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The Pickwick Papers 52







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trembled with rage and disappointment. You will convince yourself? said Jingle. I will. Youll show your spirit? I will. Youll not have him afterwards? Never. Youll take somebody else? Yes. You shall. Mr. Jingle fell on his knees, remained thereupon for five minutes thereafter; and rose the accepted lover of the spinster aunt--conditionally upon Mr. Tupmans perjury being made clear and manifest. The burden of proof lay with Mr. Alfred Jingle; and he produced his evidence that very day at dinner. The spinster aunt could hardly believe her eyes. Mr. Tracy Tupman was established at Emilys side, ogling, whispering, and smiling, in opposition to Mr. Snodgrass. Not a word, not a look, not a glance, did he bestow upon his hearts pride of the evening before. Damn that boy! thought old Mr. Wardle to himself.--He had heard the story from his mother. Damn that boy! He must have been asleep. Its all imagination. Traitor! thought the spinster aunt. Dear Mr. Jingle was not deceiving me. Ugh! how I hate the wretch! The following conversation may serve to explain to our readers this apparently unaccountable alteration of deportment on the part of Mr. Tracy Tupman. The time was evening; the scene the garden. There were two figures walking in a side path; one was rather short and stout; the other tall and slim. They were Mr. Tupman and Mr. Jingle. The stout figure commenced the dialogue. How did I do it? he inquired. Splendid--capital--couldnt act better myself--you must repeat the part to-morrow--every evening till further notice. Does Rachael still wish it? Of course--she dont like it--but must be done--avert suspicion--afraid of her brother--says theres no help for it-- only a few days more--when old folks blinded--crown your happiness. Any message? Love--best love--kindest regards--unalterable affection. Can I say anything for you? My dear fellow, replied the unsuspicious Mr. Tupman, fervently grasping his friends hand--carry my best love--say how hard I find it to dissemble--say anything thats kind: but add how sensible I am of the necessity of the suggestion she made to me, through you, this morning. Say I applaud her wisdom and admire her discretion. I will. Anything more? Nothing, only add how ardently I long for the time when I may call her mine, and all dissimulation may be unnecessary. Certainly, certainly. Anything more? Oh, my friend! said poor Mr. Tupman, again grasping the hand of his companion, receive my warmest thanks for your disinterested kindness; and forgive me if I have ever, even in thought, done you the injustice of supposing that you could stand in my way. My dear friend, can I ever repay you? Dont talk of it, replied Mr. Jingle. He stopped short, as if suddenly recollecting something, and said--By the bye--cant spare ten pounds, can you?--very particular purpose--pay you in three days. I dare say I can, replied Mr. Tupman, in the fulness of his heart. Three days, you say? Only three days--all over then--no more difficulties. Mr. Tupman counted the money into his companions hand, and he dropped it piece by piece into his pocket, as they walked towards the house. Be careful, said Mr. Jingle--not a look. Not a wink, said Mr. Tupman. Not a syllable. Not a whisper. All your attentions to the niece--rather rude, than otherwise, to the aunt--only way of deceiving the old ones. Ill take care, said Mr. Tupman aloud. And ILL take care, said Mr. Jingle internally; and they entered the house. The scene of that afternoon was repeated that evening, and on the three afternoons and evenings next ensuing. On the fourth, the host was in high spirits, for he had satisfied himself that there was no ground for the charge against Mr. Tupman. So was Mr. Tupman, for Mr. Jingle had told him that his affair would soon be brought to a crisis. So was Mr. Pickwick, for he was seldom otherwise. So was not Mr. Snodgrass, for he had grown jealous of Mr. Tupman. So was the old lady, for she had been winning at whist. So were Mr. Jingle and Miss Wardle, for reasons of sufficient importance in this eventful history to be narrated in another chapter.

CHAPTER IX

A DISCOVERY AND A CHASE

The supper was ready laid, the chairs were drawn round the table, bottles, jugs, and glasses were arranged upon the sideboard, and everything betokened the approach of the most convivial period in the whole four-and-twenty hours. Wheres Rachael? said Mr. Wardle. Ay, and Jingle? added Mr. Pickwick. Dear me, said the host, I wonder I havent missed him before. Why, I dont think Ive heard his voice for

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