Page:Hopkinson Smith--In Dickens's London.djvu/92

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"'Because, Sir,' replied Mr. Winkle, who had had time to deliberate upon his answer—'because, Sir, you described an intoxicated and ungentlemanly person as wearing a coat, which I have the honour, not only to wear, but to have invented the proposed uniform, Sir, of the Pickwick Club in London. The honour of that uniform I feel bound to maintain, and I therefore, without inquiry, accepted the challenge which you offered me.'

"'My dear Sir,' said the good-humoured little Doctor, advancing with extended hand, 'I honour your gallantry.'…

'"I beg you won't mention it, Sir,' said Mr. Winkle.

"'I shall feel proud of your acquaintance, Sir,' said the little Doctor."

At which everybody returned to the Inn where the night was spent in unlimited libations.

My work at The Bull finished, I set out the next afternoon to find The Leather Bottle at Cobham, following the road taken by Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass when they went in search of Mr. Tracy Tupman, who having been deserted by a lovely and fascinating creature a victim to the artifices of a villain had retired to this commodious village ale-house, there to rest his heavy load of worldly cares and troubles, and where on my arrival I was ushered into the very room in which Mr. Pickwick had found the heart-broken lover assuaging his grief.

Rather a forlorn, cobwebby kind of a room, I must say, its walls covered with portraits, photographs, personal souvenirs of the novelist, advertisements of his readings, news-