'Sam, I will go immediately to Mr. Perker's.'
'That's just exactly the wery place vere you ought to have gonelast night, Sir,'
replied Mr. Weller.
'I think it is, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.'I KNOW it is,' said Mr. Weller.
'Well, well, Sam,' replied Mr. Pickwick, 'we will go there atonce; but first,
as I have been rather ruffled, I should like a glassof brandy-and-water warm, Sam.
Where can I have it, Sam?'
Mr. Weller's knowledge of London was extensive and peculiar.He replied, without
the slightest consideration--
'Second court on the right hand side--last house but vun onthe same side the
vay--take the box as stands in the first fireplace,'cos there ain't no leg in the
middle o' the table, which all theothers has, and it's wery inconvenient.'
Mr. Pickwick observed his valet's directions implicitly, andbidding Sam follow
him, entered the tavern he had pointed out,where the hot brandy-and-water was speedily
placed before him;while Mr. Weller, seated at a respectful distance, though at thesame
table with his master, was accommodated with a pint of porter.
The room was one of a very homely description, and wasapparently under the especial
patronage of stage-coachmen; forseveral gentleman, who had all the appearance of
belonging tothat learned profession, were drinking and smoking in thedifferent boxes.
Among the number was one stout, red-faced,elderly man, in particular, seated in
an opposite box, whoattracted Mr. Pickwick's attention. The stout man was smokingwith
great vehemence, but between every half-dozen puffs, hetook his pipe from his mouth,
and looked first at Mr. Weller andthen at Mr. Pickwick. Then, he would bury in a
quart pot, asmuch of his countenance as the dimensions of the quart potadmitted
of its receiving, and take another look at Sam andMr. Pickwick. Then he would take
another half-dozen puffs withan air of profound meditation and look at them again.
At last thestout man, putting up his legs on the seat, and leaning his backagainst
the wall, began to puff at his pipe without leaving off atall, and to stare through
the smoke at the new-comers, as if hehad made up his mind to see the most he could
At first the evolutions of the stout man had escaped Mr.Weller's observation,
but by degrees, as he saw Mr. Pickwick'seyes every now and then turning towards
him, he began to gazein the same direction, at the same time shading his eyes with
hishand, as if he partially recognised the object before him, andwished to make
quite sure of its identity. His doubts werespeedily dispelled, however; for the
stout man having blown athick cloud from his pipe, a hoarse voice, like some strange
effortof ventriloquism, emerged from beneath the capacious shawlswhich muffled his
throat and chest, and slowly uttered thesesounds--'Wy, Sammy!'
'Who's that, Sam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Why, I wouldn't ha' believed it, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller, withastonished eyes.
'It's the old 'un.'
'Old one,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'What old one?'
'My father, sir,' replied Mr. Weller. 'How are you, my ancient?'And with this
beautiful ebullition of filial affection, Mr. Wellermade room on the seat beside
him, for the stout man, whoadvanced pipe in mouth and pot in hand, to greet him.
'Wy, Sammy,' said the father, 'I ha'n't seen you, for two yearand better.'
'Nor more you have, old codger,' replied the son. 'How'smother-in-law?'
'Wy, I'll tell you what, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, senior, withmuch solemnity
in his manner; 'there never was a nicer womanas a widder, than that 'ere second
wentur o' mine--a sweetcreetur she was, Sammy; all I can say on her now, is, that
as shewas such an uncommon pleasant widder, it's a great pity she everchanged her
condition. She don't act as a vife, Sammy.''Don't she, though?' inquired Mr. Weller,
The elder Mr. Weller shook his head, as he replied with a sigh,'I've done it
once too often, Sammy; I've done it once too often.Take example by your father,
my boy, and be wery careful o'widders all your life, 'specially if they've kept
a public-house,Sammy.' Having delivered this parental advice with great pathos,Mr.
Weller, senior, refilled his pipe from a tin box he carried inhis pocket; and, lighting
his fresh pipe from the ashes of the oldOne, commenced smoking at a great rate.
'Beg your pardon, sir,' he said, renewing the subject, andaddressing Mr. Pickwick,
after a considerable pause, 'nothin'personal, I hope, sir; I hope you ha'n't got
a widder, sir.'
'Not I,' replied Mr. Pickwick, laughing; and while Mr. Pickwicklaughed, Sam Weller
informed his parent in a whisper, ofthe relation in which he stood towards that
'Beg your pardon, sir,' said Mr. Weller, senior, taking off hishat, 'I hope you've
no fault to find with Sammy, Sir?'
'None whatever,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Wery glad to hear it, sir,' replied the old man; 'I took a gooddeal o' pains
with his eddication, sir; let him run in the streetswhen he was wery young, and
shift for hisself. It's the only wayto make a boy sharp, sir.'
'Rather a dangerous process, I should imagine,' said Mr.Pickwick, with a smile.
'And not a wery sure one, neither,' added Mr. Weller; 'I gotreg'larly done the
'No!' said his father.
'I did,' said the son; and he proceeded to relate, in as fewwords as possible,
how he had fallen a ready dupe to the stratagemsof Job Trotter.
Mr. Weller, senior, listened to the tale with the most profoundattention, and,
at its termination, said--
'Worn't one o' these chaps slim and tall, with long hair, andthe gift o' the
gab wery gallopin'?'
Mr. Pickwick did not quite understand the last item of description,but, comprehending
the first, said 'Yes,' at a venture.
'T' other's a black-haired chap in mulberry livery, with a werylarge head?'
'Yes, yes, he is,' said Mr. Pickwick and Sam, with great earnestness.'Then I
know where they are, and that's all about it,' saidMr. Weller; 'they're at Ipswich,
safe enough, them two.'
'No!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Fact,' said Mr. Weller, 'and I'll tell you how I know it. I workan Ipswich coach
now and then for a friend o' mine. I workeddown the wery day arter the night as
you caught the rheumatic,and at the Black Boy at Chelmsford--the wery place they'dcome
to--I took 'em up, right through to Ipswich, where theman-servant--him in the mulberries--told
me they was a-goin'to put up for a long time.'
'I'll follow him,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'we may as well seeIpswich as any other
place. I'll follow him.'
'You're quite certain it was them, governor?' inquired Mr.Weller, junior.
'Quite, Sammy, quite,' replied his father, 'for their appearanceis wery sing'ler;
besides that 'ere, I wondered to see the gen'l'm'nso formiliar with his servant;
and, more than that, as they sat inthe front, right behind the box, I heerd 'em
laughing and sayinghow they'd done old Fireworks.'
'Old who?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Old Fireworks, Sir; by which, I've no doubt, they meant you, Sir.'There is nothing
positively vile or atrocious in the appellationof 'old Fireworks,' but still it
is by no means a respectful orflattering designation. The recollection of all the
wrongs he hadsustained at Jingle's hands, had crowded on Mr. Pickwick'smind, the
moment Mr. Weller began to speak; it wanted but afeather to turn the scale, and
'old Fireworks' did it.
'I'll follow him,' said Mr. Pickwick, with an emphatic blow onthe table.
'I shall work down to Ipswich the day arter to-morrow, Sir,'said Mr. Weller the
elder, 'from the Bull in Whitechapel; and ifyou really mean to go, you'd better
go with me.'
'So we had,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'very true; I can write to Bury,and tell them
to meet me at Ipswich. We will go with you. Butdon't hurry away, Mr. Weller; won't
you take anything?'
'You're wery good, Sir,' replied Mr. W., stopping short;--'perhaps a small glass
of brandy to drink your health, and successto Sammy, Sir, wouldn't be amiss.'
'Certainly not,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'A glass of brandyhere!' The brandy was
brought; and Mr. Weller, after pulling hishair to Mr. Pickwick, and nodding to Sam,
jerked it down hiscapacious throat as if it had been a small thimbleful.'Well done,
father,' said Sam, 'take care, old fellow, or you'llhave a touch of your old complaint,
'I've found a sov'rin' cure for that, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller,setting down the
'A sovereign cure for the gout,' said Mr. Pickwick, hastilyproducing his note-book--'what
'The gout, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller, 'the gout is a complaint asarises from too
much ease and comfort. If ever you're attackedwith the gout, sir, jist you marry
a widder as has got a good loudwoice, with a decent notion of usin' it, and you'll
never have thegout agin. It's a capital prescription, sir. I takes it reg'lar, and
Ican warrant it to drive away any illness as is caused by too muchjollity.' Having
imparted this valuable secret, Mr. Weller drainedhis glass once more, produced a
laboured wink, sighed deeply,and slowly retired.
'Well, what do you think of what your father says, Sam?'inquired Mr. Pickwick,
with a smile.
'Think, Sir!' replied Mr. Weller; 'why, I think he's the wictimo' connubiality,
as Blue Beard's domestic chaplain said, vith atear of pity, ven he buried him.'
There was no replying to this very apposite conclusion, and,therefore, Mr. Pickwick,
after settling the reckoning, resumed hiswalk to Gray's Inn. By the time he reached
its secluded groves,however, eight o'clock had struck, and the unbroken stream ofgentlemen
in muddy high-lows, soiled white hats, and rustyapparel, who were pouring towards
the different avenues ofegress, warned him that the majority of the offices had
closed forthat day.
After climbing two pairs of steep and dirty stairs, he found hisanticipations
were realised. Mr. Perker's 'outer door' was closed;and the dead silence which followed
Mr. Weller's repeated kicksthereat, announced that the officials had retired from
business forthe night.
'This is pleasant, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I shouldn't losean hour in seeing
him; I shall not be able to get one winkof sleep to-night, I know, unless I have
the satisfaction ofreflecting that I have confided this matter to a professional
'Here's an old 'ooman comin' upstairs, sir,' replied Mr. Weller;'p'raps she knows
where we can find somebody. Hollo, old lady,vere's Mr. Perker's people?'
'Mr. Perker's people,' said a thin, miserable-looking oldwoman, stopping to recover
breath after the ascent of thestaircase--'Mr. Perker's people's gone, and I'm a-goin'
todo the office out.''Are you Mr. Perker's servant?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'I am Mr. Perker's laundress,' replied the woman.
'Ah,' said Mr. Pickwick, half aside to Sam, 'it's a curiouscircumstance, Sam,
that they call the old women in these inns,laundresses. I wonder what's that for?'
''Cos they has a mortal awersion to washing anythin', Isuppose, Sir,' replied
'I shouldn't wonder,' said Mr. Pickwick, looking at the oldwoman, whose appearance,
as well as the condition of the office,which she had by this time opened, indicated
a rooted antipathyto the application of soap and water; 'do you know where I canfind
Mr. Perker, my good woman?'
'No, I don't,' replied the old woman gruffly; 'he's out o' town now.'
'That's unfortunate,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'where's his clerk?Do you know?'
'Yes, I know where he is, but he won't thank me for tellingyou,' replied the
'I have very particular business with him,' said Mr. Pickwick.'Won't it do in
the morning?' said the woman.
'Not so well,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'Well,' said the old woman, 'if it was anything very particular,I was to say
where he was, so I suppose there's no harm intelling. If you just go to the Magpie
and Stump, and ask at thebar for Mr. Lowten, they'll show you in to him, and he's
With this direction, and having been furthermore informedthat the hostelry in
question was situated in a court, happy in thedouble advantage of being in the vicinity
of Clare Market, andclosely approximating to the back of New Inn, Mr. Pickwick andSam
descended the rickety staircase in safety, and issued forth inquest of the Magpie
This favoured tavern, sacred to the evening orgies of Mr.Lowten and his companions,
was what ordinary people woulddesignate a public-house. That the landlord was a
man of money-making turn was sufficiently testified by the fact of a small bulkheadbeneath
the tap-room window, in size and shape not unlikea sedan-chair, being underlet to
a mender of shoes: and that hewas a being of a philanthropic mind was evident from
theprotection he afforded to a pieman, who vended his delicacieswithout fear of
interruption, on the very door-step. In the lowerwindows, which were decorated with
curtains of a saffron hue,dangled two or three printed cards, bearing reference
to Devonshirecider and Dantzic spruce, while a large blackboard,announcing in white
letters to an enlightened public, that therewere 500,000 barrels of double stout
in the cellars of the establishment,left the mind in a state of not unpleasing doubt
anduncertainty as to the precise direction in the bowels of the earth, inwhich this
mighty cavern might be supposed to extend. When weadd that the weather-beaten signboard
bore the half-obliteratedsemblance of a magpie intently eyeing a crooked streak
of brownpaint, which the neighbours had been taught from infancy toconsider as the
'stump,' we have said all that need be said of theexterior of the edifice.