Wherein Mr. Peter Magnus grows jealous, and the middle-aged lady apprehensive, which brings the Pickwickians within the grasp of the law
WHEN Mr. Pickwick descended to the room in which he and Mr. Peter Magnus had spent the preceding evening, he found that gentleman with the major part of the contents of the two bags, the leathern hat- box, and the brown-paper parcel, displayed to all possible advantage on his person, while he himself was pacing up and down the room in a state of the utmost excitement and agitation.
"Good morning; sir," said Mr. Peter Magnus. "What do you think of this, sir?"
"Very effective indeed," replied Mr. Pickwick, surveying the garments of Mr. Peter Magnus with a good- natured smile.
"Yes, I think it'll do," said Mr. Magnus. "Mr. Pickwick, sir, I have sent up my card."
"Have you?" said Mr. Pickwick.
"And the waiter brought back word, that she would see me at eleven--at eleven, sir; it only wants a quarter now."
"Very near the time," said Mr. Pickwick.
"Yes, it is rather near," replied Mr. Magnus, "rather too near to be pleasant--eh! Mr. Pickwick, sir?"
"Confidence is a great thing in these cases," observed Mr. Pickwick.
"I believe it is, sir," said Mr. Peter Magnus. "I am very confident, sir. Really, Mr. Pickwick, I do not see why a man should feel any fear in such a case as this, sir. What is it, sir? There's nothing to be ashamed of; it's a matter of mutual accommodation, nothing more. Husband on one side, wife on the other. That's my view of the matter, Mr. Pickwick."
"It is a very philosophical one," replied Mr. Pickwick. "But breakfast is waiting, Mr. Magnus. Come."
Down they sat to breakfast, but it was evident, notwithstanding the boasting of Mr. Peter Magnus, that he laboured under a very considerable degree of nervousness, of which loss of appetite, a propensity to upset the tea-things, a spectral attempt at drollery, and an irresistible inclination to look at the clock, every other second, were among the principal symptoms.
"He--he--he," tittered Mr. Magnus, affecting cheerfulness, and gasping with agitation. "It only wants two minutes, Mr. Pickwick. Am I pale, sir?"
"Not very," replied Mr. Pickwick.
There was a brief pause.
"I beg your pardon, Mr. Pickwick; but have you ever done this sort of thing in your time?" said Mr. Magnus.
"You mean proposing?" said Mr. Pickwick.
"Never," said Mr. Pickwick, with great energy, "never."
"You have no idea, then, how it's best to begin?" said Mr. Magnus.
"Why," said Mr. Pickwick, "I may have formed some ideas upon the subject, but, as I have never submitted them to the test of experience, I should be sorry if you were induced to regulate your proceedings by them."
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