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ably is that the shocking and disgusting scene was too common in the manners of the day to leave any enduring feeling. The total amount of liquor, especially of punch, both hot and cold, which was consumed in the course of this veracious history is entirely beyond present computation. It was cold punch which was the cause of Mr. Pickwick's being taken in the wheelbarrow to the pound by orders of the ferocious Captain Boldwig, and when rescued from that ignoble predicament by the fortunate and fortuitous arrival of Mr. Wardle with Sam Weller in the carriage they stopped at the first roadside tavern they came to and ordered a glass of brandy and water all round, with a magnum of extra strength for Mr. Samuel Weller. It was not by any means an age in which it was thought a sinful thing to "place temptation in a servant's way." It appears, however, that Mr. Weller had inherited, probably in the paternal line, a brain of such remarkable power as to be practically impervious to the influence of alcohol, for though we find him on every possible occasion that offers applying himself ungrudgingly to the bowl that cheers, in no single instance does the indulgence becloud his extremely lucid faculties. Not only is Mr. Weller great in this respect himself, but he is also capable of generous appreciation of similar fine qualities in others, for we are told that when the fat boy swallowed off a glass of something extremely strong "without winking" the performance appeared to raise him considerably in Mr. Weller's estimation. The whole tendency of the time, in fact, was towards faith in that prescription ordered by Mr. Bob Sawyer for Mr. Pickwick after his unfortunate immersion through the breaking ice. It may be remembered that on that occasion a bowl of punch was carried up to the great man's bedroom and
a grand carouse held in honor of his safety. A second and a third bowl were ordered in. And when Mr. Pickwick awoke next morning there was not a symptom of rheumatism about him; which proves, as Mr. Bob Sawyer very justly observed, that there is nothing like hot punch in such cases, and that if ever hot punch did fail to act as a preservative, it was merely because the patient fell into the vulgar error of not taking enough of it.
It is to be feared that our present must be regarded by Mr. Sawyer, if he still lives, as lamentably vulgar.
After these comments which must have something of a censorious flavor, however we may try to disguise it, on the habits of our forefathers, it seems only right to draw attention to other points of behavior in which they were considerably more nice than we are to-day. The habit of smoking was regarded with a general reprobation as a dirty one. We may observe that fact recorded or implied in many pages of the immortal story. When the gentleman who sat opposite the man with the mosaic studs remarked that tobacco was board and lodging to him, Mr. Pickwick, looking at him, could not help thinking that it was a pity it was not washing also. The connection is always maintained-between dirt and tobacco. Perhaps this is a subject which may very well be studied in conjunction with the manners and customs of the medical students of the day. Sam Weller, mentioning to Mr. Pickwick the arrival at Manor Farm of two specimens of the species, informs him, among other interesting particulars, that "They're asmokin' cigars by the kitchen fire." It may be noted as a sign of the times that the smoker should be thus banished to the cook's kingdom. The day was still to come when every house should have its smoking-room, or al
ternatively, that there should be smoking in every room in the house.
In reply to this observation on the part of Sam, Mr. Pickwick with his beaming kindliness says, not perhaps greatly to the point, “Ah!-overflowing with kindly feelings and animal spirits. Just what I like to see." It is a little hard for common men to follow the workings of the great Pickwickian brain which could see indications of these qualities in smoking cigars in a kitchen, but the observation is almost supernaturally justified by Sam's further description:
One of 'em's got his legs on the table, and is a-drinkin' brandy neat, vile the tother one-him in the barnacles-has got a barrel o' oysters atween his knees, wich he's a-openin' like steam, and as fast as he eats 'em he takes a aim vith the shells at young dropsy, who's a-sittin' down, fast asleep, in his chimbley corner.
If all this does not show an overflow of kindly feelings and animal spirits we may well ask what could? As Mr. Pickwick truly says, these are to be regarded as the eccentricities of genius.
It may be worth while, at this point, to give the impressions of the two rising medical men, when at length seen by Mr. Pickwick, in the author's own words, for they incidentally touch the great tobacco question which we are considering at the same time as they are more immediately concerned with a faithful picture of the appearance of the young gentlemen of the medical profession:
Mr. Benjamin Allen was a coarse, stout, thick-set young man, with black hair cut rather short, and a white face cut rather long. He was embellished with spectacles and wore a white neckerchief. Below his single-breasted black overcoat, which was buttoned up to his chin, appeared the usual number of pepper and salt colored legs, terminating in a pair of imperfectly polished
boots. Although his coat was short in the sleeve, it disclosed no vestige of a linen wristband; and although there was quite enough of his face to permit the encroachment of a shirt collar, it was not graced by the slightest approach to that appendage. He presented, altogether, rather a mildewy appearance, and emitted a fragrant odor of full-flavored Cubas.
Mr. Bob Sawyer, who was habited in a coarse blue coat which, without being either a greatcoat or a surtout, partook of the nature and qualities of both, had about him that sort of slovenly smartness and swaggering gait which is peculiar to young men who smoke in the street by day, shout and scream in the same by night, call waiters by their Christian names, and do various other acts and deeds of an equally facetious description. He wore a pair of plaid trousers, and a large double-breasted waistcoat, and out of doors carried a thick stick with a big top. He eschewed gloves, and looked, upon the whole, something like a dissipated Robinson Crusoe.
This is a description which is very rich and full with the marrow of information. We have to distinguish between the picture which the author sets himself to draw (no doubt consciously caricatured) on the one side, and the pictures which scintillate forth, unintentionally, and therefore strictly veraciously, on the other. When he penned this comment about "gentlemen who smoke in the street by day," he had no suspicion that it would be an illumination for posterity on the manners of the time he was discussing. Obviously this was a dreadful solecism -for a young gentleman to smoke in the streets by day. For a middle-aged gentleman to be dead drunk at every hour of the twenty-four was as nothing, comparatively. To-day a gentleman, even of the rank of the medical student, might possibly go so far as to "eschew gloves" without exciting the idea of "a dissipated Robinson Crusoe." As for the "fragrant odor
emerged from his chariot at the door of the Assembly Rooms." And so on. That marks the hour. There was dancing, there were cards, and there was tea, at 6d. a cup, but it does not appear that there was anything of a stronger nature, either in the way of solids or fluids. It was not until after his return to the "White Hart" that Mr. Pickwick "soothed his feelings with something hot." They had sat at the card table till ten minutes past eleven, and perhaps it was partly this prolonged and unaccustomed absti nence from anything stronger than tea that led Mr. Pickwick to play, in a manner scarcely worthy of his great intellectual powers, with the painful result that "Miss Bolo rose from the table considerably agitated, and went straight home, in a flood of tears and a sedan chair."
of full-flavored Cubas" attending Mr. Allen, we must, of course, put that down to Dickens's ignorance of "the noxious weed." We may be quite sure that the tobacco which gentlemen in their position would have smoked would never have sprung from the favored soil of that tropical island. It is rather by the irony of fate that the name of a man who evidently had such a horror of the weed should have been associated a few years later with a brand of cigars of a quality other than that of those which come from Havana, under the name, used with a familiarity which is scarcely less than blasphemous, of "Pickwicks."
We have further indications, besides this just referred to, that demeanor in the public streets was studied with much attention. If we move into another class of society, and consider for a moment the incidents revolving round the "swarree" at Bath as their focus and centre, we find that even in that provincial town (though no doubt it was the resort of all the fashion of the day) it was "to the great horror of Mr. John Smauker when Sam Weller began to whistle" as they went along the street. We have, of course, to be careful how we criticise in company that is too high for us, and, again, to guard ourselves from misconception with some suspicion that perhaps our author's account of this society which he depicts so much to our edification may be due to the splendid fertility of his imagination, like his report of the Dingley Dell cricket match. We had perhaps do better to move to more assured ground. This we probably reach when we come to the description of the assembly in the same town. This is surely a rich mine. For one incidental point, the time of assemblage is notable "precisely twenty minutes before eight o'clock that night, Angelo Cyrus Bantam, Esq., the Master of the Ceremonies,
It was an age, it may be observed, in which ladies burst into tears, or fell into faints, on every conceivable occasion and on very slight excuse. The widow Bardell in the embarrassed embraces of Mr. Pickwick, the unconsciousness and ingenuous self-betrayal of the maiden aunt when Mr. Tracy Tupman met with his unhappy accident at the hands of Mr. Winkle and many more cases might be cited from the pages of this story, but it is not a point on which it is worth while dwelling because it is illustrated in so many other contemporary stories of comparatively little note. Miss Bolo's going off in the sedan chair really suggests a more interesting line of criticism than her flood of tears. In Bath, it appears, they were the mode, and the fact reappears with all the agitating circumstances which culminated with Mr. Winkle, in light attire, bouncing first into, and shortly after out of, the sedan chair already occupied by Mrs. Dowler. It would seem, however, as if these "sedantary" means of conveyance, as some shameless punster has
dared to name them, were certainly not the ordinary vehicles for gentlemen to use in London, whatever they may have been for the ladies in Bath. We may distinguish several kinds of equipage. There is the chariot in various designs, amongst which the mail cart of Lord Mutanhed has perhaps first claims on our admiration, and other different kinds of private carriage, such as the open barouche in which Mr. Wardle and family first make their benevolent appearance. There are the regular coaches, with Mr. Weller, Senior, and other gentlemen of the boiled-beef complexion on the driver's seat, posting along the roads, and there are post-chaises, which can be hired privately on great occasions, such as that triumphal progress in which Mr. Bob Sawyer figured on the roof of the conveyance, brandishing a flag in one hand and a bottle of punch in the other. It is, however, obviously useless to attempt to go through the whole list of carriages of the day, when the great master himself could arrive no closer to the description of one of them than by the strictly negative process of remarking that "the vehicle was not exactly a gig, neither was it a stanhope. It was not what is commonly denominated a dog-cart, neither was it a taxed cart, nor a chaise cart, nor a guillotined cabriolet."
Now one of the questions in the famous Pickwick examination paper set by Mr. Calverley (C.S.C.) might well have been a definition of a "guillotined cabriolet." Did Dickens by this phrase suggest the guillotining off of the head of the word, "cab," leaving "riolet" for any etymological scavenger to carry away? I do not know. This I know, that they had cabs in London of the Pickwickian day, that they also had the hackney coach, and that the latter was of the greater glory; but their exact relations still seem a little obscure.
Mr. Samuel Weller, in conversation
with his father, and perhaps paying him, by subtle inference, a delicate compliment on the superiority of the mail coach to other vehicles, replies to his father's question as to whether Mr. Pickwick was arriving by cab with "Yes, he's a-havin' two mile o' danger at eightpence," thus indirectly throwing an illuminating ray on the scale of charges at that period. The relatively greater glory of the hackney coach, as compared with the cab, is: sufficiently indicated by the arrangement of a certain very melancholy procession in which "a coach having been procured, the four Pickwickians and Mr. Perker esconced themselves therein, and drove to the Guildhall, Sam Weller, Mr. Lowther and the blue bag following in a cab." It is evident, from the company which it accommodated, that the coach must have been of respectable dimensions. . It does not seem, however, that the pace of even this more glorious mode of conveyance usually erred on the side of excess, though apparently with two horses attached to it, for on another occasion it is stated that, although "the horses 'went better' when they had anything before them," they accommodated their pace to a cart immediately preceding them all along Fleet Street. But "Time performs wonders. By the powerful old gentleman's aid even a hackney coach gets over half a mile of ground." Though this may be the language of just criticism, it can hardly be said to be the language of eulogy of the pace at which the journey was accomplished. Some further light is thrown on the correct fares on a very early page of the story, by the comment of the driver of the cab which Mr. Pickwick engaged at St. Martin'sle-Grand to. take him to the "Golden Cross." "'Only a bob's vorth, Tommy,' cried the driver, sulkily, for the information of his friend the waterman, as the cab drove off." Some
doubts on the veracity of the calculator may be suggested by the striking information which he gave Mr. Pickwick as to the age of the horse and the periods for which it was commonly kept out at a time, but it would not seem that this gratuitous statement to the waterman was affected by any motive which could reasonably tempt him to untruthfulness. It is to be admitted that the cab-driver proved himself truly akin with his brethren of the present day by refusing his proper fare with contumely, and even with pugnacity, when it was proffered, and though he was eventually induced to accept it, this drive was probably the most costly which Mr. Pickwick ever undertook, even in the course of his exceptionally eventful life, since it gained him the expensive privilege of the acquaintance of Mr. Jingle.
The illustrations of Seymour and "Phiz" may be accepted, with a certain discount allowed for their quite conscious and intentional tendency to caricature, as giving us accurate pictures of the scenes in which the great drama is played. They give us a cab, and many other styles of vehicle, but we have to look elsewhere for a hackney coach.
It has been very often remarked that Dickens's conception of his central character altered, much for the better and nobler, as the story went forward. His first idea, undoubtedly, was to make him a ridiculous old gentleman, the butt of all the world. As the tale proceeds the author grows enamored with his great creation, that central figure develops a benevolence, even a wisdom, though tempered by an ineradicable simplicity which led such a sagacious judge of men as Sam Weller to speak of him as an angel in tights.
It has been noted less often that during the course of the tale Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass become progresLIVING AGE. VOL. XLIV. 2318
sively more juvenile. At first no hint is given of any great difference in the ages of the four members of the Pickwick Club, nor do the early illustrations convey the difference to us with any distinctness. It seems to have been only when he had brought them into the delightful circle of Mr. Wardle's family party that the author entertained the idea of making Mr. Winkle and Mr. Suodgrass suitable in point of age to be claimants for the hands of Miss Emily Wardle and Miss Arabella Allen. From that point the relation of Mr. Pickwick towards them becomes ever more and more paternal. It is not until Mr. Winkle had collided violently with Mr. Sawyer on the ice and Mr. Pickwick issues the peremptory order "Take of his skates" that we hear the first sound of the paternal note. In course of that flagitious trial in which so much aspersion is thrown on the character of the best of men, we find Mr. Winkle informing Mr. Phunky that Mr. Pickwick is "old enough to be his father," and finally, in his match-making interview with Mr. Winkle, Senior, Mr. Pickwick appears avowedly in the light of a second parent to this rejuvenated protégé.
These are but incidental developments in the course of the best of all good histories. It is the incidental lights that it has been the aim of this paper to bring into relief. Such stern and conscientious portrait painting as that of the Fleet Prison and the Eatanswill election is "another story," and told for us in such a way as to need no commentator. It is the sidelights which are apt to escape him who reads as he runs. Mr. Pickwick kissing all the ladies as he says good-bye at Manor Farm and tapping the rosy cheeks of all the female servants as he presses what we may be very sure was an extremely liberal tip into the hand of each-these and the like-are the points which are apt to escape no