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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 very 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
parlors. These were, in general, ancient inhabitants
of that region ; born and bred there from boyhood ;
who had long since become wheezy and asthmati-
cal, and short of breath, except in the article of
story-telling : in which respect they were still mar-
vellously long-winded. These gentry were much
opposed to steam and all new-fangled ways, and
held ballooning to be sinful, and deplored the de-
generacy of the times ; which that particular mem-
ber of each little club who kept the keys of the
nearest church, professionally, always attributed to
the prevalence of dissent and irreligion ; though the



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 199

major part of the company inclined to the belief
that virtue went out with hair-powder, 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 neighborhood, and making no refer-
ence to its merits as a commercial boarding estab-
lishment — 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 be-
grimed 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, approach-
able 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 gunpowder — 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



200 MAETIN CHUZZLEWIT.

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
housetops, 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 specta-
tor would or no. Thus, the revolving chimney-pots
on one great stack of buildings, seemed to be turn-
ing 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 mend-
ing 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



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 201

tumult swelled into a roar ; the hosts of objects
seemed to thicken and expand a hundred-fold ; 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 re-
tired 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 particu-
lars 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 unlaw-
fully running away from his happiness, and estab-
lishing 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 per-
haps ? "

She called their attention to an oval miniature,
like a little blister, which was tacked up over the



202 MAKTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

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 gra-
cious ! Mrs. Todgers ! "

" Presiding over an establishment like this makes
sad havoc with the features, my dear Miss Peck-
sniffs," 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. Todg-
ers, 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 remem-
ber ? "

"Yes, my dear," giggled Merry, "but we have
never given it him, you know."

"You, my dears, having to deal with your pa's



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 203

pupils who can't help themselves, are able to take
your own way," said Mrs. Todgers, " but in a com-
mercial establishment, where any gentleman may
say, any Saturday evening, * Mrs. Todgers, this day
week we part, in 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
jNIiss 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 IMiss
Pecksniff, what a happiness your sisters spirits
must be to your pa and self ! "

"He's the most hideous, goggle-e3-ed creature,
Mrs. Todgers, in existence," resumed Merry : " quite
an ogre. The ugliest, awkwardest, frightfuUest
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 charm-
ing girl. '• I never shall be able to keep my coun-
tenance. 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 humor, 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



204 IVIARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

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 ]\[rs. Todgers, nodding
her head with mysterious intelligence, " to send a
favorable 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 al-
ways takes the lead in the house," said Mrs. Todg-
ers 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,"



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 205

With these words she gently eluded Mr. Peck-
sniff's grasp, and took Miss Charity into lier 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 dis-
tinctly spiteful expression which had been visible
in her face for some moments, has never been ex-
actly 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 honor 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 invi-
tation, he was willing, for his part, to accept it ; and
so left them that he might write his gracious an-
swer, 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 founder's 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 ;
Avith a great bell, whose handle was in itself a note
of admiration ; and a great lodge ; which being close
to the house, rather spoiled the lookout certainly, but



206 MAKTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

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 notes a great foot-
man appeared in due time at the great hall-door,
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 tor-
ment which could scarcely have been surpassed, if
he had been a bluebottle 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 per-
sonal 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 her-



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 207

self 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 daugh-
ters 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 in-
dignation, feeling that this was by no means what
they had come to see.

Miss Mercy, as having the larger share of gayety,
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, ex-
pressed it pretty openly in her looks. As to Mrs.
Todgers, she leaned on Mr. Pecksniff's arm and pre-
served 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. Peck-
sniff, 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 your-
self, Miss Pinch — is Pecksniff."



I



208 MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

The good man emphasized 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 favor 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 fulness 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 pro-
fession ; but he has the will to do Avell, 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



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 209

sister, with a courtesy, 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 gratify-
ing my wish to see you, and to thank you with my
own lips, you, who make so light of benefits con-
ferred, can scarcely think."

"Very grateful; very pleasant; very proper,"
murmured Mr. Pecksniff.

" It makes me happy too," said Kuth 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

VOL. I.-14.



210 MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

the meantime wandered to the pupil ; " certainly.
And how do yoti 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 sup-
posed 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, ray 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 employ-
ment ; 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 sacrificed 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 ex-



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. * 211

actly the same key as before, "and begs to know
Avot my young lady is a-learning of just now."

" Oh ! " said Mr. Pecksniff, " here is the young
man. He will take the card. AVith my compli-
ments, 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 intrusting 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 footnote to
the effect that M. T. took that opportunity of thank-
ing those gentlemen who had honored her with their
favors, 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 conde-
scension and kindness than ever, for it was desir-
able the footman should expressly understand that
they were not friends of hers, but patrons, —

" Good-morning. Good-by. 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



212 ' MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

footman, as if he meant him, " has shed a vision on
my path, refulgent in its nature, and not easy 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
courtesy 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 taste-
fulness of the house was such that he could not
help often stopping (particularly when they were
near the parlor 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 pro-
portions 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.



MARTIK CHUZZLEWIT. 213

" I have no doubt, my dears," said Mr. Pecksniff,
feigning to point out other beauties with his hand,
" that that is the proprietor, I should be glad to


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