An omnibus was waiting at the opposite corner--it was a desperate case--he had never heard of an omnibus upsetting or running away, and if the cad did knock him down, he could 'pull him up' in return.
'Now, sir!' cried the young gentleman who officiated as 'cad' to the 'Lads of the Village,' which was the name of the machine just noticed. Dumps crossed.
'This vay, sir!' shouted the driver of the 'Hark-away,' pulling up his vehicle immediately across the door of the opposition--'This vay, sir--he's full.' Dumps hesitated, whereupon the 'Lads of the Village' commenced pouring out a torrent of abuse against the 'Hark-away;' but the conductor of the 'Admiral Napier' settled the contest in a most satisfactory manner, for all parties, by seizing Dumps round the waist, and thrusting him into the middle of his vehicle which had just come up and only wanted the sixteenth inside.
'All right,' said the 'Admiral,' and off the thing thundered, like a fire-engine at full gallop, with the kidnapped customer inside, standing in the position of a half doubled-up bootjack, and falling about with every jerk of the machine, first on the one side, and then on the other, like a 'Jack-in-the-green,' on May-day, setting to the lady with a brass ladle.
'For Heaven's sake, where am I to sit?' inquired the miserable man of an old gentleman, into whose stomach he had just fallen for the fourth time.
'Anywhere but on my CHEST, sir,' replied the old gentleman in a surly tone.
'Perhaps the BOX would suit the gentleman better,' suggested a very damp lawyer's clerk, in a pink shirt, and a smirking countenance.
After a great deal of struggling and falling about, Dumps at last managed to squeeze himself into a seat, which, in addition to the slight disadvantage of being between a window that would not shut, and a door that must be open, placed him in close contact with a passenger, who had been walking about all the morning without an umbrella, and who looked as if he had spent the day in a full water-butt--only wetter.
'Don't bang the door so,' said Dumps to the conductor, as he shut it after letting out four of the passengers; I am very nervous--it destroys me.'
'Did any gen'lm'n say anythink?' replied the cad, thrusting in his head, and trying to look as if he didn't understand the request.
'I told you not to bang the door so!' repeated Dumps, with an expression of countenance like the knave of clubs, in convulsions.
'Oh! vy, it's rather a sing'ler circumstance about this here door, sir, that it von't shut without banging,' replied the conductor; and he opened the door very wide, and shut it again with a terrific bang, in proof of the assertion.
'I beg your pardon, sir,' said a little prim, wheezing old gentleman, sitting opposite Dumps, 'I beg your pardon; but have you ever observed, when you have been in an omnibus on a wet day, that four people out of five always come in with large cotton umbrellas, without a handle at the top, or the brass spike at the bottom?'
'Why, sir,' returned Dumps, as he heard the clock strike twelve, 'it never struck me before; but now you mention it, I--Hollo! hollo!' shouted the persecuted individual, as the omnibus dashed past Drury-lane, where he had directed to be set down.--'Where is the cad?'
'I think he's on the box, sir,' said the young gentleman before noticed in the pink shirt, which looked like a white one ruled with red ink.
'I want to be set down!' said Dumps in a faint voice, overcome by his previous efforts.
'I think these cads want to be SET DOWN,' returned the attorney's clerk, chuckling at his sally.
'Hollo!' cried Dumps again.
'Hollo!' echoed the passengers. The omnibus passed St. Giles's church.
'Hold hard!' said the conductor; 'I'm blowed if we ha'n't forgot the gen'lm'n as vas to be set down at Doory-lane.--Now, sir, make haste, if you please,' he added, opening the door, and assisting Dumps out with as much coolness as if it was 'all right.' Dumps's indignation was for once getting the better of his cynical equanimity.