'I should like to see you do it, Sir,' said Mr. Noddy.
'You shall FEEL me do it in half a minute, Sir,' replied Mr. Gunter.
'I request that you'll favour me with your card, Sir,' saidMr. Noddy.
'I'll do nothing of the kind, Sir,' replied Mr. Gunter.
'Why not, Sir?' inquired Mr. Noddy.
'Because you'll stick it up over your chimney-piece, and deludeyour visitors
into the false belief that a gentleman has been tosee you, Sir,' replied Mr. Gunter.
'Sir, a friend of mine shall wait on you in the morning,' saidMr. Noddy.
'Sir, I'm very much obliged to you for the caution, and I'llleave particular
directions with the servant to lock up the spoons,'replied Mr. Gunter.
At this point the remainder of the guests interposed, andremonstrated with both
parties on the impropriety of theirconduct; on which Mr. Noddy begged to state that
his father wasquite as respectable as Mr. Gunter's father; to which Mr. Gunterreplied
that his father was to the full as respectable as Mr. Noddy'sfather, and that his
father's son was as good a man as Mr. Noddy,any day in the week. As this announcement
seemed the preludeto a recommencement of the dispute, there was another interferenceon
the part of the company; and a vast quantity oftalking and clamouring ensued, in
the course of which Mr. Noddygradually allowed his feelings to overpower him, and
professedthat he had ever entertained a devoted personal attachmenttowards Mr. Gunter.
To this Mr. Gunter replied that, upon thewhole, he rather preferred Mr. Noddy to
his own brother; onhearing which admission, Mr. Noddy magnanimously rose fromhis
seat, and proffered his hand to Mr. Gunter. Mr. Guntergrasped it with affecting
fervour; and everybody said that thewhole dispute had been conducted in a manner
which was highlyhonourable to both parties concerned.
'Now,' said Jack Hopkins, 'just to set us going again, Bob, Idon't mind singing
a song.' And Hopkins, incited thereto bytumultuous applause, plunged himself at
once into 'The King,God bless him,' which he sang as loud as he could, to a novel
air,compounded of the 'Bay of Biscay,' and 'A Frog he would.'The chorus was the
essence of the song; and, as each gentlemansang it to the tune he knew best, the
effect was very striking indeed.
It was at the end of the chorus to the first verse, that Mr.Pickwick held up
his hand in a listening attitude, and said, assoon as silence was restored--
'Hush! I beg your pardon. I thought I heard somebody callingfrom upstairs.'
A profound silence immediately ensued; and Mr. Bob Sawyerwas observed to turn
'I think I hear it now,' said Mr. Pickwick. 'Have the goodnessto open the door.'
The door was no sooner opened than all doubt on the subjectwas removed.
'Mr. Sawyer! Mr. Sawyer!' screamed a voice from the two-pair landing.
'It's my landlady,' said Bob Sawyer, looking round him withgreat dismay. 'Yes,
'What do you mean by this, Mr. Sawyer?' replied the voice,with great shrillness
and rapidity of utterance. 'Ain't it enoughto be swindled out of one's rent, and
money lent out of pocketbesides, and abused and insulted by your friends that dares
tocall themselves men, without having the house turned out of thewindow, and noise
enough made to bring the fire-engines here,at two o'clock in the morning?--Turn
them wretches away.'
'You ought to be ashamed of yourselves,' said the voice ofMr. Raddle, which appeared
to proceed from beneath somedistant bed-clothes.
'Ashamed of themselves!' said Mrs. Raddle. 'Why don't yougo down and knock 'em
every one downstairs? You would ifyou was a man.''I should if I was a dozen men,
my dear,' replied Mr. Raddlepacifically, 'but they have the advantage of me in numbers,
'Ugh, you coward!' replied Mrs. Raddle, with supreme contempt.'DO you mean to
turn them wretches out, or not, Mr. Sawyer?'
'They're going, Mrs. Raddle, they're going,' said the miserableBob. 'I am afraid
you'd better go,' said Mr. Bob Sawyer to hisfriends. 'I thought you were making
too much noise.'
'It's a very unfortunate thing,' said the prim man. 'Just as wewere getting so
comfortable too!' The prim man was justbeginning to have a dawning recollection
of the story he had forgotten.
'It's hardly to be borne,' said the prim man, looking round.'Hardly to be borne,
'Not to be endured,' replied Jack Hopkins; 'let's have theother verse, Bob. Come,
'No, no, Jack, don't,' interposed Bob Sawyer; 'it's a capitalsong, but I am afraid
we had better not have the other verse.They are very violent people, the people
of the house.'
'Shall I step upstairs, and pitch into the landlord?' inquiredHopkins, 'or keep
on ringing the bell, or go and groan on thestaircase? You may command me, Bob.'
'I am very much indebted to you for your friendship and good-nature, Hopkins,'
said the wretched Mr. Bob Sawyer, 'but Ithink the best plan to avoid any further
dispute is for us tobreak up at once.'
'Now, Mr. Sawyer,' screamed the shrill voice of Mrs. Raddle,'are them brutes
'They're only looking for their hats, Mrs. Raddle,' said Bob;'they are going
'Going!' said Mrs. Raddle, thrusting her nightcap over thebanisters just as Mr.
Pickwick, followed by Mr. Tupman,emerged from the sitting-room. 'Going! what did
they evercome for?'
'My dear ma'am,' remonstrated Mr. Pickwick, looking up.
'Get along with you, old wretch!' replied Mrs. Raddle, hastilywithdrawing the
nightcap. 'Old enough to be his grandfather,you willin! You're worse than any of
Mr. Pickwick found it in vain to protest his innocence, sohurried downstairs
into the street, whither he was closelyfollowed by Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr.
Snodgrass.Mr. Ben Allen, who was dismally depressed with spirits andagitation, accompanied
them as far as London Bridge, and in thecourse of the walk confided to Mr. Winkle,
as an especiallyeligible person to intrust the secret to, that he was resolved tocut
the throat of any gentleman, except Mr. Bob Sawyer, whoshould aspire to the affections
of his sister Arabella. Havingexpressed his determination to perform this painful
duty of abrother with proper firmness, he burst into tears, knocked his hatover
his eyes, and, making the best of his way back, knockeddouble knocks at the door
of the Borough Market office,and took short naps on the steps alternately, until
daybreak,under the firm impression that he lived there, and had forgottenthe key.
The visitors having all departed, in compliance with the ratherpressing request
of Mrs. Raddle, the luckless Mr. Bob Sawyerwas left alone, to meditate on the probable
events of to-morrow,and the pleasures of the evening.
CHAPTER XXXIIIMr. WELLER THE ELDER DELIVERS SOME CRITICAL SENTIMENTSRESPECTING
LITERARY COMPOSITION; AND,ASSISTED BY HIS SON SAMUEL, PAYS A SMALL INSTALMENTOF
RETALIATION TO THE ACCOUNT OF THE REVERENDGENTLEMAN WITH THE RED NOSE
The morning of the thirteenth of February, which the readers ofthis authentic
narrative know, as well as we do, to have been the dayimmediately preceding that
which was appointed for the trial ofMrs. Bardell's action, was a busy time for Mr.
Samuel Weller, whowas perpetually engaged in travelling from the George and Vulture
toMr. Perker's chambers and back again, from and between the hoursof nine o'clock
in the morning and two in the afternoon, bothinclusive. Not that there was anything
whatever to be done, for theconsultation had taken place, and the course of proceeding
to beadopted, had been finally determined on; but Mr. Pickwick being ina most extreme
state of excitement, persevered in constantlysending small notes to his attorney,
merely containing the inquiry,'Dear Perker. Is all going on well?' to which Mr.
Perkerinvariably forwarded the reply, 'Dear Pickwick. As well aspossible'; the fact
being, as we have already hinted, that therewas nothing whatever to go on, either
well or ill, until thesitting of the court on the following morning.
But people who go voluntarily to law, or are taken forciblythere, for the first
time, may be allowed to labour under sometemporary irritation and anxiety; and Sam,
with a due allowancefor the frailties of human nature, obeyed all his master's behestswith
that imperturbable good-humour and unruffable composurewhich formed one of his most
striking and amiable characteristics.
Sam had solaced himself with a most agreeable little dinner,and was waiting at
the bar for the glass of warm mixture in whichMr. Pickwick had requested him to
drown the fatigues of hismorning's walks, when a young boy of about three feet high,
orthereabouts, in a hairy cap and fustian overalls, whose garbbespoke a laudable
ambition to attain in time the elevation ofan hostler, entered the passage of the
George and Vulture, andlooked first up the stairs, and then along the passage, and
theninto the bar, as if in search of somebody to whom he bore acommission; whereupon
the barmaid, conceiving it notimprobable that the said commission might be directed
to the tea ortable spoons of the establishment, accosted the boy with--
'Now, young man, what do you want?'
'Is there anybody here, named Sam?' inquired the youth, in aloud voice of treble
'What's the t'other name?' said Sam Weller, looking round.
'How should I know?' briskly replied the young gentlemanbelow the hairy cap.'You're
a sharp boy, you are,' said Mr. Weller; 'only Iwouldn't show that wery fine edge
too much, if I was you, in caseanybody took it off. What do you mean by comin' to
a hot-el,and asking arter Sam, vith as much politeness as a vild Indian?'
''Cos an old gen'l'm'n told me to,' replied the boy.
'What old gen'l'm'n?' inquired Sam, with deep disdain.
'Him as drives a Ipswich coach, and uses our parlour,' rejoinedthe boy. 'He told
me yesterday mornin' to come to the Georgeand Wultur this arternoon, and ask for
'It's my father, my dear,' said Mr. Weller, turning with anexplanatory air to
the young lady in the bar; 'blessed if I thinkhe hardly knows wot my other name
is. Well, young brockileysprout, wot then?'
'Why then,' said the boy, 'you was to come to him at sixo'clock to our 'ouse,
'cos he wants to see you--Blue Boar,Leaden'all Markit. Shall I say you're comin'?'
'You may wenture on that 'ere statement, Sir,' replied Sam.And thus empowered,
the young gentleman walked away,awakening all the echoes in George Yard as he did
so, withseveral chaste and extremely correct imitations of a drover'swhistle, delivered
in a tone of peculiar richness and volume.
Mr. Weller having obtained leave of absence from Mr. Pickwick,who, in his then
state of excitement and worry, was by nomeans displeased at being left alone, set
forth, long before theappointed hour, and having plenty of time at his disposal,sauntered
down as far as the Mansion House, where he pausedand contemplated, with a face of
great calmness and philosophy,the numerous cads and drivers of short stages who
assemble nearthat famous place of resort, to the great terror and confusion ofthe
old-lady population of these realms. Having loitered here, forhalf an hour or so,
Mr. Weller turned, and began wending hisway towards Leadenhall Market, through a
variety of by-streetsand courts. As he was sauntering away his spare time, andstopped
to look at almost every object that met his gaze, it is byno means surprising that
Mr. Weller should have paused beforea small stationer's and print-seller's window;
but without furtherexplanation it does appear surprising that his eyes should haveno
sooner rested on certain pictures which were exposed for saletherein, than he gave
a sudden start, smote his right leg withgreat vehemence, and exclaimed, with energy,
'if it hadn't beenfor this, I should ha' forgot all about it, till it was too late!'
The particular picture on which Sam Weller's eyes were fixed,as he said this,
was a highly-coloured representation of a coupleof human hearts skewered together
with an arrow, cookingbefore a cheerful fire, while a male and female cannibal inmodern
attire, the gentleman being clad in a blue coat and whitetrousers, and the lady
in a deep red pelisse with a parasol of thesame, were approaching the meal with
hungry eyes, up a serpentinegravel path leading thereunto. A decidedly indelicate
younggentleman, in a pair of wings and nothing else, was depicted assuperintending
the cooking; a representation of the spire of thechurch in Langham Place, London,
appeared in the distance;and the whole formed a 'valentine,' of which, as a writteninscription
in the window testified, there was a large assortmentwithin, which the shopkeeper
pledged himself to dispose of, to hiscountrymen generally, at the reduced rate of
'I should ha' forgot it; I should certainly ha' forgot it!' saidSam; so saying,
he at once stepped into the stationer's shop, andrequested to be served with a sheet
of the best gilt-edged letter-paper, and a hard-nibbed pen which could be warranted
not tosplutter. These articles having been promptly supplied, hewalked on direct
towards Leadenhall Market at a good roundpace, very different from his recent lingering
one. Looking roundhim, he there beheld a signboard on which the painter's art haddelineated
something remotely resembling a cerulean elephantwith an aquiline nose in lieu of
trunk. Rightly conjecturing thatthis was the Blue Boar himself, he stepped into
the house, andinquired concerning his parent.
'He won't be here this three-quarters of an hour or more,' saidthe young lady
who superintended the domestic arrangements ofthe Blue Boar.