meek and forgiving to be suspected of harbour-
ing it. As to being refused by Mary, Mr. Peck-
sniff was quite satisfied that in her position she
could never hold out if he and Mr. Chuzzlewit
were both against her. As to consulting the
wishes of her heart in such a case, it formed no
part of Mr. Pecksniff's moral code ; for he knew
what a good man he was, and what a blessing
he must be to anybody. His daughter having
broken the ice, and the murder being out between
them, Mr. Pecksniff had now only to pursue his
design as cleverly as he could, and by the craftiest
" Well, my good sir," said Mr. Pecksniff, meet-
ing old Martin in the garden, for it was his habit
to walk in and out by that way, as the fancy took
him : " and how is my dear friend this delicious
morning ? "
" Do you mean me?" asked the old man.
"Ah !" said Mr. Pecksniff, " one of his deaf
days, I see. Could I mean any one else, my
dear sir ? "
" You might have meant Mary," said the old
" Indeed I might. Quite true. I might
speak of her as a dear, dear friend, I hope?"
observed Mr. Pecksniff.
" I hope so," returned Old Martin. " I think
she deserves it."
" Think ! " cried Pecksniff. " Think, Mr.
Chuzzlewit ! "
" You are speaking I know," returned Martin,
"but I don't catch what you say. Speak
" He's getting deafer than a flint," said Peck-
sniff. " I was saying, my dear sir, that I am
afraid I must make up my mind to part with
" What has she been doing ? " asked the old
" He puts the most ridiculous questions I
ever heard ! " muttered Mr. Pecksniff. " He's
a child to-day." After which he added in a mild
roar : " She hasn't been doing anything, my dear
" What are you going to part with her for ? "
" She hasn't her health by any means," said
Mr. Pecksniff. " She misses her sister, my dear
sir ; they doted on each other from the cradle.
And I think of giving her a run in London for
a change. A good long run, sir, if I find she
" Quite right," cried Martin. " It's judi-
" I am glad to hear you say so. I hope you
mean to bear me company in this dull part,
while she's away ? " said Mr. Pecksniff.
" I have no intention of removing from it," was
" Then why," said Mr. Pecksniff, taking the
old man's arm in his, and walking slowly on :
"Why, my good sir, can't you come and stay
with me ? I am sure I could surround you with
more comforts â€” lowly as is my Cot â€” than you
can obtain at a village house of entertainment.
And pardon me, Mr. Chuzzlewit, pardon me if I
say that such a place as the Dragon, however
well-conducted (and, as far as I know, Mrs.
Lupin is one of the worthiest creatures in this
county), is hardly a home for Miss Graham."
Martin mused a moment : and then said,
as he shook him by the hand,
" No. You're quite right ; it is not."
" The very sight of skittles," Mr. Pecksniff
eloquently pursued, " is far from being congenial
to a delicate mind."
" It's an amusement of the vulgar," said old
Martin, " certainly."
" Of the very vulgar," Mr. Pecksniff answered.
" Then why not bring Miss Graham here, sir?
Here is the house ! Here am I alone in it, for
Thomas Pinch I do not count as any one. Our
lovely friend shall occupy my daughter's chamber;
you shall choose your own \ we shall not quarrel,
I hope ! "
" We are not likely to do that," said Martin.
Mr. Pecksniff pressed his hand. " We under-
stand each other, my dear sir, I see ! â€” I can
wind him," he thought, with exultation, " round
my little finger !"
"You leave the recompense to me?" said
the old man, after a minute's silence.
" Oh ! Do not speak of recompense ! " cried
" I say," repeated Martin, with a glimmer of
his old obstinacy, "you leave the recompense
to me. Do you ? "
" Since you desire it, my good sir."
" I always desire it," said the old man. " You
know I always desire it. I wish to pay as I go,
even when I buy of you. Not that I do not
leave a balance to be settled one day, Peck-
The architect was too much overcome to
speak. He tried to drop a tear upon his
patron's hand, but couldn't find one in his dry
" May that day be very distant ! " was his
pious exclamation. " Ah sir ! If I could say
how deep an interest I have in you and yours !
I allude to our beautiful young friend."
" True," he answered. " True. She need
have some one interested in her. I did her
wrong to train her as I did. Orphan though
she was, she would have found some one to
protect her whom she might have loved again.
When she was a child, I pleased myself with
the thought that in gratifying my whim of placing
her between me and false-hearted knaves, I had
done her a kindness. Now she is a woman I
have no such comfort. She has no protector
but herself. I have put her at such odds with
the world, that any dog may bark or fawn upon
her at his pleasure. Indeed she stands in need
of delicate consideration. Yes ; indeed she
does ! "
" If her position could be altered and defined,
sir?" Mr. Pecksniff hinted.
" How can that be done ? Should I make a
seamstress of her, or a governess ? "
" Heaven forbid ! " said Mr. Pecksniff. " My
dear sir, there are other ways. There are in-
deed. But I am much excited and embarrassed
at present, and would rather not pursue the sub-
ject. I scarcely know what I mean. Permit
me to resume it at another time."
"You are not unwell?" asked Martin anxiously.
" No, no ! " cried Pecksniff. " No. Permit
me to resume it at another time. I'll walk a
little. Bless you ! "
Old Martin blessed him in return, and
squeezed his hand. As he .turned away, and
slowly walked towards the house, Mr. Peck-
sniff stood gazing after him : being pretty well
recovered from his late emotion, which, in any
other man, one might have thought had been
assumed as a machinery for feeling Martin's
pulse. The change in the old man found such
a slight expression in his figure, that Mr. Peck-
sniff, looking after him, could not help saying to
" And I can wind him round my little finger !
Only think ! "
Old Martin happening to turn his head,
saluted him affectionately. Mr. Pecksniff re-
turned the gesture.
" Why the time was," said Mr. Pecksniff;
" and not long ago, when he wouldn't look at
me ! How soothing is this change. Such is
the delicate texture of the human heart ; so
complicated is the process of its being softened !
Externally he looks the same, and I can wind
him round my little finger. Only think ! "
In sober truth, there did appear to be nothing
on which Mr. Pecksniff might not have ventured
with Martin Chuzzlewit; for whatever Mr. Peck-
sniff said or did was right, and whatever he
advised was done. Martin had escaped so many
snares from needy fortune-hunters, and had
withered in the shell of his suspicion and dis-
trust for so many years, but to become the good
man's tool and plaything. With the happiness
of this conviction painted on his face, the archi-
tect went forth upon his morning walk.
The summer weather in his bosom was re-
flected in the breast of Nature. Through deep
green vistas where the boughs arched over-head,
and showed the sunlight flashing in the beautiful
perspective ; through dewy fern from which the
startled hares leaped up, and fled at his ap-
proach ; by mantled pools, and fallen trees, and
down in hollow places, rustling among last year's
leaves whose scent woke memory of the past ;
the placid Pecksniff strolled. By meadow gates
and hedges fragrant with wild roses ; and by
thatched-roof cottages whose inmates humbly
bowed before him as a man both good and wise ;
the worthy Pecksniff walked in tranquil medi-
tation. The bee passed onward, humming of
the work he had to do ; the idle gnats for ever
going round and round in one contracting and
expanding ring, yet always going on as fast as
he, danced merrily before him ; the colour of
the long grass came and went, as if the light
clouds made it timid as they floated through the
distant air. The birds, so many Pecksniff con-
sciences, sang gaily upon every branch; and
Mr. Pecksniff paid his homage to the day by
ruminating on his projects as he walked along.
Chancing to trip, in his abstraction, over the
spreading root of an old tree, he raised his pious
eyes to take a survey of the ground before him.
It startled him to see the embodied image of his
thoughts not far a-head. Mary herself. And
At first Mr. Pecksniff stopped as if with the
MR. PECKSNIFF PROPOSES.
intention of avoiding her ; but his next impulse
was, to advance, which he did at a brisk pace ;
carolling as he went, so sweetly and with so
much innocence, that he only wanted feathers
and wings to be a bird.
Hearing notes behind her, not belonging to
the songsters of the grove, she looked round.
Mr. Pecksniff kissed his hand, and was at her
" Communing with Nature ? " said Mr. Peck-
sniff. " So am I."
She said the morning was so beautiful that
she had walked further than she intended, and
would return. Mr. Pecksniff said it was exactly
his case, and he would return with her.
" Take my arm, sweet girl," said Mr. Pecksniff.
Mary declined it, and walked so very fast
that he remonstrated. "You were loitering
when I came upon you," Mr. Pecksniff said.
" Why be so cruel as to hurry now ! You
would not shun me, would you ? "
" Yes, I would," she answered, turning her
glowing cheek indignantly upon him, " you know
I would. Release me, Mr. Pecksniff. Your
touch is disagreeable to me."
His touch ! What, that chaste patriarchal
touch which Mrs. Todgersâ€” surely a discreet
lady â€” had endured, not only without complaint,
but with apparent satisfaction ! This was posi-
tively wrong. Mr. Pecksniff was sorry to hear
her say it.
" If you have not observed," said Mary,
" that it is so, pray take the assurance from my
lips, and do not, as you are a gentleman, con-
tinue to offend me."
" Well, well ! " said Mr. Pecksniff, mildly, " I
feel that I might consider this becoming in a
daughter of my own, and why should I object
to it in one so beautiful ! It's harsh. It cuts
me to the soul," said Mr. Pecksniff: "but I
cannot quarrel with you, Mary."
She tried to say she was sorry to hear it, but
burst into tears. Mr. Pecksniff now repeated
the Todgers' performance on a comfortable
scale, as if he intended it to last some time ;
and in his disengaged hand, catching hers,
employed himself in separating the fingers with
his own, and sometimes kissing them, as he pur-
sued the conversation thus :
" I am glad we met. I am very glad we met.
I am able now to ease my bosom of a heavy
load, and speak to you in confidence. Mary,"
said Mr. Pecksniff, in his tenderest tones : indeed,
they were so very tender that he almost squeaked :
" My soul ! I love you ! "
A fantastic thing, that maiden affectation !
She made believe to shudder.
" I love you," said Mr. Pecksniff, " my gentle
life, with a devotion which is quite surprising,
even to myself. I did suppose that the sensa-
tion was buried in the silent tomb of a lady,
only second to you in qualities of the mind and
form ; but I find I am mistaken."
She tried to disengage her hand, but might as
well have tried to free herself from the embrace
of an affectionate boa constrictor : if anything
so wily may be brought into comparison with
" Although I am a widower," said Mr. Peck-
sniff, examining the rings upon her fingers, and
tracing the course of one delicate blue vein with
his fat thumb, " a widower with two daughters,
still I am not encumbered, my love. One of
them, as you know, is married. The other, by
her own desire, but with a view, I will confess â€”
why not ?â€” to my altering my condition, is about
to leave her father's house. I have a character,
I hope. People are pleased to speak well of
me, I think. My person and manner are not
absolutely those of a monster, I trust. Ah,
naughty Hand ! " said Mr. Pecksniff, apostro-
phising the reluctant prize, why did you take
me prisoner ! Go, go ! "
He slapped the hand to punish it ; but re-
lenting, folded it in his waistcoat, to comfort it
" Blessed in each other, and in the society of
our venerable friend, my darling," said Mr.
Pecksniff, " we shall be happy. When he is
wafted to a haven of rest, we will console each
other. My pretty primrose, what do you say?"
" It is possible," Mary answered, in a hurried
manner, " that I ought to feel grateful for this
mark of your confidence. I cannot say that I
do, but I am willing to suppose you may deserve
my thanks. Take them ; and pray leave me,
The good man smiled a greasy smile ; and
drew her closer to him.
" Pray, pray release me, Mr. Pecksniff. I
cannot listen to your proposal. I cannot receive
it. There are many to whom it may be accept-
able, but it is not so to me. As an act of kind-
ness and an act of pity, leave me ! "
Mr. Pecksniff walked on with his arm round
her waist, and her hand in his, as contentedly as
if they had been all in all to each other, and
were joined together in the bonds of truest love.
" If you force me by your superior strength,"
said Mary, who finding that good words had
not the least effect upon him, made no further
effort to suppress her indignation : " if you force
me by your superior strength to accompany you:
back, and to be the subject of your insolence
upon the way, you cannot constrain the expres-
sion of my thoughts. I hold you in the deepest
abhorrence. I know your real nature and de-
" No, no," said Mr. Pecksniff, sweetly. " No,
no, no ! "
" By what arts or unhappy chances you have
gained your influence over Mr. Chuz/.lewit, I do
not know," said Mary : " it may be strong enough
to soften even this, but he shall know of this,
trust me, sir."
Mr. Pecksniff raised his heavy eyelids lan-
guidly, and let them fall again. It was saying
with perfect coolness, " Aye, aye ! Indeed ! "
" Is it not enough," said Mary, " that you
warp and change his nature, adapt his every
prejudice to your bad ends, and harden a heart
naturally kind by shutting out the truth and
allowing none but false and distorted views to
reach it ; is it not enough that you have the
power of doing this, and that you exercise it,
but must you also be so coarse, so cruel, and so
cowardly to me? "
Still Mr. Pecksniff led her calmly on, and
looked as mild as any lamb that ever pastured
in the fields.
" Will nothing move you, sir ! " cried Mary.
" My dear," observed Mr. Pecksniff, with a
placid leer, " a habit of self-examination, and the
practice of â€” shall I say of virtue?"
" Of hypocrisy," said Mary.
" No, no," resumed Mr. Pecksniff, chafing the
captive hand reproachfully : " of virtue â€” have
enabled me to set such guards upon myself, that
it is really difficult to ruffle me. It is a curious
fact, but it is difficult, do you know, for any one
to ruffle me. And did she think," said Mr.
Pecksniff, with a playful tightening of his grasp,
" that she could ! How little did she know his
heart ! "
Little indeed ! Her mind was so strangely
constituted that she would have preferred the
caresses of a toad, an adder, or a serpent : nay,
the hug of a bear : to the endearments of Mr.
" Come, come," said that good gentleman,
"a word or two will set this matter right, and
establish a pleasant understanding between us.
I am not angry, my love."
" You angry ! "
" No," said Mr. Pecksniff, " I am not. I say
so. Neither are you."
There was a beating heart beneath his hand
that told another story though.
" I am sure you are not," said Mr. Pecksniff:
" and I will tell you why* There are two
Martin Chuzzlewits, my dear ; and your carry-
ing your anger to one might have a serious effect
â€” who knows ! â€” upon the other. You wouldn't
wish to hurt him, would you ! "
She trembled violently, and looked at him
with such a proud disdain that he turned his
eyes away. No doubt lest he should be offended
with her in spite of his better self.
" A passive quarrel, my love," said Mr. Peck-
sniff, " may be changed into an active one,
remember. It would be sad to blight even a
disinherited young man in his already blighted
prospects : but how easy to do it. Ah ! how
easy ! Have I influence with our venerable
friend, do you think? Well, perhaps I have.
Perhaps I have."
He raised his eyes to hers ; and nodded with
an air of banter that was charming.
" No," he continued, thoughtfully. " Upon
the whole, my sweet, if I were you, I'd keep my
secret to myself. I am not at all sure : very
far from it : that it would surprise our friend in
any way, for he and I have had some conver-
sation together only this morning, and he is
anxious, very anxious, to establish you in some
more settled manner. But whether he was sur-
prised or not surprised, the consequence of your
imparting it might be the same. Martin, junior,
might suffer severely. I'd have compassion on
Martin, junior, do you know?" said Mr. Peck-
sniff, with a persuasive smile. " Yes. He
don't deserve it, but I would."
She wept so bitterly now, and was so much
distressed, that he thought it prudent to unclasp
her waist, and hold her only by the hand.
" As to our own share in the precious little
mystery," said Mr. Pecksniff, " we will keep it
to ourselves, and talk of it between ourselves,
and you shall think it over. You will consent,
my love ; you will consent, I know. Whatever
you may think ; you will. I seem to remember
to have heard : I really don't know where, or
how :" he added, with bewitching frankness,
" that you and Martin junior, when you were
children, had a sort of" childish fondness for
each other. When we are married, you shall
have the satisfaction of thinking that it didn't
last, to ruin him, but passed away, to do him
good ; for we'll see then, what we can do to put
some trifling help in Martin junior's way. Have
I any influence with our venerable friend ? Well !
Perhaps I have. Perhaps 1 have."
The outlet from the wood in which these
tender passages occurred, was close to Mr. Peck-
sniff's house. They were now so near it that he
stopped, and holding up her little finger, said in
playful accents, as a parting fancy :
-Shall I bite it?"
CHARITY ENDS AT HOME.
Receiving no reply he kissed it instead ; and
then stooping down, inclined his flabby face to
hers â€” he had a flabby face, although he was a
good man â€” and with a blessing, which from
such a source was quite enough to set her up
in life, and prosper her from that time forth,
permitted her to leave him.
Gallantry in its true sense is supposed to
ennoble and dignify a man ; and love has shed
refinements on innumerable Cymons. But Mr.
Pecksniff: perhaps because to one of his exalted
nature these were mere grossnesses : certainly
did not appear to any unusual advantage, now
that he was left alone. On the contrary, he
seemed to be shrunk and reduced â€¢ to be trying
to hide himself within himself; and to be
wretched at not having the power to do it. His
shoes looked too large ; his sleeves looked too
long ; his hair looked too limp ; his hat looked
too little â€¢ his features looked too mean ; his
exposed throat looked as if a halter would have
done it good. For a minute or two, in fact, he
was hot, and pale, and mean, and shy, and
slinking, and consequently not at all Pecksniffian.
But after that, he recovered himself, and went
home with as beneficent an air as if he had
been the High Priest of the summer weather.
" I have arranged to go, Papa," said Charity,
" So soon, my child ! "
" I can't go too soon," said Charity, "under
the circumstances. I have written to Mrs.
Todgers to propose an arrangement, and have
requested her to meet me at the coach, at all
events. You'll be quite your own master now,
Mr. Pinch ! "
Mr. Pecksniff had just gone out of the room,
and Tom had just come into it.
" My own master ! " repeated Tom.
" Yes, you'll have nobody to interfere with
you," said Charity. " At least I hope you
won't. Hem ! It's a changing world."
" What ! are â€” are yon going to be married,
Miss Pecksniff?" asked Tom in great surprise.
" Not exactly," faltered Cherry. " I haven't
made up my mind to be. I believe I could be
if I chose, Mr. Pinch."
" Of course you could ! " said Tom. And
he said it in perfect good faith. He believed it
from the bottom of his heart.
" No," said Cherry, "/am not going to be
married. Nobody is, that I know of. Hem !
But I am not going to live with Papa. I have
my reasons, but it's all a secret. I shall always feel
very kindly towards you, I assure you, for the
boldness you showed that night. As to you and
me, Mr. Pinch, we part the best friends possible !"
Tom thanked her for her confidence, and for
her friendship, but there was a mystery in the
former, which perfectly bewildered him. In his
extravagant devotion to the family, he had felt
the loss of Merry more than any one but those
who knew that for all the slights he underwent
he thought his own demerits were to blame,
could possibly have understood. He had scarcely
reconciled himself to that, when here was Charity
about to leave them. She had grown up, as it
were, under Tom's eye. The sisters were a part
of Pecksniff, and a part of Tom ; items in
Pecksniff's goodness, and in Tom's service.
He couldn't bear it : not two hours' sleep had
Tom that night, through dwelling in his bed
upon these dreadful changes.
When morning dawned, he thought he must
have dreamed this piece of ambiguity ; but no,
on going down-stairs he found them packing
trunks and cording boxes, and making other
preparations for Miss Charity's departure, which
lasted all day long. In good time for the
evening-coach, Miss Charity deposited her house-
keeping keys with much ceremony upon the
parlour table ; took a gracious leave of all the
house ; and quitted her paternal roof â€” a bless-
ing for which the Pecksniffian servant was ob-
served by some profane persons to be par-
ticularly active in the thanksgiving at church
MR. PINCH IS DISCHARGED OF A DUTY WHICH HE
NEVER OWED TO ANYBODY ; AND MR. PECKSNIFF
DISCHARGES A DUTY WHICH HE OWES TO SOCIETY.
HE closing words of the last chapter
lead naturally to the commencement
of this, its successor ; for it has to
do with a church. With the church
so often mentioned heretofore, in
hich Tom Pinch played the organ for
One sultry afternoon, about a week after
Miss Charity's departure for London, Mr. Peck-
sniff being out walking by himself, took it into
his head to stray into the churchyard. As he was
lingering among the tombstones, endeavouring
to extract an available sentiment or two from
the epitaphs â€” for he never lost an opportunity
of making up a few moral crackers, to be let
off as occasion served â€” Tom Pinch began to
practise. Tom could run down to the church
and do so whenever he had time to spare ; for
it was a simple little organ, provided with wind
2 4 S
MARTIN CHUZZLE WIT
by the action of the musician's feet ; and he was
independent, even of a bellows-blower. Though
if Tom had wanted one at any time, there was
not a man or boy in all the village, and away to
the turnpike (tollman included), but would have
blown away for him till he was black in the face.
Mr. Pecksniff had no objection to music;
not the least. He was tolerant of everything â€” â–
he often said so. He considered it a vagabond
kind of trifling, in general, just suited to Tom's
capacity. But in regard to Tom's performance
upon this same organ, he was remarkably
lenient, singularly amiable : for when Tom
played it on Sundays, Mr. Pecksniff in his un-
bounded sympathy felt as if he played it him-
self, and were a benefactor to the congregation.
So whenever it was impossible to devise any
other means of taking the value of Tom's wages
out of him, Mr. Pecksniff gave him leave to
cultivate this instrument. For which mark of
his consideration, Tom was very grateful.
The afternoon was remarkably warm, and
Mr. Pecksniff had been strolling a long way.
He had not what may be called a fine ear for
music, but he knew when it had a tranquillis-
ing influence on his soul ; and that was the case
now, for it sounded to him like a melodious
snore. He approached the church, and look-
ing through the diamond lattice of a window
near the porch, saw Tom, with the curtains in
the loft drawn back, playing away with great ex-