« PreviousContinue »
Mr. Poti, the editor of the Eatanswill Gazette. After a few preliminary remarks, Mr. Pott turned round to Mr. Pickwick, and said with solemnity:
" This contest excites great interest in the metropolis, Sir ?' "I believe it does,' said Mr. Pickwick.
"To which I have reason to know,' said Pott, looking toward Mr. Perker for cortoboration, to which I have reason to know my article of last Saturday in some degree contributed.'
"Not the least doubt of that,' said the little man.
, that I have never abused the enormous power I wield. I trust, Sir, that I have never pointed the noble instrument which is placed in my hands, against the sacred bosom of private life, or the tender breast of individual reputation ; I trust, Sir, that I have devoted my energies to - to endeavors – humble they may be, humble I know they are — to instil those principles of which
-are"Here the editor of the Eatans will Gazette appearing to ramble, Mr. Pickwick came to his relief, and said:
"And what, Sir' – said Pott—'what Sir, let me ask you, as an impartial man, is the state of the public mind in London, with reference to my coniest with the Independent?'
“Greatly excited, no doubt,' interposed Mr. Perker, with a look of slyness which was very likely accidental.
"That contest,' said Pott, 'shall be prolonged so long as I have health and strength, and that portion of talent with which I am gifted. From that contest, Sir, although it may unsettle men's minds and excite their feelings, and render them incapable for the discharge of the every-day duties of ordinary life ; from that contest, Sir, I will never shrink, till I have set my heel upon the Eatanswill Indeper.dent. I wish the people of London, and the people of this country to know, Sir, that they may rely upon me; that I will not desert them; that I am resolved to stand by them, Sir, io the last.'
"Your conduct is most noble, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick; and he grasped the hand of the magnanimous Pott.
“You are, Sir, I perceive, a man of sense and talent,' said Mr. Pott, almost breathless with the vehemence of his patriotic declaration. 'I am most happy, Sir, to make the acquaintance of such a man."
Sam Weller, the illustrious Pickwick's illustrious servant – an original in every sense — thus replies to a remark of wonder and surprise on the part of his master, that such strange tricks upon independent voters should be practised by the people of Eatanswill:
“Strange practices, these,' said Mr. Pickwick, half speaking to himself, and half addressing Sam.
“Not half so strange as a miraculous circumstance as happened to my own father, at an election-time, in this werry place, Sir,' replied Sam.
"What was that ? inquired Mr. Pickwick.
"«Why he drove a coach down here once,' said Sam; "Lection time came on, and he was engaged by vun party to bring down woters from London. Night afore he was a going to drive up, committee on t'other side sends for him quietly, and away he goes vith the messenger, who shows him in ; - large room - lots of gen'l'm'n - heaps of papers, pens and ink, and all that 'ere. 'Ah, Mr. Weller,' says the gen'l'm'n in the chair, glad to see you, Sir; how are you?' – Werry well, ihank’ee, Sir,', says my father; 'I hope you're pretty middlin,' says he – 'Pretty well, thank’ee, Sir, says the gen'l'm'n ; 'sit down, Mr. Weller -- pray sit down, Sir.'
my father sits down, and he and the gen'l'm'n looks werry hard at each other. “You don't remember me?' says the gen'l'm'n. 'Can't say I do,' says my father. 'Oh, I know you,' says the gen'l'm'n; 'know'd you ven you was a boy,' says he. Well, I don't remember you,' says my father. That's werry odd,' says the gen'l'm'n.. Werry,' says my father, You must have a bad mem'ry, Mr. Weller,' says the gen'l'm'n. Well, it is a werry bad 'un,' says my father. 'I thought so,' says the gen'l'm'n. So then they pours him out a glass o' wine, and gammons him about driving, and gets him into a reg'lar good humor, and at last shoves a twenty pound note in his hand. It's a werry bad road betweent his and London,' says the gen'l'm'n. 'Here and there it is a werry heavy road,' says my father. "Specially near the canal, I think,' says the gen'l'm'n. Nasty bit, that 'ere,' says my father. "Well, Mr. Weller,' says the gen'l'm'n,, ' you're a werry good whip, and can do what you like with your horses, we know. We're all werry fond o' you, Mr. Weller, so in case you should have an accident when you're a bringing these here woters down, and should tip 'em over into the canal vithout hurtin' 'em, this is for yourself,' says he. Gen'l'm'n, you're werry kind,' says my father, and I'll drink your health in another glass of wine, says he; vich he did, and then buttons up the money, and bows himself out. You vouldn't believe, Sir,' continued Sam, with a look of inex. pressible imprudence at his master, 'that on the werry day as he came down with thema
woters, his coach was upset on that 'ere werry spo, and ev'ry man on 'em was turned into the canal !'
** And got out again ?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, hastily.
"Why, replied Sam, very slowly, 'I rather think one oldgentleman was inissin'; I know his bat was found, but I a’n't quite certain whether his head was in it or not. But what I look at, is the hex-traordinary, and wonderful coincidence, that arter what that gen'l'm'n said, my father's coach should be upset in that werry place, and on that werry day!'”
We wish we had space for the admirable view of the interior of Dodson and Fog's la w-office, and the faithful and striking picture of the unprincipled class to which those worthies belong; but we must defer for the present farther notice of the Pickwickians.
* The Tuggs's at Ramsgate' have a short and simple but most humorous and instructive history. Mr. Joseph Tuggs, grocer, in a narrow street near the London Bridge, on the Surrey side of the Thames, is a green grocer. By the unexpected decision of a long-pending law suit, respecting the validity of a will, he suddenly becomes the possessor of ewenty thousand pounds. The change effected in the views of the grocer and his family, by this fortunate result, is thus depicted :
“A prolonged consultation took place that night in the little parlor - a consultation that was to settle the future destinies of the Tuggs'. The shop was shut up at an unusually early hour; and many were the unavailing kicks bestowed upon the closed door by applicants for quarterns of sugar, or half quarterns of bread, or penn'orths of pepper, which were to have been left till Saturday,' but which fortune had decreed were to be left alone altogether.
" We must certainly give up husiness,' said Miss Tuggs.
"I'll take care o' all that,' responded Mr. Joseph Tuggs, complacently. He was al that very moment eating pickled salmon with a pocket-knife. ". We must leave town immediately,' said Mr. Cymon Tuggs.
Every body concurred that this was an indispensable preliminary to being genteel. The question then arose – - where should they go ?
“Gravesend,' mildly suggested Mr. Joseph Tuggs. The idea was unanimously scouted. Gravesend was low.
" Margate,' insinuated Mrs. Tuggs. "Worse and worse — nobody there but tradespeople.'
“* Brighton ! Mr. Cymon Tuggs opposed an insurmountable objection. All the coaches had been upset in their turn within the last three weeks; each coach had averaged two passengers killed, and six wounded; and in every case the newspapers had distinctly understood that "no blame whatever was attributable to the coachman.'
"• Ramsgate!' ejaculated Mr. Cymon, thoughtfully. To be sure: how stupid they must have been not to have thought of that before. Ramsgate was just the place of all others that they ought to go to."
Passing the fine description of the voyage to Ramsgate, and the graphic portraits of the scheming Captain Waters and his lady, let us step on shore with the Tuggs's, from the newly-arrived steamer:
"The sun was shining brightly - the sea, dancing to its own music, rolled merrily in; crowds of people promenaded to and fro; young ladies littered, old ladies talked, nurse-maids displayed their charms to the greatest possible advantage, and their sweet little charges ran up and down, and to and fro, and in and out, under the feet, and between the legs of the assembled concourse, in the most playful and exhilarating manner possible. There were old gentlemen trying to make out objects through long telescopes, and young ones making objects of themselves in open shirt collars; ladies carrying about portable chairs, and portable chairs carrying about invalids. Parties were waiting on the pier for parties who had come by the steam-boat; and nothing was to be heard but talking, laughing, welcoming, and merriment.
"Fly, Sir?' exclaimed a chorus of fourteen men and six boys, the moment that Mr. Joseph Tuggs, at the head of his little party, had set foot in the street.
"Here's the gen'l'm'n at last !' said one, louching his hat with mock politeness.
Werry glad to see you, Sir been waitin' for you this six weeks. Jump in, if you please, Sir.'
“Nice light fly, and a fast trotter, Sir,' said another; 'fourteen mile a hour, and surroundin' objects rendered inwisible by hextreme welocity!
"Large fly for your luggage, Sir,' cried a third. "Werry large fly bere, Sir - reg'lar blue-hottle!
Here's your fly, Sir! shouted another aspiring charioteer, mounting the box, and inducing an old gray horse to indulge in some imperfect reminiscences of a canter. 'Look at him, Sir! temper of a lamb and haction of a steam-ingin.'
“Resisting even the temptation of securing the services of so valuable a quadruped as the last named, Mr. Joseph Tuggs beckoned to the proprietor of a dingy conveyance of a greenish hue, lined with faded striped calico; and the luggage and the family having heen deposited therein, the animal in the shafts, after describing circles in the road for a quarter of an hour, at last consented to depart in quest of lodgings.
“How many beds have you got ?' screamed Mrs. Tuggs out of the fly, to the woman who opened the door of the first house, which displayed a bill, intimating that apartments were to be let within.
" How many did you want, ma'am ?' was of course the reply. “Three.'
"Will you step in, ma'am ?' Down got Mrs. Tuggs. The family were delighted. Splendid view of the sea from the front windows — charming! A short pausc. Back came Mrs. Tuggs again. One parlor, and a matress.
"Why did n't they say so at first ?' inquired Mr. Joseph Tuggs, rațher pettishly. "Don't know,' said Mrs. Tuggs.
“« Wretches ! exclaimed the nervous Cymon. Another bill — another stoppage. Same question - same answer - similar result.
"What do they mean by this ? inquired Mr. Joseph Tuggs, thoroughly out of temper.
"Do n't know,' said the placid Mrs. Tuggs.
""Orvis the vay here, Sir,' said the driver, by way of accounting for the circumstance in a satisfactory manner; and off they went again, to make fresli inquiries, and encounter fresh disappointments.
"It had grown dusk when the 'fly' – the rate of whose progress greatly belied its name - after climbing up four or five perpendicular hills, stopped before the door of a dusty house, with a bay window, from which you could obtain a beautiful glimpse of the sea
- if you thrust half your body out of it, at the imminent peril of falling into the area. Mrs. Tuggs alighted. One ground floor, sitting-room, and three cells, with beds in them up stairs -- a double house – family on the opposite side -- five children milkand-watering in the parlor, and one dear little boy, expelled for bad behaviour, screaming on his back in the passage.”
A fashionable donkey-ride to the adjoining village of Pegwell, by the Tuggs's and Waters's is fruitful of ill adventure. For example:
** Kum up!' shouted one of the two boys who followed behind to propel the donkeys, when Belinda Waters and Charlotta Tuggs had been hoisted, and pushed, and pulled into their respective saddles.
"Hi-hi-hi!' groaned the other boy behind Mr. Cymon Tugge. Away went the donkey, with the stirrups jingling against the heels of Cymon's boots, and Cymon's boots nearly scraping the ground.
Way-way! Wo-o-o- !' cried Mr. Cymon Tuggs, as well as he could, in the midst of the jolting.
Do n't make it gallop!' screamed Mrs. Captain Waters, behind.
Hi-hi-hí!' groaned both the boys together; and on went the donkeys as if nothing would ever stop them.
Every thing has an end, however, and even the galloping of donkeys will cease in time. The animal which Mr. Cymon Tuggs bestrode, feeling sundry uncomfortable tugs at the bit, the object of which he could by no means understand, abruptly sidled against a brick wall
, and expressed his uneasiness by grinding Mr. Cymon Tugg's leg on the rough surface. Mrs. Captain Waters's donkey, apparently under the influence of some playfulness of spirit, rushed suddenly, head first, into a hedge, and declined to come out again: and the quadruped on which Miss Tuggs was mounted, expressed his delight at this humorous proceeding, by firmly planting his fore-feet against the ground, and kicking up his hind-legs in a very agile, but somewhat alarming manner.
"This abrupt termination to the rapidity of the ride, naturally occasioned some confusion. Both the ladies indulged in vehement screaming for several minutes; and Mr. Cymon Tuggs, beside sustaining intense bodily pain, had the additional mental anguish of witnessing their distressing situation, without the power to rescue them, by reason of his leg being firmly screwed in between the animal and the wall. The efforts of the boys, however, assisted by the ingenious expedient of twisting the tail of the most rebel
lious donkey, restored order in a much shorter time than could have reasonably been expected, and the little party jogged slowly on together.”
Leaving, in justice to the publishers, the marrow of the story, to gratify the future curiosity of the reader, we turn to the second tale in the volume, and the only one with which ‘ Boz' has any thing to do — namely, 'Some Passages in the Life of Francis Loosefish, Esq.' The oblique humor of Charles Lamb, and his happy choice of language, may be seen throughout the whole of this sketch. We select a few characteristic extracts:
"I could endure this sort of thing no longer. I felt that I could not. I would pay no more debts. My creditors must consent to remain in statu quo until I could turn myself round. I settled this in my own mind during the preceding night - a night of restless and feverish anxiety. The pleasures of reading are manifold, and while they had me in their books, a record of strange and intense interest would never be wanting to them. I would say to them, in the words of my favorite author,
If you have writ your annals true — 't is there ;' And there, an' it please you, it must continue to remain.
“Filled with this irrevocable resolution, I arose and dressed myself. I must leave my lodgings that very day. It would be well also to arrange and take a mental inventory of my wearing apparel, and goods, chattels, and appurtenances of whatever description. New lodgings are strange, and sometimes dangerous domiciles. Honesty is a scarce article- very few have Blackstone at their fingers' ends. I found, then, after I had completed my toilet, my extra wardrobe to consist of one pair of azure unwhisperables, in a rapid decline from exposure to incessant thorough-drafts -- a shirt which had stuck to me through good and evil report, with more adhesive attachment than did the shirt of Nessus, the Centaur, to the limbs of Hercules — and two pair of old, exceeding old stockings, such as, to judge them by their appearance, might have been knitted by Mary Queen of Scots, for her husband Darnley.
"Over and above this abundance of gear, I could boast a razor, better fitted to take off the beards of oysters than of men — a small tooth-brush, and a large tooth comb, the bristles of one about equal in number to the teeth of the other -- a superannuated hair-brush that could make itself useful as a battledore- and a locket, presented to me by my cousin Ellen, of inestimable worth to me, but of no great intrinsic value : indeed, a nominal relative of mine, whose house may at any time be recognised by its fanciful decoration of three gilded balls, had apprized me, only a few days previously, that the bijou in question was not worth two-pence.”
Mr. Loosefish's reasons for so precipitate a retreat from his lodgings are given in a few words:
"In the first place, Gripe, a sheriff's officer for the county of Middlesex, a man who had paralyzed more shoulder-blades than any two bailiffs extant, was on the look out after me. I had heard -- heard of, nay I had seen him. He was pervading Pentonville like a pestilence, and he wanted to take measure of me, on an old suit, with a long piece of parchment. In the second place, my landlord had disgusted me.
Some men are absurdly unreasonable. He wanted his litule bill. He as I have hinted, at Pentonville. He was by name Sullen, by profession a milkman, by habit a drunkard. Penionville was a pleasant place – very much so. Milk is nuiritious, the breath of cows wholesome. Nor was Sullen, during the earlier period of my sojourn with him, either an unamiable or an unintelleciual character. It was he who exploded the vulgar error that gentlemen in his line put chalk into their milk. He was decisive upon that point. He said it was not chalk.
“But as time wore away, a change much to be deprecated took place in the manners and behaviour of my landlord. Whether it was that his cows yielded milk less kindly than heretofore, or that he himself possessed less of the milk of human kindness, was at that time a problem to me, until at length the unworthy truth flashed upon me. Yes, I saw by the gradually intenser blueness, which was now become blackness of his physiognomy, and the half-and-half pepper-and-salt expression in the face of his wife (a worthy woman, too,) that they expected long arrears of rent from me. They wanted their little bill."
After divers adventures, our hero finds new quarters; but what'him there befel,' is best recorded in his own language: "The landlord, as I entered the house, was staring with all his might at a wizened VOL. IX.
lemon, suspended from a hook in a small net; and yawning, (for by this strange process he had been endeavoring to stave off slumber,) demanded my pleasure. "Can I have a bed here tv-night ?' I inquired, with my accustomed suavity.
""Certainly, Sir,' replied the host, 'if you do not mind sleeping with another gentleman in the room.'
*** Not in the least. Misery, landlord, makes a man acquainted with strange bed-fellows, as our great bard says.?
"Ah!' said the host, as though he understood something, but did not exactly know what. 'Here, Betsey, show this gentleman the room.'
" "This honest fellow sleeps soundly,' thought I, when the girl had retired, and left me alone with my companion;' 'if snoring conduce to slumber, he is fast enough.'
" I stumbled accidentally against the bed. For this I was sorry at the time, for I would not willingly mar the repose of any human being. The unknown turned himself round, with a blaspheming grunt, and I saw his face gradually relapse into quiescent innocuousness. "I saw his face subside, as I have stated, and moved not; for I had no power to
It was Gripe, the bailiff! My Pentonville persecutor lay before me! Aflable wolf! meek bear!' and his withering digits were harmlessly expanded on the counterpane. Now could I have devised engines for his life, but that my senses presently returning, warned me to provide for my own safety. With the cautious retrogression of a crab, therefore, I left the dreaded sleeper, and forth with applied the little foolscap of an extinguisher to the candle, which was perhaps the very wisest thing I ever did in my life. Slinking into bed, I lay in horrible suspense. Perhaps he mighi be dreaming of me, and would rise while slept and by some preternatural instinct lay hands upon his quaking victim. Awaking from uneasy repose, I arose about five in the morning, with a sort of tic douloureux in my left shoulder, impossible to be described.
"The coat of my ruthless companion lay beside me. I took it up and examined the contents of the pockets. Among other slips of parchment, (I think they term them writs,) was one calling upon the sheriff of Middlesex, greeting, to secure me forth with; stating that I owed 541. 8s. to two gentlemen of similar names, and describing me as at present employed in 'running up and down my bailiwick.' This and the other similar documents I destroyed, and dressing myself hastily, took my leave in deep disgust of a man who, hardened by long and debasing custom, had evidently quite forgotten that liberty is not only the birthright but the privilege of Englishmen."
Mr. Loosefish at last takes the advice of a friend of whom he has adroitly borrowed ten pounds, and seeks him out a place where he may superadd board to his lodging. He succeeds in finding a home suited to his ostensible character and condition — sor he is now'unexpectedly detained in London by a law-suit, involving a vast sum, and has foolishly sent on his wardrobe, (except a small change of linen,) to Paris, where his father the General has long resided.' At the end of his first three weeks, in his new lodgings, the landlady intimates, obliquely, that she thinks it high time somebody had a sight of somebody's money.' In vain Mr. Loosefish starts at the knock of the postman, and curses his Parisian correspondent. His hostess 'smokes' him. She, too, wants her little bill.' He is 'perplext in the extreme,' and - after severe mental struggles, and calculating the chances of a loan from some of the boarders, whose apparent dispositions, gathered from a short acquaintance, he canvasses with great discrimination – he at last pitches upon a benevolent, exemplary lodger, a great favorite with the landlady, who is understood to be very wealthy, as the man best fitted to be favored with an opportunity of conferring a small obligation upon him, in the loan of ten pounds. What follows cannot be clipped of a paragraph. It is rich and rare:
“One night I was left alone with the philanthropist. The ladies had gone to a minor theatre with tickets; Cox was rasping away at his violoncello in the back parlor. Trotter was dozing over the fire, with the calon one knee, and a cotton pocket-handkerchief (he hated Bandanas) on the other. He looked the impersonation of disinterestedness. Ten pounds! It was a trifle.
À cough was no bad introduction to subjects of this nature. I was seized with an opportune fit, which awoke him,
'I am really very rude to fall asleep in your company,' said the benevolent creature. “Not in the least, Mr. Trotter,' said I, with a polite bow. The time was come. I trembled with agitauon.
« «Will you excuse, Mr. Trotter,' I resumed, 'the liberty I am about to take, in asking a very extraordinary favor. My agent, Sir, has been culpably remiss — my remittances