Weller attached to this last- mentioned adjective, did not appear; but, as it was evident from the tone in which he used it that it was a favourable expression, Mr. Pickwick was as well satisfied as if he had been thoroughly enlightened on the subject.
'I take a great interest in her, Mr. Weller,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Mr. Weller coughed.
'I mean an interest in her doing well,' resumed Mr. Pickwick; 'a desire that she may be comfortable and prosperous. You understand?'
'Wery clearly,' replied Mr. Weller, who understood nothing yet.
'That young person,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'is attached to your son.'
'To Samivel Veller!' exclaimed the parent.
'Yes,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'It's nat'ral,' said Mr. Weller, after some consideration, 'nat'ral, but rayther alarmin'. Sammy must be careful.'
'How do you mean?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Wery careful that he don't say nothin' to her,' responded Mr. Weller. 'Wery careful that he ain't led avay, in a innocent moment, to say anythin' as may lead to a conwiction for breach. You're never safe vith 'em, Mr. Pickwick, ven they vunce has designs on you; there's no knowin' vere to have 'em; and vile you're a-considering of it, they have you. I wos married fust, that vay myself, Sir, and Sammy wos the consekens o' the manoover.'
'You give me no great encouragement to conclude what I have to say,' observed Mr. Pickwick, 'but I had better do so at once. This young person is not only attached to your son, Mr. Weller, but your son is attached to her.'
'Vell,' said Mr. Weller, 'this here's a pretty sort o' thing to come to a father's ears, this is!'
'I have observed them on several occasions,' said Mr. Pickwick, making no comment on Mr. Weller's last remark; 'and entertain no doubt at all about it. Supposing I were desirous of establishing them comfortably as man and wife in some little business or situation, where they might hope to obtain a decent living, what should you think of it, Mr. Weller?'
At first, Mr. Weller received with wry faces a proposition involving the marriage of anybody in whom he took an interest; but, as Mr. Pickwick argued the point with him, and laid great stress on the fact that Mary was not a widow, he gradually became more tractable. Mr. Pickwick had great influence over him, and he had been much struck with Mary's appearance; having, in fact, bestowed several very unfatherly winks upon her, already. At length he said that it was not for him to oppose Mr. Pickwick's inclination, and that he would be very happy to yield to his advice; upon which, Mr. Pickwick joyfully took him at his word, and called Sam back into the room.
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, clearing his throat, 'your father and I have been having some conversation about you.'
'About you, Samivel,' said Mr. Weller, in a patronising and impressive voice.
'I am not so blind, Sam, as not to have seen, a long time since, that you entertain something more than a friendly feeling towards Mrs. Winkle's maid,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'You hear this, Samivel?' said Mr. Weller, in the same judicial form of speech as before.
'I hope, Sir,' said Sam, addressing his master, 'I hope there's no harm in a young man takin' notice of a young 'ooman as is undeniably good-looking and well-conducted.'
'Certainly not,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Not by no means,' acquiesced Mr. Weller, affably but magisterially.