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The Pickwick Papers 96







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The Pickwick Papers

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forgot that, said Mr. Snodgrass. I shall go as a bandit,interposed Mr. Tupman. What! said Mr. Pickwick, with a sudden start. As a bandit, repeated Mr. Tupman, mildly. You dont mean to say, said Mr. Pickwick, gazing with solemn sternness at his friend--you dont mean to say, Mr. Tupman, that it is your intention to put yourself into a green velvet jacket, with a two-inch tail? Such IS my intention, Sir, replied Mr. Tupman warmly. And why not, sir? Because, Sir, said Mr. Pickwick, considerably excited-- because you are too old, Sir. Too old! exclaimed Mr. Tupman. And if any further ground of objection be wanting, continued Mr. Pickwick, you are too fat, sir. Sir, said Mr. Tupman, his face suffused with a crimson glow, this is an insult. Sir, replied Mr. Pickwick, in the same tone, it is not half the insult to you, that your appearance in my presence in a green velvet jacket, with a two-inch tail, would be to me. Sir, said Mr. Tupman, youre a fellow. Sir, said Mr. Pickwick, youre another! Mr. Tupman advanced a step or two, and glared at Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwick returned the glare, concentrated into a focus by means of his spectacles, and breathed a bold defiance. Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle looked on, petrified at beholding such a scene between two such men. Sir, said Mr. Tupman, after a short pause, speaking in a low, deep voice, you have called me old. I have, said Mr. Pickwick. And fat. I reiterate the charge. And a fellow. So you are! There was a fearful pause. My attachment to your person, sir, said Mr. Tupman, speaking in a voice tremulous with emotion, and tucking up his wristbands meanwhile, is great--very great--but upon that person, I must take summary vengeance. Come on, Sir! replied Mr. Pickwick. Stimulated by the exciting nature of the dialogue, the heroic man actually threw himself into a paralytic attitude, confidently supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a posture of defence. What! exclaimed Mr. Snodgrass, suddenly recovering the power of speech, of which intense astonishment had previously bereft him, and rushing between the two, at the imminent hazard of receiving an application on the temple from each--what! Mr. Pickwick, with the eyes of the world upon you! Mr. Tupman! who, in common with us all, derives a lustre from his undying name! For shame, gentlemen; for shame. The unwonted lines which momentary passion had ruled in Mr. Pickwicks clear and open brow, gradually melted away, as his young friend spoke, like the marks of a black-lead pencil beneath the softening influence of india-rubber. His countenance had resumed its usual benign expression, ere he concluded. I have been hasty, said Mr. Pickwick, very hasty. Tupman; your hand. The dark shadow passed from Mr. Tupmans face, as he warmly grasped the hand of his friend. I have been hasty, too, said he. No, no, interrupted Mr. Pickwick, the fault was mine. You will wear the green velvet jacket? No, no, replied Mr. Tupman. To oblige me, you will, resumed Mr. Pickwick. Well, well, I will, said Mr. Tupman. It was accordingly settled that Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass, should all wear fancy-dresses. Thus Mr. Pickwick was led by the very warmth of his own good feelings to give his consent to a proceeding from which his better judgment would have recoiled--a more striking illustration of his amiable character could hardly have been conceived, even if the events recorded in these pages had been wholly imaginary. Mr. Leo Hunter had not exaggerated the resources of Mr. Solomon Lucas. His wardrobe was extensive--very extensive-- not strictly classical perhaps, not quite new, nor did it contain any one garment made precisely after the fashion of any age or time, but everything was more or less spangled; and what can be prettier than spangles! It may be objected that they are not adapted to the daylight, but everybody knows that they would glitter if there were lamps; and nothing can be clearer than that if people give fancy-balls in the day-time, and the dresses do not show quite as well as they would by night, the fault lies solely with the people who give the fancy-balls, and is in no wise chargeable on the spangles. Such was the convincing reasoning of Mr. Solomon Lucas; and influenced by such arguments did Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass engage to array themselves in costumes which his taste and experience induced him to recommend as admirably suited to the occasion. A carriage was hired from the Town Arms, for the accommodation of the Pickwickians, and a

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