Mr. Grummer passed, and Mr. Dubbley passed, and the sedan passed, and the bodyguard of specials passed, and Sam was still responding to the enthusiastic cheers of the mob, and waving his hat about as if he were in the very last extreme of the wildest joy (though, of course, he had not the faintest idea of the matter in hand), when he was suddenly stopped by the unexpected appearance of Mr. Winkle and Mr. Snodgrass.
'What's the row, gen'l'm'n?'cried Sam. 'Who have they got in this here watch-box in mournin'?'
Both gentlemen replied together, but their words were lost in the tumult.
'Who is it?' cried Sam again.
once more was a joint reply returned; and, though the words were inaudible, Sam saw by the motion of the two pairs of lips that they had uttered the magic word 'Pickwick.'
This was enough. In another minute Mr. Weller had made his way through the crowd, stopped the chairmen, and confronted the portly Grummer.
'Hollo, old gen'l'm'n!' said Sam. 'Who have you got in this here conweyance?'
'Stand back,' said Mr. Grummer, whose dignity, like the dignity of a great many other men, had been wondrously augmented by a little popularity.
'Knock him down, if he don't,' said Mr. Dubbley.
'I'm wery much obliged to you, old gen'l'm'n,' replied Sam, 'for consulting my conwenience, and I'm still more obliged to the other gen'l'm'n, who looks as if he'd just escaped from a giant's carrywan, for his wery 'andsome suggestion; but I should prefer your givin' me a answer to my question, if it's all the same to you. — How are you, Sir?' This last observation was addressed with a patronising air to Mr. Pickwick, who was peeping through the front window.
Mr. Grummer, perfectly speechless with indignation, dragged the truncheon with the brass crown from its particular pocket, and flourished it before Sam's eyes.
'Ah,' said Sam, 'it's wery pretty, 'specially the crown, which is uncommon like the real one.'
'Stand back!' said the outraged Mr. Grummer. By way of adding force to the command, he thrust the brass emblem of royalty into Sam's neckcloth with one hand, and seized Sam's collar with the other — a compliment which Mr. Weller returned by knocking him down out of hand, having previously with the utmost consideration, knocked down a chairman for him to lie upon.
Whether Mr. Winkle was seized with a temporary attack of that species of insanity which originates in a sense of injury, or animated by this display of Mr. Weller's valour, is uncertain; but certain it is, that he no sooner saw Mr. Grummer fall than he made a terrific onslaught on a small boy who stood next him; whereupon Mr. Snodgrass, in a truly Christian spirit, and in order that he might take no one unawares, announced in a very loud tone that he was going to begin, and proceeded to take off his coat with the utmost deliberation. He was immediately surrounded and secured; and it is but common justice both to him and Mr. Winkle to say, that they did not make the slightest attempt to rescue either themselves or Mr. Weller; who, after a most vigorous resistance, was overpowered by numbers and taken prisoner. The procession then reformed; the chairmen resumed their stations; and the march was re-commenced.
Mr. Pickwick's indignation during the whole of this proceeding was beyond all bounds. He could just see Sam upsetting the specials, and flying about in every direction; and that was all he could see, for the sedan doors wouldn't open, and the blinds wouldn't pull up. At length, with the assistance of Mr. Tupman, he managed to push open the roof; and mounting on the seat, and steadying himself as well as he could, by placing his hand on that gentleman's shoulder, Mr. Pickwick proceeded to address the multitude; to dwell upon the unjustifiable manner in which he had been treated; and to call upon them to take notice that his servant had been first assaulted. In this order they reached the magistrate's house; the chairmen trotting, the prisoners following, Mr. Pickwick oratorising, and the crowd shouting.