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went, in a permiscuous manner, up stairs, and into the back room.
Gentlemen, there was the sound of voices in the front room, and“ And you listened, I believe, Mrs. Cluppins ?
Beggin' your pardon, sir, I would scorn the haction. The voices was very loud, sir, and forced themselves upon my ear." Well
, Mrs. Cluppins, you were not listening, but you heard the voices. Was one of those voices Pickwick's?”
Yes, it were, sir.” And Mrs. Cluppins, after distinctly stating that Mr. Pickwick addressed himself to Mrs. Bardell, repeated, by slow degrees, and by dint of many questions, the conversation she had heard, Which, like many other conversations repeated under such circumstances, or, indeed, like many other conversations repeated under any circumstances, was of the smallest possible importance in itself, but looked big now.
Mrs. Cluppins, having broken the ice, thought it a favourable opportunity for entering into a short dissertation on her own domestic affairs; so she straightway proceeded to inform the court that she was the mother of eight children at that present speaking, and that she entertained confident expectations of presenting Mr. Cluppins with a ninth somewhere about that day six months. At this interesting point, the little judge interposed most irascibly, and the worthy lady was taken out of court.
“ Nathaniel Winkle!” said Mr. Skimpin.
“ Here!” Mr. Winkle entered the witness-box, and, having been duly sworn, bowed to the judge, who acknowledged the compliment by saying :
Court. “Don't look at me, sir; look at the jury.”
Mr. Winkle obeyed the mandate, and looked at the place where he thought the jury might be.
Mr. Winkle was then examined by Mr. Skimpin.
“Now, sir, have the goodness to let his Lordship and the jury know what your name is, will you ? ' Mr. Skimpin inclined bis head on one side, and listened with great sharpness for the answer, as if to imply that he
rather thought Mr. Winkle's natural taste for perjury
-any other name?”
66 sir ?"
“I didn't, my Lord."
Court. “You did, sir. How could I have got Daniel on my notes, unless you told me so, sir?"
“ Mr. Winkle has rather a short memory, my Lord; we shall find means to refresh it before we have quite done with him, I dare say. Now, Mr. Winkle, attend to me if you please, sir; and let me recommend you to be careful. I believe you are a particular friend of Pickwick, the defendant, are you not?”
“I have known Mr. Pickwick now, as well as I recollect at this moment, nearly—”
Pray, Mr. Winkle, do not evade the question. Are you, or are you not, a particular friend of the defendant's?”
“I was just about to say, that—”
Court." If you don't answer the question, you'll be committed to prison, sir ? ”
Yes, I am. “ Yes, you are.
And couldn't you say that at once, sir? Perhaps you know the plaintiff, too? Eh, Mr. Winkle ?"
“I don't know her; but I've seen her.”
“0, you don't know her, but you've seen her? Now have the goodness to tell the gentlemen of the jury what you mean by that, Mr. Winkle."
“I mean that I am not intimate with her, but that I have seen her when I went to call on Mr. Pickwick in Goswell Street."
“How often have you seen her, sir ?”
6 How often?
“Yes, Mr. Winkle, how often? I'll repeat the question for you a dozen times, if you require it, sir.".
On this question there arose the edifying brow-beating customary on such points. First of all, Mr. Winkle said it was quite impossible for him to say how many times he had seen Mrs. Bardell. Then he was asked whether he hadn't seen her twenty times, to which he replied, “Certainly, -more than that." Then he was asked whether he hadn't seen her a hundred times, whether he couldn't swear that he had seen her more than fifty times,—whether he didn't know that he had seen her at least seventy-five times, and so forth.
Pray, Mr. Winkle, do you remember calling on the defendant, Pickwick, at these apartments in the plaintiff's house in Goswell Street, on one particular morning, in the month of July last?"
“Yes, I do."
"Were you accompanied on that occasion by a friend of the name of Tupman, and another of the name of Snodgrass ?”
“ Yes, I was.”
Yes, they are,” looking very earnestly towards the spot where his friends were stationed.
Pray attend to me, Mr. Winkle, and never mind your friends," with an expressive look at the jury. They must tell their stories without any previous consultation with
you, if none has yet taken place” (another look at the jury).
Now, sir, tell the gentlemen of the jury what you saw on entering the defendant's room, on this particular morning. Come; out with it, sir ; we must have it, sooner or later."
“ The defendant, Mr. Pickwick, was holding the plaintiff in his arms, with his hands clasping her waist, and the plaintiff appeared to have fainted away."
“ Did you hear the defendant say anything?”
“I heard him call Mrs. Bardell a good creature, and I heard him ask her to compose herself, for what a situation it was, if anybody should come, or words to that effect.
"Now, Mr. Winkle, I have only one more question to ask you. Will you undertake to swear that Pickwick, the defendant, did not say, on the occasion in question, • My dear Mrs. Bardell, you're a good creature ; compose yourself to this situation, for to this situation you must come,' or words to that effect?”
“1-I didn't understand him so, certainly. I was on the staircase, and couldn't hear distinctly; the impression on my mind is,”
“ The gentlemen of the jury want none of the impressions on your mind, Mr. Winkle, which I fear would be of little service to honest straightforward men.
You were on the staircase, and didn't distinctly hear; but you will not swear that Pickwick did not make use of the expressions I have quoted ? So I understand that?”
"No, I will not.” "You may leave the box, sir.” Tracy Tupman and Augustus Snodgrass were severally called into the box; both corroborated the testimony of their unhappy friend; and each was driven to the verge of desperation by excessive badgering.
Susannah Sanders was then called, and examined by Sergeant Buzfuz, and cross-examined by Sergeant Snubbin. Had always said and believed that Pickwick would marry Mrs. Bardell ; knew that Mrs. Bardell's being engaged to Pickwick was the current topic of conversation in the neighbourhood after the fainting in July. Had heard Pickwick ask the little boy how he should like to have another father. Did not know that Mrs. Bardell was at that time keeping company with the baker, but did know that the baker was then a single man, and is now married. Thought Mrs. Bardell fainted away on the morning in July, because Pickwick asked her to name the day; knew that she (witness) fainted away stone dead when Mr. Sanders asked her to name the day; and believed that anybody as called herself a lady would do the same under similar circumstances. During the period of her keeping company with Mr. Sanders, she had received love-letters, like other ladies. In the course of their correspondence Mr, Sanders had often called her a “duck,"
but he had never called her “chops,” nor yet“ tomato sauce.”
Sergeant Buzfuz now rose with more importance than he had yet exhibited, if that were possible, and said : “ Call Samuel Weller."
It was quite unnecessary to call Samuel Weller, for Samuel Weller stepped into the box the instant his name was pronounced ; and placing his hat on the floor, and his arms on the rail, took a bird's-eye view of the bar, and a comprehensive survey of the bench, with a remarkably cheerful and lively aspect.
Court. “ What's your name, sir ? ”
Here a voice in the gallery exclaimed, “ Quite right too, Samivel, quite right. Put it down a we, my Lord, put it down a we."
Court. “Who is that, who dares to address the court?
“ Yes, my Lord.”
Yes, my Lord.”
Court. “Do you know who that was, sir?”
Sam stared up into the lantern in the roof of the court, and said : “ Why, no, my Lord, I can't say that I do see him at the present moment."
Court. * If you could have pointed him out, I would have sent him to jail instantly."
Sam bowed his acknowledgements.