Master Humphrey s Clock
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vith blue dots for their beards, wery large viskers, oudacious
heads of hair, uncommon clear eyes, and nostrils of amazin'
pinkness; the ladies vith their heads o' one side, their right
forefingers on their lips, and their forms deweloped beautiful, in
vich last respect they had the adwantage over the gen'lmen, as
wasn't allowed but wery little shoulder, and terminated rayther
abrupt in fancy drapery. He had also a many hair-brushes and
tooth-brushes bottled up in the winder, neat glass-cases on the
counter, a floor-clothed cuttin'-room up-stairs, and a weighin'-
macheen in the shop, right opposite the door. But the great
attraction and ornament wos the dummies, which this here young
hairdresser wos constantly a runnin' out in the road to look at,
and constantly a runnin' in again to touch up and polish; in short,
he wos so proud on 'em, that ven Sunday come, he wos always
wretched and mis'rable to think they wos behind the shutters, and
looked anxiously for Monday on that account. Vun o' these dummies
wos a favrite vith him beyond the others; and ven any of his
acquaintance asked him wy he didn't get married - as the young
ladies he know'd, in partickler, often did - he used to say,
"Never! I never vill enter into the bonds of vedlock," he says,
"until I meet vith a young 'ooman as realises my idea o' that 'ere
fairest dummy vith the light hair. Then, and not till then," he
says, "I vill approach the altar." All the young ladies he know'd
as had got dark hair told him this wos wery sinful, and that he wos
wurshippin' a idle; but them as wos at all near the same shade as
the dummy coloured up wery much, and wos observed to think him a
wery nice young man.'
'Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, gravely, 'a member o' this associashun
bein' one o' that 'ere tender sex which is now immedetly referred
to, I have to rekvest that you vill make no reflections.'
'I ain't a makin' any, am I?' inquired Sam.
'Order, sir!' rejoined Mr. Weller, with severe dignity. Then,
sinking the chairman in the father, he added, in his usual tone of
voice: 'Samivel, drive on!'
Sam interchanged a smile with the housekeeper, and proceeded:
'The young hairdresser hadn't been in the habit o' makin' this
avowal above six months, ven he en-countered a young lady as wos
the wery picter o' the fairest dummy. "Now," he says, "it's all
up. I am a slave!" The young lady wos not only the picter o' the
fairest dummy, but she was wery romantic, as the young hairdresser
was, too, and he says, "O!" he says, "here's a community o'
feelin', here's a flow o' soul!" he says, "here's a interchange o'
sentiment!" The young lady didn't say much, o' course, but she
expressed herself agreeable, and shortly artervards vent to see him
vith a mutual friend. The hairdresser rushes out to meet her, but
d'rectly she sees the dummies she changes colour and falls a
tremblin' wiolently. "Look up, my love," says the hairdresser,
"behold your imige in my winder, but not correcter than in my art!"
"My imige!" she says. "Yourn!" replies the hairdresser. "But
whose imige is THAT?" she says, a pinting at vun o' the gen'lmen.
"No vun's, my love," he says, "it is but a idea." "A idea! " she
cries: "it is a portrait, I feel it is a portrait, and that 'ere
noble face must be in the millingtary!" "Wot do I hear!" says he,
a crumplin' his curls. "Villiam Gibbs," she says, quite firm,
"never renoo the subject. I respect you as a friend," she says,
"but my affections is set upon that manly brow." "This," says the
hairdresser, "is a reg'lar blight, and in it I perceive the hand of
Fate. Farevell!" Vith these vords he rushes into the shop, breaks
the dummy's nose vith a blow of his curlin'-irons, melts him down
at the parlour fire, and never smiles artervards.'
'The young lady, Mr. Weller?' said the housekeeper.
'Why, ma'am,' said Sam, 'finding that Fate had a spite agin her,
and everybody she come into contact vith, she never smiled neither,
but read a deal o' poetry and pined avay, - by rayther slow
degrees, for she ain't dead yet. It took a deal o' poetry to kill
the hair-dresser, and some people say arter all that it was more
the gin and water as caused him to be run over; p'r'aps it was a
little o' both, and came o' mixing the two.'
The barber declared that Mr. Weller had related one of the most
interesting stories that had ever come within his knowledge, in
which opinion the housekeeper entirely concurred.
'Are you a married man, sir?' inquired Sam.
The barber replied that he had not that honour.
'I s'pose you mean to be?' said Sam.
'Well,' replied the barber, rubbing his hands smirkingly, 'I don't
know, I don't think it's very likely.'
'That's a bad sign,' said Sam; 'if you'd said you meant to be vun
o' these days, I should ha' looked upon you as bein' safe. You're
in a wery precarious state.'
'I am not conscious of any danger, at all events,' returned the
'No more wos I, sir,' said the elder Mr. Weller, interposing;
'those vere my symptoms, exactly. I've been took that vay twice.
Keep your vether eye open, my friend, or you're gone.'
There was something so very solemn about this admonition, both in
its matter and manner, and also in the way in which Mr. Weller
still kept his eye fixed upon the unsuspecting victim, that nobody
cared to speak for some little time, and might not have cared to do
so for some time longer, if the housekeeper had not happened to
sigh, which called off the old gentleman's attention and gave rise
to a gallant inquiry whether 'there wos anythin' wery piercin' in
that 'ere little heart?'
'Dear me, Mr. Weller!' said the housekeeper, laughing.
'No, but is there anythin' as agitates it?' pursued the old
gentleman. 'Has it always been obderrate, always opposed to the
happiness o' human creeturs? Eh? Has it?'
At this critical juncture for her blushes and confusion, the
housekeeper discovered that more ale was wanted, and hastily
withdrew into the cellar to draw the same, followed by the barber,
who insisted on carrying the candle. Having looked after her with
a very complacent expression of face, and after him with some
disdain, Mr. Weller caused his glance to travel slowly round the
kitchen, until at length it rested on his son.
'Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, 'I mistrust that barber.'
'Wot for?' returned Sam; 'wot's he got to do with you? You're a
nice man, you are, arter pretendin' all kinds o' terror, to go a
payin' compliments and talkin' about hearts and piercers.'
The imputation of gallantry appeared to afford Mr. Weller the
utmost delight, for he replied in a voice choked by suppressed
laughter, and with the tears in his eyes,
'Wos I a talkin' about hearts and piercers, - wos I though, Sammy,
'Wos you? of course you wos.'
'She don't know no better, Sammy, there ain't no harm in it, - no
danger, Sammy; she's only a punster. She seemed pleased, though,
didn't she? O' course, she wos pleased, it's nat'ral she should
be, wery nat'ral.'
'He's wain of it!' exclaimed Sam, joining in his father's mirth.
'He's actually wain!'
'Hush!' replied Mr. Weller, composing his features, 'they're a
comin' back, - the little heart's a comin' back. But mark these
wurds o' mine once more, and remember 'em ven your father says he
said 'em. Samivel, I mistrust that 'ere deceitful barber.'
CHAPTER VI - MASTER HUMPHREY, FROM HIS CLOCK-SIDE IN THE CHIMNEY
TWO or three evenings after the institution of Mr. Weller's Watch,
I thought I heard, as I walked in the garden, the voice of Mr.
Weller himself at no great distance; and stopping once or twice to
listen more attentively, I found that the sounds proceeded from my
housekeeper's little sitting-room, which is at the back of the
house. I took no further notice of the circumstance at that time,
but it formed the subject of a conversation between me and my
friend Jack Redburn next morning, when I found that I had not been
deceived in my impression. Jack furnished me with the following
particulars; and as he appeared to take extraordinary pleasure in
relating them, I have begged him in future to jot down any such
domestic scenes or occurrences that may please his humour, in order
that they may be told in his own way. I must confess that, as Mr.
Pickwick and he are constantly together, I have been influenced, in
making this request, by a secret desire to know something of their
On the evening in question, the housekeeper's room was arranged
with particular care, and the housekeeper herself was very smartly
dressed. The preparations, however, were not confined to mere
showy demonstrations, as tea was prepared for three persons, with a
small display of preserves and jams and sweet cakes, which heralded
some uncommon occasion. Miss Benton (my housekeeper bears that
name) was in a state of great expectation, too, frequently going to
the front door and looking anxiously down the lane, and more than
once observing to the servant-girl that she expected company, and
hoped no accident had happened to delay them.
A modest ring at the bell at length allayed her fears, and Miss
Benton, hurrying into her own room and shutting herself up, in
order that she might preserve that appearance of being taken by
surprise which is so essential to the polite reception of visitors,
awaited their coming with a smiling countenance.
'Good ev'nin', mum,' said the older Mr. Weller, looking in at the
door after a prefatory tap. 'I'm afeerd we've come in rayther
arter the time, mum, but the young colt being full o' wice, has
been' a boltin' and shyin' and gettin' his leg over the traces to
sich a extent that if he an't wery soon broke in, he'll wex me into
a broken heart, and then he'll never be brought out no more except
to learn his letters from the writin' on his grandfather's
With these pathetic words, which were addressed to something
outside the door about two feet six from the ground, Mr. Weller
introduced a very small boy firmly set upon a couple of very sturdy