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We will frankly acknowledge that, up to the period of our being
first immersed in the voluminous papers of the Pickwick Club, we
had never heard of Eatanswill; we will with equal candour admit that
we have in vain searched for proof of the actual existence of such
a place at the present day. Knowing the deep reliance to be placed
on every note and statement of Mr. Pickwick's, and not presuming to
set up our recollection against the recorded declarations of that great
man, we have consulted every authority, bearing upon the subject, to
which we could possibly refer. We have traced every name in
schedules A and B, without meeting with that of Eatanswill; we
have minutely examined every corner of the pocket county maps
issued for the benefit of society by our distinguished publishers,
and the same result has attended our investigation. We are
therefore led to believe that Mr. Pickwick, with that anxious
desire to abstain from giving offence to any, and with those delicate
feelings for which all who knew him well know he was so
eminently remarkable, purposely substituted a fictitious designation,
for the real name of the place in which his observations
were made. We are confirmed in this belief by a little circumstance,
apparently slight and trivial in itself, but when considered
in this point of view, not undeserving of notice. In Mr. Pickwick's
note-book, we can just trace an entry of the fact, that the
places of himself and followers were booked by the Norwich
coach; but this entry was afterwards lined through, as if for the
purpose of concealing even the direction in which the borough
is situated. We will not, therefore, hazard a guess upon the
subject, but will at once proceed with this history, content with
the materials which its characters have provided for us.
It appears, then, that the Eatanswill people, like the people of
many other small towns, considered themselves of the utmost
and most mighty importance, and that every man in Eatanswill,
conscious of the weight that attached to his example, felt himself
bound to unite, heart and soul, with one of the two great parties
that divided the town--the Blues and the Buffs. Now the Blues
lost no opportunity of opposing the Buffs, and the Buffs lost no
opportunity of opposing the Blues; and the consequence was,
that whenever the Buffs and Blues met together at public meeting,
town-hall, fair, or market, disputes and high words arose
between them. With these dissensions it is almost superfluous to
say that everything in Eatanswill was made a party question. If
the Buffs proposed to new skylight the market-place, the Blues
got up public meetings, and denounced the proceeding; if the
Blues proposed the erection of an additional pump in the High
Street, the Buffs rose as one man and stood aghast at the enormity.
There were Blue shops and Buff shops, Blue inns and Buff
inns--there was a Blue aisle and a Buff aisle in the very church itself.
Of course it was essentially and indispensably necessary that
each of these powerful parties should have its chosen organ and
representative: and, accordingly, there were two newspapers in
the town--the Eatanswill GAZETTE and the Eatanswill INDEPENDENT;
the former advocating Blue principles, and the latter conducted
on grounds decidedly Buff. Fine newspapers they were. Such
leading articles, and such spirited attacks!--'Our worthless
contemporary, the GAZETTE'--'That disgraceful and dastardly journal,
the INDEPENDENT'--'That false and scurrilous print, the INDEPENDENT'--
'That vile and slanderous calumniator, the GAZETTE;' these,
and other spirit-stirring denunciations, were strewn plentifully
over the columns of each, in every number, and excited feelings
of the most intense delight and indignation in the bosoms of the
Mr. Pickwick, with his usual foresight and sagacity, had chosen
a peculiarly desirable moment for his visit to the borough. Never
was such a contest known. The Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of
Slumkey Hall, was the Blue candidate; and Horatio Fizkin,
Esq., of Fizkin Lodge, near Eatanswill, had been prevailed upon
by his friends to stand forward on the Buff interest. The GAZETTE
warned the electors of Eatanswill that the eyes not only of
England, but of the whole civilised world, were upon them; and
the INDEPENDENT imperatively demanded to know, whether the
constituency of Eatanswill were the grand fellows they had always
taken them for, or base and servile tools, undeserving alike of
the name of Englishmen and the blessings of freedom. Never had
such a commotion agitated the town before.
It was late in the evening when Mr. Pickwick and his
companions, assisted by Sam, dismounted from the roof of the
Eatanswill coach. Large blue silk flags were flying from the
windows of the Town Arms Inn, and bills were posted in every
sash, intimating, in gigantic letters, that the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey's committee sat there daily. A crowd of idlers were
assembled in the road, looking at a hoarse man in the balcony,
who was apparently talking himself very red in the face in Mr.
Slumkey's behalf; but the force and point of whose arguments
were somewhat impaired by the perpetual beating of four large
drums which Mr. Fizkin's committee had stationed at the street
corner. There was a busy little man beside him, though, who
took off his hat at intervals and motioned to the people to cheer,
which they regularly did, most enthusiastically; and as the red-
faced gentleman went on talking till he was redder in the face
than ever, it seemed to answer his purpose quite as well as if
anybody had heard him.
The Pickwickians had no sooner dismounted than they were
surrounded by a branch mob of the honest and independent, who
forthwith set up three deafening cheers, which being responded
to by the main body (for it's not at all necessary for a crowd to
know what they are cheering about), swelled into a tremendous
roar of triumph, which stopped even the red-faced man in the balcony.
'Hurrah!' shouted the mob, in conclusion.
'One cheer more,' screamed the little fugleman in the balcony,
and out shouted the mob again, as if lungs were cast-iron, with
'Slumkey for ever!' roared the honest and independent.
'Slumkey for ever!' echoed Mr. Pickwick, taking off his hat.
'No Fizkin!' roared the crowd.
'Certainly not!' shouted Mr. Pickwick.
'Hurrah!' And then there was another roaring, like that of a
whole menagerie when the elephant has rung the bell for the
'Who is Slumkey?'whispered Mr. Tupman.
'I don't know,' replied Mr. Pickwick, in the same tone. 'Hush.
Don't ask any questions. It's always best on these occasions to
do what the mob do.'
'But suppose there are two mobs?' suggested Mr. Snodgrass.
'Shout with the largest,' replied Mr. Pickwick.
Volumes could not have said more.
They entered the house, the crowd opening right and left to let
them pass, and cheering vociferously. The first object of
consideration was to secure quarters for the night.
'Can we have beds here?' inquired Mr. Pickwick, summoning
'Don't know, Sir,' replied the man; 'afraid we're full, sir--I'll
inquire, Sir.' Away he went for that purpose, and presently
returned, to ask whether the gentleman were 'Blue.'
As neither Mr. Pickwick nor his companions took any vital
interest in the cause of either candidate, the question was
rather a difficult one to answer. In this dilemma Mr. Pickwick
bethought himself of his new friend, Mr. Perker.
'Do you know a gentleman of the name of Perker?' inquired
'Certainly, Sir; Honourable Mr. Samuel Slumkey's agent.'
'He is Blue, I think?'
'Oh, yes, Sir.'
'Then WE are Blue,' said Mr. Pickwick; but observing that the
man looked rather doubtful at this accommodating announcement,
he gave him his card, and desired him to present it to
Mr. Perker forthwith, if he should happen to be in the house.
The waiter retired; and reappearing almost immediately with a
request that Mr. Pickwick would follow him, led the way to a
large room on the first floor, where, seated at a long table
covered with books and papers, was Mr. Perker.
'Ah--ah, my dear Sir,' said the little man, advancing to meet
him; 'very happy to see you, my dear Sir, very. Pray sit down.
So you have carried your intention into effect. You have come
down here to see an election--eh?'
Mr. Pickwick replied in the affirmative.
'Spirited contest, my dear sir,' said the little man.
'I'm delighted to hear it,' said Mr. Pickwick, rubbing his
hands. 'I like to see sturdy patriotism, on whatever side it is
called forth--and so it's a spirited contest?'
'Oh, yes,' said the little man, 'very much so indeed. We have
opened all the public-houses in the place, and left our adversary
nothing but the beer-shops-masterly stroke of policy that, my
dear Sir, eh?' The little man smiled complacently, and took a
large pinch of snuff.
'And what are the probabilities as to the result of the contest?'
inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Why, doubtful, my dear Sir; rather doubtful as yet,' replied
the little man. 'Fizkin's people have got three-and-thirty voters
in the lock-up coach-house at the White Hart.'
'In the coach-house!' said Mr. Pickwick, considerably astonished
by this second stroke of policy.
'They keep 'em locked up there till they want 'em,' resumed
the little man. 'The effect of that is, you see, to prevent our
getting at them; and even if we could, it would be of no use, for
they keep them very drunk on purpose. Smart fellow Fizkin's
agent--very smart fellow indeed.'
Mr. Pickwick stared, but said nothing.
'We are pretty confident, though,' said Mr. Perker, sinking
his voice almost to a whisper. 'We had a little tea-party here, last
night--five-and-forty women, my dear sir--and gave every one
of 'em a green parasol when she went away.'
'A parasol!' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Fact, my dear Sir, fact. Five-and-forty green parasols, at seven
and sixpence a-piece. All women like finery--extraordinary the
effect of those parasols. Secured all their husbands, and half their
brothers--beats stockings, and flannel, and all that sort of thing
hollow. My idea, my dear Sir, entirely. Hail, rain, or sunshine,
you can't walk half a dozen yards up the street, without
encountering half a dozen green parasols.'
Here the little man indulged in a convulsion of mirth, which
was only checked by the entrance of a third party.
This was 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 eyeglass dangled at his waistcoat; and on his
head he wore a very low-crowned hat with a broad brim.
The new-comer was introduced to Mr. Pickwick as Mr. Pott,
the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE. After a few preliminary
remarks, Mr. Pott turned round to Mr. Pickwick, and said with
'This contest excites great interest in the metropolis, sir?'
'I believe it does,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'To which I have reason to know,' said Pott, looking towards
Mr. Perker for corroboration--'to which I have reason to know
that my article of last Saturday in some degree contributed.'
'Not the least doubt of it,' said the little man.
'The press is a mighty engine, sir,' said Pott.
Mr. Pickwick yielded his fullest assent to the proposition.
'But I trust, sir,' said Pott, 'that I have never abused the
enormous power I wield. I trust, sir, that I have never pointed the
noble instrument which is placed in my hands, against the sacred
bosom of private life, or the tender breast of individual reputation;
I trust, sir, that I have devoted my energies to--to endeavours--
humble they may be, humble I know they are--to
instil those principles of--which--are--'
Here the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE, appearing to ramble,
Mr. Pickwick came to his relief, and said--
'And what, Sir,' said Pott--'what, Sir, let me ask you as an
impartial man, is the state of the public mind in London, with
reference to my contest with the INDEPENDENT?'
'Greatly excited, no doubt,' interposed Mr. Perker, with a
look of slyness which was very likely accidental.
'The contest,' said Pott, 'shall be prolonged so long as I have
health and strength, and that portion of talent with which I am
gifted. From that contest, Sir, although it may unsettle men's
minds and excite their feelings, and render them incapable for
the discharge of the everyday duties of ordinary life; from that
contest, sir, I will never shrink, till I have set my heel upon the
Eatanswill INDEPENDENT. I wish the people of London, and the
people of this country to know, sir, that they may rely upon me
--that I will not desert them, that I am resolved to stand by them,
Sir, to the last.'
'Your conduct is most noble, Sir,' said Mr. Pickwick; and he
grasped the hand of the magnanimous Pott.
'You are, sir, I perceive, a man of sense and talent,' said Mr.
Pott, almost breathless with the vehemence of his patriotic
declaration. 'I am most happy, sir, to make the acquaintance of
such a man.'
'And I,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'feel deeply honoured by this
expression of your opinion. Allow me, sir, to introduce you to
my fellow-travellers, the other corresponding members of the
club I am proud to have founded.'
'I shall be delighted,' said Mr. Pott.
Mr. Pickwick withdrew, and returning with his friends,
presented them in due form to the editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE.
'Now, my dear Pott,' said little Mr. Perker, 'the question is,
what are we to do with our friends here?'
'We can stop in this house, I suppose,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Not a spare bed in the house, my dear sir--not a single bed.'
'Extremely awkward,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Very,' said his fellow-voyagers.
'I have an idea upon this subject,' said Mr. Pott, 'which I
think may be very successfully adopted. They have two beds at
the Peacock, and I can boldly say, on behalf of Mrs. Pott, that
she will be delighted to accommodate Mr. Pickwick and any
one of his friends, if the other two gentlemen and their servant
do not object to shifting, as they best can, at the Peacock.'
After repeated pressings on the part of Mr. Pott, and repeated
protestations on that of Mr. Pickwick that he could not think of
incommoding or troubling his amiable wife, it was decided that
it was the only feasible arrangement that could be made. So it
WAS made; and after dinner together at the Town Arms, the
friends separated, Mr. Tupman and Mr. Snodgrass repairing to
the Peacock, and Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Winkle proceeding to
the mansion of Mr. Pott; it having been previously arranged
that they should all reassemble at the Town Arms in the morning,
and accompany the Honourable Samuel Slumkey's procession to
the place of nomination.
Mr. Pott's domestic circle was limited to himself and his
wife. All men whom mighty genius has raised to a proud eminence
in the world, have usually some little weakness which
appears the more conspicuous from the contrast it presents to
their general character. If Mr. Pott had a weakness, it was,
perhaps, that he was rather too submissive to the somewhat
contemptuous control and sway of his wife. We do not feel
justified in laying any particular stress upon the fact, because
on the present occasion all Mrs. Pott's most winning ways
were brought into requisition to receive the two gentlemen.
'My dear,' said Mr. Pott, 'Mr. Pickwick--Mr. Pickwick of London.'
Mrs. Pott received Mr. Pickwick's paternal grasp of the hand
with enchanting sweetness; and Mr. Winkle, who had not been
announced at all, sidled and bowed, unnoticed, in an obscure corner.
'P. my dear'--said Mrs. Pott.
'My life,' said Mr. Pott.
'Pray introduce the other gentleman.'
'I beg a thousand pardons,' said Mr. Pott. 'Permit me, Mrs.
'Winkle,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Winkle,' echoed Mr. Pott; and the ceremony of introduction
'We owe you many apologies, ma'am,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'for
disturbing your domestic arrangements at so short a notice.'
'I beg you won't mention it, sir,' replied the feminine Pott,
with vivacity. 'It is a high treat to me, I assure you, to see any
new faces; living as I do, from day to day, and week to week, in
this dull place, and seeing nobody.'
'Nobody, my dear!' exclaimed Mr. Pott archly.
'Nobody but you,' retorted Mrs. Pott, with asperity.
'You see, Mr. Pickwick,' said the host in explanation of his
wife's lament, 'that we are in some measure cut off from many
enjoyments and pleasures of which we might otherwise partake.
My public station, as editor of the Eatanswill GAZETTE, the
position which that paper holds in the country, my constant
immersion in the vortex of politics--'
'P. my dear--' interposed Mrs. Pott.
'My life--' said the editor.
'I wish, my dear, you would endeavour to find some topic of
conversation in which these gentlemen might take some rational
'But, my love,' said Mr. Pott, with great humility, 'Mr.
Pickwick does take an interest in it.'
'It's well for him if he can,' said Mrs. Pott emphatically; 'I
am wearied out of my life with your politics, and quarrels with
the INDEPENDENT, and nonsense. I am quite astonished, P., at your
making such an exhibition of your absurdity.'
'But, my dear--' said Mr. Pott.
'Oh, nonsense, don't talk to me,' said Mrs. Pott. 'Do you play
'I shall be very happy to learn under your tuition,' replied
'Well, then, draw that little table into this window, and let me
get out of hearing of those prosy politics.'
'Jane,' said Mr. Pott, to the servant who brought in candles,
'go down into the office, and bring me up the file of the GAZETTE
for eighteen hundred and twenty-six. I'll read you,' added the
editor, turning to Mr. Pickwick--'I'll just read you 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.'
'I should like to hear them very much indeed,' said Mr. Pickwick.
Up came the file, and down sat the editor, with Mr. Pickwick
at his side.
We have in vain pored over the leaves of Mr. Pickwick's
note-book, in the hope of meeting with a general summary of
these beautiful compositions. We have every reason to believe
that he was perfectly enraptured with the vigour and freshness of
the style; indeed Mr. Winkle has recorded the fact that his eyes
were closed, as if with excess of pleasure, during the whole time
of their perusal.
The announcement of supper put a stop both to the game of
ecarte, and the recapitulation of the beauties of the Eatanswill
GAZETTE. Mrs. Pott was in the highest spirits and the most
agreeable humour. Mr. Winkle had already made considerable
progress in her good opinion, and she did not hesitate to inform
him, confidentially, that Mr. Pickwick was 'a delightful old dear.'
These terms convey a familiarity of expression, in which few of
those who were intimately acquainted with that colossal-minded
man, would have presumed to indulge. We have preserved them,
nevertheless, as affording at once a touching and a convincing
proof of the estimation in which he was held by every class of
society, and the case with which he made his way to their hearts
It was a late hour of the night--long after Mr. Tupman and
Mr. Snodgrass had fallen asleep in the inmost recesses of the
Peacock--when the two friends retired to rest. Slumber soon fell
upon the senses of Mr. Winkle, but his feelings had been excited,
and his admiration roused; and for many hours after sleep had
rendered him insensible to earthly objects, the face and figure of
the agreeable Mrs. Pott presented themselves again and again
to his wandering imagination.
The noise and bustle which ushered in the morning were
sufficient to dispel from the mind of the most romantic visionary
in existence, any associations but those which were immediately
connected with the rapidly-approaching election. The beating of
drums, the blowing of horns and trumpets, the shouting of men,
and tramping of horses, echoed and re--echoed through the streets
from the earliest dawn of day; and an occasional fight between
the light skirmishers of either party at once enlivened the
preparations, and agreeably diversified their character.
'Well, Sam,' said Mr. Pickwick, as his valet appeared at his
bedroom door, just as he was concluding his toilet; 'all alive
to-day, I suppose?'
'Reg'lar game, sir,' replied Mr. Weller; 'our people's a-collecting
down at the Town Arms, and they're a-hollering themselves
'Ah,' said Mr. Pickwick, 'do they seem devoted to their party, Sam?'
'Never see such dewotion in my life, Sir.'
'Energetic, eh?' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Uncommon,' replied Sam; 'I never see men eat and drink so
much afore. I wonder they ain't afeer'd o' bustin'.'
'That's the mistaken kindness of the gentry here,' said Mr. Pickwick.
'Wery likely,' replied Sam briefly.
'Fine, fresh, hearty fellows they seem,' said Mr. Pickwick,
glancing from the window.
'Wery fresh,' replied Sam; 'me and the two waiters at the
Peacock has been a-pumpin' over the independent woters as
supped there last night.'
'Pumping over independent voters!' exclaimed Mr. Pickwick.
'Yes,' said his attendant, 'every man slept vere he fell down;
we dragged 'em out, one by one, this mornin', and put 'em under
the pump, and they're in reg'lar fine order now. Shillin' a head
the committee paid for that 'ere job.'
'Can such things be!' exclaimed the astonished Mr. Pickwick.
'Lord bless your heart, sir,' said Sam, 'why where was you half
baptised?--that's nothin', that ain't.'
'Nothing?'said Mr. Pickwick.
'Nothin' at all, Sir,' replied his attendant. 'The night afore the
last day o' the last election here, the opposite party bribed the
barmaid at the Town Arms, to hocus the brandy-and-water of
fourteen unpolled electors as was a-stoppin' in the house.'
'What do you mean by "hocussing" brandy-and-water?'
inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Puttin' laud'num in it,' replied Sam. 'Blessed if she didn't
send 'em all to sleep till twelve hours arter the election was over.
They took one man up to the booth, in a truck, fast asleep, by
way of experiment, but it was no go--they wouldn't poll him; so
they brought him back, and put him to bed again.'
'Strange practices, these,' said Mr. Pickwick; half speaking to
himself and half addressing Sam.
'Not half so strange as a miraculous circumstance as happened
to my own father, at an election time, in this wery place, Sir,'
'What was that?' inquired Mr. Pickwick.
'Why, he drove a coach down here once,' said Sam; ''lection
time came on, and he was engaged by vun party to bring down
woters from London. Night afore he was going to drive up,
committee on t' other side sends for him quietly, and away he
goes vith the messenger, who shows him in;--large room--lots of
gen'l'm'n--heaps of papers, pens and ink, and all that 'ere. "Ah,
Mr. Weller," says the gen'l'm'n in the chair, "glad to see you, sir;
how are you?"--"Wery well, thank 'ee, Sir," says my father; "I
hope you're pretty middlin," says he.--"Pretty well, thank'ee, Sir,"
says the gen'l'm'n; "sit down, Mr. Weller--pray sit down, sir."
So my father sits down, and he and the gen'l'm'n looks wery
hard at each other. "You don't remember me?" said the
gen'l'm'n.--"Can't say I do," says my father.--"Oh, I know
you," says the gen'l'm'n: "know'd you when you was a boy,"
says he.--"Well, I don't remember you," says my father.--
"That's wery odd," says the gen'l'm'n."--"Wery," says my
father.--"You must have a bad mem'ry, Mr. Weller," says the
gen'l'm'n.--"Well, it is a wery bad 'un," says my father.--"I
thought so," says the gen'l'm'n. So then they pours him out a
glass of wine, and gammons him about his driving, and gets him
into a reg'lar good humour, and at last shoves a twenty-pound
note into his hand. "It's a wery bad road between this and
London," says the gen'l'm'n.--"Here and there it is a heavy
road," says my father.--" 'Specially near the canal, I think,"
says the gen'l'm'n.--"Nasty bit that 'ere," says my father.--
"Well, Mr. Weller," says the gen'l'm'n, "you're a wery good
whip, and can do what you like with your horses, we know.
We're all wery fond o' you, Mr. Weller, so in case you should have
an accident when you're bringing these here woters down, and
should tip 'em over into the canal vithout hurtin' of 'em, this is
for yourself," says he.--"Gen'l'm'n, you're wery kind," says my
father, "and I'll drink your health in another glass of wine," says
he; vich he did, and then buttons up the money, and bows
himself out. You wouldn't believe, sir,' continued Sam, with a
look of inexpressible impudence at his master, 'that on the wery
day as he came down with them woters, his coach WAS upset on
that 'ere wery spot, and ev'ry man on 'em was turned into the canal.'
'And got out again?' inquired Mr. Pickwick hastily.
'Why,' replied Sam very slowly, 'I rather think one old
gen'l'm'n was missin'; I know his hat was found, but I ain't
quite certain whether his head was in it or not. But what I look
at is the hex-traordinary and wonderful coincidence, that arter
what that gen'l'm'n said, my father's coach should be upset in
that wery place, and on that wery day!'
'it is, no doubt, a very extraordinary circumstance indeed,'
said Mr. Pickwick. 'But brush my hat, Sam, for I hear Mr. Winkle
calling me to breakfast.'
With these words Mr. Pickwick descended to the parlour,
where he found breakfast laid, and the family already assembled.
The meal was hastily despatched; each of the gentlemen's hats
was decorated with an enormous blue favour, made up by the
fair hands of Mrs. Pott herself; and as Mr. Winkle had undertaken
to escort that lady to a house-top, in the immediate
vicinity of the hustings, Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Pott repaired
alone to the Town Arms, from the back window of which, one of
Mr. Slumkey's committee was addressing six small boys and one
girl, whom he dignified, at every second sentence, with the
imposing title of 'Men of Eatanswill,' whereat the six small boys
aforesaid cheered prodigiously.
The stable-yard exhibited unequivocal symptoms of the glory
and strength of the Eatanswill Blues. There was a regular army
of blue flags, some with one handle, and some with two,
exhibiting appropriate devices, in golden characters four feet high,
and stout in proportion. There was a grand band of trumpets,
bassoons, and drums, marshalled four abreast, and earning their
money, if ever men did, especially the drum-beaters, who were
very muscular. There were bodies of constables with blue staves,
twenty committee-men with blue scarfs, and a mob of voters
with blue cockades. There were electors on horseback and
electors afoot. There was an open carriage-and-four, for the
Honourable Samuel Slumkey; and there were four carriage-and-
pair, for his friends and supporters; and the flags were rustling,
and the band was playing, and the constables were swearing, and
the twenty committee-men were squabbling, and the mob were
shouting, and the horses were backing, and the post-boys
perspiring; and everybody, and everything, then and there
assembled, was for the special use, behoof, honour, and renown,
of the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, one of the
candidates for the representation of the borough of Eatanswill,
in the Commons House of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
Loud and long were the cheers, and mighty was the rustling of
one of the blue flags, with 'Liberty of the Press' inscribed thereon,
when the sandy head of Mr. Pott was discerned in one of the
windows, by the mob beneath; and tremendous was the
enthusiasm when the Honourable Samuel Slumkey himself, in
top-boots, and a blue neckerchief, advanced and seized the hand
of the said Pott, and melodramatically testified by gestures
to the crowd, his ineffaceable obligations to the Eatanswill GAZETTE.
'Is everything ready?' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey
to Mr. Perker.
'Everything, my dear Sir,' was the little man's reply.
'Nothing has been omitted, I hope?' said the Honourable
'Nothing has been left undone, my dear sir--nothing whatever.
There are twenty washed men at the street door for you to shake
hands with; and six children in arms that you're to pat on the
head, and inquire the age of; be particular about the children,
my dear sir--it has always a great effect, that sort of thing.'
'I'll take care,' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.
'And, perhaps, my dear Sir,' said the cautious little man,
'perhaps if you could--I don't mean to say it's indispensable--
but if you could manage to kiss one of 'em, it would produce a
very great impression on the crowd.'
'Wouldn't it have as good an effect if the proposer or seconder
did that?' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey.
'Why, I am afraid it wouldn't,' replied the agent; 'if it were
done by yourself, my dear Sir, I think it would make you very popular.'
'Very well,' said the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, with a
resigned air, 'then it must be done. That's all.'
'Arrange the procession,' cried the twenty committee-men.
Amidst the cheers of the assembled throng, the band, and the
constables, and the committee-men, and the voters, and the
horsemen, and the carriages, took their places--each of the two-
horse vehicles being closely packed with as many gentlemen as
could manage to stand upright in it; and that assigned to Mr.
Perker, containing Mr. Pickwick, Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass,
and about half a dozen of the committee besides.
There was a moment of awful suspense as the procession
waited for the Honourable Samuel Slumkey to step into his
carriage. Suddenly the crowd set up a great cheering.
'He has come out,' said little Mr. Perker, greatly excited; the
more so as their position did not enable them to see what was
Another cheer, much louder.
'He has shaken hands with the men,' cried the little agent.
Another cheer, far more vehement.
'He has patted the babies on the head,' said Mr. Perker,
trembling with anxiety.
A roar of applause that rent the air.
'He has kissed one of 'em!' exclaimed the delighted little man.
A second roar.
'He has kissed another,' gasped the excited manager.
A third roar.
'He's kissing 'em all!' screamed the enthusiastic little gentleman,
and hailed by the deafening shouts of the multitude, the
procession moved on.
How or by what means it became mixed up with the other
procession, and how it was ever extricated from the confusion
consequent thereupon, is more than we can undertake to describe,
inasmuch as Mr. Pickwick's hat was knocked over his eyes, nose,
and mouth, by one poke of a Buff flag-staff, very early in the
proceedings. He describes himself as being surrounded on every
side, when he could catch a glimpse of the scene, by angry and
ferocious countenances, by a vast cloud of dust, and by a dense
crowd of combatants. He represents himself as being forced
from the carriage by some unseen power, and being personally
engaged in a pugilistic encounter; but with whom, or how, or
why, he is wholly unable to state. He then felt himself forced up
some wooden steps by the persons from behind; and on removing
his hat, found himself surrounded by his friends, in the very
front of the left hand side of the hustings. The right was reserved
for the Buff party, and the centre for the mayor and his officers;
one of whom--the fat crier of Eatanswill--was ringing an
enormous bell, by way of commanding silence, while Mr.
Horatio Fizkin, and the Honourable Samuel Slumkey, with their
hands upon their hearts, were bowing with the utmost affability
to the troubled sea of heads that inundated the open space in
front; and from whence arose a storm of groans, and shouts,
and yells, and hootings, that would have done honour to an earthquake.
'There's Winkle,' said Mr. Tupman, pulling his friend by the sleeve.
'Where!' said Mr. Pickwick, putting on his spectacles, which
he had fortunately kept in his pocket hitherto.
'There,' said Mr. Tupman, 'on the top of that house.' And
there, sure enough, in the leaden gutter of a tiled roof, were
Mr. Winkle and Mrs. Pott, comfortably seated in a couple of
chairs, waving their handkerchiefs in token of recognition--a
compliment which Mr. Pickwick returned by kissing his hand to
The proceedings had not yet commenced; and as an inactive
crowd is generally disposed to be jocose, this very innocent
action was sufficient to awaken their facetiousness.
'Oh, you wicked old rascal,' cried one voice, 'looking arter the
girls, are you?'
'Oh, you wenerable sinner,' cried another.
'Putting on his spectacles to look at a married 'ooman!' said a
'I see him a-winkin' at her, with his wicked old eye,' shouted a
'Look arter your wife, Pott,' bellowed a fifth--and then there
was a roar of laughter.
As these taunts were accompanied with invidious comparisons
between Mr. Pickwick and an aged ram, and several witticisms of
the like nature; and as they moreover rather tended to convey
reflections upon the honour of an innocent lady, Mr. Pickwick's
indignation was excessive; but as silence was proclaimed at the
moment, he contented himself by scorching the mob with a look
of pity for their misguided minds, at which they laughed more
boisterously than ever.
'Silence!' roared the mayor's attendants.
'Whiffin, proclaim silence,' said the mayor, with an air of
pomp befitting his lofty station. In obedience to this command the
crier performed another concerto on the bell, whereupon a
gentleman in the crowd called out 'Muffins'; which occasioned
'Gentlemen,' said the mayor, at as loud a pitch as he could
possibly force his voice to--'gentlemen. 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--'
Here the mayor was interrupted by a voice in the crowd.
'Suc-cess to the mayor!' cried the voice, 'and may he never
desert the nail and sarspan business, as he got his money by.'
This allusion to the professional pursuits of the orator was
received with a storm of delight, which, with a bell-accompaniment,
rendered the remainder of his speech inaudible, with the
exception of the concluding sentence, in which he thanked the
meeting for the patient attention with which they heard him
throughout--an expression of gratitude which elicited another
burst of mirth, of about a quarter of an hour's duration.
Next, a tall, thin gentleman, in a very stiff white neckerchief,
after being repeatedly desired by the crowd to 'send a boy home,
to ask whether he hadn't left his voice under the pillow,' begged to
nominate a fit and proper person to represent them in Parliament.
And when he said it was Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin
Lodge, near Eatanswill, the Fizkinites applauded, and the
Slumkeyites groaned, so long, and so loudly, that both he and
the seconder might have sung comic songs in lieu of speaking,
without anybody's being a bit the wiser.
The friends of Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, having had their
innings, a little choleric, pink-faced man stood forward to
propose another fit and proper person to represent the electors of
Eatanswill in Parliament; and very swimmingly the pink-faced
gentleman would have got on, if he had not been rather too
choleric to entertain a sufficient perception of the fun of the
crowd. But after a very few sentences of figurative eloquence, the
pink-faced gentleman got from denouncing those who interrupted
him in the mob, to exchanging defiances with the gentlemen
on the hustings; whereupon arose an uproar which reduced
him to the necessity of expressing his feelings by serious pantomime,
which he did, and then left the stage to his seconder, who
delivered a written speech of half an hour's length, and wouldn't
be stopped, because he had sent it all to the Eatanswill GAZETTE,
and the Eatanswill GAZETTE had already printed it, every word.
Then Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, near Eatanswill,
presented himself for the purpose of addressing the electors;
which he no sooner did, than the band employed by the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, commenced performing with a power to
which their strength in the morning was a trifle; in return for
which, the Buff crowd belaboured the heads and shoulders of the
Blue crowd; on which the Blue crowd endeavoured to dispossess
themselves of their very unpleasant neighbours the Buff crowd;
and a scene of struggling, and pushing, and fighting, succeeded,
to which we can no more do justice than the mayor could,
although he issued imperative orders to twelve constables to
seize the ringleaders, who might amount in number to two
hundred and fifty, or thereabouts. At all these encounters,
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, and his friends, waxed
fierce and furious; until at last Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin
Lodge, begged to ask his opponent, the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, whether that band played by his
consent; which question the Honourable Samuel Slumkey
declining to answer, Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge,
shook his fist in the countenance of the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall; upon which the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey, his blood being up, defied Horatio Fizkin, Esquire,
to mortal combat. At this violation of all known rules and
precedents of order, the mayor commanded another fantasia on
the bell, and declared that he would bring before himself, both
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, and the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, and bind them over to keep
the peace. Upon this terrific denunciation, the supporters of the
two candidates interfered, and after the friends of each party had
quarrelled in pairs, for three-quarters of an hour, Horatio
Fizkin, Esquire, touched his hat to the Honourable Samuel
Slumkey; the Honourable Samuel Slumkey touched his to
Horatio Fizkin, Esquire; the band was stopped; the crowd were
partially quieted; and Horatio Fizkin, Esquire, was permitted
The speeches of the two candidates, though differing in every
other respect, afforded a beautiful tribute to the merit and high
worth of the electors of Eatanswill. Both expressed their opinion
that a more independent, a more enlightened, a more public-
spirited, a more noble-minded, a more disinterested set of men
than those who had promised to vote for him, never existed on
earth; each darkly hinted his suspicions that the electors in the
opposite interest had certain swinish and besotted infirmities
which rendered them unfit for the exercise of the important
duties they were called upon to discharge. Fizkin expressed his
readiness to do anything he was wanted: Slumkey, his determination
to do nothing that was asked of him. Both said that the
trade, the manufactures, the commerce, the prosperity of
Eatanswill, would ever be dearer to their hearts than any earthly
object; and each had it in his power to state, with the utmost
confidence, that he was the man who would eventually be returned.
There was a show of hands; the mayor decided in favour of the
Honourable Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall. Horatio Fizkin,
Esquire, of Fizkin Lodge, demanded a poll, and a poll was fixed
accordingly. Then a vote of thanks was moved to the mayor for
his able conduct in the chair; and the mayor, devoutly wishing
that he had had a chair to display his able conduct in (for he had
been standing during the whole proceedings), returned thanks.
The processions reformed, the carriages rolled slowly through
the crowd, and its members screeched and shouted after them as
their feelings or caprice dictated.
During the whole time of the polling, the town was in a
perpetual fever of excitement. Everything was conducted on the
most liberal and delightful scale. Excisable articles were remarkably
cheap at all the public-houses; and spring vans paraded the
streets for the accommodation of voters who were seized with
any temporary dizziness in the head--an epidemic which prevailed
among the electors, during the contest, to a most alarming
extent, and under the influence of which they might frequently
be seen lying on the pavements in a state of utter insensibility. A
small body of electors remained unpolled on the very last day.
They were calculating and reflecting persons, who had not yet
been convinced by the arguments of either party, although they
had frequent conferences with each. One hour before the close
of the poll, Mr. Perker solicited the honour of a private interview
with these intelligent, these noble, these patriotic men. it was
granted. His arguments were brief but satisfactory. They went in
a body to the poll; and when they returned, the Honourable
Samuel Slumkey, of Slumkey Hall, was returned also.
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