The Pickwick Papers
Part 12 out of 20
'Wot I like in that 'ere style of writin',' said the elder Mr.
Weller, 'is, that there ain't no callin' names in it--no Wenuses,
nor nothin' o' that kind. Wot's the good o' callin' a young
'ooman a Wenus or a angel, Sammy?'
'Ah! what, indeed?' replied Sam.
'You might jist as well call her a griffin, or a unicorn, or a
king's arms at once, which is wery well known to be a collection
o' fabulous animals,' added Mr. Weller.
'Just as well,' replied Sam.
'Drive on, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller.
Sam complied with the request, and proceeded as follows; his
father continuing to smoke, with a mixed expression of wisdom
and complacency, which was particularly edifying.
'"Afore I see you, I thought all women was alike."'
'So they are,' observed the elder Mr. Weller parenthetically.
'"But now,"' continued Sam, '"now I find what a reg'lar soft-
headed, inkred'lous turnip I must ha' been; for there ain't
nobody like you, though I like you better than nothin' at all." I
thought it best to make that rayther strong,' said Sam, looking up.
Mr. Weller nodded approvingly, and Sam resumed.
'"So I take the privilidge of the day, Mary, my dear--as the
gen'l'm'n in difficulties did, ven he valked out of a Sunday--to
tell you that the first and only time I see you, your likeness was
took on my hart in much quicker time and brighter colours than
ever a likeness was took by the profeel macheen (wich p'raps you
may have heerd on Mary my dear) altho it DOES finish a portrait
and put the frame and glass on complete, with a hook at the
end to hang it up by, and all in two minutes and a quarter."'
'I am afeerd that werges on the poetical, Sammy,' said Mr.
'No, it don't,' replied Sam, reading on very quickly, to avoid
contesting the point--
'"Except of me Mary my dear as your walentine and think
over what I've said.--My dear Mary I will now conclude." That's
all,' said Sam.
'That's rather a Sudden pull-up, ain't it, Sammy?' inquired
'Not a bit on it,' said Sam; 'she'll vish there wos more, and
that's the great art o' letter-writin'.'
'Well,' said Mr. Weller, 'there's somethin' in that; and I wish
your mother-in-law 'ud only conduct her conwersation on the
same gen-teel principle. Ain't you a-goin' to sign it?'
'That's the difficulty,' said Sam; 'I don't know what to sign it.'
'Sign it--"Veller",' said the oldest surviving proprietor of that name.
'Won't do,' said Sam. 'Never sign a walentine with your own name.'
'Sign it "Pickwick," then,' said Mr. Weller; 'it's a wery good
name, and a easy one to spell.'
'The wery thing,' said Sam. 'I COULD end with a werse; what do
'I don't like it, Sam,' rejoined Mr. Weller. 'I never know'd a
respectable coachman as wrote poetry, 'cept one, as made an
affectin' copy o' werses the night afore he was hung for a highway
robbery; and he wos only a Cambervell man, so even that's no rule.'
But Sam was not to be dissuaded from the poetical idea that
had occurred to him, so he signed the letter--
And having folded it, in a very intricate manner, squeezed a
downhill direction in one corner: 'To Mary, Housemaid, at
Mr. Nupkins's, Mayor's, Ipswich, Suffolk'; and put it into his
pocket, wafered, and ready for the general post. This important
business having been transacted, Mr. Weller the elder proceeded
to open that, on which he had summoned his son.
'The first matter relates to your governor, Sammy,' said Mr.
Weller. 'He's a-goin' to be tried to-morrow, ain't he?'
'The trial's a-comin' on,' replied Sam.
'Vell,' said Mr. Weller, 'Now I s'pose he'll want to call some
witnesses to speak to his character, or p'rhaps to prove a alleybi.
I've been a-turnin' the bis'ness over in my mind, and he may
make his-self easy, Sammy. I've got some friends as'll do either
for him, but my adwice 'ud be this here--never mind the
character, and stick to the alleybi. Nothing like a alleybi, Sammy,
nothing.' Mr. Weller looked very profound as he delivered this
legal opinion; and burying his nose in his tumbler, winked over
the top thereof, at his astonished son.
'Why, what do you mean?' said Sam; 'you don't think he's
a-goin' to be tried at the Old Bailey, do you?'
'That ain't no part of the present consideration, Sammy,'
replied Mr. Weller. 'Verever he's a-goin' to be tried, my boy, a
alleybi's the thing to get him off. Ve got Tom Vildspark off that
'ere manslaughter, with a alleybi, ven all the big vigs to a man
said as nothing couldn't save him. And my 'pinion is, Sammy,
that if your governor don't prove a alleybi, he'll be what the
Italians call reg'larly flummoxed, and that's all about it.'
As the elder Mr. Weller entertained a firm and unalterable
conviction that the Old Bailey was the supreme court of judicature
in this country, and that its rules and forms of proceeding
regulated and controlled the practice of all other courts of justice
whatsoever, he totally disregarded the assurances and arguments
of his son, tending to show that the alibi was inadmissible; and
vehemently protested that Mr. Pickwick was being 'wictimised.'
Finding that it was of no use to discuss the matter further, Sam
changed the subject, and inquired what the second topic was, on
which his revered parent wished to consult him.
'That's a pint o' domestic policy, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller.
'This here Stiggins--'
'Red-nosed man?' inquired Sam.
'The wery same,' replied Mr. Weller. 'This here red-nosed
man, Sammy, wisits your mother-in-law vith a kindness and
constancy I never see equalled. He's sitch a friend o' the family,
Sammy, that wen he's avay from us, he can't be comfortable
unless he has somethin' to remember us by.'
'And I'd give him somethin' as 'ud turpentine and beeswax his
memory for the next ten years or so, if I wos you,' interposed Sam.
'Stop a minute,' said Mr. Weller; 'I wos a-going to say, he
always brings now, a flat bottle as holds about a pint and a half,
and fills it vith the pine-apple rum afore he goes avay.'
'And empties it afore he comes back, I s'pose?' said Sam.
'Clean!' replied Mr. Weller; 'never leaves nothin' in it but the
cork and the smell; trust him for that, Sammy. Now, these here
fellows, my boy, are a-goin' to-night to get up the monthly
meetin' o' the Brick Lane Branch o' the United Grand Junction
Ebenezer Temperance Association. Your mother-in-law wos
a-goin', Sammy, but she's got the rheumatics, and can't; and I,
Sammy--I've got the two tickets as wos sent her.' Mr. Weller
communicated this secret with great glee, and winked so
indefatigably after doing so, that Sam began to think he must have
got the TIC DOLOUREUX in his right eyelid.
'Well?' said that young gentleman.
'Well,' continued his progenitor, looking round him very
cautiously, 'you and I'll go, punctiwal to the time. The deputy-
shepherd won't, Sammy; the deputy-shepherd won't.' Here Mr.
Weller was seized with a paroxysm of chuckles, which gradually
terminated in as near an approach to a choke as an elderly
gentleman can, with safety, sustain.
'Well, I never see sitch an old ghost in all my born days,'
exclaimed Sam, rubbing the old gentleman's back, hard enough
to set him on fire with the friction. 'What are you a-laughin' at,
'Hush! Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, looking round him with
increased caution, and speaking in a whisper. 'Two friends o'
mine, as works the Oxford Road, and is up to all kinds o' games,
has got the deputy-shepherd safe in tow, Sammy; and ven he
does come to the Ebenezer Junction (vich he's sure to do: for
they'll see him to the door, and shove him in, if necessary), he'll
be as far gone in rum-and-water, as ever he wos at the Markis o'
Granby, Dorkin', and that's not sayin' a little neither.' And with
this, Mr. Weller once more laughed immoderately, and once
more relapsed into a state of partial suffocation, in consequence.
Nothing could have been more in accordance with Sam
Weller's feelings than the projected exposure of the real propensities
and qualities of the red-nosed man; and it being very
near the appointed hour of meeting, the father and son took
their way at once to Brick Lane, Sam not forgetting to drop his
letter into a general post-office as they walked along.
The monthly meetings of the Brick Lane Branch of the United
Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association were held in
a large room, pleasantly and airily situated at the top of a safe
and commodious ladder. The president was the straight-walking
Mr. Anthony Humm, a converted fireman, now a schoolmaster,
and occasionally an itinerant preacher; and the secretary was
Mr. Jonas Mudge, chandler's shopkeeper, an enthusiastic and
disinterested vessel, who sold tea to the members. Previous to the
commencement of business, the ladies sat upon forms, and drank
tea, till such time as they considered it expedient to leave off; and
a large wooden money-box was conspicuously placed upon the
green baize cloth of the business-table, behind which
the secretary stood, and acknowledged, with a gracious smile,
every addition to the rich vein of copper which lay concealed within.
On this particular occasion the women drank tea to a most
alarming extent; greatly to the horror of Mr. Weller, senior, who,
utterly regardless of all Sam's admonitory nudgings, stared about
him in every direction with the most undisguised astonishment.
'Sammy,' whispered Mr. Weller, 'if some o' these here people
don't want tappin' to-morrow mornin', I ain't your father, and
that's wot it is. Why, this here old lady next me is a-drowndin'
herself in tea.'
'Be quiet, can't you?' murmured Sam.
'Sam,' whispered Mr. Weller, a moment afterwards, in a tone
of deep agitation, 'mark my vords, my boy. If that 'ere secretary
fellow keeps on for only five minutes more, he'll blow hisself up
with toast and water.'
'Well, let him, if he likes,' replied Sam; 'it ain't no bis'ness
'If this here lasts much longer, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, in
the same low voice, 'I shall feel it my duty, as a human bein', to
rise and address the cheer. There's a young 'ooman on the next
form but two, as has drunk nine breakfast cups and a half; and
she's a-swellin' wisibly before my wery eyes.'
There is little doubt that Mr. Weller would have carried his
benevolent intention into immediate execution, if a great noise,
occasioned by putting up the cups and saucers, had not very
fortunately announced that the tea-drinking was over. The
crockery having been removed, the table with the green baize
cover was carried out into the centre of the room, and the
business of the evening was commenced by a little emphatic man,
with a bald head and drab shorts, who suddenly rushed up the
ladder, at the imminent peril of snapping the two little legs
incased in the drab shorts, and said--
'Ladies and gentlemen, I move our excellent brother, Mr.
Anthony Humm, into the chair.'
The ladies waved a choice selection of pocket-handkerchiefs at
this proposition; and the impetuous little man literally moved
Mr. Humm into the chair, by taking him by the shoulders and
thrusting him into a mahogany-frame which had once represented
that article of furniture. The waving of handkerchiefs was
renewed; and Mr. Humm, who was a sleek, white-faced man, in a
perpetual perspiration, bowed meekly, to the great admiration of
the females, and formally took his seat. Silence was then proclaimed
by the little man in the drab shorts, and Mr. Humm rose
and said--That, with the permission of his Brick Lane Branch
brothers and sisters, then and there present, the secretary would
read the report of the Brick Lane Branch committee; a proposition
which was again received with a demonstration of pocket-handkerchiefs.
The secretary having sneezed in a very impressive manner, and
the cough which always seizes an assembly, when anything
particular is going to be done, having been duly performed, the
following document was read:
'REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE BRICK LANE BRANCH OF THE
UNITED GRAND JUNCTION EBENEZER TEMPERANCE ASSOCIATION
'Your committee have pursued their grateful labours during the
past month, and have the unspeakable pleasure of reporting the
following additional cases of converts to Temperance.
'H. Walker, tailor, wife, and two children. When in better
circumstances, owns to having been in the constant habit of
drinking ale and beer; says he is not certain whether he did not
twice a week, for twenty years, taste "dog's nose," which your
committee find upon inquiry, to be compounded of warm porter,
moist sugar, gin, and nutmeg (a groan, and 'So it is!' from an
elderly female). Is now out of work and penniless; thinks it must
be the porter (cheers) or the loss of the use of his right hand; is
not certain which, but thinks it very likely that, if he had drunk
nothing but water all his life, his fellow-workman would never
have stuck a rusty needle in him, and thereby occasioned his
accident (tremendous cheering). Has nothing but cold water to
drink, and never feels thirsty (great applause).
'Betsy Martin, widow, one child, and one eye. Goes out
charing and washing, by the day; never had more than one eye,
but knows her mother drank bottled stout, and shouldn't wonder
if that caused it (immense cheering). Thinks it not impossible
that if she had always abstained from spirits she might have had
two eyes by this time (tremendous applause). Used, at every
place she went to, to have eighteen-pence a day, a pint of porter,
and a glass of spirits; but since she became a member of the
Brick Lane Branch, has always demanded three-and-sixpence
(the announcement of this most interesting fact was received
with deafening enthusiasm).
'Henry Beller was for many years toast-master at various
corporation dinners, during which time he drank a great deal of
foreign wine; may sometimes have carried a bottle or two home
with him; is not quite certain of that, but is sure if he did, that he
drank the contents. Feels very low and melancholy, is very
feverish, and has a constant thirst upon him; thinks it must be
the wine he used to drink (cheers). Is out of employ now; and
never touches a drop of foreign wine by any chance (tremendous
'Thomas Burton is purveyor of cat's meat to the Lord Mayor
and Sheriffs, and several members of the Common Council (the
announcement of this gentleman's name was received with
breathless interest). Has a wooden leg; finds a wooden leg
expensive, going over the stones; used to wear second-hand
wooden legs, and drink a glass of hot gin-and-water regularly
every night--sometimes two (deep sighs). Found the second-hand
wooden legs split and rot very quickly; is firmly persuaded that
their constitution was undermined by the gin-and-water (prolonged
cheering). Buys new wooden legs now, and drinks
nothing but water and weak tea. The new legs last twice as long
as the others used to do, and he attributes this solely to his
temperate habits (triumphant cheers).'
Anthony Humm now moved that the assembly do regale itself
with a song. With a view to their rational and moral enjoyment,
Brother Mordlin had adapted the beautiful words of 'Who hasn't
heard of a Jolly Young Waterman?' to the tune of the Old
Hundredth, which he would request them to join him in singing
(great applause). He might take that opportunity of expressing his
firm persuasion that the late Mr. Dibdin, seeing the errors of his
former life, had written that song to show the advantages of
abstinence. It was a temperance song (whirlwinds of cheers). The
neatness of the young man's attire, the dexterity of his feathering,
the enviable state of mind which enabled him in the beautiful
words of the poet, to
'Row along, thinking of nothing at all,'
all combined to prove that he must have been a water-drinker
(cheers). Oh, what a state of virtuous jollity! (rapturous cheering).
And what was the young man's reward? Let all young men present
'The maidens all flocked to his boat so readily.'
(Loud cheers, in which the ladies joined.) What a bright example!
The sisterhood, the maidens, flocking round the young waterman,
and urging him along the stream of duty and of temperance.
But, was it the maidens of humble life only, who soothed, consoled,
and supported him? No!
'He was always first oars with the fine city ladies.'
(Immense cheering.) The soft sex to a man--he begged pardon,
to a female--rallied round the young waterman, and turned with
disgust from the drinker of spirits (cheers). The Brick Lane
Branch brothers were watermen (cheers and laughter). That room
was their boat; that audience were the maidens; and he (Mr.
Anthony Humm), however unworthily, was 'first oars'
'Wot does he mean by the soft sex, Sammy?' inquired Mr.
Weller, in a whisper.
'The womin,' said Sam, in the same tone.
'He ain't far out there, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller; 'they
MUST be a soft sex--a wery soft sex, indeed--if they let themselves
be gammoned by such fellers as him.'
Any further observations from the indignant old gentleman
were cut short by the announcement of the song, which Mr.
Anthony Humm gave out two lines at a time, for the information
of such of his hearers as were unacquainted with the legend.
While it was being sung, the little man with the drab shorts
disappeared; he returned immediately on its conclusion, and
whispered Mr. Anthony Humm, with a face of the deepest importance.
'My friends,' said Mr. Humm, holding up his hand in a
deprecatory manner, to bespeak the silence of such of the stout
old ladies as were yet a line or two behind; 'my friends, a delegate
from the Dorking Branch of our society, Brother Stiggins,
Out came the pocket-handkerchiefs again, in greater force
than ever; for Mr. Stiggins was excessively popular among the
female constituency of Brick Lane.
'He may approach, I think,' said Mr. Humm, looking round
him, with a fat smile. 'Brother Tadger, let him come forth and
The little man in the drab shorts who answered to the name of
Brother Tadger, bustled down the ladder with great speed, and
was immediately afterwards heard tumbling up with the Reverend
'He's a-comin', Sammy,' whispered Mr. Weller, purple in the
countenance with suppressed laughter.
'Don't say nothin' to me,' replied Sam, 'for I can't bear it. He's
close to the door. I hear him a-knockin' his head again the lath
and plaster now.'
As Sam Weller spoke, the little door flew open, and Brother
Tadger appeared, closely followed by the Reverend Mr. Stiggins,
who no sooner entered, than there was a great clapping of hands,
and stamping of feet, and flourishing of handkerchiefs; to all of
which manifestations of delight, Brother Stiggins returned no
other acknowledgment than staring with a wild eye, and a fixed
smile, at the extreme top of the wick of the candle on the table,
swaying his body to and fro, meanwhile, in a very unsteady and
'Are you unwell, Brother Stiggins?' whispered Mr. Anthony Humm.
'I am all right, Sir,' replied Mr. Stiggins, in a tone in which
ferocity was blended with an extreme thickness of utterance; 'I
am all right, Sir.'
'Oh, very well,' rejoined Mr. Anthony Humm, retreating a few paces.
'I believe no man here has ventured to say that I am not all
right, Sir?' said Mr. Stiggins.
'Oh, certainly not,' said Mr. Humm.
'I should advise him not to, Sir; I should advise him not,' said
By this time the audience were perfectly silent, and waited
with some anxiety for the resumption of business.
'Will you address the meeting, brother?' said Mr. Humm, with
a smile of invitation.
'No, sir,' rejoined Mr. Stiggins; 'No, sir. I will not, sir.'
The meeting looked at each other with raised eyelids; and a
murmur of astonishment ran through the room.
'It's my opinion, sir,' said Mr. Stiggins, unbuttoning his coat,
and speaking very loudly--'it's my opinion, sir, that this meeting
is drunk, sir. Brother Tadger, sir!' said Mr. Stiggins, suddenly
increasing in ferocity, and turning sharp round on the little man
in the drab shorts, 'YOU are drunk, sir!' With this, Mr. Stiggins,
entertaining a praiseworthy desire to promote the sobriety of the
meeting, and to exclude therefrom all improper characters, hit
Brother Tadger on the summit of the nose with such unerring
aim, that the drab shorts disappeared like a flash of lightning.
Brother Tadger had been knocked, head first, down the ladder.
Upon this, the women set up a loud and dismal screaming;
and rushing in small parties before their favourite brothers, flung
their arms around them to preserve them from danger. An
instance of affection, which had nearly proved fatal to Humm,
who, being extremely popular, was all but suffocated, by the
crowd of female devotees that hung about his neck, and heaped
caresses upon him. The greater part of the lights were quickly
put out, and nothing but noise and confusion resounded on all sides.
'Now, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, taking off his greatcoat with
much deliberation, 'just you step out, and fetch in a watchman.'
'And wot are you a-goin' to do, the while?' inquired Sam.
'Never you mind me, Sammy,' replied the old gentleman; 'I
shall ockipy myself in havin' a small settlement with that 'ere
Stiggins.' Before Sam could interfere to prevent it, his heroic
parent had penetrated into a remote corner of the room, and
attacked the Reverend Mr. Stiggins with manual dexterity.
'Come off!' said Sam.
'Come on!' cried Mr. Weller; and without further invitation
he gave the Reverend Mr. Stiggins a preliminary tap on the head,
and began dancing round him in a buoyant and cork-like
manner, which in a gentleman at his time of life was a perfect
marvel to behold.
Finding all remonstrances unavailing, Sam pulled his hat
firmly on, threw his father's coat over his arm, and taking the old
man round the waist, forcibly dragged him down the ladder, and
into the street; never releasing his hold, or permitting him to
stop, until they reached the corner. As they gained it, they could
hear the shouts of the populace, who were witnessing the removal
of the Reverend Mr. Stiggins to strong lodgings for the night,
and could hear the noise occasioned by the dispersion in various
directions of the members of the Brick Lane Branch of the
United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association.
IS WHOLLY DEVOTED TO A FULL AND FAITHFUL REPORT
OF THE MEMORABLE TRIAL OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK
'I wonder what the foreman of the jury, whoever he'll be, has got
for breakfast,' said Mr. Snodgrass, by way of keeping up a
conversation on the eventful morning of the fourteenth of February.
'Ah!' said Perker, 'I hope he's got a good one.'
'Why so?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Highly important--very important, my dear Sir,' replied
Perker. 'A good, contented, well-breakfasted juryman is a capital
thing to get hold of. Discontented or hungry jurymen, my dear
sir, always find for the plaintiff.'
'Bless my heart,' said Mr. Pickwick, looking very blank, 'what
do they do that for?'
'Why, I don't know,' replied the little man coolly; 'saves time,
I suppose. If it's near dinner-time, the foreman takes out his
watch when the jury has retired, and says, "Dear me, gentlemen,
ten minutes to five, I declare! I dine at five, gentlemen." "So do I,"
says everybody else, except two men who ought to have dined at
three and seem more than half disposed to stand out in consequence.
The foreman smiles, and puts up his watch:--"Well,
gentlemen, what do we say, plaintiff or defendant, gentlemen? I
rather think, so far as I am concerned, gentlemen,--I say, I
rather think--but don't let that influence you--I RATHER think
the plaintiff's the man." Upon this, two or three other men
are sure to say that they think so too--as of course they do; and
then they get on very unanimously and comfortably. Ten minutes
past nine!' said the little man, looking at his watch.'Time we were
off, my dear sir; breach of promise trial-court is generally full
in such cases. You had better ring for a coach, my dear sir, or we
shall be rather late.'
Mr. Pickwick immediately rang the bell, and a coach having
been procured, the four Pickwickians and Mr. Perker ensconced
themselves therein, and drove to Guildhall; Sam Weller, Mr.
Lowten, and the blue bag, following in a cab.
'Lowten,' said Perker, when they reached the outer hall of the
court, 'put Mr. Pickwick's friends in the students' box; Mr.
Pickwick himself had better sit by me. This way, my dear sir, this
way.' Taking Mr. Pickwick by the coat sleeve, the little man led
him to the low seat just beneath the desks of the King's Counsel,
which is constructed for the convenience of attorneys, who from
that spot can whisper into the ear of the leading counsel in the
case, any instructions that may be necessary during the progress
of the trial. The occupants of this seat are invisible to the great
body of spectators, inasmuch as they sit on a much lower level
than either the barristers or the audience, whose seats are raised
above the floor. Of course they have their backs to both, and
their faces towards the judge.
'That's the witness-box, I suppose?' said Mr. Pickwick,
pointing to a kind of pulpit, with a brass rail, on his left hand.
'That's the witness-box, my dear sir,' replied Perker,
disinterring a quantity of papers from the blue bag, which Lowten
had just deposited at his feet.
'And that,' said Mr. Pickwick, pointing to a couple of enclosed
seats on his right, 'that's where the jurymen sit, is it not?'
'The identical place, my dear Sir,' replied Perker, tapping the
lid of his snuff-box.
Mr. Pickwick stood up in a state of great agitation, and took a
glance at the court. There were already a pretty large sprinkling
of spectators in the gallery, and a numerous muster of gentlemen
in wigs, in the barristers' seats, who presented, as a body, all that
pleasing and extensive variety of nose and whisker for which the
Bar of England is so justly celebrated. Such of the gentlemen as
had a brief to carry, carried it in as conspicuous a manner as
possible, and occasionally scratched their noses therewith, to
impress the fact more strongly on the observation of the spectators.
Other gentlemen, who had no briefs to show, carried
under their arms goodly octavos, with a red label behind, and that
under-done-pie-crust-coloured cover, which is technically known
as 'law calf.' Others, who had neither briefs nor books, thrust
their hands into their pockets, and looked as wise as they
conveniently could; others, again, moved here and there with great
restlessness and earnestness of manner, content to awaken
thereby the admiration and astonishment of the uninitiated
strangers. The whole, to the great wonderment of Mr, Pickwick,
were divided into little groups, who were chatting and discussing
the news of the day in the most unfeeling manner possible--just as
if no trial at all were coming on.
A bow from Mr. Phunky, as he entered, and took his seat
behind the row appropriated to the King's Counsel, attracted
Mr. Pickwick's attention; and he had scarcely returned it, when
Mr. Serjeant Snubbin appeared, followed by Mr. Mallard, who
half hid the Serjeant behind a large crimson bag, which he
placed on his table, and, after shaking hands with Perker, withdrew.
Then there entered two or three more Serjeants; and among them,
one with a fat body and a red face, who nodded in a friendly
manner to Mr. Serjeant Snubbin, and said it was a fine morning.
'Who's that red-faced man, who said it was a fine morning,
and nodded to our counsel?' whispered Mr. Pickwick.
'Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz,' replied Perker. 'He's opposed to us; he
leads on the other side. That gentleman behind him is Mr.
Skimpin, his junior.'
Mr. Pickwick was on the point of inquiring, with great
abhorrence of the man's cold-blooded villainy, how Mr, Serjeant
Buzfuz, who was counsel for the opposite party, dared to presume
to tell Mr. Serjeant Snubbin, who was counsel for him, that it
was a fine morning, when he was interrupted by a general rising
of the barristers, and a loud cry of 'Silence!' from the officers of
the court. Looking round, he found that this was caused by the
entrance of the judge.
Mr. Justice Stareleigh (who sat in the absence of the Chief
Justice, occasioned by indisposition) was a most particularly
short man, and so fat, that he seemed all face and waistcoat. He
rolled in, upon two little turned legs, and having bobbed gravely
to the Bar, who bobbed gravely to him, put his little legs underneath
his table, and his little three-cornered hat upon it;
and when Mr. Justice Stareleigh had done this, all you could
see of him was two queer little eyes, one broad pink face,
and somewhere about half of a big and very comical-looking wig.
The judge had no sooner taken his seat, than the officer on the
floor of the court called out 'Silence!' in a commanding tone,
upon which another officer in the gallery cried 'Silence!' in an
angry manner, whereupon three or four more ushers shouted
'Silence!' in a voice of indignant remonstrance. This being done,
a gentleman in black, who sat below the judge, proceeded to call
over the names of the jury; and after a great deal of bawling,
it was discovered that only ten special jurymen were present.
Upon this, Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz prayed a TALES; the gentleman
in black then proceeded to press into the special jury, two of the
common jurymen; and a greengrocer and a chemist were caught directly.
'Answer to your names, gentlemen, that you may be sworn,'
said the gentleman in black. 'Richard Upwitch.'
'Here,' said the greengrocer.
'Here,' said the chemist.
'Take the book, gentlemen. You shall well and truly try--'
'I beg this court's pardon,' said the chemist, who was a tall, thin,
yellow-visaged man, 'but I hope this court will excuse my attendance.'
'On what grounds, Sir?' said Mr. Justice Stareleigh.
'I have no assistant, my Lord,' said the chemist.
'I can't help that, Sir,' replied Mr. Justice Stareleigh. 'You
should hire one.'
'I can't afford it, my Lord,' rejoined the chemist.
'Then you ought to be able to afford it, Sir,' said the judge,
reddening; for Mr. Justice Stareleigh's temper bordered on the
irritable, and brooked not contradiction.
'I know I OUGHT to do, if I got on as well as I deserved; but I
don't, my Lord,' answered the chemist.
'Swear the gentleman,' said the judge peremptorily.
The officer had got no further than the 'You shall well and
truly try,' when he was again interrupted by the chemist.
'I am to be sworn, my Lord, am I?' said the chemist.
'Certainly, sir,' replied the testy little judge.
'Very well, my Lord,' replied the chemist, in a resigned
manner. 'Then there'll be murder before this trial's over; that's
all. Swear me, if you please, Sir;' and sworn the chemist was,
before the judge could find words to utter.
'I merely wanted to observe, my Lord,' said the chemist,
taking his seat with great deliberation, 'that I've left nobody but
an errand-boy in my shop. He is a very nice boy, my Lord, but
he is not acquainted with drugs; and I know that the prevailing
impression on his mind is, that Epsom salts means oxalic acid;
and syrup of senna, laudanum. That's all, my Lord.' With this,
the tall chemist composed himself into a comfortable attitude,
and, assuming a pleasant expression of countenance, appeared to
have prepared himself for the worst.
Mr. Pickwick was regarding the chemist with feelings of the
deepest horror, when a slight sensation was perceptible in the
body of the court; and immediately afterwards Mrs. Bardell,
supported by Mrs. Cluppins, was led in, and placed, in a drooping
state, at the other end of the seat on which Mr. Pickwick sat.
An extra-sized umbrella was then handed in by Mr. Dodson, and
a pair of pattens by Mr. Fogg, each of whom had prepared a
most sympathising and melancholy face for the occasion. Mrs.
Sanders then appeared, leading in Master Bardell. At sight of
her child, Mrs. Bardell started; suddenly recollecting herself, she
kissed him in a frantic manner; then relapsing into a state of
hysterical imbecility, the good lady requested to be informed
where she was. In reply to this, Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders
turned their heads away and wept, while Messrs. Dodson and
Fogg entreated the plaintiff to compose herself. Serjeant Buzfuz
rubbed his eyes very hard with a large white handkerchief, and
gave an appealing look towards the jury, while the judge was
visibly affected, and several of the beholders tried to cough down
'Very good notion that indeed,' whispered Perker to Mr.
Pickwick. 'Capital fellows those Dodson and Fogg; excellent
ideas of effect, my dear Sir, excellent.'
As Perker spoke, Mrs. Bardell began to recover by slow
degrees, while Mrs. Cluppins, after a careful survey of Master
Bardell's buttons and the button-holes to which they severally
belonged, placed him on the floor of the court in front of his
mother--a commanding position in which he could not fail to
awaken the full commiseration and sympathy of both judge and
jury. This was not done without considerable opposition, and
many tears, on the part of the young gentleman himself, who had
certain inward misgivings that the placing him within the full
glare of the judge's eye was only a formal prelude to his being
immediately ordered away for instant execution, or for transportation
beyond the seas, during the whole term of his natural
life, at the very least.
'Bardell and Pickwick,' cried the gentleman in black, calling
on the case, which stood first on the list.
'I am for the plaintiff, my Lord,' said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Who is with you, Brother Buzfuz?' said the judge. Mr.
Skimpin bowed, to intimate that he was.
'I appear for the defendant, my Lord,' said Mr. Serjeant Snubbin.
'Anybody with you, Brother Snubbin?' inquired the court.
'Mr. Phunky, my Lord,' replied Serjeant Snubbin.
'Serjeant Buzfuz and Mr. Skimpin for the plaintiff,' said
the judge, writing down the names in his note-book, and reading
as he wrote; 'for the defendant, Serjeant Snubbin and Mr. Monkey.'
'Beg your Lordship's pardon, Phunky.'
'Oh, very good,' said the judge; 'I never had the pleasure of
hearing the gentleman's name before.' Here Mr. Phunky bowed
and smiled, and the judge bowed and smiled too, and then Mr.
Phunky, blushing into the very whites of his eyes, tried to look as
if he didn't know that everybody was gazing at him, a thing
which no man ever succeeded in doing yet, or in all reasonable
probability, ever will.
'Go on,' said the judge.
The ushers again called silence, and Mr. Skimpin proceeded
to 'open the case'; and the case appeared to have very little inside
it when he had opened it, for he kept such particulars as he
knew, completely to himself, and sat down, after a lapse of
three minutes, leaving the jury in precisely the same advanced
stage of wisdom as they were in before.
Serjeant Buzfuz then rose with all the majesty and dignity
which the grave nature of the proceedings demanded, and
having whispered to Dodson, and conferred briefly with Fogg,
pulled his gown over his shoulders, settled his wig, and addressed
Serjeant Buzfuz began by saying, that never, in the whole
course of his professional experience--never, from the very first
moment of his applying himself to the study and practice of the
law--had he approached a case with feelings of such deep
emotion, or with such a heavy sense of the responsibility imposed
upon him--a responsibility, he would say, which he could never
have supported, were he not buoyed up and sustained by a conviction
so strong, that it amounted to positive certainty that the
cause of truth and justice, or, in other words, the cause of his
much-injured and most oppressed client, must prevail with the
high-minded and intelligent dozen of men whom he now saw in
that box before him.
Counsel usually begin in this way, because it puts the jury on
the very best terms with themselves, and makes them think what
sharp fellows they must be. A visible effect was produced
immediately, several jurymen beginning to take voluminous notes
with the utmost eagerness.
'You have heard from my learned friend, gentlemen,' continued
Serjeant Buzfuz, well knowing that, from the learned
friend alluded to, the gentlemen of the jury had heard just
nothing at all--'you have heard from my learned friend, gentlemen,
that this is an action for a breach of promise of marriage,
in which the damages are laid at #1,500. But you have not heard
from my learned friend, inasmuch as it did not come within my
learned friend's province to tell you, what are the facts and
circumstances of the case. Those facts and circumstances,
gentlemen, you shall hear detailed by me, and proved by
the unimpeachable female whom I will place in that box before you.'
Here, Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, with a tremendous emphasis on
the word 'box,' smote his table with a mighty sound, and glanced
at Dodson and Fogg, who nodded admiration of the Serjeant,
and indignant defiance of the defendant.
'The plaintiff, gentlemen,' continued Serjeant Buzfuz, in a soft
and melancholy voice, 'the plaintiff is a widow; yes, gentlemen, a
widow. The late Mr. Bardell, after enjoying, for many years, the
esteem and confidence of his sovereign, as one of the guardians
of his royal revenues, glided almost imperceptibly from the
world, to seek elsewhere for that repose and peace which a
custom-house can never afford.'
At this pathetic description of the decease of Mr. Bardell, who
had been knocked on the head with a quart-pot in a public-house
cellar, the learned serjeant's voice faltered, and he proceeded,
'Some time before his death, he had stamped his likeness upon
a little boy. With this little boy, the only pledge of her departed
exciseman, Mrs. Bardell shrank from the world, and courted the
retirement and tranquillity of Goswell Street; and here she
placed in her front parlour window a written placard, bearing
this inscription--"Apartments furnished for a single gentleman.
Inquire within."' Here Serjeant Buzfuz paused, while several
gentlemen of the jury took a note of the document.
'There is no date to that, is there?' inquired a juror.
'There is no date, gentlemen,' replied Serjeant Buzfuz; 'but I
am instructed to say that it was put in the plaintiff's parlour
window just this time three years. I entreat the attention of the
jury to the wording of this document--"Apartments furnished
for a single gentleman"! Mrs. Bardell's opinions of the opposite
sex, gentlemen, were derived from a long contemplation of the
inestimable qualities of her lost husband. She had no fear, she
had no distrust, she had no suspicion; all was confidence and
reliance. "Mr. Bardell," said the widow--"Mr. Bardell was a
man of honour, Mr. Bardell was a man of his word, Mr. Bardell
was no deceiver, Mr. Bardell was once a single gentleman himself;
to single gentlemen I look for protection, for assistance, for
comfort, and for consolation; in single gentlemen I shall
perpetually see something to remind me of what Mr. Bardell was
when he first won my young and untried affections; to a single
gentleman, then, shall my lodgings be let." Actuated by this
beautiful and touching impulse (among the best impulses of our
imperfect nature, gentlemen), the lonely and desolate widow
dried her tears, furnished her first floor, caught her innocent boy
to her maternal bosom, and put the bill up in her parlour window.
Did it remain there long? No. The serpent was on the watch, the
train was laid, the mine was preparing, the sapper and miner was
at work. Before the bill had been in the parlour window three
days--three days, gentlemen--a being, erect upon two legs, and
bearing all the outward semblance of a man, and not of a
monster, knocked at the door of Mrs. Bardell's house. He
inquired within--he took the lodgings; and on the very next day
he entered into possession of them. This man was Pickwick--
Pickwick, the defendant.'
Serjeant Buzfuz, who had proceeded with such volubility that
his face was perfectly crimson, here paused for breath. The
silence awoke Mr. Justice Stareleigh, who immediately wrote
down something with a pen without any ink in it, and looked
unusually profound, to impress the jury with the belief that he
always thought most deeply with his eyes shut. Serjeant Buzfuz
'Of this man Pickwick I will say little; the subject presents but
few attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you,
gentlemen, the men, to delight in the contemplation of revolting
heartlessness, and of systematic villainy.'
Here Mr. Pickwick, who had been writhing in silence for some
time, gave a violent start, as if some vague idea of assaulting
Serjeant Buzfuz, in the august presence of justice and law,
suggested itself to his mind. An admonitory gesture from Perker
restrained him, and he listened to the learned gentleman's
continuation with a look of indignation, which contrasted
forcibly with the admiring faces of Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders.
'I say systematic villainy, gentlemen,' said Serjeant Buzfuz,
looking through Mr. Pickwick, and talking AT him; 'and when I
say systematic villainy, let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he
be in court, as I am informed he is, that it would have been more
decent in him, more becoming, in better judgment, and in better
taste, if he had stopped away. Let me tell him, gentlemen, that
any gestures of dissent or disapprobation in which he may
indulge in this court will not go down with you; that you will
know how to value and how to appreciate them; and let me tell him
further, as my Lord will tell you, gentlemen, that a counsel, in the
discharge of his duty to his client, is neither to be intimidated
nor bullied, nor put down; and that any attempt to do either
the one or the other, or the first, or the last, will recoil on the head
of the attempter, be he plaintiff or be he defendant, be his name
Pickwick, or Noakes, or Stoakes, or Stiles, or Brown, or Thompson.'
This little divergence from the subject in hand, had, of course,
the intended effect of turning all eyes to Mr. Pickwick. Serjeant
Buzfuz, having partially recovered from the state of moral
elevation into which he had lashed himself, resumed--
'I shall show you, gentlemen, that for two years, Pickwick
continued to reside constantly, and without interruption or
intermission, at Mrs. Bardell's house. I shall show you that
Mrs. Bardell, during the whole of that time, waited on him,
attended to his comforts, cooked his meals, looked out his linen
for the washerwoman when it went abroad, darned, aired, and
prepared it for wear, when it came home, and, in short, enjoyed
his fullest trust and confidence. I shall show you that, on many
occasions, he gave halfpence, and on some occasions even sixpences,
to her little boy; and I shall prove to you, by a witness
whose testimony it will be impossible for my learned friend to
weaken or controvert, that on one occasion he patted the boy on
the head, and, after inquiring whether he had won any "ALLEY
TORS" or "COMMONEYS" lately (both of which I understand to be a
particular species of marbles much prized by the youth of this
town), made use of this remarkable expression, "How should you
like to have another father?" I shall prove to you, gentlemen,
that about a year ago, Pickwick suddenly began to absent himself
from home, during long intervals, as if with the intention of
gradually breaking off from my client; but I shall show you also,
that his resolution was not at that time sufficiently strong, or that
his better feelings conquered, if better feelings he has, or that the
charms and accomplishments of my client prevailed against his
unmanly intentions, by proving to you, that on one occasion,
when he returned from the country, he distinctly and in terms,
offered her marriage: previously, however, taking special care
that there would be no witness to their solemn contract; and I
am in a situation to prove to you, on the testimony of three of
his own friends--most unwilling witnesses, gentlemen--most
unwilling witnesses--that on that morning he was discovered by
them holding the plaintiff in his arms, and soothing her agitation
by his caresses and endearments.'
A visible impression was produced upon the auditors by this
part of the learned Serjeant's address. Drawing forth two very
small scraps of paper, he proceeded--
'And now, gentlemen, but one word more. Two letters have
passed between these parties, letters which are admitted to be in
the handwriting of the defendant, and which speak volumes,
indeed. The letters, too, bespeak the character of the man. They
are not open, fervent, eloquent epistles, breathing nothing but
the language of affectionate attachment. They are covert, sly,
underhanded communications, but, fortunately, far more conclusive
than if couched in the most glowing language and the
most poetic imagery--letters that must be viewed with a cautious
and suspicious eye--letters that were evidently intended at the
time, by Pickwick, to mislead and delude any third parties into
whose hands they might fall. Let me read the first: "Garraways,
twelve o'clock. Dear Mrs. B.--Chops and tomato sauce. Yours,
PICKWICK." Gentlemen, what does this mean? Chops and tomato
sauce. Yours, Pickwick! Chops! Gracious heavens! and tomato
sauce! Gentlemen, is the happiness of a sensitive and confiding
female to be trifled away, by such shallow artifices as these? The
next has no date whatever, which is in itself suspicious. "Dear
Mrs. B., I shall not be at home till to-morrow. Slow coach."
And then follows this very remarkable expression. "Don't trouble
yourself about the warming-pan." The warming-pan! Why,
gentlemen, who DOES trouble himself about a warming-pan?
When was the peace of mind of man or woman broken or disturbed
by a warming-pan, which is in itself a harmless, a useful,
and I will add, gentlemen, a comforting article of domestic
furniture? Why is Mrs. Bardell so earnestly entreated not to
agitate herself about this warming-pan, unless (as is no doubt the
case) it is a mere cover for hidden fire--a mere substitute for
some endearing word or promise, agreeably to a preconcerted
system of correspondence, artfully contrived by Pickwick with a
view to his contemplated desertion, and which I am not in a
condition to explain? And what does this allusion to the slow
coach mean? For aught I know, it may be a reference to Pickwick
himself, who has most unquestionably been a criminally slow
coach during the whole of this transaction, but whose speed will
now be very unexpectedly accelerated, and whose wheels,
gentlemen, as he will find to his cost, will very soon be greased
Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz paused in this place, to see whether the
jury smiled at his joke; but as nobody took it but the greengrocer,
whose sensitiveness on the subject was very probably occasioned
by his having subjected a chaise-cart to the process in question
on that identical morning, the learned Serjeant considered it
advisable to undergo a slight relapse into the dismals before he
'But enough of this, gentlemen,' said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz, 'it
is difficult to smile with an aching heart; it is ill jesting when our
deepest sympathies are awakened. My client's hopes and prospects
are ruined, and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation
is gone indeed. The bill is down--but there is no tenant. Eligible
single gentlemen pass and repass-but there is no invitation for
to inquire within or without. All is gloom and silence in the
house; even the voice of the child is hushed; his infant sports are
disregarded when his mother weeps; his "alley tors" and his
"commoneys" are alike neglected; he forgets the long familiar
cry of "knuckle down," and at tip-cheese, or odd and even, his
hand is out. But Pickwick, gentlemen, Pickwick, the ruthless
destroyer of this domestic oasis in the desert of Goswell Street--
Pickwick who has choked up the well, and thrown ashes on the
sward--Pickwick, who comes before you to-day with his heartless
tomato sauce and warming-pans--Pickwick still rears his head
with unblushing effrontery, and gazes without a sigh on the ruin
he has made. Damages, gentlemen--heavy damages is the only
punishment with which you can visit him; the only recompense
you can award to my client. And for those damages she now
appeals to an enlightened, a high-minded, a right-feeling, a
conscientious, a dispassionate, a sympathising, a contemplative jury
of her civilised countrymen.' With this beautiful peroration,
Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz sat down, and Mr. Justice Stareleigh
'Call Elizabeth Cluppins,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, rising a
minute afterwards, with renewed vigour.
The nearest usher called for Elizabeth Tuppins; another one,
at a little distance off, demanded Elizabeth Jupkins; and a third
rushed in a breathless state into King Street, and screamed for
Elizabeth Muffins till he was hoarse.
Meanwhile Mrs. Cluppins, with the combined assistance of
Mrs. Bardell, Mrs. Sanders, Mr. Dodson, and Mr. Fogg, was
hoisted into the witness-box; and when she was safely perched
on the top step, Mrs. Bardell stood on the bottom one, with the
pocket-handkerchief and pattens in one hand, and a glass bottle
that might hold about a quarter of a pint of smelling-salts in the
other, ready for any emergency. Mrs. Sanders, whose eyes were
intently fixed on the judge's face, planted herself close by, with
the large umbrella, keeping her right thumb pressed on the spring
with an earnest countenance, as if she were fully prepared to put
it up at a moment's notice.
'Mrs. Cluppins,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, 'pray compose yourself,
ma'am.' Of course, directly Mrs. Cluppins was desired to compose
herself, she sobbed with increased vehemence, and gave
divers alarming manifestations of an approaching fainting fit,
or, as she afterwards said, of her feelings being too many for her.
'Do you recollect, Mrs. Cluppins,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, after
a few unimportant questions--'do you recollect being in Mrs.
Bardell's back one pair of stairs, on one particular morning in
July last, when she was dusting Pickwick's apartment?'
'Yes, my Lord and jury, I do,' replied Mrs. Cluppins.
'Mr. Pickwick's sitting-room was the first-floor front, I believe?'
'Yes, it were, Sir,' replied Mrs. Cluppins.
'What were you doing in the back room, ma'am?' inquired the
'My Lord and jury,' said Mrs. Cluppins, with interesting
agitation, 'I will not deceive you.'
'You had better not, ma'am,' said the little judge.
'I was there,' resumed Mrs. Cluppins, 'unbeknown to Mrs.
Bardell; I had been out with a little basket, gentlemen, to buy
three pound of red kidney pertaties, which was three pound
tuppence ha'penny, when I see Mrs. Bardell's street door on the jar.'
'On the what?' exclaimed the little judge.
'Partly open, my Lord,' said Serjeant Snubbin.
'She said on the jar,' said the little judge, with a cunning look.
'It's all the same, my Lord,' said Serjeant Snubbin. The little
judge looked doubtful, and said he'd make a note of it. Mrs.
Cluppins then resumed--
'I walked in, gentlemen, just to say good-mornin', and went, in
a permiscuous manner, upstairs, and into the back room. Gentlemen,
there was the sound of voices in the front room, and--'
'And you listened, I believe, Mrs. Cluppins?' said Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Beggin' your pardon, Sir,' replied Mrs. Cluppins, in a majestic
manner, 'I would scorn the haction. The voices was very loud,
Sir, and forced themselves upon my ear,'
'Well, Mrs. Cluppins, you were not listening, but you heard
the voices. Was one of those voices Pickwick's?'
'Yes, it were, Sir.'
And Mrs. Cluppins, after distinctly stating that Mr. Pickwick
addressed himself to Mrs. Bardell, repeated by slow degrees, and
by dint of many questions, the conversation with which our
readers are already acquainted.
The jury looked suspicious, and Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz smiled
as he sat down. They looked positively awful when Serjeant
Snubbin intimated that he should not cross-examine the witness,
for Mr. Pickwick wished it to be distinctly stated that it was due
to her to say, that her account was in substance correct.
Mrs. Cluppins having once broken the ice, thought it a
favourable opportunity for entering into a short dissertation on
her own domestic affairs; so she straightway proceeded to inform
the court that she was the mother of eight children at that present
speaking, and that she entertained confident expectations of
presenting Mr. Cluppins with a ninth, somewhere about that day
six months. At this interesting point, the little judge interposed
most irascibly; and the effect of the interposition was, that both
the worthy lady and Mrs. Sanders were politely taken out of
court, under the escort of Mr. Jackson, without further parley.
'Nathaniel Winkle!' said Mr. Skimpin.
'Here!' replied a feeble voice. Mr. Winkle entered the witness-
box, and having been duly sworn, bowed to the judge with
'Don't look at me, Sir,' said the judge sharply, in acknowledgment
of the salute; 'look at the jury.'
Mr. Winkle obeyed the mandate, and looked at the place
where he thought it most probable the jury might be; for seeing
anything in his then state of intellectual complication was wholly
out of the question.
Mr. Winkle was then examined by Mr. Skimpin, who, being
a promising young man of two or three-and-forty, was of course
anxious to confuse a witness who was notoriously predisposed in
favour of the other side, as much as he could.
'Now, Sir,' said Mr. Skimpin, 'have the goodness to let his
Lordship know what your name is, will you?' and Mr. Skimpin
inclined his head on one side to listen with great sharpness to the
answer, and glanced at the jury meanwhile, as if to imply that he
rather expected Mr. Winkle's natural taste for perjury would
induce him to give some name which did not belong to him.
'Winkle,' replied the witness.
'What's your Christian name, Sir?' angrily inquired the little judge.
'Daniel--any other name?'
'Nathaniel, sir--my Lord, I mean.'
'Nathaniel Daniel, or Daniel Nathaniel?'
'No, my Lord, only Nathaniel--not Daniel at all.'
'What did you tell me it was Daniel for, then, sir?' inquired the judge.
'I didn't, my Lord,' replied Mr. Winkle.
'You did, Sir,' replied the judge, with a severe frown. 'How
could I have got Daniel on my notes, unless you told me so, Sir?'
This argument was, of course, unanswerable.
'Mr. Winkle has rather a short memory, my Lord,' interposed
Mr. Skimpin, with another glance at the jury. 'We shall find
means to refresh it before we have quite done with him, I dare say.'
'You had better be careful, Sir,' said the little judge, with a
sinister look at the witness.
Poor Mr. Winkle bowed, and endeavoured to feign an easiness
of manner, which, in his then state of confusion, gave him rather
the air of a disconcerted pickpocket.
'Now, Mr. Winkle,' said Mr. Skimpin, 'attend to me, if you
please, Sir; and let me recommend you, for your own sake, to
bear in mind his Lordship's injunctions to be careful. I believe
you are a particular friend of Mr. Pickwick, the defendant, are
'I have known Mr. Pickwick now, as well as I recollect at this
'Pray, Mr. Winkle, do not evade the question. Are you, or are
you not, a particular friend of the defendant's?'
'I was just about to say, that--'
'Will you, or will you not, answer my question, Sir?'
'If you don't answer the question, you'll be committed, Sir,'
interposed the little judge, looking over his note-book.
'Come, Sir,' said Mr. Skimpin, 'yes or no, if you please.'
'Yes, I am,' replied Mr. Winkle.
'Yes, you are. And why couldn't you say that at once, Sir?
Perhaps you know the plaintiff too? Eh, Mr. Winkle?'
'I don't know her; I've seen her.'
'Oh, you don't know her, but you've seen her? Now, have the
goodness to tell the gentlemen of the jury what you mean by that,
'I mean that I am not intimate with her, but I have seen her
when I went to call on Mr. Pickwick, in Goswell Street.'
'How often have you seen her, Sir?'
'Yes, Mr. Winkle, how often? I'll repeat the question for you
a dozen times, if you require it, Sir.' And the learned gentleman,
with a firm and steady frown, placed his hands on his hips, and
smiled suspiciously to the jury.
On this question there arose the edifying brow-beating,
customary on such points. First of all, Mr. Winkle said it was
quite impossible for him to say how many times he had seen
Mrs. Bardell. Then he was asked if he had seen her twenty times,
to which he replied, 'Certainly--more than that.' Then he was
asked whether he hadn't seen her a hundred times--whether he
couldn't swear that he had seen her more than fifty times--
whether he didn't know that he had seen her at least seventy-five
times, and so forth; the satisfactory conclusion which was arrived
at, at last, being, that he had better take care of himself, and
mind what he was about. The witness having been by these
means reduced to the requisite ebb of nervous perplexity, the
examination was continued as follows--
'Pray, Mr. Winkle, do you remember calling on the defendant
Pickwick at these apartments in the plaintiff's house in Goswell
Street, on one particular morning, in the month of July last?'
'Yes, I do.'
'Were you accompanied on that occasion by a friend of the
name of Tupman, and another by the name of Snodgrass?'
'Yes, I was.'
'Are they here?'
'Yes, they are,' replied Mr. Winkle, looking very earnestly
towards the spot where his friends were stationed.
'Pray attend to me, Mr. Winkle, and never mind your friends,'
said Mr. Skimpin, with another expressive look at the jury.
'They must tell their stories without any previous consultation
with you, if none has yet taken place (another look at the jury).
Now, Sir, tell the gentlemen of the jury what you saw on entering
the defendant's room, on this particular morning. Come; out
with it, Sir; we must have it, sooner or later.'
'The defendant, Mr. Pickwick, was holding the plaintiff in his
arms, with his hands clasping her waist,' replied Mr. Winkle with
natural hesitation, 'and the plaintiff appeared to have fainted away.'
'Did you hear the defendant say anything?'
'I heard him call Mrs. Bardell a good creature, and I heard him
ask her to compose herself, for what a situation it was, if anybody
should come, or words to that effect.'
'Now, Mr. Winkle, I have only one more question to ask you,
and I beg you to bear in mind his Lordship's caution. Will you
undertake to swear that Pickwick, the defendant, did not say on
the occasion in question--"My dear Mrs. Bardell, you're a good
creature; compose yourself to this situation, for to this situation
you must come," or words to that effect?'
'I--I didn't understand him so, certainly,' said Mr. Winkle,
astounded on this ingenious dove-tailing of the few words he had
heard. 'I was on the staircase, and couldn't hear distinctly; the
impression on my mind is--'
'The gentlemen of the jury want none of the impressions on
your mind, Mr. Winkle, which I fear would be of little service to
honest, straightforward men,' interposed Mr. Skimpin. 'You
were on the staircase, and didn't distinctly hear; but you will not
swear that Pickwick did not make use of the expressions I have
quoted? Do I understand that?'
'No, I will not,' replied Mr. Winkle; and down sat Mr.
Skimpin with a triumphant countenance.
Mr. Pickwick's case had not gone off in so particularly happy
a manner, up to this point, that it could very well afford to have
any additional suspicion cast upon it. But as it could afford to
be placed in a rather better light, if possible, Mr. Phunky rose for
the purpose of getting something important out of Mr. Winkle in
cross-examination. Whether he did get anything important out
of him, will immediately appear.
'I believe, Mr. Winkle,' said Mr. Phunky, 'that Mr. Pickwick
is not a young man?'
'Oh, no,' replied Mr. Winkle; 'old enough to be my father.'
'You have told my learned friend that you have known Mr.
Pickwick a long time. Had you ever any reason to suppose or
believe that he was about to be married?'
'Oh, no; certainly not;' replied Mr. Winkle with so much
eagerness, that Mr. Phunky ought to have got him out of the box
with all possible dispatch. Lawyers hold that there are two kinds
of particularly bad witnesses--a reluctant witness, and a too-willing
witness; it was Mr. Winkle's fate to figure in both characters.
'I will even go further than this, Mr. Winkle,' continued
Mr. Phunky, in a most smooth and complacent manner. 'Did
you ever see anything in Mr. Pickwick's manner and conduct
towards the opposite sex, to induce you to believe that he ever
contemplated matrimony of late years, in any case?'
'Oh, no; certainly not,' replied Mr. Winkle.
'Has his behaviour, when females have been in the case, always
been that of a man, who, having attained a pretty advanced period
of life, content with his own occupations and amusements,
treats them only as a father might his daughters?'
'Not the least doubt of it,' replied Mr. Winkle, in the fulness of
his heart. 'That is--yes--oh, yes--certainly.'
'You have never known anything in his behaviour towards
Mrs. Bardell, or any other female, in the least degree suspicious?'
said Mr. Phunky, preparing to sit down; for Serjeant Snubbin
was winking at him.
'N-n-no,' replied Mr. Winkle, 'except on one trifling
occasion, which, I have no doubt, might be easily explained.'
Now, if the unfortunate Mr. Phunky had sat down when
Serjeant Snubbin had winked at him, or if Serjeant Buzfuz had
stopped this irregular cross-examination at the outset (which he
knew better than to do; observing Mr. Winkle's anxiety, and
well knowing it would, in all probability, lead to something
serviceable to him), this unfortunate admission would not have
been elicited. The moment the words fell from Mr. Winkle's lips,
Mr. Phunky sat down, and Serjeant Snubbin rather hastily
told him he might leave the box, which Mr. Winkle prepared
to do with great readiness, when Serjeant Buzfuz stopped him.
'Stay, Mr. Winkle, stay!' said Serjeant Buzfuz, 'will your
Lordship have the goodness to ask him, what this one instance of
suspicious behaviour towards females on the part of this gentleman,
who is old enough to be his father, was?'
'You hear what the learned counsel says, Sir,' observed the
judge, turning to the miserable and agonised Mr. Winkle.
'Describe the occasion to which you refer.'
'My Lord,' said Mr. Winkle, trembling with anxiety, 'I--I'd
'Perhaps so,' said the little judge; 'but you must.'
Amid the profound silence of the whole court, Mr. Winkle
faltered out, that the trifling circumstance of suspicion was Mr.
Pickwick's being found in a lady's sleeping-apartment at midnight;
which had terminated, he believed, in the breaking off of
the projected marriage of the lady in question, and had led, he
knew, to the whole party being forcibly carried before George
Nupkins, Esq., magistrate and justice of the peace, for the
borough of Ipswich!
'You may leave the box, Sir,' said Serjeant Snubbin. Mr.
Winkle did leave the box, and rushed with delirious haste to the
George and Vulture, where he was discovered some hours after,
by the waiter, groaning in a hollow and dismal manner, with his
head buried beneath the sofa cushions.
Tracy Tupman, and Augustus Snodgrass, were severally called
into the box; both corroborated the testimony of their unhappy
friend; and each was driven to the verge of desperation by
Susannah Sanders was then called, and examined by Serjeant
Buzfuz, and cross-examined by Serjeant Snubbin. Had always
said and believed that Pickwick would marry Mrs. Bardell; knew
that Mrs. Bardell's being engaged to Pickwick was the current
topic of conversation in the neighbourhood, after the fainting in
July; had been told it herself by Mrs. Mudberry which kept a
mangle, and Mrs. Bunkin which clear-starched, but did not see
either Mrs. Mudberry or Mrs. Bunkin in court. Had heard
Pickwick ask the little boy how he should like to have another
father. Did not know that Mrs. Bardell was at that time keeping
company with the baker, but did know that the baker was then a
single man and is now married. Couldn't swear that Mrs.
Bardell was not very fond of the baker, but should think that the
baker was not very fond of Mrs. Bardell, or he wouldn't have
married somebody else. Thought Mrs. Bardell fainted away on
the morning in July, because Pickwick asked her to name the day:
knew that she (witness) fainted away stone dead when Mr.
Sanders asked her to name the day, and believed that everybody as
called herself a lady would do the same, under similar circumstances.
Heard Pickwick ask the boy the question about the marbles, but upon
her oath did not know the difference between an 'alley tor'
and a 'commoney.'
By the COURT.--During the period of her keeping company
with Mr. Sanders, had received love letters, like other ladies. In
the course of their correspondence Mr. Sanders had often called
her a 'duck,' but never 'chops,' nor yet 'tomato sauce.' He was
particularly fond of ducks. Perhaps if he had been as fond of
chops and tomato sauce, he might have called her that, as a
term of affection.
Serjeant Buzfuz now rose with more importance than he had
yet exhibited, if that were possible, and vociferated; 'Call Samuel
It was quite unnecessary to call Samuel Weller; for Samuel
Weller stepped briskly into the box the instant his name was
pronounced; and placing his hat on the floor, and his arms on
the rail, took a bird's-eye view of the Bar, and a comprehensive
survey of the Bench, with a remarkably cheerful and lively aspect.
'What's your name, sir?' inquired the judge.
'Sam Weller, my Lord,' replied that gentleman.
'Do you spell it with a "V" or a "W"?' inquired the judge.
'That depends upon the taste and fancy of the speller, my
Lord,' replied Sam; 'I never had occasion to spell it more than
once or twice in my life, but I spells it with a "V." '
Here a voice in the gallery exclaimed aloud, 'Quite right too,
Samivel, quite right. Put it down a "we," my Lord, put it down
'Who is that, who dares address the court?' said the little
judge, looking up. 'Usher.'
'Yes, my Lord.'
'Bring that person here instantly.'
'Yes, my Lord.'
But as the usher didn't find the person, he didn't bring him;
and, after a great commotion, all the people who had got up to
look for the culprit, sat down again. The little judge turned to the
witness as soon as his indignation would allow him to speak, and
'Do you know who that was, sir?'
'I rayther suspect it was my father, my lord,' replied Sam.
'Do you see him here now?' said the judge.
'No, I don't, my Lord,' replied Sam, staring right up into the
lantern at the roof of the court.
'If you could have pointed him out, I would have committed
him instantly,' said the judge.
Sam bowed his acknowledgments and turned, with unimpaired
cheerfulness of countenance, towards Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Now, Mr. Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Now, sir,' replied Sam.
'I believe you are in the service of Mr. Pickwick, the defendant
in this case? Speak up, if you please, Mr. Weller.'
'I mean to speak up, Sir,' replied Sam; 'I am in the service o'
that 'ere gen'l'man, and a wery good service it is.'
'Little to do, and plenty to get, I suppose?' said Serjeant
Buzfuz, with jocularity.
'Oh, quite enough to get, Sir, as the soldier said ven they
ordered him three hundred and fifty lashes,' replied Sam.
'You must not tell us what the soldier, or any other man, said,
Sir,' interposed the judge; 'it's not evidence.'
'Wery good, my Lord,' replied Sam.
'Do you recollect anything particular happening on the
morning when you were first engaged by the defendant; eh,
Mr. Weller?' said Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Yes, I do, sir,' replied Sam.
'Have the goodness to tell the jury what it was.'
'I had a reg'lar new fit out o' clothes that mornin', gen'l'men
of the jury,' said Sam, 'and that was a wery partickler and
uncommon circumstance vith me in those days.'
Hereupon there was a general laugh; and the little judge,
looking with an angry countenance over his desk, said, 'You had
better be careful, Sir.'
'So Mr. Pickwick said at the time, my Lord,' replied Sam; 'and
I was wery careful o' that 'ere suit o' clothes; wery careful indeed,
The judge looked sternly at Sam for full two minutes, but
Sam's features were so perfectly calm and serene that the judge
said nothing, and motioned Serjeant Buzfuz to proceed.
'Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz,
folding his arms emphatically, and turning half-round to
the jury, as if in mute assurance that he would bother the
witness yet--'do you mean to tell me, Mr. Weller, that you saw
nothing of this fainting on the part of the plaintiff in the arms of
the defendant, which you have heard described by the witnesses?'
'Certainly not,' replied Sam; 'I was in the passage till they
called me up, and then the old lady was not there.'
'Now, attend, Mr. Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, dipping a
large pen into the inkstand before him, for the purpose of
frightening Sam with a show of taking down his answer. 'You
were in the passage, and yet saw nothing of what was going
forward. Have you a pair of eyes, Mr. Weller?'
'Yes, I have a pair of eyes,' replied Sam, 'and that's just it. If
they wos a pair o' patent double million magnifyin' gas microscopes
of hextra power, p'raps I might be able to see through a
flight o' stairs and a deal door; but bein' only eyes, you see, my
wision 's limited.'
At this answer, which was delivered without the slightest
appearance of irritation, and with the most complete simplicity
and equanimity of manner, the spectators tittered, the little judge
smiled, and Serjeant Buzfuz looked particularly foolish. After a
short consultation with Dodson & Fogg, the learned Serjeant
again turned towards Sam, and said, with a painful effort to
conceal his vexation, 'Now, Mr. Weller, I'll ask you a question
on another point, if you please.'
'If you please, Sir,' rejoined Sam, with the utmost good-humour.
'Do you remember going up to Mrs. Bardell's house, one
night in November last?'
'Oh, yes, wery well.'
'Oh, you do remember that, Mr. Weller,' said Serjeant Buzfuz,
recovering his spirits; 'I thought we should get at something at last.'
'I rayther thought that, too, sir,' replied Sam; and at this the
spectators tittered again.
'Well; I suppose you went up to have a little talk about this
trial--eh, Mr. Weller?' said Serjeant Buzfuz, looking knowingly
at the jury.
'I went up to pay the rent; but we did get a-talkin' about the
trial,' replied Sam.
'Oh, you did get a-talking about the trial,' said Serjeant
Buzfuz, brightening up with the anticipation of some important
discovery. 'Now, what passed about the trial; will you have the
goodness to tell us, Mr. Weller'?'
'Vith all the pleasure in life, sir,' replied Sam. 'Arter a few
unimportant obserwations from the two wirtuous females as has
been examined here to-day, the ladies gets into a very great state
o' admiration at the honourable conduct of Mr. Dodson and
Fogg--them two gen'l'men as is settin' near you now.' This, of
course, drew general attention to Dodson & Fogg, who looked
as virtuous as possible.
'The attorneys for the plaintiff,' said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz.
'Well! They spoke in high praise of the honourable conduct of
Messrs. Dodson and Fogg, the attorneys for the plaintiff, did they?'
'Yes,' said Sam, 'they said what a wery gen'rous thing it was
o' them to have taken up the case on spec, and to charge nothing
at all for costs, unless they got 'em out of Mr. Pickwick.'
At this very unexpected reply, the spectators tittered again, and
Dodson & Fogg, turning very red, leaned over to Serjeant
Buzfuz, and in a hurried manner whispered something in his ear.
'You are quite right,' said Serjeant Buzfuz aloud, with affected
composure. 'It's perfectly useless, my Lord, attempting to get at
any evidence through the impenetrable stupidity of this witness.
I will not trouble the court by asking him any more questions.
Stand down, sir.'
'Would any other gen'l'man like to ask me anythin'?' inquired
Sam, taking up his hat, and looking round most deliberately.
'Not I, Mr. Weller, thank you,' said Serjeant Snubbin, laughing.
'You may go down, sir,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, waving his hand
impatiently. Sam went down accordingly, after doing Messrs.
Dodson & Fogg's case as much harm as he conveniently
could, and saying just as little respecting Mr. Pickwick as
might be, which was precisely the object he had had in view all along.
'I have no objection to admit, my Lord,' said Serjeant
Snubbin, 'if it will save the examination of another witness, that
Mr. Pickwick has retired from business, and is a gentleman of
considerable independent property.'
'Very well,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, putting in the two letters to
be read, 'then that's my case, my Lord.'
Serjeant Snubbin then addressed the jury on behalf of the
defendant; and a very long and a very emphatic address he
delivered, in which he bestowed the highest possible eulogiums
on the conduct and character of Mr. Pickwick; but inasmuch as
our readers are far better able to form a correct estimate of that
gentleman's merits and deserts, than Serjeant Snubbin could
possibly be, we do not feel called upon to enter at any length into
the learned gentleman's observations. He attempted to show
that the letters which had been exhibited, merely related
to Mr. Pickwick's dinner, or to the preparations for receiving
him in his apartments on his return from some country excursion.
It is sufficient to add in general terms, that he did the
best he could for Mr. Pickwick; and the best, as everybody
knows, on the infallible authority of the old adage, could do
Mr. Justice Stareleigh summed up, in the old-established and
most approved form. He read as much of his notes to the jury as
he could decipher on so short a notice, and made running-
comments on the evidence as he went along. If Mrs. Bardell were
right, it was perfectly clear that Mr. Pickwick was wrong, and if
they thought the evidence of Mrs. Cluppins worthy of credence
they would believe it, and, if they didn't, why, they wouldn't. If
they were satisfied that a breach of promise of marriage had been
committed they would find for the plaintiff with such damages as
they thought proper; and if, on the other hand, it appeared to
them that no promise of marriage had ever been given, they
would find for the defendant with no damages at all. The jury
then retired to their private room to talk the matter over, and the
judge retired to HIS private room, to refresh himself with a mutton
chop and a glass of sherry.
An anxious quarter of a hour elapsed; the jury came back; the
judge was fetched in. Mr. Pickwick put on his spectacles, and
gazed at the foreman with an agitated countenance and a
'Gentlemen,' said the individual in black, 'are you all agreed
upon your verdict?'
'We are,' replied the foreman.
'Do you find for the plaintiff, gentlemen, or for the defendant?'
'For the plaintiff.'
'With what damages, gentlemen?'
'Seven hundred and fifty pounds.'
Mr. Pickwick took off his spectacles, carefully wiped the
glasses, folded them into their case, and put them in his pocket;
then, having drawn on his gloves with great nicety, and stared at
the foreman all the while, he mechanically followed Mr. Perker
and the blue bag out of court.
They stopped in a side room while Perker paid the court fees;
and here, Mr. Pickwick was joined by his friends. Here, too, he
encountered Messrs. Dodson & Fogg, rubbing their hands with
every token of outward satisfaction.
'Well, gentlemen,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Well, Sir,' said Dodson, for self and partner.
'You imagine you'll get your costs, don't you, gentlemen?'
said Mr. Pickwick.
Fogg said they thought it rather probable. Dodson smiled, and
said they'd try.
'You may try, and try, and try again, Messrs. Dodson and
Fogg,' said Mr. Pickwick vehemently,'but not one farthing of
costs or damages do you ever get from me, if I spend the rest of
my existence in a debtor's prison.'
'Ha! ha!' laughed Dodson. 'You'll think better of that, before
next term, Mr. Pickwick.'
'He, he, he! We'll soon see about that, Mr. Pickwick,' grinned Fogg.
Speechless with indignation, Mr. Pickwick allowed himself to
be led by his solicitor and friends to the door, and there assisted
into a hackney-coach, which had been fetched for the purpose,
by the ever-watchful Sam Weller.
Sam had put up the steps, and was preparing to jump upon the
box, when he felt himself gently touched on the shoulder; and,
looking round, his father stood before him. The old gentleman's
countenance wore a mournful expression, as he shook his head
gravely, and said, in warning accents--
'I know'd what 'ud come o' this here mode o' doin' bisness.
Oh, Sammy, Sammy, vy worn't there a alleybi!'
IN WHICH Mr. PICKWICK THINKS HE HAD BETTER GO TO
BATH; AND GOES ACCORDINGLY
'But surely, my dear sir,' said little Perker, as he stood in Mr.
Pickwick's apartment on the morning after the trial, 'surely you
don't really mean--really and seriously now, and irritation
apart--that you won't pay these costs and damages?'
'Not one halfpenny,' said Mr. Pickwick firmly; 'not one halfpenny.'
'Hooroar for the principle, as the money-lender said ven he
vouldn't renew the bill,' observed Mr. Weller, who was clearing
away the breakfast-things.
'Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'have the goodness to step downstairs.'
'Cert'nly, sir,' replied Mr. Weller; and acting on Mr. Pickwick's
gentle hint, Sam retired.
'No, Perker,' said Mr. Pickwick, with great seriousness of
manner, 'my friends here have endeavoured to dissuade me from
this determination, but without avail. I shall employ myself as
usual, until the opposite party have the power of issuing a legal
process of execution against me; and if they are vile enough to
avail themselves of it, and to arrest my person, I shall yield
myself up with perfect cheerfulness and content of heart. When
can they do this?'
'They can issue execution, my dear Sir, for the amount of the
damages and taxed costs, next term,' replied Perker, 'just two
months hence, my dear sir.'
'Very good,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Until that time, my dear
fellow, let me hear no more of the matter. And now,' continued
Mr. Pickwick, looking round on his friends with a good-
humoured smile, and a sparkle in the eye which no spectacles
could dim or conceal, 'the only question is, Where shall we go next?'
Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass were too much affected by
their friend's heroism to offer any reply. Mr. Winkle had not yet
sufficiently recovered the recollection of his evidence at the trial,
to make any observation on any subject, so Mr. Pickwick paused
'Well,' said that gentleman, 'if you leave me to suggest our
destination, I say Bath. I think none of us have ever been there.'
Nobody had; and as the proposition was warmly seconded by
Perker, who considered it extremely probable that if Mr. Pickwick
saw a little change and gaiety he would be inclined to think
better of his determination, and worse of a debtor's prison, it was
carried unanimously; and Sam was at once despatched to the
White Horse Cellar, to take five places by the half-past seven
o'clock coach, next morning.
There were just two places to be had inside, and just three to
be had out; so Sam Weller booked for them all, and having
exchanged a few compliments with the booking-office clerk on
the subject of a pewter half-crown which was tendered him as a
portion of his 'change,' walked back to the George and Vulture,
where he was pretty busily employed until bed-time in reducing
clothes and linen into the smallest possible compass, and exerting
his mechanical genius in constructing a variety of ingenious
devices for keeping the lids on boxes which had neither locks nor hinges.
The next was a very unpropitious morning for a journey--
muggy, damp, and drizzly. The horses in the stages that were
going out, and had come through the city, were smoking so, that
the outside passengers were invisible. The newspaper-sellers
looked moist, and smelled mouldy; the wet ran off the hats of
the orange-vendors as they thrust their heads into the coach
windows, and diluted the insides in a refreshing manner. The
Jews with the fifty-bladed penknives shut them up in despair; the
men with the pocket-books made pocket-books of them. Watch-
guards and toasting-forks were alike at a discount, and pencil-
cases and sponges were a drug in the market.
Leaving Sam Weller to rescue the luggage from the seven or
eight porters who flung themselves savagely upon it, the moment
the coach stopped, and finding that they were about twenty
minutes too early, Mr. Pickwick and his friends went for shelter
into the travellers' room--the last resource of human dejection.
The travellers' room at the White Horse Cellar is of course
uncomfortable; it would be no travellers' room if it were not. It
is the right-hand parlour, into which an aspiring kitchen fireplace
appears to have walked, accompanied by a rebellious poker,
tongs, and shovel. It is divided into boxes, for the solitary confinement
of travellers, and is furnished with a clock, a looking-glass,
and a live waiter, which latter article is kept in a small kennel
for washing glasses, in a corner of the apartment.
One of these boxes was occupied, on this particular occasion,
by a stern-eyed man of about five-and-forty, who had a bald and
glossy forehead, with a good deal of black hair at the sides and
back of his head, and large black whiskers. He was buttoned up
to the chin in a brown coat; and had a large sealskin travelling-
cap, and a greatcoat and cloak, lying on the seat beside him. He
looked up from his breakfast as Mr. Pickwick entered, with a
fierce and peremptory air, which was very dignified; and, having
scrutinised that gentleman and his companions to his entire
satisfaction, hummed a tune, in a manner which seemed to say
that he rather suspected somebody wanted to take advantage of
him, but it wouldn't do.
'Waiter,' said the gentleman with the whiskers.
'Sir?' replied a man with a dirty complexion, and a towel of
the same, emerging from the kennel before mentioned.
'Some more toast.'
'Buttered toast, mind,' said the gentleman fiercely.
'Directly, sir,' replied the waiter.
The gentleman with the whiskers hummed a tune in the same
manner as before, and pending the arrival of the toast, advanced
to the front of the fire, and, taking his coat tails under his arms,
looked at his boots and ruminated.
'I wonder whereabouts in Bath this coach puts up,' said
Mr. Pickwick, mildly addressing Mr. Winkle.
'Hum--eh--what's that?' said the strange man.
'I made an observation to my friend, sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick,
always ready to enter into conversation. 'I wondered at what
house the Bath coach put up. Perhaps you can inform me.'
'Are you going to Bath?' said the strange man.
'I am, sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
'And those other gentlemen?'
'They are going also,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Not inside--I'll be damned if you're going inside,' said the
'Not all of us,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'No, not all of you,' said the strange man emphatically. 'I've
taken two places. If they try to squeeze six people into an infernal
box that only holds four, I'll take a post-chaise and bring an
action. I've paid my fare. It won't do; I told the clerk when I
took my places that it wouldn't do. I know these things have
been done. I know they are done every day; but I never was done,
and I never will be. Those who know me best, best know it;
crush me!' Here the fierce gentleman rang the bell with great
violence, and told the waiter he'd better bring the toast in five
seconds, or he'd know the reason why.
'My good sir,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'you will allow me to
observe that this is a very unnecessary display of excitement. I
have only taken places inside for two.'
'I am glad to hear it,' said the fierce man. 'I withdraw my
expressions. I tender an apology. There's my card. Give me your
'With great pleasure, Sir,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'We are to be
fellow-travellers, and I hope we shall find each other's society
'I hope we shall,' said the fierce gentleman. 'I know we shall.
I like your looks; they please me. Gentlemen, your hands and
names. Know me.'
Of course, an interchange of friendly salutations followed this
gracious speech; and the fierce gentleman immediately proceeded
to inform the friends, in the same short, abrupt, jerking sentences,
that his name was Dowler; that he was going to Bath on pleasure;
that he was formerly in the army; that he had now set up in
business as a gentleman; that he lived upon the profits; and that
the individual for whom the second place was taken, was a
personage no less illustrious than Mrs. Dowler, his lady wife.
'She's a fine woman,' said Mr. Dowler. 'I am proud of her. I
'I hope I shall have the pleasure of judging,' said Mr. Pickwick,
with a smile.
'You shall,' replied Dowler. 'She shall know you. She shall
esteem you. I courted her under singular circumstances. I won
her through a rash vow. Thus. I saw her; I loved her; I proposed;
she refused me.--"You love another?"--"Spare my blushes."--
"I know him."--"You do."--"Very good; if he remains here, I'll
'Lord bless me!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick involuntarily.
'Did you skin the gentleman, Sir?' inquired Mr. Winkle, with
a very pale face.
'I wrote him a note, I said it was a painful thing. And so it was.'
'Certainly,' interposed Mr. Winkle.
'I said I had pledged my word as a gentleman to skin him. My
character was at stake. I had no alternative. As an officer in His
Majesty's service, I was bound to skin him. I regretted the
necessity, but it must be done. He was open to conviction. He
saw that the rules of the service were imperative. He fled. I
married her. Here's the coach. That's her head.'
As Mr. Dowler concluded, he pointed to a stage which had
just driven up, from the open window of which a rather pretty
face in a bright blue bonnet was looking among the crowd on the
pavement, most probably for the rash man himself. Mr. Dowler
paid his bill, and hurried out with his travelling cap, coat, and
cloak; and Mr. Pickwick and his friends followed to secure their
Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass had seated themselves at the
back part of the coach; Mr. Winkle had got inside; and Mr.
Pickwick was preparing to follow him, when Sam Weller came
up to his master, and whispering in his ear, begged to speak to
him, with an air of the deepest mystery.
'Well, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'what's the matter now?'
'Here's rayther a rum go, sir,' replied Sam.
'What?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'This here, Sir,' rejoined Sam. 'I'm wery much afeerd, sir, that
the properiator o' this here coach is a playin' some imperence
'How is that, Sam?' said Mr. Pickwick; 'aren't the names down
on the way-bill?'
'The names is not only down on the vay-bill, Sir,' replied Sam,
'but they've painted vun on 'em up, on the door o' the coach.'
As Sam spoke, he pointed to that part of the coach door on
which the proprietor's name usually appears; and there, sure
enough, in gilt letters of a goodly size, was the magic name of
'Dear me,' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, quite staggered by the
coincidence; 'what a very extraordinary thing!'
'Yes, but that ain't all,' said Sam, again directing his master's
attention to the coach door; 'not content vith writin' up "Pick-
wick," they puts "Moses" afore it, vich I call addin' insult to
injury, as the parrot said ven they not only took him from his
native land, but made him talk the English langwidge arterwards.'
'It's odd enough, certainly, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick; 'but if
we stand talking here, we shall lose our places.'
'Wot, ain't nothin' to be done in consequence, sir?' exclaimed
Sam, perfectly aghast at the coolness with which Mr. Pickwick
prepared to ensconce himself inside.
'Done!' said Mr. Pickwick. 'What should be done?'
'Ain't nobody to be whopped for takin' this here liberty, sir?'
said Mr. Weller, who had expected that at least he would have
been commissioned to challenge the guard and the coachman to
a pugilistic encounter on the spot.
'Certainly not,' replied Mr. Pickwick eagerly; 'not on any
account. Jump up to your seat directly.'
'I am wery much afeered,' muttered Sam to himself, as he
turned away, 'that somethin' queer's come over the governor, or
he'd never ha' stood this so quiet. I hope that 'ere trial hasn't
broke his spirit, but it looks bad, wery bad.' Mr. Weller shook
his head gravely; and it is worthy of remark, as an illustration
of the manner in which he took this circumstance to heart,
that he did not speak another word until the coach reached
the Kensington turnpike. Which was so long a time for him to
remain taciturn, that the fact may be considered wholly unprecedented.
Nothing worthy of special mention occurred during the
journey. Mr. Dowler related a variety of anecdotes, all illustrative
of his own personal prowess and desperation, and appealed to
Mrs. Dowler in corroboration thereof; when Mrs. Dowler
invariably brought in, in the form of an appendix, some remarkable
fact or circumstance which Mr. Dowler had forgotten, or
had perhaps through modesty, omitted; for the addenda in every
instance went to show that Mr. Dowler was even a more wonderful
fellow than he made himself out to be. Mr. Pickwick and
Mr. Winkle listened with great admiration, and at intervals
conversed with Mrs. Dowler, who was a very agreeable and
fascinating person. So, what between Mr. Dowler's stories, and
Mrs. Dowler's charms, and Mr. Pickwick's good-humour, and
Mr. Winkle's good listening, the insides contrived to be very
companionable all the way.
The outsides did as outsides always do. They were very cheerful
and talkative at the beginning of every stage, and very dismal and
sleepy in the middle, and very bright and wakeful again towards
the end. There was one young gentleman in an India-rubber
cloak, who smoked cigars all day; and there was another young
gentleman in a parody upon a greatcoat, who lighted a good many,
and feeling obviously unsettled after the second whiff, threw them
away when he thought nobody was looking at him. There was a
third young man on the box who wished to be learned in cattle;
and an old one behind, who was familiar with farming. There
was a constant succession of Christian names in smock-frocks
and white coats, who were invited to have a 'lift' by the guard,
and who knew every horse and hostler on the road and off it;
and there was a dinner which would have been cheap at half-a-
crown a mouth, if any moderate number of mouths could have
eaten it in the time. And at seven o'clock P.m. Mr. Pickwick and
his friends, and Mr. Dowler and his wife, respectively retired to
their private sitting-rooms at the White Hart Hotel, opposite the
Great Pump Room, Bath, where the waiters, from their costume,
might be mistaken for Westminster boys, only they destroy the
illusion by behaving themselves much better.
Breakfast had scarcely been cleared away on the succeeding
morning, when a waiter brought in Mr. Dowler's card, with a
request to be allowed permission to introduce a friend. Mr.
Dowler at once followed up the delivery of the card, by bringing
himself and the friend also.
The friend was a charming young man of not much more than
fifty, dressed in a very bright blue coat with resplendent buttons,
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