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THE PICKWICK PAPERS

53

"Lord bless your heart, sir," said Sam, "why, where was you half baptized? that's nothin', that an't." l) "Nothing?" said Mr. Pickwick.

"Nothin' at all, sir," replied his attendant. "The night afore the last day o' the last election here the opposite party bribed the barmaid at the Town Arms to hocusthe brandy-and-water of fourteen unpolled electors *) as was a-stoppin' in the house."

"What do you mean by 'hocussing' brandy-and-water?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.

"Puttin' laud'num in it," replied Sam. "Blessed if she didn't send 'em all to sleep till twelve hours arter the election was over. They took one man up to the booth *) in a truck *), fast asleep, by way of experiment, but it was no go—they wouldn't poll him; so they brought him back, and put him to bed again."

"Strange practices these," said Mr. Pickwick, half speaking to himself and half addressing Sam.

"Not half so strange as a miraculous circumstance as happened to my own father at an election time, in this wery place, sir," replied Sam.

"What was that?" inquired Mr. Pickwick.

"Why, he drove a coach down here once," said Sam; '"lection time came on, and he was engaged by vun party to bring down woters from London. Night afore he was a-goin' to drive up, committee on t'other side sends for him quietly8), and away

1. This repetition of subject and auxiliary is very common in spoken English: He's a clever boy, is John.—an't [eint] is now generally considered as vulgar, but is by no means uncommon, even among educated speakers.

2. unpolled: who have not yet voted. jy^

3. booth: polling-booth, the place of voting described above. &

4. truck: a wheeibarrow, such as is used by porters at a railwaystation.

5. quietly: secretly.

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