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Chapter 46 Records a touching Act of delicate Feeling not unmixed wit_leasantry, achieved and performed by Messrs. Dodson and Fogg

  • It was within a week of the close of the month of July, that a hackne_abriolet, number unrecorded, was seen to proceed at a rapid pace up Goswel_treet; three people were squeezed into it besides the driver, who sat in hi_wn particular little dickey at the side; over the apron were hung two shawls, belonging to two small vixenish–looking ladies under the apron; between whom, compressed into a very small compass, was stowed away, a gentleman of heav_nd subdued demeanour, who, whenever he ventured to make an observation, wa_napped up short by one of the vixenish ladies before–mentioned. Lastly, th_wo vixenish ladies and the heavy gentleman were giving the drive_ontradictory directions, all tending to the one point, that he should stop a_rs. Bardell’s door; which the heavy gentleman, in direct opposition to, an_efiance of, the vixenish ladies, contended was a green door and not a yello_ne.
  • ‘Stop at the house with a green door, driver,’ said the heavy gentleman.
  • ‘Oh! You perwerse creetur!’ exclaimed one of the vixenish ladies. ‘Drive t_he ‘ouse with the yellow door, cabmin.’
  • Upon this the cabman, who in a sudden effort to pull up at the house with th_reen door, had pulled the horse up so high that he nearly pulled him backwar_nto the cabriolet, let the animal’s fore–legs down to the ground again, an_aused.
  • ‘Now vere am I to pull up?’ inquired the driver. ‘Settle it among yourselves.
  • All I ask is, vere?’
  • Here the contest was renewed with increased violence; and the horse bein_roubled with a fly on his nose, the cabman humanely employed his leisure i_ashing him about on the head, on the counter–irritation principle.
  • ‘Most wotes carries the day!’ said one of the vixenish ladies at length. ‘The ‘ouse with the yellow door, cabman.’
  • But after the cabriolet had dashed up, in splendid style, to the house wit_he yellow door, ‘making,’ as one of the vixenish ladies triumphantly said, ‘acterrally more noise than if one had come in one’s own carriage,’ and afte_he driver had dismounted to assist the ladies in getting out, the small roun_ead of Master Thomas Bardell was thrust out of the one–pair window of a hous_ith a red door, a few numbers off.
  • ‘Aggrawatin’ thing!’ said the vixenish lady last–mentioned, darting _ithering glance at the heavy gentleman.
  • ‘My dear, it’s not my fault,’ said the gentleman.
  • ‘Don’t talk to me, you creetur, don’t,’ retorted the lady. ‘The house with th_ed door, cabmin. Oh! If ever a woman was troubled with a ruffinly creetur, that takes a pride and a pleasure in disgracing his wife on every possibl_ccasion afore strangers, I am that woman!’
  • ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Raddle,’ said the other little woman, who was no other than Mrs. Cluppins. ‘What have I been a–doing of?’ asked Mr.
  • Raddle.
  • ‘Don’t talk to me, don’t, you brute, for fear I should be perwoked to forgi_y sect and strike you!’ said Mrs. Raddle.
  • While this dialogue was going on, the driver was most ignominiously leadin_he horse, by the bridle, up to the house with the red door, which Maste_ardell had already opened. Here was a mean and low way of arriving at _riend’s house! No dashing up, with all the fire and fury of the animal; n_umping down of the driver; no loud knocking at the door; no opening of th_pron with a crash at the very last moment, for fear of the ladies sitting i_ draught; and then the man handing the shawls out, afterwards, as if he wer_ private coachman! The whole edge of the thing had been taken off—it wa_latter than walking.
  • ‘Well, Tommy,’ said Mrs. Cluppins, ‘how’s your poor dear mother?’
  • ‘Oh, she’s very well,’ replied Master Bardell. ‘She’s in the front parlour, all ready. I’m ready too, I am.’ Here Master Bardell put his hands in hi_ockets, and jumped off and on the bottom step of the door.
  • ‘Is anybody else a–goin’, Tommy?’ said Mrs. Cluppins, arranging her pelerine.
  • ‘Mrs. Sanders is going, she is,’ replied Tommy; ‘I’m going too, I am.’
  • ‘Drat the boy,’ said little Mrs. Cluppins. ‘He thinks of nobody but himself.
  • Here, Tommy, dear.’
  • ‘Well,’ said Master Bardell.
  • ‘Who else is a–goin’, lovey?’ said Mrs. Cluppins, in an insinuating manner.
  • ‘Oh! Mrs. Rogers is a–goin’,’ replied Master Bardell, opening his eyes ver_ide as he delivered the intelligence.
  • ‘What? The lady as has taken the lodgings!’ ejaculated Mrs. Cluppins.
  • Master Bardell put his hands deeper down into his pockets, and nodded exactl_hirty–five times, to imply that it was the lady–lodger, and no other.
  • ‘Bless us!’ said Mrs. Cluppins. ‘It’s quite a party!’
  • ‘Ah, if you knew what was in the cupboard, you’d say so,’ replied Maste_ardell.
  • ‘What is there, Tommy?’ said Mrs. Cluppins coaxingly. ‘You’ll tell me, Tommy, I know.’ ‘No, I won’t,’ replied Master Bardell, shaking his head, and applyin_imself to the bottom step again.
  • ‘Drat the child!’ muttered Mrs. Cluppins. ‘What a prowokin’ little wretch i_s! Come, Tommy, tell your dear Cluppy.’
  • ‘Mother said I wasn’t to,’ rejoined Master Bardell, ‘I’m a–goin’ to have some, I am.’ Cheered by this prospect, the precocious boy applied himself to hi_nfantile treadmill, with increased vigour.
  • The above examination of a child of tender years took place while Mr. and Mrs.
  • Raddle and the cab–driver were having an altercation concerning the fare, which, terminating at this point in favour of the cabman, Mrs. Raddle came u_ottering.
  • ‘Lauk, Mary Ann! what’s the matter?’ said Mrs. Cluppins.
  • ‘It’s put me all over in such a tremble, Betsy,’ replied Mrs. Raddle. ‘Raddl_in’t like a man; he leaves everythink to me.’
  • This was scarcely fair upon the unfortunate Mr. Raddle, who had been thrus_side by his good lady in the commencement of the dispute, and peremptoril_ommanded to hold his tongue. He had no opportunity of defending himself, however, for Mrs. Raddle gave unequivocal signs of fainting; which, bein_erceived from the parlour window, Mrs. Bardell, Mrs. Sanders, the lodger, an_he lodger’s servant, darted precipitately out, and conveyed her into th_ouse, all talking at the same time, and giving utterance to variou_xpressions of pity and condolence, as if she were one of the most sufferin_ortals on earth. Being conveyed into the front parlour, she was ther_eposited on a sofa; and the lady from the first floor running up to the firs_loor, returned with a bottle of sal–volatile, which, holding Mrs. Raddl_ight round the neck, she applied in all womanly kindness and pity to he_ose, until that lady with many plunges and struggles was fain to declar_erself decidedly better.
  • ‘Ah, poor thing!’ said Mrs. Rogers, ‘I know what her feelin’s is, too well.’ ‘Ah, poor thing! so do I,’ said Mrs. Sanders; and then all the ladies moane_n unison, and said they knew what it was, and they pitied her from thei_earts, they did. Even the lodger’s little servant, who was thirteen years ol_nd three feet high, murmured her sympathy.
  • ‘But what’s been the matter?’ said Mrs. Bardell.
  • ‘Ah, what has decomposed you, ma’am?’ inquired Mrs. Rogers.
  • ‘I have been a good deal flurried,’ replied Mrs. Raddle, in a reproachfu_anner. Thereupon the ladies cast indignant glances at Mr. Raddle.
  • ‘Why, the fact is,’ said that unhappy gentleman, stepping forward, ‘when w_lighted at this door, a dispute arose with the driver of the cabrioily—’ _oud scream from his wife, at the mention of this word, rendered all furthe_xplanation inaudible.
  • ‘You’d better leave us to bring her round, Raddle,’ said Mrs. Cluppins.
  • ‘She’ll never get better as long as you’re here.’
  • All the ladies concurred in this opinion; so Mr. Raddle was pushed out of th_oom, and requested to give himself an airing in the back yard. Which he di_or about a quarter of an hour, when Mrs. Bardell announced to him with _olemn face that he might come in now, but that he must be very careful how h_ehaved towards his wife. She knew he didn’t mean to be unkind; but Mary An_as very far from strong, and, if he didn’t take care, he might lose her whe_e least expected it, which would be a very dreadful reflection for hi_fterwards; and so on. All this, Mr. Raddle heard with great submission, an_resently returned to the parlour in a most lamb–like manner.
  • ‘Why, Mrs. Rogers, ma’am,’ said Mrs. Bardell, ‘you’ve never been introduced, _eclare! Mr. Raddle, ma’am; Mrs. Cluppins, ma’am; Mrs. Raddle, ma’am.’
  • ‘Which is Mrs. Cluppins’s sister,’ suggested Mrs. Sanders.
  • ‘Oh, indeed!’ said Mrs. Rogers graciously; for she was the lodger, and he_ervant was in waiting, so she was more gracious than intimate, in right o_er position. ‘Oh, indeed!’
  • Mrs. Raddle smiled sweetly, Mr. Raddle bowed, and Mrs. Cluppins said, ‘she wa_ure she was very happy to have an opportunity of being known to a lady whic_he had heerd so much in favour of, as Mrs. Rogers.’ A compliment which th_ast–named lady acknowledged with graceful condescension.
  • ‘Well, Mr. Raddle,’ said Mrs. Bardell; ‘I’m sure you ought to feel very muc_onoured at you and Tommy being the only gentlemen to escort so many ladie_ll the way to the Spaniards, at Hampstead. Don’t you think he ought, Mrs.
  • Rogers, ma’am?’ ‘Oh, certainly, ma’am,’ replied Mrs. Rogers; after whom al_he other ladies responded, ‘Oh, certainly.’
  • ‘Of course I feel it, ma’am,’ said Mr. Raddle, rubbing his hands, and evincin_ slight tendency to brighten up a little. ‘Indeed, to tell you the truth, _aid, as we was a–coming along in the cabrioily—’
  • At the recapitulation of the word which awakened so many painfu_ecollections, Mrs. Raddle applied her handkerchief to her eyes again, an_ttered a half–suppressed scream; so that Mrs. Bardell frowned upon Mr.
  • Raddle, to intimate that he had better not say anything more, and desired Mrs.
  • Rogers’s servant, with an air, to ‘put the wine on.’
  • This was the signal for displaying the hidden treasures of the closet, whic_omprised sundry plates of oranges and biscuits, and a bottle of old cruste_ort—that at one–and–nine—with another of the celebrated East India sherry a_ourteen–pence, which were all produced in honour of the lodger, and afforde_nlimited satisfaction to everybody. After great consternation had bee_xcited in the mind of Mrs. Cluppins, by an attempt on the part of Tommy t_ecount how he had been cross–examined regarding the cupboard then in action (which was fortunately nipped in the bud by his imbibing half a glass of th_ld crusted ‘the wrong way,’ and thereby endangering his life for som_econds), the party walked forth in quest of a Hampstead stage. This was soo_ound, and in a couple of hours they all arrived safely in the Spaniard_ea–gardens, where the luckless Mr. Raddle’s very first act nearly occasione_is good lady a relapse; it being neither more nor less than to order tea fo_even, whereas (as the ladies one and all remarked), what could have bee_asier than for Tommy to have drank out of anybody’s cup—or everybody’s, i_hat was all—when the waiter wasn’t looking, which would have saved one hea_f tea, and the tea just as good!
  • However, there was no help for it, and the tea–tray came, with seven cups an_aucers, and bread–and–butter on the same scale. Mrs. Bardell was unanimousl_oted into the chair, and Mrs. Rogers being stationed on her right hand, an_rs. Raddle on her left, the meal proceeded with great merriment and success.
  • ‘How sweet the country is, to be sure!’ sighed Mrs. Rogers; ‘I almost wish _ived in it always.’
  • ‘Oh, you wouldn’t like that, ma’am,’ replied Mrs. Bardell, rather hastily; fo_t was not at all advisable, with reference to the lodgings, to encourage suc_otions; ‘you wouldn’t like it, ma’am.’
  • ‘Oh! I should think you was a deal too lively and sought after, to be conten_ith the country, ma’am,’ said little Mrs. Cluppins.
  • ‘Perhaps I am, ma’am. Perhaps I am,’ sighed the first–floor lodger.
  • ‘For lone people as have got nobody to care for them, or take care of them, o_s have been hurt in their mind, or that kind of thing,’ observed Mr. Raddle, plucking up a little cheerfulness, and looking round, ‘the country is all ver_ell. The country for a wounded spirit, they say.’
  • Now, of all things in the world that the unfortunate man could have said, an_ould have been preferable to this. Of course Mrs. Bardell burst into tears, and requested to be led from the table instantly; upon which the affectionat_hild began to cry too, most dismally.
  • ‘Would anybody believe, ma’am,’ exclaimed Mrs. Raddle, turning fiercely to th_irst–floor lodger, ‘that a woman could be married to such a unmanly creetur, which can tamper with a woman’s feelings as he does, every hour in the day, ma’am?’
  • ‘My dear,’ remonstrated Mr. Raddle, ‘I didn’t mean anything, my dear.’
  • ‘You didn’t mean!’ repeated Mrs. Raddle, with great scorn and contempt. ‘G_way. I can’t bear the sight on you, you brute.’
  • ‘You must not flurry yourself, Mary Ann,’ interposed Mrs. Cluppins. ‘Yo_eally must consider yourself, my dear, which you never do. Now go away, Raddle, there’s a good soul, or you’ll only aggravate her.’
  • ‘You had better take your tea by yourself, Sir, indeed,’ said Mrs. Rogers, again applying the smelling–bottle.
  • Mrs. Sanders, who, according to custom, was very busy with th_read–and–butter, expressed the same opinion, and Mr. Raddle quietly retired.
  • After this, there was a great hoisting up of Master Bardell, who was rather _arge size for hugging, into his mother’s arms, in which operation he got hi_oots in the tea–board, and occasioned some confusion among the cups an_aucers. But that description of fainting fits, which is contagious amon_adies, seldom lasts long; so when he had been well kissed, and a little crie_ver, Mrs. Bardell recovered, set him down again, wondering how she could hav_een so foolish, and poured out some more tea.
  • It was at this moment, that the sound of approaching wheels was heard, an_hat the ladies, looking up, saw a hackney–coach stop at the garden gate.
  • ‘More company!’ said Mrs. Sanders.
  • ‘It’s a gentleman,’ said Mrs. Raddle.
  • ‘Well, if it ain’t Mr. Jackson, the young man from Dodson and Fogg’s!’ crie_rs. Bardell. ‘Why, gracious! Surely Mr. Pickwick can’t have paid th_amages.’
  • ‘Or hoffered marriage!’ said Mrs. Cluppins.
  • ‘Dear me, how slow the gentleman is,‘exclaimed Mrs. Rogers. ‘Why doesn’t h_ake haste!’
  • As the lady spoke these words, Mr. Jackson turned from the coach where he ha_een addressing some observations to a shabby man in black leggings, who ha_ust emerged from the vehicle with a thick ash stick in his hand, and made hi_ay to the place where the ladies were seated; winding his hair round the bri_f his hat, as he came along. ‘Is anything the matter? Has anything take_lace, Mr. Jackson?’ said Mrs. Bardell eagerly.
  • ‘Nothing whatever, ma’am,’ replied Mr. Jackson. ‘How de do, ladies? I have t_sk pardon, ladies, for intruding—but the law, ladies—the law.’ With thi_pology Mr. Jackson smiled, made a comprehensive bow, and gave his hai_nother wind. Mrs. Rogers whispered Mrs. Raddle that he was really an elegan_oung man.
  • ‘I called in Goswell Street,’ resumed Mr. Jackson, ‘and hearing that you wer_ere, from the slavey, took a coach and came on. Our people want you down i_he city directly, Mrs. Bardell.’
  • ‘Lor!’ ejaculated that lady, starting at the sudden nature of th_ommunication.
  • ‘Yes,’ said Mr. Jackson, biting his lip. ‘It’s very important and pressin_usiness, which can’t be postponed on any account. Indeed, Dodson expressl_aid so to me, and so did Fogg. I’ve kept the coach on purpose for you to g_ack in.’
  • ‘How very strange!’ exclaimed Mrs. Bardell.
  • The ladies agreed that it was very strange, but were unanimously of opinio_hat it must be very important, or Dodson & Fogg would never have sent; an_urther, that the business being urgent, she ought to repair to Dodson & Fogg’s without any delay.
  • There was a certain degree of pride and importance about being wanted by one’_awyers in such a monstrous hurry, that was by no means displeasing to Mrs.
  • Bardell, especially as it might be reasonably supposed to enhance he_onsequence in the eyes of the first–floor lodger. She simpered a little, affected extreme vexation and hesitation, and at last arrived at th_onclusion 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 _riend here,’ he continued, looking towards the man with the ash stick.
  • ‘Oh, ask your friend to come here, Sir,’ said Mrs. Bardell. ‘Pray ask you_riend here, Sir.’
  • ‘Why, thank’ee, I’d rather not,’ said Mr. Jackson, with some embarrassment o_anner. ‘He’s not much used to ladies’ society, and it makes him bashful. I_ou’ll order the waiter to deliver him anything short, he won’t drink it of_t once, won’t he!—only try him!’ Mr. Jackson’s fingers wandered playfull_ound his nose at this portion of his discourse, to warn his hearers that h_as speaking ironically.
  • The waiter was at once despatched to the bashful gentleman, and the bashfu_entleman took something; Mr. Jackson also took something, and the ladies too_omething, for hospitality’s sake. Mr. Jackson then said he was afraid it wa_ime to go; upon which, Mrs. Sanders, Mrs. Cluppins, and Tommy (who it wa_rranged should accompany Mrs. Bardell, leaving the others to Mr. Raddle’_rotection), got into the coach.
  • ‘Isaac,’ said Jackson, as Mrs. Bardell prepared to get in, looking up at th_an with the ash stick, who was seated on the box, smoking a cigar.
  • ‘Well?’
  • ‘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, whe_rs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders had fallen asleep; ‘your bill of costs, _ean.’
  • ‘I’m very sorry they can’t get them,’ replied Mrs. Bardell. ‘But if you la_entlemen do these things on speculation, why you must get a loss now an_hen, you know.’
  • ‘You gave them a cognovit for the amount of your costs, after the trial, I’_old!’ 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 som_ime, 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 ste_ut.’
  • Mrs. Bardell, not yet thoroughly awake, complied. It was a curious place: _arge 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, an_haking Mrs. Sanders to wake her, ‘Come!’ Rousing her friend, Mrs. Sander_lighted. Mrs. Bardell, leaning on Jackson’s arm, and leading Tommy by th_and, had already entered the porch. They followed.
  • The room they turned into was even more odd–looking than the porch. Such _umber of men standing about! And they stared so!
  • ‘What place is this?’ inquired Mrs. Bardell, pausing.
  • ‘Only one of our public offices,’ replied Jackson, hurrying her through _oor, and looking round to see that the other women were following. ‘Loo_harp, Isaac!’
  • ‘Safe and sound,’ replied the man with the ash stick. The door swung heavil_fter 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 b_rightened, 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 o_usiness, to take you in execution for them costs; but they were anxious t_pare 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 anothe_an, with a key in his hand, who had been looking on, led the bewildere_emale to a second short flight of steps leading to a doorway. Mrs. Bardel_creamed violently; Tommy roared; Mrs. Cluppins shrunk within herself; an_rs. Sanders made off, without more ado. For there stood the injured Mr.
  • Pickwick, taking his nightly allowance of air; and beside him leant Samue_eller, who, seeing Mrs. Bardell, took his hat off with mock reverence, whil_is 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? Wha_or? Speak up, old feller.’
  • ‘Dodson and Fogg,’ replied the man; ‘execution on cognovit for costs.’
  • ‘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 rea_ownright earnest.