Charles Dickens.

The posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club, Volume 4 online

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The Posthumous Papers of
the Pickwick Club

Charles Dickens

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JUN 24 1955

Xjitered according to Act of Congress, In the year 1861, by

W. A. TowKSEin) Ain> Oompaitt,

in fhe 01«rk's OfBoe of the District Ck>art for the Southern Distrlet of
New Tork.

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Showing how Mr. Samuel Weller got into difficulties. ... 7


Treats of divers little Matters which occurred in the Fleet, and
of Mr. Winkle^s mysterious Behavior; and shows how the
poor Chancery Prisoner obtained his Release at last. . 27


Descriptive of an affecting Interview between Mr. Samuel Weller
and a Family Party. Mr. Pickwick makes a Tour of the di-
minutive World he inhabitSj and resolves to mix with it, in
future, as little as possible 46


Records a touching Act of delicate Feeling, not unmixed with
Pleasantry, achieved and performed by Messrs. Dodson and
Fogg 70


Is chiefly devoted to matters of business, and the temporal Ad-
vantage of Dodson and Fogg. Mr. Winkle reappears under
extraordinary circumstances. Mr. Pickwick's Benevolence
proves stronger than his Obstinacy 85


Relates how Mr. Pickwick, with the assistance of Samuel Weller,
essayed to soften the heart of Mr. Benjamin Allen, and to
mollify the wrath of Mr. Robert Sawyer 102

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Containing the Story of the Bagman's Unde 121


How Mr. Pickwick sped upon his Mission, and how he was rein-
forced, in the Outset, by a most unexpected Auxiliary. . 146


In which Mr. Pickwick encounters an old Acquaintance. To
which fortunate circumstance the Reader is mainly indebted
for matter of thrilling interest herein set down, concerning
two great Public Men of might and power 166


Involving a serious Change in the Weller Family, and the un-
timely Downfall of the red-nosed Mr. Stiggins. . . . 187


Comprising the final Exit of Mr. Jingle and Job Trotter; with a
Great Morning of Business in Gray's Inn Square. Conclud-
ing with a Double Knock at Mr. Perker's door. . . . 201


Containing some Particulars relative to the Double Knock, and
other Matters, among which certain Interesting Disclosures
relative to Mr. Snodgrass and a Yoimg Lady are by no means
irrelevant to this History. 22t


Mr. Solomon Pell, assisted by a Select Committee of Coachmen,
arranges the Affairs of the elder Mr. WeUer. . . . 245


An important Conference takes place between Bfr. Pickwick and
Samuel "Weller, at which his Parent assists. Aii old Gentle-
man in a snuff-«olored Suit arrives imexpectedly. . . 263


In which the Pickwick Club is finally dissolved, and ev^Ttfafaig
concluded to the satisfiiction of everybody 281

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In a lofty room, badly lighted and worse ventilated,
situate in Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn-fields, there sit
nearly the whole year round, one, two, three, or four
gentlemen in wigs, as the case may be, with little writ-
ing-desks before them, constructed after the fashion of
those used by the judges of the land, barring the French
polish. There is a box of barristers on their right hand;
there is an enclosure of insolvent debtors on their left ;
and there is an inclined plane of most especially dirty
faces in their front These gentlemen are the Com-
missioners of the Insolvent Court, and the place in
which they sit, is the Insolvent Court itself.

It is, and has been, time out of mind, the remarkable
fate of this Court to be, somehow or other, held and
understood, by the general consent of all the destitute
shabby-genteel people in London, as their common re-
sort, and place of daily refuge. It is always ftill. The
steams of beer and spirits perpetually ascend to the ceil-

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ing, and, being condensed by the heat, roll down the
walls like rain ; there are more" old suits of clothes in it
at one time, than will be offered for sale in all Hounds-
ditch in a twelvemonth ; more unwashed skins and griz-
zly beards than all the pumps and shaving-shops between
Tyburn and Whitechapel could render decent, between
sunrise and sunset.

It must not be supposed that any of these people have
the least shadow of business in, or the remotest connec-
tion with, the place they so indefatigably attend. If they
had, it would be no matter of surprise, and the singularity
of the thing would cease at once. Some of them sleep
during the greater part of the sitting ; others carry small
portable dinners wrapped in pocket-handkerchiefs or
sticking out of their worn-out pockets, and munch and
listen with equal relish ; but no one among them was
ever known to have the slightest personal interest in any
case that was ever brought forward. Whatever they do,
there they sit fix)m the first moment to the last. When
it is heavy rainy weather, they all come in, wet through;
and at such times the vapors of the Court are like those
of a fungus-pit.

A casual visitor might suppose this place to be a Tem-
ple dedicated to the Genius of Seediness. There is not
a messenger or process-server attached to it, who wears
a coat that was made for him ; not a tolerably fresh, or
wholesome-looking man in the whole establishment, ex-
cept a little white-headed, apple-faced tipstaff, and even
he, like an ill-conditioned cherry preserved in brandy,
seems to have artificially dried and withered up, into a
state of preservation, to which he can lay no natural
claim. The very barristers' wigs are ill-powdered, and
their curls lack crispness.

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But the attorneys, who sit at a large bare table below
the Commissioners, are, after all, the greatest curiosities.
The professional establishment of the more opulent of
these gentlemen, consists of a blue bag and a boy : gen-
erally a youth of the' Jewish persuasion. They have no
fixed offices : their legal business being transacted in the
parlors of public-houses, or the yards of prisons: whither
they repair in crowds, and canvass for customers after
the manner of omnibus cads. They are of a greasy and
mildewed appearance ; and if they can be .said to have
any vices at all, perhaps drinking and cheating are the
most conspicuous among them. Their residences are
usually on the outskirts of "the Rules," chiefly lying
within a circle of one mile from the obelisk in St
George's Fields. Their looks are not prepossessing,
and their manners are peculiar.

Mr. Solomon Pell, one of this learned body, was a fat,
flabby, pale man, in a surtout which looked green one
minute, and brown the next : with a velvet collar of the
same chameleon tints. His forehead was narrow, his face
wide, his head large, and his nose all on one side, as if
Nature, indignant with the propensities she observed in
him in his birth, had given it an angry tweak which it
had never recovered. Being short-necked and asthmatic,
however, he respired principally through this feature ;
so, perhaps, what it wanted in ornament, it made up in

" I'm sure to bring him through it,*' said Mr. PeU.

" Are you though ? " replied the person to whom the
assurance was pledged.

" Certain sure," replied Pell ; " but if he'd gone to
any irregular practitioner, mind you, I wouldn't have
answered for the consequences."

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** Ah I " said the other, with open mouth.

*< No, that I wouldn't,*' said Mr. Pell ; and he pursed
up his lips, frowned, and shook his head mysteriously.

Now, the plaoe where this discourse occurred, was the
public-house just opposite to the Insolvent Ck>urt; and
the person with whom it was held, was no other than the
elder Mr. Weller, who had come there, to comfort and
console a friend, whose petition to be discharged under
the act, was to be that day heard, and whose attorney he
was at that moment consulting.

" And vere is Greorge ? " inquired the old gentleman.

Mr. Pell jerked his head in the direction of a back-
parlor : whither Mr. Weller at once repairing, was im-
mediately greeted in the warmest and most flatteiing
manner by some half-dozen of his professional brethren,
in token of their gratification at his arrival. The insolv-
ent gentleman, who had contracted a speculative but
imprudent passion for horsing long stages, which had led
to his present embarrassments, looked extremely well,
and was soothing the excitement of his feelings with
shrimps and porter.

The salutation between Mr. Weller and his friends
was strictly confined to the freemasonry of the crafl ;
consisting of a jerking round of the right wrist, and a
tossing of the little finger into the air at the same time.
We once knew two &mous coachmen (they are dead
now, poor fellows) who were twins, and between whom
an unaffected and devoted attachment existed. They
passed each other on the Dover road every day for
twenty-four years, never exchanging any other greet-
ing than this ; and yet, when one died, the other pined
away, and soon afterwards followed him 1

" Veil, George," said Mr. Weller, senior, taking off

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his upper coat^ and seating himself with his accustomed
gravity. " How is it ? AH right behind, and fiill in-

"All right, old feller,** replied the embarrassed gen-

" Is the gray mare made over to anybody ? ** inquired
Mr. Weller anxiously.

George nodded in the affirmative.

** Veil, that* 8 all right," said Mr. Weller. " Coach
taken care on, also ? *'

" Con-signed in a safe quarter,*' replied George, wring-
ing the heads off half-a-dozen shrimps, and swallowing
them without any more ado.

" Wery good, wery good,'* said Mr. Weller. " Alvays
see to the drag ven you go down-hill. Is the vay-bill all
clear and straight for'erd ? "

" The schedule, sir," said Pell, guessing at Mr. Wel-
ler's meaning, " the schedule is as plain and satisfactory
as pen and ink can make it."

Mr. Weller nodded in a manner which bespoke his
inward approval of these arrangements ; and then, turn-
ing to Mr. Pell, said, pointing to his friend George :

" Ven do you take his cloths off?"

" Why," replied Mr. Pell, " he stands third on the
opposed list, and I should think it would be his turn in
about half an hour. I told my clerk to come over and
tell us when there was a chance."

Mr. Weller surveyed the attorney from head to foot
with great admiration, and said, emphatically :

" And what'll you take, sir ? "

" Why, really," replied Mr. Pell, " you're very -r— .

Upon my word and honor, I am not in the habit of •

It's so very early in the morning, that, actually, I am

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almost . Well, you may bring me three penn'orth

of rum, my dear."

The officiating damsel, who had anticipated the order
before it was given, set the glass of spirits before Pell,
and retired,

" Gentlemen," said Mr. Pell, looking round upon the
company, " Success to your friend I I don't like to boast^
gentlemen ; it's not my way ; but I can't help saying,
that, if your friend hadn't been fortunate enough to fall

into hands that but I won't say what I was going to

say. Gentlemen, my service to you." Having emptied
the glass in a twinkling, Mr. Pell smacked his lips,
and looked complacently round on the assembled coach-
men, who evidently regarded him as a species of di-

" Let me see," said the legal authority — " What was
I a-saying, gentlemen ? "

" I think you was remarkin* as you wouldn't have no
objection to another o' the same, sir," said Mr. Weller,
with grave facetiousness.

«Ha, ha!" laughed Mr. Pell. "Not bad, not bad.
A professional man, too ! At this time of the morning,

it would be rather too good a . Well, I don't know,

my dear — you may do that again, if you please.
Hem ! "

This last sound was a solemn and dignified cough^ in
which Mr. Pell, observing an indecent tendency to mirth
in some of his auditors, considered it due to himself to

" The late Lord Chancellor, gentlemen, was very fond
of me," said Mr. Pell.

"And wery creditable in him, too," interposed Mr.
Weller. •

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"Hear,* hear," assented Mr. Pell's client "Why
shouldn't he be?"

"Ah — why, indeed!" said a very red-faced man,
iv^ho had said nothing yet, and who looked extremely
onlikely to say anything more. " Why shouldn't he ? "

A murmur of assent ran through the company.

" I remember, gentlemen," said Mr. Pell, " dining with
him on one occasion ; — there was only us two, but every
thing as splendid as if twenty people had been expected
— the great seal on a dumb-waiter at his right hand,
and a man in a bag-wig and suit of armor guarding the
mace with a drawn sword and silk stockings — which
is perpetually done, gentlemen, night and day; when
he said, ' Pell,' he said ; ' no false delicacy. Pell. You're
a man of talent ; you can get anybody through the In-
solvent Court, Pell ; and your country should be proud
of you.' Those were his very words — * My Lord,' I
said, * you flatter me.' — * Pell,' he said, * If I do, Fm
damned.' "

" Did he say that ? " inquired Mr. Weller.

« He did," replied PeU.

"Veil, then," said Mr. Weller, "I say Parliament
ought to ha' took it up ; and if he'd been a poor man,
they wovld ha' done it."

" But, my dear friend," argued Mr. Pell, " it was in

" In what ? " said Mr. Weller.

" In confidence."

" Oh ! wery good," replied Mr. Weller, after a little
reflection. " If he damned his-self in confidence, o' course
tliat was another thing."

" Of course it was," said Mr. PelL " The distinction's
obvious, you will perceive "

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^ Alters the case entirely," said Mr. Weller. * Go on,

" No ; 1 will not go on, sir,** said Ikfr. Pell, in a low
and serious tone. **Yoa have reminded me, sir, that
this conversation was private — private and confiden-
tial, gentlemen. Gentlemen, I am a professional man.
It may be that I am a good deal looked up to, in my
profession ^— it may be that I am not. Most people
know. I say nothing. Observations have abeady been
made, in this room, injurious to the reputation of my
noble friend. You will excuse me, gentlemen ; I was
imprudent I feel that I have no right to mention
this matter without his c<mcurrence. Thank you, sir;
thank you." Thus delivering himself, Mr. Pell thrust
his hands into his pockets, and, frowning grimly around,
rattled three halfyenoe with terrible determination.

This virtuous resolution had scarcely been formed,
when the boy and the blue bag, who were inseparable
companions, rushed violently into the room, and said
(at least the boy did ; for the blue bag took no part in
ihe announcement) that the case was coming on directly.
The intelligence was no sooner received than the whole
party hurried across the street, and began to fight their
way into Court — a preparatory ceremony, which has
been calculated to occupy, in ordinary cases, from twen-
ty-five minutes to thirty.

Mr. Weller, being stout, cast himself at once into the
crowd, with the desperate hope of ultimately turning up
in some place which would suit him. His success was
not quite equal to his expectations ; for having neglected
to take his hat off", it was knocked over his eyes by some
unseen person, upon whose toes he had alighted with
considerable force. Apparently, this individual regretted

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his impetaofiity immedlAtelj afterwards; for, muttering
an indistinct exclamation of sorprise, he dragged the old
man out into the hall, and, after a violent struggle, re-
leased his head. and face.

^ Samivel I " exclaimed Mr. Weller, when he was thus
enabled to behold his rescuer.

Sam nodded.

** You're a dutiful and affectionate little boy, you are,
aVt you ? " said Mr. Weller, " to come a-bonnetin' your
&ther in his old age ? "

" How should I know who you wos ? " responded the
son. " Do you s'pose I wos to tell you by the weight o'
your foot ? "

" Veil, that's wery true, Sammy," replied Mr. Weller,
mollified at once ; " but what are you a-doin' on here ?
Your gov'nor can't do no good here, Sammy. They
won't pass that werdlck ; they won't pass it, Sammy."
And Mr. Weller shook his head, with legal solemnity.

" Wot a perwerse old file it is I" exclaimed Sam, " al-
vays a-goin' on about werdicks and alleybis, and that.
Who said anything about the werdick ? "

Mr. Weller made no reply, but once more shook his
head most learnedly.

"Leave off rattlin' that 'ere nob o' youm, if you
don't want it to come off the springs altogether," said
Sam, impatiently, ^and behave reasonable. I vent all
the vay down to the Markis o* Granby, arter you, last

" Did you see the Marchioness o' Granby, Sammy ? "
inquired Mr, Weller, with a sigh.

« Yes, I did," replied Sam.

" How wos the dear creetur a-lookin' ? "

« Wery queer," said Sam. « I think she's a-injurin'

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herself gradivaJly vith too much o* that *ere pine-apple
rum, and other strong medicines o' the same natur."

"You don't mean that, Sammy?*' said the senior,

" I do, indeed," replied the junior. Mr. Weller seized
his son's hand, clasped it, and let it fall. There was an
expression on his countenance in doing so — not of dis-
may or apprehension, but partaking more of the sweet
and gentle character of hope. A gleam of resignation,
and even of cheerfulness, passed over his face too, as he
slowly said, "I aVt quite certain, Sammy; I wouldn't
like to say I wos altogether positive, in case of any sub-
sekent disapp'intment, but I rayther think, my boy — I
rayther think — that the shepherd's got the liver com-

" Does he look bad ? " inquired Sam.

"He's uncommon pale," replied his father, "'cept about
the nose, wich is redder than ever. His appetite is wery
80-so, but he imbibes wunderful."

Some thoughts of the rum appeared to obtrude them-
selves on Mr. Weller^s mind, as he said this; for he
looked gloomy and thoughtful ; but he very shortly re-
covered, as was testified by a perfect alphabet of winks,
in which he was only wont to indulge when particularly

" Veil, now," said Sam, " about my affair. Just open
them ears o' youm, and don't say nothin* till I've done."
With this brief 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."

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" 0* course it can't," asserted Sam ; « I know'd that,
afore I came."

" Wy, they'll eat hun up alive, Saimny," exclaimed
Mr. WeUer.

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 mus'n't be," said Sam.

" Cerf nly not," said Mr. Weller.

"Veil now," said San^ "you've been a prophesyin'
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 wos," retorted Sam ; " he wam't
a ceachman ; that's enough for you."

" I know'd a ostler o' that name," said Mr. Weller,

" It wam'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 whaf s a-goin' to haj^n," replied

" I wish rd 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 a'n't left the bis'ness to nobody,
there's an end on it Gro on, Sammy," said Mr. Weller,
with a sigh.

VOL. IV. 2

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** Well," said Sam, ^ you've been a^ropbesyin' avay,
about wot '11 happen to the gov'nor if he's left alone.
Don^t you see any vay ^' takin' oare on him ? "

"No, I don't, Sammy," said Mr. Weller, witfi a l:^
flective visage^

" No vay at all ? " teqaired Sam»

«No vay," said Mr, Weller, "unless"— and a gleam
of intelligence lighted up hk oountenance as he sunk his
voice to a whisper, and appUed his mouth to the ear of
his oflFspring — " 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 wedl."

Sam Weller received both of these suggestions with
unexpected oontempt, and again propounded his ques-

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Online LibraryCharles DickensThe posthumous papers of the Pickwick Club, Volume 4 → online text (page 1 of 19)