Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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ler, is there ? ''
'Oh dear no," said Tom.

■'Very well, then you may as well leave it to nic. Have a
3 of cherry brandy, Tom 1 "

•'Not a drop! What remarkable chambers thc^^e arc 1 "' said
ch, "there's everything in 'em '."


" Bless your soul, Tom, nothing but a few little bachelor cor
trivances ! the sort of impromptu arrangements that miglit hav
suggested themselves to Philip Quarll or Robinson Crusoe : that'
all. What do you say 1 Shall we walk 1 "

"By all means," cried Tom. "As soon as you like.""

Accordingly, John Westlock took the French rolls out of hi
boots, and put his boots on, and dressed himself: giving Tom tli
paper to read in the meanwhile. When he returned, equipped ft
walking, he found Tom in a brown study, with the paper in hi

" Dreaming, Tom ? "

" No," said Mr. Pinch, " No. I have been looking over tli
advertising sheet, thinking there might be something in it, whic
would be likely to suit me. But, as I often think, the straug
thing seems to be that nobody is suited. Here are all kinds i
employers wanting all sorts of servants, and all sorts of servani
wanting all kinds of employers, and they never seem to come ti
gether. Here is a gentleman in a public office in a position (
temporary difficulty, who wants to borrow five hundred pounds
and in the very next advertisement here is another gentleman wl
has got exactly that sum to lend. But he'll never lend it to hic;
John, you'll find. Here is a lady possessing a moderate ind
pendence, who wants to board and lodge Avith a quiet,, cheerf
family ; and here is a family describing themselves in those vei
words, 'a quiet, cheerful family,' who want exactly such a lady \
come and live with them. But she'll never go, John. Neitbj
do any of these single gentlemen who want an airy bedroom, wil*
the occasional use of a parlour, ever ap]}ear to come to terms wil
these other people who live in a rural situation, remarkable f
its bracing atmosphere, within five minutes' walk of the Koy
Exchange. Even those letters of the alphabet, who are alwa;
running away from their friends and being entreated at the to
of columns to come back, never do come back, if we may judge fro
the number of times they are asked to do it, and don't. It real
seems," said Tom, relinquishing the paper, with a thoughtful sig
"as if people had the same gratification in printing their coi
plaints as in making them known by word of mouth; as if th
found it a comfort and consolation to proclaim ' I want such ai
such a thing, and I can't get it, and I don't expect I ever shall!

John Westlock laughed at the idea, and they went out
gether. So many years had jmssed since Tom was last in LondO
and he had known so little of it then, that his interest in all;|
saw was very great. He was particularly anxious, among o^
notorious localities, to have those streets pointed out to him \vl


appropriated to the sliuigliter of countrymen ; and was quite
ipointed to find, after a half-an-liour's walking, tliat he hadn't
tiis pocket picked. But on John Westlock's inventing a pick-
gt for his gratification, and pointing out a highly respectable
ger as one of that fraternity, he was mucli delighted,
'is friend accompanied him to within a short distance of
berwell, and liaving put him beyond the possibility of mistak-
;he wealthy brass-and-copper founder's, left him to make his
Arriving before the great bell-handle, Tom gave it a gentle
The porter appeared.
Pray does Miss Pinch live liere 1 " said Tom.
Miss Pinch is Governess liere," replied tlie portei-.
t the same time he looked at Tom from head to foot, as if he
i have said, "You are a nice man, t/ou are ; where did i/ou

from I ''

It's the same young lady,'' said Tom. "It's quite right. Is
,t homer'

I don't know, I'm sure,'' rejoined the porter.
Do you think you could have the goodness to ascertain ? "
Tom. He had quite a delicacy in offering the suggestion, for
wssibility of such a step did not appear to present itself to
lorter's mind at all.

he fact was that the porter in answering the gate-bell had,
ding to usage, rung the house -bell (for it is as well to do

things in the Baronial style while you are about it), and
there the functions of his ofhce had ceased. Being hired to
and shut the gate, and not to explain himself to strangers,
ift this little incident to be developed by the footman with
ags, who, at this juncture, called out from the door steps :
Hollo, there ! wot are you up to ! This way, young man I "
Oh ! " said Tom, hurrying towards him. " I didn't olisei-vc
there was anybody else. Pray is Miss Pinch at home ? "
She's in," replied the footman. As much as to say to Tom :
t if you think she has anything to do with the proprietorship
is place, you had better abandon that idea."
I wish to see her if you please," said Tom.
he footman, being a lively young man, happened to have his
ition caught at that moment by tlie fiiglit of a pigeon, in
h lie took S(j warm an interest, that his gaze was rivetted on
)ird imtil it was quite out of sight. He then invited Tom tu
! in, and showed him into a parlour.
Hany neem?" said the young man, pausing languidly at tlie

t was a good thought : because witliout jjrdviding the stranger,


in case he should happen to be of a warm temper, with a sufficie
excuse for knocking hini clown, it implied this young niai
estimate of his quality, and relieved his breast of the oppressi
burden of rating him in secret as a nameless and obscure individui

" Say her brother, if you please," said Tom.

"Mother?" drawled the footman.

"Brother," repeated Tom, slightly raising his voice. "And
you will say, in the first instance, a gentleman, and then say li
brother, I shall be obliged to you, as she does not expect me,
know I am in London, and I do not wish to startle her."

The young man's interest in Tom's observations had ceas
long before this time, but he kindly waited until now ; wh(
shutting the door, he withdrew.

" Dear me ! " said Tom. " This is very disrespectful a
uncivil behaviour. I hope these are new servants here, and tl
Ruth is very differently treated."

His cogitations were interrupted by the sound of voices in t;
adjoining room. They seemed to be engaged in high dispute,
in indignant reprimand of some ofiender ; and gathering streu^
occasionally, broke out into a perfect whirlwind. It was in (
of these gusts, as it appeared to Tom, that the footman annouu(
him ; for an abrupt and unnatural calm took place, and thei
dead silence. He was standing before the window, wonder:
what domestic quarrel might have caused these sounds, anil hop
Ruth had nothing to do with it, when the door opened, and
sister ran into his arms.

"Why, bless my soul!" said Tom, looking at her with gr
pride, when they had tenderly embraced each other, " liow alte
you are, Ruth ! I should scarcely have known yon, my love, i
Iiad seen you anywhere else, I declare ! You are so im]irove
said Tom, with inexpressible delight: "you are so womanly; ;
are so — positively, you know, you are so handsome ! "

"If yoM think so, Tom — "

"Oh, but everybody must think so, you know," said Ti
gently smoothing down her hair. " It's matter of f\ict ;
opinion. But what's the matter?" said Tom, looking at her n '
intently, " how fluslied you are ! and you have been crying." .

"No, I have not, Tom."

" Nonsense," said her brother stoutly. " That's a story. D-if
tell me ! I know better. What is it, dear ? I'm not with
Pecksniff now; I am going to try and settle myself in Loud:
and if you are not happy here (as I very much fear you are .
for I begin to think you have been deceiving me with the km t
and most affectionate intention) you sliall not remain here." . jj


L ! Tom's blond was rising ; mind that. Perhaps tlie boar's
had something to do with it, but certainly the footman had.
il the sight of his pretty sister — a great deal to do Mith it.
>onld bear a good deal himself, but he was proud of her, and
is a sensitive thing. He began to think, " there are more
niffs than one, perhaps," and by all the pins and needles
un up and down in angry veins, Tom was in a most unusual
all at once.

Ve will talk about it, Tom," said Ruth, giving him another
3 pacify him. "I am afraid I cannot stay here."
!/'anuot ! " replied Tom. " Why then, you shall not, my love,
ly ! You are not an object of charity ! Upon my word ! "
m was stopped in these e.Kclamations by the footman, who
tit a message from his master, importing that he wished to
with him before he went, and with j\Iiss Pinch also.
Show the wa}'," said Tom. " Fll wait upon him at once."
cordingly they entered the adjoining room from which the
3f altercation had proceeded ; and there they found a middle-
jentleman, with a pompous voice and manner, and a middle-
lady, with what may be termed an exciseable face, or one in

starch and vinegar were decidedly employed. There was
se present that eldest pupil of Miss Pinch, whom Mrs.
rs, on a previous occasion, had called a syrup, and who was
reeping and sobbing spitefully.

ily brother, Sir," said Ruth Pinch, timidly presenting Tom.
)h ! " cried the gentleman, surveying Tom attentively.

really are Miss Pinch's brother, I presume ? You will
! my asking. I don't observe any resemblance."
tliss Pinch has a brother, I know," observed the lady,
iliss Pinch is always talking about her brother, when she
to be engaged upon my education," sobbed the pupil.
5ophia ! Hold your tongue ! " observed the gentleman.
Jown, if you please," addressing Tom.

m sat down, looking from one fiice to another, in mute surprise,
'emain here, if you please. Miss Pinch," pursued the gentle-
looking slightly over his shoulder.
m interrupted him here, by rising to place a chair for his

Having done which, he sat down again.
'. am glad you chajice to have called to see your sister to-day,
resumed the brass-and-copper founder. " For although I do
pprove, as a principle, of any yomig person engaged in my
T, in the capacity of a governess, receiving visitors, it happens
■3 case to be well-timed. I am sorry to inform you that we
)t at all satisfied with vour sister."


Q^ D5»<-o<''^v- ' -. ! - ..:■ ,{ r^cu-. A ^^■'■■■'

^ . i^"We are very much J/ssatisficd ^vith mv," observed the had;
o^i^yTVVv*'^ "I'd never say another lesson to Miss Pinch if I was to
A-K^ beat to death for it ! " sobbed the pupiL

( . ^ i'-l -"Sophia ! " cried her father. " Plohl your tongacJ " _
' "~^' Will you allow me to inquire what your ground of dissa

faction is 1 " aske4-¥mn.

"Yes," said the gentleman, "I will. I don't recognise it s
right ; but I will. Your sister has not the slightest innate po^
of commanding respect. It has been a constant source of dif
ence between us. Although she has been in this family for sc
time, and although the young lady who is now present, has alm(
as it were, grown up under her tuition, that young lady has
respect for her. Miss Pinch has been perfectly unable to C(
mand my daughter's respect, or to win my daughter's confidei
]Srow,"-^sa,id the gentLeraau, a,llowiug the paka-of hi»-hfm4-4a..
gravely (lt3wn upon the - table-i "I maintain that there is so
thing radically wrong in that ! You, as her brother, may be f
posed to deny it — "

"I beg your pardon. Sir," said^-^OHi. "I am not at all
posed to deny it. I am sure that there is something radic
wrong: radically monstrous : in that."

"Good Heavens!" cried the gentleman, looking round -
room with dignity, " what do I find to be the case ! what re;^
obtrude themselves upon me as flowing from this weaknes
character on the part of Miss Pinch ! What are my feelings
father, when, after my desire (r^jjeatedly^xpi-essed to Miss^jli
as. I think she will- not venture to detiy) that my daughter shli
be choice in her expressions, genteel in her deportment, as bec(:e
her station in life, and politely distant to her inferiors in soc.:.V
I find her, only this very morning, addressing Miss Pinch he^'l
as a bggga r ! "^:^ '

" A beggarly thing," -©bseived the ia^ly, iTrcopree^n.

" Which is worse," said the gentleman, triTunphantly-; ""^'cl
is worse. A beggarly thing ! A low, coarse, despicable 'ex]-S
sion ! "

" Most despicable," cried Tom. " I am glad to find tha*:: i<
is a just appreciation of it here."
. , 1).*. .''So just. Sir," said the gentleman, lowering his-rmee^te-b)^

^V » ' •■ '■jjiore impressive. " S'O-jrtst, thttt,- but for my knowing ]\Iiss ]:icl
to be an unprotected yomig person, an orphan, and without frid?.
I would, as I assured Miss Pinch, upon my veracity and peinal
character, a few minutes ago, I would have severed the conntiw'
between ns at that moment and from that time." i

"Bless my soul, Sir ! " cried Tom, rising from his seat; i' h«


now unable to contain himself any longer ; •' don't allow such
iderations as those to influence you, pray. Tliey don't exist!

She is not unprotected. She is ready to depart this instant,
li, ju^uieai', get j^our bonnet on ! '"'

■ Oh, a pretty family ! " cxied the lady-. '' Oli, he's her brother !
re's no doubt about that ! "'

'As little doubt, madam,"' sai4~¥om, "as that the young lady
ler is the cluUl of j-our teaching, and not my sister's. Rw»lt -,
itiH TV^ct TDur bo a tiot - on : "

'When YOU say, young man," i»4«'powtl' the brasf5-atid-copper
4o r, hfl HghtJly, '• with that impertinence which is natural to
.aiid-.which I therefore do not condescend to notice fitrther;
the young lady, my eldest daugliter, has been educated by any
but Miss Pinch, you — I needn't proceed. You comprehend
ully. J have^ no doubt you are used to iK"
•Sir ! " erietl Tom, after regarding him in silence for some little
s: "If you do not understand what I mean, I will tell you.
on do understand what I mean, I beg you not to repeat that
e of expressing yourself in answer to it. ]\Iy meaning is, that
lan can expect his children to respect what he degrades.'
'Ha. ha, ha i " laughed thfr-gentleman. " Oant ! cant ! Tiie
luon cant* ! '

' The common story, Sir • " said"Tom ; " the story of a common
\7 ' Your governess cannot win tlie confidence and respect of
• cliildreii, forsootli ! Let her begin by winning yours, and see
t happens then."

'Miss PiiTch*is getting her bonnet on, I trust, my dear?" said

'I trust she is,-' .said Tom, forestalling the reply. "I liave
loiiUfr«h«^.- In the meantime, I address myself to yuu, 8ir.

made your statement to me, Sir ; you required to see me for

purpose ; and I have a right to answer it. I am not loud or
luleiit," said Tom, which was quite true, " though I can scarcely
as much for you, in your manner of addressing yourself to me.

I wish, on my sister's behalf, to state the simple truth."
'You may state anything you like, young man,"- returned the
il«wan , affecting' to yawn. "^My dear ! IMiss Pinch's money."
'When you tell me," resumed T«m, who was not~tlie4«»s
jiimili tirni ilimitng IrtaSflLcpiiet, " tliat my sister has no innate
er of commanding the respect of your children, I must tell you
not so ; and that slie has. She is as well bred, as well taught,
veil qualified by nature to command respect, as any hirer of a
;rness you know. But- when you place her at a disadvantage
eference to every servant in your house, how can you suppose,


if you have the gift of common sense, that she is not in a tenfold
-worse position in reference to your daughters ? "

" Pretty well ! UjJon my -worcl,'"" exclaimed the gent.lefti«»i
" this is pretty well ! "

" It is very ill, Sir," .miA" 'TOm. " It is very bad and mean,
and wrong and cruel. Respect ! I believe young people are
quick enough to observe and imitate ; and why or how should tbe\
respect whom no one else respects, and everybody slights ? And
very partial they must grow : oh, very partial : to tlieir studies.
when they see to what a pass proficiency in those same tasks has
brought their governess ! Respect ! Put anything the most
deserving of respect before your daughters in the light in whicl
you place her, and you will bring it down as low, no matter whai
it is ! "

"You speak with extreme impertinence, young man,"~obserf»8
the gefftMfein.

"I speak without passion, but with extreme indignation am
contempt for such a course of treatment, and for all who practia,
it," said-I^i. "Why, how can you, as an honest gentleman^
profess displeasure or surprise, at your daughter telling my sistei
she is something beggarly and humble, when you are for eve;
telling her the same thing yourself in fifty plain, out-speaking wayS;
though not in words ; and when your very porter and footma)
make the same delicate announcement to all comers 1 As to yon
suspicion and distrust of her : even of her word : if she is no
above their reach, you have no right to employ her."

" No right ! " cried the brass-and-copper founder.

"Distinctly not," Tom answered. "If you imagine that th
payment of an annual sum of money gdves it to you, you immense],
exaggerate its power and value. Your money is the least part i
your bargain in such a case. You may be punctual in that t
lialf a second on the clock, and yet be bankrupt. I have nothiii
more to say," said Tom, much flushed and flustered, now that i
was over, " except to crave permission to stand in your garde
until my sister is ready."

Not waiting to obtain it, Tom walked "out.

Before he had well begun to cool, his sister joined him. Sb.
was crying ; and Tom could not bear that any one about the hous
should see her doing that.

"They will think you are sorry to go," said Tom. "You ai
not sorry to go ? "

" No, Tom, no, I have been anxious to go for a very lor

" Very well, then ! Don't cry ! " said Tom.


I am so sorry for you, dear," sobbed Tom's sister.
■But you ought to be gUul on my account," said Tom. "I
I be twice as happy with you for a companion. Hold up your
. There ! Now we go out as we ought. Not bhistering, you
7, but firm and confident in ourselves."

'he idea of Tom and his sister blustering, under any ciroum-
:es, was a splendid absurdity. But Toiu was very far from
:ig it to be so, in his excitement ; and passed out at the gate

such severe determination written in his face that the porter
ly knew him again.

t was not until they had walked some short distance, and Tom
i liiraself getting cooler and more collected, that he was quite
ired to himself by an inquiry from his sister, who said in her
>aut little voice :
AVhere are we going, Tom ? "
Dear me ! " said Tom, stopping, " I don't know."
Don't you — don't you live anywhere, dear % " asked Tom's
r, looking wistfully in his face.

No," said Tom. "Not at present. Not exactly. I only
■ed this morning. We must have some lodgings."
le didn't tell her that he had been going to stay with his
d John, and could on no account think of billeting two inmates
1 him, of whom one was a young lady ; for he knew that would
e her imcomfortable, and would cause her to regard herself as
I an inconvenience to him. Neither did he like to leave hei-
rhere while he called on John, and told him of this change in
.rrangements ; for he was delicate of seeming to encroach upon
generous and hospitable nature of his friend. Therefore he
again, " We must have some lodgings, of course • " and said
stoutly as if he had been a perfect Directory and Guide-Book
1 tlie lodgings in London.

Where shall we go and look for 'em % " said Ton). " What do
think 1 "

'om's sister was not much wiser on such a topic than he was.
he squeezed her little purse into his coat-pocket, and folding
ittle hand with which she did so on the other little hand witli
h she clasped his arm, said nothing.

It ought to be a cheap neighbourhood," said Tom, "and not
ar from London. Let me see. Should you think Islington a

place % "

I should think it was an excellent place, Tom."
It used to be called Merry Islington, once upon a time," said
. "Perhaps it's merry now ; if so, it's all the better. Eh?"
If it's not too dear," said Tum's sister.


"Of course, if it's not too dear,'' assented Tom. "Well, whe
is Islington ? We can"t do better than go there, I .should thin
Let's go."

Tom's sister would have gone anywhere with him ; .<o thi
walked off, arm in arm, as comfortably as possible. Findii
presently that Islington was not in that neighbourhood, Tom mai
inquiries respecting a public conveyance thither : Avhich they so(
obtained. As they rode along, they were very full of conversatii
indeed, Tom relating what had happened to him, and Tom's sist
relating wliat had hajjpened to her, and both finding a great de
more to say than time to say it in : for they had only just begi
to talk, in comparison with what they had to tell each othi
when they reached their journey's end.

"Now," said Tom, "we must first look out for some ve
unpretending streets, and then look out for bills in the windows

So they walked off again, quite as happily as if they had ji
stepped out of a snug little house of their own, to look for lodgir
on account of somebody else. Tom's simplicity was uuabati
Heaven knows ; but now that he had somebody to rely upon hi
he was stimulated to rely a little more upon himself, and was,
his own opinion, quite a desperate fellow.

After roaming up and down for hours, looking at some scores
lodgings, they began to find it rather fatiguing, especially as tl
saw none which were at all adapted to their purpose. At leiig
however, in a singular little old-fashioned house, up a blind stn
they discovered two small bed-rooms and a triangular jxirk
which promised to suit them well enough. Their desiring to t
possession immediately was a suspicious circumstance, but e
this was surmounted by the payment of their first week's k
and a reference to John Westlock, Esquire, Furnival's Inn, H

Ah ! It was a goodly sight, when this important ])uint =
settled, to behold Tom and his sister trotting round to tlie bak-,
and the butcher's, and the grocer's, with a kind of dreadful deli
in the unaccustomed cares of housekeeping; taking secret couJ
together as they gave their small orders, and distracted by the ]'•'
suggestion on the part of the shopkeeper ! When they got bac^o
the triangular parlour, and Tom's sister, bustling to and fro, Ij
about a thousand pleasant nothings, stopped every now and the "
give old Tom a kiss, or smile upou him ; Tom rubbed liis ha-
as if all Islington were his.

It was late in the afternoon now, though, and high tiiiK
Tom to keep his appointment. So, after agreeing with lii> f
that in consideration of not haviny; dined, thev would ventur '"


jxtravagauce of chops for supper at nine, he walked out aiiniu
irrate these marvellous occurreuces to John.

I am quite a fiimily man all at once," thought Tom. " If I

only get something to do, how comfortable Ruth and I may

Ah, that if! But it's of no use to despond. I can but do

■when I have tried everything and failed ; and even then it
t serve me much. Upon my -word," thought Tom, quickening
)ace, " I don't know what John will think has become of me.
[ begin to be afraid I have strayed into one of those streets
•e the countrymen are murdered ; and that I have been made
; pics of, or some horrible thing."



'om's evil genius did not lead him into the dens of any of those
arers of cannibalic pastry, who are represented in many
dard country legends, as doing a lively retail business in the
ropolis ; nor did it mark him out as the i)rey of ring-droppers,
and thimble-riggers, dutfers, touters, or any of those bloodless
pers, who are, perhaps, a little better known to the Police,
fell into conversation with no gentleman, who took him into a
lie-house, where there happened to be another gentleman, who
re he had more money than any gentleman, and very soon
•ed he had more money than one gentleman, by taking his away
1 him : neither did he fall into any other of the numerous man-
s which are set up, without notice, in the public grounds of
city. But he lost his way. He very soon did that : and in
ng to find it again, he lost it more and more.
S'ow Tom, in his guileless distrust of London, thouglit himself
' knowing in coming to tlie determination that he would not
to be directed to Furnival's Inn, if he could help it ; unless,

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 56 of 80)