Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 15 In which is given a faithful Portraiture of two distinguishe_ersons; and an accurate Description of a public Breakfast in their House an_rounds: which public Breakfast leads to the Recognition of an ol_cquaintance, and the Commencement of

  • Mr. Pickwick’s conscience had been somewhat reproaching him for his recen_eglect of his friends at the Peacock; and he was just on the point of walkin_orth in quest of them, on the third morning after the election ha_erminated, when his faithful valet put into his hand a card, on which wa_ngraved the following inscription:—
  • Mrs. Leo Hunter
  • The Den. Eatanswill.
  • ‘Person’s a–waitin’,’ said Sam, epigrammatically.
  • ‘Does the person want me, Sam?’ inquired Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘He wants you partickler; and no one else ‘ll do, as the devil’s privat_ecretary said ven he fetched avay Doctor Faustus,’ replied Mr. Weller.
  • ‘He. Is it a gentleman?’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘A wery good imitation o’ one, if it ain’t,’ replied Mr. Weller.
  • ‘But this is a lady’s card,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Given me by a gen’l’m’n, howsoever,’ replied Sam, ‘and he’s a–waitin’ in th_rawing–room—said he’d rather wait all day, than not see you.’
  • Mr. Pickwick, on hearing this determination, descended to the drawing–room, where sat a grave man, who started up on his entrance, and said, with an ai_f profound respect:—
  • ‘Mr. Pickwick, I presume?’
  • ‘The same.’
  • ‘Allow me, Sir, the honour of grasping your hand. Permit me, Sir, to shak_t,’ said the grave man.
  • ‘Certainly,’ said Mr. Pickwick. The stranger shook the extended hand, and the_ontinued—
  • ‘We have heard of your fame, sir. The noise of your antiquarian discussion ha_eached the ears of Mrs. Leo Hunter—my wife, sir; I am Mr. Leo Hunter’—th_tranger paused, as if he expected that Mr. Pickwick would be overcome by th_isclosure; but seeing that he remained perfectly calm, proceeded—
  • ‘My wife, sir—Mrs. Leo Hunter—is proud to number among her acquaintance al_hose who have rendered themselves celebrated by their works and talents.
  • Permit me, sir, to place in a conspicuous part of the list the name of Mr.
  • Pickwick, and his brother–members of the club that derives its name from him.’
  • ‘I shall be extremely happy to make the acquaintance of such a lady, sir,’ replied Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘You shall make it, sir,’ said the grave man. ‘To–morrow morning, sir, we giv_ public breakfast—a fete champetre—to a great number of those who hav_endered themselves celebrated by their works and talents. Permit Mrs. Le_unter, Sir, to have the gratification of seeing you at the Den.’
  • ‘With great pleasure,’ replied Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Mrs. Leo Hunter has many of these breakfasts, Sir,’ resumed the ne_cquaintance—’“feasts of reason,” sir, “and flows of soul,” as somebody wh_rote a sonnet to Mrs. Leo Hunter on her breakfasts, feelingly and originall_bserved.’
  • ‘Was he celebrated for his works and talents?’ inquired Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘He was Sir,’ replied the grave man, ‘all Mrs. Leo Hunter’s acquaintances are; it is her ambition, sir, to have no other acquaintance.’
  • ‘It is a very noble ambition,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘When I inform Mrs. Leo Hunter, that that remark fell from your lips, sir, sh_ill indeed be proud,’ said the grave man. ‘You have a gentleman in you_rain, who has produced some beautiful little poems, I think, sir.’
  • ‘My friend Mr. Snodgrass has a great taste for poetry,’ replied Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘So has Mrs. Leo Hunter, Sir. She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I ma_ay that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She ha_roduced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her “Od_o an Expiring Frog,” sir.’
  • ‘I don’t think I have,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘You astonish me, Sir,’ said Mr. Leo Hunter. ‘It created an immense sensation.
  • It was signed with an “L” and eight stars, and appeared originally in a lady’_agazine. It commenced—
  • ‘“Can I view thee panting, lying.
  • On thy stomach, without sighing;
  • Can I unmoved see thee dying
  • On a log
  • Expiring frog!”’
  • ‘Beautiful!’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Fine,’ said Mr. Leo Hunter; ‘so simple.’
  • ‘Very,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘The next verse is still more touching. Shall I repeat it?’
  • ‘If you please,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘It runs thus,’ said the grave man, still more gravely.
  • ‘“Say, have fiends in shape of boys,
  • With wild halloo, and brutal noise,
  • Hunted thee from marshy joys,
  • With a dog,
  • Expiring frog!”’
  • ‘Finely expressed,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘All point, Sir,’ said Mr. Leo Hunter; ‘but you shall hear Mrs. Leo Hunter repeat it. She can do justice to it, Sir.
  • She will repeat it, in character, Sir, to–morrow morning.’
  • ‘In character!’
  • ‘As Minerva. But I forgot—it’s a fancy–dress dejeune.’
  • ‘Dear me,’ said Mr. Pickwick, glancing at his own figure—‘I can’t possibly—’
  • ‘Can’t, sir; can’t!’ exclaimed Mr. Leo Hunter. ‘Solomon Lucas, the Jew in th_igh Street, has thousands of fancy–dresses. Consider, Sir, how man_ppropriate characters are open for your selection. Plato, Zeno, Epicurus, Pythagoras—all founders of clubs.’
  • ‘I know that,’ said Mr. Pickwick; ‘but as I cannot put myself in competitio_ith those great men, I cannot presume to wear their dresses.’
  • The grave man considered deeply, for a few seconds, and then said—
  • ‘On reflection, Sir, I don’t know whether it would not afford Mrs. Leo Hunte_reater pleasure, if her guests saw a gentleman of your celebrity in his ow_ostume, rather than in an assumed one. I may venture to promise an exceptio_n your case, sir—yes, I am quite certain that, on behalf of Mrs. Leo Hunter, I may venture to do so.’
  • ‘In that case,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘I shall have great pleasure in coming.’
  • ‘But I waste your time, Sir,’ said the grave man, as if suddenly recollectin_imself. ‘I know its value, sir. I will not detain you. I may tell Mrs. Le_unter, then, that she may confidently expect you and your distinguishe_riends? Good–morning, Sir, I am proud to have beheld so eminent _ersonage—not a step sir; not a word.’ And without giving Mr. Pickwick time t_ffer remonstrance or denial, Mr. Leo Hunter stalked gravely away.
  • Mr. Pickwick took up his hat, and repaired to the Peacock, but Mr. Winkle ha_onveyed the intelligence of the fancy–ball there, before him.
  • ‘Mrs. Pott’s going,’ were the first words with which he saluted his leader.
  • ‘Is she?’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘As Apollo,’ replied Winkle. ‘Only Pott objects to the tunic.’
  • ‘He is right. He is quite right,’ said Mr. Pickwick emphatically.
  • ‘Yes; so she’s going to wear a white satin gown with gold spangles.’
  • ‘They’ll hardly know what she’s meant for; will they?’ inquired Mr. Snodgrass.
  • ‘Of course they will,’ replied Mr. Winkle indignantly. ‘They’ll see her lyre, won’t they?’
  • ‘True; I forgot that,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
  • ‘I shall go as a bandit,‘interposed Mr. Tupman.
  • ‘What!’ said Mr. Pickwick, with a sudden start.
  • ‘As a bandit,’ repeated Mr. Tupman, mildly.
  • ‘You don’t mean to say,’ said Mr. Pickwick, gazing with solemn sternness a_is friend—‘you don’t mean to say, Mr. Tupman, that it is your intention t_ut yourself into a green velvet jacket, with a two–inch tail?’
  • ‘Such is my intention, Sir,’ replied Mr. Tupman warmly. ‘And why not, sir?’
  • ‘Because, Sir,’ said Mr. Pickwick, considerably excited—‘because you are to_ld, Sir.’
  • ‘Too old!’ exclaimed Mr. Tupman.
  • ‘And if any further ground of objection be wanting,’ continued Mr. Pickwick, ‘you are too fat, sir.’
  • ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Tupman, his face suffused with a crimson glow, ‘this is a_nsult.’
  • ‘Sir,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, in the same tone, ‘it is not half the insult t_ou, that your appearance in my presence in a green velvet jacket, with _wo–inch tail, would be to me.’
  • ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Tupman, ‘you’re a fellow.’
  • ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘you’re another!’
  • Mr. Tupman advanced a step or two, and glared at Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Pickwic_eturned the glare, concentrated into a focus by means of his spectacles, an_reathed a bold defiance. Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle looked on, petrified a_eholding such a scene between two such men.
  • ‘Sir,’ said Mr. Tupman, after a short pause, speaking in a low, deep voice, ‘you have called me old.’
  • ‘I have,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘And fat.’
  • ‘I reiterate the charge.’
  • ‘And a fellow.’
  • ‘So you are!’
  • There was a fearful pause.
  • ‘My attachment to your person, sir,’ said Mr. Tupman, speaking in a voic_remulous with emotion, and tucking up his wristbands meanwhile, ‘i_reat—very great—but upon that person, I must take summary vengeance.’
  • ‘Come on, Sir!’ replied Mr. Pickwick. Stimulated by the exciting nature of th_ialogue, the heroic man actually threw himself into a paralytic attitude, confidently supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a postur_f defence.
  • ‘What!’ exclaimed Mr. Snodgrass, suddenly recovering the power of speech, o_hich intense astonishment had previously bereft him, and rushing between th_wo, at the imminent hazard of receiving an application on the temple fro_ach—‘what! Mr. Pickwick, with the eyes of the world upon you! Mr. Tupman!
  • who, in common with us all, derives a lustre from his undying name! For shame, gentlemen; for shame.’
  • The unwonted lines which momentary passion had ruled in Mr. Pickwick’s clea_nd open brow, gradually melted away, as his young friend spoke, like th_arks of a black–lead pencil beneath the softening influence of india–rubber.
  • His countenance had resumed its usual benign expression, ere he concluded.
  • ‘I have been hasty,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘very hasty. Tupman; your hand.’
  • The dark shadow passed from Mr. Tupman’s face, as he warmly grasped the han_f his friend.
  • ‘I have been hasty, too,’ said he.
  • ‘No, no,’ interrupted Mr. Pickwick, ‘the fault was mine. You will wear th_reen velvet jacket?’
  • ‘No, no,’ replied Mr. Tupman.
  • ‘To oblige me, you will,’ resumed Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Well, well, I will,’ said Mr. Tupman.
  • It was accordingly settled that Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass, should all wear fancy–dresses. Thus Mr. Pickwick was led by the very warmth o_is own good feelings to give his consent to a proceeding from which hi_etter judgment would have recoiled—a more striking illustration of hi_miable character could hardly have been conceived, even if the event_ecorded in these pages had been wholly imaginary.
  • Mr. Leo Hunter had not exaggerated the resources of Mr. Solomon Lucas. Hi_ardrobe was extensive—very extensive—not strictly classical perhaps, no_uite new, nor did it contain any one garment made precisely after the fashio_f any age or time, but everything was more or less spangled; and what can b_rettier than spangles! It may be objected that they are not adapted to th_aylight, but everybody knows that they would glitter if there were lamps; an_othing can be clearer than that if people give fancy–balls in the day–time, and the dresses do not show quite as well as they would by night, the faul_ies solely with the people who give the fancy–balls, and is in no wis_hargeable on the spangles. Such was the convincing reasoning of Mr. Solomo_ucas; and influenced by such arguments did Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr.
  • Snodgrass engage to array themselves in costumes which his taste an_xperience induced him to recommend as admirably suited to the occasion.
  • A carriage was hired from the Town Arms, for the accommodation of th_ickwickians, and a chariot was ordered from the same repository, for th_urpose of conveying Mr. and Mrs. Pott to Mrs. Leo Hunter’s grounds, which Mr.
  • Pott, as a delicate acknowledgment of having received an invitation, ha_lready confidently predicted in the Eatanswill Gazette ‘would present a scen_f varied and delicious enchantment—a bewildering coruscation of beauty an_alent—a lavish and prodigal display of hospitality—above all, a degree o_plendour softened by the most exquisite taste; and adornment refined wit_erfect harmony and the chastest good keeping—compared with which, the fable_orgeousness of Eastern fairyland itself would appear to be clothed in as man_ark and murky colours, as must be the mind of the splenetic and unmanly bein_ho could presume to taint with the venom of his envy, the preparations mad_y the virtuous and highly distinguished lady at whose shrine this humbl_ribute of admiration was offered.’ This last was a piece of biting sarcas_gainst the Independent, who, in consequence of not having been invited a_ll, had been, through four numbers, affecting to sneer at the whole affair, in his very largest type, with all the adjectives in capital letters.
  • The morning came: it was a pleasant sight to behold Mr. Tupman in ful_rigand’s costume, with a very tight jacket, sitting like a pincushion ove_is back and shoulders, the upper portion of his legs incased in the velve_horts, and the lower part thereof swathed in the complicated bandages t_hich all brigands are peculiarly attached. It was pleasing to see his ope_nd ingenuous countenance, well mustachioed and corked, looking out from a_pen shirt collar; and to contemplate the sugar–loaf hat, decorated wit_ibbons of all colours, which he was compelled to carry on his knee, inasmuc_s no known conveyance with a top to it, would admit of any man’s carrying i_etween his head and the roof. Equally humorous and agreeable was th_ppearance of Mr. Snodgrass in blue satin trunks and cloak, white silk tight_nd shoes, and Grecian helmet, which everybody knows (and if they do not, Mr.
  • Solomon Lucas did) to have been the regular, authentic, everyday costume of _roubadour, from the earliest ages down to the time of their fina_isappearance from the face of the earth. All this was pleasant, but this wa_s nothing compared with the shouting of the populace when the carriage dre_p, behind Mr. Pott’s chariot, which chariot itself drew up at Mr. Pott’_oor, which door itself opened, and displayed the great Pott accoutred as _ussian officer of justice, with a tremendous knout in his hand—tastefull_ypical of the stern and mighty power of the Eatanswill Gazette, and th_earful lashings it bestowed on public offenders.
  • ‘Bravo!’ shouted Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass from the passage, when the_eheld the walking allegory.
  • ‘Bravo!’ Mr. Pickwick was heard to exclaim, from the passage.
  • ‘Hoo–roar Pott!’ shouted the populace. Amid these salutations, Mr. Pott, smiling with that kind of bland dignity which sufficiently testified that h_elt his power, and knew how to exert it, got into the chariot.
  • Then there emerged from the house, Mrs. Pott, who would have looked very lik_pollo if she hadn’t had a gown on, conducted by Mr. Winkle, who, in hi_ight–red coat could not possibly have been mistaken for anything but _portsman, if he had not borne an equal resemblance to a general postman. Las_f all came Mr. Pickwick, whom the boys applauded as loud as anybody, probabl_nder the impression that his tights and gaiters were some remnants of th_ark ages; and then the two vehicles proceeded towards Mrs. Leo Hunter’s; Mr.
  • Weller (who was to assist in waiting) being stationed on the box of that i_hich his master was seated.
  • Every one of the men, women, boys, girls, and babies, who were assembled t_ee the visitors in their fancy–dresses, screamed with delight and ecstasy, when Mr. Pickwick, with the brigand on one arm, and the troubadour on th_ther, walked solemnly up the entrance. Never were such shouts heard as thos_hich greeted Mr. Tupman’s efforts to fix the sugar–loaf hat on his head, b_ay of entering the garden in style.
  • The preparations were on the most delightful scale; fully realising th_rophetic Pott’s anticipations about the gorgeousness of Eastern fairyland, and at once affording a sufficient contradiction to the malignant statement_f the reptile Independent. The grounds were more than an acre and a quarte_n extent, and they were filled with people! Never was such a blaze of beauty, and fashion, and literature. There was the young lady who ‘did’ the poetry i_he Eatanswill Gazette, in the garb of a sultana, leaning upon the arm of th_oung gentleman who ‘did’ the review department, and who was appropriatel_abited in a field–marshal’s uniform—the boots excepted. There were hosts o_hese geniuses, and any reasonable person would have thought it honour enoug_o meet them. But more than these, there were half a dozen lions fro_ondon—authors, real authors, who had written whole books, and printed the_fterwards—and here you might see ’em, walking about, like ordinary men, smiling, and talking—aye, and talking pretty considerable nonsense too, n_oubt with the benign intention of rendering themselves intelligible to th_ommon people about them. Moreover, there was a band of music in pasteboar_aps; four something–ean singers in the costume of their country, and a doze_ired waiters in the costume of their country—and very dirty costume too. An_bove all, there was Mrs. Leo Hunter in the character of Minerva, receivin_he company, and overflowing with pride and gratification at the notion o_aving called such distinguished individuals together.
  • ‘Mr. Pickwick, ma’am,’ said a servant, as that gentleman approached th_residing goddess, with his hat in his hand, and the brigand and troubadour o_ither arm.
  • ‘What! Where!’ exclaimed Mrs. Leo Hunter, starting up, in an affected raptur_f surprise.
  • ‘Here,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Is it possible that I have really the gratification of beholding Mr. Pickwic_imself!’ ejaculated Mrs. Leo Hunter.
  • ‘No other, ma’am,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, bowing very low. ‘Permit me t_ntroduce my friends—Mr. Tupman—Mr. Winkle—Mr. Snodgrass—to the authoress of “The Expiring Frog.”’ Very few people but those who have tried it, know what _ifficult process it is to bow in green velvet smalls, and a tight jacket, an_igh–crowned hat; or in blue satin trunks and white silks, or knee–cords an_op–boots that were never made for the wearer, and have been fixed upon hi_ithout the remotest reference to the comparative dimensions of himself an_he suit. Never were such distortions as Mr. Tupman’s frame underwent in hi_fforts to appear easy and graceful—never was such ingenious posturing, as hi_ancy–dressed friends exhibited.
  • ‘Mr. Pickwick,’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter, ‘I must make you promise not to sti_rom my side the whole day. There are hundreds of people here, that I mus_ositively introduce you to.’
  • ‘You are very kind, ma’am,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘In the first place, here are my little girls; I had almost forgotten them,’ said Minerva, carelessly pointing towards a couple of full–grown young ladies, of whom one might be about twenty, and the other a year or two older, and wh_ere dressed in very juvenile costumes—whether to make them look young, o_heir mamma younger, Mr. Pickwick does not distinctly inform us.
  • ‘They are very beautiful,’ said Mr. Pickwick, as the juveniles turned away, after being presented.
  • ‘They are very like their mamma, Sir,’ said Mr. Pott, majestically.
  • ‘Oh, you naughty man,’ exclaimed Mrs. Leo Hunter, playfully tapping th_ditor’s arm with her fan (Minerva with a fan!).
  • ‘Why now, my dear Mrs. Hunter,’ said Mr. Pott, who was trumpeter in ordinar_t the Den, ‘you know that when your picture was in the exhibition of th_oyal Academy, last year, everybody inquired whether it was intended for you, or your youngest daughter; for you were so much alike that there was n_elling the difference between you.’
  • ‘Well, and if they did, why need you repeat it, before strangers?’ said Mrs.
  • Leo Hunter, bestowing another tap on the slumbering lion of the Eatanswil_azette.
  • ‘Count, count,’ screamed Mrs. Leo Hunter to a well–whiskered individual in _oreign uniform, who was passing by.
  • ‘Ah! you want me?’ said the count, turning back.
  • ‘I want to introduce two very clever people to each other,’ said Mrs. Le_unter. ‘Mr. Pickwick, I have great pleasure in introducing you to Coun_morltork.’ She added in a hurried whisper to Mr. Pickwick—‘The famou_oreigner—gathering materials for his great work on England—hem!—Coun_morltork, Mr. Pickwick.’ Mr. Pickwick saluted the count with all th_everence due to so great a man, and the count drew forth a set of tablets.
  • ‘What you say, Mrs. Hunt?’ inquired the count, smiling graciously on th_ratified Mrs. Leo Hunter, ‘Pig Vig or Big Vig—what you call—lawyer—eh? _ee—that is it. Big Vig’—and the count was proceeding to enter Mr. Pickwick i_is tablets, as a gentleman of the long robe, who derived his name from th_rofession to which he belonged, when Mrs. Leo Hunter interposed.
  • ‘No, no, count,’ said the lady, ‘Pick–wick.’
  • ‘Ah, ah, I see,’ replied the count. ‘Peek—christian name; Weeks—surname; good, ver good. Peek Weeks. How you do, Weeks?’
  • ‘Quite well, I thank you,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, with all his usua_ffability. ‘Have you been long in England?’
  • ‘Long—ver long time—fortnight—more.’
  • ‘Do you stay here long?’
  • ‘One week.’
  • ‘You will have enough to do,’ said Mr. Pickwick smiling, ‘to gather all th_aterials you want in that time.’
  • ‘Eh, they are gathered,’ said the count.
  • ‘Indeed!’ said Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘They are here,’ added the count, tapping his forehead significantly. ‘Larg_ook at home—full of notes—music, picture, science, potry, poltic; all tings.’
  • ‘The word politics, sir,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘comprises in itself, a difficul_tudy of no inconsiderable magnitude.’
  • ‘Ah!’ said the count, drawing out the tablets again, ‘ver good—fine words t_egin a chapter. Chapter forty–seven. Poltics. The word poltic surprises b_imself—’ And down went Mr. Pickwick’s remark, in Count Smorltork’s tablets, with such variations and additions as the count’s exuberant fancy suggested, or his imperfect knowledge of the language occasioned.
  • ‘Count,’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter. ‘Mrs. Hunt,’ replied the count.
  • ‘This is Mr. Snodgrass, a friend of Mr. Pickwick’s, and a poet.’
  • ‘Stop,’ exclaimed the count, bringing out the tablets once more. ‘Head, potry—chapter, literary friends—name, Snowgrass; ver good. Introduced t_nowgrass—great poet, friend of Peek Weeks—by Mrs. Hunt, which wrote othe_weet poem—what is that name?—Fog—Perspiring Fog—ver good—ver good indeed.’ And the count put up his tablets, and with sundry bows and acknowledgment_alked away, thoroughly satisfied that he had made the most important an_aluable additions to his stock of information.
  • ‘Wonderful man, Count Smorltork,’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter.
  • ‘Sound philosopher,’ said Mr. Pott.
  • ‘Clear–headed, strong–minded person,’ added Mr. Snodgrass.
  • A chorus of bystanders took up the shout of Count Smorltork’s praise, shoo_heir heads sagely, and unanimously cried, ‘Very!’
  • As the enthusiasm in Count Smorltork’s favour ran very high, his praises migh_ave been sung until the end of the festivities, if the four something–ea_ingers had not ranged themselves in front of a small apple–tree, to loo_icturesque, and commenced singing their national songs, which appeared by n_eans difficult of execution, inasmuch as the grand secret seemed to be, tha_hree of the something–ean singers should grunt, while the fourth howled. Thi_nteresting performance having concluded amidst the loud plaudits of the whol_ompany, a boy forthwith proceeded to entangle himself with the rails of _hair, and to jump over it, and crawl under it, and fall down with it, and d_verything but sit upon it, and then to make a cravat of his legs, and ti_hem round his neck, and then to illustrate the ease with which a human bein_an be made to look like a magnified toad—all which feats yielded high deligh_nd satisfaction to the assembled spectators. After which, the voice of Mrs.
  • Pott was heard to chirp faintly forth, something which courtesy interprete_nto a song, which was all very classical, and strictly in character, becaus_pollo was himself a composer, and composers can very seldom sing their ow_usic or anybody else’s, either. This was succeeded by Mrs. Leo Hunter’_ecitation of her far–famed ‘Ode to an Expiring Frog,’ which was encored once, and would have been encored twice, if the major part of the guests, wh_hought it was high time to get something to eat, had not said that it wa_erfectly shameful to take advantage of Mrs. Hunter’s good nature. So althoug_rs. Leo Hunter professed her perfect willingness to recite the ode again, he_ind and considerate friends wouldn’t hear of it on any account; and th_efreshment room being thrown open, all the people who had ever been ther_efore, scrambled in with all possible despatch—Mrs. Leo Hunter’s usual cours_f proceedings being, to issue cards for a hundred, and breakfast for fifty, or in other words to feed only the very particular lions, and let the smalle_nimals take care of themselves.
  • ‘Where is Mr. Pott?’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter, as she placed the aforesaid lion_round her.
  • ‘Here I am,’ said the editor, from the remotest end of the room; far beyon_ll hope of food, unless something was done for him by the hostess.
  • ‘Won’t you come up here?’
  • ‘Oh, pray don’t mind him,’ said Mrs. Pott, in the most obliging voice—‘yo_ive yourself a great deal of unnecessary trouble, Mrs. Hunter. You’ll do ver_ell there, won’t you—dear?’
  • ‘Certainly—love,’ replied the unhappy Pott, with a grim smile. Alas for th_nout! The nervous arm that wielded it, with such a gigantic force on publi_haracters, was paralysed beneath the glance of the imperious Mrs. Pott.
  • Mrs. Leo Hunter looked round her in triumph. Count Smorltork was busil_ngaged in taking notes of the contents of the dishes; Mr. Tupman was doin_he honours of the lobster salad to several lionesses, with a degree of grac_hich no brigand ever exhibited before; Mr. Snodgrass having cut out the youn_entleman who cut up the books for the Eatanswill Gazette, was engaged in a_mpassioned argument with the young lady who did the poetry; and Mr. Pickwic_as making himself universally agreeable. Nothing seemed wanting to render th_elect circle complete, when Mr. Leo Hunter—whose department on thes_ccasions, was to stand about in doorways, and talk to the less importan_eople—suddenly called out—‘My dear; here’s Mr. Charles Fitz–Marshall.’
  • ‘Oh dear,’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter, ‘how anxiously I have been expecting him.
  • Pray make room, to let Mr. Fitz–Marshall pass. Tell Mr. Fitz–Marshall, m_ear, to come up to me directly, to be scolded for coming so late.’
  • ‘Coming, my dear ma’am,’ cried a voice, ‘as quick as I can—crowds o_eople—full room—hard work—very.’
  • Mr. Pickwick’s knife and fork fell from his hand. He stared across the tabl_t Mr. Tupman, who had dropped his knife and fork, and was looking as if h_ere about to sink into the ground without further notice.
  • ‘Ah!’ cried the voice, as its owner pushed his way among the las_ive–and–twenty Turks, officers, cavaliers, and Charles the Seconds, tha_emained between him and the table, ‘regular mangle—Baker’s patent—not _rease in my coat, after all this squeezing—might have “got up my linen” as _ame along—ha! ha! not a bad idea, that—queer thing to have it mangled whe_t’s upon one, though—trying process—very.’
  • With these broken words, a young man dressed as a naval officer made his wa_p to the table, and presented to the astonished Pickwickians the identica_orm and features of Mr. Alfred Jingle. The offender had barely time to tak_rs. Leo Hunter’s proffered hand, when his eyes encountered the indignant orb_f Mr. Pickwick.
  • ‘Hollo!’ said Jingle. ‘Quite forgot—no directions to postillion—give ’em a_nce—back in a minute.’
  • ‘The servant, or Mr. Hunter will do it in a moment, Mr. Fitz–Marshall,’ sai_rs. Leo Hunter.
  • ‘No, no—I’ll do it—shan’t be long—back in no time,’ replied Jingle. With thes_ords he disappeared among the crowd.
  • ‘Will you allow me to ask you, ma’am,’ said the excited Mr. Pickwick, risin_rom his seat, ‘who that young man is, and where he resides?’
  • ‘He is a gentleman of fortune, Mr. Pickwick,’ said Mrs. Leo Hunter, ‘to whom _ery much want to introduce you. The count will be delighted with him.’
  • ‘Yes, yes,’ said Mr. Pickwick hastily. ‘His residence—’
  • ‘Is at present at the Angel at Bury.’
  • ‘At Bury?’
  • ‘At Bury St. Edmunds, not many miles from here. But dear me, Mr. Pickwick, yo_re not going to leave us; surely Mr. Pickwick you cannot think of going s_oon?’
  • But long before Mrs. Leo Hunter had finished speaking, Mr. Pickwick ha_lunged through the throng, and reached the garden, whither he was shortl_fterwards joined by Mr. Tupman, who had followed his friend closely.
  • ‘It’s of no use,’ said Mr. Tupman. ‘He has gone.’
  • ‘I know it,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘and I will follow him.’
  • ‘Follow him! Where?’ inquired Mr. Tupman.
  • ‘To the Angel at Bury,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, speaking very quickly. ‘How d_e know whom he is deceiving there? He deceived a worthy man once, and we wer_he innocent cause. He shall not do it again, if I can help it; I’ll expos_im! Sam! Where’s my servant?’
  • ‘Here you are, Sir,’ said Mr. Weller, emerging from a sequestered spot, wher_e had been engaged in discussing a bottle of Madeira, which he had abstracte_rom the breakfast–table an hour or two before. ‘Here’s your servant, Sir.
  • Proud o’ the title, as the living skellinton said, ven they show’d him.’
  • ‘Follow me instantly,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘Tupman, if I stay at Bury, you ca_oin me there, when I write. Till then, good–bye!’
  • Remonstrances were useless. Mr. Pickwick was roused, and his mind was made up.
  • Mr. Tupman returned to his companions; and in another hour had drowned al_resent recollection of Mr. Alfred Jingle, or Mr. Charles Fitz–Marshall, in a_xhilarating quadrille and a bottle of champagne. By that time, Mr. Pickwic_nd Sam Weller, perched on the outside of a stage–coach, were every succeedin_inute placing a less and less distance between themselves and the good ol_own of Bury St. Edmunds.