'Stay here,' repeated Mr. Pickwick.
'Mayn't I polish that 'ere Job off, in the front garden?' said Mr. Weller. 'Certainly not,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'Mayn't I kick him out o' the gate, Sir?' said Mr. Weller.
'Not on any account,' replied his master.
For the first time since his engagement, Mr. Weller looked, for a moment, discontented and unhappy. But his countenance immediately cleared up; for the wily Mr. Muzzle, by concealing himself behind the street door, and rushing violently out, at the right instant, contrived with great dexterity to overturn both Mr. Jingle and his attendant, down the flight of steps, into the American aloe tubs that stood beneath.
'Having discharged my duty, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Nupkins, 'I will, with my friends, bid you farewell. While we thank you for such hospitality as we have received, permit me to assure you, in our joint names, that we should not have accepted it, or have consented to extricate ourselves in this way, from our previous dilemma, had we not been impelled by a strong sense of duty. We return to London to-morrow. Your secret is safe with us.'
Having thus entered his protest against their treatment of the morning, Mr. Pickwick bowed low to the ladies, and notwithstanding the solicitations of the family, left the room with his friends.
'Get your hat, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'It's below stairs, Sir,' said Sam, and he ran down after it.
Now, there was nobody in the kitchen, but the pretty housemaid; and as Sam's hat was mislaid, he had to look for it, and the pretty housemaid lighted him. They had to look all over the place for the hat. The pretty housemaid, in her anxiety to find it, went down on her knees, and turned over all the things that were heaped together in a little corner by the door. It was an awkward corner. You couldn't get at it without shutting the door first.
'Here it is,' said the pretty housemaid. 'This is it, ain't it?'
'Let me look,' said Sam.
The pretty housemaid had stood the candle on the floor; and, as it gave a very dim light, Sam was obliged to go down on HIS knees before he could see whether it really was his own hat or not. It was a remarkably small corner, and so — it was nobody's fault but the man's who built the house — Sam and the pretty housemaid were necessarily very close together.
'Yes, this is it,' said Sam. 'Good-bye!'
'Good-bye!' said the pretty housemaid.
'Good-bye!' said Sam; and as he said it, he dropped the hat that had cost so much trouble in looking for.
'How awkward you are,' said the pretty housemaid. 'You'll lose it again, if you don't take care.'
So just to prevent his losing it again, she put it on for him.
Whether it was that the pretty housemaid's face looked prettier still, when it was raised towards Sam's, or whether it was the accidental consequence of their being so near to each other, is matter of uncertainty to this day; but Sam kissed her.
'You don't mean to say you did that on purpose,' said the pretty housemaid, blushing.
'No, I didn't then,' said Sam; 'but I will now.'
So he kissed her again. 'Sam!' said Mr. Pickwick, calling over the banisters.
'Coming, Sir,' replied Sam, running upstairs.
'How long you have been!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'There was something behind the door, Sir, which perwented our getting it open, for ever so long, Sir,' replied Sam.
And this was the first passage of Mr. Weller's first love.