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The Pickwick Papers 228







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The Pickwick Papers

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a general rising of the barristers, and a loud cry of Silence! from the officers of the court. Looking round, he found that this was caused by the entrance of the judge. Mr. Justice Stareleigh (who sat in the absence of the Chief Justice, occasioned by indisposition) was a most particularly short man, and so fat, that he seemed all face and waistcoat. He rolled in, upon two little turned legs, and having bobbed gravely to the Bar, who bobbed gravely to him, put his little legs underneath his table, and his little three-cornered hat upon it; and when Mr. Justice Stareleigh had done this, all you could see of him was two queer little eyes, one broad pink face, and somewhere about half of a big and very comical-looking wig. The judge had no sooner taken his seat, than the officer on the floor of the court called out Silence! in a commanding tone, upon which another officer in the gallery cried Silence! in an angry manner, whereupon three or four more ushers shouted Silence! in a voice of indignant remonstrance. This being done, a gentleman in black, who sat below the judge, proceeded to call over the names of the jury; and after a great deal of bawling, it was discovered that only ten special jurymen were present. Upon this, Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz prayed a TALES; the gentleman in black then proceeded to press into the special jury, two of the common jurymen; and a greengrocer and a chemist were caught directly. Answer to your names, gentlemen, that you may be sworn, said the gentleman in black. Richard Upwitch. Here, said the greengrocer. Thomas Groffin. Here, said the chemist. Take the book, gentlemen. You shall well and truly try-- I beg this courts pardon, said the chemist, who was a tall, thin, yellow-visaged man, but I hope this court will excuse my attendance. On what grounds, Sir? said Mr. Justice Stareleigh. I have no assistant, my Lord, said the chemist. I cant help that, Sir, replied Mr. Justice Stareleigh. You should hire one. I cant afford it, my Lord, rejoined the chemist. Then you ought to be able to afford it, Sir, said the judge, reddening; for Mr. Justice Stareleighs temper bordered on the irritable, and brooked not contradiction. I know I OUGHT to do, if I got on as well as I deserved; but I dont, my Lord, answered the chemist. Swear the gentleman, said the judge peremptorily. The officer had got no further than the You shall well and truly try, when he was again interrupted by the chemist. I am to be sworn, my Lord, am I? said the chemist. Certainly, sir, replied the testy little judge. Very well, my Lord, replied the chemist, in a resigned manner. Then therell be murder before this trials over; thats all. Swear me, if you please, Sir; and sworn the chemist was, before the judge could find words to utter. I merely wanted to observe, my Lord, said the chemist, taking his seat with great deliberation, that Ive left nobody but an errand-boy in my shop. He is a very nice boy, my Lord, but he is not acquainted with drugs; and I know that the prevailing impression on his mind is, that Epsom salts means oxalic acid; and syrup of senna, laudanum. Thats all, my Lord. With this, the tall chemist composed himself into a comfortable attitude, and, assuming a pleasant expression of countenance, appeared to have prepared himself for the worst. Mr. Pickwick was regarding the chemist with feelings of the deepest horror, when a slight sensation was perceptible in the body of the court; and immediately afterwards Mrs. Bardell, supported by Mrs. Cluppins, was led in, and placed, in a drooping state, at the other end of the seat on which Mr. Pickwick sat. An extra-sized umbrella was then handed in by Mr. Dodson, and a pair of pattens by Mr. Fogg, each of whom had prepared a most sympathising and melancholy face for the occasion. Mrs. Sanders then appeared, leading in Master Bardell. At sight of her child, Mrs. Bardell started; suddenly recollecting herself, she kissed him in a frantic manner; then relapsing into a state of hysterical imbecility, the good lady requested to be informed where she was. In reply to this, Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders turned their heads away and wept, while Messrs. Dodson and Fogg entreated the plaintiff to compose herself. Serjeant Buzfuz rubbed his eyes very hard with a large white handkerchief, and gave an appealing look towards the jury,

The Pickwick Papers page 227        The Pickwick Papers page 229