Uncouth and unsatisfactory as this short
interview had been, it had furnished Mr. Peck-
sniff with a hint which, supposing nothing
further were imparted to him, repaid the journey
up, and home again. For the good gentleman
had never (for want of an opportunity) dived
into the depths of Mr. Jonas's nature ; and any
recipe for catching such a son-in-law (much
more one written on a leaf out of his own
father's book) was worth the having. In order
that he might lose no chance of improving so
fair an opportunity by allowing Anthony to fall
asleep^before he had finished all he had to say,
Mr. Pecksniff, in the disposal of the refresh-
ments on the table â€” a work to which he now
applied himself in earnest â€” resorted to many
ingenious contrivances for attracting his atten-
tion, such as coughing, sneezing, clattering the
teacups, sharpening the knives, dropping the
loaf, and so forth. But all in vain, for Mr.
Jonas returned, and Anthony had said no
"What! my father asleep again?" he cried,
as he hung up his hat, and cast a look at him.
"Ah ! and snoring. Only hear !"
" He snores very deep," said Mr. Pecksniff.
" Snores deep ?" repeated Jonas. " Yes ; let
him alone for that. He'll snore for six, at any
"" Do you know, Mr. Jonas," said Pecksniff,
" that I think your father is â€” don't let me alarm
you â€” breaking ?"
" Oh, is he though," replied Jonas, with a
shake of the head which expressed the close-
ness of his dutiful observation. " Ecod, you
don't know how tough he is. He ain't upon
the move yet."
" It struck me that he was changed, both in
his appearance and manner," said Mr. Pecksniff.
"That's all you know about it," returned
Jonas, seating himself with a melancholy air.
" He never was better than he is now. How
are they all at home ? How's Charity ?"
" Blooming, Mr. Jonas, blooming."
"And the other one â€” how's she ?"
"Volatile trifler!" said Mr. Pecksniff, fondly
musing. " She is well â€” she is well. Roving
from parlour to bed-room, Mr. Jonas, like the
bee ; skimming from post to pillar, like the
butterfly ; dipping her young beak into our
currant wine, like the humming-bird ! Ah !
were she a little less giddy than she is ; and had
she but the sterling qualities of Cherry, my
young friend !"
" Is she so very giddy, then ?" asked Jonas.
"Well, well!" said Mr. Pecksniff, with great
feeling ; " let me not be hard upon my child.
Beside her sister Cherry she appears so. A
strange noise that, Mr. Jonas !"
" Something wrong in the clock, I suppose,"
said Jonas, glancing towards it. " So the other
one ain't your favourite, ain't she ?"
The fond father was about to reply, and had
already summoned into his face a look of most
intense sensibility, when the sound he had
already noticed was repeated.
" Upon my word, Mr. Jonas, that is a very
extraordinary clock," said Pecksniff.
It would have been, if it had made the noise
which startled them : but another kind of time-
piece was fast running down, and from that the
sound proceeded. A scream from Chuffey,
rendered a hundred times more loud and for-
midable by his silent habits, made the house
ring from roof to cellar; and, looking round,
they saw Anthony Chuzzlewit extended on the
floor, with the old clerk upon his knees beside
He had fallen from his chair in a fit, and lay
there, battling for each gasp of breath, with
every shrivelled vein and sinew starting in its
place, as if it were bent on bearing witness to
his age, and sternly pleading with Nature against
his recovery. It was frightful to see how the
principle of life, shut up within his withered
frame, fought like a strong devil, mad to be
released, and rent its ancient prison-house. A
young man in the fulness of his vigour, strug-
gling with so much strength of desperation, would
have been a dismal sight ; but an old, old,
shrunken body, endowed with preternatural
might, and giving the lie in every motion of its
every limb and joint to its enfeebled aspect, was
a hideous spectacle indeed.
They raised him up, and fetched a surgeon
with all haste, who bled the patient, and applied
some remedies ; but the fits held him so long,
that it was past midnight when they got him â€”
quiet now, but quite unconscious and exhausted
â€” into bed.
" Don't go," said Jonas, putting his ashy lips
to Mr. Pecksniff's ear, and whispering across
the bed. " It was a mercy you were present
when he was taken ill. Some one might have
said it was my doing."
" Your doing !" cried Mr. Pecksniff.
'â€¢ I don't know but they might," he replied,
wiping the moisture from his white face. " Peo-
ple say such things. How does he look now?"
Mr. Pecksniff shook his head.
" I used to joke, you know," said Jonas :
"but I â€” I never wished him dead. Do you
think he's very bad?"
" The doctor said he was. You heard," was
Mr. Pecksniff's answer.
" Ah ! but he might say that to charge us
more, in case of his getting well," said Jonas.
" You mustn't go away, Pecksniff. Now it's
come to this, I wouldn't be without a witness
for a thousand pound."
Chuffey said not a word, and heard not a
word. He had sat himself down in a chair at
the bedside, and there he remained, motionless ;
except that he sometimes bent his head over
the pillow, and seemed to listen. He never
changed in this. Though once in the dreary
night Mr. Pecksniff, having dozed, awoke with
a confused impression that he had heard him
praying, and strangely mingling figuresâ€”not
of speech, but arithmetic â€” with his broken
Jonas sat there, too, all night ; not where his
father could have seen him, had his conscious-
ness returned, but hiding, as it were, behind
him, and only reading how he looked, in Mr.
Pecksniff's eyes. He, the coarse upstart, who
had ruled the house so long â€” that craven cur,
who was afraid to move, and shook so, that
his very shadow fluttered on the wall !
It was broad, bright, stirring day when, leav-
ing the old clerk to watch him, they went down
to breakfast. People hurried up and down the
street; windows and doors were opened; thieves
and beggirs took their usual posts; workmen
bestirred themselves; tradesmen set forth their
shops ; bailiffs and constables were on the wat< h ;
all kin Is of human creatures strove, in their
several ways, as hard to live, as the one sick old
man who combated for every grain of sand in
his fast-emptying glass, as eagerly as if it were
" If anything happens, Pecksniff," said Jonas,
"you must promise me to stop here till it's all
over. You shall see that I do what's right."
" I know that you will do what's right, Mr.
Jonas,"' said Pecksniff.
" Yes, yes, but I won't be doubted. No one
shall have it in his power to say a syllable against
me," he returned. " I know how people will
talk. Just as if he wasn't old, or I had the
secret of keeping him alive I"
Mr. Pecksniff promised that he would remain,
if circumstances should render it, in his esteemed
friend's opinion, desirable; they were finishing
their meal in silence, when suddenly an appari-
tion stood before them, so ghastly to the view,
that Jonas shrieked aloud, and both recoiled in
Old Anthony, dressed in his usual clothes,
was in the room â€” beside the table. He leaned
upon the shoulder of his solitary friend ; and on
his livid face, and on his horny hands, and in
his glassy eyes, and traced by an eternal finger
in the very drops of sweat upon his brow, was
one word â€” Death.
He spoke to them â€” in something of his own
voice too, but sharpened and made hollow, like
a dead man's face. What he would have said.
God knows. Pie seemed to utter words, but
they were such as man had never heard. And
this was the most fearful circumstance of all, to
see him standing there, gabbling in an unearthly
" He's better now," said Chuffey. " Better
now. Let him sit in his old chair, and he'll be
well again. I told him not to mind. I said so,
They put him in his easy-chair, and wheeled
it near the window ; then, setting open the door,
exposed him to the free current of morning air.
But not all the air that is, nor all the winds that
ever blew 'twixt Heaven and Earth, could have
brought new life to him.
Plunge him to the throat in golden pieces
now, and his heavy fingers shall not close on
THE READER IS BROUGHT INTO COMMUNICATION
WITH SOME PROFESSIONAL PERSONS, AND SHEDS A
TEAR OVER THE FILIAL I'll IV OF GOOD MR. JONAS.
MR. PECKSNIFF was in a hackney cabrio-
let, for Jonas Chuzzlcwit had said '"Spare
no expense." Mankind is evil in its thoughts
MR." PECKSNIFF VISITS MRS. GAMP.
and in its base constructions, and Jonas was
resolved it should not have an inch to stretch
into an ell against him. It never should be
charged upon his father's son that he had
grudged the money for his father's funeral.
Hence, until the obsequies should be concluded,
Jonas had taken for his motto " Spend, and
Mr. Pecksniff had been to the undertaker,
and was now upon his way to another officer in
the train of mourning â€” a female functionary, a
nurse, and watcher, and performer of nameless
offices about the persons of the dead â€” whom he
had recommended. Her name, as Mr. Pecksniff
gathered from a scrap of writing in his hand,
was Gamp ; her residence in Kingsgate Street,
High Holborn. So Mr. Pecksniff, in a hackney
cab, was rattling over Holborn stones, in quest
of Mrs. Gamp.
This lady lodged at a bird-fancier's, next door
but one to the celebrated mutton-pie shop, and
directly opposite to the original cat's-meat
warehouse; the renown of which establishments
was duly heralded on their respective fronts. It
was a little house, and this was the more con-
venient ; for Mrs. Gamp being, in her highest
walk of art, a monthly nurse, or, as her sign-
board boldly had it, " Midwife," and lodging in
the first-floor-front, was easily assailable at night
by pebbles, walking-sticks, and fragments of
tobacco-pipe : all much more efficacious than
the street-door knocker, which was so con-
structed as to wake the street with ease, and
even spread alarms of fire in Holborn, without
making the smallest impression on the premises
to which it was addressed.
It chanced on this particular occasion that
Mrs. Gamp had been up all the previous night,
in attendance upon a ceremony to which the
usage of gossips has given that name which ex-
presses, in two syllables, the curse pronounced
on Adam. It chanced that Mrs. Gamp had not
been regularly engaged, but had been called in
at a crisis, in consequence of her great repute,
to assist another professional lady with her ad-
vice ; and thus it happened that, all points of
interest in the case being over, Mrs. Gamp had
come home again to the bird-fancier's, and gone
to bed. So, when Mr. Pecksniff drove up in
the hackney-cab, Mrs. Gamp's curtains were
drawn close, and Mrs. Gamp was fast asleep
If the bird-fancier had been at home, as he
ought to have been, there would have been no
great harm in this ; but he was out, and his shop
was closed. The shutters were down certainly;
and in every pane of glass there was at least
one tiny bird in a tiny bird-cage, twittering and
hopping his little ballet of despair, and knocking
his head against the roof; while one unhappy
goldfinch who lived outside a red villa with his
name on the door, drew the water for his own
drinking, and mutely appealed to some good
man to drop a farthing's worth of poison in it.
Still, the door was shut. Mr. Pecksniff tried
the latch, and shook it, causing a cracked
bell inside to ring most mournfully ; but no
one came. The bird-fancier was an easy shaver
also, and a fashionable hair-dresser also; and
perhaps he had been sent for, express, from
the court end of the town, to trim a lord, or cut
and curl a lady ; but however that might be,
there, upon his own ground, he was not ; nor
was there any more distinct trace of him to assist
the imagination of an inquirer, than a profes-
sional print or emblem of his calling (much fa-
voured in the trade), representing a hair-dresser
of easy manners curling a lady of distinguished
fashion, in the presence of a patent upright grand
Noting these circumstances, Mr. Pecksniff, in
the innocence of his heart, applied himself to
the knocker; but at the first double knock,
every window in the street became alive with
female heads ; and before he could repeat the
performance, whole troops of married ladies
(some about to trouble Mrs. Gamp themselves,
very shortly) came flocking round the steps,
all crying out with one accord, and with un-
common interest, " Knock at the winder, sir,
knock at the winder. Lord bless you, don't
lose no more time than you can help â€” knock at
the winder ! "
Acting upon this suggestion, and borrowing
the driver's whip for the purpose, Mr. Peck-
sniff soon made a commotion among the firs-t-
floor flower-pots, and roused Mrs. Gamp, whose
voice â€” to the great satisfaction of the matrons â€”
was heard to say, " I'm coming."
" He's as pale as a muffin," said one lady, in
allusion to Mr. Pecksniff.
" So he ought to be, if he's the feelings of a
man," observed another.
A third lady (with her arms folded) said she
wished he had chosen any other time for fetching
Mrs. Gamp, but it always happened so with her.
It gave Mr. Pecksniff much uneasiness to
find, from these remarks, that he was supposed
to have come to Mrs. Gamp upon an errand
touchingâ€” not the close of life, but the other
end. Mrs. Gamp herself was under the same
impression, for, throwing open the window, she
cried behind the curtains, as she hastily attired
herself â€” â–
JJ. I R TIN CHUZZLE II IT
"Is it Mrs. Perkins?"
"No!" returned Mr. Pecksniff, sharply, "no-
thing of the sort."
"What, Mr. Whilks !" cried Mrs. Gamp.
" Don't say it's you, Mr. Whilks, and that poor
creetur Mrs. Whilks with not even a pincushion
ready- Don't say it's you, Mr. Whilks !"
"It isn't Mr. Whilks," said Pecksniff. "I
don't know the man. Nothing of the kind. A
gentleman is dead ; and some person being
wanted in the house, you have been recom-
mended by Mr. Mould the undertaker."
As she was by this time in a condition to ap-
pear, Mrs. Gamp, who had a face for all occa-
sions, looked out of her window with her mourn-
ing countenance, and said she would be down
directly. But the matrons took it very ill, that
Mr. Pecksniffs mission was of so unimportant
a kind ; and the lady with her arms folded, rated
him in good round terms, signifying that she
would be glad to know what he meant by terri-
fying delicate females "with his corpses;" and
giving it as her opinion that he was quite ugly
enough to know better. The other ladies were
not at all behind-hand in expressing similar sen-
timents ; and the children, of whom some scores
had now collected, hooted and defied Mr. Peck-
-sniff quite savagely. So, when Mrs. Gamp ap-
peared, the unoffending gentleman was glad to
hustle her with very little ceremony into the
cabriolet, and drive off, overwhelmed with popu-
Mrs. Gamp had a large bundle with her, a
pair of pattens, and a species of gig umbrella ;
the latter article in colour like a faded leaf, ex-
cept where a circular patch of a lively blue had
been dexterously let in at the top. She was
much flurried by the haste she had made, and
laboured under the most erroneous views of
cabriolets, which she appeared to confound with
mail-coaches or stage-waggons, inasmuch as she
was constantly endeavouring for the first half-
mile to force her luggage through the little front
window, and clamouring to the driver to "put
it in the boot." When she was disabused of
this idea, her whole being resolved itself into an
absorbing anxiety about her pattens, with which
she played innumerable games at quoits, on .Mr.
Pecksniff's legs. It was not until they were
close upon the house of mourning that she had
enough composure to observe â€”
" And so the gentleman's dead, sir ! Ah !
The more's the pity" â€” she didn't even know his
name. " Put it's what we must all come to. It's
as certain as being born, except that we can't
make our calculations as exact. Ah ! Poor
dear ! "
She was a fat old woman, this Mrs. Gamp,
with a husky voice and a moist eye, which she
had a remarkable power of turning up, and only
showing the white of it. Having very little
neck, it cost her some trouble to look over her-
self, if one may say so, at those to whom she
talked. She wore a very rusty black gown,
rather the worse for snuff, and a shawl and bon-
net to correspond. In these dilapidated articles
of dress she had, on principle, arrayed herself,
time out of mind, on such occasions as the pre-
sent; for this at once expressed a decent amount
of veneration for the deceased, and invited the
next of kin to present her with a fresher suit of
weeds : an appeal so frequently successful, that
the very fetch and ghost of Mrs. Gamp, bonnet
and all, might be seen hanging up, any hour in
the day, in at least a dozen of the second-hand
clothes shops about Holborn. The face of Mrs.
Gamp â€” the nose in particular â€” was somewhat
red and swollen, and it was difficult to enjoy her
society without becoming conscious of a smell of
spirits. Like most persons who have attained
to great eminence in their profession, she took
to hers very kindly ; insomuch, that setting aside
her natural predilections as a woman, she went
to a lying-in or a laying-out with equal zest and
"Ah!" repeated Mrs. Gamp; for it was*
always a safe sentiment in cases of mourning.
" Ah dear ! When Gamp was summonsed to his
long home, and I see him a lying in Guy's Hos-
pital with a penny piece on each eye, and his
wooden leg under his left arm, I thought I
should have fainted away. But I bore up."
If certain whispers current in the Kingsgate
Street circles had any truth in them, she had
indeed borne up surprisingly ; and had exerted
such uncommon fortitude, as to dispose of Mr.
Gamp's remains for the benefit of science. But
it should be added, in fairness, that this had
happened twenty years before ; and that Mr.
and Mrs. Gamp had long been separated, on
the ground of incompatibility of temper in their
" You have become indifferent since then, I
suppose?" said Mr. Pecksniff. "Use is second
nature, Mrs. Gamp."
" You may well say second nater, sir," returned
that lady. " One's first ways is to find sich
things a trial to the feelings, and so is one's last-
ing custom. If it wasn't for the nerve a little
sip of liquor gives me (I never was able to do
more than taste it), I never could go through
with what I sometimes has to do. ' Mrs. Harris,'
I says, at the very last case as ever I acted in,
which it was but a young person, ' Mrs. Harris,'
MRS. GAMP'S AFFECTING NARRATIVE.
I says, ' leave the bottle on the chimley-piece,
and don't ask me to take none, but let me put
my lips to it when I am so dispoged, and then I
will do what I am engaged to do, according to
the best of my ability.' ' Mrs. Gamp,' she says,
in answer, ' if ever there was a sober creetur to
be got at eighteenpence a day for working people,
and three and six for gentlefolks â€” night watch-
ing,' " said Mrs. Gamp, with emphasis, " ' being
a extra charge â€” you are that inwallable person.'
' Mrs. Harris,' I says to her, ' don't name the
charge, for if I could afford to lay all my feller
creeturs out for nothink, I would gladly do it,
sich is the love I bears 'em. But what I always
says to them as has the management of matters,
Mrs. Harris ' " â€” here she kept her eye on Mr.
Pecksniff â€” " 'be they gents, or be they ladies â€”
is, don't ask me whether I won't take none, or
whether I will, but leave the bottle on the chim-
ley-piece, and let me put my lips to it when I
am so dispoged.' "
The conclusion of this affecting narrative
"WELL MRS. GAMP, AND HOW ARE 'YOU,' MRS. GAMP?" SAID THIS GENTLEMAN, IN A VOICE AS SOFT
AS HIS STEP.
brought them to the house. In the passage
they encountered Mr. Mould the undertaker :
a little elderly gentleman, bald, and in a suit of
black ; with a note-book in his hand, a massive
gold watch-chain dangling from his fob, and a
face in which a queer attempt at melancholy
was at odds with a smirk of satisfaction ; so that
he looked as a man might, who, in the very act
of smacking his lips over choice old wine, tried
to make believe it was physic.
"Well, Mrs. Gamp, and how are you, Mrs.
Martin Chuzzlewit, ii.
Gamp?" said this gentleman, in a voice as soft
as his step.
" Pretty well, I thank you, sir," dropping a
"You'll be very particular here, Mrs. Gamp.
This is not a common case, Mrs. Gamp. Let
everything be very nice and comfortable, Mrs.
Gamp, if you please," said the undertaker,
shaking his head with a solemn air. '
" It shall be, sir," she replied, curtseying
again. " You knows me of old, sir, I hope."
" I hope so, too, Mrs. Gamp," said the under-
taker ; " and I think so also." Mrs. Gamp
curtseyed again. " This is one of the most im-
pressive cases, sir," he continued, addressing
Mr. Pecksniff, " that I have seen in the whole
course of my professional experience."
" Indeed, Mr. Mould !" cried that gentleman.
" Such affectionate regret, sir, I never saw.
There is no limitation â€” there is positively no
limitation," â€” opening his eyes wide, and stand-
ing on tiptoe, " in point of expense ! I have
orders, sir ! to put on my whole establishment of
mutes; and mutes come very dear, Mr. Peck-
sniff; not to mention their drink. To provide
silver-plated handles of the very best description,
ornamented with angels' heads from the most
expensive dies. To be perfectly profuse in
feathers. In short, sir, to turn out something
â€¢â€¢ My friend Mr. Jonas is an excellent man/'
said Mr. Pecksniff.
" I have seen a good deal of what is filial in
my time, sir," retorted Mould, " and what is un-
filial too. It is our lot. We come into the
knowledge of those secrets. But anything so
filial as this ; anything so honourable to human
nature ; so calculated to reconcile all of us to
the world we live in ; never yet came under my
observation. It only proves, sir, what was so
forcibly observed by the lamented theatrical
poet â€” buried at Stratford â€” that there is good in
" It is very pleasant to hear you say so, Mr.
Mould," observed Pecksniff.
" You are very kind, sir. And what a man
Mr. Chuzzlewit was, sir ! Ah ! what a man he
was. You may talk of your lord mayors," said
Mould, waving his hand at the public in general,
" your sheriffs, your common councilmen, your
trumpery ; but show me a man in this city who
is worthy to walk in the shoes of the departed
Mr. Chuzzlewit. No, no," cried Mould, with
bitter sarcasm. " Hang 'em up, hang 'em up :
sole 'em and heel 'em, and have 'em ready for
his son against he's old enough to wear 'em ;
but don't try 'em on yourselves, for they won't
fit you. We knew him," said Mould, in the
same biting vein, as he pocketed his note-book ;
" we knew him, and are not to be caught with
chaff. Mr. Pecksniff, sir, good morning."
Mr. Pecksniff returned the compliment; and
Mould, sensible of having distinguished himself,
was going away with a brisk smile, when he
fortunately remembered the occasion. Quickly
becoming depressed again, he sighed ; looked
into the crown of his hat, as if for comfort ; put
it on without finding any ; and slowly departed.
Mrs. Gamp and Mr. Pecksniff then ascended
the staircase ; and the former, having been
shown to the chamber in which all that remained
of Anthony Chuzzlewit lay covered up, with but
one loving heart, and that a halting one, to
mourn it, left the latter free to enter the dark-
ened room below, and rejoin Mr. Jonas, from
whom he had now been absent nearly two
He found that example to bereaved sons and
pattern in the eyes of all performers of funerals,
musing over a fragment of writing-paper on the
desk, and scratching figures on it with a pen.
The old man's chair, and hat, and walking-stick,
were removed from their accustomed places,
and put out of sight ; the window-blinds, as
yellow as November fogs, were drawn down
close ; Jonas himself was so subdued, that he
could scarcely be heard to speak, and only seen
to walk across the room.
" Pecksniff," he said, in a whisper, " you shall
have the regulation of it all, mind ! You shall
be able to tell anybody who talks about it that