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got it!' said Sam: so saying, he at once stepped into the stationer's shop, and requested to be served with a sheet of the best gilt-edged letter-paper, and a hardnibbed pen which could be warranted not to splutter. These articles having been promptly supplied, he walked on direct towards Leadenhall Market at a good round pace, very different from his recent lingering one. Looking round him, he there beheld a sign-board, on which the painter's art had delineated something remotely resembling a cerulean elephant with an aquiline nose in lieu of a trunk. Rightly conjecturing that this was the Blue Boar himself, he stepped into the house, and inquired concerning his parent.
" He won't be here this three-quarters of an hour or more,' said the young lady who superintended the domestic arrangements of the Blue Boar.
Werry good, my dear,' replied Sam. have nine-penn'orth o' brandy-and-water luke, and the inkstand, - will you, miss ?'
“ The brandy-and-water luke and the inkstand having been carried into the little parlor, and the young lady having carefully flattened down the coals to prevent their blazing, and carried away the poker to preclude the possibility of the fire being stirred without the full privity and concurrence of the Blue Boar being first had and obtained, Sam Weller sat himself down in a box near the stove, and pulled out the sheet of gilt-edged letter-paper and the hard-nibbed pen. Then,
looking carefully at the pen to see that there were no hairs in it, and dusting down the table, so that there might be no crumbs of bread under the paper, Sam tucked up the cuffs of his coat, squared his elbows, and composed himself to write.
“ To ladies and gentlemen who are not in the habit of devoting themselves practically to the science of penmanship, writing a letter is no very easy task; it being always considered necessary in such cases for the writer to recline his head on his left arm, so as to place his eyes as nearly as possible on a level with the paper, while glancing sideways at the letters he is constructing, to form with his tongue imaginary characters to correspond. These motions, although unquestionably of the greatest assistance to original composition, retard, in some degree, the progress of the writer ; and Sam had unconsciously been a full hour and a half writing words in small text, smearing out wrong letters with his little finger, and putting in new ones which required going over very often to render them visible through the old blots, when he was roused by the opening of the door and the entrance of his parent.
"• Vell, Sammy,' said the father.
6. Vell, my Prooshan Blue,' responded the son, laying down his pen. What's the last bulletin about mother-in-law ?'
“ Mrs. Veller passed a wery good night, but is uncommon perwerse and unpleasant this mornin'. Signed
upon oath, S. Veller, Esquire, Senior. That's the last vun as wos issued, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, untying his shawl.
“ No better yet? ' inquired Sam.
“. All the symptoms aggerawated,' replied Mr. Weller, shaking his head. “But wot's that you're a doin' of? Pursuit of knowledge under difficulties, Sammy?'
“I've donc now,' said Sam, with slight embarrassment: I've been a writin':'
66. So I see,' replied Mr. Weller. • Not to any young 'oman, I hope, Sammy.'
“Why it's no use a sayin' it ain't,' replied Sam. “It's a walentine.'
666 A wot!' exclaimed Mr. Weller, apparently horrorstricken by the word. 666 A walentine,' replied Sam.
• Samivel, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, in reproachful accents, “I didn't think you'd ha' done it. Arter the warnin' you've had o'your father's wicious propensities ; arter all I've said to you upon this here wery subject; arter actiwally seein' and bein' in the company o' your own mother-in-law, vich I should ha’ thought wos a moral lesson as no man could never ha' forgotten to his dyin' day, - I didn't think you'd ha' done it, Sammy, I didn't think you'd ha' done it!' These reflections were too much for the good old man. He raised Sam's tumbler to his lips, and drank off its contents.
66. Wot's the matter now?' said Sam.,
“Nev'r mind, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller. It'll be a wery agonizin' trial to me at my time of life; but I'm pretty tough, that's vun consolation, as the wery old turkey remarked wen the farmer said he wos afeerd he sł.ould be obliged to kill him for the London market.'
666 Wot'll be a trial ? ' inquired Sam.
"6" To see you married, Sammy, — to see you a dilluded wictim, and thinkin' in your innocence that it's all wery capital,' replied Mr. Weller. It's a dreadful trial to a father's feelin's, that 'ere, Sammy.'
"Nonsense,' said Sam. “I ain't a goin' to get married : don't you fret yourself about that. I know you're a judge of these things. Order in your pipe, and I'll read
you the letter. There!' “We cannot distinctly say whether it was the prospect of the pipe, or the consolatory reflection that a fatal disposition to get married ran in the family and couldn't be helped, which calmed Mr. Weller's feelings, and caused his grief to subside. We should be rather disposed to say that the result was attained by combining the two sources of consolation ; for he repeated the second in a low tone, very frequently, ringing the bell, meanwhile, to order in the first. He then divested himself of his upper coat; and lighting the pipe, and placing himself in front of the fire with his back towards it, so that he could feel its full heat and recline against the mantle-piece at the same time, turned towards Sam, and, with a countenance greatly mollified
by the softening influence of tobacco, requested him to • fire away.'
“Sam dipped his pen into the ink, to be ready for any corrections, and began, with a very theatrical air, — "6" Lovely
Stop,' said Mr. Weller, ringing the bell. A double glass o' the inwariable, my dear.'
16. Very well, sir,' replied the girl, who with great quickness appeared, vanished, returned, and disappeared.
“TI seem to know your ways here,' observed Sam.
46. Yes,' replied his father: “I've been here before in my time. Go on, Sammy.'
Lovely creetur," ' repeated Sam. “6Tain't in poetry, is it?' interposed his father. “No, no,' replied Sam.
" Wery glad to hear it,' said Mr. Weller. 'Poetry's unnat'ral: no man ever talked poetry 'cept a beadle on boxin' day, or Warren's blackin', or Rowland's oil, or some o' them low fellows; never you let yourself down to talk poetry, my boy. Begin agin, Sammy.'
“Mr. Weller resumed his pipe with a critical solemnity; and Sam once more commenced, and read as follows:
"6" Lovely creetur, i feel myself a dammed”!-
6. That ain't proper,' said Mr. Weller, taking his pipe from his mouth.
6. No: it ain't - dammed,”' observed Sam, holding