Pickwick Papers "I Wants To Make Your Flesh Creep"

Charles Dickens

"I Wants To Make Your Flesh Creep"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Mr. Tupman, a member of a group of Pickwickians visiting the Wardles at Manor Farm, is involved in an instantaneous romance with Rachel, Wardle's spinster sister. "The fat boy," Wardle's servant, spies upon them in the arbor. He contains his knowledge of the innocent affair until the following day, when he conducts Wardle's aged mother on her daily walk to the arbor. Knowing that the feeble and impressionable old lady will react with horror at learning that her daughter had kissed a man, the fat boy presents his news only after raising her apprehension with a dramatic introduction. The old lady at first fears that he intends to harm her, but he replies that he only wants to tell her a story which is so shocking that her flesh will creep.

"Well, Joe," said the trembling old lady. "I'm sure I have been a good mistress to you, Joe. You have invariably been treated very kindly. You have never had too much to do; and you have always had enough to eat."
. . .
"I know I has."
"Then what can you want to do now?" said the old lady, gaining courage.
"I wants to make your flesh creep," replied the boy.