with the bank, I don't see much to prevent you.
Well ! That won't do. I've had some very
good dinners here, but they'd come too dear on
such terms : and therefore, that won't do."
" I am unfortunate to find you in this hu-
mour," said Tigg, with a remarkable kind of
smile : " for I was going to propose to you â€”
for your own advantage ; solely for your own
advantage â€” that you should venture a little
more with us."
"Was you, by G â€” ?" said Jonas, with a
" Yes. And to suggest," pursued Montague,
" that surely you have friends ; indeed, I know
you have ; who would answer our purpose
admirably, and whom we should be delighted
" How kind of you ! You'd be delighted to
receive 'em, would you ? " said Jonas, ban-
" I give you my sacred honour, quite trans-
ported. As your friends observe ! "
"Exactly," said Jonas: "as my friends, of
course. You'll be very much delighted when
you get 'em, I have no doubt. And it'll be all
to my advantage, won't it ?"
" It will be very much to your advantage,"
answered Montague, poising a brush in each
hand, and looking steadily upon him. " It
will be very much to your advantage, I assure
"And you can tell me how," said Jonas,
" can't you ? "
" Shall I tell you how ?" returned the other.
" I think you had better," said Jonas.
" Strange things have been done in the In-
surance way before now, by strange sorts of
men, and I mean to take care of myself."
" Chuzzlewit !" replied Montague, leaning for-
ward, witli his arms upon his knees, and looking
full into his face. " Strange things have been
done, and are done every day ; not only in our
way, but in a variety of other ways ; and no one
suspects them. But ours, as you say, my good
friend, is a strange way ; and we strangely hap-
pen, sometimes, to come into the knowledge of
'very strange events."
lie beckoned to Jonas to bring his chair
nearer ; and looking slightly round, as if to re-
mind him of the presence of Nadgett, whispered
in his ear.
From red to white ; from white to red again ;
from red to yellow; then to a cold, dull, awful,
sweat-bedabbled blue. In that short whisper,
A BORN HOUSEWIFE.
all lb esc changes fell upon the face of Jonas
â– lewit ; and when at last he laid his hand
upon the whisperer's mouth, appalled, lest any
syllable of what he said should reach the cars of
the third person present, it was as bloodless, and
as heavy as the hand of Death.
He drew his chair away, and sat a spectacle
of terror, misery, and rage. He was afraid to
speak, or look, or move, or sit still. Abject,
crouching, and miserable, he was a greater de-
gradation to the form he bore, than if he had
been a loathsome wound from head to heel.
His companion leisurely resumed his dressing
and completed it, glancing sometimes with a
smile at the transformation he had effected, but
never speaking once.
" You'll not object," he said, when he was
quite equipped, " to venture further with us,
Chuzzlewit, my friend?"
His pale lips faintly stammered out a " No."
" Well said ! That's like yourself. Do you
know I was thinking yesterday that your father-
in-law', relying on your advice as a man of great
sagacity in money matters, as no doubt you are,
would join us, if the thing were well presented
to him. He has money?"
" Yes, he has money."
"Shall I leave Mr. Pecksniff to you? Will
you undertake for Mr. Pecksniff?"
" I'll try. I'll do my best."
" A thousand thanks," replied the other, clap-
ping him upon the shoulder. " Shall we walk
down-stairs ? Mr. Nadgett ! Follow us, if you
They went down in that order. Whatever
Jonas felt in reference to Montague ; whatever
sense he had of being caged, and barred, and
trapped, and having fallen down into a pit of
deepest ruin ; whatever thoughts came crowding
on his mind even at that early time, of one
terrible chance of escape, of one red glimmer in
a sky of blackness â€¢ he no more thought that
the slinking figure half a dozen stairs behind
him was his pursuing Fate, than that the other
figure at his side was his good angel.
CONTAINING SOME FURTHER PARTICULARS OF THE
DOMESTIC ECONOMY OF THE PINCHES ; WITH
STRANGE NEWS FROM THE CITY, NARROWLY CON-
PLEASANT little Ruth! Cheerful, tidy,
-Â»- bustling, quiet little Ruth ! No doll's
house ever yielded greater delight to its young-
mistress, than little Ruth derived from her glo-
rious dominion over the triangular parlour i
the two small bed-rooms.
To be Tom's housekeeper. What dignity !
Housekeeping, upon the commonest terms,
associated itself with elevated responsibilities
of all sorts and kinds ; but housekei
for Tom, implied the utmost complication of
grave trusts and mighty charges. Well might
she take the keys out of the little chiffonnier
which held the tea and sugar ; and out of the
two little damp cupboards down by the fire-
place, where the very black beetles got mouldy,
and had the shine taken out of their backs by
envious mildew ; and jingle them upon a ring
before Tom's eyes when he came down to
breakfast ! Well might she, laughing musically,
put them up in that blessed little pocket of hers
with a merry pride ! For it was such a grand
novelty to be mistress of anything, that if she
had been the most relentless and despotic of all
little housekeepers, she might have pleaded just
that much for her excuse, and have been honour-
So far from being despotic, however, there
was a coyness about her very way of pouring out
the tea, which Tom quite revelled in. And
when she asked him what he would like to have
for dinner, and faltered out " chops " as a
reasonably good suggestion after their last night's
successful supper, Tom grew quite facetious and
rallied her desperately.
" I don't know, Tom," said his sister, blush-
ing, " I am not quite confident, but I think I
could make a beef-steak pudding, if I tried,
"In the whole catalogue of cookery, there is
nothing I should like so much as a beef-steak
pudding," cried Tom : slapping his leg to give
the greater force to his reply.
" Yes, dear, that's excellent ! But if it should
happen not to come quite right the first time,"
his sister faltered ; " if it should happen not to
be a pudding exactly, but should turn out a
stew, or a soup, or something of that sort, you'll
not be vexed, Tom, will you?"
The serious way in which she looked at Tom ;
the way in which Tom looked at her â€¢ and the
way in which she gradually broke into a merry
laugh at her own expense; would have en-
" Why," said Tom, " this is capital. It gives
us a new, and quite an uncommon interest in
the dinner. We put into a lottery for a beef-
steak pudding, and it is impossible to say what
we may get. We may make some wonderful
discovery, perhaps, and produce such a dish as
never was known before."
3 C 4
MARTIN CHUZZLE J J IT
" I shall not be at all surprised if we do, Tom,"
returned his sister, still laughing merrily, " or
if it should prove to be such a dish as we shall
not feel very anxious to produce again ; but the
meat must come out of the saucepan at last,
somehow or other, you know. We can't cook
it into nothing at all ; that's a great comfort.
So if you like to venture, / will."
â€¢â€¢ I have not the least doubt,''" rejoined Tom,
" that it will come out an excellent pudding ;
or at all events, I am sure that I shall think so.
There is naturally something so handy and brisk
about you, Ruth, that if you said you could
make a bowl of faultless turtle soup, I should
And Tom was right. She was precisely that
sort of person. Nobody ought to have been
able to resist her coaxing manner ; and nobody
had any business to try. Yet she never seemed
to know it was her manner at all. That was
the best of it.
Well ! she washed up the breakfast cups, chat-
ting away the whole time, and telling Tom all
sorts of anecdotes about the brass and copper
founder ; put everything in its place ; made the
room as neat as herself;â€” you must not suppose
its shape was half as neat as hers though, or
anything like it â€” and brushed Tom's old hat
round and round and round again, until it was
as sleek as Mr. Pecksniff. Then she discovered,
all in a moment, that Tom's shirt-collar was
frayed at the edge; and flying up-stairs for a
needle and thread, came flying down again with
her thimble on, and set it right with wonderful
expertness ; never once sticking the needle into
his face, although she was humming his pet tune
from first to last, and beating time with the
fingers of her left hand upon his neckcloth.
She had no sooner done this, than off she was
again ; and there she stood once more, as brisk
and busy as a bee, tying that compact little
chin of hers into an equally compact little bon-
net : intent on bustling out to the butcher's,
without a minute's loss of time : and inviting
Tom to come and see the steak cut, with his own
eyes. As to Tom, he was ready to go anywhere :
so, off they trotted, arm-in-arm, as nimbly as
you please : saying to each other what a quiet
street it was to lodge in, and how very cheap,
and what an airy situation.
To see the butcher slap the steak, before he
laid it on the block, and give his knife a
sharpening, was to forget breakfast instantly.
It was agreeable, too â€” it really was â€” to see him
cut it off so smooth and juicy. There was
nothing savage in the act, although the knife
was large and keen ; it was a piece of art, high
art ; there was delicacy of touch, clearness of
tone, skilful handling of the subject, fine shad-
ing. It was the triumph of mind over matter;
Perhaps the greenest cabbage-leaf ever grown
in a garden was wrapped about this steak, before
it was delivered over to Tom. But the butcher
had a sentiment for his business, and knew how
to refine upon it. When he saw Tom putting
the cabbage-leaf into his pocket awkwardly, he
begged to be allowed to do it for him ; " for
meat." he said, with some emotion, " must be
humoured, not drove."
Back they went to the lodgings again, after
they had bought some eggs, and Hour, and such
small matters ; and Tom sat gravely down to
write at one end of the parlour table, while
Ruth prepared to make the pudding, at the
other end ; for there was nobody in the house
but an old woman (the landlord being a mys-
terious sort of man, who went out early in the
morning, and was scarcely ever seen) ; and,
saving in mere household drudgery, they waited
"What are you writing, Tom?" inquired his
sister, laying her hand upon his shoulder.
" Why, you see, my dear," said Tom, leaning
back in his chair, and looking up in her face, " I
am very anxious, of course, to obtain some suit-
able employment ; and before Mr. Westlock
comes this afternoon, I think I may as well
prepare a little description of myself and my
qualifications ; such as he could show to any
friend of his."
"You had better do the same for me, Tom,
also," said his sister, casting down her eyes. " I
should dearly like to keep house for you, and
take care of you always, Tom; but we are not
rich enough for that."
" We are not rich," returned Tom, " certainly ;
and we may be much poorer. But we will not
part, if we can help it. No, no : we will make
up our minds, Ruth, that, unless we are so very
unfortunate as to render me quite sure that you
would be better oft" away from me than with me,
we will battle it out together. I am certain we
shall be happier if we can battle it out together.
Don't you think we shall?"
" Oh, tut, tut ! " interposed Tom, tenderly.
" You mustn't cry."
" No, no ; I won't, Tom. But you can't
afford it, dear. You can't, indeed."
" We don't know that," said Tom. " How
are we to know that, yet awhile, and without
trying ? Lord bless my soul ! " Tom's energy
became quite grand ; " There is no knowing
PREPARATIONS POP THE PUDDING.
what may happen, if we try hard. And I am
sure we can live contentedly upon a very little
â€” if we can only get it."
" Yes : that I am sure we can, Tom."
" Why, then," said Tom, " we must try for it.
My friend, John Westlock, is a capital fellow,
and very shrewd and intelligent. I'll take his
advice. We'll talk it over with him â€” both of us
together. You'll like John very much, when
you come to know him, I am certain. Don't
cry, don't cry. You make a beef-steak pudding,
indeed!" said Tom, giving her a gentle push.
"Why, you haven't boldness enough for a
" You will call it a pudding, Tom. Mind !
I told you not ! " j
" I may as well call it that till it proves to be
something else," said Tom. " Oh, you are
going to work in earnest, are you ?"
Aye, aye ! That she was. And in such
I CAN'T SAY; IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL. I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA. BUT," SAID FIPS, TAKING OFF
A VERY DEEP IMPRESSION OF THE WAFER-STAMP UPON THE CALF OF HIS LEFT LEG, AND LOOKING
STEADILY AT TOM, "I DON'T KNOW THAT IT'S A MATTER OF MUCH CONSEQUENCE."
pleasant earnest, moreover, that Tom's atten-
tion wandered from his writing every moment.
First, she tripped down-stairs into the kitchen
for the flour, then for the pie-board, then for the
eggs, then for the butter, then for a jug of water,
then for the rolling-pin, then for a pudding-
basin, then for the pepper, then for the salt ;
making a separate journey for everything, and
laughing every time she started off afresh.
When all the materials were collected, she was
horrified to find she had no apron on, and so
Martin Chuzzlf.wit, 20.
ran ///-stairs, by way of variety, to fetch it. She
didn't put it on up-stairs, but came dancing
down with it in her hand ; and being one of
those little women to whom an apron is a most
becoming little vanity, it took an immense time
to arrange ; having to be carefully _ smoothed
down beneath â€” Oh, heaven, what a wicked little
stomacher ! and to be gathered up into little
plaits by the strings before it could be tied, and
to be tapped, rebuked, and wheedled, at the
pockets, before it would set right, which at last
MARTIN CHUZZLE 1 1 'IT.
it did, and when it did â€” but never mind ; this
is a sober chronicle. And then, there were
cuffs to be tucked up, for fear of flour : and she
had a little ring to pull off her finger, which
wouldn't come off (foolish little ring !) ; and
during the whole of these preparations she
looked demurely every now and then at Tom,
from under her dark eye-lashes as if they were
all a part of the pudding, and indispensable to
For the life and soul of him, Tom could get
no further in his writing than, " A respectable
young man. aged thirty-live," and this, notwith-
standing the show she made of being super-
naturally quiet, and going about on tiptoe, lest
she should disturb him : which only served as
an additional means of" distracting his attention,
and keeping it upon her.
" Tom," she said at last, in high glee.
"What now?" said Tom, repeating to him-
self, " aged thirty-five !"
â€¢' Will you look here a moment, please ?"
As if he hadn't been looking all the time !
" I am going to begin, Tom. Don't you
wonder why I butter the inside of the basin?"
said his busy little sister.
" Not more than you do, I dare say," re-
plied Tom, laughing. " For I believe you don't
know anything about it."
" What an infidel you are, Tom ! How else
do you think it would turn out easily when it
was done ? For a civil-engineer and land-sur-
veyor not to know that ! My goodness, Tom !"
It was wholly out of the question to try to
write. Tom lined out " A respectable young
man, aged thirty-five;" and sat looking on, pen
in hand, with one of the most loving smiles
Such a busy little woman as she was ! So
full of self-importance, and trying so hard not
to smile, or seem uncertain about anything ! It
was a perfect treat to Tom to see her with her
brows knit, and her rosy lips pursed up, knead-
ing away at the crust, rolling it out, cutting it
up into strips, lining the basin with it, shaving it
off fine round the rim, chopping up the steak
into small pieces, raining down pepper and salt
upon thern, packing them into the basin, pour-
ing in cold water for gravy, and never venturing
to steal a look in his direction, lest her gravity
should be disturbed ; until, at last, the basin
being quite full and only wanting the top crust,
she clapped her hands, all covered with paste
and flour, at Tom, and burst out heartily into
such a charming little laugh of triumph, that
the pudding need have had no other seasoning
to commend it to the taste of any reasonable
man on earth.
"Where's the pudding?" said Tom. For he
was cutting his jokes, Tom was.
"Where!" she answered, holding it up with
both hands. " Look at it !"
" That a pudding !" said Tom.
*â€¢ It will be, you stupid fellow, when it's
covered in," returned his sister. Torn still pre-
tending to look incredulous, she gave him a tap
on the head with the rolling-pin, and still
laughing merrily, had returned to the composi-
tion of the top-crust, when she started and
turned very red. Tom started, too, for follow-
ing her eyes, he saw John Westlock in the room.
" Why, my goodness, John ! How did you
" I beg pardon," said John â€” " your sister's
pardon especially â€” but I met an old lady at the
street door, who requested me to enter here ;
and as you didn't hear me knock, and the door
was open, I made bold to do so. I hardly
know," said John, with a smile, " why any of us
should be disconcerted at my having accidentally
intruded upon such an agreeable domestic oc-
cupation, so very agreeably and skilfully pur-
sued; but I must confess that I am. Tom,
will you kindly come to my relief?"
"Mr. John Westlock," said Tom. "My
" I hope, that as the sister of so old a friend,"
said John, laughing, "you will have the good-
ness to detach your first impressions of me from
my unfortunate entrance."
" My sister is not indisposed perhaps to say the
same to you on her own behalf," retorted Tom.
John said, of course, that this was quite un-
necessary, for he had been transfixed in silent
admiration â€¢ and he held out his hand to Miss
Pinch ; who couldn't take it, however, by reason
of the flour and paste upon her own. This,
which might seem calculated to increase the
general confusion and render matters worse, had
in reality the best effect in the world, for neither
of them could help laughing; and so they both
found themselves on easy terms immediately.
" I am delighted to see you," said Tom. " Sit
" I can only think of sitting down on one
condition," returned his friend ; tL and that is,
that your sister goes on with the pudding, as if
you were still alone,"
" That I am sure she will," said Tom. " On
one other condition, and that is, that you stay
and help us to cat it."
Poor little Ruth was seized with a palpitation
of the heart when Tom committed this appalling
indiscretion, for she felt that if the dish turned
out a failure, she never would be able to hold
up her head before John Westlock again. Quite
unconscious of her state of mind, John accepted
the invitation with all imaginable heartiness;
and after a little more pleasantry concerning
this same pudding, and the tremendous expecta-
tions he made believe to entertain of it, she
blushingly resumed her occupation, and he took
"I am here much earlier than I intended,
Tom ; but I will tell you what brings me, and I
think I can answer for your being glad to hear
it. Is that anything you wish to show me?"
" Oh dear no ! " cried Tom, who had forgotten
the blotted scrap of paper in his hand, until this
inquiry brought it to his recollection. "'A
respectable young man, aged thirty-five' â€” The
beginning of a description of myself. That's all."
" I don't think you will have occasion to
finish it, Tom. But how is it, you never told
me you had friends in London ? "
Tom looked at his sister with all his might ;
and certainly his sister looked with all her might
"Friends in London !" echoed Tom.
" Ah ! " said Westlock, ' 4 to be sure."
" Have you any friends in London, Ruth, my
dear?" asked Tom.
" No, Tom."
" I am very happy to hear that / have," said
Tom, " but it's news to me. I never knew it.
They must be capital people to keep a secret,
" You shall judge for yourself," returned the
other. " Seriously, Tom, here is the plain state
of the case. As I was sitting at breakfast this
morning, there comes a knock at my door."
" On which you cried out, very loud, ' Come
in !' " suggested Tom.
"So I did. And the person who knocked,
not being a respectable young man aged thirty-
five, from the country, came in when he was
invited, instead of standing gaping and staring
about him on the landing. Well ! When he
came in, I found he was a stranger; a grave,
business-like, sedate-looking, stranger. ' Mr.
Westlock?' said he. 'That is my name,' said
I. ' The favour of a few words with you?' said
he. ' Pray be seated, sir,' said I."
Here John stopped for an instant, to glance
towards the table, where Tom's sister, listening
attentively, was still busy with the basin, which
by this time made a noble appearance. Then
he resumed :
" The pudding having taken a chair, Tom " â€”
"What!" cried Tom.
" Having taken a chair."
"You said a pudding."
" No, no," replied John, colouring rather ; " a
chair. The idea of a stranger coming into my
rooms at half-past eight o'clock in the morning,
and taking a pudding ! Having taken a chair,
Tom, a chair â€” amazed me by opening the con-
versation thus : ' I believe you are acquainted,
sir, with Mr. Thomas Pinch?'"
" No !" cried Tom.
" His very words, I assure you. I told him I
was. Did I know where you were at present
residing? Yes. In London? Yes. He had
casually heard, in a roundabout way, that you
had left your situation with Mr. Pecksniff. Was
that the fact? Yes, it was. Did you' want
another? Yes, you did."
" Certainly," said Tom, nodding his head.
" Just what I impressed upon him. You may
rest assured that I set that point beyond the
possibility of any mistake, and gave him dis-
tinctly to understand that he might make up his
mind about it. Very well."
" 'Then,' said he, ' I think I can accommodate
Tom's sister stopped short.
"Lord bless me!" cried Tom. " Ruth, my
dear, 'think I can accommodate him.'-'
" Of course I begged him," pursued John
Westlock, glancing at Tom's sister, who was not
less eager in her interest than Tom himself, "to
proceed, and said that I would undertake to see
you immediately. He replied that he had very
little to say, being a man of few words, but such
as it was, it was to the purpose : and so, indeed,
it turned out : for he immediately went on to
tell me that a friend of his was in want of a kind
of secretary and librarian ; and that although
the salary was small, being only a hundred
pounds a year, with neither board nor lodging,
still the duties were not heavy, and there the
post was. Vacant, and ready for your accept-
"Good gracious me!" cried Tom; "a hun-
dred pounds a year ! My dear John ! Ruth,
my love ! A hundred pounds a year !"
" But the strangest part of the story," resumed
John Westlock, laying his hand on Tom's wrist,
to bespeak his attention, and repress his ecstasies
for the moment : " the strangest part of the
story, Miss Pinch, is this. I don't know this
man from Adam ; neither does this man know
" He can't," said Tom, in great perplexity,
" if he's a Londoner. I don't know any one in
" And on my observing," John resumed, still
MA R TIN CHUZZLE J J 'IT.
keeping his hand upon Tom's wrist, " that I had
no doubt he would excuse the freedom I took,
in inquiring who directed him to me ; how he
came to know of the change which had taken
place in my friend's position ; and how he came
to be acquainted with my friend's peculiar fit-
ness for such an office as he had described ; he
drily said that he was not at liberty to enter into
'â€¢â€¢ Xot at liberty to enter into any explana-
tions : " repeated Tom, drawing a long breath.
â€¢ I must be perfectly aware,' he said," John
added, " ' that to any person who had ever been
in Mr. Pecksniff's neighbourhood, Mr. Thomas
Pinch and his acquirements were as well known
as the Church steeple, or the Blue Dragon.' "
"The Blue Dragon!" repeated Tom, staring
alternately at his friend and his sister.