Samuel Weller makes a pilgrimage to Dorking, and beholds his mother-in-law
THERE still remaining an interval of two days before the time agreed upon for the departure of the Pickwickians to Dingley Dell, Mr. Weller sat himself down in a back room at the George and Vulture, after eating an early dinner, to muse on the best way of disposing of his time. It was a remarkably fine day; and he had not turned the matter over in his mind ten minutes, when he was suddenly stricken filial and affectionate; and it occurred to him so strongly that he ought to go down and see his father, and pay his duty to his mother-in-law, that he was lost in astonishment at his own remissness in never thinking of this moral obligation before. Anxious to atone for his past neglect without another hour's delay, he straightway walked up-stairs to Mr. Pickwick, and requested leave of absence for this laudable purpose.
"Certainly, Sam, certainly," said Mr. Pickwick, his eyes glistening with delight at this manifestation of filial feeling on the part of his attendant; "certainly, Sam."
Mr. Weller made a grateful bow.
"I am very glad to see that you have so high a sense of your duties as a son, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick.
"I always had, sir," replied Mr. Weller.
"That's a very gratifying reflection, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick, approvingly.
"Wery, sir," replied Mr. Weller; "if ever I wanted anythin' o' my father, I always asked for it in a wery 'spectful and obligin' manner. If he didn't give it me, I took it, for fear I should be led to do anythin' wrong, through not havin' it. I saved him a world o' trouble in this vay, sir."
"That's not precisely what I meant, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick, shaking his head, with a slight smile.
"All good feelin', sir--the wery best intentions, as the gen'l'm'n said ven he run away from his wife 'cos she seemed unhappy with him," replied Mr. Weller.
"You may go, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick.
"Thank'ee, sir," replied Mr. Weller; and having made his best bow, and put on his best clothes, Sam planted himself on the top of the Arundel coach, and journeyed on to Dorking.
The Marquis of Granby in Mrs. Weller's time was quite a model of a road-side public-house of the better class--just large enough to be convenient, and small enough to be snug. On the opposite side of the road was a large sign-board on a high post, representing the head and shoulders of a gentleman with an apoplectic countenance, in a red coat with deep blue facings, and a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered hat, for a sky. Over that again were a pair of flags; beneath the last button of his coat were a couple of cannon; and the whole formed an expressive and undoubted likeness of the Marquis of Granby of glorious memory.
The bar window displayed a choice collection of geranium plants, and a well-dusted row of spirit phials. The open shutters bore a variety of golden inscriptions, eulogistic of good beds and neat wines; and the choice group of countrymen and hostlers lounging about the stable-door and horsetrough, afforded presumptive proof of the excellent quality of the ale and spirits which were sold within. Sam Weller paused, when he dismounted from the coach, to note all these little indications of a thriving business, with the eye of an experienced traveller; and having done so, stepped in at once, highly satisfied with everything he had observed.
"Now, then!" said a shrill female voice the instant Sam thrust his head in at the door, "what do you want, young man?"
Sam looked round in the direction whence the voice proceeded. It came from a rather stout lady of comfortable appearance, who was seated beside the fireplace in the bar, blowing the fire to make the
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