Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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II it was strangely changed to Tom. For in the centre of the
rket-place he missed a statue he had set up there, as in all
ler places of his personal resort ; and it looked cold and bare
thout that ornament.

The change lay no deeper than this, for Tom was far from
ng sage enough to know, that, having been disappointed in one
n, it would have been a strictly rational and eminently wise
)ceeding to have revenged himself upon mankind in general, by
strnsting them one and all. Indeed this piece of justice, though
is upheld by the authority of divers profound poets and
aourable men, bears a nearer resemblance to the justice of that
)d Vizier in the Thousand-and-one Nights, who issues orders

the destruction of all the Porters in Bagdad because one of
it unfortunate fraternity is supposed to have misconducted
nself, than to any logical, not to say Christian system of conduct,
own to the world in later times.

Tom had so long been used to steep the Pecksniff of his fancy
his tea, and spread him out upon his toast, and take him as a
ish with his beer, that he made but a poor breakfast on the
5t morning after his expulsion. Nor did he much improve his
petite fur dinner by seriously considering his own atlaire, and
cing counsel thereon with his friend the organist's assistant.
The organist's assistant gave it as his decided opinion that
latever Tom did, he must go to London ; for there was no place
e it. Wliich may be true in the main, though hardly perhaps,
itself, a sufficient reason for Tom's going there.

But Tom had thought of London before, and had coupled with
thoughts of his sister, and of his old friend John Westlock,
lose advice he naturally felt disposed to seek in this imjjortant
sis of his fortunes. To London, therefore, he resolved to go ;
i he went away to the coach-office at once, to secure his place.
16 coach being already full, he was obliged to postpone his
parture until the next night ; but even this circumstance had its
ight side as well as its dark one, for though it threatened to
luce his poor purse with unexpected country-charges, it affi)rdcd
n an opportunity of writing to Mrs. Lupin and ajjpointing liis
X to be brought to the old finger-post at the old time ; which
luld enable him to take that treasure with him to the metropolis,


and save the expense of its carriage. " So," said Tom, comfortiu
himself, "it's very nearly as broad as it's long."

And it cannot be denied that, when he had made up his min
to even this extent, he felt an unaccustomed sense of freedom —
vague and indistinct impression of holiday-making — -niiich was ver
luxurious. He had his moments of depression and anxiety, an
they were, with good reason, pretty numerous ; but still, it wa
wonderfully pleasant to reflect that he was his own master, au'
could plan and scheme for himself. It was startling, thrilliiio
vast, difficult to understand ; it was a stupendous truth, teemin
with responsibility and self-distrust ; but, in spite of all his cares
it gave a curious relish to the viands at the Inn, and interposed
dreamy haze between him and his prospects, in which the
sometimes showed to magical advantage.

In this unsettled state of mind, Tom went once more to bed i
the low four-poster, to the same immoveable surprise of the effigii
of the former landlord and the fat ox ; and in this condition, passe;
the whole of the succeeding day. "When the coach came round ;'
last, with " London " blazoned in letters of gold upon the boot,
gave Tom such a turn, that he was half disposed to run awa
But he didn't do it ; for he took his seat upon the box instea
and looking down upon the four grays, felt as if he were anoth
gray himself, or, at all events, a part of the turn-out ; and w
quite confused by the novelty and splendour of his situation.

And really it might have confused a less modest man than Tc
to find himself sitting next that coachman ; for of all the swe
that ever flourished a whip, professionally, he might have be
elected emperor. He didn't handle his gloves like another mr
but put them on — even when he was standing on the paveme);
quite detached from the coach — as if the four grays were, somehi,
or other, at the ends of the fingers. It was the same with his h^
He did things with his hat, which nothing but an unlimil
knowledge of horses and the wildest freedom of the road, coi
ever have made him perfect in. Valuable little parcels w
brought to him with particular instructions, and he pitched th;
into this hat, and stuck it on again ; as if the laws of gravity v
not admit of such an event as its being knocked off or blown ',
and nothing like an accident could befall it. The guard, ti,'!
Seventy breezy miles a-day were written in his very whiskt-.
His manners were a canter ; his conversation a round trot. '
was a fast coach upon a down-hill turnpike road ; he was all p;-
A w^aggon couldn't have moved slowly, with that guard and s
key-bugle on the top of it.

These were all foreshadowings of London, Tom thought, as «


t upon the Ijox, aud looked about him. Such a coachuian, and
ch a guard, never could have existed between Salisbury and any
der place. The coach was none of your steady-going, yokel
ichcs, but a swaggering, rakish, dissipated, London coach ; up

night, and lying by all day, aud leading a devil of a life. It
red no more for Salisbury than if it had been a hamlet. It
ttled noisily through the best streets, defied the Cathedral, took
8 worst corners sharpest, went cutting in everywhere, making
erything get out of its way ; and spun along the open country-
id, blowing a lively defiance out of its key-bugle, as its last glad
rting legacy.

It was a charming evening. Mild and bright. And even with
e weight upon his mind which arose out of the immensity and
certainty of London, Tom could not resist the captivating sense

rapid motion through the pleasant air. The four grays
immed along, as if they liked it quite as well as Tom did ; the
gle was in as high S2)irits as the grays ; the coachman chimed in
metiuies Avith his voice ; the wheels hummed cheerfully in
isou ; tlie brass-work on the harness was an orchestra of little
lis ; aud thus, as they went clinking, jingling, rattling, smoothly
, the whole concern, from the buckles of the leaders' coupling-
ins, to the handle of the hind boot, was one great instrument of

Yoho, past hedges, gates, and trees ; past cottages aud barns,
d people going home from work. Yoho, past donkey-chaises,
awn aside into the ditch, and empty carts with rampant horses,
lipped up at a bound upon the little water-course, and held by
•uggling carters close to the five-barred gate, until the coach had
.s.sed the narrow turning in tlie road. Yoho, by churches dropped
wn by themselves iu quiet nooks, with rustic burial-grounds
out them, where the graves are green, and daisies sleep — for it

evening — on the bosoms of the dead. Yoho, past streams, in
lich the cattle cool their feet, and where the rushes grow ; past
ddock-fenccs, farms, and rick-yards ; past last year's stacks, cut,
ce by slice, away, aud showing, in the weaning light, like ruined
bles, old and brown. Yoho, down the j^ebbly dip, and through
e merry water-splash, and up at a canter to the level road again,
^ho : Yoho !

Was the box there, when they came up to tlie old finger-post ?
le 1)ox! Was Mrs. Lupin herself 1 Had she turned out
ignificently as a hostess sliould, iu her own chaise-cart, and was
e sitting in a mahogany chair, driving her own horse Dragon
■ho ought to have been called Dumpling), and looking lovely 1
id tlic stage-coach pull up beside her, shaving her very wheel,


and even while the guard helped her man up with the trunk, did
he send the glad echoes of his bugle careering down the chimneys
of the distant Pecksniti', as if the coach exjiressed its exultation in
the rescue of Tom Pinch.

" This is kind indeed ! " said Tom, bending down to shake
hands with her. "I didn't mean to give you this trouble."

" Trouble, Mr. Pinch ! " cried the hostess of the Dragon.

" Well ! It's a jjleasure to you, I know," said Tom, squeezing
her hand heartily. "Is there any news?"

The hostess shook her head.

" Say you saw me," said Tom, " and that I was very bold and
cheerful, and not a bit down-hearted ; and that I entreated her to
be the same, for all is certain to come right at last. Good bye ! "

"You'll write when you get settled, Mr. Pinch"?" said Mrs.

" When I get settled ! " cried Tom, with an involuntary opening
of his eyes. " Oh, yes, I'll write when I get settled. Perhaps I
had better write before, because I may find that it takes a little
time to settle myself: not having too much money, and haviui
only one friend. I shall give your love to the friend, by the way
You were always great with Mr. AVestlock, you know. Gooi
bye ! "

" Good bye ! " said Mrs. Lupin, hastily liroducing a baskei
with a long bottle sticking out of it. " Take this. Good bye ! ''

" Do you want me to carry it to London for you?" cried Tom
She was already turning the chaise-cart round.

" No, no," said Mrs. Lupin. "It's only a little something fo
refreshment on the road. Sit fast. Jack. Drive on. Sir. Al
right ! Good bye ! "

She was a quarter of a mile off, before Tom collected himself
and then he was waving his hand lustily ; and so was she.

"And that's the last of the old finger-post," thought Ton
straining his eyes, " where I have so often stood, to see this ver
coach go by, and where I have parted with so many companions
I used to compare this coach to some great monster that appeare
at certain times to bear my friends away into the world. An
now it's bearing me away, to seek my fortune. Heaven knov
where and how ! "

It made Tom melancholy to picture himself Avalking up tl
lane and back to Pecksnitt"s as of old ; and being melancholy, 1
looked downwards at the basket on his knee, which he had for tl
moment forgotten.

" She is the kindest and most considerate creature in the world
thought Tom. " Xow I knoiu that she particularly told that m:

/W- -^ ^^^^^' -'



uf hers not to Inok at me, on imrpose to prevent my throwing hii
a shilling ! I had it ready for him all the time, and he nev(
once looked towards me ; whereas that man naturally (fur I kno'
him very well), would have done nothing but grin and stan
Upon my word, the kindness of people perfectly melts me."

Here lie caught the coachman's eye. The coachman winkei
" Remarkable fine woman for her time of life," said the coachmai

" I quite agree with you," returned Tom. '■' So she is."

" Finer than many a young one, I mean to say," observed tl
coachman. "Eh?"

" Than many a young one,"' Tom assented.

" I don't care for 'em myself when they're too young," rcmarkc
the coachman.

This was a matter of taste, which Tom did not feel hinisi
called upon to discuss.

" You'll seldom find 'em possessing correct opinions abo
refreshment, for instance, when they're too young, you know," sa
the coachman : "a woman must have arrived at maturity, beft
her mind's equal to coming provided with a basket like that."

" Perhaps you would like to know what it contains ?" said To

As the coachman only laughed, and as Tom was curious himse
he unpacked it, and put the articles, one by one, upon the foy^
board. A cold roast fowl, a packet of ham in slices, a crusty loll
a piece of cheese, a paper of biscuits, half a dozen apples, a kn
some butter, a screw of salt, and a bottle of old sherry. Tli
was a letter besides, which Tom put in his pocket.

The coachman was so earnest in his ap]5roval of ]\Irs. Lupi
])rovident habits, and congratulated Tom so warmly on his g(
ibrtune, that Tom felt it necessary, for the lady's sake, to expl
that the basket was a strictly Platonic basket, and had merely l«
in'esented to him in the way of friendship. When he had
the statement with perfect gravity ; for he felt it incumbent (
him to disabuse the mind of this las rover of any incorrect impi
sions on the subject ; he signified that he would be happy to si
the gifts with him, and proposed that they should attack
basket in a spirit of good fellowship at any time in the course
the night which the coachman's experience and knowledge of
road might suggest, as being best adapted to the purpose. ¥i-
this time they chatted so pleasantly together, that although 1 •
knew infinitely more of unicorns than horses, the coachmau •
formed his friend the guard, at the end of the next stage, "tt
rum as the box-seat looked, he was as good a one to go, in pi'
of couversatiou, as ever he'd wish to sit by."


Yoho, among the gathering shades ; niakhig of no account the
p reflections of the trees, but scanii)ering on through light and
kncss, all the same, as if the light of London fifty miles away,
•e quite enough to travel by, and some to sj^are. Yoho, beside
village-green, where cricket-i^layers linger yet, and every little
entation made in the fresh grass by bat or wicket, ball or
^•er's foot, sheds out its perfume on tlie night. Away with four
;h horses from the Bald-faced Stag, wliere topers congregate
ut the door admiring ; and the last team with traces hanging
56, go roaming off towards the pond, imtil observed and shouted
;r by a dozen throats, while volunteering boys pursue them.
w with a clattering of hoofs and striking out of fiery sparks,
)ss the old stone bridge, and down again into the shadowy
i, and through the open gate, and far awav, awav, into the
d. Yoho!

Yoho, behind there, stop that bugle for a moment ! Come
;ping over to the front, along the coach-roof, guard, and make
at this basket ! Not that we slacken in our pace the while,
we : we rather put the bits of blood upon their metal, for the
iter glory of the snack. Ah ! It is long since tliis bottle of
wine was brought into contact with the mellow breath of night,
may depend, and rare good stuff it is to wet a bugler's whistle
h. Only try it. Don't be afraid of turning up your finger,
I, another in\\\ ! Now, take your breath, and try the bugle,
1. There's music ! There's a tone ! " Over tlie hills and far
ly," indeed. Yoho ! The skittish mare is all alive to-night.
30 ! Yoho !

See the bright moon ! High up before we know it : making
earth reflect the objects on its breast like water. Hedges,
!S, low cottages, church steeples, blighted stumps and flourishing
ng slips, have all grown vain upon the sudden, and mean to
template their own fair images till morning. The poplars
der rustle, that their c^uivering leaves may see themselves upon
ground. Not so the oak ; trembling does not become kiin ;
he watches himself in his stout old burly steadfastness, without
motion of a twig. The moss-grown gate, ill-poised uj)on its
iking liinges, crippled and decayed, swings to and fro before its
5S, like some fantastic dowager; while our own ghostly likeness
.'els on, Yoho ! Yoho ! through ditch and brake, upon the
Jglied land and tlie smooth, along the steep hill-side and steeper
1, as if it were a phantom-Himter.

Clouds too ! And a mist upon the Hollow ! Not a dull fog
t hides it, but a light airy gauze-like mist, which in our eyes of
lest admiration gives a new charm to the beauties it is spread


before : as real gauze has done ere now, and would again, so plef
you, though we were the Pope. Yoho ! Why now we travel h
the Moon herself. Hiding this minute in a grove of trees ; nt
minute in a patch of vapour ; emerging now upon our broad cl(
course ; withdrawing now, but always dashing on, our journey
a counterpart of hers. Yoho ! A match against the Mo(
Yoho, yoho !

The beauty of the night is hardly felt, when Day comes leapi
up. Yoho ! Two stages, and the country roads are almost chauo
to a continuous street. Yoho, past market-gardens, rows of hous
villas, crescents, terraces, and squares ; past waggons, coach
carts ; past early workmen, late stragglers, drunken men, a
sober carriers of loads ; past brick and mortar in its every shaj
and in among the rattling pavements, Avhere a jaunty-seat upoi
coach is not so easy to preserve 1 Yoho, down countless turniu,
and through countless mazy ways, until an old Inn-yard is gain:
and Tom Pinch, getting down, quite stunned and giddy, is
London !

"Five minutes before the time, tool" said the driver, as
received his fee of Tom.

"Upon my word," said Tom, "I should not have minded Vj
much, if we had been five hours after it ; for at this early houj
don't kuow where to go, or what to do with myself"

" Don't they expect you then ? "' inquired the driver.

" Who ?" said Tom.

" Why, them," returned the driver.

His mind was so clearly running on the assumption of To
having come to town to see an extensive circle of anxious relati'
and friends, that it would have been pretty hard work to undece
him. Tom did not try. He cheerfully evaded the subject, i
going into the Inn fell fast asleep before a fire in one of the pull
rooms opening from the yard. When he awoke, the people in ;
house were all astir, so he washed and dressed himself; to
great refreshment after the journey ; and, it being by that ti
eight o'clock, Avent forth at once to see his old friend John.

John Westlock lived in Furnival's Inn, High Holborn, wh i
was within a quarter of an hour's walk of Tom's starting-po'
but seemed a long way ott", by reason of his going two or tl
miles out of the straight road to make a short cut. When at last
arrived outside John's door, two stories up, he stood faltering
his hand upon the knocker, and trembled from head to foot,
he was rendered very nervous by the thought of having to
what had fiillen out between himself and Pecksniff; and he
misgiving that John would exult fearfully in the disclosure.

ast :


But it must be made," thought Tom, "'sooner or later; and
1 better get it over.""
[at tat.

I am afraid that's not a London knock,"" thought Tom. " It
't sound bold. Perhaps that's the reason why nobody answers

t is quite certain that nobody came, and that Tom stood looking
le knocker : wondering whereabouts in the neighbourhood a
in gentleman resided, who was roaring out to somebody,
me in !" with all his might.

Bless my soul!" thought Tom at last. "Perhaps he lives
and is calling to me. I never thought of that. Can I open
loor from the outside, I wonder. Yes, to be sure I can."

be sure he could, by turning the handle : and to be sure

1 he did turn it, the same voice came rushing out, crying
liy don't you come in ? Come in, do you hear *? "What arc
standing there for 1 " c^uite violently,

'om stepped from the little passage into the room from which
3 sounds proceeded, and had barely caught a glimpse of a
leman in a dressing-gown and slippers (Avith his boots beside
ready to put on), sitting at his breakfiist with a newspaper in
band, when the said gentleman, at the imminent hazard of
setting his tea-table, made a plunge at Tom, and hugged him,

Wh}-, Tom my boy !" cried the gentleman, "Tom !"

How glad I am to see you, Mr. AVestlock ! "' said Tom Pinch,
ing both his hands, and trembling more than ever. " How

you are ! "'

Mr. "Westlock !" repeated John, " what do you mean by that,
h ? You have not forgotten my Christian name, I suppose 1 "'
•No, John, no. I have not forgotten it," said Thomas Pinch.
)od gracious me, how kind you are !"

'I never saw such a fellow in all my life!" cried John.
hat do you mean by saying that over and over again ? "What
you expect me to be, I wonder ! Here, sit down, Tom, and

rea.sonable creature. How are you, my boy "? I am delighted
36 you ! "

'And I am delighted to see i/ou," said Tom.
'It's mutual, of course," returned John. "It always was, I
;, If I had known you had been coming, Tom, I would have
something for breakfast. I would rather have such a surprise
I the best breakfast in the world, myself; but yours is another
, and I have no doubt you are as hungry as a hunter. You
t make out as well as you can, Tom, and we'll recompense cur-
es at dinner time. You take sugar I know : I recollect the



sugar at Peck.suift\s. Ha, ha, ha I Ho\a- is Pecksuitil V(
(lid you come to town ? Do begin at something or other, '.
There are only scraps here, but tliey are not at all bad. B i
head potted. Try it, Tom ! Make a beginning whatever yoi i
What an old Blade you are ! I am delighted to see you."

While he delivered himself of these words in a state of ^i
commotion, John was constantly running backwards and forw
to and from the closet, bringing out all sorts of things in i
scooping extraordinary quantities of tea out of the caddy, dro]
French rolls into his boots, pouring hot water over the butter,
making a variety of similar mistakes without disconcerting hii
in the least.

"There!" said John, sitting down for the fiftieth time,
instantly starting up again to make some other addition tc
breakfast. " Now we are as well off as we are likely to bt
dinner. And now let us have the news, Tom. Imprimis, 1

"I don't know liow he is," was Tom's grave answer.

John Westlock i)ut the teapot down, and looked at hii

"I don't know how he is," said Thomas Pinch ; "and s;
that I wish him no ill, I don't care. I have left him, Johi
liave left him for ever."

" Voluntarily r'

'• Why no, for he dismissed me. But I had first fouuc
that I was mistaken in him ; and I could not have remained
him under any circumstances. I grieve to say that you were
in your estimate of his character. It may be a ridicidous ^
ness, John, but it has been very painful and bitter to me ti
this out, I do assure you."

Tom had no need to direct that appealing look toward
friend, in mild and gentle deprecation of his answering w
laugh. John Westlock would as soon have thought of str
him down upon the floor.

"It was all a dream of mine," said Tom, "and it is over,
tell you how it happened, at some other time. Bear witl
folly, John. I do not, just now, like to think or speak abou

"I swear to you, Tom," returned his friend, with great eai
ness of manner, after remaining silent for a few moments, '
when I see, as I do now, how deei^ly you feel this, I don't ji
whether to be glad or sorry, that you have made the discove!
last. I reproach myself with the thought that I ever jesti
the subject; I ought to have known better."

"My dear friend," said Tom, extending his hand, "it is


Tous ami gallant in you to receive me anil my disclosure in
spirit ; it makes me blusli to think that I should have felt a
lent's uneasiness as I came along. You can't think what a
;ht is lifted oft" my mind," said Tom, taking up his knife and

again, and looking very cheerful. '• I shall punish tlie boar's
I dreadfully."'

?he host, thus reminded of his duties, instantly betook liimself
iling up all kinds of irreconcilable and contradictory viands in
I's plate, and a very capital breakfast Tom made, and very
h the better for it, Tom felt.

'That's all right," said John, after contemplating his visitor's
eedings, with infinite satisfaction. "Now, about our plans.

are going to stay with me, of course. Where's your box 1 "

'It's at the Inn," said Tom. "I didn't intend "

'Never mind what you didn't intend," John Westlock inter-

A. " What you did intend is more to the purpose. You

iided, in coming here, to ask my advice, did you not, TomT'

' Certainly."

' And to take it when I gave it to you 1 ''

'Yes," rejoined Tom, smiling, "if it were good advice, which,

g yours, I have no doubt it will be."

'Very well. Then don't be an obstinate old humbug in tlie

et, Tom, or I shall shut up shop and dispense none of that

iluable commodity. You are on a visit t(j me. I wish I had

)rgan for you, Tom '. "

' So do the gentlemen dowii stairs, and the gentlemen over-

1, I have no doubt," was Tom's reply.

' Let me see. In the first place, you will wish to see your

T this morning," pursued liis friend, " and of course you will

to go there alone. I'll walk part of ihe way witli you ; and
about a little business of my own, and meet you here again in
afternoon. Pnt that in your pocket, Tom. It's only the key
lie door. If you come home first, you'll want it."
'Really," said Tom, "quartering one's self upon a friend in

way — "

'Why, there are two keys,'' interpo.sed John Westlock. '• 1
t open the door with them both at once, can I ? What a
:;ulous fellow you are, Tom ! Nothing particular you'd like for

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 55 of 80)