Charles Dickens.

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est werge of insensibility, to climb up the stairs, one by one,
with his hands and knees. They 'd have been mndi too steep
for him, if he had been sober ; but he would n't be helped.

It war n't long after that> that I read in the newspaper of
Mr. Chops's being presented at oourt. It was printed, ^^J%
will be recollected" — and I've noticed in my life, that it is
sure to be printed that it will be recollected, whenever it wont
— ^^ that Mr. Chops is the individual of small statnre, whose
brilliant success in the last State Lottery attracted so nracfa
attention." Well, I says to myself. Such is Life I He has
been and done it in earnest at last! He has astonished
Oeorge the Fourth I

(On account of which, I had that canvas new-painted, hira
with a bag of money in his hand, a presentin it to George the
Fourth, and a lady in Ostrich Feathers fallin in love with him in
a bag- wig, sword, and buckles correct.)

I took the house as is the subject of present inquiries —
though not the honor of bein acquainted — and I run Mags-
man*s Amusements in it thirteen months — sometimes one
thing, sometimes another, sometimes nothin particular, but
always all the canvases outside. One night, when we had
[)layed the last company out, which was a shy company,
through its raining Heavens hard, I wa^s taking a pipe in the
one pair back along with the young man with the toes, which
I had taken on for a month (though he never drawed — except
on paper) , and I heard a kickin at the street door. ^^ Halloa ! "
I says to the young man, '' what 's up I " He rubs his e^-e-
brows with his toes, and be says, ^' I can't imagine, Mr. Mags-
man" — which he never could imagine nothin, and was mo-
notonous comimny. '

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The noise not leavih off, I laid dowti toy pipe, and I took
up a candle, and I went down and opened the door. I
looked oat into the street ; but nothing could I see, and
nothin was I aware of, until I turned round quick, because
some creetur run between my legs into the passage. There
was Mr. Chops!

" Magsman," he says, " take me, on the old terms, and
3'ou *ve got me ; if it 's done, say done ! "

I was all of a maze, but I said, " Done, sir."

'* Done to your done, and double done I " says he. " Have
you got a bit of supper in the house? "

Bearin in mind them sparklin warieties of foreign drains as
we 'd guzzled away at in Pftll Mall, I was ashamed to offer
him cold sassages, and gin-and-water ; but he took 'em both
and took 'em free ; havin a chair for his table, and sittin down
at it on a stool, like hold times. I, all of a maze all the

It was arter he had made a clean sweep of the sass2^es
(beef, and to the best of my calculations two pound and a
quarter) , that the wisdom as was in that little man began to
come out of him like prespiration.

^'Magsman," he says, 'Mook upon me! You see afore
3on, One as has both gone into Society and come out."

" O! You are out of it, Mr. Chops? How did yon get
out, sir?"

" Sold out!'* says he. You never saw the like of the
wisdom as his Ed expressed, when he made use of them two

*' My friend Magsman, I '11 impart to you a discovery I've
made. It 's wallable ; it 's cost twelve thousand live hundred
pound ; it may do j'ou good In life. — The secret of this mat-
ter is, that it ain't so much that a person goes into Society,
as that Society goes into a person."

Not exactly keeping up with his meanin, I shook m}' head,
put on a deep look, and said, **You're right there, Mr.

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*^ Bfagmuui,'' he says, twttehin me by the leg, " Sodetj
has goae into me, to the taneof eTeiy penny of my property."

I felt that I went pale, and though natYally a bold q>eaker,
I ooold n't hardly aay, " Where *8 Normandy?-

'' Bolted. With the plate," said Mr. Chops.

^' And f other one ?" meaning him as formerly wore the
bishop's mitre.

'' Bolted. With the jewels," said Mr. Chops.

I sat down and looked at him, and he stood up and looked
at me.

^^ Magsman," he says, and he seemed to myself to get
wiser as he got hoarser ; ^^ Society, taken in the lump, is all
dwarft. At the coart of St. James's, they was all a doing
my old business — all a gmn three times roand the Cairawan,
in the hold court-suits and properties. Elsewfaeres, they was
most of 'em ringin their little beUs oat of make-believes.
Everywheres, the sarser was a goin rotmd. Bfagsman, the
sarser is the nniwersal Institution I "

I perceived, you understand, that he was soured by his mis-
fortuns, and I felt for Mr. Chops.

^' As to Fat Ladies," says he, givii^ his head a tremendious
one agin the wall, ^^ there's lots of ikem in Society, and
worse than the original. Hers was a outrage upon Taste —
simply a outrage upon Taste — awakenin contempt — car-
ryin its own punishment in the form of a Indian ! ^ Here he
giv himself another tremendious one. ^' But Mft'rt, Mags-
man, theirs is mercenary outrages. Lay in Cashmeer shawls,
buy bracelets, strew 'em and a lot of 'andsome fans and things
about your rooms, let it be known that you give away like
water to all as come to admire, and the Fat Ladies that don't
exhibit for so much down upon the drum, will come from all
the pints of the compass to flock about you, whatever yon
are. They '11 drill holes in your 'art, Magsman, like a Cullen-
der. And when you 've no more left to give, they 'U laugh at
}Tou to your fece, and leave you to have your bones picked
dry by Wulturs, like the dead Wiki Ass of the Prairies

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that joa deserve to be I " Here he giv iiimself the most
tremendious one of all, and dropped.

I thought he was gone. His £d was so heavy, and he
knocked it so hard, and he fell so stoney, and the sassagerial
disturbance in him must have been so immense, that I thought
he was gone. But he soon come round with care, and he sat
up on the floor, and he said to me, with wisdom comin out
of his eyes, if ever it come :

^ ' Magsman ! The most mat^ifil difference between the two
states of existence though which 3'our unappy friend has
passed : " he reached out his poor little hand, and his tears
dropped down on the moustachio which it was a credit to him
to have done his best to grow, but it is not in mortals to com-
mand success, — " the difference is this. When I was out of
Society, I was paid light |br being seen. When I went into
Society, I paid heavy for being seen. I prefer the former,
even if I wasn't forced upon it. Give me out through the
trumpet, in the hold way, to-morrow."

Arter that, he slid into the line again as easy as if he had
been iled all over. But the organ was kep from him, and no
allusion was ever made, when a company was in, to his prop-
erty. He got wiser every day ; his views of Society and the
Public was Imninous, bewilderin, awful ; and his £d got big-
ger and bigger as his Wisdom expanded it.

He took well, and pulled 'em in most excellent for nine
weeks. At the expiration. of that period, when his £d was a
sight, he expressed one evenin, the last Company havin been
turned out, and the door shut, a wish to have a little music.

*' Mr. Chops," I said (I never dropped the " Mr." with
him ; the world might do it, but not me) ; " Mr. Chops, are
you sure as you are in a state of mind and body to sit upon the

His answer was this : " Toby, when next met with on the
tramp, I foigive her and the Indian. And I am."

It was with fear and trembling that I began to turn the
handle ; but he sat like a lamb. It will be my belief to mx

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liying day, that I see his Ed eipaad as ke sat; yoa mar
therefore judge how great his thoughts was. He sat cot aU
the changes, and then he oome off.

'^ Toby," be says, with a quiet smile, '< the litUe man wiH
now walk three times round the Cairawaa, and retire behind
the curtain."

When we called him in the morning, we found him gone
into a much better Society than mine or PaU Mall's. I gir
Mr. Chops as comfortable a ftmeral as lay in my power, fol-
lowed myself as Chief, and had the George the Fourth can-
vas carried first, in the form of a banner. But, the House
was so dismal arterwards, that I giv it ap, and took to the
Wan again.

'^I don't triumph," said Jai'ber, holding up the second
manuscript, and looking hard at Trottie. ^^ I don't toiumph
over this worthy creature. I merely ask him if he is satis-
fled now?"

*' How can he be anjihing else?" I said, answering tor
Trottie, who sat obstinately silent. ^^This tme, Jaitier,
you have not only read us a delightfVdly amusing story, but
you have also answered the question about the House. Of
course it stands empty now. Who wouki t^nk of taking
it after it had been turned into a caravan?" I looked at
TrotUe, as I said those kst words, and Jarber waved his
hand indulgently in the same direction.

^' Let this excellent person speak," said Jarfoer. ^' Too
were about to say, my good man?" —

*♦ I onl}' wished to ask, sir," said Trottie doggedly, " if
you could kindly oblige me wiUi a date or two in connectkm
with that last stor}'?"

^^ A date ! " repeated Jarber. '^ What does the man want
with dates!"

^' I should be gkd to know, with great respect," persSsted
Trottie, '* if the perscm named Magsman was tbe last ten-
ant who lived in the House. It's my opmion — if I mmf

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be excused for giving it — that he most decidedly was

With those words, Trottle made a low bow, and quietly left
the room.

There is no denying that Jarber, when we were left
together, looked sadly discomposed. He had evidently for-
gotten to inquire about dates ; and, in spite of his magniB-
cent talk about his series of discoveries, it was quite as plain
that the two stories he had Just i*ead, had really and tnily ex-
hausted his present stock. I thought myself bound, in com-
mon gratitude, to help him out of his embarrassment by a
timely suggestion. So I proposed that he should come to
tea again, on the next Monday evening, the thirteenth, and
should make such inquiries in the meantime, as might enable
him to dispose triumphantly of Trottle*s objection.

He gallantly kissed m}' hand, made a neat little speech of
acknowledgment, and took his leave. For the rest of ^e
week I would not encourage Trottle by allowing him to i-efer
to the House at all. I suspected he was making his own
inquiries about dates, but I put no questions to him.

On Monday evening, the thirteenth, that dear unfortimate
Jarber came, punctual to the ap|x>inted time. He looked so
terribl}^ harassed, that he was really quite a spectacle of fee-
bleness and fatigue. I saw, at a glance, that the question of
dates had gone against him, that Mr. Magsman had not been
the last tenant of the House, and that the reason of its empti-
ness was still to seek.

" What I have gone through," said Jarber, " words are not
eloquent enough to tell. O Sophonisba, I have begun another
series of discoveries ! Accept the last two as stories laid on
your shrine ; and want to blame me for leaving your curiosity
unappeased, until you have heard Number Three."

Number Three looked like a very shoii; manuscript, and I
said as much. Jarber explained to me that we were to have
some poetr)' this time. In the course of his investigations
he had stepped into the Circulating Librar}^ to seek for infor-

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nmtion on the one important subject. All the Library-people
knew about the House was, that a female relative of the last
tenant, as the}' believed, had, just after that tenant left, sent
a little manuscript poem to them which she described as re-
ferring to events that had actually passed in the House ; and
which she wanted the proprietor of the Library to publish.
She had written no address on her letter ; and the proprietor
had kept the manuscript ready to be given back to her (the
publishing of poems not being in his line) when she might
call for it. She had never called for it ; and tJie poem had
been lent to Jarber, at his express request, to read to me.

Before he b^an, I rang the bell for Trottle ; being deter-
mined to have him present at the new reading, as a wholesome
check on his obstinacy. To my surprise Pegg}' answered the
bell, and told me that Trottle had stepped out without saying
where. I instantlj' felt the strongest possible conviction ^at
he was at his old tricks : and that his stepping out in the
evening, without leave, meant — Philandering.

ControlUng myself on my visitor's account, I dismissed
Peggy, stifled my indignation, and prepared, as politel}* as
might be, to listen to Jarber.

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Online LibraryCharles DickensCharles Dickens' complete works → online text (page 84 of 84)