Ever contemplated matrimony of late years, in any case?' 'Oh no;
certainly not,' replied Mr. Winkle. 'Has his behaviour, when females
have been in the case, always been that of a man, who having attained a
pretty advanced period of life, content with his own occupations and
amusements, treats them only as a father might his daughters?' 'Not the
least doubt of it,' replied Mr. Winkle, in the fulness of his heart.
'That is--yes--oh yes--certainly.' 'You have never known anything in his
behaviour towards Mrs. Bardell, or any other female, in the least degree
suspicious?' said Mr. Phunky, preparing to sit down, for Serjeant
Snubbin was winking at him. 'N--n--no,' replied Mr. Winkle, 'except on
one trifling occasion, which, I have no doubt, might be easily
explained.' Now, if the unfortunate Mr. Phunky had sat down when
Serjeant Snubbin winked at him, or if Serjeant Buzfuz had stopped this
irregular cross-examination at the outset (which he knew better than to
do, for observing Mr. Winkle's anxiety, and well knowing it would in all
probability, lead to something serviceable to him), this unfortunate
admission would not have been elicited. The moment the words fell from
Mr. Winkle's lips, Mr. Phunky sat down, and Serjeant Snubbin rather
hastily told him he might leave the box, which Mr. Winkle prepared to do
with great readiness, when Serjeant Buzfuz stopped him. 'Stay, Mr.
Winkle--stay,' said Serjeant Buzfuz, 'will your lordship have the
goodness to ask him, what this one instance of suspicious behaviour
towards females on the part of this gentlemen, who is old enough to be
his father, was?' 'You hear what the learned counsel says, Sir,'
observed the Judge, turning to the miserable and agonized Mr. Winkle.
'Describe the occasion to which you refer.' 'My lord,' said Mr. Winkle,
trembling with anxiety, 'I--I'd rather not.' And Winkle had to relate
the whole Ipswich adventure of the doublebedded room and the spinster
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