Pickwick, as they walked out to the staircase, and closed the door after them.
'Eh?' said Jingle. 'Spout--dear relation--uncle Tom-- couldn't help it--must eat, you know. Wants of nature--and all that.'
'What do you mean?'
'Gone, my dear sir--last coat--can't help it. Lived on a pair of boots--whole fortnight. Silk umbrella--ivory handle--week-- fact--honour--ask Job--knows it.'
'Lived for three weeks upon a pair of boots, and a silk umbrella with an ivory handle!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, who had only heard of such things in shipwrecks or read of them in Constable's Miscellany.
'True,' said Jingle, nodding his head. 'Pawnbroker's shop-- duplicates here--small sums--mere nothing--all rascals.'
'Oh,' said Mr. Pickwick, much relieved by this explanation; 'I understand you. You have pawned your wardrobe.'
'Everything--Job's too--all shirts gone--never mind--saves washing. Nothing soon--lie in bed--starve--die--inquest--little bone-house--poor prisoner--common necessaries--hush it up-- gentlemen of the jury--warden's tradesmen--keep it snug-- natural death--coroner's order--workhouse funeral--serve him right--all over--drop the curtain.'
Jingle delivered this singular summary of his prospects in life, with his accustomed volubility, and with various twitches of the countenance to counterfeit smiles. Mr. Pickwick easily perceived that his recklessness was assumed, and looking him full, but not unkindly, in the face, saw that his eyes were moist with tears.
'Good fellow,' said Jingle, pressing his hand, and turning his head away. 'Ungrateful dog--boyish to cry--can't help it--bad fever--weak--ill--hungry. Deserved it all--but suffered much--very.' Wholly unable to keep up appearances any longer, and perhaps rendered worse by the effort he had made, the dejected stroller sat down on the stairs, and, covering his face with his hands, sobbed like a child.
'Come, come,' said Mr. Pickwick, with considerable emotion, 'we will see what can be done, when I know all about the matter. Here, Job; where is that fellow?'
'Here, sir,' replied Job, presenting himself on the staircase. We have described him, by the bye, as having deeply-sunken eyes, in the best of times. In his present state of want and distress, he looked as if those features had gone out of town altogether.
'Here, sir,' cried Job.
'Come here, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, trying to look stern, with four large tears running down his waistcoat. 'Take that, sir.'
Take what? In the ordinary acceptation of such language, it should have been a blow. As the world runs, it ought to have been a sound, hearty cuff; for Mr. Pickwick had been duped, deceived, and wronged by the destitute outcast who was now wholly in his power. Must we tell the truth? It was something from Mr. Pickwick's waistcoat pocket, which chinked as it was given into Job's hand, and the giving of which, somehow or other imparted a sparkle to the eye, and a swelling to the heart, of our excellent old friend, as he hurried away.
Sam had returned when Mr. Pickwick reached his own room, and was inspecting the arrangements that had been made for his comfort, with a kind of grim satisfaction which was very pleasant to look upon. Having a decided objection to his master's being there at all, Mr. Weller appeared to consider it a high moral duty not to appear too much pleased with anything that was done, said, suggested, or proposed.
'Well, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Well, sir,' replied Mr. Weller.
'Pretty comfortable now, eh, Sam?'
'Pretty vell, sir,' responded Sam, looking round him in a disparaging manner.
'Have you seen Mr. Tupman and our other friends?'
'Yes, I HAVE seen 'em, sir, and they're a-comin' to-morrow, and wos wery much surprised to hear they warn't to come to-day,' replied Sam.
'You have brought the things I wanted?'
Mr. Weller in reply pointed to various packages which he had arranged, as neatly as he could, in a corner of the room.
'Very well, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, after a little hesitation; 'listen to what I am going to say, Sam.'
'Cert'nly, Sir,' rejoined Mr.