"He was, sir," replied the grave man, "all Mrs. Leo Hunter's acquaintance are; it is her ambition, sir, to have no other acquaintance."
"It is a very noble ambition," said Mr. Pickwick.
"When I inform Mrs. Leo Hunter, that that remark fell from your lips, sir, she will indeed be proud," said the grave man. "You have a gentleman in your train, who has produced some beautiful little poems, I think, sir."
"My friend Mr. Snodgrass has a great taste for poetry," replied Mr. Pickwick.
"So has Mrs. Leo Hunter, sir. She dotes on poetry, sir. She adores it; I may say that her whole soul and mind are wound up, and entwined with it. She has produced some delightful pieces, herself, sir. You may have met with her `Ode to an Expiring Frog,' sir."
"I don't think I have," said Mr. Pickwick.
"You astonish me, sir," said Mr. Leo Hunter. "It created an immense sensation. It was signed with an
`L' and eight stars, and appeared originally in a Lady's Magazine. It commenced
"Beautiful!" said Mr. Pickwick.
"Fine," said Mr. Leo Hunter, "so simple."
"Very," said Mr. Pickwick.
"The next verse is still more touching. Shall I repeat it?"
"If you please," said Mr. Pickwick.
"It runs thus," said the grave man, still more gravely.
"Finely expressed," said Mr. Pickwick.
"All point, sir," said Mr. Leo Hunter, "but you shall hear Mrs. Leo Hunter repeat it. She can do justice to it, sir. She will repeat it, in character, sir, to-morrow morning."
"As Minerva. But I forgot--it's a fancy-dress breakfast."
"Dear me," said Mr. Pickwick, glancing at his own figure--"I can't possibly--"
"Can't, sir; can't!" exclaimed Mr. Leo Hunter. "Solomon Lucas, the Jew in the High Street, has thousands of fancy dresses. Consider, sir, how many appropriate characters are open for your selection. Plato, Zeno, Epicurus, Pythagoras--all founders of clubs."
"I know that," said Mr. Pickwick, "but as I cannot put myself in competition with those great men, I cannot presume to wear their dresses."
The grave man considered deeply, for a few seconds, and then said,
"On reflection, sir, I don't know whether it would not afford Mrs. Leo Hunter greater pleasure, if her guests saw a gentleman of your celebrity in his own costume, rather than in an assumed one. I may venture to
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