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“Nonsense,” said Sam. “I ain't a going 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!”
Sam dipped his pen into the ink to be ready for any corrections, and began with a very theatrical air: “ 'Lovely
“Stop,” said Mr. Weller, ringing the bell. “A double glass o' the inwariable, my dear.”
“Very well, sir,” replied the girl; who with great quickness appeared, vanished, returned, and disappeared.
“They seem to know your ways here,” observed Sam.
“Yes,” replied his father, “I've been here before, in my time. Go on, Sammy.”
“ 'Lovely creetur,'” repeated Sam. “ 'Tain't in poetry, is it?” interposed his father. “No, no,” replied Sam.
“Werry 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 critical solemnity, and Sam once more commenced, and read as follows: "'Lovely creetur I feel myself a dammed'—"
“That ain't proper,” said Mr. Weller, taking his pipe from his mouth.
“No; it ain't 'dammed',” observed Sam, holding the letter up to the light, “it's ‘shamed,' there's a blot there—'I feel myself ashamed.'”
“Werry good,” said Mr. Weller. “Go on.
" 'Feel myself ashamed, and completely cir—'I forget what this here word is,” said Sam, scratching his head with the pen, in vain attempts to remember.
“Why don't you look at it, then?” inquired Mr. Weller.
“So I am lookin' at it,” replied Sam, “but there's another blot. Here's a “c,' and a ‘i,' and a ‘d.''
“Circumwented, p'raps,” suggested Mr. Weller.
“No, it ain't that,” said Sam, “circumscribed; that's it.”
“That ain't as good a word as circumwented, Sammy,” said Mr. Weller, gravely.
“Think not?” said Sam.
“But don't you think it means more?” inquired Sam.
“Vell p'raps it is a more tenderer word,” said Mr. Weller, after a few moments' reflection. “Go on, Sammy.”
“ 'Feel myself ashamed and completely circumscribed in a dressin' of you, for you are a nice gal and nothin' but it.'"
“That's a werry pretty sentiment,” said the elder Mr. Weller, removing his pipe to make way for the remark.
“Yes, I think it is rayther good,” observed Sam, highly flattered.
“Wot I like in that 'ere style of writin',” said the elder Mr. Weller, “is, that there ain't no callin' names in it,—no Wenuses, nor nothin' o' that kind. Wot's the good o' callin a young ’ooman a Wenus or a angel, Sammy?”
“Ah! what, indeed?” replied Sam.
“You might jist as well call her a griffin, or a unicorn, or a king's arms at once, which is werry well known to be a collection o’ fabulous animals, added Mr. Weller.
“Just as well,” replied Sam.
Sam complied with the request, and proceeded as follows; his father continuing to smoke, with a mixed expression of wisdom and complacency, which was particularly edifying.
“‘Afore I see you, I thought all women was alike. »
"So they are,” observed the elder Mr. Weller, parenthetically.
“ 'But now,' continued Sam, ‘now I find what a reg'lar soft-headed, inkred’lous turnip I must ha’ been; for there ain't nobody like you, though I like you better than nothin' at all. I thought it best to make that rayther strong,” said Sam, looking up.
Mr. Weller nodded approvingly, and Sam resumed.
“ 'So I take the privilidge of the day, Mary my dear—as the gen’l’m’n in difficulties did, ven he valked out of a Sunday,—to tell you that the first and only time I see you, your likeness was took on my hart in much quicker time and brighter colours than ever a likeness was took by the profeel macheen (wich p’raps you may have heerd on Mary my dear) altho it does finish a portrait and put the frame and glass on complete, with a hook at the end to hang it up by, and all in two minutes and a quarter.'
“I am afeerd that werges on the poetical, Sammy,” said Mr. Weller, dubiously.
“No it don't,” replied Sam, reading on very quickly, to avoid contesting the point:
"Except of me Mary my dear as your walentine and think over what I've said.—My dear Mary I will now conclude.' That's all,” said Sam.
“That's rather a sudden pull up, ain't it, Sammy?" inquired Mr. Weller.
“Not a bit on it,” said Sam; "she'll vish there wos more, and that's the great art o' letter writin'.”
“Well,” said Mr. Weller, “there's somethin'in that; and I wish your mother-in-law ’ud only conduct her conwersation on the same gen-teel principle. Ain't you a goin' to sign it?”
“That's the difficulty,” said Sam; “I don't know what to sign it.”
"Sign it, Veller,” said the oldest surviving proprietor of that name.
“Won't do,” said Sam. “Never sign a walentine with your own name.”
"Sign it, 'Pickvick,' then," said Mr. Weller; “it's a werry good name, and a easy one to spell.”
“The werry thing,” said Sam. “I could end with a werse; what do you think?”
“I don't like it, Sam,” rejoined Mr. Weller, “I never know'd a respectable coachman as wrote poetry, 'cept one, as made an affectin' copy o' werses the night afore he wos hung for a highway robbery.”
But Sam was not to be dissuaded from the poetical idea that had occurred to him, so he signed the letter,
Pickwick.” And having folded it, in a very intricate manner, squeezed a down-hill direction in one corner: "To Mary, Housemaid, at Mr. Nupkin's Mayor's, Ipswich, Suffolk;” and put it into his pocket, wafered, and ready for the General Post.