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Master Humphrey's Clock

Chapter 6
Master Humphrey, From His Clock-Side In The
Chimney
TWO or three evenings after the institution of Mr. Weller's Watch, I thought I
heard, as I walked in the garden, the voice of Mr. Weller himself at no great
distance; and stopping once or twice to listen more attentively, I found that the
sounds proceeded from my housekeeper's little sitting-room, which is at the back
of the house. I took no further notice of the circumstance at that time, but it
formed the subject of a conversation between me and my friend Jack Redburn
next morning, when I found that I had not been deceived in my impression. Jack
furnished me with the following particulars; and as he appeared to take
extraordinary pleasure in relating them, I have begged him in future to jot down
any such domestic scenes or occurrences that may please his humour, in order
that they may be told in his own way. I must confess that, as Mr. Pickwick and he
are constantly together, I have been influenced, in making this request, by a
secret desire to know something of their proceedings.
On the evening in question, the housekeeper's room was arranged with particular
care, and the housekeeper herself was very smartly dressed. The preparations,
however, were not confined to mere showy demonstrations, as tea was prepared
for three persons, with a small display of preserves and jams and sweet cakes,
which heralded some uncommon occasion. Miss Benton (my housekeeper bears
that name) was in a state of great expectation, too, frequently going to the front
door and looking anxiously down the lane, and more than once observing to the
servant-girl that she expected company, and hoped no accident had happened to
delay them.
A modest ring at the bell at length allayed her fears, and Miss Benton, hurrying
into her own room and shutting herself up, in order that she might preserve that
appearance of being taken by surprise which is so essential to the polite
reception of visitors, awaited their coming with a smiling countenance.
'Good ev'nin', mum,' said the older Mr. Weller, looking in at the door after a
prefatory tap. 'I'm afeerd we've come in rayther arter the time, mum, but the
young colt being full o' wice, has been' a boltin' and shyin' and gettin' his leg over
the traces to sich a extent that if he an't wery soon broke in, he'll wex me into a
broken heart, and then he'll never be brought out no more except to learn his
letters from the writin' on his grandfather's tombstone.'
 
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