Containing some particulars relative to the double knock, and other matters: among which certain interesting disclosures relative to Mr. Snodgrass and a young lady are by no means irrelevant to this history
THE object that presented itself to the eyes of the astonished clerk, was a boy -- a wonderfully fat boy -- habited as a serving lad, standing upright on the mat, with his eyes closed as if in sleep. He had never seen such a fat boy, in or out of a travelling caravan; and this, coupled with the calmness and repose of his appearance, so very different from what was reasonably to have been expected of the inflicter of such knocks, smote him with wonder.
"What's the matter?" inquired the clerk.
The extraordinary boy replied not a word; but he nodded once, and seemed, to the clerk's imagination, to snore feebly.
"Where do you come from?" inquired the clerk.
The boy made no sign. He breathed heavily, but in all other respects was motionless.
The clerk repeated the question thrice, and receiving no answer, prepared to shut the door, when the boy suddenly opened his eyes, winked several times, sneezed once, and raised his hand as if to repeat the knocking. Finding the door open, he stared about him with astonishment, and at length fixed his eyes on Mr. Lowten's face.
"What the devil do you knock in that way for?" inquired the clerk, angrily.
"Which way?" said the boy, in a slow and sleepy voice.
"Why, like forty hackney-coachmen," replied the clerk.
"Because master said, I wasn't to leave off knocking till they opened the door, for fear I should go to sleep," said the boy.
"Well," said the clerk, "what message have you brought?"
"He's down-stairs," rejoined the boy.
"Master. He wants to know whether you're at home."
Mr. Lowten bethought himself, at this juncture, of looking out of the window. Seeing an open carriage with a hearty old gentleman in it, looking up very anxiously, he ventured to beckon him; on which, the old gentleman jumped out directly.
"That's your master in the carriage, I suppose?" said Lowten.
The boy nodded.
All further inquiries were superseded by the appearance of old Wardle, who, running up-stairs, and just recognising Lowten, passed at once into Mr. Perker's room.
"Pickwick!" said the old gentleman. "Your hand, my boy! Why have I never heard until the day before yesterday of your suffering yourself to be cooped up in jail? And why did you let him do it, Perker?"
"I couldn't help it, my dear sir," replied Perker, with a smile and a pinch of snuff: "you know how obstinate he is."
"Of course I do, of course I do," replied the old gentleman. "I am heartily glad to see him, notwithstanding. I will not lose sight of him again, in a hurry."
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