd, how air you?'
'Oh, Samuel!' said Mrs. Weller. 'This is dreadful.'
'Not a bit on it, mum,' replied Sam.--'Is it, shepherd?'
Mr. Stiggins raised his hands, and turned up his eyes, until the
whites--or rather the yellows--were alone visible; but made no
reply in words.
'Is this here gen'l'm'n troubled with any painful complaint?'
said Sam, looking to his mother-in-law for explanation.
'The good man is grieved to see you here, Samuel,' replied
'Oh, that's it, is it?' said Sam. 'I was afeerd, from his manner,
that he might ha' forgotten to take pepper vith that 'ere last
cowcumber he eat. Set down, Sir, ve make no extra charge for
settin' down, as the king remarked wen he blowed up his ministers.'
'Young man,' said Mr. Stiggins ostentatiously, 'I fear you are
not softened by imprisonment.'
'Beg your pardon, Sir,' replied Sam; 'wot wos you graciously
pleased to hobserve?'
'I apprehend, young man, that your nature is no softer for this
chastening,' said Mr. Stiggins, in a loud voice.
'Sir,' replied Sam, 'you're wery kind to say so. I hope my
natur is NOT a soft vun, Sir. Wery much obliged to you for your
good opinion, Sir.'
At this point of the conversation, a sound, indecorously
approaching to a laugh, was heard to proceed from the chair
in which the elder Mr. Weller was seated; upon which Mrs.
Weller, on a hasty consideration of all the circumstances of the
case, considered it her bounden duty to become gradually hysterical.
'Weller,' said Mrs. W. (the old gentleman was seated in a
corner); 'Weller! Come forth.'
'Wery much obleeged to you, my dear,' replied Mr. Weller;
'but I'm quite comfortable vere I am.'
Upon this, Mrs. Weller burst into tears.
'Wot's gone wrong, mum?' said Sam.
'Oh, Samuel!' replied Mrs. Weller, 'your father makes me
wretched. Will nothing do him good?'
'Do you hear this here?' said Sam. 'Lady vants to know vether
nothin' 'ull do you good.'
'Wery much indebted to Mrs. Weller for her po-lite inquiries,
Sammy,' replied the old gentleman. 'I think a pipe vould benefit
me a good deal. Could I be accommodated, Sammy?'
Here Mrs. Weller let fall some more tears, and Mr. Stiggins groaned.
'Hollo! Here's this unfortunate gen'l'm'n took ill agin,' said
Sam, looking round. 'Vere do you feel it now, sir?'
'In the same place, young man,' rejoined Mr. Stiggins, 'in the
'Vere may that be, Sir?' inquired Sam, with great outward simplicity.
'In the buzzim, young man,' replied Mr. Stiggins, placing his
umbrella on his waistcoat.
At this affecting reply, Mrs. Weller, being wholly unable to
suppress her feelings, sobbed aloud, and stated her conviction
that the red-nosed man was a saint; whereupon Mr. Weller,
senior, ventured to suggest, in an undertone, that he must be the
representative of the united parishes of St. Simon Without and
St. Walker Within.
'I'm afeered, mum,' said Sam, 'that this here gen'l'm'n, with
the twist in his countenance, feels rather thirsty, with the
melancholy spectacle afore him. Is it the case, mum?'
The worthy lady looked at Mr. Stiggins for a reply; that
gentleman, with many rollings of the eye, clenched his throat
with his right hand, and mimicked the act of swallowing, to
intimate that he was athirst.
'I am afraid, Samuel, that his feelings have made him so
indeed,' said Mrs. Weller mournfully.
'Wot's your usual tap, sir?' replied Sam.
'Oh, my dear young friend,' replied Mr. Stiggins, 'all taps
'Too true, too true, indeed,' said Mrs. Weller, murmuring a
groan, and shaking her head assentingly.
'Well,' said Sam, 'I des-say they may be, sir; but wich is your
partickler wanity? Wich wanity do you like the flavour on
'Oh, my dear young friend,' replied Mr. Stiggins, 'I despise
them all. If,' said Mr. Stiggins--'if there is any one of them less
odious than another, it is the liquor called rum. Warm, my dear
young friend, with three lumps of sugar to the tumbler.'
'Wery sorry to say, sir,' said Sam, 'that they don't allow that
particular wanity to be sold in this here establishment.'
'Oh, the hardness of heart of these inveterate men!' ejaculated
Mr. Stiggins. 'Oh, the accursed cruelty of these inhuman persecutors!'
With these words, Mr. Stiggins again cast up his eyes, and
rapped his breast with his umbrella; and it is but justice to the
reverend gentleman to say, that his indignation appeared very
real and unfeigned indeed.
After Mrs. Weller and the red-nosed gentleman had commented
on this inhuman usage in a very forcible manner, and
had vented a variety of pious and holy execrations against its
authors, the latter recommended a bottle of port wine, warmed
with a little water, spice, and sugar, as being grateful to the
stomach, and savouring less of vanity than many other compounds.
It was accordingly ordered to be prepared, and pending
its preparation the red-nosed man and Mrs. Weller looked at the
elder W. and groaned.
'Well, Sammy,' said the gentleman, 'I hope you'll find your
spirits rose by this here lively wisit. Wery cheerful and improvin'
conwersation, ain't it, Sammy?'
'You're a reprobate,' replied Sam; 'and I desire you won't
address no more o' them ungraceful remarks to me.'
So far from being edified by this very proper reply, the elder
Mr. Weller at once relapsed into a broad grin; and this inexorable
conduct causing the lady and Mr. Stiggins to close their eyes, and
rock themselves to and fro on their chairs, in a troubled manner,
he furthermore indulged in several acts of pantomime, indicative
of a desire to pummel and wring the nose of the aforesaid
Stiggins, the performance of which, appeared to afford him great
mental relief. The old gentleman very narrowly escaped detection
in one instance; for Mr. Stiggins happening to give a start on the
arrival of the negus, brought his head in smart contact with the
clenched fist with which Mr. Weller had been describing imaginary
fireworks in the air, within two inches of his ear, for some minutes.
'Wot are you a-reachin' out, your hand for the tumbler in that
'ere sawage way for?' said Sam, with great promptitude. 'Don't
you see you've hit the gen'l'm'n?'
'I didn't go to do it, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, in some degree
abashed by the very unexpected occurrence of the incident.
'Try an in'ard application, sir,' said Sam, as the red-nosed
gentleman rubbed his head with a rueful visage. 'Wot do you
think o' that, for a go o' wanity, warm, Sir?'
Mr. Stiggins made no verbal answer, but his manner was
expressive. He tasted the contents of the glass which Sam had
placed in his hand, put his umbrella on the floor, and tasted it
again, passing his hand placidly across his stomach twice or
thrice; he then drank the whole at a breath, and smacking his
lips, held out the tumbler for more.
Nor was Mrs. Weller behind-hand in doing justice to the
composition. The good lady began by protesting that she couldn't
touch a drop--then took a small drop--then a large drop--
then a great many drops; and her feelings being of the nature
of those substances which are powerfully affected by the application
of strong waters, she dropped a tear with every drop
of negus, and so got on, melting the feelings down, until at
length she had arrived at a very pathetic and decent pitch of misery.
The elder Mr. Weller observed these signs and tokens with
many manifestations of disgust, and when, after a second jug of
the same, Mr. Stiggins began to sigh in a dismal manner, he
plainly evinced his disapprobation of the whole proceedings, by
sundry incoherent ramblings of speech, among which frequent
angry repetitions of the word 'gammon' were alone distinguishable
to the ear.
'I'll tell you wot it is, Samivel, my boy,' whispered the old
gentleman into his son's ear, after a long and steadfast
contemplation of his lady and Mr. Stiggins; 'I think there must be
somethin' wrong in your mother-in-law's inside, as vell as in that
o' the red-nosed man.'
'Wot do you mean?' said Sam.
'I mean this here, Sammy,' replied the old gentleman, 'that
wot they drink, don't seem no nourishment to 'em; it all turns to
warm water, and comes a-pourin' out o' their eyes. 'Pend upon
it, Sammy, it's a constitootional infirmity.'
Mr. Weller delivered this scientific opinion with many
confirmatory frowns and nods; which, Mrs. Weller remarking, and
concluding that they bore some disparaging reference either to
herself or to Mr. Stiggins, or to both, was on the point of
becoming infinitely worse, when Mr. Stiggins, getting on his legs
as well as he could, proceeded to deliver an edifying discourse for
the benefit of the company, but more especially of Mr. Samuel,
whom he adjured in moving terms to be upon his guard in that
sink of iniquity into which he was cast; to abstain from all
hypocrisy and pride of heart; and to take in all things exact
pattern and copy by him (Stiggins), in which case he might
calculate on arriving, sooner or later at the comfortable
conclusion, that, like him, he was a most estimable and blameless
character, and that all his acquaintances and friends were hopelessly
abandoned and profligate wretches. Which consideration,
he said, could not but afford him the liveliest satisfaction.
He furthermore conjured him to avoid, above all things, the
vice of intoxication, which he likened unto the filthy habits of
swine, and to those poisonous and baleful drugs which being
chewed in the mouth, are said to filch away the memory. At this
point of his discourse, the reverend and red-nosed gentleman
became singularly incoherent, and staggering to and fro in the
excitement of his eloquence, was fain to catch at the back of a
chair to preserve his perpendicular.
Mr. Stiggins did not desire his hearers to be upon their guard
against those false prophets and wretched mockers of religion,
who, without sense to expound its first doctrines, or hearts to feel
its first principles, are more dangerous members of society than
the common criminal; imposing, as they necessarily do, upon the
weakest and worst informed, casting scorn and contempt on
what should be held most sacred, and bringing into partial
disrepute large bodies of virtuous and well-conducted persons of
many excellent sects and persuasions. But as he leaned over the
back of the chair for a considerable time, and closing one eye,
winked a good deal with the other, it is presumed that he thought
all this, but kept it to himself.
During the delivery of the oration, Mrs. Weller sobbed and
wept at the end of the paragraphs; while Sam, sitting cross-
legged on a chair and resting his arms on the top rail, regarded
the speaker with great suavity and blandness of demeanour;
occasionally bestowing a look of recognition on the old gentleman,
who was delighted at the beginning, and went to sleep
'Brayvo; wery pretty!' said Sam, when the red-nosed man
having finished, pulled his worn gloves on, thereby thrusting his
fingers through the broken tops till the knuckles were disclosed
to view. 'Wery pretty.'
'I hope it may do you good, Samuel,' said Mrs. Weller solemnly.
'I think it vill, mum,' replied Sam.
'I wish I could hope that it would do your father good,' said
'Thank'ee, my dear,' said Mr. Weller, senior. 'How do you find
yourself arter it, my love?'
'Scoffer!' exclaimed Mrs. Weller.
'Benighted man!' said the Reverend Mr. Stiggins.
'If I don't get no better light than that 'ere moonshine o'
yourn, my worthy creetur,' said the elder Mr. Weller, 'it's wery
likely as I shall continey to be a night coach till I'm took off the
road altogether. Now, Mrs. We, if the piebald stands at livery
much longer, he'll stand at nothin' as we go back, and p'raps
that 'ere harm-cheer 'ull be tipped over into some hedge or
another, with the shepherd in it.'
At this supposition, the Reverend Mr. Stiggins, in evident
consternation, gathered up his hat and umbrella, and proposed
an immediate departure, to which Mrs. Weller assented. Sam
walked with them to the lodge gate, and took a dutiful leave.
'A-do, Samivel,' said the old gentleman.
'Wot's a-do?' inquired Sammy.
'Well, good-bye, then,' said the old gentleman.
'Oh, that's wot you're aimin' at, is it?' said Sam. 'Good-bye!'
'Sammy,' whispered Mr. Weller, looking cautiously round;
'my duty to your gov'nor, and tell him if he thinks better o' this
here bis'ness, to com-moonicate vith me. Me and a cab'net-
maker has dewised a plan for gettin' him out. A pianner, Samivel
--a pianner!' said Mr. Weller, striking his son on the chest with
the back of his hand, and falling back a step or two.
'Wot do you mean?' said Sam.
'A pianner-forty, Samivel,' rejoined Mr. Weller, in a still more
mysterious manner, 'as he can have on hire; vun as von't play, Sammy.'
'And wot 'ud be the good o' that?' said Sam.
'Let him send to my friend, the cabinet-maker, to fetch it back,
Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Are you avake, now?'
'No,' rejoined Sam.
'There ain't no vurks in it,' whispered his father. 'It 'ull hold
him easy, vith his hat and shoes on, and breathe through the legs,
vich his holler. Have a passage ready taken for 'Merriker. The
'Merrikin gov'ment will never give him up, ven vunce they find
as he's got money to spend, Sammy. Let the gov'nor stop there,
till Mrs. Bardell's dead, or Mr. Dodson and Fogg's hung (wich
last ewent I think is the most likely to happen first, Sammy),
and then let him come back and write a book about the
'Merrikins as'll pay all his expenses and more, if he blows 'em
Mr. Weller delivered this hurried abstract of his plot with
great vehemence of whisper; and then, as if fearful of weakening
the effect of the tremendous communication by any further
dialogue, he gave the coachman's salute, and vanished.
Sam had scarcely recovered his usual composure of countenance,
which had been greatly disturbed by the secret communication
of his respected relative, when Mr. Pickwick accosted him.
'Sam,' said that gentleman.
'Sir,' replied Mr. Weller.
'I am going for a walk round the prison, and I wish you to
attend me. I see a prisoner we know coming this way, Sam,' said
Mr. Pickwick, smiling.
'Wich, Sir?' inquired Mr. Weller; 'the gen'l'm'n vith the head
o' hair, or the interestin' captive in the stockin's?'
'Neither,' rejoined Mr. Pickwick. 'He is an older friend of
'O' mine, Sir?' exclaimed Mr. Weller.
'You recollect the gentleman very well, I dare say, Sam,'
replied Mr. Pickwick, 'or else you are more unmindful of your
old acquaintances than I think you are. Hush! not a word, Sam;
not a syllable. Here he is.'
As Mr. Pickwick spoke, Jingle walked up. He looked less
miserable than before, being clad in a half-worn suit of clothes,
which, with Mr. Pickwick's assistance, had been released
from the pawnbroker's. He wore clean linen too, and had had
his hair cut. He was very pale and thin, however; and as he
crept slowly up, leaning on a stick, it was easy to see that he
had suffered severely from illness and want, and was still very
weak. He took off his hat as Mr. Pickwick saluted him,
and seemed much humbled and abashed at the sight of Sam Weller.
Following close at his heels, came Mr. Job Trotter, in the
catalogue of whose vices, want of faith and attachment to his
companion could at all events find no place. He was still ragged
and squalid, but his face was not quite so hollow as on his first
meeting with Mr. Pickwick, a few days before. As he took off his
hat to our benevolent old friend, he murmured some broken
expressions of gratitude, and muttered something about having
been saved from starving.
'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, impatiently interrupting him,
'you can follow with Sam. I want to speak to you, Mr. Jingle.
Can you walk without his arm?'
'Certainly, sir--all ready--not too fast--legs shaky--head
queer--round and round--earthquaky sort of feeling--very.'
'Here, give me your arm,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'No, no,' replied Jingle; 'won't indeed--rather not.'
'Nonsense,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'lean upon me, I desire, Sir.'
Seeing that he was confused and agitated, and uncertain what
to do, Mr. Pickwick cut the matter short by drawing the invalided
stroller's arm through his, and leading him away, without saying
another word about it.
During the whole of this time the countenance of Mr. Samuel
Weller had exhibited an expression of the most overwhelming
and absorbing astonishment that the imagination can portray.
After looking from Job to Jingle, and from Jingle to Job in
profound silence, he softly ejaculated the words, 'Well, I AM
damn'd!' which he repeated at least a score of times; after which
exertion, he appeared wholly bereft of speech, and again cast his
eyes, first upon the one and then upon the other, in mute
perplexity and bewilderment.
'Now, Sam!' said Mr. Pickwick, looking back.
'I'm a-comin', sir,' replied Mr. Weller, mechanically following
his master; and still he lifted not his eyes from Mr. Job Trotter,
who walked at his side in silence.
Job kept his eyes fixed on the ground for some time. Sam, with
his glued to Job's countenance, ran up against the people who
were walking about, and fell over little children, and stumbled
against steps and railings, without appearing at all sensible of it,
until Job, looking stealthily up, said--
'How do you do, Mr. Weller?'
'It IS him!' exclaimed Sam; and having established Job's
identity beyond all doubt, he smote his leg, and vented his
feelings in a long, shrill whistle.
'Things has altered with me, sir,' said Job.
'I should think they had,' exclaimed Mr. Weller, surveying his
companion's rags with undisguised wonder. 'This is rayther a
change for the worse, Mr. Trotter, as the gen'l'm'n said, wen he
got two doubtful shillin's and sixpenn'orth o' pocket-pieces for a
'It is indeed,' replied Job, shaking his head. 'There is no
deception now, Mr. Weller. Tears,' said Job, with a look of
momentary slyness--'tears are not the only proofs of distress,
nor the best ones.'
'No, they ain't,' replied Sam expressively.
'They may be put on, Mr. Weller,' said Job.
'I know they may,' said Sam; 'some people, indeed, has 'em
always ready laid on, and can pull out the plug wenever they likes.'
'Yes,' replied Job; 'but these sort of things are not so easily
counterfeited, Mr. Weller, and it is a more painful process to get
them up.' As he spoke, he pointed to his sallow, sunken cheeks,
and, drawing up his coat sleeve, disclosed an arm which looked
as if the bone could be broken at a touch, so sharp and brittle did
it appear, beneath its thin covering of flesh.
'Wot have you been a-doin' to yourself?' said Sam, recoiling.
'Nothing,' replied Job.
'Nothin'!' echoed Sam.
'I have been doin' nothing for many weeks past,' said Job;
and eating and drinking almost as little.'
Sam took one comprehensive glance at Mr. Trotter's thin face
and wretched apparel; and then, seizing him by the arm,
commenced dragging him away with great violence.
'Where are you going, Mr. Weller?' said Job, vainly struggling
in the powerful grasp of his old enemy.
'Come on,' said Sam; 'come on!' He deigned no further
explanation till they reached the tap, and then called for a pot of
porter, which was speedily produced.
'Now,' said Sam, 'drink that up, ev'ry drop on it, and then
turn the pot upside down, to let me see as you've took the medicine.'
'But, my dear Mr. Weller,' remonstrated Job.
'Down vith it!' said Sam peremptorily.
Thus admonished, Mr. Trotter raised the pot to his lips, and,
by gentle and almost imperceptible degrees, tilted it into the air.
He paused once, and only once, to draw a long breath, but
without raising his face from the vessel, which, in a few moments
thereafter, he held out at arm's length, bottom upward. Nothing
fell upon the ground but a few particles of froth, which slowly
detached themselves from the rim, and trickled lazily down.
'Well done!' said Sam. 'How do you find yourself arter it?'
'Better, Sir. I think I am better,' responded Job.
'O' course you air,' said Sam argumentatively. 'It's like puttin'
gas in a balloon. I can see with the naked eye that you gets
stouter under the operation. Wot do you say to another o' the
'I would rather not, I am much obliged to you, Sir,' replied
Job--'much rather not.'
'Vell, then, wot do you say to some wittles?' inquired Sam.
'Thanks to your worthy governor, Sir,' said Mr. Trotter, 'we
have half a leg of mutton, baked, at a quarter before three, with
the potatoes under it to save boiling.'
'Wot! Has HE been a-purwidin' for you?' asked Sam emphatically.
'He has, Sir,' replied Job. 'More than that, Mr. Weller; my
master being very ill, he got us a room--we were in a kennel
before--and paid for it, Sir; and come to look at us, at night,
when nobody should know. Mr. Weller,' said Job, with real tears
in his eyes, for once, 'I could serve that gentleman till I fell down
dead at his feet.'
'I say!' said Sam, 'I'll trouble you, my friend! None o' that!'
Job Trotter looked amazed.
'None o' that, I say, young feller,' repeated Sam firmly. 'No
man serves him but me. And now we're upon it, I'll let you into
another secret besides that,' said Sam, as he paid for the beer.
'I never heerd, mind you, or read of in story-books, nor see in
picters, any angel in tights and gaiters--not even in spectacles, as
I remember, though that may ha' been done for anythin' I know
to the contrairey--but mark my vords, Job Trotter, he's a reg'lar
thoroughbred angel for all that; and let me see the man as
wenturs to tell me he knows a better vun.' With this defiance,
Mr. Weller buttoned up his change in a side pocket, and, with
many confirmatory nods and gestures by the way, proceeded in
search of the subject of discourse.
They found Mr. Pickwick, in company with Jingle, talking very
earnestly, and not bestowing a look on the groups who were
congregated on the racket-ground; they were very motley groups
too, and worth the looking at, if it were only in idle curiosity.
'Well,' said Mr. Pickwick, as Sam and his companion drew
nigh, 'you will see how your health becomes, and think about it
meanwhile. Make the statement out for me when you feel yourself
equal to the task, and I will discuss the subject with you when
I have considered it. Now, go to your room. You are tired, and
not strong enough to be out long.'
Mr. Alfred Jingle, without one spark of his old animation--
with nothing even of the dismal gaiety which he had assumed
when Mr. Pickwick first stumbled on him in his misery--bowed
low without speaking, and, motioning to Job not to follow him
just yet, crept slowly away.
'Curious scene this, is it not, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick, looking
'Wery much so, Sir,' replied Sam. 'Wonders 'ull never cease,'
added Sam, speaking to himself. 'I'm wery much mistaken if that
,ere Jingle worn't a-doin somethin' in the water-cart way!'
The area formed by the wall in that part of the Fleet in which
Mr. Pickwick stood was just wide enough to make a good
racket-court; one side being formed, of course, by the wall itself,
and the other by that portion of the prison which looked (or
rather would have looked, but for the wall) towards St. Paul's
Cathedral. Sauntering or sitting about, in every possible attitude
of listless idleness, were a great number of debtors, the major
part of whom were waiting in prison until their day of 'going up'
before the Insolvent Court should arrive; while others had been
remanded for various terms, which they were idling away as they
best could. Some were shabby, some were smart, many dirty, a
few clean; but there they all lounged, and loitered, and slunk
about with as little spirit or purpose as the beasts in a menagerie.
Lolling from the windows which commanded a view of this
promenade were a number of persons, some in noisy conversation
with their acquaintance below, others playing at ball with some
adventurous throwers outside, others looking on at the racket-
players, or watching the boys as they cried the game. Dirty,
slipshod women passed and repassed, on their way to the cooking-
house in one corner of the yard; children screamed, and fought,
and played together, in another; the tumbling of the skittles, and
the shouts of the players, mingled perpetually with these and a
hundred other sounds; and all was noise and tumult--save in a
little miserable shed a few yards off, where lay, all quiet and
ghastly, the body of the Chancery prisoner who had died the
night before, awaiting the mockery of an inquest. The body! It is
the lawyer's term for the restless, whirling mass of cares and
anxieties, affections, hopes, and griefs, that make up the living
man. The law had his body; and there it lay, clothed in grave-
clothes, an awful witness to its tender mercy.
'Would you like to see a whistling-shop, Sir?' inquired Job Trotter.
'What do you mean?' was Mr. Pickwick's counter inquiry.
'A vistlin' shop, Sir,' interposed Mr. Weller.
'What is that, Sam?--A bird-fancier's?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Bless your heart, no, Sir,' replied Job; 'a whistling-shop, Sir, is
where they sell spirits.' Mr. Job Trotter briefly explained here,
that all persons, being prohibited under heavy penalties from
conveying spirits into debtors' prisons, and such commodities
being highly prized by the ladies and gentlemen confined therein,
it had occurred to some speculative turnkey to connive, for
certain lucrative considerations, at two or three prisoners retailing
the favourite article of gin, for their own profit and advantage.
'This plan, you see, Sir, has been gradually introduced into all
the prisons for debt,' said Mr. Trotter.
'And it has this wery great advantage,' said Sam, 'that the
turnkeys takes wery good care to seize hold o' ev'rybody but
them as pays 'em, that attempts the willainy, and wen it gets in
the papers they're applauded for their wigilance; so it cuts two
ways--frightens other people from the trade, and elewates their
'Exactly so, Mr. Weller,' observed Job.
'Well, but are these rooms never searched to ascertain whether
any spirits are concealed in them?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Cert'nly they are, Sir,' replied Sam; 'but the turnkeys knows
beforehand, and gives the word to the wistlers, and you may
wistle for it wen you go to look.'
By this time, Job had tapped at a door, which was opened by a
gentleman with an uncombed head, who bolted it after them
when they had walked in, and grinned; upon which Job grinned,
and Sam also; whereupon Mr. Pickwick, thinking it might be
expected of him, kept on smiling to the end of the interview.
The gentleman with the uncombed head appeared quite
satisfied with this mute announcement of their business, and,
producing a flat stone bottle, which might hold about a couple
of quarts, from beneath his bedstead, filled out three glasses of
gin, which Job Trotter and Sam disposed of in a most
'Any more?' said the whistling gentleman.
'No more,' replied Job Trotter.
Mr. Pickwick paid, the door was unbolted, and out they came;
the uncombed gentleman bestowing a friendly nod upon Mr.
Roker, who happened to be passing at the moment.
From this spot, Mr. Pickwick wandered along all the galleries,
up and down all the staircases, and once again round the whole
area of the yard. The great body of the prison population
appeared to be Mivins, and Smangle, and the parson, and the
butcher, and the leg, over and over, and over again. There were
the same squalor, the same turmoil and noise, the same general
characteristics, in every corner; in the best and the worst alike.
The whole place seemed restless and troubled; and the people
were crowding and flitting to and fro, like the shadows in an
'I have seen enough,' said Mr. Pickwick, as he threw himself
into a chair in his little apartment. 'My head aches with these
scenes, and my heart too. Henceforth I will be a prisoner in my
And Mr. Pickwick steadfastly adhered to this determination.
For three long months he remained shut up, all day; only
stealing out at night to breathe the air, when the greater part of his
fellow-prisoners were in bed or carousing in their rooms. His
health was beginning to suffer from the closeness of the confinement,
but neither the often-repeated entreaties of Perker and his
friends, nor the still more frequently-repeated warnings and
admonitions of Mr. Samuel Weller, could induce him to alter one
jot of his inflexible resolution.
RECORDS A TOUCHING ACT OF DELICATE FEELING, NOT
UNMIXED WITH PLEASANTRY, ACHIEVED AND PERFORMED
BY Messrs. DODSON AND FOGG
It was within a week of the close of the month of July, that a
hackney cabriolet, number unrecorded, was seen to proceed at a
rapid pace up Goswell Street; three people were squeezed into
it besides the driver, who sat in his own particular little
dickey at the side; over the apron were hung two shawls, belonging
to two small vixenish-looking ladies under the apron; between
whom, compressed into a very small compass, was stowed away, a
gentleman of heavy and subdued demeanour, who, whenever he
ventured to make an observation, was snapped up short by one of
the vixenish ladies before-mentioned. Lastly, the two vixenish
ladies and the heavy gentleman were giving the driver contradictory
directions, all tending to the one point, that he should stop at
Mrs. Bardell's door; which the heavy gentleman, in direct
opposition to, and defiance of, the vixenish ladies, contended
was a green door and not a yellow one.
'Stop at the house with a green door, driver,' said the heavy
'Oh! You perwerse creetur!' exclaimed one of the vixenish
ladies. 'Drive to the 'ouse with the yellow door, cabmin.'
Upon this the cabman, who in a sudden effort to pull up at the
house with the green door, had pulled the horse up so high that
he nearly pulled him backward into the cabriolet, let the animal's
fore-legs down to the ground again, and paused.
'Now vere am I to pull up?' inquired the driver. 'Settle it
among yourselves. All I ask is, vere?'
Here the contest was renewed with increased violence; and the
horse being troubled with a fly on his nose, the cabman humanely
employed his leisure in lashing him about on the head, on the
'Most wotes carries the day!' said one of the vixenish ladies at
length. 'The 'ouse with the yellow door, cabman.'
But after the cabriolet had dashed up, in splendid style, to the
house with the yellow door, 'making,' as one of the vixenish
ladies triumphantly said, 'acterrally more noise than if one had
come in one's own carriage,' and after the driver had dismounted
to assist the ladies in getting out, the small round head of Master
Thomas Bardell was thrust out of the one-pair window of a
house with a red door, a few numbers off.
'Aggrawatin' thing!' said the vixenish lady last-mentioned,
darting a withering glance at the heavy gentleman.
'My dear, it's not my fault,' said the gentleman.
'Don't talk to me, you creetur, don't,' retorted the lady. 'The
house with the red door, cabmin. Oh! If ever a woman was
troubled with a ruffinly creetur, that takes a pride and a pleasure
in disgracing his wife on every possible occasion afore strangers,
I am that woman!'
'You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Raddle,' said the other
little woman, who was no other than Mrs. Cluppins.
'What have I been a-doing of?' asked Mr. Raddle.
'Don't talk to me, don't, you brute, for fear I should be
perwoked to forgit my sect and strike you!' said Mrs. Raddle.
While this dialogue was going on, the driver was most
ignominiously leading the horse, by the bridle, up to the house
with the red door, which Master Bardell had already opened.
Here was a mean and low way of arriving at a friend's house!
No dashing up, with all the fire and fury of the animal; no
jumping down of the driver; no loud knocking at the door; no
opening of the apron with a crash at the very last moment, for
fear of the ladies sitting in a draught; and then the man handing
the shawls out, afterwards, as if he were a private coachman!
The whole edge of the thing had been taken off--it was flatter
'Well, Tommy,' said Mrs. Cluppins, 'how's your poor dear mother?'
'Oh, she's very well,' replied Master Bardell. 'She's in the front
parlour, all ready. I'm ready too, I am.' Here Master Bardell put
his hands in his pockets, and jumped off and on the bottom step
of the door.
'Is anybody else a-goin', Tommy?' said Mrs. Cluppins, arranging
'Mrs. Sanders is going, she is,' replied Tommy; 'I'm going too,
'Drat the boy,' said little Mrs. Cluppins. 'He thinks of nobody
but himself. Here, Tommy, dear.'
'Well,' said Master Bardell.
'Who else is a-goin', lovey?' said Mrs. Cluppins, in an
'Oh! Mrs. Rogers is a-goin',' replied Master Bardell, opening
his eyes very wide as he delivered the intelligence.
'What? The lady as has taken the lodgings!' ejaculated Mrs. Cluppins.
Master Bardell put his hands deeper down into his pockets,
and nodded exactly thirty-five times, to imply that it was the
lady-lodger, and no other.
'Bless us!' said Mrs. Cluppins. 'It's quite a party!'
'Ah, if you knew what was in the cupboard, you'd say so,'
replied Master Bardell.
'What is there, Tommy?' said Mrs. Cluppins coaxingly.
'You'll tell ME, Tommy, I know.'
'No, I won't,' replied Master Bardell, shaking his head, and
applying himself to the bottom step again.
'Drat the child!' muttered Mrs. Cluppins. 'What a prowokin'
little wretch it is! Come, Tommy, tell your dear Cluppy.'
'Mother said I wasn't to,' rejoined Master Bardell, 'I'm a-goin'
to have some, I am.' Cheered by this prospect, the precocious boy
applied himself to his infantile treadmill, with increased vigour.
The above examination of a child of tender years took place
while Mr. and Mrs. Raddle and the cab-driver were having an
altercation concerning the fare, which, terminating at this point
in favour of the cabman, Mrs. Raddle came up tottering.
'Lauk, Mary Ann! what's the matter?' said Mrs. Cluppins.
'It's put me all over in such a tremble, Betsy,' replied Mrs.
Raddle. 'Raddle ain't like a man; he leaves everythink to me.'
This was scarcely fair upon the unfortunate Mr. Raddle, who
had been thrust aside by his good lady in the commencement of
the dispute, and peremptorily commanded to hold his tongue.
He had no opportunity of defending himself, however, for Mrs.
Raddle gave unequivocal signs of fainting; which, being perceived
from the parlour window, Mrs. Bardell, Mrs. Sanders, the
lodger, and the lodger's servant, darted precipitately out, and
conveyed her into the house, all talking at the same time, and
giving utterance to various expressions of pity and condolence,
as if she were one of the most suffering mortals on earth. Being
conveyed into the front parlour, she was there deposited on a
sofa; and the lady from the first floor running up to the first floor,
returned with a bottle of sal-volatile, which, holding Mrs. Raddle
tight round the neck, she applied in all womanly kindness and
pity to her nose, until that lady with many plunges and struggles
was fain to declare herself decidedly better.
'Ah, poor thing!' said Mrs. Rogers, 'I know what her feelin's
is, too well.'
'Ah, poor thing! so do I,' said Mrs. Sanders; and then all the
ladies moaned in unison, and said they knew what it was, and
they pitied her from their hearts, they did. Even the lodger's little
servant, who was thirteen years old and three feet high, murmured
'But what's been the matter?' said Mrs. Bardell.
'Ah, what has decomposed you, ma'am?' inquired Mrs. Rogers.
'I have been a good deal flurried,' replied Mrs. Raddle, in a
reproachful manner. Thereupon the ladies cast indignant glances
at Mr. Raddle.
'Why, the fact is,' said that unhappy gentleman, stepping
forward, 'when we alighted at this door, a dispute arose with the
driver of the cabrioily--' A loud scream from his wife, at the
mention of this word, rendered all further explanation inaudible.
'You'd better leave us to bring her round, Raddle,' said Mrs.
Cluppins. 'She'll never get better as long as you're here.'
All the ladies concurred in this opinion; so Mr. Raddle was
pushed out of the room, and requested to give himself an airing
in the back yard. Which he did for about a quarter of an hour,
when Mrs. Bardell announced to him with a solemn face that he
might come in now, but that he must be very careful how he
behaved towards his wife. She knew he didn't mean to be unkind;
but Mary Ann was very far from strong, and, if he didn't take
care, he might lose her when he least expected it, which would be
a very dreadful reflection for him afterwards; and so on. All this,
Mr. Raddle heard with great submission, and presently returned
to the parlour in a most lamb-like manner.
'Why, Mrs. Rogers, ma'am,' said Mrs. Bardell, 'you've never
been introduced, I declare! Mr. Raddle, ma'am; Mrs. Cluppins,
ma'am; Mrs. Raddle, ma'am.'
'Which is Mrs. Cluppins's sister,' suggested Mrs. Sanders.
'Oh, indeed!' said Mrs. Rogers graciously; for she was the
lodger, and her servant was in waiting, so she was more gracious
than intimate, in right of her position. 'Oh, indeed!'
Mrs. Raddle smiled sweetly, Mr. Raddle bowed, and Mrs.
Cluppins said, 'she was sure she was very happy to have an
opportunity of being known to a lady which she had heerd so
much in favour of, as Mrs. Rogers.' A compliment which the
last-named lady acknowledged with graceful condescension.
'Well, Mr. Raddle,' said Mrs. Bardell; 'I'm sure you ought to
feel very much honoured at you and Tommy being the only
gentlemen to escort so many ladies all the way to the Spaniards,
at Hampstead. Don't you think he ought, Mrs. Rogers, ma'am?'
'Oh, certainly, ma'am,' replied Mrs. Rogers; after whom all the
other ladies responded, 'Oh, certainly.'
'Of course I feel it, ma'am,' said Mr. Raddle, rubbing his
hands, and evincing a slight tendency to brighten up a little.
'Indeed, to tell you the truth, I said, as we was a-coming along in
At the recapitulation of the word which awakened so many
painful recollections, Mrs. Raddle applied her handkerchief to her
eyes again, and uttered a half-suppressed scream; so that Mrs.
Bardell frowned upon Mr. Raddle, to intimate that he had better
not say anything more, and desired Mrs. Rogers's servant, with
an air, to 'put the wine on.'
This was the signal for displaying the hidden treasures of the
closet, which comprised sundry plates of oranges and biscuits,
and a bottle of old crusted port--that at one-and-nine--with
another of the celebrated East India sherry at fourteen-pence,
which were all produced in honour of the lodger, and afforded
unlimited satisfaction to everybody. After great consternation
had been excited in the mind of Mrs. Cluppins, by an attempt on
the part of Tommy to recount how he had been cross-examined
regarding the cupboard then in action (which was fortunately
nipped in the bud by his imbibing half a glass of the old crusted
'the wrong way,' and thereby endangering his life for some
seconds), the party walked forth in quest of a Hampstead stage.
This was soon found, and in a couple of hours they all arrived
safely in the Spaniards Tea-gardens, where the luckless Mr.
Raddle's very first act nearly occasioned his good lady a relapse;
it being neither more nor less than to order tea for seven, whereas
(as the ladies one and all remarked), what could have been easier
than for Tommy to have drank out of anybody's cup--or everybody's,
if that was all--when the waiter wasn't looking,
which would have saved one head of tea, and the tea just as good!
However, there was no help for it, and the tea-tray came, with
seven cups and saucers, and bread-and-butter on the same scale.
Mrs. Bardell was unanimously voted into the chair, and Mrs.
Rogers being stationed on her right hand, and Mrs. Raddle on
her left, the meal proceeded with great merriment and success.
'How sweet the country is, to be sure!' sighed Mrs. Rogers;
'I almost wish I lived in it always.'
'Oh, you wouldn't like that, ma'am,' replied Mrs. Bardell,
rather hastily; for it was not at all advisable, with reference to the
lodgings, to encourage such notions; 'you wouldn't like it, ma'am.'
'Oh! I should think you was a deal too lively and sought after,
to be content with the country, ma'am,' said little Mrs. Cluppins.
'Perhaps I am, ma'am. Perhaps I am,' sighed the first-floor lodger.
'For lone people as have got nobody to care for them, or take
care of them, or as have been hurt in their mind, or that kind of
thing,' observed Mr. Raddle, plucking up a little cheerfulness,
and looking round, 'the country is all very well. The country for
a wounded spirit, they say.'
Now, of all things in the world that the unfortunate man could
have said, any would have been preferable to this. Of course
Mrs. Bardell burst into tears, and requested to be led from the
table instantly; upon which the affectionate child began to cry
too, most dismally.
'Would anybody believe, ma'am,' exclaimed Mrs. Raddle,
turning fiercely to the first-floor lodger, 'that a woman could be
married to such a unmanly creetur, which can tamper with a
woman's feelings as he does, every hour in the day, ma'am?'
'My dear,' remonstrated Mr. Raddle, 'I didn't mean anything,
'You didn't mean!' repeated Mrs. Raddle, with great scorn and
contempt. 'Go away. I can't bear the sight on you, you brute.'
'You must not flurry yourself, Mary Ann,' interposed Mrs.
Cluppins. 'You really must consider yourself, my dear, which you
never do. Now go away, Raddle, there's a good soul, or you'll
only aggravate her.'
'You had better take your tea by yourself, Sir, indeed,' said
Mrs. Rogers, again applying the smelling-bottle.
Mrs. Sanders, who, according to custom, was very busy with
the bread-and-butter, expressed the same opinion, and Mr. Raddle
After this, there was a great hoisting up of Master Bardell, who
was rather a large size for hugging, into his mother's arms, in
which operation he got his boots in the tea-board, and occasioned
some confusion among the cups and saucers. But that description
of fainting fits, which is contagious among ladies, seldom lasts
long; so when he had been well kissed, and a little cried over,
Mrs. Bardell recovered, set him down again, wondering how she
could have been so foolish, and poured out some more tea.
It was at this moment, that the sound of approaching wheels
was heard, and that the ladies, looking up, saw a hackney-coach
stop at the garden gate.
'More company!' said Mrs. Sanders.
'It's a gentleman,' said Mrs. Raddle.
'Well, if it ain't Mr. Jackson, the young man from Dodson and
Fogg's!' cried Mrs. Bardell. 'Why, gracious! Surely Mr. Pickwick
can't have paid the damages.'
'Or hoffered marriage!' said Mrs. Cluppins.
'Dear me, how slow the gentleman is,'exclaimed Mrs. Rogers.
'Why doesn't he make haste!'
As the lady spoke these words, Mr. Jackson turned from the
coach where he had been addressing some observations to a
shabby man in black leggings, who had just emerged from the
vehicle with a thick ash stick in his hand, and made his way to
the place where the ladies were seated; winding his hair round
the brim of his hat, as he came along.
'Is anything the matter? Has anything taken place, Mr.
Jackson?' said Mrs. Bardell eagerly.
'Nothing whatever, ma'am,' replied Mr. Jackson. 'How de do,
ladies? I have to ask pardon, ladies, for intruding--but the law,
ladies--the law.' With this apology Mr. Jackson smiled, made a
comprehensive bow, and gave his hair another wind. Mrs.
Rogers whispered Mrs. Raddle that he was really an elegant
'I called in Goswell Street,' resumed Mr. Jackson, 'and hearing
that you were here, from the slavey, took a coach and came on.
Our people want you down in the city directly, Mrs. Bardell.'
'Lor!' ejaculated that lady, starting at the sudden nature of
'Yes,' said Mr. Jackson, biting his lip. 'It's very important and
pressing business, which can't be postponed on any account.
Indeed, Dodson expressly said so to me, and so did Fogg. I've
kept the coach on purpose for you to go back in.'
'How very strange!' exclaimed Mrs. Bardell.
The ladies agreed that it WAS very strange, but were
unanimously of opinion that it must be very important, or Dodson
& Fogg would never have sent; and further, that the business
being urgent, she ought to repair to Dodson & Fogg's without
There was a certain degree of pride and importance about
being wanted by one's lawyers in such a monstrous hurry, that
was by no means displeasing to Mrs. Bardell, especially as it
might be reasonably supposed to enhance her consequence in the
eyes of the first-floor lodger. She simpered a little, affected
extreme vexation and hesitation, and at last arrived at the
conclusion that she supposed she must go.
'But won't you refresh yourself after your walk, Mr. Jackson?'
said Mrs. Bardell persuasively.
'Why, really there ain't much time to lose,' replied Jackson;
'and I've got a friend here,' he continued, looking towards the
man with the ash stick.
'Oh, ask your friend to come here, Sir,' said Mrs. Bardell.
'Pray ask your friend here, Sir.'
'Why, thank'ee, I'd rather not,' said Mr. Jackson, with some
embarrassment of manner. 'He's not much used to ladies' society,
and it makes him bashful. If you'll order the waiter to deliver him
anything short, he won't drink it off at once, won't he!--only
try him!' Mr. Jackson's fingers wandered playfully round his nose
at this portion of his discourse, to warn his hearers that he was
The waiter was at once despatched to the bashful gentleman,
and the bashful gentleman took something; Mr. Jackson also
took something, and the ladies took something, for hospitality's
sake. Mr. Jackson then said he was afraid it was time to go;
upon which, Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Cluppins, and Tommy (who it
was arranged should accompany Mrs. Bardell, leaving the others
to Mr. Raddle's protection), got into the coach.
'Isaac,' said Jackson, as Mrs. Bardell prepared to get in,
looking up at the man with the ash stick, who was seated on the
box, smoking a cigar.
'This is Mrs. Bardell.'
'Oh, I know'd that long ago,' said the man.
Mrs. Bardell got in, Mr. Jackson got in after her, and away
they drove. Mrs. Bardell could not help ruminating on what
Mr. Jackson's friend had said. Shrewd creatures, those lawyers.
Lord bless us, how they find people out!
'Sad thing about these costs of our people's, ain't it,' said
Jackson, when Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders had fallen
asleep; 'your bill of costs, I mean.'
'I'm very sorry they can't get them,' replied Mrs. Bardell. 'But
if you law gentlemen do these things on speculation, why you
must get a loss now and then, you know.'
'You gave them a COGNOVIT for the amount of your costs, after
the trial, I'm told!' said Jackson.
'Yes. Just as a matter of form,' replied Mrs. Bardell.
'Certainly,' replied Jackson drily. 'Quite a matter of form. Quite.'
On they drove, and Mrs. Bardell fell asleep. She was awakened,
after some time, by the stopping of the coach.
'Bless us!' said the lady .'Are we at Freeman's Court?'
'We're not going quite so far,' replied Jackson. 'Have the
goodness to step out.'
Mrs. Bardell, not yet thoroughly awake, complied. It was a
curious place: a large wall, with a gate in the middle, and a gas-
light burning inside.
'Now, ladies,' cried the man with the ash stick, looking into
the coach, and shaking Mrs. Sanders to wake her, 'Come!'
Rousing her friend, Mrs. Sanders alighted. Mrs. Bardell, leaning
on Jackson's arm, and leading Tommy by the hand, had already
entered the porch. They followed.
The room they turned into was even more odd-looking than
the porch. Such a number of men standing about! And they
'What place is this?' inquired Mrs. Bardell, pausing.
'Only one of our public offices,' replied Jackson, hurrying her
through a door, and looking round to see that the other women
were following. 'Look sharp, Isaac!'
'Safe and sound,' replied the man with the ash stick. The door
swung heavily after them, and they descended a small flight of steps.
'Here we are at last. All right and tight, Mrs. Bardell!' said
Jackson, looking exultingly round.
'What do you mean?' said Mrs. Bardell, with a palpitating heart.
'Just this,' replied Jackson, drawing her a little on one side;
'don't be frightened, Mrs. Bardell. There never was a more
delicate man than Dodson, ma'am, or a more humane man than
Fogg. It was their duty in the way of business, to take you in
execution for them costs; but they were anxious to spare your
feelings as much as they could. What a comfort it must be, to
you, to think how it's been done! This is the Fleet, ma'am. Wish
you good-night, Mrs. Bardell. Good-night, Tommy!'
As Jackson hurried away in company with the man with the
ash stick another man, with a key in his hand, who had been
looking on, led the bewildered female to a second short flight of
steps leading to a doorway. Mrs. Bardell screamed violently;
Tommy roared; Mrs. Cluppins shrunk within herself; and Mrs.
Sanders made off, without more ado. For there stood the injured
Mr. Pickwick, taking his nightly allowance of air; and beside him
leant Samuel Weller, who, seeing Mrs. Bardell, took his hat off
with mock reverence, while his master turned indignantly on his heel.
'Don't bother the woman,' said the turnkey to Weller; 'she's
just come in.'
'A prisoner!' said Sam, quickly replacing his hat. 'Who's the
plaintives? What for? Speak up, old feller.'
'Dodson and Fogg,' replied the man; 'execution on COGNOVIT
'Here, Job, Job!' shouted Sam, dashing into the passage. 'Run
to Mr. Perker's, Job. I want him directly. I see some good in this.
Here's a game. Hooray! vere's the gov'nor?'
But there was no reply to these inquiries, for Job had started
furiously off, the instant he received his commission, and Mrs.
Bardell had fainted in real downright earnest.
IS CHIEFLY DEVOTED TO MATTERS OF BUSINESS, AND
THE TEMPORAL ADVANTAGE OF DODSON AND FOGG--
Mr. WINKLE REAPPEARS UNDER EXTRAORDINARY
CIRCUMSTANCES--Mr. PICKWICK'S BENEVOLENCE PROVES
STRONGER THAN HIS OBSTINACY
Job Trotter, abating nothing of his speed, ran up Holborn,
sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes on the
pavement, sometimes in the gutter, as the chances of getting along
varied with the press of men, women, children, and coaches, in
each division of the thoroughfare, and, regardless of all obstacles
stopped not for an instant until he reached the gate of Gray's
Inn. Notwithstanding all the expedition he had used, however,
the gate had been closed a good half-hour when he reached it, and
by the time he had discovered Mr. Perker's laundress, who lived
with a married daughter, who had bestowed her hand upon a
non-resident waiter, who occupied the one-pair of some number
in some street closely adjoining to some brewery somewhere
behind Gray's Inn Lane, it was within fifteen minutes of closing
the prison for the night. Mr. Lowten had still to be ferreted out
from the back parlour of the Magpie and Stump; and Job had
scarcely accomplished this object, and communicated Sam
Weller's message, when the clock struck ten.
'There,' said Lowten, 'it's too late now. You can't get in
to-night; you've got the key of the street, my friend.'
'Never mind me,' replied Job. 'I can sleep anywhere. But won't
it be better to see Mr. Perker to-night, so that we may be there,
the first thing in the morning?'
'Why,' responded Lowten, after a little consideration, 'if it was
in anybody else's case, Perker wouldn't be best pleased at my
going up to his house; but as it's Mr. Pickwick's, I think I may
venture to take a cab and charge it to the office.' Deciding on this
line of conduct, Mr. Lowten took up his hat, and begging the
assembled company to appoint a deputy-chairman during his
temporary absence, led the way to the nearest coach-stand.
Summoning the cab of most promising appearance, he directed
the driver to repair to Montague Place, Russell Square.
Mr. Perker had had a dinner-party that day, as was testified
by the appearance of lights in the drawing-room windows, the
sound of an improved grand piano, and an improvable cabinet
voice issuing therefrom, and a rather overpowering smell of meat
which pervaded the steps and entry. In fact, a couple of very good
country agencies happening to come up to town, at the same
time, an agreeable little party had been got together to meet them,
comprising Mr. Snicks, the Life Office Secretary, Mr. Prosee, the
eminent counsel, three solicitors, one commissioner of bankrupts,
a special pleader from the Temple, a small-eyed peremptory
young gentleman, his pupil, who had written a lively book about
the law of demises, with a vast quantity of marginal notes and
references; and several other eminent and distinguished personages.
From this society, little Mr. Perker detached himself, on his
clerk being announced in a whisper; and repairing to the dining-
room, there found Mr. Lowten and Job Trotter looking very dim
and shadowy by the light of a kitchen candle, which the gentleman
who condescended to appear in plush shorts and cottons
for a quarterly stipend, had, with a becoming contempt for the
clerk and all things appertaining to 'the office,' placed upon the table.
'Now, Lowten,' said little Mr. Perker, shutting the door,'what's
the matter? No important letter come in a parcel, is there?'
'No, Sir,' replied Lowten. 'This is a messenger from Mr.
'From Pickwick, eh?' said the little man, turning quickly to
Job. 'Well, what is it?'
'Dodson and Fogg have taken Mrs. Bardell in execution for
her costs, Sir,' said Job.
'No!' exclaimed Perker, putting his hands in his pockets, and
reclining against the sideboard.
'Yes,' said Job. 'It seems they got a cognovit out of her, for the
amount of 'em, directly after the trial.'
'By Jove!' said Perker, taking both hands out of his pockets,
and striking the knuckles of his right against the palm of his left,
emphatically, 'those are the cleverest scamps I ever had anything
to do with!'
'The sharpest practitioners I ever knew, Sir,' observed Lowten.
'Sharp!' echoed Perker. 'There's no knowing where to have them.'
'Very true, Sir, there is not,' replied Lowten; and then, both
master and man pondered for a few seconds, with animated
countenances, as if they were reflecting upon one of the most
beautiful and ingenious discoveries that the intellect of man had
ever made. When they had in some measure recovered from their
trance of admiration, Job Trotter discharged himself of the rest
of his commission. Perker nodded his head thoughtfully, and
pulled out his watch.
'At ten precisely, I will be there,' said the little man. 'Sam is
quite right. Tell him so. Will you take a glass of wine, Lowten?'
'No, thank you, Sir.'
'You mean yes, I think,' said the little man, turning to the
sideboard for a decanter and glasses.
As Lowten DID mean yes, he said no more on the subject, but
inquired of Job, in an audible whisper, whether the portrait of
Perker, which hung opposite the fireplace, wasn't a wonderful
likeness, to which Job of course replied that it was. The wine
being by this time poured out, Lowten drank to Mrs. Perker and
the children, and Job to Perker. The gentleman in the plush
shorts and cottons considering it no part of his duty to show the
people from the office out, consistently declined to answer the
bell, and they showed themselves out. The attorney betook himself
to his drawing-room, the clerk to the Magpie and Stump, and
Job to Covent Garden Market to spend the night in a vegetable basket.
Punctually at the appointed hour next morning, the good-
humoured little attorney tapped at Mr. Pickwick's door, which
was opened with great alacrity by Sam Weller.
'Mr. Perker, sir,' said Sam, announcing the visitor to Mr.
Pickwick, who was sitting at the window in a thoughtful attitude.
'Wery glad you've looked in accidentally, Sir. I rather think the
gov'nor wants to have a word and a half with you, Sir.'
Perker bestowed a look of intelligence on Sam, intimating that
he understood he was not to say he had been sent for; and
beckoning him to approach, whispered briefly in his ear.
'You don't mean that 'ere, Sir?' said Sam, starting back in
Perker nodded and smiled.
Mr. Samuel Weller looked at the little lawyer, then at Mr.
Pickwick, then at the ceiling, then at Perker again; grinned,
laughed outright, and finally, catching up his hat from the carpet,
without further explanation, disappeared.
'What does this mean?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, looking at
Perker with astonishment. 'What has put Sam into this
'Oh, nothing, nothing,' replied Perker. 'Come, my dear Sir,
draw up your chair to the table. I have a good deal to say to you.'
'What papers are those?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, as the little
man deposited on the table a small bundle of documents tied with
'The papers in Bardell and Pickwick,' replied Perker, undoing
the knot with his teeth.
Mr. Pickwick grated the legs of his chair against the ground;
and throwing himself into it, folded his hands and looked sternly
--if Mr. Pickwick ever could look sternly--at his legal friend.
'You don't like to hear the name of the cause?' said the little
man, still busying himself with the knot.
'No, I do not indeed,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'Sorry for that,' resumed Perker, 'because it will form the
subject of our conversation.'
'I would rather that the subject should be never mentioned
between us, Perker,' interposed Mr. Pickwick hastily.
'Pooh, pooh, my dear Sir,' said the little man, untying the
bundle, and glancing eagerly at Mr. Pickwick out of the corners
of his eyes. 'It must be mentioned. I have come here on purpose.
Now, are you ready to hear what I have to say, my dear Sir? No
hurry; if you are not, I can wait. I have this morning's paper
here. Your time shall be mine. There!' Hereupon, the little man
threw one leg over the other, and made a show of beginning to
read with great composure and application.
'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, with a sigh, but softening into
a smile at the same time. 'Say what you have to say; it's the old
story, I suppose?'
'With a difference, my dear Sir; with a difference,' rejoined
Perker, deliberately folding up the paper and putting it into his
pocket again. 'Mrs. Bardell, the plaintiff in the action, is within
these walls, Sir.'
'I know it,' was Mr. Pickwick's reply,
'Very good,' retorted Perker. 'And you know how she comes
here, I suppose; I mean on what grounds, and at whose suit?'
'Yes; at least I have heard Sam's account of the matter,' said
Mr. Pickwick, with affected carelessness.
'Sam's account of the matter,' replied Perker, 'is, I will venture
to say, a perfectly correct one. Well now, my dear Sir, the first
question I have to ask, is, whether this woman is to remain here?'
'To remain here!' echoed Mr. Pickwick.
'To remain here, my dear Sir,' rejoined Perker, leaning back in
his chair and looking steadily at his client.
'How can you ask me?' said that gentleman. 'It rests with
Dodson and Fogg; you know that very well.'
'I know nothing of the kind,' retorted Perker firmly. 'It does
NOT rest with Dodson and Fogg; you know the men, my dear Sir,
as well as I do. It rests solely, wholly, and entirely with you.'
'With me!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick, rising nervously from his
chair, and reseating himself directly afterwards.
The little man gave a double-knock on the lid of his snuff-box,
opened it, took a great pinch, shut it up again, and repeated the
words, 'With you.'
'I say, my dear Sir,' resumed the little man, who seemed to
gather confidence from the snuff--'I say, that her speedy liberation
or perpetual imprisonment rests with you, and with you alone.
Hear me out, my dear Sir, if you please, and do not be so
very energetic, for it will only put you into a perspiration and do
no good whatever. I say,' continued Perker, checking off each
position on a different finger, as he laid it down--'I say that
nobody but you can rescue her from this den of wretchedness;
and that you can only do that, by paying the costs of this suit--
both of plaintive and defendant--into the hands of these Freeman
Court sharks. Now pray be quiet, my dear sir.'
Mr. Pickwick, whose face had been undergoing most surprising
changes during this speech, and was evidently on the verge of a
strong burst of indignation, calmed his wrath as well as he could.
Perker, strengthening his argumentative powers with another
pinch of snuff, proceeded--
'I have seen the woman, this morning. By paying the costs, you
can obtain a full release and discharge from the damages; and
further--this I know is a far greater object of consideration with
you, my dear sir--a voluntary statement, under her hand, in the
form of a letter to me, that this business was, from the very first,
fomented, and encouraged, and brought about, by these men,
Dodson and Fogg; that she deeply regrets ever having been the
instrument of annoyance or injury to you; and that she entreats
me to intercede with you, and implore your pardon.'
'If I pay her costs for her,' said Mr. Pickwick indignantly. 'A
valuable document, indeed!'
'No "if" in the case, my dear Sir,' said Perker triumphantly.
'There is the very letter I speak of. Brought to my office by
another woman at nine o'clock this morning, before I had set
foot in this place, or held any communication with Mrs. Bardell,
upon my honour.' Selecting the letter from the bundle, the little
lawyer laid it at Mr. Pickwick's elbow, and took snuff for two
consecutive minutes, without winking.
'Is this all you have to say to me?' inquired Mr. Pickwick mildly.
'Not quite,' replied Perker. 'I cannot undertake to say, at this
moment, whether the wording of the cognovit, the nature of the
ostensible consideration, and the proof we can get together about
the whole conduct of the suit, will be sufficient to justify an
indictment for conspiracy. I fear not, my dear Sir; they are too
clever for that, I doubt. I do mean to say, however, that the
whole facts, taken together, will be sufficient to justify you, in the
minds of all reasonable men. And now, my dear Sir, I put it to
you. This one hundred and fifty pounds, or whatever it may be
--take it in round numbers--is nothing to you. A jury had
decided against you; well, their verdict is wrong, but still they
decided as they thought right, and it IS against you. You have
now an opportunity, on easy terms, of placing yourself in a much
higher position than you ever could, by remaining here; which
would only be imputed, by people who didn't know you, to sheer
dogged, wrongheaded, brutal obstinacy; nothing else, my dear
Sir, believe me. Can you hesitate to avail yourself of it, when it
restores you to your friends, your old pursuits, your health and
amusements; when it liberates your faithful and attached servant,
whom you otherwise doom to imprisonment for the whole of
your life; and above all, when it enables you to take the very
magnanimous revenge--which I know, my dear sir, is one after
your own heart--of releasing this woman from a scene of misery
and debauchery, to which no man should ever be consigned, if I
had my will, but the infliction of which on any woman, is even
more frightful and barbarous. Now I ask you, my dear sir, not
only as your legal adviser, but as your very true friend, will you
let slip the occasion of attaining all these objects, and doing all
this good, for the paltry consideration of a few pounds finding
their way into the pockets of a couple of rascals, to whom it
makes no manner of difference, except that the more they gain,
the more they'll seek, and so the sooner be led into some piece of
knavery that must end in a crash? I have put these considerations
to you, my dear Sir, very feebly and imperfectly, but I ask you to
think of them. Turn them over in your mind as long as you please.
I wait here most patiently for your answer.'
Before Mr. Pickwick could reply, before Mr. Perker had taken
one twentieth part of the snuff with which so unusually long an
address imperatively required to be followed up, there was a low
murmuring of voices outside, and then a hesitating knock at the door.
'Dear, dear,' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, who had been evidently
roused by his friend's appeal; 'what an annoyance that door is!
Who is that?'
'Me, Sir,' replied Sam Weller, putting in his head.
'I can't speak to you just now, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I am
engaged at this moment, Sam.'
'Beg your pardon, Sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller. 'But here's a lady
here, Sir, as says she's somethin' wery partickler to disclose.'
'I can't see any lady,' replied Mr. Pickwick, whose mind was
filled with visions of Mrs. Bardell.
'I wouldn't make too sure o' that, Sir,' urged Mr. Weller,
shaking his head. 'If you know'd who was near, sir, I rayther
think you'd change your note; as the hawk remarked to himself
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