The Pickwick Papers
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'Widders, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, slightly changing
colour. 'Widders are 'ceptions to ev'ry rule. I have heerd how
many ordinary women one widder's equal to in pint o' comin'
over you. I think it's five-and-twenty, but I don't rightly know
vether it ain't more.'
'Well; that's pretty well,' said Sam.
'Besides,' continued Mr. Weller, not noticing the interruption,
'that's a wery different thing. You know what the counsel said,
Sammy, as defended the gen'l'm'n as beat his wife with the poker,
venever he got jolly. "And arter all, my Lord," says he, "it's a
amiable weakness." So I says respectin' widders, Sammy, and so
you'll say, ven you gets as old as me.'
'I ought to ha' know'd better, I know,' said Sam.
'Ought to ha' know'd better!' repeated Mr. Weller, striking the
table with his fist. 'Ought to ha' know'd better! why, I know a
young 'un as hasn't had half nor quarter your eddication--as
hasn't slept about the markets, no, not six months--who'd ha'
scorned to be let in, in such a vay; scorned it, Sammy.' In the
excitement of feeling produced by this agonising reflection, Mr.
Weller rang the bell, and ordered an additional pint of ale.
'Well, it's no use talking about it now,' said Sam. 'It's over,
and can't be helped, and that's one consolation, as they always
says in Turkey, ven they cuts the wrong man's head off. It's my
innings now, gov'nor, and as soon as I catches hold o' this 'ere
Trotter, I'll have a good 'un.'
'I hope you will, Sammy. I hope you will,' returned Mr. Weller.
'Here's your health, Sammy, and may you speedily vipe off the
disgrace as you've inflicted on the family name.' In honour of
this toast Mr. Weller imbibed at a draught, at least two-thirds of
a newly-arrived pint, and handed it over to his son, to dispose of
the remainder, which he instantaneously did.
'And now, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, consulting a large double-
faced silver watch that hung at the end of the copper chain.
'Now it's time I was up at the office to get my vay-bill and see the
coach loaded; for coaches, Sammy, is like guns--they requires
to be loaded with wery great care, afore they go off.'
At this parental and professional joke, Mr. Weller, junior,
smiled a filial smile. His revered parent continued in a solemn tone--
'I'm a-goin' to leave you, Samivel, my boy, and there's no
telling ven I shall see you again. Your mother-in-law may ha'
been too much for me, or a thousand things may have happened
by the time you next hears any news o' the celebrated Mr. Veller
o' the Bell Savage. The family name depends wery much upon
you, Samivel, and I hope you'll do wot's right by it. Upon all
little pints o' breedin', I know I may trust you as vell as if it was
my own self. So I've only this here one little bit of adwice to give
you. If ever you gets to up'ards o' fifty, and feels disposed to go
a-marryin' anybody--no matter who--jist you shut yourself up
in your own room, if you've got one, and pison yourself off hand.
Hangin's wulgar, so don't you have nothin' to say to that. Pison
yourself, Samivel, my boy, pison yourself, and you'll be glad on
it arterwards.' With these affecting words, Mr. Weller looked
steadfastly on his son, and turning slowly upon his heel,
disappeared from his sight.
In the contemplative mood which these words had awakened,
Mr. Samuel Weller walked forth from the Great White Horse
when his father had left him; and bending his steps towards St.
Clement's Church, endeavoured to dissipate his melancholy, by
strolling among its ancient precincts. He had loitered about, for
some time, when he found himself in a retired spot--a kind of
courtyard of venerable appearance--which he discovered had no
other outlet than the turning by which he had entered. He was
about retracing his steps, when he was suddenly transfixed to the
spot by a sudden appearance; and the mode and manner of this
appearance, we now proceed to relate.
Mr. Samuel Weller had been staring up at the old brick houses
now and then, in his deep abstraction, bestowing a wink upon
some healthy-looking servant girl as she drew up a blind, or
threw open a bedroom window, when the green gate of a garden
at the bottom of the yard opened, and a man having emerged
therefrom, closed the green gate very carefully after him, and
walked briskly towards the very spot where Mr. Weller was standing.
Now, taking this, as an isolated fact, unaccompanied by any
attendant circumstances, there was nothing very extraordinary in
it; because in many parts of the world men do come out of
gardens, close green gates after them, and even walk briskly
away, without attracting any particular share of public observation.
It is clear, therefore, that there must have been something in
the man, or in his manner, or both, to attract Mr. Weller's
particular notice. Whether there was, or not, we must leave the
reader to determine, when we have faithfully recorded the
behaviour of the individual in question.
When the man had shut the green gate after him, he walked,
as we have said twice already, with a brisk pace up the courtyard;
but he no sooner caught sight of Mr. Weller than he faltered, and
stopped, as if uncertain, for the moment, what course to adopt.
As the green gate was closed behind him, and there was no other
outlet but the one in front, however, he was not long in perceiving
that he must pass Mr. Samuel Weller to get away. He therefore
resumed his brisk pace, and advanced, staring straight before
him. The most extraordinary thing about the man was, that he
was contorting his face into the most fearful and astonishing
grimaces that ever were beheld. Nature's handiwork never was
disguised with such extraordinary artificial carving, as the man
had overlaid his countenance with in one moment.
'Well!' said Mr. Weller to himself, as the man approached.
'This is wery odd. I could ha' swore it was him.'
Up came the man, and his face became more frightfully
distorted than ever, as he drew nearer.
'I could take my oath to that 'ere black hair and mulberry suit,'
said Mr. Weller; 'only I never see such a face as that afore.'
As Mr. Weller said this, the man's features assumed an
unearthly twinge, perfectly hideous. He was obliged to pass very
near Sam, however, and the scrutinising glance of that gentleman
enabled him to detect, under all these appalling twists of feature,
something too like the small eyes of Mr. Job Trotter to be
'Hollo, you Sir!' shouted Sam fiercely.
The stranger stopped.
'Hollo!' repeated Sam, still more gruffly.
The man with the horrible face looked, with the greatest
surprise, up the court, and down the court, and in at the windows
of the houses--everywhere but at Sam Weller--and took another
step forward, when he was brought to again by another shout.
'Hollo, you sir!' said Sam, for the third time.
There was no pretending to mistake where the voice came
from now, so the stranger, having no other resource, at last
looked Sam Weller full in the face.
'It won't do, Job Trotter,' said Sam. 'Come! None o' that 'ere
nonsense. You ain't so wery 'andsome that you can afford to
throw avay many o' your good looks. Bring them 'ere eyes o'
yourn back into their proper places, or I'll knock 'em out of
your head. D'ye hear?'
As Mr. Weller appeared fully disposed to act up to the spirit of
this address, Mr. Trotter gradually allowed his face to resume its
natural expression; and then giving a start of joy, exclaimed,
'What do I see? Mr. Walker!'
'Ah,' replied Sam. 'You're wery glad to see me, ain't you?'
'Glad!' exclaimed Job Trotter; 'oh, Mr. Walker, if you had but
known how I have looked forward to this meeting! It is too
much, Mr. Walker; I cannot bear it, indeed I cannot.' And with
these words, Mr. Trotter burst into a regular inundation of tears,
and, flinging his arms around those of Mr. Weller, embraced him
closely, in an ecstasy of joy.
'Get off!' cried Sam, indignant at this process, and vainly
endeavouring to extricate himself from the grasp of his
enthusiastic acquaintance. 'Get off, I tell you. What are you crying
over me for, you portable engine?'
'Because I am so glad to see you,' replied Job Trotter, gradually
releasing Mr. Weller, as the first symptoms of his pugnacity
disappeared. 'Oh, Mr. Walker, this is too much.'
'Too much!' echoed Sam, 'I think it is too much--rayther!
Now, what have you got to say to me, eh?'
Mr. Trotter made no reply; for the little pink pocket-handkerchief
was in full force.
'What have you got to say to me, afore I knock your head off?'
repeated Mr. Weller, in a threatening manner.
'Eh!' said Mr. Trotter, with a look of virtuous surprise.
'What have you got to say to me?'
'I, Mr. Walker!'
'Don't call me Valker; my name's Veller; you know that vell
enough. What have you got to say to me?'
'Bless you, Mr. Walker--Weller, I mean--a great many things,
if you will come away somewhere, where we can talk comfortably.
If you knew how I have looked for you, Mr. Weller--'
'Wery hard, indeed, I s'pose?' said Sam drily.
'Very, very, Sir,' replied Mr. Trotter, without moving a muscle
of his face. 'But shake hands, Mr. Weller.'
Sam eyed his companion for a few seconds, and then, as if