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The Pickwick Papers 245







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The Pickwick Papers

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a scene of gaiety, glitter, and show; of richly-dressed people, handsome mirrors, chalked floors, girandoles and wax-candles; and in all parts of the scene, gliding from spot to spot in silent softness, bowing obsequiously to this party, nodding familiarly to that, and smiling complacently on all, was the sprucely-attired person of Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esquire, the Master of the Ceremonies. Stop in the tea-room. Take your sixpennorth. Then lay on hot water, and call it tea. Drink it, said Mr. Dowler, in a loud voice, directing Mr. Pickwick, who advanced at the head of the little party, with Mrs. Dowler on his arm. Into the tea-room Mr. Pickwick turned; and catching sight of him, Mr. Bantam corkscrewed his way through the crowd and welcomed him with ecstasy. My dear Sir, I am highly honoured. Ba-ath is favoured. Mrs. Dowler, you embellish the rooms. I congratulate you on your feathers. Re-markable! Anybody here? inquired Dowler suspiciously. Anybody! The ELITE of Ba-ath. Mr. Pickwick, do you see the old lady in the gauze turban? The fat old lady? inquired Mr. Pickwick innocently. Hush, my dear sir--nobodys fat or old in Ba-ath. Thats the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph. Is it, indeed? said Mr. Pickwick. No less a person, I assure you, said the Master of the Ceremonies. Hush. Draw a little nearer, Mr. Pickwick. You see the splendidly-dressed young man coming this way? The one with the long hair, and the particularly small forehead? inquired Mr. Pickwick. The same. The richest young man in Ba-ath at this moment. Young Lord Mutanhed. You dont say so? said Mr. Pickwick. Yes. Youll hear his voice in a moment, Mr. Pickwick. Hell speak to me. The other gentleman with him, in the red under- waistcoat and dark moustache, is the Honourable Mr. Crushton, his bosom friend. How do you do, my Lord? Veway hot, Bantam, said his Lordship. It IS very warm, my Lord, replied the M.C. Confounded, assented the Honourable Mr. Crushton. Have you seen his Lordships mail-cart, Bantam? inquired the Honourable Mr. Crushton, after a short pause, during which young Lord Mutanhed had been endeavouring to stare Mr. Pickwick out of countenance, and Mr. Crushton had been reflecting what subject his Lordship could talk about best. Dear me, no, replied the M.C.A mail-cart! What an excellent idea. Re-markable! Gwacious heavens! said his Lordship, I thought evewebody had seen the new mail-cart; its the neatest, pwettiest, gwacefullest thing that ever wan upon wheels. Painted wed, with a cweam piebald. With a real box for the letters, and all complete, said the Honourable Mr. Crushton. And a little seat in fwont, with an iwon wail, for the dwiver, added his Lordship. I dwove it over to Bwistol the other morning, in a cwimson coat, with two servants widing a quarter of a mile behind; and confound me if the people didnt wush out of their cottages, and awest my pwogwess, to know if I wasnt the post. Glorwious--glorwious! At this anecdote his Lordship laughed very heartily, as did the listeners, of course. Then, drawing his arm through that of the obsequious Mr. Crushton, Lord Mutanhed walked away. Delightful young man, his Lordship, said the Master of the Ceremonies. So I should think, rejoined Mr. Pickwick drily. The dancing having commenced, the necessary introductions having been made, and all preliminaries arranged, Angelo Bantam rejoined Mr. Pickwick, and led him into the card-room. Just at the very moment of their entrance, the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph and two other ladies of an ancient and whist-like appearance, were hovering over an unoccupied card-table; and they no sooner set eyes upon Mr. Pickwick under the convoy of Angelo Bantam, than they exchanged glances with each other, seeing that he was precisely the very person they wanted, to make up the rubber. My dear Bantam, said the Dowager Lady Snuphanuph coaxingly, find us some nice creature to make up this table; theres a good soul. Mr. Pickwick happened to be looking another way at the moment, so her Ladyship nodded her head towards him, and frowned expressively. My friend Mr. Pickwick, my Lady, will be most happy, I am sure, remarkably so, said the M.C., taking the hint. Mr. Pickwick, Lady Snuphanuph--Mrs. Colonel Wugsby--Miss Bolo. Mr. Pickwick bowed to each of the ladies, and, finding escape impossible, cut. Mr. Pickwick and Miss Bolo against Lady Snuphanuph and Mrs. Colonel Wugsby. As the trump card was turned up, at the commencement of the second deal, two young ladies hurried into the room, and took their stations on either side of Mrs. Colonel Wugsbys chair, where

The Pickwick Papers page 244        The Pickwick Papers page 246