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Pickwickian Studies
by Percy Fitzgerald
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Boz, I believe, had none of these speculations positively before him, but he was led by the logic of his story. He had to follow his characters and their development; they did not follow him.



IV.—Grummer

This well drawn sketch of an ignorant, self-sufficient constable is admirable. I have little doubt that one of the incidents in which he figures was suggested to Boz by a little adventure of Grimaldi's which he found in the mass of papers submitted to him, and which he worked up effectively. A stupid and malicious old constable, known as "Old Lucas," went to arrest the clown on an imaginary charge, as he was among his friends at the theatre. As in the case of Grummer, the friends, like Winkle and Snodgrass, threatened the constable. The magistrate heard the case, sentenced Grimaldi to pay 5s. fine. Old Lucas, in his disappointment, arrested him again. Being attacked by Grimaldi, as Grummer was by Sam, he drew his staff and behaved outrageously. The magistrate then, like Nupkins, had him placed in the dock, and sentenced.

It has also been stated that Grummer was drawn from Towshend—the celebrated Bow Street Runner again introduced in "Oliver Twist." Towshend was a privileged person, like Grummer, and gave his advice familiarly to the magistrates.



CHAPTER XIV. CHARACTERISTICS

I.—The Wardle Family

Here is a very pleasing and natural group of persons, in whom it is impossible not to take a deep interest. They are like some amiable family that we have known. Old Wardle, as he is called, though he was under fifty, was a widower, and had remained so, quite content with his daughters' attachment. He had his worthy old mother to live with him, to whom he was most dutiful, tolerant, and affectionate. These two points recommend him. There was no better son than Boz himself, so he could appreciate these things. The sketch is interesting as a picture of the patriarchal system that obtained in the country districts, all the family forming one household, as in France. For here we have Wardle, his mother, and his sister, together with his two pleasing daughters, while, later on, his sons-in-law established themselves close by. The "poor relations" seem to have been always there. It is astonishing how Boz, in his short career, could have observed and noticed these things. Wardle's fondness for his daughters is really charming, and displayed without affectation. He connected them with the image of his lost wife. There is no more natural, truly affecting passage than his display of fretfulness when he got some inkling that his second daughter was about to make a rather improvident marriage with young Snodgrass. The first had followed her inclinations in wedding Trundle—a not very good match—but he did not lose her as the pair lived beside him. He thought Emily, however, a pretty girl who ought to do better, and he had his eye on "a young gentleman in the neighbourhood"—and for some four or five months past he had been pressing her to receive his addresses favourably. This was clearly a good match. Not that he would unduly press her, but "if she could, for I would never force a young girl's inclinations." He never thought, he says, that the Snodgrass business was serious. But, how natural that, when Arabella, their friend, had become a regular heroine and had gone off with her Winkle, that this should fill Emily's head with similar thoughts, and set the pair on thinking that they were persecuted, &c. What a natural scene is this between father and daughter.

"My daughter Bella, Emily having gone to bed with a headache after she had read Arabella's letter to me, sat herself down by my side the other evening, and began to talk over this marriage affair. "Well, pa," she says; "what do you think of it?" "Why, my dear," I said; "I suppose it's all very well; I hope it's for the best." I answered in this way because I was sitting before the fire at the time, drinking my grog rather thoughtfully, and I knew my throwing in an undecided word now and then would induce her to continue talking. Both my girls are pictures of their dear mother, and as I grow old I like to sit with only them by me; for their voices and looks carry me back to the happiest period of my life, and make me, for the moment, as young as I used to be then, though not quite so light-hearted. "It's quite a marriage of affection, pa," said Bella, after a short silence. "Yes, my dear," said I; "but such marriages do not always turn out the happiest." "I am sorry to hear you express your opinion against marriages of affection, pa," said Bella, colouring a little. "I was wrong; I ought not to have said so, my dear, either," said I patting her cheek as kindly as a rough old fellow like me could do it, "for your mother's was one and so was yours." "It's not that, I meant, pa," said Bella. "The fact is, pa, I wanted to speak to you about Emily." The long and the short of it is, then, that Bella at last mustered up courage to tell me that Emily was unhappy; that she and your young friend Snodgrass had been in constant correspondence and communication ever since last Christmas; that she had very dutifully made up her mind to run away with him, in laudable imitation of her old friend and schoolfellow.

Another member of this pleasant household was "The Fat Boy." There is nothing humorous or farcical in the mere physical exhibition of a fat person, qua his fat. It was, indeed, the fashion of the day—and on the stage particularly—to assume that fatness was associated with something comic. There are a number of stout persons in Pickwick—the hero himself, Tupman, old Weller, and all the coachmen, the turnkeys, Slammer, Wardle, Fat Boy, Nupkin's cook, Grummer, Buzfuz, Mrs. Weller, Mr. Bagman's uncle, and others. Thackeray attempted to work with this element in the case of Jos Sedley, and his fatness had a very close connection with his character. But, in the case of Boz, his aim was much more intellectual and, as it were, refined. For his object was to show what was a fat person's view of this world, as seen through the medium of Fat. The Fat Boy is not a selfish, sensual being by nature—he is really helpless, and the creature of necessity who is forced by his bulk to take a certain fat view of everything round him." If we reflect on it we shall see how clearly this is carried out. It is curious that, in the instance of the Fat Boy, Boz should have repeated or duplicated a situation, and yet contrived to impart such varied treatment, but I suspect no one has ever noticed the point. Joe, it will be remembered, witnessed the proceedings in the arbour, when Mr. Tupman declared his passion for the spinster aunt, and the subsequent embracing—to the great embarrassment of the pair. At the close of the story he also intruded on another happy pair—Mr. Snodgrass and his inamorata—at a similar delicate moment. Yet in the treatment, how different—"I wants to make yer flesh creep!"—his taking the old lady into confidence; and then he was pronounced by his master, Wardle, to be under some delusion—"let me at him"—&c., so his story and report led him into a scrape. When he intruded on the pair at Osborne's Hotel, and Snodgrass was, later, shut up there, again he was made the scapegoat, and Wardle insisted that he was drunk, &c. So here were the incidents repeating themselves.



II.—Shooting, Riding, Driving, etc.

Boz declared in one of his Prefaces that he was so ignorant of country sports, that he could not attempt to deal with them in a story. Notwithstanding this protest, he has given us a couple of shooting scenes which show much experience of that form of field sports. There is a tone of sympathy and freshness, a keen enjoyment of going forth in the morning, which proves that he himself had taken part in such things. Rook- shooting was then an enjoyable sport, and Boz was probably thinking of the rooks at Cobham, where he had no doubt hovered round the party when a lad. As we know, Mr. Tupman, who was a mere looker-on, was "peppered" by his friend Winkle, a difficult thing to understand, as Winkle must have been firing high into the trees, and if he hit his friend at all, would have done so with much more severity. The persons who were in serious danger from Mr. Winkle's gun were the boys in the trees, and we may wonder that one, at least, was not shot dead. But the whole is so pleasantly described as to give one a perfect envie to go out and shoot rooks. There are some delightful touches, such as Mr. Pickwick's alarm about the climbing boys, "for he was not quite certain that the distress in the agricultural interest, might not have compelled the small boys attached to the soil to earn a precarious and hazardous existence by making marks of themselves for inexperienced sportsmen." And again, "the boy shouted and shook a branch with a nest on it. Half-a-dozen young rooks in violent conversation flew out to ask what the matter was." Does not this bring the whole scene before us.

The other shooting scene is near Bury St. Edmunds—on Sir Geoffrey Manning's grounds—on September 1st, 1830, or 1827, whichever Boz pleases, when "many a young partridge who strutted complacently among the stubble with all his finical coxcombry of youth, and many an older one who watched his levity out of his little, round eye with the contemptuous air of a bird of wisdom and experience, alike unconscious of their approaching doom, basked in the fresh morning air with lively and blithesome feelings, and, a few hours later, were laid low upon the earth." Here we have the beginning of that delightful fashion of Dickens's, which he later carried to such perfection, of associating human feelings and associations with the animal creation, and also inanimate objects.

Everything connected with "the shooting" is admirably touched: The old, experienced "shot," Wardle; the keepers and their boys; the dogs; the sham amateurs; the carrying of the guns "reversed arms, like privates at a funeral." Mr. Winkle "flashed and blazed and smoked away without producing any material results; at one time expending his charge in mid- air, and at others sending it skimming along so near the surface of the ground as to place the lives of the two dogs on a rather uncertain and precarious tenure. 'What's the matter with the dogs' legs? How queer they're standing!' whispered Mr. Winkle. 'Hush, can't you! Don't you see they are making a point?' said Wardle. 'Making a point?' said Mr. Winkle, glaring about him, as if he expected to discern some particular beauty in the landscape which the sagacious animals were calling special attention to. 'What are they pointing at?' 'Keep your eyes open,' said Wardle, not heeding the question in the excitement of the moment. 'Now then.'" How natural and humorous is all this.

This was partridge shooting, "old style"—delightful and inspiriting, as all have felt who have shared in it. Now we have "drives" on a vast scale; then you would follow the birds from field to field "marking them down." I myself with an urchin, a dog, and a single-barrelled old gun have thus followed a few precious birds from field to field all the day and secured them at the last. That was true enjoyment.



III.—Horses and Driving in "Pickwick."

For one who so modestly disclaimed all knowledge of sporting and country tastes, Boz shows a very familiar acquaintance with horses and their ways. He has introduced a number of these animals whose points are all distinctly emphasized: a number of persons are shown to be interested in horses, who exhibit their knowledge of and sympathise with the animals, a knowledge and sympathy which is but a reflection of his own. The cunning hand that could so discriminate between shades of humorous characters would not be at a loss to analyse traits of equine nature. There is the cab horse, said to be forty years old and kept in the shafts for two or three weeks at a time, which is depicted in Seymour's plate. How excellently drawn are the two Rochester steeds: one "an immense brown horse, displaying great symmetry of bone," which was to be driven by Mr. Pickwick, and Mr. Winkle's riding animal, another immense horse "apparently a near relative of the animal in the chaise." "He don't shy, does he?" The ostler guaranteed him quiet—"a hinfant in arms might drive him"—"He wouldn't shy if he met a whole waggon-load of monkeys with their tails burnt off." A far more original illustration than anything used by the Wellers, whose special form that was. I pass over the details of the driving and the riding which show a perfect knowledge of animals, such as "the tall quadruped." Nothing is more droll than the description of the loathing with which the party came to regard the animal they were compelled to lead about all day. Then we have the post horses and all connected with them. There is Tom Smart's "vixenish mare," quite an intelligent character in her way. The account of the coach drive down to Muggleton shows admirable observation of the ways of the drivers.

Ben Allen's aunt had her private fly, painted a sad green colour drawn by a "chubby sort of brown horse." I pass over the ghostly mailcoach horses that flew through the night in "The Story of the Bagman's Uncle," flowing- maned, black horses. There are many post horses figuring in Mr. Pickwick's journey from Bristol to Birmingham and thence home; horses in the rain and out of it.

Namby's horse was "a bay, a well-looking animal enough, but with something of a flash and dog-fighting air about him." The horses which took the hackney coach to the Fleet jolted along as hackney coaches usually do. "The horses 'went better,' the driver said, 'when they had anything before them.' They must have gone at a most extraordinary pace when there was nothing." Visiting the Fleet with Mrs. Weller and the deputy Shepherd, Mr. Weller drove up from Dorking with the old piebald in his chaise cart, which, after long delay, was brought out for the return journey. "If he stands at livery much longer he'll stand at nothin' as we go back." There is a capital scene at the opening of Chapter XLVI., when the "cabrioilet" was drawing up at Mrs. Bardell's, and where so much that is dramatic is "got out" of such a simple incident between the contending directions.



IV.—Mr. Pickwick in Silk Stockings.

How well Boz knew how to touch the chords of human character—a power that certainly needs long experience to work—is shown by the scene at Wardle's dance, where Mr. Pickwick is nettled by Tupman's remarking that he was wearing "pumps" for the first time. "You in silk stockings," said that gentleman. Mr. Pickwick had just called attention to the change which he considered a sort of public event to be admired by all. "See this great man condescending to our frivolous tastes," and his host had noted it in a flattering way. "You mean to dance?" But Tupman did not look at it in this respectful way—he made a joke of it! "You in silk stockings." This was insolent to the grave, great man and philosopher, so he turned sharply on his familiar: "And why not, sir—why not?" This with warmth. The foolish Tupman, still inclined to be jocose, said, "Oh, of course, there is no reason why you shouldn't wear them"—a most awkward speech—as who should say, "This is a free country—a man can wear a night cap in public if he chooses." "I imagine not, sir—I imagine not," said Mr. Pickwick, in a very peremptory tone. Mr. Tupman had contemplated a laugh, but he found it was a serious matter, so he looked grave, and said they were a pretty pattern. How natural is all this! And still more so his leader's reply. "I hope they are," he said, fixing his eyes upon his friend, "You see nothing extraordinary in the stockings, as stockings, I trust, sir." The frightened Tupman said, "Certainly not, Oh, certainly not," and walked away. Mr. Pickwick's face resumed its customary benign expression. This little picture of weakness in an eminent man is characteristic. For observe, when Tupman showed the folly of wearing a "two inch tail" to the brigand's coat, Mr. Pickwick was furious, told him he was too old and too fat; but when someone remarks on his silk stockings he gets deeply offended. His vanity is touched, there should have been no remark, or, at least, only of admiration. He was, in fact, one of those flattered and spoiled personages who cannot see any harm in their doing what they reprove in others. Many a really great character is weak in this direction. Observe the disingenuousness of the great man; he knew, perfectly, that Tupman noticed nothing odd in the stockings, "as stockings," he meant the oddity of his wearing them at all, and he had said so, plainly. But, ignoring this, the great man chose to assume that he was insolently reflecting on their pattern as outlandish. With his despotic pressure, he forced him to say they were of a "pretty pattern," and thus vindicated his authority.



V.—Violent Assaults, Shooting, &c

Duelling, imprisonment for debt, intoxication, elopements, are, perhaps, the most striking social incidents in "Pickwick" that have disappeared and become all but antiquarian in their character. Yet another, almost as curious, was the ready recourse to physical force or violence—fistic correction as it might be termed. A gentleman of quiet, restrained habit, like Mr. Pickwick, was prepared, in case of call, either to threaten or execute summary chastisement on anyone who offended him. The police or magistrates seemed not to have been thought of, for the victim would not think of appealing to either—all which seems strange to us nowadays. At the Review even, the soldiers coolly overthrew Mr. Pickwick and his friends who had got in their way. Winkle was maltreated so severely that the blood streamed from his nose; this would not now be tolerated. When Jingle affronted the great man by calling his friend "Tuppy," Mr. Pickwick, we are told, "hurled the inkstand madly forward and followed it up himself." This hurling of things at offenders was a common incident, particularly in quarrels at table, when the decanter was frequently so used, or a glass of wine thrown in the face. After the adventure at the Boarding School, Mr. Pickwick "indented his pillow with a tremendous blow," and announced that, if he met Jingle again, he would "inflict personal chastisement on him"; while Sam declared that he would bring "real water" into Job's eyes. Old Lobbs, in the story, was going to throttle Pipkin. Mrs. Potts insisted that the editor of The Independent should be horsewhipped. More extraordinary still, old Weller, at a quiet tea-meeting, assaulted the Shepherd, giving him "two or three for himself, and two or three more to hand over to the man with the red nose." Everyone set themselves right in this way and, it is clear, knew how to use their "bunch of fives." Nor were there any summonses or police courts afterwards; the incident was closed. Sam, attempting to rescue his master at Ipswich, knocked down the "specials" right and left, knocking down some for others to lie upon, yet he was only fined two pounds for the first assault and three for the second—now he would have been sent to jail under a severe sentence. Mrs. Raddle insisted that her husband should get up and knock every one of the guests down stairs, while Jack Hopkins offered to go upstairs and "pitch into the landlord." At the Brick Lane meeting, Brother Stiggins, intoxicated, knocked Brother Tadger down the stairs, while old Weller violently assaulted Stiggins. At Bath, Dowler hunted Winkle round the Crescent, threatening to cut his throat; and at Bristol, when the terrified Winkle tried to ring the bell, Dowler fancied that he was going to strike him. At Bristol, Ben Allen flourished the poker, threatening his sister's rival, and when Mr. Pickwick sent Sam to capture Winkle, he instructed him to knock him down even, if he resisted; this direction was given with all seriousness. "If he attempts to run away from you, knock him down, or lock him up, you have my full authority, Sam." The despotism of this amiable man was truly extraordinary, he ruled his "followers" with a rod of iron. That such should be exercised, or accepted even by the reader, is a note of the time. It was, however, only a logical consequence of the other summary methods.

The altercation between Mr. Pickwick and his other "follower," Tupman, arising out of the "two-inch tail" question, was on the same lines. For the affront of being called fat and old the latter scientifically turned up his cuffs and announced that he would inflict summary chastisement on his leader. Mr. Pickwick met him with a cordial "come on," throwing himself into a pugilistic attitude, supposed by the two bystanders to have been intended as a posture of defence. This seems to have been accepted as a natural incident, though it was deprecated. In the Fleet Prison, when Mr. Pickwick's nightcap was snatched off, he retorted with a smart blow, and again invited everyone, "all of you," to "come on." When the coachmen attended Sam to the Fleet, walking eight abreast, they had to leave behind one of the party "to fight a ticket porter, it being arranged that his friends should call for him as they came back." Even in a moment of agitation—as when Ben Allen learned that his sister had "bolted," his impulse was to rush at Martin the groom and throttle him; the latter, in return, "felling the medical student to the ground." Then we have the extraordinary and realistic combat between Pott and Slurk in the kitchen of the "Saracen's Head," Towcester—the one armed with a shovel, the other with a carpet bag—and old Weller's chastisement of Stiggins. In short, this system of chastisement on the spot, it is clear, was a necessary equipment, and everybody, high and low, was understood to be ready to secure satisfaction for himself by the aid of violence. No doubt this was a consequence of the duel which was, of course, to be had recourse to only as the last resort.

When the wretched Jingle, and the still more wretched Job met Mr. Pickwick in the Fleet, and the latter, giving money, had said, "Take that, sir," the author adds, "Take what? . . . As the world runs, it ought to have been a sound, hearty cuff, for Mr. Pickwick had been duped, deceived, &c." Thus, Boz thought, as of course, that this was the suitable method of treatment in such cases. "Must we tell the truth?" he goes on; "it was a piece of money." The unconsciousness of all this is very striking.



VI.—Winkle and Snodgrass

It has always seemed a matter of astonishment to me how such a creature as Winkle should have won the fair Arabella. Every act of this man was a deception—he could not help pretence, or, shall we say it boldly, lying. His duel was a series of tricks—his shooting, skating, etc., all a sham. Even when found out as an impostor before all the keepers and others, we find him impudently saying, "I'll tell you what I shall do to get up my shooting again." The fellow never had any shooting to get up. But the mere habit of untruth was ingrained in the man. His undignified race, in a dressing-gown, round the Crescent was no doubt concealed from Arabella—she would never have got over that! As a display of cowardice it was only matched by his hypocritical assumption of courage before Dowler when he found he could assume it safely. He deceived his father and Mr. Pickwick as to his marriage, and dropped on his knees to the latter to beg pardon. How mean, too, was his behaviour to Mrs. Pott in the difficulty with her husband. But nothing could shake the interest of the fair Arabella in her lover, even his ignominious and public treatment by Mr. Pickwick at the skating exhibition. How can we account for it. But Boz knew the female nature well, and here is the explanation: Winkle had been "out"—had figured in a duel with a real officer in the army. There was no mistake about that—gone out, too, in what appeared a chivalrous manner to save the honour of the club. At least it had the appearance of all that (though here was another falsehood). This had been told to all—no doubt by Winkle himself—many times over. Nothing could enfeeble that, it seemed heroic, and covered all other laches. Neither did it lose in his telling of it.

The most ridiculous feature surely in the man was his costume—meant to be of a sporting complexion—which he never abandoned: green shooting coat, plaid neckchief, and closely fitting drabs. When he returned from his honeymoon, he was still in this uniform.

We may assume, however, that this points to a custom of the time: that the sportsman was always a sportsman. Even at the club meeting, at a poorish room in a tavern, he must carry on the fiction that he has just come back from a day's sporting, for there on the floor, conspicuous, are the fowling piece, game bag, fishing rod, &c.

Snodgrass was another incapable and quite uninteresting—a person whom we would not care to know. He posed as a poet and, to this end, wore, even at the club, "a mysterious blue cloak, with a canine skin collar"; imagine this of a warm evening—May 12—in a stuffy room in Huggin Lane! He must, however, live up to his character, at all hazards.

Snodgrass and his verses, and his perpetual "note book," must have made him a bore of the first water. How could the charming Emily have selected him. He, too, had some of Winkle's craft. He had been entertained cordially and hospitably by old Wardle, and repaid him by stealing his daughter's affections in a very underhand way, actually plotting to run away with her.

There was something rather ignominious in his detection at Osborne's Hotel. He is a very colourless being. As to his being a Poet, it would seem to be that he merely gave himself out for one and persuaded his friends that he was such. His remarks at the "Peacock" are truly sapient: "Show me the man that says anything against women, as women, and I boldly declare he is not a man!" Which is matched by Mr. Winkle's answer to the charge of his being "a serpent": "Prove it," said Mr. Winkle, warmly. It is to be suspected that the marriage with the amiable Emily was not a success. The author throws out a hint to that effect: "Mr Snodgrass, being occasionally abstracted and melancholy, is to this day reputed a great poet among his acquaintance, though we do not find he has ever written anything to encourage the belief." In other words he was carrying on the old Pickwick game of "Humbug." So great an intellect had quite thrown itself away on poor Emily—even his abstraction and melancholy. How natural too that he should "hang on" to his father-in- law "and establish himself close to Dingly Dell"—to "sponge," probably—while he made a sham of farming; for are we not told that he purchased and cultivated a small farm—"more for occupation than profit"—thus again making believe. Poor Emily!

I lately looked through the swollen pages of the monster London Directory to find how many of the Pickwickian names were in common use. There was not a single Snodgrass, though there was one Winkel, and one "Winkle and Co." in St. Mary Axe. There was one Tupman, a Court dressmaker—no Nupkins, but some twenty Magnuses, and not a single Pickwick. There were, however, some twenty-four Wellers.



CHAPTER XV.—DULWICH

I.—Mr. Pickwick's Diversions

Mr. Pickwick, as we know, retired to end his days at peaceful Dulwich—placid and tranquil as his own amiable heart. It is as certain as though we had been living there and had seen all that was going on, that he became universally popular, and quite a personage in the place. Everyone was sure to meet him taking his afternoon walk along the rural lanes, or making his way to the Greyhound, where he was often found of an evening—possibly every evening. This Greyhound, an old-fashioned and somewhat antique house, though not mentioned in the story, is linked to it by implication; for to settle at Dulwich and ignore the Greyhound was a thing that could not be. There is a Pickwickian tone—or was, rather, for it is now levelled—about the place, and Boz himself used to frequent it, belonging to a sort of dining club that met down there.

Such a paper as say the Dulwich Observer would make much account of a man like Mr. Pickwick; all his movements would be chronicled, and anyone that chooses to bid Sarah or Mary "bring up the file for the year of Mr. Pickwick's residence," must find innumerable entries. Let us supply a few of these imaginative extracts:

MR. PICKWICK AT THE OPENING OF THE DULWICH LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC ASSOCIATION.

A meeting of this admirable and thriving society—which, as our readers know, was founded by Mr. Pickwick—was held on Saturday, at the Greyhound Inn, where this learned and popular gentleman read a special paper on Ralph Alleyne and his celebrated college at Dulwich. There was a large attendance. Mr. Pickwick stated that he had long been making researches into the Alleyne pedigree, and had made an astonishing discovery—Alleyne, he found, was the family of the Allens! A very dear and intimate friend of his own—a high member of the medical profession—with whom he had spent some of the pleasantest hours of his whole life, and who was now following his practice in India, also bore the name of Allen—Benjamin Allen! It will be said that there was not much in this; there were many Allens about, and, in the world generally (loud laughter); but what will be said when, on carelessly turning over the old rate-books, he came on this startling fact? That at the beginning of the century his old friend's grandfather actually occupied a small house on Tulse Hill, not five minutes' walk from the college (loud applause). He saw, they saw the significance of this. Following up the clue, he next found that this gentleman was a person of literary tastes—and, mark this, often went into town to scientific meetings and to the theatres (loud applause). Further, he had discovered one or two very "oldest inhabitants" (a laugh) who had known this very Benjamin Allen, the grandfather, and who could not recall anything precise about him: but all agreed, and they should further mark this, that he had the air and bearing of a man of theatrical tastes, and that "it was as likely as not"—to use their very words—"that he belonged to the family of Ralph Allen" (applause). The learned gentleman then proceeded to work out his clever theory with much ingenuity, and, at the end, left "not a shadow of a shade of a doubt" in the minds of his hearers in general, and in his own mind in particular, that this Dr. Benjamin Allen—of the East Indies—was the lineal descendant of our own Ralph Allen. We have, however, with regret to add, that this evening did not pass over so harmoniously as it could be desired. As soon as Mr. Pickwick had sat down and discussion was invited—Mr. Pickwick, however, saying that there was really nothing to discuss, as no one knew the facts but himself—a visitor from Town, who had been introduced at his own request by one of the members, stood up, will it be believed, to attack Mr. Pickwick and his paper! It transpired that this intruder's name was Blotton, a person in the haberdashery line, and that he came from somewhere in the neighbourhood of Huggin Lane. He said that all they had been listening to was simple moonshine. (No! No!) But Yes! Yes! Had they ever heard of a river in Monmouth and another in Macedon? There was an Allen some hundred years ago—and a Ben Allen now alive in India. What rubbish was this? ("Shame" cries of "put him out"). Where was the connection, he asked. Some old dotard or dodderer, they were told, said so. The doddering in the case was not confined to that individual. Here Mr. Pickwick rose, and, with much heat, told the intruder to sit down. He would not hear him; he ought to be ashamed of himself. "Would you believe it," went on Mr. Pickwick, "this is a person who was actually expelled—yes, expelled—from a club—the well-known Pickwick Club of which I was the founder. Let him deny it if he dare." Here the individual called out "Bill Stumps! Tell 'em about that." "I will not tell 'em, sir," said Mr. Pickwick, warmly; "they know it too well. It shall be known as long as my name is known and when this person is consigned to the gutter whence he came." "It's all Humbug," said Mr. Blotton, "humbug you were and humbug you ever will be." Here Dr. Pettigrew, our excellent local practitioner, interposed, "Gentlemen, gentlemen," he said; "is this to go on; are we to listen to this low abuse?" A number of persons closing round Blotton succeeded in ejecting him from the room, and this truly painful incident closed.



VISITORS AT THE DELL.

During the past week, Mr. Pickwick has been entertaining a series of visitors—among others, Mr. Wardle, of Manor Farm, Muggleton, Kent, with Miss Wardle, his sister—the heroine of a most romantic story communicated to us by Mr. Weller, though we are not privileged to lift the veil from this interesting episode. But suffice it to say that it comprised an elopement and exciting chase, in which Mr. Pickwick, with his usual gallantry, took part. The estrangement which necessarily followed between brother and sister has long since been happily healed. Mr. Perker, the eminent London solicitor—Mr. Pickwick's "guide, philosopher and friend"—has also been staying at the Dell.



HUMOROUS ADVENTURE.

Our readers will be entertained by the following droll contretemps which befel our deservedly popular fellow-citizen, as we may call him, Mr. Pickwick. As our readers know, the Annual Charity Dinner took place at the Greyhound, on Tuesday, Mr. Pickwick being in the chair, and making many of his happiest speeches during the course of which he related many curious details about himself and his life. The party did not break up till a late hour—nearly eleven o'clock. A fly—a special one, as usual—had been retained to take Mr. Pickwick home, but as the trusted Hobson, who invariably attends Mr. Pickwick on such occasions, had another engagement, a stranger was procured from Camberwell. Mr. Pickwick was placed in the vehicle not, as he says, without misgivings, and, as he admits, fell fast asleep. He was driven home—as he fancied. On arriving, the coachman had much difficulty in making himself heard. Mr. Pickwick entered the house, still scarcely aroused, and turning into the study, sank into an armchair, and once more fell into a slumber. He was presently aroused, he says, by voices, and found himself surrounded by strange faces and figures in various states of deshabille. The head of the house, the well-known Mr. Gibson, who had been roused from his slumbers, on the maid, Mary Perkes, giving the alarm that robbers were in the house, had rushed down in his trousers only; the man-servant ditto; the young ladies in anything they could find. Mr. Pickwick describes his alarm as he found these faces round him, and, not unnaturally, conceived the idea that robbers had broken into his house, and that his was in their power! A humorous imbroglio followed. He instantly rushed to secure the poker, and, flourishing it round his head, cried out repeatedly, "Keep off! every one of you! or I'll brain the first man that comes near me!" Fortunately, the respected man-servant, who had been many years with Mr. Gibson, and had met Mr. Weller, at once recognized Mr. Weller's master, and said: "Why, its Mr. Pickwick! ain't it? Don't you know this ain't your own house, sir." The truth then all flashed upon him. Mr. Pickwick relates that he became so tickled with the odd humour of his situation that he fell into his chair in convulsions of laughter, and laughed long and loudly, for many minutes. The more he laughed, the more Mr. Gibson laughed. At last, all was explained, and the amusing scene ended by a room being hastily got ready for Mr. Pickwick (for the cabman had gone away). No one was more amused, or indeed, more pleased, at these "mistakes of a night" than Mr. Gibson, who always tells the story with infinite drollery. Mr. Pickwick takes all the blame on himself, declaring, as he says his old friend Winkle used to say: "It wasn't the wine, but the salmon."



ATTEMPTED ROBBERY AT MR. PICKWICK'S HOUSE.

Last night, we are sorry to learn, a very daring attempt was made to rob the mansion of our much esteemed resident, Mr. Pickwick. The Dell, as our readers know, is a substantial dwelling-house, standing in its own grounds, and comparatively unprotected. The family, consists of the owner, his housekeeper, Mrs. Purdy, and his faithful servant, Mr. Samuel Weller, whose pleasant humour is well-known, and who is deservedly popular in Dulwich. Nothing was noticed until about two o'clock in the morning, when, as Mr. Weller has informed us, he was awakened by a low, grinding sound, which, in his quaint style, he says reminded him "a fellow in quad a-filing his irons." With much promptitude he rose and, loosening the dog, proceeded in the direction of the sounds; the villains, however, became alarmed, and Mr. Weller was just in time to see them, as he says, "a-cuttin' their lucky" over the garden wall. Much sympathy is expressed for the worthy and deservedly esteemed Mr. Pickwick, and for the outrage done to his feelings.



FETE AT MR. PICKWICK'S.

On Thursday last, this amiable and always benevolent gentleman, who, it is known, takes the deepest interest in the stage, invited all the brethren of the college to a dinner, after which, he threw open his grounds to all his acquaintances, indeed, to all Dulwich. The banquet was of a sumptuous character, and was provided from the Greyhound. After the usual loyal toasts, the warden proposed Mr. Pickwick's health in appropriate terms, to which that gentleman responded in an admirable speech, in which he reviewed some portions of his life. After stating how dear and near to his affection was the college and all that was concerned with it, he entered into some various details of Ralph Alleyne, who, as we all know, was an actor and connected with actors. "I have already, by means of my researches, shown how strangely related he was to myself, being of the same family with an eminent physician in India, Mr. Benjamin Allen. (Cheers.) I, myself, have known actors—one who was known to his brethren as 'dismal Jemmy'—(loud laughter)—from, I suppose, the caste of characters he was always assuming. Dismal Jemmy, however, had to leave the country—(laughter)—I will not say why." (Roars of laughter.) Another actor whom he had known was one of the most remarkable men he had ever met, for talent and resources—would that he had confined his talent to its legitimate sphere, namely, on the boards—but, unfortunately, he had chosen to exert it at his, Mr. Pickwick's, expense. (Loud laughter.) This performer tried to live by his wits, as it is called, and he, Mr. Pickwick, had encountered him, and his wits, too and nearly always with success. Mr. Pickwick then humorously described some of his adventures with this person, causing roars of laughter by a description of a night in the garden of a Boarding School, into which he had been entrapped on the pretext that the actor was about to run away with one of the young ladies. In the most comic fashion, he related how he had been captured by the whole school, headed by its principal, and locked up in a cupboard, and was only released by his faithful man, Sam, whom, personally, some of them knew—(loud applause.) Well, after frustrating the knavish tricks of this actor, he at last found him in a debtors' prison in the most abject misery and destitution, and he was happy to tell them, that the man was completely reformed, and getting an honest livelihood in one of our colonies. Such was his experience of the actors' profession.



MARRIAGE IN HIGH LIFE AT IPSWICH.

An interesting event, in which our esteemed fellow-citizen, Mr. Pickwick, has taken a deep interest, took place at the historic town of Ipswich, when Mr. Sidney Porkenham, eldest son of —- Porkenham, Esq., led to the altar at St. Clement's Church, Henrietta, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of —- Nupkins, Esq., late Mayor of that city. Among the guests were J. Grigg, Esq., Mrs. and the Misses Grigg, Mr. and Mrs. Slummin Towken and Mr. Slummin Towken, jun, —- Jinks, Esq., and many more. Mr. Pickwick had intended to be present and had already promised to stay with Mr. Nupkins, but was prevented by illness. His present to the bride, a costly one and in exquisite taste, was purchased at Micklethwaite's, High Street, Camberwell, where it was exhibited and excited universal admiration. It consisted of a watch and curb chain of the finest workmanship, for Mr. Pickwick placed no limit on Micklethwaite. We understand that at a recent dinner at Mr. Humberstone, our esteemed rector's, Mr. Pickwick, after alluding to Miss Nupkins and the coming marriage, literally convulsed the party by relating his famous adventure at the Great White Horse, which he tells in the raciest style, and how it led to his being led off prisoner, and brought before his friend, Mr. Nupkins, then Mayor of Ipswich. At the close he became a little pensive. "Ah! poor Peter Magnus! and Miss W—-, sorry! I'm sorry, very." Our Rector has often "chaffed" this worthy gentleman on his midnight adventure, saying, waggishly, "there was more in it than met the eye." We have seen Mr. Pickwick smile, and he would say, "well, sir, she was a fine woman, a very fine woman, and I'm not going to kiss and tell."



MR. PICKWICK AT DULWICH POLICE COURT.

Thomas Bardell, aged 19, was charged before His Worship, with extorting money under false pretences from Mr. Pickwick. It appears from the gentleman's evidence, which he gave with great fulness, that, many years ago, a woman of the name of Bardell, a lodging-house keeper, brought an unfounded action against Mr. Pickwick, and obtained damages which Mr. Pickwick refused to pay, preferring to go to the Fleet Prison. This person had a son, then a mere child, who was the prisoner. A week ago, Mr. Pickwick received a piteous letter, signed Tommy Bardell, saying that his mother was dying, and in the deepest distress, all their furniture sold, or pawned. After making some inquiries, and finding that there was a woman in distress at the place, Mr. Pickwick sent the prisoner two sovereigns. Within a fortnight he received a second application, saying that the unhappy woman's bed was being taken away, &c.; he sent another sovereign. When he received a third application he thought it high time to put it into the hands of his man, Sam Weller, who made enquiries and found out there was no mother, Mrs. Bardell being long, long since dead. His worship committed him to jail for six months as a vagabond, but, at Mr. Pickwick's request, reduced his sentence to two months.



II.—Mr. Pickwick's Funeral.

The funeral cortege left the Dell at ten o'clock, and was one of the most striking displays of public feeling that Dulwich has seen for many years. And not only was Dulwich thus affected, but in Camberwell all the numerous shops were closed, and the inhabitants turned out in crowds. The procession comprised many mourning coaches containing all Mr. Pickwick's oldest friends. He had survived all his relations. Among the mourners were Mr. Wardle, of Dingley Dell, with his son-in- law, —- Trundle, Esq.; Mr. Tupman, who travelled specially from Richmond; Messrs. Winkle and Snodgrass, who had been his inseparable companions in his famous tours; and —- Perker, Esq., who was the deceased's legal adviser and confidential friend. An interesting incident was the appearance among the mourners of an elderly gentleman, Mr. Peter Magnus, between whom and Mr. Pickwick, as we learn from his faithful servant, there had for many years been a cloud or misunderstanding on account of some lady whose marriage with Mr. Magnus Mr. Pickwick had unwittingly frustrated. This injury, if injury there was, Mr. Magnus had buried in the grave, and had rushed to Dulwich to lend his heartfelt sympathy. Such things go far to reconcile one to human nature, if such reconcilement be incumbent. A deputation from the Dulwich Literary and Scientific Association, of which Mr. Pickwick was Perpetual President, walked in the procession. Passing the well-known Greyhound Inn, one of Mr. Pickwick's favourite haunts, it was noticed the blinds were drawn down.

We copy from the Eatanswill Gazette the following admirable tribute to Mr. Pickwick's merit, from the vigorous pen, as we understand, of its Editor, Mr. Pott:—"Not only in Dulwich, but in Eatanswill, is there mourning, to-day. We have lost Pickwick—Pickwick the true and the Blue. For Blue he was, to the very core and marrow of his bones, and it was we ourselves, who first permeated him with real Blue principles. Many a time and oft has he sat at our feet, drinking in with rapture, almost, the stray scraps of immortal doctrine with which we favoured him. Is it not an open secret that, but for Pickwick's exertions—exertions which laid the foundations of the disease which ultimately carried him off—our late admirable member, the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, would not have been returned? The Gazette, it is true, first burst open the breach, in which Pickwick threw himself, waving his flag on high, and led us on to victory. Of course, our verminous contemporary, the Independent, will scoff, and wipe its shoes on the illustrious dead. Of course, the mangey creature—ceasing the while from its perennial self-scratching—will hoot something derogatory. Let it sneer, yelp aloud in its impotent hog-like manner; let it root with its filthy snout among the heaps of garbage where it loves to make its unclean haunt in unspeakable Buffery. 'Twill not serve—the noisome fumes will stifle it."

We regret to say that these prognostications of Mr. Pott's were but too soon, and too fatally realised, for in almost the next issue of the Independent, we find a scandalous and indecent attack on our late beloved Mr. Pickwick. Shocking as it is, we cannot forbear, in duty to the deceased gentleman, presenting it to our readers—



"POTT'S PICKWICK."

"Our emasculated contemporary, not content with debauching Eatanswill politics, must go far afield and drag from his grave an obscure and feeble being whom he claims to make one of his besmirched heroes. But Potts' praise, as we have learned long since, is no more than daubing its object with dirt. Why, this very Pickwick whom he belauds—can it be forgotten how Eatanswill shook its sides with laughter at the figure he made our besotted contemporary cut? Who will forget Mr. W—- le, his creature, whom Pickwick introduced into the Potts' household and the resulting scandal, how Mr. W—-le, aforesaid, fled from the house, leaving the belated Ariadne in tears? Does Pott forget who it was put his finger on this spot and, for the fair fame of Eatanswill, clamoured for its extinction? Who forgets our warnings and their fulfilment? The arrival of the Lieutenant; the menaced proceedings in a certain court; the departure of the fair but frail culprit. And yet Pott with an ineffable effrontery that would do credit to a fishwife in and from Billingsgate, clamours about this Pickwick and his virtues, and drops his maudlin tears upon his coffin! Why was he not there to give his hand to Mr. Lothario W—-le, who, we understand, was also present? By the way, we have received the following lines from a valued correspondent:—

Your tears you may sprinkle O W—-le, O W—-le, With more of this same kind of rot. The lady so gay Could not say you nay, Merely bidding you 'Go to Pot.'

Our hide-bound contemporary, will not, of course, see the point—"

We are grieved to say, that the indecent Eatanswill controversy over the lamented Mr. Pickwick still goes on. More strictly speaking, however, he has dropped out of sight owing to the inflamed passions which have been roused between the editors. Our sympathies are, we need not say, with Mr. Pott, still we wish he would somewhat temper his language, out of respect for the dead. Here is his crushing retort—



"FILTH ON THE COFFIN."

"We have seen at some historic funeral, say of some personage obnoxious to the mob, dead dogs, cats, rats, and rotten eggs, hurled from a safe distance at the passing coffin. This is what our fast decomposing and wholly noisome contemporary is now doing. Shall we say it? How beastly, how congenial to the man's feelings! Paugh! Decency; propriety; sense of restraint; all unknown terms in his Malay tongue—for this Swift's yahoo. But we know what rankles. Has our contemporary in mind a chastisement that was inflicted on him in the kitchen of a certain inn, and in the presence of Pickwick himself—has he forgotten the fire irons—or, to speak accurately, the fire irons. That bruise, we dare swear, is still raw. But there are pole- cats who cannot divest themselves of their odour, do what they will, and this festering mass of decaying garbage, which goes by the name of The Independent, and which is unaccountably overlooked by the night men in their rounds, is fast breeding a pestilence in the pure air of Eatanswill." This lamentable controversy still continues.



STRANGE INCIDENT.

We noticed among the company at Mr. Pickwick's funeral a gentleman of unobstrusive exterior, who seemed to be vainly seeking his place, and to whom our representative offered his services. It turned out that his name was Trundle, and that he was one of the appointed pall-bearers, but that he had been unaccountably overlooked, and his place taken by someone else. Mr. Trundle made no complaint, but our representative thought it his duty to mention the circumstance to Mr. Wardle, who, it appears, is his father-in-law, but who only smiled, good-humouredly saying "O, Trundle, to be sure. No one minds him and he won't mind." But no further attention was paid to the matter. Mr. Trundle, our representative adds, was a man of modest and retiring ways, and did not seem in the least put out by the mistake.



Footnotes:

{1} Some years ago, as it is stated in Murray's Guide Book, most of the old gabled houses disappeared. They are shown in "Phiz's" picturesque sketch.

{66} "Oliver Twist" was begun in January, 1837, and Rose Maylie introduced about July or August. Mary Hogarth died on May 7th.

{68} Mr. Wright lately possessed a most interesting copy, presented number by number to Mary Hogarth by the author, up to No. 14, with this inscription: "From hers affectionately, Charles Dickens." The succeeding numbers were given to her schoolfellow, Miss Walker. Mr. Wright also possessed the letter announcing her death. It runs: "Sunday night, 8th May, 1837. We are in deep and sincere distress. Miss Hogarth, after accompanying Mrs. Dickens and myself to the theatre last night, was taken seriously ill, and, despite our best endeavours to save her, expired in my arms." It is curious to notice that this phrase should recur in Nickleby, it running, "My darling lad, who was taken ill last night, I thought would have expired in my arms."

{84} In a presentation copy of "Pickwick," given to Edward Chapman, November 14th, 1839, he calls him and Hall "the best of booksellers, past, present, or to come, and my trusty friends."

THE END

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