Page:Works of Charles Dickens, ed. Lang - Volume 1.djvu/93

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VISITORS.

looked round on the company generally, as if seeking for information relative to the new comers.

"Oh!" said Mr. Winkle, rising, "some friends of mine—show them in. Very pleasant fellows,'" added Mr. Winkle, after the waiter had retired—"Officers of the 97th, whose acquaintance I made rather oddly this morning. You will like them very much."

Mr. Pickwick's equanimity was at once restored. The waiter returned, and ushered three gentlemen into the room.

"Lieutenant Tappleton," said Mr. Winkle, "Lieutenant Tappleton, Mr. Pickwick—Doctor Payne, Mr. Pickwick—Mr. Snodgrass, you have seen before: my friend Mr. Tupman, Doctor Payne—Dr. Slammer, Mr. Pickwick—Mr. Tupman, Doctor Slam—."

Here Mr. Winkle suddenly paused; for strong emotion was visible on the countenance both of Mr. Tupman and the Doctor.

"I have met this gentleman before," said the Doctor, with marked emphasis.

"Indeed!" said Mr. Winkle.

"And—and that person, too, if I am not mistaken," said the Doctor, bestowing a scrutinising glance on the green-coated stranger. "I think I gave that person a very pressing invitation last night, which he thought proper to decline." Saying which the Doctor scowled magnanimously on the stranger, and whispered his friend Lieutenant Tappleton.

"You don't say so," said that gentleman, at the conclusion of the whisper.

"I do, indeed," replied Doctor Slammer.

"You are bound to kick him on the spot," murmured the owner of the camp-stool with great importance.

"Do be quiet, Payne," interposed the Lieutenant. "Will you allow me to ask you, sir," he said, addressing Mr. Pickwick, who was considerably mystified by this very unpolite by-play, "will you allow me to ask you, sir, whether that person belongs to your party?"

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