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´╗┐Title: Pickwickian Studies
Author: Fitzgerald, Percy Hethrington, 1834-1925
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1899 New Century Press edition by David Price, email
ccx074@pglaf.org



PICKWICKIAN STUDIES


BY
PERCY FITZGERALD, M.A., F.S.A.
AUTHOR OF "_The History of Pickwick_," "_Pickwickian Manners and
Customs_,"
"_Bozland_," _&c._

London:
THE NEW CENTURY PRESS, LIMITED
434 STRAND, W.C
1899



CHAPTER I.  IPSWICH


I.--The Great White Horse


This ancient Inn is associated with some pleasant and diverting
Pickwickian memories.  We think of the adventure with "the lady in the
yellow curl papers" and the double-bedded room, just as we would recall
some "side splitting" farce in which Buckstone or Toole once made our
jaws ache.  As all the world knows, the "Great White Horse" is found in
the good old town of Ipswich, still flourishes, and is scarcely altered
from the days when Mr. Pickwick put up there.  Had it not been thus
associated, Ipswich would have remained a place obscure and scarcely
known, for it has little to attract save one curious old house and some
old churches; and for the theatrical antiquary, the remnant of the old
theatre in Tacket Street, where Garrick first appeared as an amateur
under the name of Lyddal, about a hundred and sixty years ago, and where
now the Salvation Army "performs" in his stead. {1}  The touch of "Boz"
kindled the old bones into life, it peopled the narrow, winding streets
with the Grummers, Nupkins, Jingles, Pickwick and his followers; with the
immortal lady aforesaid in her yellow curl papers, to say nothing of Mr.
Peter Magnus.  From afar off even, we look at Ipswich with a singular
interest; some of us go down there to enjoy the peculiar feeling--and it
_is_ a peculiar and piquant one--of staying at Mr. Pickwick's Inn--of
sleeping even in his room.  This relish, however, is only given to your
true "follower," not to his German-metal counterfeit--though, strange to
say, at this moment, Pickwick is chiefly "made in Germany," and comes to
us from that country in highly-coloured almanacks--and pictures of all
kinds.  About Ipswich there is a very appropriate old-fashioned tone, and
much of the proper country town air.  The streets seem dingy enough--the
hay waggon is encountered often.  The "Great White Horse," which is at
the corner of several streets, is a low, longish building--with a rather
seedy air.  But to read "Boz's" description of it, we see at once that he
was somewhat overpowered by its grandeur and immense size--which, to us
in these days of huge hotels, seems odd.  It was no doubt a large posting
house of many small chambers--and when crowded, as "Boz" saw it at
Election time in 1835, swarming with committeemen, agents, and voters,
must have impressed more than it would now.  The Ball-room at "The Bull,"
in Rochester, affected him in much the same way; and there is a curious
sensation in looking round us there, on its modest proportions--its
little hutch of a gallery which would hold about half-a-dozen musicans,
and the small contracted space at the top where the "swells" of the
dockyard stood together.  "Boz," as he himself once told me, took away
from Rochester the idea that its old, red brick Guildhall was one of the
most imposing edifices in Europe, and described his astonishment on his
return at seeing how small it was.

Apropos of Rochester and the Pickwick feeling, it may be said that to
pass that place by on the London, Chatham, and Dover line rouses the most
curious sensation.  Above is the Castle, seen a long time before, with
the glistening river at its feet; then one skirts the town passing by the
backs of the very old-fashioned houses, and you can recognise those of
the Guildhall and of the Watts' Charity, and the gilt vanes of other
quaint, old buildings; you see a glimpse of the road rising and falling,
with its pathways raised on each side, with all sorts of faded
tints--mellow, subdued reds, sombre greys, a patch of green here and
there, and all more or less dingy, and "quite out of fashion."  There is
a rather forlorn tone over it all, especially when we have a glimpse of
Ordnance Terrace, at Chatham, that abandoned, dilapidated row where the
boy Dickens was brought up dismally enough.  At that moment the images of
the Pickwickians recur as of persons who had lived and had come down
there on this pleasant adventure.  And how well we know every stone and
corner of the place, and the tone of the place!  We might have lived
there ourselves.  Positively, as we walk through it, we seem to recognise
localities like old friends.

"Boz," when he came to Ipswich, was no more than a humble reporter, on
special duty, living in a homely way enough.  The "White Horse" was not
likely to put itself out for him, and he criticises it in his story,
after a fashion that seems rather bold.  His description is certainly
unflattering:

   "In the main street, on the left-hand side of the way"--observe how
   minute Boz is in his topography--"a short distance after you have
   passed through the open space fronting the Town Hall, stands an Inn
   known far and wide by the appellation of 'The Great White Horse,'
   rendered the more conspicuous by a stone statue of some rampacious
   animal, with flowing mane and tail, distantly resembling an insane
   cart horse, which is elevated above the principal door.  The 'Great
   White Horse' is famous in the neighbourhood in the same degree as a
   prize ox or county paper-chronicled turnip, or unwieldy pig--for its
   _enormous size_.  Never were there such labyrinths of _uncarpeted
   passages_, such clusters of _mouldy_, _badly-lighted rooms_, such huge
   numbers of small dens for eating or sleeping in, beneath any other
   roof, as are collected between the four walls of this overgrown
   Tavern."

Boz cannot give the accommodation a good word, for he calls the
Pickwickian room "a large, badly furnished apartment, with _a dirty
grate_ in which a small fire was making a wretched attempt to be
cheerful, but was fast sinking beneath the dispiriting influence of the
place."  The dinner, too, seems to have been as bad, for a _bit of fish_
and a steak took one hour to get ready, with "_a bottle of the worst
possible port_, _at the highest possible price_."  Depreciation of a
hostelry could not be more damaging.  Again, Mr. Pickwick's bedroom is
described as a sort of surprise, being "a more comfortable-looking
apartment that his short experience of the accommodation of the Great
White House had led him to expect."

Now this was bad enough, but his sketch of the waiter who received the
arriving party is worse:

   "A corpulent man, with a fortnight's napkin under his arm and coeval
   stockings."

There is something so hostile in all this that it certainly must have
come from a sense of bad reception.  As we said, the young reporter was
likely enough to have been treated with haughty contempt by the corpulent
waiter so admirably described, with his "coeval stockings."

Even the poor horse is not spared, "Rampacious" he is styled; the stone
animal that still stands over the porch.  It must be said that the steed
in question is a very mild animal indeed, and far from ramping, is
trotting placidly along.  "Rampacious," however, scarcely seems
correct--"Rampagious" is the proper form--particularly as "Boz" uses the
words "On the rampage."  We find ourselves ever looking at the animal
with interest--as he effects his trot, one leg bent.  The porch, and
horse above it, have a sort of sacred character.  I confess when I saw it
for the first time I looked at it with an almost absurd reverence and
curiosity.  The thing is so much in keeping, one would expect to see the
coach laden with Pickwickians drive up.

Mr. Pickwick's adventure, his losing his way in the passages, &c., might
occur to anyone.  It is an odd feeling, the staying at this old hostelry,
and, as it draws on towards midnight, seeking your room, through endless
windings, turns, and short flights.  There is even now to be seen the
niche where Mr. Pickwick sat down for the night; so minute are the
directions we can trace the various rooms.  Mr. Pickwick asked for a
private room and was taken down a "long dark passage."  It turned out
later that Miss Witherfield's sitting-room was actually next door, so Mr.
Magnus had not far to go.  These rooms were on the ground floor, so Mr.
Pickwick had to "descend" from his bedroom.

There is a tradition indeed that Mr. Pickwick's adventure with a lady
really occurred to "Boz" himself, who had lost his way in the mazes of
the passages.  I have a theory that his uncomfortable night in the
passages, and the possible displeasure of the authorities, may have
jaundiced his views.



II.--Eatanswill and Ipswich


It is not "generally known" that Ipswich is introduced twice in the book:
as Eatanswill, as well asunder its own proper name.  As "Boz" was dealing
with the corrupt practices at Elections, and severely ridiculing them, he
was naturally afraid of being made responsible.  Further, he had been
despatched by the proprietors of the _Chronicle_ to report the speeches
at the election, and he did not care to take advantage of his mission for
literary purposes.  The father of the late Mr. Alfred Morrison, the well-
known, amiable virtuoso, was one of the candidates for Ipswich at the
election in 1835, and he used to tell how young "Boz" was introduced into
one of the rooms at the "Great White Horse," where the head-quarters of
the candidate was.  Sir Fitzroy Kelly was the other candidate, a name
that seems pointed at in Fizkin.

This high and mighty point of the locality of Eatanswill has given rise
to much discussion, and there are those who urge the claims of other
towns, such as Yarmouth and Norwich.  It has been ingeniously urged that,
in his examination before Nupkins, Mr. Pickwick stated that he was a
perfect stranger in the town, and had no knowledge of any householders
there who could be bail for him.  Now if Eatanswill were Ipswich, he must
have known many--the Pott family for instance--and he had resided there
for some time.  But the author did not intend that the reader should
believe that the two places were the same, and wished them to be
considered different towns, though _he_ considered them as one.  It has
been urged, too, that Ipswich is not on the direct road to Norwich as
stated by the author; but on consulting an old road book (Mogg's) I find
that it is one of the important stages on the coach line.

But what is conclusive is the question of distance.  On hurrying away so
abruptly from Mrs. Leo Hunter's, Mr. Pickwick was told by that lady that
the adventurer was at Bury St. Edmunds, "_not many miles from here_,"
that is a short way off.  Now Bury is no more than about four-and-twenty
miles from Ipswich, a matter of about four hours' coach travelling.  Great
Yarmouth is fully seventy by roundabout roads, which could not be
described as being "a short way from here."  It would have taken eight or
nine hours--a day's journey.  Mr. Pickwick left Eatanswill about one or
two, for the lunch was going on, and got to Bury in time for dinner,
which, had he left Yarmouth, would have taken him to the small hours of
the morning.

No one was such a thorough "Pressman" as was "Boz," or threw himself with
such ardour into his profession.  To his zeal and knowledge in this
respect we have the warmest testimonies.  When he was at Ipswich for the
election, he, beyond doubt, entered with zest and enjoyment into all the
humours.  No one could have written so minute and hearty an account
without having been "behind the scenes" and in the confidence of one or
other of the parties.  And no wonder, for he represented one of the most
important of the London "dailies."

The fact is, Ipswich was a sort of a tempestuous borough, the scene of
many a desperate conflict in which one individual, Mr. Fitzroy
Kelly--later Chief Baron--made the most persevering efforts, again and
again renewed, to secure his footing.  Thus, in December, 1832, there was
a fierce struggle with other candidates, Messrs. Morrison, Dundas, and
Rigby Wason, in which he was worsted--for the moment.  But, in January,
1835, when he stood again, he was successful.  This must have been the
one in Pickwick, when the excesses there described may have taken place.
There were four candidates: one of whom, Mr. Dundas--no doubt depicted as
the Honourable Mr. Slumkey--being of the noble family of Zetland.  We
find that the successful candidate was unseated on petition, and his
place taken by another candidate.  In 1837, he stood once more, and was
defeated by a very narrow majority.  On a scrutiny, he was restored to
Parliament.  Finally, in 1847, he lost the seat and gave up this very
uncertain borough.  Now all this shows what forces were at work, and
that, with such determined candidates, electoral purity was not likely to
stand in the way.  All which makes for Ipswich.

It must be said, however, that a fair case can be made for Norwich.  In
introducing Eatanswill, Boz says that "an anxious desire to abstain from
giving offence" prompted Mr. Pickwick, _i.e._, Boz, to conceal the real
name of the place.  He adds that he travelled by the Norwich coach, "but
this entry (in Mr. Pickwick's notes) was afterwards lined through as if
for the purpose of concealing even the direction."  Some might think that
this was a veiled indication, but it seems too broad and obvious a
method, that is, by crossing out a name to reveal the name.  It is much
more likely he meant that the town was somewhere between Norwich and
London, and on that line.  There are arguments, too, from the distances.
There are two journeys in the book from Eatanswill to Bury, which seem to
furnish data for both theories--the Ipswich and the Norwich ones.  But if
we have to take the _dejeuner_ in its literal sense, and put it early in
the day, say, at eleven, and Mr. Pickwick's arrival at Bury, "wery late,"
as Sam had it, we have some six hours, or, say, forty miles, covered by
the journey.  But the events at Mrs. Leo Hunter's were certainly at mid-
day--between one and three o'clock.  It was, in fact, a grand lunch.  So
with Winkle's journey.  He left Eatanswill half-an-hour after breakfast,
and must have travelled by the same coach as Mr. Pickwick had done, and
reached Bury just in time for dinner, or in six or seven hours.  Now it
will not be said that he would not be a whole day going four-and-twenty
miles.

A fair answer to these pleas might be that Boz was not too scrupulous as
to times or distances when he was contriving incidents or events; and
numberless specimens could be given of his inaccuracies.  Here, "panting
time toiled after him in vain."  It was enough to talk of breakfast and
dinner without accurately computing the space between.  But a close
admeasurement of the distance will disprove the Norwich theory.  Bury was
twenty-four miles from Ipswich, and Ipswich forty miles from Norwich--a
total of seventy-four miles, to accomplish which would have taken ten,
eleven or twelve hours, to say nothing of the chance of missing the
"correspondance" with the Northern Norwich coach.  Then again, Boz is
careful to state that Eatanswill was "one of the smaller towns."  In this
class we would not place Norwich, a large Cathedral City, with its
innumerable churches, and population, even then, of over 60,000, whereas
Ipswich was certainly one of these "smaller towns," having only 20,000.
It must be also considered, too, that this was a cross road, when the
pace would be slower than on the great main lines, say, at five miles an
hour, which, with stoppages, &c., would occupy a period for the twenty-
four miles of some four hours, that is, say, from two to six o'clock.
Boz, by his arrangement of the traffic, would seem to assume that a
conveyance could be secured at any time of the day, for Mr. Pickwick
conveniently found one the instant he so abruptly quitted Mrs. Leo
Hunter's, while Winkle and his friends just as conveniently found one
immediately after breakfast.  He appears to have been seven hours on the
road.  But the strong point on which all Ipswichians may rest secure is
Mr. Pickwick's statement to Mrs. Leo Hunter that Bury was "not many miles
from here."

But an even more convincing proof can be found in Jingle's relation to
Eatanswill.  He came over from Bury to Mrs. Leo Hunter's party, leaving
his servant there, at the Hotel, and returned the same evening.  The
place must have been but a short way off, when he could go and return in
the same day.  Then what brought him to Eatanswill?  We are told that at
the time he was courting Miss Nupkins, the Mayor's daughter; of course,
he rushed over in the hope of meeting her at Mrs. Leo Hunter's
_dejeuner_.  Everything, therefore, fits well together.

I thought of consulting the report of the House of Commons Committee on
the Election Petition, and this confirmed my view.  There great stress is
laid on the Blue and Buff colours: in both the report and the novel it is
mentioned that the constables' staves were painted Blue.  Boz makes Bob
Sawyer say, in answer to Potts' horrified enquiry "Not Buff, sir?"  "Well
I'm a kind of plaid at present--mixed colours"--something very like this
he must have noticed in the Report.  A constable, asked was his comrade,
one Seagrave, Buff, answered, "_well_, _half and half_, _I believe_."  In
the Report, voters were captured and put to bed at the White Horse; and
Sam tells how he "pumped over" a number of voters at the same house.  The
very waiter, who received Mr. Pickwick so contemptuously, was examined by
the Committee--his name was Henry Cowey--and he answered exactly like the
waiter with the "fortnight's napkin and the coeval stockings."  When
asked "was not so-and-so's appearance that of an intoxicated person?" the
language seemed too much for him, rather, he took it to himself: "If I
_had_ been intoxicated, I could not have done my business."  This is
quite in character.

Boz calls the inn at Eatanswill, "The Town Arms."  There was no such sign
in all England at the time, as the Road Book shows.  Why then would he
call the White Horse by that name?  The Town Arms of Ipswich have two
white _Sea Horses_ as supporters.  This had certainly something to do
with the matter.

Mr. Pott was surely a real personage: for "Boz," who presently did not
scruple to "takeoff" a living Yorkshire schoolmaster in a fashion that
all his neighbours and friends recognised the original, would not draw
back in the case of an editor.  Indeed, it is plain that in all points
Pott is truly an admirable figure, perfect in every point of view, and
finished.  In fact, Pott and Pell, in their way, are the two best pieces
of work in the book.  How admirable is the description; "a tall, thin man
with a sandy-coloured head, inclined to baldness, and a face in which
solemn importance was blended with a look of unfathomable profundity.  He
was dressed in a long, brown surtout, with a black cloth waistcoat and
drab trousers.  A double eye-glass dangled at his waistcoat, and on his
head he wore a very low-crowned hat with a broad rim."  Every touch is
delightful--although all is literal the literalness is all humour.  As
when Pott, to recreate his guest, Mr. Pickwick, told Jane to "go down
into the office and bring me up the file of the Gazette for 1828.  I'll
read you just a few of the leaders I wrote at that time upon the Buff job
of appointing a new tollman to the turnpike here.  I rather think they'll
amuse you."  This was rich enough, and he came back to the same topic
towards the end of the book.

It will be remembered Mr. Pott went to Mrs. Leo Hunter's _Fete_ in the
character of a Russian with a knout in his hand.  No doubt the Gazette
had its "eye on Russia" and like the famous _Skibbereen Eagle_ had
solemnly warned the Autocrat to that effect.  It is, by the way, amusing
to find that this organ, _The Eagle_ to wit, which so increased the
gaiety of the nation, has once more been warning the Autocrat, and in a
vein that proves that "our filthy contemporary," _The Eatanswill
Gazette_, was no exaggerated picture.  This is how _The Eagle_, in a late
issue, speaks of the Russian occupation of Port Arthur:--"And once again
that keen, fierce glance is cast in the direction of the grasping
Muscovite; again, one of the foulest, one of the vilest dynasties that
has impiously trampled on the laws of God, and has violated every
progressive aspiration the Almighty implanted in the human heart when He
fashioned man in His own image, and breathed into his soul the breath of
life, threatens, for the moment at least, to put back the hands of the
clock that tells the progress of civilisation.  The Emperor of all the
Russias, this wicked enemy of the human race, has succeeded in raising
his hideous flag on Port Arthur, and planting his iron heel and cloven
hoof on the heathen Chinese--filthy, degenerate creatures, who, it must
be admitted, are fitting companions for the tallow-eating, 'knouting'
barbarian."



III.--Nupkins and Magnus.


Who was intended by Nupkins, the intolerable Mayor of Ipswich?  An odious
being.  We may wonder at "Boz's" courage, for, of course, the existing
Mayor of Ipswich might think that the satire was pointed at _him_.  There
can be little doubt, however, that Nupkins was drawn from a London Police
Magistrate, and is, in fact, another portrait of the functionary whom he
sketched specially for "Oliver Twist" under the name of Mr. Fang.
Nupkins, however, is more in the comedy vein--ridiculed rather than
gibbeted--than was Mr. Fang.  We have only to compare the touches in both
descriptions:

   "I beg your pardon for interrupting you," said Mr. Pickwick, "but
   before you proceed to act upon any opinion you may have formed, I must
   claim my right to be heard."

   "Hold your tongue," said the magistrate, peremptorily.

   "I must submit to you, sir--" said Mr. Pickwick.

   "Hold your tongue, or I shall order an officer to remove you."

   "You may order your officers to do whatever you please, sir," said Mr.
   Pickwick.

Compare with this "Oliver Twist":

   "Who are you?" said Mr. Fang.

   "Before I am sworn, I must beg to say one word, and that is I really
   never, without actual experience, could have believed--"

   "Hold your tongue, sir," said Mr. Fang, peremptorily.

   "I will not, sir."

   "Hold your tongue this instant, or I'll have you turned out of the
   office."

Mr. Pickwick, it will be remembered, made a communication to Mr. Nupkins
which changed the whole state of affairs.  Mr. Nupkins, with all his
insolent despotism, was held in check by conference with his clerk,
Jinks, who kept him from making mistakes by judicious hints.

Fang's clerk, like Mr. Jinks, interposed:

   "How do you propose to deal with the case, sir?" inquired the clerk,
   in a low voice.

   Mr. Jinks pulled him by the sleeve and whispered something.  He was
   evidently remonstrating.  At length the magistrate, gulping down with
   a very bad grace his disinclination to hear anything more, said
   sharply, "What do you want to say?"

When Mr. Fang was about to commit Oliver, the Bookstall-keeper rushed in,
and insisted on being heard, and, like Mr. Nupkins, Mr. Fang had to
listen:

   "I demand to be sworn," said the man, "I will not be put down."

   "Swear the man," growled Mr. Fang, with a very ill grace.  "Now, what
   have you got to say?"

Again, Mr. Nupkins said of Sam:

   "He is evidently a desperate ruffian."

   "He is my servant, sir," said Mr. Pickwick, angrily.

   "Oh, he is your servant, is he.  A conspiracy to defeat the ends of
   justice."

Compare Fang and the Bookseller:

   "That book, is it paid for?  No, it is not."

   "Dear me, I forgot all about it," exclaimed the old gentleman.

   "A nice person to prepare a charge against a poor boy," said Fang;
   "the law will overtake you yet, &c."

and so on.

In short, Nupkins is a softened edition of Fang.  It was curious that he
turned out at the end not altogether so badly, and there is certainly a
little inconsistency in the character.  After Mr. Pickwick's disclosures,
he becomes very rational and amiable.  We may wonder, too, how the latter
could have accepted hospitality from, or have sat down at the board of,
the man who treated him in so gross a fashion, and, further, that after
accepting this entertainment, Mr. Pickwick should take an heroic and
injured tone, recalling his injuries as he withdrew, but _after_ his
dinner.

This magistrate was despotic enough, but we might have expected that he
would have had Mr. Peter Magnus brought before him also, and have issued
a warrant.  The lady, however, was silent as to her admirer, and this
difficulty appears to have occurred to the author for he makes Mr.
Nupkins remark: "The other principal _you say_ has absconded," she having
said nothing whatever.  Being at the "White Horse," too, he was
accessible.  He may, however, have gone off to secure "a friend."

In Ipswich there is controversy as to the exact whereabouts of his
mansion.  But there can be little doubt as to the matter, as the
directions given are minute.  The guide books take care to point it out.
"Bending his steps towards St. Clement's Church"--that is leaving the
"White Horse" and following the street on the right, "he found himself in
a retired spot, a kind of courtyard of venerable appearance, which he
discovered had no other outlet than the turning by which he had entered."
I believe it is the house at the far end of the lane--now Mr. Bennett's.
The street has been cut through the lawn.  There are here, as there were
then, "old red brick houses" and "the green gate of a garden at the
bottom of the yard."  Nothing could be more precise, allowing of course
for the changes, demolitions, re-buildings, &c., of sixty years.

What became of Mr. Peter Magnus and his lady?  Did they "make it up"? or
was Mr. Pickwick enabled to make such explanations as would clear away
all suspicions.  Did the two angry gentlemen meet again after Mr.
Pickwick's return to the "White Horse?"  These are interesting questions,
and one at least can be answered.  Owing to an indiscretion of the
foolish Winkle's, during the famous action of Bardell v. Pickwick, we
learn that Mr. Pickwick "being found in a lady's apartment at midnight
had led to the _breaking off of the projected marriage_ of the lady in
question."  Now this seems a serious result of Mr. Pickwick's
indiscretion, and very unfortunate for the poor lady, and ought to have
caused him some remorse.  No doubt he explained the incident, which he
had better have done at first, for _now_ it had the air of attempting to
shield the lady.  It was odd that Mr. Pickwick should thus have
interfered with the marriage of _two_ elderly spinster ladies.

There is, by the way, a droll inconsistency on the part of the author in
his description of a scene between Mr. Magnus and Mr. Pickwick.  When the
former was about to propose to the middle-aged lady, he told Mr. Pickwick
that he arranged to see her at eleven.  "It only wants a quarter now."
Breakfast was waiting, and the pair sat down to it.  Mr. Magnus was
looking at the clock every other second.  Presently he announced, "It
only wants _two minutes_."  Notwithstanding this feverish impatience, he
asks Mr. Pickwick for his advice in proposing, which the latter gave at
great length.  Mr. Magnus listened, now without any impatience.  The
clock hand was "verging on the five minutes past;" not until it was _ten_
minutes past did he rise.



IV.--Had Mr. Pickwick ever Loved?


Mr. Pickwick's early history is obscure enough, and we know no details
save that he had been "in business."  But had he ever an affair of the
heart?  Just as in real life, when a stray allusion will occasionally
escape from a person betraying something of his past history, so once or
twice a casual remark of Mr. Pickwick's furnishes a hint.  Thus Mr.
Magnus, pressing him for his advice in this delicate matter of proposing,
asked him had he ever done this sort of thing in his time.  "You mean
proposing?" said the great man.  "Yes."  "Never," said Mr. Pickwick,
_with great energy_, and then repeated the word "Never."  His friend then
assumed that he did not know how it was best to begin.  "Why," said the
other, cautiously, "I may have formed some ideas on the subject," but
then added that he had "never submitted them to the test of experience."
This is distinct enough, but it does all the same hint at some _affaire
de coeur_, else why would he "have formed some ideas upon the subject."
Of course, it may be that he was thinking of Mrs. Bardell and her cruel
charges.  Still, it was strange that a man should have reached to fifty,
have grown round and stout, without ever offering his hand.  The first
picture in the book, however, helps us to speculate a little.  Over his
head in the room at Dulwich hangs the portrait of an old lady in
spectacles, the image of the great Samuel; his mother certainly.  He
evidently regarded her with deep affection, he had brought the picture to
Dulwich and placed it where it should always be before his eyes.  Could
it not be, and is it not natural that in addition to his other
amiabilities he was the best of sons--that she "ruled the roast"--that in
the old Mrs. Wardle, to whom he so filially attended, he saw his mother's
image, that she was with him to the day of her death, and that while she
lived, he resolved that no one else should be mistress there!  After her
death he found himself a confirmed old bachelor.  There's a speculation
for you on the German lines.

We might go on.  This self denial must have been the more meritorious as
he was by nature of an affectionate, even amorous, cast.  He seized every
opportunity of kissing the young ladies.  He would certainly have liked
to have had some fair being at home whom he could thus distinguish.  How
good this description of the rogue--

   "Mr. Pickwick kissed the young ladies--we were going to say as if they
   were his own daughters, only, as he might possibly have infused _a
   little more warmth into the salutation_, the comparison would not be
   quite appropriate."

He never lost a chance.  In the same spirit, when the blushing Arabella
came to tell of her marriage, "can you forgive my imprudence?"  He
returned "no verbal response"--not he--"but _took off his spectacles in
great haste_, and seizing both the young lady's hands in his, kissed her
a great many times--perhaps a greater number of times than was absolutely
necessary."  Observe the artfulness of all this--the deliberation--taking
off the spectacles so that they should not be in the way--seizing her
hands--and then setting to work!  Oh, he knew more of "this sort of
thing" than he had credit for.  He had never proposed--true--but he had
been near it a precious sight more than he said.

Miss Witherfield is a rather mysterious personage, yet we take an
interest in her and speculate on her history.  She lived some twenty
miles from Ipswich--no doubt at a family place of her own.  She had come
in to stay at the White Horse for the night and the morning.  She was, no
doubt, a person of property--otherwise Mr. Magnus would not have been so
eager, and he must have been a fortune hunter, for he confided to Mr.
Pickwick, that he had been jilted "three or four times."  What a quaint
notion by the way that of his: "I think an Inn is a good sort of place to
propose to a single woman in, Mr. Pickwick.  She is more likely to feel
the loneliness of her situation in travelling, perhaps than she would be,
at home."

We find here some of the always amusing bits of confusion that recur in
the book.  Here might be a Calverley question, "When was it, and where
was it, that the Pickwickians had _two_ dinners in the one day?"  Answer:
At the Great White Horse on this very visit.  When Mr. Nupkins retired to
lunch, after his interview with Miss Witherfield, the Pickwickians sat
down to their dinner "quietly," and were in the midst of that meal, when
Grummer arrived to arrest them.  They were taken to Nupkins', and there
dined with him.  This dinner would have brought them to five o'clock:--we
are told of candles--so that it was dark--yet this was the month of May,
when it would been light enough till eight o'clock.  Mrs. Nupkins' dress,
on coming in from lunch, is worth noting.  "A blue gauze turban and a
light brown wig."

Again, it was to Mr. Pickwick's watch, that we owe the diverting and
farcical incident of the double bedded bedroom--and indeed we have here
all the licensed improbabilities of a Farce.  To forget his watch on a
hotel table was the last thing a staid man of business would do.  How
could he be made to forget it?  "By winding it up," said the author.
"Winding up his watch, and _laying it on the table_."  This was of course
in the _Fob_ days, when the watch had to be drawn from the deep pocket;
not as now when it is secured with a "guard chain."  Naturally, he might
in an abstracted moment have so laid it down.

As an instance of the natural, every-day sort of tone prevailing through
the book, it may be noted that it is mentioned as a matter of history,
that the breakfast next day was at eleven o'clock--a late hour.  But we
know, though it is not pointed out, that Mr. Magnus and Mr. Pickwick had
sat till morning drinking brandy and water, and that Mr. Pickwick had
spent a portion of the night wandering about the Hotel.  Naturally he
came down late.

We are also minutely told that Mr. Magnus left the room at ten minutes
past eleven.  Mr. Pickwick "took a few strides to and fro," when it
became half past eleven!  But this is a rather mysterious passage, for we
next learn that "the _small hand_ of the clock, following the _latter
part_ of his example, had arrived at the figure which indicates the half
hour."  The "latter part," would refer to "fro."  Perhaps it is a fresh
gibe at the unlucky White Horse and its administration.  The "small
hand," in any case, could not, and would not, point to the half hour,
save that it had got loosened, and had jumped down, as hands will do, to
seek the centre of gravity.

How natural, too, is the appearance of Jingle.  With Wardles' 120 pounds
in his pocket, he was flush of cash, and could make a new appearance--in
a new district--as an officer--Captain FitzMarshall.  He was "picked up,"
we are told, at some neighbouring races.  Sudbury and Stowmarket are not
far off.

Some years ago, the late Lady Quain was staying at Ipswich and took so
deep an interest in the "Great White Horse" and its traditions that she
had it with all its apartments photographed on a large scale, forming a
regular series.  Her husband, the amiable physician whose loss we have to
deplore, gave them to me.  The "White Horse" was decidedly wrong in
having Mr. Pickwick's double-bedded room fitted up with brass Birmingham
bedsteads.  Were I the proprietor I would assuredly have the room
arranged exactly as in Phiz's picture--the two old-fashioned four-posts
with the dimity curtains, the rush light and shade on the floor, the old
glass on the dressing-table.  To be even more realistic still there might
be added Mr. Pickwick's night-capped head peeping out, and the lean
presentment of the lady herself, all, say, in wax, _a la Tussaud_.  What
a show and attraction that would be!

The author's ingenuity was never at fault in the face of a difficulty.
Mr. Pickwick was to be got to Nupkins' in a sedan chair, a grotesque
incident; but then, what to do with Tupman, also arrested?  As both would
not fit in an ordinary sedan, the sedan was made to fit _them_, and thus
it was done.  "It was recollected that there stood in the Inn yard an old
sedan chair, which, having been originally built for a gouty gentleman
with funded property, would hold Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Tupman at least as
conveniently as a modern postchaise."

Nothing is more remarkable than the ingenious and striking fashion in
which "_Boz_" has handled the episode of the double-bedded room and the
yellow curl papers.  The subject was an awkward one and required skilful
management, or it might have repelled.  The problem was how to make the
situation amusing and yet not too realistic?  It will be seen that all
the _appearances_ of a most embarrassing situation are produced, and yet
really neither the lady nor Mr. Pickwick have taken off their garments.
To produce this result, much elaborate machinery was requisite.  The beds
were arranged as if on the stage, one on each side of the door with a
sort of little lane between the wall and each bed.  Mr. Pickwick, we are
told, actually crept into this lane, got to the end where there was a
chair, and in this straight, confined situation proceeded to take off his
coat and vest and to fold them up.  It was thus artfully brought about
that he appeared to have gone to bed, and could look out from the dimity
curtains without having done so.  It does not strike every one that Mr.
Pickwick, under ordinary circumstances, would have taken off his "things"
before the fire just as the lady did, in the free and open space, and not
huddled up in a dark corner.  However, as Mr. Weller says: "It wos to be,
and--it wos," or we should have had no story and no laugh.

There is a pleasant story--quite akin to Mr. Pickwick's adventure--of
what befell Thackeray when travelling in America.  Going up to bed, he
mistook the floor, and entered a room the very counterpart of his own.  He
had begun to take off his clothes, when a soft voice came from
within--"_Is that you_, _George_?"  In a panic, he bundled up his things,
like Mr. Pickwick, and hurriedly rushed out, thinking what would be the
confusion should he encounter "George" at the door.  Anthony Trollope, my
old, pleasant friend and sponsor at the Garrick Club, used to relate
another of these hotel misadventures which, he protested, was the most
"side-splitting" thing ever he heard of.  A gentleman who was staying at
one of the monster Paris hotels with his lady, was seized with some
violent cold or pulmonary attack.  She went down to try and get him a
mustard plaster, which, with much difficulty, she contrived.  Returning
in triumph, as Mr. Pickwick did with his recovered watch, she found that
he had fallen into a gentle sleep, and was lying with his head buried in
the pillows.  With much softness and deftness, she quickly drew away the
coverings, and, without disturbing him, managed to insinuate the plaster
into its proper place.  Having done her duty, she then proceeded to lie
down, when the sleeping man, moving uneasily, awoke and showed his face.
It was _not_ her husband!  She fled from the room.  The humour of the
thing--as described by Trollope--was the bewilderment of the man on
discovering the damp and burning mass that had been applied to him, and
the amazing disappearance of his visitant.  What did it all mean?  The
mystery probably remained unsolved to the day of his death.

But the Great White Horse received an important cosmopolitan compliment
from across the seas--at the Chicago Exhibition--when a large and
complete model was prepared and set up in the building.  This was an
elaborate as well as important tribute to the Book which it was assumed
that every one knew by heart.



V.--Ipswich Theatre


Boz, on his travels, with his strong theatrical taste, was sure to have
gone to the little theatre in Tacket Street, now a Salvation Army meeting-
house.  It is the same building, though much altered and pulled about, as
that in which David Garrick made his first appearance on the stage, as
Mr. Lyddal, about 150 years ago.  I have before me now a number of
Ipswich play bills, dated in the year 1838, just after the conclusion of
"Pickwick," and which, most appropriately, seem to record little but
Boz's own work.  Pickwick, Oliver, Nickleby, and others, are the Bill of
Fare, and it may be conceived that audiences would attend to see their
own Great White Horse, and the spinster lady in her curl papers, and Mr.
Nupkins, the Mayor, brought on the boards.  These old strips of tissue
paper have a strange interest; they reflect the old-fashioned theatre and
audiences; and the Pickwickian names of the characters, so close after
the original appearance, have a greater reality.  Here, for instance, is
a programme for Mr. Gill's benefit, on January 19, 1839, when we had "The
Pickwickians at half-price."  This was "a comic drama, in three acts,
exhibiting the life and manners of the present day, entitled--

   "PICKWICK, or the sayings and doings of Sam Weller!"
   _Adapted expressly for this Theatre from the celebrated Pickwick
   Papers_,
   _by Boz_!

   "The present drama of Pickwick has been honoured by crowded houses,
   and greeted by shouts of laughter and reiterated peals of applause
   upon every representation, and has been acknowledged by the public
   Press to be the only successful adaptation.

   The ILLUSTRATIONS designed and executed by popular PHIZ-ES.

   The new music by Mr. Pindar.  The quadrilles under the direction of
   Mr. Harrison."

All the characters are given.

"Mr. Pickwick," founder of the Club, and travelling the counties of Essex
and Suffolk in pursuit of knowledge.

"Snodgrass," a leetle bit of a poet.

"Winkle," a corresponding member also; and a something of a sportsman.

"Job Trotter," thin plant o' ooman natur; something between a servant and
a friend to Jingle; a kind of perambulating hydraulic.

"Joe," a fat boy, addicted to cold pudding and snoring.

"Miss Rachel Wardle," in love with Jingle or anybody else that will have
her.

"Emily" was appropriately represented in such a Theatre, by Miss Garrick.

The scenes are laid at first at the Red Lion, Colchester, close by which
is Manor Farm, where a ball is given, and, of course, "the Pickwickian
Quadrilles!" are danced "as performed at the Nobility's Balls."  (I have
these quadrilles, with Mr. Pickwick, on the title.)  Then comes the White
Hart, and "How they make sausages!" displayed in large type.  The scene
is then shifted to the Angel, at Bury, and the double-bedded room with
its "horrible dilemma," and

"SCENE OF NIGHT CAPS!"

It will be noticed that there is nothing of the Great White Horse in the
very town.  The reason was that the proprietor was disgusted by the
unflattering account given of his Inn and must have objected.  It winds
up with the Fleet scenes, where Mr. Weller, senr.,

"ARRESTS HIS OWN OFFSPRING."

That this notion of the Great White Horse being sulky and hostile is the
true one is patent from another bill, December 10, 1843, some four years
later, when the proprietor allowed his Inn to be introduced.  The piece
was called--

"BOOTS AT THE WHITE HORSE."

"Now acting in London with extraordinary success."  This was, of course,
our old friend "Boots at the Swan," which Frank Robson, later, made his
own.  As Boz had nothing to do with it, there could be no objection.
Barnaby Rudge, however, was the piece of resistance.  On another
occasion, January, 1840, came Mr. J. Russell, with his vocal
entertainment, "Russell's Recollections" and "A Portrait from the
Pickwick Gallery."  "Have you seen him?  Alphabetical Distinctions.  A
sample of MISTER SAM WELLER'S Descriptive Powers."

Some adaptation or other of Dickens seems to have been always the
standing dish.  The old Ipswich Theatre is certainly an interesting one,
and Garrick and Boz are names to conjure with.



VI.--Who was Pott?


There have been abundant speculations as to the originals of the
Pickwickian characters--some Utopian enough, but I do not think that any
have been offered in the case of Mr. Pott, the redoubtable editor of the
_Eatanswill Gazette_.  I am inclined to believe that the notorious and
brilliant Dr. Maginn was intended.  He and Pott were both distinguished
for their "slogging" or bludgeoning articles, and both were High Tories,
or "Blue," as Mr. Pott had it.  But what is most significant is that in
the very year Pickwick was coming out, to wit, 1836, Maginn had attracted
general attention and reprobation by the scandal of his duel with
Grantley Berkely, arising out of a most scurrilous review of the latter's
novel.  To this meeting he had been brought with some difficulty--just as
Pott--the "Pot-valiant," declined to "serve him so," _i.e._, Slurk; being
restrained by the laws of his country.  He was an assistant editor to the
"Standard," and had furnished scurrilites to the "John Bull."  He had
about this time also obtained an influence over the interesting "L. E.
L.," whom John Forster, it is known, was "courting," and by some rumours
and machinations succeeded in breaking off the business.  Now Forster and
Boz, at the time, were bosom friends--Forster could be unsparing enough
where he was injured: and how natural that his new friend should share
his enmities.  Boz was always glad to gibbet a notorious public abuse,
and here was an opportunity.  Maginn's friend, Kenealey, wrote to an
American, who was about to edit Maginn's writings, "You have a glorious
opportunity, where you have no fear of libel before your eyes.  _Maginn's
best things can never be published till his victims have passed from the
scene_."  How significant is this!  Then Pott's "combining his
information," his "cramming" critic, his using the lore of the
Encyclopedia Britannica for his articles suggest Maginn's classical
lucubrations.  A well-known eminent _Litterateur_, to whom I suggested
this view, objected that Pott is not shown to be such a blackguard as
Maginn, and that Maginn was not such an ass as Pott.  But Boz generalised
his borrowed originals.  Skimpole was taken from Leigh Hunt, yet was
represented as a sort of scoundrel; and Boz confessed that he only
adapted his lighter manner and airy characteristics.

In these latter days, people have been somewhat astonished by the strange
"freak" of our leading journal in so persistently offering and pressing
on the public their venture of a new edition of the Encyclopedia.  Every
ingenious variation of bold advertisement is used to tempt the
purchaser--a sovereign down and time for the rest; actual pictures of the
whole series of volumes; impassioned arguments, pleadings, and an appeal
to take it at the most wonderfully low price.  Then we have desirable
information, dealing with topics of varied kind, and assurances that
material would here be found for dealing conveniently with every known
subject.  Still, what a surprise that use was not made of "the immortal
Pickwick" in whose pages these peculiar advantages were more successfully
and permanently set forth and illustrated by one most telling example
furnished by no other than Mr. Pott himself, the redoubtable editor of
the _Eatanswill Gazette_.  To him and to no other is due the credit of
being the first to show practically _how to use_ the Encyclopedia.  He
has furnished a _principle_ which is worth all the lengthy exhortations
of the _Times_ itself.

Pott seems to have kept the work in his office, and to have used it for
his articles in a highly ingenious fashion.  For three months had he been
supplying a series of papers, which he assures us "appeared at
intervals," and which excited "such general--I may say, such universal
attention and admiration."  A fine tribute surely to the Encyclopedia.
For recollect Pott's was a newspaper.  The _Times_ folk say nothing of
this important view.  Poor, simple Mr. Pickwick had not seen the articles
because he was busy travelling about and had no time for reading.
(Probably Pott would have put him on the "free list" of his paper, but
for the awkward Winkle flirtation which broke up the intimacy).  Nay, he
might have had "the revolving book case," which would handily contain
_all_ the volumes.

And what were these articles?  "They appeared in the form of a
_copious_"--mark the word!--"review of a work on Chinese Metaphysics."  It
had need to be copious therefor, for it is a very large subject.  Mr.
Pickwick himself must have been very familiar with the Encyclopedia, for
he at once objected that he was not aware that so abstruse a topic was
dealt with in its pages.  He had perhaps consulted the book, say, at
Garraway's Coffee House, for, alas! the good man was not able to have a
library of his own, living, as he did, in lodgings or at the "George and
Vulture."  Mr. Pott, however, who also knew the work well, had then to
confess that there was no such subject treated separately in it.  But the
articles were from the pen of his critic (not from his own), "who
_crammed_ for it, to use a technical but expressive term; he read up for
the subject, at my desire, in the Encyclopedia."

Now, as the subject was _not_ treated in the work, how could this
"cramming" help him?  Here comes in the system, so unaccountably
overlooked by the _Times_, _i.e._, the Combination Method.  "He read,
sir," rejoined Pott, laying his hand on Mr. Pickwick's knee and looking
round with a smile of intellectual superiority, "he read for metaphysics
under the letter _M_, and for China under the letter _C_, and _combined
his information_, _sir_."  There we have it!  We find separate articles
_De omni scribili_, and many topics unavoidably passed over; but we see
how this can be cured by the ingenious Pott system.  Combine your
information!  There you are!  Here for instance--under "Metaphysics" we
do find something about' Confucius and the other Pundits; we then turn to
China and get local colour, Chinese writers. &c., and then proceed "to
combine our information."  And so with hundreds of other instances and
other topics.  Pott, therefore, has been overlooked by the managers of
the _Times_, but it is not yet too late for them to call attention to his
system.  It is of interest to all at Eatanswill.

Pott was in advance of his time.  His paper was not wholly the sort of
scurrilous organ it has been shown to be.  To weight its columns with
"Chinese Metaphysics," was a bold, reforming step--then the going on for
three months, _i.e._, _twelve_ articles--and all read with avidity.  And
what are we to think of the Eatanswill readers--surely in advance, too.
And here we have him, nearly seventy years ago, giving a well-deserved
puff to the Encyclopedia, which is really worth the innumerable columns
the leading journal has devoted to the book.  Its last effort was to show
an ingenious connection between the British Association and the
Encyclopedia, on the ground of its various Presidents.  "It stimulates,
in fact creates, the necessity for a good working Library of Science.  It
is here that the Encyclopedia comes in as of especial service."



CHAPTER II.  BATH


I.--The Old City


Bath, which already owed so much to famous writers, was destined to owe
even more to Boz, the genial author of "Pickwick"--a book which has so
much increased the gaiety of the nation.  The scenes at the old city are
more minute and vivid than any yet offered.  But, if it owe much to Boz,
it repaid him by furnishing him with a name for his book which has gone
over the world.  Everything about this name will be interesting; and it
is not generally known when and how Boz obtained it.

There is a small hamlet some few miles from Bath and 97 from London--which
is 106 miles away from Bath--bearing the name of "Pickwick."  The Bath
coach, by the way, started from the White Horse Cellars, Piccadilly, at
half-past seven in the morning, and took just twelve hours for the
journey.  Now it is made by the Great Western in two!  Here, many years
ago, at the time of the story, was "Pickwick House, the seat of C. N.
Loscombe, Esq.," and also "Pickwick Lodge," where dwelt Captain Fenton.
Boz had never seen or heard of such places, but all the same they
indirectly furnished him with the name.  A mail-coach guard found an
infant on the road in this place, and gave it the name of "Pickwick."  The
word "Pickwick" contains the common terminal "wick," as in "Warwick," and
which means a village or hamlet of some kind.  Pickwick, however, has
long since disappeared from the face of the map.  Probably, after the
year 1837, folk did not relish dating their letters from a spot of such
humorous memories.

This Moses Pickwick was taken into the service of the coaching hotel, the
White Hart, gradually devoted himself to the horse and coaching business,
and, at the time of Boz's or Mr. Pickwick's visit, was the actual
proprietor of the coaches on the road.  "The name," said Sam, "is not
only down on the vay-bill, sir, but they've painted vun on 'em on the
door of the coach."  As Sam spoke he pointed to that part of the door on
which the proprietor's name usually appears, and there, sure enough, in
gilt letters of a goodly size, was the magic name of PICKWICK.  "Dear
me," said Mr. Pickwick, quite staggered by the coincidence, "what a very
extraordinary thing!"  "Yes; but that ain't all," said Sam, again
directing his master's attention to the coach-door.  "Not content with
writin' up 'Pickwick,' they put 'Moses' afore it, which I calls adding
insult to injury."  "It's odd enough, certainly," said Mr. Pickwick.  When
he was casting about for a good name for his venture, it recurred to him
as having a quaint oddity and uncanniness.  And thus it is that we owe to
Bath, and to Bath only, this celebrated name.  It is said that he rushed
into the publisher's office, exultingly proclaiming his selection.

Few cities have had their society and manners sketched by such eminent
pens as Bath--Smollett, Miss Burney, Miss Austen, and Boz.  The old walls
and houses are thus made to live.  Boz has given one of the most vivid
and vivacious pictures of its expiring glories in the thirties, when
there were still "M.C.s," routs, assemblies, and sedans.  His own
connection with the place is a personal, and a very interesting one.  He
was there in 1835 on election business hurrying after Lord John Russell,
all over the country, to report his speeches--a young fellow of three and
twenty, full of "dash," "go," and readiness of resource, of immense
energy and carelessness of fatigue, ready to go anywhere and do anything.
While thus engaged on serious business, he kept his eyes wide open, took
in all the humours of Bath, and noted them in his memory, though he made
no use of this till more than two years later, when he was well on into
"Pickwick."

The entering an old city by night always leaves a curious romantic
impression, and few old cities gain so much as Bath by this mode of
approach.  The shadowy houses have a monumental air; the fine streets
which we mostly ascend show a mystery, especially as we flit by the open
square, under the great, black Abbey, which seems a beetling rock.  This
old Bath mysteriousness seems haunted by the ghosts of Burney, Johnson,
Goldsmith, Wilkes, Quin, Thrale, Mr. Pickwick, and dozens more.  Fashion
and gentilily hover round its stately homes.  Nothing rouses such ideas
of state and dignity as the Palladian Circus.  There is a tone of
mournful grandeur about it--something forlorn.  Had it, in some freak of
fashion, been abandoned, and suffered, for a time at least, to go to
neglect and be somewhat overgrown with moss and foliage, it would pass
for some grand Roman ruin.  There is a solemn, greyish gloom about it;
the grass in the enclosure is rank, long, and very green.  Pulteney
Street, too: what a state and nobility there is about it!  So wide and so
spacious; the houses with an air of grand solidity, with no carvings or
frittering work, but relying on their fine lines and proportion.  To
lodge there is an education, and the impression remains with one as of a
sense of personal dignity from dwelling in such large and lofty chambers,
grandly laid out with noble stairs and the like.  The builders in this
fine city would seem to have been born architects; nearly all the houses
have claims to distinction: each an expression and feeling of its own.
The fine blackened or browned tint adds to the effect.  The mouldings are
full of reserve and chastened, suited exactly to the material.  There is
something, too, very stately about the octagon Laura Place, which opens
on to Pulteney Street.

In this point of view Bath is a more interesting city than Edinburgh.  Mr.
Peach has written two most interesting little quartos on the "Historic
Houses of Bath;" and Mr. T. Sturge Cotterell has prepared a singularly
interesting map of Bath, in which all the spots honoured by the residence
of famous visitors are marked down.  It is very extraordinary the number
and distinction of these personages.

I don't know anything more strange and agreeable than the feeling of
promenading the Parades, North and South--a feeling compounded of awe,
reverence, and exciting interest.  The tranquil repose and dignity of
these low, solid houses, the broad flagged Promenade, the unmistakable
air of old fashion, the sort of reality and self-persuasion that they
might in a moment be re-peopled with all these eminent persons--much as
Boz called up the ghosts of the old mail-coach passengers in his telling
ghost story--the sombre grey of the walls, the brightness of the windows:
these elements join to leave an extraordinary impression.  The houses on
these Parades are charming from their solid proportions, adapted, as it
were, to the breadth of the Parade.  Execrable, by the way, are the
modern attempts seen side by side; feeble and incapable, not attempting
any expression at all.  There is a row of meagre tenements beside the
Abbey--attempts at pinnacled gables--which it is a sorrowful thing to
look on, so cheap and starved is it.  Even the newer shops, in places
like Milsom Street, with nothing to do but to copy what is before them,
show the same _platitude_.  Here and there you are constantly coming upon
one of these beautifully designed old mansions piteously disguised, cut
up in two or three it may be, or the lower portion fashioned into a shop.



II.--The Pump Room and Assembly Rooms


No group of architectural objects is more effective or touches one more
nearly than the buildings gathered about the Baths.  There is something
quaint and old-fashioned in the arrangement, and I am never tired of
coming back to the pretty, open colonnade, the faded yet dignified Pump-
room, with the ambitious hotel and the solemn Abbey rising solemnly
behind.  Then there is the delightful Promenade opposite, under the
arcades--a genuine bit of old fashion--under whose shadow the capricious
Fanny Burney had often strolled.  Everything about this latter
conglomeration--the shape of the ground, the knowledge that the
marvellous Roman baths are below, and even the older portion of the
municipal buildings whose elegant decorations, sculptured garlands, &c.,
bespeak the influence of the graceful Adam, whose pupil or imitator Mr.
Baldwin may have been.

Boz's description of the tarnished Pump-room answers to what is seen now,
save as to the tone of the decorations.  I say "Boz's," for Pickwick, it
should be recollected, was not actually acknowledged by the author, under
his proper name.  It was thought that the well-known and popular "Boz" of
the "Sketches" would attract far more than the obscure C. Dickens.  Now
Boz and the Sketches have receded and are little thought of.  Boz and
Pickwick go far better together than do Pickwick and Dickens.  There is
an old-fashioned solemnity over this Pump-room which speaks of the old
classical taste over a hundred years ago.  How quaint and suitable the
inscription, "[Greek text]," in faded gilt characters.  Within it is one
stately chamber, not altered a bit since the day, sixty-three years ago,
that Boz strolled in and wrote this inscription: As I sat with a friend
beside me in the newly finished concert-room, which is in _happy_
keeping, I called up the old genial Pickwick promenading about under the
direction of Bantam, M.C., and the genial tone of the old gaiety and good
spirits.

The "Tompion Clock," which is carefully noted by Boz, seems to have been
always regarded as a sort of monument.  It is like an overgrown eight-day
clock, without any adornment and plain to a degree--no doubt relying upon
its Tompion works.  It is in exactly the same place as it was over sixty
years ago, and goes with the old regularity.  Nay, for that matter, it
stands where it did a hundred years ago--in the old recess by Nash's
statue and inscription, and was no doubt ordered at the opening of the
rooms.  In an old account of Bath, at the opening of the century,
attention is called to the Tompion clock with a sort of pride.  The steep
and shadowy Gay Street, which leads up to the inviting Crescent and the
more sombre Queen's Square, affects one curiously.  Then we come to the
old Assembly Rooms close by the Circus, between Alfred Street and Bennell
Street--a stately, dignified pile--in the good old classical style of
Bath.  One looks on it with a mysterious reverence: it seems charged with
all sorts of memories of old, bygone state.  For here all the rank and
fashion of Bath used to make its way of Assembly nights.  Many years ago,
there was here given a morning concert to which I found my way, mainly
for the purpose of calling up ghostly memories of the Thrales, and Doctor
Johnson, and Miss Burney, and, above all, of Mr. Pickwick.  Though the
music was the immortal "Passion" of Bach, my eyes were travelling all the
while from one piece of faded _rococo_ work and decoration.  Boz never
fails to secure the _tone_ of any strange place he is describing.  We
all, for instance, have that pleased, elated feeling on the first morning
after our arrival over night at a new place--the general brightness,
surprise, and air of novelty.  We are willing to be pleased with
everything, and pass from object to object with enjoyment.  Now all this
is difficult to seize or to describe.  Boz does not do the latter, but he
conveys it perfectly.  We see the new arrivals seated at breakfast, and
the entrance of the Dowlers with the M.C., and the party setting off to
see the "Lions," the securing tickets for the Assembly, the writing down
their names in "the book," Sam sent specially up to Queen's Square, and
so on.  All which is very exhilarating, and reveals one's own feeling on
such an occasion.  The "Pump-room books" are formally mentioned in the
regulations.  We can see the interior of the Assembly Rooms in Phiz's
plate, with its huge and elaborately framed oval mirrors and
chandeliers--the dancing-room set round with raised benches.  After the
pattern of Ridotto rooms abroad, there were the card-rooms and tea-rooms,
where Mr. Pickwick played whist with Miss Bolo.  We note the sort of Adam
or Chippendale chair on which the whist Dowager is sitting with her back
to us.

Considering that the rules of dress were so strict, pumps and silk
stockings being of necessity, we may wonder how it was that the President
of the Pickwick Club was admitted in his morning dress, his kerseymere
tights, white waistcoat, and black gaiters.  It is clear that he never
changed his dress for evening parties, save on one occasion.  Mr.
Pickwick's costume was certainly in defiance of all rules and
regulations.  It is _laid_ in the regulations of Mr. Tyson, M.C., who
directed that "no gentleman in boots or half-boots be admitted into the
rooms on ball nights or card nights."  Half-boots might certainly cover
Mr. Pickwick's gaiters.  So accurate is the picture that speculation
arises whether Phiz went specially to Bath to make his sketches; for he
has caught in the most perfect way the whole _tone_ of a Bath Assembly,
and he could not have obtained this from descriptions by others.  So,
too, with this picture of the Circus in Mr. Winkle's _escapade_.  It will
be remembered that Boz was rather particular about this picture, and
suggested some minute alterations.  Bantam, the M.C., or "the Grand
Master" as Boz oddly calls him, was drawn from life from an eccentric
functionary named Jervoise.  I have never been quite able to understand
his odd hypothesis about Mr. Pickwick being "the gentleman who had the
waters bottled and sent to Clapham."  But how characteristic the dialogue
on the occasion!  It will be seen that this M.C. cannot credit the notion
of anyone of such importance as Mr. Pickwick "never having been in _Ba-
ath_."  His ludicrous and absurd, "Not bad--not bad!  Good--good.  He,
he, re-markable!" showed how it struck him.  A man of such a position,
too; it was incredible.  With a delightful sense of this theory, he
began: "It is long--_very long_, Mr. Pickwick, _since you drank the
waters_--it appears an age."  Mr. Pickwick protested that it was
certainly long since he had drunk the waters, and his proof was that he
had never been in Bath in his life.  After a moment's reflection the M.C.
saw the solution.  "Oh, I see; yes, yes; good, good; better and better.
You are the gentleman residing on Clapham Green who lost the use of your
limbs from imprudently taking cold _after port wine_, who could not be
moved in consequence of acute suffering, and who had the water from the
King's Bath bottled at 103 degrees and sent by waggon to his bed-room in
town, where he bathed, sneezed, and same day recovered."  This amusing
concatenation is, besides, an admirable and very minute stroke of
character, and the frivolous M.C. is brought before us perfectly.  While
a capital touch is that when he saw young Mr. Mutanhead approaching.
"Hush! draw a little nearer, Mr. Pickwick.  You see that splendidly
dressed young man coming this way--the richest young man in Bath!"

"You don't say so," said Mr. Pickwick.

"_Yes_, _you'll hear his voice in a moment_, _Mr. Pickwick_.  _He'll
speak to me_."  _Particular_ awe and reverence could not be better
expressed.

It is curious how accurate the young fellow was in all his details.  He
describes the ball as beginning at "precisely twenty minutes before eight
o'clock;" and according to the old rules it had to begin as soon after
seven as possible.  "Stay in the tea room and take your sixpennorths."
Mr. Dowler's advice was after a regulation "that everyone admitted to the
tea-rooms on dress nights shall pay _6d._ for tea."  The M.C.'s visit to
Mr. Pickwick was a real carrying out of the spirit of the regulations, in
which it was requested that "all strangers will give the M.C. an
opportunity of being introduced to them before they themselves are
entitled to that attention and respect."

Nothing is more gratifying to the genuine Pickwickians than to find how
all these old memories of the book are fondly cherished in the good city.
All the Pickwickian localities are identified, and the inhabitants are
eager in every way to maintain that Mr. Pickwick belongs to them, and had
been with them.  We should have had his room in the White Hart pointed
out, and "slept in" by Americans and others, had it still been left to
stand.  Not long since, the writer went down to the good old city for the
pleasant duty of "preaching Pickwick," as he had done in a good many
places.  There is an antique building or temple not far from where an old
society of the place--the Bath Literary and Scientific Institute--holds
its meetings, and here, to a crowded gathering under the presidency of
Mr. Austen King, the subject was gone into.  It was delightful for the
Pickwickian stranger to meet so appreciative a response, and many curious
details were mentioned.  At the close--such is the force of the
delusion--we were all discussing Mr. Pickwick and his movements here and
there, with the same _conviction_ as we would have had in the case of
Miss Burney, or Mrs. Thrale or Dr. Johnson.  The whole atmosphere was
congenial, and there was an old-world, old-fashioned air over the rooms.
It was delightful to be talking of Mr. Pickwick's Bath adventures in
Bath.

Nor was there anything unreasonably fantastical in making such
speculations all but realities.  Bantam lived, as we know, in St. James's
Square--that very effective enclosure, with its solemn house and rich
deep greenery, that recall our own Fitzroy.  No. 14 was his house, and
this, it was ascertained, was the actual residence of the living M.C.  How
bold, therefore, of Boz to send up Sam to the very Square!  Everyone,
too, knew Mrs. Craddock's house in the Circus--at least it was one of
two.  It was No. 15 or 16, because at the time there were only a couple
in the middle which were let in lodgings, the rest being private houses.
This was fairly reasonable.  But how accurate was Boz!  No doubt he had
some friends who were quartered in lodgings there.

I scarcely hoped to find the scene of the footmen's "swarry" tracked out,
but so it was.  On leaving Queen Square in company with Mr. Smauker to
repair to the scene of the festivity, Sam and his friend set off walking
"towards High Street," then "turned down a bye-street," and would "soon
be there."  This bye-street was one turning out of Queen Square at the
corner next Bantam's house; and a few doors down we find a rather shabby-
looking "public" with a swinging sign, on which is inscribed "The
Beaufort Arms"--a two-storied, three-windowed house.  This, in the book,
is called a "greengrocer's shop," and is firmly believed to be the scene
of "the Swarry" on the substantial ground that the Bath footmen used to
assemble here regularly as at their club.  The change from a public to a
greengrocer's scarcely affects the point.  The uniforms of these
gentlemen's gentlemen were really splendid, as we learn from the
text--rich plushes, velvets, gold lace, canes, &c.  There is no
exaggeration in this, for natives of Bath have assured me they can recall
similar displays at the fashionable church--of Sundays--when these noble
creatures, arrayed gorgeously as "generals," were ranged in lines outside
"waiting their missuses," _pace_ Mr. John Smauker.  At the greengrocer's,
where the Bath footmen had their "swarry," the favourite drink was "cold
srub and water," or "gin and water sweet;" also "S'rub punch," a West
Indian, drink, has now altogether disappeared.  It sounds strange to
learn that a fashionable footman should consult "a copper timepiece which
dwelt at the bottom of a deep watch-pocket, and was raised to the surface
by means of a black string with a copper key."  A _copper_ watch seems
extraordinary, though we have now those of gun metal.

The Royal Crescent, with its fine air and fine view, always strikes one
with admiration as a unique and original monument: the size and
proportions are so truly grand.  The whole scene of Mr. Winkle's escapade
here is extraordinarily vivid, and so protracted, while Mrs. Dowler was
waiting in her sedan for the door to be opened, that it has the effect of
imprinting the very air, look, and tone of the Royal Cresent on us.  We
seem to be waiting with her and the chair-man.  It seems the most
_natural_ thing in the world.  The houses correspond almost exactly with
Phiz's drawing.

Pickwick, it has been often pointed out, is full of amusing "oversights,"
which are pardonable enough, and almost add to the "fun" of the piece.  At
the opening, Mr. Pickwick is described as carrying his portmanteau--in
the picture it is a carpet-bag.  The story opens in 1827, but at once Mr.
Jingle begins to talk of being present at the late Revolution of 1830.
The "George and Vulture" is placed in two different streets.  Old Weller
is called Samuel.  During the scene at the Royal Crescent we are told
that Mrs. Craddock threw up the drawing-room window "just as Mr. Winkle
was rushing into the chair."  She ran and called Mr. Dowler, who rushed
in just as Mr. Pickwick threw up the other window, "when the first object
that met the gaze of both was Mr. Winkle bolting into the sedan chair"
into which he had bolted a minute before.  The late Charles Dickens the
younger, in the notes to his father's writings, affects to have
discovered an oversight in the account of the scene in the Circus.  It is
described how he "took to his heels and tore _round_ the Crescent, hotly
pursued by Dowler and the coachman.  He kept ahead; the door was open as
he came _round_ the second time, &c."  Now, objects the son, the Cresent
is only a half circle; there is no going round it, you must turn back
when you come to the end.  Boz must have been thinking of the Circus.
Hardly--for he knew both well--and Circus and Crescent are things not to
be confused.  The phrase was a little loose, but, as the Circus was
curved "round," is not inappropriate, and he meant that Winkle turned
when he got to the end, and ran back.

It must have been an awkward thing for Winkle to present himself once
more at Mrs. Craddock's in the Crescent.  How was the incident to be
explained save either at his own expense or at that of Mr. Dowler?  If
Dowler were supposed to have gone in pursuit of him, then Mr. Winkle must
have fled, and if he were supposed to have gone to seek a friend, then
Dowler was rather compromised.  No doubt both gentlemen agreed to support
the one story that they had gone away for mutual satisfaction, and had
made it up.

Then, we are told, if it were theatre night perhaps the visitors met at
the theatre.  Did Mr. Pickwick ever go?  This is an open question.  Is
the chronicler here a little obscure, as he is speaking of "the
gentlemen" _en bloc_?  Perhaps he did, perhaps he did'nt, as Boz might
say.  On his visit to Rochester, it does not appear that he went to see
his "picked-up" friend, Jingle, perform.  The Bath Theatre is in the Saw
Close, next door to Beau Nash's picturesque old house.  The old grey
front, with its blackened mouldings and sunk windows, is still there; but
a deep vestibule, or entrance, with offices has been built out in front,
which, as it were, thrusts the old wall back--an uncongenial mixture.
Within, the house has been reconstructed, as it is called, so that Mr.
Palmer or Dimond, or any of the old Bath lights, to say nothing of Mr.
and Mrs. Siddons, would not recognise it.  Attending it one night, I
could not but recall the old Bath stories, when this modest little house
supplied the London houses regularly with the best talent, and "From the
Theatre Royal, Bath," was an inducement set forth on the bill.



III.--Boz and Bath


After his brilliant, genial view of the old watering-place, it is a
surprise to find Boz speaking of it with a certain acerbity and even
disgust.  Over thirty years later, in 1869, he was there, and wrote to
Forster: "The place looks to me like a cemetery which the dead have
succeeded in rising and taking.  Having built streets of their old
gravestones, they wander about scantly, trying to look alive--a dead
failure."  And yet, what ghostly recollections must have come back on him
as he walked those streets, or as he passed by into Walcot, the Saracen's
Head, where he had put up in those old days, full of brightness, ardour,
and enthusiasm; but not yet the famous Boz!  Bath folk set down this
jaundiced view of their town to a sort of pique at the comparative
failure of the Guild dramatic performance at the Old Assembly Rooms,
where, owing to the faulty arrangement of the stage, hardly a word could
be heard, to the dissatisfaction of the audience.  The stage, it seems,
was put too far behind the proscenium, "owing to the headstrong
perversity of Dickens, who never forgave the Bath people."  Charles
Knight, it was said, remonstrated, but in vain.  Boz, however, was not a
man to indulge in such feelings.  In "Bleak House" he calls it "dreary."

There had been, however, a previous visit to Bath, in company with
Maclise and Forster, to see Landor, who was then living at No. 35 St.
James's Square--a house become memorable because it was there that the
image of his "Little Nell" first suggested itself.  The enthusiastic
Landor used, in his "tumultuous" fashion, to proclaim that he would set
fire to the house and burn it to the ground to prevent its being profaned
by less sacred associations.  He had done things even more extravagant
than this, and would take boisterous roars of laughter as his odd
compliment was discussed.

The minuteness of his record of the gaieties shows how amused and
interested Boz was in all that he saw.  Nothing escaped him of the
routine, day, hour, and place; all is given, even the different rooms at
the Assembly House.  "In the ball-room, the long card-room, the octagon
card-room, the staircases, the passages, the hum of many voices and the
sound of many feet were perfectly bewildering; dresses rustled, feathers
waved, lights shone, and jewels sparkled.  There was the music, not of
the quadrille band, for it had not yet commenced," &c.  Here Bantam,
M.C., arrived at precisely twenty minutes before eight, "to receive the
company."  And such company!  "Brilliant eyes, lighted up with
pleasurable expectation, gleamed from every side, and, look where you
would, some exquisite form glided gracefully through the throng, and was
no sooner lost than it was replaced by another as dainty and bewitching";
the warmth of which description showing how delighted was the young man
with all he saw.  But how did he secure admission?  For it was a highly
fashionable company; there were vouchers and tickets to be secured.  But
these were slight difficulties for our brilliant "pushful" young man.  He
could make his way, and his mission found him interest.  He certainly saw
as much of Bath as anyone could in the time.  Yet, gay and sprightly as
was his account of Bath, there may have been a reason why Boz may have
not recalled the place with pleasurable feelings.  It will be recollected
that, after giving a few lines to the account of Mr. Pickwick and friends
being set down at the White Hart, he carries them off at once to lodgings
in the Crescent.  That first-class hotel was, alas! not open to the poor,
over-worked reporter; and he could tell of nothing that went on within
its portals.  Hotel life on a handsome scale was not for _him_, and he
was obliged to put up at far humbler quarters, a sort of common inn.

There is nothing more quaint or interesting than this genuine antique--the
Saracen's Head in Walcot.  It may pair off with the old White Horse in
Canongate, where "Great Sam" put up for a night.  It is surely the most
effective of all the old inns one could see.  It has two faces, and looks
into two different streets, with its double gables, and date (1713)
inscribed on a tablet outside.  It is a yellow, well-worn little
building.  And you enter through darkened tunnels, as it were, cut
through the house, coming into a strange yard of evident antiquity, with
a steep, ladder-like flight of stone steps that leads up to a window much
like the old Canongate houses.  Here, then, it was that Boz put up, and
here are preserved traditions and relics of his stay.  One of the tales
is that, after some exuberant night _in the election time_, he would get
his candle and, having to cross the court, would have it blown out half a
dozen times, when he would go back patiently to relight it.  They show
his chair, and a jug out of which he drank, but one has not much faith in
these chairs and jugs; they always seem to be supplied to demand, and
must be found to gratify the pilgrims.

One of the examination queries which might have found a place in Mr.
Calverley's paper of questions is this: "When did Mr. Pickwick sit down
_to make entries in his journal_, and spend half an hour in so doing?"  At
Bath on the night of Mr. Winkle's race round the Crescent.  What was this
journal?  Or why did he keep it?  Or why are so few allusions made to it?
Mr. Snodgrass was the appointed historiographer of the party, and his
"notes" are often spoken of and appealed to as the basis of the
chronicle.  But half an hour, as I say, was the time the great man seems
to have allotted to his posting up the day's register: "Mr. Pickwick shut
up the book, wiped his pen _on the bottom of the inside of his
coat-tail_, and opened the drawer of the inkstand to put it carefully
away."  How particular--how real all this is!  This it is that gives the
_living_ force to the book, and a persuasion--irresistible almost--that
it is all about _some living person_.  I have often wondered how it is
that this book of Boz's has such an astounding power of development, such
a fertility in engendering other books, and what is the secret of it.
Scott's astonishing Waverley series, Thackeray's "Vanity Fair," Boz's own
"Nicholas Nickleby," "Oliver Twist," in fact, not one of the whole series
save "the immortal 'Pickwick'" has produced anything in the way of books
or commentaries.  I believe it is really owing to this.  Boz was a great
admirer of Boswell's equally immortal book.  I have heard him speak of
it.  He attempted parodies of it even.  He knew all the turns, the
Johnsonian twists, "Why, sirs," &c., and used them in his letters.  He
was permeated with the Johnsonian ether; that detail, that description of
trifling things which was in Boswell, attracted him, and he felt it; and
the fact remains that Pickwick is written on _the principles_--no copy--of
the great biography, and that Boz applied to a mere fictional story what
was related in the account of a living man.  And it is really curious
that Boswell's "Life of Johnson" should be the only other book that
tempts people to the same rage for commentary, illustrations, and
speculations.  These are of exactly the same character in both books.

The MS. that Mr. Pickwick so oddly found in the drawer of his inkstand at
Mrs. Craddock's, Royal Crescent, Bath, offered another instance of Boz's
ingenious methods of introducing episodical tales into his narrative.  He
was often hard put to it to find an occasion: they were highly useful to
fill a space when he was pressed for matter.  He had the strongest
_penchant_ for this sort of thing, and it clung to him through his life.
Those in "Pickwick" are exceedingly good, full of spirit and "go," save
one, the "Martha Lobbs" story, which is a poorish thing.  So good are the
others, they have been taken out and published separately.  They were no
doubt written for magazines, and were lying by him, but his Bath
story--"The True Legend of Prince Bladud"--was written specially.  It is
quite in the vein of Elia's Roast Pig story, and very gaily told.  He had
probably been reading some local guide-book, with the mythical account of
Prince Bladud, and this suggested to him his own humorous version.  At
the close, he sets Mr. Pickwick a-yawning several times, who, when he had
arrived at the end of this little manuscript--which certainly could not
have been compressed into "a couple of sheets of writing-paper," but
would have covered at least ten pages--replaced it in the drawer, and
"then, with a _countenance of the utmost weariness_, lighted his chamber
candle and went upstairs to bed."  And here, by the way, is one of the
amusing oversights which give such a piquancy to "Pickwick."  Before he
began to read his paper, we are carefully told that Mr. Pickwick
"unfolded it, lighted his bedroom candle that it might burn up to the
time he had finished."  It was Mr. C. Kent who pointed this out to him,
when Boz seized the volume and humorously made as though he would hurl it
at his friend.

Anyone interested in Bath must of necessity be interested in Bristol, to
which, as all know, Mr. Winkle fled after the unhappy business in the
Circus.  He found a coach at the Royal Hotel--which no longer exists--a
vehicle which, we are told, went the whole distance "twice a day and
more" with a single pair of horses.  There he put up at the Bush, where
Mr. Pickwick was to follow him presently.  The Bush--a genuine Pickwick
inn--where Mr. Pickwick first heard the news of the action that was to be
brought against him, stood in Corn Street, near to the Guildhall, the
most busy street in Bristol; but it was taken down in 1864, and the
present Wiltshire Bank erected on the site.  Mr. Pickwick broke off his
stay at Bath somewhat too abruptly; he left it and all its festivities on
this sudden chase after Winkle.  But he may have had a reason.  Nothing
is more wonderful than Boz's propriety in dealing with his incidents, a
propriety that is really instinctive.  Everything falls out in the
correct, natural way.  For instance, Mr. Pickwick having received such a
shock at the Bush--the announcement of the Bardell action--was scarcely
in heart to resume his jollity and gaieties at Bath.  We might naturally
expect a resumption of the frolics there.  He accordingly returned there;
but we are told curtly, "The remainder of the period which Mr. Pickwick
had assigned as the duration of his stay at Bath passed over without an
occurrence of anything material.  Trinity term commenced on the
expiration of the first week.  Mr. Pickwick and his friends returned to
London; and the former gentleman, attended of course by Sam, straightway
repaired to his old quarters at the George and Vulture."

And now in these simple sentences have we not the secret of the great
attraction of the book?  Who would not suppose that this was a passage
from a biography of some one that had lived?  How carefully _minute_ and
yet how naturally the time is accounted for--"passed over without the
occurrence of anything material."  It is impossible to resist this air of
_vraisemblance_.



CHAPTER III.  OLD ROCHESTER


I.--Jingle and the Theatre


The little Theatre here must be interesting to us from the fact of
Jingle's having been engaged to play there with the officers of the 52nd
Regiment on the night of May 15th, 1827.  Jingle was described as "a
strolling actor," and belonged to the "Kent circuit," that is, to the
towns of Canterbury, Rochester, Maidstone, &c.  To this circuit also
belonged "Dismal Jemmy," who was "no actor," yet did the "heavy
business."  It does not appear that he, also, was engaged for the
officers' performance.  We often wonder whether Jingle _did_ perform on
the night in question; or did Dr. Payne and Lieutenant Tappleton tell the
story of his behaviour to their brethren: of his passing himself off as a
gentleman, his wearing another gentleman's clothes, and his insults to
Dr. Slammer.  Tappleton scornfully recommended Mr. Pickwick to be more
nice in the selection of his companions.  No doubt Jingle was suggested
to the officers by the manager: "knew a really smart chap who will just
do for the part."  On the whole, I think they must have had his services,
as it was too late to get a substitute.  Jingle, as we know, was played
successfully by Sir Henry Irving in the early 'seventies, _tempore_
Bateman.  His extraordinary likeness to the Phiz portrait struck every
one, and it was marked, not only in face, but in figure, manner, &c.  The
adaptation of "Pickwick," however, was very roughly done by the late
James Albery, who merely _tacked_ together the Jingle scenes.  Those,
where there is much genial comedy, such as the Ball scene at Rochester,
were left out.  It is likely that the boy, Boz, noticed Dismal Jemmy
among the strollers, and possibly may have seen a Jingle himself.  But
the characters of Jingle and his confederate, Job, were certainly
suggested by Robert Macaire and Jacques Strop, which, a little before the
appearance of Pickwick, were being played in London--in "_L'Auberge des
Adrets_."

Mr. Pickwick had discovered in the morning that Jingle was "connected
with the Theatre in that place, _though he is not desirous to have it
generally known_."

Now considering generally the different "games" he was pursuing, his
passing himself off as an officer, an amateur of cricket, &c., it was not
altogether desirable to have his profession known.  Knowing also that Mr.
Pickwick intended staying at Rochester, and that the gay Tupman or
Snodgrass would find out his engagement and witness his performance, he
likely enough confided his secret to Mr. Pickwick.  "Dismal Jemmy," the
odd being who appears at Rochester for a short time, had promised Mr.
Pickwick a tale which he never gave him.  At the end of the story, _Boz_,
having forgotten the engagement, is driven to supply a far-fetched
reason.  He was Job's brother, and went to America "in consequence of
being too much sought after here."  It will be recollected he was of a
depressed and gloomy cast, and on the Bridge at Rochester talked of
suicide.  He also told the dismal "stroller's tale."  Now, it is plain
that Boz drew him as a genuine character, and his behaviour to the
stroller was of a charitable kind.  Boz, in fact, meant him to be a
suitable person to relate so dismal an incident.  However, all this was
forgotten or put aside at the end, and having become Job's brother, he
had to be in keeping.  The reformed Jingle declared he was "merely
acting--clever rascal--hoaxing fellow."  His brother Job added that he
himself was the serious one, "while Jemmy never was."  Mr. Pickwick then
presumed that his talk of suicide was all flam, and that his dismals were
all assumed.  "He could assume anything," said Job.  Boz, too, forgot
that his name was James Hutley, whereas the brothers' was Trotter--though
this may have been an assumed one.

The condition of the Rochester stage must have been rather low, when we
find two such persons as Jingle and Dismal Jemmy members of the corps.
Jingle's jerky system of elocution would seem a complete
disqualification.  From sheer habit, it would have been impossible for
him to say his lines in any other fashion--which in all the round of
light "touch and go" comedy, would have been a drawback.

The little Theatre is at the farther end of the town, where the road
turns off to the fields, a low, unpretending building with a small
portico.  I recall it in the old days, on a walk from Gads Hill, when I
paused to examine the bills of the benefit of a certain theatrical family
of the Crummles sort--father, mother, sons, and daughters, who supplied
everything.  The head founded his claims to support on being a fellow
townsman, winding up with Goldsmith's lines:

   And as the hare, whom hounds and horns pursue,
   Pants to the spot from whence at first it flew;
   I still had hopes, my lengthened wanderings past,
   Here to return, and die at home at last.

Boz was hugely amused when I rehearsed this to him at lunch.

He himself, on his later visit, noted the strange encroachments that were
being made on the Theatre.  A wine merchant had begun on the cellars, and
was gradually squeezing himself into the box-office, and would no doubt
go on till he secured the auditorium, the lobbies, etc.  When I last
passed by that way, it had become the Conservative Club, or some such
institution.

The wonderful picture, given in "Nickleby," of the Portsmouth playhouse,
with all its characters and accessories and inner life, shows the most
intimate familiarity with all the ways and fashions of the old Provincial
Theatre.  Every touch--Crummles, Folair, Lenville, Snivelicci--proves
clearly that he knew perfectly the life behind the scenes, and that he
wrote of it _con amore_.  There was a firm belief at the Theatre Royal,
Portsmouth, that all the performers in "Nickleby" were personal sketches
of this corps.  One actor told my friend, Mr. Walter Pollock, that they
could even identify Folair, Lenville & Co., and that there was a playbill
still extant in which either the names or the pieces corresponded.  But
in this theory, however, little faith can be placed; for at the time the
family was at Portsmouth, Dickens was but a child not more than ten or
twelve years old, and not likely, therefore, to be taken behind the
scenes, or to pick up or observe much.  It is certain that the whole
description of the Theatre and its company, with the minute and intimate
details of stage life, was drawn from this little house at Rochester.  But
we can go beyond mere speculation.

In one of his retrospections, Boz tells us of a visit he paid to
Rochester in the fifties, "scenes among which my _early days_ were past."
The town he calls Dullborough, which is a little hard on the place.  He
went to look at the old theatre, and reveals to us how it brought back to
him a number of reminiscences, which shows that he was much associated
with stage matters when a youth, for he describes Richard III. and
Macbeth all "cast" and mounted exactly as Mr. Crummles would have mounted
them.  "There was Richard in a very uncomfortable wig, and sleeping in
war time on a sofa that was much too short for him, and his conscience
fearfully troubled his boots."  There was the lovely young woman, "who
went out gleaning, in a narrow, white muslin apron, with five beautiful
bars of five different colours across it.  The witches bore an awful
resemblance to the Thanes and other inhabitants of Scotland; while the
good King Duncan couldn't rest in his grave, but was constantly coming
out of it and calling himself somebody else."  These are all Crummles
touches, only he refrained from going again over the old ground.  But one
point further favours the theory--he recalls his alarm when Richard in
his terrific combat was "backing up against the stage box."  He was in
the stage box then, and therefore a privileged person at the theatre.  His
uncle, "Dr. Slammer," no doubt was thus complimented as being "in Her
Majesty's service."  "Of course," he goes on, "the town had shrunk
fearfully since I was a child there."

The description of the outlaw drama which Nicholas Nickleby saw on the
night of his arrival is exactly in the key of the account of the
performance of "Richard III." just given: also the account of the London
manager, who was in the boxes; still more so when Mr. Crummles and all
the company _died at him_.  And as in Nickleby we have "the Comic
Countryman" who so inopportunely caught a bluebottle when Mrs. Crummles
was making her great point for the London Manager: so in the account of
Dullborough we are told of "the _Funny_ Countryman" who sustained the
comic, bucolic parts.  This alone would show that the Rochester and
Portsmouth Theatres were the same, while the beautiful young lady in the
white apron performed the same sort of characters that Miss Bravassa, or
Miss Snivelicci did.

And in this connection may be supplied a further speculation which is
interesting.  In _Boz's_ earlier works it is plain that he relies for his
most striking effects of character on his own recollections and personal
observations.  They might be considered passages from his autobiography.
I have thought that much in "Nickleby" of Nicholas's career and
Nicholas's own character was drawn from himself.  Nicholas suggests Boz
in appearance, in his spirit and vehemence, and in some of his
adventures.  Some years ago a remarkable letter appeared in the papers,
in which Dickens, then a mere youth, made an application to one of the
managers, Mr. Webster I think, for a situation in his theatre.  He wanted
to go on the stage.  Was not this like Nicholas?  This desire was surely
founded on intimate acquaintance with the boards and amateur experience.

"I had entertained the impression," he goes on, "that the High Street was
as wide as Regent Street--I found it little better than a lane.  There
was a public clock in it which I had supposed to be the finest clock in
the world, whereas it now turned out to be _as inexpressive_, _moon-faced
and weak_ a clock as ever I saw."  The Town Hall was a "mean little brick
heap, like a demented chapel."



II.--The Bull


Jingle, it will be recollected, on the party arriving at the Bull, gave
that Inn the highest praise, recommending them to stay there--"_good
house_--_nice beds_--" a testimonial that used to be displayed in gold
letters at the door, but which, I have seen it stated, has been removed.
I have also read the same testimonial in the guides and advertisements.
Jingle warned them against another Inn hard by,--"Wright's--next
house--_dear_--_very dear_--half-a-crown if you look at the waiter,
making a charge for dinner, all the same, if you dined out"; a practice,
however, not altogether unknown to modern Hotels.  It was bold in Boz,
thus to publicly disparage Hotels that he did not approve.  "Wright's"
could not have relished so public an allusion.  What or where was
Wright's--"next house?"  There is now--in the same High Street--"The
King's Head," described as "Family and Commercial, one of the
oldest-established in the Kingdom, close to the Cathedral and Castle--home
comforts."  This being its position--the Castle on one side, the
Cathedral on the other--situated exactly as the Bull was--and therefore
"next house," accurately described its position.  Being "one of the
oldest-established," it must have been there at the time of the
Pickwickian visit.

At the Bull, they show you "Mr. Pickwick's room"--as well as Tupman's and
Winkle's--Boz's very particular description enables this to be done.  Mr.
Pickwick's was, of course, to the front--when, roused by the Boots, he
gave the direction of his followers' bed-room, "next room but two on the
right hand."  Winkle's room was inside Tupman's--so we are shown a room
in the front with another inside of it--and the _third_ on the left will,
of course, be Mr. Pickwick's, Q.E.D.  The waiters know all these points,
and prove them to the bewildered visitors.  "You see, sir, there is the
very room _where the clothes were stolen_."



III.--Jingle's Love Affairs


Jingle's elopement with the spinster aunt was ingeniously contrived, but
it seemed rather speculative and rash--she might not have had a penny.
His only ground for jumping to the conclusion that she _had_ a fortune
was that, on his saying that "Tupman only wants your money"; "The
wretch!" she exclaimed--"Mr. Jingle's doubts were resolved--she _had_
money."  More wonderful, too, were the very easy terms on which he was
"bought off"--a hundred and twenty pounds.  Her fortune might be
estimated at some thousands.  He was really master of the situation.  The
lady was of mature age--her own mistress, Wardle and his attorney could
do nothing to stop the business.  He certainly might have held out for
four or five hundred pounds.  Perker's diplomacy was wretched, and his
plea about the age of the old lady mere burlesque.  "You are right, my
dear sir--she is rather old.  The founder of the family came into Kent
when Julius Caesar invaded Britain; only one member of it since who
hasn't lived to eighty-five, and _he_ was beheaded by one of the Henrys.
The old lady is not seventy-three now, my dear sir."  Which seems like
buffooning in a man of business.

Jingle's course, after he left Rochester, can be traced very readily.
With plenty of money in his pocket, he found his way to Ipswich (or
Eatanswill), assuming the name of Captain FitzMarshall, and taking with
him, as his confederate, Job Hutley.  There he got introduced to Nupkins,
the Mayor, who presided at the election, and who had made his money in
"the nail and sarsepan business"--that is, as an ironmonger.  The few
words this functionary uttered on the hustings are of the same pompous
character as his later magisterial deliverances.

"'Whiffin, _proclaim_ silence,' said the Mayor, with air of _pomp_, &c.,
where this superciliousness is emphasised.  'Gentlemen,' he went on,
'brother electors of the Borough of Eatanswill, we are met here to-day
for the purpose of choosing a representative in the room of our late'--but
the noise and interruptions prevented the rest of the speech being heard.
Notwithstanding, he characteristically 'thanked the meeting for the
patient attention with which they had heard him throughout,' a
declaration that excited roars of laughter, lasting for a quarter of an
hour."

This is exactly what one might expect from the self-sufficient Nupkins,
who was evidently understood and laughed at by his fellow townsmen.
Later, when the confusion and "row" grew fast and furious, our Mayor
"issued imperative orders to twelve constables to seize the ringleaders,
who might amount in number to two hundred and fifty or thereabouts."  We
can recall Nupkins' dealing with the schoolboys in exactly the same
sapient spirit.

Into the family of this worthy Jingle insinuated himself.  But would he
not be recognised by Mr. Pickwick and his friends?  Yes; but we find that
he took up his quarters at Bury St. Edmunds, conveniently near, and,
assuming that the Pickwickians had departed after the election, thought
he might safely exhibit himself at Mrs. Leo Hunter's party, whence he was
tracked back to Bury by Mr. Pickwick.  It is certainly fresh evidence of
the identity of Eatanswill with Ipswich that Jingle should have appeared
in both places as "Captain FitzMarshall."  Once established in the
Mayor's family, the insinuating Jingle devoted himself to the capture of
the haughty and ill-natured Henrietta Nupkins, making his way into her
good graces, and "cutting out" Sidney Porkenham, her old-established
admirer.  This was Jingle's second attempt at matrimony which failed like
the first.  It may be said, after all, that his behaviour was not so
heinous.  He was a fortune hunting adventurer--such was his role--which
was common enough in those times.  The unlucky Leo Hunter meeting,
however, spoiled all.

After the trick on Mr. Pickwick at the school, and which was a fair
retort, the pair left Bury that very night.

By an odd coincidence, they were taken up the next day by old Weller at
Chelmsford--a stage or two from London.  He was driving the Ipswich
coach, and brought them to that town.  It is clear, therefore, that they
took this round from Bury in dread of pursuit, and with a view to throw
Mr. Pickwick off the scent.  The latter gentleman never dreamed that they
were so near him, dismissed the whole matter, and returned to town to
arrange about his action.  By a happy chance he met old Weller, and,
within a few days, set off for Ipswich and unmasked Captain FitzMarshall
in Nupkins' own house.  After this failure, his course was downward, and
we next meet him in the Fleet.

Job's story was that Jingle dragged him away in a post-chaise and
persuaded the girl at the boarding-school to tell Mr. Pickwick that she
knew nothing of the matter.  He had also bribed the schoolmistress to
tell the same story.  He had then deserted her for a better speculation,
to wit, Miss Nupkins, to whom he had hurried back.

But for Mr. Pickwick's unfortunate adventure at the "White Horse," Jingle
would likely enough have captured Henrietta Nupkins.  When Sam so
opportunely met Job in the Inn yard at Ipswich, he, instead of punishing
him as he had so often threatened to do, merely bid him be at the Inn at
eight o'clock.  Why did he not bring him straight to Mr. Pickwick who was
upstairs?  Instead, he went up himself, told his master it was "all in
trainin'," and "detailed the plan of action."  Mr. Pickwick was curious,
but Sam only said "all in good time."  We never learn what the plan of
action was to be.  Indeed, what could the pair do to Jingle?



IV.--The Garrison


The military recollections of Rochester and Chatham are amusingly
confused, or rather, in defiance of all known regulations.  Thus, at the
Ball, we find Colonel Bulder as "head of the garrison"--one would think
at so important a quarter, where there was a large garrison, a General at
least would be in command.  Then we may ask the question, why was not Dr.
Slammer in uniform--always required in presence of a commander?  It was
wonderfully bold, too, on Boz's part to give the _numbers_ of the
regiments.  Hon. Wilmot Snipe of the 97th, who _was_ in full uniform,
which Mr. Tupman took for "a fancy dress."  It was, of course, a Highland
one.  We learn, too, that the other regiment was the 43rd, to which Dr.
Payne belonged, and that the 52nd was getting up plays at the local
theatre.  And why did Boz select these particular numbers?

The Chatham garrison consisted of "half-a-dozen regiments," with which a
fair display at a Review could be made on "The Lines."  Temporary
fortifications had been erected, the citadel was to be attacked and
taken--Fort Pitt we may assume--and a mine was to be sprung.  Servants
were keeping places for the ladies "on the Batteries"--an alarming
position it would seem.  The Sergeants were running "with vellum books"
under their arms, usually left at home on Review-day.  The Officers were
"running backwards and forwards," while Colonel Bulder was seen
"gallopping" (with two p's) at large, "prancing and curvetting," that is,
making his steed curvet.  The operations were, however, not under his
command, but directed by the "Commander-in-Chief," not, of course, of the
Army, but, we may presume, the General of the district.  His behaviour
was the most extraordinary of all, for, instead of cultivating a solemn
reserve and quietude, and standing still, surrounded by his staff, he was
seen "backing his horse _among the people_," and heard shouting "till he
was hoarse."  The soldiers wore the old, stiff leather stock, choking
them, which was heard of so much in Crimean days.  They were also arrayed
in _white_ trowsers.  Boz is here wonderfully accurate, for these
garments were always worn after May came round, and this was May.

The catastrophe to the Pickwickians from their having got between the two
lines of soldiers, is somewhat perplexing.  One line was advancing to the
attack, the other firmly awaiting it.  They were shouted at to get out of
the way.  Suddenly the half-dozen regiments had overthrown them.  Mr.
Pickwick was upset.  Winkle received a bloody nose, after performing a
compulsory _somerset_; then, at the same moment--wonder of wonders--we
were told that the regiments were "half-a-thousand yards off,"--that is
about a third of a mile away--all in a second!  It is hard to understand
why they were so maltreated.  The soldiers would, of course, never have
met; and in our own time the amenities of a Review and the police would
have secured stray civilians from such rough treatment.  We do not know
whether the evolutions described were accurate--such as "one rank firing
over the heads of another and then running away."

It was to this exciting spectacle that old Wardle brought a party in that
wonderful Barouche of his--which is really phenomenal for its
accommodation.  When Mr. Pickwick recovered his hat, he found these
persons in the carriage:--1, Wardle; 2, a daughter; 3, a second ditto; 4,
a sister; 5, Trundle; 6, Tupman; 7, Fat Boy, on the box.  The
Pickwickians were actually summoned by the hearty Wardle to join.  "Room
_for you all_--two inside and one on the ox," where there was one
already.  All accepted the invitation, making _ten_ persons in all who
were accommodated in the Barouche!  But this does not exhaust its
wonders.  When lunch time came round, with plates, dishes, bottles, eight
persons were squeezed together inside, so no wonder Wardle said, "We must
sit close."  How it was done is not to be conceived--two sitting together
is the usual allowance for a modern Barouche, but four on one side!--and
yet we are told, when the horses were put to, the Barouche "rattled off."

The boy Dickens had carefully noted the behaviour of the garrison, and
described them as "staggering about the streets of Chatham dead drunk,"
more especially when we remember that the "following them about, and
joking with them, affords _a cheap and innocent amusement for the boy
population_--" (_vide Mr. Pickwick's notes_).  The boy, no doubt, often
witnessed the incident of the private, "drawing his bayonet, and stabbing
the barmaid who had refused to draw him more liquor."  It is
characteristic, by the way, of the police in a garrison town, for this
fellow appears to have been at large on the next day, as he went down to
the Tavern and tried to "square it" with the girl.

And now, is not this a testimony to this strange book, that we should be
thus introduced to old Rochester and its doings, and out of the scant
materials furnished, can really reconstruct the time and the place, and
find out, as if by enquiries, all about Jingle and his connections and
the theatre--such is the fruitfulness of the text?



CHAPTER IV.  BOZ AND BLACKING.


One of the remarkable things associated with "Pickwick" is its
autobiographical character, as it might be termed, and the amount of the
author's personal experience which is found in passages.  Such are his
sketches of Rochester and Chatham life during his boyhood, his
recollections of Grimaldi's dissolute son, his own poignant sorrow on the
death of Mary Hogarth, and the painful memories of his boyish
apprenticeship to an uncongenial trade more than hinted at.  The election
matters were also particular memories of his own, so was the scene of the
ghostly mail coaches.  Then there was the hideous recollection of the
life in a debtors' prison, of which he had such sad personal experience,
with much more.  He recalled the time when he had a miserable lodging in
Lant Street, Borough, and Lant Street was for him always a fixed point in
his memory, and grew in size and importance.  And when he described some
wretched creature hiding himself in London purlieus, he chose some
miserable place like College-street in Camden Town, whither his own
family had retired.

All these things supply a singular vitality and realism, and also a
distinct interest for those who are "in the know," for Boz himself at the
time was a dramatic and interesting figure, and this story of his
struggle out of a state of squalid misery is truly pathetic.

Readers of Forster's interesting "Life" will recall the dismal passage in
the account given by Dickens to his friend, and his agonising experience
when he was employed at the blacking factory.  Many at the time thought
that this painful episode might have been spared the reader, but the
uncompromising biographer would not sacrifice it.  On the whole, he was
right, as the trial had an important influence on the writer's character.
It will be recollected that he was employed at a place set up in Chandos
Street, just out of the Strand, by one of the firm of Warrens, and his
duties seemed to consist in pasting the labels on the bottles.  Many will
still recall the keen rivalry that existed between the famous firms,
Warren and Day and Martin, which brought much amusement to the public
from the arts of "bold advertisement" with which the war was waged.  There
were ingenious "Crambos," such as a cat gazing with well-assumed surprise
at her face reflected in one of Day and Martin's well-polished shoes.
These things made a deep impression on the boy, who saw their grotesque
side.  They were oddly bound up with his early impressions and sorrows.

Hence, we find in the course of "Pickwick," a few allusions to these
blacking rivals and their ways, which might seem mysterious and uncalled
for to those not in the secret, but which for himself had the highest
significance.  When Sam is first introduced at the "White Hart," he is in
the very act of cleaning boots, and we have almost an essay on the
various species of boots and polishing.  We are told minutely that he was
engaged in "brushing the dirt off a pair of boots . . . "  There were two
rows before him, one cleaned, the other dirty.  "There were _eleven_
pair, and one shoe, as belongs to No. 6 with the wooden leg."  "The
eleven boots is to be called at half-past eight (an odd consensus in
eleven persons), and the shoe at nine."  He set to work upon a top-boot.

The landlady then made her appearance in the opposite gallery and flung
down a pair of shoes to be cleaned for No. 5, first floor.  There is a
dramatic action in these calls from the different galleries, which shows
that Boz had the stage before him.  Sam then chalked the number on the
sole.  When he found that it was for people of consequence in a private
room that the articles were required, he set to work with a will and
produced a polish "that would have struck envy to the soul of _the
amiable Mr. Warren_, _for they used Day and Martin's at the_ '_White
Hart_.'"  Here will be noted the compliment to his old employer, though
it was of a conventional sort.

With this very number "Pickwick" was destined to leap into its amazing
popularity, and the advertisement must have been a valuable one.  There
may have been another reason, for there was to be a "Pickwick
advertiser," which was patronised by the firms, and it may have been
stipulated as a condition that the author was to give them this "lift."
Another patron was Rowland, whose real name was Rouland, of "Maccassar
oil" and "Kalydor" celebrity.  We have a relic of one of these forgotten
nostrums in the familiar "Anti-maccassar" known to every good housewife.
To Rowland or Rouland he later made an allusion in the text.

This method of calling attention to the merits of wares was a French
one--a sort of _reclame_ introduced by Villemessant in his journal _La
Sylphide_.  Thus "Pickwick" was quite "up-to-date."  After Jingle had
gone off to Doctors Commons for his license, Sam renewed his efforts,
"burnishing a pair of _painted tops_, worn by a farmer."  Then,
interrogated by Perker, he described the tenants of the inn by their
boots--a pair of "Hessians" in 13, two pair of "halves," with six "tops."

In chapter xxxiv. we have another allusion to blacking.  "No man," said
Sam, "ever talked in poetry 'cept a beadle on Boxin' Day, _or Warren's
blackin'_."  This referred to the rhymes--or verses--with which the firm
filled the newspapers in praise of their article.  It will be remembered
that Mrs. Jarley, in the "Old Curiosity Shop," employed "a poet" to
celebrate her waxworks in similar fashion, and who was content with a few
shillings for each effort.  We may be certain that this was a boyish
recollection, and that he had seen this blacking "poet" making his calls
in Chandos Street or haggling for his miserable wage.  The beadle, also
alluded to, was a prominent figure with Boz; but he has disappeared, with
his huge cocked hat, scarlet waistcoat, and uniform.  He is to be seen in
Wilkie's brilliant picture in the National Gallery.  It is evident from
the passage that he came round on Boxing Day for his _douceur_, reminding
his patrons, as the dustmen now do sometimes, by a copy of verses.  Sam
adds that no one did this sort of thing except the persons mentioned--"and
_Rowland's oil_, or some of them low fellows."  The perfumer could only
have been half pleased with this uncomplimentary form.  Still, such as it
was, it _was_ an advertisement.  Boz also makes several allusions to the
inventor, Bramah, mentioning Bramah locks and keys with plugs, &c.  Old
Weller talks of being locked up "in a fireproof chest with a patent
_Bramin_."  Bramah's hydraulic press was a scientific novelty then, as
were also his "patent safes."  Bramah appears to have advertised in
"Pickwick."  These _reclames_ are of a rather elaborate kind, as when
Lowten arrived at the office (lii), we are told, he drew "a Bramah key
from his pocket, with a small plug therein to keep the dust out."  Then
"comforting himself with this reflection, Mr. Lowten extricated the plug
from the door key; having opened the door, re-plugged and re-pocketed his
Bramah."

NOTE.--The horrors of the Blacking episode were ever present to Dickens'
recollection, and, as if under a sort of fascination, he later seemed
almost impelled to refer to them.  Thus, in Copperfield, we find him
describing, but under a disguise, the same incident.  As when he was sent
to Murdstone and Grimby's warehouse, it was still the washing and
labelling of bottles--"_not of blacking_," but of wines and spirits.
"When the empty bottles ran short, there were labels to be pasted on the
full ones, or corks to be fitted to them, &c."  But there is also another
allusion to the same, but curiously veiled, when he speaks of the carman,
Tipp, who "wore a red jacket."  Now, to this day Day and Martin's carmen
wear red jackets, and Warren's men probably did so; but, at all events,
it is clearly an allusion to the costume of the blacking drivers.  There
are allusions to blacking in Little Dorrit and Bleak House.



CHAPTER V.  SINGLE SPEECH TRUNDLE


This gentleman, as we know, was the affianced husband of Isabella Wardle,
and to the scenes of their marriage, the festivities, &c., we owe some
pleasing incidents.  Trundle was a good specimen of the _cypher_ or
nullity; naturally, he is a figure at Manor Farm, but does nothing, and
practically says nothing.  He was clearly a neighbouring squire of
limited ideas, or plain country gentlemen, that could do no more than
love his Isabella.  Yet, while Boz describes the "affairs" of Arabella
and Winkle, of Emily and Snodgrass, he wholly passes by Trundle and his
_inamorata_.  We can see what manner of man Trundle was, as he is shown
seated in the barouche, at the review, between the two sisters, each with
long ringlets and parasols.  He is a good-looking young man, with mutton-
chop whiskers and black hair, on which his hat is set jauntily.  He is
described as "a young gentleman apparently enamoured of one of the young
ladies in scarfs and pattens."  Wardle introduced him in a rather
patronising way.  "This is my friend, Mr. Trundle."  When the firing
began, there was much agitation among the young ladies, screaming, &c.,
so that the gentlemen had to support them: Mr. Trundle "was actually
obliged to hold one of them up."  But after the lunch was unpacked, the
wine uncorked, &c., there came a remarkable development--Trundle actually
spoke, made the one single remark that is recorded of him in the whole
chronicle!  Never before or after did he say a word.  He was, in fact,
"single speech Trundle."  And what were these words: "Will you permit me
to have the pleasure, Sir?" said Mr. Trundle to Mr. Winkle; a proposal to
"take wine with him," as it is called, Winkle had a bottle all to himself
on the box seat, which, no doubt, attracted the reticent Trundle.  The
two gentlemen not only took wine together, but had "a glass round, ladies
and all."  But we should note that Trundle phrase, the almost too humble
form: "Will you permit me the pleasure, Sir."  It looks as though Trundle
were "an ass," as it is called.  The fact remains, however, that
Trundle's single speech was: "Will you permit me to have the pleasure,
Sir?"

After a few days' interval, when Mr. Pickwick and party found their way
to Manor Farm, there were games _galore_, and at the "round one,"
Isabella and Trundle, we are told, "went partners," so all was going on
well.  The Squire had been nearly brought up to the point.  It is painful
to come to the conclusion, but Isabella's admirer, though a country
gentlemen, was nothing of a sportsman, and rather a poor creature.  When
Mr. Pickwick and his followers were up early and out at the rook
shooting, we find no Trundle.  He was lying a-bed, no doubt.  Stranger
still, when the whole party went in for a day to Muggleton for the
cricket match, Trundle was the only one who stayed behind.  He remained
with the ladies, for a purpose, no doubt; still, ladies don't like this
sort of thing.  The evening came.  "Isabella and Emily strolled out with
Mr. Trundle."  I have an idea that on this very day matters came to a
crisis in that quarter.  Everything favoured--all the men were away--he
may have seized the opportunity to "propose."  At all events, we are
significantly told that at the supper "Isabella Wardle devoted herself
_exclusively_ to Mr. Trundle."  Pointed enough, surely.  We may be
fortified in this view by finding that on the return of the party, all
dead drunk, at one in the morning, on Trundle was specially cast the
degrading menial duty of carrying Wardle to bed--his future father-in-
law.

Did Boz dislike this man all this while, or did he feel that he could do
nothing with him in the story?  It is certain, however, that in the talks
at Bury over the Bardell action, the Boarding School adventure, &c., we
never hear the sound of Trundle's voice.  He is effaced.  He makes no
remark on anything.

One of Boz's most daring pantomime changes, is the sudden arrival of old
Wardle at Bury, when Mr. Pickwick was released from the cupboard--and
sandwich bags--in Miss Tomkins' school.  The door was unlocked, and there
stood Wardle and the silent Trundle.  A rather lame account is given of
the coincidence.  Mr. Pickwick naturally asked, "How did you come here?"
"Trundle and I came down here for some good shooting on the first," &c.
Now, here it is evident Wardle good-naturedly saddled himself with the
company of the silent man, but he had his reasons.  Trundle was now son-
in-law _elect_.  They were both at the "Angel" at Bury, and for some days
here were Mr. Pickwick and his "followers."  There was the exciting
notice of action _re_ Bardell v. Pickwick.  There had nearly been Pott v.
Pott and Winkle.  And yet, all the time, this Trundle listens, and eats
and drinks; but there is no sign of him on the record.  He is busy
maintaining his character as a cypher.

Everything, however, points to show the all but comtemptuous opinion that
was held of this Trundle.  Wardle had been there two or three days when
Winkle and the others came over from Eatanswill, yet he had never told
Mr. Pickwick or Winkle that Trundle was to be married at Christmas, and
that they were all to be invited to the wedding.  By the oddest of
coincidences, Tupman and Snodgrass, getting down from the coach at the
"Angel," were met by Wardle, who at once said, "I have _just been_
telling Pickwick that we must have you all down at Christmas.  We're
going to have a wedding."  But I doubt if this _be_ an oversight.  The
fact was, no one thought anything of that cypher Trundle, or of his
marriage--a matter of no importance to anybody.  That this is the true
explanation is plain, for Snodgrass, fancying that the wedding was of
_his_ lady, turned pale.  What was old Wardle's remark?  Most significant
of Trundle's _status_.  "Don't be frightened," he said, "_it's only_
Trundle _there_ and Bella."  "Only Trundle there," _i.e._, only that poor
insignificant thing there!  No more depreciatory words could be chosen,
or put into the mouth of an honest country gentleman.  I am certain that
old Wardle gave his child reluctantly to this soft sort of fellow--"Only
Trundle there!"  Then for the shooting party.  We hear of Tupman and
Winkle even, with their guns, &c., but not a sign of this Trundle, a
country gentleman, supposed to enjoy field sports.  If Tupman and Winkle
had to carry their guns reversed "like privates at a funeral," was
Trundle excepted?  We cannot tell, for he is not even named.  Or was he
of the shooting party at all?  It has always seemed astonishing that
Winkle should have been allowed, particularly by Mr. Pickwick, to join
the _second_ shooting party.  Everyone seemed to have forgotten his first
performance, when he might have shot his friend Tupman dead, and, as it
was, "peppered" him severely.  Tupman would naturally have objected to so
dangerous a companion.  Wardle, at whose home the casualty occurred,
merely said, "I beg my friend Winkle's pardon, though; he has had some
practice."  Was this ironical?  I fancy the whole scene had passed out of
the author's mind.

Well, the Christmas season having come round--and certainly Trundle must
have been a very feeble creature to allow himself to be "kept over" for
so long a time--the whole party assembled at Manor Farm; now there, and
on such an occasion at least, Trundle, being one of the two central
figures, will certainly assert himself.  We shall expect to see and hear
him to good effect.  Never was there a greater mistake.  As the
Pickwickians arrived, the whole "house party" were in the lane to greet
them; we are told in careless fashion that among them "there were
Isabella and _her faithful_ Trundle," _i.e._, the poor insignificant
"chap" who was about to enter the family by particular favour.  Then Mr.
Pickwick was told that they had all been to "inspect the furniture and
fittings-up of the new house which the young couple were to tenant."  This
is very significant, for it throws a certain light on Trundle's
situation.  It is plain that this house was on Wardle's property, and
that Trundle had none of his own.  It was, in fact, a poorish match and
the young couple were dependent more or less on Wardle.  Even the old
lady didn't like it, she resented their going to look at the house, and
her son, to soothe her, made this significant speech: "Recollect Bella;
_come_, _you must keep her spirits up_, _poor girl_."  "Poor girl!"  "Keep
her spirits up!"  Why?

On the wedding day, however, Trundle made an effort to assert himself.  He
was "in high feather and spirits," _i.e._, awkwardly pretended to be,
but, of course, took nobody in.  Indeed, we are told he was "a little
nervous withal."  We may be sure he was, and therefore looking "more of
an ass" than ever.  For such _must_ appear to be a really nervous man in
high spirits and going to be married.  All the girls were in tears,
Wardle himself quite broken down, for they knew what was before the poor
child.  At the wedding banquet Mr. Pickwick made an admirable, natural
speech, which was greeted with tumults of applause, and was reported word
for word.  Then we are told how Wardle proposed Mr. Pickwick; Mr.
Pickwick, the old lady; Snodgrass, Tupman, the poor relations, all had
their speeches; but there is not a single word of Trundle, who appears to
have been mumchance--no one wanted him.  In his speech at the wedding,
the amiable Pickwick had, of course, to give the expected conventional
praises to Trundle.  But how guarded he is!  "God bless 'em," he says;
"my young friend I believe to be a very excellent and manly fellow."  I
_believe_, _i.e._, he did not _know_ it.  "Manly," we might question, for
in manliness he was deficient.  We could hear the rustics below: "Squire
Trundle manly! he! he! not he!"  But on the bride, Mr. Pickwick was
enthusiastic: "I _know_ her," he said, "to be a very, very amiable and
lovely girl; I admire, love, and esteem her."  At the close he prayed
that Wardle's daughter "might enjoy all the happiness that even he could
desire."  Not that he was sure of, but that he could desire.  But
Trundle, the cypher, no one thought of him, no one cared about his
speech.  Most likely, in his "nervousness," he mumbled forth some
indistinct words which no one could hear, so it was best and most
charitable to pass him by altogether in the report.  At the dance at
night, where he surely would have led off the movements, still not a word
of him.  And at last, "long before Mr. Pickwick was weary of dancing, the
newly-married pair had retired from the room."  Mr. Lang fancies that
they had gone upstairs; but I imagine they repaired to their new home
close by.  But then, with that minuteness which never fails Boz, we had
been told that they were not to go there till after the Christmas
holidays.

But, after all, one might be inclined to doubt this theory of the young
pair remaining at the house.  For do we not find that on the next day,
which was Christmas day, when there was the going to Church, and the
skating and sliding, and Mr. Pickwick's immersion, there is no mention of
the happy pair?  It looks as though they were at their own home.

After this, many events occurred.  Mr. Pickwick was "tried" and
"conwicted," as old Weller has it; was sent to prison and released.  On
his return from Birmingham we have some signs of Wardle and his family.
That gentleman was sorely disturbed by Emily's "goings on" with
Snodgrass, and forecasted another imprudent marriage like Trundle's.  He
had a suitable match for her in his eye: "a young gentleman down in our
neighbourhood," but Arabella's elopement set the fire to the powder, and
here it is worth while comparing the marriages of Emily and her sister
Isabella as a test of the relative importance of Snodgrass and this
Trundle.  The one took place in London with great show and pomp, all the
family going up specially for it.  "A handsome portion was bestowed on
Emily," but there is not a word to show that Trundle received a
halfpenny.

Then followed the scenes at Osborne's Hotel in the Adelphi, when all was
made up and Snodgrass accepted.  And now, at last, we hear something of
Trundle.  Mrs. T., as we might expect, was in an "interesting way," and
had to be informed of what was going on.  But it had to be broken to her
by Trundle, in right of his office.  Good, easy man!  We can hear him:
"the news will be too much for her" (this is on the record).  She would
insist on going, and it would be fatal.  He would, of course, implore her
not to agitate herself in her present state.  As a matter of course he
was all astray.  The news was _not_ too much for her.  She ordered at
once a cap and a new dress, and declared that she _would_ go up for the
wedding.  The horrified Trundle, who had clearly no authority whatever,
called in the Doctor to exert _his_, which he did in this way: by leaving
it all to herself.  Boz emphasizes it, by way of contrast to Trundle,
saying that "he was a wise and _discreet fellow_."

Of course the foolish Trundle was put aside; the lady went and suffered
no harm.  This proves that Trundle was the _mari de la femme_, with no
will of his own.

At Dulwich Church, the bridegroom was met "by the bride, the maids, the
Winkles, the Wardles, and Trundles," always to be last and insignificant.
In course of time we are told that Mr. Pickwick was much troubled at
first by the numerous applications made to him to act as Godfather to the
offspring of his friends!  These came from Mr. Winkle, Mr. Snodgrass, and
Mr. Trundle.  Last of course.  Poor soul!  We can see him, grown elderly,
sitting at his own table, smiling or silent, or with an occasional "yes,
my dear," "certainly, my dear," "by all means, my dear."



CHAPTER VI.  MUGGLETON AND ITS CRICKET


The situation and real name of Muggleton has always been a hotly debated
point; many have been the speculations and many the suggestions as to the
original.  I was once inclined to adopt Gravesend, on the statement of
the author's daughter, that, one day, driving with her father towards
Cobham, he said that "it was here that Mr. Pickwick dropped his whip."
Cobham would be on the way to Gravesend.

Now what was Muggleton?  A large town, with Mayor, Burgesses, and
Freemen--an ancient and loyal Borough, much given to petitioning
Parliament.  It is insinuated that these petitions were guided by
Stiggins-like instincts--"a zealous advocacy of Christian principles
combined with a devoted attachment to commercial rights.  Hence they were
against negro slavery abroad and _for_ the factory system at home.  They
were for abolishing Sunday trading in the streets, and for maintaining
the sale of church livings."  A member of Boz's family has assured me
that Maidstone was in the author's mind: it is only some eight miles from
Rochester.  But "The Bull" waiter informed the Pickwickians that
Muggleton was nearly double the distance, or fifteen miles; while
Gravesend is about six miles from Rochester--so the evidence of distance
does not help us.  Where, too, did Mr. Pickwick drop his whip?  The
Pickwickian enthusiast can ascertain this--'an he will--by a little
calculation.  After leaving "The Bull," the tall quadruped exercised his
"manoeuvre" of darting to the side of the road, rushing forward for some
minutes--_twenty times_--which would cover about an hour.  In the
etching, there is a picture of the spot--a hedge-lined road.  Mr.
Pickwick and his friends had to walk the whole way; yet they arrived late
in the afternoon.  No one could walk from Rochester to Maidstone in that
time.

It was natural that Mr. Pickwick should drop his whip--but most unnatural
that he should ask Winkle to dismount and pick it up for him; and most
unnatural of all that Winkle, in his precarious situation, should consent
to dismount.  The ordinary course would be that Tupman or Snodgrass
should get down.  Then, for the great marvel of all, we have Mr.
Pickwick, who _would not_ get down, or _could not_ get down to pick up
his whip, getting down to help Mr. Winkle on to his horse!  Thus, on the
two occasions, the useless or lazy Tupman and Snodgrass kept their seats.

It has been claimed--by the late Charles Dickens the younger--that Town
Malling was Muggleton, and on the ground that it has always had a
reputation for good cricket.  It is not far from Maidstone.  But this is
easily disposed of.  Muggleton is described as an important corporate
town, with a Mayor, etc.  Further, the cricketing at Muggleton was of the
poorest sort.  There was an elderly gentleman playing who could not stop
the balls--a slim one was hit on the nose--they were a set of "duffers,"
in fact.  As for Dickens knowing nothing about cricket, as Mr. Lang
contends, I can say, that he was always interested in it.  I myself have
seen him sit the whole day in a marquee, during a match got up by himself
at Gads Hill, marking (or "notching") in the most admirable manner.
Anything he did or described, he did and described according to the best
fashion he could compass.

Wishing, however, to investigate this knotty question thoroughly, I
lately communicated with the Town Clerk of Maidstone, Mr. Herbert
Monckton, who was good enough to search the Books with reference to
certain queries which I furnished.  Dickens states of the mysterious and
unnamed Borough, that it had its Mayor, Burgesses, and Freemen--which at
once excludes Town Malling which the younger Charles Dickens had
selected.  The Clerk has found that, at the period in question, there
were 813 Freemen on the roll.  It has always been held to be "an ancient
and loyal Borough," but this, of course, most boroughs of its standing
would claim to be.  Boz speaks of innumerable Petitions to Parliament,
and Mr. Monckton tells me that he has found many petitions in the
Books--one in 1828 _against_ the Licensing Bill, which seems to prove
that Maidstone, like Muggleton, "mingled a zealous advocacy of Christian
principles with a devoted attachment to commercial rights."  Then as to
the description: Both Maidstone and Muggleton have an open square for the
market: there are also in both places in the square a fire office,
linendraper, corn factor, saddler, grocer, shoe-shop, but apparently no
distiller.  It was curious, certainly, that there should be an Inn with
so odd a sign as the Blue Lion in Maidstone--and also a post bearing this
sign, in front.  Then as to the cricket, the cricket field was in the
Meadow, Maidstone, not far from the High Street; while at Muggleton, we
are told that Mr. Pickwick's friends "had turned out of the main street
and were already within sight of the field of battle."

And here we may admire the wonderful walking powers that Boz allots to
his heroes--Tupman and Pickwick, who were elderly persons and stout
withal.  Fifteen miles to Muggleton--two miles further to Manor Farm--and
all done between eleven o'clock, and a period "late in the afternoon"--say
five o'clock.  At a later visit came the memorable five-and-twenty-mile
walk to get an appetite for dinner.  The truth was, such stretches were
as nothing to Boz himself.  Walking was his grand pastime and one
absolute necessity.  He tramped on with an amazing energy and vigour,
which, as I know from experience, it was impossible to match.  Sometimes
he walked the streets for nearly the whole night.  This personal element
helps to explain many things in "Pickwick" which contains the early life
of Boz.



CHAPTER VII.  GOSWELL STREET


A question that has often exercised ingenious folk is, why did Mr.
Pickwick choose to live in Goswell Street? rather, why did Boz select
such a quarter for him?  Of course, at that time, it was really a
"genteel" neighbourhood, as anyone can see who walks along the desolate
streets and terraces, the forlorn squares and enclosures that are close
by, and where the New River runs.  Nothing is more depressing than the
aspect of these fallen places; but, in Mr. Pickwick's time, they had not
been very long erected.  Indeed, this offers yet another department which
his wonderful Book suggests: that it is the best record of all the
changes that have taken place in London.  This Goswell Street tenancy
shows clearly that the neighbourhood was a desirable one for residents of
position.  Mr. Pickwick was a City man, and his club met in Huggin Lane,
in the City.  He generally put up, or, as Bob Sawyer had it, "hung out,"
at the "George and Vulture," also in the City.  One side of Goswell
Street, in those days--a road ascending to the old Angel Inn--faced, near
the top, a number of the pretentious squares and terraces I have been
describing.  That interesting old theatre, Sadler's Wells, was in the
rear, and the New River passed beneath it or beside it, and, quite
uncovered in those days, rippled along on its course from the country.

All the houses were private houses.  Some enthusiasts have actually
identified Mrs. Bardell's apartments--but without a particle of evidence.
Now it has become a busy thoroughfare, with a noisy tramway: nearly all
the houses have been turned into shops, and Mr. Pickwick could scarcely
recognize his old quarters.  The whole region bears a faded air.
Amateurs, who love exploring their London, will find entertainment in
wandering about Islington and the adjoining districts, experiencing quite
a new sensation and hardly realizing that they are so close to
Aldersgate.  The New River itself, which ends its course here, is a
pleasant attraction, with its great basin, and ancient offices by the
edge of the water.

Imitating Elia, I once set out from here, and followed its course and its
many windings far out into the country, taking up the journey on
successive days, going towards its source in Hertfordshire, and a most
pleasant, interesting voyage of discovery it was.  For it so winds and
bends, now passing through fields and demesnes, now skirting towns and
villages, that it is just as picturesque as any natural stream.  Such
being its attractions, Mr. Pickwick was virtually living in the country
or in the suburbs, and enjoying the fine, keen, inspiring air which the
jaded Londoner from lower districts may, even now, still inhale.  There
is no Goswell Street now, but Goswell _Road_--a very noisy, clattering
thoroughfare.

Another remark to be made is this:--how much do we owe to the vivifying
power of Boz's descriptions of these old Towns, Inns, and Streets?  The
ordinary provincial town--unsung and undescribed by him--remains what it
is and nothing more.  York and Manchester stir no memories, and are
unvisited by pilgrims, because _they are not in Pickwick_.  Boz seems to
have found the true _interpretation_ and inner meaning of each place, and
has actually preserved the tone and flavour that existed in his own time.
This continues even now.  As we stroll through Rochester or Ipswich, Bath
or Bury, Pickwick and his friends walk with us.  And, as if well
contented to rest under the spell, these antique towns have made no
effort at change, but remain much as they were.

And this prompts the question: _Where did Mrs. Cluppins live_?  At the
trial we learned that she was a friend and neighbour of Mrs. Bardell's,
one of her _commeres_.  She had "looked in" on the momentous morning,
having been out to purchase "kidney pertaties," yet, on their Hampstead
junketting, we find her coming with the Raddles, in their cab, all the
way from Lant Street, Borough.  She was clearly Mrs. Raddle's friend and
neighbour.  Perhaps she had moved, though this is not likely.  The
household gods of such, like Elia's, strike a deep root.

In his descriptions of the Bardell party's journey to Hampstead, which
ended so disastrously, the art of Boz is shown as usual by supplying the
notion of movement--he seems to take us along up the northern heights--we
feel the pleasurable anticipations of a party of pleasure for the lower
middle class.  From the lower end of Goswell Street--where Mr. Pickwick's
lodgings must have been, for, in the upper part, there are no houses
opposite for Mrs. Raddle to call at--it must have been a long drive for
the party.  I assume they must have made for Kentish Town, and toiled up
Haverstock Hill at a walk, for the coach was heavily laden enough.
Pleasant Hampstead!  One is always glad to find Boz associating his
humour with places that we are deeply interested in.  The Hampstead of
this hour, though changed enough, may remind us very fairly of Boz's
time.  It has still the attractions of the old-fashioned, red-brick
houses, and terraces, the mixture of green, and the charming, even
seductive, heath.  "The Spaniards" at Hampstead--Boz calls it "_The_
Spaniard"--is scarcely altered from the day of the Bardell visit, and is
as picturesque as ever with its Tea Gardens and Bowers.  I never pass it
without seeming to see Jackson's hackney-coach waiting and the Sheriff's
man at the gate taking his drink.  The other Inn, also bound up with
memories of Boz, "Jack Straw's Castle," also stands, but one reads with
alarm on this day of grace (June 12th, 1898):--

   There are few Londoners who will not grieve to hear that the
   well-known inn on the Spaniards Road, "Jack Straw's Castle," famous as
   the rendezvous of authors, artists, statesmen, and many a celebrity of
   old days, is going the way of other ancient buildings.  The low rooms
   and quaint interior of the hostel are now being entirely transformed
   and modernised.  The only concession made to the prejudices of the old
   frequenters of the inn is that the outer face is to be preserved
   intact.  To the passer by, no great change will perhaps be apparent;
   but within, the charm of the place will have vanished entirely.  A
   spacious saloon bar flooded with glaring light, with modern furniture
   and appliances, is to take the place of the old rooms, coffee-room,
   billiard-room, and bar.  In fact, it is to become a modern hotel.  The
   change is quite enough to make the shade of Dickens arise.  As John
   Forster has told us, the great novelist loved this old chop-house,
   and, after a ramble on the Heath, often adjourned here for a good,
   wholesome dinner.



CHAPTER VIII.  MARY HOGARTH


This young girl--to whom a touching interest attached from her being so
prematurely cut off--was a most interesting creature, one of three
sisters, daughters of Mr. George Hogarth, a Writer to the Signet, who is
a sort of link between Scott and Dickens.  For he had acted as the
former's man of business in the Ballantyne disputes, and must have
prompted Dickens in the article that he wrote on that thorny subject.  He
was a good musician and a writer in the magazines.  We find his work in
the old "Monthly Magazine" where Dickens made his _debut_; and when Boz
was installed as editor of "Bentley's," we find him admitting much of his
father-in-law's writing.  His "Memoirs of the Opera" are well-known.
There is a charming outline sketch of Maclise's, showing the profiles of
two of the sisters with Dickens, all three of the most refined and
interesting cast--but Boz's face is certainly the handsomest of the
three.  He must have been a most attractive young man--something of the
pattern of his own Nicholas Nickleby.

One of the most interesting features of the episode is the reference the
author was constantly making to this bereavement.  In the rollicking
"Pickwick," any serious introduction of such a topic would have been out
of place: though I fancy a little paragraph in the account of the Manor
Farm Christmas festivities is connected with it.  But about the same
time, or rather, some six months later, he was busy with his "Oliver
Twist," and it seems certain that Rose Maylie was drawn from this
sympathetic creature, for there is a feeling and a passionate grief
displayed that could only be caused by the loss of a person that he had
known and loved.  Here is his description of Rose:--"The younger lady was
in the lovely bloom and springtime of womanhood, at that age when, if
ever angels be for God's good purposes enthroned in mortal forms, they
may be without impiety supposed to abide in such forms as hers.  She was
not _past seventeen_.  Cast in so slight and exquisite a mould; so mild
and gentle; so pure and beautiful; that earth seemed not her element, nor
its rough creatures her fit companions."

We may compare with this the touching inscription placed by Dickens on
her tomb in Kensal Green: "Young, beautiful and good, God, in His mercy,
numbered her among His angels at the early age of seventeen."  He had
long planned that he should be laid beside her, but on Mrs. Hogarth's
death, some five years later, he had to resign his place to her.  This
was a renewal of the old grief.  The epitaph nearly seems the epitome of
all that he says of Rose Maylie.

"The very intelligence that shone in her deep blue eye, and was stamped
upon her noble head, seemed scarcely of her age, or of the world; and yet
the changing expression of sweetness and good humour, the thousand lights
that played upon the face and left no shadow there; above all, the smile,
the cheerful, happy smile, were for Home, and fireside peace and
happiness."  She is then described as "playfully putting back her hair,
which was simply braided on her forehead; and threw into her beaming look
such an expression of affection and artless loveliness that blessed
spirits might have smiled to look upon her."

The earnestness, the feeling of sincerity thrown into this
description--the tone of reality--leave a conviction that this must have
been drawn from a person who had lived and in whom the writer had the
deepest interest.  Further, it is clearly the description of a person who
had passed away: of one who was no longer with him. {66}  "She was at the
theatre with us on Saturday night, well and happy, and expired in my arms
a few hours afterwards."  So he wrote to Mr. Cox.

At the end, he returns to the subject, and retouches the picture:

   "I would show Rose Maylie in all the bloom and grace of early
   womanhood, shedding on her secluded path in life the soft and gentle
   light that fell on all who trod it with her and shone into their
   hearts; I would paint her _the life and joy of the fireside circle_,
   and the lively summer group; I would follow her through the sultry
   fields at noon, and hear the low tones of her sweet voice in the
   moonlit evening walk; I would watch her in all her goodness and
   charity abroad, and the untiring discharge of domestic duties at home;
   I would summon before me again those joyous little faces that
   clustered round her knee; I would recall the tone of that clear laugh,
   and conjure up that sympathizing tear that glistened in the soft, blue
   eye.  These, and a thousand looks and smiles, and turns of thought and
   speech, I would fain recall them, every one."

Again, it is clear that all this is personal, and written of one that he
knew and deeply loved.

In "Nickleby," there is yet another allusion to this sad subject--it is
suggested by Kate's grief for Smike:

   "It is an exquisite and beautiful thing in our nature that, when the
   heart is softened and touched by some tranquil happiness or
   affectionate feeling, the memory of the dead comes over it most
   powerfully and irresistibly.  It would almost seem as though our
   better thoughts and sympathies were charms in virtue of which the soul
   is enabled to hold some vague and mysterious intercourse with the
   spirits of those whom we dearly loved in life.  Alas! how often and
   how long may these patient angels hover above us, watching for the
   spell which is so seldom uttered, and so soon forgotten."

This is no artificial utterance.  He had clearly interrupted himself to
indulge in this sad retrospect.  He then points a moral from Mrs.
Nickleby, who, he says, could not conceive the idea of anyone dwelling on
such thoughts in secret.  I have always had a notion that this worthy
lady's incongruities and rambling methods were suggested by one of his
own household, whose imperfection was found to be a complete lack of
sympathy with him in all his feelings.

The devotion of Oliver Twist to Rose, it is not fanciful to say, was
intended to symbolise his own to Mary.  We can recall the passionate,
agitated excitement with which Rose's illness is described--the hanging
on the doctor's sentence, &c.--a reminiscence certainly, and we have only
to look at the sketch by Cruikshank of his friend (given in my
"_Bozland_") to recognise the likeness to Oliver.  Oliver's sufferings
were his own.

How tremendous the blow of her death must have been to the successful
writer may be conceived when he did not scruple to interrupt the book and
cast it aside altogether from sheer incapacity to write a line.  The June
number did not appear.  No one can imagine the inconvenience, the loss,
the enormous risks that were run by taking this step--the horror and
consternation of the publishers and all concerned.  It proved how
indifferent he had become to his prospects and prosperity when he could
hazard such a thing.  The first of the month came round, but no
"Pickwick."  It was a public catastrophe.  When he was able to resume his
story, he found it necessary to issue an explanation in the form of an
address. {68}

   186 Strand,
   June 30th, 1837.

   The author is desirous to take the opportunity afforded him by the
   resumption of his work to state, once again, what he thought had been
   stated sufficiently emphatically before, namely, that its publication
   was interrupted by a severe domestic affliction of no ordinary kind;
   that this was the sole cause of the non-appearance of the present
   number in its usual course; that, hereafter, it will continue to be
   published with its accustomed regularity.  However superfluous this
   _second notice_ may appear to many, it is rendered necessary by
   various idle speculations and absurdities which have been
   industriously propagated during the past month and which have reached
   the author's ears from many quarters, and have grieved him
   exceedingly.  By one set of intimate acquaintances, especially well-
   informed, he has been killed outright; by another, driven mad; by a
   third, imprisoned for debt; by a fourth, left per steamer for the
   United States; by a fifth, rendered incapable of mental exertion for
   evermore; by all, in short, represented as doing anything but seeking
   by a few weeks' retirement, the restoration of cheerfulness and peace,
   of which a sad bereavement has necessarily deprived him.



CHAPTER IX.  THE PICKWICK CLUB


This was a common form of social meeting, and we find in the memoirs of
Adolphus and John Taylor and Frederick Reynolds descriptions of the "Keep
the Line," "The Finish," and other oddly-named societies.  The cheerful
glass was the chief object.  Mr. Lowten's Club, "The Magpie and Stump,"
in Clare Market, supplies a specimen of a lower class club.  "Veels
vithin veels," as Sam would say.

In his speech at Dulwich, at the close of the book, Mr. Pickwick spoke
rather pathetically of the closing of his wanderings.  "I shall never
forget having devoted the greater part of two years to mixing with
different varieties and shades of human character, frivolous as my
pursuit of novelty may have appeared to many."  He spoke of the club
also, to which "he had communicated both personally and by letter,"
acquainting them with his intention of withdrawing from public life to
the country.  He added that "during our long absence it had suffered much
from internal dissensions," and this, with other reasons, had obliged him
to dissolve it.  This "absence," both as planned and carried out, was
merely occasional.  Mr. Pickwick and his friends were rarely, and only
now and then, absent from town, going away for short spells, save, of
course, the enforced absence in the Fleet Prison and the months or weeks
(as it may be) in Bath.  "The George and Vulture" was not far from Huggin
Lane, so Mr. Pickwick must have been constantly at the Club, or _could_
have been had he chosen to go there.  All this notion of severance,
therefore, was somewhat sentimental.

But the "dissensions" the President spoke of were natural enough.  He was
the founder and mainstay of the association--probably paid its expenses.
The whole object of the institution, it may be suspected, was to exalt
the founder.  In such a state of things, it was natural that there should
be an opposition, or discontented party, headed by "that Blotton."  When
Blotton was got rid of, his friends would think that he had been badly
treated and take advantage of the occasional absences of the chief to
foment revolt.  Then Blotton was expelled, assuredly unfairly, for he
merely took the opposite view on the Cobham stone, and he might have left
some who belonged to his faction and who thought he had been harshly
dealt with.  Mr. Pickwick, in fact, merely returned from his agreeable
junketting to have this gentleman expelled.  Despotism of this sort
always leads to discontent and parties--hence the "dissensions."  Mr.
Pickwick, from his treatment of Blotton, must have been a Tory of the old
Eldon school.  Here was his blemish.  He had no toleration for others,
and had an undue idea of his own position.  We can trace the whole thing
perfectly.  He was a successful man of business--an export merchant
apparently--being connected with an agent at Liverpool whom he had
"obliged."  Round such a man who was good-natured and philanthropic would
gather flatterers and toadies; hence the suggestion to found a club with
his own name and "button."  Of this he could be "Boss," and he was
listened to and courted.  It was like the devotion of satellites to the
late Mr. Gladstone.  We can see all this in the picture of the club at
the beginning, where, with the exception of the four legitimate
Pickwickians, all seem rather of the tradesman class, and are vulgar
types enough.  In such surroundings, Mr. Pickwick could "rule the roast"
and grow despotic and even arrogant.

Blotton, however, who seems to have been an independent sort of fellow,
could not submit to this, was of the Opposition, and, no doubt, a thorn
in Mr. Pickwick's side.  And here is yet another point of the likeness to
the Johnsonian coterie.  In "The Club," Hawkins--Sir John of that ilk--was
uncongenial--"a detestable fellow," Bozzy calls him--objecting,
quarrelling, and, at last, on one occasion was so rude that he had to
withdraw.  Now, that this offence was rankling is evident, and it
explains the fracas which took place at the opening.  Blotton looked on
Mr. Pickwick's travelling as pure humbug.  The idea of his contributing
anything useful or instructive in his so-called reports seemed nonsense.
Further, was it not something of a job?  Pickwick was taking three of his
own special "creatures" with him--Winkle, to whom he had been appointed
governor; Snodgrass, who was his ward; and Tupman, who was his butt and
toady.  They were the _gentlemen_ of the club.  None of the outsiders
were chosen.  From Blotton's behaviour, too, on the Cobham business, it
is clear he thought Mr. Pickwick's scientific researches were also
"humbug."  A paper by that gentleman had just been read--"The tracing of
the source of the ponds at Hampstead" and "Some observations on the
theory of tittlebats."  There was somewhat too much of this "bossing."
The whole report read by the secretary was full of gross flatteries.  They
had "just heard read with feelings of unmingled satisfaction and
unqualified approval," &c., "from which advantages must accrue to the
cause of science"--cause of rubbish!  Then, it added, obsequiously,
something about "the _inestimable_ benefits from carrying the
speculations of that _learned_ man" &c.  Mr. Pickwick, in his speech, was
certainly self-laudatory and provocative.  He talked of his pride in
promoting the Tittlebatian theory, and "let _his enemies make the most of
it_."  This was marked enough, and no doubt caused looks at Blotton.  Then
he began to puff his new enterprise at "a service of some danger."

There were, were there not, upsets of coaches "in all directions," horses
bolting--boats overturning, and boilers bursting?  Now, Blotton--after
all the humbug that had gone before, and particularly after a provocative
reference to himself--could not stand this, and, amid the obsequious
cries and "cheers," said, boldly, "No!"  (A Voice: "No!")  That is,
signifying there were no such dangers.  The fury of the orator on "the
Windsor chair," was quite Gladstonian.  "No!" he cried; on which the
cheers of his followers broke out.  "Who was it that cried No?"  Then he
proceeded to imagine it came from some "vain and disappointed man--he
wouldn't say haberdasher."

To the Pickwick Club there was a Vice-President, named Smiggers--Joseph
Smiggers, Esq., P.V.P.M.P.C., that is, Perpetual Vice-President and
Member of the Pickwick Club.  Smiggers was, of course, supposed to be
"Pickwick's creature," or he would not have been there.  He was a tall,
corpulent man, with a soft face--as we see him in his picture.  As Mr.
Pickwick speaks, it is remarkable that both Vice-President and
Secretary--the two officers--have each one arm raised as if in ecstatic
rapture--clear proof of their subservience to Pickwick.  On Smiggers'
right is a "doddering" old fellow of between seventy and eighty--clearly
a "nullity"--on his left, another member nearly as old, but with a
glimmer of intelligence.  Down the side of the table, facing the orator,
are some odd faces--one clearly a Jew; one for whom the present Mr.
Edward Terry might have sat.  Blotton is at the bottom, half turned away
in disgust.  His neighbour looks at him with wonder, as who should say,
"How can you be so insensible?"  Odd to say--and significant, too--Blotton
has brought into the club his _dog_, a ferocious looking "bull," which
sits at his feet under the table.  We should say, on the whole, that
Blotton could only count on--and that, with but a limited sympathy--the
Terry-faced and Jew-faced men--if he _could_ count on them.  The
Secretary was like a clerk--a perky fellow--and had a pen behind his ear;
probably in some Bank or Counting House, so strong is habit.  One member
of the Club alone is invisible--the one beyond Tupman--all that is seen
of him is a hand holding a tumbler as if about to drink.  The Dodderer is
applauding; so are the Jew, Blotton and Tupman; so is the round-faced
man, just beyond the invisible one.

Mr. Pickwick and his three friends being removed or absent, and Blotton
expelled, out of the fourteen members there were left but nine, whereof
we reckon four or five as Pickwickians and the rest as _Blottonites_.

And how easily can we imagine the acrimonious discussions that went on!

"This 'ere Pickwick, who was always making the club a hend to his own
glorification, had gone off on his touring to get more grist for his
mill."  It was really, a "mutual admiration society," and as for the
reports, notes, &c., he was sending back "they 'ad 'ad enough of it."  The
club didn't meet to be listening to long-winded yarns to be read out by
their worthy secretary, but for a glass and social intercourse.  As for
the "travels and preambulations," what were they more than visits to
genteel 'ouses where Pickwick was "showing oft" at their expense?  Then
where were the "Sportin' transactions?"  The whole thing was "rot."  Then
the Cobham stone business, at which the whole town was laughing, and
which their worthy friend Blotton had exposed.  Blotton was the only long-
headed, creditable man they had.  _He_ ought to have been their
president.  But he had been turned out by the "_lick-spittles_" of the
society.



CHAPTER X.  ROADSIDE INNS


I.--The Bell at Berkeley Heath


In the animated journey, from Bristol to Birmingham, the travellers
stopped at various posting-houses where the mercurial Sawyer would insist
on getting down to lunch, dine, or otherwise refresh--his friends being
always ready to comply after a little decent hesitation.  It was thus
that they drew up at The Bell at Berkeley Heath, which our writer
presently sketches.  It will be seen there is more of the drink at the
Bell than of the Bell itself.  It is, indeed, no more than _coecum
nomen_--much as though we read the name at the end of "Bradshaw"--yet,
somehow, from the life and movement of the journey, it offers a sort of
attraction: it seems familiar, and we have an interest in it.  The Bell
now "goes on," as the proprietor tells me.  There are travellers who come
there and drink Boz's health in the snug parlour.  It is, in fact, a
Pickwickian Inn, and is drawn within the glamour of the legend, and, what
a marvel! the thing is done by the magic of those three or four lines.
"The Bell," says Mrs. Hooper, "lies back on the main road from Bristol to
Gloucester, and is just nineteen miles from Bristol.  It is a rambling
old house and a good deal dilapidated, and of good age."

With this meagre record it yet offers such Pickwickian interest that, not
many months ago, a photograph was taken of it which was engraved for the
_Daily Graphic_.  There is no Mr. Pickwick's room to be shown, as
undoubtedly there _would_ be had that gentleman only stayed the night
there; but he only lunched and then went forward.  There is a mistiness
as to whether the Pickwickians sat in the public coffee-room or had a
private "settin'-room."  It was to a certainty the coffee-room, as they
only stayed a short time.  So the proprietor, with a safe conscience,
might exhibit "the room where Mr. Pickwick lunched."  On the face is
imbedded a tablet bearing the date 1729, and there is an ancient farmer
close by who was born in "The Bell" in the year 1820.  If we lend
ourselves properly to the delusion, he might recall Mr. Pickwick's chaise
drawing up full sixty years ago.  "Ay, I mind it well.  I were joost then
fifteen.  A stoutish gent in gaiters--might 'ave been a bishop--and sich
a lively young chap as wos with him, full o' spirits, chucking a' the
gurls under the chins.  And their sarvant!  O _he_ were one.  Sam, he
were caa'd--I moind that--Sam Summut.  And they caa'd for the best o'
everythin', and took away wi' them a lot, Madeary, and wot not," and so
on.



II.--The Greyhound, Dulwich


Mr. Pickwick, as we know, at the close of his wanderings retired to this
tranquil and pleasant suburb--then much more retired than it is now.  In
accordance with his habit of enshrining his own personal sympathies in
his writing, Boz was, as it were, conveying that it was such a
sequestered spot as he himself would choose under similar conditions.
Last year (1898), the interesting old road-side Inn, The Greyhound, was
levelled--an Inn to which Mr. Pickwick must have found his way in the
dull evening to drink "cold Punch" or preside at the club which he most
certainly--if we know him well--must have founded.  A wealthy gentleman
of social tastes, and with a love for tavern life, would have no
difficulty in establishing a new Pickwick Club.

At the Greyhound, nigh a century ago, there was actually a club which
entertained Tom Campbell, Mark Lemon, Byron's tutor, and many more.  Boz
himself, we are told, used to find his way there with Theodore Hook,
Moore, and others.  Boz, therefore, must have regarded this place with
much favour, owing to his own experiences of it--and to have selected it
for his hero's tranquil old age shows how high a place it had in his
memory.  The description is charming and brings this sylvan retreat to
which we have walked many a time perfectly before us.

This taste for surrounding himself with persons of lower degree--such as
were the rank and file--was curiously enough shared by Mr. Pickwick's
predecessor, Dr. Johnson, who, when he found the Literary Club somewhat
too much of a republic, and getting "out of hand," established a social
meeting at the Essex Head Club--in the street of that name, off the
Strand--composed in the main of respectable tradesmen, who would listen
obsequiously.  Thus, it may be repeated, does the same sort of character
develop invariably on the same lines, and thus did Mr. Pickwick
unconsciously follow in the footsteps of the "great Lexicographer."



III.--Grimaldi the Younger


As I was the first to point out, the powerful "Stroller's Tale" of which
Boz himself thought so highly, was founded on the career of the
unfortunate son of the great Grimaldi.  The story is related by "Dismal
Jemmy," the actor, who, in the tale itself, is called Hutley, and it
corresponds in all its details with Grimaldi's history.  He died in
September, 1832, nearly four years before Pickwick was thought of, but
Boz had learned the incident long before the Grimaldi MSS. were given him
to edit, and I am inclined to think he must have learned them from his
friend Harley who was intimate with the Grimaldis.  In the memoirs it is
stated that Gledinning, a Printer, was sent by the father to his son's
dying bed, and he was probably the Hutley of the Stroller's Tale, and,
perhaps, the person who brought old Grimaldi the news of his death.  We
are told in the "Tale" that he had an engagement "at one of the Theatres
on the Surrey side of the water," and in the memoirs we find that he was
offered "an engagement for the Christmas at the Coburg."  There his death
is described:--"He rose in bed, drew up his withered limbs--he was
acting--he was at the Theatre.  He then sang some roaring song.  The
walls were alive with reptiles, frightful figures flitted to and fro . . .
His eyes shone with a lustre frightful to behold, the lips were
parched and cracked, the dry, hard skin glowed with a burning heat, and
there was an almost unearthly air of wild anxiety in the man's face."
Hutley also describes how he had to hold him down in his bed.  Compare
with this the account in the memoirs--"his body was covered with a
fearful inflammation--he died in a state of wild and furious madness,
rising from his bed, dressing himself in stage costume to act snatches of
the parts, and requiring to be held down to die by strong manual force."
This dreadful scene took place at a public house in Pitt Street, out of
Tottenham Court Road.

"The man I speak of," says Boz in the story, "was a low, pantomime actor
and an habitual drunkard.  In his better days he had been in the receipt
of a good salary.  His besetting sin gained so fast on him that it was
found impossible to employ him in the situations in which he really was
useful."  In the "memoirs" this is more than supported: "The man who
might have earned with ease and comfort from six to seven hundred a year,
was reduced to such a dreadful state of destitution and filth . . .  In
fact, at one time, it was thought he might have succeeded his father."

It is quite plain, therefore, that Boz was recalling this tragic episode.
Boz remarks that pantomime actors--clowns and others "either die early
or, by unnaturally taxing their bodily energies, lose prematurely their
physical powers."  This was what occurred to Grimaldi, the father, whose
curious decay he was to describe later in the memoirs.  It may be added
that there is an Alderman Harmer, Hatton Garden, mentioned in the
memoirs, with whom Grimaldi _pere_ had some dealings; and, long after,
this name was introduced by Boz into "Our Mutual Friend."



CHAPTER XI.  MR. PICKWICK'S PROTOTYPE


We had a narrow escape of losing our Pickwick and his familiar type.  The
original notion was to have "a tall, long, thin man," and only for the
late Edward Chapman, who providentially thought of the Richmond
gentleman, Foster, we should have lost for ever the short, rotund
Pickwick that we so love and cherish.  A long, thin Pickwick!  He could
not be amiable, or benevolent, or mild, or genial.  But what _could_ such
a selection mean?  Why, that Boz saw an opening for humorous treatment in
introducing a purblind, foolish Professor, or scientist--one with
spectacles--prying into this and that, taking notes &c.  As Winkle was
the sportsman, Tupman, the lover, Snodgrass, the poet, so Mr. Pickwick
was to be a sort of Pangloss or Dominie Sampson.  His curiosity and love
of enquiry were to get him into scrapes, just as Mr. Winkle's sham
sportsmanship was to get him into embarrassments.  In fact, the first
appearance in Seymour's plate--the scene with the cabman--shows him as
quite a different Pickwick; with a sour, cantankerous face; not in
"tights," but in a great coat; he is scarcely recognisable.  Seymour was
then determined to show him after his own ideal.  But when the poor
artist destroyed himself the great man was brought up to the fitting
type.  So undecided were the parties about that type that the author had
to leave it altogether an open question--a _tabula rasa_--not announcing
that his hero was either tall or short, fat or lean, pale or rosy; all he
commits himself to in his opening chapter is that he was bald, that he
wore tights and gaiters, and, what is rather singular, _circular
spectacles_.  I suppose, in contrast to the more elongated glasses.

It might be an interesting question for the "paper of questions," "Why
did Mr. Pickwick wear circular spectacles?"  Was there any local
weakness?  The artist never forgot this direction.  In the author of the
Tittlebatian system, &c., the "circular spectacles" would impart a sort
of wise and owl-like stare.  It was, of course, due to Chapman, the
publisher, and was another of his "happy suggestions."

This Mr. Foster, of Richmond--fortunately for himself--was not known to
be the original of "Pickwick," though many must have been struck by the
likeness, both in physique and costume, to the picture.  It is not stated
that the features were copied, though, no doubt, Chapman would have
vividly described them also; and Seymour was so ready and deft with his
pencil that he must have certainly caught the likeness even from the
description.  We could fancy him rapidly making trial sketches, "Is that
near it?"  "No, fatter in the cheeks."  "Is _that_?"  "No, forehead a
little higher, more bald," and so on.  I myself was at Richmond, having
just come from school, about ten years after the appearance of
Pickwick--and for aught I know may have seen this Foster promenading it
on the Hill.  There was no particular interest then in Pickwick--which
was somewhat forgotten, the interest being absorbed in the newer and
brilliant works which Boz was bringing out.  The society there was
thoroughly Pickwickian; there were many old-fashioned figures, including
the Mr. Jesse at whom the "Ponto" story was directed.  We were gay
enough.  The old Star and Garter was flourishing.  There were the
Assembly Rooms at the Castle Inn, with "Almack's Balls"; barges coming
down on Regatta days, when people danced on the deck and feasted in the
cabin.  There were private parties and dinners, and the old
Theatre--Kean's, with the manager's house adjoining--was still standing
on the Green, opening fitfully enough for a few nights, and then closing
as fitfully.  There I saw "The Green Bushes."  Such a little Bandbox as
it was!  There were the two wooden staircases _outside_, of quaint
appearance.  Mr. Tupman may have been then alive and walking on the
Terrace.  He had retired there just twenty years before.  He had probably
rooms on the Green, near Maid of Honour Row.  This little sketch shows
clearly that Richmond is very nearly associated with Pickwick.  But here
comes in another reminiscence of Richmond, for there rises before me,
about a dozen years after the appearance of the book, the image of a very
Pickwickian figure--bald and "circular," cozy, wearing a white tie and
glasses--a favourite gossip with all the ladies--no other indeed than
Maria Edgworth's brother.  He was a florid, good-humoured personage, a
great talker, knew everybody in the place, and, like Mr. Pickwick, was an
old bachelor, and kept an important housekeeper.  He was genial and
hospitable, would give parties, dinners, and dances.  But the likeness in
physique was the oddest part.

As the outside of Foster, of Richmond, supplied Mr. Pickwick's outside
and habit as he lived, so his "in'ards," or character, was also turned to
profit and not wasted.  And here suggests itself a very likely
speculation.  This image of the Richmond Foster was before him; through
the book he thought of the old Beau and the ladies' protests.  The
amorous element would not do for his hero, for whom he had other work;
but while he left the physique to Pickwick he certainly transferred the
_character_ to one of his leading figures.  That this is not fanciful
will be seen.  Mr. Chapman described Foster as "a fat old Beau": he was
very popular, or, it may be, exceedingly well off.  And at a place like
Richmond he would be very _recherche_.  But is it not exactly suggestive
of Tupman--this "fat old Beau" devoted to the ladies?  ("Because you are
too old, sir; and too fat, sir," said his chief.)  And on the first
opportunity he _did_ get into tights, viz., as the brigand.  What is more
convincing is that at the close Boz sent Tupman back to Richmond whence
he came, and where we are carefully assured "he walks constantly on the
Terrace during the summer months with a youthful and jaunty air which has
rendered him the admiration of the numerous elderly dames of single
condition who reside in the vicinity."  Seeing Mr. Foster's occupation, I
really think that this accounts for the novelist's selection of Richmond.

Mr. Chapman recalled that not even the persuasion of the Richmond ladies
could induce Mr. Foster, of Richmond, to forego his "tights" and
gaiters--and much amusement was caused by the idiosyncrasy.  This
persistence, it is clear, was before Boz, who makes Mr. Pickwick abandon
his gaiters only at the Ball at Manor Farm, but we are distinctly told
"that it was the first time" he did so "within the memory of his oldest
friends."  Thus we have Foster, of Richmond, brought into actual touch
with his double.  Thus much for his physique, which, it is admitted, was
all that was drawn from Foster.  But that friendly manner; that genial,
amiable nature which made him think "the whole world akin;" whence did
Boz import all that?  I believe he found this genial, friendly type in
the very man who had suggested Foster, of Richmond, to him.  That this is
not purely fanciful will be seen from an account of Edward Chapman kindly
supplied to me by one of his family.

"He was a short, stoutish person, very good-humoured, an affectionate
family man, unaffected, and fond of the country.  But touching his
character; the first feature that came into my mind was his extreme
justice; in my very earliest years I remember being impressed by it--one
_felt_ it: all actions and motives were judged with a catholicity and
charity that made us trust him implicity, and I see my sister has the
same remembrance.  He was naturally of a quiet, easy disposition; not
much of a talker, but when he spoke he was always worth listening to.  I
see also she mentions his sense of humour, when his eyes would light up
with a merry twinkle.  I never remember hearing him say an unkind word to
anyone.  It is very pleasant to hear that papa is to be mentioned in
connection with Pickwick, and I will gladly tell you all I can regarding
my impressions of his character and tastes, &c.  We only saw him for a
short hour in the evening when he was tired after his day's work and
little inclined to talk, but we always had a child-like instinct of his
great justice and impartiality--an impression that I retained all through
his life.

"Later on, at Tunbridge Wells, where we saw more of him, I learned to
admire his vast store of knowledge, as there was hardly a subject that I
asked for information on that he did not know a great deal about.  Also
he had a great love of beauty in nature, and was never so happy as when
he had his favourite, shabby old hat on and a long stick, which he had
cut himself, in his hand, and poked about the grounds which surrounded
our house, inspecting the holly hedge and shrubs he had planted--in fact
it used to be a standing joke that he used to measure his holly bushes
every day to see how much they had grown in the night.  He was perfectly
happy in such a life, as it suited his peaceful contented nature.

"He was a man who never used a rough word to anyone, but his remarks, if
he were angry, could sting sharply.  He had a fund of quiet humour, like
a Scotchman, and his sallies told all the more, as they generally came
when least expected and without an effort.  Later on, I travelled with my
mother and him for several years and benefited greatly through his
knowledge and love of art, and his recognition and appreciation of all
that was good and worthy of admiration in foreign lands and peoples.  He
had a soft heart, too, and was always ready to help those who asked for
aid."

Next is introduced the prototype of Mr. Pickwick in a few touches:--

"There was an old family friend living at Richmond, named John Foster,
_not Forster_, who was quite a character, especially in his personal
appearance; it occurred to my father to introduce him to Dickens who had
just commenced the Pickwick Papers.  Accordingly, they were invited to
meet one another at dinner, and, from this copy, Dickens turned out
Pickwick.

"The trial in Pickwick was not originally written as it is given to the
public.  The number was just coming out and in the hands of "the reader"
(I believe John Forster was my father's reader at that time, and had been
educated for the Bar), when the following occurred: Dickens was going to
dine that evening at my father's house; they were waiting for dinner to
be announced, when a messenger came in a great hurry (I think it must
have been from the reader) to say that Dickens was wrong on a point of
law, and that something must be done at once as the number was on the eve
of publication, and the printers were waiting.  They rang the bell,
ordered dinner to be put back, and placed pen and paper before Dickens
who set to work at once and re-wrote part of the trial, there and then;
it was given to the messenger waiting in the hall, and Dickens sat down
to dinner with a comfortable feeling that the publication had been saved
in time.

"I have given these anecdotes as we remember hearing them spoken about in
our home.  I can picture the last one so well, the rapidity with which it
was done, the young author, my parents, and the pretty home in which it
took place.

"My father's marriage was a romantic one.  Visiting at Hitchin, he fell
in love with his next door neighbour, a very pretty little Quakeress,
dressed in the Quaker fashion of those days; her father was a very strict
Friend, and was made very uneasy at the attentions of this London lover;
but Mary was bright and vivacious, and encouraged him, and many were the
interviews contrived by the young couple.  Their rooms were on the same
floor, though in different houses; my father, behind a piece of
furniture, bored a hole through the dividing wall, and the lovers slipped
notes backwards and forwards by this means.  I am not aware that the
simple-hearted parents ever found it out.

"But, at last, Mary was persuaded to leave her sheltered home and launch
out into the world by his side.  They were married in the north of
England, from her brother's house; the bridegroom sending from London,
the day before the marriage, the dresses the little Quakeress was to robe
herself in when she slipped out of her garb.  The fit must have been
greatly left to chance!

"Being full of tact and of engaging manners, she proved an excellent
hostess, and well fitted for the position she held.

"My father died 20th February, 1880, aged 76, and was buried at Hitchin,
beside my mother.  He had long retired from business, and spent many
years abroad on account of my mother's health."

This pleasing sketch quite suggests the account given by Sterne of his
father.  There is a quaint, old-world air about it--and the traits are
really those of Mr. Pickwick in his later development.  We could imagine
the latter at Dulwich examining and measuring his holly bushes.  It would
not be too fanciful to suppose that Boz--constantly with him, dining with
him, and consulting him on every point--must have been impressed, and
influenced too, by those amiable qualities, particularly by that
unaffected simplicity and good-will which is also so notable in his hero.
So the figure stands thus--first, the long, thin man with Dry-as-dust
tastes: then the short, round philanthropist, whose externals were
suggested by the Foster, of Richmond, the latter's "internals" being
transferred to Tupman.  Not only do "Vith and Visdom" go together, but
also "Vith" and good humour and benevolence, which Boz felt were
necessary adjuncts to such a physique.  Where was he to find these?  Now,
we know how much Boz was inclined to draw from what was before his eyes.
It saved him trouble and also set his imagination at work.  The Cheeryble
Brothers, each a _Pickwick redivivus_, were taken from the Grant
Brothers, merchants, at Manchester.  And here he had this very
exceptional character daily before him, in the person of Edward Chapman.
{84}



CHAPTER XII.  THE CALVERLEY EXAMINATION PAPER


Few things have been more interesting to the Pickwickian, or have done
more to elevate Pickwickian study, than this celebrated _jeu d'esprit_.
Calverley, or Blayds--his original name--was a brilliant creature, well
known for his scholarship, verses, and sayings.  He early obtained a
fellowship at Cambridge, and was one of the youngest "Dons."  Like Dr.
Thomson, the celebrated Master, he is felt to be a characteristic and a
real personage, even by those little familiar with his work or writings.
He was, moreover, an ardent Pickwickian and thoroughly saturated with the
spirit of the immortal book, to appreciate which a first-rate memory,
which he possessed, is essential; for the details, allusions, names,
suggestions, are so immense that they require to be present together in
the mind, and jostle each other out of recollection.  In the 'fifties,
there were at Cambridge a number of persons interested in the Book, who
were fond of quoting it and detecting oddities.  It was in the year 1858
or 1859--for, curious to say, the year cannot be fixed--that Calverley
conceived the _bizarre_ idea of offering a premium for the best answers
to a series of searching examination questions, drawn from this classic.
It was held at his own rooms at 7 o'clock in the evening, as Sir Walter
Besant, one of the candidates, recalls it.  There were about a dozen
entered, the most formidable of whom were Skeat, the present professor of
Anglo-Saxon, a well-known Chaucerian scholar, and Sir Walter Besant
aforesaid.  The latter describes the scene in very dramatic fashion--the
Examiner, in his gown, cap, and hood, gravely walking up and down during
the two hours the examination lasted, going through the ceremonial with
all the regular solemnity of the Senate House.  The candidates, we are
told, expected a sort of jocose business, and were little prepared for
the "stiffness" of the questions which were of the deep and searching
kind they were accustomed to in the case of a Greek Play or a Latin Epic.
Almost at once, three-fourths showed by their helpless bewilderment that
the thing was beyond them; and the struggle lay between the two
well-versed Pickwickians--Besant and Skeat.  The latter was known to have
his "Pickwick" at his fingers' ends, and Besant confessed that he had but
small hopes of success.  Both plodded steadily through the long list of
questions.  It should be said that the competition was open only to
members of Christ Church College, which thus excluded the greatest
reputed Pickwickian of them all, John Lempriere Hammond--the name, by the
way, of the "creator" of Sam Weller on the stage.  Besant went steadily
through his list of questions to the end, revised his answers, and got
his paper ready for delivery, but Skeat worked on to the very last
moment.  An evening or two later, as they were going into Hall, Calverley
pinned up his report on the board at the door just like one of the usual
University reports, and there was read the result:--

Besant . . . 1st Prize

Skeat . . . 2nd Prize

The authorities were not a little shocked at a liberty which assumed the
aspect of a burlesque of their own proceedings, and Calverley was spoken
to gently by a Don of the older school.  The paper of questions certainly
shows what ability may be brought to bear on so trifling a matter; for
there is really a power of analysis and a grasp of "inner meaning" that
is most remarkable.  Sir Walter has very acutely commented on this little
"exercise," and has shown that it reached much higher than a mere jest.
It brought out the extraordinary capacities of the book which have
exercised so many minds.  For "The Pickwick Examination," he says, "was
not altogether a burlesque of a college examination; it was a very real
and searching examination in a book which, brimful as it is of merriment,
mirth, and wit, is just as intensely human as a book can be.  The
characters are not puppets in a farce, stuck up only to be knocked down:
they are men and women.  Page after page, they show their true characters
and reveal themselves; they are consistent; even when they are most
absurd they are most real; we learn to love them.  It is a really serious
test paper; no one could answer any of it who had not read and re-read
the Pickwick Papers, and acquired, so to speak, a mastery of the subject.
No one could do well in the examination who had not gone much further
than this and got to know the book almost by heart.  It was a most
wonderful burlesque of the ordinary College and Senate House examination,
considering the subject from every possible point of view.  Especially is
it rich in the department then dear to Cambridge: the explanation of
words, phrases, and idioms."

Some of these cruxes, Sir Walter tells us, could not be solved by the
examiner, and were laid before Boz himself, with a copy of the questions.
Needless to say, Boz was infinitely amused, but, to the general
disappointment, could or would give no information.  The answer of
Browning on a similar appeal is well known--he referred his questioners
to the Browning Society, as knowing as much as he did on the point.  There
is no doubt that this is the true philosophy of the thing: that, once his
ideas are in print, the author has no more to do with them or their
meaning than anyone else has.  The passages must speak for themselves;
they are children sent into the world--helpless infants like those
Pickwickian "expletives, let loose upon society."  Among these
unexplained things were "my Prooshan Blue" and "Old Nobs."  Sir Walter,
with real Pickwickian sagacity, points to a true explanation which may be
applied in other cases.  "Probably it was a phrase _which he had heard in
a crowd_, and had never asked himself what it meant," _i.e._, it seemed
appropriate, and what a person in such a case would use.  This is in fact
part of that "hallucination" of which G. H. Lewes spoke; the scene came
so completely before Boz that the words and phrases suggested themselves
to him and could not be denied, and he did not ask them to give any
account.  This principle, however, does not hinder an amusing display of
speculation.  Mr. Andrew Lang's explanation of "My Prooshan Blue" is
certainly far fetched.  He thinks it refers to a dreamy notion of George
IV., who, at one moment, thought of changing the British uniform to the
Prussian Blue.  Now, this was not known at the time, and came out years
later.  It had certainly not reached persons of the Weller class.  The
truth is that most of Sam's grotesque epithets, _e.g._, "young Brokiley
sprout," were the arbitrary coinage of a fantastic mind.  This, too, as
Sir Walter said, "he may have heard in a crowd," or in the mazes of his
own brain.  "Old Nobs" is just as reasonable as Hamlet's "Old Truepenny."
"Are you there, Old Truepenny," might have been said by Sam to his
father, as Hamlet addressed it to _his_.



CHAPTER XIII.  PICKWICK IN REAL LIFE


I.--Dowler and John Forster


The truculent Dowler figured before in "The Tuggs at Ramsgate"--a very
amusing and Pickwickian tale--under the title of Capt. Waters, who
exhibits the same simulated ferocity and jealousy of his spouse.
Cruickshank's sketch, too, of the Captain is like that of Dowler when
throwing up the window in the Crescent.  Mrs. Waters is made as
attractive as Mrs. Dowler, and Cymon Tuggs, like Winkle, excites the
jealousy of the husband.

"Stop him," roared Dowler, "hold him--keep him tight--shut him in till I
come down--I'll cut his throat--give me a knife--from ear to ear, Mrs.
Craddock, I will."  And Captain Waters: "Ah! what do I see?  Slaughter,
your sabre--unhand me--the villain's life!"

In the same story we have an anticipation of another incident: the
shutting up and detection of Pipkin in the cupboard, who is discovered by
a pipe being required, just as young Tuggs was by his coughing from the
tobacco smoke.  Boz was partial to this method of discovery, for, at the
close, Snodgrass was thus concealed and shut up at Osborne's Hotel.  His
detection, through the stupidity of the Fat Boy, is singularly natural
and original.

Some of Dowler's dictatorial ways may have been suggested by Boz's
friend, the redoubtable John Forster.  There is one passage in the Bath
chapters where we almost seem to hear our old friend speaking, when he
took command of his friends and introduced them, "My friend, Angelo Cyrus
Bantam, Esquire, know each other."  "Bantam; Mr. Pickwick and his friends
are strangers.  _They must put their names down_.  _Where's the book_?"
Then adds: "This is a long call.  It's time to go; I shall be here again
in an hour.  _Come_."  And at the assembly he still continued his
patronage and direction of everybody.  "Step in the tea-room--take your
sixpenn'orth.  They lay on hot water and call it tea.  Drink it," said
Mr. Dowler, _in a loud voice_, _directing Mr. Pickwick_."  Forster "all
over."  We have heard him "direct" on many an occasion.  When starting
from the White Horse Cellars, Dowler, fancying that more passengers were
to be squeezed into the coach, said he would be d---d if there were; he'd
bring an action against the company, and take a post chaise.



II.--Thackeray


In Thackeray's "Newcomes," the writer had some reminiscences of a place
like Eatanswill, for we are told of the rival newspapers, "The Newcome
Independent" and "The Newcome Sentinel," the former being edited by one
Potts.  These journals assailed each other like their brethren in
"Pickwick."  "Is there any man in Newcome except, perhaps, our _twaddling
old contemporary_, _the Sentinel_," &c.  Doyle's picture of the election
is surely a reminiscence of Phiz's.  There is the same fight between the
bandsmen--the drum which someone is kicking a hole in, the brass
instrument used, placards, flags, and general _melee_.

Doyle could sketch Forster admirably.  Witness the drawing of the
travelling party in a carriage, given by Mr. Kitton in his wonderful
collection, "Dickens, by pen and pencil," where he has caught Forster's
"magisterial" air to the life.  The picture, "F. B.," Fred Bayham in the
story, is certainly the figure of Forster (vol. ii., pp. 55 and 116.)  F.
B. is shown both as a critic and pressman, though he has nothing of J.
F.'s domineering ways.  Again, the waiter, speaking of Lord Highgate,
said he was a _most harbitrary gent_.  This refers to the memorable story
of Forster being summoned by the cabman who said he did so because "he
were such a harbitrary cove."  The truth was, Forster knew the distance
to a yard, and would tender the cabman his exact fare and no more.  Once,
dining with Forster at a hotel in the country where he had rooms, we lit
our cigars after dinner, on which the waiter remonstrated, saying it was
not allowed.  Then I knew the meaning of a "Harbitrary Cove."  How the
irate Forster blew him up, roared at him, and drove him out, terrified!
It was, indeed, Dowler threatening the coach proprietor.

Thackeray would of course have known the story; he meant a sort of veiled
allusion which had or had not a reference.  We have the key to this sort
of thing in the strange, uncomplimentary reference to Catherine Hayes,
the murderess, but which was at once applied to an interesting and
celebrated Irish singer of the same name.  The author must have
anticipated this, and, perhaps, chuckled over the public ignorance, but
the allusion was far-fetched.  In the same fashion a dramatist once chose
to dub one of his characters by my own rather unusual name, on which he
protested that he never dreamt of it, that others bore it; still he,
however, was obliged to remove it.

Again, on p. 55 we have this passage: "I was thirsty, having walked from
"Jack Straw's Castle," at Hampstead, where poor Kiteley and I had been
taking a chop."  This was written in 1855, only a few years after
Forster's admirable performance of Kiteley with the other amateurs in
"Every man in his humour."  "Jack Straw's Castle," too, was a regular
haunt of Forster and Dickens.  It is as certain as anything can be that
this allusion was not an accidental one.



III.--Tupman


Tupman's relations to Mr. Pickwick were somewhat peculiar; he was
elderly--about Mr. Pickwick's age--whereas Winkle and Snodgrass were
young fellows under Mr. Pickwick's guardianship.  Over them he could
exercise despotic authority; which he did, and secured obedience.  It was
difficult to do this in the case of his contemporary, Tupman, who
naturally resented being "sat upon."  In the incident of the _Fete_ at
Mrs. Leo Hunter's, and the Brigand's dress--"the two-inch tail," Mr.
Pickwick was rather insulting and injudicious, gibing at and ridiculing
his friend on the exhibition of his corpulence, so that Tupman, stung to
fury, was about to assault him.  Mr. Pickwick had to apologise, but it is
clear the insult rankled; and it would appear that Tupman was never
afterwards much in the confidence of his leader, and, for that matter, in
the confidence of his author.  Boz, either consciously or unconsciously,
felt this.  Tupman, too, never seems to have got over the figure he "cut"
in the spinster aunt business, and the loss of general respect.

Still he submitted to be taken about under Mr. Pickwick's patronage, but
soon the mutual irritation broke out.  The occasion was the latter's
putting on speckled stockings for the dance at Manor Farm.  "_You_ in
silk stockings," exclaimed Tupman, jocosely; a most natural, harmless
remark, considering that Mr. Pickwick invariably wore his gaiters at
evening parties.  But the remark was hotly resented, and challenged.  "You
see nothing extraordinary in the stockings _as_ stockings, I trust, sir?"
Of course his friend said "No, certainly not," which was the truth, but
Mr. Pickwick put aside the obvious meaning.  Mr. Tupman "walked away,"
wishing to avoid another altercation, afraid to trust himself; and Mr.
Pickwick, proud of having once more "put him down," assumed his
"customary benign expression."  This did not promise well.

In all the Manor Farm jollity, we hear little or nothing of Tupman, who
seems to have been thought a cypher.  No doubt he felt that the girls
could never look at him without a smile--thinking of the spinster aunt.
In the picture of the scene, we find this "old Buck" in the foreground,
on one knee, trying to pickup a pocket handkerchief and holding a young
lady by the hand.  Snodgrass and his lady are behind; Winkle and his
Arabella on the other side; Trundle and his lady at the fire.  Then who
was Tupman's young woman?  She is not mentioned in the text, yet is
evidently a prominent personage--one of the family.  At Ipswich, he was
crammed into the sedan chair with his leader--two very stout
gentlemen--which could not have increased their good humour, though
Tupman assisted him from within to stand up and address the mob.  We are
told that "all Mr. Tupman's entreaties to have the lid of the vehicle
closed" were unattended to.  He felt the ridicule of his position--a
sedan chair carried along, and a stout man speaking.  This must have
produced friction.  Then there was the sense of injustice in being
charged with aiding and abetting his leader, which Mr. Pickwick did not
attempt to clear him from.  When Mr. Pickwick fell through the ice,
Tupman, instead of rendering help, ran off to Manor Farm with the news of
the accident.

Then the whole party went down to Bath and, during their stay there, we
have not a word of Tupman.  He came to see his friend in the Fleet--with
the others of course.  But now for the remarkable thing.  On Mr.
Pickwick's happy release and when every one was rejoining, Wardle invited
the whole party to a family dinner at the Osborne.  There were Snodgrass,
Winkle, Perker even, but no Tupman!  Winkle and his wife were at the
"George and Vulture."  Why not send to Tupman as well.  No one perhaps
thought of him--he had taken no interest in the late exciting adventures,
had not been of the least help to anybody--a selfish old bachelor.  When
Mr. Pickwick had absented himself looking for his Dulwich house, it is
pointed out with marked emphasis that certain folk--"among whom was Mr.
Tupman"--maliciously suggested that he was busy looking for a wife!
Neither Winkle nor Snodgrass started this hypothesis, but Tupman.  He,
however, was at Dulwich for Winkle's marriage, and had a seat on the
Pickwick coach.  In later days, we learn that the Snodgrasses settled
themselves at Dingley Dell so as to be near the family--the Winkles, at
Dulwich, to be near Mr. Pickwick, both showing natural affection.  The
selfish Tupman, thinking of nobody but himself, settled at Richmond where
he showed himself on the Terrace with a youthful and jaunty air, "trying
to attract the elderly single ladies of condition."  All the others kept
in contact with their chief, asking him to be godfather, &c.  But we have
not a word of Tupman.  It is likely, with natures such as his, that he
never forgot the insulting remark about his corpulence.  That is the way
with such vain creatures.

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."





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