Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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lamber.

"Jobling, my dear friend!" said ]\Ir. Tigg, "how are you?
ullamy, wait outside. Crimple, don't leave us. Jobling, my
)od fellow, I am glad to see you."

" And how are you, Mr. Montague, eh ? " said the Medical
fficer, throwing himself luxuriously into an easy chair (they
ere all ea.sy chairs in the board-room), and taking a handsome
)ld snuffbox from the pocket of his black satin waistcoat.
How are you ? A little worn with business, eh 1 If so, rest.

little feverish from wine, humph ? If so, water. Nothing at
1 the matter, and quite comfortable ? Then take some lunch.

very wholesome thing at this time of day to strengthen the
istric juices with lunch, Mr. Montague."

The medical officer (he was the same medical officer who had
ilowed poor old Anthony Chuzzlewit to the grave, and who had
:tendcd J\Irs. Gamp's patient at the Bull) smiled in saying these
ords; and casually added, as he brushed some grains of snuft'
om his sliirt-fiill, "I always take it myself aliout this time of
ly, do you know ! "

"BuUaniv!" said the chairman, ringing tlie little l)ell.

"Sir!" ^

" Lunch."

" Not on my account, I hope ? " said the doctor. " You are
jry good. Thank you. I'm quite ashamed. Ha, ha ! if I liad
Jen a sharp practitioner, Mr. Montague, I shouldn't have mentioned
without a fee; for you may depend upmi it, my dear Sir, that



416 LIFE AXD ADYEXTURES OF MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT.

if you don't make a point of taking lunch, you'll very soon come
under my hands. Allow me to illustrate this. In Mr. Crimple's
leg—"

The resident Director gave an involuntary start, for the doctor,
in the heat of his demonstration, caught it up and laid it across
his own, as if he were going to take it oft', then and there.

" In Mr. Crimple's leg, you'll observe, "" pursued the doctor,
turning back his cuffs and spanning the limb with both hands,
"where Mr. Crimple's knee fits into the socket, here, there is —
that is to say, between the bone and the socket — a certain quantity
of animal oil."

" What do you pick my leg out for ? " said Mr. Crimple, looking
with something of an anxious expression at his limb. " It's the
same with other legs, ain't iti"

" Never you mind, my good Sir," returned the doctor, shaking
his head, " whether it is the same with other legs, or not the
same."

" But I do mind," said David.

" I take a particular case, Mr. Montague," returned the doctor,
" as illustrating my remark, you observe. In this portion of Mr.
Crimple's leg. Sir, tliere is a certain amount of animal oil. In
every one of Mr. Crimple's joints, Sir, there is more or less of the
same deposit. Very good. If Mr. Crimple neglects his meals, or
fails to take his proper quantity of rest, that oil wanes, and becomes
exhausted. What is the consequence 1 INIr. Crimple's bones sink
down into their sockets. Sir, and Mr. Crimple becomes a weazen,
puny, stunted, miserable man ! "

The doctor let Mr. Crimple's leg fall suddenly, as if he were
already in that agreeable condition : turned down his wristbands
again, and looked triumphantly at the chairman.

"We know a few secrets of nature in our profession. Sir," said
the doctor. " Of course we do. We study for that ; we pass the
Hall and the College for that ; and we take our station in societj
by that. It's extraordinary how little is known on these subjects
generally. Where do you suppose, now " — the doctor closed on(
eye, as he leaned back smilingly in his chair, and formed a triangk,
with his hands, of which his two thumbs composed the base—
'* where do you suppose Mr. Crimple's stomach is ?"

Mr. Crimple, more agitated than before, clapped his liam
immediately below his waistcoat.

" Not at all," cried the doctor ; " not at all. Quite a pojiula
mistake ! ]\Iy good Sir, you're altogether deceived."

" I feel it there, when it's out of order; that's all I know," sal
Crimple,




TllK BOAiiD.



418 LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

"You think you do," replied the doctor; "but science knows
better. There was a patient of mine once," touching one of the
manjr mourniug rings upon his fingers, and slightly bowing his
head, " a gentleman who did me the honour to make a very hand-
some mention of me in his will — ' in testimony,' as he was pleased
to say, 'of the unremitting zeal, talent, and attention of my friend
and medical attendant, John Jobling, Esquire, M.R.C.S.' — who was
so overcome by the idea of having all his life laboured under an
erroneous view of the locality of this important organ, that when
I assured him, on~ my jDrofessional reputation, he was mistaken, he
burst into tears, put out his hand, and said, 'Jobling, God bless
you ! ' Immediately afterwards he became speechless, and was
ultimately buried at Brixton."

" By your leave there ! " cried Bullamy, without. " By your
leave ! Refreshment for the Board-room ! " ■

"Ha!" said the doctor, jocularly, as he rubbed his hands, andi
drew his chair nearer to the table. " The true Life Insurance, ,
Mr. Montague. The best Policy in the world, my dear Sir. "We
should be provident, and eat and drink whenever we can. Eh,
Mr. Crimple 1 "

The resident Director acquiesced rather sulkily, as if the gratifi-
cation of replenishing his stomach had been impaired by the
unsettlement of his preconceived ojjinions in reference to its
situation. But the appearance of the porter and under porter
with a tray covered with a snow-white cloth, which, being thrown
back, displayed a pair of cold roast fowls, flanked by some potted
meats and a cold salad, quickly restored his good humour. It
was enhanced still further by the arrival of a bottle of excellent
madeira, and another of champagne ; and he soon attacked th('
repast with an appetite scarcely inferior to that of the medica'
officer.

The lunch was handsomely served, with a profusion of ricl
glass, plate, and china; which seemed to denote that eating am
drinking on a showy scale formed no unimportant item in th'
business of the Anglo-Bengalee Directorship. As it proceeded
the medical officer grew more and more joyous and red-faced, insc
much that every mouthful he ate, and everj' drop of wine h
swallowed, seemed to impart new lustre to his eyes, and to ligb
up new sparks in his nose and forehead.

In certain quarters of the City and its neighbourhood, M
Jobling was, as we have already seen in some measure, a vei
popvdar character. He had a portentously sagacious chin, and
pompous voice, with a rich huskiness in some of its tones th;
went directly to the heart, like a ray of light shining through tl i



JIARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 419

.uUly medium of clioice old burgundj'. His iieek-kercliief ami
lirt-tVill were ever of the whitest, his clothes of the blackest and
eekest, his gold watch-chain of the heaviest, ami his seals of the
irgest. His boots, which were always of the brightest, creaked
3 he walked. Perhajis he could shake his head, rub his hands,
r warm himsjelf before a fire, better than, any man alive ; and he
;ul a peculiar way of smacking his lips and saying, "Ah!" at
itervals while jjatients detailed their symptoms, which inspired
reat confidence. It seemed to express, "I know what you're
oing to say better than you do ; but go on, go on." As he talked
1 all occasions whether he had anything to say or not, it was
uanimously observed of him that he was "full of anecdote ;" and
is experience and profit from it were considered, for the same
;ason, to be something much too extensive for description. His
jmale patients could never praise him too highly ; and the coldest
f his male admirers would always say this for him to their friends,
that whatever Jobling's professional skill might be (and it could
ot be denied that he had a very high reputation), he was one
f the most comfortable fellows you ever saw in your life !"

Jobling was for many reasons, and not last in the list because
is connection lay principally among tradesmen and their families,
sactly the sort of person whom the Anglo-Bengalee Company
anted for a medical officer. But Jobling was far too knowing to
mnect himself with the company in any closer ties than as a paid
uid well-paid) functionary, or to allow his connection to be mis-
nderstood abroad, if he could help it. Hence he always stated
16 case to an inquiring patient, after this manner :

"AVhy, my dear Sir, with regard to the Anglo-Bengalee, my
iformation, you see, is limited : very limited. I am the medical
tticer, in consideration of a certain monthly jjayment. The
ibourer is wortliy of his hire ; Bis chd qui cito dat " — (" Classical
;holar, Jobling !" thinks the patient, "well-read man!") — "and
receive it regularly. Therefore I am bound, so far as my own
nowledge goes, to .speak well of the establishment." ("Nothing
an be fairer than Jobling's conduct," thinks the patient, who has
ist paid Jobling's bill himself.) " If you put any question to me,
ly dear friend," f^ays the doctor, " touching the responsibility or
apital of the company, there I am at fault ; for I have no head for
gures, and not being a shareholder, am delicate of showing any
uriosity whatever on the subject. Delicacy — your amiable lady
.'ill agree with me I am sure — should be one of the first charac-
eri.stics of a medical man." ("Nothing can be finer or more
entlemanly than Jobling's feeling," tliiiiks the patient.) "Very
cod, my dear Sir, so the matter stands. You don't know INIr.



420 LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

Montague 'l I'm sorry for it. A remarkably handsome man, and
quite the gentleman in every respect. Property, I am told, in
India. House, and everything belonging to him, beautiful. Costly
furniture on the most elegant and lavish scale. And pictures,
which, even in an anatomical point of view, are per — fection. In
case you should ever think of doing anything with the company,
I'll pass you, you may depend upon it. I can conscientiously
report you a healthy subject. If I understand any man's constitu-
tion, it is yours ; and this little indisposition has done him more
good, ma'am," says the doctor, turning to the patient's wife, "than
if he had swallowed the contents of half the nonsensical bottles in
my surgery. For they are nonsense — to tell the honest truth, one
lialf of them cere nonsense — compared with such a constitution as
his !" — (" Jobling is the most friendly creature I ever met with in
my life," thinks the patient ; " and upon my word and honour, I'll
consider of it !")

" Commission to you, doctor, on four new policies, and a loan '
this morning, eh 1 " said Crimple looking, when they had finished
lunch, over some papers brought in by the porter. "Well
done !"

"Jobling, my dear friend," said Tigg, "long life to you."

" No, no. Nonsense. Upon my word I've no right to draw
the commission," said the doctor, " I haven't really. It's picking
your pocket. I don't recommend anybody here. I only say what
I know. My patients ask me what I know, and I tell 'em what
I know. Nothing else. Caution is my weak side, that's the
truth ; and always was from a boy. That is," said the doctor,
filling his glass, "caution in behalf of other people. Whether I
would repose confidence in this company myself, if I had not been
paying money elsewhere for many years — that's quite another
question."

He tried to look as if there were no doubt about it ; but feelino
that he did it but indifferently, changed the theme, and praised
the wine.

"Talking of wine," said the doctor, "reminds rae of one of th(
finest glasses of old light port I ever drank in my life; and tha'
was at a funeral. You liave not seen anything of — of that party
Mr. Montague, have you'?" handing him a card.

"He is not buried, I hope?" said Tigg, as he took it. " Th'
honour of his company is not requested if he is."

"Ha, ha!" laughed the doctor. "No; not quite. He wa
honourably connected with that very occasion thougb."

" Oh ! " said Tigg, smoothing his moustache, as he cast his ej'e
upon the name. " I recollect. No. He has not been here."



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 421

The words were ou his lips, when Bullamy entered, and presented
card to the medical officer.

" Talk of the what's his name — " observed the doctor, rising.

" And he's sure to appear, eh V said Tigg.

" Why, no, Mr. Montague, no," returned the doctor. " We will
)t say that in thepresent case, for this gentleman is very far from it."

"So much the better," retorted Tigg. "So much the more
laptable to the Anglo-Bengalee. Bullamy, clear the table and
ke the things out by the other door. Mr. Crimple, business."

"Shall I introduce him V asked Jobling.

"I shall be eternally delighted," answered Tigg, kissing his hand
id smiling sweetly.

The doctor disappeared into the outer office, and immediately
turned with Jonas Chuzzlewit.

"Mr. Montague," said Jobling. "Allow me. My friend Mr.
huzzlewit. My dear friend — our chairman. Now do you know,"
; added, checking himself with infinite policy, and looking round
ith a smile : " that's a very singular instance of the force of
[ample. It really is a very remarkable instance of the force of
:ample. I say our chairman. Why do I say our chairman 1
ecause he is not m?/ chairman, you know. I have no connection
ith the company, farther than giving tliem, for a certain fee and
iward, my poor opinion as a medical man, precisely as I may give
any day to Jack Noakes or Tom Styles. Then why do I say
ir chairman? Simply because I hear the phrase constantly
ipeated about me. Such is the involuntary operation of the
icntal faculty in the imitative biped man. Mr. Crimple, I
jlieve you never take snuft"? Injudicious. You should."

Pending these remarks on the part of the doctor, and the
ngthened and sonorous pinch Avith which he followed them up,
onas t(Jok a seat at the board : as ungainly a man as ever he has
een within the reader's knowledge. It is too common with all of
3, but it is especially in the nature of a mean mind, to be over-
ftX'd by fine clothes and fine furniture. They had a very decided
ifiueuce on Jonas.

" Now you two gentlemen have business to discuss, I know,''
iid the doctor, " and your time is precious. So is mine ; for
3veral lives are waiting for me in the next room, and I have a round
f visits to make after- — after I have taken 'em. Having had the;
appiness to introduce you to each other, I may go alxnit my busi-
ess. Good bye. But allow me, Mr. Montague, before I go, to
xy tliis of my friend Avho sits beside you : That gentleman lias
one more, Sir," rapping his snuft'-box solemnly, " to reconcile me
D human nature, than any man alive or dead. Good bye !"



422 LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

With these words Jobling bolted abruptly out of the room, aud
proceeded, in his own official department, to impress the lives in
waiting with a sense of his keen conscientiousness in the discharge
of his duty, and the great difficulty of getting into the Anglo-
Bengalee ; by feeling their pulses, looking at their tongues, listening
at their ribs, poking them in the chest, and so forth ; though, if
he didn't well know beforehand that whatever kind of lives they
were, the Anglo-Bengalee would accept them readily, he was far
from being the Jobling that his friends considered him ; and was
not the original Jobling, but a spurious imitation.

Mr. Criraple also departed on the business of the morning ; and
Jonas Chuzzlewit and Tigg were left alone.

" I learn from our friend," said Tigg, drawing his chair towards
Jonas with a winning ease of manner, "that you have been
thinking — "

" Oh ! Ecod then he'd no right to say so," cried Jonas, inter- ■
rupting. " I didn't tell him my thoughts. If he took it into his
head that I was coming here for such or such a purpose, why,
that's his look-out. I don't stand committed by that."

Jonas said this offensively enough ; for over and above the
habitual distrust of his character, it was in his nature to seek
to revenge himself on the fine clothes and the fine furniture,
in exact proportion as he had been unable to withstand their
influence.

" If I come here to ask a question or two, and get a document
or two to consider of, I don't bind myself to anything. Let's
understand that, you know," said Jonas.

"My dear fellow!" cried Tigg, clapping him on the shoulder,
"I applaud your frankness. If men like you and I speak openly
at first, all possil^le misunderstanding is avoided. Why should I'
disguise what you know so well, but what the crowd never drean^
of? We companies are all birds of prey : mere birds of prey.
The only question is, whether in serving our own turn, we car
; serve yours too ; whether in double-lining our own nest, we cai
jmt a single lining into yours. Oh, you're in our secret. You'r(
behind the scenes. We'll make a merit of dealing plainly witl,
you, when we know we can't help it."

It was remarked, on the first introduction of Mr. Jonas int'
these pages, that there is a simplicity of cunning, no less than ;
simplicity of innocence, and that in all matters involving a faitl
in knavery, he was the most credulous of men. If Mr. "Tigg ha'
preferred any claim to high and honourable dealing, Jonas wouk
have suspected him though he had been a very model of probity
but when he gave utterance to Jonas's own thoughts of everj



MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT. 423

ling ami everybodj', Jonas began to feel that he was a pleasant
;llo\v, and one to be talked to freely.

He changed his position in his cliair ; not for a less awkward,
ut for a more boastful attitude ; and smiling in his miserable
jnceit, rejoined :

" You an't a bad man of business, Mr. Montague. You know
ow to set about it, I u'ill say."

"Tut, tut," said Tigg, nodding confidentially, and showing his
■hite teeth : "we are not children, Mr. C'huzzlewit ; we are grown
leu, I hope."

Jonas assented, and said after a short silence, first spreading
ut his legs, and sticking one arm akimbo to show how perfectly
t liome he was,

" The truth is—"

"Don't say, the truth," interposed Tigg, with another grin.
It's so like humbug."

Greatly charmed by this, Jonas began again.

" The long and the short of it, is — "

" Better," muttered Tigg. ',' Much better !"

" —That I didn't consider myself very well used by one or two
f the old companies in some negotiations I have had with 'em —
nee had, I mean. They started objections they had no right to
tart, and jDut questions they had no right to put, and carried
hings much too high for my taste."

As he made these observations he cast down his eyes, and
Joked curiously at the carpet. Mr. Tigg looked curiously at
im.

He made so long a pause, that Tigg came to the rescue, and
aid, in his pleasantest manner :

" Take a glass of wine V

"No, no," returned Jonas, with a cunning shake uf the head ;
' none of that, thankee. No wine over business. All very well
or you, but it wouldn't do for me."

"What an old hand you are, Mr. Chuzzlewit!' said Tigg,
eaning back in his chair, and leering at him through his iialf-shut
^yes.

Jonas shook his head again, as much as to say, " You're right
here ;" and then resumed, jocosely :

"Not such an old hand, either, but that I've been and got
narried. That's rather green, you'll say. Perhaps it is, especi-
dly as she's young. But one never knows what may hajjpen to
ihese women, so I'm thinking of insuring her life. It is but fair,
rou know, that a man should secure some consolation in case of
neeting with such a loss."



424 LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

\ " If anything can console hiin under such heart-breaking cir
jcumstances," murmured Tigg, with his eyes shut up as before.

" Exactly," returned Jonas ; " if anything can. Now, supposiui
I did it here, I should do it cheap, I know, and easy, withou
bothering her about it ; which I'd much rather not do, for it's jus
in a woman's way to take it into her head, if you talk to her abou
such things, that she's going to die directly."

"So it is," cried Tigg, kissing his hand in honour of the sex
"You're quite right. Sweet, silly, fluttering little simpletons !"

"Well," said Jonas, "on that account, you know, and becaus-
offence has been given me in other quarters, I wouldn't min(
patronising this Company. But I want to know what sort o
security there is for the Company's going on. That's the — "

"Not the truth?" cried Tigg, holding up his jewelled hand
" Don't use that Sunday School expression, please ! "

" The long and the short of it," said Jonas. " The long am
the short of it is, what's the security 1 "

" The paid-up capital, my dear Sir," said Tigg, referring to soni
papers on the table, " is, at this present moment — "

" Oh ! I understand all about paid-up capitals, you know," sai
Jonas.

" You do ? " cried Tigg, stopping short.

" I should hope so."

He turned the papers down again, and moving nearer to hiu
said in his ear :

" I know you do. I know you do. Look at me ! "

It was not much in Jonas's way to look straight at anybody ; bi
thus requested, he made shift to take a tolerable survey of tl
chairman's features. The chairman fell back a little, to give hi
the better opportunity.

"You know me?" he inquired, elevating his ej-ebrows. " Yi
recollect ? You've seen me before ? "

" Why, I thought I remembered your face Avhen I first can}
in," said Jonas, gazing at it; "but I couldn't call to mind wheit
I had seen it. No. I don't remember, even now. Was it in tl
street 1 "

"Was it in Pecksniff's parlour?" said Tigg.

" In Pecksniffs parlour ! " echoed Jonas, fetching a long breal
" You don't mean when — "

"Yes," cried Tigg, "when there was a very charming
delightful little family party, at which yourself and your respeci
father assisted."

" Well, never mind him" said Jonas. " He's dead, and ther
no help for it."



iMARTIX CHUZZLEWIT. 425

" Dead, is he ! " cried Tigg. " Venerable olil gontleman, is he
dead ! You're very like him."

Jouas received this compliment with anything but a good grace:
perhaps because of his own private sentiments in reference to the
personal apjiearance of liis deceased parent ; perhaps because he
was not best pleased to find that Montague and Tigg were one.
That gentleman perceived it, and tapping him familiarly on the
sleeve, beckoned him to the window. From tliis moment, Mr.
Montague's jocularity and flow of spirits were remarkable.

" Do you find me at all changed since that time ? " he asked.
'' Speak plainly."

Jonas looked hard at his waistcoat and jewels ; and said,
'' Rather, ecod ! "

" Was I at all seedy in those days?" asked Montague.

•' Precious seedy," said Jonas.

Mr. Montague pointed down into the street, where Bailey and
the cab were in attendance.

" Neat : perhaps dashing. Do you know whose it is ? "

" No."

'' Mine. Do you like this room 1 "

'•It must have cost a lot of money," said Jonas.

'* You're right. Mine too. Why don't you " — he whispered
this, and nudged him in the side with his elbow — ■"■ why don't you
take premiums, instead of paying 'em 1 That's what a man like
you should do. Join us ! "

Jonas stared at him in amazement.

"Is that a crowded street?" asked Montague, calling his
attention to the multitude without.

" Very," said Jonas, only glancing at it, and immediately after-
wards looking at him again.

"There are printed calculations," said his companion, "which
will tell you pretty nearly how many people will i)ass up and down
that thoroughfare in the course of a day. / can tell you how many
nf 'em will come in here, merely because they find this office here ;
knowing no more about it tlian they do of the Pyramids. Ha, ha !
Join us. You shall come in cheap."

Jonas looked at him harder and harder.

"I can tell you," said Tigg in his ear, "how many of 'em will
buy annuities, effect insurances, bring us their money in a hundred
shapes and ways, force it upon us, trust us as if we were the Mint;
yet know no more about us than you do of that crossing-sweeper
At the corner. Not so niucli. Ha, ha ! "
' Jonas gradually broke into a smile.
I ** Yah ! " said Montague, giving him a pleasant thrust in the



^



426 LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF

breast ; "you're too deep for us, you dog, or I wouldn't have told
you. Dine with rae to-uiorrow, in Pall Mall ! "

"I will," said Jonas.

" Done ! " cried Montague. " Wait a bit. Take these papers
with you, and look 'em over. See," he said, snatching some printed
forms from the table. " B is a little tradesman, clerk, parson,
artist, author, any common thing you like."

" Yes," said Jonas, looking greedily over his shoulder. "Well ! "

" B wants a loan. Say fifty or a hundred pound ; perhaps
more ; no matter. B proposes self and two securities. B is
accepted. Two securities give a bond. B insures his own life for



Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 44 of 80)