The Pickwick Papers
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imbibe its contents, we cannot distinctly affirm. We only know
that he paused suddenly, drew a long and deep breath, and
looked anxiously on, as two of the principal members of the
Dingley Dell club approached Mr. Pickwick, and said--
'We are about to partake of a plain dinner at the Blue Lion,
Sir; we hope you and your friends will join us.'
'Of course,' said Mr. Wardle, 'among our friends we include
Mr.--;' and he looked towards the stranger.
'Jingle,' said that versatile gentleman, taking the hint at once.
'Jingle--Alfred Jingle, Esq., of No Hall, Nowhere.'
'I shall be very happy, I am sure,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'So shall I,' said Mr. Alfred Jingle, drawing one arm through
Mr. Pickwick's, and another through Mr. Wardle's, as he
whispered confidentially in the ear of the former gentleman:--
'Devilish good dinner--cold, but capital--peeped into the
room this morning--fowls and pies, and all that sort of thing--
pleasant fellows these--well behaved, too--very.'
There being no further preliminaries to arrange, the company
straggled into the town in little knots of twos and threes; and
within a quarter of an hour were all seated in the great room of
the Blue Lion Inn, Muggleton--Mr. Dumkins acting as chairman,
and Mr. Luffey officiating as vice.
There was a vast deal of talking and rattling of knives and
forks, and plates; a great running about of three ponderous-
headed waiters, and a rapid disappearance of the substantial
viands on the table; to each and every of which item of confusion,
the facetious Mr. Jingle lent the aid of half-a-dozen ordinary men
at least. When everybody had eaten as much as possible, the cloth
was removed, bottles, glasses, and dessert were placed on the
table; and the waiters withdrew to 'clear away,'or in other words,
to appropriate to their own private use and emolument whatever
remnants of the eatables and drinkables they could contrive to
lay their hands on.
Amidst the general hum of mirth and conversation that ensued,
there was a little man with a puffy Say-nothing-to-me,-or-I'll-
contradict-you sort of countenance, who remained very quiet;
occasionally looking round him when the conversation slackened,
as if he contemplated putting in something very weighty; and
now and then bursting into a short cough of inexpressible
grandeur. At length, during a moment of comparative silence, the
little man called out in a very loud, solemn voice,--
Everybody was hushed into a profound stillness as the individual
'I wish to address a few words to you, Sir, if you will entreat the
gentlemen to fill their glasses.'
Mr. Jingle uttered a patronising 'Hear, hear,' which was
responded to by the remainder of the company; and the glasses
having been filled, the vice-president assumed an air of wisdom
in a state of profound attention; and said--
'Sir,' said the little man, rising, 'I wish to address what I have
to say to you and not to our worthy chairman, because our
worthy chairman is in some measure--I may say in a great degree
--the subject of what I have to say, or I may say to--to--'
'State,' suggested Mr. Jingle.
'Yes, to state,' said the little man, 'I thank my honourable
friend, if he will allow me to call him so (four hears and one
certainly from Mr. Jingle), for the suggestion. Sir, I am a Deller
--a Dingley Deller (cheers). I cannot lay claim to the honour of
forming an item in the population of Muggleton; nor, Sir, I will
frankly admit, do I covet that honour: and I will tell you why, Sir
(hear); to Muggleton I will readily concede all these honours and
distinctions to which it can fairly lay claim--they are too numerous
and too well known to require aid or recapitulation from me.
But, sir, while we remember that Muggleton has given birth to a
Dumkins and a Podder, let us never forget that Dingley Dell can
boast a Luffey and a Struggles. (Vociferous cheering.) Let me not
be considered as wishing to detract from the merits of the former
gentlemen. Sir, I envy them the luxury of their own feelings on
this occasion. (Cheers.) Every gentleman who hears me, is
probably acquainted with the reply made by an individual, who
--to use an ordinary figure of speech--"hung out" in a tub, to
the emperor Alexander:--"if I were not Diogenes," said he, "I
would be Alexander." I can well imagine these gentlemen to say,
"If I were not Dumkins I would be Luffey; if I were not Podder
I would be Struggles." (Enthusiasm.) But, gentlemen of Muggleton,
is it in cricket alone that your fellow-townsmen stand pre-eminent?
Have you never heard of Dumkins and determination?
Have you never been taught to associate Podder with property?
(Great applause.) Have you never, when struggling for your
rights, your liberties, and your privileges, been reduced, if only
for an instant, to misgiving and despair? And when you have
been thus depressed, has not the name of Dumkins laid afresh
within your breast the fire which had just gone out; and has not a
word from that man lighted it again as brightly as if it had never
expired? (Great cheering.) Gentlemen, I beg to surround with a
rich halo of enthusiastic cheering the united names of "Dumkins
Here the little man ceased, and here the company commenced
a raising of voices, and thumping of tables, which lasted with
little intermission during the remainder of the evening. Other
toasts were drunk. Mr. Luffey and Mr. Struggles, Mr. Pickwick
and Mr. Jingle, were, each in his turn, the subject of unqualified
eulogium; and each in due course returned thanks for the honour.
Enthusiastic as we are in the noble cause to which we have
devoted ourselves, we should have felt a sensation of pride which
we cannot express, and a consciousness of having done something
to merit immortality of which we are now deprived, could we
have laid the faintest outline on these addresses before our ardent
readers. Mr. Snodgrass, as usual, took a great mass of notes,
which would no doubt have afforded most useful and valuable
information, had not the burning eloquence of the words or the
feverish influence of the wine made that gentleman's hand so
extremely unsteady, as to render his writing nearly unintelligible,
and his style wholly so. By dint of patient investigation, we have
been enabled to trace some characters bearing a faint resemblance
to the names of the speakers; and we can only discern an entry of
a song (supposed to have been sung by Mr. Jingle), in which the
words 'bowl' 'sparkling' 'ruby' 'bright' and 'wine' are frequently
repeated at short intervals. We fancy, too, that we can discern at
the very end of the notes, some indistinct reference to 'broiled
bones'; and then the words 'cold' 'without' occur: but as any
hypothesis we could found upon them must necessarily rest upon
mere conjecture, we are not disposed to indulge in any of the
speculations to which they may give rise.
We will therefore return to Mr. Tupman; merely adding that
within some few minutes before twelve o'clock that night, the
convocation of worthies of Dingley Dell and Muggleton were
heard to sing, with great feeling and emphasis, the beautiful and
pathetic national air of
'We won't go home till morning,
We won't go home till morning,
We won't go home till morning,
Till daylight doth appear.'
STRONGLY ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE POSITION, THAT THE
COURSE OF TRUE LOVE IS NOT A RAILWAY
The quiet seclusion of Dingley Dell, the presence of so many
of the gentler sex, and the solicitude and anxiety they evinced
in his behalf, were all favourable to the growth and development
of those softer feelings which nature had implanted deep in the
bosom of Mr. Tracy Tupman, and which now appeared destined to
centre in one lovely object. The young ladies were pretty,
their manners winning, their dispositions unexceptionable; but
there was a dignity in the air, a touch-me-not-ishness in the
walk, a majesty in the eye, of the spinster aunt, to which, at their
time of life, they could lay no claim, which distinguished her
from any female on whom Mr. Tupman had ever gazed. That there
was something kindred in their nature, something congenial in
their souls, something mysteriously sympathetic in their bosoms,
was evident. Her name was the first that rose to Mr. Tupman's
lips as he lay wounded on the grass; and her hysteric laughter
was the first sound that fell upon his ear when he was supported
to the house. But had her agitation arisen from an amiable and
feminine sensibility which would have been equally irrepressible
in any case; or had it been called forth by a more ardent and
passionate feeling, which he, of all men living, could alone
awaken? These were the doubts which racked his brain as he lay
extended on the sofa; these were the doubts which he determined
should be at once and for ever resolved.
it was evening. Isabella and Emily had strolled out with
Mr. Trundle; the deaf old lady had fallen asleep in her chair; the
snoring of the fat boy, penetrated in a low and monotonous
sound from the distant kitchen; the buxom servants were
lounging at the side door, enjoying the pleasantness of the hour,
and the delights of a flirtation, on first principles, with certain
unwieldy animals attached to the farm; and there sat the interesting
pair, uncared for by all, caring for none, and dreaming only
of themselves; there they sat, in short, like a pair of carefully-
folded kid gloves--bound up in each other.
'I have forgotten my flowers,' said the spinster aunt.
'Water them now,' said Mr. Tupman, in accents of persuasion.
'You will take cold in the evening air,' urged the spinster aunt
'No, no,' said Mr. Tupman, rising; 'it will do me good. Let me
The lady paused to adjust the sling in which the left arm of the
youth was placed, and taking his right arm led him to the garden.
There was a bower at the farther end, with honeysuckle,
jessamine, and creeping plants--one of those sweet retreats
which humane men erect for the accommodation of spiders.