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The Pickwick Papers 243







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The Pickwick Papers

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the M.C. Will you guide our friends to that splendid building, and enable me to procure their autographs? I will, rejoined Dowler. This is a long call. Its time to go. I shall be here again in an hour. Come. This is a ball-night, said the M.C., again taking Mr. Pickwicks hand, as he rose to go. The ball-nights in Ba-ath are moments snatched from paradise; rendered bewitching by music, beauty, elegance, fashion, etiquette, and--and--above all, by the absence of tradespeople, who are quite inconsistent with paradise, and who have an amalgamation of themselves at the Guildhall every fortnight, which is, to say the least, remarkable. Good-bye, good-bye! and protesting all the way downstairs that he was most satisfied, and most delighted, and most overpowered, and most flattered, Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, M.C., stepped into a very elegant chariot that waited at the door, and rattled off. At the appointed hour, Mr. Pickwick and his friends, escorted by Dowler, repaired to the Assembly Rooms, and wrote their names down in the book--an instance of condescension at which Angelo Bantam was even more overpowered than before. Tickets of admission to that evenings assembly were to have been prepared for the whole party, but as they were not ready, Mr. Pickwick undertook, despite all the protestations to the contrary of Angelo Bantam, to send Sam for them at four oclock in the afternoon, to the M.C.s house in Queen Square. Having taken a short walk through the city, and arrived at the unanimous conclusion that Park Street was very much like the perpendicular streets a man sees in a dream, which he cannot get up for the life of him, they returned to the White Hart, and despatched Sam on the errand to which his master had pledged him. Sam Weller put on his hat in a very easy and graceful manner, and, thrusting his hands in his waistcoat pockets, walked with great deliberation to Queen Square, whistling as he went along, several of the most popular airs of the day, as arranged with entirely new movements for that noble instrument the organ, either mouth or barrel. Arriving at the number in Queen Square to which he had been directed, he left off whistling and gave a cheerful knock, which was instantaneously answered by a powdered-headed footman in gorgeous livery, and of symmetrical stature. is this here Mr. Bantams, old feller? inquired Sam Weller, nothing abashed by the blaze of splendour which burst upon his sight in the person of the powdered-headed footman with the gorgeous livery. Why, young man? was the haughty inquiry of the powdered- headed footman. Cos if it is, jist you step in to him with that ere card, and say Mr. Vellers a-waitin, will you? said Sam. And saying it, he very coolly walked into the hall, and sat down. The powdered-headed footman slammed the door very hard, and scowled very grandly; but both the slam and the scowl were lost upon Sam, who was regarding a mahogany umbrella-stand with every outward token of critical approval. Apparently his masters reception of the card had impressed the powdered-headed footman in Sams favour, for when he came back from delivering it, he smiled in a friendly manner, and said that the answer would be ready directly. Wery good, said Sam. Tell the old genlmn not to put himself in a perspiration. No hurry, six-foot. Ive had my dinner. You dine early, sir, said the powdered-headed footman. I find I gets on better at supper when I does, replied Sam. Have you been long in Bath, sir? inquired the powdered- headed footman. I have not had the pleasure of hearing of you before. I havent created any wery surprisin sensation here, as yet, rejoined Sam, for me and the other fashnables only come last night. Nice place, Sir, said the powdered-headed footman. Seems so, observed Sam. Pleasant society, sir, remarked the powdered-headed footman. Very agreeable servants, sir. I should think they wos, replied Sam. Affable, unaffected, say-nothin-to-nobody sorts o fellers. Oh, very much so, indeed, sir, said the powdered-headed footman, taking Sams remarks as a high compliment. Very much so indeed. Do you do anything in this way, Sir? inquired the tall footman, producing a small snuff-box with a foxs head on the top of it. Not without sneezing, replied Sam. Why, it IS difficult, sir, I confess, said the tall footman. It may be done by degrees, Sir. Coffee is the best practice. I carried coffee, Sir, for a long time. It looks very like rappee, sir. Here, a

The Pickwick Papers page 242        The Pickwick Papers page 244