The Pickwick Papers
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There was a certain degree of pride and importance about
being wanted by one's lawyers in such a monstrous hurry, that
was by no means displeasing to Mrs. Bardell, especially as it
might be reasonably supposed to enhance her consequence in the
eyes of the first-floor lodger. She simpered a little, affected
extreme vexation and hesitation, and at last arrived at the
conclusion that she supposed she must go.
'But won't you refresh yourself after your walk, Mr. Jackson?'
said Mrs. Bardell persuasively.
'Why, really there ain't much time to lose,' replied Jackson;
'and I've got a friend here,' he continued, looking towards the
man with the ash stick.
'Oh, ask your friend to come here, Sir,' said Mrs. Bardell.
'Pray ask your friend here, Sir.'
'Why, thank'ee, I'd rather not,' said Mr. Jackson, with some
embarrassment of manner. 'He's not much used to ladies' society,
and it makes him bashful. If you'll order the waiter to deliver him
anything short, he won't drink it off at once, won't he!--only
try him!' Mr. Jackson's fingers wandered playfully round his nose
at this portion of his discourse, to warn his hearers that he was
The waiter was at once despatched to the bashful gentleman,
and the bashful gentleman took something; Mr. Jackson also
took something, and the ladies took something, for hospitality's
sake. Mr. Jackson then said he was afraid it was time to go;
upon which, Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Cluppins, and Tommy (who it
was arranged should accompany Mrs. Bardell, leaving the others
to Mr. Raddle's protection), got into the coach.
'Isaac,' said Jackson, as Mrs. Bardell prepared to get in,
looking up at the man with the ash stick, who was seated on the
box, smoking a cigar.
'This is Mrs. Bardell.'
'Oh, I know'd that long ago,' said the man.
Mrs. Bardell got in, Mr. Jackson got in after her, and away
they drove. Mrs. Bardell could not help ruminating on what
Mr. Jackson's friend had said. Shrewd creatures, those lawyers.
Lord bless us, how they find people out!
'Sad thing about these costs of our people's, ain't it,' said
Jackson, when Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders had fallen
asleep; 'your bill of costs, I mean.'
'I'm very sorry they can't get them,' replied Mrs. Bardell. 'But
if you law gentlemen do these things on speculation, why you
must get a loss now and then, you know.'
'You gave them a COGNOVIT for the amount of your costs, after
the trial, I'm told!' said Jackson.
'Yes. Just as a matter of form,' replied Mrs. Bardell.
'Certainly,' replied Jackson drily. 'Quite a matter of form. Quite.'
On they drove, and Mrs. Bardell fell asleep. She was awakened,
after some time, by the stopping of the coach.
'Bless us!' said the lady .'Are we at Freeman's Court?'
'We're not going quite so far,' replied Jackson. 'Have the
goodness to step out.'
Mrs. Bardell, not yet thoroughly awake, complied. It was a
curious place: a large wall, with a gate in the middle, and a gas-
light burning inside.
'Now, ladies,' cried the man with the ash stick, looking into
the coach, and shaking Mrs. Sanders to wake her, 'Come!'
Rousing her friend, Mrs. Sanders alighted. Mrs. Bardell, leaning
on Jackson's arm, and leading Tommy by the hand, had already
entered the porch. They followed.
The room they turned into was even more odd-looking than
the porch. Such a number of men standing about! And they
'What place is this?' inquired Mrs. Bardell, pausing.
'Only one of our public offices,' replied Jackson, hurrying her
through a door, and looking round to see that the other women
were following. 'Look sharp, Isaac!'
'Safe and sound,' replied the man with the ash stick. The door
swung heavily after them, and they descended a small flight of steps.
'Here we are at last. All right and tight, Mrs. Bardell!' said
Jackson, looking exultingly round.
'What do you mean?' said Mrs. Bardell, with a palpitating heart.
'Just this,' replied Jackson, drawing her a little on one side;
'don't be frightened, Mrs. Bardell. There never was a more
delicate man than Dodson, ma'am, or a more humane man than
Fogg. It was their duty in the way of business, to take you in
execution for them costs; but they were anxious to spare your
feelings as much as they could. What a comfort it must be, to
you, to think how it's been done! This is the Fleet, ma'am. Wish
you good-night, Mrs. Bardell. Good-night, Tommy!'
As Jackson hurried away in company with the man with the
ash stick another man, with a key in his hand, who had been
looking on, led the bewildered female to a second short flight of
steps leading to a doorway. Mrs. Bardell screamed violently;
Tommy roared; Mrs. Cluppins shrunk within herself; and Mrs.
Sanders made off, without more ado. For there stood the injured
Mr. Pickwick, taking his nightly allowance of air; and beside him
leant Samuel Weller, who, seeing Mrs. Bardell, took his hat off
with mock reverence, while his master turned indignantly on his heel.
'Don't bother the woman,' said the turnkey to Weller; 'she's
just come in.'
'A prisoner!' said Sam, quickly replacing his hat. 'Who's the
plaintives? What for? Speak up, old feller.'
'Dodson and Fogg,' replied the man; 'execution on COGNOVIT
'Here, Job, Job!' shouted Sam, dashing into the passage. 'Run
to Mr. Perker's, Job. I want him directly. I see some good in this.
Here's a game. Hooray! vere's the gov'nor?'
But there was no reply to these inquiries, for Job had started
furiously off, the instant he received his commission, and Mrs.
Bardell had fainted in real downright earnest.
IS CHIEFLY DEVOTED TO MATTERS OF BUSINESS, AND
THE TEMPORAL ADVANTAGE OF DODSON AND FOGG--
Mr. WINKLE REAPPEARS UNDER EXTRAORDINARY
CIRCUMSTANCES--Mr. PICKWICK'S BENEVOLENCE PROVES
STRONGER THAN HIS OBSTINACY
Job Trotter, abating nothing of his speed, ran up Holborn,
sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes on the
pavement, sometimes in the gutter, as the chances of getting along
varied with the press of men, women, children, and coaches, in
each division of the thoroughfare, and, regardless of all obstacles
stopped not for an instant until he reached the gate of Gray's
Inn. Notwithstanding all the expedition he had used, however,
the gate had been closed a good half-hour when he reached it, and
by the time he had discovered Mr. Perker's laundress, who lived
with a married daughter, who had bestowed her hand upon a
non-resident waiter, who occupied the one-pair of some number
in some street closely adjoining to some brewery somewhere
behind Gray's Inn Lane, it was within fifteen minutes of closing
the prison for the night. Mr. Lowten had still to be ferreted out
from the back parlour of the Magpie and Stump; and Job had
scarcely accomplished this object, and communicated Sam
Weller's message, when the clock struck ten.
'There,' said Lowten, 'it's too late now. You can't get in
to-night; you've got the key of the street, my friend.'
'Never mind me,' replied Job. 'I can sleep anywhere. But won't
it be better to see Mr. Perker to-night, so that we may be there,
the first thing in the morning?'
'Why,' responded Lowten, after a little consideration, 'if it was
in anybody else's case, Perker wouldn't be best pleased at my
going up to his house; but as it's Mr. Pickwick's, I think I may
venture to take a cab and charge it to the office.' Deciding on this
line of conduct, Mr. Lowten took up his hat, and begging the
assembled company to appoint a deputy-chairman during his
temporary absence, led the way to the nearest coach-stand.
Summoning the cab of most promising appearance, he directed
the driver to repair to Montague Place, Russell Square.
Mr. Perker had had a dinner-party that day, as was testified
by the appearance of lights in the drawing-room windows, the
sound of an improved grand piano, and an improvable cabinet
voice issuing therefrom, and a rather overpowering smell of meat
which pervaded the steps and entry. In fact, a couple of very good
country agencies happening to come up to town, at the same
time, an agreeable little party had been got together to meet them,
comprising Mr. Snicks, the Life Office Secretary, Mr. Prosee, the
eminent counsel, three solicitors, one commissioner of bankrupts,
a special pleader from the Temple, a small-eyed peremptory
young gentleman, his pupil, who had written a lively book about
the law of demises, with a vast quantity of marginal notes and
references; and several other eminent and distinguished personages.
From this society, little Mr. Perker detached himself, on his
clerk being announced in a whisper; and repairing to the dining-
room, there found Mr. Lowten and Job Trotter looking very dim
and shadowy by the light of a kitchen candle, which the gentleman
who condescended to appear in plush shorts and cottons
for a quarterly stipend, had, with a becoming contempt for the
clerk and all things appertaining to 'the office,' placed upon the table.