looks downward for her scarf. Where 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
THE BEAUTY OF THE PARTY.
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 gentle-
man 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 grati-
tude. 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
regard with veneration, as the fountain of their
existence. Yes, when yet the two Miss Peck-
sniffs lisped in language scarce intelligible, they
called that individual " father I" 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 company 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 pro-
duced, and drunk. Enthusiasm mounts still
higher. Every man comes out freely in his own
character. The 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 pro-
pose 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 endear-
ing 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
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 neighbours — perhaps stronger.
He reminds them, amidst thunders of encourage-
ment, that they have heard of a somewhat 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
combination 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 speech, 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 up-stairs, where they are not ex-
pected 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 recumbent 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 con-
sent, as the beauty of the party, she is cruel and
capricious, 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 collected, and still sits
apart ; for his spirit loves to hold communion
with itself, and his soul recoils from noisy revel-
lers. She has a consciousness of his presence
and his adoration. He sees it flashing some-
times in the corner.of her eye. Have a care,
Jinkins, ere you provoke a desperate man to
Mr. Pecksniff had followed his younger friends
up-stairs, and taken a chair at the side of Mrs.
Todgers. He had also spilt a cup of coffee
over his legs without appearing to be aware of
the circumstance ; nor did he seem to know
that there was muffin on his knee.
"And how have they used you, down-stairs,
sir ? " asked the hostess.
"Their conduct has been such, my dear
madam," said Mr. Pecksniff, " as I can never
think of without emotion, or remember without
a tear. Oh, Mrs. Todgers ! "
" My goodness ! " exclaimed that lady. " How
low you are in your spirits, sir ! '
" I am a man, my dear madam," said Mr.
Pecksniff, shedding tears, and speaking with
an imperfect articulation, " but I am also a
father. I am also a widower. My feelings,
Mrs. Todgers, will not consent to be entirely
smothered, like the young children in the Tower.
They are grown up, and the more I press the
bolster on them, the more they look round the
corner of it."
He suddenly became conscious of the bit of
muffin, and stared at it intently : shaking his
head the while, in a forlorn and imbecile man-
ner, as if he regarded it as his evil genius, and
mildly reproached it.
" She was beautiful, Mrs. Todgers," he said,
turning his glazed eye again upon her, without
the least preliminary notice. " She had a small
" So I have heard," cried Mrs. Todgers with
" Those are her daughters," said Mr. Peck-
sniff, pointing out the young ladies, with in-
Mrs. Todgers had no doubt of it.
" Mercy and Charity," said Mr. Pecksniff,
" Charity and Mercy. Not unholy names, I
" Mr. Pecksniff ! " cried Mrs. Todgers,
" what a ghastly smile ? Are you ill, sir ? "
He pressed his hand upon her arm, and
answered in a solemn manner, and a faint
voice, " Chronic."
"Cholic?" cried the frightened Mrs. Todgers.
" Chron-ic," he repeated with some difficulty.
" Chronic. A chronic disorder. I have been
its victim from childhood. It is carrying me to
" Heaven forbid ! " cried Mrs. Todgers.
" Yes it is," said Mr. Pecksniff, reckless with
despair. " I am rather glad of it, upon the
whole. You are like her, Mrs. Todgers."
"Don't squeeze me so tight, pray, Mr.
Pecksniff. If any of the gentlemen should
" For her sake," said Mr. Pecksniff. " Per-
mit me — in honour of her memory. For the
sake of a voice from the tomb. You are
like her, Mrs. Todgers ! What a world this is ! "
'• Ah ! Indeed you may say that ! " cried
" I'm afraid it's a vain and thoughtless
world," said Mr. Pecksniff, overflowing with
despondency. " These young people about us.
Oh ! what sense have they of their responsibili-
ties ? None. Give me your other hand, Mrs.
That lady hesitated, and said "she didn't
" Has a voice from the grave no influence ? "
said Mr. Pecksniff, with dismal tenderness.
" This is irreligious ! My dear creature."
" Hush ! " urged Mrs. Todgers. " Really you
" It's not me," said Mr. Pecksniff. " Don't
suppose it's me ; it's the voice ; it's her voice."
Mrs. Pecksniff deceased, must have had an
unusually thick and husky voice for a lady, and
rather a stuttering voice, and to say the truth
somewhat of a drunken voice, if it had ever
borne much resemblance to that in which Mr.
Pecksniff spoke just then. But perhaps this
was delusion on his part.
" It has been a day of enjoyment, 1
Todgers, but still it has been a day of torture.
It has reminded me of my loneliness. What
am I in the world ? "
" An excellent gentleman, Mr. Pecksniff,"
said Mrs. Todgers.
" There is consolation in that too," cried Mr.
Pecksniff. " Am I ? "
" There is no better man living," said Mrs.
Todgers, " I am sure."
Mr. Pecksniff smiled through his tears, and
slightly shook his head. " You are very good,"
he said, " thank you. It is a great happiness to
me, Mrs. Todgers, to make young people happy.
The happiness of my pupils is my chief object.
I dote upon 'em. They dote upon me too —
" Always," said Mrs. Todgers.
"When they say they haven't improved,
ma'am," whispered Mr. Pecksniff, looking at
her with profound mystery, and motioning to
her to advance her ear a little closer to his
mouth. "When they say they haven't im-
proved, ma'am, and the premium was too high,
they lie ! I shouldn't wish it to be mentioned ;
you will understand me ; but I say to you as to
an old friend, they lie."
" Base wretches they must be ! " said Mrs.
MR. PECKSNIFF BECOMES IRREPRESSIBLE.
"Madam," said Mr. Pecksniff, "you arc
right. I respect you for that observation. A
word in your ear. To Parents and Guardians
— This is in confidence, Mrs. Todgers ? "
" The strictest, of course ! " cried that lady.
"To Parents and Guardians," repeated Mr.
Pecksniff. " An eligible opportunity now offers.
which unites the advantages of the best practi-
cal architectural education with the comforts of
a home, and the constant association with some,
who, however humble their sphere and limited
their capacity — observe ! — are not unmindful of
their moral responsibilities."
Mrs. Todgers looked a little puzzled to know
what this might mean, as well she might;
for it was, as the reader may perchance remem-
ber, Mr. Pecksniff's usual form of advertise-
ment when he wanted a pupil ; and seemed to
have no particular reference, at present, to
anything. But Mr. Pecksniff held up his finger
as a caution to her not to interrupt him.
" Do you know any parent or guardian, Mrs.
Todgers," said Mr. Pecksniff, " who desires to
avail himself of such an opportunity for a young
gentleman ? An orphan would be preferred.
Do you know of any orphan with three or four
hundred pound ? "
Mrs. Todgers reflected, and shook her head.
" When you hear of an orphan with three or
four hundred pound," said Mr. Pecksniff, " let
that dear orphan's friends apply, by letter post-
paid, to S. P., Post-office, Salisbury. I don't
know who he is, exactly. Don't be alarmed,
Mrs. Todgers," said Mr. Pecksniff, falling heavily
against her : " chronic — chronic ! Let's have a
little drop of something to drink."
" Bless my life, Miss Pecksniff ! " cried Mrs.
Todgers, aloud, " your dear pa's took very
poorly ! "
Mr. Pecksniff straightened himself by a sur-
prising effort, as every one turned hastily towards
him ; and standing on his feet, regarded the
assembly with a look of ineffable wisdom. Gra-
dually it gave place to a smile ; a feeble, help-
less, melancholy smile ; bland, almost to sickli-
ness. " Do not repine, my friends," said Mr.
Pecksniff, tenderly. " Do not weep for me.
It is chronic." And with these words, after
making a futile attempt to pull off his shoes,
he fell into the fire-place.
The youngest gentleman in company had him
out in a second. Yes, before a hair upon his
head was singed, he had him on the hearth-rug
— her father !
She was almost beside herself. So was her
sister. Jinkins consoled them both. They all
consoled them. Everybody had something to
say except the youngest gentleman in company,
who with a noble self-devotion did the heavy
work, and held up Mr. Pecksniff's head without
being taken any notice of by anybody. At last
they gathered round, and agreed to carry him
up-stairs to bed. The youngest gentleman in
company was rebuked by Jinkins for tearing
Mr. Pecksniff's coat ! Ha, ha ! But no matter.
They carried him up-stairs, and crushed the
youngest gentleman at every step. His bedroom
was at the top of the house, and it was a long
way ; but they got him there in course of time.
He asked them frequently upon the road for a
little drop of something to drink. It seemed an
idiosyncrasy. The youngest gentleman in com-
pany proposed a draught of water. Mr. Peck-
sniff called him opprobrious names for die
jinkins and Gander took the rest upon them-
selves, and made him as comfortable as they
could, on the outside of his bed; and when he
seemed disposed to sleep, they left him. But
before they had all gained the bottom of the
staircase, a vision of Mr. Pecksniff, strangely
attired, was seen to flutter on the top landing.
He desired to collect their sentiments, it seemed,
upon the nature of human life.
"My friends," cried Mr. Pecksniff, looking
over the banisters, "let us improve our minds
by mutual inquiry and discussion. Let us be
moral. Let us contemplate existence. Where
"Here," cried that gentleman. "Go to bed
" To bed !" said Mr. Pecksniff. " Bed ! Tis
the voice of the sluggard ; I hear him complain ;
you have woke me too soon ; I must slumber
again. If any young orphan will repeat the
remainder of that simple piece from Doctor
Watts's collection, an eligible opportunity now
" This is very soothing," said Mr. Pecksniff,
after a pause. " Extremely so. Cool and re-
freshing j particularly to the legs ! The legs of
the human subject, my friends, are a beautiful
production. Compare them with wooden legs,
and observe the difference between the anatomy
of nature and the anatomy of art. Do you
know," said Mr. Pecksniff, leaning over the
banisters, with an odd recollection of his femihar
manner among new pupils at home, " that I
should very much like to see Mrs. Todgers s
notion of a wooden leg, if perfectly agreeable to
As it appeared impossible to entertain any
reasonable hopes of him after this speech, Mr.
Jinkins and Mr. Gander went up-stairs again,
and once more got him into bed. But they had
not descended to the second floor before he was
out again ; nor, when they had repeated the
process, had they descended the first flight,
before he was out again. In a word, as often as
he was shut up in his own room, he darted out
afresh, charged with some new moral sentiment,
•which he continually repeated over the banisters,
with extraordinary relish, and an irrepressible
desire for the improvement of his fellow-creatures
that nothing could subdue.
Under these circumstances, when they had
got him into bed for the thirtieth time or so,
Mr. Jinkins held him, while his companion
went down-stairs in search of Bailey junior, with
whom he presently returned. That youth, having
been apprised of the service required of him,
was in great spirits, and brought up a stool,
.a candle, and his supper; to the end that he
might keep watch outside the bedroom door
with tolerable comfort.
When he had completed his arrangements,
they locked Mr. Pecksniff in, and left the key
on the outside; charging the young page to
listen attentively for symptoms of an apoplectic
nature, with which the patient might be troubled,
and, in case of any such presenting themselves,
.to summon them without delay : to which Mr.
Bailey modestly replied that he hoped he knowed
wot o'clock it was in gineral, and didn't date
his letters to his friends, from Todgers's, for
CONTAINING STRANGE MATTER; ON WHICH MANY
EVENTS IN THIS HISTORY MAY, FOR THEIR GOOD
OR EVIL INFLUENCE, CHIEFLY DEPEND.
UT Mr. Pecksniff came to town on
business. Had he forgotten that?
Was he abvays taking his pleasure
with Todgers's jovial brood, unmind-
ful of the serious demands, whatever
they might be, upon his calm considera-
( p t) ^ tion? No.
Time and tide will wait for no man,
saith the adage. But all men have to wait for
time and tide. That tide which, taken at the
flood, would lead Seth Pecksniff on to fortune,
was marked down in the table, and about to
flow. No idle Pecksniff lingered far inland,
unmindful of the changes of the stream; but
there, upon the water's edge, over his shoes
already, stood the worthy creature, prepared to
wallow in the very mud, so that it slid towards
the quarter of his hope.
The trustfulness of his two fair daughters was
beautiful indeed. They had that firm reliance
on their parent's nature, which taught them to
feel certain that in all he did, he had his purpose
straight and full before him. And that its noble
end and object was himself, which almost of
necessity included them, they knew. The devo-
tion of these maids was perfect.
Their filial confidence was rendered the more
touching, by their having no knowledge of their
parent's real designs, in the present instance.
All that they knew of his proceedings, was, that
every morning, after the early breakfast, he
repaired to the post-office and inquired for
letters. That task performed, his business for
the day was over ; and he again relaxed, until
the rising of another sun proclaimed the advent
of another post.
This went on, for four or five days. At
length, one morning, Mr. Pecksniff returned with
a breathless rapidity, strange to observe in him,
at other times so calm ; and, seeking immediate
speech with his daughters, shut himself up with
them in private conference, for two whole hours.
Of all that passed in this period, only the fol-
lowing words of Mr. Pecksniff's utterance are
" How he has come to change so very much
(if it should turn out as I expect, that he has),
we needn't stop to inquire. My dears, I have
my thoughts upon the subject, but I will not
impart them. It is enough that we will not be
proud, resentful, or unforgiving. If he wants
our friendship, he shall have it. We know our
duty, I hope !"
That same day at noon, an old gentleman
alighted from a hackney-coach at the post-office,
and, giving his name, inquired for a letter
addressed to himself, and directed to be left till
called for. It had been lying there, some days.
The superscription was in Mr. Pecksniff's hand,
and it was sealed with Mr. Pecksniff's seal.
It was very short, containing indeed nothing
more than an address " with Mr. Pecksniff's
respectful, and (notwithstanding what has passed)
sincerely affectionate regards." The old gentle-
man tore off the direction — scattering the rest
in fragments to the winds — and giving it to the
coachman, bade him drive as near that place as
he could. In pursuance of these instructions
he was driven to the Monument ; where he again
alighted, dismissed the vehicle, and walked
Though the face, and form, and gait of this
old man, and even his grip of the stout stick on
A VERY IMPORTANT VISIT
which he leaned, were all expressive of a resolu-
tion not easily shaken, and a purpose (it matters
little whether right or wrong, just now) such as
in other days might have survived the rack, and
had its strongest life in weakest death; still there
were grains of hesitation in his mind, which
made him now avoid the house he sought, and
loiter to and fro in a gleam of sunlight, that
brightened the little churchyard hard by. There
may have been, in the presence of those idle
heaps of dust among the busiest stir of life,
something to increase his wavering ; but there
he walked, awakening the echoes as he paced
up and down, until the church clock, striking the
quarters for the second time since he had been
there, roused him from his meditation. Shaking
off his incertitude as the air parted with the
sound of the bells, he walked rapidly to the
house, and knocked at the door.
Mr. Pecksniff was seated in the landlady's
little room, and his visitor found him reading —
by an accident : he apologised for it — an excel-
WE SOMETIMES VENTURE TO CONSIDER HER RATHER A FINE FIGURE, SIR. SPEAKING AS AN ARTIST,
I MAY PERHAPS BE PERMITTED TO SUGGEST, THAT ITS OUTLINE IS GRACEFUL AND CORRECT."
lent theological work. There were cake and
wine upon a little table — by another accident,
for which he also apologised. Indeed he said,
he had given his visitor up, and was about to
partake of that simple refreshment with his
children, when he knocked at the door.
"Your daughters are well?" said old Martin,
laying down his hat and stick.
Mr. Pecksniff endeavoured to conceal his
agitation as a father, when he answered, Yes,
they were. They were good girls, he said, very
Martin Chuzzlewit. 6.
good. He would not venture to recommend
Mr. Chuzzlewit to take the easy chair, or to
keep out of the draught from the door. If he
made any such suggestion, he would expose
himself, he feared, to most unjust suspicion.
He would, therefore, content himself with re-
marking that there was an easy chair in the
room ; and that the door was far from being air-
tight. The latter imperfection, he might per-
haps venture to add, was not uncommonly to be
met with in old houses.
MAR TIN CHUZZLE WIT.
The old man sat down in the easy chair, and
after a few moments' silence, said :
" In the first place, let me thank you for
coming to London so promptly, at my almost
unexplained request : I need scarcely add, at
"At your cost, my good sir!'' cried Mr.
Pecksniff, in a tone of great surprise.
" It is not," said Martin, waving his hand im-
patiently, " my habit to put my — well ! my rela-
tives — to any personal expense to gratify my
" Caprices, my good sir ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff.
" That is scarcely the proper word either, in
this instance," said the old man. " No. You
Mr. Pecksniff was inwardly very much re-
l to hear it, though he didn't at all know
" You are right," repeated Martin. " It is
not a caprice. It is built up on reason, proof,
and cool comparison. Caprices never are.
Moreover, I am not a capricious man. I never
" Most assuredly not," said Mr. Pecksniff.
"How do you know?" returned the other
quickly. " You are to begin to know it now.
You are to test and prove it, in time to come.
You and yours are to find that I can be con-
stant, and am not to be diverted from my end.
Do you hear ?"
" Perfectly," said Mr. Pecksniff.
" I very much regret," Martin resumed, look-
ing steadily at him, and speaking in a slow and
measured tone : " I very much regret that you
and I held such a conversation together, as that
which passed between us, at our last meeting.
I very much regret that I laid open to you what
were then my thoughts of you, so freely as I
did. The intentions that I bear towards you,
now, are of another kind ; deserted by all in
whom I hue ever trusted ; hoodwinked and
beset by all who should help and sustain me ; I
fly to you for refuge. I confide in you to be
my ally; to attach yourself to me by ties of
Interest and Expectation — " he laid great stress
upon these words, though Mr. Pecksniff par-
ticularly begged him not to mention it ; " and
to help me to visit the consequences of the very
worst species of meanness, dissimulation, and
subtlety, on the right heads."
" My noble sir!" cried Mr. Pecksniff, catching
at his outstretched hand. "And you regret the
having harboured unjust thoughts of me ! you
with those grey hairs !"
" Regrets," said Martin, " are the natural pro-
perty of grey hairs ; and I enjoy, in common
with all other men, at least my share of such
inheritance. And so enough of that. I regret
having been severed from you so long. If I had
known you sooner, and sooner used you as you
well deserve, I might have been a happier man."
Mr. Pecksniff looked up to the ceiling, and
clasped his hands in rapture.
" Your daughters," said Martin, after a short
silence. " I don't know them. Are they like