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The Pickwick Papers 251

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

keep awake. I suppose I shall hear a knock here. Yes. I thought so. I can hear the watchman. There he goes. Fainter now, though. A little fainter. Hes turning the corner. Ah! When Mr. Dowler arrived at this point, he turned the corner at which he had been long hesitating, and fell fast asleep. Just as the clock struck three, there was blown into the crescent a sedan-chair with Mrs. Dowler inside, borne by one short, fat chairman, and one long, thin one, who had had much ado to keep their bodies perpendicular: to say nothing of the chair. But on that high ground, and in the crescent, which the wind swept round and round as if it were going to tear the paving stones up, its fury was tremendous. They were very glad to set the chair down, and give a good round loud double-knock at the street door. They waited some time, but nobody came. Servants is in the arms o Porpus, I think, said the short chairman, warming his hands at the attendant link-boys torch. I wish hed give em a squeeze and wake em, observed the long one. Knock again, will you, if you please, cried Mrs. Dowler from the chair. Knock two or three times, if you please. The short man was quite willing to get the job over, as soon as possible; so he stood on the step, and gave four or five most startling double-knocks, of eight or ten knocks a-piece, while the long man went into the road, and looked up at the windows for a light. Nobody came. It was all as silent and dark as ever. Dear me! said Mrs. Dowler. You must knock again, if you please. There aint a bell, is there, maam? said the short chairman. Yes, there is, interposed the link-boy, Ive been a-ringing at it ever so long. Its only a handle, said Mrs. Dowler, the wires broken. I wish the servants heads wos, growled the long man. I must trouble you to knock again, if you please, said Mrs. Dowler, with the utmost politeness. The short man did knock again several times, without producing the smallest effect. The tall man, growing very impatient, then relieved him, and kept on perpetually knocking double- knocks of two loud knocks each, like an insane postman. At length Mr. Winkle began to dream that he was at a club, and that the members being very refractory, the chairman was obliged to hammer the table a good deal to preserve order; then he had a confused notion of an auction room where there were no bidders, and the auctioneer was buying everything in; and ultimately he began to think it just within the bounds of possibility that somebody might be knocking at the street door. To make quite certain, however, he remained quiet in bed for ten minutes or so, and listened; and when he had counted two or three-and-thirty knocks, he felt quite satisfied, and gave himself a great deal of credit for being so wakeful. Rap rap-rap rap-rap rap-ra, ra, ra, ra, ra, rap! went the knocker. Mr. Winkle jumped out of bed, wondering very much what could possibly be the matter, and hastily putting on his stockings and slippers, folded his dressing-gown round him, lighted a flat candle from the rush-light that was burning in the fireplace, and hurried downstairs. Heres somebody comin at last, maam, said the short chairman. I wish I wos behind him vith a bradawl, muttered the long one. Whos there? cried Mr. Winkle, undoing the chain. Dont stop to ask questions, cast-iron head, replied the long man, with great disgust, taking it for granted that the inquirer was a footman; but open the door. Come, look sharp, timber eyelids, added the other encouragingly. Mr. Winkle, being half asleep, obeyed the command mechanically, opened the door a little, and peeped out. The first thing he saw, was the red glare of the link-boys torch. Startled by the sudden fear that the house might be on fire, he hastily threw the door wide open, and holding the candle above his head, stared eagerly before him, not quite certain whether what he saw was a sedan-chair or a fire-engine. At this instant there came a violent gust of wind; the light was blown out; Mr. Winkle felt himself irresistibly impelled on to the steps; and the door blew to, with a loud crash. Well, young man, now you HAVE done it! said the short chairman. Mr. Winkle, catching sight of a ladys face at

The Pickwick Papers page 250        The Pickwick Papers page 252