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How like a justice there he sits, or 'squire,
"Stop !" cried the lad, still deeper vex'd in mind,
"Stop! father, stop! let me get up behind."
This done, they thought they certainly should please,
Escape reproaches, and be both at ease;
For having tried each practicable way,
What could be left for jokers now to say?
Still disappointed by succeeding tone,
"Hark ye, you fellows! is that ass your own?
Get off; for shame! or one of you at least,
You both deserve to carry the poor beast,
Ready to drop down upon the road,
With such a huge unconscionable load."
On this they both dismounted; and some say
Contrived to carry, like a truss of hay,
The ass between 'em; prints, they add, are seen,
With man and lad, slinging the ass between!
Others omit that fancy in the print,
As overstraining an ingenious hint.
The copy that we follow, says, the man
SPEECH OF SERJEANT BUZFUZ ON THE TRIAL OF 'PICKWICK.
Never in the whole course of my professional experience — never, from the very first moment of my applying myself to the study and practice of the law — have I approached a case with feelings of such deep emotion, or with such a heavy sense of the responsibility imposed upon me — a responsibility, I will say, which I could never have supported, were I not buoyed up and sustained by a conviction so strong, that it amounted to positive certainty, that the cause of truth and justice, or, in other words, the cause of my much injured and most oppressed client, must prevail with the high-minded and intelligent dozen of men whom I now see in that box before me.
You have heard from my learned friend, gentlemen, that this is an action for a breach of promise of marriage, in which the damages are laid at j£l500. But you have not heard from my learned friend, inasmuch as it did not come within my learned friend's province to tell you, what are the facts and circumstances of the case. Those facts and circumstances, gentlemen, you shall hear detailed by me, and proved by the unimpeachable female whom I will place in that box before you.
The plaintiff, gentlemen, the plaintiff is a widow; yes, gentlemen, a widow. The late Mr. Bardell, after enjoying, for many years, the esteem and confidence of his sovereign, as one of the guardians of his royal revenues, glided almost imperceptibly from the world, to seek elsewhere for that repose and peace which a custom-house can never afford.
Sometime before his death, he had stamped his likeness upon a little boy. With this little boy, the only pledge of her departed exciseman, Mrs. Bardell shrunk from the world, and courted the retirement and tranquillity of Goswell-street; and here she placed in her front parlour window a written placard, bearing this inscription— "Apartments, furnished for a single gentleman. Enquire within." I entreat the attention of the jury to the wording of this document —" Apartments, furnished for a single gentleman"! Mrs. Bardell's opinions of the opposite sex, gentlemen, were derived from a long contemplation of the inestimable qualities of her lost husband. She had no fear — she had no distrust — she had no suspicion — all was confidence and reliance. Mr. Bardell, said the widow; Mr. Bardell was a man of honor— Mr. Bardell was a man of his word — Mr. Bardell was no deceiver — Mr. Bardell was once a single gentleman himself: to single gentlemen I look for protection, for assistance, for comfort, for consolation — in single gentlemen I shall perpetually see something to remind me of what Mr. Bardell was, when he first won my young and untried affections; to a single gentleman, then, shall my lodgings be let. Actuated by this beautiful and touching impulse, (among the best impulses of our imperfect nature, gentlemen,) the lonely and desolate widow dried her tears, furnished her first floor, caught her innocent boy to her maternal bosom, and put the bill up in her parlour window. Did it remain there long? No. The serpent was on the watch, the train was laid, the mine was preparing, the sapper and miner was at work. Before the bill had been in the window three days — three days, gentlemen — a being, erect upon two legs, and bearing all the outward semblance of a man, and not of a monster, knocked at the door of Mrs. Bardell's house. He enquired within; he took the lodgings; and on the very next day he entered into possession of them. This man was Pickwick — Pickwick the defendant.
Of this man Pickwick I will say little; the subject presents but few attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you, gentlemen, the men to delight in the contemplation of revolting heartlessness, and of systematic villany.
I say systematic villany, gentlemen; and when I say systematic villany, let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he be in court, as I am informed he is, that it would have been more decent in him, more becoming, in better judgment and in better taste, if he had stopped away. Let me tell him, gentlemen, that any gestures of disapprobation in which he may indulge in this court will not go down with you; that you will know how to value and how to appreciate them; and let me tell him further, as my lord will tell you, gentlemen, that a counsel, in the discharge of his duty to his client, is neither to be intimidated nor bullied, nor put down; and that any attempt to do either the one or the other, or the first, or the last, will recoil on the head of the attempter, be he plaintiff or be he defendant, be his name Pickwick, or Noakes, or Stoakes, or Stiles, or Brown, or Thompson.
I shall show you, gentlemen, that for two years Pickwick continued to reside constantly, and without interruption or intermission, at Mrs. Bardell's house. I shall show you that Mrs. Bardell, during the whole of that time, waited on him, attended to his comforts, cooked his meals, looked out his linen for the washerwoman when it went abroad, darned, aired, and prepared it for wear, when it came home, and, in short, enjoyed his fullest trust and confidence. I shall show you that, on many occasions, he gave half-pence, and on some occasions even sixpences, to her little boy; and I shall prove to you, by a witness whose testimony it will be impossible for my learned friend to weaken or controvert, that on one occasion he patted the boy on the head, and, after inquiring whether he had won any alley tors or commoneys lately (both of which I understand to be particular species of marbles much prized by the youth of this town), made use of this remarkable expression — " How should you like to have another father?" I shall prove to you farther, gentlemen, that about a year ago, Pickwick suddenly began to absent himself from home, during long intervals, as if with the intention of gradually breaking off from my client; but I shall show you also, that his resolution was not at that time sufficiently strong, or that his better feelings conquered, if better feelings he has — or that the charms and accomplishments of my client prevailed over his unmanly intentions, by proving to you, that on one occasion, when he returned from the country, he distinctly and in terms, offered her marriage: previously however, taking special care that there should be no witnesses to their solemn contract; and I am in a situation to prove to you, on the testimony of three of his own friends — most unwilling witnesses, gentlemen—most unwilling witnesses—that on that morning he was discovered by them holding the plaintiff in his arms, and soothing her agitation by his caresses and endearments.
And now, gentlemen, but one word more. Two letters have passed between these parties, letters which are admitted to be in the hand-writing of the defendant, and which speak volumes indeed. These letters, too, bespeak the character of the man. They are not open, fervent, eloquent epistles, breathing nothing but the language of affectionate attachment. They are covert, sly, underhanded communications; but, fortunately, far more conclusive than if couched in the most loving language and the most poetic imagery — letters that must be viewed with a cautious and suspicious eye — letters that were evidently intended at the time, by Pickwick, to mislead and delude any third parties into whose hands they might fall. Let me read the first: — " Garraways, twelve o'clock. — Dear Mrs. B. Chops and tomato sauce. Yours, Pickwick." Gentlemen, what does this mean? Chops and tomato sauce, yours, Pickwick! Chops! gracious heavens! and tomato sauce! Gentlemen, is the happiness of a sensitive and confiding female to be trifled away by such shallow artifices as these? The next has no date whatever, which is in itself suspicious. —" Dear Mrs. B., I shall not be at home till to-morrow. Slow coach." And then follows this very remarkable expression — "Don't trouble yourself about the warming-pan!" The warming-pan! Why, gentlemen, who does trouble himself about a warming-pan? When was the peace of mind of man or woman broken or disturbed by a warming-pan, which is in itself a harmless, a useful, and I will add, gentlemen, a comforting article of domestic furniture? Why is Mrs. Bardell so earnestly entreated not to agitate herself about this warming-pan, unless (as is no doubt the case) it is a mere cover for hidden fire — a mere substitute for some endearing word or promise, agreeably to a preconcerted system of correspondence, artfully contrived by Pickwick with a view to his contemplated desertion, and which I am not in a condition to explain? And what does this allusion to the slow coach mean? For ought I know, it may be a reference to Pickwick himself, who has most unquestionably been a criminally slow coach during the whole of this transaction, but whose speed will now be very unexpectedly accelerated, and whose wheels, gentlemen, as he will find to his cost, will very soon be greased by you!