"I see him a-winkin' at her with his wicked old eye," shouted a fourth.
"Look arter your wife, Pott," bellowed a fifth; and then there was a roar of laughter.
As these taunts *) .were accompanied with invidious comparisons between Mr. Pickwick and an aged ram, and several witticisms of the like nature; and as they moreover rather tended to convey reflections upon the honour of an innocent lady, Mr. Pickwick's indignation was excessive; but as silence was proclaimed at the moment, he contented himself by scorching the mob with a look of pity for their misguided minds, at which they laughed more boisterously than ever.
"Silence!" roared the Mayor's attendants.
"Whiffin, proclaim silence," said the Mayor, with an air of pomp befHting his lofty station2). In obedience to this command the crier performed another concerto8) on the bell, whereupon a gentleman in the crowd called out "Muffins;" which occasioned another laugh4).
"Gentlemen," said the Mayor, at as loud a pitch as he could possibly force his voice to—"gentlemen, brother electors of the Borough of Eatanswill, we are met here to-day for the purpose of choosing a representative in the room of our late "
Here the Mayor was interrupted by a voice in the crowd.
"Suc-cess to the Mayor!" cried the voice, "and may he never
1. taunt: contemptuous reproach.
2. The position of a mayor should not be identified with that of a Dutch burgemeester. An English mayor is one of the members of the town-council elected as chairman for one year.
3. concerto [kon'tsaatöu]: musical composition for a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra.
4. muffins are light flat round spongy cakes, eaten toasted and buttered with tea. They are sold by men in the street who use a bell to attract people's attention.