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The Pickwick Papers 94







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compassion, had put his arm round the widows waist; and the widow, in a passion of grief, had clasped Toms hand. She looked up in Toms face, and smiled through her tears. Tom looked down in hers, and smiled through his. I never could find out, gentlemen, whether Tom did or did not kiss the widow at that particular moment. He used to tell my uncle he didnt, but I have my doubts about it. Between ourselves, gentlemen, I rather think he did. At all events, Tom kicked the very tall man out at the front door half an hour later, and married the widow a month after. And he used to drive about the country, with the clay-coloured gig with the red wheels, and the vixenish mare with the fast pace, till he gave up business many years afterwards, and went to France with his wife; and then the old house was pulled down. Will you allow me to ask you, said the inquisitive old gentleman, what became of the chair? Why, replied the one-eyed bagman, it was observed to creak very much on the day of the wedding; but Tom Smart couldnt say for certain whether it was with pleasure or bodily infirmity. He rather thought it was the latter, though, for it never spoke afterwards. Everybody believed the story, didnt they? said the dirty- faced man, refilling his pipe. Except Toms enemies, replied the bagman. Some of em said Tom invented it altogether; and others said he was drunk and fancied it, and got hold of the wrong trousers by mistake before he went to bed. But nobody ever minded what THEY said. Tom Smart said it was all true? Every word. And your uncle? Every letter. They must have been very nice men, both of em, said the dirty-faced man. Yes, they were, replied the bagman; very nice men indeed!

CHAPTER XV

IN WHICH IS GIVEN A FAITHFUL PORTRAITURE OF TWO DISTINGUISHED PERSONS; AND AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF A PUBLIC BREAKFAST IN THEIR HOUSE AND GROUNDS: WHICH PUBLIC BREAKFAST LEADS TO THE RECOGNITION OF AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE, AND THE COMMENCEMENT OF ANOTHER CHAPTER

Mr. Pickwicks conscience had been somewhat reproaching him for his recent neglect of his friends at the Peacock; and he was just on the point of walking forth in quest of them, on the third morning after the election had terminated, when his faithful valet put into his hand a card, on which was engraved the following inscription:-- Mrs. Leo Hunter THE DEN. EATANSWILL. Persons a-waitin, said Sam, epigrammatically. Does the person want me, Sam? inquired Mr. Pickwick. He wants you partickler; and no one else ll do, as the devils private secretary said ven he fetched avay Doctor Faustus, replied Mr. Weller. HE. Is it a gentleman? said Mr. Pickwick. A wery good imitation o one, if it aint, replied Mr. Weller. But this is a ladys card, said Mr. Pickwick. Given me by a genlmn, howsoever, replied Sam, and hes a-waitin in the drawing-room--said hed rather wait all day, than not see you. Mr. Pickwick, on hearing this determination, descended to the drawing-room, where sat a grave man, who started up on his entrance, and said, with an air of profound respect:-- Mr. Pickwick, I presume? The same. Allow me, Sir, the honour of grasping your hand. Permit me, Sir, to shake it, said the grave man. Certainly, said Mr. Pickwick. The stranger shook the extended hand, and then continued-- We have heard of your fame, sir. The noise of your antiquarian discussion has reached the ears of Mrs. Leo Hunter-- my wife, sir; I am Mr. Leo Hunter--the stranger paused, as if he expected that Mr. Pickwick would be overcome by the disclosure; but seeing that he remained perfectly calm, proceeded-- My wife, sir--Mrs. Leo Hunter--is proud to number among her acquaintance all those who have rendered themselves celebrated by their works and talents. Permit me, sir, to place in a conspicuous part of the list the name of Mr. Pickwick, and his brother-members of the club that derives its name from him. I shall be extremely happy to make the acquaintance of such a lady, sir, replied Mr. Pickwick. You SHALL make it, sir, said the grave man. To-morrow morning, sir, we give a public breakfast--a FETE CHAMPETRE--to a great number of those who have rendered themselves celebrated by their works and talents. Permit Mrs. Leo Hunter, Sir, to have the gratification of seeing you at the

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