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THE PICKWICK PAPERS

CHARLES DICKENS

CONTENTS

1. The Pickwickians
2. The first Day's Journeyand the first Evening's
Adventures; with their Consequences
3. A new Acquaintance--The Stroller's Tale--A
disagreeable Interruptionand an unpleasant
Encounter
4. A Field Day and Bivouac--More new Friends--An
Invitation to the Country
5. A short one--Showingamong other Mattershow
Mr. Pickwick undertook to driveand Mr. Winkle
to rideand how they both did it
6. An old-fashioned Card-party--The Clergyman's
verses--The Story of the Convict's Return
7. How Mr. Winkleinstead of shooting at the Pigeon
and killing the Crowshot at the Crow and
wounded the Pigeon; how the Dingley Dell
Cricket Club played All-Muggletonand how AllMuggleton
dined at the Dingley Dell Expense;
with other interesting and instructive Matters
8. Strongly illustrative of the Positionthat the
Course of True Love is not a Railway
9. A Discovery and a Chase
10. Clearing up all Doubts (if any existed) of the
Disinterestedness of Mr. A. Jingle's Character
11. Involving another Journeyand an Antiquarian
Discovery; Recording Mr. Pickwick's Determination
to be present at an Election; and containing
a Manuscript of the old Clergyman's
12. Descriptive of a very important Proceeding on
the Part of Mr. Pickwick; no less an Epoch in his
Lifethan in this History
13. Some Account of Eatanswill; of the State of
Parties therein; and of the Election of a Member
to serve in Parliament for that ancientloyal
and patriotic Borough


14. Comprising a brief Description of the Company
at the Peacock assembled; and a Tale told by a
Bagman
15. In which is given a faithful Portraiture of two
distinguished Persons; and an accurate Description
of a public Breakfast in their House and Grounds:
which public Breakfast leads to the Recognition
of an old Acquaintanceand the Commencement of
another Chapter
16. Too full of Adventure to be briefly described
17. Showing that an Attack of Rheumatismin some
Casesacts as a Quickener to inventive Genius
18. Briefly illustrative of two Points; firstthe
Power of Hystericsandsecondlythe Force of
Circumstances
19. A pleasant Day with an unpleasant Termination
20. Showing how Dodson and Fogg were Men of
Businessand their Clerks Men of pleasure; and
how an affecting Interview took place between
Mr. Weller and his long-lost Parent; showing also
what Choice Spirits assembled at the Magpie and
Stumpand what a Capital Chapter the next one
will be
21. In which the old Man launches forth into his
favourite Themeand relates a Story about a
queer Client
22. Mr. Pickwick journeys to Ipswich and meets with
a romantic Adventure with a middle-aged Lady
in yellow Curl-papers
23. In which Mr. Samuel Weller begins to devote his
Energies to the Return Match between himself
and Mr. Trotter
24. Wherein Mr. Peter Magnus grows jealousand the
middle-aged Lady apprehensivewhich brings the
Pickwickians within the Grasp of the Law
25. Showingamong a Variety of pleasant Matters
how majestic and impartial Mr. Nupkins was; and
how Mr. Weller returned Mr. Job Trotter's
Shuttlecock as heavily as it came--With another
Matterwhich will be found in its Place
26. Which contains a brief Account of the Progress
of the Action of Bardell against Pickwick
27. Samuel Weller makes a Pilgrimage to Dorking
and beholds his Mother-in-law
28. A good-humoured Christmas Chaptercontaining
an Account of a Weddingand some other Sports
beside: which although in their Way even as good
Customs as Marriage itselfare not quite so
religiously kept upin these degenerate Times

29. The Story of the Goblins who stole a Sexton
30. How the Pickwickians made and cultivated the
Acquaintance of a Couple of nice young Men
belonging to one of the liberal Professions; how
they disported themselves on the Ice; and how
their Visit came to a Conclusion
31. Which is all about the Lawand sundry Great
Authorities learned therein
32. Describesfar more fully than the Court Newsman
ever dida Bachelor's Partygiven by Mr.
Bob Sawyer at his Lodgings in the Borough
33. Mr. Weller the elder delivers some Critical Sentiments
respecting Literary Composition; and
assisted by his Son Samuelpays a small Instalment
of Retaliation to the Account of the Reverend
Gentleman with the Red Nose
34. Is wholly devoted to a full and faithful Report
of the memorable Trial of Bardell against Pickwick
35. In which Mr. Pickwick thinks he had better go to
Bath; and goes accordingly
36. The chief Features of which will be found to be
an authentic Version of the Legend of Prince
Bladudand a most extraordinary Calamity that
befell Mr. Winkle
37. Honourably accounts for Mr. Weller's Absence
by describing a Soiree to which he was invited
and went; also relates how he was intrusted by
Mr. Pickwick with a Private Mission of Delicacy
and Importance
38. How Mr. Winklewhen he stepped out of the
Frying-panwalked gently and comfortably into
the Fire
39. Mr. Samuel Wellerbeing intrusted with a Mission
of Loveproceeds to execute it; with what Success
will hereinafter appear
40. Introduces Mr. Pickwick to a new and not uninteresting
Scene in the great Drama of Life
41. Whatt befell Mr. Pickwick when he got into the
Fleet; what Prisoners he saw there; and how he
passed the Night
42. Illustrativelike the preceding oneof the old
Proverbthat Adversity brings a Man acquainted
with strange Bedfellows--Likewise containing Mr.
Pickwick's extraordinary and startling Announcement
to Mr. Samuel Weller
43. Showing how Mr. Samuel Weller got into Difficulties
44. Treats of divers little Matters which occurred
in the Fleetand of Mr. Winkle's mysterious

Behaviour; and shows how the poor Chancery
Prisoner obtained his Release at last


45. Descriptive of an affecting Interview between Mr.
Samuel Weller and a Family Party. Mr. Pickwick
makes a Tour of the diminutive World he
inhabitsand resolves to mix with itin Future
as little as possible
46. Records a touching Act of delicate Feeling not
unmixed with Pleasantryachieved and performed
by Messrs. Dodson and Fogg
47. Is chiefly devoted to Matters of Business
and the temporal Advantage of Dodson and Fogg-Mr.
Winkle reappears under extraordinary
Circumstances--Mr. Pickwick's Benevolence proves
stronger than his Obstinacy
48. Relates how Mr. Pickwickwith the Assistance
of Samuel Welleressayed to soften the Heart
of Mr. Benjamin Allenand to mollify the Wrath
of Mr. Robert Sawyer
49. Containing the Story of the Bagman's Uncle
50. How Mr. Pickwick sped upon his Missionand how
he was reinforced in the Outset by a most
unexpected Auxiliary
51. In which Mr. Pickwick encounters an old
Acquaintance--To which fortunate Circumstance
the Reader is mainly indebted for Matter of
thrilling Interest herein set downconcerning
two great Public Men of Might and Power
52. Involving a serious Change in the Weller Family
and the untimely Downfall of Mr. Stiggins
53. Comprising the final Exit of Mr. Jingle and Job
Trotterwith a great Morning of business in
Gray's Inn Square--Concluding with a Double
Knock at Mr. Perker's Door
54. Containing some Particulars relative to the
Double Knockand other Matters: among which
certain interesting Disclosures relative to Mr.
Snodgrass and a Young Lady are by no Means
irrelevant to this History
55. Mr. Solomon Pellassisted by a Select Committee
of Coachmenarranges the affairs of the elder
Mr. Weller
56. An important Conference takes place between
Mr. Pickwick and Samuel Wellerat which his
Parent assists--An old Gentleman in a snuffcoloured
Suit arrives unexpectedly
57. In which the Pickwick Club is finally dissolved
and everything concluded to the Satisfaction
of Everybody

THE POSTHUMOUS PAPERS
OF
THE PICKWICK CLUB

CHAPTER I
THE PICKWICKIANS

The first ray of light which illumines the gloomand converts
into a dazzling brilliancy that obscurity in which the earlier
history of the public career of the immortal Pickwick would
appear to be involvedis derived from the perusal of the following
entry in the Transactions of the Pickwick Clubwhich the editor
of these papers feels the highest pleasure in laying before his
readersas a proof of the careful attentionindefatigable assiduity
and nice discriminationwith which his search among the multifarious
documents confided to him has been conducted.

'May 121827. Joseph SmiggersEsq.P.V.P.M.P.C. [Perpetual
Vice-President--Member Pickwick Club]presiding. The following
resolutions unanimously agreed to:-


'That this Association has heard readwith feelings of unmingled
satisfactionand unqualified approvalthe paper communicated by Samuel
PickwickEsq.G.C.M.P.C. [General Chairman--Member Pickwick Club]
entitled "Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Pondswith some
Observations on the Theory of Tittlebats;" and that this Association
does hereby return its warmest thanks to the said Samuel
PickwickEsq.G.C.M.P.C.for the same.

'That while this Association is deeply sensible of the advantages
which must accrue to the cause of sciencefrom the production
to which they have just adverted--no less than from the unwearied
researches of Samuel PickwickEsq.G.C.M.P.C.in Hornsey
HighgateBrixtonand Camberwell--they cannot but entertain
a lively sense of the inestimable benefits which must inevitably
result from carrying the speculations of that learned man into a
wider fieldfrom extending his travelsandconsequently
enlarging his sphere of observationto the advancement of
knowledgeand the diffusion of learning.

'Thatwith the view just mentionedthis Association has taken
into its serious consideration a proposalemanating from the
aforesaidSamuel PickwickEsq.G.C.M.P.C.and three other
Pickwickians hereinafter namedfor forming a new branch of
United Pickwickiansunder the title of The Corresponding
Society of the Pickwick Club.

'That the said proposal has received the sanction and approval
of this Association.
'That the Corresponding Society of the Pickwick Club is
therefore hereby constituted; and that Samuel PickwickEsq.
G.C.M.P.C.Tracy TupmanEsq.M.P.C.Augustus Snodgrass
Esq.M.P.C.and Nathaniel WinkleEsq.M.P.C.are hereby
nominated and appointed members of the same; and that they
be requested to forwardfrom time to timeauthenticated
accounts of their journeys and investigationsof their observations
of character and mannersand of the whole of their


adventurestogether with all tales and papers to which local
scenery or associations may give riseto the Pickwick Club
stationed in London.

'That this Association cordially recognises the principle of
every member of the Corresponding Society defraying his own
travelling expenses; and that it sees no objection whatever to the
members of the said society pursuing their inquiries for any
length of time they pleaseupon the same terms.

'That the members of the aforesaid Corresponding Society be
and are hereby informedthat their proposal to pay the postage
of their lettersand the carriage of their parcelshas been
deliberated upon by this Association: that this Association
considers such proposal worthy of the great minds from which it
emanatedand that it hereby signifies its perfect acquiescence
therein.'

A casual observeradds the secretaryto whose notes we are
indebted for the following account--a casual observer might
possibly have remarked nothing extraordinary in the bald head
and circular spectacleswhich were intently turned towards his
(the secretary's) faceduring the reading of the above resolutions:
to those who knew that the gigantic brain of Pickwick was
working beneath that foreheadand that the beaming eyes of
Pickwick were twinkling behind those glassesthe sight was
indeed an interesting one. There sat the man who had traced to
their source the mighty ponds of Hampsteadand agitated the
scientific world with his Theory of Tittlebatsas calm and
unmoved as the deep waters of the one on a frosty dayor as a
solitary specimen of the other in the inmost recesses of an earthen
jar. And how much more interesting did the spectacle become
whenstarting into full life and animationas a simultaneous call
for 'Pickwick' burst from his followersthat illustrious man
slowly mounted into the Windsor chairon which he had been
previously seatedand addressed the club himself had founded.
What a study for an artist did that exciting scene present! The
eloquent Pickwickwith one hand gracefully concealed behind
his coat tailsand the other waving in air to assist his glowing
declamation; his elevated position revealing those tights and
gaiterswhichhad they clothed an ordinary manmight have
passed without observationbut whichwhen Pickwick clothed
them--if we may use the expression--inspired involuntary awe
and respect; surrounded by the men who had volunteered to
share the perils of his travelsand who were destined to participate
in the glories of his discoveries. On his right sat Mr. Tracy
Tupman--the too susceptible Tupmanwho to the wisdom and
experience of maturer years superadded the enthusiasm and
ardour of a boy in the most interesting and pardonable of human
weaknesses--love. Time and feeding had expanded that once
romantic form; the black silk waistcoat had become more and
more developed; inch by inch had the gold watch-chain beneath
it disappeared from within the range of Tupman's vision; and
gradually had the capacious chin encroached upon the borders of
the white cravat: but the soul of Tupman had known no change
--admiration of the fair sex was still its ruling passion. On the
left of his great leader sat the poetic Snodgrassand near him
again the sporting Winkle; the former poetically enveloped in a
mysterious blue cloak with a canine-skin collarand the latter
communicating additional lustre to a new green shooting-coat
plaid neckerchiefand closely-fitted drabs.

Mr. Pickwick's oration upon this occasiontogether with the
debate thereonis entered on the Transactions of the Club. Both


bear a strong affinity to the discussions of other celebrated
bodies; andas it is always interesting to trace a resemblance
between the proceedings of great menwe transfer the entry to
these pages.


'Mr. Pickwick observed (says the secretary) that fame was dear
to the heart of every man. Poetic fame was dear to the heart of
his friend Snodgrass; the fame of conquest was equally dear to
his friend Tupman; and the desire of earning fame in the sports
of the fieldthe airand the water was uppermost in the breast of
his friend Winkle. He (Mr. Pickwick) would not deny that he was
influenced by human passions and human feelings (cheers)--
possibly by human weaknesses (loud cries of "No"); but this he
would saythat if ever the fire of self-importance broke out in his
bosomthe desire to benefit the human race in preference
effectually quenched it. The praise of mankind was his swing;
philanthropy was his insurance office. (Vehement cheering.) He
had felt some pride--he acknowledged it freelyand let his
enemies make the most of it--he had felt some pride when he
presented his Tittlebatian Theory to the world; it might be
celebrated or it might not. (A cry of "It is and great cheering.)
He would take the assertion of that honourable Pickwickian
whose voice he had just heard--it was celebrated; but if the fame
of that treatise were to extend to the farthest confines of the
known world, the pride with which he should reflect on the
authorship of that production would be as nothing compared
with the pride with which he looked around him, on this, the
proudest moment of his existence. (Cheers.) He was a humble
individual. (Nono.") Still he could not but feel that they had
selected him for a service of great honourand of some danger.
Travelling was in a troubled stateand the minds of coachmen
were unsettled. Let them look abroad and contemplate the scenes
which were enacting around them. Stage-coaches were upsetting
in all directionshorses were boltingboats were overturningand
boilers were bursting. (Cheers--a voice "No.") No! (Cheers.)
Let that honourable Pickwickian who cried "No" so loudly
come forward and deny itif he could. (Cheers.) Who was it that
cried "No"? (Enthusiastic cheering.) Was it some vain and
disappointed man--he would not say haberdasher (loud cheers)
--whojealous of the praise which had been--perhaps undeservedly--
bestowed on his (Mr. Pickwick's) researchesand smarting under
the censure which had been heaped upon his own feeble attempts at
rivalrynow took this vile and calumnious mode of---


'Mr. BLOTTON (of Aldgate) rose to order. Did the honourable
Pickwickian allude to him? (Cries of "Order Chair Yes
No Go on Leave off etc.)


'Mr. PICKWICK would not put up to be put down by clamour.
He had alluded to the honourable gentleman. (Great excitement.)


'Mr. BLOTTON would only say then, that he repelled the hon.
gent.'s false and scurrilous accusation, with profound contempt.
(Great cheering.) The hon. gent. was a humbug. (Immense confusion,
and loud cries of Chair and Order.")


'Mr. A. SNODGRASS rose to order. He threw himself upon the
chair. (Hear.) He wished to know whether this disgraceful
contest between two members of that club should be allowed to
continue. (Hearhear.)


'The CHAIRMAN was quite sure the hon. Pickwickian would
withdraw the expression he had just made use of.



'Mr. BLOTTONwith all possible respect for the chairwas quite
sure he would not.

'The CHAIRMAN felt it his imperative duty to demand of the
honourable gentlemanwhether he had used the expression which
had just escaped him in a common sense.

'Mr. BLOTTON had no hesitation in saying that he had not--he
had used the word in its Pickwickian sense. (Hearhear.) He was
bound to acknowledge thatpersonallyhe entertained the
highest regard and esteem for the honourable gentleman; he had
merely considered him a humbug in a Pickwickian point of view.
(Hearhear.)

'Mr. PICKWICK felt much gratified by the faircandidand full
explanation of his honourable friend. He begged it to be at once
understoodthat his own observations had been merely intended
to bear a Pickwickian construction. (Cheers.)'

Here the entry terminatesas we have no doubt the debate did
alsoafter arriving at such a highly satisfactory and intelligible
point. We have no official statement of the facts which the reader
will find recorded in the next chapterbut they have been carefully
collated from letters and other MS. authoritiesso unquestionably
genuine as to justify their narration in a connected form.

CHAPTER II
THE FIRST DAY'S JOURNEYAND THE FIRST EVENING'S

ADVENTURES; WITH THEIR CONSEQUENCES

That punctual servant of all workthe sunhad just risenand
begun to strike a light on the morning of the thirteenth of May
one thousand eight hundred and twenty-sevenwhen Mr. Samuel
Pickwick burst like another sun from his slumbersthrew open his
chamber windowand looked out upon the world beneath. Goswell
Street was at his feetGoswell Street was on his right hand--as
far as the eye could reachGoswell Street extended on his left;
and the opposite side of Goswell Street was over the way. 'Such'
thought Mr. Pickwick'are the narrow views of those philosophers
whocontent with examining the things that lie before themlook
not to the truths which are hidden beyond. As well might I be
content to gaze on Goswell Street for everwithout one effort to
penetrate to the hidden countries which on every side surround
it.' And having given vent to this beautiful reflectionMr.
Pickwick proceeded to put himself into his clothesand his
clothes into his portmanteau. Great men are seldom over
scrupulous in the arrangement of their attire; the operation of
shavingdressingand coffee-imbibing was soon performed; andin
another hourMr. Pickwickwith his portmanteau in his handhis
telescope in his greatcoat pocketand his note-book in his
waistcoatready for the reception of any discoveries worthy of
being noted downhad arrived at the coach-stand in
St. Martin's-le-Grand.
'Cab!' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Here you aresir' shouted a strange specimen of the human
racein a sackcloth coatand apron of the samewhowith a brass
label and number round his necklooked as if he were catalogued
in some collection of rarities. This was the waterman. 'Here you
aresir. Nowthenfust cab!' And the first cab having been
fetched from the public-housewhere he had been smoking his
first pipeMr. Pickwick and his portmanteau were thrown into


the vehicle.

'Golden Cross' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Only a bob's vorthTommy' cried the driver sulkilyfor the
information of his friend the watermanas the cab drove off.


'How old is that horsemy friend?' inquired Mr. Pickwick
rubbing his nose with the shilling he had reserved for the fare.


'Forty-two' replied the drivereyeing him askant.


'What!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwicklaying his hand upon his
note-book. The driver reiterated his former statement. Mr.
Pickwick looked very hard at the man's facebut his features
were immovableso he noted down the fact forthwith.
'And how long do you keep him out at a time?'inquired Mr.
Pickwicksearching for further information.


'Two or three veeks' replied the man.


'Weeks!' said Mr. Pickwick in astonishmentand out came the
note-book again.


'He lives at Pentonwil when he's at home' observed the driver
coolly'but we seldom takes him homeon account of his weakness.'


'On account of his weakness!' reiterated the perplexed Mr. Pickwick.


'He always falls down when he's took out o' the cab' continued
the driver'but when he's in itwe bears him up werry
tightand takes him in werry shortso as he can't werry well fall
down; and we've got a pair o' precious large wheels onso ven he
does movethey run after himand he must go on--he can't
help it.'


Mr. Pickwick entered every word of this statement in his note-
bookwith the view of communicating it to the clubas a singular
instance of the tenacity of life in horses under trying circumstances.
The entry was scarcely completed when they reached the
Golden Cross. Down jumped the driverand out got Mr. Pickwick.
Mr. TupmanMr. Snodgrassand Mr. Winklewho had
been anxiously waiting the arrival of their illustrious leader
crowded to welcome him.


'Here's your fare' said Mr. Pickwickholding out the shilling
to the driver.


What was the learned man's astonishmentwhen that unaccountable
person flung the money on the pavementand
requested in figurative terms to be allowed the pleasure of fighting
him (Mr. Pickwick) for the amount!


'You are mad' said Mr. Snodgrass.


'Or drunk' said Mr. Winkle.


'Or both' said Mr. Tupman.


'Come on!' said the cab-driversparring away like clockwork.
'Come on--all four on you.'


'Here's a lark!' shouted half a dozen hackney coachmen. 'Go
to vorkSam!--and they crowded with great glee round the



party.

'What's the rowSam?' inquired one gentleman in black calico sleeves.

'Row!' replied the cabman'what did he want my number for?'
'I didn't want your number' said the astonished Mr. Pickwick.

'What did you take it forthen?' inquired the cabman.

'I didn't take it' said Mr. Pickwick indignantly.

'Would anybody believe' continued the cab-driverappealing
to the crowd'would anybody believe as an informer'ud go about
in a man's cabnot only takin' down his numberbut ev'ry word
he says into the bargain' (a light flashed upon Mr. Pickwick--it
was the note-book).

'Did he though?' inquired another cabman.

'Yesdid he' replied the first; 'and then arter aggerawatin' me
to assault himgets three witnesses here to prove it. But I'll give it
himif I've six months for it. Come on!' and the cabman dashed
his hat upon the groundwith a reckless disregard of his own
private propertyand knocked Mr. Pickwick's spectacles offand
followed up the attack with a blow on Mr. Pickwick's noseand
another on Mr. Pickwick's chestand a third in Mr. Snodgrass's
eyeand a fourthby way of varietyin Mr. Tupman's waistcoat
and then danced into the roadand then back again to the pavement
and finally dashed the whole temporary supply of breath
out of Mr. Winkle's body; and all in half a dozen seconds.

'Where's an officer?' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'Put 'em under the pump' suggested a hot-pieman.

'You shall smart for this' gasped Mr. Pickwick.

'Informers!' shouted the crowd.

'Come on' cried the cabmanwho had been sparring without
cessation the whole time.

The mob hitherto had been passive spectators of the scenebut
as the intelligence of the Pickwickians being informers was spread
among themthey began to canvass with considerable vivacity
the propriety of enforcing the heated pastry-vendor's proposition:
and there is no saying what acts of personal aggression they
might have committedhad not the affray been unexpectedly
terminated by the interposition of a new-comer.

'What's the fun?' said a rather tallthinyoung manin a green
coatemerging suddenly from the coach-yard.

'informers!' shouted the crowd again.

'We are not' roared Mr. Pickwickin a tone whichto any
dispassionate listenercarried conviction with it.
'Ain't youthough--ain't you?' said the young manappealing
to Mr. Pickwickand making his way through the crowd by the
infallible process of elbowing the countenances of its component members.

That learned man in a few hurried words explained the real
state of the case.


'Come alongthen' said he of the green coatlugging Mr.
Pickwick after him by main forceand talking the whole way.
HereNo. 924take your fareand take yourself off--respectable
gentleman--know him well--none of your nonsense--this way
sir--where's your friends?--all a mistakeI see--never mind-accidents
will happen--best regulated families--never say die-down
upon your luck--Pull him UP--Put that in his pipe--like
the flavour--damned rascals.' And with a lengthened string of
similar broken sentencesdelivered with extraordinary volubility
the stranger led the way to the traveller's waiting-roomwhither
he was closely followed by Mr. Pickwick and his disciples.

'Herewaiter!' shouted the strangerringing the bell with
tremendous violence'glasses round--brandy-and-waterhot and
strongand sweetand plenty--eye damagedSir? Waiter! raw
beef-steak for the gentleman's eye--nothing like raw beef-steak
for a bruisesir; cold lamp-post very goodbut lamp-post
inconvenient--damned odd standing in the open street half an
hourwith your eye against a lamp-post--eh--very good-ha!
ha!' And the strangerwithout stopping to take breath
swallowed at a draught full half a pint of the reeking brandy-andwater
and flung himself into a chair with as much ease as if
nothing uncommon had occurred.

While his three companions were busily engaged in proffering
their thanks to their new acquaintanceMr. Pickwick had leisure
to examine his costume and appearance.

He was about the middle heightbut the thinness of his body
and the length of his legsgave him the appearance of being
much taller. The green coat had been a smart dress garment in the
days of swallow-tailsbut had evidently in those times adorned
a much shorter man than the strangerfor the soiled and faded
sleeves scarcely reached to his wrists. It was buttoned closely up
to his chinat the imminent hazard of splitting the back; and an
old stockwithout a vestige of shirt collarornamented his neck.
His scanty black trousers displayed here and there those shiny
patches which bespeak long serviceand were strapped very
tightly over a pair of patched and mended shoesas if to conceal
the dirty white stockingswhich were nevertheless distinctly
visible. His longblack hair escaped in negligent waves from
beneath each side of his old pinched-up hat; and glimpses of his
bare wrists might be observed between the tops of his gloves and
the cuffs of his coat sleeves. His face was thin and haggard; but
an indescribable air of jaunty impudence and perfect selfpossession
pervaded the whole man.

Such was the individual on whom Mr. Pickwick gazed through
his spectacles (which he had fortunately recovered)and to whom
he proceededwhen his friends had exhausted themselvesto
return in chosen terms his warmest thanks for his recent assistance.

'Never mind' said the strangercutting the address very short
'said enough--no more; smart chap that cabman--handled
his fives well; but if I'd been your friend in the green jemmy-damn
me--punch his head--'cod I would--pig's whisper-pieman
too--no gammon.'

This coherent speech was interrupted by the entrance of the
Rochester coachmanto announce that 'the Commodore' was on
the point of starting.

'Commodore!' said the strangerstarting up'my coach-



place booked--one outside--leave you to pay for the brandy-
and-water--want change for a five--bad silver--Brummagem
buttons--won't do--no go--eh?' and he shook his head most knowingly.


Now it so happened that Mr. Pickwick and his three
companions had resolved to make Rochester their first halting-place
too; and having intimated to their new-found acquaintance that
they were journeying to the same citythey agreed to occupy the
seat at the back of the coachwhere they could all sit together.


'Up with you' said the strangerassisting Mr. Pickwick on to
the roof with so much precipitation as to impair the gravity of
that gentleman's deportment very materially.


'Any luggageSir?' inquired the coachman.
'Who--I? Brown paper parcel herethat's all--other luggage
gone by water--packing-casesnailed up--big as houses--
heavyheavydamned heavy' replied the strangeras he forced
into his pocket as much as he could of the brown paper parcel
which presented most suspicious indications of containing one
shirt and a handkerchief.


'Headsheads--take care of your heads!' cried the loquacious
strangeras they came out under the low archwaywhich in those
days formed the entrance to the coach-yard. 'Terrible place--
dangerous work--other day--five children--mother--tall lady
eating sandwiches--forgot the arch--crash--knock--children
look round--mother's head off--sandwich in her hand--no
mouth to put it in--head of a family off--shockingshocking!
Looking at Whitehallsir?--fine place--little window--somebody
else's head off thereehsir?--he didn't keep a sharp
look-out enough either--ehSireh?'


'I am ruminating' said Mr. Pickwick'on the strange
mutability of human affairs.'


'Ah! I see--in at the palace door one dayout at the window
the next. PhilosopherSir?'
'An observer of human natureSir' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Ahso am I. Most people are when they've little to do and less
to get. PoetSir?'


'My friend Mr. Snodgrass has a strong poetic turn' said
Mr. Pickwick.


'So have I' said the stranger. 'Epic poem--ten thousand lines
--revolution of July--composed it on the spot--Mars by day
Apollo by night--bang the field-piecetwang the lyre.'


'You were present at that glorious scenesir?' said Mr. Snodgrass.


'Present! think I was;* fired a musket--fired with an idea--
rushed into wine shop--wrote it down--back again--whizbang
--another idea--wine shop again--pen and ink--back again--
cut and slash--noble timeSir. Sportsmansir ?'abruptly turning
to Mr. Winkle.


[* A remarkable instance of the prophetic force of Mr.
Jingle's imagination; this dialogue occurring in the year
1827and the Revolution in 1830.

'A littleSir' replied that gentleman.

'Fine pursuitsir--fine pursuit.--DogsSir?'


'Not just now' said Mr. Winkle.


'Ah! you should keep dogs--fine animals--sagacious creatures
--dog of my own once--pointer--surprising instinct--out
shooting one day--entering inclosure--whistled--dog stopped--
whistled again--Ponto--no go; stock still--called him--Ponto
Ponto--wouldn't move--dog transfixed--staring at a board--
looked upsaw an inscription--"Gamekeeper has orders to shoot
all dogs found in this inclosure"--wouldn't pass it--wonderful
dog--valuable dog that--very.'


'Singular circumstance that' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Will you
allow me to make a note of it?'


'CertainlySircertainly--hundred more anecdotes of the same
animal.--Fine girlSir' (to Mr. Tracy Tupmanwho had been
bestowing sundry anti-Pickwickian glances on a young lady by
the roadside).


'Very!' said Mr. Tupman.


'English girls not so fine as Spanish--noble creatures--jet hair
--black eyes--lovely forms--sweet creatures--beautiful.'


'You have been in Spainsir?' said Mr. Tracy Tupman.


'Lived there--ages.'
'Many conquestssir?' inquired Mr. Tupman.


'Conquests! Thousands. Don Bolaro Fizzgig--grandee--only
daughter--Donna Christina--splendid creature--loved me to
distraction--jealous father--high-souled daughter--handsome
Englishman--Donna Christina in despair--prussic acid--
stomach pump in my portmanteau--operation performed--old
Bolaro in ecstasies--consent to our union--join hands and floods
of tears--romantic story--very.'


'Is the lady in England nowsir?' inquired Mr. Tupmanon
whom the description of her charms had produced a powerful impression.


'Deadsir--dead' said the strangerapplying to his right eye
the brief remnant of a very old cambric handkerchief. 'Never
recovered the stomach pump--undermined constitution--fell a victim.'


'And her father?' inquired the poetic Snodgrass.


'Remorse and misery' replied the stranger. 'Sudden
disappearance--talk of the whole city--search made everywhere
without success--public fountain in the great square suddenly
ceased playing--weeks elapsed--still a stoppage--workmen
employed to clean it--water drawn off--father-in-law discovered
sticking head first in the main pipewith a full confession in his
right boot--took him outand the fountain played away again
as well as ever.'


'Will you allow me to note that little romance downSir?' said
Mr. Snodgrassdeeply affected.


'CertainlySircertainly--fifty more if you like to hear 'em--
strange life mine--rather curious history--not extraordinary
but singular.'


In this strainwith an occasional glass of aleby way of



parenthesiswhen the coach changed horsesdid the stranger
proceeduntil they reached Rochester bridgeby which time the
note-booksboth of Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Snodgrasswere
completely filled with selections from his adventures.


'Magnificent ruin!' said Mr. Augustus Snodgrasswith all the
poetic fervour that distinguished himwhen they came in sight of
the fine old castle.


'What a sight for an antiquarian!' were the very words which
fell from Mr. Pickwick's mouthas he applied his telescope to his eye.


'Ah! fine place' said the stranger'glorious pile--frowning
walls--tottering arches--dark nooks--crumbling staircases--old
cathedral too--earthy smell--pilgrims' feet wore away the old
steps--little Saxon doors--confessionals like money-takers'
boxes at theatres--queer customers those monks--popesand
lord treasurersand all sorts of old fellowswith great red faces
and broken nosesturning up every day--buff jerkins too--
match-locks--sarcophagus--fine place--old legends too--strange
stories: capital;' and the stranger continued to soliloquise until
they reached the Bull Innin the High Streetwhere the coach stopped.


'Do you remain hereSir?' inquired Mr. Nathaniel Winkle.


'Here--not I--but you'd better--good house--nice beds--
Wright's next housedear--very dear--half-a-crown in the bill if
you look at the waiter--charge you more if you dine at a friend's
than they would if you dined in the coffee-room--rum fellows--very.'


Mr. Winkle turned to Mr. Pickwickand murmured a few
words; a whisper passed from Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Snodgrass
from Mr. Snodgrass to Mr. Tupmanand nods of assent were
exchanged. Mr. Pickwick addressed the stranger.


'You rendered us a very important service this morningsir'
said he'will you allow us to offer a slight mark of our gratitude
by begging the favour of your company at dinner?'


'Great pleasure--not presume to dictatebut broiled fowl and
mushrooms--capital thing! What time?'


'Let me see' replied Mr. Pickwickreferring to his watch'it is
now nearly three. Shall we say five?'


'Suit me excellently' said the stranger'five precisely--till then--care of
yourselves;' and lifting the pinched-up hat a few inches
from his headand carelessly replacing it very much on one side
the strangerwith half the brown paper parcel sticking out of his
pocketwalked briskly up the yardand turned into the High Street.


'Evidently a traveller in many countriesand a close observer of
men and things' said Mr. Pickwick.


'I should like to see his poem' said Mr. Snodgrass.


'I should like to have seen that dog' said Mr. Winkle.


Mr. Tupman said nothing; but he thought of Donna Christina
the stomach pumpand the fountain; and his eyes filled with tears.


A private sitting-room having been engagedbedrooms
inspectedand dinner orderedthe party walked out to view the
city and adjoining neighbourhood.



We do not findfrom a careful perusal of Mr. Pickwick's notes
of the four townsStroudRochesterChathamand Brompton
that his impressions of their appearance differ in any material
point from those of other travellers who have gone over the same
ground. His general description is easily abridged.

'The principal productions of these towns' says Mr. Pickwick
'appear to be soldierssailorsJewschalkshrimpsofficersand
dockyard men. The commodities chiefly exposed for sale in the
public streets are marine storeshard-bakeapplesflat-fishand
oysters. The streets present a lively and animated appearance
occasioned chiefly by the conviviality of the military. It is truly
delightful to a philanthropic mind to see these gallant men
staggering along under the influence of an overflow both of
animal and ardent spirits; more especially when we remember
that the following them aboutand jesting with themaffords a
cheap and innocent amusement for the boy population. Nothing'
adds Mr. Pickwick'can exceed their good-humour. It was
but the day before my arrival that one of them had been most
grossly insulted in the house of a publican. The barmaid
had positively refused to draw him any more liquor; in return
for which he had (merely in playfulness) drawn his bayonet
and wounded the girl in the shoulder. And yet this fine fellow
was the very first to go down to the house next morning and
express his readiness to overlook the matterand forget what
had occurred!

'The consumption of tobacco in these towns' continues Mr.
Pickwick'must be very greatand the smell which pervades the
streets must be exceedingly delicious to those who are extremely
fond of smoking. A superficial traveller might object to the dirt
which is their leading characteristic; but to those who view it as
an indication of traffic and commercial prosperityit is
truly gratifying.'

Punctual to five o'clock came the strangerand shortly afterwards
the dinner. He had divested himself of his brown paper
parcelbut had made no alteration in his attireand wasif
possiblemore loquacious than ever.

'What's that?' he inquiredas the waiter removed one of the covers.

'SolesSir.'

'Soles--ah!--capital fish--all come from London-stagecoach
proprietors get up political dinners--carriage of soles-dozens
of baskets--cunning fellows. Glass of wineSir.'

'With pleasure' said Mr. Pickwick; and the stranger took
winefirst with himand then with Mr. Snodgrassand then with
Mr. Tupmanand then with Mr. Winkleand then with the
whole party togetheralmost as rapidly as he talked.

'Devil of a mess on the staircasewaiter' said the stranger.
'Forms going up--carpenters coming down--lampsglasses
harps. What's going forward?'

'BallSir' said the waiter.

'Assemblyeh?'

'NoSirnot assemblySir. Ball for the benefit of a charitySir.'


'Many fine women in this towndo you knowSir?' inquired
Mr. Tupmanwith great interest.

'Splendid--capital. Kentsir--everybody knows Kent-apples
cherrieshopsand women. Glass of wineSir!'

'With great pleasure' replied Mr. Tupman. The stranger filled
and emptied.

'I should very much like to go' said Mr. Tupmanresuming
the subject of the ball'very much.'

'Tickets at the barSir' interposed the waiter; 'half-a-guinea
eachSir.'

Mr. Tupman again expressed an earnest wish to be present at
the festivity; but meeting with no response in the darkened eye of
Mr. Snodgrassor the abstracted gaze of Mr. Pickwickhe
applied himself with great interest to the port wine and dessert
which had just been placed on the table. The waiter withdrew
and the party were left to enjoy the cosy couple of hours
succeeding dinner.

'Beg your pardonsir' said the stranger'bottle stands--pass
it round--way of the sun--through the button-hole--no heeltaps'
and he emptied his glasswhich he had filled about two
minutes beforeand poured out anotherwith the air of a man
who was used to it.

The wine was passedand a fresh supply ordered. The visitor
talkedthe Pickwickians listened. Mr. Tupman felt every moment
more disposed for the ball. Mr. Pickwick's countenance glowed
with an expression of universal philanthropyand Mr. Winkle
and Mr. Snodgrass fell fast asleep.

'They're beginning upstairs' said the stranger--'hear the
company--fiddles tuning--now the harp--there they go.' The
various sounds which found their way downstairs announced the
commencement of the first quadrille.

'How I should like to go' said Mr. Tupman again.

'So should I' said the stranger--'confounded luggage--heavy
smacks--nothing to go in--oddain't it?'

Now general benevolence was one of the leading features of the
Pickwickian theoryand no one was more remarkable for the
zealous manner in which he observed so noble a principle than
Mr. Tracy Tupman. The number of instances recorded on the
Transactions of the Societyin which that excellent man referred
objects of charity to the houses of other members for left-off
garments or pecuniary relief is almost incredible.
'I should be very happy to lend you a change of apparel for the
purpose' said Mr. Tracy Tupman'but you are rather slimand
I am--'

'Rather fat--grown-up Bacchus--cut the leaves--dismounted
from the tuband adopted kerseyeh?--not double distilledbut
double milled--ha! ha! pass the wine.'

Whether Mr. Tupman was somewhat indignant at the peremptory
tone in which he was desired to pass the wine which the
stranger passed so quickly awayor whether he felt very properly
scandalised at an influential member of the Pickwick Club being


ignominiously compared to a dismounted Bacchusis a fact not
yet completely ascertained. He passed the winecoughed twice
and looked at the stranger for several seconds with a stern intensity;
as that individualhoweverappeared perfectly collected
and quite calm under his searching glancehe gradually relaxed
and reverted to the subject of the ball.


'I was about to observeSir' he said'that though my apparel
would be too largea suit of my friend Mr. Winkle's would
perhapsfit you better.'


The stranger took Mr. Winkle's measure with his eyeand that
feature glistened with satisfaction as he said'Just the thing.'


Mr. Tupman looked round him. The winewhich had exerted
its somniferous influence over Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle
had stolen upon the senses of Mr. Pickwick. That gentleman had
gradually passed through the various stages which precede the
lethargy produced by dinnerand its consequences. He had
undergone the ordinary transitions from the height of conviviality
to the depth of miseryand from the depth of misery to the height
of conviviality. Like a gas-lamp in the streetwith the wind in the
pipehe had exhibited for a moment an unnatural brilliancythen
sank so low as to be scarcely discernible; after a short intervalhe
had burst out againto enlighten for a moment; then flickered
with an uncertainstaggering sort of lightand then gone out
altogether. His head was sunk upon his bosomand perpetual
snoringwith a partial choke occasionallywere the only audible
indications of the great man's presence.


The temptation to be present at the balland to form his first
impressions of the beauty of the Kentish ladieswas strong upon
Mr. Tupman. The temptation to take the stranger with him was
equally great. He was wholly unacquainted with the place and its
inhabitantsand the stranger seemed to possess as great a
knowledge of both as if he had lived there from his infancy.
Mr. Winkle was asleepand Mr. Tupman had had sufficient
experience in such matters to know that the moment he awoke he
wouldin the ordinary course of natureroll heavily to bed. He
was undecided. 'Fill your glassand pass the wine' said the
indefatigable visitor.


Mr. Tupman did as he was requested; and the additional
stimulus of the last glass settled his determination.


'Winkle's bedroom is inside mine' said Mr. Tupman; 'I
couldn't make him understand what I wantedif I woke him now
but I know he has a dress-suit in a carpet bag; and supposing you
wore it to the balland took it off when we returnedI could
replace it without troubling him at all about the matter.'


'Capital' said the stranger'famous plan--damned odd
situation--fourteen coats in the packing-casesand obliged to
wear another man's--very good notionthat--very.'


'We must purchase our tickets' said Mr. Tupman.


'Not worth while splitting a guinea' said the stranger'toss
who shall pay for both--I call; you spin--first time--woman--
woman--bewitching woman' and down came the sovereign with
the dragon (called by courtesy a woman) uppermost.


Mr. Tupman rang the bellpurchased the ticketsand ordered
chamber candlesticks. In another quarter of an hour the stranger



was completely arrayed in a full suit of Mr. Nathaniel Winkle's.

'It's a new coat' said Mr. Tupmanas the stranger surveyed
himself with great complacency in a cheval glass; 'the first that's
been made with our club button' and he called his companions'
attention to the large gilt button which displayed a bust of Mr.
Pickwick in the centreand the letters 'P. C.' on either side.

'"P. C."' said the stranger--'queer set out--old fellow's
likenessand "P. C."--What does "P. C." stand for--Peculiar
Coateh?'

Mr. Tupmanwith rising indignation and great importance
explained the mystic device.

'Rather short in the waistain't it?' said the strangerscrewing
himself round to catch a glimpse in the glass of the waist buttons
which were half-way up his back. 'Like a general postman's coat
--queer coats those--made by contract--no measuring-mysterious
dispensations of Providence--all the short men get
long coats--all the long men short ones.' Running on in this way
Mr. Tupman's new companion adjusted his dressor rather the
dress of Mr. Winkle; andaccompanied by Mr. Tupman
ascended the staircase leading to the ballroom.

'What namessir?' said the man at the door. Mr. Tracy
Tupman was stepping forward to announce his own titleswhen
the stranger prevented him.

'No names at all;' and then he whispered Mr. Tupman
'names won't do--not known--very good names in their way
but not great ones--capital names for a small partybut won't
make an impression in public assemblies--incog. the thing-gentlemen
from London--distinguished foreigners--anything.'
The door was thrown openand Mr. Tracy Tupman and the
stranger entered the ballroom.

It was a long roomwith crimson-covered benchesand wax
candles in glass chandeliers. The musicians were securely confined
in an elevated denand quadrilles were being systematically
got through by two or three sets of dancers. Two card-tables were
made up in the adjoining card-roomand two pair of old ladies
and a corresponding number of stout gentlemenwere executing
whist therein.

The finale concludedthe dancers promenaded the roomand
Mr. Tupman and his companion stationed themselves in a corner
to observe the company.

'Charming women' said Mr. Tupman.

'Wait a minute' said the stranger'fun presently--nobs not
come yet--queer place--dockyard people of upper rank don't
know dockyard people of lower rank--dockyard people of lower
rank don't know small gentry--small gentry don't know
tradespeople--commissioner don't know anybody.'

'Who's that little boy with the light hair and pink eyesin a
fancy dress?'inquired Mr. Tupman.

'Hushpray--pink eyes--fancy dress--little boy--nonsense-ensign
97th--Honourable Wilmot Snipe--great family--Snipes--very.'

'Sir Thomas ClubberLady Clubberand the Misses Clubber!'


shouted the man at the door in a stentorian voice. A great
sensation was created throughout the room by the entrance of a
tall gentleman in a blue coat and bright buttonsa large lady in
blue satinand two young ladieson a similar scalein fashionablymade
dresses of the same hue.

'Commissioner--head of the yard--great man--remarkably
great man' whispered the stranger in Mr. Tupman's earas the
charitable committee ushered Sir Thomas Clubber and family to
the top of the room. The Honourable Wilmot Snipeand other
distinguished gentlemen crowded to render homage to the Misses
Clubber; and Sir Thomas Clubber stood bolt uprightand looked
majestically over his black kerchief at the assembled company.

'Mr. SmithieMrs. Smithieand the Misses Smithie' was the
next announcement.

'What's Mr. Smithie?' inquired Mr. Tracy Tupman.

'Something in the yard' replied the stranger. Mr. Smithie
bowed deferentially to Sir Thomas Clubber; and Sir Thomas
Clubber acknowledged the salute with conscious condescension.
Lady Clubber took a telescopic view of Mrs. Smithie and family
through her eye-glass and Mrs. Smithie stared in her turn at
Mrs. Somebody-elsewhose husband was not in the dockyard
at all.

'Colonel BulderMrs. Colonel Bulderand Miss Bulder' were
the next arrivals.

'Head of the garrison' said the strangerin reply to Mr. Tupman's
inquiring look.

Miss Bulder was warmly welcomed by the Misses Clubber; the
greeting between Mrs. Colonel Bulder and Lady Clubber was of
the most affectionate description; Colonel Bulder and Sir Thomas
Clubber exchanged snuff-boxesand looked very much like a pair
of Alexander Selkirks--'Monarchs of all they surveyed.'

While the aristocracy of the place--the Buldersand Clubbers
and Snipes--were thus preserving their dignity at the upper end
of the roomthe other classes of society were imitating their
example in other parts of it. The less aristocratic officers of the
97th devoted themselves to the families of the less important
functionaries from the dockyard. The solicitors' wivesand the
wine-merchant's wifeheaded another grade (the brewer's wife
visited the Bulders); and Mrs. Tomlinsonthe post-office keeper
seemed by mutual consent to have been chosen the leader of the
trade party.

One of the most popular personagesin his own circlepresent
was a little fat manwith a ring of upright black hair round his
headand an extensive bald plain on the top of it--Doctor
Slammersurgeon to the 97th. The doctor took snuff with
everybodychatted with everybodylaugheddancedmade jokes
played whistdid everythingand was everywhere. To these
pursuitsmultifarious as they werethe little doctor added a
more important one than any--he was indefatigable in paying
the most unremitting and devoted attention to a little old widow
whose rich dress and profusion of ornament bespoke her a most
desirable addition to a limited income.

Upon the doctorand the widowthe eyes of both Mr. Tupman
and his companion had been fixed for some timewhen the


stranger broke silence.


'Lots of money--old girl--pompous doctor--not a bad idea--
good fun' were the intelligible sentences which issued from his
lips. Mr. Tupman looked inquisitively in his face.
'I'll dance with the widow' said the stranger.


'Who is she?' inquired Mr. Tupman.


'Don't know--never saw her in all my life--cut out the doctor
--here goes.' And the stranger forthwith crossed the room; and
leaning against a mantel-piececommenced gazing with an air of
respectful and melancholy admiration on the fat countenance of
the little old lady. Mr. Tupman looked onin mute astonishment.
The stranger progressed rapidly; the little doctor danced with
another lady; the widow dropped her fan; the stranger picked it
upand presented it--a smile--a bow--a curtsey--a few words
of conversation. The stranger walked boldly up toand returned
withthe master of the ceremonies; a little introductory pantomime;
and the stranger and Mrs. Budger took their places in a quadrille.


The surprise of Mr. Tupman at this summary proceedinggreat
as it waswas immeasurably exceeded by the astonishment of the
doctor. The stranger was youngand the widow was flattered.
The doctor's attentions were unheeded by the widow; and the
doctor's indignation was wholly lost on his imperturbable rival.
Doctor Slammer was paralysed. HeDoctor Slammerof the
97thto be extinguished in a momentby a man whom nobody
had ever seen beforeand whom nobody knew even now! Doctor
Slammer--Doctor Slammer of the 97th rejected! Impossible! It
could not be! Yesit was; there they were. What! introducing his
friend! Could he believe his eyes! He looked againand was
under the painful necessity of admitting the veracity of his optics;
Mrs. Budger was dancing with Mr. Tracy Tupman; there was no
mistaking the fact. There was the widow before himbouncing
bodily here and therewith unwonted vigour; and Mr. Tracy
Tupman hopping aboutwith a face expressive of the most
intense solemnitydancing (as a good many people do) as if a
quadrille were not a thing to be laughed atbut a severe trial to
the feelingswhich it requires inflexible resolution to encounter.


Silently and patiently did the doctor bear all thisand all the
handings of negusand watching for glassesand darting for
biscuitsand coquettingthat ensued; buta few seconds after the
stranger had disappeared to lead Mrs. Budger to her carriagehe
darted swiftly from the room with every particle of his hitherto-
bottled-up indignation effervescingfrom all parts of his countenance
in a perspiration of passion.


The stranger was returningand Mr. Tupman was beside him.
He spoke in a low toneand laughed. The little doctor thirsted
for his life. He was exulting. He had triumphed.


'Sir!' said the doctorin an awful voiceproducing a cardand
retiring into an angle of the passage'my name is Slammer
Doctor Slammersir--97th Regiment--Chatham Barracks--my
cardSirmy card.' He would have added morebut his indignation
choked him.


'Ah!' replied the stranger coolly'Slammer--much obliged--
polite attention--not ill nowSlammer--but when I am--knock
you up.'


'You--you're a shufflersir' gasped the furious doctor'a



poltroon--a coward--a liar--a--a--will nothing induce you to
give me your cardsir!'
'Oh! I see' said the strangerhalf aside'negus too strong here
--liberal landlord--very foolish--very--lemonade much better
--hot rooms--elderly gentlemen--suffer for it in the morning--
cruel--cruel;' and he moved on a step or two.


'You are stopping in this houseSir' said the indignant little
man; 'you are intoxicated nowSir; you shall hear from me in the
morningsir. I shall find you outsir; I shall find you out.'


'Rather you found me out than found me at home' replied the
unmoved stranger.


Doctor Slammer looked unutterable ferocityas he fixed his
hat on his head with an indignant knock; and the stranger and
Mr. Tupman ascended to the bedroom of the latter to restore the
borrowed plumage to the unconscious Winkle.


That gentleman was fast asleep; the restoration was soon made.
The stranger was extremely jocose; and Mr. Tracy Tupman
being quite bewildered with wineneguslightsand ladies
thought the whole affair was an exquisite joke. His new friend
departed; andafter experiencing some slight difficulty in finding
the orifice in his nightcaporiginally intended for the reception of
his headand finally overturning his candlestick in his struggles to
put it onMr. Tracy Tupman managed to get into bed by a series
of complicated evolutionsand shortly afterwards sank into repose.


Seven o'clock had hardly ceased striking on the following
morningwhen Mr. Pickwick's comprehensive mind was aroused
from the state of unconsciousnessin which slumber had plunged
itby a loud knocking at his chamber door.
'Who's there?' said Mr. Pickwickstarting up in bed.


'Bootssir.'


'What do you want?'


'Pleasesircan you tell me which gentleman of your party
wears a bright blue dress-coatwith a gilt button with "P. C."
on it?'


'It's been given out to brush' thought Mr. Pickwick'and the
man has forgotten whom it belongs to.' 'Mr. Winkle'he called
out'next room but twoon the right hand.'
'Thank'eesir' said the Bootsand away he went.


'What's the matter?' cried Mr. Tupmanas a loud knocking at
his door roused hint from his oblivious repose.


'Can I speak to Mr. Winklesir?' replied Boots from the outside.


'Winkle--Winkle!' shouted Mr. Tupmancalling into the
inner room.
'Hollo!' replied a faint voice from within the bed-clothes.


'You're wanted--some one at the door;' andhaving exerted
himself to articulate thus muchMr. Tracy Tupman turned
round and fell fast asleep again.


'Wanted!' said Mr. Winklehastily jumping out of bedand
putting on a few articles of clothing; 'wanted! at this distance
from town--who on earth can want me?'



'Gentleman in the coffee-roomsir' replied the Bootsas
Mr. Winkle opened the door and confronted him; 'gentleman
says he'll not detain you a momentSirbut he can take no denial.'

'Very odd!' said Mr. Winkle; 'I'll be down directly.'

He hurriedly wrapped himself in a travelling-shawl and
dressing-gownand proceeded downstairs. An old woman and a
couple of waiters were cleaning the coffee-roomand an officer in
undress uniform was looking out of the window. He turned
round as Mr. Winkle enteredand made a stiff inclination of the
head. Having ordered the attendants to retireand closed the
door very carefullyhe said'Mr. WinkleI presume?'

'My name is Winklesir.'

'You will not be surprisedsirwhen I inform you that I have
called here this morning on behalf of my friendDoctor Slammer
of the 97th.'

'Doctor Slammer!' said Mr. Winkle.

'Doctor Slammer. He begged me to express his opinion that
your conduct of last evening was of a description which no
gentleman could endure; and' (he added) 'which no one gentleman
would pursue towards another.'

Mr. Winkle's astonishment was too realand too evidentto
escape the observation of Doctor Slammer's friend; he therefore
proceeded--'My friendDoctor Slammerrequested me to add
that he was firmly persuaded you were intoxicated during a
portion of the eveningand possibly unconscious of the extent of
the insult you were guilty of. He commissioned me to saythat
should this be pleaded as an excuse for your behaviourhe will
consent to accept a written apologyto be penned by youfrom
my dictation.'

'A written apology!' repeated Mr. Winklein the most
emphatic tone of amazement possible.

'Of course you know the alternative' replied the visitor coolly.

'Were you intrusted with this message to me by name?'
inquired Mr. Winklewhose intellects were hopelessly confused
by this extraordinary conversation.

'I was not present myself' replied the visitor'and in consequence
of your firm refusal to give your card to Doctor Slammer
I was desired by that gentleman to identify the wearer of a very
uncommon coat--a bright blue dress-coatwith a gilt button
displaying a bustand the letters "P. C."'

Mr. Winkle actually staggered with astonishment as he heard
his own costume thus minutely described. Doctor Slammer's
friend proceeded:--'From the inquiries I made at the barjust
nowI was convinced that the owner of the coat in question
arrived herewith three gentlemenyesterday afternoon. I
immediately sent up to the gentleman who was described as
appearing the head of the partyand he at once referred me to you.'

If the principal tower of Rochester Castle had suddenly walked
from its foundationand stationed itself opposite the coffee-room
windowMr. Winkle's surprise would have been as nothing


compared with the profound astonishment with which he had
heard this address. His first impression was that his coat had been
stolen. 'Will you allow me to detain you one moment?' said he.

'Certainly' replied the unwelcome visitor.

Mr. Winkle ran hastily upstairsand with a trembling hand
opened the bag. There was the coat in its usual placebut
exhibitingon a close inspectionevident tokens of having been
worn on the preceding night.

'It must be so' said Mr. Winkleletting the coat fall from his
hands. 'I took too much wine after dinnerand have a very vague
recollection of walking about the streetsand smoking a cigar
afterwards. The fact isI was very drunk;--I must have changed
my coat--gone somewhere--and insulted somebody--I have no
doubt of it; and this message is the terrible consequence.' Saying
whichMr. Winkle retraced his steps in the direction of the
coffee-roomwith the gloomy and dreadful resolve of accepting
the challenge of the warlike Doctor Slammerand abiding by the
worst consequences that might ensue.

To this determination Mr. Winkle was urged by a variety of
considerationsthe first of which was his reputation with the
club. He had always been looked up to as a high authority on all
matters of amusement and dexteritywhether offensivedefensive
or inoffensive; and ifon this very first occasion of being put
to the testhe shrunk back from the trialbeneath his leader's eye
his name and standing were lost for ever. Besideshe remembered
to have heard it frequently surmised by the uninitiated in such
matters that by an understood arrangement between the seconds
the pistols were seldom loaded with ball; andfurthermorehe
reflected that if he applied to Mr. Snodgrass to act as his second
and depicted the danger in glowing termsthat gentleman might
possibly communicate the intelligence to Mr. Pickwickwho
would certainly lose no time in transmitting it to the local
authoritiesand thus prevent the killing or maiming of his follower.

Such were his thoughts when he returned to the coffee-room
and intimated his intention of accepting the doctor's challenge.

'Will you refer me to a friendto arrange the time and place of
meeting?' said the officer.

'Quite unnecessary' replied Mr. Winkle; 'name them to me
and I can procure the attendance of a friend afterwards.'

'Shall we say--sunset this evening?' inquired the officerin a
careless tone.

'Very good' replied Mr. Winklethinking in his heart it was
very bad.

'You know Fort Pitt?'

'Yes; I saw it yesterday.'

'If you will take the trouble to turn into the field which borders
the trenchtake the foot-path to the left when you arrive at an
angle of the fortificationand keep straight ontill you see meI
will precede you to a secluded placewhere the affair can be
conducted without fear of interruption.'

'Fear of interruption!' thought Mr. Winkle.


'Nothing more to arrangeI think' said the officer.


'I am not aware of anything more' replied Mr. Winkle.
'Good-morning.'


'Good-morning;' and the officer whistled a lively air as he
strode away.


That morning's breakfast passed heavily off. Mr. Tupman was
not in a condition to riseafter the unwonted dissipation of the
previous night; Mr. Snodgrass appeared to labour under a
poetical depression of spirits; and even Mr. Pickwick evinced an
unusual attachment to silence and soda-water. Mr. Winkle
eagerly watched his opportunity: it was not long wanting. Mr.
Snodgrass proposed a visit to the castleand as Mr. Winkle was
the only other member of the party disposed to walkthey went
out together.
'Snodgrass' said Mr. Winklewhen they had turned out of the
public street. 'Snodgrassmy dear fellowcan I rely upon your
secrecy?' As he said thishe most devoutly and earnestly hoped
he could not.


'You can' replied Mr. Snodgrass. 'Hear me swear--'


'Nono' interrupted Winkleterrified at the idea of his
companion's unconsciously pledging himself not to give information;
'don't sweardon't swear; it's quite unnecessary.'


Mr. Snodgrass dropped the hand which he hadin the spirit of
poesyraised towards the clouds as he made the above appeal
and assumed an attitude of attention.


'I want your assistancemy dear fellowin an affair of
honour' said Mr. Winkle.


'You shall have it' replied Mr. Snodgrassclasping his friend's hand.


'With a doctor--Doctor Slammerof the 97th' said Mr.
Winklewishing to make the matter appear as solemn as possible;
'an affair with an officerseconded by another officerat sunset
this eveningin a lonely field beyond Fort Pitt.'


'I will attend you' said Mr. Snodgrass.


He was astonishedbut by no means dismayed. It is extraordinary
how cool any party but the principal can be in such cases. Mr. Winkle
had forgotten this. He had judged of his friend's feelings by his own.


'The consequences may be dreadful' said Mr. Winkle.


'I hope not' said Mr. Snodgrass.


'The doctorI believeis a very good shot' said Mr. Winkle.


'Most of these military men are' observed Mr. Snodgrass
calmly; 'but so are youain't you?'
Mr. Winkle replied in the affirmative; and perceiving that he
had not alarmed his companion sufficientlychanged his ground.


'Snodgrass' he saidin a voice tremulous with emotion'if I
fallyou will find in a packet which I shall place in your hands a
note for my-- for my father.'



This attack was a failure also. Mr. Snodgrass was affectedbut
he undertook the delivery of the note as readily as if he had been
a twopenny postman.

'If I fall' said Mr. Winkle'or if the doctor fallsyoumy dear
friendwill be tried as an accessory before the fact. Shall I
involve my friend in transportation--possibly for life!'
Mr. Snodgrass winced a little at thisbut his heroism was
invincible. 'In the cause of friendship' he fervently exclaimed'I
would brave all dangers.'

How Mr. Winkle cursed his companion's devoted friendship
internallyas they walked silently alongside by sidefor some
minuteseach immersed in his own meditations! The morning
was wearing away; he grew desperate.

'Snodgrass' he saidstopping suddenly'do not let me be
balked in this matter--do not give information to the local
authorities--do not obtain the assistance of several peace
officersto take either me or Doctor Slammerof the 97th
Regimentat present quartered in Chatham Barracksinto
custodyand thus prevent this duel!--I saydo not.'

Mr. Snodgrass seized his friend's hand warmlyas he
enthusiastically replied'Not for worlds!'

A thrill passed over Mr. Winkle's frame as the conviction that
he had nothing to hope from his friend's fearsand that he was
destined to become an animated targetrushed forcibly upon him.

The state of the case having been formally explained to Mr.
Snodgrassand a case of satisfactory pistolswith the satisfactory
accompaniments of powderballand capshaving been hired
from a manufacturer in Rochesterthe two friends returned to
their inn; Mr. Winkle to ruminate on the approaching struggle
and Mr. Snodgrass to arrange the weapons of warand put them
into proper order for immediate use.

it was a dull and heavy evening when they again sallied forth
on their awkward errand. Mr. Winkle was muffled up in a huge
cloak to escape observationand Mr. Snodgrass bore under his
the instruments of destruction.

'Have you got everything?' said Mr. Winklein an agitated tone.

'Everything' replied Mr. Snodgrass; 'plenty of ammunitionin
case the shots don't take effect. There's a quarter of a pound of
powder in the caseand I have got two newspapers in my pocket
for the loadings.'

These were instances of friendship for which any man might
reasonably feel most grateful. The presumption isthat the
gratitude of Mr. Winkle was too powerful for utteranceas he
said nothingbut continued to walk on--rather slowly.

'We are in excellent time' said Mr. Snodgrassas they climbed
the fence of the first field;'the sun is just going down.' Mr. Winkle
looked up at the declining orb and painfully thought of the
probability of his 'going down' himselfbefore long.

'There's the officer' exclaimed Mr. Winkleafter a few minutes walking.
'Where?' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'There--the gentleman in the blue cloak.' Mr. Snodgrass


looked in the direction indicated by the forefinger of his friend
and observed a figuremuffled upas he had described. The
officer evinced his consciousness of their presence by slightly
beckoning with his hand; and the two friends followed him at a
little distanceas he walked away.


The evening grew more dull every momentand a melancholy
wind sounded through the deserted fieldslike a distant giant
whistling for his house-dog. The sadness of the scene imparted a
sombre tinge to the feelings of Mr. Winkle. He started as they
passed the angle of the trench--it looked like a colossal grave.


The officer turned suddenly from the pathand after climbing a
palingand scaling a hedgeentered a secluded field. Two gentlemen
were waiting in it; one was a littlefat manwith black hair;
and the other--a portly personage in a braided surtout--was
sitting with perfect equanimity on a camp-stool.


'The other partyand a surgeonI suppose' said Mr. Snodgrass;
'take a drop of brandy.' Mr. Winkle seized the wicker
bottle which his friend profferedand took a lengthened pull at
the exhilarating liquid.


'My friendSirMr. Snodgrass' said Mr. Winkleas the officer
approached. Doctor Slammer's friend bowedand produced a
case similar to that which Mr. Snodgrass carried.


'We have nothing further to saySirI think' he coldly remarked
as he opened the case; 'an apology has been resolutely declined.'


'NothingSir' said Mr. Snodgrasswho began to feel rather
uncomfortable himself.


'Will you step forward?' said the officer.


'Certainly' replied Mr. Snodgrass. The ground was measured
and preliminaries arranged.
'You will find these better than your own' said the opposite
secondproducing his pistols. 'You saw me load them. Do you
object to use them?'


'Certainly not' replied Mr. Snodgrass. The offer relieved him
from considerable embarrassmentfor his previous notions of
loading a pistol were rather vague and undefined.


'We may place our menthenI think' observed the officer
with as much indifference as if the principals were chess-menand
the seconds players.


'I think we may' replied Mr. Snodgrass; who would have
assented to any propositionbecause he knew nothing about the
matter. The officer crossed to Doctor Slammerand Mr. Snodgrass
went up to Mr. Winkle.


'It's all ready' said heoffering the pistol. 'Give me your cloak.'


'You have got the packetmy dear fellow' said poor Winkle.
'All right' said Mr. Snodgrass. 'Be steadyand wing him.'


It occurred to Mr. Winkle that this advice was very like that
which bystanders invariably give to the smallest boy in a street
fightnamely'Go inand win'--an admirable thing to recommend
if you only know how to do it. He took off his cloak
howeverin silence--it always took a long time to undo that cloak



--and accepted the pistol. The seconds retiredthe gentleman on
the camp-stool did the sameand the belligerents approached
each other.

Mr. Winkle was always remarkable for extreme humanity. It is
conjectured that his unwillingness to hurt a fellow-creature
intentionally was the cause of his shutting his eyes when he
arrived at the fatal spot; and that the circumstance of his eyes
being closedprevented his observing the very extraordinary and
unaccountable demeanour of Doctor Slammer. That gentleman
startedstaredretreatedrubbed his eyesstared againand
finallyshouted'Stopstop!'

'What's all this?' said Doctor Slammeras his friend and Mr.
Snodgrass came running up; 'that's not the man.'

'Not the man!' said Doctor Slammer's second.

'Not the man!' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'Not the man!' said the gentleman with the camp-stool in his hand.

'Certainly not' replied the little doctor. 'That's not the person
who insulted me last night.'

'Very extraordinary!' exclaimed the officer.

'Very' said the gentleman with the camp-stool. 'The only
question iswhether the gentlemanbeing on the groundmust
not be consideredas a matter of formto be the individual who
insulted our friendDoctor Slammeryesterday eveningwhether
he is really that individual or not;' and having delivered this
suggestionwith a very sage and mysterious airthe man with the
camp-stool took a large pinch of snuffand looked profoundly
roundwith the air of an authority in such matters.

Now Mr. Winkle had opened his eyesand his ears toowhen
he heard his adversary call out for a cessation of hostilities; and
perceiving by what he had afterwards said that there wasbeyond
all questionsome mistake in the matterhe at once foresaw the
increase of reputation he should inevitably acquire by concealing
the real motive of his coming out; he therefore stepped boldly
forwardand said-


'I am not the person. I know it.'

'Thenthat' said the man with the camp-stool'is an affront
to Doctor Slammerand a sufficient reason for proceeding immediately.'

'Pray be quietPayne' said the doctor's second. 'Why did you
not communicate this fact to me this morningSir?'

'To be sure--to be sure' said the man with the camp-stool
indignantly.

'I entreat you to be quietPayne' said the other. 'May I repeat
my questionSir?'

'BecauseSir' replied Mr. Winklewho had had time to
deliberate upon his answer'becauseSiryou described an
intoxicated and ungentlemanly person as wearing a coat which I
have the honournot only to wear but to have invented--the
proposed uniformSirof the Pickwick Club in London. The
honour of that uniform I feel bound to maintainand I therefore


without inquiryaccepted the challenge which you offered me.'

'My dear Sir' said the good-humoured little doctor advancing
with extended hand'I honour your gallantry. Permit me to say
Sirthat I highly admire your conductand extremely regret
having caused you the inconvenience of this meetingto no purpose.'

'I beg you won't mention itSir' said Mr. Winkle.

'I shall feel proud of your acquaintanceSir' said the little doctor.

'It will afford me the greatest pleasure to know yousir' replied
Mr. Winkle. Thereupon the doctor and Mr. Winkle shook
handsand then Mr. Winkle and Lieutenant Tappleton (the
doctor's second)and then Mr. Winkle and the man with the
camp-stoolandfinallyMr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass--the
last-named gentleman in an excess of admiration at the noble
conduct of his heroic friend.

'I think we may adjourn' said Lieutenant Tappleton.

'Certainly' added the doctor.

'Unless' interposed the man with the camp-stool'unless Mr.
Winkle feels himself aggrieved by the challenge; in which caseI
submithe has a right to satisfaction.'

Mr. Winklewith great self-denialexpressed himself quite
satisfied already.
'Or possibly' said the man with the camp-stool'the gentleman's
second may feel himself affronted with some observations
which fell from me at an early period of this meeting; if soI shall
be happy to give him satisfaction immediately.'

Mr. Snodgrass hastily professed himself very much obliged
with the handsome offer of the gentleman who had spoken last
which he was only induced to decline by his entire contentment
with the whole proceedings. The two seconds adjusted the cases
and the whole party left the ground in a much more lively
manner than they had proceeded to it.

'Do you remain long here?' inquired Doctor Slammer of
Mr. Winkleas they walked on most amicably together.

'I think we shall leave here the day after to-morrow' was the reply.

'I trust I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and your friend
at my roomsand of spending a pleasant evening with youafter
this awkward mistake' said the little doctor; 'are you
disengaged this evening?'

'We have some friends here' replied Mr. Winkle'and I should
not like to leave them to-night. Perhaps you and your friend will
join us at the Bull.'

'With great pleasure' said the little doctor; 'will ten o'clock be
too late to look in for half an hour?'

'Oh dearno' said Mr. Winkle. 'I shall be most happy to
introduce you to my friendsMr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman.'

'It will give me great pleasureI am sure' replied Doctor
Slammerlittle suspecting who Mr. Tupman was.


'You will be sure to come?' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'Ohcertainly.'

By this time they had reached the road. Cordial farewells were
exchangedand the party separated. Doctor Slammer and his
friends repaired to the barracksand Mr. Winkleaccompanied by
Mr. Snodgrassreturned to their inn.

CHAPTER III

A NEW ACQUAINTANCE--THE STROLLER'S TALE--A

DISAGREEABLE INTERRUPTIONAND AN UNPLEASANT

ENCOUNTER

Mr. Pickwick had felt some apprehensions in consequence of the
unusual absence of his two friendswhich their mysterious
behaviour during the whole morning had by no means tended to
diminish. It wasthereforewith more than ordinary pleasure
that he rose to greet them when they again entered; and with more
than ordinary interest that he inquired what had occurred to
detain them from his society. In reply to his questions on this
pointMr. Snodgrass was about to offer an historical account of
the circumstances just now detailedwhen he was suddenly checked
by observing that there were presentnot only Mr. Tupman and
their stage-coach companion of the preceding daybut another
stranger of equally singular appearance. It was a careworn-looking
manwhose sallow faceand deeply-sunken eyeswere rendered
still more striking than Nature had made themby the straight
black hair which hung in matted disorder half-way down his face.
His eyes were almost unnaturally bright and piercing; his
cheek-bones were high and prominent; and his jaws were so long and
lankthat an observer would have supposed that he was drawing the
flesh of his face infor a momentby some contraction of the
musclesif his half-opened mouth and immovable expression had not
announced that it was his ordinary appearance. Round his neck he
wore a green shawlwith the large ends straggling over his chest
and making their appearance occasionally beneath the worn
button-holes of his old waistcoat. His upper garment was a long
black surtout; and below it he wore wide drab trousersand large
bootsrunning rapidly to seed.

It was on this uncouth-looking person that Mr. Winkle's eye
restedand it was towards him that Mr. Pickwick extended his
hand when he said'A friend of our friend's here. We discovered
this morning that our friend was connected with the theatre in
this placethough he is not desirous to have it generally known
and this gentleman is a member of the same profession. He was
about to favour us with a little anecdote connected with itwhen
you entered.'

'Lots of anecdote' said the green-coated stranger of the day
beforeadvancing to Mr. Winkle and speaking in a low and
confidential tone. 'Rum fellow--does the heavy business--no
actor--strange man--all sorts of miseries--Dismal Jemmywe
call him on the circuit.' Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass politely
welcomed the gentlemanelegantly designated as 'Dismal
Jemmy'; and calling for brandy-and-waterin imitation of the
remainder of the companyseated themselves at the table.
'Now sir' said Mr. Pickwick'will you oblige us by proceeding
with what you were going to relate?'


The dismal individual took a dirty roll of paper from his
pocketand turning to Mr. Snodgrasswho had just taken out
his note-booksaid in a hollow voiceperfectly in keeping with his
outward man--'Are you the poet?'


'I--I do a little in that way' replied Mr. Snodgrassrather
taken aback by the abruptness of the question.
'Ah! poetry makes life what light and music do the stage--
strip the one of the false embellishmentsand the other of its
illusionsand what is there real in either to live or care for?'


'Very trueSir' replied Mr. Snodgrass.


'To be before the footlights' continued the dismal man'is like
sitting at a grand court showand admiring the silken dresses of
the gaudy throng; to be behind them is to be the people who
make that fineryuncared for and unknownand left to sink or
swimto starve or liveas fortune wills it.'


'Certainly' said Mr. Snodgrass: for the sunken eye of the
dismal man rested on himand he felt it necessary to say something.


'Go onJemmy' said the Spanish traveller'like black-eyed
Susan--all in the Downs--no croaking--speak out--look lively.'
'Will you make another glass before you beginSir ?' said Mr. Pickwick.


The dismal man took the hintand having mixed a glass of
brandy-and-waterand slowly swallowed half of itopened the
roll of paper and proceededpartly to readand partly to relate
the following incidentwhich we find recorded on the Transactions
of the Club as 'The Stroller's Tale.'


THE STROLLER'S TALE

'There is nothing of the marvellous in what I am going to relate'
said the dismal man; 'there is nothing even uncommon in it.
Want and sickness are too common in many stations of life to
deserve more notice than is usually bestowed on the most
ordinary vicissitudes of human nature. I have thrown these few
notes togetherbecause the subject of them was well known to me
for many years. I traced his progress downwardsstep by step
until at last he reached that excess of destitution from which he
never rose again.

'The man of whom I speak was a low pantomime actor; and
like many people of his classan habitual drunkard. in his better
daysbefore he had become enfeebled by dissipation and
emaciated by diseasehe had been in the receipt of a good salary
whichif he had been careful and prudenthe might have continued
to receive for some years--not many; because these men
either die earlyor by unnaturally taxing their bodily energies
loseprematurelythose physical powers on which alone they can
depend for subsistence. His besetting sin gained so fast upon him
howeverthat it was found impossible to employ him in the
situations in which he really was useful to the theatre. The
public-house had a fascination for him which he could not resist.
Neglected disease and hopeless poverty were as certain to be his
portion as death itselfif he persevered in the same course; yet he
did persevereand the result may be guessed. He could obtain no
engagementand he wanted bread.
'Everybody who is at all acquainted with theatrical matters
knows what a host of shabbypoverty-stricken men hang about
the stage of a large establishment--not regularly engaged actors


but ballet peopleprocession mentumblersand so forthwho
are taken on during the run of a pantomimeor an Easter piece
and are then dischargeduntil the production of some heavy
spectacle occasions a new demand for their services. To this
mode of life the man was compelled to resort; and taking the
chair every nightat some low theatrical houseat once put him
in possession of a few more shillings weeklyand enabled him to
gratify his old propensity. Even this resource shortly failed him;
his irregularities were too great to admit of his earning the
wretched pittance he might thus have procuredand he was
actually reduced to a state bordering on starvationonly procuring
a trifle occasionally by borrowing it of some old companion
or by obtaining an appearance at one or other of the commonest
of the minor theatres; and when he did earn anything it was
spent in the old way.

'About this timeand when he had been existing for upwards
of a year no one knew howI had a short engagement at one of
the theatres on the Surrey side of the waterand here I saw this
manwhom I had lost sight of for some time; for I had been
travelling in the provincesand he had been skulking in the lanes
and alleys of London. I was dressed to leave the houseand was
crossing the stage on my way outwhen he tapped me on the
shoulder. Never shall I forget the repulsive sight that met my eye
when I turned round. He was dressed for the pantomimes in all
the absurdity of a clown's costume. The spectral figures in the
Dance of Deaththe most frightful shapes that the ablest painter
ever portrayed on canvasnever presented an appearance half so
ghastly. His bloated body and shrunken legs--their deformity
enhanced a hundredfold by the fantastic dress--the glassy eyes
contrasting fearfully with the thick white paint with which the
face was besmeared; the grotesquely-ornamented headtrembling
with paralysisand the long skinny handsrubbed with white
chalk--all gave him a hideous and unnatural appearanceof
which no description could convey an adequate ideaand which
to this dayI shudder to think of. His voice was hollow and
tremulous as he took me asideand in broken words recounted a
long catalogue of sickness and privationsterminating as usual
with an urgent request for the loan of a trifling sum of money. I
put a few shillings in his handand as I turned away I heard the
roar of laughter which followed his first tumble on the stage.
'A few nights afterwardsa boy put a dirty scrap of paper in
my handon which were scrawled a few words in pencil
intimating that the man was dangerously illand begging meafter
the performanceto see him at his lodgings in some street--I
forget the name of it now--at no great distance from the theatre.
I promised to complyas soon as I could get away; and after the
curtain fellsallied forth on my melancholy errand.

'It was latefor I had been playing in the last piece; andas it
was a benefit nightthe performances had been protracted to an
unusual length. It was a darkcold nightwith a chilldamp wind
which blew the rain heavily against the windows and housefronts.
Pools of water had collected in the narrow and littlefrequented
streetsand as many of the thinly-scattered oil-lamps
had been blown out by the violence of the windthe walk was not
only a comfortlessbut most uncertain one. I had fortunately
taken the right coursehoweverand succeededafter a little
difficultyin finding the house to which I had been directed--a
coal-shedwith one Storey above itin the back room of which
lay the object of my search.

'A wretched-looking womanthe man's wifemet me on the
stairsandtelling me that he had just fallen into a kind of doze


led me softly inand placed a chair for me at the bedside. The sick
man was lying with his face turned towards the wall; and as he
took no heed of my presenceI had leisure to observe the place in
which I found myself.

'He was lying on an old bedsteadwhich turned up during the
day. The tattered remains of a checked curtain were drawn round
the bed's headto exclude the windwhichhowevermade its
way into the comfortless room through the numerous chinks in
the doorand blew it to and fro every instant. There was a low
cinder fire in a rustyunfixed grate; and an old three-cornered
stained tablewith some medicine bottlesa broken glassand a
few other domestic articleswas drawn out before it. A little child
was sleeping on a temporary bed which had been made for it on
the floorand the woman sat on a chair by its side. There were
a couple of shelveswith a few plates and cups and saucers; and
a pair of stage shoes and a couple of foils hung beneath them.
With the exception of little heaps of rags and bundles which had
been carelessly thrown into the corners of the roomthese were
the only things in the apartment.

'I had had time to note these little particularsand to mark the
heavy breathing and feverish startings of the sick manbefore he
was aware of my presence. In the restless attempts to procure
some easy resting-place for his headhe tossed his hand out of the
bedand it fell on mine. He started upand stared eagerly in my face.

'"Mr. HutleyJohn said his wife; Mr. Hutleythat you sent
for to-nightyou know."

'"Ah!" said the invalidpassing his hand across his forehead;
Hutley--Hutley--let me see.He seemed endeavouring to
collect his thoughts for a few secondsand then grasping me
tightly by the wrist saidDon't leave me--don't leave me, old
fellow. She'll murder me; I know she will.

'"Has he been long so?" said Iaddressing his weeping wife.

'"Since yesterday night she replied. JohnJohndon't you
know me?"
'"Don't let her come near me said the man, with a shudder,
as she stooped over him. Drive her away; I can't bear her near
me." He stared wildly at herwith a look of deadly apprehension
and then whispered in my earI beat her, Jem; I beat her
yesterday, and many times before. I have starved her and the boy
too; and now I am weak and helpless, Jem, she'll murder me for
it; I know she will. If you'd seen her cry, as I have, you'd know it
too. Keep her off.He relaxed his graspand sank back exhausted
on the pillow.
'I knew but too well what all this meant. If I could have
entertained any doubt of itfor an instantone glance at the
woman's pale face and wasted form would have sufficiently
explained the real state of the case. "You had better stand aside
said I to the poor creature. You can do him no good. Perhaps he
will be calmerif he does not see you." She retired out of the
man's sight. He opened his eyes after a few secondsand looked
anxiously round.

'"Is she gone?" he eagerly inquired.

'"Yes--yes said I; she shall not hurt you."

'"I'll tell you whatJem said the man, in a low voice, she
does hurt me. There's something in her eyes wakes such a dreadful


fear in my heartthat it drives me mad. All last nighther large
staring eyes and pale face were close to mine; wherever I turned
they turned; and whenever I started up from my sleepshe was at
the bedside looking at me." He drew me closer to himas he said
in a deep alarmed whisperJem, she must be an evil spirit--a
devil! Hush! I know she is. If she had been a woman she would
have died long ago. No woman could have borne what she has.

'I sickened at the thought of the long course of cruelty and
neglect which must have occurred to produce such an impression
on such a man. I could say nothing in reply; for who could offer
hopeor consolationto the abject being before me?

'I sat there for upwards of two hoursduring which time he
tossed aboutmurmuring exclamations of pain or impatience
restlessly throwing his arms here and thereand turning
constantly from side to side. At length he fell into that state of partial
unconsciousnessin which the mind wanders uneasily from scene
to sceneand from place to placewithout the control of reason
but still without being able to divest itself of an indescribable
sense of present suffering. Finding from his incoherent wanderings
that this was the caseand knowing that in all probability the
fever would not grow immediately worseI left himpromising
his miserable wife that I would repeat my visit next eveningand
if necessarysit up with the patient during the night.

'I kept my promise. The last four-and-twenty hours had
produced a frightful alteration. The eyesthough deeply sunk
and heavyshone with a lustre frightful to behold. The lips were
parchedand cracked in many places; the harddry skin glowed
with a burning heat; and there was an almost unearthly air of
wild anxiety in the man's faceindicating even more strongly the
ravages of the disease. The fever was at its height.

'I took the seat I had occupied the night beforeand there I sat
for hourslistening to sounds which must strike deep to the heart
of the most callous among human beings--the awful ravings of a
dying man. From what I had heard of the medical attendant's
opinionI knew there was no hope for him: I was sitting by his
death-bed. I saw the wasted limbs--which a few hours before
had been distorted for the amusement of a boisterous gallery
writhing under the tortures of a burning fever--I heard the
clown's shrill laughblending with the low murmurings of the
dying man.

'It is a touching thing to hear the mind reverting to the
ordinary occupations and pursuits of healthwhen the body lies
before you weak and helpless; but when those occupations are of
a character the most strongly opposed to anything we associate
with grave and solemn ideasthe impression produced is
infinitely more powerful. The theatre and the public-house were the
chief themes of the wretched man's wanderings. It was evening
he fancied; he had a part to play that night; it was lateand he
must leave home instantly. Why did they hold himand prevent
his going?--he should lose the money--he must go. No! they
would not let him. He hid his face in his burning handsand
feebly bemoaned his own weaknessand the cruelty of his
persecutors. A short pauseand he shouted out a few doggerel
rhymes--the last he had ever learned. He rose in beddrew up
his withered limbsand rolled about in uncouth positions; he was
acting--he was at the theatre. A minute's silenceand he murmured
the burden of some roaring song. He had reached the old
house at last--how hot the room was. He had been illvery ill
but he was well nowand happy. Fill up his glass. Who was that


that dashed it from his lips? It was the same persecutor that had
followed him before. He fell back upon his pillow and moaned
aloud. A short period of oblivionand he was wandering through
a tedious maze of low-arched rooms--so lowsometimesthat he
must creep upon his hands and knees to make his way along; it
was close and darkand every way he turnedsome obstacle
impeded his progress. There were insectstoohideous crawling
thingswith eyes that stared upon himand filled the very air
aroundglistening horribly amidst the thick darkness of the place.
The walls and ceiling were alive with reptiles--the vault expanded
to an enormous size--frightful figures flitted to and fro--and the
faces of men he knewrendered hideous by gibing and mouthing
peered out from among them; they were searing him with
heated ironsand binding his head with cords till the blood
started; and he struggled madly for life.

'At the close of one of these paroxysmswhen I had with great
difficulty held him down in his bedhe sank into what appeared
to be a slumber. Overpowered with watching and exertionI had
closed my eyes for a few minuteswhen I felt a violent clutch on
my shoulder. I awoke instantly. He had raised himself upso as to
seat himself in bed--a dreadful change had come over his face
but consciousness had returnedfor he evidently knew me. The
childwho had been long since disturbed by his ravingsrose
from its little bedand ran towards its fatherscreaming with
fright--the mother hastily caught it in her armslest he should
injure it in the violence of his insanity; butterrified by the
alteration of his featuresstood transfixed by the bedside. He
grasped my shoulder convulsivelyandstriking his breast with
the other handmade a desperate attempt to articulate. It was
unavailing; he extended his arm towards themand made another
violent effort. There was a rattling noise in the throat--a glare of
the eye--a short stifled groan--and he fell back--dead!'

It would afford us the highest gratification to be enabled to
record Mr. Pickwick's opinion of the foregoing anecdote. We
have little doubt that we should have been enabled to present it
to our readersbut for a most unfortunate occurrence.

Mr. Pickwick had replaced on the table the glass whichduring
the last few sentences of the talehe had retained in his hand;
and had just made up his mind to speak--indeedwe have the
authority of Mr. Snodgrass's note-book for statingthat he had
actually opened his mouth--when the waiter entered the room
and said-


'Some gentlemenSir.'

It has been conjectured that Mr. Pickwick was on the point of
delivering some remarks which would have enlightened the
worldif not the Thameswhen he was thus interrupted; for he
gazed sternly on the waiter's countenanceand then looked round
on the company generallyas if seeking for information relative
to the new-comers.

'Oh!' said Mr. Winklerising'some friends of mine--show
them in. Very pleasant fellows' added Mr. Winkleafter the
waiter had retired--'officers of the 97thwhose acquaintance I
made rather oddly this morning. You will like them very much.'

Mr. Pickwick's equanimity was at once restored. The waiter
returnedand ushered three gentlemen into the room.


'Lieutenant Tappleton' said Mr. Winkle'Lieutenant Tappleton
Mr. Pickwick--Doctor PayneMr. Pickwick--Mr. Snodgrass
you have seen beforemy friend Mr. TupmanDoctor
Payne--Doctor SlammerMr. Pickwick--Mr. TupmanDoctor
Slam--'

Here Mr. Winkle suddenly paused; for strong emotion was
visible on the countenance both of Mr. Tupman and the doctor.

'I have met THIS gentleman before' said the Doctorwith
marked emphasis.

'Indeed!' said Mr. Winkle.

'And--and that persontooif I am not mistaken' said the
doctorbestowing a scrutinising glance on the green-coated
stranger. 'I think I gave that person a very pressing invitation last
nightwhich he thought proper to decline.' Saying which the
doctor scowled magnanimously on the strangerand whispered
his friend Lieutenant Tappleton.

'You don't say so' said that gentlemanat the conclusion of
the whisper.

'I doindeed' replied Doctor Slammer.

'You are bound to kick him on the spot' murmured the
owner of the camp-stoolwith great importance.

'Do be quietPayne' interposed the lieutenant. 'Will you
allow me to ask yousir' he saidaddressing Mr. Pickwickwho
was considerably mystified by this very unpolite by-play--'will
you allow me to ask youSirwhether that person belongs to your party?'

'NoSir' replied Mr. Pickwick'he is a guest of ours.'

'He is a member of your clubor I am mistaken?' said the
lieutenant inquiringly.

'Certainly not' responded Mr. Pickwick.

'And never wears your club-button?' said the lieutenant.

'No--never!' replied the astonished Mr. Pickwick.

Lieutenant Tappleton turned round to his friend Doctor
Slammerwith a scarcely perceptible shrug of the shoulderas if
implying some doubt of the accuracy of his recollection. The little
doctor looked wrathfulbut confounded; and Mr. Payne gazed
with a ferocious aspect on the beaming countenance of the
unconscious Pickwick.

'Sir' said the doctorsuddenly addressing Mr. Tupmanin a
tone which made that gentleman start as perceptibly as if a pin
had been cunningly inserted in the calf of his leg'you were at the
ball here last night!'

Mr. Tupman gasped a faint affirmativelooking very hard at
Mr. Pickwick all the while.

'That person was your companion' said the doctorpointing
to the still unmoved stranger.

Mr. Tupman admitted the fact.


'Nowsir' said the doctor to the stranger'I ask you once
againin the presence of these gentlemenwhether you choose to
give me your cardand to receive the treatment of a gentleman;
or whether you impose upon me the necessity of personally
chastising you on the spot?'

'Staysir' said Mr. Pickwick'I really cannot allow this matter
to go any further without some explanation. Tupmanrecount the
circumstances.'

Mr. Tupmanthus solemnly adjuredstated the case in a few
words; touched slightly on the borrowing of the coat; expatiated
largely on its having been done 'after dinner'; wound up with a
little penitence on his own account; and left the stranger to clear
himself as best he could.

He was apparently about to proceed to do sowhen Lieutenant
Tappletonwho had been eyeing him with great curiositysaid
with considerable scorn'Haven't I seen you at the theatreSir?'

'Certainly' replied the unabashed stranger.

'He is a strolling actor!' said the lieutenant contemptuously
turning to Doctor Slammer.--'He acts in the piece that the
officers of the 52nd get up at the Rochester Theatre to-morrow
night. You cannot proceed in this affairSlammer--impossible!'

'Quite!' said the dignified Payne.

'Sorry to have placed you in this disagreeable situation' said
Lieutenant Tappletonaddressing Mr. Pickwick; 'allow me to
suggestthat the best way of avoiding a recurrence of such scenes
in future will be to be more select in the choice of your companions.
Good-eveningSir!' and the lieutenant bounced out of the room.

'And allow me to saySir' said the irascible Doctor Payne
'that if I had been Tappletonor if I had been SlammerI would
have pulled your noseSirand the nose of every man in this
company. I wouldsir--every man. Payne is my namesir--
Doctor Payne of the 43rd. Good-eveningSir.' Having concluded
this speechand uttered the last three words in a loud keyhe
stalked majestically after his friendclosely followed by Doctor
Slammerwho said nothingbut contented himself by withering
the company with a look.
Rising rage and extreme bewilderment had swelled the noble
breast of Mr. Pickwickalmost to the bursting of his waistcoat
during the delivery of the above defiance. He stood transfixed to
the spotgazing on vacancy. The closing of the door recalled him
to himself. He rushed forward with fury in his looksand fire in
his eye. His hand was upon the lock of the door; in another
instant it would have been on the throat of Doctor Payne of the
43rdhad not Mr. Snodgrass seized his revered leader by the coat
tailand dragged him backwards.

'Restrain him' cried Mr. Snodgrass; 'WinkleTupman--he
must not peril his distinguished life in such a cause as this.'

'Let me go' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Hold him tight' shouted Mr. Snodgrass; and by the united
efforts of the whole companyMr. Pickwick was forced into an arm-chair.
'Leave him alone' said the green-coated stranger; 'brandyand-
water--jolly old gentleman--lots of pluck--swallow this-



ah!--capital stuff.' Having previously tested the virtues of a
bumperwhich had been mixed by the dismal manthe stranger
applied the glass to Mr. Pickwick's mouth; and the remainder of
its contents rapidly disappeared.

There was a short pause; the brandy-and-water had done its
work; the amiable countenance of Mr. Pickwick was fast
recovering its customary expression.

'They are not worth your notice' said the dismal man.

'You are rightsir' replied Mr. Pickwick'they are not. I am
ashamed to have been betrayed into this warmth of feeling. Draw
your chair up to the tableSir.'

The dismal man readily complied; a circle was again formed
round the tableand harmony once more prevailed. Some
lingering irritability appeared to find a resting-place in Mr.
Winkle's bosomoccasioned possibly by the temporary abstraction
of his coat--though it is scarcely reasonable to suppose that
so slight a circumstance can have excited even a passing feeling of
anger in a Pickwickian's breast. With this exceptiontheir goodhumour
was completely restored; and the evening concluded
with the conviviality with which it had begun.

CHAPTER IV
A FIELD DAY AND BIVOUAC--MORE NEW FRIENDS--AN

INVITATION TO THE COUNTRY

Many authors entertainnot only a foolishbut a really dishonest
objection to acknowledge the sources whence they derive much
valuable information. We have no such feeling. We are merely
endeavouring to dischargein an upright mannerthe responsible
duties of our editorial functions; and whatever ambition we might
have felt under other circumstances to lay claim to the authorship
of these adventuresa regard for truth forbids us to do more
than claim the merit of their judicious arrangement and impartial
narration. The Pickwick papers are our New River Head; and we may
be compared to the New River Company. The labours of others have
raised for us an immense reservoir of important facts. We merely
lay them onand communicate themin a clear and gentle stream
through the medium of these pagesto a world thirsting for
Pickwickian knowledge.

Acting in this spiritand resolutely proceeding on our
determination to avow our obligations to the authorities we have
consultedwe frankly saythat to the note-book of Mr. Snodgrass
are we indebted for the particulars recorded in this and the
succeeding chapter--particulars whichnow that we have disburdened
our conscienceswe shall proceed to detail without further comment.

The whole population of Rochester and the adjoining towns
rose from their beds at an early hour of the following morning
in a state of the utmost bustle and excitement. A grand
review was to take place upon the lines. The manoeuvres of half
a dozen regiments were to be inspected by the eagle eye of
the commander-in-chief; temporary fortifications had been
erectedthe citadel was to be attacked and takenand a mine was
to be sprung.

Mr. Pickwick wasas our readers may have gathered from the


slight extract we gave from his description of Chathaman
enthusiastic admirer of the army. Nothing could have been more
delightful to him--nothing could have harmonised so well with
the peculiar feeling of each of his companions--as this sight.
Accordingly they were soon afootand walking in the direction
of the scene of actiontowards which crowds of people were
already pouring from a variety of quarters.

The appearance of everything on the lines denoted that the
approaching ceremony was one of the utmost grandeur and
importance. There were sentries posted to keep the ground for
the troopsand servants on the batteries keeping places for the
ladiesand sergeants running to and frowith vellum-covered
books under their armsand Colonel Bulderin full military
uniformon horsebackgalloping first to one place and then to
anotherand backing his horse among the peopleand prancing
and curvettingand shouting in a most alarming mannerand
making himself very hoarse in the voiceand very red in the face
without any assignable cause or reason whatever. Officers were
running backwards and forwardsfirst communicating with
Colonel Bulderand then ordering the sergeantsand then
running away altogether; and even the very privates themselves
looked from behind their glazed stocks with an air of mysterious
solemnitywhich sufficiently bespoke the special nature of the occasion.

Mr. Pickwick and his three companions stationed themselves
in the front of the crowdand patiently awaited the commencement
of the proceedings. The throng was increasing every
moment; and the efforts they were compelled to maketo retain
the position they had gainedsufficiently occupied their attention
during the two hours that ensued. At one time there was a sudden
pressure from behindand then Mr. Pickwick was jerked forward
for several yardswith a degree of speed and elasticity highly
inconsistent with the general gravity of his demeanour; at
another moment there was a request to 'keep back' from the
frontand then the butt-end of a musket was either dropped
upon Mr. Pickwick's toeto remind him of the demandor
thrust into his chestto insure its being complied with. Then some
facetious gentlemen on the leftafter pressing sideways in a body
and squeezing Mr. Snodgrass into the very last extreme of human
torturewould request to know 'vere he vos a shovin' to'; and
when Mr. Winkle had done expressing his excessive indignation
at witnessing this unprovoked assaultsome person behind
would knock his hat over his eyesand beg the favour of his
putting his head in his pocket. Theseand other practical
witticismscoupled with the unaccountable absence of Mr.
Tupman (who had suddenly disappearedand was nowhere to be
found)rendered their situation upon the whole rather more
uncomfortable than pleasing or desirable.

At length that low roar of many voices ran through the crowd
which usually announces the arrival of whatever they have been
waiting for. All eyes were turned in the direction of the sally-port.
A few moments of eager expectationand colours were seen
fluttering gaily in the airarms glistened brightly in the sun
column after column poured on to the plain. The troops halted
and formed; the word of command rang through the line; there
was a general clash of muskets as arms were presented; and the
commander-in-chiefattended by Colonel Bulder and numerous
officerscantered to the front. The military bands struck up
altogether; the horses stood upon two legs eachcantered backwards
and whisked their tails about in all directions; the dogs
barkedthe mob screamedthe troops recoveredand nothing
was to be seen on either sideas far as the eye could reachbut a


long perspective of red coats and white trousersfixed and motionless.

Mr. Pickwick had been so fully occupied in falling aboutand
disentangling himselfmiraculouslyfrom between the legs of
horsesthat he had not enjoyed sufficient leisure to observe the
scene before himuntil it assumed the appearance we have just
described. When he was at last enabled to stand firmly on his legs
his gratification and delight were unbounded.

'Can anything be finer or more delightful?' he inquired of
Mr. Winkle.

'Nothing' replied that gentlemanwho had had a short man
standing on each of his feet for the quarter of an hour
immediately preceding.
'It is indeed a noble and a brilliant sight' said Mr. Snodgrass
in whose bosom a blaze of poetry was rapidly bursting forth'to
see the gallant defenders of their country drawn up in brilliant
array before its peaceful citizens; their faces beaming--not with
warlike ferocitybut with civilised gentleness; their eyes flashing
--not with the rude fire of rapine or revengebut with the soft
light of humanity and intelligence.'

Mr. Pickwick fully entered into the spirit of this eulogiumbut
he could not exactly re-echo its terms; for the soft light of
intelligence burned rather feebly in the eyes of the warriors
inasmuch as the command 'eyes front' had been givenand all
the spectator saw before him was several thousand pair of optics
staring straight forwardwholly divested of any expression whatever.

'We are in a capital situation now' said Mr. Pickwicklooking
round him. The crowd had gradually dispersed in their
immediate vicinityand they were nearly alone.

'Capital!' echoed both Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle.

'What are they doing now?' inquired Mr. Pickwickadjusting
his spectacles.

'I--I--rather think' said Mr. Winklechanging colour--'I
rather think they're going to fire.'

'Nonsense' said Mr. Pickwick hastily.

'I--I--really think they are' urged Mr. Snodgrasssomewhat
alarmed.

'Impossible' replied Mr. Pickwick. He had hardly uttered the
wordwhen the whole half-dozen regiments levelled their muskets
as if they had but one common objectand that object the
Pickwickiansand burst forth with the most awful and tremendous
discharge that ever shook the earth to its centresor an
elderly gentleman off his.

It was in this trying situationexposed to a galling fire of blank
cartridgesand harassed by the operations of the militarya fresh
body of whom had begun to fall in on the opposite sidethat
Mr. Pickwick displayed that perfect coolness and self-possession
which are the indispensable accompaniments of a great mind. He
seized Mr. Winkle by the armand placing himself between that
gentleman and Mr. Snodgrassearnestly besought them to
remember that beyond the possibility of being rendered deaf by
the noisethere was no immediate danger to be apprehended
from the firing.


'But--but--suppose some of the men should happen to have
ball cartridges by mistake' remonstrated Mr. Winklepallid at
the supposition he was himself conjuring up. 'I heard something
whistle through the air now--so sharp; close to my ear.'
'We had better throw ourselves on our faceshadn't we?' said
Mr. Snodgrass.

'Nono--it's over now' said Mr. Pickwick. His lip might
quiverand his cheek might blanchbut no expression of fear or
concern escaped the lips of that immortal man.

Mr. Pickwick was right--the firing ceased; but he had scarcely
time to congratulate himself on the accuracy of his opinionwhen
a quick movement was visible in the line; the hoarse shout of the
word of command ran along itand before either of the party
could form a guess at the meaning of this new manoeuvrethe
whole of the half-dozen regimentswith fixed bayonetscharged
at double-quick time down upon the very spot on which Mr.
Pickwick and his friends were stationed.
Man is but mortal; and there is a point beyond which human
courage cannot extend. Mr. Pickwick gazed through his spectacles
for an instant on the advancing massand then fairly turned his
back and--we will not say fled; firstlybecause it is an ignoble
termandsecondlybecause Mr. Pickwick's figure was by no
means adapted for that mode of retreat--he trotted awayat as
quick a rate as his legs would convey him; so quicklyindeed
that he did not perceive the awkwardness of his situationto the
full extentuntil too late.

The opposite troopswhose falling-in had perplexed Mr.
Pickwick a few seconds beforewere drawn up to repel the mimic
attack of the sham besiegers of the citadel; and the consequence
was that Mr. Pickwick and his two companions found themselves
suddenly inclosed between two lines of great lengththe one
advancing at a rapid paceand the other firmly waiting the
collision in hostile array.

'Hoi!' shouted the officers of the advancing line.

'Get out of the way!' cried the officers of the stationary one.

'Where are we to go to?' screamed the agitated Pickwickians.

'Hoi--hoi--hoi!' was the only reply. There was a moment of
intense bewildermenta heavy tramp of footstepsa violent
concussiona smothered laugh; the half-dozen regiments were
half a thousand yards offand the soles of Mr. Pickwick's boots
were elevated in air.

Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle had each performed a
compulsory somerset with remarkable agilitywhen the first object
that met the eyes of the latter as he sat on the groundstaunching
with a yellow silk handkerchief the stream of life which issued
from his nosewas his venerated leader at some distance off
running after his own hatwhich was gambolling playfully away
in perspective.

There are very few moments in a man's existence when he
experiences so much ludicrous distressor meets with so little
charitable commiserationas when he is in pursuit of his own hat.
A vast deal of coolnessand a peculiar degree of judgmentare
requisite in catching a hat. A man must not be precipitateor he
runs over it; he must not rush into the opposite extremeor he


loses it altogether. The best way is to keep gently up with the
object of pursuitto be wary and cautiousto watch your opportunity
wellget gradually before itthen make a rapid diveseize it
by the crownand stick it firmly on your head; smiling pleasantly
all the timeas if you thought it as good a joke as anybody else.

There was a fine gentle windand Mr. Pickwick's hat rolled
sportively before it. The wind puffedand Mr. Pickwick puffed
and the hat rolled over and over as merrily as a lively porpoise
in a strong tide: and on it might have rolledfar beyond
Mr. Pickwick's reachhad not its course been providentially
stoppedjust as that gentleman was on the point of resigning it
to its fate.

Mr. Pickwickwe saywas completely exhaustedand about to
give up the chasewhen the hat was blown with some violence
against the wheel of a carriagewhich was drawn up in a line with
half a dozen other vehicles on the spot to which his steps had been
directed. Mr. Pickwickperceiving his advantagedarted briskly
forwardsecured his propertyplanted it on his headand paused
to take breath. He had not been stationary half a minutewhen
he heard his own name eagerly pronounced by a voicewhich he
at once recognised as Mr. Tupman'sandlooking upwardshe
beheld a sight which filled him with surprise and pleasure.

in an open barouchethe horses of which had been taken out
the better to accommodate it to the crowded placestood a stout
old gentlemanin a blue coat and bright buttonscorduroy
breeches and top-bootstwo young ladies in scarfs and feathersa
young gentleman apparently enamoured of one of the young
ladies in scarfs and feathersa lady of doubtful ageprobably the
aunt of the aforesaidand Mr. Tupmanas easy and unconcerned
as if he had belonged to the family from the first moments of his
infancy. Fastened up behind the barouche was a hamper of
spacious dimensions--one of those hampers which always
awakens in a contemplative mind associations connected with
cold fowlstonguesand bottles of wine--and on the box sat a
fat and red-faced boyin a state of somnolencywhom no
speculative observer could have regarded for an instant without
setting down as the official dispenser of the contents of the
before-mentioned hamperwhen the proper time for their
consumption should arrive.

Mr. Pickwick had bestowed a hasty glance on these interesting
objectswhen he was again greeted by his faithful disciple.

'Pickwick--Pickwick' said Mr. Tupman; 'come up here. Make haste.'

'Come alongSir. Praycome up' said the stout gentleman.
'Joe!--damn that boyhe's gone to sleep again.--Joelet down
the steps.' The fat boy rolled slowly off the boxlet down the
stepsand held the carriage door invitingly open. Mr. Snodgrass
and Mr. Winkle came up at the moment.

'Room for you allgentlemen' said the stout man. 'Two inside
and one out. Joemake room for one of these gentlemen on the
box. NowSircome along;' and the stout gentleman extended
his armand pulled first Mr. Pickwickand then Mr. Snodgrass
into the barouche by main force. Mr. Winkle mounted to the
boxthe fat boy waddled to the same perchand fell fast asleep
instantly.

'Wellgentlemen' said the stout man'very glad to see you.
Know you very wellgentlementhough you mayn't remember


me. I spent some ev'nin's at your club last winter--picked up my
friend Mr. Tupman here this morningand very glad I was to see
him. WellSirand how are you? You do look uncommon well
to be sure.'

Mr. Pickwick acknowledged the complimentand cordially
shook hands with the stout gentleman in the top-boots.

'Welland how are yousir?' said the stout gentleman
addressing Mr. Snodgrass with paternal anxiety. 'Charmingeh?
Wellthat's right--that's right. And how are yousir (to Mr.
Winkle)? WellI am glad to hear you say you are well; very glad
I amto be sure. My daughtersgentlemen--my gals these are;
and that's my sisterMiss Rachael Wardle. She's a Missshe is;
and yet she ain't a Miss--ehSireh?' And the stout gentleman
playfully inserted his elbow between the ribs of Mr. Pickwickand
laughed very heartily.

'Lorbrother!' said Miss Wardlewith a deprecating smile.

'Truetrue' said the stout gentleman; 'no one can deny it.
GentlemenI beg your pardon; this is my friend Mr. Trundle.
And now you all know each otherlet's be comfortable and
happyand see what's going forward; that's what I say.' So the
stout gentleman put on his spectaclesand Mr. Pickwick pulled
out his glassand everybody stood up in the carriageand looked
over somebody else's shoulder at the evolutions of the military.

Astounding evolutions they wereone rank firing over the
heads of another rankand then running away; and then the
other rank firing over the heads of another rankand running
away in their turn; and then forming squareswith officers in the
centre; and then descending the trench on one side with scalingladders
and ascending it on the other again by the same means;
and knocking down barricades of basketsand behaving in the
most gallant manner possible. Then there was such a ramming
down of the contents of enormous guns on the batterywith
instruments like magnified mops; such a preparation before they
were let offand such an awful noise when they did gothat the
air resounded with the screams of ladies. The young Misses
Wardle were so frightenedthat Mr. Trundle was actually obliged
to hold one of them up in the carriagewhile Mr. Snodgrass
supported the other; and Mr. Wardle's sister suffered under such
a dreadful state of nervous alarmthat Mr. Tupman found it
indispensably necessary to put his arm round her waistto keep
her up at all. Everybody was excitedexcept the fat boyand he
slept as soundly as if the roaring of cannon were his ordinary lullaby.

'JoeJoe!' said the stout gentlemanwhen the citadel was
takenand the besiegers and besieged sat down to dinner. 'Damn
that boyhe's gone to sleep again. Be good enough to pinch him
sir--in the legif you please; nothing else wakes him--thank you.
Undo the hamperJoe.'

The fat boywho had been effectually roused by the
compression of a portion of his leg between the finger and thumb of
Mr. Winklerolled off the box once againand proceeded to
unpack the hamper with more expedition than could have been
expected from his previous inactivity.

'Now we must sit close' said the stout gentleman. After a
great many jokes about squeezing the ladies' sleevesand a vast
quantity of blushing at sundry jocose proposalsthat the ladies
should sit in the gentlemen's lapsthe whole party were stowed


down in the barouche; and the stout gentleman proceeded to
hand the things from the fat boy (who had mounted up behind
for the purpose) into the carriage.


'NowJoeknives and forks.' The knives and forks were
handed inand the ladies and gentlemen insideand Mr. Winkle
on the boxwere each furnished with those useful instruments.


'PlatesJoeplates.' A similar process employed in the
distribution of the crockery.


'NowJoethe fowls. Damn that boy; he's gone to sleep again.
Joe! Joe!' (Sundry taps on the head with a stickand the fat boy
with some difficultyroused from his lethargy.) 'Comehand in
the eatables.'


There was something in the sound of the last word which
roused the unctuous boy. He jumped upand the leaden eyes
which twinkled behind his mountainous cheeks leered horribly
upon the food as he unpacked it from the basket.


'Now make haste' said Mr. Wardle; for the fat boy was
hanging fondly over a caponwhich he seemed wholly unable to
part with. The boy sighed deeplyandbestowing an ardent gaze
upon its plumpnessunwillingly consigned it to his master.


'That's right--look sharp. Now the tongue--now the pigeon
pie. Take care of that veal and ham--mind the lobsters--take the
salad out of the cloth--give me the dressing.' Such were the
hurried orders which issued from the lips of Mr. Wardleas he
handed in the different articles describedand placed dishes in
everybody's handsand on everybody's kneesin endless number.
'Now ain't this capital?' inquired that jolly personagewhen
the work of destruction had commenced.


'Capital!' said Mr. Winklewho was carving a fowl on the box.


'Glass of wine?'


'With the greatest pleasure.'
'You'd better have a bottle to yourself up therehadn't you?'


'You're very good.'


'Joe!'


'YesSir.' (He wasn't asleep this timehaving just succeeded in
abstracting a veal patty.)


'Bottle of wine to the gentleman on the box. Glad to see youSir.'


'Thank'ee.' Mr. Winkle emptied his glassand placed the bottle
on the coach-boxby his side.


'Will you permit me to have the pleasureSir?' said Mr. Trundle
to Mr. Winkle.


'With great pleasure' replied Mr. Winkle to Mr. Trundle
and then the two gentlemen took wineafter which they took a
glass of wine roundladies and all.


'How dear Emily is flirting with the strange gentleman'
whispered the spinster auntwith true spinster-aunt-like envyto
her brotherMr. Wardle.



'Oh! I don't know' said the jolly old gentleman; 'all very
naturalI dare say--nothing unusual. Mr. Pickwicksome wine
Sir?' Mr. Pickwickwho had been deeply investigating the
interior of the pigeon-piereadily assented.

'Emilymy dear' said the spinster auntwith a patronising air
'don't talk so loudlove.'

'Loraunt!'

'Aunt and the little old gentleman want to have it all to
themselvesI think' whispered Miss Isabella Wardle to her sister
Emily. The young ladies laughed very heartilyand the old one
tried to look amiablebut couldn't manage it.

'Young girls have such spirits' said Miss Wardle to Mr. Tupman
with an air of gentle commiserationas if animal spirits
were contrabandand their possession without a permit a high
crime and misdemeanour.

'Ohthey have' replied Mr. Tupmannot exactly making the
sort of reply that was expected from him. 'It's quite delightful.'

'Hem!' said Miss Wardlerather dubiously.

'Will you permit me?' said Mr. Tupmanin his blandest
mannertouching the enchanting Rachael's wrist with one hand
and gently elevating the bottle with the other. 'Will you permit me?'

'Ohsir!' Mr. Tupman looked most impressive; and Rachael
expressed her fear that more guns were going offin which case
of courseshe should have required support again.

'Do you think my dear nieces pretty?' whispered their
affectionate aunt to Mr. Tupman.

'I shouldif their aunt wasn't here' replied the ready
Pickwickianwith a passionate glance.

'Ohyou naughty man--but reallyif their complexions were a
little betterdon't you think they would be nice-looking girls-by
candlelight?'

'Yes; I think they would' said Mr. Tupmanwith an air
of indifference.

'Ohyou quiz--I know what you were going to say.'

'What?' inquired Mr. Tupmanwho had not precisely made
up his mind to say anything at all.

'You were going to say that Isabel stoops--I know you were-you
men are such observers. Wellso she does; it can't be denied;
andcertainlyif there is one thing more than another that makes
a girl look ugly it is stooping. I often tell her that when she gets a
little older she'll be quite frightful. Wellyou are a quiz!'

Mr. Tupman had no objection to earning the reputation at so
cheap a rate: so he looked very knowingand smiled mysteriously.

'What a sarcastic smile' said the admiring Rachael; 'I declare
I'm quite afraid of you.'


'Afraid of me!'


'Ohyou can't disguise anything from me--I know what that
smile means very well.'


'What?' said Mr. Tupmanwho had not the slightest notion himself.


'You mean' said the amiable auntsinking her voice still
lower--'you meanthat you don't think Isabella's stooping is as
bad as Emily's boldness. Wellshe is bold! You cannot think how
wretched it makes me sometimes--I'm sure I cry about it for
hours together--my dear brother is SO goodand so unsuspicious
that he never sees it; if he didI'm quite certain it would break
his heart. I wish I could think it was only manner--I hope it may
be--' (Here the affectionate relative heaved a deep sighand
shook her head despondingly).


'I'm sure aunt's talking about us' whispered Miss Emily
Wardle to her sister--'I'm quite certain of it--she looks so malicious.'


'Is she?' replied Isabella.--'Hem! auntdear!'


'Yesmy dear love!'


'I'm SO afraid you'll catch coldaunt--have a silk handkerchief
to tie round your dear old head--you really should take care of
yourself--consider your age!'


However well deserved this piece of retaliation might have
beenit was as vindictive a one as could well have been resorted
to. There is no guessing in what form of reply the aunt's indignation
would have vented itselfhad not Mr. Wardle unconsciously changed
the subjectby calling emphatically for Joe.


'Damn that boy' said the old gentleman'he's gone to sleep again.'


'Very extraordinary boythat' said Mr. Pickwick; 'does he
always sleep in this way?'


'Sleep!' said the old gentleman'he's always asleep. Goes on
errands fast asleepand snores as he waits at table.'


'How very odd!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Ah! odd indeed' returned the old gentleman; 'I'm proud of
that boy--wouldn't part with him on any account--he's a
natural curiosity! HereJoe--Joe--take these things awayand
open another bottle--d'ye hear?'


The fat boy roseopened his eyesswallowed the huge piece of
pie he had been in the act of masticating when he last fell asleep
and slowly obeyed his master's orders--gloating languidly over
the remains of the feastas he removed the platesand deposited
them in the hamper. The fresh bottle was producedand speedily
emptied: the hamper was made fast in its old place--the fat
boy once more mounted the box--the spectacles and pocket-
glass were again adjusted--and the evolutions of the military
recommenced. There was a great fizzing and banging of
gunsand starting of ladies--and then a Mine was sprungto
the gratification of everybody--and when the mine had gone
offthe military and the company followed its exampleand
went off too.


'Nowmind' said the old gentlemanas he shook hands with



Mr. Pickwick at the conclusion of a conversation which had been
carried on at intervalsduring the conclusion of the proceedings
we shall see you all to-morrow.'

'Most certainly,' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'You have got the address?'

'Manor Farm, Dingley Dell,' said Mr. Pickwick, consulting his
pocket-book.
'That's it,' said the old gentleman. 'I don't let you off, mind,
under a week; and undertake that you shall see everything worth
seeing. If you've come down for a country life, come to me, and
I'll give you plenty of it. Joe--damn that boy, he's gone to sleep
again--Joe, help Tom put in the horses.'

The horses were put in--the driver mounted--the fat
boy clambered up by his side--farewells were exchanged-and
the carriage rattled off. As the Pickwickians turned round
to take a last glimpse of it, the setting sun cast a rich glow on
the faces of their entertainers, and fell upon the form of the
fat boy. His head was sunk upon his bosom; and he slumbered again.

CHAPTER V

A SHORT ONE--SHOWING, AMONG OTHER MATTERS, HOW
Mr. PICKWICK UNDERTOOK TO DRIVE, AND Mr. WINKLE
TO RIDE, AND HOW THEY BOTH DID IT

Bright and pleasant was the sky, balmy the air, and beautiful
the appearance of every object around, as Mr. Pickwick leaned
over the balustrades of Rochester Bridge, contemplating nature,
and waiting for breakfast. The scene was indeed one which might
well have charmed a far less reflective mind, than that to which
it was presented.

On the left of the spectator lay the ruined wall, broken in many
places, and in some, overhanging the narrow beach below in rude
and heavy masses. Huge knots of seaweed hung upon the jagged
and pointed stones, trembling in every breath of wind; and the
green ivy clung mournfully round the dark and ruined battlements.
Behind it rose the ancient castle, its towers roofless, and
its massive walls crumbling away, but telling us proudly of its old
might and strength, as when, seven hundred years ago, it rang
with the clash of arms, or resounded with the noise of feasting
and revelry. On either side, the banks of the Medway, covered
with cornfields and pastures, with here and there a windmill, or a
distant church, stretched away as far as the eye could see,
presenting a rich and varied landscape, rendered more beautiful
by the changing shadows which passed swiftly across it as the
thin and half-formed clouds skimmed away in the light of the
morning sun. The river, reflecting the clear blue of the sky,
glistened and sparkled as it flowed noiselessly on; and the oars of
the fishermen dipped into the water with a clear and liquid sound,
as their heavy but picturesque boats glided slowly down the stream.

Mr. Pickwick was roused from the agreeable reverie into which
he had been led by the objects before him, by a deep sigh, and a
touch on his shoulder. He turned round: and the dismal man was
at his side.

'Contemplating the scene?' inquired the dismal man.


'I was,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'And congratulating yourself on being up so soon?'

Mr. Pickwick nodded assent.

'Ah! people need to rise early, to see the sun in all his splendour,
for his brightness seldom lasts the day through. The
morning of day and the morning of life are but too much alike.'


'You speak truly, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'How common the saying,' continued the dismal man, 'The
morning's too fine to last." How well might it be applied to our
everyday existence. God! what would I forfeit to have the days of
my childhood restoredor to be able to forget them for ever!'


'You have seen much troublesir' said Mr. Pickwick compassionately.


'I have' said the dismal man hurriedly; 'I have. More than
those who see me now would believe possible.' He paused for an
instantand then said abruptly--


'Did it ever strike youon such a morning as thisthat drowning
would be happiness and peace?'


'God bless meno!' replied Mr. Pickwickedging a little from
the balustradeas the possibility of the dismal man's tipping him
overby way of experimentoccurred to him rather forcibly.


'I have thought sooften' said the dismal manwithout
noticing the action. 'The calmcool water seems to me to murmur
an invitation to repose and rest. A bounda splasha brief
struggle; there is an eddy for an instantit gradually subsides into
a gentle ripple; the waters have closed above your headand the
world has closed upon your miseries and misfortunes for ever.'
The sunken eye of the dismal man flashed brightly as he spoke
but the momentary excitement quickly subsided; and he turned
calmly awayas he said--


'There--enough of that. I wish to see you on another subject.
You invited me to read that paperthe night before lastand
listened attentively while I did so.'
'I did' replied Mr. Pickwick; 'and I certainly thought--'


'I asked for no opinion' said the dismal maninterrupting him
'and I want none. You are travelling for amusement and instruction.
Suppose I forward you a curious manuscript--observenot
curious because wild or improbablebut curious as a leaf from
the romance of real life--would you communicate it to the club
of which you have spoken so frequently?'


'Certainly' replied Mr. Pickwick'if you wished it; and it
would be entered on their transactions.'
'You shall have it' replied the dismal man. 'Your address;'
andMr. Pickwick having communicated their probable routethe
dismal man carefully noted it down in a greasy pocket-book
andresisting Mr. Pickwick's pressing invitation to breakfast
left that gentleman at his innand walked slowly away.


Mr. Pickwick found that his three companions had risenand
were waiting his arrival to commence breakfastwhich was ready
laid in tempting display. They sat down to the meal; and broiled
hameggsteacoffee and sundriesbegan to disappear with a



rapidity which at once bore testimony to the excellence of the
fareand the appetites of its consumers.

'Nowabout Manor Farm' said Mr. Pickwick. 'How shall we go ?'

'We had better consult the waiterperhaps' said Mr. Tupman;
and the waiter was summoned accordingly.

'Dingley Dellgentlemen--fifteen milesgentlemen--cross
road--post-chaisesir?'

'Post-chaise won't hold more than two' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Truesir--beg your pardonsir.--Very nice four-wheel chaise
sir--seat for two behind--one in front for the gentleman that
drives--oh! beg your pardonsir--that'll only hold three.'

'What's to be done?' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'Perhaps one of the gentlemen would like to ridesir?' suggested
the waiterlooking towards Mr. Winkle; 'very good
saddle-horsessir--any of Mr. Wardle's men coming to Rochester
bring 'em backSir.'

'The very thing' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Winklewill you go on
horseback ?'

Now Mr. Winkle did entertain considerable misgivings in the
very lowest recesses of his own heartrelative to his equestrian
skill; butas he would not have them even suspectedon any
accounthe at once replied with great hardihood'Certainly. I
should enjoy it of all things.'
Mr. Winkle had rushed upon his fate; there was no resource.
'Let them be at the door by eleven' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Very wellsir' replied the waiter.

The waiter retired; the breakfast concluded; and the travellers
ascended to their respective bedroomsto prepare a change of
clothingto take with them on their approaching expedition.

Mr. Pickwick had made his preliminary arrangementsand
was looking over the coffee-room blinds at the passengers
in the streetwhen the waiter enteredand announced that
the chaise was ready--an announcement which the vehicle itself
confirmedby forthwith appearing before the coffee-room blinds
aforesaid.

It was a curious little green box on four wheelswith a low
place like a wine-bin for two behindand an elevated perch for
one in frontdrawn by an immense brown horsedisplaying
great symmetry of bone. An hostler stood nearholding by the
bridle another immense horse--apparently a near relative of the
animal in the chaise--ready saddled for Mr. Winkle.

'Bless my soul!' said Mr. Pickwickas they stood upon the
pavement while the coats were being put in. 'Bless my soul! who's
to drive? I never thought of that.'

'Oh! youof course' said Mr. Tupman.

'Of course' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'I!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.


'Not the slightest fearSir' interposed the hostler. 'Warrant
him quietSir; a hinfant in arms might drive him.'

'He don't shydoes he?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Shysir?-he wouldn't shy if he was to meet a vagin-load of
monkeys with their tails burned off.'

The last recommendation was indisputable. Mr. Tupman and
Mr. Snodgrass got into the bin; Mr. Pickwick ascended to his
perchand deposited his feet on a floor-clothed shelferected
beneath it for that purpose.

'Nowshiny Villiam' said the hostler to the deputy hostler
'give the gen'lm'n the ribbons.' 'Shiny Villiam'--so called
probablyfrom his sleek hair and oily countenance--placed the
reins in Mr. Pickwick's left hand; and the upper hostler thrust a
whip into his right.

'Wo-o!' cried Mr. Pickwickas the tall quadruped evinced a
decided inclination to back into the coffee-room window.
'Wo-o!' echoed Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrassfrom the bin.
'Only his playfulnessgen'lm'n' said the head hostler
encouragingly; 'jist kitch hold on himVilliam.' The deputy
restrained the animal's impetuosityand the principal ran to
assist Mr. Winkle in mounting.

'T'other sidesirif you please.'

'Blowed if the gen'lm'n worn't a-gettin' up on the wrong side'
whispered a grinning post-boy to the inexpressibly gratified waiter.

Mr. Winklethus instructedclimbed into his saddlewith
about as much difficulty as he would have experienced in getting
up the side of a first-rate man-of-war.

'All right?' inquired Mr. Pickwickwith an inward presentiment
that it was all wrong.

'All right' replied Mr. Winkle faintly.

'Let 'em go' cried the hostler.--'Hold him insir;' and away
went the chaiseand the saddle-horsewith Mr. Pickwick on the
box of the oneand Mr. Winkle on the back of the otherto the
delight and gratification of the whole inn-yard.

'What makes him go sideways?' said Mr. Snodgrass in the bin
to Mr. Winkle in the saddle.

'I can't imagine' replied Mr. Winkle. His horse was drifting
up the street in the most mysterious manner--side firstwith
his head towards one side of the wayand his tail towards the other.

Mr. Pickwick had no leisure to observe either this or any other
particularthe whole of his faculties being concentrated in the
management of the animal attached to the chaisewho displayed
various peculiaritieshighly interesting to a bystanderbut by no
means equally amusing to any one seated behind him. Besides
constantly jerking his head upin a very unpleasant and uncomfortable
mannerand tugging at the reins to an extent which
rendered it a matter of great difficulty for Mr. Pickwick to hold
themhe had a singular propensity for darting suddenly every
now and then to the side of the roadthen stopping shortand


then rushing forward for some minutesat a speed which it was
wholly impossible to control.


'What CAN he mean by this?' said Mr. Snodgrasswhen the
horse had executed this manoeuvre for the twentieth time.


'I don't know' replied Mr. Tupman; 'it looks very like shying
don't it?' Mr. Snodgrass was about to replywhen he was interrupted
by a shout from Mr. Pickwick.


'Woo!' said that gentleman; 'I have dropped my whip.'
'Winkle' said Mr. Snodgrassas the equestrian came trotting
up on the tall horsewith his hat over his earsand shaking all
overas if he would shake to pieceswith the violence of the
exercise'pick up the whipthere's a good fellow.' Mr. Winkle
pulled at the bridle of the tall horse till he was black in the face;
and having at length succeeded in stopping himdismounted
handed the whip to Mr. Pickwickand grasping the reins
prepared to remount.


Now whether the tall horsein the natural playfulness of his
dispositionwas desirous of having a little innocent recreation
with Mr. Winkleor whether it occurred to him that he could
perform the journey as much to his own satisfaction without a
rider as with oneare points upon whichof coursewe can
arrive at no definite and distinct conclusion. By whatever motives
the animal was actuatedcertain it is that Mr. Winkle had no
sooner touched the reinsthan he slipped them over his headand
darted backwards to their full length.


'Poor fellow' said Mr. Winkle soothingly--'poor fellow--
good old horse.' The 'poor fellow' was proof against flattery; the
more Mr. Winkle tried to get nearer himthe more he sidled
away; andnotwithstanding all kinds of coaxing and wheedling
there were Mr. Winkle and the horse going round and round each
other for ten minutesat the end of which time each was at
precisely the same distance from the other as when they first
commenced--an unsatisfactory sort of thing under any circumstances
but particularly so in a lonely roadwhere no assistance
can be procured.


'What am I to do?' shouted Mr. Winkleafter the dodging had
been prolonged for a considerable time. 'What am I to do? I
can't get on him.'


'You had better lead him till we come to a turnpike' replied
Mr. Pickwick from the chaise.


'But he won't come!' roared Mr. Winkle. 'Do come and hold him.'


Mr. Pickwick was the very personation of kindness and
humanity: he threw the reins on the horse's backand having
descended from his seatcarefully drew the chaise into the hedge
lest anything should come along the roadand stepped back to
the assistance of his distressed companionleaving Mr. Tupman
and Mr. Snodgrass in the vehicle.


The horse no sooner beheld Mr. Pickwick advancing towards
him with the chaise whip in his handthan he exchanged the
rotary motion in which he had previously indulgedfor a retrograde
movement of so very determined a characterthat it at once
drew Mr. Winklewho was still at the end of the bridleat a
rather quicker rate than fast walkingin the direction from which
they had just come. Mr. Pickwick ran to his assistancebut the



faster Mr. Pickwick ran forwardthe faster the horse ran backward.
There was a great scraping of feetand kicking up of
the dust; and at last Mr. Winklehis arms being nearly pulled
out of their socketsfairly let go his hold. The horse paused
staredshook his headturned roundand quietly trotted
home to Rochesterleaving Mr. Winkle and Mr. Pickwick
gazing on each other with countenances of blank dismay. A
rattling noise at a little distance attracted their attention. They
looked up.

'Bless my soul!' exclaimed the agonised Mr. Pickwick; 'there's
the other horse running away!'

It was but too true. The animal was startled by the noiseand
the reins were on his back. The results may be guessed. He tore
off with the four-wheeled chaise behind himand Mr. Tupman
and Mr. Snodgrass in the four-wheeled chaise. The heat was a
short one. Mr. Tupman threw himself into the hedgeMr. Snodgrass
followed his examplethe horse dashed the four--wheeled
chaise against a wooden bridgeseparated the wheels from the
bodyand the bin from the perch; and finally stood stock still to
gaze upon the ruin he had made.

The first care of the two unspilt friends was to extricate their
unfortunate companions from their bed of quickset--a process
which gave them the unspeakable satisfaction of discovering that
they had sustained no injurybeyond sundry rents in their
garmentsand various lacerations from the brambles. The next
thing to be done was to unharness the horse. This complicated
process having been effectedthe party walked slowly forward
leading the horse among themand abandoning the chaise to its fate.

An hour's walk brought the travellers to a little road-side
public-housewith two elm-treesa horse troughand a signpost
in front; one or two deformed hay-ricks behinda kitchen garden
at the sideand rotten sheds and mouldering outhouses jumbled
in strange confusion all about it. A red-headed man was working
in the garden; and to him Mr. Pickwick called lustily'Hollo there!'

The red-headed man raised his bodyshaded his eyes with his hand
and staredlong and coollyat Mr. Pickwick and his companions.

'Hollo there!' repeated Mr. Pickwick.

'Hollo!' was the red-headed man's reply.

'How far is it to Dingley Dell?'

'Better er seven mile.'

'Is it a good road?'

'No'tain't.' Having uttered this brief replyand apparently
satisfied himself with another scrutinythe red-headed man
resumed his work.
'We want to put this horse up here' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I
suppose we cancan't we?'
'Want to put that ere horse updo ee?' repeated the redheaded
manleaning on his spade.

'Of course' replied Mr. Pickwickwho had by this time
advancedhorse in handto the garden rails.

'Missus'--roared the man with the red heademerging from


the gardenand looking very hard at the horse--'missus!'

A tallbony woman--straight all the way down--in a coarse
blue pelissewith the waist an inch or two below her arm-pits
responded to the call.

'Can we put this horse up heremy good woman?' said Mr.
Tupmanadvancingand speaking in his most seductive tones.
The woman looked very hard at the whole party; and the redheaded
man whispered something in her ear.

'No' replied the womanafter a little consideration'I'm
afeerd on it.'

'Afraid!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick'what's the woman afraid of ?'

'It got us in trouble last time' said the womanturning into the
house; 'I woan't have nothin' to say to 'un.'

'Most extraordinary thing I have ever met with in my life' said
the astonished Mr. Pickwick.

'I--I--really believe' whispered Mr. Winkleas his friends
gathered round him'that they think we have come by this horse
in some dishonest manner.'

'What!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwickin a storm of indignation.
Mr. Winkle modestly repeated his suggestion.

'Holloyou fellow' said the angry Mr. Pickwick'do you think
we stole the horse?'

'I'm sure ye did' replied the red-headed manwith a grin which
agitated his countenance from one auricular organ to the other.
Saying which he turned into the house and banged the door after him.

'It's like a dream' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick'a hideous dream.
The idea of a man's walking about all day with a dreadful horse
that he can't get rid of!' The depressed Pickwickians turned
moodily awaywith the tall quadrupedfor which they all felt the
most unmitigated disgustfollowing slowly at their heels.

It was late in the afternoon when the four friends and their
four-footed companion turned into the lane leading to Manor
Farm; and even when they were so near their place of destination
the pleasure they would otherwise have experienced was materially
damped as they reflected on the singularity of their appearance
and the absurdity of their situation. Torn clotheslacerated faces
dusty shoesexhausted looksandabove allthe horse. Ohhow
Mr. Pickwick cursed that horse: he had eyed the noble animal
from time to time with looks expressive of hatred and revenge;
more than once he had calculated the probable amount of the
expense he would incur by cutting his throat; and now the
temptation to destroy himor to cast him loose upon the world
rushed upon his mind with tenfold force. He was roused from a
meditation on these dire imaginings by the sudden appearance of
two figures at a turn of the lane. It was Mr. Wardleand his
faithful attendantthe fat boy.

'Whywhere have you been ?' said the hospitable old gentleman;
'I've been waiting for you all day. Wellyou DO look tired. What!
Scratches! Not hurtI hope--eh? WellI AM glad to hear that-very.
So you've been spilteh? Never mind. Common accident in
these parts. Joe--he's asleep again!--Joetake that horse from


the gentlemenand lead it into the stable.'

The fat boy sauntered heavily behind them with the animal;
and the old gentlemancondoling with his guests in homely
phrase on so much of the day's adventures as they thought proper
to communicateled the way to the kitchen.

'We'll have you put to rights here' said the old gentleman'and
then I'll introduce you to the people in the parlour. Emmabring
out the cherry brandy; nowJanea needle and thread here;
towels and waterMary. Comegirlsbustle about.'

Three or four buxom girls speedily dispersed in search of the
different articles in requisitionwhile a couple of large-headed
circular-visaged males rose from their seats in the chimneycorner
(for although it was a May evening their attachment to the
wood fire appeared as cordial as if it were Christmas)and dived
into some obscure recessesfrom which they speedily produced a
bottle of blackingand some half-dozen brushes.

'Bustle!' said the old gentleman againbut the admonition was
quite unnecessaryfor one of the girls poured out the cherry
brandyand another brought in the towelsand one of the men
suddenly seizing Mr. Pickwick by the legat imminent hazard of
throwing him off his balancebrushed away at his boot till his
corns were red-hot; while the other shampooed Mr. Winkle with
a heavy clothes-brushindulgingduring the operationin that
hissing sound which hostlers are wont to produce when engaged
in rubbing down a horse.

Mr. Snodgrasshaving concluded his ablutionstook a survey
of the roomwhile standing with his back to the firesipping his
cherry brandy with heartfelt satisfaction. He describes it as a
large apartmentwith a red brick floor and a capacious chimney;
the ceiling garnished with hamssides of baconand ropes of
onions. The walls were decorated with several hunting-whips
two or three bridlesa saddleand an old rusty blunderbusswith
an inscription below itintimating that it was 'Loaded'--as it had
beenon the same authorityfor half a century at least. An old
eight-day clockof solemn and sedate demeanourticked gravely
in one corner; and a silver watchof equal antiquitydangled
from one of the many hooks which ornamented the dresser.

'Ready?' said the old gentleman inquiringlywhen his guests
had been washedmendedbrushedand brandied.

'Quite' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Come alongthen;' and the party having traversed several
dark passagesand being joined by Mr. Tupmanwho had
lingered behind to snatch a kiss from Emmafor which he had
been duly rewarded with sundry pushings and scratchings
arrived at the parlour door.

'Welcome' said their hospitable hostthrowing it open and
stepping forward to announce them'welcomegentlemento
Manor Farm.'

CHAPTER VI
AN OLD-FASHIONED CARD-PARTY--THE CLERGYMAN'S

VERSES--THE STORY OF THE CONVICT'S RETURN


Several guests who were assembled in the old parlour rose to
greet Mr. Pickwick and his friends upon their entrance; and during
the performance of the ceremony of introductionwith all due
formalitiesMr. Pickwick had leisure to observe the appearance
and speculate upon the characters and pursuitsof the persons by
whom he was surrounded--a habit in which hein common with many
other great mendelighted to indulge.

A very old ladyin a lofty cap and faded silk gown--no less a
personage than Mr. Wardle's mother--occupied the post of
honour on the right-hand corner of the chimney-piece; and
various certificates of her having been brought up in the way she
should go when youngand of her not having departed from it
when oldornamented the wallsin the form of samplers of
ancient dateworsted landscapes of equal antiquityand crimson
silk tea-kettle holders of a more modern period. The auntthe two
young ladiesand Mr. Wardleeach vying with the other in
paying zealous and unremitting attentions to the old lady
crowded round her easy-chairone holding her ear-trumpet
another an orangeand a third a smelling-bottlewhile a fourth
was busily engaged in patting and punching the pillows which
were arranged for her support. On the opposite side sat a baldheaded
old gentlemanwith a good-humouredbenevolent face-the
clergyman of Dingley Dell; and next him sat his wifea stout
blooming old ladywho looked as if she were well skillednot
only in the art and mystery of manufacturing home-made
cordials greatly to other people's satisfactionbut of tasting them
occasionally very much to her own. A little hard-headed
Ripstone pippin-faced manwas conversing with a fat old
gentleman in one corner; and two or three more old gentlemen
and two or three more old ladiessat bolt upright and motionless
on their chairsstaring very hard at Mr. Pickwick and his
fellow-voyagers.

'Mr. Pickwickmother' said Mr. Wardleat the very top of
his voice.

'Ah!' said the old ladyshaking her head; 'I can't hear you.'

'Mr. Pickwickgrandma!' screamed both the young ladies together.

'Ah!' exclaimed the old lady. 'Wellit don't much matter. He
don't care for an old 'ooman like meI dare say.'

'I assure youma'am' said Mr. Pickwickgrasping the old
lady's handand speaking so loud that the exertion imparted a
crimson hue to his benevolent countenance--'I assure you
ma'amthat nothing delights me more than to see a lady of your
time of life heading so fine a familyand looking so young and well.'

'Ah!' said the old ladyafter a short pause: 'it's all very fineI
dare say; but I can't hear him.'

'Grandma's rather put out now' said Miss Isabella Wardlein
a low tone; 'but she'll talk to you presently.'

Mr. Pickwick nodded his readiness to humour the infirmities
of ageand entered into a general conversation with the other
members of the circle.

'Delightful situation this' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Delightful!' echoed Messrs. SnodgrassTupmanand Winkle.


'WellI think it is' said Mr. Wardle.

'There ain't a better spot o' ground in all Kentsir' said the
hard-headed man with the pippin--face; 'there ain't indeedsir-I'm
sure there ain'tSir.' The hard-headed man looked triumphantly
roundas if he had been very much contradicted by somebody
but had got the better of him at last.

'There ain't a better spot o' ground in all Kent' said the
hard-headed man againafter a pause.

''Cept Mullins's Meadows' observed the fat man solemnly.
'Mullins's Meadows!' ejaculated the otherwith profound contempt.

'AhMullins's Meadows' repeated the fat man.

'Reg'lar good land that' interposed another fat man.

'And so it issure-ly' said a third fat man.

'Everybody knows that' said the corpulent host.

The hard-headed man looked dubiously roundbut finding
himself in a minorityassumed a compassionate air and said no more.
'What are they talking about?' inquired the old lady of one of
her granddaughtersin a very audible voice; forlike many deaf
peopleshe never seemed to calculate on the possibility of other
persons hearing what she said herself.

'About the landgrandma.'

'What about the land?--Nothing the matteris there?'

'Nono. Mr. Miller was saying our land was better than
Mullins's Meadows.'

'How should he know anything about it?'inquired the old lady
indignantly. 'Miller's a conceited coxcomband you may tell him
I said so.' Saying whichthe old ladyquite unconscious that she
had spoken above a whisperdrew herself upand looked
carving-knives at the hard-headed delinquent.

'Comecome' said the bustling hostwith a natural anxiety to
change the conversation'what say you to a rubberMr. Pickwick?'

'I should like it of all things' replied that gentleman; 'but pray
don't make up one on my account.'

'OhI assure youmother's very fond of a rubber' said Mr.
Wardle; 'ain't youmother?'

The old ladywho was much less deaf on this subject than on
any otherreplied in the affirmative.

'JoeJoe!' said the gentleman; 'Joe--damn that--ohhere he
is; put out the card--tables.'

The lethargic youth contrived without any additional rousing
to set out two card-tables; the one for Pope Joanand the other
for whist. The whist-players were Mr. Pickwick and the old lady
Mr. Miller and the fat gentleman. The round game comprised the
rest of the company.


The rubber was conducted with all that gravity of deportment
and sedateness of demeanour which befit the pursuit entitled
'whist'--a solemn observanceto whichas it appears to usthe
title of 'game' has been very irreverently and ignominiously
applied. The round-game tableon the other handwas so
boisterously merry as materially to interrupt the contemplations
of Mr. Millerwhonot being quite so much absorbed as he
ought to have beencontrived to commit various high crimes and
misdemeanourswhich excited the wrath of the fat gentleman to
a very great extentand called forth the good-humour of the old
lady in a proportionate degree.

'There!' said the criminal Miller triumphantlyas he took up
the odd trick at the conclusion of a hand; 'that could not have
been played betterI flatter myself; impossible to have made
another trick!'

'Miller ought to have trumped the diamondoughtn't heSir?'
said the old lady.

Mr. Pickwick nodded assent.

'Ought Ithough?' said the unfortunatewith a doubtful appeal
to his partner.

'You oughtSir' said the fat gentlemanin an awful voice.

'Very sorry' said the crestfallen Miller.

'Much use that' growled the fat gentleman.

'Two by honours--makes us eight' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Another hand. 'Can you one?' inquired the old lady.

'I can' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Doublesingleand the rub.'

'Never was such luck' said Mr. Miller.

'Never was such cards' said the fat gentleman.

A solemn silence; Mr. Pickwick humorousthe old lady serious
the fat gentleman captiousand Mr. Miller timorous.

'Another double' said the old ladytriumphantly making a
memorandum of the circumstanceby placing one sixpence and a
battered halfpenny under the candlestick.

'A doublesir' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Quite aware of the factSir' replied the fat gentleman sharply.

Another gamewith a similar resultwas followed by a revoke
from the unlucky Miller; on which the fat gentleman burst into a
state of high personal excitement which lasted until the
conclusion of the gamewhen he retired into a cornerand remained
perfectly mute for one hour and twenty-seven minutes; at the end
of which time he emerged from his retirementand offered
Mr. Pickwick a pinch of snuff with the air of a man who had
made up his mind to a Christian forgiveness of injuries sustained.
The old lady's hearing decidedly improved and the unlucky
Miller felt as much out of his element as a dolphin in a sentry-box.

Meanwhile the round game proceeded right merrily. Isabella


Wardle and Mr. Trundle 'went partners' and Emily Wardle and
Mr. Snodgrass did the same; and even Mr. Tupman and the
spinster aunt established a joint-stock company of fish and
flattery. Old Mr. Wardle was in the very height of his jollity; and
he was so funny in his management of the boardand the old
ladies were so sharp after their winningsthat the whole table was
in a perpetual roar of merriment and laughter. There was one old
lady who always had about half a dozen cards to pay forat
which everybody laughedregularly every round; and when the
old lady looked cross at having to paythey laughed louder than
ever; on which the old lady's face gradually brightened uptill at
last she laughed louder than any of themThenwhen the spinster
aunt got 'matrimony' the young ladies laughed afreshand the
Spinster aunt seemed disposed to be pettish; tillfeeling Mr.
Tupman squeezing her hand under the tableshe brightened up
tooand looked rather knowingas if matrimony in reality were
not quite so far off as some people thought for; whereupon
everybody laughed againand especially old Mr. Wardlewho
enjoyed a joke as much as the youngest. As to Mr. Snodgrasshe
did nothing but whisper poetical sentiments into his partner's
earwhich made one old gentleman facetiously slyabout
partnerships at cards and partnerships for lifeand caused the
aforesaid old gentleman to make some remarks thereupon
accompanied with divers winks and chuckleswhich made the
company very merry and the old gentleman's wife especially so.
And Mr. Winkle came out with jokes which are very well known
in townbut are not all known in the country; and as everybody
laughed at them very heartilyand said they were very capital
Mr. Winkle was in a state of great honour and glory. And the
benevolent clergyman looked pleasantly on; for the happy faces
which surrounded the table made the good old man feel happy
too; and though the merriment was rather boisterousstill it
came from the heart and not from the lips; and this is the right
sort of merrimentafter all.

The evening glided swiftly awayin these cheerful recreations;
and when the substantial though homely supper had been
despatchedand the little party formed a social circle round the
fireMr. Pickwick thought he had never felt so happy in his life
and at no time so much disposed to enjoyand make the most of
the passing moment.

'Now this' said the hospitable hostwho was sitting in great
state next the old lady's arm-chairwith her hand fast clasped in
his--'this is just what I like--the happiest moments of my life
have been passed at this old fireside; and I am so attached to it
that I keep up a blazing fire here every eveninguntil it actually
grows too hot to bear it. Whymy poor old motherhereused
to sit before this fireplace upon that little stool when she was a
girl; didn't youmother?'

The tear which starts unbidden to the eye when the recollection
of old times and the happiness of many years ago is suddenly
recalledstole down the old lady's face as she shook her head with
a melancholy smile.

'You must excuse my talking about this old placeMr. Pickwick'
resumed the hostafter a short pause'for I love it dearly
and know no other--the old houses and fields seem like living
friends to me; and so does our little church with the ivyabout
whichby the byeour excellent friend there made a song when
he first came amongst us. Mr. Snodgrasshave you anything in
your glass?'


'Plentythank you' replied that gentlemanwhose poetic
curiosity had been greatly excited by the last observation of his
entertainer. 'I beg your pardonbut you were talking about the
song of the Ivy.'

'You must ask our friend opposite about that' said the host
knowinglyindicating the clergyman by a nod of his head.

'May I say that I should like to hear you repeat itsir?' said
Mr. Snodgrass.

'Whyreally' replied the clergyman'it's a very slight affair;
and the only excuse I have for having ever perpetrated it isthat
I was a young man at the time. Such as it ishoweveryou shall
hear itif you wish.'

A murmur of curiosity was of course the reply; and the old
gentleman proceeded to recitewith the aid of sundry promptings
from his wifethe lines in question. 'I call them' said he

THE IVY GREEN

Oha dainty plant is the Ivy green
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his mealsI ween
In his cell so lone and cold.
The wall must be crumbledthe stone decayed
To pleasure his dainty whim;
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.


Creeping where no life is seen
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.


Fast he stealeth onthough he wears no wings
And a staunch old heart has he.
How closely he twinethhow tight he clings
To his friend the huge Oak Tree!
And slily he traileth along the ground
And his leaves he gently waves
As he joyously hugs and crawleth round
The rich mould of dead men's graves.


Creeping where grim death has been
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.


Whole ages have fled and their works decayed
And nations have scattered been;
But the stout old Ivy shall never fade
From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant in its lonely days
Shall fatten upon the past;
For the stateliest building man can raise
Is the Ivy's food at last.


Creeping on where time has been
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.


While the old gentleman repeated these lines a second timeto
enable Mr. Snodgrass to note them downMr. Pickwick perused
the lineaments of his face with an expression of great interest.
The old gentleman having concluded his dictationand Mr.
Snodgrass having returned his note-book to his pocketMr.
Pickwick said-



'Excuse mesirfor making the remark on so short an
acquaintance; but a gentleman like yourself cannot failI should
thinkto have observed many scenes and incidents worth
recordingin the course of your experience as a minister of the
Gospel.'

'I have witnessed some certainly' replied the old gentleman
'but the incidents and characters have been of a homely and
ordinary naturemy sphere of action being so very limited.'

'You did make some notesI thinkabout John Edmundsdid
you not?' inquired Mr. Wardlewho appeared very desirous to
draw his friend outfor the edification of his new visitors.

The old gentleman slightly nodded his head in token of assent
and was proceeding to change the subjectwhen Mr. Pickwick
said-


'I beg your pardonsirbut prayif I may venture to inquire
who was John Edmunds?'

'The very thing I was about to ask' said Mr. Snodgrass eagerly.

'You are fairly in for it' said the jolly host. 'You must satisfy
the curiosity of these gentlemensooner or later; so you had
better take advantage of this favourable opportunityand do so
at once.'

The old gentleman smiled good-humouredly as he drew his
chair forward--the remainder of the party drew their chairs
closer togetherespecially Mr. Tupman and the spinster aunt
who were possibly rather hard of hearing; and the old lady's
ear-trumpet having been duly adjustedand Mr. Miller (who had
fallen asleep during the recital of the verses) roused from his
slumbers by an admonitory pinchadministered beneath the
table by his ex-partner the solemn fat manthe old gentleman
without further prefacecommenced the following taleto which
we have taken the liberty of prefixing the title of

THE CONVICT'S RETURN

'When I first settled in this village' said the old gentleman
'which is now just five-and-twenty years agothe most notorious
person among my parishioners was a man of the name of
Edmundswho leased a small farm near this spot. He was a
morosesavage-heartedbad man; idle and dissolute in his
habits; cruel and ferocious in his disposition. Beyond the few
lazy and reckless vagabonds with whom he sauntered away his
time in the fieldsor sotted in the ale-househe had not a single
friend or acquaintance; no one cared to speak to the man whom
many fearedand every one detested--and Edmunds was
shunned by all.

'This man had a wife and one sonwhowhen I first came here
was about twelve years old. Of the acuteness of that woman's
sufferingsof the gentle and enduring manner in which she bore
themof the agony of solicitude with which she reared that boy
no one can form an adequate conception. Heaven forgive me the
suppositionif it be an uncharitable onebut I do firmly and in
my soul believethat the man systematically tried for many years
to break her heart; but she bore it all for her child's sakeand
however strange it may seem to manyfor his father's too; for
brute as he wasand cruelly as he had treated hershe had loved
him once; and the recollection of what he had been to her


awakened feelings of forbearance and meekness under suffering
in her bosomto which all God's creaturesbut womenare strangers.

'They were poor--they could not be otherwise when the man
pursued such courses; but the woman's unceasing and
unwearied exertionsearly and latemorningnoonand nightkept
them above actual want. These exertions were but ill repaid.
People who passed the spot in the evening--sometimes at a late
hour of the night--reported that they had heard the moans and
sobs of a woman in distressand the sound of blows; and more
than oncewhen it was past midnightthe boy knocked softly at
the door of a neighbour's housewhither he had been sentto
escape the drunken fury of his unnatural father.

'During the whole of this timeand when the poor creature
often bore about her marks of ill-usage and violence which she
could not wholly concealshe was a constant attendant at our
little church. Regularly every Sundaymorning and afternoonshe
occupied the same seat with the boy at her side; and though they
were both poorly dressed--much more so than many of their
neighbours who were in a lower station--they were always neat
and clean. Every one had a friendly nod and a kind word for
poor Mrs. Edmunds; and sometimeswhen she stopped to
exchange a few words with a neighbour at the conclusion of the
service in the little row of elm-trees which leads to the church
porchor lingered behind to gaze with a mother's pride and
fondness upon her healthy boyas he sported before her with
some little companionsher careworn face would lighten up with
an expression of heartfelt gratitude; and she would lookif not
cheerful and happyat least tranquil and contented.

'Five or six years passed away; the boy had become a robust
and well-grown youth. The time that had strengthened the child's
slight frame and knit his weak limbs into the strength of manhood
had bowed his mother's formand enfeebled her steps;
but the arm that should have supported her was no longer locked
in hers; the face that should have cheered herno more looked
upon her own. She occupied her old seatbut there was a vacant
one beside her. The Bible was kept as carefully as everthe places
were found and folded down as they used to be: but there was no
one to read it with her; and the tears fell thick and fast upon the
bookand blotted the words from her eyes. Neighbours were as
kind as they were wont to be of oldbut she shunned their
greetings with averted head. There was no lingering among the
old elm-trees now-no cheering anticipations of happiness yet in
store. The desolate woman drew her bonnet closer over her face
and walked hurriedly away.

'Shall I tell you that the young manwholooking back to the
earliest of his childhood's days to which memory and consciousness
extendedand carrying his recollection down to that moment
could remember nothing which was not in some way connected
with a long series of voluntary privations suffered by his mother
for his sakewith ill-usageand insultand violenceand all
endured for him--shall I tell youthat hewith a reckless
disregard for her breaking heartand a sullenwilful forgetfulness of
all she had done and borne for himhad linked himself with
depraved and abandoned menand was madly pursuing a
headlong careerwhich must bring death to himand shame to
her? Alas for human nature! You have anticipated it long since.

'The measure of the unhappy woman's misery and misfortune
was about to be completed. Numerous offences had been
committed in the neighbourhood; the perpetrators remained


undiscoveredand their boldness increased. A robbery of a daring
and aggravated nature occasioned a vigilance of pursuitand a
strictness of searchthey had not calculated on. Young Edmunds
was suspectedwith three companions. He was apprehended-committed--
tried--condemned--to die.
'The wild and piercing shriek from a woman's voicewhich
resounded through the court when the solemn sentence was
pronouncedrings in my ears at this moment. That cry struck a
terror to the culprit's heartwhich trialcondemnation--the
approach of death itselfhad failed to awaken. The lips which
had been compressed in dogged sullenness throughoutquivered
and parted involuntarily; the face turned ashy pale as the cold
perspiration broke forth from every pore; the sturdy limbs of the
felon trembledand he staggered in the dock.

'In the first transports of her mental anguishthe suffering
mother threw herself on her knees at my feetand fervently
sought the Almighty Being who had hitherto supported her in
all her troubles to release her from a world of woe and misery
and to spare the life of her only child. A burst of griefand a
violent strugglesuch as I hope I may never have to witness
againsucceeded. I knew that her heart was breaking from
that hour; but I never once heard complaint or murmur escape
her lips.
'It was a piteous spectacle to see that woman in the prison-yard
from day to dayeagerly and fervently attemptingby affection
and entreatyto soften the hard heart of her obdurate son. It was
in vain. He remained moodyobstinateand unmoved. Not even
the unlooked-for commutation of his sentence to transportation
for fourteen yearssoftened for an instant the sullen hardihood
of his demeanour.

'But the spirit of resignation and endurance that had so long
upheld herwas unable to contend against bodily weakness and
infirmity. She fell sick. She dragged her tottering limbs from the
bed to visit her son once morebut her strength failed herand
she sank powerless on the ground.

'And now the boasted coldness and indifference of the young
man were tested indeed; and the retribution that fell heavily upon
him nearly drove him mad. A day passed away and his mother
was not there; another flew byand she came not near him; a
third evening arrivedand yet he had not seen her--and in fourand-
twenty hours he was to be separated from herperhaps for
ever. Oh! how the long-forgotten thoughts of former days rushed
upon his mindas he almost ran up and down the narrow yard-as
if intelligence would arrive the sooner for his hurrying--and
how bitterly a sense of his helplessness and desolation rushed
upon himwhen he heard the truth! His motherthe only parent
he had ever knownlay ill--it might bedying--within one mile
of the ground he stood on; were he free and unfettereda few
minutes would place him by her side. He rushed to the gateand
grasping the iron rails with the energy of desperationshook it
till it rang againand threw himself against the thick wall as if to
force a passage through the stone; but the strong building
mocked his feeble effortsand he beat his hands together and
wept like a child.

'I bore the mother's forgiveness and blessing to her son in
prison; and I carried the solemn assurance of repentanceand his
fervent supplication for pardonto her sick-bed. I heardwith
pity and compassionthe repentant man devise a thousand little
plans for her comfort and support when he returned; but I knew
that many months before he could reach his place of destination


his mother would be no longer of this world.
'He was removed by night. A few weeks afterwards the poor
woman's soul took its flightI confidently hopeand solemnly
believeto a place of eternal happiness and rest. I performed the
burial service over her remains. She lies in our little churchyard.
There is no stone at her grave's head. Her sorrows were known to
man; her virtues to God.
'it had been arranged previously to the convict's departure
that he should write to his mother as soon as he could obtain
permissionand that the letter should be addressed to me. The
father had positively refused to see his son from the moment of
his apprehension; and it was a matter of indifference to him
whether he lived or died. Many years passed over without any
intelligence of him; and when more than half his term of
transportation had expiredand I had received no letterI concluded
him to be deadasindeedI almost hoped he might be.


'Edmundshoweverhad been sent a considerable distance up
the country on his arrival at the settlement; and to this circumstance
perhapsmay be attributed the factthat though several
letters were despatchednone of them ever reached my hands.
He remained in the same place during the whole fourteen years.
At the expiration of the termsteadily adhering to his old
resolution and the pledge he gave his motherhe made his way
back to England amidst innumerable difficultiesand returned
on footto his native place.


'On a fine Sunday eveningin the month of AugustJohn
Edmunds set foot in the village he had left with shame and
disgrace seventeen years before. His nearest way lay through the
churchyard. The man's heart swelled as he crossed the stile. The
tall old elmsthrough whose branches the declining sun cast here
and there a rich ray of light upon the shady partawakened the
associations of his earliest days. He pictured himself as he was
thenclinging to his mother's handand walking peacefully to
church. He remembered how he used to look up into her pale
face; and how her eyes would sometimes fill with tears as she
gazed upon his features--tears which fell hot upon his forehead
as she stooped to kiss himand made him weep tooalthough he
little knew then what bitter tears hers were. He thought how
often he had run merrily down that path with some childish
playfellowlooking backever and againto catch his mother's
smileor hear her gentle voice; and then a veil seemed lifted from
his memoryand words of kindness unrequitedand warnings
despisedand promises brokenthronged upon his recollection
till his heart failed himand he could bear it no longer.
'He entered the church. The evening service was concluded and
the congregation had dispersedbut it was not yet closed. His
steps echoed through the low building with a hollow soundand
he almost feared to be aloneit was so still and quiet. He looked
round him. Nothing was changed. The place seemed smaller than
it used to be; but there were the old monuments on which he had
gazed with childish awe a thousand times; the little pulpit with
its faded cushion; the Communion table before which he had so
often repeated the Commandments he had reverenced as a child
and forgotten as a man. He approached the old seat; it looked
cold and desolate. The cushion had been removedand the Bible
was not there. Perhaps his mother now occupied a poorer seator
possibly she had grown infirm and could not reach the church
alone. He dared not think of what he feared. A cold feeling crept
over himand he trembled violently as he turned away.
'An old man entered the porch just as he reached it. Edmunds
started backfor he knew him well; many a time he had watched
him digging graves in the churchyard. What would he say to the



returned convict?

'The old man raised his eyes to the stranger's facebade him
good-evening,and walked slowly on. He had forgotten him.

'He walked down the hilland through the village. The weather
was warmand the people were sitting at their doorsor strolling
in their little gardens as he passedenjoying the serenity of the
eveningand their rest from labour. Many a look was turned
towards himand many a doubtful glance he cast on either side
to see whether any knew and shunned him. There were strange
faces in almost every house; in some he recognised the burly form
of some old schoolfellow--a boy when he last saw him--surrounded
by a troop of merry children; in others he sawseated in
an easy-chair at a cottage doora feeble and infirm old man
whom he only remembered as a hale and hearty labourer; but
they had all forgotten himand he passed on unknown.

'The last soft light of the setting sun had fallen on the earth
casting a rich glow on the yellow corn sheavesand lengthening
the shadows of the orchard treesas he stood before the old house
--the home of his infancy--to which his heart had yearned with
an intensity of affection not to be describedthrough long and
weary years of captivity and sorrow. The paling was lowthough
he well remembered the time that it had seemed a high wall to
him; and he looked over into the old garden. There were more
seeds and gayer flowers than there used to bebut there were the
old trees still--the very tree under which he had lain a thousand
times when tired of playing in the sunand felt the softmild sleep
of happy boyhood steal gently upon him. There were voices
within the house. He listenedbut they fell strangely upon his ear;
he knew them not. They were merry too; and he well knew that
his poor old mother could not be cheerfuland he away. The door
openedand a group of little children bounded outshouting and
romping. The fatherwith a little boy in his armsappeared at the
doorand they crowded round himclapping their tiny hands
and dragging him outto join their joyous sports. The convict
thought on the many times he had shrunk from his father's sight
in that very place. He remembered how often he had buried his
trembling head beneath the bedclothesand heard the harsh word
and the hard stripeand his mother's wailing; and though the
man sobbed aloud with agony of mind as he left the spothis fist
was clenchedand his teeth were setin a fierce and deadly passion.

'And such was the return to which he had looked through the
weary perspective of many yearsand for which he had undergone
so much suffering! No face of welcomeno look of forgiveness
no house to receiveno hand to help him--and this too in the old
village. What was his loneliness in the wildthick woodswhere
man was never seento this!

'He felt that in the distant land of his bondage and infamyhe
had thought of his native place as it was when he left it; and not
as it would be when he returned. The sad reality struck coldly at
his heartand his spirit sank within him. He had not courage to
make inquiriesor to present himself to the only person who was
likely to receive him with kindness and compassion. He walked
slowly on; and shunning the roadside like a guilty manturned
into a meadow he well remembered; and covering his face with
his handsthrew himself upon the grass.

'He had not observed that a man was lying on the bank beside
him; his garments rustled as he turned round to steal a look at
the new-comer; and Edmunds raised his head.


'The man had moved into a sitting posture. His body was much
bentand his face was wrinkled and yellow. His dress denoted
him an inmate of the workhouse: he had the appearance of being
very oldbut it looked more the effect of dissipation or disease
than the length of years. He was staring hard at the strangerand
though his eyes were lustreless and heavy at firstthey appeared
to glow with an unnatural and alarmed expression after they had
been fixed upon him for a short timeuntil they seemed to be
starting from their sockets. Edmunds gradually raised himself to
his kneesand looked more and more earnestly on the old man's
face. They gazed upon each other in silence.

'The old man was ghastly pale. He shuddered and tottered to
his feet. Edmunds sprang to his. He stepped back a pace or two.
Edmunds advanced.

'"Let me hear you speak said the convict, in a thick, broken voice.

'Stand off!" cried the old manwith a dreadful oath. The
convict drew closer to him.

'"Stand off!" shrieked the old man. Furious with terrorhe
raised his stickand struck Edmunds a heavy blow across the face.

'"Father--devil!" murmured the convict between his set
teeth. He rushed wildly forwardand clenched the old man by
the throat--but he was his father; and his arm fell powerless by
his side.

'The old man uttered a loud yell which rang through the
lonely fields like the howl of an evil spirit. His face turned black
the gore rushed from his mouth and noseand dyed the grass a
deepdark redas he staggered and fell. He had ruptured a
blood-vesseland he was a dead man before his son could raise him.
'In that corner of the churchyard' said the old gentlemanafter
a silence of a few moments'in that corner of the churchyard of
which I have before spokenthere lies buried a man who was in
my employment for three years after this eventand who was
truly contritepenitentand humbledif ever man was. No one
save myself knew in that man's lifetime who he wasor whence he
came--it was John Edmundsthe returned convict.'

CHAPTER VII

HOW Mr. WINKLEINSTEAD OF SHOOTING AT THE PIGEON
AND KILLING THE CROWSHOT AT THE CROW AND
WOUNDED THE PIGEON; HOW THE DINGLEY DELL
CRICKET CLUB PLAYED ALL-MUGGLETONAND HOW ALLMUGGLETON
DINED AT THE DINGLEY DELL EXPENSE;
WITH OTHER INTERESTING AND INSTRUCTIVE MATTERS

The fatiguing adventures of the day or the somniferous influence
of the clergyman's tale operated so strongly on the drowsy
tendencies of Mr. Pickwickthat in less than five minutes
after he had been shown to his comfortable bedroom he fell
into a sound and dreamless sleepfrom which he was only awakened
by the morning sun darting his bright beams reproachfully into the
apartment. Mr. Pickwick was no sluggardand he sprang like an
ardent warrior from his tent-bedstead.

'Pleasantpleasant country' sighed the enthusiastic gentleman


as he opened his lattice window. 'Who could live to gaze from
day to day on bricks and slates who had once felt the influence of
a scene like this? Who could continue to exist where there are no
cows but the cows on the chimney-pots; nothing redolent of Pan
but pan-tiles; no crop but stone crop? Who could bear to drag
out a life in such a spot? WhoI askcould endure it?' and
having cross-examined solitude after the most approved precedents
at considerable lengthMr. Pickwick thrust his head out
of the lattice and looked around him.

The richsweet smell of the hay-ricks rose to his chamber
window; the hundred perfumes of the little flower-garden
beneath scented the air around; the deep-green meadows shone
in the morning dew that glistened on every leaf as it trembled
in the gentle air; and the birds sang as if every sparkling drop
were to them a fountain of inspiration. Mr. Pickwick fell into an
enchanting and delicious reverie.

'Hollo!' was the sound that roused him.

He looked to the rightbut he saw nobody; his eyes wandered
to the leftand pierced the prospect; he stared into the skybut he
wasn't wanted there; and then he did what a common mind
would have done at once--looked into the gardenand there saw
Mr. Wardle.
'How are you?' said the good-humoured individualout of
breath with his own anticipations of pleasure.'Beautiful morning
ain't it? Glad to see you up so early. Make haste downand
come out. I'll wait for you here.'
Mr. Pickwick needed no second invitation. Ten minutes
sufficed for the completion of his toiletand at the expiration of
that time he was by the old gentleman's side.

'Hollo!' said Mr. Pickwick in his turnseeing that his
companion was armed with a gunand that another lay ready on the
grass; 'what's going forward?'

'Whyyour friend and I' replied the host'are going out rookshooting
before breakfast. He's a very good shotain't he?'

'I've heard him say he's a capital one' replied Mr. Pickwick
'but I never saw him aim at anything.'

'Well' said the host'I wish he'd come. Joe--Joe!'

The fat boywho under the exciting influence of the morning
did not appear to be more than three parts and a fraction asleep
emerged from the house.

'Go upand call the gentlemanand tell him he'll find me and
Mr. Pickwick in the rookery. Show the gentleman the way there;
d'ye hear?'

The boy departed to execute his commission; and the host
carrying both guns like a second Robinson Crusoeled the way
from the garden.

'This is the place' said the old gentlemanpausing after a few
minutes walkingin an avenue of trees. The information was
unnecessary; for the incessant cawing of the unconscious rooks
sufficiently indicated their whereabouts.

The old gentleman laid one gun on the groundand loaded the other.


'Here they are' said Mr. Pickwick; andas he spokethe
forms of Mr. TupmanMr. Snodgrassand Mr. Winkle appeared
in the distance. The fat boynot being quite certain which
gentleman he was directed to callhad with peculiar sagacityand
to prevent the possibility of any mistakecalled them all.

'Come along' shouted the old gentlemanaddressing Mr.
Winkle; 'a keen hand like you ought to have been up long ago
even to such poor work as this.'

Mr. Winkle responded with a forced smileand took up the
spare gun with an expression of countenance which a metaphysical
rookimpressed with a foreboding of his approaching
death by violencemay be supposed to assume. It might have
been keennessbut it looked remarkably like misery.
The old gentleman nodded; and two ragged boys who had
been marshalled to the spot under the direction of the infant
Lambertforthwith commenced climbing up two of the trees.
'What are these lads for?' inquired Mr. Pickwick abruptly. He
was rather alarmed; for he was not quite certain but that the
distress of the agricultural interestabout which he had often
heard a great dealmight have compelled the small boys attached
to the soil to earn a precarious and hazardous subsistence by
making marks of themselves for inexperienced sportsmen.
'Only to start the game' replied Mr. Wardlelaughing.

'To what?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Whyin plain Englishto frighten the rooks.'

'Ohis that all?'

'You are satisfied?'

'Quite.'

'Very well. Shall I begin?'

'If you please' said Mr. Winkleglad of any respite.

'Stand asidethen. Now for it.'

The boy shoutedand shook a branch with a nest on it. Half a
dozen young rooks in violent conversationflew out to ask what
the matter was. The old gentleman fired by way of reply. Down
fell one birdand off flew the others.

'Take him upJoe' said the old gentleman.

There was a smile upon the youth's face as he advanced.
Indistinct visions of rook-pie floated through his imagination.
He laughed as he retired with the bird--it was a plump one.

'NowMr. Winkle' said the hostreloading his own gun.
'Fire away.'

Mr. Winkle advancedand levelled his gun. Mr. Pickwick and
his friends cowered involuntarily to escape damage from the
heavy fall of rookswhich they felt quite certain would be
occasioned by the devastating barrel of their friend. There was a
solemn pause--a shout--a flapping of wings--a faint click.

'Hollo!' said the old gentleman.


'Won't it go?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Missed fire' said Mr. Winklewho was very pale--probably
from disappointment.

'Odd' said the old gentlemantaking the gun. 'Never knew one
of them miss fire before. WhyI don't see anything of the cap.'
'Bless my soul!' said Mr. Winkle'I declare I forgot the cap!'

The slight omission was rectified. Mr. Pickwick crouched
again. Mr. Winkle stepped forward with an air of determination
and resolution; and Mr. Tupman looked out from behind a tree.
The boy shouted; four birds flew out. Mr. Winkle fired. There
was a scream as of an individual--not a rook--in corporal
anguish. Mr. Tupman had saved the lives of innumerable
unoffending birds by receiving a portion of the charge in his left arm.

To describe the confusion that ensued would be impossible.
To tell how Mr. Pickwick in the first transports of emotion called
Mr. Winkle 'Wretch!' how Mr. Tupman lay prostrate on the
ground; and how Mr. Winkle knelt horror-stricken beside him;
how Mr. Tupman called distractedly upon some feminine
Christian nameand then opened first one eyeand then the
otherand then fell back and shut them both--all this would be
as difficult to describe in detailas it would be to depict the
gradual recovering of the unfortunate individualthe binding up
of his arm with pocket-handkerchiefsand the conveying him
back by slow degrees supported by the arms of his anxious friends.

They drew near the house. The ladies were at the garden gate
waiting for their arrival and their breakfast. The spinster aunt
appeared; she smiledand beckoned them to walk quicker. 'Twas
evident she knew not of the disaster. Poor thing! there are times
when ignorance is bliss indeed.

They approached nearer.

'Whywhat is the matter with the little old gentleman?' said
Isabella Wardle. The spinster aunt heeded not the remark; she
thought it applied to Mr. Pickwick. In her eyes Tracy Tupman
was a youth; she viewed his years through a diminishing glass.

'Don't be frightened' called out the old hostfearful of
alarming his daughters. The little party had crowded so
completely round Mr. Tupmanthat they could not yet clearly
discern the nature of the accident.

'Don't be frightened' said the host.

'What's the matter?' screamed the ladies.

'Mr. Tupman has met with a little accident; that's all.'

The spinster aunt uttered a piercing screamburst into an
hysteric laughand fell backwards in the arms of her nieces.

'Throw some cold water over her' said the old gentleman.

'Nono' murmured the spinster aunt; 'I am better now.
BellaEmily--a surgeon! Is he wounded?--Is he dead?--Is
he-- Hahaha!' Here the spinster aunt burst into fit number
twoof hysteric laughter interspersed with screams.

'Calm yourself' said Mr. Tupmanaffected almost to tears by


this expression of sympathy with his sufferings. 'Deardear
madamcalm yourself.'


'It is his voice!' exclaimed the spinster aunt; and strong
symptoms of fit number three developed themselves forthwith.


'Do not agitate yourselfI entreat youdearest madam' said
Mr. Tupman soothingly. 'I am very little hurtI assure you.'


'Then you are not dead!' ejaculated the hysterical lady. 'Oh
say you are not dead!'


'Don't be a foolRachael' interposed Mr. Wardlerather
more roughly than was consistent with the poetic nature of the
scene. 'What the devil's the use of his saying he isn't dead?'


'NonoI am not' said Mr. Tupman. 'I require no assistance
but yours. Let me lean on your arm.' He addedin a whisper
'OhMiss Rachael!' The agitated female advancedand offered
her arm. They turned into the breakfast parlour. Mr. Tracy
Tupman gently pressed her hand to his lipsand sank upon the sofa.


'Are you faint?' inquired the anxious Rachael.


'No' said Mr. Tupman. 'It is nothing. I shall be better
presently.' He closed his eyes.


'He sleeps' murmured the spinster aunt. (His organs of vision
had been closed nearly twenty seconds.) 'Dear--dear--Mr. Tupman!'


Mr. Tupman jumped up--'Ohsay those words again!' he exclaimed.


The lady started. 'Surely you did not hear them!' she
said bashfully.


'OhyesI did!' replied Mr. Tupman; 'repeat them. If you
would have me recoverrepeat them.'
'Hush!' said the lady. 'My brother.'
Mr. Tracy Tupman resumed his former position; and Mr.
Wardleaccompanied by a surgeonentered the room.


The arm was examinedthe wound dressedand pronounced
to be a very slight one; and the minds of the company having
been thus satisfiedthey proceeded to satisfy their appetites with
countenances to which an expression of cheerfulness was again
restored. Mr. Pickwick alone was silent and reserved. Doubt and
distrust were exhibited in his countenance. His confidence in
Mr. Winkle had been shaken--greatly shaken--by the proceedings
of the morning.
'Are you a cricketer?' inquired Mr. Wardle of the marksman.


At any other timeMr. Winkle would have replied in the
affirmative. He felt the delicacy of his situationand modestly
replied'No.'


'Are yousir?' inquired Mr. Snodgrass.


'I was once upon a time' replied the host; 'but I have given it
up now. I subscribe to the club herebut I don't play.'


'The grand match is played to-dayI believe' said Mr. Pickwick.


'It is' replied the host. 'Of course you would like to see it.'



'Isir' replied Mr. Pickwick'am delighted to view any sports
which may be safely indulged inand in which the impotent
effects of unskilful people do not endanger human life.' Mr.
Pickwick pausedand looked steadily on Mr. Winklewho
quailed beneath his leader's searching glance. The great man
withdrew his eyes after a few minutesand added: 'Shall we be
justified in leaving our wounded friend to the care of the ladies?'

'You cannot leave me in better hands' said Mr. Tupman.

'Quite impossible' said Mr. Snodgrass.

It was therefore settled that Mr. Tupman should be left at
home in charge of the females; and that the remainder of the
guestsunder the guidance of Mr. Wardleshould proceed to the
spot where was to be held that trial of skillwhich had roused all
Muggleton from its torporand inoculated Dingley Dell with a
fever of excitement.

As their walkwhich was not above two miles longlay
through shady lanes and sequestered footpathsand as their
conversation turned upon the delightful scenery by which they
were on every side surroundedMr. Pickwick was almost
inclined to regret the expedition they had usedwhen he found
himself in the main street of the town of Muggleton.
Everybody whose genius has a topographical bent knows
perfectly well that Muggleton is a corporate townwith a mayor
burgessesand freemen; and anybody who has consulted the
addresses of the mayor to the freemenor the freemen to the
mayoror both to the corporationor all three to Parliamentwill
learn from thence what they ought to have known beforethat
Muggleton is an ancient and loyal boroughmingling a zealous
advocacy of Christian principles with a devoted attachment to
commercial rights; in demonstration whereofthe mayor
corporationand other inhabitantshave presented at divers
timesno fewer than one thousand four hundred and twenty
petitions against the continuance of negro slavery abroadand
an equal number against any interference with the factory system
at home; sixty-eight in favour of the sale of livings in the Church
and eighty-six for abolishing Sunday trading in the street.

Mr. Pickwick stood in the principal street of this illustrious
townand gazed with an air of curiositynot unmixed with
intereston the objects around him. There was an open square
for the market-place; and in the centre of ita large inn with a
sign-post in frontdisplaying an object very common in artbut
rarely met with in nature--to wita blue lionwith three bow legs
in the airbalancing himself on the extreme point of the centre
claw of his fourth foot. There werewithin sightan auctioneer's
and fire-agency officea corn-factor'sa linen-draper'sa
saddler'sa distiller'sa grocer'sand a shoe-shop--the lastmentioned
warehouse being also appropriated to the diffusion of
hatsbonnetswearing apparelcotton umbrellasand useful
knowledge. There was a red brick house with a small paved
courtyard in frontwhich anybody might have known belonged
to the attorney; and there wasmoreoveranother red brick
house with Venetian blindsand a large brass door-plate with a
very legible announcement that it belonged to the surgeon. A few
boys were making their way to the cricket-field; and two or three
shopkeepers who were standing at their doors looked as if they
should like to be making their way to the same spotas indeed to
all appearance they might have donewithout losing any great
amount of custom thereby. Mr. Pickwick having paused to make
these observationsto be noted down at a more convenient


periodhastened to rejoin his friendswho had turned out
of the main streetand were already within sight of the field
of battle.

The wickets were pitchedand so were a couple of marquees
for the rest and refreshment of the contending parties. The game
had not yet commenced. Two or three Dingley Dellersand All-
Muggletonianswere amusing themselves with a majestic air by
throwing the ball carelessly from hand to hand; and several other
gentlemen dressed like themin straw hatsflannel jacketsand
white trousers--a costume in which they looked very much like
amateur stone-masons--were sprinkled about the tentstowards
one of which Mr. Wardle conducted the party.

Several dozen of 'How-are-you's?' hailed the old gentleman's
arrival; and a general raising of the straw hatsand bending
forward of the flannel jacketsfollowed his introduction of his
guests as gentlemen from Londonwho were extremely anxious
to witness the proceedings of the daywith whichhe had no
doubtthey would be greatly delighted.

'You had better step into the marqueeI thinkSir' said one
very stout gentlemanwhose body and legs looked like half a
gigantic roll of flannelelevated on a couple of inflated pillow-cases.

'You'll find it much pleasanterSir' urged another stout
gentlemanwho strongly resembled the other half of the roll of
flannel aforesaid.

'You're very good' said Mr. Pickwick.

'This way' said the first speaker; 'they notch in here--it's the
best place in the whole field;' and the cricketerpanting on before
preceded them to the tent.

'Capital game--smart sport--fine exercise--very' were the
words which fell upon Mr. Pickwick's ear as he entered the tent;
and the first object that met his eyes was his green-coated friend
of the Rochester coachholding forthto the no small delight and
edification of a select circle of the chosen of All-Muggleton. His
dress was slightly improvedand he wore boots; but there was no
mistaking him.

The stranger recognised his friends immediately; anddarting
forward and seizing Mr. Pickwick by the handdragged him to a
seat with his usual impetuositytalking all the while as if the
whole of the arrangements were under his especial patronage
and direction.

'This way--this way--capital fun--lots of beer--hogsheads;
rounds of beef--bullocks; mustard--cart-loads; glorious day-down
with you--make yourself at home--glad to see you-very.'


Mr. Pickwick sat down as he was bidand Mr. Winkle and
Mr. Snodgrass also complied with the directions of their
mysterious friend. Mr. Wardle looked on in silent wonder.

'Mr. Wardle--a friend of mine' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Friend of yours!--My dear sirhow are you?--Friend of my
friend's--give me your handsir'--and the stranger grasped
Mr. Wardle's hand with all the fervour of a close intimacy of
many yearsand then stepped back a pace or two as if to take a


full survey of his face and figureand then shook hands with him
againif possiblemore warmly than before.

'Well; and how came you here?' said Mr. Pickwickwith a
smile in which benevolence struggled with surprise.
'Come' replied the stranger--'stopping at Crown--Crown at
Muggleton--met a party--flannel jackets--white trousers-anchovy
sandwiches--devilled kidney--splendid fellows--glorious.'

Mr. Pickwick was sufficiently versed in the stranger's system of
stenography to infer from this rapid and disjointed communication
that he hadsomehow or othercontracted an acquaintance
with the All-Muggletonswhich he had convertedby a process
peculiar to himselfinto that extent of good-fellowship on which
a general invitation may be easily founded. His curiosity was
therefore satisfiedand putting on his spectacles he prepared
himself to watch the play which was just commencing.

All-Muggleton had the first innings; and the interest became
intense when Mr. Dumkins and Mr. Poddertwo of the most
renowned members of that most distinguished clubwalkedbat
in handto their respective wickets. Mr. Luffeythe highest
ornament of Dingley Dellwas pitched to bowl against the
redoubtable Dumkinsand Mr. Struggles was selected to do the
same kind office for the hitherto unconquered Podder. Several
players were stationedto 'look out' in different parts of the
fieldand each fixed himself into the proper attitude by placing
one hand on each kneeand stooping very much as if he were
'making a back' for some beginner at leap-frog. All the regular
players do this sort of thing;--indeed it is generally supposed that
it is quite impossible to look out properly in any other position.

The umpires were stationed behind the wickets; the scorers
were prepared to notch the runs; a breathless silence ensued.
Mr. Luffey retired a few paces behind the wicket of the passive
Podderand applied the ball to his right eye for several seconds.
Dumkins confidently awaited its coming with his eyes fixed on the
motions of Luffey.

'Play!' suddenly cried the bowler. The ball flew from his hand
straight and swift towards the centre stump of the wicket. The
wary Dumkins was on the alert: it fell upon the tip of the batand
bounded far away over the heads of the scoutswho had just
stooped low enough to let it fly over them.

'Run--run--another.--Nowthen throw her up--up with her--stop
there--another--no--yes--no--throw her upthrow her
up!'--Such were the shouts which followed the stroke; and at the
conclusion of which All-Muggleton had scored two. Nor was
Podder behindhand in earning laurels wherewith to garnish
himself and Muggleton. He blocked the doubtful ballsmissed the
bad onestook the good onesand sent them flying to all parts of
the field. The scouts were hot and tired; the bowlers were
changed and bowled till their arms ached; but Dumkins and
Podder remained unconquered. Did an elderly gentleman essay
to stop the progress of the ballit rolled between his legs or
slipped between his fingers. Did a slim gentleman try to catch it
it struck him on the noseand bounded pleasantly off with
redoubled violencewhile the slim gentleman's eyes filled with
waterand his form writhed with anguish. Was it thrown straight
up to the wicketDumkins had reached it before the ball. In
shortwhen Dumkins was caught outand Podder stumped out
All-Muggleton had notched some fifty-fourwhile the score of
the Dingley Dellers was as blank as their faces. The advantage


was too great to be recovered. In vain did the eager Luffeyand
the enthusiastic Strugglesdo all that skill and experience could
suggestto regain the ground Dingley Dell had lost in the contest
--it was of no avail; and in an early period of the winning game
Dingley Dell gave inand allowed the superior prowess of All-Muggleton.


The strangermeanwhilehad been eatingdrinkingand
talkingwithout cessation. At every good stroke he expressed his
satisfaction and approval of the player in a most condescending
and patronising mannerwhich could not fail to have been
highly gratifying to the party concerned; while at every bad
attempt at a catchand every failure to stop the ballhe launched
his personal displeasure at the head of the devoted individual in
such denunciations as--'Ahah!--stupid'--'Nowbutter-
fingers'--'Muff'--'Humbug'--and so forth--ejaculations which
seemed to establish him in the opinion of all aroundas a most
excellent and undeniable judge of the whole art and mystery of
the noble game of cricket.


'Capital game--well played--some strokes admirable' said the
strangeras both sides crowded into the tentat the conclusion of
the game.


'You have played itsir?' inquired Mr. Wardlewho had been
much amused by his loquacity.
'Played it! Think I have--thousands of times--not here--West
Indies--exciting thing--hot work--very.'
'It must be rather a warm pursuit in such a climate' observed
Mr. Pickwick.


'Warm!--red hot--scorching--glowing. Played a match once--single wicket--friend the
colonel--Sir Thomas Blazo--who
should get the greatest number of runs.--Won the toss--first
innings--seven o'clock A.m.--six natives to look out--went in;
kept in--heat intense--natives all fainted--taken away--fresh
half-dozen ordered--fainted also--Blazo bowling--supported by
two natives--couldn't bowl me out--fainted too--cleared away
the colonel--wouldn't give in--faithful attendant--Quanko
Samba--last man left--sun so hotbat in blistersball scorched
brown--five hundred and seventy runs--rather exhausted--
Quanko mustered up last remaining strength--bowled me out--
had a bathand went out to dinner.'


'And what became of what's-his-nameSir?' inquired an
old gentleman.


'Blazo?'


'No--the other gentleman.'
'Quanko Samba?'


'Yessir.'


'Poor Quanko--never recovered it--bowled onon my account
--bowled offon his own--diedsir.' Here the stranger buried his
countenance in a brown jugbut whether to hide his emotion or
imbibe its contentswe cannot distinctly affirm. We only know
that he paused suddenlydrew a long and deep breathand
looked anxiously onas two of the principal members of the
Dingley Dell club approached Mr. Pickwickand said--


'We are about to partake of a plain dinner at the Blue Lion
Sir; we hope you and your friends will join us.'
'Of course' said Mr. Wardle'among our friends we include



Mr.--;' and he looked towards the stranger.

'Jingle' said that versatile gentlemantaking the hint at once.
'Jingle--Alfred JingleEsq.of No HallNowhere.'

'I shall be very happyI am sure' said Mr. Pickwick.
'So shall I' said Mr. Alfred Jingledrawing one arm through
Mr. Pickwick'sand another through Mr. Wardle'sas he
whispered confidentially in the ear of the former gentleman:-


'Devilish good dinner--coldbut capital--peeped into the
room this morning--fowls and piesand all that sort of thing-pleasant
fellows these--well behavedtoo--very.'

There being no further preliminaries to arrangethe company
straggled into the town in little knots of twos and threes; and
within a quarter of an hour were all seated in the great room of
the Blue Lion InnMuggleton--Mr. Dumkins acting as chairman
and Mr. Luffey officiating as vice.

There was a vast deal of talking and rattling of knives and
forksand plates; a great running about of three ponderousheaded
waitersand a rapid disappearance of the substantial
viands on the table; to each and every of which item of confusion
the facetious Mr. Jingle lent the aid of half-a-dozen ordinary men
at least. When everybody had eaten as much as possiblethe cloth
was removedbottlesglassesand dessert were placed on the
table; and the waiters withdrew to 'clear away'or in other words
to appropriate to their own private use and emolument whatever
remnants of the eatables and drinkables they could contrive to
lay their hands on.

Amidst the general hum of mirth and conversation that ensued
there was a little man with a puffy Say-nothing-to-me-or-I'llcontradict-
you sort of countenancewho remained very quiet;
occasionally looking round him when the conversation slackened
as if he contemplated putting in something very weighty; and
now and then bursting into a short cough of inexpressible
grandeur. At lengthduring a moment of comparative silencethe
little man called out in a very loudsolemn voice-


'Mr. Luffey!'

Everybody was hushed into a profound stillness as the individual
addressedreplied-


'Sir!'

'I wish to address a few words to youSirif you will entreat the
gentlemen to fill their glasses.'

Mr. Jingle uttered a patronising 'Hearhear' which was
responded to by the remainder of the company; and the glasses
having been filledthe vice-president assumed an air of wisdom
in a state of profound attention; and said-


'Mr. Staple.'

'Sir' said the little manrising'I wish to address what I have
to say to you and not to our worthy chairmanbecause our
worthy chairman is in some measure--I may say in a great degree
--the subject of what I have to sayor I may say to--to--'
'State' suggested Mr. Jingle.


'Yesto state' said the little man'I thank my honourable
friendif he will allow me to call him so (four hears and one
certainly from Mr. Jingle)for the suggestion. SirI am a Deller
--a Dingley Deller (cheers). I cannot lay claim to the honour of
forming an item in the population of Muggleton; norSirI will
frankly admitdo I covet that honour: and I will tell you whySir
(hear); to Muggleton I will readily concede all these honours and
distinctions to which it can fairly lay claim--they are too numerous
and too well known to require aid or recapitulation from me.
Butsirwhile we remember that Muggleton has given birth to a
Dumkins and a Podderlet us never forget that Dingley Dell can
boast a Luffey and a Struggles. (Vociferous cheering.) Let me not
be considered as wishing to detract from the merits of the former
gentlemen. SirI envy them the luxury of their own feelings on
this occasion. (Cheers.) Every gentleman who hears meis
probably acquainted with the reply made by an individualwho
--to use an ordinary figure of speech--"hung out" in a tubto
the emperor Alexander:--"if I were not Diogenes said he, I
would be Alexander." I can well imagine these gentlemen to say
If I were not Dumkins I would be Luffey; if I were not Podder
I would be Struggles.(Enthusiasm.) Butgentlemen of Muggleton
is it in cricket alone that your fellow-townsmen stand pre-eminent?
Have you never heard of Dumkins and determination?
Have you never been taught to associate Podder with property?
(Great applause.) Have you neverwhen struggling for your
rightsyour libertiesand your privilegesbeen reducedif only
for an instantto misgiving and despair? And when you have
been thus depressedhas not the name of Dumkins laid afresh
within your breast the fire which had just gone out; and has not a
word from that man lighted it again as brightly as if it had never
expired? (Great cheering.) GentlemenI beg to surround with a
rich halo of enthusiastic cheering the united names of "Dumkins
and Podder."'

Here the little man ceasedand here the company commenced
a raising of voicesand thumping of tableswhich lasted with
little intermission during the remainder of the evening. Other
toasts were drunk. Mr. Luffey and Mr. StrugglesMr. Pickwick
and Mr. Jinglewereeach in his turnthe subject of unqualified
eulogium; and each in due course returned thanks for the honour.

Enthusiastic as we are in the noble cause to which we have
devoted ourselveswe should have felt a sensation of pride which
we cannot expressand a consciousness of having done something
to merit immortality of which we are now deprivedcould we
have laid the faintest outline on these addresses before our ardent
readers. Mr. Snodgrassas usualtook a great mass of notes
which would no doubt have afforded most useful and valuable
informationhad not the burning eloquence of the words or the
feverish influence of the wine made that gentleman's hand so
extremely unsteadyas to render his writing nearly unintelligible
and his style wholly so. By dint of patient investigationwe have
been enabled to trace some characters bearing a faint resemblance
to the names of the speakers; and we can only discern an entry of
a song (supposed to have been sung by Mr. Jingle)in which the
words 'bowl' 'sparkling' 'ruby' 'bright' and 'wine' are frequently
repeated at short intervals. We fancytoothat we can discern at
the very end of the notessome indistinct reference to 'broiled
bones'; and then the words 'cold' 'without' occur: but as any
hypothesis we could found upon them must necessarily rest upon
mere conjecturewe are not disposed to indulge in any of the
speculations to which they may give rise.

We will therefore return to Mr. Tupman; merely adding that


within some few minutes before twelve o'clock that nightthe
convocation of worthies of Dingley Dell and Muggleton were
heard to singwith great feeling and emphasisthe beautiful and
pathetic national air of

'We won't go home till morning
We won't go home till morning
We won't go home till morning
Till daylight doth appear.'


CHAPTER VIII
STRONGLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE POSITIONTHAT THE
COURSE OF TRUE LOVE IS NOT A RAILWAY

The quiet seclusion of Dingley Dellthe presence of so many
of the gentler sexand the solicitude and anxiety they evinced
in his behalfwere all favourable to the growth and development
of those softer feelings which nature had implanted deep in the
bosom of Mr. Tracy Tupmanand which now appeared destined to
centre in one lovely object. The young ladies were pretty
their manners winningtheir dispositions unexceptionable; but
there was a dignity in the aira touch-me-not-ishness in the
walka majesty in the eyeof the spinster auntto whichat their
time of lifethey could lay no claimwhich distinguished her
from any female on whom Mr. Tupman had ever gazed. That there
was something kindred in their naturesomething congenial in
their soulssomething mysteriously sympathetic in their bosoms
was evident. Her name was the first that rose to Mr. Tupman's
lips as he lay wounded on the grass; and her hysteric laughter
was the first sound that fell upon his ear when he was supported
to the house. But had her agitation arisen from an amiable and
feminine sensibility which would have been equally irrepressible
in any case; or had it been called forth by a more ardent and
passionate feelingwhich heof all men livingcould alone
awaken? These were the doubts which racked his brain as he lay
extended on the sofa; these were the doubts which he determined
should be at once and for ever resolved.

it was evening. Isabella and Emily had strolled out with
Mr. Trundle; the deaf old lady had fallen asleep in her chair; the
snoring of the fat boypenetrated in a low and monotonous
sound from the distant kitchen; the buxom servants were
lounging at the side doorenjoying the pleasantness of the hour
and the delights of a flirtationon first principleswith certain
unwieldy animals attached to the farm; and there sat the interesting
pairuncared for by allcaring for noneand dreaming only
of themselves; there they satin shortlike a pair of carefullyfolded
kid gloves--bound up in each other.

'I have forgotten my flowers' said the spinster aunt.

'Water them now' said Mr. Tupmanin accents of persuasion.

'You will take cold in the evening air' urged the spinster aunt
affectionately.

'Nono' said Mr. Tupmanrising; 'it will do me good. Let me
accompany you.'

The lady paused to adjust the sling in which the left arm of the
youth was placedand taking his right arm led him to the garden.


There was a bower at the farther endwith honeysuckle
jessamineand creeping plants--one of those sweet retreats
which humane men erect for the accommodation of spiders.


The spinster aunt took up a large watering-pot which lay in
one cornerand was about to leave the arbour. Mr. Tupman
detained herand drew her to a seat beside him.


'Miss Wardle!' said he.
The spinster aunt trembledtill some pebbles which had
accidentally found their way into the large watering-pot shook
like an infant's rattle.


'Miss Wardle' said Mr. Tupman'you are an angel.'


'Mr. Tupman!' exclaimed Rachaelblushing as red as the
watering-pot itself.


'Nay' said the eloquent Pickwickian--'I know it but too well.'


'All women are angelsthey say' murmured the lady playfully.


'Then what can you be; or to whatwithout presumptioncan
I compare you?' replied Mr. Tupman. 'Where was the woman
ever seen who resembled you? Where else could I hope to find so
rare a combination of excellence and beauty? Where else could
I seek to-- Oh!' Here Mr. Tupman pausedand pressed the
hand which clasped the handle of the happy watering-pot.


The lady turned aside her head. 'Men are such deceivers' she
softly whispered.


'They arethey are' ejaculated Mr. Tupman; 'but not all men.
There lives at least one being who can never change--one being
who would be content to devote his whole existence to your
happiness--who lives but in your eyes--who breathes but in your
smiles--who bears the heavy burden of life itself only for you.'


'Could such an individual be found--' said the lady.


'But he CAN be found' said the ardent Mr. Tupmaninterposing.
'He IS found. He is hereMiss Wardle.' And ere the lady
was aware of his intentionMr. Tupman had sunk upon his knees
at her feet.


'Mr. Tupmanrise' said Rachael.


'Never!' was the valorous reply. 'OhRachael!' He seized her
passive handand the watering-pot fell to the ground as he
pressed it to his lips.--'OhRachael! say you love me.'


'Mr. Tupman' said the spinster auntwith averted head'I
can hardly speak the words; but--but--you are not wholly
indifferent to me.'


Mr. Tupman no sooner heard this avowalthan he proceeded
to do what his enthusiastic emotions promptedand whatfor
aught we know (for we are but little acquainted with such
matters)people so circumstanced always do. He jumped upand
throwing his arm round the neck of the spinster auntimprinted
upon her lips numerous kisseswhich after a due show of
struggling and resistanceshe received so passivelythat there is
no telling how many more Mr. Tupman might have bestowedif
the lady had not given a very unaffected startand exclaimed in



an affrighted tone-


'Mr. Tupmanwe are observed!--we are discovered!'

Mr. Tupman looked round. There was the fat boyperfectly
motionlesswith his large circular eyes staring into the arbourbut
without the slightest expression on his face that the most expert
physiognomist could have referred to astonishmentcuriosityor
any other known passion that agitates the human breast. Mr.
Tupman gazed on the fat boyand the fat boy stared at him; and
the longer Mr. Tupman observed the utter vacancy of the fat
boy's countenancethe more convinced he became that he either
did not knowor did not understandanything that had been
going forward. Under this impressionhe said with great firmness-


'What do you want hereSir?'

'Supper's readysir' was the prompt reply.

'Have you just come heresir?' inquired Mr. Tupmanwith a
piercing look.

'Just' replied the fat boy.

Mr. Tupman looked at him very hard again; but there was not
a wink in his eyeor a curve in his face.

Mr. Tupman took the arm of the spinster auntand walked
towards the house; the fat boy followed behind.

'He knows nothing of what has happened'he whispered.

'Nothing' said the spinster aunt.

There was a sound behind themas of an imperfectly suppressed
chuckle. Mr. Tupman turned sharply round. No; it could not
have been the fat boy; there was not a gleam of mirthor anything
but feeding in his whole visage.

'He must have been fast asleep' whispered Mr. Tupman.

'I have not the least doubt of it' replied the spinster aunt.

They both laughed heartily.

MrTupman was wrong. The fat boyfor oncehad not been
fast asleep. He was awake--wide awake--to what had been going forward.

The supper passed off without any attempt at a general
conversation. The old lady had gone to bed; Isabella Wardle
devoted herself exclusively to Mr. Trundle; the spinster's attentions
were reserved for Mr. Tupman; and Emily's thoughts
appeared to be engrossed by some distant object--possibly they
were with the absent Snodgrass.

Eleven--twelve--one o'clock had struckand the gentlemen
had not arrived. Consternation sat on every face. Could they
have been waylaid and robbed? Should they send men and
lanterns in every direction by which they could be supposed
likely to have travelled home? or should they-- Hark! there
they were. What could have made them so late? A strange voice
too! To whom could it belong? They rushed into the kitchen
whither the truants had repairedand at once obtained rather
more than a glimmering of the real state of the case.


Mr. Pickwickwith his hands in his pockets and his hat
cocked completely over his left eyewas leaning against the
dressershaking his head from side to sideand producing a
constant succession of the blandest and most benevolent smiles
without being moved thereunto by any discernible cause or
pretence whatsoever; old Mr. Wardlewith a highly-inflamed
countenancewas grasping the hand of a strange gentleman
muttering protestations of eternal friendship; Mr. Winkle
supporting himself by the eight-day clockwas feebly invoking
destruction upon the head of any member of the family who
should suggest the propriety of his retiring for the night; and
Mr. Snodgrass had sunk into a chairwith an expression of the
most abject and hopeless misery that the human mind can
imagineportrayed in every lineament of his expressive face.


'is anything the matter?' inquired the three ladies.


'Nothing the matter' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'We--we're--all
right.--I sayWardlewe're all rightain't we?'


'I should think so' replied the jolly host.--'My dearshere's my
friend Mr. Jingle--Mr. Pickwick's friendMr. Jinglecome 'pon
--little visit.'


'Is anything the matter with Mr. SnodgrassSir?' inquired
Emilywith great anxiety.


'Nothing the matterma'am' replied the stranger. 'Cricket
dinner--glorious party--capital songs--old port--claret--good
--very good--winema'am--wine.'


'It wasn't the wine' murmured Mr. Snodgrassin a broken
voice. 'It was the salmon.' (Somehow or otherit never is the
winein these cases.)


'Hadn't they better go to bedma'am?' inquired Emma. 'Two
of the boys will carry the gentlemen upstairs.'


'I won't go to bed' said Mr. Winkle firmly.


'No living boy shall carry me' said Mr. Pickwick stoutly; and
he went on smiling as before.
'Hurrah!' gasped Mr. Winkle faintly.


'Hurrah!' echoed Mr. Pickwicktaking off his hat and dashing
it on the floorand insanely casting his spectacles into the middle
of the kitchen. At this humorous feat he laughed outright.


'Let's--have--'nother--bottle'cried Mr. Winklecommencing
in a very loud keyand ending in a very faint one. His head
dropped upon his breast; andmuttering his invincible determination
not to go to his bedand a sanguinary regret that he had
not 'done for old Tupman' in the morninghe fell fast asleep; in
which condition he was borne to his apartment by two young
giants under the personal superintendence of the fat boyto
whose protecting care Mr. Snodgrass shortly afterwards confided
his own personMr. Pickwick accepted the proffered arm of
Mr. Tupman and quietly disappearedsmiling more than ever;
and Mr. Wardleafter taking as affectionate a leave of the whole
family as if he were ordered for immediate executionconsigned
to Mr. Trundle the honour of conveying him upstairsand
retiredwith a very futile attempt to look impressively solemn
and dignified.



'What a shocking scene!' said the spinster aunt.

'Dis-gusting!' ejaculated both the young ladies.

'Dreadful--dreadful!' said Jinglelooking very grave: he was
about a bottle and a half ahead of any of his companions.
'Horrid spectacle--very!'

'What a nice man!' whispered the spinster aunt to Mr. Tupman.

'Good-lookingtoo!' whispered Emily Wardle.

'Ohdecidedly' observed the spinster aunt.

Mr. Tupman thought of the widow at Rochesterand his mind
was troubled. The succeeding half-hour's conversation was not
of a nature to calm his perturbed spirit. The new visitor was very
talkativeand the number of his anecdotes was only to be
exceeded by the extent of his politeness. Mr. Tupman felt that as
Jingle's popularity increasedhe (Tupman) retired further into the
shade. His laughter was forced--his merriment feigned; and
when at last he laid his aching temples between the sheetshe
thoughtwith horrid delighton the satisfaction it would afford
him to have Jingle's head at that moment between the feather bed
and the mattress.

The indefatigable stranger rose betimes next morningand
although his companions remained in bed overpowered with the
dissipation of the previous nightexerted himself most successfully
to promote the hilarity of the breakfast-table. So successful
were his effortsthat even the deaf old lady insisted on having one
or two of his best jokes retailed through the trumpet; and even
she condescended to observe to the spinster auntthat 'He'
(meaning Jingle) 'was an impudent young fellow:' a sentiment in
which all her relations then and there present thoroughly
coincided.

It was the old lady's habit on the fine summer mornings to
repair to the arbour in which Mr. Tupman had already signalised
himselfin form and manner following: firstthe fat boy fetched
from a peg behind the old lady's bedroom doora close black
satin bonneta warm cotton shawland a thick stick with a
capacious handle; and the old ladyhaving put on the bonnet and
shawl at her leisurewould lean one hand on the stick and the
other on the fat boy's shoulderand walk leisurely to the arbour
where the fat boy would leave her to enjoy the fresh air for the
space of half an hour; at the expiration of which time he would
return and reconduct her to the house.

The old lady was very precise and very particular; and as this
ceremony had been observed for three successive summers
without the slightest deviation from the accustomed form
she was not a little surprised on this particular morning to see
the fat boyinstead of leaving the arbourwalk a few paces out
of itlook carefully round him in every directionand return
towards her with great stealth and an air of the most profound mystery.

The old lady was timorous--most old ladies are--and her first
impression was that the bloated lad was about to do her some
grievous bodily harm with the view of possessing himself of her
loose coin. She would have cried for assistancebut age and
infirmity had long ago deprived her of the power of screaming;
shethereforewatched his motions with feelings of intense horror
which were in no degree diminished by his coming close up to her


and shouting in her ear in an agitatedand as it seemed to hera
threatening tone--


'Missus!'


Now it so happened that Mr. Jingle was walking in the garden
close to the arbour at that moment. He too heard the shouts of
'Missus' and stopped to hear more. There were three reasons for
his doing so. In the first placehe was idle and curious; secondly
he was by no means scrupulous; thirdlyand lastlyhe was
concealed from view by some flowering shrubs. So there he
stoodand there he listened.


'Missus!' shouted the fat boy.


'WellJoe' said the trembling old lady. 'I'm sure I have been
a good mistress to youJoe. You have invariably been treated
very kindly. You have never had too much to do; and you have
always had enough to eat.'


This last was an appeal to the fat boy's most sensitive feelings.
He seemed touchedas he replied emphatically--
'I knows 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.


This sounded like a very bloodthirsty mode of showing one's
gratitude; and as the old lady did not precisely understand the
process by which such a result was to be attainedall her former
horrors returned.


'What do you think I see in this very arbour last night?'
inquired the boy.


'Bless us! What?' exclaimed the old ladyalarmed at the
solemn manner of the corpulent youth.


'The strange gentleman--him as had his arm hurt--a-kissin'
and huggin'--'


'WhoJoe? None of the servantsI hope.'
'Worser than that' roared the fat boyin the old lady's ear.


'Not one of my grandda'aters?'


'Worser than that.'


'Worse than thatJoe!' said the old ladywho had thought this
the extreme limit of human atrocity. 'Who was itJoe? I insist
upon knowing.'


The fat boy looked cautiously roundand having concluded
his surveyshouted in the old lady's ear--


'Miss Rachael.'


'What!' said the old ladyin a shrill tone. 'Speak louder.'


'Miss Rachael' roared the fat boy.


'My da'ater!'



The train of nods which the fat boy gave by way of assent
communicated a blanc-mange like motion to his fat cheeks.


'And she suffered him!' exclaimed the old lady.
A grin stole over the fat boy's features as he said--


'I see her a-kissin' of him agin.'


If Mr. Jinglefrom his place of concealmentcould have
beheld the expression which the old lady's face assumed at this
communicationthe probability is that a sudden burst of
laughter would have betrayed his close vicinity to the summer-
house. He listened attentively. Fragments of angry sentences such
as'Without my permission!'--'At her time of life'--'Miserable
old 'ooman like me'--'Might have waited till I was dead' and so
forthreached his ears; and then he heard the heels of the fat
boy's boots crunching the gravelas he retired and left the old
lady alone.


It was a remarkable coincidence perhapsbut it was nevertheless
a factthat Mr. Jingle within five minutes of his arrival at Manor
Farm on the preceding nighthad inwardly resolved to lay siege
to the heart of the spinster auntwithout delay. He had observation
enough to seethat his off-hand manner was by no means
disagreeable to the fair object of his attack; and he had more
than a strong suspicion that she possessed that most desirable of
all requisitesa small independence. The imperative necessity of
ousting his rival by some means or otherflashed quickly upon
himand he immediately resolved to adopt certain proceedings
tending to that end and objectwithout a moment's delay.
Fielding tells us that man is fireand woman towand the Prince
of Darkness sets a light to 'em. Mr. Jingle knew that young men
to spinster auntsare as lighted gas to gunpowderand he
determined to essay the effect of an explosion without loss of time.


Full of reflections upon this important decisionhe crept from
his place of concealmentandunder cover of the shrubs before
mentionedapproached the house. Fortune seemed determined to
favour his design. Mr. Tupman and the rest of the gentlemen left
the garden by the side gate just as he obtained a view of it; and
the young ladieshe knewhad walked out alonesoon after
breakfast. The coast was clear.


The breakfast-parlour door was partially open. He peeped in.
The spinster aunt was knitting. He coughed; she looked up and
smiled. Hesitation formed no part of Mr. Alfred Jingle's
character. He laid his finger on his lips mysteriouslywalked in
and closed the door.


'Miss Wardle' said Mr. Jinglewith affected earnestness
'forgive intrusion--short acquaintance--no time for ceremony--
all discovered.'


'Sir!' said the spinster auntrather astonished by the unexpected
apparition and somewhat doubtful of Mr. Jingle's sanity.


'Hush!' said Mr. Jinglein a stage-whisper--'Large boy--
dumpling face--round eyes--rascal!' Here he shook his head
expressivelyand the spinster aunt trembled with agitation.


'I presume you allude to JosephSir?' said the ladymaking an
effort to appear composed.



'Yesma'am--damn that Joe!--treacherous dogJoe--told the
old lady--old lady furious--wild--raving--arbour--Tupman--
kissing and hugging--all that sort of thing--ehma'am--eh?'


'Mr. Jingle' said the spinster aunt'if you come hereSirto
insult me--'


'Not at all--by no means' replied the unabashed Mr. Jingle--
'overheard the tale--came to warn you of your danger--tender
my services--prevent the hubbub. Never mind--think it an
insult--leave the room'--and he turnedas if to carry the threat
into execution.


'What SHALL I do!' said the poor spinsterbursting into tears.
'My brother will be furious.'


'Of course he will' said Mr. Jingle pausing--'outrageous.'
'OhMr. Jinglewhat CAN I say!' exclaimed the spinster auntin
another flood of despair.


'Say he dreamt it' replied Mr. Jingle coolly.


A ray of comfort darted across the mind of the spinster aunt at
this suggestion. Mr. Jingle perceived itand followed up his advantage.


'Poohpooh!--nothing more easy--blackguard boy--lovely
woman--fat boy horsewhipped--you believed--end of the
matter--all comfortable.'


Whether the probability of escaping from the consequences of
this ill-timed discovery was delightful to the spinster's feelingsor
whether the hearing herself described as a 'lovely woman'
softened the asperity of her griefwe know not. She blushed
slightlyand cast a grateful look on Mr. Jingle.


That insinuating gentleman sighed deeplyfixed his eyes on the
spinster aunt's face for a couple of minutesstarted melodramatically
and suddenly withdrew them.


'You seem unhappyMr. Jingle' said the ladyin a plaintive
voice. 'May I show my gratitude for your kind interference
by inquiring into the causewith a viewif possibleto its removal?'


'Ha!' exclaimed Mr. Jinglewith another start--'removal!
remove my unhappinessand your love bestowed upon a man
who is insensible to the blessing--who even now contemplates a
design upon the affections of the niece of the creature who--but
no; he is my friend; I will not expose his vices. Miss Wardle--
farewell!' At the conclusion of this addressthe most consecutive
he was ever known to utterMr. Jingle applied to his eyes the
remnant of a handkerchief before noticedand turned towards
the door.


'StayMr. Jingle!' said the spinster aunt emphatically. 'You
have made an allusion to Mr. Tupman--explain it.'


'Never!' exclaimed Jinglewith a professional (i.e.theatrical)
air. 'Never!' andby way of showing that he had no desire to be
questioned furtherhe drew a chair close to that of the spinster
aunt and sat down.


'Mr. Jingle' said the aunt'I entreat--I implore youif there
is any dreadful mystery connected with Mr. Tupmanreveal it.'



'Can I' said Mr. Jinglefixing his eyes on the aunt's face-'
can I see--lovely creature--sacrificed at the shrine-heartless
avarice!' He appeared to be struggling with various
conflicting emotions for a few secondsand then said in a low voice-


'Tupman only wants your money.'

'The wretch!' exclaimed the spinsterwith energetic indignation.
(Mr. Jingle's doubts were resolved. She HAD money.)
'More than that' said Jingle--'loves another.'


'Another!' ejaculated the spinster. 'Who?'
'Short girl--black eyes--niece Emily.'

There was a pause.

Nowif there was one individual in the whole worldof whom
the spinster aunt entertained a mortal and deep-rooted jealousy
it was this identical niece. The colour rushed over her face and
neckand she tossed her head in silence with an air of ineffable
contempt. At lastbiting her thin lipsand bridling upshe said-


'It can't be. I won't believe it.'

'Watch 'em' said Jingle.
'I will' said the aunt.

'Watch his looks.'
'I will.'

'His whispers.'
'I will.'

'He'll sit next her at table.'
'Let him.'

'He'll flatter her.'
'Let him.'

'He'll pay her every possible attention.'
'Let him.'

'And he'll cut you.'

'Cut ME!' screamed the spinster aunt. 'HE cut ME; will he!' and
she trembled with rage and disappointment.
'You will convince yourself?' said Jingle.


'I will.'
'You'll show your spirit?'


'I will.'
'You'll not have him afterwards?'


'Never.'



'You'll take somebody else?'
'Yes.'

'You shall.'

Mr. Jingle fell on his kneesremained thereupon for five
minutes thereafter; and rose the accepted lover of the spinster
aunt--conditionally upon Mr. Tupman's perjury being made
clear and manifest.

The burden of proof lay with Mr. Alfred Jingle; and he
produced his evidence that very day at dinner. The spinster aunt
could hardly believe her eyes. Mr. Tracy Tupman was established
at Emily's sideoglingwhisperingand smilingin opposition to
Mr. Snodgrass. Not a wordnot a looknot a glancedid he
bestow upon his heart's pride of the evening before.

'Damn that boy!' thought old Mr. Wardle to himself.--He had
heard the story from his mother. 'Damn that boy! He must have
been asleep. It's all imagination.'

'Traitor!' thought the spinster aunt. 'Dear Mr. Jingle was not
deceiving me. Ugh! how I hate the wretch!'

The following conversation may serve to explain to our readers
this apparently unaccountable alteration of deportment on the
part of Mr. Tracy Tupman.

The time was evening; the scene the garden. There were two
figures walking in a side path; one was rather short and stout;
the other tall and slim. They were Mr. Tupman and Mr. Jingle.
The stout figure commenced the dialogue.

'How did I do it?' he inquired.

'Splendid--capital--couldn't act better myself--you must
repeat the part to-morrow--every evening till further notice.'

'Does Rachael still wish it?'

'Of course--she don't like it--but must be done--avert
suspicion--afraid of her brother--says there's no help for it-only
a few days more--when old folks blinded--crown your happiness.'

'Any message?'

'Love--best love--kindest regards--unalterable affection.
Can I say anything for you?'

'My dear fellow' replied the unsuspicious Mr. Tupman
fervently grasping his 'friend's' hand--'carry my best love--say
how hard I find it to dissemble--say anything that's kind: but add
how sensible I am of the necessity of the suggestion she made to
methrough youthis morning. Say I applaud her wisdom and
admire her discretion.'
'I will. Anything more?'

'Nothingonly add how ardently I long for the time when I
may call her mineand all dissimulation may be unnecessary.'

'Certainlycertainly. Anything more?'

'Ohmy friend!' said poor Mr. Tupmanagain grasping the


hand of his companion'receive my warmest thanks for your
disinterested kindness; and forgive me if I have evereven in
thoughtdone you the injustice of supposing that you could stand
in my way. My dear friendcan I ever repay you?'


'Don't talk of it' replied Mr. Jingle. He stopped shortas if
suddenly recollecting somethingand said--'By the bye--can't
spare ten poundscan you?--very particular purpose--pay you
in three days.'


'I dare say I can' replied Mr. Tupmanin the fulness of his
heart. 'Three daysyou say?'


'Only three days--all over then--no more difficulties.'
Mr. Tupman counted the money into his companion's hand
and he dropped it piece by piece into his pocketas they walked
towards the house.


'Be careful' said Mr. Jingle--'not a look.'


'Not a wink' said Mr. Tupman.


'Not a syllable.'


'Not a whisper.'


'All your attentions to the niece--rather rudethan otherwise
to the aunt--only way of deceiving the old ones.'


'I'll take care' said Mr. Tupman aloud.


'And I'LL take care' said Mr. Jingle internally; and they
entered the house.


The scene of that afternoon was repeated that eveningand on
the three afternoons and evenings next ensuing. On the fourth
the host was in high spiritsfor he had satisfied himself that there
was no ground for the charge against Mr. Tupman. So was Mr.
Tupmanfor Mr. Jingle had told him that his affair would soon
be brought to a crisis. So was Mr. Pickwickfor he was seldom
otherwise. So was not Mr. Snodgrassfor he had grown jealous
of Mr. Tupman. So was the old ladyfor she had been winning
at whist. So were Mr. Jingle and Miss Wardlefor reasons of
sufficient importance in this eventful history to be narrated in
another chapter.


CHAPTER IX
A DISCOVERY AND A CHASE


The supper was ready laidthe chairs were drawn round the
tablebottlesjugsand glasses were arranged upon the
sideboardand everything betokened the approach of the most
convivial period in the whole four-and-twenty hours.


'Where's Rachael?' said Mr. Wardle.


'Ayand Jingle?' added Mr. Pickwick.


'Dear me' said the host'I wonder I haven't missed him before.
WhyI don't think I've heard his voice for two hours at least.
Emilymy dearring the bell.'



The bell was rungand the fat boy appeared.


'Where's Miss Rachael?' He couldn't say.
'Where's Mr. Jinglethen?' He didn't know.
Everybody looked surprised. It was late--past eleven o'clock.
Mr. Tupman laughed in his sleeve. They were loitering somewhere
talking about him. Haha! capital notion that--funny.


'Never mind' said Wardleafter a short pause. 'They'll turn up
presentlyI dare say. I never wait supper for anybody.'


'Excellent rulethat' said Mr. Pickwick--'admirable.'


'Praysit down' said the host.


'Certainly' said Mr. Pickwick; and down they sat.


There was a gigantic round of cold beef on the tableand
Mr. Pickwick was supplied with a plentiful portion of it. He had
raised his fork to his lipsand was on the very point of opening
his mouth for the reception of a piece of beefwhen the hum of
many voices suddenly arose in the kitchen. He pausedand laid
down his fork. Mr. Wardle paused tooand insensibly released
his hold of the carving-knifewhich remained inserted
in the beef. He looked at Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick looked
at him.


Heavy footsteps were heard in the passage; the parlour door
was suddenly burst open; and the man who had cleaned Mr.
Pickwick's boots on his first arrivalrushed into the room
followed by the fat boy and all the domestics.
'What the devil's the meaning of this?' exclaimed the host.


'The kitchen chimney ain't a-fireis itEmma?' inquired the
old lady.
'Lorgrandma! No' screamed both the young ladies.


'What's the matter?' roared the master of the house.


The man gasped for breathand faintly ejaculated--


'They ha' gonemas'r!--gone right clean offSir!' (At this
juncture Mr. Tupman was observed to lay down his knife and
forkand to turn very pale.)


'Who's gone?' said Mr. Wardle fiercely.


'Mus'r Jingle and Miss Rachaelin a po'-chayfrom Blue Lion
Muggleton. I was there; but I couldn't stop 'em; so I run off to
tell 'ee.'


'I paid his expenses!' said Mr. Tupmanjumping up frantically.
'He's got ten pounds of mine!--stop him!--he's swindled me!--
I won't bear it!--I'll have justicePickwick!--I won't stand it!'
and with sundry incoherent exclamations of the like naturethe
unhappy gentleman spun round and round the apartmentin a
transport of frenzy.


'Lord preserve us!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwickeyeing the
extraordinary gestures of his friend with terrified surprise. 'He's
gone mad! What shall we do?'
'Do!' said the stout old hostwho regarded only the last words
of the sentence. 'Put the horse in the gig! I'll get a chaise at the
Lionand follow 'em instantly. Where?'--he exclaimedas the



man ran out to execute the commission--'where's that villainJoe?'


'Here I am! but I hain't a willin' replied a voice. It was the
fat boy's.


'Let me get at himPickwick' cried Wardleas he rushed at the
ill-starred youth. 'He was bribed by that scoundrelJingleto put
me on a wrong scentby telling a cock-and-bull story of my
sister and your friend Tupman!' (Here Mr. Tupman sank into a
chair.) 'Let me get at him!'


'Don't let him!' screamed all the womenabove whose
exclamations the blubbering of the fat boy was distinctly audible.


'I won't be held!' cried the old man. 'Mr. Winkletake your
hands off. Mr. Pickwicklet me gosir!'


It was a beautiful sightin that moment of turmoil and confusion
to behold the placid and philosophical expression of
Mr. Pickwick's facealbeit somewhat flushed with exertionas he
stood with his arms firmly clasped round the extensive waist of
their corpulent hostthus restraining the impetuosity of his
passionwhile the fat boy was scratchedand pulledand pushed
from the room by all the females congregated therein. He had no
sooner released his holdthan the man entered to announce that
the gig was ready.


'Don't let him go alone!' screamed the females. 'He'll kill
somebody!'


'I'll go with him' said Mr. Pickwick.


'You're a good fellowPickwick' said the hostgrasping his
hand. 'Emmagive Mr. Pickwick a shawl to tie round his neck--
make haste. Look after your grandmothergirls; she has fainted
away. Now thenare you ready?'


Mr. Pickwick's mouth and chin having been hastily enveloped
in a large shawlhis hat having been put on his headand his
greatcoat thrown over his armhe replied in the affirmative.


They jumped into the gig. 'Give her her headTom' cried the
host; and away they wentdown the narrow lanes; jolting in and
out of the cart-rutsand bumping up against the hedges on either
sideas if they would go to pieces every moment.


'How much are they ahead?' shouted Wardleas they drove up
to the door of the Blue Lionround which a little crowd had
collectedlate as it was.


'Not above three-quarters of an hour' was everybody's reply.
'Chaise-and-four directly!--out with 'em! Put up the gig
afterwards.'


'Nowboys!' cried the landlord--'chaise-and-four out--make
haste--look alive there!'


Away ran the hostlers and the boys. The lanterns glimmered
as the men ran to and fro; the horses' hoofs clattered on the
uneven paving of the yard; the chaise rumbled as it was drawn out
of the coach-house; and all was noise and bustle.


'Now then!--is that chaise coming out to-night?' cried Wardle.



'Coming down the yard nowSir' replied the hostler.


Out came the chaise--in went the horses--on sprang the boys
--in got the travellers.


'Mind--the seven-mile stage in less than half an hour!'
shouted Wardle.


'Off with you!'


The boys applied whip and spurthe waiters shoutedthe
hostlers cheeredand away they wentfast and furiously.


'Pretty situation' thought Mr. Pickwickwhen he had had a
moment's time for reflection. 'Pretty situation for the general
chairman of the Pickwick Club. Damp chaise--strange horses--
fifteen miles an hour--and twelve o'clock at night!'


For the first three or four milesnot a word was spoken by
either of the gentlemeneach being too much immersed in his own
reflections to address any observations to his companion. When
they had gone over that much groundhoweverand the horses
getting thoroughly warmed began to do their work in really
good styleMr. Pickwick became too much exhilarated with the
rapidity of the motionto remain any longer perfectly mute.


'We're sure to catch themI think' said he.


'Hope so' replied his companion.


'Fine night' said Mr. Pickwicklooking up at the moonwhich
was shining brightly.


'So much the worse' returned Wardle; 'for they'll have had all
the advantage of the moonlight to get the start of usand we shall
lose it. It will have gone down in another hour.'


'It will be rather unpleasant going at this rate in the dark
won't it?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'I dare say it will' replied his friend dryly.


Mr. Pickwick's temporary excitement began to sober down a
littleas he reflected upon the inconveniences and dangers of
the expedition in which he had so thoughtlessly embarked.
He was roused by a loud shouting of the post-boy on the leader.


'Yo-yo-yo-yo-yoe!' went the first boy.


'Yo-yo-yo-yoe!' went the second.


'Yo-yo-yo-yoe!' chimed in old Wardle himselfmost
lustilywith his head and half his body out of the coach window.


'Yo-yo-yo-yoe!' shouted Mr. Pickwicktaking up the
burden of the crythough he had not the slightest notion of its
meaning or object. And amidst the yo-yoing of the whole four
the chaise stopped.


'What's the matter?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'There's a gate here' replied old Wardle. 'We shall hear something
of the fugitives.'



After a lapse of five minutesconsumed in incessant knocking
and shoutingan old man in his shirt and trousers emerged from
the turnpike-houseand opened the gate.

'How long is it since a post-chaise went through here?'
inquired Mr. Wardle.

'How long?'

'ah!'

'WhyI don't rightly know. It worn't a long time agonor it
worn't a short time ago--just between the twoperhaps.'

'Has any chaise been by at all?'

'Ohyesthere's been a Shay by.'

'How long agomy friend' interposed Mr. Pickwick; 'an hour?'

'AhI dare say it might be' replied the man.

'Or two hours?' inquired the post--boy on the wheeler.

'WellI shouldn't wonder if it was' returned the old man
doubtfully.

'Drive onboys' cried the testy old gentleman; 'don't waste
any more time with that old idiot!'

'Idiot!' exclaimed the old man with a grinas he stood in the
middle of the road with the gate half-closedwatching the chaise
which rapidly diminished in the increasing distance. 'No--not
much o' that either; you've lost ten minutes hereand gone away
as wise as you camearter all. If every man on the line as has a
guinea give himearns it half as wellyou won't catch t'other shay
this side Mich'lmasold short-and-fat.' And with another
prolonged grinthe old man closed the gatere-entered his house
and bolted the door after him.

Meanwhile the chaise proceededwithout any slackening of
pacetowards the conclusion of the stage. The moonas Wardle
had foretoldwas rapidly on the wane; large tiers of darkheavy
cloudswhich had been gradually overspreading the sky for some
time pastnow formed one black mass overhead; and large drops
of rain which pattered every now and then against the windows
of the chaiseseemed to warn the travellers of the rapid approach
of a stormy night. The windtoowhich was directly against them
swept in furious gusts down the narrow roadand howled
dismally through the trees which skirted the pathway. Mr. Pickwick
drew his coat closer about himcoiled himself more snugly
up into the corner of the chaiseand fell into a sound sleepfrom
which he was only awakened by the stopping of the vehicle
the sound of the hostler's belland a loud cry of 'Horses on
directly!'

But here another delay occurred. The boys were sleeping with
such mysterious soundnessthat it took five minutes a-piece to
wake them. The hostler had somehow or other mislaid the key of
the stableand even when that was foundtwo sleepy helpers put
the wrong harness on the wrong horsesand the whole process of
harnessing had to be gone through afresh. Had Mr. Pickwick been
alonethese multiplied obstacles would have completely put an end to


the pursuit at oncebut old Wardle was not to be so easily daunted;
and he laid about him with such hearty good-willcuffing this man
and pushing that; strapping a buckle hereand taking in a link
therethat the chaise was ready in a much shorter time than could
reasonably have been expectedunder so many difficulties.


They resumed their journey; and certainly the prospect before
them was by no means encouraging. The stage was fifteen miles
longthe night was darkthe wind highand the rain pouring in
torrents. It was impossible to make any great way against such
obstacles united; it was hard upon one o'clock already; and
nearly two hours were consumed in getting to the end of the
stage. Herehoweveran object presented itselfwhich rekindled
their hopesand reanimated their drooping spirits.


'When did this chaise come in?' cried old Wardleleaping out
of his own vehicleand pointing to one covered with wet mud
which was standing in the yard.


'Not a quarter of an hour agosir' replied the hostlerto whom
the question was addressed.
'Lady and gentleman?' inquired Wardlealmost breathless
with impatience.


'Yessir.'


'Tall gentleman--dress-coat--long legs--thin body?'


'Yessir.'


'Elderly lady--thin face--rather skinny--eh?'


'Yessir.'


'By heavensit's the couplePickwick' exclaimed the old
gentleman.


'Would have been here before' said the hostler'but they broke
a trace.'


''Tis them!' said Wardle'it isby Jove! Chaise-and-four
instantly! We shall catch them yet before they reach the next
stage. A guinea a-pieceboys-be alive there--bustle about--
there's good fellows.'


And with such admonitions as thesethe old gentleman ran up
and down the yardand bustled to and froin a state of excitement
which communicated itself to Mr. Pickwick also; and
under the influence of whichthat gentleman got himself into
complicated entanglements with harnessand mixed up with
horses and wheels of chaisesin the most surprising manner
firmly believing that by so doing he was materially forwarding the
preparations for their resuming their journey.


'Jump in--jump in!' cried old Wardleclimbing into the
chaisepulling up the stepsand slamming the door after him.
'Come along! Make haste!' And before Mr. Pickwick knew
precisely what he was abouthe felt himself forced in at the other
doorby one pull from the old gentleman and one push from the
hostler; and off they were again.


'Ah! we are moving now' said the old gentleman exultingly.
They were indeedas was sufficiently testified to Mr. Pickwickby
his constant collision either with the hard wood-work of the



chaiseor the body of his companion.


'Hold up!' said the stout old Mr. Wardleas Mr. Pickwick
dived head foremost into his capacious waistcoat.


'I never did feel such a jolting in my life' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Never mind' replied his companion'it will soon be over.
Steadysteady.'


Mr. Pickwick planted himself into his own corneras firmly as
he could; and on whirled the chaise faster than ever.


They had travelled in this way about three mileswhen Mr.
Wardlewho had been looking out of the Window for two or
three minutessuddenly drew in his facecovered with splashes
and exclaimed in breathless eagerness--


'Here they are!'


Mr. Pickwick thrust his head out of his window. Yes: there
was a chaise-and-foura short distance before themdashing
along at full gallop.


'Go ongo on' almost shrieked the old gentleman. 'Two
guineas a-pieceboys--don't let 'em gain on us--keep it up--
keep it up.'


The horses in the first chaise started on at their utmost speed;
and those in Mr. Wardle's galloped furiously behind them.


'I see his head' exclaimed the choleric old man; 'dammeI see
his head.'


'So do I' said Mr. Pickwick; 'that's he.'
Mr. Pickwick was not mistaken. The countenance of Mr. Jingle
completely coated with mud thrown up by the wheelswas plainly
discernible at the window of his chaise; and the motion of his arm
which was waving violently towards the postillionsdenoted that
he was encouraging them to increased exertion.


The interest was intense. Fieldstreesand hedgesseemed to
rush past them with the velocity of a whirlwindso rapid was the
pace at which they tore along. They were close by the side of the
first chaise. Jingle's voice could be plainly heardeven above the
din of the wheelsurging on the boys. Old Mr. Wardle foamed
with rage and excitement. He roared out scoundrels and villains
by the dozenclenched his fist and shook it expressively at the
object of his indignation; but Mr. Jingle only answered with a
contemptuous smileand replied to his menaces by a shout of
triumphas his horsesanswering the increased application of whip
and spurbroke into a faster gallopand left the pursuers behind.


Mr. Pickwick had just drawn in his headand Mr. Wardle
exhausted with shoutinghad done the samewhen a tremendous
jolt threw them forward against the front of the vehicle. There was
a sudden bump--a loud crash--away rolled a wheeland over
went the chaise.


After a very few seconds of bewilderment and confusionin
which nothing but the plunging of horsesand breaking of glass
could be made outMr. Pickwick felt himself violently pulled out
from among the ruins of the chaise; and as soon as he had gained
his feetextricated his head from the skirts of his greatcoat



which materially impeded the usefulness of his spectaclesthe full
disaster of the case met his view.

Old Mr. Wardle without a hatand his clothes torn in several
placesstood by his sideand the fragments of the chaise lay
scattered at their feet. The post-boyswho had succeeded in
cutting the traceswere standingdisfigured with mud and disordered
by hard ridingby the horses' heads. About a hundred
yards in advance was the other chaisewhich had pulled up on
hearing the crash. The postillionseach with a broad grin
convulsing his countenancewere viewing the adverse party from
their saddlesand Mr. Jingle was contemplating the wreck from
the coach windowwith evident satisfaction. The day was just
breakingand the whole scene was rendered perfectly visible by
the grey light of the morning.

'Hollo!' shouted the shameless Jingle'anybody damaged?-elderly
gentlemen--no light weights--dangerous work--very.'

'You're a rascal' roared Wardle.

'Ha! ha!' replied Jingle; and then he addedwith a knowing
winkand a jerk of the thumb towards the interior of the chaise-'
I say--she's very well--desires her compliments--begs you won't
trouble yourself--love to TUPPY--won't you get up behind?-drive
onboys.'

The postillions resumed their proper attitudesand away
rattled the chaiseMr. Jingle fluttering in derision a white
handkerchief from the coach window.

Nothing in the whole adventurenot even the upsethad
disturbed the calm and equable current of Mr. Pickwick's
temper. The villainyhoweverwhich could first borrow money
of his faithful followerand then abbreviate his name to 'Tuppy'
was more than he could patiently bear. He drew his breath hard
and coloured up to the very tips of his spectaclesas he said
slowly and emphatically-


'If ever I meet that man againI'll--'

'Yesyes' interrupted Wardle'that's all very well; but while we
stand talking herethey'll get their licenceand be married in London.'

Mr. Pickwick pausedbottled up his vengeanceand corked it down.
'How far is it to the next stage?' inquired Mr. Wardleof one
of the boys.

'Six mileain't itTom?'

'Rayther better.'

'Rayther better nor six mileSir.'

'Can't be helped' said Wardle'we must walk itPickwick.'

'No help for it' replied that truly great man.

So sending forward one of the boys on horsebackto procure
a fresh chaise and horsesand leaving the other behind to take
care of the broken oneMr. Pickwick and Mr. Wardle set
manfully forward on the walkfirst tying their shawls round their
necksand slouching down their hats to escape as much as
possible from the deluge of rainwhich after a slight cessation


had again begun to pour heavily down.

CHAPTER X
CLEARING UP ALL DOUBTS (IF ANY EXISTED) OF THE
DISINTERESTEDNESS OF Mr. A. JINGLE'S CHARACTER

There are in London several old innsonce the headquarters
of celebrated coaches in the days when coaches performed
their journeys in a graver and more solemn manner than
they do in these times; but which have now degenerated into little
more than the abiding and booking-places of country wagons. The
reader would look in vain for any of these ancient hostelries
among the Golden Crosses and Bull and Mouthswhich rear
their stately fronts in the improved streets of London. If he
would light upon any of these old placeshe must direct his steps
to the obscurer quarters of the townand there in some secluded
nooks he will find severalstill standing with a kind of gloomy
sturdinessamidst the modern innovations which surround them.

In the Borough especiallythere still remain some half-dozen
old innswhich have preserved their external features unchanged
and which have escaped alike the rage for public improvement and
the encroachments of private speculation. Greatrambling queer
old places they arewith galleriesand passagesand staircases
wide enough and antiquated enough to furnish materials for a hundred
ghost storiessupposing we should ever be reduced to the lamentable
necessity of inventing anyand that the world should exist long
enough to exhaust the innumerable veracious legends connected with
old London Bridgeand its adjacent neighbourhood on the Surrey side.

It was in the yard of one of these inns--of no less celebrated a
one than the White Hart--that a man was busily employed in
brushing the dirt off a pair of bootsearly on the morning
succeeding the events narrated in the last chapter. He was
habited in a coarsestriped waistcoatwith black calico sleeves
and blue glass buttons; drab breeches and leggings. A bright red
handkerchief was wound in a very loose and unstudied style
round his neckand an old white hat was carelessly thrown on
one side of his head. There were two rows of boots before him
one cleaned and the other dirtyand at every addition he made
to the clean rowhe paused from his workand contemplated its
results with evident satisfaction.

The yard presented none of that bustle and activity which are
the usual characteristics of a large coach inn. Three or four
lumbering wagonseach with a pile of goods beneath its ample
canopyabout the height of the second-floor window of an
ordinary housewere stowed away beneath a lofty roof which
extended over one end of the yard; and anotherwhich was
probably to commence its journey that morningwas drawn out
into the open space. A double tier of bedroom gallerieswith old
Clumsy balustradesran round two sides of the straggling area
and a double row of bells to correspondsheltered from the
weather by a little sloping roofhung over the door leading to the
bar and coffee-room. Two or three gigs and chaise-carts were
wheeled up under different little sheds and pent-houses; and the
occasional heavy tread of a cart-horseor rattling of a chain at
the farther end of the yardannounced to anybody who cared
about the matterthat the stable lay in that direction. When
we add that a few boys in smock-frocks were lying asleep on
heavy packageswool-packsand other articles that were


scattered about on heaps of strawwe have described as fully
as need be the general appearance of the yard of the White
Hart InnHigh StreetBoroughon the particular morning in question.

A loud ringing of one of the bells was followed by the appearance
of a smart chambermaid in the upper sleeping gallerywho
after tapping at one of the doorsand receiving a request from
withincalled over the balustrades-'
Sam!'

'Hollo' replied the man with the white hat.

'Number twenty-two wants his boots.'

'Ask number twenty-twovether he'll have 'em nowor vait
till he gets 'em' was the reply.

'Comedon't be a foolSam' said the girl coaxingly'the
gentleman wants his boots directly.'

'Wellyou ARE a nice young 'ooman for a musical partyyou
are' said the boot-cleaner. 'Look at these here boots--eleven
pair o' boots; and one shoe as belongs to number sixwith the
wooden leg. The eleven boots is to be called at half-past eight and
the shoe at nine. Who's number twenty-twothat's to put all the
others out? Nono; reg'lar rotationas Jack Ketch saidven he
tied the men up. Sorry to keep you a-waitin'Sirbut I'll attend
to you directly.'

Saying whichthe man in the white hat set to work upon a
top-boot with increased assiduity.

There was another loud ring; and the bustling old landlady of
the White Hart made her appearance in the opposite gallery.

'Sam' cried the landlady'where's that lazyidle-- whySam-oh
there you are; why don't you answer?'

'Vouldn't be gen-teel to answertill you'd done talking'
replied Sam gruffly.

'Hereclean these shoes for number seventeen directlyand
take 'em to private sitting-roomnumber fivefirst floor.'

The landlady flung a pair of lady's shoes into the yardand
bustled away.

'Number five' said Samas he picked up the shoesand taking
a piece of chalk from his pocketmade a memorandum of their
destination on the soles--'Lady's shoes and private sittin'room!
I suppose she didn't come in the vagin.'

'She came in early this morning' cried the girlwho was still
leaning over the railing of the gallery'with a gentleman in a
hackney-coachand it's him as wants his bootsand you'd better
do 'emthat's all about it.'

'Vy didn't you say so before' said Samwith great indignation
singling out the boots in question from the heap before him. 'For
all I know'd he was one o' the regular threepennies. Private room!
and a lady too! If he's anything of a gen'l'm'nhe's vurth a
shillin' a daylet alone the arrands.'
Stimulated by this inspiring reflectionMr. Samuel brushed
away with such hearty good-willthat in a few minutes the boots


and shoeswith a polish which would have struck envy to the soul
of the amiable Mr. Warren (for they used Day & Martin at the
White Hart)had arrived at the door of number five.


'Come in' said a man's voicein reply to Sam's rap at the door.
Sam made his best bowand stepped into the presence of a
lady and gentleman seated at breakfast. Having officiously
deposited the gentleman's boots right and left at his feetand
the lady's shoes right and left at hershe backed towards the door.


'Boots' said the gentleman.


'Sir' said Samclosing the doorand keeping his hand on the
knob of the lock.
'Do you know--what's a-name--Doctors' Commons?'


'YesSir.'


'Where is it?'


'Paul's ChurchyardSir; low archway on the carriage side
bookseller's at one cornerhot-el on the otherand two porters
in the middle as touts for licences.'


'Touts for licences!' said the gentleman.


'Touts for licences' replied Sam. 'Two coves in vhite aprons--
touches their hats ven you walk in--"LicenceSirlicence?"
Queer sortthemand their mas'rstoosir--Old Bailey Proctors
--and no mistake.'


'What do they do?' inquired the gentleman.


'Do! YouSir! That ain't the worst on itneither. They puts
things into old gen'l'm'n's heads as they never dreamed of. My
fatherSirwos a coachman. A widower he wosand fat enough
for anything--uncommon fatto be sure. His missus diesand
leaves him four hundred pound. Down he goes to the Commons
to see the lawyer and draw the blunt--very smart--top boots on
--nosegay in his button-hole--broad-brimmed tile--green shawl
--quite the gen'l'm'n. Goes through the archvaythinking how
he should inwest the money--up comes the toutertouches his
hat--"LicenceSirlicence?"--"What's that?" says my father.--
Licence, Sir,says he.--"What licence?" says my father.--
Marriage licence,says the touter.--"Dash my veskit says my
father, I never thought o' that."--"I think you wants oneSir
says the touter. My father pulls up, and thinks a bit--No says
he, dammeI'm too oldb'sidesI'm a many sizes too large
says he.--Not a bit on itSir says the touter.--Think not?"
says my father.--"I'm sure not says he; we married a gen'l'm'n
twice your sizelast Monday."--"Did youthough?" said my
father.--"To be surewe did says the touter, you're a babby
to him--this waysir--this way!"--and sure enough my father
walks arter himlike a tame monkey behind a horganinto a little
back officevere a teller sat among dirty papersand tin boxes
making believe he was busy. "Pray take a seatvile I makes out
the affidavitSir says the lawyer.--Thank'eeSir says my
father, and down he sat, and stared with all his eyes, and his
mouth vide open, at the names on the boxes. What's your name
Sir says the lawyer.--Tony Weller says my father.--Parish?"
says the lawyer. "Belle Savage says my father; for he stopped
there wen he drove up, and he know'd nothing about parishes, he
didn't.--And what's the lady's name?" says the lawyer. My
father was struck all of a heap. "Blessed if I know says he.--



Not know!" says the lawyer.--"No more nor you do says my
father; can't I put that in arterwards?"--"Impossible!" says
the lawyer.--"Wery well says my father, after he'd thought a
moment, put down Mrs. Clarke."--"What Clarke?" says the
lawyerdipping his pen in the ink.--"Susan ClarkeMarkis o'
GranbyDorking says my father; she'll have meif I ask. I
des-say--I never said nothing to herbut she'll have meI know."
The licence was made outand she DID have himand what's more
she's got him now; and I never had any of the four hundred
poundworse luck. Beg your pardonsir' said Samwhen he had
concluded'but wen I gets on this here grievanceI runs on like a
new barrow with the wheel greased.' Having said whichand
having paused for an instant to see whether he was wanted for
anything moreSam left the room.

'Half-past nine--just the time--off at once;' said the gentleman
whom we need hardly introduce as Mr. Jingle.

'Time--for what?' said the spinster aunt coquettishly.

'Licencedearest of angels--give notice at the church--call you
mineto-morrow'--said Mr. Jingleand he squeezed the spinster
aunt's hand.

'The licence!' said Rachaelblushing.

'The licence' repeated Mr. Jingle-'
In hurrypost-haste for a licence
In hurryding dong I come back.'

'How you run on' said Rachael.


'Run on--nothing to the hoursdaysweeksmonthsyears
when we're united--run on--they'll fly on--bolt--mizzle--
steam-engine--thousand-horse power--nothing to it.'


'Can't--can't we be married before to-morrow morning?'
inquired Rachael.
'Impossible--can't be--notice at the church--leave the licence
to-day--ceremony come off to-morrow.'
'I am so terrifiedlest my brother should discover us!' said Rachael.


'Discover--nonsense--too much shaken by the break-down--
besides--extreme caution--gave up the post-chaise--walked on
--took a hackney-coach--came to the Borough--last place in the
world that he'd look in--ha! ha!--capital notion that--very.'


'Don't be long' said the spinster affectionatelyas Mr. Jingle
stuck the pinched-up hat on his head.


'Long away from you?--Cruel charmer;' and Mr. Jingle
skipped playfully up to the spinster auntimprinted a chaste kiss
upon her lipsand danced out of the room.


'Dear man!' said the spinsteras the door closed after him.


'Rum old girl' said Mr. Jingleas he walked down the passage.


It is painful to reflect upon the perfidy of our species; and we
will notthereforepursue the thread of Mr. Jingle's meditations
as he wended his way to Doctors' Commons. It will be sufficient
for our purpose to relatethat escaping the snares of the dragons
in white apronswho guard the entrance to that enchanted



regionhe reached the vicar-general's office in safety and having
procured a highly flattering address on parchmentfrom the
Archbishop of Canterburyto his 'trusty and well-beloved Alfred
Jingle and Rachael Wardlegreeting' he carefully deposited the
mystic document in his pocketand retraced his steps in triumph
to the Borough.

He was yet on his way to the White Hartwhen two plump
gentleman and one thin one entered the yardand looked round
in search of some authorised person of whom they could make a
few inquiries. Mr. Samuel Weller happened to be at that moment
engaged in burnishing a pair of painted topsthe personal
property of a farmer who was refreshing himself with a slight
lunch of two or three pounds of cold beef and a pot or two of
porterafter the fatigues of the Borough market; and to him the
thin gentleman straightway advanced.

'My friend' said the thin gentleman.

'You're one o' the adwice gratis order' thought Sam'or you
wouldn't be so wery fond o' me all at once.' But he only said-'
WellSir.'

'My friend' said the thin gentlemanwith a conciliatory hem-'
have you got many people stopping here now? Pretty busy. Eh?'

Sam stole a look at the inquirer. He was a little high-dried
manwith a dark squeezed-up faceand smallrestlessblack
eyesthat kept winking and twinkling on each side of his little
inquisitive noseas if they were playing a perpetual game of
peep-bo with that feature. He was dressed all in blackwith boots
as shiny as his eyesa low white neckclothand a clean shirt with
a frill to it. A gold watch-chainand sealsdepended from his fob.
He carried his black kid gloves IN his handsand not ON them;
and as he spokethrust his wrists beneath his coat tailswith the
air of a man who was in the habit of propounding some regular posers.

'Pretty busyeh?' said the little man.

'Ohwery wellSir' replied Sam'we shan't be bankruptsand
we shan't make our fort'ns. We eats our biled mutton without
capersand don't care for horse-radish ven ve can get beef.'

'Ah' said the little man'you're a wagain't you?'

'My eldest brother was troubled with that complaint' said
Sam; 'it may be catching--I used to sleep with him.'

'This is a curious old house of yours' said the little man
looking round him.

'If you'd sent word you was a-comingwe'd ha' had it repaired;'
replied the imperturbable Sam.

The little man seemed rather baffled by these several repulses
and a short consultation took place between him and the two
plump gentlemen. At its conclusionthe little man took a pinch
of snuff from an oblong silver boxand was apparently on the
point of renewing the conversationwhen one of the plump
gentlemenwho in addition to a benevolent countenance
possessed a pair of spectaclesand a pair of black gaiters
interfered-


'The fact of the matter is' said the benevolent gentleman'that


my friend here (pointing to the other plump gentleman) will give
you half a guineaif you'll answer one or two--'

'Nowmy dear sir--my dear Sir' said the little man'pray
allow me--my dear Sirthe very first principle to be observed in
these casesis this: if you place the matter in the hands of a
professional manyou must in no way interfere in the progress of
the business; you must repose implicit confidence in him. Really
Mr.--' He turned to the other plump gentlemanand said'I
forget your friend's name.'

'Pickwick' said Mr. Wardlefor it was no other than that jolly
personage.

'AhPickwick--really Mr. Pickwickmy dear Sirexcuse me-I
shall be happy to receive any private suggestions of yoursas
AMICUS CURIAEbut you must see the impropriety of your interfering
with my conduct in this casewith such an AD CAPTANDUM argument as the
offer of half a guinea. Reallymy dear Sirreally;' and the little
man took an argumentative pinch of snuffand looked very profound.

'My only wishSir' said Mr. Pickwick'was to bring this very
unpleasant matter to as speedy a close as possible.'

'Quite right--quite right' said the little man.

'With which view' continued Mr. Pickwick'I made use of the
argument which my experience of men has taught me is the most
likely to succeed in any case.'

'Ayay' said the little man'very goodvery goodindeed; but
you should have suggested it to me. My dear sirI'm quite certain
you cannot be ignorant of the extent of confidence which must be
placed in professional men. If any authority can be necessary on
such a pointmy dear sirlet me refer you to the well-known case
in Barnwell and--'

'Never mind George Barnwell' interrupted Samwho had
remained a wondering listener during this short colloquy;
'everybody knows what sort of a case his wastho' it's always
been my opinionmind youthat the young 'ooman deserved
scragging a precious sight more than he did. Hows'everthat's
neither here nor there. You want me to accept of half a guinea.
Wery wellI'm agreeable: I can't say no fairer than thatcan I
sir?' (Mr. Pickwick smiled.) Then the next question iswhat the
devil do you want with meas the man saidwen he see the ghost?'

'We want to know--' said Mr. Wardle.

'Nowmy dear sir--my dear sir' interposed the busy little man.

Mr. Wardle shrugged his shouldersand was silent.

'We want to know' said the little man solemnly; 'and we ask
the question of youin order that we may not awaken apprehensions
inside--we want to know who you've got in this house at present?'

'Who there is in the house!' said Samin whose mind the
inmates were always represented by that particular article of their
costumewhich came under his immediate superintendence.
'There's a vooden leg in number six; there's a pair of Hessians in
thirteen; there's two pair of halves in the commercial; there's
these here painted tops in the snuggery inside the bar; and five
more tops in the coffee-room.'


'Nothing more?' said the little man.

'Stop a bit' replied Samsuddenly recollecting himself. 'Yes;
there's a pair of Vellingtons a good deal wornand a pair o'
lady's shoesin number five.'

'What sort of shoes?' hastily inquired Wardlewhotogether
with Mr. Pickwickhad been lost in bewilderment at the singular
catalogue of visitors.

'Country make' replied Sam.

'Any maker's name?'

'Brown.'

'Where of?'

'Muggleton.

'It is them' exclaimed Wardle. 'By heavenswe've found them.'

'Hush!' said Sam. 'The Vellingtons has gone to Doctors' Commons.'

'No' said the little man.

'Yesfor a licence.'

'We're in time' exclaimed Wardle. 'Show us the room; not a
moment is to be lost.'

'Praymy dear sir--pray' said the little man; 'caution
caution.' He drew from his pocket a red silk purseand looked
very hard at Sam as he drew out a sovereign.

Sam grinned expressively.

'Show us into the room at oncewithout announcing us' said
the little man'and it's yours.'

Sam threw the painted tops into a cornerand led the way
through a dark passageand up a wide staircase. He paused at
the end of a second passageand held out his hand.

'Here it is' whispered the attorneyas he deposited the money
on the hand of their guide.

The man stepped forward for a few pacesfollowed by the two
friends and their legal adviser. He stopped at a door.

'Is this the room?' murmured the little gentleman.

Sam nodded assent.

Old Wardle opened the door; and the whole three walked into
the room just as Mr. Jinglewho had that moment returnedhad
produced the licence to the spinster aunt.

The spinster uttered a loud shriekand throwing herself into a
chaircovered her face with her hands. Mr. Jingle crumpled up
the licenceand thrust it into his coat pocket. The unwelcome
visitors advanced into the middle of the room.
'You--you are a nice rascalarn't you?' exclaimed Wardle


breathless with passion.

'My dear Sirmy dear sir' said the little manlaying his hat on
the table'prayconsider--pray. Defamation of character: action
for damages. Calm yourselfmy dear sirpray--'

'How dare you drag my sister from my house?' said the old man.

Ay--ay--very good' said the little gentleman'you may ask
that. How dare yousir?--ehsir?'

'Who the devil are you?' inquired Mr. Jinglein so fierce a
tonethat the little gentleman involuntarily fell back a step or two.

'Who is heyou scoundrel' interposed Wardle. 'He's my
lawyerMr. Perkerof Gray's Inn. PerkerI'll have this fellow
prosecuted--indicted--I'll--I'll--I'll ruin him. And you' continued
Mr. Wardleturning abruptly round to his sister--'you
Rachaelat a time of life when you ought to know betterwhat
do you mean by running away with a vagabonddisgracing your
familyand making yourself miserable? Get on your bonnet and
come back. Call a hackney-coach theredirectlyand bring this
lady's billd'ye hear--d'ye hear?'
'Cert'nlySir' replied Samwho had answered Wardle's
violent ringing of the bell with a degree of celerity which must
have appeared marvellous to anybody who didn't know that his
eye had been applied to the outside of the keyhole during the
whole interview.

'Get on your bonnet' repeated Wardle.

'Do nothing of the kind' said Jingle. 'Leave the roomSir-no
business here--lady's free to act as she pleases--more than
one-and-twenty.'

'More than one-and-twenty!' ejaculated Wardle contemptuously.
'More than one-and-forty!'

'I ain't' said the spinster aunther indignation getting the
better of her determination to faint.

'You are' replied Wardle; 'you're fifty if you're an hour.'

Here the spinster aunt uttered a loud shriekand became senseless.

'A glass of water' said the humane Mr. Pickwicksummoning
the landlady.

'A glass of water!' said the passionate Wardle. 'Bring a
bucketand throw it all over her; it'll do her goodand she
richly deserves it.'

'Ughyou brute!' ejaculated the kind-hearted landlady. 'Poor
dear.' And with sundry ejaculations of 'Come nowthere's a dear
--drink a little of this--it'll do you good--don't give way so-there's
a love' etc. etc.the landladyassisted by a chambermaid
proceeded to vinegar the foreheadbeat the handstitillate the
noseand unlace the stays of the spinster auntand to administer
such other restoratives as are usually applied by compassionate
females to ladies who are endeavouring to ferment themselves
into hysterics.

'Coach is readySir' said Samappearing at the door.


'Come along' cried Wardle. 'I'll carry her downstairs.'

At this propositionthe hysterics came on with redoubled violence.
The landlady was about to enter a very violent protest against
this proceedingand had already given vent to an indignant
inquiry whether Mr. Wardle considered himself a lord of the
creationwhen Mr. Jingle interposed-


'Boots' said he'get me an officer.'

'Staystay' said little Mr. Perker. 'ConsiderSirconsider.'

'I'll not consider' replied Jingle. 'She's her own mistress--see
who dares to take her away--unless she wishes it.'

'I WON'T be taken away' murmured the spinster aunt. 'I DON'T
wish it.' (Here there was a frightful relapse.)

'My dear Sir' said the little manin a low tonetaking Mr.
Wardle and Mr. Pickwick apart--'my dear Sirwe're in a very
awkward situation. It's a distressing case--very; I never knew
one more so; but reallymy dear sirreally we have no power to
control this lady's actions. I warned you before we camemy dear
sirthat there was nothing to look to but a compromise.'

There was a short pause.

'What kind of compromise would you recommend?' inquired
Mr. Pickwick.

'Whymy dear Sirour friend's in an unpleasant position--very
much so. We must be content to suffer some pecuniary loss.'

'I'll suffer anyrather than submit to this disgraceand let her
fool as she isbe made miserable for life' said Wardle.

'I rather think it can be done' said the bustling little man.
'Mr. Jinglewill you step with us into the next room for a
moment?'

Mr. Jingle assentedand the quartette walked into an empty apartment.

'Nowsir' said the little manas he carefully closed the door
'is there no way of accommodating this matter--step this way
sirfor a moment--into this windowSirwhere we can be alone
--theresirtherepray sit downsir. Nowmy dear Sirbetween
you and Iwe know very wellmy dear Sirthat you have run off
with this lady for the sake of her money. Don't frownSirdon't
frown; I saybetween you and IWE know it. We are both men of
the worldand WE know very well that our friends hereare not--eh?'

Mr. Jingle's face gradually relaxed; and something distantly
resembling a wink quivered for an instant in his left eye.

'Very goodvery good' said the little manobserving the
impression he had made. 'Nowthe fact isthat beyond a few
hundredsthe lady has little or nothing till the death of her
mother--fine old ladymy dear Sir.'

'OLD' said Mr. Jingle briefly but emphatically.

'Whyyes' said the attorneywith a slight cough. 'You are
rightmy dear Sirshe is rather old. She comes of an old family
thoughmy dear Sir; old in every sense of the word. The founder


of that family came into Kent when Julius Caesar invaded
Britain;--only one member of itsincewho hasn't lived to eighty-five
and he was beheaded by one of the Henrys. The old lady
is not seventy-three nowmy dear Sir.' The little man pausedand
took a pinch of snuff.


'Well' cried Mr. Jingle.


'Wellmy dear sir--you don't take snuff!--ah! so much the
better--expensive habit--wellmy dear Siryou're a fine young
manman of the world--able to push your fortuneif you had
capitaleh?'


'Well' said Mr. Jingle again.


'Do you comprehend me?'


'Not quite.'


'Don't you think--nowmy dear SirI put it to you don't you
think--that fifty pounds and liberty would be better than Miss
Wardle and expectation?'


'Won't do--not half enough!' said Mr. Jinglerising.


'Naynaymy dear Sir' remonstrated the little attorney
seizing him by the button. 'Good round sum--a man like you
could treble it in no time--great deal to be done with fifty pounds
my dear Sir.'


'More to be done with a hundred and fifty' replied Mr. Jingle coolly.


'Wellmy dear Sirwe won't waste time in splitting straws'
resumed the little man'say--say--seventy.'
'Won't do' said Mr. Jingle.


'Don't go awaymy dear sir--pray don't hurry' said the little
man. 'Eighty; come: I'll write you a cheque at once.'


'Won't do' said Mr. Jingle.


'Wellmy dear Sirwell' said the little manstill detaining him;
'just tell me what WILL do.'


'Expensive affair' said Mr. Jingle. 'Money out of pocket--
postingnine pounds; licencethree--that's twelve--compensation
a hundred--hundred and twelve--breach of honour--and
loss of the lady--'


'Yesmy dear Siryes' said the little manwith a knowing look
'never mind the last two items. That's a hundred and twelve--say
a hundred--come.'


'And twenty' said Mr. Jingle.


'ComecomeI'll write you a cheque' said the little man; and
down he sat at the table for that purpose.


'I'll make it payable the day after to-morrow' said the little
manwith a look towards Mr. Wardle; 'and we can get the lady
awaymeanwhile.' Mr. Wardle sullenly nodded assent.


'A hundred' said the little man.



'And twenty' said Mr. Jingle.

'My dear Sir' remonstrated the little man.

'Give it him' interposed Mr. Wardle'and let him go.'

The cheque was written by the little gentlemanand pocketed
by Mr. Jingle.

'Nowleave this house instantly!' said Wardlestarting up.

'My dear Sir' urged the little man.

'And mind' said Mr. Wardle'that nothing should have
induced me to make this compromise--not even a regard for my
family--if I had not known that the moment you got any money
in that pocket of yoursyou'd go to the devil fasterif possible
than you would without it--'

'My dear sir' urged the little man again.

'Be quietPerker' resumed Wardle. 'Leave the roomSir.'

'Off directly' said the unabashed Jingle. 'Bye byePickwick.'
If any dispassionate spectator could have beheld the countenance
of the illustrious manwhose name forms the leading
feature of the title of this workduring the latter part of this
conversationhe would have been almost induced to wonder that
the indignant fire which flashed from his eyes did not melt the
glasses of his spectacles--so majestic was his wrath. His nostrils
dilatedand his fists clenched involuntarilyas he heard himself
addressed by the villain. But he restrained himself again--he did
not pulverise him.

'Here' continued the hardened traitortossing the licence at
Mr. Pickwick's feet; 'get the name altered--take home the lady
--do for Tuppy.'

Mr. Pickwick was a philosopherbut philosophers are only
men in armourafter all. The shaft had reached himpenetrated
through his philosophical harnessto his very heart. In the frenzy
of his ragehe hurled the inkstand madly forwardand followed
it up himself. But Mr. Jingle had disappearedand he found
himself caught in the arms of Sam.

'Hollo' said that eccentric functionary'furniter's cheap
where you come fromSir. Self-acting inkthat 'ere; it's wrote
your mark upon the wallold gen'l'm'n. Hold stillSir; wot's the
use o' runnin' arter a man as has made his luckyand got to
t'other end of the Borough by this time?'

Mr. Pickwick's mindlike those of all truly great menwas open
to conviction. He was a quick and powerful reasoner; and
a moment's reflection sufficed to remind him of the impotency
of his rage. It subsided as quickly as it had been roused.
He panted for breathand looked benignantly round upon his
friends.

Shall we tell the lamentations that ensued when Miss Wardle
found herself deserted by the faithless Jingle? Shall we extract
Mr. Pickwick's masterly description of that heartrending scene?
His note-bookblotted with the tears of sympathising humanity
lies open before us; one wordand it is in the printer's hands.
Butno! we will be resolute! We will not wring the public


bosomwith the delineation of such suffering!

Slowly and sadly did the two friends and the deserted lady
return next day in the Muggleton heavy coach. Dimly and
darkly had the sombre shadows of a summer's night fallen upon
all aroundwhen they again reached Dingley Delland stood
within the entrance to Manor Farm.

CHAPTER XI

INVOLVING ANOTHER JOURNEYAND AN ANTIQUARIAN
DISCOVERY; RECORDING Mr. PICKWICK'S DETERMINATION
TO BE PRESENT AT AN ELECTION; AND CONTAINING
A MANUSCRIPT OF THE OLD CLERGYMAN'S

A night of quiet and repose in the profound silence of Dingley
Delland an hour's breathing of its fresh and fragrant air
on the ensuing morningcompletely recovered Mr. Pickwick
from the effects of his late fatigue of body and anxiety of mind.
That illustrious man had been separated from his friends and
fol lowers for two whole days; and it was with a degree of pleasure
and delightwhich no common imagination can adequately
conceivethat he stepped forward to greet Mr. Winkle and Mr.
Snodgrassas he encountered those gentlemen on his return from
his early walk. The pleasure was mutual; for who could ever gaze
on Mr. Pickwick's beaming face without experiencing the
sensation? But still a cloud seemed to hang over his companions
which that great man could not but be sensible ofand was wholly
at a loss to account for. There was a mysterious air about them
bothas unusual as it was alarming.

'And how' said Mr. Pickwickwhen he had grasped his
followers by the handand exchanged warm salutations of
welcome--'how is Tupman?'

Mr. Winkleto whom the question was more peculiarly
addressedmade no reply. He turned away his headand appeared
absorbed in melancholy reflection.

'Snodgrass' said Mr. Pickwick earnestly'how is our friend-he
is not ill?'

'No' replied Mr. Snodgrass; and a tear trembled on his
sentimental eyelidlike a rain-drop on a window-frame-'no; he
is not ill.'

Mr. Pickwick stoppedand gazed on each of his friends in turn.

'Winkle--Snodgrass' said Mr. Pickwick; 'what does this
mean? Where is our friend? What has happened? Speak--I
conjureI entreat--nayI command youspeak.'

There was a solemnity--a dignity--in Mr. Pickwick's manner
not to be withstood.

'He is gone' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'Gone!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. 'Gone!'

'Gone' repeated Mr. Snodgrass.

'Where!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwick.


'We can only guessfrom that communication' replied Mr.
Snodgrasstaking a letter from his pocketand placing it in his
friend's hand. 'Yesterday morningwhen a letter was received
from Mr. Wardlestating that you would be home with his sister
at nightthe melancholy which had hung over our friend during
the whole of the previous daywas observed to increase. He
shortly afterwards disappeared: he was missing during the whole
dayand in the evening this letter was brought by the hostler
from the Crownat Muggleton. It had been left in his charge in
the morningwith a strict injunction that it should not be
delivered until night.'

Mr. Pickwick opened the epistle. It was in his friend's handwriting
and these were its contents:-


'MY DEAR PICKWICK--YOUmy dear friendare placed far
beyond the reach of many mortal frailties and weaknesses which
ordinary people cannot overcome. You do not know what it
isat one blowto be deserted by a lovely and fascinating
creatureand to fall a victim to the artifices of a villainwho had
the grin of cunning beneath the mask of friendship. I hope you
never may.

'Any letter addressed to me at the Leather BottleCobham
Kentwill be forwarded--supposing I still exist. I hasten from
the sight of that worldwhich has become odious to me. Should
I hasten from it altogetherpity--forgive me. Lifemy dear
Pickwickhas become insupportable to me. The spirit which
burns within usis a porter's knoton which to rest the heavy
load of worldly cares and troubles; and when that spirit fails us
the burden is too heavy to be borne. We sink beneath it. You
may tell Rachael--Ahthat name!-


'TRACY TupmAN.'

'We must leave this place directly' said Mr. Pickwickas he
refolded the note. 'It would not have been decent for us to
remain hereunder any circumstancesafter what has happened;
and now we are bound to follow in search of our friend.' And
so sayinghe led the way to the house.

His intention was rapidly communicated. The entreaties to
remain were pressingbut Mr. Pickwick was inflexible. Business
he saidrequired his immediate attendance.

The old clergyman was present.

'You are not really going?' said hetaking Mr. Pickwick aside.

Mr. Pickwick reiterated his former determination.

'Then here' said the old gentleman'is a little manuscript
which I had hoped to have the pleasure of reading to you myself.
I found it on the death of a friend of mine--a medical man
engaged in our county lunatic asylum--among a variety of
paperswhich I had the option of destroying or preservingas I
thought proper. I can hardly believe that the manuscript is
genuinethough it certainly is not in my friend's hand. However
whether it be the genuine production of a maniacor founded
upon the ravings of some unhappy being (which I think more
probable)read itand judge for yourself.'

Mr. Pickwick received the manuscriptand parted from the


benevolent old gentleman with many expressions of good-will
and esteem.

It was a more difficult task to take leave of the inmates of
Manor Farmfrom whom they had received so much hospitality
and kindness. Mr. Pickwick kissed the young ladies--we were
going to sayas if they were his own daughtersonlyas he might
possibly have infused a little more warmth into the salutationthe
comparison would not be quite appropriate--hugged the old lady
with filial cordiality; and patted the rosy cheeks of the female
servants in a most patriarchal manneras he slipped into the
hands of each some more substantial expression of his approval.
The exchange of cordialities with their fine old host and Mr.
Trundle was even more hearty and prolonged; and it was not
until Mr. Snodgrass had been several times called forand at last
emerged from a dark passage followed soon after by Emily
(whose bright eyes looked unusually dim)that the three friends
were enabled to tear themselves from their friendly entertainers.
Many a backward look they gave at the farmas they walked
slowly away; and many a kiss did Mr. Snodgrass waft in the air
in acknowledgment of something very like a lady's handkerchief
which was waved from one of the upper windowsuntil a turn of
the lane hid the old house from their sight.

At Muggleton they procured a conveyance to Rochester. By
the time they reached the last-named placethe violence of their
grief had sufficiently abated to admit of their making a very
excellent early dinner; and having procured the necessary information
relative to the roadthe three friends set forward again in
the afternoon to walk to Cobham.

A delightful walk it was; for it was a pleasant afternoon in
Juneand their way lay through a deep and shady woodcooled
by the light wind which gently rustled the thick foliageand
enlivened by the songs of the birds that perched upon the boughs.
The ivy and the moss crept in thick clusters over the old trees
and the soft green turf overspread the ground like a silken
mat. They emerged upon an open parkwith an ancient hall
displaying the quaint and picturesque architecture of Elizabeth's
time. Long vistas of stately oaks and elm trees appeared on
every side; large herds of deer were cropping the fresh grass;
and occasionally a startled hare scoured along the ground
with the speed of the shadows thrown by the light clouds
which swept across a sunny landscape like a passing breath of summer.

'If this' said Mr. Pickwicklooking about him--'if this were
the place to which all who are troubled with our friend's complaint
cameI fancy their old attachment to this world would very
soon return.'

'I think so too' said Mr. Winkle.

'And really' added Mr. Pickwickafter half an hour's walking
had brought them to the village'reallyfor a misanthrope's
choicethis is one of the prettiest and most desirable places of
residence I ever met with.'

In this opinion alsoboth Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass
expressed their concurrence; and having been directed to the
Leather Bottlea clean and commodious village ale-housethe
three travellers enteredand at once inquired for a gentleman of
the name of Tupman.

'Show the gentlemen into the parlourTom' said the landlady.


A stout country lad opened a door at the end of the passage
and the three friends entered a longlow-roofed roomfurnished
with a large number of high-backed leather-cushioned chairsof
fantastic shapesand embellished with a great variety of old
portraits and roughly-coloured prints of some antiquity. At the
upper end of the room was a tablewith a white cloth upon it
well covered with a roast fowlbaconaleand et ceteras; and at
the table sat Mr. Tupmanlooking as unlike a man who had
taken his leave of the worldas possible.

On the entrance of his friendsthat gentleman laid down his
knife and forkand with a mournful air advanced to meet them.

'I did not expect to see you here' he saidas he grasped Mr.
Pickwick's hand. 'It's very kind.'

'Ah!' said Mr. Pickwicksitting downand wiping from his
forehead the perspiration which the walk had engendered. 'Finish
your dinnerand walk out with me. I wish to speak to you alone.'

Mr. Tupman did as he was desired; and Mr. Pickwick having refreshed
himself with a copious draught of alewaited his friend's leisure.
The dinner was quickly despatchedand they walked out together.

For half an hourtheir forms might have been seen pacing the
churchyard to and frowhile Mr. Pickwick was engaged in
combating his companion's resolution. Any repetition of his
arguments would be useless; for what language could convey to
them that energy and force which their great originator's manner
communicated? Whether Mr. Tupman was already tired of
retirementor whether he was wholly unable to resist the eloquent
appeal which was made to himmatters nothe did NOT resist it
at last.

'It mattered little to him' he said'where he dragged out the
miserable remainder of his days; and since his friend laid so
much stress upon his humble companionshiphe was willing to
share his adventures.'

Mr. Pickwick smiled; they shook handsand walked back to
rejoin their companions.

It was at this moment that Mr. Pickwick made that immortal
discoverywhich has been the pride and boast of his friendsand
the envy of every antiquarian in this or any other country. They
had passed the door of their innand walked a little way down
the villagebefore they recollected the precise spot in which it
stood. As they turned backMr. Pickwick's eye fell upon a small
broken stonepartially buried in the groundin front of a cottage
door. He paused.

'This is very strange' said Mr. Pickwick.

'What is strange?' inquired Mr. Tupmanstaring eagerly at
every object near himbut the right one. 'God bless mewhat's
the matter?'

This last was an ejaculation of irrepressible astonishment
occasioned by seeing Mr. Pickwickin his enthusiasm for
discoveryfall on his knees before the little stoneand commence
wiping the dust off it with his pocket-handkerchief.

'There is an inscription here' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Is it possible?' said Mr. Tupman.

'I can discern'continued Mr. Pickwickrubbing away with all
his mightand gazing intently through his spectacles--'I can
discern a crossand a 13and then a T. This is important'
continued Mr. Pickwickstarting up. 'This is some very old
inscriptionexisting perhaps long before the ancient alms-houses
in this place. It must not be lost.'

He tapped at the cottage door. A labouring man opened it.

'Do you know how this stone came heremy friend?' inquired
the benevolent Mr. Pickwick.

'NoI doan'tSir' replied the man civilly. 'It was here long
afore I was bornor any on us.'

Mr. Pickwick glanced triumphantly at his companion.

'You--you--are not particularly attached to itI dare say'
said Mr. Pickwicktrembling with anxiety. 'You wouldn't mind
selling itnow?'

'Ah! but who'd buy it?' inquired the manwith an expression
of face which he probably meant to be very cunning.

'I'll give you ten shillings for itat once' said Mr. Pickwick
'if you would take it up for me.'

The astonishment of the village may be easily imaginedwhen
(the little stone having been raised with one wrench of a spade)
Mr. Pickwickby dint of great personal exertionbore it with his
own hands to the innand after having carefully washed it
deposited it on the table.

The exultation and joy of the Pickwickians knew no bounds
when their patience and assiduitytheir washing and scraping
were crowned with success. The stone was uneven and broken
and the letters were straggling and irregularbut the following
fragment of an inscription was clearly to be deciphered:-


[cross] B I L S T
u m
P S H I


S. M.
ARK
Mr. Pickwick's eyes sparkled with delightas he sat and
gloated over the treasure he had discovered. He had attained one
of the greatest objects of his ambition. In a county known to
abound in the remains of the early ages; in a village in which
there still existed some memorials of the olden timehe--hethe
chairman of the Pickwick Club--had discovered a strange and
curious inscription of unquestionable antiquitywhich had
wholly escaped the observation of the many learned men who had
preceded him. He could hardly trust the evidence of his senses.

'This--this' said he'determines me. We return to town to-morrow.'

'To-morrow!' exclaimed his admiring followers.

'To-morrow' said Mr. Pickwick. 'This treasure must be at once


deposited where it can be thoroughly investigated and properly
understood. I have another reason for this step. In a few days
an election is to take place for the borough of Eatanswillat
which Mr. Perkera gentleman whom I lately metis the agent of
one of the candidates. We will beholdand minutely examinea
scene so interesting to every Englishman.'

'We will' was the animated cry of three voices.

Mr. Pickwick looked round him. The attachment and fervour
of his followers lighted up a glow of enthusiasm within him. He
was their leaderand he felt it.

'Let us celebrate this happy meeting with a convivial glass' said
he. This propositionlike the otherwas received with unanimous
applause. Having himself deposited the important stone in a small
deal boxpurchased from the landlady for the purposehe
placed himself in an arm-chairat the head of the table; and the
evening was devoted to festivity and conversation.

It was past eleven o'clock--a late hour for the little village of
Cobham--when Mr. Pickwick retired to the bedroom which had
been prepared for his reception. He threw open the lattice
windowand setting his light upon the tablefell into a train of
meditation on the hurried events of the two preceding days.

The hour and the place were both favourable to contemplation;
Mr. Pickwick was roused by the church clock striking
twelve. The first stroke of the hour sounded solemnly in his ear
but when the bell ceased the stillness seemed insupportable--he
almost felt as if he had lost a companion. He was nervous and
excited; and hastily undressing himself and placing his light in
the chimneygot into bed.

Every one has experienced that disagreeable state of mindin
which a sensation of bodily weariness in vain contends against an
inability to sleep. It was Mr. Pickwick's condition at this
moment: he tossed first on one side and then on the other; and
perseveringly closed his eyes as if to coax himself to slumber. It
was of no use. Whether it was the unwonted exertion he had
undergoneor the heator the brandy-and-wateror the strange
bed--whatever it washis thoughts kept reverting very
uncomfortably to the grim pictures downstairsand the old stories
to which they had given rise in the course of the evening. After
half an hour's tumbling abouthe came to the unsatisfactory
conclusionthat it was of no use trying to sleep; so he got up and
partially dressed himself. Anythinghe thoughtwas better than
lying there fancying all kinds of horrors. He looked out of the
window--it was very dark. He walked about the room--it was
very lonely.

He had taken a few turns from the door to the windowand
from the window to the doorwhen the clergyman's manuscript
for the first time entered his head. It was a good thought. if it
failed to interest himit might send him to sleep. He took it from
his coat pocketand drawing a small table towards his bedside
trimmed the lightput on his spectaclesand composed himself
to read. It was a strange handwritingand the paper was much
soiled and blotted. The title gave him a sudden starttoo; and he
could not avoid casting a wistful glance round the room.
Reflecting on the absurdity of giving way to such feelings
howeverhe trimmed the light againand read as follows:-



A MADMAN'S MANUSCRIPT

'Yes!--a madman's! How that word would have struck to my
heartmany years ago! How it would have roused the terror that
used to come upon me sometimessending the blood hissing and
tingling through my veinstill the cold dew of fear stood in large
drops upon my skinand my knees knocked together with
fright! I like it now though. It's a fine name. Show me the
monarch whose angry frown was ever feared like the glare of a
madman's eye--whose cord and axe were ever half so sure as
a madman's gripe. Ho! ho! It's a grand thing to be mad! to be
peeped at like a wild lion through the iron bars--to gnash one's
teeth and howlthrough the long still nightto the merry ring of
a heavy chain and to roll and twine among the strawtransported
with such brave music. Hurrah for the madhouse! Ohit's
a rare place!

'I remember days when I was afraid of being mad; when I used
to start from my sleepand fall upon my kneesand pray to be
spared from the curse of my race; when I rushed from the sight of
merriment or happinessto hide myself in some lonely placeand
spend the weary hours in watching the progress of the fever that
was to consume my brain. I knew that madness was mixed up
with my very bloodand the marrow of my bones! that one
generation had passed away without the pestilence appearing
among themand that I was the first in whom it would revive. I
knew it must be so: that so it always had beenand so it ever
would be: and when I cowered in some obscure corner of a
crowded roomand saw men whisperand pointand turn their
eyes towards meI knew they were telling each other of the
doomed madman; and I slunk away again to mope in solitude.

'I did this for years; longlong years they were. The nights here
are long sometimes--very long; but they are nothing to the
restless nightsand dreadful dreams I had at that time. It makes
me cold to remember them. Large dusky forms with sly and
jeering faces crouched in the corners of the roomand bent over
my bed at nighttempting me to madness. They told me in low
whispersthat the floor of the old house in which my father died
was stained with his own bloodshed by his own hand in raging
madness. I drove my fingers into my earsbut they screamed into
my head till the room rang with itthat in one generation before
him the madness slumberedbut that his grandfather had lived
for years with his hands fettered to the groundto prevent his
tearing himself to pieces. I knew they told the truth--I knew it
well. I had found it out years beforethough they had tried to
keep it from me. Ha! ha! I was too cunning for themmadman
as they thought me.

'At last it came upon meand I wondered how I could ever
have feared it. I could go into the world nowand laugh and
shout with the best among them. I knew I was madbut they did
not even suspect it. How I used to hug myself with delightwhen
I thought of the fine trick I was playing them after their old
pointing and leeringwhen I was not madbut only dreading that
I might one day become so! And how I used to laugh for joy
when I was aloneand thought how well I kept my secretand
how quickly my kind friends would have fallen from meif they
had known the truth. I could have screamed with ecstasy when I
dined alone with some fine roaring fellowto think how pale he
would have turnedand how fast he would have runif he had
known that the dear friend who sat close to himsharpening a
brightglittering knifewas a madman with all the powerand
half the willto plunge it in his heart. Ohit was a merry life!


'Riches became minewealth poured in upon meand I rioted
in pleasures enhanced a thousandfold to me by the consciousness
of my well-kept secret. I inherited an estate. The law--the eagleeyed
law itself--had been deceivedand had handed over disputed
thousands to a madman's hands. Where was the wit of the sharpsighted
men of sound mind? Where the dexterity of the lawyers
eager to discover a flaw? The madman's cunning had overreached
them all.

'I had money. How I was courted! I spent it profusely. How I
was praised! How those three proudoverbearing brothers
humbled themselves before me! The oldwhite-headed father
too--such deference--such respect--such devoted friendship-he
worshipped me! The old man had a daughterand the young
men a sister; and all the five were poor. I was rich; and when I
married the girlI saw a smile of triumph play upon the faces of
her needy relativesas they thought of their well-planned scheme
and their fine prize. It was for me to smile. To smile! To laugh
outrightand tear my hairand roll upon the ground with shrieks
of merriment. They little thought they had married her to a madman.

'Stay. If they had known itwould they have saved her? A
sister's happiness against her husband's gold. The lightest feather
I blow into the airagainst the gay chain that ornaments my body!

'In one thing I was deceived with all my cunning. If I had not
been mad--for though we madmen are sharp-witted enoughwe
get bewildered sometimes--I should have known that the girl
would rather have been placedstiff and cold in a dull leaden
coffinthan borne an envied bride to my richglittering house. I
should have known that her heart was with the dark-eyed boy
whose name I once heard her breathe in her troubled sleep; and
that she had been sacrificed to meto relieve the poverty of the
oldwhite-headed man and the haughty brothers.

'I don't remember forms or faces nowbut I know the girl was
beautiful. I know she was; for in the bright moonlight nights
when I start up from my sleepand all is quiet about meI see
standing still and motionless in one corner of this cella slight
and wasted figure with long black hairwhichstreaming down
her backstirs with no earthly windand eyes that fix their gaze
on meand never wink or close. Hush! the blood chills at my
heart as I write it down--that form is HERS; the face is very pale
and the eyes are glassy bright; but I know them well. That figure
never moves; it never frowns and mouths as others dothat fill
this place sometimes; but it is much more dreadful to meeven
than the spirits that tempted me many years ago--it comes fresh
from the grave; and is so very death-like.

'For nearly a year I saw that face grow paler; for nearly a year
I saw the tears steal down the mournful cheeksand never knew
the cause. I found it out at last though. They could not keep it
from me long. She had never liked me; I had never thought she
did: she despised my wealthand hated the splendour in which
she lived; but I had not expected that. She loved another. This I
had never thought of. Strange feelings came over meand
thoughtsforced upon me by some secret powerwhirled round
and round my brain. I did not hate herthough I hated the boy
she still wept for. I pitied--yesI pitied--the wretched life to
which her cold and selfish relations had doomed her. I knew that
she could not live long; but the thought that before her death she
might give birth to some ill-fated beingdestined to hand down
madness to its offspringdetermined me. I resolved to kill her.


'For many weeks I thought of poisonand then of drowning
and then of fire. A fine sightthe grand house in flamesand the
madman's wife smouldering away to cinders. Think of the jest of
a large rewardtooand of some sane man swinging in the wind
for a deed he never didand all through a madman's cunning!
I thought often of thisbut I gave it up at last. Oh! the pleasure
of stropping the razor day after dayfeeling the sharp edgeand
thinking of the gash one stroke of its thinbright edge would make!
'At last the old spirits who had been with me so often before
whispered in my ear that the time was comeand thrust the open
razor into my hand. I grasped it firmlyrose softly from the bed
and leaned over my sleeping wife. Her face was buried in her
hands. I withdrew them softlyand they fell listlessly on her
bosom. She had been weeping; for the traces of the tears were
still wet upon her cheek. Her face was calm and placid; and even
as I looked upon ita tranquil smile lighted up her pale features.
I laid my hand softly on her shoulder. She started--it was only a
passing dream. I leaned forward again. She screamedand woke.

'One motion of my handand she would never again have
uttered cry or sound. But I was startledand drew back. Her eyes
were fixed on mine. I knew not how it wasbut they cowed and
frightened me; and I quailed beneath them. She rose from the bed
still gazing fixedly and steadily on me. I trembled; the razor was
in my handbut I could not move. She made towards the door.
As she neared itshe turnedand withdrew her eyes from my face.
The spell was broken. I bounded forwardand clutched her by
the arm. Uttering shriek upon shriekshe sank upon the ground.

'Now I could have killed her without a struggle; but the house
was alarmed. I heard the tread of footsteps on the stairs. I
replaced the razor in its usual drawerunfastened the doorand
called loudly for assistance.

'They cameand raised herand placed her on the bed. She lay bereft
of animation for hours; and when lifelookand speech returned
her senses had deserted herand she raved wildly and furiously.

'Doctors were called in--great men who rolled up to my door
in easy carriageswith fine horses and gaudy servants. They were
at her bedside for weeks. They had a great meeting and consulted
together in low and solemn voices in another room. Onethe
cleverest and most celebrated among themtook me asideand
bidding me prepare for the worsttold me--methe madman!-that
my wife was mad. He stood close beside me at an open
windowhis eyes looking in my faceand his hand laid upon my
arm. With one effortI could have hurled him into the street
beneath. It would have been rare sport to have done it; but my
secret was at stakeand I let him go. A few days afterthey told
me I must place her under some restraint: I must provide a
keeper for her. I! I went into the open fields where none could
hear meand laughed till the air resounded with my shouts!

'She died next day. The white-headed old man followed her to
the graveand the proud brothers dropped a tear over the
insensible corpse of her whose sufferings they had regarded in her
lifetime with muscles of iron. All this was food for my secret
mirthand I laughed behind the white handkerchief which I held
up to my faceas we rode hometill the tears Came into my eyes.

'But though I had carried my object and killed herI was
restless and disturbedand I felt that before long my secret must
be known. I could not hide the wild mirth and joy which boiled


within meand made me when I was aloneat homejump up and
beat my hands togetherand dance round and roundand roar
aloud. When I went outand saw the busy crowds hurrying
about the streets; or to the theatreand heard the sound of
musicand beheld the people dancingI felt such gleethat I
could have rushed among themand torn them to pieces limb
from limband howled in transport. But I ground my teethand
struck my feet upon the floorand drove my sharp nails into my
hands. I kept it down; and no one knew I was a madman yet.

'I remember--though it's one of the last things I can remember:
for now I mix up realities with my dreamsand having so much
to doand being always hurried herehave no time to separate
the twofrom some strange confusion in which they get involved
--I remember how I let it out at last. Ha! ha! I think I see their
frightened looks nowand feel the ease with which I flung them
from meand dashed my clenched fist into their white facesand
then flew like the windand left them screaming and shouting
far behind. The strength of a giant comes upon me when I think
of it. There--see how this iron bar bends beneath my furious
wrench. I could snap it like a twigonly there are long galleries
here with many doors--I don't think I could find my way along
them; and even if I couldI know there are iron gates below
which they keep locked and barred. They know what a clever
madman I have beenand they are proud to have me hereto show.

'Let me see: yesI had been out. It was late at night when I
reached homeand found the proudest of the three proud
brothers waiting to see me--urgent business he said: I recollect
it well. I hated that man with all a madman's hate. Many and
many a time had my fingers longed to tear him. They told me he
was there. I ran swiftly upstairs. He had a word to say to me. I
dismissed the servants. It was lateand we were alone together-for
the first time.

'I kept my eyes carefully from him at firstfor I knew what he
little thought--and I gloried in the knowledge--that the light of
madness gleamed from them like fire. We sat in silence for a few
minutes. He spoke at last. My recent dissipationand strange
remarksmade so soon after his sister's deathwere an insult to
her memory. Coupling together many circumstances which had
at first escaped his observationhe thought I had not treated her
well. He wished to know whether he was right in inferring that I
meant to cast a reproach upon her memoryand a disrespect upon her
family. It was due to the uniform he woreto demand this explanation.

'This man had a commission in the army--a commission
purchased with my moneyand his sister's misery! This was the
man who had been foremost in the plot to ensnare meand grasp
my wealth. This was the man who had been the main instrument
in forcing his sister to wed me; well knowing that her heart was
given to that puling boy. Due to his uniform! The livery of his
degradation! I turned my eyes upon him--I could not help it-but
I spoke not a word.

'I saw the sudden change that came upon him beneath my
gaze. He was a bold manbut the colour faded from his faceand
he drew back his chair. I dragged mine nearer to him; and I
laughed--I was very merry then--I saw him shudder. I felt the
madness rising within me. He was afraid of me.

'"You were very fond of your sister when she was alive I
said.--Very."


'He looked uneasily round himand I saw his hand grasp the
back of his chair; but he said nothing.

'"You villain said I, I found you out: I discovered your
hellish plots against me; I know her heart was fixed on some one
else before you compelled her to marry me. I know it--I know it."

'He jumped suddenly from his chairbrandished it aloftand
bid me stand back--for I took care to be getting closer to him all
the time I spoke.

'I screamed rather than talkedfor I felt tumultuous passions
eddying through my veinsand the old spirits whispering and
taunting me to tear his heart out.

'"Damn you said I, starting up, and rushing upon him; I
killed her. I am a madman. Down with you. Bloodblood! I will
have it!"

'I turned aside with one blow the chair he hurled at me in his
terrorand closed with him; and with a heavy crash we rolled
upon the floor together.
'It was a fine struggle that; for he was a tallstrong man
fighting for his life; and Ia powerful madmanthirsting to
destroy him. I knew no strength could equal mineand I was
right. Right againthough a madman! His struggles grew fainter.
I knelt upon his chestand clasped his brawny throat firmly with
both hands. His face grew purple; his eyes were starting from his
headand with protruded tonguehe seemed to mock me. I
squeezed the tighter.
'The door was suddenly burst open with a loud noiseand a
crowd of people rushed forwardcrying aloud to each other to
secure the madman.

'My secret was out; and my only struggle now was for liberty
and freedom. I gained my feet before a hand was on methrew
myself among my assailantsand cleared my way with my strong
armas if I bore a hatchet in my handand hewed them down
before me. I gained the doordropped over the banistersand in
an instant was in the street.

'Straight and swift I ranand no one dared to stop me. I heard
the noise of the feet behindand redoubled my speed. It grew
fainter and fainter in the distanceand at length died away
altogether; but on I boundedthrough marsh and rivuletover
fence and wallwith a wild shout which was taken up by the
strange beings that flocked around me on every sideand swelled
the soundtill it pierced the air. I was borne upon the arms of
demons who swept along upon the windand bore down bank
and hedge before themand spun me round and round with a
rustle and a speed that made my head swimuntil at last they
threw me from them with a violent shockand I fell heavily upon
the earth. When I woke I found myself here--here in this gray
cellwhere the sunlight seldom comesand the moon steals inin
rays which only serve to show the dark shadows about meand that
silent figure in its old corner. When I lie awakeI can sometimes
hear strange shrieks and cries from distant parts of this
large place. What they areI know not; but they neither come
from that pale formnor does it regard them. For from the first
shades of dusk till the earliest light of morningit still stands
motionless in the same placelistening to the music of my iron
chainand watching my gambols on my straw bed.'

At the end of the manuscript was writtenin another handthis


note:-


[The unhappy man whose ravings are recorded abovewas a
melancholy instance of the baneful results of energies
misdirected in early lifeand excesses prolonged until their
consequences could never be repaired. The thoughtless riot
dissipationand debauchery of his younger days produced fever and
delirium. The first effects of the latter was the strange delusion
founded upon a well-known medical theorystrongly contended
for by someand as strongly contested by othersthat an
hereditary madness existed in his family. This produced a settled
gloomwhich in time developed a morbid insanityand finally
terminated in raving madness. There is every reason to believe
that the events he detailedthough distorted in the description
by his diseased imaginationreally happened. It is only matter of
wonder to those who were acquainted with the vices of his early
careerthat his passionswhen no longer controlled by reason
did not lead him to the commission of still more frightful deeds.]

Mr. Pickwick's candle was just expiring in the socketas he
concluded the perusal of the old clergyman's manuscript; and
when the light went suddenly outwithout any previous flicker
by way of warningit communicated a very considerable start to
his excited frame. Hastily throwing off such articles of clothing as
he had put on when he rose from his uneasy bedand casting a
fearful glance aroundhe once more scrambled hastily between
the sheetsand soon fell fast asleep.

The sun was shining brilliantly into his chamberwhen he
awokeand the morning was far advanced. The gloom which had
oppressed him on the previous night had disappeared with the
dark shadows which shrouded the landscapeand his thoughts
and feelings were as light and gay as the morning itself. After a
hearty breakfastthe four gentlemen sallied forth to walk to
Gravesendfollowed by a man bearing the stone in its deal box.
They reached the town about one o'clock (their luggage they had
directed to be forwarded to the cityfrom Rochester)and being
fortunate enough to secure places on the outside of a coach
arrived in London in sound health and spiritson that same afternoon.

The next three or four days were occupied with the preparations
which were necessary for their journey to the borough of
Eatanswill. As any references to that most important undertaking
demands a separate chapterwe may devote the few lines
which remain at the close of thisto narratewith great brevity
the history of the antiquarian discovery.

It appears from the Transactions of the Clubthenthat Mr.
Pickwick lectured upon the discovery at a General Club Meeting
convened on the night succeeding their returnand entered into a
variety of ingenious and erudite speculations on the meaning of
the inscription. It also appears that a skilful artist executed a
faithful delineation of the curiositywhich was engraven on
stoneand presented to the Royal Antiquarian Societyand other
learned bodies: that heart-burnings and jealousies without
number were created by rival controversies which were penned
upon the subject; and that Mr. Pickwick himself wrote a
pamphletcontaining ninety-six pages of very small printand
twenty-seven different readings of the inscription: that three old
gentlemen cut off their eldest sons with a shilling a-piece for
presuming to doubt the antiquity of the fragment; and that one
enthusiastic individual cut himself off prematurelyin despair at
being unable to fathom its meaning: that Mr. Pickwick was


elected an honorary member of seventeen native and foreign
societiesfor making the discovery: that none of the seventeen
could make anything of it; but that all the seventeen agreed it
was very extraordinary.

Mr. Blottonindeed--and the name will be doomed to the
undying contempt of those who cultivate the mysterious and the
sublime--Mr. Blottonwe saywith the doubt and cavilling
peculiar to vulgar mindspresumed to state a view of the caseas
degrading as ridiculous. Mr. Blottonwith a mean desire to
tarnish the lustre of the immortal name of Pickwickactually
undertook a journey to Cobham in personand on his return
sarcastically observed in an oration at the clubthat he had seen
the man from whom the stone was purchased; that the man
presumed the stone to be ancientbut solemnly denied the
antiquity of the inscription--inasmuch as he represented it to
have been rudely carved by himself in an idle moodand to
display letters intended to bear neither more or less than the
simple construction of--'BILL STUMPSHIS MARK'; and
that Mr. Stumpsbeing little in the habit of original composition
and more accustomed to be guided by the sound of words than
by the strict rules of orthographyhad omitted the concluding
'L' of his Christian name.

The Pickwick Club (as might have been expected from so
enlightened an institution) received this statement with the contempt
it deservedexpelled the presumptuous and ill-conditioned
Blotton from the societyand voted Mr. Pickwick a pair of gold
spectaclesin token of their confidence and approbation: in
return for whichMr. Pickwick caused a portrait of himself to
be paintedand hung up in the club room.

Mr. Blotton was ejected but not conquered. He also wrote a
pamphletaddressed to the seventeen learned societiesnative
and foreigncontaining a repetition of the statement he had
already madeand rather more than half intimating his opinion
that the seventeen learned societies were so many 'humbugs.'
Hereuponthe virtuous indignation of the seventeen learned
societies being rousedseveral fresh pamphlets appeared; the
foreign learned societies corresponded with the native learned
societies; the native learned societies translated the pamphlets of
the foreign learned societies into English; the foreign learned
societies translated the pamphlets of the native learned societies
into all sorts of languages; and thus commenced that celebrated
scientific discussion so well known to all menas the Pickwick
controversy.

But this base attempt to injure Mr. Pickwick recoiled upon the
head of its calumnious author. The seventeen learned societies
unanimously voted the presumptuous Blotton an ignorant
meddlerand forthwith set to work upon more treatises than
ever. And to this day the stone remainsan illegible monument
of Mr. Pickwick's greatnessand a lasting trophy to the littleness
of his enemies.

CHAPTER XII

DESCRIPTIVE OF A VERY IMPORTANT PROCEEDING ON
THE PART OF Mr. PICKWICK; NO LESS AN EPOCH IN HIS
LIFETHAN IN THIS HISTORY

Mr. Pickwick's apartments in Goswell Streetalthough on a
limited scalewere not only of a very neat and comfortable
descriptionbut peculiarly adapted for the residence of a man


of his genius and observation. His sitting-room was the first-floor
fronthis bedroom the second-floor front; and thuswhether he were
sitting at his desk in his parlouror standing before the dressing-
glass in his dormitoryhe had an equal opportunity of contemplating
human nature in all the numerous phases it exhibitsin that not
more populous than popular thoroughfare. His landladyMrs. Bardell--
the relict and sole executrix of a deceased custom-house officer--was
a comely woman of bustling manners and agreeable appearancewith a
natural genius for cookingimproved by study and long practiceinto
an exquisite talent. There were no childrenno servantsno fowls.
The only other inmates of the house were a large man and a
small boy; the first a lodgerthe second a production of Mrs.
Bardell's. The large man was always home precisely at ten
o'clock at nightat which hour he regularly condensed himself
into the limits of a dwarfish French bedstead in the back parlour;
and the infantine sports and gymnastic exercises of Master
Bardell were exclusively confined to the neighbouring pavements
and gutters. Cleanliness and quiet reigned throughout the house;
and in it Mr. Pickwick's will was law.


To any one acquainted with these points of the domestic
economy of the establishmentand conversant with the admirable
regulation of Mr. Pickwick's mindhis appearance and behaviour
on the morning previous to that which had been fixed upon for
the journey to Eatanswill would have been most mysterious and
unaccountable. He paced the room to and fro with hurried steps
popped his head out of the window at intervals of about three
minutes eachconstantly referred to his watchand exhibited
many other manifestations of impatience very unusual with him.
It was evident that something of great importance was in
contemplationbut what that something wasnot even Mrs. Bardell
had been enabled to discover.


'Mrs. Bardell' said Mr. Pickwickat lastas that amiable
female approached the termination of a prolonged dusting of the
apartment.


'Sir' said Mrs. Bardell.


'Your little boy is a very long time gone.'


'Why it's a good long way to the Boroughsir' remonstrated
Mrs. Bardell.


'Ah' said Mr. Pickwick'very true; so it is.'
Mr. Pickwick relapsed into silenceand Mrs. Bardell resumed
her dusting.


'Mrs. Bardell' said Mr. Pickwickat the expiration of a few minutes.


'Sir' said Mrs. Bardell again.
'Do you think it a much greater expense to keep two people
than to keep one?'


'LaMr. Pickwick' said Mrs. Bardellcolouring up to the very
border of her capas she fancied she observed a species of
matrimonial twinkle in the eyes of her lodger; 'LaMr. Pickwick
what a question!'


'Wellbut do you?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'That depends' said Mrs. Bardellapproaching the duster very
near to Mr. Pickwick's elbow which was planted on the table.
'that depends a good deal upon the personyou knowMr.



Pickwick; and whether it's a saving and careful personsir.'


'That's very true' said Mr. Pickwick'but the person I have in
my eye (here he looked very hard at Mrs. Bardell) I think
possesses these qualities; and hasmoreovera considerable
knowledge of the worldand a great deal of sharpnessMrs.
Bardellwhich may be of material use to me.'


'LaMr. Pickwick' said Mrs. Bardellthe crimson rising to her
cap-border again.


'I do' said Mr. Pickwickgrowing energeticas was his wont
in speaking of a subject which interested him--'I doindeed; and
to tell you the truthMrs. BardellI have made up my mind.'


'Dear mesir'exclaimed Mrs. Bardell.


'You'll think it very strange now' said the amiable Mr.
Pickwickwith a good-humoured glance at his companion'that
I never consulted you about this matterand never even mentioned
ittill I sent your little boy out this morning--eh?'


Mrs. Bardell could only reply by a look. She had long worshipped
Mr. Pickwick at a distancebut here she wasall at once
raised to a pinnacle to which her wildest and most extravagant
hopes had never dared to aspire. Mr. Pickwick was going to
propose--a deliberate plantoo--sent her little boy to the
Boroughto get him out of the way--how thoughtful--how considerate!


'Well' said Mr. Pickwick'what do you think?'


'OhMr. Pickwick' said Mrs. Bardelltrembling with agitation
'you're very kindsir.'


'It'll save you a good deal of troublewon't it?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'OhI never thought anything of the troublesir' replied
Mrs. Bardell; 'andof courseI should take more trouble to
please you thenthan ever; but it is so kind of youMr. Pickwick
to have so much consideration for my loneliness.'


'Ahto be sure' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I never thought of that.
When I am in townyou'll always have somebody to sit with you.
To be sureso you will.'


'I am sure I ought to be a very happy woman' said Mrs. Bardell.


'And your little boy--' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Bless his heart!' interposed Mrs. Bardellwith a maternal sob.


'Hetoowill have a companion' resumed Mr. Pickwick'a
lively onewho'll teach himI'll be boundmore tricks in a week
than he would ever learn in a year.' And Mr. Pickwick smiled placidly.


'Ohyou dear--' said Mrs. Bardell.


Mr. Pickwick started.


'Ohyou kindgoodplayful dear' said Mrs. Bardell; and
without more adoshe rose from her chairand flung her arms
round Mr. Pickwick's neckwith a cataract of tears and a chorus
of sobs.


'Bless my soul' cried the astonished Mr. Pickwick; 'Mrs.



Bardellmy good woman--dear mewhat a situation--pray
consider.--Mrs. Bardelldon't--if anybody should come--'

'Ohlet them come' exclaimed Mrs. Bardell frantically; 'I'll
never leave you --dearkindgood soul;' andwith these words
Mrs. Bardell clung the tighter.

'Mercy upon me' said Mr. Pickwickstruggling violently'I
hear somebody coming up the stairs. Don'tdon'tthere's a good
creaturedon't.' But entreaty and remonstrance were alike
unavailing; for Mrs. Bardell had fainted in Mr. Pickwick's arms;
and before he could gain time to deposit her on a chairMaster
Bardell entered the roomushering in Mr. TupmanMr. Winkle
and Mr. Snodgrass.

Mr. Pickwick was struck motionless and speechless. He stood
with his lovely burden in his armsgazing vacantly on the
countenances of his friendswithout the slightest attempt at
recognition or explanation. Theyin their turnstared at him;
and Master Bardellin his turnstared at everybody.

The astonishment of the Pickwickians was so absorbingand
the perplexity of Mr. Pickwick was so extremethat they might
have remained in exactly the same relative situations until the
suspended animation of the lady was restoredhad it not been for
a most beautiful and touching expression of filial affection on the
part of her youthful son. Clad in a tight suit of corduroy
spangled with brass buttons of a very considerable sizehe at first
stood at the door astounded and uncertain; but by degreesthe
impression that his mother must have suffered some personal
damage pervaded his partially developed mindand considering
Mr. Pickwick as the aggressorhe set up an appalling and semiearthly
kind of howlingand butting forward with his head
commenced assailing that immortal gentleman about the back
and legswith such blows and pinches as the strength of his arm
and the violence of his excitementallowed.

'Take this little villain away' said the agonised Mr. Pickwick
'he's mad.'

'What is the matter?' said the three tongue-tied Pickwickians.

'I don't know' replied Mr. Pickwick pettishly. 'Take away the
boy.' (Here Mr. Winkle carried the interesting boyscreaming
and strugglingto the farther end of the apartment.) 'Now help
melead this woman downstairs.'

'OhI am better now' said Mrs. Bardell faintly.

'Let me lead you downstairs' said the ever-gallant Mr. Tupman.

'Thank yousir--thank you;' exclaimed Mrs. Bardell hysterically.
And downstairs she was led accordinglyaccompanied by
her affectionate son.

'I cannot conceive' said Mr. Pickwick when his friend
returned--'I cannot conceive what has been the matter with that
woman. I had merely announced to her my intention of keeping
a man-servantwhen she fell into the extraordinary paroxysm in
which you found her. Very extraordinary thing.'

'Very' said his three friends.

'Placed me in such an extremely awkward situation'


continued Mr. Pickwick.

'Very' was the reply of his followersas they coughed slightly
and looked dubiously at each other.

This behaviour was not lost upon Mr. Pickwick. He remarked
their incredulity. They evidently suspected him.

'There is a man in the passage now' said Mr. Tupman.

'It's the man I spoke to you about' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I sent
for him to the Borough this morning. Have the goodness to call
him upSnodgrass.'

Mr. Snodgrass did as he was desired; and Mr. Samuel Weller
forthwith presented himself.

'Oh--you remember meI suppose?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'I should think so' replied Samwith a patronising wink.
'Queer start that 'erebut he was one too many for youwarn't
he? Up to snuff and a pinch or two over--eh?'

'Never mind that matter now' said Mr. Pickwick hastily;
'I want to speak to you about something else. Sit down.'

'Thank'eesir' said Sam. And down he sat without further
biddinghaving previously deposited his old white hat on the
landing outside the door. ''Tain't a wery good 'un to look at'
said Sam'but it's an astonishin' 'un to wear; and afore the brim
wentit was a wery handsome tile. Hows'ever it's lighter without
itthat's one thingand every hole lets in some airthat's another
--wentilation gossamer I calls it.' On the delivery of this sentiment
Mr. Weller smiled agreeably upon the assembled Pickwickians.

'Now with regard to the matter on which Iwith the concurrence
of these gentlemensent for you' said Mr. Pickwick.

'That's the pintsir' interposed Sam; 'out vith itas the father
said to his childwhen he swallowed a farden.'

'We want to knowin the first place' said Mr. Pickwick
'whether you have any reason to be discontented with your present
situation.'

'Afore I answers that 'ere questiongen'l'm'n' replied Mr.
Weller'I should like to knowin the first placewhether you're
a-goin' to purwide me with a better?'

A sunbeam of placid benevolence played on Mr. Pickwick's
features as he said'I have half made up my mind to engage you
myself.'

'Have youthough?' said Sam.

Mr. Pickwick nodded in the affirmative.

'Wages?' inquired Sam.

'Twelve pounds a year' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Clothes?'

'Two suits.'


'Work?'


'To attend upon me; and travel about with me and these
gentlemen here.'
'Take the bill down' said Sam emphatically. 'I'm let to a
single gentlemanand the terms is agreed upon.'


'You accept the situation?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Cert'nly' replied Sam. 'If the clothes fits me half as well as
the placethey'll do.'


'You can get a character of course?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Ask the landlady o' the White Hart about thatSir' replied Sam.


'Can you come this evening?'


'I'll get into the clothes this minuteif they're here' said Sam
with great alacrity.


'Call at eight this evening' said Mr. Pickwick; 'and if the
inquiries are satisfactorythey shall be provided.'


With the single exception of one amiable indiscretionin
which an assistant housemaid had equally participatedthe
history of Mr. Weller's conduct was so very blamelessthat Mr.
Pickwick felt fully justified in closing the engagement that very
evening. With the promptness and energy which characterised
not only the public proceedingsbut all the private actions of this
extraordinary manhe at once led his new attendant to one of
those convenient emporiums where gentlemen's new and second-
hand clothes are providedand the troublesome and inconvenient
formality of measurement dispensed with; and before night had
closed inMr. Weller was furnished with a grey coat with the


P. C. buttona black hat with a cockade to ita pink striped
waistcoatlight breeches and gaitersand a variety of other
necessariestoo numerous to recapitulate.
'Well' said that suddenly-transformed individualas he took
his seat on the outside of the Eatanswill coach next morning; 'I
wonder whether I'm meant to be a footmanor a groomor a
gamekeeperor a seedsman. I looks like a sort of compo of every
one on 'em. Never mind; there's a change of airplenty to see
and little to do; and all this suits my complaint uncommon; so
long life to the Pickvickssays I!'

CHAPTER XIII

SOME ACCOUNT OF EATANSWILL; OF THE STATE OF
PARTIES THEREIN; AND OF THE ELECTION OF A MEMBER
TO SERVE IN PARLIAMENT FOR THAT ANCIENTLOYAL
AND PATRIOTIC BOROUGH

We will frankly acknowledge thatup to the period of our being
first immersed in the voluminous papers of the Pickwick Clubwe
had never heard of Eatanswill; we will with equal candour admit that
we have in vain searched for proof of the actual existence of such
a place at the present day. Knowing the deep reliance to be placed
on every note and statement of Mr. Pickwick'sand not presuming to
set up our recollection against the recorded declarations of that great
manwe have consulted every authoritybearing upon the subjectto


which we could possibly refer. We have traced every name in
schedules A and Bwithout meeting with that of Eatanswill; we
have minutely examined every corner of the pocket county maps
issued for the benefit of society by our distinguished publishers
and the same result has attended our investigation. We are
therefore led to believe that Mr. Pickwickwith that anxious
desire to abstain from giving offence to anyand with those delicate
feelings for which all who knew him well know he was so
eminently remarkablepurposely substituted a fictitious designation
for the real name of the place in which his observations
were made. We are confirmed in this belief by a little circumstance
apparently slight and trivial in itselfbut when considered
in this point of viewnot undeserving of notice. In Mr. Pickwick's
note-bookwe can just trace an entry of the factthat the
places of himself and followers were booked by the Norwich
coach; but this entry was afterwards lined throughas if for the
purpose of concealing even the direction in which the borough
is situated. We will notthereforehazard a guess upon the
subjectbut will at once proceed with this historycontent with
the materials which its characters have provided for us.

It appearsthenthat the Eatanswill peoplelike the people of
many other small townsconsidered themselves of the utmost
and most mighty importanceand that every man in Eatanswill
conscious of the weight that attached to his examplefelt himself
bound to uniteheart and soulwith one of the two great parties
that divided the town--the Blues and the Buffs. Now the Blues
lost no opportunity of opposing the Buffsand the Buffs lost no
opportunity of opposing the Blues; and the consequence was
that whenever the Buffs and Blues met together at public meeting
town-hallfairor marketdisputes and high words arose
between them. With these dissensions it is almost superfluous to
say that everything in Eatanswill was made a party question. If
the Buffs proposed to new skylight the market-placethe Blues
got up public meetingsand denounced the proceeding; if the
Blues proposed the erection of an additional pump in the High
Streetthe Buffs rose as one man and stood aghast at the enormity.
There were Blue shops and Buff shopsBlue inns and Buff
inns--there was a Blue aisle and a Buff aisle in the very church itself.

Of course it was essentially and indispensably necessary that
each of these powerful parties should have its chosen organ and
representative: andaccordinglythere were two newspapers in
the town--the Eatanswill GAZETTE and the Eatanswill INDEPENDENT;
the former advocating Blue principlesand the latter conducted
on grounds decidedly Buff. Fine newspapers they were. Such
leading articlesand such spirited attacks!--'Our worthless
contemporarythe GAZETTE'--'That disgraceful and dastardly journal
the INDEPENDENT'--'That false and scurrilous printthe INDEPENDENT'-'
That vile and slanderous calumniatorthe GAZETTE;' these
and other spirit-stirring denunciationswere strewn plentifully
over the columns of eachin every numberand excited feelings
of the most intense delight and indignation in the bosoms of the
townspeople.

Mr. Pickwickwith his usual foresight and sagacityhad chosen
a peculiarly desirable moment for his visit to the borough. Never
was such a contest known. The Honourable Samuel Slumkeyof
Slumkey Hallwas the Blue candidate; and Horatio Fizkin
Esq.of Fizkin Lodgenear Eatanswillhad been prevailed upon
by his friends to stand forward on the Buff interest. The GAZETTE
warned the electors of Eatanswill that the eyes not only of
Englandbut of the whole civilised worldwere upon them; and
the INDEPENDENT imperatively demanded to knowwhether the


constituency of Eatanswill were the grand fellows they had always
taken them foror base and servile toolsundeserving alike of
the name of Englishmen and the blessings of freedom. Never had
such a commotion agitated the town before.


It was late in the evening when Mr. Pickwick and his
companionsassisted by Samdismounted from the roof of the
Eatanswill coach. Large blue silk flags were flying from the
windows of the Town Arms Innand bills were posted in every
sashintimatingin gigantic lettersthat the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey's committee sat there daily. A crowd of idlers were
assembled in the roadlooking at a hoarse man in the balcony
who was apparently talking himself very red in the face in Mr.
Slumkey's behalf; but the force and point of whose arguments
were somewhat impaired by the perpetual beating of four large
drums which Mr. Fizkin's committee had stationed at the street
corner. There was a busy little man beside himthoughwho
took off his hat at intervals and motioned to the people to cheer
which they regularly didmost enthusiastically; and as the red-
faced gentleman went on talking till he was redder in the face
than everit seemed to answer his purpose quite as well as if
anybody had heard him.


The Pickwickians had no sooner dismounted than they were
surrounded by a branch mob of the honest and independentwho
forthwith set up three deafening cheerswhich being responded
to by the main body (for it's not at all necessary for a crowd to
know what they are cheering about)swelled into a tremendous
roar of triumphwhich stopped even the red-faced man in the balcony.


'Hurrah!' shouted the mobin conclusion.


'One cheer more' screamed the little fugleman in the balcony
and out shouted the mob againas if lungs were cast-ironwith
steel works.


'Slumkey for ever!' roared the honest and independent.


'Slumkey for ever!' echoed Mr. Pickwicktaking off his hat.
'No Fizkin!' roared the crowd.


'Certainly not!' shouted Mr. Pickwick.
'Hurrah!' And then there was another roaringlike that of a
whole menagerie when the elephant has rung the bell for the
cold meat.


'Who is Slumkey?'whispered Mr. Tupman.


'I don't know' replied Mr. Pickwickin the same tone. 'Hush.
Don't ask any questions. It's always best on these occasions to
do what the mob do.'


'But suppose there are two mobs?' suggested Mr. Snodgrass.


'Shout with the largest' replied Mr. Pickwick.


Volumes could not have said more.


They entered the housethe crowd opening right and left to let
them passand cheering vociferously. The first object of
consideration was to secure quarters for the night.


'Can we have beds here?' inquired Mr. Pickwicksummoning
the waiter.



'Don't knowSir' replied the man; 'afraid we're fullsir--I'll
inquireSir.' Away he went for that purposeand presently
returnedto ask whether the gentleman were 'Blue.'


As neither Mr. Pickwick nor his companions took any vital
interest in the cause of either candidatethe question was
rather a difficult one to answer. In this dilemma Mr. Pickwick
bethought himself of his new friendMr. Perker.


'Do you know a gentleman of the name of Perker?' inquired
Mr. Pickwick.


'CertainlySir; Honourable Mr. Samuel Slumkey's agent.'


'He is BlueI think?'


'OhyesSir.'


'Then WE are Blue' said Mr. Pickwick; but observing that the
man looked rather doubtful at this accommodating announcement
he gave him his cardand desired him to present it to
Mr. Perker forthwithif he should happen to be in the house.
The waiter retired; and reappearing almost immediately with a
request that Mr. Pickwick would follow himled the way to a
large room on the first floorwhereseated at a long table
covered with books and paperswas Mr. Perker.


'Ah--ahmy dear Sir' said the little manadvancing to meet
him; 'very happy to see youmy dear Sirvery. Pray sit down.
So you have carried your intention into effect. You have come
down here to see an election--eh?'
Mr. Pickwick replied in the affirmative.


'Spirited contestmy dear sir' said the little man.


'I'm delighted to hear it' said Mr. Pickwickrubbing his
hands. 'I like to see sturdy patriotismon whatever side it is
called forth--and so it's a spirited contest?'


'Ohyes' said the little man'very much so indeed. We have
opened all the public-houses in the placeand left our adversary
nothing but the beer-shops-masterly stroke of policy thatmy
dear Sireh?' The little man smiled complacentlyand took a
large pinch of snuff.


'And what are the probabilities as to the result of the contest?'
inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'Whydoubtfulmy dear Sir; rather doubtful as yet' replied
the little man. 'Fizkin's people have got three-and-thirty voters
in the lock-up coach-house at the White Hart.'


'In the coach-house!' said Mr. Pickwickconsiderably astonished
by this second stroke of policy.


'They keep 'em locked up there till they want 'em' resumed
the little man. 'The effect of that isyou seeto prevent our
getting at them; and even if we couldit would be of no usefor
they keep them very drunk on purpose. Smart fellow Fizkin's
agent--very smart fellow indeed.'


Mr. Pickwick staredbut said nothing.



'We are pretty confidentthough' said Mr. Perkersinking
his voice almost to a whisper. 'We had a little tea-party herelast
night--five-and-forty womenmy dear sir--and gave every one
of 'em a green parasol when she went away.'

'A parasol!' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Factmy dear Sirfact. Five-and-forty green parasolsat seven
and sixpence a-piece. All women like finery--extraordinary the
effect of those parasols. Secured all their husbandsand half their
brothers--beats stockingsand flanneland all that sort of thing
hollow. My ideamy dear Sirentirely. Hailrainor sunshine
you can't walk half a dozen yards up the streetwithout
encountering half a dozen green parasols.'

Here the little man indulged in a convulsion of mirthwhich
was only checked by the entrance of a third party.

This was a tallthin manwith a sandy-coloured head inclined
to baldnessand a face in which solemn importance was blended
with a look of unfathomable profundity. He was dressed in a
long brown surtoutwith a black cloth waistcoatand drab
trousers. A double eyeglass dangled at his waistcoat; and on his
head he wore a very low-crowned hat with a broad brim.
The new-comer was introduced to Mr. Pickwick as Mr. Pott
the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE. After a few preliminary
remarksMr. Pott turned round to Mr. Pickwickand said with
solemnity-


'This contest excites great interest in the metropolissir?'

'I believe it does' said Mr. Pickwick.

'To which I have reason to know' said Pottlooking towards
Mr. Perker for corroboration--'to which I have reason to know
that my article of last Saturday in some degree contributed.'

'Not the least doubt of it' said the little man.

'The press is a mighty enginesir' said Pott.

Mr. Pickwick yielded his fullest assent to the proposition.

'But I trustsir' said Pott'that I have never abused the
enormous power I wield. I trustsirthat I have never pointed the
noble instrument which is placed in my handsagainst the sacred
bosom of private lifeor the tender breast of individual reputation;
I trustsirthat I have devoted my energies to--to endeavours-humble
they may behumble I know they are--to
instil those principles of--which--are--'

Here the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTEappearing to ramble
Mr. Pickwick came to his reliefand said-


'Certainly.'

'And whatSir' said Pott--'whatSirlet me ask you as an
impartial manis the state of the public mind in Londonwith
reference to my contest with the INDEPENDENT?'

'Greatly excitedno doubt' interposed Mr. Perkerwith a
look of slyness which was very likely accidental.

'The contest' said Pott'shall be prolonged so long as I have


health and strengthand that portion of talent with which I am
gifted. From that contestSiralthough it may unsettle men's
minds and excite their feelingsand render them incapable for
the discharge of the everyday duties of ordinary life; from that
contestsirI will never shrinktill I have set my heel upon the
Eatanswill INDEPENDENT. I wish the people of Londonand the
people of this country to knowsirthat they may rely upon me
--that I will not desert themthat I am resolved to stand by them
Sirto the last.'
'Your conduct is most nobleSir' said Mr. Pickwick; and he
grasped the hand of the magnanimous Pott.
'You aresirI perceivea man of sense and talent' said Mr.
Pottalmost breathless with the vehemence of his patriotic
declaration. 'I am most happysirto make the acquaintance of
such a man.'


'And I' said Mr. Pickwick'feel deeply honoured by this
expression of your opinion. Allow mesirto introduce you to
my fellow-travellersthe other corresponding members of the
club I am proud to have founded.'


'I shall be delighted' said Mr. Pott.


Mr. Pickwick withdrewand returning with his friends
presented them in due form to the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE.


'Nowmy dear Pott' said little Mr. Perker'the question is
what are we to do with our friends here?'


'We can stop in this houseI suppose' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Not a spare bed in the housemy dear sir--not a single bed.'


'Extremely awkward' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Very' said his fellow-voyagers.


'I have an idea upon this subject' said Mr. Pott'which I
think may be very successfully adopted. They have two beds at
the Peacockand I can boldly sayon behalf of Mrs. Pottthat
she will be delighted to accommodate Mr. Pickwick and any
one of his friendsif the other two gentlemen and their servant
do not object to shiftingas they best canat the Peacock.'


After repeated pressings on the part of Mr. Pottand repeated
protestations on that of Mr. Pickwick that he could not think of
incommoding or troubling his amiable wifeit was decided that
it was the only feasible arrangement that could be made. So it
WAS made; and after dinner together at the Town Armsthe
friends separatedMr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass repairing to
the Peacockand Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Winkle proceeding to
the mansion of Mr. Pott; it having been previously arranged
that they should all reassemble at the Town Arms in the morning
and accompany the Honourable Samuel Slumkey's procession to
the place of nomination.


Mr. Pott's domestic circle was limited to himself and his
wife. All men whom mighty genius has raised to a proud eminence
in the worldhave usually some little weakness which
appears the more conspicuous from the contrast it presents to
their general character. If Mr. Pott had a weaknessit was
perhapsthat he was rather too submissive to the somewhat
contemptuous control and sway of his wife. We do not feel
justified in laying any particular stress upon the factbecause



on the present occasion all Mrs. Pott's most winning ways
were brought into requisition to receive the two gentlemen.

'My dear' said Mr. Pott'Mr. Pickwick--Mr. Pickwick of London.'

Mrs. Pott received Mr. Pickwick's paternal grasp of the hand
with enchanting sweetness; and Mr. Winklewho had not been
announced at allsidled and bowedunnoticedin an obscure corner.

'P. my dear'--said Mrs. Pott.

'My life' said Mr. Pott.

'Pray introduce the other gentleman.'

'I beg a thousand pardons' said Mr. Pott. 'Permit meMrs.
PottMr.--'

'Winkle' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Winkle' echoed Mr. Pott; and the ceremony of introduction
was complete.

'We owe you many apologiesma'am' said Mr. Pickwick'for
disturbing your domestic arrangements at so short a notice.'

'I beg you won't mention itsir' replied the feminine Pott
with vivacity. 'It is a high treat to meI assure youto see any
new faces; living as I dofrom day to dayand week to weekin
this dull placeand seeing nobody.'

'Nobodymy dear!' exclaimed Mr. Pott archly.

'Nobody but you' retorted Mrs. Pottwith asperity.

'You seeMr. Pickwick' said the host in explanation of his
wife's lament'that we are in some measure cut off from many
enjoyments and pleasures of which we might otherwise partake.
My public stationas editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTEthe
position which that paper holds in the countrymy constant
immersion in the vortex of politics--'

'P. my dear--' interposed Mrs. Pott.

'My life--' said the editor.

'I wishmy dearyou would endeavour to find some topic of
conversation in which these gentlemen might take some rational
interest.'

'Butmy love' said Mr. Pottwith great humility'Mr.
Pickwick does take an interest in it.'

'It's well for him if he can' said Mrs. Pott emphatically; 'I
am wearied out of my life with your politicsand quarrels with
the INDEPENDENTand nonsense. I am quite astonishedP.at your
making such an exhibition of your absurdity.'

'Butmy dear--' said Mr. Pott.

'Ohnonsensedon't talk to me' said Mrs. Pott. 'Do you play
ecarteSir?'

'I shall be very happy to learn under your tuition' replied


Mr. Winkle.

'Wellthendraw that little table into this windowand let me
get out of hearing of those prosy politics.'

'Jane' said Mr. Pottto the servant who brought in candles
'go down into the officeand bring me up the file of the GAZETTE
for eighteen hundred and twenty-six. I'll read you' added the
editorturning to Mr. Pickwick--'I'll just read you a few of the
leaders I wrote at that time upon the Buff job of appointing a new
tollman to the turnpike here; I rather think they'll amuse you.'

'I should like to hear them very much indeed' said Mr. Pickwick.

Up came the fileand down sat the editorwith Mr. Pickwick
at his side.

We have in vain pored over the leaves of Mr. Pickwick's
note-bookin the hope of meeting with a general summary of
these beautiful compositions. We have every reason to believe
that he was perfectly enraptured with the vigour and freshness of
the style; indeed Mr. Winkle has recorded the fact that his eyes
were closedas if with excess of pleasureduring the whole time
of their perusal.

The announcement of supper put a stop both to the game of
ecarteand the recapitulation of the beauties of the Eatanswill
GAZETTE. Mrs. Pott was in the highest spirits and the most
agreeable humour. Mr. Winkle had already made considerable
progress in her good opinionand she did not hesitate to inform
himconfidentiallythat Mr. Pickwick was 'a delightful old dear.'
These terms convey a familiarity of expressionin which few of
those who were intimately acquainted with that colossal-minded
manwould have presumed to indulge. We have preserved them
neverthelessas affording at once a touching and a convincing
proof of the estimation in which he was held by every class of
societyand the case with which he made his way to their hearts
and feelings.

It was a late hour of the night--long after Mr. Tupman and
Mr. Snodgrass had fallen asleep in the inmost recesses of the
Peacock--when the two friends retired to rest. Slumber soon fell
upon the senses of Mr. Winklebut his feelings had been excited
and his admiration roused; and for many hours after sleep had
rendered him insensible to earthly objectsthe face and figure of
the agreeable Mrs. Pott presented themselves again and again
to his wandering imagination.

The noise and bustle which ushered in the morning were
sufficient to dispel from the mind of the most romantic visionary
in existenceany associations but those which were immediately
connected with the rapidly-approaching election. The beating of
drumsthe blowing of horns and trumpetsthe shouting of men
and tramping of horsesechoed and re--echoed through the streets
from the earliest dawn of day; and an occasional fight between
the light skirmishers of either party at once enlivened the
preparationsand agreeably diversified their character.
'WellSam' said Mr. Pickwickas his valet appeared at his
bedroom doorjust as he was concluding his toilet; 'all alive
to-dayI suppose?'

'Reg'lar gamesir' replied Mr. Weller; 'our people's a-collecting
down at the Town Armsand they're a-hollering themselves
hoarse already.'


'Ah' said Mr. Pickwick'do they seem devoted to their partySam?'

'Never see such dewotion in my lifeSir.'

'Energeticeh?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Uncommon' replied Sam; 'I never see men eat and drink so
much afore. I wonder they ain't afeer'd o' bustin'.'

'That's the mistaken kindness of the gentry here' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Wery likely' replied Sam briefly.

'Finefreshhearty fellows they seem' said Mr. Pickwick
glancing from the window.

'Wery fresh' replied Sam; 'me and the two waiters at the
Peacock has been a-pumpin' over the independent woters as
supped there last night.'

'Pumping over independent voters!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.

'Yes' said his attendant'every man slept vere he fell down;
we dragged 'em outone by onethis mornin'and put 'em under
the pumpand they're in reg'lar fine order now. Shillin' a head
the committee paid for that 'ere job.'

'Can such things be!' exclaimed the astonished Mr. Pickwick.

'Lord bless your heartsir' said Sam'why where was you half
baptised?--that's nothin'that ain't.'

'Nothing?'said Mr. Pickwick.
'Nothin' at allSir' replied his attendant. 'The night afore the
last day o' the last election herethe opposite party bribed the
barmaid at the Town Armsto hocus the brandy-and-water of
fourteen unpolled electors as was a-stoppin' in the house.'

'What do you mean by "hocussing" brandy-and-water?'
inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Puttin' laud'num in it' replied Sam. 'Blessed if she didn't
send 'em all to sleep till twelve hours arter the election was over.
They took one man up to the boothin a truckfast asleepby
way of experimentbut it was no go--they wouldn't poll him; so
they brought him backand put him to bed again.'
'Strange practicesthese' said Mr. Pickwick; half speaking to
himself and half addressing Sam.

'Not half so strange as a miraculous circumstance as happened
to my own fatherat an election timein this wery placeSir'
replied Sam.

'What was that?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Whyhe drove a coach down here once' said Sam; ''lection
time came onand he was engaged by vun party to bring down
woters from London. Night afore he was going to drive up
committee on t' other side sends for him quietlyand away he
goes vith the messengerwho shows him in;--large room--lots of
gen'l'm'n--heaps of paperspens and inkand all that 'ere. "Ah
Mr. Weller says the gen'l'm'n in the chair, glad to see yousir;
how are you?"--"Wery wellthank 'eeSir says my father; I


hope you're pretty middlin says he.--Pretty wellthank'eeSir
says the gen'l'm'n; sit downMr. Weller--pray sit downsir."
So my father sits downand he and the gen'l'm'n looks wery
hard at each other. "You don't remember me?" said the
gen'l'm'n.--"Can't say I do says my father.--OhI know
you says the gen'l'm'n: know'd you when you was a boy
says he.--WellI don't remember you says my father.--
That's wery odd says the gen'l'm'n.--"Wery says my
father.--You must have a bad mem'ryMr. Weller says the
gen'l'm'n.--Wellit is a wery bad 'un says my father.--I
thought so says the gen'l'm'n. So then they pours him out a
glass of wine, and gammons him about his driving, and gets him
into a reg'lar good humour, and at last shoves a twenty-pound
note into his hand. It's a wery bad road between this and
London says the gen'l'm'n.--Here and there it is a heavy
road says my father.--'Specially near the canalI think
says the gen'l'm'n.--Nasty bit that 'ere says my father.--
WellMr. Weller says the gen'l'm'n, you're a wery good
whipand can do what you like with your horseswe know.
We're all wery fond o' youMr. Wellerso in case you should have
an accident when you're bringing these here woters downand
should tip 'em over into the canal vithout hurtin' of 'emthis is
for yourself says he.--Gen'l'm'nyou're wery kind says my
father, and I'll drink your health in another glass of wine says
he; vich he did, and then buttons up the money, and bows
himself out. You wouldn't believe, sir,' continued Sam, with a
look of inexpressible impudence at his master, 'that on the wery
day as he came down with them woters, his coach WAS upset on
that 'ere wery spot, and ev'ry man on 'em was turned into the canal.'


'And got out again?' inquired Mr. Pickwick hastily.


'Why,' replied Sam very slowly, 'I rather think one old
gen'l'm'n was missin'; I know his hat was found, but I ain't
quite certain whether his head was in it or not. But what I look
at is the hex-traordinary and wonderful coincidence, that arter
what that gen'l'm'n said, my father's coach should be upset in
that wery place, and on that wery day!'


'it is, no doubt, a very extraordinary circumstance indeed,'
said Mr. Pickwick. 'But brush my hat, Sam, for I hear Mr. Winkle
calling me to breakfast.'


With these words Mr. Pickwick descended to the parlour,
where he found breakfast laid, and the family already assembled.
The meal was hastily despatched; each of the gentlemen's hats
was decorated with an enormous blue favour, made up by the
fair hands of Mrs. Pott herself; and as Mr. Winkle had undertaken
to escort that lady to a house-top, in the immediate
vicinity of the hustings, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Pott repaired
alone to the Town Arms, from the back window of which, one of
Mr. Slumkey's committee was addressing six small boys and one
girl, whom he dignified, at every second sentence, with the
imposing title of 'Men of Eatanswill,' whereat the six small boys
aforesaid cheered prodigiously.


The stable-yard exhibited unequivocal symptoms of the glory
and strength of the Eatanswill Blues. There was a regular army
of blue flags, some with one handle, and some with two,
exhibiting appropriate devices, in golden characters four feet high,
and stout in proportion. There was a grand band of trumpets,
bassoons, and drums, marshalled four abreast, and earning their
money, if ever men did, especially the drum-beaters, who were
very muscular. There were bodies of constables with blue staves,



twenty committee-men with blue scarfs, and a mob of voters
with blue cockades. There were electors on horseback and
electors afoot. There was an open carriage-and-four, for the
Honourable Samuel Slumkey; and there were four carriage-andpair,
for his friends and supporters; and the flags were rustling,
and the band was playing, and the constables were swearing, and
the twenty committee-men were squabbling, and the mob were
shouting, and the horses were backing, and the post-boys
perspiring; and everybody, and everything, then and there
assembled, was for the special use, behoof, honour, and renown,
of the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, one of the
candidates for the representation of the borough of Eatanswill,
in the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Loud and long were the cheers, and mighty was the rustling of
one of the blue flags, with 'Liberty of the Press' inscribed thereon,
when the sandy head of Mr. Pott was discerned in one of the
windows, by the mob beneath; and tremendous was the
enthusiasm when the Honourable Samuel Slumkey himself, in
top-boots, and a blue neckerchief, advanced and seized the hand
of the said Pott, and melodramatically testified by gestures
to the crowd, his ineffaceable obligations to the Eatanswill GAZETTE.

'Is everything ready?' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey
to Mr. Perker.

'Everything, my dear Sir,' was the little man's reply.

'Nothing has been omitted, I hope?' said the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey.

'Nothing has been left undone, my dear sir--nothing whatever.
There are twenty washed men at the street door for you to shake
hands with; and six children in arms that you're to pat on the
head, and inquire the age of; be particular about the children,
my dear sir--it has always a great effect, that sort of thing.'

'I'll take care,' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.

'And, perhaps, my dear Sir,' said the cautious little man,
'perhaps if you could--I don't mean to say it's indispensable-but
if you could manage to kiss one of 'em, it would produce a
very great impression on the crowd.'

'Wouldn't it have as good an effect if the proposer or seconder
did that?' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.

'Why, I am afraid it wouldn't,' replied the agent; 'if it were
done by yourself, my dear Sir, I think it would make you very popular.'

'Very well,' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, with a
resigned air, 'then it must be done. That's all.'

'Arrange the procession,' cried the twenty committee-men.

Amidst the cheers of the assembled throng, the band, and the
constables, and the committee-men, and the voters, and the
horsemen, and the carriages, took their places--each of the twohorse
vehicles being closely packed with as many gentlemen as
could manage to stand upright in it; and that assigned to Mr.
Perker, containing Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass,
and about half a dozen of the committee besides.

There was a moment of awful suspense as the procession
waited for the Honourable Samuel Slumkey to step into his


carriage. Suddenly the crowd set up a great cheering.

'He has come out,' said little Mr. Perker, greatly excited; the
more so as their position did not enable them to see what was
going forward.

Another cheer, much louder.

'He has shaken hands with the men,' cried the little agent.

Another cheer, far more vehement.

'He has patted the babies on the head,' said Mr. Perker,
trembling with anxiety.

A roar of applause that rent the air.

'He has kissed one of 'em!' exclaimed the delighted little man.

A second roar.

'He has kissed another,' gasped the excited manager.

A third roar.

'He's kissing 'em all!' screamed the enthusiastic little gentleman,
and hailed by the deafening shouts of the multitude, the
procession moved on.

How or by what means it became mixed up with the other
procession, and how it was ever extricated from the confusion
consequent thereupon, is more than we can undertake to describe,
inasmuch as Mr. Pickwick's hat was knocked over his eyes, nose,
and mouth, by one poke of a Buff flag-staff, very early in the
proceedings. He describes himself as being surrounded on every
side, when he could catch a glimpse of the scene, by angry and
ferocious countenances, by a vast cloud of dust, and by a dense
crowd of combatants. He represents himself as being forced
from the carriage by some unseen power, and being personally
engaged in a pugilistic encounter; but with whom, or how, or
why, he is wholly unable to state. He then felt himself forced up
some wooden steps by the persons from behind; and on removing
his hat, found himself surrounded by his friends, in the very
front of the left hand side of the hustings. The right was reserved
for the Buff party, and the centre for the mayor and his officers;
one of whom--the fat crier of Eatanswill--was ringing an
enormous bell, by way of commanding silence, while Mr.
Horatio Fizkin, and the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, with their
hands upon their hearts, were bowing with the utmost affability
to the troubled sea of heads that inundated the open space in
front; and from whence arose a storm of groans, and shouts,
and yells, and hootings, that would have done honour to an earthquake.

'There's Winkle,' said Mr. Tupman, pulling his friend by the sleeve.

'Where!' said Mr. Pickwick, putting on his spectacles, which
he had fortunately kept in his pocket hitherto.
'There,' said Mr. Tupman, 'on the top of that house.' And
there, sure enough, in the leaden gutter of a tiled roof, were
Mr. Winkle and Mrs. Pott, comfortably seated in a couple of
chairs, waving their handkerchiefs in token of recognition--a
compliment which Mr. Pickwick returned by kissing his hand to
the lady.


The proceedings had not yet commenced; and as an inactive
crowd is generally disposed to be jocose, this very innocent
action was sufficient to awaken their facetiousness.


'Oh, you wicked old rascal,' cried one voice, 'looking arter the
girls, are you?'


'Oh, you wenerable sinner,' cried another.


'Putting on his spectacles to look at a married 'ooman!' said a
third.


'I see him a-winkin' at her, with his wicked old eye,' shouted a
fourth.


'Look arter your wife, Pott,' bellowed a fifth--and then there
was a roar of laughter.


As these taunts were accompanied with invidious comparisons
between Mr. Pickwick and an aged ram, and several witticisms of
the like nature; and as they moreover rather tended to convey
reflections upon the honour of an innocent lady, Mr. Pickwick's
indignation was excessive; but as silence was proclaimed at the
moment, he contented himself by scorching the mob with a look
of pity for their misguided minds, at which they laughed more
boisterously than ever.


'Silence!' roared the mayor's attendants.


'Whiffin, proclaim silence,' said the mayor, with an air of
pomp befitting his lofty station. In obedience to this command the
crier performed another concerto on the bell, whereupon a
gentleman in the crowd called out 'Muffins'; which occasioned
another laugh.


'Gentlemen,' said the mayor, at as loud a pitch as he could
possibly force his voice to--'gentlemen. Brother electors of the
borough of Eatanswill. We are met here to-day for the purpose
of choosing a representative in the room of our late--'


Here the mayor was interrupted by a voice in the crowd.


'Suc-cess to the mayor!' cried the voice, 'and may he never
desert the nail and sarspan business, as he got his money by.'


This allusion to the professional pursuits of the orator was
received with a storm of delight, which, with a bell-accompaniment,
rendered the remainder of his speech inaudible, with the
exception of the concluding sentence, in which he thanked the
meeting for the patient attention with which they heard him
throughout--an expression of gratitude which elicited another
burst of mirth, of about a quarter of an hour's duration.


Next, a tall, thin gentleman, in a very stiff white neckerchief,
after being repeatedly desired by the crowd to 'send a boy home,
to ask whether he hadn't left his voice under the pillow,' begged to
nominate a fit and proper person to represent them in Parliament.
And when he said it was Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin
Lodge, near Eatanswill, the Fizkinites applauded, and the
Slumkeyites groaned, so long, and so loudly, that both he and
the seconder might have sung comic songs in lieu of speaking,
without anybody's being a bit the wiser.


The friends of Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, having had their



innings, a little choleric, pink-faced man stood forward to
propose another fit and proper person to represent the electors of
Eatanswill in Parliament; and very swimmingly the pink-faced
gentleman would have got on, if he had not been rather too
choleric to entertain a sufficient perception of the fun of the
crowd. But after a very few sentences of figurative eloquence, the
pink-faced gentleman got from denouncing those who interrupted
him in the mob, to exchanging defiances with the gentlemen
on the hustings; whereupon arose an uproar which reduced
him to the necessity of expressing his feelings by serious pantomime,
which he did, and then left the stage to his seconder, who
delivered a written speech of half an hour's length, and wouldn't
be stopped, because he had sent it all to the Eatanswill GAZETTE,
and the Eatanswill GAZETTE had already printed it, every word.

Then Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, near Eatanswill,
presented himself for the purpose of addressing the electors;
which he no sooner did, than the band employed by the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, commenced performing with a power to
which their strength in the morning was a trifle; in return for
which, the Buff crowd belaboured the heads and shoulders of the
Blue crowd; on which the Blue crowd endeavoured to dispossess
themselves of their very unpleasant neighbours the Buff crowd;
and a scene of struggling, and pushing, and fighting, succeeded,
to which we can no more do justice than the mayor could,
although he issued imperative orders to twelve constables to
seize the ringleaders, who might amount in number to two
hundred and fifty, or thereabouts. At all these encounters,
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, and his friends, waxed
fierce and furious; until at last Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin
Lodge, begged to ask his opponent, the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, whether that band played by his
consent; which question the Honourable Samuel Slumkey
declining to answer, Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge,
shook his fist in the countenance of the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall; upon which the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, his blood being up, defied Horatio Fizkin, Esquire,
to mortal combat. At this violation of all known rules and
precedents of order, the mayor commanded another fantasia on
the bell, and declared that he would bring before himself, both
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, and the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, and bind them over to keep
the peace. Upon this terrific denunciation, the supporters of the
two candidates interfered, and after the friends of each party had
quarrelled in pairs, for three-quarters of an hour, Horatio
Fizkin, Esquire, touched his hat to the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey; the Honourable Samuel Slumkey touched his to
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire; the band was stopped; the crowd were
partially quieted; and Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, was permitted
to proceed.

The speeches of the two candidates, though differing in every
other respect, afforded a beautiful tribute to the merit and high
worth of the electors of Eatanswill. Both expressed their opinion
that a more independent, a more enlightened, a more publicspirited,
a more noble-minded, a more disinterested set of men
than those who had promised to vote for him, never existed on
earth; each darkly hinted his suspicions that the electors in the
opposite interest had certain swinish and besotted infirmities
which rendered them unfit for the exercise of the important
duties they were called upon to discharge. Fizkin expressed his
readiness to do anything he was wanted: Slumkey, his determination
to do nothing that was asked of him. Both said that the
trade, the manufactures, the commerce, the prosperity of


Eatanswill, would ever be dearer to their hearts than any earthly
object; and each had it in his power to state, with the utmost
confidence, that he was the man who would eventually be returned.

There was a show of hands; the mayor decided in favour of the
Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall. Horatio Fizkin,
Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, demanded a poll, and a poll was fixed
accordingly. Then a vote of thanks was moved to the mayor for
his able conduct in the chair; and the mayor, devoutly wishing
that he had had a chair to display his able conduct in (for he had
been standing during the whole proceedings), returned thanks.
The processions reformed, the carriages rolled slowly through
the crowd, and its members screeched and shouted after them as
their feelings or caprice dictated.

During the whole time of the polling, the town was in a
perpetual fever of excitement. Everything was conducted on the
most liberal and delightful scale. Excisable articles were remarkably
cheap at all the public-houses; and spring vans paraded the
streets for the accommodation of voters who were seized with
any temporary dizziness in the head--an epidemic which prevailed
among the electors, during the contest, to a most alarming
extent, and under the influence of which they might frequently
be seen lying on the pavements in a state of utter insensibility. A
small body of electors remained unpolled on the very last day.
They were calculating and reflecting persons, who had not yet
been convinced by the arguments of either party, although they
had frequent conferences with each. One hour before the close
of the poll, Mr. Perker solicited the honour of a private interview
with these intelligent, these noble, these patriotic men. it was
granted. His arguments were brief but satisfactory. They went in
a body to the poll; and when they returned, the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, was returned also.

CHAPTER XIV

COMPRISING A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPANY
AT THE PEACOCK ASSEMBLED; AND A TALE TOLD BY A
BAGMAN

It is pleasant to turn from contemplating the strife and
turmoil of political existence, to the peaceful repose of
private life. Although in reality no great partisan of either side,
Mr. Pickwick was sufficiently fired with Mr. Pott's enthusiasm,
to apply his whole time and attention to the proceedings, of
which the last chapter affords a description compiled from his
own memoranda. Nor while he was thus occupied was Mr.
Winkle idle, his whole time being devoted to pleasant walks and
short country excursions with Mrs. Pott, who never failed, when
such an opportunity presented itself, to seek some relief from the
tedious monotony she so constantly complained of. The two
gentlemen being thus completely domesticated in the editor's
house, Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass were in a great measure
cast upon their own resources. Taking but little interest in public
affairs, they beguiled their time chiefly with such amusements as
the Peacock afforded, which were limited to a bagatelle-board in
the first floor, and a sequestered skittle-ground in the back yard.
In the science and nicety of both these recreations, which are far
more abstruse than ordinary men suppose, they were gradually
initiated by Mr. Weller, who possessed a perfect knowledge of
such pastimes. Thus, notwithstanding that they were in a great
measure deprived of the comfort and advantage of Mr. Pickwick's


society, they were still enabled to beguile the time, and to
prevent its hanging heavily on their hands.

It was in the evening, however, that the Peacock presented
attractions which enabled the two friends to resist even the
invitations of the gifted, though prosy, Pott. It was in the evening
that the 'commercial room' was filled with a social circle, whose
characters and manners it was the delight of Mr. Tupman to
observe; whose sayings and doings it was the habit of Mr.
Snodgrass to note down.

Most people know what sort of places commercial rooms
usually are. That of the Peacock differed in no material respect
from the generality of such apartments; that is to say, it was a
large, bare-looking room, the furniture of which had no doubt
been better when it was newer, with a spacious table in the centre,
and a variety of smaller dittos in the corners; an extensive
assortment of variously shaped chairs, and an old Turkey carpet,
bearing about the same relative proportion to the size of the
room, as a lady's pocket-handkerchief might to the floor of a
watch-box. The walls were garnished with one or two large
maps; and several weather-beaten rough greatcoats, with
complicated capes, dangled from a long row of pegs in one
corner. The mantel-shelf was ornamented with a wooden inkstand,
containing one stump of a pen and half a wafer; a roadbook
and directory; a county history minus the cover; and the
mortal remains of a trout in a glass coffin. The atmosphere was
redolent of tobacco-smoke, the fumes of which had communicated
a rather dingy hue to the whole room, and more especially
to the dusty red curtains which shaded the windows. On the
sideboard a variety of miscellaneous articles were huddled
together, the most conspicuous of which were some very cloudy
fish-sauce cruets, a couple of driving-boxes, two or three whips,
and as many travelling shawls, a tray of knives and forks, and
the mustard.

Here it was that Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass were seated
on the evening after the conclusion of the election, with several
other temporary inmates of the house, smoking and drinking.

'Well, gents,' said a stout, hale personage of about forty, with
only one eye--a very bright black eye, which twinkled with a
roguish expression of fun and good-humour, 'our noble selves,
gents. I always propose that toast to the company, and drink
Mary to myself. Eh, Mary!'

'Get along with you, you wretch,' said the hand-maiden,
obviously not ill-pleased with the compliment, however.

'Don't go away, Mary,' said the black-eyed man.

'Let me alone, imperence,' said the young lady.

'Never mind,' said the one-eyed man, calling after the girl as
she left the room. 'I'll step out by and by, Mary. Keep your
spirits up, dear.' Here he went through the not very difficult
process of winking upon the company with his solitary eye, to
the enthusiastic delight of an elderly personage with a dirty face
and a clay pipe.

'Rum creeters is women,' said the dirty-faced man, after a pause.

'Ah! no mistake about that,' said a very red-faced man,
behind a cigar.


After this little bit of philosophy there was another pause.


'There's rummer things than women in this world though,
mind you,' said the man with the black eye, slowly filling a large
Dutch pipe, with a most capacious bowl.


'Are you married?' inquired the dirty-faced man.


'Can't say I am.'


'I thought not.' Here the dirty-faced man fell into ecstasies of
mirth at his own retort, in which he was joined by a man of
bland voice and placid countenance, who always made it a point
to agree with everybody.


'Women, after all, gentlemen,' said the enthusiastic Mr.
Snodgrass, 'are the great props and comforts of our existence.'


'So they are,' said the placid gentleman.


'When they're in a good humour,' interposed the dirty-faced man.


'And that's very true,' said the placid one.


'I repudiate that qualification,' said Mr. Snodgrass, whose
thoughts were fast reverting to Emily Wardle. 'I repudiate it
with disdain--with indignation. Show me the man who says
anything against women, as women, and I boldly declare he is
not a man.' And Mr. Snodgrass took his cigar from his mouth,
and struck the table violently with his clenched fist.


'That's good sound argument,' said the placid man.


'Containing a position which I deny,' interrupted he of the
dirty countenance.


'And there's certainly a very great deal of truth in what you
observe too, Sir,' said the placid gentleman.


'Your health, Sir,' said the bagman with the lonely eye,
bestowing an approving nod on Mr. Snodgrass.


Mr. Snodgrass acknowledged the compliment.


'I always like to hear a good argument,'continued the bagman,
'a sharp one, like this: it's very improving; but this little argument
about women brought to my mind a story I have heard an
old uncle of mine tell, the recollection of which, just now, made
me say there were rummer things than women to be met with, sometimes.'


'I should like to hear that same story,' said the red-faced man
with the cigar.


'Should you?' was the only reply of the bagman, who
continued to smoke with great vehemence.


'So should I,' said Mr. Tupman, speaking for the first time.
He was always anxious to increase his stock of experience.


'Should YOU? Well then, I'll tell it. No, I won't. I know you
won't believe it,' said the man with the roguish eye, making that
organ look more roguish than ever.
'If you say it's true, of course I shall,' said Mr. Tupman.



'Well, upon that understanding I'll tell you,' replied the
traveller. 'Did you ever hear of the great commercial house of
Bilson & Slum? But it doesn't matter though, whether you did or
not, because they retired from business long since. It's eighty
years ago, since the circumstance happened to a traveller for
that house, but he was a particular friend of my uncle's; and
my uncle told the story to me. It's a queer name; but he used to
call it

THE BAGMAN'S STORY

and he used to tell it, something in this way.


'One winter's evening, about five o'clock, just as it began to
grow dusk, a man in a gig might have been seen urging his tired
horse along the road which leads across Marlborough Downs, in
the direction of Bristol. I say he might have been seen, and I have
no doubt he would have been, if anybody but a blind man had
happened to pass that way; but the weather was so bad, and the
night so cold and wet, that nothing was out but the water, and
so the traveller jogged along in the middle of the road, lonesome
and dreary enough. If any bagman of that day could have caught
sight of the little neck-or-nothing sort of gig, with a clay-
coloured body and red wheels, and the vixenish, ill tempered,
fast-going bay mare, that looked like a cross between a butcher's
horse and a twopenny post-office pony, he would have known at
once, that this traveller could have been no other than Tom
Smart, of the great house of Bilson and Slum, Cateaton Street,
City. However, as there was no bagman to look on, nobody
knew anything at all about the matter; and so Tom Smart and
his clay-coloured gig with the red wheels, and the vixenish mare
with the fast pace, went on together, keeping the secret among
them, and nobody was a bit the wiser.


'There are many pleasanter places even in this dreary world,
than Marlborough Downs when it blows hard; and if you throw
in beside, a gloomy winter's evening, a miry and sloppy road, and
a pelting fall of heavy rain, and try the effect, by way of experiment,
in your own proper person, you will experience the full
force of this observation.


'The wind blew--not up the road or down it, though that's
bad enough, but sheer across it, sending the rain slanting down
like the lines they used to rule in the copy-books at school, to
make the boys slope well. For a moment it would die away, and
the traveller would begin to delude himself into the belief that,
exhausted with its previous fury, it had quietly laid itself down
to rest, when, whoo! he could hear it growling and whistling in
the distance, and on it would come rushing over the hill-tops, and
sweeping along the plain, gathering sound and strength as it
drew nearer, until it dashed with a heavy gust against horse and
man, driving the sharp rain into their ears, and its cold damp
breath into their very bones; and past them it would scour, far,
far away, with a stunning roar, as if in ridicule of their weakness,
and triumphant in the consciousness of its own strength and power.


'The bay mare splashed away, through the mud and water,
with drooping ears; now and then tossing her head as if to
express her disgust at this very ungentlemanly behaviour of the
elements, but keeping a good pace notwithstanding, until a gust
of wind, more furious than any that had yet assailed them,



caused her to stop suddenly and plant her four feet firmly against
the ground, to prevent her being blown over. It's a special mercy
that she did this, for if she HAD been blown over, the vixenish
mare was so light, and the gig was so light, and Tom Smart such
a light weight into the bargain, that they must infallibly have all
gone rolling over and over together, until they reached the
confines of earth, or until the wind fell; and in either case the
probability is, that neither the vixenish mare, nor the claycoloured
gig with the red wheels, nor Tom Smart, would ever
have been fit for service again.

'Welldamn my straps and whiskers says Tom Smart
(Tom sometimes had an unpleasant knack of swearing)-
damn my straps and whiskers says Tom, if this ain't
pleasantblow me!"

'You'll very likely ask me whyas Tom Smart had been pretty
well blown alreadyhe expressed this wish to be submitted to the
same process again. I can't say--all I know isthat Tom Smart
said so--or at least he always told my uncle he said soand it's
just the same thing.

'Blow me,says Tom Smart; and the mare neighed as if she
were precisely of the same opinion.

'Cheer up, old girl,said Tompatting the bay mare on the
neck with the end of his whip. "It won't do pushing onsuch a
night as this; the first house we come to we'll put up atso the
faster you go the sooner it's over. Sohoold girl--gently--gently."

'Whether the vixenish mare was sufficiently well acquainted
with the tones of Tom's voice to comprehend his meaningor
whether she found it colder standing still than moving onof
course I can't say. But I can say that Tom had no sooner finished
speakingthan she pricked up her earsand started forward at a
speed which made the clay-coloured gig rattle until you would
have supposed every one of the red spokes were going to fly out
on the turf of Marlborough Downs; and even Tomwhip as he
wascouldn't stop or check her paceuntil she drew up of her
own accordbefore a roadside inn on the right-hand side of the
wayabout half a quarter of a mile from the end of the Downs.
'Tom cast a hasty glance at the upper part of the house as he
threw the reins to the hostlerand stuck the whip in the box. It
was a strange old placebuilt of a kind of shingleinlaidas it
werewith cross-beamswith gabled-topped windows projecting
completely over the pathwayand a low door with a dark porch
and a couple of steep steps leading down into the houseinstead
of the modern fashion of half a dozen shallow ones leading up to
it. It was a comfortable-looking place thoughfor there was a
strongcheerful light in the bar windowwhich shed a bright ray
across the roadand even lighted up the hedge on the other side;
and there was a red flickering light in the opposite windowone
moment but faintly discernibleand the next gleaming strongly
through the drawn curtainswhich intimated that a rousing fire
was blazing within. Marking these little evidences with the eye of
an experienced travellerTom dismounted with as much agility
as his half-frozen limbs would permitand entered the house.

'In less than five minutes' timeTom was ensconced in the
room opposite the bar--the very room where he had imagined
the fire blazing--before a substantialmatter-of-factroaring
firecomposed of something short of a bushel of coalsand wood
enough to make half a dozen decent gooseberry bushespiled
half-way up the chimneyand roaring and crackling with a


sound that of itself would have warmed the heart of any reasonable
man. This was comfortablebut this was not all; for a
smartly-dressed girlwith a bright eye and a neat anklewas
laying a very clean white cloth on the table; and as Tom sat with
his slippered feet on the fenderand his back to the open doorhe
saw a charming prospect of the bar reflected in the glass over the
chimney-piecewith delightful rows of green bottles and gold
labelstogether with jars of pickles and preservesand cheeses
and boiled hamsand rounds of beefarranged on shelves in the
most tempting and delicious array. Wellthis was comfortable
too; but even this was not all--for in the barseated at tea at the
nicest possible little tabledrawn close up before the brightest
possible little firewas a buxom widow of somewhere about
eight-and-forty or thereaboutswith a face as comfortable as the
barwho was evidently the landlady of the houseand the
supreme ruler over all these agreeable possessions. There was
only one drawback to the beauty of the whole pictureand that
was a tall man--a very tall man--in a brown coat and bright
basket buttonsand black whiskers and wavy black hairwho
was seated at tea with the widowand who it required no great
penetration to discover was in a fair way of persuading her to be
a widow no longerbut to confer upon him the privilege of
sitting down in that barfor and during the whole remainder of
the term of his natural life.

'Tom Smart was by no means of an irritable or envious
dispositionbut somehow or other the tall man with the brown
coat and the bright basket buttons did rouse what little gall he
had in his compositionand did make him feel extremely indignant
the more especially as he could now and then observefrom
his seat before the glasscertain little affectionate familiarities
passing between the tall man and the widowwhich sufficiently
denoted that the tall man was as high in favour as he was in size.
Tom was fond of hot punch--I may venture to say he was VERY
fond of hot punch--and after he had seen the vixenish mare well
fed and well littered downand had eaten every bit of the nice
little hot dinner which the widow tossed up for him with her
own handshe just ordered a tumbler of it by way of experiment.
Nowif there was one thing in the whole range of domestic art
which the widow could manufacture better than anotherit was
this identical article; and the first tumbler was adapted to Tom
Smart's taste with such peculiar nicetythat he ordered a second
with the least possible delay. Hot punch is a pleasant thing
gentlemen--an extremely pleasant thing under any circumstances
--but in that snug old parlourbefore the roaring firewith the
wind blowing outside till every timber in the old house creaked
againTom Smart found it perfectly delightful. He ordered
another tumblerand then another--I am not quite certain
whether he didn't order another after that--but the more he
drank of the hot punchthe more he thought of the tall man.

'"Confound his impudence!" said Tom to himselfwhat
business has he in that snug bar? Such an ugly villain too!said
Tom. "If the widow had any tasteshe might surely pick up some
better fellow than that." Here Tom's eye wandered from the glass
on the chimney-piece to the glass on the table; and as he felt
himself becoming gradually sentimentalhe emptied the fourth
tumbler of punch and ordered a fifth.

'Tom Smartgentlemenhad always been very much attached
to the public line. It had been long his ambition to stand in a bar
of his ownin a green coatknee-cordsand tops. He had a great
notion of taking the chair at convivial dinnersand he had often
thought how well he could preside in a room of his own in the


talking wayand what a capital example he could set to his
customers in the drinking department. All these things passed
rapidly through Tom's mind as he sat drinking the hot punch by
the roaring fireand he felt very justly and properly indignant
that the tall man should be in a fair way of keeping such an
excellent housewhile heTom Smartwas as far off from it as
ever. Soafter deliberating over the two last tumblerswhether he
hadn't a perfect right to pick a quarrel with the tall man for
having contrived to get into the good graces of the buxom widow
Tom Smart at last arrived at the satisfactory conclusion that he
was a very ill-used and persecuted individualand had better go
to bed.

'Up a wide and ancient staircase the smart girl preceded Tom
shading the chamber candle with her handto protect it from the
currents of air which in such a rambling old place might have
found plenty of room to disport themselves inwithout blowing
the candle outbut which did blow it out nevertheless--thus
affording Tom's enemies an opportunity of asserting that it was
heand not the windwho extinguished the candleand that
while he pretended to be blowing it alight againhe was in fact
kissing the girl. Be this as it mayanother light was obtainedand
Tom was conducted through a maze of roomsand a labyrinth
of passagesto the apartment which had been prepared for his
receptionwhere the girl bade him good-night and left him alone.

'It was a good large room with big closetsand a bed which
might have served for a whole boarding-schoolto say nothing of
a couple of oaken presses that would have held the baggage of a
small army; but what struck Tom's fancy most was a strange
grim-lookinghigh backed chaircarved in the most fantastic
mannerwith a flowered damask cushionand the round knobs
at the bottom of the legs carefully tied up in red clothas if it
had got the gout in its toes. Of any other queer chairTom would
only have thought it was a queer chairand there would have
been an end of the matter; but there was something about this
particular chairand yet he couldn't tell what it wasso odd and
so unlike any other piece of furniture he had ever seenthat it
seemed to fascinate him. He sat down before the fireand stared
at the old chair for half an hour.--Damn the chairit was such
a strange old thinghe couldn't take his eyes off it.

'Well,said Tomslowly undressing himselfand staring at
the old chair all the whilewhich stood with a mysterious aspect
by the bedsideI never saw such a rum concern as that in my
days. Very odd,said Tomwho had got rather sage with the hot
punch--'very odd." Tom shook his head with an air of profound
wisdomand looked at the chair again. He couldn't make
anything of it thoughso he got into bedcovered himself up
warmand fell asleep.

'In about half an hourTom woke up with a startfrom a
confused dream of tall men and tumblers of punch; and the first
object that presented itself to his waking imagination was the
queer chair.

'"I won't look at it any more said Tom to himself, and he
squeezed his eyelids together, and tried to persuade himself he
was going to sleep again. No use; nothing but queer chairs
danced before his eyes, kicking up their legs, jumping over each
other's backs, and playing all kinds of antics.

'I may as well see one real chairas two or three complete
sets of false ones said Tom, bringing out his head from under


the bedclothes. There it was, plainly discernible by the light of
the fire, looking as provoking as ever.


'Tom gazed at the chair; and, suddenly as he looked at it, a
most extraordinary change seemed to come over it. The carving
of the back gradually assumed the lineaments and expression of
an old, shrivelled human face; the damask cushion became an
antique, flapped waistcoat; the round knobs grew into a couple
of feet, encased in red cloth slippers; and the whole chair looked
like a very ugly old man, of the previous century, with his arms
akimbo. Tom sat up in bed, and rubbed his eyes to dispel the
illusion. No. The chair was an ugly old gentleman; and what
was more, he was winking at Tom Smart.


'Tom was naturally a headlong, careless sort of dog, and he
had had five tumblers of hot punch into the bargain; so, although
he was a little startled at first, he began to grow rather indignant
when he saw the old gentleman winking and leering at him with
such an impudent air. At length he resolved that he wouldn't
stand it; and as the old face still kept winking away as fast as
ever, Tom said, in a very angry tone--


'What the devil are you winking at me for?"


'"Because I like itTom Smart said the chair; or the old
gentleman, whichever you like to call him. He stopped winking
though, when Tom spoke, and began grinning like a
superannuated monkey.


'How do you know my nameold nut-cracker face?"
inquired Tom Smartrather staggered; though he pretended to
carry it off so well.


'"ComecomeTom said the old gentleman, that's not the
way to address solid Spanish mahogany. Dammeyou couldn't
treat me with less respect if I was veneered." When the old
gentleman said thishe looked so fierce that Tom began to
grow frightened.


'"I didn't mean to treat you with any disrespectSir said
Tom, in a much humbler tone than he had spoken in at first.


'Wellwell said the old fellow, perhaps not--perhaps
not. Tom--"


'"sir--"


'"I know everything about youTom; everything. You're
very poorTom."


'"I certainly am said Tom Smart. But how came you to
know that?"


'"Never mind that said the old gentleman; you're much
too fond of punchTom."


'Tom Smart was just on the point of protesting that he hadn't
tasted a drop since his last birthdaybut when his eye encountered
that of the old gentleman he looked so knowing that Tom
blushedand was silent.


'"Tom said the old gentleman, the widow's a fine woman--
remarkably fine woman--ehTom?" Here the old fellow
screwed up his eyescocked up one of his wasted little legsand



looked altogether so unpleasantly amorousthat Tom was quite
disgusted with the levity of his behaviour--at his time of lifetoo!
'"I am her guardianTom said the old gentleman.


'Are you?" inquired Tom Smart.


'"I knew her motherTom said the old fellow: and her
grandmother. She was very fond of me--made me this waistcoatTom."


'"Did she?" said Tom Smart.


'"And these shoes said the old fellow, lifting up one of the
red cloth mufflers; but don't mention itTom. I shouldn't like to
have it known that she was so much attached to me. It might
occasion some unpleasantness in the family." When the old
rascal said thishe looked so extremely impertinentthatas
Tom Smart afterwards declaredhe could have sat upon him
without remorse.


'"I have been a great favourite among the women in my time
Tom said the profligate old debauchee; hundreds of fine
women have sat in my lap for hours together. What do you think
of thatyou dogeh!" The old gentleman was proceeding to
recount some other exploits of his youthwhen he was seized
with such a violent fit of creaking that he was unable to proceed.


'"Just serves you rightold boy thought Tom Smart; but he
didn't say anything.


'Ah!" said the old fellowI am a good deal troubled with
this now. I am getting old, Tom, and have lost nearly all my rails.
I have had an operation performed, too--a small piece let into
my back--and I found it a severe trial, Tom.


'"I dare say you didSir said Tom Smart.


'However said the old gentleman, that's not the point.
Tom! I want you to marry the widow."


'"MeSir!" said Tom.


'"You said the old gentleman.


'Bless your reverend locks said Tom (he had a few scattered
horse-hairs left)--bless your reverend locksshe wouldn't have
me." And Tom sighed involuntarilyas he thought of the bar.


'"Wouldn't she?" said the old gentleman firmly.


'"Nono said Tom; there's somebody else in the wind. A
tall man--a confoundedly tall man--with black whiskers."


'"Tom said the old gentleman; she will never have him."


'"Won't she?" said Tom. "If you stood in the barold
gentlemanyou'd tell another story."
'"Poohpooh said the old gentleman. I know all about that. "


'"About what?" said Tom.


'"The kissing behind the doorand all that sort of thing
Tom said the old gentleman. And here he gave another
impudent look, which made Tom very wroth, because as you all
know, gentlemen, to hear an old fellow, who ought to know



better, talking about these things, is very unpleasant--nothing
more so.


'I know all about thatTom said the old gentleman. I
have seen it done very often in my timeTombetween more
people than I should like to mention to you; but it never came to
anything after all."


'"You must have seen some queer things said Tom, with an
inquisitive look.


'You may say thatTom replied the old fellow, with a very
complicated wink. I am the last of my familyTom said the
old gentleman, with a melancholy sigh.


'Was it a large one?" inquired Tom Smart.


'"There were twelve of usTom said the old gentleman;
finestraight-backedhandsome fellows as you'd wish to see.
None of your modern abortions--all with armsand with a
degree of polishthough I say it that should notwhich it would
have done your heart good to behold."


'"And what's become of the othersSir?" asked Tom Smart--


'The old gentleman applied his elbow to his eye as he replied
Gone, Tom, gone. We had hard service, Tom, and they hadn't
all my constitution. They got rheumatic about the legs and arms,
and went into kitchens and other hospitals; and one of 'em, with
long service and hard usage, positively lost his senses--he got
so crazy that he was obliged to be burnt. Shocking thing that, Tom.


'"Dreadful!" said Tom Smart.


'The old fellow paused for a few minutesapparently struggling
with his feelings of emotionand then said--


'"HoweverTomI am wandering from the point. This tall
manTomis a rascally adventurer. The moment he married the
widowhe would sell off all the furnitureand run away. What
would be the consequence? She would be deserted and reduced
to ruinand I should catch my death of cold in some broker's shop."


'"Yesbut--"


'"Don't interrupt me said the old gentleman. Of youTom
I entertain a very different opinion; for I well know that if you
once settled yourself in a public-houseyou would never leave it
as long as there was anything to drink within its walls."


'"I am very much obliged to you for your good opinionSir
said Tom Smart.


'Therefore resumed the old gentleman, in a dictatorial
tone, you shall have herand he shall not."


'"What is to prevent it?" said Tom Smart eagerly.


'"This disclosure replied the old gentleman; he is already married."


'"How can I prove it?" said Tomstarting half out of bed.


'The old gentleman untucked his arm from his sideand having
pointed to one of the oaken pressesimmediately replaced itin



its old position.

'"He little thinks said the old gentleman, that in the righthand
pocket of a pair of trousers in that presshe has left a letter
entreating him to return to his disconsolate wifewith six--mark
meTom--six babesand all of them small ones."

'As the old gentleman solemnly uttered these wordshis
features grew less and less distinctand his figure more shadowy.
A film came over Tom Smart's eyes. The old man seemed
gradually blending into the chairthe damask waistcoat to
resolve into a cushionthe red slippers to shrink into little red
cloth bags. The light faded gently awayand Tom Smart fell
back on his pillowand dropped asleep.

'Morning aroused Tom from the lethargic slumberinto
which he had fallen on the disappearance of the old man. He sat
up in bedand for some minutes vainly endeavoured to recall the
events of the preceding night. Suddenly they rushed upon him.
He looked at the chair; it was a fantastic and grim-looking piece
of furniturecertainlybut it must have been a remarkably
ingenious and lively imaginationthat could have discovered any
resemblance between it and an old man.

'"How are youold boy?" said Tom. He was bolder in the
daylight--most men are.

'The chair remained motionlessand spoke not a word.

'"Miserable morning said Tom. No. The chair would not be
drawn into conversation.

'Which press did you point to?--you can tell me that said
Tom. Devil a word, gentlemen, the chair would say.

'It's not much trouble to open itanyhow said Tom,
getting out of bed very deliberately. He walked up to one of the
presses. The key was in the lock; he turned it, and opened the
door. There was a pair of trousers there. He put his hand into the
pocket, and drew forth the identical letter the old gentleman
had described!

'Queer sort of thingthis said Tom Smart, looking first at
the chair and then at the press, and then at the letter, and then at
the chair again. Very queer said Tom. But, as there was
nothing in either, to lessen the queerness, he thought he might as
well dress himself, and settle the tall man's business at once-just
to put him out of his misery.

'Tom surveyed the rooms he passed through, on his way
downstairs, with the scrutinising eye of a landlord; thinking it
not impossible, that before long, they and their contents would
be his property. The tall man was standing in the snug little
bar, with his hands behind him, quite at home. He grinned
vacantly at Tom. A casual observer might have supposed he did
it, only to show his white teeth; but Tom Smart thought that a
consciousness of triumph was passing through the place where
the tall man's mind would have been, if he had had any. Tom
laughed in his face; and summoned the landlady.

'Good-morning ma'am said Tom Smart, closing the door
of the little parlour as the widow entered.

'Good-morningSir said the widow. What will you take


for breakfastsir?"


'Tom was thinking how he should open the caseso he made
no answer.


'"There's a very nice ham said the widow, and a beautiful
cold larded fowl. Shall I send 'em inSir?"


'These words roused Tom from his reflections. His admiration
of the widow increased as she spoke. Thoughtful creature!
Comfortable provider!


'"Who is that gentleman in the barma'am?" inquired Tom.


'"His name is JinkinsSir said the widow, slightly blushing.


'He's a tall man said Tom.


'He is a very fine manSir replied the widow, and a very
nice gentleman."


'"Ah!" said Tom.


'"Is there anything more you wantSir?" inquired the widow
rather puzzled by Tom's manner.
'"Whyyes said Tom. My dear ma'amwill you have the
kindness to sit down for one moment?"


'The widow looked much amazedbut she sat downand Tom
sat down tooclose beside her. I don't know how it happened
gentlemen--indeed my uncle used to tell me that Tom Smart said
he didn't know how it happened either--but somehow or other
the palm of Tom's hand fell upon the back of the widow's hand
and remained there while he spoke.


'"My dear ma'am said Tom Smart--he had always a great
notion of committing the amiable--my dear ma'amyou
deserve a very excellent husband--you do indeed."


'"LorSir!" said the widow--as well she might; Tom's mode
of commencing the conversation being rather unusualnot to
say startling; the fact of his never having set eyes upon her
before the previous night being taken into consideration. "LorSir!"


'"I scorn to flattermy dear ma'am said Tom Smart. You
deserve a very admirable husbandand whoever he ishe'll be a
very lucky man." As Tom said thishis eye involuntarily wandered
from the widow's face to the comfort around him.


'The widow looked more puzzled than everand made an effort
to rise. Tom gently pressed her handas if to detain herand she
kept her seat. Widowsgentlemenare not usually timorousas
my uncle used to say.


'"I am sure I am very much obliged to youSirfor your good
opinion said the buxom landlady, half laughing; and if ever I
marry again--"


'"IF said Tom Smart, looking very shrewdly out of the right-
hand corner of his left eye. IF--"
'Well,said the widowlaughing outright this timeWHEN
I do, I hope I shall have as good a husband as you describe.


'"Jinkinsto wit said Tom.



'Lorsir!" exclaimed the widow.

'"Ohdon't tell me said Tom, I know him."

'"I am sure nobody who knows himknows anything bad of
him said the widow, bridling up at the mysterious air with
which Tom had spoken.


'Hem!" said Tom Smart.


'The widow began to think it was high time to cryso she took
out her handkerchiefand inquired whether Tom wished to
insult herwhether he thought it like a gentleman to take away
the character of another gentleman behind his backwhyif he
had got anything to sayhe didn't say it to the manlike a man
instead of terrifying a poor weak woman in that way; and
so forth.


'"I'll say it to him fast enough said Tom, only I want you
to hear it first."


'"What is it?" inquired the widowlooking intently in Tom's
countenance.


'"I'll astonish you said Tom, putting his hand in his pocket.


'If it isthat he wants money said the widow, I know that
alreadyand you needn't trouble yourself."
'"Poohnonsensethat's nothing said Tom Smart, I want
money. 'Tain't that."


'"Ohdearwhat can it be?" exclaimed the poor widow.


'"Don't be frightened said Tom Smart. He slowly drew
forth the letter, and unfolded it. You won't scream?" said Tom
doubtfully.


'"Nono replied the widow; let me see it."


'"You won't go fainting awayor any of that nonsense?"
said Tom.


'"Nono returned the widow hastily.


'And don't run outand blow him up said Tom; because
I'll do all that for you. You had better not exert yourself."


'"Wellwell said the widow, let me see it."


'"I will replied Tom Smart; and, with these words, he placed
the letter in the widow's hand.


'Gentlemen, I have heard my uncle say, that Tom Smart said
the widow's lamentations when she heard the disclosure would
have pierced a heart of stone. Tom was certainly very tender-
hearted, but they pierced his, to the very core. The widow rocked
herself to and fro, and wrung her hands.


'Ohthe deception and villainy of the man!" said the widow.


'"Frightfulmy dear ma'am; but compose yourself said
Tom Smart.



'OhI can't compose myself shrieked the widow. I shall
never find anyone else I can love so much!"

'"Ohyes you willmy dear soul said Tom Smart, letting fall
a shower of the largest-sized tears, in pity for the widow's
misfortunes. Tom Smart, in the energy of his compassion, had
put his arm round the widow's waist; and the widow, in a passion
of grief, had clasped Tom's hand. She looked up in Tom's face,
and smiled through her tears. Tom looked down in hers, and
smiled through his.

'I never could find out, gentlemen, whether Tom did or did not
kiss the widow at that particular moment. He used to tell my
uncle he didn't, but I have my doubts about it. Between ourselves,
gentlemen, I rather think he did.

'At all events, Tom kicked the very tall man out at the front
door half an hour later, and married the widow a month after.
And he used to drive about the country, with the clay-coloured
gig with the red wheels, and the vixenish mare with the fast pace,
till he gave up business many years afterwards, and went to
France with his wife; and then the old house was pulled down.'

'Will you allow me to ask you,' said the inquisitive old gentleman,
'what became of the chair?'

'Why,' replied the one-eyed bagman, 'it was observed to creak
very much on the day of the wedding; but Tom Smart couldn't
say for certain whether it was with pleasure or bodily infirmity.
He rather thought it was the latter, though, for it never spoke
afterwards.'

'Everybody believed the story, didn't they?' said the dirtyfaced
man, refilling his pipe.

'Except Tom's enemies,' replied the bagman. 'Some of 'em
said Tom invented it altogether; and others said he was drunk
and fancied it, and got hold of the wrong trousers by mistake
before he went to bed. But nobody ever minded what THEY said.'

'Tom Smart said it was all true?'

'Every word.'

'And your uncle?'

'Every letter.'

'They must have been very nice men, both of 'em,' said the
dirty-faced man.

'Yes, they were,' replied the bagman; 'very nice men indeed!'

CHAPTER XV

IN WHICH IS GIVEN A FAITHFUL PORTRAITURE OF TWO
DISTINGUISHED PERSONS; AND AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION
OF A PUBLIC BREAKFAST IN THEIR HOUSE AND GROUNDS:
WHICH PUBLIC BREAKFAST LEADS TO THE RECOGNITION
OF AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE, AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF
ANOTHER CHAPTER


Mr. Pickwick's conscience had been somewhat reproaching him for
his recent neglect of his friends at the Peacock; and he was just
on the point of walking forth in quest of them, on the third morning
after the election had terminated, when his faithful valet put into
his hand a card, on which was engraved the following inscription:-


Mrs. Leo Hunter
THE DEN. EATANSWILL.


'Person's a-waitin',' said Sam, epigrammatically.


'Does the person want me, Sam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'He wants you partickler; and no one else 'll do, as the devil's
private secretary said ven he fetched avay Doctor Faustus,'
replied Mr. Weller.


'HE. Is it a gentleman?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'A wery good imitation o' one, if it ain't,' replied Mr. Weller.


'But this is a lady's card,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Given me by a gen'l'm'n, howsoever,' replied Sam, 'and he's
a-waitin' in the drawing-room--said he'd rather wait all day,
than not see you.'


Mr. Pickwick, on hearing this determination, descended to the
drawing-room, where sat a grave man, who started up on his
entrance, and said, with an air of profound respect:--


'Mr. Pickwick, I presume?'


'The same.'


'Allow me, Sir, the honour of grasping your hand. Permit me,
Sir, to shake it,' said the grave man.


'Certainly,' said Mr. Pickwick.
The stranger shook the extended hand, and then continued--


'We have heard of your fame, sir. The noise of your antiquarian
discussion has reached the ears of Mrs. Leo Hunter--
my wife, sir; I am Mr. Leo Hunter'--the stranger paused, as if he
expected that Mr. Pickwick would be overcome by the disclosure;
but seeing that he remained perfectly calm, proceeded--


'My wife, sir--Mrs. Leo Hunter--is proud to number among
her acquaintance all those who have rendered themselves celebrated
by their works and talents. Permit me, sir, to place in a conspicuous
part of the list the name of Mr. Pickwick, and his brother-members of
the club that derives its name from him.'


'I shall be extremely happy to make the acquaintance of such
a lady, sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'You SHALL make it, sir,' said the grave man. 'To-morrow
morning, sir, we give a public breakfast--a FETE CHAMPETRE--to a
great number of those who have rendered themselves celebrated
by their works and talents. Permit Mrs. Leo Hunter, Sir, to have
the gratification of seeing you at the Den.'


'With great pleasure,' replied Mr. Pickwick.



'Mrs. Leo Hunter has many of these breakfasts, Sir,' resumed
the new acquaintance--'feasts of reason sir, and flows of
soul as somebody who wrote a sonnet to Mrs. Leo Hunter on
her breakfasts, feelingly and originally observed.'

'Was HE celebrated for his works and talents?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'He was Sir,' replied the grave man, 'all Mrs. Leo Hunter's
acquaintances are; it is her ambition, sir, to have no other
acquaintance.'

'It is a very noble ambition,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'When I inform Mrs. Leo Hunter, that that remark fell from
your lips, sir, she will indeed be proud,' said the grave man. 'You
have a gentleman in your train, who has produced some beautiful
little poems, I think, sir.'

'My friend Mr. Snodgrass has a great taste for poetry,' replied
Mr. Pickwick.

'So has Mrs. Leo Hunter, Sir. She dotes on poetry, sir. She
adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up,
and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces,
herself, sir. You may have met with her Ode to an Expiring
Frog sir.'

'I don't think I have,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'You astonish me, Sir,' said Mr. Leo Hunter. 'It created an
immense sensation. It was signed with an L" and eight starsand
appeared originally in a lady's magazine. It commenced-


'"Can I view thee pantinglying
On thy stomachwithout sighing;
Can I unmoved see thee dying


On a log
Expiring frog!"'
'Beautiful!' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Fine' said Mr. Leo Hunter; 'so simple.'

'Very' said Mr. Pickwick.

'The next verse is still more touching. Shall I repeat it?'

'If you please' said Mr. Pickwick.

'It runs thus' said the grave manstill more gravely.

'"Sayhave fiends in shape of boys
With wild hallooand brutal noise
Hunted thee from marshy joys


With a dog
Expiring frog!"'


'Finely expressed' said Mr. Pickwick.
'All pointSir' said Mr. Leo Hunter; 'but you shall hear
Mrs. Leo Hunter repeat it. She can do justice to itSir. She will
repeat itin characterSirto-morrow morning.'


'In character!'



'As Minerva. But I forgot--it's a fancy-dress DEJEUNE.'

'Dear me' said Mr. Pickwickglancing at his own figure--'I
can't possibly--'

'Can'tsir; can't!' exclaimed Mr. Leo Hunter. 'Solomon
Lucasthe Jew in the High Streethas thousands of fancydresses.
ConsiderSirhow many appropriate characters are open
for your selection. PlatoZenoEpicurusPythagoras--all
founders of clubs.'

'I know that' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but as I cannot put myself
in competition with those great menI cannot presume to wear
their dresses.'

The grave man considered deeplyfor a few secondsand then said-


'On reflectionSirI don't know whether it would not afford
Mrs. Leo Hunter greater pleasureif her guests saw a gentleman
of your celebrity in his own costumerather than in an assumed
one. I may venture to promise an exception in your casesir-yes
I am quite certain thaton behalf of Mrs. Leo HunterI may
venture to do so.'

'In that case' said Mr. Pickwick'I shall have great pleasure
in coming.'

'But I waste your timeSir' said the grave manas if suddenly
recollecting himself. 'I know its valuesir. I will not detain you.
I may tell Mrs. Leo Hunterthenthat she may confidently
expect you and your distinguished friends? Good-morning
SirI am proud to have beheld so eminent a personage--not a
step sir; not a word.' And without giving Mr. Pickwick time to
offer remonstrance or denialMr. Leo Hunter stalked gravely away.

Mr. Pickwick took up his hatand repaired to the Peacock
but Mr. Winkle had conveyed the intelligence of the fancy-ball
therebefore him.

'Mrs. Pott's going' were the first words with which he saluted
his leader.

'Is she?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'As Apollo' replied Winkle. 'Only Pott objects to the tunic.'

'He is right. He is quite right' said Mr. Pickwick emphatically.

'Yes; so she's going to wear a white satin gown with gold spangles.'

'They'll hardly know what she's meant for; will they?' inquired
Mr. Snodgrass.

'Of course they will' replied Mr. Winkle indignantly. 'They'll
see her lyrewon't they?'

'True; I forgot that' said Mr. Snodgrass.

'I shall go as a bandit'interposed Mr. Tupman.

'What!' said Mr. Pickwickwith a sudden start.

'As a bandit' repeated Mr. Tupmanmildly.


'You don't mean to say' said Mr. Pickwickgazing with
solemn sternness at his friend--'you don't mean to sayMr.
Tupmanthat it is your intention to put yourself into a green
velvet jacketwith a two-inch tail?'


'Such IS my intentionSir' replied Mr. Tupman warmly. 'And
why notsir?'


'BecauseSir' said Mr. Pickwickconsiderably excited--
'because you are too oldSir.'


'Too old!' exclaimed Mr. Tupman.


'And if any further ground of objection be wanting' continued
Mr. Pickwick'you are too fatsir.'


'Sir' said Mr. Tupmanhis face suffused with a crimson glow
'this is an insult.'


'Sir' replied Mr. Pickwickin the same tone'it is not half the
insult to youthat your appearance in my presence in a green
velvet jacketwith a two-inch tailwould be to me.'


'Sir' said Mr. Tupman'you're a fellow.'


'Sir' said Mr. Pickwick'you're another!'


Mr. Tupman advanced a step or twoand glared at Mr.
Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick returned the glareconcentrated into a
focus by means of his spectaclesand breathed a bold defiance.
Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle looked onpetrified at beholding
such a scene between two such men.


'Sir' said Mr. Tupmanafter a short pausespeaking in a low
deep voice'you have called me old.'


'I have' said Mr. Pickwick.


'And fat.'


'I reiterate the charge.'


'And a fellow.'


'So you are!'


There was a fearful pause.


'My attachment to your personsir' said Mr. Tupman
speaking in a voice tremulous with emotionand tucking up his
wristbands meanwhile'is great--very great--but upon that
personI must take summary vengeance.'


'Come onSir!' replied Mr. Pickwick. Stimulated by the
exciting nature of the dialoguethe heroic man actually threw
himself into a paralytic attitudeconfidently supposed by the two
bystanders to have been intended as a posture of defence.


'What!' exclaimed Mr. Snodgrasssuddenly recovering the
power of speechof which intense astonishment had previously
bereft himand rushing between the twoat the imminent hazard
of receiving an application on the temple from each--'what!
Mr. Pickwickwith the eyes of the world upon you! Mr. Tupman!
whoin common with us allderives a lustre from his



undying name! For shamegentlemen; for shame.'

The unwonted lines which momentary passion had ruled in
Mr. Pickwick's clear and open browgradually melted awayas
his young friend spokelike the marks of a black-lead pencil
beneath the softening influence of india-rubber. His countenance
had resumed its usual benign expressionere he concluded.

'I have been hasty' said Mr. Pickwick'very hasty. Tupman;
your hand.'

The dark shadow passed from Mr. Tupman's faceas he
warmly grasped the hand of his friend.

'I have been hastytoo' said he.

'Nono' interrupted Mr. Pickwick'the fault was mine. You
will wear the green velvet jacket?'

'Nono' replied Mr. Tupman.

'To oblige meyou will' resumed Mr. Pickwick.

'WellwellI will' said Mr. Tupman.

It was accordingly settled that Mr. TupmanMr. Winkleand
Mr. Snodgrassshould all wear fancy-dresses. Thus Mr. Pickwick
was led by the very warmth of his own good feelings to give his
consent to a proceeding from which his better judgment would
have recoiled--a more striking illustration of his amiable
character could hardly have been conceivedeven if the events
recorded in these pages had been wholly imaginary.

Mr. Leo Hunter had not exaggerated the resources of Mr.
Solomon Lucas. His wardrobe was extensive--very extensive-not
strictly classical perhapsnot quite newnor did it contain
any one garment made precisely after the fashion of any age or
timebut everything was more or less spangled; and what can be
prettier than spangles! It may be objected that they are not
adapted to the daylightbut everybody knows that they would
glitter if there were lamps; and nothing can be clearer than that
if people give fancy-balls in the day-timeand the dresses do not
show quite as well as they would by nightthe fault lies solely
with the people who give the fancy-ballsand is in no wise
chargeable on the spangles. Such was the convincing reasoning
of Mr. Solomon Lucas; and influenced by such arguments did
Mr. TupmanMr. Winkleand Mr. Snodgrass engage
to array themselves in costumes which his taste and experience
induced him to recommend as admirably suited to the occasion.

A carriage was hired from the Town Armsfor the accommodation
of the Pickwickiansand a chariot was ordered from
the same repositoryfor the purpose of conveying Mr. and Mrs.
Pott to Mrs. Leo Hunter's groundswhich Mr. Pottas a delicate
acknowledgment of having received an invitationhad already
confidently predicted in the Eatanswill GAZETTE 'would present a
scene of varied and delicious enchantment--a bewildering
coruscation of beauty and talent--a lavish and prodigal display
of hospitality--above alla degree of splendour softened by the
most exquisite taste; and adornment refined with perfect
harmony and the chastest good keeping--compared with
whichthe fabled gorgeousness of Eastern fairyland itself would
appear to be clothed in as many dark and murky coloursas
must be the mind of the splenetic and unmanly being who could


presume to taint with the venom of his envythe preparations
made by the virtuous and highly distinguished lady at whose
shrine this humble tribute of admiration was offered.' This
last was a piece of biting sarcasm against the INDEPENDENT
whoin consequence of not having been invited at allhad
beenthrough four numbersaffecting to sneer at the whole
affairin his very largest typewith all the adjectives in
capital letters.

The morning came: it was a pleasant sight to behold Mr.
Tupman in full brigand's costumewith a very tight jacket
sitting like a pincushion over his back and shouldersthe upper
portion of his legs incased in the velvet shortsand the lower part
thereof swathed in the complicated bandages to which all
brigands are peculiarly attached. It was pleasing to see his open
and ingenuous countenancewell mustachioed and corked
looking out from an open shirt collar; and to contemplate the
sugar-loaf hatdecorated with ribbons of all colourswhich he
was compelled to carry on his kneeinasmuch as no known
conveyance with a top to itwould admit of any man's carrying
it between his head and the roof. Equally humorous and agreeable
was the appearance of Mr. Snodgrass in blue satin trunks
and cloakwhite silk tights and shoesand Grecian helmetwhich
everybody knows (and if they do notMr. Solomon Lucas did)
to have been the regularauthenticeveryday costume of a
troubadourfrom the earliest ages down to the time of their
final disappearance from the face of the earth. All this was
pleasantbut this was as nothing compared with the shouting
of the populace when the carriage drew upbehind Mr. Pott's chariot
which chariot itself drew up at Mr. Pott's doorwhich door itself
openedand displayed the great Pott accoutred as a Russian officer
of justicewith a tremendous knout in his hand--tastefully typical of
the stern and mighty power of the Eatanswill GAZETTEand the fearful
lashings it bestowed on public offenders.

'Bravo!' shouted Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass from the
passagewhen they beheld the walking allegory.

'Bravo!' Mr. Pickwick was heard to exclaimfrom the passage.

'Hoo-roar Pott!' shouted the populace. Amid these salutations
Mr. Pottsmiling with that kind of bland dignity which
sufficiently testified that he felt his powerand knew how to
exert itgot into the chariot.

Then there emerged from the houseMrs. Pottwho would
have looked very like Apollo if she hadn't had a gown on
conducted by Mr. Winklewhoin his light-red coat could not
possibly have been mistaken for anything but a sportsmanif he
had not borne an equal resemblance to a general postman. Last
of all came Mr. Pickwickwhom the boys applauded as loud as
anybodyprobably under the impression that his tights and
gaiters were some remnants of the dark ages; and then the two
vehicles proceeded towards Mrs. Leo Hunter's; Mr. Weller
(who was to assist in waiting) being stationed on the box of that
in which his master was seated.

Every one of the menwomenboysgirlsand babieswho
were assembled to see the visitors in their fancy-dressesscreamed
with delight and ecstasywhen Mr. Pickwickwith the brigand
on one armand the troubadour on the otherwalked solemnly
up the entrance. Never were such shouts heard as those which
greeted Mr. Tupman's efforts to fix the sugar-loaf hat on his
headby way of entering the garden in style.


The preparations were on the most delightful scale; fully
realising the prophetic Pott's anticipations about the gorgeousness
of Eastern fairylandand at once affording a sufficient
contradiction to the malignant statements of the reptile INDEPENDENT.
The grounds were more than an acre and a quarter in
extentand they were filled with people! Never was such a blaze
of beautyand fashionand literature. There was the young lady
who 'did' the poetry in the Eatanswill GAZETTEin the garb of a
sultanaleaning upon the arm of the young gentleman who 'did'
the review departmentand who was appropriately habited in a
field-marshal's uniform--the boots excepted. There were hosts of
these geniusesand any reasonable person would have thought it
honour enough to meet them. But more than thesethere were
half a dozen lions from London--authorsreal authorswho had
written whole booksand printed them afterwards--and here
you might see 'emwalking aboutlike ordinary mensmiling
and talking--ayeand talking pretty considerable nonsense too
no doubt with the benign intention of rendering themselves
intelligible to the common people about them. Moreoverthere
was a band of music in pasteboard caps; four something-ean
singers in the costume of their countryand a dozen hired
waiters in the costume of THEIR country--and very dirty costume
too. And above allthere was Mrs. Leo Hunter in the character
of Minervareceiving the companyand overflowing with pride
and gratification at the notion of having called such distinguished
individuals together.

'Mr. Pickwickma'am' said a servantas that gentleman
approached the presiding goddesswith his hat in his handand
the brigand and troubadour on either arm.

'What! Where!' exclaimed Mrs. Leo Hunterstarting upin
an affected rapture of surprise.

'Here' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Is it possible that I have really the gratification of beholding
Mr. Pickwick himself!' ejaculated Mrs. Leo Hunter.

'No otherma'am' replied Mr. Pickwickbowing very low.
'Permit me to introduce my friends--Mr. Tupman--Mr. Winkle
--Mr. Snodgrass--to the authoress of "The Expiring Frog."'
Very few people but those who have tried itknow what a
difficult process it is to bow in green velvet smallsand a tight
jacketand high-crowned hat; or in blue satin trunks and white
silksor knee-cords and top-boots that were never made for
the wearerand have been fixed upon him without the
remotest reference to the comparative dimensions of himself and
the suit. Never were such distortions as Mr. Tupman's frame
underwent in his efforts to appear easy and graceful--never
was such ingenious posturingas his fancy-dressed friends exhibited.

'Mr. Pickwick' said Mrs. Leo Hunter'I must make you
promise not to stir from my side the whole day. There are
hundreds of people herethat I must positively introduce you to.'

'You are very kindma'am' said Mr. Pickwick.

'In the first placehere are my little girls; I had almost
forgotten them' said Minervacarelessly pointing towards a couple
of full-grown young ladiesof whom one might be about twenty
and the other a year or two olderand who were dressed in
very juvenile costumes--whether to make them look young


or their mamma youngerMr. Pickwick does not distinctly
inform us.

'They are very beautiful' said Mr. Pickwickas the juveniles
turned awayafter being presented.

'They are very like their mammaSir' said Mr. Pottmajestically.

'Ohyou naughty man' exclaimed Mrs. Leo Hunterplayfully
tapping the editor's arm with her fan (Minerva with a fan!).

'Why nowmy dear Mrs. Hunter' said Mr. Pottwho was
trumpeter in ordinary at the Den'you know that when your
picture was in the exhibition of the Royal Academylast year
everybody inquired whether it was intended for youor your
youngest daughter; for you were so much alike that there was no
telling the difference between you.'

'Welland if they didwhy need you repeat itbefore strangers?'
said Mrs. Leo Hunterbestowing another tap on the slumbering
lion of the Eatanswill GAZETTE.

'Countcount' screamed Mrs. Leo Hunter to a well-whiskered
individual in a foreign uniformwho was passing by.

'Ah! you want me?' said the countturning back.

'I want to introduce two very clever people to each other' said
Mrs. Leo Hunter. 'Mr. PickwickI have great pleasure in
introducing you to Count Smorltork.' She added in a hurried
whisper to Mr. Pickwick--'The famous foreigner--gathering
materials for his great work on England--hem!--Count Smorltork
Mr. Pickwick.'
Mr. Pickwick saluted the count with all the reverence due to so
great a manand the count drew forth a set of tablets.

'What you sayMrs. Hunt?' inquired the countsmiling
graciously on the gratified Mrs. Leo Hunter'Pig Vig or Big
Vig--what you call--lawyer--eh? I see--that is it. Big Vig'-and
the count was proceeding to enter Mr. Pickwick in his
tabletsas a gentleman of the long robewho derived his name
from the profession to which he belongedwhen Mrs. Leo
Hunter interposed.

'Nonocount' said the lady'Pick-wick.'

'AhahI see' replied the count. 'Peek--christian name;
Weeks--surname; goodver good. Peek Weeks. How you doWeeks?'

'Quite wellI thank you' replied Mr. Pickwickwith all his
usual affability. 'Have you been long in England?'

'Long--ver long time--fortnight--more.'

'Do you stay here long?'

'One week.'

'You will have enough to do' said Mr. Pickwick smiling'to
gather all the materials you want in that time.'

'Ehthey are gathered' said the count.

'Indeed!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'They are here' added the counttapping his forehead
significantly. 'Large book at home--full of notes--music
picturesciencepotrypoltic; all tings.'

'The word politicssir' said Mr. Pickwick'comprises in
itselfa difficult study of no inconsiderable magnitude.'

'Ah!' said the countdrawing out the tablets again'ver good
--fine words to begin a chapter. Chapter forty-seven. Poltics.
The word poltic surprises by himself--' And down went Mr.
Pickwick's remarkin Count Smorltork's tabletswith such
variations and additions as the count's exuberant fancy suggested
or his imperfect knowledge of the language occasioned.

'Count' said Mrs. Leo Hunter.
'Mrs. Hunt' replied the count.

'This is Mr. Snodgrassa friend of Mr. Pickwick'sand a poet.'

'Stop' exclaimed the countbringing out the tablets once
more. 'Headpotry--chapterliterary friends--nameSnowgrass;
ver good. Introduced to Snowgrass--great poetfriend of Peek
Weeks--by Mrs. Huntwhich wrote other sweet poem--what is
that name?--Fog--Perspiring Fog--ver good--ver good
indeed.' And the count put up his tabletsand with sundry bows
and acknowledgments walked awaythoroughly satisfied that he
had made the most important and valuable additions to his stock
of information.

'Wonderful manCount Smorltork' said Mrs. Leo Hunter.

'Sound philosopher' said Mr. Pott.

'Clear-headedstrong-minded person' added Mr. Snodgrass.

A chorus of bystanders took up the shout of Count Smorltork's
praiseshook their heads sagelyand unanimously cried'Very!'

As the enthusiasm in Count Smorltork's favour ran very high
his praises might have been sung until the end of the festivities
if the four something-ean singers had not ranged themselves in
front of a small apple-treeto look picturesqueand commenced
singing their national songswhich appeared by no means
difficult of executioninasmuch as the grand secret seemed to be
that three of the something-ean singers should gruntwhile the
fourth howled. This interesting performance having concluded
amidst the loud plaudits of the whole companya boy forthwith
proceeded to entangle himself with the rails of a chairand to
jump over itand crawl under itand fall down with itand do
everything but sit upon itand then to make a cravat of his legs
and tie them round his neckand then to illustrate the ease with
which a human being can be made to look like a magnified toad
--all which feats yielded high delight and satisfaction to the
assembled spectators. After whichthe voice of Mrs. Pott was
heard to chirp faintly forthsomething which courtesy interpreted
into a songwhich was all very classicaland strictly in
characterbecause Apollo was himself a composerand
composers can very seldom sing their own music or anybody else's
either. This was succeeded by Mrs. Leo Hunter's recitation of her
far-famed 'Ode to an Expiring Frog' which was encored once
and would have been encored twiceif the major part of the
guestswho thought it was high time to get something to eathad
not said that it was perfectly shameful to take advantage of


Mrs. Hunter's good nature. So although Mrs. Leo Hunter
professed her perfect willingness to recite the ode againher kind
and considerate friends wouldn't hear of it on any account; and
the refreshment room being thrown openall the people who had
ever been there beforescrambled in with all possible despatch--
Mrs. Leo Hunter's usual course of proceedings beingto issue
cards for a hundredand breakfast for fiftyor in other words to
feed only the very particular lionsand let the smaller animals
take care of themselves.

'Where is Mr. Pott?' said Mrs. Leo Hunteras she placed the
aforesaid lions around her.

'Here I am' said the editorfrom the remotest end of the
room; far beyond all hope of foodunless something was done
for him by the hostess.

'Won't you come up here?'

'Ohpray don't mind him' said Mrs. Pottin the most
obliging voice--'you give yourself a great deal of unnecessary
troubleMrs. Hunter. You'll do very well therewon't you--dear?'

'Certainly--love' replied the unhappy Pottwith a grim smile.
Alas for the knout! The nervous arm that wielded itwith such a
gigantic force on public characterswas paralysed beneath the
glance of the imperious Mrs. Pott.

Mrs. Leo Hunter looked round her in triumph. Count Smorltork
was busily engaged in taking notes of the contents of the
dishes; Mr. Tupman was doing the honours of the lobster salad
to several lionesseswith a degree of grace which no brigand ever
exhibited before; Mr. Snodgrass having cut out the young gentleman
who cut up the books for the Eatanswill GAZETTEwas
engaged in an impassioned argument with the young lady who
did the poetry; and Mr. Pickwick was making himself universally
agreeable. Nothing seemed wanting to render the select circle
completewhen Mr. Leo Hunter--whose department on these
occasionswas to stand about in doorwaysand talk to the less
important people--suddenly called out-'
My dear; here's Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall.'

'Oh dear' said Mrs. Leo Hunter'how anxiously I have been
expecting him. Pray make roomto let Mr. Fitz-Marshall pass.
Tell Mr. Fitz-Marshallmy dearto come up to me directlyto
be scolded for coming so late.'

'Comingmy dear ma'am' cried a voice'as quick as I can-crowds
of people--full room--hard work--very.'

Mr. Pickwick's knife and fork fell from his hand. He stared
across the table at Mr. Tupmanwho had dropped his knife and
forkand was looking as if he were about to sink into the ground
without further notice.

'Ah!' cried the voiceas its owner pushed his way among the
last five-and-twenty Turksofficerscavaliersand Charles the
Secondsthat remained between him and the table'regular
mangle--Baker's patent--not a crease in my coatafter all this
squeezing--might have "got up my linen" as I came along-ha!
ha! not a bad ideathat--queer thing to have it mangled
when it's upon onethough--trying process--very.'

With these broken wordsa young man dressed as a naval


officer made his way up to the tableand presented to the
astonished Pickwickians the identical form and features of Mr.
Alfred Jingle.
The offender had barely time to take Mrs. Leo Hunter's
proffered handwhen his eyes encountered the indignant orbs of
Mr. Pickwick.


'Hollo!' said Jingle. 'Quite forgot--no directions to postillion
--give 'em at once--back in a minute.'


'The servantor Mr. Hunter will do it in a momentMr.
Fitz-Marshall' said Mrs. Leo Hunter.


'Nono--I'll do it--shan't be long--back in no time' replied
Jingle. With these words he disappeared among the crowd.


'Will you allow me to ask youma'am' said the excited Mr.
Pickwickrising from his seat'who that young man isand
where he resides?'


'He is a gentleman of fortuneMr. Pickwick' said Mrs. Leo
Hunter'to whom I very much want to introduce you. The count
will be delighted with him.'


'Yesyes' said Mr. Pickwick hastily. 'His residence--'


'Is at present at the Angel at Bury.'


'At Bury?'


'At Bury St. Edmundsnot many miles from here. But dear
meMr. Pickwickyou are not going to leave us; surely Mr.
Pickwick you cannot think of going so soon?'


But long before Mrs. Leo Hunter had finished speakingMr.
Pickwick had plunged through the throngand reached the
gardenwhither he was shortly afterwards joined by Mr. Tupman
who had followed his friend closely.


'It's of no use' said Mr. Tupman. 'He has gone.'


'I know it' said Mr. Pickwick'and I will follow him.'


'Follow him! Where?' inquired Mr. Tupman.


'To the Angel at Bury' replied Mr. Pickwickspeaking very
quickly. 'How do we know whom he is deceiving there? He
deceived a worthy man onceand we were the innocent cause. He
shall not do it againif I can help it; I'll expose him! Sam!
Where's my servant?'


'Here you areSir' said Mr. Welleremerging from a
sequestered spotwhere he had been engaged in discussing a
bottle of Madeirawhich he had abstracted from the breakfast-
table an hour or two before. 'Here's your servantSir. Proud o'
the titleas the living skellinton saidven they show'd him.'


'Follow me instantly' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Tupmanif I stay at
Buryyou can join me therewhen I write. Till thengood-bye!'


Remonstrances were useless. Mr. Pickwick was rousedand his
mind was made up. Mr. Tupman returned to his companions;
and in another hour had drowned all present recollection of Mr.
Alfred Jingleor Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshallin an exhilarating



quadrille and a bottle of champagne. By that timeMr. Pickwick
and Sam Wellerperched on the outside of a stage-coachwere
every succeeding minute placing a less and less distance between
themselves and the good old town of Bury St. Edmunds.

CHAPTER XVI
TOO FULL OF ADVENTURE TO BE BRIEFLY DESCRIBED

There is no month in the whole year in which nature wears a more
beautiful appearance than in the month of August. Spring has many
beautiesand May is a fresh and blooming monthbut the charms
of this time of year are enhanced by their contrast with the
winter season. August has no such advantage. It comes when we
remember nothing but clear skiesgreen fieldsand sweet-smelling
flowers--when the recollection of snowand iceand bleak winds
has faded from our minds as completely as they have disappeared
from the earth--and yet what a pleasant time it is! Orchards and
cornfields ring with the hum of labour; trees bend beneath the
thick clusters of rich fruit which bow their branches to the
ground; and the cornpiled in graceful sheavesor waving in
every light breath that sweeps above itas if it wooed the
sickletinges the landscape with a golden hue. A mellow softness
appears to hang over the whole earth; the influence of the season
seems to extend itself to the very wagonwhose slow motion across
the well-reaped field is perceptible only to the eyebut strikes
with no harsh sound upon the ear.

As the coach rolls swiftly past the fields and orchards which
skirt the roadgroups of women and childrenpiling the fruit in
sievesor gathering the scattered ears of cornpause for an
instant from their labourand shading the sun-burned face with
a still browner handgaze upon the passengers with curious eyes
while some stout urchintoo small to workbut too mischievous
to be left at homescrambles over the side of the basket in which
he has been deposited for securityand kicks and screams with
delight. The reaper stops in his workand stands with folded
armslooking at the vehicle as it whirls past; and the rough carthorses
bestow a sleepy glance upon the smart coach teamwhich
says as plainly as a horse's glance can'It's all very fine to look
atbut slow goingover a heavy fieldis better than warm work
like thatupon a dusty roadafter all.' You cast a look behind
youas you turn a corner of the road. The women and children
have resumed their labour; the reaper once more stoops to his
work; the cart-horses have moved on; and all are again in motion.
The influence of a scene like thiswas not lost upon the wellregulated
mind of Mr. Pickwick. Intent upon the resolution he
had formedof exposing the real character of the nefarious
Jinglein any quarter in which he might be pursuing his fraudulent
designshe sat at first taciturn and contemplativebrooding
over the means by which his purpose could be best attained. By
degrees his attention grew more and more attracted by the
objects around him; and at last he derived as much enjoyment
from the rideas if it had been undertaken for the pleasantest
reason in the world.

'Delightful prospectSam' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Beats the chimbley-potsSir' replied Mr. Wellertouching
his hat.

'I suppose you have hardly seen anything but chimney-pots


and bricks and mortar all your lifeSam' said Mr. Pickwicksmiling.

'I worn't always a bootssir' said Mr. Wellerwith a shake of
the head. 'I wos a vaginer's boyonce.'

'When was that?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'When I wos first pitched neck and crop into the worldto play
at leap-frog with its troubles' replied Sam. 'I wos a carrier's boy
at startin'; then a vaginer'sthen a helperthen a boots. Now I'm
a gen'l'm'n's servant. I shall be a gen'l'm'n myself one of these
daysperhapswith a pipe in my mouthand a summer-house in
the back-garden. Who knows? I shouldn't be surprised for one.'

'You are quite a philosopherSam' said Mr. Pickwick.

'It runs in the familyI b'lievesir' replied Mr. Weller. 'My
father's wery much in that line now. If my mother-in-law blows
him uphe whistles. She flies in a passionand breaks his pipe;
he steps outand gets another. Then she screams wery loudand
falls into 'sterics; and he smokes wery comfortably till she comes
to agin. That's philosophySirain't it?'

'A very good substitute for itat all events' replied Mr.
Pickwicklaughing. 'It must have been of great service to youin
the course of your rambling lifeSam.'

'Servicesir' exclaimed Sam. 'You may say that. Arter I run
away from the carrierand afore I took up with the vaginerI had
unfurnished lodgin's for a fortnight.'

'Unfurnished lodgings?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Yes--the dry arches of Waterloo Bridge. Fine sleeping-place
--vithin ten minutes' walk of all the public offices--only if there is
any objection to itit is that the sitivation's rayther too airy. I see
some queer sights there.'
'AhI suppose you did' said Mr. Pickwickwith an air of
considerable interest.

'Sightssir' resumed Mr. Weller'as 'ud penetrate your
benevolent heartand come out on the other side. You don't see
the reg'lar wagrants there; trust 'emthey knows better than that.
Young beggarsmale and femaleas hasn't made a rise in their
professiontakes up their quarters there sometimes; but it's
generally the worn-outstarvinghouseless creeturs as roll
themselves in the dark corners o' them lonesome places--poor
creeturs as ain't up to the twopenny rope.'

'And praySamwhat is the twopenny rope?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'The twopenny ropesir' replied Mr. Weller'is just a cheap
lodgin' housewhere the beds is twopence a night.'

'What do they call a bed a rope for?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Bless your innocencesirthat ain't it' replied Sam. 'Ven the
lady and gen'l'm'n as keeps the hot-el first begun businessthey
used to make the beds on the floor; but this wouldn't do at no
price'cos instead o' taking a moderate twopenn'orth o' sleep
the lodgers used to lie there half the day. So now they has two
ropes'bout six foot apartand three from the floorwhich goes
right down the room; and the beds are made of slips of coarse
sackingstretched across 'em.'


'Well' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Well' said Mr. Weller'the adwantage o' the plan's hobvious.
At six o'clock every mornin' they let's go the ropes at one end
and down falls the lodgers. Consequence isthat being thoroughly
wakedthey get up wery quietlyand walk away! Beg your
pardonsir' said Samsuddenly breaking off in his loquacious
discourse. 'Is this Bury St. Edmunds?'

'It is' replied Mr. Pickwick.

The coach rattled through the well-paved streets of a handsome
little townof thriving and cleanly appearanceand stopped
before a large inn situated in a wide open streetnearly facing the
old abbey.

'And this' said Mr. Pickwicklooking up. 'Is the Angel! We
alight hereSam. But some caution is necessary. Order a private
roomand do not mention my name. You understand.'

'Right as a trivetsir' replied Mr. Wellerwith a wink of
intelligence; and having dragged Mr. Pickwick's portmanteau
from the hind bootinto which it had been hastily thrown when
they joined the coach at EatanswillMr. Weller disappeared on
his errand. A private room was speedily engaged; and into it
Mr. Pickwick was ushered without delay.
'NowSam' said Mr. Pickwick'the first thing to be done is
to--'
'Order dinnerSir' interposed Mr. Weller. 'It's wery latesir."

'Ahso it is' said Mr. Pickwicklooking at his watch. 'You are
rightSam.'

'And if I might adwiseSir' added Mr. Weller'I'd just have a
good night's rest arterwardsand not begin inquiring arter this
here deep 'un till the mornin'. There's nothin' so refreshen' as
sleepsiras the servant girl said afore she drank the egg-cupful
of laudanum.'

'I think you are rightSam' said Mr. Pickwick. 'But I must
first ascertain that he is in the houseand not likely to go away.'

'Leave that to meSir' said Sam. 'Let me order you a snug
little dinnerand make my inquiries below while it's a-getting
ready; I could worm ev'ry secret out O' the boots's heartin five
minutesSir.'
'Do so' said Mr. Pickwick; and Mr. Weller at once retired.

In half an hourMr. Pickwick was seated at a very satisfactory
dinner; and in three-quarters Mr. Weller returned with the
intelligence that Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall had ordered his
private room to be retained for himuntil further notice. He was
going to spend the evening at some private house in the neighbourhood
had ordered the boots to sit up until his returnand
had taken his servant with him.

'Nowsir' argued Mr. Wellerwhen he had concluded his
report'if I can get a talk with this here servant in the mornin'
he'll tell me all his master's concerns.'

'How do you know that?' interposed Mr. Pickwick.

'Bless your heartsirservants always do' replied Mr. Weller.


'OhahI forgot that' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Well.'

'Then you can arrange what's best to be donesirand we can
act accordingly.'

As it appeared that this was the best arrangement that could
be madeit was finally agreed upon. Mr. Wellerby his master's
permissionretired to spend the evening in his own way; and was
shortly afterwards electedby the unanimous voice of the
assembled companyinto the taproom chairin which honourable
post he acquitted himself so much to the satisfaction of the
gentlemen-frequentersthat their roars of laughter and approbation
penetrated to Mr. Pickwick's bedroomand shortened the
term of his natural rest by at least three hours.

Early on the ensuing morningMr. Weller was dispelling all
the feverish remains of the previous evening's conviviality
through the instrumentality of a halfpenny shower-bath (having
induced a young gentleman attached to the stable departmentby
the offer of that cointo pump over his head and faceuntil he
was perfectly restored)when he was attracted by the appearance
of a young fellow in mulberry-coloured liverywho was sitting on
a bench in the yardreading what appeared to be a hymn-book
with an air of deep abstractionbut who occasionally stole a
glance at the individual under the pumpas if he took some
interest in his proceedingsnevertheless.

'You're a rum 'un to look atyou are!' thought Mr. Wellerthe
first time his eyes encountered the glance of the stranger in the
mulberry suitwho had a largesallowugly facevery sunken
eyesand a gigantic headfrom which depended a quantity of
lank black hair. 'You're a rum 'un!' thought Mr. Weller; and
thinking thishe went on washing himselfand thought no more
about him.

Still the man kept glancing from his hymn-book to Samand
from Sam to his hymn-bookas if he wanted to open a conversation.
So at lastSamby way of giving him an opportunitysaid
with a familiar nod-


'How are yougovernor?'

'I am happy to sayI am pretty wellSir' said the man
speaking with great deliberationand closing the book. 'I hope
you are the sameSir?'

'Whyif I felt less like a walking brandy-bottle I shouldn't be
quite so staggery this mornin'' replied Sam. 'Are you stoppin' in
this houseold 'un?'

The mulberry man replied in the affirmative.

'How was it you worn't one of uslast night?' inquired Sam
scrubbing his face with the towel. 'You seem one of the jolly sort
--looks as conwivial as a live trout in a lime basket' added Mr.
Wellerin an undertone.

'I was out last night with my master' replied the stranger.

'What's his name?' inquired Mr. Wellercolouring up very red
with sudden excitementand the friction of the towel combined.

'Fitz-Marshall' said the mulberry man.


'Give us your hand' said Mr. Welleradvancing; 'I should like
to know you. I like your appearanceold fellow.'


'Wellthat is very strange' said the mulberry manwith great
simplicity of manner. 'I like yours so muchthat I wanted to
speak to youfrom the very first moment I saw you under the pump.'
'Did you though?'


'Upon my word. Nowisn't that curious?'


'Wery sing'ler' said Saminwardly congratulating himself
upon the softness of the stranger. 'What's your namemy patriarch?'


'Job.'


'And a wery good name it is; only one I know that ain't got a
nickname to it. What's the other name?'


'Trotter' said the stranger. 'What is yours?'


Sam bore in mind his master's cautionand replied--


'My name's Walker; my master's name's Wilkins. Will you
take a drop o' somethin' this mornin'Mr. Trotter?'


Mr. Trotter acquiesced in this agreeable proposal; and having
deposited his book in his coat pocketaccompanied Mr. Weller
to the tapwhere they were soon occupied in discussing an
exhilarating compoundformed by mixing togetherin a pewter
vesselcertain quantities of British Hollands and the fragrant
essence of the clove.


'And what sort of a place have you got?' inquired Samas he
filled his companion's glassfor the second time.


'Bad' said Jobsmacking his lips'very bad.'


'You don't mean that?' said Sam.


'I doindeed. Worse than thatmy master's going to be married.'


'No.'


'Yes; and worse than thattoohe's going to run away with an
immense rich heiressfrom boarding-school.'


'What a dragon!' said Samrefilling his companion's glass.
'It's some boarding-school in this townI supposeain't it?'
Nowalthough this question was put in the most careless tone
imaginableMr. Job Trotter plainly showed by gestures that he
perceived his new friend's anxiety to draw forth an answer to it.
He emptied his glasslooked mysteriously at his companion
winked both of his small eyesone after the otherand finally
made a motion with his armas if he were working an imaginary
pump-handle; thereby intimating that he (Mr. Trotter) considered
himself as undergoing the process of being pumped by Mr.
Samuel Weller.


'Nono' said Mr. Trotterin conclusion'that's not to be told
to everybody. That is a secret--a great secretMr. Walker.'
As the mulberry man said thishe turned his glass upside
downby way of reminding his companion that he had nothing
left wherewith to slake his thirst. Sam observed the hint; and



feeling the delicate manner in which it was conveyedordered the
pewter vessel to be refilledwhereat the small eyes of the mulberry
man glistened.


'And so it's a secret?' said Sam.


'I should rather suspect it was' said the mulberry man
sipping his liquorwith a complacent face.


'i suppose your mas'r's wery rich?' said Sam.


Mr. Trotter smiledand holding his glass in his left handgave
four distinct slaps on the pockets of his mulberry indescribables
with his rightas if to intimate that his master might have done
the same without alarming anybody much by the chinking of coin.


'Ah' said Sam'that's the gameis it?'


The mulberry man nodded significantly.


'Welland don't you thinkold feller' remonstrated Mr.
Weller'that if you let your master take in this here young lady
you're a precious rascal?'


'I know that' said Job Trotterturning upon his companion a
countenance of deep contritionand groaning slightly'I know
thatand that's what it is that preys upon my mind. But what am
I to do?'


'Do!' said Sam; 'di-wulge to the missisand give up your master.'


'Who'd believe me?' replied Job Trotter. 'The young lady's
considered the very picture of innocence and discretion. She'd
deny itand so would my master. Who'd believe me? I should lose
my placeand get indicted for a conspiracyor some such thing;
that's all I should take by my motion.'


'There's somethin' in that' said Samruminating; 'there's
somethin' in that.'


'If I knew any respectable gentleman who would take the
matter up' continued Mr. Trotter. 'I might have some hope of
preventing the elopement; but there's the same difficultyMr.
Walkerjust the same. I know no gentleman in this strange place;
and ten to one if I didwhether he would believe my story.'


'Come this way' said Samsuddenly jumping upand grasping
the mulberry man by the arm. 'My mas'r's the man you wantI
see.' And after a slight resistance on the part of Job TrotterSam
led his newly-found friend to the apartment of Mr. Pickwickto
whom he presented himtogether with a brief summary of the
dialogue we have just repeated.


'I am very sorry to betray my mastersir' said Job Trotter
applying to his eyes a pink checked pocket-handkerchief about
six inches square.


'The feeling does you a great deal of honour' replied Mr.
Pickwick; 'but it is your dutynevertheless.'


'I know it is my dutySir' replied Jobwith great emotion.
'We should all try to discharge our dutySirand I humbly
endeavour to discharge mineSir; but it is a hard trial to betray a
masterSirwhose clothes you wearand whose bread you eat



even though he is a scoundrelSir.'


'You are a very good fellow' said Mr. Pickwickmuch
affected; 'an honest fellow.'


'Comecome' interposed Samwho had witnessed Mr.
Trotter's tears with considerable impatience'blow this 'ere
water-cart bis'ness. It won't do no goodthis won't.'


'Sam' said Mr. Pickwick reproachfully. 'I am sorry to find
that you have so little respect for this young man's feelings.'


'His feelin's is all wery wellSir' replied Mr. Weller; 'and as
they're so wery fineand it's a pity he should lose 'emI think
he'd better keep 'em in his own buzzumthan let 'em ewaporate
in hot water'specially as they do no good. Tears never yet
wound up a clockor worked a steam ingin'. The next time you
go out to a smoking partyyoung fellowfill your pipe with that
'ere reflection; and for the present just put that bit of pink
gingham into your pocket. 'Tain't so handsome that you need
keep waving it aboutas if you was a tight-rope dancer.'


'My man is in the right' said Mr. Pickwickaccosting Job
'although his mode of expressing his opinion is somewhat
homelyand occasionally incomprehensible.'


'He issirvery right' said Mr. Trotter'and I will give way
no longer.'
'Very well' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Nowwhere is this
boarding-school?'


'It is a largeoldred brick housejust outside the townSir'
replied Job Trotter.


'And when' said Mr. Pickwick--'when is this villainous design
to be carried into execution--when is this elopement to
take place?'


'To-nightSir' replied Job.


'To-night!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'This very nightsir' replied Job Trotter. 'That is what alarms
me so much.'


'Instant measures must be taken' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I will see
the lady who keeps the establishment immediately.'


'I beg your pardonSir' said Job'but that course of proceeding
will never do.'


'Why not?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'My mastersiris a very artful man.'


'I know he is' said Mr. Pickwick.


'And he has so wound himself round the old lady's heartSir'
resumed Job'that she would believe nothing to his prejudiceif
you went down on your bare kneesand swore it; especially as
you have no proof but the word of a servantwhofor anything
she knows (and my master would be sure to say so)was discharged
for some faultand does this in revenge.'


'What had better be donethen?' said Mr. Pickwick.



'Nothing but taking him in the very act of elopingwill
convince the old ladysir' replied Job.

'All them old cats WILL run their heads agin milestones'
observed Mr. Wellerin a parenthesis.

'But this taking him in the very act of elopementwould be a
very difficult thing to accomplishI fear' said Mr. Pickwick.

'I don't knowsir' said Mr. Trotterafter a few moments'
reflection. 'I think it might be very easily done.'

'How?' was Mr. Pickwick's inquiry.

'Why' replied Mr. Trotter'my master and Ibeing in the
confidence of the two servantswill be secreted in the kitchen at
ten o'clock. When the family have retired to restwe shall come
out of the kitchenand the young lady out of her bedroom. A
post-chaise will be waitingand away we go.'

'Well?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'WellsirI have been thinking that if you were in waiting in
the garden behindalone--'

'Alone' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Why alone?'

'I thought it very natural' replied Job'that the old lady
wouldn't like such an unpleasant discovery to be made before
more persons than can possibly be helped. The young ladytoo
sir--consider her feelings.'

'You are very right' said Mr. Pickwick. 'The consideration
evinces your delicacy of feeling. Go on; you are very right.'

'WellsirI have been thinking that if you were waiting in the
back garden aloneand I was to let you inat the door which
opens into itfrom the end of the passageat exactly half-past
eleven o'clockyou would be just in the very moment of time to
assist me in frustrating the designs of this bad manby whom I
have been unfortunately ensnared.' Here Mr. Trotter sighed deeply.

'Don't distress yourself on that account' said Mr. Pickwick;
'if he had one grain of the delicacy of feeling which distinguishes
youhumble as your station isI should have some hopes of him.'

Job Trotter bowed low; and in spite of Mr. Weller's previous
remonstrancethe tears again rose to his eyes.

'I never see such a feller' said Sam'Blessed if I don't think
he's got a main in his head as is always turned on.'

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwickwith great severity'hold
your tongue.'

'Wery wellsir' replied Mr. Weller.

'I don't like this plan' said Mr. Pickwickafter deep meditation.
'Why cannot I communicate with the young lady's friends?'

'Because they live one hundred miles from heresir' responded
Job Trotter.


'That's a clincher' said Mr. Welleraside.

'Then this garden' resumed Mr. Pickwick. 'How am I to get
into it?'

'The wall is very lowsirand your servant will give you a
leg up.'
'My servant will give me a leg up' repeated Mr. Pickwick
mechanically. 'You will be sure to be near this door that you
speak of?'

'You cannot mistake itSir; it's the only one that opens into
the garden. Tap at it when you hear the clock strikeand I will
open it instantly.'

'I don't like the plan' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but as I see no
otherand as the happiness of this young lady's whole life is at
stakeI adopt it. I shall be sure to be there.'

Thusfor the second timedid Mr. Pickwick's innate goodfeeling
involve him in an enterprise from which he would most
willingly have stood aloof.

'What is the name of the house?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Westgate HouseSir. You turn a little to the right when you
get to the end of the town; it stands by itselfsome little distance
off the high roadwith the name on a brass plate on the gate.'

'I know it' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I observed it once beforewhen
I was in this town. You may depend upon me.'

Mr. Trotter made another bowand turned to departwhen
Mr. Pickwick thrust a guinea into his hand.

'You're a fine fellow' said Mr. Pickwick'and I admire your
goodness of heart. No thanks. Remember--eleven o'clock.'

'There is no fear of my forgetting itsir' replied Job Trotter.
With these words he left the roomfollowed by Sam.

'I say' said the latter'not a bad notion that 'ere crying. I'd
cry like a rain-water spout in a shower on such good terms.
How do you do it?'

'It comes from the heartMr. Walker' replied Job solemnly.
'Good-morningsir.'

'You're a soft customeryou are; we've got it all out o' you
anyhow' thought Mr. Welleras Job walked away.

We cannot state the precise nature of the thoughts which
passed through Mr. Trotter's mindbecause we don't know what
they were.

The day wore onevening cameand at a little before ten
o'clock Sam Weller reported that Mr. Jingle and Job had gone
out togetherthat their luggage was packed upand that they had
ordered a chaise. The plot was evidently in executionas Mr.
Trotter had foretold.

Half-past ten o'clock arrivedand it was time for Mr. Pickwick
to issue forth on his delicate errand. Resisting Sam's tender of his
greatcoatin order that he might have no encumbrance in scaling


the wallhe set forthfollowed by his attendant.

There was a bright moonbut it was behind the clouds. it was
a fine dry nightbut it was most uncommonly dark. Paths
hedgesfieldshousesand treeswere enveloped in one deep
shade. The atmosphere was hot and sultrythe summer lightning
quivered faintly on the verge of the horizonand was the only
sight that varied the dull gloom in which everything was wrapped
--sound there was noneexcept the distant barking of some
restless house-dog.

They found the houseread the brass platewalked round the
walland stopped at that portion of it which divided them from
the bottom of the garden.

'You will return to the innSamwhen you have assisted me
over' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Wery wellSir.'

'And you will sit uptill I return.'

'Cert'nlySir.'

'Take hold of my leg; andwhen I say "Over raise me gently.'

'All right, sir.'

Having settled these preliminaries, Mr. Pickwick grasped the
top of the wall, and gave the word 'Over,' which was literally
obeyed. Whether his body partook in some degree of the elasticity
of his mind, or whether Mr. Weller's notions of a gentle push
were of a somewhat rougher description than Mr. Pickwick's, the
immediate effect of his assistance was to jerk that immortal
gentleman completely over the wall on to the bed beneath,
where, after crushing three gooseberry-bushes and a rose-tree, he
finally alighted at full length.

'You ha'n't hurt yourself, I hope, Sir?' said Sam, in a loud
whisper, as soon as he had recovered from the surprise consequent
upon the mysterious disappearance of his master.

'I have not hurt MYSELF, Sam, certainly,' replied Mr. Pickwick,
from the other side of the wall, 'but I rather think that YOU have
hurt me.'

'I hope not, Sir,' said Sam.

'Never mind,' said Mr. Pickwick, rising, 'it's nothing but a few
scratches. Go away, or we shall be overheard.'

'Good-bye, Sir.'

'Good-bye.'

With stealthy steps Sam Weller departed, leaving Mr. Pickwick
alone in the garden.

Lights occasionally appeared in the different windows of the
house, or glanced from the staircases, as if the inmates were
retiring to rest. Not caring to go too near the door, until the
appointed time, Mr. Pickwick crouched into an angle of the wall,
and awaited its arrival.


It was a situation which might well have depressed the spirits
of many a man. Mr. Pickwick, however, felt neither depression
nor misgiving. He knew that his purpose was in the main a good
one, and he placed implicit reliance on the high-minded Job. it
was dull, certainly; not to say dreary; but a contemplative man
can always employ himself in meditation. Mr. Pickwick had
meditated himself into a doze, when he was roused by the chimes
of the neighbouring church ringing out the hour--half-past eleven.

'That's the time,' thought Mr. Pickwick, getting cautiously on
his feet. He looked up at the house. The lights had disappeared,
and the shutters were closed--all in bed, no doubt. He walked
on tiptoe to the door, and gave a gentle tap. Two or three
minutes passing without any reply, he gave another tap rather
louder, and then another rather louder than that.

At length the sound of feet was audible upon the stairs, and
then the light of a candle shone through the keyhole of the door.
There was a good deal of unchaining and unbolting, and the door
was slowly opened.

Now the door opened outwards; and as the door opened wider
and wider, Mr. Pickwick receded behind it, more and more. What
was his astonishment when he just peeped out, by way of caution,
to see that the person who had opened it was--not Job Trotter,
but a servant-girl with a candle in her hand! Mr. Pickwick drew
in his head again, with the swiftness displayed by that admirable
melodramatic performer, Punch, when he lies in wait for the
flat-headed comedian with the tin box of music.

'It must have been the cat, Sarah,' said the girl, addressing
herself to some one in the house. 'Puss, puss, puss,--tit, tit, tit.'

But no animal being decoyed by these blandishments, the girl
slowly closed the door, and re-fastened it; leaving Mr. Pickwick
drawn up straight against the wall.

'This is very curious,' thought Mr. Pickwick. 'They are sitting
up beyond their usual hour, I suppose. Extremely unfortunate,
that they should have chosen this night, of all others, for such a
purpose--exceedingly.' And with these thoughts, Mr. Pickwick
cautiously retired to the angle of the wall in which he had been
before ensconced; waiting until such time as he might deem it
safe to repeat the signal.

He had not been here five minutes, when a vivid flash
of lightning was followed by a loud peal of thunder that
crashed and rolled away in the distance with a terrific noise-then
came another flash of lightning, brighter than the other,
and a second peal of thunder louder than the first; and then
down came the rain, with a force and fury that swept everything
before it.

Mr. Pickwick was perfectly aware that a tree is a very dangerous
neighbour in a thunderstorm. He had a tree on his right, a
tree on his left, a third before him, and a fourth behind. If he
remained where he was, he might fall the victim of an accident;
if he showed himself in the centre of the garden, he might be
consigned to a constable. Once or twice he tried to scale the wall,
but having no other legs this time, than those with which Nature
had furnished him, the only effect of his struggles was to inflict a
variety of very unpleasant gratings on his knees and shins, and to
throw him into a state of the most profuse perspiration.


'What a dreadful situation,' said Mr. Pickwick, pausing to
wipe his brow after this exercise. He looked up at the house--all
was dark. They must be gone to bed now. He would try the
signal again.


He walked on tiptoe across the moist gravel, and tapped at the
door. He held his breath, and listened at the key-hole. No reply:
very odd. Another knock. He listened again. There was a low
whispering inside, and then a voice cried--


'Who's there?'


'That's not Job,' thought Mr. Pickwick, hastily drawing himself
straight up against the wall again. 'It's a woman.'


He had scarcely had time to form this conclusion, when a
window above stairs was thrown up, and three or four female
voices repeated the query--'Who's there?'


Mr. Pickwick dared not move hand or foot. It was clear that
the whole establishment was roused. He made up his mind to
remain where he was, until the alarm had subsided; and then by
a supernatural effort, to get over the wall, or perish in
the attempt.


Like all Mr. Pickwick's determinations, this was the best that
could be made under the circumstances; but, unfortunately, it
was founded upon the assumption that they would not venture
to open the door again. What was his discomfiture, when he
heard the chain and bolts withdrawn, and saw the door slowly
opening, wider and wider! He retreated into the corner, step by
step; but do what he would, the interposition of his own person,
prevented its being opened to its utmost width.


'Who's there?' screamed a numerous chorus of treble voices
from the staircase inside, consisting of the spinster lady of the
establishment, three teachers, five female servants, and thirty
boarders, all half-dressed and in a forest of curl-papers.


Of course Mr. Pickwick didn't say who was there: and then the
burden of the chorus changed into--'Lor! I am so frightened.'


'Cook,' said the lady abbess, who took care to be on the top
stair, the very last of the group--'cook, why don't you go a little
way into the garden?'
'Please, ma'am, I don't like,' responded the cook.


'Lor, what a stupid thing that cook is!' said the thirty boarders.


'Cook,' said the lady abbess, with great dignity; 'don't
answer me, if you please. I insist upon your looking into the
garden immediately.'


Here the cook began to cry, and the housemaid said it was 'a
shame!' for which partisanship she received a month's warning
on the spot.


'Do you hear, cook?' said the lady abbess, stamping her
foot impatiently.


'Don't you hear your missis, cook?' said the three teachers.


'What an impudent thing that cook is!' said the thirty boarders.



The unfortunate cook, thus strongly urged, advanced a step or
two, and holding her candle just where it prevented her from
seeing at all, declared there was nothing there, and it must have
been the wind. The door was just going to be closed in consequence,
when an inquisitive boarder, who had been peeping
between the hinges, set up a fearful screaming, which called back
the cook and housemaid, and all the more adventurous, in no time.

'What is the matter with Miss Smithers?' said the lady abbess,
as the aforesaid Miss Smithers proceeded to go into hysterics of
four young lady power.

'Lor, Miss Smithers, dear,' said the other nine-and-twenty
boarders.

'Oh, the man--the man--behind the door!' screamed Miss Smithers.

The lady abbess no sooner heard this appalling cry, than she
retreated to her own bedroom, double-locked the door, and
fainted away comfortably. The boarders, and the teachers, and
the servants, fell back upon the stairs, and upon each other; and
never was such a screaming, and fainting, and struggling beheld.
In the midst of the tumult, Mr. Pickwick emerged from his
concealment, and presented himself amongst them.

'Ladies--dear ladies,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Oh. he says we're dear,' cried the oldest and ugliest teacher.
'Oh, the wretch!'

'Ladies,' roared Mr. Pickwick, rendered desperate by the
danger of his situation. 'Hear me. I am no robber. I want the lady
of the house.'

'Oh, what a ferocious monster!' screamed another teacher.
'He wants Miss Tomkins.'

Here there was a general scream.

'Ring the alarm bell, somebody!' cried a dozen voices.

'Don't--don't,' shouted Mr. Pickwick. 'Look at me. Do I look
like a robber! My dear ladies--you may bind me hand and leg,
or lock me up in a closet, if you like. Only hear what I have got
to say--only hear me.'

'How did you come in our garden?' faltered the housemaid.

'Call the lady of the house, and I'll tell her everything,' said
Mr. Pickwick, exerting his lungs to the utmost pitch. 'Call her-only
be quiet, and call her, and you shall hear everything .'

It might have been Mr. Pickwick's appearance, or it might have
been his manner, or it might have been the temptation-irresistible
to a female mind--of hearing something at present
enveloped in mystery, that reduced the more reasonable portion
of the establishment (some four individuals) to a state of
comparative quiet. By them it was proposed, as a test of Mr.
Pickwick's sincerity, that he should immediately submit to personal
restraint; and that gentleman having consented to hold a
conference with Miss Tomkins, from the interior of a closet in
which the day boarders hung their bonnets and sandwich-bags,
he at once stepped into it, of his own accord, and was securely
locked in. This revived the others; and Miss Tomkins having


been brought to, and brought down, the conference began.


'What did you do in my garden, man?' said Miss Tomkins, in
a faint voice.


'I came to warn you that one of your young ladies was going to
elope to-night,' replied Mr. Pickwick, from the interior of the closet.


'Elope!' exclaimed Miss Tomkins, the three teachers, the
thirty boarders, and the five servants. 'Who with?'
'Your friend, Mr. Charles Fitz-Marshall.'


'MY friend! I don't know any such person.'


'Well, Mr. Jingle, then.'


'I never heard the name in my life.'


'Then, I have been deceived, and deluded,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I have been the victim of a conspiracy--a foul and base conspiracy.
Send to the Angel, my dear ma'am, if you don't believe me.
Send to the Angel for Mr. Pickwick's manservant, I implore
you, ma'am.'


'He must be respectable--he keeps a manservant,' said Miss
Tomkins to the writing and ciphering governess.


'It's my opinion, Miss Tomkins,' said the writing and ciphering
governess, 'that his manservant keeps him, I think he's a madman,
Miss Tomkins, and the other's his keeper.'


'I think you are very right, Miss Gwynn,' responded Miss
Tomkins. 'Let two of the servants repair to the Angel, and let the
others remain here, to protect us.'


So two of the servants were despatched to the Angel in search
of Mr. Samuel Weller; and the remaining three stopped behind
to protect Miss Tomkins, and the three teachers, and the thirty
boarders. And Mr. Pickwick sat down in the closet, beneath a
grove of sandwich-bags, and awaited the return of the messengers,
with all the philosophy and fortitude he could summon to his aid.


An hour and a half elapsed before they came back, and when
they did come, Mr. Pickwick recognised, in addition to the voice
of Mr. Samuel Weller, two other voices, the tones of which
struck familiarly on his ear; but whose they were, he could not for
the life of him call to mind.


A very brief conversation ensued. The door was unlocked.
Mr. Pickwick stepped out of the closet, and found himself in the
presence of the whole establishment of Westgate House, Mr
Samuel Weller, and--old Wardle, and his destined son-in-law,
Mr. Trundle!


'My dear friend,' said Mr. Pickwick, running forward and
grasping Wardle's hand, 'my dear friend, pray, for Heaven's sake,
explain to this lady the unfortunate and dreadful situation in
which I am placed. You must have heard it from my servant;
say, at all events, my dear fellow, that I am neither a robber nor
a madman.'


'I have said so, my dear friend. I have said so already,' replied
Mr. Wardle, shaking the right hand of his friend, while Mr.
Trundle shook the left.



'And whoever says, or has said, he is,' interposed Mr. Weller,
stepping forward, 'says that which is not the truth, but so far
from it, on the contrary, quite the rewerse. And if there's any
number o' men on these here premises as has said so, I shall be
wery happy to give 'em all a wery convincing proof o' their being
mistaken, in this here wery room, if these wery respectable ladies
'll have the goodness to retire, and order 'em up, one at a time.'
Having delivered this defiance with great volubility, Mr. Weller
struck his open palm emphatically with his clenched fist, and
winked pleasantly on Miss Tomkins, the intensity of whose
horror at his supposing it within the bounds of possibility that
there could be any men on the premises of Westgate House
Establishment for Young Ladies, it is impossible to describe.


Mr. Pickwick's explanation having already been partially made,
was soon concluded. But neither in the course of his walk home
with his friends, nor afterwards when seated before a blazing
fire at the supper he so much needed, could a single observation
be drawn from him. He seemed bewildered and amazed. Once,
and only once, he turned round to Mr. Wardle, and said--


'How did you come here?'


'Trundle and I came down here, for some good shooting on
the first,' replied Wardle. 'We arrived to-night, and were
astonished to hear from your servant that you were here too.
But I am glad you are,' said the old fellow, slapping him on
the back--'I am glad you are. We shall have a jovial party
on the first, and we'll give Winkle another chance--eh, old
boy?'


Mr. Pickwick made no reply, he did not even ask after his
friends at Dingley Dell, and shortly afterwards retired for the
night, desiring Sam to fetch his candle when he rung.
The bell did ring in due course, and Mr. Weller presented himself.


'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, looking out from under the bed-clothes.


'Sir,' said Mr. Weller.


Mr. Pickwick paused, and Mr. Weller snuffed the candle.


'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick again, as if with a desperate effort.


'Sir,' said Mr. Weller, once more.


'Where is that Trotter?'


'Job, sir?'


'Yes.


'Gone, sir.'


'With his master, I suppose?'


'Friend or master, or whatever he is, he's gone with him,'
replied Mr. Weller. 'There's a pair on 'em, sir.'


'Jingle suspected my design, and set that fellow on you, with
this story, I suppose?' said Mr. Pickwick, half choking.


'Just that, sir,' replied Mr. Weller.



'It was all false, of course?'

'All, sir,' replied Mr. Weller. 'Reg'lar do, sir; artful dodge.'

'I don't think he'll escape us quite so easily the next time, Sam!'
said Mr. Pickwick.

'I don't think he will, Sir.'

'Whenever I meet that Jingle again, wherever it is,' said Mr.
Pickwick, raising himself in bed, and indenting his pillow with a
tremendous blow, 'I'll inflict personal chastisement on him, in
addition to the exposure he so richly merits. I will, or my name
is not Pickwick.'

'And venever I catches hold o' that there melan-cholly chap
with the black hair,' said Sam, 'if I don't bring some real water
into his eyes, for once in a way, my name ain't Weller. Goodnight,
Sir!'

CHAPTER XVII
SHOWING THAT AN ATTACK OF RHEUMATISM, IN SOME
CASES, ACTS AS A QUICKENER TO INVENTIVE GENIUS

The constitution of Mr. Pickwick, though able to sustain a very
considerable amount of exertion and fatigue, was not proof against
such a combination of attacks as he had undergone on the memorable
night, recorded in the last chapter. The process of being washed
in the night air, and rough-dried in a closet, is as dangerous as
it is peculiar. Mr. Pickwick was laid up with an attack of rheumatism.

But although the bodily powers of the great man were thus
impaired, his mental energies retained their pristine vigour. His
spirits were elastic; his good-humour was restored. Even the
vexation consequent upon his recent adventure had vanished
from his mind; and he could join in the hearty laughter, which
any allusion to it excited in Mr. Wardle, without anger and
without embarrassment. Nay, more. During the two days Mr.
Pickwick was confined to bed, Sam was his constant attendant.
On the first, he endeavoured to amuse his master by anecdote
and conversation; on the second, Mr. Pickwick demanded his
writing-desk, and pen and ink, and was deeply engaged during
the whole day. On the third, being able to sit up in his bedchamber,
he despatched his valet with a message to Mr. Wardle and Mr. Trundle,
intimating that if they would take their wine there, that evening,
they would greatly oblige him. The invitation was most willingly
accepted; and when they were seated over
their wine, Mr. Pickwick, with sundry blushes, produced the
following little tale, as having been 'edited' by himself, during his
recent indisposition, from his notes of Mr. Weller's
unsophisticated recital.

THE PARISH CLERK
A TALE OF TRUE LOVE

'Once upon a time, in a very small country town, at a considerable
distance from London, there lived a little man named Nathaniel
Pipkin, who was the parish clerk of the little town, and lived in a
little house in the little High Street, within ten minutes' walk
from the little church; and who was to be found every day, from


nine till four, teaching a little learning to the little boys. Nathaniel
Pipkin was a harmless, inoffensive, good-natured being, with a
turned-up nose, and rather turned-in legs, a cast in his eye, and a
halt in his gait; and he divided his time between the church and
his school, verily believing that there existed not, on the face of
the earth, so clever a man as the curate, so imposing an apartment
as the vestry-room, or so well-ordered a seminary as his own.
Once, and only once, in his life, Nathaniel Pipkin had seen a
bishop--a real bishop, with his arms in lawn sleeves, and his
head in a wig. He had seen him walk, and heard him talk, at a
confirmation, on which momentous occasion Nathaniel Pipkin
was so overcome with reverence and awe, when the aforesaid
bishop laid his hand on his head, that he fainted right clean
away, and was borne out of church in the arms of the beadle.

'This was a great event, a tremendous era, in Nathaniel
Pipkin's life, and it was the only one that had ever occurred to
ruffle the smooth current of his quiet existence, when happening
one fine afternoon, in a fit of mental abstraction, to raise his eyes
from the slate on which he was devising some tremendous
problem in compound addition for an offending urchin to solve,
they suddenly rested on the blooming countenance of Maria
Lobbs, the only daughter of old Lobbs, the great saddler over the
way. Now, the eyes of Mr. Pipkin had rested on the pretty face
of Maria Lobbs many a time and oft before, at church and elsewhere;
but the eyes of Maria Lobbs had never looked so bright,
the cheeks of Maria Lobbs had never looked so ruddy, as upon
this particular occasion. No wonder then, that Nathaniel Pipkin
was unable to take his eyes from the countenance of Miss Lobbs;
no wonder that Miss Lobbs, finding herself stared at by a young
man, withdrew her head from the window out of which she had
been peeping, and shut the casement and pulled down the blind;
no wonder that Nathaniel Pipkin, immediately thereafter, fell
upon the young urchin who had previously offended, and cuffed
and knocked him about to his heart's content. All this was very
natural, and there's nothing at all to wonder at about it.

'It IS matter of wonder, though, that anyone of Mr. Nathaniel
Pipkin's retiring disposition, nervous temperament, and most
particularly diminutive income, should from this day forth, have
dared to aspire to the hand and heart of the only daughter of the
fiery old Lobbs--of old Lobbs, the great saddler, who could have
bought up the whole village at one stroke of his pen, and never
felt the outlay--old Lobbs, who was well known to have heaps of
money, invested in the bank at the nearest market town--who
was reported to have countless and inexhaustible treasures
hoarded up in the little iron safe with the big keyhole, over the
chimney-piece in the back parlour--and who, it was well known,
on festive occasions garnished his board with a real silver teapot,
cream-ewer, and sugar-basin, which he was wont, in the pride of
his heart, to boast should be his daughter's property when she
found a man to her mind. I repeat it, to be matter of profound
astonishment and intense wonder, that Nathaniel Pipkin should
have had the temerity to cast his eyes in this direction. But love is
blind; and Nathaniel had a cast in his eye; and perhaps these two
circumstances, taken together, prevented his seeing the matter in
its proper light.

'Now, if old Lobbs had entertained the most remote or distant
idea of the state of the affections of Nathaniel Pipkin, he would
just have razed the school-room to the ground, or exterminated
its master from the surface of the earth, or committed some other
outrage and atrocity of an equally ferocious and violent description;
for he was a terrible old fellow, was Lobbs, when his pride


was injured, or his blood was up. Swear! Such trains of oaths
would come rolling and pealing over the way, sometimes, when
he was denouncing the idleness of the bony apprentice with the
thin legs, that Nathaniel Pipkin would shake in his shoes with
horror, and the hair of the pupils' heads would stand on end
with fright.

'Well! Day after day, when school was over, and the pupils
gone, did Nathaniel Pipkin sit himself down at the front window,
and, while he feigned to be reading a book, throw sidelong glances
over the way in search of the bright eyes of Maria Lobbs; and he
hadn't sat there many days, before the bright eyes appeared at an
upper window, apparently deeply engaged in reading too. This
was delightful, and gladdening to the heart of Nathaniel Pipkin.
It was something to sit there for hours together, and look upon
that pretty face when the eyes were cast down; but when Maria
Lobbs began to raise her eyes from her book, and dart their rays
in the direction of Nathaniel Pipkin, his delight and admiration
were perfectly boundless. At last, one day when he knew old
Lobbs was out, Nathaniel Pipkin had the temerity to kiss his hand
to Maria Lobbs; and Maria Lobbs, instead of shutting the
window, and pulling down the blind, kissed HERS to him, and
smiled. Upon which Nathaniel Pipkin determined, that, come
what might, he would develop the state of his feelings, without
further delay.

'A prettier foot, a gayer heart, a more dimpled face, or a
smarter form, never bounded so lightly over the earth they
graced, as did those of Maria Lobbs, the old saddler's daughter.
There was a roguish twinkle in her sparkling eyes, that would
have made its way to far less susceptible bosoms than that of
Nathaniel Pipkin; and there was such a joyous sound in her
merry laugh, that the sternest misanthrope must have smiled to
hear it. Even old Lobbs himself, in the very height of his ferocity,
couldn't resist the coaxing of his pretty daughter; and when she,
and her cousin Kate--an arch, impudent-looking, bewitching
little person--made a dead set upon the old man together, as, to
say the truth, they very often did, he could have refused them
nothing, even had they asked for a portion of the countless and
inexhaustible treasures, which were hidden from the light, in the
iron safe.

'Nathaniel Pipkin's heart beat high within him, when he saw
this enticing little couple some hundred yards before him one
summer's evening, in the very field in which he had many a time
strolled about till night-time, and pondered on the beauty of
Maria Lobbs. But though he had often thought then, how briskly
he would walk up to Maria Lobbs and tell her of his passion if he
could only meet her, he felt, now that she was unexpectedly
before him, all the blood in his body mounting to his face,
manifestly to the great detriment of his legs, which, deprived of
their usual portion, trembled beneath him. When they stopped to
gather a hedge flower, or listen to a bird, Nathaniel Pipkin
stopped too, and pretended to be absorbed in meditation, as
indeed he really was; for he was thinking what on earth he should
ever do, when they turned back, as they inevitably must in time,
and meet him face to face. But though he was afraid to make up
to them, he couldn't bear to lose sight of them; so when they
walked faster he walked faster, when they lingered he lingered,
and when they stopped he stopped; and so they might have gone
on, until the darkness prevented them, if Kate had not looked
slyly back, and encouragingly beckoned Nathaniel to advance.
There was something in Kate's manner that was not to be
resisted, and so Nathaniel Pipkin complied with the invitation;


and after a great deal of blushing on his part, and immoderate
laughter on that of the wicked little cousin, Nathaniel Pipkin
went down on his knees on the dewy grass, and declared his
resolution to remain there for ever, unless he were permitted to
rise the accepted lover of Maria Lobbs. Upon this, the merry
laughter of Miss Lobbs rang through the calm evening air-without
seeming to disturb it, though; it had such a pleasant
sound--and the wicked little cousin laughed more immoderately
than before, and Nathaniel Pipkin blushed deeper than ever. At
length, Maria Lobbs being more strenuously urged by the loveworn
little man, turned away her head, and whispered her cousin
to say, or at all events Kate did say, that she felt much honoured
by Mr. Pipkin's addresses; that her hand and heart were at her
father's disposal; but that nobody could be insensible to Mr.
Pipkin's merits. As all this was said with much gravity, and as
Nathaniel Pipkin walked home with Maria Lobbs, and struggled
for a kiss at parting, he went to bed a happy man, and dreamed
all night long, of softening old Lobbs, opening the strong box,
and marrying Maria.

The next day, Nathaniel Pipkin saw old Lobbs go out upon
his old gray pony, and after a great many signs at the window
from the wicked little cousin, the object and meaning of which he
could by no means understand, the bony apprentice with the thin
legs came over to say that his master wasn't coming home all
night, and that the ladies expected Mr. Pipkin to tea, at six
o'clock precisely. How the lessons were got through that day,
neither Nathaniel Pipkin nor his pupils knew any more than you
do; but they were got through somehow, and, after the boys had
gone, Nathaniel Pipkin took till full six o'clock to dress himself
to his satisfaction. Not that it took long to select the garments he
should wear, inasmuch as he had no choice about the matter;
but the putting of them on to the best advantage, and the touching
of them up previously, was a task of no inconsiderable difficulty
or importance.

'There was a very snug little party, consisting of Maria Lobbs
and her cousin Kate, and three or four romping, good-humoured,
rosy-cheeked girls. Nathaniel Pipkin had ocular demonstration of
the fact, that the rumours of old Lobbs's treasures were not
exaggerated. There were the real solid silver teapot, cream-ewer,
and sugar-basin, on the table, and real silver spoons to stir the
tea with, and real china cups to drink it out of, and plates of the
same, to hold the cakes and toast in. The only eye-sore in the
whole place was another cousin of Maria Lobbs's, and a brother
of Kate, whom Maria Lobbs called Henry and who seemed
to keep Maria Lobbs all to himself, up in one corner of the table.
It's a delightful thing to see affection in families, but it may be
carried rather too far, and Nathaniel Pipkin could not help
thinking that Maria Lobbs must be very particularly fond of her
relations, if she paid as much attention to all of them as to this
individual cousin. After tea, too, when the wicked little cousin
proposed a game at blind man's buff, it somehow or other
happened that Nathaniel Pipkin was nearly always blind, and
whenever he laid his hand upon the male cousin, he was sure to
find that Maria Lobbs was not far off. And though the wicked
little cousin and the other girls pinched him, and pulled his hair,
and pushed chairs in his way, and all sorts of things, Maria Lobbs
never seemed to come near him at all; and once--once--Nathaniel
Pipkin could have sworn he heard the sound of a kiss,
followed by a faint remonstrance from Maria Lobbs, and a halfsuppressed
laugh from her female friends. All this was odd-very
odd--and there is no saying what Nathaniel Pipkin might
or might not have done, in consequence, if his thoughts had not


been suddenly directed into a new channel.

'The circumstance which directed his thoughts into a new
channel was a loud knocking at the street door, and the person
who made this loud knocking at the street door was no other
than old Lobbs himself, who had unexpectedly returned, and
was hammering away, like a coffin-maker; for he wanted his
supper. The alarming intelligence was no sooner communicated
by the bony apprentice with the thin legs, than the girls tripped
upstairs to Maria Lobbs's bedroom, and the male cousin and
Nathaniel Pipkin were thrust into a couple of closets in the
sitting-room, for want of any better places of concealment; and
when Maria Lobbs and the wicked little cousin had stowed them
away, and put the room to rights, they opened the street door to
old Lobbs, who had never left off knocking since he first began.

'Now it did unfortunately happen that old Lobbs being very
hungry was monstrous cross. Nathaniel Pipkin could hear him
growling away like an old mastiff with a sore throat; and whenever
the unfortunate apprentice with the thin legs came into the
room, so surely did old Lobbs commence swearing at him in a
most Saracenic and ferocious manner, though apparently with
no other end or object than that of easing his bosom by the
discharge of a few superfluous oaths. At length some supper,
which had been warming up, was placed on the table, and then
old Lobbs fell to, in regular style; and having made clear work of
it in no time, kissed his daughter, and demanded his pipe.

'Nature had placed Nathaniel Pipkin's knees in very close
juxtaposition, but when he heard old Lobbs demand his pipe,
they knocked together, as if they were going to reduce each other
to powder; for, depending from a couple of hooks, in the very
closet in which he stood, was a large, brown-stemmed, silverbowled
pipe, which pipe he himself had seen in the mouth of old
Lobbs, regularly every afternoon and evening, for the last five
years. The two girls went downstairs for the pipe, and upstairs for
the pipe, and everywhere but where they knew the pipe was, and
old Lobbs stormed away meanwhile, in the most wonderful
manner. At last he thought of the closet, and walked up to it. It
was of no use a little man like Nathaniel Pipkin pulling the
door inwards, when a great strong fellow like old Lobbs was
pulling it outwards. Old Lobbs gave it one tug, and open it flew,
disclosing Nathaniel Pipkin standing bolt upright inside, and
shaking with apprehension from head to foot. Bless us! what an
appalling look old Lobbs gave him, as he dragged him out by the
collar, and held him at arm's length.

'Whywhat the devil do you want here?" said old Lobbsin
a fearful voice.

'Nathaniel Pipkin could make no replyso old Lobbs shook
him backwards and forwardsfor two or three minutesby way
of arranging his ideas for him.

'"What do you want here?" roared Lobbs; "I suppose you
have come after my daughternow!"

'Old Lobbs merely said this as a sneer: for he did not believe
that mortal presumption could have carried Nathaniel Pipkin so
far. What was his indignationwhen that poor man replied-'"
YesI didMr. LobbsI did come after your daughter. I
love herMr. Lobbs."

'"Whyyou snivellingwry-facedpuny villain gasped old


Lobbs, paralysed by the atrocious confession; what do you
mean by that? Say this to my face! DammeI'll throttle you!"

'It is by no means improbable that old Lobbs would have
carried his threat into executionin the excess of his rageif his
arm had not been stayed by a very unexpected apparition: to wit
the male cousinwhostepping out of his closetand walking up
to old Lobbssaid-


'"I cannot allow this harmless personSirwho has been asked
herein some girlish frolicto take upon himselfin a very noble
mannerthe fault (if fault it is) which I am guilty ofand am
ready to avow. I love your daughtersir; and I came here for the
purpose of meeting her."

'Old Lobbs opened his eyes very wide at thisbut not wider
than Nathaniel Pipkin.

'"You did?" said Lobbsat last finding breath to speak.

'"I did."

'"And I forbade you this houselong ago."

'"You didor I should not have been hereclandestinely
to-night."

'I am sorry to record it of old Lobbsbut I think he would
have struck the cousinif his pretty daughterwith her bright eyes
swimming in tearshad not clung to his arm.

'"Don't stop himMaria said the young man; if he has the
will to strike melet him. I would not hurt a hair of his gray head
for the riches of the world."

'The old man cast down his eyes at this reproofand they met
those of his daughter. I have hinted once or twice beforethat
they were very bright eyesandthough they were tearful now
their influence was by no means lessened. Old Lobbs turned
his head awayas if to avoid being persuaded by them
whenas fortune would have ithe encountered the face of
the wicked little cousinwhohalf afraid for her brotherand
half laughing at Nathaniel Pipkinpresented as bewitching an
expression of countenancewith a touch of slyness in ittooas
any manold or youngneed look upon. She drew her arm coaxingly
through the old man'sand whispered something in his
ear; and do what he wouldold Lobbs couldn't help breaking
out into a smilewhile a tear stole down his cheek at the same time.
'Five minutes after thisthe girls were brought down from the
bedroom with a great deal of giggling and modesty; and while
the young people were making themselves perfectly happyold
Lobbs got down the pipeand smoked it; and it was a remarkable
circumstance about that particular pipe of tobaccothat it was
the most soothing and delightful one he ever smoked.

'Nathaniel Pipkin thought it best to keep his own counseland
by so doing gradually rose into high favour with old Lobbs. who
taught him to smoke in time; and they used to sit out in the
garden on the fine eveningsfor many years afterwardssmoking
and drinking in great state. He soon recovered the effects of his
attachmentfor we find his name in the parish registeras a
witness to the marriage of Maria Lobbs to her cousin; and it also
appearsby reference to other documentsthat on the night of the
wedding he was incarcerated in the village cagefor havingin a


state of extreme intoxicationcommitted sundry excesses in the
streetsin all of which he was aided and abetted by the bony
apprentice with the thin legs.'

CHAPTER XVIII

BRIEFLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF TWO POINTS; FIRSTTHE

POWER OF HYSTERICSANDSECONDLYTHE FORCE OF

CIRCUMSTANCEs

For two days after the DEJEUNE at Mrs. Hunter'sthe Pickwickians
remained at Eatanswillanxiously awaiting the arrival of some
intelligence from their revered leader. Mr. Tupman and Mr.
Snodgrass were once again left to their own means of amusement;
for Mr. Winklein compliance with a most pressing invitation
continued to reside at Mr. Pott's houseand to devote his time
to the companionship of his amiable lady. Nor was the occasional
society of Mr. Pott himself wanting to complete their felicity.
Deeply immersed in the intensity of his speculations for the
public weal and the destruction of the INDEPENDENTit was not the
habit of that great man to descend from his mental pinnacle to
the humble level of ordinary minds. On this occasionhowever
and as if expressly in compliment to any follower of Mr.
Pickwick'she unbentrelaxedstepped down from his pedestal
and walked upon the groundbenignly adapting his remarks to the
comprehension of the herdand seeming in outward formif not in
spiritto be one of them.

Such having been the demeanour of this celebrated public
character towards Mr. Winkleit will be readily imagined that
considerable surprise was depicted on the countenance of the
latter gentlemanwhenas he was sitting alone in the breakfastroom
the door was hastily thrown openand as hastily closed
on the entrance of Mr. Pottwhostalking majestically towards
himand thrusting aside his proffered handground his teethas
if to put a sharper edge on what he was about to utterand
exclaimedin a saw-like voice-


'Serpent!'

'Sir!' exclaimed Mr. Winklestarting from his chair.

'SerpentSir' repeated Mr. Pottraising his voiceand then
suddenly depressing it: 'I saidserpentsir--make the most of it.'

When you have parted with a man at two o'clock in the
morningon terms of the utmost good-fellowshipand he meets
you againat half-past nineand greets you as a serpentit is not
unreasonable to conclude that something of an unpleasant
nature has occurred meanwhile. So Mr. Winkle thought. He
returned Mr. Pott's gaze of stoneand in compliance with that
gentleman's requestproceeded to make the most he could of the
'serpent.' The mosthoweverwas nothing at all; soafter a
profound silence of some minutes' durationhe said-


'SerpentSir! SerpentMr. Pott! What can you meanSir?-this
is pleasantry.'

'Pleasantrysir!' exclaimed Pottwith a motion of the hand
indicative of a strong desire to hurl the Britannia metal teapot at
the head of the visitor. 'Pleasantrysir!--But--noI will be calm;
I will be calmSir;' in proof of his calmnessMr. Pott flung


himself into a chairand foamed at the mouth.

'My dear sir' interposed Mr. Winkle.

'DEAR Sir!' replied Pott. 'How dare you address meas dear Sir
Sir? How dare you look me in the face and do itsir?'

'WellSirif you come to that' responded Mr. Winkle'how
dare you look me in the faceand call me a serpentsir?'

'Because you are one' replied Mr. Pott.

'Prove itSir' said Mr. Winkle warmly. 'Prove it.'

A malignant scowl passed over the profound face of the editor
as he drew from his pocket the INDEPENDENT of that morning; and
laying his finger on a particular paragraphthrew the journal
across the table to Mr. Winkle.

That gentleman took it upand read as follows:-


'Our obscure and filthy contemporaryin some disgusting
observations on the recent election for this boroughhas presumed
to violate the hallowed sanctity of private lifeand to refer

in a manner not to be misunderstoodto the personal affairs of
our late candidate--ayeand notwithstanding his base defeatwe
will addour future memberMr. Fizkin. What does our dastardly
contemporary mean? What would the ruffian sayif wesetting
at naughtlike himthe decencies of social intercoursewere to
raise the curtain which happily conceals His private life from
general ridiculenot to say from general execration? Whatif we
were even to point outand comment onfacts and circumstances
which are publicly notoriousand beheld by every one but our
mole-eyed contemporary--what if we were to print the following
effusionwhich we received while we were writing the commencement
of this articlefrom a talented fellow-townsman and
correspondent?

'"LINES TO A BRASS POT

'"Oh Pott! if you'd known
How false she'd have grown
When you heard the marriage bells tinkle;
You'd have done thenI vow
What you cannot help now
And handed her over to W*****"'


'What' said Mr. Pott solemnly--'what rhymes to "tinkle
villain?'


'What rhymes to tinkle?' said Mrs. Pott, whose entrance at the
moment forestalled the reply. 'What rhymes to tinkle? Why,
Winkle, I should conceive.' Saying this, Mrs. Pott smiled sweetly
on the disturbed Pickwickian, and extended her hand towards
him. The agitated young man would have accepted it, in his
confusion, had not Pott indignantly interposed.


'Back, ma'am--back!' said the editor. 'Take his hand before
my very face!'


'Mr. P.!' said his astonished lady.



'Wretched woman, look here,' exclaimed the husband. 'Look
here, ma'am--Lines to a Brass Pot." "Brass Pot"; that's me
ma'am. "False SHE'D have grown"; that's youma'am--you.'
With this ebullition of ragewhich was not unaccompanied with
something like a trembleat the expression of his wife's face
Mr. Pott dashed the current number of the Eatanswill INDEPENDENT
at her feet.


'Upon my wordSir' said the astonished Mrs. Pottstooping
to pick up the paper. 'Upon my wordSir!'


Mr. Pott winced beneath the contemptuous gaze of his wife.
He had made a desperate struggle to screw up his couragebut it
was fast coming unscrewed again.


There appears nothing very tremendous in this little sentence
'Upon my wordsir' when it comes to be read; but the tone of
voice in which it was deliveredand the look that accompanied it
both seeming to bear reference to some revenge to be thereafter
visited upon the head of Pottproduced their effect upon him.
The most unskilful observer could have detected in his troubled
countenancea readiness to resign his Wellington boots to any
efficient substitute who would have consented to stand in them
at that moment.


Mrs. Pott read the paragraphuttered a loud shriekand
threw herself at full length on the hearth-rugscreamingand
tapping it with the heels of her shoesin a manner which could
leave no doubt of the propriety of her feelings on the occasion.


'My dear' said the terrified Pott'I didn't say I believed it;--I--'
but the unfortunate man's voice was drowned in the
screaming of his partner.


'Mrs. Pottlet me entreat youmy dear ma'amto compose
yourself' said Mr. Winkle; but the shrieks and tappings were
louderand more frequent than ever.


'My dear' said Mr. Pott'I'm very sorry. If you won't consider
your own healthconsider memy dear. We shall have a crowd
round the house.' But the more strenuously Mr. Pott entreated
the more vehemently the screams poured forth.


Very fortunatelyhoweverattached to Mrs. Pott's person was
a bodyguard of onea young lady whose ostensible employment
was to preside over her toiletbut who rendered herself useful in
a variety of waysand in none more so than in the particular
department of constantly aiding and abetting her mistress in
every wish and inclination opposed to the desires of the unhappy
Pott. The screams reached this young lady's ears in due course
and brought her into the room with a speed which threatened to
derangemateriallythe very exquisite arrangement of her cap
and ringlets.


'Ohmy deardear mistress!' exclaimed the bodyguard
kneeling frantically by the side of the prostrate Mrs. Pott. 'Oh
my dear mistresswhat is the matter?'


'Your master--your brutal master' murmured the patient.


Pott was evidently giving way.


'It's a shame' said the bodyguard reproachfully. 'I know he'll



be the death on youma'am. Poor dear thing!'

He gave way more. The opposite party followed up the attack.

'Ohdon't leave me--don't leave meGoodwin' murmured
Mrs. Pottclutching at the wrist of the said Goodwin with an
hysteric jerk. 'You're the only person that's kind to meGoodwin.'


At this affecting appealGoodwin got up a little domestic
tragedy of her ownand shed tears copiously.


'Neverma'am--never' said Goodwin.'Ohsiryou should be
careful--you should indeed; you don't know what harm you may
do missis; you'll be sorry for it one dayI know--I've always
said so.'


The unlucky Pott looked timidly onbut said nothing.


'Goodwin' said Mrs. Pottin a soft voice.


'Ma'am' said Goodwin.


'If you only knew how I have loved that man--'
'Don't distress yourself by recollecting itma'am' said the bodyguard.


Pott looked very frightened. It was time to finish him.


'And now' sobbed Mrs. Pott'nowafter allto be treated in
this way; to be reproached and insulted in the presence of a
third partyand that party almost a stranger. But I will not
submit to it! Goodwin' continued Mrs. Pottraising herself in
the arms of her attendant'my brotherthe lieutenantshall
interfere. I'll be separatedGoodwin!'


'It would certainly serve him rightma'am' said Goodwin.


Whatever thoughts the threat of a separation might have
awakened in Mr. Pott's mindhe forbore to give utterance to
themand contented himself by sayingwith great humility:--


'My dearwill you hear me?'


A fresh train of sobs was the only replyas Mrs. Pott grew
more hystericalrequested to be informed why she was ever born
and required sundry other pieces of information of a similar description.


'My dear' remonstrated Mr. Pott'do not give way to these
sensitive feelings. I never believed that the paragraph had any
foundationmy dear--impossible. I was only angrymy dear--I
may say outrageous--with the INDEPENDENT people for daring to
insert it; that's all.' Mr. Pott cast an imploring look at the
innocent cause of the mischiefas if to entreat him to say nothing
about the serpent.


'And what stepssirdo you mean to take to obtain redress?'
inquired Mr. Winklegaining courage as he saw Pott losing it.


'OhGoodwin' observed Mrs. Pott'does he mean to horsewhip
the editor of the INDEPENDENT--does heGoodwin?'


'Hushhushma'am; pray keep yourself quiet' replied the
bodyguard. 'I dare say he willif you wish itma'am.'


'Certainly' said Pottas his wife evinced decided symptoms of



going off again. 'Of course I shall.'


'WhenGoodwin--when?' said Mrs. Pottstill undecided
about the going off.


'Immediatelyof course' said Mr. Pott; 'before the day is out.'


'OhGoodwin' resumed Mrs. Pott'it's the only way of
meeting the slanderand setting me right with the world.'


'Certainlyma'am' replied Goodwin. 'No man as is a man
ma'amcould refuse to do it.'


Soas the hysterics were still hovering aboutMr. Pott said
once more that he would do it; but Mrs. Pott was so overcome at
the bare idea of having ever been suspectedthat she was half a
dozen times on the very verge of a relapseand most unquestionably
would have gone offhad it not been for the indefatigable
efforts of the assiduous Goodwinand repeated entreaties for
pardon from the conquered Pott; and finallywhen that unhappy
individual had been frightened and snubbed down to his proper
levelMrs. Pott recoveredand they went to breakfast.


'You will not allow this base newspaper slander to shorten
your stay hereMr. Winkle?' said Mrs. Pottsmiling through the
traces of her tears.


'I hope not' said Mr. Pottactuatedas he spokeby a wish
that his visitor would choke himself with the morsel of dry toast
which he was raising to his lips at the momentand so terminate
his stay effectually.


'I hope not.'


'You are very good' said Mr. Winkle; 'but a letter has been
received from Mr. Pickwick--so I learn by a note from Mr.
Tupmanwhich was brought up to my bedroom doorthis
morning--in which he requests us to join him at Bury to-day;
and we are to leave by the coach at noon.'


'But you will come back?' said Mrs. Pott.


'Ohcertainly' replied Mr. Winkle.


'You are quite sure?' said Mrs. Pottstealing a tender look at
her visitor.


'Quite' responded Mr. Winkle.


The breakfast passed off in silencefor each of the party was
brooding over hisor herown personal grievances. Mrs. Pott
was regretting the loss of a beau; Mr. Pott his rash pledge to
horsewhip the INDEPENDENT; Mr. Winkle his having innocently
placed himself in so awkward a situation. Noon approachedand
after many adieux and promises to returnhe tore himself away.


'If he ever comes backI'll poison him' thought Mr. Pottas
he turned into the little back office where he prepared his thunderbolts.


'If I ever do come backand mix myself up with these people
again'thought Mr. Winkleas he wended his way to the Peacock
'I shall deserve to be horsewhipped myself--that's all.'


His friends were readythe coach was nearly soand in half an



hour they were proceeding on their journeyalong the road over
which Mr. Pickwick and Sam had so recently travelledand of
whichas we have already said somethingwe do not feel called
upon to extract Mr. Snodgrass's poetical and beautiful description.


Mr. Weller was standing at the door of the Angelready to
receive themand by that gentleman they were ushered to the
apartment of Mr. Pickwickwhereto the no small surprise of
Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrassand the no small embarrassment
of Mr. Tupmanthey found old Wardle and Trundle.


'How are you?' said the old mangrasping Mr. Tupman's
hand. 'Don't hang backor look sentimental about it; it can't be
helpedold fellow. For her sakeI wish you'd had her; for your
ownI'm very glad you have not. A young fellow like you will do
better one of these dayseh?' With this conclusionWardle
slapped Mr. Tupman on the backand laughed heartily.


'Welland how are youmy fine fellows?' said the old gentleman
shaking hands with Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass at the
same time. 'I have just been telling Pickwick that we must have
you all down at Christmas. We're going to have a wedding--a
real wedding this time.'


'A wedding!' exclaimed Mr. Snodgrassturning very pale.


'Yesa wedding. But don't be frightened' said the good-
humoured old man; 'it's only Trundle thereand Bella.'


'Ohis that all?' said Mr. Snodgrassrelieved from a painful
doubt which had fallen heavily on his breast. 'Give you joySir.
How is Joe?'


'Very well' replied the old gentleman. 'Sleepy as ever.'


'And your motherand the clergymanand all of 'em?'


'Quite well.'


'Where' said Mr. Tupmanwith an effort--'where is--SHE
Sir?' and he turned away his headand covered his eyes with his hand.
'SHE!' said the old gentlemanwith a knowing shake of the
head. 'Do you mean my single relative--eh?'


Mr. Tupmanby a nodintimated that his question applied to
the disappointed Rachael.


'Ohshe's gone away' said the old gentleman. 'She's living at
a relation'sfar enough off. She couldn't bear to see the girlsso I
let her go. But come! Here's the dinner. You must be hungry
after your ride. I amwithout any ride at all; so let us fall to.'


Ample justice was done to the meal; and when they were
seated round the tableafter it had been disposed ofMr. Pickwick
to the intense horror and indignation of his followers
related the adventure he had undergoneand the success which
had attended the base artifices of the diabolical Jingle.
'And the attack of rheumatism which I caught in that garden'
said Mr. Pickwickin conclusion'renders me lame at this
moment.'


'Itoohave had something of an adventure' said Mr. Winkle
with a smile; andat the request of Mr. Pickwickhe detailed the
malicious libel of the Eatanswill INDEPENDENTand the consequent



excitement of their friendthe editor.


Mr. Pickwick's brow darkened during the recital. His friends
observed itandwhen Mr. Winkle had concludedmaintained a
profound silence. Mr. Pickwick struck the table emphatically
with his clenched fistand spoke as follows:--


'Is it not a wonderful circumstance' said Mr. Pickwick'that
we seem destined to enter no man's house without involving him
in some degree of trouble? Does it notI askbespeak the
indiscretionorworse than thatthe blackness of heart--that I
should say so!--of my followersthatbeneath whatever roof
they locatethey disturb the peace of mind and happiness of
some confiding female? Is it notI say--'


Mr. Pickwick would in all probability have gone on for some
timehad not the entrance of Samwith a lettercaused him to
break off in his eloquent discourse. He passed his handkerchief
across his foreheadtook off his spectacleswiped themand put
them on again; and his voice had recovered its wonted softness of
tone when he said--


'What have you thereSam?'


'Called at the post-office just nowand found this here letter
as has laid there for two days' replied Mr. Weller. 'It's sealed
vith a vaferand directed in round hand.'


'I don't know this hand' said Mr. Pickwickopening the
letter. 'Mercy on us! what's this? It must be a jest; it--it--can't
be true.'


'What's the matter?' was the general inquiry.


'Nobody deadis there?' said Wardlealarmed at the horror in
Mr. Pickwick's countenance.


Mr. Pickwick made no replybutpushing the letter across the
tableand desiring Mr. Tupman to read it aloudfell back in his
chair with a look of vacant astonishment quite alarming to
behold.


Mr. Tupmanwith a trembling voiceread the letterof which
the following is a copy:--


Freeman's CourtCornhill
August 28th1827.


Bardell against Pickwick.


Sir


Having been instructed by Mrs. Martha Bardell to commence
an action against you for a breach of promise of marriagefor which
the plaintiff lays her damages at fifteen hundred poundswe beg to
inform you that a writ has been issued against you in this suit in the
Court of Common Pleas; and request to knowby return of postthe
name of your attorney in Londonwho will accept service thereof.


We areSir
Your obedient servants
Dodson & Fogg.



Mr. Samuel Pickwick.


There was something so impressive in the mute astonishment
with which each man regarded his neighbourand every man
regarded Mr. Pickwickthat all seemed afraid to speak. The
silence was at length broken by Mr. Tupman.


'Dodson and Fogg' he repeated mechanically.


'Bardell and Pickwick' said Mr. Snodgrassmusing.


'Peace of mind and happiness of confiding females' murmured
Mr. Winklewith an air of abstraction.


'It's a conspiracy' said Mr. Pickwickat length recovering the
power of speech; 'a base conspiracy between these two grasping
attorneysDodson and Fogg. Mrs. Bardell would never do it;--
she hasn't the heart to do it;--she hasn't the case to do it.
Ridiculous--ridiculous.'
'Of her heart' said Wardlewith a smile'you should certainly
be the best judge. I don't wish to discourage youbut I should
certainly say thatof her caseDodson and Fogg are far better
judges than any of us can be.'


'It's a vile attempt to extort money' said Mr. Pickwick.


'I hope it is' said Wardlewith a shortdry cough.


'Who ever heard me address her in any way but that in which
a lodger would address his landlady?' continued Mr. Pickwick
with great vehemence. 'Who ever saw me with her? Not even my
friends here--'


'Except on one occasion' said Mr. Tupman.


Mr. Pickwick changed colour.
'Ah' said Mr. Wardle. 'Wellthat's important. There was
nothing suspicious thenI suppose?'


Mr. Tupman glanced timidly at his leader. 'Why' said he
'there was nothing suspicious; but--I don't know how it
happenedmind--she certainly was reclining in his arms.'


'Gracious powers!' ejaculated Mr. Pickwickas the recollection
of the scene in question struck forcibly upon him; 'what a
dreadful instance of the force of circumstances! So she was--so
she was.'


'And our friend was soothing her anguish' said Mr. Winkle
rather maliciously.


'So I was' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I don't deny it. So I was.'


'Hollo!' said Wardle; 'for a case in which there's nothing suspicious
this looks rather queer--ehPickwick? Ahsly dog--sly
dog!' and he laughed till the glasses on the sideboard rang again.


'What a dreadful conjunction of appearances!' exclaimed
Mr. Pickwickresting his chin upon his hands. 'Winkle--
Tupman--I beg your pardon for the observations I made
just now. We are all the victims of circumstancesand I the
greatest.' With this apology Mr. Pickwick buried his head in his
handsand ruminated; while Wardle measured out a regular



circle of nods and winksaddressed to the other members of
the company.

'I'll have it explainedthough' said Mr. Pickwickraising his
head and hammering the table. 'I'll see this Dodson and Fogg!
I'll go to London to-morrow.'

'Not to-morrow' said Wardle; 'you're too lame.'

'Wellthennext day.'

'Next day is the first of Septemberand you're pledged to ride
out with usas far as Sir Geoffrey Manning's grounds at all
eventsand to meet us at lunchif you don't take the field.'

'Wellthenthe day after' said Mr. Pickwick; 'Thursday.--Sam!'

'Sir' replied Mr. Weller.

'Take two places outside to Londonon Thursday morning
for yourself and me.'

'Wery wellSir.'

Mr. Weller left the roomand departed slowly on his errand
with his hands in his pocket and his eyes fixed on the ground.

'Rum fellerthe hemperor' said Mr. Welleras he walked
slowly up the street. 'Think o' his makin' up to that 'ere Mrs.
Bardell--vith a little boytoo! Always the vay vith these here old
'uns howsoeveras is such steady goers to look at. I didn't think
he'd ha' done itthough--I didn't think he'd ha' done it!'
Moralising in this strainMr. Samuel Weller bent his steps
towards the booking-office.

CHAPTER XIX
A PLEASANT DAY WITH AN UNPLEASANT TERMINATION

The birdswhohappily for their own peace of mind and personal
comfortwere in blissful ignorance of the preparations which had
been making to astonish themon the first of Septemberhailed
itno doubtas one of the pleasantest mornings they had seen
that season. Many a young partridge who strutted complacently
among the stubblewith all the finicking coxcombry of youthand
many an older one who watched his levity out of his little round
eyewith the contemptuous air of a bird of wisdom and experience
alike unconscious of their approaching doombasked in the fresh
morning air with lively and blithesome feelingsand a few hours
afterwards were laid low upon the earth. But we grow affecting:
let us proceed.

In plain commonplace matter-of-factthenit was a fine
morning--so fine that you would scarcely have believed that the
few months of an English summer had yet flown by. Hedges
fieldsand treeshill and moorlandpresented to the eye their
ever-varying shades of deep rich green; scarce a leaf had
fallenscarce a sprinkle of yellow mingled with the hues of
summerwarned you that autumn had begun. The sky was
cloudless; the sun shone out bright and warm; the songs of birds
the hum of myriads of summer insectsfilled the air; and the
cottage gardenscrowded with flowers of every rich and beautiful


tintsparkledin the heavy dewlike beds of glittering jewels.
Everything bore the stamp of summerand none of its beautiful
colour had yet faded from the die.


Such was the morningwhen an open carriagein which were
three Pickwickians (Mr. Snodgrass having preferred to remain at
home)Mr. Wardleand Mr. Trundlewith Sam Weller on the
box beside the driverpulled up by a gate at the roadsidebefore
which stood a tallraw-boned gamekeeperand a half-booted
leather-legginged boyeach bearing a bag of capacious dimensions
and accompanied by a brace of pointers.


'I say' whispered Mr. Winkle to Wardleas the man let down
the steps'they don't suppose we're going to kill game enough to
fill those bagsdo they?'


'Fill them!' exclaimed old Wardle. 'Bless youyes! You shall
fill oneand I the other; and when we've done with themthe
pockets of our shooting-jackets will hold as much more.'


Mr. Winkle dismounted without saying anything in reply to
this observation; but he thought within himselfthat if the party
remained in the open airtill he had filled one of the bagsthey
stood a considerable chance of catching colds in their heads.


'HiJunolass-hiold girl; downDaphdown' said Wardle
caressing the dogs. 'Sir Geoffrey still in Scotlandof courseMartin?'


The tall gamekeeper replied in the affirmativeand looked with
some surprise from Mr. Winklewho was holding his gun as if he
wished his coat pocket to save him the trouble of pulling the
triggerto Mr. Tupmanwho was holding his as if he was afraid
of it--as there is no earthly reason to doubt he really was.


'My friends are not much in the way of this sort of thing yet
Martin' said Wardlenoticing the look. 'Live and learnyou
know. They'll be good shots one of these days. I beg my friend
Winkle's pardonthough; he has had some practice.'


Mr. Winkle smiled feebly over his blue neckerchief in
acknowledgment of the complimentand got himself so mysteriously
entangled with his gunin his modest confusionthat if the piece
had been loadedhe must inevitably have shot himself dead upon
the spot.


'You mustn't handle your piece in that 'ere waywhen you
come to have the charge in itSir' said the tall gamekeeper
gruffly; 'or I'm damned if you won't make cold meat of some


on us.'


Mr. Winklethus admonishedabruptly altered his position
and in so doingcontrived to bring the barrel into pretty smart
contact with Mr. Weller's head.


'Hollo!' said Sampicking up his hatwhich had been knocked
offand rubbing his temple. 'Hollosir! if you comes it this vay
you'll fill one o' them bagsand something to spareat one fire.'


Here the leather-legginged boy laughed very heartilyand then
tried to look as if it was somebody elsewhereat Mr. Winkle
frowned majestically.


'Where did you tell the boy to meet us with the snackMartin?'



inquired Wardle.

'Side of One-tree Hillat twelve o'clockSir.'

'That's not Sir Geoffrey's landis it?'

'NoSir; but it's close by it. It's Captain Boldwig's land; but
there'll be nobody to interrupt usand there's a fine bit of
turf there.'


'Very well' said old Wardle. 'Now the sooner we're off the
better. Will you join us at twelvethenPickwick?'


Mr. Pickwick was particularly desirous to view the sportthe
more especially as he was rather anxious in respect of Mr.
Winkle's life and limbs. On so inviting a morningtooit was
very tantalising to turn backand leave his friends to enjoy
themselves. It wasthereforewith a very rueful air that he
replied--


'WhyI suppose I must.'


'Ain't the gentleman a shotSir?' inquired the long gamekeeper.


'No' replied Wardle; 'and he's lame besides.'


'I should very much like to go' said Mr. Pickwick--'very
much.'


There was a short pause of commiseration.


'There's a barrow t'other side the hedge' said the boy. 'If the
gentleman's servant would wheel along the pathshe could keep
nigh usand we could lift it over the stilesand that.'


'The wery thing' said Mr. Wellerwho was a party interested
inasmuch as he ardently longed to see the sport. 'The wery
thing. Well saidSmallcheek; I'll have it out in a minute.'


But here a difficulty arose. The long gamekeeper resolutely
protested against the introduction into a shooting partyof a
gentleman in a barrowas a gross violation of all established
rules and precedents.
It was a great objectionbut not an insurmountable one. The
gamekeeper having been coaxed and feedand havingmoreover
eased his mind by 'punching' the head of the inventive youth who
had first suggested the use of the machineMr. Pickwick was
placed in itand off the party set; Wardle and the long gamekeeper
leading the wayand Mr. Pickwick in the barrowpropelled by
Sambringing up the rear.


'StopSam' said Mr. Pickwickwhen they had got half across
the first field.


'What's the matter now?' said Wardle.


'I won't suffer this barrow to be moved another step' said
Mr. Pickwickresolutely'unless Winkle carries that gun of his in
a different manner.'


'How AM I to carry it?' said the wretched Winkle.
'Carry it with the muzzle to the ground' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'It's so unsportsmanlike' reasoned Winkle.



'I don't care whether it's unsportsmanlike or not' replied
Mr. Pickwick; 'I am not going to be shot in a wheel-barrowfor
the sake of appearancesto please anybody.'

'I know the gentleman'll put that 'ere charge into somebody
afore he's done' growled the long man.

'Wellwell--I don't mind' said poor Winkleturning his gunstock
uppermost--'there.'

'Anythin' for a quiet life' said Mr. Weller; and on they went again.

'Stop!' said Mr. Pickwickafter they had gone a few yards farther.

'What now?' said Wardle.

'That gun of Tupman's is not safe: I know it isn't' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Eh? What! not safe?' said Mr. Tupmanin a tone of great alarm.

'Not as you are carrying it' said Mr. Pickwick. 'I am very
sorry to make any further objectionbut I cannot consent to go
onunless you carry it as Winkle does his.'

'I think you had bettersir' said the long gamekeeper'or
you're quite as likely to lodge the charge in yourself as in
anything else.'

Mr. Tupmanwith the most obliging hasteplaced his piece in
the position requiredand the party moved on again; the two
amateurs marching with reversed armslike a couple of privates
at a royal funeral.

The dogs suddenly came to a dead stopand the party advancing
stealthily a single pacestopped too.

'What's the matter with the dogs' legs?' whispered Mr.
Winkle. 'How queer they're standing.'

'Hushcan't you?' replied Wardle softly. 'Don't you see
they're making a point?'

'Making a point!' said Mr. Winklestaring about himas if he
expected to discover some particular beauty in the landscape
which the sagacious animals were calling special attention to.
'Making a point! What are they pointing at?'

'Keep your eyes open' said Wardlenot heeding the question
in the excitement of the moment. 'Now then.'

There was a sharp whirring noisethat made Mr. Winkle start
back as if he had been shot himself. Bangbangwent a couple of
guns--the smoke swept quickly away over the fieldand curled
into the air.

'Where are they!' said Mr. Winklein a state of the highest
excitementturning round and round in all directions. 'Where are
they? Tell me when to fire. Where are they--where are they?'

'Where are they!' said Wardletaking up a brace of birds
which the dogs had deposited at his feet. 'Whyhere they are.'

'Nono; I mean the others' said the bewildered Winkle.


'Far enough offby this time' replied Wardlecoolly reloading
his gun.

'We shall very likely be up with another covey in five minutes'
said the long gamekeeper. 'If the gentleman begins to fire now
perhaps he'll just get the shot out of the barrel by the time they rise.'

'Ha! ha! ha!' roared Mr. Weller.

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwickcompassionating his follower's
confusion and embarrassment.

'Sir.'

'Don't laugh.'

'Certainly notSir.' Soby way of indemnificationMr. Weller
contorted his features from behind the wheel-barrowfor the
exclusive amusement of the boy with the leggingswho thereupon
burst into a boisterous laughand was summarily cuffed by the
long gamekeeperwho wanted a pretext for turning roundto hide
his own merriment.

'Bravoold fellow!' said Wardle to Mr. Tupman; 'you fired
that timeat all events.'

'Ohyes' replied Mr. Tupmanwith conscious pride. 'I let it off.'

'Well done. You'll hit something next timeif you look sharp.
Very easyain't it?'

'Yesit's very easy' said Mr. Tupman. 'How it hurts one's
shoulderthough. It nearly knocked me backwards. I had no idea
these small firearms kicked so.'

'Ah' said the old gentlemansmiling'you'll get used to it in
time. Now then--all ready--all right with the barrow there?'

'All rightSir' replied Mr. Weller.

'Come alongthen.'

'Hold hardSir' said Samraising the barrow.

'Ayeaye' replied Mr. Pickwick; and on they wentas briskly
as need be.

'Keep that barrow back now' cried Wardlewhen it had been
hoisted over a stile into another fieldand Mr. Pickwick had been
deposited in it once more.

'All rightsir' replied Mr. Wellerpausing.

'NowWinkle' said the old gentleman'follow me softlyand
don't be too late this time.'

'Never fear' said Mr. Winkle. 'Are they pointing?'

'Nono; not now. Quietly nowquietly.' On they creptand
very quietly they would have advancedif Mr. Winklein the
performance of some very intricate evolutions with his gunhad not
accidentally firedat the most critical momentover the boy's
headexactly in the very spot where the tall man's brain would


have beenhad he been there instead.


'Whywhat on earth did you do that for?' said old Wardleas
the birds flew unharmed away.


'I never saw such a gun in my life' replied poor Mr. Winkle
looking at the lockas if that would do any good. 'It goes off of
its own accord. It WILL do it.'


'Will do it!' echoed Wardlewith something of irritation in his
manner. 'I wish it would kill something of its own accord.'


'It'll do that afore longSir' observed the tall manin a low
prophetic voice.


'What do you mean by that observationSir?' inquired Mr.
Winkleangrily.


'Never mindSirnever mind' replied the long gamekeeper;
'I've no family myselfsir; and this here boy's mother will get
something handsome from Sir Geoffreyif he's killed on his land.
Load againSirload again.'


'Take away his gun' cried Mr. Pickwick from the barrow
horror-stricken at the long man's dark insinuations. 'Take away
his gundo you hearsomebody?'


Nobodyhowevervolunteered to obey the command; and
Mr. Winkleafter darting a rebellious glance at Mr. Pickwick
reloaded his gunand proceeded onwards with the rest.


We are boundon the authority of Mr. Pickwickto statethat
Mr. Tupman's mode of proceeding evinced far more of prudence
and deliberationthan that adopted by Mr. Winkle. Stillthis by
no means detracts from the great authority of the latter gentleman
on all matters connected with the field; becauseas Mr.
Pickwick beautifully observesit has somehow or other happened
from time immemorialthat many of the best and ablest philosophers
who have been perfect lights of science in matters of theory
have been wholly unable to reduce them to practice.


Mr. Tupman's processlike many of our most sublime discoveries
was extremely simple. With the quickness and penetration of a
man of geniushe had at once observed that the two great points to
be attained were--firstto discharge his piece
without injury to himselfandsecondlyto do sowithout
danger to the bystanders--obviouslythe best thing to doafter
surmounting the difficulty of firing at allwas to shut his eyes
firmlyand fire into the air.


On one occasionafter performing this featMr. Tupmanon
opening his eyesbeheld a plump partridge in the act of falling
woundedto the ground. He was on the point of congratulating
Mr. Wardle on his invariable successwhen that gentleman
advanced towards himand grasped him warmly by the hand.


'Tupman' said the old gentleman'you singled out that
particular bird?'


'No' said Mr. Tupman--'no.'


'You did' said Wardle. 'I saw you do it--I observed you pick
him out--I noticed youas you raised your piece to take aim; and
I will say thisthat the best shot in existence could not have done



it more beautifully. You are an older hand at this than I thought
youTupman; you have been out before.'
It was in vain for Mr. Tupman to protestwith a smile of selfdenial
that he never had. The very smile was taken as evidence to
the contrary; and from that time forth his reputation was
established. It is not the only reputation that has been acquired
as easilynor are such fortunate circumstances confined to
partridge-shooting.

MeanwhileMr. Winkle flashedand blazedand smoked
awaywithout producing any material results worthy of being
noted down; sometimes expending his charge in mid-airand at
others sending it skimming along so near the surface of the
ground as to place the lives of the two dogs on a rather uncertain
and precarious tenure. As a display of fancy-shootingit was
extremely varied and curious; as an exhibition of firing with any
precise objectit wasupon the wholeperhaps a failure. It is an
established axiomthat 'every bullet has its billet.' If it apply in
an equal degree to shotthose of Mr. Winkle were unfortunate
foundlingsdeprived of their natural rightscast loose upon the
worldand billeted nowhere.
'Well' said Wardlewalking up to the side of the barrowand
wiping the streams of perspiration from his jolly red face;
'smoking dayisn't it?'

'It isindeed' replied Mr. Pickwick. The sun is tremendously
hoteven to me. I don't know how you must feel it.'

'Why' said the old gentleman'pretty hot. It's past twelve
though. You see that green hill there?'

'Certainly.'

'That's the place where we are to lunch; andby Jovethere's
the boy with the basketpunctual as clockwork!'

'So he is' said Mr. Pickwickbrightening up. 'Good boythat.
I'll give him a shillingpresently. NowthenSamwheel away.'

'Hold onsir' said Mr. Wellerinvigorated with the prospect of
refreshments. 'Out of the vayyoung leathers. If you walley my
precious life don't upset meas the gen'l'm'n said to the driver
when they was a-carryin' him to Tyburn.' And quickening his
pace to a sharp runMr. Weller wheeled his master nimbly to the
green hillshot him dexterously out by the very side of the basket
and proceeded to unpack it with the utmost despatch.

'Weal pie' said Mr. Wellersoliloquisingas he arranged the
eatables on the grass. 'Wery good thing is weal piewhen you
know the lady as made itand is quite sure it ain't kittens; and
arter all thoughwhere's the oddswhen they're so like weal that
the wery piemen themselves don't know the difference?'

'Don't theySam?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Not theysir' replied Mr. Wellertouching his hat. 'I lodged
in the same house vith a pieman oncesirand a wery nice man
he was--reg'lar clever chaptoo--make pies out o' anythinghe
could. "What a number o' cats you keepMr. Brooks says I,
when I'd got intimate with him. Ah says he, I do--a good
many says he, You must be wery fond o' cats says I. Other
people is says he, a-winkin' at me; they ain't in season till the
winter though says he. Not in season!" says I. "No says he,
fruits is incats is out." "Whywhat do you mean?" says I.


Mean!says he. "That I'll never be a party to the combination
o' the butchersto keep up the price o' meat says he. Mr.
Weller says he, a-squeezing my hand wery hard, and vispering
in my ear--don't mention this here agin--but it's the seasonin'
as does it. They're all made o' them noble animals says he,
a-pointin' to a wery nice little tabby kitten, and I seasons 'em
for beefsteakweal or kidney'cording to the demand. And more
than that says he, I can make a weal a beef-steakor a beef-
steak a kidneyor any one on 'em a muttonat a minute's notice
just as the market changesand appetites wary!"'


'He must have been a very ingenious young manthatSam'
said Mr. Pickwickwith a slight shudder.


'Just wassir' replied Mr. Wellercontinuing his occupation of
emptying the basket'and the pies was beautiful. Tongue--well
that's a wery good thing when it ain't a woman's. Bread--
knuckle o' hamreg'lar picter--cold beef in sliceswery good.
What's in them stone jarsyoung touch-and-go?'


'Beer in this one' replied the boytaking from his shoulder a
couple of large stone bottlesfastened together by a leathern
strap--'cold punch in t'other.'


'And a wery good notion of a lunch it istake it altogether'
said Mr. Wellersurveying his arrangement of the repast with
great satisfaction. 'Nowgen'l'm'nfall on,as the English said
to the French when they fixed bagginets.'


It needed no second invitation to induce the party to yield full
justice to the meal; and as little pressing did it require to induce
Mr. Wellerthe long gamekeeperand the two boysto station
themselves on the grassat a little distanceand do good execution
upon a decent proportion of the viands. An old oak afforded a
pleasant shelter to the groupand a rich prospect of arable and
meadow landintersected with luxuriant hedgesand richly
ornamented with woodlay spread out before them.


'This is delightful--thoroughly delightful!' said Mr. Pickwick;
the skin of whose expressive countenance was rapidly peeling off
with exposure to the sun.


'So it is--so it isold fellow' replied Wardle. 'Come; a
glass of punch!'


'With great pleasure' said Mr. Pickwick; the satisfaction of
whose countenanceafter drinking itbore testimony to the
sincerity of the reply.


'Good' said Mr. Pickwicksmacking his lips. 'Very good. I'll
take another. Cool; very cool. Comegentlemen' continued
Mr. Pickwickstill retaining his hold upon the jar'a toast. Our
friends at Dingley Dell.'


The toast was drunk with loud acclamations.


'I'll tell you what I shall doto get up my shooting again' said
Mr. Winklewho was eating bread and ham with a pocket-knife.
'I'll put a stuffed partridge on the top of a postand practise at it
beginning at a short distanceand lengthening it by degrees. I
understand it's capital practice.'


'I know a gen'l'manSir' said Mr. Weller'as did thatand
begun at two yards; but he never tried it on agin; for he blowed



the bird right clean away at the first fireand nobody ever seed a
feather on him arterwards.'

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Sir' replied Mr. Weller.

'Have the goodness to reserve your anecdotes till they are
called for.'

'Cert'nlysir.'

Here Mr. Weller winked the eye which was not concealed by
the beer-can he was raising to his lipswith such exquisite
facetiousnessthat the two boys went into spontaneous convulsions
and even the long man condescended to smile.

'Wellthat certainly is most capital cold punch' said Mr.
Pickwicklooking earnestly at the stone bottle; 'and the day is
extremely warmand-- Tupmanmy dear frienda glass of punch?'

'With the greatest delight' replied Mr. Tupman; and having
drank that glassMr. Pickwick took anotherjust to see whether
there was any orange peel in the punchbecause orange peel
always disagreed with him; and finding that there was notMr.
Pickwick took another glass to the health of their absent friend
and then felt himself imperatively called upon to propose another
in honour of the punch-compounderunknown.

This constant succession of glasses produced considerable
effect upon Mr. Pickwick; his countenance beamed with the most
sunny smileslaughter played around his lipsand good-humoured
merriment twinkled in his eye. Yielding by degrees to the influence
of the exciting liquidrendered more so by the heatMr. Pickwick
expressed a strong desire to recollect a song which he had heard in
his infancyand the attempt proving abortivesought to stimulate
his memory with more glasses of punchwhich appeared to have quite
a contrary effect; forfrom forgetting the words of the songhe began
to forget how to articulate any words at all; and finallyafter rising
to his legs to address the company in an eloquent speechhe fell into
the barrowand fast asleepsimultaneously.

The basket having been repackedand it being found perfectly
impossible to awaken Mr. Pickwick from his torporsome
discussion took place whether it would be better for Mr. Weller to
wheel his master back againor to leave him where he wasuntil
they should all be ready to return. The latter course was at
length decided on; and as the further expedition was not to
exceed an hour's durationand as Mr. Weller begged very hard
to be one of the partyit was determined to leave Mr. Pickwick
asleep in the barrowand to call for him on their return. So
away they wentleaving Mr. Pickwick snoring most comfortably
in the shade.

That Mr. Pickwick would have continued to snore in the shade
until his friends came backorin default thereofuntil the shades
of evening had fallen on the landscapethere appears no reasonable
cause to doubt; always supposing that he had been suffered
to remain there in peace. But he was NOT suffered to remain there
in peace. And this was what prevented him.

Captain Boldwig was a little fierce man in a stiff black neckerchief
and blue surtoutwhowhen he did condescend to walk
about his propertydid it in company with a thick rattan stick


with a brass ferruleand a gardener and sub-gardener with meek
facesto whom (the gardenersnot the stick) Captain Boldwig
gave his orders with all due grandeur and ferocity; for Captain
Boldwig's wife's sister had married a marquisand the captain's
house was a villaand his land 'grounds' and it was all very high
and mightyand great.

Mr. Pickwick had not been asleep half an hour when little
Captain Boldwigfollowed by the two gardenerscame striding
along as fast as his size and importance would let him; and when
he came near the oak treeCaptain Boldwig paused and drew a
long breathand looked at the prospect as if he thought the
prospect ought to be highly gratified at having him to take notice
of it; and then he struck the ground emphatically with his stick
and summoned the head-gardener.

'Hunt' said Captain Boldwig.

'YesSir' said the gardener.

'Roll this place to-morrow morning--do you hearHunt?'

'YesSir.'

'And take care that you keep this place in good order--do you
hearHunt?'

'YesSir.'

'And remind me to have a board done about trespassersand
spring gunsand all that sort of thingto keep the common
people out. Do you hearHunt; do you hear?'

'I'll not forget itSir.'

'I beg your pardonSir' said the other manadvancingwith
his hand to his hat.

'WellWilkinswhat's the matter with you?' said Captain Boldwig.

'I beg your pardonsir--but I think there have been trespassers
here to-day.'

'Ha!' said the captainscowling around him.

'Yessir--they have been dining hereI thinksir.'

'Whydamn their audacityso they have' said Captain
Boldwigas the crumbs and fragments that were strewn upon the
grass met his eye. 'They have actually been devouring their food
here. I wish I had the vagabonds here!' said the captainclenching
the thick stick.

'I wish I had the vagabonds here' said the captain wrathfully.

'Beg your pardonsir' said Wilkins'but--'

'But what? Eh?' roared the captain; and following the timid
glance of Wilkinshis eyes encountered the wheel-barrow and
Mr. Pickwick.

'Who are youyou rascal?' said the captainadministering
several pokes to Mr. Pickwick's body with the thick stick.
'What's your name?'


'Cold punch' murmured Mr. Pickwickas he sank to sleep again.

'What?' demanded Captain Boldwig.

No reply.

'What did he say his name was?' asked the captain.

'PunchI thinksir' replied Wilkins.

'That's his impudence--that's his confounded impudence' said
Captain Boldwig. 'He's only feigning to be asleep now' said the
captainin a high passion. 'He's drunk; he's a drunken plebeian.
Wheel him awayWilkinswheel him away directly.'
'Where shall I wheel him tosir?' inquired Wilkinswith
great timidity.


'Wheel him to the devil' replied Captain Boldwig.


'Very wellsir' said Wilkins.


'Stay' said the captain.


Wilkins stopped accordingly.


'Wheel him' said the captain--'wheel him to the pound; and
let us see whether he calls himself Punch when he comes to
himself. He shall not bully me--he shall not bully me. Wheel him away.'


Away Mr. Pickwick was wheeled in compliance with this
imperious mandate; and the great Captain Boldwigswelling
with indignationproceeded on his walk.


Inexpressible was the astonishment of the little party when
they returnedto find that Mr. Pickwick had disappearedand
taken the wheel-barrow with him. It was the most mysterious and
unaccountable thing that was ever heard of For a lame man to
have got upon his legs without any previous noticeand walked
offwould have been most extraordinary; but when it came to his
wheeling a heavy barrow before himby way of amusementit
grew positively miraculous. They searched every nook and
corner roundtogether and separately; they shoutedwhistled
laughedcalled--and all with the same result. Mr. Pickwick was
not to be found. After some hours of fruitless searchthey
arrived at the unwelcome conclusion that they must go home
without him.


Meanwhile Mr. Pickwick had been wheeled to the poundand
safely deposited thereinfast asleep in the wheel-barrowto the
immeasurable delight and satisfaction not only of all the boys in
the villagebut three-fourths of the whole populationwho had
gathered roundin expectation of his waking. If their most
intense gratification had been awakened by seeing him wheeled
inhow many hundredfold was their joy increased whenafter a
few indistinct cries of 'Sam!' he sat up in the barrowand gazed
with indescribable astonishment on the faces before him.


A general shout was of course the signal of his having woke up;
and his involuntary inquiry of 'What's the matter?' occasioned
anotherlouder than the firstif possible.


'Here's a game!' roared the populace.



'Where am I?' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.

'In the pound' replied the mob.

'How came I here? What was I doing? Where was I brought from?'
'Boldwig! Captain Boldwig!' was the only reply.


'Let me out' cried Mr. Pickwick. 'Where's my servant?
Where are my friends?'


'You ain't got no friends. Hurrah!' Then there came a turnip
then a potatoand then an egg; with a few other little tokens of
the playful disposition of the many-headed.


How long this scene might have lastedor how much Mr.
Pickwick might have sufferedno one can tellhad not a carriage
which was driving swiftly bysuddenly pulled upfrom whence
there descended old Wardle and Sam Wellerthe former of
whomin far less time than it takes to write itif not to read it
had made his way to Mr. Pickwick's sideand placed him in the
vehiclejust as the latter had concluded the third and last round
of a single combat with the town-beadle.


'Run to the justice's!' cried a dozen voices.


'Ahrun avay' said Mr. Wellerjumping up on the box. 'Give
my compliments--Mr. Veller's compliments--to the justiceand
tell him I've spiled his beadleand thatif he'll swear in a new 'un
I'll come back again to-morrow and spile him. Drive onold feller.'


'I'll give directions for the commencement of an action for false
imprisonment against this Captain Boldwigdirectly I get to
London' said Mr. Pickwickas soon as the carriage turned out of
the town.


'We were trespassingit seems' said Wardle.


'I don't care' said Mr. Pickwick'I'll bring the action.'


'Noyou won't' said Wardle.


'I willby--' But as there was a humorous expression in
Wardle's faceMr. Pickwick checked himselfand said'Why
not?'


'Because' said old Wardlehalf-bursting with laughter
'because they might turn on some of usand say we had taken too
much cold punch.'


Do what he woulda smile would come into Mr. Pickwick's
face; the smile extended into a laugh; the laugh into a roar; the
roar became general. Soto keep up their good-humourthey
stopped at the first roadside tavern they came toand ordered a
glass of brandy-and-water all roundwith a magnum of extra
strength for Mr. Samuel Weller.


CHAPTER XX


SHOWING HOW DODSON AND FOGG WERE MEN OF


BUSINESSAND THEIR CLERKS MEN OF PLEASURE; AND

HOW AN AFFECTING INTERVIEW TOOK PLACE BETWEEN

Mr. WELLER AND HIS LONG-LOST PARENT; SHOWING ALSO

WHAT CHOICE SPIRITS ASSEMBLED AT THE MAGPIE AND


STUMPAND WHAT A CAPITAL CHAPTER THE NEXT ONE

WILL BE

In the ground-floor front of a dingy houseat the very farthest end
of Freeman's CourtCornhillsat the four clerks of Messrs. Dodson
& Foggtwo of his Majesty's attorneys of the courts of King's Bench
and Common Pleas at Westminsterand solicitors of the High Court of
Chancery--the aforesaid clerks catching as favourable glimpses of
heaven's light and heaven's sunin the course of their daily
laboursas a man might hope to dowere he placed at the bottom
of a reasonably deep well; and without the opportunity of perceiving
the stars in the day-timewhich the latter secluded situation affords.

The clerks' office of Messrs. Dodson & Fogg was a dark
mouldyearthy-smelling roomwith a high wainscotted partition
to screen the clerks from the vulgar gazea couple of old wooden
chairsa very loud-ticking clockan almanacan umbrella-stand
a row of hat-pegsand a few shelveson which were deposited
several ticketed bundles of dirty paperssome old deal boxes with
paper labelsand sundry decayed stone ink bottles of various
shapes and sizes. There was a glass door leading into the passage
which formed the entrance to the courtand on the outer side of
this glass doorMr. Pickwickclosely followed by Sam Weller
presented himself on the Friday morning succeeding the occurrence
of which a faithful narration is given in the last chapter.

'Come incan't you!' cried a voice from behind the partition
in reply to Mr. Pickwick's gentle tap at the door. And Mr.
Pickwick and Sam entered accordingly.

'Mr. Dodson or Mr. Fogg at homesir?' inquired Mr. Pickwick
gentlyadvancinghat in handtowards the partition.

'Mr. Dodson ain't at homeand Mr. Fogg's particularly
engaged' replied the voice; and at the same time the head to
which the voice belongedwith a pen behind its earlooked over
the partitionand at Mr. Pickwick.

it was a ragged headthe sandy hair of whichscrupulously
parted on one sideand flattened down with pomatumwas
twisted into little semi-circular tails round a flat face ornamented
with a pair of small eyesand garnished with a very dirty shirt
collarand a rusty black stock.

'Mr. Dodson ain't at homeand Mr. Fogg's particularly
engaged' said the man to whom the head belonged.

'When will Mr. Dodson be backsir?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Can't say.'

'Will it be long before Mr. Fogg is disengagedSir?'

'Don't know.'

Here the man proceeded to mend his pen with great deliberation
while another clerkwho was mixing a Seidlitz powder
under cover of the lid of his desklaughed approvingly.

'I think I'll wait' said Mr. Pickwick. There was no reply; so
Mr. Pickwick sat down unbiddenand listened to the loud ticking
of the clock and the murmured conversation of the clerks.

'That was a gamewasn't it?' said one of the gentlemenin a


brown coat and brass buttonsinky drabsand bluchersat the
conclusion of some inaudible relation of his previous evening's
adventures.

'Devilish good--devilish good' said the Seidlitz-powder man.
'Tom Cummins was in the chair' said the man with the brown
coat. 'It was half-past four when I got to Somers Townand then
I was so uncommon lushythat I couldn't find the place where the
latch-key went inand was obliged to knock up the old 'ooman.
I sayI wonder what old Fogg 'ud sayif he knew it. I should get
the sackI s'pose--eh?'

At this humorous notionall the clerks laughed in concert.

'There was such a game with Fogg herethis mornin'' said the
man in the brown coat'while Jack was upstairs sorting the
papersand you two were gone to the stamp-office. Fogg was
down hereopening the letters when that chap as we issued the
writ against at Camberwellyou knowcame in--what's his
name again?'

'Ramsey' said the clerk who had spoken to Mr. Pickwick.

'AhRamsey--a precious seedy-looking customer. "Wellsir
says old Fogg, looking at him very fierce--you know his way-
wellSirhave you come to settle?" "YesI havesir said
Ramsey, putting his hand in his pocket, and bringing out the
money, the debt's two pound tenand the costs three pound
fiveand here it isSir;" and he sighed like bricksas he lugged out
the moneydone up in a bit of blotting-paper. Old Fogg looked
first at the moneyand then at himand then he coughed in his
rum wayso that I knew something was coming. "You don't
know there's a declaration filedwhich increases the costs
materiallyI suppose said Fogg. You don't say thatsir
said Ramsey, starting back; the time was only out last night
Sir." "I do say itthough said Fogg, my clerk's just gone to
file it. Hasn't Mr. Jackson gone to file that declaration in
Bullman and RamseyMr. Wicks?" Of course I said yesand
then Fogg coughed againand looked at Ramsey. "My God!"
said Ramsey; "and here have I nearly driven myself madscraping
this money togetherand all to no purpose." "None at all said
Fogg coolly; so you had better go back and scrape some more
togetherand bring it here in time." "I can't get itby God!" said
Ramseystriking the desk with his fist. "Don't bully mesir
said Fogg, getting into a passion on purpose. I am not bullying
yousir said Ramsey. You are said Fogg; get outsir; get
out of this officeSirand come backSirwhen you know how to
behave yourself." WellRamsey tried to speakbut Fogg wouldn't
let himso he put the money in his pocketand sneaked out. The
door was scarcely shutwhen old Fogg turned round to mewith
a sweet smile on his faceand drew the declaration out of his coat
pocket. "HereWicks says Fogg, take a caband go down to
the Temple as quick as you canand file that. The costs are quite
safefor he's a steady man with a large familyat a salary of
five-and-twenty shillings a weekand if he gives us a warrant of
attorneyas he must in the endI know his employers will see it
paid; so we may as well get all we can get out of himMr. Wicks;
it's a Christian act to do itMr. Wicksfor with his large family
and small incomehe'll be all the better for a good lesson against
getting into debt--won't heMr. Wickswon't he?"--and he
smiled so good-naturedly as he went awaythat it was delightful
to see him. He is a capital man of business' said Wicksin a tone
of the deepest admiration'capitalisn't he?'


The other three cordially subscribed to this opinionand the
anecdote afforded the most unlimited satisfaction.

'Nice men these hereSir' whispered Mr. Weller to his master;
'wery nice notion of fun they hasSir.'

Mr. Pickwick nodded assentand coughed to attract the
attention of the young gentlemen behind the partitionwho
having now relaxed their minds by a little conversation among
themselvescondescended to take some notice of the stranger.

'I wonder whether Fogg's disengaged now?' said Jackson.

'I'll see' said Wicksdismounting leisurely from his stool.
'What name shall I tell Mr. Fogg?'

'Pickwick' replied the illustrious subject of these memoirs.

Mr. Jackson departed upstairs on his errandand immediately
returned with a message that Mr. Fogg would see Mr. Pickwick
in five minutes; and having delivered itreturned again to his desk.

'What did he say his name was?' whispered Wicks.

'Pickwick' replied Jackson; 'it's the defendant in Bardell
and Pickwick.'

A sudden scraping of feetmingled with the sound of suppressed
laughterwas heard from behind the partition.

'They're a-twiggin' of youSir' whispered Mr. Weller.

'Twigging of meSam!' replied Mr. Pickwick; 'what do you
mean by twigging me?'

Mr. Weller replied by pointing with his thumb over his
shoulderand Mr. Pickwickon looking upbecame sensible of
the pleasing factthat all the four clerkswith countenances
expressive of the utmost amusementand with their heads thrust
over the wooden screenwere minutely inspecting the figure and
general appearance of the supposed trifler with female heartsand
disturber of female happiness. On his looking upthe row of heads
suddenly disappearedand the sound of pens travelling at a
furious rate over paperimmediately succeeded.

A sudden ring at the bell which hung in the officesummoned
Mr. Jackson to the apartment of Foggfrom whence he came
back to say that he (Fogg) was ready to see Mr. Pickwick if he
would step upstairs.
Upstairs Mr. Pickwick did step accordinglyleaving Sam
Weller below. The room door of the one-pair backbore
inscribed in legible characters the imposing words'Mr. Fogg'; and
having tapped thereatand been desired to come inJackson
ushered Mr. Pickwick into the presence.

'Is Mr. Dodson in?' inquired Mr. Fogg.

'Just come inSir' replied Jackson.

'Ask him to step here.'

'Yessir.' Exit Jackson.

'Take a seatsir' said Fogg; 'there is the papersir; my partner


will be here directlyand we can converse about this mattersir.'

Mr. Pickwick took a seat and the paperbutinstead of
reading the latterpeeped over the top of itand took a survey of
the man of businesswho was an elderlypimply-facedvegetablediet
sort of manin a black coatdark mixture trousersand
small black gaiters; a kind of being who seemed to be an essential
part of the desk at which he was writingand to have as much
thought or feeling.

After a few minutes' silenceMr. Dodsona plumpportly
stern-looking manwith a loud voiceappeared; and the
conversation commenced.

'This is Mr. Pickwick' said Fogg.

'Ah! You are the defendantSirin Bardell and Pickwick?'
said Dodson.

'I amsir' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Wellsir' said Dodson'and what do you propose?'

'Ah!' said Foggthrusting his hands into his trousers' pockets
and throwing himself back in his chair'what do you propose
Mr Pickwick?'

'HushFogg' said Dodson'let me hear what Mr. Pickwick has
to say.'

'I camegentlemen' said Mr. Pickwickgazing placidly on the
two partners'I came heregentlemento express the surprise with
which I received your letter of the other dayand to inquire what
grounds of action you can have against me.'

'Grounds of--' Fogg had ejaculated this muchwhen he was
stopped by Dodson.

'Mr. Fogg' said Dodson'I am going to speak.'
'I beg your pardonMr. Dodson' said Fogg.

'For the grounds of actionsir' continued Dodsonwith moral
elevation in his air'you will consult your own conscience and
your own feelings. WeSirweare guided entirely by the statement
of our client. That statementSirmay be trueor it may be
false; it may be credibleor it may be incredible; butif it be true
and if it be credibleI do not hesitate to saySirthat our grounds
of actionSirare strongand not to be shaken. You may be an
unfortunate manSiror you may be a designing one; but if I were
called uponas a juryman upon my oathSirto express an
opinion of your conductSirI do not hesitate to assert that I
should have but one opinion about it.' Here Dodson drew himself
upwith an air of offended virtueand looked at Fogg
who thrust his hands farther in his pocketsand nodding
his head sagelysaidin a tone of the fullest concurrence
'Most certainly.'

'WellSir' said Mr. Pickwickwith considerable pain depicted
in his countenance'you will permit me to assure you that I am a
most unfortunate manso far as this case is concerned.'

'I hope you areSir' replied Dodson; 'I trust you may beSir.
If you are really innocent of what is laid to your chargeyou are
more unfortunate than I had believed any man could possibly be.


What do you sayMr. Fogg?'


'I say precisely what you say' replied Foggwith a smile
of incredulity.


'The writSirwhich commences the action' continued
Dodson'was issued regularly. Mr. Foggwhere is the PRAECIPE book?'


'Here it is' said Fogghanding over a square bookwith a
parchment cover.


'Here is the entry' resumed Dodson. '"MiddlesexCapias
MARTHA BARDELLWIDOWv. SAMUEL PICKWICK. Damages #1500.
Dodson & Fogg for the plaintiffAug. 281827." All regularSir;
perfectly.' Dodson coughed and looked at Foggwho said
'Perfectly' also. And then they both looked at Mr. Pickwick.


'I am to understandthen' said Mr. Pickwick'that it really is
your intention to proceed with this action?'


'Understandsir!--that you certainly may' replied Dodson
with something as near a smile as his importance would allow.


'And that the damages are actually laid at fifteen hundred pounds?'
said Mr. Pickwick.


'To which understanding you may add my assurancethat if
we could have prevailed upon our clientthey would have been
laid at treble the amountsir' replied Dodson.
'I believe Mrs. Bardell specially saidhowever' observed Fogg
glancing at Dodson'that she would not compromise for a
farthing less.'


'Unquestionably' replied Dodson sternly. For the action was
only just begun; and it wouldn't have done to let Mr. Pickwick
compromise it theneven if he had been so disposed.


'As you offer no termssir' said Dodsondisplaying a slip of
parchment in his right handand affectionately pressing a paper
copy of iton Mr. Pickwick with his left'I had better serve you
with a copy of this writsir. Here is the originalsir.'


'Very wellgentlemenvery well' said Mr. Pickwickrising in
person and wrath at the same time; 'you shall hear from my
solicitorgentlemen.'


'We shall be very happy to do so' said Foggrubbing his hands.


'Very' said Dodsonopening the door.


'And before I gogentlemen' said the excited Mr. Pickwick
turning round on the landing'permit me to saythat of all the
disgraceful and rascally proceedings--'


'Staysirstay' interposed Dodsonwith great politeness.
'Mr. Jackson! Mr. Wicks!'


'Sir' said the two clerksappearing at the bottom of the stairs.


'I merely want you to hear what this gentleman says' replied
Dodson. 'Praygo onsir--disgraceful and rascally proceedings
I think you said?'


'I did' said Mr. Pickwickthoroughly roused. 'I saidSirthat



of all the disgraceful and rascally proceedings that ever were
attemptedthis is the most so. I repeat itsir.'

'You hear thatMr. Wicks' said Dodson.

'You won't forget these expressionsMr. Jackson?' said Fogg.

'Perhaps you would like to call us swindlerssir' said Dodson.
'Pray doSirif you feel disposed; now pray doSir.'

'I do' said Mr. Pickwick. 'You ARE swindlers.'

'Very good' said Dodson. 'You can hear down thereI hope
Mr. Wicks?'

'OhyesSir' said Wicks.

'You had better come up a step or two higherif you can't'
added Mr. Fogg. 'Go onSir; do go on. You had better call us
thievesSir; or perhaps You would like to assault one Of US. Pray
do itSirif you would; we will not make the smallest resistance.
Pray do itSir.'

As Fogg put himself very temptingly within the reach of Mr.
Pickwick's clenched fistthere is little doubt that that gentleman
would have complied with his earnest entreatybut for the
interposition of Samwhohearing the disputeemerged from the
officemounted the stairsand seized his master by the arm.

'You just come away' said Mr. Weller. 'Battledore and
shuttlecock's a wery good gamevhen you ain't the shuttlecock
and two lawyers the battledoresin which case it gets too excitin'
to be pleasant. Come avaySir. If you want to ease your mind by
blowing up somebodycome out into the court and blow up me;
but it's rayther too expensive work to be carried on here.'

And without the slightest ceremonyMr. Weller hauled his
master down the stairsand down the courtand having safely
deposited him in Cornhillfell behindprepared to follow
whithersoever he should lead.

Mr. Pickwick walked on abstractedlycrossed opposite the
Mansion Houseand bent his steps up Cheapside. Sam began to
wonder where they were goingwhen his master turned round
and said-


'SamI will go immediately to Mr. Perker's.'

'That's just exactly the wery place vere you ought to have gone
last nightSir' replied Mr. Weller.

'I think it isSam' said Mr. Pickwick.
'I KNOW it is' said Mr. Weller.

'WellwellSam' replied Mr. Pickwick'we will go there at
once; but firstas I have been rather ruffledI should like a glass
of brandy-and-water warmSam. Where can I have itSam?'

Mr. Weller's knowledge of London was extensive and peculiar.
He repliedwithout the slightest consideration-


'Second court on the right hand side--last house but vun on
the same side the vay--take the box as stands in the first fireplace
'cos there ain't no leg in the middle o' the tablewhich all the


others hasand it's wery inconvenient.'


Mr. Pickwick observed his valet's directions implicitlyand
bidding Sam follow himentered the tavern he had pointed out
where the hot brandy-and-water was speedily placed before him;
while Mr. Wellerseated at a respectful distancethough at the
same table with his masterwas accommodated with a pint of porter.


The room was one of a very homely descriptionand was
apparently under the especial patronage of stage-coachmen; for
several gentlemanwho had all the appearance of belonging to
that learned professionwere drinking and smoking in the
different boxes. Among the number was one stoutred-faced
elderly manin particularseated in an opposite boxwho
attracted Mr. Pickwick's attention. The stout man was smoking
with great vehemencebut between every half-dozen puffshe
took his pipe from his mouthand looked first at Mr. Weller and
then at Mr. Pickwick. Thenhe would bury in a quart potas
much of his countenance as the dimensions of the quart pot
admitted of its receivingand take another look at Sam and
Mr. Pickwick. Then he would take another half-dozen puffs with
an air of profound meditation and look at them again. At last the
stout manputting up his legs on the seatand leaning his back
against the wallbegan to puff at his pipe without leaving off at
alland to stare through the smoke at the new-comersas if he
had made up his mind to see the most he could of them.


At first the evolutions of the stout man had escaped Mr.
Weller's observationbut by degreesas he saw Mr. Pickwick's
eyes every now and then turning towards himhe began to gaze
in the same directionat the same time shading his eyes with his
handas if he partially recognised the object before himand
wished to make quite sure of its identity. His doubts were
speedily dispelledhowever; for the stout man having blown a
thick cloud from his pipea hoarse voicelike some strange effort
of ventriloquismemerged from beneath the capacious shawls
which muffled his throat and chestand slowly uttered these
sounds--'WySammy!'


'Who's thatSam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'WhyI wouldn't ha' believed itSir' replied Mr. Wellerwith
astonished eyes. 'It's the old 'un.'


'Old one' said Mr. Pickwick. 'What old one?'


'My fathersir' replied Mr. Weller. 'How are youmy ancient?'
And with this beautiful ebullition of filial affectionMr. Weller
made room on the seat beside himfor the stout manwho
advanced pipe in mouth and pot in handto greet him.


'WySammy' said the father'I ha'n't seen youfor two year
and better.'


'Nor more you haveold codger' replied the son. 'How's
mother-in-law?'


'WyI'll tell you whatSammy' said Mr. Wellerseniorwith
much solemnity in his manner; 'there never was a nicer woman
as a widderthan that 'ere second wentur o' mine--a sweet
creetur she wasSammy; all I can say on her nowisthat as she
was such an uncommon pleasant widderit's a great pity she ever
changed her condition. She don't act as a vifeSammy.'
'Don't shethough?' inquired Mr. Wellerjunior.



The elder Mr. Weller shook his headas he replied with a sigh
'I've done it once too oftenSammy; I've done it once too often.
Take example by your fathermy boyand be wery careful o'
widders all your life'specially if they've kept a public-house
Sammy.' Having delivered this parental advice with great pathos
Mr. Wellerseniorrefilled his pipe from a tin box he carried in
his pocket; andlighting his fresh pipe from the ashes of the old
Onecommenced smoking at a great rate.


'Beg your pardonsir' he saidrenewing the subjectand
addressing Mr. Pickwickafter a considerable pause'nothin'
personalI hopesir; I hope you ha'n't got a widdersir.'


'Not I' replied Mr. Pickwicklaughing; and while Mr. Pickwick
laughedSam Weller informed his parent in a whisperof
the relation in which he stood towards that gentleman.


'Beg your pardonsir' said Mr. Wellerseniortaking off his
hat'I hope you've no fault to find with SammySir?'


'None whatever' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Wery glad to hear itsir' replied the old man; 'I took a good
deal o' pains with his eddicationsir; let him run in the streets
when he was wery youngand shift for hisself. It's the only way
to make a boy sharpsir.'


'Rather a dangerous processI should imagine' said Mr.
Pickwickwith a smile.


'And not a wery sure oneneither' added Mr. Weller; 'I got
reg'larly done the other day.'


'No!' said his father.


'I did' said the son; and he proceeded to relatein as few
words as possiblehow he had fallen a ready dupe to the stratagems
of Job Trotter.


Mr. Wellerseniorlistened to the tale with the most profound
attentionandat its terminationsaid--


'Worn't one o' these chaps slim and tallwith long hairand
the gift o' the gab wery gallopin'?'


Mr. Pickwick did not quite understand the last item of description
butcomprehending the firstsaid 'Yes' at a venture.


'T' other's a black-haired chap in mulberry liverywith a wery
large head?'


'Yesyeshe is' said Mr. Pickwick and Samwith great earnestness.
'Then I know where they areand that's all about it' said
Mr. Weller; 'they're at Ipswichsafe enoughthem two.'


'No!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Fact' said Mr. Weller'and I'll tell you how I know it. I work
an Ipswich coach now and then for a friend o' mine. I worked
down the wery day arter the night as you caught the rheumatic
and at the Black Boy at Chelmsford--the wery place they'd
come to--I took 'em upright through to Ipswichwhere the
man-servant--him in the mulberries--told me they was a-goin'



to put up for a long time.'

'I'll follow him' said Mr. Pickwick; 'we may as well see
Ipswich as any other place. I'll follow him.'

'You're quite certain it was themgovernor?' inquired Mr.
Wellerjunior.

'QuiteSammyquite' replied his father'for their appearance
is wery sing'ler; besides that 'ereI wondered to see the gen'l'm'n
so formiliar with his servant; andmore than thatas they sat in
the frontright behind the boxI heerd 'em laughing and saying
how they'd done old Fireworks.'

'Old who?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Old FireworksSir; by whichI've no doubtthey meant youSir.'
There is nothing positively vile or atrocious in the appellation
of 'old Fireworks' but still it is by no means a respectful or
flattering designation. The recollection of all the wrongs he had
sustained at Jingle's handshad crowded on Mr. Pickwick's
mindthe moment Mr. Weller began to speak; it wanted but a
feather to turn the scaleand 'old Fireworks' did it.

'I'll follow him' said Mr. Pickwickwith an emphatic blow on
the table.

'I shall work down to Ipswich the day arter to-morrowSir'
said Mr. Weller the elder'from the Bull in Whitechapel; and if
you really mean to goyou'd better go with me.'

'So we had' said Mr. Pickwick; 'very true; I can write to Bury
and tell them to meet me at Ipswich. We will go with you. But
don't hurry awayMr. Weller; won't you take anything?'

'You're wery goodSir' replied Mr. W.stopping short;-'
perhaps a small glass of brandy to drink your healthand success
to SammySirwouldn't be amiss.'

'Certainly not' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'A glass of brandy
here!' The brandy was brought; and Mr. Wellerafter pulling his
hair to Mr. Pickwickand nodding to Samjerked it down his
capacious throat as if it had been a small thimbleful.
'Well donefather' said Sam'take careold fellowor you'll
have a touch of your old complaintthe gout.'

'I've found a sov'rin' cure for thatSammy' said Mr. Weller
setting down the glass.

'A sovereign cure for the gout' said Mr. Pickwickhastily
producing his note-book--'what is it?'

'The goutSir' replied Mr. Weller'the gout is a complaint as
arises from too much ease and comfort. If ever you're attacked
with the goutsirjist you marry a widder as has got a good loud
woicewith a decent notion of usin' itand you'll never have the
gout agin. It's a capital prescriptionsir. I takes it reg'larand I
can warrant it to drive away any illness as is caused by too much
jollity.' Having imparted this valuable secretMr. Weller drained
his glass once moreproduced a laboured winksighed deeply
and slowly retired.

'Wellwhat do you think of what your father saysSam?'
inquired Mr. Pickwickwith a smile.


'ThinkSir!' replied Mr. Weller; 'whyI think he's the wictim
o' connubialityas Blue Beard's domestic chaplain saidvith a
tear of pityven he buried him.'

There was no replying to this very apposite conclusionand
thereforeMr. Pickwickafter settling the reckoningresumed his
walk to Gray's Inn. By the time he reached its secluded groves
howevereight o'clock had struckand the unbroken stream of
gentlemen in muddy high-lowssoiled white hatsand rusty
apparelwho were pouring towards the different avenues of
egresswarned him that the majority of the offices had closed for
that day.

After climbing two pairs of steep and dirty stairshe found his
anticipations were realised. Mr. Perker's 'outer door' was closed;
and the dead silence which followed Mr. Weller's repeated kicks
thereatannounced that the officials had retired from business for
the night.

'This is pleasantSam' said Mr. Pickwick; 'I shouldn't lose
an hour in seeing him; I shall not be able to get one wink
of sleep to-nightI knowunless I have the satisfaction of
reflecting that I have confided this matter to a professional man.'

'Here's an old 'ooman comin' upstairssir' replied Mr. Weller;
'p'raps she knows where we can find somebody. Holloold lady
vere's Mr. Perker's people?'

'Mr. Perker's people' said a thinmiserable-looking old
womanstopping to recover breath after the ascent of the
staircase--'Mr. Perker's people's goneand I'm a-goin' to
do the office out.'
'Are you Mr. Perker's servant?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'I am Mr. Perker's laundress' replied the woman.

'Ah' said Mr. Pickwickhalf aside to Sam'it's a curious
circumstanceSamthat they call the old women in these inns
laundresses. I wonder what's that for?'

''Cos they has a mortal awersion to washing anythin'I
supposeSir' replied Mr. Weller.

'I shouldn't wonder' said Mr. Pickwicklooking at the old
womanwhose appearanceas well as the condition of the office
which she had by this time openedindicated a rooted antipathy
to the application of soap and water; 'do you know where I can
find Mr. Perkermy good woman?'

'NoI don't' replied the old woman gruffly; 'he's out o' town now.'

'That's unfortunate' said Mr. Pickwick; 'where's his clerk?
Do you know?'

'YesI know where he isbut he won't thank me for telling
you' replied the laundress.

'I have very particular business with him' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Won't it do in the morning?' said the woman.

'Not so well' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Well' said the old woman'if it was anything very particular


I was to say where he wasso I suppose there's no harm in
telling. If you just go to the Magpie and Stumpand ask at the
bar for Mr. Lowtenthey'll show you in to himand he's Mr.
Perker's clerk.'

With this directionand having been furthermore informed
that the hostelry in question was situated in a courthappy in the
double advantage of being in the vicinity of Clare Marketand
closely approximating to the back of New InnMr. Pickwick and
Sam descended the rickety staircase in safetyand issued forth in
quest of the Magpie and Stump.

This favoured tavernsacred to the evening orgies of Mr.
Lowten and his companionswas what ordinary people would
designate a public-house. That the landlord was a man of moneymaking
turn was sufficiently testified by the fact of a small bulkhead
beneath the tap-room windowin size and shape not unlike
a sedan-chairbeing underlet to a mender of shoes: and that he
was a being of a philanthropic mind was evident from the
protection he afforded to a piemanwho vended his delicacies
without fear of interruptionon the very door-step. In the lower
windowswhich were decorated with curtains of a saffron hue
dangled two or three printed cardsbearing reference to Devonshire
cider and Dantzic sprucewhile a large blackboard
announcing in white letters to an enlightened publicthat there
were 500000 barrels of double stout in the cellars of the establishment
left the mind in a state of not unpleasing doubt and
uncertainty as to the precise direction in the bowels of the earthin
which this mighty cavern might be supposed to extend. When we
add that the weather-beaten signboard bore the half-obliterated
semblance of a magpie intently eyeing a crooked streak of brown
paintwhich the neighbours had been taught from infancy to
consider as the 'stump' we have said all that need be said of the
exterior of the edifice.

On Mr. Pickwick's presenting himself at the baran elderly
female emerged from behind the screen thereinand presented
herself before him.

'Is Mr. Lowten herema'am?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Yeshe isSir' replied the landlady. 'HereCharleyshow the
gentleman in to Mr. Lowten.'

'The gen'l'm'n can't go in just now' said a shambling pot-boy
with a red head'cos' Mr. Lowten's a-singin' a comic songand
he'll put him out. He'll be done directlySir.'

The red-headed pot-boy had scarcely finished speaking
when a most unanimous hammering of tablesand jingling of
glassesannounced that the song had that instant terminated;
and Mr. Pickwickafter desiring Sam to solace himself in
the tapsuffered himself to be conducted into the presence of Mr.
Lowten.

At the announcement of 'A gentleman to speak to youSir' a
puffy-faced young manwho filled the chair at the head of the
tablelooked with some surprise in the direction from whence
the voice proceeded; and the surprise seemed to be by no means
diminishedwhen his eyes rested on an individual whom he had
never seen before.

'I beg your pardonSir' said Mr. Pickwick'and I am very
sorry to disturb the other gentlementoobut I come on very


particular business; and if you will suffer me to detain you at this
end of the room for five minutesI shall be very much obliged to you.'


The puffy-faced young man roseand drawing a chair close to
Mr. Pickwick in an obscure corner of the roomlistened attentively
to his tale of woe.


'Ah'he saidwhen Mr. Pickwick had concluded'Dodson and
Fogg--sharp practice theirs--capital men of businessDodson
and Foggsir.'


Mr. Pickwick admitted the sharp practice of Dodson and
Foggand Lowten resumed.
'Perker ain't in townand he won't beneitherbefore the end
of next week; but if you want the action defendedand will leave
the copy with meI can do all that's needful till he comes back.'


'That's exactly what I came here for' said Mr. Pickwick
handing over the document. 'If anything particular occursyou
can write to me at the post-officeIpswich.'


'That's all right' replied Mr. Perker's clerk; and then seeing
Mr. Pickwick's eye wandering curiously towards the tablehe
added'will you join usfor half an hour or so? We are capital
company here to-night. There's Samkin and Green's managing-
clerkand Smithers and Price's chanceryand Pimkin and
Thomas's out o' doors--sings a capital songhe does--and Jack
Bamberand ever so many more. You're come out of the country
I suppose. Would you like to join us?'


Mr. Pickwick could not resist so tempting an opportunity of
studying human nature. He suffered himself to be led to the table
whereafter having been introduced to the company in due form
he was accommodated with a seat near the chairman and called
for a glass of his favourite beverage.


A profound silencequite contrary to Mr. Pickwick's expectation
succeeded.
'You don't find this sort of thing disagreeableI hopesir?'
said his right hand neighboura gentleman in a checked shirt and
Mosaic studswith a cigar in his mouth.


'Not in the least' replied Mr. Pickwick; 'I like it very much
although I am no smoker myself.'


'I should be very sorry to say I wasn't' interposed another
gentleman on the opposite side of the table. 'It's board and
lodgings to meis smoke.'


Mr. Pickwick glanced at the speakerand thought that if it
were washing tooit would be all the better.


Here there was another pause. Mr. Pickwick was a stranger
and his coming had evidently cast a damp upon the party.


'Mr. Grundy's going to oblige the company with a song' said
the chairman.


'Nohe ain't' said Mr. Grundy.


'Why not?' said the chairman.


'Because he can't' said Mr. Grundy.
'You had better say he won't' replied the chairman.



'Wellthenhe won't' retorted Mr. Grundy. Mr. Grundy's
positive refusal to gratify the company occasioned another silence.
'Won't anybody enliven us?' said the chairmandespondingly.

'Why don't you enliven us yourselfMr. Chairman?' said a
young man with a whiskera squintand an open shirt collar
(dirty)from the bottom of the table.

'Hear! hear!' said the smoking gentlemanin the Mosaic jewellery.

'Because I only know one songand I have sung it alreadyand
it's a fine of "glasses round" to sing the same song twice in a
night' replied the chairman.

This was an unanswerable replyand silence prevailed again.

'I have been to-nightgentlemen' said Mr. Pickwickhoping
to start a subject which all the company could take a part in
discussing'I have been to-nightin a place which you all know
very welldoubtlessbut which I have not been in for some years
and know very little of; I mean Gray's Inngentlemen. Curious
little nooks in a great placelike Londonthese old inns are.'

'By Jove!' said the chairmanwhispering across the table to
Mr. Pickwick'you have hit upon something that one of usat
leastwould talk upon for ever. You'll draw old Jack Bamber out;
he was never heard to talk about anything else but the innsand
he has lived alone in them till he's half crazy.'

The individual to whom Lowten alludedwas a littleyellow
high-shouldered manwhose countenancefrom his habit of
stooping forward when silentMr. Pickwick had not observed
before. He wonderedthoughwhen the old man raised his
shrivelled faceand bent his gray eye upon himwith a keen
inquiring lookthat such remarkable features could have escaped
his attention for a moment. There was a fixed grim smile
perpetually on his countenance; he leaned his chin on a longskinny
handwith nails of extraordinary length; and as he inclined his
head to one sideand looked keenly out from beneath his ragged
gray eyebrowsthere was a strangewild slyness in his leerquite
repulsive to behold.

This was the figure that now started forwardand burst into an
animated torrent of words. As this chapter has been a long one
howeverand as the old man was a remarkable personageit will
be more respectful to himand more convenient to usto let him
speak for himself in a fresh one.

CHAPTER XXI

IN WHICH THE OLD MAN LAUNCHES FORTH INTO HIS

FAVOURITE THEMEAND RELATES A STORY ABOUT A

QUEER CLIENT

Aha!' said the old mana brief description of whose manner and
appearance concluded the last chapter'aha! who was talking about the inns?'


'I wasSir' replied Mr. Pickwick--'I was observing what
singular old places they are.'


'YOU!' said the old man contemptuously. 'What do YOU know



of the time when young men shut themselves up in those lonely
roomsand read and readhour after hourand night after night
till their reason wandered beneath their midnight studies; till
their mental powers were exhausted; till morning's light brought
no freshness or health to them; and they sank beneath the
unnatural devotion of their youthful energies to their dry old
books? Coming down to a later timeand a very different day
what do YOU know of the gradual sinking beneath consumption
or the quick wasting of fever--the grand results of "life"
and dissipation--which men have undergone in these same
rooms? How many vain pleaders for mercydo you think
have turned away heart-sick from the lawyer's officeto find
a resting-place in the Thamesor a refuge in the jail? They
are no ordinary housesthose. There is not a panel in the old
wainscottingbut whatif it were endowed with the powers of
speech and memorycould start from the walland tell its tale of
horror--the romance of lifeSirthe romance of life! Common-
place as they may seem nowI tell you they are strange old
placesand I would rather hear many a legend with a terrific-
sounding namethan the true history of one old set of chambers.'


There was something so odd in the old man's sudden energy
and the subject which had called it forththat Mr. Pickwick was
prepared with no observation in reply; and the old man checking
his impetuosityand resuming the leerwhich had disappeared
during his previous excitementsaid--


'Look at them in another light--their most common-place and
least romantic. What fine places of slow torture they are! Think
of the needy man who has spent his allbeggared himselfand
pinched his friendsto enter the professionwhich is destined
never to yield him a morsel of bread. The waiting--the hope--
the disappointment--the fear--the misery--the poverty--the
blight on his hopesand end to his career--the suicide perhapsor
the shabbyslipshod drunkard. Am I not right about them?'
And the old man rubbed his handsand leered as if in delight at
having found another point of view in which to place his
favourite subject.


Mr. Pickwick eyed the old man with great curiosityand the
remainder of the company smiledand looked on in silence.


'Talk of your German universities' said the little old man.
'Poohpooh! there's romance enough at home without going
half a mile for it; only people never think of it.'


'I never thought of the romance of this particular subject
beforecertainly' said Mr. Pickwicklaughing.
'To be sure you didn't' said the little old man; 'of course not.
As a friend of mine used to say to meWhat is there in chambers
in particular?Queer old places,said I. "Not at all said he.
Lonely said I. Not a bit of it said he. He died one morning
of apoplexy, as he was going to open his outer door. Fell with his
head in his own letter-box, and there he lay for eighteen months.
Everybody thought he'd gone out of town.'


'And how was he found out at last?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'The benchers determined to have his door broken open, as he
hadn't paid any rent for two years. So they did. Forced the lock;
and a very dusty skeleton in a blue coat, black knee-shorts, and
silks, fell forward in the arms of the porter who opened the door.
Queer, that. Rather, perhaps; rather, eh?'The little old man put
his head more on one side, and rubbed his hands with unspeakable glee.



'I know another case,' said the little old man, when his chuckles
had in some degree subsided. 'It occurred in Clifford's Inn.
Tenant of a top set--bad character--shut himself up in his
bedroom closet, and took a dose of arsenic. The steward thought
he had run away: opened the door, and put a bill up. Another
man came, took the chambers, furnished them, and went to live
there. Somehow or other he couldn't sleep--always restless and
uncomfortable. Odd says he. I'll make the other room my
bedchamberand this my sitting-room." He made the changeand
slept very well at nightbut suddenly found thatsomehowhe
couldn't read in the evening: he got nervous and uncomfortable
and used to be always snuffing his candles and staring about him.
I can't make this out,said hewhen he came home from the
play one nightand was drinking a glass of cold grogwith his
back to the wallin order that he mightn't be able to fancy there
was any one behind him--"I can't make it out said he; and
just then his eyes rested on the little closet that had been always
locked up, and a shudder ran through his whole frame from top
to toe. I have felt this strange feeling before said he, I cannot
help thinking there's something wrong about that closet." He
made a strong effortplucked up his courageshivered the lock
with a blow or two of the pokeropened the doorand theresure
enoughstanding bolt upright in the cornerwas the last tenant
with a little bottle clasped firmly in his handand his face--well!'
As the little old man concludedhe looked round on the attentive
faces of his wondering auditory with a smile of grim delight.

'What strange things these are you tell us ofSir' said Mr.
Pickwickminutely scanning the old man's countenanceby the
aid of his glasses.

'Strange!' said the little old man. 'Nonsense; you think them
strangebecause you know nothing about it. They are funnybut
not uncommon.'

'Funny!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick involuntarily.
'Yesfunnyare they not?' replied the little old manwith a
diabolical leer; and thenwithout pausing for an answerhe
continued-


'I knew another man--let me see--forty years ago now--who
took an olddamprotten set of chambersin one of the most
ancient innsthat had been shut up and empty for years and
years before. There were lots of old women's stories about the
placeand it certainly was very far from being a cheerful one;
but he was poorand the rooms were cheapand that would have
been quite a sufficient reason for himif they had been ten times
worse than they really were. He was obliged to take some
mouldering fixtures that were on the placeandamong the rest
was a great lumbering wooden press for paperswith large glass
doorsand a green curtain inside; a pretty useless thing for him
for he had no papers to put in it; and as to his clotheshe carried
them about with himand that wasn't very hard workeither.
Wellhe had moved in all his furniture--it wasn't quite a truck-
full--and had sprinkled it about the roomso as to make the four
chairs look as much like a dozen as possibleand was sitting down
before the fire at nightdrinking the first glass of two gallons of
whisky he had ordered on creditwondering whether it would ever
be paid forand if soin how many years' timewhen his eyes
encountered the glass doors of the wooden press. "Ah says he,
if I hadn't been obliged to take that ugly article at the old
broker's valuationI might have got something comfortable for
the money. I'll tell you what it isold fellow he said, speaking


aloud to the press, having nothing else to speak to, if it wouldn't
cost more to break up your old carcassthan it would ever be
worth afterwardI'd have a fire out of you in less than no time."
He had hardly spoken the wordswhen a sound resembling a
faint groanappeared to issue from the interior of the case. It
startled him at firstbut thinkingon a moment's reflectionthat
it must be some young fellow in the next chamberwho had been
dining outhe put his feet on the fenderand raised the poker to
stir the fire. At that momentthe sound was repeated; and one of
the glass doors slowly openingdisclosed a pale and emaciated
figure in soiled and worn apparelstanding erect in the press. The
figure was tall and thinand the countenance expressive of care
and anxiety; but there was something in the hue of the skinand
gaunt and unearthly appearance of the whole formwhich no
being of this world was ever seen to wear. "Who are you?" said
the new tenantturning very pale; poising the poker in his hand
howeverand taking a very decent aim at the countenance of the
figure. "Who are you?" "Don't throw that poker at me replied
the form; if you hurled it with ever so sure an aimit would
pass through mewithout resistanceand expend its force on the
wood behind. I am a spirit." "And praywhat do you want
here?" faltered the tenant. "In this room replied the apparition,
my worldly ruin was workedand I and my children beggared.
In this pressthe papers in a longlong suitwhich accumulated
for yearswere deposited. In this roomwhen I had died of grief
and long-deferred hopetwo wily harpies divided the wealth for
which I had contested during a wretched existenceand of which
at lastnot one farthing was left for my unhappy descendants. I
terrified them from the spotand since that day have prowled by
night--the only period at which I can revisit the earth--about the
scenes of my long-protracted misery. This apartment is mine:
leave it to me." "If you insist upon making your appearance
here said the tenant, who had had time to collect his presence of
mind during this prosy statement of the ghost's, I shall give up
possession with the greatest pleasure; but I should like to ask you
one questionif you will allow me." "Say on said the apparition
sternly. Well said the tenant, I don't apply the observation
personally to youbecause it is equally applicable to most of the
ghosts I ever heard of; but it does appear to me somewhat
inconsistentthat when you have an opportunity of visiting the
fairest spots of earth--for I suppose space is nothing to you-you
should always return exactly to the very places where you
have been most miserable." "Egadthat's very true; I never
thought of that before said the ghost. You seeSir pursued
the tenant, this is a very uncomfortable room. From the
appearance of that pressI should be disposed to say that it is not
wholly free from bugs; and I really think you might find much
more comfortable quarters: to say nothing of the climate of
Londonwhich is extremely disagreeable." "You are very right
Sir said the ghost politely, it never struck me till now; I'll try
change of air directly"--andin facthe began to vanish as he
spoke; his legsindeedhad quite disappeared. "And ifSir said
the tenant, calling after him, if you WOULD have the goodness to
suggest to the other ladies and gentlemen who are now engaged
in haunting old empty housesthat they might be much more
comfortable elsewhereyou will confer a very great benefit on
society." "I will replied the ghost; we must be dull fellows-very
dull fellowsindeed; I can't imagine how we can have been
so stupid." With these wordsthe spirit disappeared; and what is
rather remarkable' added the old manwith a shrewd look round
the table'he never came back again.'

'That ain't badif it's true' said the man in the Mosaic studs
lighting a fresh cigar.


'IF!' exclaimed the old manwith a look of excessive contempt.
'I suppose' he addedturning to Lowten'he'll say nextthat my
story about the queer client we hadwhen I was in an attorney's
officeis not true either--I shouldn't wonder.'

'I shan't venture to say anything at all about itseeing that I
never heard the story' observed the owner of the Mosaic decorations.

'I wish you would repeat itSir' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Ahdo' said Lowten'nobody has heard it but meand I have
nearly forgotten it.'

The old man looked round the tableand leered more horribly
than everas if in triumphat the attention which was depicted in
every face. Then rubbing his chin with his handand looking up
to the ceiling as if to recall the circumstances to his memoryhe
began as follows:-


THE OLD MAN'S TALE ABOUT THE QUEER CLIENT

'It matters little' said the old man'whereor howI picked up
this brief history. If I were to relate it in the order in which it
reached meI should commence in the middleand when I had
arrived at the conclusiongo back for a beginning. It is enough
for me to say that some of its circumstances passed before my
own eyes; for the remainder I know them to have happenedand
there are some persons yet livingwho will remember them but
too well.

'In the Borough High Streetnear St. George's Churchand on
the same side of the waystandsas most people knowthe
smallest of our debtors' prisonsthe Marshalsea. Although in
later times it has been a very different place from the sink of filth
and dirt it once waseven its improved condition holds out but
little temptation to the extravagantor consolation to the
improvident. The condemned felon has as good a yard for air and
exercise in Newgateas the insolvent debtor in the Marshalsea
Prison. [Better. But this is pastin a better ageand the prison
exists no longer.]

'It may be my fancyor it may be that I cannot separate the
place from the old recollections associated with itbut this part of
London I cannot bear. The street is broadthe shops are spacious
the noise of passing vehiclesthe footsteps of a perpetual stream
of people--all the busy sounds of trafficresound in it from morn
to midnight; but the streets around are mean and close; poverty
and debauchery lie festering in the crowded alleys; want and
misfortune are pent up in the narrow prison; an air of gloom and
dreariness seemsin my eyes at leastto hang about the scene
and to impart to it a squalid and sickly hue.

'Many eyesthat have long since been closed in the gravehave
looked round upon that scene lightly enoughwhen entering the
gate of the old Marshalsea Prison for the first time; for despair
seldom comes with the first severe shock of misfortune. A man
has confidence in untried friendshe remembers the many offers
of service so freely made by his boon companions when he wanted
them not; he has hope--the hope of happy inexperience--and
however he may bend beneath the first shockit springs up in his
bosomand flourishes there for a brief spaceuntil it droops
beneath the blight of disappointment and neglect. How soon


have those same eyesdeeply sunken in the headglared from
faces wasted with famineand sallow from confinementin days
when it was no figure of speech to say that debtors rotted
in prisonwith no hope of releaseand no prospect of liberty!
The atrocity in its full extent no longer existsbut there is enough
of it left to give rise to occurrences that make the heart bleed.

'Twenty years agothat pavement was worn with the footsteps
of a mother and childwhoday by dayso surely as the morning
camepresented themselves at the prison gate; often after a night
of restless misery and anxious thoughtswere they therea full
hour too soonand then the young mother turning meekly away
would lead the child to the old bridgeand raising him in her
arms to show him the glistening watertinted with the light of the
morning's sunand stirring with all the bustling preparations for
business and pleasure that the river presented at that early hour
endeavour to interest his thoughts in the objects before him. But
she would quickly set him downand hiding her face in her shawl
give vent to the tears that blinded her; for no expression of
interest or amusement lighted up his thin and sickly face. His
recollections were few enoughbut they were all of one kind--all
connected with the poverty and misery of his parents. Hour after
hour had he sat on his mother's kneeand with childish sympathy
watched the tears that stole down her faceand then crept quietly
away into some dark cornerand sobbed himself to sleep. The
hard realities of the worldwith many of its worst privations-hunger
and thirstand cold and want--had all come home to
himfrom the first dawnings of reason; and though the form of
childhood was thereits light heartits merry laughand sparkling
eyes were wanting.
'The father and mother looked on upon thisand upon each
otherwith thoughts of agony they dared not breathe in words.
The healthystrong-made manwho could have borne almost any
fatigue of active exertionwas wasting beneath the close confinement
and unhealthy atmosphere of a crowded prison. The slight and delicate
woman was sinking beneath the combined effects of bodily and mental
illness. The child's young heart was breaking.

'Winter cameand with it weeks of cold and heavy rain. The
poor girl had removed to a wretched apartment close to the spot
of her husband's imprisonment; and though the change had been
rendered necessary by their increasing povertyshe was happier
nowfor she was nearer him. For two monthsshe and her little
companion watched the opening of the gate as usual. One day
she failed to comefor the first time. Another morning arrived
and she came alone. The child was dead.

'They little knowwho coldly talk of the poor man's bereavements
as a happy release from pain to the departedand a
merciful relief from expense to the survivor--they little knowI
saywhat the agony of those bereavements is. A silent look of
affection and regard when all other eyes are turned coldly away
--the consciousness that we possess the sympathy and affection
of one being when all others have deserted us--is a holda stay
a comfortin the deepest afflictionwhich no wealth could
purchaseor power bestow. The child had sat at his parents' feet
for hours togetherwith his little hands patiently folded in each
otherand his thin wan face raised towards them. They had seen
him pine awayfrom day to day; and though his brief existence
had been a joyless oneand he was now removed to that peace
and rest whichchild as he washe had never known in this
worldthey were his parentsand his loss sank deep into their souls.

'It was plain to those who looked upon the mother's altered


facethat death must soon close the scene of her adversity and
trial. Her husband's fellow-prisoners shrank from obtruding on
his grief and miseryand left to himself alonethe small room he
had previously occupied in common with two companions. She
shared it with him; and lingering on without painbut without
hopeher life ebbed slowly away.

'She had fainted one evening in her husband's armsand he
had borne her to the open windowto revive her with the air
when the light of the moon falling full upon her faceshowed him
a change upon her featureswhich made him stagger beneath
her weightlike a helpless infant.

'"Set me downGeorge she said faintly. He did so, and
seating himself beside her, covered his face with his hands, and
burst into tears.

'It is very hard to leave youGeorge she said; but it is
God's willand you must bear it for my sake. Oh! how I thank
Him for having taken our boy! He is happyand in heaven now.
What would he have done herewithout his mother!"

'"You shall not dieMaryyou shall not die;" said the
husbandstarting up. He paced hurriedly to and frostriking his
head with his clenched fists; then reseating himself beside her
and supporting her in his armsadded more calmlyRouse
yourself, my dear girl. Pray, pray do. You will revive yet.

'"Never againGeorge; never again said the dying woman.
Let them lay me by my poor boy nowbut promise methat if
ever you leave this dreadful placeand should grow richyou will
have us removed to some quiet country churchyarda longlong
way off--very far from here--where we can rest in peace. Dear
Georgepromise me you will."

'"I doI do said the man, throwing himself passionately on
his knees before her. Speak to meMaryanother word; one
look--but one!"

'He ceased to speak: for the arm that clasped his neck grew
stiff and heavy. A deep sigh escaped from the wasted form before
him; the lips movedand a smile played upon the face; but the
lips were pallidand the smile faded into a rigid and ghastly
stare. He was alone in the world.

'That nightin the silence and desolation of his miserable
roomthe wretched man knelt down by the dead body of his
wifeand called on God to witness a terrible oaththat from that
hourhe devoted himself to revenge her death and that of his
child; that thenceforth to the last moment of his lifehis whole
energies should be directed to this one object; that his revenge
should be protracted and terrible; that his hatred should be
undying and inextinguishable; and should hunt its object through
the world.

'The deepest despairand passion scarcely humanhad made
such fierce ravages on his face and formin that one nightthat
his companions in misfortune shrank affrighted from him as he
passed by. His eyes were bloodshot and heavyhis face a deadly
whiteand his body bent as if with age. He had bitten his under
lip nearly through in the violence of his mental sufferingand the
blood which had flowed from the wound had trickled down his
chinand stained his shirt and neckerchief. No tearor sound of
complaint escaped him; but the unsettled lookand disordered


haste with which he paced up and down the yarddenoted the
fever which was burning within.

'It was necessary that his wife's body should be removed from
the prisonwithout delay. He received the communication with
perfect calmnessand acquiesced in its propriety. Nearly all the
inmates of the prison had assembled to witness its removal; they
fell back on either side when the widower appeared; he walked
hurriedly forwardand stationed himselfalonein a little railed
area close to the lodge gatefrom whence the crowdwith an
instinctive feeling of delicacyhad retired. The rude coffin was
borne slowly forward on men's shoulders. A dead silence pervaded
the throngbroken only by the audible lamentations of the
womenand the shuffling steps of the bearers on the stone pavement.
They reached the spot where the bereaved husband stood:
and stopped. He laid his hand upon the coffinand mechanically
adjusting the pall with which it was coveredmotioned them
onward. The turnkeys in the prison lobby took off their hats as it
passed throughand in another moment the heavy gate closed
behind it. He looked vacantly upon the crowdand fell heavily to
the ground.

'Although for many weeks after thishe was watchednight
and dayin the wildest ravings of feverneither the consciousness
of his lossnor the recollection of the vow he had madeever left
him for a moment. Scenes changed before his eyesplace succeeded
placeand event followed eventin all the hurry of
delirium; but they were all connected in some way with the great
object of his mind. He was sailing over a boundless expanse of
seawith a blood-red sky aboveand the angry waterslashed
into fury beneathboiling and eddying upon every side. There
was another vessel before themtoiling and labouring in the
howling storm; her canvas fluttering in ribbons from the mast
and her deck thronged with figures who were lashed to the sides
over which huge waves every instant burstsweeping away some
devoted creatures into the foaming sea. Onward they bore
amidst the roaring mass of waterwith a speed and force which
nothing could resist; and striking the stem of the foremost
vesselcrushed her beneath their keel. From the huge whirlpool
which the sinking wreck occasionedarose a shriek so loud and
shrill--the death-cry of a hundred drowning creaturesblended
into one fierce yell--that it rung far above the war-cry of the
elementsand echoedand re-echoed till it seemed to pierce air
skyand ocean. But what was that--that old gray head that rose
above the water's surfaceand with looks of agonyand screams
for aidbuffeted with the waves! One lookand he had sprung
from the vessel's sideand with vigorous strokes was swimming
towards it. He reached it; he was close upon it. They were HIS
features. The old man saw him comingand vainly strove to
elude his grasp. But he clasped him tightand dragged him beneath
the water. Downdown with himfifty fathoms down; his
struggles grew fainter and fainteruntil they wholly ceased. He
was dead; he had killed himand had kept his oath.

'He was traversing the scorching sands of a mighty desert
barefoot and alone. The sand choked and blinded him; its fine
thin grains entered the very pores of his skinand irritated him
almost to madness. Gigantic masses of the same materialcarried
forward by the windand shone through by the burning sun
stalked in the distance like pillars of living fire. The bones of
menwho had perished in the dreary wastelay scattered at his
feet; a fearful light fell on everything around; so far as the eye could
reachnothing but objects of dread and horror presented themselves.
Vainly striving to utter a cry of terrorwith his tongue


cleaving to his mouthhe rushed madly forward. Armed with
supernatural strengthhe waded through the sanduntil
exhausted with fatigue and thirsthe fell senseless on the earth.
What fragrant coolness revived him; what gushing sound was
that? Water! It was indeed a well; and the clear fresh stream was
running at his feet. He drank deeply of itand throwing his
aching limbs upon the banksank into a delicious trance. The
sound of approaching footsteps roused him. An old gray-headed
man tottered forward to slake his burning thirst. It was HE again!
Fe wound his arms round the old man's bodyand held him back.
He struggledand shrieked for water--for but one drop of water
to save his life! But he held the old man firmlyand watched his
agonies with greedy eyes; and when his lifeless head fell forward
on his bosomhe rolled the corpse from him with his feet.

'When the fever left himand consciousness returnedhe
awoke to find himself rich and freeto hear that the parent who
would have let him die in jail--WOULD! who HAD let those who
were far dearer to him than his own existence die of wantand
sickness of heart that medicine cannot cure--had been found
dead in his bed of down. He had had all the heart to leave his son
a beggarbut proud even of his health and strengthhad put off
the act till it was too lateand now might gnash his teeth in the
other worldat the thought of the wealth his remissness had left
him. He awoke to thisand he awoke to more. To recollect the
purpose for which he livedand to remember that his enemy was
his wife's own father--the man who had cast him into prison
and whowhen his daughter and her child sued at his feet for
mercyhad spurned them from his door. Ohhow he cursed the
weakness that prevented him from being upand activein his
scheme of vengeance!
'He caused himself to be carried from the scene of his loss and
miseryand conveyed to a quiet residence on the sea-coast; not
in the hope of recovering his peace of mind or happinessfor
both were fled for ever; but to restore his prostrate energiesand
meditate on his darling object. And heresome evil spirit cast in
his way the opportunity for his firstmost horrible revenge.

'It was summer-time; and wrapped in his gloomy thoughtshe
would issue from his solitary lodgings early in the eveningand
wandering along a narrow path beneath the cliffsto a wild and
lonely spot that had struck his fancy in his ramblingsseat himself
on some fallen fragment of the rockand burying his face in his
handsremain there for hours--sometimes until night had completely
closed inand the long shadows of the frowning cliffs
above his head cast a thickblack darkness on every object near him.

'He was seated hereone calm eveningin his old positionnow
and then raising his head to watch the flight of a sea-gullor
carry his eye along the glorious crimson pathwhichcommencing
in the middle of the oceanseemed to lead to its very verge where
the sun was settingwhen the profound stillness of the spot was
broken by a loud cry for help; he listeneddoubtful of his having
heard arightwhen the cry was repeated with even greater
vehemence than beforeandstarting to his feethe hastened in
the direction whence it proceeded.

'The tale told itself at once: some scattered garments lay on
the beach; a human head was just visible above the waves at a
little distance from the shore; and an old manwringing his
hands in agonywas running to and froshrieking for assistance.
The invalidwhose strength was now sufficiently restoredthrew
off his coatand rushed towards the seawith the intention of
plunging inand dragging the drowning man ashore.


'"Hasten hereSirin God's name; helphelpsirfor the love
of Heaven. He is my sonSirmy only son!" said the old man
franticallyas he advanced to meet him. "My only sonSirand
he is dying before his father's eyes!"


'At the first word the old man utteredthe stranger checked
himself in his careerandfolding his armsstood perfectly motionless.


'"Great God!" exclaimed the old manrecoilingHeyling!


'The stranger smiledand was silent.


'"Heyling!" said the old man wildly; "my boyHeylingmy
dear boylooklook!" Gasping for breaththe miserable father
pointed to the spot where the young man was struggling for life.


'"Hark!" said the old man. "He cries once more. He is alive
yet. Heylingsave himsave him!"


'The stranger smiled againand remained immovable as a statue.
'"I have wronged you shrieked the old man, falling on his
knees, and clasping his hands together. Be revenged; take my all
my life; cast me into the water at your feetandif human nature
can repress a struggleI will diewithout stirring hand or foot.
Do itHeylingdo itbut save my boy; he is so youngHeyling
so young to die!"


'"Listen said the stranger, grasping the old man fiercely by
the wrist; I will have life for lifeand here is ONE. MY child died
before his father's eyesa far more agonising and painful death
than that young slanderer of his sister's worth is meeting while I
speak. You laughed--laughed in your daughter's facewhere
death had already set his hand--at our sufferingsthen. What
think you of them now! See theresee there!"


'As the stranger spokehe pointed to the sea. A faint cry died
away upon its surface; the last powerful struggle of the dying
man agitated the rippling waves for a few seconds; and the spot
where he had gone down into his early gravewas undistinguishable
from the surrounding water.


'Three years had elapsedwhen a gentleman alighted from a
private carriage at the door of a London attorneythen well
known as a man of no great nicety in his professional dealings
and requested a private interview on business of importance.
Although evidently not past the prime of lifehis face was pale
haggardand dejected; and it did not require the acute perception
of the man of businessto discern at a glancethat disease or
suffering had done more to work a change in his appearance
than the mere hand of time could have accomplished in twice the
period of his whole life.


'"I wish you to undertake some legal business for me said
the stranger.


'The attorney bowed obsequiously, and glanced at a large
packet which the gentleman carried in his hand. His visitor
observed the look, and proceeded.


'It is no common business said he; nor have these papers
reached my hands without long trouble and great expense."


'The attorney cast a still more anxious look at the packet; and



his visitoruntying the string that bound itdisclosed a quantity
of promissory noteswith copies of deedsand other documents.

'"Upon these papers said the client, the man whose name
they bearhas raisedas you will seelarge sums of moneyfor
years past. There was a tacit understanding between him and the
men into whose hands they originally went--and from whom I
have by degrees purchased the wholefor treble and quadruple
their nominal value--that these loans should be from time to
time reneweduntil a given period had elapsed. Such an
understanding is nowhere expressed. He has sustained many losses of
late; and these obligations accumulating upon him at once
would crush him to the earth."

'"The whole amount is many thousands of pounds said the
attorney, looking over the papers.

'It is said the client.

'What are we to do?" inquired the man of business.

'"Do!" replied the clientwith sudden vehemence. "Put every
engine of the law in forceevery trick that ingenuity can devise
and rascality execute; fair means and foul; the open oppression
of the lawaided by all the craft of its most ingenious practitioners.
I would have him die a harassing and lingering death. Ruin
himseize and sell his lands and goodsdrive him from house and
homeand drag him forth a beggar in his old ageto die in a
common jail."

'"But the costsmy dear Sirthe costs of all this reasoned the
attorney, when he had recovered from his momentary surprise.
If the defendant be a man of strawwho is to pay the costsSir?"

'"Name any sum said the stranger, his hand trembling
so violently with excitement, that he could scarcely hold the
pen he seized as he spoke--any sumand it is yours. Don't be
afraid to name itman. I shall not think it dearif you gain
my object."

'The attorney named a large sumat hazardas the advance he
should require to secure himself against the possibility of loss;
but more with the view of ascertaining how far his client was
really disposed to gothan with any idea that he would comply
with the demand. The stranger wrote a cheque upon his banker
for the whole amountand left him.

'The draft was duly honouredand the attorneyfinding that
his strange client might be safely relied uponcommenced his
work in earnest. For more than two years afterwardsMr.
Heyling would sit whole days togetherin the officeporing over
the papers as they accumulatedand reading again and againhis
eyes gleaming with joythe letters of remonstrancethe prayers
for a little delaythe representations of the certain ruin in which
the opposite party must be involvedwhich poured inas suit after
suitand process after processwas commenced. To all applications
for a brief indulgencethere was but one reply--the money
must be paid. Landhousefurnitureeach in its turnwas taken
under some one of the numerous executions which were issued;
and the old man himself would have been immured in prison had
he not escaped the vigilance of the officersand fled.

'The implacable animosity of Heylingso far from being satiated
by the success of his persecutionincreased a hundredfold with


the ruin he inflicted. On being informed of the old man's flight
his fury was unbounded. He gnashed his teeth with ragetore the
hair from his headand assailed with horrid imprecations the
men who had been intrusted with the writ. He was only restored
to comparative calmness by repeated assurances of the certainty
of discovering the fugitive. Agents were sent in quest of himin
all directions; every stratagem that could be invented was
resorted tofor the purpose of discovering his place of retreat;
but it was all in vain. Half a year had passed overand he was
still undiscovered.

'At length late one nightHeylingof whom nothing had been
seen for many weeks beforeappeared at his attorney's private
residenceand sent up word that a gentleman wished to see him
instantly. Before the attorneywho had recognised his voice from
above stairscould order the servant to admit himhe had rushed
up the staircaseand entered the drawing-room pale and breathless.
Having closed the doorto prevent being overheardhe sank
into a chairand saidin a low voice-


'"Hush! I have found him at last."

'"No!" said the attorney. "Well donemy dear sirwell done."

'"He lies concealed in a wretched lodging in Camden Town
said Heyling. Perhaps it is as well we DID lose sight of himfor he
has been living alone therein the most abject miseryall the
timeand he is poor--very poor."

'"Very good said the attorney. You will have the caption
made to-morrowof course?"

'"Yes replied Heyling. Stay! No! The next day. You are
surprised at my wishing to postpone it he added, with a ghastly
smile; but I had forgotten. The next day is an anniversary in his
life: let it be done then."

'"Very good said the attorney. Will you write down
instructions for the officer?"

'"No; let him meet me hereat eight in the eveningand I will
accompany him myself."

'They met on the appointed nightandhiring a hackneycoach
directed the driver to stop at that corner of the old
Pancras Roadat which stands the parish workhouse. By the
time they alighted thereit was quite dark; andproceeding by
the dead wall in front of the Veterinary Hospitalthey entered a
small by-streetwhich isor was at that timecalled Little College
Streetand whichwhatever it may be nowwas in those days a
desolate place enoughsurrounded by little else than fields and ditches.

'Having drawn the travelling-cap he had on half over his face
and muffled himself in his cloakHeyling stopped before the
meanest-looking house in the streetand knocked gently at the
door. It was at once opened by a womanwho dropped a curtsey
of recognitionand Heylingwhispering the officer to remain
belowcrept gently upstairsandopening the door of the front
roomentered at once.

'The object of his search and his unrelenting animositynow a
decrepit old manwas seated at a bare deal tableon which stood
a miserable candle. He started on the entrance of the stranger
and rose feebly to his feet.


'"What nowwhat now?" said the old man. "What fresh
misery is this? What do you want here?"


'"A word with YOU replied Heyling. As he spoke, he seated
himself at the other end of the table, and, throwing off his cloak
and cap, disclosed his features.


'The old man seemed instantly deprived of speech. He fell
backward in his chair, and, clasping his hands together, gazed on
the apparition with a mingled look of abhorrence and fear.


'This day six years said Heyling, I claimed the life you
owed me for my child's. Beside the lifeless form of your daughter
old manI swore to live a life of revenge. I have never swerved
from my purpose for a moment's space; but if I hadone thought
of her uncomplainingsuffering lookas she drooped awayor of
the starving face of our innocent childwould have nerved me to
my task. My first act of requital you well remember: this is my
last."


'The old man shiveredand his hands dropped powerless by
his side.


'"I leave England to-morrow said Heyling, after a moment's
pause. To-night I consign you to the living death to which you
devoted her--a hopeless prison--"


'He raised his eyes to the old man's countenanceand paused.
He lifted the light to his faceset it gently downand left the
apartment.


'"You had better see to the old man he said to the woman, as
he opened the door, and motioned the officer to follow him into
the street. I think he is ill." The woman closed the doorran
hastily upstairsand found him lifeless.


'Beneath a plain gravestonein one of the most peaceful and
secluded churchyards in Kentwhere wild flowers mingle with
the grassand the soft landscape around forms the fairest spot in
the garden of Englandlie the bones of the young mother and her
gentle child. But the ashes of the father do not mingle with theirs;
norfrom that night forwarddid the attorney ever gain the
remotest clue to the subsequent history of his queer client.'
As the old man concluded his talehe advanced to a peg in one
cornerand taking down his hat and coatput them on with
great deliberation; andwithout saying another wordwalked
slowly away. As the gentleman with the Mosaic studs had fallen
asleepand the major part of the company were deeply occupied
in the humorous process of dropping melted tallow-grease into
his brandy-and-waterMr. Pickwick departed unnoticedand
having settled his own scoreand that of Mr. Wellerissued forth
in company with that gentlemanfrom beneath the portal of the
Magpie and Stump.


CHAPTER XXII


Mr. PICKWICK JOURNEYS TO IPSWICH AND MEETS WITH
A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE WITH A MIDDLE-AGED LADY
IN YELLOW CURL-PAPERS


'That 'ere your governor's luggageSammy?' inquired Mr. Weller of
his affectionate sonas he entered the yard of the Bull Inn
Whitechapelwith a travelling-bag and a small portmanteau.


'You might ha' made a worser guess than thatold feller'
replied Mr. Weller the youngersetting down his burden in the
yardand sitting himself down upon it afterwards. 'The governor
hisself'll be down here presently.'


'He's a-cabbin' itI suppose?' said the father.


'Yeshe's a havin' two mile o' danger at eight-pence' responded
the son. 'How's mother-in-law this mornin'?'


'QueerSammyqueer' replied the elder Mr. Wellerwith
impressive gravity. 'She's been gettin' rayther in the Methodistical
order latelySammy; and she is uncommon piousto be sure.
She's too good a creetur for meSammy. I feel I don't deserve her.'


'Ah' said Mr. Samuel. 'that's wery self-denyin' o' you.'


'Wery' replied his parentwith a sigh. 'She's got hold o' some
inwention for grown-up people being born againSammy--the
new birthI think they calls it. I should wery much like to see that
system in hactionSammy. I should wery much like to see your
mother-in-law born again. Wouldn't I put her out to nurse!'


'What do you think them women does t'other day' continued
Mr. Wellerafter a short pauseduring which he had significantly
struck the side of his nose with his forefinger some half-dozen
times. 'What do you think they doest'other daySammy?'


'Don't know' replied Sam'what?'


'Goes and gets up a grand tea drinkin' for a feller they calls
their shepherd' said Mr. Weller. 'I was a-standing starin' in at
the pictur shop down at our placewhen I sees a little bill about
it; "tickets half-a-crown. All applications to be made to the
committee. SecretaryMrs. Weller"; and when I got home there
was the committee a-sittin' in our back parlour. Fourteen women;
I wish you could ha' heard 'emSammy. There they was
a-passin' resolutionsand wotin' suppliesand all sorts o' games.
Wellwhat with your mother-in-law a-worrying me to goand
what with my looking for'ard to seein' some queer starts if I did
I put my name down for a ticket; at six o'clock on the Friday
evenin' I dresses myself out wery smartand off I goes with the
old 'oomanand up we walks into a fust-floor where there was
tea-things for thirtyand a whole lot o' women as begins
whisperin' to one anotherand lookin' at meas if they'd never
seen a rayther stout gen'l'm'n of eight-and-fifty afore. By and by
there comes a great bustle downstairsand a lanky chap with a
red nose and a white neckcloth rushes upand sings outHere's
the shepherd a-coming to wisit his faithful flock;and in comes
a fat chap in blackvith a great white facea-smilin' avay like
clockwork. Such goin's onSammy! "The kiss of peace says the
shepherd; and then he kissed the women all round, and ven he'd
done, the man vith the red nose began. I was just a-thinkin'
whether I hadn't better begin too--'specially as there was a wery
nice lady a-sittin' next me--ven in comes the tea, and your
mother-in-law, as had been makin' the kettle bile downstairs. At
it they went, tooth and nail. Such a precious loud hymn, Sammy,
while the tea was a brewing; such a grace, such eatin' and
drinkin'! I wish you could ha' seen the shepherd walkin' into the
ham and muffins. I never see such a chap to eat and drink--



never. The red-nosed man warn't by no means the sort of person
you'd like to grub by contract, but he was nothin' to the shepherd.
Well; arter the tea was over, they sang another hymn, and
then the shepherd began to preach: and wery well he did it,
considerin' how heavy them muffins must have lied on his chest.
Presently he pulls up, all of a sudden, and hollers out, Where is
the sinner; where is the mis'rable sinner?" Upon whichall the
women looked at meand began to groan as if they was a-dying.
I thought it was rather sing'lerbut howsoeverI says nothing.
Presently he pulls up againand lookin' wery hard at mesays
Where is the sinner; where is the mis'rable sinner?and all the
women groans againten times louder than afore. I got rather
savage at thisso I takes a step or two for'ard and saysMy
friend,says Idid you apply that 'ere obserwation to me?
'Stead of beggin' my pardon as any gen'l'm'n would ha' done
he got more abusive than ever:--called me a wesselSammy--a
wessel of wrath--and all sorts o' names. So my blood being
reg'larly upI first gave him two or three for himselfand then
two or three more to hand over to the man with the red nose
and walked off. I wish you could ha' heard how the women
screamedSammyven they picked up the shepherd from underneath
the table--Hollo! here's the governorthe size of life.'


As Mr. Weller spokeMr. Pickwick dismounted from a cab
and entered the yard.
'Fine mornin'Sir' said Mr. Wellersenior.


'Beautiful indeed' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'Beautiful indeed' echoes a red-haired man with an inquisitive
nose and green spectacleswho had unpacked himself from a cab
at the same moment as Mr. Pickwick. 'Going to IpswichSir?'


'I am' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'Extraordinary coincidence. So am I.'


Mr. Pickwick bowed.


'Going outside?' said the red-haired man.
Mr. Pickwick bowed again.


'Bless my soulhow remarkable--I am going outsidetoo' said
the red-haired man; 'we are positively going together.' And the
red-haired manwho was an important-lookingsharp-nosed
mysterious-spoken personagewith a bird-like habit of giving his
head a jerk every time he said anythingsmiled as if he had made
one of the strangest discoveries that ever fell to the lot of
human wisdom.


'I am happy in the prospect of your companySir' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Ah' said the new-comer'it's a good thing for both of us
isn't it? Companyyou see--company--is--is--it's a very
different thing from solitude--ain't it?'


'There's no denying that 'ere' said Mr. Wellerjoining in the
conversationwith an affable smile. 'That's what I call a self-
evident propositionas the dog's-meat man saidwhen the
housemaid told him he warn't a gentleman.'


'Ah' said the red-haired mansurveying Mr. Weller from head
to foot with a supercilious look. 'Friend of yourssir?'



'Not exactly a friend' replied Mr. Pickwickin a low tone.
'The fact ishe is my servantbut I allow him to take a good many
liberties; forbetween ourselvesI flatter myself he is an original
and I am rather proud of him.'


'Ah' said the red-haired man'thatyou seeis a matter of
taste. I am not fond of anything original; I don't like it; don't see
the necessity for it. What's your namesir?'


'Here is my cardsir' replied Mr. Pickwickmuch amused by
the abruptness of the questionand the singular manner of the stranger.


'Ah' said the red-haired manplacing the card in his pocket-
book'Pickwick; very good. I like to know a man's nameit
saves so much trouble. That's my cardsir. Magnusyou will
perceivesir--Magnus is my name. It's rather a good nameI
thinksir.'


'A very good nameindeed' said Mr. Pickwickwholly unable
to repress a smile.


'YesI think it is' resumed Mr. Magnus. 'There's a good
name before ittooyou will observe. Permit mesir--if you hold
the card a little slantingthis wayyou catch the light upon the
up-stroke. There--Peter Magnus--sounds wellI thinksir.'


'Very' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Curious circumstance about those initialssir' said Mr.
Magnus. 'You will observe--P.M.--post meridian. In hasty
notes to intimate acquaintanceI sometimes sign myself "Afternoon."
It amuses my friends very muchMr. Pickwick.'


'It is calculated to afford them the highest gratificationI
should conceive' said Mr. Pickwickrather envying the ease with
which Mr. Magnus's friends were entertained.


'Nowgen'l'm'n' said the hostler'coach is readyif you please.'


'Is all my luggage in?' inquired Mr. Magnus.


'All rightsir.'


'Is the red bag in?'


'All rightSir.'


'And the striped bag?'


'Fore bootSir.'


'And the brown-paper parcel?'


'Under the seatSir.'


'And the leather hat-box?'


'They're all inSir.'


'Nowwill you get up?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Excuse me' replied Magnusstanding on the wheel. 'Excuse
meMr. Pickwick. I cannot consent to get upin this state of
uncertainty. I am quite satisfied from that man's mannerthat the



leather hat-box is not in.'


The solemn protestations of the hostler being wholly
unavailingthe leather hat-box was obliged to be raked up from the
lowest depth of the bootto satisfy him that it had been safely
packed; and after he had been assured on this headhe felt a
solemn presentimentfirstthat the red bag was mislaidand
next that the striped bag had been stolenand then that the
brown-paper parcel 'had come untied.' At length when he had
received ocular demonstration of the groundless nature of each
and every of these suspicionshe consented to climb up to the
roof of the coachobserving that now he had taken everything
off his mindhe felt quite comfortable and happy.


'You're given to nervousnessain't youSir?' inquired Mr.
Wellersenioreyeing the stranger askanceas he mounted to his place.


'Yes; I always am rather about these little matters' said the
stranger'but I am all right now--quite right.'


'Wellthat's a blessin'said Mr. Weller. 'Sammyhelp your
master up to the box; t'other legSirthat's it; give us your hand
Sir. Up with you. You was a lighter weight when you was a boysir.'
'True enoughthatMr. Weller' said the breathless Mr.
Pickwick good-humouredlyas he took his seat on the box beside him.


'Jump up in frontSammy' said Mr. Weller. 'Now Villamrun
'em out. Take care o' the archvaygen'l'm'n. "Heads as the
pieman says. That'll do, Villam. Let 'em alone.' And away went
the coach up Whitechapel, to the admiration of the whole
population of that pretty densely populated quarter.


'Not a wery nice neighbourhood, this, Sir,' said Sam, with a
touch of the hat, which always preceded his entering into
conversation with his master.


'It is not indeed, Sam,' replied Mr. Pickwick, surveying the
crowded and filthy street through which they were passing.


'It's a wery remarkable circumstance, Sir,' said Sam, 'that
poverty and oysters always seem to go together.'


'I don't understand you, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'What I mean, sir,' said Sam, 'is, that the poorer a place is, the
greater call there seems to be for oysters. Look here, sir; here's
a oyster-stall to every half-dozen houses. The street's lined vith
'em. Blessed if I don't think that ven a man's wery poor,
he rushes out of his lodgings, and eats oysters in reg'lar desperation.'


'To be sure he does,' said Mr. Weller, senior; 'and it's just the
same vith pickled salmon!'


'Those are two very remarkable facts, which never occurred to
me before,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'The very first place we stop at,
I'll make a note of them.'


By this time they had reached the turnpike at Mile End; a
profound silence prevailed until they had got two or three miles
farther on, when Mr. Weller, senior, turning suddenly to Mr.
Pickwick, said--


'Wery queer life is a pike-keeper's, sir.'



'A what?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'A pike-keeper.'

'What do you mean by a pike-keeper?' inquired Mr. Peter Magnus.

'The old 'un means a turnpike-keeper, gen'l'm'n,' observed
Mr. Samuel Weller, in explanation.


'Oh,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'I see. Yes; very curious life.
Very uncomfortable.'


'They're all on 'em men as has met vith some disappointment
in life,' said Mr. Weller, senior.


'Ay, ay,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Yes. Consequence of vich, they retires from the world, and
shuts themselves up in pikes; partly with the view of being
solitary, and partly to rewenge themselves on mankind by takin' tolls.'


'Dear me,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'I never knew that before.'


'Fact, Sir,' said Mr. Weller; 'if they was gen'l'm'n, you'd
call 'em misanthropes, but as it is, they only takes to pike-keepin'.'


With such conversation, possessing the inestimable charm of
blending amusement with instruction, did Mr. Weller beguile the
tediousness of the journey, during the greater part of the day.
Topics of conversation were never wanting, for even when any
pause occurred in Mr. Weller's loquacity, it was abundantly
supplied by the desire evinced by Mr. Magnus to make himself
acquainted with the whole of the personal history of his fellow-
travellers, and his loudly-expressed anxiety at every stage,
respecting the safety and well-being of the two bags, the leather
hat-box, and the brown-paper parcel.


In the main street of Ipswich, on the left-hand side of the way,
a short distance after you have passed through the open space
fronting the Town Hall, stands an inn known far and wide by the
appellation of the Great White Horse, rendered the more
conspicuous by a stone statue of some rampacious animal with
flowing mane and tail, distantly resembling an insane cart-horse,
which is elevated above the principal door. The Great White
Horse is famous in the neighbourhood, in the same degree as a
prize ox, or a county-paper-chronicled turnip, or unwieldy pig--
for its enormous size. Never was such labyrinths of uncarpeted
passages, such clusters of mouldy, ill-lighted rooms, such huge
numbers of small dens for eating or sleeping in, beneath any one
roof, as are collected together between the four walls of the
Great White Horse at Ipswich.


It was at the door of this overgrown tavern that the London
coach stopped, at the same hour every evening; and it was from
this same London coach that Mr. Pickwick, Sam Weller, and
Mr. Peter Magnus dismounted, on the particular evening to
which this chapter of our history bears reference.


'Do you stop here, sir?' inquired Mr. Peter Magnus, when the
striped bag, and the red bag, and the brown-paper parcel, and the
leather hat-box, had all been deposited in the passage. 'Do you
stop here, sir?'


'I do,' said Mr. Pickwick.



'Dear me,' said Mr. Magnus, 'I never knew anything like these
extraordinary coincidences. Why, I stop here too. I hope we
dine together?'

'With pleasure,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'I am not quite certain
whether I have any friends here or not, though. Is there any
gentleman of the name of Tupman here, waiter?'

A corpulent man, with a fortnight's napkin under his arm, and
coeval stockings on his legs, slowly desisted from his occupation
of staring down the street, on this question being put to him by
Mr. Pickwick; and, after minutely inspecting that gentleman's
appearance, from the crown of his hat to the lowest button of his
gaiters, replied emphatically-


'No!'

'Nor any gentleman of the name of Snodgrass?' inquired
Mr. Pickwick.

'No!'

'Nor Winkle?'

'No!'

'My friends have not arrived to-day, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'We will dine alone, then. Show us a private room, waiter.'

On this request being preferred, the corpulent man
condescended to order the boots to bring in the gentlemen's luggage;
and preceding them down a long, dark passage, ushered them
into a large, badly-furnished apartment, with a dirty grate, in
which a small fire was making a wretched attempt to be cheerful,
but was fast sinking beneath the dispiriting influence of the place.
After the lapse of an hour, a bit of fish and a steak was served up
to the travellers, and when the dinner was cleared away, Mr.
Pickwick and Mr. Peter Magnus drew their chairs up to the fire,
and having ordered a bottle of the worst possible port wine, at
the highest possible price, for the good of the house, drank
brandy-and-water for their own.

Mr. Peter Magnus was naturally of a very communicative
disposition, and the brandy-and-water operated with wonderful
effect in warming into life the deepest hidden secrets of his
bosom. After sundry accounts of himself, his family, his connections,
his friends, his jokes, his business, and his brothers (most
talkative men have a great deal to say about their brothers),
Mr. Peter Magnus took a view of Mr. Pickwick through his
coloured spectacles for several minutes, and then said, with an
air of modesty-


'And what do you think--what DO you think, Mr. Pickwick--I
have come down here for?'

'Upon my word,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'it is wholly impossible
for me to guess; on business, perhaps.'

'Partly right, Sir,' replied Mr. Peter Magnus, 'but partly wrong
at the same time; try again, Mr. Pickwick.'

'Really,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'I must throw myself on your
mercy, to tell me or not, as you may think best; for I should never


guess, if I were to try all night.'


'Why, then, he-he-he!' said Mr. Peter Magnus, with a
bashful titter, 'what should you think, Mr. Pickwick, if I had
come down here to make a proposal, Sir, eh? He, he, he!'


'Think! That you are very likely to succeed,' replied Mr.
Pickwick, with one of his beaming smiles.
'Ah!' said Mr. Magnus. 'But do you really think so, Mr.
Pickwick? Do you, though?'


'Certainly,' said Mr. Pickwick.


'No; but you're joking, though.'


'I am not, indeed.'


'Why, then,' said Mr. Magnus, 'to let you into a little secret, I
think so too. I don't mind telling you, Mr. Pickwick, although
I'm dreadful jealous by nature--horrid--that the lady is in this
house.' Here Mr. Magnus took off his spectacles, on purpose to
wink, and then put them on again.


'That's what you were running out of the room for, before
dinner, then, so often,' said Mr. Pickwick archly.


'Hush! Yes, you're right, that was it; not such a fool as to see
her, though.'


'No!'


'No; wouldn't do, you know, after having just come off a
journey. Wait till to-morrow, sir; double the chance then. Mr.
Pickwick, Sir, there is a suit of clothes in that bag, and a hat in
that box, which, I expect, in the effect they will produce, will be
invaluable to me, sir.'


'Indeed!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Yes; you must have observed my anxiety about them to-day.
I do not believe that such another suit of clothes, and such a hat,
could be bought for money, Mr. Pickwick.'


Mr. Pickwick congratulated the fortunate owner of the
irresistible garments on their acquisition; and Mr. Peter Magnus
remained a few moments apparently absorbed in contemplation.
'She's a fine creature,' said Mr. Magnus.


'Is she?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Very,' said Mr. Magnus. 'very. She lives about twenty miles
from here, Mr. Pickwick. I heard she would be here to-night and
all to-morrow forenoon, and came down to seize the opportunity.
I think an inn is a good sort of a place to propose to a single
woman in, Mr. Pickwick. She is more likely to feel the loneliness
of her situation in travelling, perhaps, than she would be at home.
What do you think, Mr. Pickwick?'


'I think it is very probable,' replied that gentleman.


'I beg your pardon, Mr. Pickwick,' said Mr. Peter Magnus,
'but I am naturally rather curious; what may you have come
down here for?'



'On a far less pleasant errand, Sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick, the
colour mounting to his face at the recollection. 'I have come
down here, Sir, to expose the treachery and falsehood of an
individual, upon whose truth and honour I placed implicit reliance.'

'Dear me,' said Mr. Peter Magnus, 'that's very unpleasant. It is
a lady, I presume? Eh? ah! Sly, Mr. Pickwick, sly. Well, Mr.
Pickwick, sir, I wouldn't probe your feelings for the world.
Painful subjects, these, sir, very painful. Don't mind me, Mr.
Pickwick, if you wish to give vent to your feelings. I know what
it is to be jilted, Sir; I have endured that sort of thing three or
four times.'

'I am much obliged to you, for your condolence on what you
presume to be my melancholy case,' said Mr. Pickwick, winding
up his watch, and laying it on the table, 'but--'

'No, no,' said Mr. Peter Magnus, 'not a word more; it's a
painful subject. I see, I see. What's the time, Mr. Pickwick?'
'Past twelve.'

'Dear me, it's time to go to bed. It will never do, sitting here. I
shall be pale to-morrow, Mr. Pickwick.'

At the bare notion of such a calamity, Mr. Peter Magnus rang
the bell for the chambermaid; and the striped bag, the red bag,
the leathern hat-box, and the brown-paper parcel, having been
conveyed to his bedroom, he retired in company with a japanned
candlestick, to one side of the house, while Mr. Pickwick, and
another japanned candlestick, were conducted through a multitude
of tortuous windings, to another.

'This is your room, sir,' said the chambermaid.

'Very well,' replied Mr. Pickwick, looking round him. It was a
tolerably large double-bedded room, with a fire; upon the whole,
a more comfortable-looking apartment than Mr. Pickwick's
short experience of the accommodations of the Great White
Horse had led him to expect.

'Nobody sleeps in the other bed, of course,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Oh, no, Sir.'

'Very good. Tell my servant to bring me up some hot water at
half-past eight in the morning, and that I shall not want him any
more to-night.'

'Yes, Sir,' and bidding Mr. Pickwick good-night, the chambermaid
retired, and left him alone.

Mr. Pickwick sat himself down in a chair before the fire, and
fell into a train of rambling meditations. First he thought of his
friends, and wondered when they would join him; then his mind
reverted to Mrs. Martha Bardell; and from that lady it wandered,
by a natural process, to the dingy counting-house of Dodson &
Fogg. From Dodson & Fogg's it flew off at a tangent, to the very
centre of the history of the queer client; and then it came back to
the Great White Horse at Ipswich, with sufficient clearness to
convince Mr. Pickwick that he was falling asleep. So he roused
himself, and began to undress, when he recollected he had left his
watch on the table downstairs.

Now this watch was a special favourite with Mr. Pickwick,


having been carried about, beneath the shadow of his waistcoat,
for a greater number of years than we feel called upon to state at
present. The possibility of going to sleep, unless it were ticking
gently beneath his pillow, or in the watch-pocket over his head,
had never entered Mr. Pickwick's brain. So as it was pretty late
now, and he was unwilling to ring his bell at that hour of the
night, he slipped on his coat, of which he had just divested
himself, and taking the japanned candlestick in his hand, walked
quietly downstairs.
The more stairs Mr. Pickwick went down, the more stairs
there seemed to be to descend, and again and again, when Mr.
Pickwick got into some narrow passage, and began to congratulate
himself on having gained the ground-floor, did another flight
of stairs appear before his astonished eyes. At last he reached a
stone hall, which he remembered to have seen when he entered
the house. Passage after passage did he explore; room after room
did he peep into; at length, as he was on the point of giving up the
search in despair, he opened the door of the identical room in
which he had spent the evening, and beheld his missing property
on the table.

Mr. Pickwick seized the watch in triumph, and proceeded to
retrace his steps to his bedchamber. If his progress downward had
been attended with difficulties and uncertainty, his journey back
was infinitely more perplexing. Rows of doors, garnished with
boots of every shape, make, and size, branched off in every
possible direction. A dozen times did he softly turn the handle of
some bedroom door which resembled his own, when a gruff cry
from within of 'Who the devil's that?' or 'What do you want
here?' caused him to steal away, on tiptoe, with a perfectly
marvellous celerity. He was reduced to the verge of despair, when
an open door attracted his attention. He peeped in. Right at last!
There were the two beds, whose situation he perfectly remembered,
and the fire still burning. His candle, not a long one when he
first received it, had flickered away in the drafts of air through
which he had passed and sank into the socket as he closed the
door after him. 'No matter,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'I can undress
myself just as well by the light of the fire.'

The bedsteads stood one on each side of the door; and on the
inner side of each was a little path, terminating in a rushbottomed
chair, just wide enough to admit of a person's getting
into or out of bed, on that side, if he or she thought proper.
Having carefully drawn the curtains of his bed on the outside,
Mr. Pickwick sat down on the rush-bottomed chair, and leisurely
divested himself of his shoes and gaiters. He then took off and
folded up his coat, waistcoat, and neckcloth, and slowly drawing
on his tasselled nightcap, secured it firmly on his head, by tying
beneath his chin the strings which he always had attached to that
article of dress. It was at this moment that the absurdity of his
recent bewilderment struck upon his mind. Throwing himself
back in the rush-bottomed chair, Mr. Pickwick laughed to
himself so heartily, that it would have been quite delightful to
any man of well-constituted mind to have watched the smiles
that expanded his amiable features as they shone forth from
beneath the nightcap.

'It is the best idea,' said Mr. Pickwick to himself, smiling till he
almost cracked the nightcap strings--'it is the best idea, my
losing myself in this place, and wandering about these staircases,
that I ever heard of. Droll, droll, very droll.' Here Mr. Pickwick
smiled again, a broader smile than before, and was about to
continue the process of undressing, in the best possible humour,
when he was suddenly stopped by a most unexpected interruption:


to wit, the entrance into the room of some person with a
candle, who, after locking the door, advanced to the dressingtable,
and set down the light upon it.

The smile that played on Mr. Pickwick's features was
instantaneously lost in a look of the most unbounded and wonderstricken
surprise. The person, whoever it was, had come in so
suddenly and with so little noise, that Mr. Pickwick had had no
time to call out, or oppose their entrance. Who could it be? A
robber? Some evil-minded person who had seen him come
upstairs with a handsome watch in his hand, perhaps. What was
he to do?

The only way in which Mr. Pickwick could catch a glimpse of
his mysterious visitor with the least danger of being seen himself,
was by creeping on to the bed, and peeping out from between the
curtains on the opposite side. To this manoeuvre he accordingly
resorted. Keeping the curtains carefully closed with his hand, so
that nothing more of him could be seen than his face and nightcap,
and putting on his spectacles, he mustered up courage and
looked out.

Mr. Pickwick almost fainted with horror and dismay. Standing
before the dressing-glass was a middle-aged lady, in yellow curlpapers,
busily engaged in brushing what ladies call their 'backhair.'
However the unconscious middle-aged lady came into that
room, it was quite clear that she contemplated remaining there
for the night; for she had brought a rushlight and shade with her,
which, with praiseworthy precaution against fire, she had
stationed in a basin on the floor, where it was glimmering away,
like a gigantic lighthouse in a particularly small piece of water.

'Bless my soul!' thought Mr. Pickwick, 'what a dreadful thing!'

'Hem!' said the lady; and in went Mr. Pickwick's head with
automaton-like rapidity.

'I never met with anything so awful as this,' thought poor
Mr. Pickwick, the cold perspiration starting in drops upon his
nightcap. 'Never. This is fearful.'

It was quite impossible to resist the urgent desire to see what
was going forward. So out went Mr. Pickwick's head again. The
prospect was worse than before. The middle-aged lady had
finished arranging her hair; had carefully enveloped it in a muslin
nightcap with a small plaited border; and was gazing pensively
on the fire.

'This matter is growing alarming,' reasoned Mr. Pickwick with
himself. 'I can't allow things to go on in this way. By the selfpossession
of that lady, it is clear to me that I must have come
into the wrong room. If I call out she'll alarm the house; but if I
remain here the consequences will be still more frightful.'
Mr. Pickwick, it is quite unnecessary to say, was one of the
most modest and delicate-minded of mortals. The very idea of
exhibiting his nightcap to a lady overpowered him, but he had
tied those confounded strings in a knot, and, do what he would,
he couldn't get it off. The disclosure must be made. There was
only one other way of doing it. He shrunk behind the curtains,
and called out very loudly-


'Ha-hum!'

That the lady started at this unexpected sound was evident, by


her falling up against the rushlight shade; that she persuaded
herself it must have been the effect of imagination was equally
clear, for when Mr. Pickwick, under the impression that she had
fainted away stone-dead with fright, ventured to peep out again,
she was gazing pensively on the fire as before.

'Most extraordinary female this,' thought Mr. Pickwick,
popping in again. 'Ha-hum!'

These last sounds, so like those in which, as legends inform us,
the ferocious giant Blunderbore was in the habit of expressing his
opinion that it was time to lay the cloth, were too distinctly
audible to be again mistaken for the workings of fancy.

'Gracious Heaven!' said the middle-aged lady, 'what's that?'

'It's-- it's--only a gentleman, ma'am,' said Mr. Pickwick, from
behind the curtains.

'A gentleman!' said the lady, with a terrific scream.

'It's all over!' thought Mr. Pickwick.

'A strange man!' shrieked the lady. Another instant and the
house would be alarmed. Her garments rustled as she rushed
towards the door.

'Ma'am,' said Mr. Pickwick, thrusting out his head. in the
extremity of his desperation, 'ma'am!'

Now, although Mr. Pickwick was not actuated by any definite
object in putting out his head, it was instantaneously productive
of a good effect. The lady, as we have already stated, was near the
door. She must pass it, to reach the staircase, and she would most
undoubtedly have done so by this time, had not the sudden
apparition of Mr. Pickwick's nightcap driven her back into the
remotest corner of the apartment, where she stood staring wildly
at Mr. Pickwick, while Mr. Pickwick in his turn stared wildly
at her.

'Wretch,' said the lady, covering her eyes with her hands,
'what do you want here?'

'Nothing, ma'am; nothing whatever, ma'am,' said Mr.
Pickwick earnestly.

'Nothing!' said the lady, looking up.

'Nothing, ma'am, upon my honour,' said Mr. Pickwick,
nodding his head so energetically, that the tassel of his nightcap
danced again. 'I am almost ready to sink, ma'am, beneath the
confusion of addressing a lady in my nightcap (here the lady
hastily snatched off hers), but I can't get it off, ma'am (here Mr.
Pickwick gave it a tremendous tug, in proof of the statement). It
is evident to me, ma'am, now, that I have mistaken this bedroom
for my own. I had not been here five minutes, ma'am, when you
suddenly entered it.'

'If this improbable story be really true, Sir,' said the lady,
sobbing violently, 'you will leave it instantly.'

'I will, ma'am, with the greatest pleasure,' replied Mr. Pickwick.

'Instantly, sir,' said the lady.


'Certainly, ma'am,' interposed Mr. Pickwick, very quickly.
'Certainly, ma'am. I--I--am very sorry, ma'am,' said Mr.
Pickwick, making his appearance at the bottom of the bed, 'to
have been the innocent occasion of this alarm and emotion;
deeply sorry, ma'am.'

The lady pointed to the door. One excellent quality of Mr.
Pickwick's character was beautifully displayed at this moment,
under the most trying circumstances. Although he had hastily
Put on his hat over his nightcap, after the manner of the old
patrol; although he carried his shoes and gaiters in his hand, and
his coat and waistcoat over his arm; nothing could subdue his
native politeness.

'I am exceedingly sorry, ma'am,' said Mr. Pickwick, bowing
very low.

'If you are, Sir, you will at once leave the room,' said the lady.

'Immediately, ma'am; this instant, ma'am,' said Mr. Pickwick,
opening the door, and dropping both his shoes with a crash in so doing.

'I trust, ma'am,' resumed Mr. Pickwick, gathering up his shoes,
and turning round to bow again--'I trust, ma'am, that my
unblemished character, and the devoted respect I entertain for your
sex, will plead as some slight excuse for this--' But before Mr.
Pickwick could conclude the sentence, the lady had thrust him
into the passage, and locked and bolted the door behind him.

Whatever grounds of self-congratulation Mr. Pickwick might
have for having escaped so quietly from his late awkward
situation, his present position was by no means enviable. He was
alone, in an open passage, in a strange house in the middle of the
night, half dressed; it was not to be supposed that he could find
his way in perfect darkness to a room which he had been wholly
unable to discover with a light, and if he made the slightest noise
in his fruitless attempts to do so, he stood every chance of being
shot at, and perhaps killed, by some wakeful traveller. He had no
resource but to remain where he was until daylight appeared. So
after groping his way a few paces down the passage, and, to his
infinite alarm, stumbling over several pairs of boots in so doing,
Mr. Pickwick crouched into a little recess in the wall, to wait for
morning, as philosophically as he might.

He was not destined, however, to undergo this additional trial
of patience; for he had not been long ensconced in his present
concealment when, to his unspeakable horror, a man, bearing a
light, appeared at the end of the passage. His horror was suddenly
converted into joy, however, when he recognised the form of his
faithful attendant. It was indeed Mr. Samuel Weller, who after
sitting up thus late, in conversation with the boots, who was
sitting up for the mail, was now about to retire to rest.

'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, suddenly appearing before him,
'where's my bedroom?'

Mr. Weller stared at his master with the most emphatic
surprise; and it was not until the question had been repeated
three several times, that he turned round, and led the way to the
long-sought apartment.

'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, as he got into bed, 'I have made one
of the most extraordinary mistakes to-night, that ever were


heard of.'

'Wery likely, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller drily.

'But of this I am determined, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'that if
I were to stop in this house for six months, I would never trust
myself about it, alone, again.'

'That's the wery prudentest resolution as you could come to,
Sir,' replied Mr. Weller. 'You rayther want somebody to look
arter you, Sir, when your judgment goes out a wisitin'.'

'What do you mean by that, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick. He
raised himself in bed, and extended his hand, as if he were about
to say something more; but suddenly checking himself, turned
round, and bade his valet 'Good-night.'

'Good-night, Sir,' replied Mr. Weller. He paused when he got
outside the door--shook his head--walked on--stopped-snuffed
the candle--shook his head again--and finally proceeded
slowly to his chamber, apparently buried in the profoundest meditation.

CHAPTER XXIII

IN WHICH Mr. SAMUEL WELLER BEGINS TO DEVOTE HIS
ENERGIES TO THE RETURN MATCH BETWEEN HIMSELF
AND Mr. TROTTER

In a small room in the vicinity of the stableyard, betimes in the
morning, which was ushered in by Mr. Pickwick's adventure with the
middle--aged lady in the yellow curl-papers, sat Mr. Weller, senior,
preparing himself for his journey to London. He was sitting in an
excellent attitude for having his portrait taken; and here it is.

It is very possible that at some earlier period of his career,
Mr. Weller's profile might have presented a bold and determined
outline. His face, however, had expanded under the influence of
good living, and a disposition remarkable for resignation; and its
bold, fleshy curves had so far extended beyond the limits originally
assigned them, that unless you took a full view of his countenance
in front, it was difficult to distinguish more than the extreme tip
of a very rubicund nose. His chin, from the same cause, had
acquired the grave and imposing form which is generally
described by prefixing the word 'double' to that expressive
feature; and his complexion exhibited that peculiarly mottled
combination of colours which is only to be seen in gentlemen of
his profession, and in underdone roast beef. Round his neck he
wore a crimson travelling-shawl, which merged into his chin by
such imperceptible gradations, that it was difficult to distinguish
the folds of the one, from the folds of the other. Over this, he
mounted a long waistcoat of a broad pink-striped pattern, and
over that again, a wide-skirted green coat, ornamented with large
brass buttons, whereof the two which garnished the waist, were
so far apart, that no man had ever beheld them both at the same
time. His hair, which was short, sleek, and black, was just visible
beneath the capacious brim of a low-crowned brown hat. His legs
were encased in knee-cord breeches, and painted top-boots; and a
copper watch-chain, terminating in one seal, and a key of the
same material, dangled loosely from his capacious waistband.

We have said that Mr. Weller was engaged in preparing for his
journey to London--he was taking sustenance, in fact. On the
table before him, stood a pot of ale, a cold round of beef, and a


very respectable-looking loaf, to each of which he distributed his
favours in turn, with the most rigid impartiality. He had just cut
a mighty slice from the latter, when the footsteps of somebody
entering the room, caused him to raise his head; and he beheld
his son.

'Mornin', Sammy!' said the father.

The son walked up to the pot of ale, and nodding significantly
to his parent, took a long draught by way of reply.

'Wery good power o' suction, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller the
elder, looking into the pot, when his first-born had set it down
half empty. 'You'd ha' made an uncommon fine oyster, Sammy,
if you'd been born in that station o' life.'

'Yes, I des-say, I should ha' managed to pick up a respectable
livin',' replied Sam applying himself to the cold beef, with
considerable vigour.

'I'm wery sorry, Sammy,' said the elder Mr. Weller, shaking
up the ale, by describing small circles with the pot, preparatory
to drinking. 'I'm wery sorry, Sammy, to hear from your lips, as
you let yourself be gammoned by that 'ere mulberry man. I
always thought, up to three days ago, that the names of Veller
and gammon could never come into contract, Sammy, never.'

'Always exceptin' the case of a widder, of course,' said Sam.

'Widders, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller, slightly changing
colour. 'Widders are 'ceptions to ev'ry rule. I have heerd how
many ordinary women one widder's equal to in pint o' comin'
over you. I think it's five-and-twenty, but I don't rightly know
vether it ain't more.'

'Well; that's pretty well,' said Sam.

'Besides,' continued Mr. Weller, not noticing the interruption,
'that's a wery different thing. You know what the counsel said,
Sammy, as defended the gen'l'm'n as beat his wife with the poker,
venever he got jolly. And arter allmy Lord says he, it's a
amiable weakness." So I says respectin' widdersSammyand so
you'll sayven you gets as old as me.'

'I ought to ha' know'd betterI know' said Sam.

'Ought to ha' know'd better!' repeated Mr. Wellerstriking the
table with his fist. 'Ought to ha' know'd better! whyI know a
young 'un as hasn't had half nor quarter your eddication--as
hasn't slept about the marketsnonot six months--who'd ha'
scorned to be let inin such a vay; scorned itSammy.' In the
excitement of feeling produced by this agonising reflectionMr.
Weller rang the belland ordered an additional pint of ale.

'Wellit's no use talking about it now' said Sam. 'It's over
and can't be helpedand that's one consolationas they always
says in Turkeyven they cuts the wrong man's head off. It's my
innings nowgov'norand as soon as I catches hold o' this 'ere
TrotterI'll have a good 'un.'

'I hope you willSammy. I hope you will' returned Mr. Weller.
'Here's your healthSammyand may you speedily vipe off the
disgrace as you've inflicted on the family name.' In honour of
this toast Mr. Weller imbibed at a draughtat least two-thirds of


a newly-arrived pintand handed it over to his sonto dispose of
the remainderwhich he instantaneously did.


'And nowSammy' said Mr. Wellerconsulting a large double-
faced silver watch that hung at the end of the copper chain.
'Now it's time I was up at the office to get my vay-bill and see the
coach loaded; for coachesSammyis like guns--they requires
to be loaded with wery great careafore they go off.'


At this parental and professional jokeMr. Wellerjunior
smiled a filial smile. His revered parent continued in a solemn tone--


'I'm a-goin' to leave youSamivelmy boyand there's no
telling ven I shall see you again. Your mother-in-law may ha'
been too much for meor a thousand things may have happened
by the time you next hears any news o' the celebrated Mr. Veller
o' the Bell Savage. The family name depends wery much upon
youSamiveland I hope you'll do wot's right by it. Upon all
little pints o' breedin'I know I may trust you as vell as if it was
my own self. So I've only this here one little bit of adwice to give
you. If ever you gets to up'ards o' fiftyand feels disposed to go
a-marryin' anybody--no matter who--jist you shut yourself up
in your own roomif you've got oneand pison yourself off hand.
Hangin's wulgarso don't you have nothin' to say to that. Pison
yourselfSamivelmy boypison yourselfand you'll be glad on
it arterwards.' With these affecting wordsMr. Weller looked
steadfastly on his sonand turning slowly upon his heel
disappeared from his sight.


In the contemplative mood which these words had awakened
Mr. Samuel Weller walked forth from the Great White Horse
when his father had left him; and bending his steps towards St.
Clement's Churchendeavoured to dissipate his melancholyby
strolling among its ancient precincts. He had loitered aboutfor
some timewhen he found himself in a retired spot--a kind of
courtyard of venerable appearance--which he discovered had no
other outlet than the turning by which he had entered. He was
about retracing his stepswhen he was suddenly transfixed to the
spot by a sudden appearance; and the mode and manner of this
appearancewe now proceed to relate.


Mr. Samuel Weller had been staring up at the old brick houses
now and thenin his deep abstractionbestowing a wink upon
some healthy-looking servant girl as she drew up a blindor
threw open a bedroom windowwhen the green gate of a garden
at the bottom of the yard openedand a man having emerged
therefromclosed the green gate very carefully after himand
walked briskly towards the very spot where Mr. Weller was standing.


Nowtaking thisas an isolated factunaccompanied by any
attendant circumstancesthere was nothing very extraordinary in
it; because in many parts of the world men do come out of
gardensclose green gates after themand even walk briskly
awaywithout attracting any particular share of public observation.
It is clearthereforethat there must have been something in
the manor in his manneror bothto attract Mr. Weller's
particular notice. Whether there wasor notwe must leave the
reader to determinewhen we have faithfully recorded the
behaviour of the individual in question.


When the man had shut the green gate after himhe walked
as we have said twice alreadywith a brisk pace up the courtyard;
but he no sooner caught sight of Mr. Weller than he falteredand
stoppedas if uncertainfor the momentwhat course to adopt.



As the green gate was closed behind himand there was no other
outlet but the one in fronthoweverhe was not long in perceiving
that he must pass Mr. Samuel Weller to get away. He therefore
resumed his brisk paceand advancedstaring straight before
him. The most extraordinary thing about the man wasthat he
was contorting his face into the most fearful and astonishing
grimaces that ever were beheld. Nature's handiwork never was
disguised with such extraordinary artificial carvingas the man
had overlaid his countenance with in one moment.

'Well!' said Mr. Weller to himselfas the man approached.
'This is wery odd. I could ha' swore it was him.'

Up came the manand his face became more frightfully
distorted than everas he drew nearer.

'I could take my oath to that 'ere black hair and mulberry suit'
said Mr. Weller; 'only I never see such a face as that afore.'

As Mr. Weller said thisthe man's features assumed an
unearthly twingeperfectly hideous. He was obliged to pass very
near Samhoweverand the scrutinising glance of that gentleman
enabled him to detectunder all these appalling twists of feature
something too like the small eyes of Mr. Job Trotter to be
easily mistaken.

'Holloyou Sir!' shouted Sam fiercely.

The stranger stopped.

'Hollo!' repeated Samstill more gruffly.

The man with the horrible face lookedwith the greatest
surpriseup the courtand down the courtand in at the windows
of the houses--everywhere but at Sam Weller--and took another
step forwardwhen he was brought to again by another shout.

'Holloyou sir!' said Samfor the third time.

There was no pretending to mistake where the voice came
from nowso the strangerhaving no other resourceat last
looked Sam Weller full in the face.

'It won't doJob Trotter' said Sam. 'Come! None o' that 'ere
nonsense. You ain't so wery 'andsome that you can afford to
throw avay many o' your good looks. Bring them 'ere eyes o'
yourn back into their proper placesor I'll knock 'em out of
your head. D'ye hear?'

As Mr. Weller appeared fully disposed to act up to the spirit of
this addressMr. Trotter gradually allowed his face to resume its
natural expression; and then giving a start of joyexclaimed
'What do I see? Mr. Walker!'

'Ah' replied Sam. 'You're wery glad to see meain't you?'

'Glad!' exclaimed Job Trotter; 'ohMr. Walkerif you had but
known how I have looked forward to this meeting! It is too
muchMr. Walker; I cannot bear itindeed I cannot.' And with
these wordsMr. Trotter burst into a regular inundation of tears
andflinging his arms around those of Mr. Wellerembraced him
closelyin an ecstasy of joy.

'Get off!' cried Samindignant at this processand vainly


endeavouring to extricate himself from the grasp of his
enthusiastic acquaintance. 'Get offI tell you. What are you crying
over me foryou portable engine?'

'Because I am so glad to see you' replied Job Trottergradually
releasing Mr. Welleras the first symptoms of his pugnacity
disappeared. 'OhMr. Walkerthis is too much.'

'Too much!' echoed Sam'I think it is too much--rayther!
Nowwhat have you got to say to meeh?'

Mr. Trotter made no reply; for the little pink pocket-handkerchief
was in full force.

'What have you got to say to meafore I knock your head off?'
repeated Mr. Wellerin a threatening manner.

'Eh!' said Mr. Trotterwith a look of virtuous surprise.

'What have you got to say to me?'

'IMr. Walker!'

'Don't call me Valker; my name's Veller; you know that vell
enough. What have you got to say to me?'

'Bless youMr. Walker--WellerI mean--a great many things
if you will come away somewherewhere we can talk comfortably.
If you knew how I have looked for youMr. Weller--'

'Wery hardindeedI s'pose?' said Sam drily.

'VeryverySir' replied Mr. Trotterwithout moving a muscle
of his face. 'But shake handsMr. Weller.'

Sam eyed his companion for a few secondsand thenas if
actuated by a sudden impulsecomplied with his request.
'How' said Job Trotteras they walked away'how is your
deargood master? Ohhe is a worthy gentlemanMr. Weller!
I hope he didn't catch coldthat dreadful nightSir.'

There was a momentary look of deep slyness in Job Trotter's
eyeas he said thiswhich ran a thrill through Mr. Weller's
clenched fistas he burned with a desire to make a demonstration
on his ribs. Sam constrained himselfhoweverand replied that
his master was extremely well.

'OhI am so glad' replied Mr. Trotter; 'is he here?'

'Is yourn?' asked Samby way of reply.

'Ohyeshe is hereand I grieve to sayMr. Wellerhe is going
on worse than ever.'

'Ahah!' said Sam.

'Ohshocking--terrible!'

'At a boarding-school?' said Sam.

'Nonot at a boarding-school' replied Job Trotterwith the
same sly look which Sam had noticed before; 'not at a
boarding-school.'


'At the house with the green gate?' said Sameyeing his
companion closely.

'Nono--ohnot there' replied Jobwith a quickness very
unusual to him'not there.'

'What was you a-doin' there?' asked Samwith a sharp glance.
'Got inside the gate by accidentperhaps?'

'WhyMr. Weller' replied Job'I don't mind telling you my
little secretsbecauseyou knowwe took such a fancy for each
other when we first met. You recollect how pleasant we were
that morning?'

'Ohyes' said Samimpatiently. 'I remember. Well?'

'Well' replied Jobspeaking with great precisionand in the
low tone of a man who communicates an important secret; 'in
that house with the green gateMr. Wellerthey keep a good
many servants.'

'So I should thinkfrom the look on it' interposed Sam.

'Yes' continued Mr. Trotter'and one of them is a cookwho
has saved up a little moneyMr. Wellerand is desirousif she
can establish herself in lifeto open a little shop in the chandlery
wayyou see.'
'Yes.'

'YesMr. Weller. WellSirI met her at a chapel that I go to; a
very neat little chapel in this townMr. Wellerwhere they sing
the number four collection of hymnswhich I generally carry
about with mein a little bookwhich you may perhaps have seen
in my hand--and I got a little intimate with herMr. Wellerand
from thatan acquaintance sprung up between usand I may
venture to sayMr. Wellerthat I am to be the chandler.'

'Ahand a wery amiable chandler you'll make' replied Sam
eyeing Job with a side look of intense dislike.

'The great advantage of thisMr. Weller' continued Jobhis
eyes filling with tears as he spoke'will bethat I shall be able to
leave my present disgraceful service with that bad manand to
devote myself to a better and more virtuous life; more like the
way in which I was brought upMr. Weller.'

'You must ha' been wery nicely brought up' said Sam.

'OhveryMr. Wellervery' replied Job. At the recollection
of the purity of his youthful daysMr. Trotter pulled forth the
pink handkerchiefand wept copiously.

'You must ha' been an uncommon nice boyto go to school
vith' said Sam.

'I wassir' replied Jobheaving a deep sigh; 'I was the idol of
the place.'

'Ah' said Sam'I don't wonder at it. What a comfort you
must ha' been to your blessed mother.'

At these wordsMr. Job Trotter inserted an end of the pink
handkerchief into the corner of each eyeone after the otherand
began to weep copiously.


'Wot's the matter with the man' said Samindignantly.
'Chelsea water-works is nothin' to you. What are you melting
vith now? The consciousness o' willainy?'

'I cannot keep my feelings downMr. Weller' said Jobafter a
short pause. 'To think that my master should have suspected the
conversation I had with yoursand so dragged me away in a
post-chaiseand after persuading the sweet young lady to say she
knew nothing of himand bribing the school-mistress to do the
samedeserted her for a better speculation! Oh! Mr. Wellerit
makes me shudder.'

'Ohthat was the vaywas it?' said Mr. Weller.

'To be sure it was' replied Job.

'Vell' said Samas they had now arrived near the hotel'I vant
to have a little bit o' talk with youJob; so if you're not partickler
engagedI should like to see you at the Great White Horse to-
nightsomewheres about eight o'clock.'

'I shall be sure to come' said Job.

'Yesyou'd better' replied Samwith a very meaning look'or
else I shall perhaps be askin' arter youat the other side of the
green gateand then I might cut you outyou know.'

'I shall be sure to be with yousir' said Mr. Trotter;
and wringing Sam's hand with the utmost fervourhe walked away.

'Take careJob Trottertake care' said Samlooking after
him'or I shall be one too many for you this time. I shall
indeed.' Having uttered this soliloquyand looked after Job till
he was to be seen no moreMr. Weller made the best of his way
to his master's bedroom.

'It's all in trainingSir' said Sam.

'What's in trainingSam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'I've found 'em outSir' said Sam.

'Found out who?'

'That 'ere queer customerand the melan-cholly chap with the
black hair.'

'ImpossibleSam!' said Mr. Pickwickwith the greatest energy.
'Where are theySam: where are they?'

'Hushhush!' replied Mr. Weller; and as he assisted Mr.
Pickwick to dresshe detailed the plan of action on which he
proposed to enter.

'But when is this to be doneSam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'All in good timeSir' replied Sam.

Whether it was done in good timeor notwill be seen hereafter.

CHAPTER XXIV


WHEREIN Mr. PETER MAGNUS GROWS JEALOUSAND THE
MIDDLE-AGED LADY APPREHENSIVEWHICH BRINGS THE
PICKWICKIANS WITHIN THE GRASP OF THE LAW

When Mr. Pickwick descended to the room in which he and Mr. Peter
Magnus had spent the preceding eveninghe found that gentleman with
the major part of the contents of the two bagsthe leathern hat-box
and the brown-paper parceldisplaying to all possible advantage
on his personwhile he himself was pacing up and down the room in
a state of the utmost excitement and agitation.


'Good-morningSir' said Mr. Peter Magnus. 'What do you
think of thisSir?'


'Very effective indeed' replied Mr. Pickwicksurveying the
garments of Mr. Peter Magnus with a good-natured smile.


'YesI think it'll do' said Mr. Magnus. 'Mr. PickwickSirI
have sent up my card.'


'Have you?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'And the waiter brought back wordthat she would see me at
eleven--at elevenSir; it only wants a quarter now.'


'Very near the time' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Yesit is rather near' replied Mr. Magnus'rather too near to
be pleasant--eh! Mr. Pickwicksir?'


'Confidence is a great thing in these cases' observed Mr. Pickwick.


'I believe it isSir' said Mr. Peter Magnus. 'I am very confident
Sir. ReallyMr. PickwickI do not see why a man should
feel any fear in such a case as thissir. What is itSir? There's
nothing to be ashamed of; it's a matter of mutual accommodation
nothing more. Husband on one sidewife on the other. That's
my view of the matterMr. Pickwick.'


'It is a very philosophical one' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'But
breakfast is waitingMr. Magnus. Come.'


Down they sat to breakfastbut it was evidentnotwithstanding
the boasting of Mr. Peter Magnusthat he laboured
under a very considerable degree of nervousnessof which loss of
appetitea propensity to upset the tea-thingsa spectral attempt
at drolleryand an irresistible inclination to look at the clock
every other secondwere among the principal symptoms.


'He-he-he'tittered Mr. Magnusaffecting cheerfulnessand
gasping with agitation. 'It only wants two minutesMr. Pickwick.
Am I paleSir?'
'Not very' replied Mr. Pickwick.


There was a brief pause.


'I beg your pardonMr. Pickwick; but have you ever done this
sort of thing in your time?' said Mr. Magnus.


'You mean proposing?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes.'


'Never' said Mr. Pickwickwith great energy'never.'



'You have no ideathenhow it's best to begin?' said Mr. Magnus.


'Why' said Mr. Pickwick'I may have formed some ideas
upon the subjectbutas I have never submitted them to the test
of experienceI should be sorry if you were induced to regulate
your proceedings by them.'


'I should feel very much obliged to youfor any adviceSir'
said Mr. Magnustaking another look at the clockthe hand of
which was verging on the five minutes past.


'Wellsir' said Mr. Pickwickwith the profound solemnity
with which that great man couldwhen he pleasedrender his
remarks so deeply impressive. 'I should commencesirwith a
tribute to the lady's beauty and excellent qualities; from them
SirI should diverge to my own unworthiness.'


'Very good' said Mr. Magnus.


'Unworthiness for HER onlymindsir' resumed Mr. Pickwick;
'for to show that I was not wholly unworthysirI should take a
brief review of my past lifeand present condition. I should argue
by analogythat to anybody elseI must be a very desirable
object. I should then expatiate on the warmth of my loveand
the depth of my devotion. Perhaps I might then be tempted to
seize her hand.'


'YesI see' said Mr. Magnus; 'that would be a very great point.'


'I should thenSir' continued Mr. Pickwickgrowing warmer
as the subject presented itself in more glowing colours before
him--'I should thenSircome to the plain and simple question
Will you have me?I think I am justified in assuming that
upon thisshe would turn away her head.'


'You think that may be taken for granted?' said Mr. Magnus;
'becauseif she did not do that at the right placeit would
be embarrassing.'


'I think she would' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Upon thissirI
should squeeze her handand I think--I thinkMr. Magnus--
that after I had done thatsupposing there was no refusalI
should gently draw away the handkerchiefwhich my slight
knowledge of human nature leads me to suppose the lady would
be applying to her eyes at the momentand steal a respectful kiss.
I think I should kiss herMr. Magnus; and at this particular
pointI am decidedly of opinion that if the lady were going to
take me at allshe would murmur into my ears a bashful acceptance.'


Mr. Magnus started; gazed on Mr. Pickwick's intelligent face
for a short time in silence; and then (the dial pointing to the ten
minutes past) shook him warmly by the handand rushed
desperately from the room.


Mr. Pickwick had taken a few strides to and fro; and the small
hand of the clock following the latter part of his examplehad
arrived at the figure which indicates the half-hourwhen the door
suddenly opened. He turned round to meet Mr. Peter Magnus
and encounteredin his steadthe joyous face of Mr. Tupman
the serene countenance of Mr. Winkleand the intellectual
lineaments of Mr. Snodgrass. As Mr. Pickwick greeted them
Mr. Peter Magnus tripped into the room.



'My friendsthe gentleman I was speaking of--Mr. Magnus'
said Mr. Pickwick.


'Your servantgentlemen' said Mr. Magnusevidently in a
high state of excitement; 'Mr. Pickwickallow me to speak to you
one momentsir.'


As he said thisMr. Magnus harnessed his forefinger to Mr.
Pickwick's buttonholeanddrawing him to a window recesssaid--


'Congratulate meMr. Pickwick; I followed your advice to the
very letter.'


'And it was all correctwas it?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'It wasSir. Could not possibly have been better' replied Mr.
Magnus. 'Mr. Pickwickshe is mine.'


'I congratulate youwith all my heart' replied Mr. Pickwick
warmly shaking his new friend by the hand.


'You must see her. Sir' said Mr. Magnus; 'this wayif you
please. Excuse us for one instantgentlemen.' Hurrying on in
this wayMr. Peter Magnus drew Mr. Pickwick from the room.
He paused at the next door in the passageand tapped gently thereat.


'Come in' said a female voice. And in they went.


'Miss Witherfield' said Mr. Magnus'allow me to introduce
my very particular friendMr. Pickwick. Mr. PickwickI beg to
make you known to Miss Witherfield.'


The lady was at the upper end of the room. As Mr. Pickwick
bowedhe took his spectacles from his waistcoat pocketand put
them on; a process which he had no sooner gone throughthan
uttering an exclamation of surpriseMr. Pickwick retreated
several pacesand the ladywith a half-suppressed screamhid
her face in her handsand dropped into a chair; whereupon
Mr. Peter Magnus was stricken motionless on the spotand gazed
from one to the otherwith a countenance expressive of the
extremities of horror and surprise.
This certainly wasto all appearancevery unaccountable
behaviour; but the fact isthat Mr. Pickwick no sooner put on
his spectaclesthan he at once recognised in the future Mrs.
Magnus the lady into whose room he had so unwarrantably
intruded on the previous night; and the spectacles had no sooner
crossed Mr. Pickwick's nosethan the lady at once identified the
countenance which she had seen surrounded by all the horrors of
a nightcap. So the lady screamedand Mr. Pickwick started.


'Mr. Pickwick!' exclaimed Mr. Magnuslost in astonishment
'what is the meaning of thisSir? What is the meaning of itSir?'
added Mr. Magnusin a threateningand a louder tone.


'Sir' said Mr. Pickwicksomewhat indignant at the very sudden
manner in which Mr. Peter Magnus had conjugated himself into
the imperative mood'I decline answering that question.'


'You decline itSir?' said Mr. Magnus.


'I doSir' replied Mr. Pickwick; 'I object to say anything
which may compromise that ladyor awaken unpleasant recollections
in her breastwithout her consent and permission.'



'Miss Witherfield' said Mr. Peter Magnus'do you know this person?'

'Know him!' repeated the middle-aged ladyhesitating.

'Yesknow himma'am; I said know him' replied Mr.
Magnuswith ferocity.

'I have seen him' replied the middle-aged lady.

'Where?' inquired Mr. Magnus'where?'

'That' said the middle-aged ladyrising from her seatand
averting her head--'that I would not reveal for worlds.'

'I understand youma'am' said Mr. Pickwick'and respect
your delicacy; it shall never be revealed by ME depend upon it.'

'Upon my wordma'am' said Mr. Magnus'considering the
situation in which I am placed with regard to yourselfyou carry
this matter off with tolerable coolness--tolerable coolnessma'am.'

'Cruel Mr. Magnus!' said the middle-aged lady; here she wept
very copiously indeed.

'Address your observations to mesir' interposed Mr. Pickwick;
'I alone am to blameif anybody be.'

'Oh! you alone are to blameare yousir?' said Mr. Magnus;
'I--I--see through thissir. You repent of your determination
nowdo you?'

'My determination!' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Your determinationSir. Oh! don't stare at meSir' said
Mr. Magnus; 'I recollect your words last nightSir. You came
down heresirto expose the treachery and falsehood of an
individual on whose truth and honour you had placed implicit
reliance--eh?' Here Mr. Peter Magnus indulged in a prolonged
sneer; and taking off his green spectacles--which he probably
found superfluous in his fit of jealousy--rolled his little eyes
aboutin a manner frightful to behold.

'Eh?' said Mr. Magnus; and then he repeated the sneer with
increased effect. 'But you shall answer itSir.'

'Answer what?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Never mindsir' replied Mr. Magnusstriding up and down
the room. 'Never mind.'

There must be something very comprehensive in this phrase of
'Never mind' for we do not recollect to have ever witnessed a
quarrel in the streetat a theatrepublic roomor elsewherein
which it has not been the standard reply to all belligerent inquiries.
'Do you call yourself a gentlemansir?'--'Never mindsir.' 'Did
I offer to say anything to the young womansir?'--'Never mind
sir.' 'Do you want your head knocked up against that wallsir?'
--'Never mindsir.' It is observabletoothat there would appear
to be some hidden taunt in this universal 'Never mind' which
rouses more indignation in the bosom of the individual addressed
than the most lavish abuse could possibly awaken.

We do not mean to assert that the application of this brevity
to himselfstruck exactly that indignation to Mr. Pickwick's


soulwhich it would infallibly have roused in a vulgar breast.
We merely record the fact that Mr. Pickwick opened the room
doorand abruptly called out'Tupmancome here!'

Mr. Tupman immediately presented himselfwith a look of
very considerable surprise.

'Tupman' said Mr. Pickwick'a secret of some delicacyin
which that lady is concernedis the cause of a difference which
has just arisen between this gentleman and myself. When I assure
himin your presencethat it has no relation to himselfand is
not in any way connected with his affairsI need hardly beg you
to take notice that if he continue to dispute ithe expresses a
doubt of my veracitywhich I shall consider extremely insulting.'
As Mr. Pickwick said thishe looked encyclopedias at Mr. Peter
Magnus.

Mr. Pickwick's upright and honourable bearingcoupled with
that force and energy of speech which so eminently distinguished
himwould have carried conviction to any reasonable mind; but
unfortunatelyat that particular momentthe mind of Mr. Peter
Magnus was in anything but reasonable order. Consequently
instead of receiving Mr. Pickwick's explanation as he ought to
have donehe forthwith proceeded to work himself into a redhot
scorchingconsuming passionand to talk about what was
due to his own feelingsand all that sort of thing; adding force to
his declamation by striding to and froand pulling his hair-amusements
which he would vary occasionallyby shaking his
fist in Mr. Pickwick's philanthropic countenance.

Mr. Pickwickin his turnconscious of his own innocence and
rectitudeand irritated by having unfortunately involved the
middle-aged lady in such an unpleasant affairwas not so quietly
disposed as was his wont. The consequence wasthat words ran
highand voices higher; and at length Mr. Magnus told Mr.
Pickwick he should hear from him; to which Mr. Pickwick
repliedwith laudable politenessthat the sooner he heard from
him the better; whereupon the middle-aged lady rushed in
terror from the roomout of which Mr. Tupman dragged Mr.
Pickwickleaving Mr. Peter Magnus to himself and meditation.

If the middle-aged lady had mingled much with the busy world
or had profited at all by the manners and customs of those who
make the laws and set the fashionsshe would have known that
this sort of ferocity is the most harmless thing in nature; but as
she had lived for the most part in the countryand never read the
parliamentary debatesshe was little versed in these particular
refinements of civilised life. Accordinglywhen she had gained
her bedchamberbolted herself inand began to meditate on the
scene she had just witnessedthe most terrific pictures of slaughter
and destruction presented themselves to her imagination; among
whicha full-length portrait of Mr. Peter Magnus borne home
by four menwith the embellishment of a whole barrelful of
bullets in his left sidewas among the very least. The more the
middle-aged lady meditatedthe more terrified she became; and
at length she determined to repair to the house of the principal
magistrate of the townand request him to secure the persons of
Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman without delay.

To this decision the middle-aged lady was impelled by a variety
of considerationsthe chief of which was the incontestable proof
it would afford of her devotion to Mr. Peter Magnusand her
anxiety for his safety. She was too well acquainted with his
jealous temperament to venture the slightest allusion to the real


cause of her agitation on beholding Mr. Pickwick; and she
trusted to her own influence and power of persuasion with the
little manto quell his boisterous jealousysupposing that Mr.
Pickwick were removedand no fresh quarrel could arise. Filled
with these reflectionsthe middle-aged lady arrayed herself in her
bonnet and shawland repaired to the mayor's dwelling straightway.


Now George NupkinsEsquirethe principal magistrate
aforesaidwas as grand a personage as the fastest walker would
find outbetween sunrise and sunseton the twenty-first of June
which beingaccording to the almanacsthe longest day in the
whole yearwould naturally afford him the longest period for his
search. On this particular morningMr. Nupkins was in a state
of the utmost excitement and irritationfor there had been a
rebellion in the town; all the day-scholars at the largest day-
school had conspired to break the windows of an obnoxious
apple-sellerand had hooted the beadle and pelted the
constabulary--an elderly gentleman in top-bootswho had been
called out to repress the tumultand who had been a peace-
officerman and boyfor half a century at least. And Mr. Nupkins
was sitting in his easy-chairfrowning with majestyand boiling
with ragewhen a lady was announced on pressingprivateand
particular business. Mr. Nupkins looked calmly terribleand
commanded that the lady should be shown in; which command
like all the mandates of emperorsand magistratesand other
great potentates of the earthwas forthwith obeyed; and Miss
Witherfieldinterestingly agitatedwas ushered in accordingly.


'Muzzle!' said the magistrate.


Muzzle was an undersized footmanwith a long body and
short legs.


'Muzzle!'
'Yesyour Worship.'


'Place a chairand leave the room.'


'Yesyour Worship.'


'Nowma'amwill you state your business?' said the magistrate.


'It is of a very painful kindSir' said Miss Witherfield.


'Very likelyma'am' said the magistrate. 'Compose your
feelingsma'am.' Here Mr. Nupkins looked benignant. 'And
then tell me what legal business brings you herema'am.' Here
the magistrate triumphed over the man; and he looked stern again.


'It is very distressing to meSirto give this information' said
Miss Witherfield'but I fear a duel is going to be fought here.'


'Herema'am?' said the magistrate. 'Wherema'am?'


'In Ipswich.'
'In Ipswichma'am! A duel in Ipswich!' said the magistrate
perfectly aghast at the notion. 'Impossiblema'am; nothing of the
kind can be contemplated in this townI am persuaded. Bless
my soulma'amare you aware of the activity of our local
magistracy? Do you happen to have heardma'amthat I
rushed into a prize-ring on the fourth of May lastattended by
only sixty special constables; andat the hazard of falling a
sacrifice to the angry passions of an infuriated multitude
prohibited a pugilistic contest between the Middlesex Dumpling and



the Suffolk Bantam? A duel in Ipswichma'am? I don't think--
I do not think' said the magistratereasoning with himself'that
any two men can have had the hardihood to plan such a breach
of the peacein this town.'


'My information isunfortunatelybut too correct' said the
middle-aged lady; 'I was present at the quarrel.'


'It's a most extraordinary thing' said the astounded magistrate.
'Muzzle!'


'Yesyour Worship.'


'Send Mr. Jinks heredirectly! Instantly.'


'Yesyour Worship.'


Muzzle retired; and a palesharp-nosedhalf-fedshabbily-
clad clerkof middle ageentered the room.


'Mr. Jinks' said the magistrate. 'Mr. Jinks.'


'Sir' said Mr. Jinks.
'This ladyMr. Jinkshas come hereto give information of an
intended duel in this town.'


Mr. Jinksnot knowing exactly what to dosmiled a
dependent's smile.


'What are you laughing atMr. Jinks?' said the magistrate.


Mr. Jinks looked serious instantly.


'Mr. Jinks' said the magistrate'you're a fool.'


Mr. Jinks looked humbly at the great manand bit the top of
his pen.


'You may see something very comical in this informationSir--
but I can tell you thisMr. Jinksthat you have very little to
laugh at' said the magistrate.


The hungry-looking Jinks sighedas if he were quite aware of
the fact of his having very little indeed to be merry about; and
being ordered to take the lady's informationshambled to a seat
and proceeded to write it down.


'This manPickwickis the principalI understand?' said the
magistratewhen the statement was finished.


'He is' said the middle-aged lady.


'And the other rioter--what's his nameMr. Jinks?'


'TupmanSir.'
'Tupman is the second?'


'Yes.'


'The other principalyou sayhas abscondedma'am?'


'Yes' replied Miss Witherfieldwith a short cough.


'Very well' said the magistrate. 'These are two cut-throats from



Londonwho have come down here to destroy his Majesty's
populationthinking that at this distance from the capitalthe
arm of the law is weak and paralysed. They shall be made an
example of. Draw up the warrantsMr. Jinks. Muzzle!'


'Yesyour Worship.'


'Is Grummer downstairs?'


'Yesyour Worship.'


'Send him up.'
The obsequious Muzzle retiredand presently returned
introducing the elderly gentleman in the top-bootswho was
chiefly remarkable for a bottle-nosea hoarse voicea snuff-
coloured surtoutand a wandering eye.


'Grummer' said the magistrate.


'Your Wash-up.'


'Is the town quiet now?'


'Pretty wellyour Wash-up' replied Grummer. 'Pop'lar feeling
has in a measure subsidedconsekens o' the boys having
dispersed to cricket.'


'Nothing but vigorous measures will do in these times
Grummer' said the magistratein a determined manner. 'if the
authority of the king's officers is set at naughtwe must have the
riot act read. If the civil power cannot protect these windows
Grummerthe military must protect the civil powerand the
windows too. I believe that is a maxim of the constitution
Mr. Jinks?'
'Certainlysir' said Jinks.


'Very good' said the magistratesigning the warrants.
'Grummeryou will bring these persons before methis afternoon.
You will find them at the Great White Horse. You recollect the
case of the Middlesex Dumpling and the Suffolk BantamGrummer?'


Mr. Grummer intimatedby a retrospective shake of the head
that he should never forget it--as indeed it was not likely he
wouldso long as it continued to be cited daily.


'This is even more unconstitutional' said the magistrate; 'this
is even a greater breach of the peaceand a grosser infringement
of his Majesty's prerogative. I believe duelling is one of his
Majesty's most undoubted prerogativesMr. Jinks?'


'Expressly stipulated in Magna Chartasir' said Mr. Jinks.


'One of the brightest jewels in the British crownwrung from
his Majesty by the baronsI believeMr. Jinks?' said the
magistrate.


'Just soSir' replied Mr. Jinks.


'Very well' said the magistratedrawing himself up proudly
'it shall not be violated in this portion of his dominions. Grummer
procure assistanceand execute these warrants with as little
delay as possible. Muzzle!'


'Yesyour Worship.'



'Show the lady out.'


Miss Witherfield retireddeeply impressed with the magistrate's
learning and research; Mr. Nupkins retired to lunch;
Mr. Jinks retired within himself--that being the only retirement
he hadexcept the sofa-bedstead in the small parlour which was
occupied by his landlady's family in the daytime--and Mr.
Grummer retiredto wipe outby his mode of discharging his
present commissionthe insult which had been fastened upon
himselfand the other representative of his Majesty--the beadle
--in the course of the morning.


While these resolute and determined preparations for the
conservation of the king's peace were pendingMr. Pickwick and
his friendswholly unconscious of the mighty events in progress
had sat quietly down to dinner; and very talkative and
companionable they all were. Mr. Pickwick was in the very act of
relating his adventure of the preceding nightto the great amusement
of his followersMr. Tupman especiallywhen the door
openedand a somewhat forbidding countenance peeped into the
room. The eyes in the forbidding countenance looked very
earnestly at Mr. Pickwickfor several secondsand were to all
appearance satisfied with their investigation; for the body to
which the forbidding countenance belongedslowly brought
itself into the apartmentand presented the form of an elderly
individual in top-boots--not to keep the reader any longer
in suspensein shortthe eyes were the wandering eyes of
Mr. Grummerand the body was the body of the same gentleman.


Mr. Grummer's mode of proceeding was professionalbut
peculiar. His first act was to bolt the door on the inside; his
secondto polish his head and countenance very carefully with a
cotton handkerchief; his thirdto place his hatwith the cotton
handkerchief in iton the nearest chair; and his fourthto
produce from the breast-pocket of his coat a short truncheon
surmounted by a brazen crownwith which he beckoned to
Mr. Pickwick with a grave and ghost-like air.


Mr. Snodgrass was the first to break the astonished silence.
He looked steadily at Mr. Grummer for a brief spaceand then
said emphatically'This is a private roomSir. A private room.'


Mr. Grummer shook his headand replied'No room's private
to his Majesty when the street door's once passed. That's law.
Some people maintains that an Englishman's house is his castle.
That's gammon.'


The Pickwickians gazed on each other with wondering eyes.


'Which is Mr. Tupman?' inquired Mr. Grummer. He had an
intuitive perception of Mr. Pickwick; he knew him at once.


'My name's Tupman' said that gentleman.


'My name's Law' said Mr. Grummer.


'What?' said Mr. Tupman.


'Law' replied Mr. Grummer--'Lawcivil powerand exekative;
them's my titles; here's my authority. Blank Tupmanblank
Pickwick--against the peace of our sufferin' lord the king--
stattit in the case made and purwided--and all regular. I apprehend
you Pickwick! Tupman--the aforesaid.'



'What do you mean by this insolence?' said Mr. Tupman
starting up; 'leave the room!'


'Hollo' said Mr. Grummerretreating very expeditiously to
the doorand opening it an inch or two'Dubbley.'


'Well' said a deep voice from the passage.


'Come for'ardDubbley.'


At the word of commanda dirty-faced mansomething over
six feet highand stout in proportionsqueezed himself through
the half-open door (making his face very red in the process)and
entered the room.


'Is the other specials outsideDubbley?' inquired Mr. Grummer.


Mr. Dubbleywho was a man of few wordsnodded assent.


'Order in the diwision under your chargeDubbley' said
Mr. Grummer.


Mr. Dubbley did as he was desired; and half a dozen meneach
with a short truncheon and a brass crownflocked into the room.
Mr. Grummer pocketed his staffand looked at Mr. Dubbley;
Mr. Dubbley pocketed his staff and looked at the division; the
division pocketed their staves and looked at Messrs. Tupman
and Pickwick.


Mr. Pickwick and his followers rose as one man.


'What is the meaning of this atrocious intrusion upon my
privacy?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Who dares apprehend me?' said Mr. Tupman.


'What do you want herescoundrels?' said Mr. Snodgrass.


Mr. Winkle said nothingbut he fixed his eyes on Grummer
and bestowed a look upon himwhichif he had had any feeling
must have pierced his brain. As it washoweverit had no visible
effect on him whatever.


When the executive perceived that Mr. Pickwick and his
friends were disposed to resist the authority of the lawthey very
significantly turned up their coat sleevesas if knocking them
down in the first instanceand taking them up afterwardswere a
mere professional act which had only to be thought of to be done
as a matter of course. This demonstration was not lost upon
Mr. Pickwick. He conferred a few moments with Mr. Tupman
apartand then signified his readiness to proceed to the mayor's
residencemerely begging the parties then and there assembled
to take noticethat it was his firm intention to resent this monstrous
invasion of his privileges as an Englishmanthe instant he
was at liberty; whereat the parties then and there assembled
laughed very heartilywith the single exception of Mr. Grummer
who seemed to consider that any slight cast upon the divine
right of magistrates was a species of blasphemy not to be tolerated.


But when Mr. Pickwick had signified his readiness to bow to
the laws of his countryand just when the waitersand hostlers
and chambermaidsand post-boyswho had anticipated a
delightful commotion from his threatened obstinacybegan to



turn awaydisappointed and disgusteda difficulty arose which
had not been foreseen. With every sentiment of veneration for the
constituted authoritiesMr. Pickwick resolutely protested against
making his appearance in the public streetssurrounded and
guarded by the officers of justicelike a common criminal.
Mr. Grummerin the then disturbed state of public feeling (for
it was half-holidayand the boys had not yet gone home)as
resolutely protested against walking on the opposite side of the
wayand taking Mr. Pickwick's parole that he would go straight
to the magistrate's; and both Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman as
strenuously objected to the expense of a post-coachwhich was
the only respectable conveyance that could be obtained. The
dispute ran highand the dilemma lasted long; and just as the
executive were on the point of overcoming Mr. Pickwick's
objection to walking to the magistrate'sby the trite expedient of
carrying him thitherit was recollected that there stood in the inn
yardan old sedan-chairwhichhaving been originally built for
a gouty gentleman with funded propertywould hold Mr. Pickwick
and Mr. Tupmanat least as conveniently as a modern postchaise.
The chair was hiredand brought into the hall; Mr. Pickwick
and Mr. Tupman squeezed themselves insideand pulled
down the blinds; a couple of chairmen were speedily found; and
the procession started in grand order. The specials surrounded
the body of the vehicle; Mr. Grummer and Mr. Dubbley marched
triumphantly in front; Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle walked
arm-in-arm behind; and the unsoaped of Ipswich brought up
the rear.

The shopkeepers of the townalthough they had a very
indistinct notion of the nature of the offencecould not but be
much edified and gratified by this spectacle. Here was the strong
arm of the lawcoming down with twenty gold-beater forceupon
two offenders from the metropolis itself; the mighty engine was
directed by their own magistrateand worked by their own
officers; and both the criminalsby their united effortswere
securely shut upin the narrow compass of one sedan-chair.
Many were the expressions of approval and admiration which
greeted Mr. Grummeras he headed the cavalcadestaff in hand;
loud and long were the shouts raised by the unsoaped; and amidst
these united testimonials of public approbationthe procession
moved slowly and majestically along.

Mr. Wellerhabited in his morning jacketwith the black calico
sleeveswas returning in a rather desponding state from an
unsuccessful survey of the mysterious house with the green gate
whenraising his eyeshe beheld a crowd pouring down the
streetsurrounding an object which had very much the appearance
of a sedan-chair. Willing to divert his thoughts from the
failure of his enterprisehe stepped aside to see the crowd pass;
and finding that they were cheering awayvery much to their
own satisfactionforthwith began (by way of raising his spirits)
to cheer toowith all his might and main.

Mr. Grummer passedand Mr. Dubbley passedand the sedan
passedand the bodyguard of specials passedand Sam was still
responding to the enthusiastic cheers of the moband waving his
hat about as if he were in the very last extreme of the wildest joy
(thoughof coursehe had not the faintest idea of the matter in
hand)when he was suddenly stopped by the unexpected appearance
of Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass.

'What's the rowgen'l'm'n?'cried Sam. 'Who have they got in
this here watch-box in mournin'?'


Both gentlemen replied togetherbut their words were lost in
the tumult.

'Who is it?' cried Sam again.

once more was a joint reply returned; andthough the words
were inaudibleSam saw by the motion of the two pairs of lips
that they had uttered the magic word 'Pickwick.'

This was enough. In another minute Mr. Weller had made his
way through the crowdstopped the chairmenand confronted
the portly Grummer.

'Holloold gen'l'm'n!' said Sam. 'Who have you got in this
here conweyance?'

'Stand back' said Mr. Grummerwhose dignitylike the
dignity of a great many other menhad been wondrously
augmented by a little popularity.

'Knock him downif he don't' said Mr. Dubbley.

'I'm wery much obliged to youold gen'l'm'n' replied Sam
'for consulting my conwenienceand I'm still more obliged to the
other gen'l'm'nwho looks as if he'd just escaped from a giant's
carrywanfor his wery 'andsome suggestion; but I should prefer
your givin' me a answer to my questionif it's all the same to you.
--How are youSir?' This last observation was addressed with a
patronising air to Mr. Pickwickwho was peeping through the
front window.

Mr. Grummerperfectly speechless with indignationdragged
the truncheon with the brass crown from its particular pocket
and flourished it before Sam's eyes.

'Ah' said Sam'it's wery pretty'specially the crownwhich is
uncommon like the real one.'

'Stand back!' said the outraged Mr. Grummer. By way of
adding force to the commandhe thrust the brass emblem of
royalty into Sam's neckcloth with one handand seized Sam's
collar with the other--a compliment which Mr. Weller returned
by knocking him down out of handhaving previously with the
utmost considerationknocked down a chairman for him to lie upon.

Whether Mr. Winkle was seized with a temporary attack of
that species of insanity which originates in a sense of injuryor
animated by this display of Mr. Weller's valouris uncertain; but
certain it isthat he no sooner saw Mr. Grummer fall than he
made a terrific onslaught on a small boy who stood next him;
whereupon Mr. Snodgrassin a truly Christian spiritand in
order that he might take no one unawaresannounced in a very
loud tone that he was going to beginand proceeded to take off
his coat with the utmost deliberation. He was immediately
surrounded and secured; and it is but common justice both to
him and Mr. Winkle to saythat they did not make the slightest
attempt to rescue either themselves or Mr. Weller; whoafter a
most vigorous resistancewas overpowered by numbers and
taken prisoner. The procession then reformed; the chairmen
resumed their stations; and the march was re-commenced.

Mr. Pickwick's indignation during the whole of this proceeding
was beyond all bounds. He could just see Sam upsetting the
specialsand flying about in every direction; and that was all he


could seefor the sedan doors wouldn't openand the blinds
wouldn't pull up. At lengthwith the assistance of Mr. Tupman
he managed to push open the roof; and mounting on the seat
and steadying himself as well as he couldby placing his hand on
that gentleman's shoulderMr. Pickwick proceeded to address
the multitude; to dwell upon the unjustifiable manner in which he
had been treated; and to call upon them to take notice that his
servant had been first assaulted. In this order they reached the
magistrate's house; the chairmen trottingthe prisoners following
Mr. Pickwick oratorisingand the crowd shouting.

CHAPTER XXV

SHOWINGAMONG A VARIETY OF PLEASANT MATTERS
HOW MAJESTIC AND IMPARTIAL Mr. NUPKINS WAS; AND
HOW Mr. WELLER RETURNED Mr. JOB TROTTER'S
SHUTTLECOCK AS HEAVILY AS IT CAME--WITH ANOTHER
MATTERWHICH WILL BE FOUND IN ITS PLACE

Violent was Mr. Weller's indignation as he was borne along;
numerous were the allusions to the personal appearance and
demeanour of Mr. Grummer and his companion; and valorous were
the defiances to any six of the gentlemen presentin which he
vented his dissatisfaction. Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle listened
with gloomy respect to the torrent of eloquence which their leader
poured forth from the sedan-chairand the rapid course of which
not all Mr. Tupman's earnest entreaties to have the lid of the
vehicle closedwere able to check for an instant. But Mr.
Weller's anger quickly gave way to curiosity when the procession
turned down the identical courtyard in which he had met with the
runaway Job Trotter; and curiosity was exchanged for a feeling
of the most gleeful astonishmentwhen the all-important Mr. Grummer
commanding the sedan-bearers to haltadvanced with dignified and
portentous steps to the very green gate from which Job Trotter
had emergedand gave a mighty pull at the bell-handle which
hung at the side thereof. The ring was answered by a very smart
and pretty-faced servant-girlwhoafter holding up her hands
in astonishment at the rebellious appearance of the prisoners
and the impassioned language of Mr. Pickwicksummoned Mr.
Muzzle. Mr. Muzzle opened one half of the carriage gateto
admit the sedanthe captured onesand the specials; and
immediately slammed it in the faces of the mobwhoindignant at
being excludedand anxious to see what followedrelieved their
feelings by kicking at the gate and ringing the bellfor an hour or
two afterwards. In this amusement they all took part by turns
except three or four fortunate individualswhohaving discovered
a grating in the gatewhich commanded a view of nothingstared
through it with the indefatigable perseverance with which people
will flatten their noses against the front windows of a chemist's
shopwhen a drunken manwho has been run over by a dogcart
in the streetis undergoing a surgical inspection in the
back-parlour.

At the foot of a flight of stepsleading to the house doorwhich
was guarded on either side by an American aloe in a green tub
the sedan-chair stopped. Mr. Pickwick and his friends were
conducted into the hallwhencehaving been previously
announced by Muzzleand ordered in by Mr. Nupkinsthey were
ushered into the worshipful presence of that public-spirited officer.

The scene was an impressive onewell calculated to strike
terror to the hearts of culpritsand to impress them with an


adequate idea of the stern majesty of the law. In front of a big
book-casein a big chairbehind a big tableand before a big
volumesat Mr. Nupkinslooking a full size larger than any one
of thembig as they were. The table was adorned with piles of
papers; and above the farther end of itappeared the head and
shoulders of Mr. Jinkswho was busily engaged in looking as
busy as possible. The party having all enteredMuzzle carefully
closed the doorand placed himself behind his master's chair to
await his orders. Mr. Nupkins threw himself back with thrilling
solemnityand scrutinised the faces of his unwilling visitors.


'NowGrummerwho is that person?' said Mr. Nupkins
pointing to Mr. Pickwickwhoas the spokesman of his friends
stood hat in handbowing with the utmost politeness and respect.


'This here's Pickvickyour Wash-up' said Grummer.


'Comenone o' that 'ereold Strike-a-light' interposed Mr.
Wellerelbowing himself into the front rank. 'Beg your pardon
sirbut this here officer o' yourn in the gambooge tops'ull never
earn a decent livin' as a master o' the ceremonies any vere. This
heresir' continued Mr. Wellerthrusting Grummer asideand
addressing the magistrate with pleasant familiarity'this here is


S. PickvickEsquire; this here's Mr. Tupman; that 'ere's Mr.
Snodgrass; and farder onnext him on the t'other sideMr.
Winkle--all wery nice gen'l'm'nSiras you'll be wery happy to
have the acquaintance on; so the sooner you commits these here
officers o' yourn to the tread--mill for a month or twothe sooner
we shall begin to be on a pleasant understanding. Business first
pleasure arterwardsas King Richard the Third said when he
stabbed the t'other king in the Towerafore he smothered the babbies.'
At the conclusion of this addressMr. Weller brushed his hat
with his right elbowand nodded benignly to Jinkswho had
heard him throughout with unspeakable awe.


'Who is this manGrummer?' said the magistrate.


'Wery desp'rate ch'racteryour Wash-up' replied Grummer.
'He attempted to rescue the prisonersand assaulted the officers;
so we took him into custodyand brought him here.'


'You did quite right' replied the magistrate. 'He is evidently a
desperate ruffian.'


'He is my servantSir' said Mr. Pickwick angrily.


'Oh! he is your servantis he?' said Mr. Nupkins. 'A
conspiracy to defeat the ends of justiceand murder its officers.
Pickwick's servant. Put that downMr. Jinks.'


Mr. Jinks did so.


'What's your namefellow?' thundered Mr. Nupkins.


'Veller' replied Sam.


'A very good name for the Newgate Calendar' said Mr. Nupkins.


This was a joke; so JinksGrummerDubbleyall the specials
and Muzzlewent into fits of laughter of five minutes' duration.


'Put down his nameMr. Jinks' said the magistrate.



'Two L'sold feller' said Sam.

Here an unfortunate special laughed againwhereupon the
magistrate threatened to commit him instantly. It is a dangerous
thing to laugh at the wrong manin these cases.

'Where do you live?' said the magistrate.

'Vere ever I can' replied Sam.

'Put down thatMr. Jinks' said the magistratewho was fast
rising into a rage.

'Score it under' said Sam.

'He is a vagabondMr. Jinks' said the magistrate. 'He is a
vagabond on his own statement-- is he notMr. Jinks?'

'CertainlySir.'

'Then I'll commit him--I'll commit him as such' said Mr. Nupkins.

'This is a wery impartial country for justice'said Sam.'There
ain't a magistrate goin' as don't commit himself twice as he
commits other people.'

At this sally another special laughedand then tried to look so
supernaturally solemnthat the magistrate detected him immediately.

'Grummer' said Mr. Nupkinsreddening with passion'how
dare you select such an inefficient and disreputable person for a
special constableas that man? How dare you do itSir?'

'I am very sorryyour Wash-up' stammered Grummer.

'Very sorry!' said the furious magistrate. 'You shall repent of
this neglect of dutyMr. Grummer; you shall be made an example
of. Take that fellow's staff away. He's drunk. You're drunkfellow.'

'I am not drunkyour Worship' said the man.

'You ARE drunk' returned the magistrate. 'How dare you say
you are not drunkSirwhen I say you are? Doesn't he smell of
spiritsGrummer?'

'Horridyour Wash-up' replied Grummerwho had a vague
impression that there was a smell of rum somewhere.

'I knew he did' said Mr. Nupkins. 'I saw he was drunk when
he first came into the roomby his excited eye. Did you observe
his excited eyeMr. Jinks?'

'CertainlySir.'

'I haven't touched a drop of spirits this morning' said the
manwho was as sober a fellow as need be.

'How dare you tell me a falsehood?' said Mr. Nupkins. 'Isn't
he drunk at this momentMr. Jinks?'

'CertainlySir' replied Jinks.

'Mr. Jinks' said the magistrate'I shall commit that man for
contempt. Make out his committalMr. Jinks.'


And committed the special would have beenonly Jinkswho
was the magistrate's adviser (having had a legal education of
three years in a country attorney's office)whispered the magistrate
that he thought it wouldn't do; so the magistrate made a
speechand saidthat in consideration of the special's familyhe
would merely reprimand and discharge him. Accordinglythe
special was abusedvehementlyfor a quarter of an hourand
sent about his business; and GrummerDubbleyMuzzleand
all the other specialsmurmured their admiration of the magnanimity
of Mr. Nupkins.

'NowMr. Jinks' said the magistrate'swear Grummer.'

Grummer was sworn directly; but as Grummer wanderedand
Mr. Nupkins's dinner was nearly readyMr. Nupkins cut the
matter shortby putting leading questions to Grummerwhich
Grummer answered as nearly in the affirmative as he could. So
the examination went offall very smooth and comfortableand
two assaults were proved against Mr. Wellerand a threat against
Mr. Winkleand a push against Mr. Snodgrass. When all this
was done to the magistrate's satisfactionthe magistrate and
Mr. Jinks consulted in whispers.

The consultation having lasted about ten minutesMr. Jinks
retired to his end of the table; and the magistratewith a
preparatory coughdrew himself up in his chairand was proceeding
to commence his addresswhen Mr. Pickwick interposed.

'I beg your pardonsirfor interrupting you' said Mr. Pickwick;
'but before you proceed to expressand act uponany
opinion you may have formed on the statements which have been
made hereI must claim my right to be heard so far as I am
personally concerned.'

'Hold your tongueSir' said the magistrate peremptorily.

'I must submit to youSir--' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Hold your tonguesir' interposed the magistrate'or I shall
order an officer to remove you.'

'You may order your officers to do whatever you pleaseSir'
said Mr. Pickwick; 'and I have no doubtfrom the specimen I
have had of the subordination preserved amongst themthat
whatever you orderthey will executeSir; but I shall take the
libertySirof claiming my right to be hearduntil I am removed
by force.'

'Pickvick and principle!' exclaimed Mr. Wellerin a very
audible voice.

'Sambe quiet' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Dumb as a drum vith a hole in itSir' replied Sam.

Mr. Nupkins looked at Mr. Pickwick with a gaze of intense
astonishmentat his displaying such unwonted temerity; and was
apparently about to return a very angry replywhen Mr. Jinks
pulled him by the sleeveand whispered something in his ear. To
thisthe magistrate returned a half-audible answerand then the
whispering was renewed. Jinks was evidently remonstrating.
At length the magistrategulping downwith a very bad grace
his disinclination to hear anything moreturned to Mr. Pickwick


and said sharply'What do you want to say?'

'First' said Mr. Pickwicksending a look through his spectacles
under which even Nupkins quailed'firstI wish to know
what I and my friend have been brought here for?'

'Must I tell him?' whispered the magistrate to Jinks.

'I think you had bettersir' whispered Jinks to the magistrate.
'An information has been sworn before me' said the magistrate
'that it is apprehended you are going to fight a dueland
that the other manTupmanis your aider and abettor in it.
Therefore--ehMr. Jinks?'

'Certainlysir.'

'ThereforeI call upon you bothto--I think that's the course
Mr. Jinks?'

'CertainlySir.'

'To--to--whatMr. Jinks?' said the magistrate pettishly.

'To find bailsir.'

'Yes. ThereforeI call upon you both--as I was about to say
when I was interrupted by my clerk--to find bail.'
'Good bail' whispered Mr. Jinks.

'I shall require good bail' said the magistrate.

'Town's-people' whispered Jinks.

'They must be townspeople' said the magistrate.

'Fifty pounds each' whispered Jinks'and householdersof course.'

'I shall require two sureties of fifty pounds each' said the
magistrate aloudwith great dignity'and they must be householders
of course.'

'But bless my heartSir' said Mr. Pickwickwhotogether with
Mr. Tupmanwas all amazement and indignation; 'we are
perfect strangers in this town. I have as little knowledge of any
householders hereas I have intention of fighting a duel with anybody.'

'I dare say' replied the magistrate'I dare say--don't you
Mr. Jinks?'

'CertainlySir.'

'Have you anything more to say?' inquired the magistrate.

Mr. Pickwick had a great deal more to saywhich he would no
doubt have saidvery little to his own advantageor the magistrate's
satisfactionif he had notthe moment he ceased speaking
been pulled by the sleeve by Mr. Wellerwith whom he was
immediately engaged in so earnest a conversationthat he
suffered the magistrate's inquiry to pass wholly unnoticed. Mr.
Nupkins was not the man to ask a question of the kind twice
over; and sowith another preparatory coughhe proceeded
amidst the reverential and admiring silence of the constablesto
pronounce his decision.
He should fine Weller two pounds for the first assaultand


three pounds for the second. He should fine Winkle two pounds
and Snodgrass one poundbesides requiring them to enter into
their own recognisances to keep the peace towards all his
Majesty's subjectsand especially towards his liege servant
Daniel Grummer. Pickwick and Tupman he had already held
to bail.


Immediately on the magistrate ceasing to speakMr. Pickwick
with a smile mantling on his again good-humoured countenance
stepped forwardand said--


'I beg the magistrate's pardonbut may I request a few minutes'
private conversation with himon a matter of deep importance
to himself?'


'What?' said the magistrate.
Mr. Pickwick repeated his request.


'This is a most extraordinary request' said the magistrate.
'A private interview?'


'A private interview' replied Mr. Pickwick firmly; 'onlyas a
part of the information which I wish to communicate is derived
from my servantI should wish him to be present.'


The magistrate looked at Mr. Jinks; Mr. Jinks looked at the
magistrate; the officers looked at each other in amazement.
Mr. Nupkins turned suddenly pale. Could the man Wellerin a
moment of remorsehave divulged some secret conspiracy for his
assassination? It was a dreadful thought. He was a public man;
and he turned paleras he thought of Julius Caesar and Mr. Perceval.


The magistrate looked at Mr. Pickwick againand beckoned
Mr. Jinks.


'What do you think of this requestMr. Jinks?' murmured
Mr. Nupkins.


Mr. Jinkswho didn't exactly know what to think of itand
was afraid he might offendsmiled feeblyafter a dubious
fashionandscrewing up the corners of his mouthshook his
head slowly from side to side.


'Mr. Jinks' said the magistrate gravely'you are an ass.'


At this little expression of opinionMr. Jinks smiled again--
rather more feebly than before--and edged himselfby degrees
back into his own corner.


Mr. Nupkins debated the matter within himself for a few
secondsand thenrising from his chairand requesting Mr.
Pickwick and Sam to follow himled the way into a small room
which opened into the justice-parlour. Desiring Mr. Pickwick to
walk to the upper end of the little apartmentand holding his
hand upon the half-closed doorthat he might be able to effect
an immediate escapein case there was the least tendency to a
display of hostilitiesMr. Nupkins expressed his readiness to hear
the communicationwhatever it might be.


'I will come to the point at oncesir' said Mr. Pickwick; 'it
affects yourself and your credit materially. I have every reason to
believeSirthat you are harbouring in your house a gross impostor!'


'Two' interrupted Sam. 'Mulberry agin all naturfor tears



and willainny!'

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwick'if I am to render myself intelligible
to this gentlemanI must beg you to control your feelings.'

'Wery sorrySir' replied Mr. Weller; 'but when I think o' that
'ere JobI can't help opening the walve a inch or two.'

'In one wordSir' said Mr. Pickwick'is my servant right in
suspecting that a certain Captain Fitz-Marshall is in the habit of
visiting here? Because' added Mr. Pickwickas he saw that
Mr. Nupkins was about to offer a very indignant interruption
'because if he beI know that person to be a--'

'Hushhush' said Mr. Nupkinsclosing the door. 'Know him
to be whatSir?'

'An unprincipled adventurer--a dishonourable character--a
man who preys upon societyand makes easily-deceived people
his dupesSir; his absurdhis foolishhis wretched dupesSir'
said the excited Mr. Pickwick.

'Dear me' said Mr. Nupkinsturning very redand altering his
whole manner directly. 'Dear meMr.--'

'Pickvick' said Sam.

'Pickwick' said the magistrate'dear meMr. Pickwick--pray
take a seat--you cannot mean this? Captain Fitz-Marshall!'

'Don't call him a cap'en' said Sam'nor Fitz-Marshall
neither; he ain't neither one nor t'other. He's a strolling actorhe
isand his name's Jingle; and if ever there was a wolf in a
mulberry suitthat 'ere Job Trotter's him.'

'It is very trueSir' said Mr. Pickwickreplying to the magistrate's
look of amazement; 'my only business in this townis to
expose the person of whom we now speak.'

Mr. Pickwick proceeded to pour into the horror-stricken ear of
Mr. Nupkinsan abridged account of all Mr. Jingle's atrocities.
He related how he had first met him; how he had eloped with
Miss Wardle; how he had cheerfully resigned the lady for a
pecuniary consideration; how he had entrapped himself into a
lady's boarding-school at midnight; and how he (Mr. Pickwick)
now felt it his duty to expose his assumption of his present name
and rank.

As the narrative proceededall the warm blood in the body of
Mr. Nupkins tingled up into the very tips of his ears. He had
picked up the captain at a neighbouring race-course. Charmed
with his long list of aristocratic acquaintancehis extensive
traveland his fashionable demeanourMrs. Nupkins and Miss
Nupkins had exhibited Captain Fitz-Marshalland quoted
Captain Fitz-Marshalland hurled Captain Fitz-Marshall at the
devoted heads of their select circle of acquaintanceuntil their
bosom friendsMrs. Porkenham and the Misses Porkenhams
and Mr. Sidney Porkenhamwere ready to burst with jealousy
and despair. And nowto hearafter allthat he was a needy
adventurera strolling playerand if not a swindlersomething so
very like itthat it was hard to tell the difference! Heavens! what
would the Porkenhams say! What would be the triumph of
Mr. Sidney Porkenham when he found that his addresses had
been slighted for such a rival! How should heNupkinsmeet the


eye of old Porkenham at the next quarter-sessions! And what a
handle would it be for the opposition magisterial party if the
story got abroad!

'But after all' said Mr. Nupkinsbrightening for a moment
after a long pause; 'after allthis is a mere statement. Captain
Fitz-Marshall is a man of very engaging mannersandI dare
sayhas many enemies. What proof have you of the truth of
these representations?'

'Confront me with him' said Mr. Pickwick'that is all I ask
and all I require. Confront him with me and my friends here; you
will want no further proof.'

'Why' said Mr. Nupkins'that might be very easily donefor
he will be here to-nightand then there would be no occasion to
make the matter publicjust--just--for the young man's own
sakeyou know. I--I--should like to consult Mrs. Nupkins on
the propriety of the stepin the first instancethough. At
all eventsMr. Pickwickwe must despatch this legal business
before we can do anything else. Pray step back into the next
room.'

Into the next room they went.

'Grummer' said the magistratein an awful voice.

'Your Wash-up' replied Grummerwith the smile of a favourite.

'ComecomeSir' said the magistrate sternly'don't let me see
any of this levity here. It is very unbecomingand I can assure
you that you have very little to smile at. Was the account you
gave me just now strictly true? Now be carefulsir!'
'Your Wash-up' stammered Grummer'I-'

'Ohyou are confusedare you?' said the magistrate. 'Mr.
Jinksyou observe this confusion?'

'CertainlySir' replied Jinks.

'Now' said the magistrate'repeat your statementGrummer
and again I warn you to be careful. Mr. Jinkstake his words down.'

The unfortunate Grummer proceeded to re-state his complaint
butwhat between Mr. Jinks's taking down his wordsand the
magistrate's taking them uphis natural tendency to rambling
and his extreme confusionhe managed to get involvedin something
under three minutesin such a mass of entanglement and
contradictionthat Mr. Nupkins at once declared he didn't
believe him. So the fines were remittedand Mr. Jinks found a
couple of bail in no time. And all these solemn proceedings
having been satisfactorily concludedMr. Grummer was
ignominiously ordered out--an awful instance of the instability
of human greatnessand the uncertain tenure of great men's favour.

Mrs. Nupkins was a majestic female in a pink gauze turban
and a light brown wig. Miss Nupkins possessed all her mamma's
haughtiness without the turbanand all her ill-nature without the
wig; and whenever the exercise of these two amiable qualities
involved mother and daughter in some unpleasant dilemmaas
they not infrequently didthey both concurred in laying the
blame on the shoulders of Mr. Nupkins. Accordinglywhen
Mr. Nupkins sought Mrs. Nupkinsand detailed the communication
which had been made by Mr. PickwickMrs. Nupkins


suddenly recollected that she had always expected something of
the kind; that she had always said it would be so; that her advice
was never taken; that she really did not know what Mr. Nupkins
supposed she was; and so forth.


'The idea!' said Miss Nupkinsforcing a tear of very scanty
proportions into the corner of each eye; 'the idea of my being
made such a fool of!'


'Ah! you may thank your papamy dear' said Mrs. Nupkins;
'how I have implored and begged that man to inquire into the
captain's family connections; how I have urged and entreated
him to take some decisive step! I am quite certain nobody would
believe it--quite.'


'Butmy dear' said Mr. Nupkins.


'Don't talk to meyou aggravating thingdon't!' said Mrs. Nupkins.


'My love' said Mr. Nupkins'you professed yourself very fond
of Captain Fitz-Marshall. You have constantly asked him heremy
dearand you have lost no opportunity of introducing him elsewhere.'


'Didn't I say soHenrietta?' cried Mrs. Nupkinsappealing to
her daughter with the air of a much-injured female. 'Didn't I say
that your papa would turn round and lay all this at my door?
Didn't I say so?' Here Mrs. Nupkins sobbed.


'Ohpa!' remonstrated Miss Nupkins. And here she sobbed too.


'Isn't it too muchwhen he has brought all this disgrace and
ridicule upon usto taunt me with being the cause of it?'
exclaimed Mrs. Nupkins.


'How can we ever show ourselves in society!' said Miss Nupkins.


'How can we face the Porkenhams?' cried Mrs. Nupkins.


'Or the Griggs!' cried Miss Nupkins.
'Or the Slummintowkens!' cried Mrs. Nupkins. 'But what does
your papa care! What is it to HIM!' At this dreadful reflection
Mrs. Nupkins wept mental anguishand Miss Nupkins followed
on the same side.


Mrs. Nupkins's tears continued to gush forthwith great
velocityuntil she had gained a little time to think the matter
over; when she decidedin her own mindthat the best thing to
do would be to ask Mr. Pickwick and his friends to remain until
the captain's arrivaland then to give Mr. Pickwick the opportunity
he sought. If it appeared that he had spoken trulythe
captain could be turned out of the house without noising the
matter abroadand they could easily account to the Porkenhams
for his disappearanceby saying that he had been appointed
through the Court influence of his familyto the governor-
generalship of Sierra Leoneof Saugur Pointor any other of
those salubrious climates which enchant Europeans so muchthat
when they once get therethey can hardly ever prevail upon
themselves to come back again.


When Mrs. Nupkins dried up her tearsMiss Nupkins dried up
hersand Mr. Nupkins was very glad to settle the matter as
Mrs. Nupkins had proposed. So Mr. Pickwick and his friends
having washed off all marks of their late encounterwere introduced
to the ladiesand soon afterwards to their dinner; and



Mr. Wellerwhom the magistratewith his peculiar sagacityhad
discovered in half an hour to be one of the finest fellows alive
was consigned to the care and guardianship of Mr. Muzzle
who was specially enjoined to take him belowand make much
of him.

'How de dosir?' said Mr. Muzzleas he conducted Mr. Weller
down the kitchen stairs.

'Whyno considerable change has taken place in the state of
my systemsince I see you cocked up behind your governor's
chair in the parloura little vile ago' replied Sam.

'You will excuse my not taking more notice of you then' said
Mr. Muzzle. 'You seemaster hadn't introduced usthen. Lord
how fond he is of youMr. Wellerto be sure!'

'Ah!' said Sam'what a pleasant chap he is!'

'Ain't he?'replied Mr. Muzzle.

'So much humour' said Sam.

'And such a man to speak' said Mr. Muzzle. 'How his ideas
flowdon't they?'

'Wonderful' replied Sam; 'they comes a-pouring outknocking
each other's heads so fastthat they seems to stun one another;
you hardly know what he's arterdo you?'
'That's the great merit of his style of speaking' rejoined
Mr. Muzzle. 'Take care of the last stepMr. Weller. Would you
like to wash your handssirbefore we join the ladies'! Here's a
sinkwith the water laid onSirand a clean jack towel behind
the door.'

'Ah! perhaps I may as well have a rinse' replied Mr. Weller
applying plenty of yellow soap to the toweland rubbing away
till his face shone again. 'How many ladies are there?'

'Only two in our kitchen' said Mr. Muzzle; 'cook and 'ousemaid.
We keep a boy to do the dirty workand a gal besidesbut
they dine in the wash'us.'

'Ohthey dines in the wash'usdo they?' said Mr. Weller.

'Yes' replied Mr. Muzzle'we tried 'em at our table when they
first comebut we couldn't keep 'em. The gal's manners is
dreadful vulgar; and the boy breathes so very hard while he's
eatingthat we found it impossible to sit at table with him.'

'Young grampus!' said Mr. Weller.

'Ohdreadful' rejoined Mr. Muzzle; 'but that is the worst of
country serviceMr. Weller; the juniors is always so very savage.
This waysirif you pleasethis way.'

Preceding Mr. Wellerwith the utmost politenessMr. Muzzle
conducted him into the kitchen.

'Mary' said Mr. Muzzle to the pretty servant-girl'this is
Mr. Weller; a gentleman as master has sent downto be made as
comfortable as possible.'

'And your master's a knowin' handand has just sent me to the


right place' said Mr. Wellerwith a glance of admiration at
Mary. 'If I wos master o' this here houseI should alvays find the
materials for comfort vere Mary wos.'
'LorMr. Weller!' said Mary blushing.


'WellI never!' ejaculated the cook.


'Bless mecookI forgot you' said Mr. Muzzle. 'Mr. Weller
let me introduce you.'


'How are youma'am?' said Mr. Weller.'Wery glad to see you
indeedand hope our acquaintance may be a long 'unas the
gen'l'm'n said to the fi' pun' note.'


When this ceremony of introduction had been gone through
the cook and Mary retired into the back kitchen to titterfor ten
minutes; then returningall giggles and blushesthey sat down
to dinner.
Mr. Weller's easy manners and conversational powers had
such irresistible influence with his new friendsthat before the
dinner was half overthey were on a footing of perfect intimacy
and in possession of a full account of the delinquency of Job Trotter.


'I never could a-bear that Job' said Mary.


'No more you never ought tomy dear' replied Mr. Weller.


'Why not?' inquired Mary.


''Cos ugliness and svindlin' never ought to be formiliar with
elegance and wirtew' replied Mr. Weller. 'Ought theyMr. Muzzle?'


'Not by no means' replied that gentleman.


Here Mary laughedand said the cook had made her; and the
cook laughedand said she hadn't.


'I ha'n't got a glass' said Mary.


'Drink with memy dear' said Mr. Weller. 'Put your lips to
this here tumblerand then I can kiss you by deputy.'


'For shameMr. Weller!' said Mary.


'What's a shamemy dear?'


'Talkin' in that way.'


'Nonsense; it ain't no harm. It's natur; ain't itcook?'


'Don't ask meimperence' replied the cookin a high state of
delight; and hereupon the cook and Mary laughed againtill
what between the beerand the cold meatand the laughter
combinedthe latter young lady was brought to the verge of
choking--an alarming crisis from which she was only recovered
by sundry pats on the backand other necessary attentionsmost
delicately administered by Mr. Samuel Weller.
In the midst of all this jollity and convivialitya loud ring was
heard at the garden gateto which the young gentleman who
took his meals in the wash-houseimmediately responded. Mr.
Weller was in the height of his attentions to the pretty house-
maid; Mr. Muzzle was busy doing the honours of the table; and
the cook had just paused to laughin the very act of raising a
huge morsel to her lips; when the kitchen door openedand in



walked Mr. Job Trotter.


We have said in walked Mr. Job Trotterbut the statement is
not distinguished by our usual scrupulous adherence to fact. The
door opened and Mr. Trotter appeared. He would have walked
inand was in the very act of doing soindeedwhen catching
sight of Mr. Wellerhe involuntarily shrank back a pace or two
and stood gazing on the unexpected scene before himperfectly
motionless with amazement and terror.


'Here he is!' said Samrising with great glee. 'Why we were
that wery moment a-speaking o' you. How are you? Where have
you been? Come in.'


Laying his hand on the mulberry collar of the unresisting Job
Mr. Weller dragged him into the kitchen; andlocking the door
handed the key to Mr. Muzzlewho very coolly buttoned it up
in a side pocket.


'Wellhere's a game!' cried Sam. 'Only think o' my master
havin' the pleasure o' meeting yourn upstairsand me havin' the
joy o' meetin' you down here. How are you gettin' onand how is
the chandlery bis'ness likely to do? WellI am so glad to see you.
How happy you look. It's quite a treat to see you; ain't it
Mr. Muzzle?'


'Quite' said Mr. Muzzle.


'So cheerful he is!' said Sam.


'In such good spirits!' said Muzzle.
'And so glad to see us--that makes it so much more
comfortable' said Sam. 'Sit down; sit down.'


Mr. Trotter suffered himself to be forced into a chair by the
fireside. He cast his small eyesfirst on Mr. Wellerand then on
Mr. Muzzlebut said nothing.


'Wellnow' said Sam'afore these here ladiesI should jest like
to ask youas a sort of curiositywhether you don't consider
yourself as nice and well-behaved a young gen'l'm'nas ever used
a pink check pocket-handkerchiefand the number four collection?'


'And as was ever a-going to be married to a cook' said that
lady indignantly. 'The willin!'


'And leave off his evil waysand set up in the chandlery line
arterwards' said the housemaid.


'NowI'll tell you what it isyoung man' said Mr. Muzzle
solemnlyenraged at the last two allusions'this here lady
(pointing to the cook) keeps company with me; and when you
presumeSirto talk of keeping chandlers' shops with heryou
injure me in one of the most delicatest points in which one man
can injure another. Do you understand thatSir?'


Here Mr. Muzzlewho had a great notion of his eloquencein
which he imitated his masterpaused for a reply.


But Mr. Trotter made no reply. So Mr. Muzzle proceeded in a
solemn manner--


'It's very probablesirthat you won't be wanted upstairs for
several minutesSirbecause MY master is at this moment



particularly engaged in settling the hash of YOUR masterSir; and
therefore you'll have leisureSirfor a little private talk with me
Sir. Do you understand thatSir?'

Mr. Muzzle again paused for a reply; and again Mr. Trotter
disappointed him.

'Wellthen' said Mr. Muzzle'I'm very sorry to have to
explain myself before ladiesbut the urgency of the case will be
my excuse. The back kitchen's emptySir. If you will step in there
SirMr. Weller will see fairand we can have mutual satisfaction
till the bell rings. Follow meSir!'

As Mr. Muzzle uttered these wordshe took a step or two
towards the door; andby way of saving timebegan to pull off
his coat as he walked along.

Nowthe cook no sooner heard the concluding words of this
desperate challengeand saw Mr. Muzzle about to put it into
executionthan she uttered a loud and piercing shriek; and
rushing on Mr. Job Trotterwho rose from his chair on the
instanttore and buffeted his large flat facewith an energy
peculiar to excited femalesand twining her hands in his long
black hairtore therefrom about enough to make five or six
dozen of the very largest-sized mourning-rings. Having accomplished
this feat with all the ardour which her devoted love for
Mr. Muzzle inspiredshe staggered back; and being a lady of
very excitable and delicate feelingsshe instantly fell under the
dresserand fainted away.

At this momentthe bell rang.

'That's for youJob Trotter' said Sam; and before Mr. Trotter
could offer remonstrance or reply--even before he had time to
stanch the wounds inflicted by the insensible lady--Sam seized
one arm and Mr. Muzzle the otherand one pulling beforeand
the other pushing behindthey conveyed him upstairsand into
the parlour.

It was an impressive tableau. Alfred JingleEsquirealias
Captain Fitz-Marshallwas standing near the door with his hat
in his handand a smile on his facewholly unmoved by his very
unpleasant situation. Confronting himstood Mr. Pickwickwho
had evidently been inculcating some high moral lesson; for his
left hand was beneath his coat tailand his right extended in air
as was his wont when delivering himself of an impressive address.
At a little distancestood Mr. Tupman with indignant countenance
carefully held back by his two younger friends; at the
farther end of the room were Mr. NupkinsMrs. Nupkinsand
Miss Nupkinsgloomily grand and savagely vexed.
'What prevents me' said Mr. Nupkinswith magisterial
dignityas Job was brought in--'what prevents me from detaining
these men as rogues and impostors? It is a foolish mercy. What
prevents me?'

'Prideold fellowpride' replied Jinglequite at his ease.
'Wouldn't do--no go--caught a captaineh?--ha! ha! very
good--husband for daughter--biter bit--make it public--not for
worlds--look stupid--very!'

'Wretch' said Mr. Nupkins'we scorn your base insinuations.'

'I always hated him' added Henrietta.


'Ohof course' said Jingle. 'Tall young man--old lover-Sidney
Porkenham--rich--fine fellow--not so rich as captain
thougheh?--turn him away--off with him--anything for
captain--nothing like captain anywhere--all the girls--raving
mad--ehJobeh?'

Here Mr. Jingle laughed very heartily; and Jobrubbing his
hands with delightuttered the first sound he had given vent to
since he entered the house--a lownoiseless chucklewhich
seemed to intimate that he enjoyed his laugh too muchto let any
of it escape in sound.
'Mr. Nupkins' said the elder lady'this is not a fit conversation
for the servants to overhear. Let these wretches be removed.'

'Certainlymy dear' Said MrNupkins. 'Muzzle!'

'Your Worship.'

'Open the front door.'

'Yesyour Worship.'

'Leave the house!' said Mr. Nupkinswaving his hand emphatically.

Jingle smiledand moved towards the door.

'Stay!' said Mr. Pickwick.
Jingle stopped.

'I might' said Mr. Pickwick'have taken a much greater
revenge for the treatment I have experienced at your handsand
that of your hypocritical friend there.'

Job Trotter bowed with great politenessand laid his hand
upon his heart.

'I say' said Mr. Pickwickgrowing gradually angry'that I
might have taken a greater revengebut I content myself with
exposing youwhich I consider a duty I owe to society. This is a
leniencySirwhich I hope you will remember.'

When Mr. Pickwick arrived at this pointJob Trotterwith
facetious gravityapplied his hand to his earas if desirous not to
lose a syllable he uttered.

'And I have only to addsir' said Mr. Pickwicknow thoroughly
angry'that I consider you a rascaland a--a--ruffian--and-and
worse than any man I ever sawor heard ofexcept that
pious and sanctified vagabond in the mulberry livery.'

'Ha! ha!' said Jingle'good fellowPickwick--fine heart-stout
old boy--but must NOT be passionate--bad thingvery-bye
bye--see you again some day--keep up your spirits--now
Job--trot!'

With these wordsMr. Jingle stuck on his hat in his old
fashionand strode out of the room. Job Trotter pausedlooked
roundsmiled and then with a bow of mock solemnity to Mr.
Pickwickand a wink to Mr. Wellerthe audacious slyness of which
baffles all descriptionfollowed the footsteps of his hopeful master.

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwickas Mr. Weller was following.

'Sir.'


'Stay here.'

Mr. Weller seemed uncertain.

'Stay here' repeated Mr. Pickwick.

'Mayn't I polish that 'ere Job offin the front garden?' said
Mr. Weller.
'Certainly not' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'Mayn't I kick him out o' the gateSir?' said Mr. Weller.


'Not on any account' replied his master.


For the first time since his engagementMr. Weller lookedfor
a momentdiscontented and unhappy. But his countenance
immediately cleared up; for the wily Mr. Muzzleby concealing
himself behind the street doorand rushing violently outat the
right instantcontrived with great dexterity to overturn both
Mr. Jingle and his attendantdown the flight of stepsinto the
American aloe tubs that stood beneath.


'Having discharged my dutySir' said Mr. Pickwick to Mr.
Nupkins'I willwith my friendsbid you farewell. While we
thank you for such hospitality as we have receivedpermit me to
assure youin our joint namesthat we should not have accepted
itor have consented to extricate ourselves in this wayfrom our
previous dilemmahad we not been impelled by a strong sense of
duty. We return to London to-morrow. Your secret is safe with us.'


Having thus entered his protest against their treatment of the
morningMr. Pickwick bowed low to the ladiesand notwithstanding
the solicitations of the familyleft the room with his friends.


'Get your hatSam' said Mr. Pickwick.


'It's below stairsSir' said Samand he ran down after it.


Nowthere was nobody in the kitchenbut the pretty housemaid;
and as Sam's hat was mislaidhe had to look for itand
the pretty housemaid lighted him. They had to look all over
the place for the hat. The pretty housemaidin her anxiety to
find itwent down on her kneesand turned over all the things
that were heaped together in a little corner by the door. It was
an awkward corner. You couldn't get at it without shutting the
door first.


'Here it is' said the pretty housemaid. 'This is itain't it?'


'Let me look' said Sam.


The pretty housemaid had stood the candle on the floor; and
as it gave a very dim lightSam was obliged to go down on HIS
knees before he could see whether it really was his own hat or not.
it was a remarkably small cornerand so--it was nobody's fault
but the man's who built the house--Sam and the pretty housemaid
were necessarily very close together.


'Yesthis is it' said Sam. 'Good-bye!'


'Good-bye!' said the pretty housemaid.


'Good-bye!' said Sam; and as he said ithe dropped the hat
that had cost so much trouble in looking for.



'How awkward you are' said the pretty housemaid. 'You'll
lose it againif you don't take care.'


So just to prevent his losing it againshe put it on for him.


Whether it was that the pretty housemaid's face looked
prettier stillwhen it was raised towards Sam'sor whether it was
the accidental consequence of their being so near to each otheris
matter of uncertainty to this day; but Sam kissed her.


'You don't mean to say you did that on purpose' said the
pretty housemaidblushing.


'NoI didn't then' said Sam; 'but I will now.'


So he kissed her again.
'Sam!' said Mr. Pickwickcalling over the banisters.


'ComingSir' replied Samrunning upstairs.


'How long you have been!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'There was something behind the doorSirwhich perwented
our getting it openfor ever so longSir' replied Sam.


And this was the first passage of Mr. Weller's first love.


CHAPTER XXVI
WHICH CONTAINS A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE PROGRESS


OF THE ACTION OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK

Having accomplished the main end and object of his journeyby the
exposure of JingleMr. Pickwick resolved on immediately returning
to Londonwith the view of becoming acquainted with the proceedings
which had been taken against himin the meantimeby Messrs.
Dodson and Fogg. Acting upon this resolution with all the energy
and decision of his characterhe mounted to the back seat of the
first coach which left Ipswich on the morning after the memorable
occurrences detailed at length in the two preceding chapters; and
accompanied by his three friendsand Mr. Samuel Wellerarrived in
the metropolisin perfect health and safetythe same evening.

Here the friendsfor a short timeseparated. Messrs. Tupman
Winkleand Snodgrass repaired to their several homes to make
such preparations as might be requisite for their forthcoming
visit to Dingley Dell; and Mr. Pickwick and Sam took up their
present abode in very goodold-fashionedand comfortable
quartersto witthe George and Vulture Tavern and Hotel
George YardLombard Street.

Mr. Pickwick had dinedfinished his second pint of particular
portpulled his silk handkerchief over his headput his feet on
the fenderand thrown himself back in an easy-chairwhen the
entrance of Mr. Weller with his carpet-bagaroused him from
his tranquil meditation.

'Sam' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Sir' said Mr. Weller.

'I have just been thinkingSam' said Mr. Pickwick'that


having left a good many things at Mrs. Bardell'sin Goswell
StreetI ought to arrange for taking them awaybefore I leave
town again.'

'Wery goodsir' replied Mr. Weller.

'I could send them to Mr. Tupman'sfor the presentSam'
continued Mr. Pickwick'but before we take them awayit is
necessary that they should be looked upand put together. I
wish you would step up to Goswell StreetSamand arrange
about it.'

'At onceSir?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'At once' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'And staySam' added Mr.
Pickwickpulling out his purse'there is some rent to pay. The
quarter is not due till Christmasbut you may pay itand have
done with it. A month's notice terminates my tenancy. Here it is
written out. Give itand tell Mrs. Bardell she may put a bill up
as soon as she likes.'

'Wery goodsir' replied Mr. Weller; 'anythin' moresir?'

'Nothing moreSam.'

Mr. Weller stepped slowly to the dooras if he expected something
more; slowly opened itslowly stepped outand had slowly
closed it within a couple of incheswhen Mr. Pickwick called out-


'Sam.'

'Yessir' said Mr. Wellerstepping quickly backand closing
the door behind him.
'I have no objectionSamto your endeavouring to ascertain
how Mrs. Bardell herself seems disposed towards meand
whether it is really probable that this vile and groundless action
is to be carried to extremity. I say I do not object to you doing
thisif you wish itSam' said Mr. Pickwick.

Sam gave a short nod of intelligenceand left the room. Mr.
Pickwick drew the silk handkerchief once more over his head
And composed himself for a nap. Mr. Weller promptly walked
forthto execute his commission.

It was nearly nine o'clock when he reached Goswell Street. A
couple of candles were burning in the little front parlourand a
couple of caps were reflected on the window-blind. Mrs. Bardell
had got company.

Mr. Weller knocked at the doorand after a pretty long
interval--occupied by the party withoutin whistling a tuneand
by the party withinin persuading a refractory flat candle to
allow itself to be lighted--a pair of small boots pattered over the
floor-clothand Master Bardell presented himself.

'Wellyoung townskip' said Sam'how's mother?'

'She's pretty well' replied Master Bardell'so am I.'

'Wellthat's a mercy' said Sam; 'tell her I want to speak to
herwill youmy hinfant fernomenon?'

Master Bardellthus adjuredplaced the refractory flat candle on
the bottom stairand vanished into the front parlour with his message.


The two capsreflected on the window-blindwere the respective
head-dresses of a couple of Mrs. Bardell's most particular
acquaintancewho had just stepped into have a quiet cup of tea
and a little warm supper of a couple of sets of pettitoes and some
toasted cheese. The cheese was simmering and browning away
most delightfullyin a little Dutch oven before the fire; the
pettitoes were getting on deliciously in a little tin saucepan on the
hob; and Mrs. Bardell and her two friends were getting on very
wellalsoin a little quiet conversation about and concerning all
their particular friends and acquaintance; when Master Bardell
came back from answering the doorand delivered the message
intrusted to him by Mr. Samuel Weller.


'Mr. Pickwick's servant!' said Mrs. Bardellturning pale.


'Bless my soul!' said Mrs. Cluppins.


'WellI raly would not ha' believed itunless I had ha' happened
to ha' been here!' said Mrs. Sanders.


Mrs. Cluppins was a littlebriskbusy-looking woman; Mrs.
Sanders was a bigfatheavy-faced personage; and the two were
the company.


Mrs. Bardell felt it proper to be agitated; and as none of the
three exactly knew whether under existing circumstancesany
communicationotherwise than through Dodson & Foggought
to be held with Mr. Pickwick's servantthey were all rather taken
by surprise. In this state of indecisionobviously the first thing
to be donewas to thump the boy for finding Mr. Weller at the
door. So his mother thumped himand he cried melodiously.


'Hold your noise--do--you naughty creetur!' said Mrs. Bardell.


'Yes; don't worrit your poor mother' said Mrs. Sanders.


'She's quite enough to worrit heras it iswithout youTommy'
said Mrs. Cluppinswith sympathising resignation.


'Ah! worse luckpoor lamb!' said Mrs. Sanders.
At all which moral reflectionsMaster Bardell howled the louder.


'Nowwhat shall I do?' said Mrs. Bardell to Mrs. Cluppins.


'I think you ought to see him' replied Mrs. Cluppins. 'But on
no account without a witness.'


'I think two witnesses would be more lawful' said Mrs.
Sanderswholike the other friendwas bursting with curiosity.


'Perhaps he'd better come in here' said Mrs. Bardell.


'To be sure' replied Mrs. Cluppinseagerly catching at the
idea; 'walk inyoung man; and shut the street door firstplease.'


Mr. Weller immediately took the hint; and presenting himself
in the parlourexplained his business to Mrs. Bardell thus--


'Wery sorry to 'casion any personal inconweniencema'amas
the housebreaker said to the old lady when he put her on the fire;
but as me and my governor 's only jest come to townand is jest
going away aginit can't be helpedyou see.'



'Of coursethe young man can't help the faults of his master' said
Mrs. Cluppinsmuch struck by Mr. Weller's appearance and conversation.


'Certainly not' chimed in Mrs. Sanderswhofrom certain
wistful glances at the little tin saucepanseemed to be engaged in
a mental calculation of the probable extent of the pettitoesin the
event of Sam's being asked to stop to supper.


'So all I've come aboutis jest this here' said Samdisregarding
the interruption; 'firstto give my governor's notice--there it is.
Secondlyto pay the rent--here it is. Thirdlyto say as all his
things is to be put togetherand give to anybody as we sends for
'em. Fourthlythat you may let the place as soon as you like--
and that's all.'


'Whatever has happened' said Mrs. Bardell'I always have
saidand always will saythat in every respect but oneMr.
Pickwick has always behaved himself like a perfect gentleman.
His money always as good as the bank--always.'


As Mrs. Bardell said thisshe applied her handkerchief to her
eyesand went out of the room to get the receipt.


Sam well knew that he had only to remain quietand the
women were sure to talk; so he looked alternately at the tin
saucepanthe toasted cheesethe walland the ceilingin
profound silence.


'Poor dear!' said Mrs. Cluppins.


'Ahpoor thing!' replied Mrs. Sanders.
Sam said nothing. He saw they were coming to the subject.


'I raly cannot contain myself' said Mrs. Cluppins'when I
think of such perjury. I don't wish to say anything to make you
uncomfortableyoung manbut your master's an old bruteand
I wish I had him here to tell him so.'
'I wish you had' said Sam.


'To see how dreadful she takes ongoing moping aboutand
taking no pleasure in nothingexcept when her friends comes in
out of charityto sit with herand make her comfortable'
resumed Mrs. Cluppinsglancing at the tin saucepan and the
Dutch oven'it's shocking!'


'Barbareous' said Mrs. Sanders.


'And your masteryoung man! A gentleman with moneyas
could never feel the expense of a wifeno more than nothing'
continued Mrs. Cluppinswith great volubility; 'why there ain't
the faintest shade of an excuse for his behaviour! Why don't he
marry her?'


'Ah' said Sam'to be sure; that's the question.'


'Questionindeed' retorted Mrs. Cluppins'she'd question
himif she'd my spirit. Hows'everthere is law for us women
mis'rable creeturs as they'd make usif they could; and that your
master will find outyoung manto his costafore he's six
months older.'


At this consolatory reflectionMrs. Cluppins bridled upand
smiled at Mrs. Sanderswho smiled back again.



'The action's going onand no mistake' thought Samas
Mrs. Bardell re-entered with the receipt.

'Here's the receiptMr. Weller' said Mrs. Bardell'and here's the
changeand I hope you'll take a little drop of something to keep
the cold outif it's only for old acquaintance' sakeMr. Weller.'

Sam saw the advantage he should gainand at once acquiesced;
whereupon Mrs. Bardell producedfrom a small closeta black
bottle and a wine-glass; and so great was her abstractionin her
deep mental afflictionthatafter filling Mr. Weller's glassshe
brought out three more wine-glassesand filled them too.

'LaukMrs. Bardell' said Mrs. Cluppins'see what you've been
and done!'

'Wellthat is a good one!' ejaculated Mrs. Sanders.

'Ahmy poor head!' said Mrs. Bardellwith a faint smile.

Sam understood all thisof courseso he said at oncethat he
never could drink before supperunless a lady drank with him.
A great deal of laughter ensuedand Mrs. Sanders volunteered to
humour himso she took a slight sip out of her glass. Then Sam
said it must go all roundso they all took a slight sip. Then little
Mrs. Cluppins proposed as a toast'Success to Bardell agin
Pickwick'; and then the ladies emptied their glasses in honour of
the sentimentand got very talkative directly.

'I suppose you've heard what's going forwardMr. Weller?'
said Mrs. Bardell.

'I've heerd somethin' on it' replied Sam.

'It's a terrible thing to be dragged before the publicin that
wayMr. Weller' said Mrs. Bardell; 'but I see nowthat it's the
only thing I ought to doand my lawyersMr. Dodson and Fogg
tell me thatwith the evidence as we shall callwe must succeed.
I don't know what I should doMr. Wellerif I didn't.'

The mere idea of Mrs. Bardell's failing in her actionaffected
Mrs. Sanders so deeplythat she was under the necessity of
refilling and re-emptying her glass immediately; feelingas she
said afterwardsthat if she hadn't had the presence of mind to do
soshe must have dropped.

'Ven is it expected to come on?' inquired Sam.

'Either in February or March' replied Mrs. Bardell.

'What a number of witnesses there'll bewon't there?' said
Mrs. Cluppins.

'Ah! won't there!' replied Mrs. Sanders.

'And won't Mr. Dodson and Fogg be wild if the plaintiff shouldn't
get it?' added Mrs. Cluppins'when they do it all on speculation!'

'Ah! won't they!' said Mrs. Sanders.

'But the plaintiff must get it' resumed Mrs. Cluppins.

'I hope so' said Mrs. Bardell.


'Ohthere can't be any doubt about it' rejoined Mrs. Sanders.


'Vell' said Samrising and setting down his glass'all I can say
isthat I vish you MAY get it.'


'Thank'eeMr. Weller' said Mrs. Bardell fervently.


'And of them Dodson and Foggsas does these sort o' things
on spec' continued Mr. Weller'as vell as for the other kind and
gen'rous people o' the same purfessionas sets people by the ears
free gratis for nothin'and sets their clerks to work to find out
little disputes among their neighbours and acquaintances as
vants settlin' by means of lawsuits--all I can say o' them isthat
I vish they had the reward I'd give 'em.'


'AhI wish they had the reward that every kind and generous
heart would be inclined to bestow upon them!' said the gratified
Mrs. Bardell.


'Amen to that' replied Sam'and a fat and happy liven' they'd
get out of it! Wish you good-nightladies.'


To the great relief of Mrs. SandersSam was allowed to depart
without any referenceon the part of the hostessto the pettitoes
and toasted cheese; to which the ladieswith such juvenile
assistance as Master Bardell could affordsoon afterwards
rendered the amplest justice--indeed they wholly vanished before
their strenuous exertions.


Mr. Weller wended his way back to the George and Vulture
and faithfully recounted to his mastersuch indications of the
sharp practice of Dodson & Foggas he had contrived to pick up
in his visit to Mrs. Bardell's. An interview with Mr. Perkernext
daymore than confirmed Mr. Weller's statement; and Mr.
Pickwick was fain to prepare for his Christmas visit to Dingley
Dellwith the pleasant anticipation that some two or three
months afterwardsan action brought against him for damages
sustained by reason of a breach of promise of marriagewould
be publicly tried in the Court of Common Pleas; the plaintiff
having all the advantages derivablenot only from the force of
circumstancesbut from the sharp practice of Dodson & Fogg
to boot.


CHAPTER XXVII
SAMUEL WELLER MAKES A PILGRIMAGE TO DORKING


AND BEHOLDS HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW

There still remaining an interval of two days before the time agreed
upon for the departure of the Pickwickians to Dingley DellMr.
Weller sat himself down in a back room at the George and Vulture
after eating an early dinnerto muse on the best way of disposing of
his time. It was a remarkably fine day; and he had not turned the
matter over in his mind ten minuteswhen he was suddenly stricken
filial and affectionate; and it occurred to him so strongly that he
ought to go down and see his fatherand pay his duty to his
mother-in-lawthat he was lost in astonishment at his own remissness
in never thinking of this moral obligation before. Anxious to atone
for his past neglect without another hour's delayhe straightway
walked upstairs to Mr. Pickwickand requested leave of absence for
this laudable purpose.


'CertainlySamcertainly' said Mr. Pickwickhis eyes
glistening with delight at this manifestation of filial feeling on the
part of his attendant; 'certainlySam.'

Mr. Weller made a grateful bow.

'I am very glad to see that you have so high a sense of your
duties as a sonSam' said Mr. Pickwick.

'I always hadsir' replied Mr. Weller.

'That's a very gratifying reflectionSam' said Mr. Pickwick
approvingly.

'WerySir' replied Mr. Weller; 'if ever I wanted anythin' o'
my fatherI always asked for it in a wery 'spectful and obligin'
manner. If he didn't give it meI took itfor fear I should be led
to do anythin' wrongthrough not havin' it. I saved him a world
o' trouble this vaySir.'

'That's not precisely what I meantSam' said Mr. Pickwick
shaking his headwith a slight smile.

'All good feelin'sir--the wery best intentionsas the gen'l'm'n
said ven he run away from his wife 'cos she seemed unhappy
with him' replied Mr. Weller.

'You may goSam' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Thank'eeSir' replied Mr. Weller; and having made his best
bowand put on his best clothesSam planted himself on the top
of the Arundel coachand journeyed on to Dorking.

The Marquis of Granbyin Mrs. Weller's timewas quite a
model of a roadside public-house of the better class--just large
enough to be convenientand small enough to be snug. On the
opposite side of the road was a large sign-board on a high post
representing the head and shoulders of a gentleman with an
apoplectic countenancein a red coat with deep blue facingsand
a touch of the same blue over his three-cornered hatfor a sky.
Over that again were a pair of flags; beneath the last button of
his coat were a couple of cannon; and the whole formed an
expressive and undoubted likeness of the Marquis of Granby of
glorious memory.

The bar window displayed a choice collection of geranium
plantsand a well-dusted row of spirit phials. The open shutters
bore a variety of golden inscriptionseulogistic of good beds and
neat wines; and the choice group of countrymen and hostlers
lounging about the stable door and horse-troughafforded
presumptive proof of the excellent quality of the ale and spirits
which were sold within. Sam Weller pausedwhen he dismounted
from the coachto note all these little indications of a thriving
businesswith the eye of an experienced traveller; and having
done sostepped in at oncehighly satisfied with everything he
had observed.

'Nowthen!' said a shrill female voice the instant Sam thrust
his head in at the door'what do you wantyoung man?'

Sam looked round in the direction whence the voice proceeded.
It came from a rather stout lady of comfortable appearancewho
was seated beside the fireplace in the barblowing the fire to
make the kettle boil for tea. She was not alone; for on the other


side of the fireplacesitting bolt upright in a high-backed chair
was a man in threadbare black clotheswith a back almost as
long and stiff as that of the chair itselfwho caught Sam's most
particular and especial attention at once.

He was a prim-facedred-nosed manwith a longthin
countenanceand a semi-rattlesnake sort of eye--rather sharp
but decidedly bad. He wore very short trousersand black cotton
stockingswhichlike the rest of his apparelwere particularly
rusty. His looks were starchedbut his white neckerchief was not
and its long limp ends straggled over his closely-buttoned waistcoat
in a very uncouth and unpicturesque fashion. A pair of old
wornbeaver glovesa broad-brimmed hatand a faded green
umbrellawith plenty of whalebone sticking through the bottom
as if to counterbalance the want of a handle at the toplay on a
chair beside him; andbeing disposed in a very tidy and careful
mannerseemed to imply that the red-nosed manwhoever he
washad no intention of going away in a hurry.

To do the red-nosed man justicehe would have been very far
from wise if he had entertained any such intention; forto judge
from all appearanceshe must have been possessed of a most
desirable circle of acquaintanceif he could have reasonably
expected to be more comfortable anywhere else. The fire was
blazing brightly under the influence of the bellowsand the kettle
was singing gaily under the influence of both. A small tray of
tea-things was arranged on the table; a plate of hot buttered
toast was gently simmering before the fire; and the red-nosed
man himself was busily engaged in converting a large slice of
bread into the same agreeable ediblethrough the instrumentality
of a long brass toasting-fork. Beside him stood a glass of reeking
hot pine-apple rum-and-waterwith a slice of lemon in it; and
every time the red-nosed man stopped to bring the round of toast
to his eyewith the view of ascertaining how it got onhe imbibed
a drop or two of the hot pine-apple rum-and-waterand smiled
upon the rather stout ladyas she blew the fire.

Sam was so lost in the contemplation of this comfortable
scenethat he suffered the first inquiry of the rather stout lady to
pass unheeded. It was not until it had been twice repeatedeach
time in a shriller tonethat he became conscious of the
impropriety of his behaviour.

'Governor in?' inquired Samin reply to the question.

'Nohe isn't' replied Mrs. Weller; for the rather stout lady
was no other than the quondam relict and sole executrix of the
dead-and-gone Mr. Clarke; 'nohe isn'tand I don't expect himeither.'

'I suppose he's drivin' up to-day?' said Sam.

'He may beor he may not' replied Mrs. Wellerbuttering
the round of toast which the red-nosed man had just finished. 'I
don't knowandwhat's moreI don't care.--Ask a blessin'
Mr. Stiggins.'

The red-nosed man did as he was desiredand instantly
commenced on the toast with fierce voracity.

The appearance of the red-nosed man had induced Samat
first sightto more than half suspect that he was the deputyshepherd
of whom his estimable parent had spoken. The moment
he saw him eatall doubt on the subject was removedand he
perceived at once that if he purposed to take up his temporary


quarters where he washe must make his footing good without
delay. He therefore commenced proceedings by putting his arm
over the half-door of the barcoolly unbolting itand leisurely
walking in.


'Mother-in-law' said Sam'how are you?'


'WhyI do believe he is a Weller!' said Mrs. W.raising her
eyes to Sam's facewith no very gratified expression of countenance.


'I rayther think he is' said the imperturbable Sam; 'and I hope
this here reverend gen'l'm'n 'll excuse me saying that I wish I was
THE Weller as owns youmother-in-law.'


This was a double-barrelled compliment. It implied that Mrs.
Weller was a most agreeable femaleand also that Mr. Stiggins
had a clerical appearance. It made a visible impression at once;
and Sam followed up his advantage by kissing his mother-in-law.


'Get along with you!' said Mrs. Wellerpushing him away.
'For shameyoung man!' said the gentleman with the red nose.


'No offencesirno offence' replied Sam; 'you're wery right
though; it ain't the right sort o' thingven mothers-in-law is
young and good-lookingis itSir?'


'It's all vanity' said Mr. Stiggins.


'Ahso it is' said Mrs. Wellersetting her cap to rights.


Sam thought it wastoobut he held his peace.


The deputy-shepherd seemed by no means best pleased with
Sam's arrival; and when the first effervescence of the compliment
had subsidedeven Mrs. Weller looked as if she could have
spared him without the smallest inconvenience. Howeverthere
he was; and as he couldn't be decently turned outthey all three
sat down to tea.


'And how's father?' said Sam.


At this inquiryMrs. Weller raised her handsand turned up
her eyesas if the subject were too painful to be alluded to.


Mr. Stiggins groaned.


'What's the matter with that 'ere gen'l'm'n?' inquired Sam.


'He's shocked at the way your father goes on in' replied Mrs. Weller.


'Ohhe isis he?' said Sam.


'And with too good reason' added Mrs. Weller gravely.


Mr. Stiggins took up a fresh piece of toastand groaned heavily.


'He is a dreadful reprobate' said Mrs. Weller.


'A man of wrath!' exclaimed Mr. Stiggins. He took a large
semi-circular bite out of the toastand groaned again.


Sam felt very strongly disposed to give the reverend Mr.
Stiggins something to groan forbut he repressed his inclination
and merely asked'What's the old 'un up to now?'



'Up toindeed!' said Mrs. Weller'Ohhe has a hard heart.
Night after night does this excellent man--don't frown
Mr. Stiggins; I WILL say you ARE an excellent man--come and sit
herefor hours togetherand it has not the least effect upon him.'
'Wellthat is odd' said Sam; 'it 'ud have a wery considerable
effect upon meif I wos in his place; I know that.'


'The fact ismy young friend' said Mr. Stiggins solemnly'he
has an obderrate bosom. Ohmy young friendwho else could
have resisted the pleading of sixteen of our fairest sistersand
withstood their exhortations to subscribe to our noble society for
providing the infant negroes in the West Indies with flannel
waistcoats and moral pocket-handkerchiefs?'


'What's a moral pocket-ankercher?' said Sam; 'I never see one
o' them articles o' furniter.'


'Those which combine amusement With instructionmy young
friend' replied Mr. Stiggins'blending select tales with wood-cuts.'


'OhI know' said Sam; 'them as hangs up in the linen-drapers'
shopswith beggars' petitions and all that 'ere upon 'em?'


Mr. Stiggins began a third round of toastand nodded assent.
'And he wouldn't be persuaded by the ladieswouldn't he?'
said Sam.


'Sat and smoked his pipeand said the infant negroes were--
what did he say the infant negroes were?' said Mrs. Weller.


'Little humbugs' replied Mr. Stigginsdeeply affected.


'Said the infant negroes were little humbugs' repeated Mrs.
Weller. And they both groaned at the atrocious conduct of the
elder Mr. Weller.


A great many more iniquities of a similar nature might have
been disclosedonly the toast being all eatenthe tea having got
very weakand Sam holding out no indications of meaning to
goMr. Stiggins suddenly recollected that he had a most pressing
appointment with the shepherdand took himself off accordingly.


The tea-things had been scarcely put awayand the hearth
swept upwhen the London coach deposited Mr. Wellersenior
at the door; his legs deposited him in the bar; and his eyes
showed him his son.


'WhatSammy!' exclaimed the father.


'Whatold Nobs!' ejaculated the son. And they shook hands heartily.


'Wery glad to see youSammy' said the elder Mr. Weller
'though how you've managed to get over your mother-in-lawis
a mystery to me. I only vish you'd write me out the receipt
that's all.'


'Hush!' said Sam'she's at homeold feller.'
'She ain't vithin hearin'' replied Mr. Weller; 'she always goes
and blows updownstairsfor a couple of hours arter tea; so we'll
just give ourselves a dampSammy.'


Saying thisMr. Weller mixed two glasses of spirits-and-water
and produced a couple of pipes. The father and son sitting down



opposite each other; Sam on one side of the firein the
high-backed chairand Mr. Wellersenioron the otherin
an easy dittothey proceeded to enjoy themselves with all due gravity.

'Anybody been hereSammy?' asked Mr. Wellersenior
drylyafter a long silence.

Sam nodded an expressive assent.

'Red-nosed chap?' inquired Mr. Weller.

Sam nodded again.

'Amiable man that 'ereSammy' said Mr. Wellersmoking violently.

'Seems so' observed Sam.

'Good hand at accounts' said Mr. Weller.
'Is he?' said Sam.

'Borrows eighteenpence on Mondayand comes on Tuesday
for a shillin' to make it up half-a-crown; calls again on Vensday
for another half-crown to make it five shillin's; and goes on
doublingtill he gets it up to a five pund note in no timelike
them sums in the 'rithmetic book 'bout the nails in the horse's
shoesSammy.'

Sam intimated by a nod that he recollected the problem
alluded to by his parent.

'So you vouldn't subscribe to the flannel veskits?' said Sam
after another interval of smoking.

'Cert'nly not' replied Mr. Weller; 'what's the good o' flannel
veskits to the young niggers abroad? But I'll tell you what it is
Sammy' said Mr. Wellerlowering his voiceand bending across
the fireplace; 'I'd come down wery handsome towards strait
veskits for some people at home.'

As Mr. Weller said thishe slowly recovered his former position
and winked at his first-bornin a profound manner.

'it cert'nly seems a queer start to send out pocket-'ankerchers
to people as don't know the use on 'em' observed Sam.

'They're alvays a-doin' some gammon of that sortSammy'
replied his father. 'T'other Sunday I wos walkin' up the road
wen who should I seea-standin' at a chapel doorwith a blue
soup-plate in her handbut your mother-in-law! I werily believe
there was change for a couple o' suv'rins in itthenSammyall
in ha'pence; and as the people come outthey rattled the pennies
in ittill you'd ha' thought that no mortal plate as ever was
bakedcould ha' stood the wear and tear. What d'ye think it was
all for?'

'For another tea-drinkin'perhaps' said Sam.

'Not a bit on it' replied the father; 'for the shepherd's waterrate
Sammy.'

'The shepherd's water-rate!' said Sam.

'Ay' replied Mr. Weller'there was three quarters owin'and
the shepherd hadn't paid a fardennot he--perhaps it might be


on account that the water warn't o' much use to himfor it's wery
little o' that tap he drinksSammywery; he knows a trick worth
a good half-dozen of thathe does. Hows'everit warn't paidand
so they cuts the water off. Down goes the shepherd to chapel
gives out as he's a persecuted saintand says he hopes the heart
of the turncock as cut the water off'll be softenedand turned
in the right vaybut he rayther thinks he's booked for somethin'
uncomfortable. Upon thisthe women calls a meetin'sings a
hymnwotes your mother-in-law into the chairwolunteers a
collection next Sundayand hands it all over to the shepherd.
And if he ain't got enough out on 'emSammyto make him free
of the water company for life' said Mr. Wellerin conclusion
'I'm one Dutchmanand you're anotherand that's all about it.'


Mr. Weller smoked for some minutes in silenceand then resumed--


'The worst o' these here shepherds ismy boythat they
reg'larly turns the heads of all the young ladiesabout here.
Lord bless their little heartsthey thinks it's all rightand don't
know no better; but they're the wictims o' gammonSamivel
they're the wictims o' gammon.'


'I s'pose they are' said Sam.


'Nothin' else' said Mr. Wellershaking his head gravely; 'and
wot aggrawates meSamivelis to see 'em a-wastin' all their time
and labour in making clothes for copper-coloured people as don't
want 'emand taking no notice of flesh-coloured Christians as
do. If I'd my vaySamivelI'd just stick some o' these here lazy
shepherds behind a heavy wheelbarrowand run 'em up and
down a fourteen-inch-wide plank all day. That 'ud shake the
nonsense out of 'emif anythin' vould.'


Mr. Wellerhaving delivered this gentle recipe with strong
emphasiseked out by a variety of nods and contortions of the
eyeemptied his glass at a draughtand knocked the ashes out of
his pipewith native dignity.


He was engaged in this operationwhen a shrill voice was
heard in the passage.


'Here's your dear relationSammy' said Mr. Weller; and
Mrs. W. hurried into the room.


'Ohyou've come backhave you!' said Mrs. Weller.


'Yesmy dear' replied Mr. Wellerfilling a fresh pipe.


'Has Mr. Stiggins been back?' said Mrs. Weller.


'Nomy dearhe hasn't' replied Mr. Wellerlighting the pipe
by the ingenious process of holding to the bowl thereofbetween
the tongsa red-hot coal from the adjacent fire; and what's more
my dearI shall manage to surwive itif he don't come back
at all.'


'Ughyou wretch!' said Mrs. Weller.


'Thank'eemy love' said Mr. Weller.
'Comecomefather' said Sam'none o' these little lovin's
afore strangers. Here's the reverend gen'l'm'n a-comin' in now.'
At this announcementMrs. Weller hastily wiped off the tears
which she had just begun to force on; and Mr. W. drew his chair
sullenly into the chimney-corner.



Mr. Stiggins was easily prevailed on to take another glass of
the hot pine-apple rum-and-waterand a secondand a thirdand
then to refresh himself with a slight supperprevious to beginning
again. He sat on the same side as Mr. Wellersenior; and every
time he could contrive to do sounseen by his wifethat gentleman
indicated to his son the hidden emotions of his bosomby
shaking his fist over the deputy-shepherd's head; a process
which afforded his son the most unmingled delight and satisfaction
the more especially as Mr. Stiggins went onquietly drinking
the hot pine-apple rum-and-waterwholly unconscious of what
was going forward.

The major part of the conversation was confined to Mrs.
Weller and the reverend Mr. Stiggins; and the topics principally
descanted onwere the virtues of the shepherdthe worthiness of
his flockand the high crimes and misdemeanours of everybody
beside--dissertations which the elder Mr. Weller occasionally
interrupted by half-suppressed references to a gentleman of the
name of Walkerand other running commentaries of the same kind.

At length Mr. Stigginswith several most indubitable symptoms
of having quite as much pine-apple rum-and-water about him as
he could comfortably accommodatetook his hatand his leave;
and Sam wasimmediately afterwardsshown to bed by his
father. The respectable old gentleman wrung his hand fervently
and seemed disposed to address some observation to his son; but
on Mrs. Weller advancing towards himhe appeared to relinquish
that intentionand abruptly bade him good-night.

Sam was up betimes next dayand having partaken of a hasty
breakfastprepared to return to London. He had scarcely set foot
without the housewhen his father stood before him.

'Goin'Sammy?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'Off at once' replied Sam.

'I vish you could muffle that 'ere Stigginsand take him vith
you' said Mr. Weller.

'I am ashamed on you!' said Sam reproachfully; 'what do you
let him show his red nose in the Markis o' Granby at allfor?'

Mr. Weller the elder fixed on his son an earnest lookand
replied''Cause I'm a married manSamivel'cause I'm a married
man. Ven you're a married manSamivelyou'll understand a
good many things as you don't understand now; but vether it's
worth while goin' through so muchto learn so littleas the
charity-boy said ven he got to the end of the alphabetis a
matter o' taste. I rayther think it isn't.'
'Well' said Sam'good-bye.'

'TartarSammy' replied his father.

'I've only got to say this here' said Samstopping short'that
if I was the properiator o' the Markis o' Granbyand that 'ere
Stiggins came and made toast in my barI'd--'

'What?' interposed Mr. Wellerwith great anxiety. 'What?'

'Pison his rum-and-water' said Sam.

'No!' said Mr. Wellershaking his son eagerly by the hand


'would you ralySammy-would youthough?'

'I would' said Sam. 'I wouldn't be too hard upon him at first.
I'd drop him in the water-buttand put the lid on; and if I found
he was insensible to kindnessI'd try the other persvasion.'

The elder Mr. Weller bestowed a look of deepunspeakable
admiration on his sonandhaving once more grasped his hand
walked slowly awayrevolving in his mind the numerous reflections
to which his advice had given rise.

Sam looked after himuntil he turned a corner of the road;
and then set forward on his walk to London. He meditated at
firston the probable consequences of his own adviceand the
likelihood of his father's adopting it. He dismissed the subject
from his mindhoweverwith the consolatory reflection that time
alone would show; and this is the reflection we would impress
upon the reader.

CHAPTER XXVIII

A GOOD-HUMOURED CHRISTMAS CHAPTERCONTAINING
AN ACCOUNT OF A WEDDINGAND SOME OTHER SPORTS
BESIDE: WHICH ALTHOUGH IN THEIR WAYEVEN AS GOOD
CUSTOMS AS MARRIAGE ITSELFARE NOT QUITE SO
RELIGIOUSLY KEPT UPIN THESE DEGENERATE TIMES

As brisk as beesif not altogether as light as fairiesdid the four
Pickwickians assemble on the morning of the twenty-second day of
Decemberin the year of grace in which thesetheir faithfully-recorded
adventureswere undertaken and accomplished. Christmas was close at
handin all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of
hospitalitymerrimentand open-heartedness; the old year was
preparinglike an ancient philosopherto call his friends around
himand amidst the sound of feasting and revelry to pass gently and
calmly away. Gay and merry was the time; and right gay and merry
were at least four of the numerous hearts that were gladdened by
its coming.

And numerous indeed are the hearts to which Christmas
brings a brief season of happiness and enjoyment. How many
familieswhose members have been dispersed and scattered far
and widein the restless struggles of lifeare then reunitedand
meet once again in that happy state of companionship and mutual
goodwillwhich is a source of such pure and unalloyed delight;
and one so incompatible with the cares and sorrows of the world
that the religious belief of the most civilised nationsand the rude
traditions of the roughest savagesalike number it among the
first joys of a future condition of existenceprovided for the
blessed and happy! How many old recollectionsand how many
dormant sympathiesdoes Christmas time awaken!

We write these words nowmany miles distant from the spot
at whichyear after yearwe met on that daya merry and joyous
circle. Many of the hearts that throbbed so gaily thenhave
ceased to beat; many of the looks that shone so brightly then
have ceased to glow; the hands we graspedhave grown cold; the
eyes we soughthave hid their lustre in the grave; and yet the old
housethe roomthe merry voices and smiling facesthe jest
the laughthe most minute and trivial circumstances connected
with those happy meetingscrowd upon our mind at each
recurrence of the seasonas if the last assemblage had been but


yesterday! Happyhappy Christmasthat can win us back to the
delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the
pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the
travellerthousands of miles awayback to his own fireside and
his quiet home!

But we are so taken up and occupied with the good qualities of
this saint Christmasthat we are keeping Mr. Pickwick and his
friends waiting in the cold on the outside of the Muggleton
coachwhich they have just attainedwell wrapped up in greatcoats
shawlsand comforters. The portmanteaus and carpetbags
have been stowed awayand Mr. Weller and the guard are
endeavouring to insinuate into the fore-boot a huge cod-fish
several sizes too large for it--which is snugly packed upin a long
brown basketwith a layer of straw over the topand which has
been left to the lastin order that he may repose in safety on the
half-dozen barrels of real native oystersall the property of
Mr. Pickwickwhich have been arranged in regular order at the
bottom of the receptacle. The interest displayed in Mr. Pickwick's
countenance is most intenseas Mr. Weller and the guard try to
squeeze the cod-fish into the bootfirst head firstand then tail
firstand then top upwardand then bottom upwardand then
side-waysand then long-waysall of which artifices the implacable
cod-fish sturdily resistsuntil the guard accidentally hits him
in the very middle of the basketwhereupon he suddenly disappears
into the bootand with himthe head and shoulders of
the guard himselfwhonot calculating upon so sudden a
cessation of the passive resistance of the cod-fishexperiences a
very unexpected shockto the unsmotherable delight of all the
porters and bystanders. Upon thisMr. Pickwick smiles with
great good-humourand drawing a shilling from his waistcoat
pocketbegs the guardas he picks himself out of the bootto
drink his health in a glass of hot brandy-and-water; at which the
guard smiles tooand Messrs. SnodgrassWinkleand Tupman
all smile in company. The guard and Mr. Weller disappear for
five minutesmost probably to get the hot brandy-and-waterfor
they smell very strongly of itwhen they returnthe coachman
mounts to the boxMr. Weller jumps up behindthe Pickwickians
pull their coats round their legs and their shawls over their noses
the helpers pull the horse-cloths offthe coachman shouts out a
cheery 'All right' and away they go.

They have rumbled through the streetsand jolted over the
stonesand at length reach the wide and open country. The
wheels skim over the hard and frosty ground; and the horses
bursting into a canter at a smart crack of the whipstep along the
road as if the load behind them--coachpassengerscod-fish
oyster-barrelsand all--were but a feather at their heels. They
have descended a gentle slopeand enter upon a levelas compact
and dry as a solid block of marbletwo miles long. Another crack
of the whipand on they speedat a smart gallopthe horses
tossing their heads and rattling the harnessas if in exhilaration
at the rapidity of the motion; while the coachmanholding whip
and reins in one handtakes off his hat with the otherand resting
it on his kneespulls out his handkerchiefand wipes his forehead
partly because he has a habit of doing itand partly
because it's as well to show the passengers how cool he isand
what an easy thing it is to drive four-in-handwhen you have had
as much practice as he has. Having done this very leisurely
(otherwise the effect would be materially impaired)he replaces
his handkerchiefpulls on his hatadjusts his glovessquares his
elbowscracks the whip againand on they speedmore merrily
than before.
A few small housesscattered on either side of the road


betoken the entrance to some town or village. The lively notes
of the guard's key-bugle vibrate in the clear cold airand wake
up the old gentleman insidewhocarefully letting down the
window-sash half-wayand standing sentry over the airtakes a
short peep outand then carefully pulling it up againinforms the
other inside that they're going to change directly; on which the
other inside wakes himself upand determines to postpone his
next nap until after the stoppage. Again the bugle sounds lustily
forthand rouses the cottager's wife and childrenwho peep out
at the house doorand watch the coach till it turns the corner
when they once more crouch round the blazing fireand throw on
another log of wood against father comes home; while father
himselfa full mile offhas just exchanged a friendly nod with the
coachmanand turned round to take a good long stare at the
vehicle as it whirls away.

And now the bugle plays a lively air as the coach rattles
through the ill-paved streets of a country town; and the coachman
undoing the buckle which keeps his ribands together
prepares to throw them off the moment he stops. Mr. Pickwick
emerges from his coat collarand looks about him with great
curiosity; perceiving whichthe coachman informs Mr. Pickwick
of the name of the townand tells him it was market-day yesterday
both of which pieces of information Mr. Pickwick retails to
his fellow-passengers; whereupon they emerge from their coat
collars tooand look about them also. Mr. Winklewho sits at
the extreme edgewith one leg dangling in the airis nearly
precipitated into the streetas the coach twists round the sharp
corner by the cheesemonger's shopand turns into the marketplace;
and before Mr. Snodgrasswho sits next to himhas
recovered from his alarmthey pull up at the inn yard where the
fresh horseswith cloths onare already waiting. The coachman
throws down the reins and gets down himselfand the other
outside passengers drop down also; except those who have no
great confidence in their ability to get up again; and they remain
where they areand stamp their feet against the coach to warm
them--lookingwith longing eyes and red nosesat the bright
fire in the inn barand the sprigs of holly with red berries which
ornament the window.

But the guard has delivered at the corn-dealer's shopthe
brown paper packet he took out of the little pouch which hangs
over his shoulder by a leathern strap; and has seen the horses
carefully put to; and has thrown on the pavement the saddle
which was brought from London on the coach roof; and has
assisted in the conference between the coachman and the hostler
about the gray mare that hurt her off fore-leg last Tuesday; and
he and Mr. Weller are all right behindand the coachman is all
right in frontand the old gentleman insidewho has kept the
window down full two inches all this timehas pulled it up again
and the cloths are offand they are all ready for startingexcept
the 'two stout gentlemen' whom the coachman inquires after
with some impatience. Hereupon the coachmanand the guard
and Sam Wellerand Mr. Winkleand Mr. Snodgrassand all
the hostlersand every one of the idlerswho are more in number
than all the others put togethershout for the missing gentlemen
as loud as they can bawl. A distant response is heard from the
yardand Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman come running down it
quite out of breathfor they have been having a glass of ale
a-pieceand Mr. Pickwick's fingers are so cold that he has been
full five minutes before he could find the sixpence to pay for it.
The coachman shouts an admonitory 'Now thengen'l'm'n' the
guard re-echoes it; the old gentleman inside thinks it a very
extraordinary thing that people WILL get down when they know


there isn't time for it; Mr. Pickwick struggles up on one side
Mr. Tupman on the other; Mr. Winkle cries 'All right'; and off
they start. Shawls are pulled upcoat collars are readjustedthe
pavement ceasesthe houses disappear; and they are once again
dashing along the open roadwith the fresh clear air blowing in
their facesand gladdening their very hearts within them.


Such was the progress of Mr. Pickwick and his friends by the
Muggleton Telegraphon their way to Dingley Dell; and at
three o'clock that afternoon they all stood high and drysafe
and soundhale and heartyupon the steps of the Blue Lion
having taken on the road quite enough of ale and brandyto
enable them to bid defiance to the frost that was binding up the
earth in its iron fettersand weaving its beautiful network upon
the trees and hedges. Mr. Pickwick was busily engaged in counting
the barrels of oysters and superintending the disinterment of
the cod-fishwhen he felt himself gently pulled by the skirts of the
coat. Looking roundhe discovered that the individual who
resorted to this mode of catching his attention was no other than
Mr. Wardle's favourite pagebetter known to the readers of this
unvarnished historyby the distinguishing appellation of the
fat boy.


'Aha!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Aha!' said the fat boy.


As he said ithe glanced from the cod-fish to the oyster-
barrelsand chuckled joyously. He was fatter than ever.


'Wellyou look rosy enoughmy young friend' said Mr. Pickwick.


'I've been asleepright in front of the taproom fire' replied the
fat boywho had heated himself to the colour of a new chimney-
potin the course of an hour's nap. 'Master sent me over with
the shay-cartto carry your luggage up to the house. He'd ha'
sent some saddle-horsesbut he thought you'd rather walk
being a cold day.'


'Yesyes' said Mr. Pickwick hastilyfor he remembered how
they had travelled over nearly the same ground on a previous
occasion. 'Yeswe would rather walk. HereSam!'


'Sir' said Mr. Weller.


'Help Mr. Wardle's servant to put the packages into the cart
and then ride on with him. We will walk forward at once.'


Having given this directionand settled with the coachman
Mr. Pickwick and his three friends struck into the footpath across
the fieldsand walked briskly awayleaving Mr. Weller and the
fat boy confronted together for the first time. Sam looked at
the fat boy with great astonishmentbut without saying a word;
and began to stow the luggage rapidly away in the cartwhile the
fat boy stood quietly byand seemed to think it a very interesting
sort of thing to see Mr. Weller working by himself.


'There' said Samthrowing in the last carpet-bag'there they are!'


'Yes' said the fat boyin a very satisfied tone'there they are.'


'Vellyoung twenty stun' said Sam'you're a nice specimen of
a prize boyyou are!'
'Thank'ee' said the fat boy.



'You ain't got nothin' on your mind as makes you fret yourself
have you?' inquired Sam.


'Not as I knows on' replied the fat boy.


'I should rayther ha' thoughtto look at youthat you was
a-labourin' under an unrequited attachment to some young
'ooman' said Sam.


The fat boy shook his head.


'Vell' said Sam'I am glad to hear it. Do you ever drink anythin'?'


'I likes eating better' replied the boy.


'Ah' said Sam'I should ha' s'posed that; but what I mean is
should you like a drop of anythin' as'd warm you? but I s'pose
you never was coldwith all them elastic fixtureswas you?'


'Sometimes' replied the boy; 'and I likes a drop of something
when it's good.'


'Ohyou dodo you?' said Sam'come this waythen!'


The Blue Lion tap was soon gainedand the fat boy swallowed
a glass of liquor without so much as winking--a feat which
considerably advanced him in Mr. Weller's good opinion. Mr.
Weller having transacted a similar piece of business on his own
accountthey got into the cart.


'Can you drive?' said the fat boy.
'I should rayther think so' replied Sam.


'Therethen' said the fat boyputting the reins in his hand
and pointing up a lane'it's as straight as you can go; you can't
miss it.'


With these wordsthe fat boy laid himself affectionately down
by the side of the cod-fishandplacing an oyster-barrel under
his head for a pillowfell asleep instantaneously.


'Well' said Sam'of all the cool boys ever I set my eyes onthis
here young gen'l'm'n is the coolest. Comewake upyoung dropsy!'


But as young dropsy evinced no symptoms of returning animation
Sam Weller sat himself down in front of the cartand
starting the old horse with a jerk of the reinjogged steadily on
towards the Manor Farm.


MeanwhileMr. Pickwick and his friends having walked their
blood into active circulationproceeded cheerfully on. The paths
were hard; the grass was crisp and frosty; the air had a finedry
bracing coldness; and the rapid approach of the gray twilight
(slate-coloured is a better term in frosty weather) made them
look forward with pleasant anticipation to the comforts which
awaited them at their hospitable entertainer's. It was the sort of
afternoon that might induce a couple of elderly gentlemenin a
lonely fieldto take off their greatcoats and play at leap-frog in
pure lightness of heart and gaiety; and we firmly believe that had
Mr. Tupman at that moment proffered 'a back' Mr. Pickwick
would have accepted his offer with the utmost avidity.


HoweverMr. Tupman did not volunteer any such accommodation



and the friends walked onconversing merrily. As
they turned into a lane they had to crossthe sound of many
voices burst upon their ears; and before they had even had
time to form a guess to whom they belongedthey walked
into the very centre of the party who were expecting their
arrival--a fact which was first notified to the Pickwickiansby
the loud 'Hurrah' which burst from old Wardle's lipswhen
they appeared in sight.

Firstthere was Wardle himselflookingif that were possible
more jolly than ever; then there were Bella and her faithful
Trundle; andlastlythere were Emily and some eight or ten
young ladieswho had all come down to the weddingwhich was
to take place next dayand who were in as happy and important
a state as young ladies usually areon such momentous occasions;
and they wereone and allstartling the fields and lanesfar and
widewith their frolic and laughter.

The ceremony of introductionunder such circumstanceswas
very soon performedor we should rather say that the introduction
was soon overwithout any ceremony at all. In two minutes
thereafterMr. Pickwick was joking with the young ladies who
wouldn't come over the stile while he looked--or whohaving
pretty feet and unexceptionable anklespreferred standing on the
top rail for five minutes or sodeclaring that they were too
frightened to move--with as much ease and absence of reserve or
constraintas if he had known them for life. It is worthy of
remarktoothat Mr. Snodgrass offered Emily far more assistance
than the absolute terrors of the stile (although it was full three
feet highand had only a couple of stepping-stones) would
seem to require; while one black-eyed young lady in a very
nice little pair of boots with fur round the topwas observed
to scream very loudlywhen Mr. Winkle offered to help her over.

All this was very snug and pleasant. And when the difficulties
of the stile were at last surmountedand they once more entered
on the open fieldold Wardle informed Mr. Pickwick how they
had all been down in a body to inspect the furniture and fittingsup
of the housewhich the young couple were to tenantafter the
Christmas holidays; at which communication Bella and Trundle
both coloured upas red as the fat boy after the taproom fire;
and the young lady with the black eyes and the fur round the
bootswhispered something in Emily's earand then glanced
archly at Mr. Snodgrass; to which Emily responded that she was
a foolish girlbut turned very rednotwithstanding; and Mr.
Snodgrasswho was as modest as all great geniuses usually are
felt the crimson rising to the crown of his headand devoutly
wishedin the inmost recesses of his own heartthat the young
lady aforesaidwith her black eyesand her archnessand her
boots with the fur round the topwere all comfortably deposited
in the adjacent county.

But if they were social and happy outside the housewhat was
the warmth and cordiality of their reception when they reached
the farm! The very servants grinned with pleasure at sight of
Mr. Pickwick; and Emma bestowed a half-demurehalf-impudent
and all-pretty look of recognitionon Mr. Tupman
which was enough to make the statue of Bonaparte in the
passageunfold his armsand clasp her within them.

The old lady was seated with customary state in the front
parlourbut she was rather crossandby consequencemost
particularly deaf. She never went out herselfand like a great
many other old ladies of the same stampshe was apt to consider


it an act of domestic treasonif anybody else took the liberty of
doing what she couldn't. Sobless her old soulshe sat as upright
as she couldin her great chairand looked as fierce as might be
--and that was benevolent after all.

'Mother' said Wardle'Mr. Pickwick. You recollect him?'

'Never mind' replied the old ladywith great dignity. 'Don't
trouble Mr. Pickwick about an old creetur like me. Nobody cares
about me nowand it's very nat'ral they shouldn't.' Here the old
lady tossed her headand smoothed down her lavender-coloured
silk dress with trembling hands.
'Comecomema'am' said Mr. Pickwick'I can't let you cut
an old friend in this way. I have come down expressly to have a
long talkand another rubber with you; and we'll show these
boys and girls how to dance a minuetbefore they're eight-andforty
hours older.'

The old lady was rapidly giving waybut she did not like to do
it all at once; so she only said'Ah! I can't hear him!'

'Nonsensemother' said Wardle. 'Comecomedon't be
crossthere's a good soul. Recollect Bella; comeyou must keep
her spirits uppoor girl.'

The good old lady heard thisfor her lip quivered as her son
said it. But age has its little infirmities of temperand she was
not quite brought round yet. Soshe smoothed down the
lavender-coloured dress againand turning to Mr. Pickwick
said'AhMr. Pickwickyoung people was very differentwhen
I was a girl.'

'No doubt of thatma'am' said Mr. Pickwick'and that's the
reason why I would make much of the few that have any traces
of the old stock'--and saying thisMr. Pickwick gently pulled
Bella towards himand bestowing a kiss upon her forehead
bade her sit down on the little stool at her grandmother's feet.
Whether the expression of her countenanceas it was raised
towards the old lady's facecalled up a thought of old timesor
whether the old lady was touched by Mr. Pickwick's affectionate
good-natureor whatever was the causeshe was fairly melted;
so she threw herself on her granddaughter's neckand all the
little ill-humour evaporated in a gush of silent tears.

A happy party they werethat night. Sedate and solemn were
the score of rubbers in which Mr. Pickwick and the old lady
played together; uproarious was the mirth of the round table.
Long after the ladies had retireddid the hot elder winewell
qualified with brandy and spicego roundand roundand round
again; and sound was the sleep and pleasant were the dreams
that followed. It is a remarkable fact that those of Mr. Snodgrass
bore constant reference to Emily Wardle; and that the principal
figure in Mr. Winkle's visions was a young lady with black eyes
and arch smileand a pair of remarkably nice boots with fur
round the tops.

Mr. Pickwick was awakened early in the morningby a hum of
voices and a pattering of feetsufficient to rouse even the fat boy
from his heavy slumbers. He sat up in bed and listened. The
female servants and female visitors were running constantly to
and fro; and there were such multitudinous demands for hot
watersuch repeated outcries for needles and threadand so
many half-suppressed entreaties of 'Ohdo come and tie me
there's a dear!' that Mr. Pickwick in his innocence began to


imagine that something dreadful must have occurred--when he
grew more awakeand remembered the wedding. The occasion
being an important onehe dressed himself with peculiar care
and descended to the breakfast-room.


There were all the female servants in a bran new uniform of
pink muslin gowns with white bows in their capsrunning about
the house in a state of excitement and agitation which it would
be impossible to describe. The old lady was dressed out in a
brocaded gownwhich had not seen the light for twenty years
saving and excepting such truant rays as had stolen through the
chinks in the box in which it had been laid byduring the whole
time. Mr. Trundle was in high feather and spiritsbut a little
nervous withal. The hearty old landlord was trying to look very
cheerful and unconcernedbut failing signally in the attempt.
All the girls were in tears and white muslinexcept a select two
or threewho were being honoured with a private view of the
bride and bridesmaidsupstairs. All the Pickwickians were in
most blooming array; and there was a terrific roaring on the
grass in front of the houseoccasioned by all the menboysand
hobbledehoys attached to the farmeach of whom had got a
white bow in his button-holeand all of whom were cheering
with might and main; being incited theretoand stimulated
therein by the precept and example of Mr. Samuel Wellerwho
had managed to become mighty popular alreadyand was as
much at home as if he had been born on the land.


A wedding is a licensed subject to joke uponbut there really
is no great joke in the matter after all;--we speak merely of the
ceremonyand beg it to be distinctly understood that we indulge
in no hidden sarcasm upon a married life. Mixed up with the
pleasure and joy of the occasionare the many regrets at quitting
homethe tears of parting between parent and childthe
consciousness of leaving the dearest and kindest friends of the
happiest portion of human lifeto encounter its cares and troubles
with others still untried and little known--natural feelings which
we would not render this chapter mournful by describingand
which we should be still more unwilling to be supposed to ridicule.


Let us briefly saythenthat the ceremony was performed by
the old clergymanin the parish church of Dingley Delland
that Mr. Pickwick's name is attached to the registerstill preserved
in the vestry thereof; that the young lady with the black
eyes signed her name in a very unsteady and tremulous manner;
that Emily's signatureas the other bridesmaidis nearly
illegible; that it all went off in very admirable style; that the
young ladies generally thought it far less shocking than they had
expected; and that although the owner of the black eyes and the
arch smile informed Mr. Wardle that she was sure she could
never submit to anything so dreadfulwe have the very best
reasons for thinking she was mistaken. To all thiswe may add
that Mr. Pickwick was the first who saluted the brideand that
in so doing he threw over her neck a rich gold watch and chain
which no mortal eyes but the jeweller's had ever beheld before.
Thenthe old church bell rang as gaily as it couldand they all
returned to breakfast.
'Vere does the mince-pies goyoung opium-eater?' said Mr.
Weller to the fat boyas he assisted in laying out such articles
of consumption as had not been duly arranged on the previous night.


The fat boy pointed to the destination of the pies.


'Wery good' said Sam'stick a bit o' Christmas in 'em.
T'other dish opposite. There; now we look compact and comfortable



as the father said ven he cut his little boy's head offto
cure him o' squintin'.'

As Mr. Weller made the comparisonhe fell back a step or
twoto give full effect to itand surveyed the preparations with
the utmost satisfaction.

'Wardle' said Mr. Pickwickalmost as soon as they were all
seated'a glass of wine in honour of this happy occasion!'

'I shall be delightedmy boy' said Wardle. 'Joe--damn that
boyhe's gone to sleep.'
'NoI ain'tsir' replied the fat boystarting up from a remote
cornerwherelike the patron saint of fat boys--the immortal
Horner--he had been devouring a Christmas piethough not
with the coolness and deliberation which characterised that
young gentleman's proceedings.

'Fill Mr. Pickwick's glass.'

'Yessir.'

The fat boy filled Mr. Pickwick's glassand then retired
behind his master's chairfrom whence he watched the play of
the knives and forksand the progress of the choice morsels
from the dishes to the mouths of the companywith a kind of
dark and gloomy joy that was most impressive.

'God bless youold fellow!' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Same to youmy boy' replied Wardle; and they pledged each
otherheartily.

'Mrs. Wardle' said Mr. Pickwick'we old folks must have a
glass of wine togetherin honour of this joyful event.'

The old lady was in a state of great grandeur just thenfor she
was sitting at the top of the table in the brocaded gownwith
her newly-married granddaughter on one sideand Mr. Pickwick
on the otherto do the carving. Mr. Pickwick had not spoken in
a very loud tonebut she understood him at onceand drank off
a full glass of wine to his long life and happiness; after which the
worthy old soul launched forth into a minute and particular
account of her own weddingwith a dissertation on the fashion
of wearing high-heeled shoesand some particulars concerning
the life and adventures of the beautiful Lady Tollimglower
deceased; at all of which the old lady herself laughed very
heartily indeedand so did the young ladies toofor they were
wondering among themselves what on earth grandma was
talking about. When they laughedthe old lady laughed ten
times more heartilyand said that these always had been considered
capital storieswhich caused them all to laugh againand put
the old lady into the very best of humours. Then the
cake was cutand passed through the ring; the young ladies
saved pieces to put under their pillows to dream of their future
husbands on; and a great deal of blushing and merriment was
thereby occasioned.

'Mr. Miller' said Mr. Pickwick to his old acquaintancethe
hard-headed gentleman'a glass of wine?'

'With great satisfactionMr. Pickwick' replied the hardheaded
gentleman solemnly.


'You'll take me in?' said the benevolent old clergyman.


'And me' interposed his wife.
'And meand me' said a couple of poor relations at the
bottom of the tablewho had eaten and drunk very heartilyand
laughed at everything.


Mr. Pickwick expressed his heartfelt delight at every additional
suggestion; and his eyes beamed with hilarity and cheerfulness.
'Ladies and gentlemen' said Mr. Pickwicksuddenly rising.


'Hearhear! Hearhear! Hearhear!' cried Mr. Wellerin the
excitement of his feelings.


'Call in all the servants' cried old Wardleinterposing to
prevent the public rebuke which Mr. Weller would otherwise
most indubitably have received from his master. 'Give them a
glass of wine each to drink the toast in. NowPickwick.'


Amidst the silence of the companythe whispering of the
women-servantsand the awkward embarrassment of the men
Mr. Pickwick proceeded--


'Ladies and gentlemen--noI won't say ladies and gentlemen
I'll call you my friendsmy dear friendsif the ladies will allow
me to take so great a liberty--'


Here Mr. Pickwick was interrupted by immense applause from
the ladiesechoed by the gentlemenduring which the owner of
the eyes was distinctly heard to state that she could kiss that dear
Mr. Pickwick. Whereupon Mr. Winkle gallantly inquired if it
couldn't be done by deputy: to which the young lady with the
black eyes replied 'Go away' and accompanied the request with
a look which said as plainly as a look could do'if you can.'


'My dear friends' resumed Mr. Pickwick'I am going to
propose the health of the bride and bridegroom--God bless 'em
(cheers and tears). My young friendTrundleI believe to be a
very excellent and manly fellow; and his wife I know to be a very
amiable and lovely girlwell qualified to transfer to another
sphere of action the happiness which for twenty years she has
diffused around herin her father's house. (Herethe fat boy
burst forth into stentorian blubberingsand was led forth by the
coat collarby Mr. Weller.) I wish' added Mr. Pickwick--'I
wish I was young enough to be her sister's husband (cheers)
butfailing thatI am happy to be old enough to be her father;
forbeing soI shall not be suspected of any latent designs when
I saythat I admireesteemand love them both (cheers and
sobs). The bride's fatherour good friend thereis a noble
personand I am proud to know him (great uproar). He is a kind
excellentindependent-spiritedfine-heartedhospitableliberal
man (enthusiastic shouts from the poor relationsat all the
adjectives; and especially at the two last). That his daughter
may enjoy all the happinesseven he can desire; and that he may
derive from the contemplation of her felicity all the gratification
of heart and peace of mind which he so well deservesisI am
persuadedour united wish. Solet us drink their healthsand
wish them prolonged lifeand every blessing!'


Mr. Pickwick concluded amidst a whirlwind of applause; and
once more were the lungs of the supernumerariesunder Mr.
Weller's commandbrought into active and efficient operation.
Mr. Wardle proposed Mr. Pickwick; Mr. Pickwick proposed the
old lady. Mr. Snodgrass proposed Mr. Wardle; Mr. Wardle



proposed Mr. Snodgrass. One of the poor relations proposed
Mr. Tupmanand the other poor relation proposed Mr. Winkle;
all was happiness and festivityuntil the mysterious disappearance
of both the poor relations beneath the tablewarned the party
that it was time to adjourn.


At dinner they met againafter a five-and-twenty mile walk
undertaken by the males at Wardle's recommendationto get rid
of the effects of the wine at breakfast. The poor relations had
kept in bed all daywith the view of attaining the same happy
consummationbutas they had been unsuccessfulthey stopped
there. Mr. Weller kept the domestics in a state of perpetual
hilarity; and the fat boy divided his time into small alternate
allotments of eating and sleeping.


The dinner was as hearty an affair as the breakfastand was
quite as noisywithout the tears. Then came the dessert and some
more toasts. Then came the tea and coffee; and thenthe ball.


The best sitting-room at Manor Farm was a goodlongdark-
panelled room with a high chimney-pieceand a capacious
chimneyup which you could have driven one of the new patent
cabswheels and all. At the upper end of the roomseated in a
shady bower of holly and evergreens were the two best fiddlers
and the only harpin all Muggleton. In all sorts of recessesand
on all kinds of bracketsstood massive old silver candlesticks
with four branches each. The carpet was upthe candles burned
brightthe fire blazed and crackled on the hearthand merry
voices and light-hearted laughter rang through the room. If any
of the old English yeomen had turned into fairies when they
diedit was just the place in which they would have held their revels.


If anything could have added to the interest of this agreeable
sceneit would have been the remarkable fact of Mr. Pickwick's
appearing without his gaitersfor the first time within the
memory of his oldest friends.


'You mean to dance?' said Wardle.


'Of course I do' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'Don't you see I am
dressed for the purpose?' Mr. Pickwick called attention to his
speckled silk stockingsand smartly tied pumps.


'YOU in silk stockings!' exclaimed Mr. Tupman jocosely.


'And why notsir--why not?' said Mr. Pickwickturning
warmly upon him.
'Ohof course there is no reason why you shouldn't wear
them' responded Mr. Tupman.


'I imagine notsir--I imagine not' said Mr. Pickwickin a
very peremptory tone.


Mr. Tupman had contemplated a laughbut he found it was
a serious matter; so he looked graveand said they were a
pretty pattern.


'I hope they are' said Mr. Pickwickfixing his eyes upon his
friend. 'You see nothing extraordinary in the stockingsAS
stockingsI trustSir?'


'Certainly not. Ohcertainly not' replied Mr. Tupman. He
walked away; and Mr. Pickwick's countenance resumed its
customary benign expression.



'We are all readyI believe' said Mr. Pickwickwho was
stationed with the old lady at the top of the danceand had
already made four false startsin his excessive anxiety to commence.

'Then begin at once' said Wardle. 'Now!'

Up struck the two fiddles and the one harpand off went
Mr. Pickwick into hands acrosswhen there was a general
clapping of handsand a cry of 'Stopstop!'

'What's the matter?' said Mr. Pickwickwho was only brought
toby the fiddles and harp desistingand could have been stopped
by no other earthly powerif the house had been on fire.
'Where's Arabella Allen?' cried a dozen voices.

'And Winkle?'added Mr. Tupman.

'Here we are!' exclaimed that gentlemanemerging with his
pretty companion from the corner; as he did soit would have
been hard to tell which was the redder in the facehe or the
young lady with the black eyes.

'What an extraordinary thing it isWinkle' said Mr. Pickwick
rather pettishly'that you couldn't have taken your place before.'

'Not at all extraordinary' said Mr. Winkle.

'Well' said Mr. Pickwickwith a very expressive smileas his
eyes rested on Arabella'wellI don't know that it WAS
extraordinaryeitherafter all.'

Howeverthere was no time to think more about the matter
for the fiddles and harp began in real earnest. Away went Mr.
Pickwick--hands across--down the middle to the very end of the
roomand half-way up the chimneyback again to the door-poussette
everywhere--loud stamp on the ground--ready for the
next couple--off again--all the figure over once more--another
stamp to beat out the time--next coupleand the nextand the
next again--never was such going; at lastafter they had reached
the bottom of the danceand full fourteen couple after the old
lady had retired in an exhausted stateand the clergyman's wife
had been substituted in her steaddid that gentlemanwhen there
was no demand whatever on his exertionskeep perpetually
dancing in his placeto keep time to the musicsmiling on his
partner all the while with a blandness of demeanour which
baffles all description.

Long before Mr. Pickwick was weary of dancingthe newlymarried
couple had retired from the scene. There was a glorious
supper downstairsnotwithstandingand a good long sitting
after it; and when Mr. Pickwick awokelate the next morning
he had a confused recollection of havingseverally and
confidentiallyinvited somewhere about five-and-forty people to dine
with him at the George and Vulturethe very first time they came
to London; which Mr. Pickwick rightly considered a pretty
certain indication of his having taken something besides exercise
on the previous night.

'And so your family has games in the kitchen to-nightmy
dearhas they?' inquired Sam of Emma.

'YesMr. Weller' replied Emma; 'we always have on Christmas
Eve. Master wouldn't neglect to keep it up on any account.'


'Your master's a wery pretty notion of keeping anythin' up
my dear' said Mr. Weller; 'I never see such a sensible sort of
man as he isor such a reg'lar gen'l'm'n.'
'Ohthat he is!' said the fat boyjoining in the conversation;
'don't he breed nice pork!' The fat youth gave a semi-cannibalic
leer at Mr. Welleras he thought of the roast legs and gravy.


'Ohyou've woke upat lasthave you?' said Sam.


The fat boy nodded.


'I'll tell you what it isyoung boa-constructer' said Mr. Weller
impressively; 'if you don't sleep a little lessand exercise a little
morewen you comes to be a man you'll lay yourself open to the
same sort of personal inconwenience as was inflicted on the old
gen'l'm'n as wore the pigtail.'


'What did they do to him?' inquired the fat boyin a faltering voice.


'I'm a-going to tell you' replied Mr. Weller; 'he was one o' the
largest patterns as was ever turned out--reg'lar fat manas
hadn't caught a glimpse of his own shoes for five-and-forty year.'


'Lor!' exclaimed Emma.


'Nothat he hadn'tmy dear' said Mr. Weller; 'and if you'd
put an exact model of his own legs on the dinin'-table afore him
he wouldn't ha' known 'em. Wellhe always walks to his office
with a wery handsome gold watch-chain hanging outabout a
foot and a quarterand a gold watch in his fob pocket as was
worth--I'm afraid to say how muchbut as much as a watch can
be--a largeheavyround manufacteras stout for a watchas
he was for a manand with a big face in proportion. "You'd
better not carry that 'ere watch says the old gen'l'm'n's friends,
you'll be robbed on it says they. Shall I?" says he. "Yesyou
will says they. Well says he, I should like to see the thief
as could get this here watch outfor I'm blessed if I ever canit's
such a tight fit says he, and wenever I vants to know what's
o'clockI'm obliged to stare into the bakers' shops he says.
Well, then he laughs as hearty as if he was a-goin' to pieces, and
out he walks agin with his powdered head and pigtail, and
rolls down the Strand with the chain hangin' out furder than
ever, and the great round watch almost bustin' through his gray
kersey smalls. There warn't a pickpocket in all London as didn't
take a pull at that chain, but the chain 'ud never break, and the
watch 'ud never come out, so they soon got tired of dragging
such a heavy old gen'l'm'n along the pavement, and he'd go
home and laugh till the pigtail wibrated like the penderlum of a
Dutch clock. At last, one day the old gen'l'm'n was a-rollin'
along, and he sees a pickpocket as he know'd by sight, a-coming
up, arm in arm with a little boy with a wery large head. Here's
a game says the old gen'l'm'n to himself, they're a-goin' to
have another trybut it won't do!" So he begins a-chucklin'
wery heartywenall of a suddenthe little boy leaves hold of the
pickpocket's armand rushes head foremost straight into the old
gen'l'm'n's stomachand for a moment doubles him right up
with the pain. "Murder!" says the old gen'l'm'n. "All rightSir
says the pickpocket, a-wisperin' in his ear. And wen he come
straight agin, the watch and chain was gone, and what's worse
than that, the old gen'l'm'n's digestion was all wrong ever afterwards,
to the wery last day of his life; so just you look about you,
young feller, and take care you don't get too fat.'



As Mr. Weller concluded this moral tale, with which the fat
boy appeared much affected, they all three repaired to the large
kitchen, in which the family were by this time assembled,
according to annual custom on Christmas Eve, observed by old
Wardle's forefathers from time immemorial.

From the centre of the ceiling of this kitchen, old Wardle had
just suspended, with his own hands, a huge branch of mistletoe,
and this same branch of mistletoe instantaneously gave rise to a
scene of general and most delightful struggling and confusion; in
the midst of which, Mr. Pickwick, with a gallantry that would
have done honour to a descendant of Lady Tollimglower herself,
took the old lady by the hand, led her beneath the mystic
branch, and saluted her in all courtesy and decorum. The old lady
submitted to this piece of practical politeness with all the dignity
which befitted so important and serious a solemnity, but the
younger ladies, not being so thoroughly imbued with a superstitious
veneration for the custom, or imagining that the value of
a salute is very much enhanced if it cost a little trouble to obtain
it, screamed and struggled, and ran into corners, and threatened
and remonstrated, and did everything but leave the room, until
some of the less adventurous gentlemen were on the point of
desisting, when they all at once found it useless to resist any
longer, and submitted to be kissed with a good grace. Mr. Winkle
kissed the young lady with the black eyes, and Mr. Snodgrass
kissed Emily; and Mr. Weller, not being particular about the
form of being under the mistletoe, kissed Emma and the other
female servants, just as he caught them. As to the poor relations,
they kissed everybody, not even excepting the plainer portions of
the young lady visitors, who, in their excessive confusion, ran
right under the mistletoe, as soon as it was hung up, without
knowing it! Wardle stood with his back to the fire, surveying the
whole scene, with the utmost satisfaction; and the fat boy took
the opportunity of appropriating to his own use, and summarily
devouring, a particularly fine mince-pie, that had been carefully
put by, for somebody else.

Now, the screaming had subsided, and faces were in a glow,
and curls in a tangle, and Mr. Pickwick, after kissing the old lady
as before mentioned, was standing under the mistletoe, looking
with a very pleased countenance on all that was passing around
him, when the young lady with the black eyes, after a little
whispering with the other young ladies, made a sudden dart
forward, and, putting her arm round Mr. Pickwick's neck,
saluted him affectionately on the left cheek; and before Mr.
Pickwick distinctly knew what was the matter, he was surrounded
by the whole body, and kissed by every one of them.

It was a pleasant thing to see Mr. Pickwick in the centre of the
group, now pulled this way, and then that, and first kissed on
the chin, and then on the nose, and then on the spectacles, and to
hear the peals of laughter which were raised on every side; but
it was a still more pleasant thing to see Mr. Pickwick, blinded
shortly afterwards with a silk handkerchief, falling up against the
wall, and scrambling into corners, and going through all the
mysteries of blind-man's buff, with the utmost relish for the
game, until at last he caught one of the poor relations, and then
had to evade the blind-man himself, which he did with a nimbleness
and agility that elicited the admiration and applause of all
beholders. The poor relations caught the people who they
thought would like it, and, when the game flagged, got caught
themselves. When they all tired of blind-man's buff, there was a
great game at snap-dragon, and when fingers enough were
burned with that, and all the raisins were gone, they sat down by


the huge fire of blazing logs to a substantial supper, and a mighty
bowl of wassail, something smaller than an ordinary wash-
house copper, in which the hot apples were hissing and bubbling
with a rich look, and a jolly sound, that were perfectly irresistible.


'This,' said Mr. Pickwick, looking round him, 'this is,
indeed, comfort.'
'Our invariable custom,' replied Mr. Wardle. 'Everybody sits
down with us on Christmas Eve, as you see them now--servants
and all; and here we wait, until the clock strikes twelve, to usher
Christmas in, and beguile the time with forfeits and old stories.
Trundle, my boy, rake up the fire.'


Up flew the bright sparks in myriads as the logs were stirred.
The deep red blaze sent forth a rich glow, that penetrated into
the farthest corner of the room, and cast its cheerful tint on
every face.


'Come,' said Wardle, 'a song--a Christmas song! I'll give you
one, in default of a better.'


'Bravo!' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Fill up,' cried Wardle. 'It will be two hours, good, before you
see the bottom of the bowl through the deep rich colour of the
wassail; fill up all round, and now for the song.'


Thus saying, the merry old gentleman, in a good, round,
sturdy voice, commenced without more ado--


A CHRISTMAS CAROL


'I care not for Spring; on his fickle wing
Let the blossoms and buds be borne;
He woos them amain with his treacherous rain,
And he scatters them ere the morn.
An inconstant elf, he knows not himself,
Nor his own changing mind an hour,
He'll smile in your face, and, with wry grimace,
He'll wither your youngest flower.


'Let the Summer sun to his bright home run,
He shall never be sought by me;
When he's dimmed by a cloud I can laugh aloud
And care not how sulky he be!
For his darling child is the madness wild
That sports in fierce fever's train;
And when love is too strong, it don't last long,
As many have found to their pain.


'A mild harvest night, by the tranquil light
Of the modest and gentle moon,
Has a far sweeter sheen for me, I ween,
Than the broad and unblushing noon.
But every leaf awakens my grief,
As it lieth beneath the tree;
So let Autumn air be never so fair,
It by no means agrees with me.


'But my song I troll out, for CHRISTMAS Stout,
The hearty, the true, and the bold;
A bumper I drain, and with might and main
Give three cheers for this Christmas old!



We'll usher him in with a merry din
That shall gladden his joyous heart,
And we'll keep him up, while there's bite or sup,
And in fellowship good, we'll part.
'In his fine honest pride, he scorns to hide
One jot of his hard-weather scars;
They're no disgrace, for there's much the same trace
On the cheeks of our bravest tars.
Then again I sing till the roof doth ring
And it echoes from wall to wall--
To the stout old wight, fair welcome to-night,
As the King of the Seasons all!'


This song was tumultuously applauded--for friends and
dependents make a capital audience--and the poor relations,
especially, were in perfect ecstasies of rapture. Again was the fire
replenished, and again went the wassail round.


'How it snows!' said one of the men, in a low tone.


'Snows, does it?' said Wardle.


'Rough, cold night, Sir,' replied the man; 'and there's a wind
got up, that drifts it across the fields, in a thick white cloud.'


'What does Jem say?' inquired the old lady. 'There ain't
anything the matter, is there?'


'No, no, mother,' replied Wardle; 'he says there's a snowdrift,
and a wind that's piercing cold. I should know that, by the way
it rumbles in the chimney.'


'Ah!' said the old lady, 'there was just such a wind, and just
such a fall of snow, a good many years back, I recollect--just five
years before your poor father died. It was a Christmas Eve,
too; and I remember that on that very night he told us the story
about the goblins that carried away old Gabriel Grub.'


'The story about what?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Oh, nothing, nothing,' replied Wardle. 'About an old sexton,
that the good people down here suppose to have been carried
away by goblins.'


'Suppose!' ejaculated the old lady. 'Is there anybody hardy
enough to disbelieve it? Suppose! Haven't you heard ever since
you were a child, that he WAS carried away by the goblins, and
don't you know he was?'


'Very well, mother, he was, if you like,' said Wardle laughing.
'He WAS carried away by goblins, Pickwick; and there's an end
of the matter.'


'No, no,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'not an end of it, I assure you; for
I must hear how, and why, and all about it.'


Wardle smiled, as every head was bent forward to hear, and
filling out the wassail with no stinted hand, nodded a health to
Mr. Pickwick, and began as follows--


But bless our editorial heart, what a long chapter we have been
betrayed into! We had quite forgotten all such petty restrictions
as chapters, we solemnly declare. So here goes, to give the goblin



a fair start in a new one. A clear stage and no favour for the
goblins, ladies and gentlemen, if you please.

CHAPTER XXIX
THE STORY OF THE GOBLINS WHO STOLE A SEXTON

In an old abbey town, down in this part of the country, a long, long
while ago--so long, that the story must be a true one, because our
great-grandfathers implicitly believed it--there officiated as sexton
and grave-digger in the churchyard, one Gabriel Grub. It by no
means follows that because a man is a sexton, and constantly
surrounded by the emblems of mortality, therefore he should be a
morose and melancholy man; your undertakers are the merriest fellows
in the world; and I once had the honour of being on intimate terms
with a mute, who in private life, and off duty, was as comical and
jocose a little fellow as ever chirped out a devil-may-care song,
without a hitch in his memory, or drained off a good stiff glass
without stopping for breath. But notwithstanding these precedents
to the contrary, Gabriel Grub was an ill-conditioned, cross-grained,
surly fellow--a morose and lonely man, who consorted with nobody
but himself, and an old wicker bottle which fitted into his large deep
waistcoat pocket--and who eyed each merry face, as it passed
him by, with such a deep scowl of malice and ill-humour,
as it was difficult to meet without feeling something the worse for.

'A little before twilight, one Christmas Eve, Gabriel shouldered
his spade, lighted his lantern, and betook himself towards the old
churchyard; for he had got a grave to finish by next morning,
and, feeling very low, he thought it might raise his spirits,
perhaps, if he went on with his work at once. As he went his way,
up the ancient street, he saw the cheerful light of the blazing
fires gleam through the old casements, and heard the loud laugh
and the cheerful shouts of those who were assembled around
them; he marked the bustling preparations for next day's cheer,
and smelled the numerous savoury odours consequent thereupon,
as they steamed up from the kitchen windows in clouds. All this
was gall and wormwood to the heart of Gabriel Grub; and
when groups of children bounded out of the houses, tripped
across the road, and were met, before they could knock at the
opposite door, by half a dozen curly-headed little rascals who
crowded round them as they flocked upstairs to spend the
evening in their Christmas games, Gabriel smiled grimly, and
clutched the handle of his spade with a firmer grasp, as he
thought of measles, scarlet fever, thrush, whooping-cough, and
a good many other sources of consolation besides.

'In this happy frame of mind, Gabriel strode along, returning
a short, sullen growl to the good-humoured greetings of such of
his neighbours as now and then passed him, until he turned into
the dark lane which led to the churchyard. Now, Gabriel had
been looking forward to reaching the dark lane, because it was,
generally speaking, a nice, gloomy, mournful place, into which
the townspeople did not much care to go, except in broad
daylight, and when the sun was shining; consequently, he was
not a little indignant to hear a young urchin roaring out
some jolly song about a merry Christmas, in this very sanctuary
which had been called Coffin Lane ever since the days of the old
abbey, and the time of the shaven-headed monks. As Gabriel
walked on, and the voice drew nearer, he found it proceeded
from a small boy, who was hurrying along, to join one of the
little parties in the old street, and who, partly to keep himself


company, and partly to prepare himself for the occasion, was
shouting out the song at the highest pitch of his lungs. So Gabriel
waited until the boy came up, and then dodged him into a corner,
and rapped him over the head with his lantern five or six times,
just to teach him to modulate his voice. And as the boy hurried
away with his hand to his head, singing quite a different sort of
tune, Gabriel Grub chuckled very heartily to himself, and
entered the churchyard, locking the gate behind him.

'He took off his coat, set down his lantern, and getting into the
unfinished grave, worked at it for an hour or so with right goodwill.
But the earth was hardened with the frost, and it was no
very easy matter to break it up, and shovel it out; and although
there was a moon, it was a very young one, and shed little light
upon the grave, which was in the shadow of the church. At any
other time, these obstacles would have made Gabriel Grub very
moody and miserable, but he was so well pleased with having
stopped the small boy's singing, that he took little heed of the
scanty progress he had made, and looked down into the grave,
when he had finished work for the night, with grim satisfaction,
murmuring as he gathered up his things-


Brave lodgings for one, brave lodgings for one,

A few feet of cold earth, when life is done;

A stone at the head, a stone at the feet,

A rich, juicy meal for the worms to eat;

Rank grass overhead, and damp clay around,

Brave lodgings for one, these, in holy ground!

'Ho! ho!" laughed Gabriel Grubas he sat himself down on
a flat tombstone which was a favourite resting-place of hisand
drew forth his wicker bottle. "A coffin at Christmas! A Christmas
box! Ho! ho! ho!"

'"Ho! ho! ho!" repeated a voice which sounded close behind him.

'Gabriel pausedin some alarmin the act of raising the wicker
bottle to his lipsand looked round. The bottom of the oldest
grave about him was not more still and quiet than the churchyard
in the pale moonlight. The cold hoar frost glistened on the
tombstonesand sparkled like rows of gemsamong the stone
carvings of the old church. The snow lay hard and crisp upon
the ground; and spread over the thickly-strewn mounds of earth
so white and smooth a cover that it seemed as if corpses lay
therehidden only by their winding sheets. Not the faintest rustle
broke the profound tranquillity of the solemn scene. Sound itself
appeared to be frozen upall was so cold and still.

'"It was the echoes said Gabriel Grub, raising the bottle to
his lips again.

'It was NOT said a deep voice.

'Gabriel started up, and stood rooted to the spot with
astonishment and terror; for his eyes rested on a form that made
his blood run cold.

'Seated on an upright tombstone, close to him, was a strange,
unearthly figure, whom Gabriel felt at once, was no being of this
world. His long, fantastic legs which might have reached the
ground, were cocked up, and crossed after a quaint, fantastic
fashion; his sinewy arms were bare; and his hands rested on his
knees. On his short, round body, he wore a close covering,
ornamented with small slashes; a short cloak dangled at his


back; the collar was cut into curious peaks, which served the
goblin in lieu of ruff or neckerchief; and his shoes curled up at
his toes into long points. On his head, he wore a broad-brimmed
sugar-loaf hat, garnished with a single feather. The hat was
covered with the white frost; and the goblin looked as if he had
sat on the same tombstone very comfortably, for two or three
hundred years. He was sitting perfectly still; his tongue was put
out, as if in derision; and he was grinning at Gabriel Grub with
such a grin as only a goblin could call up.


'It was NOT the echoes said the goblin.


'Gabriel Grub was paralysed, and could make no reply.


'What do you do here on Christmas Eve?" said the goblin sternly.
'"I came to dig a graveSir stammered Gabriel Grub.


'What man wanders among graves and churchyards on such
a night as this?" cried the goblin.


'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" screamed a wild chorus of
voices that seemed to fill the churchyard. Gabriel looked fearfully
round--nothing was to be seen.


'"What have you got in that bottle?" said the goblin.


'"Hollandssir replied the sexton, trembling more than ever;
for he had bought it of the smugglers, and he thought that
perhaps his questioner might be in the excise department of the goblins.


'Who drinks Hollands aloneand in a churchyardon such a
night as this?" said the goblin.


'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" exclaimed the wild voices again.


'The goblin leered maliciously at the terrified sextonand then
raising his voiceexclaimed--


'"And whothenis our fair and lawful prize?"


'To this inquiry the invisible chorus repliedin a strain that
sounded like the voices of many choristers singing to the mighty
swell of the old church organ--a strain that seemed borne to the
sexton's ears upon a wild windand to die away as it passed
onward; but the burden of the reply was still the sameGabriel
Grub! Gabriel Grub!


'The goblin grinned a broader grin than beforeas he said
Well, Gabriel, what do you say to this?


'The sexton gasped for breath.
'"What do you think of thisGabriel?" said the goblin
kicking up his feet in the air on either side of the tombstoneand
looking at the turned-up points with as much complacency as if
he had been contemplating the most fashionable pair of
Wellingtons in all Bond Street.


'"It's--it's--very curiousSir replied the sexton, half dead
with fright; very curiousand very prettybut I think I'll go
back and finish my workSirif you please."


'"Work!" said the goblinwhat work?


'"The graveSir; making the grave stammered the sexton.



'Ohthe graveeh?" said the goblin; "who makes graves at
a time when all other men are merryand takes a pleasure in it?"

'Again the mysterious voices repliedGabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!

'"I am afraid my friends want youGabriel said the goblin,
thrusting his tongue farther into his cheek than ever--and a most
astonishing tongue it was--I'm afraid my friends want you
Gabriel said the goblin.

'Under favourSir replied the horror-stricken sexton, I
don't think they canSir; they don't know meSir; I don't think
the gentlemen have ever seen meSir."

'"Ohyesthey have replied the goblin; we know the man
with the sulky face and grim scowlthat came down the street
to-nightthrowing his evil looks at the childrenand grasping
his burying-spade the tighter. We know the man who struck the
boy in the envious malice of his heartbecause the boy could be
merryand he could not. We know himwe know him."

'Herethe goblin gave a loudshrill laughwhich the echoes
returned twentyfold; and throwing his legs up in the airstood
upon his heador rather upon the very point of his sugar-loaf
haton the narrow edge of the tombstonewhence he threw a
Somerset with extraordinary agilityright to the sexton's feetat
which he planted himself in the attitude in which tailors generally
sit upon the shop-board.

'"I--I--am afraid I must leave youSir said the sexton,
making an effort to move.

'Leave us!" said the goblinGabriel Grub going to leave us.
Ho! ho! ho!

'As the goblin laughedthe sexton observedfor one instanta
brilliant illumination within the windows of the churchas if the
whole building were lighted up; it disappearedthe organ pealed
forth a lively airand whole troops of goblinsthe very counterpart
of the first onepoured into the churchyardand began
playing at leap-frog with the tombstonesnever stopping for an
instant to take breathbut "overing" the highest among them
one after the otherwith the most marvellous dexterity. The first
goblin was a most astonishing leaperand none of the others
could come near him; even in the extremity of his terror the
sexton could not help observingthat while his friends were
content to leap over the common-sized gravestonesthe first one
took the family vaultsiron railings and allwith as much ease as
if they had been so many street-posts.

'At last the game reached to a most exciting pitch; the organ
played quicker and quickerand the goblins leaped faster and
fastercoiling themselves uprolling head over heels upon the
groundand bounding over the tombstones like footballs. The
sexton's brain whirled round with the rapidity of the motion he
beheldand his legs reeled beneath himas the spirits flew before
his eyes; when the goblin kingsuddenly darting towards him
laid his hand upon his collarand sank with him through the earth.

'When Gabriel Grub had had time to fetch his breathwhich
the rapidity of his descent had for the moment taken awayhe
found himself in what appeared to be a large cavernsurrounded
on all sides by crowds of goblinsugly and grim; in the centre of


the roomon an elevated seatwas stationed his friend of the
churchyard; and close behind him stood Gabriel Grub himself
without power of motion.

'"Cold to-night said the king of the goblins, very cold. A
glass of something warm here!"

'At this commandhalf a dozen officious goblinswith a
perpetual smile upon their faceswhom Gabriel Grub imagined
to be courtierson that accounthastily disappearedand presently
returned with a goblet of liquid firewhich they presented to the king.

'"Ah!" cried the goblinwhose cheeks and throat were transparent
as he tossed down the flamethis warms one, indeed!
Bring a bumper of the same, for Mr. Grub.

'It was in vain for the unfortunate sexton to protest that he
was not in the habit of taking anything warm at night; one of
the goblins held him while another poured the blazing liquid
down his throat; the whole assembly screeched with laughter
as he coughed and chokedand wiped away the tears which
gushed plentifully from his eyesafter swallowing the burning draught.

'"And now said the king, fantastically poking the taper
corner of his sugar-loaf hat into the sexton's eye, and thereby
occasioning him the most exquisite pain; and nowshow the
man of misery and glooma few of the pictures from our own
great storehouse!"

'As the goblin said thisa thick cloud which obscured the
remoter end of the cavern rolled gradually awayand disclosed
apparently at a great distancea small and scantily furnishedbut
neat and clean apartment. A crowd of little children were
gathered round a bright fireclinging to their mother's gownand
gambolling around her chair. The mother occasionally roseand
drew aside the window-curtainas if to look for some expected
object; a frugal meal was ready spread upon the table; and an
elbow chair was placed near the fire. A knock was heard at the
door; the mother opened itand the children crowded round her
and clapped their hands for joyas their father entered. He was
wet and wearyand shook the snow from his garmentsas the
children crowded round himand seizing his cloakhatstick
and gloveswith busy zealran with them from the room. Then
as he sat down to his meal before the firethe children climbed
about his kneeand the mother sat by his sideand all seemed
happiness and comfort.

'But a change came upon the viewalmost imperceptibly. The
scene was altered to a small bedroomwhere the fairest and
youngest child lay dying; the roses had fled from his cheekand
the light from his eye; and even as the sexton looked upon him
with an interest he had never felt or known beforehe died. His
young brothers and sisters crowded round his little bedand
seized his tiny handso cold and heavy; but they shrank back
from its touchand looked with awe on his infant face; for calm
and tranquil as it wasand sleeping in rest and peace as the
beautiful child seemed to bethey saw that he was deadand they
knew that he was an angel looking down uponand blessing
themfrom a bright and happy Heaven.

'Again the light cloud passed across the pictureand again the
subject changed. The father and mother were old and helpless
nowand the number of those about them was diminished more
than half; but content and cheerfulness sat on every faceand


beamed in every eyeas they crowded round the firesideand told
and listened to old stories of earlier and bygone days. Slowly
and peacefullythe father sank into the graveandsoon after
the sharer of all his cares and troubles followed him to a place of
rest. The few who yet survived themkneeled by their tomband
watered the green turf which covered it with their tears; then rose
and turned awaysadly and mournfullybut not with bitter
criesor despairing lamentationsfor they knew that they should
one day meet again; and once more they mixed with the busy
worldand their content and cheerfulness were restored. The
cloud settled upon the pictureand concealed it from the sexton's view.

'"What do you think of THAT?" said the goblinturning his
large face towards Gabriel Grub.

'Gabriel murmured out something about its being very pretty
and looked somewhat ashamedas the goblin bent his fiery eyes
upon him.

'" You miserable man!" said the goblinin a tone of excessive
contempt. "You!" He appeared disposed to add morebut
indignation choked his utteranceso he lifted up one of his very
pliable legsandflourishing it above his head a littleto insure
his aimadministered a good sound kick to Gabriel Grub;
immediately after whichall the goblins in waiting crowded
round the wretched sextonand kicked him without mercy
according to the established and invariable custom of courtiers
upon earthwho kick whom royalty kicksand hug whom
royalty hugs.

'"Show him some more!" said the king of the goblins.

'At these wordsthe cloud was dispelledand a rich and
beautiful landscape was disclosed to view--there is just such
anotherto this daywithin half a mile of the old abbey town.
The sun shone from out the clear blue skythe water sparkled
beneath his raysand the trees looked greenerand the flowers
more gaybeneath its cheering influence. The water rippled on
with a pleasant soundthe trees rustled in the light wind that
murmured among their leavesthe birds sang upon the boughs
and the lark carolled on high her welcome to the morning. Yes
it was morning; the brightbalmy morning of summer; the
minutest leafthe smallest blade of grasswas instinct with life.
The ant crept forth to her daily toilthe butterfly fluttered and
basked in the warm rays of the sun; myriads of insects spread
their transparent wingsand revelled in their brief but happy
existence. Man walked forthelated with the scene; and all was
brightness and splendour.

'"YOU a miserable man!" said the king of the goblinsin a
more contemptuous tone than before. And again the king of the
goblins gave his leg a flourish; again it descended on the shoulders
of the sexton; and again the attendant goblins imitated the
example of their chief.

'Many a time the cloud went and cameand many a lesson it
taught to Gabriel Grubwhoalthough his shoulders smarted
with pain from the frequent applications of the goblins' feet
thereuntolooked on with an interest that nothing could diminish.
He saw that men who worked hardand earned their scanty
bread with lives of labourwere cheerful and happy; and that to
the most ignorantthe sweet face of Nature was a never-failing
source of cheerfulness and joy. He saw those who had been
delicately nurturedand tenderly brought upcheerful under


privationsand superior to sufferingthat would have crushed
many of a rougher grainbecause they bore within their own
bosoms the materials of happinesscontentmentand peace. He
saw that womenthe tenderest and most fragile of all God's
creatureswere the oftenest superior to sorrowadversityand
distress; and he saw that it was because they borein their own
heartsan inexhaustible well-spring of affection and devotion.
Above allhe saw that men like himselfwho snarled at the mirth
and cheerfulness of otherswere the foulest weeds on the fair
surface of the earth; and setting all the good of the world against
the evilhe came to the conclusion that it was a very decent and
respectable sort of world after all. No sooner had he formed it
than the cloud which had closed over the last pictureseemed to
settle on his sensesand lull him to repose. One by onethe
goblins faded from his sight; andas the last one disappearedhe
sank to sleep.

'The day had broken when Gabriel Grub awokeand found
himself lying at full length on the flat gravestone in the churchyard
with the wicker bottle lying empty by his sideand his coat
spadeand lanternall well whitened by the last night's frost
scattered on the ground. The stone on which he had first seen
the goblin seatedstood bolt upright before himand the grave
at which he had workedthe night beforewas not far off. At
firsthe began to doubt the reality of his adventuresbut the
acute pain in his shoulders when he attempted to riseassured
him that the kicking of the goblins was certainly not ideal. He
was staggered againby observing no traces of footsteps in the
snow on which the goblins had played at leap-frog with the
gravestonesbut he speedily accounted for this circumstance
when he remembered thatbeing spiritsthey would leave no
visible impression behind them. SoGabriel Grub got on his feet
as well as he couldfor the pain in his back; andbrushing
the frost off his coatput it onand turned his face towards the town.

'But he was an altered manand he could not bear the thought
of returning to a place where his repentance would be scoffed at
and his reformation disbelieved. He hesitated for a few moments;
and then turned away to wander where he mightand seek his
bread elsewhere.

'The lanternthe spadeand the wicker bottle were foundthat
dayin the churchyard. There were a great many speculations
about the sexton's fateat firstbut it was speedily determined
that he had been carried away by the goblins; and there were not
wanting some very credible witnesses who had distinctly seen
him whisked through the air on the back of a chestnut horse
blind of one eyewith the hind-quarters of a lionand the tail of a
bear. At length all this was devoutly believed; and the new sexton
used to exhibit to the curiousfor a trifling emolumenta goodsized
piece of the church weathercock which had been accidentally
kicked off by the aforesaid horse in his aerial flightand picked
up by himself in the churchyarda year or two afterwards.

'Unfortunatelythese stories were somewhat disturbed by the
unlooked-for reappearance of Gabriel Grub himselfsome ten
years afterwardsa raggedcontentedrheumatic old man. He
told his story to the clergymanand also to the mayor; and in
course of time it began to be received as a matter of historyin
which form it has continued down to this very day. The
believers in the weathercock talehaving misplaced their confidence
oncewere not easily prevailed upon to part with it
againso they looked as wise as they couldshrugged their
shoulderstouched their foreheadsand murmured something


about Gabriel Grub having drunk all the Hollandsand then
fallen asleep on the flat tombstone; and they affected to explain
what he supposed he had witnessed in the goblin's cavernby
saying that he had seen the worldand grown wiser. But this
opinionwhich was by no means a popular one at any time
gradually died off; and be the matter how it mayas Gabriel
Grub was afflicted with rheumatism to the end of his daysthis
story has at least one moralif it teach no better one--and that is
that if a man turn sulky and drink by himself at Christmas time
he may make up his mind to be not a bit the better for it: let the
spirits be never so goodor let them be even as many degrees
beyond proofas those which Gabriel Grub saw in the goblin's cavern.'

CHAPTER XXX

HOW THE PICKWICKIANS MADE AND CULTIVATED THE
ACQUAINTANCE OF A COUPLE OF NICE YOUNG MEN
BELONGING TO ONE OF THE LIBERAL PROFESSIONS; HOW
THEY DISPORTED THEMSELVES ON THE ICE; AND HOW
THEIR VISIT CAME TO A CONCLUSION

'WellSam' said Mr. Pickwickas that favoured servitor entered
his bed-chamberwith his warm wateron the morning of Christmas
Day'still frosty?'


'Water in the wash-hand basin's a mask o' iceSir' responded Sam.


'Severe weatherSam' observed Mr. Pickwick.


'Fine time for them as is well wropped upas the Polar bear said
to himselfven he was practising his skating' replied Mr. Weller.


'I shall be down in a quarter of an hourSam' said Mr.
Pickwickuntying his nightcap.


'Wery goodsir' replied Sam. 'There's a couple o' sawbones
downstairs.'


'A couple of what!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwicksitting up in bed.


'A couple o' sawbones' said Sam.


'What's a sawbones?' inquired Mr. Pickwicknot quite
certain whether it was a live animalor something to eat.


'What! Don't you know what a sawbones issir?' inquired
Mr. Weller. 'I thought everybody know'd as a sawbones was a surgeon.'


'Oha surgeoneh?' said Mr. Pickwickwith a smile.


'Just thatsir' replied Sam. 'These here ones as is below
thoughain't reg'lar thoroughbred sawbones; they're only in
trainin'.'
'In other words they're medical studentsI suppose?' said
Mr. Pickwick.


Sam Weller nodded assent.


'I am glad of it' said Mr. Pickwickcasting his nightcap
energetically on the counterpane. 'They are fine fellows--very
fine fellows; with judgments matured by observation and
reflection; and tastes refined by reading and study. I am very



glad of it.'

'They're a-smokin' cigars by the kitchen fire' said Sam.

'Ah!' observed Mr. Pickwickrubbing his hands'overflowing
with kindly feelings and animal spirits. Just what I like
to see.'
'And one on 'em' said Samnot noticing his master's interruption
'one on 'em's got his legs on the tableand is a-drinking
brandy neatvile the t'other one--him in the barnacles--has got
a barrel o' oysters atween his kneeswhich he's a-openin' like
steamand as fast as he eats 'emhe takes a aim vith the shells
at young dropsywho's a sittin' down fast asleepin the
chimbley corner.'


'Eccentricities of geniusSam' said Mr. Pickwick. 'You
may retire.'


Sam did retire accordingly. Mr. Pickwick at the expiration of
the quarter of an hourwent down to breakfast.


'Here he is at last!' said old Mr. Wardle. 'Pickwickthis is
Miss Allen's brotherMr. Benjamin Allen. Ben we call himand
so may youif you like. This gentleman is his very particular
friendMr.--'


'Mr. Bob Sawyer'interposed Mr. Benjamin Allen; whereupon
Mr. Bob Sawyer and Mr. Benjamin Allen laughed in concert.


Mr. Pickwick bowed to Bob Sawyerand Bob Sawyer bowed
to Mr. Pickwick. Bob and his very particular friend then applied
themselves most assiduously to the eatables before them; and
Mr. Pickwick had an opportunity of glancing at them both.


Mr. Benjamin Allen was a coarsestoutthick-set young man
with black hair cut rather shortand a white face cut rather long.
He was embellished with spectaclesand wore a white neckerchief.
Below his single-breasted black surtoutwhich was
buttoned up to his chinappeared the usual number of pepper-
and-salt coloured legsterminating in a pair of imperfectly
polished boots. Although his coat was short in the sleevesit
disclosed no vestige of a linen wristband; and although there was
quite enough of his face to admit of the encroachment of a shirt
collarit was not graced by the smallest approach to that appendage.
He presentedaltogetherrather a mildewy appearance
and emitted a fragrant odour of full-flavoured Cubas.


Mr. Bob Sawyerwho was habited in a coarseblue coat
whichwithout being either a greatcoat or a surtoutpartook of
the nature and qualities of bothhad about him that sort of
slovenly smartnessand swaggering gaitwhich is peculiar to
young gentlemen who smoke in the streets by dayshout and
scream in the same by nightcall waiters by their Christian
namesand do various other acts and deeds of an equally
facetious description. He wore a pair of plaid trousers
and a largeroughdouble-breasted waistcoat; out of doorshe
carried a thick stick with a big top. He eschewed glovesand
lookedupon the wholesomething like a dissipated Robinson Crusoe.


Such were the two worthies to whom Mr. Pickwick was
introducedas he took his seat at the breakfast-table on
Christmas morning.


'Splendid morninggentlemen' said Mr. Pickwick.



Mr. Bob Sawyer slightly nodded his assent to the proposition
and asked Mr. Benjamin Allen for the mustard.


'Have you come far this morninggentlemen?' inquired
Mr. Pickwick.


'Blue Lion at Muggleton' briefly responded Mr. Allen.


'You should have joined us last night' said Mr. Pickwick.


'So we should' replied Bob Sawyer'but the brandy was too
good to leave in a hurry; wasn't itBen?'


'Certainly' said Mr. Benjamin Allen; 'and the cigars were not
bador the pork-chops either; were theyBob?'


'Decidedly not' said Bob. The particular friends resumed their
attack upon the breakfastmore freely than beforeas if the
recollection of last night's supper had imparted a new relish to
the meal.


'Peg awayBob' said Mr. Allento his companionencouragingly.


'So I do' replied Bob Sawyer. And soto do him justicehe did.


'Nothing like dissectingto give one an appetite' said Mr.
Bob Sawyerlooking round the table.


Mr. Pickwick slightly shuddered.


'By the byeBob' said Mr. Allen'have you finished that leg yet?'


'Nearly' replied Sawyerhelping himself to half a fowl as he
spoke. 'It's a very muscular one for a child's.'
'Is it?' inquired Mr. Allen carelessly.


'Very' said Bob Sawyerwith his mouth full.


'I've put my name down for an arm at our place' said Mr.
Allen. 'We're clubbing for a subjectand the list is nearly full
only we can't get hold of any fellow that wants a head. I wish
you'd take it.'


'No' replied 'Bob Sawyer; 'can't afford expensive luxuries.'


'Nonsense!' said Allen.


'Can'tindeed' rejoined Bob Sawyer'I wouldn't mind a
brainbut I couldn't stand a whole head.'
'Hushhushgentlemenpray' said Mr. Pickwick'I hear the ladies.'


As Mr. Pickwick spokethe ladiesgallantly escorted by
Messrs. SnodgrassWinkleand Tupmanreturned from an
early walk.


'WhyBen!' said Arabellain a tone which expressed more
surprise than pleasure at the sight of her brother.


'Come to take you home to-morrow' replied Benjamin.


Mr. Winkle turned pale.


'Don't you see Bob SawyerArabella?' inquired Mr. Benjamin



Allensomewhat reproachfully. Arabella gracefully held out her
handin acknowledgment of Bob Sawyer's presence. A thrill of
hatred struck to Mr. Winkle's heartas Bob Sawyer inflicted on
the proffered hand a perceptible squeeze.


'Bendear!' said Arabellablushing; 'have--have--you been
introduced to Mr. Winkle?'


'I have not beenbut I shall be very happy to beArabella'
replied her brother gravely. Here Mr. Allen bowed grimly to
Mr. Winklewhile Mr. Winkle and Mr. Bob Sawyer glanced
mutual distrust out of the corners of their eyes.


The arrival of the two new visitorsand the consequent check
upon Mr. Winkle and the young lady with the fur round her
bootswould in all probability have proved a very unpleasant
interruption to the hilarity of the partyhad not the cheerfulness
of Mr. Pickwickand the good humour of the hostbeen exerted
to the very utmost for the common weal. Mr. Winkle gradually
insinuated himself into the good graces of Mr. Benjamin Allen
and even joined in a friendly conversation with Mr. Bob Sawyer;
whoenlivened with the brandyand the breakfastand the
talkinggradually ripened into a state of extreme facetiousness
and related with much glee an agreeable anecdoteabout the
removal of a tumour on some gentleman's headwhich he
illustrated by means of an oyster-knife and a half-quartern loaf
to the great edification of the assembled company. Then the
whole train went to churchwhere Mr. Benjamin Allen fell fast
asleep; while Mr. Bob Sawyer abstracted his thoughts from
worldly mattersby the ingenious process of carving his name on
the seat of the pewin corpulent letters of four inches long.


'Now' said Wardleafter a substantial lunchwith the agreeable
items of strong beer and cherry-brandyhad been done
ample justice to'what say you to an hour on the ice? We shall
have plenty of time.'


'Capital!' said Mr. Benjamin Allen.


'Prime!' ejaculated Mr. Bob Sawyer.


'You skateof courseWinkle?' said Wardle.


'Ye-yes; ohyes' replied Mr. Winkle. 'I--I--am RATHER out
of practice.'


'OhDO skateMr. Winkle' said Arabella. 'I like to see it so much.'


'Ohit is SO graceful' said another young lady.
A third young lady said it was elegantand a fourth expressed
her opinion that it was 'swan-like.'


'I should be very happyI'm sure' said Mr. Winklereddening;
'but I have no skates.'


This objection was at once overruled. Trundle had a couple of
pairand the fat boy announced that there were half a dozen
more downstairs; whereat Mr. Winkle expressed exquisite
delightand looked exquisitely uncomfortable.


Old Wardle led the way to a pretty large sheet of ice; and the
fat boy and Mr. Wellerhaving shovelled and swept away the
snow which had fallen on it during the nightMr. Bob Sawyer
adjusted his skates with a dexterity which to Mr. Winkle was



perfectly marvellousand described circles with his left legand
cut figures of eightand inscribed upon the icewithout once
stopping for breatha great many other pleasant and astonishing
devicesto the excessive satisfaction of Mr. PickwickMr. Tupman
and the ladies; which reached a pitch of positive enthusiasm
when old Wardle and Benjamin Allenassisted by the
aforesaid Bob Sawyerperformed some mystic evolutionswhich
they called a reel.

All this timeMr. Winklewith his face and hands blue with
the coldhad been forcing a gimlet into the sole of his feetand
putting his skates onwith the points behindand getting the
straps into a very complicated and entangled statewith the
assistance of Mr. Snodgrasswho knew rather less about skates
than a Hindoo. At lengthhoweverwith the assistance of Mr.
Wellerthe unfortunate skates were firmly screwed and buckled
onand Mr. Winkle was raised to his feet.

'NowthenSir' said Samin an encouraging tone; 'off vith
youand show 'em how to do it.'

'StopSamstop!' said Mr. Winkletrembling violentlyand
clutching hold of Sam's arms with the grasp of a drowning man.
'How slippery it isSam!'

'Not an uncommon thing upon iceSir' replied Mr. Weller.
'Hold upSir!'

This last observation of Mr. Weller's bore reference to a
demonstration Mr. Winkle made at the instantof a frantic
desire to throw his feet in the airand dash the back of his head
on the ice.

'These--these--are very awkward skates; ain't theySam?'
inquired Mr. Winklestaggering.

'I'm afeerd there's a orkard gen'l'm'n in 'emSir' replied Sam.

'NowWinkle' cried Mr. Pickwickquite unconscious that
there was anything the matter. 'Come; the ladies are all anxiety.'

'Yesyes' replied Mr. Winklewith a ghastly smile. 'I'm coming.'

'Just a-goin' to begin' said Samendeavouring to disengage
himself. 'NowSirstart off!'

'Stop an instantSam' gasped Mr. Winkleclinging most
affectionately to Mr. Weller. 'I find I've got a couple of coats at
home that I don't wantSam. You may have themSam.'

'Thank'eeSir' replied Mr. Weller.

'Never mind touching your hatSam' said Mr. Winkle hastily.
'You needn't take your hand away to do that. I meant to have
given you five shillings this morning for a Christmas boxSam.
I'll give it you this afternoonSam.'

'You're wery goodsir' replied Mr. Weller.

'Just hold me at firstSam; will you?' said Mr. Winkle.
'There--that's right. I shall soon get in the way of itSam. Not
too fastSam; not too fast.'

Mr. Winklestooping forwardwith his body half doubled up


was being assisted over the ice by Mr. Wellerin a very singular
and un-swan-like mannerwhen Mr. Pickwick most innocently
shouted from the opposite bank--


'Sam!'


'Sir?'


'Here. I want you.'


'Let goSir' said Sam. 'Don't you hear the governor a-callin'?
Let gosir.'


With a violent effortMr. Weller disengaged himself from the
grasp of the agonised Pickwickianandin so doingadministered
a considerable impetus to the unhappy Mr. Winkle. With an
accuracy which no degree of dexterity or practice could have
insuredthat unfortunate gentleman bore swiftly down into the
centre of the reelat the very moment when Mr. Bob Sawyer was
performing a flourish of unparalleled beauty. Mr. Winkle struck wildly
against himand with a loud crash they both fell heavily down.
Mr. Pickwick ran to the spot. Bob Sawyer had risen to his feet
but Mr. Winkle was far too wise to do anything of the kindin skates.
He was seated on the icemaking spasmodic efforts to smile; but
anguish was depicted on every lineament of his countenance.


'Are you hurt?' inquired Mr. Benjamin Allenwith great anxiety.


'Not much' said Mr. Winklerubbing his back very hard.
'I wish you'd let me bleed you' said Mr. Benjaminwith great eagerness.


'Nothank you' replied Mr. Winkle hurriedly.


'I really think you had better' said Allen.


'Thank you' replied Mr. Winkle; 'I'd rather not.'


'What do YOU thinkMr. Pickwick?' inquired Bob Sawyer.


Mr. Pickwick was excited and indignant. He beckoned to
Mr. Wellerand said in a stern voice'Take his skates off.'


'No; but really I had scarcely begun' remonstrated Mr. Winkle.


'Take his skates off' repeated Mr. Pickwick firmly.


The command was not to be resisted. Mr. Winkle allowed
Sam to obey itin silence.


'Lift him up' said Mr. Pickwick. Sam assisted him to rise.


Mr. Pickwick retired a few paces apart from the bystanders;
andbeckoning his friend to approachfixed a searching look
upon himand uttered in a lowbut distinct and emphatic tone
these remarkable words--


'You're a humbugsir.'
'A what?' said Mr. Winklestarting.


'A humbugSir. I will speak plainerif you wish it. An
impostorsir.'


With those wordsMr. Pickwick turned slowly on his heeland
rejoined his friends.



While Mr. Pickwick was delivering himself of the sentiment
just recordedMr. Weller and the fat boyhaving by their joint
endeavours cut out a slidewere exercising themselves thereupon
in a very masterly and brilliant manner. Sam Wellerin particular
was displaying that beautiful feat of fancy-sliding which is
currently denominated 'knocking at the cobbler's door' and
which is achieved by skimming over the ice on one footand
occasionally giving a postman's knock upon it with the other. It
was a good long slideand there was something in the motion
which Mr. Pickwickwho was very cold with standing still
could not help envying.


'It looks a nice warm exercise thatdoesn't it?' he inquired of
Wardlewhen that gentleman was thoroughly out of breathby
reason of the indefatigable manner in which he had converted his
legs into a pair of compassesand drawn complicated problems
on the ice.


'Ahit doesindeed' replied Wardle. 'Do you slide?'


'I used to do soon the gutterswhen I was a boy' replied
Mr. Pickwick.


'Try it now' said Wardle.


'OhdopleaseMr. Pickwick!' cried all the ladies.


'I should be very happy to afford you any amusement' replied
Mr. Pickwick'but I haven't done such a thing these thirty years.'


'Pooh! pooh! Nonsense!' said Wardledragging off his skates
with the impetuosity which characterised all his proceedings.
'Here; I'll keep you company; come along!' And away went the
good-tempered old fellow down the slidewith a rapidity which
came very close upon Mr. Wellerand beat the fat boy all to nothing.


Mr. Pickwick pausedconsideredpulled off his gloves and put
them in his hat; took two or three short runsbaulked himself as
oftenand at last took another runand went slowly and gravely
down the slidewith his feet about a yard and a quarter apart
amidst the gratified shouts of all the spectators.


'Keep the pot a-bilin'Sir!' said Sam; and down went Wardle
againand then Mr. Pickwickand then Samand then Mr.
Winkleand then Mr. Bob Sawyerand then the fat boyand
then Mr. Snodgrassfollowing closely upon each other's heels
and running after each other with as much eagerness as if their
future prospects in life depended on their expedition.


It was the most intensely interesting thingto observe the
manner in which Mr. Pickwick performed his share in the
ceremony; to watch the torture of anxiety with which he viewed
the person behindgaining upon him at the imminent hazard of
tripping him up; to see him gradually expend the painful force
he had put on at firstand turn slowly round on the slidewith his
face towards the point from which he had started; to contemplate
the playful smile which mantled on his face when he had accomplished
the distanceand the eagerness with which he turned
round when he had done soand ran after his predecessorhis
black gaiters tripping pleasantly through the snowand his eyes
beaming cheerfulness and gladness through his spectacles. And
when he was knocked down (which happened upon the average
every third round)it was the most invigorating sight that can



possibly be imaginedto behold him gather up his hatgloves
and handkerchiefwith a glowing countenanceand resume his
station in the rankwith an ardour and enthusiasm that nothing
Could abate.


The sport was at its heightthe sliding was at the quickestthe
laughter was at the loudestwhen a sharp smart crack was heard.
There was a quick rush towards the banka wild scream from the
ladiesand a shout from Mr. Tupman. A large mass of ice
disappeared; the water bubbled up over it; Mr. Pickwick's hat
glovesand handkerchief were floating on the surface; and this
was all of Mr. Pickwick that anybody could see.


Dismay and anguish were depicted on every countenance; the
males turned paleand the females fainted; Mr. Snodgrass and
Mr. Winkle grasped each other by the handand gazed at the
spot where their leader had gone downwith frenzied eagerness;
while Mr. Tupmanby way of rendering the promptest assistance
and at the same time conveying to any persons who might be
within hearingthe clearest possible notion of the catastrophe
ran off across the country at his utmost speedscreaming 'Fire!'
with all his might.


It was at this momentwhen old Wardle and Sam Weller were
approaching the hole with cautious stepsand Mr. Benjamin
Allen was holding a hurried consultation with Mr. Bob Sawyer
on the advisability of bleeding the company generallyas an
improving little bit of professional practice--it was at this very
momentthat a faceheadand shouldersemerged from beneath the
waterand disclosed the features and spectacles of Mr. Pickwick.


'Keep yourself up for an instant--for only one instant!'
bawled Mr. Snodgrass.


'Yesdo; let me implore you--for my sake!' roared Mr.
Winkledeeply affected. The adjuration was rather unnecessary;
the probability beingthat if Mr. Pickwick had declined to keep
himself up for anybody else's sakeit would have occurred to him
that he might as well do sofor his own.


'Do you feel the bottom thereold fellow?' said Wardle.


'Yescertainly' replied Mr. Pickwickwringing the water from
his head and faceand gasping for breath. 'I fell upon my back.
I couldn't get on my feet at first.'


The clay upon so much of Mr. Pickwick's coat as was yet
visiblebore testimony to the accuracy of this statement; and as
the fears of the spectators were still further relieved by the fat
boy's suddenly recollecting that the water was nowhere more than
five feet deepprodigies of valour were performed to get him out.
After a vast quantity of splashingand crackingand struggling
Mr. Pickwick was at length fairly extricated from his unpleasant
positionand once more stood on dry land.


'Ohhe'll catch his death of cold' said Emily.


'Dear old thing!' said Arabella. 'Let me wrap this shawl round
youMr. Pickwick.'


'Ahthat's the best thing you can do' said Wardle; 'and when
you've got it onrun home as fast as your legs can carry youand
jump into bed directly.'
A dozen shawls were offered on the instant. Three or four of



the thickest having been selectedMr. Pickwick was wrapped up
and started offunder the guidance of Mr. Weller; presenting the
singular phenomenon of an elderly gentlemandripping wetand
without a hatwith his arms bound down to his sidesskimming
over the groundwithout any clearly-defined purposeat the rate
of six good English miles an hour.


But Mr. Pickwick cared not for appearances in such an
extreme caseand urged on by Sam Wellerhe kept at the very
top of his speed until he reached the door of Manor Farmwhere
Mr. Tupman had arrived some five minutes beforeand had
frightened the old lady into palpitations of the heart by
impressing her with the unalterable conviction that the kitchen
chimney was on fire--a calamity which always presented itself in
glowing colours to the old lady's mindwhen anybody about her
evinced the smallest agitation.


Mr. Pickwick paused not an instant until he was snug in bed.
Sam Weller lighted a blazing fire in the roomand took up his
dinner; a bowl of punch was carried up afterwardsand a grand
carouse held in honour of his safety. Old Wardle would not hear
of his risingso they made the bed the chairand Mr. Pickwick
presided. A second and a third bowl were ordered in; and when
Mr. Pickwick awoke next morningthere was not a symptom of
rheumatism about him; which provesas Mr. Bob Sawyer very
justly observedthat there is nothing like hot punch in such cases;
and that if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preventiveit was
merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking
enough of it.


The jovial party broke up next morning. Breakings-up are
capital things in our school-daysbut in after life they are painful
enough. Deathself-interestand fortune's changesare every day
breaking up many a happy groupand scattering them far and
wide; and the boys and girls never come back again. We do not
mean to say that it was exactly the case in this particular instance;
all we wish to inform the reader isthat the different members of
the party dispersed to their several homes; that Mr. Pickwick and
his friends once more took their seats on the top of the Muggleton
coach; and that Arabella Allen repaired to her place of destination
wherever it might have been--we dare say Mr. Winkle
knewbut we confess we don't--under the care and guardianship
of her brother Benjaminand his most intimate and particular
friendMr. Bob Sawyer.


Before they separatedhoweverthat gentleman and Mr.
Benjamin Allen drew Mr. Pickwick aside with an air of some
mystery; and Mr. Bob Sawyerthrusting his forefinger between
two of Mr. Pickwick's ribsand thereby displaying his native
drolleryand his knowledge of the anatomy of the human frame
at one and the same timeinquired--


'I sayold boywhere do you hang out?'
Mr. Pickwick replied that he was at present suspended at the
George and Vulture.


'I wish you'd come and see me' said Bob Sawyer.


'Nothing would give me greater pleasure' replied Mr. Pickwick.


'There's my lodgings' said Mr. Bob Sawyerproducing a card.
'Lant StreetBorough; it's near Guy'sand handy for meyou
know. Little distance after you've passed St. George's Church--
turns out of the High Street on the right hand side the way.'



'I shall find it' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Come on Thursday fortnightand bring the other chaps with
you' said Mr. Bob Sawyer; 'I'm going to have a few medical
fellows that night.'

Mr. Pickwick expressed the pleasure it would afford him to
meet the medical fellows; and after Mr. Bob Sawyer had
informed him that he meant to be very cosyand that his friend
Ben was to be one of the partythey shook hands and separated.

We feel that in this place we lay ourself open to the inquiry
whether Mr. Winkle was whisperingduring this brief conversation
to Arabella Allen; and if sowhat he said; and furthermore
whether Mr. Snodgrass was conversing apart with Emily Wardle;
and if sowhat HE said. To thiswe replythat whatever they
might have said to the ladiesthey said nothing at all to Mr.
Pickwick or Mr. Tupman for eight-and-twenty milesand that
they sighed very oftenrefused ale and brandyand looked
gloomy. If our observant lady readers can deduce any satisfactory
inferences from these factswe beg them by all means to do so.

CHAPTER XXXI
WHICH IS ALL ABOUT THE LAWAND SUNDRY GREAT
AUTHORITIES LEARNED THEREIN

Scattered aboutin various holes and corners of the Temple
are certain dark and dirty chambersin and out of which
all the morning in vacationand half the evening too in
term timethere may be seen constantly hurrying with bundles of
papers under their armsand protruding from their pocketsan
almost uninterrupted succession of lawyers' clerks. There are
several grades of lawyers' clerks. There is the articled clerkwho
has paid a premiumand is an attorney in perspectivewho runs a
tailor's billreceives invitations to partiesknows a family in
Gower Streetand another in Tavistock Square; who goes out
of town every long vacation to see his fatherwho keeps live
horses innumerable; and who isin shortthe very aristocrat of
clerks. There is the salaried clerk--out of dooror in dooras
the case may be--who devotes the major part of his thirty shillings
a week to his Personal pleasure and adornmentsrepairs half-price
to the Adelphi Theatre at least three times a weekdissipates
majestically at the cider cellars afterwardsand is a dirty caricature
of the fashion which expired six months ago. There is the middleaged
copying clerkwith a large familywho is always shabby
and often drunk. And there are the office lads in their first
surtoutswho feel a befitting contempt for boys at day-schools
club as they go home at nightfor saveloys and porterand think
there's nothing like 'life.' There are varieties of the genustoo
numerous to recapitulatebut however numerous they may be
they are all to be seenat certain regulated business hours
hurrying to and from the places we have just mentioned.

These sequestered nooks are the public offices of the legal
professionwhere writs are issuedjudgments signeddeclarations
filedand numerous other ingenious machines put in motion for
the torture and torment of His Majesty's liege subjectsand the
comfort and emolument of the practitioners of the law. They are
for the most partlow-roofedmouldy roomswhere innumerable
rolls of parchmentwhich have been perspiring in secret for the


last centurysend forth an agreeable odourwhich is mingled by
day with the scent of the dry-rotand by night with the various
exhalations which arise from damp cloaksfestering umbrellas
and the coarsest tallow candles.


About half-past seven o'clock in the eveningsome ten days or
a fortnight after Mr. Pickwick and his friends returned to London
there hurried into one of these officesan individual in a brown
coat and brass buttonswhose long hair was scrupulously
twisted round the rim of his napless hatand whose soiled drab
trousers were so tightly strapped over his Blucher bootsthat his
knees threatened every moment to start from their concealment.
He produced from his coat pockets a long and narrow strip of
parchmenton which the presiding functionary impressed an
illegible black stamp. He then drew forth four scraps of paperof
similar dimensionseach containing a printed copy of the strip
of parchment with blanks for a name; and having filled up the
blanksput all the five documents in his pocketand hurried away.


The man in the brown coatwith the cabalistic documents in
his pocketwas no other than our old acquaintance Mr. Jackson
of the house of Dodson & FoggFreeman's CourtCornhill.
Instead of returning to the office whence he camehoweverhe
bent his steps direct to Sun Courtand walking straight into the
George and Vulturedemanded to know whether one Mr. Pickwick
was within.


'Call Mr. Pickwick's servantTom' said the barmaid of the
George and Vulture.


'Don't trouble yourself' said Mr. Jackson. 'I've come on
business. If you'll show me Mr. Pickwick's room I'll step up myself.'


'What nameSir?' said the waiter.


'Jackson' replied the clerk.


The waiter stepped upstairs to announce Mr. Jackson; but
Mr. Jackson saved him the trouble by following close at his heels
and walking into the apartment before he could articulate a syllable.


Mr. Pickwick hadthat dayinvited his three friends to dinner;
they were all seated round the firedrinking their winewhen
Mr. Jackson presented himselfas above described.


'How de dosir?' said Mr. Jacksonnodding to Mr. Pickwick.


That gentleman bowedand looked somewhat surprisedfor
the physiognomy of Mr. Jackson dwelt not in his recollection.


'I have called from Dodson and Fogg's' said Mr. Jacksonin
an explanatory tone.


Mr. Pickwick roused at the name. 'I refer you to my attorney
Sir; Mr. Perkerof Gray's Inn' said he. 'Waitershow this
gentleman out.'


'Beg your pardonMr. Pickwick' said Jacksondeliberately
depositing his hat on the floorand drawing from his pocket the
strip of parchment. 'But personal serviceby clerk or agentin
these casesyou knowMr. Pickwick--nothing like cautionsir
in all legal forms--eh?'


Here Mr. Jackson cast his eye on the parchment; andresting



his hands on the tableand looking round with a winning and
persuasive smilesaid'Nowcome; don't let's have no words
about such a little matter as this. Which of you gentlemen's
name's Snodgrass?'

At this inquiryMr. Snodgrass gave such a very undisguised
and palpable startthat no further reply was needed.

'Ah! I thought so' said Mr. Jacksonmore affably than before.
'I've a little something to trouble you withSir.'

'Me!'exclaimed Mr. Snodgrass.

'It's only a subpoena in Bardell and Pickwick on behalf of the
plaintiff' replied Jacksonsingling out one of the slips of paper
and producing a shilling from his waistcoat pocket. 'It'll come
onin the settens after Term: fourteenth of Febooarywe expect;
we've marked it a special jury causeand it's only ten down the
paper. That's yoursMr. Snodgrass.' As Jackson said thishe
presented the parchment before the eyes of Mr. Snodgrassand
slipped the paper and the shilling into his hand.

Mr. Tupman had witnessed this process in silent astonishment
when Jacksonturning sharply upon himsaid-


'I think I ain't mistaken when I say your name's Tupman
am I?'

Mr. Tupman looked at Mr. Pickwick; butperceiving no
encouragement in that gentleman's widely-opened eyes to deny
his namesaid-


'Yesmy name is TupmanSir.'

'And that other gentleman's Mr. WinkleI think?' said Jackson.
Mr. Winkle faltered out a reply in the affirmative; and both
gentlemen were forthwith invested with a slip of paperand a
shilling eachby the dexterous Mr. Jackson.

'Now' said Jackson'I'm afraid you'll think me rather
troublesomebut I want somebody elseif it ain't inconvenient.
I have Samuel Weller's name hereMr. Pickwick.'

'Send my servant herewaiter' said Mr. Pickwick. The waiter
retiredconsiderably astonishedand Mr. Pickwick motioned
Jackson to a seat.

There was a painful pausewhich was at length broken by the
innocent defendant.
'I supposeSir' said Mr. Pickwickhis indignation rising while he
spoke--'I supposeSirthat it is the intention of your employers
to seek to criminate me upon the testimony of my own friends?'

Mr. Jackson struck his forefinger several times against the left
side of his noseto intimate that he was not there to disclose the
secrets of the prison houseand playfully rejoined-


'Not knowin'can't say.'

'For what other reasonSir' pursued Mr. Pickwick'are these
subpoenas served upon themif not for this?'

'Very good plantMr. Pickwick' replied Jacksonslowly
shaking his head. 'But it won't do. No harm in tryingbut there's


little to be got out of me.'


Here Mr. Jackson smiled once more upon the companyand
applying his left thumb to the tip of his noseworked a visionary
coffee-mill with his right handthereby performing a very
graceful piece of pantomime (then much in voguebut now
unhappilyalmost obsolete) which was familiarly denominated
'taking a grinder.'


'NonoMr. Pickwick' said Jacksonin conclusion; 'Perker's
people must guess what we've served these subpoenas for. If they
can'tthey must wait till the action comes onand then they'll
find out.'
Mr. Pickwick bestowed a look of excessive disgust on his
unwelcome visitorand would probably have hurled some
tremendous anathema at the heads of Messrs. Dodson & Fogg
had not Sam's entrance at the instant interrupted him.


'Samuel Weller?' said Mr. Jacksoninquiringly.


'Vun o' the truest things as you've said for many a long year'
replied Samin a most composed manner.


'Here's a subpoena for youMr. Weller' said Jackson.


'What's that in English?' inquired Sam.


'Here's the original' said Jacksondeclining the required
explanation.


'Which?' said Sam.


'This' replied Jacksonshaking the parchment.


'Ohthat's the 'rig'nalis it?' said Sam. 'WellI'm wery glad
I've seen the 'rig'nal'cos it's a gratifyin' sort o' thingand eases
vun's mind so much.'


'And here's the shilling' said Jackson. 'It's from Dodson and Fogg's.'


'And it's uncommon handsome o' Dodson and Foggas knows
so little of meto come down vith a present' said Sam. 'I feel it
as a wery high complimentsir; it's a wery honorable thing to
themas they knows how to reward merit werever they meets it.
Besides whichit's affectin' to one's feelin's.'


As Mr. Weller said thishe inflicted a little friction on his right
eyelidwith the sleeve of his coatafter the most approved
manner of actors when they are in domestic pathetics.


Mr. Jackson seemed rather puzzled by Sam's proceedings; but
as he had served the subpoenasand had nothing more to sayhe
made a feint of putting on the one glove which he usually carried
in his handfor the sake of appearances; and returned to the
office to report progress.


Mr. Pickwick slept little that night; his memory had received
a very disagreeable refresher on the subject of Mrs. Bardell's
action. He breakfasted betimes next morninganddesiring Sam
to accompany himset forth towards Gray's Inn Square.


'Sam!' said Mr. Pickwicklooking roundwhen they got to the
end of Cheapside.



'Sir?' said Samstepping up to his master.


'Which way?'
'Up Newgate Street.'


Mr. Pickwick did not turn round immediatelybut looked
vacantly in Sam's face for a few secondsand heaved a deep sigh.


'What's the mattersir?' inquired Sam.


'This actionSam' said Mr. Pickwick'is expected to come on
on the fourteenth of next month.'
'Remarkable coincidence that 'eresir' replied Sam.


'Why remarkableSam?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'Walentine's daysir' responded Sam; 'reg'lar good day for a
breach o' promise trial.'


Mr. Weller's smile awakened no gleam of mirth in his master's
countenance. Mr. Pickwick turned abruptly roundand led the
way in silence.


They had walked some distanceMr. Pickwick trotting on
beforeplunged in profound meditationand Sam following
behindwith a countenance expressive of the most enviable and
easy defiance of everything and everybodywhen the latterwho
was always especially anxious to impart to his master any
exclusive information he possessedquickened his pace until he
was close at Mr. Pickwick's heels; andpointing up at a house
they were passingsaid--


'Wery nice pork-shop that 'eresir.'


'Yesit seems so' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Celebrated sassage factory' said Sam.


'Is it?' said Mr. Pickwick.


'Is it!' reiterated Samwith some indignation; 'I should rayther
think it was. Whysirbless your innocent eyebrowsthat's where
the mysterious disappearance of a 'spectable tradesman took
place four years ago.'


'You don't mean to say he was burkedSam?' said Mr.
Pickwicklooking hastily round.


'NoI don't indeedsir' replied Mr. Weller'I wish I did; far
worse than that. He was the master o' that 'ere shopsirand the
inwentor o' the patent-never-leavin'-off sassage steam-inginas
'ud swaller up a pavin' stone if you put it too nearand grind it
into sassages as easy as if it was a tender young babby. Wery
proud o' that machine he wasas it was nat'ral he should beand
he'd stand down in the celler a-lookin' at it wen it was in full
playtill he got quite melancholy with joy. A wery happy man
he'd ha' beenSirin the procession o' that 'ere ingin and two
more lovely hinfants besidesif it hadn't been for his wifewho
was a most owdacious wixin. She was always a-follerin' him
aboutand dinnin' in his earstill at last he couldn't stand it no
longer. "I'll tell you what it ismy dear he says one day; if you
persewere in this here sort of amusement he says, I'm
blessed if I don't go away to 'Merriker; and that's all about it."
You're a idle willin,says sheand I wish the 'Merrikins joy of



their bargain.Arter which she keeps on abusin' of him for half
an hourand then runs into the little parlour behind the shop
sets to a-screamin'says he'll be the death on herand falls in a
fitwhich lasts for three good hours--one o' them fits wich is all
screamin' and kickin'. Wellnext mornin'the husband was
missin'. He hadn't taken nothin' from the till--hadn't even put
on his greatcoat--so it was quite clear he warn't gone to 'Merriker.
Didn't come back next day; didn't come back next week; missis
had bills printedsayin' thatif he'd come backhe should be
forgiven everythin' (which was very liberalseein' that he hadn't
done nothin' at all); the canals was draggedand for two months
arterwardswenever a body turned upit was carriedas a reg'lar
thingstraight off to the sassage shop. Hows'evernone on 'em
answered; so they gave out that he'd run awayand she kep' on
the bis'ness. One Saturday nighta littlethinold gen'l'm'n
comes into the shop in a great passion and saysAre you the
missis o' this here shop?Yes, I am,says she. "Wellma'am
says he, then I've just looked in to say that me and my family
ain't a-goin' to be choked for nothin'; and more than that
ma'am he says, you'll allow me to observe that as you don't
use the primest parts of the meat in the manafacter o' sassages
I'd think you'd find beef come nearly as cheap as buttons." "As
buttonsSir!" says she. "Buttonsma'am says the little, old
gentleman, unfolding a bit of paper, and showin' twenty or
thirty halves o' buttons. Nice seasonin' for sassagesis trousers'
buttonsma'am." "They're my husband's buttons!" says the
widder beginnin' to faintWhat!screams the little old
gen'l'm'nturnin' wery pale. "I see it all says the widder; in a
fit of temporary insanity he rashly converted hisself into
sassages!" And so he hadSir' said Mr. Wellerlooking steadily
into Mr. Pickwick's horror-stricken countenance'or else he'd
been draw'd into the ingin; but however that might ha' beenthe
littleold gen'l'm'nwho had been remarkably partial to sassages
all his liferushed out o' the shop in a wild stateand was never
heerd on arterwards!'

The relation of this affecting incident of private life brought
master and man to Mr. Perker's chambers. Lowtenholding the
door half openwas in conversation with a rustily-cladmiserablelooking
manin boots without toes and gloves without fingers.
There were traces of privation and suffering--almost of despair
--in his lank and care-worn countenance; he felt his povertyfor
he shrank to the dark side of the staircase as Mr. Pickwick approached.

'It's very unfortunate' said the strangerwith a sigh.

'Very' said Lowtenscribbling his name on the doorpost with
his penand rubbing it out again with the feather. 'Will you
leave a message for him?'

'When do you think he'll be back?' inquired the stranger.

'Quite uncertain' replied Lowtenwinking at Mr. Pickwickas
the stranger cast his eyes towards the ground.

'You don't think it would be of any use my waiting for him?'
said the strangerlooking wistfully into the office.

'OhnoI'm sure it wouldn't' replied the clerkmoving a little
more into the centre of the doorway. 'He's certain not to be back
this weekand it's a chance whether he will be next; for when
Perker once gets out of townhe's never in a hurry to come back again.'

'Out of town!' said Mr. Pickwick; 'dear mehow unfortunate!'


'Don't go awayMr. Pickwick' said Lowten'I've got a letter
for you.' The strangerseeming to hesitateonce more looked
towards the groundand the clerk winked slyly at Mr. PickwiCK
as if to intimate that some exquisite piece of humour was going
forwardthough what it was Mr. Pickwick could not for the life
of him divine.
'Step inMr. Pickwick' said Lowten. 'Wellwill you leave a
messageMr. Wattyor will you call again?'

'Ask him to be so kind as to leave out word what has been done
in my business' said the man; 'for God's sake don't neglect it
Mr. Lowten.'

'Nono; I won't forget it' replied the clerk. 'Walk inMr.
Pickwick. Good-morningMr. Watty; it's a fine day for walking
isn't it?' Seeing that the stranger still lingeredhe beckoned Sam
Weller to follow his master inand shut the door in his face.

'There never was such a pestering bankrupt as that since the
world beganI do believe!' said Lowtenthrowing down his pen
with the air of an injured man. 'His affairs haven't been in
Chancery quite four years yetand I'm d--d if he don't come
worrying here twice a week. Step this wayMr. Pickwick. Perker
IS inand he'll see youI know. Devilish cold' he added pettishly
'standing at that doorwasting one's time with such seedy
vagabonds!' Having very vehemently stirred a particularly large
fire with a particularly small pokerthe clerk led the way to his
principal's private roomand announced Mr. Pickwick.

'Ahmy dear Sir' said little Mr. Perkerbustling up from his
chair. 'Wellmy dear sirand what's the news about your matter
eh? Anything more about our friends in Freeman's Court?
They've not been sleepingI know that. Ahthey're very smart
fellows; very smartindeed.'

As the little man concludedhe took an emphatic pinch of
snuffas a tribute to the smartness of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg.

'They are great scoundrels' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Ayeaye' said the little man; 'that's a matter of opinionyou
knowand we won't dispute about terms; because of course you
can't be expected to view these subjects with a professional eye.
Wellwe've done everything that's necessary. I have retained
Serjeant Snubbin.'

'Is he a good man?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Good man!' replied Perker; 'bless your heart and soulmy
dear SirSerjeant Snubbin is at the very top of his profession.
Gets treble the business of any man in court--engaged in every
case. You needn't mention it abroad; but we say--we of the
profession--that Serjeant Snubbin leads the court by the nose.'

The little man took another pinch of snuff as he made this
communicationand nodded mysteriously to Mr. Pickwick.

'They have subpoenaed my three friends' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Ah! of course they would' replied Perker. 'Important
witnesses; saw you in a delicate situation.'

'But she fainted of her own accord' said Mr. Pickwick. 'She


threw herself into my arms.'


'Very likelymy dear Sir' replied Perker; 'very likely and very
natural. Nothing more somy dear Sirnothing. But who's to
prove it?'


'They have subpoenaed my servanttoo' said Mr. Pickwick
quitting the other point; for there Mr. Perker's question had
somewhat staggered him.


'Sam?' said Perker.


Mr. Pickwick replied in the affirmative.


'Of coursemy dear Sir; of course. I knew they would. I could
have told you thata month ago. You knowmy dear Sirif you
WILL take the management of your affairs into your own hands
after entrusting them to your solicitoryou must also take the
consequences.' Here Mr. Perker drew himself up with conscious
dignityand brushed some stray grains of snuff from his shirt frill.


'And what do they want him to prove?' asked Mr. Pickwick
after two or three minutes' silence.


'That you sent him up to the plaintiff 's to make some offer of
a compromiseI suppose' replied Perker. 'It don't matter much
though; I don't think many counsel could get a great deal out
of HIM.'


'I don't think they could' said Mr. Pickwicksmilingdespite
his vexationat the idea of Sam's appearance as a witness. 'What
course do we pursue?'


'We have only one to adoptmy dear Sir' replied Perker;
'cross-examine the witnesses; trust to Snubbin's eloquence;
throw dust in the eyes of the judge; throw ourselves on the jury.'


'And suppose the verdict is against me?' said Mr. Pickwick.


Mr. Perker smiledtook a very long pinch of snuffstirred the
fireshrugged his shouldersand remained expressively silent.


'You mean that in that case I must pay the damages?' said
Mr. Pickwickwho had watched this telegraphic answer with
considerable sternness.


Perker gave the fire another very unnecessary pokeand said
'I am afraid so.'


'Then I beg to announce to you my unalterable determination
to pay no damages whatever' said Mr. Pickwickmost
emphatically. 'NonePerker. Not a poundnot a penny of my
moneyshall find its way into the pockets of Dodson and Fogg.
That is my deliberate and irrevocable determination.' Mr. Pickwick
gave a heavy blow on the table before himin confirmation
of the irrevocability of his intention.


'Very wellmy dear Sirvery well' said Perker. 'You know best
of course.'


'Of course' replied Mr. Pickwick hastily. 'Where does Serjeant
Snubbin live?'
'In Lincoln's Inn Old Square' replied Perker.



'I should like to see him' said Mr. Pickwick.

'See Serjeant Snubbinmy dear Sir!' rejoined Perkerin utter
amazement. 'Poohpoohmy dear Sirimpossible. See Serjeant
Snubbin! Bless youmy dear Sirsuch a thing was never heard of
without a consultation fee being previously paidand a consultation
fixed. It couldn't be donemy dear Sir; it couldn't be done.'

Mr. Pickwickhoweverhad made up his mind not only that
it could be donebut that it should be done; and the consequence
wasthat within ten minutes after he had received the assurance
that the thing was impossiblehe was conducted by his solicitor
into the outer office of the great Serjeant Snubbin himself.

It was an uncarpeted room of tolerable dimensionswith a
large writing-table drawn up near the firethe baize top of which
had long since lost all claim to its original hue of greenand had
gradually grown gray with dust and ageexcept where all traces
of its natural colour were obliterated by ink-stains. Upon the
table were numerous little bundles of papers tied with red tape;
and behind itsat an elderly clerkwhose sleek appearance and
heavy gold watch-chain presented imposing indications of the
extensive and lucrative practice of Mr. Serjeant Snubbin.

'Is the Serjeant in his roomMr. Mallard?' inquired Perker
offering his box with all imaginable courtesy.

'Yeshe is' was the reply'but he's very busy. Look here; not
an opinion given yeton any one of these cases; and an expedition
fee paid with all of 'em.' The clerk smiled as he said thisand
inhaled the pinch of snuff with a zest which seemed to be compounded
of a fondness for snuff and a relish for fees.

'Something like practice that' said Perker.

'Yes' said the barrister's clerkproducing his own boxand
offering it with the greatest cordiality; 'and the best of it isthat
as nobody alive except myself can read the serjeant's writing
they are obliged to wait for the opinionswhen he has given
themtill I have copied 'emha-ha-ha!'

'Which makes good for we know whobesides the serjeant
and draws a little more out of the clientseh?' said Perker; 'ha
haha!' At this the serjeant's clerk laughed again--not a noisy
boisterous laughbut a silentinternal chucklewhich Mr. Pickwick
disliked to hear. When a man bleeds inwardlyit is a dangerous
thing for himself; but when he laughs inwardlyit bodes no
good to other people.

'You haven't made me out that little list of the fees that I'm in
your debthave you?' said Perker.

'NoI have not' replied the clerk.

'I wish you would' said Perker. 'Let me have themand I'll
send you a cheque. But I suppose you're too busy pocketing the
ready moneyto think of the debtorseh? hahaha!' This sally
seemed to tickle the clerk amazinglyand he once more enjoyed
a little quiet laugh to himself.

'ButMr. Mallardmy dear friend' said Perkersuddenly
recovering his gravityand drawing the great man's great man
into a Cornerby the lappel of his coat; 'you must persuade the
Serjeant to see meand my client here.'


'Comecome' said the clerk'that's not bad either. See the
Serjeant! comethat's too absurd.' Notwithstanding the absurdity
of the proposalhoweverthe clerk allowed himself to be
gently drawn beyond the hearing of Mr. Pickwick; and after a
short conversation conducted in whisperswalked softly down a
little dark passageand disappeared into the legal luminary's
sanctumwhence he shortly returned on tiptoeand informed
Mr. Perker and Mr. Pickwick that the Serjeant had been prevailed
uponin violation of all established rules and customsto admit
them at once.

Mr. Serjeant Snubbins was a lantern-facedsallow-complexioned
manof about five-and-fortyor--as the novels say-he
might be fifty. He had that dull-lookingboiled eye which is
often to be seen in the heads of people who have applied themselves
during many years to a weary and laborious course of
study; and which would have been sufficientwithout the additional
eyeglass which dangled from a broad black riband round
his neckto warn a stranger that he was very near-sighted. His
hair was thin and weakwhich was partly attributable to his
having never devoted much time to its arrangementand partly to
his having worn for five-and-twenty years the forensic wig which
hung on a block beside him. The marks of hairpowder on his
coat-collarand the ill-washed and worse tied white neckerchief
round his throatshowed that he had not found leisure since he
left the court to make any alteration in his dress; while the
slovenly style of the remainder of his costume warranted the
inference that his personal appearance would not have been very
much improved if he had. Books of practiceheaps of papers
and opened letterswere scattered over the tablewithout any
attempt at order or arrangement; the furniture of the room was
old and rickety; the doors of the book-case were rotting in their
hinges; the dust flew out from the carpet in little clouds at every
step; the blinds were yellow with age and dirt; the state of
everything in the room showedwith a clearness not to be
mistakenthat Mr. Serjeant Snubbin was far too much occupied
with his professional pursuits to take any great heed or regard of
his personal comforts.

The Serjeant was writing when his clients entered; he bowed
abstractedly when Mr. Pickwick was introduced by his solicitor;
and thenmotioning them to a seatput his pen carefully in the
inkstandnursed his left legand waited to be spoken to.

'Mr. Pickwick is the defendant in Bardell and Pickwick
Serjeant Snubbin' said Perker.

'I am retained in thatam I?' said the Serjeant.

'You areSir' replied Perker.

The Serjeant nodded his headand waited for something else.

'Mr. Pickwick was anxious to call upon youSerjeant
Snubbin' said Perker'to state to youbefore you entered upon
the casethat he denies there being any ground or pretence
whatever for the action against him; and that unless he came into
court with clean handsand without the most conscientious
conviction that he was right in resisting the plaintiff's demand
he would not be there at all. I believe I state your views correctly;
do I notmy dear Sir?' said the little manturning to Mr. Pickwick.

'Quite so' replied that gentleman.


Mr. Serjeant Snubbin unfolded his glassesraised them to his
eyes; andafter looking at Mr. Pickwick for a few seconds with
great curiosityturned to Mr. Perkerand saidsmiling slightly
as he spoke-'
Has Mr. Pickwick a strong case?'

The attorney shrugged his shoulders.

'Do you propose calling witnesses?'

'No.'

The smile on the Serjeant's countenance became more defined;
he rocked his leg with increased violence; andthrowing himself
back in his easy-chaircoughed dubiously.

These tokens of the Serjeant's presentiments on the subject
slight as they werewere not lost on Mr. Pickwick. He settled the
spectaclesthrough which he had attentively regarded such
demonstrations of the barrister's feelings as he had permitted
himself to exhibitmore firmly on his nose; and said with great
energyand in utter disregard of all Mr. Perker's admonitory
winkings and frownings-


'My wishing to wait upon youfor such a purpose as thisSir
appearsI have no doubtto a gentleman who sees so much of
these matters as you must necessarily doa very extraordinary
circumstance.'

The Serjeant tried to look gravely at the firebut the smile
came back again.

'Gentlemen of your professionSir' continued Mr. Pickwick
'see the worst side of human nature. All its disputesall its ill-will
and bad bloodrise up before you. You know from your
experience of juries (I mean no disparagement to youor them) how
much depends upon effect; and you are apt to attribute to others
a desire to usefor purposes of deception and Self-interestthe
very instruments which youin pure honesty and honour of
purposeand with a laudable desire to do your utmost for your
clientknow the temper and worth of so wellfrom constantly
employing them yourselves. I really believe that to this circumstance
may be attributed the vulgar but very general notion of
your beingas a bodysuspiciousdistrustfuland over-cautious.
Conscious as I amsirof the disadvantage of making such a
declaration to youunder such circumstancesI have come here
because I wish you distinctly to understandas my friend
Mr. Perker has saidthat I am innocent of the falsehood laid to
my charge; and although I am very well aware of the inestimable
value of your assistanceSirI must beg to addthat unless you
sincerely believe thisI would rather be deprived of the aid of
your talents than have the advantage of them.'

Long before the close of this addresswhich we are bound to
say was of a very prosy character for Mr. Pickwickthe Serjeant
had relapsed into a state of abstraction. After some minutes
howeverduring which he had reassumed his penhe appeared to
be again aware of the presence of his clients; raising his head
from the paperhe saidrather snappishly-


'Who is with me in this case?'

'Mr. PhunkySerjeant Snubbin' replied the attorney.


'Phunky--Phunky' said the Serjeant'I never heard the name
before. He must be a very young man.'

'Yeshe is a very young man' replied the attorney. 'He was
only called the other day. Let me see--he has not been at the Bar
eight years yet.'

'AhI thought not' said the Serjeantin that sort of pitying
tone in which ordinary folks would speak of a very helpless little
child. 'Mr. Mallardsend round to Mr.--Mr.--' 'Phunky's--
Holborn CourtGray's Inn' interposed Perker. (Holborn Court
by the byeis South Square now.) 'Mr. Phunkyand say I should
be glad if he'd step herea moment.'

Mr. Mallard departed to execute his commission; and Serjeant
Snubbin relapsed into abstraction until Mr. Phunky himself was
introduced.

Although an infant barristerhe was a full-grown man. He had
a very nervous mannerand a painful hesitation in his speech; it
did not appear to be a natural defectbut seemed rather the
result of timidityarising from the consciousness of being 'kept
down' by want of meansor interestor connectionor impudence
as the case might be. He was overawed by the Serjeantand
profoundly courteous to the attorney.

'I have not had the pleasure of seeing you beforeMr. Phunky'
said Serjeant Snubbinwith haughty condescension.

Mr. Phunky bowed. He HAD had the pleasure of seeing the
Serjeantand of envying him toowith all a poor man's envyfor
eight years and a quarter.

'You are with me in this caseI understand?' said the Serjeant.

If Mr. Phunky had been a rich manhe would have instantly
sent for his clerk to remind him; if he had been a wise onehe
would have applied his forefinger to his foreheadand
endeavoured to recollectwhetherin the multiplicity of his
engagementshe had undertaken this one or not; but as he was neither
rich nor wise (in this senseat all events) he turned redand bowed.

'Have you read the papersMr. Phunky?' inquired the Serjeant.

Here againMr. Phunky should have professed to have
forgotten all about the merits of the case; but as he had read such
papers as had been laid before him in the course of the actionand
had thought of nothing elsewaking or sleepingthroughout the
two months during which he had been retained as Mr. Serjeant
Snubbin's juniorhe turned a deeper red and bowed again.

'This is Mr. Pickwick' said the Serjeantwaving his pen in the
direction in which that gentleman was standing.

Mr. Phunky bowed to Mr. Pickwickwith a reverence which a
first client must ever awaken; and again inclined his head towards
his leader.

'Perhaps you will take Mr. Pickwick away' said the Serjeant
'and--and--and--hear anything Mr. Pickwick may wish to
communicate. We shall have a consultationof course.' With
that hint that he had been interrupted quite long enoughMr.
Serjeant Snubbinwho had been gradually growing more and


more abstractedapplied his glass to his eyes for an instant
bowed slightly roundand was once more deeply immersed in the
case before himwhich arose out of an interminable lawsuit
originating in the act of an individualdeceased a century or so
agowho had stopped up a pathway leading from some place
which nobody ever came fromto some other place which
nobody ever went to.

Mr. Phunky would not hear of passing through any door until
Mr. Pickwick and his solicitor had passed through before himso
it was some time before they got into the Square; and when they
did reach itthey walked up and downand held a long conference
the result of which wasthat it was a very difficult matter
to say how the verdict would go; that nobody could presume to
calculate on the issue of an action; that it was very lucky they had
prevented the other party from getting Serjeant Snubbin; and
other topics of doubt and consolationcommon in such a position
of affairs.

Mr. Weller was then roused by his master from a sweet sleep of
an hour's duration; andbidding adieu to Lowtenthey returned
to the city.

CHAPTER XXXII

DESCRIBESFAR MORE FULLY THAN THE COURT NEWSMAN
EVER DIDA BACHELOR'S PARTYGIVEN BY Mr.
BOB SAWYER AT HIS LODGINGS IN THE BOROUGH

There is a repose about Lant Streetin the Boroughwhich
sheds a gentle melancholy upon the soul. There are always a
good many houses to let in the street: it is a by-street too
and its dulness is soothing. A house in Lant Street would
not come within the denomination of a first-rate residence
in the strict acceptation of the term; but it is a most desirable
spot nevertheless. If a man wished to abstract himself from the
world--to remove himself from within the reach of temptation-to
place himself beyond the possibility of any inducement to look
out of the window--we should recommend him by all means go
to Lant Street.

In this happy retreat are colonised a few clear-starchersa
sprinkling of journeymen bookbindersone or two prison agents
for the Insolvent Courtseveral small housekeepers who are
employed in the Docksa handful of mantua-makersand a
seasoning of jobbing tailors. The majority of the inhabitants
either direct their energies to the letting of furnished apartments
or devote themselves to the healthful and invigorating pursuit of
mangling. The chief features in the still life of the street are
green shutterslodging-billsbrass door-platesand bell-handles;
the principal specimens of animated naturethe pot-boythe
muffin youthand the baked-potato man. The population is
migratoryusually disappearing on the verge of quarter-dayand
generally by night. His Majesty's revenues are seldom collected
in this happy valley; the rents are dubious; and the water
communication is very frequently cut off.

Mr. Bob Sawyer embellished one side of the firein his firstfloor
frontearly on the evening for which he had invited Mr.
Pickwickand Mr. Ben Allen the other. The preparations for the
reception of visitors appeared to be completed. The umbrellas in
the passage had been heaped into the little corner outside the


back-parlour door; the bonnet and shawl of the landlady's
servant had been removed from the bannisters; there were not
more than two pairs of pattens on the street-door mat; and a
kitchen candlewith a very long snuffburned cheerfully on the
ledge of the staircase window. Mr. Bob Sawyer had himself
purchased the spirits at a wine vaults in High Streetand had
returned home preceding the bearer thereofto preclude the
possibility of their delivery at the wrong house. The punch was
ready-made in a red pan in the bedroom; a little tablecovered
with a green baize clothhad been borrowed from the parlour
to play at cards on; and the glasses of the establishmenttogether
with those which had been borrowed for the occasion from the
public-housewere all drawn up in a traywhich was deposited
on the landing outside the door.

Notwithstanding the highly satisfactory nature of all these
arrangementsthere was a cloud on the countenance of Mr. Bob
Sawyeras he sat by the fireside. There was a sympathising
expressiontooin the features of Mr. Ben Allenas he gazed
intently on the coalsand a tone of melancholy in his voiceas he
saidafter a long silence-'
Wellit is unlucky she should have taken it in her head to turn
sourjust on this occasion. She might at least have waited
till to-morrow.'

'That's her malevolence--that's her malevolence' returned
Mr. Bob Sawyer vehemently. 'She says that if I can afford to give
a party I ought to be able to pay her confounded "little bill."'
'How long has it been running?' inquired Mr. Ben Allen. A
billby the byeis the most extraordinary locomotive engine that
the genius of man ever produced. It would keep on running
during the longest lifetimewithout ever once stopping of its
own accord.

'Only a quarterand a month or so' replied Mr. Bob Sawyer.

Ben Allen coughed hopelesslyand directed a searching look
between the two top bars of the stove.

'It'll be a deuced unpleasant thing if she takes it into her head
to let outwhen those fellows are herewon't it?' said Mr. Ben
Allen at length.

'Horrible' replied Bob Sawyer'horrible.'
A low tap was heard at the room door. Mr. Bob Sawyer
looked expressively at his friendand bade the tapper come in;
whereupon a dirtyslipshod girl in black cotton stockingswho
might have passed for the neglected daughter of a superannuated
dustman in very reduced circumstancesthrust in her headand said-


'PleaseMister SawyerMissis Raddle wants to speak to you.'

Before Mr. Bob Sawyer could return any answerthe girl
suddenly disappeared with a jerkas if somebody had given her
a violent pull behind; this mysterious exit was no sooner
accomplishedthan there was another tap at the door--a smart
pointed tapwhich seemed to say'Here I amand in I'm coming.'

MrBob Sawyer glanced at his friend with a look of abject
apprehensionand once more cried'Come in.'

The permission was not at all necessaryforbefore Mr. Bob
Sawyer had uttered the wordsa littlefierce woman bounced
into the roomall in a tremble with passionand pale with rage.


'NowMr. Sawyer' said the littlefierce womantrying to
appear very calm'if you'll have the kindness to settle that little
bill of mine I'll thank youbecause I've got my rent to pay this
afternoonand my landlord's a-waiting below now.' Here the
little woman rubbed her handsand looked steadily over Mr. Bob
Sawyer's headat the wall behind him.

'I am very sorry to put you to any inconvenienceMrs. Raddle'
said Bob Sawyer deferentially'but--'

'Ohit isn't any inconvenience' replied the little womanwith
a shrill titter. 'I didn't want it particular before to-day; leastways
as it has to go to my landlord directlyit was as well for you to
keep it as me. You promised me this afternoonMr. Sawyerand
every gentleman as has ever lived herehas kept his wordSir
as of course anybody as calls himself a gentleman does.'
Mrs. Raddle tossed her headbit her lipsrubbed her hands
harderand looked at the wall more steadily than ever. It was
plain to seeas Mr. Bob Sawyer remarked in a style of Eastern
allegory on a subsequent occasionthat she was 'getting the
steam up.'

'I am very sorryMrs. Raddle' said Bob Sawyerwith all
imaginable humility'but the fact isthat I have been disappointed
in the City to-day.'--Extraordinary place that City. An astonishing
number of men always ARE getting disappointed there.

'WellMr. Sawyer' said Mrs. Raddleplanting herself firmly
on a purple cauliflower in the Kidderminster carpet'and what's
that to meSir?'

'I--I--have no doubtMrs. Raddle' said Bob Sawyerblinking
this last question'that before the middle of next week we shall
be able to set ourselves quite squareand go onon a better
systemafterwards.'

This was all Mrs. Raddle wanted. She had bustled up to
the apartment of the unlucky Bob Sawyerso bent upon going
into a passionthatin all probabilitypayment would have
rather disappointed her than otherwise. She was in excellent
order for a little relaxation of the kindhaving just exchanged
a few introductory compliments with Mr. R. in the front kitchen.

'Do you supposeMr. Sawyer' said Mrs. Raddleelevating her
voice for the information of the neighbours--'do you suppose
that I'm a-going day after day to let a fellar occupy my lodgings
as never thinks of paying his rentnor even the very money laid
out for the fresh butter and lump sugar that's bought for his
breakfastand the very milk that's took inat the street door?
Do you suppose a hard-working and industrious woman as has
lived in this street for twenty year (ten year over the wayand
nine year and three-quarters in this very house) has nothing else
to do but to work herself to death after a parcel of lazy idle
fellarsthat are always smoking and drinkingand lounging
when they ought to be glad to turn their hands to anything that
would help 'em to pay their bills? Do you--'

'My good soul' interposed Mr. Benjamin Allen soothingly.

'Have the goodness to keep your observashuns to yourselfSir
I beg' said Mrs. Raddlesuddenly arresting the rapid torrent of
her speechand addressing the third party with impressive slowness
and solemnity. 'I am not aweerSirthat you have any right


to address your conversation to me. I don't think I let these
apartments to youSir.'

'Noyou certainly did not' said Mr. Benjamin Allen.

'Very goodSir' responded Mrs. Raddlewith lofty politeness.
'Then p'rapsSiryou'll confine yourself to breaking the arms and
legs of the poor people in the hospitalsand keep yourself TO
yourselfSiror there may be some persons here as will make
youSir.'

'But you are such an unreasonable woman' remonstrated
Mr. Benjamin Allen.

'I beg your pardingyoung man' said Mrs. Raddlein a cold
perspiration of anger. 'But will you have the goodness just to call
me that againsir?'

'I didn't make use of the word in any invidious sensema'am'
replied Mr. Benjamin Allengrowing somewhat uneasy on his
own account.

'I beg your pardingyoung man' demanded Mrs. Raddlein a
louder and more imperative tone. 'But who do you call a woman?
Did you make that remark to mesir?'

'Whybless my heart!' said Mr. Benjamin Allen.

'Did you apply that name to meI ask of yousir?' interrupted
Mrs. Raddlewith intense fiercenessthrowing the door wide open.

'Whyof course I did' replied Mr. Benjamin Allen.

'Yesof course you did' said Mrs. Raddlebacking gradually
to the doorand raising her voice to its loudest pitchfor the
special behoof of Mr. Raddle in the kitchen. 'Yesof course you
did! And everybody knows that they may safely insult me in my
own 'ouse while my husband sits sleeping downstairsand taking
no more notice than if I was a dog in the streets. He ought to be
ashamed of himself (here Mrs. Raddle sobbed) to allow his wife
to be treated in this way by a parcel of young cutters and carvers
of live people's bodiesthat disgraces the lodgings (another sob)
and leaving her exposed to all manner of abuse; a basefainthearted
timorous wretchthat's afraid to come upstairsand
face the ruffinly creatures--that's afraid--that's afraid to come!'
Mrs. Raddle paused to listen whether the repetition of the taunt
had roused her better half; and finding that it had not been
successfulproceeded to descend the stairs with sobs innumerable;
when there came a loud double knock at the street door;
whereupon she burst into an hysterical fit of weepingaccompanied
with dismal moanswhich was prolonged until the knock
had been repeated six timeswhenin an uncontrollable burst of
mental agonyshe threw down all the umbrellasand disappeared
into the back parlourclosing the door after her with an awful crash.

'Does Mr. Sawyer live here?' said Mr. Pickwickwhen the door
was opened.

'Yes' said the girl'first floor. It's the door straight afore you
when you gets to the top of the stairs.' Having given this instruction
the handmaidwho had been brought up among the
aboriginal inhabitants of Southwarkdisappearedwith the
candle in her handdown the kitchen stairsperfectly satisfied
that she had done everything that could possibly be required of


her under the circumstances.


Mr. Snodgrasswho entered lastsecured the street doorafter
several ineffectual effortsby putting up the chain; and the
friends stumbled upstairswhere they were received by Mr. Bob
Sawyerwho had been afraid to go downlest he should be
waylaid by Mrs. Raddle.


'How are you?' said the discomfited student. 'Glad to see you
--take care of the glasses.' This caution was addressed to Mr.
Pickwickwho had put his hat in the tray.


'Dear me' said Mr. Pickwick'I beg your pardon.'


'Don't mention itdon't mention it' said Bob Sawyer. 'I'm
rather confined for room herebut you must put up with all that
when you come to see a young bachelor. Walk in. You've seen
this gentleman beforeI think?' Mr. Pickwick shook hands with
Mr. Benjamin Allenand his friends followed his example. They
had scarcely taken their seats when there was another double knock.


'I hope that's Jack Hopkins!' said Mr. Bob Sawyer. 'Hush.
Yesit is. Come upJack; come up.'


A heavy footstep was heard upon the stairsand Jack Hopkins
presented himself. He wore a black velvet waistcoatwith
thunder-and-lightning buttons; and a blue striped shirtwith a
white false collar.


'You're lateJack?' said Mr. Benjamin Allen.


'Been detained at Bartholomew's' replied Hopkins.


'Anything new?'


'Nonothing particular. Rather a good accident brought into
the casualty ward.'


'What was thatsir?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.


'Only a man fallen out of a four pair of stairs' window; but it's
a very fair case indeed.'


'Do you mean that the patient is in a fair way to recover?'
inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'No' replied Mr. Hopkins carelessly. 'NoI should rather say
he wouldn't. There must be a splendid operationthough
to-morrow--magnificent sight if Slasher does it.'


'You consider Mr. Slasher a good operator?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Best alive' replied Hopkins. 'Took a boy's leg out of the
socket last week--boy ate five apples and a gingerbread cake--
exactly two minutes after it was all overboy said he wouldn't lie
there to be made game ofand he'd tell his mother if they didn't begin.'


'Dear me!' said Mr. Pickwickastonished.


'Pooh! That's nothingthat ain't' said Jack Hopkins. 'Is itBob?'


'Nothing at all' replied Mr. Bob Sawyer.


'By the byeBob' said Hopkinswith a scarcely perceptible
glance at Mr. Pickwick's attentive face'we had a curious
accident last night. A child was brought inwho had swallowed a



necklace.'

'Swallowed whatSir?' interrupted Mr. Pickwick.
'A necklace' replied Jack Hopkins. 'Not all at onceyou know
that would be too much--you couldn't swallow thatif the child
did--ehMr. Pickwick? haha!' Mr. Hopkins appeared highly
gratified with his own pleasantryand continued--'Nothe way
was this. Child's parents were poor people who lived in a court.
Child's eldest sister bought a necklace--common necklacemade
of large black wooden beads. Child being fond of toyscribbed
the necklacehid itplayed with itcut the stringand swallowed
a bead. Child thought it capital funwent back next dayand
swallowed another bead.'

'Bless my heart' said Mr. Pickwick'what a dreadful thing! I
beg your pardonSir. Go on.'

'Next daychild swallowed two beads; the day after thathe
treated himself to threeand so ontill in a week's time he had
got through the necklace--five-and-twenty beads in all. The
sisterwho was an industrious girland seldom treated herself to
a bit of finerycried her eyes outat the loss of the necklace;
looked high and low for it; butI needn't saydidn't find it. A
few days afterwardsthe family were at dinner--baked shoulder
of muttonand potatoes under it--the childwho wasn't hungry
was playing about the roomwhen suddenly there was heard a
devil of a noiselike a small hailstorm. "Don't do thatmy boy
said the father. I ain't a-doin' nothing said the child. Well
don't do it again said the father. There was a short silence, and
then the noise began again, worse than ever. If you don't mind
what I saymy boy said the father, you'll find yourself in bed
in something less than a pig's whisper." He gave the child a
shake to make him obedientand such a rattling ensued as
nobody ever heard before. "Whydammeit's IN the child!" said
the fatherhe's got the croup in the wrong place!No, I
haven't, father,said the childbeginning to cryit's the necklace;
I swallowed it, father.--The father caught the child up
and ran with him to the hospital; the beads in the boy's stomach
rattling all the way with the jolting; and the people looking up in
the airand down in the cellarsto see where the unusual sound
came from. He's in the hospital now' said Jack Hopkins'and he
makes such a devil of a noise when he walks aboutthat they're
obliged to muffle him in a watchman's coatfor fear he should
wake the patients.'

'That's the most extraordinary case I ever heard of' said
Mr. Pickwickwith an emphatic blow on the table.

'Ohthat's nothing' said Jack Hopkins. 'Is itBob?'

'Certainly not' replied Bob Sawyer.

'Very singular things occur in our professionI can assure you
Sir' said Hopkins.

'So I should be disposed to imagine' replied Mr. Pickwick.

Another knock at the door announced a large-headed young
man in a black wigwho brought with him a scorbutic youth in a
long stock. The next comer was a gentleman in a shirt emblazoned
with pink anchorswho was closely followed by a pale youth with
a plated watchguard. The arrival of a prim personage in clean
linen and cloth boots rendered the party complete. The little
table with the green baize cover was wheeled out; the first


instalment of punch was brought inin a white jug; and the
succeeding three hours were devoted to VINGT-ET-UN at sixpence a
dozenwhich was only once interrupted by a slight dispute
between the scorbutic youth and the gentleman with the pink
anchors; in the course of whichthe scorbutic youth intimated a
burning desire to pull the nose of the gentleman with the emblems
of hope; in reply to whichthat individual expressed his decided
unwillingness to accept of any 'sauce' on gratuitous termseither
from the irascible young gentleman with the scorbutic countenance
or any other person who was ornamented with a head.


When the last 'natural' had been declaredand the profit and
loss account of fish and sixpences adjustedto the satisfaction of
all partiesMr. Bob Sawyer rang for supperand the visitors
squeezed themselves into corners while it was getting ready.


it was not so easily got ready as some people may imagine.
First of allit was necessary to awaken the girlwho had fallen
asleep with her face on the kitchen table; this took a little time
andeven when she did answer the bellanother quarter of an
hour was consumed in fruitless endeavours to impart to her a
faint and distant glimmering of reason. The man to whom the
order for the oysters had been senthad not been told to open
them; it is a very difficult thing to open an oyster with a limp
knife and a two-pronged fork; and very little was done in this
way. Very little of the beef was done either; and the ham (which
was also from the German-sausage shop round the corner) was
in a similar predicament. Howeverthere was plenty of porter in
a tin can; and the cheese went a great wayfor it was very strong.
So upon the wholeperhapsthe supper was quite as good as such
matters usually are.


After supperanother jug of punch was put upon the table
together with a paper of cigarsand a couple of bottles of spirits.
Then there was an awful pause; and this awful pause was
occasioned by a very common occurrence in this sort of place
but a very embarrassing one notwithstanding.


The fact isthe girl was washing the glasses. The establishment
boasted four: we do not record the circumstance as at all
derogatory to Mrs. Raddlefor there never was a lodging-house
yetthat was not short of glasses. The landlady's glasses were
littlethinblown-glass tumblersand those which had been
borrowed from the public-house were greatdropsicalbloated
articleseach supported on a huge gouty leg. This would have
been in itself sufficient to have possessed the company with the
real state of affairs; but the young woman of all work had
prevented the possibility of any misconception arising in the
mind of any gentleman upon the subjectby forcibly dragging
every man's glass awaylong before he had finished his beerand
audibly statingdespite the winks and interruptions of Mr. Bob
Sawyerthat it was to be conveyed downstairsand washed forthwith.


It is a very ill wind that blows nobody any good. The prim
man in the cloth bootswho had been unsuccessfully attempting
to make a joke during the whole time the round game lasted
saw his opportunityand availed himself of it. The instant the
glasses disappearedhe commenced a long story about a great
public characterwhose name he had forgottenmaking a particularly
happy reply to another eminent and illustrious individual
whom he had never been able to identify. He enlarged at some
length and with great minuteness upon divers collateral circumstances
distantly connected with the anecdote in handbut for
the life of him he couldn't recollect at that precise moment what



the anecdote wasalthough he had been in the habit of telling the
story with great applause for the last ten years.

'Dear me' said the prim man in the cloth boots'it is a very
extraordinary circumstance.'

'I am sorry you have forgotten it' said Mr. Bob Sawyer
glancing eagerly at the dooras he thought he heard the noise of
glasses jingling; 'very sorry.'

'So am I' responded the prim man'because I know it would
have afforded so much amusement. Never mind; I dare say I
shall manage to recollect itin the course of half an hour or so.'

The prim man arrived at this point just as the glasses came
backwhen Mr. Bob Sawyerwho had been absorbed in attention
during the whole timesaid he should very much like to hear the
end of itforso far as it wentit waswithout exceptionthe very
best story he had ever heard.
The sight of the tumblers restored Bob Sawyer to a degree of
equanimity which he had not possessed since his interview with his
landlady. His face brightened upand he began to feel quite convivial.

'NowBetsy' said Mr. Bob Sawyerwith great suavityand
dispersingat the same timethe tumultuous little mob of glasses
the girl had collected in the centre of the table--'nowBetsythe
warm water; be briskthere's a good girl.'

'You can't have no warm water' replied Betsy.

'No warm water!' exclaimed Mr. Bob Sawyer.

'No' said the girlwith a shake of the head which expressed a
more decided negative than the most copious language could
have conveyed. 'Missis Raddle said you warn't to have none.'

The surprise depicted on the countenances of his guests
imparted new courage to the host.

'Bring up the warm water instantly--instantly!' said Mr. Bob
Sawyerwith desperate sternness.

'No. I can't' replied the girl; 'Missis Raddle raked out the
kitchen fire afore she went to bedand locked up the kittle.'

'Ohnever mind; never mind. Pray don't disturb yourself
about such a trifle' said Mr. Pickwickobserving the conflict of
Bob Sawyer's passionsas depicted in his countenance'cold
water will do very well.'

'Ohadmirably' said Mr. Benjamin Allen.

'My landlady is subject to some slight attacks of mental
derangement' remarked Bob Sawyerwith a ghastly smile; 'I fear
I must give her warning.'

'Nodon't' said Ben Allen.

'I fear I must' said Bobwith heroic firmness. 'I'll pay her
what I owe herand give her warning to-morrow morning.' Poor
fellow! how devoutly he wished he could!

Mr. Bob Sawyer's heart-sickening attempts to rally under this
last blowcommunicated a dispiriting influence to the company


the greater part of whomwith the view of raising their spirits
attached themselves with extra cordiality to the cold brandy-and-
waterthe first perceptible effects of which were displayed in a
renewal of hostilities between the scorbutic youth and the
gentleman in the shirt. The belligerents vented their feelings of
mutual contemptfor some timein a variety of frownings and
snortingsuntil at last the scorbutic youth felt it necessary to
come to a more explicit understanding on the matter; when the
following clear understanding took place.
'Sawyer' said the scorbutic youthin a loud voice.


'WellNoddy' replied Mr. Bob Sawyer.


'I should be very sorrySawyer' said Mr. Noddy'to create
any unpleasantness at any friend's tableand much less at yours
Sawyer--very; but I must take this opportunity of informing
Mr. Gunter that he is no gentleman.'


'And I should be very sorrySawyerto create any disturbance
in the street in which you reside' said Mr. Gunter'but I'm
afraid I shall be under the necessity of alarming the neighbours by
throwing the person who has just spokenout o' window.'


'What do you mean by thatsir?' inquired Mr. Noddy.


'What I saySir' replied Mr. Gunter.


'I should like to see you do itSir' said Mr. Noddy.


'You shall FEEL me do it in half a minuteSir' replied Mr. Gunter.


'I request that you'll favour me with your cardSir' said
Mr. Noddy.


'I'll do nothing of the kindSir' replied Mr. Gunter.


'Why notSir?' inquired Mr. Noddy.


'Because you'll stick it up over your chimney-pieceand delude
your visitors into the false belief that a gentleman has been to
see youSir' replied Mr. Gunter.


'Sira friend of mine shall wait on you in the morning' said
Mr. Noddy.


'SirI'm very much obliged to you for the cautionand I'll
leave particular directions with the servant to lock up the spoons'
replied Mr. Gunter.


At this point the remainder of the guests interposedand
remonstrated with both parties on the impropriety of their
conduct; on which Mr. Noddy begged to state that his father was
quite as respectable as Mr. Gunter's father; to which Mr. Gunter
replied that his father was to the full as respectable as Mr. Noddy's
fatherand that his father's son was as good a man as Mr. Noddy
any day in the week. As this announcement seemed the prelude
to a recommencement of the disputethere was another interference
on the part of the company; and a vast quantity of
talking and clamouring ensuedin the course of which Mr. Noddy
gradually allowed his feelings to overpower himand professed
that he had ever entertained a devoted personal attachment
towards Mr. Gunter. To this Mr. Gunter replied thatupon the
wholehe rather preferred Mr. Noddy to his own brother; on
hearing which admissionMr. Noddy magnanimously rose from



his seatand proffered his hand to Mr. Gunter. Mr. Gunter
grasped it with affecting fervour; and everybody said that the
whole dispute had been conducted in a manner which was highly
honourable to both parties concerned.


'Now' said Jack Hopkins'just to set us going againBobI
don't mind singing a song.' And Hopkinsincited thereto by
tumultuous applauseplunged himself at once into 'The King
God bless him' which he sang as loud as he couldto a novel air
compounded of the 'Bay of Biscay' and 'A Frog he would.'
The chorus was the essence of the song; andas each gentleman
sang it to the tune he knew bestthe effect was very striking indeed.


It was at the end of the chorus to the first versethat Mr.
Pickwick held up his hand in a listening attitudeand saidas
soon as silence was restored--


'Hush! I beg your pardon. I thought I heard somebody calling
from upstairs.'


A profound silence immediately ensued; and Mr. Bob Sawyer
was observed to turn pale.


'I think I hear it now' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Have the goodness
to open the door.'


The door was no sooner opened than all doubt on the subject
was removed.


'Mr. Sawyer! Mr. Sawyer!' screamed a voice from the two-pair landing.


'It's my landlady' said Bob Sawyerlooking round him with
great dismay. 'YesMrs. Raddle.'


'What do you mean by thisMr. Sawyer?' replied the voice
with great shrillness and rapidity of utterance. 'Ain't it enough
to be swindled out of one's rentand money lent out of pocket
besidesand abused and insulted by your friends that dares to
call themselves menwithout having the house turned out of the
windowand noise enough made to bring the fire-engines here
at two o'clock in the morning?--Turn them wretches away.'


'You ought to be ashamed of yourselves' said the voice of
Mr. Raddlewhich appeared to proceed from beneath some
distant bed-clothes.


'Ashamed of themselves!' said Mrs. Raddle. 'Why don't you
go down and knock 'em every one downstairs? You would if
you was a man.'
'I should if I was a dozen menmy dear' replied Mr. Raddle
pacifically'but they have the advantage of me in numbersmy dear.'


'Ughyou coward!' replied Mrs. Raddlewith supreme contempt.
'DO you mean to turn them wretches outor notMr. Sawyer?'


'They're goingMrs. Raddlethey're going' said the miserable
Bob. 'I am afraid you'd better go' said Mr. Bob Sawyer to his
friends. 'I thought you were making too much noise.'


'It's a very unfortunate thing' said the prim man. 'Just as we
were getting so comfortable too!' The prim man was just
beginning to have a dawning recollection of the story he had forgotten.


'It's hardly to be borne' said the prim manlooking round.



'Hardly to be borneis it?'

'Not to be endured' replied Jack Hopkins; 'let's have the
other verseBob. Comehere goes!'

'NonoJackdon't' interposed Bob Sawyer; 'it's a capital
songbut I am afraid we had better not have the other verse.
They are very violent peoplethe people of the house.'

'Shall I step upstairsand pitch into the landlord?' inquired
Hopkins'or keep on ringing the bellor go and groan on the
staircase? You may command meBob.'

'I am very much indebted to you for your friendship and goodnature
Hopkins' said the wretched Mr. Bob Sawyer'but I
think the best plan to avoid any further dispute is for us to
break up at once.'

'NowMr. Sawyer' screamed the shrill voice of Mrs. Raddle
'are them brutes going?'

'They're only looking for their hatsMrs. Raddle' said Bob;
'they are going directly.'

'Going!' said Mrs. Raddlethrusting her nightcap over the
banisters just as Mr. Pickwickfollowed by Mr. Tupman
emerged from the sitting-room. 'Going! what did they ever
come for?'

'My dear ma'am' remonstrated Mr. Pickwicklooking up.

'Get along with youold wretch!' replied Mrs. Raddlehastily
withdrawing the nightcap. 'Old enough to be his grandfather
you willin! You're worse than any of 'em.'

Mr. Pickwick found it in vain to protest his innocenceso
hurried downstairs into the streetwhither he was closely
followed by Mr. TupmanMr. Winkleand Mr. Snodgrass.
Mr. Ben Allenwho was dismally depressed with spirits and
agitationaccompanied them as far as London Bridgeand in the
course of the walk confided to Mr. Winkleas an especially
eligible person to intrust the secret tothat he was resolved to
cut the throat of any gentlemanexcept Mr. Bob Sawyerwho
should aspire to the affections of his sister Arabella. Having
expressed his determination to perform this painful duty of a
brother with proper firmnesshe burst into tearsknocked his hat
over his eyesandmaking the best of his way backknocked
double knocks at the door of the Borough Market office
and took short naps on the steps alternatelyuntil daybreak
under the firm impression that he lived thereand had forgotten
the key.

The visitors having all departedin compliance with the rather
pressing request of Mrs. Raddlethe luckless Mr. Bob Sawyer
was left aloneto meditate on the probable events of to-morrow
and the pleasures of the evening.

CHAPTER XXXIII

Mr. WELLER THE ELDER DELIVERS SOME CRITICAL SENTIMENTS

RESPECTING LITERARY COMPOSITION; AND

ASSISTED BY HIS SON SAMUELPAYS A SMALL INSTALMENT

OF RETALIATION TO THE ACCOUNT OF THE REVEREND


GENTLEMAN WITH THE RED NOSE

The morning of the thirteenth of Februarywhich the readers of
this authentic narrative knowas well as we doto have been the day
immediately preceding that which was appointed for the trial of
Mrs. Bardell's actionwas a busy time for Mr. Samuel Wellerwho
was perpetually engaged in travelling from the George and Vulture to
Mr. Perker's chambers and back againfrom and between the hours
of nine o'clock in the morning and two in the afternoonboth
inclusive. Not that there was anything whatever to be donefor the
consultation had taken placeand the course of proceeding to be
adoptedhad been finally determined on; but Mr. Pickwick being in
a most extreme state of excitementpersevered in constantly
sending small notes to his attorneymerely containing the inquiry
'Dear Perker. Is all going on well?' to which Mr. Perker
invariably forwarded the reply'Dear Pickwick. As well as
possible'; the fact beingas we have already hintedthat there
was nothing whatever to go oneither well or illuntil the
sitting of the court on the following morning.


But people who go voluntarily to lawor are taken forcibly
therefor the first timemay be allowed to labour under some
temporary irritation and anxiety; and Samwith a due allowance
for the frailties of human natureobeyed all his master's behests
with that imperturbable good-humour and unruffable composure
which formed one of his most striking and amiable characteristics.


Sam had solaced himself with a most agreeable little dinner
and was waiting at the bar for the glass of warm mixture in which
Mr. Pickwick had requested him to drown the fatigues of his
morning's walkswhen a young boy of about three feet highor
thereaboutsin a hairy cap and fustian overallswhose garb
bespoke a laudable ambition to attain in time the elevation of
an hostlerentered the passage of the George and Vultureand
looked first up the stairsand then along the passageand then
into the baras if in search of somebody to whom he bore a
commission; whereupon the barmaidconceiving it not
improbable that the said commission might be directed to the tea or
table spoons of the establishmentaccosted the boy with--


'Nowyoung manwhat do you want?'


'Is there anybody herenamed Sam?' inquired the youthin a
loud voice of treble quality.


'What's the t'other name?' said Sam Wellerlooking round.


'How should I know?' briskly replied the young gentleman
below the hairy cap.
'You're a sharp boyyou are' said Mr. Weller; 'only I
wouldn't show that wery fine edge too muchif I was youin case
anybody took it off. What do you mean by comin' to a hot-el
an