The Pickwick Papers
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 Next page
'All right, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller.
'The officer will be here at four o'clock,' said Mr. Pell. 'I
suppose you won't run away meanwhile, eh? Ha! ha!'
'P'raps my cruel pa 'ull relent afore then,' replied Sam, with a
'Not I,' said the elder Mr. Weller.
'Do,' said Sam.
'Not on no account,' replied the inexorable creditor.
'I'll give bills for the amount, at sixpence a month,' said Sam.
'I won't take 'em,' said Mr. Weller.
'Ha, ha, ha! very good, very good,' said Mr. Solomon
Pell, who was making out his little bill of costs; 'a very
amusing incident indeed! Benjamin, copy that.' And Mr.
Pell smiled again, as he called Mr. Weller's attention to the amount.
'Thank you, thank you,' said the professional gentleman,
taking up another of the greasy notes as Mr. Weller took it from
the pocket-book. 'Three ten and one ten is five. Much obliged to
you, Mr. Weller. Your son is a most deserving young man, very
much so indeed, Sir. It's a very pleasant trait in a young man's
character, very much so,' added Mr. Pell, smiling smoothly
round, as he buttoned up the money.
'Wot a game it is!' said the elder Mr. Weller, with a chuckle.
'A reg'lar prodigy son!'
'Prodigal--prodigal son, Sir,' suggested Mr. Pell, mildly.
'Never mind, Sir,' said Mr. Weller, with dignity. 'I know wot's
o'clock, Sir. Wen I don't, I'll ask you, Sir.'
By the time the officer arrived, Sam had made himself so
extremely popular, that the congregated gentlemen determined to
see him to prison in a body. So off they set; the plaintiff and
defendant walking arm in arm, the officer in front, and eight stout
coachmen bringing up the rear. At Serjeant's Inn Coffee-house
the whole party halted to refresh, and, the legal arrangements
being completed, the procession moved on again.
Some little commotion was occasioned in Fleet Street, by the
pleasantry of the eight gentlemen in the flank, who persevered in
walking four abreast; it was also found necessary to leave the
mottled-faced gentleman behind, to fight a ticket-porter, it being
arranged that his friends should call for him as they came back.
Nothing but these little incidents occurred on the way. When they
reached the gate of the Fleet, the cavalcade, taking the time from
the plaintiff, gave three tremendous cheers for the defendant, and,
after having shaken hands all round, left him.
Sam, having been formally delivered into the warder's custody,
to the intense astonishment of Roker, and to the evident emotion
of even the phlegmatic Neddy, passed at once into the prison,
walked straight to his master's room, and knocked at the door.
'Come in,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Sam appeared, pulled off his hat, and smiled.
'Ah, Sam, my good lad!' said Mr. Pickwick, evidently delighted
to see his humble friend again; 'I had no intention of hurting your
feelings yesterday, my faithful fellow, by what I said. Put down
your hat, Sam, and let me explain my meaning, a little more at length.'
'Won't presently do, sir?' inquired Sam.
'Certainly,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but why not now?'
'I'd rayther not now, sir,' rejoined Sam.
'Why?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
''Cause--' said Sam, hesitating.
'Because of what?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, alarmed at his
follower's manner. 'Speak out, Sam.'
''Cause,' rejoined Sam--''cause I've got a little bisness as I
want to do.'
'What business?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, surprised at Sam's
'Nothin' partickler, Sir,' replied Sam.
'Oh, if it's nothing particular,' said Mr. Pickwick, with a
smile, 'you can speak with me first.'
'I think I'd better see arter it at once,' said Sam, still hesitating.
Mr. Pickwick looked amazed, but said nothing.
'The fact is--' said Sam, stopping short.
'Well!' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Speak out, Sam.'
'Why, the fact is,' said Sam, with a desperate effort, 'perhaps
I'd better see arter my bed afore I do anythin' else.'
'YOUR BED!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, in astonishment.
'Yes, my bed, Sir,' replied Sam, 'I'm a prisoner. I was arrested
this here wery arternoon for debt.'
'You arrested for debt!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, sinking into
'Yes, for debt, Sir,' replied Sam. 'And the man as puts me in,
'ull never let me out till you go yourself.'
'Bless my heart and soul!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick. 'What do
'Wot I say, Sir,' rejoined Sam. 'If it's forty years to come, I shall
be a prisoner, and I'm very glad on it; and if it had been Newgate,
it would ha' been just the same. Now the murder's out, and,
damme, there's an end on it!'
With these words, which he repeated with great emphasis and
violence, Sam Weller dashed his hat upon the ground, in a most
unusual state of excitement; and then, folding his arms, looked
firmly and fixedly in his master's face.
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