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The Pickwick Papers 200

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

what say you to an hour on the ice? We shall have plenty of time. Capital! said Mr. Benjamin Allen. Prime! ejaculated Mr. Bob Sawyer. You skate, of course, Winkle? said Wardle. Ye-yes; oh, yes, replied Mr. Winkle. I--I--am RATHER out of practice. Oh, DO skate, Mr. Winkle, said Arabella. I like to see it so much. Oh, it is SO graceful, said another young lady. A third young lady said it was elegant, and a fourth expressed her opinion that it was swan-like. I should be very happy, Im sure, said Mr. Winkle, reddening; but I have no skates. This objection was at once overruled. Trundle had a couple of pair, and the fat boy announced that there were half a dozen more downstairs; whereat Mr. Winkle expressed exquisite delight, and looked exquisitely uncomfortable. Old Wardle led the way to a pretty large sheet of ice; and the fat boy and Mr. Weller, having shovelled and swept away the snow which had fallen on it during the night, Mr. Bob Sawyer adjusted his skates with a dexterity which to Mr. Winkle was perfectly marvellous, and described circles with his left leg, and cut figures of eight, and inscribed upon the ice, without once stopping for breath, a great many other pleasant and astonishing devices, to the excessive satisfaction of Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Tupman, and the ladies; which reached a pitch of positive enthusiasm, when old Wardle and Benjamin Allen, assisted by the aforesaid Bob Sawyer, performed some mystic evolutions, which they called a reel. All this time, Mr. Winkle, with his face and hands blue with the cold, had been forcing a gimlet into the sole of his feet, and putting his skates on, with the points behind, and getting the straps into a very complicated and entangled state, with the assistance of Mr. Snodgrass, who knew rather less about skates than a Hindoo. At length, however, with the assistance of Mr. Weller, the unfortunate skates were firmly screwed and buckled on, and Mr. Winkle was raised to his feet. Now, then, Sir, said Sam, in an encouraging tone; off vith you, and show em how to do it. Stop, Sam, stop! said Mr. Winkle, trembling violently, and clutching hold of Sams arms with the grasp of a drowning man. How slippery it is, Sam! Not an uncommon thing upon ice, Sir, replied Mr. Weller. Hold up, Sir! This last observation of Mr. Wellers bore reference to a demonstration Mr. Winkle made at the instant, of a frantic desire to throw his feet in the air, and dash the back of his head on the ice. These--these--are very awkward skates; aint they, Sam? inquired Mr. Winkle, staggering. Im afeerd theres a orkard genlmn in em, Sir, replied Sam. Now, Winkle, cried Mr. Pickwick, quite unconscious that there was anything the matter. Come; the ladies are all anxiety. Yes, yes, replied Mr. Winkle, with a ghastly smile. Im coming. Just a-goin to begin, said Sam, endeavouring to disengage himself. Now, Sir, start off! Stop an instant, Sam, gasped Mr. Winkle, clinging most affectionately to Mr. Weller. I find Ive got a couple of coats at home that I dont want, Sam. You may have them, Sam. Thankee, Sir, replied Mr. Weller. Never mind touching your hat, Sam, said Mr. Winkle hastily. You neednt take your hand away to do that. I meant to have given you five shillings this morning for a Christmas box, Sam. Ill give it you this afternoon, Sam. Youre wery good, sir, replied Mr. Weller. Just hold me at first, Sam; will you? said Mr. Winkle. There--thats right. I shall soon get in the way of it, Sam. Not too fast, Sam; not too fast. Mr. Winkle, stooping forward, with his body half doubled up, was being assisted over the ice by Mr. Weller, in a very singular and un-swan-like manner, when Mr. Pickwick most innocently shouted from the opposite bank-- Sam! Sir? Here. I want you. Let go, Sir, said Sam. Dont you hear the governor a-callin? Let go, sir. With a violent effort, Mr. Weller disengaged himself from the grasp of the agonised Pickwickian, and, in so doing, administered a considerable impetus to the unhappy Mr. Winkle. With an accuracy which no degree of dexterity or practice could have insured, that unfortunate gentleman bore swiftly down into the centre of the reel, at the very moment when Mr. Bob Sawyer was performing a flourish of unparalleled beauty. Mr. Winkle struck wildly against him, and with a loud crash they both fell heavily down. Mr. Pickwick ran to the spot. Bob Sawyer

The Pickwick Papers page 199        The Pickwick Papers page 201