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The Pickwick Papers 187







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The Pickwick Papers

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best reasons for thinking she was mistaken. To all this, we may add, that Mr. Pickwick was the first who saluted the bride, and that in so doing he threw over her neck a rich gold watch and chain, which no mortal eyes but the jewellers had ever beheld before. Then, the old church bell rang as gaily as it could, and they all returned to breakfast. Vere does the mince-pies go, young opium-eater? said Mr. Weller to the fat boy, as he assisted in laying out such articles of consumption as had not been duly arranged on the previous night. The fat boy pointed to the destination of the pies. Wery good, said Sam, stick a bit o Christmas in em. Tother dish opposite. There; now we look compact and comfortable, as the father said ven he cut his little boys head off, to cure him o squintin. As Mr. Weller made the comparison, he fell back a step or two, to give full effect to it, and surveyed the preparations with the utmost satisfaction. Wardle, said Mr. Pickwick, almost as soon as they were all seated, a glass of wine in honour of this happy occasion! I shall be delighted, my boy, said Wardle. Joe--damn that boy, hes gone to sleep. No, I aint, sir, replied the fat boy, starting up from a remote corner, where, like the patron saint of fat boys--the immortal Horner--he had been devouring a Christmas pie, though not with the coolness and deliberation which characterised that young gentlemans proceedings. Fill Mr. Pickwicks glass. Yes, sir. The fat boy filled Mr. Pickwicks glass, and then retired behind his masters chair, from whence he watched the play of the knives and forks, and the progress of the choice morsels from the dishes to the mouths of the company, with a kind of dark and gloomy joy that was most impressive. God bless you, old fellow! said Mr. Pickwick. Same to you, my boy, replied Wardle; and they pledged each other, heartily. Mrs. Wardle, said Mr. Pickwick, we old folks must have a glass of wine together, in honour of this joyful event. The old lady was in a state of great grandeur just then, for she was sitting at the top of the table in the brocaded gown, with her newly-married granddaughter on one side, and Mr. Pickwick on the other, to do the carving. Mr. Pickwick had not spoken in a very loud tone, but she understood him at once, and drank off a full glass of wine to his long life and happiness; after which the worthy old soul launched forth into a minute and particular account of her own wedding, with a dissertation on the fashion of wearing high-heeled shoes, and some particulars concerning the life and adventures of the beautiful Lady Tollimglower, deceased; at all of which the old lady herself laughed very heartily indeed, and so did the young ladies too, for they were wondering among themselves what on earth grandma was talking about. When they laughed, the old lady laughed ten times more heartily, and said that these always had been considered capital stories, which caused them all to laugh again, and put the old lady into the very best of humours. Then the cake was cut, and passed through the ring; the young ladies saved pieces to put under their pillows to dream of their future husbands on; and a great deal of blushing and merriment was thereby occasioned. Mr. Miller, said Mr. Pickwick to his old acquaintance, the hard-headed gentleman, a glass of wine? With great satisfaction, Mr. Pickwick, replied the hard- headed gentleman solemnly. Youll take me in? said the benevolent old clergyman. And me, interposed his wife. And me, and me, said a couple of poor relations at the bottom of the table, who had eaten and drunk very heartily, and laughed at everything. Mr. Pickwick expressed his heartfelt delight at every additional suggestion; and his eyes beamed with hilarity and cheerfulness. Ladies and gentlemen, said Mr. Pickwick, suddenly rising. Hear, hear! Hear, hear! Hear, hear! cried Mr. Weller, in the excitement of his feelings. Call in all the servants, cried old Wardle, interposing to prevent the public rebuke which Mr. Weller would otherwise most indubitably have received from his master. Give them a glass of wine each to drink the toast in. Now, Pickwick. Amidst the silence of the company, the whispering of the women-servants, and the awkward embarrassment of the men, Mr. Pickwick proceeded-- Ladies and gentlemen--no, I wont say ladies and gentlemen, Ill call you my friends, my dear friends, if the ladies will

The Pickwick Papers page 186        The Pickwick Papers page 188