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The Pickwick Papers 80







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The Pickwick Papers

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London. Mrs. Pott received Mr. Pickwicks paternal grasp of the hand with enchanting sweetness; and Mr. Winkle, who had not been announced at all, sidled and bowed, unnoticed, in an obscure corner. P. my dear--said Mrs. Pott. My life, said Mr. Pott. Pray introduce the other gentleman. I beg a thousand pardons, said Mr. Pott. Permit me, Mrs. Pott, Mr.-- Winkle, said Mr. Pickwick. Winkle, echoed Mr. Pott; and the ceremony of introduction was complete. We owe you many apologies, maam, said Mr. Pickwick, for disturbing your domestic arrangements at so short a notice. I beg you wont mention it, sir, replied the feminine Pott, with vivacity. It is a high treat to me, I assure you, to see any new faces; living as I do, from day to day, and week to week, in this dull place, and seeing nobody. Nobody, my dear! exclaimed Mr. Pott archly. Nobody but you, retorted Mrs. Pott, with asperity. You see, Mr. Pickwick, said the host in explanation of his wifes lament, that we are in some measure cut off from many enjoyments and pleasures of which we might otherwise partake. My public station, as editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE, the position which that paper holds in the country, my constant immersion in the vortex of politics-- P. my dear-- interposed Mrs. Pott. My life-- said the editor. I wish, my dear, you would endeavour to find some topic of conversation in which these gentlemen might take some rational interest. But, my love, said Mr. Pott, with great humility, Mr. Pickwick does take an interest in it. Its well for him if he can, said Mrs. Pott emphatically; I am wearied out of my life with your politics, and quarrels with the INDEPENDENT, and nonsense. I am quite astonished, P., at your making such an exhibition of your absurdity. But, my dear-- said Mr. Pott. Oh, nonsense, dont talk to me, said Mrs. Pott. Do you play ecarte, Sir? I shall be very happy to learn under your tuition, replied Mr. Winkle. Well, then, draw that little table into this window, and let me get out of hearing of those prosy politics. Jane, said Mr. Pott, to the servant who brought in candles, go down into the office, and bring me up the file of the GAZETTE for eighteen hundred and twenty-six. Ill read you, added the editor, turning to Mr. Pickwick--Ill just read you a few of the leaders I wrote at that time upon the Buff job of appointing a new tollman to the turnpike here; I rather think theyll amuse you. I should like to hear them very much indeed, said Mr. Pickwick. Up came the file, and down sat the editor, with Mr. Pickwick at his side. We have in vain pored over the leaves of Mr. Pickwicks note-book, in the hope of meeting with a general summary of these beautiful compositions. We have every reason to believe that he was perfectly enraptured with the vigour and freshness of the style; indeed Mr. Winkle has recorded the fact that his eyes were closed, as if with excess of pleasure, during the whole time of their perusal. The announcement of supper put a stop both to the game of ecarte, and the recapitulation of the beauties of the Eatanswill GAZETTE. Mrs. Pott was in the highest spirits and the most agreeable humour. Mr. Winkle had already made considerable progress in her good opinion, and she did not hesitate to inform him, confidentially, that Mr. Pickwick was a delightful old dear. These terms convey a familiarity of expression, in which few of those who were intimately acquainted with that colossal-minded man, would have presumed to indulge. We have preserved them, nevertheless, as affording at once a touching and a convincing proof of the estimation in which he was held by every class of society, and the case with which he made his way to their hearts and feelings. It was a late hour of the night--long after Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass had fallen asleep in the inmost recesses of the Peacock--when the two friends retired to rest. Slumber soon fell upon the senses of Mr. Winkle, but his feelings had been excited, and his admiration roused; and for many hours after sleep had rendered him insensible to earthly objects, the face and figure of the agreeable Mrs. Pott presented themselves again and again to his wandering imagination. The noise and bustle which ushered in the morning were sufficient to dispel from the mind of the most romantic visionary in existence, any associations but those which were immediately connected with the rapidly-approaching election. The

The Pickwick Papers page 79        The Pickwick Papers page 81