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The Pickwick Papers 345

Elisha Cuthbert Photos


Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf

the passengers betokened anything but respectful astonishment, and that various telegraphic communications appeared to be passing between them and some persons outside the vehicle, whereupon it occurred to him that these demonstrations might be, in some remote degree, referable to the humorous deportment of Mr. Robert Sawyer. I hope, said Mr. Pickwick, that our volatile friend is committing no absurdities in that dickey behind. Oh dear, no, replied Ben Allen. Except when hes elevated, Bobs the quietest creature breathing. Here a prolonged imitation of a key-bugle broke upon the ear, succeeded by cheers and screams, all of which evidently proceeded from the throat and lungs of the quietest creature breathing, or in plainer designation, of Mr. Bob Sawyer himself. Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Ben Allen looked expressively at each other, and the former gentleman taking off his hat, and leaning out of the coach window until nearly the whole of his waistcoat was outside it, was at length enabled to catch a glimpse of his facetious friend. Mr. Bob Sawyer was seated, not in the dickey, but on the roof of the chaise, with his legs as far asunder as they would conveniently go, wearing Mr. Samuel Wellers hat on one side of his head, and bearing, in one hand, a most enormous sandwich, while, in the other, he supported a goodly-sized case-bottle, to both of which he applied himself with intense relish, varying the monotony of the occupation by an occasional howl, or the interchange of some lively badinage with any passing stranger. The crimson flag was carefully tied in an erect position to the rail of the dickey; and Mr. Samuel Weller, decorated with Bob Sawyers hat, was seated in the centre thereof, discussing a twin sandwich, with an animated countenance, the expression of which betokened his entire and perfect approval of the whole arrangement. This was enough to irritate a gentleman with Mr. Pickwicks sense of propriety, but it was not the whole extent of the aggravation, for a stage-coach full, inside and out, was meeting them at the moment, and the astonishment of the passengers was very palpably evinced. The congratulations of an Irish family, too, who were keeping up with the chaise, and begging all the time, were of rather a boisterous description, especially those of its male head, who appeared to consider the display as part and parcel of some political or other procession of triumph. Mr. Sawyer! cried Mr. Pickwick, in a state of great excitement, Mr. Sawyer, Sir! Hollo! responded that gentleman, looking over the side of the chaise with all the coolness in life. Are you mad, sir? demanded Mr. Pickwick. Not a bit of it, replied Bob; only cheerful. Cheerful, sir! ejaculated Mr. Pickwick. Take down that scandalous red handkerchief, I beg. I insist, Sir. Sam, take it down. Before Sam could interpose, Mr. Bob Sawyer gracefully struck his colours, and having put them in his pocket, nodded in a courteous manner to Mr. Pickwick, wiped the mouth of the case- bottle, and applied it to his own, thereby informing him, without any unnecessary waste of words, that he devoted that draught to wishing him all manner of happiness and prosperity. Having done this, Bob replaced the cork with great care, and looking benignantly down on Mr. Pickwick, took a large bite out of the sandwich, and smiled. Come, said Mr. Pickwick, whose momentary anger was not quite proof against Bobs immovable self-possession, pray let us have no more of this absurdity. No, no, replied Bob, once more exchanging hats with Mr. Weller; I didnt mean to do it, only I got so enlivened with the ride that I couldnt help it. Think of the look of the thing, expostulated Mr. Pickwick; have some regard to appearances. Oh, certainly, said Bob, its not the sort of thing at all. All over, governor. Satisfied with this assurance, Mr. Pickwick once more drew his head into the chaise and pulled up the glass; but he had scarcely resumed the conversation which Mr. Bob Sawyer had interrupted, when he was somewhat startled by the apparition of a small dark body, of an oblong form, on the outside of the window, which gave sundry taps against it, as if impatient of admission. Whats this?exclaimed Mr. Pickwick. It looks like a case-bottle; remarked Ben Allen, eyeing the object in question through his spectacles with some interest; I rather think it belongs to Bob. The impression was perfectly accurate; for Mr. Bob Sawyer, having attached the case-bottle to the end of the walking-stick, was battering the window with it, in token of his wish, that his friends inside would partake of

The Pickwick Papers page 344        The Pickwick Papers page 346