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The Pickwick Papers 217







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the neighbours by throwing the person who has just spoken, out o window. What do you mean by that, sir? inquired Mr. Noddy. What I say, Sir, replied Mr. Gunter. I should like to see you do it, Sir, said Mr. Noddy. You shall FEEL me do it in half a minute, Sir, replied Mr. Gunter. I request that youll favour me with your card, Sir, said Mr. Noddy. Ill do nothing of the kind, Sir, replied Mr. Gunter. Why not, Sir? inquired Mr. Noddy. Because youll stick it up over your chimney-piece, and delude your visitors into the false belief that a gentleman has been to see you, Sir, replied Mr. Gunter. Sir, a friend of mine shall wait on you in the morning, said Mr. Noddy. Sir, Im very much obliged to you for the caution, and Ill leave particular directions with the servant to lock up the spoons, replied Mr. Gunter. At this point the remainder of the guests interposed, and remonstrated with both parties on the impropriety of their conduct; on which Mr. Noddy begged to state that his father was quite as respectable as Mr. Gunters father; to which Mr. Gunter replied that his father was to the full as respectable as Mr. Noddys father, and that his fathers son was as good a man as Mr. Noddy, any day in the week. As this announcement seemed the prelude to a recommencement of the dispute, there was another interference on the part of the company; and a vast quantity of talking and clamouring ensued, in the course of which Mr. Noddy gradually allowed his feelings to overpower him, and professed that he had ever entertained a devoted personal attachment towards Mr. Gunter. To this Mr. Gunter replied that, upon the whole, he rather preferred Mr. Noddy to his own brother; on hearing which admission, Mr. Noddy magnanimously rose from his seat, and proffered his hand to Mr. Gunter. Mr. Gunter grasped it with affecting fervour; and everybody said that the whole dispute had been conducted in a manner which was highly honourable to both parties concerned. Now, said Jack Hopkins, just to set us going again, Bob, I dont mind singing a song. And Hopkins, incited thereto by tumultuous applause, plunged himself at once into The King, God bless him, which he sang as loud as he could, to a novel air, compounded of the Bay of Biscay, and A Frog he would. The chorus was the essence of the song; and, as each gentleman sang it to the tune he knew best, the effect was very striking indeed. It was at the end of the chorus to the first verse, that Mr. Pickwick held up his hand in a listening attitude, and said, as soon as silence was restored-- Hush! I beg your pardon. I thought I heard somebody calling from upstairs. A profound silence immediately ensued; and Mr. Bob Sawyer was observed to turn pale. I think I hear it now, said Mr. Pickwick. Have the goodness to open the door. The door was no sooner opened than all doubt on the subject was removed. Mr. Sawyer! Mr. Sawyer! screamed a voice from the two-pair landing. Its my landlady, said Bob Sawyer, looking round him with great dismay. Yes, Mrs. Raddle. What do you mean by this, Mr. Sawyer? replied the voice, with great shrillness and rapidity of utterance. Aint it enough to be swindled out of ones rent, and money lent out of pocket besides, and abused and insulted by your friends that dares to call themselves men, without having the house turned out of the window, and noise enough made to bring the fire-engines here, at two oclock in the morning?--Turn them wretches away. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, said the voice of Mr. Raddle, which appeared to proceed from beneath some distant bed-clothes. Ashamed of themselves! said Mrs. Raddle. Why dont you go down and knock em every one downstairs? You would if you was a man. I should if I was a dozen men, my dear, replied Mr. Raddle pacifically, but they have the advantage of me in numbers, my dear. Ugh, you coward! replied Mrs. Raddle, with supreme contempt. DO you mean to turn them wretches out, or not, Mr. Sawyer? Theyre going, Mrs. Raddle, theyre going, said the miserable Bob. I am afraid youd better go, said Mr. Bob Sawyer to his friends. I thought you were making too much noise. Its a very unfortunate thing, said the prim man. Just as we were getting so comfortable too! The prim

The Pickwick Papers page 216        The Pickwick Papers page 218