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The Pickwick Papers 241







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He fled. I married her. Heres the coach. Thats her head. As Mr. Dowler concluded, he pointed to a stage which had just driven up, from the open window of which a rather pretty face in a bright blue bonnet was looking among the crowd on the pavement, most probably for the rash man himself. Mr. Dowler paid his bill, and hurried out with his travelling cap, coat, and cloak; and Mr. Pickwick and his friends followed to secure their places. Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass had seated themselves at the back part of the coach; Mr. Winkle had got inside; and Mr. Pickwick was preparing to follow him, when Sam Weller came up to his master, and whispering in his ear, begged to speak to him, with an air of the deepest mystery. Well, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick, whats the matter now? Heres rayther a rum go, sir, replied Sam. What? inquired Mr. Pickwick. This here, Sir, rejoined Sam. Im wery much afeerd, sir, that the properiator o this here coach is a playin some imperence vith us. How is that, Sam? said Mr. Pickwick; arent the names down on the way-bill? The names is not only down on the vay-bill, Sir, replied Sam, but theyve painted vun on em up, on the door o the coach. As Sam spoke, he pointed to that part of the coach door on which the proprietors name usually appears; and there, sure enough, in gilt letters of a goodly size, was the magic name of PICKWICK! Dear me, exclaimed Mr. Pickwick, quite staggered by the coincidence; what a very extraordinary thing! Yes, but that aint all, said Sam, again directing his masters attention to the coach door; not content vith writin up "Pick- wick," they puts "Moses" afore it, vich I call addin insult to injury, as the parrot said ven they not only took him from his native land, but made him talk the English langwidge arterwards. Its odd enough, certainly, Sam, said Mr. Pickwick; but if we stand talking here, we shall lose our places. Wot, aint nothin to be done in consequence, sir? exclaimed Sam, perfectly aghast at the coolness with which Mr. Pickwick prepared to ensconce himself inside. Done! said Mr. Pickwick. What should be done? Aint nobody to be whopped for takin this here liberty, sir? said Mr. Weller, who had expected that at least he would have been commissioned to challenge the guard and the coachman to a pugilistic encounter on the spot. Certainly not, replied Mr. Pickwick eagerly; not on any account. Jump up to your seat directly. I am wery much afeered, muttered Sam to himself, as he turned away, that somethin queers come over the governor, or hed never ha stood this so quiet. I hope that ere trial hasnt broke his spirit, but it looks bad, wery bad. Mr. Weller shook his head gravely; and it is worthy of remark, as an illustration of the manner in which he took this circumstance to heart, that he did not speak another word until the coach reached the Kensington turnpike. Which was so long a time for him to remain taciturn, that the fact may be considered wholly unprecedented. Nothing worthy of special mention occurred during the journey. Mr. Dowler related a variety of anecdotes, all illustrative of his own personal prowess and desperation, and appealed to Mrs. Dowler in corroboration thereof; when Mrs. Dowler invariably brought in, in the form of an appendix, some remarkable fact or circumstance which Mr. Dowler had forgotten, or had perhaps through modesty, omitted; for the addenda in every instance went to show that Mr. Dowler was even a more wonderful fellow than he made himself out to be. Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Winkle listened with great admiration, and at intervals conversed with Mrs. Dowler, who was a very agreeable and fascinating person. So, what between Mr. Dowlers stories, and Mrs. Dowlers charms, and Mr. Pickwicks good-humour, and Mr. Winkles good listening, the insides contrived to be very companionable all the way. The outsides did as outsides always do. They were very cheerful and talkative at the beginning of every stage, and very dismal and sleepy in the middle, and very bright and wakeful again towards the end. There was one young gentleman in an India-rubber cloak, who smoked cigars all day; and there was another young gentleman in a parody upon a greatcoat, who lighted a good many, and feeling obviously unsettled after the second whiff, threw them away when he thought nobody was looking at him. There was

The Pickwick Papers page 240        The Pickwick Papers page 242