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
MR. BEN ALLEN and Mr. Bob Sawyer sat together in the little surgery behind the shop, discussing minced veal and future prospects, when the discourse, not unnaturally, turned upon the practice acquired by Bob the aforesaid, and his present chances of deriving a competent independence from the honourable profession to which he had devoted himself.
"--Which, I think," observed Mr. Bob Sawyer, pursuing the thread of the subject, "which, I think, Ben, are rather dubious."
"What's rather dubious?" inquired Mr. Ben Allen, at the same time sharpening his intellects with a draught of beer. "What's dubious?"
"Why, the chances," responded Mr. Bob Sawyer.
"I forgot," said Mr. Ben Allen. "The beer has reminded me that I forgot, Bob--yes; they are dubious."
"It's wonderful how the poor people patronise me," said Mr. Bob Sawyer, reflectively. "They knock me up, at all hours of the night; they take medicine to an extent which I should have conceived impossible; they put on blisters and leeches with a perseverance worthy of a better cause; they make additions to their families, in a manner which is quite awful. Six of those last-named little promissory notes, all due on the same day, Ben, and all intrusted to me!"
"It's very gratifying, isn't it?" said Mr. Ben Allen, holding his plate for some more minced veal.
"Oh, very," replied Bob; "only not quite so much so, as the confidence of patients with a shilling or two to spare, would be. This business was capitally described in the advertisement, Ben. It is a practice, a very extensive practice--and that's all."
"Bob," said Mr. Ben Allen, laying down his knife and fork, and fixing his eyes on the visage of his friend: "Bob, I'll tell you what it is."
"What is it?" inquired Mr. Bob Sawyer.
"You must make yourself, with as little delay as possible, master of Arabella's one thousand pounds."
"Three per cent. consolidated Bank annuities, now standing in her name in the book or books of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England," added Bob Sawyer, in legal phraseology.
"Exactly so," said Ben. "She has it when she comes of age, or marries. She wants a year of coming of age, and if you plucked up a spirit she needn't want a month of being married."
"She's a very charming and delightful creature," quoth Mr. Robert Sawyer, in reply; "and has only one fault that I know of, Ben. It happens, unfortunately, that that single blemish is a want of taste. She don't like me."
"It's my opinion that she don't know what she does like," said Mr. Ben Allen, contemptuously.
"Perhaps not," remarked Mr. Bob Sawyer. "But it's my opinion that she does know what she doesn't like, and that's of more importance."
"I wish," said Mr. Ben Allen, setting his teeth together, and speaking more like a savage warrior who fed on raw wolf's flesh which he carved with his fingers, than a peaceable young gentleman who ate minced veal with a knife and fork, "I wish I knew whether any rascal really has been tampering with her, and attempting to engage her affections. I think I should assassinate him, Bob."
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