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The Pickwick Papers 321







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spare your feelings as much as they could. What a comfort it must be, to you, to think how its been done! This is the Fleet, maam. Wish you good-night, Mrs. Bardell. Good-night, Tommy! As Jackson hurried away in company with the man with the ash stick another man, with a key in his hand, who had been looking on, led the bewildered female to a second short flight of steps leading to a doorway. Mrs. Bardell screamed violently; Tommy roared; Mrs. Cluppins shrunk within herself; and Mrs. Sanders made off, without more ado. For there stood the injured Mr. Pickwick, taking his nightly allowance of air; and beside him leant Samuel Weller, who, seeing Mrs. Bardell, took his hat off with mock reverence, while his master turned indignantly on his heel. Dont bother the woman, said the turnkey to Weller; shes just come in. A prisoner! said Sam, quickly replacing his hat. Whos the plaintives? What for? Speak up, old feller. Dodson and Fogg, replied the man; execution on COGNOVIT for costs. Here, Job, Job! shouted Sam, dashing into the passage. Run to Mr. Perkers, Job. I want him directly. I see some good in this. Heres a game. Hooray! veres the govnor? But there was no reply to these inquiries, for Job had started furiously off, the instant he received his commission, and Mrs. Bardell had fainted in real downright earnest.

CHAPTER XLVII

IS CHIEFLY DEVOTED TO MATTERS OF BUSINESS, AND THE TEMPORAL ADVANTAGE OF DODSON AND FOGG-- Mr. WINKLE REAPPEARS UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES--Mr. PICKWICKS BENEVOLENCE PROVES STRONGER THAN HIS OBSTINACY

Job Trotter, abating nothing of his speed, ran up Holborn, sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes on the pavement, sometimes in the gutter, as the chances of getting along varied with the press of men, women, children, and coaches, in each division of the thoroughfare, and, regardless of all obstacles stopped not for an instant until he reached the gate of Grays Inn. Notwithstanding all the expedition he had used, however, the gate had been closed a good half-hour when he reached it, and by the time he had discovered Mr. Perkers laundress, who lived with a married daughter, who had bestowed her hand upon a non-resident waiter, who occupied the one-pair of some number in some street closely adjoining to some brewery somewhere behind Grays Inn Lane, it was within fifteen minutes of closing the prison for the night. Mr. Lowten had still to be ferreted out from the back parlour of the Magpie and Stump; and Job had scarcely accomplished this object, and communicated Sam Wellers message, when the clock struck ten. There, said Lowten, its too late now. You cant get in to-night; youve got the key of the street, my friend. Never mind me, replied Job. I can sleep anywhere. But wont it be better to see Mr. Perker to-night, so that we may be there, the first thing in the morning? Why, responded Lowten, after a little consideration, if it was in anybody elses case, Perker wouldnt be best pleased at my going up to his house; but as its Mr. Pickwicks, I think I may venture to take a cab and charge it to the office. Deciding on this line of conduct, Mr. Lowten took up his hat, and begging the assembled company to appoint a deputy-chairman during his temporary absence, led the way to the nearest coach-stand. Summoning the cab of most promising appearance, he directed the driver to repair to Montague Place, Russell Square. Mr. Perker had had a dinner-party that day, as was testified by the appearance of lights in the drawing-room windows, the sound of an improved grand piano, and an improvable cabinet voice issuing therefrom, and a rather overpowering smell of meat which pervaded the steps and entry. In fact, a couple of very good country agencies happening to come up to town, at the same time, an agreeable little party had been got together to meet them, comprising Mr. Snicks, the Life Office Secretary, Mr. Prosee, the eminent counsel, three solicitors, one commissioner of bankrupts, a special pleader from the Temple, a small-eyed peremptory young gentleman, his pupil, who had written a lively book about the law of demises, with a vast quantity of marginal notes and references; and several other eminent and distinguished personages. From this society, little Mr. Perker detached himself, on his clerk being announced in a whisper; and repairing to the

The Pickwick Papers page 320        The Pickwick Papers page 322