Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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,11. " Oblige mo by counting this money, Mr. Piiicli, and imttiiig
ir name to this receipt. You do not I "

No, Tom did not. He scorned to deny it. He saw tliat Mv.
cksnift' having overheard his own disgrace, cared not a jot for
Icing lower yet in his contempt. He saw that he had devised
s fiction as the readiest means of getting rid of him at once, but
it it must end in that any way. He saw that Mr. Pecksniff
koned on his not denying it, because his doing so and explaining,
uld incense the old man more than ever against Martin, and
linst Mary : while Pecksniff" himself would only have been
staken in his "fragments." Deny it ! No.

" You find the amount correct do you, Mr. Pinch ? " said

" Quite correct. Sir," answered Tom.

" A person is waiting in the kitchen," said Mr. Pecksniff", " to
■ry your luggage wherever you please. We part, Mr. Pinch, at
ce, and are strangers from this time."

Something without a name ; compassion, sorrow, old tenderness,
staken gratitude, habit : none of these, and yet all of them ;
ote upon Tom's gentle heart, at parting. There was no such
d as Pecksniff's in that carcase ; and yet, though his speaking out
1 not involved the comi^romise of one he loved, he couldn't have
nounced the very shape and figure of the man. Not even then.

"I will not say," cried Mr. Pecksniff" shedding tears, "what a
)w tliis is. I will not say how much it tries me ; how it works
oil my nature ; how it grates upon my feelings. I do not care
■ that. I can endure as well as another man. But what I have
hope, and what you liave to hope, Mr. Pinch (otlierwise a great
;ponsibility rests upon you), is, that this deception may not alter
.' ideas of humanity ; that it may not impair my freshness, or con-
ict, if I may use the expression, my Pinions. I hope it will not ;
lon't think it will. It may be a comfort to you, if not now, at
ne future time, to know, that I shall endeavour not to think the
)rse of my fellow-creatures in general, for what has jxassed between
. Farewell I "

Tom had meant to spare liiiii one little puncturation Avith a
icet, which he had it in his jtower to administer, but he cliunged
5 mind on hearing this, and saiil :

"I think you left something in the church, Sir."

"Thank you, Mr. Pinch," said Pecksniff'. "I am not aware
at I did."

"This is your double eye-glass, I believe ?" said Tom.

" Oil ! " cried Pecksniff", with some degree of confusion. "I am
liged to you. Put it down, if you jjleaee."


" I found it,"' sai<l Tom, slowly — " when I went to bolt thi
vestry-window — in the pew."

So he had. Mr. Pecksniff had taken it off when he was bobbin^
up and down, lest it should strike against the panelling : and hat
forgotten it. Going back to the church with his mind full o
having been watched, and wondering very much from what part
Tom's attention was caught by the door nf the state pew standini
open. Looking into it he found the glass. And thus he knew, am
by retiu-ning it gave Mr. Pecksniff the information that he knew
where the listener had been ; and that instead of overhearing fra^
ments of the conversation, he must have rejoiced in every word of it

" Pm glad he's gone," said Martin, drawing a long breat!
when Tom had left the room.

" It is a relief," assented Mr. Pecksniff. " It is a great reliel
But having discharged : I hope with tolerable firmness : the dut.i
which I owed to society, I will now, my dear Sir, if you yfii
give me leave, retire to shed a few tears in the back garden, a|
an humble individual." \

Tom went up-stairs ; cleared his shelf of books : packed theri
up with his music and an old fiddle in his trunk ; got out hij
clothes (they were not so many that they made his head ache)!
put them ou the top of his books; and went into the workrooi'
for his case of instruments. There was a ragged stool theri
with the horsehair all sticking out of the top like a wig : a ver
Beast of a stool in itself : on which he had taken up his dail
seat, year after year, during the whole period of his servic
They had grown older and shabbier in comjiany. Pupils ha
served their time ; seasons had come and gone ; Tom and tl
worn-out stool had held together through it all. That part i
the room was traditionally called " Tom's Corner." It had bef
assigned to him at first because of its being situated in a stroii
draught, and a great way from the fire ; and he had occupied
ever since. There were portraits of him on the wall, with all h
weak points monstrously portrayed. Diabolical sentiments, foreig
to Ills character, were represented as issuing from his mouth
fat balloons. Every pupil had added something, even unto fane
portraits of his father with one eye, and of his mother with
disproportionate nose, and especially of his sister : who alwa;
being presented as extremely beautiful, made full amends to To
for any other joke. Uiuler less uncommon circumstances, it won
have cut Tom to the heart to leave these things, and think tl)
he saw them for the last time ; but it didn't now. There was i
Pecksniff; there never had been a Pecksniff; and all his otb,
griefs were swallowed up in that.


So when he returned into the bedroom, and, having fastened
box and a carpet-bag, had put on his walking gaiters, and his
at coat, and his hat, and taken his stick in his hand, he
ked rouiul it for the last time. Early on summer mornings,
I by the light of private candle-ends on -winter nights, he had
d himself half blind in this same room. He had tried in
3 same room to learn the fiddle under the bedclothes, but
Iding to objections from the other pupils, had reluctantly
indoned the design. At any other time he would have parted
m it with a pang, thinking of all he had learned there, of the
ny hc>urs he had passed there : for the love of his very dreams,
t there was no Pecksniff; there never had been a Pecksnift';
1 the unreality of Pecksniff extended itself to the chamber, in
ich, sitting on one particular bed, the thing supposed to be that
eat Abstraction had often preached morality with such effect,
it Tom had felt a moisture in his eyes, while hanging breathless
the words.

The man engaged to bear his l)ox : Tom knew him well ; a
agon man : came stamping up the stairs, and made a ronghish
iv to Tom (to wliom in common times he would have nodded
:h a grin) as though he were aware of what had happened, and
jhed him to perceive it made no difference in him. It was
msily done ; he was a mere waterer of horses ; but Tom liked
; man for it, and felt it more than going aw^ay.
Tom would have helped him with the box, but he made no more
it, though it was a heavy one, than an elephant would have
de of a castle : just swinging it on his back and bowling down
irs as if, being naturally a heavy sort of fellow, he coidd carry
box infinitely better than he could go alone. Tom took the
•pet-bag and went down stairs along with him. At the outer
Dr stood Jane, crying with all her might ; and on the steps
,s Mrs. Lupin, sobbing bitterly, and putting out her hand for
m to shake.

"You're coming to the Dragon, Mr. Pincli'?''
"No," said Tom, "no. I shall walk to Salisbury to-night,
couldn't stay here. For goodness' sake, don't make me sd
hai)py, Mrs. Lupin."

" But you'll come to the Dragon, IMr. Pinch. If it's only for
night. To see me, you know : not as a traveller."
'• God bless my soul ! " said Tom, wiping Ins eyes. " The
idness of people is enough to break one's heart ! I mean to go
Salisbury to-night, my dear good creature. If you'll take care
my box for me, till I write for it, I shall consider it the greatest
ulness yovx can do me."


"I wish," cried Mrs. Lvipiii, "there were twenty boxes, Mr.
Pinch, that I might have 'em all."

" Thank'ee," said Tom. " It's like you. Good bye. Good

There were several people, young and old, standing about the
door, some of whom cried with Mrs. Lupin ; while others tried to
keep up a stout heart, as Tom did ; and others were absorbed in
admiration of Mr. Pecksniff — a man who could build a church, as
one may say, by squinting at a sheet of paper ; and others wert
divided between that feeling, and sympathy with Tom. Mr. Peck
sniff had appeared on the top of the steps, simultaneously with
his old pupil, and while Tom was talking with Mrs. Lupin kepi
his hand stretched out, as though he said " Go forth ! " Whei
Tom went forth, and had turned the corner, Mr. Pecksniff shool
his head, shut his eyes, and heaving a deep sigh, likewise shut tht
door. On which, the best of Tom's supporters said he must havi
done some dreadful deed, or such a man as Mr. Pecksniff nevcJi
could have felt like that. If it had been a common quarrel (the;
observed) he would have said something, but when he didn't, Mr
Pinch must have shocked him dreadfully.

Tom was out of hearing of their shrewd opinions, and ploddei
on as steadily as he could go, until he came within sight of tli
turnpike where the tollman's family had cried out " Mr. Pinch !
that frosty morning, when he went to meet young Martin. H
had got through the village, and this tollbar was his last trial
but when tlie infant toll-takers came screeching out, he had ha.
a mind to run for it, and make a bolt across the country.

" Why deary Mr. Pinch ! oh deary Sir ! " exclaimed the tol
man's wife. " What an unlikely time for you to be a going tlii
way with a bag ! "

" I am going to Salisbury," said Tom.

" Why, goodness, where's the gig then 1 " cried the tollman
wife, looking down the road, as if she thought Tom might ha\
been upset without observing it.

" I haven't got it," said Tom. " I — " he couldn't evade it
he felt she would have him in the next question, if he got ovi
this one. " I have left Mr. Pecksniff."

The tollman — a crusty customer, always smoking solitary pip
in a Windsor chair, inside, set artfully between two little window
that looked up and down the road, so that when he saw anythii
coming up, he might hug liimself on having toll to take, and whr
he saw it going down, might hug himself on having taken it — t!i
tollman was out in an instant. ;

" Left Mr, Pecksniff ! " cried the tollman.




"Yes," said Tom, "left him."

The tolhnan looked at his wife, uncertain whether to ask hi
if she had anything to suggest, or to order her to mind tl
children. Astonishment making him surly, he preferred the latte
and sent her into tlie toll-house, with a flea in her ear.

" You left Mr. Pecksniff ! " cried the tollman, folding his arm
and spreading his legs. " I should as soon have thought of h
head leaving him."

" Ay ! " said Tom, " so should I, yesterday. Good night ! "

If a heavy drove of oxen hadn't come by, immediately, tl
tollman would have gone down to the village straight to inquii
into it. As things turned out, he smoked another pipe, and toe
his wife into his confidence. But their united sagacity cou
make nothing of it, and they went to bed — metaphorically — in tl
dark. But several times that night, when a waggon or oth
vehicle came through, and the driver asked the tollkeeper "Wh
news ?" he looked at the man by the light of his lantern, to assu
himself that he had an interest in the subject, and then sai
wrapping his watch-coat round his legs :

" You've heerd of Mr. Pecksnirt" down yonder ? '' ;

" Ah ! sure-ly ! " j

"And of his yoimg man Mr. Piucli p'raps ?"

" Ah ! "

" They've parted."

After every one of these disclosures, the tollman plunged in
his house again, and was seen no more, while the other side we
on, in great amazement.

But this was long after Tom was abed, and Tom was now wi
his face towards Salisbury, doing his best to get there. T
evening was beautiful at first, but it became cloudy and dull
sunset, and the i-ain fell heavily soon afterwards. For ten lo
miles he jilodded on, wet through, until at last the lights a]i]ieari
and he came into the welcome precincts of the city.

He went to the inn where he had waited for Martin, and brie;
answering their enquiries after Mr. Pecksniff, ordered a bed. .:
liad no heart for tea or supper, meat or drink of any kind, l
sat by himself before an empty table in the public room while >
bed was getting I'eady : revolving in his mind all tliat hail h '
pened that eventful day, and wondering what he could or she!
do for the future. It was a great relief when the chamberm '■
came in, and said the bed was ready. '

It was a low four-poster shelving downward in the centre 1;'
a trougli, and the room was crowded with impracticable tal?
and exploded chests of drawers, fidl of damp linen. A grap'!


resentatiou in oil of a remarkablj- fiit ox hung over tlie firc-
;e, and the portrait of some former landlord (who might have
u the ox's brother, he was so like him) stared roundly in, at
foot of the bed. A variety of queer smells were partially
uched in the prevailing scent of very old lavender; and the
dow liad not been opened for such a long space of time, that
ileaded immemorial usage, and wouldn't come open now.
These were trifles in themselves, but they added to the strange-
3 of the place, and did not induce Tom to forget his new posi-
I. Pecksnift" had gone out of the world — had never been in it
,nd it was as much as Tom could do to say his prayers without
I. But he felt happier afterw\ards, and went to sleep, and
xmed about him as he Never Was.



Early ou the day next after that on which she bade adieu to

halls of her youth and the scenes of her childhood, ]\ Peck-
f, arriving safely at the coach -office in London, was there
'ived, and conducted to her peaceful home beneath the shadow
the i\Ionument, by Mrs. Todgers. M. Todgers looked a little
Ti by cares of gravy and other such solicitudes arising out of

establishment, but displayed her usual earnestness and warmth

"And how, my sweet Miss Pecksniff," said she, "how is your
icely pa ? "

Mi.s8 Pecksniff signified (in confidence) that he contemplated the
-oduction of a princely ma ; and repeated the sentiment that

wiisn't blind, and wasn't quite a fool, and wouldn't bear it.
Mrs. Todgers was more sliocked by the intelligence than any

could have expected. She was quite bitter. She said theie
4 no truth in man, and that the warmer he expressed himself,
a general ])rinciple, the falser and more treacherous he was.
; foresaw with astonishing clearness that the object of Mr.
:ksnifFs attachment was designing, worthless, and wicked ; and
jiving from Charity the fullest confirmation of these views,
tested with tears in her eyes that she loved Mis.s Pecksniff
' a sister, and felt her injuries as if they were her own.
" Your real darling sister I have not seen more than once since


her marriage," said Mrs. Todgers, "aud then I thought her lookii
poorly. My sweet JMiss Pecksniff, I always thought that you w
to be the lady."

" Oh dear no ! " cried Cherry, shaking her head. " Oh n
Mrs. Todgers. Thank you. No ! not for any consideration 1
could offer."

"I dare say you are right," said Mrs. Todgers, with a sig
" I feared it all along. But the misery we have had from th
match, here among ourselves, in this house, my dear j\Iiss Pec
sniff, nobody would believe."

" Lor, Mrs. Todgers ! "

" Awful, awful ! " repeated jMrs. Todgers, with strong emphasi
"You recollect our youngest gentleman, my dear?"'

" Of course I do," said Cherry.

"You might have observed," said Mrs. Todgers, "how
used to watch your sister ; and that a kind of stony dumbne
came over him whenever she was in company ? "

" I am sure I never saw anything of the sort," said Cherry,
a peevish manner. " What nonsense, Mrs. Todgers ! "

"My dear," returned that lady in a hollow voice, "I ha
seen him, again and again, sitting over his pie at dinner, w
his spoon a perfect fixture in his mouth, looking at your sist
I have seen him standing in a corner of om' drawing-room, gazi
at her, in sucli a lonely, melancholy state, tliat he was more lik
Pump than a man, and might have drawed tears."

" I never saw it ! " cried Cherry ; "that's all I can say."

" But when the marriage took place," said Mrs. Todgers, j
ceeding with her subject, " when it was in the paper, and a
read out here at breakfast, I thought he had taken leave of
senses, I did indeed. The violence of that young man, my d
Miss Pecksniff ; the frightful opinions he expressed upon tlie s •
ject of self-destruction ; the extraordinary actions he perforr 1
with his tea ; the clenching way in which he bit his bread ; 1
butter ; the manner in which he taunted Mr. Jinkins ; all or
bined to form a picture never to be forgotten." j

" It's a pity he didn't destroy himself, I think," observed life

'■ Himself! " said Mr.g. Todgers, "it took another turn at nij'.
He was for destroying other people then. There was a li'e
chaffing going on — I hope you don't consider that a low express!,
Miss Pecksniff ; it is always in our gentlemen's mouths — a 1 '«
chaffing going on, my dear, among 'era, all in good natm-e, as »
suddenly he rose up, foaming with his fury, and but for being (l
by three, would have had Mr. Jinkins's life with a boot-jack !'



Miss Pecksuili's lace expressed supreme iiulitt'erence.
"Aud now," said Mrs. Todgers, "now he is the meekest of
i. You cau ahuost bring the tears into his eyes by looking at
I. He sits with me the whole day long on Sundays, talking in
ti a dismal way that I find it next to impossible to keep my
•its up equal to the accommodation of the boarders. His only
ifort is in female society. He takes me half-price to the play,
ui extent which I sometimes fear is beyond his means ; and I
the tears a standing in his eyes during the whole performance :
ticularly if it is anything of a comic nature. Tlie turn I ex-
ienced only yesterday," said Mrs. Todgers, putting her hand to
side, " wlien the housemaid threw his bedside carpet out of the
idow of his room, while I was sitting here, no one can imagine,
iought it was him, and that he had done it at last ! "
The contempt with which Miss Charity received this pathetic
ouiit of the state to which tlie youngest gentleman in company
i reduced, did not say much for her power of sympathising with
t unfortunate character. She treated it Avith great levity, and
it on to inform herself, then and afterwards, whether any other
nges had occurred in the Commercial Boarding-house.
Mr. Bailey was gone, and had been succeeded (such is the decay
luman greatness !) by an old woman wliose name was reported
be Tamaroo: which seemed an impossibility. Indeed it appeared
tlie fulness of time that the jocular boarders had approiniated
word from an English ballad, in which it is supposed to express
bold and fiery nature of a certain hackney-coachman ; and that
vns bestowed upon ]Mr. Bailey's successor by reason of lier having
hing fiery about her, except an occasional attack of tliat fire
ich is called St. Anthony's. This ancient female had been
:aged, iu fulfilment of a vow, registered by Mrs. Todgers, that
more boys should darken the commercial doors ; and she was
efly remarkable for a total absence of all comprehension upon
ry subject whatever. She was a perfect Tomb for messages and
ill i)arcels ; and when despatclied to the Post-office with letters,
I been frequently seen endeavouring to insinuate them into
ual chinks in private doors, under tlic delusion tliat any dour
h a hole in it would answer the purpose. She was a very little
woman, and always wore a very coarse apron witli a bib before
i a loop behind, together with bandages on her wrists, which
)eared to be afflicted with an everlasting sprain. She was on
occasions chary of opening the street-door, aud ardent to shut
.gain ; and she waited at table in a bonnet.
Tliis w;xs the only great clmnge over and above the change
eh hud fallen ou the youngest gentleman. As for him, he


more than corroborated the account of Mrs. Todgers : possessir
greater sensibility than even she had given him credit for. E
entertained some terrible notions of Destiny, among other matter
and talked much about peoj^le's "Missions:" upon which he seeme
to have some private information not generally attainable, as 1
knew it had been poor Merry's mission to crush him in the bu(
He was very frail, and tearful ; for being aware that a shepherd
mission was to pipe to his flocks, and that a boatswain's missic
was to pipe all hands, and that one man's mission was to be a pai
piper, and another man's mission was to pay the piper, so he ha
got it into his head that his own peculiar mission was to pipe h
eye. Which he did perpetually.

He often informed Mrs. Todgers that the sun had set upc
him ; that the billows had rolled over him ; that the Car of Jugge
naut had crushed him ; and also that the deadly Upas tree of Jsi\
had blighted him. His name was Moddle.

Towards this most unhappy Moddle, Miss Pecksniff" conductf
herself at first with distant haughtiness, being in no humour
be entertained with dirges in honour of her married sister. Tl
poor young gentleman was additionally crushed by this, ai
remonstrated with Mrs. Todgers on the subject.

" Even she tiu'ns from me, Mrs. Todgers," said Moddle.

" Then why don't you try and be a little bit more cheerfi
Sir ? " retorted Mrs. Todgers.

" Cheerful, Mrs. Todgers ! cheerful ! " cried the youngest gent
man : "when she reminds me of days for ever fled, Mrs. Todgers

" Then you had better avoid her for a short time, if she doe.'
said Mrs. Todgers, "and come to know her again, by degree
That's my advice."

" But I can't avoid her," replied Moddle. " I haven't stren^t:
of mind to do it. Oh, Mrs. Todgers, if you knew what a coinf(
her nose is to me ! "

" Her nose. Sir ! " Mrs. Todgers cried.

"Her profile, in general," said the youngest gentleman, "I
particularly her nose. It's so like ; " here he yielded to a burst
grief ; " it's so like hers who is Another's, Mrs. Todgers ! "

The observant matron did not foil to report this conversat:
to Charity, wdio laughed at the time, but treated Mr. Moddle tl;
very evening with increased consideration, and presented her si
fixce to him as much as possible. Mr. Moddle was not less sei
mental than usual ; was rather more so, if anything ; but he
and stared at her with glistening eyes, and seemed grateful.

"Well, Sir!" said the lady of the Boarding-House next (b ■
" you held up your head last night. You're coming round, I thin


"Only because she's so like her who is Another's, Mrs. Todgers,"
joined the j'outh. "When she talks, and wlien she smiles, I
ink Ini looking on her brow again, Mrs. Todgers."

Til is was likewise carried to Charity, who talked and smiled
xt evening in her most engaging manner, and rallying Mr.
oddle on the lowness of his spirits, challenged him to play a
bber at cribbage. Mr. Moddle taking up tlie gauntlet, they
lyed several rubbers for sixpences, and Charity won tliem all.
lis may have been partially attributable to the gallantry of the '
ungest gentleman, but it was certainly referable to the state of
3 feelings also ; for his eyes being frequently dimmed by tears,

thought that aces were tens, and knaves queens, which at times
civsioned some confusion in his play.

On the seventh night of cribbage, when Mrs. Todgers, sitting
, proposed that instead of gambling they should play for " love,"
r. Moddle was seen to change coloiu-. On the fourteenth night,

kissed Miss Pecksniti's snutfers, in the passage, when she went
I stairs to bed : meaning to have kissed her hand, but missing it.

In short, Mr. Moddle began to be impressed with tlie idea that
iss Pecksniffs mission was to comfort him ; and Miss Pecksniff
gan to speculate on the probability of its being her mission to
come ultimately Mrs. Moddle. He was a young gentleman
liss Pecksniff was not a very young lady) with rising prospects,
d " almost " enough to live on. Really it looked very well.

Besides — besides — he had been regarded as devoted to ]\Ierry.
erry had joked about him, and had once spoken of it to her
;ter Jis a con(|uest. He was better looking, better shaped, better
oken, better tempered, better mannered than Jonas. He was
sy to manage, could be made to consult the humoiu-s of his
;trothed, and could be shown oft' like a lamb wlien Jonas was a

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 50 of 80)