The Pickwick Papers
Part 20 out of 20
vich 'ud be a temptation to the insides. If you'll take care on
it for me, sir, I shall be wery much obliged to you. P'raps,' said
Mr. Weller, walking up to Mr. Pickwick and whispering in his
ear--'p'raps it'll go a little vay towards the expenses o' that
'ere conwiction. All I say is, just you keep it till I ask you for it
again.' With these words, Mr. Weller placed the pocket-book
in Mr. Pickwick's hands, caught up his hat, and ran out of the room
with a celerity scarcely to be expected from so corpulent a subject.
'Stop him, Sam!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick earnestly. 'Overtake
him; bring him back instantly! Mr. Weller--here--come back!'
Sam saw that his master's injunctions were not to be disobeyed;
and, catching his father by the arm as he was descending the
stairs, dragged him back by main force.
'My good friend,' said Mr. Pickwick, taking the old man by
the hand, 'your honest confidence overpowers me.'
'I don't see no occasion for nothin' o' the kind, Sir,' replied
Mr. Weller obstinately.
'I assure you, my good friend, I have more money than I can
ever need; far more than a man at my age can ever live to spend,'
said Mr. Pickwick.
'No man knows how much he can spend, till he tries,' observed
'Perhaps not,' replied Mr. Pickwick; 'but as I have no intention
of trying any such experiments, I am not likely to come to want.
I must beg you to take this back, Mr. Weller.'
'Wery well,' said Mr. Weller, with a discontented look. 'Mark
my vords, Sammy, I'll do somethin' desperate vith this here
property; somethin' desperate!'
'You'd better not,' replied Sam.
Mr. Weller reflected for a short time, and then, buttoning up
his coat with great determination, said--
'I'll keep a pike.'
'Wot!' exclaimed Sam.
'A pike!' rejoined Mr. Weller, through his set teeth; 'I'll keep
a pike. Say good-bye to your father, Samivel. I dewote the
remainder of my days to a pike.'
This threat was such an awful one, and Mr. Weller, besides
appearing fully resolved to carry it into execution, seemed so
deeply mortified by Mr. Pickwick's refusal, that that gentleman,
after a short reflection, said--
'Well, well, Mr. Weller, I will keep your money. I can do more
good with it, perhaps, than you can.'
'Just the wery thing, to be sure,' said Mr. Weller, brightening
up; 'o' course you can, sir.'
'Say no more about it,' said Mr. Pickwick, locking the pocket-
book in his desk; 'I am heartily obliged to you, my good friend.
Now sit down again. I want to ask your advice.'
The internal laughter occasioned by the triumphant success of
his visit, which had convulsed not only Mr. Weller's face, but
his arms, legs, and body also, during the locking up of the pocket-
book, suddenly gave place to the most dignified gravity as he
heard these words.
'Wait outside a few minutes, Sam, will you?' said Mr. Pickwick.
Sam immediately withdrew.
Mr. Weller looked uncommonly wise and very much amazed,
when Mr. Pickwick opened the discourse by saying--
'You are not an advocate for matrimony, I think, Mr. Weller?'
Mr. Weller shook his head. He was wholly unable to speak;
vague thoughts of some wicked widow having been successful in
her designs on Mr. Pickwick, choked his utterance.
'Did you happen to see a young girl downstairs when you came
in just now with your son?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes. I see a young gal,' replied Mr. Weller shortly.
'What did you think of her, now? Candidly, Mr. Weller,
what did you think of her?'
'I thought she wos wery plump, and vell made,' said Mr.
Weller, with a critical air.
'So she is,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'so she is. What did you think
of her manners, from what you saw of her?'
'Wery pleasant,' rejoined Mr. Weller. 'Wery pleasant and
The precise meaning which Mr. Weller attached to this last-
mentioned adjective, did not appear; but, as it was evident from
the tone in which he used it that it was a favourable expression,
Mr. Pickwick was as well satisfied as if he had been thoroughly
enlightened on the subject.
'I take a great interest in her, Mr. Weller,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Mr. Weller coughed.
'I mean an interest in her doing well,' resumed Mr. Pickwick;
'a desire that she may be comfortable and prosperous. You understand?'
'Wery clearly,' replied Mr. Weller, who understood nothing yet.
'That young person,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'is attached to your son.'
'To Samivel Veller!' exclaimed the parent.
'Yes,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'It's nat'ral,' said Mr. Weller, after some consideration,
'nat'ral, but rayther alarmin'. Sammy must be careful.'
'How do you mean?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Wery careful that he don't say nothin' to her,' responded
Mr. Weller. 'Wery careful that he ain't led avay, in a innocent
moment, to say anythin' as may lead to a conwiction for breach.
You're never safe vith 'em, Mr. Pickwick, ven they vunce has
designs on you; there's no knowin' vere to have 'em; and vile
you're a-considering of it, they have you. I wos married fust, that
vay myself, Sir, and Sammy wos the consekens o' the manoover.'
'You give me no great encouragement to conclude what I have
to say,' observed Mr. Pickwick, 'but I had better do so at once.
This young person is not only attached to your son, Mr. Weller,
but your son is attached to her.'
'Vell,' said Mr. Weller, 'this here's a pretty sort o' thing to
come to a father's ears, this is!'
'I have observed them on several occasions,' said Mr. Pickwick,
making no comment on Mr. Weller's last remark; 'and entertain
no doubt at all about it. Supposing I were desirous of establishing
them comfortably as man and wife in some little business or
situation, where they might hope to obtain a decent living, what
should you think of it, Mr. Weller?'
At first, Mr. Weller received with wry faces a proposition
involving the marriage of anybody in whom he took an interest;
but, as Mr. Pickwick argued the point with him, and laid great
stress on the fact that Mary was not a widow, he gradually became
more tractable. Mr. Pickwick had great influence over him, and
he had been much struck with Mary's appearance; having, in
fact, bestowed several very unfatherly winks upon her, already.
At length he said that it was not for him to oppose Mr. Pickwick's
inclination, and that he would be very happy to yield to his
advice; upon which, Mr. Pickwick joyfully took him at his word,
and called Sam back into the room.
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, clearing his throat, 'your father and
I have been having some conversation about you.'
'About you, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, in a patronising and
'I am not so blind, Sam, as not to have seen, a long time since,
that you entertain something more than a friendly feeling
towards Mrs. Winkle's maid,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'You hear this, Samivel?' said Mr. Weller, in the same judicial
form of speech as before.
'I hope, Sir,' said Sam, addressing his master, 'I hope there's
no harm in a young man takin' notice of a young 'ooman as is
undeniably good-looking and well-conducted.'
'Certainly not,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Not by no means,' acquiesced Mr. Weller, affably but magisterially.
'So far from thinking there is anything wrong in conduct so
natural,' resumed Mr. Pickwick, 'it is my wish to assist and
promote your wishes in this respect. With this view, I have had
a little conversation with your father; and finding that he is of
'The lady not bein' a widder,' interposed Mr. Weller in explanation.
'The lady not being a widow,' said Mr. Pickwick, smiling. 'I
wish to free you from the restraint which your present position
imposes upon you, and to mark my sense of your fidelity and
many excellent qualities, by enabling you to marry this girl at
once, and to earn an independent livelihood for yourself and
family. I shall be proud, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, whose voice
had faltered a little hitherto, but now resumed its customary tone,
'proud and happy to make your future prospects in life my
grateful and peculiar care.'
There was a profound silence for a short time, and then Sam
said, in a low, husky sort of voice, but firmly withal--
'I'm very much obliged to you for your goodness, Sir, as is
only like yourself; but it can't be done.'
'Can't be done!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick in astonishment.
'Samivel!' said Mr. Weller, with dignity.
'I say it can't be done,' repeated Sam in a louder key. 'Wot's
to become of you, Sir?'
'My good fellow,' replied Mr. Pickwick, 'the recent changes
among my friends will alter my mode of life in future, entirely;
besides, I am growing older, and want repose and quiet. My
rambles, Sam, are over.'
'How do I know that 'ere, sir?' argued Sam. 'You think so
now! S'pose you wos to change your mind, vich is not unlikely,
for you've the spirit o' five-and-twenty in you still, what 'ud
become on you vithout me? It can't be done, Sir, it can't be done.'
'Wery good, Samivel, there's a good deal in that,' said Mr.
'I speak after long deliberation, Sam, and with the certainty
that I shall keep my word,' said Mr. Pickwick, shaking his head.
'New scenes have closed upon me; my rambles are at an end.'
'Wery good,' rejoined Sam. 'Then, that's the wery best reason
wy you should alvays have somebody by you as understands you,
to keep you up and make you comfortable. If you vant a more
polished sort o' feller, vell and good, have him; but vages or no
vages, notice or no notice, board or no board, lodgin' or no
lodgin', Sam Veller, as you took from the old inn in the Borough,
sticks by you, come what may; and let ev'rythin' and ev'rybody
do their wery fiercest, nothin' shall ever perwent it!'
At the close of this declaration, which Sam made with great
emotion, the elder Mr. Weller rose from his chair, and, forgetting
all considerations of time, place, or propriety, waved his hat
above his head, and gave three vehement cheers.
'My good fellow,' said Mr. Pickwick, when Mr. Weller had
sat down again, rather abashed at his own enthusiasm, 'you are
bound to consider the young woman also.'
'I do consider the young 'ooman, Sir,' said Sam. 'I have
considered the young 'ooman. I've spoke to her. I've told her
how I'm sitivated; she's ready to vait till I'm ready, and I believe
she vill. If she don't, she's not the young 'ooman I take her for,
and I give her up vith readiness. You've know'd me afore, Sir.
My mind's made up, and nothin' can ever alter it.'
Who could combat this resolution? Not Mr. Pickwick. He
derived, at that moment, more pride and luxury of feeling from
the disinterested attachment of his humble friends, than ten
thousand protestations from the greatest men living could have
awakened in his heart.
While this conversation was passing in Mr. Pickwick's room,
a little old gentleman in a suit of snuff-coloured clothes, followed
by a porter carrying a small portmanteau, presented himself
below; and, after securing a bed for the night, inquired of the
waiter whether one Mrs. Winkle was staying there, to which
question the waiter of course responded in the affirmative.
'Is she alone?' inquired the old gentleman.
'I believe she is, Sir,' replied the waiter; 'I can call her own
maid, Sir, if you--'
'No, I don't want her,' said the old gentleman quickly. 'Show
me to her room without announcing me.'
'Eh, Sir?' said the waiter.
'Are you deaf?' inquired the little old gentleman.
'Then listen, if you please. Can you hear me now?'
'That's well. Show me to Mrs. Winkle's room, without
As the little old gentleman uttered this command, he slipped
five shillings into the waiter's hand, and looked steadily at him.
'Really, sir,' said the waiter, 'I don't know, sir, whether--'
'Ah! you'll do it, I see,' said the little old gentleman. 'You had
better do it at once. It will save time.'
There was something so very cool and collected in the gentleman's
manner, that the waiter put the five shillings in his pocket,
and led him upstairs without another word.
'This is the room, is it?' said the gentleman. 'You may go.'
The waiter complied, wondering much who the gentleman
could be, and what he wanted; the little old gentleman, waiting
till he was out of sight, tapped at the door.
'Come in,' said Arabella.
'Um, a pretty voice, at any rate,' murmured the little old
gentleman; 'but that's nothing.' As he said this, he opened the
door and walked in. Arabella, who was sitting at work, rose on
beholding a stranger--a little confused--but by no means
'Pray don't rise, ma'am,' said the unknown, walking in, and
closing the door after him. 'Mrs. Winkle, I believe?'
Arabella inclined her head.
'Mrs. Nathaniel Winkle, who married the son of the old man at
Birmingham?' said the stranger, eyeing Arabella with visible curiosity.
Again Arabella inclined her head, and looked uneasily round,
as if uncertain whether to call for assistance.
'I surprise you, I see, ma'am,' said the old gentleman.
'Rather, I confess,' replied Arabella, wondering more and more.
'I'll take a chair, if you'll allow me, ma'am,' said the stranger.
He took one; and drawing a spectacle-case from his pocket,
leisurely pulled out a pair of spectacles, which he adjusted on
'You don't know me, ma'am?' he said, looking so intently at
Arabella that she began to feel alarmed.
'No, sir,' she replied timidly.
'No,' said the gentleman, nursing his left leg; 'I don't know
how you should. You know my name, though, ma'am.'
'Do I?' said Arabella, trembling, though she scarcely knew
why. 'May I ask what it is?'
'Presently, ma'am, presently,' said the stranger, not having yet
removed his eyes from her countenance. 'You have been recently
'I have,' replied Arabella, in a scarcely audible tone, laying
aside her work, and becoming greatly agitated as a thought, that
had occurred to her before, struck more forcibly upon her mind.
'Without having represented to your husband the propriety of
first consulting his father, on whom he is dependent, I think?'
said the stranger.
Arabella applied her handkerchief to her eyes.
'Without an endeavour, even, to ascertain, by some indirect
appeal, what were the old man's sentiments on a point in which
he would naturally feel much interested?' said the stranger.
'I cannot deny it, Sir,' said Arabella.
'And without having sufficient property of your own to afford
your husband any permanent assistance in exchange for the
worldly advantages which you knew he would have gained if he
had married agreeably to his father's wishes?' said the old gentleman.
'This is what boys and girls call disinterested affection, till
they have boys and girls of their own, and then they see it in a
rougher and very different light!'
Arabella's tears flowed fast, as she pleaded in extenuation that
she was young and inexperienced; that her attachment had alone
induced her to take the step to which she had resorted; and that
she had been deprived of the counsel and guidance of her parents
almost from infancy.
'It was wrong,' said the old gentleman in a milder tone, 'very
wrong. It was romantic, unbusinesslike, foolish.'
'It was my fault; all my fault, Sir,' replied poor Arabella, weeping.
'Nonsense,' said the old gentleman; 'it was not your fault that
he fell in love with you, I suppose? Yes it was, though,' said the
old gentleman, looking rather slily at Arabella. 'It was your fault.
He couldn't help it.'
This little compliment, or the little gentleman's odd way of
paying it, or his altered manner--so much kinder than it was, at
first--or all three together, forced a smile from Arabella in the
midst of her tears.
'Where's your husband?' inquired the old gentleman, abruptly;
stopping a smile which was just coming over his own face.
'I expect him every instant, sir,' said Arabella. 'I persuaded
him to take a walk this morning. He is very low and wretched at
not having heard from his father.'
'Low, is he?' said the old gentlemen. 'Serve him right!'
'He feels it on my account, I am afraid,' said Arabella; 'and
indeed, Sir, I feel it deeply on his. I have been the sole means of
bringing him to his present condition.'
'Don't mind it on his account, my dear,' said the old gentleman.
'It serves him right. I am glad of it--actually glad of it, as
far as he is concerned.'
The words were scarcely out of the old gentleman's lips,
when footsteps were heard ascending the stairs, which he and
Arabella seemed both to recognise at the same moment. The
little gentleman turned pale; and, making a strong effort
to appear composed, stood up, as Mr. Winkle entered the room.
'Father!' cried Mr. Winkle, recoiling in amazement.
'Yes, sir,' replied the little old gentleman. 'Well, Sir, what have
you got to say to me?'
Mr. Winkle remained silent.
'You are ashamed of yourself, I hope, Sir?' said the old gentleman.
Still Mr. Winkle said nothing.
'Are you ashamed of yourself, Sir, or are you not?' inquired the
'No, Sir,' replied Mr. Winkle, drawing Arabella's arm through
his. 'I am not ashamed of myself, or of my wife either.'
'Upon my word!' cried the old gentleman ironically.
'I am very sorry to have done anything which has lessened your
affection for me, Sir,' said Mr. Winkle; 'but I will say, at the same
time, that I have no reason to be ashamed of having this lady for
my wife, nor you of having her for a daughter.'
'Give me your hand, Nat,' said the old gentleman, in an
altered voice. 'Kiss me, my love. You are a very charming little
daughter-in-law after all!'
In a few minutes' time Mr. Winkle went in search of Mr.
Pickwick, and returning with that gentleman, presented him to
his father, whereupon they shook hands for five minutes incessantly.
'Mr. Pickwick, I thank you most heartily for all your kindness
to my son,' said old Mr. Winkle, in a bluff, straightforward way.
'I am a hasty fellow, and when I saw you last, I was vexed and
taken by surprise. I have judged for myself now, and am more
than satisfied. Shall I make any more apologies, Mr. Pickwick?'
'Not one,' replied that gentleman. 'You have done the only
thing wanting to complete my happiness.'
Hereupon there was another shaking of hands for five minutes
longer, accompanied by a great number of complimentary
speeches, which, besides being complimentary, had the additional
and very novel recommendation of being sincere.
Sam had dutifully seen his father to the Belle Sauvage, when,
on returning, he encountered the fat boy in the court, who had
been charged with the delivery of a note from Emily Wardle.
'I say,' said Joe, who was unusually loquacious, 'what a pretty
girl Mary is, isn't she? I am SO fond of her, I am!'
Mr. Weller made no verbal remark in reply; but eyeing the fat
boy for a moment, quite transfixed at his presumption, led him
by the collar to the corner, and dismissed him with a harmless
but ceremonious kick. After which, he walked home, whistling.
IN WHICH THE PICKWICK CLUB IS FINALLY DISSOLVED,
AND EVERYTHING CONCLUDED TO THE SATISFACTION
For a whole week after the happy arrival of Mr. Winkle from
Birmingham, Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller were from home all day
long, only returning just in time for dinner, and then wearing
an air of mystery and importance quite foreign to their natures.
It was evident that very grave and eventful proceedings were on
foot; but various surmises were afloat, respecting their precise
character. Some (among whom was Mr. Tupman) were disposed to think
that Mr. Pickwick contemplated a matrimonial alliance; but this
idea the ladies most strenuously repudiated. Others rather inclined
to the belief that he had projected some distant tour, and was at
present occupied in effecting the preliminary arrangements; but
this again was stoutly denied by Sam himself, who had unequivocally
stated, when cross-examined by Mary, that no new journeys were
to be undertaken. At length, when the brains of the whole party had
been racked for six long days, by unavailing speculation, it was
unanimously resolved that Mr. Pickwick should be called upon to
explain his conduct, and to state distinctly why he had thus absented
himself from the society of his admiring friends.
With this view, Mr. Wardle invited the full circle to dinner at
the Adelphi; and the decanters having been thrice sent round,
opened the business.
'We are all anxious to know,' said the old gentleman, 'what
we have done to offend you, and to induce you to desert us and
devote yourself to these solitary walks.'
'Are you?' said Mr. Pickwick. 'It is singular enough that I had
intended to volunteer a full explanation this very day; so, if you
will give me another glass of wine, I will satisfy your curiosity.'
The decanters passed from hand to hand with unwonted
briskness, and Mr. Pickwick, looking round on the faces of his
friends with a cheerful smile, proceeded--
'All the changes that have taken place among us,' said Mr.
Pickwick, 'I mean the marriage that HAS taken place, and the
marriage that WILL take place, with the changes they involve,
rendered it necessary for me to think, soberly and at once, upon
my future plans. I determined on retiring to some quiet, pretty
neighbourhood in the vicinity of London; I saw a house which
exactly suited my fancy; I have taken it and furnished it. It is
fully prepared for my reception, and I intend entering upon it
at once, trusting that I may yet live to spend many quiet years in
peaceful retirement, cheered through life by the society of my
friends, and followed in death by their affectionate remembrance.'
Here Mr. Pickwick paused, and a low murmur ran round the table.
'The house I have taken,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'is at Dulwich.
It has a large garden, and is situated in one of the most pleasant
spots near London. It has been fitted up with every attention to
substantial comfort; perhaps to a little elegance besides; but of
that you shall judge for yourselves. Sam accompanies me there.
I have engaged, on Perker's representation, a housekeeper--a
very old one--and such other servants as she thinks I shall
require. I propose to consecrate this little retreat, by having a
ceremony in which I take a great interest, performed there. I
wish, if my friend Wardle entertains no objection, that his
daughter should be married from my new house, on the day I
take possession of it. The happiness of young people,' said
Mr. Pickwick, a little moved, 'has ever been the chief pleasure of
my life. It will warm my heart to witness the happiness of those
friends who are dearest to me, beneath my own roof.'
Mr. Pickwick paused again: Emily and Arabella sobbed audibly.
'I have communicated, both personally and by letter, with the
club,' resumed Mr. Pickwick, 'acquainting them with my intention.
During our long absence, it has suffered much from internal
dissentions; and the withdrawal of my name, coupled with this
and other circumstances, has occasioned its dissolution. The
Pickwick Club exists no longer.
'I shall never regret,' said Mr. Pickwick in a low voice, 'I shall
never regret having devoted the greater part of two years to
mixing with different varieties and shades of human character,
frivolous as my pursuit of novelty may have appeared to many.
Nearly the whole of my previous life having been devoted to
business and the pursuit of wealth, numerous scenes of which I
had no previous conception have dawned upon me--I hope to
the enlargement of my mind, and the improvement of my
understanding. If I have done but little good, I trust I have done
less harm, and that none of my adventures will be other than a
source of amusing and pleasant recollection to me in the decline
of life. God bless you all!'
With these words, Mr. Pickwick filled and drained a bumper
with a trembling hand; and his eyes moistened as his friends
rose with one accord, and pledged him from their hearts.
There were few preparatory arrangements to be made for the
marriage of Mr. Snodgrass. As he had neither father nor mother,
and had been in his minority a ward of Mr. Pickwick's, that
gentleman was perfectly well acquainted with his possessions and
prospects. His account of both was quite satisfactory to Wardle
--as almost any other account would have been, for the good old
gentleman was overflowing with Hilarity and kindness--and a
handsome portion having been bestowed upon Emily, the
marriage was fixed to take place on the fourth day from that time
--the suddenness of which preparations reduced three dressmakers
and a tailor to the extreme verge of insanity.
Getting post-horses to the carriage, old Wardle started off,
next day, to bring his mother back to town. Communicating his
intelligence to the old lady with characteristic impetuosity, she
instantly fainted away; but being promptly revived, ordered the
brocaded silk gown to be packed up forthwith, and proceeded
to relate some circumstances of a similar nature attending the
marriage of the eldest daughter of Lady Tollimglower, deceased,
which occupied three hours in the recital, and were not half
finished at last.
Mrs. Trundle had to be informed of all the mighty preparations
that were making in London; and, being in a delicate state of
health, was informed thereof through Mr. Trundle, lest the news
should be too much for her; but it was not too much for her,
inasmuch as she at once wrote off to Muggleton, to order a new
cap and a black satin gown, and moreover avowed her determination
of being present at the ceremony. Hereupon, Mr.
Trundle called in the doctor, and the doctor said Mrs. Trundle
ought to know best how she felt herself, to which Mrs. Trundle
replied that she felt herself quite equal to it, and that she had
made up her mind to go; upon which the doctor, who was a wise
and discreet doctor, and knew what was good for himself, as well
as for other people, said that perhaps if Mrs. Trundle stopped at
home, she might hurt herself more by fretting, than by going, so
perhaps she had better go. And she did go; the doctor with great
attention sending in half a dozen of medicine, to be drunk upon
In addition to these points of distraction, Wardle was
intrusted with two small letters to two small young ladies who
were to act as bridesmaids; upon the receipt of which, the two
young ladies were driven to despair by having no 'things' ready for so
important an occasion, and no time to make them in--a circumstance
which appeared to afford the two worthy papas of the
two small young ladies rather a feeling of satisfaction than
otherwise. However, old frocks were trimmed, and new bonnets
made, and the young ladies looked as well as could possibly
have been expected of them. And as they cried at the subsequent
ceremony in the proper places, and trembled at the right times,
they acquitted themselves to the admiration of all beholders.
How the two poor relations ever reached London--whether
they walked, or got behind coaches, or procured lifts in wagons,
or carried each other by turns--is uncertain; but there they were,
before Wardle; and the very first people that knocked at the door
of Mr. Pickwick's house, on the bridal morning, were the two
poor relations, all smiles and shirt collar.
They were welcomed heartily though, for riches or poverty had
no influence on Mr. Pickwick; the new servants were all alacrity
and readiness; Sam was in a most unrivalled state of high spirits
and excitement; Mary was glowing with beauty and smart ribands.
The bridegroom, who had been staying at the house for two or
three days previous, sallied forth gallantly to Dulwich Church to
meet the bride, attended by Mr. Pickwick, Ben Allen, Bob
Sawyer, and Mr. Tupman; with Sam Weller outside, having at
his button-hole a white favour, the gift of his lady-love, and clad
in a new and gorgeous suit of livery invented for the occasion.
They were met by the Wardles, and the Winkles, and the bride
and bridesmaids, and the Trundles; and the ceremony having
been performed, the coaches rattled back to Mr. Pickwick's to
breakfast, where little Mr. Perker already awaited them.
Here, all the light clouds of the more solemn part of the
proceedings passed away; every face shone forth joyously; and
nothing was to be heard but congratulations and commendations.
Everything was so beautiful! The lawn in front, the garden
behind, the miniature conservatory, the dining-room, the
drawing-room, the bedrooms, the smoking-room, and, above all,
the study, with its pictures and easy-chairs, and odd cabinets, and
queer tables, and books out of number, with a large cheerful
window opening upon a pleasant lawn and commanding a pretty
landscape, dotted here and there with little houses almost hidden
by the trees; and then the curtains, and the carpets, and the
chairs, and the sofas! Everything was so beautiful, so compact, so
neat, and in such exquisite taste, said everybody, that there really
was no deciding what to admire most.
And in the midst of all this, stood Mr. Pickwick, his countenance
lighted up with smiles, which the heart of no man, woman,
or child, could resist: himself the happiest of the group: shaking
hands, over and over again, with the same people, and when
his own hands were not so employed, rubbing them with
pleasure: turning round in a different direction at every fresh
expression of gratification or curiosity, and inspiring everybody
with his looks of gladness and delight.
Breakfast is announced. Mr. Pickwick leads the old lady (who
has been very eloquent on the subject of Lady Tollimglower) to
the top of a long table; Wardle takes the bottom; the friends
arrange themselves on either side; Sam takes his station behind
his master's chair; the laughter and talking cease; Mr. Pickwick,
having said grace, pauses for an instant and looks round him.
As he does so, the tears roll down his cheeks, in the fullness of
Let us leave our old friend in one of those moments of unmixed
happiness, of which, if we seek them, there are ever some,
to cheer our transitory existence here. There are dark shadows
on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast. Some men,
like bats or owls, have better eyes for the darkness than for the
light. We, who have no such optical powers, are better pleased
to take our last parting look at the visionary companions of many
solitary hours, when the brief sunshine of the world is blazing
full upon them.
It is the fate of most men who mingle with the world, and
attain even the prime of life, to make many real friends, and lose
them in the course of nature. It is the fate of all authors or
chroniclers to create imaginary friends, and lose them in the
course of art. Nor is this the full extent of their misfortunes; for
they are required to furnish an account of them besides.
In compliance with this custom--unquestionably a bad one
--we subjoin a few biographical words, in relation to the party
at Mr. Pickwick's assembled.
Mr. and Mrs. Winkle, being fully received into favour by the
old gentleman, were shortly afterwards installed in a newly-
built house, not half a mile from Mr. Pickwick's. Mr. Winkle,
being engaged in the city as agent or town correspondent of his
father, exchanged his old costume for the ordinary dress of
Englishmen, and presented all the external appearance of a
civilised Christian ever afterwards.
Mr. and Mrs. Snodgrass settled at Dingley Dell, where they
purchased and cultivated a small farm, more for occupation than
profit. Mr. Snodgrass, being occasionally abstracted and melancholy,
is to this day reputed a great poet among his friends and
acquaintance, although we do not find that he has ever written
anything to encourage the belief. There are many celebrated
characters, literary, philosophical, and otherwise, who hold a
high reputation on a similar tenure.
Mr. Tupman, when his friends married, and Mr. Pickwick
settled, took lodgings at Richmond, where he has ever since
resided. He walks constantly on the terrace during the summer
months, with a youthful and jaunty air, which has rendered him
the admiration of the numerous elderly ladies of single condition,
who reside in the vicinity. He has never proposed again.
Mr. Bob Sawyer, having previously passed through the
GAZETTE, passed over to Bengal, accompanied by Mr. Benjamin
Allen; both gentlemen having received surgical appointments
from the East India Company. They each had the yellow fever
fourteen times, and then resolved to try a little abstinence; since
which period, they have been doing well.
Mrs. Bardell let lodgings to many conversable single gentlemen,
with great profit, but never brought any more actions for breach
of promise of marriage. Her attorneys, Messrs. Dodson & Fogg,
continue in business, from which they realise a large income, and
in which they are universally considered among the sharpest of
Sam Weller kept his word, and remained unmarried, for two
years. The old housekeeper dying at the end of that time, Mr.
Pickwick promoted Mary to the situation, on condition of her
marrying Mr. Weller at once, which she did without a murmur.
From the circumstance of two sturdy little boys having been
repeatedly seen at the gate of the back garden, there is reason to
suppose that Sam has some family.
The elder Mr. Weller drove a coach for twelve months, but
being afflicted with the gout, was compelled to retire. The contents
of the pocket-book had been so well invested for him,
however, by Mr. Pickwick, that he had a handsome independence
to retire on, upon which he still lives at an excellent public-house
near Shooter's Hill, where he is quite reverenced as an oracle,
boasting very much of his intimacy with Mr. Pickwick, and
retaining a most unconquerable aversion to widows.
Mr. Pickwick himself continued to reside in his new house,
employing his leisure hours in arranging the memoranda which
he afterwards presented to the secretary of the once famous club,
or in hearing Sam Weller read aloud, with such remarks as
suggested themselves to his mind, which never failed to afford
Mr. Pickwick great amusement. He was much troubled at first,
by the numerous applications made to him by Mr. Snodgrass,
Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Trundle, to act as godfather to their
offspring; but he has become used to it now, and officiates as a
matter of course. He never had occasion to regret his bounty to
Mr. Jingle; for both that person and Job Trotter became, in time,
worthy members of society, although they have always steadily
objected to return to the scenes of their old haunts and temptations.
Mr. Pickwick is somewhat infirm now; but he retains all his
former juvenility of spirit, and may still be frequently seen,
contemplating the pictures in the Dulwich Gallery, or enjoying a
walk about the pleasant neighbourhood on a fine day. He is
known by all the poor people about, who never fail to take their
hats off, as he passes, with great respect. The children idolise him,
and so indeed does the whole neighbourhood. Every year he
repairs to a large family merry-making at Mr. Wardle's; on this,
as on all other occasions, he is invariably attended by the faithful
Sam, between whom and his master there exists a steady and
reciprocal attachment which nothing but death will terminate.
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