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The Pickwick Papers 242







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The Pickwick Papers

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a third young man on the box who wished to be learned in cattle; and an old one behind, who was familiar with farming. There was a constant succession of Christian names in smock-frocks and white coats, who were invited to have a lift by the guard, and who knew every horse and hostler on the road and off it; and there was a dinner which would have been cheap at half-a- crown a mouth, if any moderate number of mouths could have eaten it in the time. And at seven oclock P.m. Mr. Pickwick and his friends, and Mr. Dowler and his wife, respectively retired to their private sitting-rooms at the White Hart Hotel, opposite the Great Pump Room, Bath, where the waiters, from their costume, might be mistaken for Westminster boys, only they destroy the illusion by behaving themselves much better. Breakfast had scarcely been cleared away on the succeeding morning, when a waiter brought in Mr. Dowlers card, with a request to be allowed permission to introduce a friend. Mr. Dowler at once followed up the delivery of the card, by bringing himself and the friend also. The friend was a charming young man of not much more than fifty, dressed in a very bright blue coat with resplendent buttons, black trousers, and the thinnest possible pair of highly-polished boots. A gold eye-glass was suspended from his neck by a short, broad, black ribbon; a gold snuff-box was lightly clasped in his left hand; gold rings innumerable glittered on his fingers; and a large diamond pin set in gold glistened in his shirt frill. He had a gold watch, and a gold curb chain with large gold seals; and he carried a pliant ebony cane with a gold top. His linen was of the very whitest, finest, and stiffest; his wig of the glossiest, blackest, and curliest. His snuff was princes mixture; his scent BOUQUET DU ROI. His features were contracted into a perpetual smile; and his teeth were in such perfect order that it was difficult at a small distance to tell the real from the false. Mr. Pickwick, said Mr. Dowler; my friend, Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, M.C.; Bantam; Mr. Pickwick. Know each other. Welcome to Ba-ath, Sir. This is indeed an acquisition. Most welcome to Ba-ath, sir. It is long--very long, Mr. Pickwick, since you drank the waters. It appears an age, Mr. Pickwick. Re-markable! Such were the expressions with which Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, M.C., took Mr. Pickwicks hand; retaining it in his, meantime, and shrugging up his shoulders with a constant succession of bows, as if he really could not make up his mind to the trial of letting it go again. It is a very long time since I drank the waters, certainly, replied Mr. Pickwick; for, to the best of my knowledge, I was never here before. Never in Ba-ath, Mr. Pickwick! exclaimed the Grand Master, letting the hand fall in astonishment. Never in Ba-ath! He! he! Mr. Pickwick, you are a wag. Not bad, not bad. Good, good. He! he! he! Re-markable! To my shame, I must say that I am perfectly serious, rejoined Mr. Pickwick. I really never was here before. Oh, I see, exclaimed the Grand Master, looking extremely pleased; yes, yes--good, good--better and better. You are the gentleman of whom we have heard. Yes; we know you, Mr. Pickwick; we know you. The reports of the trial in those confounded papers, thought Mr. Pickwick. They have heard all about me. You are the gentleman residing on Clapham Green, resumed Bantam, who lost the use of his limbs from imprudently taking cold after port wine; who could not be moved in consequence of acute suffering, and who had the water from the kings bath bottled at one hundred and three degrees, and sent by wagon to his bedroom in town, where he bathed, sneezed, and the same day recovered. Very remarkable! Mr. Pickwick acknowledged the compliment which the supposition implied, but had the self-denial to repudiate it, notwithstanding; and taking advantage of a moments silence on the part of the M.C., begged to introduce his friends, Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass. An introduction which overwhelmed the M.C. with delight and honour. Bantam, said Mr. Dowler, Mr. Pickwick and his friends are strangers. They must put their names down. Wheres the book? The register of the distinguished visitors in Ba-ath will be at the Pump Room this morning at two oclock, replied

The Pickwick Papers page 241        The Pickwick Papers page 243