CHARLES DICKENS (Pickwick)
MR PICKWICK 1
MR TUPMAN J
CAPTAIN BOLDWIG, a stout, fierce, little man.
HUNT, his gardener.
A GAMEKEEPER, a tall, tnournful-looking mem with very long legs.
A LEATHER-LEGOINGED BOY.
PERIOD . . 1827.
SCENE. An open glade in the early autumn. There is a
fine oak tree R., and a grassy bank upon which are
placed some baskets which contain luncheon. Before
the curtain rises there is a sound of gun -firing,
and when the curtain goes up MR WARDLE and
MR TRUNDLE are discovered in the act of shooting
WARDLE (handing his gun to the long-legged KEEPER
who is standing by his side). Capital, capital, we are
“COLD PUNCH” 87
going to have a fine day’s sport, I’m sure. Aha, Trundle,
my boy, see here !
Enter a boy carrying a number of birds which, with the aid
of the long-legged KEEPER, he deposits in one of two
capacious bags which are lying upon the grass.
MR TRUNDLE. What time did you tell Mr Pickwick
and his friends to meet us, sir ?
MRWARDLE. Side of One Tree Hill at 12 o’clock. (He
pulls out a large watch.) It’s that now. (To KEEPER.)
This is the place, isn’t it ?
KEEPER. Yes, sir, but you know, sir, you’ve only
got permission to shoot over Sir Geoffrey’s land, sir.
MR WARDLE. Well, what of it ?
KEEPER. Well, you see, sir, this ain’t exac’ly Sir
Geoffrey’s land. It very nearly is, but it ain’t quite.
That’s where Sir Geoffrey’s bit stops, sir (he points off),
where them beaters and the dogs are, but this
‘ere belongs to Captain Boldwig, sir, and he ain’t a
very pleasant gen’leman, the Captain ain’t, sir.
MR WARDLE. Well, well, it can’t be helped now, and
he’ll be none the wiser. We can’t move all these
things again, and besides it’s a fine piece of turf to
have lunch on.
KEEPER (touching his hat). Very good, sir.
(There is a sound heard of approaching voices.)
TRUNDLE. Here come our friends.
WARDLE. So they are, so they are. Hola, there >
Enter MR WINKLE and MR TUPMAN. They are both
attired in shooting suits and carry guns, a fact which
obviously causes them considerable embarrassment,
88 “COLD PUNCH”
especially on the part of MB WINKLE, who handles his
in a manner which is a constant source of danger to
those behind him. They are followed immediately by
MB PICKWICK, who is seated in a wheelbarrow t which
is being pushed along by SAM WELLEB.
MB WABDLE. Hullo, Pickwick, old fellow, what the
deuce are you in that thing for ?
MB PICKWICK. One minute, Wardle. Winkle, I won’t
suffer this barrow to be moved another yard till you
carry your gun in a different manner.
(Ms WINKLE thus admonished abruptly alters his gun’s
position, and contrives to bring the barrel into sharp
contact with SAM WELLEB’S hat, which falls off.)
SAM (picking up and replacing his hat on his head).
Hullo, sir, if you comes it in this vay, you’ll be makin’
cold meat o’ some of us.
MB WINKLE (despairingly) . Well, how am I to carry it ?
MB PICKWICK. Carry it with the muzzle to the ground.
MB WINKLE. But it’s so unsportsmanlike.
MB PICKWICK. I don’t care whether it’s unsportsman-
like or not, but I’m not going to be shot in a wheelbarrow
for the sake of appearances, to please anybody.
MB WINKLE. Well, well, I don’t mind. ( He reverses
MB WABDLE. But, Pickwick, old fellow, what are
you in that barrow for.
SAM. Veil, you see, sir, it vos this vay, sir. The
MB PICKWICK. Sam !
SAM. Sir !
MB PICKWICK. That will do, Sam.
“COLD PUNCH” 89
SAM. Wery good, sir.
( He winks at the leather-legginged BOY, who gives a sudden
hearty laugh and then pulls himself up very short as
he perceives the eye of the long-legged KEEPER is upon
him, and tries to look as if the sound came from any-
body but him.)
MR PICKWICK. Unfortunately, Wardle, an attack of
rheumatism has rendered me lame for the moment, so
Sam here suggested my coming in this wheelbarrow, and
as it was a question of adopting his suggestion or of
remaining behind, I decided to act upon it, and here I am.
MR WARDLE (heartily). Bravo, old fellow, and it does
KEEPER (aside to BOY). Disgustin’, I calls it. Who
ever ‘eard of a shootin’ party hi a barrer ?
MR TRUNDLE (who has been talking to MR TUPMAN).
We’re delighted to see you here in anything, sir.
MR WINKLE (who has been examining the two capacious
bags with interest). I say, you don’t suppose we’re going
to kill enough game to fill those bags, do you ?
MR WARDLE. Bless you, yes. You shall fill one (MR
WINKLE looks aghast), and I the other, and when we’ve
done with them the pockets of our jackets will hold as
much more. But now, then, to work. (To BOY). Be
off with you, my lad, and warn the other beaters. You
take the right, Trundle. Winkle and I will stay here,
and, Tupman, you take the left.
Exeunt BOY and MR TRUNDLE R., and MR TUPMAN L.
(MR WARDLE loads his gun while the KEEPER does the
same to that of MR WINKLE, who receives it in evident
apprehension of the future consequences.)
MR WINKLE (gazing about in a dazed fashion and then
90 “COLD PUNCH”
fixing his eyes upon some object of great interest off stage).
Look at those dogs what’s the matter with their legs ?
MR WARDLE. Hush, can’t you don’t you see they
are making a point ?
MB WINKLE. Making a point ! What are they
pointing at ?
ME WARDLE. Keep your eyes open. Now then
( He raises his gun to his shoulder and takes careful aim
and then fires, while MR WINKLE, surprised by the
report, starts back as if he had been shot himself.)
MR WINKLE (recovering himself). Where are they ?
Where are they ?
MR WARDLE (as the BOY enters carrying a brace of
partridges). Where are they ? Why, here they are.
MR WINKLE (in great excitement). No, no, I mean
MR WARDLE (laughing and re-loading). Oh, far enough
off by this time.
KEEPER. If the gentleman begins to fire now, per’aps
he’ll just get the shot out o’ the barrel by the time the
next covey comes over.
(SAM bursts into a roar of laughter.)
MR PICKWICK. Sam !
SAM. Sir !
MR PICKWICK. Don’t laugh.
SAM. Cert’nly not, sir. ( He instantly assumes an
impenetrable solemnity of countenance.)
Enter MR TUPMAN.
MR WARDLE. Well, old fellow, you fired that time
MR TUPMAN (ivith conscious pride). Oh yes I let it
“COLD PUNCH” 91
off, but I had no idea that small firearms kicked so. It
nearly knocked me backward. (He rubs his shoulder rue-
fully, and hands his gun to KEEPERS).
MR WARDLE. Ah, you’ll soon get used to that, you
know. Now, then, all ready now ?
(KEEPER hands MR TUPMAN his gun again, re-loaded.)
MR WARDLE. Now, Winkle, don’t be late this time.
MR WINKLE. Never fear. Are they pointing ?
MR WARDLE. No, no, not yet. Quiet now.
(MR WINKLE, greatly impressed, performs some intricate
evolutions with his gun, which accidentally goes off
as he is in the act of raising it to his shoulder.)
MR WARDLE. God bless my soul, what on earth did
you do that for ? You nearly shot the boy.
MR WINKLE. I never saw such a gun in my life. ( He
looks down the barrel.} It seems to go off on its own
MR WARDLE. Well, I wish it would kill something on
its own account.
KEEPER (in mournful tones}. It’ll do that afore long,
MR WINKLE (angrily}. What do you mean by that
KEEPER. Nothin’, sir, nothin’. I’ve no family myself,
sir, and I daresay Sir Geoffrey’ll do something ‘andsome
for that boy’s mother if he’s killed on his land, sir. Load
again, sir, load again.
MR PICKWICK (horror struck}. Winkle, you shall do
nothing of the kind. Put that gun away, sir.
92 “COLD PUNCH”
MR WINKLE (re-loading rebdliously). I shall do no
such thing, sir.
MR PICKWICK. Somebody take that gun away from
ME WARDLE. Hush, hush, the dogs are pointing.
(There is a short pause, then MR WARDLE takes careful
aim and fires. MR WINKLE shoots wildly, while
MR TTJPMAN shuts his eyes firmly and discharges his
gun into the air. Immediately a plump partridge
falls almost to his very feet.)
MR WARDLE. Bravo, Tupman, you singled out that
MR TUPMAN (modestly). No, no.
MR WARDLE. You did. I saw you do it. Aha,
Tupman, you are an older hand at this than I
thought ; you’ve been out before.
Enter MR TRUNDLE, followed by the BOY, who carries a
number of birds.)
MR TRUNDLE. Well, what do you say to having
lunch before we move on ?
MR WARDLE. A capital notion. Now, then, my boy,
put away those birds and unpack the baskets.
MR PICKWICK. Sam !
SAM. Sir !
MR PICKWICK. I’ll sit on that bank under the tree.
SAM. Wery good, sir. ( He takes up handles of wheel-
barrow.) Hold on, sir. (To BOY.) Now then, out o’
the vay, young leather. If you walley your precious
life, don’t upset me, as the gen’leman said to the driver
when they vos carryin’ ‘im to Tyburn.
( He wheels MR PICKWICK dexterously across, and helps him
“COLD PUNCH” 93
to alight and to take his seat upon the grass, and then
turns to assist the KEEPER and the BOY, who are
unpacking the luncheon baskets. MESSRS TRUNDLE,
TUPMAN, and WINKLE stroll off L.)
MR WARDLE. Hurry up, there, hurry up. We are all
SAM (taking up a veal pie and holding it up for MR
PICKWICK’S inspection). This ‘ere’s a weal pie, sir.
MR PICKWICK. So I see, Sam.
SAM. And a wery good thing, too, is a weal pie, when
you know the lady as made it, and is quite sure it ain’t
kittens, though, arter all, where’s the odds, when they’re
so like weal that the wery piemen themselves don’t know
the difference ?
MR PICKWICK. Don’t they, Sam ?
SAM. Not they, sir. I lodged with a pieman once,
sir, so I knows, sir. ‘E was a wery nice man, sir, but ‘e
could make pies outer anythin’.
SAM (taking out more comestibles). ‘Ere we ‘ave tongue.
Wery good when it ain’t a woman’s. Bread, knuckle o’
ham reg’ler picter cold beef in slices wery good. ( To
BOY.) What’s in them stone jars, young small checks ?
BOY. Beer in this one and cold punch in t’other.
MR PICKWICK (with great interest). A capital lad that.
Sam, remind me to give him a shilling this evening.
SAM. Wery good, sir. Now, gen’lemen, ” fall on,” as
the English said to the French when they fixed bagginets.
MR WARDLE. Come along, you fellows.
Enter MESSRS TRUNDLE, TUPMAN, and WINKLE. All
seat themselves with alacrity round the luncheon baskets.
MR WELLER and the BOY pour out the drinks and make
themselves generally useful. The long-legged KEEPER
94 “COLD PUNCH”
retires to a short distance and watches the proceedings
with a mournful but hungry eye.}
MR PICKWICK (after a long drink of cold punch and
partaking freely of the good things). This is delightful
MR WARDLE. So it is, old fellow, so it is. Come,
another glass of punch.
MR PICKWICK (beaming upon the company as MR
WARDLE re-fills his glass). With great pleasure. Come,
I’ll give you a toast. Our friends at Dingley Dell. ( This
is drunk with great acclamation from MESSRS TUPMAN
MR WARDLE. And I drink to you, old fellow. (He
does so.) I tell you what. You all have got to come
down at Christmas. We’re going to have a wedding.
Mr WINKLE. A wedding !
MR WARDLE. Yes, a wedding ; but don’t be frightened.
It’s only our friend Trundle here and Bella.
MR WINKLE. Oh! (To MR TRUNDLE.) I drink
to your happiness, sir.
MR PICKWICK (beaming upon MR TRUNDLE). And so
do I, my boy, and so do we all, I’m sure.
(They all regale themselves merrily.)
MR TRUNDLE. Thank you, thank you very much.
MR WINKLE (eating bread and ham with his pocket
knife). I’ll tell you what I shall do to get up my shoot-
ing again. I’ll put a stuffed partridge on the top of a
post, and practise at it, beginning at a short distance,
lengthening it by degrees. I understand it’s capital
SAM. I know a gen’leman as tried that, sir, and begun
at two yards, but he never tried it on agin, sir, for he blow
“COLD PUNCH” 95
the bird right clean away at the first fire, and nobody ever
seed a feather on him arterwards.
MB PICKWICK. Sam !
SAM. Sir !
MR PICKWICK. Have the goodness to reserve your
anecdotes till they are called for.
SAM. Cert’nly, sir.
MR WARDLE. Come, come, these good fellows of ours
must be getting hungry. Help yourselves and take it
over there, and we’ll join you with the guns before long.
(SAM, the KEEPER, and the Boy take up bread, pies, the
beer can, etc.)
SAM. Now, steady there with that there precious
liquid, young touch-and-go. Don’t you go a-spillin’ none.
MR PICKWICK (who is becoming more and more
benignant). This is certainly most capital cold punch,
and the day is extremely warm. (He regards his empty
glass.) Tupman, my dear friend, another glass with you.
MR TUPMAN. With all my heart. ( They drink.)
MR PICKWICK (rising unsteadily to his feet and beaming
upon the company, who by this time have all become extremely
merry). I remember a little song I used to sing as a
child. Would you like me to try and sing it ? (They
all roar their approval.) Well, give me another glass, and
I will. It goes something like this. (He makes several
abortive attempts to start, having considerable difficulty over
his articulation, then gets as far as ” Up and down the City
Eoad, in and out the “). No, no, that’s wrong I
know, let’s all sing it.
(They all burst into song as MR PICKWICK subsides into
96 “COLD PUNCH”
his wheelbarrow, which is partly hidden behind tree,
where he is shortly fast asleep.)
MR WARDLE (jovially, at the end of song). Well, well,
we must be getting along again now.
MR WINKLE (seizing his gun). I’m ready for anything
ME TRUNDLE (perceiving MR PICKWICK). Hullo, look
MR WARDLE. What shall we do with him ? It seems
a pity to wake him.
MR TUPMAN. Why not leave him here and call for
him and the baskets together on our way home ?
MR WARDLE. That’s the plan. Come along, Tupman.
Exeunt MESSRS WARDLE and TUPMAN. MR WINKLE
seizes MR TRUNDLE by the arm and bursts once more
into ” Up and down the City Road,” using his gun as
a baton, and they follow the others off. There is a feiv
moments’ complete silence, broken only by the snores
of MR PICKWICK, and afterwards by the discharge of
the guns in the distance, which gradually become
fainter and fainter till at length they die away
altogether, and there is complete silence, even MR
PICKWICK’S snores having ceased. Enter CAPTAIN
BOLD WIG and HUNT. CAPTAIN BOLD WIG perceives
neither MR PICKWICK nor the remains of the feast.
He struts around the stage, stopping in the middle
to survey the landscape with a proprietorial air.
CAPT. BOLDWIG. Hunt !
HUNT. Yes, sir.
CAPT. BOLDWIG. See this place is rolled to-morrow
morning do you hear, Hunt ?
HUNT. Yes, sir. ,
CAPT. BOLDWIG. And remind me to have a board
done about trespassers and spring guns, and all that sort
“COLD PUNCH” 97
of thing, to keep the common people out. Do you hear,
Hunt, do you hear ?
(HUNT does not reply, as he has suddenly caught sight of
the luncheon remains.)
CAPT. BOLDWIG (angrily). Do you hear me, Hunt ?
HUNT. Beg pardon, sir, but I think there have been
trespassers here to-day.
CAPT. BOLDWIG (wheeling round). Ha ! What’s that ?
HUNT. Yes, sir they’ve been dining here, sir, I think.
CAPT. BOLDWIG (fiercely shaking his stick). Why, damn
their audacity, so they have. They have actually been
devouring their food here. I wish I had the vagabonds
here I’d Why, what the devil’s this ? ( He
catches sight of MR PICKWICK’S reclining form.)
HUNT. It’s one o’ them diners, I think, sir.
CAPT. BOLDWIG. Bring him here. Do you hear me ?
Bring the rascal here, I say.
(HUNT pushes the barrow forward.)
CAPT. BOLDWIG (prodding MR PICKWICK in the ribs
with his stick). Who are you, you vagabond ? What’s
your name ?
MR PICKWICK (in a gentle murmur). Cold punch.
(He sinks once more into a deep slumber.)
CAPT. BOLDWIG. What did the rascal say his name was?
HUNT. I think he said it was Punch, sir.
CAPT. BOLDWIG (with growing ferocity). Punch !
That’s his confounded impudence. He’s only feigning
to be asleep. He’s drunk ; he’s a drunken plebeian.
Wheel him away, Hunt, wheel him away.
HUNT. Where shall wheel him to, sir ?
CAPT. BOLDWIG (explosively). Wheel him to the devil.
98 “COLD PUNCH”
HUNT (taking up the handles of the barrow). Very well,
CAPT. BOLDWIG. Stop. Wheel him to the pound.
We’ll see if he calls himself Punch when he comes to
himself. He shall not bully me. Away with the rascal.
To the pound with him off with him to the pound.
(HUNT begins to wheel away the barrow. As he passes
CAPTAIN BOLDWIG, MR PICKWICK raises his head
unsteadily and again murmurs ” Cold punch,” then
sinks down again as the barrow is wheeled off the
stage, leaving the CAPTAIN furiously brandishing his