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Charles Dickens > The Pickwick Papers > Chapter 41

The Pickwick Papers

Chapter 41


Mr. Tom Roker, the gentleman who had accompanied Mr. Pickwick into
the prison, turned sharp round to the right when he got to the
bottom of the little flight of steps, and led the way, through an
iron gate which stood open, and up another short flight of steps,
into a long narrow gallery, dirty and low, paved with stone, and
very dimly lighted by a window at each remote end.

'This,' said the gentleman, thrusting his hands into his pockets,
and looking carelessly over his shoulder to Mr. Pickwick--'this
here is the hall flight.'

'Oh,' replied Mr. Pickwick, looking down a dark and filthy
staircase, which appeared to lead to a range of damp and gloomy
stone vaults, beneath the ground, 'and those, I suppose, are the
little cellars where the prisoners keep their small quantities of
coals. Unpleasant places to have to go down to; but very
convenient, I dare say.'

'Yes, I shouldn't wonder if they was convenient,' replied the
gentleman, 'seeing that a few people live there, pretty snug.
That's the Fair, that is.'

'My friend,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'you don't really mean to say
that human beings live down in those wretched dungeons?'

'Don't I?' replied Mr. Roker, with indignant astonishment;
'why shouldn't I?'

'Live!--live down there!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.

'Live down there! Yes, and die down there, too, very often!'
replied Mr. Roker; 'and what of that? Who's got to say anything
agin it? Live down there! Yes, and a wery good place it is to live
in, ain't it?'

As Roker turned somewhat fiercely upon Mr. Pickwick in
saying this, and moreover muttered in an excited fashion certain
unpleasant invocations concerning his own eyes, limbs, and
circulating fluids, the latter gentleman deemed it advisable to
pursue the discourse no further. Mr. Roker then proceeded to
mount another staircase, as dirty as that which led to the place
which has just been the subject of discussion, in which ascent he
was closely followed by Mr. Pickwick and Sam.

'There,' said Mr. Roker, pausing for breath when they reached
another gallery of the same dimensions as the one below, 'this is
the coffee-room flight; the one above's the third, and the one
above that's the top; and the room where you're a-going to sleep
to-night is the warden's room, and it's this way--come on.'
Having said all this in a breath, Mr. Roker mounted another flight
of stairs with Mr. Pickwick and Sam Weller following at his heels.

These staircases received light from sundry windows placed at
some little distance above the floor, and looking into a gravelled
area bounded by a high brick wall, with iron CHEVAUX-DE-FRISE at
the top. This area, it appeared from Mr. Roker's statement, was
the racket-ground; and it further appeared, on the testimony
of the same gentleman, that there was a smaller area in that
portion of the prison which was nearest Farringdon Street,
denominated and called 'the Painted Ground,' from the fact of
its walls having once displayed the semblance of various men-
of-war in full sail, and other artistical effects achieved in
bygone times by some imprisoned draughtsman in his leisure hours.

Having communicated this piece of information, apparently
more for the purpose of discharging his bosom of an important
fact, than with any specific view of enlightening Mr. Pickwick,
the guide, having at length reached another gallery, led the way
into a small passage at the extreme end, opened a door, and
disclosed an apartment of an appearance by no means inviting,
containing eight or nine iron bedsteads.

'There,' said Mr. Roker, holding the door open, and looking
triumphantly round at Mr. Pickwick, 'there's a room!'

Mr. Pickwick's face, however, betokened such a very trifling
portion of satisfaction at the appearance of his lodging, that
Mr. Roker looked, for a reciprocity of feeling, into the countenance
of Samuel Weller, who, until now, had observed a dignified silence.
'There's a room, young man,' observed Mr. Roker.

'I see it,' replied Sam, with a placid nod of the head.

'You wouldn't think to find such a room as this in the
Farringdon Hotel, would you?' said Mr. Roker, with a
complacent smile.

To this Mr. Weller replied with an easy and unstudied closing
of one eye; which might be considered to mean, either that he
would have thought it, or that he would not have thought it, or
that he had never thought anything at all about it, as the
observer's imagination suggested. Having executed this feat, and
reopened his eye, Mr. Weller proceeded to inquire which was the
individual bedstead that Mr. Roker had so flatteringly described
as an out-and-outer to sleep in.

'That's it,' replied Mr. Roker, pointing to a very rusty one in a
corner. 'It would make any one go to sleep, that bedstead would,
whether they wanted to or not.'

'I should think,' said Sam, eyeing the piece of furniture in
question with a look of excessive disgust--'I should think poppies
was nothing to it.'

'Nothing at all,' said Mr. Roker.

'And I s'pose,' said Sam, with a sidelong glance at his master,
as if to see whether there were any symptoms of his determination
being shaken by what passed, 'I s'pose the other gen'l'men as
sleeps here ARE gen'l'men.'

'Nothing but it,' said Mr. Roker. 'One of 'em takes his twelve
pints of ale a day, and never leaves off smoking even at his meals.'

'He must be a first-rater,' said Sam.

'A1,' replied Mr. Roker.

Nothing daunted, even by this intelligence, Mr. Pickwick
smilingly announced his determination to test the powers of the
narcotic bedstead for that night; and Mr. Roker, after informing
him that he could retire to rest at whatever hour he thought
proper, without any further notice or formality, walked off,
leaving him standing with Sam in the gallery.

It was getting dark; that is to say, a few gas jets were kindled
in this place which was never light, by way of compliment to the
evening, which had set in outside. As it was rather warm, some of
the tenants of the numerous little rooms which opened into the
gallery on either hand, had set their doors ajar. Mr. Pickwick
peeped into them as he passed along, with great curiosity and
interest. Here, four or five great hulking fellows, just visible
through a cloud of tobacco smoke, were engaged in noisy and
riotous conversation over half-emptied pots of beer, or playing
at all-fours with a very greasy pack of cards. In the adjoining
room, some solitary tenant might be seen poring, by the light of a
feeble tallow candle, over a bundle of soiled and tattered papers,
yellow with dust and dropping to pieces from age, writing, for the
hundredth time, some lengthened statement of his grievances, for
the perusal of some great man whose eyes it would never reach,
or whose heart it would never touch. In a third, a man, with his
wife and a whole crowd of children, might be seen making up a
scanty bed on the ground, or upon a few chairs, for the younger
ones to pass the night in. And in a fourth, and a fifth, and a sixth,
and a seventh, the noise, and the beer, and the tobacco smoke, and
the cards, all came over again in greater force than before.

In the galleries themselves, and more especially on the stair-
cases, there lingered a great number of people, who came there,
some because their rooms were empty and lonesome, others
because their rooms were full and hot; the greater part because
they were restless and uncomfortable, and not possessed of the
secret of exactly knowing what to do with themselves. There
were many classes of people here, from the labouring man in his
fustian jacket, to the broken-down spendthrift in his shawl
dressing-gown, most appropriately out at elbows; but there was
the same air about them all--a kind of listless, jail-bird, careless
swagger, a vagabondish who's-afraid sort of bearing, which is
wholly indescribable in words, but which any man can understand
in one moment if he wish, by setting foot in the nearest
debtors' prison, and looking at the very first group of people he
sees there, with the same interest as Mr. Pickwick did.

'It strikes me, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, leaning over the iron
rail at the stair-head-'it strikes me, Sam, that imprisonment for
debt is scarcely any punishment at all.'

'Think not, sir?' inquired Mr. Weller.

'You see how these fellows drink, and smoke, and roar,'
replied Mr. Pickwick. 'It's quite impossible that they can mind
it much.'

'Ah, that's just the wery thing, Sir,' rejoined Sam, 'they don't
mind it; it's a reg'lar holiday to them--all porter and skittles.
It's the t'other vuns as gets done over vith this sort o' thing;
them down-hearted fellers as can't svig avay at the beer, nor play
at skittles neither; them as vould pay if they could, and gets low
by being boxed up. I'll tell you wot it is, sir; them as is always
a-idlin' in public-houses it don't damage at all, and them as is
alvays a-workin' wen they can, it damages too much. "It's
unekal," as my father used to say wen his grog worn't made half-
and-half: "it's unekal, and that's the fault on it."'

'I think you're right, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, after a few
moments' reflection, 'quite right.'

'P'raps, now and then, there's some honest people as likes it,'
observed Mr. Weller, in a ruminative tone, 'but I never heerd o'
one as I can call to mind, 'cept the little dirty-faced man in the
brown coat; and that was force of habit.'

'And who was he?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.

'Wy, that's just the wery point as nobody never know'd,'
replied Sam.

'But what did he do?'

'Wy, he did wot many men as has been much better know'd
has done in their time, Sir,' replied Sam, 'he run a match agin the
constable, and vun it.'

'In other words, I suppose,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'he got into debt.'

'Just that, Sir,' replied Sam, 'and in course o' time he come
here in consekens. It warn't much--execution for nine pound
nothin', multiplied by five for costs; but hows'ever here he
stopped for seventeen year. If he got any wrinkles in his face,
they were stopped up vith the dirt, for both the dirty face and the
brown coat wos just the same at the end o' that time as they wos
at the beginnin'. He wos a wery peaceful, inoffendin' little
creetur, and wos alvays a-bustlin' about for somebody, or playin'
rackets and never vinnin'; till at last the turnkeys they got quite
fond on him, and he wos in the lodge ev'ry night, a-chattering
vith 'em, and tellin' stories, and all that 'ere. Vun night he wos in
there as usual, along vith a wery old friend of his, as wos on the
lock, ven he says all of a sudden, "I ain't seen the market outside,
Bill," he says (Fleet Market wos there at that time)--"I ain't
seen the market outside, Bill," he says, "for seventeen year."
"I know you ain't," says the turnkey, smoking his pipe. "I
should like to see it for a minit, Bill," he says. "Wery probable,"
says the turnkey, smoking his pipe wery fierce, and making
believe he warn't up to wot the little man wanted. "Bill," says
the little man, more abrupt than afore, "I've got the fancy in my
head. Let me see the public streets once more afore I die; and if
I ain't struck with apoplexy, I'll be back in five minits by the
clock." "And wot 'ud become o' me if you WOS struck with
apoplexy?" said the turnkey. "Wy," says the little creetur,
"whoever found me, 'ud bring me home, for I've got my card in
my pocket, Bill," he says, "No. 20, Coffee-room Flight": and
that wos true, sure enough, for wen he wanted to make the
acquaintance of any new-comer, he used to pull out a little limp
card vith them words on it and nothin' else; in consideration of
vich, he vos alvays called Number Tventy. The turnkey takes a
fixed look at him, and at last he says in a solemn manner,
"Tventy," he says, "I'll trust you; you Won't get your old friend
into trouble." "No, my boy; I hope I've somethin' better behind
here," says the little man; and as he said it he hit his little vesket
wery hard, and then a tear started out o' each eye, which wos
wery extraordinary, for it wos supposed as water never touched
his face. He shook the turnkey by the hand; out he vent--'

'And never came back again,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Wrong for vunce, sir,' replied Mr. Weller, 'for back he come,
two minits afore the time, a-bilin' with rage, sayin' how he'd
been nearly run over by a hackney-coach that he warn't used to
it; and he was blowed if he wouldn't write to the lord mayor.
They got him pacified at last; and for five years arter that, he
never even so much as peeped out o' the lodge gate.'

'At the expiration of that time he died, I suppose,' said
Mr. Pickwick.

'No, he didn't, Sir,' replied Sam. 'He got a curiosity to go and
taste the beer at a new public-house over the way, and it wos such
a wery nice parlour, that he took it into his head to go there
every night, which he did for a long time, always comin' back
reg'lar about a quarter of an hour afore the gate shut, which was
all wery snug and comfortable. At last he began to get so precious
jolly, that he used to forget how the time vent, or care nothin' at
all about it, and he went on gettin' later and later, till vun night
his old friend wos just a-shuttin' the gate--had turned the key in
fact--wen he come up. "Hold hard, Bill," he says. "Wot, ain't
you come home yet, Tventy?' says the turnkey, "I thought you
wos in, long ago." "No, I wasn't," says the little man, with a
smile. "Well, then, I'll tell you wot it is, my friend," says the
turnkey, openin' the gate wery slow and sulky, "it's my 'pinion
as you've got into bad company o' late, which I'm wery sorry to
see. Now, I don't wish to do nothing harsh," he says, "but if you
can't confine yourself to steady circles, and find your vay back at
reg'lar hours, as sure as you're a-standin' there, I'll shut you out
altogether!" The little man was seized vith a wiolent fit o'
tremblin', and never vent outside the prison walls artervards!'

As Sam concluded, Mr. Pickwick slowly retraced his steps
downstairs. After a few thoughtful turns in the Painted Ground,
which, as it was now dark, was nearly deserted, he intimated to
Mr. Weller that he thought it high time for him to withdraw for
the night; requesting him to seek a bed in some adjacent public-
house, and return early in the morning, to make arrangements
for the removal of his master's wardrobe from the George and
Vulture. This request Mr. Samuel Weller prepared to obey, with
as good a grace as he could assume, but with a very considerable
show of reluctance nevertheless. He even went so far as to essay
sundry ineffectual hints regarding the expediency of stretching
himself on the gravel for that night; but finding Mr. Pickwick
obstinately deaf to any such suggestions, finally withdrew.

There is no disguising the fact that Mr. Pickwick felt very
low-spirited and uncomfortable--not for lack of society, for the
prison was very full, and a bottle of wine would at once have
purchased the utmost good-fellowship of a few choice spirits,
without any more formal ceremony of introduction; but he was
alone in the coarse, vulgar crowd, and felt the depression of
spirits and sinking of heart, naturally consequent on the reflection
that he was cooped and caged up, without a prospect of liberation.
As to the idea of releasing himself by ministering to the
sharpness of Dodson & Fogg, it never for an instant entered his thoughts.

In this frame of mind he turned again into the coffee-room
gallery, and walked slowly to and fro. The place was intolerably
dirty, and the smell of tobacco smoke perfectly suffocating.
There was a perpetual slamming and banging of doors as the
people went in and out; and the noise of their voices and footsteps
echoed and re-echoed through the passages constantly. A young
woman, with a child in her arms, who seemed scarcely able to
crawl, from emaciation and misery, was walking up and down the
passage in conversation with her husband, who had no other
place to see her in. As they passed Mr. Pickwick, he could hear
the female sob bitterly; and once she burst into such a passion of
grief, that she was compelled to lean against the wall for support,
while the man took the child in his arms, and tried to soothe her.

Mr. Pickwick's heart was really too full to bear it, and he went
upstairs to bed.

Now, although the warder's room was a very uncomfortable
one (being, in every point of decoration and convenience, several
hundred degrees inferior to the common infirmary of a county
jail), it had at present the merit of being wholly deserted save by
Mr. Pickwick himself. So, he sat down at the foot of his little iron
bedstead, and began to wonder how much a year the warder
made out of the dirty room. Having satisfied himself, by mathematical
calculation, that the apartment was about equal in
annual value to the freehold of a small street in the suburbs of
London, he took to wondering what possible temptation could
have induced a dingy-looking fly that was crawling over his
pantaloons, to come into a close prison, when he had the choice
of so many airy situations--a course of meditation which led him to
the irresistible conclusion that the insect was insane. After
settling this point, he began to be conscious that he was getting
sleepy; whereupon he took his nightcap out of the pocket in
which he had had the precaution to stow it in the morning, and,
leisurely undressing himself, got into bed and fell asleep.

'Bravo! Heel over toe--cut and shuffle--pay away at it,
Zephyr! I'm smothered if the opera house isn't your proper
hemisphere. Keep it up! Hooray!' These expressions, delivered
in a most boisterous tone, and accompanied with loud peals of
laughter, roused Mr. Pickwick from one of those sound slumbers
which, lasting in reality some half-hour, seem to the sleeper to
have been protracted for three weeks or a month.

The voice had no sooner ceased than the room was shaken
with such violence that the windows rattled in their frames, and
the bedsteads trembled again. Mr. Pickwick started up, and
remained for some minutes fixed in mute astonishment at the
scene before him.

On the floor of the room, a man in a broad-skirted green coat,
with corduroy knee-smalls and gray cotton stockings, was
performing the most popular steps of a hornpipe, with a slang
and burlesque caricature of grace and lightness, which, combined
with the very appropriate character of his costume, was inexpressibly
absurd. Another man, evidently very drunk, who had
probably been tumbled into bed by his companions, was sitting
up between the sheets, warbling as much as he could recollect of
a comic song, with the most intensely sentimental feeling and
expression; while a third, seated on one of the bedsteads, was
applauding both performers with the air of a profound connoisseur,
and encouraging them by such ebullitions of feeling as had
already roused Mr. Pickwick from his sleep.

This last man was an admirable specimen of a class of gentry
which never can be seen in full perfection but in such places--
they may be met with, in an imperfect state, occasionally about
stable-yards and Public-houses; but they never attain their full
bloom except in these hot-beds, which would almost seem to be
considerately provided by the legislature for the sole purpose of
rearing them.

He was a tall fellow, with an olive complexion, long dark hair,
and very thick bushy whiskers meeting under his chin. He wore
no neckerchief, as he had been playing rackets all day, and his
Open shirt collar displayed their full luxuriance. On his head he
wore one of the common eighteenpenny French skull-caps, with a
gaudy tassel dangling therefrom, very happily in keeping with a
common fustian coat. His legs, which, being long, were afflicted
with weakness, graced a pair of Oxford-mixture trousers, made
to show the full symmetry of those limbs. Being somewhat
negligently braced, however, and, moreover, but imperfectly
buttoned, they fell in a series of not the most graceful folds over
a pair of shoes sufficiently down at heel to display a pair of very
soiled white stockings. There was a rakish, vagabond smartness,
and a kind of boastful rascality, about the whole man, that was
worth a mine of gold.

This figure was the first to perceive that Mr. Pickwick was
looking on; upon which he winked to the Zephyr, and entreated
him, with mock gravity, not to wake the gentleman.
'Why, bless the gentleman's honest heart and soul!' said the
Zephyr, turning round and affecting the extremity of surprise;
'the gentleman is awake. Hem, Shakespeare! How do you do,
Sir? How is Mary and Sarah, sir? and the dear old lady at home,
Sir? Will you have the kindness to put my compliments into the
first little parcel you're sending that way, sir, and say that I
would have sent 'em before, only I was afraid they might be
broken in the wagon, sir?'

'Don't overwhelm the gentlemen with ordinary civilities when
you see he's anxious to have something to drink,' said the
gentleman with the whiskers, with a jocose air. 'Why don't you
ask the gentleman what he'll take?'

'Dear me, I quite forgot,' replied the other. 'What will you
take, sir? Will you take port wine, sir, or sherry wine, sir? I can
recommend the ale, sir; or perhaps you'd like to taste the porter,
sir? Allow me to have the felicity of hanging up your nightcap, Sir.'

With this, the speaker snatched that article of dress from Mr.
Pickwick's head, and fixed it in a twinkling on that of the drunken
man, who, firmly impressed with the belief that he was delighting
a numerous assembly, continued to hammer away at the comic
song in the most melancholy strains imaginable.

Taking a man's nightcap from his brow by violent means, and
adjusting it on the head of an unknown gentleman, of dirty
exterior, however ingenious a witticism in itself, is unquestionably
one of those which come under the denomination of practical
jokes. Viewing the matter precisely in this light, Mr. Pickwick,
without the slightest intimation of his purpose, sprang vigorously
out of bed, struck the Zephyr so smart a blow in the chest as to
deprive him of a considerable portion of the commodity which
sometimes bears his name, and then, recapturing his nightcap,
boldly placed himself in an attitude of defence.

'Now,' said Mr. Pickwick, gasping no less from excitement
than from the expenditure of so much energy, 'come on--both of
you--both of you!' With this liberal invitation the worthy
gentleman communicated a revolving motion to his clenched
fists, by way of appalling his antagonists with a display of science.

It might have been Mr. Pickwick's very unexpected gallantry,
or it might have been the complicated manner in which he had
got himself out of bed, and fallen all in a mass upon the hornpipe
man, that touched his adversaries. Touched they were; for,
instead of then and there making an attempt to commit man-
slaughter, as Mr. Pickwick implicitly believed they would have
done, they paused, stared at each other a short time, and finally
laughed outright.

'Well, you're a trump, and I like you all the better for it,' said
the Zephyr. 'Now jump into bed again, or you'll catch the
rheumatics. No malice, I hope?' said the man, extending a hand
the size of the yellow clump of fingers which sometimes swings
over a glover's door.

'Certainly not,' said Mr. Pickwick, with great alacrity; for,
now that the excitement was over, he began to feel rather cool
about the legs.

'Allow me the H-onour,' said the gentleman with the whiskers,
presenting his dexter hand, and aspirating the h.

'With much pleasure, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick; and having
executed a very long and solemn shake, he got into bed again.

'My name is Smangle, sir,' said the man with the whiskers.

'Oh,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Mine is Mivins,' said the man in the stockings.

'I am delighted to hear it, sir,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Hem,' coughed Mr. Smangle.

'Did you speak, sir?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'No, I did not, sir,' said Mr. Smangle.

All this was very genteel and pleasant; and, to make matters
still more comfortable, Mr. Smangle assured Mr. Pickwick a
great many more times that he entertained a very high respect for
the feelings of a gentleman; which sentiment, indeed, did him
infinite credit, as he could be in no wise supposed to understand them.

'Are you going through the court, sir?' inquired Mr. Smangle.
'Through the what?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Through the court--Portugal Street--the Court for Relief
of-- You know.'

'Oh, no,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'No, I am not.'

'Going out, perhaps?' suggested Mr. Mivins.

'I fear not,' replied Mr. Pickwick. 'I refuse to pay some
damages, and am here in consequence.'

'Ah,' said Mr. Smangle, 'paper has been my ruin.'

'A stationer, I presume, Sir?' said Mr. Pickwick innocently.

'Stationer! No, no; confound and curse me! Not so low as that.
No trade. When I say paper, I mean bills.'

'Oh, you use the word in that sense. I see,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Damme! A gentleman must expect reverses,' said Smangle.
'What of that? Here am I in the Fleet Prison. Well; good. What
then? I'm none the worse for that, am I?'

'Not a bit,' replied Mr. Mivins. And he was quite right; for, so
far from Mr. Smangle being any the worse for it, he was something
the better, inasmuch as to qualify himself for the place, he
had attained gratuitous possession of certain articles of jewellery,
which, long before that, had found their way to the pawnbroker's.

'Well; but come,' said Mr. Smangle; 'this is dry work. Let's
rinse our mouths with a drop of burnt sherry; the last-comer shall
stand it, Mivins shall fetch it, and I'll help to drink it. That's a
fair and gentlemanlike division of labour, anyhow. Curse me!'

Unwilling to hazard another quarrel, Mr. Pickwick gladly
assented to the proposition, and consigned the money to Mr.
Mivins, who, as it was nearly eleven o'clock, lost no time in
repairing to the coffee-room on his errand.

'I say,' whispered Smangle, the moment his friend had left the
room; 'what did you give him?'

'Half a sovereign,' said Mr. Pickwick.

'He's a devilish pleasant gentlemanly dog,' said Mr. Smangle;--
'infernal pleasant. I don't know anybody more so; but--'
Here Mr. Smangle stopped short, and shook his head dubiously.

'You don't think there is any probability of his appropriating
the money to his own use?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Oh, no! Mind, I don't say that; I expressly say that he's a
devilish gentlemanly fellow,' said Mr. Smangle. 'But I think,
perhaps, if somebody went down, just to see that he didn't dip
his beak into the jug by accident, or make some confounded
mistake in losing the money as he came upstairs, it would be as
well. Here, you sir, just run downstairs, and look after that
gentleman, will you?'

This request was addressed to a little timid-looking, nervous
man, whose appearance bespoke great poverty, and who had
been crouching on his bedstead all this while, apparently
stupefied by the novelty of his situation.

'You know where the coffee-room is,' said Smangle; 'just run
down, and tell that gentleman you've come to help him up with
the jug. Or--stop--I'll tell you what--I'll tell you how we'll do
him,' said Smangle, with a cunning look.

'How?' said Mr. Pickwick.

'Send down word that he's to spend the change in cigars.
Capital thought. Run and tell him that; d'ye hear? They shan't
be wasted,' continued Smangle, turning to Mr. Pickwick. 'I'LL
smoke 'em.'

This manoeuvring was so exceedingly ingenious and, withal,
performed with such immovable composure and coolness, that
Mr. Pickwick would have had no wish to disturb it, even if he had
had the power. In a short time Mr. Mivins returned, bearing the
sherry, which Mr. Smangle dispensed in two little cracked mugs;
considerately remarking, with reference to himself, that a
gentleman must not be particular under such circumstances, and
that, for his part, he was not too proud to drink out of the jug.
In which, to show his sincerity, he forthwith pledged the company
in a draught which half emptied it.

An excellent understanding having been by these means
promoted, Mr. Smangle proceeded to entertain his hearers with
a relation of divers romantic adventures in which he had been
from time to time engaged, involving various interesting anecdotes
of a thoroughbred horse, and a magnificent Jewess, both of
surpassing beauty, and much coveted by the nobility and gentry
of these kingdoms.

Long before these elegant extracts from the biography of a
gentleman were concluded, Mr. Mivins had betaken himself to
bed, and had set in snoring for the night, leaving the timid
stranger and Mr. Pickwick to the full benefit of Mr. Smangle's

Nor were the two last-named gentlemen as much edified as
they might have been by the moving passages narrated. Mr.
Pickwick had been in a state of slumber for some time, when he
had a faint perception of the drunken man bursting out afresh
with the comic song, and receiving from Mr. Smangle a gentle
intimation, through the medium of the water-jug, that his
audience was not musically disposed. Mr. Pickwick then once
again dropped off to sleep, with a confused consciousness that
Mr. Smangle was still engaged in relating a long story, the chief
point of which appeared to be that, on some occasion particularly
stated and set forth, he had 'done' a bill and a gentleman at the
same time.

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