Background.

He was a tough, burly thick-headed gentleman, with a loud voice, a pompous manner, a tolerable command of sentences with no meaning in them, and, in short, every requisite for a very good member indeed” is a quotation from Nicholas Nickleby (Chapter 16).

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, more commonly referred to as Nicholas Nickleby, is the third novel by Charles Dickens, originally serialised between 1838 and 1839.

 

Context.

Description of Mr. Gregsbury, Member of Parliament.

Taken from the following passage in Chapter 16 of Nicholas Nickleby:

So far from walking up, the gentlemen on the stairs began to walk down with great alacrity, and to entreat, with extraordinary politeness, that the gentlemen nearest the street would go first; the gentlemen nearest the street retorted, with equal courtesy, that they couldn’t think of such a thing on any account; but they did it, without thinking of it, inasmuch as the other gentlemen pressing some half-dozen (among whom was Nicholas) forward, and closing up behind, pushed them, not merely up the stairs, but into the very sitting-room of Mr. Gregsbury, which they were thus compelled to enter with most unseemly precipitation, and without the means of retreat; the press behind them, more than filling the apartment.

‘Gentlemen,’ said Mr. Gregsbury, ‘you are welcome. I am rejoiced to see you.’

For a gentleman who was rejoiced to see a body of visitors, Mr. Gregsbury looked as uncomfortable as might be; but perhaps this was occasioned by senatorial gravity, and a statesmanlike habit of keeping his feelings under control. He was a tough, burly, thick-headed gentleman, with a loud voice, a pompous manner, a tolerable command of sentences with no meaning in them, and, in short, every requisite for a very good member indeed.

‘Now, gentlemen,’ said Mr. Gregsbury, tossing a great bundle of papers into a wicker basket at his feet, and throwing himself back in his chair with his arms over the elbows, ‘you are dissatisfied with my conduct, I see by the newspapers.’

 

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