The Pickwick Papers
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'Oh, you are confused, are you?' said the magistrate. 'Mr.
Jinks, you observe this confusion?'
'Certainly, Sir,' replied Jinks.
'Now,' said the magistrate, 'repeat your statement, Grummer,
and again I warn you to be careful. Mr. Jinks, take his words down.'
The unfortunate Grummer proceeded to re-state his complaint,
but, what between Mr. Jinks's taking down his words, and the
magistrate's taking them up, his natural tendency to rambling,
and his extreme confusion, he managed to get involved, in something
under three minutes, in such a mass of entanglement and
contradiction, that Mr. Nupkins at once declared he didn't
believe him. So the fines were remitted, and Mr. Jinks found a
couple of bail in no time. And all these solemn proceedings
having been satisfactorily concluded, Mr. Grummer was
ignominiously ordered out--an awful instance of the instability
of human greatness, and the uncertain tenure of great men's favour.
Mrs. Nupkins was a majestic female in a pink gauze turban
and a light brown wig. Miss Nupkins possessed all her mamma's
haughtiness without the turban, and all her ill-nature without the
wig; and whenever the exercise of these two amiable qualities
involved mother and daughter in some unpleasant dilemma, as
they not infrequently did, they both concurred in laying the
blame on the shoulders of Mr. Nupkins. Accordingly, when
Mr. Nupkins sought Mrs. Nupkins, and detailed the communication
which had been made by Mr. Pickwick, Mrs. Nupkins
suddenly recollected that she had always expected something of
the kind; that she had always said it would be so; that her advice
was never taken; that she really did not know what Mr. Nupkins
supposed she was; and so forth.
'The idea!' said Miss Nupkins, forcing a tear of very scanty
proportions into the corner of each eye; 'the idea of my being
made such a fool of!'
'Ah! you may thank your papa, my dear,' said Mrs. Nupkins;
'how I have implored and begged that man to inquire into the
captain's family connections; how I have urged and entreated
him to take some decisive step! I am quite certain nobody would
'But, my dear,' said Mr. Nupkins.
'Don't talk to me, you aggravating thing, don't!' said Mrs. Nupkins.
'My love,' said Mr. Nupkins, 'you professed yourself very fond
of Captain Fitz-Marshall. You have constantly asked him here, my
dear, and you have lost no opportunity of introducing him elsewhere.'
'Didn't I say so, Henrietta?' cried Mrs. Nupkins, appealing to
her daughter with the air of a much-injured female. 'Didn't I say
that your papa would turn round and lay all this at my door?
Didn't I say so?' Here Mrs. Nupkins sobbed.
'Oh, pa!' remonstrated Miss Nupkins. And here she sobbed too.
'Isn't it too much, when he has brought all this disgrace and
ridicule upon us, to taunt me with being the cause of it?'
exclaimed Mrs. Nupkins.
'How can we ever show ourselves in society!' said Miss Nupkins.
'How can we face the Porkenhams?' cried Mrs. Nupkins.
'Or the Griggs!' cried Miss Nupkins.
'Or the Slummintowkens!' cried Mrs. Nupkins. 'But what does
your papa care! What is it to HIM!' At this dreadful reflection,
Mrs. Nupkins wept mental anguish, and Miss Nupkins followed
on the same side.
Mrs. Nupkins's tears continued to gush forth, with great
velocity, until she had gained a little time to think the matter
over; when she decided, in her own mind, that the best thing to
do would be to ask Mr. Pickwick and his friends to remain until
the captain's arrival, and then to give Mr. Pickwick the opportunity
he sought. If it appeared that he had spoken truly, the
captain could be turned out of the house without noising the
matter abroad, and they could easily account to the Porkenhams
for his disappearance, by saying that he had been appointed,
through the Court influence of his family, to the governor-
generalship of Sierra Leone, of Saugur Point, or any other of
those salubrious climates which enchant Europeans so much, that
when they once get there, they can hardly ever prevail upon
themselves to come back again.
When Mrs. Nupkins dried up her tears, Miss Nupkins dried up
hers, and Mr. Nupkins was very glad to settle the matter as
Mrs. Nupkins had proposed. So Mr. Pickwick and his friends,
having washed off all marks of their late encounter, were introduced
to the ladies, and soon afterwards to their dinner; and
Mr. Weller, whom the magistrate, with his peculiar sagacity, had
discovered in half an hour to be one of the finest fellows alive,
was consigned to the care and guardianship of Mr. Muzzle,
who was specially enjoined to take him below, and make much
'How de do, sir?' said Mr. Muzzle, as he conducted Mr. Weller
down the kitchen stairs.
'Why, no considerable change has taken place in the state of
my system, since I see you cocked up behind your governor's
chair in the parlour, a little vile ago,' replied Sam.
'You will excuse my not taking more notice of you then,' said
Mr. Muzzle. 'You see, master hadn't introduced us, then. Lord,
how fond he is of you, Mr. Weller, to be sure!'
'Ah!' said Sam, 'what a pleasant chap he is!'
'Ain't he?'replied Mr. Muzzle.
'So much humour,' said Sam.
'And such a man to speak,' said Mr. Muzzle. 'How his ideas
flow, don't they?'
'Wonderful,' replied Sam; 'they comes a-pouring out, knocking
each other's heads so fast, that they seems to stun one another;
you hardly know what he's arter, do you?'
'That's the great merit of his style of speaking,' rejoined
Mr. Muzzle. 'Take care of the last step, Mr. Weller. Would you
like to wash your hands, sir, before we join the ladies'! Here's a
sink, with the water laid on, Sir, and a clean jack towel behind
'Ah! perhaps I may as well have a rinse,' replied Mr. Weller,
applying plenty of yellow soap to the towel, and rubbing away
till his face shone again. 'How many ladies are there?'
'Only two in our kitchen,' said Mr. Muzzle; 'cook and 'ouse-
maid. We keep a boy to do the dirty work, and a gal besides, but
they dine in the wash'us.'
'Oh, they dines in the wash'us, do they?' said Mr. Weller.
'Yes,' replied Mr. Muzzle, 'we tried 'em at our table when they
first come, but we couldn't keep 'em. The gal's manners is
dreadful vulgar; and the boy breathes so very hard while he's
eating, that we found it impossible to sit at table with him.'
'Young grampus!' said Mr. Weller.
'Oh, dreadful,' rejoined Mr. Muzzle; 'but that is the worst of
country service, Mr. Weller; the juniors is always so very savage.
This way, sir, if you please, this way.'
Preceding Mr. Weller, with the utmost politeness, Mr. Muzzle
conducted him into the kitchen.
'Mary,' said Mr. Muzzle to the pretty servant-girl, 'this is
Mr. Weller; a gentleman as master has sent down, to be made as
comfortable as possible.'
'And your master's a knowin' hand, and has just sent me to the
right place,' said Mr. Weller, with a glance of admiration at
Mary. 'If I wos master o' this here house, I should alvays find the
materials for comfort vere Mary wos.'
'Lor, Mr. Weller!' said Mary blushing.
'Well, I never!' ejaculated the cook.
'Bless me, cook, I forgot you,' said Mr. Muzzle. 'Mr. Weller,
let me introduce you.'
'How are you, ma'am?' said Mr. Weller.'Wery glad to see you,
indeed, and hope our acquaintance may be a long 'un, as the
gen'l'm'n said to the fi' pun' note.'
When this ceremony of introduction had been gone through,
the cook and Mary retired into the back kitchen to titter, for ten
minutes; then returning, all giggles and blushes, they sat down
Mr. Weller's easy manners and conversational powers had
such irresistible influence with his new friends, that before the
dinner was half over, they were on a footing of perfect intimacy,
and in possession of a full account of the delinquency of Job Trotter.
'I never could a-bear that Job,' said Mary.
'No more you never ought to, my dear,' replied Mr. Weller.
'Why not?' inquired Mary.
''Cos ugliness and svindlin' never ought to be formiliar with
elegance and wirtew,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Ought they, Mr. Muzzle?'
'Not by no means,' replied that gentleman.
Here Mary laughed, and said the cook had made her; and the
cook laughed, and said she hadn't.
'I ha'n't got a glass,' said Mary.
'Drink with me, my dear,' said Mr. Weller. 'Put your lips to
this here tumbler, and then I can kiss you by deputy.'