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The Pickwick Papers 257







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The Pickwick Papers

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was desirous of offering a few remarks to the company, whereupon the person in the cocked hat had no doubt that the company would be very happy to hear any remarks that the man in the long coat might wish to offer. I feel a great delicacy, gentlemen, in coming forard, said the man in the long coat, having the misforchune to be a coachman, and being only admitted as a honorary member of these agreeable swarrys, but I do feel myself bound, gentlemen--drove into a corner, if I may use the expression--to make known an afflicting circumstance which has come to my knowledge; which has happened I may say within the soap of my everyday contemplation. Gentlemen, our friend Mr. Whiffers (everybody looked at the individual in orange), our friend Mr. Whiffers has resigned. Universal astonishment fell upon the hearers. Each gentleman looked in his neighbours face, and then transferred his glance to the upstanding coachman. You may well be sapparised, gentlemen, said the coachman. I will not wenchure to state the reasons of this irrepairabel loss to the service, but I will beg Mr. Whiffers to state them himself, for the improvement and imitation of his admiring friends. The suggestion being loudly approved of, Mr. Whiffers explained. He said he certainly could have wished to have continued to hold the appointment he had just resigned. The uniform was extremely rich and expensive, the females of the family was most agreeable, and the duties of the situation was not, he was bound to say, too heavy; the principal service that was required of him, being, that he should look out of the hall window as much as possible, in company with another gentleman, who had also resigned. He could have wished to have spared that company the painful and disgusting detail on which he was about to enter, but as the explanation had been demanded of him, he had no alternative but to state, boldly and distinctly, that he had been required to eat cold meat. It is impossible to conceive the disgust which this avowal awakened in the bosoms of the hearers. Loud cries of Shame, mingled with groans and hisses, prevailed for a quarter of an hour. Mr. Whiffers then added that he feared a portion of this outrage might be traced to his own forbearing and accommodating disposition. He had a distinct recollection of having once consented to eat salt butter, and he had, moreover, on an occasion of sudden sickness in the house, so far forgotten himself as to carry a coal-scuttle up to the second floor. He trusted he had not lowered himself in the good opinion of his friends by this frank confession of his faults; and he hoped the promptness with which he had resented the last unmanly outrage on his feelings, to which he had referred, would reinstate him in their good opinion, if he had. Mr. Whifferss address was responded to, with a shout of admiration, and the health of the interesting martyr was drunk in a most enthusiastic manner; for this, the martyr returned thanks, and proposed their visitor, Mr. Weller--a gentleman whom he had not the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with, but who was the friend of Mr. John Smauker, which was a sufficient letter of recommendation to any society of gentlemen whatever, or wherever. On this account, he should have been disposed to have given Mr. Wellers health with all the honours, if his friends had been drinking wine; but as they were taking spirits by way of a change, and as it might be inconvenient to empty a tumbler at every toast, he should propose that the honours be understood. At the conclusion of this speech, everybody took a sip in honour of Sam; and Sam having ladled out, and drunk, two full glasses of punch in honour of himself, returned thanks in a neat speech. Wery much obliged to you, old fellers, said Sam, ladling away at the punch in the most unembarrassed manner possible, for this here compliment; which, comin from sich a quarter, is wery overvelmin. Ive heered a good deal on you as a body, but I will say, that I never thought you was sich uncommon nice men as I find you air. I only hope youll take care o yourselves, and not compromise nothin o your dignity, which is a wery charmin thing to see, when ones out a-walkin, and has always made me wery happy to look at, ever since I was a boy about half as high as the

The Pickwick Papers page 256        The Pickwick Papers page 258