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 occa-
sionally false earth, Tom's sister spoke it when
she said that.
" Ah ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff, whose eyes had
in the mean time wandered to the pupil ; " cer-
tainly. And how do you do, my very interesting
" Quite well, I thank you, sir," replied that
" A sweet face this, my dears," said Mr. Peck-
sniff, turning to his daughters. " A charming
manner ! "
Both young ladies had been in ecstasies with
the scion of a wealthy house (through whom the
nearest road and shortest cut to her parents
might be supposed to lie) from the first. Mrs.
Todgers vowed that anything one quarter so
angelic she had never seen. " She wanted but
a pair of wings, a dear," said that good woman,
" to be a young syrup," â€” meaning, possibly,
young sylph, or seraph.
" If you will give that to your distinguished
parents, my amiable little friend," said Mr.
Pecksniff, producing one of his professio al
cards, "and will say that I and my daughters â€” "
"And Mrs. Todgers, pa," said Merry.
"And Mrs. Todgers, of London," added
Mr. Pecksniff, " that I, and my daughters, and
Mrs. Todgers, of London, did not intrude upon
them, as our object simply was to take some
notice of Miss Pinch, whose brother is a young
man in my employment ; but that I could not
leave this very chaste mansion, without adding
my humble tribute, as an Architect, to the cor-
rectness 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,
anal to the promotion of whose glory and ad-
vancement I have sacrificed a â€” a fortune â€” I
shall be very much obliged to you."
" Missis's compliments to Miss Pinch," said
the footman, suddenly appearing, and speaking
in exactly the same key as before, "and begs to
know wot my young lady is a learning of just
"Oh!" said Mr. Pecksniff, "here is the
young man. He will take the card. With my
compliments, if you please, young man. My
dears, we are interrupting the studies. I.et
Some confusion was occasioned for an instant
by Mrs. Todgers's unstrapping her little flat
hand-basket, and hurriedly entrusting the
" young man" with one of her own cards, which,
in addition to certain detailed information rela-
tive to the terms of the commercial establish-
ment, bore a foot-note to the effect that M. T.
took that opportunity of thanking those gen-
tlemen who had honoured her with their
favours, and begged they would have the good-
ness, 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
Then he said to Miss Pinch â€” with more
condescension and kindness than ever, for it
was desirable the footman should expressly
understand that they were not friends of hers,
but patrons :
" Good morning. Good bye. God bless you !
You may depend upon my continued protection
of your brother Thomas. Keep your mind
quite at ease, Miss Pinch !"
" Thank you," said Tom's sister heartily : " a
" Xot 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" â€”
to the pupil, " farewell ! That fairy creature,"
said Mr. Pecksniff, looking in his pensive mood
hard at the footman, as if he meant him, " has
shed a vision on my path, refulgent in its nature,
and not 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 them-
selves away at length ; and sweeping past Miss
Pinch with each a haughty inclination of the
head and a curtsey strangled in its birth,
flounced into the passage.
The young man had rather a long job in
showing them out ; for Mr. Pecksniff's delight in
the tastefulness of the house was such that he
could not help often stopping (particularly when
they were near the parlour door) and giving it
expression, in a loud voice and very learned
terms. Indeed, he delivered, between the study
and the hall, a familiar exposition of the whole
science of architecture as applied to dwelling-
houses, and was yet in the freshness of his elo-
quence when they reached the garden.
" If you look," said Mr. Pecksniff, backing
from the steps, with his head on one side, and
his eyes half-shut that he might the better take
in the proportions of the exterior : " If you
look, my dears, at the cornice which supports
the roof, and observe the airiness of its con-
struction, especially where it sweeps the southern
angle of the building, you will feel with me â€” â–
Plow do you do, sir? I hope you're well?"
Interrupting himself with these words, he
very politely bowed to a middle-aged gentle-
man at an upper window, to whom he spoke â€”
not because the gentleman could hear him
(for he certainly could not), but as an appro-
priate accompaniment to his salutation.
" 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 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. "Alt
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 â€” "
" Hallo !" cried the gentleman.
" Sir, your servant !" said Mr. Pecksniff, tak-
ing off his hat : " I am proud to make your
" Come off the grass, will you !" roared the
" I beg your pardon, sir," said Air. Peck-
sniff, doubtful of his having heard aright. " Did
youâ€” ? "
" Come off the grass ! " repeated the gentle-
" We are unwilling to intrude, sir," Mr. Peck-
sniff smilingly began.
" But you are intruding," returned the other,
" unwarrantably intruding â€” 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,
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
INDIGNATION OF THE MISS PECKSNIFFS.
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 humili-
ating position of seeming to know such bold,
audacious, cunning, dreadful girls as that. They
had expected this. They had predicted it to
Mrs. Todgers, as she (Todgers) could depone,
that very morning. To this, they added, that
the owner of the house, supposing them to be
Miss Pinch's friends, had acted, in their opinion,
quite correctly, and had done no more than,
under such circumstances, might reasonably
have been expected. To that, they added
(with a trifling inconsistency), that he was a
brute and a bear ; and then they merged into a
flood of tears, which swept away all wandering
epithets before it.
Perhaps Miss Pinch was scarcely so much to
blame in the matter as the Seraph, who, imme-
diately on the withdrawal of the visitors, had
hastened to report them at head-quarters, with
a full account of their having presumptuously
charged her with the delivery of a message-
afterwards consigned to the footman ; which
" 'BO NOT REPINE, MY FRIENDS,' SAID MR. PECKSNIFF, TENDERLY. ' DO NOT WEEP FOR ME. IT IS CHRONIC
outrage taken in conjunction with Mr. Peck-
sniff'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 r
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 vio-
lently the whole way back, and even exhibited
more than once, a keen desire to attack the
devoted Mrs. Todgers: on whose personal
appearance, but particularly on whose offending
card and hand-basket, they were secretly in
clined to lay the blame of half their failure.
MARTIN CHUZZLE HIT
Todgers's was in a great bustle that evening.
partly owing to some additional domestic pre-
parations 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 down-stairs, too, until midnight or so,
on Saturdays ; together with a frequent gleaming
of mysterious lights in the area ; much working
at the pump ; and a constant jangling of the
iron handle of the pail. Shrill altercations from
time to time arose between Mrs. Todgers and
unknown females in remote back kitchens ; and
sounds were occasionally heard, indicative of
small articles of ironmongery and hardware
being thrown at the boy. It was the custom of
that youth on Saturdays, to roll up his shirt
sleeves to his shoulders, and pervade all parts
of the. house in an apron of coarse green baize ;
moreover, he was more strongly tempted on
Saturdays than on other days (it being a busy
time), to make excursive bolts into the neigh-
bouring alleys when he answered the door, and
there to play at leap-frog and other sports with
vagrant lads, until pursued and brought back by
the hair of his head, or the lobe of his ear ; thus,
he was quite a conspicuous feature among the
peculiar incidents of the last day in the week at
He was especially so on this particular Satur-
day evening, and honoured the Miss Pecksniffs
with a deal of notice ; seldom passing the door
of Mrs. Todgers's private room, where they sat
alone before the fire, working by the light of a
solitary candle, without putting in his head and
greeting them with some such compliments as,
" There you are agin !" " An't it nice ?" â€” and
similar humorous attentions.
" I say," he whispered, stopping in one of his
journeys to and fro, "young ladies, there's soup
to-morrow. She's a making it now. An't she
a putting in the water? Oh ! not at all neither ! "
In the course of answering another knock, he
thrust in his head again.
" I say â€” there's fowls to-morrow. Not skinny
ones. Oh no !"
Presently he called through the key-hole,
" There's a fish to-morrow â€” just come. Don't
eat none of him !" and with this spectral warn-
ing, vanished again.
By-and-bye, he returned to lay the cloth for
supper : it having been arranged between Mrs.
Todgers and the young ladies, that they should
partake of an exclusive veal-cutlet together in
the privacy of that apartment. He entertained
them on this occasion by thrusting the lighted
candle into his mouth, and exhibiting his face
in a state of transparency ; after the performan i :
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 afterwar ; s
polishing the same on the apron already men-
tioned. When he had completed his prepara-
tions, he grinned at the sisters, and expressed
his belief that the approaching collation would
be of " rather a spicy sort."
"Will it belong before it's ready, Bailey?''
" 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 com-
pliment on the head, which sent him staggering
against the wall ; and Mrs. Todgers, dish in
hand, stood indignantly before him.
" Oh you little villain !" said that lady. " Oh
you bad, false boy !"
" No worse than yerself," retorted Bailey,
guarding his head, on a principle # invented by
Mr. Thomas Cribb. " Ah ! Come now ! Do
that agin, will yer !"
" He's the most dreadful child," said Mrs.
Todgers, setting down the dish, " I ever had to
deal with. The gentlemen spoil him to tint
extent, and teach him such things, that I'm
afraid nothing but hanging will ever do him any
" Won't it !" cried Bailey. " Oh ! Yes ! Wot
do you go a lowerin the table-beer for then, and
destroying my constitooshun ? "
" Go down-stairs, 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 Peck-
sniffs by squinting hideously behind the back of
the unconscious Mrs. Todgers. Having done
this justice to his wounded feelings, he retired
underground ; where, in company with a swarm
of black beetles and a kitchen candle, he em-
ployed his faculties in cleaning boots and brush-
ing clothes until the night was far advanced.
Benjamin was supposed to be the real name
of this young retainer, but he was known by a
great variety of names. Benjamin, for instance,
had been converted into Uncle Ben, and that
again had been corrupted into Uncle ; which,
by an easy transition, had again passed into
Barnwell, in memory of the celebrated relative
GREAT DINNER-PARTY AT TODGERS S.
in that degree who was shot by his nephew
;e, while meditating in his garden at Cam-
berweU. The gentlemen at Todgers's had a
habit, too, of bestowing upon him, for the
time being, the name of any notorious male-
factor or minister ; and sometimes, when current
events were fiat, they even sought the pages of
history for these distinctions; as Mr. Pitt,
Young Brownrigg, and the like. At the period
of which we write, he was generally known
among the gentlemen as Bailey junior ; a name
bestowed upon him in contradistinction, perhaps,
to Old Bailey; and possibly as involving the
recollection of an unfortunate lady of the same
name, who perished by her own hand early in
life, and has been immortalised in a ballad.
The usual Sunday dinner-hour at Todgers's
was two o'clock, â€” a suitable time, it was con-
sidered, for all parties ; convenient to Mrs.
Todgers, on account of the baker's ; and con-
venient to the gentlemen, with reference to
their afternoon engagements. But on the Sun-
day which was to introduce the two Miss Peck-
sniffs 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
When the hour drew nigh, Bailey junior, tes-
tifying great excitement, appeared in a complete
suit of cast-off clothes several sizes too large
for him, and in particular, mounted a clean
shirt of such extraordinary magnitude, that one
of the gentlemen (remarkable for his ready wit)
called him " collars " on the spot. At about a
quarter before five a deputation, consisting of
Mr. Jinkins, and another gentleman whose name
was Gander, knocked at the door of Mrs. Tod-
gers's room, and, being formally introduced to
the two Miss Pecksniffs by their parent, who
Avas in waiting, besought the honour of con-
ducting them up-stairs.
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, including a great beam in the
middle, was papered. Besides the three little
windows, with seats in them, commanding the
opposite archway, there was another window
looking point blank, without any compromise at
all about it, into Jinkins's 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 forehead, with an inquisitive
green pupil in the middle of each.
Here, the gentlemen were all assembled.
There was a general cry of " Hear, hear !" and
" Bravo Jink !" when Mr. Jinkins appeared with
Charity on his arm : which became quite rap-
turous as Mr. Gander followed, escorting Mercy,
and Mr. Pecksniff brought up the rear with
Then, the presentations took place. They
included a gentleman of a sporting turn, who
propounded questions on jockey subjects to the
editors of Sunday papers, which were regarded
by his friends as rather stiff things to answer ;
and they included a gentleman of a theatrical
turn, who had once entertained serious thoughts
of " coming out," but had been kept in by the
wickedness of human nature ; and they included
a gentleman of a debating turn, who was strong
at speech-making ; and a gentleman of a lite-
rary 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 cf the
gentlemen had a turn for whist, and a large pro-
portion of the gentlemen had a strong turn for
billiards and betting. They had all, it may be
presumed, a turn for business ; being all com-
mercially 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 mysteri-
ously, too, of splendid women, and was sus-
pected of having once committed himself with
a Countess. Mr. Gander was of a witty turn,
being indeed the gentleman who had originated
the sally about " collars ;" which sparkling plea-
santry 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 produc-
tion of dinner, and poor Mrs. Todgers, being
reproached in confidence by Jinkins, slipped in
and out, at least twenty times to see about it;
always coming back as though she had no such
thing upon her mind, and hadn't been out at
all. But there was no hitch in the conversation,
nevertheless ; for one gentleman, who travelled
in the perfumery line, exhibited an interesting
nick-nack, in the way of a remarkable cake of
shaving soap, which he had lately met with in
Germany ; and the gentleman of a literary turn
repeated (by desire) some sarcastic stanzas he
had recently produced on the freezing of the
tank at the back of the house. These amuse-
ments, with the miscellaneous conversation aris-
ing out of them, passed the time splendidly,
until dinner was announced by Bailey junior in
these terms :
" The wittles is up '. "
On which notice they immediately descended
to the banquet-hall ; some of the more facetious
spirits in the rear taking down gentlemen as if
they were ladies, in imitation of the fortunate
possessors of the two Miss Pecksniffs.
Mr. Pecksniff said grace â€” a short and pious
grace, invoking a blessing on the appetites of
those present, and committing all persons who
had nothing to eat, to the care of Providence :
whose business (so said the grace, in effect) it
clearly was, to look after them. This done, they
fell to, with less ceremony than appetite ; the
table groaning beneath the weight, not only of
the delicacies whereof the Miss Pecksniffs had
been previously forewarned, but of boiled beef,
roast veal, bacon, pies, and abundance of such
heavy vegetables as are favourably known to
house-keepers for their satisfying qualities. Be-
sides which, there were bottles of stout, bottles
of wine, bottles of ale ; and divers other strong
drinks, native and foreign.
All this was highly agreeable to the two Miss
Pecksniffs, who were in immense request ; sitting
one on either hand of Mr. Jinkins at the bottom
of the table ; and who were called upon to take
wine with some new admirer every minute.
They had hardly ever felt so pleasant and so
full of conversation, in their lives ; Mercy, in
particular, was uncommonly brilliant, and said
so many good things in the way of lively re-
partee 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 sympathised in
these feelings to the fullest extent, and, abating
nothing of his patronage, gave them every en-
couragement in his power; favouring them,
when the general attention was diverted from
his proceedings, with many nods and winks and
other tokens of recognition and occasionally
touching his nose with a corkscrew, as if to ex-
press the Bacchanalian character of the meeting.
In truth, perhaps even the spirits of the two
Miss Pecksniffs, and the hungry watchfulness of
Mrs. Todgers, were less worthy of note than
the proceedings of this remarkable boy, whom
nothing disconcerted or put out of his way. If
any piece of crockery â€” a dish or otherwise â€”
chanced to slip through his hands (which hap-
pened once or twice), he let it go with perfect
good-breeding, and never added to the painful
emotions of the company by exhibiting the least
regret. Nor did he, by hurrying to and fro, dis-
turb the repose of the assembly, as many well-
trained servants do ; on the contrary, feeling the
hopelessness of waiting upon so large a party, he
left the gentlemen to help themselves to what
they wanted, and seldom stirred from behind
Mr. Jinkins's chair, where, with his hands in his
pockets, and his legs planted pretty wide apart,
he led the laughter, and enjoyed the conversation.
The dessert was splendid. No waiting either.
The pudding-plates had been washed in a little
tub outside the door while cheese was on, and
though they were moist and warm with friction,
still there they were againâ€” 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. â€” 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 con-
coction of half a dozen more of the same
size. Good gracious, how they laughed ! How
they coughed when they sipped it, because it
was so strong ; and how they laughed again,
when somebody vowed that but for its colour it
might have been mistaken, in regard of its inno-
cuous 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
â€” never at a loss !), is about to leave the firma-
ment. "Miss Pecksniff!" says Mrs. Todgers,
softly, " will you â€” " " Oh dear, no more, Mrs.
Todgers." Mrs. Todgers rises ; the two Miss-
Pecksniffs rise ; all rise. Miss Mercy Pecksniff