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THE TRIAL14 USTICE Stareleigh was a most particularly short man, and so fat, that he seemed all face and waistcoat. He rolled in, upon two little turned legs, and having bobbed gravely to the bar,15 who bobbed gravely to him, put
his little legs underneath his table, and his little three-cornered hat upon it; and when Mr. Justice Stareleigh had done this, all you could see of him was two queer little eyes, one broad pink face, and somewhere about half of a big and very comical-looking wig.
The judge had no sooner taken his seat, than the officer on the floor of the court called out “Silence!” in a commanding tone, upon which another officer in the gallery cried “Silence!” in an angry manner, whereupon three or four more ushers shouted “Silence!” in a voice of indignant remonstrance. This being done, a gentleman in black, who sat below the judge, proceeded to call over the names of the jury. Immediately afterward Mrs. Bardell, supported by Mrs. Cluppins, was led in, and placed, in a drooping state, at the other end of the seat on which Mr. Pickwick sat. An extra sized umbrella was then handed in by Mr. Dodson, and a pair of pattens by Mr. Fogg, each of whom had prepared a most sympathising and melancholy face for the occasion. Mrs. Sanders then appeared leading in Master Bardell. At sight of her child, Mrs. Bardell started; suddenly recollecting herself, she kissed him in a frantic manner; then relapsing into a state of hysterical imbecility, the good lady requested to be informed where she was. In reply to this, Mrs. Cluppins and Mrs. Sanders turned
14. This is the account of the trial of the breach-of-promise suit brought by Mrs. Bardell against Mr. Pickwick.
15. The bar—the lawyers who are admitted inside the bar that divides the room and keeps spectators out of the way.
their heads away and wept, while Messrs. Dodson and Fogg intreated the plaintiff to compose herself. Serjeant Buzfuze rubbed his eyes very hard with a large, white handkerchief, and gave an appealing look towards the jury, while the judge was visibly affected, and several of the beholders tried to cough down their emotions.
16. Sergeant Buzfuz is the lawyer who will speak to the jury on Mrs. Bardell's side. Dodson & Fogg have prepared the papers and conducted the case until now. In this country, one attorney may attend to everything, but in England the practice is different. Mr. Perker has conducted Mr. Pickwick’s affairs, and Serjeant Snubbin will plead at the trial.
Mrs. Bardell recovered by slow degrees, while Mrs. Cluppins, after a careful survey of Master Bardell's buttons and the button-holes to which they severally belonged, placed him on the floor of the court in front of his mother,-a commanding position in which he could not fail to awaken the full commiseration and sympathy of both judge and jury. This was not done without considerable opposition, and many tears, on the part of the young gentleman himself, who had certain inward misgivings that the placing him within the full glare of the judge's eye was only a formal prelude to his being immediately ordered away for instant execution, or for transportation beyond the seas, during the whole term of his natural life, at the very least.
“Bardell and Pickwick,” cried the gentleman in black, calling on the case, which stood first on the list.
“I am for the plaintiff, my Lord,” said Mr. Serjeant Buzfuz.
“Who is with you, brother Buzfuz?” said the judge. Mr. Skimpin bowed, to intimate that he was.
“I appear for the defendant, my Lord,” said Mr. Serjeant Snubbin.
“Anybody with you, brother Snubbin?” inquired the court.
“Mr. Phunky, my Lord,” replied Serjeant Snubbin.
“Serjeant Buzfuz and Mr. Skimpin for the plaintiff,” said the judge, writing down the names in his note-book, and reading as he wrote: “for the defendant, Serjeant Snubbin and Mr. Monkey.”
"Beg your Lordship’s pardon, Phunky.”
“Oh, very good,” said the judge; “I never had the pleasure of hearing the gentleman's name before.” Here Mr. Phunky bowed and smiled, and the judge bowed and smiled too, and then Mr. Phunky, blushing into the very whites of his eyes, tried to look as if he didn't know that everybody was gazing at him.
“Go on,” said the judge.
The ushers again called silence, and Mr. Skimpin proceeded to "open the case.”
Serjeant Buzfuz then rose with all the dignity which the grave nature of the proceedings demanded, and having whispered to Dodson, and conferred briefly with Fogg, pulled his gown over his shoulders, settled his wig, and addressed the jury.
Serjeant Buzfuz began by saying, that never in the whole course of his professional experiencenever, from the very first moment of his applying himself to the study and practice of the law-had he approached a case with feelings of such deep emotion, or with such a heavy sense of responsibilty imposed upon him—a responsibility, he would say, which he could never have supported, were he not buoyed up and sustained by a conviction so strong, that it amounted to positive certainty that the cause of truth and justice, or, in other words, the cause of his much-injured and most oppressed client, must prevail with the high-minded and intelligent dozen of men whom he now saw in that box before him.
“The plaintiff, gentlemen,” continued Serjeant Buzfuz, in a soft and melancholy voice, "the plaintiff is a widow; yes, gentlemen, a widow. The late Mr. Bardell, after enjoying, for many years, the esteem and confidence of his sovereign, as one of the guardians of his royal revenues, glided almost imperceptibly from the world, to seek elsewhere for that repose and peace which a custom-house can never afford.”
At this pathetic description of the decease of Mr. Bardell, who had been knocked on the head with a quart-pot in a public-house cellar, the learned serjeant's voice faltered, and he proceeded with emotion:
“Some time before his death, he had stamped his likeness upon a little boy. With this little boy, the only pledge of her departed exciseman, Mrs. Bardell shrunk from the world, and courted the retirement and tranquillity of Goswell Street; and here she placed in her front parlour-window a written placard, bearing this inscription—Apartments furnished for a single gentleman. Inquire within.'” Here Serjeant Buzfuz paused, while several gentlemen of the jury took a note of the document.
“There is no date to that, is there, sir?” inquired a juror.
“There is no date, gentlemen,” replied Serjeant Buzfuz; “but I am instructed to say that it was put in the plaintiff's parlour-window just this time three years. I intreat the attention of the jury to the wording of this document. 'Apartments furnished for a single gentleman'! Mrs. Bardell's opinions of the opposite sex, gentlemen, were derived from a long contemplation of the inestimable qualities of her lost husband. She had no fear, she had no distrust, she had no suspicion, all was confidence