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The Pickwick Papers 29

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

sir, replied the waiter. The waiter retired; the breakfast concluded; and the travellers ascended to their respective bedrooms, to prepare a change of clothing, to take with them on their approaching expedition. Mr. Pickwick had made his preliminary arrangements, and was looking over the coffee-room blinds at the passengers in the street, when the waiter entered, and announced that the chaise was ready--an announcement which the vehicle itself confirmed, by forthwith appearing before the coffee-room blinds aforesaid. It was a curious little green box on four wheels, with a low place like a wine-bin for two behind, and an elevated perch for one in front, drawn by an immense brown horse, displaying great symmetry of bone. An hostler stood near, holding by the bridle another immense horse--apparently a near relative of the animal in the chaise--ready saddled for Mr. Winkle. Bless my soul! said Mr. Pickwick, as they stood upon the pavement while the coats were being put in. Bless my soul! whos to drive? I never thought of that. Oh! you, of course, said Mr. Tupman. Of course, said Mr. Snodgrass. I! exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. Not the slightest fear, Sir, interposed the hostler. Warrant him quiet, Sir; a hinfant in arms might drive him. He dont shy, does he? inquired Mr. Pickwick. Shy, sir?-he wouldnt shy if he was to meet a vagin-load of monkeys with their tails burned off. The last recommendation was indisputable. Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass got into the bin; Mr. Pickwick ascended to his perch, and deposited his feet on a floor-clothed shelf, erected beneath it for that purpose. Now, shiny Villiam, said the hostler to the deputy hostler, give the genlmn the ribbons. Shiny Villiam--so called, probably, from his sleek hair and oily countenance--placed the reins in Mr. Pickwicks left hand; and the upper hostler thrust a whip into his right. Wo-o! cried Mr. Pickwick, as the tall quadruped evinced a decided inclination to back into the coffee-room window. Wo-o! echoed Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass, from the bin. Only his playfulness, genlmn, said the head hostler encouragingly; jist kitch hold on him, Villiam. The deputy restrained the animals impetuosity, and the principal ran to assist Mr. Winkle in mounting. Tother side, sir, if you please. Blowed if the genlmn wornt a-gettin up on the wrong side, whispered a grinning post-boy to the inexpressibly gratified waiter. Mr. Winkle, thus instructed, climbed into his saddle, with about as much difficulty as he would have experienced in getting up the side of a first-rate man-of-war. All right? inquired Mr. Pickwick, with an inward presentiment that it was all wrong. All right, replied Mr. Winkle faintly. Let em go, cried the hostler.--Hold him in, sir; and away went the chaise, and the saddle-horse, with Mr. Pickwick on the box of the one, and Mr. Winkle on the back of the other, to the delight and gratification of the whole inn-yard. What makes him go sideways? said Mr. Snodgrass in the bin, to Mr. Winkle in the saddle. I cant imagine, replied Mr. Winkle. His horse was drifting up the street in the most mysterious manner--side first, with his head towards one side of the way, and his tail towards the other. Mr. Pickwick had no leisure to observe either this or any other particular, the whole of his faculties being concentrated in the management of the animal attached to the chaise, who displayed various peculiarities, highly interesting to a bystander, but by no means equally amusing to any one seated behind him. Besides constantly jerking his head up, in a very unpleasant and uncomfortable manner, and tugging at the reins to an extent which rendered it a matter of great difficulty for Mr. Pickwick to hold them, he had a singular propensity for darting suddenly every now and then to the side of the road, then stopping short, and then rushing forward for some minutes, at a speed which it was wholly impossible to control. What CAN he mean by this? said Mr. Snodgrass, when the horse had executed this manoeuvre for the twentieth time. I dont know, replied Mr. Tupman; it looks very like shying, dont it? Mr. Snodgrass was about to reply, when he was interrupted by a shout from Mr. Pickwick. Woo! said that gentleman; I have dropped my whip. Winkle, said Mr. Snodgrass, as the equestrian came trotting up on the tall horse, with his hat over his ears, and shaking all over, as if he would shake to pieces, with the violence of the exercise, pick up the whip, theres a good fellow. Mr. Winkle pulled at the bridle of the tall horse till he

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