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Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit

by Charles Dickens

PREFACE

What is exaggeration to one class of minds and perceptions
is plain truth to another. That which is commonly called a long-sight
perceives in a prospect innumerable features and bearings
non-existent to a short-sighted person. I sometimes ask myself
whether there may occasionally be a difference of this kind between
some writers and some readers; whether it is ALWAYS the writer
who colours highlyor whether it is now and then the reader
whose eye for colour is a little dull?

On this head of exaggeration I have a positive experiencemore
curious than the speculation I have just set down. It is this:
I have never touched a character precisely from the lifebut some
counterpart of that character has incredulously asked me: "Now
reallydid I ever reallysee one like it?"

All the Pecksniff family upon earth are quite agreedI believe
that Mr. Pecksniff is an exaggerationand that no such character
ever existed. I will not offer any plea on his behalf to so
powerful and genteel a bodybut will make a remark on the
character of Jonas Chuzzlewit.

I conceive that the sordid coarseness and brutality of Jonas
would be unnaturalif there had been nothing in his early
educationand in the precept and example always before him
to engender and develop the vices that make him odious. But
so born and so bredadmired for that which made him hateful
and justified from his cradle in cunningtreacheryand avarice;
I claim him as the legitimate issue of the father upon whom those
vices are seen to recoil. And I submit that their recoil upon
that old manin his unhonoured ageis not a mere piece of
poetical justicebut is the extreme exposition of a direct truth.

I make this commentand solicit the reader's attention to it in
his or her consideration of this talebecause nothing is more
common in real life than a want of profitable reflection on the
causes of many vices and crimes that awaken the general horror.
What is substantially true of families in this respectis true
of a whole commonwealth. As we sowwe reap. Let the reader go
into the children's side of any prison in EnglandorI grieve
to addof many workhousesand judge whether those are monsters
who disgrace our streetspeople our hulks and penitentiariesand
overcrowd our penal coloniesor are creatures whom we have
deliberately suffered to be bred for misery and ruin.

The American portion of this story is in no other respect a
caricature than as it is an exhibitionfor the most part (Mr.
Bevan expected)of a ludicrous sideONLYof the American
character--of that side which wasfour-and-twenty years ago
from its naturethe most obtrusiveand the most likely to be
seen by such travellers as Young Martin and Mark Tapley. As I
had neverin writing fictionhad any disposition to soften what


is ridiculous or wrong at homeso I then hoped that the
good-humored people of the United States would not be generally
disposed to quarrel with me for carrying the same usage abroad.
I am happy to believe that my confidence in that great nation was
not misplaced.

When this book was first publishedI was given to understandby
some authoritiesthat the Watertoast Association and eloquence
were beyond all bounds of belief. Therefore I record the fact
that all that portion of Martin Chuzzlewit's experiences is a
literal paraphrase of some reports of public proceedings in the
United States (especially of the proceedings of a certain Brandywine
Association)which were printed in the Times Newspaper in June
and July1843--at about the time when I was engaged in writing
those parts of the book; and which remain on the file of the Times
Newspaperof course.

In all my writingsI hope I have taken every available opportunity
of showing the want of sanitary improvements in the neglected
dwellings of the poor. Mrs. Sarah Gamp wasfour-and-twenty years
agoa fair representation of the hired attendant on the poor in
sickness. The hospitals of London werein many respectsnoble
Institutions; in othersvery defective. I think it not the least
among the instances of their mismanagementthat Mrs. Betsey Prig
was a fair specimen of a Hospital Nurse; and that the Hospitals
with their means and fundsshould have left it to private humanity
and enterpriseto enter on an attempt to improve that class of
persons--sincegreatly improved through the agency of good women.

POSTSCRIPT

At a Public Dinner given to me on Saturday the 18th of April1868
in the city of New Yorkby two hundred representatives of the Press
of the United States of AmericaI made the following observations
among others:-


So much of my voice has lately been heard in the land, that I
might have been contented with troubling you no further from my
present standing-point, were it not a duty with which I henceforth
charge myself, not only here but on every suitable occasion,
whatsoever and wheresoever, to express my high and grateful sense
of my second reception in America, and to bear my honest testimony
to the national generosity and magnanimity. Also, to declare how
astounded I have been by the amazing changes I have seen around me
on every side--changes moral, changes physical, changes in the
amount of land subdued and peopled, changes in the rise of vast
new cities, changes in the growth of older cities almost out of
recognition, changes in the graces and amenities of life, changes
in the Press, without whose advancement no advancement can take
place anywhere. Nor am I, believe me, so arrogant as to suppose
that in five-and-twenty years there have been no changes in me,
and that I had nothing to learn and no extreme impressions to
correct when I was here first. And this brings me to a point on
which I have, ever since I landed in the United States last November,
observed a strict silence, though sometimes tempted to break it,
but in reference to which I will, with your good leave, take you
into my confidence now. Even the Press, being human, may be
sometimes mistaken or misinformed, and I rather think that I have
in one or two rare instances observed its information to be not
strictly accurate with reference to myself. Indeed, I have, now
and again, been more surprised by printed news that I have read of
myself, than by any printed news that I have ever read in my present


state of existence. Thus, the vigour and perseverance with which
I have for some months past been collecting materials for, and
hammering away at, a new book on America has much astonished me;
seeing that all that time my declaration has been perfectly well
known to my publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, that no
consideration on earth would induce me to write one. But what
I have intended, what I have resolved upon (and this is the
confidence I seek to place in you), is, on my return to England,
in my own person, in my own Journal, to bear, for the behoof of my
countrymen, such testimony to the gigantic changes in this country
as I have hinted at to-night. Also, to record that wherever I have
been, in the smallest places equally with the largest, I have been
received with unsurpassable politeness, delicacy, sweet temper,
hospitality, consideration, and with unsurpassable respect for
the privacy daily enforced upon me by the nature of my avocation
here and the state of my health. This testimony, so long as I live,
and so long as my descendants have any legal right in my books,
I shall cause to be republished, as an appendix to every copy of
those two books of mine in which I have referred to America.
And this I will do and cause to be done, not in mere love and
thankfulness, but because I regard it as an act of plain justice
and honour.

I said these words with the greatest earnestness that I could lay
upon themand I repeat them in print here with equal earnestness.
So long as this book shall lastI hope that they will form a part
of itand will be fairly read as inseparable from my experiences
and impressions of America.

CHARLES DICKENS.

May1868.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTORYCONCERNING THE PEDIGREE OF THE CHUZZLEWIT FAMILY

As no lady or gentlemanwith any claims to polite breedingcan
possibly sympathize with the Chuzzlewit Family without being first
assured of the extreme antiquity of the raceit is a great
satisfaction to know that it undoubtedly descended in a direct line
from Adam and Eve; and wasin the very earliest timesclosely
connected with the agricultural interest. If it should ever be
urged by grudging and malicious personsthat a Chuzzlewitin any
period of the family historydisplayed an overweening amount of
family pridesurely the weakness will be considered not only
pardonable but laudablewhen the immense superiority of the house
to the rest of mankindin respect of this its ancient originis
taken into account.

It is remarkable that as there wasin the oldest family of which we
have any recorda murderer and a vagabondso we never fail to
meetin the records of all old familieswith innumerable
repetitions of the same phase of character. Indeedit may be laid
down as a general principlethat the more extended the ancestry
the greater the amount of violence and vagabondism; for in ancient
days those two amusementscombining a wholesome excitement with a
promising means of repairing shattered fortuneswere at once the
ennobling pursuit and the healthful recreation of the Quality of


this land.

Consequentlyit is a source of inexpressible comfort and happiness
to findthat in various periods of our historythe Chuzzlewits
were actively connected with divers slaughterous conspiracies and
bloody frays. It is further recorded of themthat being clad from
head to heel in steel of proofthey did on many occasions lead
their leather-jerkined soldiers to the death with invincible
courageand afterwards return home gracefully to their relations
and friends.

There can be no doubt that at least one Chuzzlewit came over with
William the Conqueror. It does not appear that this illustrious
ancestor 'came over' that monarchto employ the vulgar phraseat
any subsequent period; inasmuch as the Family do not seem to have
been ever greatly distinguished by the possession of landed estate.
And it is well known that for the bestowal of that kind of property
upon his favouritesthe liberality and gratitude of the Norman were
as remarkable as those virtues are usually found to be in great men
when they give away what belongs to other people.

Perhaps in this place the history may pause to congratulate itself
upon the enormous amount of braverywisdomeloquencevirtue
gentle birthand true nobilitythat appears to have come into
England with the Norman Invasion: an amount which the genealogy of
every ancient family lends its aid to swelland which would beyond
all question have been found to be just as greatand to the full as
prolific in giving birth to long lines of chivalrous descendants
boastful of their origineven though William the Conqueror had been
William the Conquered; a change of circumstances whichit is quite
certainwould have made no manner of difference in this respect.

There was unquestionably a Chuzzlewit in the Gunpowder Plotif
indeed the arch-traitorFawkes himselfwere not a scion of this
remarkable stock; as he might easily have beensupposing another
Chuzzlewit to have emigrated to Spain in the previous generation
and there intermarried with a Spanish ladyby whom he had issue
one olive-complexioned son. This probable conjecture is
strengthenedif not absolutely confirmedby a fact which cannot
fail to be interesting to those who are curious in tracing the
progress of hereditary tastes through the lives of their unconscious
inheritors. It is a notable circumstance that in these later times
many Chuzzlewitsbeing unsuccessful in other pursuitshave
without the smallest rational hope of enriching themselvesor any
conceivable reasonset up as coal-merchants; and havemonth after
monthcontinued gloomily to watch a small stock of coalswithout
in any one instance negotiating with a purchaser. The remarkable
similarity between this course of proceeding and that adopted by
their Great Ancestor beneath the vaults of the Parliament House at
Westminsteris too obvious and too full of interestto stand in
need of comment.

It is also clearly proved by the oral traditions of the Familythat
there existedat some one period of its history which is not
distinctly stateda matron of such destructive principlesand so
familiarized to the use and composition of inflammatory and
combustible enginesthat she was called 'The Match Maker;' by which
nickname and byword she is recognized in the Family legends to this
day. Surely there can be no reasonable doubt that this was the
Spanish ladythe mother of Chuzzlewit Fawkes.

But there is one other piece of evidencebearing immediate
reference to their close connection with this memorable event in
English Historywhich must carry convictioneven to a mind (if


such a mind there be) remaining unconvinced by these presumptive
proofs.

There waswithin a few yearsin the possession of a highly
respectable and in every way credible and unimpeachable member of
the Chuzzlewit Family (for his bitterest enemy never dared to hint
at his being otherwise than a wealthy man)a dark lantern of
undoubted antiquity; rendered still more interesting by beingin
shape and patternextremely like such as are in use at the present
day. Now this gentlemansince deceasedwas at all times ready to
make oathand did again and again set forth upon his solemn
asseverationthat he had frequently heard his grandmother saywhen
contemplating this venerable relic'Ayeaye! This was carried by
my fourth son on the fifth of Novemberwhen he was a Guy Fawkes.'
These remarkable words wrought (as well they might) a strong
impression on his mindand he was in the habit of repeating them
very often. The just interpretation which they bearand the
conclusion to which they leadare triumphant and irresistible. The
old ladynaturally strong-mindedwas nevertheless frail and
fading; she was notoriously subject to that confusion of ideasor
to say the leastof speechto which age and garrulity are liable.
The slightthe very slightconfusion apparent in these expressions
is manifestand is ludicrously easy of correction. 'Ayeaye'
quoth sheand it will be observed that no emendation whatever is
necessary to be made in these two initiative remarks'Ayeaye!
This lantern was carried by my forefather'--not fourth sonwhich is
preposterous--'on the fifth of November. And HE was Guy Fawkes.'
Here we have a remark at once consistentclearnaturaland in
strict accordance with the character of the speaker. Indeed the
anecdote is so plainly susceptible of this meaning and no other
that it would be hardly worth recording in its original statewere
it not a proof of what may be (and very often is) affected not only
in historical prose but in imaginative poetryby the exercise of a
little ingenious labour on the part of a commentator.

It has been said that there is no instancein modern timesof a
Chuzzlewit having been found on terms of intimacy with the Great.
But here again the sneering detractors who weave such miserable
figments from their malicious brainsare stricken dumb by evidence.
For letters are yet in the possession of various branches of the
familyfrom which it distinctly appearsbeing stated in so many
wordsthat one Diggory Chuzzlewit was in the habit of perpetually
dining with Duke Humphrey. So constantly was he a guest at that
nobleman's tableindeed; and so unceasingly were His Grace's
hospitality and companionship forcedas it wereupon him; that we
find him uneasyand full of constraint and reluctance; writing his
friends to the effect that if they fail to do so and so by bearer
he will have no choice but to dine again with Duke Humphrey; and
expressing himself in a very marked and extraordinary manner as one
surfeited of High Life and Gracious Company.

It has been rumouredand it is needless to say the rumour
originated in the same base quartersthat a certain male
Chuzzlewitwhose birth must be admitted to be involved in some
obscuritywas of very mean and low descent. How stands the proof?
When the son of that individualto whom the secret of his father's
birth was supposed to have been communicated by his father in his
lifetimelay upon his deathbedthis question was put to him in a
distinctsolemnand formal way: 'Toby Chuzzlewitwho was your
grandfather?' To which hewith his last breathno less distinctly
solemnlyand formally replied: and his words were taken down at the
timeand signed by six witnesseseach with his name and address in
full: 'The Lord No Zoo.' It may be said--it HAS been saidfor human
wickedness has no limits--that there is no Lord of that nameand


that among the titles which have become extinctnone at all
resembling thisin sound evenis to be discovered. But what is
the irresistible inference? Rejecting a theory broached by some
well-meaning but mistaken personsthat this Mr Toby Chuzzlewit's
grandfatherto judge from his namemust surely have been a
Mandarin (which is wholly insupportablefor there is no pretence of
his grandmother ever having been out of this countryor of any
Mandarin having been in it within some years of his father's birth;
except those in the tea-shopswhich cannot for a moment be regarded
as having any bearing on the questionone way or other)rejecting
this hypothesisis it not manifest that Mr Toby Chuzzlewit had
either received the name imperfectly from his fatheror that he had
forgotten itor that he had mispronounced it? and that even at the
recent period in questionthe Chuzzlewits were connected by a bend
sinisteror kind of heraldic over-the-leftwith some unknown noble
and illustrious House?

From documentary evidenceyet preserved in the familythe fact is
clearly established that in the comparatively modern days of the
Diggory Chuzzlewit before mentionedone of its members had attained
to very great wealth and influence. Throughout such fragments of
his correspondence as have escaped the ravages of the moths (whoin
right of their extensive absorption of the contents of deeds and
papersmay be called the general registers of the Insect World)we
find him making constant reference to an unclein respect of whom
he would seem to have entertained great expectationsas he was in
the habit of seeking to propitiate his favour by presents of plate
jewelsbookswatchesand other valuable articles. Thushe
writes on one occasion to his brother in reference to a gravy-spoon
the brother's propertywhich he (Diggory) would appear to have
borrowed or otherwise possessed himself of: 'Do not be angryI have
parted with it--to my uncle.' On another occasion he expresses
himself in a similar manner with regard to a child's mug which had
been entrusted to him to get repaired. On another occasion he says
'I have bestowed upon that irresistible uncle of mine everything I
ever possessed.' And that he was in the habit of paying long and
constant visits to this gentleman at his mansionifindeedhe did
not wholly reside thereis manifest from the following sentence:
'With the exception of the suit of clothes I carry about with me
the whole of my wearing apparel is at present at my uncle's.' This
gentleman's patronage and influence must have been very extensive
for his nephew writes'His interest is too high'--'It is too much'
--'It is tremendous'--and the like. Still it does not appear (which
is strange) to have procured for him any lucrative post at court or
elsewhereor to have conferred upon him any other distinction than
that which was necessarily included in the countenance of so great a
manand the being invited by him to certain entertainment'sso
splendid and costly in their naturethat he calls them 'Golden
Balls.'

It is needless to multiply instances of the high and lofty station
and the vast importance of the Chuzzlewitsat different periods.
If it came within the scope of reasonable probability that further
proofs were requiredthey might be heaped upon each other until
they formed an Alps of testimonybeneath which the boldest
scepticism should be crushed and beaten flat. As a goodly tumulus
is already collectedand decently battened up above the Family
gravethe present chapter is content to leave it as it is: merely
addingby way of a final spadefulthat many Chuzzlewitsboth male
and femaleare proved to demonstrationon the faith of letters
written by their own mothersto have had chiselled noses
undeniable chinsforms that might have served the sculptor for a
modelexquisitely-turned limbs and polished foreheads of so
transparent a texture that the blue veins might be seen branching


off in various directionslike so many roads on an ethereal map.
This fact in itselfthough it had been a solitary onewould have
utterly settled and clenched the business in hand; for it is well
knownon the authority of all the books which treat of such
mattersthat every one of these phenomenabut especially that of
the chisellingare invariably peculiar toand only make themselves
apparent inpersons of the very best condition.

This history havingto its own perfect satisfaction(and
consequentlyto the full contentment of all its readers) proved
the Chuzzlewits to have had an originand to have been at one time
or other of an importance which cannot fail to render them highly
improving and acceptable acquaintance to all right-minded
individualsmay now proceed in earnest with its task. And having
shown that they must have hadby reason of their ancient birtha
pretty large share in the foundation and increase of the human
familyit will one day become its province to submitthat such of
its members as shall be introduced in these pageshave still many
counterparts and prototypes in the Great World about us. At present
it contents itself with remarkingin a general wayon this head:
Firstlythat it may be safely assertedand yet without implying
any direct participation in the Manboddo doctrine touching the
probability of the human race having once been monkeysthat men do
play very strange and extraordinary tricks. Secondlyand yet
without trenching on the Blumenbach theory as to the descendants of
Adam having a vast number of qualities which belong more
particularly to swine than to any other class of animals in the
creationthat some men certainly are remarkable for taking uncommon
good care of themselves.

CHAPTER TWO

WHEREIN CERTAIN PERSONS ARE PRESENTED TO THE READERWITH WHOM HE
MAYIF HE PLEASEBECOME BETTER ACQUAINTED

It was pretty late in the autumn of the yearwhen the declining sun
struggling through the mist which had obscured it all daylooked
brightly down upon a little Wiltshire villagewithin an easy
journey of the fair old town of Salisbury.

Like a sudden flash of memory or spirit kindling up the mind of an
old manit shed a glory upon the scenein which its departed youth
and freshness seemed to live again. The wet grass sparkled in the
light; the scanty patches of verdure in the hedges--where a few
green twigs yet stood together bravelyresisting to the last the
tyranny of nipping winds and early frosts--took heart and brightened
up; the stream which had been dull and sullen all day longbroke
out into a cheerful smile; the birds began to chirp and twitter on
the naked boughsas though the hopeful creatures half believed that
winter had gone byand spring had come already. The vane upon the
tapering spire of the old church glistened from its lofty station in
sympathy with the general gladness; and from the ivy-shaded windows
such gleams of light shone back upon the glowing skythat it seemed
as if the quiet buildings were the hoarding-place of twenty summers
and all their ruddiness and warmth were stored within.

Even those tokens of the season which emphatically whispered of the
coming wintergraced the landscapeandfor the momenttinged its
livelier features with no oppressive air of sadness. The fallen
leaveswith which the ground was strewngave forth a pleasant
fragranceand subduing all harsh sounds of distant feet and wheels


created a repose in gentle unison with the light scattering of seed
hither and thither by the distant husbandmanand with the
noiseless passage of the plough as it turned up the rich brown
earthand wrought a graceful pattern in the stubbled fields. On
the motionless branches of some treesautumn berries hung like
clusters of coral beadsas in those fabled orchards where the
fruits were jewels; others stripped of all their garniturestood
each the centre of its little heap of bright red leaveswatching
their slow decay; others againstill wearing theirshad them all
crunched and crackled upas though they had been burnt; about the
stems of some were piledin ruddy moundsthe apples they had borne
that year; while others (hardy evergreens this class) showed
somewhat stern and gloomy in their vigouras charged by nature with
the admonition that it is not to her more sensitive and joyous
favourites she grants the longest term of life. Still athwart their
darker boughsthe sunbeams struck out paths of deeper gold; and the
red lightmantling in among their swarthy branchesused them as
foils to set its brightness offand aid the lustre of the dying
day.

A momentand its glory was no more. The sun went down beneath the
long dark lines of hill and cloud which piled up in the west an airy
citywall heaped on walland battlement on battlement; the light
was all withdrawn; the shining church turned cold and dark; the
stream forgot to smile; the birds were silent; and the gloom of
winter dwelt on everything.

An evening wind uprose tooand the slighter branches cracked and
rattled as they movedin skeleton dancesto its moaning music.
The withering leaves no longer quiethurried to and fro in search
of shelter from its chill pursuit; the labourer unyoked his horses
and with head bent downtrudged briskly home beside them; and from
the cottage windows lights began to glance and wink upon the
darkening fields.

Then the village forge came out in all its bright importance. The
lusty bellows roared Ha ha! to the clear firewhich roared in turn
and bade the shining sparks dance gayly to the merry clinking of the
hammers on the anvil. The gleaming ironin its emulationsparkled
tooand shed its red-hot gems around profusely. The strong smith
and his men dealt such strokes upon their workas made even the
melancholy night rejoiceand brought a glow into its dark face as
it hovered about the door and windowspeeping curiously in above
the shoulders of a dozen loungers. As to this idle companythere
they stoodspellbound by the placeandcasting now and then a
glance upon the darkness in their rearsettled their lazy elbows
more at ease upon the silland leaned a little further in: no more
disposed to tear themselves away than if they had been born to
cluster round the blazing hearth like so many crickets.

Out upon the angry wind! how from sighingit began to bluster round
the merry forgebanging at the wicketand grumbling in the
chimneyas if it bullied the jolly bellows for doing anything to
order. And what an impotent swaggerer it was toofor all its
noise; for if it had any influence on that hoarse companionit was
but to make him roar his cheerful song the louderand by
consequence to make the fire burn the brighterand the sparks to
dance more gayly yet; at lengththey whizzed so madly round and
roundthat it was too much for such a surly wind to bear; so off it
flew with a howl giving the old sign before the ale-house door such
a cuff as it wentthat the Blue Dragon was more rampant than usual
ever afterwardsand indeedbefore Christmasreared clean out of
its crazy frame.


It was small tyranny for a respectable wind to go wreaking its
vengeance on such poor creatures as the fallen leavesbut this wind
happening to come up with a great heap of them just after venting
its humour on the insulted Dragondid so disperse and scatter them
that they fled awaypell-mellsome heresome thererolling over
each otherwhirling round and round upon their thin edgestaking
frantic flights into the airand playing all manner of
extraordinary gambols in the extremity of their distress. Nor was
this enough for its malicious fury; for not content with driving
them abroadit charged small parties of them and hunted them into
the wheel wright's saw-pitand below the planks and timbers in the
yardandscattering the sawdust in the airit looked for them
underneathand when it did meet with anywhew! how it drove them
on and followed at their heels!

The scared leaves only flew the faster for all thisand a giddy
chase it was; for they got into unfrequented placeswhere there was
no outletand where their pursuer kept them eddying round and round
at his pleasure; and they crept under the eaves of housesand clung
tightly to the sides of hay-rickslike bats; and tore in at open
chamber windowsand cowered close to hedges; andin shortwent
anywhere for safety. But the oddest feat they achieved wasto take
advantage of the sudden opening of Mr Pecksniff's front-doorto
dash wildly into his passage; whither the wind following close upon
themand finding the back-door openincontinently blew out the
lighted candle held by Miss Pecksniffand slammed the front-door
against Mr Pecksniff who was at that moment enteringwith such
violencethat in the twinkling of an eye he lay on his back at the
bottom of the steps. Being by this time weary of such trifling
performancesthe boisterous rover hurried away rejoicingroaring
over moor and meadowhill and flatuntil it got out to seawhere
it met with other winds similarly disposedand made a night of it.

In the meantime Mr Pecksniffhaving received from a sharp angle in
the bottom step but onethat sort of knock on the head which lights
upfor the patient's entertainmentan imaginary general
illumination of very bright short-sixeslay placidly staring at his
own street door. And it would seem to have been more suggestive in
its aspect than street doors usually are; for he continued to lie
thererather a lengthy and unreasonable timewithout so much as
wondering whether he was hurt or no; neitherwhen Miss Pecksniff
inquired through the key-hole in a shrill voicewhich might have
belonged to a wind in its teens'Who's there' did he make any
reply; norwhen Miss Pecksniff opened the door againand shading
the candle with her handpeered outand looked provokingly round
himand about himand over himand everywhere but at himdid he
offer any remarkor indicate in any manner the least hint of a
desire to be picked up.

'I see you' cried Miss Pecksniffto the ideal inflicter of a
runaway knock. 'You'll catch itsir!'

Still Mr Pecksniffperhaps from having caught it alreadysaid
nothing.

'You're round the corner now' cried Miss Pecksniff. She said it at
a venturebut there was appropriate matter in it too; for Mr
Pecksniffbeing in the act of extinguishing the candles before
mentioned pretty rapidlyand of reducing the number of brass knobs
on his street door from four or five hundred (which had previously
been juggling of their own accord before his eyes in a very novel
manner) to a dozen or somight in one sense have been said to be
coming round the cornerand just turning it.


With a sharply delivered warning relative to the cage and the
constableand the stocks and the gallowsMiss Pecksniff was about
to close the door againwhen Mr Pecksniff (being still at the
bottom of the steps) raised himself on one elbowand sneezed.

'That voice!' cried Miss Pecksniff. 'My parent!'

At this exclamationanother Miss Pecksniff bounced out of the
parlour; and the two Miss Pecksniffswith many incoherent
expressionsdragged Mr Pecksniff into an upright posture.

'Pa!' they cried in concert. 'Pa! SpeakPa! Do not look so wild my
dearest Pa!'

But as a gentleman's looksin such a case of all othersare by no
means under his own controlMr Pecksniff continued to keep his
mouth and his eyes very wide openand to drop his lower jaw
somewhat after the manner of a toy nut-cracker; and as his hat had
fallen offand his face was paleand his hair erectand his coat
muddythe spectacle he presented was so very dolefulthat neither
of the Miss Pecksniffs could repress an involuntary screech.

'That'll do' said Mr Pecksniff. 'I'm better.'

'He's come to himself!' cried the youngest Miss Pecksniff.

'He speaks again!' exclaimed the eldest.

With these joyful words they kissed Mr Pecksniff on either cheek;
and bore him into the house. Presentlythe youngest Miss Pecksniff
ran out again to pick up his hathis brown paper parcelhis
umbrellahis glovesand other small articles; and that doneand
the door closedboth young ladies applied themselves to tending Mr
Pecksniff's wounds in the back parlour.

They were not very serious in their nature; being limited to
abrasions on what the eldest Miss Pecksniff called 'the knobby
parts' of her parent's anatomysuch as his knees and elbowsand to
the development of an entirely new organunknown to phrenologists
on the back of his head. These injuries having been comforted
externallywith patches of pickled brown paperand Mr Pecksniff
having been comforted internallywith some stiff brandy-and-water
the eldest Miss Pecksniff sat down to make the teawhich was all
ready. In the meantime the youngest Miss Pecksniff brought from the
kitchen a smoking dish of ham and eggsandsetting the same before
her fathertook up her station on a low stool at his feet; thereby
bringing her eyes on a level with the teaboard.

It must not be inferred from this position of humilitythat the
youngest Miss Pecksniff was so young as to beas one may say
forced to sit upon a stoolby reason of the shortness of her legs.
Miss Pecksniff sat upon a stool because of her simplicity and
innocencewhich were very greatvery great. Miss Pecksniff sat
upon a stool because she was all girlishnessand playfulnessand
wildnessand kittenish buoyancy. She was the most arch and at the
same time the most artless creaturewas the youngest Miss
Pecksniffthat you can possibly imagine. It was her great charm.
She was too fresh and guilelessand too full of child-like
vivacitywas the youngest Miss Pecksniffto wear combs in her
hairor to turn it upor to frizzle itor braid it. She wore it
in a cropa loosely flowing cropwhich had so many rows of curls
in itthat the top row was only one curl. Moderately buxom was her
shapeand quite womanly too; but sometimes--yessometimes--she
even wore a pinafore; and how charming THAT was! Oh! she was indeed


'a gushing thing' (as a young gentleman had observed in versein
the Poet's Corner of a provincial newspaper)was the youngest Miss
Pecksniff!

Mr Pecksniff was a moral man--a grave mana man of noble sentiments
and speech--and he had had her christened Mercy. Mercy! ohwhat a
charming name for such a pure-souled Being as the youngest Miss
Pecksniff! Her sister's name was Charity. There was a good thing!
Mercy and Charity! And Charitywith her fine strong sense and her
mildyet not reproachful gravitywas so well namedand did so
well set off and illustrate her sister! What a pleasant sight was
that the contrast they presented; to see each loved and loving one
sympathizing withand devoted toand leaning onand yet
correcting and counter-checkingandas it wereantidotingthe
other! To behold each damsel in her very admiration of her sister
setting up in business for herself on an entirely different
principleand announcing no connection with over-the-wayand if the
quality of goods at that establishment don't please youyou are
respectfully invited to favour ME with a call! And the crowning
circumstance of the whole delightful catalogue wasthat both the
fair creatures were so utterly unconscious of all this! They had no
idea of it. They no more thought or dreamed of it than Mr Pecksniff
did. Nature played them off against each other; THEY had no hand in
itthe two Miss Pecksniffs.

It has been remarked that Mr Pecksniff was a moral man. So he was.
Perhaps there never was a more moral man than Mr Pecksniff
especially in his conversation and correspondence. It was once said
of him by a homely admirerthat he had a Fortunatus's purse of good
sentiments in his inside. In this particular he was like the girl
in the fairy taleexcept that if they were not actual diamonds
which fell from his lipsthey were the very brightest pasteand
shone prodigiously. He was a most exemplary man; fuller of virtuous
precept than a copy book. Some people likened him to a directionpost
which is always telling the way to a placeand never goes
there; but these were his enemiesthe shadows cast by his
brightness; that was all. His very throat was moral. You saw a
good deal of it. You looked over a very low fence of white cravat
(whereof no man had ever beheld the tie for he fastened it behind)
and there it laya valley between two jutting heights of collar
serene and whiskerless before you. It seemed to sayon the part of
Mr Pecksniff'There is no deceptionladies and gentlemenall is
peacea holy calm pervades me.' So did his hairjust grizzled with
an iron-grey which was all brushed off his foreheadand stood bolt
uprightor slightly drooped in kindred action with his heavy
eyelids. So did his personwhich was sleek though free from
corpulency. So did his mannerwhich was soft and oily. In a word
even his plain black suitand state of widower and dangling double
eye-glassall tended to the same purposeand cried aloud'Behold
the moral Pecksniff!'

The brazen plate upon the door (which being Mr Pecksniff'scould
not lie) bore this inscription'PECKSNIFFARCHITECT' to which Mr
Pecksniffon his cards of businessaddedAND LAND SURVEYOR.' In
one senseand only onehe may be said to have been a Land Surveyor
on a pretty large scaleas an extensive prospect lay stretched out
before the windows of his house. Of his architectural doings
nothing was clearly knownexcept that he had never designed or
built anything; but it was generally understood that his knowledge
of the science was almost awful in its profundity.

Mr Pecksniff's professional engagementsindeedwere almostif not
entirelyconfined to the reception of pupils; for the collection of
rentswith which pursuit he occasionally varied and relieved his


graver toilscan hardly be said to be a strictly architectural
employment. His genius lay in ensnaring parents and guardiansand
pocketing premiums. A young gentleman's premium being paidand the
young gentleman come to Mr Pecksniff's houseMr Pecksniff borrowed
his case of mathematical instruments (if silver-mounted or otherwise
valuable); entreated himfrom that momentto consider himself one
of the family; complimented him highly on his parents or guardians
as the case might be; and turned him loose in a spacious room on the
two-pair front; wherein the company of certain drawing-boards
parallel rulersvery stiff-legged compassesand twoor perhaps
threeother young gentlemenhe improved himselffor three or five
yearsaccording to his articlesin making elevations of Salisbury
Cathedral from every possible point of sight; and in constructing in
the air a vast quantity of CastlesHouses of Parliamentand other
Public Buildings. Perhaps in no place in the world were so many
gorgeous edifices of this class erected as under Mr Pecksniff's
auspices; and if but one-twentieth part of the churches which were
built in that front roomwith one or other of the Miss Pecksniffs
at the altar in the act of marrying the architectcould only be
made available by the parliamentary commissionersno more churches
would be wanted for at least five centuries.

'Even the worldly goods of which we have just disposed' said Mr
Pecksniffglancing round the table when he had finished'even
creamsugarteatoastham--'

'And eggs' suggested Charity in a low voice.

'And eggs' said Mr Pecksniff'even they have their moral. See how
they come and go! Every pleasure is transitory. We can't even eat
long. If we indulge in harmless fluidswe get the dropsy; if in
exciting liquidswe get drunk. What a soothing reflection is
that!'

'Don't say WE get drunkPa' urged the eldest Miss Pecksniff.

'When I say wemy dear' returned her father'I mean mankind in
general; the human raceconsidered as a bodyand not as
individuals. There is nothing personal in moralitymy love. Even
such a thing as this' said Mr Pecksnifflaying the fore-finger of
his left hand upon the brown paper patch on the top of his head
'slight casual baldness though it bereminds us that we are but'-he
was going to say 'worms' but recollecting that worms were not
remarkable for heads of hairhe substituted 'flesh and blood.'

'Which' cried Mr Pecksniff after a pauseduring which he seemed to
have been casting about for a new moraland not quite successfully
'which is also very soothing. Mercymy dearstir the fire and
throw up the cinders.'

The young lady obeyedand having done soresumed her stool
reposed one arm upon her father's kneeand laid her blooming cheek
upon it. Miss Charity drew her chair nearer the fireas one
prepared for conversationand looked towards her father.

'Yes' said Mr Pecksniffafter a short pauseduring which he had
been silently smilingand shaking his head at the fire--'I have
again been fortunate in the attainment of my object. A new inmate
will very shortly come among us.'

'A youthpapa?' asked Charity.

'Ye-esa youth' said Mr Pecksniff. 'He will avail himself of the
eligible opportunity which now offersfor uniting the advantages of


the best practical architectural education with the comforts of a
homeand the constant association with some who (however humble
their sphereand limited their capacity) are not unmindful of their
moral responsibilities.'

'Oh Pa!' cried Mercyholding up her finger archly. 'See
advertisement!'

'Playful--playful warbler' said Mr Pecksniff. It may be observed
in connection with his calling his daughter a 'warbler' that she was
not at all vocalbut that Mr Pecksniff was in the frequent habit of
using any word that occurred to him as having a good soundand
rounding a sentence well without much care for its meaning. And he
did this so boldlyand in such an imposing mannerthat he would
sometimes stagger the wisest people with his eloquenceand make
them gasp again.

His enemies assertedby the waythat a strong trustfulness in
sounds and forms was the master-key to Mr Pecksniff's character.

'Is he handsomePa?' inquired the younger daughter.

'Silly Merry!' said the eldest: Merry being fond for Mercy. 'What
is the premiumPa? tell us that.'

'Ohgood graciousCherry!' cried Miss Mercyholding up her hands
with the most winning giggle in the world'what a mercenary girl
you are! oh you naughtythoughtfulprudent thing!'

It was perfectly charmingand worthy of the Pastoral ageto see
how the two Miss Pecksniffs slapped each other after thisand then
subsided into an embrace expressive of their different dispositions.

'He is well looking' said Mr Pecksniffslowly and distinctly;
'well looking enough. I do not positively expect any immediate
premium with him.'

Notwithstanding their different naturesboth Charity and Mercy
concurred in opening their eyes uncommonly wide at this
announcementand in looking for the moment as blank as if their
thoughts had actually had a direct bearing on the main chance.

'But what of that!' said Mr Pecksniffstill smiling at the fire.
'There is disinterestedness in the worldI hope? We are not all
arrayed in two opposite ranks; the OFfensive and the DEfensive.
Some few there are who walk between; who help the needy as they go;
and take no part with either side. Umph!'

There was something in these morsels of philanthropy which reassured
the sisters. They exchanged glancesand brightened very much.

'Oh! let us not be for ever calculatingdevisingand plotting for
the future' said Mr Pecksniffsmiling more and moreand looking
at the fire as a man mightwho was cracking a joke with it: 'I am
weary of such arts. If our inclinations are but good and openhearted
let us gratify them boldlythough they bring upon us Loss
instead of Profit. EhCharity?'

Glancing towards his daughters for the first time since he had begun
these reflectionsand seeing that they both smiledMr Pecksniff
eyed them for an instant so jocosely (though still with a kind of
saintly waggishness) that the younger one was moved to sit upon his
knee forthwithput her fair arms round his neckand kiss him
twenty times. During the whole of this affectionate display she


laughed to a most immoderate extent: in which hilarious indulgence
even the prudent Cherry joined.

'Tuttut' said Mr Pecksniffpushing his latest-born away and
running his fingers through his hairas he resumed his tranquil
face. 'What folly is this! Let us take heed how we laugh without
reason lest we cry with it. What is the domestic news since
yesterday? John Westlock is goneI hope?'

'Indeedno' said Charity.

'And why not?' returned her father. 'His term expired yesterday.
And his box was packedI know; for I saw itin the morning
standing in the hall.'

'He slept last night at the Dragon' returned the young lady'and
had Mr Pinch to dine with him. They spent the evening togetherand
Mr Pinch was not home till very late.'

'And when I saw him on the stairs this morningPa' said Mercy with
her usual sprightliness'he lookedoh goodnessSUCH a monster!
with his face all manner of coloursand his eyes as dull as if they
had been boiledand his head aching dreadfullyI am sure from the
look of itand his clothes smellingoh it's impossible to say how
strongoh'--here the young lady shuddered--'of smoke and punch.'

'Now I think' said Mr Pecksniff with his accustomed gentleness
though still with the air of one who suffered under injury without
complaint'I think Mr Pinch might have done better than choose for
his companion one whoat the close of a long intercoursehad
endeavouredas he knewto wound my feelings. I am not quite sure
that this was delicate in Mr Pinch. I am not quite sure that this
was kind in Mr Pinch. I will go further and sayI am not quite
sure that this was even ordinarily grateful in Mr Pinch.'

'But what can anyone expect from Mr Pinch!' cried Charitywith as
strong and scornful an emphasis on the name as if it would have
given her unspeakable pleasure to express itin an acted charade
on the calf of that gentleman's leg.

'Ayeaye' returned her fatherraising his hand mildly: 'it is
very well to say what can we expect from Mr Pinchbut Mr Pinch is a
fellow-creaturemy dear; Mr Pinch is an item in the vast total of
humanitymy love; and we have a rightit is our dutyto expect in
Mr Pinch some development of those better qualitiesthe possession
of which in our own persons inspires our humble self-respect. No'
continued Mr Pecksniff. 'No! Heaven forbid that I should say
nothing can be expected from Mr Pinch; or that I should saynothing
can be expected from any man alive (even the most degradedwhich Mr
Pinch is notnoreally); but Mr Pinch has disappointed me; he has
hurt me; I think a little the worse of him on this accountbut not
if human nature. Ohnono!'

'Hark!' said Miss Charityholding up her fingeras a gentle rap
was heard at the street door. 'There is the creature! Now mark my
wordshe has come back with John Westlock for his boxand is going
to help him to take it to the mail. Only mark my wordsif that
isn't his intention!'

Even as she spokethe box appeared to be in progress of conveyance
from the housebut after a brief murmuring of question and answer
it was put down againand somebody knocked at the parlour door.

'Come in!' cried Mr Pecksniff--not severely; only virtuously. 'Come


in!'

An ungainlyawkward-looking manextremely short-sightedand
prematurely baldavailed himself of this permission; and seeing
that Mr Pecksniff sat with his back towards himgazing at the fire
stood hesitatingwith the door in his hand. He was far from
handsome certainly; and was drest in a snuff-coloured suitof an
uncouth make at the bestwhichbeing shrunk with long wearwas
twisted and tortured into all kinds of odd shapes; but
notwithstanding his attireand his clumsy figurewhich a great
stoop in his shouldersand a ludicrous habit he had of thrusting
his head forwardby no means redeemedone would not have been
disposed (unless Mr Pecksniff said so) to consider him a bad fellow
by any means. He was perhaps about thirtybut he might have been
almost any age between sixteen and sixty; being one of those strange
creatures who never decline into an ancient appearancebut look
their oldest when they are very youngand get it over at once.

Keeping his hand upon the lock of the doorhe glanced from Mr
Pecksniff to Mercyfrom Mercy to Charityand from Charity to Mr
Pecksniff againseveral times; but the young ladies being as intent
upon the fire as their father wasand neither of the three taking
any notice of himhe was fain to sayat last

'Oh! I beg your pardonMr Pecksniff: I beg your pardon for
intruding; but--'

'No intrusionMr Pinch' said that gentleman very sweetlybut
without looking round. 'Pray be seatedMr Pinch. Have the
goodness to shut the doorMr Pinchif you please.'

'Certainlysir' said Pinch; not doing sohoweverbut holding it
rather wider open than beforeand beckoning nervously to somebody
without: 'Mr Westlocksirhearing that you were come home--'

'Mr PinchMr Pinch!' said Pecksniffwheeling his chair aboutand
looking at him with an aspect of the deepest melancholy'I did not
expect this from you. I have not deserved this from you!'

'Nobut upon my wordsir--' urged Pinch.

'The less you sayMr Pinch' interposed the other'the better. I
utter no complaint. Make no defence.'

'Nobut do have the goodnesssir' cried Pinchwith great
earnestness'if you please. Mr Westlocksirgoing away for good
and allwishes to leave none but friends behind him. Mr Westlock
and yousirhad a little difference the other day; you have had
many little differences.'

'Little differences!' cried Charity.

'Little differences!' echoed Mercy.

'My loves!' said Mr Pecksniffwith the same serene upraising of his
hand; 'My dears!' After a solemn pause he meekly bowed to Mr Pinch
as who should say'Proceed;' but Mr Pinch was so very much at a
loss how to resumeand looked so helplessly at the two Miss
Pecksniffsthat the conversation would most probably have
terminated thereif a good-looking youthnewly arrived at man's
estatehad not stepped forward from the doorway and taken up the
thread of the discourse.

'ComeMr Pecksniff' he saidwith a smile'don't let there be any


ill-blood between uspray. I am sorry we have ever differedand
extremely sorry I have ever given you offence. Bear me no ill-will
at partingsir.'

'I bear' answered Mr Pecksniffmildly'no ill-will to any man on
earth.'

'I told you he didn't' said Pinchin an undertone; 'I knew he
didn't! He always says he don't.'

'Then you will shake handssir?' cried Westlockadvancing a step
or twoand bespeaking Mr Pinch's close attention by a glance.

'Umph!' said Mr Pecksniffin his most winning tone.

'You will shake handssir.'

'NoJohn' said Mr Pecksniffwith a calmness quite ethereal; 'no
I will not shake handsJohn. I have forgiven you. I had already
forgiven youeven before you ceased to reproach and taunt me. I
have embraced you in the spiritJohnwhich is better than shaking
hands.'

'Pinch' said the youthturning towards himwith a hearty disgust
of his late master'what did I tell you?'

Poor Pinch looked down uneasily at Mr Pecksniffwhose eye was fixed
upon him as it had been from the first; and looking up at the
ceiling againmade no reply.

'As to your forgivenessMr Pecksniff' said the youth'I'll not
have it upon such terms. I won't be forgiven.'

'Won't youJohn?' retorted Mr Pecksniffwith a smile. 'You must.
You can't help it. Forgiveness is a high quality; an exalted
virtue; far above YOUR control or influenceJohn. I WILL forgive
you. You cannot move me to remember any wrong you have ever done
meJohn.'

'Wrong!' cried the otherwith all the heat and impetuosity of his
age. 'Here's a pretty fellow! Wrong! Wrong I have done him! He'll
not even remember the five hundred pounds he had with me under false
pretences; or the seventy pounds a year for board and lodging that
would have been dear at seventeen! Here's a martyr!'

'MoneyJohn' said Mr Pecksniff'is the root of all evil. I
grieve to see that it is already bearing evil fruit in you. But I
will not remember its existence. I will not even remember the
conduct of that misguided person'--and herealthough he spoke like
one at peace with all the worldhe used an emphasis that plainly
said "I have my eye upon the rascal now"--'that misguided person who
has brought you here to-nightseeking to disturb (it is a happiness
to sayin vain) the heart's repose and peace of one who would have
shed his dearest blood to serve him.'

The voice of Mr Pecksniff trembled as he spokeand sobs were heard
from his daughters. Sounds floated on the airmoreoveras if two
spirit voices had exclaimed: one'Beast!' the other'Savage!'

'Forgiveness' said Mr Pecksniff'entire and pure forgiveness is
not incompatible with a wounded heart; perchance when the heart is
woundedit becomes a greater virtue. With my breast still wrung
and grieved to its inmost core by the ingratitude of that personI
am proud and glad to say that I forgive him. Nay! I beg' cried Mr


Pecksniffraising his voiceas Pinch appeared about to speak'I
beg that individual not to offer a remark; he will truly oblige me
by not uttering one wordjust now. I am not sure that I am equal
to the trial. In a very short space of timeI shall have
sufficient fortitudeI trust to converse with him as if these
events had never happened. But not' said Mr Pecksniffturning
round again towards the fireand waving his hand in the direction
of the door'not now.'

'Bah!' cried John Westlockwith the utmost disgust and disdain the
monosyllable is capable of expressing. 'Ladiesgood evening.
ComePinchit's not worth thinking of. I was right and you were
wrong. That's small matter; you'll be wiser another time.'

So sayinghe clapped that dejected companion on the shoulder
turned upon his heeland walked out into the passagewhither poor
Mr Pinchafter lingering irresolutely in the parlour for a few
secondsexpressing in his countenance the deepest mental misery and
gloom followed him. Then they took up the box between themand
sallied out to meet the mail.

That fleet conveyance passedevery nightthe corner of a lane at
some distance; towards which point they bent their steps. For some
minutes they walked along in silenceuntil at length young Westlock
burst into a loud laughand at intervals into anotherand another.
Still there was no response from his companion.

'I'll tell you whatPinch!' he said abruptlyafter another
lengthened silence--'You haven't half enough of the devil in you.
Half enough! You haven't any.'

'Well!' said Pinch with a sigh'I don't knowI'm sure. It's
compliment to say so. If I haven'tI supposeI'm all the better
for it.'

'All the better!' repeated his companion tartly: 'All the worseyou
mean to say.'

'And yet' said Pinchpursuing his own thoughts and not this last
remark on the part of his friend'I must have a good deal of what
you call the devil in metooor how could I make Pecksniff so
uncomfortable? I wouldn't have occasioned him so much distress-don't
laughplease--for a mine of money; and Heaven knows I could
find good use for it tooJohn. How grieved he was!'

'HE grieved!' returned the other.

'Why didn't you observe that the tears were almost starting out of
his eyes!' cried Pinch. 'Bless my soulJohnis it nothing to see
a man moved to that extent and know one's self to be the cause! And
did you hear him say that he could have shed his blood for me?'

'Do you WANT any blood shed for you?' returned his friendwith
considerable irritation. 'Does he shed anything for you that you DO
want? Does he shed employment for youinstruction for youpocket
money for you? Does he shed even legs of mutton for you in any
decent proportion to potatoes and garden stuff?'

'I am afraid' said Pinchsighing again'that I am a great eater;
I can't disguise from myself that I'm a great eater. Nowyou know
thatJohn.'

'You a great eater!' retorted his companionwith no less
indignation than before. 'How do you know you are?'


There appeared to be forcible matter in this inquiryfor Mr Pinch
only repeated in an undertone that he had a strong misgiving on the
subjectand that he greatly feared he was.

'Besideswhether I am or no' he added'that has little or nothing
to do with his thinking me ungrateful. Johnthere is scarcely a
sin in the world that is in my eyes such a crying one as
ingratitude; and when he taxes me with thatand believes me to be
guilty of ithe makes me miserable and wretched.'

'Do you think he don't know that?' returned the other scornfully.
'But comePinchbefore I say anything more to youjust run over
the reasons you have for being grateful to him at allwill you?
Change hands firstfor the box is heavy. That'll do. Nowgo on.'

'In the first place' said Pinch'he took me as his pupil for much
less than he asked.'

'Well' rejoined his friendperfectly unmoved by this instance of
generosity. 'What in the second place?'

'What in the second place?' cried Pinchin a sort of desperation
'whyeverything in the second place. My poor old grandmother died
happy to think that she had put me with such an excellent man. I
have grown up in his houseI am in his confidenceI am his
assistanthe allows me a salary; when his business improvesmy
prospects are to improve too. All thisand a great deal moreis
in the second place. And in the very prologue and preface to the
first placeJohnyou must consider thiswhich nobody knows better
than I: that I was born for much plainer and poorer thingsthat I
am not a good hand for his kind of businessand have no talent for
itor indeed for anything else but odds and ends that are of no use
or service to anybody.'

He said this with so much earnestnessand in a tone so full of
feelingthat his companion instinctively changed his manner as he
sat down on the box (they had by this time reached the finger-post
at the end of the lane); motioned him to sit down beside him; and
laid his hand upon his shoulder.

'I believe you are one of the best fellows in the world' he said
'Tom Pinch.'

'Not at all' rejoined Tom. 'If you only knew Pecksniff as well as
I doyou might say it of himindeedand say it truly.'

'I'll say anything of himyou like' returned the other'and not
another word to his disparagement.'

'It's for my sakethen; not hisI am afraid' said Pinchshaking
his head gravely.

'For whose you pleaseTomso that it does please you. Oh! He's a
famous fellow! HE never scraped and clawed into his pouch all your
poor grandmother's hard savings--she was a housekeeperwasn't she
Tom?'

'Yes' said Mr Pinchnursing one of his large kneesand nodding
his head; 'a gentleman's housekeeper.'

'HE never scraped and clawed into his pouch all her hard savings;
dazzling her with prospects of your happiness and advancementwhich
he knew (and no man better) never would be realised! HE never


speculated and traded on her pride in youand her having educated
youand on her desire that you at least should live to be a
gentleman. Not heTom!'

'No' said Tomlooking into his friend's faceas if he were a
little doubtful of his meaning. 'Of course not.'

'So I say' returned the youth'of course he never did. HE didn't
take less than he had askedbecause that less was all she hadand
more than he expected; not heTom! He doesn't keep you as his
assistant because you are of any use to him; because your wonderful
faith in his pretensions is of inestimable service in all his mean
disputes; because your honesty reflects honesty on him; because your
wandering about this little place all your spare hoursreading in
ancient books and foreign tonguesgets noised abroadeven as far
as Salisburymaking of himPecksniff the mastera man of learning
and of vast importance. HE gets no credit from youTomnot he.'

'Whyof course he don't' said Pinchgazing at his friend with a
more troubled aspect than before. 'Pecksniff get credit from me!
Well!'

'Don't I say that it's ridiculous' rejoined the other'even to
think of such a thing?'

'Whyit's madness' said Tom.

'Madness!' returned young Westlock. 'Certainly it's madness. Who
but a madman would suppose he cares to hear it said on Sundaysthat
the volunteer who plays the organ in the churchand practises on
summer evenings in the darkis Mr Pecksniff's young manehTom?
Who but a madman would suppose it is the game of such a man as he
to have his name in everybody's mouthconnected with the thousand
useless odds and ends you do (and whichof coursehe taught you)
ehTom? Who but a madman would suppose you advertised him
hereaboutsmuch cheaper and much better than a chalker on the walls
couldehTom? As well might one suppose that he doesn't on all
occasions pour out his whole heart and soul to you; that he doesn't
make you a very liberal and indeed rather an extravagant allowance;
orto be more wild and monstrous stillif that be possibleas
well might one suppose' and hereat every wordhe struck him
lightly on the breast'that Pecksniff traded in your natureand
that your nature was to be timid and distrustful of yourselfand
trustful of all other menbut most of allof him who least
deserves it. There would be madnessTom!'

Mr Pinch had listened to all this with looks of bewildermentwhich
seemed to be in part occasioned by the matter of his companion's
speechand in part by his rapid and vehement manner. Now that he
had come to a closehe drew a very long breath; and gazing
wistfully in his face as if he were unable to settle in his own mind
what expression it woreand were desirous to draw from it as good a
clue to his real meaning as it was possible to obtain in the dark
was about to answerwhen the sound of the mail guard's horn came
cheerily upon their earsputting an immediate end to the
conference; greatly as it seemed to the satisfaction of the younger
manwho jumped up brisklyand gave his hand to his companion.

'Both handsTom. I shall write to you from Londonmind!'

'Yes' said Pinch. 'Yes. Doplease. Good-bye. Good-bye. I can
hardly believe you're going. It seemsnowbut yesterday that you
came. Good-bye! my dear old fellow!'


John Westlock returned his parting words with no less heartiness of
mannerand sprung up to his seat upon the roof. Off went the mail
at a canter down the dark road; the lamps gleaming brightlyand the
horn awakening all the echoesfar and wide.

'Go your ways' said Pinchapostrophizing the coach; 'I can hardly
persuade myself but you're aliveand are some great monster who
visits this place at certain intervalsto bear my friends away into
the world. You're more exulting and rampant than usual tonightI
think; and you may well crow over your prize; for he is a fine lad
an ingenuous ladand has but one fault that I know of; he don't
mean itbut he is most cruelly unjust to Pecksniff!'

CHAPTER THREE

IN WHICH CERTAIN OTHER PERSONS ARE INTRODUCED; ON THE SAME TERMS AS
IN THE LAST CHAPTER

Mention has been already made more than onceof a certain Dragon
who swung and creaked complainingly before the village alehouse
door. A fadedand an ancient dragon he was; and many a wintry storm
of rainsnowsleetand hailhad changed his colour from a gaudy
blue to a faint lack-lustre shade of grey. But there he hung;
rearingin a state of monstrous imbecilityon his hind legs;
waxingwith every month that passedso much more dim and
shapelessthat as you gazed at him on one side of the sign-board it
seemed as if he must be gradually melting through itand coming out
upon the other.

He was a courteous and considerate dragontoo; or had been in his
distincter days; for in the midst of his rampant feeblenesshe kept
one of his forepaws near his noseas though he would say'Don't
mind me--it's only my fun;' while he held out the other in polite
and hospitable entreaty. Indeed it must be conceded to the whole
brood of dragons of modern timesthat they have made a great
advance in civilisation and refinement. They no longer demand a
beautiful virgin for breakfast every morningwith as much
regularity as any tame single gentleman expects his hot rollbut
rest content with the society of idle bachelors and roving married
men; and they are now remarkable rather for holding aloof from the
softer sex and discouraging their visits (especially on Saturday
nights)than for rudely insisting on their company without any
reference to their inclinationsas they are known to have done in
days of yore.

Nor is this tribute to the reclaimed animals in question so wide a
digression into the realms of Natural History as it mayat first
sightappear to be; for the present business of these pages in with
the dragon who had his retreat in Mr Pecksniff's neighbourhoodand
that courteous animal being already on the carpetthere is nothing
in the way of its immediate transaction.

For many yearsthenhe had swung and creakedand flapped himself
aboutbefore the two windows of the best bedroom of that house of
entertainment to which he lent his name; but never in all his
swingingcreakingand flappinghad there been such a stir within
its dingy precinctsas on the evening next after that upon which
the incidentsdetailed in the last chapter occurred; when there was
such a hurrying up and down stairs of feetsuch a glancing of
lightssuch a whispering of voicessuch a smoking and sputtering
of wood newly lighted in a damp chimneysuch an airing of linen


such a scorching smell of hot warming-panssuch a domestic bustle
and to-doin shortas never dragongriffinunicornor other
animal of that species presided oversince they first began to
interest themselves in household affairs.

An old gentleman and a young ladytravellingunattendedin a
rusty old chariot with post-horses; coming nobody knew whence and
going nobody knew whither; had turned out of the high roadand
driven unexpectedly to the Blue Dragon; and here was the old
gentlemanwho had taken this step by reason of his sudden illness
in the carriagesuffering the most horrible cramps and spasmsyet
protesting and vowing in the very midst of his painthat he
wouldn't have a doctor sent forand wouldn't take any remedies but
those which the young lady administered from a small medicine-chest
and wouldn'tin a worddo anything but terrify the landlady out of
her five witsand obstinately refuse compliance with every
suggestion that was made to him.

Of all the five hundred proposals for his relief which the good
woman poured out in less than half an hourhe would entertain but
one. That was that he should go to bed. And it was in the
preparation of his bed and the arrangement of his chamberthat all
the stir was made in the room behind the Dragon.

He wasbeyond all questionvery illand suffered exceedingly; not
the lessperhapsbecause he was a strong and vigorous old man
with a will of ironand a voice of brass. But neither the
apprehensions which he plainly entertainedat timesfor his life
nor the great pain he underwentinfluenced his resolution in the
least degree. He would have no person sent for. The worse he grew
the more rigid and inflexible he became in his determination. If
they sent for any person to attend himmanwomanor childhe
would leave the house directly (so he told them)though he quitted
it on footand died upon the threshold of the door.

Nowthere being no medical practitioner actually resident in the
villagebut a poor apothecary who was also a grocer and general
dealerthe landlady hadupon her own responsibilitysent for him
in the very first burst and outset of the disaster. Of course it
followedas a necessary result of his being wantedthat he was not
at home. He had gone some miles awayand was not expected home
until late at night; so the landladybeing by this time pretty well
beside herselfdispatched the same messenger in all haste for Mr
Pecksniffas a learned man who could bear a deal of responsibility
and a moral man who could administer a world of comfort to a
troubled mind. That her guest had need of some efficient services
under the latter head was obvious enough from the restless
expressionsimportinghoweverrather a worldly than a spiritual
anxietyto which he gave frequent utterance.

From this last-mentioned secret errandthe messenger returned with
no better news than from the first; Mr Pecksniff was not at home.
Howeverthey got the patient into bed without him; and in the
course of two hourshe gradually became so far better that there
were much longer intervals than at first between his terms of
suffering. By degreeshe ceased to suffer at all; though his
exhaustion was occasionally so great that it suggested hardly less
alarm than his actual endurance had done.

It was in one of his intervals of reposewhenlooking round with
great cautionand reaching uneasily out of his nest of pillowshe
endeavouredwith a strange air of secrecy and distrustto make use
of the writing materials which he had ordered to be placed on a
table beside himthat the young lady and the mistress of the Blue


Dragon found themselves sitting side by side before the fire in the
sick chamber.

The mistress of the Blue Dragon was in outward appearance just what
a landlady should be: broadbuxomcomfortableand good looking
with a face of clear red and whitewhichby its jovial aspectat
once bore testimony to her hearty participation in the good things
of the larder and cellarand to their thriving and healthful
influences. She was a widowbut years ago had passed through her
state of weedsand burst into flower again; and in full bloom she
had continued ever since; and in full bloom she was now; with roses
on her ample skirtsand roses on her bodiceroses in her cap
roses in her cheeks--ayeand rosesworth the gathering tooon
her lipsfor that matter. She had still a bright black eyeand
jet black hair; was comelydimpledplumpand tight as a
gooseberry; and though she was not exactly what the world calls
youngyou may make an affidaviton trustbefore any mayor or
magistrate in Christendomthat there are a great many young ladies
in the world (blessings on them one and all!) whom you wouldn't like
half as wellor admire half as muchas the beaming hostess of the
Blue Dragon.

As this fair matron sat beside the fireshe glanced occasionally
with all the pride of ownershipabout the room; which was a large
apartmentsuch as one may see in country placeswith a low roof
and a sunken flooringall downhill from the doorand a descent of
two steps on the inside so exquisitely unexpectedthat strangers
despite the most elaborate cautioningusually dived in head first
as into a plunging-bath. It was none of your frivolous and
preposterously bright bedroomswhere nobody can close an eye with
any kind of propriety or decent regard to the association of ideas;
but it was a gooddullleadendrowsy placewhere every article
of furniture reminded you that you came there to sleepand that you
were expected to go to sleep. There was no wakeful reflection of
the fire thereas in your modern chamberswhich upon the darkest
nights have a watchful consciousness of French polish; the old
Spanish mahogany winked at it now and thenas a dozing cat or dog
mightnothing more. The very size and shapeand hopeless
immovability of the bedsteadand wardrobeand in a minor degree of
even the chairs and tablesprovoked sleep; they were plainly
apoplectic and disposed to snore. There were no staring portraits
to remonstrate with you for being lazy; no round-eyed birds upon the
curtainsdisgustingly wide awakeand insufferably prying. The
thick neutral hangingsand the dark blindsand the heavy heap of
bed-clotheswere all designed to hold in sleepand act as
nonconductors to the day and getting up. Even the old stuffed
fox upon the top of the wardrobe was devoid of any spark of
vigilancefor his glass eye had fallen outand he slumbered
as he stood.

The wandering attention of the mistress of the Blue Dragon roved to
these things but twice or thriceand then for but an instant at a
time. It soon deserted themand even the distant bed with its
strange burdenfor the young creature immediately before herwho
with her downcast eyes intently fixed upon the firesat wrapped in
silent meditation.

She was very young; apparently no more than seventeen; timid and
shrinking in her mannerand yet with a greater share of self
possession and control over her emotions than usually belongs to a
far more advanced period of female life. This she had abundantly
shownbut nowin her tending of the sick gentleman. She was short
in stature; and her figure was slightas became her years; but all
the charms of youth and maidenhood set it offand clustered on her


gentle brow. Her face was very palein part no doubt from recent
agitation. Her dark brown hairdisordered from the same causehad
fallen negligently from its bondsand hung upon her neck; for which
instance of its waywardness no male observer would have had the
heart to blame it.

Her attire was that of a ladybut extremely plain; and in her
mannereven when she sat as still as she did thenthere was an
indefinable something which appeared to be in kindred with her
scrupulously unpretending dress. She had satat first looking
anxiously towards the bed; but seeing that the patient remained
quietand was busy with his writingshe had softly moved her chair
into its present place; partlyas it seemedfrom an instinctive
consciousness that he desired to avoid observation; and partly that
she mightunseen by himgive some vent to the natural feelings she
had hitherto suppressed.

Of all thisand much morethe rosy landlady of the Blue Dragon
took as accurate note and observation as only woman can take of
woman. And at length she saidin a voice too lowshe knewto
reach the bed:

'You have seen the gentleman in this way beforemiss? Is he used
to these attacks?'

'I have seen him very ill beforebut not so ill as he has been
tonight.'

'What a Providence!' said the landlady of the Dragon'that you had
the prescriptions and the medicines with youmiss!'

'They are intended for such an emergency. We never travel without
them.'

'Oh!' thought the hostess'then we are in the habit of travelling
and of travelling together.'

She was so conscious of expressing this in her facethat meeting
the young lady's eyes immediately afterwardsand being a very
honest hostessshe was rather confused.

'The gentleman--your grandpapa'--she resumedafter a short pause
'being so bent on having no assistancemust terrify you very much
miss?'

'I have been very much alarmed to-night. He--he is not my
grandfather.'

'FatherI should have said' returned the hostesssensible of
having made an awkward mistake.

'Nor my father' said the young lady. 'Nor' she addedslightly
smiling with a quick perception of what the landlady was going to
add'Nor my uncle. We are not related.'

'Oh dear me!' returned the landladystill more embarrassed than
before; 'how could I be so very much mistaken; knowingas anybody
in their proper senses might that when a gentleman is illhe looks
so much older than he really is? That I should have called you
Miss,tooma'am!' But when she had proceeded thus farshe
glanced involuntarily at the third finger of the young lady's left
handand faltered again; for there was no ring upon it.

'When I told you we were not related' said the other mildlybut


not without confusion on her own part'I meant not in any way. Not
even by marriage. Did you call meMartin?'

'Call you?' cried the old manlooking quickly upand hurriedly
drawing beneath the coverlet the paper on which he had been writing.
'No.'

She had moved a pace or two towards the bedbut stopped
immediatelyand went no farther.

'No' he repeatedwith a petulant emphasis. 'Why do you ask me?
If I had called youwhat need for such a question?'

'It was the creaking of the sign outsidesirI dare say' observed
the landlady; a suggestion by the way (as she felt a moment after
she had made it)not at all complimentary to the voice of the old
gentleman.

'No matter whatma'am' he rejoined: 'it wasn't I. Why how you
stand thereMaryas if I had the plague! But they're all afraid of
me' he addedleaning helplessly backward on his pillow; 'even she!
There is a curse upon me. What else have I to look for?'

'Oh dearno. Oh noI'm sure' said the good-tempered landlady
risingand going towards him. 'Be of better cheersir. These are
only sick fancies.'

'What are only sick fancies?' he retorted. 'What do you know about
fancies? Who told you about fancies? The old story! Fancies!'

'Only see again therehow you take one up!' said the mistress of
the Blue Dragonwith unimpaired good humour. 'Dear heart alive
there is no harm in the wordsirif it is an old one. Folks in
good health have their fanciestooand strange onesevery day.'

Harmless as this speech appeared to beit acted on the traveller's
distrustlike oil on fire. He raised his head up in the bedand
fixing on her two dark eyes whose brightness was exaggerated by the
paleness of his hollow cheeksas they in turntogether with his
straggling locks of long grey hairwere rendered whiter by the
tight black velvet skullcap which he worehe searched her face
intently.

'Ah! you begin too soon' he saidin so low a voice that he seemed
to be thinking itrather than addressing her. 'But you lose no
time. You do your errandand you earn your fee. Nowwho may be
your client?'

The landlady looked in great astonishment at her whom he called
Maryand finding no rejoinder in the drooping facelooked back
again at him. At first she had recoiled involuntarilysupposing
him disordered in his mind; but the slow composure of his manner
and the settled purpose announced in his strong featuresand
gatheringmost of allabout his puckered mouthforbade the
supposition.

'Come' he said'tell me who is it? Being hereit is not very
hard for me to guessyou may suppose.'

'Martin' interposed the young ladylaying her hand upon his arm;
'reflect how short a time we have been in this houseand that even
your name is unknown here.'

'Unless' he said'you--' He was evidently tempted to express a


suspicion of her having broken his confidence in favour of the
landladybut either remembering her tender nursingor being moved
in some sort by her facehe checked himselfand changing his
uneasy posture in the bedwas silent.

'There!' said Mrs Lupin; for in that name the Blue Dragon was
licensed to furnish entertainmentboth to man and beast. 'Nowyou
will be well againsir. You forgotfor the momentthat there
were none but friends here.'

'Oh!' cried the old manmoaning impatientlyas he tossed one
restless arm upon the coverlet; 'why do you talk to me of friends!
Can you or anybody teach me to know who are my friendsand who my
enemies?'

'At least' urged Mrs Lupingently'this young lady is your
friendI am sure.'

'She has no temptation to be otherwise' cried the old manlike one
whose hope and confidence were utterly exhausted. 'I suppose she
is. Heaven knows. Therelet me try to sleep. Leave the candle
where it is.'

As they retired from the bedhe drew forth the writing which had
occupied him so longand holding it in the flame of the taper burnt
it to ashes. That donehe extinguished the lightand turning his
face away with a heavy sighdrew the coverlet about his headand
lay quite still.

This destruction of the paperboth as being strangely inconsistent
with the labour he had devoted to itand as involving considerable
danger of fire to the Dragonoccasioned Mrs Lupin not a little
consternation. But the young lady evincing no surprisecuriosity
or alarmwhispered herwith many thanks for her solicitude and
companythat she would remain there some time longer; and that she
begged her not to share her watchas she was well used to being
aloneand would pass the time in reading.

Mrs Lupin had her full share and dividend of that large capital of
curiosity which is inherited by her sexand at another time it
might have been difficult so to impress this hint upon her as to
induce her to take it. But nowin sheer wonder and amazement at
these mysteriesshe withdrew at onceand repairing straightway to
her own little parlour below stairssat down in her easy-chair with
unnatural composure. At this very crisisa step was heard in the
entryand Mr Pecksnifflooking sweetly over the half-door of the
barand into the vista of snug privacy beyondmurmured:

'Good eveningMrs Lupin!'

'Oh dear mesir!' she criedadvancing to receive him'I am so
very glad you have come.'

'And I am very glad I have come' said Mr Pecksniff'if I can be of
service. I am very glad I have come. What is the matterMrs
Lupin?'

'A gentleman taken ill upon the roadhas been so very bad upstairs
sir' said the tearful hostess.

'A gentleman taken ill upon the roadhas been so very bad upstairs
has he?' repeated Mr Pecksniff. 'Wellwell!'

Now there was nothing that one may call decidedly original in this


remarknor can it be exactly said to have contained any wise
precept theretofore unknown to mankindor to have opened any
hidden source of consolation; but Mr Pecksniff's manner was so
blandand he nodded his head so soothinglyand showed in
everything such an affable sense of his own excellencethat anybody
would have beenas Mrs Lupin wascomforted by the mere voice and
presence of such a man; andthough he had merely said 'a verb must
agree with its nominative case in number and personmy good
friend' or 'eight times eight are sixty-fourmy worthy soul' must
have felt deeply grateful to him for his humanity and wisdom.

'And how' asked Mr Pecksniffdrawing off his gloves and warming
his hands before the fireas benevolently as if they were somebody
else'snot his; 'and how is he now?'

'He is betterand quite tranquil' answered Mrs Lupin.

'He is betterand quite tranquil' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Very well!
Ve-ry well!'

Here againthough the statement was Mrs Lupin's and not Mr
Pecksniff'sMr Pecksniff made it his own and consoled her with it.
It was not much when Mrs Lupin said itbut it was a whole book when
Mr Pecksniff said it. 'I observe' he seemed to say'and through
memorality in general remarksthat he is better and quite
tranquil.'

'There must be weighty matters on his mindthough' said the
hostessshaking her head'for he talkssirin the strangest way
you ever heard. He is far from easy in his thoughtsand wants some
proper advice from those whose goodness makes it worth his having.'

'Then' said Mr Pecksniff'he is the sort of customer for me.' But
though he said this in the plainest languagehe didn't speak a
word. He only shook his head; disparagingly of himself too.

'I am afraidsir' continued the landladyfirst looking round to
assure herself that there was nobody within hearingand then
looking down upon the floor. 'I am very much afraidsirthat his
conscience is troubled by his not being related to--or--or even
married to--a very young lady--'

'Mrs Lupin!' said Mr Pecksniffholding up his hand with something
in his manner as nearly approaching to severity as any expression of
hismild being that he wascould ever do. 'Person! young person?'

'A very young person' said Mrs Lupincurtseying and blushing; '--I
beg your pardonsirbut I have been so hurried to-nightthat I
don't know what I say--who is with him now.'

'Who is with him now' ruminated Mr Pecksniffwarming his back (as
he had warmed his hands) as if it were a widow's backor an
orphan's backor an enemy's backor a back that any less excellent
man would have suffered to be cold. 'Oh dear medear me!'

'At the same time I am bound to sayand I do say with all my
heart' observed the hostessearnestly'that her looks and manner
almost disarm suspicion.'

'Your suspicionMrs Lupin' said Mr Pecksniff gravely'is very
natural.'

Touching which remarklet it be written down to their confusion
that the enemies of this worthy man unblushingly maintained that he


always said of what was very badthat it was very natural; and that
he unconsciously betrayed his own nature in doing so.

'Your suspicionMrs Lupin' he repeated'is very naturaland I
have no doubt correct. I will wait upon these travellers.'

With that he took off his great-coatand having run his fingers
through his hairthrust one hand gently in the bosom of his waistcoat
and meekly signed to her to lead the way.

'Shall I knock?' asked Mrs Lupinwhen they reached the chamber
door.

'No' said Mr Pecksniff'enter if you please.'

They went in on tiptoe; or rather the hostess took that precaution
for Mr Pecksniff always walked softly. The old gentleman was still
asleepand his young companion still sat reading by the fire.

'I am afraid' said Mr Pecksniffpausing at the doorand giving
his head a melancholy roll'I am afraid that this looks artful. I
am afraidMrs Lupindo you knowthat this looks very artful!'

As he finished this whisperhe advanced before the hostess; and at
the same time the young ladyhearing footstepsrose. Mr Pecksniff
glanced at the volume she heldand whispered Mrs Lupin again; if
possiblewith increased despondency.

'Yesma'am' he said'it is a good book. I was fearful of that
beforehand. I am apprehensive that this is a very deep thing
indeed!'

'What gentleman is this?' inquired the object of his virtuous
doubts.

'Hush! don't trouble yourselfma'am' said Mr Pecksniffas the
landlady was about to answer. 'This young'--in spite of himself he
hesitated when "person" rose to his lipsand substituted another
word: 'this young strangerMrs Lupinwill excuse me for replying
brieflythat I reside in this village; it may be in an influential
mannerhoweverundeserved; and that I have been summoned here by
you. I am hereas I am everywhereI hopein sympathy for the
sick and sorry.'

With these impressive wordsMr Pecksniff passed over to the
bedsidewhereafter patting the counterpane once or twice in a
very solemn manneras if by that means he gained a clear insight
into the patient's disorderhe took his seat in a large arm-chair
and in an attitude of some thoughtfulness and much comfortwaited
for his waking. Whatever objection the young lady urged to Mrs
Lupin went no furtherfor nothing more was said to Mr Pecksniff
and Mr Pecksniff said nothing more to anybody else.

Full half an hour elapsed before the old man stirredbut at length
he turned himself in bedandthough not yet awakegave tokens
that his sleep was drawing to an end. By little and little he
removed the bed-clothes from about his headand turned still more
towards the side where Mr Pecksniff sat. In course of time his eyes
opened; and he lay for a few moments as people newly roused
sometimes willgazing indolently at his visitorwithout any
distinct consciousness of his presence.

There was nothing remarkable in these proceedingsexcept the
influence they worked on Mr Pecksniffwhich could hardly have been


surpassed by the most marvellous of natural phenomena. Gradually
his hands became tightly clasped upon the elbows of the chairhis
eyes dilated with surprisehis mouth openedhis hair stood more
erect upon his forehead than its custom wasuntilat lengthwhen
the old man rose in bedand stared at him with scarcely less
emotion than he showed himselfthe Pecksniff doubts were all
resolvedand he exclaimed aloud:

'You ARE Martin Chuzzlewit!'

His consternation of surprise was so genuinethat the old manwith
all the disposition that he clearly entertained to believe it
assumedwas convinced of its reality.

'I am Martin Chuzzlewit' he saidbitterly: 'and Martin Chuzzlewit
wishes you had been hangedbefore you had come here to disturb him
in his sleep. WhyI dreamed of this fellow!' he saidlying down
againand turning away his face'before I knew that he was near
me!'

'My good cousin--' said Mr Pecksniff.

'There! His very first words!' cried the old manshaking his grey
head to and fro upon the pillowand throwing up his hands. 'In his
very first words he asserts his relationship! I knew he would; they
all do it! Near or distantblood or waterit's all one. Ugh! What
a calendar of deceitand lyingand false-witnessingthe sound of
any word of kindred opens before me!'

'Pray do not be hastyMr Chuzzlewit' said Pecksniffin a tone
that was at once in the sublimest degree compassionate and
dispassionate; for he had by this time recovered from his surprise
and was in full possession of his virtuous self. 'You will regret
being hastyI know you will.'

'You know!' said Martincontemptuously.

'Yes' retorted Mr Pecksniff. 'AyeayeMr Chuzzlewit; and don't
imagine that I mean to court or flatter you; for nothing is further
from my intention. Neithersirneed you entertain the least
misgiving that I shall repeat that obnoxious word which has given
you so much offence already. Why should I? What do I expect or
want from you? There is nothing in your possession that I know of
Mr Chuzzlewitwhich is much to be coveted for the happiness it
brings you.'

'That's true enough' muttered the old man.

'Apart from that consideration' said Mr Pecksniffwatchful of the
effect he made'it must be plain to you (I am sure) by this time
that if I had wished to insinuate myself into your good opinionI
should have beenof all thingscareful not to address you as a
relative; knowing your humourand being quite certain beforehand
that I could not have a worse letter of recommendation.'

Martin made not any verbal answer; but he as clearly implied though
only by a motion of his legs beneath the bed-clothesthat there was
reason in thisand that he could not dispute itas if he had said
as much in good set terms.

'No' said Mr Pecksniffkeeping his hand in his waistcoat as though
he were readyon the shortest noticeto produce his heart for
Martin Chuzzlewit's inspection'I came here to offer my services to
a stranger. I make no offer of them to youbecause I know you


would distrust me if I did. But lying on that bedsirI regard
you as a strangerand I have just that amount of interest in you
which I hope I should feel in any strangercircumstanced as you
are. Beyond thatI am quite as indifferent to youMr Chuzzlewit
as you are to me.'

Having said whichMr Pecksniff threw himself back in the easy-chair;
so radiant with ingenuous honestythat Mrs Lupin almost wondered
not to see a stained-glass Glorysuch as the Saint wore in the
churchshining about his head.

A long pause succeeded. The old manwith increased restlessness
changed his posture several times. Mrs Lupin and the young lady
gazed in silence at the counterpane. Mr Pecksniff toyed
abstractedly with his eye-glassand kept his eyes shutthat he
might ruminate the better.

'Eh?' he said at lastopening them suddenlyand looking towards
the bed. 'I beg your pardon. I thought you spoke. Mrs Lupin' he
continuedslowly rising 'I am not aware that I can be of any
service to you here. The gentleman is betterand you are as good a
nurse as he can have. Eh?'

This last note of interrogation bore reference to another change of
posture on the old man's partwhich brought his face towards Mr
Pecksniff for the first time since he had turned away from him.

'If you desire to speak to me before I gosir' continued that
gentlemanafter another pause'you may command my leisure; but I
must stipulatein justice to myselfthat you do so as to a
strangerstrictly as to a stranger.'

Now if Mr Pecksniff knewfrom anything Martin Chuzzlewit had
expressed in gesturesthat he wanted to speak to himhe could only
have found it out on some such principle as prevails in melodramas
and in virtue of which the elderly farmer with the comic son always
knows what the dumb girl means when she takes refuge in his garden
and relates her personal memoirs in incomprehensible pantomime. But
without stopping to make any inquiry on this pointMartin
Chuzzlewit signed to his young companion to withdrawwhich she
immediately didalong with the landlady leaving him and Mr
Pecksniff alone together. For some time they looked at each other
in silence; or rather the old man looked at Mr Pecksniffand Mr
Pecksniff again closing his eyes on all outward objectstook an
inward survey of his own breast. That it amply repaid him for his
troubleand afforded a delicious and enchanting prospectwas clear
from the expression of his face.

'You wish me to speak to you as to a total stranger' said the old
man'do you?'

Mr Pecksniff repliedby a shrug of his shoulders and an apparent
turning round of his eyes in their sockets before he opened them
that he was still reduced to the necessity of entertaining that
desire.

'You shall be gratified' said Martin. 'SirI am a rich man. Not
so rich as some supposeperhapsbut yet wealthy. I am not a miser
sirthough even that charge is made against meas I hearand
currently believed. I have no pleasure in hoarding. I have no
pleasure in the possession of moneyThe devil that we call by that
name can give me nothing but unhappiness.'

It would be no description of Mr Pecksniff's gentleness of manner to


adopt the common parlanceand say that he looked at this moment as
if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He rather looked as if any
quantity of butter might have been made out of himby churning the
milk of human kindnessas it spouted upwards from his heart.

'For the same reason that I am not a hoarder of money' said the old
man'I am not lavish of it. Some people find their gratification
in storing it up; and others theirs in parting with it; but I have
no gratification connected with the thing. Pain and bitterness are
the only goods it ever could procure for me. I hate it. It is a
spectre walking before me through the worldand making every social
pleasure hideous.'

A thought arose in Pecksniff's mindwhich must have instantly
mounted to his faceor Martin Chuzzlewit would not have resumed as
quickly and as sternly as he did:

'You would advise me for my peace of mindto get rid of this source
of miseryand transfer it to some one who could bear it better.
Even youperhapswould rid me of a burden under which I suffer so
grievously. Butkind stranger' said the old manwhose every
feature darkened as he spoke'good Christian strangerthat is a
main part of my trouble. In other handsI have known money do
good; in other hands I have known it triumphed inand boasted of
with reasonas the master-key to all the brazen gates that close
upon the paths to worldly honourfortuneand enjoyment. To what
man or woman; to what worthyhonestincorruptible creature; shall
I confide such a talismaneither now or when I die? Do you know
any such person? YOUR virtues are of course inestimablebut can
you tell me of any other living creature who will bear the test of
contact with myself?'

'Of contact with yourselfsir?' echoed Mr Pecksniff.

'Aye' returned the old man'the test of contact with me--with me.
You have heard of him whose misery (the gratification of his own
foolish wish) wasthat he turned every thing he touched into gold.
The curse of my existenceand the realisation of my own mad desire
is that by the golden standard which I bear about meI am doomed to
try the metal of all other menand find it false and hollow.'

Mr Pecksniff shook his headand said'You think so.'

'Oh yes' cried the old man'I think so! and in your telling me "I
think so I recognize the true unworldly ring of YOUR metal. I
tell you, man,' he added, with increasing bitterness, 'that I have
gone, a rich man, among people of all grades and kinds; relatives,
friends, and strangers; among people in whom, when I was poor, I had
confidence, and justly, for they never once deceived me then, or, to
me, wronged each other. But I have never found one nature, no, not
one, in which, being wealthy and alone, I was not forced to detect
the latent corruption that lay hid within it waiting for such as I
to bring it forth. Treachery, deceit, and low design; hatred of
competitors, real or fancied, for my favour; meanness, falsehood,
baseness, and servility; or,' and here he looked closely in his
cousin's eyes, 'or an assumption of honest independence, almost
worse than all; these are the beauties which my wealth has brought
to light. Brother against brother, child against parent, friends
treading on the faces of friends, this is the social company by whom
my way has been attended. There are stories told--they may be true
or false--of rich men who, in the garb of poverty, have found out
virtue and rewarded it. They were dolts and idiots for their pains.
They should have made the search in their own characters. They
should have shown themselves fit objects to be robbed and preyed


upon and plotted against and adulated by any knaves, who, but for
joy, would have spat upon their coffins when they died their dupes;
and then their search would have ended as mine has done, and they
would be what I am.'

Mr Pecksniff, not at all knowing what it might be best to say in the
momentary pause which ensued upon these remarks, made an elaborate
demonstration of intending to deliver something very oracular
indeed; trusting to the certainty of the old man interrupting him,
before he should utter a word. Nor was he mistaken, for Martin
Chuzzlewit having taken breath, went on to say:

'Hear me to an end; judge what profit you are like to gain from any
repetition of this visit; and leave me. I have so corrupted and
changed the nature of all those who have ever attended on me, by
breeding avaricious plots and hopes within them; I have engendered
such domestic strife and discord, by tarrying even with members of
my own family; I have been such a lighted torch in peaceful homes,
kindling up all the inflammable gases and vapours in their moral
atmosphere, which, but for me, might have proved harmless to the
end, that I have, I may say, fled from all who knew me, and taking
refuge in secret places have lived, of late, the life of one who is
hunted. The young girl whom you just now saw--what! your eye
lightens when I talk of her! You hate her already, do you?'

'Upon my word, sir!' said Mr Pecksniff, laying his hand upon his
breast, and dropping his eyelids.

'I forgot,' cried the old man, looking at him with a keenness which
the other seemed to feel, although he did not raise his eyes so as
to see it. 'I ask your pardon. I forgot you were a stranger. For
the moment you reminded me of one Pecksniff, a cousin of mine. As I
was saying--the young girl whom you just now saw, is an orphan
child, whom, with one steady purpose, I have bred and educated, or,
if you prefer the word, adopted. For a year or more she has been my
constant companion, and she is my only one. I have taken, as she
knows, a solemn oath never to leave her sixpence when I die, but
while I live I make her an annual allowance; not extravagant in its
amount and yet not stinted. There is a compact between us that no
term of affectionate cajolery shall ever be addressed by either to
the other, but that she shall call me always by my Christian name; I
her, by hers. She is bound to me in life by ties of interest, and
losing by my death, and having no expectation disappointed, will
mourn it, perhaps; though for that I care little. This is the only
kind of friend I have or will have. Judge from such premises what a
profitable hour you have spent in coming here, and leave me, to
return no more.'

With these words, the old man fell slowly back upon his pillow. Mr
Pecksniff as slowly rose, and, with a prefatory hem, began as
follows:

'Mr Chuzzlewit.'

'There. Go!' interposed the other. 'Enough of this. I am weary of
you.'

'I am sorry for that, sir,' rejoined Mr Pecksniff, 'because I have a
duty to discharge, from which, depend upon it, I shall not shrink.
No, sir, I shall not shrink.'

It is a lamentable fact, that as Mr Pecksniff stood erect beside the
bed, in all the dignity of Goodness, and addressed him thus, the old
man cast an angry glance towards the candlestick, as if he were


possessed by a strong inclination to launch it at his cousin's head.
But he constrained himself, and pointing with his finger to the
door, informed him that his road lay there.

'Thank you,' said Mr Pecksniff; 'I am aware of that. I am going.
But before I go, I crave your leave to speak, and more than that, Mr
Chuzzlewit, I must and will--yes indeed, I repeat it, must and will
--be heard. I am not surprised, sir, at anything you have told me
tonight. It is natural, very natural, and the greater part of it
was known to me before. I will not say,' continued Mr Pecksniff,
drawing out his pocket-handkerchief, and winking with both eyes at
once, as it were, against his will, 'I will not say that you are
mistaken in me. While you are in your present mood I would not say
so for the world. I almost wish, indeed, that I had a different
nature, that I might repress even this slight confession of
weakness; which I cannot disguise from you; which I feel is
humiliating; but which you will have the goodness to excuse. We
will say, if you please,' added Mr Pecksniff, with great tenderness
of manner, 'that it arises from a cold in the head, or is
attributable to snuff, or smelling-salts, or onions, or anything but
the real cause.'

Here he paused for an instant, and concealed his face behind his
pocket-handkerchief. Then, smiling faintly, and holding the bed
furniture with one hand, he resumed:

'But, Mr Chuzzlewit, while I am forgetful of myself, I owe it to
myself, and to my character--aye, sir, and I HAVE a character which
is very dear to me, and will be the best inheritance of my two
daughters--to tell you, on behalf of another, that your conduct is
wrong, unnatural, indefensible, monstrous. And I tell you, sir,'
said Mr Pecksniff, towering on tiptoe among the curtains, as if he
were literally rising above all worldly considerations, and were
fain to hold on tight, to keep himself from darting skyward like a
rocket, 'I tell you without fear or favour, that it will not do for
you to be unmindful of your grandson, young Martin, who has the
strongest natural claim upon you. It will not do, sir,' repeated Mr
Pecksniff, shaking his head. 'You may think it will do, but it
won't. You must provide for that young man; you shall provide for
him; you WILL provide for him. I believe,' said Mr Pecksniff,
glancing at the pen-and-ink, 'that in secret you have already done
so. Bless you for doing so. Bless you for doing right, sir. Bless
you for hating me. And good night!'

So saying, Mr Pecksniff waved his right hand with much solemnity,
and once more inserting it in his waistcoat, departed. There was
emotion in his manner, but his step was firm. Subject to human
weaknesses, he was upheld by conscience.

Martin lay for some time, with an expression on his face of silent
wonder, not unmixed with rage; at length he muttered in a whisper:

'What does this mean? Can the false-hearted boy have chosen such a
tool as yonder fellow who has just gone out? Why not! He has
conspired against me, like the rest, and they are but birds of one
feather. A new plot; a new plot! Oh self, self, self! At every
turn nothing but self!'

He fell to trifling, as he ceased to speak, with the ashes of the
burnt paper in the candlestick. He did so, at first, in pure
abstraction, but they presently became the subject of his thoughts.

'Another will made and destroyed,' he said, 'nothing determined on,
nothing done, and I might have died to-night! I plainly see to what


foul uses all this money will be put at last,' he cried, almost
writhing in the bed; 'after filling me with cares and miseries all
my life, it will perpetuate discord and bad passions when I am dead.
So it always is. What lawsuits grow out of the graves of rich men,
every day; sowing perjury, hatred, and lies among near kindred,
where there should be nothing but love! Heaven help us, we have much
to answer for! Oh self, self, self! Every man for himself, and no
creature for me!'

Universal self! Was there nothing of its shadow in these
reflections, and in the history of Martin Chuzzlewit, on his own
showing?

CHAPTER FOUR

FROM WHICH IT WILL APPEAR THAT IF UNION BE STRENGTH, AND FAMILY
AFFECTION BE PLEASANT TO CONTEMPLATE, THE CHUZZLEWITS WERE THE
STRONGEST AND MOST AGREEABLE FAMILY IN THE WORLD

That worthy man Mr Pecksniff having taken leave of his cousin in
the solemn terms recited in the last chapter, withdrew to his own
home, and remained there three whole days; not so much as going out
for a walk beyond the boundaries of his own garden, lest he should
be hastily summoned to the bedside of his penitent and remorseful
relative, whom, in his ample benevolence, he had made up his mind to
forgive unconditionally, and to love on any terms. But such was the
obstinacy and such the bitter nature of that stern old man, that no
repentant summons came; and the fourth day found Mr Pecksniff
apparently much farther from his Christian object than the first.

During the whole of this interval, he haunted the Dragon at all
times and seasons in the day and night, and, returning good for evil
evinced the deepest solicitude in the progress of the obdurate
invalid, in so much that Mrs Lupin was fairly melted by his
disinterested anxiety (for he often particularly required her to
take notice that he would do the same by any stranger or pauper in
the like condition), and shed many tears of admiration and delight.

Meantime, old Martin Chuzzlewit remained shut up in his own chamber,
and saw no person but his young companion, saving the hostess of the
Blue Dragon, who was, at certain times, admitted to his presence.
So surely as she came into the room, however, Martin feigned to fall
asleep. It was only when he and the young lady were alone, that he
would utter a word, even in answer to the simplest inquiry; though
Mr Pecksniff could make out, by hard listening at the door, that
they two being left together, he was talkative enough.

It happened on the fourth evening, that Mr Pecksniff walking, as
usual, into the bar of the Dragon and finding no Mrs Lupin there,
went straight upstairs; purposing, in the fervour of his
affectionate zeal, to apply his ear once more to the keyhole, and
quiet his mind by assuring himself that the hard-hearted patient was
going on well. It happened that Mr Pecksniff, coming softly upon
the dark passage into which a spiral ray of light usually darted
through the same keyhole, was astonished to find no such ray
visible; and it happened that Mr Pecksniff, when he had felt his way
to the chamber-door, stooping hurriedly down to ascertain by
personal inspection whether the jealousy of the old man had caused
this keyhole to be stopped on the inside, brought his head into such
violent contact with another head that he could not help uttering in
an audible voice the monosyllable 'Oh!' which was, as it were,


sharply unscrewed and jerked out of him by very anguish. It
happened then, and lastly, that Mr Pecksniff found himself
immediately collared by something which smelt like several damp
umbrellas, a barrel of beer, a cask of warm brandy-and-water, and a
small parlour-full of stale tobacco smoke, mixed; and was
straightway led downstairs into the bar from which he had lately
come, where he found himself standing opposite to, and in the grasp
of, a perfectly strange gentleman of still stranger appearance who,
with his disengaged hand, rubbed his own head very hard, and looked
at him, Pecksniff, with an evil countenance.

The gentleman was of that order of appearance which is currently
termed shabby-genteel, though in respect of his dress he can hardly
be said to have been in any extremities, as his fingers were a long
way out of his gloves, and the soles of his feet were at an
inconvenient distance from the upper leather of his boots. His
nether garments were of a bluish grey--violent in its colours once,
but sobered now by age and dinginess--and were so stretched and
strained in a tough conflict between his braces and his straps, that
they appeared every moment in danger of flying asunder at the knees.
His coat, in colour blue and of a military cut, was buttoned and
frogged up to his chin. His cravat was, in hue and pattern, like
one of those mantles which hairdressers are accustomed to wrap about
their clients, during the progress of the professional mysteries.
His hat had arrived at such a pass that it would have been hard to
determine whether it was originally white or black. But he wore a
moustache--a shaggy moustache too; nothing in the meek and merciful
way, but quite in the fierce and scornful style; the regular Satanic
sort of thing--and he wore, besides, a vast quantity of unbrushed
hair. He was very dirty and very jaunty; very bold and very mean;
very swaggering and very slinking; very much like a man who might
have been something better, and unspeakably like a man who deserved
to be something worse.

'You were eaves-dropping at that door, you vagabond!' said this
gentleman.

Mr Pecksniff cast him off, as Saint George might have repudiated the
Dragon in that animal's last moments, and said:

'Where is Mrs Lupin, I wonder! can the good woman possibly be aware
that there is a person here who--'

'Stay!' said the gentleman. 'Wait a bit. She DOES know. What
then?'

'What then, sir?' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'What then? Do you know,
sir, that I am the friend and relative of that sick gentleman? That
I am his protector, his guardian, his--'

'Not his niece's husband,' interposed the stranger, 'I'll be sworn;
for he was there before you.'

'What do you mean?' said Mr Pecksniff, with indignant surprise.
'What do you tell me, sir?'

'Wait a bit!' cried the other, 'Perhaps you are a cousin--the cousin
who lives in this place?'

'I AM the cousin who lives in this place,' replied the man of worth.

'Your name is Pecksniff?' said the gentleman.

'It is.'


'I am proud to know you, and I ask your pardon,' said the gentleman,
touching his hat, and subsequently diving behind his cravat for a
shirt-collar, which however he did not succeed in bringing to the
surface. 'You behold in me, sir, one who has also an interest in
that gentleman upstairs. Wait a bit.'

As he said this, he touched the tip of his high nose, by way of
intimation that he would let Mr Pecksniff into a secret presently;
and pulling off his hat, began to search inside the crown among a
mass of crumpled documents and small pieces of what may be called
the bark of broken cigars; whence he presently selected the cover of
an old letter, begrimed with dirt and redolent of tobacco.

'Read that,' he cried, giving it to Mr Pecksniff.

'This is addressed to Chevy Slyme, Esquire,' said that gentleman.

'You know Chevy Slyme, Esquire, I believe?' returned the stranger.

Mr Pecksniff shrugged his shoulders as though he would say 'I know
there is such a person, and I am sorry for it.'

'Very good,' remarked the gentleman. 'That is my interest and
business here.' With that he made another dive for his shirt-collar
and brought up a string.

'Now, this is very distressing, my friend,' said Mr Pecksniff,
shaking his head and smiling composedly. 'It is very distressing to
me, to be compelled to say that you are not the person you claim to
be. I know Mr Slyme, my friend; this will not do; honesty is the
best policy you had better not; you had indeed.'

'Stop' cried the gentleman, stretching forth his right arm, which
was so tightly wedged into his threadbare sleeve that it looked like
a cloth sausage. 'Wait a bit!'

He paused to establish himself immediately in front of the fire with
his back towards it. Then gathering the skirts of his coat under
his left arm, and smoothing his moustache with his right thumb and
forefinger, he resumed:

'I understand your mistake, and I am not offended. Why? Because
it's complimentary. You suppose I would set myself up for Chevy
Slyme. Sir, if there is a man on earth whom a gentleman would feel
proud and honoured to be mistaken for, that man is my friend Slyme.
For he is, without an exception, the highest-minded, the most
independent-spirited, most original, spiritual, classical, talented,
the most thoroughly Shakspearian, if not Miltonic, and at the same
time the most disgustingly-unappreciated dog I know. But, sir, I
have not the vanity to attempt to pass for Slyme. Any other man in
the wide world, I am equal to; but Slyme is, I frankly confess, a
great many cuts above me. Therefore you are wrong.'

'I judged from this,' said Mr Pecksniff, holding out the cover of
the letter.

'No doubt you did,' returned the gentleman. 'But, Mr Pecksniff, the
whole thing resolves itself into an instance of the peculiarities of
genius. Every man of true genius has his peculiarity. Sir, the
peculiarity of my friend Slyme is, that he is always waiting round
the corner. He is perpetually round the corner, sir. He is round
the corner at this instant. Now,' said the gentleman, shaking his
forefinger before his nose, and planting his legs wider apart as he


looked attentively in Mr Pecksniff's face, 'that is a remarkably
curious and interesting trait in Mr Slyme's character; and whenever
Slyme's life comes to be written, that trait must be thoroughly
worked out by his biographer or society will not be satisfied.
Observe me, society will not be satisfied!'

Mr Pecksniff coughed.

'Slyme's biographer, sir, whoever he may be,' resumed the gentleman,
'must apply to me; or, if I am gone to that what's-his-name from
which no thingumbob comes back, he must apply to my executors for
leave to search among my papers. I have taken a few notes in my
poor way, of some of that man's proceedings--my adopted brother,
sir,--which would amaze you. He made use of an expression, sir,
only on the fifteenth of last month when he couldn't meet a little
bill and the other party wouldn't renew, which would have done
honour to Napoleon Bonaparte in addressing the French army.'

'And pray,' asked Mr Pecksniff, obviously not quite at his ease,
'what may be Mr Slyme's business here, if I may be permitted to
inquire, who am compelled by a regard for my own character to
disavow all interest in his proceedings?'

'In the first place,' returned the gentleman, 'you will permit me to
say, that I object to that remark, and that I strongly and
indignantly protest against it on behalf of my friend Slyme. In the
next place, you will give me leave to introduce myself. My name,
sir, is Tigg. The name of Montague Tigg will perhaps be familiar to
you, in connection with the most remarkable events of the Peninsular
War?'

Mr Pecksniff gently shook his head.

'No matter,' said the gentleman. 'That man was my father, and I
bear his name. I am consequently proud--proud as Lucifer. Excuse
me one moment. I desire my friend Slyme to be present at the
remainder of this conference.'

With this announcement he hurried away to the outer door of the Blue
Dragon, and almost immediately returned with a companion shorter
than himself, who was wrapped in an old blue camlet cloak with a
lining of faded scarlet. His sharp features being much pinched and
nipped by long waiting in the cold, and his straggling red whiskers
and frowzy hair being more than usually dishevelled from the same
cause, he certainly looked rather unwholesome and uncomfortable than
Shakspearian or Miltonic.

'Now,' said Mr Tigg, clapping one hand on the shoulder of his
prepossessing friend, and calling Mr Pecksniff's attention to him
with the other, 'you two are related; and relations never did agree,
and never will; which is a wise dispensation and an inevitable
thing, or there would be none but family parties, and everybody in
the world would bore everybody else to death. If you were on good
terms, I should consider you a most confoundedly unnatural pair; but
standing towards each other as you do, I took upon you as a couple
of devilish deep-thoughted fellows, who may be reasoned with to any
extent.'

Here Mr Chevy Slyme, whose great abilities seemed one and all to
point towards the sneaking quarter of the moral compass, nudged his
friend stealthily with his elbow, and whispered in his ear.

'Chiv,' said Mr Tigg aloud, in the high tone of one who was not to
be tampered with. 'I shall come to that presently. I act upon my


own responsibility, or not at all. To the extent of such a trifling
loan as a crownpiece to a man of your talents, I look upon Mr
Pecksniff as certain;' and seeing at this juncture that the
expression of Mr Pecksniff's face by no means betokened that he
shared this certainty, Mr Tigg laid his finger on his nose again for
that gentleman's private and especial behoof; calling upon him
thereby to take notice that the requisition of small loans was
another instance of the peculiarities of genius as developed in his
friend Slyme; that he, Tigg, winked at the same, because of the
strong metaphysical interest which these weaknesses possessed; and
that in reference to his own personal advocacy of such small
advances, he merely consulted the humour of his friend, without the
least regard to his own advantage or necessities.

'Oh, Chiv, Chiv!' added Mr Tigg, surveying his adopted brother with
an air of profound contemplation after dismissing this piece of
pantomime. 'You are, upon my life, a strange instance of the little
frailties that beset a mighty mind. If there had never been a
telescope in the world, I should have been quite certain from my
observation of you, Chiv, that there were spots on the sun! I wish I
may die, if this isn't the queerest state of existence that we find
ourselves forced into without knowing why or wherefore, Mr
Pecksniff! Well, never mind! Moralise as we will, the world goes on.
As Hamlet says, Hercules may lay about him with his club in every
possible direction, but he can't prevent the cats from making a most
intolerable row on the roofs of the houses, or the dogs from being
shot in the hot weather if they run about the streets unmuzzled.
Life's a riddle; a most infernally hard riddle to guess, Mr
Pecksniff. My own opinions, that like that celebrated conundrum,
Why's a man in jail like a man out of jail?" there's no answer to
it. Upon my soul and bodyit's the queerest sort of thing
altogether--but there's no use in talking about it. Ha! Ha!'

With which consolatory deduction from the gloomy premises recited
Mr Tigg roused himself by a great effortand proceeded in his
former strain.

'Now I'll tell you what it is. I'm a most confoundedly soft-hearted
kind of fellow in my wayand I cannot stand byand see you two
blades cutting each other's throats when there's nothing to be got
by it. Mr Pecksniffyou're the cousin of the testator upstairs
and we're the nephew--I say wemeaning Chiv. Perhaps in all
essential points you are more nearly related to him than we are.
Very good. If soso be it. But you can't get at himneither can
we. I give you my brightest word of honoursirthat I've been
looking through that keyhole with short intervals of restever
since nine o'clock this morningin expectation of receiving an
answer to one of the most moderate and gentlemanly applications for
a little temporary assistance--only fifteen poundsand MY security
--that the mind of man can conceive. In the meantimesirhe is
perpetually closeted withand pouring his whole confidence into the
bosom ofa stranger. Now I say decisively with regard to this
state of circumstancesthat it won't do; that it won't act; that it
can't be; and that it must not be suffered to continue.'

'Every man' said Mr Pecksniff'has a rightan undoubted right
(which Ifor onewould not call in question for any earthly
consideration; oh no!) to regulate his own proceedings by his own
likings and dislikingssupposing they are not immoral and not
irreligious. I may feel in my own breastthat Mr Chuzzlewit does
not regard--mefor instance; say me--with exactly that amount of
Christian love which should subsist between us. I may feel grieved
and hurt at the circumstance; still I may not rush to the conclusion
that Mr Chuzzlewit is wholly without a justification in all his


coldnesses. Heaven forbid! Besides; howMr Tigg' continued
Pecksniff even more gravely and impressively than he had spoken yet
'how could Mr Chuzzlewit be prevented from having these peculiar and
most extraordinary confidences of which you speak; the existence of
which I must admit; and which I cannot but deplore--for his sake?
Considermy good sir--' and here Mr Pecksniff eyed him wistfully-'
how very much at random you are talking.'

'Whyas to that' rejoined Tigg'it certainly is a difficult
question.'

'Undoubtedly it is a difficult question' Mr Pecksniff answered. As
he spoke he drew himself aloftand seemed to grow more mindful
suddenlyof the moral gulf between himself and the creature he
addressed. 'Undoubtedly it is a very difficult question. And I am
far from feeling sure that it is a question any one is authorized to
discuss. Good evening to you.'

'You don't know that the Spottletoes are hereI suppose?' said Mr
Tigg.

'What do you meansir? what Spottletoes?' asked Pecksniff
stopping abruptly on his way to the door.

'Mr and Mrs Spottletoe' said Chevy SlymeEsquirespeaking aloud
for the first timeand speaking very sulkily; shambling with his
legs the while. 'Spottletoe married my father's brother's child
didn't he? And Mrs Spottletoe is Chuzzlewit's own nieceisn't she?
She was his favourite once. You may well ask what Spottletoes.'

'Now upon my sacred word!' cried Mr Pecksnifflooking upwards.
'This is dreadful. The rapacity of these people is absolutely
frightful!'

'It's not only the Spottletoes eitherTigg' said Slymelooking at
that gentleman and speaking at Mr Pecksniff. 'Anthony Chuzzlewit
and his son have got wind of itand have come down this afternoon.
I saw 'em not five minutes agowhen I was waiting round the
corner.'

'OhMammonMammon!' cried Mr Pecksniffsmiting his forehead.

'So there' said Slymeregardless of the interruption'are his
brother and another nephew for youalready.'

'This is the whole thingsir' said Mr Tigg; 'this is the point and
purpose at which I was gradually arriving when my friend Slyme here
with six wordshit it full. Mr Pecksniffnow that your cousin
(and Chiv's uncle) has turned upsome steps must be taken to
prevent his disappearing again; andif possibleto counteract the
influence which is exercised over him nowby this designing
favourite. Everybody who is interested feels itsir. The whole
family is pouring down to this place. The time has come when
individual jealousies and interests must be forgotten for a time
sirand union must be made against the common enemy. When the
common enemy is routedyou will all set up for yourselves again;
every lady and gentleman who has a part in the gamewill go in on
their own account and bowl awayto the best of their abilityat
the testator's wicketand nobody will be in a worse position than
before. Think of it. Don't commit yourself now. You'll find us at
the Half Moon and Seven Stars in this villageat any timeand open
to any reasonable proposition. Hem! Chivmy dear fellowgo out
and see what sort of a night it is.'


Mr Slyme lost no time in disappearingand it is to be presumed in
going round the corner. Mr Tiggplanting his legs as wide apart as
he could be reasonably expected by the most sanguine man to keep
themshook his head at Mr Pecksniff and smiled.

'We must not be too hard' he said'upon the little eccentricities
of our friend Slyme. You saw him whisper me?'

Mr Pecksniff had seen him.

'You heard my answerI think?'

Mr Pecksniff had heard it.

'Five shillingseh?' said Mr Tiggthoughtfully. 'Ah! what an
extraordinary fellow! Very moderate too!'

Mr Pecksniff made no answer.

'Five shillings!' pursued Mr Tiggmusing; 'and to be punctually
repaid next week; that's the best of it. You heard that?'

Mr Pecksniff had not heard that.

'No! You surprise me!' cried Tigg. 'That's the cream of the thing
sir. I never knew that man fail to redeem a promisein my life.
You're not in want of changeare you?'

'No' said Mr Pecksniff'thank you. Not at all.'

'Just so' returned Mr Tigg. 'If you had beenI'd have got it for
you.' With that he began to whistle; but a dozen seconds had not
elapsed when he stopped shortand looking earnestly at Mr
Pecksniffsaid:

'Perhaps you'd rather not lend Slyme five shillings?'

'I would much rather not' Mr Pecksniff rejoined.

'Egad!' cried Tigggravely nodding his head as if some ground of
objection occurred to him at that moment for the first time'it's
very possible you may be right. Would you entertain the same sort
of objection to lending me five shillings now?'

'YesI couldn't do itindeed' said Mr Pecksniff.

'Not even half-a-crownperhaps?' urged Mr Tigg.

'Not even half-a-crown.'

'Whythen we come' said Mr Tigg'to the ridiculously small amount
of eighteen pence. Ha! ha!'

'And that' said Mr Pecksniff'would be equally objectionable.'

On receipt of this assuranceMr Tigg shook him heartily by both
handsprotesting with much earnestnessthat he was one of the most
consistent and remarkable men he had ever metand that he desired
the honour of his better acquaintance. He moreover observed that
there were many little characteristics about his friend Slymeof
which he could by no meansas a man of strict honourapprove; but
that he was prepared to forgive him all these slight drawbacksand
much morein consideration of the great pleasure he himself had
that day enjoyed in his social intercourse with Mr Pecksniffwhich


had given him a far higher and more enduring delight than the
successful negotiation of any small loan on the part of his friend
could possibly have imparted. With which remarks he would beg
leavehe saidto wish Mr Pecksniff a very good evening. And so he
took himself off; as little abashed by his recent failure as any
gentleman would desire to be.

The meditations of Mr Pecksniff that evening at the bar of the
Dragonand that night in his own housewere very serious and grave
indeed; the more especially as the intelligence he had received from
Messrs Tigg and Slyme touching the arrival of other members of the
familywere fully confirmed on more particular inquiry. For the
Spottletoes had actually gone straight to the Dragonwhere they
were at that moment housed and mounting guardand where their
appearance had occasioned such a vast sensation that Mrs Lupin
scenting their errand before they had been under her roof half an
hourcarried the news herself with all possible secrecy straight to
Mr Pecksniff's house; indeed it was her great caution in doing so
which occasioned her to miss that gentlemanwho entered at the
front door of the Dragon just as she emerged from the back one.
MoreoverMr Anthony Chuzzlewit and his son Jonas were economically
quartered at the Half Moon and Seven Starswhich was an obscure
ale-house; and by the very next coach there came posting to the
scene of actionso many other affectionate members of the family
(who quarrelled with each otherinside and outall the way down
to the utter distraction of the coachman)that in less than fourand-
twenty hours the scanty tavern accommodation was at a premium
and all the private lodgings in the placeamounting to full four
beds and sofarose cent per cent in the market.

In a wordthings came to that pass that nearly the whole family sat
down before the Blue Dragonand formally invested it; and Martin
Chuzzlewit was in a state of siege. But he resisted bravely;
refusing to receive all lettersmessagesand parcels; obstinately
declining to treat with anybody; and holding out no hope or promise
of capitulation. Meantime the family forces were perpetually
encountering each other in divers parts of the neighbourhood; and
as no one branch of the Chuzzlewit tree had ever been known to agree
with another within the memory of manthere was such a skirmishing
and floutingand snapping off of headsin the metaphorical sense
of that expression; such a bandying of words and calling of names;
such an upturning of noses and wrinkling of brows; such a formal
interment of good feelings and violent resurrection of ancient
grievances; as had never been known in those quiet parts since the
earliest record of their civilized existence.

At lengthin utter despair and hopelessnesssome few of the
belligerents began to speak to each other in only moderate terms of
mutual aggravation; and nearly all addressed themselves with a show
of tolerable decency to Mr Pecksniffin recognition of his high
character and influential position. Thusby little and littlethey
made common cause of Martin Chuzzlewit's obduracyuntil it was
agreed (if such a word can be used in connection with the
Chuzzlewits) that there should be a general council and conference
held at Mr Pecksniff's house upon a certain day at noon; which all
members of the family who had brought themselves within reach of the
summonswere forthwith bidden and invitedsolemnlyto attend.

If ever Mr Pecksniff wore an apostolic lookhe wore it on this
memorable day. If ever his unruffled smile proclaimed the words'I
am a messenger of peace!' that was its mission now. If ever man
combined within himself all the mild qualities of the lamb with a
considerable touch of the doveand not a dash of the crocodileor
the least possible suggestion of the very mildest seasoning of the


serpentthat man was he. Andohthe two Miss Pecksniffs! Ohthe
serene expression on the face of Charitywhich seemed to say'I
know that all my family have injured me beyond the possibility of
reparationbut I forgive themfor it is my duty so to do!' And
ohthe gay simplicity of Mercy; so charminginnocentand infantlike
that if she had gone out walking by herselfand it had been a
little earlier in the seasonthe robin-redbreasts might have
covered her with leaves against her willbelieving her to be one of
the sweet children in the woodcome out of itand issuing forth
once more to look for blackberries in the young freshness of her
heart! What words can paint the Pecksniffs in that trying hour? Oh
none; for words have naughty company among themand the Pecksniffs
were all goodness.

But when the company arrived! That was the time. When Mr Pecksniff
rising from his seat at the table's headwith a daughter on either
handreceived his guests in the best parlour and motioned them to
chairswith eyes so overflowing and countenance so damp with
gracious perspirationthat he may be said to have been in a kind of
moist meekness! And the company; the jealous stony-hearted
distrustful companywho were all shut up in themselvesand had no
faith in anybodyand wouldn't believe anythingand would no more
allow themselves to be softened or lulled asleep by the Pecksniffs
than if they had been so many hedgehogs or porcupines!

Firstthere was Mr Spottletoewho was so bald and had such big
whiskersthat he seemed to have stopped his hairby the sudden
application of some powerful remedyin the very act of falling off
his headand to have fastened it irrevocably on his face. Then
there was Mrs Spottletoewho being much too slim for her yearsand
of a poetical constitutionwas accustomed to inform her more
intimate friends that the said whiskers were 'the lodestar of her
existence;' and who could nowby reason of her strong affection for
her uncle Chuzzlewitand the shock it gave her to be suspected of
testamentary designs upon himdo nothing but cry--except moan.
Then there were Anthony Chuzzlewitand his son Jonas; the face of
the old man so sharpened by the wariness and cunning of his life
that it seemed to cut him a passage through the crowded roomas he
edged away behind the remotest chairs; while the son had so well
profited by the precept and example of the fatherthat he looked a
year or two the elder of the twainas they stood winking their red
eyesside by sideand whispering to each other softly. Then there
was the widow of a deceased brother of Mr Martin Chuzzlewitwho
being almost supernaturally disagreeableand having a dreary face
and a bony figure and a masculine voicewasin right of these
qualitieswhat is commonly called a strong-minded woman; and who
if she couldwould have established her claim to the titleand
have shown herselfmentally speakinga perfect Samsonby shutting
up her brother-in-law in a private madhouseuntil he proved his
complete sanity by loving her very much. Beside her sat her
spinster daughtersthree in numberand of gentlemanly deportment
who had so mortified themselves with tight staysthat their tempers
were reduced to something less than their waistsand sharp lacing
was expressed in their very noses. Then there was a young
gentlemangrandnephew of Mr Martin Chuzzlewitvery dark and very
hairyand apparently born for no particular purpose but to save
looking-glasses the trouble of reflecting more than just the first
idea and sketchy notion of a facewhich had never been carried out.
Then there was a solitary female cousin who was remarkable for
nothing but being very deafand living by herselfand always
having the toothache. Then there was George Chuzzlewita gay
bachelor cousinwho claimed to be young but had been youngerand
was inclined to corpulencyand rather overfed himself; to that
extentindeedthat his eyes were strained in their socketsas if


with constant surprise; and he had such an obvious disposition to
pimplesthat the bright spots on his cravatthe rich pattern on
his waistcoatand even his glittering trinketsseemed to have
broken out upon himand not to have come into existence
comfortably. Last of all there were present Mr Chevy Slyme and his
friend Tigg. And it is worthy of remarkthat although each person
present disliked the othermainly because he or she DID belong to
the familythey one and all concurred in hating Mr Tigg because he
didn't.

Such was the pleasant little family circle now assembled in Mr
Pecksniff's best parlouragreeably prepared to fall foul of Mr
Pecksniff or anybody else who might venture to say anything whatever
upon any subject.

'This' said Mr Pecksniffrising and looking round upon them with
folded hands'does me good. It does my daughters good. We thank
you for assembling here. We are grateful to you with our whole
hearts. It is a blessed distinction that you have conferred upon
usand believe me'-- it is impossible to conceive how he smiled
here--'we shall not easily forget it.'

'I am sorry to interrupt youPecksniff' remarked Mr Spottletoe
with his whiskers in a very portentous state; 'but you are assuming
too much to yourselfsir. Who do you imagine has it in
contemplation to confer a distinction upon YOUsir?'

A general murmur echoed this inquiryand applauded it.

'If you are about to pursue the course with which you have begun
sir' pursued Mr Spottletoe in a great heatand giving a violent
rap on the table with his knuckles'the sooner you desistand this
assembly separatesthe better. I am no strangersirto your
preposterous desire to be regarded as the head of this familybut I
can tell YOUsir--'

Oh yesindeed! HE tell. HE! What? He was the headwas he? From
the strong-minded woman downwards everybody fellthat instantupon
Mr Spottletoewho after vainly attempting to be heard in silence
was fain to sit down againfolding his arms and shaking his head
most wrathfullyand giving Mrs Spottletoe to understand in dumb
showthat that scoundrel Pecksniff might go on for the presentbut
he would cut in presentlyand annihilate him.

'I am not sorry' said Mr Pecksniff in resumption of his address'I
am really not sorry that this little incident has happened. It is
good to feel that we are met here without disguise. It is good to
know that we have no reserve before each otherbut are appearing
freely in our own characters.'

Herethe eldest daughter of the strong-minded woman rose a little
way from her seatand trembling violently from head to footmore
as it seemed with passion than timidityexpressed a general hope
that some people WOULD appear in their own charactersif it were
only for such a proceeding having the attraction of novelty to
recommend it; and that when they (meaning the some people before
mentioned) talked about their relationsthey would be careful to
observe who was present in company at the time; otherwise it might
come round to those relations' earsin a way they little expected;
and as to red noses (she observed) she had yet to learn that a red
nose was any disgraceinasmuch as people neither made nor coloured
their own nosesbut had that feature provided for them without
being first consulted; though even upon that branch of the subject
she had great doubts whether certain noses were redder than other


nosesor indeed half as red as some. This remark being received
with a shrill titter by the two sisters of the speakerMiss Charity
Pecksniff begged with much politeness to be informed whether any of
those very low observations were levelled at her; and receiving no
more explanatory answer than was conveyed in the adage 'Those the
cap fitslet them wear it' immediately commenced a somewhat
acrimonious and personal retortwherein she was much comforted and
abetted by her sister Mercywho laughed at the same with great
heartiness; indeed far more naturally than life. And it being quite
impossible that any difference of opinion can take place among women
without every woman who is within hearing taking active part in it
the strong-minded lady and her two daughtersand Mrs Spottletoe
and the deaf cousin (who was not at all disqualified from joining in
the dispute by reason of being perfectly unacquainted with its
merits)one and all plunged into the quarrel directly.

The two Miss Pecksniffs being a pretty good match for the three Miss
Chuzzlewitsand all five young ladies havingin the figurative
language of the daya great amount of steam to dispose ofthe
altercation would no doubt have been a long one but for the high
valour and prowess of the strong-minded womanwhoin right of her
reputation for powers of sarcasmdid so belabour and pummel Mrs
Spottletoe with taunting words that the poor ladybefore the
engagement was two minutes oldhad no refuge but in tears. These
she shed so plentifullyand so much to the agitation and grief of
Mr Spottletoethat that gentlemanafter holding his clenched fist
close to Mr Pecksniff's eyesas if it were some natural curiosity
from the near inspection whereof he was likely to derive high
gratification and improvementand after offering (for no particular
reason that anybody could discover) to kick Mr George Chuzzlewit
forand in consideration ofthe trifling sum of sixpencetook his
wife under his arm and indignantly withdrew. This diversionby
distracting the attention of the combatantsput an end to the
strifewhichafter breaking out afresh some twice or thrice in
certain inconsiderable spurts and dashesdied away in silence.

It was then that Mr Pecksniff once more rose from his chair. It was
then that the two Miss Pecksniffs composed themselves to look as if
there were no such beings--not to say presentbut in the whole
compass of the world--as the three Miss Chuzzlewits; while the three
Miss Chuzzlewits became equally unconscious of the existence of the
two Miss Pecksniffs.

'It is to be lamented' said Mr Pecksniffwith a forgiving
recollection of Mr Spottletoe's fist'that our friend should have
withdrawn himself so very hastilythough we have cause for mutual
congratulation even in thatsince we are assured that he is not
distrustful of us in regard to anything we may say or do while he is
absent. Nowthat is very soothingis it not?'

'Pecksniff' said Anthonywho had been watching the whole party
with peculiar keenness from the first--'don't you be a hypocrite.'

'A whatmy good sir?' demanded Mr Pecksniff.

'A hypocrite.'

'Charitymy dear' said Mr Pecksniff'when I take my chamber
candlestick to-nightremind me to be more than usually particular
in praying for Mr Anthony Chuzzlewit; who has done me an injustice.'

This was said in a very bland voiceand asideas being addressed
to his daughter's private ear. With a cheerfulness of conscience
prompting almost a sprightly demeanourhe then resumed:


'All our thoughts centring in our very dear but unkind relativeand
he being as it were beyond our reachwe are met to-dayreally as
if we were a funeral partyexcept--a blessed exception--that there
is no body in the house.'

The strong-minded lady was not at all sure that this was a blessed
exception. Quite the contrary.

'Wellmy dear madam!' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Be that as it mayhere
we are; and being herewe are to consider whether it is possible by
any justifiable means--'

'Whyyou know as well as I' said the strong-minded lady'that any
means are justifiable in such a casedon't you?'

'Very goodmy dear madamvery good; whether it is possible by ANY
meanswe will say by ANY meansto open the eyes of our valued
relative to his present infatuation. Whether it is possible to make
him acquainted by any means with the real character and purpose of
that young female whose strangewhose very strange positionin
reference to himself'--here Mr Pecksniff sunk his voice to an
impressive whisper--'really casts a shadow of disgrace and shame
upon this family; and whowe know'--here he raised his voice again
--'else why is she his companion? harbours the very basest designs
upon his weakness and his property.'

In their strong feeling on this pointtheywho agreed in nothing
elseall concurred as one mind. Good Heaventhat she should
harbour designs upon his property! The strong-minded lady was for
poisonher three daughters were for Bridewell and bread-and-water
the cousin with the toothache advocated Botany Baythe two Miss
Pecksniffs suggested flogging. Nobody but Mr Tiggwho
notwithstanding his extreme shabbinesswas still understood to be
in some sort a lady's manin right of his upper lip and his frogs
indicated a doubt of the justifiable nature of these measures; and
he only ogled the three Miss Chuzzlewits with the least admixture of
banter in his admirationas though he would observe'You are
positively down upon her to too great an extentmy sweet creatures
upon my soul you are!'

'Now' said Mr Pecksniffcrossing his two forefingers in a manner
which was at once conciliatory and argumentative; 'I will notupon
the one handgo so far as to say that she deserves all the
inflictions which have been so very forcibly and hilariously
suggested;' one of his ornamental sentences; 'nor will Iupon the
otheron any account compromise my common understanding as a man
by making the assertion that she does not. What I would observe is
that I think some practical means might be devised of inducing our
respectedshall I say our revered--?'

'No!' interposed the strong-minded woman in a loud voice.

'Then I will not' said Mr Pecksniff. 'You are quite rightmy dear
madamand I appreciate and thank you for your discriminating
objection--our respected relativeto dispose himself to listen to
the promptings of natureand not to the--'

'Go onPa!' cried Mercy.

'Whythe truth ismy dear' said Mr Pecksniffsmiling upon his
assembled kindred'that I am at a loss for a word. The name of
those fabulous animals (paganI regret to say) who used to sing in
the waterhas quite escaped me.'


Mr George Chuzzlewit suggested 'swans.'

'No' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Not swans. Very like swanstoo. Thank
you.'

The nephew with the outline of a countenancespeaking for the first
and last time on that occasionpropounded 'Oysters.'

'No' said Mr Pecksniffwith his own peculiar urbanity'nor
oysters. But by no means unlike oysters; a very excellent idea;
thank youmy dear sirvery much. Wait! Sirens. Dear me! sirens
of course. I thinkI saythat means might be devised of disposing
our respected relative to listen to the promptings of natureand
not to the siren-like delusions of art. Now we must not lose sight
of the fact that our esteemed friend has a grandsonto whom he was
until latelyvery much attachedand whom I could have wished to
see here to-dayfor I have a real and deep regard for him. A fine
young man. a very fine young man! I would submit to youwhether we
might not remove Mr Chuzzlewit's distrust of usand vindicate our
own disinterestedness by--'

'If Mr George Chuzzlewit has anything to say to ME' interposed the
strong-minded womansternly'I beg him to speak out like a man;
and not to look at me and my daughters as if he could eat us.'

'As to lookingI have heard it saidMrs Ned' returned Mr George
angrily'that a cat is free to contemplate a monarch; and therefore
I hope I have some righthaving been born a member of this family
to look at a person who only came into it by marriage. As to
eatingI beg to saywhatever bitterness your jealousies and
disappointed expectations may suggest to youthat I am not a
cannibalma'am.'

'I don't know that!' cried the strong-minded woman.

'At all eventsif I was a cannibal' said Mr George Chuzzlewit
greatly stimulated by this retort'I think it would occur to me
that a lady who had outlived three husbandsand suffered so very
little from their lossmust be most uncommonly tough.'

The strong-minded woman immediately rose.

'And I will further add' said Mr Georgenodding his head violently
at every second syllable; 'naming no namesand therefore hurting
nobody but those whose consciences tell them they are alluded to
that I think it would be much more decent and becomingif those who
hooked and crooked themselves into this family by getting on the
blind side of some of its members before marriageand
manslaughtering them afterwards by crowing over them to that strong
pitch that they were glad to diewould refrain from acting the part
of vultures in regard to other members of this family who are
living. I think it would be full as wellif not betterif those
individuals would keep at homecontenting themselves with what they
have got (luckily for them) already; instead of hovering aboutand
thrusting their fingers intoa family piewhich they flavour much
more than enoughI can tell themwhen they are fifty miles away.'

'I might have been prepared for this!' cried the strong-minded
womanlooking about her with a disdainful smile as she moved
towards the doorfollowed by her three daughters. 'Indeed I was
fully prepared for it from the first. What else could I expect in
such an atmosphere as this!'


'Don't direct your halfpay-officers' gaze at mema'amif you
please' interposed Miss Charity; 'for I won't bear it.'

This was a smart stab at a pension enjoyed by the strong-minded
womanduring her second widowhood and before her last coverture.
It told immensely.

'I passed from the memory of a grateful countryyou very miserable
minx' said Mrs Ned'when I entered this family; and I feel now
though I did not feel thenthat it served me rightand that I lost
my claim upon the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when I
so degraded myself. Nowmy dearsif you're quite readyand have
sufficiently improved yourselves by taking to heart the genteel
example of these two young ladiesI think we'll go. Mr Pecksniff
we are very much obliged to youreally. We came to be entertained
and you have far surpassed our utmost expectationsin the amusement
you have provided for us. Thank you. Good-bye!'

With such departing wordsdid this strong-minded female paralyse
the Pecksniffian energies; and so she swept out of the roomand out
of the houseattended by her daughterswhoas with one accord
elevated their three noses in the airand joined in a contemptuous
titter. As they passed the parlour window on the outsidethey were
seen to counterfeit a perfect transport of delight among themselves;
and with this final blow and great discouragement for those within
they vanished.

Before Mr Pecksniff or any of his remaining visitors could offer a
remarkanother figure passed this windowcomingat a great rate
in the opposite direction; and immediately afterwardsMr Spottletoe
burst into the chamber. Compared with his present state of heathe
had gone out a man of snow or ice. His head distilled such oil upon
his whiskersthat they were rich and clogged with unctuous drops;
his face was violently inflamedhis limbs trembled; and he gasped
and strove for breath.

'My good sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff.

'Oh yes!' returned the other; 'oh yescertainly! Oh to be sure! Oh
of course! You hear him? You hear him? all of you!'

'What's the matter?' cried several voices.

'Oh nothing!' cried Spottletoestill gasping. 'Nothing at all!
It's of no consequence! Ask him! HE'll tell you!'

'I do not understand our friend' said Mr Pecksnifflooking about
him in utter amazement. 'I assure you that he is quite
unintelligible to me.'

'Unintelligiblesir!' cried the other. 'Unintelligible! Do you
mean to saysirthat you don't know what has happened! That you
haven't decoyed us hereand laid a plot and a plan against us! Will
you venture to say that you didn't know Mr Chuzzlewit was going
sirand that you don't know he's gonesir?'

'Gone!' was the general cry.

'Gone' echoed Mr Spottletoe. 'Gone while we were sitting here.
Gone. Nobody knows where he's gone. Ohof course not! Nobody knew
he was going. Ohof course not! The landlady thought up to the
very last moment that they were merely going for a ride; she had no
other suspicion. Ohof course not! She's not this fellow's
creature. Ohof course not!'


Adding to these exclamations a kind of ironical howland gazing
upon the company for one brief instant afterwardsin a sudden
silencethe irritated gentleman started off again at the same
tremendous paceand was seen no more.

It was in vain for Mr Pecksniff to assure them that this new and
opportune evasion of the family was at least as great a shock and
surprise to him as to anybody else. Of all the bullyings and
denunciations that were ever heaped on one unlucky headnone can
ever have exceeded in energy and heartiness those with which he was
complimented by each of his remaining relativessinglyupon
bidding him farewell.

The moral position taken by Mr Tigg was something quite tremendous;
and the deaf cousinwho had the complicated aggravation of seeing
all the proceedings and hearing nothing but the catastrophe
actually scraped her shoes upon the scraperand afterwards
distributed impressions of them all over the top stepin token that
she shook the dust from her feet before quitting that dissembling
and perfidious mansion.

Mr Pecksniff hadin shortbut one comfortand that was the
knowledge that all these his relations and friends had hated him to
the very utmost extent before; and that hefor his parthad not
distributed among them any more love thanwith his ample capital in
that respecthe could comfortably afford to part with. This view
of his affairs yielded him great consolation; and the fact deserves
to be notedas showing with what ease a good man may be consoled
under circumstances of failure and disappointment.

CHAPTER FIVE

CONTAINING A FULL ACCOUNT OF THE INSTALLATION OF MR PECKSNIFF'S
NEW PUPIL INTO THE BOSOM OF MR PECKSNIFF'S FAMILY. WITH ALL THE
FESTIVITIES HELD ON THAT OCCASIONAND THE GREAT ENJOYMENT OF
MR PINCH

The best of architects and land surveyors kept a horsein whom the
enemies already mentioned more than once in these pages pretended to
detect a fanciful resemblance to his master. Not in his outward
personfor he was a raw-bonedhaggard horsealways on a much
shorter allowance of corn than Mr Pecksniff; but in his moral
characterwhereinsaid theyhe was full of promisebut of no
performance. He was always in a mannergoing to goand never
going. When at his slowest rate of travelling he would sometimes
lift up his legs so highand display such mighty actionthat it
was difficult to believe he was doing less than fourteen miles an
hour; and he was for ever so perfectly satisfied with his own speed
and so little disconcerted by opportunities of comparing himself
with the fastest trottersthat the illusion was the more difficult
of resistance. He was a kind of animal who infused into the breasts
of strangers a lively sense of hopeand possessed all those who
knew him better with a grim despair. In what respecthaving these
points of characterhe might be fairly likened to his masterthat
good man's slanderers only can explain. But it is a melancholy
truthand a deplorable instance of the uncharitableness of the
worldthat they made the comparison.

In this horseand the hooded vehiclewhatever its proper name
might beto which he was usually harnessed--it was more like a gig


with a tumour than anything else--all Mr Pinch's thoughts and
wishes centredone bright frosty morning; for with this gallant
equipage he was about to drive to Salisbury alonethere to meet
with the new pupiland thence to bring him home in triumph.

Blessings on thy simple heartTom Pinchhow proudly dost thou
button up that scanty coatcalled by a sad misnomerfor these many
yearsa 'great' one; and how thoroughlyas with thy cheerful voice
thou pleasantly adjurest Sam the hostler 'not to let him go yet'
dost thou believe that quadruped desires to goand would go if he
might! Who could repress a smile--of love for theeTom Pinchand
not in jest at thy expensefor thou art poor enough alreadyHeaven
knows--to think that such a holiday as lies before thee should
awaken that quick flow and hurry of the spiritsin which thou
settest down againalmost untastedon the kitchen window-sill
that great white mug (put byby thy own handslast nightthat
breakfast might not hold thee late)and layest yonder crust upon
the seat beside theeto be eaten on the roadwhen thou art calmer
in thy high rejoicing! Whoas thou drivest offa happymanand
noddest with a grateful lovingness to Pecksniff in his nightcap at
his chamber-windowwould not cry'Heaven speed theeTomand send
that thou wert going off for ever to some quiet home where thou
mightst live at peaceand sorrow should not touch thee!'

What better time for drivingridingwalkingmoving through the
air by any meansthan a freshfrosty morningwhen hope runs
cheerily through the veins with the brisk bloodand tingles in the
frame from head to foot! This was the glad commencement of a bracing
day in early wintersuch as may put the languid summer season
(speaking of it when it can't be had) to the blushand shame the
spring for being sometimes cold by halves. The sheep-bells rang as
clearly in the vigorous airas if they felt its wholesome influence
like living creatures; the treesin lieu of leaves or blossoms
shed upon the ground a frosty rime that sparkled as it felland
might have been the dust of diamonds. So it was to Tom. From
cottage chimneyssmoke went streaming up highhighas if the
earth had lost its grossnessbeing so fairand must not be
oppressed by heavy vapour. The crust of ice on the else rippling
brook was so transparentand so thin in texturethat the lively
water might of its own free will have stopped--in Tom's glad mind it
had--to look upon the lovely morning. And lest the sun should break
this charm too eagerlythere moved between him and the grounda
mist like that which waits upon the moon on summer nights--the very
same to Tom--and wooed him to dissolve it gently.

Tom Pinch went on; not fastbut with a sense of rapid motionwhich
did just as well; and as he wentall kinds of things occurred to
keep him happy. Thus when he came within sight of the turnpikeand
was--oh a long way off!--he saw the tollman's wifewho had that
moment checked a waggonrun back into the little house again like
madto say (she knew) that Mr Pinch was coming up. And she was
rightfor when he drew within hail of the gateforth rushed the
tollman's childrenshrieking in tiny chorus'Mr Pinch!' to Tom's
intense delight. The very tollmanthough an ugly chap in general
and one whom folks were rather shy of handlingcame out himself to
take the tolland give him rough good morning; and that with all
thisand a glimpse of the family breakfast on a little round table
before the firethe crust Tom Pinch had brought away with him
acquired as rich a flavour as though it had been cut from a fairy
loaf.

But there was more than this. It was not only the married people
and the children who gave Tom Pinch a welcome as he passed. Nono.
Sparkling eyes and snowy breasts came hurriedly to many an upper


casement as he clattered byand gave him back his greeting: not
stinted eitherbut sevenfoldgood measure. They were all merry.
They all laughed. And some of the wickedest among them even kissed
their hands as Tom looked back. For who minded poor Mr Pinch?
There was no harm in HIM.

And now the morning grew so fairand all things were so wide awake
and gaythat the sun seeming to say--Tom had no doubt he said--'I
can't stand it any longer; I must have a look' streamed out in
radiant majesty. The misttoo shy and gentle for such lusty
companyfled offquite scaredbefore it; and as it swept away
the hills and mounds and distant pasture landsteeming with placid
sheep and noisy crowscame out as bright as though they were
unrolled bran new for the occasion. In compliment to which
discoverythe brook stood still no longerbut ran briskly off to
bear the tidings to the water-millthree miles away.

Mr Pinch was jogging alongfull of pleasant thoughts and cheerful
influenceswhen he sawupon the path before himgoing in the same
direction with himselfa traveller on footwho walked with a light
quick stepand sang as he went--for certain in a very loud voice
but not unmusically. He was a young fellowof some five or sixand-
twenty perhapsand was dressed in such a free and fly-away
fashionthat the long ends of his loose red neckcloth were
streaming out behind him quite as often as before; and the bunch of
bright winter berries in the buttonhole of his velveteen coat was as
visible to Mr Pinch's rearward observationas if he had worn that
garment wrong side foremost. He continued to sing with so much
energythat he did not hear the sound of wheels until it was close
behind him; when he turned a whimsical face and a very merry pair of
blue eyes on Mr Pinchand checked himself directly.

'WhyMark?' said Tom Pinchstopping. 'Who'd have thought of
seeing you here? Well! this is surprising!'

Mark touched his hatand saidwith a very sudden decrease of
vivacitythat he was going to Salisbury.

'And how spruce you aretoo!' said Mr Pinchsurveying him with
great pleasure. 'ReallyI didn't think you were half such a tightmade
fellowMark!'

'ThankeeMr Pinch. Pretty well for thatI believe. It's not my
faultyou know. With regard to being sprucesirthat's where it
isyou see.' And here he looked particularly gloomy.

'Where what is?' Mr Pinch demanded.

'Where the aggravation of it is. Any man may be in good spirits and
good temper when he's well dressed. There an't much credit in that.
If I was very ragged and very jollythen I should begin to feel I
had gained a pointMr Pinch.'

'So you were singing just nowto bear upas it wereagainst being
well dressedehMark?' said Pinch.

'Your conversation's always equal to printsir' rejoined Mark
with a broad grin. 'That was it.'

'Well!' cried Pinch'you are the strangest young manMarkI ever
knew in my life. I always thought so; but now I am quite certain of
it. I am going to Salisburytoo. Will you get in? I shall be
very glad of your company.'


The young fellow made his acknowledgments and accepted the offer;
stepping into the carriage directlyand seating himself on the very
edge of the seat with his body half out of itto express his being
there on sufferanceand by the politeness of Mr Pinch. As they
went alongthe conversation proceeded after this manner.

'I more than half believedjust nowseeing you so very smart'
said Pinch'that you must be going to be marriedMark.'

'WellsirI've thought of thattoo' he replied. 'There might be
some credit in being jolly with a wife'specially if the children
had the measles and thatand was very fractious indeed. But I'm
a'most afraid to try it. I don't see my way clear.'

'You're not very fond of anybodyperhaps?' said Pinch.

'Not particularsirI think.'

'But the way would beyou knowMarkaccording to your views of
things' said Mr Pinch'to marry somebody you didn't likeand who
was very disagreeable.'

'So it wouldsir; but that might be carrying out a principle a
little too farmightn't it?'

'Perhaps it might' said Mr Pinch. At which they both laughed
gayly.

'Lord bless yousir' said Mark'you don't half know methough.
I don't believe there ever was a man as could come out so strong
under circumstances that would make other men miserableas I could
if I could only get a chance. But I can't get a chance. It's my
opinion that nobody never will know half of what's in meunless
something very unexpected turns up. And I don't see any prospect of
that. I'm a-going to leave the Dragonsir.'

'Going to leave the Dragon!' cried Mr Pinchlooking at him with
great astonishment. 'WhyMarkyou take my breath away!'

'Yessir' he rejoinedlooking straight before him and a long way
offas men do sometimes when they cogitate profoundly. 'What's the
use of my stopping at the Dragon? It an't at all the sort of place
for ME. When I left London (I'm a Kentish man by birththough)
and took that situation hereI quite made up my mind that it was
the dullest little out-of-the-way corner in Englandand that there
would be some credit in being jolly under such circumstances. But
Lordthere's no dullness at the Dragon! Skittlescricketquoits
nine-pinscomic songschorusescompany round the chimney corner
every winter's evening. Any man could be jolly at the Dragon.
There's no credit in THAT.'

'But if common report be true for onceMarkas I think it is
being able to confirm it by what I know myself' said Mr Pinch'you
are the cause of half this merrimentand set it going.'

'There may be something in thattoosir' answered Mark. 'But
that's no consolation.'

'Well!' said Mr Pinchafter a short silencehis usually subdued
tone being even now more subdued than ever. 'I can hardly think
enough of what you tell me. Whywhat will become of Mrs Lupin
Mark?'

Mark looked more fixedly before himand further off stillas he


answered that he didn't suppose it would be much of an object to
her. There were plenty of smart young fellows as would be glad of
the place. He knew a dozen himself.

'That's probable enough' said Mr Pinch'but I am not at all sure
that Mrs Lupin would be glad of them. WhyI always supposed that
Mrs Lupin and you would make a match of itMark; and so did every
oneas far as I know.'

'I never' Mark repliedin some confusion'said nothing as was in
a direct way courting-like to hernor she to mebut I don't know
what I mightn't do one of these odd timesand what she mightn't say
in answer. WellsirTHAT wouldn't suit.'

'Not to be landlord of the DragonMark?' cried Mr Pinch.

'Nosircertainly not' returned the otherwithdrawing his gaze
from the horizonand looking at his fellow-traveller. 'Why that
would be the ruin of a man like me. I go and sit down comfortably
for lifeand no man never finds me out. What would be the credit
of the landlord of the Dragon's being jolly? Whyhe couldn't help
itif he tried.'

'Does Mrs Lupin know you are going to leave her?' Mr Pinch inquired.

'I haven't broke it to her yetsirbut I must. I'm looking out
this morning for something new and suitable' he saidnodding
towards the city.

'What kind of thing now?' Mr Pinch demanded.

'I was thinking' Mark replied'of something in the grave-digging.
way.'

'Good graciousMark?' cried Mr Pinch.

'It's a good dampwormy sort of businesssir' said Markshaking
his head argumentatively'and there might be some credit in being
jollywith one's mind in that pursuitunless grave-diggers is
usually given that way; which would be a drawback. You don't happen
to know how that is in generaldo yousir?'

'No' said Mr Pinch'I don't indeed. I never thought upon the
subject.'

'In case of that not turning out as well as one could wishyou
know' said Markmusing again'there's other businesses.
Undertaking now. That's gloomy. There might be credit to be gained
there. A broker's man in a poor neighbourhood wouldn't be bad
perhaps. A jailor sees a deal of misery. A doctor's man is in the
very midst of murder. A bailiff's an't a lively office nat'rally.
Even a tax-gatherer must find his feelings rather worked uponat
times. There's lots of trades in which I should have an
opportunityI think.'

Mr Pinch was so perfectly overwhelmed by these remarks that he could
do nothing but occasionally exchange a word or two on some
indifferent subjectand cast sidelong glances at the bright face of
his odd friend (who seemed quite unconscious of his observation)
until they reached a certain corner of the roadclose upon the
outskirts of the citywhen Mark said he would jump down thereif
he pleased.

'But bless my soulMark' said Mr Pinchwho in the progress of his


observation just then made the discovery that the bosom of his
companion's shirt was as much exposed as if it was Midsummerand
was ruffled by every breath of air'why don't you wear a
waistcoat?'

'What's the good of onesir?' asked Mark.

'Good of one?' said Mr Pinch. 'Whyto keep your chest warm.'

'Lord love yousir!' cried Mark'you don't know me. My chest
don't want no warming. Even if it didwhat would no waistcoat
bring it to? Inflammation of the lungsperhaps? Wellthere'd be
some credit in being jollywith a inflammation of the lungs.'

As Mr Pinch returned no other answer than such as was conveyed in
his breathing very hardand opening his eyes very wideand nodding
his head very muchMark thanked him for his rideand without
troubling him to stopjumped lightly down. And away he fluttered
with his red neckerchiefand his open coatdown a cross-lane;
turning back from time to time to nod to Mr Pinchand looking one
of the most carelessgood-humoured comical fellows in life. His
late companionwith a thoughtful face pursued his way to Salisbury.

Mr Pinch had a shrewd notion that Salisbury was a very desperate
sort of place; an exceeding wild and dissipated city; and when he
had put up the horseand given the hostler to understand that he
would look in again in the course of an hour or two to see him take
his cornhe set forth on a stroll about the streets with a vague
and not unpleasant idea that they teemed with all kinds of mystery
and bedevilment. To one of his quiet habits this little delusion
was greatly assisted by the circumstance of its being market-day
and the thoroughfares about the market-place being filled with
cartshorsesdonkeysbasketswaggonsgarden-stuffmeattripe
piespoultry and huckster's wares of every opposite description and
possible variety of character. Then there were young farmers and
old farmers with smock-frocksbrown great-coatsdrab great-coats
red worsted comfortersleather-leggingswonderful shaped hats
hunting-whipsand rough sticksstanding about in groupsor
talking noisily together on the tavern stepsor paying and
receiving huge amounts of greasy wealthwith the assistance of such
bulky pocket-books that when they were in their pockets it was
apoplexy to get them outand when they were out it was spasms to
get them in again. Also there were farmers' wives in beaver bonnets
and red cloaksriding shaggy horses purged of all earthly passions
who went soberly into all manner of places without desiring to know
whyand whoif requiredwould have stood stock still in a china
shopwith a complete dinner-service at each hoof. Also a great
many dogswho were strongly interested in the state of the market
and the bargains of their masters; and a great confusion of tongues
both brute and human.

Mr Pinch regarded everything exposed for sale with great delightand
was particularly struck by the itinerant cutlerywhich he
considered of the very keenest kindinsomuch that he purchased a
pocket knife with seven blades in itand not a cut (as he
afterwards found out) among them. When he had exhausted the marketplace
and watched the farmers safe into the market dinnerhe went
back to look after the horse. Having seen him eat unto his heart's
content he issued forth againto wander round the town and regale
himself with the shop windows; previously taking a long stare at the
bankand wondering in what direction underground the caverns might
be where they kept the money; and turning to look back at one or two
young men who passed himwhom he knew to be articled to solicitors
in the town; and who had a sort of fearful interest in his eyesas


jolly dogs who knew a thing or twoand kept it up tremendously.

But the shops. First of all there were the jewellers' shopswith
all the treasures of the earth displayed thereinand such large
silver watches hanging up in every pane of glassthat if they were
anything but first-rate goers it certainly was not because the works
could decently complain of want of room. In good sooth they were
big enoughand perhapsas the saying isugly enoughto be the
most correct of all mechanical performers; in Mr Pinch's eyes
however they were smaller than Geneva ware; and when he saw one very
bloated watch announced as a repeatergifted with the uncommon
power of striking every quarter of an hour inside the pocket of its
happy ownerhe almost wished that he were rich enough to buy it.

But what were even gold and silverprecious stones and clockwork
to the bookshopswhence a pleasant smell of paper freshly pressed
came issuing forthawakening instant recollections of some new
grammar had at schoollong time agowith 'Master PinchGrove
House Academy' inscribed in faultless writing on the fly-leaf! That
whiff of russia leathertooand all those rows on rows of volumes
neatly ranged within--what happiness did they suggest! And in the
window were the spick-and-span new works from Londonwith the
title-pagesand sometimes even the first page of the first chapter
laid wide open; tempting unwary men to begin to read the bookand
thenin the impossibility of turning overto rush blindly inand
buy it! Here too were the dainty frontispiece and trim vignette
pointing like handposts on the outskirts of great citiesto the
rich stock of incident beyond; and store of bookswith many a grave
portrait and time-honoured namewhose matter he knew welland
would have given mines to havein any formupon the narrow shell
beside his bed at Mr Pecksniff's. What a heart-breaking shop it
was!

There was another; not quite so bad at firstbut still a trying
shop; where children's books were soldand where poor Robinson
Crusoe stood alone in his mightwith dog and hatchetgoat-skin cap
and fowling-pieces; calmly surveying Philip Quarn and the host of
imitators round himand calling Mr Pinch to witness that heof all
the crowdimpressed one solitary footprint on the shore of boyish
memorywhereof the tread of generations should not stir the
lightest grain of sand. And there too were the Persian taleswith
flying chests and students of enchanted books shut up for years in
caverns; and there too was Abudahthe merchantwith the terrible
little old woman hobbling out of the box in his bedroom; and there
the mighty talismanthe rare Arabian Nightswith Cassim Baba
divided by fourlike the ghost of a dreadful sumhanging upall
goryin the robbers' cave. Which matchless wonderscoming fast on
Mr Pinch's minddid so rub up and chafe that wonderful lamp within
himthat when he turned his face towards the busy streeta crowd
of phantoms waited on his pleasureand he lived againwith new
delightthe happy days before the Pecksniff era.

He had less interest now in the chemists' shopswith their great
glowing bottles (with smaller repositories of brightness in their
very stoppers); and in their agreeable compromises between medicine
and perfumeryin the shape of toothsome lozenges and virgin honey.
Neither had he the least regard (but he never had much) for the
tailors'where the newest metropolitan waistcoat patterns were
hanging upwhich by some strange transformation always looked
amazing thereand never appeared at all like the same thing
anywhere else. But he stopped to read the playbill at the theatre
and surveyed the doorway with a kind of awewhich was not
diminished when a sallow gentleman with long dark hair came outand
told a boy to run home to his lodgings and bring down his


broadsword. Mr Pinch stood rooted to the spot on hearing thisand
might have stood there until darkbut that the old cathedral bell
began to ring for vesper serviceon which he tore himself away.

Nowthe organist's assistant was a friend of Mr Pinch'swhich was
a good thingfor he too was a very quiet gentle souland had been
like Toma kind of old-fashioned boy at schoolthough well liked
by the noisy fellow too. As good luck would have it (Tom always
said he had great good luck) the assistant chanced that very
afternoon to be on duty by himselfwith no one in the dusty organ
loft but Tom; so while he playedTom helped him with the stops; and
finallythe service being just overTom took the organ himself.
It was then turning darkand the yellow light that streamed in
through the ancient windows in the choir was mingled with a murky
red. As the grand tones resounded through the churchthey seemed
to Tomto find an echo in the depth of every ancient tombno less
than in the deep mystery of his own heart. Great thoughts and hopes
came crowding on his mind as the rich music rolled upon the air and
yet among them--something more grave and solemn in their purpose
but the same--were all the images of that daydown to its very
lightest recollection of childhood. The feeling that the sounds
awakenedin the moment of their existenceseemed to include his
whole life and being; and as the surrounding realities of stone and
wood and glass grew dimmer in the darknessthese visions grew so
much the brighter that Tom might have forgotten the new pupil and
the expectant masterand have sat there pouring out his grateful
heart till midnightbut for a very earthy old verger insisting on
locking up the cathedral forthwith. So he took leave of his friend
with many thanksgroped his way outas well as he couldinto the
now lamp-lighted streetsand hurried off to get his dinner.

All the farmers being by this time jogging homewardsthere was
nobody in the sanded parlour of the tavern where he had left the
horse; so he had his little table drawn out close before the fire
and fell to work upon a well-cooked steak and smoking hot potatoes
with a strong appreciation of their excellenceand a very keen
sense of enjoyment. Beside himtoothere stood a jug of most
stupendous Wiltshire beer; and the effect of the whole was so
transcendentthat he was obliged every now and then to lay down his
knife and forkrub his handsand think about it. By the time the
cheese and celery cameMr Pinch had taken a book out of his pocket
and could afford to trifle with the viands; now eating a littlenow
drinking a littlenow reading a littleand now stopping to wonder
what sort of a young man the new pupil would turn out to be. He had
passed from this latter theme and was deep in his book againwhen
the door openedand another guest came inbringing with him such a
quantity of cold airthat he positively seemed at first to put the
fire out.

'Very hard frost to-nightsir' said the newcomercourteously
acknowledging Mr Pinch's withdrawal of the little tablethat he
might have place: 'Don't disturb yourselfI beg.'

Though he said this with a vast amount of consideration for Mr
Pinch's comforthe dragged one of the great leather-bottomed chairs
to the very centre of the hearthnotwithstanding; and sat down in
front of the firewith a foot on each hob.

'My feet are quite numbed. Ah! Bitter cold to be sure.'

'You have been in the air some considerable timeI dare say?' said
Mr Pinch.

'All day. Outside a coachtoo.'


'That accounts for his making the room so cool' thought Mr Pinch.
'Poor fellow! How thoroughly chilled he must be!'

The stranger became thoughtful likewiseand sat for five or ten
minutes looking at the fire in silence. At length he rose and
divested himself of his shawl and great-coatwhich (far different
from Mr Pinch's) was a very warm and thick one; but he was not a
whit more conversational out of his great-coat than in itfor he
sat down again in the same place and attitudeand leaning back in
his chairbegan to bite his nails. He was young--one-and-twenty
perhaps--and handsome; with a keen dark eyeand a quickness of look
and manner which made Tom sensible of a great contrast in his own
bearingand caused him to feel even more shy than usual.

There was a clock in the roomwhich the stranger often turned to
look at. Tom made frequent reference to it also; partly from a
nervous sympathy with its taciturn companion; and partly because the
new pupil was to inquire for him at half after sixand the hands
were getting on towards that hour. Whenever the stranger caught him
looking at this clocka kind of confusion came upon Tom as if he
had been found out in something; and it was a perception of his
uneasiness which caused the younger man to sayperhapswith a
smile:

'We both appear to be rather particular about the time. The fact
isI have an engagement to meet a gentleman here.'

'So have I' said Mr Pinch.

'At half-past six' said the stranger.

'At half-past six' said Tom in the very same breath; whereupon the
other looked at him with some surprise.

'The young gentlemanI expect' remarked Tomtimidly'was to
inquire at that time for a person by the name of Pinch.'

'Dear me!' cried the otherjumping up. 'And I have been keeping
the fire from you all this while! I had no idea you were Mr Pinch.
I am the Mr Martin for whom you were to inquire. Pray excuse me.
How do you do? Ohdo draw nearerpray!'

'Thank you' said Tom'thank you. I am not at all coldand you
are; and we have a cold ride before us. Wellif you wish itI
will. I--I am very glad' said Tomsmiling with an embarrassed
frankness peculiarly hisand which was as plainly a confession of
his own imperfectionsand an appeal to the kindness of the person
he addressedas if he had drawn one up in simple language and
committed it to paper: 'I am very glad indeed that you turn out to
be the party I expected. I was thinkingbut a minute agothat I
could wish him to be like you.'

'I am very glad to hear it' returned Martinshaking hands with him
again; 'for I assure youI was thinking there could be no such luck
as Mr Pinch's turning out like you.'

'Noreally!' said Tomwith great pleasure. 'Are you serious?'

'Upon my word I am' replied his new acquaintance. 'You and I will
get on excellently wellI know; which it's no small relief to me to
feelfor to tell you the truthI am not at all the sort of fellow
who could get on with everybodyand that's the point on which I had
the greatest doubts. But they're quite relieved now.--Do me the


favour to ring the bellwill you?'

Mr Pinch roseand complied with great alacrity--the handle hung
just over Martin's headas he warmed himself--and listened with a
smiling face to what his friend went on to say. It was:

'If you like punchyou'll allow me to order a glass apieceas hot
as it can be madethat we may usher in our friendship in a becoming
manner. To let you into a secretMr PinchI never was so much in
want of something warm and cheering in my life; but I didn't like to
run the chance of being found drinking itwithout knowing what kind
of person you were; for first impressionsyou knowoften go a long
wayand last a long time.'

Mr Pinch assentedand the punch was ordered. In due course it
came; hot and strong. After drinking to each other in the steaming
mixturethey became quite confidential.

'I'm a sort of relation of Pecksniff'syou know' said the young
man.

'Indeed!' cried Mr Pinch.

'Yes. My grandfather is his cousinso he's kith and kin to me
somehowif you can make that out. I can't.'

'Then Martin is your Christian name?' said Mr Pinchthoughtfully.
'Oh!'

'Of course it is' returned his friend: 'I wish it was my surname
for my own is not a very pretty oneand it takes a long time to
sign Chuzzlewit is my name.'

'Dear me!' cried Mr Pinchwith an involuntary start.

'You're not surprised at my having two namesI suppose?' returned
the othersetting his glass to his lips. 'Most people have.'

'Ohno' said Mr Pinch'not at all. Oh dear no! Well!' And then
remembering that Mr Pecksniff had privately cautioned him to say
nothing in reference to the old gentleman of the same name who had
lodged at the Dragonbut to reserve all mention of that person for
himhe had no better means of hiding his confusion than by raising
his own glass to his mouth. They looked at each other out of their
respective tumblers for a few secondsand then put them down empty.

'I told them in the stable to be ready for us ten minutes ago' said
Mr Pinchglancing at the clock again. 'Shall we go?'

'If you please' returned the other.

'Would you like to drive?' said Mr Pinch; his whole face beaming
with a consciousness of the splendour of his offer. 'You shallif
you wish.'

'Whythat dependsMr Pinch' said Martinlaughing'upon what
sort of a horse you have. Because if he's a bad oneI would rather
keep my hands warm by holding them comfortably in my greatcoat
pockets.'

He appeared to think this such a good jokethat Mr Pinch was quite
sure it must be a capital one. Accordinglyhe laughed tooand was
fully persuaded that he enjoyed it very much. Then he settled his
billand Mr Chuzzlewit paid for the punch; and having wrapped


themselves upto the extent of their respective meansthey went
out together to the front doorwhere Mr Pecksniff's property
stopped the way.

'I won't drivethank youMr Pinch' said Martingetting into the
sitter's place. 'By the byethere's a box of mine. Can we manage
to take it?'

'Ohcertainly' said Tom. 'Put it inDickanywhere!'

It was not precisely of that convenient size which would admit of
its being squeezed into any odd cornerbut Dick the hostler got it
in somehowand Mr Chuzzlewit helped him. It was all on Mr Pinch's
sideand Mr Chuzzlewit said he was very much afraid it would
encumber him; to which Tom said'Not at all;' though it forced him
into such an awkward positionthat he had much ado to see anything
but his own knees. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody any
good; and the wisdom of the saying was verified in this instance;
for the cold air came from Mr Pinch's side of the carriageand by
interposing a perfect wall of box and man between it and the new
pupilhe shielded that young gentleman effectually; which was a
great comfort.

It was a clear eveningwith a bright moon. The whole landscape was
silvered by its light and by the hoar-frost; and everything looked
exquisitely beautiful. At firstthe great serenity and peace
through which they travelleddisposed them both to silence; but in
a very short time the punch within them and the healthful air
withoutmade them loquaciousand they talked incessantly. When
they were halfway homeand stopped to give the horse some water
Martin (who was very generous with his money) ordered another glass
of punchwhich they drank between themand which had not the
effect of making them less conversational than before. Their
principal topic of discourse was naturally Mr Pecksniff and his
family; of whomand of the great obligations they had heaped upon
himTom Pinchwith the tears standing in his eyesdrew such a
picture as would have inclined any one of common feeling almost to
revere them; and of which Mr Pecksniff had not the slightest
foresight or preconceived ideaor he certainly (being very humble)
would not have sent Tom Pinch to bring the pupil home.

In this way they went onand onand on--in the language of the
story-books--until at last the village lights appeared before them
and the church spire cast a long reflection on the graveyard grass;
as if it were a dial (alasthe truest in the world!) marking
whatever light shone out of Heaventhe flight of days and weeks and
yearsby some new shadow on that solemn ground.

'A pretty church!' said Martinobserving that his companion
slackened the slack pace of the horseas they approached.

'Is it not?' cried Tomwith great pride. 'There's the sweetest
little organ there you ever heard. I play it for them.'

'Indeed?' said Martin. 'It is hardly worth the troubleI should
think. What do you get for thatnow?'

'Nothing' answered Tom.

'Well' returned his friend'you ARE a very strange fellow!'

To which remark there succeeded a brief silence.

'When I say nothing' observed Mr Pinchcheerfully'I am wrong


and don't say what I meanbecause I get a great deal of pleasure
from itand the means of passing some of the happiest hours I know.
It led to something else the other day; but you will not care to
hear about that I dare say?'

'Oh yes I shall. What?'

'It led to my seeing' said Tomin a lower voice'one of the
loveliest and most beautiful faces you can possibly picture to
yourself.'

'And yet I am able to picture a beautiful one' said his friend
thoughtfully'or should beif I have any memory.'

'She came' said Tomlaying his hand upon the other's arm'for the
first time very early in the morningwhen it was hardly light; and
when I saw herover my shoulderstanding just within the porchI
turned quite coldalmost believing her to be a spirit. A moment's
reflection got the better of thatof courseand fortunately it
came to my relief so soonthat I didn't leave off playing.'

'Why fortunately?'

'Why? Because she stood therelistening. I had my spectacles on
and saw her through the chinks in the curtains as plainly as I see
you; and she was beautiful. After a while she glided offand I
continued to play until she was out of hearing.'

'Why did you do that?'

'Don't you see?' responded Tom. 'Because she might suppose I hadn't
seen her; and might return.'

'And did she?'

'Certainly she did. Next morningand next evening too; but always
when there were no people aboutand always alone. I rose earlier
and sat there laterthat when she cameshe might find the church
door openand the organ playingand might not be disappointed.
She strolled that way for some daysand always stayed to listen.
But she is gone nowand of all unlikely things in this wide world
it is perhaps the most improbable that I shall ever look upon her
face again.'

'You don't know anything more about her?'

'No.'

'And you never followed her when she went away?'

'Why should I distress her by doing that?' said Tom Pinch. 'Is it
likely that she wanted my company? She came to hear the organnot
to see me; and would you have had me scare her from a place she
seemed to grow quite fond of? NowHeaven bless her!' cried Tom
'to have given her but a minute's pleasure every dayI would have
gone on playing the organ at those times until I was an old man;
quite contented if she sometimes thought of a poor fellow like me
as a part of the music; and more than recompensed if she ever mixed
me up with anything she liked as well as she liked that!'

The new pupil was clearly very much amazed by Mr Pinch's weakness
and would probably have told him soand given him some good advice
but for their opportune arrival at Mr Pecksniff's door; the front
door this timeon account of the occasion being one of ceremony and


rejoicing. The same man was in waiting for the horse who had been
adjured by Mr Pinch in the morning not to yield to his rabid desire
to start; and after delivering the animal into his chargeand
beseeching Mr Chuzzlewit in a whisper never to reveal a syllable of
what he had just told him in the fullness of his heartTom led the
pupil infor instant presentation.

Mr Pecksniff had clearly not expected them for hours to come; for he
was surrounded by open booksand was glancing from volume to
volumewith a black lead-pencil in his mouthand a pair of
compasses in his handat a vast number of mathematical diagramsof
such extraordinary shapes that they looked like designs for
fireworks. Neither had Miss Charity expected themfor she was
busiedwith a capacious wicker basket before herin making
impracticable nightcaps for the poor. Neither had Miss Mercy
expected themfor she was sitting upon her stooltying on the--oh
good gracious!--the petticoat of a large doll that she was dressing
for a neighbour's child--reallyquite a grown-up dollwhich made
it more confusing--and had its little bonnet dangling by the ribbon
from one of her fair curlsto which she had fastened it lest it
should be lost or sat upon. It would be difficultif not
impossibleto conceive a family so thoroughly taken by surprise as
the Pecksniffs wereon this occasion.

Bless my life!' said Mr Pecksnifflooking upand gradually
exchanging his abstracted face for one of joyful recognition. 'Here
already! Martinmy dear boyI am delighted to welcome you to my
poor house!'

With this kind greetingMr Pecksniff fairly took him to his arms
and patted him several times upon the back with his right hand the
whileas if to express that his feelings during the embrace were
too much for utterance.

'But here' he saidrecovering'are my daughtersMartin; my two
only childrenwhom (if you ever saw them) you have not beheld--ah
these sad family divisions!--since you were infants together. Nay
my dearswhy blush at being detected in your everyday pursuits? We
had prepared to give you the reception of a visitorMartinin our
little room of state' said Mr Pecksniffsmiling'but I like this
betterI like this better!'

Oh blessed star of Innocencewherever you may behow did you
glitter in your home of etherwhen the two Miss Pecksniffs put
forth each her lily handand gave the samewith mantling cheeks
to Martin! How did you twinkleas if fluttering with sympathywhen
Mercyreminded of the bonnet in her hairhid her fair face and
turned her head aside; the while her gentle sister plucked it out
and smote her with a sister's soft reproofupon her buxom shoulder!

'And how' said Mr Pecksniffturning round after the contemplation
of these passagesand taking Mr Pinch in a friendly manner by the
elbow'how has our friend used youMartin?'

'Very well indeedsir. We are on the best termsI assure you.'

'Old Tom Pinch!' said Mr Pecksnifflooking on him with affectionate
sadness. 'Ah! It seems but yesterday that Thomas was a boy fresh
from a scholastic course. Yet years have passedI thinksince
Thomas Pinch and I first walked the world together!'

Mr Pinch could say nothing. He was too much moved. But he pressed
his master's handand tried to thank him.


'And Thomas Pinch and I' said Mr Pecksniffin a deeper voice
'will walk it yetin mutual faithfulness and friendship! And if it
comes to pass that either of us be run over in any of those busy
crossings which divide the streets of lifethe other will convey
him to the hospital in Hopeand sit beside his bed in Bounty!'

'Wellwellwell!' he added in a happier toneas he shook Mr
Pinch's elbow hard. 'No more of this! Martinmy dear friendthat
you may be at home within these wallslet me show you how we live
and where. Come!'

With that he took up a lighted candleandattended by his young
relativeprepared to leave the room. At the doorhe stopped.

'You'll bear us companyTom Pinch?'

Ayecheerfullythough it had been to deathwould Tom have
followed him; glad to lay down his life for such a man!

'This' said Mr Pecksniffopening the door of an opposite parlour
'is the little room of stateI mentioned to you. My girls have
pride in itMartin! This' opening another door'is the little
chamber in which my works (slight things at best) have been
concocted. Portrait of myself by Spiller. Bust by Spoker. The
latter is considered a good likeness. I seem to recognize something
about the left-hand corner of the nosemyself.'

Martin thought it was very likebut scarcely intellectual enough.
Mr Pecksniff observed that the same fault had been found with it
before. It was remarkable it should have struck his young relation
too. He was glad to see he had an eye for art.

'Various books you observe' said Mr Pecksniffwaving his hand
towards the wall'connected with our pursuit. I have scribbled
myselfbut have not yet published. Be careful how you come
upstairs. This' opening another door'is my chamber. I read here
when the family suppose I have retired to rest. Sometimes I injure
my health rather more than I can quite justify to myselfby doing
so; but art is long and time is short. Every facility you see for
jotting down crude notionseven here.'

These latter words were explained by his pointing to a small round
table on which were a lampdivers sheets of papera piece of India
rubberand a case of instruments; all put readyin case an
architectural idea should come into Mr Pecksniff's head in the
night; in which event he would instantly leap out of bedand fix it
for ever.

Mr Pecksniff opened another door on the same floorand shut it
againall at onceas if it were a Blue Chamber. But before he had
well done sohe looked smilingly roundand said'Why not?'

Martin couldn't say why notbecause he didn't know anything at all
about it. So Mr Pecksniff answered himselfby throwing open the
doorand saying:

'My daughters' room. A poor first-floor to usbut a bower to them.
Very neat. Very airy. Plants you observe; hyacinths; books again;
birds.' These birdsby the byecomprisedin allone staggering
old sparrow without a tailwhich had been borrowed expressly from
the kitchen. 'Such trifles as girls love are here. Nothing more.
Those who seek heartless splendourwould seek here in vain.'

With that he led them to the floor above.


'This' said Mr Pecksniffthrowing wide the door of the memorable
two-pair front; 'is a room where some talent has been developed I
believe. This is a room in which an idea for a steeple occurred to
me that I may one day give to the world. We work heremy dear
Martin. Some architects have been bred in this room; a fewI
thinkMr Pinch?'

Tom fully assented; andwhat is morefully believed it.

'You see' said Mr Pecksniffpassing the candle rapidly from roll
to roll of paper'some traces of our doings here. Salisbury
Cathedral from the north. From the south. From the east. From the
west. From the south-east. From the nor'west. A bridge. An
almshouse. A jail. A church. A powder-magazine. A wine-cellar.
A portico. A summer-house. An ice-house. Planselevations
sectionsevery kind of thing. And this' he addedhaving by this
time reached another large chamber on the same storywith four
little beds in it'this is your roomof which Mr Pinch here is the
quiet sharer. A southern aspect; a charming prospect; Mr Pinch's
little libraryyou perceive; everything agreeable and appropriate.
If there is any additional comfort you would desire to have here at
anytimepray mention it. Even to strangersfar less to youmy
dear Martinthere is no restriction on that point.'

It was undoubtedly trueand may be stated in corroboration of Mr
Pecksniffthat any pupil had the most liberal permission to mention
anything in this way that suggested itself to his fancy. Some young
gentlemen had gone on mentioning the very same thing for five years
without ever being stopped.

'The domestic assistants' said Mr Pecksniff'sleep above; and that
is all.' After whichand listening complacently as he wentto the
encomiums passed by his young friend on the arrangements generally
he led the way to the parlour again.

Here a great change had taken place; for festive preparations on a
rather extensive scale were already completedand the two Miss
Pecksniffs were awaiting their return with hospitable looks. There
were two bottles of currant winewhite and red; a dish of
sandwiches (very long and very slim); another of apples; another of
captain's biscuits (which are always a moist and jovial sort of
viand); a plate of oranges cut up small and gritty; with powdered
sugarand a highly geological home-made cake. The magnitude of
these preparations quite took away Tom Pinch's breath; for though
the new pupils were usually let down softlyas one may say
particularly in the wine departmentwhich had so many stages of
declensionthat sometimes a young gentleman was a whole fortnight
in getting to the pump; still this was a banquet; a sort of Lord
Mayor's feast in private life; a something to think ofand hold on
byafterwards.

To this entertainmentwhich apart from its own intrinsic merits
had the additional choice qualitythat it was in strict keeping
with the nightbeing both light and coolMr Pecksniff besought the
company to do full justice.

'Martin' he said'will seat himself between you twomy dearsand
Mr Pinch will come by me. Let us drink to our new inmateand may
we be happy together! Martinmy dear friendmy love to you! Mr
Pinchif you spare the bottle we shall quarrel.'

And trying (in his regard for the feelings of the rest) to look as
if the wine were not acid and didn't make him winkMr Pecksniff did


honour to his own toast.

'This' he saidin allusion to the partynot the wine'is a
mingling that repays one for much disappointment and vexation. Let
us be merry.' Here he took a captain's biscuit. 'It is a poor heart
that never rejoices; and our hearts are not poor. No!'

With such stimulants to merriment did he beguile the timeand do
the honours of the table; while Mr Pinchperhaps to assure himself
that what he saw and heard was holiday realityand not a charming
dreamate of everythingand in particular disposed of the slim
sandwiches to a surprising extent. Nor was he stinted in his
draughts of wine; but on the contraryremembering Mr Pecksniff's
speechattacked the bottle with such vigourthat every time he
filled his glass anewMiss Charitydespite her amiable resolves
could not repress a fixed and stony glareas if her eyes had rested
on a ghost. Mr Pecksniff also became thoughtful at those moments
not to say dejected; but as he knew the vintageit is very likely
he may have been speculating on the probable condition of Mr Pinch
upon the morrowand discussing within himself the best remedies for
colic.

Martin and the young ladies were excellent friends alreadyand
compared recollections of their childish daysto their mutual
liveliness and entertainment. Miss Mercy laughed immensely at
everything that was said; and sometimesafter glancing at the happy
face of Mr Pinchwas seized with such fits of mirth as brought her
to the very confines of hysterics. But for these bursts of gaiety
her sisterin her better sensereproved her; observingin an
angry whisperthat it was far from being a theme for jest; and that
she had no patience with the creature; though it generally ended in
her laughing too--but much more moderately--and saying that indeed
it was a little too ridiculous and intolerable to be serious about.

At length it became high time to remember the first clause of that
great discovery made by the ancient philosopherfor securing
healthrichesand wisdom; the infallibility of which has been for
generations verified by the enormous fortunes constantly amassed by
chimney-sweepers and other persons who get up early and go to bed
betimes. The young ladies accordingly roseand having taken leave
of Mr Chuzzlewit with much sweetnessand of their father with much
duty and of Mr Pinch with much condescensionretired to their
bower. Mr Pecksniff insisted on accompanying his young friend
upstairs for personal superintendence of his comforts; and taking
him by the armconducted him once more to his bedroomfollowed by
Mr Pinchwho bore the light.

'Mr Pinch' said Pecksniffseating himself with folded arms on one
of the spare beds. 'I don't see any snuffers in that candlestick.
Will you oblige me by going downand asking for a pair?'

Mr Pinchonly too happy to be usefulwent off directly.

'You will excuse Thomas Pinch's want of polishMartin' said Mr
Pecksniffwith a smile of patronage and pityas soon as he had
left the room. 'He means well.'

'He is a very good fellowsir.'

'Ohyes' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Yes. Thomas Pinch means well. He
is very grateful. I have never regretted having befriended Thomas
Pinch.'

'I should think you never wouldsir.'


'No' said Mr Pecksniff. 'No. I hope not. Poor fellowhe is
always disposed to do his best; but he is not gifted. You will make
him useful to youMartinif you please. If Thomas has a faultit
is that he is sometimes a little apt to forget his position. But
that is soon checked. Worthy soul! You will find him easy to
manage. Good night!'

'Good nightsir.'

By this time Mr Pinch had returned with the snuffers.

'And good night to YOUMr Pinch' said Pecksniff. 'And sound sleep
to you both. Bless you! Bless you!'

Invoking this benediction on the heads of his young friends with
great fervourhe withdrew to his own room; while theybeing tired
soon fell asleep. If Martin dreamed at allsome clue to the matter
of his visions may possibly be gathered from the after-pages of this
history. Those of Thomas Pinch were all of holidayschurch organs
and seraphic Pecksniffs. It was some time before Mr Pecksniff
dreamed at allor even sought his pillowas he sat for full two
hours before the fire in his own chamberlooking at the coals and
thinking deeply. But hetooslept and dreamed at last. Thus in
the quiet hours of the nightone house shuts in as many incoherent
and incongruous fancies as a madman's head.

CHAPTER SIX

COMPRISESAMONG OTHER IMPORTANT MATTERSPECKSNIFFIAN AND
ARCHITECTURALAND EXACT RELATION OF THE PROGRESS MADE BY MR PINCH
IN THE CONFIDENCE AND FRIENDSHIP OF THE NEW PUPIL

It was morning; and the beautiful Auroraof whom so much hath been
writtensaidand sungdidwith her rosy fingersnip and tweak
Miss Pecksniff's nose. It was the frolicsome custom of the Goddess
in her intercourse with the fair Cherryso to do; or in more
prosaic phrasethe tip of that feature in the sweet girl's
countenance was always very red at breakfast-time. For the most
partindeedit woreat that season of the daya scraped and
frosty lookas if it had been rasped; while a similar phenomenon
developed itself in her humourwhich was then observed to be of a
sharp and acid qualityas though an extra lemon (figuratively
speaking) had been squeezed into the nectar of her dispositionand
had rather damaged its flavour.

This additional pungency on the part of the fair young creature led
on ordinary occasionsto such slight consequences as the copious
dilution of Mr Pinch's teaor to his coming off uncommonly short in
respect of butteror to other the like results. But on the morning
after the Installation Banquetshe suffered him to wander to and
fro among the eatables and drinkablesa perfectly free and
unchecked man; so utterly to Mr Pinch's wonder and confusionthat
like the wretched captive who recovered his liberty in his old age
he could make but little use of his enlargementand fell into a
strange kind of flutter for want of some kind hand to scrape his
breadand cut him off in the article of sugar with a lumpand pay
him those other little attentions to which he was accustomed. There
was something almost awfultooabout the self-possession of the
new pupil; who 'troubled' Mr Pecksniff for the loafand helped
himself to a rasher of that gentleman's own particular and private


baconwith all the coolness in life. He even seemed to think that
he was doing quite a regular thingand to expect that Mr Pinch
would follow his examplesince he took occasion to observe of that
young man 'that he didn't get on'; a speech of so tremendous a
characterthat Tom cast down his eyes involuntarilyand felt as if
he himself had committed some horrible deed and heinous breach of Mr
Pecksniff's confidence. Indeedthe agony of having such an
indiscreet remark addressed to him before the assembled familywas
breakfast enough in itselfand wouldwithout any other matter of
reflectionhave settled Mr Pinch's business and quenched his
appetitefor one mealthough he had been never so hungry.

The young ladieshoweverand Mr Pecksniff likewiseremained in
the very best of spirits in spite of these severe trialsthough
with something of a mysterious understanding among themselves. When
the meal was nearly overMr Pecksniff smilingly explained the cause
of their common satisfaction.

'It is not often' he said'Martinthat my daughters and I desert
our quiet home to pursue the giddy round of pleasures that revolves
abroad. But we think of doing so to-day.'

'Indeedsir!' cried the new pupil.

'Yes' said Mr Pecksnifftapping his left hand with a letter which
he held in his right. 'I have a summons here to repair to London;
on professional businessmy dear Martin; strictly on professional
business; and I promised my girlslong agothat whenever that
happened againthey should accompany me. We shall go forth to-
night by the heavy coach--like the dove of oldmy dear Martin--and
it will be a week before we again deposit our olive-branches in the
passage. When I say olive-branches' observed Mr Pecksniffin
explanation'I meanour unpretending luggage.'

'I hope the young ladies will enjoy their trip' said Martin.

'Oh! that I'm sure we shall!' cried Mercyclapping her hands.
'Good graciousCherrymy darlingthe idea of London!'

'Ardent child!' said Mr Pecksniffgazing on her in a dreamy way.
'And yet there is a melancholy sweetness in these youthful hopes!
It is pleasant to know that they never can be realised. I remember
thinking once myselfin the days of my childhoodthat pickled
onions grew on treesand that every elephant was born with an
impregnable castle on his back. I have not found the fact to be so;
far from it; and yet those visions have comforted me under
circumstances of trial. Even when I have had the anguish of
discovering that I have nourished in my breast on ostrichand not a
human pupil--even in that hour of agonythey have soothed me.'

At this dread allusion to John WestlockMr Pinch precipitately
choked in his tea; for he had that very morning received a letter
from himas Mr Pecksniff very well knew.

'You will take caremy dear Martin' said Mr Pecksniffresuming
his former cheerfulness'that the house does not run away in our
absence. We leave you in charge of everything. There is no
mystery; all is free and open. Unlike the young man in the Eastern
tale--who is described as a one-eyed almanacif I am not mistaken
Mr Pinch?--'

'A one-eyed calenderI thinksir' faltered Tom.

'They are pretty nearly the same thingI believe' said Mr


Pecksniffsmiling compassionately; 'or they used to be in my time.
Unlike that young manmy dear Martinyou are forbidden to enter no
corner of this house; but are requested to make yourself perfectly
at home in every part of it. You will be jovialmy dear Martin
and will kill the fatted calf if you please!'

There was not the least objectiondoubtlessto the young man's
slaughtering and appropriating to his own use any calffat or lean
that he might happen to find upon the premises; but as no such
animal chanced at that time to be grazing on Mr Pecksniff's estate
this request must be considered rather as a polite compliment that a
substantial hospitality. It was the finishing ornament of the
conversation; for when he had delivered itMr Pecksniff rose and
led the way to that hotbed of architectural geniusthe two-pair
front.

'Let me see' he saidsearching among the papers'how you can best
employ yourselfMartinwhile I am absent. Suppose you were to
give me your idea of a monument to a Lord Mayor of London; or a tomb
for a sheriff; or your notion of a cow-house to be erected in a
nobleman's park. Do you knownow' said Mr Pecksnifffolding his
handsand looking at his young relation with an air of pensive
interest'that I should very much like to see your notion of a
cow-house?'

But Martin by no means appeared to relish this suggestion.

'A pump' said Mr Pecksniff'is very chaste practice. I have found
that a lamp post is calculated to refine the mind and give it a
classical tendency. An ornamental turnpike has a remarkable effect
upon the imagination. What do you say to beginning with an
ornamental turnpike?'

'Whatever Mr Pecksniff pleased' said Martindoubtfully.

'Stay' said that gentleman. 'Come! as you're ambitiousand are a
very neat draughtsmanyou shall--ha ha!--you shall try your hand on
these proposals for a grammar-school; regulating your planof
courseby the printed particulars. Upon my wordnow' said Mr
Pecksniffmerrily'I shall be very curious to see what you make of
the grammar-school. Who knows but a young man of your taste might
hit upon somethingimpracticable and unlikely in itselfbut which
I could put into shape? For it really ismy dear Martinit really
is in the finishing touches alonethat great experience and long
study in these matters tell. Hahaha! Now it really will be'
continued Mr Pecksniffclapping his young friend on the back in his
droll humour'an amusement to meto see what you make of the
grammar-school.'

Martin readily undertook this taskand Mr Pecksniff forthwith
proceeded to entrust him with the materials necessary for its
execution; dwelling meanwhile on the magical effect of a few
finishing touches from the hand of a master; whichindeedas some
people said (and these were the old enemies again!) was
unquestionably very surprisingand almost miraculous; as there were
cases on record in which the masterly introduction of an additional
back windowor a kitchen dooror half-a-dozen stepsor even a
water spouthad made the design of a pupil Mr Pecksniff's own work
and had brought substantial rewards into that gentleman's pocket.
But such is the magic of geniuswhich changes all it handles into
gold!

'When your mind requires to be refreshed by change of occupation'
said Mr Pecksniff'Thomas Pinch will instruct you in the art of


surveying the back gardenor in ascertaining the dead level of the
road between this house and the finger-postor in any other
practical and pleasing pursuit. There are a cart-load of loose
bricksand a score or two of old flower-potsin the back yard. If
you could pile them up my dear Martininto any form which would
remind me on my return say of St. Peter's at Romeor the Mosque of
St. Sophia at Constantinopleit would be at once improving to you
and agreeable to my feelings. And now' said Mr Pecksniffin
conclusion'to dropfor the presentour professional relations
and advert to private mattersI shall be glad to talk with you in
my own roomwhile I pack up my portmanteau.'

Martin attended him; and they remained in secret conference
together for an hour or more; leaving Tom Pinch alone. When the
young man returnedhe was very taciturn and dullin which state he
remained all day; so that Tomafter trying him once or twice with
indifferent conversationfelt a delicacy in obtruding himself upon
his thoughtsand said no more.

He would not have had leisure to say muchhad his new friend been
ever so loquacious; for first of all Mr Pecksniff called him down to
stand upon the top of his portmanteau and represent ancient statues
thereuntil such time as it would consent to be locked; and then
Miss Charity called him to come and cord her trunk; and then Miss
Mercy sent for him to come and mend her box; and then he wrote the
fullest possible cards for all the luggage; and then he volunteered
to carry it all downstairs; and after that to see it safely carried
on a couple of barrows to the old finger-post at the end of the
lane; and then to mind it till the coach came up. In shorthis
day's work would have been a pretty heavy one for a porterbut his
thorough good-will made nothing of it; and as he sat upon the
luggage at lastwaiting for the Pecksniffsescorted by the new
pupilto come down the lanehis heart was light with the hope of
having pleased his benefactor.

'I was almost afraid' said Tomtaking a letter from his pocket and
wiping his facefor he was hot with bustling about though it was a
cold day'that I shouldn't have had time to write itand that
would have been a thousand pities; postage from such a distance
being a serious considerationwhen one's not rich. She will be
glad to see my handpoor girland to hear that Pecksniff is as
kind as ever. I would have asked John Westlock to call and see her
and tell her all about me by word of mouthbut I was afraid he
might speak against Pecksniff to herand make her uneasy. Besides
they are particular people where she isand it might have rendered
her situation uncomfortable if she had had a visit from a young man
like John. Poor Ruth!'

Tom Pinch seemed a little disposed to be melancholy for half a
minute or sobut he found comfort very soonand pursued his
ruminations thus:

'I'm a nice manI don't thinkas John used to say (John was a
kindmerry-hearted fellow; I wish he had liked Pecksniff better)
to be feeling lowon account of the distance between uswhen I
ought to be thinkinginsteadof my extraordinary good luck in
having ever got here. I must have been born with a silver spoon in
my mouthI am sureto have ever come across Pecksniff. And here
have I fallen again into my usual good luck with the new pupil! Such
an affablegenerousfree fellowas he isI never saw. Whywe
were companions directly! and he a relation of Pecksniff's tooand
a cleverdashing youth who might cut his way through the world as
if it were a cheese! Here he comes while the words are on my lips'
said Tom; 'walking down the lane as if the lane belonged to him.'


In truththe new pupilnot at all disconcerted by the honour of
having Miss Mercy Pecksniff on his armor by the affectionate
adieux of that young ladyapproached as Mr Pinch spokefollowed by
Miss Charity and Mr Pecksniff. As the coach appeared at the same
momentTom lost no time in entreating the gentleman last mentioned
to undertake the delivery of his letter.

'Oh!' said Mr Pecksniffglancing at the superscription. 'For your
sisterThomas. Yesoh yesit shall be deliveredMr Pinch. Make
your mind easy upon that score. She shall certainly have itMr
Pinch.'

He made the promise with so much condescension and patronagethat
Tom felt he had asked a great deal (this had not occurred to his
mind before)and thanked him earnestly. The Miss Pecksniffs
according to a custom they hadwere amused beyond description at
the mention of Mr Pinch's sister. Oh the fright! The bare idea
of a Miss Pinch! Good heavens!

Tom was greatly pleased to see them so merryfor he took it as a
token of their favourand good-humoured regard. Therefore he
laughed too and rubbed his hands and wished them a pleasant journey
and safe returnand was quite brisk. Even when the coach had
rolled away with the olive-branches in the boot and the family of
doves insidehe stood waving his hand and bowing; so much gratified
by the unusually courteous demeanour of the young ladiesthat he
was quite regardlessfor the momentof Martin Chuzzlewitwho
stood leaning thoughtfully against the finger-postand who after
disposing of his fair charge had hardly lifted his eyes from the
ground.

The perfect silence which ensued upon the bustle and departure of
the coachtogether with the sharp air of the wintry afternoon
roused them both at the same time. They turnedas by mutual
consentand moved off arm-in-arm.

'How melancholy you are!' said Tom; 'what is the matter?'

'Nothing worth speaking of' said Martin. 'Very little more than
was the matter yesterdayand much moreI hopethan will be the
matter to-morrow. I'm out of spiritsPinch.'

'Well' cried Tom'now do you know I am in capital spirits today
and scarcely ever felt more disposed to be good company. It was a
very kind thing in your predecessorJohnto write to mewas it
not?'

'Whyyes' said Martin carelessly; 'I should have thought he would
have had enough to do to enjoy himselfwithout thinking of you
Pinch.'

'Just what I felt to be so very likely' Tom rejoined; 'but nohe
keeps his wordand saysMy dear Pinch, I often think of you,and
all sorts of kind and considerate things of that description.'

'He must be a devilish good-natured fellow' said Martinsomewhat
peevishly: 'because he can't mean thatyou know.'

'I don't suppose he caneh?' said Tomlooking wistfully in his
companion's face. 'He says so to please meyou think?'

'Whyis it likely' rejoined Martinwith greater earnestness
'that a young man newly escaped from this kennel of a placeand


fresh to all the delights of being his own master in Londoncan
have much leisure or inclination to think favourably of anything or
anybody he has left behind him here? I put it to youPinchis it
natural?'

After a short reflectionMr Pinch repliedin a more subdued tone
that to be sure it was unreasonable to expect any such thingand
that he had no doubt Martin knew best.

'Of course I know best' Martin observed.

'YesI feel that' said Mr Pinch mildly. 'I said so.' And when he
had made this rejoinderthey fell into a blank silence againwhich
lasted until they reached home; by which time it was dark.

NowMiss Charity Pecksniffin consideration of the inconvenience
of carrying them with her in the coachand the impossibility of
preserving them by artificial means until the family's returnhad
set forthin a couple of platesthe fragments of yesterday's
feast. In virtue of which liberal arrangementthey had the
happiness to find awaiting them in the parlour two chaotic heaps of
the remains of last night's pleasureconsisting of certain filmy
bits of orangessome mummied sandwichesvarious disrupted masses
of the geological cakeand several entire captain's biscuits. That
choice liquor in which to steep these dainties might not be wanting
the remains of the two bottles of currant wine had been poured
together and corked with a curl-paper; so that every material was at
hand for making quite a heavy night of it.

Martin Chuzzlewit beheld these roystering preparations with infinite
contemptand stirring the fire into a blaze (to the great
destruction of Mr Pecksniff's coals)sat moodily down before itin
the most comfortable chair he could find. That he might the better
squeeze himself into the small corner that was left for himMr
Pinch took up his position on Miss Mercy Pecksniff's stooland
setting his glass down upon the hearthrug and putting his plate
upon his kneesbegan to enjoy himself.

If Diogenes coming to life again could have rolled himselftub and
allinto Mr Pecksniff's parlour and could have seen Tom Pinch as he
sat on Mercy Pecksniff's stool with his plate and glass before him
he could not have faced it outthough in his surliest moodbut
must have smiled good-temperedly. The perfect and entire
satisfaction of Tom; his surpassing appreciation of the husky
sandwicheswhich crumbled in his mouth like saw-dust; the
unspeakable relish with which he swallowed the thin wine by drops
and smacked his lipsas though it were so rich and generous that to
lose an atom of its fruity flavour were a sin; the look with which
he paused sometimeswith his glass in his handproposing silent
toasts to himself; and the anxious shade that came upon his
contented face whenafter wandering round the roomexulting in its
uninvaded snugnesshis glance encountered the dull brow of his
companion; no cynic in the worldthough in his hatred of its men a
very griffincould have withstood these things in Thomas Pinch.

Some men would have slapped him on the backand pledged him in a
bumper of the currant winethough it had been the sharpest vinegar
--ayeand liked its flavour too; some would have seized him by his
honest handand thanked him for the lesson that his simple nature
taught them. Some would have laughed withand others would have
laughed at him; of which last class was Martin Chuzzlewitwho
unable to restrain himselfat last laughed loud and long.

'That's right' said Tomnodding approvingly. 'Cheer up! That's


capital!'

At which encouragement young Martin laughed again; and saidas soon
as he had breath and gravity enough:

'I never saw such a fellow as you arePinch.'

'Didn't you though?' said Tom. 'Wellit's very likely you do find
me strangebecause I have hardly seen anything of the worldand
you have seen a good deal I dare say?'

'Pretty well for my time of life' rejoined Martindrawing his
chair still nearer to the fireand spreading his feet out on the
fender. 'Deuce take itI must talk openly to somebody. I'll talk
openly to youPinch.'

'Do!' said Tom. 'I shall take it as being very friendly of you'

'I'm not in your wayam I?' inquired Martinglancing down at Mr
Pinchwho was by this time looking at the fire over his leg.

'Not at all!' cried Tom.

'You must know thento make short of a long story' said Martin
beginning with a kind of effortas if the revelation were not
agreeable to him; 'that I have been bred up from childhood with
great expectationsand have always been taught to believe that I
should beone dayvery rich. So I should have beenbut for
certain brief reasons which I am going to tell youand which have
led to my being disinherited.'

'By your father?' inquired Mr Pinchwith open eyes.

'By my grandfather. I have had no parents these many years.
Scarcely within my remembrance.'

'Neither have I' said Tomtouching the young man's hand with his
own and timidly withdrawing it again. 'Dear me!'

'Whyas to thatyou knowPinch' pursued the otherstirring the
fire againand speaking in his rapidoff-hand way; 'it's all very
right and proper to be fond of parents when we have themand to
bear them in remembrance after they're deadif you have ever known
anything of them. But as I never did know anything about mine
personallyyou knowwhyI can't be expected to be very
sentimental about 'em. And I am not; that's the truth.'

Mr Pinch was just then looking thoughtfully at the bars. But on his
companion pausing in this placehe startedand said 'Oh! of
course'--and composed himself to listen again.

'In a word' said Martin'I have been bred and reared all my life
by this grandfather of whom I have just spoken. Nowhe has a great
many good points--there is no doubt about that; I'll not disguise
the fact from you--but he has two very great faultswhich are the
staple of his bad side. In the first placehe has the most
confirmed obstinacy of character you ever met with in any human
creature. In the secondhe is most abominably selfish.'

'Is he indeed?' cried Tom.

'In those two respects' returned the other'there never was such a
man. I have often heard from those who knowthat they have been
time out of mindthe failings of our family; and I believe there's


some truth in it. But I can't say of my own knowledge. All I have
to doyou knowis to be very thankful that they haven't descended
to meandto be very careful that I don't contract 'em.'

'To be sure' said Mr Pinch. 'Very proper.'

'Wellsir' resumed Martinstirring the fire once moreand
drawing his chair still closer to it'his selfishness makes him
exactingyou see; and his obstinacy makes him resolute in his
exactions. The consequence is that he has always exacted a great
deal from me in the way of respectand submissionand self-denial
when his wishes were in questionand so forth. I have borne a
great deal from himbecause I have been under obligations to him
(if one can ever be said to be under obligations to one's own
grandfather)and because I have been really attached to him; but we
have had a great many quarrels for all thatfor I could not
accommodate myself to his ways very often--not out of the least
reference to myselfyou understandbut because--' he stammered
hereand was rather at a loss.

Mr Pinch being about the worst man in the world to help anybody out
of a difficulty of this sortsaid nothing.

'Well! as you understand me' resumed Martinquickly'I needn't
hunt for the precise expression I want. Now I come to the cream of
my storyand the occasion of my being here. I am in lovePinch.'

Mr Pinch looked up into his face with increased interest.

'I say I am in love. I am in love with one of the most beautiful
girls the sun ever shone upon. But she is wholly and entirely
dependent upon the pleasure of my grandfather; and if he were to
know that she favoured my passionshe would lose her home and
everything she possesses in the world. There is nothing very
selfish in THAT loveI think?'

'Selfish!' cried Tom. 'You have acted nobly. To love her as I am
sure you doand yet in consideration for her state of dependence
not even to disclose--'

'What are you talking aboutPinch?' said Martin pettishly: 'don't
make yourself ridiculousmy good fellow! What do you mean by not
disclosing?'

'I beg your pardon' answered Tom. 'I thought you meant thator I
wouldn't have said it.'

'If I didn't tell her I loved herwhere would be the use of my
being in love?' said Martin: 'unless to keep myself in a perpetual
state of worry and vexation?'

'That's true' Tom answered. 'Well! I can guess what SHE said when
you told her' he addedglancing at Martin's handsome face.

'Whynot exactlyPinch' he rejoinedwith a slight frown;
'because she has some girlish notions about duty and gratitudeand
all the rest of itwhich are rather hard to fathom; but in the main
you are right. Her heart was mineI found.'

'Just what I supposed' said Tom. 'Quite natural!' andin his
great satisfactionhe took a long sip out of his wine-glass.

'Although I had conducted myself from the first with the utmost
circumspection' pursued Martin'I had not managed matters so well


but that my grandfatherwho is full of jealousy and distrust
suspected me of loving her. He said nothing to herbut straightway
attacked me in privateand charged me with designing to corrupt the
fidelity to himself (there you observe his selfishness)of a young
creature whom he had trained and educated to be his only
disinterested and faithful companionwhen he should have disposed
of me in marriage to his heart's content. Upon thatI took fire
immediatelyand told him that with his good leave I would dispose
of myself in marriageand would rather not be knocked down by him
or any other auctioneer to any bidder whomsoever.'

Mr Pinch opened his eyes widerand looked at the fire harder than
he had done yet.

'You may be sure' said Martin'that this nettled himand that he
began to be the very reverse of complimentary to myself. Interview
succeeded interview; words engendered wordsas they always do; and
the upshot of it wasthat I was to renounce heror be renounced by
him. Now you must bear in mindPinchthat I am not only
desperately fond of her (for though she is poorher beauty and
intellect would reflect great credit on anybodyI don't care of
what pretensions who might become her husband)but that a chief
ingredient in my composition is a most determined--'

'Obstinacy' suggested Tom in perfect good faith. But the
suggestion was not so well received as he had expected; for the
young man immediately rejoinedwith some irritation

'What a fellow you arePinch!'

'I beg your pardon' said Tom'I thought you wanted a word.'

'I didn't want that word' he rejoined. 'I told you obstinacy was
no part of my characterdid I not? I was going to sayif you had
given me leavethat a chief ingredient in my composition is a most
determined firmness.'

'Oh!' cried Tomscrewing up his mouthand nodding. 'Yesyes; I
see!'

'And being firm' pursued Martin'of course I was not going to
yield to himor give way by so much as the thousandth part of an
inch.'

'Nono' said Tom.

'On the contrarythe more he urgedthe more I was determined to
oppose him.'

'To be sure!' said Tom.

'Very well' rejoined Martinthrowing himself back in his chair
with a careless wave of both handsas if the subject were quite
settledand nothing more could be said about it--'There is an end
of the matterand here am I!'

Mr Pinch sat staring at the fire for some minutes with a puzzled
looksuch as he might have assumed if some uncommonly difficult
conundrum had been proposedwhich he found it impossible to guess.
At length he said:

'Pecksniffof courseyou had known before?'

'Only by name. NoI had never seen himfor my grandfather kept


not only himself but mealoof from all his relations. But our
separation took place in a town in the adjoining country. From that
place I came to Salisburyand there I saw Pecksniff's
advertisementwhich I answeredhaving always had some natural
tasteI believein the matters to which it referredand thinking
it might suit me. As soon as I found it to be hisI was doubly
bent on coming to him if possibleon account of his being--'

'Such an excellent man' interposed Tomrubbing his hands: 'so he
is. You were quite right.'

'Whynot so much on that accountif the truth must be spoken'
returned Martin'as because my grandfather has an inveterate
dislike to himand after the old man's arbitrary treatment of meI
had a natural desire to run as directly counter to all his opinions
as I could. Well! As I said beforehere I am. My engagement with
the young lady I have been telling you about is likely to be a
tolerably long one; for neither her prospects nor mine are very
bright; and of course I shall not think of marrying until I am well
able to do so. It would never doyou knowfor me to be plunging
myself into poverty and shabbiness and love in one room up three
pair of stairsand all that sort of thing.'

'To say nothing of her' remarked Tom Pinchin a low voice.

'Exactly so' rejoined Martinrising to warm his backand leaning
against the chimney-piece. 'To say nothing of her. At the same
timeof course it's not very hard upon her to be obliged to yield
to the necessity of the case; firstbecause she loves me very much;
and secondlybecause I have sacrificed a great deal on her account
and might have done much betteryou know.'

It was a very long time before Tom said 'Certainly;' so longthat
he might have taken a nap in the intervalbut he did say it at
last.

'Nowthere is one odd coincidence connected with this love-story'
said Martin'which brings it to an end. You remember what you told
me last night as we were coming hereabout your pretty visitor in
the church?'

'Surely I do' said Tomrising from his stooland seating himself
in the chair from which the other had lately risenthat he might
see his face. 'Undoubtedly.'

'That was she.'

'I knew what you were going to say' cried Tomlooking fixedly at
himand speaking very softly. 'You don't tell me so?'

'That was she' repeated the young man. 'After what I have heard
from PecksniffI have no doubt that she came and went with my
grandfather.--Don't you drink too much of that sour wineor you'll
have a fit of some sortPinchI see.'

'It is not very wholesomeI am afraid' said Tomsetting down the
empty glass he had for some time held. 'So that was shewas it?'

Martin nodded assent; and addingwith a restless impatiencethat
if he had been a few days earlier he would have seen her; and that
now she might befor anything he knewhundreds of miles away;
threw himselfafter a few turns across the roominto a chairand
chafed like a spoilt child.


Tom Pinch's heart was very tenderand he could not bear to see the
most indifferent person in distress; still less one who had awakened
an interest in himand who regarded him (either in factor as he
supposed) with kindnessand in a spirit of lenient construction.
Whatever his own thoughts had been a few moments before--and to
judge from his face they must have been pretty serious--he dismissed
them instantlyand gave his young friend the best counsel and
comfort that occurred to him.

'All will be well in time' said Tom'I have no doubt; and some
trial and adversity just now will only serve to make you more
attached to each other in better days. I have always read that the
truth is soand I have a feeling within mewhich tells me how
natural and right it is that it should be. That never ran smooth
yet' said Tomwith a smile whichdespite the homeliness of his
facewas pleasanter to see than many a proud beauty's brightest
glance; 'what never ran smooth yetcan hardly be expected to change
its character for us; so we must take it as we find itand fashion
it into the very best shape we canby patience and good-humour. I
have no power at all; I needn't tell you that; but I have an
excellent will; and if I could ever be of use to youin any way
whateverhow very glad I should be!'

'Thank you' said Martinshaking his hand. 'You're a good fellow
upon my wordand speak very kindly. Of course you know' he added
after a moment's pauseas he drew his chair towards the fire again
'I should not hesitate to avail myself of your services if you could
help me at all; but mercy on us!'--Here he rumpled his hair
impatiently with his handand looked at Tom as if he took it rather
ill that he was not somebody else--'you might as well be a toastingfork
or a frying-panPinchfor any help you can render me.'

'Except in the inclination' said Tomgently.

'Oh! to be sure. I meant thatof course. If inclination went for
anythingI shouldn't want help. I tell you what you may do
thoughif you willand at the present moment too.'

'What is that?' demanded Tom.

'Read to me.'

'I shall be delighted' cried Tomcatching up the candle with
enthusiasm. 'Excuse my leaving you in the dark a momentand I'll
fetch a book directly. What will you like? Shakespeare?'

'Aye!' replied his friendyawning and stretching himself. 'He'll
do. I am tired with the bustle of to-dayand the novelty of
everything about me; and in such a casethere's no greater
luxury in the worldI thinkthan being read to sleep. You
won't mind my going to sleepif I can?'

'Not at all!' cried Tom.

'Then begin as soon as you like. You needn't leave off when you see
me getting drowsy (unless you feel tired)for it's pleasant to wake
gradually to the sounds again. Did you ever try that?'

'NoI never tried that' said Tom

'Well! You canyou knowone of these days when we're both in the
right humour. Don't mind leaving me in the dark. Look sharp!'

Mr Pinch lost no time in moving away; and in a minute or two


returned with one of the precious volumes from the shelf beside his
bed. Martin had in the meantime made himself as comfortable as
circumstances would permitby constructing before the fire a
temporary sofa of three chairs with Mercy's stool for a pillowand
lying down at full-length upon it.

'Don't be too loudplease' he said to Pinch.

'Nono' said Tom.

'You're sure you're not cold'

'Not at all!' cried Tom.

'I am quite readythen.'

Mr Pinch accordinglyafter turning over the leaves of his book with
as much care as if they were living and highly cherished creatures
made his own selectionand began to read. Before he had completed
fifty lines his friend was snoring.

'Poor fellow!' said Tomsoftlyas he stretched out his head to
peep at him over the backs of the chairs. 'He is very young to have
so much trouble. How trustful and generous in him to bestow all
this confidence in me. And that was shewas it?'

But suddenly remembering their compacthe took up the poem at the
place where he had left offand went on reading; always forgetting
to snuff the candleuntil its wick looked like a mushroom. He
gradually became so much interestedthat he quite forgot to
replenish the fire; and was only reminded of his neglect by Martin
Chuzzlewit starting up after the lapse of an hour or soand crying
with a shiver.

'Whyit's nearly outI declare! No wonder I dreamed of being
frozen. Do call for some coals. What a fellow you arePinch!'

CHAPTER SEVEN

IN WHICH MR CHEVY SLYME ASSERTS THE INDEPENDENCE OF HIS SPIRITAND
THE BLUE DRAGON LOSES A LIMB

Martin began to work at the grammar-school next morningwith so
much vigour and expeditionthat Mr Pinch had new reason to do
homage to the natural endowments of that young gentlemanand to
acknowledge his infinite superiority to himself. The new pupil
received Tom's compliments very graciously; and having by this time
conceived a real regard for himin his own peculiar waypredicted
that they would always be the very best of friendsand that neither
of themhe was certain (but particularly Tom)would ever have
reason to regret the day on which they became acquainted. Mr Pinch
was delighted to hear him say thisand felt so much flattered by
his kind assurances of friendship and protectionthat he was at a
loss how to express the pleasure they afforded him. And indeed it
may be observed of this friendshipsuch as it wasthat it had
within it more likely materials of endurance than many a sworn
brotherhood that has been rich in promise; for so long as the one
party found a pleasure in patronizingand the other in being
patronised (which was in the very essence of their respective
characters)it was of all possible events among the least probable
that the twin demonsEnvy and Pridewould ever arise between them.


So in very many cases of friendshipor what passes for itthe old
axiom is reversedand like clings to unlike more than to like.

They were both very busy on the afternoon succeeding the family's
departure--Martin with the grammar-schooland Tom in balancing
certain receipts of rentsand deducting Mr Pecksniff's commission
from the same; in which abstruse employment he was much distracted
by a habit his new friend had of whistling aloud while he was
drawing--when they were not a little startled by the unexpected
obtrusion into that sanctuary of geniusof a human head which
although a shaggy and somewhat alarming head in appearancesmiled
affably upon them from the doorwayin a manner that was at once
waggishconciliatoryand expressive of approbation.

'I am not industrious myselfgents both' said the head'but I
know how to appreciate that quality in others. I wish I may turn
grey and uglyif it isn't in my opinionnext to geniusone of the
very charmingest qualities of the human mind. Upon my soulI am
grateful to my friend Pecksniff for helping me to the contemplation
of such a delicious picture as you present. You remind me of
Whittingtonafterwards thrice Lord Mayor of London. I give you my
unsullied word of honourthat you very strongly remind me of that
historical character. You are a pair of Whittingtonsgents
without the cat; which is a most agreeable and blessed exception to
mefor I am not attached to the feline species. My name is Tigg;
how do you do?'

Martin looked to Mr Pinch for an explanation; and Tomwho had never
in his life set eyes on Mr Tigg beforelooked to that gentleman
himself.

'Chevy Slyme?' said Mr Tigginterrogativelyand kissing his left
hand in token of friendship. 'You will understand me when I say
that I am the accredited agent of Chevy Slyme; that I am the
ambassador from the court of Chiv? Ha ha!'

'Heyday!' asked Martinstarting at the mention of a name he knew.
'Praywhat does he want with me?'

'If your name is Pinch'--Mr Tigg began.

'It is not' said Martinchecking himself. 'That is Mr Pinch.'

'If that is Mr Pinch' cried Tiggkissing his hand againand
beginning to follow his head into the room'he will permit me to
say that I greatly esteem and respect his characterwhich has been
most highly commended to me by my friend Pecksniff; and that I
deeply appreciate his talent for the organnotwithstanding that I
do notif I may use the expressiongrind myself. If that is Mr
PinchI will venture to express a hope that I see him welland
that he is suffering no inconvenience from the easterly wind?'

'Thank you' said Tom. 'I am very well.'

'That is a comfort' Mr Tigg rejoined. 'Then' he addedshielding
his lips with the palm of his handand applying them close to Mr
Pinch's ear'I have come for the letter.'

'For the letter' said Tomaloud. 'What letter?'

'The letter' whispered Tigg in the same cautious manner as before
'which my friend Pecksniff addressed to Chevy SlymeEsquireand
left with you.'


'He didn't leave any letter with me' said Tom.

'Hush!' cried the other. 'It's all the same thingthough not so
delicately done by my friend Pecksniff as I could have wished. The
money.'

'The money!' cried Tom quite scared.

'Exactly so' said Mr Tigg. With which he rapped Tom twice or
thrice upon the breast and nodded several timesas though he would
say that he saw they understood each other; that it was unnecessary
to mention the circumstance before a third person; and that he would
take it as a particular favour if Tom would slip the amount into his
handas quietly as possible.

Mr Pinchhoweverwas so very much astounded by this (to him)
inexplicable deportmentthat he at once openly declared there must
be some mistakeand that he had been entrusted with no commission
whatever having any reference to Mr Tigg or to his friendeither.
Mr Tigg received this declaration with a grave request that Mr Pinch
would have the goodness to make it again; and on Tom's repeating it
in a still more emphatic and unmistakable mannerchecked it off
sentence for sentenceby nodding his head solemnly at the end of
each. When it had come to a close for the second timeMr Tigg sat
himself down in a chair and addressed the young men as follows:

'Then I tell you what it isgents both. There is at this present
moment in this very placea perfect constellation of talent and
geniuswho is involvedthrough what I cannot but designate as the
culpable negligence of my friend Pecksniffin a situation as
tremendousperhapsas the social intercourse of the nineteenth
century will readily admit of. There is actually at this instant
at the Blue Dragon in this village--an ale-houseobserve; a common
paltrylow-mindedclodhoppingpipe-smoking ale-house--an
individualof whom it may be saidin the language of the Poet
that nobody but himself can in any way come up to him; who is
detained there for his bill. Ha! ha! For his bill. I repeat it-for
his bill. Now' said Mr Tigg'we have heard of Fox's Book of
MartyrsI believeand we have heard of the Court of Requestsand
the Star Chamber; but I fear the contradiction of no man alive or
deadwhen I assert that my friend Chevy Slyme being held in pawn
for a billbeats any amount of cockfighting with which I am
acquainted.'

Martin and Mr Pinch lookedfirst at each otherand afterwards at
Mr Tiggwho with his arms folded on his breast surveyed themhalf
in despondency and half in bitterness.

'Don't mistake megents both' he saidstretching forth his right
hand. 'If it had been for anything but a billI could have borne
itand could still have looked upon mankind with some feeling of
respect; but when such a man as my friend Slyme is detained for a
score--a thing in itself essentially mean; a low performance on a
slateor possibly chalked upon the back of a door--I do feel that
there is a screw of such magnitude loose somewherethat the whole
framework of society is shakenand the very first principles of
things can no longer be trusted. In shortgents both' said Mr
Tigg with a passionate flourish of his hands and head'when a man
like Slyme is detained for such a thing as a billI reject the
superstitions of agesand believe nothing. I don't even believe
that I DON'T believecurse me if I do!'

'I am very sorryI am sure' said Tom after a pause'but Mr
Pecksniff said nothing to me about itand I couldn't act without


his instructions. Wouldn't it be bettersirif you were to go to
--to wherever you came from--yourselfand remit the money to your
friend?'

'How can that be donewhen I am detained also?' said Mr Tigg; 'and
when moreoverowing to the astoundingand I must addguilty
negligence of my friend PecksniffI have no money for coach-hire?'

Tom thought of reminding the gentleman (whono doubtin his
agitation had forgotten it) that there was a post-office in the
land; and that possibly if he wrote to some friend or agent for a
remittance it might not be lost upon the road; or at all events that
the chancehowever desperatewas worth trusting to. Butas his
good-nature presently suggested to him certain reasons for
abstaining from this hinthe paused againand then asked:

'Did you saysirthat you were detained also?'

'Come here' said Mr Tiggrising. 'You have no objection to my
opening this window for a moment?'

'Certainly not' said Tom.

'Very good' said Mr Tigglifting the sash. 'You see a fellow down
there in a red neckcloth and no waistcoat?'

'Of course I do' cried Tom. 'That's Mark Tapley.'

'Mark Tapley is it?' said the gentleman. 'Then Mark Tapley had not
only the great politeness to follow me to this housebut is waiting
nowto see me home again. And for that attentionsir' added Mr
Tiggstroking his moustache'I can tell youthat Mark Tapley had
better in his infancy have been fed to suffocation by Mrs Tapley
than preserved to this time.'

Mr Pinch was not so dismayed by this terrible threatbut that he
had voice enough to call to Mark to come inand upstairs; a
summons which he so speedily obeyedthat almost as soon as Tom and
Mr Tigg had drawn in their heads and closed the window againhe
the denouncedappeared before them.

'Come hereMark!' said Mr Pinch. 'Good gracious me! what's the
matter between Mrs Lupin and this gentleman?'

'What gentlemansir?' said Mark. 'I don't see no gentleman here
sirexcepting you and the new gentleman' to whom he made a rough
kind of bow--'and there's nothing wrong between Mrs Lupin and either
of youMr PinchI am sure.'

'NonsenseMark!' cried Tom. 'You see Mr--'

'Tigg' interposed that gentleman. 'Wait a bit. I shall crush him
soon. All in good time!'

'Oh HIM!' rejoined Markwith an air of careless defiance. 'YesI
see HIM. I could see him a little betterif he'd shave himself
and get his hair cut.'

Mr Tigg shook his head with a ferocious lookand smote himself once
upon the breast.

'It's no use' said Mark. 'If you knock ever so much in that
quarteryou'll get no answer. I know better. There's nothing
there but padding; and a greasy sort it is.'


'NayMark' urged Mr Pinchinterposing to prevent hostilities
'tell me what I ask you. You're not out of temperI hope?'

'Out of tempersir!' cried Markwith a grin; 'why nosir.
There's a little credit--not much--in being jollywhen such fellows
as him is a-going about like roaring lions; if there is any breed of
lionsat leastas is all roar and mane. What is there between him
and Mrs Lupinsir? Whythere's a score between him and Mrs Lupin.
And I think Mrs Lupin lets him and his friend off very easy in not
charging 'em double prices for being a disgrace to the Dragon.
That's my opinion. I wouldn't have any such Peter the Wild Boy as
him in my housesirnot if I was paid race-week prices for it.
He's enough to turn the very beer in the casks sour with his looks;
he is! So he wouldif it had judgment enough.'

'You're not answering my questionyou knowMark' observed Mr
Pinch.

'Wellsir' said Mark'I don't know as there's much to answer
further than that. Him and his friend goes and stops at the Moon
and Stars till they've run a bill there; and then comes and stops
with us and does the same. The running of bills is common enough Mr
Pinch; it an't that as we object to; it's the ways of this chap.
Nothing's good enough for him; all the women is dying for him he
thinksand is overpaid if he winks at 'em; and all the men was made
to be ordered about by him. This not being aggravation enoughhe
says this morning to mein his usual captivating wayWe're going
to-night, my man.Are you, sir?says I. "Perhaps you'd like the
bill got readysir?" "Oh nomy man he says; you needn't mind
that. I'll give Pecksniff orders to see to that." In reply to
whichthe Dragon makes answerThankee, sir, you're very kind to
honour us so far, but as we don't know any particular good of you,
and you don't travel with luggage, and Mr Pecksniff an't at home
(which perhaps you mayn't happen to be aware of, sir), we should
prefer something more satisfactory;and that's where the matter
stands. And I ask' said Mr Tapleypointingin conclusionto Mr
Tiggwith his hat'any lady or gentlemanpossessing ordinary
strength of mindto say whether he's a disagreeable-looking chap or
not!'

'Let me inquire' said Martininterposing between this candid
speech and the delivery of some blighting anathema by Mr Tigg'what
the amount of this debt may be?'

'In point of moneysirvery little' answered Mark. 'Only just
turned of three pounds. But it an't that; it's the--'

'Yesyesyou told us so before' said Martin. 'Pincha word with
you.'

'What is it?' asked Tomretiring with him to a corner of the room.

'Whysimply--I am ashamed to say--that this Mr Slyme is a relation
of mineof whom I never heard anything pleasant; and that I don't
want him here just nowand think he would be cheaply got rid of
perhapsfor three or four pounds. You haven't enough money to pay
this billI suppose?'

Tom shook his head to an extent that left no doubt of his entire
sincerity.

'That's unfortunatefor I am poor too; and in case you had had it
I'd have borrowed it of you. But if we told this landlady we would


see her paidI suppose that would answer the same purpose?'

'Oh dearyes!' said Tom. 'She knows mebless you!'

'Then let us go down at once and tell her so; for the sooner we are
rid of their company the better. As you have conducted the
conversation with this gentleman hithertoperhaps you'll tell him
what we purpose doing; will you?'

Mr Pinchcomplyingat once imparted the intelligence to Mr Tigg
who shook him warmly by the hand in returnassuring him that his
faith in anything and everything was again restored. It was not so
muchhe saidfor the temporary relief of this assistance that he
prized itas for its vindication of the high principle that
Nature's Nobs felt with Nature's Nobsand that true greatness of
soul sympathized with true greatness of soulall the world over.
It proved to himhe saidthat like him they admired geniuseven
when it was coupled with the alloy occasionally visible in the metal
of his friend Slyme; and on behalf of that friendhe thanked them;
as warmly and heartily as if the cause were his own. Being cut
short in these speeches by a general move towards the stairshe
took possession at the street door of the lapel of Mr Pinch's coat
as a security against further interruption; and entertained that
gentleman with some highly improving discourse until they reached
the Dragonwhither they were closely followed by Mark and the new
pupil.

The rosy hostess scarcely needed Mr Pinch's word as a preliminary to
the release of her two visitorsof whom she was glad to be rid on
any terms; indeedtheir brief detention had originated mainly with
Mr Tapleywho entertained a constitutional dislike to gentleman
out-at-elbows who flourished on false pretences; and had conceived a
particular aversion to Mr Tigg and his friendas choice specimens
of the species. The business in hand thus easily settledMr Pinch
and Martin would have withdrawn immediatelybut for the urgent
entreaties of Mr Tigg that they would allow him the honour of
presenting them to his friend Slymewhich were so very difficult of
resistance thatyielding partly to these persuasions and partly to
their own curiositythey suffered themselves to be ushered into the
presence of that distinguished gentleman.

He was brooding over the remains of yesterday's decanter of brandy
and was engaged in the thoughtful occupation of making a chain of
rings on the top of the table with the wet foot of his drinkingglass.
Wretched and forlorn as he lookedMr Slyme had once been in
his waythe choicest of swaggerers; putting forth his pretensions
boldlyas a man of infinite taste and most undoubted promise. The
stock-in-trade requisite to set up an amateur in this department of
business is very slightand easily got together; a trick of the
nose and a curl of the lip sufficient to compound a tolerable sneer
being ample provision for any exigency. Butin an evil hourthis
off-shoot of the Chuzzlewit trunkbeing lazyand ill qualified for
any regular pursuit and having dissipated such means as he ever
possessedhad formally established himself as a professor of Taste
for a livelihood; and findingtoo latethat something more than
his old amount of qualifications was necessary to sustain him in
this callinghad quickly fallen to his present levelwhere he
retained nothing of his old self but his boastfulness and his bile
and seemed to have no existence separate or apart from his friend
Tigg. And now so abject and so pitiful was he--at once so maudlin
insolentbeggarlyand proud--that even his friend and parasite
standing erect beside himswelled into a Man by contrast.

'Chiv' said Mr Tiggclapping him on the back'my friend Pecksniff


not being at homeI have arranged our trifling piece of business
with Mr Pinch and friend. Mr Pinch and friendMr Chevy Slyme!
ChivMr Pinch and friend!'

'These are agreeable circumstances in which to be introduced to
strangers' said Chevy Slymeturning his bloodshot eyes towards Tom
Pinch. 'I am the most miserable man in the worldI believe!'

Tom begged he wouldn't mention it; and finding him in this
conditionretiredafter an awkward pausefollowed by Martin. But
Mr Tigg so urgently conjured themby coughs and signsto remain in
the shadow of the doorthat they stopped there.

'I swear' cried Mr Slymegiving the table an imbecile blow with
his fistand then feebly leaning his head upon his handwhile some
drunken drops oozed from his eyes'that I am the wretchedest
creature on record. Society is in a conspiracy against me. I'm the
most literary man alive. I'm full of scholarship. I'm full of
genius; I'm full of information; I'm full of novel views on every
subject; yet look at my condition! I'm at this moment obliged to two
strangers for a tavern bill!'

Mr Tigg replenished his friend's glasspressed it into his hand
and nodded an intimation to the visitors that they would see him in
a better aspect immediately.

'Obliged to two strangers for a tavern billeh!' repeated Mr Slyme
after a sulky application to his glass. 'Very pretty! And crowds of
impostorsthe whilebecoming famous; men who are no more on a
level with me than--TiggI take you to witness that I am the most
persecuted hound on the face of the earth.'

With a whinenot unlike the cry of the animal he namedin its
lowest state of humiliationhe raised his glass to his mouth again.
He found some encouragement in it; for when he set it down he
laughed scornfully. Upon that Mr Tigg gesticulated to the visitors
once moreand with great expressionimplying that now the time was
come when they would see Chiv in his greatness.

'Hahaha' laughed Mr Slyme. 'Obliged to two strangers for a
tavern bill! Yet I think I've a rich uncleTiggwho could buy up
the uncles of fifty strangers! Have Ior have I not? I come of a
good familyI believe! Do Ior do I not? I'm not a man of common
capacity or accomplishmentsI think! Am Ior am I not?'

'You are the American aloe of the human racemy dear Chiv' said Mr
Tigg'which only blooms once in a hundred years!'

'Hahaha!' laughed Mr Slyme again. 'Obliged to two strangers for
a tavern bill! I obliged to two architect's apprentices. Fellows
who measure earth with iron chainsand build houses like
bricklayers. Give me the names of those two apprentices. How dare
they oblige me!'

Mr Tigg was quite lost in admiration of this noble trait in his
friend's character; as he made known to Mr Pinch in a neat little
ballet of actionspontaneously invented for the purpose.

'I'll let 'em knowand I'll let all men know' cried Chevy Slyme
'that I'm none of the meangrovellingtame characters they meet
with commonly. I have an independent spirit. I have a heart that
swells in my bosom. I have a soul that rises superior to base
considerations.'


'Oh ChivChiv' murmured Mr Tigg'you have a nobly independent
natureChiv!'

'You go and do your dutysir' said Mr Slymeangrily'and borrow
money for travelling expenses; and whoever you borrow it oflet 'em
know that I possess a haughty spiritand a proud spiritand have
infernally finely-touched chords in my naturewhich won't brook
patronage. Do you hear? Tell 'em I hate 'emand that that's the
way I preserve my self-respect; and tell 'em that no man ever
respected himself more than I do!'

He might have added that he hated two sorts of men; all those who
did him favoursand all those who were better off than himself; as
in either case their position was an insult to a man of his
stupendous merits. But he did not; for with the apt closing words
above recitedMr Slyme; of too haughty a stomach to workto beg
to borrowor to steal; yet mean enough to be worked or borrowed
begged or stolen forby any catspaw that would serve his turn; too
insolent to lick the hand that fed him in his needyet cur enough
to bite and tear it in the dark; with these apt closing words Mr
Slyme fell forward with his head upon the tableand so declined
into a sodden sleep.

'Was there ever' cried Mr Tiggjoining the young men at the door
and shutting it carefully behind him'such an independent spirit as
is possessed by that extraordinary creature? Was there ever such a
Roman as our friend Chiv? Was there ever a man of such a purely
classical turn of thoughtand of such a toga-like simplicity of
nature? Was there ever a man with such a flow of eloquence? Might
he notgents bothI askhave sat upon a tripod in the ancient
timesand prophesied to a perfectly unlimited extentif previously
supplied with gin-and-water at the public cost?'

Mr Pinch was about to contest this latter position with his usual
mildnesswhenobserving that his companion had already gone
downstairshe prepared to follow him.

'You are not goingMr Pinch?' said Tigg.

'Thank you' answered Tom. 'Yes. Don't come down.'

'Do you know that I should like one little word in private with you
Mr Pinch?' said Tiggfollowing him. 'One minute of your company in
the skittle-ground would very much relieve my mind. Might I beseech
that favour?'

'Ohcertainly' replied Tom'if you really wish it.' So he
accompanied Mr Tigg to the retreat in question; on arriving at which
place that gentleman took from his hat what seemed to be the fossil
remains of an antediluvian pocket-handkerchiefand wiped his eyes
therewith.

'You have not beheld me this day' said Mr Tigg'in a favourable
light.'

'Don't mention that' said Tom'I beg.'

'But you have NOT' cried Tigg. 'I must persist in that opinion.
If you could have seen meMr Pinchat the head of my regiment on
the coast of Africacharging in the form of a hollow squarewith
the women and children and the regimental plate-chest in the centre
you would not have known me for the same man. You would have
respected mesir.'


Tom had certain ideas of his own upon the subject of glory; and
consequently he was not quite so much excited by this picture as Mr
Tigg could have desired.

'But no matter!' said that gentleman. 'The school-boy writing home
to his parents and describing the milk-and-watersaid "This is
indeed weakness." I repeat that assertion in reference to myself at
the present moment; and I ask your pardon. Siryou have seen my
friend Slyme?'

'No doubt' said Mr Pinch.

'Siryou have been impressed by my friend Slyme?'

'Not very pleasantlyI must say' answered Tomafter a little
hesitation.

'I am grieved but not surprised' cried Mr Tiggdetaining him with
both hands'to hear that you have come to that conclusion; for it
is my own. ButMr Pinchthough I am a rough and thoughtless man
I can honour Mind. I honour Mind in following my friend. To you of
all menMr PinchI have a right to make appeal on Mind's behalf
when it has not the art to push its fortune in the world. And so
sir--not for myselfwho have no claim upon youbut for my crushed
my sensitive and independent friendwho has--I ask the loan of
three half-crowns. I ask you for the loan of three half-crowns
distinctlyand without a blush. I ask italmost as a right. And
when I add that they will be returned by postthis weekI feel
that you will blame me for that sordid stipulation.'

Mr Pinch took from his pocket an old-fashioned red-leather purse
with a steel claspwhich had probably once belonged to his deceased
grandmother. It held one half-sovereign and no more. All Tom's
worldly wealth until next quarter-day.

'Stay!' cried Mr Tiggwho had watched this proceeding keenly. 'I
was just about to saythat for the convenience of posting you had
better make it gold. Thank you. A general directionI supposeto
Mr Pinch at Mr Pecksniff's--will that find you?'

'That'll find me' said Tom. 'You had better put Esquire to Mr
Pecksniff's nameif you please. Direct to meyou knowat Seth
Pecksniff'sEsquire.'

'At Seth Pecksniff'sEsquire' repeated Mr Tiggtaking an exact
note of it with a stump of pencil. 'We said this weekI believe?'

'Yes; or Monday will do' observed Tom.

'NonoI beg your pardon. Monday will NOT do' said Mr Tigg. 'If
we stipulated for this weekSaturday is the latest day. Did we
stipulate for this week?'

'Since you are so particular about it' said Tom'I think we did.'

Mr Tigg added this condition to his memorandum; read the entry over
to himself with a severe frown; and that the transaction might be
the more correct and business-likeappended his initials to the
whole. That donehe assured Mr Pinch that everything was now
perfectly regular; andafter squeezing his hand with great fervour
departed.

Tom entertained enough suspicion that Martin might possibly turn
this interview into a jestto render him desirous to avoid the


company of that young gentleman for the present. With this view he
took a few turns up and down the skittle-groundand did not reenter
the house until Mr Tigg and his friend had quitted itand the
new pupil and Mark were watching their departure from one of the
windows.

'I was just a-sayingsirthat if one could live by it' observed
Markpointing after their late guests'that would be the sort of
service for me. Waiting on such individuals as them would be better
than grave-diggingsir.'

'And staying here would be better than eitherMark' replied Tom.
'So take my adviceand continue to swim easily in smooth water.'

'It's too late to take it nowsir' said Mark. 'I have broke it to
hersir. I am off to-morrow morning.'

'Off!' cried Mr Pinch'where to?'

'I shall go up to Londonsir.'

'What to be?' asked Mr Pinch.

'Well! I don't know yetsir. Nothing turned up that day I opened
my mind to youas was at all likely to suit me. All them trades I
thought of was a deal too jolly; there was no credit at all to be
got in any of 'em. I must look for a private serviceI suppose
sir. I might be brought out strongperhapsin a serious family
Mr Pinch.'

'Perhaps you might come out rather too strong for a serious family's
tasteMark.'

'That's possiblesir. If I could get into a wicked familyI might
do myself justice; but the difficulty is to make sure of one's
groundbecause a young man can't very well advertise that he wants
a placeand wages an't so much an object as a wicked sitivation; can
hesir?'

'Whyno' said Mr Pinch'I don't think he can.'

'An envious family' pursued Markwith a thoughtful face; 'or a
quarrelsome familyor a malicious familyor even a good out-andout
mean familywould open a field of action as I might do
something in. The man as would have suited me of all other men was
that old gentleman as was took ill herefor he really was a trying
customer. HowseverI must wait and see what turns upsir; and
hope for the worst.'

'You are determined to go then?' said Mr Pinch.

'My box is gone alreadysirby the waggonand I'm going to walk
on to-morrow morningand get a lift by the day coach when it
overtakes me. So I wish you good-byeMr Pinch--and you toosir-and
all good luck and happiness!'

They both returned his greeting laughinglyand walked home arm-inarm.
Mr Pinch imparting to his new friendas they wentsuch
further particulars of Mark Tapley's whimsical restlessness as the
reader is already acquainted with.

In the meantime Markhaving a shrewd notion that his mistress was
in very low spiritsand that he could not exactly answer for the
consequences of any lengthened TETE-A-TETE in the barkept himself


obstinately out of her way all the afternoon and evening. In this
piece of generalship he was very much assisted by the great influx
of company into the taproom; for the news of his intention having
gone abroadthere was a perfect throng there all the eveningand
much drinking of healths and clinking of mugs. At length the house
was closed for the night; and there being now no help for itMark
put the best face he could upon the matterand walked doggedly to
the bar-door.

'If I look at her' said Mark to himself'I'm done. I feel that
I'm a-going fast.'

'You have come at last' said Mrs Lupin.

AyeMark said: There he was.

'And you are determined to leave usMark?' cried Mrs Lupin.

'Whyyes; I am' said Mark; keeping his eyes hard upon the floor.

'I thought' pursued the landladywith a most engaging hesitation
'that you had been--fond--of the Dragon?'

'So I am' said Mark.

'Then' pursued the hostess--and it really was not an unnatural
inquiry--'why do you desert it?'

But as he gave no manner of answer to this question; not even on its
being repeated; Mrs Lupin put his money into his handand asked
him--not unkindlyquite the contrary--what he would take?

It is proverbial that there are certain things which flesh and blood
cannot bear. Such a question as thispropounded in such a manner
at such a timeand by such a personproved (at leastas far as
Mark's flesh and blood were concerned) to be one of them. He looked
up in spite of himself directly; and having once looked upthere
was no looking down again; for of all the tightplumpbuxom
bright-eyeddimple-faced landladies that ever shone on earththere
stood before him thenbodily in that barthe very pink and
pineapple.

'WhyI tell you what' said Markthrowing off all his constraint
in an instant and seizing the hostess round the waist--at which she
was not at all alarmedfor she knew what a good young man he was-'
if I took what I liked mostI should take you. If I only thought
what was best for meI should take you. If I took what nineteen
young fellows in twenty would be glad to takeand would take at any
priceI should take you. YesI should' cried Mr Tapleyshaking
his head expressively enoughand looking (in a momentary state of
forgetfulness) rather hard at the hostess's ripe lips. 'And no man
wouldn't wonder if I did!'

Mrs Lupin said he amazed her. She was astonished how he could say
such things. She had never thought it of him.

'WhyI never thought if of myself till now!' said Markraising his
eyebrows with a look of the merriest possible surprise. 'I always
expected we should partand never have no explanation; I meant to
do it when I come in here just now; but there's something about you
as makes a man sensible. Then let us have a word or two together;
letting it be understood beforehand' he added this in a grave tone
to prevent the possibility of any mistake'that I'm not a-going to
make no loveyou know.'


There was for just one second a shadethough not by any means a
dark oneon the landlady's open brow. But it passed off instantly
in a laugh that came from her very heart.

'Ohvery good!' she said; 'if there is to be no love-makingyou
had better take your arm away.'

'Lordwhy should I!' cried Mark. 'It's quite innocent.'

'Of course it's innocent' returned the hostess'or I shouldn't
allow it.'

'Very well!' said Mark. 'Then let it be.'

There was so much reason in this that the landlady laughed again
suffered it to remainand bade him say what he had to sayand be
quick about it. But he was an impudent fellowshe added.

'Ha ha! I almost think I am!' cried Mark'though I never thought so
before. WhyI can say anything to-night!'

'Say what you're going to say if you pleaseand be quick' returned
the landlady'for I want to get to bed.'

'Whythenmy dear good soul' said Mark'and a kinder woman than
you are never drawed breath--let me see the man as says she did!-what
would be the likely consequence of us two being--'

'Oh nonsense!' cried Mrs Lupin. 'Don't talk about that any more.'

'Nonobut it an't nonsense' said Mark; 'and I wish you'd attend.
What would be the likely consequence of us two being married? If I
can't be content and comfortable in this here lively Dragon nowis
it to be looked for as I should be then? By no means. Very good.
Then youeven with your good humourwould be always on the fret
and worritalways uncomfortable in your own mindalways a-thinking
as you was getting too old for my tastealways a-picturing me to
yourself as being chained up to the Dragon doorand wanting to
break away. I don't know that it would be so' said Mark'but I
don't know that it mightn't be. I am a roving sort of chapI know.
I'm fond of change. I'm always a-thinking that with my good health
and spirits it would be more creditable in me to be jolly where
there's things a-going on to make one dismal. It may be a mistake
of mine you seebut nothing short of trying how it acts will set it
right. Then an't it best that I should go; particular when your
free way has helped me out to say all thisand we can part as good
friends as we have ever been since first I entered this here noble
Dragonwhich' said Mr Tapley in conclusion'has my good word and
my good wish to the day of my death!'

The hostess sat quite silent for a little timebut she very soon
put both her hands in Mark's and shook them heartily.

'For you are a good man' she said; looking into his face with a
smilewhich was rather serious for her. 'And I do believe have
been a better friend to me to-night than ever I have had in all my
life.'

'Oh! as to thatyou know' said Mark'that's nonsense. But love
my heart alive!' he addedlooking at her in a sort of rapture'if
you ARE that way disposedwhat a lot of suitable husbands there is
as you may drive distracted!'


She laughed again at this compliment; andonce more shaking him by
both handsand bidding himif he should ever want a friendto
remember herturned gayly from the little bar and up the Dragon
staircase.

'Humming a tune as she goes' said Marklistening'in case I
should think she's at all put outand should be made down-hearted.
Comehere's some credit in being jollyat last!'

With that piece of comfortvery ruefully utteredhe wentin
anything but a jolly mannerto bed.

He rose early next morningand was a-foot soon after sunrise. But
it was of no use; the whole place was up to see Mark Tapley off; the
boysthe dogsthe childrenthe old menthe busy people and the
idlers; there they wereall calling out 'Good-b'yeMark' after
their own mannerand all sorry he was going. Somehow he had a kind
of sense that his old mistress was peeping from her chamber-window
but he couldn't make up his mind to look back.

'Good-b'ye onegood-b'ye all!' cried Markwaving his hat on the
top of his walking-stickas he strode at a quick pace up the little
street. 'Hearty chaps them wheelwrights--hurrah! Here's the
butcher's dog a-coming out of the garden--downold fellow! And Mr
Pinch a-going to his organ--good-b'yesir! And the terrier-bitch
from over the way--hiethenlass! And children enough to hand down
human natur to the latest posterity--good-b'yeboys and girls!
There's some credit in it now. I'm a-coming out strong at last.
These are the circumstances that would try a ordinary mind; but I'm
uncommon jolly. Not quite as jolly as I could wish to bebut very
near. Good-b'ye! good-b'ye!'

CHAPTER EIGHT

ACCOMPANIES MR PECKSNIFF AND HIS CHARMING DAUGHTERS TO THE CITY OF
LONDON; AND RELATES WHAT FELL OUT UPON THEIR WAY THITHER

When Mr Pecksniff and the two young ladies got into the heavy
coach at the end of the lanethey found it emptywhich was a great
comfort; particularly as the outside was quite full and the
passengers looked very frosty. For as Mr Pecksniff justly observed
--when he and his daughters had burrowed their feet deep in the
strawwrapped themselves to the chinand pulled up both windows-it
is always satisfactory to feelin keen weatherthat many other
people are not as warm as you are. And thishe saidwas quite
naturaland a very beautiful arrangement; not confined to coaches
but extending itself into many social ramifications. 'For' (he
observed)'if every one were warm and well-fedwe should lose the
satisfaction of admiring the fortitude with which certain conditions
of men bear cold and hunger. And if we were no better off than
anybody elsewhat would become of our sense of gratitude; which'
said Mr Pecksniff with tears in his eyesas he shook his fist at a
beggar who wanted to get up behind'is one of the holiest feelings
of our common nature.'

His children heard with becoming reverence these moral precepts from
the lips of their fatherand signified their acquiescence in the
sameby smiles. That he might the better feed and cherish that
sacred flame of gratitude in his breastMr Pecksniff remarked that
he would trouble his eldest daughtereven in this early stage of
their journeyfor the brandy-bottle. And from the narrow neck of


that stone vessel he imbibed a copious refreshment.

'What are we?' said Mr Pecksniff'but coaches? Some of us are slow
coaches'-


'GoodnessPa!' cried Charity.

'Some of usI say' resumed her parent with increased emphasis
'are slow coaches; some of us are fast coaches. Our passions are
the horses; and rampant animals too--!'

'ReallyPa' cried both the daughters at once. 'How very
unpleasant.'

'And rampant animals too' repeated Mr Pecksniff with so much
determinationthat he may be said to have exhibitedat the moment
a sort of moral rampancy himself;'--and Virtue is the drag. We start
from The Mother's Armsand we run to The Dust Shovel.'

When he had said thisMr Pecksniffbeing exhaustedtook some
further refreshment. When he had done thathe corked the bottle
tightwith the air of a man who had effectually corked the subject
also; and went to sleep for three stages.

The tendency of mankind when it falls asleep in coachesis to wake
up cross; to find its legs in its way; and its corns an aggravation.
Mr Pecksniff not being exempt from the common lot of humanity found
himselfat the end of his napso decidedly the victim of these
infirmitiesthat he had an irresistible inclination to visit them
upon his daughters; which he had already begun to do in the shape of
divers random kicksand other unexpected motions of his shoeswhen
the coach stoppedand after a short delay the door was opened.

'Now mind' said a thin sharp voice in the dark. 'I and my son go
insidebecause the roof is fullbut you agree only to charge us
outside prices. It's quite understood that we won't pay more. Is
it?'

'All rightsir' replied the guard.

'Is there anybody inside now?' inquired the voice.

'Three passengers' returned the guard.

'Then I ask the three passengers to witness this bargainif they
will be so good' said the voice. 'My boyI think we may safely
get in.'

In pursuance of which opiniontwo people took their seats in the
vehiclewhich was solemnly licensed by Act of Parliament to carry
any six persons who could be got in at the door.

'That was lucky!' whispered the old manwhen they moved on again.
'And a great stroke of policy in you to observe it. Hehehe! We
couldn't have gone outside. I should have died of the rheumatism!'

Whether it occurred to the dutiful son that he had in some degree
over-reached himself by contributing to the prolongation of his
father's days; or whether the cold had effected his temper; is
doubtful. But he gave his father such a nudge in replythat that
good old gentleman was taken with a cough which lasted for full five
minutes without intermissionand goaded Mr Pecksniff to that pitch
of irritationthat he said at last--and very suddenly:


'There is no room! There is really no room in this coach for any
gentleman with a cold in his head!'

'Mine' said the old manafter a moment's pause'is upon my chest
Pecksniff.'

The voice and mannertogethernow that he spoke out; the composure
of the speaker; the presence of his son; and his knowledge of Mr
Pecksniff; afforded a clue to his identity which it was impossible
to mistake.

'Hem! I thought' said Mr Pecksniffreturning to his usual
mildness'that I addressed a stranger. I find that I address a
relativeMr Anthony Chuzzlewit and his son Mr Jonas--for theymy
dear childrenare our travelling companions--will excuse me for an
apparently harsh remark. It is not MY desire to wound the feelings
of any person with whom I am connected in family bonds. I may be a
Hypocrite' said Mr Pecksniffcuttingly; 'but I am not a Brute.'

'Poohpooh!' said the old man. 'What signifies that word
Pecksniff? Hypocrite! whywe are all hypocrites. We were all
hypocrites t'other day. I am sure I felt that to be agreed upon
among usor I shouldn't have called you one. We should not have
been there at allif we had not been hypocrites. The only
difference between you and the rest was--shall I tell you the
difference between you and the rest nowPecksniff?'

'If you pleasemy good sir; if you please.'

'Whythe annoying quality in YOUis' said the old man'that you
never have a confederate or partner in YOUR juggling; you would
deceive everybodyeven those who practise the same art; and have a
way with youas if you--hehehe!--as if you really believed
yourself. I'd lay a handsome wager now' said the old man'if I
laid wagerswhich I don't and never didthat you keep up
appearances by a tacit understandingeven before your own daughters
here. Now Iwhen I have a business scheme in handtell Jonas what
it isand we discuss it openly. You're not offendedPecksniff?'

'Offendedmy good sir!' cried that gentlemanas if he had received
the highest compliments that language could convey.

'Are you travelling to LondonMr Pecksniff?' asked the son.

'YesMr Jonaswe are travelling to London. We shall have the
pleasure of your company all the wayI trust?'

'Oh! ecodyou had better ask father that' said Jonas. 'I am not
a-going to commit myself.'

Mr Pecksniff wasas a matter of coursegreatly entertained by this
retort. His mirth having subsidedMr Jonas gave him to understand
that himself and parent were in fact travelling to their home in the
metropolis; and thatsince the memorable day of the great family
gatheringthey had been tarrying in that part of the country
watching the sale of certain eligible investmentswhich they had
had in their copartnership eye when they came down; for it was their
customMr Jonas saidwhenever such a thing was practicableto
kill two birds with one stoneand never to throw away spratsbut
as bait for whales. When he had communicated to Mr Pecksniff these
pithy scraps of intelligencehe said'That if it was all the same
to himhe would turn him over to fatherand have a chat with the
gals;' and in furtherance of this polite schemehe vacated his seat
adjoining that gentlemanand established himself in the opposite


cornernext to the fair Miss Mercy.

The education of Mr Jonas had been conducted from his cradle on the
strictest principles of the main chance. The very first word he
learnt to spell was 'gain' and the second (when he got into two
syllables)'money.' But for two resultswhich were not clearly
foreseen perhaps by his watchful parent in the beginninghis
training may be said to have been unexceptionable. One of these
flaws wasthat having been long taught by his father to over-reach
everybodyhe had imperceptibly acquired a love of over-reaching that
venerable monitor himself. The otherthat from his early habits of
considering everything as a question of propertyhe had gradually
come to lookwith impatienceon his parent as a certain amount of
personal estatewhich had no right whatever to be going at large
but ought to be secured in that particular description of iron safe
which is commonly called a coffinand banked in the grave.

'Wellcousin!' said Mr Jonas--'Because we ARE cousinsyou knowa
few times removed--so you're going to London?'

Miss Mercy replied in the affirmativepinching her sister's arm at
the same timeand giggling excessively.

'Lots of beaux in Londoncousin!' said Mr Jonasslightly advancing
his elbow.

'Indeedsir!' cried the young lady. 'They won't hurt ussirI
dare say.' And having given him this answer with great demureness
she was so overcome by her own humourthat she was fain to stifle
her merriment in her sister's shawl.

'Merry' cried that more prudent damsel'really I am ashamed of
you. How can you go on so? You wild thing!' At which Miss Merry
only laughed the moreof course.

'I saw a wildness in her eyet'other day' said Mr Jonas
addressing Charity. 'But you're the one to sit solemn! I say--You
were regularly primcousin!'

Oh! The old-fashioned fright!' cried Merry, in a whisper. 'Cherry
my dear, upon my word you must sit next him. I shall die outright
if he talks to me any more; I shall, positively!' To prevent which
fatal consequence, the buoyant creature skipped out of her seat as
she spoke, and squeezed her sister into the place from which she had
risen.

'Don't mind crowding me,' cried Mr Jonas. 'I like to be crowded by
gals. Come a little closer, cousin.'

'No, thank you, sir,' said Charity.

'There's that other one a-laughing again,' said Mr Jonas; 'she's alaughing
at my father, I shouldn't wonder. If he puts on that old
flannel nightcap of his, I don't know what she'll do! Is that my
father a-snoring, Pecksniff?'

'Yes, Mr Jonas.'

'Tread upon his foot, will you be so good?' said the young
gentleman. 'The foot next you's the gouty one.'

Mr Pecksniff hesitating to perform this friendly office, Mr Jonas
did it himself; at the same time crying:


'Come, wake up, father, or you'll be having the nightmare, and
screeching out, I know.--Do you ever have the nightmare, cousin?' he
asked his neighbour, with characteristic gallantry, as he dropped
his voice again.

'Sometimes,' answered Charity. 'Not often.'

'The other one,' said Mr Jonas, after a pause. 'Does SHE ever have
the nightmare?'

'I don't know,' replied Charity. 'You had better ask her.'

'She laughs so,' said Jonas; 'there's no talking to her. Only hark
how she's a-going on now! You're the sensible one, cousin!'

'Tut, tut!' cried Charity.

'Oh! But you are! You know you are!'

'Mercy is a little giddy,' said Miss Charity. But she'll sober down
in time.'

'It'll be a very long time, then, if she does at all,' rejoined her
cousin. 'Take a little more room.'

'I am afraid of crowding you,' said Charity. But she took it
notwithstanding; and after one or two remarks on the extreme
heaviness of the coach, and the number of places it stopped at, they
fell into a silence which remained unbroken by any member of the
party until supper-time.

Although Mr Jonas conducted Charity to the hotel and sat himself
beside her at the board, it was pretty clear that he had an eye to
'the other one' also, for he often glanced across at Mercy, and
seemed to draw comparisons between the personal appearance of the
two, which were not unfavourable to the superior plumpness of the
younger sister. He allowed himself no great leisure for this kind
of observation, however, being busily engaged with the supper,
which, as he whispered in his fair companion's ear, was a contract
business, and therefore the more she ate, the better the bargain
was. His father and Mr Pecksniff, probably acting on the same wise
principle, demolished everything that came within their reach, and
by that means acquired a greasy expression of countenance,
indicating contentment, if not repletion, which it was very pleasant
to contemplate.

When they could eat no more, Mr Pecksniff and Mr Jonas subscribed
for two sixpenny-worths of hot brandy-and-water, which the latter
gentleman considered a more politic order than one shillingsworth;
there being a chance of their getting more spirit out of the
innkeeper under this arrangement than if it were all in one glass.
Having swallowed his share of the enlivening fluid, Mr Pecksniff,
under pretence of going to see if the coach were ready, went
secretly to the bar, and had his own little bottle filled, in order
that he might refresh himself at leisure in the dark coach without
being observed.

These arrangements concluded, and the coach being ready, they got
into their old places and jogged on again. But before he composed
himself for a nap, Mr Pecksniff delivered a kind of grace after
meat, in these words:

'The process of digestion, as I have been informed by anatomical
friends, is one of the most wonderful works of nature. I do not


know how it may be with others, but it is a great satisfaction to me
to know, when regaling on my humble fare, that I am putting in
motion the most beautiful machinery with which we have any
acquaintance. I really feel at such times as if I was doing a
public service. When I have wound myself up, if I may employ such a
term,' said Mr Pecksniff with exquisite tenderness, 'and know that I
am Going, I feel that in the lesson afforded by the works within me,
I am a Benefactor to my Kind!'

As nothing could be added to this, nothing was said; and Mr
Pecksniff, exulting, it may be presumed, in his moral utility, went
to sleep again.

The rest of the night wore away in the usual manner. Mr Pecksniff
and Old Anthony kept tumbling against each other and waking up much
terrified, or crushed their heads in opposite corners of the coach
and strangely tattooed the surface of their faces--Heaven knows how
--in their sleep. The coach stopped and went on, and went on and
stopped, times out of number. Passengers got up and passengers got
down, and fresh horses came and went and came again, with scarcely
any interval between each team as it seemed to those who were
dozing, and with a gap of a whole night between every one as it
seemed to those who were broad awake. At length they began to jolt
and rumble over horribly uneven stones, and Mr Pecksniff looking out
of window said it was to-morrow morning, and they were there.

Very soon afterwards the coach stopped at the office in the city;
and the street in which it was situated was already in a bustle,
that fully bore out Mr Pecksniff's words about its being morning,
though for any signs of day yet appearing in the sky it might have
been midnight. There was a dense fog too; as if it were a city in
the clouds, which they had been travelling to all night up a magic
beanstalk; and there was a thick crust upon the pavement like
oilcake; which, one of the outsides (mad, no doubt) said to another
(his keeper, of course), was Snow.

Taking a confused leave of Anthony and his son, and leaving the
luggage of himself and daughters at the office to be called for
afterwards, Mr Pecksniff, with one of the young ladies under each
arm, dived across the street, and then across other streets, and so
up the queerest courts, and down the strangest alleys and under the
blindest archways, in a kind of frenzy; now skipping over a kennel,
now running for his life from a coach and horses; now thinking he
had lost his way, now thinking he had found it; now in a state of
the highest confidence, now despondent to the last degree, but
always in a great perspiration and flurry; until at length they
stopped in a kind of paved yard near the Monument. That is to say,
Mr Pecksniff told them so; for as to anything they could see of the
Monument, or anything else but the buildings close at hand, they
might as well have been playing blindman's buff at Salisbury.

Mr Pecksniff looked about him for a moment, and then knocked at the
door of a very dingy edifice, even among the choice collection of
dingy edifices at hand; on the front of which was a little oval
board like a tea-tray, with this inscription--'Commercial Boarding-
House: M. Todgers.'

It seemed that M. Todgers was not up yet, for Mr Pecksniff knocked
twice and rang thrice, without making any impression on anything but
a dog over the way. At last a chain and some bolts were withdrawn
with a rusty noise, as if the weather had made the very fastenings
hoarse, and a small boy with a large red head, and no nose to speak
of, and a very dirty Wellington boot on his left arm, appeared; who
(being surprised) rubbed the nose just mentioned with the back of a


shoe-brush, and said nothing.

'Still a-bed my man?' asked Mr Pecksniff.

'Still a-bed!' replied the boy. 'I wish they wos still a-bed.
They're very noisy a-bed; all calling for their boots at once. I
thought you was the Paper, and wondered why you didn't shove
yourself through the grating as usual. What do you want?'

Considering his years, which were tender, the youth may be said to
have preferred this question sternly, and in something of a defiant
manner. But Mr Pecksniff, without taking umbrage at his bearing put
a card in his hand, and bade him take that upstairs, and show them
in the meanwhile into a room where there was a fire.

'Or if there's one in the eating parlour,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'I can
find it myself.' So he led his daughters, without waiting for any
further introduction, into a room on the ground-floor, where a
table-cloth (rather a tight and scanty fit in reference to the table
it covered) was already spread for breakfast; displaying a mighty
dish of pink boiled beef; an instance of that particular style of
loaf which is known to housekeepers as a slack-baked, crummy
quartern; a liberal provision of cups and saucers; and the usual
appendages.

Inside the fender were some half-dozen pairs of shoes and boots, of
various sizes, just cleaned and turned with the soles upwards to
dry; and a pair of short black gaiters, on one of which was chalked
--in sport, it would appear, by some gentleman who had slipped down
for the purpose, pending his toilet, and gone up again--'Jinkins's
Particular,' while the other exhibited a sketch in profile, claiming
to be the portrait of Jinkins himself.

M. Todgers's Commercial Boarding-House was a house of that sort
which is likely to be dark at any time; but that morning it was
especially dark. There was an odd smell in the passage, as if the
concentrated essence of all the dinners that had been cooked in the
kitchen since the house was built, lingered at the top of the
kitchen stairs to that hour, and like the Black Friar in Don Juan,
'wouldn't be driven away.' In particular, there was a sensation of
cabbage; as if all the greens that had ever been boiled there, were
evergreens, and flourished in immortal strength. The parlour was
wainscoted, and communicated to strangers a magnetic and instinctive
consciousness of rats and mice. The staircase was very gloomy and
very broad, with balustrades so thick and heavy that they would have
served for a bridge. In a sombre corner on the first landing, stood
a gruff old giant of a clock, with a preposterous coronet of three
brass balls on his head; whom few had ever seen--none ever looked in
the face--and who seemed to continue his heavy tick for no other
reason than to warn heedless people from running into him
accidentally. It had not been papered or painted, hadn't Todgers's,
within the memory of man. It was very black, begrimed, and mouldy.
And, at the top of the staircase, was an old, disjointed, rickety,
ill-favoured skylight, patched and mended in all kinds of ways,
which looked distrustfully down at everything that passed below, and
covered Todgers's up as if it were a sort of human cucumber-frame,
and only people of a peculiar growth were reared there.
Mr Pecksniff and his fair daughters had not stood warming themselves
at the fire ten minutes, when the sound of feet was heard upon the
stairs, and the presiding deity of the establishment came hurrying
in.

M. Todgers was a lady, rather a bony and hard-featured lady, with a

row of curls in front of her head, shaped like little barrels of
beer; and on the top of it something made of net--you couldn't call
it a cap exactly--which looked like a black cobweb. She had a
little basket on her arm, and in it a bunch of keys that jingled as
she came. In her other hand she bore a flaming tallow candle,
which, after surveying Mr Pecksniff for one instant by its light,
she put down upon the table, to the end that she might receive him
with the greater cordiality.

'Mr Pecksniff!' cried Mrs Todgers. 'Welcome to London! Who would
have thought of such a visit as this, after so--dear, dear!--so many
years! How do you DO, Mr Pecksniff?'

'As well as ever; and as glad to see you, as ever;' Mr Pecksniff
made response. 'Why, you are younger than you used to be!'

'YOU are, I am sure!' said Mrs Todgers. 'You're not a bit changed.'

'What do you say to this?' cried Mr Pecksniff, stretching out his
hand towards the young ladies. 'Does this make me no older?'

'Not your daughters!' exclaimed the lady, raising her hands and
clasping them. 'Oh, no, Mr Pecksniff! Your second, and her
bridesmaid!'

Mr Pecksniff smiled complacently; shook his head; and said, 'My
daughters, Mrs Todgers. Merely my daughters.'

'Ah!' sighed the good lady, 'I must believe you, for now I look at
'em I think I should have known 'em anywhere. My dear Miss
Pecksniffs, how happy your Pa has made me!'

She hugged them both; and being by this time overpowered by her
feelings or the inclemency of the morning, jerked a little pocket
handkerchief out of the little basket, and applied the same to her
face.

'Now, my good madam,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'I know the rules of your
establishment, and that you only receive gentlemen boarders. But it
occurred to me, when I left home, that perhaps you would give my
daughters house room, and make an exception in their favour.'

'Perhaps?' cried Mrs Todgers ecstatically. 'Perhaps?'

'I may say then, that I was sure you would,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'I
know that you have a little room of your own, and that they can be
comfortable there, without appearing at the general table.'

'Dear girls!' said Mrs Todgers. 'I must take that liberty once
more.'

Mrs Todgers meant by this that she must embrace them once more,
which she accordingly did with great ardour. But the truth was that
the house being full with the exception of one bed, which would now
be occupied by Mr Pecksniff, she wanted time for consideration; and
so much time too (for it was a knotty point how to dispose of them),
that even when this second embrace was over, she stood for some
moments gazing at the sisters, with affection beaming in one eye,
and calculation shining out of the other.

'I think I know how to arrange it,' said Mrs Todgers, at length. 'A
sofa bedstead in the little third room which opens from my own
parlour.--Oh, you dear girls!'


Thereupon she embraced them once more, observing that she could not
decide which was most like their poor mother (which was highly
probable, seeing that she had never beheld that lady), but that she
rather thought the youngest was; and then she said that as the
gentlemen would be down directly, and the ladies were fatigued with
travelling, would they step into her room at once?

It was on the same floor; being, in fact, the back parlour; and had,
as Mrs Todgers said, the great advantage (in London) of not being
overlooked; as they would see when the fog cleared off. Nor was
this a vainglorious boast, for it commanded at a perspective of two
feet, a brown wall with a black cistern on the top. The sleeping
apartment designed for the young ladies was approached from this
chamber by a mightily convenient little door, which would only open
when fallen against by a strong person. It commanded from a similar
point of sight another angle of the wall, and another side of the
cistern. 'Not the damp side,' said Mrs Todgers. 'THAT is Mr
Jinkins's.'

In the first of these sanctuaries a fire was speedily kindled by the
youthful porter, who, whistling at his work in the absence of Mrs
Todgers (not to mention his sketching figures on his corduroys with
burnt firewood), and being afterwards taken by that lady in the
fact, was dismissed with a box on his ears. Having prepared
breakfast for the young ladies with her own hands, she withdrew to
preside in the other room; where the joke at Mr Jinkins's expense
seemed to be proceeding rather noisily.

'I won't ask you yet, my dears,' said Mr Pecksniff, looking in at
the door, 'how you like London. Shall I?'

'We haven't seen much of it, Pa!' cried Merry.

'Nothing, I hope,' said Cherry. (Both very miserably.)

'Indeed,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'that's true. We have our pleasure,
and our business too, before us. All in good time. All in good
time!'

Whether Mr Pecksniff's business in London was as strictly
professional as he had given his new pupil to understand, we shall
see, to adopt that worthy man's phraseology, 'all in good time.'

CHAPTER NINE

TOWN AND TODGER'S

Surely there never was, in any other borough, city, or hamlet in the
world, such a singular sort of a place as Todgers's. And surely
London, to judge from that part of it which hemmed Todgers's round
and hustled it, and crushed it, and stuck its brick-and-mortar
elbows into it, and kept the air from it, and stood perpetually
between it and the light, was worthy of Todgers's, and qualified to
be on terms of close relationship and alliance with hundreds and
thousands of the odd family to which Todgers's belonged.

You couldn't walk about Todgers's neighbourhood, as you could in any
other neighbourhood. You groped your way for an hour through lanes
and byways, and court-yards, and passages; and you never once
emerged upon anything that might be reasonably called a street. A
kind of resigned distraction came over the stranger as he trod those


devious mazes, and, giving himself up for lost, went in and out and
round about and quietly turned back again when he came to a dead
wall or was stopped by an iron railing, and felt that the means of
escape might possibly present themselves in their own good time, but
that to anticipate them was hopeless. Instances were known of
people who, being asked to dine at Todgers's, had travelled round
and round for a weary time, with its very chimney-pots in view; and
finding it, at last, impossible of attainment, had gone home again
with a gentle melancholy on their spirits, tranquil and
uncomplaining. Nobody had ever found Todgers's on a verbal
direction, though given within a few minutes' walk of it. Cautious
emigrants from Scotland or the North of England had been known to
reach it safely, by impressing a charity-boy, town-bred, and
bringing him along with them; or by clinging tenaciously to the
postman; but these were rare exceptions, and only went to prove the
rule that Todgers's was in a labyrinth, whereof the mystery was
known but to a chosen few.

Several fruit-brokers had their marts near Todgers's; and one of the
first impressions wrought upon the stranger's senses was of oranges
--of damaged oranges--with blue and green bruises on them, festering
in boxes, or mouldering away in cellars. All day long, a stream of
porters from the wharves beside the river, each bearing on his back
a bursting chest of oranges, poured slowly through the narrow
passages; while underneath the archway by the public-house, the
knots of those who rested and regaled within, were piled from
morning until night. Strange solitary pumps were found near
Todgers's hiding themselves for the most part in blind alleys, and
keeping company with fire-ladders. There were churches also by
dozens, with many a ghostly little churchyard, all overgrown with
such straggling vegetation as springs up spontaneously from damp,
and graves, and rubbish. In some of these dingy resting-places
which bore much the same analogy to green churchyards, as the pots
of earth for mignonette and wall-flower in the windows overlooking
them did to rustic gardens, there were trees; tall trees; still
putting forth their leaves in each succeeding year, with such a
languishing remembrance of their kind (so one might fancy, looking
on their sickly boughs) as birds in cages have of theirs. Here,
paralysed old watchmen guarded the bodies of the dead at night, year
after year, until at last they joined that solemn brotherhood; and,
saving that they slept below the ground a sounder sleep than even
they had ever known above it, and were shut up in another kind of
box, their condition can hardly be said to have undergone any
material change when they, in turn, were watched themselves.

Among the narrow thoroughfares at hand, there lingered, here and
there, an ancient doorway of carved oak, from which, of old, the
sounds of revelry and feasting often came; but now these mansions,
only used for storehouses, were dark and dull, and, being filled
with wool, and cotton, and the like--such heavy merchandise as
stifles sound and stops the throat of echo--had an air of palpable
deadness about them which, added to their silence and desertion,
made them very grim. In like manner, there were gloomy courtyards
in these parts, into which few but belated wayfarers ever strayed,
and where vast bags and packs of goods, upward or downward bound,
were for ever dangling between heaven and earth from lofty cranes
There were more trucks near Todgers's than you would suppose whole
city could ever need; not active trucks, but a vagabond race, for
ever lounging in the narrow lanes before their masters' doors and
stopping up the pass; so that when a stray hackney-coach or
lumbering waggon came that way, they were the cause of such an
uproar as enlivened the whole neighbourhood, and made the bells in
the next churchtower vibrate again. In the throats and maws of dark
no-thoroughfares near Todgers's, individual wine-merchants and


wholesale dealers in grocery-ware had perfect little towns of their
own; and, deep among the foundations of these buildings, the ground
was undermined and burrowed out into stables, where cart-horses,
troubled by rats, might be heard on a quiet Sunday rattling their
halters, as disturbed spirits in tales of haunted houses are said to
clank their chains.

To tell of half the queer old taverns that had a drowsy and secret
existence near Todgers's, would fill a goodly book; while a second
volume no less capacious might be devoted to an account of the
quaint old guests who frequented their dimly lighted parlours.
These were, in general, ancient inhabitants of that region; born,
and bred there from boyhood. who had long since become wheezy and
asthmatical, and short of breath, except in the article of storytelling;
in which respect they were still marvellously long-winded.
These gentry were much opposed to steam and all new-fangled ways,
and held ballooning to be sinful, and deplored the degeneracy of the
times; which that particular member of each little club who kept the
keys of the nearest church, professionally, always attributed to the
prevalence of dissent and irreligion; though the major part of the
company inclined to the belief that virtue went out with hairpowder,
and that Old England's greatness had decayed amain with
barbers.

As to Todgers's itself--speaking of it only as a house in that
neighbourhood, and making no reference to its merits as a commercial
boarding establishment--it was worthy to stand where it did. There
was one staircase-window in it, at the side of the house, on the
ground floor; which tradition said had not been opened for a hundred
years at least, and which, abutting on an always dirty lane, was so
begrimed and coated with a century's mud, that no one pane of glass
could possibly fall out, though all were cracked and broken twenty
times. But the grand mystery of Todgers's was the cellarage,
approachable only by a little back door and a rusty grating; which
cellarage within the memory of man had had no connection with the
house, but had always been the freehold property of somebody else,
and was reported to be full of wealth; though in what shape--whether
in silver, brass, or gold, or butts of wine, or casks of gun-powder-was
matter of profound uncertainty and supreme indifference to
Todgers's and all its inmates.

The top of the house was worthy of notice. There was a sort of
terrace on the roof, with posts and fragments of rotten lines, once
intended to dry clothes upon; and there were two or three tea-chests
out there, full of earth, with forgotten plants in them, like old
walking-sticks. Whoever climbed to this observatory, was stunned at
first from having knocked his head against the little door in coming
out; and after that, was for the moment choked from having looked
perforce, straight down the kitchen chimney; but these two stages
over, there were things to gaze at from the top of Todgers's, well
worth your seeing too. For first and foremost, if the day were
bright, you observed upon the house-tops, stretching far away, a
long dark path; the shadow of the Monument; and turning round, the
tall original was close beside you, with every hair erect upon his
golden head, as if the doings of the city frightened him. Then
there were steeples, towers, belfries, shining vanes, and masts of
ships; a very forest. Gables, housetops, garret-windows, wilderness
upon wilderness. Smoke and noise enough for all the world at once.

After the first glance, there were slight features in the midst of
this crowd of objects, which sprung out from the mass without any
reason, as it were, and took hold of the attention whether the
spectator would or no. Thus, the revolving chimney-pots on one
great stack of buildings seemed to be turning gravely to each other


every now and then, and whispering the result of their separate
observation of what was going on below. Others, of a crook-backed
shape, appeared to be maliciously holding themselves askew, that
they might shut the prospect out and baffle Todgers's. The man who
was mending a pen at an upper window over the way, became of
paramount importance in the scene, and made a blank in it,
ridiculously disproportionate in its extent, when he retired. The
gambols of a piece of cloth upon the dyer's pole had far more
interest for the moment than all the changing motion of the crowd.
Yet even while the looker-on felt angry with himself for this, and
wondered how it was, the tumult swelled into a roar; the hosts of
objects seemed to thicken and expand a hundredfold, and after gazing
round him, quite scared, he turned into Todgers's again, much more
rapidly than he came out; and ten to one he told M. Todgers
afterwards that if he hadn't done so, he would certainly have come
into the street by the shortest cut; that is to say, head-foremost.

So said the two Miss Pecksniffs, when they retired with Mrs Todgers
from this place of espial, leaving the youthful porter to close the
door and follow them downstairs; who, being of a playful temperament,
and contemplating with a delight peculiar to his sex and time of
life, any chance of dashing himself into small fragments, lingered
behind to walk upon the parapet.

It being the second day of their stay in London, the Miss Pecksniffs
and Mrs Todgers were by this time highly confidential, insomuch that
the last-named lady had already communicated the particulars of
three early disappointments of a tender nature; and had furthermore
possessed her young friends with a general summary of the life,
conduct, and character of Mr Todgers. Who, it seemed, had cut his
matrimonial career rather short, by unlawfully running away from his
happiness, and establishing himself in foreign countries as a
bachelor.

'Your pa was once a little particular in his attentions, my dears,'
said Mrs Todgers, 'but to be your ma was too much happiness denied
me. You'd hardly know who this was done for, perhaps?'

She called their attention to an oval miniature, like a little
blister, which was tacked up over the kettle-holder, and in which
there was a dreamy shadowing forth of her own visage.

'It's a speaking likeness!' cried the two Miss Pecksniffs.

'It was considered so once,' said Mrs Todgers, warming herself in a
gentlemanly manner at the fire; 'but I hardly thought you would have
known it, my loves.'

They would have known it anywhere. If they could have met with it
in the street, or seen it in a shop window, they would have cried
'Good gracious! Mrs Todgers!'

'Presiding over an establishment like this, makes sad havoc with the
features, my dear Miss Pecksniffs,' said Mrs Todgers. 'The gravy
alone, is enough to add twenty years to one's age, I do assure you.'

'Lor'!' cried the two Miss Pecksniffs.

'The anxiety of that one item, my dears,' said Mrs Todgers, 'keeps
the mind continually upon the stretch. There is no such passion in
human nature, as the passion for gravy among commercial gentlemen.
It's nothing to say a joint won't yield--a whole animal wouldn't
yield--the amount of gravy they expect each day at dinner. And what
I have undergone in consequence,' cried Mrs Todgers, raising her


eyes and shaking her head, 'no one would believe!'

'Just like Mr Pinch, Merry!' said Charity. 'We have always noticed
it in him, you remember?'

'Yes, my dear,' giggled Merry, 'but we have never given it him, you
know.'

'You, my dears, having to deal with your pa's pupils who can't help
themselves, are able to take your own way,' said Mrs Todgers; 'but in
a commercial establishment, where any gentleman may say any Saturday
evening, Mrs Todgersthis day week we partin consequence of the
cheese it is not so easy to preserve a pleasant understanding.
Your pa was kind enough,' added the good lady, 'to invite me to take
a ride with you to-day; and I think he mentioned that you were going
to call upon Miss Pinch. Any relation to the gentleman you were
speaking of just now, Miss Pecksniff?'

'For goodness sake, Mrs Todgers,' interposed the lively Merry,
'don't call him a gentleman. My dear Cherry, Pinch a gentleman!
The idea!'

'What a wicked girl you are!' cried Mrs Todgers, embracing her with
great affection. 'You are quite a quiz, I do declare! My dear Miss
Pecksniff, what a happiness your sister's spirits must be to your pa
and self!'

'He's the most hideous, goggle-eyed creature, Mrs Todgers, in
existence,' resumed Merry: 'quite an ogre. The ugliest, awkwardest
frightfullest being, you can imagine. This is his sister, so I
leave you to suppose what SHE is. I shall be obliged to laugh
outright, I know I shall!' cried the charming girl, 'I never shall
be able to keep my countenance. The notion of a Miss Pinch
presuming to exist at all is sufficient to kill one, but to see her
--oh my stars!'

Mrs Todgers laughed immensely at the dear love's humour, and
declared she was quite afraid of her, that she was. She was so very
severe.

'Who is severe?' cried a voice at the door. 'There is no such thing
as severity in our family, I hope!' And then Mr Pecksniff peeped
smilingly into the room, and said, 'May I come in, Mrs Todgers?'

Mrs Todgers almost screamed, for the little door of communication
between that room and the inner one being wide open, there was a
full disclosure of the sofa bedstead in all its monstrous
impropriety. But she had the presence of mind to close this portal
in the twinkling of an eye; and having done so, said, though not
without confusion, 'Oh yes, Mr Pecksniff, you can come in, if you
please.'

'How are we to-day,' said Mr Pecksniff, jocosely. 'and what are our
plans? Are we ready to go and see Tom Pinch's sister? Ha, ha, ha!
Poor Thomas Pinch!'

'Are we ready,' returned Mrs Todgers, nodding her head with
mysterious intelligence, 'to send a favourable reply to Mr Jinkins's
round-robin? That's the first question, Mr Pecksniff.'

'Why Mr Jinkins's robin, my dear madam?' asked Mr Pecksniff, putting
one arm round Mercy, and the other round Mrs Todgers, whom he
seemed, in the abstraction of the moment, to mistake for Charity.
'Why Mr Jinkins's?'


'Because he began to get it up, and indeed always takes the lead in
the house,' said Mrs Todgers, playfully. 'That's why, sir.'

'Jinkins is a man of superior talents,' observed Mr Pecksniff. 'I
have conceived a great regard for Jinkins. I take Jinkins's desire
to pay polite attention to my daughters, as an additional proof of
the friendly feeling of Jinkins, Mrs Todgers.'

'Well now,' returned that lady, 'having said so much, you must say
the rest, Mr Pecksniff; so tell the dear young ladies all about it.'

With these words she gently eluded Mr Pecksniff's grasp, and took
Miss Charity into her own embrace; though whether she was impelled
to this proceeding solely by the irrepressible affection she had
conceived for that young lady, or whether it had any reference to a
lowering, not to say distinctly spiteful expression which had been
visible in her face for some moments, has never been exactly
ascertained. Be this as it may, Mr Pecksniff went on to inform his
daughters of the purport and history of the round-robin aforesaid,
which was in brief, that the commercial gentlemen who helped to make
up the sum and substance of that noun of multitude signifying
many, called Todgers's, desired the honour of their presence at the
general table, so long as they remained in the house, and besought
that they would grace the board at dinner-time next day, the same
being Sunday. He further said, that Mrs Todgers being a consenting
party to this invitation, he was willing, for his part, to accept
it; and so left them that he might write his gracious answer, the
while they armed themselves with their best bonnets for the utter
defeat and overthrow of Miss Pinch.

Tom Pinch's sister was governess in a family, a lofty family;
perhaps the wealthiest brass and copper founders' family known to
mankind. They lived at Camberwell; in a house so big and fierce,
that its mere outside, like the outside of a giant's castle, struck
terror into vulgar minds and made bold persons quail. There was a
great front gate; with a great bell, whose handle was in itself a
note of admiration; and a great lodge; which being close to the
house, rather spoilt the look-out certainly but made the look-in
tremendous. At this entry, a great porter kept constant watch and
ward; and when he gave the visitor high leave to pass, he rang a
second great bell, responsive to whose note a great footman appeared
in due time at the great halldoor, with such great tags upon his
liveried shoulder that he was perpetually entangling and hooking
himself among the chairs and tables, and led a life of torment which
could scarcely have been surpassed, if he had been a blue-bottle in
a world of cobwebs.

To this mansion Mr Pecksniff, accompanied by his daughters and Mrs
Todgers, drove gallantly in a one-horse fly. The foregoing
ceremonies having been all performed, they were ushered into the
house; and so, by degrees, they got at last into a small room with
books in it, where Mr Pinch's sister was at that moment instructing
her eldest pupil; to wit, a premature little woman of thirteen years
old, who had already arrived at such a pitch of whalebone and
education that she had nothing girlish about her, which was a source
of great rejoicing to all her relations and friends.

'Visitors for Miss Pinch!' said the footman. He must have been an
ingenious young man, for he said it very cleverly; with a nice
discrimination between the cold respect with which he would have
announced visitors to the family, and the warm personal interest
with which he would have announced visitors to the cook.


'Visitors for Miss Pinch!'

Miss Pinch rose hastily; with such tokens of agitation as plainly
declared that her list of callers was not numerous. At the same
time, the little pupil became alarmingly upright, and prepared
herself to take mental notes of all that might be said and done.
For the lady of the establishment was curious in the natural history
and habits of the animal called Governess, and encouraged her
daughters to report thereon whenever occasion served; which was, in
reference to all parties concerned, very laudable, improving, and
pleasant.

It is a melancholy fact; but it must be related, that Mr Pinch's
sister was not at all ugly. On the contrary, she had a good face; a
very mild and prepossessing face; and a pretty little figure--slight
and short, but remarkable for its neatness. There was something of
her brother, much of him indeed, in a certain gentleness of manner,
and in her look of timid trustfulness; but she was so far from being
a fright, or a dowdy, or a horror, or anything else, predicted by
the two Miss Pecksniffs, that those young ladies naturally regarded
her with great indignation, feeling that this was by no means what
they had come to see.

Miss Mercy, as having the larger share of gaiety, bore up the best
against this disappointment, and carried it off, in outward show at
least, with a titter; but her sister, not caring to hide her
disdain, expressed it pretty openly in her looks. As to Mrs
Todgers, she leaned on Mr Pecksniff's arm and preserved a kind of
genteel grimness, suitable to any state of mind, and involving any
shade of opinion.

'Don't be alarmed, Miss Pinch,' said Mr Pecksniff, taking her hand
condescendingly in one of his, and patting it with the other. 'I
have called to see you, in pursuance of a promise given to your
brother, Thomas Pinch. My name--compose yourself, Miss Pinch--is
Pecksniff.'

The good man emphasised these words as though he would have said,
'You see in me, young person, the benefactor of your race; the
patron of your house; the preserver of your brother, who is fed with
manna daily from my table; and in right of whom there is a
considerable balance in my favour at present standing in the books
beyond the sky. But I have no pride, for I can afford to do without
it!'

The poor girl felt it all as if it had been Gospel truth. Her
brother writing in the fullness of his simple heart, had often told
her so, and how much more! As Mr Pecksniff ceased to speak, she hung
her head, and dropped a tear upon his hand.

'Oh very well, Miss Pinch!' thought the sharp pupil, 'crying before
strangers, as if you didn't like the situation!'

'Thomas is well,' said Mr Pecksniff; 'and sends his love and this
letter. I cannot say, poor fellow, that he will ever be
distinguished in our profession; but he has the will to do well,
which is the next thing to having the power; and, therefore, we must
bear with him. Eh?'

'I know he has the will, sir,' said Tom Pinch's sister, 'and I know
how kindly and considerately you cherish it, for which neither he
nor I can ever be grateful enough, as we very often say in writing
to each other. The young ladies too,' she added, glancing
gratefully at his two daughters, 'I know how much we owe to them.'


'My dears,' said Mr Pecksniff, turning to them with a smile:
'Thomas's sister is saying something you will be glad to hear, I
think.'

'We can't take any merit to ourselves, papa!' cried Cherry, as they
both apprised Tom Pinch's sister, with a curtsey, that they would
feel obliged if she would keep her distance. 'Mr Pinch's being so
well provided for is owing to you alone, and we can only say how
glad we are to hear that he is as grateful as he ought to be.'

'Oh very well, Miss Pinch!' thought the pupil again. 'Got a
grateful brother, living on other people's kindness!'

'It was very kind of you,' said Tom Pinch's sister, with Tom's own
simplicity and Tom's own smile, 'to come here; very kind indeed;
though how great a kindness you have done me in gratifying my wish
to see you, and to thank you with my own lips, you, who make so
light of benefits conferred, can scarcely think.'

'Very grateful; very pleasant; very proper,' murmured Mr Pecksniff.

'It makes me happy too,' said Ruth Pinch, who now that her first
surprise was over, had a chatty, cheerful way with her, and a
single-hearted desire to look upon the best side of everything,
which was the very moral and image of Tom; 'very happy to think that
you will be able to tell him how more than comfortably I am situated
here, and how unnecessary it is that he should ever waste a regret
on my being cast upon my own resources. Dear me! So long as I heard
that he was happy, and he heard that I was,' said Tom's sister, 'we
could both bear, without one impatient or complaining thought, a
great deal more than ever we have had to endure, I am very certain.'
And if ever the plain truth were spoken on this occasionally false
earth, Tom's sister spoke it when she said that.

'Ah!' cried Mr Pecksniff whose eyes had in the meantime wandered to
the pupil; 'certainly. And how do YOU do, my very interesting
child?'

'Quite well, I thank you, sir,' replied that frosty innocent.

'A sweet face this, my dears,' said Mr Pecksniff, turning to his
daughters. 'A charming manner!'

Both young ladies had been in ecstasies with the scion of a wealthy
house (through whom the nearest road and shortest cut to her parents
might be supposed to lie) from the first. Mrs Todgers vowed that
anything one quarter so angelic she had never seen. 'She wanted but
a pair of wings, a dear,' said that good woman, 'to be a young
syrup'--meaning, possibly, young sylph, or seraph.

'If you will give that to your distinguished parents, my amiable
little friend,' said Mr Pecksniff, producing one of his professional
cards, 'and will say that I and my daughters--'

'And Mrs Todgers, pa,' said Merry.

'And Mrs Todgers, of London,' added Mr Pecksniff; 'that I, and my
daughters, and Mrs Todgers, of London, did not intrude upon them, as
our object simply was to take some notice of Miss Pinch, whose
brother is a young man in my employment; but that I could not leave
this very chaste mansion, without adding my humble tribute, as an
Architect, to the correctness and elegance of the owner's taste, and
to his just appreciation of that beautiful art to the cultivation of


which I have devoted a life, and to the promotion of whose glory and
advancement I have sacrified a--a fortune--I shall be very much
obliged to you.'

'Missis's compliments to Miss Pinch,' said the footman, suddenly
appearing, and speaking in exactly the same key as before, 'and begs
to know wot my young lady is a-learning of just now.'

'Oh!' said Mr Pecksniff, 'Here is the young man. HE will take the
card. With my compliments, if you please, young man. My dears, we
are interrupting the studies. Let us go.'

Some confusion was occasioned for an instant by Mrs Todgers's
unstrapping her little flat hand-basket, and hurriedly entrusting
the 'young man' with one of her own cards, which, in addition to
certain detailed information relative to the terms of the commercial
establishment, bore a foot-note to the effect that M. T. took that
opportunity of thanking those gentlemen who had honoured her with
their favours, and begged they would have the goodness, if satisfied
with the table, to recommend her to their friends. But Mr
Pecksniff, with admirable presence of mind, recovered this document,
and buttoned it up in his own pocket.

Then he said to Miss Pinch--with more condescension and kindness
than ever, for it was desirable the footman should expressly
understand that they were not friends of hers, but patrons:

'Good morning. Good-bye. God bless you! You may depend upon my
continued protection of your brother Thomas. Keep your mind quite
at ease, Miss Pinch!'

'Thank you,' said Tom's sister heartily; 'a thousand times.'

'Not at all,' he retorted, patting her gently on the head. 'Don't
mention it. You will make me angry if you do. My sweet child'--to
the pupil--'farewell! That fairy creature,' said Mr Pecksniff,
looking in his pensive mood hard at the footman, as if he meant him,
'has shed a vision on my path, refulgent in its nature, and not
easily to be obliterated. My dears, are you ready?'

They were not quite ready yet, for they were still caressing the
pupil. But they tore themselves away at length; and sweeping past
Miss Pinch with each a haughty inclination of the head and a curtsey
strangled in its birth, flounced into the passage.

The young man had rather a long job in showing them out; for Mr
Pecksniff's delight in the tastefulness of the house was such that
he could not help often stopping (particularly when they were near
the parlour door) and giving it expression, in a loud voice and very
learned terms. Indeed, he delivered, between the study and the
hall, a familiar exposition of the whole science of architecture as
applied to dwelling-houses, and was yet in the freshness of his
eloquence when they reached the garden.

'If you look,' said Mr Pecksniff, backing from the steps, with his
head on one side and his eyes half-shut that he might the better
take in the proportions of the exterior: 'If you look, my dears, at
the cornice which supports the roof, and observe the airiness of its
construction, especially where it sweeps the southern angle of the
building, you will feel with me--How do you do, sir? I hope you're
well?'

Interrupting himself with these words, he very politely bowed to a
middle-aged gentleman at an upper window, to whom he spoke--not


because the gentleman could hear him (for he certainly could not),
but as an appropriate accompaniment to his salutation.

'I have no doubt, my dears,' said Mr Pecksniff, feigning to point
out other beauties with his hand, 'that this is the proprietor.
should be glad to know him. It might lead to something. Is he
looking this way, Charity?'

'He is opening the window pa!'

'Ha, ha!' cried Mr Pecksniff softly. 'All right! He has found I'm
professional. He heard me inside just now, I have no doubt. Don't
look! With regard to the fluted pillars in the portico, my dears--'

'Hallo!' cried the gentleman.

'Sir, your servant!' said Mr Pecksniff, taking off his hat. 'I am
proud to make your acquaintance.'

'Come off the grass, will you!' roared the gentleman.

'I beg your pardon, sir,' said Mr Pecksniff, doubtful of his having
heard aright. 'Did you--?'

'Come off the grass!' repeated the gentleman, warmly.

'We are unwilling to intrude, sir,' Mr Pecksniff smilingly began.

'But you ARE intruding,' returned the other, 'unwarrantably
intruding. Trespassing. You see a gravel walk, don't you? What
do you think it's meant for? Open the gate there! Show that party
out!'

With that he clapped down the window again, and disappeared.

Mr Pecksniff put on his hat, and walked with great deliberation and
in profound silence to the fly, gazing at the clouds as he went,
with great interest. After helping his daughters and Mrs Todgers
into that conveyance, he stood looking at it for some moments, as if
he were not quite certain whether it was a carriage or a temple; but
having settled this point in his mind, he got into his place, spread
his hands out on his knees, and smiled upon the three beholders.

But his daughters, less tranquil-minded, burst into a torrent of
indignation. This came, they said, of cherishing such creatures as
the Pinches. This came of lowering themselves to their level. This
came of putting themselves in the humiliating position of seeming to
know such bold, audacious, cunning, dreadful girls as that. They
had expected this. They had predicted it to Mrs Todgers, as she
(Todgers) could depone, that very morning. To this, they added,
that the owner of the house, supposing them to be Miss Pinch's
friends, had acted, in their opinion, quite correctly, and had done
no more than, under such circumstances, might reasonably have been
expected. To that they added (with a trifling inconsistency), that
he was a brute and a bear; and then they merged into a flood of
tears, which swept away all wandering epithets before it.

Perhaps Miss Pinch was scarcely so much to blame in the matter as
the Seraph, who, immediately on the withdrawal of the visitors, had
hastened to report them at head-quarters, with a full account of
their having presumptuously charged her with the delivery of a
message afterwards consigned to the footman; which outrage, taken in
conjunction with Mr Pecksniff's unobtrusive remarks on the
establishment, might possibly have had some share in their


dismissal. Poor Miss Pinch, however, had to bear the brunt of it
with both parties; being so severely taken to task by the Seraph's
mother for having such vulgar acquaintances, that she was fain to
retire to her own room in tears, which her natural cheerfulness and
submission, and the delight of having seen Mr Pecksniff, and having
received a letter from her brother, were at first insufficient to
repress.

As to Mr Pecksniff, he told them in the fly, that a good action was
its own reward; and rather gave them to understand, that if he could
have been kicked in such a cause, he would have liked it all the
better. But this was no comfort to the young ladies, who scolded
violently the whole way back, and even exhibited, more than once, a
keen desire to attack the devoted Mrs Todgers; on whose personal
appearance, but particularly on whose offending card and handbasket,
they were secretly inclined to lay the blame of half their
failure.

Todgers's was in a great bustle that evening, partly owing to some
additional domestic preparations for the morrow, and partly to the
excitement always inseparable in that house from Saturday night,
when every gentleman's linen arrived at a different hour in its own
little bundle, with his private account pinned on the outside.
There was always a great clinking of pattens downstairs, too, until
midnight or so, on Saturdays; together with a frequent gleaming of
mysterious lights in the area; much working at the pump; and a
constant jangling of the iron handle of the pail. Shrill
altercations from time to time arose between Mrs Todgers and unknown
females in remote back kitchens; and sounds were occasionally heard,
indicative of small articles of iron mongery and hardware being
thrown at the boy. It was the custom of that youth on Saturdays, to
roll up his shirt sleeves to his shoulders, and pervade all parts of
the house in an apron of coarse green baize; moreover, he was more
strongly tempted on Saturdays than on other days (it being a busy
time), to make excursive bolts into the neighbouring alleys when he
answered the door, and there to play at leap-frog and other sports
with vagrant lads, until pursued and brought back by the hair of his
head or the lobe of his ear; thus he was quite a conspicuous feature
among the peculiar incidents of the last day in the week at Todgers's.

He was especially so on this particular Saturday evening, and
honoured the Miss Pecksniffs with a deal of notice; seldom passing
the door of Mrs Todgers's private room, where they sat alone before
the fire, working by the light of a solitary candle, without putting
in his head and greeting them with some such compliments as, 'There
you are agin!' 'An't it nice?'--and similar humorous attentions.

'I say,' he whispered, stopping in one of his journeys to and fro,
'young ladies, there's soup to-morrow. She's a-making it now. An't
she a-putting in the water? Oh! not at all neither!'

In the course of answering another knock, he thrust in his head
again.

'I say! There's fowls to-morrow. Not skinny ones. Oh no!'

Presently he called through the key-hole:

'There's a fish to-morrow. Just come. Don't eat none of him!' And,
with this special warning, vanished again.

By-and-bye, he returned to lay the cloth for supper; it having been
arranged between Mrs Todgers and the young ladies, that they should
partake of an exclusive veal-cutlet together in the privacy of that


apartment. He entertained them on this occasion by thrusting the
lighted candle into his mouth, and exhibiting his face in a state of
transparency; after the performance of which feat, he went on with
his professional duties; brightening every knife as he laid it on
the table, by breathing on the blade and afterwards polishing the
same on the apron already mentioned. When he had completed his
preparations, he grinned at the sisters, and expressed his belief
that the approaching collation would be of 'rather a spicy sort.'

'Will it be long, before it's ready, Bailey?' asked Mercy.

'No,' said Bailey, 'it IS cooked. When I come up, she was dodging
among the tender pieces with a fork, and eating of 'em.'

But he had scarcely achieved the utterance of these words, when he
received a manual compliment on the head, which sent him staggering
against the wall; and Mrs Todgers, dish in hand, stood indignantly
before him.

'Oh you little villain!' said that lady. 'Oh you bad, false boy!'

'No worse than yerself,' retorted Bailey, guarding his head, on a
principle invented by Mr Thomas Cribb. 'Ah! Come now! Do that
again, will yer?'

'He's the most dreadful child,' said Mrs Todgers, setting down the
dish, 'I ever had to deal with. The gentlemen spoil him to that
extent, and teach him such things, that I'm afraid nothing but
hanging will ever do him any good.'

'Won't it!' cried Bailey. 'Oh! Yes! Wot do you go a-lowerin the
table-beer for then, and destroying my constitooshun?'

'Go downstairs, you vicious boy,' said Mrs Todgers, holding the
door open. 'Do you hear me? Go along!'

After two or three dexterous feints, he went, and was seen no more
that night, save once, when he brought up some tumblers and hot
water, and much disturbed the two Miss Pecksniffs by squinting
hideously behind the back of the unconscious Mrs Todgers. Having
done this justice to his wounded feelings, he retired underground;
where, in company with a swarm of black beetles and a kitchen
candle, he employed his faculties in cleaning boots and brushing
clothes until the night was far advanced.

Benjamin was supposed to be the real name of this young retainer but
he was known by a great variety of names. Benjamin, for instance,
had been converted into Uncle Ben, and that again had been corrupted
into Uncle; which, by an easy transition, had again passed into
Barnwell, in memory of the celebrated relative in that degree who
was shot by his nephew George, while meditating in his garden at
Camberwell. The gentlemen at Todgers's had a merry habit, too, of
bestowing upon him, for the time being, the name of any notorious
malefactor or minister; and sometimes when current events were flat
they even sought the pages of history for these distinctions; as Mr
Pitt, Young Brownrigg, and the like. At the period of which we
write, he was generally known among the gentlemen as Bailey junior;
a name bestowed upon him in contradistinction, perhaps, to Old
Bailey; and possibly as involving the recollection of an unfortunate
lady of the same name, who perished by her own hand early in life,
and has been immortalised in a ballad.

The usual Sunday dinner-hour at Todgers's was two o'clock--a
suitable time, it was considered for all parties; convenient to Mrs


Todgers, on account of the bakers; and convenient to the gentlemen
with reference to their afternoon engagements. But on the Sunday
which was to introduce the two Miss Pecksniffs to a full knowledge
of Todgers's and its society, the dinner was postponed until five,
in order that everything might be as genteel as the occasion
demanded.

When the hour drew nigh, Bailey junior, testifying great excitement,
appeared in a complete suit of cast-off clothes several sizes too
large for him, and in particular, mounted a clean shirt of such
extraordinary magnitude, that one of the gentlemen (remarkable for
his ready wit) called him 'collars' on the spot. At about a quarter
before five, a deputation, consisting of Mr Jinkins, and another
gentleman, whose name was Gander, knocked at the door of Mrs
Todgers's room, and, being formally introduced to the two Miss
Pecksniffs by their parent who was in waiting, besought the honour
of conducting them upstairs.

The drawing-room at Todgers's was out of the common style; so much
so indeed, that you would hardly have taken it to be a drawingroom,
unless you were told so by somebody who was in the secret. It was
floor-clothed all over; and the ceiling, including a great beam in
the middle, was papered. Besides the three little windows, with
seats in them, commanding the opposite archway, there was another
window looking point blank, without any compromise at all about it
into Jinkins's bedroom; and high up, all along one side of the wall
was a strip of panes of glass, two-deep, giving light to the
staircase. There were the oddest closets possible, with little
casements in them like eight-day clocks, lurking in the wainscot and
taking the shape of the stairs; and the very door itself (which was
painted black) had two great glass eyes in its forehead, with an
inquisitive green pupil in the middle of each.

Here the gentlemen were all assembled. There was a general cry of
'Hear, hear!' and 'Bravo Jink!' when Mr Jinkins appeared with
Charity on his arm; which became quite rapturous as Mr Gander
followed, escorting Mercy, and Mr Pecksniff brought up the rear with
Mrs Todgers.

Then the presentations took place. They included a gentleman of a
sporting turn, who propounded questions on jockey subjects to the
editors of Sunday papers, which were regarded by his friends as
rather stiff things to answer; and they included a gentleman of a
theatrical turn, who had once entertained serious thoughts of
'coming out,' but had been kept in by the wickedness of human
nature; and they included a gentleman of a debating turn, who was
strong at speech-making; and a gentleman of a literary turn, who
wrote squibs upon the rest, and knew the weak side of everybody's
character but his own. There was a gentleman of a vocal turn, and a
gentleman of a smoking turn, and a gentleman of a convivial turn;
some of the gentlemen had a turn for whist, and a large proportion
of the gentlemen had a strong turn for billiards and betting. They
had all, it may be presumed, a turn for business; being all
commercially employed in one way or other; and had, every one in his
own way, a decided turn for pleasure to boot. Mr Jinkins was of a
fashionable turn; being a regular frequenter of the Parks on
Sundays, and knowing a great many carriages by sight. He spoke
mysteriously, too, of splendid women, and was suspected of having
once committed himself with a Countess. Mr Gander was of a witty
turn being indeed the gentleman who had originated the sally about
'collars;' which sparkling pleasantry was now retailed from mouth to
mouth, under the title of Gander's Last, and was received in all
parts of the room with great applause. Mr Jinkins it may be added,
was much the oldest of the party; being a fish-salesman's book



keeper, aged forty. He was the oldest boarder also; and in right of
his double seniority, took the lead in the house, as Mrs Todgers had
already said.

There was considerable delay in the production of dinner, and poor
Mrs Todgers, being reproached in confidence by Jinkins, slipped in
and out, at least twenty times to see about it; always coming back
as though she had no such thing upon her mind, and hadn't been out
at all. But there was no hitch in the conversation nevertheless;
for one gentleman, who travelled in the perfumery line, exhibited an
interesting nick-nack, in the way of a remarkable cake of shaving
soap which he had lately met with in Germany; and the gentleman of a
literary turn repeated (by desire) some sarcastic stanzas he had
recently produced on the freezing of the tank at the back of the
house. These amusements, with the miscellaneous conversation
arising out of them, passed the time splendidly, until dinner was
announced by Bailey junior in these terms:

'The wittles is up!'

On which notice they immediately descended to the banquet-hall; some
of the more facetious spirits in the rear taking down gentlemen as
if they were ladies, in imitation of the fortunate possessors of the
two Miss Pecksniffs.

Mr Pecksniff said grace--a short and pious grace, involving a
blessing on the appetites of those present, and committing all
persons who had nothing to eat, to the care of Providence; whose
business (so said the grace, in effect) it clearly was, to look
after them. This done, they fell to with less ceremony than
appetite; the table groaning beneath the weight, not only of the
delicacies whereof the Miss Pecksniffs had been previously
forewarned, but of boiled beef, roast veal, bacon, pies and
abundance of such heavy vegetables as are favourably known to
housekeepers for their satisfying qualities. Besides which, there
were bottles of stout, bottles of wine, bottles of ale, and divers
other strong drinks, native and foreign.

All this was highly agreeable to the two Miss Pecksniffs, who were
in immense request; sitting one on either hand of Mr Jinkins at the
bottom of the table; and who were called upon to take wine with some
new admirer every minute. They had hardly ever felt so pleasant,
and so full of conversation, in their lives; Mercy, in particular,
was uncommonly brilliant, and said so many good things in the way of
lively repartee that she was looked upon as a prodigy. 'In short,'
as that young lady observed, 'they felt now, indeed, that they were
in London, and for the first time too.'

Their young friend Bailey sympathized in these feelings to the
fullest extent, and, abating nothing of his patronage, gave them
every encouragement in his power; favouring them, when the general
attention was diverted from his proceedings, with many nods and
winks and other tokens of recognition, and occasionally touching his
nose with a corkscrew, as if to express the Bacchanalian character
of the meeting. In truth, perhaps even the spirits of the two Miss
Pecksniffs, and the hungry watchfulness of Mrs Todgers, were less
worthy of note than the proceedings of this remarkable boy, whom
nothing disconcerted or put out of his way. If any piece of
crockery, a dish or otherwise, chanced to slip through his hands
(which happened once or twice), he let it go with perfect good
breeding, and never added to the painful emotions of the company by
exhibiting the least regret. Nor did he, by hurrying to and fro,
disturb the repose of the assembly, as many well-trained servants
do; on the contrary, feeling the hopelessness of waiting upon so


large a party, he left the gentlemen to help themselves to what they
wanted, and seldom stirred from behind Mr Jinkins's chair, where,
with his hands in his pockets, and his legs planted pretty wide
apart, he led the laughter, and enjoyed the conversation.

The dessert was splendid. No waiting either. The pudding-plates
had been washed in a little tub outside the door while cheese was
on, and though they were moist and warm with friction, still there
they were again, up to the mark, and true to time. Quarts of
almonds; dozens of oranges; pounds of raisins; stacks of biffins;
soup-plates full of nuts.--Oh, Todgers's could do it when it chose!
mind that.

Then more wine came on; red wines and white wines; and a large china
bowl of punch, brewed by the gentleman of a convivial turn, who
adjured the Miss Pecksniffs not to be despondent on account of its
dimensions, as there were materials in the house for the decoction
of half a dozen more of the same size. Good gracious, how they
laughed! How they coughed when they sipped it, because it was so
strong; and how they laughed again when somebody vowed that but for
its colour it might have been mistaken, in regard of its innocuous
qualities, for new milk! What a shout of 'No!' burst from the
gentlemen when they pathetically implored Mr Jinkins to suffer them
to qualify it with hot water; and how blushingly, by little and
little, did each of them drink her whole glassful, down to its very
dregs!

Now comes the trying time. The sun, as Mr Jinkins says (gentlemanly
creature, Jinkins--never at a loss!), is about to leave the
firmament. 'Miss Pecksniff!' says Mrs Todgers, softly, 'will
you--?' 'Oh dear, no more, Mrs Todgers.' Mrs Todgers rises; the
two Miss Pecksniffs rise; all rise. Miss Mercy Pecksniff looks
downward for her scarf. Where is it? Dear me, where CAN it be?
Sweet girl, she has it on; not on her fair neck, but loose upon
her flowing figure. A dozen hands assist her. She is all confusion.
The youngest gentleman in company thirsts to murder Jinkins. She
skips and joins her sister at the door. Her sister has her arm
about the waist of Mrs Todgers. She winds her arm around her
sister. Diana, what a picture! The last things visible are a
shape and a skip. 'Gentlemen, let us drink the ladies!'

The enthusiasm is tremendous. The gentleman of a debating turn
rises in the midst, and suddenly lets loose a tide of eloquence
which bears down everything before it. He is reminded of a toast--a
toast to which they will respond. There is an individual present;
he has him in his eye; to whom they owe a debt of gratitude. He
repeats it--a debt of gratitude. Their rugged natures have been
softened and ameliorated that day, by the society of lovely woman.
There is a gentleman in company whom two accomplished and delightful
females regard with veneration, as the fountain of their existence.
Yes, when yet the two Miss Pecksniffs lisped in language scarce
intelligible, they called that individual 'Father!' There is great
applause. He gives them 'Mr Pecksniff, and God bless him!' They all
shake hands with Mr Pecksniff, as they drink the toast. The
youngest gentleman in company does so with a thrill; for he feels
that a mysterious influence pervades the man who claims that being
in the pink scarf for his daughter.

What saith Mr Pecksniff in reply? Or rather let the question be,
What leaves he unsaid? Nothing. More punch is called for, and
produced, and drunk. Enthusiasm mounts still higher. Every man
comes out freely in his own character. The gentleman of a
theatrical turn recites. The vocal gentleman regales them with a
song. Gander leaves the Gander of all former feasts whole leagues


behind. HE rises to propose a toast. It is, The Father of
Todgers's. It is their common friend Jink--it is old Jink, if he
may call him by that familiar and endearing appellation. The
youngest gentleman in company utters a frantic negative. He won't
have it--he can't bear it--it mustn't be. But his depth of feeling
is misunderstood. He is supposed to be a little elevated; and
nobody heeds him.

Mr Jinkins thanks them from his heart. It is, by many degrees, the
proudest day in his humble career. When he looks around him on the
present occasion, he feels that he wants words in which to express
his gratitude. One thing he will say. He hopes it has been shown
that Todgers's can be true to itself; and that, an opportunity
arising, it can come out quite as strong as its neighbours--perhaps
stronger. He reminds them, amidst thunders of encouragement, that
they have heard of a somewhat similar establishment in Cannon
Street; and that they have heard it praised. He wishes to draw no
invidious comparisons; he would be the last man to do it; but when
that Cannon Street establishment shall be able to produce such a
combination of wit and beauty as has graced that board that day, and
shall be able to serve up (all things considered) such a dinner as
that of which they have just partaken, he will be happy to talk to
it. Until then, gentlemen, he will stick to Todgers's.

More punch, more enthusiasm, more speeches. Everybody's health is
drunk, saving the youngest gentleman's in company. He sits apart,
with his elbow on the back of a vacant chair, and glares
disdainfully at Jinkins. Gander, in a convulsing speech, gives them
the health of Bailey junior; hiccups are heard; and a glass is
broken. Mr Jinkins feels that it is time to join the ladies. He
proposes, as a final sentiment, Mrs Todgers. She is worthy to be
remembered separately. Hear, hear. So she is; no doubt of it.
They all find fault with her at other times; but every man feels
now, that he could die in her defence.

They go upstairs, where they are not expected so soon; for
Mrs Todgers is asleep, Miss Charity is adjusting her hair, and
Mercy, who has made a sofa of one of the window-seats is in a
gracefully recumbent attitude. She is rising hastily, when Mr
Jinkins implores her, for all their sakes, not to stir; she looks
too graceful and too lovely, he remarks, to be disturbed. She
laughs, and yields, and fans herself, and drops her fan, and there
is a rush to pick it up. Being now installed, by one consent, as
the beauty of the party, she is cruel and capricious, and sends
gentlemen on messages to other gentlemen, and forgets all about them
before they can return with the answer, and invents a thousand
tortures, rending their hearts to pieces. Bailey brings up the tea
and coffee. There is a small cluster of admirers round Charity; but
they are only those who cannot get near her sister. The youngest
gentleman in company is pale, but collected, and still sits apart;
for his spirit loves to hold communion with itself, and his soul
recoils from noisy revellers. She has a consciousness of his
presence and adoration. He sees it flashing sometimes in the corner
of her eye. Have a care, Jinkins, ere you provoke a desperate man
to frenzy!

Mr Pecksniff had followed his younger friends upstairs, and taken a
chair at the side of Mrs Todgers. He had also spilt a cup of coffee
over his legs without appearing to be aware of the circumstance; nor
did he seem to know that there was muffin on his knee.

'And how have they used you downstairs, sir?' asked the hostess.

'Their conduct has been such, my dear madam,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'as


I can never think of without emotion, or remember without a tear.
Oh, Mrs Todgers!'

'My goodness!' exclaimed that lady. 'How low you are in your
spirits, sir!'

'I am a man, my dear madam,' said Mr Pecksniff, shedding tears and
speaking with an imperfect articulation, 'but I am also a father. I
am also a widower. My feelings, Mrs Todgers, will not consent to be
entirely smothered, like the young children in the Tower. They are
grown up, and the more I press the bolster on them, the more they
look round the corner of it.'

He suddenly became conscious of the bit of muffin, and stared at it
intently; shaking his head the while, in a forlorn and imbecile
manner, as if he regarded it as his evil genius, and mildly
reproached it.

'She was beautiful, Mrs Todgers,' he said, turning his glazed eye
again upon her, without the least preliminary notice. 'She had a
small property.'

'So I have heard,' cried Mrs Todgers with great sympathy.

'Those are her daughters,' said Mr Pecksniff, pointing out the young
ladies, with increased emotion.

Mrs Todgers had no doubt about it.

'Mercy and Charity,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'Charity and Mercy. Not
unholy names, I hope?'

'Mr Pecksniff!' cried Mrs Todgers. 'What a ghastly smile! Are you
ill, sir?'

He pressed his hand upon her arm, and answered in a solemn manner,
and a faint voice, 'Chronic.'

'Cholic?' cried the frightened Mrs Todgers.

'Chron-ic,' he repeated with some difficulty. 'Chron-ic. A chronic
disorder. I have been its victim from childhood. It is carrying me
to my grave.'

'Heaven forbid!' cried Mrs Todgers.

'Yes, it is,' said Mr Pecksniff, reckless with despair. 'I am
rather glad of it, upon the whole. You are like her, Mrs Todgers.'

'Don't squeeze me so tight, pray, Mr Pecksniff. If any of the
gentlemen should notice us.'

'For her sake,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Permit me--in honour of her
memory. For the sake of a voice from the tomb. You are VERY like
her Mrs Todgers! What a world this is!'

'Ah! Indeed you may say that!' cried Mrs Todgers.

'I'm afraid it is a vain and thoughtless world,' said Mr Pecksniff,
overflowing with despondency. 'These young people about us. Oh!
what sense have they of their responsibilities? None. Give me
your other hand, Mrs Todgers.'

The lady hesitated, and said 'she didn't like.'


'Has a voice from the grave no influence?' said Mr Pecksniff, with,
dismal tenderness. 'This is irreligious! My dear creature.'

'Hush!' urged Mrs Todgers. 'Really you mustn't.'

'It's not me,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Don't suppose it's me; it's the
voice; it's her voice.'

Mrs Pecksniff deceased, must have had an unusually thick and husky
voice for a lady, and rather a stuttering voice, and to say the
truth somewhat of a drunken voice, if it had ever borne much
resemblance to that in which Mr Pecksniff spoke just then. But
perhaps this was delusion on his part.

'It has been a day of enjoyment, Mrs Todgers, but still it has been
a day of torture. It has reminded me of my loneliness. What am I
in the world?'

'An excellent gentleman, Mr Pecksniff,' said Mrs Todgers.

'There is consolation in that too,' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'Am I?'

'There is no better man living,' said Mrs Todgers, 'I am sure.'

Mr Pecksniff smiled through his tears, and slightly shook his head.
'You are very good,' he said, 'thank you. It is a great happiness
to me, Mrs Todgers, to make young people happy. The happiness of my
pupils is my chief object. I dote upon 'em. They dote upon me too-sometimes.'


'Always,' said Mrs Todgers.

'When they say they haven't improved, ma'am,' whispered Mr
Pecksniff, looking at her with profound mystery, and motioning to
her to advance her ear a little closer to his mouth. 'When they say
they haven't improved, ma'am, and the premium was too high, they
lie! I shouldn't wish it to be mentioned; you will understand me;
but I say to you as to an old friend, they lie.'

'Base wretches they must be!' said Mrs Todgers.

'Madam,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'you are right. I respect you for that
observation. A word in your ear. To Parents and Guardians. This
is in confidence, Mrs Todgers?'

'The strictest, of course!' cried that lady.

'To Parents and Guardians,' repeated Mr Pecksniff. 'An eligible
opportunity now offers, which unites the advantages of the best
practical architectural education with the comforts of a home, and
the constant association with some, who, however humble their sphere
and limited their capacity--observe!--are not unmindful of their
moral responsibilities.'

Mrs Todgers looked a little puzzled to know what this might mean, as
well she might; for it was, as the reader may perchance remember, Mr
Pecksniff's usual form of advertisement when he wanted a pupil; and
seemed to have no particular reference, at present, to anything.
But Mr Pecksniff held up his finger as a caution to her not to
interrupt him.

'Do you know any parent or guardian, Mrs Todgers,' said Mr
Pecksniff, 'who desires to avail himself of such an opportunity for


a young gentleman? An orphan would be preferred. Do you know of
any orphan with three or four hundred pound?'

Mrs Todgers reflected, and shook her head.

'When you hear of an orphan with three or four hundred pound,' said
Mr Pecksniff, 'let that dear orphan's friends apply, by letter postpaid,
to S. P., Post Office, Salisbury. I don't know who he is
exactly. Don't be alarmed, Mrs Todgers,' said Mr Pecksniff, falling
heavily against her; 'Chronic--chronic! Let's have a little drop of
something to drink.'

'Bless my life, Miss Pecksniffs!' cried Mrs Todgers, aloud, 'your
dear pa's took very poorly!'

Mr Pecksniff straightened himself by a surprising effort, as every
one turned hastily towards him; and standing on his feet, regarded
the assembly with a look of ineffable wisdom. Gradually it gave
place to a smile; a feeble, helpless, melancholy smile; bland,
almost to sickliness. 'Do not repine, my friends,' said Mr
Pecksniff, tenderly. 'Do not weep for me. It is chronic.' And
with these words, after making a futile attempt to pull off his
shoes, he fell into the fireplace.

The youngest gentleman in company had him out in a second. Yes,
before a hair upon his head was singed, he had him on the hearthrug--
her father!

She was almost beside herself. So was her sister. Jinkins consoled
them both. They all consoled them. Everybody had something to say,
except the youngest gentleman in company, who with a noble selfdevotion
did the heavy work, and held up Mr Pecksniff's head without
being taken notice of by anybody. At last they gathered round, and
agreed to carry him upstairs to bed. The youngest gentleman in
company was rebuked by Jinkins for tearing Mr Pecksniff's coat!
Ha, ha! But no matter.

They carried him upstairs, and crushed the youngest gentleman at
every step. His bedroom was at the top of the house, and it was a
long way; but they got him there in course of time. He asked them
frequently on the road for a little drop of something to drink. It
seemed an idiosyncrasy. The youngest gentleman in company proposed
a draught of water. Mr Pecksniff called him opprobious names for
the suggestion.

Jinkins and Gander took the rest upon themselves, and made him as
comfortable as they could, on the outside of his bed; and when he
seemed disposed to sleep, they left him. But before they had all
gained the bottom of the staircase, a vision of Mr Pecksniff,
strangely attired, was seen to flutter on the top landing. He
desired to collect their sentiments, it seemed, upon the nature of
human life.

'My friends,' cried Mr Pecksniff, looking over the banisters, 'let
us improve our minds by mutual inquiry and discussion. Let us be
moral. Let us contemplate existence. Where is Jinkins?'

'Here,' cried that gentleman. 'Go to bed again'

'To bed!' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Bed! 'Tis the voice of the sluggard,
I hear him complain, you have woke me too soon, I must slumber
again. If any young orphan will repeat the remainder of that simple
piece from Doctor Watts's collection, an eligible opportunity now
offers.'


Nobody volunteered.

'This is very soothing,' said Mr Pecksniff, after a pause.
'Extremely so. Cool and refreshing; particularly to the legs! The
legs of the human subject, my friends, are a beautiful production.
Compare them with wooden legs, and observe the difference between
the anatomy of nature and the anatomy of art. Do you know,' said Mr
Pecksniff, leaning over the banisters, with an odd recollection of
his familiar manner among new pupils at home, 'that I should very
much like to see Mrs Todgers's notion of a wooden leg, if perfectly
agreeable to herself!'

As it appeared impossible to entertain any reasonable hopes of him
after this speech, Mr Jinkins and Mr Gander went upstairs again,
and once more got him into bed. But they had not descended to the
second floor before he was out again; nor, when they had repeated
the process, had they descended the first flight, before he was out
again. In a word, as often as he was shut up in his own room, he
darted out afresh, charged with some new moral sentiment, which he
continually repeated over the banisters, with extraordinary relish,
and an irrepressible desire for the improvement of his fellow
creatures that nothing could subdue.

Under these circumstances, when they had got him into bed for the
thirtieth time or so, Mr Jinkins held him, while his companion went
downstairs in search of Bailey junior, with whom he presently
returned. That youth having been apprised of the service required
of him, was in great spirits, and brought up a stool, a candle, and
his supper; to the end that he might keep watch outside the bedroom
door with tolerable comfort.

When he had completed his arrangements, they locked Mr Pecksniff in,
and left the key on the outside; charging the young page to listen
attentively for symptoms of an apoplectic nature, with which the
patient might be troubled, and, in case of any such presenting
themselves, to summon them without delay. To which Mr Bailey
modestly replied that 'he hoped he knowed wot o'clock it wos in
gineral, and didn't date his letters to his friends from Todgers's
for nothing.'

CHAPTER TEN

CONTAINING STRANGE MATTER, ON WHICH MANY EVENTS IN THIS HISTORY MAY,
FOR THEIR GOOD OR EVIL INFLUENCE, CHIEFLY DEPEND

But Mr Pecksniff came to town on business. Had he forgotten that?
Was he always taking his pleasure with Todgers's jovial brood,
unmindful of the serious demands, whatever they might be, upon his
calm consideration? No.

Time and tide will wait for no man, saith the adage. But all men
have to wait for time and tide. That tide which, taken at the
flood, would lead Seth Pecksniff on to fortune, was marked down in
the table, and about to flow. No idle Pecksniff lingered far
inland, unmindful of the changes of the stream; but there, upon the
water's edge, over his shoes already, stood the worthy creature,
prepared to wallow in the very mud, so that it slid towards the
quarter of his hope.

The trustfulness of his two fair daughters was beautiful indeed.


They had that firm reliance on their parent's nature, which taught
them to feel certain that in all he did he had his purpose straight
and full before him. And that its noble end and object was himself,
which almost of necessity included them, they knew. The devotion of
these maids was perfect.

Their filial confidence was rendered the more touching, by their
having no knowledge of their parent's real designs, in the present
instance. All that they knew of his proceedings was, that every
morning, after the early breakfast, he repaired to the post office
and inquired for letters. That task performed, his business for the
day was over; and he again relaxed, until the rising of another sun
proclaimed the advent of another post.

This went on for four or five days. At length, one morning, Mr
Pecksniff returned with a breathless rapidity, strange to observe in
him, at other times so calm; and, seeking immediate speech with his
daughters, shut himself up with them in private conference for two
whole hours. Of all that passed in this period, only the following
words of Mr Pecksniff's utterance are known:

'How he has come to change so very much (if it should turn out as I
expect, that he has), we needn't stop to inquire. My dears, I have
my thoughts upon the subject, but I will not impart them. It is
enough that we will not be proud, resentful, or unforgiving. If he
wants our friendship he shall have it. We know our duty, I hope!'

That same day at noon, an old gentleman alighted from a hackney-coach
at the post-office, and, giving his name, inquired for a letter
addressed to himself, and directed to be left till called for. It
had been lying there some days. The superscription was in Mr
Pecksniff's hand, and it was sealed with Mr Pecksniff's seal.

It was very short, containing indeed nothing more than an address
'with Mr Pecksniff's respectful, and (not withstanding what has
passed) sincerely affectionate regards.' The old gentleman tore off
the direction--scattering the rest in fragments to the winds--and
giving it to the coachman, bade him drive as near that place as he
could. In pursuance of these instructions he was driven to the
Monument; where he again alighted, and dismissed the vehicle, and
walked towards Todgers's.

Though the face, and form, and gait of this old man, and even his
grip of the stout stick on which he leaned, were all expressive of a
resolution not easily shaken, and a purpose (it matters little
whether right or wrong, just now) such as in other days might have
survived the rack, and had its strongest life in weakest death;
still there were grains of hesitation in his mind, which made him
now avoid the house he sought, and loiter to and fro in a gleam of
sunlight, that brightened the little churchyard hard by. There may
have been, in the presence of those idle heaps of dust among the
busiest stir of life, something to increase his wavering; but there
he walked, awakening the echoes as he paced up and down, until the
church clock, striking the quarters for the second time since he had
been there, roused him from his meditation. Shaking off his
incertitude as the air parted with the sound of the bells, he walked
rapidly to the house, and knocked at the door.

Mr Pecksniff was seated in the landlady's little room, and his
visitor found him reading--by an accident; he apologised for it--an
excellent theological work. There were cake and wine upon a little
table--by another accident, for which he also apologised. Indeed he
said, he had given his visitor up, and was about to partake of that
simple refreshment with his children, when he knocked at the door.


'Your daughters are well?' said old Martin, laying down his hat and
stick.

Mr Pecksniff endeavoured to conceal his agitation as a father when
he answered Yes, they were. They were good girls, he said, very
good. He would not venture to recommend Mr Chuzzlewit to take the
easy-chair, or to keep out of the draught from the door. If he made
any such suggestion, he would expose himself, he feared, to most
unjust suspicion. He would, therefore, content himself with
remarking that there was an easy-chair in the room, and that the
door was far from being air-tight. This latter imperfection, he
might perhaps venture to add, was not uncommonly to be met with in
old houses.

The old man sat down in the easy-chair, and after a few moments'
silence, said:

'In the first place, let me thank you for coming to London so
promptly, at my almost unexplained request; I need scarcely add, at
my cost.'

'At YOUR cost, my good sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff, in a tone of great
surprise.

'It is not,' said Martin, waving his hand impatiently, 'my habit to
put my--well! my relatives--to any personal expense to gratify my
caprices.'

'Caprices, my good sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff

'That is scarcely the proper word either, in this instance,' said
the old man. 'No. You are right.'

Mr Pecksniff was inwardly very much relieved to hear it, though he
didn't at all know why.

'You are right,' repeated Martin. 'It is not a caprice. It is
built up on reason, proof, and cool comparison. Caprices never are.
Moreover, I am not a capricious man. I never was.'

'Most assuredly not,' said Mr Pecksniff.

'How do you know?' returned the other quickly. 'You are to begin to
know it now. You are to test and prove it, in time to come. You
and yours are to find that I can be constant, and am not to be
diverted from my end. Do you hear?'

'Perfectly,' said Mr Pecksniff.

'I very much regret,' Martin resumed, looking steadily at him, and
speaking in a slow and measured tone; 'I very much regret that you
and I held such a conversation together, as that which passed
between us at our last meeting. I very much regret that I laid open
to you what were then my thoughts of you, so freely as I did. The
intentions that I bear towards you now are of another kind; deserted
by all in whom I have ever trusted; hoodwinked and beset by all who
should help and sustain me; I fly to you for refuge. I confide in
you to be my ally; to attach yourself to me by ties of Interest and
Expectation'--he laid great stress upon these words, though Mr
Pecksniff particularly begged him not to mention it; 'and to help me
to visit the consequences of the very worst species of meanness,
dissimulation, and subtlety, on the right heads.'


'My noble sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff, catching at his outstretched
hand. 'And YOU regret the having harboured unjust thoughts of me!
YOU with those grey hairs!'

'Regrets,' said Martin, 'are the natural property of grey hairs; and
I enjoy, in common with all other men, at least my share of such
inheritance. And so enough of that. I regret having been severed
from you so long. If I had known you sooner, and sooner used you as
you well deserve, I might have been a happier man.'

Mr Pecksniff looked up to the ceiling, and clasped his hands in
rapture.

'Your daughters,' said Martin, after a short silence. 'I don't know
them. Are they like you?'

'In the nose of my eldest and the chin of my youngest, Mr
Chuzzlewit,' returned the widower, 'their sainted parent (not
myself, their mother) lives again.'

'I don't mean in person,' said the old man. 'Morally, morally.'

''Tis not for me to say,' retorted Mr Pecksniff with a gentle smile.
'I have done my best, sir.'

'I could wish to see them,' said Martin; 'are they near at hand?'

They were, very near; for they had in fact been listening at the
door from the beginning of this conversation until now, when they
precipitately retired. Having wiped the signs of weakness from his
eyes, and so given them time to get upstairs, Mr Pecksniff opened
the door, and mildly cried in the passage,

'My own darlings, where are you?'

'Here, my dear pa!' replied the distant voice of Charity.

'Come down into the back parlour, if you please, my love,' said Mr
Pecksniff, 'and bring your sister with you.'

'Yes, my dear pa,' cried Merry; and down they came directly (being
all obedience), singing as they came.

Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the two Miss Pecksniffs
when they found a stranger with their dear papa. Nothing could
surpass their mute amazement when he said, 'My children, Mr
Chuzzlewit!' But when he told them that Mr Chuzzlewit and he were
friends, and that Mr Chuzzlewit had said such kind and tender words
as pierced his very heart, the two Miss Pecksniffs cried with one
accord, 'Thank Heaven for this!' and fell upon the old man's neck.
And when they had embraced him with such fervour of affection that
no words can describe it, they grouped themselves about his chair,
and hung over him, as figuring to themselves no earthly joy like
that of ministering to his wants, and crowding into the remainder
of his life, the love they would have diffused over their whole
existence, from infancy, if he--dear obdurate!--had but consented
to receive the precious offering.

The old man looked attentively from one to the other, and then at Mr
Pecksniff, several times.

'What,' he asked of Mr Pecksniff, happening to catch his eye in its
descent; for until now it had been piously upraised, with something
of that expression which the poetry of ages has attributed to a


domestic bird, when breathing its last amid the ravages of an
electric storm: 'What are their names?'

Mr Pecksniff told him, and added, rather hastily; his caluminators
would have said, with a view to any testamentary thoughts that might
be flitting through old Martin's mind; 'Perhaps, my dears, you had
better write them down. Your humble autographs are of no value in
themselves, but affection may prize them.'

'Affection,' said the old man, 'will expend itself on the living
originals. Do not trouble yourselves, my girls, I shall not so
easily forget you, Charity and Mercy, as to need such tokens of
remembrance. Cousin!'

'Sir!' said Mr Pecksniff, with alacrity.

'Do you never sit down?'

'Why--yes--occasionally, sir,' said Mr Pecksniff, who had been
standing all this time.

'Will you do so now?'

'Can you ask me,' returned Mr Pecksniff, slipping into a chair
immediately, 'whether I will do anything that you desire?'

'You talk confidently,' said Martin, 'and you mean well; but I fear
you don't know what an old man's humours are. You don't know what
it is to be required to court his likings and dislikings; to adapt
yourself to his prejudices; to do his bidding, be it what it may; to
bear with his distrusts and jealousies; and always still be zealous
in his service. When I remember how numerous these failings are in
me, and judge of their occasional enormity by the injurious thoughts
I lately entertained of you, I hardly dare to claim you for my
friend.'

'My worthy sir,' returned his relative, 'how CAN you talk in such a
painful strain! What was more natural than that you should make one
slight mistake, when in all other respects you were so very correct,
and have had such reason--such very sad and undeniable reason--to
judge of every one about you in the worst light!'

'True,' replied the other. 'You are very lenient with me.'

'We always said, my girls and I,' cried Mr Pecksniff with increasing
obsequiousness, 'that while we mourned the heaviness of our
misfortune in being confounded with the base and mercenary, still we
could not wonder at it. My dears, you remember?'

Oh vividly! A thousand times!

'We uttered no complaint,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Occasionally we had
the presumption to console ourselves with the remark that Truth
would in the end prevail, and Virtue be triumphant; but not often.
My loves, you recollect?'

Recollect! Could he doubt it! Dearest pa, what strange unnecessary
questions!

'And when I saw you,' resumed Mr Pecksniff, with still greater
deference, 'in the little, unassuming village where we take the
liberty of dwelling, I said you were mistaken in me, my dear sir;
that was all, I think?'


'No--not all,' said Martin, who had been sitting with his hand upon
his brow for some time past, and now looked up again; 'you said much
more, which, added to other circumstances that have come to my
knowledge, opened my eyes. You spoke to me, disinterestedly, on
behalf of--I needn't name him. You know whom I mean.'

Trouble was expressed in Mr Pecksniff's visage, as he pressed his
hot hands together, and replied, with humility, 'Quite
disinterestedly, sir, I assure you.'

'I know it,' said old Martin, in his quiet way. 'I am sure of it.
I said so. It was disinterested too, in you, to draw that herd of
harpies off from me, and be their victim yourself; most other men
would have suffered them to display themselves in all their
rapacity, and would have striven to rise, by contrast, in my
estimation. You felt for me, and drew them off, for which I owe you
many thanks. Although I left the place, I know what passed behind
my back, you see!'

'You amaze me, sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff; which was true enough.

'My knowledge of your proceedings,' said the old man, does not stop
at this. You have a new inmate in your house.'

'Yes, sir,' rejoined the architect, 'I have.'

'He must quit it' said Martin.

'For--for yours?' asked Mr Pecksniff, with a quavering mildness.

'For any shelter he can find,' the old man answered. 'He has
deceived you.'

'I hope not' said Mr Pecksniff, eagerly. 'I trust not. I have been
extremely well disposed towards that young man. I hope it cannot be
shown that he has forfeited all claim to my protection. Deceit-deceit,
my dear Mr Chuzzlewit, would be final. I should hold myself
bound, on proof of deceit, to renounce him instantly.'

The old man glanced at both his fair supporters, but especially at
Miss Mercy, whom, indeed, he looked full in the face, with a greater
demonstration of interest than had yet appeared in his features.
His gaze again encountered Mr Pecksniff, as he said, composedly:

'Of course you know that he has made his matrimonial choice?'

'Oh dear!' cried Mr Pecksniff, rubbing his hair up very stiff upon
his head, and staring wildly at his daughters. 'This is becoming
tremendous!'

'You know the fact?' repeated Martin

'Surely not without his grandfather's consent and approbation my
dear sir!' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'Don't tell me that. For the honour
of human nature, say you're not about to tell me that!'

'I thought he had suppressed it,' said the old man.

The indignation felt by Mr Pecksniff at this terrible disclosure,
was only to be equalled by the kindling anger of his daughters.
What! Had they taken to their hearth and home a secretly contracted
serpent; a crocodile, who had made a furtive offer of his hand; an
imposition on society; a bankrupt bachelor with no effects, trading
with the spinster world on false pretences! And oh, to think that he


should have disobeyed and practised on that sweet, that venerable
gentleman, whose name he bore; that kind and tender guardian; his
more than father--to say nothing at all of mother--horrible,
horrible! To turn him out with ignominy would be treatment much too
good. Was there nothing else that could be done to him? Had he
incurred no legal pains and penalties? Could it be that the
statutes of the land were so remiss as to have affixed no punishment
to such delinquency? Monster; how basely had they been deceived!

'I am glad to find you second me so warmly,' said the old man
holding up his hand to stay the torrent of their wrath. 'I will not
deny that it is a pleasure to me to find you so full of zeal. We
will consider that topic as disposed of.'

'No, my dear sir,' cried Mr Pecksniff, 'not as disposed of, until I
have purged my house of this pollution.'

'That will follow,' said the old man, 'in its own time. I look upon
that as done.'

'You are very good, sir,' answered Mr Pecksniff, shaking his hand.
'You do me honour. You MAY look upon it as done, I assure you.'

'There is another topic,' said Martin, 'on which I hope you will
assist me. You remember Mary, cousin?'

'The young lady that I mentioned to you, my dears, as having
interested me so very much,' remarked Mr Pecksniff. 'Excuse my
interrupting you, sir.'

'I told you her history?' said the old man.

'Which I also mentioned, you will recollect, my dears,' cried Mr
Pecksniff. 'Silly girls, Mr Chuzzlewit--quite moved by it, they
were!

'Whylook now!' said Martinevidently pleased; 'I feared I should
have had to urge her case upon youand ask you to regard her
favourably for my sake. But I find you have no jealousies! Well!
You have no cause for anyto be sure. She has nothing to gain from
memy dearsand she knows it.'

The two Miss Pecksniffs murmured their approval of this wise
arrangementand their cordial sympathy with its interesting object.

'If I could have anticipated what has come to pass between us four'
said the old man thoughfully; 'but it is too late to think of that.
You would receive her courteouslyyoung ladiesand be kind to her
if need were?'

Where was the orphan whom the two Miss Pecksniffs would not have
cherished in their sisterly bosom! But when that orphan was
commended to their care by one on whom the dammed-up love of years
was gushing forthwhat exhaustless stores of pure affection yearned
to expend themselves upon her!

An interval ensuedduring which Mr Chuzzlewitin an absent frame
of mindsat gazing at the groundwithout uttering a word; and as
it was plain that he had no desire to be interrupted in his
meditationsMr Pecksniff and his daughters were profoundly silent
also. During the whole of the foregoing dialoguehe had borne his
part with a coldpassionless promptitudeas though he had learned
and painfully rehearsed it all a hundred times. Even when his
expressions were warmest and his language most encouraginghe had


retained the same mannerwithout the least abatement. But now
there was a keener brightness in his eyeand more expression in his
voiceas he saidawakening from his thoughtful mood:

'You know what will be said of this? Have you reflected?'

'Said of whatmy dear sir?' Mr Pecksniff asked.

'Of this new understanding between us.'

Mr Pecksniff looked benevolently sagaciousand at the same time far
above all earthly misconstructionas he shook his headand
observed that a great many things would be said of itno doubt.

'A great many' rejoined the old man. 'Some will say that I dote in
my old age; that illness has shaken me; that I have lost all
strength of mindand have grown childish. You can bear that?'

Mr Pecksniff answered that it would be dreadfully hard to bearbut
he thought he couldif he made a great effort.

'Others will say--I speak of disappointedangry people only--that
you have lied and fawnedand wormed yourself through dirty ways
into my favour; by such concessions and such crooked deedssuch
meannesses and vile endurancesas nothing could repay; nonot the
legacy of half the world we live in. You can bear that?'

Mr Pecksniff made reply that this would be also very hard to bear
as reflectingin some degreeon the discernment of Mr Chuzzlewit.
Still he had a modest confidence that he could sustain the calumny
with the help of a good conscienceand that gentleman's friendship.

'With the great mass of slanderers' said old Martinleaning back
in his chair'the taleas I clearly foreseewill run thus: That
to mark my contempt for the rabble whom I despisedI chose from
among them the very worstand made him do my willand pampered and
enriched him at the cost of all the rest. Thatafter casting about
for the means of a punishment which should rankle in the bosoms of
these kites the mostand strike into their gallI devised this
scheme at a time when the last link in the chain of grateful love
and dutythat held me to my racewas roughly snapped asunder;
roughlyfor I loved him well; roughlyfor I had ever put my trust
in his affection; roughlyfor that he broke it when I loved him
most--God help me!--and he without a pang could throw me offwhile I
clung about his heart! Now' said the old mandismissing this
passionate outburst as suddenly as he had yielded to it'is your
mind made up to bear this likewise? Lay your account with having it
to bearand put no trust in being set right by me.'

'My dear Mr Chuzzlewit' cried Pecksniff in an ecstasy'for such a
man as you have shown yourself to be this day; for a man so injured
yet so very humane; for a man so--I am at a loss what precise term
to use--yet at the same time so remarkably--I don't know how to
express my meaning; for such a man as I have describedI hope it is
no presumption to say that Iand I am sure I may add my children
also (my dearswe perfectly agree in thisI think?)would bear
anything whatever!'

'Enough' said Martin. 'You can charge no consequences on me. When
do you retire home?'

'Whenever you pleasemy dear sir. To-night if you desire it.'

'I desire nothing' returned the old man'that is unreasonable.


Such a request would be. Will you be ready to return at the end of
this week?'

The very time of all others that Mr Pecksniff would have suggested
if it had been left to him to make his own choice. As to his
daughters--the words'Let us be at home on Saturdaydear pa' were
actually upon their lips.

'Your expensescousin' said Martintaking a folded slip of paper
from his pocketbook'may possibly exceed that amount. If solet
me know the balance that I owe youwhen we next meet. It would be
useless if I told you where I live just now; indeedI have no fixed
abode. When I haveyou shall know it. You and your daughters may
expect to see me before long; in the meantime I need not tell you
that we keep our own confidence. What you will do when you get home
is understood between us. Give me no account of it at any time; and
never refer to it in any way. I ask that as a favour. I am
commonly a man of few wordscousin; and all that need be said just
now is saidI think.'

'One glass of wine--one morsel of this homely cake?' cried Mr
Pecksniffventuring to detain him. 'My dears--!'

The sisters flew to wait upon him.

'Poor girls!' said Mr Pecksniff. 'You will excuse their agitation
my dear sir. They are made up of feeling. A bad commodity to go
through the world withMr Chuzzlewit! My youngest daughter is
almost as much of a woman as my eldestis she notsir?'

'Which IS the youngest?' asked the old man.

'Mercyby five years' said Mr Pecksniff. 'We sometimes venture to
consider her rather a fine figuresir. Speaking as an artistI
may perhaps be permitted to suggest that its outline is graceful and
correct. I am naturally' said Mr Pecksniffdrying his hands upon
his handkerchiefand looking anxiously in his cousin's face at
almost every word'proudif I may use the expressionto have a
daughter who is constructed on the best models.'

'She seems to have a lively disposition' observed Martin.

'Dear me!' said Mr Pecksniff. 'That is quite remarkable. You have
defined her charactermy dear siras correctly as if you had known
her from her birth. She HAS a lively disposition. I assure youmy
dear sirthat in our unpretending home her gaiety is delightful.'

'No doubt' returned the old man.

'Charityupon the other hand' said Mr Pecksniff'is remarkable
for strong senseand for rather a deep tone of sentimentif the
partiality of a father may be excused in saying so. A wonderful
affection between themmy dear sir! Allow me to drink your health.
Bless you!'

'I little thought' retorted Martin'but a month agothat I should
be breaking bread and pouring wine with you. I drink to you.'

Not at all abashed by the extraordinary abruptness with which these
latter words were spokenMr Pecksniff thanked him devoutly.

'Now let me go' said Martinputting down the wine when he had
merely touched it with his lips. 'My dearsgood morning!'


But this distant form of farewell was by no means tender enough for
the yearnings of the young ladieswho again embraced him with all
their hearts--with all their arms at any rate--to which parting
caresses their new-found friend submitted with a better grace than
might have been expected from one whonot a moment beforehad
pledged their parent in such a very uncomfortable manner. These
endearments terminatedhe took a hasty leave of Mr Pecksniff and
withdrewfollowed to the door by both father and daughterswho
stood there kissing their hands and beaming with affection until he
disappeared; thoughby the wayhe never once looked backafter he
had crossed the threshold.

When they returned into the houseand were again alone in Mrs
Todgers's roomthe two young ladies exhibited an unusual amount of
gaiety; insomuch that they clapped their handsand laughedand
looked with roguish aspects and a bantering air upon their dear
papa. This conduct was so very unaccountablethat Mr Pecksniff
(being singularly grave himself) could scarcely choose but ask them
what it meant; and took them to taskin his gentle mannerfor
yielding to such light emotions.

'If it was possible to divine any cause for this merrimenteven the
most remote' he said'I should not reprove you. But when you can
have none whatever--ohreallyreally!'

This admonition had so little effect on Mercythat she was obliged
to hold her handkerchief before her rosy lipsand to throw herself
back in her chairwith every demonstration of extreme amusement;
which want of duty so offended Mr Pecksniff that he reproved her in
set termsand gave her his parental advice to correct herself in
solitude and contemplation. But at that juncture they were
disturbed by the sound of voices in dispute; and as it proceeded
from the next roomthe subject matter of the altercation quickly
reached their ears.

'I don't care that! Mrs Todgers' said the young gentleman who had
been the youngest gentleman in company on the day of the festival;
'I don't care THATma'am' said hesnapping his fingers'for
Jinkins. Don't suppose I do.'

'I am quite certain you don'tsir' replied Mrs Todgers. 'You have
too independent a spiritI knowto yield to anybody. And quite
right. There is no reason why you should give way to any gentleman.
Everybody must be well aware of that.'

'I should think no more of admitting daylight into the fellow' said
the youngest gentlemanin a desperate voice'than if he was a
bulldog.'

Mrs Todgers did not stop to inquire whetheras a matter of
principlethere was any particular reason for admitting daylight
even into a bulldogotherwise than by the natural channel of his
eyesbut she seemed to wring her handsand she moaned.

'Let him be careful' said the youngest gentleman. 'I give him
warning. No man shall step between me and the current of my
vengeance. I know a Cove--' he used that familiar epithet in his
agitation but corrected himself by adding'a gentleman of property
I mean--who practices with a pair of pistols (fellows too) of his
own. If I am driven to borrow 'emand to send at friend to Jinkins
a tragedy will get into the papers. That's all.'

Again Mrs Todgers moaned.


'I have borne this long enough' said the youngest gentleman but now
my soul rebels against itand I won't stand it any longer. I left
home originallybecause I had that within me which wouldn't be
domineered over by a sister; and do you think I'm going to be put
down by HIM? No.'

'It is very wrong in Mr Jinkins; I know it is perfectly inexcusable
in Mr Jinkinsif he intends it' observed Mrs Todgers

'If he intends it!' cried the youngest gentleman. 'Don't he
interrupt and contradict me on every occasion? Does he ever fail to
interpose himself between me and anything or anybody that he sees I
have set my mind upon? Does he make a point of always pretending to
forget mewhen he's pouring out the beer? Does he make bragging
remarks about his razorsand insulting allusions to people who have
no necessity to shave more than once a week? But let him look out!
He'll find himself shavedpretty closebefore longand so I tell
him.'

The young gentleman was mistaken in this closing sentenceinasmuch
as he never told it to Jinkinsbut always to Mrs Todgers.

'However' he said'these are not proper subjects for ladies' ears.
All I've got to say to youMrs Todgersisa week's notice from
next Saturday. The same house can't contain that miscreant and me
any longer. If we get over the intermediate time without bloodshed
you may think yourself pretty fortunate. I don't myself expect we
shall.'

'Deardear!' cried Mrs Todgers'what would I have given to have
prevented this? To lose yousirwould be like losing the house's
right-hand. So popular as you are among the gentlemen; so generally
looked up to; and so much liked! I do hope you'll think better of
it; if on nobody else's accounton mine.'

'There's Jinkins' said the youngest gentlemanmoodily. 'Your
favourite. He'll console youand the gentlemen toofor the loss
of twenty such as me. I'm not understood in this house. I never
have been.'

'Don't run away with that opinionsir!' cried Mrs Todgerswith a
show of honest indignation. 'Don't make such a charge as that
against the establishmentI must beg of you. It is not so bad as
that comes tosir. Make any remark you please against the
gentlemenor against me; but don't say you're not understood in
this house.'

'I'm not treated as if I was' said the youngest gentleman.

'There you make a great mistakesir' returned Mrs Todgersin the
same strain. 'As many of the gentlemen and I have often saidyou
are too sensitive. That's where it is. You are of too susceptible
a nature; it's in your spirit.'

The young gentleman coughed.

'And as' said Mrs Todgers'as to Mr JinkinsI must beg of youif
we ARE to partto understand that I don't abet Mr Jinkins by any
means. Far from it. I could wish that Mr Jinkins would take a
lower tone in this establishmentand would not be the means of
raising differences between me and gentlemen that I can much less
bear to part with than I could with Mr Jinkins. Mr Jinkins is not
such a boardersir' added Mrs Todgers'that all considerations of
private feeling and respect give way before him. Quite the


contraryI assure you.'

The young gentleman was so much mollified by these and similar
speeches on the part of Mrs Todgersthat he and that lady gradually
changed positions; so that she became the injured partyand he was
understood to be the injurer; but in a complimentarynot in an
offensive sense; his cruel conduct being attributable to his exalted
natureand to that alone. Soin the endthe young gentleman
withdrew his noticeand assured Mrs Todgers of his unalterable
regard; and having done sowent back to business.

'Goodness meMiss Pecksniffs!' cried that ladyas she came into
the back roomand sat wearily downwith her basket on her knees
and her hands folded upon it'what a trial of temper it is to keep
a house like this! You must have heard most of what has just passed.
Now did you ever hear the like?'

'Never!' said the two Miss Pecksniffs.

'Of all the ridiculous young fellows that ever I had to deal with'
resumed Mrs Todgers'that is the most ridiculous and unreasonable.
Mr Jinkins is hard upon him sometimesbut not half as hard as he
deserves. To mention such a gentleman as Mr Jinkins in the same
breath with HIM--you know it's too much! And yet he's as jealous
of himbless youas if he was his equal.'

The young ladies were greatly entertained by Mrs Todgers's account
no less than with certain anecdotes illustrative of the youngest
gentleman's characterwhich she went on to tell them. But Mr
Pecksniff looked quite stern and angry; and when she had concluded
said in a solemn voice:

'PrayMrs Todgersif I may inquirewhat does that young gentleman
contribute towards the support of these premises?'

'Whysirfor what HE hashe pays about eighteen shillings a
week!' said Mrs Todgers.

'Eighteen shillings a week!' repeated Mr Pecksniff.

'Taking one week with another; as near that as possible' said Mrs
Todgers.

Mr Pecksniff rose from his chairfolded his armslooked at her
and shook his head.

'And do you mean to sayma'am--is it possibleMrs Todgers--that
for such a miserable consideration as eighteen shillings a weeka
female of your understanding can so far demean herself as to wear a
double faceeven for an instant?'

'I am forced to keep things on the square if I cansir' faltered
Mrs Todgers. 'I must preserve peace among themand keep my
connection togetherif possibleMr Pecksniff. The profit is very
small.'

'The profit!' cried that gentlemanlaying great stress upon the
word. 'The profitMrs Todgers! You amaze me!'

He was so severethat Mrs Todgers shed tears.

'The profit!' repeated Mr pecksniff. 'The profit of dissimulation!
To worship the golden calf of Baalfor eighteen shillings a week!'


'Don't in your own goodness be too hard upon meMr Pecksniff'
cried Mrs Todgerstaking out her handkerchief.

'Oh CalfCalf!' cried Mr Pecksniff mournfully. 'OhBaalBaal! oh
my friendMrs Todgers! To barter away that precious jewelselfesteem
and cringe to any mortal creature--for eighteen shillings a
week!'

He was so subdued and overcome by the reflectionthat he
immediately took down his hat from its peg in the passageand went
out for a walkto compose his feelings. Anybody passing him in the
street might have known him for a good man at first sight; for his
whole figure teemed with a consciousness of the moral homily he had
read to Mrs Todgers.

Eighteen shillings a week! Justmost justthy censureupright
Pecksniff! Had it been for the sake of a ribbonstaror garter;
sleeves of lawna great man's smilea seat in parliamenta tap
upon the shoulder from a courtly sword; a placea partyor a
thriving lieor eighteen thousand poundsor even eighteen
hundred;--but to worship the golden calf for eighteen shillings a
week! oh pitifulpitiful!

CHAPTER ELEVEN

WHEREIN A CERTAIN GENTLEMAN BECOMES PARTICULAR IN HIS ATTENTIONS TO
A CERTAIN LADY; AND MORE COMING EVENTS THAN ONECAST THEIR SHADOWS
BEFORE

The family were within two or three days of their departure from Mrs
Todgers'sand the commercial gentlemen were to a man despondent and
not to be comfortedbecause of the approaching separationwhen
Bailey juniorat the jocund time of noonpresented himself before
Miss Charity Pecksniffthen sitting with her sister in the banquet
chamberhemming six new pocket-handkerchiefs for Mr Jinkins; and
having expressed a hopepreliminary and piousthat he might be
blestgave her in his pleasant way to understand that a visitor
attended to pay his respects to herand was at that moment waiting
in the drawing-room. Perhaps this last announcement showed in a
more striking point of view than many lengthened speeches could have
donethe trustfulness and faith of Bailey's nature; since he had
in factlast seen the visitor on the door-matwhereafter
signifying to him that he would do well to go upstairshe had left
him to the guidance of his own sagacity. Hence it was at least an
even chance that the visitor was then wandering on the roof of the
houseor vainly seeking to extricate himself from the maze of
bedrooms; Todgers's being precisely that kind of establishment in
which an unpiloted stranger is pretty sure to find himself in some
place where he least expects and least desires to be.

'A gentleman for me!' cried Charitypausing in her work; 'my
graciousBailey!'

'Ah!' said Bailey. 'It IS my graciousan't it? Wouldn't I be
gracious neithernot if I wos him!'

The remark was rendered somewhat obscure in itselfby reason (as
the reader may have observed) of a redundancy of negatives; but
accompanied by action expressive of a faithful couple walking armin-
arm towards a parochial churchmutually exchanging looks of
loveit clearly signified this youth's conviction that the caller's


purpose was of an amorous tendency. Miss Charity affected to
reprove so great a liberty; but she could not help smiling. He was
a strange boyto be sure. There was always some ground of
probability and likelihood mingled with his absurd behaviour. That
was the best of it!

'But I don't know any gentlemenBailey' said Miss Pecksniff. 'I
think you must have made a mistake.'

Mr Bailey smiled at the extreme wildness of such a suppositionand
regarded the young ladies with unimpaired affability.

'My dear Merry' said Charity'who CAN it be? Isn't it odd? I
have a great mind not to go to him really. So very strangeyou
know!'

The younger sister plainly considered that this appeal had its
origin in the pride of being called upon and asked for; and that it
was intended as an assertion of superiorityand a retaliation upon
her for having captured the commercial gentlemen. Thereforeshe
repliedwith great affection and politenessthat it wasno doubt
very strange indeed; and that she was totally at a loss to conceive
what the ridiculous person unknown could mean by it.

'Quite impossible to divine!' said Charitywith some sharpness
'though stillat the same timeyou needn't be angrymy dear.'

'Thank you' retorted Merrysinging at her needle. 'I am quite
aware of thatmy love.'

'I am afraid your head is turnedyou silly thing' said Cherry.

'Do you knowmy dear' said Merrywith engaging candour'that I
have been afraid of thatmyselfall along! So much incense and
nonsenseand all the rest of itis enough to turn a stronger head
than mine. What a relief it must be to youmy dearto be so very
comfortable in that respectand not to be worried by those odious
men! How do you do itCherry?'

This artless inquiry might have led to turbulent resultsbut for
the strong emotions of delight evinced by Bailey juniorwhose
relish in the turn the conversation had lately taken was so acute
that it impelled and forced him to the instantaneous performance of
a dancing stepextremely difficult in its natureand only to be
achieved in a moment of ecstasywhich is commonly called The Frog's
Hornpipe. A manifestation so livelybrought to their immediate
recollection the great virtuous precept'Keep up appearances
whatever you do' in which they had been educated. They forbore at
onceand jointly signified to Mr Bailey that if he should presume
to practice that figure any more in their presencethey would
instantly acquaint Mrs Todgers with the factand would demand his
condign punishmentat the hands of that lady. The young gentleman
having expressed the bitterness of his contrition by affecting to
wipe away scalding tears with his apronand afterwards feigning to
wring a vast amount of water from that garmentheld the door open
while Miss Charity passed out; and so that damsel went in state
upstairs to receive her mysterious adorer.

By some strange occurrence of favourable circumstances he had found
out the drawing-roomand was sitting there alone.

'Ahcousin!' he said. 'Here I amyou see. You thought I was
lostI'll be bound. Well! how do you find yourself by this time?'


Miss Charity replied that she was quite welland gave Mr Jonas
Chuzzlewit her hand.

'That's right' said Mr Jonas'and you've got over the fatigues of
the journey have you? I say. How's the other one?'

'My sister is very wellI believe' returned the young lady. 'I
have not heard her complain of any indispositionsir. Perhaps you
would like to see herand ask her yourself?'

'Nono cousin!' said Mr Jonassitting down beside her on the
window-seat. 'Don't be in a hurry. There's no occasion for that
you know. What a cruel girl you are!'

'It's impossible for YOU to know' said Cherry'whether I am or
not.'

'Wellperhaps it is' said Mr Jonas. 'I say--Did you think I was
lost? You haven't told me that.'

'I didn't think at all about it' answered Cherry.

'Didn't you though?' said Jonaspondering upon this strange reply.
'Did the other one?'

'I am sure it's impossible for me to say what my sister mayor may
not have thought on such a subject' cried Cherry. 'She never said
anything to me about itone way or other.'

'Didn't she laugh about it?' inquired Jonas.

'No. She didn't even laugh about it' answered Charity.

'She's a terrible one to laughan't she?' said Jonaslowering his
voice.

'She is very lively' said Cherry.

'Liveliness is a pleasant thing--when it don't lead to spending
money. An't it?' asked Mr Jonas.

'Very much soindeed' said Cherrywith a demureness of manner
that gave a very disinterested character to her assent.

'Such liveliness as yours I meanyou know' observed Mr Jonasas
he nudged her with his elbow. 'I should have come to see you
beforebut I didn't know where you was. How quick you hurried off
that morning!'

'I was amenable to my papa's directions' said Miss Charity.

'I wish he had given me his direction' returned her cousin'and
then I should have found you out before. WhyI shouldn't have
found you even nowif I hadn't met him in the street this morning.
What a sleeksly chap he is! Just like a tomcatan't he?'

'I must trouble you to have the goodness to speak more respectfully
of my papaMr Jonas' said Charity. 'I can't allow such a tone as
thateven in jest.'

'Ecodyou may say what you like of MY fatherthenand so I give
you leave' said Jonas. 'I think it's liquid aggravation that
circulates through his veinsand not regular blood. How old should
you think my father wascousin?'


'Oldno doubt' replied Miss Charity; 'but a fine old gentleman.'

'A fine old gentleman!' repeated Jonasgiving the crown of his hat
an angry knock. 'Ah! It's time he was thinking of being drawn out a
little finer too. Whyhe's eighty!'

'Is heindeed?' said the young lady.

'And ecod' cried Jonas'now he's gone so far without giving inI
don't see much to prevent his being ninety; nonor even a hundred.
Whya man with any feeling ought to be ashamed of being eightylet
alone more. Where's his religionI should like to knowwhen he
goes flying in the face of the Bible like that? Threescore-andten's
the markand no man with a conscienceand a proper sense of
what's expected of himhas any business to live longer.'

Is any one surprised at Mr Jonas making such a reference to such a
book for such a purpose? Does any one doubt the old sawthat the
Devil (being a layman) quotes Scripture for his own ends? If he
will take the trouble to look about himhe may find a greater
number of confirmations of the fact in the occurrences of any single
daythan the steam-gun can discharge balls in a minute.

'But there's enough of my father' said Jonas; 'it's of no use to go
putting one's self out of the way by talking about HIM. I called to
ask you to come and take a walkcousinand see some of the sights;
and to come to our house afterwardsand have a bit of something.
Pecksniff will most likely look in in the eveninghe saysand
bring you home. Seehere's his writing; I made him put it down
this morning when he told me he shouldn't be back before I came
here; in case you wouldn't believe me. There's nothing like proof
is there? Haha! I say--you'll bring the other oneyou know!'

Miss Charity cast her eyes upon her father's autographwhich merely
said--'Gomy childrenwith your cousin. Let there be union among
us when it is possible;' and after enough of hesitation to impart a
proper value to her consentwithdrew to prepare her sister and
herself for the excursion. She soon returnedaccompanied by Miss
Mercywho was by no means pleased to leave the brilliant triumphs
of Todgers's for the society of Mr Jonas and his respected father.

'Aha!' cried Jonas. 'There you areare you?'

'Yesfright' said Mercy'here I am; and I would much rather be
anywhere elseI assure you.'

'You don't mean that' cried Mr Jonas. 'You can'tyou know. It
isn't possible.'

'You can have what opinion you likefright' retorted Mercy. 'I am
content to keep mine; and mine is that you are a very unpleasant
odiousdisagreeable person.' Here she laughed heartilyand seemed
to enjoy herself very much.

'Ohyou're a sharp gal!' said Mr Jonas. 'She's a regular teaser
an't shecousin?'

Miss Charity replied in effectthat she was unable to say what the
habits and propensities of a regular teaser might be; and that even
if she possessed such informationit would ill become her to admit
the existence of any creature with such an unceremonious name in her
family; far less in the person of a beloved sister; 'whatever'
added Cherry with an angry glance'whatever her real nature may


be.'

'Wellmy dear' said Merry'the only observation I have to make
isthat if we don't go out at onceI shall certainly take my
bonnet off againand stay at home.'

This threat had the desired effect of preventing any farther
altercationfor Mr Jonas immediately proposed an adjournmentand
the same being carried unanimouslythey departed from the house
straightway. On the doorstepMr Jonas gave an arm to each cousin;
which act of gallantry being observed by Bailey juniorfrom the
garret windowwas by him saluted with a loud and violent fit of
coughingto which paroxysm he was still the victim when they turned
the corner.

Mr Jonas inquired in the first instance if they were good walkers
and being answered'Yes' submitted their pedestrian powers to a
pretty severe test; for he showed them as many sightsin the way of
bridgeschurchesstreetsoutsides of theatresand other free
spectaclesin that one forenoonas most people see in a
twelvemonth. It was observable in this gentlemanthat he had an
insurmountable distaste to the insides of buildingsand that he was
perfectly acquainted with the merits of all showsin respect of
which there was any charge for admissionwhich it seemed were every
one detestableand of the very lowest grade of merit. He was so
thoroughly possessed with this opinionthat when Miss Charity
happened to mention the circumstance of their having been twice or
thrice to the theatre with Mr Jinkins and partyhe inquiredas a
matter of course'where the orders came from?' and being told that
Mr Jinkins and party paidwas beyond description entertained
observing that 'they must be nice flatscertainly;' and often in
the course of the walkbursting out again into a perfect convulsion
of laughter at the surpassing silliness of those gentlemenand
(doubtless) at his own superior wisdom.

When they had been out for some hours and were thoroughly fatigued
it being by that time twilightMr Jonas intimated that he would
show them one of the best pieces of fun with which he was
acquainted. This joke was of a practical kindand its humour lay
in taking a hackney-coach to the extreme limits of possibility for a
shilling. Happily it brought them to the place where Mr Jonas
dweltor the young ladies might have rather missed the point and
cream of the jest.

The old-established firm of Anthony Chuzzlewit and SonManchester
Warehousemenand so forthhad its place of business in a very
narrow street somewhere behind the Post Office; where every house
was in the brightest summer morning very gloomy; and where light
porters watered the pavementeach before his own employer's
premisesin fantastic patternsin the dog-days; and where spruce
gentlemen with their hands in the pockets of symmetrical trousers
were always to be seen in warm weathercontemplating their
undeniable boots in dusty warehouse doorways; which appeared to be
the hardest work they didexcept now and then carrying pens behind
their ears. A dimdirtysmokytumble-downrotten old house it
wasas anybody would desire to see; but there the firm of Anthony
Chuzzlewit and Son transacted all their business and their pleasure
toosuch as it was; for neither the young man nor the old had any
other residenceor any care or thought beyond its narrow limits.

Businessas may be readily supposedwas the main thing in this
establishment; insomuch indeed that it shouldered comfort out of
doorsand jostled the domestic arrangements at every turn. Thus in
the miserable bedrooms there were files of moth-eaten letters


hanging up against the walls; and linen rollersand fragments of
old patternsand odds and ends of spoiled goodsstrewed upon the
ground; while the meagre bedsteadswashing-standsand scraps of
carpetwere huddled away into corners as objects of secondary
considerationnot to be thought of but as disagreeable necessities
furnishing no profitand intruding on the one affair of life. The
single sitting-room was on the same principlea chaos of boxes and
old papersand had more counting-house stools in it than chairs;
not to mention a great monster of a desk straddling over the middle
of the floorand an iron safe sunk into the wall above the fireplace.
The solitary little table for purposes of refection and social
enjoymentbore as fair a proportion to the desk and other business
furnitureas the graces and harmless relaxations of life had ever
donein the persons of the old man and his sonto their pursuit
of wealth. It was meanly laid out now for dinner; and in a chair
before the fire sat Anthony himselfwho rose to greet his son
and his fair cousins as they entered.

An ancient proverb warns us that we should not expect to find old
heads upon young shoulders; to which it may be added that we seldom
meet with that unnatural combinationbut we feel a strong desire to
knock them off; merely from an inherent love we have of seeing
things in their right places. It is not improbable that many men
in no wise choleric by naturefelt this impulse rising up within
themwhen they first made the acquaintance of Mr Jonas; but if
they had known him more intimately in his own houseand had sat
with him at his own boardit would assuredly have been paramount to
all other considerations.

'Wellghost!' said Mr Jonasdutifully addressing his parent by
that title. 'Is dinner nearly ready?'

'I should think it was' rejoined the old man.

'What's the good of that?' rejoined the son. 'I should think it
was. I want to know.'

'Ah! I don't know for certain' said Anthony.

'You don't know for certain' rejoined his son in a lower tone.
'No. You don't know anything for certainYOU don't. Give me your
candle here. I want it for the gals.'

Anthony handed him a battered old office candlestickwith which Mr
Jonas preceded the young ladies to the nearest bedroomwhere he
left them to take off their shawls and bonnets; and returning
occupied himself in opening a bottle of winesharpening the
carving-knifeand muttering compliments to his fatheruntil they
and the dinner appeared together. The repast consisted of a hot leg
of mutton with greens and potatoes; and the dishes having been set
upon the table by a slipshod old womanthey were left to enjoy it
after their own manner.

'Bachelor's Hallyou knowcousin' said Mr Jonas to Charity. 'I
say--the other one will be having a laugh at this when she gets
homewon't she? Here; you sit on the right side of meand I'll
have her upon the left. Other onewill you come here?'

'You're such a fright' replied Mercy'that I know I shall have no
appetite if I sit so near you; but I suppose I must.'

'An't she lively?' whispered Mr Jonas to the elder sisterwith his
favourite elbow emphasis.


'Oh I really don't know!' replied Miss Pecksnifftartly. 'I am
tired of being asked such ridiculous questions.'

'What's that precious old father of mine about now?' said Mr Jonas
seeing that his parent was travelling up and down the room instead
of taking his seat at table. 'What are you looking for?'

'I've lost my glassesJonas' said old Anthony.

'Sit down without your glassescan't you?' returned his son. 'You
don't eat or drink out of 'emI think; and where's that sleepyheaded
old Chuffey got to! Nowstupid. Oh! you know your namedo
you?'

It would seem that he didn'tfor he didn't come until the father
called. As he spokethe door of a small glass officewhich was
partitioned off from the rest of the roomwas slowly openedand a
little blear-eyedweazen-facedancient man came creeping out. He
was of a remote fashionand dustylike the rest of the furniture;
he was dressed in a decayed suit of black; with breeches garnished
at the knees with rusty wisps of ribbonthe very paupers of
shoestrings; on the lower portion of his spindle legs were dingy
worsted stockings of the same colour. He looked as if he had
been put away and forgotten half a century beforeand somebody
had just found him in a lumber-closet.

Such as he washe came slowly creeping on towards the tableuntil
at last he crept into the vacant chairfrom whichas his dim
faculties became conscious of the presence of strangersand those
strangers ladieshe rose againapparently intending to make a bow.
But he sat down once more without having made itand breathing on
his shrivelled hands to warm themremained with his poor blue nose
immovable above his platelooking at nothingwith eyes that saw
nothingand a face that meant nothing. Take him in that stateand
he was an embodiment of nothing. Nothing else.

'Our clerk' said Mr Jonasas host and master of the ceremonies:
'Old Chuffey.'

'Is he deaf?' inquired one of the young ladies.

'NoI don't know that he is. He an't deafis hefather?'

'I never heard him say he was' replied the old man.

'Blind?' inquired the young ladies.

'N--no. I never understood that he was at all blind' said Jonas
carelessly. 'You don't consider him sodo youfather?'

'Certainly not' replied Anthony.

'What is hethen?'

'WhyI'll tell you what he is' said Mr Jonasapart to the young
ladies'he's precious oldfor one thing; and I an't best pleased
with him for thatfor I think my father must have caught it of him.
He's a strange old chapfor another' he added in a louder voice
'and don't understand any one hardlybut HIM!' He pointed to his
honoured parent with the carving-forkin order that they might know
whom he meant.

'How very strange!' cried the sisters.


'Whyyou see' said Mr Jonas'he's been addling his old brains
with figures and book-keeping all his life; and twenty years ago or
so he went and took a fever. All the time he was out of his head
(which was three weeks) he never left off casting up; and he got to
so many million at last that I don't believe he's ever been quite
right since. We don't do much business now thoughand he an't a
bad clerk.'

'A very good one' said Anthony.

'Well! He an't a dear one at all events' observed Jonas; 'and he
earns his saltwhich is enough for our look-out. I was telling you
that he hardly understands any one except my father; he always
understands himthoughand wakes up quite wonderful. He's been
used to his ways so longyou see! WhyI've seen him play whist
with my father for a partner; and a good rubber too; when he had no
more notion what sort of people he was playing againstthan you
have.'

'Has he no appetite?' asked Merry.

'Ohyes' said Jonasplying his own knife and fork very fast. 'He
eats--when he's helped. But he don't care whether he waits a minute
or an houras long as father's here; so when I'm at all sharp set
as I am to-dayI come to him after I've taken the edge off my own
hungeryou know. NowChuffeystupidare you ready?'

Chuffey remained immovable.

'Always a perverse old filehe was' said Mr Jonascoolly helping
himself to another slice. 'Ask himfather.'

'Are you ready for your dinnerChuffey?' asked the old man

'Yesyes' said Chuffeylighting up into a sentient human creature
at the first sound of the voiceso that it was at once a curious
and quite a moving sight to see him. 'Yesyes. Quite readyMr
Chuzzlewit. Quite readysir. All readyall readyall ready.'
With that he stoppedsmilinglyand listened for some further
address; but being spoken to no morethe light forsook his face by
little and littleuntil he was nothing again.

'He'll be very disagreeablemind' said Jonasaddressing his
cousins as he handed the old man's portion to his father. 'He
always chokes himself when it an't broth. Look at himnow! Did
you ever see a horse with such a wall-eyed expression as he's got?
If it hadn't been for the joke of it I wouldn't have let him come
in to-day; but I thought he'd amuse you.'

The poor old subject of this humane speech washappily for himself
as unconscious of its purport as of most other remarks that were
made in his presence. But the mutton being toughand his gums
weakhe quickly verified the statement relative to his choking
propensitiesand underwent so much in his attempts to dinethat Mr
Jonas was infinitely amused; protesting that he had seldom seen him
better company in all his lifeand that he was enough to make a man
split his sides with laughing. Indeedhe went so far as to assure
the sistersthat in this point of view he considered Chuffey
superior to his own father; whichas he significantly addedwas
saying a great deal.

It was strange enough that Anthony Chuzzlewithimself so old a man
should take a pleasure in these gibings of his estimable son at the
expense of the poor shadow at their table. But he did


unquestionably; though not so much--to do him justice--with
reference to their ancient clerkas in exultation at the sharpness
of Jonas. For the same reason that young man's coarse allusions
even to himselffilled him with a stealthy glee; causing him to rub
his hands and chuckle covertlyas if he said in his sleeve'I
taught him. I trained him. This is the heir of my bringing-up.
Slycunningand covetoushe'll not squander my money. I worked
for this; I hoped for this; it has been the great end and aim of my
life.'

What a noble end and aim it was to contemplate in the attainment
truly! But there be some who manufacture idols after the fashion of
themselvesand fail to worship them when they are made; charging
their deformity on outraged nature. Anthony was better than these
at any rate.

Chuffey boggled over his plate so longthat Mr Joneslosing
patiencetook it from him at last with his own handsand requested
his father to signify to that venerable person that he had better
'peg away at his bread;' which Anthony did.

'Ayeaye!' cried the old manbrightening up as beforewhen this
was communicated to him in the same voice'quite rightquite
right. He's your own sonMr Chuzzlewit! Bless him for a sharp
lad! Bless himbless him!'

Mr Jonas considered this so particularly childish (perhaps with some
reason)that he only laughed the moreand told his cousins that he
was afraid one of these fine daysChuffey would be the death of
him. The cloth was then removedand the bottle of wine set upon
the tablefrom which Mr Jonas filled the young ladies' glasses
calling on them not to spare itas they might be certain there was
plenty more where that came from. But he added with some haste
after this sally that it was only his jokeand they wouldn't
suppose him to be in earnesthe was sure.

'I shall drink' said Anthony'to Pecksniff. Your fathermy
dears. A clever manPecksniff. A wary man! A hypocritethough
eh? A hypocritegirlseh? Hahaha! Wellso he is. Now
among friendshe is. I don't think the worse of him for that
unless it is that he overdoes it. You may overdo anythingmy
darlings. You may overdo even hypocrisy. Ask Jonas!'

'You can't overdo taking care of yourself' observed that hopeful
gentleman with his mouth full.

'Do you hear thatmy dears?' cried Anthonyquite enraptured.
'Wisdomwisdom! A good exceptionJonas. No. It's not easy to
overdo that.'

'Except' whispered Mr Jonas to his favourite cousin'except when
one lives too long. Haha! Tell the other one that--I say!'

'Good gracious me!' said Cherryin a petulant manner. 'You can
tell her yourselfif you wishcan't you?'

'She seems to make such game of one' replied Mr Jonas.

'Then why need you trouble yourself about her?' said Charity. 'I am
sure she doesn't trouble herself much about you.'

'Don't she though?' asked Jonas.

'Good gracious meneed I tell you that she don't?' returned the


young lady.

Mr Jonas made no verbal rejoinderbut he glanced at Mercy with an
odd expression in his face; and said THAT wouldn't break his heart
she might depend upon it. Then he looked on Charity with even
greater favour than beforeand besought heras his polite manner
wasto 'come a little closer.'

'There's another thing that's not easily overdonefather' remarked
Jonasafter a short silence.

'What's that?' asked the father; grinning already in anticipation.

'A bargain' said the son. 'Here's the rule for bargains--"Do
other menfor they would do you." That's the true business precept.
All others are counterfeits.'

The delighted father applauded this sentiment to the echo; and was
so much tickled by itthat he was at the pains of imparting the
same to his ancient clerkwho rubbed his handsnodded his palsied
headwinked his watery eyesand cried in his whistling tones
'Good! good! Your own sonMr Chuzzlewit' with every feeble
demonstration of delight that he was capable of making. But this
old man's enthusiasm had the redeeming quality of being felt in
sympathy with the only creature to whom he was linked by ties of
long associationand by his present helplessness. And if there had
been anybody therewho cared to think about itsome dregs of a
better nature unawakenedmight perhaps have been descried through
that very mediummelancholy though it wasyet lingering at the
bottom of the worn-out cask called Chuffey.

As matters stoodnobody thought or said anything upon the subject;
so Chuffey fell back into a dark corner on one side of the
fireplacewhere he always spent his eveningsand was neither seen
nor heard again that night; save oncewhen a cup of tea was given
himin which he was seen to soak his bread mechanically. There was
no reason to suppose that he went to sleep at these seasonsor that
he heardor sawor feltor thought. He remainedas it were
frozen up--if any term expressive of such a vigorous process can be
applied to him--until he was again thawed for the moment by a word
or touch from Anthony.

Miss Charity made tea by desire of Mr Jonasand felt and looked so
like the lady of the house that she was in the prettiest confusion
imaginable; the more so from Mr Jonas sitting close beside herand
whispering a variety of admiring expressions in her ear. Miss
Mercyfor her partfelt the entertainment of the evening to be so
distinctly and exclusively theirsthat she silently deplored the
commercial gentlemen--at that momentno doubtwearying for her
return--and yawned over yesterday's newspaper. As to Anthonyhe
went to sleep outrightso Jonas and Cherry had a clear stage to
themselves as long as they chose to keep possession of it.

When the tea-tray was taken awayas it was at lastMr Jonas
produced a dirty pack of cardsand entertained the sisters with
divers small feats of dexterity: whereof the main purpose of every
one wasthat you were to decoy somebody into laying a wager with
you that you couldn't do it; and were then immediately to win and
pocket his money. Mr Jonas informed them that these accomplishments
were in high vogue in the most intellectual circlesand that large
amounts were constantly changing hands on such hazards. And it may
be remarked that he fully believed this; for there is a simplicity
of cunning no less than a simplicity of innocence; and in all
matters where a lively faith in knavery and meanness was required as


the ground-work of beliefMr Jonas was one of the most credulous of
men. His ignorancewhich was stupendousmay be taken into
accountif the reader pleasesseparately.

This fine young man had all the inclination to be a profligate of
the first waterand only lacked the one good trait in the common
catalogue of debauched vices--open-handedness--to be a notable
vagabond. But there his griping and penurious habits stepped in;
and as one poison will sometimes neutralise anotherwhen wholesome
remedies would not availso he was restrained by a bad passion from
quaffing his full measure of evilwhen virtue might have sought to
hold him back in vain.

By the time he had unfolded all the peddling schemes he knew upon
the cardsit was growing late in the evening; and Mr Pecksniff not
making his appearancethe young ladies expressed a wish to return
home. But thisMr Jonasin his gallantrywould by no means
allowuntil they had partaken of some bread and cheese and porter;
and even then he was excessively unwilling to allow them to depart;
often beseeching Miss Charity to come a little closeror to stop a
little longerand preferring many other complimentary petitions of
that nature in his own hospitable and earnest way. When all his
efforts to detain them were fruitlesshe put on his hat and
greatcoat preparatory to escorting them to Todgers's; remarking that
he knew they would rather walk thither than ride; and that for his
part he was quite of their opinion.

'Good night' said Anthony. 'Good night; remember me to--haha
ha!--to Pecksniff. Take care of your cousinmy dears; beware of
Jonas; he's a dangerous fellow. Don't quarrel for himin any
case!'

'Ohthe creature!' cried Mercy. 'The idea of quarrelling for HIM!
You may take himCherrymy loveall to yourself. I make you a
present of my share.'

'What! I'm a sour grapeam Icousin?' said Jonas.

Miss Charity was more entertained by this repartee than one would
have supposed likelyconsidering its advanced age and simple
character. But in her sisterly affection she took Mr Jonas to task
for leaning so very hard upon a broken reedand said that he must
not be so cruel to poor Merry any moreor she (Charity) would
positively be obliged to hate him. Mercywho really had her share
of good humouronly retorted with a laugh; and they walked home in
consequence without any angry passages of words upon the way. Mr
Jonas being in the middleand having a cousin on each arm
sometimes squeezed the wrong one; so tightly tooas to cause her
not a little inconvenience; but as he talked to Charity in whispers
the whole timeand paid her great attentionno doubt this was an
accidental circumstance. When they arrived at Todgers'sand the
door was openedMercy broke hastily from themand ran upstairs;
but Charity and Jonas lingered on the steps talking together for
more than five minutes; soas Mrs Todgers observed next morningto
a third party'It was pretty clear what was going on THEREand she
was glad of itfor it really was high time that Miss Pecksniff
thought of settling.'

And now the day was coming onwhen that bright vision which had
burst on Todgers's so suddenlyand made a sunshine in the shady
breast of Jinkinswas to be seen no more; when it was to be packed
like a brown paper parcelor a fish-basketor an oyster barrel or a
fat gentlemanor any other dull reality of lifein a stagecoach
and carried down into the country.


'Nevermy dear Miss Pecksniffs' said Mrs Todgerswhen they
retired to rest on the last night of their stay'never have I seen
an establishment so perfectly broken-hearted as mine is at this
present moment of time. I don't believe the gentlemen will be the
gentlemen they wereor anything like it--nonot for weeks to come.
You have a great deal to answer forboth of you.'

They modestly disclaimed any wilful agency in this disastrous state
of thingsand regretted it very much.

'Your pious patoo' said Mrs Todgers. 'There's a loss! My dear
Miss Pecksniffsyour pa is a perfect missionary of peace and love.'

Entertaining an uncertainty as to the particular kind of love
supposed to be comprised in Mr Pecksniff's missionthe young ladies
received the compliment rather coldly.

'If I dared' said Mrs Todgersperceiving this'to violate a
confidence which has been reposed in meand to tell you why I must
beg of you to leave the little door between your room and mine open
tonightI think you would be interested. But I mustn't do itfor I
promised Mr Jinkins faithfullythat I would be as silent as the
tomb.'

'Dear Mrs Todgers! What can you mean?'

'Whythenmy sweet Miss Pecksniffs' said the lady of the house;
'my own lovesif you will allow me the privilege of taking that
freedom on the eve of our separationMr Jinkins and the gentlemen
have made up a little musical party among themselvesand DO intend
in the dead of this nightto perform a serenade upon the stairs
outside the door. I could have wishedI own' said Mrs Todgers
with her usual foresight'that it had been fixed to take place an
hour or two earlier; because when gentlemen sit up late they drink
and when they drink they're not so musicalperhapsas when they
don't. But this is the arrangement; and I know you will be
gratifiedmy dear Miss Pecksniffsby such a mark of their
attention.'

The young ladies were at first so much excited by the newsthat
they vowed they couldn't think of going to bed until the serenade
was over. But half an hour of cool waiting so altered their opinion
that they not only went to bedbut fell asleep; and weremoreover
not ecstatically charmed to be awakened some time afterwards by
certain dulcet strains breaking in upon the silent watches of the
night.

It was very affecting--very. Nothing more dismal could have been
desired by the most fastidious taste. The gentleman of a vocal turn
was head muteor chief mourner; Jinkins took the bass; and the rest
took anything they could get. The youngest gentleman blew his
melancholy into a flute. He didn't blow much out of itbut that
was all the better. If the two Miss Pecksniffs and Mrs Todgers had
perished by spontaneous combustionand the serenade had been in
honour of their ashesit would have been impossible to surpass the
unutterable despair expressed in that one chorus'Go where glory
waits thee!' It was a requiema dirgea moana howla waila
lamentan abstract of everything that is sorrowful and hideous in
sound. The flute of the youngest gentleman was wild and fitful. It
came and went in gustslike the wind. For a long time together he
seemed to have left offand when it was quite settled by Mrs
Todgers and the young ladies thatovercome by his feelingshe had
retired in tearshe unexpectedly turned up again at the very top of


the tunegasping for breath. He was a tremendous performer. There
was no knowing where to have him; and exactly when you thought he
was doing nothing at allthen was he doing the very thing that
ought to astonish you most.

There were several of these concerted pieces; perhaps two or three
too manythough thatas Mrs Todgers saidwas a fault on the right
side. But even theneven at that solemn momentwhen the thrilling
sounds may be presumed to have penetrated into the very depths of
his natureif he had any depthsJinkins couldn't leave the
youngest gentleman alone. He asked him distinctlybefore the
second song began--as a personal favour toomark the villain in
that--not to play. Yes; he said so; not to play. The breathing of
the youngest gentleman was heard through the key-hole of the door.
He DIDN'T play. What vent was a flute for the passions swelling up
within his breast? A trombone would have been a world too mild.

The serenade approached its close. Its crowning interest was at
hand. The gentleman of a literary turn had written a song on the
departure of the ladiesand adapted it to an old tune. They all
joinedexcept the youngest gentleman in companywhofor the
reasons aforesaidmaintained a fearful silence. The song (which
was of a classical nature) invoked the oracle of Apolloand
demanded to know what would become of Todgers's when CHARITY and
MERCY were banished from its walls. The oracle delivered no opinion
particularly worth rememberingaccording to the not infrequent
practice of oracles from the earliest ages down to the present time.
In the absence of enlightenment on that subjectthe strain deserted
itand went on to show that the Miss Pecksniffs were nearly related
to Rule Britanniaand that if Great Britain hadn't been an island
there could have been no Miss Pecksniffs. And being now on a
nautical tackit closed with this verse:

'All hail to the vessel of Pecksniff the sire!
And favouring breezes to fan;
While Tritons flock round itand proudly admire
The architectartistand man!'


As they presented this beautiful picture to the imaginationthe
gentlemen gradually withdrew to bed to give the music the effect of
distance; and so it died awayand Todgers's was left to its
repose.

Mr Bailey reserved his vocal offering until the morningwhen he put
his head into the room as the young ladies were kneeling before
their trunkspacking upand treated them to an imitation of the
voice of a young dog in trying circumstances; when that animal is
supposed by persons of a lively fancyto relieve his feelings by
calling for pen and ink.

'Wellyoung ladies' said the youth'so you're a-going homeare
youworse luck?'

'YesBaileywe're going home' returned Mercy.

'An't you a-going to leave none of 'em a lock of your hair?'
inquired the youth. 'It's realan't it?'

They laughed at thisand told him of course it was.

'Ohis it of coursethough?' said Bailey. 'I know better than
that. Hers an't. WhyI see it hanging up onceon that nail by
the winder. BesidesI have gone behind her at dinner-time and
pulled it; and she never know'd. I sayyoung ladiesI'm a-going


to leave. I an't a-going to stand being called names by herno
longer.'

Miss Mercy inquired what his plans for the future might be; in reply
to whom Mr Bailey intimated that he thought of going either into
top-bootsor into the army.

'Into the army!' cried the young ladieswith a laugh.

'Ah!' said Bailey'why not? There's a many drummers in the Tower.
I'm acquainted with 'em. Don't their country set a valley on 'em
mind you! Not at all!'

'You'll be shotI see' observed Mercy.

'Well!' cried Mr Bailey'wot if I am? There's something gamey in
ityoung ladiesan't there? I'd sooner be hit with a cannon-ball
than a rolling-pinand she's always a-catching up something of that
sortand throwing it at mewhen the gentlemans' appetites is good.
Wot' said Mr Baileystung by the recollection of his wrongs'wot
if they DO consume the per-vishuns. It an't MY faultis it?'

'Surely no one says it is' said Mercy.

'Don't they though?' retorted the youth. 'No. Yes. Ah! oh! No one
mayn't say it is! but some one knows it is. But I an't a-going to
have every rise in prices wisited on me. I an't a-going to be
killed because the markets is dear. I won't stop. And therefore'
added Mr Baileyrelenting into a smile'wotever you mean to give
meyou'd better give me all at oncebecos if ever you come back
aginI shan't be here; and as to the other boyHE won't deserve
nothingI know.'

The young ladieson behalf of Mr Pecksniff and themselvesacted on
this thoughtful advice; and in consideration of their private
friendshippresented Mr Bailey with a gratuity so liberal that he
could hardly do enough to show his gratitude; which found but an
imperfect ventduring the remainder of the dayin divers secret
slaps upon his pocketand other such facetious pantomime. Nor was
it confined to these ebullitions; for besides crushing a bandbox
with a bonnet in ithe seriously damaged Mr Pecksniff's luggageby
ardently hauling it down from the top of the house; and in short
evincedby every means in his powera lively sense of the favours
he had received from that gentleman and his family.

Mr Pecksniff and Mr Jinkins came home to dinner arm-in-arm; for the
latter gentleman had made half-holiday on purpose; thus gaining an
immense advantage over the youngest gentleman and the restwhose
timeas it perversely chancedwas all bespokeuntil the evening.
The bottle of wine was Mr Pecksniff's treatand they were very
sociable indeed; though full of lamentations on the necessity of
parting. While they were in the midst of their enjoymentold
Anthony and his son were announced; much to the surprise of Mr
Pecksniffand greatly to the discomfiture of Jinkins.

'Come to say good-byeyou see' said Anthonyin a low voiceto Mr
Pecksniffas they took their seats apart at the tablewhile the
rest conversed among themselves. 'Where's the use of a division
between you and me? We are the two halves of a pair of scissors
when apartPecksniff; but together we are something. Eh?'

'Unanimitymy good sir' rejoined Mr Pecksniff'is always
delightful.'


'I don't know about that' said the old man'for there are some
people I would rather differ from than agree with. But you know my
opinion of you.'

Mr Pecksniffstill having 'hypocrite' in his mindonly replied by
a motion of his headwhich was something between an affirmative
bowand a negative shake.

'Complimentary' said Anthony. 'Complimentaryupon my word. It
was an involuntary tribute to your abilitieseven at the time; and
it was not a time to suggest compliments either. But we agreed in
the coachyou knowthat we quite understood each other.'

'Ohquite!' assented Mr Pecksniffin a manner which implied that
he himself was misunderstood most cruellybut would not complain.

Anthony glanced at his son as he sat beside Miss Charityand then
at Mr Pecksniffand then at his son againvery many times. It
happened that Mr Pecksniff's glances took a similar direction; but
when he became aware of ithe first cast down his eyesand then
closed them; as if he were determined that the old man should read
nothing there.

'Jonas is a shrewd lad' said the old man.

'He appears' rejoined Mr Pecksniff in his most candid manner'to
be very shrewd.'

'And careful' said the old man.

'And carefulI have no doubt' returned Mr Pecksniff.

'Look ye!' said Anthony in his ear. 'I think he is sweet upon you
daughter.'

'Tutmy good sir' said Mr Pecksniffwith his eyes still closed;
'young people--young people--a kind of cousinstoo--no more
sweetness than is in thatsir.'

'Whythere is very little sweetness in thataccording to our
experience' returned Anthony. 'Isn't there a trifle more here?'

'Impossible to say' rejoined Mr Pecksniff. 'Quite impossible! You
surprise me.'

'YesI know that' said the old mandrily. 'It may last; I mean
the sweetnessnot the surprise; and it may die off. Supposing it
should lastperhaps (you having feathered your nest pretty well
and I having done the same)we might have a mutual interest in the
matter.'

Mr Pecksniffsmiling gentlywas about to speakbut Anthony
stopped him.

'I know what you are going to say. It's quite unnecessary. You
have never thought of this for a moment; and in a point so nearly
affecting the happiness of your dear childyou couldn'tas a
tender fatherexpress an opinion; and so forth. Yesquite right.
And like you! But it seems to memy dear Pecksniff' added Anthony
laying his hand upon his sleeve'that if you and I kept up the joke
of pretending not to see thisone of us might possibly be placed in
a position of disadvantage; and as I am very unwilling to be that
party myselfyou will excuse my taking the liberty of putting the
matter beyond a doubt thus early; and having it distinctly


understoodas it is nowthat we do see itand do know it. Thank
you for your attention. We are now upon an equal footing; which is
agreeable to us bothI am sure.'

He rose as he spoke; and giving Mr Pecksniff a nod of intelligence
moved away from him to where the young people were sitting; leaving
that good man somewhat puzzled and discomfited by such very plain
dealingand not quite free from a sense of having been foiled in
the exercise of his familiar weapons.

But the night-coach had a punctual characterand it was time to
join it at the office; which was so near at hand that they had
already sent their luggage and arranged to walk. Thither the whole
party repairedthereforeafter no more delay than sufficed for the
equipment of the Miss Pecksniffs and Mrs Todgers. They found the
coach already at its starting-placeand the horses in; theretoo
were a large majority of the commercial gentlemenincluding the
youngestwho was visibly agitatedand in a state of deep mental
dejection.

Nothing could equal the distress of Mrs Todgers in parting from the
young ladiesexcept the strong emotions with which she bade adieu
to Mr Pecksniff. Never surely was a pocket-handkerchief taken in
and out of a flat reticule so often as Mrs Todgers's wasas she
stood upon the pavement by the coach-door supported on either side
by a commercial gentleman; and by the sight of the coach-lamps
caught such brief snatches and glimpses of the good man's faceas
the constant interposition of Mr Jinkins allowed. For Jinkinsto
the last the youngest gentleman's rock a-head in lifestood upon the
coachstep talking to the ladies. Upon the other step was Mr Jonas
who maintained that position in right of his cousinship; whereas the
youngest gentlemanwho had been first upon the groundwas deep in
the booking-office among the black and red placardsand the
portraits of fast coacheswhere he was ignominiously harassed by
portersand had to contend and strive perpetually with heavy
baggage. This false positioncombined with his nervous excitement
brought about the very consummation and catastrophe of his miseries;
for when in the moment of parting he aimed a flowera hothouse
flower that had cost moneyat the fair hand of Mercyit reached
insteadthe coachman on the boxwho thanked him kindlyand stuck
it in his buttonhole.

They were off now; and Todgers's was alone again. The two young
ladiesleaning back in their separate cornersresigned themselves
to their own regretful thoughts. But Mr Pecksniffdismissing all
ephemeral considerations of social pleasure and enjoyment
concentrated his meditations on the one great virtuous purpose
before himof casting out that ingrate and deceiverwhose presence
yet troubled his domestic hearthand was a sacrilege upon the
altars of his household gods.

CHAPTER TWELVE

WILL BE SEEN IN THE LONG RUNIF NOT IN THE SHORT ONETO CONCERN
MR PINCH AND OTHERSNEARLY. MR PECKSNIFF ASSERTS THE DIGNITY OF
OUTRAGED VIRTUE. YOUNG MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT FORMS A DESPERATE
RESOLUTION

Mr Pinch and Martinlittle dreaming of the stormy weather that
impendedmade themselves very comfortable in the Pecksniffian
hallsand improved their friendship daily. Martin's facilityboth


of invention and executionbeing remarkablethe grammar-school
proceeded with great vigour; and Tom repeatedly declaredthat if
there were anything like certainty in human affairsor impartiality
in human judgesa design so new and full of merit could not fail to
carry off the first prize when the time of competition arrived.
Without being quite so sanguine himselfMartin had his hopeful
anticipations too; and they served to make him brisk and eager at
his task.

'If I should turn out a great architectTom' said the new pupil
one dayas he stood at a little distance from his drawingand eyed
it with much complacency'I'll tell you what should be one of the
things I'd build.'

'Aye!' cried Tom. 'What?'

'Whyyour fortune.'

'No!' said Tom Pinchquite as much delighted as if the thing were
done. 'Would you though? How kind of you to say so.'

'I'd build it upTom' returned Martin'on such a strong
foundationthat it should last your life--ayeand your children's
lives tooand their children's after them. I'd be your patron
Tom. I'd take you under my protection. Let me see the man who
should give the cold shoulder to anybody I chose to protect and
patroniseif I were at the top of the treeTom!'

'NowI don't think' said Mr Pinch'upon my wordthat I was ever
more gratified than by this. I really don't.'

'Oh! I mean what I say' retorted Martinwith a manner as free and
easy in its condescension tonot to say in its compassion forthe
otheras if he were already First Architect in ordinary to all the
Crowned Heads in Europe. 'I'd do it. I'd provide for you.'

'I am afraid' said Tomshaking his head'that I should be a
mighty awkward person to provide for.'

'Poohpooh!' rejoined Martin. 'Never mind that. If I took it in
my head to sayPinch is a clever fellow; I approve of Pinch;I
should like to know the man who would venture to put himself in
opposition to me. Besidesconfound itTomyou could be useful to
me in a hundred ways.'

'If I were not useful in one or twoit shouldn't be for want of
trying' said Tom.

'For instance' pursued Martinafter a short reflection'you'd be
a capital fellownowto see that my ideas were properly carried
out; and to overlook the works in their progress before they were
sufficiently advanced to be very interesting to ME; and to take all
that sort of plain sailing. Then you'd be a splendid fellow to show
people over my studioand to talk about Art to 'emwhen I couldn't
be bored myselfand all that kind of thing. For it would be
devilish creditableTom (I'm quite in earnestI give you my word)
to have a man of your information about oneinstead of some
ordinary blockhead. OhI'd take care of you. You'd be useful
rely upon it!'

To say that Tom had no idea of playing first fiddle in any social
orchestrabut was always quite satisfied to be set down for the
hundred and fiftieth violin in the bandor thereaboutsis to
express his modesty in very inadequate terms. He was much


delightedthereforeby these observations.

'I should be married to her thenTomof course' said Martin.

What was that which checked Tom Pinch so suddenlyin the high flow
of his gladness; bringing the blood into his honest cheeksand a
remorseful feeling to his honest heartas if he were unworthy of
his friend's regard?

'I should be married to her then' said Martinlooking with a smile
towards the light; 'and we should haveI hopechildren about us.
They'd be very fond of youTom.'

But not a word said Mr Pinch. The words he would have uttered died
upon his lipsand found a life more spiritual in self-denying
thoughts.

'All the children hereabouts are fond of youTomand mine would
beof course' pursued Martin. 'Perhaps I might name one of 'em
after you. Tomeh? WellI don't know. Tom's not a bad name.
Thomas Pinch Chuzzlewit. T. P. C. on his pinafores--no objection
to thatI should say?'

Tom cleared his throatand smiled.

'SHE would like youTomI know' said Martin.

'Aye!' cried Tom Pinchfaintly.

'I can tell exactly what she would think of you' said Martin
leaning his chin upon his handand looking through the window-glass
as if he read there what he said; 'I know her so well. She would
smileTomoften at first when you spoke to heror when she looked
at you--merrily too--but you wouldn't mind that. A brighter smile
you never saw.'

'Nono' said Tom. 'I wouldn't mind that.'

'She would be as tender with youTom' said Martin'as if you were
a child yourself. So you are almostin some thingsan't you
Tom?'

Mr Pinch nodded his entire assent.

'She would always be kind and good-humouredand glad to see you'
said Martin; 'and when she found out exactly what sort of fellow you
were (which she'd do very soon)she would pretend to give you
little commissions to executeand to ask little services of you
which she knew you were burning to render; so that when she really
pleased you mostshe would try to make you think you most pleased
her. She would take to you uncommonlyTom; and would understand
you far more delicately than I ever shall; and would often sayI
knowthat you were a harmlessgentlewell-intentionedgood
fellow.'

How silent Tom Pinch was!

'In honour of old time' said Martin'and of her having heard you
play the organ in this damp little church down here--for nothing
too--we will have one in the house. I shall build an architectural
music-room on a plan of my ownand it'll look rather knowing in a
recess at one end. There you shall play awayTomtill you tire
yourself; andas you like to do so in the darkit shall BE dark;
and many's the summer evening she and I will sit and listen to you


Tom; be sure of that!'

It may have required a stronger effort on Tom Pinch's part to leave
the seat on which he satand shake his friend by both handswith
nothing but serenity and grateful feeling painted on his face; it
may have required a stronger effort to perform this simple act with
a pure heartthan to achieve many and many a deed to which the
doubtful trumpet blown by Fame has lustily resounded. Doubtful
because from its long hovering over scenes of violencethe smoke
and steam of death have clogged the keys of that brave instrument;
and it is not always that its notes are either true or tuneful.

'It's a proof of the kindness of human nature' said Tom
characteristically putting himself quite out of sight in the matter
'that everybody who comes hereas you have doneis more
considerate and affectionate to me than I should have any right to
hopeif I were the most sanguine creature in the world; or should
have any power to expressif I were the most eloquent. It really
overpowers me. But trust me' said Tom'that I am not ungrateful-that
I never forget--and that if I can ever prove the truth of my
words to youI will.'

'That's all right' observed Martinleaning back in his chair with
a hand in each pocketand yawning drearily. 'Very fine talking
Tom; but I'm at Pecksniff'sI rememberand perhaps a mile or so
out of the high-road to fortune just at this minute. So you've
heard again this morning from what's his nameeh?'

'Who may that be?' asked Tomseeming to enter a mild protest on
behalf of the dignity of an absent person.

'YOU know. What is it? Northkey.'

'Westlock' rejoined Tomin rather a louder tone than usual.

'Ah! to be sure' said Martin'Westlock. I knew it was something
connected with a point of the compass and a door. Well! and what
says Westlock?'

'Oh! he has come into his property' answered Tomnodding his head
and smiling.

'He's a lucky dog' said Martin. 'I wish it were mine instead. Is
that all the mystery you were to tell me?'

'No' said Tom; 'not all.'

'What's the rest?' asked Martin.

'For the matter of that' said Tom'it's no mysteryand you won't
think much of it; but it's very pleasant to me. John always used to
say when he was hereMark my words, Pinch. When my father's
executors cash up--he used strange expressions now and thenbut
that was his way.'

'Cash-up's a very good expression' observed Martin'when other
people don't apply it to you. Well!--What a slow fellow you are
Pinch!'

'YesI am I know' said Tom; 'but you'll make me nervous if you
tell me so. I'm afraid you have put me out a little nowfor I
forget what I was going to say.'

'When John's father's executors cashed up' said Martin impatiently.


'Oh yesto be sure' cried Tom; 'yes. "Then says John, I'll
give you a dinnerPinchand come down to Salisbury on purpose."
Nowwhen John wrote the other day--the morning Pecksniff leftyou
know--he said his business was on the point of being immediately
settledand as he was to receive his money directlywhen could I
meet him at Salisbury? I wrote and saidany day this week; and I
told him besidesthat there was a new pupil hereand what a fine
fellow you wereand what friends we had become. Upon which John
writes back this letter'--Tom produced it--'fixes to-morrow; sends
his compliments to you; and begs that we three may have the pleasure
of dining together; not at the house where you and I wereeither;
but at the very first hotel in the town. Read what he says.'

'Very well' said Martinglancing over it with his customary
coolness; 'much obliged to him. I'm agreeable.'

Tom could have wished him to be a little more astonisheda little
more pleasedor in some form or other a little more interested in
such a great event. But he was perfectly self-possessed; and falling
into his favourite solace of whistlingtook another turn at the
grammar-schoolas if nothing at all had happened.

Mr Pecksniff's horse being regarded in the light of a sacred animal
only to be driven by himthe chief priest of that templeor by
some person distinctly nominated for the time being to that high
office by himselfthe two young men agreed to walk to Salisbury;
and sowhen the time camethey set off on foot; which wasafter
alla better mode of travelling than in the gigas the weather was
very cold and very dry.

Better! A rare strongheartyhealthy walk--four statute miles an
hour--preferable to that rumblingtumblingjoltingshaking
scrapingcreakingvillanous old gig? Whythe two things will not
admit of comparison. It is an insult to the walkto set them side
by side. Where is an instance of a gig having ever circulated a
man's bloodunless whenputting him in danger of his neckit
awakened in his veins and in his earsand all along his spinea
tingling heatmuch more peculiar than agreeable? When did a gig
ever sharpen anybody's wits and energiesunless it was when the
horse boltedandcrashing madly down a steep hill with a stone
wall at the bottomhis desperate circumstances suggested to the
only gentleman left insidesome novel and unheard-of mode of
dropping out behind? Better than the gig!

The air was coldTom; so it wasthere was no denying it; but would
it have been more genial in the gig? The blacksmith's fire burned
very brightand leaped up highas though it wanted men to warm;
but would it have been less temptinglooked at from the clammy
cushions of a gig? The wind blew keenlynipping the features of
the hardy wight who fought his way along; blinding him with his own
hair if he had enough to itand wintry dust if he hadn't; stopping
his breath as though he had been soused in a cold bath; tearing
aside his wrappings-upand whistling in the very marrow of his
bones; but it would have done all this a hundred times more fiercely
to a man in a gigwouldn't it? A fig for gigs!

Better than the gig! When were travellers by wheels and hoofs seen
with such red-hot cheeks as those? when were they so goodhumouredly
and merrily bloused? when did their laughter ring upon
the airas they turned them roundwhat time the stronger gusts
came sweeping up; andfacing round again as they passed bydashed
onin such a glow of ruddy health as nothing could keep pace with
but the high spirits it engendered? Better than the gig! Whyhere


is a man in a gig coming the same way now. Look at him as he passes
his whip into his left handchafes his numbed right fingers on his
granite legand beats those marble toes of his upon the foot-board.
Hahaha! Who would exchange this rapid hurry of the blood for
yonder stagnant miserythough its pace were twenty miles for one?

Better than the gig! No man in a gig could have such interest in the
milestones. No man in a gig could seeor feelor thinklike
merry users of their legs. Howas the wind sweeps onupon these
breezy downsit tracks its flight in darkening ripples on the
grassand smoothest shadows on the hills! Look round and round upon
this bare bleak plainand see even hereupon a winter's dayhow
beautiful the shadows are! Alas! it is the nature of their kind to
be so. The loveliest things in lifeTomare but shadows; and they
come and goand change and fade awayas rapidly as these!

Another mileand then begins a fall of snowmaking the crowwho
skims away so close above the ground to shirk the winda blot of
ink upon the landscape. But though it drives and drifts against
them as they walkstiffening on their skirtsand freezing in the
lashes of their eyesthey wouldn't have it fall more sparinglyno
not so much as by a single flakealthough they had to go a score of
miles. Andlo! the towers of the Old Cathedral rise before them
even now! and by-and-bye they come into the sheltered streetsmade
strangely silent by their white carpet; and so to the Inn for which
they are bound; where they present such flushed and burning faces to
the cold waiterand are so brimful of vigourthat he almost feels
assaulted by their presence; andhaving nothing to oppose to the
attack (being freshor rather stalefrom the blazing fire in the
coffee-room)is quite put out of his pale countenance.

A famous Inn! the hall a very grove of dead gameand dangling
joints of mutton; and in one corner an illustrious larderwith
glass doorsdeveloping cold fowls and noble jointsand tarts
wherein the raspberry jam coyly withdrew itselfas such a precious
creature shouldbehind a lattice work of pastry. And beholdon
the first floorat the court-end of the housein a room with all
the window-curtains drawna fire piled half-way up the chimney
plates warming before itwax candles gleaming everywhereand a
table spread for threewith silver and glass enough for thirty--
John Westlock; not the old John of Pecksniff'sbut a proper
gentleman; looking another and a grander personwith the
consciousness of being his own master and having money in the bank;
and yet in some respects the old John toofor he seized Tom Pinch
by both his hands the instant he appearedand fairly hugged himin
his cordial welcome.

'And this' said John'is Mr Chuzzlewit. I am very glad to see
him!'--John had an off-hand manner of his own; so they shook hands
warmlyand were friends in no time.

'Stand off a momentTom' cried the old pupillaying one hand on
each of Mr Pinch's shouldersand holding him out at arm's length.
'Let me look at you! Just the same! Not a bit changed!'

'Whyit's not so very long agoyou know' said Tom Pinch'after
all.'

'It seems an age to me' cried John. 'and so it ought to seem to
youyou dog.' And then he pushed Tom down into the easiest chair
and clapped him on the back so heartilyand so like his old self in
their old bedroom at old Pecksniff's that it was a toss-up with Tom
Pinch whether he should laugh or cry. Laughter won it; and they all
three laughed together.


'I have ordered everything for dinnerthat we used to say we'd
haveTom' observed John Westlock.

'No!' said Tom Pinch. 'Have you?'

'Everything. Don't laughif you can help itbefore the waiters.
I couldn't when I was ordering it. It's like a dream.'

John was wrong therebecause nobody ever dreamed such soup as was
put upon the table directly afterwards; or such fish; or such
side-dishes; or such a top and bottom; or such a course of birds and
sweets; or in short anything approaching the reality of that
entertainment at ten-and-sixpence a headexclusive of wines. As to
THEMthe man who can dream such iced champagnesuch claretport
or sherryhad better go to bed and stop there.

But perhaps the finest feature of the banquet wasthat nobody was
half so much amazed by everything as John himselfwho in his high
delight was constantly bursting into fits of laughterand then
endeavouring to appear preternaturally solemnlest the waiters
should conceive he wasn't used to it. Some of the things they
brought him to carvewere such outrageous practical jokesthough
that it was impossible to stand it; and when Tom Pinch insistedin
spite of the deferential advice of an attendantnot only on
breaking down the outer wall of a raised pie with a tablespoonbut
on trying to eat it afterwardsJohn lost all dignityand sat
behind the gorgeous dish-cover at the head of the tableroaring to
that extent that he was audible in the kitchen. Nor had he the
least objection to laugh at himselfas he demonstrated when they
had all three gathered round the fire and the dessert was on the
table; at which period the head waiter inquired with respectful
solicitude whether that portbeing a light and tawny winewas
suited to his tasteor whether he would wish to try a fruity port
with greater body. To this John gravely answered that he was well
satisfied with what he hadwhich he esteemedas one might saya
pretty tidy vintage; for which the waiter thanked him and withdrew.
And then John told his friendswith a broad grinthat he supposed
it was all rightbut he didn't know; and went off into a perfect
shout.

They were very merry and full of enjoyment the whole timebut not
the least pleasant part of the festival was when they all three sat
about the firecracking nutsdrinking wine and talking cheerfully.
It happened that Tom Pinch had a word to say to his friend the
organist's assistantand so deserted his warm corner for a few
minutes at this seasonlest it should grow too late; leaving the
other two young men together.

They drank his health in his absenceof course; and John Westlock
took that opportunity of sayingthat he had never had even a
peevish word with Tom during the whole term of their residence in Mr
Pecksniff's house. This naturally led him to dwell upon Tom's
characterand to hint that Mr Pecksniff understood it pretty well.
He only hinted thisand very distantly; knowing that it pained Tom
Pinch to have that gentleman disparagedand thinking it would be as
well to leave the new pupil to his own discoveries.

'Yes' said Martin. 'It's impossible to like Pinch better than I
door to do greater justice to his good qualities. He is the most
willing fellow I ever saw.'

'He's rather too willing' observed Johnwho was quick in
observation. 'It's quite a fault in him.'


'So it is' said Martin. 'Very true. There was a fellow only a
week or so ago--a Mr Tigg--who borrowed all the money he hadon a
promise to repay it in a few days. It was but half a sovereignto
be sure; but it's well it was no morefor he'll never see it
again.'

'Poor fellow!' said Johnwho had been very attentive to these few
words. 'Perhaps you have not had an opportunity of observing that
in his own pecuniary transactionsTom's proud.'

'You don't say so! NoI haven't. What do you mean? Won't he
borrow?'

John Westlock shook his head.

'That's very odd' said Martinsetting down his empty glass. 'He's
a strange compoundto be sure.'

'As to receiving money as a gift' resumed John Westlock; 'I think
he'd die first.'

'He's made up of simplicity' said Martin. 'Help yourself.'

'Youhowever' pursued Johnfilling his own glassand looking at
his companion with some curiosity'who are older than the majority
of Mr Pecksniff's assistantsand have evidently had much more
experienceunderstand himI have no doubtand see how liable he
is to be imposed upon.'

'Certainly' said Martinstretching out his legsand holding his
wine between his eye and the light. 'Mr Pecksniff knows that too.
So do his daughters. Eh?'

John Westlock smiledbut made no answer.

'By the bye' said Martin'that reminds me. What's your opinion of
Pecksniff? How did he use you? What do you think of him now?--
Coollyyou knowwhen it's all over?'

'Ask Pinch' returned the old pupil. 'He knows what my sentiments
used to be upon the subject. They are not changedI assure you.'

'Nono' said Martin'I'd rather have them from you.'

'But Pinch says they are unjust' urged John with a smile.

'Oh! well! Then I know what course they take beforehand' said
Martin; 'andthereforeyou can have no delicacy in speaking
plainly. Don't mind meI beg. I don't like him I tell you
frankly. I am with him because it happens from particular
circumstances to suit my convenience. I have some abilityI
believein that way; and the obligationif anywill most likely
be on his side and not mine. At the lowest markthe balance will
be evenand there'll be no obligation at all. So you may talk to
meas if I had no connection with him.'

'If you press me to give my opinion--' returned John Westlock.

'YesI do' said Martin. 'You'll oblige me.'

'--I should say' resumed the other'that he is the most consummate
scoundrel on the face of the earth.'


'Oh!' said Martinas coolly as ever. 'That's rather strong.'

'Not stronger than he deserves' said John; 'and if he called upon
me to express my opinion of him to his faceI would do so in the
very same termswithout the least qualification. His treatment of
Pinch is in itself enough to justify them; but when I look back upon
the five years I passed in that houseand remember the hyprocrisy
the knaverythe meannessesthe false pretencesthe lip service of
that fellowand his trading in saintly semblances for the very
worst realities; when I remember how often I was the witness of all
this and how often I was made a kind of party to itby the fact of
being therewith him for my teacher; I swear to you that I almost
despise myself.'

Martin drained his glassand looked at the fire.

'I don't mean to say that is a right feeling' pursued John Westlock
'because it was no fault of mine; and I can quite understand--you
for instancefully appreciating himand yet being forced by
circumstances to remain there. I tell you simply what my feeling
is; and even nowwhenas you sayit's all over; and when I have
the satisfaction of knowing that he always hated meand we always
quarrelledand I always told him my mind; even nowI feel sorry
that I didn't yield to an impulse I often hadas a boyof running
away from him and going abroad.'

'Why abroad?' asked Martinturning his eyes upon the speaker.

'In search' replied John Westlockshrugging his shoulders'of the
livelihood I couldn't have earned at home. There would have been
something spirited in that. Butcome! Fill your glassand let us
forget him.'

'As soon as you please' said Martin. 'In reference to myself and
my connection with himI have only to repeat what I said before. I
have taken my own way with him so farand shall continue to do so
even more than ever; for the fact isto tell you the truththat I
believe he looks to me to supply his defectsand couldn't afford to
lose me. I had a notion of that in first going there. Your
health!'

'Thank you' returned young Westlock. 'Yours. And may the new
pupil turn out as well as you can desire!'

'What new pupil?'

'The fortunate youthborn under an auspicious star' returned John
Westlocklaughing; 'whose parentsor guardiansare destined to be
hooked by the advertisement. What! Don't you know that he has
advertised again?'

'No.'

'Ohyes. I read it just before dinner in the old newspaper. I
know it to be his; having some reason to remember the style. Hush!
Here's Pinch. Strangeis it notthat the more he likes Pecksniff
(if he can like him better than he does)the greater reason one has
to like HIM? Not a word moreor we shall spoil his whole
enjoyment.'

Tom entered as the words were spokenwith a radiant smile upon his
face; and rubbing his handsmore from a sense of delight than
because he was cold (for he had been running fast)sat down in his
warm corner againand was as happy as only Tom Pinch could be.


There is no other simile that will express his state of mind.

'And so' he saidwhen he had gazed at his friend for some time in
silent pleasure'so you really are a gentleman at lastJohn.
Wellto be sure!'

'Trying to beTom; trying to be' he rejoined good-humouredly.
'There is no saying what I may turn outin time.'

'I suppose you wouldn't carry your own box to the mail now?' said
Tom Pinchsmiling; 'although you lost it altogether by not taking
it.'

'Wouldn't I?' retorted John. 'That's all you know about itPinch.
It must be a very heavy box that I wouldn't carry to get away from
Pecksniff'sTom.'

'There!' cried Pinchturning to Martin'I told you so. The great
fault in his character is his injustice to Pecksniff. You mustn't
mind a word he says on that subject. His prejudice is most
extraordinary.'

'The absence of anything like prejudice on Tom's partyou know'
said John Westlocklaughing heartilyas he laid his hand on Mr
Pinch's shoulder'is perfectly wonderful. If one man ever had a
profound knowledge of anotherand saw him in a true lightand in
his own proper coloursTom has that knowledge of Mr Pecksniff.'

'Whyof course I have' cried Tom. 'That's exactly what I have so
often said to you. If you knew him as well as I do--JohnI'd give
almost any money to bring that about--you'd admirerespectand
reverence him. You couldn't help it. Ohhow you wounded his
feelings when you went away!'

'If I had known whereabout his feelings lay' retorted young
Westlock'I'd have done my bestTomwith that end in viewyou
may depend upon it. But as I couldn't wound him in what he has not
and in what he knows nothing ofexcept in his ability to probe them
to the quick in other peopleI am afraid I can lay no claim to your
compliment.'

Mr Pinchbeing unwilling to protract a discussion which might
possibly corrupt Martinforbore to say anything in reply to this
speech; but John Westlockwhom nothing short of an iron gag would
have silenced when Mr Pecksniff's merits were once in question
continued notwithstanding.

'HIS feelings! Ohhe's a tender-hearted man. HIS feelings! Oh
he's a considerateconscientiousself-examiningmoral vagabond
he is! HIS feelings! Oh!--what's the matterTom?'

Mr Pinch was by this time erect upon the hearth-rugbuttoning his
coat with great energy.

'I can't bear it' said Tomshaking his head. 'No. I really
cannot. You must excuse meJohn. I have a great esteem and
friendship for you; I love you very much; and have been perfectly
charmed and overjoyed to-dayto find you just the same as ever; but
I cannot listen to this.'

'Whyit's my old wayTom; and you say yourself that you are glad
to find me unchanged.'

'Not in this respect' said Tom Pinch. 'You must excuse meJohn.


I cannotreally; I will not. It's very wrong; you should be more
guarded in your expressions. It was bad enough when you and I used
to be alone togetherbut under existing circumstancesI can't
endure itreally. No. I cannotindeed.'

'You are quite right!' exclaimed the otherexchanging looks with
Martin. 'and I am quite wrongTom. I don't know how the deuce we
fell on this unlucky theme. I beg your pardon with all my heart.'

'You have a free and manly temperI know' said Pinch; 'and
thereforeyour being so ungenerous in this one solitary instance
only grieves me the more. It's not my pardon you have to askJohn.
You have done ME nothing but kindnesses.'

'Well! Pecksniff's pardon then' said young Westlock. 'Anything
Tomor anybody. Pecksniff's pardon--will that do? Here! let us
drink Pecksniff's health!'

'Thank you' cried Tomshaking hands with him eagerlyand filling
a bumper. 'Thank you; I'll drink it with all my heartJohn. Mr
Pecksniff's healthand prosperity to him!'

John Westlock echoed the sentimentor nearly so; for he drank Mr
Pecksniff's healthand Something to him--but whatwas not quite
audible. The general unanimity being then completely restoredthey
drew their chairs closer round the fireand conversed in perfect
harmony and enjoyment until bed-time.

No slight circumstanceperhapscould have better illustrated the
difference of character between John Westlock and Martin Chuzzlewit
than the manner in which each of the young men contemplated Tom
Pinchafter the little rupture just described. There was a certain
amount of jocularity in the looks of bothno doubtbut there all
resemblance ceased. The old pupil could not do enough to show Tom
how cordially he felt towards himand his friendly regard seemed of
a graver and more thoughtful kind than before. The new oneon the
other handhad no impulse but to laugh at the recollection of Tom's
extreme absurdity; and mingled with his amusement there was
something slighting and contemptuousindicativeas it appearedof
his opinion that Mr Pinch was much too far gone in simplicity to be
admitted as the friendon serious and equal termsof any rational
man.

John Westlockwho did nothing by halvesif he could help ithad
provided beds for his two guests in the hotel; and after a very
happy eveningthey retired. Mr Pinch was sitting on the side of
his bed with his cravat and shoes offruminating on the manifold
good qualities of his old friendwhen he was interrupted by a knock
at his chamber doorand the voice of John himself.

'You're not asleep yetare youTom?'

'Bless youno! not I. I was thinking of you' replied Tomopening
the door. 'Come in.'

'I am not going to detail you' said John; 'but I have forgotten all
the evening a little commission I took upon myself; and I am afraid
I may forget it againif I fail to discharge it at once. You know
a Mr TiggTomI believe?'

'Tigg!' cried Tom. 'Tigg! The gentleman who borrowed some money of
me?'

'Exactly' said John Westlock. 'He begged me to present his


complimentsand to return it with many thanks. Here it is. I
suppose it's a good onebut he is rather a doubtful kind of
customerTom.'

Mr Pinch received the little piece of gold with a face whose
brightness might have shamed the metal; and said he had no fear
about that. He was gladhe addedto find Mr Tigg so prompt and
honourable in his dealings; very glad.

'Whyto tell you the truthTom' replied his friend'he is not
always so. If you'll take my adviceyou'll avoid him as much as
you canin the event of your encountering him again. And by no
meansTom--pray bear this in mindfor I am very serious--by no
means lend him money any more.'

'Ayeaye!' said Tomwith his eyes wide open.

'He is very far from being a reputable acquaintance' returned young
Westlock; 'and the more you let him know you think sothe better
for youTom.'

'I sayJohn' quoth Mr Pinchas his countenance felland he shook
his head in a dejected manner. 'I hope you are not getting into bad
company.'

'Nono' he replied laughing. 'Don't be uneasy on that score.'

'Ohbut I AM uneasy' said Tom Pinch; 'I can't help itwhen I hear
you talking in that way. If Mr Tigg is what you describe him to be
you have no business to know himJohn. You may laughbut I don't
consider it by any means a laughing matterI assure you.'

'Nono' returned his friendcomposing his features. 'Quite
right. It is notcertainly.'

'You knowJohn' said Mr Pinch'your very good nature and kindness
of heart make you thoughtlessand you can't be too careful on such
a point as this. Upon my wordif I thought you were falling among
bad companionsI should be quite wretchedfor I know how difficult
you would find it to shake them off. I would much rather have lost
this moneyJohnthan I would have had it back again on such
terms.'

'I tell youmy dear good old fellow' cried his friendshaking him
to and fro with both handsand smiling at him with a cheerfulopen
countenancethat would have carried conviction to a mind much more
suspicious than Tom's; 'I tell you there is no danger.'

'Well!' cried Tom'I am glad to hear it; I am overjoyed to hear it.
I am sure there is notwhen you say so in that manner. You won't
take it illJohnthat I said what I did just now!'

'Ill!' said the othergiving his hand a hearty squeeze; 'why what
do you think I am made of? Mr Tigg and I are not on such an
intimate footing that you need be at all uneasyI give you my
solemn assurance of thatTom. You are quite comfortable now?'

'Quite' said Tom.

'Then once moregood night!'

'Good night!' cried Tom; 'and such pleasant dreams to you as should
attend the sleep of the best fellow in the world!'


'--Except Pecksniff' said his friendstopping at the door for a
momentand looking gayly back.

'Except Pecksniff' answered Tomwith great gravity; 'of course.'

And thus they parted for the night; John Westlock full of lightheartedness
and good humourand poor Tom Pinch quite satisfied;
though stillas he turned over on his side in bedhe muttered to
himself'I really do wishfor all thatthoughthat he wasn't
acquainted with Mr Tigg.'

They breakfasted together very early next morningfor the two young
men desired to get back again in good season; and John Westlock was
to return to London by the coach that day. As he had some hours to
sparehe bore them company for three or four miles on their walk
and only parted from them at last in sheer necessity. The parting
was an unusually hearty onenot only as between him and Tom Pinch
but on the side of Martin alsowho had found in the old pupil a
very different sort of person from the milksop he had prepared
himself to expect.

Young Westlock stopped upon a rising groundwhen he had gone a
little distanceand looked back. They were walking at a brisk
paceand Tom appeared to be talking earnestly. Martin had taken
off his greatcoatthe wind being now behind themand carried it
upon his arm. As he lookedhe saw Tom relieve him of itafter a
faint resistanceandthrowing it upon his ownencumber himself
with the weight of both. This trivial incident impressed the old
pupil mightilyfor he stood theregazing after themuntil they
were hidden from his view; when he shook his headas if he were
troubled by some uneasy reflectionand thoughtfully retraced his
steps to Salisbury.

In the meantimeMartin and Tom pursued their wayuntil they
haltedsafe and soundat Mr Pecksniff's housewhere a brief
epistle from that good gentleman to Mr Pinch announced the family's
return by that night's coach. As it would pass the corner of the
lane at about six o'clock in the morningMr Pecksniff requested
that the gig might be in waiting at the finger-post about that time
together with a cart for the luggage. And to the end that he might
be received with the greater honourthe young men agreed to rise
earlyand be upon the spot themselves.

It was the least cheerful day they had yet passed together. Martin
was out of spirits and out of humourand took every opportunity of
comparing his condition and prospects with those of young Westlock;
much to his own disadvantage always. This mood of his depressed
Tom; and neither that morning's partingnor yesterday's dinner
helped to mend the matter. So the hours dragged on heavily enough;
and they were glad to go to bed early.

They were not quite so glad to get up again at half-past four
o'clockin all the shivering discomfort of a dark winter's morning;
but they turned out punctuallyand were at the finger-post full
half-an-hour before the appointed time. It was not by any means a
lively morningfor the sky was black and cloudyand it rained
hard; but Martin said there was some satisfaction in seeing that
brute of a horse (by thishe meant Mr Pecksniff's Arab steed)
getting very wet; and that he rejoicedon his accountthat it
rained so fast. From this it may be inferred that Martin's spirits
had not improvedas indeed they had not; for while he and Mr Pinch
stood waiting under a hedgelooking at the rainthe gigthe cart
and its reeking driverhe did nothing but grumble; andbut that it
is indispensable to any dispute that there should be two parties to


ithe would certainly have picked a quarrel with Tom.

At length the noise of wheels was faintly audible in the distance
and presently the coach came splashing through the mud and mire with
one miserable outside passenger crouching down among wet straw
under a saturated umbrella; and the coachmanguardand horsesin
a fellowship of dripping wretchedness. Immediately on its stopping
Mr Pecksniff let down the window-glass and hailed Tom Pinch.

'Dear meMr Pinch! Is it possible that you are out upon this very
inclement morning?'

'Yessir' cried Tomadvancing eagerly'Mr Chuzzlewit and I
sir.'

'Oh!' said Mr Pecksnifflooking not so much at Martin as at the
spot on which he stood. 'Oh! Indeed. Do me the favour to see to
the trunksif you pleaseMr Pinch.'

Then Mr Pecksniff descendedand helped his daughters to alight; but
neighter he nor the young ladies took the slightest notice of Martin
who had advanced to offer his assistancebut was repulsed by Mr
Pecksniff's standing immediately before his personwith his back
towards him. In the same mannerand in profound silenceMr
Pecksniff handed his daughters into the gig; and following himself
and taking the reinsdrove off home.

Lost in astonishmentMartin stood staring at the coachand when
the coach had driven awayat Mr Pinchand the luggageuntil the
cart moved off too; when he said to Tom:

'Now will you have the goodness to tell me what THIS portends?'

'What?' asked Tom.

'This fellow's behaviour. Mr Pecksniff'sI mean. You saw it?'

'No. Indeed I did not' cried Tom. 'I was busy with the trunks.'

'It is no matter' said Martin. 'Come! Let us make haste back!'
And without another word started off at such a pacethat Tom
had some difficulty in keeping up with him.

He had no care where he wentbut walked through little heaps of mud
and little pools of water with the utmost indifference; looking
straight before himand sometimes laughing in a strange manner
within himself. Tom felt that anything he could say would only
render him the more obstinateand therefore trusted to Mr
Pecksniff's manner when they reached the houseto remove the
mistaken impression under which he felt convinced so great a
favourite as the new pupil must unquestionably be labouring. But he
was not a little amazed himselfwhen they did reach itand entered
the parlour where Mr Pecksniff was sitting alone before the fire
drinking some hot teato find that instead of taking favourable
notice of his relative and keeping himMr Pinchin the background
he did exactly the reverseand was so lavish in his attentions to
Tomthat Tom was thoroughly confounded.

'Take some teaMr Pinch--take some tea' said Pecksniffstirring
the fire. 'You must be very cold and damp. Pray take some teaand
come into a warm placeMr Pinch.'

Tom saw that Martin looked at Mr Pecksniff as though he could have
easily found it in his heart to give HIM an invitation to a very


warm place; but he was quite silentand standing opposite that
gentleman at the tableregarded him attentively.

'Take a chairPinch' said Pecksniff. 'Take a chairif you
please. How have things gone on in our absenceMr Pinch?'

'You--you will be very much pleased with the grammar-schoolsir'
said Tom. 'It's nearly finished.'

'If you will have the goodnessMr Pinch' said Pecksniffwaving
his hand and smiling'we will not discuss anything connected with
that question at present. What have YOU been doingThomashumph?'

Mr Pinch looked from master to pupiland from pupil to masterand
was so perplexed and dismayed that he wanted presence of mind to
answer the question. In this awkward intervalMr Pecksniff (who
was perfectly conscious of Martin's gazethough he had never once
glanced towards him) poked the fire very muchand when he couldn't
do that any moredrank tea assiduously.

'NowMr Pecksniff' said Martin at lastin a very quiet voice'if
you have sufficiently refreshed and recovered yourselfI shall be
glad to hear what you mean by this treatment of me.'

'And what' said Mr Pecksniffturning his eyes on Tom Pincheven
more placidly and gently than before'what have YOU been doing
Thomashumph?'

When he had repeated this inquiryhe looked round the walls of the
room as if he were curious to see whether any nails had been left
there by accident in former times.

Tom was almost at his wit's end what to say between the twoand had
already made a gesture as if he would call Mr Pecksniff's attention
to the gentleman who had last addressed himwhen Martin saved him
further troubleby doing so himself.

'Mr Pecksniff' he saidsoftly rapping the table twice or thrice
and moving a step or two nearerso that he could have touched him
with his hand; 'you heard what I said just now. Do me the favour to
replyif you please. I ask you'--he raised his voice a little
here--'what you mean by this?'

'I will talk to yousir' said Mr Pecksniff in a severe voiceas
he looked at him for the first time'presently.'

'You are very obliging' returned Martin; 'presently will not do. I
must trouble you to talk to me at once.'

Mr Pecksniff made a feint of being deeply interested in his
pocketbookbut it shook in his hands; he trembled so.

'Now' retorted Martinrapping the table again. 'Now. Presently
will not do. Now!'

'Do you threaten mesir?' cried Mr Pecksniff.

Martin looked at himand made no answer; but a curious observer
might have detected an ominous twitching at his mouthand perhaps
an involuntary attraction of his right hand in the direction of Mr
Pecksniff's cravat.

'I lament to be obliged to saysir' resumed Mr Pecksniff'that it
would be quite in keeping with your character if you did threaten


me. You have deceived me. You have imposed upon a nature which you
knew to be confiding and unsuspicious. You have obtained admission
sir' said Mr Pecksniffrising'to this houseon perverted
statements and on false pretences.'

'Go on' said Martinwith a scornful smile. 'I understand you now.
What more?'

'Thus much moresir' cried Mr Pecksnifftrembling from head to
footand trying to rub his handsas though he were only cold.
'Thus much moreif you force me to publish your shame before a
third partywhich I was unwilling and indisposed to do. This lowly
roofsirmust not be contaminated by the presence of one who has
deceivedand cruelly deceivedan honourablebelovedvenerated
and venerable gentleman; and who wisely suppressed that deceit from
me when he sought my protection and favourknowing thathumble as
I amI am an honest manseeking to do my duty in this carnal
universeand setting my face against all vice and treachery. I
weep for your depravitysir' said Mr Pecksniff; 'I mourn over your
corruptionI pity your voluntary withdrawal of yourself from the
flowery paths of purity and peace;' here he struck himself upon his
breastor moral garden; 'but I cannot have a leper and a serpent
for an inmate. Go forth' said Mr Pecksniffstretching out his
hand: 'go forthyoung man! Like all who know youI renounce you!'

With what intention Martin made a stride forward at these wordsit
is impossible to say. It is enough to know that Tom Pinch caught
him in his armsand thatat the same momentMr Pecksniff stepped
back so hastilythat he missed his footingtumbled over a chair
and fell in a sitting posture on the ground; where he remained
without an effort to get up againwith his head in a corner
perhaps considering it the safest place.

'Let me goPinch!' cried Martinshaking him away. 'Why do you
hold me? Do you think a blow could make him a more abject creature
than he is? Do you think that if I spat upon himI could degrade
him to a lower level than his own? Look at him. Look at him
Pinch!'

Mr Pinch involuntarily did so. Mr Pecksniff sittingas has been
already mentionedon the carpetwith his head in an acute angle of
the wainscotand all the damage and detriment of an uncomfortable
journey about himwas not exactly a model of all that is
prepossessing and dignified in mancertainly. Still he WAS
Pecksniff; it was impossible to deprive him of that unique and
paramount appeal to Tom. And he returned Tom's glanceas if he
would have said'AyeMr Pinchlook at me! Here I am! You know
what the Poet says about an honest man; and an honest man is one of
the few great works that can be seen for nothing! Look at me!'

'I tell you' said Martin'that as he lies theredisgraced
boughtused; a cloth for dirty handsa mat for dirty feeta
lyingfawningservile houndhe is the very last and worst among
the vermin of the world. And mark mePinch! The day will come--he
knows it; see it written on his facewhile I speak!--when even you
will find him outand will know him as I doand as he knows I do.
HE renounce ME! Cast your eyes on the RenouncerPinchand be the
wiser for the recollection!'

He pointed at him as he spokewith unutterable contemptand
flinging his hat upon his headwalked from the room and from the
house. He went so rapidly that he was already clear of the village
when he heard Tom Pinch calling breathlessly after him in the
distance.


'Well! what now?' he saidwhen Tom came up.

'Deardear!' cried Tom'are you going?'

'Going!' he echoed. 'Going!'

'I didn't so much mean thatas were you going now at once--in this
bad weather--on foot--without your clothes--with no money?' cried
Tom.

'Yes' he answered sternly'I am.'

'And where?' cried Tom. 'Oh where will you go?'

'I don't know' he said. 'YesI do. I'll go to America!'

'Nono' cried Tomin a kind of agony. 'Don't go there. Pray
don't. Think better of it. Don't be so dreadfully regardless of
yourself. Don't go to America!'

'My mind is made up' he said. 'Your friend was right. I'll go to
America. God bless youPinch!'

'Take this!' cried Tompressing a book upon him in great agitation.
'I must make haste backand can't say anything I would. Heaven be
with you. Look at the leaf I have turned down. Good-byegood-bye!'

The simple fellow wrung him by the handwith tears stealing down
his cheeks; and they parted hurriedly upon their separate ways.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

SHOWING WHAT BECAME OF MARTIN AND HIS DESPARATE RESOLVEAFTER HE
LEFT MR PECKSNIFF'S HOUSE; WHAT PERSONS HE ENCOUNTERED; WHAT
ANXIETIES HE SUFFERED; AND WHAT NEWS HE HEARD

Carrying Tom Pinch's book quite unconsciously under his armand not
even buttoning his coat as a protection against the heavy rain
Martin went doggedly forward at the same quick paceuntil he had
passed the finger-postand was on the high road to London. He
slackened very little in his speed even thenbut he began to think
and look about himand to disengage his senses from the coil of
angry passions which hitherto had held them prisoner.

It must be confessed thatat that momenthe had no very agreeable
employment either for his moral or his physical perceptions. The
day was dawning from a patch of watery light in the eastand sullen
clouds came driving up before itfrom which the rain descended in a
thickwet mist. It streamed from every twig and bramble in the
hedge; made little gullies in the path; ran down a hundred channels
in the road; and punched innumerable holes into the face of every
pond and gutter. It fell with an oozyslushy sound among the
grass; and made a muddy kennel of every furrow in the ploughed
fields. No living creature was anywhere to be seen. The prospect
could hardly have been more desolate if animated nature had been
dissolved in waterand poured down upon the earth again in that
form.

The range of view within the solitary traveller was quite as
cheerless as the scene without. Friendless and penniless; incensed


to the last degree; deeply wounded in his pride and self-love; full
of independent schemesand perfectly destitute of any means of
realizing them; his most vindictive enemy might have been satisfied
with the extent of his troubles. To add to his other miserieshe
was by this time sensible of being wet to the skinand cold at his
very heart.

In this deplorable condition he remembered Mr Pinch's book; more
because it was rather troublesome to carrythan from any hope of
being comforted by that parting gift. He looked at the dingy
lettering on the backand finding it to be an odd volume of the
'Bachelor of Salamanca' in the French tonguecursed Tom Pinch's
folly twenty times. He was on the point of throwing it awayin his
ill-humour and vexationwhen he bethought himself that Tom had
referred him to a leafturned down; and opening it at that place
that he might have additional cause of complaint against him for
supposing that any cold scrap of the Bachelor's wisdom could cheer
him in such circumstancesfound!--

Wellwell! not muchbut Tom's all. The half-sovereign. He had
wrapped it hastily in a piece of paperand pinned it to the leaf.
These words were scrawled in pencil on the inside: 'I don't want it
indeed. I should not know what to do with it if I had it.'

There are some falsehoodsTomon which men mountas on bright
wingstowards Heaven. There are some truthscold bitter taunting
truthswherein your worldly scholars are very apt and punctual
which bind men down to earth with leaden chains. Who would not
rather have to fan himin his dying hourthe lightest feather of a
falsehood such as thinethan all the quills that have been plucked
from the sharp porcupinereproachful truthsince time began!

Martin felt keenly for himselfand he felt this good deed of Tom's
keenly. After a few minutes it had the effect of raising his
spiritsand reminding him that he was not altogether destituteas
he had left a fair stock of clothes behind himand wore a gold
hunting-watch in his pocket. He found a curious gratificationtoo
in thinking what a winning fellow he must be to have made such an
impression on Tom; and in reflecting how superior he was to Tom; and
how much more likely to make his way in the world. Animated by
these thoughtsand strengthened in his design of endeavouring to
push his fortune in another countryhe resolved to get to London as
a rallying-pointin the best way he could; and to lose no time
about it.

He was ten good miles from the village made illustrious by being the
abiding-place of Mr Pecksniffwhen he stopped to breakfast at a
little roadside alehouse; and resting upon a high-backed settle
before the firepulled off his coatand hung it before the
cheerful blaze to dry. It was a very different place from the last
tavern in which he had regaled; boasting no greater extent of
accommodation than the brick-floored kitchen yielded; but the mind
so soon accommodates itself to the necessities of the bodythat
this poor waggoner's house-of-callwhich he would have despised
yesterdaybecame now quite a choice hotel; while his dish of eggs
and baconand his mug of beerwere not by any means the coarse
fare he had supposedbut fully bore out the inscription on the
window-shutterwhich proclaimed those viands to be 'Good
entertainment for Travellers.'

He pushed away his empty plate; and with a second mug upon the
hearth before himlooked thoughtfully at the fire until his eyes
ached. Then he looked at the highly-coloured scripture pieces on
the wallsin little black frames like common shaving-glassesand


saw how the Wise Men (with a strong family likeness among them)
worshipped in a pink manger; and how the Prodigal Son came home in
red rags to a purple fatherand already feasted his imagination on
a sea-green calf. Then he glanced through the window at the falling
raincoming down aslant upon the sign-post over against the house
and overflowing the horse-trough; and then he looked at the fire
againand seemed to descry a double distant Londonretreating
among the fragments of the burning wood.

He had repeated this process in just the same ordermany timesas
if it were a matter of necessitywhen the sound of wheels called
his attention to the window out of its regular turn; and there he
beheld a kind of light van drawn by four horsesand ladenas well
as he could see (for it was covered in)with corn and straw. The
driverwho was alonestopped at the door to water his teamand
presently came stamping and shaking the wet off his hat and coat
into the room where Martin sat.

He was a red-faced burly young fellow; smart in his wayand with a
good-humoured countenance. As he advanced towards the fire he
touched his shining forehead with the forefinger of his stiff
leather gloveby way of salutation; and said (rather unnecessarily)
that it was an uncommon wet day.

'Very wet' said Martin.

'I don't know as ever I see a wetter.'

'I never felt one' said Martin.

The driver glanced at Martin's soiled dressand his damp shirtsleeves
and his coat hung up to dry; and saidafter a pauseas he
warmed his hands:

'You have been caught in itsir?'

'Yes' was the short reply.

'Out ridingmaybe?' said the driver

'I should have beenif I owned a horse; but I don't' returned
Martin.

'That's bad' said the driver.

'And may be worse' said Martin.

Now the driver said 'That's bad' not so much because Martin didn't
own a horseas because he said he didn't with all the reckless
desperation of his mood and circumstancesand so left a great deal
to be inferred. Martin put his hands in his pockets and whistled
when he had retorted on the driver; thus giving him to understand
that he didn't care a pin for Fortune; that he was above pretending
to be her favourite when he was not; and that he snapped his fingers
at herthe driverand everybody else.

The driver looked at him stealthily for a minute or so; and in the
pauses of his warming whistled too. At length he askedas he
pointed his thumb towards the road.

'Up or down?'

'Which IS up?' said Martin.


'Londonof course' said the driver.

'Up then' said Martin. He tossed his head in a careless manner
afterwardsas if he would have added'Now you know all about it.'
put his hands deeper into his pockets; changed his tuneand
whistled a little louder.

'I'm going up' observed the driver; 'Hounslowten miles this side
London.'

'Are you?' cried Martinstopping short and looking at him.

The driver sprinkled the fire with his wet hat until it hissed again
and answered'Ayeto be sure he was.'

'Whythen' said Martin'I'll be plain with you. You may suppose
from my dress that I have money to spare. I have not. All I can
afford for coach-hire is a crownfor I have but two. If you can
take me for thatand my waistcoator this silk handkerchiefdo.
If you can'tleave it alone.'

'Short and sweet' remarked the driver.

'You want more?' said Martin. 'Then I haven't got moreand I can't
get itso there's an end of that.' Whereupon he began to whistle
again.

'I didn't say I wanted moredid I?' asked the driverwith
something like indignation.

'You didn't say my offer was enough' rejoined Martin.

'Whyhow could Iwhen you wouldn't let me? In regard to the
waistcoatI wouldn't have a man's waistcoatmuch less a
gentleman's waistcoaton my mindfor no consideration; but the
silk handkerchief's another thing; and if you was satisfied when we
got to HounslowI shouldn't object to that as a gift.'

'Is it a bargainthen?' said Martin.

'Yesit is' returned the other.

'Then finish this beer' said Martinhanding him the mugand
pulling on his coat with great alacrity; 'and let us be off as soon
as you like.'

In two minutes more he had paid his billwhich amounted to a
shilling; was lying at full length on a truss of strawhigh and dry
at the top of the vanwith the tilt a little open in front for the
convenience of talking to his new friend; and was moving along in
the right direction with a most satisfactory and encouraging
briskness.

The driver's nameas he soon informed Martinwas William Simmons
better known as Bill; and his spruce appearance was sufficiently
explained by his connection with a large stage-coaching establishment
at Hounslowwhither he was conveying his load from a farm belonging
to the concern in Wiltshire. He was frequently up and down the road
on such errandshe saidand to look after the sick and rest
horsesof which animals he had much to relate that occupied a long
time in the telling. He aspired to the dignity of the regular box
and expected an appointment on the first vacancy. He was musical
besidesand had a little key-bugle in his pocketon which
whenever the conversation flaggedhe played the first part of a


great many tunesand regularly broke down in the second.

'Ah!' said Billwith a sighas he drew the back of his hand across
his lipsand put this instrument in his pocketafter screwing off
the mouth-piece to drain it; 'Lummy Ned of the Light SalisburyHE
was the one for musical talents. He WAS a guard. What you may call
a Guard'an Angelwas Ned.'

'Is he dead?' asked Martin.

'Dead!' replied the otherwith a contemptuous emphasis. 'Not he.
You won't catch Ned a-dying easy. Nono. He knows better than
that.'

'You spoke of him in the past tense' observed Martin'so I
supposed he was no more.

'He's no more in England' said Bill'if that's what you mean. He
went to the U-nited States.'

'Did he?' asked Martinwith sudden interest. 'When?'

'Five year agoor then about' said Bill. 'He had set up in the
public line hereand couldn't meet his engagementsso he cut off
to Liverpool one daywithout saying anything about itand went and
shipped himself for the U-nited States.'

'Well?' said Martin.

'Well! as he landed there without a penny to bless himself withof
course they wos very glad to see him in the U-nited States.'

'What do you mean?' asked Martinwith some scorn.

'What do I mean?' said Bill. 'WhyTHAT. All men are alike in the
U-nited Statesan't they? It makes no odds whether a man has a
thousand poundor nothingthere. Particular in New YorkI'm
toldwhere Ned landed.'

'New Yorkwas it?' asked Martinthoughtfully.

'Yes' said Bill. 'New York. I know thatbecause he sent word
home that it brought Old York to his mindquite vividin
consequence of being so exactly unlike it in every respect. I don't
understand what particular business Ned turned his mind towhen he
got there; but he wrote home that him and his friends was always asinging
Ale Columbiaand blowing up the Presidentso I suppose it
was something in the public line; or free-and-easy way again.
Anyhowhe made his fortune.'

'No!' cried Martin.

'Yeshe did' said Bill. 'I know thatbecause he lost it all the
day afterin six-and-twenty banks as broke. He settled a lot of
the notes on his fatherwhen it was ascertained that they was
really stopped and sent 'em over with a dutiful letter. I know
thatbecause they was shown down our yard for the old gentleman's
benefitthat he might treat himself with tobacco in the workus.'

'He was a foolish fellow not to take care of his money when he had
it' said Martinindignantly.

'There you're right' said Bill'especially as it was all in paper
and he might have took care of it so very easyby folding it up in a


small parcel.'

Martin said nothing in replybut soon afterwards fell asleepand
remained so for an hour or more. When he awokefinding it had
ceased to rainhe took his seat beside the driverand asked him
several questions; as how long had the fortunate guard of the Light
Salisbury been in crossing the Atlantic; at what time of the year
had he sailed; what was the name of the ship in which he made the
voyage; how much had he paid for passage-money; did he suffer
greatly from sea-sickness? and so forth. But on these points of
detail his friend was possessed of little or no information; either
answering obviously at random or acknowledging that he had never
heardor had forgotten; noralthough he returned to the charge
very oftencould he obtain any useful intelligence on these
essential particulars.

They jogged on all dayand stopped so often--now to refreshnow to
change their team of horsesnow to exchange or bring away a set of
harnessnow on one point of businessand now upon another
connected with the coaching on that line of road--that it was
midnight when they reached Hounslow. A little short of the stables
for which the van was boundMartin got downpaid his crownand
forced his silk handkerchief upon his honest friendnotwithstanding
the many protestations that he didn't wish to deprive him of it
with which he tried to give the lie to his longing looks. That
donethey parted company; and when the van had driven into its own
yard and the gates were closedMartin stood in the dark street
with a pretty strong sense of being shut outaloneupon the dreary
worldwithout the key of it.

But in this moment of despondencyand often afterwardsthe
recollection of Mr Pecksniff operated as a cordial to him; awakening
in his breast an indignation that was very wholesome in nerving him
to obstinate endurance. Under the influence of this fiery dram he
started off for London without more ado. Arriving there in the
middle of the nightand not knowing where to find a tavern openhe
was fain to stroll about the streets and market-places until
morning.

He found himselfabout an hour before dawnin the humbler regions
of the Adelphi; and addressing himself to a man in a fur-capwho was
taking down the shutters of an obscure public-houseinformed him
that he was a strangerand inquired if he could have a bed there.
It happened by good luck that he could. Though none of the
gaudiestit was tolerably cleanand Martin felt very glad and
grateful when he crept into itfor warmthrestand forgetfulness.

It was quite late in the afternoon when he awoke; and by the time he
had washed and dressedand broken his fastit was growing dusk
again. This was all the betterfor it was now a matter of absolute
necessity that he should part with his watch to some obliging pawnbroker.
He would have waited until after dark for this purpose
though it had been the longest day in the yearand he had begun it
without a breakfast.

He passed more Golden Balls than all the jugglers in Europe have
juggled within the course of their united performancesbefore he
could determine in favour of any particular shop where those symbols
were displayed. In the end he came back to one of the first he had
seenand entering by a side-door in a courtwhere the three balls
with the legend 'Money Lent' were repeated in a ghastly
transparencypassed into one of a series of little closetsor
private boxeserected for the accommodation of the more bashful and
uninitiated customers. He bolted himself in; pulled out his watch;


and laid it on the counter.

'Upon my life and soul!' said a low voice in the next box to the
shopman who was in treaty with him'you must make it more; you must
make it a trifle moreyou must indeed! You must dispense with one
half-quarter of an ounce in weighing out your pound of fleshmy
best of friendsand make it two-and-six.'

Martin drew back involuntarilyfor he knew the voice at once.

'You're always full of your chaff' said the shopmanrolling up the
article (which looked like a shirt) quite as a matter of courseand
nibbing his pen upon the counter.

'I shall never be full of my wheat' said Mr Tigg'as long as I
come here. Haha! Not bad! Make it two-and-sixmy dear friend
positively for this occasion only. Half-a-crown is a delightful
coin. Two-and-six. Going at two-and-six! For the last time at
two-and-six!'

'It'll never be the last time till it's quite worn out' rejoined
the shopman. 'It's grown yellow in the service as it is.'

'Its master has grown yellow in the serviceif you mean thatmy
friend' said Mr Tigg; 'in the patriotic service of an ungrateful
country. You are making it two-and-sixI think?'

'I'm making it' returned the shopman'what it always has been--two
shillings. Same name as usualI suppose?'

'Still the same name' said Mr Tigg; 'my claim to the dormant
peerage not being yet established by the House of Lords.'

'The old address?'

'Not at all' said Mr Tigg; 'I have removed my town establishment
from thirty-eightMayfairto number fifteen-hundred-and-forty-two
Park Lane.'

'ComeI'm not going to put down thatyou know' said the shopman
with a grin.

'You may put down what you pleasemy friend' quoth Mr Tigg. 'The
fact is still the same. The apartments for the under-butler and the
fifth footman being of a most confounded low and vulgar kind at
thirty-eightMayfairI have been compelledin my regard for the
feelings which do them so much honourto take on lease for seven
fourteenor twenty-one yearsrenewable at the option of the
tenantthe elegant and commodious family mansionnumber fifteenhundred-
and-forty-two Park Lane. Make it two-and-sixand come and
see me!'

The shopman was so highly entertained by this piece of humour that
Mr Tigg himself could not repress some little show of exultation.
It vented itselfin partin a desire to see how the occupant of
the next box received his pleasantry; to ascertain which he glanced
round the partitionand immediatelyby the gaslightrecognized
Martin.

'I wish I may die' said Mr Tiggstretching out his body so far
that his head was as much in Martin's little cell as Martin's own
head was'but this is one of the most tremendous meetings in
Ancient or Modern History! How are you? What is the news from the
agricultural districts? How are our friends the P.'s? Haha!


Davidpay particular attention to this gentleman immediatelyas a
friend of mineI beg.'

'Here! Please to give me the most you can for this' said Martin
handing the watch to the shopman. 'I want money sorely.'

'He wants moneysorely!' cried Mr Tigg with excessive sympathy.
'Davidwill you have the goodness to do your very utmost for my
friendwho wants money sorely. You will deal with my friend as if
he were myself. A gold hunting-watchDavidengine-turnedcapped
and jewelled in four holesescape movementhorizontal leverand
warranted to perform correctlyupon my personal reputationwho
have observed it narrowly for many yearsunder the most trying
circumstances'--here he winked at Martinthat he might understand
this recommendation would have an immense effect upon the shopman;
'what do you sayDavidto my friend? Be very particular to
deserve my custom and recommendationDavid.'

'I can lend you three pounds on thisif you like' said the shopman
to Martinconfidentially. 'It is very old-fashioned. I couldn't
say more.'

'And devilish handsometoo' cried Mr Tigg. 'Two-twelve-six for
the watchand seven-and-six for personal regard. I am gratified;
it may be weaknessbut I am. Three pounds will do. We take it.
The name of my friend is Smivey: Chicken Smiveyof Holborntwentysix-
and-a-half B: lodger.' Here he winked at Martin againto
apprise him that all the forms and ceremonies prescribed by law were
now complied withand nothing remained but the receipt for the
money.

In point of factthis proved to be the casefor Martinwho had no
resource but to take what was offered himsignified his
acquiescence by a nod of his headand presently came out with the
cash in his pocket. He was joined in the entry by Mr Tiggwho
warmly congratulated himas he took his arm and accompanied him
into the streeton the successful issue of the negotiation.

'As for my part in the same' said Mr Tigg'don't mention it.
Don't compliment mefor I can't bear it!'

'I have no such intentionI assure you' retorted Martinreleasing
his arm and stopping.

'You oblige me very much' said Mr Tigg. 'Thank you.'

'Nowsir' observed Martinbiting his lip'this is a large town
and we can easily find different ways in it. If you will show me
which is your wayI will take another.'

Mr Tigg was about to speakbut Martin interposed:

'I need scarcely tell youafter what you have just seenthat I
have nothing to bestow upon your friend Mr Slyme. And it is quite
as unnecessary for me to tell you that I don't desire the honour of
your company.'

'Stop' cried Mr Tiggholding out his hand. 'Hold! There is a most
remarkably long-headedflowing-beardedand patriarchal proverb
which observes that it is the duty of a man to be just before he is
generous. Be just nowand you can be generous presently. Do not
confuse me with the man Slyme. Do not distinguish the man Slyme as
a friend of minefor he is no such thing. I have been compelled
sirto abandon the party whom you call Slyme. I have no knowledge


of the party whom you call Slyme. I amsir' said Mr Tigg
striking himself upon the breast'a premium tulipof a very
different growth and cultivation from the cabbage Slymesir.'

'It matters very little to me' said Martin coolly'whether you
have set up as a vagabond on your own accountor are still trading
on behalf of Mr Slyme. I wish to hold no correspondence with you.
In the devil's nameman' said Martinscarcely abledespite his
vexationto repress a smile as Mr Tigg stood leaning his back
against the shutters of a shop windowadjusting his hair with great
composure'will you go one way or other?'

'You will allow me to remind yousir' said Mr Tiggwith sudden
dignity'that you--not I--that you--I say emphaticallyYOU--have
reduced the proceedings of this evening to a cold and distant matter
of businesswhen I was disposed to place them on a friendly
footing. It being made a matter of businesssirI beg to say that
I expect a trifle (which I shall bestow in charity) as commission
upon the pecuniary advancein which I have rendered you my humble
services. After the terms in which you have addressed mesir'
concluded Mr Tigg'you will not insult meif you pleaseby
offering more than half-a-crown.'

Martin drew that piece of money from his pocketand tossed it
towards him. Mr Tigg caught itlooked at it to assure himself of
its goodnessspun it in the air after the manner of a piemanand
buttoned it up. Finallyhe raised his hat an inch or two from his
head with a military airandafter pausing a moment with deep
gravityas to decide in which direction he should goand to what
Earl or Marquis among his friends he should give the preference in
his next callstuck his hands in his skirt-pockets and swaggered
round the corner. Martin took the directly opposite course; and so
to his great contentthey parted company.

It was with a bitter sense of humiliation that he cursedagain and
againthe mischance of having encountered this man in the pawnbroker's
shop. The only comfort he had in the recollection wasMr
Tigg's voluntary avowal of a separation between himself and Slyme
that would at least prevent his circumstances (so Martin argued)
from being known to any member of his familythe bare possibility
of which filled him with shame and wounded pride. Abstractedly
there was greater reasonperhapsfor supposing any declaration of
Mr Tigg's to be falsethan for attaching the least credence to it;
but remembering the terms on which the intimacy between that
gentleman and his bosom friend had subsistedand the strong
probability of Mr Tigg's having established an independent business
of his own on Mr Slyme's connectionit had a reasonable appearance
of probability; at all eventsMartin hoped so; and that went a long
way.

His first stepnow that he had a supply of ready money for his
present necessitieswasto retain his bed at the public-house
until further noticeand to write a formal note to Tom Pinch (for
he knew Pecksniff would see it) requesting to have his clothes
forwarded to London by coachwith a direction to be left at the
office until called for. These measures takenhe passed the
interval before the box arrived--three days--in making inquiries
relative to American vesselsat the offices of various shippingagents
in the city; and in lingering about the docks and wharves
with the faint hope of stumbling upon some engagement for the
voyageas clerk or supercargoor custodian of something or
somebodywhich would enable him to procure a free passage. But
findingsoonthat no such means of employment were likely to
present themselvesand dreading the consequences of delayhe drew


up a short advertisementstating what he wantedand inserted it in
the leading newspapers. Pending the receipt of the twenty or thirty
answers which he vaguely expectedhe reduced his wardrobe to the
narrowest limits consistent with decent respectabilityand carried
the overplus at different times to the pawnbroker's shopfor
conversion into money.

And it was strangevery strangeeven to himselfto find howby
quick though almost imperceptible degreeshe lost his delicacy and
self-respectand gradually came to do that as a matter of course
without the least compunctionwhich but a few short days before had
galled him to the quick. The first time he visited the
pawnbroker'she felt on his way there as if every person whom he
passed suspected whither he was going; and on his way back againas
if the whole human tide he stemmedknew well where he had come
from. When did he care to think of their discernment now! In his
first wanderings up and down the weary streetshe counterfeited the
walk of one who had an object in his view; but soon there came upon
him the saunteringslipshod gait of listless idlenessand the
lounging at street-cornersand plucking and biting of stray bits of
strawand strolling up and down the same placeand looking into
the same shop-windowswith a miserable indifferencefifty times a
day. At firsthe came out from his lodging with an uneasy sense of
being observed--even by those chance passers-byon whom he had
never looked beforeand hundreds to one would never see again-issuing
in the morning from a public-house; but nowin his comingsout
and goings-in he did not mind to lounge about the dooror to
stand sunning himself in careless thought beside the wooden stem
studded from head to heel with pegson which the beer-pots dangled
like so many boughs upon a pewter-tree. And yet it took but five
weeks to reach the lowest round of this tall ladder!

Ohmoralistswho treat of happiness and self-respectinnate in
every sphere of lifeand shedding light on every grain of dust in
God's highwayso smooth below your carriage-wheelsso rough
beneath the tread of naked feetbethink yourselves in looking on
the swift descent of men who HAVE lived in their own esteemthat
there are scores of thousands breathing nowand breathing thick
with painful toilwho in that high respect have never lived at all
nor had a chance of life! Go yewho rest so placidly upon the
sacred Bard who had been youngand when he strung his harp was old
and had never seen the righteous forsakenor his seed begging their
bread; goTeachers of content and honest prideinto the minethe
millthe forgethe squalid depths of deepest ignoranceand
uttermost abyss of man's neglectand say can any hopeful plant
spring up in air so foul that it extinguishes the soul's bright
torch as fast as it is kindled! Andoh! ye Pharisees of the
nineteen hundredth year of Christian Knowledgewho soundingly
appeal to human naturesee that it be human first. Take heed it
has not been transformedduring your slumber and the sleep of
generationsinto the nature of the Beasts!

Five weeks! Of all the twenty or thirty answersnot one had come.
His money--even the additional stock he had raised from the disposal
of his spare clothes (and that was not muchfor clothesthough
dear to buyare cheap to pawn)--was fast diminishing. Yet what
could he do? At times an agony came over him in which he darted
forth againthough he was but newly homeandreturning to some
place where he had been already twenty timesmade some new attempt
to gain his endbut always unsuccessfully. He was years and years
too old for a cabin-boyand years upon years too inexperienced to
be accepted as a common seaman. His dress and mannertoo
militated fatally against any such proposal as the latter; and yet
he was reduced to making it; for even if he could have contemplated


the being set down in America totally without moneyhe had not
enough left now for a steerage passage and the poorest provisions
upon the voyage.

It is an illustration of a very common tendency in the mind of man
that all this time he never once doubtedone may almost say the
certainty of doing great things in the New Worldif he could only
get there. In proportion as he became more and more dejected by his
present circumstancesand the means of gaining America receded from
his graspthe more he fretted himself with the conviction that that
was the only place in which he could hope to achieve any high end
and worried his brain with the thought that men going there in the
meanwhile might anticipate him in the attainment of those objects
which were dearest to his heart. He often thought of John Westlock
and besides looking out for him on all occasionsactually walked
about London for three days together for the express purpose of
meeting with him. But although he failed in this; and although he
would not have scrupled to borrow money of him; and although he
believed that John would have lent it; yet still he could not bring
his mind to write to Pinch and inquire where he was to be found.
For althoughas we have seenhe was fond of Tom after his own
fashionhe could not endure the thought (feeling so superior to
Tom) of making him the stepping-stone to his fortuneor being
anything to him but a patron; and his pride so revolted from the
idea that it restrained him even now.

It might have yieldedhowever; and no doubt must have yielded soon
but for a very strange and unlooked-for occurrence.

The five weeks had quite run outand he was in a truly desperate
plightwhen one eveninghaving just returned to his lodgingand
being in the act of lighting his candle at the gas jet in the bar
before stalking moodily upstairs to his own roomhis landlord
called him by his name. Now as he had never told it to the manbut
had scrupulously kept it to himselfhe was not a little startled by
this; and so plainly showed his agitation that the landlordto
reassure himsaid 'it was only a letter.'

'A letter!' cried Martin.

'For Mr Martin Chuzzlewit' said the landlordreading the
superscription of one he held in his hand. 'Noon. Chief office.
Paid.'

Martin took it from himthanked himand walked upstairs. It was
not sealedbut pasted close; the handwriting was quite unknown to
him. He opened it and found enclosedwithout any nameaddressor
other inscription or explanation of any kind whatevera Bank of
England note for Twenty Pounds.

To say that he was perfectly stunned with astonishment and delight;
that he looked again and again at the note and the wrapper; that he
hurried below stairs to make quite certain that the note was a good
note; and then hurried up again to satisfy himself for the fiftieth
time that he had not overlooked some scrap of writing on the
wrapper; that he exhausted and bewildered himself with conjectures;
and could make nothing of it but that there the note wasand he was
suddenly enriched; would be only to relate so many matters of course
to no purpose. The final upshot of the business at that time was
that he resolved to treat himself to a comfortable but frugal meal
in his own chamber; and having ordered a fire to be kindledwent
out to purchase it forthwith.

He bought some cold beefand hamand French breadand butterand


came back with his pockets pretty heavily laden. It was somewhat of
a damping circumstance to find the room full of smokewhich was
attributable to two causes; firstlyto the flue being naturally
vicious and a smoker; and secondlyto their having forgottenin
lighting the firean odd sack or two and some trifleswhich had
been put up the chimney to keep the rain out. They had already
remedied this oversighthowever; and propped up the window-sash
with a bundle of firewood to keep it open; so that except in being
rather inflammatory to the eyes and choking to the lungsthe
apartment was quite comfortable.

Martin was in no vein to quarrel with itif it had been in less
tolerable orderespecially when a gleaming pint of porter was set
upon the tableand the servant-girl withdrewbearing with her
particular instructions relative to the production of something hot
when he should ring the bell. The cold meat being wrapped in a
playbillMartin laid the cloth by spreading that document on the
little round table with the print downwardsand arranging the
collation upon it. The foot of the bedwhich was very close to the
fireanswered for a sideboard; and when he had completed these
preparationshe squeezed an old arm-chair into the warmest corner
and sat down to enjoy himself.

He had begun to eat with great appetiteglancing round the room
meanwhile with a triumphant anticipation of quitting it for ever on
the morrowwhen his attention was arrested by a stealthy footstep
on the stairsand presently by a knock at his chamber doorwhich
although it was a gentle knock enoughcommunicated such a start to
the bundle of firewoodthat it instantly leaped out of windowand
plunged into the street.

'More coalsI suppose' said Martin. 'Come in!'

'It an't a libertysirthough it seems so' rejoined a man's
voice. 'Your servantsir. Hope you're pretty wellsir.'

Martin stared at the face that was bowing in the doorwayperfectly
remembering the features and expressionbut quite forgetting to
whom they belonged.

'Tapleysir' said his visitor. 'Him as formerly lived at the
Dragonsirand was forced to leave in consequence of a want of
jollitysir.'

'To be sure!' cried Martin. 'Whyhow did you come here?'

'Right through the passageand up the stairssir' said Mark.

'How did you find me outI mean?' asked Martin.

'Whysir' said Mark'I've passed you once or twice in the street
if I'm not mistaken; and when I was a-looking in at the beef-and-ham
shop just nowalong with a hungry sweepas was very much
calculated to make a man jollysir--I see you a-buying that.'

Martin reddened as he pointed to the tableand saidsomewhat
hastily:

'Well! What then?'

'Whythensir' said Mark'I made bold to foller; and as I told
'em downstairs that you expected meI was let up.'

'Are you charged with any messagethat you told them you were


expected?' inquired Martin.

'NosirI an't' said Mark. 'That was what you may call a pious
fraudsirthat was.'

Martin cast an angry look at him; but there was something in the
fellow's merry faceand in his manner--which with all its
cheerfulness was far from being obtrusive or familiar--that quite
disarmed him. He had lived a solitary life toofor many weeksand
the voice was pleasant in his ear.

'Tapley' he said'I'll deal openly with you. From all I can judge
and from all I have heard of you through Pinchyou are not a likely
kind of fellow to have been brought here by impertinent curiosity or
any other offensive motive. Sit down. I'm glad to see you.'

'Thankeesir' said Mark. 'I'd as lieve stand.'

If you don't sit down,' retorted Martin, 'I'll not talk to you.'

'Very good, sir,' observed Mark. 'Your will's a law, sir. Down it
is;' and he sat down accordingly upon the bedstead.

'Help yourself,' said Martin, handing him the only knife.

'Thankee, sir,' rejoined Mark. 'After you've done.'

'If you don't take it now, you'll not have any,' said Martin.

'Very good, sir,' rejoined Mark. 'That being your desire--now it
is.' With which reply he gravely helped himself and went on eating.
Martin having done the like for a short time in silence, said
abruptly:

'What are you doing in London?'

'Nothing at all, sir,' rejoined Mark.

'How's that?' asked Martin.

'I want a place,' said Mark.

'I'm sorry for you,' said Martin.

'--To attend upon a single gentleman,' resumed Mark. 'If from the
country the more desirable. Makeshifts would be preferred. Wages
no object.'

He said this so pointedly, that Martin stopped in his eating, and
said:

'If you mean me--'

'Yes, I do, sir,' interposed Mark.

'Then you may judge from my style of living here, of my means of
keeping a man-servant. Besides, I am going to America immediately.'

'Well, sir,' returned Mark, quite unmoved by this intelligence 'from
all that ever I heard about it, I should say America is a very
likely sort of place for me to be jolly in!'

Again Martin looked at him angrily; and again his anger melted away
in spite of himself.


'Lord bless you, sir,' said Mark, 'what is the use of us a-going
round and round, and hiding behind the corner, and dodging up and
down, when we can come straight to the point in six words? I've had
my eye upon you any time this fortnight. I see well enough there's
a screw loose in your affairs. I know'd well enough the first time
I see you down at the Dragon that it must be so, sooner or later.
Now, sir here am I, without a sitiwation; without any want of wages
for a year to come; for I saved up (I didn't mean to do it, but I
couldn't help it) at the Dragon--here am I with a liking for what's
wentersome, and a liking for you, and a wish to come out strong
under circumstances as would keep other men down; and will you take
me, or will you leave me?'

'How can I take you?' cried Martin.

'When I say take,' rejoined Mark, 'I mean will you let me go? and
when I say will you let me go, I mean will you let me go along with
you? for go I will, somehow or another. Now that you've said
America, I see clear at once, that that's the place for me to be
jolly in. Therefore, if I don't pay my own passage in the ship you
go in, sir, I'll pay my own passage in another. And mark my words,
if I go alone it shall be, to carry out the principle, in the
rottenest, craziest, leakingest tub of a wessel that a place can be
got in for love or money. So if I'm lost upon the way, sir,
there'll be a drowned man at your door--and always a-knocking double
knocks at it, too, or never trust me!'

'This is mere folly,' said Martin.

'Very good, sir,' returned Mark. 'I'm glad to hear it, because if
you don't mean to let me go, you'll be more comfortable, perhaps, on
account of thinking so. Therefore I contradict no gentleman. But
all I say is, that if I don't emigrate to America in that case, in
the beastliest old cockle-shell as goes out of port, I'm--'

'You don't mean what you say, I'm sure,' said Martin.

'Yes I do,' cried Mark.

'I tell you I know better,' rejoined Martin.

'Very good, sir,' said Mark, with the same air of perfect
satisfaction. 'Let it stand that way at present, sir, and wait and
see how it turns out. Why, love my heart alive! the only doubt I
have is, whether there's any credit in going with a gentleman like
you, that's as certain to make his way there as a gimlet is to go
through soft deal.'

This was touching Martin on his weak point, and having him at a
great advantage. He could not help thinking, either, what a brisk
fellow this Mark was, and how great a change he had wrought in the
atmosphere of the dismal little room already.

'Why, certainly, Mark,' he said, 'I have hopes of doing well there,
or I shouldn't go. I may have the qualifications for doing well,
perhaps.'

'Of course you have, sir,' returned Mark Tapley. 'Everybody knows
that.'

'You see,' said Martin, leaning his chin upon his hand, and looking
at the fire, 'ornamental architecture applied to domestic purposes,
can hardly fail to be in great request in that country; for men are


constantly changing their residences there, and moving further off;
and it's clear they must have houses to live in.'

'I should say, sir,' observed Mark, 'that that's a state of things
as opens one of the jolliest look-outs for domestic architecture
that ever I heerd tell on.'

Martin glanced at him hastily, not feeling quite free from a
suspicion that this remark implied a doubt of the successful issue
of his plans. But Mr Tapley was eating the boiled beef and bread
with such entire good faith and singleness of purpose expressed in
his visage that he could not but be satisfied. Another doubt arose
in his mind however, as this one disappeared. He produced the blank
cover in which the note had been enclosed, and fixing his eyes on
Mark as he put it in his hands, said:

'Now tell me the truth. Do you know anything about that?'

Mark turned it over and over; held it near his eyes; held it away
from him at arm's length; held it with the superscription upwards
and with the superscription downwards; and shook his head with such
a genuine expression of astonishment at being asked the question,
that Martin said, as he took it from him again:

'No, I see you don't. How should you! Though, indeed, your knowing
about it would not be more extraordinary than its being here. Come,
Tapley,' he added, after a moment's thought, 'I'll trust you with my
history, such as it is, and then you'll see more clearly what sort
of fortunes you would link yourself to, if you followed me.'

'I beg your pardon, sir,' said Mark; 'but afore you enter upon it
will you take me if I choose to go? Will you turn off me--Mark
Tapley--formerly of the Blue Dragon, as can be well recommended by Mr
Pinch, and as wants a gentleman of your strength of mind to look up
to; or will you, in climbing the ladder as you're certain to get to
the top of, take me along with you at a respectful dutance? Now,
sir,' said Mark, 'it's of very little importance to you, I know.
there's the difficulty; but it's of very great importance to me, and
will you be so good as to consider of it?'

If this were meant as a second appeal to Martin's weak side, founded
on his observation of the effect of the first, Mr Tapley was a
skillful and shrewd observer. Whether an intentional or an
accidental shot, it hit the mark fully for Martin, relenting more
and more, said with a condescension which was inexpressibly
delicious to him, after his recent humiliation:

'We'll see about it, Tapley. You shall tell me in what disposition
you find yourself to-morrow.'

'Then, sir,' said Mark, rubbing his hands, 'the job's done. Go on,
sir, if you please. I'm all attention.'

Throwing himself back in his arm-chair, and looking at the fire, with
now and then a glance at Mark, who at such times nodded his head
sagely, to express his profound interest and attention. Martin ran
over the chief points in his history, to the same effect as he had
related them, weeks before, to Mr Pinch. But he adapted them,
according to the best of his judgment, to Mr Tapley's comprehension;
and with that view made as light of his love affair as he could, and
referred to it in very few words. But here he reckoned without his
host; for Mark's interest was keenest in this part of the business,
and prompted him to ask sundry questions in relation to it; for
which he apologised as one in some measure privileged to do so, from


having seen (as Martin explained to him) the young lady at the Blue
Dragon.

'And a young lady as any gentleman ought to feel more proud of being
in love with,' said Mark, energetically, 'don't draw breath.'

'Aye! You saw her when she was not happy,' said Martin, gazing at
the fire again. 'If you had seen her in the old times, indeed--'

'Why, she certainly was a little down-hearted, sir, and something
paler in her colour than I could have wished,' said Mark, 'but none
the worse in her looks for that. I think she seemed better, sir,
after she come to London.'

Martin withdrew his eyes from the fire; stared at Mark as if he
thought he had suddenly gone mad; and asked him what he meant.

'No offence intended, sir,' urged Mark. 'I don't mean to say she
was any the happier without you; but I thought she was a-looking
better, sir.'

'Do you mean to tell me she has been in London?' asked Martin,
rising hurriedly, and pushing back his chair.

'Of course I do,' said Mark, rising too, in great amazement from the
bedstead.

'Do you mean to tell me she is in London now?'

'Most likely, sir. I mean to say she was a week ago.'

'And you know where?'

'Yes!' cried Mark. 'What! Don't you?'

'My good fellow!' exclaimed Martin, clutching him by both arms, 'I
have never seen her since I left my grandfather's house.'

'Why, then!' cried Mark, giving the little table such a blow with
his clenched fist that the slices of beef and ham danced upon it,
while all his features seemed, with delight, to be going up into his
forehead, and never coming back again any more, 'if I an't your
nat'ral born servant, hired by Fate, there an't such a thing in
natur' as a Blue Dragon. What! when I was a-rambling up and down a
old churchyard in the City, getting myself into a jolly state,
didn't I see your grandfather a-toddling to and fro for pretty nigh
a mortal hour! Didn't I watch him into Todgers's commercial
boarding-house, and watch him out, and watch him home to his hotel,
and go and tell him as his was the service for my money, and I had
said so, afore I left the Dragon! Wasn't the young lady a-sitting
with him then, and didn't she fall a-laughing in a manner as was
beautiful to see! Didn't your grandfather say, Come back again next
week and didn't I go next week; and didn't he say that he
couldn't make up his mind to trust nobody no more; and therefore
wouldn't engage me, but at the same time stood something to drink as
was handsome! Why,' cried Mr Tapley, with a comical mixture of
delight and chagrin, 'where's the credit of a man's being jolly
under such circumstances! Who could help it, when things come about
like this!'

For some moments Martin stood gazing at him, as if he really doubted
the evidence of his senses, and could not believe that Mark stood
there, in the body, before him. At length he asked him whether, if
the young lady were still in London, he thought he could contrive to


deliver a letter to her secretly.

'Do I think I can?' cried Mark. 'THINK I can? Here, sit down, sir.
Write it out, sir!'

With that he cleared the table by the summary process of tilting
everything upon it into the fireplace; snatched some writing
materials from the mantel-shelf; set Martin's chair before them;
forced him down into it; dipped a pen into the ink; and put it in
his hand.

'Cut away, sir!' cried Mark. 'Make it strong, sir. Let it be wery
pinted, sir. Do I think so? I should think so. Go to work, sir!'

Martin required no further adjuration, but went to work at a great
rate; while Mr Tapley, installing himself without any more
formalities into the functions of his valet and general attendant,
divested himself of his coat, and went on to clear the fireplace
and arrange the room; talking to himself in a low voice the whole
time.

'Jolly sort of lodgings,' said Mark, rubbing his nose with the knob
at the end of the fire-shovel, and looking round the poor chamber;
'that's a comfort. The rain's come through the roof too. That an't
bad. A lively old bedstead, I'll be bound; popilated by lots of
wampires, no doubt. Come! my spirits is a-getting up again. An
uncommon ragged nightcap this. A very good sign. We shall do yet!
Here, Jane, my dear,' calling down the stairs, 'bring up that there
hot tumbler for my master as was a-mixing when I come in. That's
right, sir,' to Martin. 'Go at it as if you meant it, sir. Be very
tender, sir, if you please. You can't make it too strong, sir!'

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

IN WHICH MARTIN BIDS ADIEU TO THE LADY OF HIS LOVE; AND HONOURS AN
OBSCURE INDIVIDUAL WHOSE FORTUNE HE INTENDS TO MAKE BY COMMENDING
HER TO HIS PROTECTION

The letter being duly signed, sealed, and delivered, was handed to
Mark Tapley, for immediate conveyance if possible. And he succeeded
so well in his embassy as to be enabled to return that same night,
just as the house was closing, with the welcome intelligence that he
had sent it upstairs to the young lady, enclosed in a small
manuscript of his own, purporting to contain his further petition to
be engaged in Mr Chuzzlewit's service; and that she had herself come
down and told him, in great haste and agitation, that she would meet
the gentleman at eight o'clock to-morrow morning in St. James's
Park. It was then agreed between the new master and the new man,
that Mark should be in waiting near the hotel in good time, to
escort the young lady to the place of appointment; and when they had
parted for the night with this understanding, Martin took up his pen
again; and before he went to bed wrote another letter, whereof more
will be seen presently.

He was up before daybreak, and came upon the Park with the morning,
which was clad in the least engaging of the three hundred and sixtyfive
dresses in the wardrobe of the year. It was raw, damp, dark,
and dismal; the clouds were as muddy as the ground; and the short
perspective of every street and avenue was closed up by the mist as
by a filthy curtain.


'Fine weather indeed,' Martin bitterly soliloquised, 'to be
wandering up and down here in, like a thief! Fine weather indeed,
for a meeting of lovers in the open air, and in a public walk! I
need be departing, with all speed, for another country; for I have
come to a pretty pass in this!'

He might perhaps have gone on to reflect that of all mornings in the
year, it was not the best calculated for a young lady's coming forth
on such an errand, either. But he was stopped on the road to this
reflection, if his thoughts tended that way, by her appearance at a
short distance, on which he hurried forward to meet her. Her
squire, Mr Tapley, at the same time fell discreetly back, and
surveyed the fog above him with an appearance of attentive interest.

'My dear Martin,' said Mary.

'My dear Mary,' said Martin; and lovers are such a singular kind of
people that this is all they did say just then, though Martin took
her arm, and her hand too, and they paced up and down a short walk
that was least exposed to observation, half-a-dozen times.

'If you have changed at all, my love, since we parted,' said Martin
at length, as he looked upon her with a proud delight, 'it is only
to be more beautiful than ever!'

Had she been of the common metal of love-worn young ladies, she
would have denied this in her most interesting manner; and would
have told him that she knew she had become a perfect fright; or that
she had wasted away with weeping and anxiety; or that she was
dwindling gently into an early grave; or that her mental sufferings
were unspeakable; or would, either by tears or words, or a mixture
of both, have furnished him with some other information to that
effect, and made him as miserable as possible. But she had been
reared up in a sterner school than the minds of most young girls are
formed in; she had had her nature strengthened by the hands of hard
endurance and necessity; had come out from her young trials
constant, self-denying, earnest, and devoted; had acquired in her
maidenhood--whether happily in the end, for herself or him, is
foreign to our present purpose to inquire--something of that nobler
quality of gentle hearts which is developed often by the sorrows and
struggles of matronly years, but often by their lessons only.
Unspoiled, unpampered in her joys or griefs; with frank and full,
and deep affection for the object of her early love; she saw in him
one who for her sake was an outcast from his home and fortune, and
she had no more idea of bestowing that love upon him in other than
cheerful and sustaining words, full of high hope and grateful
trustfulness, than she had of being unworthy of it, in her lightest
thought or deed, for any base temptation that the world could offer.

'What change is there in YOU, Martin,' she replied; 'for that
concerns me nearest? You look more anxious and more thoughtful than
you used.'

'Why, as to that, my love,' said Martin as he drew her waist within
his arm, first looking round to see that there were no observers
near, and beholding Mr Tapley more intent than ever on the fog; 'it
would be strange if I did not; for my life--especially of late--has
been a hard one.'

'I know it must have been,' she answered. 'When have I forgotten to
think of it and you?'

'Not often, I hope,' said Martin. 'Not often, I am sure. Not
often, I have some right to expect, Mary; for I have undergone a


great deal of vexation and privation, and I naturally look for that
return, you know.'

'A very, very poor return,' she answered with a fainter smile. 'But
you have it, and will have it always. You have paid a dear price
for a poor heart, Martin; but it is at least your own, and a true
one.'

'Of course I feel quite certain of that,' said Martin, 'or I
shouldn't have put myself in my present position. And don't say a
poor heart, Mary, for I say a rich one. Now, I am about to break a
design to you, dearest, which will startle you at first, but which is
undertaken for your sake. I am going,' he added slowly, looking far
into the deep wonder of her bright dark eyes, 'abroad.'

'Abroad, Martin!'

'Only to America. See now. How you droop directly!'

'If I do, or, I hope I may say, if I did,' she answered, raising her
head after a short silence, and looking once more into his face, 'it
was for grief to think of what you are resolved to undergo for me.
I would not venture to dissuade you, Martin; but it is a long, long
distance; there is a wide ocean to be crossed; illness and want are
sad calamities in any place, but in a foreign country dreadful to
endure. Have you thought of all this?'

'Thought of it!' cried Martin, abating, in his fondness--and he WAS
very fond of her--hardly an iota of his usual impetuosity. 'What am
I to do? It's very well to say, Have I thought of it?" my love; but
you should ask me in the same breathhave I thought of starving at
home; have I thought of doing porter's work for a living; have I
thought of holding horses in the streets to earn my roll of bread
from day to day? Comecome' he addedin a gentler tone'do not
hang down your headmy dearfor I need the encouragement that your
sweet face alone can give me. Whythat's well! Now you are brave
again.'

'I am endeavouring to be' she answeredsmiling through her tears.

'Endeavouring to be anything that's goodand being itiswith
youall one. Don't I know that of old?' cried Martingayly.
'So! That's famous! Now I can tell you all my plans as cheerfully
as if you were my little wife alreadyMary.'

She hung more closely on his armand looking upwards in his face
bade him speak on.

'You see' said Martinplaying with the little hand upon his wrist
'that my attempts to advance myself at home have been baffled and
rendered abortive. I will not say by whomMaryfor that would
give pain to us both. But so it is. Have you heard him speak of
late of any relative of mine or hiscalled Pecksniff? Only tell me
what I ask youno more.'

'I have heardto my surprisethat he is a better man than was
supposed.'

'I thought so' interrupted Martin.

'And that it is likely we may come to know himif not to visit and
reside with him and--I think--his daughters. He HAS daughtershas
helove?'


'A pair of them' Martin answered. 'A precious pair! Gems of the
first water!'

'Ah! You are jesting!'

'There is a sort of jesting which is very much in earnestand
includes some pretty serious disgust' said Martin. 'I jest in
reference to Mr Pecksniff (at whose house I have been living as his
assistantand at whose hands I have received insult and injury)in
that vein. Whatever betidesor however closely you may be brought
into communication with this familynever forget thatMary; and
never for an instantwhatever appearances may seem to contradict
melose sight of this assurance--Pecksniff is a scoundrel.'

'Indeed!'

'In thoughtand in deedand in everything else. A scoundrel from
the topmost hair of his headto the nethermost atom of his heel.
Of his daughters I will only say thatto the best of my knowledge
and beliefthey are dutiful young ladiesand take after their
father closely. This is a digression from the main pointand yet
it brings me to what I was going to say.'

He stopped to look into her eyes againand seeingin a hasty
glance over his shoulderthat there was no one nearand that Mark
was still intent upon the fognot only looked at her lipstoobut
kissed them into the bargain.

'Now I am going to Americawith great prospects of doing welland
of returning home myself very soon; it may be to take you there for
a few yearsbutat all eventsto claim you for my wife; which
after such trialsI should do with no fear of your still thinking
it a duty to cleave to him who will not suffer me to live (for this
is true)if he can help itin my own land. How long I may be
absent isof courseuncertain; but it shall not be very long.
Trust me for that.'

'In the meantimedear Martin--'

'That's the very thing I am coming to. In the meantime you shall
hearconstantlyof all my goings-on. Thus.'

He paused to take from his pocket the letter he had written
overnightand then resumed:

'In this fellow's employmentand living in this fellow's house (by
fellowI mean Mr Pecksniffof course)there is a certain person
of the name of Pinch. Don't forget; a poorstrangesimple oddity
Mary; but thoroughly honest and sincere; full of zeal; and with a
cordial regard for me. Which I mean to return one of these daysby
setting him up in life in some way or other.'

'Your old kind natureMartin!'

'Oh!' said Martin'that's not worth speaking ofmy love. He's
very grateful and desirous to serve me; and I am more than repaid.
Now one night I told this Pinch my historyand all about myself and
you; in which he was not a little interestedI can tell youfor he
knows you! Ayeyou may look surprised--and the longer the better for
it becomes you--but you have heard him play the organ in the church
of that village before now; and he has seen you listening to his
music; and has caught his inspiration from youtoo!'

'Was HE the organist?' cried Mary. 'I thank him from my heart!'


'Yeshe was' said Martin'and isand gets nothing for it either.
There never was such a simple fellow! Quite an infant! But a very
good sort of creatureI assure you.'

'I am sure of that' she said with great earnestness. 'He must be!'

'Ohyesno doubt at all about it' rejoined Martinin his usual
careless way. 'He is. Well! It has occurred to me--but stay. If I
read you what I have written and intend sending to him by post to-
night it will explain itself. "My dear Tom Pinch." That's rather
familiar perhaps' said Martinsuddenly remembering that he was
proud when they had last met'but I call him my dear Tom Pinch
because he likes itand it pleases him.'

'Very rightand very kind' said Mary.

'Exactly so!' cried Martin. 'It's as well to be kind whenever one
can; andas I said beforehe really is an excellent fellow. "My
dear Tom Pinch--I address this under cover to Mrs Lupinat the
Blue Dragonand have begged her in a short note to deliver it to
you without saying anything about it elsewhere; and to do the same
with all future letters she may receive from me. My reason for so
doing will be at once apparent to you"--I don't know that it will
beby the bye' said Martinbreaking off'for he's slow of
comprehensionpoor fellow; but he'll find it out in time. My
reason simply isthat I don't want my letters to be read by other
people; and particularly by the scoundrel whom he thinks an angel.'

'Mr Pecksniff again?' asked Mary.

'The same' said Martin '--will be at once apparent to you. I have
completed my arrangements for going to America; and you will be
surprised to hear that I am to be accompanied by Mark Tapleyupon
whom I have stumbled strangely in Londonand who insists on putting
himself under my protection'--meaningmy love' said Martin
breaking off again'our friend in the rearof course.'

She was delighted to hear thisand bestowed a kind glance upon
Markwhich he brought his eyes down from the fog to encounter and
received with immense satisfaction. She said in his hearingtoo
that he was a good soul and a merry creatureand would be faithful
she was certain; commendations which Mr Tapley inwardly resolved to
deservefrom such lipsif he died for it.

'"Nowmy dear Pinch' resumed Martin, proceeding with his letter;
'I am going to repose great trust in youknowing that I may do so
with perfect reliance on your honour and secrecyand having nobody
else just now to trust in."'

'I don't think I would say thatMartin.'

'Wouldn't you? Well! I'll take that out. It's perfectly true
though.'

'But it might seem ungraciousperhaps.'

'OhI don't mind Pinch' said Martin. 'There's no occasion to
stand on any ceremony with HIM. HoweverI'll take it outas you
wish itand make the full stop at "secrecy." Very well! "I shall
not only"--this is the letter againyou know.'

'I understand.'


'"I shall not only enclose my letters to the young lady of whom I
have told youto your chargeto be forwarded as she may request;
but I most earnestly commit herthe young lady herselfto your
care and regardin the event of your meeting in my absence. I have
reason to think that the probabilities of your encountering each
other--perhaps very frequently--are now neither remote nor few; and
although in our position you can do very little to lessen the
uneasiness of hersI trust to you implicitly to do that muchand
so deserve the confidence I have reposed in you." You seemy dear
Mary' said Martin'it will be a great consolation to you to have
anybodyno matter how simplewith whom you can speak about ME; and
the very first time you talk to Pinchyou'll feel at once that
there is no more occasion for any embarrassment or hesitation in
talking to himthan if he were an old woman.'

'However that may be' she returnedsmiling'he is your friend
and that is enough.'

'Ohyeshe's my friend' said Martin'certainly. In factI have
told him in so many words that we'll always take notice of himand
protect him; and it's a good trait in his character that he's
grateful--very grateful indeed. You'll like him of all thingsmy
loveI know. You'll observe very much that's comical and oldfashioned
about Pinchbut you needn't mind laughing at him; for
he'll not care about it. He'll rather like it indeed!'

'I don't think I shall put that to the testMartin.'

'You won't if you can help itof course' he said'but I think
you'll find him a little too much for your gravity. Howeverthat's
neither here nor thereand it certainly is not the letter; which
ends thus: "Knowing that I need not impress the nature and extent of
that confidence upon you at any greater lengthas it is already
sufficiently established in your mindI will only sayin bidding
you farewell and looking forward to our next meetingthat I shall
charge myself from this timethrough all changes for the better
with your advancement and happinessas if they were my own. You
may rely upon that. And always believe memy dear Tom Pinch
faithfully your friendMartin Chuzzlewit. P.S.--I enclose the
amount which you so kindly"--Oh' said Martinchecking himselfand
folding up the letter'that's nothing!'

At this crisis Mark Tapley interposedwith an apology for remarking
that the clock at the Horse Guards was striking.

'Which I shouldn't have said nothing aboutsir' added Mark'if
the young lady hadn't begged me to be particular in mentioning it.'

'I did' said Mary. 'Thank you. You are quite right. In another
minute I shall be ready to return. We have time for a very few
words moredear Martinand although I had much to sayit must
remain unsaid until the happy time of our next meeting. Heaven send
it may come speedily and prosperously! But I have no fear of that.'

'Fear!' cried Martin. 'Whywho has? What are a few months? What
is a whole year? When I come gayly backwith a road through life
hewn out before methen indeedlooking back upon this partingit
may seem a dismal one. But now! I swear I wouldn't have it happen
under more favourable auspicesif I could; for then I should be
less inclined to goand less impressed with the necessity.'

'Yesyes. I feel that too. When do you go?'

'To-night. We leave for Liverpool to-night. A vessel sails from


that portas I hearin three days. In a monthor lesswe shall
be there. Whywhat's a month! How many months have flown bysince
our last parting!'

'Long to look back upon' said Maryechoing his cheerful tone'but
nothing in their course!'

'Nothing at all!' cried Martin. 'I shall have change of scene and
change of place; change of peoplechange of mannerschange of
cares and hopes! Time will wear wings indeed! I can bear anything
so that I have swift actionMary.'

Was he thinking solely of her care for himwhen he took so little
heed of her share in the separation; of her quiet monotonous
enduranceand her slow anxiety from day to day? Was there nothing
jarring and discordant even in his tone of couragewith this one
note 'self' for ever audiblehowever high the strain? Not in her
ears. It had been better otherwiseperhapsbut so it was. She
heard the same bold spirit which had flung away as dross all gain
and profit for her sakemaking light of peril and privation that
she might be calm and happy; and she heard no more. That heart
where self has found no place and raised no throneis slow to
recognize its ugly presence when it looks upon it. As one possessed
of an evil spirit was held in old time to be alone conscious of the
lurking demon in the breasts of other menso kindred vices know
each other in their hiding-places every daywhen Virtue is
incredulous and blind.

'The quarter's gone!' cried Mr Tapleyin a voice of admonition.

'I shall be ready to return immediately' she said. 'One thing
dear MartinI am bound to tell you. You entreated me a few minutes
since only to answer what you asked me in reference to one theme
but you should and must know (otherwise I could not be at ease) that
since that separation of which I was the unhappy occasionhe has
never once uttered your name; has never coupled itor any faint
allusion to itwith passion or reproach; and has never abated in
his kindness to me.'

'I thank him for that last act' said Martin'and for nothing else.
Though on consideration I may thank him for his other forbearance
alsoinasmuch as I neither expect nor desire that he will mention
my name again. He may onceperhaps--to couple it with reproach--in
his will. Let himif he please! By the time it reaches mehe will
be in his grave; a satire on his own angerGod help him!'

'Martin! If you would but sometimesin some quiet hour; beside the
winter fire; in the summer air; when you hear gentle musicor think
of Deathor Homeor Childhood; if you would at such a season
resolve to thinkbut once a monthor even once a yearof himor
any one who ever wronged youyou would forgive him in your heartI
know!'

'If I believed that to be trueMary' he replied'I would resolve
at no such time to bear him in my mind; wishing to spare myself the
shame of such a weakness. I was not born to be the toy and puppet
of any manfar less his; to whose pleasure and capricein return
for any good he did memy whole youth was sacrificed. It became
between us two a fair exchange--a barter--and no more; and there is
no such balance against me that I need throw in a mawkish
forgiveness to poise the scale. He has forbidden all mention of me
to youI know' he added hastily. 'Come! Has he not?'

'That was long ago' she returned; 'immediately after your parting;


before you had left the house. He has never done so since.'

'He has never done so since because he has seen no occasion' said
Martin; 'but that is of little consequenceone way or other. Let
all allusion to him between you and me be interdicted from this time
forth. And thereforelove'--he drew her quickly to himfor the
time of parting had now come--'in the first letter that you write to
me through the Post Officeaddressed to New York; and in all the
others that you send through Pinch; remember he has no existence
but has become to us as one who is dead. NowGod bless you! This
is a strange place for such a meeting and such a parting; but our
next meeting shall be in a betterand our next and last parting in
a worse.'

'One other questionMartinI must ask. Have you provided money
for this journey?'

'Have I?' cried Martin; it might have been in his pride; it might
have been in his desire to set her mind at ease: 'Have I provided
money? Whythere's a question for an emigrant's wife! How could I
move on land or sea without itlove?'

'I meanenough.'

'Enough! More than enough. Twenty times more than enough. A
pocket-full. Mark and Ifor all essential endsare quite as rich
as if we had the purse of Fortunatus in our baggage.'

'The half-hour's a-going!' cried Mr Tapley.

'Good-bye a hundred times!' cried Maryin a trembling voice.

But how cold the comfort in Good-bye! Mark Tapley knew it perfectly.
Perhaps he knew it from his readingperhaps from his experience
perhaps from intuition. It is impossible to say; but however he
knew ithis knowledge instinctively suggested to him the wisest
course of proceeding that any man could have adopted under the
circumstances. He was taken with a violent fit of sneezingand was
obliged to turn his head another way. In doing whichhein a
manner fenced and screened the lovers into a corner by themselves.

There was a short pausebut Mark had an undefined sensation that it
was a satisfactory one in its way. Then Marywith her veil
loweredpassed him with a quick stepand beckoned him to follow.
She stopped once more before they lost that corner; looked back; and
waved her hand to Martin. He made a start towards them at the
moment as if he had some other farewell words to say; but she only
hurried off the fasterand Mr Tapley followed as in duty bound.

When he rejoined Martin again in his own chamberhe found that
gentleman seated moodily before the dusty gratewith his two feet
on the fenderhis two elbows on his kneesand his chin supported
in a not very ornamental manneron the palms of his hands.

'WellMark!'

'Wellsir' said Marktaking a long breath'I see the young lady
safe homeand I feel pretty comfortable after it. She sent a lot
of kind wordssirand this' handing him a ring'for a parting
keepsake.'

'Diamonds!' said Martinkissing it--let us do him justiceit was
for her sake; not for theirs--and putting it on his little finger.
'Splendid diamonds! My grandfather is a singular characterMark.


He must have given her this now.'

Mark Tapley knew as well that she had bought itto the end that
that unconscious speaker might carry some article of sterling value
with him in his necessity; as he knew that it was dayand not
night. Though he had no more acquaintance of his own knowledge with
the history of the glittering trinket on Martin's outspread finger
than Martin himself hadhe was as certain that in its purchase she
had expended her whole stock of hoarded moneyas if he had seen it
paid down coin by coin. Her lover's strange obtuseness in relation
to this little incidentpromptly suggested to Mark's mind its real
cause and root; and from that moment he had a clear and perfect
insight into the one absorbing principle of Martin's character.

'She is worthy of the sacrifices I have made' said Martinfolding
his armsand looking at the ashes in the stoveas if in resumption
of some former thoughts. 'Well worthy of them. No riches'--here he
stroked his chin and mused--'could have compensated for the loss of
such a nature. Not to mention that in gaining her affection I have
followed the bent of my own wishesand baulked the selfish schemes
of others who had no right to form them. She is quite worthy--more
than worthy--of the sacrifices I have made. Yesshe is. No doubt
of it.'

These ruminations might or might not have reached Mark Tapley; for
though they were by no means addressed to himyet they were softly
uttered. In any casehe stood therewatching Martin with an
indescribable and most involved expression on his visageuntil that
young man roused himself and looked towards him; when he turned
awayas being suddenly intent upon certain preparations for the
journeyandwithout giving vent to any articulate soundsmiled
with surpassing ghastlinessand seemed by a twist of his features
and a motion of his lipsto release himself of this word:

'Jolly!'

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

THE BURDEN WHEREOFIS HAIL COLUMBIA!

A dark and dreary night; people nestling in their beds or circling
late about the fire; Wantcolder than Charityshivering at the
street corners; church-towers humming with the faint vibration of
their own tonguesbut newly resting from the ghostly preachment
'One!' The earth covered with a sable pall as for the burial of
yesterday; the clumps of dark treesits giant plumes of funeral
featherswaving sadly to and fro: all hushedall noiselessand in
deep reposesave the swift clouds that skim across the moonand
the cautious windascreeping after them upon the groundit stops
to listenand goes rustling onand stops againand followslike
a savage on the trail.

Whither go the clouds and wind so eagerly? Iflike guilty spirits
they repair to some dread conference with powers like themselvesin
what wild regions do the elements hold councilor where unbend in
terrible disport?

Here! Free from that cramped prison called the earthand out upon
the waste of waters. Hereroaringragingshriekinghowlingall
night long. Hither come the sounding voices from the caverns on the
coast of that small islandsleepinga thousand miles awayso


quietly in the midst of angry waves; and hitherto meet themrush
the blasts from unknown desert places of the world. Herein the
fury of their unchecked libertythey storm and buffet with each
otheruntil the sealashed into passion like their ownleaps up
in ravings mightier than theirsand the whole scene is madness.

Onononover the countless miles of angry space roll the long
heaving billows. Mountains and caves are hereand yet are not; for
what is now the oneis now the other; then all is but a boiling
heap of rushing water. Pursuitand flightand mad return of wave
on waveand savage struggleending in a spouting-up of foam that
whitens the black night; incessant change of placeand formand
hue; constancy in nothingbut eternal strife; onononthey
rolland darker grows the nightand louder howls the windand
more clamorous and fierce become the million voices in the seawhen
the wild cry goes forth upon the storm 'A ship!'

Onward she comesin gallant combat with the elementsher tall
masts tremblingand her timbers starting on the strain; onward she
comesnow high upon the curling billowsnow low down in the
hollows of the seaas hiding for the moment from its fury; and
every storm-voice in the air and water cries more loudly yet'A
ship!'

Still she comes striving on; and at her boldness and the spreading
crythe angry waves rise up above each other's hoary heads to look;
and round about the vesselfar as the mariners on the decks can
pierce into the gloomthey press upon herforcing each other down
and starting upand rushing forward from afarin dreadful
curiosity. High over her they break; and round her surge and roar;
and giving place to othersmoaningly departand dash themselves to
fragments in their baffled anger. Still she comes onward bravely.
And though the eager multitude crowd thick and fast upon her all the
nightand dawn of day discovers the untiring train yet bearing down
upon the ship in an eternity of troubled wateronward she comes
with dim lights burning in her hulland people thereasleep; as if
no deadly element were peering in at every seam and chinkand no
drowned seaman's gravewith but a plank to cover itwere yawning
in the unfathomable depths below.

Among these sleeping voyagers were Martin and Mark Tapleywho
rocked into a heavy drowsiness by the unaccustomed motionwere
as insensible to the foul air in which they layas to the uproar
without. It was broad day when the latter awoke with a dim idea
that he was dreaming of having gone to sleep in a four-post bedstead
which had turned bottom upwards in the course of the night. There
was more reason in this toothan in the roasting of eggs; for the
first objects Mr Tapley recognized when he opened his eyes were his
own heels--looking down to himas he afterwards observedfrom
a nearly perpendicular elevation.

'Well!' said Markgetting himself into a sitting postureafter
various ineffectual struggles with the rolling of the ship. 'This
is the first time as ever I stood on my head all night.'

'You shouldn't go to sleep upon the ground with your head to leeward
then' growled a man in one of the berths.

'With my head to WHERE?' asked Mark.

The man repeated his previous sentiment.

'NoI won't another time' said Mark'when I know whereabouts on
the map that country is. In the meanwhile I can give you a better


piece of advice. Don't you nor any other friend of mine never go to
sleep with his head in a ship any more.'

The man gave a grunt of discontented acquiescenceturned over in
his berthand drew his blanket over his head.

'--For' said Mr Tapleypursuing the theme by way of soliloquy in
a low tone of voice; 'the sea is as nonsensical a thing as any
going. It never knows what to do with itself. It hasn't got no
employment for its mindand is always in a state of vacancy. Like
them Polar bears in the wild-beast shows as is constantly a-nodding
their heads from side to sideit never CAN be quiet. Which is
entirely owing to its uncommon stupidity.'

'Is that youMark?' asked a faint voice from another berth.

'It's as much of me as is leftsirafter a fortnight of this
work' Mr Tapley replied'What with leading the life of a flyever
since I've been aboard--for I've been perpetually holding-on to
something or other in a upside-down position--what with thatsir
and putting a very little into myselfand taking a good deal out of
myselfthere an't too much of me to swear by. How do you find
yourself this morningsir?'

'Very miserable' said Martinwith a peevish groan. 'Ugh. This is
wretchedindeed!'

'Creditable' muttered Markpressing one hand upon his aching head
and looking round him with a rueful grin. 'That's the great
comfort. It IS creditable to keep up one's spirits here. Virtue's
its own reward. So's jollity.'

Mark was so far right that unquestionably any man who retained his
cheerfulness among the steerage accommodations of that noble and
fast-sailing line-of-packet ship'THE SCREW' was solely indebted
to his own resourcesand shipped his good humourlike his
provisionswithout any contribution or assistance from the owners.
A darklowstifling cabinsurrounded by berths all filled to
overflowing with menwomenand childrenin various stages of
sickness and miseryis not the liveliest place of assembly at any
time; but when it is so crowded (as the steerage cabin of the
Screw wasevery passage out)that mattresses and beds are heaped
upon the floorto the extinction of everything like comfort
cleanlinessand decencyit is liable to operate not only as a
pretty strong banner against amiability of temperbut as a positive
encourager of selfish and rough humours. Mark felt thisas he sat
looking about him; and his spirits rose proportionately.

There were English peopleIrish peopleWelsh peopleand Scotch
people there; all with their little store of coarse food and shabby
clothes; and nearly all with their families of children. There were
children of all ages; from the baby at the breastto the slatterngirl
who was as much a grown woman as her mother. Every kind of
domestic suffering that is bred in povertyillnessbanishment
sorrowand long travel in bad weatherwas crammed into the little
space; and yet was there infinitely less of complaint and
querulousnessand infinitely more of mutual assistance and general
kindness to be found in that unwholesome arkthan in many brilliant
ballrooms.

Mark looked about him wistfullyand his face brightened as he
looked. Here an old grandmother was crooning over a sick childand
rocking it to and froin arms hardly more wasted than its own young
limbs; here a poor woman with an infant in her lapmended another


little creature's clothesand quieted another who was creeping up
about her from their scanty bed upon the floor. Here were old men
awkwardly engaged in little household officeswherein they would
have been ridiculous but for their good-will and kind purpose; and
here were swarthy fellows--giants in their way--doing such little
acts of tenderness for those about themas might have belonged to
gentlest-hearted dwarfs. The very idiot in the corner who sat
mowing thereall dayhad his faculty of imitation roused by what
he saw about him; and snapped his fingers to amuse a crying child.

'Nowthen' said Marknodding to a woman who was dressing her
three children at no great distance from him--and the grin upon his
face had by this time spread from ear to ear--'Hand over one of them
young 'uns according to custom.'

'I wish you'd get breakfastMarkinstead of worrying with people
who don't belong to you' observed Martinpetulantly.

'All right' said Mark. 'SHE'll do that. It's a fair division of
laboursir. I wash her boysand she makes our tea. I never COULD
make teabut any one can wash a boy.'

The womanwho was delicate and illfelt and understood his
kindnessas well she mightfor she had been covered every night
with his greatcoatwhile he had for his own bed the bare boards
and a rug. But Martinwho seldom got up or looked about himwas
quite incensed by the folly of this speechand expressed his
dissatisfaction by an impatient groan.

'So it iscertainly' said Markbrushing the child's hair as
coolly as if he had been born and bred a barber.

'What are you talking aboutnow?' asked Martin.

'What you said' replied Mark; 'or what you meantwhen you gave
that there dismal vent to your feelings. I quite go along with it
sir. It IS very hard upon her.'

'What is?'

'Making the voyage by herself along with these young impediments
hereand going such a way at such a time of the year to join her
husband. If you don't want to be driven mad with yellow soap in
your eyeyoung man' said Mr Tapley to the second urchinwho was
by this time under his hands at the basin'you'd better shut it.'

'Where does she join her husband?' asked Martinyawning.

'WhyI'm very much afraid' said Mr Tapleyin a low voice'that
she don't know. I hope she mayn't miss him. But she sent her last
letter by handand it don't seem to have been very clearly
understood between 'em without itand if she don't see him a-waving
his pocket-handkerchief on the shorelike a pictur out of a songbook
my opinion isshe'll break her heart.'

'Whyhowin Folly's namedoes the woman come to be on board ship
on such a wild-goose venture!' cried Martin.

Mr Tapley glanced at him for a moment as he lay prostrate in his
berthand then saidvery quietly:

'Ah! How indeed! I can't think! He's been away from her for two
year; she's been very poor and lonely in her own country; and has
always been a-looking forward to meeting him. It's very strange she


should be here. Quite amazing! A little mad perhaps! There can't
be no other way of accounting for it.'

Martin was too far gone in the lassitude of sea-sickness to make any
reply to these wordsor even to attend to them as they were spoken.
And the subject of their discourse returning at this crisis with
some hot teaeffectually put a stop to any resumption of the theme
by Mr Tapley; whowhen the meal was over and he had adjusted
Martin's bedwent up on deck to wash the breakfast servicewhich
consisted of two half-pint tin mugsand a shaving-pot of the same
metal.

It is due to Mark Tapley to state that he suffered at least as much
from sea-sickness as any manwomanor childon board; and that he
had a peculiar faculty of knocking himself about on the smallest
provocationand losing his legs at every lurch of the ship. But
resolvedin his usual phraseto 'come out strong' under
disadvantageous circumstanceshe was the life and soul of the
steerageand made no more of stopping in the middle of a facetious
conversation to go away and be excessively ill by himselfand
afterwards come back in the very best and gayest of tempers to
resume itthan if such a course of proceeding had been the
commonest in the world.

It cannot be said that as his illness wore offhis cheerfulness and
good nature increasedbecause they would hardly admit of
augmentation; but his usefulness among the weaker members of the
party was much enlarged; and at all times and seasons there he was
exerting it. If a gleam of sun shone out of the dark skydown Mark
tumbled into the cabinand presently up he came again with a woman
in his armsor half-a-dozen childrenor a manor a bedor a
saucepanor a basketor something animate or inanimatethat he
thought would be the better for the air. If an hour or two of fine
weather in the middle of the day tempted those who seldom or never
came on deck at other times to crawl into the long-boator lie down
upon the spare sparsand try to eattherein the centre of the
groupwas Mr Tapleyhanding about salt beef and biscuitor
dispensing tastes of grogor cutting up the children's provisions
with his pocketknifefor their greater ease and comfortor reading
aloud from a venerable newspaperor singing some roaring old song
to a select partyor writing the beginnings of letters to their
friends at home for people who couldn't writeor cracking jokes
with the crewor nearly getting blown over the sideor emerging
half-drownedfrom a shower of sprayor lending a hand somewhere or
other; but always doing something for the general entertainment. At
nightwhen the cooking-fire was lighted on the deckand the
driving sparks that flew among the riggingand the clouds of sails
seemed to menace the ship with certain annihilation by firein case
the elements of air and water failed to compass her destruction;
thereagainwas Mr Tapleywith his coat off and his shirt-sleeves
turned up to his elbowsdoing all kinds of culinary offices;
compounding the strangest dishes; recognized by every one as an
established authority; and helping all parties to achieve something
whichleft to themselvesthey never could have doneand never
would have dreamed of. In shortthere never was a more popular
character than Mark Tapley becameon board that noble and fastsailing
line-of-packet shipthe Screw; and he attained at last to
such a pitch of universal admirationthat he began to have grave
doubts within himself whether a man might reasonably claim any
credit for being jolly under such exciting circumstances.

'If this was going to last' said Tapley'there'd be no great
difference as I can perceivebetween the Screw and the Dragon.
never am to get creditI think. I begin to be afraid that the


Fates is determined to make the world easy to me.'

'WellMark' said Martinnear whose berth he had ruminated to this
effect. 'When will this be over?'

'Another weekthey saysir' returned Mark'will most likely
bring us into port. The ship's a-going along at presentas
sensible as a ship cansir; though I don't mean to say as that's
any very high praise.'

'I don't think it isindeed' groaned Martin.

'You'd feel all the better for itsirif you was to turn out'
observed Mark.

'And be seen by the ladies and gentlemen on the after-deck'
returned Martinwith a scronful emphasis upon the words'mingling
with the beggarly crowd that are stowed away in this vile hole. I
should be greatly the better for thatno doubt.'

'I'm thankful that I can't say from my own experience what the
feelings of a gentleman may be' said Mark'but I should have
thoughtsiras a gentleman would feel a deal more uncomfortable
down here than up in the fresh airespecially when the ladies and
gentlemen in the after-cabin know just as much about him as he does
about themand are likely to trouble their heads about him in the
same proportion. I should have thought thatcertainly.'

'I tell youthen' rejoined Martin'you would have thought wrong
and do think wrong.'

'Very likelysir' said Markwith imperturbable good temper. 'I
often do.'

'As to lying here' cried Martinraising himself on his elbowand
looking angrily at his follower. 'Do you suppose it's a pleasure to
lie here?'

'All the madhouses in the world' said Mr Tapley'couldn't produce
such a maniac as the man must be who could think that.'

'Then why are you forever goading and urging me to get up?' asked
Martin'I lie here because I don't wish to be recognizedin the
better days to which I aspireby any purse-proud citizenas the
man who came over with him among the steerage passengers. I lie
here because I wish to conceal my circumstances and myselfand not
to arrive in a new world badged and ticketed as an utterly povertystricken
man. If I could have afforded a passage in the after-cabin
I should have held up my head with the rest. As I couldn't I hide
it. Do you understand that?'

'I am very sorrysir' said Mark. 'I didn't know you took it so
much to heart as this comes to.'

'Of course you didn't know' returned his master. 'How should you
knowunless I told you? It's no trial to youMarkto make
yourself comfortable and to bustle about. It's as natural for you
to do so under the circumstances as it is for me not to do so. Why
you don't suppose there is a living creature in this ship who can by
possibility have half so much to undergo on board of her as I have?
Do you?' he askedsitting upright in his berth and looking at Mark
with an expression of great earnestness not unmixed with wonder.

Mark twisted his face into a tight knotand with his head very much


on one sidepondered upon this question as if he felt it an
extremely difficult one to answer. He was relieved from his
embarrassment by Martin himselfwho saidas he stretched himself
upon his back again and resumed the book he had been reading:

'But what is the use of my putting such a case to youwhen the very
essence of what I have been saying isthat you cannot by
possibility understand it! Make me a little brandy-and-water--cold
and very weak--and give me a biscuitand tell your friendwho is a
nearer neighbour of ours than I could wishto try and keep her
children a little quieter to-night than she did last night; that's a
good fellow.'

Mr Tapley set himself to obey these orders with great alacrityand
pending their executionit may be presumed his flagging spirits
revived; inasmuch as he several times observedbelow his breath
that in respect of its power of imparting a credit to jollitythe
Screw unquestionably had some decided advantages over the Dragon.
He also remarked that it was a high gratification to him to reflect
that he would carry its main excellence ashore with himand have it
constantly beside him wherever he went; but what he meant by these
consolatory thoughts he did not explain.

And now a general excitement began to prevail on board; and various
predictions relative to the precise dayand even the precise hour
at which they would reach New Yorkwere freely broached. There was
infinitely more crowding on deck and looking over the ship's side
than there had been before; and an epidemic broke out for packing up
things every morningwhich required unpacking again every night.
Those who had any letters to deliveror any friends to meetor any
settled plans of going anywhere or doing anythingdiscussed their
prospects a hundred times a day; and as this class of passengers was
very smalland the number of those who had no prospects whatever
was very largethere were plenty of listeners and few talkers.
Those who had been ill all alonggot well nowand those who had
been wellgot better. An American gentleman in the after-cabin
who had been wrapped up in fur and oilskin the whole passage
unexpectedly appeared in a very shinytallblack hatand
constantly overhauled a very little valise of pale leatherwhich
contained his clotheslinenbrushesshaving apparatusbooks
trinketsand other baggage. He likewise stuck his hands deep into
his pocketsand walked the deck with his nostrils dilatedas
already inhaling the air of Freedom which carries death to all
tyrantsand can never (under any circumstances worth mentioning) be
breathed by slaves. An English gentleman who was strongly suspected
of having run away from a bankwith something in his possession
belonging to its strong box besides the keygrew eloquent upon the
subject of the rights of manand hummed the Marseillaise Hymn
constantly. In a wordone great sensation pervaded the whole ship
and the soil of America lay close before them; so close at last
thatupon a certain starlight night they took a pilot on boardand
within a few hours afterwards lay to until the morningawaiting the
arrival of a steamboat in which the passengers were to be conveyed
ashore.

Off she camesoon after it was light next morningand lying
alongside an hour or more--during which period her very firemen were
objects of hardly less interest and curiosity than if they had been
so many angelsgood or bad--took all her living freight aboard.
Among them Markwho still had his friend and her three children
under his close protection; and Martinwho had once more dressed
himself in his usual attirebut wore a soiledold cloak above his
ordinary clothesuntil such time as he should separate for ever
from his late companions.


The steamer--whichwith its machinery on decklookedas it worked
its long slim legslike some enormously magnified insect or
antediluvian monster--dashed at great speed up a beautiful bay; and
presently they saw some heightsand islandsand a longflat
straggling city.

'And this' said Mr Tapleylooking far ahead'is the Land of
Libertyis it? Very well. I'm agreeable. Any land will do for
meafter so much water!'

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

MARTIN DISEMBARKS FROM THAT NOBLE AND FAST-SAILING LINE-OF-PACKET
SHIP'THE SCREW'AT THE PORT OF NEW YORKIN THE UNITED STATES OF
AMERICA. HE MAKES SOME ACQUAINTANCESAND DINES AT A BOARDINGHOUSE.
THE PARTICULARS OF THOSE TRANSACTIONS

Some trifling excitement prevailed upon the very brink and margin of
the land of liberty; for an alderman had been elected the day
before; and Party Feeling naturally running rather high on such an
exciting occasionthe friends of the disappointed candidate had
found it necessary to assert the great principles of Purity of
Election and Freedom of opinion by breaking a few legs and armsand
furthermore pursuing one obnoxious gentleman through the streets
with the design of hitting his nose. These good-humoured little
outbursts of the popular fancy were not in themselves sufficiently
remarkable to create any great stirafter the lapse of a whole
night; but they found fresh life and notoriety in the breath of the
newsboyswho not only proclaimed them with shrill yells in all the
highways and byways of the townupon the wharves and among the
shippingbut on the deck and down in the cabins of the steamboat;
whichbefore she touched the shorewas boarded and overrun by a
legion of those young citizens.

'Here's this morning's New York Sewer!' cried one. 'Here's this
morning's New York Stabber! Here's the New York Family Spy! Here's
the New York Private Listener! Here's the New York Peeper! Here's
the New York Plunderer! Here's the New York Keyhole Reporter! Here's
the New York Rowdy Journal! Here's all the New York papers! Here's
full particulars of the patriotic locofoco movement yesterdayin
which the whigs was so chawed up; and the last Alabama gouging case;
and the interesting Arkansas dooel with Bowie knives; and all the
PoliticalCommercialand Fashionable News. Here they are! Here
they are! Here's the papershere's the papers!'

'Here's the Sewer!' cried another. 'Here's the New York Sewer!
Here's some of the twelfth thousand of to-day's Sewerwith the best
accounts of the marketsand all the shipping newsand four whole
columns of country correspondenceand a full account of the Ball at
Mrs White's last nightwhere all the beauty and fashion of New York
was assembled; with the Sewer's own particulars of the private lives
of all the ladies that was there! Here's the Sewer! Here's some of
the twelfth thousand of the New York Sewer! Here's the Sewer's
exposure of the Wall Street Gangand the Sewer's exposure of the
Washington Gangand the Sewer's exclusive account of a flagrant act
of dishonesty committed by the Secretary of State when he was eight
years old; now communicatedat a great expenseby his own nurse.
Here's the Sewer! Here's the New York Sewerin its twelfth
thousandwith a whole column of New Yorkers to be shown upand all
their names printed! Here's the Sewer's article upon the Judge that


tried himday afore yesterdayfor libeland the Sewer's tribute
to the independent Jury that didn't convict himand the Sewer's
account of what they might have expected if they had! Here's the
Sewerhere's the Sewer! Here's the wide-awake Sewer; always on the
lookout; the leading Journal of the United Statesnow in its
twelfth thousandand still a-printing off:--Here's the New York
Sewer!'

'It is in such enlightened means' said a voice almost in Martin's
ear'that the bubbling passions of my country find a vent.'

Martin turned involuntarilyand sawstanding close at his sidea
sallow gentlemanwith sunken cheeksblack hairsmall twinkling
eyesand a singular expression hovering about that region of his
facewhich was not a frownnor a leerand yet might have been
mistaken at the first glance for either. Indeed it would have been
difficulton a much closer acquaintanceto describe it in any more
satisfactory terms than as a mixed expression of vulgar cunning and
conceit. This gentleman wore a rather broad-brimmed hat for the
greater wisdom of his appearance; and had his arms folded for the
greater impressiveness of his attitude. He was somewhat shabbily
dressed in a blue surtout reaching nearly to his anklesshort loose
trousers of the same colourand a faded buff waistcoatthrough
which a discoloured shirt-frill struggled to force itself into
noticeas asserting an equality of civil rights with the other
portions of his dressand maintaining a declaration of Independence
on its own account. His feetwhich were of unusually large
proportionswere leisurely crossed before him as he half leaned
againsthalf sat uponthe steamboat's bulwark; and his thick cane
shod with a mighty ferule at one end and armed with a great metal
knob at the otherdepended from a line-and-tassel on his wrist.
Thus attiredand thus composed into an aspect of great profundity
the gentleman twitched up the right-hand corner of his mouth and his
right eye simultaneouslyand saidonce more:

'It is in such enlightened means that the bubbling passions of my
country find a vent.'

As he looked at Martinand nobody else was byMartin inclined his
headand said:

'You allude to--?'

'To the Palladium of rational Liberty at homesirand the dread of
Foreign oppression abroad' returned the gentlemanas he pointed
with his cane to an uncommonly dirty newsboy with one eye. 'To the
Envy of the worldsirand the leaders of Human Civilization. Let
me ask you sir' he addedbringing the ferule of his stick heavily
upon the deck with the air of a man who must not be equivocated
with'how do you like my Country?'

'I am hardly prepared to answer that question yet' said Martin
'seeing that I have not been ashore.'

'WellI should expect you were not preparedsir' said the
gentleman'to behold such signs of National Prosperity as those?'

He pointed to the vessels lying at the wharves; and then gave a
vague flourish with his stickas if he would include the air and
watergenerallyin this remark.

'Really' said Martin'I don't know. Yes. I think I was.'

The gentleman glanced at him with a knowing lookand said he liked


his policy. It was naturalhe saidand it pleased him as a
philosopher to observe the prejudices of human nature.

'You have broughtI seesir' he saidturning round towards
Martinand resting his chin on the top of his stick'the usual
amount of misery and poverty and ignorance and crimeto be located
in the bosom of the great Republic. Wellsir! let 'em come on in
shiploads from the old country. When vessels are about to founder
the rats are said to leave 'em. There is considerable of truthI
findin that remark.'

'The old ship will keep afloat a year or two longer yetperhaps'
said Martin with a smilepartly occasioned by what the gentleman
saidand partly by his manner of saying itwhich was odd enough
for he emphasised all the small words and syllables in his
discourseand left the others to take care of themselves; as if he
thought the larger parts of speech could be trusted alonebut the
little ones required to be constantly looked after.

'Hope is said by the poetsir' observed the gentleman'to be the
nurse of young Desire.'

Martin signified that he had heard of the cardinal virtue in
question serving occasionally in that domestic capacity.

'She will not rear her infant in the present instancesiryou'll
find' observed the gentleman.

'Time will show' said Martin.

The gentleman nodded his head gravely; and said'What is your name
sir?'

Martin told him.

'How old are yousir?'

Martin told him.

'What is your professionsir?'

Martin told him that also.

'What is your destinationsir?' inquired the gentleman.

'Really' said Martin laughing'I can't satisfy you in that
particularfor I don't know it myself.'

'Yes?' said the gentleman.

'No' said Martin.

The gentleman adjusted his cane under his left armand took a more
deliberate and complete survey of Martin than he had yet had leisure
to make. When he had completed his inspectionhe put out his right
handshook Martin's handand said:

'My name is Colonel Diversir. I am the Editor of the New York
Rowdy Journal.'

Martin received the communication with that degree of respect which
an announcement so distinguished appeared to demand.

'The New York Rowdy Journalsir' resumed the colonel'isas I


expect you knowthe organ of our aristocracy in this city.'

'Oh! there IS an aristocracy herethen?' said Martin. 'Of what is
it composed?'

'Of intelligencesir' replied the colonel; 'of intelligence and
virtue. And of their necessary consequence in this republic-dollars
sir.'

Martin was very glad to hear thisfeeling well assured that if
intelligence and virtue ledas a matter of courseto the
acquisition of dollarshe would speedily become a great capitalist.
He was about to express the gratification such news afforded him
when he was interrupted by the captain of the shipwho came up at
the moment to shake hands with the colonel; and whoseeing a
well-dressed stranger on the deck (for Martin had thrown aside his
cloak)shook hands with him also. This was an unspeakable relief
to Martinwhoin spite of the acknowledged supremacy of
Intelligence and virtue in that happy countrywould have been
deeply mortified to appear before Colonel Diver in the poor
character of a steerage passenger.

'Well cap'en!' said the colonel.

'Well colonel' cried the captain. 'You're looking most uncommon
brightsir. I can hardly realise its being youand that's a
fact.'

'A good passagecap'en?' inquired the coloneltaking him aside

'Well now! It was a pretty spanking runsir' saidor rather sung
the captainwho was a genuine New Englander; 'con-siderin' the
weather.'

'Yes?' said the colonel.

'Well! It wassir' said the captain. 'I've just now sent a boy up
to your office with the passenger-listcolonel.'

'You haven't got another boy to sparep'rapscap'en?' said the
colonelin a tone almost amounting to severity.

'I guess there air a dozen if you want 'emcolonel' said the
captain.

'One moderate big 'un could convey a dozen champagneperhaps'
observed the colonelmusing'to my office. You said a spanking
runI think?'

'Wellso I did' was the reply.

'It's very nighyou know' observed the colonel. 'I'm glad it was
a spanking runcap'en. Don't mind about quarts if you're short of
'em. The boy can as well bring four-and-twenty pintsand travel
twice as once.--A first-rate spankercap'enwas it? Yes?'

'A most e--tarnal spanker' said the skipper.

'I admire at your good fortuncap'en. You might loan me a
corkscrew at the same timeand half-a-dozen glasses if you liked.
However bad the elements combine against my country's noble
packet-shipthe Screwsir' said the colonelturning to Martin
and drawing a flourish on the surface of the deck with his cane
'her passage either way is almost certain to eventuate a spanker!'


The captainwho had the Sewer below at that momentlunching
expensively in one cabinwhile the amiable Stabber was drinking
himself into a state of blind madness in anothertook a cordial
leave of his friend the coloneland hurried away to dispatch the
champagne; well knowing (as it afterwards appeared) that if he
failed to conciliate the editor of the Rowdy Journalthat potentate
would denounce him and his ship in large capitals before he was a
day older; and would probably assault the memory of his mother also
who had not been dead more than twenty years. The colonel being
again left alone with Martinchecked him as he was moving awayand
offered in consideration of his being an Englishmanto show him the
town and to introduce himif such were his desireto a genteel
boarding-house. But before they entered on these proceedings (he
said)he would beseech the honour of his company at the office of
the Rowdy Journalto partake of a bottle of champagne of his own
importation.

All this was so extremely kind and hospitablethat Martinthough
it was quite early in the morningreadily acquiesced. So
instructing Markwho was deeply engaged with his friend and her
three childrenthat when he had done assisting themand had cleared
the baggagehe was to wait for further orders at the Rowdy Journal
OfficeMartin accompanied his new friend on shore.

They made their way as they best could through the melancholy crowd
of emigrants upon the wharfwhogrouped about their beds and
boxeswith the bare ground below them and the bare sky abovemight
have fallen from another planetfor anything they knew of the
country; and walked for some short distance along a busy street
bounded on one side by the quays and shipping; and on the other by a
long row of staring red-brick storehouses and officesornamented
with more black boards and white lettersand more white boards and
black lettersthan Martin had ever seen beforein fifty times the
space. Presently they turned up a narrow streetand presently into
other narrow streetsuntil at last they stopped before a house
whereon was painted in great characters'ROWDY JOURNAL.'

The colonelwho had walked the whole way with one hand in his
breasthis head occasionally wagging from side to sideand his hat
thrown back upon his earslike a man who was oppressed to
inconvenience by a sense of his own greatnessled the way up a dark
and dirty flight of stairs into a room of similar characterall
littered and bestrewn with odds and ends of newspapers and other
crumpled fragmentsboth in proof and manuscript. Behind a mangy
old writing-table in this apartment sat a figure with a stump of a
pen in its mouth and a great pair of scissors in its right hand
clipping and slicing at a file of Rowdy Journals; and it was such a
laughable figure that Martin had some difficulty in preserving his
gravitythough conscious of the close observation of Colonel Diver.

The individual who sat clipping and slicing as aforesaid at the
Rowdy Journalswas a small young gentleman of very juvenile
appearanceand unwholesomely pale in the face; partlyperhaps
from intense thoughtbut partlythere is no doubtfrom the
excessive use of tobaccowhich he was at that moment chewing
vigorously. He wore his shirt-collar turned down over a black
ribbon; and his lank haira fragile cropwas not only smoothed and
parted back from his browthat none of the Poetry of his aspect
might be lostbut hadhere and therebeen grubbed up by the
roots; which accounted for his loftiest developments being somewhat
pimply. He had that order of nose on which the envy of mankind has
bestowed the appellation 'snub' and it was very much turned up at
the endas with a lofty scorn. Upon the upper lip of this young


gentleman were tokens of a sandy down; so veryvery smooth and
scantthatthough encouraged to the utmostit looked more like a
recent trace of gingerbread than the fair promise of a moustache;
and this conjecturehis apparently tender age went far to
strengthen. He was intent upon his work. Every time he snapped the
great pair of scissorshe made a corresponding motion with his
jawswhich gave him a very terrible appearance.

Martin was not long in determining within himself that this must be
Colonel Diver's son; the hope of the familyand future mainspring
of the Rowdy Journal. Indeed he had begun to say that he presumed
this was the colonel's little boyand that it was very pleasant to
see him playing at Editor in all the guilelessness of childhood
when the colonel proudly interposed and said:

'My War Correspondentsir--Mr Jefferson Brick!'

Martin could not help starting at this unexpected announcementand
the consciousness of the irretrievable mistake he had nearly made.

Mr Brick seemed pleased with the sensation he produced upon the
strangerand shook hands with himwith an air of patronage
designed to reassure himand to let him blow that there was no
occasion to be frightenedfor he (Brick) wouldn't hurt him.

'You have heard of Jefferson BrickI seesir' quoth the colonel
with a smile. 'England has heard of Jefferson Brick. Europe has
heard of Jefferson Brick. Let me see. When did you leave England
sir?'

'Five weeks ago' said Martin.

'Five weeks ago' repeated the colonelthoughtfully; as he took his
seat upon the tableand swung his legs. 'Now let me ask yousir
which of Mr Brick's articles had become at that time the most
obnoxious to the British Parliament and the Court of Saint James's?'

'Upon my word' said Martin'I--'

'I have reason to knowsir' interrupted the colonel'that the
aristocratic circles of your country quail before the name of
Jefferson Brick. I should like to be informedsirfrom your lips
which of his sentiments has struck the deadliest blow--'

'At the hundred heads of the Hydra of Corruption now grovelling in
the dust beneath the lance of Reasonand spouting up to the
universal arch above usits sanguinary gore' said Mr Brick
putting on a little blue cloth cap with a glazed frontand quoting
his last article.

'The libation of freedomBrick'--hinted the colonel.

'--Must sometimes be quaffed in bloodcolonel' cried Brick. And
when he said 'blood' he gave the great pair of scissors a sharp
snapas if THEY said blood tooand were quite of his opinion.

This donethey both looked at Martinpausing for a reply.

'Upon my life' said Martinwho had by this time quite recovered
his usual coolness'I can't give you any satisfactory information
about it; for the truth is that I--'

'Stop!' cried the colonelglancing sternly at his war correspondent
and giving his head one shake after every sentence. 'That you never


heard of Jefferson Bricksir. That you never read Jefferson Brick
sir. That you never saw the Rowdy Journalsir. That you never
knewsirof its mighty influence upon the cabinets of Europe.
Yes?'

'That's what I was about to observecertainly' said Martin.

'Keep coolJefferson' said the colonel gravely. 'Don't bust! oh
you Europeans! After thatlet's have a glass of wine!' So saying
he got down from the tableand producedfrom a basket outside the
doora bottle of champagneand three glasses.

'Mr Jefferson Bricksir' said the colonelfilling Martin's glass
and his ownand pushing the bottle to that gentleman'will give us
a sentiment.'

'Wellsir!' cried the war correspondent'Since you have concluded
to call upon meI will respond. I will give yousirThe Rowdy
Journal and its brethren; the well of Truthwhose waters are black
from being composed of printers' inkbut are quite clear enough for
my country to behold the shadow of her Destiny reflected in.'

'Hearhear!' cried the colonelwith great complacency. 'There are
flowery componentssirin the language of my friend?'

'Very much soindeed' said Martin.

'There is to-day's Rowdysir' observed the colonelhanding him a
paper. 'You'll find Jefferson Brick at his usual post in the van of
human civilization and moral purity.'

The colonel was by this time seated on the table again. Mr Brick
also took up a position on that same piece of furniture; and they
fell to drinking pretty hard. They often looked at Martin as he
read the paperand then at each other. When he laid it downwhich
was not until they had finished a second bottlethe colonel asked
him what he thought of it.

'Whyit's horribly personal' said Martin.

The colonel seemed much flattered by this remark; and said he hoped
it was.

'We are independent heresir' said Mr Jefferson Brick. 'We do as
we like.'

'If I may judge from this specimen' returned Martin'there must be
a few thousands hererather the reverse of independentwho do as
they don't like.'

'Well! They yield to the popular mind of the Popular Instructor
sir' said the colonel. 'They rile upsometimes; but in general we
have a hold upon our citizensboth in public and in private life
which is as much one of the ennobling institutions of our happy
country as--'

'As nigger slavery itself' suggested Mr Brick.

'En--tirely so' remarked the colonel.

'Pray' said Martinafter some hesitation'may I venture to ask
with reference to a case I observe in this paper of yourswhether
the Popular Instructor often deals in--I am at a loss to express it
without giving you offence--in forgery? In forged lettersfor


instance' he pursuedfor the colonel was perfectly calm and quite
at his ease'solemnly purporting to have been written at recent
periods by living men?'

'Wellsir!' replied the colonel. 'It doesnow and then.'

'And the popular instructed--what do they do?' asked Martin.

'Buy 'em:' said the colonel.

Mr Jefferson Brick expectorated and laughed; the former copiously
the latter approvingly.

'Buy 'em by hundreds of thousands' resumed the colonel. 'We are a
smart people hereand can appreciate smartness.'

'Is smartness American for forgery?' asked Martin.

'Well!' said the colonel'I expect it's American for a good many
things that you call by other names. But you can't help yourself in
Europe. We can.'

'And dosometimes' thought Martin. 'You help yourselves with very
little ceremonytoo!'

'At all eventswhatever name we choose to employ' said the
colonelstooping down to roll the third empty bottle into a corner
after the other two'I suppose the art of forgery was not invented
here sir?'

'I suppose not' replied Martin.

'Nor any other kind of smartness I reckon?'

'Invented! NoI presume not.'

'Well!' said the colonel; 'then we got it all from the old country
and the old country's to blame for itand not the new 'un. There's
an end of THAT. Nowif Mr Jefferson Brick and you will be so good
as to clearI'll come out lastand lock the door.'

Rightly interpreting this as the signal for their departureMartin
walked downstairs after the war correspondentwho preceded him
with great majesty. The colonel followingthey left the Rowdy
Journal Office and walked forth into the streets; Martin feeling
doubtful whether he ought to kick the colonel for having presumed to
speak to himor whether it came within the bounds of possibility
that he and his establishment could be among the boasted usages of
that regenerated land.

It was clear that Colonel Diverin the security of his strong
positionand in his perfect understanding of the public sentiment
cared very little what Martin or anybody else thought about him.
His high-spiced wares were made to selland they sold; and his
thousands of readers could as rationally charge their delight in
filth upon himas a glutton can shift upon his cook the
responsibility of his beastly excess. Nothing would have delighted
the colonel more than to be told that no such man as he could walk
in high success the streets of any other country in the world; for
that would only have been a logical assurance to him of the correct
adaptation of his labours to the prevailing tasteand of his being
strictly and peculiarly a national feature of America.

They walked a mile or more along a handsome street which the colonel


said was called Broadwayand which Mr Jefferson Brick said 'whipped
the universe.' Turningat lengthinto one of the numerous streets
which branched from this main thoroughfarethey stopped before a
rather mean-looking house with jalousie blinds to every window; a
flight of steps before the green street-door; a shining white
ornament on the rails on either side like a petrified pineapple
polished; a little oblong plate of the same material over the
knocker whereon the name of 'Pawkins' was engraved; and four
accidental pigs looking down the area.

The colonel knocked at this house with the air of a man who lived
there; and an Irish girl popped her head out of one of the top
windows to see who it was. Pending her journey downstairsthe
pigs were joined by two or three friends from the next streetin
company with whom they lay down sociably in the gutter.

'Is the major indoors?' inquired the colonelas he entered.

'Is it the mastersir?' returned the girlwith a hesitation which
seemed to imply that they were rather flush of majors in that
establishment.

'The master!' said Colonel Diverstopping short and looking round
at his war correspondent.

'Oh! The depressing institutions of that British empirecolonel!'
said Jefferson Brick. 'Master!'

'What's the matter with the word?' asked Martin.

'I should hope it was never heard in our countrysir; that's all'
said Jefferson Brick; 'except when it is used by some degraded Help
as new to the blessings of our form of governmentas this Help is.
There are no masters here.'

'All "owners are they?' said Martin.

Mr Jefferson Brick followed in the Rowdy Journal's footsteps without
returning any answer. Martin took the same course, thinking as he
went, that perhaps the free and independent citizens, who in their
moral elevation, owned the colonel for their master, might render
better homage to the goddess, Liberty, in nightly dreams upon the
oven of a Russian Serf.

The colonel led the way into a room at the back of the house upon
the ground-floor, light, and of fair dimensions, but exquisitely
uncomfortable; having nothing in it but the four cold white walls
and ceiling, a mean carpet, a dreary waste of dining-table reaching
from end to end, and a bewildering collection of cane-bottomed
chairs. In the further region of this banqueting-hall was a stove,
garnished on either side with a great brass spittoon, and shaped in
itself like three little iron barrels set up on end in a fender, and
joined together on the principle of the Siamese Twins. Before it,
swinging himself in a rocking-chair, lounged a large gentleman with
his hat on, who amused himself by spitting alternately into the
spittoon on the right hand of the stove, and the spittoon on the
left, and then working his way back again in the same order. A
negro lad in a soiled white jacket was busily engaged in placing on
the table two long rows of knives and forks, relieved at intervals
by jugs of water; and as he travelled down one side of this festive
board, he straightened with his dirty hands the dirtier cloth, which
was all askew, and had not been removed since breakfast. The
atmosphere of this room was rendered intensely hot and stifling by
the stove; but being further flavoured by a sickly gush of soup from


the kitchen, and by such remote suggestions of tobacco as lingered
within the brazen receptacles already mentioned, it became, to a
stranger's senses, almost insupportable.

The gentleman in the rocking-chair having his back towards them, and
being much engaged in his intellectual pastime, was not aware of
their approach until the colonel, walking up to the stove,
contributed his mite towards the support of the left-hand spittoon,
just as the major--for it was the major--bore down upon it. Major
Pawkins then reserved his fire, and looking upward, said, with a
peculiar air of quiet weariness, like a man who had been up all
night--an air which Martin had already observed both in the colonel
and Mr Jefferson Brick-


'Well, colonel!'

'Here is a gentleman from England, major,' the colonel replied, 'who
has concluded to locate himself here if the amount of compensation
suits him.'

'I am glad to see you, sir,' observed the major, shaking hands with
Martin, and not moving a muscle of his face. 'You are pretty
bright, I hope?'

'Never better,' said Martin.

'You are never likely to be,' returned the major. 'You will see the
sun shine HERE.'

'I think I remember to have seen it shine at home sometimes,' said
Martin, smiling.

'I think not,' replied the major. He said so with a stoical
indifference certainly, but still in a tone of firmness which
admitted of no further dispute on that point. When he had thus
settled the question, he put his hat a little on one side for the
greater convenience of scratching his head, and saluted Mr Jefferson
Brick with a lazy nod.

Major Pawkins (a gentleman of Pennsylvanian origin) was
distinguished by a very large skull, and a great mass of yellow
forehead; in deference to which commodities it was currently held in
bar-rooms and other such places of resort that the major was a man
of huge sagacity. He was further to be known by a heavy eye and a
dull slow manner; and for being a man of that kind who--mentally
speaking--requires a deal of room to turn himself in. But, in
trading on his stock of wisdom, he invariably proceeded on the
principle of putting all the goods he had (and more) into his
window; and that went a great way with his constituency of admirers.
It went a great way, perhaps, with Mr Jefferson Brick, who took
occasion to whisper in Martin's ear:

'One of the most remarkable men in our country, sir!'

It must not be supposed, however, that the perpetual exhibition in
the market-place of all his stock-in-trade for sale or hire, was the
major's sole claim to a very large share of sympathy and support.
He was a great politician; and the one article of his creed, in
reference to all public obligations involving the good faith and
integrity of his country, was, 'run a moist pen slick through
everything, and start fresh.' This made him a patriot. In
commercial affairs he was a bold speculator. In plainer words he
had a most distinguished genius for swindling, and could start a
bank, or negotiate a loan, or form a land-jobbing company (entailing


ruin, pestilence, and death, on hundreds of families), with any
gifted creature in the Union. This made him an admirable man of
business. He could hang about a bar-room, discussing the affairs of
the nation, for twelve hours together; and in that time could hold
forth with more intolerable dulness, chew more tobacco, smoke more
tobacco, drink more rum-toddy, mint-julep, gin-sling, and cocktail,
than any private gentleman of his acquaintance. This made him an
orator and a man of the people. In a word, the major was a rising
character, and a popular character, and was in a fair way to be sent
by the popular party to the State House of New York, if not in the
end to Washington itself. But as a man's private prosperity does
not always keep pace with his patriotic devotion to public affairs;
and as fraudulent transactions have their downs as well as ups, the
major was occasionally under a cloud. Hence, just now Mrs Pawkins
kept a boarding-house, and Major Pawkins rather 'loafed' his time
away than otherwise.

'You have come to visit our country, sir, at a season of great
commercial depression,' said the major.

'At an alarming crisis,' said the colonel.

'At a period of unprecedented stagnation,' said Mr Jefferson Brick.

'I am sorry to hear that,' returned Martin. 'It's not likely to
last, I hope?'

Martin knew nothing about America, or he would have known perfectly
well that if its individual citizens, to a man, are to be believed,
it always IS depressed, and always IS stagnated, and always IS at an
alarming crisis, and never was otherwise; though as a body they are
ready to make oath upon the Evangelists at any hour of the day or
night, that it is the most thriving and prosperous of all countries
on the habitable globe.

'It's not likely to last, I hope?' said Martin.

'Well!' returned the major, 'I expect we shall get along somehow,
and come right in the end.'

'We are an elastic country,' said the Rowdy Journal.

'We are a young lion,' said Mr Jefferson Brick.

'We have revivifying and vigorous principles within ourselves,'
observed the major. 'Shall we drink a bitter afore dinner,
colonel?'

The colonel assenting to this proposal with great alacrity, Major
Pawkins proposed an adjournment to a neighbouring bar-room, which,
as he observed, was 'only in the next block.' He then referred
Martin to Mrs Pawkins for all particulars connected with the rate of
board and lodging, and informed him that he would have the pleasure
of seeing that lady at dinner, which would soon be ready, as the
dinner hour was two o'clock, and it only wanted a quarter now. This
reminded him that if the bitter were to be taken at all, there was
no time to lose; so he walked off without more ado, and left them to
follow if they thought proper.

When the major rose from his rocking-chair before the stove, and so
disturbed the hot air and balmy whiff of soup which fanned their
brows, the odour of stale tobacco became so decidedly prevalent as
to leave no doubt of its proceeding mainly from that gentleman's
attire. Indeed, as Martin walked behind him to the bar-room, he


could not help thinking that the great square major, in his
listlessness and langour, looked very much like a stale weed himself;
such as might be hoed out of the public garden, with great advantage
to the decent growth of that preserve, and tossed on some congenial
dunghill.

They encountered more weeds in the bar-room, some of whom (being
thirsty souls as well as dirty) were pretty stale in one sense, and
pretty fresh in another. Among them was a gentleman who, as Martin
gathered from the conversation that took place over the bitter,
started that afternoon for the Far West on a six months' business
tour, and who, as his outfit and equipment for this journey, had
just such another shiny hat and just such another little pale valise
as had composed the luggage of the gentleman who came from England
in the Screw.

They were walking back very leisurely; Martin arm-in-arm with Mr
Jefferson Brick, and the major and the colonel side-by-side before
them; when, as they came within a house or two of the major's
residence, they heard a bell ringing violently. The instant this
sound struck upon their ears, the colonel and the major darted off,
dashed up the steps and in at the street-door (which stood ajar)
like lunatics; while Mr Jefferson Brick, detaching his arm from
Martin's, made a precipitate dive in the same direction, and
vanished also.

'Good Heaven!' thought Martin. 'The premises are on fire! It was an
alarm bell!'

But there was no smoke to be seen, nor any flame, nor was there any
smell of fire. As Martin faltered on the pavement, three more
gentlemen, with horror and agitation depicted in their faces, came
plunging wildly round the street corner; jostled each other on the
steps; struggled for an instant; and rushed into the house, a
confused heap of arms and legs. Unable to bear it any longer,
Martin followed. Even in his rapid progress he was run down, thrust
aside, and passed, by two more gentlemen, stark mad, as it appeared,
with fierce excitement.

'Where is it?' cried Martin, breathlessly, to a negro whom he
encountered in the passage.

'In a eatin room, sa. Kernell, sa, him kep a seat 'side himself,
sa.'

'A seat!' cried Martin.

'For a dinnar, sa.'

Martin started at him for a moment, and burst into a hearty laugh;
to which the negro, out of his natural good humour and desire to
please, so heartily responded, that his teeth shone like a gleam of
light. 'You're the pleasantest fellow I have seen yet,' said Martin
clapping him on the back, 'and give me a better appetite than
bitters.'

With this sentiment he walked into the dining-room and slipped into
a chair next the colonel, which that gentleman (by this time nearly
through his dinner) had turned down in reserve for him, with its
back against the table.

It was a numerous company--eighteen or twenty perhaps. Of these
some five or six were ladies, who sat wedged together in a little
phalanx by themselves. All the knives and forks were working away


at a rate that was quite alarming; very few words were spoken; and
everybody seemed to eat his utmost in self-defence, as if a famine
were expected to set in before breakfast time to-morrow morning, and
it had become high time to assert the first law of nature. The
poultry, which may perhaps be considered to have formed the staple
of the entertainment--for there was a turkey at the top, a pair of
ducks at the bottom, and two fowls in the middle--disappeared as
rapidly as if every bird had had the use of its wings, and had flown
in desperation down a human throat. The oysters, stewed and
pickled, leaped from their capacious reservoirs, and slid by scores
into the mouths of the assembly. The sharpest pickles vanished,
whole cucumbers at once, like sugar-plums, and no man winked his
eye. Great heaps of indigestible matter melted away as ice before
the sun. It was a solemn and an awful thing to see. Dyspeptic
individuals bolted their food in wedges; feeding, not themselves,
but broods of nightmares, who were continually standing at livery
within them. Spare men, with lank and rigid cheeks, came out
unsatisfied from the destruction of heavy dishes, and glared with
watchful eyes upon the pastry. What Mrs Pawkins felt each day at
dinner-time is hidden from all human knowledge. But she had one
comfort. It was very soon over.

When the colonel had finished his dinner, which event took place
while Martin, who had sent his plate for some turkey, was waiting to
begin, he asked him what he thought of the boarders, who were from
all parts of the Union, and whether he would like to know any
particulars concerning them.

'Pray,' said Martin, 'who is that sickly little girl opposite, with
the tight round eyes? I don't see anybody here, who looks like her
mother, or who seems to have charge of her.'

'Do you mean the matron in blue, sir?' asked the colonel, with
emphasis. 'That is Mrs Jefferson Brick, sir.'

'No, no,' said Martin, 'I mean the little girl, like a doll;
directly opposite.'

'Well, sir!' cried the colonel. 'THAT is Mrs Jefferson Brick.'

Martin glanced at the colonel's face, but he was quite serious.

'Bless my soul! I suppose there will be a young Brick then, one of
these days?' said Martin.

'There are two young Bricks already, sir,' returned the colonel.

The matron looked so uncommonly like a child herself, that Martin
could not help saying as much. 'Yes, sir,' returned the colonel,
'but some institutions develop human natur; others re--tard it.'

'Jefferson Brick,' he observed after a short silence, in
commendation of his correspondent, 'is one of the most remarkable
men in our country, sir!'

This had passed almost in a whisper, for the distinguished gentleman
alluded to sat on Martin's other hand.

'Pray, Mr Brick,' said Martin, turning to him, and asking a question
more for conversation's sake than from any feeling of interest in
its subject, 'who is that;' he was going to say 'young' but thought
it prudent to eschew the word--'that very short gentleman yonder,
with the red nose?'


'That is Pro--fessor Mullit, sir,' replied Jefferson.

'May I ask what he is professor of?' asked Martin.

'Of education, sir,' said Jefferson Brick.

'A sort of schoolmaster, possibly?' Martin ventured to observe.

'He is a man of fine moral elements, sir, and not commonly endowed,'
said the war correspondent. 'He felt it necessary, at the last
election for President, to repudiate and denounce his father, who
voted on the wrong interest. He has since written some powerful
pamphlets, under the signature of Suturb or Brutus reversed. He
is one of the most remarkable men in our country, sir.'

'There seem to be plenty of 'em,' thought Martin, 'at any rate.'

Pursuing his inquiries Martin found that there were no fewer than
four majors present, two colonels, one general, and a captain, so
that he could not help thinking how strongly officered the American
militia must be; and wondering very much whether the officers
commanded each other; or if they did not, where on earth the
privates came from. There seemed to be no man there without a
title; for those who had not attained to military honours were
either doctors, professors, or reverends. Three very hard and
disagreeable gentlemen were on missions from neighbouring States;
one on monetary affairs, one on political, one on sectarian. Among
the ladies, there were Mrs Pawkins, who was very straight, bony, and
silent; and a wiry-faced old damsel, who held strong sentiments
touching the rights of women, and had diffused the same in lectures;
but the rest were strangely devoid of individual traits of
character, insomuch that any one of them might have changed minds
with the other, and nobody would have found it out. These, by the
way, were the only members of the party who did not appear to be
among the most remarkable people in the country.

Several of the gentlemen got up, one by one, and walked off as they
swallowed their last morsel; pausing generally by the stove for a
minute or so to refresh themselves at the brass spittoons. A few
sedentary characters, however, remained at table full a quarter of
an hour, and did not rise until the ladies rose, when all stood up.

'Where are they going?' asked Martin, in the ear of Mr Jefferson
Brick.

'To their bedrooms, sir.'

'Is there no dessert, or other interval of conversation?' asked
Martin, who was disposed to enjoy himself after his long voyage.

'We are a busy people here, sir, and have no time for that,' was the
reply.

So the ladies passed out in single file; Mr Jefferson Brick and such
other married gentlemen as were left, acknowledging the departure of
their other halves by a nod; and there was an end of THEM. Martin
thought this an uncomfortable custom, but he kept his opinion to
himself for the present, being anxious to hear, and inform himself
by, the conversation of the busy gentlemen, who now lounged about the
stove as if a great weight had been taken off their minds by the
withdrawal of the other sex; and who made a plentiful use of the
spittoons and their toothpicks.

It was rather barren of interest, to say the truth; and the greater


part of it may be summed up in one word. Dollars. All their cares,
hopes, joys, affections, virtues, and associations, seemed to be
melted down into dollars. Whatever the chance contributions that
fell into the slow cauldron of their talk, they made the gruel thick
and slab with dollars. Men were weighed by their dollars, measures
gauged by their dollars; life was auctioneered, appraised, put up,
and knocked down for its dollars. The next respectable thing to
dollars was any venture having their attainment for its end. The
more of that worthless ballast, honour and fair-dealing, which any
man cast overboard from the ship of his Good Name and Good Intent,
the more ample stowage-room he had for dollars. Make commerce one
huge lie and mighty theft. Deface the banner of the nation for an
idle rag; pollute it star by star; and cut out stripe by stripe as
from the arm of a degraded soldier. Do anything for dollars! What
is a flag to THEM!

One who rides at all hazards of limb and life in the chase of a fox,
will prefer to ride recklessly at most times. So it was with these
gentlemen. He was the greatest patriot, in their eyes, who brawled
the loudest, and who cared the least for decency. He was their
champion who, in the brutal fury of his own pursuit, could cast no
stigma upon them for the hot knavery of theirs. Thus, Martin learned
in the five minutes' straggling talk about the stove, that to carry
pistols into legislative assemblies, and swords in sticks, and other
such peaceful toys; to seize opponents by the throat, as dogs or
rats might do; to bluster, bully, and overbear by personal
assailment; were glowing deeds. Not thrusts and stabs at Freedom,
striking far deeper into her House of Life than any sultan's
scimitar could reach; but rare incense on her altars, having a
grateful scent in patriotic nostrils, and curling upward to the
seventh heaven of Fame.

Once or twice, when there was a pause, Martin asked such questions
as naturally occurred to him, being a stranger, about the national
poets, the theatre, literature, and the arts. But the information
which these gentlemen were in a condition to give him on such
topics, did not extend beyond the effusions of such master-spirits
of the time as Colonel Diver, Mr Jefferson Brick, and others;
renowned, as it appeared, for excellence in the achievement of a
peculiar style of broadside essay called 'a screamer.'

'We are a busy people, sir,' said one of the captains, who was from
the West, 'and have no time for reading mere notions. We don't mind
'em if they come to us in newspapers along with almighty strong
stuff of another sort, but darn your books.'

Here the general, who appeared to grow quite faint at the bare
thought of reading anything which was neither mercantile nor
political, and was not in a newspaper, inquired 'if any gentleman
would drink some?' Most of the company, considering this a very
choice and seasonable idea, lounged out, one by one, to the bar-room
in the next block. Thence they probably went to their stores and
counting-houses; thence to the bar-room again, to talk once more of
dollars, and enlarge their minds with the perusal and discussion of
screamers; and thence each man to snore in the bosom of his own
family.

'Which would seem,' said Martin, pursuing the current of his own
thoughts, 'to be the principal recreation they enjoy in common.'
With that, he fell a-musing again on dollars, demagogues, and barrooms;
debating within himself whether busy people of this class
were really as busy as they claimed to be, or only had an inaptitude
for social and domestic pleasure.


It was a difficult question to solve; and the mere fact of its being
strongly presented to his mind by all that he had seen and heard,
was not encouraging. He sat down at the deserted board, and
becoming more and more despondent, as he thought of all the
uncertainties and difficulties of his precarious situation, sighed
heavily.

Now, there had been at the dinner-table a middle-aged man with a
dark eye and a sunburnt face, who had attracted Martin's attention
by having something very engaging and honest in the expression of
his features; but of whom he could learn nothing from either of his
neighbours, who seemed to consider him quite beneath their notice.
He had taken no part in the conversation round the stove, nor had he
gone forth with the rest; and now, when he heard Martin sigh for the
third or fourth time, he interposed with some casual remark, as if
he desired, without obtruding himself upon a stranger's notice, to
engage him in cheerful conversation if he could. His motive was so
obvious, and yet so delicately expressed, that Martin felt really
grateful to him, and showed him so in the manner of his reply.

'I will not ask you,' said this gentleman with a smile, as he rose
and moved towards him, 'how you like my country, for I can quite
anticipate your feeling on that point. But, as I am an American,
and consequently bound to begin with a question, I'll ask you how
you like the colonel?'

'You are so very frank,' returned Martin, 'that I have no hesitation
in saying I don't like him at all. Though I must add that I am
beholden to him for his civility in bringing me here--and arranging
for my stay, on pretty reasonable terms, by the way,' he added,
remembering that the colonel had whispered him to that effect,
before going out.

'Not much beholden,' said the stranger drily. 'The colonel
occasionally boards packet-ships, I have heard, to glean the latest
information for his journal; and he occasionally brings strangers to
board here, I believe, with a view to the little percentage which
attaches to those good offices; and which the hostess deducts from
his weekly bill. I don't offend you, I hope?' he added, seeing that
Martin reddened.

'My dear sir,' returned Martin, as they shook hands, 'how is that
possible! to tell you the truth, I--am--'

'Yes?' said the gentleman, sitting down beside him.

'I am rather at a loss, since I must speak plainly,' said Martin,
getting the better of his hesitation, 'to know how this colonel
escapes being beaten.'

'Well! He has been beaten once or twice,' remarked the gentleman
quietly. 'He is one of a class of men, in whom our own Franklin, so
long ago as ten years before the close of the last century, foresaw
our danger and disgrace. Perhaps you don't know that Franklin, in
very severe terms, published his opinion that those who were
slandered by such fellows as this colonel, having no sufficient
remedy in the administration of this country's laws or in the decent
and right-minded feeling of its people, were justified in retorting
on such public nuisances by means of a stout cudgel?'

'I was not aware of that,' said Martin, 'but I am very glad to know
it, and I think it worthy of his memory; especially'--here he
hesitated again.


'Go on,' said the other, smiling as if he knew what stuck in
Martin's throat.

'Especially,' pursued Martin, 'as I can already understand that it
may have required great courage, even in his time, to write freely
on any question which was not a party one in this very free
country.'

'Some courage, no doubt,' returned his new friend. 'Do you think it
would require any to do so, now?'

'Indeed I think it would; and not a little,' said Martin.

'You are right. So very right, that I believe no satirist could
breathe this air. If another Juvenal or Swift could rise up among
us to-morrow, he would be hunted down. If you have any knowledge of
our literature, and can give me the name of any man, American born
and bred, who has anatomized our follies as a people, and not as
this or that party; and who has escaped the foulest and most brutal
slander, the most inveterate hatred and intolerant pursuit; it will
be a strange name in my ears, believe me. In some cases I could
name to you, where a native writer has ventured on the most harmless
and good-humoured illustrations of our vices or defects, it has been
found necessary to announce, that in a second edition the passage
has been expunged, or altered, or explained away, or patched into
praise.'

'And how has this been brought about?' asked Martin, in dismay.

'Think of what you have seen and heard to-day, beginning with the
colonel,' said his friend, 'and ask yourself. How THEY came about,
is another question. Heaven forbid that they should be samples of
the intelligence and virtue of America, but they come uppermost, and
in great numbers, and too often represent it. Will you walk?'

There was a cordial candour in his manner, and an engaging
confidence that it would not be abused; a manly bearing on his own
part, and a simple reliance on the manly faith of a stranger; which
Martin had never seen before. He linked his arm readily in that of
the American gentleman, and they walked out together.

It was perhaps to men like this, his new companion, that a traveller
of honoured name, who trod those shores now nearly forty years ago,
and woke upon that soil, as many have done since, to blots and
stains upon its high pretensions, which in the brightness of his
distant dreams were lost to view, appealed in these words-


'Oh, but for such, Columbia's days were done;
Rank without ripeness, quickened without sun,
Crude at the surface, rotten at the core,
Her fruits would fall before her spring were o'er!'


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

MARTIN ENLARGES HIS CIRCLE OF AQUAINTANCE; INCREASES HIS STOCK OF
WISDOM; AND HAS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY OF COMPARING HIS OWN
EXPERIENCES WITH THOSE OF LUMMY NED OF THE LIGHT SALISBURY, AS
RELATED BY HIS FRIEND MR WILLIAM SIMMONS

It was characteristic of Martin, that all this while he had either


forgotten Mark Tapley as completely as if there had been no such
person in existence, or, if for a moment the figure of that
gentleman rose before his mental vision, had dismissed it as
something by no means of a pressing nature, which might be attended
to by-and-bye, and could wait his perfect leisure. But, being now
in the streets again, it occurred to him as just coming within the
bare limits of possibility that Mr Tapley might, in course of time,
grow tired of waiting on the threshold of the Rowdy Journal Office,
so he intimated to his new friend, that if they could conveniently
walk in that direction, he would be glad to get this piece of
business off his mind.

'And speaking of business,' said Martin, 'may I ask, in order that I
may not be behind-hand with questions either, whether your
occupation holds you to this city, or like myself, you are a visitor
here?'

'A visitor,' replied his friend. 'I was raised" in the State of
Massachusettsand reside there still. My home is in a quiet
country town. I am not often in these busy places; and my
inclination to visit them does not increase with our better
acquaintanceI assure you.'

'You have been abroad?' asked Martin

'Oh yes.'

'Andlike most people who travelhave become more than ever
attached to your home and native country' said Martineyeing him
curiously.

'To my home--yes' rejoined his friend. 'To my native country AS my
home--yesalso.'

'You imply some reservation' said Martin.

'Well' returned his new friend'if you ask me whether I came back
here with a greater relish for my country's faults; with a greater
fondness for those who claim (at the rate of so many dollars a day)
to be her friends; with a cooler indifference to the growth of
principles among us in respect of public matters and of private
dealings between man and manthe advocacy of whichbeyond the foul
atmosphere of a criminal trialwould disgrace your own old Bailey
lawyers; whythen I answer plainlyNo.'

'Oh!' said Martin; in so exactly the same key as his friend's No
that it sounded like an echo.

'If you ask me' his companion pursued'whether I came back here
better satisfied with a state of things which broadly divides
society into two classes--whereof onethe great massasserts a
spurious independencemost miserably dependent for its mean
existence on the disregard of humanizing conventionalities of manner
and social customso that the coarser a man isthe more distinctly
it shall appeal to his taste; while the otherdisgusted with the
low standard thus set up and made adaptable to everythingtakes
refuge among the graces and refinements it can bring to bear on
private lifeand leaves the public weal to such fortune as may
betide it in the press and uproar of a general scramble--then again
I answerNo.'

And again Martin said 'Oh!' in the same odd way as beforebeing
anxious and disconcerted; not so muchto say the truthon public
groundsas with reference to the fading prospects of domestic


architecture.

'In a word' resumed the other'I do not find and cannot believe
and therefore will not allowthat we are a model of wisdomand an
example to the worldand the perfection of human reasonand a
great deal more to the same purposewhich you may hear any hour in
the day; simply because we began our political life with two
inestimable advantages.'

'What were they?' asked Martin.

'Onethat our history commenced at so late a period as to escape
the ages of bloodshed and cruelty through which other nations have
passed; and so had all the light of their probationand none of its
darkness. The otherthat we have a vast territoryand not--as
yet--too many people on it. These facts consideredwe have done
little enoughI think.'

'Education?' suggested Martinfaintly.

'Pretty well on that head' said the othershrugging his shoulders
'still no mighty matter to boast of; for old countriesand despotic
countries toohave done as muchif not moreand made less noise
about it. We shine out brightly in comparison with England
certainly; but hers is a very extreme case. You complimented me on
my franknessyou know' he addedlaughing.

'Oh! I am not at all astonished at your speaking thus openly when my
country is in question' returned Martin. 'It is your plainspeaking
in reference to your own that surprises me.'

'You will not find it a scarce quality hereI assure yousaving
among the Colonel Diversand Jefferson Bricksand Major Pawkinses;
though the best of us are something like the man in Goldsmith's
comedywho wouldn't suffer anybody but himself to abuse his master.
Come!' he added. 'Let us talk of something else. You have come
here on some design of improving your fortuneI dare say; and I
should grieve to put you out of heart. I am some years older than
youbesides; and mayon a few trivial pointsadvise youperhaps.'

There was not the least curiosity or impertinence in the manner of
this offerwhich was open-heartedunaffectedand good-natured.
As it was next to impossible that he should not have his confidence
awakened by a deportment so prepossessing and kindMartin plainly
stated what had brought him into those partsand even made the very
difficult avowal that he was poor. He did not say how poorit must
be admittedrather throwing off the declaration with an air which
might have implied that he had money enough for six monthsinstead
of as many weeks; but poor he said he wasand grateful he said he
would befor any counsel that his friend would give him.

It would not have been very difficult for any one to see; but it was
particularly easy for Martinwhose perceptions were sharpened by
his circumstancesto discern; that the stranger's face grew
infinitely longer as the domestic-architecture project was
developed. Noralthough he made a great effort to be as
encouraging as possiblecould he prevent his head from shaking once
involuntarilyas if it said in the vulgar tongueupon its own
account'No go!' But he spoke in a cheerful toneand saidthat
although there was no such opening as Martin wishedin that city
he would make it matter of immediate consideration and inquiry where
one was most likely to exist; and then he made Martin acquainted
with his namewhich was Bevan; and with his professionwhich was
physicthough he seldom or never practiced; and with other


circumstances connected with himself and familywhich fully
occupied the timeuntil they reached the Rowdy Journal Office.

Mr Tapley appeared to be taking his ease on the landing of the first
floor; for sounds as of some gentleman established in that region
whistling 'Rule Britannia' with all his might and maingreeted
their ears before they reached the house. On ascending to the spot
from whence this music proceededthey found him recumbent in the
midst of a fortification of luggageapparently performing his
national anthem for the gratification of a grey-haired black man
who sat on one of the outworks (a portmanteau)staring intently at
Markwhile Markwith his head reclining on his handreturned the
compliment in a thoughtful mannerand whistled all the time. He
seemed to have recently dinedfor his knifea casebottleand
certain broken meats in a handkerchieflay near at hand. He had
employed a portion of his leisure in the decoration of the Rowdy
Journal doorwhereon his own initials now appeared in letters
nearly half a foot longtogether with the day of the month in
smaller type; the whole surrounded by an ornamental borderand
looking very fresh and bold.

'I was a'most afraid you was lostsir!' cried Markrisingand
stopping the tune at that point where Britons generally are supposed
to declare (when it is whistled) that they nevernevernever-


'Nothing gone wrongI hopesir?'

'NoMark. Where's your friend?'

'The mad womansir?' said Mr Tapley. 'Oh! she's all rightsir.'

'Did she find her husband?'

'Yessir. Leastways she's found his remains' said Mark
correcting himself.

'The man's not deadI hope?'

'Not altogether deadsir' returned Mark; 'but he's had more fevers
and agues than is quite reconcilable with being alive. When she
didn't see him a-waiting for herI thought she'd have died herself
I did!'

'Was he not herethen?'

'HE wasn't here. There was a feeble old shadow come a-creeping down
at lastas much like his substance when she know'd himas your
shadow when it's drawn out to its very finest and longest by the
sunis like you. But it was his remainsthere's no doubt about
that. She took on with joypoor thingas much as if it had been
all of him!'

'Had he bought land?' asked Mr Bevan.

'Ah! He'd bought land' said Markshaking his head'and paid for
it too. Every sort of nateral advantage was connected with itthe
agents said; and there certainly was ONEquite unlimited. No end
to the water!'

'It's a thing he couldn't have done withoutI suppose' observed
Martinpeevishly.

'Certainly notsir. There it wasany way; always turned onand
no water-rate. Independent of three or four slimy old rivers close


byit varied on the farm from four to six foot deep in the dry
season. He couldn't say how deep it was in the rainy timefor he
never had anything long enough to sound it with.'

'Is this true?' asked Martin of his companion.

'Extremely probable' he answered. 'Some Mississippi or Missouri
lotI dare say.'

'However' pursued Mark'he came from I-don't-know-where-and-all
down to New York hereto meet his wife and children; and they
started off again in a steamboat this blessed afternoonas happy
to be along with each other as if they were going to Heaven. I
should think they waspretty straightif I may judge from the poor
man's looks.'

'And may I ask' said Martinglancingbut not with any
displeasurefrom Mark to the negro'who this gentleman is?
Another friend of yours?'

'Why sir' returned Marktaking him asideand speaking
confidentially in his ear'he's a man of coloursir!'

'Do you take me for a blind man' asked Martinsomewhat
impatiently'that you think it necessary to tell me thatwhen his
face is the blackest that ever was seen?'

'Nono; when I say a man of colour' returned Mark'I mean that
he's been one of them as there's picters of in the shops. A man and
a brotheryou knowsir' said Mr Tapleyfavouring his master with
a significant indication of the figure so often represented in
tracts and cheap prints.

'A slave!' cried Martinin a whisper.

'Ah!' said Mark in the same tone. 'Nothing else. A slave. Why
when that there man was young--don't look at him while I'm a-telling
it--he was shot in the leg; gashed in the arm; scored in his live
limbslike crimped fish; beaten out of shape; had his neck galled
with an iron collarand wore iron rings upon his wrists and ankles.
The marks are on him to this day. When I was having my dinner just
nowhe stripped off his coatand took away my appetite.'

'Is THIS true?' asked Martin of his friendwho stood beside them.

'I have no reason to doubt it' he answeredshaking his head 'It
very often is.'

'Bless you' said Mark'I know it isfrom hearing his whole story.
That master died; so did his second master from having his head cut
open with a hatchet by another slavewhowhen he'd done itwent
and drowned himself; then he got a better one; in years and years
he saved up a little moneyand bought his freedomwhich he got
pretty cheap at laston account of his strength being nearly gone
and he being ill. Then he come here. And now he's a-saving up to
treat himselfafore he diesto one small purchase--it's nothing to
speak of. Only his own daughter; that's all!' cried Mr Tapley
becoming excited. 'Liberty for ever! Hurrah! HailColumbia!'

'Hush!' cried Martinclapping his hand upon his mouth; 'and don't
be an idiot. What is he doing here?'

'Waiting to take our luggage off upon a truck' said Mark. 'He'd
have come for it by-and-byebut I engaged him for a very reasonable


charge (out of my own pocket) to sit along with me and make me
jolly; and I am jolly; and if I was rich enough to contract with him
to wait upon me once a dayto be looked atI'd never be anything
else.'

The fact may cause a solemn impeachment of Mark's veracitybut it
must be admitted neverthelessthat there was that in his face and
manner at the momentwhich militated strongly against this emphatic
declaration of his state of mind.

'Lord love yousir' he added'they're so fond of Liberty in this
part of the globethat they buy her and sell her and carry her to
market with 'em. They've such a passion for Libertythat they
can't help taking liberties with her. That's what it's owing to.'

'Very well' said Martinwishing to change the theme. 'Having come
to that conclusionMarkperhaps you'll attend to me. The place to
which the luggage is to go is printed on this card. Mrs Pawkins's
Boarding House.'

'Mrs Pawkins's boarding-house' repeated Mark. 'NowCicero.'

'Is that his name?' asked Martin

'That's his namesir' rejoined Mark. And the negro grinning
assent from under a leathern portmanteauthan which his own face
was many shades deeperhobbled downstairs with his portion of
their worldly goods; Mark Tapley having already gone before with his
share.

Martin and his friend followed them to the door belowand were
about to pursue their walkwhen the latter stoppedand askedwith
some hesitationwhether that young man was to be trusted?

'Mark! oh certainly! with anything.'

'You don't understand me--I think he had better go with us. He is
an honest fellowand speaks his mind so very plainly.'

'Whythe fact is' said Martinsmiling'that being unaccustomed
to a free republiche is used to do so.'

'I think he had better go with us' returned the other. 'He may get
into some trouble otherwise. This is not a slave State; but I am
ashamed to say that a spirit of Tolerance is not so common anywhere
in these latitudes as the form. We are not remarkable for behaving
very temperately to each other when we differ; but to strangers!
noI really think he had better go with us.'

Martin called to him immediately to be of their party; so Cicero and
the truck went one wayand they three went another.

They walked about the city for two or three hours; seeing it from
the best points of viewand pausing in the principal streetsand
before such public buildings as Mr Bevan pointed out. Night then
coming on apaceMartin proposed that they should adjourn to Mrs
Pawkins's establishment for coffee; but in this he was overruled by
his new acquaintancewho seemed to have set his heart on carrying
himthough it were only for an hourto the house of a friend of
his who lived hard by. Feeling (however disinclined he wasbeing
weary) that it would be in bad tasteand not very graciousto
object that he was unintroducedwhen this open-hearted gentleman
was so ready to be his sponsorMartin--for once in his lifeat all
events--sacrificed his own will and pleasure to the wishes of


anotherand consented with a fair grace. So travelling had done
him that much goodalready.

Mr Bevan knocked at the door of a very neat house of moderate size
from the parlour windows of whichlights were shining brightly into
the now dark street. It was quickly opened by a man with such a
thoroughly Irish facethat it seemed as if he oughtas a matter of
right and principleto be in ragsand could have no sort of
business to be looking cheerfully at anybody out of a whole suit of
clothes.

Commending Mark to the care of this phenomenon--for such he may be
said to have been in Martin's eyes--Mr Bevan led the way into the
room which had shed its cheerfulness upon the streetto whose
occupants he introduced Mr Chuzzlewit as a gentleman from England
whose acquaintance he had recently had the pleasure to make. They
gave him welcome in all courtesy and politeness; and in less than
five minutes' time he found himself sitting very much at his ease by
the firesideand becoming vastly well acquainted with the whole
family.

There were two young ladies--one eighteen; the other twenty--both
very slenderbut very pretty; their motherwho lookedas Martin
thought much older and more faded than she ought to have looked; and
their grandmothera little sharp-eyedquick old womanwho seemed
to have got past that stageand to have come all right again.
Besides thesethere were the young ladies' fatherand the young
ladies' brother; the first engaged in mercantile affairs; the
seconda student at college; bothin a certain cordiality of
mannerlike his own friendand not unlike him in face. Which was
no great wonderfor it soon appeared that he was their near
relation. Martin could not help tracing the family pedigree from
the two young ladiesbecause they were foremost in his thoughts;
not only from beingas aforesaidvery prettybut by reason of
their wearing miraculously small shoesand the thinnest possible
silk stockings; the which their rocking-chairs developed to a
distracting extent.

There is no doubt that it was a monstrous comfortable circumstance
to be sitting in a snugwell-furnished roomwarmed by a cheerful
fireand full of various pleasant decorationsincluding four small
shoesand the like amount of silk stockingsand--yeswhy not?--the
feet and legs therein enshrined. And there is no doubt that Martin
was monstrous well-disposed to regard his position in that light
after his recent experience of the Screwand of Mrs Pawkins's
boarding-house. The consequence was that he made himself very
agreeable indeed; and by the time the tea and coffee arrived (with
sweet preservesand cunning tea-cakes in its train)was in a
highly genial stateand much esteemed by the whole family.

Another delightful circumstance turned up before the first cup of
tea was drunk. The whole family had been in England. There was a
pleasant thing! But Martin was not quite so glad of thiswhen he
found that they knew all the great dukeslordsviscounts
marquessesduchessesknightsand baronetsquite affectionately
and were beyond everything interested in the least particular
concerning them. Howeverwhen they askedafter the wearer of this
or that coronetand said'Was he quite well?' Martin answered
'Yesoh yes. Never better;' and when they said'his lordship's
motherthe duchesswas she much changed?' Martin said'Oh dear
nothey would know her anywhereif they saw her to-morrow;' and
so got on pretty well. In like manner when the young ladies
questioned him touching the Gold Fish in that Grecian fountain in
such and such a nobleman's conservatoryand whether there were as


many as there used to behe gravely reportedafter mature
considerationthat there must be at least twice as many; and as to
the exotics'Oh! well! it was of no use talking about THEM; they
must be seen to be believed;' which improved state of circumstances
reminded the family of the splendour of that brilliant festival
(comprehending the whole British Peerage and Court Calendar) to
which they were specially invitedand which indeed had been partly
given in their honour; and recollections of what Mr Norris the
father had said to the marquessand of what Mrs Norris the mother
had said to the marchionessand of what the marquess and
marchioness had both saidwhen they said that upon their words and
honours they wished Mr Norris the father and Mrs Norris the mother
and the Misses Norris the daughtersand Mr Norris Juniorthe son
would only take up their permanent residence in Englandand give
them the pleasure of their everlasting friendshipoccupied a very
considerable time.

Martin thought it rather stangeand in some sort inconsistentthat
during the whole of these narrationsand in the very meridian of
their enjoyment thereofboth Mr Norris the fatherand Mr Norris
Juniorthe son (who correspondedevery postwith four members of
the English Peerage)enlarged upon the inestimable advantage of
having no such arbitrary distinctions in that enlightened land
where there were no noblemen but nature's noblemenand where all
society was based on one broad level of brotherly love and natural
equality. IndeedMr Norris the father gradually expanding into an
oration on this swelling themewas becoming tediouswhen Mr Bevan
diverted his thoughts by happening to make some causal inquiry
relative to the occupier of the next house; in reply to whichthis
same Mr Norris the father observedthat 'that person entertained
religious opinions of which he couldn't approve; and therefore he
hadn't the honour of knowing the gentleman.' Mrs Norris the mother
added another reason of her ownthe same in effectbut varying in
words; to witthat she believed the people were well enough in
their waybut they were not genteel.

Another little trait came outwhich impressed itself on Martin
forcibly. Mr Bevan told them about Mark and the negroand then it
appeared that all the Norrises were abolitionists. It was a great
relief to hear thisand Martin was so much encouraged on finding
himself in such companythat he expressed his sympathy with the
oppressed and wretched blacks. Nowone of the young ladies--the
prettiest and most delicate--was mightily amused at the earnestness
with which he spoke; and on his craving leave to ask her whywas
quite unable for a time to speak for laughing. As soon however as
she couldshe told him that the negroes were such a funny people
so excessively ludicrous in their manners and appearancethat it
was wholly impossible for those who knew them wellto associate any
serious ideas with such a very absurd part of the creation. Mr
Norris the fatherand Mrs Norris the motherand Miss Norris the
sisterand Mr Norris Junior the brotherand even Mrs Norris Senior
the grandmotherwere all of this opinionand laid it down as an
absolute matter of fact--as if there were nothing in suffering and
slaverygrim enough to cast a solemn air on any human animal;
though it were as ridiculousphysicallyas the most grotesque of
apesor morallyas the mildest Nimrod among tuft-hunting
republicans!

'In short' said Mr Norris the fathersettling the question
comfortably'there is a natural antipathy between the races.'

'Extending' said Martin's friendin a low voice'to the cruellest
of torturesand the bargain and sale of unborn generations.'


Mr Norris the son said nothingbut he made a wry faceand dusted
his fingers as Hamlet might after getting rid of Yorick's skull;
just as though he had that moment touched a negroand some of the
black had come off upon his hands.

In order that their talk might fall again into its former pleasant
channelMartin dropped the subjectwith a shrewd suspicion that it
would be a dangerous theme to revive under the best of
circumstances; and again addressed himself to the young ladieswho
were very gorgeously attired in very beautiful coloursand had
every article of dress on the same extensive scale as the little
shoes and the thin silk stockings. This suggested to him that they
were great proficients in the French fashionswhich soon turned out
to be the casefor though their information appeared to be none of
the newestit was very extensive; and the eldest sister in
particularwho was distinguished by a talent for metaphysicsthe
laws of hydraulic pressureand the rights of human kindhad a
novel way of combining these acquirements and bringing them to bear
on any subject from Millinery to the Millenniumboth inclusive
which was at once improving and remarkable; so much soin short
that it was usually observed to reduce foreigners to a state of
temporary insanity in five minutes.

Martin felt his reason going; and as a means of saving himself
besought the other sister (seeing a piano in the room) to sing.
With this request she willingly complied; and a bravura concert
solely sustained by the Misses Norisspresently began. They sang
in all languages--except their own. GermanFrenchItalian
SpanishPortugueseSwiss; but nothing native; nothing so low as
native. Forin this respectlanguages are like many other
travellers--ordinary and commonplace enough at homebut 'specially
genteel abroad.

There is little doubt that in course of time the Misses Norris would
have come to Hebrewif they had not been interrupted by an
announcement from the Irishmanwhoflinging open the doorcried in
a loud voice-


'Jiniral Fladdock!'

'My!' cried the sistersdesisting suddenly. 'The general come
back!'

As they made the exclamationthe generalattired in full uniform
for a ballcame darting in with such precipitancy thathitching
his boot in the carpetand getting his sword between his legshe
came down headlongand presented a curious little bald place on the
crown of his head to the eyes of the astonished company. Nor was
this the worst of it; for being rather corpulent and very tightthe
general being downcould not get up againbut lay there writing
and doing such things with his bootsas there is no other instance
of in military history.

Of course there was an immediate rush to his assistance; and the
general was promptly raised. But his uniform was so fearfully and
wonderfully madethat he came up stiff and without a bend in him
like a dead Clownand had no command whatever of himself until he
was put quite flat upon the soles of his feetwhen he became
animated as by a miracleand moving edgewise that he might go in a
narrower compass and be in less danger of fraying the gold lace on
his epaulettes by brushing them against anythingadvanced with a
smiling visage to salute the lady of the house.

To be sureit would have been impossible for the family to testify


purer delight and joy than at this unlooked-for appearance of
General Fladdock! The general was as warmly received as if New York
had been in a state of siege and no other general was to be got for
love or money. He shook hands with the Norrises three times all
roundand then reviewed them from a little distance as a brave
commander mightwith his ample cloak drawn forward over the right
shoulder and thrown back upon the left side to reveal his manly
breast.

'And do I then' cried the general'once again behold the choicest
spirits of my country!'

'Yes' said Mr Norris the father. 'Here we aregeneral.'

Then all the Norrises pressed round the generalinquiring how and
where he had been since the date of his letterand how he had
enjoyed himself in foreign partsand particularly and above allto
what extent he had become acquainted with the great dukeslords
viscountsmarquessesduchessesknightsand baronetsin whom the
people of those benighted countries had delight.

'Wellthendon't ask me' said the generalholding up his hand.
'I was among 'em all the timeand have got public journals in my
trunk with my name printed'--he lowered his voice and was very
impressive here--'among the fashionable news. Butohthe
conventionalities of that a-mazing Europe!'

'Ah!' cried Mr Norris the fathergiving his head a melancholy
shakeand looking towards Martin as though he would say'I can't
deny itsir. I would if I could.'

'The limited diffusion of a moral sense in that country!' exclaimed
the general. 'The absence of a moral dignity in man!'

'Ah!' sighed all the Norrisesquite overwhelmed with despondency.

'I couldn't have realised it' pursued the general'without being
located on the spot. Norrisyour imagination is the imagination of
a strong manbut YOU couldn't have realised itwithout being
located on the spot!'

'Never' said Mr Norris.

'The ex-clusivenessthe pridethe formthe ceremony' exclaimed
the generalemphasizing the article more vigorously at every
repetition. 'The artificial barriers set up between man and man;
the division of the human race into court cards and plain cardsof
every denomination--into clubsdiamondsspades--anything but
heart!'

'Ah!' cried the whole family. 'Too truegeneral!'

'But stay!' cried Mr Norris the fathertaking him by the arm.
'Surely you crossed in the Screwgeneral?'

'Well! so I did' was the reply.

'Possible!' cried the young ladies. 'Only think!'

The general seemed at a loss to understand why his having come home
in the Screw should occasion such a sensationnor did he seem at
all clearer on the subject when Mr Norrisintroducing him to
Martinsaid:


'A fellow-passenger of yoursI think?'

'Of mine?' exclaimed the general; 'No!'

He had never seen Martinbut Martin had seen himand recognized
himnow that they stood face to faceas the gentleman who had
stuck his hands in his pockets towards the end of the voyageand
walked the deck with his nostrils dilated.

Everybody looked at Martin. There was no help for it. The truth
must out.

'I came over in the same ship as the general' said Martin'but not
in the same cabin. It being necessary for me to observe strict
economyI took my passage in the steerage.'

If the general had been carried up bodily to a loaded cannonand
required to let it off that momenthe could not have been in a
state of greater consternation than when he heard these words. He
Fladdock--Fladdock in full militia uniformFladdock the General
Fladdockthe caressed of foreign noblemen--expected to know a
fellow who had come over in the steerage of line-of-packet shipat
the cost of four pound ten! And meeting that fellow in the very
sanctuary of New York fashionand nestling in the bosom of the New
York aristocracy! He almost laid his hand upon his sword.

A death-like stillness fell upon the Norisses. If this story should
get windtheir country relation hadby his imprudencefor ever
disgraced them. They were the bright particular stars of an exalted
New York sphere. There were other fashionable spheres above them
and other fashionable spheres belowand none of the stars in any
one of these spheres had anything to say to the stars in any other
of these spheres. Butthrough all the spheres it would go forth
that the Norrisesdeceived by gentlemanly manners and appearances
hadfalling from their high estate'received' a dollarless and
unknown man. O guardian eagle of the pure Republichad they lived
for this!

'You will allow me' said Martinafter a terrible silence'to take
my leave. I feel that I am the cause of at least as much
embarrassment hereas I have brought upon myself. But I am bound
before I goto exonerate this gentlemanwhoin introducing me to
such societywas quite ignorant of my unworthinessI assure you.'

With that he made his bow to the Norrisesand walked out like a man
of snow; very cool externallybut pretty hot within.

'Comecome' said Mr Norris the fatherlooking with a pale face on
the assembled circle as Martin closed the door'the young man has
this night beheld a refinement of social mannerand an easy
magnificence of social decorationto which he is a stranger in his
own country. Let us hope it may awake a moral sense within him.'

If that peculiarly transatlantic articlea moral sense--forif
native statesmenoratorsand pamphleteersare to be believed
America quite monopolises the commodity--if that peculiarly
transatlantic article be supposed to include a benevolent love of
all mankindcertainly Martin's would have bornejust thena deal
of waking. As he strode along the streetwith Mark at his heels
his immoral sense was in active operation; prompting him to the
utterance of some rather sanguinary remarkswhich it was well for
his own credit that nobody overheard. He had so far cooled down
howeverthat he had begun to laugh at the recollection of these
incidentswhen he heard another step behind himand turning round


encountered his friend Bevanquite out of breath.

He drew his arm through Martin'sand entreating him to walk slowly
was silent for some minutes. At length he said:

'I hope you exonerate me in another sense?'

'How do you mean?' asked Martin.

'I hope you acquit me of intending or foreseeing the termination of
our visit. But I scarcely need ask you that.'

'Scarcely indeed' said Martin. 'I am the more beholden to you for
your kindnesswhen I find what kind of stuff the good citizens here
are made of.'

'I reckon' his friend returned'that they are made of pretty much
the same stuff as other folksif they would but own itand not set
up on false pretences.'

'In good faiththat's true' said Martin.

'I dare say' resumed his friend'you might have such a scene as
that in an English comedyand not detect any gross improbability or
anomaly in the matter of it?'

'Yesindeed!'

'Doubtless it is more ridiculous here than anywhere else' said his
companion; 'but our professions are to blame for that. So far as I
myself am concernedI may add that I was perfectly aware from the
first that you came over in the steeragefor I had seen the list of
passengersand knew it did not comprise your name.'

'I feel more obliged to you than before' said Martin.

'Norris is a very good fellow in his way' observed Mr Bevan.

'Is he?' said Martin drily.

'Oh yes! there are a hundred good points about him. If you or
anybody else addressed him as another order of beingand sued to
him IN FORMA PAUPERIShe would be all kindness and consideration.'

'I needn't have travelled three thousand miles from home to find
such a character as THAT' said Martin. Neither he nor his friend
said anything more on the way back; each appearing to find
sufficient occupation in his own thoughts.

The teaor the supperor whatever else they called the evening
mealwas over when they reached the Major's; but the cloth
ornamented with a few additional smears and stainswas still upon
the table. At one end of the board Mrs Jefferson Brick and two
other ladies were drinking tea; out of the ordinary course
evidentlyfor they were bonneted and shawledand seemed to have
just come home. By the light of three flaring candles of different
lengthsin as many candlesticks of different patternsthe room
showed to almost as little advantage as in broad day.

These ladies were all three talking together in a very loud tone
when Martin and his friend entered; but seeing those gentlementhey
stopped directlyand became excessively genteelnot to say frosty.
As they went on to exchange some few remarks in whispersthe very
water in the teapot might have fallen twenty degrees in temperature


beneath their chilling coldness.

'Have you been to meetingMrs Brick?' asked Martin's friendwith
something of a roguish twinkle in his eye.

'To lecturesir.'

'I beg your pardon. I forgot. You don't go to meetingI think?'

Here the lady on the right of Mrs Brick gave a pious cough as much
as to say 'I do!'--asindeedshe did nearly every night in the
week.

'A good discoursema'am?' asked Mr Bevanaddressing this lady.

The lady raised her eyes in a pious mannerand answered 'Yes.' She
had been much comforted by some goodstrongpeppery doctrine
which satisfactorily disposed of all her friends and acquaintances
and quite settled their business. Her bonnettoohad far outshone
every bonnet in the congregation; so she was tranquil on all
accounts.

'What course of lectures are you attending nowma'am?' said
Martin's friendturning again to Mrs Brick.

'The Philosophy of the Soulon Wednesdays.'

'On Mondays?'

'The Philosophy of Crime.'

'On Fridays?'

'The Philosophy of Vegetables.'

'You have forgotten Thursdays; the Philosophy of Governmentmy
dear' observed the third lady.

'No' said Mrs Brick. 'That's Tuesdays.'

'So it is!' cried the lady. 'The Philosophy of Matter on Thursdays
of course.'

'You seeMr Chuzzlewitour ladies are fully employed' said Bevan.

'Indeed you have reason to say so' answered Martin. 'Between these
very grave pursuits abroadand family duties at hometheir time
must be pretty well engrossed.'

Martin stopped herefor he saw that the ladies regarded him with no
very great favourthough what he had done to deserve the disdainful
expression which appeared in their faces he was at a loss to divine.
But on their going upstairs to their bedrooms--which they very
soon did--Mr Bevan informed him that domestic drudgery was far
beneath the exalted range of these Philosophersand that the
chances were a hundred to one that not one of the three could
perform the easiest woman's work for herselfor make the simplest
article of dress for any of her children.

'Though whether they might not be better employed with such blunt
instruments as knitting-needles than with these edge-tools' he
said'is another question; but I can answer for one thing--they
don't often cut themselves. Devotions and lectures are our balls
and concerts. They go to these places of resortas an escape from


monotony; look at each other's clothes; and come home again.'

'When you say "home do you mean a house like this?'

'Very often. But I see you are tired to death, and will wish you
good night. We will discuss your projects in the morning. You
cannot but feel already that it is useless staying here, with any
hope of advancing them. You will have to go further.'

'And to fare worse?' said Martin, pursuing the old adage.

'Well, I hope not. But sufficient for the day, you know--good
night'

They shook hands heartily and separated. As soon as Martin was left
alone, the excitement of novelty and change which had sustained him
through all the fatigues of the day, departed; and he felt so
thoroughly dejected and worn out, that he even lacked the energy to
crawl upstairs to bed.

In twelve or fifteen hours, how great a change had fallen on his
hopes and sanguine plans! New and strange as he was to the ground
on which he stood, and to the air he breathed, he could not-recalling
all that he had crowded into that one day--but entertain a
strong misgiving that his enterprise was doomed. Rash and illconsidered
as it had often looked on shipboard, but had never seemed
on shore, it wore a dismal aspect, now, that frightened him.
Whatever thoughts he called up to his aid, they came upon him in
depressing and discouraging shapes, and gave him no relief. Even
the diamonds on his finger sparkled with the brightness of tears,
and had no ray of hope in all their brilliant lustre.

He continued to sit in gloomy rumination by the stove, unmindful of
the boarders who dropped in one by one from their stores and
counting-houses, or the neighbouring bar-rooms, and, after taking
long pulls from a great white waterjug upon the sideboard, and
lingering with a kind of hideous fascination near the brass
spittoons, lounged heavily to bed; until at length Mark Tapley came
and shook him by the arm, supposing him asleep.

'Mark!' he cried, starting.

'All right, sir,' said that cheerful follower, snuffing with his
fingers the candle he bore. 'It ain't a very large bed, your'n,
sir; and a man as wasn't thirsty might drink, afore breakfast, all
the water you've got to wash in, and afterwards eat the towel. But
you'll sleep without rocking to-night, sir.'

'I feel as if the house were on the sea' said Martin, staggering
when he rose; 'and am utterly wretched.'

'I'm as jolly as a sandboy, myself, sir,' said Mark. 'But, Lord, I
have reason to be! I ought to have been born here; that's my
opinion. Take care how you go'--for they were now ascending the
stairs. 'You recollect the gentleman aboard the Screw as had the
very small trunk, sir?'

'The valise? Yes.'

'Well, sir, there's been a delivery of clean clothes from the wash
to-night, and they're put outside the bedroom doors here. If you
take notice as we go up, what a very few shirts there are, and what
a many fronts, you'll penetrate the mystery of his packing.'


But Martin was too weary and despondent to take heed of anything, so
had no interest in this discovery. Mr Tapley, nothing dashed by his
indifference, conducted him to the top of the house, and into the
bed-chamber prepared for his reception; which was a very little
narrow room, with half a window in it; a bedstead like a chest
without a lid; two chairs; a piece of carpet, such as shoes are
commonly tried upon at a ready-made establishment in England; a
little looking-glass nailed against the wall; and a washing-table,
with a jug and ewer, that might have been mistaken for a milk-pot and
slop-basin.

'I suppose they polish themselves with a dry cloth in this country,'
said Mark. 'They've certainly got a touch of the 'phoby, sir.'

'I wish you would pull off my boots for me,' said Martin, dropping
into one of the chairs 'I am quite knocked up--dead beat, Mark.'

'You won't say that to-morrow morning, sir,' returned Mr Tapley;
'nor even to-night, sir, when you've made a trial of this.' With
which he produced a very large tumbler, piled up to the brim with
little blocks of clear transparent ice, through which one or two
thin slices of lemon, and a golden liquid of delicious appearance,
appealed from the still depths below, to the loving eye of the
spectator.

'What do you call this?' said Martin.

But Mr Tapley made no answer; merely plunging a reed into the
mixture--which caused a pleasant commotion among the pieces of ice-and
signifying by an expressive gesture that it was to be pumped up
through that agency by the enraptured drinker.

Martin took the glass with an astonished look; applied his lips to
the reed; and cast up his eyes once in ecstasy. He paused no more
until the goblet was drained to the last drop.

'There, sir!' said Mark, taking it from him with a triumphant face;
'if ever you should happen to be dead beat again, when I ain't in
the way, all you've got to do is to ask the nearest man to go and
fetch a cobbler.'

'To go and fetch a cobbler?' repeated Martin.

'This wonderful invention, sir,' said Mark, tenderly patting the
empty glass, 'is called a cobbler. Sherry cobbler when you name it
long; cobbler, when you name it short. Now you're equal to having
your boots took off, and are, in every particular worth mentioning,
another man.'

Having delivered himself of this solemn preface, he brought the
bootjack.

'Mind! I am not going to relapse, Mark,' said Martin; 'but, good
Heaven, if we should be left in some wild part of this country
without goods or money!'

'Well, sir!' replied the imperturbable Tapley; 'from what we've seen
already, I don't know whether, under those circumstances, we
shouldn't do better in the wild parts than in the tame ones.'

'Oh, Tom Pinch, Tom Pinch!' said Martin, in a thoughtful tone; 'what
would I give to be again beside you, and able to hear your voice,
though it were even in the old bedroom at Pecksniff's!'


'Oh, Dragon, Dragon!' echoed Mark, cheerfully, 'if there warn't any
water between you and me, and nothing faint-hearted-like in going
back, I don't know that I mightn't say the same. But here am I,
Dragon, in New York, America; and there are you in Wiltshire,
Europe; and there's a fortune to make, Dragon, and a beautiful young
lady to make it for; and whenever you go to see the Monument,
Dragon, you mustn't give in on the doorsteps, or you'll never get
up to the top!'

'Wisely said, Mark,' cried Martin. 'We must look forward.'

'In all the story-books as ever I read, sir, the people as looked
backward was turned into stones,' replied Mark; 'and my opinion
always was, that they brought it on themselves, and it served 'em
right. I wish you good night, sir, and pleasant dreams!'

'They must be of home, then,' said Martin, as he lay down in bed.

'So I say, too,' whispered Mark Tapley, when he was out of hearing
and in his own room; 'for if there don't come a time afore we're
well out of this, when there'll be a little more credit in keeping
up one's jollity, I'm a United Statesman!'

Leaving them to blend and mingle in their sleep the shadows of
objects afar off, as they take fantastic shapes upon the wall in the
dim light of thought without control, be it the part of this slight
chronicle--a dream within a dream--as rapidly to change the scene,
and cross the ocean to the English shore.

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

DOES BUSINESS WITH THE HOUSE OF ANTHONY CHUZZLEWIT AND SON, FROM
WHICH ONE OF THE PARTNERS RETIRES UNEXPECTEDLY

Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast. If a man
habituated to a narrow circle of cares and pleasures, out of which
he seldom travels, step beyond it, though for never so brief a
space, his departure from the monotonous scene on which he has been
an actor of importance, would seem to be the signal for instant
confusion. As if, in the gap he had left, the wedge of change were
driven to the head, rending what was a solid mass to fragments,
things cemented and held together by the usages of years, burst
asunder in as many weeks. The mine which Time has slowly dug
beneath familiar objects is sprung in an instant; and what was rock
before, becomes but sand and dust.

Most men, at one time or other, have proved this in some degree. The
extent to which the natural laws of change asserted their supremacy
in that limited sphere of action which Martin had deserted, shall be
faithfully set down in these pages.

'What a cold spring it is!' whimpered old Anthony, drawing near the
evening fire, 'It was a warmer season, sure, when I was young!'

'You needn't go scorching your clothes into holes, whether it was or
not,' observed the amiable Jonas, raising his eyes from yesterday's
newspaper, 'Broadcloth ain't so cheap as that comes to.'

'A good lad!' cried the father, breathing on his cold hands, and
feebly chafing them against each other. 'A prudent lad! He never
delivered himself up to the vanities of dress. No, no!'


'I don't know but I would, though, mind you, if I could do it for
nothing,' said his son, as he resumed the paper.

'Ah!' chuckled the old man. 'IF, indeed!--But it's very cold.'

'Let the fire be!' cried Mr Jonas, stopping his honoured parent's
hand in the use of the poker. 'Do you mean to come to want in your
old age, that you take to wasting now?'

'There's not time for that, Jonas,' said the old man.

'Not time for what?' bawled his heir.

'For me to come to want. I wish there was!'

'You always were as selfish an old blade as need be,' said Jonas in
a voice too low for him to hear, and looking at him with an angry
frown. 'You act up to your character. You wouldn't mind coming to
want, wouldn't you! I dare say you wouldn't. And your own flesh and
blood might come to want too, might they, for anything you cared?
Oh you precious old flint!'

After this dutiful address he took his tea-cup in his hand--for that
meal was in progress, and the father and son and Chuffey were
partakers of it. Then, looking steadfastly at his father, and
stopping now and then to carry a spoonful of tea to his lips, he
proceeded in the same tone, thus:

'Want, indeed! You're a nice old man to be talking of want at this
time of day. Beginning to talk of want, are you? Well, I declare!
There isn't time? No, I should hope not. But you'd live to be a
couple of hundred if you could; and after all be discontented. I
know you!'

The old man sighed, and still sat cowering before the fire. Mr
Jonas shook his Britannia-metal teaspoon at him, and taking a
loftier position, went on to argue the point on high moral grounds.

'If you're in such a state of mind as that,' he grumbled, but in the
same subdued key, 'why don't you make over your property? Buy an
annuity cheap, and make your life interesting to yourself and
everybody else that watches the speculation. But no, that wouldn't
suit YOU. That would be natural conduct to your own son, and you
like to be unnatural, and to keep him out of his rights. Why, I
should be ashamed of myself if I was you, and glad to hide my head
in the what you may call it.'

Possibly this general phrase supplied the place of grave, or tomb,
or sepulchre, or cemetery, or mausoleum, or other such word which
the filial tenderness of Mr Jonas made him delicate of pronouncing.
He pursued the theme no further; for Chuffey, somehow discovering,
from his old corner by the fireside, that Anthony was in the
attitude of a listener, and that Jonas appeared to be speaking,
suddenly cried out, like one inspired:

'He is your own son, Mr Chuzzlewit. Your own son, sir!'

Old Chuffey little suspected what depth of application these words
had, or that, in the bitter satire which they bore, they might have
sunk into the old man's very soul, could he have known what words
here hanging on his own son's lips, or what was passing in his
thoughts. But the voice diverted the current of Anthony's
reflections, and roused him.


'Yes, yes, Chuffey, Jonas is a chip of the old block. It is a very
old block, now, Chuffey,' said the old man, with a strange look of
discomposure.

'Precious old,' assented Jonas

'No, no, no,' said Chuffey. 'No, Mr Chuzzlewit. Not old at all,
sir.'

'Oh! He's worse than ever, you know!' cried Jonas, quite disgusted.
'Upon my soul, father, he's getting too bad. Hold your tongue, will
you?'

'He says you're wrong!' cried Anthony to the old clerk.

'Tut, tut!' was Chuffey's answer. 'I know better. I say HE'S
wrong. I say HE'S wrong. He's a boy. That's what he is. So are
you, Mr Chuzzlewit--a kind of boy. Ha! ha! ha! You're quite a boy
to many I have known; you're a boy to me; you're a boy to hundreds
of us. Don't mind him!'

With which extraordinary speech--for in the case of Chuffey this was
a burst of eloquence without a parallel--the poor old shadow drew
through his palsied arm his master's hand, and held it there, with
his own folded upon it, as if he would defend him.

'I grow deafer every day, Chuff,' said Anthony, with as much
softness of manner, or, to describe it more correctly, with as
little hardness as he was capable of expressing.

'No, no,' cried Chuffey. 'No, you don't. What if you did? I've
been deaf this twenty year.'

'I grow blinder, too,' said the old man, shaking his head.

'That's a good sign!' cried Chuffey. 'Ha! ha! The best sign in the
world! You saw too well before.'

He patted Anthony upon the hand as one might comfort a child, and
drawing the old man's arm still further through his own, shook his
trembling fingers towards the spot where Jonas sat, as though he
would wave him off. But, Anthony remaining quite still and silent,
he relaxed his hold by slow degrees and lapsed into his usual niche
in the corner; merely putting forth his hand at intervals and
touching his old employer gently on the coat, as with the design of
assuring himself that he was yet beside him.

Mr Jonas was so very much amazed by these proceedings that he could
do nothing but stare at the two old men, until Chuffey had fallen
into his usual state, and Anthony had sunk into a doze; when he gave
some vent to his emotions by going close up to the former personage,
and making as though he would, in vulgar parlance, 'punch his head.'

'They've been carrying on this game,' thought Jonas in a brown
study, 'for the last two or three weeks. I never saw my father take
so much notice of him as he has in that time. What! You're legacy
hunting, are you, Mister Chuff? Eh?'

But Chuffey was as little conscious of the thought as of the bodily
advance of Mr Jonas's clenched fist, which hovered fondly about his
ear. When he had scowled at him to his heart's content, Jonas took
the candle from the table, and walking into the glass office,
produced a bunch of keys from his pocket. With one of these he


opened a secret drawer in the desk; peeping stealthily out, as he
did so, to be certain that the two old men were still before the
fire.

'All as right as ever,' said Jonas, propping the lid of the desk
open with his forehead, and unfolding a paper. 'Here's the will,
Mister Chuff. Thirty pound a year for your maintenance, old boy,
and all the rest to his only son, Jonas. You needn't trouble
yourself to be too affectionate. You won't get anything by it.
What's that?'

It WAS startling, certainly. A face on the other side of the glass
partition looking curiously in; and not at him but at the paper in
his hand. For the eyes were attentively cast down upon the writing,
and were swiftly raised when he cried out. Then they met his own,
and were as the eyes of Mr Pecksniff.

Suffering the lid of the desk to fall with a loud noise, but not
forgetting even then to lock it, Jonas, pale and breathless, gazed
upon this phantom. It moved, opened the door, and walked in.

'What's the matter?' cried Jonas, falling back. 'Who is it? Where
do you come from? What do you want?'

'Matter!' cried the voice of Mr Pecksniff, as Pecksniff in the flesh
smiled amiably upon him. 'The matter, Mr Jonas!'

'What are you prying and peering about here for?' said Jonas,
angrily. 'What do you mean by coming up to town in this way, and
taking one unawares? It's precious odd a man can't read the--the
newspaper--in his own office without being startled out of his wits
by people coming in without notice. Why didn't you knock at the
door?'

'So I did, Mr Jonas,' answered Pecksniff, 'but no one heard me. I
was curious,' he added in his gentle way as he laid his hand upon
the young man's shoulder, 'to find out what part of the newspaper
interested you so much; but the glass was too dim and dirty.'

Jonas glanced in haste at the partition. Well. It wasn't very
clean. So far he spoke the truth.

'Was it poetry now?' said Mr Pecksniff, shaking the forefinger of
his right hand with an air of cheerful banter. 'Or was it politics?
Or was it the price of stock? The main chance, Mr Jonas, the main
chance, I suspect.'

'You ain't far from the truth,' answered Jonas, recovering himself
and snuffing the candle; 'but how the deuce do you come to be in
London again? Ecod! it's enough to make a man stare, to see a
fellow looking at him all of a sudden, who he thought was sixty or
seventy mile away.'

'So it is,' said Mr Pecksniff. 'No doubt of it, my dear Mr Jonas.
For while the human mind is constituted as it is--'

'Oh, bother the human mind,' interrupted Jonas with impatience 'what
have you come up for?'

'A little matter of business,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'which has arisen
quite unexpectedly.'

'Oh!' cried Jonas, 'is that all? Well. Here's father in the next
room. Hallo father, here's Pecksniff! He gets more addle-pated


every day he lives, I do believe,' muttered Jonas, shaking his
honoured parent roundly. 'Don't I tell you Pecksniff's here,
stupid-head?'

The combined effects of the shaking and this loving remonstrance
soon awoke the old man, who gave Mr Pecksniff a chuckling welcome
which was attributable in part to his being glad to see that
gentleman, and in part to his unfading delight in the recollection
of having called him a hypocrite. As Mr Pecksniff had not yet taken
tea (indeed he had, but an hour before, arrived in London) the
remains of the late collation, with a rasher of bacon, were served
up for his entertainment; and as Mr Jonas had a business appointment
in the next street, he stepped out to keep it; promising to return
before Mr Pecksniff could finish his repast.

'And now, my good sir,' said Mr Pecksniff to Anthony; 'now that we
are alone, pray tell me what I can do for you. I say alone, because
I believe that our dear friend Mr Chuffey is, metaphysically
speaking, a--shall I say a dummy?' asked Mr Pecksniff with his
sweetest smile, and his head very much on one side.

'He neither hears us,' replied Anthony, 'nor sees us.'

'Why, then,' said Mr Pecksniff, 'I will be bold to say, with the
utmost sympathy for his afflictions, and the greatest admiration of
those excellent qualities which do equal honour to his head and to
his heart, that he is what is playfully termed a dummy. You were
going to observe, my dear sir--?'

'I was not going to make any observation that I know of,' replied
the old man.

'I was,' said Mr Pecksniff, mildly.

'Oh! YOU were? What was it?'

'That I never,' said Mr Pecksniff, previously rising to see that the
door was shut, and arranging his chair when he came back, so that it
could not be opened in the least without his immediately becoming
aware of the circumstance; 'that I never in my life was so
astonished as by the receipt of your letter yesterday. That you
should do me the honour to wish to take counsel with me on any
matter, amazed me; but that you should desire to do so, to the
exclusion even of Mr Jonas, showed an amount of confidence in one to
whom you had done a verbal injury--merely a verbal injury, you were
anxious to repair--which gratified, which moved, which overcame me.'

He was always a glib speaker, but he delivered this short address
very glibly; having been at some pains to compose it outside the
coach.

Although he paused for a reply, and truly said that he was there at
Anthony's request, the old man sat gazing at him in profound silence
and with a perfectly blank face. Nor did he seem to have the least
desire or impulse to pursue the conversation, though Mr Pecksniff
looked towards the door, and pulled out his watch, and gave him many
other hints that their time was short, and Jonas, if he kept his
word, would soon return. But the strangest incident in all this
strange behaviour was, that of a sudden, in a moment, so swiftly
that it was impossible to trace how, or to observe any process of
change, his features fell into their old expression, and he cried,
striking his hand passionately upon the table as if no interval at
all had taken place:


'Will you hold your tongue, sir, and let me speak?'

Mr Pecksniff deferred to him with a submissive bow; and said within
himself, 'I knew his hand was changed, and that his writing
staggered. I said so yesterday. Ahem! Dear me!'

'Jonas is sweet upon your daughter, Pecksniff,' said the old man, in
his usual tone.

'We spoke of that, if you remember, sir, at Mrs Todgers's,' replied
the courteous architect.

'You needn't speak so loud,' retorted Anthony. 'I'm not so deaf as
that.'

Mr Pecksniff had certainly raised his voice pretty high; not so much
because he thought Anthony was deaf, as because he felt convinced
that his perceptive faculties were waxing dim; but this quick
resentment of his considerate behaviour greatly disconcerted him,
and, not knowing what tack to shape his course upon, he made another
inclination of the head, yet more submissive that the last.

'I have said,' repeated the old man, 'that Jonas is sweet upon your
daughter.'

'A charming girl, sir,' murmured Mr Pecksniff, seeing that he waited
for an answer. 'A dear girl, Mr Chuzzlewit, though I say it, who
should not.'

'You know better,' cried the old man, advancing his weazen face at
least a yard, and starting forward in his chair to do it. 'You
lie! What, you WILL be a hypocrite, will you?'

'My good sir,' Mr Pecksniff began.

'Don't call me a good sir,' retorted Anthony, 'and don't claim to be
one yourself. If your daughter was what you would have me believe,
she wouldn't do for Jonas. Being what she is, I think she will. He
might be deceived in a wife. She might run riot, contract debts,
and waste his substance. Now when I am dead--'

His face altered so horribly as he said the word, that Mr Pecksniff
really was fain to look another way.

'--It will be worse for me to know of such doings, than if I was
alive; for to be tormented for getting that together, which even
while I suffer for its acquisition, is flung into the very kennels of
the streets, would be insupportable torture. No,' said the old man,
hoarsely, 'let that be saved at least; let there be something
gained, and kept fast hold of, when so much is lost.'

'My dear Mr Chuzzlewit,' said Pecksniff, 'these are unwholesome
fancies; quite unnecessary, sir, quite uncalled for, I am sure. The
truth is, my dear sir, that you are not well!'

'Not dying though!' cried Anthony, with something like the snarl of
a wild animal. 'Not yet! There are years of life in me. Why, look
at him,' pointing to his feeble clerk. 'Death has no right to leave
him standing, and to mow me down!'

Mr Pecksniff was so much afraid of the old man, and so completely
taken aback by the state in which he found him, that he had not even
presence of mind enough to call up a scrap of morality from the
great storehouse within his own breast. Therefore he stammered out


that no doubt it was, in fairness and decency, Mr Chuffey's turn to
expire; and that from all he had heard of Mr Chuffey, and the little
he had the pleasure of knowing of that gentleman, personally, he
felt convinced in his own mind that he would see the propriety of
expiring with as little delay as possible.

'Come here!' said the old man, beckoning him to draw nearer. 'Jonas
will be my heir, Jonas will be rich, and a great catch for you. You
know that. Jonas is sweet upon your daughter.'

'I know that too,' thought Mr Pecksniff, 'for you have said it often
enough.'

'He might get more money than with her,' said the old man, 'but she
will help him to take care of what they have. She is not too young
or heedless, and comes of a good hard griping stock. But don't you
play too fine a game. She only holds him by a thread; and if you
draw it too tight (I know his temper) it'll snap. Bind him when
he's in the mood, Pecksniff; bind him. You're too deep. In your
way of leading him on, you'll leave him miles behind. Bah, you man
of oil, have I no eyes to see how you have angled with him from the
first?'

'Now I wonder,' thought Mr Pecksniff, looking at him with a wistful
face, 'whether this is all he has to say?'

Old Anthony rubbed his hands and muttered to himself; complained
again that he was cold; drew his chair before the fire; and, sitting
with his back to Mr Pecksniff, and his chin sunk down upon his
breast, was, in another minute, quite regardless or forgetful of his
presence.

Uncouth and unsatisfactory as this short interview had been, it had
furnished Mr Pecksniff with a hint which, supposing nothing further
were imparted to him, repaid the journey up and home again. For the
good gentleman had never (for want of an opportunity) dived into the
depths of Mr Jonas's nature; and any recipe for catching such a sonin-
law (much more one written on a leaf out of his own father's
book) was worth the having. In order that he might lose no chance
of improving so fair an opportunity by allowing Anthony to fall
asleep before he had finished all he had to say, Mr Pecksniff, in
the disposal of the refreshments on the table, a work to which he
now applied himself in earnest, resorted to many ingenious
contrivances for attracting his attention; such as coughing,
sneezing, clattering the teacups, sharpening the knives, dropping
the loaf, and so forth. But all in vain, for Mr Jonas returned, and
Anthony had said no more.

'What! My father asleep again?' he cried, as he hung up his hat, and
cast a look at him. 'Ah! and snoring. Only hear!'

'He snores very deep,' said Mr Pecksniff.

'Snores deep?' repeated Jonas. 'Yes; let him alone for that. He'll
snore for six, at any time.'

'Do you know, Mr Jonas,' said Pecksniff, 'that I think your father
is--don't let me alarm you--breaking?'

'Oh, is he though?' replied Jonas, with a shake of the head which
expressed the closeness of his dutiful observation. 'Ecod, you
don't know how tough he is. He ain't upon the move yet.'

'It struck me that he was changed, both in his appearance and


manner,' said Mr Pecksniff.

'That's all you know about it,' returned Jonas, seating himself with
a melancholy air. 'He never was better than he is now. How are
they all at home? How's Charity?'

'Blooming, Mr Jonas, blooming.'

'And the other one; how's she?'

'Volatile trifler!' said Mr Pecksniff, fondly musing. 'She is well,
she is well. Roving from parlour to bedroom, Mr Jonas, like a bee,
skimming from post to pillar, like the butterfly; dipping her young
beak into our currant wine, like the humming-bird! Ah! were she a
little less giddy than she is; and had she but the sterling
qualities of Cherry, my young friend!'

'Is she so very giddy, then?' asked Jonas.

'Well, well!' said Mr Pecksniff, with great feeling; 'let me not be
hard upon my child. Beside her sister Cherry she appears so. A
strange noise that, Mr Jonas!'

'Something wrong in the clock, I suppose,' said Jonas, glancing
towards it. 'So the other one ain't your favourite, ain't she?'

The fond father was about to reply, and had already summoned into
his face a look of most intense sensibility, when the sound he had
already noticed was repeated.

'Upon my word, Mr Jonas, that is a very extraordinary clock,' said
Pecksniff.

It would have been, if it had made the noise which startled them;
but another kind of time-piece was fast running down, and from that
the sound proceeded. A scream from Chuffey, rendered a hundred
times more loud and formidable by his silent habits, made the house
ring from roof to cellar; and, looking round, they saw Anthony
Chuzzlewit extended on the floor, with the old clerk upon his knees
beside him.

He had fallen from his chair in a fit, and lay there, battling for
each gasp of breath, with every shrivelled vein and sinew starting
in its place, as if it were bent on bearing witness to his age, and
sternly pleading with Nature against his recovery. It was frightful
to see how the principle of life, shut up within his withered frame,
fought like a strong devil, mad to be released, and rent its ancient
prison-house. A young man in the fullness of his vigour, struggling
with so much strength of desperation, would have been a dismal
sight; but an old, old, shrunken body, endowed with preternatural
might, and giving the lie in every motion of its every limb and
joint to its enfeebled aspect, was a hideous spectacle indeed.

They raised him up, and fetched a surgeon with all haste, who bled
the patient and applied some remedies; but the fits held him so long
that it was past midnight when they got him--quiet now, but quite
unconscious and exhausted--into bed.

'Don't go,' said Jonas, putting his ashy lips to Mr Pecksniff's ear
and whispered across the bed. 'It was a mercy you were present when
he was taken ill. Some one might have said it was my doing.'

'YOUR doing!' cried Mr Pecksniff.


'I don't know but they might,' he replied, wiping the moisture from
his white face. 'People say such things. How does he look now?'

Mr Pecksniff shook his head.

'I used to joke, you know,' said. Jonas: 'but I--I never wished him
dead. Do you think he's very bad?'

'The doctor said he was. You heard,' was Mr Pecksniff's answer.

'Ah! but he might say that to charge us more, in case of his getting
well' said Jonas. 'You mustn't go away, Pecksniff. Now it's come
to this, I wouldn't be without a witness for a thousand pound.'

Chuffey said not a word, and heard not a word. He had sat himself
down in a chair at the bedside, and there he remained, motionless;
except that he sometimes bent his head over the pillow, and seemed
to listen. He never changed in this. Though once in the dreary
night Mr Pecksniff, having dozed, awoke with a confused impression
that he had heard him praying, and strangely mingling figures--not
of speech, but arithmetic--with his broken prayers.

Jonas sat there, too, all night; not where his father could have
seen him, had his consciousness returned, but hiding, as it were,
behind him, and only reading how he looked, in Mr Pecksniff's eyes.
HE, the coarse upstart, who had ruled the house so long--that
craven cur, who was afraid to move, and shook so, that his very
shadow fluttered on the wall!

It was broad, bright, stirring day when, leaving the old clerk to
watch him, they went down to breakfast. People hurried up and down
the street; windows and doors were opened; thieves and beggars took
their usual posts; workmen bestirred themselves; tradesmen set forth
their shops; bailiffs and constables were on the watch; all kinds of
human creatures strove, in their several ways, as hard to live, as
the one sick old man who combated for every grain of sand in his
fast-emptying glass, as eagerly as if it were an empire.

'If anything happens Pecksniff,' said Jonas, 'you must promise me to
stop here till it's all over. You shall see that I do what's
right.'

'I know that you will do what's right, Mr Jonas,' said Pecksniff.

'Yes, yes, but I won't be doubted. No one shall have it in his
power to say a syllable against me,' he returned. 'I know how
people will talk. Just as if he wasn't old, or I had the secret of
keeping him alive!'

Mr Pecksniff promised that he would remain, if circumstances should
render it, in his esteemed friend's opinion, desirable; they were
finishing their meal in silence, when suddenly an apparition stood
before them, so ghastly to the view that Jonas shrieked aloud, and
both recoiled in horror.

Old Anthony, dressed in his usual clothes, was in the room--beside
the table. He leaned upon the shoulder of his solitary friend; and
on his livid face, and on his horny hands, and in his glassy eyes,
and traced by an eternal finger in the very drops of sweat upon his
brow, was one word--Death.

He spoke to them--in something of his own voice too, but sharpened
and made hollow, like a dead man's face. What he would have said,
God knows. He seemed to utter words, but they were such as man had


never heard. And this was the most fearful circumstance of all, to
see him standing there, gabbling in an unearthly tongue.

'He's better now,' said Chuffey. 'Better now. Let him sit in his
old chair, and he'll be well again. I told him not to mind. I said
so, yesterday.'

They put him in his easy-chair, and wheeled it near the window;
then, swinging open the door, exposed him to the free current of
morning air. But not all the air that is, nor all the winds that
ever blew 'twixt Heaven and Earth, could have brought new life to
him.

Plunge him to the throat in golden pieces now, and his heavy fingers
shall not close on one!

CHAPTER NINETEEN

THE READER IS BROUGHT INTO COMMUNICATION WITH SOME PROFESSIONAL
PERSONS, AND SHEDS A TEAR OVER THE FILAIL PIETY OF GOOD MR JONAS

Mr Pecksniff was in a hackney cabriolet, for Jonas Chuzzlewit had
said 'Spare no expense.' Mankind is evil in its thoughts and in its
base constructions, and Jonas was resolved it should not have an
inch to stretch into an ell against him. It never should be charged
upon his father's son that he had grudged the money for his father's
funeral. Hence, until the obsequies should be concluded, Jonas had
taken for his motto 'Spend, and spare not!'

Mr Pecksniff had been to the undertaker, and was now upon his way to
another officer in the train of mourning--a female functionary, a
nurse, and watcher, and performer of nameless offices about the
persons of the dead--whom he had recommended. Her name, as Mr
Pecksniff gathered from a scrap of writing in his hand, was Gamp;
her residence in Kingsgate Street, High Holborn. So Mr Pecksniff,
in a hackney cab, was rattling over Holborn stones, in quest of Mrs
Gamp.

This lady lodged at a bird-fancier's, next door but one to the
celebrated mutton-pie shop, and directly opposite to the original
cat's-meat warehouse; the renown of which establishments was duly
heralded on their respective fronts. It was a little house, and
this was the more convenient; for Mrs Gamp being, in her highest
walk of art, a monthly nurse, or, as her sign-board boldly had it,
'Midwife,' and lodging in the first-floor front, was easily
assailable at night by pebbles, walking-sticks, and fragments of
tobacco-pipe; all much more efficacious than the street-door
knocker, which was so constructed as to wake the street with ease,
and even spread alarms of fire in Holborn, without making the
smallest impression on the premises to which it was addressed.

It chanced on this particular occasion, that Mrs Gamp had been up
all the previous night, in attendance upon a ceremony to which the
usage of gossips has given that name which expresses, in two
syllables, the curse pronounced on Adam. It chanced that Mrs Gamp
had not been regularly engaged, but had been called in at a crisis,
in consequence of her great repute, to assist another professional
lady with her advice; and thus it happened that, all points of
interest in the case being over, Mrs Gamp had come home again to the
bird-fancier's and gone to bed. So when Mr Pecksniff drove up in
the hackney cab, Mrs Gamp's curtains were drawn close, and Mrs Gamp


was fast asleep behind them.

If the bird-fancier had been at home, as he ought to have been,
there would have been no great harm in this; but he was out, and his
shop was closed. The shutters were down certainly; and in every
pane of glass there was at least one tiny bird in a tiny bird-cage,
twittering and hopping his little ballet of despair, and knocking
his head against the roof; while one unhappy goldfinch who lived
outside a red villa with his name on the door, drew the water for
his own drinking, and mutely appealed to some good man to drop a
farthing's-worth of poison in it. Still, the door was shut. Mr
Pecksniff tried the latch, and shook it, causing a cracked bell
inside to ring most mournfully; but no one came. The bird-fancier
was an easy shaver also, and a fashionable hair-dresser also, and
perhaps he had been sent for, express, from the court end of the
town, to trim a lord, or cut and curl a lady; but however that might
be, there, upon his own ground, he was not; nor was there any more
distinct trace of him to assist the imagination of an inquirer, than
a professional print or emblem of his calling (much favoured in the
trade), representing a hair-dresser of easy manners curling a lady
of distinguished fashion, in the presence of a patent upright grand
pianoforte.

Noting these circumstances, Mr Pecksniff, in the innocence of his
heart, applied himself to the knocker; but at the first double knock
every window in the street became alive with female heads; and
before he could repeat the performance whole troops of married
ladies (some about to trouble Mrs Gamp themselves very shortly) came
flocking round the steps, all crying out with one accord, and with
uncommon interest, 'Knock at the winder, sir, knock at the winder.
Lord bless you, don't lose no more time than you can help--knock at
the winder!'

Acting upon this suggestion, and borrowing the driver's whip for the
purpose, Mr Pecksniff soon made a commotion among the first floor
flower-pots, and roused Mrs Gamp, whose voice--to the great
satisfaction of the matrons--was heard to say, 'I'm coming.'

'He's as pale as a muffin,' said one lady, in allusion to Mr
Pecksniff.

'So he ought to be, if he's the feelings of a man,' observed
another.

A third lady (with her arms folded) said she wished he had chosen
any other time for fetching Mrs Gamp, but it always happened so with
HER.

It gave Mr Pecksniff much uneasiness to find, from these remarks,
that he was supposed to have come to Mrs Gamp upon an errand
touching--not the close of life, but the other end. Mrs Gamp
herself was under the same impression, for, throwing open the
window, she cried behind the curtains, as she hastily attired
herself-


'Is it Mrs Perkins?'

'No!' returned Mr Pecksniff, sharply. 'Nothing of the sort.'

'What, Mr Whilks!' cried Mrs Gamp. 'Don't say it's you, Mr Whilks,
and that poor creetur Mrs Whilks with not even a pincushion ready.
Don't say it's you, Mr Whilks!'

'It isn't Mr Whilks,' said Pecksniff. 'I don't know the man.


Nothing of the kind. A gentleman is dead; and some person being
wanted in the house, you have been recommended by Mr Mould the
undertaker.'


As she was by this time in a condition to appear, Mrs Gamp, who had
a face for all occasions, looked out of the window with her mourning
countenance, and said she would be down directly. But the matrons
took it very ill that Mr Pecksniff's mission was of so unimportant a
kind; and the lady with her arms folded rated him in good round
terms, signifying that she would be glad to know what he meant by
terrifying delicate females 'with his corpses;' and giving it as her
opinion that he was quite ugly enough to know better. The other
ladies were not at all behind-hand in expressing similar sentiments;
and the children, of whom some scores had now collected, hooted
and defied Mr Pecksniff quite savagely. So when Mrs Gamp appeared,
the unoffending gentleman was glad to hustle her with very little
ceremony into the cabriolet, and drive off, overwhelmed with
popular execration.


Mrs Gamp had a large bundle with her, a pair of pattens, and a
species of gig umbrella; the latter article in colour like a faded
leaf, except where a circular patch of a lively blue had been
dexterously let in at the top. She was much flurried by the haste
she had made, and laboured under the most erroneous views of
cabriolets, which she appeared to confound with mail-coaches or
stage-wagons, inasmuch as she was constantly endeavouring for the
first half mile to force her luggage through the little front
window, and clamouring to the driver to 'put it in the boot.' When
she was disabused of this idea, her whole being resolved itself into
an absorbing anxiety about her pattens, with which she played
innumerable games at quoits on Mr Pecksniff's legs. It was not
until they were close upon the house of mourning that she had enough
composure to observe--


'And so the gentleman's dead, sir! Ah! The more's the pity.'
She didn't even know his name. 'But it's what we must all come to.
It's as certain as being born, except that we can't make our
calculations as exact. Ah! Poor dear!'


She was a fat old woman, this Mrs Gamp, with a husky voice and a
moist eye, which she had a remarkable power of turning up, and only
showing the white of it. Having very little neck, it cost her some
trouble to look over herself, if one may say so, at those to whom
she talked. She wore a very rusty black gown, rather the worse for
snuff, and a shawl and bonnet to correspond. In these dilapidated
articles of dress she had, on principle, arrayed herself, time out
of mind, on such occasions as the present; for this at once
expressed a decent amount of veneration for the deceased, and
invited the next of kin to present her with a fresher suit of weeds;
an appeal so frequently successful, that the very fetch and ghost of
Mrs Gamp, bonnet and all, might be seen hanging up, any hour in the
day, in at least a dozen of the second-hand clothes shops about
Holborn. The face of Mrs Gamp--the nose in particular--was somewhat
red and swollen, and it was difficult to enjoy her society without
becoming conscious of a smell of spirits. Like most persons who
have attained to great eminence in their profession, she took to
hers very kindly; insomuch that, setting aside her natural
predilections as a woman, she went to a lying-in or a laying-out
with equal zest and relish.


'Ah!' repeated Mrs Gamp; for it was always a safe sentiment in cases
of mourning. 'Ah dear! When Gamp was summoned to his long home, and
I see him a-lying in Guy's Hospital with a penny-piece on each eye,
and his wooden leg under his left arm, I thought I should have



fainted away. But I bore up.'

If certain whispers current in the Kingsgate Street circles had any
truth in them, she had indeed borne up surprisingly; and had exerted
such uncommon fortitude as to dispose of Mr Gamp's remains for the
benefit of science. But it should be added, in fairness, that this
had happened twenty years before; and that Mr and Mrs Gamp had long
been separated on the ground of incompatibility of temper in their
drink.

'You have become indifferent since then, I suppose?' said Mr
Pecksniff. 'Use is second nature, Mrs Gamp.'

'You may well say second nater, sir,' returned that lady. 'One's
first ways is to find sich things a trial to the feelings, and so is
one's lasting custom. If it wasn't for the nerve a little sip of
liquor gives me (I never was able to do more than taste it), I never
could go through with what I sometimes has to do. Mrs Harris I
says, at the very last case as ever I acted in, which it was but a
young person, Mrs Harris I says, leave the bottle on the
chimley-pieceand don't ask me to take nonebut let me put my lips
to it when I am so dispogedand then I will do what I'm engaged to
doaccording to the best of my ability." "Mrs Gamp she says, in
answer, if ever there was a sober creetur to be got at eighteen
pence a day for working peopleand three and six for gentlefolks-night
watching' said Mrs Gamp with emphasis, 'being a extra
charge--you are that inwallable person." "Mrs Harris I says to
her, don't name the chargefor if I could afford to lay all my
feller creeturs out for nothinkI would gladly do itsich is the
love I bears 'em. But what I always says to them as has the
management of mattersMrs Harris"'--here she kept her eye on Mr
Pecksniff--'"be they gents or be they ladiesisdon't ask me
whether I won't take noneor whether I willbut leave the bottle
on the chimley-pieceand let me put my lips to it when I am so
dispoged."'

The conclusion of this affecting narrative brought them to the
house. In the passage they encountered Mr Mould the undertaker; a
little elderly gentlemanbaldand in a suit of black; with a
notebook in his handa massive gold watch-chain dangling from his
foband a face in which a queer attempt at melancholy was at odds
with a smirk of satisfaction; so that he looked as a man mightwho
in the very act of smacking his lips over choice old winetried to
make believe it was physic.

'WellMrs Gampand how are YOUMrs Gamp?' said this gentlemanin
a voice as soft as his step.

'Pretty wellI thank yousir' dropping a curtsey.

'You'll be very particular hereMrs Gamp. This is not a common
caseMrs Gamp. Let everything be very nice and comfortableMrs
Gampif you please' said the undertakershaking his head with a
solemn air.

'It shall besir' she repliedcurtseying again. 'You knows me of
oldsirI hope.'

'I hope sotooMrs Gamp' said the undertaker. 'and I think so
also.' Mrs Gamp curtseyed again. 'This is one of the most
impressive casessir' he continuedaddressing Mr Pecksniff'that
I have seen in the whole course of my professional experience.'

'IndeedMr Mould!' cried that gentleman.


'Such affectionate regretsirI never saw. There is no
limitationthere is positively NO limitation'--opening his eyes
wideand standing on tiptoe--'in point of expense! I have orders
sirto put on my whole establishment of mutes; and mutes come very
dearMr Pecksniff; not to mention their drink. To provide silverplated
handles of the very best descriptionornamented with angels'
heads from the most expensive dies. To be perfectly profuse in
feathers. In shortsirto turn out something absolutely gorgeous.'

'My friend Mr Jonas is an excellent man' said Mr Pecksniff.

'I have seen a good deal of what is filial in my timesir'
retorted Mould'and what is unfilial too. It is our lot. We come
into the knowledge of those secrets. But anything so filial as
this; anything so honourable to human nature; so calculated to
reconcile all of us to the world we live in; never yet came under my
observation. It only provessirwhat was so forcibly observed by
the lamented theatrical poet--buried at Stratford--that there is
good in everything.'

'It is very pleasant to hear you say soMr Mould' observed
Pecksniff.

'You are very kindsir. And what a man Mr Chuzzlewit wassir! Ah!
what a man he was. You may talk of your lord mayors' said Mould
waving his hand at the public in general'your sheriffsyour
common councilmenyour trumpery; but show me a man in this city who
is worthy to walk in the shoes of the departed Mr Chuzzlewit. No
no' cried Mouldwith bitter sarcasm. 'Hang 'em uphang 'em up;
sole 'em and heel 'emand have 'em ready for his son against he's
old enough to wear 'em; but don't try 'em on yourselvesfor they
won't fit you. We knew him' said Mouldin the same biting vein
as he pocketed his note-book; 'we knew himand are not to be
caught with chaff. Mr Pecksniffsirgood morning.'

Mr Pecksniff returned the compliment; and Mouldsensible of having
distinguished himselfwas going away with a brisk smilewhen he
fortunately remembered the occasion. Quickly becoming depressed
againhe sighed; looked into the crown of his hatas if for
comfort; put it on without finding any; and slowly departed.

Mrs Gamp and Mr Pecksniff then ascended the staircase; and the
formerhaving been shown to the chamber in which all that remained
of Anthony Chuzzlewit lay covered upwith but one loving heartand
that a halting oneto mourn itleft the latter free to enter the
darkened room belowand rejoin Mr Jonasfrom whom he had now been
absent nearly two hours.

He found that example to bereaved sonsand pattern in the eyes of
all performers of funeralsmusing over a fragment of writing-paper
on the deskand scratching figures on it with a pen. The old man's
chairand hatand walking-stickwere removed from their
accustomed placesand put out of sight; the window-blinds as yellow
as November fogswere drawn down close; Jonas himself was so
subduedthat he could scarcely be heard to speakand only seen to
walk across the room.

'Pecksniff' he saidin a whisper'you shall have the regulation
of it allmind! You shall be able to tell anybody who talks about
it that everything was correctly and nicely done. There isn't any
one you'd like to ask to the funeralis there?'

'NoMr JonasI think not.'


'Because if there isyou know' said Jonas'ask him. We don't
want to make a secret of it.'

'No' repeated Mr Pecksniffafter a little reflection. 'I am not
the less obliged to you on that accountMr Jonasfor your liberal
hospitality; but there really is no one.'

'Very well' said Jonas; 'then youand Iand Chuffeyand the
doctorwill be just a coachful. We'll have the doctorPecksniff
because he knows what was the matter with himand that it couldn't
be helped.'

'Where is our dear friendMr Chuffey?' asked Pecksnifflooking
round the chamberand winking both his eyes at once--for he was
overcome by his feelings.

But here he was interrupted by Mrs Gampwhodivested of her bonnet
and shawlcame sidling and bridling into the room; and with some
sharpness demanded a conference outside the door with Mr Pecksniff.

'You may say whatever you wish to say hereMrs Gamp' said that
gentlemanshaking his head with a melancholy expression.

'It is not much as I have to say when people is a-mourning for the
dead and gone' said Mrs Gamp; 'but what I have to say is TO the
pint and purposeand no offence intendedmust be so considered. I
have been at a many places in my timegentlemenand I hope I knows
what my duties isand how the same should be performed; in course
if I did notit would be very strangeand very wrong in sich a
gentleman as Mr Mouldwhich has undertook the highest families in
this landand given every satisfactionso to recommend me as he
does. I have seen a deal of trouble my own self' said Mrs Gamp
laying greater and greater stress upon her words'and I can feel
for them as has their feelings triedbut I am not a Rooshan or a
Prooshanand consequently cannot suffer Spies to be set over me.'

Before it was possible that an answer could be returnedMrs Gamp
growing redder in the facewent on to say:

'It is not a easy mattergentlemento live when you are left a
widder woman; particular when your feelings works upon you to that
extent that you often find yourself a-going out on terms which is a
certain lossand never can repay. But in whatever way you earns
your breadyou may have rules and regulations of your own which
cannot be broke through. Some people' said Mrs Gampagain
entrenching herself behind her strong pointas if it were not
assailable by human ingenuity'may be Rooshansand others may be
Prooshans; they are born soand will please themselves. Them which
is of other naturs thinks different.'

'If I understand this good lady' said Mr Pecksniffturning to
Jonas'Mr Chuffey is troublesome to her. Shall I fetch him down?'

'Do' said Jonas. 'I was going to tell you he was up therewhen
she came in. I'd go myself and bring him downonly--only I'd
rather you wentif you don't mind.'

Mr Pecksniff promptly departedfollowed by Mrs Gampwhoseeing
that he took a bottle and glass from the cupboardand carried it in
his handwas much softened.

'I am sure' she said'that if it wasn't for his own happinessI
should no more mind him being therepoor dearthan if he was a


fly. But them as isn't used to these thingsthinks so much of 'em
afterwardsthat it's a kindness to 'em not to let 'em have their
wish. And even' said Mrs Gampprobably in reference to some
flowers of speech she had already strewn on Mr Chuffey'even if one
calls 'em namesit's only done to rouse 'em.'

Whatever epithets she had bestowed on the old clerkthey had not
roused HIM. He sat beside the bedin the chair he had occupied all
the previous nightwith his hands folded before himand his head
bowed down; and neither looked upon their entrancenor gave any
sign of consciousnessuntil Mr Pecksniff took him by the armwhen
he meekly rose.

'Three score and ten' said Chuffey'ought and carry seven. Some
men are so strong that they live to four score--four times ought's
an oughtfour times two's an eight--eighty. Oh! why--why--why
didn't he live to four times ought's an oughtand four times two's
an eighteighty?'

'Ah! what a wale of grief!' cried Mrs Gamppossessing herself of
the bottle and glass.

'Why did he die before his poor old crazy servant?' said Chuffey
clasping his hands and looking up in anguish. 'Take him from me
and what remains?'

'Mr Jonas' returned Pecksniff'Mr Jonasmy good friend.'

'I loved him' cried the old manweeping. 'He was good to me. We
learnt Tare and Tret together at school. I took him down oncesix
boys in the arithmetic class. God forgive me! Had I the heart to
take him down!'

'ComeMr Chuffey' said Pecksniff. 'Come with me. Summon up your
fortitudeMr Chuffey.'

'YesI will' returned the old clerk. 'Yes. I'll sum up my forty
--How many times forty--OhChuzzlewit and Son--Your own son Mr
Chuzzlewit; your own sonsir!'

He yielded to the hand that guided himas he lapsed into this
familiar expressionand submitted to be led away. Mrs Gampwith
the bottle on one kneeand the glass on the othersat upon a
stoolshaking her head for a long timeuntilin a moment of
abstractionshe poured out a dram of spiritsand raised it to her
lips. It was succeeded by a secondand by a thirdand then her
eyes--either in the sadness of her reflections upon life and death
or in her admiration of the liquor--were so turned upas to be
quite invisible. But she shook her head still.

Poor Chuffey was conducted to his accustomed cornerand there he
remainedsilent and quietsave at long intervalswhen he would
riseand walk about the roomand wring his handsor raise some
strange and sudden cry. For a whole week they all three sat about
the hearth and never stirred abroad. Mr Pecksniff would have walked
out in the evening timebut Mr Jonas was so averse to his being
absent for a minutethat he abandoned the ideaand sofrom
morning until nightthey brooded together in the dark roomwithout
relief or occupation.

The weight of that which was stretched outstiff and starkin the
awful chamber above-stairsso crushed and bore down Jonasthat he
bent beneath the load. During the whole long seven days and nights
he was always oppressed and haunted by a dreadful sense of its


presence in the house. Did the door movehe looked towards it with
a livid face and starting eyeas if he fully believed that ghostly
fingers clutched the handle. Did the fire fiicker in a draught of
airhe glanced over his shoulderas almost dreading to behold some
shrouded figure fanning and flapping at it with its fearful dress.
The lightest noise disturbed him; and oncein the nightat the
sound of a footstep overheadhe cried out that the dead man was
walking--tramptramptramp--about his coffin.

He lay at night upon a mattress on the floor of the sitting-room;
his own chamber having been assigned to Mrs Gamp; and Mr Pecksniff
was similarly accommodated. The howling of a dog before the house
filled him with a terror he could not disguise. He avoided the
reflection in the opposite windows of the light that burned above
as though it had been an angry eye. He oftenin every nightrose
up from his fitful sleepand looked and longed for dawn; all
directions and arrangementseven to the ordering of their daily
mealshe abandoned to Mr Pecksniff. That excellent gentleman
deeming that the mourner wanted comfortand that high feeding was
likely to do him infinite serviceavailed himself of these
opportunities to such good purposethat they kept quite a dainty
table during this melancholy season; with sweetbreadsstewed
kidneysoystersand other such light viands for supper every
night; over whichand sundry jorums of hot punchMr Pecksniff
delivered such moral reflections and spiritual consolation as might
have converted a Heathen--especially if he had had but an imperfect
acquaintance with the English tongue.

Nor did Mr Pecksniff alone indulge in the creature comforts during
this sad time. Mrs Gamp proved to be very choice in her eatingand
repudiated hashed mutton with scorn. In her drinking tooshe was
very punctual and particularrequiring a pint of mild porter at
luncha pint at dinnerhalf-a-pint as a species of stay or
holdfast between dinner and teaand a pint of the celebrated
staggering aleor Real Old Brighton Tipperat supper; besides the
bottle on the chimney-pieceand such casual invitations to refresh
herself with wine as the good breeding of her employers might prompt
them to offer. In like mannerMr Mould's men found it necessary to
drown their grieflike a young kitten in the morning of its
existencefor which reason they generally fuddled themselves before
they began to do anythinglest it should make head and get the
better of them. In shortthe whole of that strange week was a
round of dismal joviality and grim enjoyment; and every oneexcept
poor Chuffeywho came within the shadow of Anthony Chuzzlewit's
gravefeasted like a Ghoul.

At length the day of the funeralpious and truthful ceremony that
it wasarrived. Mr Mouldwith a glass of generous port between
his eye and the lightleaned against the desk in the little glass
office with his gold watch in his unoccupied handand conversed
with Mrs Gamp; two mutes were at the house-doorlooking as mournful
as could be reasonably expected of men with such a thriving job in
hand; the whole of Mr Mould's establishment were on duty within the
house or without; feathers wavedhorses snortedsilk and velvets
fluttered; in a wordas Mr Mould emphatically said'Everything
that money could do was done.'

'And what can do moreMrs Gamp?' exclaimed the undertaker as he
emptied his glass and smacked his lips.

'Nothing in the worldsir.'

'Nothing in the world' repeated Mr Mould. 'You are right
Mrs.Gamp. Why do people spend more money'--here he filled his glass


again--'upon a deathMrs Gampthan upon a birth? Comethat's in
your way; you ought to know. How do you account for that now?'

'Perhaps it is because an undertaker's charges comes dearer than a
nurse's chargessir' said Mrs Gamptitteringand smoothing down
her new black dress with her hands.

'Haha!' laughed Mr Mould. 'You have been breakfasting at
somebody's expense this morningMrs Gamp.' But seeingby the aid
of a little shaving-glass which hung oppositethat he looked merry
he composed his features and became sorrowful.

'Many's the time that I've not breakfasted at my own expense along
of your recommendingsir; and many's the time I hope to do the
same in time to come' said Mrs Gampwith an apologetic curtsey.

'So be it' replied Mr Mould'please Providence. NoMrs Gamp;
I'll tell you why it is. It's because the laying out of money with
a well-conducted establishmentwhere the thing is performed upon the
very best scalebinds the broken heartand sheds balm upon the
wounded spirit. Hearts want bindingand spirits want balming when
people die; not when people are born. Look at this gentleman today;
look at him.'

'An open-handed gentleman?' cried Mrs Gampwith enthusiasm.

'Nono' said the undertaker; 'not an open-handed gentleman in
generalby any means. There you mistake him; but an afflicted
gentlemanan affectionate gentlemanwho knows what it is in the
power of money to doin giving him reliefand in testifying his
love and veneration for the departed. It can give him' said Mr
Mouldwaving his watch-chain slowly round and roundso that he
described one circle after every item; 'it can give him four horses
to each vehicle; it can give him velvet trappings; it can give him
drivers in cloth cloaks and top-boots; it can give him the plumage
of the ostrichdyed black; it can give him any number of walking
attendantsdressed in the first style of funeral fashionand
carrying batons tipped with brass; it can give him a handsome tomb;
it can give him a place in Westminster Abbey itselfif he choose to
invest it in such a purchase. Oh! do not let us say that gold is
drosswhen it can buy such things as theseMrs Gamp.'

'But what a blessingsir' said Mrs Gamp'that there are such as
youto sell or let 'em out on hire!'

'AyeMrs Gampyou are right' rejoined the undertaker. 'We should
be an honoured calling. We do good by stealthand blush to have it
mentioned in our little bills. How much consolation may I--even I'
cried Mr Mould'have diffused among my fellow-creatures by means of
my four long-tailed prancersnever harnessed under ten pund ten!'

Mrs Gamp had begun to make a suitable replywhen she was
interrupted by the appearance of one of Mr Mould's assistants--his
chief mourner in fact--an obese personwith his waistcoat in closer
connection with his legs than is quite reconcilable with the
established ideas of grace; with that cast of feature which is
figuratively called a bottle nose; and with a face covered all over
with pimples. He had been a tender plant once upon a timebut from
constant blowing in the fat atmosphere of funeralshad run to seed.

'WellTacker' said Mr Mould'is all ready below?'

'A beautiful showsir' rejoined Tacker. 'The horses are prouder
and fresher than ever I see 'em; and toss their headsthey doas


if they knowed how much their plumes cost. Onetwothreefour'
said Mr Tackerheaping that number of black cloaks upon his left
arm.

'Is Tom therewith the cake and wine?' asked Mr Mould.

'Ready to come in at a moment's noticesir' said Tacker.

'Then' rejoined Mr Mouldputting up his watchand glancing at
himself in the little shaving-glassthat he might be sure his face
had the right expression on it; 'then I think we may proceed to
business. Give me the paper of glovesTacker. Ahwhat a man he
was! AhTackerTackerwhat a man he was!'

Mr Tackerwho from his great experience in the performance of
funeralswould have made an excellent pantomime actorwinked at
Mrs Gamp without at all disturbing the gravity of his countenance
and followed his master into the next room.

It was a great point with Mr Mouldand a part of his professional
tactnot to seem to know the doctor; though in reality they were
near neighboursand very oftenas in the present instanceworked
together. So he advanced to fit on his black kid gloves as if he
had never seen him in all his life; while the doctoron his part
looked as distant and unconscious as if he had heard and read of
undertakersand had passed their shopsbut had never before been
brought into communication with one.

'Gloveseh?' said the doctor. 'Mr Pecksniff after you.'

'I couldn't think of it' returned Mr Pecksniff.

'You are very good' said the doctortaking a pair. 'Wellsiras
I was saying--I was called up to attend that case at about half-past
one o'clock. Cake and wineeh? Which is port? Thank you.'

Mr Pecksniff took some also.

'At about half-past one o'clock in the morningsir' resumed the
doctor'I was called up to attend that case. At the first pull of
the night-bell I turned outthrew up the windowand put out my
head. Cloakeh? Don't tie it too tight. That'll do.'

Mr Pecksniff having been likewise inducted into a similar garment
the doctor resumed.

'And put out my head--hateh? My good friendthat is not mine.
Mr PecksniffI beg your pardonbut I think we have unintentionally
made an exchange. Thank you. WellsirI was going to tell you--'

'We are quite ready' interrupted Mould in a low voice.

'Readyeh?' said the doctor. 'Very goodMr PecksniffI'll take
an opportunity of relating the rest in the coach. It's rather
curious. Readyeh? No rainI hope?'

'Quite fairsir' returned Mould.

'I was afraid the ground would have been wet' said the doctor'for
my glass fell yesterday. We may congratulate ourselves upon our
good fortune.' But seeing by this time that Mr Jonas and Chuffey
were going out at the doorhe put a white pocket-handkerchief to
his face as if a violent burst of grief had suddenly come upon him
and walked down side by side with Mr Pecksniff.


Mr Mould and his men had not exaggerated the grandeur of the
arrangements. They were splendid. The four hearse-horses
especiallyreared and prancedand showed their highest actionas
if they knew a man was deadand triumphed in it. 'They break us
drive usride us; ill-treatabuseand maim us for their
pleasure--But they die; Hurrahthey die!'

So through the narrow streets and winding city wayswent Anthony
Chuzzlewit's funeral; Mr Jonas glancing stealthily out of the coachwindow
now and thento observe its effect upon the crowd; Mr Mould
as he walked alonglistening with a sober pride to the exclamations
of the bystanders; the doctor whispering his story to Mr Pecksniff
without appearing to come any nearer the end of it; and poor old
Chuffey sobbing unregarded in a corner. But he had greatly
scandalized Mr Mould at an early stage of the ceremony by carrying
his handkerchief in his hat in a perfectly informal mannerand
wiping his eyes with his knuckles. And as Mr Mould himself had said
alreadyhis behaviour was indecentand quite unworthy of such an
occasion; and he never ought to have been there.

There he washowever; and in the churchyard there he wasalso
conducting himself in a no less unbecoming mannerand leaning for
support on Tackerwho plainly told him that he was fit for nothing
better than a walking funeral. But ChuffeyHeaven help him! heard
no sound but the echoeslingering in his own heartof a voice for
ever silent.

'I loved him' cried the old mansinking down upon the grave when
all was done. 'He was very good to me. Ohmy dear old friend and
master!'

'ComecomeMr Chuffey' said the doctor'this won't do; it's a
clayey soilMr Chuffey. You mustn'treally.'

'If it had been the commonest thing we doand Mr Chuffey had been a
Bearergentlemen' said Mouldcasting an imploring glance upon
themas he helped to raise him'he couldn't have gone on worse
than this.'

'Be a manMr Chuffey' said Pecksniff.

'Be a gentlemanMr Chuffey' said Mould.

'Upon my wordmy good friend' murmured the doctorin a tone of
stately reproofas he stepped up to the old man's side'this is
worse than weakness. This is badselfishvery wrongMr Chuffey.
You should take example from othersmy good sir. You forget that
you were not connected by ties of blood with our deceased friend;
and that he had a very near and very dear relationMr Chuffey.'

'Ayehis own son!' cried the old manclasping his hands with
remarkable passion. 'His ownownonly son!'

'He's not right in his headyou know' said Jonasturning pale.
'You're not to mind anything he says. I shouldn't wonder if he was
to talk some precious nonsense. But don't you mind himany of you.
I don't. My father left him to my charge; and whatever he says or
doesthat's enough. I'll take care of him.'

A hum of admiration rose from the mourners (including Mr Mould and
his merry men) at this new instance of magnanimity and kind feeling
on the part of Jonas. But Chuffey put it to the test no farther.
He said not a word moreand being left to himself for a little


whilecrept back again to the coach.

It has been said that Mr Jonas turned pale when the behaviour of the
old clerk attracted general attention; his discomposurehowever
was but momentaryand he soon recovered. But these were not the
only changes he had exhibited that day. The curious eyes of Mr
Pecksniff had observed that as soon as they left the house upon
their mournful errandhe began to mend; that as the ceremonies
proceeded he graduallyby little and littlerecovered his old
conditionhis old lookshis old bearinghis old agreeable
characteristics of speech and mannerand becamein all respects
his old pleasant self. And now that they were seated in the coach
on their return home; and more when they got thereand found the
windows openthe light and air admittedand all traces of the late
event removed; he felt so well convinced that Jonas was again the
Jonas he had known a week agoand not the Jonas of the intervening
timethat he voluntarily gave up his recently-acquired power
without one faint attempt to exercise itand at once fell back into
his former position of mild and deferential guest.

Mrs Gamp went home to the bird-fancier'sand was knocked up again
that very night for a birth of twins; Mr Mould dined gayly in the
bosom of his familyand passed the evening facetiously at his club;
the hearseafter standing for a long time at the door of a
roistering public-houserepaired to its stables with the feathers
inside and twelve red-nosed undertakers on the roofeach holding on
by a dingy pegto whichin times of statea waving plume was
fitted; the various trappings of sorrow were carefully laid by in
presses for the next hirer; the fiery steeds were quenched and quiet
in their stalls; the doctor got merry with wine at a wedding-dinner
and forgot the middle of the story which had no end to it; the
pageant of a few short hours ago was written nowhere half so legibly
as in the undertaker's books.

Not in the churchyard? Not even there. The gates were closed; the
night was dark and wet; the rain fell silentlyamong the stagnant
weeds and nettles. One new mound was there which had not been there
last night. Timeburrowing like a mole below the groundhad
marked his track by throwing up another heap of earth. And that was
all.

CHAPTER TWENTY

IS A CHAPTER OF LOVE

'Pecksniff' said Jonastaking off his hatto see that the black
crape band was all right; and finding that it wasputting it on
againcomplacently; 'what do you mean to give your daughters when
they marry?'

'My dear Mr Jonas' cried the affectionate parentwith an ingenuous
smile'what a very singular inquiry!'

'Nowdon't you mind whether it's a singular inquiry or a plural
one' retorted Jonaseyeing Mr Pecksniff with no great favour'but
answer itor let it alone. One or the other.'

'Hum! The questionmy dear friend' said Mr Pecksnifflaying his
hand tenderly upon his kinsman's knee'is involved with many
considerations. What would I give them? Eh?'


'Ah! what would you give 'em?' repeated Jonas.

'Whythat'said Mr Pecksniff'would naturally depend in a great
measure upon the kind of husbands they might choosemy dear young
friend.'

Mr Jonas was evidently disconcertedand at a loss how to proceed.
It was a good answer. It seemed a deep onebut such is the wisdom
of simplicity!'

'My standard for the merits I would require in a son-in-law' said
Mr Pecksniffafter a short silence'is a high one. Forgive memy
dear Mr Jonas' he addedgreatly moved'if I say that you have
spoiled meand made it a fanciful one; an imaginative one; a
prismatically tinged oneif I may be permitted to call it so.'

'What do you mean by that?' growled Jonaslooking at him with
increased disfavour.

'Indeedmy dear friend' said Mr Pecksniff'you may well inquire.
The heart is not always a royal mintwith patent machinery to work
its metal into current coin. Sometimes it throws it out in strange
formsnot easily recognized as coin at all. But it is sterling
gold. It has at least that merit. It is sterling gold.'

'Is it?' grumbled Jonaswith a doubtful shake of the head.

'Aye!' said Mr Pecksniffwarming with his subject 'it is. To be
plain with youMr Jonasif I could find two such sons-in-law as
you will one day make to some deserving mancapable of appreciating
a nature such as yoursI would--forgetful of myself--bestow upon my
daughters portions reaching to the very utmost limit of my means.'

This was strong languageand it was earnestly delivered. But who
can wonder that such a man as Mr Pecksniffafter all he had seen
and heard of Mr Jonasshould be strong and earnest upon such a
theme; a theme that touched even the worldly lips of undertakers
with the honey of eloquence!

Mr Jonas was silentand looked thoughtfully at the landscape. For
they were seated on the outside of the coachat the backand were
travelling down into the country. He accompanied Mr Pecksniff home
for a few days' change of air and scene after his recent trials.

'Well' he saidat lastwith captivating bluntness'suppose you
got one such son-in-law as mewhat then?'

Mr Pecksniff regarded him at first with inexpressible surprise; then
gradually breaking into a sort of dejected vivacitysaid:

'Then well I know whose husband he would be!'

'Whose?' asked Jonasdrily.

'My eldest girl'sMr Jonas' replied Pecksniffwith moistening
eyes. 'My dear Cherry's; my staffmy scripmy treasureMr Jonas.
A hard strugglebut it is in the nature of things! I must one day
part with her to a husband. I know itmy dear friend. I am
prepared for it.'

'Ecod! you've been prepared for that a pretty long timeI should
think' said Jonas.

'Many have sought to bear her from me' said Mr Pecksniff. 'All


have failed. "I never will give my handpapa"--those were her
words--"unless my heart is won." She has not been quite so happy as
she used to beof late. I don't know why.'

Again Mr Jonas looked at the landscape; then at the coachman; then
at the luggage on the roof; finally at Mr Pecksniff.

'I suppose you'll have to part with the other onesome of these
days?' he observedas he caught that gentleman's eye.

'Probably' said the parent. 'Years will tame down the wildness of
my foolish birdand then it will be caged. But CherryMr Jonas
Cherry--'

'Ohah!' interrupted Jonas. 'Years have made her all right enough.
Nobody doubts that. But you haven't answered what I asked you. Of
courseyou're not obliged to do ityou knowif you don't like.
You're the best judge.'

There was a warning sulkiness in the manner of this speechwhich
admonished Mr Pecksniff that his dear friend was not to be trifled
with or fenced offand that he must either return a straightforward
reply to his questionor plainly give him to understand
that he declined to enlighten him upon the subject to which it
referred. Mindful in this dilemma of the caution old Anthony had
given him almost with his latest breathhe resolved to speak to the
pointand so told Mr Jonas (enlarging upon the communication as a
proof of his great attachment and confidence)that in the case he
had put; to witin the event of such a man as he proposing for his
daughter's handhe would endow her with a fortune of four thousand
pounds.

'I should sadly pinch and cramp myself to do so' was his fatherly
remark; 'but that would be my dutyand my conscience would reward
me. For myselfmy conscience is my bank. I have a trifle invested
there--a mere trifleMr Jonas--but I prize it as a store of value
I assure you.'

The good man's enemies would have divided upon this question into
two parties. One would have asserted without scruple that if Mr
Pecksniff's conscience were his bankand he kept a running account
therehe must have overdrawn it beyond all mortal means of
computation. The other would have contended that it was a mere
fictitious form; a perfectly blank book; or one in which entries
were only made with a peculiar kind of invisible ink to become
legible at some indefinite time; and that he never troubled it at
all.

'It would sadly pinch and cramp memy dear friend' repeated Mr
Pecksniff'but Providence--perhaps I may be permitted to say a
special Providence--has blessed my endeavoursand I could guarantee
to make the sacrifice.'

A question of philosophy arises herewhether Mr Pecksniff had or
had not good reason to say that he was specially patronized and
encouraged in his undertakings. All his life long he had been
walking up and down the narrow ways and by-placeswith a hook in
one hand and a crook in the otherscraping all sorts of valuable
odds and ends into his pouch. Nowthere being a special Providence
in the fall of a sparrowit follows (so Mr Pecksniffand only
such admirable menwould have reasoned)that there must also
be a special Providence in the alighting of the stone or stick
or other substance which is aimed at the sparrow. And Mr
Pecksniff's hookor crookhaving invariably knocked the sparrow


on the head and brought him downthat gentleman may have been
led to consider himself as specially licensed to bag sparrows
and as being specially seized and possessed of all the birds he
had got together. That many undertakingsnational as well as
individual--but especially the former--are held to be specially
brought to a glorious and successful issuewhich never could be
so regarded on any other process of reasoningmust be clear to
all men. Therefore the precedents would seem to show that Mr
Pecksniff had (as things go) good argument for what he said and
might be permitted to say itand did not say it presumptuously
vainlyor arrogantlybut in a spirit of high faith and great
wisdom.

Mr Jonasnot being much accustomed to perplex his mind with
theories of this natureexpressed no opinion on the subject. Nor
did he receive his companion's announcement with one solitary
syllablegoodbador indifferent. He preserved this taciturnity
for a quarter of an hour at leastand during the whole of that time
appeared to be steadily engaged in subjecting some given amount to
the operation of every known rule in figures; adding to ittaking
from itmultiplying itreducing it by long and short division;
working it by the rule-of-three direct and inversed; exchange or
barter; practice; simple interest; compound interest; and other
means of arithmetical calculation. The result of these labours
appeared to be satisfactoryfor when he did break silenceit
was as one who had arrived at some specific resultand freed
himself from a state of distressing uncertainty.

'Comeold Pecksniff!'--Such was his jocose addressas he slapped
that gentleman on the backat the end of the stage--'let's have
something!'

'With all my heart' said Mr Pecksniff.

'Let's treat the driver' cried Jonas.

'If you think it won't hurt the manor render him discontented with
his station--certainly' faltered Mr Pecksniff.

Jonas only laughed at thisand getting down from the coach-top with
great alacritycut a cumbersome kind of caper in the road. After
whichhe went into the public-houseand there ordered spirituous
drink to such an extentthat Mr Pecksniff had some doubts of his
perfect sanityuntil Jonas set them quite at rest by sayingwhen
the coach could wait no longer:

'I've been standing treat for a whole week and moreand letting you
have all the delicacies of the season. YOU shall pay for this
Pecksniff.' It was not a joke eitheras Mr Pecksniff at first
supposed; for he went off to the coach without further ceremonyand
left his respected victim to settle the bill.

But Mr Pecksniff was a man of meek enduranceand Mr Jonas was his
friend. Moreoverhis regard for that gentleman was foundedas we
knowon pure esteemand a knowledge of the excellence of his
character. He came out from the tavern with a smiling faceand
even went so far as to repeat the performanceon a less expensive
scaleat the next ale-house. There was a certain wildness in the
spirits of Mr Jonas (not usually a part of his character) which was
far from being subdued by these meansandfor the rest of the
journeyhe was so very buoyant--it may be saidboisterous--that Mr
Pecksniff had some difficulty in keeping pace with him.

They were not expected--oh dearno! Mr Pecksniff had proposed in


London to give the girls a surpriseand had said he wouldn't write
a word to prepare them on any accountin order that he and Mr Jonas
might take them unawaresand just see what they were doingwhen
they thought their dear papa was miles and miles away. As a
consequence of this playful devicethere was nobody to meet them at
the finger-postbut that was of small consequencefor they had
come down by the day coachand Mr Pecksniff had only a carpetbag
while Mr Jonas had only a portmanteau. They took the portmanteau
between themput the bag upon itand walked off up the lane
without delay; Mr Pecksniff already going on tiptoe as ifwithout
this precautionhis fond childrenbeing then at a distance of a
couple of miles or sowould have some filial sense of his approach.

It was a lovely evening in the spring-time of the year; and in the
soft stillness of the twilightall nature was very calm and
beautiful. The day had been fine and warm; but at the coming on of
nightthe air grew cooland in the mellowing distance smoke was
rising gently from the cottage chimneys. There were a thousand
pleasant scents diffused aroundfrom young leaves and fresh buds;
the cuckoo had been singing all day longand was but just now
hushed; the smell of earth newly-upturnedfirst breath of hope to
the first labourer after his garden witheredwas fragrant in the
evening breeze. It was a time when most men cherish good resolves
and sorrow for the wasted past; when most menlooking on the
shadows as they gatherthink of that evening which must close on
alland that to-morrow which has none beyond.

'Precious dull' said Mr Jonaslooking about. 'It's enough to make
a man go melancholy mad.'

'We shall have lights and a fire soon' observed Mr Pecksniff.

'We shall need 'em by the time we get there' said Jonas. 'Why the
devil don't you talk? What are you thinking of?'

'To tell you the truthMr Jonas' said Pecksniff with great
solemnity'my mind was running at that moment on our late dear
friendyour departed father.'

Mr Jonas immediately let his burden falland saidthreatening him
with his hand:

'Drop thatPecksniff!'

Mr Pecksniff not exactly knowing whether allusion was made to the
subject or the portmanteaustared at his friend in unaffected
surprise.

'Drop itI say!' cried Jonasfiercely. 'Do you hear? Drop it
now and for ever. You had betterI give you notice!'

'It was quite a mistake' urged Mr Pecksniffvery much dismayed;
'though I admit it was foolish. I might have known it was a tender
string.'

'Don't talk to me about tender strings' said Jonaswiping his
forehead with the cuff of his coat. 'I'm not going to be crowed
over by youbecause I don't like dead company.'

Mr Pecksniff had got out the words 'Crowed overMr Jonas!' when
that young manwith a dark expression in his countenancecut him
short once more:

'Mind!' he said. 'I won't have it. I advise you not to revive the


subjectneither to me nor anybody else. You can take a hintif
you choose as well as another man. There's enough said about it.
Come along!'

Taking up his part of the load againwhen he had said these words
he hurried on so fast that Mr Pecksniffat the other end of the
portmanteaufound himself dragged forwardin a very inconvenient
and ungraceful mannerto the great detriment of what is called by
fancy gentlemen 'the bark' upon his shinswhich were most
unmercifully bumped against the hard leather and the iron buckles.
In the course of a few minuteshoweverMr Jonas relaxed his speed
and suffered his companion to come up with himand to bring the
portmanteau into a tolerably straight position.

It was pretty clear that he regretted his late outbreakand that he
mistrusted its effect on Mr Pecksniff; for as often as that
gentleman glanced towards Mr Jonashe found Mr Jonas glancing at
himwhich was a new source of embarrassment. It was but a shortlived
onethoughfor Mr Jonas soon began to whistlewhereupon Mr
Pecksnifftaking his cue from his friendbegan to hum a tune
melodiously.

'Pretty nearly thereain't we?' said Jonaswhen this had lasted
some time.

'Closemy dear friend' said Mr Pecksniff.

'What'll they be doingdo you suppose?' asked Jonas.

'Impossible to say' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'Giddy truants! They may
be away from homeperhaps. I was going to--he! he! he!--I was
going to propose' said Mr Pecksniff'that we should enter by the
back wayand come upon them like a clap of thunderMr Jonas.'

It might not have been easy to decide in respect of which of their
manifold propertiesJonasMr Pecksniffthe carpet-bagand the
portmanteaucould be likened to a clap of thunder. But Mr Jonas
giving his assent to this proposalthey stole round into the back
yardand softly advanced towards the kitchen windowthrough which
the mingled light of fire and candle shone upon the darkening night.

Truly Mr Pecksniff is blessed in his children--in one of themat
any rate. The prudent Cherry--staff and scripand treasure of her
doting father--there she sitsat a little table white as driven
snowbefore the kitchen firemaking up accounts! See the neat
maidenas with pen in handand calculating look addressed towards
the ceiling and bunch of keys within a little basket at her side
she checks the housekeeping expenditure! From flat-irondish-cover
and warming-pan; from pot and kettleface of brass footmanand
black-leaded stove; bright glances of approbation wink and glow upon
her. The very onions dangling from the beammantle and shine like
cherubs' cheeks. Something of the influence of those vegetables
sinks into Mr Pecksniff's nature. He weeps.

It is but for a momentand he hides it from the observation of his
friend--very carefully--by a somewhat elaborate use of his pockethandkerchief
in fact; for he would not have his weakness known.

'Pleasant' he murmured'pleasant to a father's feelings! My dear
girl! Shall we let her know we are hereMr Jonas?'

'WhyI suppose you don't mean to spend the evening in the stable
or the coach-house' he returned.


'Thatindeedis not such hospitality as I would show to YOUmy
friend' cried Mr Pecksniffpressing his hand. And then he took a
long breathand tapping at the windowshouted with stentorian
blandness:

'Boh!'

Cherry dropped her pen and screamed. But innocence is ever boldor
should be. As they opened the doorthe valiant girl exclaimed in a
firm voiceand with a presence of mind which even in that trying
moment did not desert her'Who are you? What do you want? Speak!
or I will call my Pa.'

Mr Pecksniff held out his arms. She knew him instantlyand rushed
into his fond embrace.

'It was thoughtless of usMr Jonasit was very thoughtless' said
Pecksniffsmoothing his daugther's hair. 'My darlingdo you see
that I am not alone!'

Not she. She had seen nothing but her father until now. She saw Mr
Jonas nowthough; and blushedand hung her head downas she gave
him welcome.

But where was Merry? Mr Pecksniff didn't ask the question in
reproachbut in a vein of mildness touched with a gentle sorrow.
She was upstairsreading on the parlour couch. Ah! Domestic
details had no charms for HER. 'But call her down' said Mr
Pecksniffwith a placid resignation. 'Call her downmy love.'

She was called and cameall flushed and tumbled from reposing on
the sofa; but none the worse for that. Nonot at all. Rather the
betterif anything.

'Oh my goodness me!' cried the arch girlturning to her cousin when
she had kissed her father on both cheeksand in her frolicsome
nature had bestowed a supernumerary salute upon the tip of his nose
'YOU herefright! WellI'm very thankful that you won't trouble ME
much!'

'What! you're as lively as everare you?' said Jonas. 'Oh! You're
a wicked one!'

'Therego along!' retorted Merrypushing him away. 'I'm sure I
don't know what I shall ever doif I have to see much of you. Go
alongfor gracious' sake!'

Mr Pecksniff striking in herewith a request that Mr Jonas would
immediately walk upstairshe so far complied with the young lady's
adjuration as to go at once. But though he had the fair Cherry on
his armhe could not help looking back at her sisterand
exchanging some further dialogue of the same bantering description
as they all four ascended to the parlour; where--for the young
ladies happenedby good fortuneto be a little later than usual
that night--the tea-board was at that moment being set out.

Mr Pinch was not at homeso they had it all to themselvesand were
very snug and talkativeJonas sitting between the two sistersand
displaying his gallantry in that engaging manner which was peculiar
to him. It was a hard thingMr Pecksniff saidwhen tea was done
and cleared awayto leave so pleasant a little partybut having
some important papers to examine in his own apartmenthe must beg
them to excuse him for half an hour. With this apology he withdrew
singing a careless strain as he went. He had not been gone five


minuteswhen Merrywho had been sitting in the windowapart from
Jonas and her sisterburst into a half-smothered laughand skipped
towards the door.

'Hallo!' cried Jonas. 'Don't go.'

'OhI dare say!' rejoined Merrylooking back. 'You're very
anxious I should stayfrightain't you?'

'YesI am' said Jonas. 'Upon my word I am. I want to speak to
you.' But as she left the room notwithstandinghe ran out after
herand brought her backafter a short struggle in the passage
which scandalized Miss Cherry very much.

'Upon my wordMerry' urged that young lady'I wonder at you!
There are bounds even to absurditymy dear.'

'Thank youmy sweet' said Merrypursing up her rosy Lips. 'Much
obliged to it for its advice. Oh! do leave me aloneyou monster
do!' This entreaty was wrung from her by a new proceeding on the
part of Mr Jonaswho pulled her downall breathless as she was
into a seat beside him on the sofahaving at the same time Miss
Cherry upon the other side.

'Now' said Jonasclasping the waist of each; 'I have got both arms
fullhaven't I?'

'One of them will be black and blue to-morrowif you don't let me
go' cried the playful Merry.

'Ah! I don't mind YOUR pinching' grinned Jonas'a bit.'

'Pinch him for meCherrypray' said Mercy. 'I never did hate
anybody so much as I hate this creatureI declare!'

'Nonodon't say that' urged Jonas'and don't pinch either
because I want to be serious. I say--Cousin Charity--'

'Well! what?' she answered sharply.

'I want to have some sober talk' said Jonas; 'I want to prevent any
mistakesyou knowand to put everything upon a pleasant
understanding. That's desirable and properain't it?'

Neither of the sisters spoke a word. Mr Jonas paused and cleared
his throatwhich was very dry.

'She'll not believe what I am going to saywill shecousin?' said
Jonastimidly squeezing Miss Charity.

'ReallyMr JonasI don't knowuntil I hear what it is. It's
quite impossible!'

'Whyyou see' said Jonas'her way always being to make game of
peopleI know she'll laughor pretend to--I know thatbeforehand.
But you can tell her I'm in earnestcousin; can't you? You'll
confess you knowwon't you? You'll be honourableI'm sure'
he added persuasively.

No answer. His throat seemed to grow hotter and hotterand to be
more and more difficult of control.

'You seeCousin Charity' said Jonas'nobody but you can tell her
what pains I took to get into her company when you were both at the


boarding-house in the citybecause nobody's so well aware of ityou
know. Nobody else can tell her how hard I tried to get to know you
betterin order that I might get to know her without seeming to
wish it; can they? I always asked you about herand said where
had she goneand when would she comeand how lively she wasand
all that; didn't Icousin? I know you'll tell her soif you
haven't told her so alreadyand--and--I dare say you havebecause
I'm sure you're honourableain't you?'

Still not a word. The right arm of Mr Jonas--the elder sister sat
upon his right--may have been sensible of some tumultuous throbbing
which was not within itself; but nothing else apprised him that his
words had had the least effect.

'Even if you kept it to yourselfand haven't told her' resumed
Jonas'it don't much matterbecause you'll bear honest witness
now; won't you? We've been very good friends from the first;
haven't we? and of course we shall be quite friends in futureand
so I don't mind speaking before you a bit. Cousin Mercyyou've
heard what I've been saying. She'll confirm itevery word; she
must. Will you have me for your husband? Eh?'

As he released his hold of Charityto put this question with better
effectshe started up and hurried away to her own roommarking her
progress as she went by such a train of passionate and incoherent
soundas nothing but a slighted woman in her anger could produce.

'Let me go away. Let me go after her' said Merrypushing him off
and giving him--to tell the truth--more than one sounding slap upon
his outstretched face.

'Not till you say yes. You haven't told me. Will you have me for
your husband?'

'NoI won't. I can't bear the sight of you. I have told you so a
hundred times. You are a fright. BesidesI always thought you
liked my sister best. We all thought so.'

'But that wasn't my fault' said Jonas.

'Yes it was; you know it was.'

'Any trick is fair in love' said Jonas. 'She may have thought I
liked her bestbut you didn't.'

'I did!'

'Noyou didn't. You never could have thought I liked her best
when you were by.'

'There's no accounting for tastes' said Merry; 'at least I didn't
mean to say that. I don't know what I mean. Let me go to her.'

'Say "Yes and then I will.'

'If I ever brought myself to say so, it should only be that I might
hate and tease you all my life.'

'That's as good,' cried Jonas, 'as saying it right out. It's a
bargain, cousin. We're a pair, if ever there was one.'

This gallant speech was succeeded by a confused noise of kissing and
slapping; and then the fair but much dishevelled Merry broke away,
and followed in the footsteps of her sister.


Now whether Mr Pecksniff had been listening--which in one of his
character appears impossible; or divined almost by inspiration what
the matter was--which, in a man of his sagacity is far more
probable; or happened by sheer good fortune to find himself in
exactly the right place, at precisely the right time--which, under
the special guardianship in which he lived might very reasonably
happen; it is quite certain that at the moment when the sisters came
together in their own room, he appeared at the chamber door. And a
marvellous contrast it was--they so heated, noisy, and vehement; he
so calm, so self-possessed, so cool and full of peace, that not a
hair upon his head was stirred.

'Children!' said Mr Pecksniff, spreading out his hands in wonder,
but not before he had shut the door, and set his back against it.
'Girls! Daughters! What is this?'

'The wretch; the apostate; the false, mean, odious villain; has
before my very face proposed to Mercy!' was his eldest daughter's
answer.

'Who has proposed to Mercy!' asked Mr Pecksniff.

'HE has. That thing, Jonas, downstairs.'

'Jonas proposed to Mercy?' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Aye, aye! Indeed!'

'Have you nothing else to say?' cried Charity. 'Am I to be driven
mad, papa? He has proposed to Mercy, not to me.'

'Oh, fie! For shame!' said Mr Pecksniff, gravely. 'Oh, for shame!
Can the triumph of a sister move you to this terrible display, my
child? Oh, really this is very sad! I am sorry; I am surprised and
hurt to see you so. Mercy, my girl, bless you! See to her. Ah,
envy, envy, what a passion you are!'

Uttering this apostrophe in a tone full of grief and lamentation, Mr
Pecksniff left the room (taking care to shut the door behind him),
and walked downstairs into the parlour. There he found his
intended son-in-law, whom he seized by both hands.

'Jonas!' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'Jonas! the dearest wish of my heart
is now fulfilled!'

'Very well; I'm glad to hear it,' said Jonas. 'That'll do. I say!
As it ain't the one you're so fond of, you must come down with
another thousand, Pecksniff. You must make it up five. It's worth
that, to keep your treasure to yourself, you know. You get off very
cheap that way, and haven't a sacrifice to make.'

The grin with which he accompanied this, set off his other
attractions to such unspeakable advantage, that even Mr Pecksniff
lost his presence of mind for a moment, and looked at the young man
as if he were quite stupefied with wonder and admiration. But he
quickly regained his composure, and was in the very act of changing
the subject, when a hasty step was heard without, and Tom Pinch, in
a state of great excitement, came darting into the room.

On seeing a stranger there, apparently engaged with Mr Pecksniff in
private conversation, Tom was very much abashed, though he still
looked as if he had something of great importance to communicate,
which would be a sufficient apology for his intrusion.

'Mr Pinch,' said Pecksniff, 'this is hardly decent. You will excuse


my saying that I think your conduct scarcely decent, Mr Pinch.'

'I beg your pardon, sir,' replied Tom, 'for not knocking at the
door.'

'Rather beg this gentleman's pardon, Mr Pinch,' said Pecksniff. 'I
know you; he does not.--My young man, Mr Jonas.'

The son-in-law that was to be gave him a slight nod--not actively
disdainful or contemptuous, only passively; for he was in a good
humour.

'Could I speak a word with you, sir, if you please?' said Tom.
'It's rather pressing.'

'It should be very pressing to justify this strange behaviour, Mr
Pinch,' returned his master. 'Excuse me for one moment, my dear
friend. Now, sir, what is the reason of this rough intrusion?'

'I am very sorry, sir, I am sure,' said Tom, standing, cap in hand,
before his patron in the passage; 'and I know it must have a very
rude appearance--'

'It HAS a very rude appearance, Mr Pinch.'

'Yes, I feel that, sir; but the truth is, I was so surprised to see
them, and knew you would be too, that I ran home very fast indeed,
and really hadn't enough command over myself to know what I was
doing very well. I was in the church just now, sir, touching the
organ for my own amusement, when I happened to look round, and saw a
gentleman and lady standing in the aisle listening. They seemed to
be strangers, sir, as well as I could make out in the dusk; and I
thought I didn't know them; so presently I left off, and said, would
they walk up into the organ-loft, or take a seat? No, they said,
they wouldn't do that; but they thanked me for the music they had
heard. In fact,' observed Tom, blushing, 'they said, Delicious
music!" at leastSHE did; and I am sure that was a greater pleasure
and honour to me than any compliment I could have had. I--I--beg
your pardon sir;' he was all in a trembleand dropped his hat for
the second time 'but I--I'm rather flurriedand I fear I've
wandered from the point.'

'If you will come back to itThomas' said Mr Pecksniffwith an
icy look'I shall feel obliged.'

'Yessir' returned Tom'certainly. They had a posting carriage
at the porchsirand had stopped to hear the organthey said.
And then they said--SHE saidI meanI believe you live with Mr
Pecksniff, sir?I said I had that honourand I took the liberty
sir' added Tomraising his eyes to his benefactor's face'of
sayingas I always will and mustwith your permissionthat I was
under great obligations to youand never could express my sense of
them sufficiently.'

'That' said Mr Pecksniff'was veryvery wrong. Take your time
Mr Pinch.'

'Thank yousir' cried Tom. 'On that they asked me--she askedI
mean--"Wasn't there a bridle road to Mr Pecksniff's house?"'

Mr Pecksniff suddenly became full of interest.

'"Without going by the Dragon?" When I said there wasand said how
happy I should be to show it 'emthey sent the carriage on by the


roadand came with me across the meadows. I left 'em at the
turnstile to run forward and tell you they were comingand they'll
be heresirin--in less than a minute's timeI should say' added
Tomfetching his breath with difficulty.

'Nowwho' said Mr Pecksniffpondering'who may these people be?'

'Bless my soulsir!' cried Tom'I meant to mention that at first
I thought I had. I knew them--herI mean--directly. The gentleman
who was ill at the Dragonsirlast winter; and the young lady who
attended him.'

Tom's teeth chattered in his headand he positively staggered with
amazementat witnessing the extraordinary effect produced on Mr
Pecksniff by these simple words. The dread of losing the old man's
favour almost as soon as they were reconciledthrough the mere fact
of having Jonas in the house; the impossibility of dismissing Jonas
or shutting him upor tying him hand and foot and putting him in
the coal-cellarwithout offending him beyond recall; the horrible
discordance prevailing in the establishmentand the impossibility
of reducing it to decent harmony with Charity in loud hysterics
Mercy in the utmost disorderJonas in the parlourand Martin
Chuzzlewit and his young charge upon the very doorsteps; the total
hopelessness of being able to disguise or feasibly explain this
state of rampant confusion; the sudden accumulation over his devoted
head of every complicated perplexity and entanglement for his
extrication from which he had trusted to timegood fortunechance
and his own plottingso filled the entrapped architect with dismay
that if Tom could have been a Gorgon staring at Mr Pecksniffand Mr
Pecksniff could have been a Gorgon staring at Tomthey could not
have horrified each other half so much as in their own bewildered
persons.

'Deardear!' cried Tom'what have I done? I hoped it would be a
pleasant surprisesir. I thought you would like to know.'

But at that moment a loud knocking was heard at the hall door.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

MORE AMERICAN EXPERIENCESMARTIN TAKES A PARTNERAND MAKES A
PURCHASE. SOME ACCOUNT OF EDENAS IT APPEARED ON PAPER. ALSO OF
THE BRITISH LION. ALSO OF THE KIND OF SYMPATHY PROFESSED AND
ENTERTAINED BY THE WATERTOAST ASSOCIATION OF UNITED SYMPATHISERS

The knocking at Mr Pecksniff's doorthough loud enoughbore no
resemblance whatever to the noise of an American railway train at
full speed. It may be well to begin the present chapter with this
frank admissionlest the reader should imagine that the sounds now
deafening this history's ears have any connection with the knocker on
Mr Pecksniff's dooror with the great amount of agitation pretty
equally divided between that worthy man and Mr Pinchof which its
strong performance was the cause.

Mr Pecksniff's house is more than a thousand leagues away; and again
this happy chronicle has Liberty and Moral Sensibility for its high
companions. Again it breathes the blessed air of Independence;
again it contemplates with pious awe that moral sense which renders
unto Ceasar nothing that is his; again inhales that sacred
atmosphere which was the life of him--oh noble patriotwith many
followers!--who dreamed of Freedom in a slave's embraceand waking


sold her offspring and his own in public markets.

How the wheels clank and rattleand the tram-road shakesas the
train rushes on! And now the engine yellsas it were lashed and
tortured like a living labourerand writhed in agony. A poor
fancy; for steel and iron are of infinitely greater accountin this
commonwealththan flesh and blood. If the cunning work of man be
urged beyond its power of enduranceit has within it the elements
of its own revenge; whereas the wretched mechanism of the Divine
Hand is dangerous with no such propertybut may be tampered with
and crushedand brokenat the driver's pleasure. Look at that
engine! It shall cost a man more dollars in the way of penalty and
fineand satisfaction of the outraged lawto deface in wantonness
that senseless mass of metalthan to take the lives of twenty human
creatures! Thus the stars wink upon the bloody stripes; and Liberty
pulls down her cap upon her eyesand owns Oppression in its vilest
aspectfor her sister.

The engine-driver of the train whose noise awoke us to the present
chapter was certainly troubled with no such reflections as these;
nor is it very probable that his mind was disturbed by any
reflections at all. He leaned with folded arms and crossed legs
against the side of the carriagesmoking; andexcept when he
expressedby a grunt as short as his pipehis approval of some
particularly dexterous aim on the part of his colleaguethe
firemanwho beguiled his leisure by throwing logs of wood from the
tender at the numerous stray cattle on the linehe preserved a
composure so immovableand an indifference so completethat if the
locomotive had been a sucking-pighe could not have been more
perfectly indifferent to its doings. Notwithstanding the tranquil
state of this officerand his unbroken peace of mindthe train was
proceeding with tolerable rapidity; and the rails being but poorly
laidthe jolts and bumps it met with in its progress were neither
slight nor few.

There were three great caravans or cars attached. The ladies' car
the gentlemen's carand the car for negroes; the latter painted
blackas an appropriate compliment to its company. Martin and Mark
Tapley were in the firstas it was the most comfortable; andbeing
far from fullreceived other gentlemen wholike themwere
unblessed by the society of ladies of their own. They were seated
side by sideand were engaged in earnest conversation.

'And soMark' said Martinlooking at him with an anxious
expression'and so you are glad we have left New York far behind
usare you?'

'Yessir' said Mark. 'I am. Precious glad.'

'Were you not "jolly" there?' asked Martin.

'On the contrairysir' returned Mark. 'The jolliest week as ever
I spent in my lifewas that there week at Pawkins's.'

'What do you think of our prospects?' inquired Martinwith an air
that plainly said he had avoided the question for some time.

'Uncommon brightsir' returned Mark. 'Impossible for a place to
have a better namesirthan the Walley of Eden. No man couldn't
think of settling in a better place than the Walley of Eden. And
I'm told' added Markafter a pause'as there's lots of serpents
thereso we shall come outquite complete and reg'lar.'

So far from dwelling upon this agreeable piece of information with


the least dismayMark's face grew radiant as he called it to mind;
so very radiantthat a stranger might have supposed he had all his
life been yearning for the society of serpentsand now hailed with
delight the approaching consummation of his fondest wishes.

'Who told you that?' asked Martinsternly.

'A military officer' said Mark.

'Confound you for a ridiculous fellow!' cried Martinlaughing
heartily in spite of himself. 'What military officer? You know
they spring up in every field.'

'As thick as scarecrows in Englandsir' interposed Mark'which is
a sort of milita themselvesbeing entirely coat and wescoatwith a
stick inside. Haha!--Don't mind mesir; it's my way sometimes. I
can't help being jolly. Why it was one of them inwading conquerors
at Pawkins'sas told me. "Am I rightly informed he says--not
exactly through his nose, but as if he'd got a stoppage in it, very
high up--that you're a-going to the Walley of Eden?" "I heard some
talk on it I told him. Oh!" says heif you should ever happen
to go to bed there--you MAY, you know,he saysin course of time
as civilisation progresses--don't forget to take a axe with you.I
looks at him tolerable hard. "Fleas?" says I. "And more says he.
Wampires?" says I. "And more says he. Musquitoesperhaps?"
says I. "And more says he. What more?" says I. "Snakes more
says he; rattle-snakes. You're right to a certain extent
stranger. There air some catawampous chawers in the small way too
as graze upon a human pretty strong; but don't mind THEM--they're
company. It's snakes he says, as you'll object to; and whenever
you wake and see one in a upright poster on your bed he says,
like a corkscrew with the handle off a-sittin' on its bottom ring
cut him downfor he means wenom."'

'Why didn't you tell me this before!' cried Martinwith an
expression of face which set off the cheerfulness of Mark's visage
to great advantage.

'I never thought on itsir' said Mark. 'It come in at one ear
and went out at the other. But Lord love ushe was one of another
CompanyI dare sayand only made up the story that we might go to
his Edenand not the opposition one'

'There's some probability in that' observed Martin. 'I can
honestly say that I hope sowith all my heart.'

'I've not a doubt about itsir' returned Markwhofull of the
inspiriting influence of the anecodote upon himselfhad for the
moment forgotten its probable effect upon his master; 'anyhowwe
must liveyou knowsir.'

'Live!' cried Martin. 'Yesit's easy to say live; but if we should
happen not to wake when rattlesnakes are making corkscrews of
themselves upon our bedsit may be not so easy to do it.'

'And that's a fact' said a voice so close in his ear that it
tickled him. 'That's dreadful true.'

Martin looked roundand found that a gentlemanon the seat behind
had thrust his head between himself and Markand sat with his chin
resting on the back rail of their little benchentertaining himself
with their conversation. He was as languid and listless in his
looks as most of the gentlemen they had seen; his cheeks were so
hollow that he seemed to be always sucking them in; and the sun had


burnt himnot a wholesome red or brownbut dirty yellow. He had
bright dark eyeswhich he kept half closed; only peeping out of the
cornersand even then with a glance that seemed to say'Now you
won't overreach me; you want tobut you won't.' His arms rested
carelessly on his knees as he leant forward; in the palm of his left
handas English rustics have their slice of cheesehe had a cake
of tobacco; in his right a penknife. He struck into the dialogue
with as little reserve as if he had been specially called indays
beforeto hear the arguments on both sidesand favour them with
his opinion; and he no more contemplated or cared for the
possibility of their not desiring the honour of his acquaintance or
interference in their private affairs than if he had been a bear or
a buffalo.

'That' he repeatednodding condescendingly to Martinas to an
outer barbarian and foreigner'is dreadful true. Darn all manner
of vermin.'

Martin could not help frowning for a momentas if he were disposed
to insinuate that the gentleman had unconsciously 'darned' himself.
But remembering the wisdom of doing at Rome as Romans dohe smiled
with the pleasantest expression he could assume upon so short a
notice.

Their new friend said no more just thenbeing busily employed in
cutting a quid or plug from his cake of tobaccoand whistling
softly to himself the while. When he had shaped it to his liking
he took out his old plugand deposited the same on the back of the
seat between Mark and Martinwhile he thrust the new one into the
hollow of his cheekwhere it looked like a large walnutor
tolerable pippin. Finding it quite satisfactoryhe stuck the point
of his knife into the old plugand holding it out for their
inspectionremarked with the air of a man who had not lived in
vainthat it was 'used up considerable.' Then he tossed it away;
put his knife into one pocket and his tobacco into another; rested
his chin upon the rail as before; and approving of the pattern on
Martin's waistcoatreached out his hand to feel the texture of that
garment.

'What do you call this now?' he asked.

'Upon my word' said Martin'I don't know what it's called.'

'It'll cost a dollar or more a yardI reckon?'

'I really don't know.'

'In my country' said the gentleman'we know the cost of our own
pro-duce.'

Martin not discussing the questionthere was a pause.

'Well!' resumed their new friendafter staring at them intently
during the whole interval of silence; 'how's the unnat'ral old
parent by this time?'

Mr Tapley regarding this inquiry as only another version of the
impertinent English question'How's your mother?' would have
resented it instantlybut for Martin's prompt interposition.

'You mean the old country?' he said.

'Ah!' was the reply. 'How's she? Progressing back'ardsI expect
as usual? Well! How's Queen Victoria?'


'In good healthI believe' said Martin.

'Queen Victoria won't shake in her royal shoes at allwhen she
hears to-morrow named' observed the stranger'No.'

'Not that I am aware of. Why should she?'

'She won't be taken with a cold chillwhen she realises what is
being done in these diggings' said the stranger. 'No.'

'No' said Martin. 'I think I could take my oath of that.'

The strange gentleman looked at him as if in pity for his ignorance
or prejudiceand said:

'WellsirI tell you this--there ain't a engine with its biler
bustin God A'mighty's free U-nited Statesso fixedand nipped
and frizzled to a most e-tarnal smashas that young critterin her
luxurious location in the Tower of London will bewhen she reads
the next double-extra Watertoast Gazette.'

Several other gentlemen had left their seats and gathered round
during the foregoing dialogue. They were highly delighted with this
speech. One very lank gentlemanin a loose limp white cravatlong
white waistcoatand a black great-coatwho seemed to be in
authority among themfelt called upon to acknowledge it.

'Hem! Mr La Fayette Kettle' he saidtaking off his hat.

There was a grave murmur of 'Hush!'

'Mr La Fayette Kettle! Sir!'

Mr Kettle bowed.

'In the name of this companysirand in the name of our common
countryand in the name of that righteous cause of holy sympathy in
which we are engagedI thank you. I thank yousirin the name of
the Watertoast Sympathisers; and I thank yousirin the name of
the Watertoast Gazette; and I thank yousirin the name of the
star-spangled banner of the Great United Statesfor your eloquent
and categorical exposition. And ifsir' said the speakerpoking
Martin with the handle of his umbrella to bespeak his attentionfor
he was listening to a whisper from Mark; 'ifsirin such a place
and at such a timeI might venture to con-clude with a sentiment
glancing--however slantin'dicularly--at the subject in handI
would saysirmay the British Lion have his talons eradicated by
the noble bill of the American Eagleand be taught to play upon the
Irish Harp and the Scotch Fiddle that music which is breathed in
every empty shell that lies upon the shores of green Co-lumbia!'

Here the lank gentleman sat down againamidst a great sensation;
and every one looked very grave.

'General Choke' said Mr La Fayette Kettle'you warm my heart; sir
you warm my heart. But the British Lion is not unrepresented here
sir; and I should be glad to hear his answer to those remarks.'

'Upon my word' cried Martinlaughing'since you do me the honour
to consider me his representativeI have only to say that I never
heard of Queen Victoria reading the What's-his-name Gazette and that
I should scarcely think it probable.'


General Choke smiled upon the restand saidin patient and
benignant explanation:

'It is sent to hersir. It is sent to her. Her mail.'

'But if it is addressed to the Tower of Londonit would hardly come
to handI fear' returned Martin; 'for she don't live there.'

'The Queen of Englandgentlemen' observed Mr Tapleyaffecting the
greatest politenessand regarding them with an immovable face
'usually lives in the Mint to take care of the money. She HAS
lodgingsin virtue of her officewith the Lord Mayor at the
Mansion House; but don't often occupy themin consequence of the
parlour chimney smoking.'

'Mark' said Martin'I shall be very much obliged to you if you'll
have the goodness not to interfere with preposterous statements
however jocose they may appear to you. I was merely remarking
gentlemen--though it's a point of very little import--that the
Queen of England does not happen to live in the Tower of London.'

'General!' cried Mr La Fayette Kettle. 'You hear?'

'General!' echoed several others. 'General!'

'Hush! Praysilence!' said General Chokeholding up his handand
speaking with a patient and complacent benevolence that was quite
touching. 'I have always remarked it as a very extraordinary
circumstancewhich I impute to the natur' of British Institutions
and their tendency to suppress that popular inquiry and information
which air so widely diffused even in the trackless forests of this
vast Continent of the Western Ocean; that the knowledge of
Britishers themselves on such points is not to be compared with that
possessed by our intelligent and locomotive citizens. This is
interestingand confirms my observation. When you saysir' he
continuedaddressing Martin'that your Queen does not reside in
the Tower of Londonyou fall into an errornot uncommon to your
countrymeneven when their abilities and moral elements air such as
to command respect. Butsiryou air wrong. She DOES live there--'

'When she is at the Court of Saint James's' interposed Kettle.

'When she is at the Court of Saint James'sof course' returned the
Generalin the same benignant way; 'for if her location was in
Windsor Pavilion it couldn't be in London at the same time. Your
Tower of Londonsir' pursued the Generalsmiling with a mild
consciousness of his knowledge'is nat'rally your royal residence.
Being located in the immediate neighbourhood of your Parksyour
Drivesyour Triumphant Archesyour Operaand your Royal Almacks
it nat'rally suggests itself as the place for holding a luxurious
and thoughtless court. Andconsequently' said the General
'consequentlythe court is held there.'

'Have you been in England?' asked Martin.

'In print I havesir' said the General'not otherwise. We air a
reading people heresir. You will meet with much information among
us that will surprise yousir.'

'I have not the least doubt of it' returned Martin. But here he
was interrupted by Mr La Fayette Kettlewho whispered in his ear:

'You know General Choke?'


'No' returned Martinin the same tone.

'You know what he is considered?'

'One of the most remarkable men in the country?' said Martinat a
venture.

'That's a fact' rejoined Kettle. 'I was sure you must have heard
of him!'

'I think' said Martinaddressing himself to the General again
'that I have the pleasure of being the bearer of a letter of
introduction to yousir. From Mr Bevanof Massachusetts' he
addedgiving it to him.

The General took it and read it attentively; now and then stopping
to glance at the two strangers. When he had finished the notehe
came over to Martinsat down by himand shook hands.

'Well!' he said'and you think of settling in Eden?'

'Subject to your opinionand the agent's advice' replied Martin.
'I am told there is nothing to be done in the old towns.'

'I can introduce you to the agentsir' said the General. 'I know
him. In factI am a member of the Eden Land Corporation myself.'

This was serious news to Martinfor his friend had laid great
stress upon the General's having no connectionas he thoughtwith
any land companyand therefore being likely to give him
disinterested advice. The General explained that he had joined the
Corporation only a few weeks agoand that no communication had
passed between himself and Mr Bevan since.

'We have very little to venture' said Martin anxiously--'only a few
pounds--but it is our all. Nowdo you think that for one of my
professionthis would be a speculation with any hope or chance in
it?'

'Well' observed the Generalgravely'if there wasn't any hope or
chance in the speculationit wouldn't have engaged my dollarsI
opinionate.'

'I don't mean for the sellers' said Martin. 'For the buyers--for
the buyers!'

'For the buyerssir?' observed the Generalin a most impressive
manner. 'Well! you come from an old country; from a countrysir
that has piled up golden calves as high as Babeland worshipped 'em
for ages. We are a new countrysir; man is in a more primeval
state heresir; we have not the excuse of having lapsed in the
slow course of time into degenerate practices; we have no false
gods; mansirhereis man in all his dignity. We fought for that
or nothing. Here am Isir' said the Generalsetting up his
umbrella to represent himselfand a villanous-looking umbrella it
was; a very bad counter to stand for the sterling coin of his
benevolence'here am I with grey hairs sirand a moral sense.
Would Iwith my principlesinvest capital in this speculation if I
didn't think it full of hopes and chances for my brother man?'

Martin tried to look convincedbut he thought of New Yorkand
found it difficult.

'What are the Great United States forsir' pursued the General 'if


not for the regeneration of man? But it is nat'ral in you to make
such an enquerryfor you come from Englandand you do not know my
country.'

'Then you think' said Martin'that allowing for the hardships we
are prepared to undergothere is a reasonable--Heaven knows we
don't expect much--a reasonable opening in this place?'

'A reasonable opening in Edensir! But see the agentsee the
agent; see the maps and planssir; and conclude to go or stay
according to the natur' of the settlement. Eden hadn't need to go
a-begging yetsir' remarked the General.

'It is an awful lovely placesure-ly. And frightful wholesome
likewise!' said Mr Kettlewho had made himself a party to this
conversation as a matter of course.

Martin felt that to dispute such testimonyfor no better reason
than because he had his secret misgivings on the subjectwould be
ungentlemanly and indecent. So he thanked the General for his
promise to put him in personal communication with the agent; and
'concluded' to see that officer next morning. He then begged the
General to inform him who the Watertoast Sympathisers wereof whom
he had spoken in addressing Mr La Fayette Kettleand on what
grievances they bestowed their Sympathy. To which the General
looking very seriousmade answerthat he might fully enlighten
himself on those points to-morrow by attending a Great Meeting of
the Bodywhich would then be held at the town to which they were
travelling; 'over whichsir' said the General'my fellow-citizens
have called on me to preside.'

They came to their journey's end late in the evening. Close to the
railway was an immense white edificelike an ugly hospitalon
which was painted 'NATIONAL HOTEL.' There was a wooden gallery or
verandah in frontin which it was rather startlingwhen the train
stoppedto behold a great many pairs of boots and shoesand the
smoke of a great many cigarsbut no other evidences of human
habitation. By slow degreeshoweversome heads and shoulders
appearedand connecting themselves with the boots and shoesled to
the discovery that certain gentlemen boarderswho had a fancy for
putting their heels where the gentlemen boarders in other countries
usually put their headswere enjoying themselves after their own
manner in the cool of the evening.

There was a great bar-room in this hoteland a great public room in
which the general table was being set out for supper. There were
interminable whitewashed staircaseslong whitewashed galleries
upstairs and downstairsscores of little whitewashed bedroomsand
a four-sided verandah to every story in the housewhich formed a
large brick square with an uncomfortable courtyard in the centre
where some clothes were drying. Here and theresome yawning
gentlemen lounged up and down with their hands in their pockets; but
within the house and withoutwherever half a dozen people were
collected togethertherein their looksdressmoralsmanners
habitsintellectand conversationwere Mr Jefferson Brick
Colonel DiverMajor PawkinsGeneral Chokeand Mr La Fayette
Kettleoverand overand over again. They did the same things;
said the same things; judged all subjects byand reduced all
subjects tothe same standard. Observing how they livedand how
they were always in the enchanting company of each otherMartin
even began to comprehend their being the socialcheerfulwinning
airy men they were.

At the sounding of a dismal gongthis pleasant company went


trooping down from all parts of the house to the public room; while
from the neighbouring stores other guests came flocking inin
shoals; for half the townmarried folks as well as singleresided
at the National Hotel. Teacoffeedried meatstongueham
picklescaketoastpreservesand bread and butterwere
swallowed with the usual ravaging speed; and thenas beforethe
company dropped off by degreesand lounged away to the deskthe
counteror the bar-room. The ladies had a smaller ordinary of
their ownto which their husbands and brothers were admitted if
they chose; and in all other respects they enjoyed themselves as at
Pawkins's.

'NowMarkmy good fellowsaid Martinclosing the door of his
little chamber'we must hold a solemn councilfor our fate is
decided to-morrow morning. You are determined to invest these
savings of yours in the common stockare you?'

'If I hadn't been determined to make that wentursir' answered Mr
Tapley'I shouldn't have come.'

'How much is there heredid you say' asked Martinholding up a
little bag.

'Thirty-seven pound ten and sixpence. The Savings' Bank said so at
least. I never counted it. But THEY knowbless you!' said Mark
with a shake of the head expressive of his unbounded confidence in
the wisdom and arithmetic of those Institutions.

'The money we brought with us' said Martin'is reduced to a few
shillings less than eight pounds.'

Mr Tapley smiledand looked all manner of waysthat he might not
be supposed to attach any importance to this fact.

'Upon the ring--HER ringMark' said Martinlooking ruefully at
his empty finger-


'Ah!' sighed Mr Tapley. 'Beg your pardonsir.'

'--We raisedin English moneyfourteen pounds. Soeven with
thatyour share of the stock is still very much the larger of the
two you see. NowMark' said Martinin his old wayjust as he
might have spoken to Tom Pinch'I have thought of a means of making
this up to you--more than making it up to youI hope--and very
materially elevating your prospects in life.'

'Oh! don't talk of thatyou knowsir' returned Mark. 'I don't
want no elevatingsir. I'm all right enoughsirI am.'

'Nobut hear me' said Martin'because this is very important to
youand a great satisfaction to me. Markyou shall be a partner
in the business; an equal partner with myself. I will put inas my
additional capitalmy professional knowledge and ability; and half
the annual profitsas long as it is carried onshall be yours.'

Poor Martin! For ever building castles in the air. For everin his
very selfishnessforgetful of all but his own teeming hopes and
sanguine plans. Swellingat that instantwith the consciousness
of patronizing and most munificently rewarding Mark!

'I don't knowsir' Mark rejoinedmuch more sadly than his custom
wasthough from a very different cause than Martin supposed'what
I can say to thisin the way of thanking you. I'll stand by you
sirto the best of my abilityand to the last. That's all.'


'We quite understand each othermy good fellow' said Martin rising
in self-approval and condescension. 'We are no longer master and
servantbut friends and partners; and are mutually gratified. If
we determine on Edenthe business shall be commenced as soon as we
get there. Under the name' said Martinwho never hammered upon an
idea that wasn't red hot'under the name of Chuzzlewit and Tapley.'

'Lord love yousir' cried Mark'don't have my name in it. I
ain't acquainted with the businesssir. I must be Co.I must.
I've often thought' he addedin a low voice'as I should like to
know a Co.; but I little thought as ever I should live to be one.'

'You shall have your own wayMark.'

'Thank'eesir. If any country gentleman thereaboutsin the public
wayor otherwisewanted such a thing as a skittle-ground madeI
could take that part of the bis'nesssir.'

'Against any architect in the States' said Martin. 'Get a couple
of sherry-cobblersMarkand we'll drink success to the firm.'

Either he forgot already (and often afterwards)that they were no
longer master and servantor considered this kind of duty to be
among the legitimate functions of the Co. But Mark obeyed with his
usual alacrity; and before they parted for the nightit was agreed
between them that they should go together to the agent's in the
morningbut that Martin should decide the Eden questionon his own
sound judgment. And Mark made no meriteven to himself in his
jollityof this concession; perfectly well knowing that the matter
would come to that in the endany way.

The General was one of the party at the public table next dayand
after breakfast suggested that they should wait upon the agent
without loss of time. Theydesiring nothing moreagreed; so off
they all four started for the office of the Eden Settlementwhich
was almost within rifle-shot of the National Hotel.

It was a small place--something like a turnpike. But a great deal
of land may be got into a dice-boxand why may not a whole
territory be bargained for in a shed? It was but a temporary office
too; for the Edeners were 'going' to build a superb establishment
for the transaction of their businessand had already got so far as
to mark out the site. Which is a great way in America. The officedoor
was wide openand in the doorway was the agent; no doubt a
tremendous fellow to get through his workfor he seemed to have no
arrearsbut was swinging backwards and forwards in a rocking-chair
with one of his legs planted high up against the door-postand the
other doubled up under himas if he were hatching his foot.

He was a gaunt man in a huge straw hatand a coat of green stuff.
The weather being hothe had no cravatand wore his shirt collar
wide open; so that every time he spoke something was seen to twitch
and jerk up in his throatlike the little hammers in a harpsichord
when the notes are struck. Perhaps it was the Truth feebly
endeavouring to leap to his lips. If soit never reached them.

Two grey eyes lurked deep within this agent's headbut one of them
had no sight in itand stood stock still. With that side of his
face he seemed to listen to what the other side was doing. Thus
each profile had a distinct expression; and when the movable side
was most in actionthe rigid one was in its coldest state of
watchfulness. It was like turning the man inside outto pass to
that view of his features in his liveliest moodand see how


calculating and intent they were.

Each long black hair upon his head hung down as straight as any
plummet line; but rumpled tufts were on the arches of his eyesas
if the crow whose foot was deeply printed in the corners had pecked
and torn them in a savage recognition of his kindred nature as a
bird of prey.

Such was the man whom they now approachedand whom the General
saluted by the name of Scadder.

'WellGen'ral' he returned'and how are you?'

'Ac-tive and sprysirin my country's service and the sympathetic
cause. Two gentlemen on businessMr Scadder.'

He shook hands with each of them--nothing is done in America without
shaking hands--then went on rocking.

'I think I know what bis'ness you have brought these strangers here
uponthenGen'ral?'

'Wellsir. I expect you may.'

'You air a tongue-y personGen'ral. For you talk too muchand
that's fact' said Scadder. 'You speak a-larming well in public
but you didn't ought to go ahead so fast in private. Now!'

'If I can realise your meaningride me on a rail!' returned the
Generalafter pausing for consideration.

'You know we didn't wish to sell the lots off right away to any
loafer as might bid' said Scadder; 'but had con-cluded to reserve
'em for Aristocrats of Natur'. Yes!'

'And they are heresir!' cried the General with warmth. 'They
are heresir!'

'If they air here' returned the agentin reproachful accents
'that's enough. But you didn't ought to have your dander ris with
MEGen'ral.'

The General whispered Martin that Scadder was the honestest fellow
in the worldand that he wouldn't have given him offence
designedlyfor ten thousand dollars.

'I do my duty; and I raise the dander of my feller crittersas I
wish to serve' said Scadder in a low voicelooking down the road
and rocking still. 'They rile up roughalong of my objecting to
their selling Eden off too cheap. That's human natur'! Well!'

'Mr Scadder' said the Generalassuming his oratorical deportment.
'Sir! Here is my handand here my heart. I esteem yousirand
ask your pardon. These gentlemen air friends of mineor I would
not have brought 'em heresirbeing well awaresirthat the lots
at present go entirely too cheap. But these air friendssir; these
air partick'ler friends.'

Mr Scadder was so satisfied by this explanationthat he shook the
General warmly by the handand got out of the rocking-chair to do
it. He then invited the General's particular friends to accompany
him into the office. As to the Generalhe observedwith his usual
benevolencethat being one of the companyhe wouldn't interfere in
the transaction on any account; so he appropriated the rocking-chair


to himselfand looked at the prospectlike a good Samaritan
waiting for a traveller.

'Heyday!' cried Martinas his eye rested on a great plan which
occupied one whole side of the office. Indeedthe office had
little else in itbut some geological and botanical specimensone
or two rusty ledgersa homely deskand a stool. 'Heyday! what's
that?'

'That's Eden' said Scadderpicking his teeth with a sort of young
bayonet that flew out of his knife when he touched a spring.

'WhyI had no idea it was a city.'

'Hadn't you? Ohit's a city.'

A flourishing citytoo! An architectural city! There were banks
churchescathedralsmarket-placesfactorieshotelsstores
mansionswharves; an exchangea theatre; public buildings of all
kindsdown to the office of the Eden Stingera daily journal; all
faithfully depicted in the view before them.

'Dear me! It's really a most important place!' cried Martin turning
round.

'Oh! it's very important' observed the agent.

'ButI am afraid' said Martinglancing again at the Public
Buildings'that there's nothing left for me to do.'

'Well! it ain't all built' replied the agent. 'Not quite.'

This was a great relief.

'The market-placenow' said Martin. 'Is that built?'

'That?' said the agentsticking his toothpick into the weathercock
on the top. 'Let me see. No; that ain't built.'

'Rather a good job to begin with--ehMark?' whispered Martin
nudging him with his elbow.

Markwhowith a very stolid countenance had been eyeing the plan
and the agent by turnsmerely rejoined 'Uncommon!'

A dead silence ensuedMr Scadder in some short recesses or
vacations of his toothpickwhistled a few bars of Yankee Doodle
and blew the dust off the roof of the Theatre.

'I suppose' said Martinfeigning to look more narrowly at the
planbut showing by his tremulous voice how much dependedin his
mindupon the answer; 'I suppose there are--several architects
there?'

'There ain't a single one' said Scadder.

'Mark' whispered Martinpulling him by the sleeve'do you hear
that? But whose work is all this before usthen?' he asked aloud.

'The soil being very fruitfulpublic buildings grows spontaneous
perhaps' said Mark.

He was on the agent's dark side as he said it; but Scadder instantly
changed his placeand brought his active eye to bear upon him.


'Feel of my handsyoung man' he said.

'What for?' asked Markdeclining.

'Air they dirtyor air they cleansir?' said Scadderholding them
out.

In a physical point of view they were decidedly dirty. But it being
obvious that Mr Scadder offered them for examination in a figurative
senseas emblems of his moral characterMartin hastened to
pronounce them pure as the driven snow.

'I entreatMark' he saidwith some irritation'that you will not
obtrude remarks of that naturewhichhowever harmless and
well-intentionedare quite out of placeand cannot be expected to
be very agreeable to strangers. I am quite surprised.'

'The Co.'s a-putting his foot in it already' thought Mark. 'He
must be a sleeping partner--fast asleep and snoring--Co. must; I
see.'

Mr Scadder said nothingbut he set his back against the planand
thrust his toothpick into the desk some twenty times; looking at
Mark all the while as if he were stabbing him in effigy.

'You haven't said whose work it is' Martin ventured to observe at
lengthin a tone of mild propitiation.

'Wellnever mind whose work it isor isn't' said the agent
sulkily. 'No matter how it did eventuate. P'raps he cleared off
handsomewith a heap of dollars; p'raps he wasn't worth a cent.
P'raps he was a loafin' rowdy; p'raps a ring-tailed roarer. Now!'

'All your doingMark!' said Martin.

'P'raps' pursued the agent'them ain't plants of Eden's raising.
No! P'raps that desk and stool ain't made from Eden lumber. No!
P'raps no end of squatters ain't gone out there. No! P'raps there
ain't no such location in the territoary of the Great U-nited
States. Ohno!'

'I hope you're satisfied with the success of your jokeMark' said
Martin.

But hereat a most opportune and happy timethe General
interposedand called out to Scadder from the doorway to give his
friends the particulars of that little lot of fifty acres with the
house upon it; whichhaving belonged to the company formerlyhad
lately lapsed again into their hands.

'You air a deal too open-handedGen'ral' was the answer. 'It is a
lot as should be rose in price. It is.'

He grumblingly opened his books notwithstandingand always keeping
his bright side towards Markno matter at what amount of
inconvenience to himselfdisplayed a certain leaf for their
perusal. Martin read it greedilyand then inquired:

'Now where upon the plan may this place be?'

'Upon the plan?' said Scadder.

'Yes.'


He turned towards itand reflected for a short timeas ifhaving
been put upon his mettlehe was resolved to be particular to the
very minutest hair's breadth of a shade. At lengthafter wheeling
his toothpick slowly round and round in the airas if it were a
carrier pigeon just thrown uphe suddenly made a dart at the
drawingand pierced the very centre of the main wharfthrough and
through.

'There!' he saidleaving his knife quivering in the wall; 'that's
where it is!'

Martin glanced with sparkling eyes upon his Co.and his Co. saw
that the thing was done.

The bargain was not concluded as easily as might have been expected
thoughfor Scadder was caustic and ill-humouredand cast much
unnecessary opposition in the way; at one time requesting them to
think of itand call again in a week or a fortnight; at another
predicting that they wouldn't like it; at anotheroffering to
retract and let them offand muttering strong imprecations upon the
folly of the General. But the whole of the astoundingly small sum
total of purchase-money--it was only one hundred and fifty dollars
or something more than thirty pounds of the capital brought by Co.
into the architectural concern--was ultimately paid down; and
Martin's head was two inches nearer the roof of the little wooden
officewith the consciousness of being a landed proprietor in the
thriving city of Eden.

'If it shouldn't happen to fit' said Scadderas he gave Martin the
necessary credentials on recepit of his money'don't blame me.'

'Nono' he replied merrily. 'We'll not blame you. Generalare
you going?'

'I am at your servicesir; and I wish you' said the General
giving him his hand with grave cordiality'joy of your po-ssession.
You air nowsira denizen of the most powerful and highlycivilised
dominion that has ever graced the world; a do-minionsir
where man is bound to man in one vast bond of equal love and truth.
May yousirbe worthy of your a-dopted country!'

Martin thanked himand took leave of Mr Scadder; who had resumed
his post in the rocking-chairimmediately on the General's rising
from itand was once more swinging away as if he had never been
disturbed. Mark looked back several times as they went down the
road towards the National Hotelbut now his blighted profile was
towards themand nothing but attentive thoughtfulness was written
on it. Strangely different to the other side! He was not a man much
given to laughingand never laughed outright; but every line in the
print of the crow's footand every little wiry vein in that
division of his headwas wrinkled up into a grin! The compound
figure of Death and the Lady at the top of the old ballad was not
divided with a greater nicetyand hadn't halves more monstrously
unlike each otherthan the two profiles of Zephaniah Scadder.

The General posted along at a great ratefor the clock was on the
stroke of twelve; and at that hour preciselythe Great Meeting of
the Watertoast Sympathisers was to be holden in the public room of
the National Hotel. Being very curious to witness the
demonstrationand know what it was all aboutMartin kept close to
the General; andkeeping closer than ever when they entered the
Hallgot by that means upon a little platform of tables at the
upper end; where an armchair was set for the Generaland Mr La


Fayette Kettleas secretarywas making a great display of some
foolscap documents. Screamersno doubt.

'Wellsir!' he saidas he shook hands with Martin'here is a
spectacle calc'lated to make the British Lion put his tail between
his legsand howl with anguishI expect!'

Martin certainly thought it possible that the British Lion might
have been rather out of his element in that Ark; but he kept the
idea to himself. The General was then voted to the chairon the
motion of a pallid lad of the Jefferson Brick school; who forthwith
set in for a high-spiced speechwith a good deal about hearths and
homes in itand unriveting the chains of Tyranny.

Oh but it was a clincher for the British Lionit was! The
indignation of the glowing young Columbian knew no bounds. If he
could only have been one of his own forefathershe saidwouldn't
he have peppered that same Lionand been to him as another Brute
Tamer with a wire whipteaching him lessons not easily forgotten.
'Lion! (cried that young Columbian) where is he? Who is he? What
is he? Show him to me. Let me have him here. Here!' said the
young Columbianin a wrestling attitude'upon this sacred altar.
Here!' cried the young Columbianidealising the dining-table'upon
ancestral ashescemented with the glorious blood poured out like
water on our native plains of Chickabiddy Lick! Bring forth that
Lion!' said the young Columbian. 'AloneI dare him! I taunt that
Lion. I tell that Lionthat Freedom's hand once twisted in his
manehe rolls a corse before meand the Eagles of the Great
Republic laugh haha!'

When it was found that the Lion didn't comebut kept out of the
way; that the young Columbian stood therewith folded armsalone
in his glory; and consequently that the Eagles were no doubt
laughing wildly on the mountain tops; such cheers arose as might
have shaken the hands upon the Horse-Guards' clockand changed the
very mean time of the day in England's capital.

'Who is this?' Martin telegraphed to La Fayette.

The Secretary wrote somethingvery gravelyon a piece of paper
twisted it upand had it passed to him from hand to hand. It was
an improvement on the old sentiment: 'Perhaps as remarkable a man as
any in our country.'

This young Columbian was succeeded by anotherto the full as
eloquent as hewho drew down storms of cheers. But both remarkable
youthsin their great excitement (for your true poetry can never
stoop to details)forgot to say with whom or what the Watertoasters
sympathizedand likewise why or wherefore they were sympathetic.
Thus Martin remained for a long time as completely in the dark as
ever; until at length a ray of light broke in upon him through the
medium of the Secretarywhoby reading the minutes of their past
proceedingsmade the matter somewhat clearer. He then learned that
the Watertoast Association sympathized with a certain Public Man in
Irelandwho held a contest upon certain points with England; and
that they did sobecause they didn't love England at all--not by
any means because they loved Ireland much; being indeed horribly
jealous and distrustful of its people alwaysand only tolerating
them because of their working hardwhich made them very useful;
labour being held in greater indignity in the simple republic than
in any other country upon earth. This rendered Martin curious to
see what grounds of sympathy the Watertoast Association put forth;
nor was he long in suspensefor the General rose to read a letter
to the Public Manwhich with his own hands he had written.


'Thus' said the General'thusmy friends and fellow-citizensit
runs:

'"SIR--I address you on behalf of the Watertoast Association of
United Sympathisers. It is foundedsirin the great republic
of America! and now holds its breathand swells the blue veins
in its forehead nigh to burstingas it watchessirwith feverish
intensity and sympathetic ardouryour noble efforts in the cause
of Freedom."'

At the name of Freedomand at every repetition of that nameall
the Sympathisers roared aloud; cheering with nine times nineand
nine times over.

'"In Freedom's namesir--holy Freedom--I address you. In
Freedom's nameI send herewith a contribution to the funds of your
society. In Freedom's namesirI advert with indignation and
disgust to that accursed animalwith gore-stained whiskerswhose
rampant cruelty and fiery lust have ever been a scourgea torment
to the world. The naked visitors to Crusoe's Islandsir; the
flying wives of Peter Wilkins; the fruit-smeared children of the
tangled bush; nayeven the men of large statureanciently bred in
the mining districts of Cornwall; alike bear witness to its savage
nature. Wheresirare the Cormoransthe Blunderboresthe Great
Feefofumsnamed in History? Allallexterminated by its
destroying hand.

'"I alludesirto the British Lion.

'"Devotedmind and bodyheart and soulto Freedomsir--to
Freedomblessed solace to the snail upon the cellar-doorthe
oyster in his pearly bedthe still mite in his home of cheesethe
very winkle of your country in his shelly lair--in her unsullied
namewe offer you our sympathy. Ohsirin this our cherished and
our happy landher fires burn bright and clear and smokeless; once
lighted up in yoursthe lion shall be roasted whole.

'"I amsirin Freedom's name

'"Your affectionate friend and faithful Sympathiser

'"CYRUS CHOKE

'"GeneralU.S.M."'

It happened that just as the General began to read this letterthe
railroad train arrivedbringing a new mail from England; and a
packet had been handed in to the Secretarywhich during its perusal
and the frequent cheerings in homage to freedomhe had opened.
Nowits contents disturbed him very muchand the moment the
General sat downhe hurried to his sideand placed in his hand a
letter and several printed extracts from English newspapers; to
whichin a state of infinite excitementhe called his immediate
attention.

The Generalbeing greatly heated by his own compositionwas in a
fit state to receive any inflammable influence; but he had no sooner
possessed himself of the contents of these documentsthan a change
came over his faceinvolving such a huge amount of choler and


passionthat the noisy concourse were silent in a momentin very
wonder at the sight of him.

'My friends!' cried the Generalrising; 'my friends and fellow
citizenswe have been mistaken in this man.'

'In what man?' was the cry.

'In this' panted the Generalholding up the letter he had read
aloud a few minutes before. 'I find that he has beenand isthe
advocate--consistent in it always too--of Nigger emancipation!'

If anything beneath the sky be realthose Sons of Freedom would
have pistolledstabbed--in some way slain--that man by coward hands
and murderous violenceif he had stood among them at that time.
The most confiding of their own countrymen would not have wagered
then--nonor would they ever peril--one dunghill strawupon the
life of any man in such a strait. They tore the lettercast the
fragments in the airtrod down the pieces as they fell; and yelled
and groanedand hissedtill they could cry no longer.

'I shall move' said the Generalwhen he could make himself heard
'that the Watertoast Association of United Sympathisers be
immediately dissolved!'

Down with it! Away with it! Don't hear of it! Burn its records!
Pull the room down! Blot it out of human memory!

'Butmy fellow-countrymen!' said the General'the contributions.
We have funds. What is to be done with the funds?'

It was hastily resolved that a piece of plate should be presented to
a certain constitutional Judgewho had laid down from the Bench the
noble principle that it was lawful for any white mob to murder any
black man; and that another piece of plateof similar value should
be presented to a certain Patriotwho had declared from his high
place in the Legislaturethat he and his friends would hang without
trialany Abolitionist who might pay them a visit. For the
surplusit was agreed that it should be devoted to aiding the
enforcement of those free and equal lawswhich render it
incalculably more criminal and dangerous to teach a negro to read
and write than to roast him alive in a public city. These points
adjustedthe meeting broke up in great disorderand there was an
end of the Watertoast Sympathy.

As Martin ascended to his bedroomhis eye was attracted by the
Republican bannerwhich had been hoisted from the house-top in
honour of the occasionand was fluttering before a window which he
passed.

'Tut!' said Martin. 'You're a gay flag in the distance. But let a
man be near enough to get the light upon the other side and see
through you; and you are but sorry fustian!'

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

FROM WHICH IT WILL BE SEEN THAT MARTIN BECAME A LION OF HIS OWN
ACCOUNT. TOGETHER WITH THE REASON WHY

As soon as it was generally known in the National Hotelthat the
young EnglishmanMr Chuzzlewithad purchased a 'lo-cation' in the


Valley of Edenand intended to betake himself to that earthly
Paradise by the next steamboathe became a popular character. Why
this should beor how it had come to passMartin no more knew than
Mrs Gampof Kingsgate StreetHigh Holborndid; but that he was
for the time being the lionby popular electionof the Watertoast
communityand that his society was in rather inconvenient request
there could be no kind of doubt.

The first notification he received of this change in his position
was the following epistlewritten in a thin running hand--with
here and there a fat letter or twoto make the general effect more
striking--on a sheet of paperruled with blue lines.

'NATIONAL HOTEL

'MONDAY MORNING.

'Dear Sir--'When I had the privillidge of being your fellow-traveller
in the carsthe day before yesterdayyou offered some remarks
upon the subject of the tower of Londonwhich (in common with my
fellow-citizens generally) I could wish to hear repeated to a public
audience.

'As secretary to the Young Men's Watertoast Association of this
townI am requested to inform you that the Society will be proud to
hear you deliver a lecture upon the Tower of Londonat their Hall
to-morrow eveningat seven o'clock; and as a large issue of
quarter-dollar tickets may be expectedyour answer and consent by
bearer will be considered obliging.

'Dear Sir

'Yours truly

'LA FAYETTE KETTLE.

'The Honourable M. Chuzzlewit.

'P.S.--The Society would not be particular in limiting you to the
Tower of London. Permit me to suggest that any remarks upon the
Elements of Geologyor (if more convenient) upon the Writings of
your talented and witty countrymanthe honourable Mr Millerwould
be well received.'

Very much aghast at this invitationMartin wrote backcivilly
declining it; and had scarcely done sowhen he received another
letter.

'No. 47Bunker Hill Street

'Monday Morning.

'(Private).

'Sir--I was raised in those interminable solitudes where our mighty
Mississippi (or Father of Waters) rolls his turbid flood.

'I am youngand ardent. For there is a poetry in wildnessand
every alligator basking in the slime is in himself an Epicselfcontained.
I aspirate for fame. It is my yearning and my thirst.


'Are yousiraware of any member of Congress in Englandwho would
undertake to pay my expenses to that countryand for six months
after my arrival?

'There is something within me which gives me the assurance that this
enlightened patronage would not be thrown away. In literature or
art; the barthe pulpitor the stage; in one or otherif not all
I feel that I am certain to succeed.

'If too much engaged to write to any such yourselfplease let me
have a list of three or four of those most likely to respondand I
will address them through the Post Office. May I also ask you to
favour me with any critical observations that have ever presented
themselves to your reflective facultieson "Caina Mystery by
the Right Honourable Lord Byron?

'I am, Sir,

'Yours (forgive me if I add, soaringly),

'PUTNAM SMIF

'P.S.--Address your answer to America Junior, Messrs. Hancock &
Floby, Dry Goods Store, as above.'

Both of which letters, together with Martin's reply to each, were,
according to a laudable custom, much tending to the promotion of
gentlemanly feeling and social confidence, published in the next
number of the Watertoast Gazette.

He had scarcely got through this correspondence when Captain
Kedgick, the landlord, kindly came upstairs to see how he was
getting on. The Captain sat down upon the bed before he spoke; and
finding it rather hard, moved to the pillow.

'Well, sir!' said the Captain, putting his hat a little more on one
side, for it was rather tight in the crown: 'You're quite a public
man I calc'late.'

'So it seems,' retorted Martin, who was very tired.

'Our citizens, sir,' pursued the Captain, 'intend to pay their
respects to you. You will have to hold a sort of le-vee, sir, while
you're here.'

'Powers above!' cried Martin, 'I couldn't do that, my good fellow!'

'I reckon you MUST then,' said the Captain.

'Must is not a pleasant word, Captain,' urged Martin.

'Well! I didn't fix the mother language, and I can't unfix it,' said
the Captain coolly; 'else I'd make it pleasant. You must re-ceive.
That's all.'

'But why should I receive people who care as much for me as I care
for them?' asked Martin.

'Well! because I have had a muniment put up in the bar,' returned
the Captain.

'A what?' cried Martin.


'A muniment,' rejoined the Captain.

Martin looked despairingly at Mark, who informed him that the
Captain meant a written notice that Mr Chuzzlewit would receive the
Watertoasters that day, at and after two o'clock which was in effect
then hanging in the bar, as Mark, from ocular inspection of the
same, could testify.

'You wouldn't be unpop'lar, I know,' said the Captain, paring his
nails. 'Our citizens an't long of riling up, I tell you; and our
Gazette could flay you like a wild cat.'

Martin was going to be very wroth, but he thought better of it, and
said:

'In Heaven's name let them come, then.'

'Oh, THEY'll come,' returned the Captain. 'I have seen the big room
fixed a'purpose, with my eyes.'

'But will you,' said Martin, seeing that the Captain was about to
go; 'will you at least tell me this? What do they want to see me
for? what have I done? and how do they happen to have such a sudden
interest in me?'

Captain Kedgick put a thumb and three fingers to each side of the
brim of his hat; lifted it a little way off his head; put it on
again carefully; passed one hand all down his face, beginning at the
forehead and ending at the chin; looked at Martin; then at Mark;
then at Martin again; winked, and walked out.

'Upon my life, now!' said Martin, bringing his hand heavily upon the
table; 'such a perfectly unaccountable fellow as that, I never saw.
Mark, what do you say to this?'

'Why, sir,' returned his partner, 'my opinion is that we must have
got to the MOST remarkable man in the country at last. So I hope
there's an end to the breed, sir.'

Although this made Martin laugh, it couldn't keep off two o'clock.
Punctually, as the hour struck, Captain Kedgick returned to hand him
to the room of state; and he had no sooner got him safe there, than
he bawled down the staircase to his fellow-citizens below, that Mr
Chuzzlewit was 'receiving.'

Up they came with a rush. Up they came until the room was full,
and, through the open door, a dismal perspective of more to come,
was shown upon the stairs. One after another, one after another,
dozen after dozen, score after score, more, more, more, up they
came; all shaking hands with Martin. Such varieties of hands, the
thick, the thin, the short, the long, the fat, the lean, the coarse,
the fine; such differences of temperature, the hot, the cold, the
dry, the moist, the flabby; such diversities of grasp, the tight,
the loose, the short-lived, and the lingering! Still up, up, up,
more, more, more; and ever and anon the Captain's voice was heard
above the crowd--'There's more below! there's more below. Now,
gentlemen you that have been introduced to Mr Chuzzlewit, will you
clear gentlemen? Will you clear? Will you be so good as clear,
gentlemen, and make a little room for more?'

Regardless of the Captain's cries, they didn't clear at all, but
stood there, bolt upright and staring. Two gentlemen connected with
the Watertoast Gazette had come express to get the matter for an
article on Martin. They had agreed to divide the labour. One of


them took him below the waistcoat. One above. Each stood directly
in front of his subject with his head a little on one side, intent
on his department. If Martin put one boot before the other, the
lower gentleman was down upon him; he rubbed a pimple on his nose,
and the upper gentleman booked it. He opened his mouth to speak,
and the same gentleman was on one knee before him, looking in at his
teeth, with the nice scrutiny of a dentist. Amateurs in the
physiognomical and phrenological sciences roved about him with
watchful eyes and itching fingers, and sometimes one, more daring
than the rest, made a mad grasp at the back of his head, and
vanished in the crowd. They had him in all points of view: in
front, in profile, three-quarter face, and behind. Those who were
not professional or scientific, audibly exchanged opinions on his
looks. New lights shone in upon him, in respect of his nose.
Contradictory rumours were abroad on the subject of his hair. And
still the Captain's voice was heard--so stifled by the concourse,
that he seemed to speak from underneath a feather-bed--exclaiming-'
Gentlemen, you that have been introduced to Mr Chuzzlewit, WILL you
clear?'

Even when they began to clear it was no better; for then a stream of
gentlemen, every one with a lady on each arm (exactly like the
chorus to the National Anthem when Royalty goes in state to the
play), came gliding in--every new group fresher than the last, and
bent on staying to the latest moment. If they spoke to him, which
was not often, they invariably asked the same questions, in the same
tone; with no more remorse, or delicacy, or consideration, than if
he had been a figure of stone, purchased, and paid for, and set up
there for their delight. Even when, in the slow course of time,
these died off, it was as bad as ever, if not worse; for then the
boys grew bold, and came in as a class of themselves, and did
everything that the grown-up people had done. Uncouth stragglers,
too, appeared; men of a ghostly kind, who being in, didn't know how
to get out again; insomuch that one silent gentleman with glazed and
fishy eyes and only one button on his waistcoat (which was a very
large metal one, and shone prodigiously), got behind the door, and
stood there, like a clock, long after everybody else was gone.

Martin felt, from pure fatigue, and heat, and worry, as if he could
have fallen on the ground and willingly remained there, if they
would but have had the mercy to leave him alone. But as letters and
messages, threatening his public denouncement if he didn't see the
senders, poured in like hail; and as more visitors came while he
took his coffee by himself; and as Mark, with all his vigilance, was
unable to keep them from the door; he resolved to go to bed--not
that he felt at all sure of bed being any protection, but that he
might not leave a forlorn hope untried.

He had communicated this design to Mark, and was on the eve of
escaping, when the door was thrown open in a great hurry, and an
elderly gentleman entered; bringing with him a lady who certainly
could not be considered young--that was matter of fact; and probably
could not be considered handsome--but that was matter of opinion.
She was very straight, very tall, and not at all flexible in face or
figure. On her head she wore a great straw bonnet, with trimmings
of the same, in which she looked as if she had been thatched by an
unskillful labourer; and in her hand she held a most enormous fan.

'Mr Chuzzlewit, I believe?' said the gentleman.

'That is my name.'

'Sir,' said the gentleman, 'I am pressed for time.'


'Thank God!' thought Martin.

'I go back Toe my home, sir,' pursued the gentleman, 'by the return
train, which starts immediate. Start is not a word you use in your
country, sir.'

'Oh yes, it is,' said Martin.

'You air mistaken, sir,' returned the gentleman, with great
decision: 'but we will not pursue the subject, lest it should awake
your preju--dice. Sir, Mrs Hominy.'

Martin bowed.

'Mrs Hominy, sir, is the lady of Major Hominy, one of our chicest
spirits; and belongs Toe one of our most aristocratic families. You
air, p'raps, acquainted, sir, with Mrs Hominy's writings.'

Martin couldn't say he was.

'You have much Toe learn, and Toe enjoy, sir,' said the gentleman.
'Mrs Hominy is going Toe stay until the end of the Fall, sir, with
her married daughter at the settlement of New Thermopylae, three
days this side of Eden. Any attention, sir, that you can show Toe
Mrs Hominy upon the journey, will be very grateful Toe the Major and
our fellow-citizens. Mrs Hominy, I wish you good night, ma'am, and
a pleasant pro-gress on your route!'

Martin could scarcely believe it; but he had gone, and Mrs Hominy
was drinking the milk.

'A'most used-up I am, I do declare!' she observed. 'The jolting in
the cars is pretty nigh as bad as if the rail was full of snags and
sawyers.'

'Snags and sawyers, ma'am?' said Martin.

'Well, then, I do suppose you'll hardly realise my meaning, sir,'
said Mrs Hominy. 'My! Only think! DO tell!'

It did not appear that these expressions, although they seemed to
conclude with an urgent entreaty, stood in need of any answer; for
Mrs Hominy, untying her bonnet-strings, observed that she would
withdraw to lay that article of dress aside, and would return
immediately.

'Mark!' said Martin. 'Touch me, will you. Am I awake?'

'Hominy is, sir,' returned his partner--'Broad awake! Just the sort
of woman, sir, as would be discovered with her eyes wide open, and
her mind a-working for her country's good, at any hour of the day or
night.'

They had no opportunity of saying more, for Mrs Hominy stalked in
again--very erect, in proof of her aristocratic blood; and holding
in her clasped hands a red cotton pocket-handkerchief, perhaps a
parting gift from that choice spirit, the Major. She had laid aside
her bonnet, and now appeared in a highly aristocratic and classical
cap, meeting beneath her chin: a style of headdress so admirably
adapted to her countenance, that if the late Mr Grimaldi had
appeared in the lappets of Mrs Siddons, a more complete effect could
not have been produced.

Martin handed her to a chair. Her first words arrested him before


he could get back to his own seat.

'Pray, sir!' said Mrs Hominy, 'where do you hail from?'

'I am afraid I am dull of comprehension,' answered Martin, 'being
extremely tired; but upon my word I don't understand you.'

Mrs Hominy shook her head with a melancholy smile that said, not
inexpressively, 'They corrupt even the language in that old
country!' and added then, as coming down a step or two to meet his
low capacity, 'Where was you rose?'

'Oh!' said Martin 'I was born in Kent.'

'And how do you like our country, sir?' asked Mrs Hominy.

'Very much indeed,' said Martin, half asleep. 'At least--that is-pretty
well, ma'am.'

'Most strangers--and partick'larly Britishers--are much surprised by
what they see in the U-nited States,' remarked Mrs Hominy.

'They have excellent reason to be so, ma'am,' said Martin. 'I never
was so much surprised in all my life.'

'Our institutions make our people smart much, sir,' Mrs Hominy
remarked.

'The most short-sighted man could see that at a glance, with his
naked eye,' said Martin.

Mrs Hominy was a philosopher and an authoress, and consequently had
a pretty strong digestion; but this coarse, this indecorous phrase,
was almost too much for her. For a gentleman sitting alone with a
lady--although the door WAS open--to talk about a naked eye!

A long interval elapsed before even she--woman of masculine and
towering intellect though she was--could call up fortitude enough to
resume the conversation. But Mrs Hominy was a traveller. Mrs
Hominy was a writer of reviews and analytical disquisitions. Mrs
Hominy had had her letters from abroad, beginning 'My ever dearest
blank,' and signed 'The Mother of the Modern Gracchi' (meaning the
married Miss Hominy), regularly printed in a public journal, with
all the indignation in capitals, and all the sarcasm in italics.
Mrs Hominy had looked on foreign countries with the eye of a perfect
republican hot from the model oven; and Mrs Hominy could talk (or
write) about them by the hour together. So Mrs Hominy at last came
down on Martin heavily, and as he was fast asleep, she had it all
her own way, and bruised him to her heart's content.

It is no great matter what Mrs Hominy said, save that she had learnt
it from the cant of a class, and a large class, of her fellow
countrymen, who in their every word, avow themselves to be as
senseless to the high principles on which America sprang, a nation,
into life, as any Orson in her legislative halls. Who are no more
capable of feeling, or of caring if they did feel, that by reducing
their own country to the ebb of honest men's contempt, they put in
hazard the rights of nations yet unborn, and very progress of the
human race, than are the swine who wallow in their streets. Who
think that crying out to other nations, old in their iniquity, 'We
are no worse than you!' (No worse!) is high defence and 'vantageground
enough for that Republic, but yesterday let loose upon her
noble course, and but to-day so maimed and lame, so full of sores
and ulcers, foul to the eye and almost hopeless to the sense, that


her best friends turn from the loathsome creature with disgust.
Who, having by their ancestors declared and won their Independence,
because they would not bend the knee to certain Public vices and
corruptions, and would not abrogate the truth, run riot in the Bad,
and turn their backs upon the Good; and lying down contented with
the wretched boast that other Temples also are of glass, and stones
which batter theirs may be flung back; show themselves, in that
alone, as immeasurably behind the import of the trust they hold, and
as unworthy to possess it as if the sordid hucksterings of all their
little governments--each one a kingdom in its small depravity--were
brought into a heap for evidence against them.

Martin by degrees became so far awake, that he had a sense of a
terrible oppression on his mind; an imperfect dream that he had
murdered a particular friend, and couldn't get rid of the body.
When his eyes opened it was staring him full in the face. There was
the horrible Hominy talking deep truths in a melodious snuffle, and
pouring forth her mental endowments to such an extent that the
Major's bitterest enemy, hearing her, would have forgiven him from
the bottom of his heart. Martin might have done something desperate
if the gong had not sounded for supper; but sound it did most
opportunely; and having stationed Mrs Hominy at the upper end of the
table he took refuge at the lower end himself; whence, after a hasty
meal he stole away, while the lady was yet busied with dried beef
and a saucer-full of pickled fixings.

It would be difficult to give an adequate idea of Mrs Hominy's
freshness next day, or of the avidity with which she went headlong
into moral philosophy at breakfast. Some little additional degree
of asperity, perhaps, was visible in her features, but not more than
the pickles would have naturally produced. All that day she clung
to Martin. She sat beside him while he received his friends (for
there was another Reception, yet more numerous than the former),
propounded theories, and answered imaginary objections, so that
Martin really began to think he must be dreaming, and speaking for
two; she quoted interminable passages from certain essays on
government, written by herself; used the Major's pocket-handkerchief
as if the snuffle were a temporary malady, of which she was
determined to rid herself by some means or other; and, in short, was
such a remarkable companion, that Martin quite settled it between
himself and his conscience, that in any new settlement it would be
absolutely necessary to have such a person knocked on the head for
the general peace of society.

In the meantime Mark was busy, from early in the morning until late
at night, in getting on board the steamboat such provisions, tools
and other necessaries, as they had been forewarned it would be wise
to take. The purchase of these things, and the settlement of their
bill at the National, reduced their finances to so low an ebb, that
if the captain had delayed his departure any longer, they would have
been in almost as bad a plight as the unfortunate poorer emigrants,
who (seduced on board by solemn advertisement) had been living on
the lower deck a whole week, and exhausting their miserable stock of
provisions before the voyage commenced. There they were, all
huddled together with the engine and the fires. Farmers who had
never seen a plough; woodmen who had never used an axe; builders who
couldn't make a box; cast out of their own land, with not a hand to
aid them: newly come into an unknown world, children in
helplessness, but men in wants--with younger children at their
backs, to live or die as it might happen!

The morning came, and they would start at noon. Noon came, and they
would start at night. But nothing is eternal in this world; not
even the procrastination of an American skipper; and at night all


was ready.

Dispirited and weary to the last degree, but a greater lion than
ever (he had done nothing all the afternoon but answer letters from
strangers; half of them about nothing; half about borrowing money,
and all requiring an instantaneous reply), Martin walked down to the
wharf, through a concourse of people, with Mrs Hominy upon his arm;
and went on board. But Mark was bent on solving the riddle of this
lionship, if he could; and so, not without the risk of being left
behind, ran back to the hotel.

Captain Kedgick was sitting in the colonnade, with a julep on his
knee, and a cigar in his mouth. He caught Mark's eye, and said:

'Why, what the 'Tarnal brings you here?'

'I'll tell you plainly what it is, Captain,' said Mark. 'I want to
ask you a question.'

'A man may ASK a question, so he may,' returned Kedgick; strongly
implying that another man might not answer a question, so he
mightn't.

'What have they been making so much of him for, now?' said Mark,
slyly. 'Come!'

'Our people like ex-citement,' answered Kedgick, sucking his cigar.

'But how has he excited 'em?' asked Mark.

The Captain looked at him as if he were half inclined to unburden
his mind of a capital joke.

'You air a-going?' he said.

'Going!' cried Mark. 'Ain't every moment precious?'

'Our people like ex-citement,' said the Captain, whispering. 'He
ain't like emigrants in gin'ral; and he excited 'em along of this;'
he winked and burst into a smothered laugh; 'along of this. Scadder
is a smart man, and--and--nobody as goes to Eden ever comes back
alive!'

The wharf was close at hand, and at that instant Mark could hear
them shouting out his name; could even hear Martin calling to him to
make haste, or they would be separated. It was too late to mend the
matter, or put any face upon it but the best. He gave the Captain a
parting benediction, and ran off like a race-horse.

'Mark! Mark!' cried Martin.

'Here am I, sir!' shouted Mark, suddenly replying from the edge of
the quay, and leaping at a bound on board. 'Never was half so
jolly, sir. All right. Haul in! Go ahead!'

The sparks from the wood fire streamed upward from the two chimneys,
as if the vessel were a great firework just lighted; and they roared
away upon the dark water.

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

MARTIN AND HIS PARTNER TAKE POSSESSION OF THEIR ESTATE. THE JOYFUL


OCCASION INVOLVES SOME FURTHER ACCOUNT OF EDEN

There happened to be on board the steamboat several gentlemen
passengers, of the same stamp as Martin's New York friend Mr Bevan;
and in their society he was cheerful and happy. They released him
as well as they could from the intellectual entanglements of Mrs
Hominy; and exhibited, in all they said and did, so much good sense
and high feeling, that he could not like them too well. 'If this
were a republic of Intellect and Worth,' he said, 'instead of
vapouring and jobbing, they would not want the levers to keep it in
motion.'

'Having good tools, and using bad ones,' returned Mr Tapley, 'would
look as if they was rather a poor sort of carpenters, sir, wouldn't
it?'

Martin nodded. 'As if their work were infinitely above their powers
and purpose, Mark; and they botched it in consequence.'

'The best on it is,' said Mark, 'that when they do happen to make a
decent stroke; such as better workmen, with no such opportunities,
make every day of their lives and think nothing of--they begin to
sing out so surprising loud. Take notice of my words, sir. If ever
the defaulting part of this here country pays its debts--along of
finding that not paying 'em won't do in a commercial point of view,
you see, and is inconvenient in its consequences--they'll take such a
shine out of it, and make such bragging speeches, that a man might
suppose no borrowed money had ever been paid afore, since the world
was first begun. That's the way they gammon each other, sir. Bless
you, I know 'em. Take notice of my words, now!'

'You seem to be growing profoundly sagacious!' cried Martin,
laughing.

'Whether that is,' thought Mark, 'because I'm a day's journey nearer
Eden, and am brightening up afore I die, I can't say. P'rhaps by
the time I get there I shall have growed into a prophet.'

He gave no utterance to these sentiments; but the excessive
joviality they inspired within him, and the merriment they brought
upon his shining face, were quite enough for Martin. Although he
might sometimes profess to make light of his partner's inexhaustible
cheerfulness, and might sometimes, as in the case of Zephaniah
Scadder, find him too jocose a commentator, he was always sensible
of the effect of his example in rousing him to hopefulness and
courage. Whether he were in the humour to profit by it, mattered
not a jot. It was contagious, and he could not choose but be
affected.

At first they parted with some of their passengers once or twice a
day, and took in others to replace them. But by degrees, the towns
upon their route became more thinly scattered; and for many hours
together they would see no other habitations than the huts of the
wood-cutters, where the vessel stopped for fuel. Sky, wood, and
water all the livelong day; and heat that blistered everything it
touched.

On they toiled through great solitudes, where the trees upon the
banks grew thick and close; and floatad in the stream; and held up
shrivelled arms from out the river's depths; and slid down from the
margin of the land, half growing, half decaying, in the miry water.
On through the weary day and melancholy night; beneath the burning
sun, and in the mist and vapour of the evening; on, until return


appeared impossible, and restoration to their home a miserable
dream.

They had now but few people on board, and these few were as flat, as
dull, and stagnant, as the vegetation that oppressed their eyes. No
sound of cheerfulness or hope was heard; no pleasant talk beguiled
the tardy time; no little group made common cause against the full
depression of the scene. But that, at certain periods, they
swallowed food together from a common trough, it might have been old
Charon's boat, conveying melancholy shades to judgment.

At length they drew near New Thermopylae; where, that same evening,
Mrs Hominy would disembark. A gleam of comfort sunk into Martin's
bosom when she told him this. Mark needed none; but he was not
displeased.

It was almost night when they came alongside the landing-place. A
steep bank with an hotel like a barn on the top of it; a wooden
store or two; and a few scattered sheds.

'You sleep here to-night, and go on in the morning, I suppose,
ma'am?' said Martin.

'Where should I go on to?' cried the mother of the modern Gracchi.

'To New Thermopylae.'

'My! ain't I there?' said Mrs Hominy.

Martin looked for it all round the darkening panorama; but he
couldn't see it, and was obliged to say so.

'Why that's it!' cried Mrs Hominy, pointing to the sheds just
mentioned.

'THAT!' exclaimed Martin.

'Ah! that; and work it which way you will, it whips Eden,' said Mrs
Hominy, nodding her head with great expression.

The married Miss Hominy, who had come on board with her husband,
gave to this statement her most unqualified support, as did that
gentleman also. Martin gratefully declined their invitation to
regale himself at their house during the half hour of the vessel's
stay; and having escorted Mrs Hominy and the red pocket-handkerchief
(which was still on active service) safely across the gangway,
returned in a thoughtful mood to watch the emigrants as they removed
their goods ashore.

Mark, as he stood beside him, glanced in his face from time to time;
anxious to discover what effect this dialogue had had upon him, and
not unwilling that his hopes should be dashed before they reached
their destination, so that the blow he feared might be broken in its
fall. But saving that he sometimes looked up quickly at the poor
erections on the hill, he gave him no clue to what was passing in
his mind, until they were again upon their way.

'Mark,' he said then, 'are there really none but ourselves on board
this boat who are bound for Eden?'

'None at all, sir. Most of 'em, as you know, have stopped short;
and the few that are left are going further on. What matters that!
More room there for us, sir.'


'Oh, to be sure!' said Martin. 'But I was thinking--' and there he
paused.

'Yes, sir?' observed Mark.

'How odd it was that the people should have arranged to try their
fortune at a wretched hole like that, for instance, when there is
such a much better, and such a very different kind of place, near at
hand, as one may say.'

He spoke in a tone so very different from his usual confidence, and
with such an obvious dread of Mark's reply, that the good-natured
fellow was full of pity.

'Why, you know, sir,' said Mark, as gently as he could by any means
insinuate the observation, 'we must guard against being too
sanguine. There's no occasion for it, either, because we're
determined to make the best of everything, after we know the worst
of it. Ain't we, sir?'

Martin looked at him, but answered not a word.

'Even Eden, you know, ain't all built,' said Mark.

'In the name of Heaven, man,' cried Martin angrily, 'don't talk of
Eden in the same breath with that place. Are you mad? There--God
forgive me!--don't think harshly of me for my temper!'

After that, he turned away, and walked to and fro upon the deck full
two hours. Nor did he speak again, except to say 'Good night,'
until next day; nor even then upon this subject, but on other topics
quite foreign to the purpose.

As they proceeded further on their track, and came more and more
towards their journey's end, the monotonous desolation of the scene
increased to that degree, that for any redeeming feature it
presented to their eyes, they might have entered, in the body, on
the grim domains of Giant Despair. A flat morass, bestrewn with
fallen timber; a marsh on which the good growth of the earth seemed
to have been wrecked and cast away, that from its decomposing ashes
vile and ugly things might rise; where the very trees took the
aspect of huge weeds, begotten of the slime from which they sprung,
by the hot sun that burnt them up; where fatal maladies, seeking
whom they might infect, came forth at night in misty shapes, and
creeping out upon the water, hunted them like spectres until day;
where even the blessed sun, shining down on festering elements of
corruption and disease, became a horror; this was the realm of Hope
through which they moved.

At last they stopped. At Eden too. The waters of the Deluge might
have left it but a week before; so choked with slime and matted
growth was the hideous swamp which bore that name.

There being no depth of water close in shore, they landed from the
vessel's boat, with all their goods beside them. There were a few
log-houses visible among the dark trees; the best, a cow-shed or a
rude stable; but for the wharves, the market-place, the public
buildings-


'Here comes an Edener,' said Mark. 'He'll get us help to carry
these things up. Keep a good heart, sir. Hallo there!'

The man advanced toward them through the thickening gloom, very
slowly; leaning on a stick. As he drew nearer, they observed that


he was pale and worn, and that his anxious eyes were deeply sunken
in his head. His dress of homespun blue hung about him in rags; his
feet and head were bare. He sat down on a stump half-way, and
beckoned them to come to him. When they complied, he put his hand
upon his side as if in pain, and while he fetched his breath stared
at them, wondering.

'Strangers!' he exclaimed, as soon as he could speak.

'The very same,' said Mark. 'How are you, sir?'

'I've had the fever very bad,' he answered faintly. 'I haven't
stood upright these many weeks. Those are your notions I see,'
pointing to their property.

'Yes, sir,' said Mark, 'they are. You couldn't recommend us some
one as would lend a hand to help carry 'em up to the--to the town,
could you, sir?'

'My eldest son would do it if he could,' replied the man; 'but today
he has his chill upon him, and is lying wrapped up in the blankets.
My youngest died last week.'

'I'm sorry for it, governor, with all my heart,' said Mark, shaking
him by the hand. 'Don't mind us. Come along with me, and I'll give
you an arm back. The goods is safe enough, sir'--to Martin--'there
ain't many people about, to make away with 'em. What a comfort that
is!'

'No,' cried the man. 'You must look for such folk here,' knocking
his stick upon the ground, 'or yonder in the bush, towards the
north. We've buried most of 'em. The rest have gone away. Them
that we have here, don't come out at night.'

'The night air ain't quite wholesome, I suppose?' said Mark.

'It's deadly poison,' was the settler's answer.

Mark showed no more uneasiness than if it had been commended to him
as ambrosia; but he gave the man his arm, and as they went along
explained to him the nature of their purchase, and inquired where it
lay. Close to his own log-house, he said; so close that he had used
their dwelling as a store-house for some corn; they must excuse it
that night, but he would endeavour to get it taken out upon the
morrow. He then gave them to understand, as an additional scrap of
local chit-chat, that he had buried the last proprietor with his own
hands; a piece of information which Mark also received without the
least abatement of his equanimity.

In a word, he conducted them to a miserable cabin, rudely
constructed of the trunks of trees; the door of which had either
fallen down or been carried away long ago; and which was
consequently open to the wild landscape and the dark night. Saving
for the little store he had mentioned, it was perfectly bare of all
furniture; but they had left a chest upon the landing-place, and he
gave them a rude torch in lieu of candle. This latter acquisition
Mark planted in the earth, and then declaring that the mansion
'looked quite comfortable,' hurried Martin off again to help bring
up the chest. And all the way to the landing-place and back, Mark
talked incessantly; as if he would infuse into his partner's breast
some faint belief that they had arrived under the most auspicious
and cheerful of all imaginable circumstances.

But many a man who would have stood within a home dismantled, strong


in his passion and design of vengeance, has had the firmness of his
nature conquered by the razing of an air-built castle. When the
log-hut received them for the second time, Martin laid down upon the
ground, and wept aloud.

'Lord love you, sir!' cried Mr Tapley, in great terror; 'Don't do
that! Don't do that, sir! Anything but that! It never helped man,
woman, or child, over the lowest fence yet, sir, and it never will.
Besides its being of no use to you, it's worse than of no use to me,
for the least sound of it will knock me flat down. I can't stand up
agin it, sir. Anything but that!'

There is no doubt he spoke the truth, for the extraordinary alarm
with which he looked at Martin as he paused upon his knees before
the chest, in the act of unlocking it, to say these words,
sufficiently confirmed him.

'I ask your forgiveness a thousand times, my dear fellow,' said
Martin. 'I couldn't have helped it, if death had been the penalty.'

'Ask my forgiveness!' said Mark, with his accustomed cheerfulness,
as he proceeded to unpack the chest. 'The head partner a-asking
forgiveness of Co., eh? There must be something wrong in the firm
when that happens. I must have the books inspected and the accounts
gone over immediate. Here we are. Everything in its proper place.
Here's the salt pork. Here's the biscuit. Here's the whiskey.
Uncommon good it smells too. Here's the tin pot. This tin pot's a
small fortun' in itself! Here's the blankets. Here's the axe. Who
says we ain't got a first-rate fit out? I feel as if I was a cadet
gone out to Indy, and my noble father was chairman of the Board of
Directors. Now, when I've got some water from the stream afore the
door and mixed the grog,' cried Mark, running out to suit the action
to the word, 'there's a supper ready, comprising every delicacy of
the season. Here we are, sir, all complete. For what we are going
to receive, et cetrer. Lord bless you, sir, it's very like a gipsy
party!'

It was impossible not to take heart, in the company of such a man as
this. Martin sat upon the ground beside the box; took out his
knife; and ate and drank sturdily.

'Now you see,' said Mark, when they had made a hearty meal; 'with
your knife and mine, I sticks this blanket right afore the door. Or
where, in a state of high civilization, the door would be. And very
neat it looks. Then I stops the aperture below, by putting the
chest agin it. And very neat THAT looks. Then there's your
blanket, sir. Then here's mine. And what's to hinder our passing a
good night?'

For all his light-hearted speaking, it was long before he slept
himself. He wrapped his blanket round him, put the axe ready to his
hand, and lay across the threshold of the door; too anxious and too
watchful to close his eyes. The novelty of their dreary situation,
the dread of some rapacious animal or human enemy, the terrible
uncertainty of their means of subsistence, the apprehension of
death, the immense distance and the hosts of obstacles between
themselves and England, were fruitful sources of disquiet in the
deep silence of the night. Though Martin would have had him think
otherwise, Mark felt that he was waking also, and a prey to the same
reflections. This was almost worse than all, for if he began to
brood over their miseries instead of trying to make head against
them there could be little doubt that such a state of mind would
powerfully assist the influence of the pestilent climate. Never had
the light of day been half so welcome to his eyes, as when awaking


from a fitful doze, Mark saw it shining through the blanket in the
doorway.

He stole out gently, for his companion was sleeping now; and having
refreshed himself by washing in the river, where it snowed before
the door, took a rough survey of the settlement. There were not
above a score of cabins in the whole; half of these appeared
untenanted; all were rotten and decayed. The most tottering,
abject, and forlorn among them was called, with great propriety, the
Bank, and National Credit Office. It had some feeble props about
it, but was settling deep down in the mud, past all recovery.

Here and there an effort had been made to clear the land, and
something like a field had been marked out, where, among the stumps
and ashes of burnt trees, a scanty crop of Indian corn was growing.
In some quarters, a snake or zigzag fence had been begun, but in no
instance had it been completed; and the felled logs, half hidden in
the soil, lay mouldering away. Three or four meagre dogs, wasted
and vexed with hunger; some long-legged pigs, wandering away into
the woods in search of food; some children, nearly naked, gazing at
him from the huts; were all the living things he saw. A fetid
vapour, hot and sickening as the breath of an oven, rose up from the
earth, and hung on everything around; and as his foot-prints sunk
into the marshy ground, a black ooze started forth to blot them out.

Their own land was mere forest. The trees had grown so think and
close that they shouldered one another out of their places, and the
weakest, forced into shapes of strange distortion, languished like
cripples. The best were stunted, from the pressure and the want of
room; and high about the stems of all grew long rank grass, dank
weeds, and frowsy underwood; not divisible into their separate
kinds, but tangled all together in a heap; a jungle deep and dark,
with neither earth nor water at its roots, but putrid matter, formed
of the pulpy offal of the two, and of their own corruption.

He went down to the landing-place where they had left their goods
last night; and there he found some half-dozen men--wan and forlorn
to look at, but ready enough to assist--who helped him to carry them
to the log-house. They shook their heads in speaking of the
settlement, and had no comfort to give him. Those who had the means
of going away had all deserted it. They who were left had lost
their wives, their children, friends, or brothers there, and
suffered much themselves. Most of them were ill then; none were the
men they had been once. They frankly offered their assistance and
advice, and, leaving him for that time, went sadly off upon their
several tasks.

Martin was by this time stirring; but he had greatly changed, even
in one night. He was very pale and languid; he spoke of pains and
weakness in his limbs, and complained that his sight was dim, and
his voice feeble. Increasing in his own briskness as the prospect
grew more and more dismal, Mark brought away a door from one of the
deserted houses, and fitted it to their own habitation; then went
back again for a rude bench he had observed, with which he presently
returned in triumph; and having put this piece of furniture outside
the house, arranged the notable tin pot and other such movables upon
it, that it might represent a dresser or a sideboard. Greatly
satisfied with this arrangement, he next rolled their cask of flour
into the house and set it up on end in one corner, where it served
for a side-table. No better dining-table could be required than the
chest, which he solemnly devoted to that useful service thenceforth.
Their blankets, clothes, and the like, he hung on pegs and nails.
And lastly, he brought forth a great placard (which Martin in the
exultation of his heart had prepared with his own hands at the


National Hotel) bearing the inscription, CHUZZLEWIT & CO.,
ARCHITECTS AND SURVEYORS, which he displayed upon the most
conspicuous part of the premises, with as much gravity as if the
thriving city of Eden had a real existence, and they expected to be
overwhelmed with business.

'These here tools,' said Mark, bringing forward Martin's case of
instruments and sticking the compasses upright in a stump before the
door, 'shall be set out in the open air to show that we come
provided. And now, if any gentleman wants a house built, he'd
better give his orders, afore we're other ways bespoke.'

Considering the intense heat of the weather, this was not a bad
morning's work; but without pausing for a moment, though he was
streaming at every pore, Mark vanished into the house again, and
presently reappeared with a hatchet; intent on performing some
impossibilities with that implement.

'Here's ugly old tree in the way, sir,' he observed, 'which'll be
all the better down. We can build the oven in the afternoon. There
never was such a handy spot for clay as Eden is. That's convenient,
anyhow.'

But Martin gave him no answer. He had sat the whole time with his
head upon his hands, gazing at the current as it rolled swiftly by;
thinking, perhaps, how fast it moved towards the open sea, the high
road to the home he never would behold again.

Not even the vigorous strokes which Mark dealt at the tree awoke him
from his mournful meditation. Finding all his endeavours to rouse
him of no use, Mark stopped in his work and came towards him.

'Don't give in, sir,' said Mr Tapley.

'Oh, Mark,' returned his friend, 'what have I done in all my life
that has deserved this heavy fate?'

'Why, sir,' returned Mark, 'for the matter of that, everybody as is
here might say the same thing; many of 'em with better reason p'raps
than you or me. Hold up, sir. Do something. Couldn't you ease
your mind, now, don't you think, by making some personal
obserwations in a letter to Scadder?'

'No,' said Martin, shaking his head sorrowfully: 'I am past that.'

'But if you're past that already,' returned Mark, 'you must be ill,
and ought to be attended to.'

'Don't mind me,' said Martin. 'Do the best you can for yourself.
You'll soon have only yourself to consider. And then God speed you
home, and forgive me for bringing you here! I am destined to die in
this place. I felt it the instant I set foot upon the shore.
Sleeping or waking, Mark, I dreamed it all last night.'

'I said you must be ill,' returned Mark, tenderly, 'and now I'm sure
of it. A touch of fever and ague caught on these rivers, I dare
say; but bless you, THAT'S nothing. It's only a seasoning, and we
must all be seasoned, one way or another. That's religion that is,
you know,' said Mark.

He only sighed and shook his head.

'Wait half a minute,' said Mark cheerily, 'till I run up to one of
our neighbours and ask what's best to be took, and borrow a little


of it to give you; and to-morrow you'll find yourself as strong as
ever again. I won't be gone a minute. Don't give in while I'm
away, whatever you do!'

Throwing down his hatchet, he sped away immediately, but stopped
when he had got a little distance, and looked back; then hurried on
again.

'Now, Mr Tapley,' said Mark, giving himself a tremendous blow in the
chest by way of reviver, 'just you attend to what I've got to say.
Things is looking about as bad as they CAN look, young man. You'll
not have such another opportunity for showing your jolly
disposition, my fine fellow, as long as you live. And therefore,
Tapley, Now's your time to come out strong; or Never!'

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

REPORTS PROGRESS IN CERTAIN HOMELY MATTERS OF LOVE, HATRED,
JEALOUSY, AND REVENGE

'Hallo, Pecksniff!' cried Mr Jonas from the parlour. 'Isn't
somebody a-going to open that precious old door of yours?'

'Immediately, Mr Jonas. Immediately.'

'Ecod,' muttered the orphan, 'not before it's time neither. Whoever
it is, has knocked three times, and each one loud enough to wake
the--' he had such a repugnance to the idea of waking the Dead, that
he stopped even then with the words upon his tongue, and said,
instead, 'the Seven Sleepers.'

'Immediately, Mr Jonas; immediately,' repeated Pecksniff. 'Thomas
Pinch'--he couldn't make up his mind, in his great agitation,
whether to call Tom his dear friend or a villain, so he shook his
fist at him PRO TEM--'go up to my daughters' room, and tell them
who is here. Say, Silence. Silence! Do you hear me, sir?

'Directly, sir!cried Tomdepartingin a state of much amazement
on his errand.

'You'll--hahaha!--you'll excuse meMr Jonasif I close this
door a momentwill you?' said Pecksniff. 'This may be a
professional call. Indeed I am pretty sure it is. Thank you.' Then
Mr Pecksniffgently warbling a rustic staveput on his garden hat
seized a spadeand opened the street door; calmly appearing on the
thresholdas if he thought he hadfrom his vineyardheard a
modest rapbut was not quite certain.

Seeing a gentleman and lady before himhe started back in as much
confusion as a good man with a crystal conscience might betray in
mere surprise. Recognition came upon him the next momentand he
cried:

'Mr Chuzzlewit! Can I believe my eyes! My dear sir; my good sir! A
joyful houra happy hour indeed. Praymy dear sirwalk in. You
find me in my garden-dress. You will excuse itI know. It is an
ancient pursuitgardening. Primitivemy dear sir. Orif I am
not mistakenAdam was the first of our calling. MY EveI grieve
to say is no moresir; but'--here he pointed to his spadeand
shook his head as if he were not cheerful without an effort--'but I
do a little bit of Adam still.'


He had by this time got them into the best parlourwhere the
portrait by Spillerand the bust by Spokerwere.

'My daughters' said Mr Pecksniff'will be overjoyed. If I could
feel weary upon such a themeI should have been worn out long ago
my dear sirby their constant anticipation of this happiness and
their repeated allusions to our meeting at Mrs Todgers's. Their
fair young friendtoo' said Mr Pecksniff'whom they so desire to
know and love--indeed to know heris to love--I hope I see her
well. I hope in sayingWelcome to my humble roof!I find some
echo in her own sentiments. If features are an index to the heart
I have no fears of that. An extremely engaging expression of
countenanceMr Chuzzlewitmy dear sir--very much so!'

'Mary' said the old man'Mr Pecksniff flatters you. But flattery
from him is worth the having. He is not a dealer in itand it
comes from his heart. We thought Mr--'

'Pinch' said Mary.

'Mr Pinch would have arrived before usPecksniff.'

'He did arrive before youmy dear sir' retorted Pecksniffraising
his voice for the edification of Tom upon the stairs'and was
aboutI dare sayto tell me of your comingwhen I begged him
first to knock at my daughters' chamberand inquire after Charity
my dear childwho is not so well as I could wish. No' said Mr
Pecksniffanswering their looks'I am sorry to sayshe is not.
It is merely an hysterical affection; nothing moreI am not uneasy.
Mr Pinch! Thomas!' exclaimed Pecksniffin his kindest accents.
'Pray come in. I shall make no stranger of you. Thomas is a friend
of mineof rather long-standingMr Chuzzlewityou must know.'

'Thank yousir' said Tom. 'You introduce me very kindlyand
speak of me in terms of which I am very proud'

'Old Thomas!' cried his masterpleasantly 'God bless you!'

Tom reported that the young ladies would appear directlyand that
the best refreshments which the house afforded were even then in
preparationunder their joint superintendence. While he was
speakingthe old man looked at him intentlythough with less
harshness than was common to him; nor did the mutual embarrassment
of Tom and the young ladyto whatever cause he attributed itseem
to escape his observation.

'Pecksniff' he said after a pauserising and taking him aside
towards the window'I was much shocked on hearing of my brother's
death. We had been strangers for many years. My only comfort is
that he must have lived the happier and better man for having
associated no hopes or schemes with me. Peace to his memory! We
were play-fellows once; and it would have been better for us both if
we had died then.'

Finding him in this gentle moodMr Pecksniff began to see another
way out of his difficultiesbesides the casting overboard of Jonas.

'That any manmy dear sircould possibly be the happier for not
knowing you' he returned'you will excuse my doubting. But that
Mr Anthonyin the evening of his lifewas happier in the affection
of his excellent son--a patternmy dear sira pattern to all sons
--and in the care of a distant relation whohowever lowly in his
means of serving himhad no bounds to his inclination; I can inform


you.'

'How's this?' said the old man. 'You are not a legatee?'

'You don't' said Mr Pecksniffwith a melancholy pressure of his
hand'quite understand my nature yetI find. NosirI am not a
legatee. I am proud to say I am not a legatee. I am proud to say
that neither of my children is a legatee. And yetsirI was with
him at his own request. HE understood me somewhat bettersir. He
wrote and saidI am sick. I am sinking. Come to me!I went to
him. I sat beside his bedsirand I stood beside his grave. Yes
at the risk of offending even youI did itsir. Though the avowal
should lead to our instant separationand to the severing of those
tender ties between us which have recently been formedI make it.
But I am not a legatee' said Mr Pecksniffsmiling dispassionately;
'and I never expected to be a legatee. I knew better!'

'His son a pattern!' cried old Martin. 'How can you tell me that?
My brother had in his wealth the usual doom of wealthand root of
misery. He carried his corrupting influence with himgo where he
would; and shed it round himeven on his hearth. It made of his
own child a greedy expectantwho measured every day and hour the
lessening distance between his father and the graveand cursed his
tardy progress on that dismal road.'

'No!' cried Mr Pecksniffboldly. 'Not at allsir!'

'But I saw that shadow in his house' said Martin Chuzzlewit'the
last time we metand warned him of its presence. I know it when I
see itdo I not? Iwho have lived within it all these years!'

'I deny it' Mr Pecksniff answeredwarmly. 'I deny it altogether.
That bereaved young man is now in this housesirseeking in change
of scene the peace of mind he has lost. Shall I be backward in
doing justice to that young manwhen even undertakers and
coffin-makers have been moved by the conduct he has exhibited; when
even mutes have spoken in his praiseand the medical man hasn't
known what to do with himself in the excitement of his feelings!
There is a person of the name of Gampsir--Mrs Gamp--ask her. She
saw Mr Jonas in a trying time. Ask HERsir. She is respectable
but not sentimentaland will state the fact. A line addressed to
Mrs Gampat the BirdShopKingsgate StreetHigh HolbornLondon
will meet with every attentionI have no doubt. Let her be
examinedmy good sir. Strikebut hear! LeapMr Chuzzlewitbut
look! Forgive memy dear sir' said Mr Pecksnifftaking both his
hands'if I am warm; but I am honestand must state the truth.'

In proof of the character he gave himselfMr Pecksniff suffered
tears of honesty to ooze out of his eyes.

The old man gazed at him for a moment with a look of wonder
repeating to himself'Here now! In this house!' But he mastered
his surpriseand saidafter a pause:

'Let me see him.'

'In a friendly spiritI hope?' said Mr Pecksniff. 'Forgive mesir
but he is in the receipt of my humble hospitality.'

'I said' replied the old man'let me see him. If I were disposed
to regard him in any other than a friendly spiritI should have
said keep us apart.'

'Certainlymy dear sir. So you would. You are frankness itselfI


know. I will break this happiness to him' said Mr Pecksniffas he
left the room'if you will excuse me for a minute--gently.'

He paved the way to the disclosure so very gentlythat a quarter of
an hour elapsed before he returned with Mr Jonas. In the meantime
the young ladies had made their appearanceand the table had been
set out for the refreshment of the travellers.

Nowhowever well Mr Pecksniffin his moralityhad taught Jonas
the lesson of dutiful behaviour to his uncleand however perfectly
Jonasin the cunning of his naturehad learnt itthat young man's
bearingwhen presented to his father's brotherwas anything but
manly or engaging. Perhapsindeedso singular a mixture of
defiance and obsequiousnessof fear and hardihoodof dogged
sullenness and an attempt at enraging and propitiationnever was
expressed in any one human figure as in that of Jonaswhenhaving
raised his downcast eyes to Martin's facehe let them fall again
and uneasily closing and unclosing his hands without a moment's
intermissionstood swinging himself from side to sidewaiting to
be addressed.

'Nephew' said the old man. 'You have been a dutiful sonI hear.'

'As dutiful as sons in generalI suppose' returned Jonaslooking
up and down once more. 'I don't brag to have been any better than
other sons; but I haven't been any worseI dare say.'

'A pattern to all sonsI am told' said the old manglancing
towards Mr Pecksniff.

'Ecod!' said Jonaslooking up again for a momentand shaking his
head'I've been as good a son as ever you were a brother. It's the
pot and the kettleif you come to that.'

'You speak bitterlyin the violence of your regret' said Martin
after a pause. 'Give me your hand.'

Jonas did soand was almost at his ease. 'Pecksniff' he
whisperedas they drew their chairs about the table; 'I gave him as
good as he broughteh? He had better look at homebefore he looks
out of windowI think?'

Mr Pecksniff only answered by a nudge of the elbowwhich might
either be construed into an indignant remonstrance or a cordial
assent; but whichin any casewas an emphatic admonition to his
chosen son-in-law to be silent. He then proceeded to do the honours
of the house with his accustomed ease and amiability.

But not even Mr Pecksniff's guileless merriment could set such a
party at their easeor reconcile materials so utterly discordant
and conflicting as those with which he had to deal. The unspeakable
jealously and hatred which that night's explanation had sown in
Charity's breastwas not to be so easily kept down; and more than
once it showed itself in such intensityas seemed to render a full
disclosure of all the circumstances then and thereimpossible to be
avoided. The beauteous Merrytoowith all the glory of her
conquest fresh upon herso probed and lanced the rankling
disappointment of her sister by her capricious airs and thousand
little trials of Mr Jonas's obediencethat she almost goaded her
into a fit of madnessand obliged her to retire from table in a
burst of passionhardly less vehement than that to which she had
abandoned herself in the first tumult of her wrath. The constraint
imposed upon the family by the presence among them for the first
time of Mary Graham (for by that name old Martin Chuzzlewit had


introduced her) did not at all improve this state of things; gentle
and quiet though her manner was. Mr Pecksniff's situation was
peculiarly trying; forwhat with having constantly to keep the
peace between his daughters; to maintain a reasonable show of
affection and unity in his household; to curb the growing ease and
gaiety of Jonaswhich vented itself in sundry insolences towards Mr
Pinchand an indefinable coarseness of manner in reference to Mary
(they being the two dependants); to make no mention at all of his
having perpetually to conciliate his rich old relativeand to
smooth downor explain awaysome of the ten thousand bad
appearances and combinations of bad appearancesby which they were
surrounded on that unlucky evening--what with having to do thisand
it would be difficult to sum up how much morewithout the least
relief or assistance from anybodyit may be easily imagined that Mr
Pecksniff had in his enjoyment something more than that usual
portion of alloy which is mixed up with the best of men's delights.
Perhaps he had never in his life felt such relief as when old
Martinlooking at his watchannounced that it was time to go.

'We have rooms' he said'at the Dragonfor the present. I have a
fancy for the evening walk. The nights are dark just now; perhaps
Mr Pinch would not object to light us home?'

'My dear sir!' cried Pecksniff'I shall be delighted. Merrymy
childthe lantern.'

'The lanternif you pleasemy dear' said Martin; 'but I couldn't
think of taking your father out of doors to-night; andto be brief
I won't.'

Mr Pecksniff already had his hat in his handbut it was so
emphatically said that he paused.

'I take Mr Pinchor go alone' said Martin. 'Which shall it be?'

'It shall be Thomassir' cried Pecksniff'since you are so
resolute upon it. Thomasmy friendbe very carefulif you
please.'

Tom was in some need of this injunctionfor he felt so nervousand
trembled to such a degreethat he found it difficult to hold the
lantern. How much more difficult whenat the old man's bidding she
drew her hand through his--Tom Pinch's--arm!

'And soMr Pinch' said Martinon the way'you are very
comfortably situated here; are you?'

Tom answeredwith even more than his usual enthusiasmthat he was
under obligations to Mr Pecksniff which the devotion of a lifetime
would but imperfectly repay.

'How long have you known my nephew?' asked Martin.

'Your nephewsir?' faltered Tom.

'Mr Jonas Chuzzlewit' said Mary.

'Oh dearyes' cried Tomgreatly relievedfor his mind was
running upon Martin. 'Certainly. I never spoke to him before to-
nightsir!'

'Perhaps half a lifetime will suffice for the acknowledgment of HIS
kindness' observed the old man.


Tom felt that this was a rebuff for himand could not but
understand it as a left-handed hit at his employer. So he was
silent. Mary felt that Mr Pinch was not remarkable for presence of
mindand that he could not say too little under existing
circumstances. So SHE was silent. The old mandisgusted by what
in his suspicious nature he considered a shameless and fulsome puff
of Mr Pecksniffwhich was a part of Tom's hired service and in
which he was determined to persevereset him down at once for a
deceitfulservilemiserable fawner. So HE was silent. And though
they were all sufficiently uncomfortableit is fair to say that
Martin was perhaps the most so; for he had felt kindly towards Tom
at firstand had been interested by his seeming simplicity.

'You're like the rest' he thoughtglancing at the face of the
unconscious Tom. 'You had nearly imposed upon mebut you have lost
your labour. You are too zealous a toad-eaterand betray yourself
Mr Pinch.'

During the whole remainder of the walknot another word was spoken.
First among the meetings to which Tom had long looked forward with a
beating heartit was memorable for nothing but embarrassment and
confusion. They parted at the Dragon door; and sighing as he
extinguished the candle in the lanternTom turned back again over
the gloomy fields.

As he approached the first stilewhich was in a lonely partmade
very dark by a plantation of young firsa man slipped past him and
went on before. Coming to the stile he stoppedand took his seat
upon it. Tom was rather startledand for a moment stood stillbut
he stepped forward again immediatelyand went close up to him.

It was Jonas; swinging his legs to and frosucking the head of a
stickand looking with a sneer at Tom.

'Good gracious me!' cried Tom'who would have thought of its being
you! You followed usthen?'

'What's that to you?' said Jonas. 'Go to the devil!'

'You are not very civilI think' remarked Tom.

'Civil enough for YOU' retorted Jonas. 'Who are you?'

'One who has as good a right to common consideration as another'
said Tom mildly.

'You're a liar' said Jonas. 'You haven't a right to any
consideration. You haven't a right to anything. You're a pretty
sort of fellow to talk about your rightsupon my soul! Haha!--
Rightstoo!'

'If you proceed in this way' returned Tomreddening'you will
oblige me to talk about my wrongs. But I hope your joke is over.'

'It's the way with you curs' said Mr Jonas'that when you know a
man's in real earnestyou pretend to think he's jokingso that you
may turn it off. But that won't do with me. It's too stale. Now
just attend to me for a bitMr Pitchor Witchor Stitchor
whatever your name is.'

'My name is Pinch' observed Tom. 'Have the goodness to call me by
it.'

'What! You mustn't even be called out of your namemustn't you!'


cried Jonas. 'Pauper' prentices are looking upI think. Ecodwe
manage 'em a little better in the city!'

'Never mind what you do in the city' said Tom. 'What have you got
to say to me?'

'Just thisMister Pinch' retorted Jonasthrusting his face so
close to Tom's that Tom was obliged to retreat a step. 'I advise
you to keep your own counseland to avoid title-tattleand not to
cut in where you're not wanted. I've heard something of youmy
friendand your meek ways; and I recommend you to forget 'em till I
am married to one of Pecksniff's galsand not to curry favour among
my relationsbut to leave the course clear. You knowwhen curs
won't leave the course clearthey're whipped off; so this is kind
advice. Do you understand? Eh? Dammewho are you' cried Jonas
with increased contempt'that you should walk home with THEM
unless it was behind 'emlike any other servant out of livery?'

'Come!' cried Tom'I see that you had better get off the stileand
let me pursue my way home. Make room for meif you please.'

'Don't think it!' said Jonasspreading out his legs. 'Not till I
choose. And I don't choose now. What! You're afraid of my making
you split upon some of your babbling just noware youSneak?'

'I am not afraid of many thingsI hope' said Tom; 'and certainly
not of anything that you will do. I am not a tale-bearerand I
despise all meanness. You quite mistake me. Ah!' cried Tom
indignantly. 'Is this manly from one in your position to one in
mine? Please to make room for me to pass. The less I saythe
better.'

'The less you say!' retorted Jonasdangling his legs the moreand
taking no heed of this request. 'You say very littledon't you?
EcodI should like to know what goes on between you and a vagabond
member of my family. There's very little in that tooI dare say!'

'I know no vagabond member of your family' cried Tomstoutly

'You do!' said Jonas.

'I don't' said Tom. 'Your uncle's namesakeif you mean himis no
vagabond. Any comparison between you and him'--Tom snapped his
fingers at himfor he was rising fast in wrath--'is immeasurably to
your disadvantage.'

'Oh indeed!' sneered Jonas. 'And what do you think of his deary-his
beggarly leavingsehMister Pinch?'

'I don't mean to say another wordor stay here another instant'
replied Tom.

'As I told you beforeyou're a liar' said Jonascoolly. 'You'll
stay here till I give you leave to go. Nowkeep where you are
will you?'

He flourished his stick over Tom's head; but in a moment it was
spinning harmlessly in the airand Jonas himself lay sprawling in
the ditch. In the momentary struggle for the stickTom had brought
it into violent contact with his opponent's forehead; and the blood
welled out profusely from a deep cut on the temple. Tom was first
apprised of this by seeing that he pressed his handkerchief to the
wounded partand staggered as he rosebeing stunned.


'Are you hurt?' said Tom. 'I am very sorry. Lean on me for a
moment. You can do that without forgiving meif you still bear me
malice. But I don't know why; for I never offended you before we
met on this spot.'

He made him no answer; not appearing at first to understand himor
even to know that he was hurtthough he several times took his
handkerchief from the cut to look vacantly at the blood upon it.
After one of these examinationshe looked at Tomand then there
was an expression in his featureswhich showed that he understood
what had taken placeand would remember it.

Nothing more passed between them as they went home. Jonas kept a
little in advanceand Tom Pinch sadly followedthinking of the
grief which the knowledge of this quarrel must occasion his
excellent benefactor. When Jonas knocked at the doorTom's heart
beat high; higher when Miss Mercy answered itand seeing her
wounded lovershireked aloud; higherwhen he followed them into
the family parlour; higher than at any other timewhen Jonas spoke.

'Don't make a noise about it' he said. 'It's nothing worth
mentioning. I didn't know the road; the night's very dark; and just
as I came up with Mr Pinch'--he turned his face towards Tombut not
his eyes--'I ran against a tree. It's only skin deep.'

'Cold waterMerrymy child!' cried Mr Pecksniff. 'Brown paper!
Scissors! A piece of old linen! Charitymy dearmake a bandage.
Bless meMr Jonas!'

'Ohbother YOUR nonsense' returned the gracious son-in-law elect.
'Be of some use if you can. If you can'tget out!'

Miss Charitythough called upon to lend her aidsat upright in one
cornerwith a smile upon her faceand didn't move a finger.
Though Mercy laved the wound herself; and Mr Pecksniff held the
patient's head between his two handsas if without that assistance
it must inevitably come in half; and Tom Pinchin his guilty
agitationshook a bottle of Dutch Drops until they were nothing but
English Frothand in his other hand sustained a formidable carvingknife
really intended to reduce the swellingbut apparently
designed for the ruthless infliction of another wound as soon as
that was dressed; Charity rendered not the least assistancenor
uttered a word. But when Mr Jonas's head was bound upand he had
gone to bedand everybody else had retiredand the house was
quietMr Pinchas he sat mournfully on his bedsteadruminating
heard a gentle tap at his door; and opening itsaw herto his
great astonishmentstanding before him with her finger on her lip.

'Mr Pinch' she whispered. 'Dear Mr Pinch! Tell me the truth!
You did that? There was some quarrel between youand you struck
him? I am sure of it!'

It was the first time she had ever spoken kindly to Tomin all
the many years they had passed together. He was stupefied with
amazement.

'Was it soor not?' she eagerly demanded.

'I was very much provoked' said Tom.

'Then it was?' cried Charitywith sparkling eyes.

'Ye-yes. We had a struggle for the path' said Tom. 'But I didn't
mean to hurt him so much.'


'Not so much!' she repeatedclenching her hand and stamping her
footto Tom's great wonder. 'Don't say that. It was brave of you.
I honour you for it. If you should ever quarrel againdon't spare
him for the worldbut beat him down and set your shoe upon him.
Not a word of this to anybody. Dear Mr PinchI am your friend from
tonight. I am always your friend from this time.'

She turned her flushed face upon Tom to confirm her words by its
kindling expression; and seizing his right handpressed it to her
breastand kissed it. And there was nothing personal in this to
render it at all embarrassingfor even Tomwhose power of
observation was by no means remarkableknew from the energy with
which she did it that she would have fondled any handno matter how
bedaubed or dyedthat had broken the head of Jonas Chuzzlewit.

Tom went into his roomand went to bedfull of uncomfortable
thoughts. That there should be any such tremendous division in the
family as he knew must have taken place to convert Charity Pecksniff
into his friendfor any reasonbutabove allfor that which was
clearly the real one; that Jonaswho had assailed him with such
exceeding coarsenessshould have been sufficiently magnanimous to
keep the secret of their quarrel; and that any train of
circumstances should have led to the commission of an assault and
battery by Thomas Pinch upon any man calling himself the friend of
Seth Pecksniff; were matters of such deep and painful cogitation
that he could not close his eyes. His own violencein particular
so preyed upon the generous mind of Tomthat coupling it with the
many former occasions on which he had given Mr Pecksniff pain and
anxiety (occasions of which that gentleman often reminded him)he
really began to regard himself as destined by a mysterious fate to
be the evil genius and bad angel of his patron. But he fell asleep
at lastand dreamed--new source of waking uneasiness--that he had
betrayed his trustand run away with Mary Graham.

It must be acknowledged thatasleep or awakeTom's position in
reference to this young lady was full of uneasiness. The more he
saw of herthe more he admired her beautyher intelligencethe
amiable qualities that even won on the divided house of Pecksniff
and in a few days restoredat all eventsthe semblance of harmony
and kindness between the angry sisters. When she spokeTom held
his breathso eagerly he listened; when she sanghe sat like one
entranced. She touched his organand from that bright epoch even
itthe old companion of his happiest hoursincapable as he had
thought of elevationbegan a new and deified existence.

God's love upon thy patienceTom! Whothat had beheld theefor
three summer weeksporing through half the deadlong night over the
jingling anatomy of that inscrutable old harpsichord in the back
parlourcould have missed the entrance to thy secret heart: albeit
it was dimly known to thee? Who that had seen the glow upon thy
cheek when leaning down to listenafter hours of labourfor the
sound of one incorrigible notethou foundest that it had a voice at
lastand wheezed out a flat somethingdistantly akin to what it
ought to bewould not have known that it was destined for no common
touchbut one that smotethough gently as an angel's handupon
the deepest chord within thee! And if a friendly glance--ayeeven
though it were as guileless as thine ownDear Tom--could have but
pierced the twilight of that eveningwhenin a voice well tempered
to the timesadsweetand lowyet hopefulshe first sang to the
altered instrumentand wondered at the change; and thousitting
apart at the open windowkept a glad silence and a swelling heart-must
not that glance have read perforce the dawning of a storyTom
that it were well for thee had never been begun!


Tom Pinch's situation was not made the less dangerous or difficult
by the fact of no one word passing between them in reference to
Martin. Honourably mindful of his promiseTom gave her
opportunities of all kinds. Early and late he was in the church; in
her favourite walks; in the villagein the gardenin the meadows;
and in any or all of these places he might have spoken freely. But
no; at all such times she carefully avoided himor never came in
his way unaccompanied. It could not be that she disliked or
distrusted himfor by a thousand little delicate meanstoo slight
for any notice but his ownshe singled him out when others were
presentand showed herself the very soul of kindness. Could it be
that she had broken with Martinor had never returned his
affectionsave in his own bold and heightened fancy? Tom's cheek
grew red with self-reproach as he dismissed the thought.

All this time old Martin came and went in his own strange manneror
sat among the rest absorbed within himselfand holding little
intercourse with any one. Although he was unsocialhe was not
willful in other thingsor troublesomeor morose; being never
better pleased than when they left him quite unnoticed at his book
and pursued their own amusements in his presenceunreserved. It
was impossible to discern in whom he took an interestor whether he
had an interest in any of them. Unless they spoke to him directly
he never showed that he had ears or eyes for anything that passed.

One day the lively Merrysitting with downcast eyes under a shady
tree in the churchyardwhither she had retired after fatiguing
herself by the imposition of sundry trials on the temper of Mr
Jonasfelt that a new shadow came between her and the sun. Raising
her eyes in the expectation of seeing her betrothedshe was not a
little surprised to see old Martin instead. Her surprise was not
diminished when he took his seat upon the turf beside herand
opened a conversation thus:

'When are you to be married?'

'Oh! dear Mr Chuzzlewitmy goodness me! I'm sure I don't know. Not
yet awhileI hope.'

'You hope?' said the old man.

It was very gravely saidbut she took it for banterand giggled
excessively.

'Come!' said the old manwith unusual kindness'you are young
good-lookingand I think good-natured! Frivolous you areand love
to beundoubtedly; but you must have some heart.'

'I have not given it all awayI can tell you' said Merrynodding
her head shrewdlyand plucking up the grass.

'Have you parted with any of it?'

She threw the grass aboutand looked another waybut said nothing.

Martin repeated his question.

'Lormy dear Mr Chuzzlewit! really you must excuse me! How very odd
you are.'

'If it be odd in me to desire to know whether you love the young man
whom I understand you are to marryI AM very odd' said Martin.
'For that is certainly my wish.'


'He's such a monsteryou know' said Merrypouting.

'Then you don't love him?' returned the old man. 'Is that your
meaning?'

'Whymy dear Mr ChuzzlewitI'm sure I tell him a hundred times a
day that I hate him. You must have heard me tell him that.'

'Often' said Martin.

'And so I do' cried Merry. 'I do positively.'

'Being at the same time engaged to marry him' observed the old man.

'Oh yes' said Merry. 'But I told the wretch--my dear Mr
ChuzzlewitI told him when he asked me--that if I ever did marry
himit should only be that I might hate and tease him all my life.'

She had a suspicion that the old man regarded Jonas with anything
but favourand intended these remarks to be extremely captivating.
He did not appearhoweverto regard them in that light by any
means; for when he spoke againit was in a tone of severity.

'Look about you' he saidpointing to the graves; 'and remember
that from your bridal hour to the day which sees you brought as low
as theseand laid in such a bedthere will be no appeal against
him. Thinkand speakand actfor oncelike an accountable
creature. Is any control put upon your inclinations? Are you
forced into this match? Are you insidiously advised or tempted to
contract itby any one? I will not ask by whom; by any one?'

'No' said Merryshrugging her shoulders. 'I don't know that I
am.'

'Don't know that you are! Are you?'

'No' replied Merry. 'Nobody ever said anything to me about it. If
any one had tried to make me have himI wouldn't have had him at
all.'

'I am told that he was at first supposed to be your sister's
admirer' said Martin.

'Ohgood gracious! My dear Mr Chuzzlewitit would be very hard to
make himthough he IS a monsteraccountable for other people's
vanity' said Merry. 'And poor dear Cherry is the vainest darling!'

'It was her mistakethen?'

'I hope it was' cried Merry; 'butall alongthe dear child has
been so dreadfully jealousand SO crossthatupon my word and
honourit's impossible to please herand it's of no use trying.'

'Not forcedpersuadedor controlled' said Martinthoughtfully.
'And that's trueI see. There is one chance yet. You may have
lapsed into this engagement in very giddiness. It may have been the
wanton act of a light head. Is that so?'

'My dear Mr Chuzzlewit' simpered Merry'as to light-headedness
there never was such a feather of a head as mine. It's perfect
balloonI declare! You never DIDyou know!'

He waited quietly till she had finishedand then saidsteadily and


slowlyand in a softened voiceas if he would still invite her
confidence:

'Have you any wish--or is there anything within your breast that
whispers you may form the wishif you have time to think--to be
released from this engagement?'

Again Miss Merry poutedand looked downand plucked the grassand
shrugged her shoulders. No. She didn't know that she had. She was
pretty sure she hadn't. Quite sureshe might say. She 'didn't
mind it.'

'Has it ever occurred to you' said Martin'that your married life
may perhaps be miserablefull of bitternessand most unhappy?'

Merry looked down again; and now she tore the grass up by the roots.

'My dear Mr Chuzzlewitwhat shocking words! Of courseI shall
quarrel with him. I should quarrel with any husband. Married
people always quarrelI believe. But as to being miserableand
bitterand all those dreadful thingsyou knowwhy I couldn't be
absolutely thatunless he always had the best of it; and I mean to
have the best of it myself. I always do now' cried Merrynodding
her head and giggling very much; 'for I make a perfect slave of the
creature.'

'Let it go on' said Martinrising. 'Let it go on! I sought to
know your mindmy dearand you have shown it me. I wish you joy.
Joy!' he repeatedlooking full upon herand pointing to the
wicket-gate where Jonas entered at the moment. And thenwithout
waiting for his nephewhe passed out at another gateand went
away.

'Ohyou terrible old man!' cried the facetious Merry to herself.
'What a perfectly hideous monster to be wandering about churchyards
in the broad daylightfrightening people out of their wits! Don't
come hereGriffinor I'll go away directly.'

Mr Jonas was the Griffin. He sat down upon the grass at her side
in spite of this warningand sulkily inquired:

'What's my uncle been a-talking about?'

'About you' rejoined Merry. 'He says you're not half good enough
for me.'

'OhyesI dare say! We all know that. He means to give you some
present worth havingI hope. Did he say anything that looked like
it?'

'THAT he didn't!' cried Merrymost decisively.

'A stingy old dog he is' said Jonas. 'Well?'

'Griffin!' cried Miss Mercyin counterfeit amazement; 'what are you
doingGriffin?'

'Only giving you a squeeze' said the discomfited Jonas. 'There's
no harm in thatI suppose?'

'But there is great deal of harm in itif I don't consider it
agreeable' returned his cousin. 'Do go alongwill you? You make
me so hot!'


Mr Jonas withdrew his armand for a moment looked at her more like
a murderer than a lover. But he cleared his brow by degreesand
broke silence with:

'I sayMel!'

'What do you sayyou vulgar thing--you low savage?' cried his fair
betrothed.

'When is it to be? I can't afford to go on dawdling about here half
my lifeI needn't tell youand Pecksniff says that father's being
so lately dead makes very little odds; for we can be married as
quiet as we please down hereand my being lonely is a good reason
to the neighbours for taking a wife home so soonespecially one
that he knew. As to crossbones (my uncleI mean)he's sure not to
put a spoke in the wheelwhatever we settle onfor he told
Pecksniff only this morningthat if YOU liked it he'd nothing at
all to say. SoMel' said Jonasventuring on another squeeze;
'when shall it be?'

'Upon my word!' cried Merry.

'Upon my soulif you like' said Jonas. 'What do you say to next
weeknow?'

'To next week! If you had said next quarterI should have wondered
at your impudence.'

'But I didn't say next quarter' retorted Jonas. 'I said next
week.'

'ThenGriffin' cried Miss Merrypushing him offand rising. 'I
say no! not next week. It shan't be till I chooseand I may not
choose it to be for months. There!'

He glanced up at her from the groundalmost as darkly as he had
looked at Tom Pinch; but held his peace.

'No fright of a Griffin with a patch over his eye shall dictate to
me or have a voice in the matter' said Merry. 'There!'

Still Mr Jonas held his peace.

'If it's next monththat shall be the very earliest; but I won't
say when it shall be till to-morrow; and if you don't like thatit
shall never be at all' said Merry; 'and if you follow me about and
won't leave me aloneit shall never be at all. There!v And if you
don't do everything I order you to doit shall never be at all. So
don't follow me. ThereGriffin!'

And with thatshe skipped awayamong the trees.

'Ecodmy lady!' said Jonaslooking after herand biting a piece
of strawalmost to powder; 'you'll catch it for thiswhen you ARE
married. It's all very well now--it keeps one onsomehowand you
know it--but I'll pay you off scot and lot by-and-bye. This is a
plaguey dull sort of a place for a man to be sitting by himself in.
I never could abide a mouldy old churchyard.'

As he turned into the avenue himselfMiss Merrywho was far ahead
happened to look back.

'Ah!' said Jonaswith a sullen smileand a nod that was not
addressed to her. 'Make the most of it while it lasts. Get in your


hay while the sun shines. Take your own way as long as it's in your
powermy lady!'

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

IS IN PART PROFESSIONALAND FURNISHES THE READER WITH SOME VALUABLE
HINTS IN RELATION TO THE MANAGEMENT OF A SICK CHAMBER

Mr Mould was surrounded by his household gods. He was enjoying
the sweets of domestic reposeand gazing on them with a calm
delight. The day being sultryand the window openthe legs of Mr
Mould were on the window-seatand his back reclined against the
shutter. Over his shining head a handkerchief was drawnto guard
his baldness from the flies. The room was fragrant with the smell
of puncha tumbler of which grateful compound stood upon a small
round tableconvenient to the hand of Mr Mould; so deftly mixed
that as his eye looked down into the cool transparent drinkanother
eyepeering brightly from behind the crisp lemon-peellooked up at
himand twinkled like a star.

Deep in the Cityand within the ward of Cheapstood Mr Mould's
establishment. His Haremorin other wordsthe common sitting
room of Mrs Mould and familywas at the backover the little
counting-house behind the shop; abutting on a churchyard small and
shady. In this domestic chamber Mr Mould now sat; gazinga placid
manupon his punch and home. Iffor a moment at a timehe sought
a wider prospectwhence he might return with freshened zest to
these enjoymentshis moist glance wandered like a sunbeam through a
rural screen of scarlet runnerstrained on strings before the
windowand he looked downwith an artist's eyeupon the graves.

The partner of his lifeand daughters twainwere Mr Mould's
companions. Plump as any partridge was each Miss Mouldand Mrs M.
was plumper than the two together. So round and chubby were their
fair proportionsthat they might have been the bodies once
belonging to the angels' faces in the shop belowgrown upwith
other heads attached to make them mortal. Even their peachy cheeks
were puffed out and distendedas though they ought of right to be
performing on celestial trumpets. The bodiless cherubs in the shop
who were depicted as constantly blowing those instruments for ever
and ever without any lungsplayedit is to be presumedentirely
by ear.

Mr Mould looked lovingly at Mrs Mouldwho sat hard byand was a
helpmate to him in his punch as in all other things. Each seraph
daughtertooenjoyed her share of his regardsand smiled upon him
in return. So bountiful were Mr Mould's possessionsand so large
his stock in tradethat even therewithin his household sanctuary
stood a cumbrous presswhose mahogany maw was filled with shrouds
and winding-sheetsand other furniture of funerals. Butthough
the Misses Mould had been brought upas one may saybeneath his
eyeit had cast no shadow on their timid infancy or blooming youth.
Sporting behind the scenes of death and burial from cradlehoodthe
Misses Mould knew better. Hat-bandsto themwere but so many yards
of silk or crape; the final robe but such a quantity of linen. The
Misses Mould could idealise a player's habitor a court-lady's
petticoator even an act of parliament. But they were not to be
taken in by palls. They made them sometimes.

The premises of Mr Mould were hard of hearing to the boisterous
noises in the great main streetsand nestled in a quiet corner


where the City strife became a drowsy humthat sometimes rose and
sometimes fell and sometimes altogether ceased; suggesting to a
thoughtful mind a stoppage in Cheapside. The light came sparkling
in among the scarlet runnersas if the churchyard winked at Mr
Mouldand said'We understand each other;' and from the distant
shop a pleasant sound arose of coffin-making with a low melodious
hammerrattattattatalike promoting slumber and digestion.

'Quite the buzz of insects' said Mr Mouldclosing his eyes in a
perfect luxury. 'It puts one in mind of the sound of animated
nature in the agricultural districts. It's exactly like the
woodpecker tapping.'

'The woodpecker tapping the hollow ELM tree' observed Mrs Mould
adapting the words of the popular melody to the description of wood
commonly used in the trade.

'Haha!' laughed Mr Mould. 'Not at all badmy dear. We shall be
glad to hear from you againMrs M. Hollow elm treeeh! Haha!
Very good indeed. I've seen worse than that in the Sunday papers
my love.'

Mrs Mouldthus encouragedtook a little more of the punchand
handed it to her daughterswho dutifully followed the example of
their mother.

'Hollow ELM treeeh?' said Mr Mouldmaking a slight motion with
his legs in his enjoyment of the joke. 'It's beech in the song.
Elmeh? Yesto be sure. Hahaha! Upon my soulthat's one of
the best things I know?' He was so excessively tickled by the jest
that he couldn't forget itbut repeated twenty times'Elmeh?
Yesto be sure. Elmof course. Hahaha! Upon my lifeyou
knowthat ought to be sent to somebody who could make use of it.
It's one of the smartest things that ever was said. Hollow ELM
treeeh? of course. Very hollow. Hahaha!'

Here a knock was heard at the room door.

'That's TackerI know' said Mrs Mould'by the wheezing he makes.
Who that hears him nowwould suppose he'd ever had wind enough to
carry the feathers on his head! Come inTacker.'

'Beg your pardonma'am' said Tackerlooking in a little way. 'I
thought our Governor was here.'

'Well! so he is' cried Mould.

'Oh! I didn't see youI'm sure' said Tackerlooking in a little
farther. 'You wouldn't be inclined to take a walking one of two
with the plain wood and a tin plateI suppose?'

'Certainly not' replied Mr Mould'much too common. Nothing to say
to it.'

'I told 'em it was precious low' observed Mr Tacker.

'Tell 'em to go somewhere else. We don't do that style of business
here' said Mr Mould. 'Like their impudence to propose it. Who is
it?'

'Why' returned Tackerpausing'that's where it isyou see. It's
the beadle's son-in-law.'

'The beadle's son-in-laweh?' said Mould. 'Well! I'll do it if the


beadle follows in his cocked hat; not else. We carry it off that
wayby looking officialbut it'll be low enoughthen. His cocked
hatmind!'

'I'll take caresir' rejoined Tacker. 'Oh! Mrs Gamp's belowand
wants to speak to you.'

'Tell Mrs Gamp to come upstairs' said Mould. 'Now Mrs Gamp
what's YOUR news?'

The lady in question was by this time in the doorwaycurtseying to
Mrs Mould. At the same moment a peculiar fragrance was borne upon
the breezeas if a passing fairy had hiccoughedand had previously
been to a wine-vaults.

Mrs Gamp made no response to Mr Mouldbut curtseyed to Mrs Mould
againand held up her hands and eyesas in a devout thanksgiving
that she looked so well. She was neatlybut not gaudily attired
in the weeds she had worn when Mr Pecksniff had the pleasure of
making her acquaintance; and was perhaps the turning of a scale more
snuffy.

'There are some happy creeturs' Mrs Gamp observed'as time runs
back'ards withand you are oneMrs Mould; not that he need do
nothing except use you in his most owldacious way for years to come
I'm sure; for young you are and will be. I says to Mrs Harris' Mrs
Gamp continued'only t'other day; the last Monday evening fortnight
as ever dawned upon this Piljian's Projiss of a mortal wale; I says
to Mrs Harris when she says to meYears and our trials, Mrs Gamp,
sets marks upon us all.--"Say not the wordsMrs Harrisif you and
me is to be continual friendsfor sech is not the case. Mrs
Mould I says, making so free, I will confess, as use the name,'
(she curtseyed here), 'is one of them that goes agen the
obserwation straight; and neverMrs Harriswhilst I've a drop of
breath to drawwill I set byand not stand updon't think it."-"
I ast your pardonma'am says Mrs Harris, and I humbly grant
your grace; for if ever a woman lived as would see her feller
creeturs into fits to serve her friendswell do I know that woman's
name is Sairey Gamp."'

At this point she was fain to stop for breath; and advantage may be
taken of the circumstanceto state that a fearful mystery
surrounded this lady of the name of Harriswhom no one in the
circle of Mrs Gamp's acquaintance had ever seen; neither did any
human being know her place of residencethough Mrs Gamp appeared on
her own showing to be in constant communication with her. There
were conflicting rumours on the subject; but the prevalent opinion
was that she was a phantom of Mrs Gamp's brain--as Messrs. Doe and
Roe are fictions of the law--created for the express purpose of
holding visionary dialogues with her on all manner of subjectsand
invariably winding up with a compliment to the excellence of her
nature.

'And likeways what a pleasure' said Mrs Gampturning with a
tearful smile towards the daughters'to see them two young ladies
as I know'd afore a tooth in their pretty heads was cutand have
many a day seen--ahthe sweet creeturs!--playing at berryins down
in the shopand follerin' the order-book to its long home in the
iron safe! But that's all past and overMr Mould;' as she thus got
in a carefully regulated routine to that gentlemanshe shook her
head waggishly; 'That's all past and over nowsiran't it?'

'ChangesMrs Gampchanges!' returned the undertaker.


'More changes tooto comeafore we've done with changessir'
said Mrs Gampnodding yet more waggishly than before. 'Young
ladies with such faces thinks of something else besides berryins
don't theysir?'

'I am sure I don't knowMrs Gamp' said Mouldwith a chuckle--'Not
bad in Mrs Gampmy dear?'

'Oh yesyou do knowsir!' said Mrs Gamp'and so does Mrs Mould
your 'ansome pardner toosir; and so do Ialthough the blessing of
a daughter was deniged me; whichif we had had oneGamp would
certainly have drunk its little shoes right off its feetas with
our precious boy he didand arterward send the child a errand to
sell his wooden leg for any money it would fetch as matches in the
roughand bring it home in liquor; which was truly done beyond his
yearsfor ev'ry individgle penny that child lost at toss or buy for
kidney ones; and come home arterwards quite boldto break the news
and offering to drown himself if sech would be a satisfaction to his
parents.--Oh yesyou do knowsir' said Mrs Gampwiping her eye
with her shawland resuming the thread of her discourse. 'There's
something besides births and berryins in the newspapersan't there
Mr Mould?'

Mr Mould winked at Mrs Mouldwhom he had by this time taken on his
kneeand said: 'No doubt. A good deal moreMrs Gamp. Upon my
lifeMrs Gamp is very far from badmy dear!'

'There's marryingsan't theresir?' said Mrs Gampwhile both the
daughters blushed and tittered. 'Bless their precious heartsand
well they knows it! Well you know'd it tooand well did Mrs Mould
when you was at their time of life! But my opinion isyou're all of
one age now. For as to you and Mrs Mouldsirever having
grandchildren--'

'Oh! Fiefie! NonsenseMrs Gamp' replied the undertaker.
'Devilish smartthough. Ca-pi-tal!'--this was in a whisper. 'My
dear'--aloud again--'Mrs Gamp can drink a glass of rumI dare say.
Sit downMrs Gampsit down.'

Mrs Gamp took the chair that was nearest the doorand casting up
her eyes towards the ceilingfeigned to be wholly insensible to the
fact of a glass of rum being in preparationuntil it was placed in
her hand by one of the young ladieswhen she exhibited the greatest
surprise.

'A thing' she said'as hardly everMrs Mouldoccurs with me
unless it is when I am indispogedand find my half a pint of porter
settling heavy on the chest. Mrs Harris often and often says to me
Sairey Gamp,she saysyou raly do amaze me!Mrs Harris,I
says to herwhy so? Give it a name, I beg.Telling the truth
then, ma'am,says Mrs Harrisand shaming him as shall be nameless
betwixt you and me, never did I think till I know'd you, as any
woman could sick-nurse and monthly likeways, on the little that you
takes to drink.Mrs Harris,I says to hernone on us knows what
we can do till we tries; and wunst, when me and Gamp kept 'ouse, I
thought so too. But now,I saysmy half a pint of porter fully
satisfies; perwisin', Mrs Harris, that it is brought reg'lar, and
draw'd mild. Whether I sicks or monthlies, ma'am, I hope I does my
duty, but I am but a poor woman, and I earns my living hard;
therefore I DO require it, which I makes confession, to be brought
reg'lar and draw'd mild.'

The precise connection between these observations and the glass of
rumdid not appear; for Mrs Gamp proposing as a toast 'The best of


lucks to all!' took off the dram in quite a scientific manner
without any further remarks.

'And what's your newsMrs Gamp?' asked Mould againas that lady
wiped her lips upon her shawland nibbled a corner off a soft
biscuitwhich she appeared to carry in her pocket as a provision
against contingent drams. 'How's Mr Chuffey?'

'Mr Chuffeysir' she replied'is jest as usual; he an't no better
and he an't no worse. I take it very kind in the gentleman to have
wrote up to you and saidlet Mrs Gamp take care of him till I come
home;but ev'rythink he does is kind. There an't a many like him.
If there waswe shouldn't want no churches.'

'What do you want to speak to me aboutMrs Gamp?' said Mould
coming to the point.

'Jest thissir' Mrs Gamp returned'with thanks to you for asking.
There IS a gentsirat the Bull in Holbornas has been took ill
thereand is bad abed. They have a day nurse as was recommended
from Bartholomew's; and well I knows herMr Mouldher name bein'
Mrs Prigthe best of creeturs. But she is otherways engaged at
nightand they are in wants of night-watching; consequent she says
to themhaving reposed the greatest friendliness in me for twenty
yearThe soberest person going, and the best of blessings in a
sick room, is Mrs Gamp. Send a boy to Kingsgate Street,she says
and snap her up at any price, for Mrs Gamp is worth her weight and
more in goldian guineas.My landlord brings the message down to me
and saysbein' in a light place where you are, and this job
promising so well, why not unite the two?No, sir,I saysnot
unbeknown to Mr Mould, and therefore do not think it. But I will go
to Mr Mould,I saysand ast him, if you like.' Here she looked
sideways at the undertakerand came to a stop.

'Night-watchingeh?' said Mouldrubbing his chin.

'From eight o'clock till eightsir. I will not deceive you' Mrs
Gamp rejoined.

'And then go backeh?' said would.

'Quite freethensirto attend to Mr Chuffey. His ways bein'
quietand his hours earlyhe'd be abedsirnearly all the time.
I will not deny' said Mrs Gamp with meekness'that I am but a poor
womanand that the money is a object; but do not let that act upon
youMr Mould. Rich folks may ride on camelsbut it an't so easy
for 'em to see out of a needle's eye. That is my comfortand I
hope I knows it.'

'WellMrs Gamp' observed Mould'I don't see any particular
objection to your earning an honest penny under such circumstances.
I should keep it quietI thinkMrs Gamp. I wouldn't mention it to
Mr Chuzzlewit on his returnfor instanceunless it were necessary
or he asked you pointblank.'

'The very words was on my lipssir' Mrs Gamp rejoined. 'Suppoging
that the gent should dieI hope I might take the liberty of saying
as I know'd some one in the undertaking lineand yet give no
offence to yousir?'

'CertainlyMrs Gamp' said Mouldwith much condescension. 'You
may casually remarkin such a casethat we do the thing pleasantly
and in a great variety of stylesand are generally considered to
make it as agreeable as possible to the feelings of the survivors.


But don't obtrude itdon't obtrude it. Easyeasy! My dearyou
may as well give Mrs Gamp a card or twoif you please.'

Mrs Gamp received themand scenting no more rum in the wind (for
the bottle was locked up again) rose to take her departure.

'Wishing ev'ry happiness to this happy family' said Mrs Gamp 'with
all my heart. Good arternoonMrs Mould! If I was Mr would I should
be jealous of youma'am; and I'm sureif I was youI should be
jealous of Mr Mould.'

'Tuttut! Bahbah! Go alongMrs Gamp!' cried the delighted
undertaker.

'As to the young ladies' said Mrs Gampdropping a curtsey'bless
their sweet looks--how they can ever reconsize it with their duties
to be so grown up with such young parentsit an't for sech as me to
give a guess at.'

'Nonsensenonsense. Be offMrs Gamp!' cried Mould. But in the
height of his gratification he actually pinched Mrs Mould as he said
it.

'I'll tell you whatmy dear' he observedwhen Mrs Gamp had at
last withdrawn and shut the door'that's a ve-ry shrewd woman.
That's a woman whose intellect is immensely superior to her station
in life. That's a woman who observes and reflects in an uncommon
manner. She's the sort of woman now' said Moulddrawing his silk
handkerchief over his head againand composing himself for a nap
'one would almost feel disposed to bury for nothing; and do it
neatlytoo!'

Mrs Mould and her daughters fully concurred in these remarks; the
subject of which had by this time reached the streetwhere she
experienced so much inconvenience from the airthat she was obliged
to stand under an archway for a short timeto recover herself.
Even after this precautionshe walked so unsteadily as to attract
the compassionate regards of divers kind-hearted boyswho took the
liveliest interest in her disorder; and in their simple language
bade her be of good cheerfor she was 'only a little screwed.'

Whatever she wasor whatever name the vocabulary of medical science
would have bestowed upon her maladyMrs Gamp was perfectly
acquainted with the way home again; and arriving at the house of
Anthony Chuzzlewit & Sonlay down to rest. Remaining there until
seven o'clock in the eveningand then persuading poor old Chuffey
to betake himself to bedshe sallied forth upon her new engagement.
Firstshe went to her private lodgings in Kingsgate Streetfor a
bundle of robes and wrappings comfortable in the night season; and
then repaired to the Bull in Holbornwhich she reached as the
clocks were striking eight.

As she turned into the yardshe stopped; for the landlord
landladyand head chambermaidwere all on the threshold together
talking earnestly with a young gentleman who seemed to have just
come or to be just going away. The first words that struck upon Mrs
Gamp's ear obviously bore reference to the patient; and it being
expedient that all good attendants should know as much as possible
about the case on which their skill is brought to bearMrs Gamp
listened as a matter of duty.

'No betterthen?' observed the gentleman.

'Worse!' said the landlord.


'Much worse' added the landlady.

'Oh! a deal badder' cried the chambermaid from the background
opening her eyes very wideand shaking her head.

'Poor fellow!' said the gentleman'I am sorry to hear it. The
worst of it isthat I have no idea what friends or relations he
hasor where they liveexcept that it certainly is not in London.'

The landlord looked at the landlady; the landlady looked at the
landlord; and the chambermaid remarkedhysterically'that of all
the many wague directions she had ever seen or heerd of (and they
wasn't few in an hotel)THAT was the waguest.'

'The fact isyou see' pursued the gentleman'as I told you
yesterday when you sent to meI really know very little about him.
We were school-fellows together; but since that time I have only met
him twice. On both occasions I was in London for a boy's holiday
(having come up for a week or so from Wiltshire)and lost sight of
him again directly. The letter bearing my name and address which
you found upon his tableand which led to your applying to meis
in answeryou will observeto one he wrote from this house the
very day he was taken illmaking an appointment with him at his own
request. Here is his letterif you wish to see it.'

The landlord read it; the landlady looked over him. The
chambermaidin the backgroundmade out as much of it as she could
and invented the rest; believing it all from that time forth as a
positive piece of evidence.

'He has very little luggageyou say?' observed the gentlemanwho
was no other than our old friendJohn Westlock.

'Nothing but a portmanteau' said the landlord; 'and very little in
it.'

'A few pounds in his pursethough?'

'Yes. It's sealed upand in the cash-box. I made a memorandum of
the amountwhich you're welcome to see.'

'Well!' said John'as the medical gentleman says the fever must
take its courseand nothing can be done just now beyond giving him
his drinks regularly and having him carefully attended tonothing
more can be said that I know ofuntil he is in a condition to give
us some information. Can you suggest anything else?'

'N-no' replied the landlord'except--'

'Exceptwho's to payI suppose?' said John.

'Why' hesitated the landlord'it would be as well.'

'Quite as well' said the landlady.

'Not forgetting to remember the servants' said the chambermaid in a
bland whisper.

'It is but reasonableI fully admit' said John Westlock. 'At all
eventsyou have the stock in hand to go upon for the present; and I
will readily undertake to pay the doctor and the nurses.'

'Ah!' cried Mrs Gamp. 'A rayal gentleman!'


She groaned her admiration so audiblythat they all turned round.
Mrs Gamp felt the necessity of advancingbundle in handand
introducing herself.

'The night-nurse' she observed'from Kingsgate Streetwell
beknown to Mrs Prig the day-nurseand the best of creeturs. How is
the poor dear gentleman to-night? If he an't no better yetstill
that is what must be expected and prepared for. It an't the fust
time by a many scorema'am' dropping a curtsey to the landlady
'that Mrs Prig and me has nussed togetherturn and turn aboutone
offone on. We knows each other's waysand often gives relief
when others fail. Our charges is but lowsir'--Mrs Gamp
addressed herself to John on this head--'considerin' the nater of
our painful dooty. If they wos made accordin' to our wishesthey
would be easy paid.'

Regarding herself as having now delivered her inauguration address
Mrs Gamp curtseyed all roundand signified her wish to be conducted
to the scene of her official duties. The chambermaid led her
through a variety of intricate passagesto the top of the house;
and pointing at length to a solitary door at the end of a gallery
informed her that yonder was the chamber where the patient lay.
That doneshe hurried off with all the speed she could make.

Mrs Gamp traversed the gallery in a great heat from having carried
her large bundle up so many stairsand tapped at the door which was
immediately opened by Mrs Prigbonneted and shawled and all
impatience to be gone. Mrs Prig was of the Gamp buildbut not so
fat; and her voice was deeper and more like a man's. She had also a
beard.

'I began to think you warn't a-coming!' Mrs Prig observedin some
displeasure.

'It shall be made good to-morrow night' said Mrs Gamp 'Honorable.
I had to go and fetch my things.' She had begun to make signs of
inquiry in reference to the position of the patient and his
overhearing them--for there was a screen before the door--when
Mrs Prig settled that point easily.

'Oh!' she said aloud'he's quietbut his wits is gone. It an't no
matter wot you say.'

'Anythin' to tell afore you goesmy dear?' asked Mrs Gampsetting
her bundle down inside the doorand looking affectionately at her
partner.

'The pickled salmon' Mrs Prig replied'is quite delicious. I can
partlck'ler recommend it. Don't have nothink to say to the cold
meatfor it tastes of the stable. The drinks is all good.'

Mrs Gamp expressed herself much gratified.

'The physic and them things is on the drawers and mankleshelf' said
Mrs Prigcursorily. 'He took his last slime draught at seven. The
easy-chair an't soft enough. You'll want his piller.'

Mrs Gamp thanked her for these hintsand giving her a friendly good
nightheld the door open until she had disappeared at the other end
of the gallery. Having thus performed the hospitable duty of seeing
her safely offshe shut itlocked it on the insidetook up her
bundlewalked round the screenand entered on her occupation of
the sick chamber.


'A little dullbut not so bad as might be' Mrs Gamp remarked.
'I'm glad to see a parapidgein case of fireand lots of roofs and
chimley-pots to walk upon.'

It will be seen from these remarks that Mrs Gamp was looking out of
window. When she had exhausted the prospectshe tried the
easy-chairwhich she indignantly declared was 'harder than a
brickbadge.' Next she pursued her researches among the
physic-bottlesglassesjugsand tea-cups; and when she had
entirely satisfied her curiosity on all these subjects of
investigationshe untied her bonnet-strings and strolled up to the
bedside to take a look at the patient.

A young man--dark and not ill-looking--with long black hairthat
seemed the blacker for the whiteness of the bed-clothes. His eyes
were partly openand he never ceased to roll his head from side to
side upon the pillowkeeping his body almost quiet. He did not
utter words; but every now and then gave vent to an expression of
impatience or fatiguesometimes of surprise; and still his restless
head--ohwearyweary hour!--went to and fro without a moment's
intermission.

Mrs Gamp solaced herself with a pinch of snuffand stood looking at
him with her head inclined a little sidewaysas a connoisseur might
gaze upon a doubtful work of art. By degreesa horrible
remembrance of one branch of her calling took possession of the
woman; and stooping downshe pinned his wandering arms against his
sidesto see how he would look if laid out as a dead man. Her
fingers itched to compose his limbs in that last marble attitude.

'Ah!' said Mrs Gampwalking away from the bed'he'd make a lovely
corpse.'

She now proceeded to unpack her bundle; lighted a candle with the
aid of a fire-box on the drawers; filled a small kettleas a
preliminary to refreshing herself with a cup of tea in the course of
the night; laid what she called 'a little bit of fire' for the same
philanthropic purpose; and also set forth a small tea-boardthat
nothing might be wanting for her comfortable enjoyment. These
preparations occupied so longthat when they were brought to a
conclusion it was high time to think about supper; so she rang the
bell and ordered it.

'I thinkyoung woman' said Mrs Gamp to the assistant chambermaid
in a tone expressive of weakness'that I could pick a little bit of
pickled salmonwith a nice little sprig of fenneland a sprinkling
of white pepper. I takes new breadmy dearwith just a little pat
of fresh butterand a mossel of cheese. In case there should be
such a thing as a cowcumber in the 'ousewill you be so kind as
bring itfor I'm rather partial to 'emand they does a world of
good in a sick room. If they draws the Brighton Old Tipper hereI
takes THAT ale at nightmy loveit bein' considered wakeful by the
doctors. And whatever you doyoung womandon't bring more than a
shilling's-worth of gin and water-warm when I rings the bell a
second time; for that is always my allowanceand I never takes a
drop beyond!'

Having preferred these moderate requestsMrs Gamp observed that she
would stand at the door until the order was executedto the end
that the patient might not be disturbed by her opening it a second
time; and therefore she would thank the young woman to 'look sharp.'

A tray was brought with everything upon iteven to the cucumber and


Mrs Gamp accordingly sat down to eat and drink in high good humour.
The extent to which she availed herself of the vinegarand supped
up that refreshing fluid with the blade of her knifecan scarcely
be expressed in narrative.

'Ah!' sighed Mrs Gampas she meditated over the warm shilling'sworth
'what a blessed thing it is--living in a wale--to be
contented! What a blessed thing it is to make sick people happy in
their bedsand never mind one's self as long as one can do a
service! I don't believe a finer cowcumber was ever grow'd. I'm sure
I never see one!'

She moralised in the same vein until her glass was emptyand then
admistered the patient's medicineby the simple process of
clutching his windpipe to make him gaspand immediately pouring it
down his throat.

'I a'most forgot the pillerI declare!' said Mrs Gampdrawing it
away. 'There! Now he's comfortable as he can beI'm sure! I must
try to make myself as much so as I can.'

With this viewshe went about the construction of an extemporaneous
bed in the easy-chairwith the addition of the next easy one for
her feet. Having formed the best couch that the circumstances
admitted ofshe took out of her bundle a yellow night-capof
prodigious sizein shape resembling a cabbage; which article of
dress she fixed and tied on with the utmost carepreviously
divesting herself of a row of bald old curls that could scarcely be
called falsethey were so very innocent of anything approaching to
deception. From the same repository she brought forth a night-jacket
in which she also attired herself. Finallyshe produced a
watchman's coat which she tied round her neck by the sleevesso
that she become two people; and lookedbehindas if she were in
the act of being embraced by one of the old patrol.

All these arrangements madeshe lighted the rush-lightcoiled
herself up on her couchand went to sleep. Ghostly and dark the
room becameand full of lowering shadows. The distant noises in
the streets were gradually hushed; the house was quiet as a
sepulchre; the dead of might was coffined in the silent city.

Ohwearyweary hour! Ohhaggard mindgroping darkly through the
past; incapable of detaching itself from the miserable present;
dragging its heavy chain of care through imaginary feasts and
revelsand scenes of awful pomp; seeking but a moment's rest among
the long-forgotten haunts of childhoodand the resorts of
yesterday; and dimly finding fear and horror everywhere! Ohweary
weary hour! What were the wanderings of Cainto these!

Stillwithout a moment's intervalthe burning head tossed to and
fro. Stillfrom time to timefatigueimpatiencesufferingand
surprisefound utterance upon that rackand plainly toothough
never once in words. At lengthin the solemn hour of midnighthe
began to talk; waiting awfully for answers sometimes; as though
invisible companions were about his bed; and so replying to their
speech and questioning again.

Mrs Gamp awokeand sat up in her bed; presenting on the wall the
shadow of a gigantic night constablestruggling with a prisoner.

'Come! Hold your tongue!' she criedin sharp reproof. 'Don't make
none of that noise here.'

There was no alteration in the faceor in the incessant motion of


the headbut he talked on wildly.

'Ah!' said Mrs Gampcoming out of the chair with an impatient
shiver; 'I thought I was a-sleepin' too pleasant to last! The
devil's in the nightI thinkit's turned so chilly!'

'Don't drink so much!' cried the sick man. 'You'll ruin us all.
Don't you see how the fountain sinks? Look at the mark where the
sparkling water was just now!'

'Sparkling waterindeed!' said Mrs Gamp. 'I'll have a sparkling
cup o' teaI think. I wish you'd hold your noise!'

He burst into a laughwhichbeing prolongedfell off into a
dismal wail. Checking himselfwith fierce inconstancy he began
to count--fast.

'One--two--three--four--five--six.'

One, two, buckle my shoe,' said Mrs Gampwho was now on her
kneeslighting the firethree, four, shut the door,--I wish
you'd shut your mouthyoung man--"fivesixpicking up sticks."
If I'd got a few handyI should have the kettle boiling all the
sooner.'

Awaiting this desirable consummationshe sat down so close to the
fender (which was a high one) that her nose rested upon it; and for
some time she drowsily amused herself by sliding that feature
backwards and forwards along the brass topas far as she could
without changing her position to do it. She maintainedall the
whilea running commentary upon the wanderings of the man in bed.

'That makes five hundred and twenty-one menall dressed alikeand
with the same distortion on their facesthat have passed in at the
windowand out at the door' he criedanxiously. 'Look there!
Five hundred and twenty-two--twenty-three--twenty-four. Do you see
them?'

'Ah! I see 'em' said Mrs Gamp; 'all the whole kit of 'em numbered
like hackney-coachesan't they?'

'Touch me! Let me be sure of this. Touch me!'

'You'll take your next draught when I've made the kettle bile'
retorted Mrs Gampcomposedly'and you'll be touched then. You'll
be touched uptooif you don't take it quiet.'

'Five hundred and twenty-eightfive hundred and twenty-ninefive
hundred and thirty.--Look here!'

'What's the matter now?' said Mrs Gamp.

'They're coming four abreasteach man with his arm entwined in the
next man'sand his hand upon his shoulder. What's that upon the
arm of every manand on the flag?'

'Spidersp'raps' said Mrs Gamp.

'Crape! Black crape! Good God! why do they wear it outside?'

'Would you have 'em carry black crape in their insides?' Mrs Gamp
retorted. 'Hold your noisehold your noise.'

The fire beginning by this time to impart a grateful warmthMrs


Gamp became silent; gradually rubbed her nose more and more slowly
along the top of the fender; and fell into a heavy doze. She was
awakened by the room ringing (as she fancied) with a name she knew:

'Chuzzlewit!'

The sound was so distinct and realand so full of agonised
entreatythat Mrs Gamp jumped up in terrorand ran to the door.
She expected to find the passage filled with peoplecome to tell
her that the house in the city had taken fire. But the place was
empty; not a soul was there. She opened the windowand looked out.
Darkdulldingyand desolate house-tops. As she passed to her
seat againshe glanced at the patient. Just the same; but silent.
Mrs Gamp was so warm nowthat she threw off the watchman's coat
and fanned herself.

'It seemed to make the wery bottles ring' she said. 'What could I
have been a-dreaming of? That dratted ChuffeyI'll be bound.'

The supposition was probable enough. At any ratea pinch of snuff
and the song of the steaming kettlequite restored the tone of Mrs
Gamp's nerveswhich were none of the weakest. She brewed her tea;
made some buttered toast; and sat down at the tea-boardwith her
face to the fire.

When once againin a tone more terrible than that which had
vibrated in her slumbering earthese words were shrieked out:

'Chuzzlewit! Jonas! No!'

Mrs Gamp dropped the cup she was in the act of raising to her lips
and turned round with a start that made the little tea-board leap.
The cry had come from the bed.

It was bright morning the next time Mrs Gamp looked out of the
windowand the sun was rising cheerfully. Lighter and lighter grew
the skyand noisier the streets; and high into the summer air
uprose the smoke of newly kindled firesuntil the busy day was
broad awake.

Mrs Prig relieved punctuallyhaving passed a good night at her
other patient's. Mr Westlock came at the same timebut he was not
admittedthe disorder being infectious. The doctor came too. The
doctor shook his head. It was all he could dounder the
circumstancesand he did it well.

'What sort of a nightnurse?'

'Restlesssir' said Mrs Gamp.

'Talk much?'

'Middlingsir' said Mrs Gamp.

'Nothing to the purposeI suppose?'

'Oh bless younosir. Only jargon.'

'Well!' said the doctor'we must keep him quiet; keep the room
cool; give him his draughts regularly; and see that he's carefully
looked to. That's all!'

'And as long as Mrs Prig and me waits upon himsirno fear of


that' said Mrs Gamp.

'I suppose' observed Mrs Prigwhen they had curtseyed the doctor
out; 'there's nothin' new?'

'Nothin' at allmy dear' said Mrs Gamp. 'He's rather wearin' in
his talk from making up a lot of names; elseways you needn't mind
him.'

'OhI shan't mind him' Mrs Prig returned. 'I have somethin' else
to think of.'

'I pays my debts to-nightyou knowmy dearand comes afore my
time' said Mrs Gamp. 'ButBetsy Prig'--speaking with great
feelingand laying her hand upon her arm--'try the cowcumbersGod
bless you!'

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

AN UNEXPECTED MEETINGAND A PROMISING PROSPECT

The laws of sympathy between beards and birdsand the secret source
of that attraction which frequently impels a shaver of the one to be
a dealer in the otherare questions for the subtle reasoning of
scientific bodies; not the less sobecause their investigation
would seem calculated to lead to no particular result. It is enough
to know that the artist who had the honour of entertaining Mrs Gamp
as his first-floor lodgerunited the two pursuits of barbering and
bird-fancying; and that it was not an original idea of hisbut one
in which he haddispersed about the by-streets and suburbs of the
towna host of rivals.

The name of the householder was Paul Sweedlepipe. But he was
commonly called Poll Sweedlepipe; and was not uncommonly believed to
have been so christenedamong his friends and neighbours.

With the exception of the staircaseand his lodger's private
apartmentPoll Sweedlepipe's house was one great bird's nest.
Gamecocks resided in the kitchen; pheasants wasted the brightness of
their golden plumage on the garret; bantams roosted in the cellar;
owls had possession of the bedroom; and specimens of all the smaller
fry of birds chirrupped and twittered in the shop. The staircase
was sacred to rabbits. There in hutches of all shapes and kinds
made from old packing-casesboxesdrawersand tea-cheststhey
increased in a prodigious degreeand contributed their share
towards that complicated whiff whichquite impartiallyand without
distinction of personssaluted every nose that was put into
Sweedlepipe's easy shaving-shop.

Many noses found their way therefor all thatespecially on Sunday
morningbefore church-time. Even archbishops shaveor must be
shavedon a Sundayand beards WILL grow after twelve o'clock on
Saturday nightthough it be upon the chins of base mechanics; who
not being able to engage their valets by the quarterhire them by
the joband pay them--ohthe wickedness of copper coin!--in dirty
pence. Poll Sweedlepipethe sinnershaved all comers at a penny
eachand cut the hair of any customer for twopence; and being a
lone unmarried manand having some connection in the bird linePoll
got on tolerably well.

He was a little elderly manwith a clammy cold right handfrom


which even rabbits and birds could not remove the smell of shavingsoap.
Poll had something of the bird in his nature; not of the
hawk or eaglebut of the sparrowthat builds in chimney-stacks and
inclines to human company. He was not quarrelsomethoughlike the
sparrow; but peacefullike the dove. In his walk he strutted; and
in this respecthe bore a faint resemblance to the pigeonas well
as in a certain prosiness of speechwhich mightin its monotony
be likened to the cooing of that bird. He was very inquisitive; and
when he stood at his shop-door in the evening-tidewatching the
neighbourswith his head on one sideand his eye cocked knowingly
there was a dash of the raven in him. Yet there was no more
wickedness in Poll than in a robin. Happilytoowhen any of his
ornithological properties were on the verge of going too farthey
were quencheddissolvedmelted downand neutralised in the barber;
just as his bald head--otherwiseas the head of a shaved magpie-lost
itself in a wig of curly black ringletsparted on one side
and cut away almost to the crownto indicate immense capacity of
intellect.

Poll had a very smallshrill treble voicewhich might have led the
wags of Kingsgate Street to insist the more upon his feminine
designation. He had a tender hearttoo; forwhen he had a good
commission to provide three or four score sparrows for a shootingmatch
he would observein a compassionate tonehow singular it
was that sparrows should have been made expressly for such purposes.
The questionwhether men were made to shoot themnever entered
into Poll's philosophy.

Poll worein his sporting charactera velveteen coata great deal
of blue stockingankle bootsa neckerchief of some bright colour
and a very tall hat. Pursuing his more quiet occupation of barber
he generally subsided into an apron not over-cleana flannel
jacketand corduroy knee-shorts. It was in this latter costume
but with his apron girded round his waistas a token of his having
shut up shop for the nightthat he closed the door one evening
some weeks after the occurrences detailed in the last chapterand
stood upon the steps in Kingsgate Streetlistening until the little
cracked bell within should leave off ringing. For until it did-this
was Mr Sweedlepipe's reflection--the place never seemed quiet
enough to be left to itself.

'It's the greediest little bell to ring' said Poll'that ever was.
But it's quiet at last.'

He rolled his apron up a little tighter as he said these wordsand
hastened down the street. Just as he was turning into Holbornhe
ran against a young gentleman in a livery. This youth was bold
though smalland with several lively expressions of displeasure
turned upon him instantly.

'NowSTOO-PID!' cried the young gentleman. 'Can't you look where
you're a-going to--eh? Can't you mind where you're a-coming to--eh?
What do you think your eyes was made for--eh? Ah! Yes. Oh! Now
then!'

The young gentleman pronounced the two last words in a very loud
tone and with frightful emphasisas though they contained within
themselves the essence of the direst aggravation. But he had
scarcely done sowhen his anger yielded to surpriseand he cried
in a milder tone:

'What! Polly!'

'Whyit an't yousure!' cried Poll. 'It can't be you!'


'No. It an't me' returned the youth. 'It's my sonmy oldest
one. He's a credit to his fatheran't hePolly?' With this
delicate little piece of banterhe halted on the pavementand went
round and round in circlesfor the better exhibition of his figure;
rather to the inconvenience of the passengers generallywho were
not in an equal state of spirits with himself.

'I wouldn't have believed it' said Poll. 'What! You've left your
old placethen? Have you?'

'Have I!' returned his young friendwho had by this time stuck his
hands into the pockets of his white cord breechesand was
swaggering along at the barber's side. 'D'ye know a pair of topboots
when you see 'emPolly?--look here!'

'Beau-ti-ful' cried Mr Sweedlepipe.

'D'ye know a slap-up sort of buttonwhen you see it?' said the
youth. 'Don't look at mineif you ain't a judgebecause these
lions' heads was made for men of taste; not snobs.'

'Beau-ti-ful!' cried the barber again. 'A grass-green frock-coat
toobound with gold; and a cockade in your hat!'

'I should hope so' replied the youth. 'Blow the cockadethough;
forexcept that it don't turn roundit's like the wentilator that
used to be in the kitchen winder at Todgers's. You ain't seen the
old lady's name in the Gazettehave you?'

'No' returned the barber. 'Is she a bankrupt?'

'If she ain'tshe will be' retorted Bailey. 'That bis'ness never
can be carried on without ME. Well! How are you?'

'Oh! I'm pretty well' said Poll. 'Are you living at this end of
the townor were you coming to see me? Was that the bis'ness that
brought you to Holborn?'

'I haven't got no bis'ness in Holborn' returned Baileywith some
displeasure. 'All my bis'ness lays at the West End. I've got the
right sort of governor now. You can't see his face for his
whiskersand can't see his whiskers for the dye upon 'em. That's a
gentleman ain't it? You wouldn't like a ride in a cabwould you?
Whyit wouldn't be safe to offer it. You'd faint awayonly to see
me a-comin' at a mild trot round the corner.'

To convey a slight idea of the effect of this approachMr Bailey
counterfeited in his own person the action of a high-trotting horse
and threw up his head so highin backing against a pumpthat he
shook his hat off.

'Whyhe's own uncle to Capricorn' said Bailey'and brother to
Cauliflower. He's been through the winders of two chaney shops
since we've had himand was sold for killin' his missis. That's a
horseI hope?'

'Ah! you'll never want to buy any more red pollsnow' observed
Polllooking on his young friend with an air of melancholy.
'You'll never want to buy any more red polls nowto hang up over
the sinkwill you?'

'I should think not' replied Bailey. 'Reether so. I wouldn't have
nothin' to say to any bird below a Peacock; and HE'd be wulgar.


Wellhow are you?'

'Oh! I'm pretty well' said Poll. He answered the question again
because Mr Bailey asked it again; Mr Bailey asked it againbecause
--accompanied with a straddling action of the white cordsa bend of
the kneesand a striking forth of the top-boots--it was an easy
horse-fleshyturfy sort of thing to do.

'Wot are you up toold feller?' added Mr Baileywith the same
graceful rakishness. He was quite the man-about-town of the
conversationwhile the easy-shaver was the child.

'WhyI am going to fetch my lodger home' said Paul.

'A woman!' cried Mr Bailey'for a twenty-pun' note!'

The little barber hastened to explain that she was neither a young
womannor a handsome womanbut a nursewho had been acting as a
kind of house-keeper to a gentleman for some weeks pastand left
her place that nightin consequence of being superseded by another
and a more legitimate house-keeper--to witthe gentleman's bride.

'He's newly marriedand he brings his young wife home to-night'
said the barber. 'So I'm going to fetch my lodger away--Mr
Chuzzlewit'sclose behind the Post Office--and carry her box for
her.'

'Jonas Chuzzlewit's?' said Bailey.

'Ah!' returned Paul: 'that's the name sure enough. Do you know
him?'

'Ohno!' cried Mr Bailey; 'not at all. And I don't know her! Not
neither! Whythey first kept company through mea'most.'

'Ah?' said Paul.

'Ah!' said Mr Baileywith a wink; 'and she ain't bad looking mind
you. But her sister was the best. SHE was the merry one. I often
used to have a bit of fun with herin the hold times!'

Mr Bailey spoke as if he already had a leg and three-quarters in the
graveand this had happened twenty or thirty years ago. Paul
Sweedlepipethe meekwas so perfectly confounded by his precocious
self-possessionand his patronizing manneras well as by his
bootscockadeand liverythat a mist swam before his eyesand he
saw--not the Bailey of acknowledged juvenility from Todgers's
Commercial Boarding Housewho had made his acquaintance within a
twelvemonthby purchasingat sundry timessmall birds at twopence
each--but a highly-condensed embodiment of all the sporting grooms
in London; an abstract of all the stable-knowledge of the time; a
something at a high-pressure that must have had existence many
yearsand was fraught with terrible experiences. And trulythough
in the cloudy atmosphere of Todgers'sMr Bailey's genius had ever
shone out brightly in this particular respectit now eclipsed both
time and spacecheated beholders of their sensesand worked on
their belief in defiance of all natural laws. He walked along the
tangible and real stones of Holborn Hillan undersized boy; and
yet he winked the winksand thought the thoughtsand did the
deedsand said the sayings of an ancient man. There was an old
principle within himand a young surface without. He became an
inexplicable creature; a breeched and booted Sphinx. There was no
course open to the barberbut to go distracted himselfor to take
Bailey for granted; and he wisely chose the latter.


Mr Bailey was good enough to continue to bear him companyand to
entertain himas they wentwith easy conversation on various
sporting topics; especially on the comparative meritsas a general
principleof horses with white stockingsand horses without. In
regard to the style of tail to be preferredMr Bailey had opinions
of his ownwhich he explainedbut begged they might by no means
influence his friend'sas here he knew he had the misfortune to
differ from some excellent authorities. He treated Mr Sweedlepipe
to a dramcompounded agreeably to his own directionswhich he
informed him had been invented by a member of the Jockey Club; and
as they were by this time near the barber's destinationhe observed
thatas he had an hour to spareand knew the partieshe wouldif
quite agreeablebe introduced to Mrs Gamp.

Paul knocked at Jonas Chuzzlewit's; andon the door being opened by
that ladymade the two distinguished persons known to one another.
It was a happy feature in Mrs Gamp's twofold professionthat it
gave her an interest in everything that was young as well as in
everything that was old. She received Mr Bailey with much kindness.

'It's very goodI'm sureof you to come' she said to her
landlord'as well as bring so nice a friend. But I'm afraid
that I must trouble you so far as to step infor the young couple
has not yet made appearance.'

'They're lateain't they?' inquired her landlordwhen she had
conducted them downstairs into the kitchen.

'Wellsirconsidern' the Wings of Lovethey are' said Mrs Gamp.

Mr Bailey inquired whether the Wings of Love had ever won a plate
or could be backed to do anything remarkable; and being informed
that it was not a horsebut merely a poetical or figurative
expressionevinced considerable disgust. Mrs Gamp was so very much
astonished by his affable manners and great easethat she was about
to propound to her landlord in a whisper the staggering inquiry
whether he was a man or a boywhen Mr Sweedlepipeanticipating her
designmade a timely diversion.

'He knows Mrs Chuzzlewit' said Paul aloud.

'There's nothin' he don't know; that's my opinion' observed Mrs
Gamp. 'All the wickedness of the world is Print to him.'

Mr Bailey received this as a complimentand saidadjusting his
cravat'reether so.'

'As you knows Mrs Chuzzlewityou knowsp'rapswhat her chris'en
name is?' Mrs Gamp observed.

'Charity' said Bailey.

'That it ain't!' cried Mrs Gamp.

'Cherrythen' said Bailey. 'Cherry's short for it. It's all the
same.'

'It don't begin with a C at all' retorted Mrs Gampshaking her
head. 'It begins with a M.'

'Whew!' cried Mr Baileyslapping a little cloud of pipe-clay out of
his left leg'then he's been and married the merry one!'


As these words were mysteriousMrs Gamp called upon him to explain
which Mr Bailey proceeded to do; that lady listening greedily to
everything he said. He was yet in the fullness of his narrative when
the sound of wheelsand a double knock at the street door
announced the arrival of the newly married couple. Begging him to
reserve what more he had to say for her hearing on the way home
Mrs Gamp took up the candleand hurried away to receive and welcome
the young mistress of the house.

'Wishing you appiness and joy with all my art' said Mrs Gamp
dropping a curtsey as they entered the hall; 'and youtoosir.
Your lady looks a little tired with the journeyMr Chuzzlewita
pretty dear!'

'She has bothered enough about it' grumbled Mr Jonas. 'Nowshow a
lightwill you?'

'This wayma'amif you please' said Mrs Gampgoing upstairs
before them. 'Things has been made as comfortable as they could be
but there's many things you'll have to alter your own self when you
gets time to look about you! Ah! sweet thing! But you don't' added
Mrs Gampinternally'you don't look much like a merry oneI must
say!'

It was true; she did not. The death that had gone before the bridal
seemed to have left its shade upon the house. The air was heavy and
oppressive; the rooms were dark; a deep gloom filled up every chink
and corner. Upon the hearthstonelike a creature of ill omensat
the aged clerkwith his eyes fixed on some withered branches in the
stove. He rose and looked at her.

'So there you areMr Chuff' said Jonas carelesslyas he dusted
his boots; 'still in the land of the livingeh?'

'Still in the land of the livingsir' retorted Mrs Gamp. 'And Mr
Chuffey may thank you for itas many and many a time I've told
him.'

Mr Jonas was not in the best of humoursfor he merely saidas he
looked round'We don't want you any moreyou knowMrs Gamp.'

'I'm a-going immediatesir' returned the nurse; 'unless there's
nothink I can do for youma'am. Ain't there' said Mrs Gampwith
a look of great sweetnessand rummaging all the time in her pocket;
'ain't there nothink I can do for youmy little bird?'

'No' said Merryalmost crying. 'You had better go awayplease!'

With a leer of mingled sweetness and slyness; with one eye on the
futureone on the brideand an arch expression in her facepartly
spiritualpartly spirituousand wholly professional and peculiar
to her art; Mrs Gamp rummaged in her pocket againand took from it
a printed cardwhereon was an inscription copied from her signboard.

'Would you be so goodmy darling dovey of a dear young married
lady' Mrs Gamp observedin a low voice'as put that somewheres
where you can keep it in your mind? I'm well beknown to many
ladiesand it's my card. Gamp is my nameand Gamp my nater.
Livin' quite handyI will make so bold as call in now and thenand
make inquiry how your health and spirits ismy precious chick!'

And with innumerable leerswinkscoughsnodssmilesand
curtseysall leading to the establishment of a mysterious and
confidential understanding between herself and the brideMrs Gamp


invoking a blessing upon the houseleeredwinkedcoughednodded
smiledand curtseyed herself out of the room.

'But I will sayand I would if I was led a Martha to the Stakes for
it' Mrs Gamp remarked below stairsin a whisper'that she don't
look much like a merry one at this present moment of time.'

'Ah! wait till you hear her laugh!' said Bailey.

'Hem!' cried Mrs Gampin a kind of groan. 'I willchild.'

They said no more in the housefor Mrs Gamp put on her bonnetMr
Sweedlepipe took up her box; and Mr Bailey accompanied them towards
Kingsgate Street; recounting to Mrs Gamp as they went alongthe
origin and progress of his acquaintance with Mrs Chuzzlewit and her
sister. It was a pleasant instance of this youth's precocitythat
he fancied Mrs Gamp had conceived a tenderness for himand was much
tickled by her misplaced attachment.

As the door closed heavily behind themMrs Jonas sat down in a
chairand felt a strange chill creep upon herwhilst she looked
about the room. It was pretty much as she had known itbut
appeared more dreary. She had thought to see it brightened to
receive her.

'It ain't good enough for youI suppose?' said Jonaswatching her
looks.

'Whyit IS dull' said Merrytrying to be more herself.

'It'll be duller before you're done with it' retorted Jonas'if
you give me any of your airs. You're a nice articleto turn sulky
on first coming home! Ecodyou used to have life enoughwhen you
could plague me with it. The gal's downstairs. Ring the bell for
supperwhile I take my boots off!'

She roused herself from looking after him as he left the roomto do
what he had desired; when the old man Chuffey laid his hand softly
on her arm.

'You are not married?' he said eagerly. 'Not married?'

'Yes. A month ago. Good Heavenw