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The Pickwick Papers 53







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Books:

Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




two hours at least. Emily, my dear, ring the bell. The bell was rung, and the fat boy appeared. Wheres Miss Rachael? He couldnt say. Wheres Mr. Jingle, then? He didnt know. Everybody looked surprised. It was late--past eleven oclock. Mr. Tupman laughed in his sleeve. They were loitering somewhere, talking about him. Ha, ha! capital notion that--funny. Never mind, said Wardle, after a short pause. Theyll turn up presently, I dare say. I never wait supper for anybody. Excellent rule, that, said Mr. Pickwick--admirable. Pray, sit down, said the host. Certainly said Mr. Pickwick; and down they sat. There was a gigantic round of cold beef on the table, and Mr. Pickwick was supplied with a plentiful portion of it. He had raised his fork to his lips, and was on the very point of opening his mouth for the reception of a piece of beef, when the hum of many voices suddenly arose in the kitchen. He paused, and laid down his fork. Mr. Wardle paused too, and insensibly released his hold of the carving-knife, which remained inserted in the beef. He looked at Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick looked at him. Heavy footsteps were heard in the passage; the parlour door was suddenly burst open; and the man who had cleaned Mr. Pickwicks boots on his first arrival, rushed into the room, followed by the fat boy and all the domestics. What the devils the meaning of this? exclaimed the host. The kitchen chimney aint a-fire, is it, Emma? inquired the old lady. Lor, grandma! No, screamed both the young ladies. Whats the matter? roared the master of the house. The man gasped for breath, and faintly ejaculated-- They ha gone, masr!--gone right clean off, Sir! (At this juncture Mr. Tupman was observed to lay down his knife and fork, and to turn very pale.) Whos gone? said Mr. Wardle fiercely. Musr Jingle and Miss Rachael, in a po-chay, from Blue Lion, Muggleton. I was there; but I couldnt stop em; so I run off to tell ee. I paid his expenses! said Mr. Tupman, jumping up frantically. Hes got ten pounds of mine!--stop him!--hes swindled me!-- I wont bear it!--Ill have justice, Pickwick!--I wont stand it! and with sundry incoherent exclamations of the like nature, the unhappy gentleman spun round and round the apartment, in a transport of frenzy. Lord preserve us! ejaculated Mr. Pickwick, eyeing the extraordinary gestures of his friend with terrified surprise. Hes gone mad! What shall we do? Do! said the stout old host, who regarded only the last words of the sentence. Put the horse in the gig! Ill get a chaise at the Lion, and follow em instantly. Where?--he exclaimed, as the man ran out to execute the commission--wheres that villain, Joe? Here I am! but I haint a willin, replied a voice. It was the fat boys. Let me get at him, Pickwick, cried Wardle, as he rushed at the ill-starred youth. He was bribed by that scoundrel, Jingle, to put me on a wrong scent, by telling a cock-and-bull story of my sister and your friend Tupman! (Here Mr. Tupman sank into a chair.) Let me get at him! Dont let him! screamed all the women, above whose exclamations the blubbering of the fat boy was distinctly audible. I wont be held! cried the old man. Mr. Winkle, take your hands off. Mr. Pickwick, let me go, sir! It was a beautiful sight, in that moment of turmoil and confusion, to behold the placid and philosophical expression of Mr. Pickwicks face, albeit somewhat flushed with exertion, as he stood with his arms firmly clasped round the extensive waist of their corpulent host, thus restraining the impetuosity of his passion, while the fat boy was scratched, and pulled, and pushed from the room by all the females congregated therein. He had no sooner released his hold, than the man entered to announce that the gig was ready. Dont let him go alone! screamed the females. Hell kill somebody! Ill go with him, said Mr. Pickwick. Youre a good fellow, Pickwick, said the host, grasping his hand. Emma, give Mr. Pickwick a shawl to tie round his neck-- make haste. Look after your grandmother, girls; she has fainted away. Now then, are you ready? Mr. Pickwicks mouth and chin having been hastily enveloped in a large shawl, his hat having been put on his head, and his greatcoat thrown over his arm, he replied in the affirmative. They jumped into the gig. Give her

The Pickwick Papers page 52        The Pickwick Papers page 54