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Chapter 43


CHAPTER XLIII
SHOWING HOW Mr. SAMUEL WELLER GOT INTO DIFFICULTIES


In a lofty room, ill-lighted and worse ventilated, situated in
Portugal Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, there sit nearly the
whole year round, one, two, three, or four gentlemen in wigs,
as the case may be, with little writing-desks before them,
constructed after the fashion of those used by the judges of the land,
barring the French polish.  There is a box of barristers on their
right hand; there is an enclosure of insolvent debtors on their left;
and there is an inclined plane of most especially dirty faces in
their front.  These gentlemen are the Commissioners of the
Insolvent Court, and the place in which they sit, is the Insolvent
Court itself.

It is, and has been, time out of mind, the remarkable fate of
this court to be, somehow or other, held and understood, by the
general consent of all the destitute shabby-genteel people in
London, as their common resort, and place of daily refuge.  It is
always full.  The steams of beer and spirits perpetually ascend to
the ceiling, and, being condensed by the heat, roll down the walls
like rain; there are more old suits of clothes in it at one time,
than will be offered for sale in all Houndsditch in a twelvemonth;
more unwashed skins and grizzly beards than all the pumps and
shaving-shops between Tyburn and Whitechapel could render
decent, between sunrise and sunset.

It must not be supposed that any of these people have the least
shadow of business in, or the remotest connection with, the place
they so indefatigably attend.  If they had, it would be no matter of
surprise, and the singularity of the thing would cease.  Some of
them sleep during the greater part of the sitting; others carry
small portable dinners wrapped in pocket-handkerchiefs or
sticking out of their worn-out pockets, and munch and listen
with equal relish; but no one among them was ever known to have
the slightest personal interest in any case that was ever brought
forward.  Whatever they do, there they sit from the first moment
to the last.  When it is heavy, rainy weather, they all come in, wet
through; and at such times the vapours of the court are like those
of a fungus-pit.

A casual visitor might suppose this place to be a temple
dedicated to the Genius of Seediness.  There is not a messenger or
process-server attached to it, who wears a coat that was made for
him; not a tolerably fresh, or wholesome-looking man in the
whole establishment, except a little white-headed apple-faced
tipstaff, and even he, like an ill-conditioned cherry preserved in
brandy, seems to have artificially dried and withered up into a
state of preservation to which he can lay no natural claim.  The
very barristers' wigs are ill-powdered, and their curls lack crispness.

But the attorneys, who sit at a large bare table below the
commissioners, are, after all, the greatest curiosities.  The professional
establishment of the more opulent of these gentlemen, consists of
a blue bag and a boy; generally a youth of the Jewish persuasion.
They have no fixed offices, their legal business being transacted
in the parlours of public-houses, or the yards of prisons, whither
they repair in crowds, and canvass for customers after the manner
of omnibus cads.  They are of a greasy and mildewed appearance;
and if they can be said to have any vices at all, perhaps drinking
and cheating are the most conspicuous among them.  Their
residences are usually on the outskirts of 'the Rules,' chiefly
lying within a circle of one mile from the obelisk in St. George's
Fields.  Their looks are not prepossessing, and their manners
are peculiar.

Mr. Solomon Pell, one of this learned body, was a fat, flabby,
pale man, in a surtout which looked green one minute, and
brown the next, with a velvet collar of the same chameleon tints.
His forehead was narrow, his face wide, his head large, and his
nose all on one side, as if Nature, indignant with the propensities
she observed in him in his birth, had given it an angry tweak
which it had never recovered.  Being short-necked and asthmatic,
however, he respired principally through this feature; so, perhaps,
what it wanted in ornament, it made up in usefulness.

'I'm sure to bring him through it,' said Mr. Pell.

'Are you, though?' replied the person to whom the assurance
was pledged.

'Certain sure,' replied Pell; 'but if he'd gone to any irregular
practitioner, mind you, I wouldn't have answered for the consequences.'

'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 gray 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 downhill.  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?'

'Why, really,' replied Mr. Pell, 'you're very-- Upon my
word and honour, I'm not in the habit of-- It's so very early
in the morning, that, actually, I am almost-- Well, you may
bring me threepenn'orth of rum, my dear.'

The officiating damsel, who had anticipated the order before it
was given, set the glass of spirits before Pell, and retired.

'Gentlemen,' said Mr. Pell, looking round upon the company,
'success to your friend!  I don't like to boast, gentlemen; it's not
my way; but I can't help saying, that, if your friend hadn't been
fortunate enough to fall into hands that-- But I won't say
what I was going to say.  Gentlemen, my service to you.'  Having
emptied the glass in a twinkling, Mr. Pell smacked his lips, and
looked complacently round on the assembled coachmen, who
evidently regarded him as a species of divinity.

'Let me see,' said the legal authority.  'What was I a-saying,
gentlemen?'

'I think you was remarkin' as you wouldn't have no objection
to another o' the same, Sir,' said Mr. Weller, with grave facetiousness.
'Ha, ha!' laughed Mr. Pell.  'Not bad, not bad.  A professional
man, too!  At this time of the morning, it would be rather too
good a-- Well, I don't know, my dear--you may do that
again, if you please.  Hem!'

This last sound was a solemn and dignified cough, in which
Mr. Pell, observing an indecent tendency to mirth in some of his
auditors, considered it due to himself to indulge.

'The late Lord Chancellor, gentlemen, was very fond of me,'
said Mr. Pell.

'And wery creditable in him, too,' interposed Mr. Weller.

'Hear, hear,' assented Mr. Pell's client.  'Why shouldn't he be?

'Ah!  Why, indeed!' said a very red-faced man, who had said
nothing yet, and who looked extremely unlikely to say anything
more.  'Why shouldn't he?'

A murmur of assent ran through the company.

'I remember, gentlemen,' said Mr. Pell, 'dining with him on one
occasion; there was only us two, but everything as splendid as if
twenty people had been expected--the great seal on a dumb-
waiter at his right hand, and a man in a bag-wig and suit of
armour guarding the mace with a drawn sword and silk stockings
--which is perpetually done, gentlemen, night and day; when he
said, "Pell," he said, "no false delicacy, Pell.  You're a man of
talent; you can get anybody through the Insolvent Court, Pell;
and your country should be proud of you."  Those were his very
words.  "My Lord," I said, "you flatter me."--"Pell," he said,
"if I do, I'm damned."'

'Did he say that?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'He did,' replied Pell.

'Vell, then,' said Mr. Weller, 'I say Parliament ought to ha'
took it up; and if he'd been a poor man, they would ha' done it.'

'But, my dear friend,' argued Mr. Pell, 'it was in confidence.'

'In what?' said Mr. Weller.

'In confidence.'

'Oh! wery good,' replied Mr. Weller, after a little reflection.
'If he damned hisself in confidence, o' course that was another thing.'

'Of course it was,' said Mr. Pell.  'The distinction's obvious, you
will perceive.'

'Alters the case entirely,' said Mr. Weller.  'Go on, Sir.'
'No, I will not go on, Sir,' said Mr. Pell, in a low and serious
tone.  'You have reminded me, Sir, that this conversation was
private--private and confidential, gentlemen.  Gentlemen, I am a
professional man.  It may be that I am a good deal looked up to,
in my profession--it may be that I am not.  Most people know.  I
say nothing.  Observations have already been made, in this room,
injurious to the reputation of my noble friend.  You will excuse
me, gentlemen; I was imprudent.  I feel that I have no right to
mention this matter without his concurrence.  Thank you, Sir;
thank you.'  Thus delivering himself, Mr. Pell thrust his hands
into his pockets, and, frowning grimly around, rattled three halfpence
with terrible determination.

This virtuous resolution had scarcely been formed, when the
boy and the blue bag, who were inseparable companions, rushed
violently into the room, and said (at least the boy did, for the
blue bag took no part in the announcement) that the case was
coming on directly.  The intelligence was no sooner received than
the whole party hurried across the street, and began to fight their
way into court--a preparatory ceremony, which has been
calculated to occupy, in ordinary cases, from twenty-five minutes
to thirty.

Mr. Weller, being stout, cast himself at once into the crowd,
with the desperate hope of ultimately turning up in some place
which would suit him.  His success was not quite equal to his
expectations; for having neglected to take his hat off, it was
knocked over his eyes by some unseen person, upon whose toes
he had alighted with considerable force.  Apparently this
individual regretted his impetuosity immediately afterwards, for,
muttering an indistinct exclamation of surprise, he dragged the
old man out into the hall, and, after a violent struggle, released
his head and face.

'Samivel!' exclaimed Mr. Weller, when he was thus enabled to
behold his rescuer.

Sam nodded.

'You're a dutiful and affectionate little boy, you are, ain't
you,' said Mr. Weller, 'to come a-bonnetin' your father in his
old age?'

'How should I know who you wos?' responded the son.  'Do
you s'pose I wos to tell you by the weight o' your foot?'

'Vell, that's wery true, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, mollified
at once; 'but wot are you a-doin' on here?  Your gov'nor can't
do no good here, Sammy.  They won't pass that werdick, they
won't pass it, Sammy.'  And Mr. Weller shook his head with
legal solemnity.

'Wot a perwerse old file it is!' exclaimed Sam.  'always a-goin'
on about werdicks and alleybis and that.  Who said anything
about the werdick?'

Mr. Weller made no reply, but once more shook his head most learnedly.

'Leave off rattlin' that 'ere nob o' yourn, if you don't want it
to come off the springs altogether,' said Sam impatiently, 'and
behave reasonable.  I vent all the vay down to the Markis o'
Granby, arter you, last night.'

'Did you see the Marchioness o' Granby, Sammy?' inquired
Mr. Weller, with a sigh.

'Yes, I did,' replied Sam.

'How wos the dear creetur a-lookin'?'

'Wery queer,' said Sam.  'I think she's a-injurin' herself
gradivally vith too much o' that 'ere pine-apple rum, and other
strong medicines of the same natur.'

'You don't mean that, Sammy?' said the senior earnestly.

'I do, indeed,' replied the junior.  Mr. Weller seized his son's
hand, clasped it, and let it fall.  There was an expression on his
countenance in doing so--not of dismay or apprehension, but
partaking more of the sweet and gentle character of hope.  A
gleam of resignation, and even of cheerfulness, passed over his
face too, as he slowly said, 'I ain't quite certain, Sammy; I
wouldn't like to say I wos altogether positive, in case of any
subsekent disappointment, but I rayther think, my boy, I rayther
think, that the shepherd's got the liver complaint!'

'Does he look bad?' inquired Sam.

'He's uncommon pale,' replied his father, ''cept about the
nose, which is redder than ever.  His appetite is wery so-so, but he
imbibes wonderful.'

Some thoughts of the rum appeared to obtrude themselves on
Mr. Weller's mind, as he said this; for he looked gloomy and
thoughtful; but he very shortly recovered, as was testified by a
perfect alphabet of winks, in which he was only wont to indulge
when particularly pleased.

'Vell, now,' said Sam, 'about my affair.  Just open them ears o'
yourn, and don't say nothin' till I've done.'  With this preface,
Sam related, as succinctly as he could, the last memorable
conversation he had had with Mr. Pickwick.

'Stop there by himself, poor creetur!' exclaimed the elder
Mr. Weller, 'without nobody to take his part!  It can't be done,
Samivel, it can't be done.'

'O' course it can't,' asserted Sam: 'I know'd that, afore I came.'
'Why, they'll eat him up alive, Sammy,'exclaimed Mr. Weller.

Sam nodded his concurrence in the opinion.

'He goes in rayther raw, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller metaphorically,
'and he'll come out, done so ex-ceedin' brown, that his most
formiliar friends won't know him.  Roast pigeon's nothin' to it, Sammy.'

Again Sam Weller nodded.

'It oughtn't to be, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller gravely.

'It mustn't be,' said Sam.

'Cert'nly not,' said Mr. Weller.

'Vell now,' said Sam, 'you've been a-prophecyin' away, wery
fine, like a red-faced Nixon, as the sixpenny books gives picters on.'

'Who wos he, Sammy?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'Never mind who he was,' retorted Sam; 'he warn't a coachman;
that's enough for you.'
'I know'd a ostler o' that name,' said Mr. Weller, musing.

'It warn't him,' said Sam.  'This here gen'l'm'n was a prophet.'

'Wot's a prophet?' inquired Mr. Weller, looking sternly on his son.

'Wy, a man as tells what's a-goin' to happen,' replied Sam.

'I wish I'd know'd him, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller.  'P'raps he
might ha' throw'd a small light on that 'ere liver complaint as we
wos a-speakin' on, just now.  Hows'ever, if he's dead, and ain't
left the bisness to nobody, there's an end on it.  Go on, Sammy,'
said Mr. Weller, with a sigh.

'Well,' said Sam, 'you've been a-prophecyin' avay about wot'll
happen to the gov'ner if he's left alone.  Don't you see any way o'
takin' care on him?'

'No, I don't, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, with a reflective visage.

'No vay at all?' inquired Sam.

'No vay,' said Mr. Weller, 'unless'--and a gleam of intelligence
lighted up his countenance as he sank his voice to a whisper, and
applied his mouth to the ear of his offspring--'unless it is getting
him out in a turn-up bedstead, unbeknown to the turnkeys,
Sammy, or dressin' him up like a old 'ooman vith a green
wail.'

Sam Weller received both of these suggestions with unexpected
contempt, and again propounded his question.

'No,' said the old gentleman; 'if he von't let you stop there, I
see no vay at all.  It's no thoroughfare, Sammy, no thoroughfare.'

'Well, then, I'll tell you wot it is,' said Sam, 'I'll trouble you
for the loan of five-and-twenty pound.'

'Wot good'll that do?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'Never mind,' replied Sam.  'P'raps you may ask for it five
minits arterwards; p'raps I may say I von't pay, and cut up
rough.  You von't think o' arrestin' your own son for the money,
and sendin' him off to the Fleet, will you, you unnat'ral wagabone?'

At this reply of Sam's, the father and son exchanged a
complete code of telegraph nods and gestures, after which, the elder
Mr. Weller sat himself down on a stone step and laughed till he
was purple.

'Wot a old image it is!' exclaimed Sam, indignant at this loss
of time.  'What are you a-settin' down there for, con-wertin' your
face into a street-door knocker, wen there's so much to be done.
Where's the money?'
'In the boot, Sammy, in the boot,' replied Mr. Weller,
composing his features.  'Hold my hat, Sammy.'

Having divested himself of this encumbrance, Mr. Weller gave
his body a sudden wrench to one side, and by a dexterous twist,
contrived to get his right hand into a most capacious pocket,
from whence, after a great deal of panting and exertion, he
extricated a pocket-book of the large octavo size, fastened by a
huge leathern strap.  From this ledger he drew forth a couple of
whiplashes, three or four buckles, a little sample-bag of corn,
and, finally, a small roll of very dirty bank-notes, from which he
selected the required amount, which he handed over to Sam.

'And now, Sammy,' said the old gentleman, when the whip-
lashes, and the buckles, and the samples, had been all put back,
and the book once more deposited at the bottom of the same
pocket, 'now, Sammy, I know a gen'l'm'n here, as'll do the rest
o' the bisness for us, in no time--a limb o' the law, Sammy, as
has got brains like the frogs, dispersed all over his body, and
reachin' to the wery tips of his fingers; a friend of the Lord
Chancellorship's, Sammy, who'd only have to tell him what he
wanted, and he'd lock you up for life, if that wos all.'

'I say,' said Sam, 'none o' that.'

'None o' wot?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'Wy, none o' them unconstitootional ways o' doin' it,' retorted
Sam.  'The have-his-carcass, next to the perpetual motion, is vun
of the blessedest things as wos ever made.  I've read that 'ere in
the newspapers wery of'en.'

'Well, wot's that got to do vith it?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'Just this here,' said Sam, 'that I'll patronise the inwention,
and go in, that vay.  No visperin's to the Chancellorship--I don't
like the notion.  It mayn't be altogether safe, vith reference to
gettin' out agin.'

Deferring to his son's feeling upon this point, Mr. Weller at
once sought the erudite Solomon Pell, and acquainted him with
his desire to issue a writ, instantly, for the SUM of twenty-five
pounds, and costs of process; to be executed without delay upon
the body of one Samuel Weller; the charges thereby incurred, to
be paid in advance to Solomon Pell.

The attorney was in high glee, for the embarrassed coach-
horser was ordered to be discharged forthwith.  He highly
approved of Sam's attachment to his master; declared that it
strongly reminded him of his own feelings of devotion to his
friend, the Chancellor; and at once led the elder Mr. Weller
down to the Temple, to swear the affidavit of debt, which the
boy, with the assistance of the blue bag, had drawn up on the spot.

Meanwhile, Sam, having been formally introduced to the
whitewashed gentleman and his friends, as the offspring of Mr.
Weller, of the Belle Savage, was treated with marked distinction,
and invited to regale himself with them in honour of the occasion
--an invitation which he was by no means backward in accepting.

The mirth of gentlemen of this class is of a grave and quiet
character, usually; but the present instance was one of peculiar
festivity, and they relaxed in proportion.  After some rather
tumultuous toasting of the Chief Commissioner and Mr. Solomon
Pell, who had that day displayed such transcendent abilities, a
mottled-faced gentleman in a blue shawl proposed that somebody
should sing a song.  The obvious suggestion was, that the mottled-
faced gentleman, being anxious for a song, should sing it himself;
but this the mottled-faced gentleman sturdily, and somewhat
offensively, declined to do.  Upon which, as is not unusual in such
cases, a rather angry colloquy ensued.

'Gentlemen,' said the coach-horser, 'rather than disturb the
harmony of this delightful occasion, perhaps Mr. Samuel Weller
will oblige the company.'

'Raly, gentlemen,' said Sam, 'I'm not wery much in the habit
o' singin' without the instrument; but anythin' for a quiet life, as
the man said wen he took the sitivation at the lighthouse.'

With this prelude, Mr. Samuel Weller burst at once into the
following wild and beautiful legend, which, under the impression
that it is not generally known, we take the liberty of quoting.  We
would beg to call particular attention to the monosyllable at the
end of the second and fourth lines, which not only enables the
singer to take breath at those points, but greatly assists the metre.


          ROMANCE

  I

Bold Turpin vunce, on Hounslow Heath,
His bold mare Bess bestrode-er;
Ven there he see'd the Bishop's coach
A-coming along the road-er.
So he gallops close to the 'orse's legs,
And he claps his head vithin;
And the Bishop says, 'Sure as eggs is eggs,
This here's the bold Turpin!'

          CHORUS

And the Bishop says, 'Sure as eggs is eggs,
This here's the bold Turpin!'

  II

Says Turpin, 'You shall eat your words,
With a sarse of leaden bul-let;'
So he puts a pistol to his mouth,
And he fires it down his gul-let.
The coachman he not likin' the job,
Set off at full gal-lop,
But Dick put a couple of balls in his nob,
And perwailed on him to stop.

          CHORUS (sarcastically)

But Dick put a couple of balls in his nob,
And perwailed on him to stop.


'I maintain that that 'ere song's personal to the cloth,' said the
mottled-faced gentleman, interrupting it at this point.  'I demand
the name o' that coachman.'

'Nobody know'd,' replied Sam.  'He hadn't got his card in his pocket.'

'I object to the introduction o' politics,' said the mottled-
faced gentleman.  'I submit that, in the present company, that
'ere song's political; and, wot's much the same, that it ain't true.
I say that that coachman did not run away; but that he died
game--game as pheasants; and I won't hear nothin' said to
the contrairey.'

As the mottled-faced gentleman spoke with great energy and
determination, and as the opinions of the company seemed
divided on the subject, it threatened to give rise to fresh altercation,
when Mr. Weller and Mr. Pell most opportunely arrived.

'All right, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller.

'The officer will be here at four o'clock,' said Mr. Pell.  'I
suppose you won't run away meanwhile, eh?  Ha! ha!'

'P'raps my cruel pa 'ull relent afore then,' replied Sam, with a
broad grin.

'Not I,' said the elder Mr. Weller.

'Do,' said Sam.

'Not on no account,' replied the inexorable creditor.

'I'll give bills for the amount, at sixpence a month,' said Sam.

'I won't take 'em,' said Mr. Weller.

'Ha, ha, ha! very good, very good,' said Mr. Solomon
Pell, who was making out his little bill of costs; 'a very
amusing incident indeed!  Benjamin, copy that.'  And Mr.
Pell smiled again, as he called Mr. Weller's attention to the amount.

'Thank you, thank you,' said the professional gentleman,
taking up another of the greasy notes as Mr. Weller took it from
the pocket-book.  'Three ten and one ten is five.  Much obliged to
you, Mr. Weller.  Your son is a most deserving young man, very
much so indeed, Sir.  It's a very pleasant trait in a young man's
character, very much so,' added Mr. Pell, smiling smoothly
round, as he buttoned up the money.

'Wot a game it is!' said the elder Mr. Weller, with a chuckle.
'A reg'lar prodigy son!'

'Prodigal--prodigal son, Sir,' suggested Mr. Pell, mildly.

'Never mind, Sir,' said Mr. Weller, with dignity.  'I know wot's
o'clock, Sir.  Wen I don't, I'll ask you, Sir.'

By the time the officer arrived, Sam had made himself so
extremely popular, that the congregated gentlemen determined to
see him to prison in a body.  So off they set; the plaintiff and
defendant walking arm in arm, the officer in front, and eight stout
coachmen bringing up the rear.  At Serjeant's Inn Coffee-house
the whole party halted to refresh, and, the legal arrangements
being completed, the procession moved on again.

Some little commotion was occasioned in Fleet Street, by the
pleasantry of the eight gentlemen in the flank, who persevered in
walking four abreast; it was also found necessary to leave the
mottled-faced gentleman behind, to fight a ticket-porter, it being
arranged that his friends should call for him as they came back.
Nothing but these little incidents occurred on the way.  When they
reached the gate of the Fleet, the cavalcade, taking the time from
the plaintiff, gave three tremendous cheers for the defendant, and,
after having shaken hands all round, left him.

Sam, having been formally delivered into the warder's custody,
to the intense astonishment of Roker, and to the evident emotion
of even the phlegmatic Neddy, passed at once into the prison,
walked straight to his master's room, and knocked at the door.

'Come in,' said Mr. Pickwick.

Sam appeared, pulled off his hat, and smiled.

'Ah, Sam, my good lad!' said Mr. Pickwick, evidently delighted
to see his humble friend again; 'I had no intention of hurting your
feelings yesterday, my faithful fellow, by what I said.  Put down
your hat, Sam, and let me explain my meaning, a little more at length.'

'Won't presently do, sir?' inquired Sam.

'Certainly,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but why not now?'

'I'd rayther not now, sir,' rejoined Sam.

'Why?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

''Cause--' said Sam, hesitating.

'Because of what?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, alarmed at his
follower's manner.  'Speak out, Sam.'

''Cause,' rejoined Sam--''cause I've got a little bisness as I
want to do.'

'What business?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, surprised at Sam's
confused manner.

'Nothin' partickler, Sir,' replied Sam.

'Oh, if it's nothing particular,' said Mr. Pickwick, with a
smile, 'you can speak with me first.'

'I think I'd better see arter it at once,' said Sam, still hesitating.

Mr. Pickwick looked amazed, but said nothing.

'The fact is--' said Sam, stopping short.

'Well!' said Mr. Pickwick.  'Speak out, Sam.'

'Why, the fact is,' said Sam, with a desperate effort, 'perhaps
I'd better see arter my bed afore I do anythin' else.'

'YOUR BED!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, in astonishment.

'Yes, my bed, Sir,' replied Sam, 'I'm a prisoner.  I was arrested
this here wery arternoon for debt.'

'You arrested for debt!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, sinking into
a chair.

'Yes, for debt, Sir,' replied Sam.  'And the man as puts me in,
'ull never let me out till you go yourself.'

'Bless my heart and soul!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick.  'What do
you mean?'

'Wot I say, Sir,' rejoined Sam.  'If it's forty years to come, I shall
be a prisoner, and I'm very glad on it; and if it had been Newgate,
it would ha' been just the same.  Now the murder's out, and,
damme, there's an end on it!'

With these words, which he repeated with great emphasis and
violence, Sam Weller dashed his hat upon the ground, in a most
unusual state of excitement; and then, folding his arms, looked
firmly and fixedly in his master's face.

Charles Dickens