substituted another word : " this young stranger,
Mrs. Lupin, will excuse me for replying briefly,
that I reside in this village ; it may be in an
inlluential manner, however undeserved ; and
that I have been summoned here, by you. I
am here, as I am everywhere, I hope, in sym-
pathy for the sick and sorry."
With these impressive words, Mr. Pecksniff
passed over to the bedside, where, after patting
the counterpane once or twice in a very solemn
manner, as if by that means he gained a clear
insight into the patient's disorder, he took his
seat in a large arm-chair, and in an attitude of
some thoughtfulness and much comfort, waited
for his waking. Whatever objection the young
lady urged to Mrs. Lupin went no further, for
nothing more was said to Mr. Pecksniff, and
Mr. Pecksniff said nothing more to anybody else.
Full half-amhour elapsed before the old man
stirred, but at length he turned himself in bed,
and, though not yet awake, gave tokens that his
sleep was drawing to an end. By little and
little he removed the bed-clothes from about his
head, and turned still more towards the side
where Mr. Pecksniff sat. In course of time his
eyes opened ; and he lay for a few moments as
people newly roused sometimes will, gazing in-
dolently at his visitor, without any distinct con-
sciousness of his presence.
There was nothing remarkable in these pro-
ceedings, except the influence they worked on
Mr. Pecksniff, which could hardly have been
surpassed by the most marvellous of natural
phenomena. Gradually his hands became
tightly clasped upon the elbows of the chair,
his eyes dilated with surprise, his mouth opened,
his hair stood more erect upon his forehead
than its custom was, until, at length, when the
old man rose in bed, and stared at him with
scarcely less emotion than he show : i 1 himself,
the Pecksniff doubts were all resolved, and he
exclaimed aloud :
" You are Martin Chuzzlewit !"
His consternation of surprise was so genuine,
that the old man, with all the disposition that
he clearly entertained to believe it assumed, was
convinced of its reality.
" I am Martin Chuzzlewit," he said, bitterly :
" and Martin Chuzzlewit wishes you had been
hanged, before you had come here to disturb him
in his sleep. Why, I dreamed of this fellow !"
he said, lying down again, and turning away his
face, "before I knew that he was near me !"
" My good cousin â€” " said Mr. Pecksniff.
"There! His very first words!" cried the
old man, shaking his grey head to and fro upon
the pillow, and throwing up his hands. " In
his very first words he asserts his relationship !
I knew he would : they all do it ! Near or
distant, blood or water, it's all one. Ugh !
What a calendar of deceit, and lying, and false-
witnessing, the sound of any word of kindred
opens before me ! "
" Pray do not be hasty, Mr. Chuzzlewit,"
said Pecksniff, in a tone that was at once in the
sublimest degree compassionate and dispas-
sionate ; for he had by this time recovered from
his surprise, and was in full possession of his
virtuous self. " You will regret being hasty, I
know you will."
" You know ! " said Martin, contemptuously.
"Yes," retorted Mr. Pecksniff. "Ay, ay,
Mr. Chuzzlewit : and don't imagine that I mean
to court or flatter you : for nothing is further
from my intention. Neither, sir, need you en-
tertain the least misgiving that I shall repeat
that obnoxious word which has given you so
much offence already. Why should I? What
do I expect or want from you ? There is
nothing in your possession that 7" know of, Mr.
Chuzzlewit, which is much to be coveted for
the happiness it brings you."
" That's true enough," muttered the old man.
" Apart from that consideration," said Mr.
Pecksniff, watchful of the effect he made, " it
must be plain to you (I am sure) by this time,
that if I had wished to insinuate myself into
your good opinion, I should have been, of all
things, careful not to address you as a relative :
knowing your humour, and being quite certain
beforehand that I could not have had a worse
letter of recommendation."
Martin made not any verbal answer ; but he
as clearly implied, though only by a motion of
his legs beneath the bed-clothes, that there was
reason in this, and that he could not dispute it,
as if he had said as much in good set terms.
â– â– No," said Mr. Pecksniff, keeping his hand
in his waistcoat as though he were ready, on the
shortest notice, to produce his heart for Martin
Chuzzlewit's inspection, " I came here to offer
my services to a stranger. I make no offer of
them to you, because I know you would distrust
me if I did. Put lying on that bed, sir, I re-
gard you as a stranger, and I have just that
amount of interest in you, which I hope I should
feel in any stranger, circumstanced as you are.
Beyond that, I am quite as indifferent to you,
Mr. Chuzzlewit, as you are to me."
Having said which, Mr. Pecksniff threw him-
self back in the easy-chair : so radiant with
ingenuous honest}-, that Mrs. Lupin almost
wondered not to see a stained-glass Glory, such
as the Saint wore in the church, shining about
A long pause succeeded. The old man, with
increased restlessness, changed his posture
several times. Mrs. Lupin and the young
lady gazed in silence at the counterpane. Mr.
Pecksniff toyed abstractedly with his eye-glass,
and kept his eyes shut, that he might ruminate
"Eh?" he said at last: opening them sud-
denly, and looking towards the bed. " I beg
your pardon. I thought you spoke. Mrs.
Lupin," he continued, slowly rising, " I am not
aware that I can be of any service to you here.
The gentleman is better, and you are as good a
nurse as he can have. Eh?"
This last note of interrogation bore reference
to another change of posture on the old man's
part, which brought his face towards Mr. Peck-
sniff for the first time since he had turned away
'â€¢If you desire to speak to me before I go,
sir," continued that gentleman, after another
pause, " you may command my leisure ; but I
must stipulate, in justice to myself, that you do
so as to a stranger : strictly as to a stranger."
Now if Mr. Pecksniff knew, from anything
Martin Chuzzlewit had expressed in gestures,
that he wanted to speak to him, he could only
have found it out on some such principle as
prevails in melodramas, and in virtue of which
the elderly farmer with the comic son always
knows what the dumb-girl means when she
takes refuge in his garden, and relates her
personal memoirs in incomprehensible panto-
Put without stopping to make any
inquiry on this point, Martin Chuzzlewit signed
to his young companion to withdraw, which she
immediately did, along with the landlady :
Leaving him and Mr. Pecksniff alone together.
For some time they looked at each other in
silence ; or rather the old man looked at Mr.
Pecksniff, and Mr. Pecksniff, again closing his
eyes on all outward objects, took an inward
survey of his own breast. That it amply repaid
him for his trouble, and afforded a delicious
and enchanting prospect, was clear from the
expression of his face.
" You wish me to speak to you as to a total
stranger," said the old man, "do you?"
Mr. Pecksniff replied, by a shrug of his
shoulders and an apparent turning round of his
eyes in their sockets before he opened them,
that he was still reduced to the necessity of
entertaining that desire.
" You shall be gratified,'' said Martin. " Sir,
I am a rich man. Not so rich as some suppose,
perhaps, but yet wealthy. I am not a miser,
sir, though even that charge is made against me,
as I hear, and currently believed. I have no
pleasure in hoarding. I have no pleasure in
the possession of money. The devil that we
call by that name can give me nothing but un-
It would be no description of Mr. Pecksniff's
gentleness of manner, to adopt the common
parlance, and say, that he looked at this moment
as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He
rather looked as if any quantity of butter might
have been made out of him, by churning the
milk of human kindness, as it spouted upwards
from his heart.
" For the same reason that I am not a hoarder
of money," said the old man, " I am not lavish
of it. Some people find their gratification in
storing it up ; and others theirs in parting with
it ; but I have no gratification connected with
the thing. Pain and bitterness are the only
goods it ever could procure for me. I hate
it. It is a spectre walking before me through
the world, and making every social pleasure
A thought arose in Mr. Pecksniff's mind,
which must have instantly mounted to his face,
or Martin Chuzzlewit would not have resumed
as quickly and as sternly as he did :
" You would advise me, for my peace of mind,
to get rid of this source of misery, and transfer
it to some one who could bear it better. Even
you, perhaps, would rid me of a burden under
which I suffer so grievously. But, kind stranger,"
said the old man, whose every feature darkened
as he spoke, " good Christian stranger, that is a
main part of my trouble. In other hands, I
have known money to do good ; in other hands
1 have known it triumphed in, and boasted of
with reason, as the master-key to all the brazen
gates that close upon the paths to worldly hon-
CURSED WITH MONEY.
our, fortune, and enjoyment. To what man or
woman; to what worthy, honest, incorruptible
creature ; shall I confide such a talisman, either
now or when I die? Do you know any such
person ? Your virtues are of course inestimable,
but can you tell me of any other living creature
who will bear the test of contact with myself?"
" Of contact with yourself, sir?" echoed Mr.
"Ay," returned the old man, "the test of
contact with me â€” with me. You have heard of
him whose misery (the gratification of his own
foolish wish) was, that he turned everything he
touched, to gold. The curse of my existence,
and the realisation of my own mad desire, is
that by the golden standard which .1 bear about
me, I am doomed to try the metal of all other
men, and find it false and hollow."
Mr. Pecksniff shook his head, and said, " You
" Oh yes," cried the old man, " I think so !
and in your telling me ' I think so,' I recognise
the true unworldly ring of your metal. I tell
you, man," he added, with increasing bitterness,
" that I have gone, a rich man, among people
of all grades and kinds ; relatives, friends, and
strangers ; among people in whom, when I was
poor, I had confidence, and justly, for they never
once deceived me then, or, to me, wronged each
other. But I have never found one nature, no,
not one, in which, being wealthy and alone, I
was not forced to detect the latent corruption
that lay hid within it, waiting for such as I to
bring it forth. Treachery, deceit, and low de-
sign ; hatred of competitors real or fancied, for
my favour ; meanness, falsehood, baseness, and
servility ; or," and here he looked closely in his
cousin's eyes, " or an assumption of honest in-
dependence, almost worse than all ; these are
the beauties which my wealth has brought to
light. Brother against brother, child against
parent, friends treading on the faces of friends,
this is the social company by whom my way has
been attended. There are stories told â€” they
may be true or false â€” of rich men, who, in the
garb of poverty, have found out virtue and re-
warded it. They were dolts and idiots for their
pains. They should have made the search in
their own characters. They should have shown
themselves fit objects to be robbed and preyed
upon and plotted against, and adulated by any
knaves, who, but for joy, would have spat upon
their coffins when they died their dupes ; and
then their search would have ended as mine has
done, and they would be what I am."
Mr. Pecksniff not at all knowing what it
might be best to say, in the momentary pause
which ensued upon these remarks, made an
elaborate demonstration of intending to deliver
something very oracular indeed : trusting to the
certainty of the old man interrupting him, before
he should utter a word. Nor was he mistaken,
for Martin Chuzzlewit having taken breath, went
on to say :
" Hear me to an end ; judge what profit you
are like to gain from any repetition of this visit ;
and leave me. I have so corrupted and changed
the nature of all those who have ever attended
.on me, by breeding avaricious plots and hopes
within them ; I have engendered such domestic
strife and discord, by tarrying even with mem-
bers of my own family; I have been such a
lighted torch in peaceful homes, kindling up ail
the inflammable gases and vapours in their moral
atmosphere, which, but for me, might have proved
harmless to the end ; that I have, I may say,
fled from all who knew me, and taking refuge in
secret places, have lived, of late, the life of one
who is hunted. The young girl whom you just
now saw â€” what ! your eye lightens when I talk
of her ! You hate her already, do you !"
" Upon my word, sir !" said Mr. Pecksniff,
laying his hand upon his breast, and dropping
" I forgot," cried the old man, looking at him
with a keenness which the other seemed to feel,
although he did not raise his eyes so as to see
it : "I ask your pardon. I forgot you were a
stranger. For the moment you reminded me of
one Pecksniff, a cousin of mine. As I was say-
ing â€” the young girl whom you just now saw, is
an orphan child, whom, with one steady pur-
pose, I have bred and educated, or, if you prefer
the word, adopted. For a year or more she has
been my constant companion, and she is my only
one. I have taken, as she knows, a solemn oath
never to leave her sixpence when I die, but
while I live I make her an annual allowance :
not extravagant in its amount and yet not stinted.
There is a compact between us that no term of
affectionate cajolery shall ever be addressed by
either to the other, but that she shall call me
always by my Christian name : I her, by hers. She
is bound to me in life by ties of interest, and losing
by my death, and having no expectation disap-
pointed, will mourn it, perhaps : though for that
I care little. This is the only kind of friend I
have or will have. Judge from such premises
what a profitable hour you have spent in coming
here, and leave me : to return no more."
With these words, the old man fell slowly
back upon his pillow. Mr. Pecksniff as slowly
rose, and, with a prefatory hem, began as follows :
" Mr. Chuzzlewit."
MAR TIN CHUZZLE 11 7 T.
1 There. Go ! " interposed the other. " Enough
of this. I am weary of you."
'â€¢ I am sorry for that, sir,'' rejoined Mr. Peck-
sniff, " because I have a duty to discharge, from
which, depend upon it, I shall not shrink. No,
sir, I shall not shrink.''
It is a lamentable fact, that as Mr. Peel:
stood erect beside the bed, in all the dignity of
Goodness, and a Idressed him thus, the old mar.
cast an angry glance towards the candlestick, as
if he were possessed by a strong inclination to
launch it at his cousin's head. Bat he con-
strained himself, and pointing with his finger to
the door, informed him that his road lay there.
" Thank you," said Mr. Pecksniff, " I am
aware of that ; I am going. But before I go, I
crave your leave to speak, and more than that,
Mr. Chuzzlewit, I must and will â€” yes, indeed, I
repeat it, must and will â€” be heard. I am not
surprised, sir, at anything you have told me to-
night. It is natural, very natural, and the greater
part of it was known to me before. I will not
say," continued Mr. Pecksniff, drawing out his
pocket-handkerchief, and winking with both eyes
at once, as it were, against his will, "I will not
say that you are mistaken in me. While you are
in your present mood I would not say so for the
world. I almost wish, indeed, that I had a
different nature, that I might repress even this
slight confession of weakness : which I cannot
disguise from you : which I feel is humiliating :
bat which you will have the goodness to excuse.
We will say, if you please," added Mr. Peck-
sniff, with great tenderness of manner, " that it
arises from a cold in the head, or is attributable
to snuff, or smelling-salts, or onions, or anything
but the real cause."
Here he paused for an instant, and concealed
his face behind his pocket-handkerchief. Then,
smiling faintly, and holding the bed-furniture
with one hand, he resumed :
"'But, Mr. Chuzzlewit, while I am forgetful of
myself, I owe it to myself, and to my character
â€” ay, sir, and I have a character which is very
dear to me, and will be the best inheritance of
my two daughters â€” to tell you, on behalf of
another, that your conduct is wrong, unnatural,
indefensible, monstrous. And I tell you, sir,"
said Mr. Pecksniff, towering on tiptoe among
the curtains, as if he were literally rising above
all worldly considerations, and were fain to hold
on tight, to keep himself from darting skywards
like a rocket, " I tell you without fear or favour,
that it will not do for you to be unmindful of
your grandson, young Martin, who has the
strongest natural claim upon you. It will not
do, sir," repeated Mr. Pecksniff, shaking his
head. " You may think it will do, but it won't.
You must provide for that young man ; you shall
provide for him ; you will provide for him. I
believe," said Mr. Pecksniff, glancing at the
pen-and-ink, " that in secret, you have already
done so. Bless you for doing so. Bless you
for doing right, sir. Bless you for hating me.
And good night !"
So saying, Mr. Pecksniff waved his right hand
with much solemnity; and once more inserting
it in his waistcoat, departed. There was emotion
in his manner, but his step was firm. Subject
to human weaknesses, he was upheld by con-
Martin lay for some time, with an expression
on his face of silent wonder, not unmixed with
rage : at length he muttered in a whisper :
" What does this mean ? Can the false-hearted
boy have chosen such a tool as yonder fellow
who has just gone out? Why not! He has
conspired against me, like the rest, and they are
but birds of one feather. A new plot ; a new
plot ! Oh self, self, self! At every turn, no-
thing but self!"
He fell to trifling, as he ceased to speak,
with the ashes of the burnt paper in the candle-
stick. He did so, at first, in pure abstraction,
but they presently became the subject of his
"Another will made and destroyed," he said.
" nothing determined on, nothing done, and i
might have died to-night ! I plainly see to
what foul uses all this money will be put at
last," he cried, almost writhing in the bed :
" after filling me with cares and miseries all my
life, it will perpetuate discord and bad passions
when I am dead. So it always is. What law-
suits grow out of the graves of rich men, every
day : sowing perj ury, hatred, and lies among
near kindred, where there should be nothing
but love ! Heaven help us, we have much to
answer for! Oh self, self, self ! Every man for
himself, and no creature for me !"
Universal self! Was there nothing of its
shadow in these reflections, and in the history
of Martin Chuzzlewit, on his own showing?
FROM WHICH IT WILL APPEAR THAT IF UNION BE
STRENGTH, AND FAMILY AFFECTION BE PLEASANT
TO CONTEMPLATE, THE CHUZZLEWITS WERE THI
STRONGEST AND MOST AGREEABLE FAMILY IN THE
TPIAT worthy man Mr. Pecksniff having taken
leave of his cousin in the solemn terms re-
PECKSNIFF MAKES A NEW ACQUAINTANCE.
cited in the last chapter, withdrew to his own
home, an I remained there, three whole days : not
so much as going out for a walk beyond the
boundaries of his own garden, lest he should be
hastily summoned to the bedside of his penitent
and remorseful relative, whom, in his ample be-
nevolence, he had made up his mind to forgive
unconditionally, and to love on any terms.
But, such was the obstinacy and such the bitter
nature of that stern old man, that no repentant
summons came ; and the fourth day found Mr.
Pecksniff apparently much farther from *his
Christian object than the first.
During the whole of this interval, he haunted
the Dragon at all times and seasons in the day
and night, and, returning good for evil, evinced
the deepest solicitude in the progress of the
obdurate invalid ; insomuch that Mrs. Lupin
was fairly melted by his disinterested anxiety
(for he often particularly required her to take
notice that he would do the same "by any
stranger or pauper in the like condition), and
shed many tears of admiration and delight.
Meantime old Martin Chuzzlewit remained
shut up in his own chamber, and saw no person
but his young companion, saving the hostess of
the Blue Dragon, who was, at certain times,
admitted to his presence. So surely as she came
into the room, however, Martin feigned to fall
asleep. It was only when he and the young lady
were alone, that he would utter a word, even in
answer to the simplest inquiry; though Mr.
Pecksniff could make out, by hard listening at
the door, that they two being left together, he
"was talkative enough.
It happened on the fourth evening, that Mr.
Pecksniff walking, as usual, into the bar of the
Dragon and finding no Mrs. Lupin there, went
straight up-stairs : purposing, in the fervour of
his ariectionate zeal, to apply his ear once more
to the keyhole, and quiet his mind by assuring
himself that the hard-hearted patient was going
on well. It happened that Mr. Pecksniff, com-
ing softly upon the dark passage into which a
spiral ray of light usually darted through the
same keyhole, was astonished to find no such
ray visible : and it happened that Mr. Pecksniff,
when he had felt his way to the chamber-door,
stooping hurriedly down to ascertain by personal
inspection whether the jealousy of the old man
had caused this keyhole to be stopped on the
inside, brought his head into such violent con-
tact with another head, that he could not help
uttering in an audible voice the monosyllable
<; Oh ! " which was, as it were, sharply unscrewed
and jerked out of him by very anguish. It hap-
pened then, and lastly, that Mr. Pecksniff found
himself immediately collared by something which
smelt like several damp umbrellas, a barrel of
beer, a cask of warm brandy-and-water, and a
small parlour-full of stale tobacco-smoke, mixed :
and was straightway led down-stairs into the
bar from which he had lately come, where he
found himself standing opposite to, and in
the grasp of, a perfectly strange gentleman of
still stranger appearance, who, with his dis-
engaged hand, rubbed his own head very hard,
and looked at him, Pecksniff, with an evil
The gentleman was of that order of appear-
ance, which is currently termed shabby-genteel,
though in respect of his dress he can hardly be
said to have been in any extremities, as his
fingers were a long way out of his gloves, and
the soles of his feet were at an inconvenient
distance from the upper leather of his boots.
His nether garments were of a bluish grey â€”
violent in its colours once, but sobered now by
age and dinginess â€” and were so stretched and
strained in a tough conflict between his braces
and his straps, that they appeared every moment
in danger of flying asunder at the knees. His
coat, in colour blue and of a military cut, was
buttoned and frogged, up to his chin. His
cravat was, in hue and pattern, like one of those
mantles which hair-dressers are accustomed to
wrap about their clients, during the progress of
the professional mysteries. His hat had arrived
at such a pass that it would have been hard to
determine whether it was originally white or
black. But he wore a moustache â€” a shaggy
moustache too : nothing in the meek and mer-
ciful way, but quite in the fierce and scornful
style : the regular Satanic sort of thing â€” and he
wore, besides, a vast quantity of unbrushed hair.
He was very dirty and very jaunty ; very bold
and very mean ; very swaggering and very slink-
ing ; very much like a man who might have
been something better, and unspeakably like a
man who deserved to be something worse.
" You were eaves-dropping at that door, you
vagabond !" said this gentleman.
Mr. Pecksniff' cast him off, as Saint George
might have repudiated the Dragon in that ani-
mal's last moments, and said :
'â– Where is Mrs. Lupin, I wonder! can the
good woman possibly be aware that there is a
person here who â€” "
"Stay!"' said the gentleman. '-'Wait a bit.
She docs know. What then ? "
'â€¢What then, sir?'' cried Mr. Pecksniff.
'What then? Do you know, sir, that I am