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TREATS OF DIVERS LITTLE MATTERS WHICH OCCURRED
IN THE FLEET, AND OF Mr. WINKLE'S MYSTERIOUS
BEHAVIOUR; AND SHOWS HOW THE POOR CHANCERY
PRISONER OBTAINED HIS RELEASE AT LAST
Mr. Pickwick felt a great deal too much touched by the warmth of
Sam's attachment, to be able to exhibit any manifestation of
anger or displeasure at the precipitate course he had adopted, in
voluntarily consigning himself to a debtor's prison for an
indefinite period. The only point on which he persevered in
demanding an explanation, was, the name of Sam's detaining
creditor; but this Mr. Weller as perseveringly withheld.
'It ain't o' no use, sir,' said Sam, again and again; 'he's a
malicious, bad-disposed, vorldly-minded, spiteful, windictive creetur,
with a hard heart as there ain't no soft'nin', as the wirtuous clergyman
remarked of the old gen'l'm'n with the dropsy, ven he said, that
upon the whole he thought he'd rayther leave his property to his
vife than build a chapel vith it.'
'But consider, Sam,' Mr. Pickwick remonstrated, 'the sum is so
small that it can very easily be paid; and having made up My
mind that you shall stop with me, you should recollect how much
more useful you would be, if you could go outside the walls.'
'Wery much obliged to you, sir,' replied Mr. Weller gravely;
'but I'd rayther not.'
'Rather not do what, Sam?'
'Wy, I'd rayther not let myself down to ask a favour o' this
here unremorseful enemy.'
'But it is no favour asking him to take his money, Sam,'
reasoned Mr. Pickwick.
'Beg your pardon, sir,' rejoined Sam, 'but it 'ud be a wery
great favour to pay it, and he don't deserve none; that's where
it is, sir.'
Here Mr. Pickwick, rubbing his nose with an air of some
vexation, Mr. Weller thought it prudent to change the theme of
'I takes my determination on principle, Sir,' remarked Sam,
'and you takes yours on the same ground; wich puts me in mind
o' the man as killed his-self on principle, wich o' course you've
heerd on, Sir.' Mr. Weller paused when he arrived at this point,
and cast a comical look at his master out of the corners of his eyes.
'There is no "of course" in the case, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick,
gradually breaking into a smile, in spite of the uneasiness which
Sam's obstinacy had given him. 'The fame of the gentleman in
question, never reached my ears.'
'No, sir!' exclaimed Mr. Weller. 'You astonish me, Sir; he wos
a clerk in a gov'ment office, sir.'
'Was he?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes, he wos, Sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller; 'and a wery pleasant
gen'l'm'n too--one o' the precise and tidy sort, as puts their feet
in little India-rubber fire-buckets wen it's wet weather, and never
has no other bosom friends but hare-skins; he saved up his
money on principle, wore a clean shirt ev'ry day on principle;
never spoke to none of his relations on principle, 'fear they
shou'd want to borrow money of him; and wos altogether, in
fact, an uncommon agreeable character. He had his hair cut on
principle vunce a fortnight, and contracted for his clothes on the
economic principle--three suits a year, and send back the old
uns. Being a wery reg'lar gen'l'm'n, he din'd ev'ry day at the
same place, where it was one-and-nine to cut off the joint, and a
wery good one-and-nine's worth he used to cut, as the landlord
often said, with the tears a-tricklin' down his face, let alone the
way he used to poke the fire in the vinter time, which wos a dead
loss o' four-pence ha'penny a day, to say nothin' at all o' the
aggrawation o' seein' him do it. So uncommon grand with it
too! "POST arter the next gen'l'm'n," he sings out ev'ry day ven
he comes in. "See arter the TIMES, Thomas; let me look at the
MORNIN' HERALD, when it's out o' hand; don't forget to bespeak
the CHRONICLE; and just bring the 'TIZER, vill you:" and then he'd
set vith his eyes fixed on the clock, and rush out, just a quarter
of a minit 'fore the time to waylay the boy as wos a-comin' in
with the evenin' paper, which he'd read with sich intense interest
and persewerance as worked the other customers up to the wery
confines o' desperation and insanity, 'specially one i-rascible old
gen'l'm'n as the vaiter wos always obliged to keep a sharp eye
on, at sich times, fear he should be tempted to commit some rash
act with the carving-knife. Vell, Sir, here he'd stop, occupyin' the
best place for three hours, and never takin' nothin' arter his
dinner, but sleep, and then he'd go away to a coffee-house a few
streets off, and have a small pot o' coffee and four crumpets,
arter wich he'd walk home to Kensington and go to bed. One
night he wos took very ill; sends for a doctor; doctor comes in a
green fly, with a kind o' Robinson Crusoe set o' steps, as he
could let down wen he got out, and pull up arter him wen he
got in, to perwent the necessity o' the coachman's gettin' down,
and thereby undeceivin' the public by lettin' 'em see that it wos
only a livery coat as he'd got on, and not the trousers to match.
"Wot's the matter?" says the doctor. "Wery ill," says the patient.
"Wot have you been a-eatin' on?" says the doctor. "Roast
weal," says the patient. "Wot's the last thing you dewoured?"
says the doctor. "Crumpets," says the patient. "That's it!" says
the doctor. "I'll send you a box of pills directly, and don't you
never take no more of 'em," he says. "No more o' wot?" says
the patient--"pills?" "No; crumpets," says the doctor. "Wy?"
says the patient, starting up in bed; "I've eat four crumpets,
ev'ry night for fifteen year, on principle." "Well, then, you'd
better leave 'em off, on principle," says the doctor. "Crumpets is
NOT wholesome, Sir," says the doctor, wery fierce. "But they're
so cheap," says the patient, comin' down a little, "and so wery
fillin' at the price." "They'd be dear to you, at any price; dear if
you wos paid to eat 'em," says the doctor. "Four crumpets a
night," he says, "vill do your business in six months!" The patient
looks him full in the face, and turns it over in his mind for a long
time, and at last he says, "Are you sure o' that 'ere, Sir?" "I'll
stake my professional reputation on it," says the doctor. "How
many crumpets, at a sittin', do you think 'ud kill me off at once?"
says the patient. "I don't know," says the doctor. "Do you think
half-a-crown's wurth 'ud do it?" says the patient. "I think it
might," says the doctor. "Three shillins' wurth 'ud be sure to do
it, I s'pose?" says the patient. "Certainly," says the doctor.
"Wery good," says the patient; "good-night." Next mornin' he
gets up, has a fire lit, orders in three shillins' wurth o' crumpets,
toasts 'em all, eats 'em all, and blows his brains out.'
'What did he do that for?' inquired Mr. Pickwick abruptly; for
he was considerably startled by this tragical termination of
'Wot did he do it for, Sir?' reiterated Sam. 'Wy, in support of
his great principle that crumpets wos wholesome, and to show
that he wouldn't be put out of his way for nobody!'
With such like shiftings and changings of the discourse, did
Mr. Weller meet his master's questioning on the night of his
taking up his residence in the Fleet. Finding all gentle remonstrance
useless, Mr. Pickwick at length yielded a reluctant consent
to his taking lodgings by the week, of a bald-headed cobbler, who
rented a small slip room in one of the upper galleries. To this
humble apartment Mr. Weller moved a mattress and bedding,
which he hired of Mr. Roker; and, by the time he lay down upon
it at night, was as much at home as if he had been bred in the
prison, and his whole family had vegetated therein for three generations.
'Do you always smoke arter you goes to bed, old cock?'
inquired Mr. Weller of his landlord, when they had both retired
for the night.
'Yes, I does, young bantam,' replied the cobbler.
'Will you allow me to in-quire wy you make up your bed
under that 'ere deal table?' said Sam.
''Cause I was always used to a four-poster afore I came here,
and I find the legs of the table answer just as well,' replied
'You're a character, sir,' said Sam.
'I haven't got anything of the kind belonging to me,' rejoined
the cobbler, shaking his head; 'and if you want to meet with a
good one, I'm afraid you'll find some difficulty in suiting yourself
at this register office.'
The above short dialogue took place as Mr. Weller lay
extended on his mattress at one end of the room, and the cobbler
on his, at the other; the apartment being illumined by the light
of a rush-candle, and the cobbler's pipe, which was glowing
below the table, like a red-hot coal. The conversation, brief as it
was, predisposed Mr. Weller strongly in his landlord's favour;
and, raising himself on his elbow, he took a more lengthened
survey of his appearance than he had yet had either time or
inclination to make.
He was a sallow man--all cobblers are; and had a strong
bristly beard--all cobblers have. His face was a queer, good-
tempered, crooked-featured piece of workmanship, ornamented
with a couple of eyes that must have worn a very joyous
expression at one time, for they sparkled yet. The man was sixty,
by years, and Heaven knows how old by imprisonment, so that
his having any look approaching to mirth or contentment, was
singular enough. He was a little man, and, being half doubled up
as he lay in bed, looked about as long as he ought to have been
without his legs. He had a great red pipe in his mouth, and was
smoking, and staring at the rush-light, in a state of enviable
'Have you been here long?' inquired Sam, breaking the silence
which had lasted for some time.
'Twelve year,' replied the cobbler, biting the end of his pipe as
'Contempt?' inquired Sam.
The cobbler nodded.
'Well, then,' said Sam, with some sternness, 'wot do you
persevere in bein' obstinit for, vastin' your precious life away, in
this here magnified pound? Wy don't you give in, and tell the
Chancellorship that you're wery sorry for makin' his court
contemptible, and you won't do so no more?'
The cobbler put his pipe in the corner of his mouth, while he smiled,
and then brought it back to its old place again; but said nothing.
'Wy don't you?' said Sam, urging his question strenuously.
'Ah,' said the cobbler, 'you don't quite understand these
matters. What do you suppose ruined me, now?'
'Wy,' said Sam, trimming the rush-light, 'I s'pose the beginnin'
wos, that you got into debt, eh?'
'Never owed a farden,' said the cobbler; 'try again.'
'Well, perhaps,' said Sam, 'you bought houses, wich is delicate
English for goin' mad; or took to buildin', wich is a medical
term for bein' incurable.'
The cobbler shook his head and said, 'Try again.'
'You didn't go to law, I hope?' said Sam suspiciously.
'Never in my life,' replied the cobbler. 'The fact is, I was ruined
by having money left me.'
'Come, come,' said Sam, 'that von't do. I wish some rich
enemy 'ud try to vork my destruction in that 'ere vay. I'd let him.'
'Oh, I dare say you don't believe it,' said the cobbler, quietly
smoking his pipe. 'I wouldn't if I was you; but it's true for
'How wos it?' inquired Sam, half induced to believe the fact
already, by the look the cobbler gave him.
'Just this,' replied the cobbler; 'an old gentleman that I
worked for, down in the country, and a humble relation of whose
I married--she's dead, God bless her, and thank Him for it!--
was seized with a fit and went off.'
'Where?' inquired Sam, who was growing sleepy after the
numerous events of the day.
'How should I know where he went?' said the cobbler, speaking
through his nose in an intense enjoyment of his pipe. 'He went
'Oh, that indeed,' said Sam. 'Well?'
'Well,' said the cobbler, 'he left five thousand pound behind him.'
'And wery gen-teel in him so to do,' said Sam.
'One of which,' continued the cobbler, 'he left to me, 'cause I
married his relation, you see.'
'Wery good,' murmured Sam.
'And being surrounded by a great number of nieces and
nevys, as was always quarrelling and fighting among themselves
for the property, he makes me his executor, and leaves the rest to
me in trust, to divide it among 'em as the will prowided.'
'Wot do you mean by leavin' it on trust?' inquired Sam, waking
up a little. 'If it ain't ready-money, were's the use on it?'
'It's a law term, that's all,' said the cobbler.
'I don't think that,' said Sam, shaking his head. 'There's wery
little trust at that shop. Hows'ever, go on.'
'Well,' said the cobbler, 'when I was going to take out a
probate of the will, the nieces and nevys, who was desperately
disappointed at not getting all the money, enters a caveat
'What's that?' inquired Sam.
'A legal instrument, which is as much as to say, it's no go,'
replied the cobbler.
'I see,' said Sam, 'a sort of brother-in-law o' the have-his-
'But,' continued the cobbler, 'finding that they couldn't agree
among themselves, and consequently couldn't get up a case
against the will, they withdrew the caveat, and I paid all the
legacies. I'd hardly done it, when one nevy brings an action to set
the will aside. The case comes on, some months afterwards, afore
a deaf old gentleman, in a back room somewhere down by Paul's
Churchyard; and arter four counsels had taken a day a-piece to
bother him regularly, he takes a week or two to consider, and
read the evidence in six volumes, and then gives his judgment
that how the testator was not quite right in his head, and I must
pay all the money back again, and all the costs. I appealed; the
case come on before three or four very sleepy gentlemen, who had
heard it all before in the other court, where they're lawyers
without work; the only difference being, that, there, they're
called doctors, and in the other place delegates, if you understand
that; and they very dutifully confirmed the decision of the old
gentleman below. After that, we went into Chancery, where we
are still, and where I shall always be. My lawyers have had all my
thousand pound long ago; and what between the estate, as they
call it, and the costs, I'm here for ten thousand, and shall stop
here, till I die, mending shoes. Some gentlemen have talked of
bringing it before Parliament, and I dare say would have done it,
only they hadn't time to come to me, and I hadn't power to go
to them, and they got tired of my long letters, and dropped the
business. And this is God's truth, without one word of suppression
or exaggeration, as fifty people, both in this place and out
of it, very well know.'
The cobbler paused to ascertain what effect his story had
produced on Sam; but finding that he had dropped asleep, knocked
the ashes out of his pipe, sighed, put it down, drew the bed-
clothes over his head, and went to sleep, too.
Mr. Pickwick was sitting at breakfast, alone, next morning
(Sam being busily engaged in the cobbler's room, polishing his
master's shoes and brushing the black gaiters) when there came a
knock at the door, which, before Mr. Pickwick could cry 'Come
in!' was followed by the appearance of a head of hair
and a cotton-velvet cap, both of which articles of dress he
had no difficulty in recognising as the personal property of
'How are you?' said that worthy, accompanying the inquiry
with a score or two of nods; 'I say--do you expect anybody this
morning? Three men--devilish gentlemanly fellows--have been
asking after you downstairs, and knocking at every door on the
hall flight; for which they've been most infernally blown up by
the collegians that had the trouble of opening 'em.'
'Dear me! How very foolish of them,' said Mr. Pickwick,
rising. 'Yes; I have no doubt they are some friends whom I
rather expected to see, yesterday.'
'Friends of yours!' exclaimed Smangle, seizing Mr. Pickwick
by the hand. 'Say no more. Curse me, they're friends of mine
from this minute, and friends of Mivins's, too. Infernal pleasant,
gentlemanly dog, Mivins, isn't he?' said Smangle, with great feeling.
'I know so little of the gentleman,' said Mr. Pickwick,
hesitating, 'that I--'
'I know you do,' interrupted Smangle, clasping Mr. Pickwick
by the shoulder. 'You shall know him better. You'll be delighted
with him. That man, Sir,' said Smangle, with a solemn countenance,
'has comic powers that would do honour to Drury Lane Theatre.'
'Has he indeed?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Ah, by Jove he has!' replied Smangle. 'Hear him come the
four cats in the wheel-barrow--four distinct cats, sir, I pledge you
my honour. Now you know that's infernal clever! Damme, you
can't help liking a man, when you see these traits about him.
He's only one fault--that little failing I mentioned to you, you know.'
As Mr. Smangle shook his head in a confidential and sympathising
manner at this juncture, Mr. Pickwick felt that he was
expected to say something, so he said, 'Ah!' and looked restlessly
at the door.
'Ah!' echoed Mr. Smangle, with a long-drawn sigh. 'He's
delightful company, that man is, sir. I don't know better company
anywhere; but he has that one drawback. If the ghost of his
grandfather, Sir, was to rise before him this minute, he'd ask him
for the loan of his acceptance on an eightpenny stamp.'
'Dear me!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes,' added Mr. Smangle; 'and if he'd the power of raising
him again, he would, in two months and three days from this
time, to renew the bill!'
'Those are very remarkable traits,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but
I'm afraid that while we are talking here, my friends may be in a
state of great perplexity at not finding me.'
'I'll show 'em the way,' said Smangle, making for the door.
'Good-day. I won't disturb you while they're here, you know. By
As Smangle pronounced the last three words, he stopped
suddenly, reclosed the door which he had opened, and, walking
softly back to Mr. Pickwick, stepped close up to him on tiptoe,
and said, in a very soft whisper--
'You couldn't make it convenient to lend me half-a-crown till
the latter end of next week, could you?'
Mr. Pickwick could scarcely forbear smiling, but managing to
preserve his gravity, he drew forth the coin, and placed it in
Mr. Smangle's palm; upon which, that gentleman, with many
nods and winks, implying profound mystery, disappeared in
quest of the three strangers, with whom he presently returned;
and having coughed thrice, and nodded as many times, as an
assurance to Mr. Pickwick that he would not forget to pay, he
shook hands all round, in an engaging manner, and at length
took himself off.
'My dear friends,' said Mr. Pickwick, shaking hands alternately
with Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass,
who were the three visitors in question, 'I am delighted to see you.'
The triumvirate were much affected. Mr. Tupman shook his
head deploringly, Mr. Snodgrass drew forth his handkerchief,
with undisguised emotion; and Mr. Winkle retired to the
window, and sniffed aloud.
'Mornin', gen'l'm'n,' said Sam, entering at the moment with
the shoes and gaiters. 'Avay vith melincholly, as the little boy
said ven his schoolmissus died. Velcome to the college, gen'l'm'n.'
'This foolish fellow,' said Mr. Pickwick, tapping Sam on the
head as he knelt down to button up his master's gaiters--'this
foolish fellow has got himself arrested, in order to be near me.'
'What!' exclaimed the three friends.
'Yes, gen'l'm'n,' said Sam, 'I'm a--stand steady, sir, if you
please--I'm a prisoner, gen'l'm'n. Con-fined, as the lady said.'
'A prisoner!' exclaimed Mr. Winkle, with unaccountable vehemence.
'Hollo, sir!' responded Sam, looking up. 'Wot's the matter, Sir?'
'I had hoped, Sam, that-- Nothing, nothing,' said Mr.
There was something so very abrupt and unsettled in Mr.
Winkle's manner, that Mr. Pickwick involuntarily looked at his
two friends for an explanation.
'We don't know,' said Mr. Tupman, answering this mute
appeal aloud. 'He has been much excited for two days past,
and his whole demeanour very unlike what it usually is. We
feared there must be something the matter, but he resolutely
'No, no,' said Mr. Winkle, colouring beneath Mr. Pickwick's
gaze; 'there is really nothing. I assure you there is nothing, my
dear sir. It will be necessary for me to leave town, for a short
time, on private business, and I had hoped to have prevailed
upon you to allow Sam to accompany me.'
Mr. Pickwick looked more astonished than before.
'I think,' faltered Mr. Winkle, 'that Sam would have had no
objection to do so; but, of course, his being a prisoner here,
renders it impossible. So I must go alone.'
As Mr. Winkle said these words, Mr. Pickwick felt, with some
astonishment, that Sam's fingers were trembling at the gaiters, as
if he were rather surprised or startled. Sam looked up at Mr.
Winkle, too, when he had finished speaking; and though the
glance they exchanged was instantaneous, they seemed to understand
'Do you know anything of this, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick sharply.
'No, I don't, sir,' replied Mr. Weller, beginning to button with
'Are you sure, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Wy, sir,' responded Mr. Weller; 'I'm sure so far, that I've
never heerd anythin' on the subject afore this moment. If I makes
any guess about it,' added Sam, looking at Mr. Winkle, 'I
haven't got any right to say what 'It is, fear it should be a
'I have no right to make any further inquiry into the private
affairs of a friend, however intimate a friend,' said Mr. Pickwick,
after a short silence; 'at present let me merely say, that I do not
understand this at all. There. We have had quite enough of the
Thus expressing himself, Mr. Pickwick led the conversation to
different topics, and Mr. Winkle gradually appeared more at
ease, though still very far from being completely so. They had all
so much to converse about, that the morning very quickly passed
away; and when, at three o'clock, Mr. Weller produced upon the
little dining-table, a roast leg of mutton and an enormous meat-
pie, with sundry dishes of vegetables, and pots of porter, which
stood upon the chairs or the sofa bedstead, or where they could,
everybody felt disposed to do justice to the meal, notwithstanding
that the meat had been purchased, and dressed, and the pie
made, and baked, at the prison cookery hard by.
To these succeeded a bottle or two of very good wine, for
which a messenger was despatched by Mr. Pickwick to the Horn
Coffee-house, in Doctors' Commons. The bottle or two, indeed,
might be more properly described as a bottle or six, for by the
time it was drunk, and tea over, the bell began to ring for
strangers to withdraw.
But, if Mr. Winkle's behaviour had been unaccountable in the
morning, it became perfectly unearthly and solemn when, under
the influence of his feelings, and his share of the bottle or six,
he prepared to take leave of his friend. He lingered behind, until
Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass had disappeared, and then
fervently clenched Mr. Pickwick's hand, with an expression of
face in which deep and mighty resolve was fearfully blended with
the very concentrated essence of gloom.
'Good-night, my dear Sir!' said Mr. Winkle between his set teeth.
'Bless you, my dear fellow!' replied the warm-hearted Mr.
Pickwick, as he returned the pressure of his young friend's hand.
'Now then!' cried Mr. Tupman from the gallery.
'Yes, yes, directly,' replied Mr. Winkle. 'Good-night!'
'Good-night,' said Mr. Pickwick.
There was another good-night, and another, and half a dozen
more after that, and still Mr. Winkle had fast hold of his friend's
hand, and was looking into his face with the same strange expression.
'Is anything the matter?' said Mr. Pickwick at last, when his
arm was quite sore with shaking.
'Nothing,' said Mr. Winkle.
'Well then, good-night,' said Mr. Pickwick, attempting to
disengage his hand.
'My friend, my benefactor, my honoured companion,' murmured
Mr. Winkle, catching at his wrist. 'Do not judge me
harshly; do not, when you hear that, driven to extremity by
hopeless obstacles, I--'
'Now then,' said Mr. Tupman, reappearing at the door. 'Are
you coming, or are we to be locked in?'
'Yes, yes, I am ready,' replied Mr. Winkle. And with a violent
effort he tore himself away.
As Mr. Pickwick was gazing down the passage after them in
silent astonishment, Sam Weller appeared at the stair-head, and
whispered for one moment in Mr. Winkle's ear.
'Oh, certainly, depend upon me,' said that gentleman aloud.
'Thank'ee, sir. You won't forget, sir?' said Sam.
'Of course not,' replied Mr. Winkle.
'Wish you luck, Sir,' said Sam, touching his hat. 'I should very
much liked to ha' joined you, Sir; but the gov'nor, o' course,
'It is very much to your credit that you remain here,'
said Mr. Winkle. With these words they disappeared down the stairs.
,Very extraordinary,' said Mr. Pickwick, going back into his
room, and seating himself at the table in a musing attitude.
'What can that young man be going to do?'
He had sat ruminating about the matter for some time, when
the voice of Roker, the turnkey, demanded whether he might
'By all means,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I've brought you a softer pillow, Sir,' said Mr. Roker, 'instead
of the temporary one you had last night.'
'Thank you,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Will you take a glass of wine?'
'You're wery good, Sir,' replied Mr. Roker, accepting the
proffered glass. 'Yours, sir.'
'Thank you,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I'm sorry to say that your landlord's wery bad to-night, Sir,'
said Roker, setting down the glass, and inspecting the lining of
his hat preparatory to putting it on again.
'What! The Chancery prisoner!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'He won't be a Chancery prisoner wery long, Sir,' replied
Roker, turning his hat round, so as to get the maker's name
right side upwards, as he looked into it.
'You make my blood run cold,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'What do
'He's been consumptive for a long time past,' said Mr. Roker,
'and he's taken wery bad in the breath to-night. The doctor said,
six months ago, that nothing but change of air could save him.'
'Great Heaven!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick; 'has this man been
slowly murdered by the law for six months?'
'I don't know about that,' replied Roker, weighing the hat by
the brim in both hands. 'I suppose he'd have been took the same,
wherever he was. He went into the infirmary, this morning; the
doctor says his strength is to be kept up as much as possible; and
the warden's sent him wine and broth and that, from his own
house. It's not the warden's fault, you know, sir.'
'Of course not,' replied Mr. Pickwick hastily.
'I'm afraid, however,' said Roker, shaking his head, 'that it's
all up with him. I offered Neddy two six-penn'orths to one upon
it just now, but he wouldn't take it, and quite right. Thank'ee, Sir.
'Stay,' said Mr. Pickwick earnestly. 'Where is this infirmary?'
'Just over where you slept, sir,' replied Roker. 'I'll show you, if
you like to come.' Mr. Pickwick snatched up his hat without
speaking, and followed at once.
The turnkey led the way in silence; and gently raising the
latch of the room door, motioned Mr. Pickwick to enter. It was
a large, bare, desolate room, with a number of stump bedsteads
made of iron, on one of which lay stretched the shadow of a man
--wan, pale, and ghastly. His breathing was hard and thick, and
he moaned painfully as it came and went. At the bedside sat a
short old man in a cobbler's apron, who, by the aid of a pair of
horn spectacles, was reading from the Bible aloud. It was the
The sick man laid his hand upon his attendant's arm, and
motioned him to stop. He closed the book, and laid it on the bed.
'Open the window,' said the sick man.
He did so. The noise of carriages and carts, the rattle of
wheels, the cries of men and boys, all the busy sounds of a mighty
multitude instinct with life and occupation, blended into one
deep murmur, floated into the room. Above the hoarse loud
hum, arose, from time to time, a boisterous laugh; or a scrap of
some jingling song, shouted forth, by one of the giddy crowd,
would strike upon the ear, for an instant, and then be lost amidst
the roar of voices and the tramp of footsteps; the breaking of the
billows of the restless sea of life, that rolled heavily on, without.
These are melancholy sounds to a quiet listener at any time; but
how melancholy to the watcher by the bed of death!
'There is no air here,' said the man faintly. 'The place pollutes
it. It was fresh round about, when I walked there, years ago; but
it grows hot and heavy in passing these walls. I cannot breathe it.'
'We have breathed it together, for a long time,' said the old
man. 'Come, come.'
There was a short silence, during which the two spectators
approached the bed. The sick man drew a hand of his old fellow-
prisoner towards him, and pressing it affectionately between both
his own, retained it in his grasp.
'I hope,' he gasped after a while, so faintly that they bent their
ears close over the bed to catch the half-formed sounds his pale
lips gave vent to--'I hope my merciful Judge will bear in mind
my heavy punishment on earth. Twenty years, my friend, twenty
years in this hideous grave! My heart broke when my child died,
and I could not even kiss him in his little coffin. My loneliness
since then, in all this noise and riot, has been very dreadful. May
God forgive me! He has seen my solitary, lingering death.'
He folded his hands, and murmuring something more they
could not hear, fell into a sleep--only a sleep at first, for they saw
They whispered together for a little time, and the turnkey,
stooping over the pillow, drew hastily back. 'He has got his
discharge, by G--!' said the man.
He had. But he had grown so like death in life, that they knew
not when he died.
DESCRIPTIVE OF AN AFFECTING INTERVIEW BETWEEN Mr.
SAMUEL WELLER AND A FAMILY PARTY. Mr. PICKWICK
MAKES A TOUR OF THE DIMINUTIVE WORLD HE
INHABITS, AND RESOLVES TO MIX WITH IT, IN FUTURE,
AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE
A few mornings after his incarceration, Mr. Samuel Weller,
having arranged his master's room with all possible care, and
seen him comfortably seated over his books and papers, withdrew
to employ himself for an hour or two to come, as he best could.
It was a fine morning, and it occurred to Sam that a pint of
porter in the open air would lighten his next quarter of an hour
or so, as well as any little amusement in which he could indulge.
Having arrived at this conclusion, he betook himself to the
tap. Having purchased the beer, and obtained, moreover, the
day-but-one-before-yesterday's paper, he repaired to the skittle-
ground, and seating himself on a bench, proceeded to enjoy
himself in a very sedate and methodical manner.
First of all, he took a refreshing draught of the beer, and then
he looked up at a window, and bestowed a platonic wink on a
young lady who was peeling potatoes thereat. Then he opened
the paper, and folded it so as to get the police reports outwards;
and this being a vexatious and difficult thing to do, when there is
any wind stirring, he took another draught of the beer when he
had accomplished it. Then, he read two lines of the paper, and
stopped short to look at a couple of men who were finishing a
game at rackets, which, being concluded, he cried out 'wery
good,' in an approving manner, and looked round upon the
spectators, to ascertain whether their sentiments coincided with
his own. This involved the necessity of looking up at the windows
also; and as the young lady was still there, it was an act of
common politeness to wink again, and to drink to her good
health in dumb show, in another draught of the beer, which Sam
did; and having frowned hideously upon a small boy who had
noted this latter proceeding with open eyes, he threw one leg over
the other, and, holding the newspaper in both hands, began to
read in real earnest.
He had hardly composed himself into the needful state of
abstraction, when he thought he heard his own name proclaimed
in some distant passage. Nor was he mistaken, for it quickly
passed from mouth to mouth, and in a few seconds the air
teemed with shouts of 'Weller!'
'Here!' roared Sam, in a stentorian voice. 'Wot's the matter?
Who wants him? Has an express come to say that his country
house is afire?'
'Somebody wants you in the hall,' said a man who was standing by.
'Just mind that 'ere paper and the pot, old feller, will you?'
said Sam. 'I'm a-comin'. Blessed, if they was a-callin' me to the
bar, they couldn't make more noise about it!'
Accompanying these words with a gentle rap on the head of the young
gentleman before noticed, who, unconscious of his close vicinity to
the person in request, was screaming 'Weller!' with all his might,
Sam hastened across the ground, and ran up the steps into the hall.
Here, the first object that met his eyes was his beloved father sitting
on a bottom stair, with his hat in his hand, shouting out 'Weller!' in
his very loudest tone, at half-minute intervals.
'Wot are you a-roarin' at?' said Sam impetuously, when the old
gentleman had discharged himself of another shout; 'making
yourself so precious hot that you looks like a aggrawated glass-
blower. Wot's the matter?'
'Aha!' replied the old gentleman, 'I began to be afeerd that
you'd gone for a walk round the Regency Park, Sammy.'
'Come,' said Sam, 'none o' them taunts agin the wictim o'
avarice, and come off that 'ere step. Wot arc you a-settin' down
there for? I don't live there.'
'I've got such a game for you, Sammy,' said the elder Mr.
'Stop a minit,' said Sam, 'you're all vite behind.'
'That's right, Sammy, rub it off,' said Mr. Weller, as his son
dusted him. 'It might look personal here, if a man walked about
with vitevash on his clothes, eh, Sammy?'
As Mr. Weller exhibited in this place unequivocal symptoms
of an approaching fit of chuckling, Sam interposed to stop it.
'Keep quiet, do,' said Sam, 'there never vos such a old picter-
card born. Wot are you bustin' vith, now?'
'Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, wiping his forehead, 'I'm afeerd
that vun o' these days I shall laugh myself into a appleplexy, my boy.'
'Vell, then, wot do you do it for?' said Sam. 'Now, then, wot
have you got to say?'
'Who do you think's come here with me, Samivel?' said Mr.
Weller, drawing back a pace or two, pursing up his mouth, and
extending his eyebrows.
'Pell?' said Sam.
Mr. Weller shook his head, and his red cheeks expanded with
the laughter that was endeavouring to find a vent.
'Mottled-faced man, p'raps?' asked Sam.
Again Mr. Weller shook his head.
'Who then?'asked Sam.
'Your mother-in-law,' said Mr. Weller; and it was lucky he did
say it, or his cheeks must inevitably have cracked, from their
most unnatural distension.
'Your mother--in--law, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, 'and the
red-nosed man, my boy; and the red-nosed man. Ho! ho! ho!'
With this, Mr. Weller launched into convulsions of laughter,
while Sam regarded him with a broad grin gradually over-
spreading his whole countenance.
'They've come to have a little serious talk with you, Samivel,'
said Mr. Weller, wiping his eyes. 'Don't let out nothin' about the
unnat'ral creditor, Sammy.'
'Wot, don't they know who it is?' inquired Sam.
'Not a bit on it,' replied his father.
'Vere are they?' said Sam, reciprocating all the old gentleman's grins.
'In the snuggery,' rejoined Mr. Weller. 'Catch the red-nosed
man a-goin' anyvere but vere the liquors is; not he, Samivel, not
he. Ve'd a wery pleasant ride along the road from the Markis
this mornin', Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, when he felt himself
equal to the task of speaking in an articulate manner. 'I drove the
old piebald in that 'ere little shay-cart as belonged to your
mother-in-law's first wenter, into vich a harm-cheer wos lifted
for the shepherd; and I'm blessed,' said Mr. Weller, with a look
of deep scorn--'I'm blessed if they didn't bring a portable flight
o' steps out into the road a-front o' our door for him, to get up by.'
'You don't mean that?' said Sam.
'I do mean that, Sammy,' replied his father, 'and I vish you
could ha' seen how tight he held on by the sides wen he did get
up, as if he wos afeerd o' being precipitayted down full six foot, and
dashed into a million hatoms. He tumbled in at last, however, and avay
ve vent; and I rayther think--I say I rayther think, Samivel--that he
found his-self a little jolted ven ve turned the corners.'
'Wot, I s'pose you happened to drive up agin a post or two?'
'I'm afeerd,' replied Mr. Weller, in a rapture of winks--'I'm
afeerd I took vun or two on 'em, Sammy; he wos a-flyin' out o'
the arm-cheer all the way.'
Here the old gentleman shook his head from side to side, and
was seized with a hoarse internal rumbling, accompanied with a
violent swelling of the countenance, and a sudden increase in the
breadth of all his features; symptoms which alarmed his son
not a little.
'Don't be frightened, Sammy, don't be frightened,' said the
old gentleman, when by dint of much struggling, and various
convulsive stamps upon the ground, he had recovered his
voice. 'It's only a kind o' quiet laugh as I'm a-tryin' to come, Sammy.'
'Well, if that's wot it is,' said Sam, 'you'd better not try to
come it agin. You'll find it rayther a dangerous inwention.'
'Don't you like it, Sammy?' inquired the old gentleman.
'Not at all,' replied Sam.
'Well,' said Mr. Weller, with the tears still running down his
cheeks, 'it 'ud ha' been a wery great accommodation to me if I
could ha' done it, and 'ud ha' saved a good many vords atween
your mother-in-law and me, sometimes; but I'm afeerd you're
right, Sammy, it's too much in the appleplexy line--a deal too
This conversation brought them to the door of the snuggery,
into which Sam--pausing for an instant to look over his shoulder,
and cast a sly leer at his respected progenitor, who was still
giggling behind--at once led the way.
'Mother-in-law,' said Sam, politely saluting the lady, 'wery
much obliged to you for this here wisit.--Shepherd, how air you?'
'Oh, Samuel!' said Mrs. Weller. 'This is dreadful.'
'Not a bit on it, mum,' replied Sam.--'Is it, shepherd?'
Mr. Stiggins raised his hands, and turned up his eyes, until the
whites--or rather the yellows--were alone visible; but made no
reply in words.
'Is this here gen'l'm'n troubled with any painful complaint?'
said Sam, looking to his mother-in-law for explanation.
'The good man is grieved to see you here, Samuel,' replied
'Oh, that's it, is it?' said Sam. 'I was afeerd, from his manner,
that he might ha' forgotten to take pepper vith that 'ere last
cowcumber he eat. Set down, Sir, ve make no extra charge for
settin' down, as the king remarked wen he blowed up his ministers.'
'Young man,' said Mr. Stiggins ostentatiously, 'I fear you are
not softened by imprisonment.'
'Beg your pardon, Sir,' replied Sam; 'wot wos you graciously
pleased to hobserve?'
'I apprehend, young man, that your nature is no softer for this
chastening,' said Mr. Stiggins, in a loud voice.
'Sir,' replied Sam, 'you're wery kind to say so. I hope my
natur is NOT a soft vun, Sir. Wery much obliged to you for your
good opinion, Sir.'
At this point of the conversation, a sound, indecorously
approaching to a laugh, was heard to proceed from the chair
in which the elder Mr. Weller was seated; upon which Mrs.
Weller, on a hasty consideration of all the circumstances of the
case, considered it her bounden duty to become gradually hysterical.
'Weller,' said Mrs. W. (the old gentleman was seated in a
corner); 'Weller! Come forth.'
'Wery much obleeged to you, my dear,' replied Mr. Weller;
'but I'm quite comfortable vere I am.'
Upon this, Mrs. Weller burst into tears.
'Wot's gone wrong, mum?' said Sam.
'Oh, Samuel!' replied Mrs. Weller, 'your father makes me
wretched. Will nothing do him good?'
'Do you hear this here?' said Sam. 'Lady vants to know vether
nothin' 'ull do you good.'
'Wery much indebted to Mrs. Weller for her po-lite inquiries,
Sammy,' replied the old gentleman. 'I think a pipe vould benefit
me a good deal. Could I be accommodated, Sammy?'
Here Mrs. Weller let fall some more tears, and Mr. Stiggins groaned.
'Hollo! Here's this unfortunate gen'l'm'n took ill agin,' said
Sam, looking round. 'Vere do you feel it now, sir?'
'In the same place, young man,' rejoined Mr. Stiggins, 'in the
'Vere may that be, Sir?' inquired Sam, with great outward simplicity.
'In the buzzim, young man,' replied Mr. Stiggins, placing his
umbrella on his waistcoat.
At this affecting reply, Mrs. Weller, being wholly unable to
suppress her feelings, sobbed aloud, and stated her conviction
that the red-nosed man was a saint; whereupon Mr. Weller,
senior, ventured to suggest, in an undertone, that he must be the
representative of the united parishes of St. Simon Without and
St. Walker Within.
'I'm afeered, mum,' said Sam, 'that this here gen'l'm'n, with
the twist in his countenance, feels rather thirsty, with the
melancholy spectacle afore him. Is it the case, mum?'
The worthy lady looked at Mr. Stiggins for a reply; that
gentleman, with many rollings of the eye, clenched his throat
with his right hand, and mimicked the act of swallowing, to
intimate that he was athirst.
'I am afraid, Samuel, that his feelings have made him so
indeed,' said Mrs. Weller mournfully.
'Wot's your usual tap, sir?' replied Sam.
'Oh, my dear young friend,' replied Mr. Stiggins, 'all taps
'Too true, too true, indeed,' said Mrs. Weller, murmuring a
groan, and shaking her head assentingly.
'Well,' said Sam, 'I des-say they may be, sir; but wich is your
partickler wanity? Wich wanity do you like the flavour on
'Oh, my dear young friend,' replied Mr. Stiggins, 'I despise
them all. If,' said Mr. Stiggins--'if there is any one of them less
odious than another, it is the liquor called rum. Warm, my dear
young friend, with three lumps of sugar to the tumbler.'
'Wery sorry to say, sir,' said Sam, 'that they don't allow that
particular wanity to be sold in this here establishment.'
'Oh, the hardness of heart of these inveterate men!' ejaculated
Mr. Stiggins. 'Oh, the accursed cruelty of these inhuman persecutors!'
With these words, Mr. Stiggins again cast up his eyes, and
rapped his breast with his umbrella; and it is but justice to the
reverend gentleman to say, that his indignation appeared very
real and unfeigned indeed.
After Mrs. Weller and the red-nosed gentleman had commented
on this inhuman usage in a very forcible manner, and
had vented a variety of pious and holy execrations against its
authors, the latter recommended a bottle of port wine, warmed
with a little water, spice, and sugar, as being grateful to the
stomach, and savouring less of vanity than many other compounds.
It was accordingly ordered to be prepared, and pending
its preparation the red-nosed man and Mrs. Weller looked at the
elder W. and groaned.
'Well, Sammy,' said the gentleman, 'I hope you'll find your
spirits rose by this here lively wisit. Wery cheerful and improvin'
conwersation, ain't it, Sammy?'
'You're a reprobate,' replied Sam; 'and I desire you won't
address no more o' them ungraceful remarks to me.'
So far from being edified by this very proper reply, the elder
Mr. Weller at once relapsed into a broad grin; and this inexorable
conduct causing the lady and Mr. Stiggins to close their eyes, and
rock themselves to and fro on their chairs, in a troubled manner,
he furthermore indulged in several acts of pantomime, indicative
of a desire to pummel and wring the nose of the aforesaid
Stiggins, the performance of which, appeared to afford him great
mental relief. The old gentleman very narrowly escaped detection
in one instance; for Mr. Stiggins happening to give a start on the
arrival of the negus, brought his head in smart contact with the
clenched fist with which Mr. Weller had been describing imaginary
fireworks in the air, within two inches of his ear, for some minutes.
'Wot are you a-reachin' out, your hand for the tumbler in that
'ere sawage way for?' said Sam, with great promptitude. 'Don't
you see you've hit the gen'l'm'n?'
'I didn't go to do it, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, in some degree
abashed by the very unexpected occurrence of the incident.
'Try an in'ard application, sir,' said Sam, as the red-nosed
gentleman rubbed his head with a rueful visage. 'Wot do you
think o' that, for a go o' wanity, warm, Sir?'
Mr. Stiggins made no verbal answer, but his manner was
expressive. He tasted the contents of the glass which Sam had
placed in his hand, put his umbrella on the floor, and tasted it
again, passing his hand placidly across his stomach twice or
thrice; he then drank the whole at a breath, and smacking his
lips, held out the tumbler for more.
Nor was Mrs. Weller behind-hand in doing justice to the
composition. The good lady began by protesting that she couldn't
touch a drop--then took a small drop--then a large drop--
then a great many drops; and her feelings being of the nature
of those substances which are powerfully affected by the application
of strong waters, she dropped a tear with every drop
of negus, and so got on, melting the feelings down, until at
length she had arrived at a very pathetic and decent pitch of misery.
The elder Mr. Weller observed these signs and tokens with
many manifestations of disgust, and when, after a second jug of
the same, Mr. Stiggins began to sigh in a dismal manner, he
plainly evinced his disapprobation of the whole proceedings, by
sundry incoherent ramblings of speech, among which frequent
angry repetitions of the word 'gammon' were alone distinguishable
to the ear.
'I'll tell you wot it is, Samivel, my boy,' whispered the old
gentleman into his son's ear, after a long and steadfast
contemplation of his lady and Mr. Stiggins; 'I think there must be
somethin' wrong in your mother-in-law's inside, as vell as in that
o' the red-nosed man.'
'Wot do you mean?' said Sam.
'I mean this here, Sammy,' replied the old gentleman, 'that
wot they drink, don't seem no nourishment to 'em; it all turns to
warm water, and comes a-pourin' out o' their eyes. 'Pend upon
it, Sammy, it's a constitootional infirmity.'
Mr. Weller delivered this scientific opinion with many
confirmatory frowns and nods; which, Mrs. Weller remarking, and
concluding that they bore some disparaging reference either to
herself or to Mr. Stiggins, or to both, was on the point of
becoming infinitely worse, when Mr. Stiggins, getting on his legs
as well as he could, proceeded to deliver an edifying discourse for
the benefit of the company, but more especially of Mr. Samuel,
whom he adjured in moving terms to be upon his guard in that
sink of iniquity into which he was cast; to abstain from all
hypocrisy and pride of heart; and to take in all things exact
pattern and copy by him (Stiggins), in which case he might
calculate on arriving, sooner or later at the comfortable
conclusion, that, like him, he was a most estimable and blameless
character, and that all his acquaintances and friends were hopelessly
abandoned and profligate wretches. Which consideration,
he said, could not but afford him the liveliest satisfaction.
He furthermore conjured him to avoid, above all things, the
vice of intoxication, which he likened unto the filthy habits of
swine, and to those poisonous and baleful drugs which being
chewed in the mouth, are said to filch away the memory. At this
point of his discourse, the reverend and red-nosed gentleman
became singularly incoherent, and staggering to and fro in the
excitement of his eloquence, was fain to catch at the back of a
chair to preserve his perpendicular.
Mr. Stiggins did not desire his hearers to be upon their guard
against those false prophets and wretched mockers of religion,
who, without sense to expound its first doctrines, or hearts to feel
its first principles, are more dangerous members of society than
the common criminal; imposing, as they necessarily do, upon the
weakest and worst informed, casting scorn and contempt on
what should be held most sacred, and bringing into partial
disrepute large bodies of virtuous and well-conducted persons of
many excellent sects and persuasions. But as he leaned over the
back of the chair for a considerable time, and closing one eye,
winked a good deal with the other, it is presumed that he thought
all this, but kept it to himself.
During the delivery of the oration, Mrs. Weller sobbed and
wept at the end of the paragraphs; while Sam, sitting cross-
legged on a chair and resting his arms on the top rail, regarded
the speaker with great suavity and blandness of demeanour;
occasionally bestowing a look of recognition on the old gentleman,
who was delighted at the beginning, and went to sleep
'Brayvo; wery pretty!' said Sam, when the red-nosed man
having finished, pulled his worn gloves on, thereby thrusting his
fingers through the broken tops till the knuckles were disclosed
to view. 'Wery pretty.'
'I hope it may do you good, Samuel,' said Mrs. Weller solemnly.
'I think it vill, mum,' replied Sam.
'I wish I could hope that it would do your father good,' said
'Thank'ee, my dear,' said Mr. Weller, senior. 'How do you find
yourself arter it, my love?'
'Scoffer!' exclaimed Mrs. Weller.
'Benighted man!' said the Reverend Mr. Stiggins.
'If I don't get no better light than that 'ere moonshine o'
yourn, my worthy creetur,' said the elder Mr. Weller, 'it's wery
likely as I shall continey to be a night coach till I'm took off the
road altogether. Now, Mrs. We, if the piebald stands at livery
much longer, he'll stand at nothin' as we go back, and p'raps
that 'ere harm-cheer 'ull be tipped over into some hedge or
another, with the shepherd in it.'
At this supposition, the Reverend Mr. Stiggins, in evident
consternation, gathered up his hat and umbrella, and proposed
an immediate departure, to which Mrs. Weller assented. Sam
walked with them to the lodge gate, and took a dutiful leave.
'A-do, Samivel,' said the old gentleman.
'Wot's a-do?' inquired Sammy.
'Well, good-bye, then,' said the old gentleman.
'Oh, that's wot you're aimin' at, is it?' said Sam. 'Good-bye!'
'Sammy,' whispered Mr. Weller, looking cautiously round;
'my duty to your gov'nor, and tell him if he thinks better o' this
here bis'ness, to com-moonicate vith me. Me and a cab'net-
maker has dewised a plan for gettin' him out. A pianner, Samivel
--a pianner!' said Mr. Weller, striking his son on the chest with
the back of his hand, and falling back a step or two.
'Wot do you mean?' said Sam.
'A pianner-forty, Samivel,' rejoined Mr. Weller, in a still more
mysterious manner, 'as he can have on hire; vun as von't play, Sammy.'
'And wot 'ud be the good o' that?' said Sam.
'Let him send to my friend, the cabinet-maker, to fetch it back,
Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Are you avake, now?'
'No,' rejoined Sam.
'There ain't no vurks in it,' whispered his father. 'It 'ull hold
him easy, vith his hat and shoes on, and breathe through the legs,
vich his holler. Have a passage ready taken for 'Merriker. The
'Merrikin gov'ment will never give him up, ven vunce they find
as he's got money to spend, Sammy. Let the gov'nor stop there,
till Mrs. Bardell's dead, or Mr. Dodson and Fogg's hung (wich
last ewent I think is the most likely to happen first, Sammy),
and then let him come back and write a book about the
'Merrikins as'll pay all his expenses and more, if he blows 'em
Mr. Weller delivered this hurried abstract of his plot with
great vehemence of whisper; and then, as if fearful of weakening
the effect of the tremendous communication by any further
dialogue, he gave the coachman's salute, and vanished.
Sam had scarcely recovered his usual composure of countenance,
which had been greatly disturbed by the secret communication
of his respected relative, when Mr. Pickwick accosted him.
'Sam,' said that gentleman.
'Sir,' replied Mr. Weller.
'I am going for a walk round the prison, and I wish you to
attend me. I see a prisoner we know coming this way, Sam,' said
Mr. Pickwick, smiling.
'Wich, Sir?' inquired Mr. Weller; 'the gen'l'm'n vith the head
o' hair, or the interestin' captive in the stockin's?'
'Neither,' rejoined Mr. Pickwick. 'He is an older friend of
'O' mine, Sir?' exclaimed Mr. Weller.
'You recollect the gentleman very well, I dare say, Sam,'
replied Mr. Pickwick, 'or else you are more unmindful of your
old acquaintances than I think you are. Hush! not a word, Sam;
not a syllable. Here he is.'
As Mr. Pickwick spoke, Jingle walked up. He looked less
miserable than before, being clad in a half-worn suit of clothes,
which, with Mr. Pickwick's assistance, had been released
from the pawnbroker's. He wore clean linen too, and had had
his hair cut. He was very pale and thin, however; and as he
crept slowly up, leaning on a stick, it was easy to see that he
had suffered severely from illness and want, and was still very
weak. He took off his hat as Mr. Pickwick saluted him,
and seemed much humbled and abashed at the sight of Sam Weller.
Following close at his heels, came Mr. Job Trotter, in the
catalogue of whose vices, want of faith and attachment to his
companion could at all events find no place. He was still ragged
and squalid, but his face was not quite so hollow as on his first
meeting with Mr. Pickwick, a few days before. As he took off his
hat to our benevolent old friend, he murmured some broken
expressions of gratitude, and muttered something about having
been saved from starving.
'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, impatiently interrupting him,
'you can follow with Sam. I want to speak to you, Mr. Jingle.
Can you walk without his arm?'
'Certainly, sir--all ready--not too fast--legs shaky--head
queer--round and round--earthquaky sort of feeling--very.'
'Here, give me your arm,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'No, no,' replied Jingle; 'won't indeed--rather not.'
'Nonsense,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'lean upon me, I desire, Sir.'
Seeing that he was confused and agitated, and uncertain what
to do, Mr. Pickwick cut the matter short by drawing the invalided
stroller's arm through his, and leading him away, without saying
another word about it.
During the whole of this time the countenance of Mr. Samuel
Weller had exhibited an expression of the most overwhelming
and absorbing astonishment that the imagination can portray.
After looking from Job to Jingle, and from Jingle to Job in
profound silence, he softly ejaculated the words, 'Well, I AM
damn'd!' which he repeated at least a score of times; after which
exertion, he appeared wholly bereft of speech, and again cast his
eyes, first upon the one and then upon the other, in mute
perplexity and bewilderment.
'Now, Sam!' said Mr. Pickwick, looking back.
'I'm a-comin', sir,' replied Mr. Weller, mechanically following
his master; and still he lifted not his eyes from Mr. Job Trotter,
who walked at his side in silence.
Job kept his eyes fixed on the ground for some time. Sam, with
his glued to Job's countenance, ran up against the people who
were walking about, and fell over little children, and stumbled
against steps and railings, without appearing at all sensible of it,
until Job, looking stealthily up, said--
'How do you do, Mr. Weller?'
'It IS him!' exclaimed Sam; and having established Job's
identity beyond all doubt, he smote his leg, and vented his
feelings in a long, shrill whistle.
'Things has altered with me, sir,' said Job.
'I should think they had,' exclaimed Mr. Weller, surveying his
companion's rags with undisguised wonder. 'This is rayther a
change for the worse, Mr. Trotter, as the gen'l'm'n said, wen he
got two doubtful shillin's and sixpenn'orth o' pocket-pieces for a
'It is indeed,' replied Job, shaking his head. 'There is no
deception now, Mr. Weller. Tears,' said Job, with a look of
momentary slyness--'tears are not the only proofs of distress,
nor the best ones.'
'No, they ain't,' replied Sam expressively.
'They may be put on, Mr. Weller,' said Job.
'I know they may,' said Sam; 'some people, indeed, has 'em
always ready laid on, and can pull out the plug wenever they likes.'
'Yes,' replied Job; 'but these sort of things are not so easily
counterfeited, Mr. Weller, and it is a more painful process to get
them up.' As he spoke, he pointed to his sallow, sunken cheeks,
and, drawing up his coat sleeve, disclosed an arm which looked
as if the bone could be broken at a touch, so sharp and brittle did
it appear, beneath its thin covering of flesh.
'Wot have you been a-doin' to yourself?' said Sam, recoiling.
'Nothing,' replied Job.
'Nothin'!' echoed Sam.
'I have been doin' nothing for many weeks past,' said Job;
and eating and drinking almost as little.'
Sam took one comprehensive glance at Mr. Trotter's thin face
and wretched apparel; and then, seizing him by the arm,
commenced dragging him away with great violence.
'Where are you going, Mr. Weller?' said Job, vainly struggling
in the powerful grasp of his old enemy.
'Come on,' said Sam; 'come on!' He deigned no further
explanation till they reached the tap, and then called for a pot of
porter, which was speedily produced.
'Now,' said Sam, 'drink that up, ev'ry drop on it, and then
turn the pot upside down, to let me see as you've took the medicine.'
'But, my dear Mr. Weller,' remonstrated Job.
'Down vith it!' said Sam peremptorily.
Thus admonished, Mr. Trotter raised the pot to his lips, and,
by gentle and almost imperceptible degrees, tilted it into the air.
He paused once, and only once, to draw a long breath, but
without raising his face from the vessel, which, in a few moments
thereafter, he held out at arm's length, bottom upward. Nothing
fell upon the ground but a few particles of froth, which slowly
detached themselves from the rim, and trickled lazily down.
'Well done!' said Sam. 'How do you find yourself arter it?'
'Better, Sir. I think I am better,' responded Job.
'O' course you air,' said Sam argumentatively. 'It's like puttin'
gas in a balloon. I can see with the naked eye that you gets
stouter under the operation. Wot do you say to another o' the
'I would rather not, I am much obliged to you, Sir,' replied
Job--'much rather not.'
'Vell, then, wot do you say to some wittles?' inquired Sam.
'Thanks to your worthy governor, Sir,' said Mr. Trotter, 'we
have half a leg of mutton, baked, at a quarter before three, with
the potatoes under it to save boiling.'
'Wot! Has HE been a-purwidin' for you?' asked Sam emphatically.
'He has, Sir,' replied Job. 'More than that, Mr. Weller; my
master being very ill, he got us a room--we were in a kennel
before--and paid for it, Sir; and come to look at us, at night,
when nobody should know. Mr. Weller,' said Job, with real tears
in his eyes, for once, 'I could serve that gentleman till I fell down
dead at his feet.'
'I say!' said Sam, 'I'll trouble you, my friend! None o' that!'
Job Trotter looked amazed.
'None o' that, I say, young feller,' repeated Sam firmly. 'No
man serves him but me. And now we're upon it, I'll let you into
another secret besides that,' said Sam, as he paid for the beer.
'I never heerd, mind you, or read of in story-books, nor see in
picters, any angel in tights and gaiters--not even in spectacles, as
I remember, though that may ha' been done for anythin' I know
to the contrairey--but mark my vords, Job Trotter, he's a reg'lar
thoroughbred angel for all that; and let me see the man as
wenturs to tell me he knows a better vun.' With this defiance,
Mr. Weller buttoned up his change in a side pocket, and, with
many confirmatory nods and gestures by the way, pro