"Hallo!" said Sam, picking up his hat, which had been knocked off, and rubbing his temple. "Hallo, sir! if you comes it this vay, you'll fill one o' them bags, and something to spare, at one fire."
Here the leather-leggined boy laughed very heartily, and then tried to look as if it was somebody else, whereat Mr. Winkle frowned majestically.
"Where did you tell the boy to meet us with the snack, Martin?" inquired Wardle.
"Side of One-tree Hill, at twelve o'clock, sir."
"That's not Sir Geoffrey's land, is it?"
"No, sir; but it's close by it. It's Captain Boldwig's land; but there'll be nobody to interrupt us, and there's a fine bit of turf there."
"Very well," said old Wardle. "Now the sooner we're off the better. Will you join us at twelve, then, Pickwick?"
Mr. Pickwick was particularly desirous to view the sport, the more especially as he was rather anxious in respect of Mr. Winkle's life and limbs. On so inviting a morning, too, it was very tantalising to turn back, and leave his friends to enjoy themselves. It was, therefore, with a very rueful air that he replied,
"Why, I suppose I must."
"An't the gentleman a shot, sir?" inquired the long gamekeeper.
"No," replied Wardle; "and he's lame besides."
"I should very much like to go," said Mr. Pickwick, "very much."
There was a short pause of commiseration.
"There's a barrow t'other side the hedge," said the boy. "If the gentleman's servant would wheel along the paths, he could keep nigh us, and we could lift it over the stiles, and that."
"The wery thing," said Mr. Weller, who was a party interested, inasmuch as he ardently longed to see the sport. "The wery thing. Well said, Smallcheek; I'll have it out in a minute."
But here a difficulty arose. The long gamekeeper resolutely protested against the introduction into a shooting party, of a gentleman in a barrow, as a gross violation of all established rules and precedents.
It was a great objection, but not an insurmountable one. The gamekeeper having been coaxed and feed, and having, moreover, eased his mind by "punching" the head of the inventive youth who had first suggested the use of the machine, Mr. Pickwick was placed in it, and off the party set; Wardle and the long gamekeeper leading the way, and Mr. Pickwick in the barrow, propelled by Sam, bringing up the rear.
"Stop, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick, when they had got half across the first field.
"What's the matter now?" said Wardle.
"I won't suffer this barrow to be moved another step," said Mr. Pickwick, resolutely, "unless Winkle carries that gun of his, in a different manner."
"How am I to carry it?" said the wretched Winkle.
"Carry it with the muzzle to the ground," replied Mr. Pickwick.
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