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“It does seem a good deal," I answered with a smile. For it was quite delightful to me to find him so pleasant. He was a twinkling-eyed, pimple-faced man, with his hair standing upright all over his head; and 5 as he stood with one arm a-kimbo, holding up the glass to the light with the other hand, he looked quite friendly.
“There was a gentleman here yesterday,” he said
“a stout gentleman, by the name of Topsawyer 10 perhaps you know him!”
“No,” I said, “I don't think —
“In breeches and gaiters, broad-brimmed hat, gray coat, speckled choker,” said the waiter.
“No,” I said bashfully, “I haven't the pleasure
“He came in here,” said the waiter, looking at the light through the tumbler, "ordered a glass of this ale — would order it -I told him not — drank it, and fell dead. It was too old for him. It oughtn't to be drawn; that's the fact."
I was very much shocked to hear of this melancholy accident, and said I thought I had better have some water.
'Whyyou see,” said the waiter, still looking at the light through the tumbler, with one of his eyes shut 25 up, “our people don't like things being ordered and
left. It offends 'em. But I'll drink it, if you like. I'm used to it, and use is everything. I don't think
it'll hurt me, if I throw my head back, and take it off quick. Shall I ?”
I replied that he would much oblige me by drinking it, if he thought he could do it safely, but by no means otherwise. When he did throw his head back, and 5 take it off quick, I had a horrible fear, I confess, of seeing him meet the fate of the lamented Mr. Topsawyer, and fall lifeless on the carpet. But it didn't hurt him. On the contrary, I thought he seemed the fresher for it.
“What have we got here?” he said, putting a fork into my dish. “Not chops?”
“ Chops,” I said. “Lord bless my soul!” he exclaimed, “I didn't know they were chops. Why, a chop's the very thing 15 to take off the bad effects of that beer! Ain't it lucky?”
So he took a chop by the bone in one hand, and a potato in the other, and ate away with a very good appetite, to my extreme satisfaction. He afterwards 20 took another chop, and another potato; and after that another chop and another potato. When he had done, he brought me a pudding, and having set it before me, seemed to ruminate and to become absent in his mind for some moments.
“How's the pie?” he said, rousing himself. “It's a pudding,” I made answer.
“Pudding !” he exclaimed. “Why, bless me, so it is! What !” looking at it nearer. “You don't mean to say it's a batter-pudding !”
“Yes, it is indeed."
“Why, a batter-pudding,” he said, taking up a table-spoon, “is my favorite pudding! Ain't that lucky? Come on, little 'un, and let's see who'll get
The waiter certainly got most. He entreated me 10 more than once to come in and win, but what with
his table-spoon to my tea-spoon, his despatch to my despatch, and his appetite to my appetite, I was left far behind at the first mouthful, and had no chance
with him. I never saw any one enjoy a pudding so 15 much, I think; and he laughed, when it was all gone, as if his enjoyment of it lasted still.
It was a little disconcerting to me, to find, when I was being helped up behind the coach, that I was supposed to have eaten all the dinner without
assistI discovered this from overhearing the lady in the bow-window say to the guard, “Take care of that child, George, or he'll burst !” and from observing that the women-servants who were about the place came
out to look and giggle at me as a young phenomenon. 25 My unfortunate friend the waiter, who had quite
recovered his spirits, did not appear to be disturbed by this, but joined in the general admiration without
being at all confused. If I had any doubt of him, I suppose this half awakened it; but I am inclined to believe that with the simple confidence of a child, and the natural reliance of a child upon superior years (qualities I am very sorry any children should pre-5 maturely change for worldly wisdom), I had no serious mistrust of him on the whole, even then.
II. THE FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL
David arrives at the school before it opens; and at the request of Mr. Murdstone is unjustly punished by being made to wear a placard “He bites."
Tommy Traddles was the first boy who returned. He introduced himself by informing me that I should find his name on the right-hand corner of the gate, 10 over the top bolt; upon that I said, “Traddles ?” to which he replied, “The same," and then he asked me for a full account of myself and family.
It was a happy circumstance for me that Traddles came back first. He enjoyed my placard so much 15 that he saved me from the embarrassment of either disclosure or concealment, by presenting me to every other boy who came back, great or small, immediately on his arrival, in this form of introduction, “Look here! Here's a game!” Happily, too, the greater 20 part of the boys came back low-spirited, and were not
so boisterous at my expense as I had expected. Some of them certainly did dance about me like wild Indians, and the greater part could not resist the temptation of pretending that I was a dog, and patting and 5 smoothing me lest I should bite, and saying, “Lie down, Sir!” and calling me Towzer. This was naturally
confusing, among so many strangers, and cost me some tears, but on the whole it was much better than I had anticipated.
I was not considered as being formally received into the school, however, until J. Steerforth arrived. Before this boy, who was reputed to be a great scholar, and was very good-looking, and at least half-a-dozen years