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stranger," said the old man, " do you ? "

Mr. Pecksniff replied by 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. " Sir, I am
a rich man. Not so rich as some suppose, perhaps,
but yet wealthy. I am not a miser, sir, though even
that charge is made against me, as I hear, and cur-
rently believed. I have no pleasure in hoarding. I
have no pleasure in the possession of money. The
devil that we call by that name can give me noth-
ing but unhappiness."

It would be no description of Mr. Pecksniff's gen-
tleness of manner to adopt the common parlance,
and 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 him, by churning the milk of human kindness, as
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 world, and making every social
pleasure hideous."

A thought arose in Mr. Pecksniff's mind, which
must have instantly mounted to his face, or Martin
Chuzzlewit would not have resumed as quickly and
as sternly as he did, —

" You would advise me, for my peace of mind, to
get rid of this source of misery, and transfer it to
some one who could bear it better. Even you, per-
haps, would rid me of a burden under which I suffer
so grievously. But, kind stranger," said the old man,
whose every feature darkened as he spoke, " good
Christian stranger, that is a main part of my trouble.
In other hands I have known money to do good ; in
other hands I have known it triumphed in, and boasted
of with reason, as the master-key to all the brazen
gates that closed upon the paths to worldly honor,
fortune, and enjoyment. To what man or woman ;
to what worthy, honest, incorruptible creature ; shall
I confide such a talisman, either now or when I die ?
Do you know any such person ? Yoitr virtues are
of course inestimable, but can you tell me of any
other living creature who will bear the test of con-
tact with myself ? "

" Of contact with yourself, sir ? " echoed Mr.


" Ay," 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)
was, that he turned everything he touched to gold.
The curse of my existence, and the realization of
my own mad desire, is that by the golden standard
which I bear about me, I am doomed to try the metal
of all other men, and find it false and hollow."

Mr. Pecksniff shook his head, and 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 corrup-
tion 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 favor ;
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 re-


warded it. They were dolts and idiots for their
pains. They should have made the search in their
own characters. They should have shown them-
selves 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 coflSns
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 demonstra-
tion 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 vapors 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, lay-


ing his hand upon his breast, and dropping his

" 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 disap-
pointed, 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 any-
thing you have told me to-night. 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 —
ay, 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 considera-
tions, and were fain to hold on tight, to keep him-
self from darting skywards like a rocket, "I tell
you without fear or favor, that it will not do for
you to be unmindful of your grandson, young Mar-
tin, 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 vender felloTv who
has just gone out ? Why not ? He has conspired
against me. like the rest, and ther are but birds of
one feather. A new plot ; a new plot I Oh, self,
self, self 1 At every turn, nothing but self ! ' '

He fell to trifling, as he ceased to speak, with the
ashes of the burned paper in the candlestick. He
did so, at first, in pure abstraction, but they pres-
ently 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 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 I Every man for himself,
and no creature for me 1 "

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



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 ; insomuch that ^Mrs. Lupin was fairly melted

VOL. I. -5.


by his disinterested anxiety (for lie 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 : proposing, in the fervor 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 aston-
ished 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 con-
tact with another head, that he could not help utter-
ing 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 parlor-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
gray — violent in its colors 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
color 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 mustache — a shaggy mus-
tache too : nothing in the meek and merciful way,
but quite in the fierce and scornful style : the regu-


lar 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 some-
thing worse.

"You were eavesdropping at that door, you vaga-
bond ! " said this gentleman.

Mr. Pecksniff cast him off, as St. 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 subse-
quently 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

"Now this is very distressing, my friend," said
Mr. Pecksniff, shaking his head and smiling com-
posedly. " It is very distressing to me to be com-
pelled 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 mustache 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 honored to be mis-
taken for, that man is my friend Slyme. For he is,
without an exception, the highest-minded, the most
independent-spirited, most original, spiritual, clas-
sical, talented, the most thoroughly Shakspearian,
if not Miltonic, and at the same time the most dis-
gustingly 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 per-
petually 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 when-


ever 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 ex-
ecutors 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
honor 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 busi-
ness 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 pro-
test 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 conse-
quently 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 immedi-
ately returned with a companion shorter than him-
self, 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 look 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.

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