« ПредишнаНапред »
knowledge of the world, and a great deal of sharpness, Mrs. Bardell, which may be of material use to me.”
"La, Mr. Pickwick!” said Mrs. Bardell, the crimson rising to her cap-border again. “I do,” said Mr. Pickwick, growing energetic, as was his wont in speaking of a subject which interested him, “ I do indeed ; and to tell you the truth, Mrs. Bardell, I have made up my mind.” “Dear me, sir!” exclaimed Mrs. Bardell. “You'll think it not very strange now,” said the amiable Mr. Pickwick with a good-humored glance at his companion, “that I never consulted you about this matter, and never mentioned it till I sent your little boy out this morning, eh ?”
Mrs. Bardell could only reply by a look. She had long worshiped Mr. Pickwick at a distance; but here she was, all at once, raised to a pinnacle to which her wildest and most extravagant hopes had never dared to aspire. Mr. Pickwick was going to propose: a deliberate plan too, - sent her little boy to the borough to get him out of the way. How thoughtful! how considerate! Well,” said Mr. Pickwick, “what do
think?" -“O Mr. Pickwick!” said Mrs. Bardell, trembling with agitation, “you're very kind, sir.” .“ It will save you a great deal of trouble, won't it?” said Mr. Pickwick. “Oh! I never thought any thing of the trouble, sir,” replied Mrs. Bardell; " and, of course, I should take more trouble to please you then than ever: but it is so kind of you, Mr. Pickwick, to have so much consideration for my loneliness!”
“Ah! to be sure,” said Mr. Pickwick : “I never thought of that. When I am in town, you'll always have somebody to sit
To be sure, so you will.” — “ I'm sure I ought to be a very happy woman, said Mrs. Bardell. boy," said Mr. Pickwick. “Bless his heart !” interposed Mrs. Bardell with a maternal sob. “He, too, will have a companion," resumed Mr. Pickwick; "a lively one, who'll teach him, I'll be bound, more tricks in a week than he would ever learn in a year." And Mr. Pickwick smiled placidly.
“Oh, you dear!” said Mrs. Bardell. Mr. Pickwick started. “Oli, you kind, good, playful dear!” said Mrs. Bardell; and, withont more ado, she rose from her chair, and flung her arms round Mr. Pickwick's neck with a cataract of tears and a chorus of sobs. “ Bless my soul ! cried the astonished Mr. Pickwick. “Mrs. Bardell
, my good woman !- dear me, what a situation ! pray, consider. Mrs. Bardell, don't — if anybody should come *Oh! let them come,” exclaimed Mrs. Bardell frantically. never leave you, dear, kind, good soul !” and with these words Mrs. Bardell clung the tighter.
“Mercy upon me!” said Mr. Pickwick struggling violently. “I hear somebody coming up the stairs. Don't, don't, there's a
good creature, don't !” But entreaty and remonstrance were alike unavailing: for Mrs. Bardell had fainted in Mr. Pickwick's arms; and, before he could gain time to deposit her on a chair, Master Bardell entered the room, ushering in Mr. Tupınan, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass. Mr. Pickwick was struck motionless and speechless. He stood with his lovely burden in his arms, gazing vacantly on the countenances of his friends, without the slightest attempt at recognition or explanation. They, in their turn, stared at him; and Master Bardell, in his turn, stared at everybody
The astonishment of the Pickwickians was so absorbing, and the perplexity of Mr. Pickwick was so extreme, that they might have remained in exactly the same relative situation until the suspended animation of the lady was restored, had it not been for a most beautiful and touching expression of filial affection on the part of her youthful son. Clad in a tight suit of corduroy, spangled with brass buttons of a very considerable size, he at first stood at the door astounded and uncertain: but, by degrees, the impression that his mother must have suffered some personal damage pervaded his partially-developed mind; and, considering Mr. Pickwick the aggressor, he set up an appalling and semiearthly kind of howling, and, butting forward with his head, commenced assailing that immortal gentleman about the back and legs with such blows and pinches as the strength of his arm and the violence of his excitement allowed.
“Take this little villain away !” said the agonized Mr. Pickwick: “he's mad!” “What is the matter ? " said the three tongue-tied Pickwiekians. “I don't know," replied Mr. Pickwick pettishly.
away the boy!” (here Mr. Winkle carried the interesting boy, screaming and struggling, to the farther end of the apartment:) “now help me to lead this woman down stairs." “Oh! I'm better now,” said Mrs. Bardell faintly. “Let me lead you down stairs," said the ever-gallant Mr. Tup
“ Thank you, sir, thank you!” exclaimed Mrs. Bardell hysterically. And down stairs she was led accordingly, accompanied by her affectionate son.
“I can not conceive,” said Mr. Pickwick when his friend returned, — “I can not conceive what has been the matter with that woman. I had merely announced to her my intention of keeping a man-servant, when she fell into the extraordinary paroxysm in which you found her. Very extraordinary thing.” “Very,” said his three friends. “Placed me in such an extremely awkward situation !” continued Mr. Pickwick. Very," was the reply of his followers, as they coughed slightly, and looked dubiously at each other.
This behavior was not lost upon Mr. Pickwick. He remarked
their incredulity. They evidently suspected him.
6. There is a man in the passage now,” said Mr. Tupman. “It's the man that I spoke to you about,” said Mr. Pickwick: “I sent for him to the borough this morning. Have the goodness to call him up, Snodgrass."
SPEECH OF SERJEANT BUZFUZ.
“ You heard from my learned friend, gentlemen of the jury, that this is an action for a breach of promise of marriage, in which the damages are laid at fifteen hundred pounds. The plaintiff, gentlemen, is a widow; yes, gentlemen, a widow. The late Mr. Bardell, some time before his death, became the father, gentlemen, of a little boy. With this little boy, the only pledge of her departed exciseman, Mrs. Bardell shrank from the world, and courted the retirement and tranquillity of Goswell Street; and here she placed in her front-parlor window a written placard bearing this inscription : "APARTMENTS FURNISHED FOR A SINGLE GENTLEMAN. INQUIRE WIThin.'
“Mrs. Bardell's opinions of the opposite sex, gentlemen, were derived from a long contemplation of the inestimable qualities of her lost husband. She had no fear; she had no distrust, all was confidence and reliance. Mr. Bardell,' said the widow,
was a man of honor; Mr. Bardell was a man of his word ; Mr. Bardell was no deceiver; Mr. Bardell was once a single gentleman himself. To single gentlemen I look for protection, for assistance, comfort, and consolation ; in single gentlemen I shall perpetually see something to remind me of what Mr. Bardell was when he first won my young and untried affections; to a single gentleman, then, shall my lodgings be let.'
“Actuated by this beautiful and touching impulse (among the best impulses of our imperfect nature, gentlemen), the lonely and desolate widow dried her tears, furnished her first floor, caught her innocent boy to her maternal bosom, and put the bill up in her parlor-window. Did it remain there long? No. The serpent was on the watch; the train was laid; the mine was preparing; the sapper and miner was at work! Before the bill had been in the parlor-window three days, — three days, gentlemen,
a being, erect upon two legs, and bearing all the outward semblance of a man, and not of a monster, knocked at the door of Mrs. Bardell's house. He inquired within ; he took the lodgings; and, on the very next day, he entered into possession of them. This man was Pickwick, Pickwick, the defendant!
“Of this man I will say little. The subject presents but few attractions; and I, gentlemen, am not the man, nor are you, gentlemen, the men, to delight in the contemplation of revolting
heartlessness and of systematic villainy. I say, 'systematic villainy,' gentlemen ; and, when I say “systematic villainy,' let me tell the defendant Pickwick, if he be in court (as I am informed he is), that it would have been more decent in him, more becoming, if he had stopped away. Let me tell him, further, that a counsel, in the discharge of his duty, is neither to be intimidated, nor bullied, nor put down; and that any attempt to do either the one or the other will recoil on the head of the attempter, be he plaintiff, or be he defendant; be his name Pickwick or Noakes or Stoakes or Stiles or Brown or Thompson.
“ I shall show you, gentlemen, that, for two years, Pickwick continued to reside constantly, and without interruption or intermission, at Mrs. Bardell's house. I shall show you that Mrs. Bardell, during the whole of that time, waited on him ; attended to his comforts; cooked his meals; looked out his linen for the washerwoman when it went abroad; darned, aired, and prepared it for wear when it came home; and, in short, enjoyed his fullest trust and confidence. I shall show you, that, on many occasions, he gave half-pence, and on some occasions even sixpence, to her little boy. I shall prove to you, that on one occasion, when he returned from the country, he distinctly and in terms offered her marriage (previously, however, taking special care that there should be no witnesses to their solemn contract); and I am in a situation to prove to you, on the testimony of three of his own friends, — most unwilling witnesses, gentlemen, - most unwilling witnesses, that on that morning he was discovered by them holding the plaintiff in his arms, and soothing her agitation by his caresses and endearments.
“And now, gentlemen, but one word more. Two letters have passed between these parties; letters that must be viewed with a cautious and suspicious eye; letters that were evidently intended at the time, by Pickwick, to mislead and delude any third parties into whose hands they might fall. Let me read the first: Garraway's, twelve o'clock. Dear Mrs. B. Chops and tomato-sauce. Yours, Pickwick.' Gentlemen, what does this mean ? — Chops and tomato-sauce. Yours, Pickwick.' Chops (gracious Heavens !) and tomato-sauce! Gentlemen, is the happiness of a sensitive and confiding female to be trified away by such shallow artifices as these ?
“ The next has no date whatever, which is in itself suspicious : 'Dear Mrs. B., I shall not be at home to-morrow. Slow coach.' And then follows this very remarkable expression, — Don't trouble yourself about the warming-pan. The "warming-pan?! Why, gentlemen, who does trouble himself about a warming-pan ? Why is Mrs. Bardell so earnestly entreated not to agitate herself about this warming-pan, unless (as is no doubt the case) it is a mere
cover for hidden fire, - a mere substitute for some endearing word or promise, agreeably to a preconcerted system of correspondence, artfully contrived by Pickwick with a view to his contemplated desertion ? And what does this allusion to the slow coach mean? For aught I know, it may be a reference to Pickwick himself, who has most unquestionably been a criminally slow coach during the whole of this transaction, but whose speed will now be very unexpectedly accelerated, and whose wheels, gentlemen, as he will find to his cost, will very soon be greased, by you.
“But enough of this, gentlemen. It is difficult to smile with an aching heart. My client's hopes and prospects are ruined; and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation is gone indeed. The bill is down; but there is no tenant. Eligible single gentlemen pass and repass; but there is no invitation for them to inquire within or without. All is gloom and silence in the house. Even the voice of the child is hushed: his infant sports are disregarded when his mother weeps.
“But Pickwick, gentlemen, Pickwick, the ruthless destroyer of this domestic oasis in the desert of Goswell Street, Pickwick, who has choked up the well, and thrown ashes on the sward, — Pickwick, who comes before you to-day with his heartless tomatosauce and warming-pans, Pickwick still rears his head with unblushing effrontery, and gazes without a sigh on the ruin he has made. Damages, gentlemen, heavy damages, is the only punishment with which you can visit him, - the only recompense you can award to my client; and for those damages she now appeals to an enlightened, a high-minded, a right-feeling, a conscientious, a dispassionate, a sympathizing, a contemplative jury of her civilized countrymen.”
WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY.
Artist as well as author, he has painted human nature exactly as he saw it. With wit and humor, expressed in excellent English, he ruthlessly exposed the shams and hypocrisies of fashionable society, and, for a time, about equally divided popular fivor with Dickens as a novelist. We select from his lectures “Charity and Humor,” which admirably represents the man; but the style of the distinguished novelist must be learned by reading his
" " The Vanity Fair;” “Pendennis;" “ The Newcomes;” “The Virginians; Adventures of Philip;”
“ MiscellaHenry Esmond;" “Lovel the Widower; nies,” five vols.