"All Is Gas And Gaiters"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: At a gathering in the Nickleby residence in London are Mrs. Nickleby and her daughter, Kate; Miss La Creevy, the artist; Mr. Linkinwater, who professes to admire Miss La Creevy; and Frank Cheeryble, who, with his brother Charles, employs Nicholas Nickleby. While the company is engaged in conversation, a muffled voice singing in melancholy tones issues from a neighboring room. The company, upon investigation, finds a pair of legs in coarse gray stockings dangling from the chimney, and when they are sharply pulled a gentleman in small clothes, that is, tight-fitting knee breeches, appears. Kate says that he is a madman who has escaped from the neighboring house, but Mrs. Nickleby insists that he is the victim of a plot to rob him of his wealth. His demanding bottled lightning, a thunder sandwich, a fricassee of boot-tops with goldfish sauce rather substantiates Kate's opinion of him. He greets Miss La Creevy as his lost love and says that all is gas and gaiters, by which expression he seems to mean that now everything is all right:

"Aha!" cried the old gentleman, folding his hands, and squeezing them with great force against each other. "I see her now; I see her now! My love, my life, my bride, my peerless beauty. She is come at last–at last–and all is gas and gaiters!"
Mrs. Nickleby looked rather disconcerted for a moment, but immediately recovering, nodded to Miss La Creevy and the other spectators several times, and frowned, and smiled gravely; giving them to understand that she saw where the mistake was, and would set it all to rights in a minute or two.
"She is come!" said the old gentleman, laying his hand upon his heart. "Cormoran and Blunderbore! She is come! All the wealth I have is hers if she will take me for her slave. Where are grace, beauty, and blandishments, like those? In the Empress of Madagascar? No. In the Queen of Diamonds? No. In Mrs. Rowland, who every morning bathes in Kalydor for nothing? No. Melt all these down into one, with the three Graces, the nine Muses, and fourteen biscuit-bakers' daughters from Oxford-street, and make a woman half as lovely. Pho! I defy you."