Mr. Weller the elder delivers some critical sentiments respecting literary composition; and, assisted by his son Samuel, pays a small instalment of retaliation to the account of the Reverend gentleman with the red nose
THE morning of the thirteenth of February, which the readers of this authentic narrative know, as well as we do, to have been the day immediately preceding that which was appointed for the trial of Mrs. Bardell's action, was a busy time for Mr. Samuel Weller, who was perpetually engaged in travelling from the George and Vulture to Mr. Perker's chambers and back again, from and between the hours of nine o'clock in the morning and two in the afternoon, both inclusive. Not that there was anything whatever to be done, for the consultation had taken place, and the course of proceeding to be adopted, had been finally determined on; but Mr. Pickwick being in a most extreme state of excitement, persevered in constantly sending small notes to his attorney, merely containing the inquiry, "Dear Perker. Is all going on well?" to which Mr. Perker invariably forwarded the reply, "Dear Pickwick. As well as possible;" the fact being, as we have already hinted, that there was nothing whatever to go on, either well or ill, until the sitting of the court on the following morning.
But people who go voluntarily to law, or are taken forcibly there, for the first time, may be allowed to labour under some temporary irritation and anxiety: and Sam, with a due allowance for the frailties of human nature, obeyed all his master's behests with that imperturbable good humour and unruffable composure which formed one of his most striking and amiable characteristics.
Sam had solaced himself with a most agreeable little dinner, and was waiting at the bar for the glass of warm mixture in which Mr. Pickwick had requested him to drown the fatigues of his morning's walks, when a young boy of about three feet high, or thereabouts, in a hairy cap and fustian over-alls, whose garb bespoke a laudable ambition to attain in time the elevation of an hostler, entered the passage of the George and Vulture, and looked first up the stairs, and then along the passage, and then into the bar, as if in search of somebody to whom he bore a commission; whereupon the barmaid, conceiving it not improbable that the said commission might be directed to the tea or table spoons of the establishment, accosted the boy with:
"Now, young man, what do you want?"
"Is there anybody here, named Sam?" inquired the youth, in a loud voice of treble quality.
"What's the t'other name?" said Sam Weller, looking round.
"How should I know?" briskly replied the young gentleman below the hairy cap.
"You're a sharp boy, you are," said Mr. Weller; "only I wouldn't show that wery fine edge too much, if I was you, in case anybody took it off. What do you mean by comin' to a hot-el, and asking arter Sam, vith as much politeness as a vild Indian?"
"'Cos an old gen'l'm'n told me to," replied the boy.
"What old gen'l'm'n?" inquired Sam, with deep disdain.
"Him as drives a Ipswich coach, and uses our parlour," rejoined the boy. "He told me yesterday mornin' to come to the George and Wultur this arternoon, and ask for Sam."
"It's my father, my dear," said Mr. Weller, turning with an explanatory air to the young lady in the bar; "blessed if I think he hardly knows wot my other name is. Vell, young brockiley sprout, wot then?"
"Why, then," said the boy, "you was to come to him at six o'clock to our 'ouse, 'cos he wants to see you-- Blue Boar, Leaden'all Markit. Shall I say you're comin'?"
"You may wenture on that 'ere statement, sir," replied Sam. And thus empowered, the young gentleman walked away, awakening all the echoes in George Yard as he did so, with several chaste and extremely correct imitations of a drover's whistle, delivered in a tone of peculiar richness and volume.
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