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The Pickwick Papers 117







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it! Goodwin, continued Mrs. Pott, raising herself in the arms of her attendant, my brother, the lieutenant, shall interfere. Ill be separated, Goodwin! It would certainly serve him right, maam, said Goodwin. Whatever thoughts the threat of a separation might have awakened in Mr. Potts mind, he forbore to give utterance to them, and contented himself by saying, with great humility:-- My dear, will you hear me? A fresh train of sobs was the only reply, as Mrs. Pott grew more hysterical, requested 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 foundation, my dear--impossible. I was only angry, my dear--I may say outrageous--with the INDEPENDENT people for daring to insert it; thats all. Mr. Pott cast an imploring look at the innocent cause of the mischief, as if to entreat him to say nothing about the serpent. And what steps, sir, do you mean to take to obtain redress? inquired Mr. Winkle, gaining courage as he saw Pott losing it. Oh, Goodwin, observed Mrs. Pott, does he mean to horsewhip the editor of the INDEPENDENT--does he, Goodwin? Hush, hush, maam; pray keep yourself quiet, replied the bodyguard. I dare say he will, if you wish it, maam. Certainly, said Pott, as his wife evinced decided symptoms of going off again. Of course I shall. When, Goodwin--when? said Mrs. Pott, still undecided about the going off. Immediately, of course, said Mr. Pott; before the day is out. Oh, Goodwin, resumed Mrs. Pott, its the only way of meeting the slander, and setting me right with the world. Certainly, maam, replied Goodwin. No man as is a man, maam, could refuse to do it. So, as the hysterics were still hovering about, Mr. Pott said once more that he would do it; but Mrs. Pott was so overcome at the bare idea of having ever been suspected, that she was half a dozen times on the very verge of a relapse, and most unquestionably would have gone off, had it not been for the indefatigable efforts of the assiduous Goodwin, and repeated entreaties for pardon from the conquered Pott; and finally, when that unhappy individual had been frightened and snubbed down to his proper level, Mrs. Pott recovered, and they went to breakfast. You will not allow this base newspaper slander to shorten your stay here, Mr. Winkle? said Mrs. Pott, smiling through the traces of her tears. I hope not, said Mr. Pott, actuated, as he spoke, by a wish that his visitor would choke himself with the morsel of dry toast which he was raising to his lips at the moment, and 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. Tupman, which was brought up to my bedroom door, this 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. Oh, certainly, replied Mr. Winkle. You are quite sure? said Mrs. Pott, stealing a tender look at her visitor. Quite, responded Mr. Winkle. The breakfast passed off in silence, for each of the party was brooding over his, or her, own 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 approached, and after many adieux and promises to return, he tore himself away. If he ever comes back, Ill poison him, thought Mr. Pott, as he turned into the little back office where he prepared his thunderbolts. If I ever do come back, and mix myself up with these people again,thought Mr. Winkle, as he wended his way to the Peacock, I shall deserve to be horsewhipped myself--thats all. His friends were ready, the coach was nearly so, and in half an hour they were proceeding on their journey, along the road over which Mr. Pickwick and Sam had so recently travelled, and of which, as we have already said something, we do not feel called upon to extract Mr. Snodgrasss poetical and beautiful description. Mr. Weller was standing at the door of the Angel, ready to receive them, and by that gentleman they were ushered to the apartment of Mr. Pickwick, where, to the no small surprise of Mr. Winkle

The Pickwick Papers page 116        The Pickwick Papers page 118