« AnteriorContinuar »
“I went up to pay the rent; but we did get a talkin' about the trial,” replied Sam.
“Oh, you did get a talking about the trial,” said Serjeant Buzfuz, brightening up with anticipation of some important discovery. “Now what passed about the trial; will you have the goodness to tell us, Mr. Weller?”
“Vith all the pleasure in life, sir,” replied Sam. “Arter a few unimportant obserwations from the two wirtuous females as has been examined here to-day, the ladies gets into a very great state o admiration at the honourable conduct of Mr. Dodson and Fogg—them two gen’lmen as is settin' near you now.' This, of course, drew general attention to Dodson and Fogg, who looked as virtuous as possible.
“The attorneys for the plaintiff,” said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz. “Well! They spoke in high praise of the honourable conduct of Messrs. Dodson and Fogg, the attorneys for the plaintiff, did they?”
“Yes,” said Sam, “they said what a wery gen’rous thing it was o' them to have taken up the case on spec, and to charge nothing at all for costs, unless they got 'em out of Mr. Pickwick.”
At this very unexpected reply, the spectators tittered again, and Dodson and Fogg, turning very red, leant over to Serjeant Buzfuz, and in a hurried manner whispered something in his ear.
“You are quite right,” said Serjeant Buzfuz aloud, with affected composure.
“It's perfectly useless, my Lord, attempting to get at any evidence through the impenetrable stupidity of this witness. I will not trouble the court by asking him any more questions. Stand down, sir.”
“Would any other gen’l'man like to ask me anythin’?” inquired Sam, taking up his hat and looking round most deliberately. “Not I, Mr. Weller, thank you,” said Serjeant Snubbin, laughing. “You may go down, sir,” said Serjeant Buzfuz, waving his hand impatiently. Sam went down accordingly, after doing Messrs. Dodson and Fogg's case as much harm as he conveniently could, and saying just as little respecting Mr. Pickwick as might be, which was precisely the object he had had in view all along. “I have no objection to admit, my Lord,” said Serjeant Snubbin, “if it will save the examination of another witness, that Mr. Pickwick has retired from business, and is a gentleman of considerable independent property.” “Very well,” said Serjeant Buzfuz, putting in the two letters to be read. “Then that's my case, my Lord.” Serjeant Snubbin then addressed the jury on behalf of the defendant. He attempted to show that the letters which had been exhibited, merely related to Mr. Pickwick's dinner, or to the preparations for receiving him in his apartments on his return home from some country excursion. Mr. Justice Stareleigh summed up, in the oldestablished and most approved form. The jury then retired to their private room to talk the matter over, and the judge retired to his private room, to refresh himself with a mutton chop and a glass of sherry. An anxious quarter of an hour elapsed; the jury came back; the judge was fetched in. Mr. Pick
wick put on his spectacles, and gazed at the foreman with an agitated countenance and a quickly beating heart.
“Gentlemen,” said the individual in black, “are you all agreed on your verdict?”
“We are,” replied the foreman.
“Do you find for the plaintiff, gentlemen, or for the defendant?”
“For the plaintiff.”
Mr. Pickwick took off his spectacles, carefully wiped the glasses, folded them into their case, and put them in his pocket; and mechanically followed Mr. Perker and the blue bag out of court.
They stopped in a side room while Perker paid the court fees; and here, Mr. Pickwick was joined by his friends. Here, too, he encountered Messrs. Dodson and Fogg, rubbing their hands with every token of outward satisfaction.
“Well, gentlemen,” said Mr. Pickwick. “Well, sir,” said Dodson: for self and partner.
“You imagine you'll get your costs, don't you, gentlemen?” said Mr. Pickwick.
Fogg said they thought it rather probable. Dodson smiled, and said they'd try.
“You may try, and try, and try again, Messrs. Dodson and Fogg,” said Mr. Pickwick vehemently, “but not one farthing of costs or damages do you ever get from me, if I spend the rest of my existence in a debtor's prison.”
“Ha, ha!” laughed Dodson. "You'll think better of that, before next term, Mr. Pickwick.”
“He, he, he! We'll soon see about that, Mr. Pickwick,” grinned Fogg.
Speechless with indignation, Mr. Pickwick allowed himself to be led by his solicitor and friends to the door, and there assisted into a hackney-coach, which had been fetched for the purpose, by the ever watchful Sam Weller.
THE DEATH OF CAESAR’
NotE.-Caius Julius Caesar (100–44 B. C.) was the greatest of Roman generals. He began early to take part in political life, identifying himself with the popular party, and he filled various offices most satisfactorily. In 62 B. C. he was elected to the consulate, the highest office in the state, and just before entering on his duties he formed with Pompey, then at the height of his power, and with Crassus, the First Triumvirate. This was not a form of government; it was simply a coalition formed to advance the interests of its members.
At the close of his consulship, Caesar was sent as proconsul, or governor, to Gaul, where he remained for nine years. He did wonderful things in that province, conquering the warlike Gauls and the sturdy German invaders,
1. Plutarch, the author of the Life of Caesar, from which this selection is taken, was a Greek writer who was born about 46 A. D. and lived about eighty years. Of his life not much is known, save that he spent considerable time in travel, and that he returned for his last years to his birthplace, Chaeronea in Boeotia. He was, during his lifetime, less famous as an author than as a philosopher and as a teacher and guide to the young people who gathered about him, constituting a sort of informal school.
His Lives, for which he is chiefly remembered, are among the most valuable as well as the most delightful writings that have come down to us from ancient times. Most of them are arranged in pairs; that is, a life of Caesar is joined with a life of Alexander the Great, and a formal comparison is added. These comparisons are often forced, and it is believed by some authorities that they were not written by Plutarch, but were added later.
For our knowledge of many of the great men of antiquity we are chiefly indebted to Plutarch, and English literature owes a special debt to him because it is from his Lives that Shakespeare drew the materials for all of his dramas which deal with ancient history. The translation which Shakespeare used was the one quoted from here—that of Sir Thomas North.
For ease in reading, this selection has been divided into paragraphs, and quotation marks have been added, but no other changes have been made.