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sooner rested on certain pictures which were exposed for sale therein, than he gave a sudden start, smote his right leg with great vehemence, and exclaimed with energy, “If it hadn't been for this, I should ha’ forgot all about it, till it was too late!”
So saying, he at once stepped into a stationer's shop, and requested to be served with a sheet of the best gilt-edged letter-paper, and a hard-nibbed pen which could be warranted not to splutter. These articles having been promptly supplied, he walked on direct towards Leadenhall Market at a good round pace. Looking round him, he there beheld a sign-board on which the painter's art had delineated something remotely resembling a cerulean elephant with an aquiline nose in lieu of trunk. Rightly conjecturing that this was the Blue Boarll himself, he stepped into the house, and inquired concerning his parent.
"He won't be here this three quarters of an hour or more,” said the young lady who superintended the domestic arrangements of the Blue Boar.
“Wery good, my dear,” replied Sam. “Let me have nine pennorth o’ brandy and water luke, and the inkstand, will you miss?”
The brandy and water luke,12 and the inkstand, having been carried into the little parlor, and the young lady having carefully flattened down the coals to prevent their blazing, and carried away the poker to preclude the possibility of the fire being stirred, without the full privity and concur
11. The Blue Boar is a tavern or inn. The old English inns bore very curious names: The George and Vulture, The Marquis of Granby, The Pig and Whistle are examples.
12. Luke_lukewarm water.
rence of the Blue Boar being first had and obtained, Sam Weller sat himself down in a box near
the stove, and pulled out the sheet of gilt-edged letter-paper, and the hard-nibbed pen. Then looking carefully at the pen to see that there were no hairs in it, and dusting down the table, so that there might be no crumbs of bread under the paper, Sam tucked up the cuffs of his coat, squared his elbows, and composed himself to write.
To ladies and gentlemen who are not in the habit of devoting themselves practically to the science of penmanship, writing a letter is no very easy task; it being always considered necessary in such cases for the writer to recline his head on his left arm, so as to place his eyes as nearly as possible on a level with the paper, while glancing sideways at the letters he is constructing, to form with his tongue imaginary characters to correspond. These motions, although unquestionably of the greatest assistance to original composition, retard in some degree the progress of the writer; and Sam had unconsciously been a full hour and a half writing words in small text, smearing out wrong letters with his little finger, and putting in new ones which required going over very often to render them visible through the old blots, when he was aroused by the opening of the door and the entrance of his parent.
“Vell, Sammy,” said the father.
“Vell, my Prooshan Blue,” responded the son, laying down his pen. “What's the last bulletin about mother-in-law?"
“Mrs. Veller passed a very good night, but is uncommon perwerse, and unpleasant this mornin'. Signed upon oath, S. Veller, Esquire, Senior. That's the last vun as was issued, Sammy,” replied Mr. Weller, untying his shawl.
“No better yet?” inquired Sam.
“All the symptoms aggerawated,” replied Mr. Weller, shaking his head. “But wot's that, you're a doin' of? Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, Sammy?”
“I've done now,” said Sam with slight embarrassment; "I've been a writin'."
“So I see,” replied Mr. Weller. “Not to any young 'ooman, I hope, Sammy?”
? “Why it's no use a sayin' it ain't,” replied Sam. “It's a walentine.”
“A what!” exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horror-stricken by the word.
“A walentine,” replied Sam.
“Samivel, Samivel,” said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, “I didn't think you'd ha' done it. Arter the warnin' you've had o' your father's
' wicious propensities; arter all I've said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein’ and bein' in the company o’ your own mother-inlaw, vich I should ha’ thought wos a moral lesson as no man could never ha' forgotten to his dyin' day! I didn't think you'd ha' done it, Sammy, I didn't think you'd ha' done it!"'13 These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sam's tumbler to his lips and drank off its contents.
13. In another place Mr. Pickwick is told by Sam how his father came to marry. Sam is speaking about the "touts” who peddled licenses for marriage at the offices. “What do they do? asked Mr. Pickwick. 'Do,' said Sam, 'do! You, sir! That a’nt the wost on it neither. They puts things into old gen'lm'n's heads as they never dreamed of. My father, sir, wos a coachman. A widower he wos, and fat enough for anything-uncommon fat, to be sure. His missus dies, and leaves him four hundred pound. Down he goes to the Commons, to see the lawyer and draw the blunt-wery smart -top boots on-nosegay in his button-hole-broad-brimmed tilegreen shawl-quite the gen'lm'n. Goes through the archvay, thinking how he should inwest the money-up comes the touter, touches his hat-'Licence, sir, licence ?'—'What's that?' says my father. *Licence, sir,' says he.—'What licence ? says my father.—Marriage licence,' says the touter.—Dash my veskit,' says my father, 'I never thought o' that.'-'I think you wants one, sir,' says the touter. My father pulls up, and thinks a bit—No,' says he, 'damme, I'm too old, b'sides I'm a many sizes too large,' says he. — Not a bit on it, sir,' says the touter.—Think not?' says my father.—I'm sure not,' says he; 'we married a gen’lm'n twice your size, last Monday.' 'Did you, though,' said my father.—To be sure, we did,' says the touter, ‘you're a babby to him—this way, sir—this way!' and sure enough my father walks arter him, like a tame monkey behind a organ, into a little back office, vere a feller sat among dirty papers and tin boxes, making believe he was busy. 'Pray take a seat, vile I makes out the affidavit, sir,' says the lawyer.—Thankee, sir,' says my father, and down he sat, and stared with all his eyes, and his mouth vide open, at the names on the boxes. “What's your name, sir,' says the lawyer.—Tony Weller,' says my father.—'Parish ? says the lawyer.—Belle Savage,' says my father; for he stopped there wen he drove up, and he know'd nothing about parishes, he didn't.— And what's the lady's name?' says the lawyer. My father was struck all of a heap. “Blessed if I know,' says he.— Not know!' says the lawyer.—No more nor you do,' says my father, 'can't I put that in arterwards ??—'Impossible!' says the lawyer.—'Wery well,' says my father, after he'd thought a moment, 'put down Mrs. Clarke.' “What Clarke ? says the lawyer, dipping his pen in the ink.—“Susan Clarke, Markis o' Granby, Dorking,' says my father; "she'll have me, if I ask, I des-say-I never said nothing to her, but she'll have me, I know.' The licence was made out, and she did have him, and what's more she's got him now; and I never had any of the four hundred pound, worse luck. “Beg your pardon, sir,' said Sam, when he had concluded, “but ven I gets on this here grievance, I runs on like a new barrow vith the wheel greased.'”
“Wot's the matter now?” said Sam.
“Nev'r mind, Sammy,” replied Mr. Weller, “it'll be a wery agonizing trial to me at my time of life, but I'm pretty tough, that's vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he wos afeerd he should be obliged to kill him for the London market.”
“Wot'll be a trial?” inquired Sam.
“To see you married, Sammy—to see you a dilluded wictim, and thinkin' in your innocence that it's all wery capital,” replied Mr. Weller. “It's a dreadful trial to a father's feelin's, that ’ere, Sammy.”