'Tell them they can come up at once, by all means,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Mary, apparently much relieved, hurried away with her message.
Mr. Pickwick took two or three turns up and down the room; and, rubbing his chin with his left hand as he did so, appeared lost in thought.
'Well, well,' said Mr. Pickwick, at length in a kind but somewhat melancholy tone, 'it is the best way in which I could reward him for his attachment and fidelity; let it be so, in Heaven's name. It is the fate of a lonely old man, that those about him should form new and different attachments and leave him. I have no right to expect that it should be otherwise with me. No, no,' added Mr. Pickwick more cheerfully, 'it would be selfish and ungrateful. I ought to be happy to have an opportunity of providing for him so well. I am. Of course I am.'
Mr. Pickwick had been so absorbed in these reflections, that a knock at the door was three or four times repeated before he heard it. Hastily seating himself, and calling up his accustomed pleasant looks, he gave the required permission, and Sam Weller entered, followed by his father.
'Glad to see you back again, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'How do you do, Mr. Weller?'
'Wery hearty, thank'ee, sir,' replied the widower; 'hope I see you well, sir.'
'Quite, I thank you,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'I wanted to have a little bit o' conwersation with you, sir,' said Mr. Weller, 'if you could spare me five minits or so, sir.'
'Certainly,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Sam, give your father a chair.'
'Thank'ee, Samivel, I've got a cheer here,' said Mr. Weller, bringing one forward as he spoke; 'uncommon fine day it's been, sir,' added the old gentleman, laying his hat on the floor as he sat himself down.
'Remarkably so, indeed,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Very seasonable.'
'Seasonablest veather I ever see, sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller. Here, the old gentleman was seized with a violent fit of coughing, which, being terminated, he nodded his head and winked and made several supplicatory and threatening gestures to his son, all of which Sam Weller steadily abstained from seeing.
Mr. Pickwick, perceiving that there was some embarrassment on the old gentleman's part, affected to be engaged in cutting the leaves of a book that lay beside him, and waited patiently until Mr. Weller should arrive at the object of his visit.
'I never see sich a aggrawatin' boy as you are, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, looking indignantly at his son; 'never in all my born days.'
'What is he doing, Mr. Weller?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'He von't begin, sir,' rejoined Mr. Weller; 'he knows I ain't ekal to ex-pressin' myself ven there's anythin' partickler to be done, and yet he'll stand and see me a-settin' here taking up your walable time, and makin' a reg'lar spectacle o' myself, rayther than help me out vith a syllable. It ain't filial conduct, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, wiping his forehead; 'wery far from it.'
'You said you'd speak,' replied Sam; 'how should I know you wos done up at the wery beginnin'?'
'You might ha' seen I warn't able to start,' rejoined his father; 'I'm on the wrong side of the road, and backin' into the palin's, and all manner of unpleasantness, and yet you von't put out a hand to help me. I'm ashamed on you, Samivel.'
'The fact is, Sir,' said Sam, with a slight bow, 'the gov'nor's been a-drawin' his money.'
'Wery good, Samivel, wery good,' said Mr. Weller, nodding his head with a satisfied air, 'I didn't mean to speak harsh to you, Sammy. Wery good. That's the vay to begin. Come to the pint at once. Wery good indeed, Samivel.'
Mr. Weller nodded his head an extraordinary number of times, in the excess of his gratification, and waited in a listening attitude for Sam to resume his statement.
'You may sit down, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, apprehending that the interview was likely to prove rather longer than he had expected.
Sam bowed again and sat down; his father looking round, he continued--
'The gov'nor, sir, has drawn out five hundred and thirty pound.'
'Reduced counsels,' interposed Mr.