As Mr. Weller appeared fully disposed to act up to the spirit of this address, Mr. Trotter gradually allowed his face to resume its natural expression; and then giving a start of joy, exclaimed, 'What do I see? Mr. Walker!'
'Ah,' replied Sam. 'You're wery glad to see me, ain't you?'
'Glad!' exclaimed Job Trotter; 'oh, Mr. Walker, if you had but known how I have looked forward to this meeting! It is too much, Mr. Walker; I cannot bear it, indeed I cannot.' And with these words, Mr. Trotter burst into a regular inundation of tears, and, flinging his arms around those of Mr. Weller, embraced him closely, in an ecstasy of joy.
'Get off!' cried Sam, indignant at this process, and vainly endeavouring to extricate himself from the grasp of his enthusiastic acquaintance. 'Get off, I tell you. What are you crying over me for, you portable engine?'
'Because I am so glad to see you,' replied Job Trotter, gradually releasing Mr. Weller, as the first symptoms of his pugnacity disappeared. 'Oh, Mr. Walker, this is too much.'
'Too much!' echoed Sam, 'I think it is too much — rayther! Now, what have you got to say to me, eh?'
Mr. Trotter made no reply; for the little pink pocket-handkerchief was in full force.
'What have you got to say to me, afore I knock your head off?' repeated Mr. Weller, in a threatening manner.
'Eh!' said Mr. Trotter, with a look of virtuous surprise.
'What have you got to say to me?'
'I, Mr. Walker!'
'Don't call me Valker; my name's Veller; you know that vell enough. What have you got to say to me?'
'Bless you, Mr. Walker — Weller, I mean — a great many things, if you will come away somewhere, where we can talk comfortably. If you knew how I have looked for you, Mr. Weller — '
'Wery hard, indeed, I s'pose?' said Sam drily.
'Very, very, Sir,' replied Mr. Trotter, without moving a muscle of his face. 'But shake hands, Mr. Weller.'
Sam eyed his companion for a few seconds, and then, as if actuated by a sudden impulse, complied with his request. 'How,' said Job Trotter, as they walked away, 'how is your dear, good master? Oh, he is a worthy gentleman, Mr. Weller! I hope he didn't catch cold, that dreadful night, Sir.'
There was a momentary look of deep slyness in Job Trotter's eye, as he said this, which ran a thrill through Mr. Weller's clenched fist, as he burned with a desire to make a demonstration on his ribs. Sam constrained himself, however, and replied that his master was extremely well.
'Oh, I am so glad,' replied Mr. Trotter; 'is he here?'
'Is yourn?' asked Sam, by way of reply.
'Oh, yes, he is here, and I grieve to say, Mr. Weller, he is going on worse than ever.'
'Ah, ah!' said Sam.
'Oh, shocking — terrible!'
'At a boarding-school?' said Sam.
'No, not at a boarding-school,' replied Job Trotter, with the same sly look which Sam had noticed before; 'not at a boarding-school.'
'At the house with the green gate?' said Sam, eyeing his companion closely.
'No, no — oh, not there,' replied Job, with a quickness very unusual to him, 'not there.'
'What was you a-doin' there?' asked Sam, with a sharp glance. 'Got inside the gate by accident, perhaps?'
'Why, Mr. Weller,' replied Job, 'I don't mind telling you my little secrets, because, you know, we took such a fancy for each other when we first met. You recollect how pleasant we were that morning?'
'Oh, yes,' said Sam, impatiently. 'I remember. Well?'
'Well,' replied Job, speaking with great precision, and in the low tone of a man who communicates an important secret; 'in that house with the green gate, Mr. Weller, they keep a good many servants.'
'So I should think, from the look on it,' interposed Sam.
'Yes,' continued Mr. Trotter, 'and one of them is a cook, who has saved up a little money, Mr. Weller, and is desirous, if she can establish herself in life, to open a little shop in the chandlery way, you see.' 'Yes.'
'Yes, Mr. Weller. Well, Sir, I met her at a chapel that I go to; a very neat little chapel in this town, Mr. Weller, where they sing the number four collection of hymns, which I generally carry about with me, in a little book, which you may perhaps have seen in my hand — and I got a little intimate with her, Mr. Weller, and from that, an acquaintance sprung up between us, and I may venture to say, Mr. Weller, that I am to be the chandler.'
'Ah, and a wery amiable chandler you'll make,' replied Sam, eyeing Job with a side look of intense dislike.
'The great advantage of this, Mr. Weller,' continued Job, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke, 'will be, that I shall be able to leave my present disgraceful service with that bad man, and to devote myself to a better and more virtuous life; more like the way in which I was brought up, Mr. Weller.'
'You must ha' been wery nicely brought up,' said Sam.
'Oh, very, Mr. Weller, very,' replied Job. At the recollection of the purity of his youthful days, Mr. Trotter pulled forth the pink handkerchief, and wept copiously.
'You must ha' been an uncommon nice boy, to go to school vith,' said Sam.
'I was, sir,' replied Job, heaving a deep sigh; 'I was the idol of the place.'
'Ah,' said Sam, 'I don't wonder at it. What a comfort you must ha' been to your blessed mother.'
At these words, Mr. Job Trotter inserted an end of the pink handkerchief into the corner of each eye, one after the other, and began to weep copiously.
'Wot's the matter with the man,' said Sam, indignantly. 'Chelsea water-works is nothin' to you. What are you melting vith now? The consciousness o' willainy?'
'I cannot keep my feelings down, Mr. Weller,' said Job, after a short pause. 'To think that my master should have suspected the conversation I had with yours, and so dragged me away in a post-chaise, and after persuading the sweet young lady to say she knew nothing of him, and bribing the school-mistress to do the same, deserted her for a better speculation! Oh! Mr. Weller, it makes me shudder.'
'Oh, that was the vay, was it?' said Mr. Weller.
'To be sure it was,' replied Job.
'Vell,' said Sam, as they had now arrived near the hotel, 'I vant to have a little bit o' talk with you, Job; so if you're not partickler engaged, I should like to see you at the Great White Horse to-night, somewheres about eight o'clock.'
'I shall be sure to come,' said Job.
'Yes, you'd better,' replied Sam, with a very meaning look, 'or else I shall perhaps be askin' arter you, at the other side of the green gate, and then I might cut you out, you know.'
'I shall be sure to be with you, sir,' said Mr. Trotter; and wringing Sam's hand with the utmost fervour, he walked away.
'Take care, Job Trotter, take care,' said Sam, looking after him, 'or I shall be one too many for you this time. I shall, indeed.' Having uttered this soliloquy, and looked after Job till he was to be seen no more, Mr. Weller made the best of his way to his master's bedroom.
'It's all in training, Sir,' said Sam.
'What's in training, Sam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'I've found 'em out, Sir,' said Sam.
'Found out who?'
'That 'ere queer customer, and the melan-cholly chap with the black hair.'
'Impossible, Sam!' said Mr. Pickwick, with the greatest energy. 'Where are they, Sam: where are they?'
'Hush, hush!' replied Mr. Weller; and as he assisted Mr. Pickwick to dress, he detailed the plan of action on which he proposed to enter.
'But when is this to be done, Sam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'All in good time, Sir,' replied Sam.
Whether it was done in good time, or not, will be seen hereafter.