Looking out for business not exactly minding your own business—The loss of the scales occasions the loss of place to Timothy and me, who when weighed in other scales were found wanting—We bundle off with our bundles on.
It happened one market-day that there was an overdriven, infuriated beast, which was making sad havoc. Crowds of people were running past our shop in one direction, and the cries of “Mad bull!” were re-echoed in every quarter. Mr Cophagus, who was in the shop, and to whom, as I have before observed, a mad bull was a source of great profit, very naturally looked out of the shop to ascertain whether the animal was near to us. In most other countries, when people hear of any danger, they generally avoid it by increasing their distance; but in England, it is too often the case, that they are so fond of indulging their curiosity, that they run to the danger. Mr Cophagus, who perceived the people running one way, naturally supposed, not being aware of the extreme proximity of the animal, that the people were running to see what was the matter, and turned his eyes in that direction, walking out on the pavement that he might have a fairer view. He was just observing, “Can’t say—fear—um—rascal Pleggit—close to him—get all the custom—wounds—contusions—and”—when the animal came suddenly round the corner upon Mr Cophagus, who had his eyes the other way, and before he could escape, tossed him through his own shop windows, and landed him on the counter. Not satisfied with this, the beast followed him into the shop. Timothy and I pulled Mr Cophagus over towards us, and he dropped inside the counter, where we also crouched, frightened out of our wits. To our great horror the bull made one or two attempts to leap the counter; but not succeeding, and being now attacked by the dogs and butcher boys, he charged at them through the door, carrying away our best scales on his horns as a trophy, as he galloped out of the shop in pursuit of his persecutors. When the shouts and hallooes were at some little distance, Timothy and I raised our heads and looked round us; and perceiving that all was safe, we proceeded to help Mr Cophagus, who remained on the floor bleeding, and in a state of insensibility. We carried him into the back parlour and laid him on the sofa. I desired Timothy to run for surgical aid as fast as he could, while I opened a vein; and in a few minutes he returned with our opponent, Mr Ebenezer Pleggit. We stripped Mr Cophagus, and proceeded to examine him. “Bad case this—very bad case indeed, Mr Newland—dislocation of the os humeri—severe contusion on the os frontis—and I’m very much afraid there is some intercostal injury. Very sorry, very sorry, indeed, for my brother Cophagus.” But Mr Pleggit did not appear to be sorry; on the contrary, he appeared to perform his surgical duties with the greatest glee.
We reduced the dislocation, and then carried Mr Cophagus up to his bed. In an hour he was sensible, and Mr Pleggit took his departure, shaking hands with Mr Cophagus, and wishing him joy of his providential escape.