That punctual servant of all work, the sun, had just risen, and
begun to strike a light on the morning of the thirteenth of May,
one thousand eight hundred and twenty–seven, when Mr. Samuel
Pickwick burst like another sun from his slumbers, threw open his
chamber window, and looked out upon the world beneath. Goswell
Street was at his feet, Goswell Street was on his right hand—as far
as the eye could reach, Goswell Street extended on his left; and
the opposite side of Goswell Street was over the way. ‘Such,’
thought Mr. Pickwick, ‘are the narrow views of those philosophers
who, content with examining the things that lie before them, look
not to the truths which are hidden beyond. As well might I be
content to gaze on Goswell Street for ever, without one effort to
penetrate to the hidden countries which on every side surround it.’
And having given vent to this beautiful reflection, Mr. Pickwick
proceeded to put himself into his clothes, and his clothes into his
portmanteau. Great men are seldom over scrupulous in the
arrangement of their attire; the operation of shaving, dressing,
and coffee–imbibing was soon performed; and, in another hour, Mr.
Pickwick, with his portmanteau in his hand, his telescope in his
greatcoat pocket, and his note–book in his waistcoat, ready for the
reception of any discoveries worthy of being noted down, had
arrived at the coach–stand in St. Martin’s–le–Grand. ‘Cab!’ said
‘Here you are, sir,’ shouted a strange specimen of the human
race, in a sackcloth coat, and apron of the same, who, with a brass
label and number round his neck, looked as if he were catalogued in
some collection of rarities. This was the waterman. ‘Here you are,
sir. Now, then, fust cab!’ And the first cab having been fetched
from the public–house, where he had been smoking his first pipe,
Mr. Pickwick and his portmanteau were thrown into the vehicle.
‘Golden Cross,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
‘Only a bob’s vorth, Tommy,’ cried the driver sulkily, for the
information of his friend the waterman, as the cab drove off.
‘How old is that horse, my friend?’ inquired Mr. Pickwick,
rubbing his nose with the shilling he had reserved for the
‘Forty–two,’ replied the driver, eyeing him askant.
‘What!’ ejaculated Mr. Pickwick, laying his hand upon his
note–book. The driver reiterated his former statement. Mr. Pickwick
looked very hard at the man’s face, but his features were
immovable, so he noted down the fact forthwith. ‘And how long do
you keep him out at a time?‘inquired Mr. Pickwick, searching for
‘Two or three veeks,’ replied the man.
‘Weeks!’ said Mr. Pickwick in astonishment, and out came the
‘He lives at Pentonwil when he’s at home,’ observed the driver
coolly, ‘but we seldom takes him home, on account of his
‘On account of his weakness!’ reiterated the perplexed Mr.
‘He always falls down when he’s took out o’ the cab,’ continued
the driver, ‘but when he’s in it, we bears him up werry tight, and
takes him in werry short, so as he can’t werry well fall down; and
we’ve got a pair o’ precious large wheels on, so ven he does move,
they run after him, and he must go on—he can’t help it.’
Mr. Pickwick entered every word of this statement in his
note–book, with the view of communicating it to the club, as a
singular instance of the tenacity of life in horses under trying
circumstances. The entry was scarcely completed when they reached
the Golden Cross. Down jumped the driver, and out got Mr. Pickwick.
Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. Winkle, who had been anxiously
waiting the arrival of their illustrious leader, crowded to welcome
‘Here’s your fare,’ said Mr. Pickwick, holding out the shilling
to the driver.
What was the learned man’s astonishment, when that unaccountable
person flung the money on the pavement, and requested in figurative
terms to be allowed the pleasure of fighting him (Mr. Pickwick) for
‘You are mad,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘Or drunk,’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘Or both,’ said Mr. Tupman.
‘Come on!’ said the cab–driver, sparring away like clockwork.
‘Come on—all four on you.’
‘Here’s a lark!’ shouted half a dozen hackney coachmen. ‘Go to
vork, Sam!—and they crowded with great glee round the party.
‘What’s the row, Sam?’ inquired one gentleman in black calico
‘Row!’ replied the cabman, ‘what did he want my number for?’ ‘I
didn’t want your number,’ said the astonished Mr. Pickwick.
‘What did you take it for, then?’ inquired the cabman.
‘I didn’t take it,’ said Mr. Pickwick indignantly.
‘Would anybody believe,’ continued the cab–driver, appealing to
the crowd, ‘would anybody believe as an informer’ud go about in a
man’s cab, not only takin’ down his number, but ev’ry word he says
into the bargain’ (a light flashed upon Mr. Pickwick—it was the
‘Did he though?’ inquired another cabman.
‘Yes, did he,’ replied the first; ‘and then arter aggerawatin’
me to assault him, gets three witnesses here to prove it. But I’ll
give it him, if I’ve six months for it. Come on!’ and the cabman
dashed his hat upon the ground, with a reckless disregard of his
own private property, and knocked Mr. Pickwick’s spectacles off,
and followed up the attack with a blow on Mr. Pickwick’s nose, and
another on Mr. Pickwick’s chest, and a third in Mr. Snodgrass’s
eye, and a fourth, by way of variety, in Mr. Tupman’s waistcoat,
and then danced into the road, and then back again to the pavement,
and finally dashed the whole temporary supply of breath out of Mr.
Winkle’s body; and all in half a dozen seconds.
‘Where’s an officer?’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘Put ’em under the pump,’ suggested a hot–pieman.
‘You shall smart for this,’ gasped Mr. Pickwick.
‘Informers!’ shouted the crowd.
‘Come on,’ cried the cabman, who had been sparring without
cessation the whole time.
The mob hitherto had been passive spectators of the scene, but
as the intelligence of the Pickwickians being informers was spread
among them, they began to canvass with considerable vivacity the
propriety of enforcing the heated pastry–vendor’s proposition: and
there is no saying what acts of personal aggression they might have
committed, had not the affray been unexpectedly terminated by the
interposition of a new–comer.
‘What’s the fun?’ said a rather tall, thin, young man, in a
green coat, emerging suddenly from the coach–yard.
‘informers!’ shouted the crowd again.
‘We are not,’ roared Mr. Pickwick, in a tone which, to any
dispassionate listener, carried conviction with it. ‘Ain’t you,
though—ain’t you?’ said the young man, appealing to Mr. Pickwick,
and making his way through the crowd by the infallible process of
elbowing the countenances of its component members.
That learned man in a few hurried words explained the real state
of the case.
‘Come along, then,’ said he of the green coat, lugging Mr.
Pickwick after him by main force, and talking the whole way. Here,
No. 924, take your fare, and take yourself off—respectable
gentleman—know him well—none of your nonsense—this way, sir—where’s
your friends?—all a mistake, I see—never mind—accidents will
happen—best regulated families—never say die—down upon your
luck—Pull him up—Put that in his pipe—like the flavour—damned
rascals.’ And with a lengthened string of similar broken sentences,
delivered with extraordinary volubility, the stranger led the way
to the traveller’s waiting–room, whither he was closely followed by
Mr. Pickwick and his disciples.
‘Here, waiter!’ shouted the stranger, ringing the bell with
tremendous violence, ‘glasses round—brandy–and–water, hot and
strong, and sweet, and plenty,—eye damaged, Sir? Waiter! raw
beef–steak for the gentleman’s eye—nothing like raw beef–steak for
a bruise, sir; cold lamp–post very good, but lamp–post
inconvenient—damned odd standing in the open street half an hour,
with your eye against a lamp–post—eh,—very good—ha! ha!’ And the
stranger, without stopping to take breath, swallowed at a draught
full half a pint of the reeking brandy–and–water, and flung himself
into a chair with as much ease as if nothing uncommon had
While his three companions were busily engaged in proffering
their thanks to their new acquaintance, Mr. Pickwick had leisure to
examine his costume and appearance.
He was about the middle height, but the thinness of his body,
and the length of his legs, gave him the appearance of being much
taller. The green coat had been a smart dress garment in the days
of swallow–tails, but had evidently in those times adorned a much
shorter man than the stranger, for the soiled and faded sleeves
scarcely reached to his wrists. It was buttoned closely up to his
chin, at the imminent hazard of splitting the back; and an old
stock, without a vestige of shirt collar, ornamented his neck. His
scanty black trousers displayed here and there those shiny patches
which bespeak long service, and were strapped very tightly over a
pair of patched and mended shoes, as if to conceal the dirty white
stockings, which were nevertheless distinctly visible. His long,
black hair escaped in negligent waves from beneath each side of his
old pinched–up hat; and glimpses of his bare wrists might be
observed between the tops of his gloves and the cuffs of his coat
sleeves. His face was thin and haggard; but an indescribable air of
jaunty impudence and perfect self–possession pervaded the whole
Such was the individual on whom Mr. Pickwick gazed through his
spectacles (which he had fortunately recovered), and to whom he
proceeded, when his friends had exhausted themselves, to return in
chosen terms his warmest thanks for his recent assistance.
‘Never mind,’ said the stranger, cutting the address very short,
‘said enough—no more; smart chap that cabman—handled his fives
well; but if I’d been your friend in the green jemmy—damn me—punch
his head,—‘cod I would,—pig’s whisper—pieman too,—no gammon.’
This coherent speech was interrupted by the entrance of the
Rochester coachman, to announce that ‘the Commodore’ was on the
point of starting.
‘Commodore!’ said the stranger, starting up, ‘my coach—place
booked,—one outside—leave you to pay for the brandy–and–water,—want
change for a five,—bad silver—Brummagem buttons—won’t do—no go—eh?’
and he shook his head most knowingly.
Now it so happened that Mr. Pickwick and his three companions
had resolved to make Rochester their first halting–place too; and
having intimated to their new–found acquaintance that they were
journeying to the same city, they agreed to occupy the seat at the
back of the coach, where they could all sit together.
‘Up with you,’ said the stranger, assisting Mr. Pickwick on to
the roof with so much precipitation as to impair the gravity of
that gentleman’s deportment very materially.
‘Any luggage, Sir?’ inquired the coachman. ‘Who—I? Brown paper
parcel here, that’s all—other luggage gone by water—packing–cases,
nailed up—big as houses—heavy, heavy, damned heavy,’ replied the
stranger, as he forced into his pocket as much as he could of the
brown paper parcel, which presented most suspicious indications of
containing one shirt and a handkerchief.
‘Heads, heads—take care of your heads!’ cried the loquacious
stranger, as they came out under the low archway, which in those
days formed the entrance to the coach–yard. ‘Terrible
place—dangerous work—other day—five children—mother—tall lady,
eating sandwiches—forgot the arch—crash—knock—children look
round—mother’s head off—sandwich in her hand—no mouth to put it
in—head of a family off—shocking, shocking! Looking at Whitehall,
sir?—fine place—little window—somebody else’s head off there, eh,
sir?—he didn’t keep a sharp look–out enough either—eh, Sir,
‘I am ruminating,’ said Mr. Pickwick, ‘on the strange mutability
of human affairs.’
‘Ah! I see—in at the palace door one day, out at the window the
next. Philosopher, Sir?’ ‘An observer of human nature, Sir,’ said
‘Ah, so am I. Most people are when they’ve little to do and less
to get. Poet, Sir?’
‘My friend Mr. Snodgrass has a strong poetic turn,’ said Mr.
‘So have I,’ said the stranger. ‘Epic poem—ten thousand
lines—revolution of July—composed it on the spot—Mars by day,
Apollo by night—bang the field–piece, twang the lyre.’
‘You were present at that glorious scene, sir?’ said Mr.
‘Present! think I was; fired a musket—fired with an
idea—rushed into wine shop—wrote it down—back again—whiz,
bang—another idea—wine shop again—pen and ink—back again—cut and
slash—noble time, Sir. Sportsman, sir ?‘abruptly turning to
 A remarkable instance of the prophetic force of Mr. Jingle’s
imagination; this dialogue occurring in the year 1827, and the
Revolution in 1830.
‘A little, Sir,’ replied that gentleman.
‘Fine pursuit, sir—fine pursuit.—Dogs, Sir?’
‘Not just now,’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘Ah! you should keep dogs—fine animals—sagacious creatures—dog
of my own once—pointer—surprising instinct—out shooting one
day—entering inclosure—whistled—dog stopped—whistled again—Ponto—no
go; stock still—called him—Ponto, Ponto—wouldn’t move—dog
transfixed—staring at a board—looked up, saw an
inscription—“Gamekeeper has orders to shoot all dogs found in this
inclosure”—wouldn’t pass it—wonderful dog—valuable dog
‘Singular circumstance that,’ said Mr. Pickwick. ‘Will you allow
me to make a note of it?’
‘Certainly, Sir, certainly—hundred more anecdotes of the same
animal.—Fine girl, Sir’ (to Mr. Tracy Tupman, who had been
bestowing sundry anti–Pickwickian glances on a young lady by the
‘Very!’ said Mr. Tupman.
‘English girls not so fine as Spanish—noble creatures—jet
hair—black eyes—lovely forms—sweet creatures—beautiful.’
‘You have been in Spain, sir?’ said Mr. Tracy Tupman.
‘Lived there—ages.’ ‘Many conquests, sir?’ inquired Mr.
‘Conquests! Thousands. Don Bolaro Fizzgig—grandee—only
daughter—Donna Christina—splendid creature—loved me to
distraction—jealous father—high–souled daughter—handsome
Englishman—Donna Christina in despair—prussic acid—stomach pump in
my portmanteau—operation performed—old Bolaro in ecstasies—consent
to our union—join hands and floods of tears—romantic
‘Is the lady in England now, sir?’ inquired Mr. Tupman, on whom
the description of her charms had produced a powerful
‘Dead, sir—dead,’ said the stranger, applying to his right eye
the brief remnant of a very old cambric handkerchief. ‘Never
recovered the stomach pump—undermined constitution—fell a
‘And her father?’ inquired the poetic Snodgrass.
‘Remorse and misery,’ replied the stranger. ‘Sudden
disappearance—talk of the whole city—search made everywhere without
success—public fountain in the great square suddenly ceased
playing—weeks elapsed—still a stoppage—workmen employed to clean
it—water drawn off—father–in–law discovered sticking head first in
the main pipe, with a full confession in his right boot—took him
out, and the fountain played away again, as well as ever.’
‘Will you allow me to note that little romance down, Sir?’ said
Mr. Snodgrass, deeply affected.
‘Certainly, Sir, certainly—fifty more if you like to hear
’em—strange life mine—rather curious history—not extraordinary, but
In this strain, with an occasional glass of ale, by way of
parenthesis, when the coach changed horses, did the stranger
proceed, until they reached Rochester bridge, by which time the
note–books, both of Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Snodgrass, were completely
filled with selections from his adventures.
‘Magnificent ruin!’ said Mr. Augustus Snodgrass, with all the
poetic fervour that distinguished him, when they came in sight of
the fine old castle.
‘What a sight for an antiquarian!’ were the very words which
fell from Mr. Pickwick’s mouth, as he applied his telescope to his
‘Ah! fine place,’ said the stranger, ‘glorious pile—frowning
walls—tottering arches—dark nooks—crumbling staircases—old
cathedral too—earthy smell—pilgrims’ feet wore away the old
steps—little Saxon doors—confessionals like money–takers’ boxes at
theatres—queer customers those monks—popes, and lord treasurers,
and all sorts of old fellows, with great red faces, and broken
noses, turning up every day—buff jerkins
too—match–locks—sarcophagus—fine place—old legends too—strange
stories: capital;’ and the stranger continued to soliloquise until
they reached the Bull Inn, in the High Street, where the coach
‘Do you remain here, Sir?’ inquired Mr. Nathaniel Winkle.
‘Here—not I—but you’d better—good house—nice beds—Wright’s next
house, dear—very dear—half–a–crown in the bill if you look at the
waiter—charge you more if you dine at a friend’s than they would if
you dined in the coffee–room—rum fellows—very.’
Mr. Winkle turned to Mr. Pickwick, and murmured a few words; a
whisper passed from Mr. Pickwick to Mr. Snodgrass, from Mr.
Snodgrass to Mr. Tupman, and nods of assent were exchanged. Mr.
Pickwick addressed the stranger.
‘You rendered us a very important service this morning, sir,’
said he, ‘will you allow us to offer a slight mark of our gratitude
by begging the favour of your company at dinner?’
‘Great pleasure—not presume to dictate, but broiled fowl and
mushrooms—capital thing! What time?’
‘Let me see,’ replied Mr. Pickwick, referring to his watch, ‘it
is now nearly three. Shall we say five?’
‘Suit me excellently,’ said the stranger, ‘five precisely—till
then—care of yourselves;’ and lifting the pinched–up hat a few
inches from his head, and carelessly replacing it very much on one
side, the stranger, with half the brown paper parcel sticking out
of his pocket, walked briskly up the yard, and turned into the High
‘Evidently a traveller in many countries, and a close observer
of men and things,’ said Mr. Pickwick.
‘I should like to see his poem,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘I should like to have seen that dog,’ said Mr. Winkle.
Mr. Tupman said nothing; but he thought of Donna Christina, the
stomach pump, and the fountain; and his eyes filled with tears.
A private sitting–room having been engaged, bedrooms inspected,
and dinner ordered, the party walked out to view the city and
We do not find, from a careful perusal of Mr. Pickwick’s notes
of the four towns, Stroud, Rochester, Chatham, and Brompton, that
his impressions of their appearance differ in any material point
from those of other travellers who have gone over the same ground.
His general description is easily abridged.
‘The principal productions of these towns,’ says Mr. Pickwick,
‘appear to be soldiers, sailors, Jews, chalk, shrimps, officers,
and dockyard men. The commodities chiefly exposed for sale in the
public streets are marine stores, hard–bake, apples, flat–fish, and
oysters. The streets present a lively and animated appearance,
occasioned chiefly by the conviviality of the military. It is truly
delightful to a philanthropic mind to see these gallant men
staggering along under the influence of an overflow both of animal
and ardent spirits; more especially when we remember that the
following them about, and jesting with them, affords a cheap and
innocent amusement for the boy population. Nothing,’ adds Mr.
Pickwick, ‘can exceed their good–humour. It was but the day before
my arrival that one of them had been most grossly insulted in the
house of a publican. The barmaid had positively refused to draw him
any more liquor; in return for which he had (merely in playfulness)
drawn his bayonet, and wounded the girl in the shoulder. And yet
this fine fellow was the very first to go down to the house next
morning and express his readiness to overlook the matter, and
forget what had occurred!
‘The consumption of tobacco in these towns,’ continues Mr.
Pickwick, ‘must be very great, and the smell which pervades the
streets must be exceedingly delicious to those who are extremely
fond of smoking. A superficial traveller might object to the dirt,
which is their leading characteristic; but to those who view it as
an indication of traffic and commercial prosperity, it is truly
Punctual to five o’clock came the stranger, and shortly
afterwards the dinner. He had divested himself of his brown paper
parcel, but had made no alteration in his attire, and was, if
possible, more loquacious than ever.
‘What’s that?’ he inquired, as the waiter removed one of the
‘Soles—ah!—capital fish—all come from London–stage–coach
proprietors get up political dinners—carriage of soles—dozens of
baskets—cunning fellows. Glass of wine, Sir.’
‘With pleasure,’ said Mr. Pickwick; and the stranger took wine,
first with him, and then with Mr. Snodgrass, and then with Mr.
Tupman, and then with Mr. Winkle, and then with the whole party
together, almost as rapidly as he talked.
‘Devil of a mess on the staircase, waiter,’ said the stranger.
‘Forms going up—carpenters coming down—lamps, glasses, harps.
What’s going forward?’
‘Ball, Sir,’ said the waiter.
‘No, Sir, not assembly, Sir. Ball for the benefit of a charity,
‘Many fine women in this town, do you know, Sir?’ inquired Mr.
Tupman, with great interest.
‘Splendid—capital. Kent, sir—everybody knows Kent—apples,
cherries, hops, and women. Glass of wine, Sir!’
‘With great pleasure,’ replied Mr. Tupman. The stranger filled,
‘I should very much like to go,’ said Mr. Tupman, resuming the
subject of the ball, ‘very much.’
‘Tickets at the bar, Sir,’ interposed the waiter; ‘half–a–guinea
Mr. Tupman again expressed an earnest wish to be present at the
festivity; but meeting with no response in the darkened eye of Mr.
Snodgrass, or the abstracted gaze of Mr. Pickwick, he applied
himself with great interest to the port wine and dessert, which had
just been placed on the table. The waiter withdrew, and the party
were left to enjoy the cosy couple of hours succeeding dinner.
‘Beg your pardon, sir,’ said the stranger, ‘bottle stands—pass
it round—way of the sun—through the button–hole—no heeltaps,’ and
he emptied his glass, which he had filled about two minutes before,
and poured out another, with the air of a man who was used to
The wine was passed, and a fresh supply ordered. The visitor
talked, the Pickwickians listened. Mr. Tupman felt every moment
more disposed for the ball. Mr. Pickwick’s countenance glowed with
an expression of universal philanthropy, and Mr. Winkle and Mr.
Snodgrass fell fast asleep.
‘They’re beginning upstairs,’ said the stranger—‘hear the
company—fiddles tuning—now the harp—there they go.’ The various
sounds which found their way downstairs announced the commencement
of the first quadrille.
‘How I should like to go,’ said Mr. Tupman again.
‘So should I,’ said the stranger—‘confounded luggage,—heavy
smacks—nothing to go in—odd, ain’t it?’
Now general benevolence was one of the leading features of the
Pickwickian theory, and no one was more remarkable for the zealous
manner in which he observed so noble a principle than Mr. Tracy
Tupman. The number of instances recorded on the Transactions of the
Society, in which that excellent man referred objects of charity to
the houses of other members for left–off garments or pecuniary
relief is almost incredible. ‘I should be very happy to lend you a
change of apparel for the purpose,’ said Mr. Tracy Tupman, ‘but you
are rather slim, and I am—’
‘Rather fat—grown–up Bacchus—cut the leaves—dismounted from the
tub, and adopted kersey, eh?—not double distilled, but double
milled—ha! ha! pass the wine.’
Whether Mr. Tupman was somewhat indignant at the peremptory tone
in which he was desired to pass the wine which the stranger passed
so quickly away, or whether he felt very properly scandalised at an
influential member of the Pickwick Club being ignominiously
compared to a dismounted Bacchus, is a fact not yet completely
ascertained. He passed the wine, coughed twice, and looked at the
stranger for several seconds with a stern intensity; as that
individual, however, appeared perfectly collected, and quite calm
under his searching glance, he gradually relaxed, and reverted to
the subject of the ball.
‘I was about to observe, Sir,’ he said, ‘that though my apparel
would be too large, a suit of my friend Mr. Winkle’s would,
perhaps, fit you better.’
The stranger took Mr. Winkle’s measure with his eye, and that
feature glistened with satisfaction as he said, ‘Just the
Mr. Tupman looked round him. The wine, which had exerted its
somniferous influence over Mr. Snodgrass and Mr. Winkle, had stolen
upon the senses of Mr. Pickwick. That gentleman had gradually
passed through the various stages which precede the lethargy
produced by dinner, and its consequences. He had undergone the
ordinary transitions from the height of conviviality to the depth
of misery, and from the depth of misery to the height of
conviviality. Like a gas–lamp in the street, with the wind in the
pipe, he had exhibited for a moment an unnatural brilliancy, then
sank so low as to be scarcely discernible; after a short interval,
he had burst out again, to enlighten for a moment; then flickered
with an uncertain, staggering sort of light, and then gone out
altogether. His head was sunk upon his bosom, and perpetual
snoring, with a partial choke occasionally, were the only audible
indications of the great man’s presence.
The temptation to be present at the ball, and to form his first
impressions of the beauty of the Kentish ladies, was strong upon
Mr. Tupman. The temptation to take the stranger with him was
equally great. He was wholly unacquainted with the place and its
inhabitants, and the stranger seemed to possess as great a
knowledge of both as if he had lived there from his infancy. Mr.
Winkle was asleep, and Mr. Tupman had had sufficient experience in
such matters to know that the moment he awoke he would, in the
ordinary course of nature, roll heavily to bed. He was undecided.
‘Fill your glass, and pass the wine,’ said the indefatigable
Mr. Tupman did as he was requested; and the additional stimulus
of the last glass settled his determination.
‘Winkle’s bedroom is inside mine,’ said Mr. Tupman; ‘I couldn’t
make him understand what I wanted, if I woke him now, but I know he
has a dress–suit in a carpet bag; and supposing you wore it to the
ball, and took it off when we returned, I could replace it without
troubling him at all about the matter.’
‘Capital,’ said the stranger, ‘famous plan—damned odd
situation—fourteen coats in the packing–cases, and obliged to wear
another man’s—very good notion, that—very.’
‘We must purchase our tickets,’ said Mr. Tupman.
‘Not worth while splitting a guinea,’ said the stranger, ‘toss
who shall pay for both—I call; you spin—first
time—woman—woman—bewitching woman,’ and down came the sovereign
with the dragon (called by courtesy a woman) uppermost.
Mr. Tupman rang the bell, purchased the tickets, and ordered
chamber candlesticks. In another quarter of an hour the stranger
was completely arrayed in a full suit of Mr. Nathaniel
‘It’s a new coat,’ said Mr. Tupman, as the stranger surveyed
himself with great complacency in a cheval glass; ‘the first that’s
been made with our club button,’ and he called his companions’
attention to the large gilt button which displayed a bust of Mr.
Pickwick in the centre, and the letters ‘P. C.’ on either side.
‘“P. C.”’ said the stranger—‘queer set out—old fellow’s
likeness, and “P. C.”—What does “P. C.” stand for—Peculiar Coat,
Mr. Tupman, with rising indignation and great importance,
explained the mystic device.
‘Rather short in the waist, ain’t it?’ said the stranger,
screwing himself round to catch a glimpse in the glass of the waist
buttons, which were half–way up his back. ‘Like a general postman’s
coat—queer coats those—made by contract—no measuring—mysterious
dispensations of Providence—all the short men get long coats—all
the long men short ones.’ Running on in this way, Mr. Tupman’s new
companion adjusted his dress, or rather the dress of Mr. Winkle;
and, accompanied by Mr. Tupman, ascended the staircase leading to
‘What names, sir?’ said the man at the door. Mr. Tracy Tupman
was stepping forward to announce his own titles, when the stranger
‘No names at all;’ and then he whispered Mr. Tupman, ‘names
won’t do—not known—very good names in their way, but not great
ones—capital names for a small party, but won’t make an impression
in public assemblies—incog. the thing—gentlemen from
London—distinguished foreigners—anything.’ The door was thrown
open, and Mr. Tracy Tupman and the stranger entered the
It was a long room, with crimson–covered benches, and wax
candles in glass chandeliers. The musicians were securely confined
in an elevated den, and quadrilles were being systematically got
through by two or three sets of dancers. Two card–tables were made
up in the adjoining card–room, and two pair of old ladies, and a
corresponding number of stout gentlemen, were executing whist
The finale concluded, the dancers promenaded the room, and Mr.
Tupman and his companion stationed themselves in a corner to
observe the company.
‘Charming women,’ said Mr. Tupman.
‘Wait a minute,’ said the stranger, ‘fun presently—nobs not come
yet—queer place—dockyard people of upper rank don’t know dockyard
people of lower rank—dockyard people of lower rank don’t know small
gentry—small gentry don’t know tradespeople—commissioner don’t know
‘Who’s that little boy with the light hair and pink eyes, in a
fancy dress?‘inquired Mr. Tupman.
‘Hush, pray—pink eyes—fancy dress—little boy—nonsense—ensign
97th—Honourable Wilmot Snipe—great family—Snipes—very.’
‘Sir Thomas Clubber, Lady Clubber, and the Misses Clubber!’
shouted the man at the door in a stentorian voice. A great
sensation was created throughout the room by the entrance of a tall
gentleman in a blue coat and bright buttons, a large lady in blue
satin, and two young ladies, on a similar scale, in
fashionably–made dresses of the same hue.
‘Commissioner—head of the yard—great man—remarkably great man,’
whispered the stranger in Mr. Tupman’s ear, as the charitable
committee ushered Sir Thomas Clubber and family to the top of the
room. The Honourable Wilmot Snipe, and other distinguished
gentlemen crowded to render homage to the Misses Clubber; and Sir
Thomas Clubber stood bolt upright, and looked majestically over his
black kerchief at the assembled company.
‘Mr. Smithie, Mrs. Smithie, and the Misses Smithie,’ was the
‘What’s Mr. Smithie?’ inquired Mr. Tracy Tupman.
‘Something in the yard,’ replied the stranger. Mr. Smithie bowed
deferentially to Sir Thomas Clubber; and Sir Thomas Clubber
acknowledged the salute with conscious condescension. Lady Clubber
took a telescopic view of Mrs. Smithie and family through her
eye–glass and Mrs. Smithie stared in her turn at Mrs.
Somebody–else, whose husband was not in the dockyard at all.
‘Colonel Bulder, Mrs. Colonel Bulder, and Miss Bulder,’ were the
‘Head of the garrison,’ said the stranger, in reply to Mr.
Tupman’s inquiring look.
Miss Bulder was warmly welcomed by the Misses Clubber; the
greeting between Mrs. Colonel Bulder and Lady Clubber was of the
most affectionate description; Colonel Bulder and Sir Thomas
Clubber exchanged snuff–boxes, and looked very much like a pair of
Alexander Selkirks—‘Monarchs of all they surveyed.’
While the aristocracy of the place—the Bulders, and Clubbers,
and Snipes—were thus preserving their dignity at the upper end of
the room, the other classes of society were imitating their example
in other parts of it. The less aristocratic officers of the 97th
devoted themselves to the families of the less important
functionaries from the dockyard. The solicitors’ wives, and the
wine–merchant’s wife, headed another grade (the brewer’s wife
visited the Bulders); and Mrs. Tomlinson, the post–office keeper,
seemed by mutual consent to have been chosen the leader of the
One of the most popular personages, in his own circle, present,
was a little fat man, with a ring of upright black hair round his
head, and an extensive bald plain on the top of it—Doctor Slammer,
surgeon to the 97th. The doctor took snuff with everybody, chatted
with everybody, laughed, danced, made jokes, played whist, did
everything, and was everywhere. To these pursuits, multifarious as
they were, the little doctor added a more important one than any—he
was indefatigable in paying the most unremitting and devoted
attention to a little old widow, whose rich dress and profusion of
ornament bespoke her a most desirable addition to a limited
Upon the doctor, and the widow, the eyes of both Mr. Tupman and
his companion had been fixed for some time, when the stranger broke
‘Lots of money—old girl—pompous doctor—not a bad idea—good fun,’
were the intelligible sentences which issued from his lips. Mr.
Tupman looked inquisitively in his face. ‘I’ll dance with the
widow,’ said the stranger.
‘Who is she?’ inquired Mr. Tupman.
‘Don’t know—never saw her in all my life—cut out the doctor—here
goes.’ And the stranger forthwith crossed the room; and, leaning
against a mantel–piece, commenced gazing with an air of respectful
and melancholy admiration on the fat countenance of the little old
lady. Mr. Tupman looked on, in mute astonishment. The stranger
progressed rapidly; the little doctor danced with another lady; the
widow dropped her fan; the stranger picked it up, and presented
it—a smile—a bow—a curtsey—a few words of conversation. The
stranger walked boldly up to, and returned with, the master of the
ceremonies; a little introductory pantomime; and the stranger and
Mrs. Budger took their places in a quadrille.
The surprise of Mr. Tupman at this summary proceeding, great as
it was, was immeasurably exceeded by the astonishment of the
doctor. The stranger was young, and the widow was flattered. The
doctor’s attentions were unheeded by the widow; and the doctor’s
indignation was wholly lost on his imperturbable rival. Doctor
Slammer was paralysed. He, Doctor Slammer, of the 97th, to be
extinguished in a moment, by a man whom nobody had ever seen
before, and whom nobody knew even now! Doctor Slammer—Doctor
Slammer of the 97th rejected! Impossible! It could not be! Yes, it
was; there they were. What! introducing his friend! Could he
believe his eyes! He looked again, and was under the painful
necessity of admitting the veracity of his optics; Mrs. Budger was
dancing with Mr. Tracy Tupman; there was no mistaking the fact.
There was the widow before him, bouncing bodily here and there,
with unwonted vigour; and Mr. Tracy Tupman hopping about, with a
face expressive of the most intense solemnity, dancing (as a good
many people do) as if a quadrille were not a thing to be laughed
at, but a severe trial to the feelings, which it requires
inflexible resolution to encounter.
Silently and patiently did the doctor bear all this, and all the
handings of negus, and watching for glasses, and darting for
biscuits, and coquetting, that ensued; but, a few seconds after the
stranger had disappeared to lead Mrs. Budger to her carriage, he
darted swiftly from the room with every particle of his
hitherto–bottled–up indignation effervescing, from all parts of his
countenance, in a perspiration of passion.
The stranger was returning, and Mr. Tupman was beside him. He
spoke in a low tone, and laughed. The little doctor thirsted for
his life. He was exulting. He had triumphed.
‘Sir!’ said the doctor, in an awful voice, producing a card, and
retiring into an angle of the passage, ‘my name is Slammer, Doctor
Slammer, sir—97th Regiment—Chatham Barracks—my card, Sir, my card.’
He would have added more, but his indignation choked him.
‘Ah!’ replied the stranger coolly, ‘Slammer—much obliged—polite
attention—not ill now, Slammer—but when I am—knock you up.’
‘You—you’re a shuffler, sir,’ gasped the furious doctor, ‘a
poltroon—a coward—a liar—a—a—will nothing induce you to give me
your card, sir!’ ‘Oh! I see,’ said the stranger, half aside, ‘negus
too strong here—liberal landlord—very foolish—very—lemonade much
better—hot rooms—elderly gentlemen—suffer for it in the
morning—cruel—cruel;’ and he moved on a step or two.
‘You are stopping in this house, Sir,’ said the indignant little
man; ‘you are intoxicated now, Sir; you shall hear from me in the
morning, sir. I shall find you out, sir; I shall find you out.’
‘Rather you found me out than found me at home,’ replied the
Doctor Slammer looked unutterable ferocity, as he fixed his hat
on his head with an indignant knock; and the stranger and Mr.
Tupman ascended to the bedroom of the latter to restore the
borrowed plumage to the unconscious Winkle.
That gentleman was fast asleep; the restoration was soon made.
The stranger was extremely jocose; and Mr. Tracy Tupman, being
quite bewildered with wine, negus, lights, and ladies, thought the
whole affair was an exquisite joke. His new friend departed; and,
after experiencing some slight difficulty in finding the orifice in
his nightcap, originally intended for the reception of his head,
and finally overturning his candlestick in his struggles to put it
on, Mr. Tracy Tupman managed to get into bed by a series of
complicated evolutions, and shortly afterwards sank into
Seven o’clock had hardly ceased striking on the following
morning, when Mr. Pickwick’s comprehensive mind was aroused from
the state of unconsciousness, in which slumber had plunged it, by a
loud knocking at his chamber door. ‘Who’s there?’ said Mr.
Pickwick, starting up in bed.
‘What do you want?’
‘Please, sir, can you tell me which gentleman of your party
wears a bright blue dress–coat, with a gilt button with “P. C.” on
‘It’s been given out to brush,’ thought Mr. Pickwick, ‘and the
man has forgotten whom it belongs to.’ ‘Mr. Winkle,‘he called out,
‘next room but two, on the right hand.’ ‘Thank’ee, sir,’ said the
Boots, and away he went.
‘What’s the matter?’ cried Mr. Tupman, as a loud knocking at his
door roused hint from his oblivious repose.
‘Can I speak to Mr. Winkle, sir?’ replied Boots from the
‘Winkle—Winkle!’ shouted Mr. Tupman, calling into the inner
room. ‘Hollo!’ replied a faint voice from within the
‘You’re wanted—some one at the door;’ and, having exerted
himself to articulate thus much, Mr. Tracy Tupman turned round and
fell fast asleep again.
‘Wanted!’ said Mr. Winkle, hastily jumping out of bed, and
putting on a few articles of clothing; ‘wanted! at this distance
from town—who on earth can want me?’
‘Gentleman in the coffee–room, sir,’ replied the Boots, as Mr.
Winkle opened the door and confronted him; ‘gentleman says he’ll
not detain you a moment, Sir, but he can take no denial.’
‘Very odd!’ said Mr. Winkle; ‘I’ll be down directly.’
He hurriedly wrapped himself in a travelling–shawl and
dressing–gown, and proceeded downstairs. An old woman and a couple
of waiters were cleaning the coffee–room, and an officer in undress
uniform was looking out of the window. He turned round as Mr.
Winkle entered, and made a stiff inclination of the head. Having
ordered the attendants to retire, and closed the door very
carefully, he said, ‘Mr. Winkle, I presume?’
‘My name is Winkle, sir.’
‘You will not be surprised, sir, when I inform you that I have
called here this morning on behalf of my friend, Doctor Slammer, of
‘Doctor Slammer!’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘Doctor Slammer. He begged me to express his opinion that your
conduct of last evening was of a description which no gentleman
could endure; and’ (he added) ‘which no one gentleman would pursue
Mr. Winkle’s astonishment was too real, and too evident, to
escape the observation of Doctor Slammer’s friend; he therefore
proceeded—‘My friend, Doctor Slammer, requested me to add, that he
was firmly persuaded you were intoxicated during a portion of the
evening, and possibly unconscious of the extent of the insult you
were guilty of. He commissioned me to say, that should this be
pleaded as an excuse for your behaviour, he will consent to accept
a written apology, to be penned by you, from my dictation.’
‘A written apology!’ repeated Mr. Winkle, in the most emphatic
tone of amazement possible.
‘Of course you know the alternative,’ replied the visitor
‘Were you intrusted with this message to me by name?’ inquired
Mr. Winkle, whose intellects were hopelessly confused by this
‘I was not present myself,’ replied the visitor, ‘and in
consequence of your firm refusal to give your card to Doctor
Slammer, I was desired by that gentleman to identify the wearer of
a very uncommon coat—a bright blue dress–coat, with a gilt button
displaying a bust, and the letters “P. C.”’
Mr. Winkle actually staggered with astonishment as he heard his
own costume thus minutely described. Doctor Slammer’s friend
proceeded:—‘From the inquiries I made at the bar, just now, I was
convinced that the owner of the coat in question arrived here, with
three gentlemen, yesterday afternoon. I immediately sent up to the
gentleman who was described as appearing the head of the party, and
he at once referred me to you.’
If the principal tower of Rochester Castle had suddenly walked
from its foundation, and stationed itself opposite the coffee–room
window, Mr. Winkle’s surprise would have been as nothing compared
with the profound astonishment with which he had heard this
address. His first impression was that his coat had been stolen.
‘Will you allow me to detain you one moment?’ said he.
‘Certainly,’ replied the unwelcome visitor.
Mr. Winkle ran hastily upstairs, and with a trembling hand
opened the bag. There was the coat in its usual place, but
exhibiting, on a close inspection, evident tokens of having been
worn on the preceding night.
‘It must be so,’ said Mr. Winkle, letting the coat fall from his
hands. ‘I took too much wine after dinner, and have a very vague
recollection of walking about the streets, and smoking a cigar
afterwards. The fact is, I was very drunk;—I must have changed my
coat—gone somewhere—and insulted somebody—I have no doubt of it;
and this message is the terrible consequence.’ Saying which, Mr.
Winkle retraced his steps in the direction of the coffee–room, with
the gloomy and dreadful resolve of accepting the challenge of the
warlike Doctor Slammer, and abiding by the worst consequences that
To this determination Mr. Winkle was urged by a variety of
considerations, the first of which was his reputation with the
club. He had always been looked up to as a high authority on all
matters of amusement and dexterity, whether offensive, defensive,
or inoffensive; and if, on this very first occasion of being put to
the test, he shrunk back from the trial, beneath his leader’s eye,
his name and standing were lost for ever. Besides, he remembered to
have heard it frequently surmised by the uninitiated in such
matters that by an understood arrangement between the seconds, the
pistols were seldom loaded with ball; and, furthermore, he
reflected that if he applied to Mr. Snodgrass to act as his second,
and depicted the danger in glowing terms, that gentleman might
possibly communicate the intelligence to Mr. Pickwick, who would
certainly lose no time in transmitting it to the local authorities,
and thus prevent the killing or maiming of his follower.
Such were his thoughts when he returned to the coffee–room, and
intimated his intention of accepting the doctor’s challenge.
‘Will you refer me to a friend, to arrange the time and place of
meeting?’ said the officer.
‘Quite unnecessary,’ replied Mr. Winkle; ‘name them to me, and I
can procure the attendance of a friend afterwards.’
‘Shall we say—sunset this evening?’ inquired the officer, in a
‘Very good,’ replied Mr. Winkle, thinking in his heart it was
‘You know Fort Pitt?’
‘Yes; I saw it yesterday.’
‘If you will take the trouble to turn into the field which
borders the trench, take the foot–path to the left when you arrive
at an angle of the fortification, and keep straight on, till you
see me, I will precede you to a secluded place, where the affair
can be conducted without fear of interruption.’
‘Fear of interruption!’ thought Mr. Winkle.
‘Nothing more to arrange, I think,’ said the officer.
‘I am not aware of anything more,’ replied Mr. Winkle.
‘Good–morning;’ and the officer whistled a lively air as he
That morning’s breakfast passed heavily off. Mr. Tupman was not
in a condition to rise, after the unwonted dissipation of the
previous night; Mr. Snodgrass appeared to labour under a poetical
depression of spirits; and even Mr. Pickwick evinced an unusual
attachment to silence and soda–water. Mr. Winkle eagerly watched
his opportunity: it was not long wanting. Mr. Snodgrass proposed a
visit to the castle, and as Mr. Winkle was the only other member of
the party disposed to walk, they went out together. ‘Snodgrass,’
said Mr. Winkle, when they had turned out of the public street.
‘Snodgrass, my dear fellow, can I rely upon your secrecy?’ As he
said this, he most devoutly and earnestly hoped he could not.
‘You can,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass. ‘Hear me swear—’
‘No, no,’ interrupted Winkle, terrified at the idea of his
companion’s unconsciously pledging himself not to give information;
‘don’t swear, don’t swear; it’s quite unnecessary.’
Mr. Snodgrass dropped the hand which he had, in the spirit of
poesy, raised towards the clouds as he made the above appeal, and
assumed an attitude of attention.
‘I want your assistance, my dear fellow, in an affair of
honour,’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘You shall have it,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass, clasping his
‘With a doctor—Doctor Slammer, of the 97th,’ said Mr. Winkle,
wishing to make the matter appear as solemn as possible; ‘an affair
with an officer, seconded by another officer, at sunset this
evening, in a lonely field beyond Fort Pitt.’
‘I will attend you,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
He was astonished, but by no means dismayed. It is extraordinary
how cool any party but the principal can be in such cases. Mr.
Winkle had forgotten this. He had judged of his friend’s feelings
by his own.
‘The consequences may be dreadful,’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘I hope not,’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘The doctor, I believe, is a very good shot,’ said Mr.
‘Most of these military men are,’ observed Mr. Snodgrass calmly;
‘but so are you, ain’t you?’ Mr. Winkle replied in the affirmative;
and perceiving that he had not alarmed his companion sufficiently,
changed his ground.
‘Snodgrass,’ he said, in a voice tremulous with emotion, ‘if I
fall, you will find in a packet which I shall place in your hands a
note for my—for my father.’
This attack was a failure also. Mr. Snodgrass was affected, but
he undertook the delivery of the note as readily as if he had been
a twopenny postman.
‘If I fall,’ said Mr. Winkle, ‘or if the doctor falls, you, my
dear friend, will be tried as an accessory before the fact. Shall I
involve my friend in transportation—possibly for life!’ Mr.
Snodgrass winced a little at this, but his heroism was invincible.
‘In the cause of friendship,’ he fervently exclaimed, ‘I would
brave all dangers.’
How Mr. Winkle cursed his companion’s devoted friendship
internally, as they walked silently along, side by side, for some
minutes, each immersed in his own meditations! The morning was
wearing away; he grew desperate.
‘Snodgrass,’ he said, stopping suddenly, ‘do not let me be
balked in this matter—do not give information to the local
authorities—do not obtain the assistance of several peace officers,
to take either me or Doctor Slammer, of the 97th Regiment, at
present quartered in Chatham Barracks, into custody, and thus
prevent this duel!—I say, do not.’
Mr. Snodgrass seized his friend’s hand warmly, as he
enthusiastically replied, ‘Not for worlds!’
A thrill passed over Mr. Winkle’s frame as the conviction that
he had nothing to hope from his friend’s fears, and that he was
destined to become an animated target, rushed forcibly upon
The state of the case having been formally explained to Mr.
Snodgrass, and a case of satisfactory pistols, with the
satisfactory accompaniments of powder, ball, and caps, having been
hired from a manufacturer in Rochester, the two friends returned to
their inn; Mr. Winkle to ruminate on the approaching struggle, and
Mr. Snodgrass to arrange the weapons of war, and put them into
proper order for immediate use.
it was a dull and heavy evening when they again sallied forth on
their awkward errand. Mr. Winkle was muffled up in a huge cloak to
escape observation, and Mr. Snodgrass bore under his the
instruments of destruction.
‘Have you got everything?’ said Mr. Winkle, in an agitated
‘Everything,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass; ‘plenty of ammunition, in
case the shots don’t take effect. There’s a quarter of a pound of
powder in the case, and I have got two newspapers in my pocket for
These were instances of friendship for which any man might
reasonably feel most grateful. The presumption is, that the
gratitude of Mr. Winkle was too powerful for utterance, as he said
nothing, but continued to walk on—rather slowly.
‘We are in excellent time,’ said Mr. Snodgrass, as they climbed
the fence of the first field;‘the sun is just going down.’ Mr.
Winkle looked up at the declining orb and painfully thought of the
probability of his ‘going down’ himself, before long.
‘There’s the officer,’ exclaimed Mr. Winkle, after a few minutes
walking. ‘Where?’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘There—the gentleman in the blue cloak.’ Mr. Snodgrass looked in
the direction indicated by the forefinger of his friend, and
observed a figure, muffled up, as he had described. The officer
evinced his consciousness of their presence by slightly beckoning
with his hand; and the two friends followed him at a little
distance, as he walked away.
The evening grew more dull every moment, and a melancholy wind
sounded through the deserted fields, like a distant giant whistling
for his house–dog. The sadness of the scene imparted a sombre tinge
to the feelings of Mr. Winkle. He started as they passed the angle
of the trench—it looked like a colossal grave.
The officer turned suddenly from the path, and after climbing a
paling, and scaling a hedge, entered a secluded field. Two
gentlemen were waiting in it; one was a little, fat man, with black
hair; and the other—a portly personage in a braided surtout—was
sitting with perfect equanimity on a camp–stool.
‘The other party, and a surgeon, I suppose,’ said Mr. Snodgrass;
‘take a drop of brandy.’ Mr. Winkle seized the wicker bottle which
his friend proffered, and took a lengthened pull at the
‘My friend, Sir, Mr. Snodgrass,’ said Mr. Winkle, as the officer
approached. Doctor Slammer’s friend bowed, and produced a case
similar to that which Mr. Snodgrass carried.
‘We have nothing further to say, Sir, I think,’ he coldly
remarked, as he opened the case; ‘an apology has been resolutely
‘Nothing, Sir,’ said Mr. Snodgrass, who began to feel rather
‘Will you step forward?’ said the officer.
‘Certainly,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass. The ground was measured, and
preliminaries arranged. ‘You will find these better than your own,’
said the opposite second, producing his pistols. ‘You saw me load
them. Do you object to use them?’
‘Certainly not,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass. The offer relieved him
from considerable embarrassment, for his previous notions of
loading a pistol were rather vague and undefined.
‘We may place our men, then, I think,’ observed the officer,
with as much indifference as if the principals were chess–men, and
the seconds players.
‘I think we may,’ replied Mr. Snodgrass; who would have assented
to any proposition, because he knew nothing about the matter. The
officer crossed to Doctor Slammer, and Mr. Snodgrass went up to Mr.
‘It’s all ready,’ said he, offering the pistol. ‘Give me your
‘You have got the packet, my dear fellow,’ said poor Winkle.
‘All right,’ said Mr. Snodgrass. ‘Be steady, and wing him.’
It occurred to Mr. Winkle that this advice was very like that
which bystanders invariably give to the smallest boy in a street
fight, namely, ‘Go in, and win’—an admirable thing to recommend, if
you only know how to do it. He took off his cloak, however, in
silence—it always took a long time to undo that cloak—and accepted
the pistol. The seconds retired, the gentleman on the camp–stool
did the same, and the belligerents approached each other.
Mr. Winkle was always remarkable for extreme humanity. It is
conjectured that his unwillingness to hurt a fellow–creature
intentionally was the cause of his shutting his eyes when he
arrived at the fatal spot; and that the circumstance of his eyes
being closed, prevented his observing the very extraordinary and
unaccountable demeanour of Doctor Slammer. That gentleman started,
stared, retreated, rubbed his eyes, stared again, and, finally,
shouted, ‘Stop, stop!’
‘What’s all this?’ said Doctor Slammer, as his friend and Mr.
Snodgrass came running up; ‘that’s not the man.’
‘Not the man!’ said Doctor Slammer’s second.
‘Not the man!’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
‘Not the man!’ said the gentleman with the camp–stool in his
‘Certainly not,’ replied the little doctor. ‘That’s not the
person who insulted me last night.’
‘Very extraordinary!’ exclaimed the officer.
‘Very,’ said the gentleman with the camp–stool. ‘The only
question is, whether the gentleman, being on the ground, must not
be considered, as a matter of form, to be the individual who
insulted our friend, Doctor Slammer, yesterday evening, whether he
is really that individual or not;’ and having delivered this
suggestion, with a very sage and mysterious air, the man with the
camp–stool took a large pinch of snuff, and looked profoundly
round, with the air of an authority in such matters.
Now Mr. Winkle had opened his eyes, and his ears too, when he
heard his adversary call out for a cessation of hostilities; and
perceiving by what he had afterwards said that there was, beyond
all question, some mistake in the matter, he at once foresaw the
increase of reputation he should inevitably acquire by concealing
the real motive of his coming out; he therefore stepped boldly
forward, and said—
‘I am not the person. I know it.’
‘Then, that,’ said the man with the camp–stool, ‘is an affront
to Doctor Slammer, and a sufficient reason for proceeding
‘Pray be quiet, Payne,’ said the doctor’s second. ‘Why did you
not communicate this fact to me this morning, Sir?’
‘To be sure—to be sure,’ said the man with the camp–stool
‘I entreat you to be quiet, Payne,’ said the other. ‘May I
repeat my question, Sir?’
‘Because, Sir,’ replied Mr. Winkle, who had had time to
deliberate upon his answer, ‘because, Sir, you described an
intoxicated and ungentlemanly person as wearing a coat which I have
the honour, not only to wear but to have invented—the proposed
uniform, Sir, of the Pickwick Club in London. The honour of that
uniform I feel bound to maintain, and I therefore, without inquiry,
accepted the challenge which you offered me.’
‘My dear Sir,’ said the good–humoured little doctor advancing
with extended hand, ‘I honour your gallantry. Permit me to say,
Sir, that I highly admire your conduct, and extremely regret having
caused you the inconvenience of this meeting, to no purpose.’
‘I beg you won’t mention it, Sir,’ said Mr. Winkle.
‘I shall feel proud of your acquaintance, Sir,’ said the little
‘It will afford me the greatest pleasure to know you, sir,’
replied Mr. Winkle. Thereupon the doctor and Mr. Winkle shook
hands, and then Mr. Winkle and Lieutenant Tappleton (the doctor’s
second), and then Mr. Winkle and the man with the camp–stool, and,
finally, Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass—the last–named gentleman in
an excess of admiration at the noble conduct of his heroic
‘I think we may adjourn,’ said Lieutenant Tappleton.
‘Certainly,’ added the doctor.
‘Unless,’ interposed the man with the camp–stool, ‘unless Mr.
Winkle feels himself aggrieved by the challenge; in which case, I
submit, he has a right to satisfaction.’
Mr. Winkle, with great self–denial, expressed himself quite
satisfied already. ‘Or possibly,’ said the man with the camp–stool,
‘the gentleman’s second may feel himself affronted with some
observations which fell from me at an early period of this meeting;
if so, I shall be happy to give him satisfaction immediately.’
Mr. Snodgrass hastily professed himself very much obliged with
the handsome offer of the gentleman who had spoken last, which he
was only induced to decline by his entire contentment with the
whole proceedings. The two seconds adjusted the cases, and the
whole party left the ground in a much more lively manner than they
had proceeded to it.
‘Do you remain long here?’ inquired Doctor Slammer of Mr.
Winkle, as they walked on most amicably together.
‘I think we shall leave here the day after to–morrow,’ was the
‘I trust I shall have the pleasure of seeing you and your friend
at my rooms, and of spending a pleasant evening with you, after
this awkward mistake,’ said the little doctor; ‘are you disengaged
‘We have some friends here,’ replied Mr. Winkle, ‘and I should
not like to leave them to–night. Perhaps you and your friend will
join us at the Bull.’
‘With great pleasure,’ said the little doctor; ‘will ten o’clock
be too late to look in for half an hour?’
‘Oh dear, no,’ said Mr. Winkle. ‘I shall be most happy to
introduce you to my friends, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman.’
‘It will give me great pleasure, I am sure,’ replied Doctor
Slammer, little suspecting who Mr. Tupman was.
‘You will be sure to come?’ said Mr. Snodgrass.
By this time they had reached the road. Cordial farewells were
exchanged, and the party separated. Doctor Slammer and his friends
repaired to the barracks, and Mr. Winkle, accompanied by Mr.
Snodgrass, returned to their inn.