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The Pickwick Papers 67







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Martin Eden

The Pickwick Papers

The Sea Wolf




his senses. This--this, said he, determines me. We return to town to-morrow. To-morrow! exclaimed his admiring followers. To-morrow, said Mr. Pickwick. This treasure must be at once deposited where it can be thoroughly investigated and properly understood. I have another reason for this step. In a few days, an election is to take place for the borough of Eatanswill, at which Mr. Perker, a gentleman whom I lately met, is the agent of one of the candidates. We will behold, and minutely examine, a scene so interesting to every Englishman. We will, was the animated cry of three voices. Mr. Pickwick looked round him. The attachment and fervour of his followers lighted up a glow of enthusiasm within him. He was their leader, and he felt it. Let us celebrate this happy meeting with a convivial glass, said he. This proposition, like the other, was received with unanimous applause. Having himself deposited the important stone in a small deal box, purchased from the landlady for the purpose, he placed himself in an arm-chair, at the head of the table; and the evening was devoted to festivity and conversation. It was past eleven oclock--a late hour for the little village of Cobham--when Mr. Pickwick retired to the bedroom which had been prepared for his reception. He threw open the lattice window, and setting his light upon the table, fell into a train of meditation on the hurried events of the two preceding days. The hour and the place were both favourable to contemplation; Mr. Pickwick was roused by the church clock striking twelve. The first stroke of the hour sounded solemnly in his ear, but when the bell ceased the stillness seemed insupportable--he almost felt as if he had lost a companion. He was nervous and excited; and hastily undressing himself and placing his light in the chimney, got into bed. Every one has experienced that disagreeable state of mind, in which a sensation of bodily weariness in vain contends against an inability to sleep. It was Mr. Pickwicks condition at this moment: he tossed first on one side and then on the other; and perseveringly closed his eyes as if to coax himself to slumber. It was of no use. Whether it was the unwonted exertion he had undergone, or the heat, or the brandy-and-water, or the strange bed--whatever it was, his thoughts kept reverting very uncomfortably to the grim pictures downstairs, and the old stories to which they had given rise in the course of the evening. After half an hours tumbling about, he came to the unsatisfactory conclusion, that it was of no use trying to sleep; so he got up and partially dressed himself. Anything, he thought, was better than lying there fancying all kinds of horrors. He looked out of the window--it was very dark. He walked about the room--it was very lonely. He had taken a few turns from the door to the window, and from the window to the door, when the clergymans manuscript for the first time entered his head. It was a good thought. if it failed to interest him, it might send him to sleep. He took it from his coat pocket, and drawing a small table towards his bedside, trimmed the light, put on his spectacles, and composed himself to read. It was a strange handwriting, and the paper was much soiled and blotted. The title gave him a sudden start, too; and he could not avoid casting a wistful glance round the room. Reflecting on the absurdity of giving way to such feelings, however, he trimmed the light again, and read as follows:-- A MADMANS MANUSCRIPT Yes!--a madmans! How that word would have struck to my heart, many years ago! How it would have roused the terror that used to come upon me sometimes, sending the blood hissing and tingling through my veins, till the cold dew of fear stood in large drops upon my skin, and my knees knocked together with fright! I like it now though. Its a fine name. Show me the monarch whose angry frown was ever feared like the glare of a madmans eye--whose cord and axe were ever half so sure as a madmans gripe. Ho! ho! Its a grand thing to be mad! to be peeped at like a wild lion through the iron bars--to gnash ones teeth and howl, through the long still night, to the merry ring

The Pickwick Papers page 66        The Pickwick Papers page 68