"Certainly," says the doctor. "Wery good," says the patient; "good-night." Next mornin' he gets up, has a fire lit, orders in three shillins' wurth o' crumpets, toasts 'em all, eats 'em all, and blows his brains out.'
'What did he do that for?' inquired Mr. Pickwick abruptly; for he was considerably startled by this tragical termination of the narrative.
'Wot did he do it for, Sir?' reiterated Sam. 'Wy, in support of his great principle that crumpets wos wholesome, and to show that he wouldn't be put out of his way for nobody!' With such like shiftings and changings of the discourse, did Mr. Weller meet his master's questioning on the night of his taking up his residence in the Fleet. Finding all gentle remonstrance useless, Mr. Pickwick at length yielded a reluctant consent to his taking lodgings by the week, of a bald-headed cobbler, who rented a small slip room in one of the upper galleries. To this humble apartment Mr. Weller moved a mattress and bedding, which he hired of Mr. Roker; and, by the time he lay down upon it at night, was as much at home as if he had been bred in the prison, and his whole family had vegetated therein for three generations.
'Do you always smoke arter you goes to bed, old cock?' inquired Mr. Weller of his landlord, when they had both retired for the night.
'Yes, I does, young bantam,' replied the cobbler.
'Will you allow me to in-quire wy you make up your bed under that 'ere deal table?' said Sam.
''Cause I was always used to a four-poster afore I came here, and I find the legs of the table answer just as well,' replied the cobbler.
'You're a character, sir,' said Sam.
'I haven't got anything of the kind belonging to me,' rejoined the cobbler, shaking his head; 'and if you want to meet with a good one, I'm afraid you'll find some difficulty in suiting yourself at this register office.'
The above short dialogue took place as Mr. Weller lay extended on his mattress at one end of the room, and the cobbler on his, at the other; the apartment being illumined by the light of a rush-candle, and the cobbler's pipe, which was glowing below the table, like a red-hot coal. The conversation, brief as it was, predisposed Mr. Weller strongly in his landlord's favour; and, raising himself on his elbow, he took a more lengthened survey of his appearance than he had yet had either time or inclination to make.
He was a sallow man--all cobblers are; and had a strong bristly beard--all cobblers have. His face was a queer, good- tempered, crooked-featured piece of workmanship, ornamented with a couple of eyes that must have worn a very joyous expression at one time, for they sparkled yet. The man was sixty, by years, and Heaven knows how old by imprisonment, so that his having any look approaching to mirth or contentment, was singular enough. He was a little man, and, being half doubled up as he lay in bed, looked about as long as he ought to have been without his legs. He had a great red pipe in his mouth, and was smoking, and staring at the rush-light, in a state of enviable placidity.
'Have you been here long?' inquired Sam, breaking the silence which had lasted for some time.
'Twelve year,' replied the cobbler, biting the end of his pipe as he spoke.
'Contempt?' inquired Sam. The cobbler nodded.
'Well, then,' said Sam, with some sternness, 'wot do you persevere in bein' obstinit for, vastin' your precious life away, in this here magnified pound? Wy don't you give in, and tell the Chancellorship that you're wery sorry for makin' his court contemptible, and you won't do so no more?'
The cobbler put his pipe in the corner of his mouth, while he smiled, and then brought it back to its old place again; but said nothing.
'Wy don't you?' said Sam, urging his question strenuously.
'Ah,' said the cobbler, 'you don't quite understand these matters. What do you suppose ruined me, now?'
'Wy,' said Sam, trimming the rush-light, 'I s'pose the beginnin' wos, that you got into debt, eh?'
'Never owed a farden,' said the cobbler; 'try again.'
'Well, perhaps,' said Sam, 'you bought houses, wich is delicate English for goin' mad; or took to buildin', wich is a medical term for bein' incurable.'
The cobbler shook his head and said, 'Try again.' 'You didn't go to law, I hope?' said Sam suspiciously. 'Never in my life,' replied the cobbler.