Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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But ^Ir. Pogram w^as going to make a great speech in the next
ion about foreign relations, and was going to write strong


articles on the subject ; and as he greatly favoured the free ai
iudependent custom (a very harmless and agreeable one) of pr
curing information of any sort in any kind of confidence, and afte
wards perverting it publicly in any manner that happened to sii
him, lie liad determined to get at Martin's opinions someliow >
other. For, if he could have got nothing out of him, he won
have had to invent it for him, and tliat would have been laborion
He made a mental note of his answer, and went in again.

"You are from Eden, Sir'? How did you like Eden 1 "

Martin said what he thought of that part of the country, :
pretty strong terms.

" It is strange," said Pogram, looking round ujDon the grou
" this hatred of our country, and her Institutions ! This nation;
antipathy is deeply rooted in the British mind ! "

"Good Heaven, Sir!" cried Martin. "Is the Eden Lau
Corporation, with Mr. Scadder at its head ; and all the misery
lias worked, at its door ; an Institution of America ? A part i
any form of government that ever was known or heard of 1 "

"I con-sider the cause of this to be," said Pogram, lookiii
round again, and taking himself up where Martin had interrupte
him, " partly jealousy and prejudice, and partly the nat'ral uiifi
ness of the British people to appreciate the exalted Institutioi
of our native land. I expect, Sir," turning to Martin agaii
" that a gentleman named Chollop ha^Dpened in upon you duriii
your lo-cation in the town of Eden 1 "

"Yes," answered Martin; "but my friend can answer tli
better than I can, for I was very ill at the time. Mark ! tli
gentleman is speaking of Mr. Chollop."

"Oh. Yes, Sir. Yes. / see him," observed Mark.

"A splendid example of our na-tive raw material, Sir •? " sai
Pogram, interrogatively.

" Indeed, Sir ! " cried Mark.

The Honourable Elijah Pogram glanced at his friends as thoug
he would have said, " Observe this ! See what follows ! " an
they rendered tribute to the Pogram genius, by a gentle murmur,

"Our fellow-countryman is a model of a man, cj^uite fresh froi
Natur's mould ! " said Pogram, with enthusiasm. " He is a trm
born child of this free hemisphere ! Verdant as the mountains c
our country ; bright and flowing as our mineral Licks ; uiispile
by withering conventionalities as air our broad and boundles
Perearers ! Rough he may be. So air our Barrs. Wild he mai
be. So air our Bufifalers. But he is a child of Natur', and i
child of Freedom ; and his boastful answer to the Despot and th'
Tyrant is, that his bright home is in the Settin Sun."'


Part of this referred to Chollop, and jiart to a Western jjost-
ter, wlio, being a public defaulter not very kmg before (a
racter not at all uncommon in America), had been removed
11 ottiee ; and on whose behalf Mr. Pogram (he voted for
ram) had thundered the last sentence from his seat in Congress,
:he iiead of an unpopular President. It told brilliantly ; for

bystamlers were delighted, and one of them said to Martin,
lat he guessed he had now seen something of the eloquential
^ct of our country, and was chawed up pritty small."
Mr. Pogram waited until his hearers were calm again, before
said to Mark :

■' You do not seem to coincide. Sir ? '

" Why," said Mark, " I didn't like him much ; and that's the
;li, Sir. I thought he was a bully ; and I didn't admire his
yin' them murderous little persuaders, and being so ready to

■' It's singler ! " said Pogram, lifting his umbrella high enough
look all round from under it. " It's strange ! You observe

settled opposition to our Institutions which pervades tlie
tish mind ! "

" What an extraordinary people you are ! " cried I\Iartin.
re Mr. Chollop and the class he represents, an Institution
i1 Are pistols with revolving barrels, sword-sticks, bowie-
ves, and such things. Institutions on which you pride your-
es ? Are bloody duels, brutal combats, savage assaults, shoot-
> down and stabbing in the streets, your Institutions ! Why,
hall hear next, that Dishonour and Fraud are among the
titutions of the Great Republic ! "

The moment the words passed his lips, the Honourable l^lijuh
[ram looked round again.

"This morbid hatred of our Institutions," he observed, "is
te a study for the jisychological observer. He's alludin to
mdiation now ! "

"Oh! You may make anything an Institution if you like,"
I Martin, laughing, "and I confess you had me there, for you
ainly have made that one. But the gi-eater part of these
igs are one Institution with us, and we call it by the generic
le of Old Bailey ! "

The bell being rung for dinner at this moment, everybody ran
ly into the cabin, whither the Honourable Elijah Pogram fled
ii such precipitation that he forgot his umbrella was up, and
d it so tightly in the cabin door that it could neither be let
<'n nor got out. For a minute or so this accident created a
feet rebellion among the hungry passengers behind, who, seeing


the dishes and hearing the knives and forks at work, well kne
what would happen unless they got there instantly, and we;
nearly mad : while several virtuous citizens at the table were i
deadly peril of choking themselves in their unnatural efforts \
get rid of all the meat before these others came.

They carried the umbrella by storm, however, and rushed in i
the breach. The Honourable Elijah Pogram and Martin four
themselves, after a severe struggle, side by side, as they migl
have come together in the pit of a London theatre ; and for foi
whole minutes afterwards, Pogram was snapping up great blocl
of everything he could get hold of, like a raven. When he ha
taken this unusually protracted dinner, he began to talk 1
Martin ; and begged him not to have the least delicacy in speakii;
with perfect freedom to him, for he was a calm philosophe
Which Martin was extremely glad to hear ; for he had begun I
speculate on Elijah being a disciple of that other school i
republican philosophy, whose noble sentiments are carved wit
knives upon a pupil's body, and written, not with pen and in)
but tar and feathers.

"What do you think of my countrymen who are present, Sir?
inquired Elijah Pogram.

" Oh ! very pleasant," said Martin.

They were a very pleasant party. No man had spoken a word
every one had been intent, as usual, on his own private gorginc
and the greater part of the company were decidedly dirt

The Honourable Elijah Pogram looked at Martin as if 1
thought "You don't mean that, I know !" and he was soon coi
firmed in this opinion.

Sitting opposite to them was a gentleman in a high state i
tobacco, who wore quite a little beard, composed of the overflo\
ings of that weed, as they had dried about his mouth and chin
so common an ornament that it scarcely attracted Martin's observ;!
tion : but this good citizen, burning to assert his equality againi
all comers, sucked his knife for some moments, and made a ci
with it at the butter, just as Martin was in the act of taking som
There was a juiciness about the deed that might have sickened

When Elijah Pogram (to whom this was an every-day incident
saw that Martin put the plate away, and took no butter, he wi
quite delighted, and said :

" Well ! The morbid hatred of you British to the Institutioi
of our country is as-TONishin ! ''

" Upon my life ! " cried Martin, in his turn, " This is the mo


ulorl'iil community tliat ever existed. A man deliberately
ces a hog of himself, and tliafs an Institution ! "'
•' We have no time to ac-quire forms, Sir," said Elijah Po^^jram.
'' Acquire ! '' cried Martin. " But it's not a question of acquir-
anytliing. It's a question of losing the natural politeness of a
ige, and that instinctive good breeding which admonishes one
1 not to offend and disgust another. Don't you think that
1 over the way, for instance, naturally knows better, but con-
■rs it a very fine and independent thing to be a brute in small
;ter3 ? "

" He is a na-tive of our country, and is uat'rally liright and
r, of course,'" said Sir. Pogram. ^

"Now, observe what this comes to, i\[r. Pogram," jnirsued/l
rtin. " The mass of your countrymen begin by stubbornly
lecting little social observances, which have nothing to do with
tility, custom, usage, government, or country, but are acts of
imon, decent, natural, human politeness. You abet them in
., by resenting all attacks upon their social offences as if they
e a beautiful national feature. From disregarding small
gations they come in regular course to disregard great ones ;

so refuse to pay their debts. What they may do, or what
r may refuse to do next, I don't know ; but any man may see
e will, that it will be something following in natural succession, '

a part of one great growth, which is rotten at the root." '^— >
The mind of ]\Ir. Pogram was too philosophical to see this ; so
\- went on deck again, where, resuming his former post, he
wed until he was in a lethargic state, amounting to insensibility.
After a weary voyage of several days, they came again to that
le wharf where Mark had been so nearly left behind on the
lit of starting for Eden. Captain Kedgick, the landlord, was
iding there, and was greatly surprised to see them coming from


" Why, what the 'tarnal ! "' cried the Captain. " Well ! I do
lire at this, I do I "

"We can stay at your house mitil to-morrow. Captain, I
jwse 1 " said ^Martin.

" I reckon you can stay there for a twelvemonth if you like,"
)rted Kedgick coolly. " But our people won't best like your
ling back."

"Won't like it, Captain Kedgick !" said Martin.
"They did ex-pect you was a-going to settle," Kedgick
wered, as he shook his head. "They've been took in, you
't deny ! "

•■ What do vou mean V cried Martin.


"You didn't ought to have received 'em," said the Capta
"No, you didn't ! "

"My good friend," returned Martin, "did I want to recei
them 1 Was it any act of mine ? Didn't you tell me they woi
rile up, and that I should be flayed like a wild cat ; and threat
all kinds of vengeance, if I didn't receive them 1 "

"I don't know about that," returned the Captain. "I
when our people's frills is out, they're starched up pretty stiff
tell you ! "

With that, he fell into the rear to walk with Mark, wh
Martin and Elijah Pogram went on to the National.

" We've come back alive, you see ! " said Mark.

" It ain't the thing I did expect," the Captain grumbled. '
man ain't got no right to be a public man, unless he meets i
public views. Our fashionable people woiddn't have attended
le-vee, if they had know'd it."

Nothing mollified the Captain, who persisted in taking it vr
ill that they had not both died in Eden. The boarders at f
National felt strongly on the subject too ; but it happened by gc'
fortune that they had not much time to think about this grievan
for it was suddenly determined to pounce upon the Honoura'
Elijah Pogram, and give him a le-vee forthwith.

As the general evening meal of the house was over before 1
arrival of the boat, Martin, Mark, and Pogram, were taking
and fixings at the public table by themselves, when the deputat:
entered, to announce this honour: consisting of six gentlen/
boarders, and a very shrill boy. .

" Sir ! " said the spokesman.

" Mr. Pogram ! " cried the shrill boy. I

The spokesman thus reminded of the shrill boy's preser
introduced him. " Doctor Ginery Dunkle, Sir. A gentleman
great poetical elements. He has recently jined us here. Sir, a
is an acquisition to us. Sir, I do assure you. Yes, Sir. Mr. Joi
Sir. Mr. Izzard, Sir. Mr. Julius Bib, Sir."

" Julius Washington Merryweather Bib," said the gentlen
himself to himself

" I beg your pardon. Sir. Ex-cuse me. Mr. Julius Washing!
Merryweather Bib, Sir ; a gentleman in the lumber line, Sir, ;i
much esteemed. Colonel Groper, Sir. Pro-fessor Piper, !■
My own name. Sir, is Oscar Buffum."

Each man took one slide forward as he was named ; butted
the Honourable Elijah Pogram with his head ; shook hands, :i
slid back again. The introductions being completed, the spokesn:


Sir ; ■■

Mr. Pogram 1 '' cried the shrill boy.

Perhaps," said the spokesman, with a hopeless look, "you
be so good. Dr. Ginery Duiikle, as to charge yourself with the
ition of our little otKce, Sir V

s there was nothing the shrill boy desired more, he immedi-
stepjied forward.

Mr. Pogram ! Sir ! A handful Of your fellow citizens, Sir,
ug Of your arrival at the National Hotel ; and feeling the
otic character Of yoiu: public services ; wish. Sir, to have the
fication Of beholding you ; and mixing with you, Sir ; and
nding with you. Sir, in those moments which—"
Air," suggested Buflfuni.

Which air so peculiarly the lot. Sir, Of our great and hai)py

Hear I " cried Colonel Groper, in a loud voice. " Good !
•him! Good!"

And therefore. Sir," pursued the Doctor, " they request ; as
ark Of their respect ; the honour of your company at a little
;e. Sir, in the ladies' ordinary, at eight o'clock."
[r. Pogram bowed, and said :
Fellow countrymen I "

Good ! " cried the Colonel. " Hear him ! Good ! "
[r. Pogram bowed to the Colonel individually, and then
ned :

Your approbation of My labors in the common cause, goes to
ieart. At all times and in all places ; in the ladies' ordinary,
■riends, and in the Battle Field — "

Good, very good ! Hear him ! Hear him ! " said the

The name Of Pogram will be proud to jine you. And may
[y friends, be written on My tomb, ' He was a member of the
gress of our common country, and was ac-Tive in his trust.' "
The Com-mittee, Sir," said the shrill boy, " will wait upon
at five minutes afore eight. I take I\Iy leave. Sir ! "
Ir. Pogram shook hands with him, and everybody else, once
;; and when they came back again at five minutes before
t, they said, one by one, in a melancholy voice, " How do you
sir / " and shook hands with Mr. Pogram all over again, as if
ad been abroad for a twelvemonth in the meantime, and they
now, at a funeral.

>ut by this time Mr. Pogram had freshened himself up, and
composed his hair and features after tiie Pogram statue, so
any one with half an eye might cry out, " There he is ! as he


delivered the Defiance ! " The Committee were embellished also;
and when they entered the ladies' ordinary in a body, there was
much clapping of hands from ladies and gentlemen, accom})anie(l
by cries of " Pogram ! Pogram ! "' and some standing up on chairs
to see him.

The object of the popular caress looked round the room as he
walked up it, and smiled : at the same time observing to the shrill
boy, that he knew something of the beauty of the daughters ol
their common country, but had never seen it in such lustre and
perfection as at that moment. Which the shrill boy put in the
paper next day ; to Elijah Pogram's great surprise.

" We will re-quest you, Sir, if you please," said Buffum, layinj
hands on Mr. Pogram as if he were taking his measure tor a coat
'• to stand up with your back agin the wall right in the furthesi
corner, that there may be more room for our fellow cit-izeiis. I;
you could set your back right slap agin that curtain-peg. Sir
keeping your left leg everlastingly behind the stove, we should bt
fixed quite slick."

Mr. Pogram did as he was told, and wedged himself into siicl
a little corner, that the Pogram statue wouldn't have known him.
The entertainments of the evening then began. Gentlemei
brought ladies up, and brought themselves up, and brought ead
other up; and asked Elijah Pogram what he thought of thi;
political question, and what he thought of that ; and looked a
him, and looked at one another, and seemed very unhappy indeed
The ladies on the chairs looked at Elijah Pogram through thei
glasses, and said audibly, " I wish he'd speak. Why don't t
speak. Oh, do ask him to speak ! " And Elijah Pogram looket
sometimes at the ladies and sometimes elsewliere, delivering sena:
torial opinions, as he was asked for them. But tlie great endaiM,
object of the meeting seemed to be, not to let Elijah Pogram ou
of the corner on any account : so there they kept him, hard ani

A great bustle at the door, in the course of the eveniiiL
announced the arrival of some remarkable person ; and immediate!
afterwards an elderly gentleman, much excited, was seen to preeipitat
himself upon the crowd, and battle his Avay towards the HonouraW
Elijah Pogram. Martin, who had found a snug place of observ;
tion in a distant corner, where he stood with Mark beside him {i<
he did not so often forget him now as formerly, though he still ili
sometimes), thought he knew this gentleman, but had no doubt'
it, wdien he cried as loud as he could, with his eyes starting out*
his head :

" Sir, Mrs. Hominy 1


Lord bless that woiuan, i\Iark. Slio has tuine^l up again ! "'
Here she comes, Sir," answered ]\Ir. Tapley. " Pograni knows
A i)nblic character ! Always got her eye upon lier country.
If tliat tliere lady's husband is of my opinion, wliat a jolly
?ntleinan he must be ! ''

lane was made ; and Mrs. Hominy, witli the aristocratic
the pocket handkerchief, the clasped hands, and the classical
;anie slowly up it, in a procession of one. Mr. Pogram testi-
niotions of delight on seeing her, and a general hush prevailed,
it was known that when a woman like Mrs. Hominy
■utered a man like Pogram, something interesting must be

leir first salutations were exchanged in a voice too low to reach
npatient ears of the throng ; but they soon became audible,
!rs. Hominy felt her position, and knew what was expected of

rs. H. was hard upon him at first ; and put him through a
catechism, in reference to a certain vote he had given, which
ad found it necessarj^, as tlie mother of the modern Gracchi,
precate in a line by itself, set up expressly for the purpose in
lan text. But Mr. Pogram evading it by a well-timed allusion
3 star-spangled banner, Avhich, it appeared, had the remarkable
iarity of flouting the breeze w'henever it was hoisted where the
blew, she forgave him. They now enlarged on certain
ions of tarift", commercial treaty, boundary, importation, and
tation, with great eftect. And Mrs. Hominy not only talked,
e saying is, like a book, but actually did talk her own books,
for word.

My ! what is this?" cried JMrs. Hominy, opening a little note
1 was handed her by her excited gentleman-usher. "Do tell I
rell, now ! on'y think ! "
nd then she read aloud, as follows :

Two literary ladies present their compliments to the mother
le modern Gracchi, and claim her kind introduction, as their
ted covmtrywoman, to the honourable (and distinguished)
h Pogram, whom the two L.L.'s have often contemplated in
speaking marble of the soul-subduing Chiggle. On a verl)al
lation from the mother of the M.G., that she will comply with
eqiiest of tlic two L.L.'s, they will have the immediate pleasure
ining tlie galaxy assembled to do honour to the i)atriotic con-
of a Pogram. It may be anotlier bond of union between the
L.L.'s and the mother of the M.G. to observe, that the two
s are Transcendental."
[rs. Hominy promptly rose, and proceeded to the door, whence


she returned, after a minute's interval, with the two L.L.'s, whi
she led, through the lane in the crowd, with all that stateliuess
deportment which was so remarkably her own, up to the gn
Elijah Pogram. It was (as the shrill boy cried out in an ecstac
quite the Last Scene from Coriolanus.

One of the L.L.'s wore a brown wig of uncommon size. Sticki
on the forehead of the other, by invisible means, was a mass:
cameo, in size and shape like the raspberry tart which is ordinar
sold for a penny, representing on its front the Capitol at Washingti

"Miss Toppit, and Miss Codger !" said Mrs. Hominy.

'' Codger's the lady so often mentioned in the English ne\
papers, I should think, Sir," whispered Mark. " The old
inhabitant, as never remembers anything."

"To be presented to a Pogram," said Miss Codger, "bj
Hominy, indeed, a thrilling moment is it in its impressiveness onwl
we call our feelings. But why we call them so, or why impress
they are, or if impressed they are at all, or if at all we are, oi
there really is, oh gasping one ! a Pogram or a Hominy, or a
active principle to which we give those titles, is a topic, Spii
searching, light abandoned, much too vast to enter on, at t;
unlooked for crisis." i

"Mind and matter," said the lady in the wig, "glide swift ii!
the vortex of immensity. Howls the sublime, and softly sleeps 1
calm Ideal, in the whispering chambers of Imagination. To hi
it, sweet it is. But then, outlaughs the stern philosopher, ;i
saith to the Grotesque, ' What ho ! arrest for me that Agency. (
bring it here ! ' And so the vision fadeth."

After this, they both took I\Ir. Pogram by the hand, and pres;
it to their lips, as a patriotic palm. That homage paid, the motl
of the modern Gracchi called for chairs, and tlie three literary lad
went to work in earnest, to bring poor Pogram out, and make li
show himself in all his brilliant colours.

How Pogram got out of his depth instantly, and how the th
L.L.'s were never in theirs, is a piece of history not wo
recording. Suffice it, that being all fom* out of their depths, f
all unable to swim, they splashed up words in all directions, ri
floundered about famously. On the whole, it was considered
have been the severest mental exercise ever heard in the Xatio
Hotel. Tears stood in the shrill boy's eyes several times ; and t
whole company observed that their heads ached with the effort
as well tliey might.

When it at last became necessary to release Elijah Pogram fr
the corner, and the Committee saw him safely back again to i
next room, they were fervent in their admiration.


* Which," said Mr. Buft\ini, " must have vent, or it will Inist.

you, Mr. Pogram, I am grateful. Toe-wards you, Sir, I am
lired with lofty veneration, and with deep e-rao-tion. The
iment Toe which I would propose to give ex-pression, Sir, is

: ' May you ever be as firm. Sir, as your marble statter ! May
rer be as great a terror Toe its ene-mies as you.' "
rhere is some reason to suppose that it was rather terrible to
■riends ; being a statue of the Elevated or Goblin School, in
i?h the Honourable Elijah Pogram was represented as in a very
1 wind, with his hair all standing on enil, and his nostrils blown
e open. But Mr. Pogram thanked his friend and countryman
the aspiration to which he had given utterance, and the Com-
:ee, after another solemn shaking of hands, retired to bed, except
Doctor ; who immediately repaired to the newspaper-otfice, and
e wrote a short poem suggested by the events of the evening,
nning with fourteen stars, and headed, "A Fragment. Sug-
ed by witnessing the Honourable Elijah Pogram engaged in a
osoi)hical disputation with three of Columbia's fairest daughters.
Doctor Ginery Dunkle. Of Troy."

'f Pogi-am was as glad to get to bed as Martin was, he must
3 been well rewarded for his labours. They started off again
; day (Martin and Mark previously disposing of their goods to
storekeepers of w'hom they had purchased them, for anything
T would bring), and were fellow-travellers to within a short dis-
;e of New York. When Pogram was about to leave them he
V thoughtful, and after pondering for some time, took ]\Iartin

'We air going to part. Sir," said Pogram.
' Pray don't distress yourself," said Martin ; " we must bear it."
' It ain't that, Sir," returned Pogram, " not at all. But I
dd wish you to accept a copy of My oration."
' Thank you," said Martin, " you are very good. I shall be most


'It ain't quite that, Sir, neither,'' resumed Pogram : "air you

I enough to introduce a copy into your country ? ''

' Certainly," said Martin. " Why not ? "

'Its .sentiments air strong. Sir," hinted Pogram, darkly.

'That makes no difference," said Martin. " I'll take a dozen

'A\ like."

'No, Sir," retorted Pogram. "Not A dozen. That is more

1 I require. If you are content to run the hazard. Sir, here is

for your Lord Chancellor," producing it, "and one for Your

cipal Secretary of State. I should wish them to see it. Sir,

expressing what my opinions air. That they may not plead


ignorance at a future time. But don't get into danger, Sir, on my
account ! "

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 53 of 80)