Pickwick Papers "Tongue; Well, That's A Wery Good Thing When It An't A Woman's"

Charles Dickens

"Tongue; Well, That's A Wery Good Thing When It An't A Woman's"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Mr. Wardle, the congenial country gentleman, has taken Mr. Pickwick and his companions into the fields for a day of hunting partridges. They are accompanied by Sam Weller, Mr. Pickwick's servant, who, in the course of the morning, reveals that despite his lack of education and his cockney dialect, he is a penetrating observer of people and possesses considerable native wisdom. When they pause at midday to take their lunch, Sam unpacks the food and makes knowing observations on its quality and suitability. The first item he finds is some beef tongue, which prompts him to make one of his pronouncements upon women: the female tongue must be regarded as a disadvantage, since women have never learned to control it and make men suffer from their interminable verbosity. Mr. Pickwick had just been told of a pie-maker who used catflesh in his pies:

"He must have been a very ingenious young man, that, Sam," said Mr. Pickwick, with a slight shudder.
"Just was, Sir," replied Mr. Weller, continuing his occupation of emptying the basket, "and the pies was beautiful. Tongue; well, that's a wery good thing when it an't a woman's. Bread–knuckle o' ham, reglar picter–cold beef in slices, wery good."