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The Pickwick Papers 121







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to turn back, and leave his friends to enjoy themselves. It was, therefore, with a very rueful air that he replied-- Why, I suppose I must. Aint the gentleman a shot, Sir? inquired the long gamekeeper. No, replied Wardle; and hes lame besides. I should very much like to go, said Mr. Pickwick--very much. There was a short pause of commiseration. Theres a barrow tother side the hedge, said the boy. If the gentlemans servant would wheel along the paths, he could keep nigh us, and we could lift it over the stiles, and that. The wery thing, said Mr. Weller, who was a party interested, inasmuch as he ardently longed to see the sport. The wery thing. Well said, Smallcheek; Ill have it out in a minute. But here a difficulty arose. The long gamekeeper resolutely protested against the introduction into a shooting party, of a gentleman in a barrow, as a gross violation of all established rules and precedents. It was a great objection, but not an insurmountable one. The gamekeeper having been coaxed and feed, and having, moreover, eased his mind by punching the head of the inventive youth who had first suggested the use of the machine, Mr. Pickwick was placed in it, and off the party set; Wardle and the long gamekeeper leading the way, and Mr. Pickwick in the barrow, propelled by Sam, bringing up the rear. Stop, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, when they had got half across the first field. Whats the matter now? said Wardle. I wont suffer this barrow to be moved another step, said Mr. Pickwick, resolutely, unless Winkle carries that gun of his in a different manner. How AM I to carry it? said the wretched Winkle. Carry it with the muzzle to the ground, replied Mr. Pickwick. Its so unsportsmanlike, reasoned Winkle. I dont care whether its unsportsmanlike or not, replied Mr. Pickwick; I am not going to be shot in a wheel-barrow, for the sake of appearances, to please anybody. I know the gentlemanll put that ere charge into somebody afore hes done, growled the long man. Well, well--I dont mind, said poor Winkle, turning his gun- stock uppermost--there. Anythin for a quiet life, said Mr. Weller; and on they went again. Stop! said Mr. Pickwick, after they had gone a few yards farther. What now? said Wardle. That gun of Tupmans is not safe: I know it isnt, said Mr. Pickwick. Eh? What! not safe? said Mr. Tupman, in a tone of great alarm. Not as you are carrying it, said Mr. Pickwick. I am very sorry to make any further objection, but I cannot consent to go on, unless you carry it as Winkle does his. I think you had better, sir, said the long gamekeeper, or youre quite as likely to lodge the charge in yourself as in anything else. Mr. Tupman, with the most obliging haste, placed his piece in the position required, and the party moved on again; the two amateurs marching with reversed arms, like a couple of privates at a royal funeral. The dogs suddenly came to a dead stop, and the party advancing stealthily a single pace, stopped too. Whats the matter with the dogs legs? whispered Mr. Winkle. How queer theyre standing. Hush, cant you? replied Wardle softly. Dont you see, theyre making a point? Making a point! said Mr. Winkle, staring about him, as if he expected to discover some particular beauty in the landscape, which the sagacious animals were calling special attention to. Making a point! What are they pointing at? Keep your eyes open, said Wardle, not heeding the question in the excitement of the moment. Now then. There was a sharp whirring noise, that made Mr. Winkle start back as if he had been shot himself. Bang, bang, went a couple of guns--the smoke swept quickly away over the field, and curled into the air. Where are they! said Mr. Winkle, in a state of the highest excitement, turning round and round in all directions. Where are they? Tell me when to fire. Where are they--where are they? Where are they! said Wardle, taking up a brace of birds which the dogs had deposited at his feet. Why, here they are. No, no; I mean the others, said the bewildered Winkle. Far enough off, by this time, replied Wardle, coolly reloading his gun. We shall very likely be up with another covey in five minutes, said the long gamekeeper. If the gentleman begins to fire now, perhaps hell just get the shot out of the barrel by the time

The Pickwick Papers page 120        The Pickwick Papers page 122