Charles Dickens.

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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 acquaint-

" Come off the grass, will you ? " roared the gen-

" I beg your pardon, sir," said Mr. Pecksniff,
doubtful of his having heard aright. "Did
you — "

" Come off the grass ! " repeated the gentleman

" We are unwilling to intrude, sir," Mr. Peck-
sniff 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, sup-
posing them to be Miss Pinch's friends, had acted,
in their opinion, quite correctly, and had done no
more than, under such circumstances, might reason-
ably 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, immedi-
ately on the withdrawal of the visitors, had has-
tened to report them at headquarters, with a full
account of their having presumptuously charged her
with the delivery of a message afterwards con-
signed to the footman ; which outrage, taken in con-
junction 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 per-
sonal appearance, but particularly on whose offend-
ing card and hand-basket, 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 prepara-
tions 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 his 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 lieard,
indicative of small articles of ironmongery and
hardware being thrown at the boy. It was the cus-
tom 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 neighboring 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 conspic-
uous 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 honored 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 ! "
" Ain't it nice ? " — and similar humorous atten-

"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. Ain'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 keyhole, —

''There's a fish to-morrow — just come. Don't


eat none of him ! " and with this spectral warning,
vanished again.

By and by, he returned to lay the cloth for sup-
per : 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 occa-
sion 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 compli-
ment 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, guard-
ing his head, on a principle invented by Mr. Thomas
Cribb. "Ah! Come now! Do that agin, will yer ?"

" He's the most dreadful child," said Mrs. Todg-
ers, 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 bnt
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 de-
stroying 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 com-
pany 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 ad-

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 Broworigg,


and the like. At the period of which we write,
he was generally known among the gentlemen as
Bailey junior ; a name bestowed iipon him in con-
tradistinction, 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 immortalized 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 baker's; 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, testify-
ing 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 depu-
tation, consisting of Mr. Jinkins, and another gen-
tleman 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 honor 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 drawing-room, unless
you were told so by somebody who was in the secret.


It was floor-clothed all over ; and the ceiling, includ-
ing a great beam in the middle, was papered. Be-
sides the three little windows, with seats in them,
commanding the opposite archway, there was an-
other window looking point-blank, without any
Compromise at all about it, into Jinkins's bed-
room ; 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 pos-
sible, 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 fore-
head, 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. Gan-
der followed, escorting Mercy, and Mr. Pecksniff
brought up the rear with Mrs. Todgers.

Then, the presentations took place. They in-
cluded a gentleman of a sporting turn, who pro-
pounded 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 debat-
ing 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 gen-
tlemen 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 myste-
riousl}', 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 '' col-
lars ; " 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 gentle-
man, who travelled in the perfumery line, exhibited
an interesting knick-knack, in the way of a remark-
able 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 an-
nounced 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, invoking a blessing on the appetites of those
present, and committing all persons who had noth-
ing to eat, to the care of Providence : whose busi-
ness (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 Avhereof the
Miss Pecksniffs had been previously forewarned,
but of boiled beef, roast veal, bacon, pies, and
abundance of such heavy vegetables as are favor-
ably 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 conver-


sation, in their lives ; Mercy, in particular, was un-
commonly brilliant, and said so many good things
in the way of lively rej^artee 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 ; favoring them, when the general
attention was diverted from his proceedings, with
many nods and winks and other tokens of recogni-
tion, and occasionally touching his nose with a
corkscrew, as if to express the Bacchanalian charac-
ter of the meeting. In truth, perhaps even the
spirit 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 breed-
ing, 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

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 concoction 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 some-
body vowed that but for its color 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 ! " said 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.
Wliere 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 re-
gard with veneration, as the fountain of their exist-
ence. Yes, when yet the two Miss Pecksniffs lisped
in language scarce intelligible, they called that in-
dividual " 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 com-
pany 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

VOL. I.-15.


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, an opportunity arising, that it can
come out quite as strong as its neighbors — perhaps
stronger. He reminds them, amidst thunders of
encouragement, that they have heard of a some-
what 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 com-
bination 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
sjieech, 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 re-
cumbent 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 capri-
cious, 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 col-
lected, 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 his adoration. He sees it flash-


ing sometimes in the corner of her eye. Have a

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