Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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" There is not the least danger, I assure you," said Martin. So
he put the pamphlets in his pocket, and they parted.

Mr. Bevan had written in his letter that at a certain time, which
fell out happily just then, he would be at a certain hotel in the
city, anxiously expecting to see them. To this place they repaired
without a moment's delay. They had the satisfaction of iindiug
him within ; and of being received, by their good friend, with his
own warmth and heartiness.

" I am truly sorry and ashamed," said Martin, " to have begged
of you. But look at us. See what we are, and judge to what we
are reduced ! "

" So far from claiming to have done you any service," returned
the other, ■' I reproach myself with having been, unwittingly, tlie
original cause of your misfortunes. I no more supposed you would
go to Eden on such re^^resentations as you received ; or, indeed, that
you would do anything but be dispossessed, by the readiest means,
of your idea tliat fortunes were so easily made here ; than I thought
of going to Eden myself"

" The fact is, I closed with the thing in a mad and sanguine
manner," said Martin, "and the less said about it the better for
me. Mark, here, hadn't a voice in the matter."

"Well ! But he hadn't a voice in any other matter, had lie?"
returned Mr. Bevan : laughing with an air that showed his under-
standing of Mark and Martin too.

"Not a very powerful one, I am afraid," said Martin with a
blush. " But live and learn, Mr. Bevan ! Nearly die and learu :
and we learn the quicker."

" Now," said their friend, " about your plans. You mean to
return home at once 1 "

"Oh, I think so," returned Martin hastily, for he turned pale
at the thought of any other suggestion. " That is your ui)inion
too, I hope ? "

" Unquestionably. Yov I don't know why you ever came here;
though it's not such an unusual case, I am sorry to say, that we need
go any further into that. You don't know that the ship in which
you came over, with our friend General Fladdock, is in port ; of
course 1 "

" Indeed ! " said Martin.

"Yes. And is advertised to sail to-morrow."

This was tempting news, but tantalising too : for Martin knew
that his getting any employment on board a ship of that class was
hopeless. The money in his pocket would not pay one-fourth of


in he hud ah-eady borrowed, and if it had been enougli for
[lassage-nioney, he could hardly liave resolved to spend it.
plained this to i\Ir. Bevan, and stated what their project was.
Vhy, that's as wild as Eden every bit," returned his friend.

must take your passage like a Christian • at least, as like a
ian as a fore-cabin jjassenoer can ; and owe me a few more
> than you intend. If Mark will go down to the ship and
lat i)assengers there are, and finds that you can go in tier,
it being actually suffocated ; my advice is, go ! You and I
ok about us in the meantime (we won't call at the Norris's,

you like), and we will all three dine together, in the after-

rtin had nothing to express but gratitude, and so it was
ed. But he went out of the room after Mark, and advised
) take their passage in the Screw, though they lay upon the
leek; which INIr. Tapley, who needed no entreaty on the
t, readily promised to do.

len he and Martin met again, and were alone, he was in high
, and evidently had something to communicate, in which he
L very much.

've done Mr. Bevan, Sir," said Mark.
)one Mr. Bevan ! " repeated Martin.

'he cook of the Screw went and got married yesterday. Sir,"
[r. Tapley.

rtiii looked at him for further explanation.
Lud when I got on board, and the word was passed that it
e," said Llark, " the mate he comes and asks me whether I'd
; to take this said cook's place upon the passage home. ' For
used to it,' he says : ' you were always a cooking for every-
n your passage out.' And so I was," said Mark, " although
r cooked before, I'll take my oath."
^^hat did you say?" demanded Martin.
.ay ! " cried Mark. " That I'd take anything I could get.
at's so,' said the mate, ' wliy, bring a glass of rum ; ' which
rought according. And my wages, Sir," said Mark in high
' pays your passage ; and, I've put the rolling-pin in your
to take it (it's the easy one up in the corner) ; and there we
ule Britannia, and Britons strike home ! "
'here never was such a good fellow as you are ! " cried Martin,
■ him by the hand. " But what do you mean by * doing '
?van, JIark 1 "

kliy, don't you see," said Mark. "We don't tell him, you

We take his money, but we don't spend it, and we don't

t. What we do is, write him a little note, explaining this


engagement, and roll it up, and leave it at the bar, to be given to
him after we are gone. Don't you see ? "

Martin's delight in this idea was not inferior to Mark's. It
M-as all done as he proposed. They passed a cheerful evening ;
slept at the hotel ; left the letter as arranged ; and went off to
the ship betimes next morning, with such light hearts, as the
weight of their past misery engendered.

" Good bye I a hundred thousand times good bye ! " said Martin
to their friend. " How shall I remember all your kindness ! How
shall I ever thank you ! "

"If you ever become a rich man, or a powerful one," returned
his friend, " you shall try to make your Government more careful
of its subjects when they roam abroad to live. Tell it what j'ou
know of emigration in your own case, and impress upon it how
much suffering may be prevented with a little pains ! "

Cheerily lads, cheerily ! Anchor weighed. Ship in full sail.
Her sturdy bowsprit pointing true to England. America a cloud
upon the sea behind them !

" Why, Cook ! what are you thinking of so steadily ? "' said

"Why I was a thinking, Sir," returned Mark, "that if I was f
painter, and was called upon to paint the American Eagle, hov
should I do it 1 "

" Paint it as like an Eagle as you could, I suppose."
■~^ "No," said Mark. "That wouldn't do for me, Sir. I shoul(
want to draw it like a Bat, for its short-sightedness ; like a Bantam
for its bragging ; like a Magpie, for its honesty ; like a Peacock
for its vanity ; like an Ostrich, for its putting its head in the mud
and thinking nobody sees it — "

" And like a Phoenix, for its power of springing from the ashe
of its faults and vices, and soaring up anew into the sky I " saii
MartiDy^ "Well, Mark. Let us hope so."



It was mid-daj', and high water in the English port for whic
the Screw was bound, when, borne in gallantly upon the fidnes
of the tide, she let go her anchor in the river.


Bright as the scene was ; fresh, and full of motion ; airy, free,
1(1 sparkling ; it was nothing to the life and exultation in the
:easts of the two travellers, at sight of the old churches, roofs,
id darkened chimney stacks of Home. The distant roar, that
veiled up hoarsely from the busy streets, was music in their ears ;
le lines of people gazing from the wharves, were friends held
^ar ; the canopy of smoke that overhung the town, was brighter
id more beautiful to them, than if the richest silks of Persia had
?en waving in the air. And though the water, going on its
istening track, turned, ever and again, aside, to dance and
)arkle round great ships, and heave them up ; and leaped from
f the blades of oars, a shower of diving diamonds ; and wantoned
ith the idle boats, and swiftly passed, in many a sportive chase,
irough obdurate old iron rings, set deep into the stone-work of
le quays ; not even it, was half so buoyant, and so restless, as
leir fluttering hearts, when yearning to set foot, once more, on
itive ground.

A year had passed, since those same spires and roofs had faded
cm their eyes. It seemed to them a dozen years. Some trifling
langes, here and there, they called to mind ; and wondered that
ley were so few and slight. In health and fortune, prospect and
^source, they came back poorer men than they had gone away,
ut it was home. And thaugh home is a name, a word, it is a
rong one ; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered
), in strongest conjuration.

Being set ashore, with very little money in their pockets, and
3 definite plan of operation in their heads, they sought out a
leap tavern, where they regaled upon a smoking steak, and
;rtain flowing mugs of beer, as only men just landed from the
!a can revel in the generous dainties of the earth. When they
id feasted, as two grateful -tempered giants might have done,
ley stirred the fire, drew back the glowing curtain from the
indow, and making each a sofa for himself, by union of the
reat unwieldy chairs, gazed blissfully into the street.

Even the street was made a fairy street, by being half hidden
I an atmosphere of steak, and strong, stout, stand-up English
2er. For on the window-glass hung such a mist, that ]Mr. Tapley
as obliged to rise and wipe it with his hankerchief, before the
issengers appeared like common mortals. And even then, a
)iral little cloud went curling up from their two glasses of hot
"og, which nearly hid them from each other.

It was one of those unaccountable little rooms which are never
■en anywhere but in a tavern, and are supposed to have got into
iverns by reason of the focilities afforded to the architect for


getting drunk while engaged in their construction. It had mor
corners in it than the brain of an obstinate man ; was full of mai
closets, into which nothing could be put that was not speciall
invented and made for that purpose ; had mysterious shelving
and bulk- heads, and indications of staircases in the ceiling; ani
was elaborately provided with a bell that rang in the room itselj
about two feet from the handle, and had no connection whateve
with any other part of the establishment. It was a little belo\
the pavement, and abutted close upon it ; so that passenger
grated against the window-panes with their buttons, and scrapei
it with their baskets ; and fearful boys suddenly coming betweei
a thoughtful guest and the light, derided him, or put out thei
tongues as if he were a physician ; or made white knobs on th
end of their noses by flattening the same against the glass, am
vanished awfully, like spectres.

Martin and Mark sat looking at the people as they passed
debating every now and then what their first step should be.

" We want to see Miss Mary, of course," said Mark.

"Of course," said Martin. "But I don't know where she is
Not having had the heart to write in our distress — you yourse'
thought silence most advisable — and consequently, never havin
heard from her since we left New York the first time, I don
know where she is, my good fellow."

" My opinion is, Sir," returned Mark, " that what we've g(|
to do, is to travel straight to the Dragon. There's no need £(■
you to go there, where you're known, unless you like. You maj
stop ten mile short of it. I'll go on. Mrs. Lupin will tell ii'
all the news. Mr. Pinch will give me every information that ^a
want : and right glad Mr. Pinch will be to do it. My proposal i;
To set off walking this afternoon. To stop when we are tirC'
To get a lift when we can. To walk when we can't. To do it ;
once, and do it cheap."

" Unless we do it cheap, we shall have some ditficulty in doii
it at all," said Martin, pulling out the bank, and telling it over
his hand.

" The greater reason for losing no time, Sir," replied Mar
"Whereas, when you've seen the young lady; and know wh'
state of mind the old gentleman's in, and all about it ; then you
know what to do next."

" No doubt," said Martin. " You are quite right."

They were raising their glasses to their lips, when their han
stopped midway, and their gaze was arrested by a figure, whi
slowly, very slowly, and reflectively, passed the window at tl


Mr. Pecksniff. Placid, calm, hut proud. Honestly iimud.
Dressed with peculiar care, siuiliiig- with even more than usual
tlandness, i)ondering on the beauties of his art with a mild
bstraction from all sordid thoughts, and gently travelling across
he disc, as if he were a figure in a magic lantern.

As Mr. Pecksniff passed, a person coming in the opposite
lirection stopped to look after him with great interest and
espeet : almost with veneration : and the landlord bouncing out
f the house, as if he had seen him too, joined this person, and
poke to him, and shook his head gravely, and looked after Mr.
'ecksniff likewise.

Martin and ]\Iark sat staring at each other, as if they could not
lelieve it ; but there stood the landlord, and the other man still,
n spite of the indignation with which this glimpse of Mr. Peck-
niff had inspired him, Martin could not help laughing heartily,
s'either could Mark.

''We must inquire into this !" said Martin. "Ask the land-
ord in, Mark.'

j\Ir. Tapley retired for that purpose, and immediately returned
k-ith their large-headed host in safe convoy.

" Pray, landlord ! " said Martin, " who is that gentleman who
assed just now, and whom you were looking after 1 "

The landlord poked the fire as if, in his desire to make the
nost of his answer, he had become indifferent even to the price
if coals ; and putting his hands in his pockets, said, after infiating
liniself to give still further eftect to his rejjly :

" That, gentlemen, is the great Mr. Pecksnitt" ! The celebrated
irdiitect, gentlemen ! "

He looked from one to the other while he said it, as if he were
eady to assist the first man who might be overcome by the

'• The great Mr. Pecksniff, the celebrated architect, gentlemen,"
-aid the landlord, " has come down here, to help lay the first stone
)f a new and splendid public building."

"Is it to be built from his designs? " asked Martin.

"The great Mr. Pecksnitt", the celebrated architect, gentlemen,"
eturned the landlord, who seemed to have an unspeakable delight
n the repetition of these words, "carried off the First Premium,
md will erect the building."

"Who lays the stone? " asked Martin.

"Our member has come down express," returned the landlord.
' No scrubs would do for no such a purpose. Nothing less would
satisfy our Directors than our member in the House of Commons,
rt-ho is returned upon tlie Gentlemanly Interest."


"Which interest is that?" asked Martin.

" What, don't you know ! " returned the landlord.

It was quite clear the landlord didn't. They always told him
at election time, that it was the Gentlemanly side, and he immedi-
ately put on his top-boots, and voted for it.

"When does the ceremony take place 1" asked Martin.

" This day," replied the landlord. Then pulling out his watch,
he added impressively, " almost this minute."

Martin hastily inquired whether there was any possibility of
getting in to witness it; and finding that there would be uo
objection to the admittance of any decent person, unless indeed
the ground were full, hurried off with Mark, as hard as they
could go.

They were fortunate enough to squeeze themselves into a
famous corner on the ground, where they could see all that passed,
without much dread of being beheld by Mr. Pecksnift' in return.
They were not a minute too soon, for as they were in the act of
congratulating each other, a great noise was heard at some distance,
and everybody looked towards the gate. Several ladies prepared
their pocket-handkerchiefs for waving ; and a stray teacher belong-
ing to the charity school being much cheered by mistake, was
immensely groaned at when detected.

" Perhaps he has Tom Pinch with him," Martin whispered Mr.

" It would be rather too much of a treat for him, wouldn't it,
Sir 1 " whispered Mr. Tapley in return.

There was no time to discuss the probabilities either way, for
the charity school, in clean linen, came filing in two and two, so
much to the self- approval of all the people present who didn't
subscribe to it, that many of them shed tears. A band of nmsic
followed, led by a conscientious drummer who never left oft".
Then came a great many gentlemen with wands in their hands,
and bows on their breasts, whose share in the proceedings did not
appear to be distinctly laid down, and who trod upon each other.
and blocked up the entry for a considerable period. These were
followed by the Mayor and Corporation, all clustering round tht
member for the Gentlemanly Interest ; who had the great Mr
Pecksniff, the celebrated architect, on his right hand, and con
versed with him familiarly as they came along. Then the ladie-
waved their handkerchiefs, and the gentlemen their hats, and tht
charity children shrieked, and the member for the Gentlemanl}
Interest bowed.

Silence being restored, the member for the Gentlemanly Interes
rubbed his hands, and wagged his head, and looked about hin


asantly : and there was nothing this member rlid, at wliicli
lie lad}- or otlier did not burst into an ecstatic waving of her
■ket-handkerchief. When he looked up at the stone, they said
y graceful 1 when he jDceped into the hole, they said how con-
cending ! when he chatted with the Mayor, they said how easy !
en he folded his arms they cried with one accord, how states-
u-like !
Mr. Pecksniff was observed too ; closely. When he talked to

Mayor, they said, Oh, really, what a courtly man he Avas !
len he laid his hand upon the mason's shoulder, giving him
ections, how pleasant his demeanour to the working classes :
t the sort of man who made their toil a pleasure to them, poor
,r souls I
But now a silver trowel was brought ; and when the member

the Gentlemanly Interest, tucking up his coat -sleeve, did a
le sleight-of-hand with the mortar, the air was rent, so loud
3 the applause. The workman-like manner in which he did it
3 amazing. No one could conceive where such a gentlemaidy
ature could have picked the knowledge up.
When he had made a kind of dirt-pie under the direction of

mason, they brought a little vase containing coins, the which

member for the Gentlemanly Interest jingled, as if he were
ng to conjure. Whereat they said how droll, how cheerful,
at a flow of spirits ! This put into its j^lace, an ancient scholar
d the inscription, which was in Latin : not in English : that
uld never do. It gave great satisfaction ; especially every time
re was a good long substantive in the third declension, ablative
e, with an adjective to match ; at which periods the assembly
;ame very tender, and were much affected.
And now the stone was lowered down into its place, amidst
I shouting of the concourse. When it was firndy fixed, the
mber for the Gentlemanly Interest struck upon it tlirice with
! handle of the trowel, as if inquiring, with a touch of
inour, whether anybody was at home. I\Ir. Pecksiuff then
rolled his Plans (prodigious plans they were), and people
hered round to look at and admire them.

Martin, who had been fretting himself — quite unnecessarily, a.s
irk thought — during the whole of these proceedings, could no
ger restrain his impatience ; but stepping forward among .several
lens, looked straight over the shoulder of the unconscious Mr.
cksniff, at the designs and plans he had unrolled. He returned
Mark, boiling with rage.
" Why, what's the matter, Sir 1 " cried IVIark.
" Matter I This is yn?/ Ijuilding."


"Your building, Sir ! " said Mark.

" My grammar-school. I invented it. I did it all. He hj
only put four windows in, the villain, and si^oilt it ! "

Mark could hardly believe it at first, but being assured that :
was really so, actually held him to prevent his interferenc
foolishly, until his temporary heat was past. In the meantimi
tiie member addressed the company on the gratifying deed whic
he had just performed.

He said that since he had sat in Parliament to represent tl
Gentlemanly Interest of that town ; and he might add, the Lad
Interest he hoped, besides (pocket handkerchiefs) ; it had been li
pleasant duty to come among them, and to raise his voice on the
behalf in Another Place (pocket handkerchiefs and laughter
often. But he had never come among them, and had never raisf
his voice, with half such pure, such deep, such unalloyed deligh
as now. " The present occasion," he said, " will ever be memorab
to me : not only for the reasons I have assigned, but because
has aff'orded me an opportunity of becoming personally known to
gentleman — "

Here he pointed the trowel at Mr. Pecksniff, who was greet(
with vociferous cheering, and laid his hand upon his heart. ,

"To a gentleman who, I am happy to believe, will reap boij
distinction and profit from this field : whose fame had previous;
penetrated to me — as to whose ears has it not! — but who
intellectual countenance I never had the distinguished honour
behold until this day, and whose intellectual conversation I h;
never before the improving pleasure to enjoy."

Everybody seemed very glad of this, and applauded mo
tlian ever.

"But I hope my Honourable Friend," said the Gentleman
member — of course he added ' if he will allow me to call him s
and of course Mr. Pecksniff" bowed — " will give me ma;
opportunities of cultivating the knowledge of him ; and that
may have the extraordinary gratification of reflecting in after tii
that I laid on this day two first stones, both belonging
structures which shall last my life ! "

Great cheering again. All this time, Martin was cursing J
Pecksniff up hill and down dale.

" My friends ! " said Mr. Pecksniff, in reply. " My duty is
build, not speak ; to act, not talk ; to deal with marble, stone, a
brick : not language. I am very nuich affected. God bL


This address, pumped out apparently from Mr. Pecksniff's v(
heart, brought the enthusiasm to its highest pitch. The pool


■^ Mi-crr fiP.ATiFrF.n p,y ax iMrosivr; cf.rkmoni


handkerchiefs were waved again ; the charity children w
admonished to grow up Pecksnift's, every boy among them ; 1
Corporation, gentlemen with wands, member for the Gentlemai
Interest, all cheered for Mr. Pecksniff. Three cheers for I
Pecksniff ! Three more for Mr. Pecksniff' ! Three more for I
Pecksniff, gentlemen, if you please ! One more, gentlemen,
Mr. Pecksniff", and let it be a good one to finish with !

In short, Mr. Pecksniff' was supposed to have done a gr
work, and was very kindly, courteously, and generously reward
When the procession moved away, and Martin and Mark were 1
almost alone upon the ground, his merits and a desire
acknowledge them formed the common topic. He was only secc
to the Gentlemanly member.

"Compare that fellow's situation to-day with ours!'" s
Martin, bitterly.

" Lord bless you. Sir ! "' cried Mark, " what's the use 1 So
architects are clever at making foundations, and some archite
are clever at building on 'em when they're made. But it'll i
come right in the end. Sir ; it'll all come right ! " I

" And in the meantime — " began Martin.

" In the meantime, as you saj'. Sir, we have a deal to do, u
far to go. So sharp's the word, and Jolly ! " •

"You are the best master in the world, Mark," said Mar
" and I will not be a bad scholar if I can help it, I am resolv
So come ! Best foot foremost, old fellow ! "



Oh 1 what a different town Salisbury was in Tom Pinch's < .'s
to be sure, when the substantial Pecksniff" of his heart me (1
away into an idle dream ! He possessed the same faith in if
wonderful shops, the same intensified appreciation of the mys'y
and wickedness of the place ; made the same exalted estimate o ts
wealth, population, and resources ; and yet it was not the old t.v
nor anything like it. He walked into the market while they -re
getting breakfast ready for him at the Inn : and thougli it as
the same market as of old, crowded by the same buyers iJ
sellers ; brisk with the same business ; noisy with the s-W
confusion of tongues and cluttering of fowls in coops ; fair " th


; same display of rolls of luittor, newly made, set forth in linen
ths of dazzling whiteness : green with the same fresh sliow of
ivy vegetables ; dainty with the same array in higglers' baskets
small shaving-glasses, laces, braces, trouser-straps, and hardware ;
roury with the same unstinted show of delicate pigs' feet, and
s made precious by the pork that once had walked upon them :

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 54 of 80)