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The Pickwick Papers 163







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the town, although they had a very indistinct notion of the nature of the offence, could not but be much edified and gratified by this spectacle. Here was the strong arm of the law, coming down with twenty gold-beater force, upon two offenders from the metropolis itself; the mighty engine was directed by their own magistrate, and worked by their own officers; and both the criminals, by their united efforts, were securely shut up, in the narrow compass of one sedan-chair. Many were the expressions of approval and admiration which greeted Mr. Grummer, as he headed the cavalcade, staff in hand; loud and long were the shouts raised by the unsoaped; and amidst these united testimonials of public approbation, the procession moved slowly and majestically along. Mr. Weller, habited in his morning jacket, with the black calico sleeves, was returning in a rather desponding state from an unsuccessful survey of the mysterious house with the green gate, when, raising his eyes, he beheld a crowd pouring down the street, surrounding an object which had very much the appearance of a sedan-chair. Willing to divert his thoughts from the failure of his enterprise, he stepped aside to see the crowd pass; and finding that they were cheering away, very much to their own satisfaction, forthwith began (by way of raising his spirits) to cheer too, with all his might and main. Mr. Grummer passed, and Mr. Dubbley passed, and the sedan passed, and the bodyguard of specials passed, and Sam was still responding to the enthusiastic cheers of the mob, and waving his hat about as if he were in the very last extreme of the wildest joy (though, of course, he had not the faintest idea of the matter in hand), when he was suddenly stopped by the unexpected appearance of Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass. Whats the row, genlmn?cried Sam. Who have they got in this here watch-box in mournin? Both gentlemen replied together, but their words were lost in the tumult. Who is it? cried Sam again. once more was a joint reply returned; and, though the words were inaudible, Sam saw by the motion of the two pairs of lips that they had uttered the magic word Pickwick. This was enough. In another minute Mr. Weller had made his way through the crowd, stopped the chairmen, and confronted the portly Grummer. Hollo, old genlmn! said Sam. Who have you got in this here conweyance? Stand back, said Mr. Grummer, whose dignity, like the dignity of a great many other men, had been wondrously augmented by a little popularity. Knock him down, if he dont, said Mr. Dubbley. Im wery much obliged to you, old genlmn, replied Sam, for consulting my conwenience, and Im still more obliged to the other genlmn, who looks as if hed just escaped from a giants carrywan, for his wery andsome suggestion; but I should prefer your givin me a answer to my question, if its all the same to you. --How are you, Sir? This last observation was addressed with a patronising air to Mr. Pickwick, who was peeping through the front window. Mr. Grummer, perfectly speechless with indignation, dragged the truncheon with the brass crown from its particular pocket, and flourished it before Sams eyes. Ah, said Sam, its wery pretty, specially the crown, which is uncommon like the real one. Stand back! said the outraged Mr. Grummer. By way of adding force to the command, he thrust the brass emblem of royalty into Sams neckcloth with one hand, and seized Sams collar with the other--a compliment which Mr. Weller returned by knocking him down out of hand, having previously with the utmost consideration, knocked down a chairman for him to lie upon. Whether Mr. Winkle was seized with a temporary attack of that species of insanity which originates in a sense of injury, or animated by this display of Mr. Wellers valour, is uncertain; but certain it is, that he no sooner saw Mr. Grummer fall than he made a terrific onslaught on a small boy who stood next him; whereupon Mr. Snodgrass, in a truly Christian spirit, and in order that he might take no one unawares, announced in a very loud tone that he was going to begin, and proceeded to take off his coat with the utmost deliberation. He was immediately surrounded and secured; and it is but common justice both to him and Mr. Winkle to say, that they did not make the slightest attempt to rescue either themselves or Mr. Weller; who, after a most vigorous resistance, was overpowered by numbers and taken prisoner. The

The Pickwick Papers page 162        The Pickwick Papers page 164