The Pickwick Papers
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'For shame, Mr. Weller!' said Mary.
'What's a shame, my dear?'
'Talkin' in that way.'
'Nonsense; it ain't no harm. It's natur; ain't it, cook?'
'Don't ask me, imperence,' replied the cook, in a high state of
delight; and hereupon the cook and Mary laughed again, till
what between the beer, and the cold meat, and the laughter
combined, the latter young lady was brought to the verge of
choking--an alarming crisis from which she was only recovered
by sundry pats on the back, and other necessary attentions, most
delicately administered by Mr. Samuel Weller.
In the midst of all this jollity and conviviality, a loud ring was
heard at the garden gate, to which the young gentleman who
took his meals in the wash-house, immediately responded. Mr.
Weller was in the height of his attentions to the pretty house-
maid; Mr. Muzzle was busy doing the honours of the table; and
the cook had just paused to laugh, in the very act of raising a
huge morsel to her lips; when the kitchen door opened, and in
walked Mr. Job Trotter.
We have said in walked Mr. Job Trotter, but the statement is
not distinguished by our usual scrupulous adherence to fact. The
door opened and Mr. Trotter appeared. He would have walked
in, and was in the very act of doing so, indeed, when catching
sight of Mr. Weller, he involuntarily shrank back a pace or two,
and stood gazing on the unexpected scene before him, perfectly
motionless with amazement and terror.
'Here he is!' said Sam, rising with great glee. 'Why we were
that wery moment a-speaking o' you. How are you? Where have
you been? Come in.'
Laying his hand on the mulberry collar of the unresisting Job,
Mr. Weller dragged him into the kitchen; and, locking the door,
handed the key to Mr. Muzzle, who very coolly buttoned it up
in a side pocket.
'Well, here's a game!' cried Sam. 'Only think o' my master
havin' the pleasure o' meeting yourn upstairs, and me havin' the
joy o' meetin' you down here. How are you gettin' on, and how is
the chandlery bis'ness likely to do? Well, I am so glad to see you.
How happy you look. It's quite a treat to see you; ain't it,
'Quite,' said Mr. Muzzle.
'So cheerful he is!' said Sam.
'In such good spirits!' said Muzzle.
'And so glad to see us--that makes it so much more
comfortable,' said Sam. 'Sit down; sit down.'
Mr. Trotter suffered himself to be forced into a chair by the
fireside. He cast his small eyes, first on Mr. Weller, and then on
Mr. Muzzle, but said nothing.
'Well, now,' said Sam, 'afore these here ladies, I should jest like
to ask you, as a sort of curiosity, whether you don't consider
yourself as nice and well-behaved a young gen'l'm'n, as ever used
a pink check pocket-handkerchief, and the number four collection?'
'And as was ever a-going to be married to a cook,' said that
lady indignantly. 'The willin!'
'And leave off his evil ways, and set up in the chandlery line
arterwards,' said the housemaid.
'Now, I'll tell you what it is, young man,' said Mr. Muzzle
solemnly, enraged at the last two allusions, 'this here lady
(pointing to the cook) keeps company with me; and when you
presume, Sir, to talk of keeping chandlers' shops with her, you
injure me in one of the most delicatest points in which one man
can injure another. Do you understand that, Sir?'
Here Mr. Muzzle, who had a great notion of his eloquence, in
which he imitated his master, paused for a reply.
But Mr. Trotter made no reply. So Mr. Muzzle proceeded in a
'It's very probable, sir, that you won't be wanted upstairs for
several minutes, Sir, because MY master is at this moment
particularly engaged in settling the hash of YOUR master, Sir; and
therefore you'll have leisure, Sir, for a little private talk with me,
Sir. Do you understand that, Sir?'
Mr. Muzzle again paused for a reply; and again Mr. Trotter
'Well, then,' said Mr. Muzzle, 'I'm very sorry to have to
explain myself before ladies, but the urgency of the case will be
my excuse. The back kitchen's empty, Sir. If you will step in there,
Sir, Mr. Weller will see fair, and we can have mutual satisfaction
till the bell rings. Follow me, Sir!'
As Mr. Muzzle uttered these words, he took a step or two
towards the door; and, by way of saving time, began to pull off
his coat as he walked along.
Now, the cook no sooner heard the concluding words of this
desperate challenge, and saw Mr. Muzzle about to put it into
execution, than she uttered a loud and piercing shriek; and
rushing on Mr. Job Trotter, who rose from his chair on the
instant, tore and buffeted his large flat face, with an energy
peculiar to excited females, and twining her hands in his long
black hair, tore therefrom about enough to make five or six
dozen of the very largest-sized mourning-rings. Having accomplished
this feat with all the ardour which her devoted love for
Mr. Muzzle inspired, she staggered back; and being a lady of
very excitable and delicate feelings, she instantly fell under the
dresser, and fainted away.
At this moment, the bell rang.
'That's for you, Job Trotter,' said Sam; and before Mr. Trotter
could offer remonstrance or reply--even before he had time to
stanch the wounds inflicted by the insensible lady--Sam seized
one arm and Mr. Muzzle the other, and one pulling before, and
the other pushing behind, they conveyed him upstairs, and into
It was an impressive tableau. Alfred Jingle, Esquire, alias
Captain Fitz-Marshall, was standing near the door with his hat
in his hand, and a smile on his face, wholly unmoved by his very
unpleasant situation. Confronting him, stood Mr. Pickwick, who
had evidently been inculcating some high moral lesson; for his
left hand was beneath his coat tail, and his right extended in air,
as was his wont when delivering himself of an impressive address.
At a little distance, stood Mr. Tupman with indignant countenance,
carefully held back by his two younger friends; at the
farther end of the room were Mr. Nupkins, Mrs. Nupkins, and
Miss Nupkins, gloomily grand and savagely vexed.
'What prevents me,' said Mr. Nupkins, with magisterial
dignity, as Job was brought in--'what prevents me from detaining
these men as rogues and impostors? It is a foolish mercy. What
'Pride, old fellow, pride,' replied Jingle, quite at his ease.
'Wouldn't do--no go--caught a captain, eh?--ha! ha! very
good--husband for daughter--biter bit--make it public--not for
'Wretch,' said Mr. Nupkins, 'we scorn your base insinuations.'
'I always hated him,' added Henrietta.
'Oh, of course,' said Jingle. 'Tall young man--old lover--
Sidney Porkenham--rich--fine fellow--not so rich as captain,
though, eh?--turn him away--off with him--anything for
captain--nothing like captain anywhere--all the girls--raving
mad--eh, Job, eh?'
Here Mr. Jingle laughed very heartily; and Job, rubbing his
hands with delight, uttered the first sound he had given vent to
since he entered the house--a low, noiseless chuckle, which
seemed to intimate that he enjoyed his laugh too much, to let any
of it escape in sound.
'Mr. Nupkins,' said the elder lady,'this is not a fit conversation
for the servants to overhear. Let these wretches be removed.'
'Certainly, my dear,' Said Mr, Nupkins. 'Muzzle!'
'Open the front door.'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Leave the house!' said Mr. Nupkins, waving his hand emphatically.
Jingle smiled, and moved towards the door.
'Stay!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I might,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'have taken a much greater
revenge for the treatment I have experienced at your hands, and
that of your hypocritical friend there.'
Job Trotter bowed with great politeness, and laid his hand
upon his heart.
'I say,' said Mr. Pickwick, growing gradually angry, 'that I
might have taken a greater revenge, but I content myself with
exposing you, which I consider a duty I owe to society. This is a
leniency, Sir, which I hope you will remember.'
When Mr. Pickwick arrived at this point, Job Trotter, with
facetious gravity, applied his hand to his ear, as if desirous not to
lose a syllable he uttered.
'And I have only to add, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, now thoroughly
angry, 'that I consider you a rascal, and a--a--ruffian--and--
and worse than any man I ever saw, or heard of, except that
pious and sanctified vagabond in the mulberry livery.'