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The Pickwick Papers 338







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felt, gentlemen, that for a guard he didnt know, to call him Jack Martin, was a liberty which the Post Office wouldnt have sanctioned if they had known it. "No, there is not," rejoined the guard coolly. "Is the fare paid?" inquired my uncle. "Of course it is," rejoined the guard. "it is, is it?" said my uncle. "Then here goes! Which coach?" "This," said the guard, pointing to an old-fashioned Edinburgh and London mail, which had the steps down and the door open. "Stop! Here are the other passengers. Let them get in first." As the guard spoke, there all at once appeared, right in front of my uncle, a young gentleman in a powdered wig, and a sky- blue coat trimmed with silver, made very full and broad in the skirts, which were lined with buckram. Tiggin and Welps were in the printed calico and waistcoat piece line, gentlemen, so my uncle knew all the materials at once. He wore knee breeches, and a kind of leggings rolled up over his silk stockings, and shoes with buckles; he had ruffles at his wrists, a three-cornered hat on his head, and a long taper sword by his side. The flaps of his waist- coat came half-way down his thighs, and the ends of his cravat reached to his waist. He stalked gravely to the coach door, pulled off his hat, and held it above his head at arms length, cocking his little finger in the air at the same time, as some affected people do, when they take a cup of tea. Then he drew his feet together, and made a low, grave bow, and then put out his left hand. My uncle was just going to step forward, and shake it heartily, when he perceived that these attentions were directed, not towards him, but to a young lady who just then appeared at the foot of the steps, attired in an old-fashioned green velvet dress with a long waist and stomacher. She had no bonnet on her head, gentlemen, which was muffled in a black silk hood, but she looked round for an instant as she prepared to get into the coach, and such a beautiful face as she disclosed, my uncle had never seen--not even in a picture. She got into the coach, holding up her dress with one hand; and as my uncle always said with a round oath, when he told the story, he wouldnt have believed it possible that legs and feet could have been brought to such a state of perfection unless he had seen them with his own eyes. But, in this one glimpse of the beautiful face, my uncle saw that the young lady cast an imploring look upon him, and that she appeared terrified and distressed. He noticed, too, that the young fellow in the powdered wig, notwithstanding his show of gallantry, which was all very fine and grand, clasped her tight by the wrist when she got in, and followed himself immediately afterwards. An uncommonly ill-looking fellow, in a close brown wig, and a plum-coloured suit, wearing a very large sword, and boots up to his hips, belonged to the party; and when he sat himself down next to the young lady, who shrank into a corner at his approach, my uncle was confirmed in his original impression that something dark and mysterious was going forward, or, as he always said himself, that "there was a screw loose somewhere." Its quite surprising how quickly he made up his mind to help the lady at any peril, if she needed any help. "Death and lightning!" exclaimed the young gentleman, laying his hand upon his sword as my uncle entered the coach. "Blood and thunder!" roared the other gentleman. With this, he whipped his sword out, and made a lunge at my uncle without further ceremony. My uncle had no weapon about him, but with great dexterity he snatched the ill-looking gentlemans three-cornered hat from his head, and, receiving the point of his sword right through the crown, squeezed the sides together, and held it tight. "Pink him behind!" cried the ill-looking gentleman to his companion, as he struggled to regain his sword. "He had better not," cried my uncle, displaying the heel of one of his shoes, in a threatening manner. "Ill kick his brains out, if he has any--, or fracture his skull if he hasnt." Exerting all his strength, at this moment, my uncle wrenched the ill-looking mans

The Pickwick Papers page 337        The Pickwick Papers page 339