The Pickwick Papers (Paperback)
(This book cannot be returned.)
In Charles Dickens’ first (and, I find, most endearing) book, we follow
the ludicrous Mr. Pickwick and friends as they ramble about England
to “observe things” for the club that they are a part of. Along the way
they meet up with the quintessential Dickensian array of insane
characters. The format of having them wandering about without a clear
purpose besides observation really gives Dickens the chance to stretch
his legs comedically. hilarious, even for Dicken, though it is equally
wise. I would not recommend it on that basis alone. It contains some of
his best social commentary, a thing which he became well known for,
mocking a decadent aristocratic class that is just a blown up version of
those we see today.
'Would anybody believe, ' continued the cab-driver, appealing to the crowd, 'would anybody believe as an informer'ud go about in a man's cab, not only takin' down his number, but ev'ry word he says into the bargain' (a light flashed upon Mr. Pickwick-it was the note-book).'Did he though?' inquired another cabman.'Yes, did he, ' replied the first; 'and then arter aggerawatin' me to assault him, gets three witnesses here to prove it. But I'll give it him, if I've six months for it. Come on ' and the cabman dashed his hat upon the ground, with a reckless disregard of his own private property, and knocked Mr. Pickwick's spectacles off, and followed up the attack with a blow on Mr. Pickwick's nose, and another on Mr. Pickwick's chest, and a third in Mr. Snodgrass's eye, and a fourth, by way of variety, in Mr. Tupman's waistcoat, and then danced into the road, and then back again to the pavement, and finally dashed the whole temporary supply of breath out of Mr. Winkle's body; and all in half a dozen seconds.'Where's an officer?' said Mr. Snodgrass.'Put 'em under the pump, ' suggested a hot-pieman.'You shall smart for this, ' gasped Mr. Pickwick.'Informers ' shouted the crowd.'Come on, ' cried the cabman, who had been sparring without cessation the whole time.The mob hitherto had been passive spectators of the scene, but as the intelligence of the Pickwickians being informers was spread among them, they began to canvass with considerable vivacity the propriety of enforcing the heated pastry-vendor's proposition: and there is no saying what acts of personal aggression they might have committed, had not the affray been unexpectedly terminated by the interposition of a new-comer.'What's the fun?' said a rather tall, thin, young man, in a green coat, emerging suddenly from the coach-yard.'Informers ' shouted the crowd again.'We are not, ' roared Mr. Pickwick, in a tone which, to any dispassionate listener, carried conviction with it.'Ain't you, though-ain't you?' said the young man, appealing to Mr. Pickwick, and making his way through the crowd by the infallible process of elbowing the countenances of its component members.That learned man in a few hurried words explained the real state of the case.'Come along, then, ' said he of the green coat, lugging Mr. Pickwick after him by main force, and talking the whole way. Here, No. 924, take your fare, and take yourself off-respectable gentleman-know him well-none of your nonsense-this way, sir-where's your friends?-all a mistake, I see-never mind-accidents will happen-best regulated families-never say die-down upon your luck-Pull him up-Put that in his pipe-like the flavour-damned rascals.' And with a lengthened string of similar broken sentences, delivered with extraordinary volubility, the stranger led the way to the traveller's waiting-room, whither he was closely followed by Mr. Pickwick and his dis.