`The coolness of you two rascals is amazing,' began Mr. Pickwick, trying to get up an awful frown, and only succeeding in producing an amiable smile. But the new member was equal to the occasion; and, rising, with a graceful salutation to the Chair, said, in the most engaging manner, `Mr. President and ladies - I beg pardon, gentlemen - allow me to introduce myself as Sam Weller, the very humble servant of the club.'

`Good! good!' cried Jo, pounding with the handle of the old warming-pan, on which she leaned.

`My faithful friend and noble patron,' continued Laurie, with a wave of the hand, `who has so flatteringly presented me, is not to be blamed for the base stratagem of tonight. I planned it, and she only gave in after lots of teasing.'

`Come now, don't lay it all on yourself; you know I proposed the cupboard,' broke in Snodgrass, who was enjoying the joke amazingly.

`Never you mind what she says. I'm the wretch that did it, sir,' said the new member, with a Welleresque nod to Mr. Pickwick. `But on my honour I never will do so again, and henceforth devote myself to the interest of this immortal club.'

`Hear! hear!' cried Jo, clashing the lid of the warming-pan like a cymbal.

`Go on, go on!' added Winkle and Tupman, while the President bowed benignly.

`I merely wish to say, that as a slight token of my gratitude for the honour done me, and as a means of promoting friendly relations between adjoining nations, I have set up a post-office in the hedge in the lower corner of the garden; a fine, spacious building, with padlocks on the doors, and every convenience for the mails - also the females, if I may be allowed the expression. It's the old martin-house; but I've stopped up the door, and made the roof open, so it will hold all sorts of things, and save our valuable tim. le. Letters, manuscripts, books, and bundles can be passed in there; and, as each nation has a key, it will be uncommonly nice, I fancy. Allow me to present the club key; and, with many thanks for your favour, take my seat.' Great applause as Mr. Weller deposited a little key on the table, and subsided; the warming-pan clashed and waved wildly, and it was some time before order could be restored. A long discussion followed, and everyone came out surprisingly for everyone did her best; so it was an unusually lively meeting, and did not adjourn till a late hour, when it broke up with three shrill cheers for the new member. No one ever regretted the admittance of Sam Weller, for a more devoted, well-behaved, and jovial member no club could have. He certainly did add `spirit' to the meeting and `a tone' to the paper; for his orations convulsed his hearers, and his contributions were excellent, being patriotic, classical, comical, or dramatic, but never sentimental. Jo regarded them as worthy of Bacon, Milton, or Shakespeare; and remodelled her own works with good effect, she thought. The P.O. was a capital little institution, and flourished wonderfully, for nearly as many queer things passed through it as through the real office. Tragedies and cravats, poetry and pickles, garden-seeds and long letters, music and gingerbread, rubbers, invitations, scoldings and puppies. The old gentleman liked the fun, and amused himself by sending odd bundles, mysterious messages, and funny telegrams; and his gardener, who was smitten with Hannah's charms, actually sent a love-letter to Jo's care. How they laughed when the secret came out, never dreaming how many love-letters that little post-office would hold in the years to come!

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