"Ah!" 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 place where this discourse occurred, was the public-house just opposite to the Insolvent Court; 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 George?" inquired the old gentleman.
Mr. Pell jerked his head in the direction of a back parlour: whither Mr. Weller at once repairing, was immediately greeted in the warmest and most flattering manner by some half-dozen of his professional brethren, in token of their gratification at his arrival. The insolvent 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 craft; 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 famous 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 greeting than this; and yet, when one died, the other pined away, and soon afterwards followed him!
"Vell, George," said Mr. Weller, senior, taking off his upper coat, and seating himself with his accustomed gravity. "How is it? All right behind, and full inside?"
"All right, old feller," replied the embarrassed gentleman.
"Is the grey mare made over to anybody?" inquired Mr. Weller, anxiously.
George nodded in the affirmative.
"Vell, that's all right," said Mr. Weller. "Coach taken care on, also?"
"Con-signed in a safe quarter," replied George, wringing 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. Weller'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, turning 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?"
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