Page:Works of Charles Dickens, ed. Lang - Volume 1.djvu/566

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"Can you one?" That is, "Have you an honour?" Mr. Pickwick was playing Long Whist, a pastime suited to the Age of Leisure.


The Cricket Match.

Dickens knew nothing of cricket. One bowler cannot be chosen to bowl against Dumkins, while another "is selected to do the same kind office for the hitherto unconquered Podder." Podder could hardly be like that member of the M.C.C. in the Straits Settlements, about whom a friend wrote home, "He has never been out since he came to the Colony."

The leap-frog attitude in fielding has long been abandoned, if it ever was practised, but old cricketers remember the bowler's application of the ball to his eye: the bowling, of course, was fast underhand. Luffey opened with a straght full-pitch not a good beginning. Why Podder "missed the bad ones" is a mystery; also, why he hit the good ones "to all parts of the field." As to Dingley Dell giving in "at an early period of the winning game," this perhaps means, if its means anything, that Muggleton won by seven or eight wickets.

Single wicket matches, like that of Mr. Jungle and Sir Thomas Blazo, have long been obsolete, but of old were freely betted upon. Only one umpire, of course, is stationed behind the wicket the bowler's wicket. Buss's original design shows a bat, eccentric even among the heavy bats of our ancestors. It is curious that a young man, and a close observer like Dickens, had so entirely failed to observe Miss Mitford's favourite game.


"The White Hart."

This old sign was borrowed from the cognizance of Richard II.

The amiable Mr. Warren, of boot-blacking renown. The famous Warren was Robert, in 30, Strand. Dickens, as a boy, was in the service of Jonathan Warren, 30, Hungerford Stairs, Strand, or rather in that of James Lamert, who bought the business.

"George Barnwell."

Now best known from Thackeray's burlesque of Bulwer Lytton.

"Belle Sauvage."

Doubtless named after the famous Pocahontas.


"An ancient nail."

Cobham Hall, the seat of the Earl of Darnley. The wooden châlet, in which Dickens used to write, is extant in the grounds. The Leather Bottle is still a very picturesque old change-house, and the church contains gauntlets of the Middle Ages.