Mr. Pickwick entered every word of this statement in his note-book, with the view of communicating it to the club, as a singular instance of the tenacity of life in horses, under trying circumstances. The entry was scarcely completed when they reached the Golden Cross. Down jumped the driver, and out got Mr. Pickwick. Mr. Tupman, Mr. Snodgrass, and Mr. Winkle, who had been anxiously waiting the arrival of their illustrious leader, crowded to welcome him.
"Here's your fare," said Mr. Pickwick, holding out the shilling to the driver.
What was the learned man's astonishment, when that unaccountable person flung the money on the pavement, and requested in figurative terms to be allowed the pleasure of fighting him (Mr. Pickwick) for the amount!
"You are mad," said Mr. Snodgrass.
"Or drunk," said Mr. Winkle.
"Or both," said Mr. Tupman.
"Come on !" said the cab-driver, sparring away like clock work. "Come on all four on you."
"Here's a lark!" shouted half-a-dozen hackney coachmen. "Go to vork, Sam," and they crowded with great glee round the party.
"What's the row, Sam ?" inquired one gentleman in black calico sleeves.
"Row!" replied the cabman, " what did he want my number for?"
"I didn't want your number," said the astonished Mr. Pickwick.
"What did you take it for, then?" inquired the cabman.
"I didn't take it," said Mr. Pickwick, indignantly.
"Would any body believe," continued the cab-driver, appealing to the crowd, "would any body 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.