Page:Works of Charles Dickens, ed. Lang - Volume 4.djvu/56

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carriage, had been removed to the hospital, had undergone the amputation of his leg below the knee, and was now actually pursuing his occupation on crutches. Fountain of justice, were these things to last!

This was the department of the subject that took the meeting, and this was the style of speaking to enlist their sympathies. The men shouted; the ladies wept into their pocket-handkerchiefs till they were moist, and waved them till they were dry; the excitement was tremendous; and Mr. Nickleby whispered his friend that the shares were thenceforth at a premium of five-and-twenty per cent.

The resolution was, of course, carried with loud acclamations, every man holding up both hands in favour of it, as he would in his enthusiasm have held up both legs also, if he could have conveniently accomplished it. This done, the draft of the proposed petition was read at length; and the petition said, as all petitions do say, that the petitioners were very humble, and the petitioned very honorable, and the object very virtuous; therefore (said the petition) the bill ought to be passed into a law at once, to the everlasting honor and glory of that most honorable and glorious Commons of England in Parliament assembled.

Then, the gentleman who had been at Crockford's all night, and who looked something the worse about the eyes in consequence, came forward to tell his fellow-countrymen what a speech he meant to make in favour of that petition whenever it should be presented, and how desperately he meant to taunt the Parliament if they rejected the bill; and to inform them also, that he regretted his honorable friends had not inserted a clause rendering the purchase of muffins and crumpets compulsory upon all classes of the community, which he—opposing all half measures, and preferring to go the extreme animal—pledged himself to propose and divide upon, in committee. After announcing this determination, the honorable gentleman grew jocular; and as patent boots, lemon-colored kid gloves, and a fur coat collar, assist jokes