The Pickwick Papers
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'Henry Beller was for many years toast-master at various
corporation dinners, during which time he drank a great deal of
foreign wine; may sometimes have carried a bottle or two home
with him; is not quite certain of that, but is sure if he did, that he
drank the contents. Feels very low and melancholy, is very
feverish, and has a constant thirst upon him; thinks it must be
the wine he used to drink (cheers). Is out of employ now; and
never touches a drop of foreign wine by any chance (tremendous
'Thomas Burton is purveyor of cat's meat to the Lord Mayor
and Sheriffs, and several members of the Common Council (the
announcement of this gentleman's name was received with
breathless interest). Has a wooden leg; finds a wooden leg
expensive, going over the stones; used to wear second-hand
wooden legs, and drink a glass of hot gin-and-water regularly
every night--sometimes two (deep sighs). Found the second-hand
wooden legs split and rot very quickly; is firmly persuaded that
their constitution was undermined by the gin-and-water (prolonged
cheering). Buys new wooden legs now, and drinks
nothing but water and weak tea. The new legs last twice as long
as the others used to do, and he attributes this solely to his
temperate habits (triumphant cheers).'
Anthony Humm now moved that the assembly do regale itself
with a song. With a view to their rational and moral enjoyment,
Brother Mordlin had adapted the beautiful words of 'Who hasn't
heard of a Jolly Young Waterman?' to the tune of the Old
Hundredth, which he would request them to join him in singing
(great applause). He might take that opportunity of expressing his
firm persuasion that the late Mr. Dibdin, seeing the errors of his
former life, had written that song to show the advantages of
abstinence. It was a temperance song (whirlwinds of cheers). The
neatness of the young man's attire, the dexterity of his feathering,
the enviable state of mind which enabled him in the beautiful
words of the poet, to
'Row along, thinking of nothing at all,'
all combined to prove that he must have been a water-drinker
(cheers). Oh, what a state of virtuous jollity! (rapturous cheering).
And what was the young man's reward? Let all young men present
'The maidens all flocked to his boat so readily.'
(Loud cheers, in which the ladies joined.) What a bright example!
The sisterhood, the maidens, flocking round the young waterman,
and urging him along the stream of duty and of temperance.
But, was it the maidens of humble life only, who soothed, consoled,
and supported him? No!
'He was always first oars with the fine city ladies.'
(Immense cheering.) The soft sex to a man--he begged pardon,
to a female--rallied round the young waterman, and turned with
disgust from the drinker of spirits (cheers). The Brick Lane
Branch brothers were watermen (cheers and laughter). That room
was their boat; that audience were the maidens; and he (Mr.
Anthony Humm), however unworthily, was 'first oars'
'Wot does he mean by the soft sex, Sammy?' inquired Mr.
Weller, in a whisper.
'The womin,' said Sam, in the same tone.
'He ain't far out there, Sammy,' replied Mr. Weller; 'they
MUST be a soft sex--a wery soft sex, indeed--if they let themselves
be gammoned by such fellers as him.'
Any further observations from the indignant old gentleman
were cut short by the announcement of the song, which Mr.
Anthony Humm gave out two lines at a time, for the information
of such of his hearers as were unacquainted with the legend.
While it was being sung, the little man with the drab shorts
disappeared; he returned immediately on its conclusion, and
whispered Mr. Anthony Humm, with a face of the deepest importance.
'My friends,' said Mr. Humm, holding up his hand in a
deprecatory manner, to bespeak the silence of such of the stout
old ladies as were yet a line or two behind; 'my friends, a delegate
from the Dorking Branch of our society, Brother Stiggins,
Out came the pocket-handkerchiefs again, in greater force
than ever; for Mr. Stiggins was excessively popular among the
female constituency of Brick Lane.
'He may approach, I think,' said Mr. Humm, looking round
him, with a fat smile. 'Brother Tadger, let him come forth and
The little man in the drab shorts who answered to the name of
Brother Tadger, bustled down the ladder with great speed, and
was immediately afterwards heard tumbling up with the Reverend
'He's a-comin', Sammy,' whispered Mr. Weller, purple in the
countenance with suppressed laughter.
'Don't say nothin' to me,' replied Sam, 'for I can't bear it. He's
close to the door. I hear him a-knockin' his head again the lath
and plaster now.'
As Sam Weller spoke, the little door flew open, and Brother
Tadger appeared, closely followed by the Reverend Mr. Stiggins,
who no sooner entered, than there was a great clapping of hands,
and stamping of feet, and flourishing of handkerchiefs; to all of
which manifestations of delight, Brother Stiggins returned no
other acknowledgment than staring with a wild eye, and a fixed
smile, at the extreme top of the wick of the candle on the table,
swaying his body to and fro, meanwhile, in a very unsteady and
'Are you unwell, Brother Stiggins?' whispered Mr. Anthony Humm.
'I am all right, Sir,' replied Mr. Stiggins, in a tone in which
ferocity was blended with an extreme thickness of utterance; 'I
am all right, Sir.'
'Oh, very well,' rejoined Mr. Anthony Humm, retreating a few paces.
'I believe no man here has ventured to say that I am not all
right, Sir?' said Mr. Stiggins.
'Oh, certainly not,' said Mr. Humm.
'I should advise him not to, Sir; I should advise him not,' said
By this time the audience were perfectly silent, and waited
with some anxiety for the resumption of business.
'Will you address the meeting, brother?' said Mr. Humm, with
a smile of invitation.
'No, sir,' rejoined Mr. Stiggins; 'No, sir. I will not, sir.'
The meeting looked at each other with raised eyelids; and a
murmur of astonishment ran through the room.
'It's my opinion, sir,' said Mr. Stiggins, unbuttoning his coat,
and speaking very loudly--'it's my opinion, sir, that this meeting
is drunk, sir. Brother Tadger, sir!' said Mr. Stiggins, suddenly
increasing in ferocity, and turning sharp round on the little man
in the drab shorts, 'YOU are drunk, sir!' With this, Mr. Stiggins,
entertaining a praiseworthy desire to promote the sobriety of the
meeting, and to exclude therefrom all improper characters, hit
Brother Tadger on the summit of the nose with such unerring
aim, that the drab shorts disappeared like a flash of lightning.
Brother Tadger had been knocked, head first, down the ladder.
Upon this, the women set up a loud and dismal screaming;
and rushing in small parties before their favourite brothers, flung
their arms around them to preserve them from danger. An
instance of affection, which had nearly proved fatal to Humm,
who, being extremely popular, was all but suffocated, by the
crowd of female devotees that hung about his neck, and heaped
caresses upon him. The greater part of the lights were quickly
put out, and nothing but noise and confusion resounded on all sides.
'Now, Sammy,' said Mr. Weller, taking off his greatcoat with
much deliberation, 'just you step out, and fetch in a watchman.'
'And wot are you a-goin' to do, the while?' inquired Sam.
'Never you mind me, Sammy,' replied the old gentleman; 'I
shall ockipy myself in havin' a small settlement with that 'ere
Stiggins.' Before Sam could interfere to prevent it, his heroic
parent had penetrated into a remote corner of the room, and
attacked the Reverend Mr. Stiggins with manual dexterity.
'Come off!' said Sam.
'Come on!' cried Mr. Weller; and without further invitation
he gave the Reverend Mr. Stiggins a preliminary tap on the head,
and began dancing round him in a buoyant and cork-like
manner, which in a gentleman at his time of life was a perfect
marvel to behold.
Finding all remonstrances unavailing, Sam pulled his hat
firmly on, threw his father's coat over his arm, and taking the old
man round the waist, forcibly dragged him down the ladder, and
into the street; never releasing his hold, or permitting him to
stop, until they reached the corner. As they gained it, they could
hear the shouts of the populace, who were witnessing the removal
of the Reverend Mr. Stiggins to strong lodgings for the night,
and could hear the noise occasioned by the dispersion in various
directions of the members of the Brick Lane Branch of the
United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association.
IS WHOLLY DEVOTED TO A FULL AND FAITHFUL REPORT
OF THE MEMORABLE TRIAL OF BARDELL AGAINST PICKWICK
'I wonder what the foreman of the jury, whoever he'll be, has got
for breakfast,' said Mr. Snodgrass, by way of keeping up a
conversation on the eventful morning of the fourteenth of February.
'Ah!' said Perker, 'I hope he's got a good one.'