Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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ntryman having been too much for the Britisher, and at the
tisher's resenting it, that he could contain himself no lunger,
1 broke forth in a shout of delight. But the strangest exposition
his ruling pa.ssion was in the other : the pestilence stricken,
ken, miserable shadow of a man : who derived so much enter-
inient from the circumstance, that he seemed to forget his own
1 in thinking of it, and laughed outriglit when he said " tliat
dder was a smart man, and had draw'd a lot of British capital
t way, as sure as sun-up."


After a full enjoyment of this joke, Mr. Hannibal Chollop sal
smoking and improving the circle, without making any attemptf
either to converse, or to take leave ; apparently labouring undei
the not uncommon delusion, that for a free and enlightened citizei
of the United States to convert another man's house into a spittooi
for two or three hours together, was a delicate attention, full o
interest and politeness, of which nobody could ever tire. At las'
he rose.

"I am a going easy," he observed.

Mark entreated him to take particular care of himself.

"Afore I go," he said sternly, " I have got a leetle word to sa;
to you. You are damnation 'cute, you are."

Mark thanked him for the compliment.

" But you are much too 'cute to last. I can't con-ceive of an,
spotted painter in the bush, as ever was so riddled througli am
through as you will be, I bet." ,

" What for ? " asked Mark. j

"We must be cracked-up, Sir," retorted Chollop, in a tone a'
menace. " You are not now in A despotic land. We are a mod(
to the airth, and must be jist cracked-up, I tell you."

" What, I speak too free, do I ? " cried Mark.

" I have draw'd upon A man, and fired upon A man for less,
said Chollop, frowning. " I have know'd strong men obleeged t
make themselves uncommon skase for less. I have know'd me
Lynched for less, and beaten into punkin'-sarse for less, by an ei
lightened people. We are the intellect and virtue of the airth, tl
cream Of human natur', and the flower Of moral force. Our bad
is easy ris. We must be cracked-up, or they rises, and we snarl
We shows our teeth, I tell you, fierce. You'd better crack us ir
you had ! "

After the delivery of this caution, J\Ir. Chollop departed ; wil
Ripper, Tickler, and the revolvers, all ready for action on tl
shortest notice.

"Come out from under the blanket. Sir," said Mark, "h('
gone. What's this ! " he added softly ; kneeling down to look inj
his partner's face, and taking his hot hand. " What's come off
that chattering aud swaggering? He's wandering in his rait
to-night, and don't know me ! " ''

Martin indeed was dangerously ill ; very near his death. I:
lay in that state many days, during which time Mark's poor frienc '
regardless of themselves, attended him. Mark, fatigued in mi:'
and body ; working all the day and sitting up at night; wornwi
hard living and the unaccustomed toil of his new life ; surround;
by dismal and discouraging circumstances of every kind; ue\


iplaiuccl or yielded in the least degree. If ever he had thought
rtiu selfish or inconsiderate, or had deemed him energetic only
fits and starts, and then too passive for their desperate
;unes, he now forgot it all. He remembered nothing but the
tcr qualities of his fellow-wanderer, and was devoted to him, heart
I hand.

I\Iany weeks elapsed before Martin was strong enough to move
lilt with the help of a stick and IMark's arm ; and even then his
jvery, for want of wholesome air and proper nourishment, was
y slow. He was yet in a feeble and weak condition, when the
fortune he had so much dreaded fell u])ou them. ]\Iark was
en ill.

Mark fought against it ; but the malady fouglit harder, and his
•rts were in vain.

" Floored for the present, Sir," he said one morning, sinking
:k upon his bed : " but jolly ! "

Floored indeed, and by a heavy blow ! As any one but Martin
jht have known beforehand.

If Mark's friends had been kind to Martin (and they had been,
y), they were twenty times kinder to Mark. And iio^'j'j j listen
rtin's turn to work, and sit beside the bed an^^^^^ iu ' the gloomy
ough the long, long nights, to e.- l^ ^.^ .vandering fancy,
derncss; and hear poor Mr. T i^^^^. i^^,^.^.^,^^,,,trances to
yingat skitt es in the D^.-^^^^ '^^^ ^^J^ ^,^^ ^ ,^^^^„

I old^Tl'SJr - Wish roads, and burning stumps of trees

Men, all ^'t "nce.^^^^^,^.^ ^^^^ j^.^ ^^j^j, ^^ medicine, or tended

u M lenever^ ^^_ ^^^^^^ .^^^ ^^^ j^^^^^ returning from some

id-erv^witho^v^'*' ^^'^ P''^^^''^ ^^'■- Tapley brightened up, and cried :

'now"w1% ^^^^'^'^ ^''^^"=''' *° *''"'^ ''^ ^'''•'' ''"'^ ^'^ ^'""^ ''* ^^''"^
he lav tir^^^ > ^'^'^*^^' i"ci'i'oaching him by so much as an expres-
n of rets^^*' ' "^^'^"^ murmuring ; always striving to be manful and
uiich 'Tlie began to think, how was it that this man who liad
J g^/ few advantages, was so much better than he who had had
^.aiiiuy? And attendance upon a sick bed, but especially the
ok bed of one whom we have been accustomed to see in full
:;tivity and vigour, being a great breeder of reflection, he began to
ik himself in what they differed.

He was assisted in coining to a conclusion on this head by the
•equent presence of IMark's friend, their felhjw-passenger across the
f;ean : which suggested to him that in regard to having aided her,
)r example, they had differed very much. Somehow he coui)led


Tom Pinch with tliis train of reflection ; and tliinking that Tom
■would be very lilvely to have struck up the same sort of acquaint-
ance under similar circumstances, began to think in what respects*
two people so extremely different were like each other, and were
unlike him. At first sight there was nothing very distressing in
these meditations, but they did undoubtedly distress him for all that.
Martin's nature was a frank and generous one ; but he had been
bred up in his grandfather's liouse ; and it will usually be found
that tlie meaner domestic vices propagate themselves to be their
own antagonists. Selfishness does this especially ; so do suspicion,
cunning, stealth, and covetous propensities. Martin had uncon
sciously reasoned as a child, " My guardian takes so much thought
of himself, that unless I do the like by vi?/sel{, I shall be for-
gotten. " So he had grown selfish.

But he had never known it. If any one had taxed him witli
the vice, he woidd have indignantly repelled the accusation, and
conceived himself unworthily asjiersed. He never would have
known it, but that being newly risen from a bed of dangerous
sickness, to watch by such another couch, he felt how nearly Sell
i.Onofi dropped into the grave, and what a poor, dependent, miserable
thing it wao. -

It was natural fof ..JiJ.m to reflect — he had months to do it in—
upon his own escape, and Mat./ili's extremity. This led him to con-
sider which of them could be the w^^etter spared, and why 'I Then
the curtain slowly rose a very little wa^kK; and Self, Self, Self, was
shown below. rn^

He asked himself, besides, when dreadingno Mark's decease (as all
men do and must, at such a time), whether he ri.had done his dutv
by him, and had deserved and made a good respobmse to his fidelity
and zeal. No. Short as their companionship haa ^ been, he felt in
man)', many instances, that there was blame against d> himself ; and
still iuciuiring why, the curtain slowly rose a little moxicre, and Self.
Self, Self, dilated on the scene.

It was long before he fixed the knowledge of himselMaso firmly
in his mind that he could thoroughly discern the truth ; \)0 «t in the
hideous solitude of that most hideous place, with Hope 9ieso far
removed. Ambition quenched, and Death beside him rattling at! n-the'
very door, reflection came, as in a plague-beleaguered town ; and" i
so he felt and knew the failing of his life, and saw distinctly what
an ugly spot it was.

Eden was a hard school to learn so liard a lesson in ; but there
were teachers in the swamp and thicket, and the pestilential air,
who had a searching method of their own.

He made a solenui resolution that when his strength returned


ivmild not dispute tlie poiut or resist tiie conviction, but would
: upon it as an established foct, that selfishness was in his
vst, and must be rooted out. He was so doubtful (and with
ice) of his own character, that he determined not to say one word
ain regret or good resolve to Mark, but steadily to keep his
pose before his own eyes solely : and there was not a jot of
le in this ; nothing but humility and steadfastness : the best
lOur lie could wear. So Ioav had Eden brought him down. So
1 had Eden raised him up.

After a long and lingering illness (in certain forlorn stages of
eh, when too far gone to speak, he had feebly written "jolly ! "
a slate), Mark showed some symptoms of returning health.
y came and went, and flickered for a time ; but he began to
id at last decidedly ; and after that, continued to improve fi'om

to day.

IS soon as he was well enough to talk without fatigue, Martin
suited him upon a project he had in his mind, and which a few
iths back he would have carried into execution without troubling
body's head but his own.

■'Ours is a desperate case," said Martin. "Plainly. The
« is deserted ; its failure must have become known ; and selling
it we have bought to any one, for anything, is hopeless, even
t were honest. We left home on a mad enterprise, and have
;d. The only hope left us : the only one end for which we
e now to try, is to quit this settlement for ever, and get back
England. Any how ! by any means ! Only to get back there,

"That's all, Sir," returned Mr. Tapley, with a significant stress
n the words : " only that ! "
■' Xow, upon this side of the water," said Martin, "we have

one friend who can help us, and that is Mr. Bevan."'
" I thought of him wlien you was ill," said Mark.
■' But for the time that would be lost, I would even write to
grandfather," Martin went on to say, "and implore him for
ley to free us from this trap into which we were so cruelly
oyed. Shall I try JMr. Bevan first ? "

" He's a very pleasant sort of a gentleman," said Mark. "I
ik so."

"The few goods we brought here, and in which we spent our
ley, would produce something if sold," resumed Martin ; "and
itever they realise shall be paid him instantly. But tliey can't
sold here."

"There's nobody but corpses to buy 'em," saiil ]\Ir. Tapley,
king liis head with a rueful air, "and pigs."


" Shall I tell liim so, and only ask him for money eiiDUgh ti
enable us by the cheapest means to reach New York, or any porl
from which we may hope to get a passage home, by serving in am
capacity 1 Explaining to him at the same time how I am con
nected, and that I will endeavour to repay him, even through ni}
grandfather, immediately on our arrival in England 1 "

" Why to be sure," said Mark : " he can only say no, and lu
may say yes. If you don't mind trying him. Sir — "

" Mind ! " exclaimed Martin. " I am to blame for coming here.
and I would do anything to get away. I grieve to tliink uf tbi
past. If I had taken yonr opinion sooner, Mark, wu nevei
should have been here, I am certain."

Mr. Tapley was very much surprised at this admission, but
protested, with great vehemence, that they would have been then
all the same ; and that he had set his heart upon coming to Eden,
from the first word he had ever heard of it. I

Martin then read him a letter to Mr. Bevan, which he had;
already prepared. It was frankly and ingenuously written, andi
described their situation without the least concealment; i)laiuly
stated the miseries they had undergone 3 and preferred their
request in modest but straightforward terms. Mark higlily
commended it ; and they determined to despatch it by the next
steam-boat going the right way, that might call to take in wood
at Eden, — -where there was plenty of Avood to spare. Not
knowing how to address Mr. Bevan at his own place of abode,
Martin superscribed it to the care of the memorable Mr. Norris of
New York, and wrote upon the cover an entreaty that it might In
forwarded without delay.

More than a week elapsed before a boat appeared ; but at length
they Avere awakened very early one morning by the high-pressure
snorting of the "Esau Slodge : " named after one of the most
remarkable men in the country, Avho had been very eminent some-
where. Hurrying down to the landing-place, they got it safe on
board ; and waiting anxiously to see the boat depart, stopped u])
the gangway: an instance of neglect which caused the " Captiug
of the Esau Slodge to " wish he might be sifted fine as flour, and
whittled small as chips ; that if they didn't come oft" that there
fixing, right smart too, he'd spill 'em in the drink : " whereby tlie
Capting metaphorically said he'd throw them in the river.

They were not likely to receive an answer for eight or ten
weeks at the earliest. In the meantime they devoted such strengtli
as they had, to the attempted improvement of their land; to
clearing some of it, and preparing it for useful imrpose.^.
Monstrously defective as their farming was, still it was better tha



neighbours' ; for ]\Iark had some practical knowledge of such
ers, and Martin learned of him ; whereas the other settlers
remained upon the putrid swamp (a mere handful, and those
;rcd by disease), appeared to have wandered tliere with the
tliat husbandry was the natural gift of all mankind. They
d each other after their own manner in these struggles, and
. others ; but they worked as hopelessly and sadly as a gang
iivicts in a penal settlement.

ften at night when Mark and Martin were alone, and lying
. to sleep, they spoke of Ijome, familiar places, houses, roads,
people whom they knew ; sometimes in the lively hope of
g them again, and sometimes with a sorrowful tranquillity, as
at hope were dea-d. It was a source of great amazement to
: Tapley to find, pervading all these conversations, a singular
ition in IMartin.

I don't know what to make of him," he thouglit one night,
ain't what I supposed. He don't think of himself half as
. I'll try him again. Asleep, Sir 1 "
Xo, Mark."

Thinking of home. Sir ? "
Yes, Mark."

So was I, Sir. I was wondering how JMr. Pinch and Mr.
sniff gets on now."

Poor Tom ! " said JMartin, thoughtfully.

Weak-minded man, Sir," observed Mr. Taj^ley. "Plays the
I for nothing. Sir. Takes no care of himself?"
I wish he took a little more, indeed," said Martin. "Though
I't know why I should. "We shouldn't like hiai half as well,

He gets put upon. Sir," hinted ]\Iark.

Yes," said Martin, after a short silence. " / know that, ]\Iark."
e spoke so regretfully, that his jtartner abandoned the theme,
vas silent for a short time, until he had thought of anotlier.
Ah, Sir ! " said Mark, with a sigh. " Dear me ! You've
u-ed a good deal for a young lady's love ! "
I'll tell you what. I'm not so sure of that, Mark," was the
: so hastily and energetically spoken, that Martin sat up
8 bed to give it. "I begin to be far from clear upon it.
may depen<l upon it, she is very unhaiJi)y. She has sacrificed
eace of mind ; she has endangered her interests very much ;
an't run away from those who are jealous of her, and oi)j)osed
ir, as I have done. She has to endure, Mark : to endure
)ut the possibility of action, ]>oor girl ! I begin to tliink she
lore to bear than ever I have had. Upon my .'■old I do ! "


Mr. Tapley opened his eyes wide, in the dark ; but did not

"And I'll tell you a secret, Mark," said Martin, "since we an
upon this subject. That ring — "

"Which ring, Sirr' Mark inquired: opening liis eyes stil

" That ring she gave me when we parted, Mark. She bought
it ; bought it ; knowing I was poor and proud (Heaven help me
Proud !) and wanted money."

"Who says so, Sir?" asked Mark.

" I say so. I know it. I thought of it, my good fellow.
hundreds of times, while you were lying ill. And like a beast, ]|
took it from her hand, and wore it on my own, and never dreamec.
of this even at the moment when I parted with it, when some fainlj
glimmering of the truth might surely have possessed me ! But it'f|
late," said Martin, checking himself, " and you are weak and tired j
I know. You only talk to cheer me up. Good night ! God bles«j
you, Mark ! "

"God bless you, Sir! But I'm reg'larly defrauded," thouglr
Mr. Tapley, turning round, with a happy face. "It's a swindle
I never entered for this sort of service. There'll be no credit ii
being jolly with him ! "

The time wore on, and other steam-boats coming from tiie poiii
on which their hopes were fixed, arrived to take in wood ; but stil
no answer to the letter. Rain, heat, foul slime, and noxioii
vapour, with all the ills and filthy things they bred, prevailed
The earth, the air, the vegetation, and the water that they drank
all teemed with deadly properties. Their fellow-passenger had los j
two children long before ; and buried now her last. Such thing:;
are much too common to be widely known or cared for. Smar ,
citizens grow rich, and friendless victims smart and die, and an
forgotten. That is all.

At last, a boat came panting up the ugly river, and stopped a
Eden. Mark was waiting at the wood hut, when it came, and ha(
a letter handed to him from on board. He bore it ofi" to Martin
They looked at one another, trembling.

" It feels heavy," faltered Martin. And opening it, a little ml
of dollar-notes fell out upon the ground.

What either of them said, or did, or felt, at first, neither o
them knew. All Mark could ever tell was, that he was at the river'
bank again out of breath, before the boat had gone, inquiring whei
it would retrace its track, and put in there.

The answer was, in ten or twelve days : notwithstanding which
they began to get their goods together and to tie them up, tha


iiiglit. Wlien this stage of excitement was passed, eacli of
believed (tiiey found this out, in talking of it afterwards)
le would surely die before the boat returned,
ley lived, however, and it came, after the lapse of three long
iug weeks. At sunrise, on an autumn day, they stood upon

I!ourage ! ^Ve shall meet again ! " cried Martin, waving his
to two tliin figures on the bank. " In the Old World ! "
3r in the next one," added Mark below his breath. " To see
standing side by side, so (piiet, is a'most the worst of all ! "
ley looked at one another, as the vessel moved away, and then
1 backward at the spot from which it hurried fast. The log-
, with the open door, and drooping trees about it ; the
int morning mist, and red sun, dimly seen beyond ; the
r rising up from land and river ; the quick stream making
>athsorae banks it washed, more flat and dull : how often
returned in dreams ! How often it was happiness to wake,
nd them Shadows that had vanished !



JONG the passengers on board the steam-boat, there was a
gentleman sitting on a low camp-stool, with his legs on a
barrel of flour, as if he were looking at the prospect with his
s ; who attracted their attention speedily.
3 had straight black hair, parted up the middle of his head,
anging down upon his coat ; a little fringe of hair upon his

wore no neckcloth ; a white hat ; a suit of black, long in
leeves, and short in the legs ; soiled brown stockings, and

shoes. His complexion, naturally muddy, was rendered
ier by too strict an economy of soap and water ; and the
observation will apply to the washable part of his attire,
. he might have changed with comfort to himself, and
ication to his friends. He was about five-and-thirty ; was
id and jammed up in a heap, under the shade of a large
cotton umbrella ; and ruminated over his tobacco-plug like a

3 was not singular, to be sure, in these respects; for every gentle-
)ii board appeared to have had a diftcrcnce with liis laundress,


and to have left off washing himself in early youth. Ev!
gentleman, too, was perfectly stopped up with tight plugging, ;
was dislocated in the greater part of his joints. But about t
gentleman there was a peculiar air of sagacity and wisdom, \vb
convinced Martin that he was no common character ; and t
turned out to be the case.

"How do you do. Sir'?" said a voice in Martin's ear.

"How do you do, Sir*?" said Martin.

It was a tall thin gentleman Avho spoke to him, with a carj;
cap on, and a long loose coat of green baize, ornamented about
pockets with black velvet.

"You air from Europe, Sir ?"

"I am," said Martin.

" You air fortunate, Sir."

Martin thought so too : but he soon discovered that ■
gentleman and he attached difierent meanings to this remark.

" You air fortunate, Sir, in having an opportunity of behold
our Elijah Pogram, Sir."

"Your Elijahpogram ! " said Martin, thinking it was all (
word, and a building of some sort.

"Yes, Sir."

Martin tried to look as if he understood him, but he could
make it out.

" Yes, Sir," repeated the gentleman. " Our Elijah Pogram, ^
is, at this minute, identically settin' by the en-gine biler."

The gentleman under the umbrella j^ut his right forefinger
his eyebrow, as if he were revolving schemes of state.

"That is Elijah Pogram, is itl" said Martin.

"Yes, Sir," replied the other. "That is Elijah Pogram."

"Dear me !" said Martin. "lam astonished." But he 1
not the least idea who this Elijah Pogram was ; having ne'
heard the name in all his life.

" If the biler of this vessel was Toe bust, Sir," said his n
acquaintance, " and Toe bust now, this would be a fesTival day
the calendar of despotism ; pretty nigh equallin'. Sir, in its effc
upon the human race, our Fourth of glorious July. Yes, Sir, ti
is the Honourable Elijah Pogram, Member of Congress ; one
the master-minds of our country. Sir. There is a brow. Sir, there

" Quite remarkable," said Martin.

"Yes, Sir. Our own immortal Chiggle, Sir, is said to h;
observed, when he made the celebrated Pogram statter in marl
which rose so much con-test and preju-dice in Europe, that i
brow was more than mortal. This was before the Pogi'i
Defiance, and was, therefore, a pre-diction, cruel smart."


■What is the Pogram Defiance'?" asked i\rartin, thinking,
aps, it was the siirn of a public-hnuso.
An o-ration, Sir," retuniod his friend.

•Oh! to be sure," cried Martin. "What am I tiiinking of !
efied — "

'It defied the world, Sir," said tlie otlier, gravelj\ "Defied
worhl in genral to coin-pete with our country upon any hook ;
devellop'd our internal resources for making war upon the
ersal airth. You would like to know Elijah Pograni, Sir ? "
■ If you please," said IMartin.

'Mr. Pograni," said the stranger — Mr. Pogram having over-
d every word of the dialogue — " this is a gentleman from
)pe, Sir ; from England, Sir. But gen'rous enc-mies may meet
1 the neutral sile of private lifefl think."
'he languid Mr. Pogram shook hands with Martin, like a
i-work figure that was just running down. But he made
lids by chewing like one that was just wound up.
'Mr, Pogram," said the introducer, "is a public servant. Sir.
?n Congress is recessed, he makes himself accpiainted with those
United States, of which he is the gifted son."
t occurred to Martin, that if the Honourable Elijah Pogram
stayed at home, and sent his shoes upon a tour, they would
J answered the same purpose ; for they were the only part of
in a situation to see anything.

n course of time, however, Mr. Pogram rose ; and having
:ed certain plugging consequences which would have impeded
articulation, took up a position where there was something to
against, and began to talk to IMartin : shading himself with
green umbrella all the time.

Ls he began with the words, "How do you like — ?" ]\Iartin
: him up, and said :
'The country I presume?"

'Yes Sir," said Elijah Pogram. A knot of passengers
lered round to hear what followed ; and Martin heard his
id say, as he whi.spered to another friend, and rubbed his hands,
)gram w^ill smash him into sky-blue fit.s, I know ! "
' Why," said Martin, after a moment's hesitation, " I liave
ned by experience, that you take an unfair advantage of a
nger, when you ask that question. You don't mean it to be
vered, except in one way. Now, I don't ciioose to answer it in
; way, for I cannot honestly answer it in tiiat way. And
■efore, I would rather not answer it at all."

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 52 of 80)