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The Pickwick Papers 274







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The Pickwick Papers

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him for a quarter of an hour afterwards; which demonstration delighted all the scientific associations beyond measure, and caused him to be considered a light of science ever afterwards.

CHAPTER XL

INTRODUCES Mr. PICKWICK TO A NEW AND NOT UNINTERESTING SCENE IN THE GREAT DRAMA OF LIFE

The remainder of the period which Mr. Pickwick had assigned as the duration of the stay at Bath passed over without the occurrence of anything material. Trinity term commenced. On the expiration of its first week, Mr. Pickwick and his friends returned to London; and the former gentleman, attended of course by Sam, straightway repaired to his old quarters at the George and Vulture. On the third morning after their arrival, just as all the clocks in the city were striking nine individually, and somewhere about nine hundred and ninety-nine collectively, Sam was taking the air in George Yard, when a queer sort of fresh-painted vehicle drove up, out of which there jumped with great agility, throwing the reins to a stout man who sat beside him, a queer sort of gentleman, who seemed made for the vehicle, and the vehicle for him. The vehicle was not exactly a gig, neither was it a stanhope. It was not what is currently denominated a dog-cart, neither was it a taxed cart, nor a chaise-cart, nor a guillotined cabriolet; and yet it had something of the character of each and every of these machines. It was painted a bright yellow, with the shafts and wheels picked out in black; and the driver sat in the orthodox sporting style, on cushions piled about two feet above the rail. The horse was a bay, a well-looking animal enough; but with something of a flash and dog-fighting air about him, nevertheless, which accorded both with the vehicle and his master. The master himself was a man of about forty, with black hair, and carefully combed whiskers. He was dressed in a particularly gorgeous manner, with plenty of articles of jewellery about him-- all about three sizes larger than those which are usually worn by gentlemen--and a rough greatcoat to crown the whole. Into one pocket of this greatcoat, he thrust his left hand the moment he dismounted, while from the other he drew forth, with his right, a very bright and glaring silk handkerchief, with which he whisked a speck or two of dust from his boots, and then, crumpling it in his hand, swaggered up the court. It had not escaped Sams attention that, when this person dismounted, a shabby-looking man in a brown greatcoat shorn of divers buttons, who had been previously slinking about, on the opposite side of the way, crossed over, and remained stationary close by. Having something more than a suspicion of the object of the gentlemans visit, Sam preceded him to the George and Vulture, and, turning sharp round, planted himself in the Centre of the doorway. Now, my fine fellow! said the man in the rough coat, in an imperious tone, attempting at the same time to push his way past. Now, Sir, wots the matter? replied Sam, returning the push with compound interest. Come, none of this, my man; this wont do with me, said the owner of the rough coat, raising his voice, and turning white. Here, Smouch! Well, wots amiss here? growled the man in the brown coat, who had been gradually sneaking up the court during this short dialogue. Only some insolence of this young mans, said the principal, giving Sam another push. Come, none o this gammon, growled Smouch, giving him another, and a harder one. This last push had the effect which it was intended by the experienced Mr. Smouch to produce; for while Sam, anxious to return the compliment, was grinding that gentlemans body against the door-post, the principal crept past, and made his way to the bar, whither Sam, after bandying a few epithetical remarks with Mr. Smouch, followed at once. Good-morning, my dear, said the principal, addressing the young lady at the bar, with Botany Bay ease, and New South Wales gentility; which is Mr. Pickwicks room, my dear? Show him up, said the barmaid to a waiter, without deigning another look at the exquisite, in reply to his inquiry. The waiter led the way upstairs as he was desired, and the man in the rough coat followed, with Sam behind him, who, in his progress up the staircase, indulged in sundry gestures indicative of supreme contempt and defiance, to the unspeakable gratification of the servants and other lookers-on. Mr. Smouch, who

The Pickwick Papers page 273        The Pickwick Papers page 275