you want to know?"
" I want to know nothing, Jonas, but what
you tell me. All hope of confidence between
us, has long deserted me."
" Ecod, I should hope so !" he muttered.
" But if you will tell me what you wish, I will
be obedient and will try to please you. I make
no merit of that, for I have no friend in my
father or my sister, but am quite alone. I am
very humble and submissive. You told me you
would break my spirit, and you have done so.
Do not break my heart too !"
She ventured, as she said these words, to lay
her hand upon his shoulder. He suffered it to
rest there, in his exultation ; and the whole
mean, abject, sordid, pitiful soul of the man,
MARTIN CHUZZLE WIT
looked at her, for the moment, through his
For the moment only: for, with the same
hurried return to something within himself, he
bade her, in a surly tone, show her obedience
by executing his commands without delay.
When she had withdrawn, he paced up and
down the room several times; but always with
his right hand clenched, as if it held something ;
which it did not, being empty. When he was
tired of this, he threw himself into a chair, and
thoughtfully turned up the sleeve of his right
arm, as if he were rather musing about its
strength than examining it; but, even then, he
kept the hand clenched.
He was brooding in this chair, with his eyes
down upon the ground, when Mrs. Gamp
in to tell him that the little room was
ready. Not being quite sure of her reception
after interfering in the quarrel, Mrs. Gamp, as a
means of interesting and propitiating her patron,
affected a deep solicitude in Mr. Chuffey.
" How is he now, sir?" she said.
"Who?" cried Jonas, raising his head, and
staring at her.
"To be sure?" returned the matron with a
smile and a curtsey. " What am I thinking of !
You wasn't here, sir, when he was took so
strange. I never see a poor dear creetur took
so strange in all my life, e>:cept a patient much
about the same age, as I once nussed, which his
calling was the custom-'us, and his name was
Mrs. Harris's own father, as pleasant a singer,
Mr. Chuzzlewit, as ever you heerd, with a voice
like a Jew's-harp in the bass notes, that it took
six men to hold at sech times, foaming fright-
" Chuffey, eh ?" said Jonas carelessly, seeing
that she went up to the old clerk, and looked at
him. " Ha !"
" The creetur's head's so hot," said Mrs.
Gamp, " that you might eat a flat-iron at it.
And no wonder I am sure, considerin' the things
he said I"
" Said !" cried Jonas. " What did he say ?"
Mrs. Gamp laid her hand upon her heart, to
put some check upon its palpitations, and turn-
ing up her eyes replied in a faint voice :
"The awfullest things, Mr. Chuzzlewit
ever I heerd ! Which Mrs. Harris's lather never
spoke a word when took so, some docs and
some don't, except sayin' when he come round,
'Where is Sairey Gamp?' But raly, sir, when
Mr. Chuffey comes to ask who's lyin' dead up-
stairs, and "
" Who's lying dead up-stairs !" repeated Jonas,
Mrs. Gamp nodded, made as if she were
swallowing, and went on.
" Who's lying dead upstairs ; sech was his
Bible language; and where was Mr. Chuzzlewit
as had the only son ; and when he goes up-stairs
a looking in the beds and wandering about the
rooms, and comes down again a whisperin' softly
to his-self about foul play and that ; it give me
sich a turn, I don't deny it, Mr. Chuzzlewit, that
1 never could have kep myself up but for a little
drain o' spirits, which I seldom touches, but
could always wish to know where to find, if so
dispoged, never knowin' wot may happen next,
the world bein' so uncertain."
'â€¢Why, the old fool's mad!" cried Jonas,
" That's my opinion, sir," said Mrs. Gamp,
" and I will not deceive you. I believe as Mr.
Chuffey, sir, rekwires attention (if I may make
so bold), and should not have his liberty to wex
and worrit your sweet lady as he does."
"Why, who minds what he says?" retorted
" Still he is worritin', sir," said Mrs. Gamp.
" No one don't mind him, but he is a ill con-
" Ecod, you're right," said Jonas, looking
doubtfully at the subject of this conversation.
" I have half a mind to shut him up."
Mrs. Gamp rubbed her hands and smiled, and
shook her head, and sniffed expressively, as
scenting a job.
" Could you â€” could you take care of such an
idiot, now, in some spare room up-stairs ?"
" Me and a friend of mine, one off, one on,
could do it, Mr. Chuzzlewit," replied the nurse;
" our charges not bein' high, but wishin' they was
lower, and allowance made considerin' not
strangers. Me and Betsey Prig, sir, would
undertake Mr. Chuffey, reasonable," said Mrs.
Gamp, looking at him with her head on one
side, as if he had been a piece of goods, for
which she was driving a bargain ; " and give
cvc.y satigefaction. Betsey Prig has nussed a
many lunacies, and well she knows their ways,
which puttin' 'em right close afore the fire, when
fractious, is the certainest and most compoging."
While Mrs. Gamp discoursed to this effect,
Jonas was walking up and down the room
again : glancing covertly at the old clerk, as he
did so. He now made a stop and said :
" I must look after him, I suppose, or I may
have him doing some mischief. What say you?"
" Nothin' more likely!" Mrs. Gamp replied.
" As well I have experienged, I do assure you,
CHUFFEY TO BE RESTRAINED.
" Well ! Look after him for the present, and
â€” let me see â€” three days from this time let the
other woman come here, and we'll see if we can
make a bargain of it. About nine or ten o'clock
at night, say. Keep your eye upon him in the
meanwhile, and don't talk about it. He's as
mad as a March hare ! "
"Madder!" cried Mrs. Gamp. "A deal
madder ! "
" See to him, then; take care that he does no
harm ; and recollect what I have told you."
Leaving Mrs. Gamp in the act of repeating all
she had been told, and of producing in support
of her memory and trustworthiness, many com-
mendations selected from among the most re-
markable opinions of the celebrated Mrs. Harris,
he descended to the little room prepared for
him, and pulling off his coat and his boots, put
them outside the door before he locked it. In
locking it, he was careful so to adjust the key,
as to baffle any curious person who might try to
peep in through the keyhole ; and when he had
taken these precautions, he sat down to his
" Mr. Chuff," he muttered, " it'll be pretty
easy to be even with you. It's of no use doing
things by halves, and as long as I stop here, I'll
take good care of you. When I am off, you may
say what you please. But it's a d â€” d strange
thing," he added, pushing away his untouched
plate, and striding moodily to and fro, " that his
drivellings should have taken this turn just now."
After pacing the little room from end to end
several times, he sat down in another chair.
" I say just now, but for anything I know, he
may have been carrying on the same game all
along. Old dog ! He shall be gagged ! "
He paced the room again in the same restless
and unsteady way ; and then sat down upon the
bedstead, leaning his chin upon his hand, and
looking at the table. When he had looked at
it for a long time, he remembered his supper ;
and resuming the chair he had first occupied,
began to eat with great rapacity : not like a
hungry man, but as if he were determined to do
it. He drank too, roundly ; sometimes stopping
in the middle of a draught to walk, and change
his seat and walk again, and dart back to
the table and fall to, in a ravenous hurry, as
It was now growing dark. As the gloom of
evening, deepening into night, came on, another
dark shade emerging from within him seemed to
overspread his face, and slowly change it. Slowly,
slowly ; darker and darker ; more and more hag-
gard ; creeping over him by little and little : until
it was black night within him and without.
The room in which he had shut himself up,
was on the ground floor, at the back of the
house. It was lighted by a dirty skylight, and a
door in the wall, opening into a narrow covered
passage or blind-alley, very little frequented
after five or six o'clock in the evening, and
not in much use as a thoroughfiire at any hour.
But it had an outlet in a neighbouring street.
The ground on which this chamber stood, had
at one time, not within his recollection, been a
yard; and had been converted to its present
purpose, for use as an office. But the occasion
for it, died with the. man who built it; and
saving that it had sometimes served as an apo-
logy for a spare bedroom, and that the old clerk
had once held it (but that was years ago) as his
recognised apartment, it had been little troubled
by Anthony Chuzzlewit and Son. It was a
blotched, stained, mouldering room, like a vault ;
and there were water-pipes running through it,
which at unexpected times in the night, when
other things were quiet, clicked and gurgled
suddenly, as if they were choking.
The door into the court had not been opened
for a long, long time ; but the key had always
hung in one place, and there it hung now. He
was prepared for its being rusty ; for he had a
little bottle of oil in his pocket and the feather
of a pen, with which he lubricated the key, and
the lock too, carefully. All this while he had
been without his coat, and had nothing on his
feet but his stockings. He now got softly into
bed, in the same state, and tossed from side to
side to tumble it. In his restless condition,
that was easily done.
When he arose, he took from his portmanteau,
which he had caused to be carried into that
place when he came home, a pair of clumsy
shoes, and put them on his feet ; also a pair of
leather leggings, such as countrymen are used to
wear, w T ith straps to fasten them to the waist-
band. In these he dressed himself at leisure.
Lastly, he took out a common frock of coarse
dark jean, which he drew over his own under-
clothing ; and a felt hat â€” he had purposely left
his own up-stairs. He then sat down by the
door, with the key in his hand, waiting.
He had no light ; the time was dreary, long.
and awful. The ringers were practising in a
neighbouring church, and the clashing of the
bells was almost maddening. Curse the cla-
mouring bells, they seemed to know that he was
listening at the door, and to proclaim it in a
crowd of voices to all the town ! Would they
never be still ?
They ceased at last, and then the silence was
so new and terrible that it seemed the prelude
to some dreadful noise. Foosteps in the court !
Two men. He fell back from the door on tip-
toe, as if they could have seen him through its
They passed on, talking (he could make out)
about a skeleton which had been dug up yester-
day, in some work of excavation near at hand,
and' was supposed to be that of a murdered man.
" So murder is not always found out, you see,"
they said to one another as they turned the
He put the key into the lock, and turned it.
The door resisted for a while, but soon came
stiffly open : mingling with the sense of fever in
his mouth, a taste of rust, and dust, and earth,
and rotten wood. He looked out ; passed out ;
locked it after him.
All was clear and quiet, as he fled away.
CONCLUSION OF THE ENTERPRISE OF MR. JONAS
AND HIS FRIEND.
^j^TMh,ID n0 men passing through the dim
streets shrink without knowing why,
when he came stealing up behind
them? As he glided on, had no
child in its sleep an indistinct per-
ception of a guilty shadow falling on
its bed, that troubled its innocent rest ?
Did no dog howl, and strive to break
its rattling chain, that it might tear him; no
burrowing rat, scenting the work he had in hand,
essay to gnaw a passage after him, that it might
hold a greedy revel at the feast of his pro-
viding? When he looked back, across his
shoulder, was it to see if his quick footsteps still
fell dry upon the dusty pavement, or were
already moist and clogged with the red mire
that stained the naked feet of Cain !
He shaped his course for the main western
road, and soon reached it : riding a part of the
way, then alighting and walking on again. He
travelled for a considerable distance upon the
roof of a stage-coach, which came up while he
was a-foot ; and when it turned out of his road,
bribed the driver of a return post-chaise to take
him on with him ; and then made across the
country at a run, and saved a mile or two before
he struck again into the road. At last, as his
plan was, he came up with a certain lumbering,
slow, night-coach, which stopped wherever it
could, and was stopping then at a public-house,
while the guard and coachman ate and drank
He bargained for a seat outside this coach,
and took it. And he quitted it no more until
it was within a few miles of its destination, but
occupied the same place all night.
All night ! It is a common fancy that nature
seems to sleep by night. It is a false fancy, as
who should know better than he ?
The fishes slumbered in the cold, bright, glis-
tening streams and rivers, perhaps; and the birds
roosted on the branches of the trees ; and in
their stalls and pastures beasts were quiet ; and
human creatures slept. But what of that, when
the solemn night was watching, when it never
winked, when its darkness watched no less than
its light ! The stately trees, the moon and
shining stars, the softly stirring wind, the over-
shadowed lane, the broad, bright country-side,
they all kept watch. There was not a blade of
growing grass or corn, but watched ; and the
quieter it was, the more intent and fixed its
watch upon him seemed to be.
And yet he slept. Riding on among these
sentinels of God, he slept, and did not change
the purpose of his journey. If he forgot it in
his troubled dreams, it came up steadily, and
woke him. But it never woke him to remorse
or to abandonment of his design.
He dreamed at one time that he was lying
calmly in his bed, thinking of a moonlight night
and the noise of wheels, when the old clerk put
his head in at the door, and beckoned him. At
this signal he arose immediately : being already
dressed, in the clothes he actually wore at that
time : and accompanied him into a strange city,
where the names of the streets were written on
the walls in characters quite new to him ; which
gave him no surprise or uneasiness, for he
remembered in his dream to have been there
before. Although these streets were very pre-
cipitous, insomuch that to get from one to
another, it was necessary to descend great heights
by ladders that were too short, and ropes that
moved deep bells, and swung and swayed as
they were clung to, the danger gave him little
emotion beyond the first thrill of terror : his
anxieties being concentrated on his dress, which
was quite unfitted for some festival that was
about to be holden there, and in which he had
come to take a part. Already, great crowds
began to fill the streets, and in one direction
myriads of people came rushing down an inter-
minable perspective, strewing flowers and making
way for others on white horses, when a terrible
figure started from the throng, and cried out that
it was the Last Day for all the world. The cry
READY TO STRIKE.
being spread, there was a wild hurrying on to
Judgment; and the press became so great that
he and his companion (who was constantly
changing, and was never the same man two
minutes together, though he never saw one man
come or another go), stood aside in a porch,
fearfully surveying the multitude ; in which there
were many faces that he knew, and many that
he did not know, but dreamed he did ; when all
at once a struggling head rose up among the
rest â€” livid and deadly, but the same as he had
known it â€” and denounced him as having ap-
pointed that direful day to happen. They closed
together. As he strove to free the hand in which
he held a club, and strike the blow he had so
often thought of, he started to the knowledge of
his waking purpose and the rising of the sun.
The sun was welcome to him. There were
life and motion, and a world astir, to divide the
attention of Day. It was the eye of Night : of
wakeful, watchful, silent, and attentive Night,
with so much leisure for the observation of his
wicked thoughts : that he dreaded most. There
is no glare in the night. Even Glory shows to
small advantage in the night, upon a crowded
battle-field. How then shows Glory's blood-
relation, bastard Murder !
Aye ! He made no compromise, and held
no secret with himself now. Murder. He had
come to do it.
" Let me get down here," he said.
" Short of the town, eh ?" observed the coach-
" I may get down where I please, I suppose?"
" You got up to please yourself, and may get
down to please yourself. It won't break our
hearts to lose you, and it wouldn't have broken
'em if we'd never found you. Be a little quicker.
The guard had alighted, and was waiting in
the road to take his money. In the jealousy and
distrust of what he contemplated, he thought
this man looked at him with more than common
"What are you staring at?" said Jonas.
" Not at a handsome man," returned the guard.
" If you want your fortune told, I'll tell you a
bit of it. You won't be drowned. That's a
consolation for you."
Before he could retort or turn away, the coach-
man put an end to the dialogue by giving him a
cut with his whip, and bidding him get out for a
surly dog. The guard jumped up to his seat at
the same moment, and they drove off, laughing ;
leaving him to stand in the road, and shake his
fist at them. He was not displeased though, on
second thoughts, to have been taken for an ill-
conditioned common country fellow ; but rather
congratulated himself upon it as a proof that he
was well disguised.
Wandering into a copse by the road-side â€” but
not in that place : two or three miles off â€” he
tore out from a fence a thick, hard, knotted
stake ; and sitting down beneath a hay-rick,
spent some time in shaping it, in peeling off the
bark, and fashioning its jagged head, with his
The day passed on. Noon, afternoon, even-
At that serene and peaceful time two men,
riding in a gig, came out of the city by a road
not much frequented. It was the day on which
Mr. Pecksniff had agreed to dine with Montague.
He had kept his appointment, and was now
going home. His host was riding with him for
a short distance ; meaning to return by a pleasant
track, which Mr. Pecksniff had engaged to show
him, through some fields. Jonas knew their plans.
He had hung about the inn-yard while they were
at dinner and had heard their orders given.
They were loud and merry in their conversa-
tion, and might have been heard at some dis-
tance : far above the sound of their carriage
wheels or horse's hoofs. They came on noisily,
to where a stile and footpath indicated their
point of separation. Here they stopped.
" It's too soon. Much too soon," said Mr. ,
Pecksniff. " But this is the place, my dear sir.
Keep the path, and go straight through the little
wood you'll come to. The path is narrow there,
but you can't miss it. When shall I see you
again? Soon I hope?"
" I hope so," replied Montague.
" Good night. And a pleasant ride !"
So long as Mr. Pecksniff was in sight, and
turned his head, at intervals, to salute him, Mon-
tague stood in the road smiling, and waving his
hand. But when his new partner had disap-
peared, and this show was no longer necessary,
he sat down on the stile with looks so altered,
that he might have grown ten years older in the
He was flushed with wine, but not gay. His
scheme had succeeded, but he showed no
triumph. The effort of sustaining his difficult
part before his late companion, had fatigued
him, perhaps, or it may be, that the evening
whispered to his conscience, or it may be (as it
has been), that a shadowy veil was dropping
round him, closing out all thoughts but the pre-
sentiment and vague foreknowledge of impend-
If there be fluids, as we know there are, which,
conscious of a coming wind, or rain, or frost,
will shrink and strive to hide themselves in their
glass arteries; may not that subtle liquor of the
blood perceive by properties within itself, that
hands are raised to waste and spill it ; and in
the veins of men run cold and dull as his did,
in that hour !
So cold, although the air was warm : so dull,
although the sky was blight: that he rose up
shivering, from his seat, and hastily resumed his
walk. He checked himself as hastily : unde-
cided whether to pursue the footpath, which was
lonely and retired, or to go back by the road.
He took the footpath.
The glory of the departing sun was on his face.
The music of the birds was in his ears. Sweet
wild flowers bloomed about him. Thatched
roofs of poor men's homes were in the distance ;
and an old grey spire surmounted by a Cross,
rose up between him and the coming night.
He had never read the lesson which these
things conveyed ; he had ever mocked and
turned away from it ; but, before going down
into a hollow place, he looked round, once, upon
the evening prospect, sorrowfully. Then he
went down, down, down, into the dell.
It brought him to the wood; a close, thick,
shadowy wood, through which the path went
winding on, dwindling away into a slender
sheep-track. He paused before entering ; for
the stillness of this spot almost daunted him.
The last rays of the sun were shining in, aslant,
making a path of golden light along the stems
and branches in its range, which, even as he
looked, began to die away, yielding gently to
the twilight that came creeping on. It was so
very quiet that the soft and stealthy moss about
the trunks of some old trees, seemed to have
grown out of the silence, and to be its proper
offspring. Those other trees which were sub-
dued by blasts of wind in winter time, had not
quite tumbled down, but being caught by others,
lay all bare and scathed across their leafy arms,
as if unwilling to disturb the general repose by
the crash of their fall. Vistas of silence opened
everywhere, into the heart and innermost re-
cesses of the wood : beginning with the likeness
of an aisle, a cloister, or a ruin open to the sky ;
then tangling off into a deep green rustling
mystery, through which gnarled trunks, and
twisted boughs, and ivy-covered stuns, and
trembling leaves, and bark-stripped bodies of old
trees stretched out at length, were faintly seen
in beautiful confusion.
As the sunlight died away, and evening lell
upon the wood, he entered it. Moving, here
and there, a bramble or a drooping bough which
stretched across his path, he slowly disappeared.
At intervals a narrow opening showed him pass-
ing on, or the sharp cracking of some tender
branch denoted where he went ; then, he was
seen or heard no more.
Never more beheld by mortal eye, or heard by
mortal ear : one man excepted. That man, part-
ing the leaves and branches on the other side,
near where the path emerged again, came leaping
out soon afterwards.
What had he left within the wood, that he
sprang out of it, as if it were a hell ?
The body of a murdered man. In one thick
solitary spot, it lay among the last year's leaves
of oak and beech, just as it had fallen headlong
down. Sopping and soaking in among the
leaves that formed its pillow : oozing down into
the boggy ground, as if to cover itself from hu-
man sight ; forcing its way between and through
the curling leaves, as if those senseless things
rejected and forswore it, and were coiled up in
abhorrence ; went a dark, dark stain that dyed
the whole summer night from earth to heaven.
The doer of this deed came leaping from the
wood so fiercely, that he cast into the air a
shower of fragments of young boughs, torn away
in his passage, and fell with violence upon the
grass. But he quickly gained his feet again, and
keeping underneath the hedge with his body
bent, went running on towards the road. The
road once reached, he fell into a rapid walk,
and set on towards London.
And he was not sorry for what he had done.
He was frightened when he thought of it â€” when
did he not think of it 1â€” but he was not sorry.
He had had a terror and dread of the wood
when he was in it ; but being out of it, and
having committed the crime, his fears were now
diverted, strangely, to the dark room he had left