The Pickwick Papers
Part 9 out of 20
I do not think,' said the magistrate, reasoning with himself, 'that
any two men can have had the hardihood to plan such a breach
of the peace, in this town.'
'My information is, unfortunately, but too correct,' said the
middle-aged lady; 'I was present at the quarrel.'
'It's a most extraordinary thing,' said the astounded magistrate.
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Send Mr. Jinks here, directly! Instantly.'
'Yes, your Worship.'
Muzzle retired; and a pale, sharp-nosed, half-fed, shabbily-
clad clerk, of middle age, entered the room.
'Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate. 'Mr. Jinks.'
'Sir,' said Mr. Jinks.
'This lady, Mr. Jinks, has come here, to give information of an
intended duel in this town.'
Mr. Jinks, not knowing exactly what to do, smiled a
'What are you laughing at, Mr. Jinks?' said the magistrate.
Mr. Jinks looked serious instantly.
'Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate, 'you're a fool.'
Mr. Jinks looked humbly at the great man, and bit the top of
'You may see something very comical in this information, Sir--
but I can tell you this, Mr. Jinks, that you have very little to
laugh at,' said the magistrate.
The hungry-looking Jinks sighed, as if he were quite aware of
the fact of his having very little indeed to be merry about; and,
being ordered to take the lady's information, shambled to a seat,
and proceeded to write it down.
'This man, Pickwick, is the principal, I understand?' said the
magistrate, when the statement was finished.
'He is,' said the middle-aged lady.
'And the other rioter--what's his name, Mr. Jinks?'
'Tupman is the second?'
'The other principal, you say, has absconded, ma'am?'
'Yes,' replied Miss Witherfield, with a short cough.
'Very well,' said the magistrate. 'These are two cut-throats from
London, who have come down here to destroy his Majesty's
population, thinking that at this distance from the capital, the
arm of the law is weak and paralysed. They shall be made an
example of. Draw up the warrants, Mr. Jinks. Muzzle!'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Is Grummer downstairs?'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Send him up.'
The obsequious Muzzle retired, and presently returned,
introducing the elderly gentleman in the top-boots, who was
chiefly remarkable for a bottle-nose, a hoarse voice, a snuff-
coloured surtout, and a wandering eye.
'Grummer,' said the magistrate.
'Is the town quiet now?'
'Pretty well, your Wash-up,' replied Grummer. 'Pop'lar feeling
has in a measure subsided, consekens o' the boys having
dispersed to cricket.'
'Nothing but vigorous measures will do in these times,
Grummer,' said the magistrate, in a determined manner. 'if the
authority of the king's officers is set at naught, we must have the
riot act read. If the civil power cannot protect these windows,
Grummer, the military must protect the civil power, and the
windows too. I believe that is a maxim of the constitution,
'Certainly, sir,' said Jinks.
'Very good,' said the magistrate, signing the warrants.
'Grummer, you will bring these persons before me, this afternoon.
You will find them at the Great White Horse. You recollect the
case of the Middlesex Dumpling and the Suffolk Bantam, Grummer?'
Mr. Grummer intimated, by a retrospective shake of the head,
that he should never forget it--as indeed it was not likely he
would, so long as it continued to be cited daily.
'This is even more unconstitutional,' said the magistrate; 'this
is even a greater breach of the peace, and a grosser infringement
of his Majesty's prerogative. I believe duelling is one of his
Majesty's most undoubted prerogatives, Mr. Jinks?'
'Expressly stipulated in Magna Charta, sir,' said Mr. Jinks.
'One of the brightest jewels in the British crown, wrung from
his Majesty by the barons, I believe, Mr. Jinks?' said the
'Just so, Sir,' replied Mr. Jinks.
'Very well,' said the magistrate, drawing himself up proudly,
'it shall not be violated in this portion of his dominions. Grummer,
procure assistance, and execute these warrants with as little
delay as possible. Muzzle!'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Show the lady out.'
Miss Witherfield retired, deeply impressed with the magistrate's
learning and research; Mr. Nupkins retired to lunch;
Mr. Jinks retired within himself--that being the only retirement
he had, except the sofa-bedstead in the small parlour which was
occupied by his landlady's family in the daytime--and Mr.
Grummer retired, to wipe out, by his mode of discharging his
present commission, the insult which had been fastened upon
himself, and the other representative of his Majesty--the beadle
--in the course of the morning.
While these resolute and determined preparations for the
conservation of the king's peace were pending, Mr. Pickwick and
his friends, wholly unconscious of the mighty events in progress,
had sat quietly down to dinner; and very talkative and
companionable they all were. Mr. Pickwick was in the very act of
relating his adventure of the preceding night, to the great amusement
of his followers, Mr. Tupman especially, when the door
opened, and a somewhat forbidding countenance peeped into the
room. The eyes in the forbidding countenance looked very
earnestly at Mr. Pickwick, for several seconds, and were to all
appearance satisfied with their investigation; for the body to
which the forbidding countenance belonged, slowly brought
itself into the apartment, and presented the form of an elderly
individual in top-boots--not to keep the reader any longer
in suspense, in short, the eyes were the wandering eyes of
Mr. Grummer, and the body was the body of the same gentleman.
Mr. Grummer's mode of proceeding was professional, but
peculiar. His first act was to bolt the door on the inside; his
second, to polish his head and countenance very carefully with a
cotton handkerchief; his third, to place his hat, with the cotton
handkerchief in it, on the nearest chair; and his fourth, to
produce from the breast-pocket of his coat a short truncheon,
surmounted by a brazen crown, with which he beckoned to
Mr. Pickwick with a grave and ghost-like air.
Mr. Snodgrass was the first to break the astonished silence.
He looked steadily at Mr. Grummer for a brief space, and then
said emphatically, 'This is a private room, Sir. A private room.'
Mr. Grummer shook his head, and replied, 'No room's private
to his Majesty when the street door's once passed. That's law.
Some people maintains that an Englishman's house is his castle.
The Pickwickians gazed on each other with wondering eyes.
'Which is Mr. Tupman?' inquired Mr. Grummer. He had an
intuitive perception of Mr. Pickwick; he knew him at once.
'My name's Tupman,' said that gentleman.
'My name's Law,' said Mr. Grummer.
'What?' said Mr. Tupman.
'Law,' replied Mr. Grummer--'Law, civil power, and exekative;
them's my titles; here's my authority. Blank Tupman, blank
Pickwick--against the peace of our sufferin' lord the king--
stattit in the case made and purwided--and all regular. I apprehend
you Pickwick! Tupman--the aforesaid.'
'What do you mean by this insolence?' said Mr. Tupman,
starting up; 'leave the room!'
'Hollo,' said Mr. Grummer, retreating very expeditiously to
the door, and opening it an inch or two, 'Dubbley.'
'Well,' said a deep voice from the passage.
'Come for'ard, Dubbley.'
At the word of command, a dirty-faced man, something over
six feet high, and stout in proportion, squeezed himself through
the half-open door (making his face very red in the process), and
entered the room.
'Is the other specials outside, Dubbley?' inquired Mr. Grummer.
Mr. Dubbley, who was a man of few words, nodded assent.
'Order in the diwision under your charge, Dubbley,' said
Mr. Dubbley did as he was desired; and half a dozen men, each
with a short truncheon and a brass crown, flocked into the room.
Mr. Grummer pocketed his staff, and looked at Mr. Dubbley;
Mr. Dubbley pocketed his staff and looked at the division; the
division pocketed their staves and looked at Messrs. Tupman
Mr. Pickwick and his followers rose as one man.
'What is the meaning of this atrocious intrusion upon my
privacy?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Who dares apprehend me?' said Mr. Tupman.
'What do you want here, scoundrels?' said Mr. Snodgrass.
Mr. Winkle said nothing, but he fixed his eyes on Grummer,
and bestowed a look upon him, which, if he had had any feeling,
must have pierced his brain. As it was, however, it had no visible
effect on him whatever.
When the executive perceived that Mr. Pickwick and his
friends were disposed to resist the authority of the law, they very
significantly turned up their coat sleeves, as if knocking them
down in the first instance, and taking them up afterwards, were a
mere professional act which had only to be thought of to be done,
as a matter of course. This demonstration was not lost upon
Mr. Pickwick. He conferred a few moments with Mr. Tupman
apart, and then signified his readiness to proceed to the mayor's
residence, merely begging the parties then and there assembled,
to take notice, that it was his firm intention to resent this monstrous
invasion of his privileges as an Englishman, the instant he
was at liberty; whereat the parties then and there assembled
laughed very heartily, with the single exception of Mr. Grummer,
who seemed to consider that any slight cast upon the divine
right of magistrates was a species of blasphemy not to be tolerated.
But when Mr. Pickwick had signified his readiness to bow to
the laws of his country, and just when the waiters, and hostlers,
and chambermaids, and post-boys, who had anticipated a
delightful commotion from his threatened obstinacy, began to
turn away, disappointed and disgusted, a difficulty arose which
had not been foreseen. With every sentiment of veneration for the
constituted authorities, Mr. Pickwick resolutely protested against
making his appearance in the public streets, surrounded and
guarded by the officers of justice, like a common criminal.
Mr. Grummer, in the then disturbed state of public feeling (for
it was half-holiday, and the boys had not yet gone home), as
resolutely protested against walking on the opposite side of the
way, and taking Mr. Pickwick's parole that he would go straight
to the magistrate's; and both Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman as
strenuously objected to the expense of a post-coach, which was
the only respectable conveyance that could be obtained. The
dispute ran high, and the dilemma lasted long; and just as the
executive were on the point of overcoming Mr. Pickwick's
objection to walking to the magistrate's, by the trite expedient of
carrying him thither, it was recollected that there stood in the inn
yard, an old sedan-chair, which, having been originally built for
a gouty gentleman with funded property, would hold Mr. Pickwick
and Mr. Tupman, at least as conveniently as a modern post-
chaise. The chair was hired, and brought into the hall; Mr. Pickwick
and Mr. Tupman squeezed themselves inside, and pulled
down the blinds; a couple of chairmen were speedily found; and
the procession started in grand order. The specials surrounded
the body of the vehicle; Mr. Grummer and Mr. Dubbley marched
triumphantly in front; Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle walked
arm-in-arm behind; and the unsoaped of Ipswich brought up
The shopkeepers of the town, although they had a very
indistinct notion of the nature of the offence, could not but be
much edified and gratified by this spectacle. Here was the strong
arm of the law, coming down with twenty gold-beater force, upon
two offenders from the metropolis itself; the mighty engine was
directed by their own magistrate, and worked by their own
officers; and both the criminals, by their united efforts, were
securely shut up, in the narrow compass of one sedan-chair.
Many were the expressions of approval and admiration which
greeted Mr. Grummer, as he headed the cavalcade, staff in hand;
loud and long were the shouts raised by the unsoaped; and amidst
these united testimonials of public approbation, the procession
moved slowly and majestically along.
Mr. Weller, habited in his morning jacket, with the black calico
sleeves, was returning in a rather desponding state from an
unsuccessful survey of the mysterious house with the green gate,
when, raising his eyes, he beheld a crowd pouring down the
street, surrounding an object which had very much the appearance
of a sedan-chair. Willing to divert his thoughts from the
failure of his enterprise, he stepped aside to see the crowd pass;
and finding that they were cheering away, very much to their
own satisfaction, forthwith began (by way of raising his spirits)
to cheer too, with all his might and main.
Mr. Grummer passed, and Mr. Dubbley passed, and the sedan
passed, and the bodyguard of specials passed, and Sam was still
responding to the enthusiastic cheers of the mob, and waving his
hat about as if he were in the very last extreme of the wildest joy
(though, of course, he had not the faintest idea of the matter in
hand), when he was suddenly stopped by the unexpected appearance
of Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass.
'What's the row, gen'l'm'n?'cried Sam. 'Who have they got in
this here watch-box in mournin'?'
Both gentlemen replied together, but their words were lost in
'Who is it?' cried Sam again.
once more was a joint reply returned; and, though the words
were inaudible, Sam saw by the motion of the two pairs of lips
that they had uttered the magic word 'Pickwick.'
This was enough. In another minute Mr. Weller had made his
way through the crowd, stopped the chairmen, and confronted
the portly Grummer.
'Hollo, old gen'l'm'n!' said Sam. 'Who have you got in this
'Stand back,' said Mr. Grummer, whose dignity, like the
dignity of a great many other men, had been wondrously
augmented by a little popularity.
'Knock him down, if he don't,' said Mr. Dubbley.
'I'm wery much obliged to you, old gen'l'm'n,' replied Sam,
'for consulting my conwenience, and I'm still more obliged to the
other gen'l'm'n, who looks as if he'd just escaped from a giant's
carrywan, for his wery 'andsome suggestion; but I should prefer
your givin' me a answer to my question, if it's all the same to you.
--How are you, Sir?' This last observation was addressed with a
patronising air to Mr. Pickwick, who was peeping through the
Mr. Grummer, perfectly speechless with indignation, dragged
the truncheon with the brass crown from its particular pocket,
and flourished it before Sam's eyes.
'Ah,' said Sam, 'it's wery pretty, 'specially the crown, which is
uncommon like the real one.'
'Stand back!' said the outraged Mr. Grummer. By way of
adding force to the command, he thrust the brass emblem of
royalty into Sam's neckcloth with one hand, and seized Sam's
collar with the other--a compliment which Mr. Weller returned
by knocking him down out of hand, having previously with the
utmost consideration, knocked down a chairman for him to lie upon.
Whether Mr. Winkle was seized with a temporary attack of
that species of insanity which originates in a sense of injury, or
animated by this display of Mr. Weller's valour, is uncertain; but
certain it is, that he no sooner saw Mr. Grummer fall than he
made a terrific onslaught on a small boy who stood next him;
whereupon Mr. Snodgrass, in a truly Christian spirit, and in
order that he might take no one unawares, announced in a very
loud tone that he was going to begin, and proceeded to take off
his coat with the utmost deliberation. He was immediately
surrounded and secured; and it is but common justice both to
him and Mr. Winkle to say, that they did not make the slightest
attempt to rescue either themselves or Mr. Weller; who, after a
most vigorous resistance, was overpowered by numbers and
taken prisoner. The procession then reformed; the chairmen
resumed their stations; and the march was re-commenced.
Mr. Pickwick's indignation during the whole of this proceeding
was beyond all bounds. He could just see Sam upsetting the
specials, and flying about in every direction; and that was all he
could see, for the sedan doors wouldn't open, and the blinds
wouldn't pull up. At length, with the assistance of Mr. Tupman,
he managed to push open the roof; and mounting on the seat,
and steadying himself as well as he could, by placing his hand on
that gentleman's shoulder, Mr. Pickwick proceeded to address
the multitude; to dwell upon the unjustifiable manner in which he
had been treated; and to call upon them to take notice that his
servant had been first assaulted. In this order they reached the
magistrate's house; the chairmen trotting, the prisoners following,
Mr. Pickwick oratorising, and the crowd shouting.
SHOWING, AMONG A VARIETY OF PLEASANT MATTERS,
HOW MAJESTIC AND IMPARTIAL Mr. NUPKINS WAS; AND
HOW Mr. WELLER RETURNED Mr. JOB TROTTER'S
SHUTTLECOCK AS HEAVILY AS IT CAME--WITH ANOTHER
MATTER, WHICH WILL BE FOUND IN ITS PLACE
Violent was Mr. Weller's indignation as he was borne along;
numerous were the allusions to the personal appearance and
demeanour of Mr. Grummer and his companion; and valorous were
the defiances to any six of the gentlemen present, in which he
vented his dissatisfaction. Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle listened
with gloomy respect to the torrent of eloquence which their leader
poured forth from the sedan-chair, and the rapid course of which
not all Mr. Tupman's earnest entreaties to have the lid of the
vehicle closed, were able to check for an instant. But Mr.
Weller's anger quickly gave way to curiosity when the procession
turned down the identical courtyard in which he had met with the
runaway Job Trotter; and curiosity was exchanged for a feeling
of the most gleeful astonishment, when the all-important Mr. Grummer,
commanding the sedan-bearers to halt, advanced with dignified and
portentous steps to the very green gate from which Job Trotter
had emerged, and gave a mighty pull at the bell-handle which
hung at the side thereof. The ring was answered by a very smart
and pretty-faced servant-girl, who, after holding up her hands
in astonishment at the rebellious appearance of the prisoners,
and the impassioned language of Mr. Pickwick, summoned Mr.
Muzzle. Mr. Muzzle opened one half of the carriage gate, to
admit the sedan, the captured ones, and the specials; and
immediately slammed it in the faces of the mob, who, indignant at
being excluded, and anxious to see what followed, relieved their
feelings by kicking at the gate and ringing the bell, for an hour or
two afterwards. In this amusement they all took part by turns,
except three or four fortunate individuals, who, having discovered
a grating in the gate, which commanded a view of nothing, stared
through it with the indefatigable perseverance with which people
will flatten their noses against the front windows of a chemist's
shop, when a drunken man, who has been run over by a dog-
cart in the street, is undergoing a surgical inspection in the
At the foot of a flight of steps, leading to the house door, which
was guarded on either side by an American aloe in a green tub,
the sedan-chair stopped. Mr. Pickwick and his friends were
conducted into the hall, whence, having been previously
announced by Muzzle, and ordered in by Mr. Nupkins, they were
ushered into the worshipful presence of that public-spirited officer.
The scene was an impressive one, well calculated to strike
terror to the hearts of culprits, and to impress them with an
adequate idea of the stern majesty of the law. In front of a big
book-case, in a big chair, behind a big table, and before a big
volume, sat Mr. Nupkins, looking a full size larger than any one
of them, big as they were. The table was adorned with piles of
papers; and above the farther end of it, appeared the head and
shoulders of Mr. Jinks, who was busily engaged in looking as
busy as possible. The party having all entered, Muzzle carefully
closed the door, and placed himself behind his master's chair to
await his orders. Mr. Nupkins threw himself back with thrilling
solemnity, and scrutinised the faces of his unwilling visitors.
'Now, Grummer, who is that person?' said Mr. Nupkins,
pointing to Mr. Pickwick, who, as the spokesman of his friends,
stood hat in hand, bowing with the utmost politeness and respect.
'This here's Pickvick, your Wash-up,' said Grummer.
'Come, none o' that 'ere, old Strike-a-light,' interposed Mr.
Weller, elbowing himself into the front rank. 'Beg your pardon,
sir, but this here officer o' yourn in the gambooge tops, 'ull never
earn a decent livin' as a master o' the ceremonies any vere. This
here, sir' continued Mr. Weller, thrusting Grummer aside, and
addressing the magistrate with pleasant familiarity, 'this here is
S. Pickvick, Esquire; this here's Mr. Tupman; that 'ere's Mr.
Snodgrass; and farder on, next him on the t'other side, Mr.
Winkle--all wery nice gen'l'm'n, Sir, as you'll be wery happy to
have the acquaintance on; so the sooner you commits these here
officers o' yourn to the tread--mill for a month or two, the sooner
we shall begin to be on a pleasant understanding. Business first,
pleasure arterwards, as King Richard the Third said when he
stabbed the t'other king in the Tower, afore he smothered the babbies.'
At the conclusion of this address, Mr. Weller brushed his hat
with his right elbow, and nodded benignly to Jinks, who had
heard him throughout with unspeakable awe.
'Who is this man, Grummer?' said the magistrate,.
'Wery desp'rate ch'racter, your Wash-up,' replied Grummer.
'He attempted to rescue the prisoners, and assaulted the officers;
so we took him into custody, and brought him here.'
'You did quite right,' replied the magistrate. 'He is evidently a
'He is my servant, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick angrily.
'Oh! he is your servant, is he?' said Mr. Nupkins. 'A
conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice, and murder its officers.
Pickwick's servant. Put that down, Mr. Jinks.'
Mr. Jinks did so.
'What's your name, fellow?' thundered Mr. Nupkins.
'Veller,' replied Sam.
'A very good name for the Newgate Calendar,' said Mr. Nupkins.
This was a joke; so Jinks, Grummer, Dubbley, all the specials,
and Muzzle, went into fits of laughter of five minutes' duration.
'Put down his name, Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate.
'Two L's, old feller,' said Sam.
Here an unfortunate special laughed again, whereupon the
magistrate threatened to commit him instantly. It is a dangerous
thing to laugh at the wrong man, in these cases.
'Where do you live?' said the magistrate.
'Vere ever I can,' replied Sam.
'Put down that, Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate, who was fast
rising into a rage.
'Score it under,' said Sam.
'He is a vagabond, Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate. 'He is a
vagabond on his own statement,-- is he not, Mr. Jinks?'
'Then I'll commit him--I'll commit him as such,' said Mr. Nupkins.
'This is a wery impartial country for justice, 'said Sam.'There
ain't a magistrate goin' as don't commit himself twice as he
commits other people.'
At this sally another special laughed, and then tried to look so
supernaturally solemn, that the magistrate detected him immediately.
'Grummer,' said Mr. Nupkins, reddening with passion, 'how
dare you select such an inefficient and disreputable person for a
special constable, as that man? How dare you do it, Sir?'
'I am very sorry, your Wash-up,' stammered Grummer.
'Very sorry!' said the furious magistrate. 'You shall repent of
this neglect of duty, Mr. Grummer; you shall be made an example
of. Take that fellow's staff away. He's drunk. You're drunk, fellow.'
'I am not drunk, your Worship,' said the man.
'You ARE drunk,' returned the magistrate. 'How dare you say
you are not drunk, Sir, when I say you are? Doesn't he smell of
'Horrid, your Wash-up,' replied Grummer, who had a vague
impression that there was a smell of rum somewhere.
'I knew he did,' said Mr. Nupkins. 'I saw he was drunk when
he first came into the room, by his excited eye. Did you observe
his excited eye, Mr. Jinks?'
'I haven't touched a drop of spirits this morning,' said the
man, who was as sober a fellow as need be.
'How dare you tell me a falsehood?' said Mr. Nupkins. 'Isn't
he drunk at this moment, Mr. Jinks?'
'Certainly, Sir,' replied Jinks.
'Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate, 'I shall commit that man for
contempt. Make out his committal, Mr. Jinks.'
And committed the special would have been, only Jinks, who
was the magistrate's adviser (having had a legal education of
three years in a country attorney's office), whispered the magistrate
that he thought it wouldn't do; so the magistrate made a
speech, and said, that in consideration of the special's family, he
would merely reprimand and discharge him. Accordingly, the
special was abused, vehemently, for a quarter of an hour, and
sent about his business; and Grummer, Dubbley, Muzzle, and
all the other specials, murmured their admiration of the magnanimity
of Mr. Nupkins.
'Now, Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate, 'swear Grummer.'
Grummer was sworn directly; but as Grummer wandered, and
Mr. Nupkins's dinner was nearly ready, Mr. Nupkins cut the
matter short, by putting leading questions to Grummer, which
Grummer answered as nearly in the affirmative as he could. So
the examination went off, all very smooth and comfortable, and
two assaults were proved against Mr. Weller, and a threat against
Mr. Winkle, and a push against Mr. Snodgrass. When all this
was done to the magistrate's satisfaction, the magistrate and
Mr. Jinks consulted in whispers.
The consultation having lasted about ten minutes, Mr. Jinks
retired to his end of the table; and the magistrate, with a
preparatory cough, drew himself up in his chair, and was proceeding
to commence his address, when Mr. Pickwick interposed.
'I beg your pardon, sir, for interrupting you,' said Mr. Pickwick;
'but before you proceed to express, and act upon, any
opinion you may have formed on the statements which have been
made here, I must claim my right to be heard so far as I am
'Hold your tongue, Sir,' said the magistrate peremptorily.
'I must submit to you, Sir--' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Hold your tongue, sir,' interposed the magistrate, 'or I shall
order an officer to remove you.'
'You may order your officers to do whatever you please, Sir,'
said Mr. Pickwick; 'and I have no doubt, from the specimen I
have had of the subordination preserved amongst them, that
whatever you order, they will execute, Sir; but I shall take the
liberty, Sir, of claiming my right to be heard, until I am removed
'Pickvick and principle!' exclaimed Mr. Weller, in a very
'Sam, be quiet,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Dumb as a drum vith a hole in it, Sir,' replied Sam.
Mr. Nupkins looked at Mr. Pickwick with a gaze of intense
astonishment, at his displaying such unwonted temerity; and was
apparently about to return a very angry reply, when Mr. Jinks
pulled him by the sleeve, and whispered something in his ear. To
this, the magistrate returned a half-audible answer, and then the
whispering was renewed. Jinks was evidently remonstrating.
At length the magistrate, gulping down, with a very bad grace,
his disinclination to hear anything more, turned to Mr. Pickwick,
and said sharply, 'What do you want to say?'
'First,' said Mr. Pickwick, sending a look through his spectacles,
under which even Nupkins quailed, 'first, I wish to know
what I and my friend have been brought here for?'
'Must I tell him?' whispered the magistrate to Jinks.
'I think you had better, sir,' whispered Jinks to the magistrate.
'An information has been sworn before me,' said the magistrate,
'that it is apprehended you are going to fight a duel, and
that the other man, Tupman, is your aider and abettor in it.
Therefore--eh, Mr. Jinks?'
'Therefore, I call upon you both, to--I think that's the course,
'To--to--what, Mr. Jinks?' said the magistrate pettishly.
'To find bail, sir.'
'Yes. Therefore, I call upon you both--as I was about to say
when I was interrupted by my clerk--to find bail.'
'Good bail,' whispered Mr. Jinks.
'I shall require good bail,' said the magistrate.
'Town's-people,' whispered Jinks.
'They must be townspeople,' said the magistrate.
'Fifty pounds each,' whispered Jinks, 'and householders, of course.'
'I shall require two sureties of fifty pounds each,' said the
magistrate aloud, with great dignity, 'and they must be householders,
'But bless my heart, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, who, together with
Mr. Tupman, was all amazement and indignation; 'we are
perfect strangers in this town. I have as little knowledge of any
householders here, as I have intention of fighting a duel with anybody.'
'I dare say,' replied the magistrate, 'I dare say--don't you,
'Have you anything more to say?' inquired the magistrate.
Mr. Pickwick had a great deal more to say, which he would no
doubt have said, very little to his own advantage, or the magistrate's
satisfaction, if he had not, the moment he ceased speaking,
been pulled by the sleeve by Mr. Weller, with whom he was
immediately engaged in so earnest a conversation, that he
suffered the magistrate's inquiry to pass wholly unnoticed. Mr.
Nupkins was not the man to ask a question of the kind twice
over; and so, with another preparatory cough, he proceeded,
amidst the reverential and admiring silence of the constables, to
pronounce his decision.
He should fine Weller two pounds for the first assault, and
three pounds for the second. He should fine Winkle two pounds,
and Snodgrass one pound, besides requiring them to enter into
their own recognisances to keep the peace towards all his
Majesty's subjects, and especially towards his liege servant,
Daniel Grummer. Pickwick and Tupman he had already held
Immediately on the magistrate ceasing to speak, Mr. Pickwick,
with a smile mantling on his again good-humoured countenance,
stepped forward, and said--
'I beg the magistrate's pardon, but may I request a few minutes'
private conversation with him, on a matter of deep importance
'What?' said the magistrate.
Mr. Pickwick repeated his request.
'This is a most extraordinary request,' said the magistrate.
'A private interview?'
'A private interview,' replied Mr. Pickwick firmly; 'only, as a
part of the information which I wish to communicate is derived
from my servant, I should wish him to be present.'
The magistrate looked at Mr. Jinks; Mr. Jinks looked at the
magistrate; the officers looked at each other in amazement.
Mr. Nupkins turned suddenly pale. Could the man Weller, in a
moment of remorse, have divulged some secret conspiracy for his
assassination? It was a dreadful thought. He was a public man;
and he turned paler, as he thought of Julius Caesar and Mr. Perceval.
The magistrate looked at Mr. Pickwick again, and beckoned
'What do you think of this request, Mr. Jinks?' murmured
Mr. Jinks, who didn't exactly know what to think of it, and
was afraid he might offend, smiled feebly, after a dubious
fashion, and, screwing up the corners of his mouth, shook his
head slowly from side to side.
'Mr. Jinks,' said the magistrate gravely, 'you are an ass.'
At this little expression of opinion, Mr. Jinks smiled again--
rather more feebly than before--and edged himself, by degrees,
back into his own corner.
Mr. Nupkins debated the matter within himself for a few
seconds, and then, rising from his chair, and requesting Mr.
Pickwick and Sam to follow him, led the way into a small room
which opened into the justice-parlour. Desiring Mr. Pickwick to
walk to the upper end of the little apartment, and holding his
hand upon the half-closed door, that he might be able to effect
an immediate escape, in case there was the least tendency to a
display of hostilities, Mr. Nupkins expressed his readiness to hear
the communication, whatever it might be.
'I will come to the point at once, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'it
affects yourself and your credit materially. I have every reason to
believe, Sir, that you are harbouring in your house a gross impostor!'
'Two,' interrupted Sam. 'Mulberry agin all natur, for tears
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'if I am to render myself intelligible
to this gentleman, I must beg you to control your feelings.'
'Wery sorry, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller; 'but when I think o' that
'ere Job, I can't help opening the walve a inch or two.'
'In one word, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'is my servant right in
suspecting that a certain Captain Fitz-Marshall is in the habit of
visiting here? Because,' added Mr. Pickwick, as he saw that
Mr. Nupkins was about to offer a very indignant interruption,
'because if he be, I know that person to be a--'
'Hush, hush,' said Mr. Nupkins, closing the door. 'Know him
to be what, Sir?'
'An unprincipled adventurer--a dishonourable character--a
man who preys upon society, and makes easily-deceived people
his dupes, Sir; his absurd, his foolish, his wretched dupes, Sir,'
said the excited Mr. Pickwick.
'Dear me,' said Mr. Nupkins, turning very red, and altering his
whole manner directly. 'Dear me, Mr.--'
'Pickvick,' said Sam.
'Pickwick,' said the magistrate, 'dear me, Mr. Pickwick--pray
take a seat--you cannot mean this? Captain Fitz-Marshall!'
'Don't call him a cap'en,' said Sam, 'nor Fitz-Marshall
neither; he ain't neither one nor t'other. He's a strolling actor, he
is, and his name's Jingle; and if ever there was a wolf in a
mulberry suit, that 'ere Job Trotter's him.'
'It is very true, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, replying to the magistrate's
look of amazement; 'my only business in this town, is to
expose the person of whom we now speak.'
Mr. Pickwick proceeded to pour into the horror-stricken ear of
Mr. Nupkins, an abridged account of all Mr. Jingle's atrocities.
He related how he had first met him; how he had eloped with
Miss Wardle; how he had cheerfully resigned the lady for a
pecuniary consideration; how he had entrapped himself into a
lady's boarding-school at midnight; and how he (Mr. Pickwick)
now felt it his duty to expose his assumption of his present name
As the narrative proceeded, all the warm blood in the body of
Mr. Nupkins tingled up into the very tips of his ears. He had
picked up the captain at a neighbouring race-course. Charmed
with his long list of aristocratic acquaintance, his extensive
travel, and his fashionable demeanour, Mrs. Nupkins and Miss
Nupkins had exhibited Captain Fitz-Marshall, and quoted
Captain Fitz-Marshall, and hurled Captain Fitz-Marshall at the
devoted heads of their select circle of acquaintance, until their
bosom friends, Mrs. Porkenham and the Misses Porkenhams,
and Mr. Sidney Porkenham, were ready to burst with jealousy
and despair. And now, to hear, after all, that he was a needy
adventurer, a strolling player, and if not a swindler, something so
very like it, that it was hard to tell the difference! Heavens! what
would the Porkenhams say! What would be the triumph of
Mr. Sidney Porkenham when he found that his addresses had
been slighted for such a rival! How should he, Nupkins, meet the
eye of old Porkenham at the next quarter-sessions! And what a
handle would it be for the opposition magisterial party if the
story got abroad!
'But after all,' said Mr. Nupkins, brightening for a moment,
after a long pause; 'after all, this is a mere statement. Captain
Fitz-Marshall is a man of very engaging manners, and, I dare
say, has many enemies. What proof have you of the truth of
'Confront me with him,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'that is all I ask,
and all I require. Confront him with me and my friends here; you
will want no further proof.'
'Why,' said Mr. Nupkins, 'that might be very easily done, for
he will be here to-night, and then there would be no occasion to
make the matter public, just--just--for the young man's own
sake, you know. I--I--should like to consult Mrs. Nupkins on
the propriety of the step, in the first instance, though. At
all events, Mr. Pickwick, we must despatch this legal business
before we can do anything else. Pray step back into the next
Into the next room they went.
'Grummer,' said the magistrate, in an awful voice.
'Your Wash-up,' replied Grummer, with the smile of a favourite.
'Come, come, Sir,' said the magistrate sternly, 'don't let me see
any of this levity here. It is very unbecoming, and I can assure
you that you have very little to smile at. Was the account you
gave me just now strictly true? Now be careful, sir!'
'Your Wash-up,' stammered Grummer, 'I-'
'Oh, you are confused, are you?' said the magistrate. 'Mr.
Jinks, you observe this confusion?'
'Certainly, Sir,' replied Jinks.
'Now,' said the magistrate, 'repeat your statement, Grummer,
and again I warn you to be careful. Mr. Jinks, take his words down.'
The unfortunate Grummer proceeded to re-state his complaint,
but, what between Mr. Jinks's taking down his words, and the
magistrate's taking them up, his natural tendency to rambling,
and his extreme confusion, he managed to get involved, in something
under three minutes, in such a mass of entanglement and
contradiction, that Mr. Nupkins at once declared he didn't
believe him. So the fines were remitted, and Mr. Jinks found a
couple of bail in no time. And all these solemn proceedings
having been satisfactorily concluded, Mr. Grummer was
ignominiously ordered out--an awful instance of the instability
of human greatness, and the uncertain tenure of great men's favour.
Mrs. Nupkins was a majestic female in a pink gauze turban
and a light brown wig. Miss Nupkins possessed all her mamma's
haughtiness without the turban, and all her ill-nature without the
wig; and whenever the exercise of these two amiable qualities
involved mother and daughter in some unpleasant dilemma, as
they not infrequently did, they both concurred in laying the
blame on the shoulders of Mr. Nupkins. Accordingly, when
Mr. Nupkins sought Mrs. Nupkins, and detailed the communication
which had been made by Mr. Pickwick, Mrs. Nupkins
suddenly recollected that she had always expected something of
the kind; that she had always said it would be so; that her advice
was never taken; that she really did not know what Mr. Nupkins
supposed she was; and so forth.
'The idea!' said Miss Nupkins, forcing a tear of very scanty
proportions into the corner of each eye; 'the idea of my being
made such a fool of!'
'Ah! you may thank your papa, my dear,' said Mrs. Nupkins;
'how I have implored and begged that man to inquire into the
captain's family connections; how I have urged and entreated
him to take some decisive step! I am quite certain nobody would
'But, my dear,' said Mr. Nupkins.
'Don't talk to me, you aggravating thing, don't!' said Mrs. Nupkins.
'My love,' said Mr. Nupkins, 'you professed yourself very fond
of Captain Fitz-Marshall. You have constantly asked him here, my
dear, and you have lost no opportunity of introducing him elsewhere.'
'Didn't I say so, Henrietta?' cried Mrs. Nupkins, appealing to
her daughter with the air of a much-injured female. 'Didn't I say
that your papa would turn round and lay all this at my door?
Didn't I say so?' Here Mrs. Nupkins sobbed.
'Oh, pa!' remonstrated Miss Nupkins. And here she sobbed too.
'Isn't it too much, when he has brought all this disgrace and
ridicule upon us, to taunt me with being the cause of it?'
exclaimed Mrs. Nupkins.
'How can we ever show ourselves in society!' said Miss Nupkins.
'How can we face the Porkenhams?' cried Mrs. Nupkins.
'Or the Griggs!' cried Miss Nupkins.
'Or the Slummintowkens!' cried Mrs. Nupkins. 'But what does
your papa care! What is it to HIM!' At this dreadful reflection,
Mrs. Nupkins wept mental anguish, and Miss Nupkins followed
on the same side.
Mrs. Nupkins's tears continued to gush forth, with great
velocity, until she had gained a little time to think the matter
over; when she decided, in her own mind, that the best thing to
do would be to ask Mr. Pickwick and his friends to remain until
the captain's arrival, and then to give Mr. Pickwick the opportunity
he sought. If it appeared that he had spoken truly, the
captain could be turned out of the house without noising the
matter abroad, and they could easily account to the Porkenhams
for his disappearance, by saying that he had been appointed,
through the Court influence of his family, to the governor-
generalship of Sierra Leone, of Saugur Point, or any other of
those salubrious climates which enchant Europeans so much, that
when they once get there, they can hardly ever prevail upon
themselves to come back again.
When Mrs. Nupkins dried up her tears, Miss Nupkins dried up
hers, and Mr. Nupkins was very glad to settle the matter as
Mrs. Nupkins had proposed. So Mr. Pickwick and his friends,
having washed off all marks of their late encounter, were introduced
to the ladies, and soon afterwards to their dinner; and
Mr. Weller, whom the magistrate, with his peculiar sagacity, had
discovered in half an hour to be one of the finest fellows alive,
was consigned to the care and guardianship of Mr. Muzzle,
who was specially enjoined to take him below, and make much
'How de do, sir?' said Mr. Muzzle, as he conducted Mr. Weller
down the kitchen stairs.
'Why, no considerable change has taken place in the state of
my system, since I see you cocked up behind your governor's
chair in the parlour, a little vile ago,' replied Sam.
'You will excuse my not taking more notice of you then,' said
Mr. Muzzle. 'You see, master hadn't introduced us, then. Lord,
how fond he is of you, Mr. Weller, to be sure!'
'Ah!' said Sam, 'what a pleasant chap he is!'
'Ain't he?'replied Mr. Muzzle.
'So much humour,' said Sam.
'And such a man to speak,' said Mr. Muzzle. 'How his ideas
flow, don't they?'
'Wonderful,' replied Sam; 'they comes a-pouring out, knocking
each other's heads so fast, that they seems to stun one another;
you hardly know what he's arter, do you?'
'That's the great merit of his style of speaking,' rejoined
Mr. Muzzle. 'Take care of the last step, Mr. Weller. Would you
like to wash your hands, sir, before we join the ladies'! Here's a
sink, with the water laid on, Sir, and a clean jack towel behind
'Ah! perhaps I may as well have a rinse,' replied Mr. Weller,
applying plenty of yellow soap to the towel, and rubbing away
till his face shone again. 'How many ladies are there?'
'Only two in our kitchen,' said Mr. Muzzle; 'cook and 'ouse-
maid. We keep a boy to do the dirty work, and a gal besides, but
they dine in the wash'us.'
'Oh, they dines in the wash'us, do they?' said Mr. Weller.
'Yes,' replied Mr. Muzzle, 'we tried 'em at our table when they
first come, but we couldn't keep 'em. The gal's manners is
dreadful vulgar; and the boy breathes so very hard while he's
eating, that we found it impossible to sit at table with him.'
'Young grampus!' said Mr. Weller.
'Oh, dreadful,' rejoined Mr. Muzzle; 'but that is the worst of
country service, Mr. Weller; the juniors is always so very savage.
This way, sir, if you please, this way.'
Preceding Mr. Weller, with the utmost politeness, Mr. Muzzle
conducted him into the kitchen.
'Mary,' said Mr. Muzzle to the pretty servant-girl, 'this is
Mr. Weller; a gentleman as master has sent down, to be made as
comfortable as possible.'
'And your master's a knowin' hand, and has just sent me to the
right place,' said Mr. Weller, with a glance of admiration at
Mary. 'If I wos master o' this here house, I should alvays find the
materials for comfort vere Mary wos.'
'Lor, Mr. Weller!' said Mary blushing.
'Well, I never!' ejaculated the cook.
'Bless me, cook, I forgot you,' said Mr. Muzzle. 'Mr. Weller,
let me introduce you.'
'How are you, ma'am?' said Mr. Weller.'Wery glad to see you,
indeed, and hope our acquaintance may be a long 'un, as the
gen'l'm'n said to the fi' pun' note.'
When this ceremony of introduction had been gone through,
the cook and Mary retired into the back kitchen to titter, for ten
minutes; then returning, all giggles and blushes, they sat down
Mr. Weller's easy manners and conversational powers had
such irresistible influence with his new friends, that before the
dinner was half over, they were on a footing of perfect intimacy,
and in possession of a full account of the delinquency of Job Trotter.
'I never could a-bear that Job,' said Mary.
'No more you never ought to, my dear,' replied Mr. Weller.
'Why not?' inquired Mary.
''Cos ugliness and svindlin' never ought to be formiliar with
elegance and wirtew,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Ought they, Mr. Muzzle?'
'Not by no means,' replied that gentleman.
Here Mary laughed, and said the cook had made her; and the
cook laughed, and said she hadn't.
'I ha'n't got a glass,' said Mary.
'Drink with me, my dear,' said Mr. Weller. 'Put your lips to
this here tumbler, and then I can kiss you by deputy.'
'For shame, Mr. Weller!' said Mary.
'What's a shame, my dear?'
'Talkin' in that way.'
'Nonsense; it ain't no harm. It's natur; ain't it, cook?'
'Don't ask me, imperence,' replied the cook, in a high state of
delight; and hereupon the cook and Mary laughed again, till
what between the beer, and the cold meat, and the laughter
combined, the latter young lady was brought to the verge of
choking--an alarming crisis from which she was only recovered
by sundry pats on the back, and other necessary attentions, most
delicately administered by Mr. Samuel Weller.
In the midst of all this jollity and conviviality, a loud ring was
heard at the garden gate, to which the young gentleman who
took his meals in the wash-house, immediately responded. Mr.
Weller was in the height of his attentions to the pretty house-
maid; Mr. Muzzle was busy doing the honours of the table; and
the cook had just paused to laugh, in the very act of raising a
huge morsel to her lips; when the kitchen door opened, and in
walked Mr. Job Trotter.
We have said in walked Mr. Job Trotter, but the statement is
not distinguished by our usual scrupulous adherence to fact. The
door opened and Mr. Trotter appeared. He would have walked
in, and was in the very act of doing so, indeed, when catching
sight of Mr. Weller, he involuntarily shrank back a pace or two,
and stood gazing on the unexpected scene before him, perfectly
motionless with amazement and terror.
'Here he is!' said Sam, rising with great glee. 'Why we were
that wery moment a-speaking o' you. How are you? Where have
you been? Come in.'
Laying his hand on the mulberry collar of the unresisting Job,
Mr. Weller dragged him into the kitchen; and, locking the door,
handed the key to Mr. Muzzle, who very coolly buttoned it up
in a side pocket.
'Well, here's a game!' cried Sam. 'Only think o' my master
havin' the pleasure o' meeting yourn upstairs, and me havin' the
joy o' meetin' you down here. How are you gettin' on, and how is
the chandlery bis'ness likely to do? Well, I am so glad to see you.
How happy you look. It's quite a treat to see you; ain't it,
'Quite,' said Mr. Muzzle.
'So cheerful he is!' said Sam.
'In such good spirits!' said Muzzle.
'And so glad to see us--that makes it so much more
comfortable,' said Sam. 'Sit down; sit down.'
Mr. Trotter suffered himself to be forced into a chair by the
fireside. He cast his small eyes, first on Mr. Weller, and then on
Mr. Muzzle, but said nothing.
'Well, now,' said Sam, 'afore these here ladies, I should jest like
to ask you, as a sort of curiosity, whether you don't consider
yourself as nice and well-behaved a young gen'l'm'n, as ever used
a pink check pocket-handkerchief, and the number four collection?'
'And as was ever a-going to be married to a cook,' said that
lady indignantly. 'The willin!'
'And leave off his evil ways, and set up in the chandlery line
arterwards,' said the housemaid.
'Now, I'll tell you what it is, young man,' said Mr. Muzzle
solemnly, enraged at the last two allusions, 'this here lady
(pointing to the cook) keeps company with me; and when you
presume, Sir, to talk of keeping chandlers' shops with her, you
injure me in one of the most delicatest points in which one man
can injure another. Do you understand that, Sir?'
Here Mr. Muzzle, who had a great notion of his eloquence, in
which he imitated his master, paused for a reply.
But Mr. Trotter made no reply. So Mr. Muzzle proceeded in a
'It's very probable, sir, that you won't be wanted upstairs for
several minutes, Sir, because MY master is at this moment
particularly engaged in settling the hash of YOUR master, Sir; and
therefore you'll have leisure, Sir, for a little private talk with me,
Sir. Do you understand that, Sir?'
Mr. Muzzle again paused for a reply; and again Mr. Trotter
'Well, then,' said Mr. Muzzle, 'I'm very sorry to have to
explain myself before ladies, but the urgency of the case will be
my excuse. The back kitchen's empty, Sir. If you will step in there,
Sir, Mr. Weller will see fair, and we can have mutual satisfaction
till the bell rings. Follow me, Sir!'
As Mr. Muzzle uttered these words, he took a step or two
towards the door; and, by way of saving time, began to pull off
his coat as he walked along.
Now, the cook no sooner heard the concluding words of this
desperate challenge, and saw Mr. Muzzle about to put it into
execution, than she uttered a loud and piercing shriek; and
rushing on Mr. Job Trotter, who rose from his chair on the
instant, tore and buffeted his large flat face, with an energy
peculiar to excited females, and twining her hands in his long
black hair, tore therefrom about enough to make five or six
dozen of the very largest-sized mourning-rings. Having accomplished
this feat with all the ardour which her devoted love for
Mr. Muzzle inspired, she staggered back; and being a lady of
very excitable and delicate feelings, she instantly fell under the
dresser, and fainted away.
At this moment, the bell rang.
'That's for you, Job Trotter,' said Sam; and before Mr. Trotter
could offer remonstrance or reply--even before he had time to
stanch the wounds inflicted by the insensible lady--Sam seized
one arm and Mr. Muzzle the other, and one pulling before, and
the other pushing behind, they conveyed him upstairs, and into
It was an impressive tableau. Alfred Jingle, Esquire, alias
Captain Fitz-Marshall, was standing near the door with his hat
in his hand, and a smile on his face, wholly unmoved by his very
unpleasant situation. Confronting him, stood Mr. Pickwick, who
had evidently been inculcating some high moral lesson; for his
left hand was beneath his coat tail, and his right extended in air,
as was his wont when delivering himself of an impressive address.
At a little distance, stood Mr. Tupman with indignant countenance,
carefully held back by his two younger friends; at the
farther end of the room were Mr. Nupkins, Mrs. Nupkins, and
Miss Nupkins, gloomily grand and savagely vexed.
'What prevents me,' said Mr. Nupkins, with magisterial
dignity, as Job was brought in--'what prevents me from detaining
these men as rogues and impostors? It is a foolish mercy. What
'Pride, old fellow, pride,' replied Jingle, quite at his ease.
'Wouldn't do--no go--caught a captain, eh?--ha! ha! very
good--husband for daughter--biter bit--make it public--not for
'Wretch,' said Mr. Nupkins, 'we scorn your base insinuations.'
'I always hated him,' added Henrietta.
'Oh, of course,' said Jingle. 'Tall young man--old lover--
Sidney Porkenham--rich--fine fellow--not so rich as captain,
though, eh?--turn him away--off with him--anything for
captain--nothing like captain anywhere--all the girls--raving
mad--eh, Job, eh?'
Here Mr. Jingle laughed very heartily; and Job, rubbing his
hands with delight, uttered the first sound he had given vent to
since he entered the house--a low, noiseless chuckle, which
seemed to intimate that he enjoyed his laugh too much, to let any
of it escape in sound.
'Mr. Nupkins,' said the elder lady,'this is not a fit conversation
for the servants to overhear. Let these wretches be removed.'
'Certainly, my dear,' Said Mr, Nupkins. 'Muzzle!'
'Open the front door.'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Leave the house!' said Mr. Nupkins, waving his hand emphatically.
Jingle smiled, and moved towards the door.
'Stay!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I might,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'have taken a much greater
revenge for the treatment I have experienced at your hands, and
that of your hypocritical friend there.'
Job Trotter bowed with great politeness, and laid his hand
upon his heart.
'I say,' said Mr. Pickwick, growing gradually angry, 'that I
might have taken a greater revenge, but I content myself with
exposing you, which I consider a duty I owe to society. This is a
leniency, Sir, which I hope you will remember.'
When Mr. Pickwick arrived at this point, Job Trotter, with
facetious gravity, applied his hand to his ear, as if desirous not to
lose a syllable he uttered.
'And I have only to add, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, now thoroughly
angry, 'that I consider you a rascal, and a--a--ruffian--and--
and worse than any man I ever saw, or heard of, except that
pious and sanctified vagabond in the mulberry livery.'
'Ha! ha!' said Jingle, 'good fellow, Pickwick--fine heart--
stout old boy--but must NOT be passionate--bad thing, very--
bye, bye--see you again some day--keep up your spirits--now,
With these words, Mr. Jingle stuck on his hat in his old
fashion, and strode out of the room. Job Trotter paused, looked
round, smiled and then with a bow of mock solemnity to Mr.
Pickwick, and a wink to Mr. Weller, the audacious slyness of which
baffles all description, followed the footsteps of his hopeful master.
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, as Mr. Weller was following.
Mr. Weller seemed uncertain.
'Stay here,' repeated Mr. Pickwick.
'Mayn't I polish that 'ere Job off, in the front garden?' said
'Certainly not,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'Mayn't I kick him out o' the gate, Sir?' said Mr. Weller.
'Not on any account,' replied his master.
For the first time since his engagement, Mr. Weller looked, for
a moment, discontented and unhappy. But his countenance
immediately cleared up; for the wily Mr. Muzzle, by concealing
himself behind the street door, and rushing violently out, at the
right instant, contrived with great dexterity to overturn both
Mr. Jingle and his attendant, down the flight of steps, into the
American aloe tubs that stood beneath.
'Having discharged my duty, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick to Mr.
Nupkins, 'I will, with my friends, bid you farewell. While we
thank you for such hospitality as we have received, permit me to
assure you, in our joint names, that we should not have accepted
it, or have consented to extricate ourselves in this way, from our
previous dilemma, had we not been impelled by a strong sense of
duty. We return to London to-morrow. Your secret is safe with us.'
Having thus entered his protest against their treatment of the
morning, Mr. Pickwick bowed low to the ladies, and notwithstanding
the solicitations of the family, left the room with his friends.
'Get your hat, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'It's below stairs, Sir,' said Sam, and he ran down after it.
Now, there was nobody in the kitchen, but the pretty housemaid;
and as Sam's hat was mislaid, he had to look for it, and
the pretty housemaid lighted him. They had to look all over
the place for the hat. The pretty housemaid, in her anxiety to
find it, went down on her knees, and turned over all the things
that were heaped together in a little corner by the door. It was
an awkward corner. You couldn't get at it without shutting the
'Here it is,' said the pretty housemaid. 'This is it, ain't it?'
'Let me look,' said Sam.
The pretty housemaid had stood the candle on the floor; and,
as it gave a very dim light, Sam was obliged to go down on HIS
knees before he could see whether it really was his own hat or not.
it was a remarkably small corner, and so--it was nobody's fault
but the man's who built the house--Sam and the pretty housemaid
were necessarily very close together.
'Yes, this is it,' said Sam. 'Good-bye!'
'Good-bye!' said the pretty housemaid.
'Good-bye!' said Sam; and as he said it, he dropped the hat
that had cost so much trouble in looking for.
'How awkward you are,' said the pretty housemaid. 'You'll
lose it again, if you don't take care.'
So just to prevent his losing it again, she put it on for him.
Whether it was that the pretty housemaid's face looked
prettier still, when it was raised towards Sam's, or whether it was
the accidental consequence of their being so near to each other, is
matter of uncertainty to this day; but Sam kissed her.
'You don't mean to say you did that on purpose,' said the
pretty housemaid, blushing.
'No, I didn't then,' said Sam; 'but I will now.'
So he kissed her again.
'Sam!' said Mr. Pickwick, calling over the banisters.
'Coming, Sir,' replied Sam, running upstairs.
'How long you have been!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'There was something behind the door, Sir, which perwented
our getting it open, for ever so long, Sir,' replied Sam.
And this was the first passage of Mr. Weller's first love.
WHICH CONTAINS A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PROGRESS
OF THE ACTION OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK
Having accomplished the main end and object of his journey, by the
exposure of Jingle, Mr. Pickwick resolved on immediately returning
to London, with the view of becoming acquainted with the proceedings
which had been taken against him, in the meantime, by Messrs.
Dodson and Fogg. Acting upon this resolution with all the energy
and decision of his character, he mounted to the back seat of the
first coach which left Ipswich on the morning after the memorable
occurrences detailed at length in the two preceding chapters; and
accompanied by his three friends, and Mr. Samuel Weller, arrived in
the metropolis, in perfect health and safety, the same evening.
Here the friends, for a short time, separated. Messrs. Tupman,
Winkle, and Snodgrass repaired to their several homes to make
such preparations as might be requisite for their forthcoming
visit to Dingley Dell; and Mr. Pickwick and Sam took up their
present abode in very good, old-fashioned, and comfortable
quarters, to wit, the George and Vulture Tavern and Hotel,
George Yard, Lombard Street.
Mr. Pickwick had dined, finished his second pint of particular
port, pulled his silk handkerchief over his head, put his feet on
the fender, and thrown himself back in an easy-chair, when the
entrance of Mr. Weller with his carpet-bag, aroused him from
his tranquil meditation.
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Sir,' said Mr. Weller.
'I have just been thinking, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'that
having left a good many things at Mrs. Bardell's, in Goswell
Street, I ought to arrange for taking them away, before I leave
'Wery good, sir,' replied Mr. Weller.
'I could send them to Mr. Tupman's, for the present, Sam,'
continued Mr. Pickwick, 'but before we take them away, it is
necessary that they should be looked up, and put together. I
wish you would step up to Goswell Street, Sam, and arrange
'At once, Sir?' inquired Mr. Weller.
'At once,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'And stay, Sam,' added Mr.
Pickwick, pulling out his purse, 'there is some rent to pay. The
quarter is not due till Christmas, but you may pay it, and have
done with it. A month's notice terminates my tenancy. Here it is,
written out. Give it, and tell Mrs. Bardell she may put a bill up,
as soon as she likes.'
'Wery good, sir,' replied Mr. Weller; 'anythin' more, sir?'
'Nothing more, Sam.'
Mr. Weller stepped slowly to the door, as if he expected something
more; slowly opened it, slowly stepped out, and had slowly
closed it within a couple of inches, when Mr. Pickwick called out--
'Yes, sir,' said Mr. Weller, stepping quickly back, and closing
the door behind him.
'I have no objection, Sam, to your endeavouring to ascertain
how Mrs. Bardell herself seems disposed towards me, and
whether it is really probable that this vile and groundless action
is to be carried to extremity. I say I do not object to you doing
this, if you wish it, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Sam gave a short nod of intelligence, and left the room. Mr.
Pickwick drew the silk handkerchief once more over his head,
And composed himself for a nap. Mr. Weller promptly walked
forth, to execute his commission.
It was nearly nine o'clock when he reached Goswell Street. A
couple of candles were burning in the little front parlour, and a
couple of caps were reflected on the window-blind. Mrs. Bardell
had got company.
Mr. Weller knocked at the door, and after a pretty long
interval--occupied by the party without, in whistling a tune, and
by the party within, in persuading a refractory flat candle to
allow itself to be lighted--a pair of small boots pattered over the
floor-cloth, and Master Bardell presented himself.
'Well, young townskip,' said Sam, 'how's mother?'
'She's pretty well,' replied Master Bardell, 'so am I.'
'Well, that's a mercy,' said Sam; 'tell her I want to speak to
her, will you, my hinfant fernomenon?'
Master Bardell, thus adjured, placed the refractory flat candle on
the bottom stair, and vanished into the front parlour with his message.
The two caps, reflected on the window-blind, were the respective
head-dresses of a couple of Mrs. Bardell's most particular
acquaintance, who had just stepped in, to have a quiet cup of tea,
and a little warm supper of a couple of sets of pettitoes and some
toasted cheese. The cheese was simmering and browning away,
most delightfully, in a little Dutch oven before the fire; the
pettitoes were getting on deliciously in a little tin saucepan on the
hob; and Mrs. Bardell and her two friends were getting on very
well, also, in a little quiet conversation about and concerning all
their particular friends and acquaintance; when Master Bardell
came back from answering the door, and delivered the message
intrusted to him by Mr. Samuel Weller.
'Mr. Pickwick's servant!' said Mrs. Bardell, turning pale.
'Bless my soul!' said Mrs. Cluppins.
'Well, I raly would not ha' believed it, unless I had ha' happened
to ha' been here!' said Mrs. Sanders.
Mrs. Cluppins was a little, brisk, busy-looking woman; Mrs.
Sanders was a big, fat, heavy-faced personage; and the two were
Mrs. Bardell felt it proper to be agitated; and as none of the
three exactly knew whether under existing circumstances, any
communication, otherwise than through Dodson & Fogg, ought
to be held with Mr. Pickwick's servant, they were all rather taken
by surprise. In this state of indecision, obviously the first thing
to be done, was to thump the boy for finding Mr. Weller at the
door. So his mother thumped him, and he cried melodiously.
'Hold your noise--do--you naughty creetur!' said Mrs. Bardell.
'Yes; don't worrit your poor mother,' said Mrs. Sanders.
'She's quite enough to worrit her, as it is, without you, Tommy,'
said Mrs. Cluppins, with sympathising resignation.
'Ah! worse luck, poor lamb!' said Mrs. Sanders.
At all which moral reflections, Master Bardell howled the louder.
'Now, what shall I do?' said Mrs. Bardell to Mrs. Cluppins.
'I think you ought to see him,' replied Mrs. Cluppins. 'But on
no account without a witness.'
'I think two witnesses would be more lawful,' said Mrs.
Sanders, who, like the other friend, was bursting with curiosity.
'Perhaps he'd better come in here,' said Mrs. Bardell.
'To be sure,' replied Mrs. Cluppins, eagerly catching at the
idea; 'walk in, young man; and shut the street door first, please.'
Mr. Weller immediately took the hint; and presenting himself
in the parlour, explained his business to Mrs. Bardell thus--
'Wery sorry to 'casion any personal inconwenience, ma'am, as
the housebreaker said to the old lady when he put her on the fire;
but as me and my governor 's only jest come to town, and is jest
going away agin, it can't be helped, you see.'
'Of course, the young man can't help the faults of his master,' said
Mrs. Cluppins, much struck by Mr. Weller's appearance and conversation.
'Certainly not,' chimed in Mrs. Sanders, who, from certain
wistful glances at the little tin saucepan, seemed to be engaged in
a mental calculation of the probable extent of the pettitoes, in the
event of Sam's being asked to stop to supper.
'So all I've come about, is jest this here,' said Sam, disregarding
the interruption; 'first, to give my governor's notice--there it is.
Secondly, to pay the rent--here it is. Thirdly, to say as all his
things is to be put together, and give to anybody as we sends for
'em. Fourthly, that you may let the place as soon as you like--
and that's all.'
'Whatever has happened,' said Mrs. Bardell, 'I always have
said, and always will say, that in every respect but one, Mr.
Pickwick has always behaved himself like a perfect gentleman.
His money always as good as the bank--always.'
As Mrs. Bardell said this, she applied her handkerchief to her
eyes, and went out of the room to get the receipt.
Sam well knew that he had only to remain quiet, and the
women were sure to talk; so he looked alternately at the tin
saucepan, the toasted cheese, the wall, and the ceiling, in
'Poor dear!' said Mrs. Cluppins.
'Ah, poor thing!' replied Mrs. Sanders.
Sam said nothing. He saw they were coming to the subject.
'I raly cannot contain myself,' said Mrs. Cluppins, 'when I
think of such perjury. I don't wish to say anything to make you
uncomfortable, young man, but your master's an old brute, and
I wish I had him here to tell him so.'
'I wish you had,' said Sam.
'To see how dreadful she takes on, going moping about, and
taking no pleasure in nothing, except when her friends comes in,
out of charity, to sit with her, and make her comfortable,'
resumed Mrs. Cluppins, glancing at the tin saucepan and the
Dutch oven, 'it's shocking!'
'Barbareous,' said Mrs. Sanders.
'And your master, young man! A gentleman with money, as
could never feel the expense of a wife, no more than nothing,'
continued Mrs. Cluppins, with great volubility; 'why there ain't
the faintest shade of an excuse for his behaviour! Why don't he
'Ah,' said Sam, 'to be sure; that's the question.'
'Question, indeed,' retorted Mrs. Cluppins, 'she'd question
him, if she'd my spirit. Hows'ever, there is law for us women,
mis'rable creeturs as they'd make us, if they could; and that your
master will find out, young man, to his cost, afore he's six
At this consolatory reflection, Mrs. Cluppins bridled up, and
smiled at Mrs. Sanders, who smiled back again.
'The action's going on, and no mistake,' thought Sam, as
Mrs. Bardell re-entered with the receipt.
'Here's the receipt, Mr. Weller,' said Mrs. Bardell, 'and here's the
change, and I hope you'll take a little drop of something to keep
the cold out, if it's only for old acquaintance' sake, Mr. Weller.'
Sam saw the advantage he should gain, and at once acquiesced;
whereupon Mrs. Bardell produced, from a small closet, a black
bottle and a wine-glass; and so great was her abstraction, in her
deep mental affliction, that, after filling Mr. Weller's glass, she
brought out three more wine-glasses, and filled them too.
'Lauk, Mrs. Bardell,' said Mrs. Cluppins, 'see what you've been
'Well, that is a good one!' ejaculated Mrs. Sanders.
'Ah, my poor head!' said Mrs. Bardell, with a faint smile.
Sam understood all this, of course, so he said at once, that he
never could drink before supper, unless a lady drank with him.
A great deal of laughter ensued, and Mrs. Sanders volunteered to
humour him, so she took a slight sip out of her glass. Then Sam
said it must go all round, so they all took a slight sip. Then little
Mrs. Cluppins proposed as a toast, 'Success to Bardell agin
Pickwick'; and then the ladies emptied their glasses in honour of
the sentiment, and got very talkative directly.
'I suppose you've heard what's going forward, Mr. Weller?'
said Mrs. Bardell.
'I've heerd somethin' on it,' replied Sam.
'It's a terrible thing to be dragged before the public, in that
way, Mr. Weller,' said Mrs. Bardell; 'but I see now, that it's the
only thing I ought to do, and my lawyers, Mr. Dodson and Fogg,
tell me that, with the evidence as we shall call, we must succeed.
I don't know what I should do, Mr. Weller, if I didn't.'
The mere idea of Mrs. Bardell's failing in her action, affected
Mrs. Sanders so deeply, that she was under the necessity of
refilling and re-emptying her glass immediately; feeling, as she
said afterwards, that if she hadn't had the presence of mind to do
so, she must have dropped.
'Ven is it expected to come on?' inquired Sam.
'Either in February or March,' replied Mrs. Bardell.
'What a number of witnesses there'll be, won't there,?' said
'Ah! won't there!' replied Mrs. Sanders.
'And won't Mr. Dodson and Fogg be wild if the plaintiff shouldn't
get it?' added Mrs. Cluppins, 'when they do it all on speculation!'
'Ah! won't they!' said Mrs. Sanders.
'But the plaintiff must get it,' resumed Mrs. Cluppins.
'I hope so,' said Mrs. Bardell.
'Oh, there can't be any doubt about it,' rejoined Mrs. Sanders.
'Vell,' said Sam, rising and setting down his glass, 'all I can say
is, that I vish you MAY get it.'
'Thank'ee, Mr. Weller,' said Mrs. Bardell fervently.
'And of them Dodson and Foggs, as does these sort o' things
on spec,' continued Mr. Weller, 'as vell as for the other kind and
gen'rous people o' the same purfession, as sets people by the ears,
free gratis for nothin', and sets their clerks to work to find out
little disputes among their neighbours and acquaintances as
vants settlin' by means of lawsuits--all I can say o' them is, that
I vish they had the reward I'd give 'em.'
'Ah, I wish they had the reward that every kind and generous
heart would be inclined to bestow upon them!' said the gratified
'Amen to that,' replied Sam, 'and a fat and happy liven' they'd
get out of it! Wish you good-night, ladies.'
To the great relief of Mrs. Sanders, Sam was allowed to depart
without any reference, on the part of the hostess, to the pettitoes
and toasted cheese; to which the ladies, with such juvenile
assistance as Master Bardell could afford, soon afterwards
rendered the amplest justice--indeed they wholly vanished before
their strenuous exertions.
Mr. Weller wended his way back to the George and Vulture,
and faithfully recounted to his master, such indications of the
sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg, as he had contrived to pick up
in his visit to Mrs. Bardell's. An interview with Mr. Perker, next
day, more than confirmed Mr. Weller's statement; and Mr.
Pickwick was fain to prepare for his Christmas visit to Dingley
Dell, with the pleasant anticipation that some two or three
months afterwards, an action brought against him for damages
sustained by reason of a breach of promise of marriage, would
be publicly tried in the Court of Common Pleas; the plaintiff
having all the advantages derivable, not only from the force of
circumstances, but from the sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg
SAMUEL WELLER MAKES A PILGRIMAGE TO DORKING,
AND BEHOLDS HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW
There still remaining an interval of two days before the time agreed
upon for the departure of the Pickwickians to Dingley Dell, Mr.
Weller sat himself down in a back room at the George and Vulture,
after eating an early dinner, to muse on the best way of disposing of
his time. It was a remarkably fine day; and he had not turned the
matter over in his mind ten minutes, when he was suddenly stricken
filial and affectionate; and it occurred to him so strongly that he
ought to go down and see his father, and pay his duty to his
mother-in-law, that he was lost in astonishment at his own remissness
in never thinking of this moral obligation before. Anxious to atone
for his past neglect without another hour's delay, he straightway
walked upstairs to Mr. Pickwick, and requested leave of absence for
this laudable purpose.
'Certainly, Sam, certainly,' said Mr. Pickwick, his eyes
glistening with delight at this manifestation of filial feeling on the
part of his attendant; 'certainly, Sam.'
Mr. Weller made a grateful bow.
'I am very glad to see that you have so high a sense of your
duties as a son, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I always had, sir,' replied Mr. Weller.
'That's a very gratifying reflection, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick
'Wery, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller; 'if ever I wanted anythin' o'
my father, I always asked for it in a wery 'spectful and obligin'
manner. If he didn't give it me, I took it, for fear I should be led
to do anythin' wrong, through not havin' it. I saved him a world
o' trouble this vay, Sir.'
'That's not precisely what I meant, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick,
shaking his head, with a slight smile.
'All good feelin', sir--the wery best intentions, as the gen'l'm'n
said ven he run away from his wife 'cos she seemed unhappy
with him,' replied Mr. Weller.
'You may go, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Thank'ee, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller; and having made his best
bow, and put on his best clothes, Sam planted himself on the top
of the Arundel coach, and journeyed on to Dorking.
The Marquis of Granby, in Mrs. Weller's time, was quite a
model of a roadside public-house of the better class--just large
enough to be convenient, and small enough to be snug. On the
opposite side of the road was a large sign-board on a high post,
representing the head and shoulders of a gentleman with an
apoplectic countenance, in a red coat with deep blue facings, and
a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered hat, for a sky.
Over that again were a pair of flags; beneath the last button of
his coat were a couple of cannon; and the whole formed an
expressive and undoubted likeness of the Marquis of Granby of
The bar window displayed a choice collection of geranium
plants, and a well-dusted row of spirit phials. The open shutters
bore a variety of golden inscriptions, eulogistic of good beds and
neat wines; and the choice group of countrymen and hostlers
lounging about the stable door and horse-trough, afforded
presumptive proof of the excellent quality of the ale and spirits
which were sold within. Sam Weller paused, when he dismounted
from the coach, to note all these little indications of a thriving
business, with the eye of an experienced traveller; and having
done so, stepped in at once, highly satisfied with everything he
'Now, then!' said a shrill female voice the instant Sam thrust
his head in at the door, 'what do you want, young man?'
Sam looked round in the direction whence the voice proceeded.
It came from a rather stout lady of comfortable appearance, who
was seated beside the fireplace in the bar, blowing the fire to
make the kettle boil for tea. She was not alone; for on the other
side of the fireplace, sitting bolt upright in a high-backed chair,
was a man in threadbare black clothes, with a back almost as
long and stiff as that of the chair itself, who caught Sam's most
particular and especial attention at once.
He was a prim-faced, red-nosed man, with a long, thin
countenance, and a semi-rattlesnake sort of eye--rather sharp,
but decidedly bad. He wore very short trousers, and black cotton
stockings, which, like the rest of his apparel, were particularly
rusty. His looks were starched, but his white neckerchief was not,
and its long limp ends straggled over his closely-buttoned waistcoat
in a very uncouth and unpicturesque fashion. A pair of old,
worn, beaver gloves, a broad-brimmed hat, and a faded green
umbrella, with plenty of whalebone sticking through the bottom,
as if to counterbalance the want of a handle at the top, lay on a
chair beside him; and, being disposed in a very tidy and careful
manner, seemed to imply that the red-nosed man, whoever he
was, had no intention of going away in a hurry.
To do the red-nosed man justice, he would have been very far
from wise if he had entertained any such intention; for, to judge
from all appearances, he must have been possessed of a most
desirable circle of acquaintance, if he could have reasonably
expected to be more comfortable anywhere else. The fire was
blazing brightly under the influence of the bellows, and the kettle
was singing gaily under the influence of both. A small tray of
tea-things was arranged on the table; a plate of hot buttered
toast was gently simmering before the fire; and the red-nosed
man himself was busily engaged in converting a large slice of
bread into the same agreeable edible, through the instrumentality
of a long brass toasting-fork. Beside him stood a glass of reeking
hot pine-apple rum-and-water, with a slice of lemon in it; and
every time the red-nosed man stopped to bring the round of toast
to his eye, with the view of ascertaining how it got on, he imbibed
a drop or two of the hot pine-apple rum-and-water, and smiled
upon the rather stout lady, as she blew the fire.
Sam was so lost in the contemplation of this comfortable
scene, that he suffered the first inquiry of the rather stout lady to
pass unheeded. It was not until it had been twice repeated, each
time in a shriller tone, that he became conscious of the
impropriety of his behaviour.
'Governor in?' inquired Sam, in reply to the question.
'No, he isn't,' replied Mrs. Weller; for the rather stout lady
was no other than the quondam relict and sole executrix of the
dead-and-gone Mr. Clarke; 'no, he isn't, and I don't expect him, either.'
'I suppose he's drivin' up to-day?' said Sam.
'He may be, or he may not,' replied Mrs. Weller, buttering
the round of toast which the red-nosed man had just finished. 'I
don't know, and, what's more, I don't care.--Ask a blessin',
The red-nosed man did as he was desired, and instantly
commenced on the toast with fierce voracity.
The appearance of the red-nosed man had induced Sam, at
first sight, to more than half suspect that he was the deputy-
shepherd of whom his estimable parent had spoken. The moment
he saw him eat, all doubt on the subject was removed, and he
perceived at once that if he purposed to take up his temporary
quarters where he was, he must make his footing good without
delay. He therefore commenced proceedings by putting his arm
over the half-door of the bar, coolly unbolting it, and leisurely
'Mother-in-law,' said Sam, 'how are you?'
'Why, I do believe he is a Weller!' said Mrs. W., raising her
eyes to Sam's face, with no very gratified expression of countenance.
'I rayther think he is,' said the imperturbable Sam; 'and I hope
this here reverend gen'l'm'n 'll excuse me saying that I wish I was
THE Weller as owns you, mother-in-law.'
This was a double-barrelled compliment. It implied that Mrs.
Weller was a most agreeable female, and also that Mr. Stiggins
had a clerical appearance. It made a visible impression at once;
and Sam followed up his advantage by kissing his mother-in-law.
'Get along with you!' said Mrs. Weller, pushing him away.
'For shame, young man!' said the gentleman with the red nose.
'No offence, sir, no offence,' replied Sam; 'you're wery right,
though; it ain't the right sort o' thing, ven mothers-in-law is
young and good-looking, is it, Sir?'
'It's all vanity,' said Mr. Stiggins.
'Ah, so it is,' said Mrs. Weller, setting her cap to rights.
Sam thought it was, too, but he held his peace.
The deputy-shepherd seemed by no means best pleased with
Sam's arrival; and when the first effervescence of the compliment
had subsided, even Mrs. Weller looked as if she could have
spared him without the smallest inconvenience. However, there
he was; and as he couldn't be decently turned out, they all three
sat down to tea.
'And how's father?' said Sam.
At this inquiry, Mrs. Weller raised her hands, and turned up
her eyes, as if the subject were too painful to be alluded to.
Mr. Stiggins groaned.
'What's the matter with that 'ere gen'l'm'n?' inquired Sam.
'He's shocked at the way your father goes on in,' replied Mrs. Weller.
'Oh, he is, is he?' said Sam.
'And with too good reason,' added Mrs. Weller gravely.
Mr. Stiggins took up a fresh piece of toast, and groaned heavily.
'He is a dreadful reprobate,' said Mrs. Weller.
'A man of wrath!' exclaimed Mr. Stiggins. He took a large
semi-circular bite out of the toast, and groaned again.
Sam felt very strongly disposed to give the reverend Mr.
Stiggins something to groan for, but he repressed his inclination,
and merely asked, 'What's the old 'un up to now?'
'Up to, indeed!' said Mrs. Weller, 'Oh, he has a hard heart.
Night after night does this excellent man--don't frown,
Mr. Stiggins; I WILL say you ARE an excellent man--come and sit
here, for hours together, and it has not the least effect upon him.'
'Well, that is odd,' said Sam; 'it 'ud have a wery considerable
effect upon me, if I wos in his place; I know that.'
'The fact is, my young friend,' said Mr. Stiggins solemnly, 'he
has an obderrate bosom. Oh, my young friend, who else could
have resisted the pleading of sixteen of our fairest sisters, and
withstood their exhortations to subscribe to our noble society for
providing the infant negroes in the West Indies with flannel
waistcoats and moral pocket-handkerchiefs?'
'What's a moral pocket-ankercher?' said Sam; 'I never see one
o' them articles o' furniter.'
'Those which combine amusement With instruction, my young
friend,' replied Mr. Stiggins, 'blending select tales with wood-cuts.'
'Oh, I know,' said Sam; 'them as hangs up in the linen-drapers'
shops, with beggars' petitions and all that 'ere upon 'em?'
Mr. Stiggins began a third round of toast, and nodded assent.
'And he wouldn't be persuaded by the ladies, wouldn't he?'
'Sat and smoked his pipe, and said the infant negroes were--
what did he say the infant negroes were?' said Mrs. Weller.
'Little humbugs,' replied Mr. Stiggins, deeply affected.
'Said the infant negroes were little humbugs,' repeated Mrs.
Weller. And they both groaned at the atrocious conduct of the
elder Mr. Weller.
A great many more iniquities of a similar nature might have
been disclosed, only the toast being all eaten, the tea having got
very weak, and Sam holding out no indications of meaning to
go, Mr. Stiggins suddenly recollected that he had a most pressing
appointment with the shepherd, and took himself off accordingly.
The tea-things had been scarcely put away, and the hearth
swept up, when the London coach deposited Mr. Weller, senior,
at the door; his legs deposited him in the bar; and his eyes
showed him his son.
'What, Sammy!' exclaimed the father.
'What, old Nobs!' ejaculated the son. And they shook hands heartily.
'Wery glad to see you, Sammy,' said the elder Mr. Weller,
'though how you've managed to get over your mother-in-law, is
a mystery to me. I only vish you'd write me out the receipt,
'Hush!' said Sam, 'she's at home, old feller.'
'She ain't vithin hearin',' replied Mr. Weller; 'she always goes
and blows up, downstairs, for a couple of hours arter tea; so we'll
just give ourselves a damp, Sammy.'
Saying this, Mr. Weller mixed two glasses of spirits-and-water,
and produced a couple of pipes. The father and son sitting down
opposite each other; Sam on one side of the fire, in the
high-backed chair, and Mr. Weller, senior, on the other, in
an easy ditto, they proceeded to enjoy themselves with all due gravity.
'Anybody been here, Sammy?' asked Mr. Weller, senior,
dryly, after a long silence.
Sam nodded an expressive assent.
'Red-nosed chap?' inquired Mr. Weller.
Sam nodded again.
'Amiable man that 'ere, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, smoking violently.
'Seems so,' observed Sam.
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