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Sketches by Boz, illustrative of everyday life and every-day people
written by "Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870"
...chief on the fender to air, and determining to write to the newspapers about the fog, which, he says, ‘has really got to that pitch that it is quite unbearable.’ In this last opinion Mrs. Merrywinkle and her respected mother fully concur; for though not present, their thoughts and tongues are occupied with the same subject, which is their constant theme all day.  If anybody happens to call, Mrs. Merrywinkle opines that they must assuredly be mad, and her first salutation is, ‘Why, what in the name of goodness can bring you out in such weather?  You know you must catch your death.’  This assurance is corroborated by Mrs. Chopper, who adds, in further confirmation, a dismal legend concerning an individual of her acquaintance who, making a call under precisely parallel circumstances, and being then in the best health and spirits, expired in forty-eight hours afterwards, of a complication of inflammatory disorders.  The visitor, rendered not altogether comfortable perhaps by this and other precedents, inquires very affectionately after Mr. Merrywinkle, but by so doing brings about no change of the subject; for Mr. Merrywinkle’s name is inseparably connected with his complaints, and his complaints are inseparably connected with Mrs. Merrywinkle’s; and when these are done with, Mrs. Chopper, who has been biding her time, cuts in with the chronic disorder—a subject upon which the amiable old lady never leaves off speaking until she is left alone, and very often not then. But Mr. Merrywinkle comes home to dinner.  He is received by Mrs. Merrywinkle and Mrs. Chopper, who, on his remarking that he thinks his feet are damp, turn pale as ashes and drag him up-stairs, imploring him to have them rubbed directly with a dry coarse towel.  Rubbed they are, one by Mrs. Merrywinkle and one by Mrs. Chopper, until the friction causes Mr. Merrywinkle to make horrible faces, and look as if he had been smelling very po...

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