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The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Part 19 out of 20

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--if not--' Here Mr. Jingle paused, and striking the crown of
his hat with great violence, passed his hand over his eyes, and
sat down.

'He means to say,' said Job, advancing a few paces, 'that if he
is not carried off by the fever, he will pay the money back again.
If he lives, he will, Mr. Pickwick. I will see it done. I know he
will, Sir,' said Job, with energy. 'I could undertake to swear it.'

'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, who had been bestowing a
score or two of frowns upon Perker, to stop his summary of
benefits conferred, which the little attorney obstinately
disregarded, 'you must be careful not to play any more desperate
cricket matches, Mr. Jingle, or to renew your acquaintance with
Sir Thomas Blazo, and I have little doubt of your preserving
your health.'

Mr. Jingle smiled at this sally, but looked rather foolish
notwithstanding; so Mr. Pickwick changed the subject by saying--

'You don't happen to know, do you, what has become of
another friend of yours--a more humble one, whom I saw at Rochester?'

'Dismal Jemmy?' inquired Jingle.

'Yes.'

Jingle shook his head.

'Clever rascal--queer fellow, hoaxing genius--Job's brother.'

'Job's brother!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. 'Well, now I look at
him closely, there IS a likeness.'

'We were always considered like each other, Sir,' said Job,
with a cunning look just lurking in the corners of his eyes, 'only
I was really of a serious nature, and he never was. He emigrated
to America, Sir, in consequence of being too much sought after
here, to be comfortable; and has never been heard of since.'

'That accounts for my not having received the "page from the
romance of real life," which he promised me one morning when
he appeared to be contemplating suicide on Rochester Bridge,
I suppose,' said Mr. Pickwick, smiling. 'I need not inquire
whether his dismal behaviour was natural or assumed.'

'He could assume anything, Sir,' said Job. 'You may consider
yourself very fortunate in having escaped him so easily. On
intimate terms he would have been even a more dangerous
acquaintance than--' Job looked at Jingle, hesitated, and
finally added, 'than--than-myself even.'

'A hopeful family yours, Mr. Trotter,' said Perker, sealing a
letter which he had just finished writing.

'Yes, Sir,' replied Job. 'Very much so.'

'Well,' said the little man, laughing, 'I hope you are going to
disgrace it. Deliver this letter to the agent when you reach
Liverpool, and let me advise you, gentlemen, not to be too
knowing in the West Indies. If you throw away this chance, you
will both richly deserve to be hanged, as I sincerely trust you
will be. And now you had better leave Mr. Pickwick and me
alone, for we have other matters to talk over, and time is
precious.' As Perker said this, he looked towards the door, with
an evident desire to render the leave-taking as brief as possible.

It was brief enough on Mr. Jingle's part. He thanked the little
attorney in a few hurried words for the kindness and promptitude
with which he had rendered his assistance, and, turning to his
benefactor, stood for a few seconds as if irresolute what to say
or how to act. Job Trotter relieved his perplexity; for, with a
humble and grateful bow to Mr. Pickwick, he took his friend
gently by the arm, and led him away.

'A worthy couple!' said Perker, as the door closed behind them.

'I hope they may become so,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'What do
you think? Is there any chance of their permanent reformation?'

Perker shrugged his shoulders doubtfully, but observing Mr.
Pickwick's anxious and disappointed look, rejoined--

'Of course there is a chance. I hope it may prove a good one.
They are unquestionably penitent now; but then, you know, they
have the recollection of very recent suffering fresh upon them.
What they may become, when that fades away, is a problem that
neither you nor I can solve. However, my dear Sir,' added Perker,
laying his hand on Mr. Pickwick's shoulder, 'your object is
equally honourable, whatever the result is. Whether that species
of benevolence which is so very cautious and long-sighted that
it is seldom exercised at all, lest its owner should be imposed
upon, and so wounded in his self-love, be real charity or a
worldly counterfeit, I leave to wiser heads than mine to determine.
But if those two fellows were to commit a burglary to-morrow,
my opinion of this action would be equally high.'

With these remarks, which were delivered in a much more
animated and earnest manner than is usual in legal gentlemen,
Perker drew his chair to his desk, and listened to Mr. Pickwick's
recital of old Mr. Winkle's obstinacy.

'Give him a week,' said Perker, nodding his head prophetically.

'Do you think he will come round?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'I think he will,' rejoined Perker. 'If not, we must try the
young lady's persuasion; and that is what anybody but you
would have done at first.'

Mr. Perker was taking a pinch of snuff with various grotesque
contractions of countenance, eulogistic of the persuasive powers
appertaining unto young ladies, when the murmur of inquiry
and answer was heard in the outer office, and Lowten tapped at
the door.

'Come in!' cried the little man.

The clerk came in, and shut the door after him, with great mystery.

'What's the matter?' inquired Perker.

'You're wanted, Sir.'

'Who wants me?'

Lowten looked at Mr. Pickwick, and coughed.

'Who wants me? Can't you speak, Mr. Lowten?'

'Why, sir,' replied Lowten, 'it's Dodson; and Fogg is with him.'

'Bless my life!' said the little man, looking at his watch, 'I
appointed them to be here at half-past eleven, to settle that
matter of yours, Pickwick. I gave them an undertaking on which
they sent down your discharge; it's very awkward, my dear
Sir; what will you do? Would you like to step into the next room?'

The next room being the identical room in which Messrs.
Dodson & Fogg were, Mr. Pickwick replied that he would
remain where he was: the more especially as Messrs. Dodson &
Fogg ought to be ashamed to look him in the face, instead of his
being ashamed to see them. Which latter circumstance he begged
Mr. Perker to note, with a glowing countenance and many marks
of indignation.

'Very well, my dear Sir, very well,' replied Perker, 'I can only
say that if you expect either Dodson or Fogg to exhibit any
symptom of shame or confusion at having to look you, or
anybody else, in the face, you are the most sanguine man in your
expectations that I ever met with. Show them in, Mr. Lowten.'

Mr. Lowten disappeared with a grin, and immediately returned
ushering in the firm, in due form of precedence--Dodson first,
and Fogg afterwards.

'You have seen Mr. Pickwick, I believe?' said Perker to
Dodson, inclining his pen in the direction where that gentleman
was seated.

'How do you do, Mr. Pickwick?' said Dodson, in a loud voice.

'Dear me,'cried Fogg, 'how do you do, Mr. Pickwick? I hope
you are well, Sir. I thought I knew the face,' said Fogg, drawing
up a chair, and looking round him with a smile.

Mr. Pickwick bent his head very slightly, in answer to these
salutations, and, seeing Fogg pull a bundle of papers from his
coat pocket, rose and walked to the window.

'There's no occasion for Mr. Pickwick to move, Mr. Perker,'
said Fogg, untying the red tape which encircled the little bundle,
and smiling again more sweetly than before. 'Mr. Pickwick is
pretty well acquainted with these proceedings. There are no
secrets between us, I think. He! he! he!'

'Not many, I think,' said Dodson. 'Ha! ha! ha!' Then both
the partners laughed together--pleasantly and cheerfully, as men
who are going to receive money often do.

'We shall make Mr. Pickwick pay for peeping,' said Fogg, with
considerable native humour, as he unfolded his papers. 'The
amount of the taxed costs is one hundred and thirty-three, six,
four, Mr. Perker.'

There was a great comparing of papers, and turning over of
leaves, by Fogg and Perker, after this statement of profit and
loss. Meanwhile, Dodson said, in an affable manner, to Mr.
Pickwick--

'I don't think you are looking quite so stout as when I had the
pleasure of seeing you last, Mr. Pickwick.'

'Possibly not, Sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick, who had been
flashing forth looks of fierce indignation, without producing the
smallest effect on either of the sharp practitioners; 'I believe I am
not, Sir. I have been persecuted and annoyed by scoundrels of
late, Sir.'
Perker coughed violently, and asked Mr. Pickwick whether he
wouldn't like to look at the morning paper. To which inquiry
Mr. Pickwick returned a most decided negative.

'True,' said Dodson, 'I dare say you have been annoyed in the
Fleet; there are some odd gentry there. Whereabouts were your
apartments, Mr. Pickwick?'

'My one room,' replied that much-injured gentleman, 'was on
the coffee-room flight.'

'Oh, indeed!' said Dodson. 'I believe that is a very pleasant
part of the establishment.'

'Very,'replied Mr. Pickwick drily.

There was a coolness about all this, which, to a gentleman of
an excitable temperament, had, under the circumstances, rather
an exasperating tendency. Mr. Pickwick restrained his wrath by
gigantic efforts; but when Perker wrote a cheque for the whole
amount, and Fogg deposited it in a small pocket-book, with a
triumphant smile playing over his pimply features, which
communicated itself likewise to the stern countenance of Dodson,
he felt the blood in his cheeks tingling with indignation.

'Now, Mr. Dodson,' said Fogg, putting up the pocket-book
and drawing on his gloves, 'I am at your service.'

'Very good,' said Dodson, rising; 'I am quite ready.'

'I am very happy,' said Fogg, softened by the cheque, 'to have
had the pleasure of making Mr. Pickwick's acquaintance. I hope
you don't think quite so ill of us, Mr. Pickwick, as when we first
had the pleasure of seeing you.'

'I hope not,' said Dodson, with the high tone of calumniated
virtue. 'Mr. Pickwick now knows us better, I trust; whatever
your opinion of gentlemen of our profession may be, I beg to
assure you, sir, that I bear no ill-will or vindictive feeling towards
you for the sentiments you thought proper to express in our
office in Freeman's Court, Cornhill, on the occasion to which
my partner has referred.'

'Oh, no, no; nor I,' said Fogg, in a most forgiving manner.

'Our conduct, Sir,' said Dodson, 'will speak for itself, and
justify itself, I hope, upon every occasion. We have been in the
profession some years, Mr. Pickwick, and have been honoured
with the confidence of many excellent clients. I wish you good-
morning, Sir.'

'Good-morning, Mr. Pickwick,' said Fogg. So saying, he put his
umbrella under his arm, drew off his right glove, and extended
the hand of reconciliation to that most indignant gentleman;
who, thereupon, thrust his hands beneath his coat tails, and
eyed the attorney with looks of scornful amazement.

'Lowten!' cried Perker, at this moment. 'Open the door.'

'Wait one instant,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Perker, I WILL speak.'

'My dear Sir, pray let the matter rest where it is,' said the little
attorney, who had been in a state of nervous apprehension during
the whole interview; 'Mr. Pickwick, I beg--'

'I will not be put down, Sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick hastily.
'Mr. Dodson, you have addressed some remarks to me.'

Dodson turned round, bent his head meekly, and smiled.

'Some remarks to me,' repeated Mr. Pickwick, almost breathless;
'and your partner has tendered me his hand, and you have
both assumed a tone of forgiveness and high-mindedness, which
is an extent of impudence that I was not prepared for, even in you.'

'What, sir!' exclaimed Dodson.

'What, sir!' reiterated Fogg.

'Do you know that I have been the victim of your plots and
conspiracies?' continued Mr. Pickwick. 'Do you know that I
am the man whom you have been imprisoning and robbing?
Do you know that you were the attorneys for the plaintiff, in
Bardell and Pickwick?'

'Yes, sir, we do know it,' replied Dodson.

'Of course we know it, Sir,' rejoined Fogg, slapping his pocket
--perhaps by accident.

'I see that you recollect it with satisfaction,' said Mr. Pickwick,
attempting to call up a sneer for the first time in his life, and
failing most signally in so doing. 'Although I have long been
anxious to tell you, in plain terms, what my opinion of you is, I
should have let even this opportunity pass, in deference to my
friend Perker's wishes, but for the unwarrantable tone you have
assumed, and your insolent familiarity. I say insolent familiarity,
sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, turning upon Fogg with a fierceness of
gesture which caused that person to retreat towards the door with
great expedition.

'Take care, Sir,' said Dodson, who, though he was the biggest
man of the party, had prudently entrenched himself behind
Fogg, and was speaking over his head with a very pale face. 'Let
him assault you, Mr. Fogg; don't return it on any account.'

'No, no, I won't return it,' said Fogg, falling back a little
more as he spoke; to the evident relief of his partner, who by
these means was gradually getting into the outer office.

'You are,' continued Mr. Pickwick, resuming the thread of his
discourse--'you are a well-matched pair of mean, rascally,
pettifogging robbers.'

'Well,' interposed Perker, 'is that all?'

'It is all summed up in that,' rejoined Mr. Pickwick; 'they are
mean, rascally, pettifogging robbers.'

'There!' said Perker, in a most conciliatory tone. 'My dear sirs,
he has said all he has to say. Now pray go. Lowten, is that door
open?'

Mr. Lowten, with a distant giggle, replied in the affirmative.

'There, there--good-morning--good-morning--now pray, my
dear sirs--Mr. Lowten, the door!' cried the little man, pushing
Dodson & Fogg, nothing loath, out of the office; 'this way, my
dear sirs--now pray don't prolong this-- Dear me--Mr.
Lowten--the door, sir--why don't you attend?'

'If there's law in England, sir,' said Dodson, looking towards
Mr. Pickwick, as he put on his hat, 'you shall smart for this.'

'You are a couple of mean--'

'Remember, sir, you pay dearly for this,' said Fogg.

'--Rascally, pettifogging robbers!' continued Mr. Pickwick,
taking not the least notice of the threats that were addressed to him.

'Robbers!' cried Mr. Pickwick, running to the stair-head, as
the two attorneys descended.

'Robbers!' shouted Mr. Pickwick, breaking from Lowten and
Perker, and thrusting his head out of the staircase window.

When Mr. Pickwick drew in his head again, his countenance
was smiling and placid; and, walking quietly back into the office,
he declared that he had now removed a great weight from his
mind, and that he felt perfectly comfortable and happy.

Perker said nothing at all until he had emptied his snuff-box,
and sent Lowten out to fill it, when he was seized with a fit of
laughing, which lasted five minutes; at the expiration of which
time he said that he supposed he ought to be very angry, but he
couldn't think of the business seriously yet--when he could, he
would be.

'Well, now,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'let me have a settlement with you.'
'Of the same kind as the last?' inquired Perker, with another laugh.
'Not exactly,' rejoined Mr. Pickwick, drawing out his pocket-
book, and shaking the little man heartily by the hand, 'I only
mean a pecuniary settlement. You have done me many acts of
kindness that I can never repay, and have no wish to repay, for
I prefer continuing the obligation.'

With this preface, the two friends dived into some very complicated
accounts and vouchers, which, having been duly displayed and
gone through by Perker, were at once discharged by Mr. Pickwick
with many professions of esteem and friendship.

They had no sooner arrived at this point, than a most violent
and startling knocking was heard at the door; it was not an
ordinary double-knock, but a constant and uninterrupted
succession of the loudest single raps, as if the knocker were
endowed with the perpetual motion, or the person outside had
forgotten to leave off.

'Dear me, what's that?' exclaimed Perker, starting.

'I think it is a knock at the door,' said Mr. Pickwick, as if
there could be the smallest doubt of the fact.

The knocker made a more energetic reply than words could
have yielded, for it continued to hammer with surprising force
and noise, without a moment's cessation.

'Dear me!' said Perker, ringing his bell, 'we shall alarm the
inn. Mr. Lowten, don't you hear a knock?'

'I'll answer the door in one moment, Sir,' replied the clerk.

The knocker appeared to hear the response, and to assert that
it was quite impossible he could wait so long. It made a
stupendous uproar.

'It's quite dreadful,' said Mr. Pickwick, stopping his ears.

'Make haste, Mr. Lowten,' Perker called out; 'we shall have
the panels beaten in.'

Mr. Lowten, who was washing his hands in a dark closet,
hurried to the door, and turning the handle, beheld the appearance
which is described in the next chapter.

CHAPTER LIV
CONTAINING SOME PARTICULARS RELATIVE TO THE
DOUBLE KNOCK, AND OTHER MATTERS: AMONG WHICH
CERTAIN INTERESTING DISCLOSURES RELATIVE TO Mr.
SNODGRASS AND A YOUNG LADY ARE BY NO MEANS
IRRELEVANT TO THIS HISTORY

The object that presented itself to the eyes of the astonished
clerk, was a boy--a wonderfully fat boy--habited as a serving lad,
standing upright on the mat, with his eyes closed as if in sleep.
He had never seen such a fat boy, in or out of a travelling caravan;
and this, coupled with the calmness and repose of his appearance,
so very different from what was reasonably to have been expected
of the inflicter of such knocks, smote him with wonder.

'What's the matter?' inquired the clerk.

The extraordinary boy replied not a word; but he nodded
once, and seemed, to the clerk's imagination, to snore feebly.

'Where do you come from?' inquired the clerk.

The boy made no sign. He breathed heavily, but in all other
respects was motionless.

The clerk repeated the question thrice, and receiving no
answer, prepared to shut the door, when the boy suddenly
opened his eyes, winked several times, sneezed once, and raised
his hand as if to repeat the knocking. Finding the door open, he
stared about him with astonishment, and at length fixed his eyes
on Mr. Lowten's face.

'What the devil do you knock in that way for?' inquired the
clerk angrily.

'Which way?' said the boy, in a slow and sleepy voice.

'Why, like forty hackney-coachmen,' replied the clerk.

'Because master said, I wasn't to leave off knocking till they
opened the door, for fear I should go to sleep,' said the boy.

'Well,' said the clerk, 'what message have you brought?'

'He's downstairs,' rejoined the boy.

'Who?'

'Master. He wants to know whether you're at home.'

Mr. Lowten bethought himself, at this juncture, of looking
out of the window. Seeing an open carriage with a hearty old
gentleman in it, looking up very anxiously, he ventured to
beckon him; on which, the old gentleman jumped out directly.

'That's your master in the carriage, I suppose?' said Lowten.

The boy nodded.

All further inquiries were superseded by the appearance of old
Wardle, who, running upstairs and just recognising Lowten,
passed at once into Mr. Perker's room.

'Pickwick!' said the old gentleman. 'Your hand, my boy! Why
have I never heard until the day before yesterday of your suffering
yourself to be cooped up in jail? And why did you let him do
it, Perker?'

'I couldn't help it, my dear Sir,' replied Perker, with a smile
and a pinch of snuff; 'you know how obstinate he is?'

'Of course I do; of course I do,' replied the old gentleman. 'I
am heartily glad to see him, notwithstanding. I will not lose
sight of him again, in a hurry.'

With these words, Wardle shook Mr. Pickwick's hand once
more, and, having done the same by Perker, threw himself into
an arm-chair, his jolly red face shining again with smiles and health.

'Well!' said Wardle. 'Here are pretty goings on--a pinch of
your snuff, Perker, my boy--never were such times, eh?'

'What do you mean?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Mean!' replied Wardle. 'Why, I think the girls are all running
mad; that's no news, you'll say? Perhaps it's not; but it's true,
for all that.'

'You have not come up to London, of all places in the world,
to tell us that, my dear Sir, have you?' inquired Perker.

'No, not altogether,' replied Wardle; 'though it was the main
cause of my coming. How's Arabella?'

'Very well,' replied Mr. Pickwick, 'and will be delighted to see
you, I am sure.'

'Black-eyed little jilt!' replied Wardle. 'I had a great idea of
marrying her myself, one of these odd days. But I am glad of it
too, very glad.'

'How did the intelligence reach you?' asked Mr. Pickwick.

'Oh, it came to my girls, of course,'replied Wardle. 'Arabella
wrote, the day before yesterday, to say she had made a stolen
match without her husband's father's consent, and so you had
gone down to get it when his refusing it couldn't prevent the
match, and all the rest of it. I thought it a very good time to say
something serious to my girls; so I said what a dreadful thing it
was that children should marry without their parents' consent,
and so forth; but, bless your hearts, I couldn't make the least
impression upon them. They thought it such a much more
dreadful thing that there should have been a wedding without
bridesmaids, that I might as well have preached to Joe himself.'
Here the old gentleman stopped to laugh; and having done so
to his heart's content, presently resumed--

'But this is not the best of it, it seems. This is only half the
love-making and plotting that have been going forward. We
have been walking on mines for the last six months, and they're
sprung at last.'

'What do you mean?' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, turning pale;
'no other secret marriage, I hope?'

'No, no,' replied old Wardle; 'not so bad as that; no.'

'What then?' inquired Mr. Pickwick; 'am I interested in it?'

'Shall I answer that question, Perker?' said Wardle.

'If you don't commit yourself by doing so, my dear Sir.'

'Well then, you are,' said Wardle.

'How?' asked Mr. Pickwick anxiously. 'In what way?'

'Really,' replied Wardle, 'you're such a fiery sort of a young
fellow that I am almost afraid to tell you; but, however, if
Perker will sit between us to prevent mischief, I'll venture.'

Having closed the room door, and fortified himself with
another application to Perker's snuff-box, the old gentleman
proceeded with his great disclosure in these words--

'The fact is, that my daughter Bella--Bella, who married
young Trundle, you know.'

'Yes, yes, we know,' said Mr. Pickwick impatiently.

'Don't alarm me at the very beginning. My daughter Bella--
Emily having gone to bed with a headache after she had read
Arabella's letter to me--sat herself down by my side the other
evening, and began to talk over this marriage affair. "Well, pa,"
she says, "what do you think of it?" "Why, my dear," I said,
"I suppose it's all very well; I hope it's for the best." I answered
in this way because I was sitting before the fire at the time, drinking
my grog rather thoughtfully, and I knew my throwing in
an undecided word now and then, would induce her to continue talking.
Both my girls are pictures of their dear mother, and as I grow old
I like to sit with only them by me; for their voices and looks carry
me back to the happiest period of my life, and make me, for the
moment, as young as I used to be then, though not quite so light-hearted.
"It's quite a marriage of affection, pa," said Bella, after a short
silence. "Yes, my dear," said I, "but such marriages do not always turn
out the happiest."'

'I question that, mind!' interposed Mr. Pickwick warmly.
'Very good,' responded Wardle, 'question anything you like
when it's your turn to speak, but don't interrupt me.'

'I beg your pardon,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Granted,' replied Wardle. '"I am sorry to hear you express
your opinion against marriages of affection, pa," said Bella,
colouring a little. "I was wrong; I ought not to have said so, my
dear, either," said I, patting her cheek as kindly as a rough old
fellow like me could pat it, "for your mother's was one, and so
was yours." "It's not that I meant, pa," said Bella. "The fact is,
pa, I wanted to speak to you about Emily."'

Mr. Pickwick started.

'What's the matter now?' inquired Wardle, stopping in his narrative.

'Nothing,'replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Pray go on.'

'I never could spin out a story,' said Wardle abruptly. 'It must
come out, sooner or later, and it'll save us all a great deal of time
if it comes at once. The long and the short of it is, then, that
Bella at last mustered up courage to tell me that Emily was very
unhappy; that she and your young friend Snodgrass had been in
constant correspondence and communication ever since last
Christmas; that she had very dutifully made up her mind to run
away with him, in laudable imitation of her old friend and
school-fellow; but that having some compunctions of conscience
on the subject, inasmuch as I had always been rather kindly
disposed to both of them, they had thought it better in the first
instance to pay me the compliment of asking whether I would
have any objection to their being married in the usual matter-of-
fact manner. There now, Mr. Pickwick, if you can make it
convenient to reduce your eyes to their usual size again, and
to let me hear what you think we ought to do, I shall feel rather
obliged to you!'

The testy manner in which the hearty old gentleman uttered
this last sentence was not wholly unwarranted; for Mr. Pickwick's
face had settled down into an expression of blank amazement
and perplexity, quite curious to behold.

'Snodgrass!-since last Christmas!' were the first broken
words that issued from the lips of the confounded gentleman.

'Since last Christmas,' replied Wardle; 'that's plain enough,
and very bad spectacles we must have worn, not to have discovered
it before.'

'I don't understand it,' said Mr. Pickwick, ruminating; 'I
cannot really understand it.'

'It's easy enough to understand it,' replied the choleric old
gentleman. 'If you had been a younger man, you would have
been in the secret long ago; and besides,' added Wardle, after a
moment's hesitation, 'the truth is, that, knowing nothing of this
matter, I have rather pressed Emily for four or five months past,
to receive favourably (if she could; I would never attempt to
force a girl's inclinations) the addresses of a young gentleman
down in our neighbourhood. I have no doubt that, girl-like, to
enhance her own value and increase the ardour of Mr. Snodgrass,
she has represented this matter in very glowing colours, and that
they have both arrived at the conclusion that they are a terribly-
persecuted pair of unfortunates, and have no resource but
clandestine matrimony, or charcoal. Now the question is, what's
to be done?'

'What have YOU done?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'I!'

'I mean what did you do when your married daughter told
you this?'

'Oh, I made a fool of myself of course,' rejoined Wardle.

'Just so,' interposed Perker, who had accompanied this
dialogue with sundry twitchings of his watch-chain, vindictive
rubbings of his nose, and other symptoms of impatience. 'That's
very natural; but how?'

'I went into a great passion and frightened my mother into a
fit,' said Wardle.

'That was judicious,' remarked Perker; 'and what else?'

'I fretted and fumed all next day, and raised a great disturbance,'
rejoined the old gentleman. 'At last I got tired of rendering myself
unpleasant and making everybody miserable; so I hired a carriage at
Muggleton, and, putting my own horses in it, came up to town, under
pretence of bringing Emily to see Arabella.'

'Miss Wardle is with you, then?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'To be sure she is,' replied Wardle. 'She is at Osborne's Hotel
in the Adelphi at this moment, unless your enterprising friend
has run away with her since I came out this morning.'

'You are reconciled then?' said Perker.

'Not a bit of it,' answered Wardle; 'she has been crying and
moping ever since, except last night, between tea and supper,
when she made a great parade of writing a letter that I pretended
to take no notice of.'

'You want my advice in this matter, I suppose?' said Perker,
looking from the musing face of Mr. Pickwick to the eager
countenance of Wardle, and taking several consecutive pinches
of his favourite stimulant.

'I suppose so,' said Wardle, looking at Mr. Pickwick.

'Certainly,' replied that gentleman.

'Well then,' said Perker, rising and pushing his chair back,
'my advice is, that you both walk away together, or ride away, or
get away by some means or other, for I'm tired of you, and just
talk this matter over between you. If you have not settled it by
the next time I see you, I'll tell you what to do.'

'This is satisfactory,' said Wardle, hardly knowing whether to
smile or be offended.

'Pooh, pooh, my dear Sir,' returned Perker. 'I know you both a
great deal better than you know yourselves. You have settled
it already, to all intents and purposes.'

Thus expressing himself, the little gentleman poked his snuff-
box first into the chest of Mr. Pickwick, and then into the
waistcoat of Mr. Wardle, upon which they all three laughed,
especially the two last-named gentlemen, who at once shook
hands again, without any obvious or particular reason.

'You dine with me to-day,' said Wardle to Perker, as he
showed them out.

'Can't promise, my dear Sir, can't promise,' replied Perker.
'I'll look in, in the evening, at all events.'

'I shall expect you at five,' said Wardle. 'Now, Joe!' And Joe
having been at length awakened, the two friends departed in
Mr. Wardle's carriage, which in common humanity had a dickey
behind for the fat boy, who, if there had been a footboard
instead, would have rolled off and killed himself in his very first nap.

Driving to the George and Vulture, they found that Arabella
and her maid had sent for a hackney-coach immediately on the
receipt of a short note from Emily announcing her arrival in
town, and had proceeded straight to the Adelphi. As Wardle had
business to transact in the city, they sent the carriage and the fat
boy to his hotel, with the information that he and Mr. Pickwick
would return together to dinner at five o'clock.

Charged with this message, the fat boy returned, slumbering as
peaceably in his dickey, over the stones, as if it had been a down
bed on watch springs. By some extraordinary miracle he awoke
of his own accord, when the coach stopped, and giving himself
a good shake to stir up his faculties, went upstairs to execute
his commission.

Now, whether the shake had jumbled the fat boy's faculties
together, instead of arranging them in proper order, or had
roused such a quantity of new ideas within him as to render him
oblivious of ordinary forms and ceremonies, or (which is also
possible) had proved unsuccessful in preventing his falling asleep
as he ascended the stairs, it is an undoubted fact that he walked
into the sitting-room without previously knocking at the door;
and so beheld a gentleman with his arms clasping his young
mistress's waist, sitting very lovingly by her side on a sofa, while
Arabella and her pretty handmaid feigned to be absorbed in
looking out of a window at the other end of the room. At the
sight of this phenomenon, the fat boy uttered an interjection,
the ladies a scream, and the gentleman an oath, almost simultaneously.

'Wretched creature, what do you want here?' said the gentleman,
who it is needless to say was Mr. Snodgrass.

To this the fat boy, considerably terrified, briefly responded, 'Missis.'

'What do you want me for,' inquired Emily, turning her head
aside, 'you stupid creature?'

'Master and Mr. Pickwick is a-going to dine here at five,'
replied the fat boy.

'Leave the room!' said Mr. Snodgrass, glaring upon the
bewildered youth.

'No, no, no,' added Emily hastily. 'Bella, dear, advise me.'

Upon this, Emily and Mr. Snodgrass, and Arabella and Mary,
crowded into a corner, and conversed earnestly in whispers for
some minutes, during which the fat boy dozed.

'Joe,' said Arabella, at length, looking round with a most
bewitching smile, 'how do you do, Joe?'

'Joe,' said Emily, 'you're a very good boy; I won't forget you, Joe.'

'Joe,' said Mr. Snodgrass, advancing to the astonished youth,
and seizing his hand, 'I didn't know you before. There's five
shillings for you, Joe!"

'I'll owe you five, Joe,' said Arabella, 'for old acquaintance
sake, you know;' and another most captivating smile was
bestowed upon the corpulent intruder.

The fat boy's perception being slow, he looked rather puzzled
at first to account for this sudden prepossession in his favour,
and stared about him in a very alarming manner. At length his
broad face began to show symptoms of a grin of proportionately
broad dimensions; and then, thrusting half-a-crown into each of
his pockets, and a hand and wrist after it, he burst into a horse
laugh: being for the first and only time in his existence.

'He understands us, I see,' said Arabella.
'He had better have something to eat, immediately,' remarked Emily.

The fat boy almost laughed again when he heard this suggestion.
Mary, after a little more whispering, tripped forth from the
group and said--

'I am going to dine with you to-day, sir, if you have no objection.'

'This way,' said the fat boy eagerly. 'There is such a jolly
meat-pie!'

With these words, the fat boy led the way downstairs; his
pretty companion captivating all the waiters and angering all the
chambermaids as she followed him to the eating-room.

There was the meat-pie of which the youth had spoken so
feelingly, and there were, moreover, a steak, and a dish of
potatoes, and a pot of porter.

'Sit down,' said the fat boy. 'Oh, my eye, how prime! I am SO hungry.'

Having apostrophised his eye, in a species of rapture, five or
six times, the youth took the head of the little table, and Mary
seated herself at the bottom.

'Will you have some of this?' said the fat boy, plunging into
the pie up to the very ferules of the knife and fork.

'A little, if you please,' replied Mary.

The fat boy assisted Mary to a little, and himself to a great
deal, and was just going to begin eating when he suddenly laid
down his knife and fork, leaned forward in his chair, and letting
his hands, with the knife and fork in them, fall on his knees, said,
very slowly--

'I say! How nice you look!'

This was said in an admiring manner, and was, so far, gratifying;
but still there was enough of the cannibal in the young
gentleman's eyes to render the compliment a double one.

'Dear me, Joseph,' said Mary, affecting to blush, 'what do you mean?'

The fat boy, gradually recovering his former position, replied
with a heavy sigh, and, remaining thoughtful for a few moments,
drank a long draught of the porter. Having achieved this feat, he
sighed again, and applied himself assiduously to the pie.

'What a nice young lady Miss Emily is!' said Mary, after a
long silence.

The fat boy had by this time finished the pie. He fixed his eyes
on Mary, and replied--
'I knows a nicerer.'

'Indeed!' said Mary.

'Yes, indeed!' replied the fat boy, with unwonted vivacity.

'What's her name?' inquired Mary.

'What's yours?'

'Mary.'

'So's hers,' said the fat boy. 'You're her.' The boy grinned to
add point to the compliment, and put his eyes into something
between a squint and a cast, which there is reason to believe he
intended for an ogle.

'You mustn't talk to me in that way,' said Mary; 'you don't
mean it.'

'Don't I, though?' replied the fat boy. 'I say?'

'Well?'

'Are you going to come here regular?'

'No,' rejoined Mary, shaking her head, 'I'm going away again
to-night. Why?'

'Oh,' said the fat boy, in a tone of strong feeling; 'how we
should have enjoyed ourselves at meals, if you had been!'

'I might come here sometimes, perhaps, to see you,' said
Mary, plaiting the table-cloth in assumed coyness, 'if you would
do me a favour.'

The fat boy looked from the pie-dish to the steak, as if he
thought a favour must be in a manner connected with something
to eat; and then took out one of the half-crowns and glanced at
it nervously.

'Don't you understand me?' said Mary, looking slily in his fat face.

Again he looked at the half-crown, and said faintly, 'No.'

'The ladies want you not to say anything to the old gentleman
about the young gentleman having been upstairs; and I want
you too.'

,is that all?' said the fat boy, evidently very much relieved, as
he pocketed the half-crown again. 'Of course I ain't a-going to.'

'You see,' said Mary, 'Mr. Snodgrass is very fond of Miss
Emily, and Miss Emily's very fond of him, and if you were to tell
about it, the old gentleman would carry you all away miles into
the country, where you'd see nobody.'

'No, no, I won't tell,' said the fat boy stoutly.

'That's a dear,' said Mary. 'Now it's time I went upstairs, and
got my lady ready for dinner.'

'Don't go yet,' urged the fat boy.

'I must,' replied Mary. 'Good-bye, for the present.'

The fat boy, with elephantine playfulness, stretched out his
arms to ravish a kiss; but as it required no great agility to elude
him, his fair enslaver had vanished before he closed them again;
upon which the apathetic youth ate a pound or so of steak with
a sentimental countenance, and fell fast asleep.

There was so much to say upstairs, and there were so many
plans to concert for elopement and matrimony in the event of old
Wardle continuing to be cruel, that it wanted only half an hour
of dinner when Mr. Snodgrass took his final adieu. The ladies ran
to Emily's bedroom to dress, and the lover, taking up his hat,
walked out of the room. He had scarcely got outside the door,
when he heard Wardle's voice talking loudly, and looking over
the banisters beheld him, followed by some other gentlemen,
coming straight upstairs. Knowing nothing of the house, Mr.
Snodgrass in his confusion stepped hastily back into the room he
had just quitted, and passing thence into an inner apartment
(Mr. Wardle's bedchamber), closed the door softly, just as the
persons he had caught a glimpse of entered the sitting-room.
These were Mr. Wardle, Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Nathaniel Winkle,
and Mr. Benjamin Allen, whom he had no difficulty in recognising
by their voices.

'Very lucky I had the presence of mind to avoid them,' thought
Mr. Snodgrass with a smile, and walking on tiptoe to another
door near the bedside; 'this opens into the same passage, and I
can walk quietly and comfortably away.'

There was only one obstacle to his walking quietly and comfortably
away, which was that the door was locked and the key gone.

'Let us have some of your best wine to-day, waiter,' said old
Wardle, rubbing his hands.

'You shall have some of the very best, sir,' replied the waiter.

'Let the ladies know we have come in.'

'Yes, Sir.'

Devoutly and ardently did Mr. Snodgrass wish that the ladies
could know he had come in. He ventured once to whisper,
'Waiter!' through the keyhole, but the probability of the wrong
waiter coming to his relief, flashed upon his mind, together with
a sense of the strong resemblance between his own situation and
that in which another gentleman had been recently found in a
neighbouring hotel (an account of whose misfortunes had
appeared under the head of 'Police' in that morning's paper), he
sat himself on a portmanteau, and trembled violently.

'We won't wait a minute for Perker,' said Wardle, looking at
his watch; 'he is always exact. He will be here, in time, if he
means to come; and if he does not, it's of no use waiting. Ha! Arabella!'

'My sister!' exclaimed Mr. Benjamin Allen, folding her in a
most romantic embrace.

'Oh, Ben, dear, how you do smell of tobacco,' said Arabella,
rather overcome by this mark of affection.

'Do I?' said Mr. Benjamin Allen. 'Do I, Bella? Well, perhaps
I do.'

Perhaps he did, having just left a pleasant little smoking-party
of twelve medical students, in a small back parlour with a large fire.

'But I am delighted to see you,' said Mr. Ben Allen. 'Bless you, Bella!'

'There,' said Arabella, bending forward to kiss her brother;
'don't take hold of me again, Ben, dear, because you tumble me so.'

At this point of the reconciliation, Mr. Ben Allen allowed his
feelings and the cigars and porter to overcome him, and looked
round upon the beholders with damp spectacles.

'is nothing to be said to me?' cried Wardle, with open arms.

'A great deal,' whispered Arabella, as she received the old
gentleman's hearty caress and congratulation. 'You are a hard-
hearted, unfeeling, cruel monster.'

'You are a little rebel,' replied Wardle, in the same tone, 'and
I am afraid I shall be obliged to forbid you the house. People like
you, who get married in spite of everybody, ought not to be let
loose on society. But come!' added the old gentleman aloud,
'here's the dinner; you shall sit by me. Joe; why, damn the boy,
he's awake!'

To the great distress of his master, the fat boy was indeed in a
state of remarkable vigilance, his eyes being wide open, and
looking as if they intended to remain so. There was an alacrity in
his manner, too, which was equally unaccountable; every time
his eyes met those of Emily or Arabella, he smirked and grinned;
once, Wardle could have sworn, he saw him wink.

This alteration in the fat boy's demeanour originated in his
increased sense of his own importance, and the dignity he
acquired from having been taken into the confidence of the
young ladies; and the smirks, and grins, and winks were so many
condescending assurances that they might depend upon his
fidelity. As these tokens were rather calculated to awaken
suspicion than allay it, and were somewhat embarrassing besides,
they were occasionally answered by a frown or shake of the head
from Arabella, which the fat boy, considering as hints to be on
his guard, expressed his perfect understanding of, by smirking,
grinning, and winking, with redoubled assiduity.

'Joe,' said Mr. Wardle, after an unsuccessful search in all his
pockets, 'is my snuff-box on the sofa?'

'No, sir,' replied the fat boy.

'Oh, I recollect; I left it on my dressing-table this morning,'
said Wardle. 'Run into the next room and fetch it.'

The fat boy went into the next room; and, having been absent
about a minute, returned with the snuff-box, and the palest face
that ever a fat boy wore.

'What's the matter with the boy?' exclaimed Wardle.

'Nothen's the matter with me,' replied Joe nervously.

'Have you been seeing any spirits?' inquired the old gentleman.

'Or taking any?' added Ben Allen.

'I think you're right,' whispered Wardle across the table. 'He
is intoxicated, I'm sure.'

Ben Allen replied that he thought he was; and, as that gentleman
had seen a vast deal of the disease in question, Wardle was
confirmed in an impression which had been hovering about his
mind for half an hour, and at once arrived at the conclusion that
the fat boy was drunk.

'Just keep your eye upon him for a few minutes,' murmured
Wardle. 'We shall soon find out whether he is or not.'

The unfortunate youth had only interchanged a dozen words
with Mr. Snodgrass, that gentleman having implored him to
make a private appeal to some friend to release him, and then
pushed him out with the snuff-box, lest his prolonged absence
should lead to a discovery. He ruminated a little with a most
disturbed expression of face, and left the room in search of Mary.

But Mary had gone home after dressing her mistress, and the
fat boy came back again more disturbed than before.

Wardle and Mr. Ben Allen exchanged glances.
'Joe!' said Wardle.

'Yes, sir.'

'What did you go away for?'

The fat boy looked hopelessly in the face of everybody at
table, and stammered out that he didn't know.

'Oh,' said Wardle, 'you don't know, eh? Take this cheese to
Mr. Pickwick.'

Now, Mr. Pickwick being in the very best health and spirits,
had been making himself perfectly delightful all dinner-time, and
was at this moment engaged in an energetic conversation with
Emily and Mr. Winkle; bowing his head, courteously, in the
emphasis of his discourse, gently waving his left hand to lend
force to his observations, and all glowing with placid smiles. He
took a piece of cheese from the plate, and was on the point of
turning round to renew the conversation, when the fat boy,
stooping so as to bring his head on a level with that of Mr.
Pickwick, pointed with his thumb over his shoulder, and made
the most horrible and hideous face that was ever seen out of a
Christmas pantomime.

'Dear me!' said Mr. Pickwick, starting, 'what a very--Eh?'
He stopped, for the fat boy had drawn himself up, and was,
or pretended to be, fast asleep.

'What's the matter?' inquired Wardle.

'This is such an extremely singular lad!' replied Mr. Pickwick,
looking uneasily at the boy. 'It seems an odd thing to say, but
upon my word I am afraid that, at times, he is a little deranged.'

'Oh! Mr. Pickwick, pray don't say so,' cried Emily and
Arabella, both at once.

'I am not certain, of course,' said Mr. Pickwick, amidst
profound silence and looks of general dismay; 'but his manner
to me this moment really was very alarming. Oh!' ejaculated
Mr. Pickwick, suddenly jumping up with a short scream. 'I beg
your pardon, ladies, but at that moment he ran some sharp
instrument into my leg. Really, he is not safe.'

'He's drunk,' roared old Wardle passionately. 'Ring the bell!
Call the waiters! He's drunk.'

'I ain't,' said the fat boy, falling on his knees as his master
seized him by the collar. 'I ain't drunk.'

'Then you're mad; that's worse. Call the waiters,' said the old
gentleman.

'I ain't mad; I'm sensible,' rejoined the fat boy, beginning
to cry.

'Then, what the devil did you run sharp instruments into
Mr. Pickwick's legs for?' inquired Wardle angrily.

'He wouldn't look at me,' replied the boy. 'I wanted to speak
to him.'

'What did you want to say?' asked half a dozen voices at once.

The fat boy gasped, looked at the bedroom door, gasped
again, and wiped two tears away with the knuckle of each of his
forefingers.

'What did you want to say?' demanded Wardle, shaking him.

'Stop!' said Mr. Pickwick; 'allow me. What did you wish to
communicate to me, my poor boy?'

'I want to whisper to you,' replied the fat boy.

'You want to bite his ear off, I suppose,' said Wardle. 'Don't
come near him; he's vicious; ring the bell, and let him be taken
downstairs.'

Just as Mr. Winkle caught the bell-rope in his hand, it
was arrested by a general expression of astonishment; the
captive lover, his face burning with confusion, suddenly walked
in from the bedroom, and made a comprehensive bow to the company.

'Hollo!' cried Wardle, releasing the fat boy's collar, and
staggering back. 'What's this?'

'I have been concealed in the next room, sir, since you
returned,' explained Mr. Snodgrass.

'Emily, my girl,' said Wardle reproachfully, 'I detest meanness
and deceit; this is unjustifiable and indelicate in the highest
degree. I don't deserve this at your hands, Emily, indeed!'

'Dear papa,' said Emily, 'Arabella knows--everybody here
knows--Joe knows--that I was no party to this concealment.
Augustus, for Heaven's sake, explain it!'

Mr. Snodgrass, who had only waited for a hearing, at once
recounted how he had been placed in his then distressing
predicament; how the fear of giving rise to domestic dissensions
had alone prompted him to avoid Mr. Wardle on his entrance;
how he merely meant to depart by another door, but, finding it
locked, had been compelled to stay against his will. It was a
painful situation to be placed in; but he now regretted it the less,
inasmuch as it afforded him an opportunity of acknowledging,
before their mutual friends, that he loved Mr. Wardle's daughter
deeply and sincerely; that he was proud to avow that the feeling
was mutual; and that if thousands of miles were placed between
them, or oceans rolled their waters, he could never for an instant
forget those happy days, when first-- et cetera, et cetera.

Having delivered himself to this effect, Mr. Snodgrass bowed
again, looked into the crown of his hat, and stepped towards the door.

'Stop!' shouted Wardle. 'Why, in the name of all that's--'

'Inflammable,' mildly suggested Mr. Pickwick, who thought
something worse was coming.

'Well--that's inflammable,' said Wardle, adopting the substitute;
'couldn't you say all this to me in the first instance?'

'Or confide in me?' added Mr. Pickwick.

'Dear, dear,' said Arabella, taking up the defence, 'what is the
use of asking all that now, especially when you know you had
set your covetous old heart on a richer son-in-law, and are so
wild and fierce besides, that everybody is afraid of you, except
me? Shake hands with him, and order him some dinner, for
goodness gracious' sake, for he looks half starved; and pray have
your wine up at once, for you'll not be tolerable until you have
taken two bottles at least.'

The worthy old gentleman pulled Arabella's ear, kissed her
without the smallest scruple, kissed his daughter also with great
affection, and shook Mr. Snodgrass warmly by the hand.

'She is right on one point at all events,' said the old gentleman
cheerfully. 'Ring for the wine!'

The wine came, and Perker came upstairs at the same moment.
Mr. Snodgrass had dinner at a side table, and, when he had
despatched it, drew his chair next Emily, without the smallest
opposition on the old gentleman's part.

The evening was excellent. Little Mr. Perker came out wonderfully,
told various comic stories, and sang a serious song which
was almost as funny as the anecdotes. Arabella was very charming,
Mr. Wardle very jovial, Mr. Pickwick very harmonious,
Mr. Ben Allen very uproarious, the lovers very silent, Mr. Winkle
very talkative, and all of them very happy.

CHAPTER LV
Mr. SOLOMON PELL, ASSISTED BY A SELECT COMMITTEE
OF COACHMEN, ARRANGES THE AFFAIRS OF THE ELDER
Mr. WELLER

'Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, accosting his son on the morning after
the funeral, 'I've found it, Sammy. I thought it wos there.'

'Thought wot wos there?' inquired Sam.

'Your mother-in-law's vill, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller. 'In
wirtue o' vich, them arrangements is to be made as I told you on,
last night, respectin' the funs.'

'Wot, didn't she tell you were it wos?' inquired Sam.

'Not a bit on it, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller. 'We wos
a adjestin' our little differences, and I wos a-cheerin' her spirits
and bearin' her up, so that I forgot to ask anythin' about it. I
don't know as I should ha' done it, indeed, if I had remembered
it,' added Mr. Weller, 'for it's a rum sort o' thing, Sammy, to go
a-hankerin' arter anybody's property, ven you're assistin' 'em in
illness. It's like helping an outside passenger up, ven he's been
pitched off a coach, and puttin' your hand in his pocket, vile you
ask him, vith a sigh, how he finds his-self, Sammy.'

With this figurative illustration of his meaning, Mr. Weller
unclasped his pocket-book, and drew forth a dirty sheet of
letter-paper, on which were inscribed various characters crowded
together in remarkable confusion.

'This here is the dockyment, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller. 'I found
it in the little black tea-pot, on the top shelf o' the bar closet.
She used to keep bank-notes there, 'fore she vos married,
Samivel. I've seen her take the lid off, to pay a bill, many and
many a time. Poor creetur, she might ha' filled all the tea-pots in
the house vith vills, and not have inconwenienced herself neither,
for she took wery little of anythin' in that vay lately, 'cept on the
temperance nights, ven they just laid a foundation o' tea to put
the spirits atop on!'

'What does it say?' inquired Sam.

'Jist vot I told you, my boy,' rejoined his parent. 'Two hundred
pound vurth o' reduced counsels to my son-in-law, Samivel, and
all the rest o' my property, of ev'ry kind and description votsoever,
to my husband, Mr. Tony Veller, who I appint as my sole eggzekiter.'

'That's all, is it?' said Sam.

'That's all,' replied Mr. Weller. 'And I s'pose as it's all right
and satisfactory to you and me as is the only parties interested,
ve may as vell put this bit o' paper into the fire.'

'Wot are you a-doin' on, you lunatic?' said Sam, snatching the
paper away, as his parent, in all innocence, stirred the fire
preparatory to suiting the action to the word. 'You're a nice
eggzekiter, you are.'

'Vy not?' inquired Mr. Weller, looking sternly round, with the
poker in his hand.

'Vy not?' exclaimed Sam. ''Cos it must be proved, and probated,
and swore to, and all manner o' formalities.'

'You don't mean that?' said Mr. Weller, laying down the poker.

Sam buttoned the will carefully in a side pocket; intimating by
a look, meanwhile, that he did mean it, and very seriously too.

'Then I'll tell you wot it is,' said Mr. Weller, after a short
meditation, 'this is a case for that 'ere confidential pal o' the
Chancellorship's. Pell must look into this, Sammy. He's the man
for a difficult question at law. Ve'll have this here brought afore
the Solvent Court, directly, Samivel.'

'I never did see such a addle-headed old creetur!' exclaimed
Sam irritably; 'Old Baileys, and Solvent Courts, and alleybis,
and ev'ry species o' gammon alvays a-runnin' through his brain.
You'd better get your out o' door clothes on, and come to town
about this bisness, than stand a-preachin' there about wot you
don't understand nothin' on.'

'Wery good, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, 'I'm quite agreeable
to anythin' as vill hexpedite business, Sammy. But mind this here,
my boy, nobody but Pell--nobody but Pell as a legal adwiser.'

'I don't want anybody else,' replied Sam. 'Now, are you a-comin'?'

'Vait a minit, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, who, having tied
his shawl with the aid of a small glass that hung in the window,
was now, by dint of the most wonderful exertions, struggling into
his upper garments. 'Vait a minit' Sammy; ven you grow as old
as your father, you von't get into your veskit quite as easy as you
do now, my boy.'

'If I couldn't get into it easier than that, I'm blessed if I'd vear
vun at all,' rejoined his son.

'You think so now,' said Mr. Weller, with the gravity of age,
'but you'll find that as you get vider, you'll get viser. Vidth and
visdom, Sammy, alvays grows together.'

As Mr. Weller delivered this infallible maxim--the result of
many years' personal experience and observation--he contrived,
by a dexterous twist of his body, to get the bottom button of his
coat to perform its office. Having paused a few seconds to
recover breath, he brushed his hat with his elbow, and declared
himself ready.

'As four heads is better than two, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller,
as they drove along the London Road in the chaise-cart, 'and as
all this here property is a wery great temptation to a legal
gen'l'm'n, ve'll take a couple o' friends o' mine vith us, as'll be
wery soon down upon him if he comes anythin' irreg'lar; two o'
them as saw you to the Fleet that day. They're the wery best
judges,' added Mr. Weller, in a half-whisper--'the wery best
judges of a horse, you ever know'd.'

'And of a lawyer too?' inquired Sam.

'The man as can form a ackerate judgment of a animal, can
form a ackerate judgment of anythin',' replied his father, so
dogmatically, that Sam did not attempt to controvert the position.

In pursuance of this notable resolution, the services of the
mottled-faced gentleman and of two other very fat coachmen
--selected by Mr. Weller, probably, with a view to their width and
consequent wisdom--were put into requisition; and this
assistance having been secured, the party proceeded to the
public-house in Portugal Street, whence a messenger was
despatched to the Insolvent Court over the way, requiring Mr.
Solomon Pell's immediate attendance.

The messenger fortunately found Mr. Solomon Pell in court,
regaling himself, business being rather slack, with a cold collation
of an Abernethy biscuit and a saveloy. The message was no
sooner whispered in his ear than he thrust them in his pocket
among various professional documents, and hurried over the way
with such alacrity that he reached the parlour before the messenger
had even emancipated himself from the court.

'Gentlemen,' said Mr. Pell, touching his hat, 'my service to
you all. I don't say it to flatter you, gentlemen, but there are not
five other men in the world, that I'd have come out of that court
for, to-day.'

'So busy, eh?' said Sam.

'Busy!' replied Pell; 'I'm completely sewn up, as my friend the
late Lord Chancellor many a time used to say to me, gentlemen,
when he came out from hearing appeals in the House of Lords.
Poor fellow; he was very susceptible to fatigue; he used to feel
those appeals uncommonly. I actually thought more than once
that he'd have sunk under 'em; I did, indeed.'

Here Mr. Pell shook his head and paused; on which, the elder
Mr. Weller, nudging his neighbour, as begging him to mark the
attorney's high connections, asked whether the duties in question
produced any permanent ill effects on the constitution of his
noble friend.

'I don't think he ever quite recovered them,' replied Pell; 'in
fact I'm sure he never did. "Pell," he used to say to me many a
time, "how the blazes you can stand the head-work you do, is
a mystery to me."--"Well," I used to answer, "I hardly know
how I do it, upon my life."--"Pell," he'd add, sighing, and
looking at me with a little envy--friendly envy, you know,
gentlemen, mere friendly envy; I never minded it--"Pell, you're
a wonder; a wonder." Ah! you'd have liked him very much if
you had known him, gentlemen. Bring me three-penn'orth of
rum, my dear.'

Addressing this latter remark to the waitress, in a tone of
subdued grief, Mr. Pell sighed, looked at his shoes and the
ceiling; and, the rum having by that time arrived, drank it up.

'However,' said Pell, drawing a chair to the table, 'a professional
man has no right to think of his private friendships when
his legal assistance is wanted. By the bye, gentlemen, since I saw
you here before, we have had to weep over a very melancholy
occurrence.'

Mr. Pell drew out a pocket-handkerchief, when he came to the
word weep, but he made no further use of it than to wipe away
a slight tinge of rum which hung upon his upper lip.

'I saw it in the ADVERTISER, Mr. Weller,' continued Pell. 'Bless
my soul, not more than fifty-two! Dear me--only think.'

These indications of a musing spirit were addressed to the
mottled-faced man, whose eyes Mr. Pell had accidentally caught;
on which, the mottled-faced man, whose apprehension of matters
in general was of a foggy nature, moved uneasily in his seat, and
opined that, indeed, so far as that went, there was no saying how
things was brought about; which observation, involving one of
those subtle propositions which it is difficult to encounter in
argument, was controverted by nobody.

'I have heard it remarked that she was a very fine woman,
Mr. Weller,' said Pell, in a sympathising manner.

'Yes, sir, she wos,' replied the elder Mr. Weller, not much
relishing this mode of discussing the subject, and yet thinking
that the attorney, from his long intimacy with the late Lord
Chancellor, must know best on all matters of polite breeding.
'She wos a wery fine 'ooman, sir, ven I first know'd her. She wos
a widder, sir, at that time.'

'Now, it's curious,' said Pell, looking round with a sorrowful
smile; 'Mrs. Pell was a widow.'

'That's very extraordinary,' said the mottled-faced man.

'Well, it is a curious coincidence,' said Pell.

'Not at all,' gruffly remarked the elder Mr. Weller. 'More
widders is married than single wimin.'

'Very good, very good,' said Pell, 'you're quite right, Mr.
Weller. Mrs. Pell was a very elegant and accomplished woman;
her manners were the theme of universal admiration in our
neighbourhood. I was proud to see that woman dance; there was
something so firm and dignified, and yet natural, in her motion.
Her cutting, gentlemen, was simplicity itself. Ah! well, well!
Excuse my asking the question, Mr. Samuel,' continued the
attorney in a lower voice, 'was your mother-in-law tall?'

'Not wery,' replied Sam.

'Mrs. Pell was a tall figure,' said Pell, 'a splendid woman, with
a noble shape, and a nose, gentlemen, formed to command and
be majestic. She was very much attached to me--very much--
highly connected, too. Her mother's brother, gentlemen, failed
for eight hundred pounds, as a law stationer.'

'Vell,' said Mr. Weller, who had grown rather restless during
this discussion, 'vith regard to bis'ness.'

The word was music to Pell's ears. He had been revolving in
his mind whether any business was to be transacted, or whether
he had been merely invited to partake of a glass of brandy-and-
water, or a bowl of punch, or any similar professional compliment,
and now the doubt was set at rest without his appearing
at all eager for its solution. His eyes glistened as he laid his hat
on the table, and said--

'What is the business upon which--um? Either of these
gentlemen wish to go through the court? We require an arrest;
a friendly arrest will do, you know; we are all friends here, I suppose?'

'Give me the dockyment, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, taking the
will from his son, who appeared to enjoy the interview amazingly.
'Wot we rekvire, sir, is a probe o' this here.'

'Probate, my dear Sir, probate,' said Pell.

'Well, sir,' replied Mr. Weller sharply, 'probe and probe it, is
wery much the same; if you don't understand wot I mean, sir,
I des-say I can find them as does.'

'No offence, I hope, Mr. Weller,' said Pell meekly. 'You are
the executor, I see,' he added, casting his eyes over the paper.

'I am, sir,' replied Mr. Weller.

'These other gentlemen, I presume, are legatees, are they?'
inquired Pell, with a congratulatory smile.

'Sammy is a leg-at-ease,' replied Mr. Weller; 'these other
gen'l'm'n is friends o' mine, just come to see fair; a kind of
umpires.'

'Oh!' said Pell, 'very good. I have no objections, I'm sure. I
shall want a matter of five pound of you before I begin, ha!
ha! ha!'

It being decided by the committee that the five pound might
be advanced, Mr. Weller produced that sum; after which, a long
consultation about nothing particular took place, in the course
whereof Mr. Pell demonstrated to the perfect satisfaction of the
gentlemen who saw fair, that unless the management of the
business had been intrusted to him, it must all have gone wrong,
for reasons not clearly made out, but no doubt sufficient. This
important point being despatched, Mr. Pell refreshed himself
with three chops, and liquids both malt and spirituous, at the
expense of the estate; and then they all went away to Doctors' Commons.

The next day there was another visit to Doctors' Commons,
and a great to-do with an attesting hostler, who, being inebriated,
declined swearing anything but profane oaths, to the great
scandal of a proctor and surrogate. Next week, there were more
visits to Doctors' Commons, and there was a visit to the Legacy
Duty Office besides, and there were treaties entered into, for the
disposal of the lease and business, and ratifications of the same,
and inventories to be made out, and lunches to be taken, and
dinners to be eaten, and so many profitable things to be done,
and such a mass of papers accumulated that Mr. Solomon Pell,
and the boy, and the blue bag to boot, all got so stout that
scarcely anybody would have known them for the same man,
boy, and bag, that had loitered about Portugal Street, a few days before.

At length all these weighty matters being arranged, a day was
fixed for selling out and transferring the stock, and of waiting
with that view upon Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, stock-broker, of
somewhere near the bank, who had been recommended by Mr.
Solomon Pell for the purpose.

It was a kind of festive occasion, and the parties were attired
accordingly. Mr. Weller's tops were newly cleaned, and his dress
was arranged with peculiar care; the mottled-faced gentleman
wore at his button-hole a full-sized dahlia with several leaves;
and the coats of his two friends were adorned with nosegays of
laurel and other evergreens. All three were habited in strict
holiday costume; that is to say, they were wrapped up to the
chins, and wore as many clothes as possible, which is, and has
been, a stage-coachman's idea of full dress ever since stage-
coaches were invented.

Mr. Pell was waiting at the usual place of meeting at the
appointed time; even he wore a pair of gloves and a clean shirt,
much frayed at the collar and wristbands by frequent washings.

'A quarter to two,' said Pell, looking at the parlour clock. 'If
we are with Mr. Flasher at a quarter past, we shall just hit the
best time.'

'What should you say to a drop o' beer, gen'l'm'n?' suggested
the mottled-faced man.
'And a little bit o' cold beef,' said the second coachman.

'Or a oyster,' added the third, who was a hoarse gentleman,
supported by very round legs.

'Hear, hear!' said Pell; 'to congratulate Mr. Weller, on his
coming into possession of his property, eh? Ha! ha!'

'I'm quite agreeable, gen'l'm'n,' answered Mr. Weller.
'Sammy, pull the bell.'

Sammy complied; and the porter, cold beef, and oysters being
promptly produced, the lunch was done ample justice to. Where
everybody took so active a part, it is almost invidious to make a
distinction; but if one individual evinced greater powers than
another, it was the coachman with the hoarse voice, who took an
imperial pint of vinegar with his oysters, without betraying the
least emotion.

'Mr. Pell, Sir,' said the elder Mr. Weller, stirring a glass of
brandy-and-water, of which one was placed before every gentleman
when the oyster shells were removed--'Mr. Pell, Sir, it wos
my intention to have proposed the funs on this occasion, but
Samivel has vispered to me--'

Here Mr. Samuel Weller, who had silently eaten his oysters
with tranquil smiles, cried, 'Hear!' in a very loud voice.

--'Has vispered to me,' resumed his father, 'that it vould be
better to dewote the liquor to vishin' you success and prosperity,
and thankin' you for the manner in which you've brought this
here business through. Here's your health, sir.'

'Hold hard there,' interposed the mottled-faced gentleman,
with sudden energy; 'your eyes on me, gen'l'm'n!'

Saying this, the mottled-faced gentleman rose, as did the other
gentlemen. The mottled-faced gentleman reviewed the company,
and slowly lifted his hand, upon which every man (including him
of the mottled countenance) drew a long breath, and lifted his
tumbler to his lips. In one instant, the mottled-faced gentleman
depressed his hand again, and every glass was set down empty.
It is impossible to describe the thrilling effect produced by this
striking ceremony. At once dignified, solemn, and impressive, it
combined every element of grandeur.

'Well, gentlemen,' said Mr. Pell, 'all I can say is, that such
marks of confidence must be very gratifying to a professional
man. I don't wish to say anything that might appear egotistical,
gentlemen, but I'm very glad, for your own sakes, that you came
to me; that's all. If you had gone to any low member of the
profession, it's my firm conviction, and I assure you of it as a
fact, that you would have found yourselves in Queer Street
before this. I could have wished my noble friend had been alive
to have seen my management of this case. I don't say it out of
pride, but I think-- However, gentlemen, I won't trouble you
with that. I'm generally to be found here, gentlemen, but if I'm
not here, or over the way, that's my address. You'll find my terms
very cheap and reasonable, and no man attends more to his
clients than I do, and I hope I know a little of my profession
besides. If you have any opportunity of recommending me to
any of your friends, gentlemen, I shall be very much obliged to
you, and so will they too, when they come to know me. Your
healths, gentlemen.'

With this expression of his feelings, Mr. Solomon Pell laid
three small written cards before Mr. Weller's friends, and,
looking at the clock again, feared it was time to be walking.
Upon this hint Mr. Weller settled the bill, and, issuing forth, the
executor, legatee, attorney, and umpires, directed their steps
towards the city.

The office of Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, of the Stock Exchange,
was in a first floor up a court behind the Bank of England; the
house of Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, was at Brixton, Surrey; the
horse and stanhope of Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, were at an
adjacent livery stable; the groom of Wilkins Flasher, Esquire,
was on his way to the West End to deliver some game; the clerk
of Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, had gone to his dinner; and
so Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, himself, cried, 'Come in,' when
Mr. Pell and his companions knocked at the counting-house door.

'Good-morning, Sir,' said Pell, bowing obsequiously. 'We want
to make a little transfer, if you please.'

'Oh, just come in, will you?' said Mr. Flasher. 'Sit down a
minute; I'll attend to you directly.'

'Thank you, Sir,' said Pell, 'there's no hurry. Take a chair,
Mr. Weller.'

Mr. Weller took a chair, and Sam took a box, and the umpires
took what they could get, and looked at the almanac and one or
two papers which were wafered against the wall, with as much
open-eyed reverence as if they had been the finest efforts of the
old masters.

'Well, I'll bet you half a dozen of claret on it; come!' said
Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, resuming the conversation to which
Mr. Pell's entrance had caused a momentary interruption.

This was addressed to a very smart young gentleman who wore
his hat on his right whisker, and was lounging over the desk,
killing flies with a ruler. Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, was balancing
himself on two legs of an office stool, spearing a wafer-box with
a penknife, which he dropped every now and then with great
dexterity into the very centre of a small red wafer that was stuck
outside. Both gentlemen had very open waistcoats and very
rolling collars, and very small boots, and very big rings, and very
little watches, and very large guard-chains, and symmetrical
inexpressibles, and scented pocket-handkerchiefs.

'I never bet half a dozen!' said the other gentleman. 'I'll take
a dozen.'

'Done, Simmery, done!' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire.

'P. P., mind,' observed the other.

'Of course,' replied Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. Wilkins Flasher,
Esquire, entered it in a little book, with a gold pencil-case, and
the other gentleman entered it also, in another little book with
another gold pencil-case.

'I see there's a notice up this morning about Boffer,' observed
Mr. Simmery. 'Poor devil, he's expelled the house!'

'I'll bet you ten guineas to five, he cuts his throat,' said Wilkins
Flasher, Esquire.

'Done,' replied Mr. Simmery.

'Stop! I bar,' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, thoughtfully.
'Perhaps he may hang himself.'

'Very good,' rejoined Mr. Simmery, pulling out the gold
pencil-case again. 'I've no objection to take you that way. Say,
makes away with himself.'

'Kills himself, in fact,' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire.

'Just so,' replied Mr. Simmery, putting it down. '"Flasher--
ten guineas to five, Boffer kills himself." Within what time shall
we say?'

'A fortnight?' suggested Wilkins Flasher, Esquire.

'Con-found it, no,' rejoined Mr. Simmery, stopping for an
instant to smash a fly with the ruler. 'Say a week.'

'Split the difference,' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. 'Make it
ten days.'

'Well; ten days,'rejoined Mr. Simmery.

So it was entered down on the little books that Boffer was to
kill himself within ten days, or Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, was to
hand over to Frank Simmery, Esquire, the sum of ten guineas;
and that if Boffer did kill himself within that time, Frank
Simmery, Esquire, would pay to Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, five
guineas, instead.

'I'm very sorry he has failed,' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire.
'Capital dinners he gave.'

'Fine port he had too,' remarked Mr. Simmery. 'We are going
to send our butler to the sale to-morrow, to pick up some of that
sixty-four.'

'The devil you are!' said Wilkins Flasher, Esquire. 'My man's
going too. Five guineas my man outbids your man.'

'Done.'

Another entry was made in the little books, with the gold
pencil-cases; and Mr. Simmery, having by this time killed all the
flies and taken all the bets, strolled away to the Stock Exchange
to see what was going forward.

Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, now condescended to receive Mr.
Solomon Pell's instructions, and having filled up some printed
forms, requested the party to follow him to the bank, which
they did: Mr. Weller and his three friends staring at all they
beheld in unbounded astonishment, and Sam encountering
everything with a coolness which nothing could disturb.

Crossing a courtyard which was all noise and bustle, and
passing a couple of porters who seemed dressed to match the
red fire engine which was wheeled away into a corner, they
passed into an office where their business was to be transacted,
and where Pell and Mr. Flasher left them standing for a few
moments, while they went upstairs into the Will Office.

'Wot place is this here?' whispered the mottled-faced gentleman
to the elder Mr. Weller.

'Counsel's Office,' replied the executor in a whisper.

'Wot are them gen'l'men a-settin' behind the counters?' asked
the hoarse coachman.

'Reduced counsels, I s'pose,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Ain't they
the reduced counsels, Samivel?'

'Wy, you don't suppose the reduced counsels is alive, do you?'
inquired Sam, with some disdain.

'How should I know?' retorted Mr. Weller; 'I thought they
looked wery like it. Wot are they, then?'

'Clerks,' replied Sam.

'Wot are they all a-eatin' ham sangwidges for?' inquired his father.

''Cos it's in their dooty, I suppose,' replied Sam, 'it's a part o'
the system; they're alvays a-doin' it here, all day long!'
Mr. Weller and his friends had scarcely had a moment to
reflect upon this singular regulation as connected with the
monetary system of the country, when they were rejoined by Pell
and Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, who led them to a part of the
counter above which was a round blackboard with a large 'W.' on it.

'Wot's that for, Sir?' inquired Mr. Weller, directing Pell's
attention to the target in question.

'The first letter of the name of the deceased,' replied Pell.

'I say,' said Mr. Weller, turning round to the umpires, there's
somethin' wrong here. We's our letter--this won't do.'

The referees at once gave it as their decided opinion that the
business could not be legally proceeded with, under the letter
W., and in all probability it would have stood over for one day
at least, had it not been for the prompt, though, at first sight,
undutiful behaviour of Sam, who, seizing his father by the skirt
of the coat, dragged him to the counter, and pinned him there,
until he had affixed his signature to a couple of instruments;
which, from Mr. Weller's habit of printing, was a work of so
much labour and time, that the officiating clerk peeled and ate
three Ribstone pippins while it was performing.

As the elder Mr. Weller insisted on selling out his portion
forthwith, they proceeded from the bank to the gate of the Stock
Exchange, to which Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, after a short
absence, returned with a cheque on Smith, Payne, & Smith, for
five hundred and thirty pounds; that being the money to which
Mr. Weller, at the market price of the day, was entitled, in
consideration of the balance of the second Mrs. Weller's funded
savings. Sam's two hundred pounds stood transferred to his
name, and Wilkins Flasher, Esquire, having been paid his
commission, dropped the money carelessly into his coat pocket,
and lounged back to his office.

Mr. Weller was at first obstinately determined on cashing the
cheque in nothing but sovereigns; but it being represented by the
umpires that by so doing he must incur the expense of a small
sack to carry them home in, he consented to receive the amount
in five-pound notes.

'My son,' said Mr. Weller, as they came out of the banking-
house--'my son and me has a wery partickler engagement this
arternoon, and I should like to have this here bis'ness settled out
of hand, so let's jest go straight avay someveres, vere ve can
hordit the accounts.'

A quiet room was soon found, and the accounts were produced
and audited. Mr. Pell's bill was taxed by Sam, and some charges
were disallowed by the umpires; but, notwithstanding Mr. Pell's
declaration, accompanied with many solemn asseverations that
they were really too hard upon him, it was by very many degrees
the best professional job he had ever had, and one on which he
boarded, lodged, and washed, for six months afterwards.

The umpires having partaken of a dram, shook hands and
departed, as they had to drive out of town that night. Mr.
Solomon Pell, finding that nothing more was going forward,
either in the eating or drinking way, took a friendly leave, and
Sam and his father were left alone.

'There!' said Mr. Weller, thrusting his pocket-book in his side
pocket. 'Vith the bills for the lease, and that, there's eleven
hundred and eighty pound here. Now, Samivel, my boy, turn the
horses' heads to the George and Wulter!'

CHAPTER LVI
AN IMPORTANT CONFERENCE TAKES PLACE BETWEEN
Mr. PICKWICK AND SAMUEL WELLER, AT WHICH HIS
PARENT ASSISTS--AN OLD GENTLEMAN IN A SNUFF-
COLOURED SUIT ARRIVES UNEXPECTEDLY

Mr. Pickwick was sitting alone, musing over many things, and thinking
among other considerations how he could best provide for the young
couple whose present unsettled condition was matter of constant
regret and anxiety to him, when Mary stepped lightly into the room,
and, advancing to the table, said, rather hastily--

'Oh, if you please, Sir, Samuel is downstairs, and he says may
his father see you?'

'Surely,' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Thank you, Sir,' said Mary, tripping towards the door again.

'Sam has not been here long, has he?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Oh, no, Sir,' replied Mary eagerly. 'He has only just come
home. He is not going to ask you for any more leave, Sir, he says.'

Mary might have been conscious that she had communicated
this last intelligence with more warmth than seemed actually
necessary, or she might have observed the good-humoured smile
with which Mr. Pickwick regarded her, when she had finished
speaking. She certainly held down her head, and examined the
corner of a very smart little apron, with more closeness than
there appeared any absolute occasion for.

'Tell them they can come up at once, by all means,' said
Mr. Pickwick.

Mary, apparently much relieved, hurried away with her message.

Mr. Pickwick took two or three turns up and down the room;
and, rubbing his chin with his left hand as he did so, appeared
lost in thought.

'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, at length in a kind but somewhat
melancholy tone, 'it is the best way in which I could reward
him for his attachment and fidelity; let it be so, in Heaven's
name. It is the fate of a lonely old man, that those about him
should form new and different attachments and leave him. I have
no right to expect that it should be otherwise with me. No, no,'
added Mr. Pickwick more cheerfully, 'it would be selfish and
ungrateful. I ought to be happy to have an opportunity of
providing for him so well. I am. Of course I am.'

Mr. Pickwick had been so absorbed in these reflections, that a
knock at the door was three or four times repeated before he
heard it. Hastily seating himself, and calling up his accustomed
pleasant looks, he gave the required permission, and Sam Weller
entered, followed by his father.

'Glad to see you back again, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'How
do you do, Mr. Weller?'

'Wery hearty, thank'ee, sir,' replied the widower; 'hope I see
you well, sir.'

'Quite, I thank you,' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'I wanted to have a little bit o' conwersation with you, sir,' said
Mr. Weller, 'if you could spare me five minits or so, sir.'

'Certainly,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Sam, give your father a chair.'

'Thank'ee, Samivel, I've got a cheer here,' said Mr. Weller,
bringing one forward as he spoke; 'uncommon fine day it's been,
sir,' added the old gentleman, laying his hat on the floor as he sat
himself down.

'Remarkably so, indeed,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Very seasonable.'

'Seasonablest veather I ever see, sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller.
Here, the old gentleman was seized with a violent fit of coughing,
which, being terminated, he nodded his head and winked and
made several supplicatory and threatening gestures to his son, all
of which Sam Weller steadily abstained from seeing.

Mr. Pickwick, perceiving that there was some embarrassment
on the old gentleman's part, affected to be engaged in cutting the
leaves of a book that lay beside him, and waited patiently until
Mr. Weller should arrive at the object of his visit.

'I never see sich a aggrawatin' boy as you are, Samivel,' said
Mr. Weller, looking indignantly at his son; 'never in all my born days.'

'What is he doing, Mr. Weller?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'He von't begin, sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller; 'he knows I ain't
ekal to ex-pressin' myself ven there's anythin' partickler to
be done, and yet he'll stand and see me a-settin' here taking
up your walable time, and makin' a reg'lar spectacle o' myself,
rayther than help me out vith a syllable. It ain't filial conduct,
Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, wiping his forehead; 'wery far from it.'

'You said you'd speak,' replied Sam; 'how should I know you
wos done up at the wery beginnin'?'

'You might ha' seen I warn't able to start,' rejoined his father;
'I'm on the wrong side of the road, and backin' into the palin's,
and all manner of unpleasantness, and yet you von't put out a
hand to help me. I'm ashamed on you, Samivel.'

'The fact is, Sir,' said Sam, with a slight bow, 'the gov'nor's
been a-drawin' his money.'

'Wery good, Samivel, wery good,' said Mr. Weller, nodding
his head with a satisfied air, 'I didn't mean to speak harsh to
you, Sammy. Wery good. That's the vay to begin. Come to the
pint at once. Wery good indeed, Samivel.'

Mr. Weller nodded his head an extraordinary number of
times, in the excess of his gratification, and waited in a listening
attitude for Sam to resume his statement.

'You may sit down, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, apprehending that
the interview was likely to prove rather longer than he had expected.

Sam bowed again and sat down; his father looking round, he
continued--

'The gov'nor, sir, has drawn out five hundred and thirty pound.'

'Reduced counsels,' interposed Mr. Weller, senior, in an undertone.

'It don't much matter vether it's reduced counsels, or wot not,'
said Sam; 'five hundred and thirty pounds is the sum, ain't it?'

'All right, Samivel,' replied Mr. Weller.

'To vich sum, he has added for the house and bisness--'

'Lease, good-vill, stock, and fixters,' interposed Mr. Weller.

'As much as makes it,' continued Sam, 'altogether, eleven
hundred and eighty pound.'

'Indeed!' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I am delighted to hear it. I
congratulate you, Mr. Weller, on having done so well.'

'Vait a minit, Sir,' said Mr. Weller, raising his hand in a
deprecatory manner. 'Get on, Samivel.'

'This here money,' said Sam, with a little hesitation, 'he's
anxious to put someveres, vere he knows it'll be safe, and I'm
wery anxious too, for if he keeps it, he'll go a-lendin' it to somebody,
or inwestin' property in horses, or droppin' his pocket-book
down an airy, or makin' a Egyptian mummy of his-self in
some vay or another.'

'Wery good, Samivel,' observed Mr. Weller, in as complacent
a manner as if Sam had been passing the highest eulogiums on
his prudence and foresight. 'Wery good.'

'For vich reasons,' continued Sam, plucking nervously at the
brim of his hat--'for vich reasons, he's drawn it out to-day, and
come here vith me to say, leastvays to offer, or in other vords--'

'To say this here,' said the elder Mr. Weller impatiently, 'that
it ain't o' no use to me. I'm a-goin' to vork a coach reg'lar, and
ha'n't got noveres to keep it in, unless I vos to pay the guard
for takin' care on it, or to put it in vun o' the coach pockets,

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