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The Pickwick Papers 44







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




while as if the whole of the arrangements were under his especial patronage and direction. This way--this way--capital fun--lots of beer--hogsheads; rounds of beef--bullocks; mustard--cart-loads; glorious day-- down with you--make yourself at home--glad to see you-- very. Mr. Pickwick sat down as he was bid, and Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass also complied with the directions of their mysterious friend. Mr. Wardle looked on in silent wonder. Mr. Wardle--a friend of mine, said Mr. Pickwick. Friend of yours!--My dear sir, how are you?--Friend of my friends--give me your hand, sir--and the stranger grasped Mr. Wardles hand with all the fervour of a close intimacy of many years, and then stepped back a pace or two as if to take a full survey of his face and figure, and then shook hands with him again, if possible, more warmly than before. Well; and how came you here? said Mr. Pickwick, with a smile in which benevolence struggled with surprise. Come, replied the stranger--stopping at Crown--Crown at Muggleton--met a party--flannel jackets--white trousers-- anchovy sandwiches--devilled kidney--splendid fellows--glorious. Mr. Pickwick was sufficiently versed in the strangers system of stenography to infer from this rapid and disjointed communication that he had, somehow or other, contracted an acquaintance with the All-Muggletons, which he had converted, by a process peculiar to himself, into that extent of good-fellowship on which a general invitation may be easily founded. His curiosity was therefore satisfied, and putting on his spectacles he prepared himself to watch the play which was just commencing. All-Muggleton had the first innings; and the interest became intense when Mr. Dumkins and Mr. Podder, two of the most renowned members of that most distinguished club, walked, bat in hand, to their respective wickets. Mr. Luffey, the highest ornament of Dingley Dell, was pitched to bowl against the redoubtable Dumkins, and Mr. Struggles was selected to do the same kind office for the hitherto unconquered Podder. Several players were stationed, to look out, in different parts of the field, and each fixed himself into the proper attitude by placing one hand on each knee, and stooping very much as if he were making a back for some beginner at leap-frog. All the regular players do this sort of thing;--indeed it is generally supposed that it is quite impossible to look out properly in any other position. The umpires were stationed behind the wickets; the scorers were prepared to notch the runs; a breathless silence ensued. Mr. Luffey retired a few paces behind the wicket of the passive Podder, and applied the ball to his right eye for several seconds. Dumkins confidently awaited its coming with his eyes fixed on the motions of Luffey. Play! suddenly cried the bowler. The ball flew from his hand straight and swift towards the centre stump of the wicket. The wary Dumkins was on the alert: it fell upon the tip of the bat, and bounded far away over the heads of the scouts, who had just stooped low enough to let it fly over them. Run--run--another.--Now, then throw her up--up with her--stop there--another--no--yes--no--throw her up, throw her up!--Such were the shouts which followed the stroke; and at the conclusion of which All-Muggleton had scored two. Nor was Podder behindhand in earning laurels wherewith to garnish himself and Muggleton. He blocked the doubtful balls, missed the bad ones, took the good ones, and sent them flying to all parts of the field. The scouts were hot and tired; the bowlers were changed and bowled till their arms ached; but Dumkins and Podder remained unconquered. Did an elderly gentleman essay to stop the progress of the ball, it rolled between his legs or slipped between his fingers. Did a slim gentleman try to catch it, it struck him on the nose, and bounded pleasantly off with redoubled violence, while the slim gentlemans eyes filled with water, and his form writhed with anguish. Was it thrown straight up to the wicket, Dumkins had reached it before the ball. In short, when Dumkins was caught out, and Podder stumped out, All-Muggleton had notched some fifty-four, while the score of the Dingley Dellers was as blank as their faces. The advantage was too great to be recovered. In vain did the eager Luffey, and the enthusiastic Struggles, do all that skill and experience could suggest, to regain the ground Dingley Dell had lost in the contest --it was of no avail; and in an early period of the winning game Dingley Dell gave in, and allowed the superior prowess of All-Muggleton. The stranger, meanwhile, had been eating, drinking, and talking, without

The Pickwick Papers page 43        The Pickwick Papers page 45