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The Pickwick Papers 317

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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

to me, you creetur, dont, retorted the lady. The house with the red door, cabmin. Oh! If ever a woman was troubled with a ruffinly creetur, that takes a pride and a pleasure in disgracing his wife on every possible occasion afore strangers, I am that woman! You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Raddle, said the other little woman, who was no other than Mrs. Cluppins. What have I been a-doing of? asked Mr. Raddle. Dont talk to me, dont, you brute, for fear I should be perwoked to forgit my sect and strike you! said Mrs. Raddle. While this dialogue was going on, the driver was most ignominiously leading the horse, by the bridle, up to the house with the red door, which Master Bardell had already opened. Here was a mean and low way of arriving at a friends house! No dashing up, with all the fire and fury of the animal; no jumping down of the driver; no loud knocking at the door; no opening of the apron with a crash at the very last moment, for fear of the ladies sitting in a draught; and then the man handing the shawls out, afterwards, as if he were a private coachman! The whole edge of the thing had been taken off--it was flatter than walking. Well, Tommy, said Mrs. Cluppins, hows your poor dear mother? Oh, shes very well, replied Master Bardell. Shes in the front parlour, all ready. Im ready too, I am. Here Master Bardell put his hands in his pockets, and jumped off and on the bottom step of the door. Is anybody else a-goin, Tommy? said Mrs. Cluppins, arranging her pelerine. Mrs. Sanders is going, she is, replied Tommy; Im going too, I am. Drat the boy, said little Mrs. Cluppins. He thinks of nobody but himself. Here, Tommy, dear. Well, said Master Bardell. Who else is a-goin, lovey? said Mrs. Cluppins, in an insinuating manner. Oh! Mrs. Rogers is a-goin, replied Master Bardell, opening his eyes very wide as he delivered the intelligence. What? The lady as has taken the lodgings! ejaculated Mrs. Cluppins. Master Bardell put his hands deeper down into his pockets, and nodded exactly thirty-five times, to imply that it was the lady-lodger, and no other. Bless us! said Mrs. Cluppins. Its quite a party! Ah, if you knew what was in the cupboard, youd say so, replied Master Bardell. What is there, Tommy? said Mrs. Cluppins coaxingly. Youll tell ME, Tommy, I know. No, I wont, replied Master Bardell, shaking his head, and applying himself to the bottom step again. Drat the child! muttered Mrs. Cluppins. What a prowokin little wretch it is! Come, Tommy, tell your dear Cluppy. Mother said I wasnt to, rejoined Master Bardell, Im a-goin to have some, I am. Cheered by this prospect, the precocious boy applied himself to his infantile treadmill, with increased vigour. The above examination of a child of tender years took place while Mr. and Mrs. Raddle and the cab-driver were having an altercation concerning the fare, which, terminating at this point in favour of the cabman, Mrs. Raddle came up tottering. Lauk, Mary Ann! whats the matter? said Mrs. Cluppins. Its put me all over in such a tremble, Betsy, replied Mrs. Raddle. Raddle aint like a man; he leaves everythink to me. This was scarcely fair upon the unfortunate Mr. Raddle, who had been thrust aside by his good lady in the commencement of the dispute, and peremptorily commanded to hold his tongue. He had no opportunity of defending himself, however, for Mrs. Raddle gave unequivocal signs of fainting; which, being perceived from the parlour window, Mrs. Bardell, Mrs. Sanders, the lodger, and the lodgers servant, darted precipitately out, and conveyed her into the house, all talking at the same time, and giving utterance to various expressions of pity and condolence, as if she were one of the most suffering mortals on earth. Being conveyed into the front parlour, she was there deposited on a sofa; and the lady from the first floor running up to the first floor, returned with a bottle of sal-volatile, which, holding Mrs. Raddle tight round the neck, she applied in all womanly kindness and pity to her nose, until that lady with many plunges and struggles was fain to declare herself decidedly better. Ah, poor thing! said Mrs. Rogers, I know what her feelins is, too well. Ah, poor thing! so do I, said Mrs. Sanders; and then all the ladies moaned in unison, and said they knew what it was, and they pitied

The Pickwick Papers page 316        The Pickwick Papers page 318