The Pickwick Papers
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'Very well,' said the magistrate. 'These are two cut-throats from
London, who have come down here to destroy his Majesty's
population, thinking that at this distance from the capital, the
arm of the law is weak and paralysed. They shall be made an
example of. Draw up the warrants, Mr. Jinks. Muzzle!'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Is Grummer downstairs?'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Send him up.'
The obsequious Muzzle retired, and presently returned,
introducing the elderly gentleman in the top-boots, who was
chiefly remarkable for a bottle-nose, a hoarse voice, a snuff-
coloured surtout, and a wandering eye.
'Grummer,' said the magistrate.
'Is the town quiet now?'
'Pretty well, your Wash-up,' replied Grummer. 'Pop'lar feeling
has in a measure subsided, consekens o' the boys having
dispersed to cricket.'
'Nothing but vigorous measures will do in these times,
Grummer,' said the magistrate, in a determined manner. 'if the
authority of the king's officers is set at naught, we must have the
riot act read. If the civil power cannot protect these windows,
Grummer, the military must protect the civil power, and the
windows too. I believe that is a maxim of the constitution,
'Certainly, sir,' said Jinks.
'Very good,' said the magistrate, signing the warrants.
'Grummer, you will bring these persons before me, this afternoon.
You will find them at the Great White Horse. You recollect the
case of the Middlesex Dumpling and the Suffolk Bantam, Grummer?'
Mr. Grummer intimated, by a retrospective shake of the head,
that he should never forget it--as indeed it was not likely he
would, so long as it continued to be cited daily.
'This is even more unconstitutional,' said the magistrate; 'this
is even a greater breach of the peace, and a grosser infringement
of his Majesty's prerogative. I believe duelling is one of his
Majesty's most undoubted prerogatives, Mr. Jinks?'
'Expressly stipulated in Magna Charta, sir,' said Mr. Jinks.
'One of the brightest jewels in the British crown, wrung from
his Majesty by the barons, I believe, Mr. Jinks?' said the
'Just so, Sir,' replied Mr. Jinks.
'Very well,' said the magistrate, drawing himself up proudly,
'it shall not be violated in this portion of his dominions. Grummer,
procure assistance, and execute these warrants with as little
delay as possible. Muzzle!'
'Yes, your Worship.'
'Show the lady out.'
Miss Witherfield retired, deeply impressed with the magistrate's
learning and research; Mr. Nupkins retired to lunch;
Mr. Jinks retired within himself--that being the only retirement
he had, except the sofa-bedstead in the small parlour which was
occupied by his landlady's family in the daytime--and Mr.
Grummer retired, to wipe out, by his mode of discharging his
present commission, the insult which had been fastened upon
himself, and the other representative of his Majesty--the beadle
--in the course of the morning.
While these resolute and determined preparations for the
conservation of the king's peace were pending, Mr. Pickwick and
his friends, wholly unconscious of the mighty events in progress,
had sat quietly down to dinner; and very talkative and
companionable they all were. Mr. Pickwick was in the very act of
relating his adventure of the preceding night, to the great amusement
of his followers, Mr. Tupman especially, when the door
opened, and a somewhat forbidding countenance peeped into the
room. The eyes in the forbidding countenance looked very
earnestly at Mr. Pickwick, for several seconds, and were to all
appearance satisfied with their investigation; for the body to
which the forbidding countenance belonged, slowly brought
itself into the apartment, and presented the form of an elderly
individual in top-boots--not to keep the reader any longer
in suspense, in short, the eyes were the wandering eyes of
Mr. Grummer, and the body was the body of the same gentleman.
Mr. Grummer's mode of proceeding was professional, but
peculiar. His first act was to bolt the door on the inside; his
second, to polish his head and countenance very carefully with a
cotton handkerchief; his third, to place his hat, with the cotton
handkerchief in it, on the nearest chair; and his fourth, to
produce from the breast-pocket of his coat a short truncheon,
surmounted by a brazen crown, with which he beckoned to
Mr. Pickwick with a grave and ghost-like air.
Mr. Snodgrass was the first to break the astonished silence.
He looked steadily at Mr. Grummer for a brief space, and then
said emphatically, 'This is a private room, Sir. A private room.'
Mr. Grummer shook his head, and replied, 'No room's private
to his Majesty when the street door's once passed. That's law.
Some people maintains that an Englishman's house is his castle.
The Pickwickians gazed on each other with wondering eyes.
'Which is Mr. Tupman?' inquired Mr. Grummer. He had an
intuitive perception of Mr. Pickwick; he knew him at once.
'My name's Tupman,' said that gentleman.
'My name's Law,' said Mr. Grummer.
'What?' said Mr. Tupman.
'Law,' replied Mr. Grummer--'Law, civil power, and exekative;
them's my titles; here's my authority. Blank Tupman, blank
Pickwick--against the peace of our sufferin' lord the king--
stattit in the case made and purwided--and all regular. I apprehend
you Pickwick! Tupman--the aforesaid.'
'What do you mean by this insolence?' said Mr. Tupman,
starting up; 'leave the room!'
'Hollo,' said Mr. Grummer, retreating very expeditiously to
the door, and opening it an inch or two, 'Dubbley.'
'Well,' said a deep voice from the passage.
'Come for'ard, Dubbley.'
At the word of command, a dirty-faced man, something over
six feet high, and stout in proportion, squeezed himself through
the half-open door (making his face very red in the process), and
entered the room.
'Is the other specials outside, Dubbley?' inquired Mr. Grummer.
Mr. Dubbley, who was a man of few words, nodded assent.
'Order in the diwision under your charge, Dubbley,' said
Mr. Dubbley did as he was desired; and half a dozen men, each
with a short truncheon and a brass crown, flocked into the room.
Mr. Grummer pocketed his staff, and looked at Mr. Dubbley;
Mr. Dubbley pocketed his staff and looked at the division; the
division pocketed their staves and looked at Messrs. Tupman
Mr. Pickwick and his followers rose as one man.
'What is the meaning of this atrocious intrusion upon my
privacy?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Who dares apprehend me?' said Mr. Tupman.
'What do you want here, scoundrels?' said Mr. Snodgrass.
Mr. Winkle said nothing, but he fixed his eyes on Grummer,
and bestowed a look upon him, which, if he had had any feeling,
must have pierced his brain. As it was, however, it had no visible
effect on him whatever.
When the executive perceived that Mr. Pickwick and his
friends were disposed to resist the authority of the law, they very
significantly turned up their coat sleeves, as if knocking them
down in the first instance, and taking them up afterwards, were a
mere professional act which had only to be thought of to be done,
as a matter of course. This demonstration was not lost upon
Mr. Pickwick. He conferred a few moments with Mr. Tupman
apart, and then signified his readiness to proceed to the mayor's
residence, merely begging the parties then and there assembled,
to take notice, that it was his firm intention to resent this monstrous
invasion of his privileges as an Englishman, the instant he
was at liberty; whereat the parties then and there assembled
laughed very heartily, with the single exception of Mr. Grummer,
who seemed to consider that any slight cast upon the divine
right of magistrates was a species of blasphemy not to be tolerated.
But when Mr. Pickwick had signified his readiness to bow to
the laws of his country, and just when the waiters, and hostlers,
and chambermaids, and post-boys, who had anticipated a
delightful commotion from his threatened obstinacy, began to
turn away, disappointed and disgusted, a difficulty arose which
had not been foreseen. With every sentiment of veneration for the
constituted authorities, Mr. Pickwick resolutely protested against
making his appearance in the public streets, surrounded and
guarded by the officers of justice, like a common criminal.
Mr. Grummer, in the then disturbed state of public feeling (for
it was half-holiday, and the boys had not yet gone home), as