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'Vell, now,' said Sam, 'about my affair. Just open them ears o' yourn, and don't say nothin' till I've done.' With this preface, Sam related, as succinctly as he could, the last memorable conversation he had had with Mr. Pickwick.
'Stop there by himself, poor creetur!' exclaimed the elder Mr. Weller, 'without nobody to take his part! It can't be done, Samivel, it can't be done.'
'O' course it can't,' asserted Sam: 'I know'd that, afore I came.' 'Why, they'll eat him up alive, Sammy,'exclaimed Mr. Weller.
Sam nodded his concurrence in the opinion.
'He goes in rayther raw, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller metaphorically, 'and he'll come out, done so ex-ceedin' brown, that his most formiliar friends won't know him. Roast pigeon's nothin' to it, Sammy.'
Again Sam Weller nodded.
'It oughtn't to be, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller gravely.
'It mustn't be,' said Sam.
'Cert'nly not,' said Mr. Weller.
'Vell now,' said Sam, 'you've been a-prophecyin' away, wery fine, like a red-faced Nixon, as the sixpenny books gives picters on.'
'Who wos he, Sammy?' inquired Mr. Weller.
'Never mind who he was,' retorted Sam; 'he warn't a coachman; that's enough for you.' 'I know'd a ostler o' that name,' said Mr. Weller, musing.
'It warn't him,' said Sam. 'This here gen'l'm'n was a prophet.'
'Wot's a prophet?' inquired Mr. Weller, looking sternly on his son.
'Wy, a man as tells what's a-goin' to happen,' replied Sam.
'I wish I'd know'd him, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller. 'P'raps he might ha' throw'd a small light on that 'ere liver complaint as we wos a-speakin' on, just now. Hows'ever, if he's dead, and ain't left the bisness to nobody, there's an end on it. Go on, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, with a sigh.
'Well,' said Sam, 'you've been a-prophecyin' avay about wot'll happen to the gov'ner if he's left alone. Don't you see any way o' takin' care on him?'
'No, I don't, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, with a reflective visage.
'No vay at all?' inquired Sam.
'No vay,' said Mr. Weller, 'unless'--and a gleam of intelligence lighted up his countenance as he sank his voice to a whisper, and applied his mouth to the ear of his offspring--'unless it is getting him out in a turn-up bedstead, unbeknown to the turnkeys, Sammy, or dressin' him up like a old 'ooman vith a green wail.'
Sam Weller received both of these suggestions with unexpected contempt, and again propounded his question.
'No,' said the old gentleman; 'if he von't let you stop there, I see no vay at all. It's no thoroughfare, Sammy, no thoroughfare.'
'Well, then, I'll tell you wot it is,' said Sam, 'I'll trouble you for the loan of five-and-twenty pound.'
'Wot good'll that do?' inquired Mr. Weller.
'Never mind,' replied Sam. 'P'raps you may ask for it five minits arterwards; p'raps I may say I von't pay, and cut up rough. You von't think o' arrestin' your own son for the money, and sendin' him off to the Fleet, will you, you unnat'ral wagabone?'
At this reply of Sam's, the father and son exchanged a complete code of telegraph nods and gestures, after which, the elder Mr. Weller sat himself down on a stone step and laughed till he was purple.
'Wot a old image it is!' exclaimed Sam, indignant at this loss of time. 'What are you a-settin' down there for, con-wertin' your face into a street-door knocker, wen there's so much to be done. Where's the money?' 'In the boot, Sammy, in the boot,' replied Mr. Weller, composing his features. 'Hold my hat, Sammy.'
Having divested himself of this encumbrance, Mr. Weller gave his body a sudden wrench to one side, and by a dexterous twist, contrived to get his right hand into a most capacious pocket, from whence, after a great deal of panting and exertion, he extricated a pocket-book of the large octavo size, fastened by a huge leathern strap. From this ledger he drew forth a couple of whiplashes, three or four buckles, a little sample-bag of corn, and, finally, a small roll of very dirty bank-notes, from which he selected the required amount, which he handed over to Sam.
'And now, Sammy,' said the old gentleman, when the whip- lashes, and the buckles, and the samples, had been all put back, and the book once more deposited at the bottom of the same pocket, 'now, Sammy, I know a gen'l'm'n here, as'll do the rest o' the bisness for us, in no time--a limb o' the law, Sammy, as has got brains like the frogs, dispersed all over his body, and reachin' to the wery tips of his fingers; a friend of the Lord Chancellorship's, Sammy, who'd only have to tell him what he wanted, and he'd lock you up for life, if that wos all.'
'I say,' said Sam, 'none o' that.'
'None o' wot?' inquired Mr. Weller.
'Wy, none o' them unconstitootional ways o' doin' it,' retorted Sam. 'The have-his-carcass, next to the perpetual motion, is vun of the blessedest things as wos ever made. I've read that 'ere in the newspapers wery of'en.'
'Well, wot's that got to do vith it?' inquired Mr. Weller.
'Just this here,' said Sam, 'that I'll patronise the inwention, and go in, that vay. No visperin's to the Chancellorship--I don't like the notion. It mayn't be altogether safe, vith reference to gettin' out agin.'
Deferring to his son's feeling upon this point, Mr. Weller at once sought the erudite Solomon Pell, and acquainted him with his desire to issue a writ, instantly, for the SUM of twenty-five pounds, and costs of process; to be executed without delay upon the body of one Samuel Weller; the charges thereby incurred, to be paid in advance to Solomon Pell.
The attorney was in high glee, for the embarrassed coach- horser was ordered to be discharged forthwith. He highly approved of Sam's attachment to his master; declared that it strongly reminded him of his own feelings of devotion to his friend, the Chancellor; and at once led the elder Mr. Weller down to the Temple, to swear the affidavit of debt, which the boy, with the assistance of the blue bag, had drawn up on the spot.
Meanwhile, Sam, having been formally introduced to the whitewashed gentleman and his friends, as the offspring of Mr. Weller, of the Belle Savage, was treated with marked distinction, and invited to regale himself with them in honour of the occasion --an invitation which he was by no means backward in accepting.
The mirth of gentlemen of this class is of a grave and quiet character, usually; but the present instance was one of peculiar festivity, and they relaxed in proportion. After some rather tumultuous toasting of the Chief Commissioner and Mr. Solomon Pell, who had that day displayed such transcendent abilities, a mottled-faced gentleman in a blue shawl proposed that somebody should sing a song. The obvious suggestion was, that the mottled- faced gentleman, being anxious for a song, should sing it himself; but this the mottled-faced gentleman sturdily, and somewhat offensively, declined to do. Upon which, as is not unusual in such cases, a rather angry colloquy ensued.
'Gentlemen,' said the coach-horser, 'rather than disturb the harmony of this delightful occasion, perhaps Mr. Samuel Weller will oblige the company.'
'Raly, gentlemen,' said Sam, 'I'm not wery much in the habit o' singin' without the instrument; but anythin' for a quiet life, as the man said wen he took the sitivation at the lighthouse.'
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The Pickwick Papers -- by Charles Dickens