The Pickwick Papers
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'Very,' was the reply of his followers, as they coughed slightly,
and looked dubiously at each other.
This behaviour was not lost upon Mr. Pickwick. He remarked
their incredulity. They evidently suspected him.
'There is a man in the passage now,' said Mr. Tupman.
'It's the man I spoke to you about,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I sent
for him to the Borough this morning. Have the goodness to call
him up, Snodgrass.'
Mr. Snodgrass did as he was desired; and Mr. Samuel Weller
forthwith presented himself.
'Oh--you remember me, I suppose?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I should think so,' replied Sam, with a patronising wink.
'Queer start that 'ere, but he was one too many for you, warn't
he? Up to snuff and a pinch or two over--eh?'
'Never mind that matter now,' said Mr. Pickwick hastily;
'I want to speak to you about something else. Sit down.'
'Thank'ee, sir,' said Sam. And down he sat without further
bidding, having previously deposited his old white hat on the
landing outside the door. ''Tain't a wery good 'un to look at,'
said Sam, 'but it's an astonishin' 'un to wear; and afore the brim
went, it was a wery handsome tile. Hows'ever it's lighter without
it, that's one thing, and every hole lets in some air, that's another
--wentilation gossamer I calls it.' On the delivery of this sentiment,
Mr. Weller smiled agreeably upon the assembled Pickwickians.
'Now with regard to the matter on which I, with the concurrence
of these gentlemen, sent for you,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'That's the pint, sir,' interposed Sam; 'out vith it, as the father
said to his child, when he swallowed a farden.'
'We want to know, in the first place,' said Mr. Pickwick,
'whether you have any reason to be discontented with your present
'Afore I answers that 'ere question, gen'l'm'n,' replied Mr.
Weller, 'I should like to know, in the first place, whether you're
a-goin' to purwide me with a better?'
A sunbeam of placid benevolence played on Mr. Pickwick's
features as he said, 'I have half made up my mind to engage you
'Have you, though?' said Sam.
Mr. Pickwick nodded in the affirmative.
'Wages?' inquired Sam.
'Twelve pounds a year,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'To attend upon me; and travel about with me and these
'Take the bill down,' said Sam emphatically. 'I'm let to a
single gentleman, and the terms is agreed upon.'
'You accept the situation?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Cert'nly,' replied Sam. 'If the clothes fits me half as well as
the place, they'll do.'
'You can get a character of course?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Ask the landlady o' the White Hart about that, Sir,' replied Sam.
'Can you come this evening?'
'I'll get into the clothes this minute, if they're here,' said Sam,
with great alacrity.
'Call at eight this evening,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'and if the
inquiries are satisfactory, they shall be provided.'
With the single exception of one amiable indiscretion, in
which an assistant housemaid had equally participated, the
history of Mr. Weller's conduct was so very blameless, that Mr.
Pickwick felt fully justified in closing the engagement that very
evening. With the promptness and energy which characterised
not only the public proceedings, but all the private actions of this
extraordinary man, he at once led his new attendant to one of
those convenient emporiums where gentlemen's new and second-
hand clothes are provided, and the troublesome and inconvenient
formality of measurement dispensed with; and before night had
closed in, Mr. Weller was furnished with a grey coat with the
P. C. button, a black hat with a cockade to it, a pink striped
waistcoat, light breeches and gaiters, and a variety of other
necessaries, too numerous to recapitulate.
'Well,' said that suddenly-transformed individual, as he took
his seat on the outside of the Eatanswill coach next morning; 'I
wonder whether I'm meant to be a footman, or a groom, or a
gamekeeper, or a seedsman. I looks like a sort of compo of every
one on 'em. Never mind; there's a change of air, plenty to see,
and little to do; and all this suits my complaint uncommon; so
long life to the Pickvicks, says I!'
SOME ACCOUNT OF EATANSWILL; OF THE STATE OF
PARTIES THEREIN; AND OF THE ELECTION OF A MEMBER
TO SERVE IN PARLIAMENT FOR THAT ANCIENT, LOYAL,
AND PATRIOTIC BOROUGH
We will frankly acknowledge that, up to the period of our being
first immersed in the voluminous papers of the Pickwick Club, we
had never heard of Eatanswill; we will with equal candour admit that
we have in vain searched for proof of the actual existence of such
a place at the present day. Knowing the deep reliance to be placed
on every note and statement of Mr. Pickwick's, and not presuming to
set up our recollection against the recorded declarations of that great
man, we have consulted every authority, bearing upon the subject, to
which we could possibly refer. We have traced every name in
schedules A and B, without meeting with that of Eatanswill; we
have minutely examined every corner of the pocket county maps
issued for the benefit of society by our distinguished publishers,
and the same result has attended our investigation. We are
therefore led to believe that Mr. Pickwick, with that anxious
desire to abstain from giving offence to any, and with those delicate
feelings for which all who knew him well know he was so
eminently remarkable, purposely substituted a fictitious designation,
for the real name of the place in which his observations
were made. We are confirmed in this belief by a little circumstance,
apparently slight and trivial in itself, but when considered
in this point of view, not undeserving of notice. In Mr. Pickwick's
note-book, we can just trace an entry of the fact, that the
places of himself and followers were booked by the Norwich
coach; but this entry was afterwards lined through, as if for the
purpose of concealing even the direction in which the borough
is situated. We will not, therefore, hazard a guess upon the
subject, but will at once proceed with this history, content with
the materials which its characters have provided for us.
It appears, then, that the Eatanswill people, like the people of
many other small towns, considered themselves of the utmost
and most mighty importance, and that every man in Eatanswill,
conscious of the weight that attached to his example, felt himself
bound to unite, heart and soul, with one of the two great parties
that divided the town--the Blues and the Buffs. Now the Blues
lost no opportunity of opposing the Buffs, and the Buffs lost no
opportunity of opposing the Blues; and the consequence was,
that whenever the Buffs and Blues met together at public meeting,
town-hall, fair, or market, disputes and high words arose
between them. With these dissensions it is almost superfluous to
say that everything in Eatanswill was made a party question. If
the Buffs proposed to new skylight the market-place, the Blues
got up public meetings, and denounced the proceeding; if the
Blues proposed the erection of an additional pump in the High
Street, the Buffs rose as one man and stood aghast at the enormity.
There were Blue shops and Buff shops, Blue inns and Buff
inns--there was a Blue aisle and a Buff aisle in the very church itself.
Of course it was essentially and indispensably necessary that
each of these powerful parties should have its chosen organ and
representative: and, accordingly, there were two newspapers in
the town--the Eatanswill GAZETTE and the Eatanswill INDEPENDENT;
the former advocating Blue principles, and the latter conducted
on grounds decidedly Buff. Fine newspapers they were. Such
leading articles, and such spirited attacks!--'Our worthless
contemporary, the GAZETTE'--'That disgraceful and dastardly journal,
the INDEPENDENT'--'That false and scurrilous print, the INDEPENDENT'--
'That vile and slanderous calumniator, the GAZETTE;' these,
and other spirit-stirring denunciations, were strewn plentifully
over the columns of each, in every number, and excited feelings
of the most intense delight and indignation in the bosoms of the
Mr. Pickwick, with his usual foresight and sagacity, had chosen
a peculiarly desirable moment for his visit to the borough. Never
was such a contest known. The Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of
Slumkey Hall, was the Blue candidate; and Horatio Fizkin,
Esq., of Fizkin Lodge, near Eatanswill, had been prevailed upon
by his friends to stand forward on the Buff interest. The GAZETTE
warned the electors of Eatanswill that the eyes not only of
England, but of the whole civilised world, were upon them; and
the INDEPENDENT imperatively demanded to know, whether the
constituency of Eatanswill were the grand fellows they had always
taken them for, or base and servile tools, undeserving alike of
the name of Englishmen and the blessings of freedom. Never had
such a commotion agitated the town before.
It was late in the evening when Mr. Pickwick and his
companions, assisted by Sam, dismounted from the roof of the
Eatanswill coach. Large blue silk flags were flying from the
windows of the Town Arms Inn, and bills were posted in every
sash, intimating, in gigantic letters, that the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey's committee sat there daily. A crowd of idlers were
assembled in the road, looking at a hoarse man in the balcony,
who was apparently talking himself very red in the face in Mr.