An important conference takes place between Mr. Pickwick and Samuel Weller, at which his parent assists. An old gentleman in a snuff-coloured suit arrives unexpectedly
MR. PICKWICK was sitting alone, musing over many things, and thinking among other considerations how he could best provide for the young couple whose present unsettled condition was matter of constant regret and anxiety to him, when Mary stepped lightly into the room, and, advancing to the table, said, rather hastily:
"Oh, if you please, sir, Samuel is down-stairs, and he says may his father see you?"
"Surely," replied Mr. Pickwick.
"Thank you, sir," said Mary, tripping towards the door again.
"Sam has not been here long, has he?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.
"Oh, no, sir," replied Mary eagerly. "He has only just come home. He is not going to ask you for any more leave, sir, he says."
Mary might have been conscious that she had communicated this last intelligence with more warmth than seemed actually necessary, or she might have observed the good-humoured smile with which Mr. Pickwick regarded her, when she had finished speaking. She certainly held down her head, and examined the corner of a very smart little apron, with more closeness than there appeared any absolute occasion for.
"Tell them they can come up at once, by all means," said Mr. Pickwick.
Mary, apparently much relieved, hurried away with her message.
Mr. Pickwick took two or three turns up and down the room; and rubbing his chin with his left hand as he did so, appeared lost in thought.
"Well, well," said Mr. Pickwick at length, in a kind but somewhat melancholy tone, "it is the best way in which I could reward him for his attachment and fidelity; let it be so, in Heaven's name. It is the fate of a lonely old man, that those about him should form new and different attachments and leave him. I have no right to expect that it should be otherwise with me. No, no," added Mr. Pickwick more cheerfully, "it would be selfish and ungrateful. I ought to be happy to have an opportunity of providing for him so well. I am. Of course I am."
Mr. Pickwick had been so absorbed in these reflections, that a knock at the door was three or four times repeated before he heard it. Hastily seating himself, and calling up his accustomed pleasant looks, he gave the required permission, and Sam Weller entered, followed by his father.
"Glad to see you back again, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick. "How do you do, Mr. Weller?"
"Wery hearty, thank'ee, sir," replied the widower; "hope I see you well, sir."
"Quite, I thank you," replied Mr. Pickwick.
"I wanted to have a little bit o' conwersation with you, sir," said Mr. Weller, "if you could spare me five minits or so, sir."
"Certainly," replied Mr. Pickwick. "Sam, give your father a chair."
"Thank'ee, Samivel, I've got a cheer here," said Mr. Weller, bringing one forward as he spoke; "uncommon fine day it's been, sir," added the old gentleman, laying his hat on the floor as he sat himself down.
"Remarkably so indeed," replied Mr. Pickwick. "Very seasonable."
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