Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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'cd, he should ha])pcn to find himself near tlie Mint, or the
k of England ; in which case, he would step in, and ask a civil
jtion or two, confiding in the perfect respectability of the
;ern. So on he went, looking up all the streets he came near,
going up half of tliem ; and thus, by dint of not being true to
well Street, and filing off into Aldermanbury, and bewildering
self in Barbican, and l)eing constant to tlie wrong ]M>iut of the


compass in London Wall, and then getting himself crosswise int'
Thames Street, by an instinct that would have been marvellous i
he had had the least desire or reason to go there, he found himsell
at last, hard by the Monument.

The Mau in the Monument was quite as mysterious a being t
Tom as the Mau in the Moon. It immediately occurred to hit
that the lonely creature who held himself aloof from all maukin
in that pillar, like some old hermit, was the very man of whom t
ask his way. Cold, he might be ; little sympathy he had, perhaps
with human passion — the column seemed too tall for that ; but i
Truth didn't live in the base of the Monument, notwithstaudin
Pope's couplet about the outside of it, where in London (Tor
thought) was she likely to be found ! i

Coming close below the pillar, it was a great encouragement 1;
Tom to find that the ]\Iau in the Monument had simple tastes!
that stony and artificial as his residence was, he still preserve:
some rustic recollections ; that he liked plants, hung up bird-cage
was not wholly cut ofi" from fresh groundsel, and kept young tre^
in tubs. The Man in the Monument, himself, was sitting outsit
the door — his own door : the Monument-door : what a grand ide;
— and was actually yawning, as if there were no Monument to sti
his mouth, and give him a jjerpetual interest in his own existenc(

Tom was advancing towards this remarkable creature, to iuqui
the way to Furnival's Inn, when two people came to see t;
Monument. They were a gentleman and a lady ; and t
gentleman said, " How much a-piece ? "

The Man in the Monument replied, " A Tanner."

It seemed a low expression, compared with the Monument.

The gentleman put a shilling into his hand, and the Man
the Monument opened a dark little door. "When the gentleni
and lady had passed out of view, he shut it again, and came slov
back to his chair.

He sat down and laughed.

"They don't know what a many steps there is!" he sa
" It's worth twice the money to stop here. Oh, my eye ! "

The Man in the Monument was a Cynic ; a worldly mai
Tom couldn't ask his way of him. He was prepared to put ',
confidence in anything he said.

"My Gracious !" cried a well-known voice behind Mr Pin'
" Why, to be sure it is ! "

At the same time he Avas poked in the back by a })aras
Turning round to inquire into this salute, he beheld the eld'
daughter of his late patron.

" Miss Pecksniff ! " said Tom.


Why, my goodness, Mr. Piuch ! " cried Cherry. " Wliut are
doing here 1 ''

,1 have rather wandered from my way," said Tom. " I — "
I hope you have run away," said Charity. "It would be
5 spirited and proper if you had, when my Papa so far forgets

I have left him," returned Tom. "But it was jterfectly
Tstood on both sides. It was not done clandestinely."
Is he married?" asked Cherry, with a spasmodic shake of

No, not yet," said Tom, colouring : " to tell you the truth,
a't think he is likely to be, if — if Miss Graham is the object
s passion."

Tcha, Mr. Pinch ! " cried Charity, with sharp impatience,
I're very easily deceived. You don't know the arts of which
a creature is capable. Oh ! it's a wicked world."
You are not married ? " Tom hinted, to divert the conversa-

No — no ! " said Cherry, tracing out one particular paving
} in Monument Yard with the end of her parasol. " I — but
y it's quite impossible to explain. Won't you walk in 1 "
You live here, then 1 " said Tom.

Yes," returned Miss Pecksniff, pointing with her imrasol to
jers's : " I reside with this lady, at present."
'he great stress on the two last words suggested to Tom
he was expected to say something in reference to them. So

Only at present ! Are you going home again, soon 1 "
Xu, Mr. Pinch," returned Charity. "No, thank you. No!
other-in-law who is younger than — I mean to say, who is as
ly as possible about the same age as one's self, would not
; suit my spirit. Not quite ! " said Cherry, with a spiteful

I thought from your saying at present " — Tom observed.
Really upon my word ! I had no idea you would press me so
closely on the subject, Mr. Pinch," said Ciiarity, blushing,
I should not have been so foolish as to allude to — Oh really !
on't you walk in ? "

'oin mentioned, to excuse him.self, that he had an appointment
'uruival's Inn, and that coming from Islington he had taken
w wrong turnings, and arrived at the Monument instead.
• Pecksniff simpered very much when he asked her if she
V the way to Furnival's Inn, and at length found courage to


" A gentlemau who is a friend of mine, or at least wlio is n
exactly a friend so much as a sort of acquaintance — Oh, ujDon u
word, I hardly know what I saj'^, Mr. Pinch ; you mustn't suppo
there is any engagement between us ; or at least if there is, th
it is at all a settled thing as yet — is going to Furnival's Ii
immediately, I believe upon a little business, and I am sure 1
would be very glad to accompany you, so as to prevent yo
going wrong again. You had better walk in. You will ve
likely iind my sister Merry here," she said, with a curious toss
her head, and anything but an agreeable smile.

" Then, I tliiuk, I'll endeavour to find my way alone,'' sa
Tom ; " for I fear she would not be very glad to see me. Th
unfortunate occurrence, in relation to which you and I had soi
amicable words together, in private, is not likely to have impress^
her with any friendly feeling towards me. Though it really w
not my fault."

" She has never heard of that, you may depend," said Chen
gathering up the corners of her mouth, and nodding at Tom. '
am far from sure that she would bear you any mighty ill will i
it, if she had."

" You don't say so ? " cried Tom, who was really concerned
tliis insinuation.

"I say nothing," said Charity. "If I had not already kno'
what shocking things treachery and deceit are in themselves, J
Pinch, I might perhaps have learnt it from the success they nn
with — from the success they meet with." Here she smiled
before. " But I don't say anything. On the contrary, I shoi
scorn it. You liad better walk in ! "

There was something hidden here, which piqued Tom's inter
and troubled his tender heart. When, in a moment's irresoluti
he looked at Charity, he could not but observe a struggle iu
face between a sense of triumph and a sense of shame ; nor co
he but remark how, meeting even his eyes, which she cared
little for, she turned away her own, for all the splenetic defia
iu her manner.

An uneasy thought entered Tom's head ; a shadowy misgiv
that the altered relations between himself and Pecksniff, u
somehow to involve an altered knowledge on his part of ot
people, and Avere to give him an insiglit into much of which '
liad had no previous suspicion. And yet he put no definite (r
struction upon Charity's proceedings. He certainly had no i*
that as he had been the audience and spectator of her mortificat i.
she grasped with eager delight at any opportunity of reproacl 'S
her sister with his jtresence in her far deeper misery : for he ki v


thing of it, aiul only pictured that sister as the same giddy,
reless, trivial creature she always had been, with the same
ght estimation of himself which she had never been at the least
ins to conceal. In short, he had merely a confused imi)ression
at Miss Pecksniff was not quite sisterly or kind ; and being
rious to set it right, accompanied her, as she desired.

The house-door being opened, she went in before Tom, requesting
m to follow her; and led the way to the parlour door.

'•Oh, Merry!" she said, looking in, "I am so glad you have
t gone home. "Who do you think I have met in the street, and
ought to see you ! Mr. Pinch ! There. Now you are sur-
ised, I am sure ! "

Not more surprised than Tom wa^;, when he looked upon her.
ut so much. Not half so much.

"Mr. Pinch has left Papa, my dear,"' said C'licrry, ''and his
ospects are quite flourishing. I have i)romised that Augustus,
10 is going that way, shall escort him to the ])]ace he wants,
igustus, my child, where are you ? "

"With which Miss Pecksnift' screamed out of the parlour,
Uing on Augustus Moddle to appear; and left Tom Pinch alone
th her.

If she had always been his kindest friend ; if she had treated
ra through all his servitude with such consideration as was never
t received by struggling man ; if she had lightened every moment

those many years, and had ever spared and never wounded him ;
s honest heart could not have swelled before her with a deeper
ty, or a purer freedom from all base remembrance than it did

"My gracious me! You are really the last person in the
iirld I should have thought of seeing, I am sure ! "

Tom was sorry to hear her speaking in her old manner. He
id not expected that. Yet he did not feel it a contradiction that
; should be sorry to see her so unlike her old self, and sony at
le same time to hear her speaking in her old manner. The two
lings seemed quite natural.

"I wonder you find any gratiticatiou in coming to see me. I
.ii"t think what put it in your head. I never had much in .seeing
HI. There was no love lost between us, Mr. Pinch, at any time,

Her bonnet lay beside her on the sofa, and she was very l)
ith the ribbons as she spoke. INEuch too busy to be conscious of
le work her fingers did.

"We never quarrelled," .said Tom. - Tom was riglit in that,
r one jierson can no more quarrel williout an adversary, than


one person can play at chess, or fight a duel. " I hoped yc
would be glad to shake hands with an old friend. Don't let i
rake up byegones," said Tom. " If I ever offended you, forgi^

She looked at him for a moment ; dropped her bonnet fro:
her hands ; spread them before her altered face ; and burst in;

" Oh, Mr. Pinch ! " she said, " although I never used you we!
I did believe your nature was forgiving. I did not think yc
could be cruel."

She spoke as little like her old self now, for certain, as To
could possibly have wished. But she seemed to be appealing
hini reproachfully, and he did not understand her.

" I seldom showed it — never — I know that. But I had tb
belief in you, that if I had been asked to name the person in t
world least likely to retort upon me, I would have named yc,
confidently." |

" Would have named me ! " Tom repeated. ]

"Yes," she said with energy, "and I have often thought so.''

After a moment's reflection, Tom sat himself upon a oh;
beside her.

" Do you believe," said Tom, " oh can you think, that wha'
said just now, I said with any but the true and plain inteuti
which n)y words professed ? I mean it, in the spirit and the lett
If I ever ottended you, forgive me ; I may have done so, ma
times. You never injured or offended me. How, then, could
possibly retort, if even I were stern and bad enough to wish
do it ! "

After a little while she thanked him, through her tears a
sobs, and told him she had never been at once so sorry and
comforted, since she left home. Still she wept bitterly ; and
was the greater pain to Tom to see her weeping, from her stand
in especial need, just then, of sympathy and tenderness.

" Come, come ! " said Tom, "you used to be as cheerful as
day was long."

"Ah ! used ! " she cried, in such a tone as rent Tom's heart.'

"And will be again," said Tom. 1

"No, never more. No, never, never more. If you shoj
talk with old Mr. Chuzzlewit, at any time," she added look!;
Imrriedly into his face — "I sometimes thought he liked you, |t
suppressed it — will you promise me to tell him that you saw «
here, and that I said I bore in mind the time we talked togel ''
in the churchyard ? "

Tom promised that he would. '

;martix chuzzlewit. 557

Many times since then, when I have wished I had been

ed there before that day, I have recalled his words. I wish

he should know how true they were, although the least

Dwledgmeut to that effect has never passed my lips, and never

om promised this, conilitionallj', too. He did not tell her
improbable it was that he and the old man would ever meet
1, because he thought it might disturb her more.
If he should ever know this, through your means, dear Mr.
h," said I\Ierc3', " tell him that I sent the message, not for
:lf, but that he might be more forbearing, and more patient,
more trustful to some other person, in some other time of need,
him that if he could know how my heart trembled in the
ice that day, and what a very little would have turned the
, his own would bleed with pity for me."
Yes, yes," said Tom, " I will."

When I appeared to him the most unworthy of his help, I
—I know I was, for I have often, often, thought about it since
e most inclined to yield to what he showed me. Oh ! if he
relented but a little more ; if he had thrown himself in my
for but one other quarter of an hour ; if he had extended his
jassion for a vain, unthinking, miserable girl in but the least
ee ; he might, and I believe he would, have saved her ! Tell
that I don't blame him, but am grateful for the effort that
lade ; but ask him for the love of God, and youth, and in
Tciful consideration for the struggle which an ill-advised and
vakened nature makes to hide the strength it thinks its weak-
— ask him never, never to forget this, when he deals with
again I "

Llthough Tom did not hold the clue to her full meaning, he
1 guess it pretty nearly. Touched to the quick, he took her
1 and said, or meant to say, some words of consolation. She
and understood them, whether they were spoken or no. He
not quite certain afterwards but that she had tried to kneel
n at his feet, and bless him.

ie found that he was not alone in the room when she had left
Mrs. Todgers was there, shaking her head. Tom had never
Mrs. Todgers, it is needless to say, but he had a perception
er being the lady of the house ; and he saw some genuine
passion in her eyes, that won his good opinion.
' Ah, Sir ! You are an old friend, I see," said Mrs. Todgers.
' Yes," said Tom.

'And yet," quoth Mrs. Todgers, shutting the door softly,
e hasn't told you what her troubles are, I'm certain."


Tom was struck by tliese words, for they were quite true
" Indeed," he said, " she has not."

"And never would," said Mrs. Todgers, "if you saw her daily
She never makes the least complaint to me, or utters a single won
of explanation or reproach. But I know," said Mrs. Todgers
drawing in her breath, " / know ! "

Tom nodded sorrowfully, " so do I."

" I fully believe," said Mrs. Todgers, taking her pocket
handkerchief from the flat reticule, " that nobody can tell cm
half of what that poor young creature has to undergo. Bu
though she comes here, constantly, to ease her poor full hear
without his knowing it ; and saying, ' Mrs. Todgers, I am ver,
low to-day ; I think that I shall soon be dead,' sits crying in ro
room until the fit is past ; I know no more from her. And,
believe," said Mrs. Todgers, putting back her handkerchief agaii
" that she considers me a good friend too."

Mrs. Todgers might have said her best friend. Commerciij
gentlemen and gravy had tried Mrs. Todgers's temper ; the maii
chance — it was such a very small one in her case, that she raigli
have been excused for looking sharp after it, lest it should entire ;
vanish from her sight— had taken a firm hold on Mrs. Todgers-
attention. But in some odd nook of Mrs. Todgers's breast, up
great many steps, and in a corner easy to be overlooked, there w
a secret door, with " AVoman " written on the spring, which
a touch from Mercy's hand had flown wide open, and admitt'
her for shelter.

When boarding-house accounts are balanced with all oth

I ledgers, and the books of the Recording Angel are made up 1

/ ever, perhaps there may be seen an entry to thy credit, lean M

/ Todgers, which shall make thee beautiful !

'" She was growing beautiful so rapidly in Tom's eyes ; for he s;

that she was poor, and that this good had sprung up in her fn

among the sordid strivings of her life; that she might have b(

a very Venus in a minute more, if Miss Pecksniff had not entei

with her friend.

" Mr. Thomas Pincli ! " said Charity, performing the ceremcl
of introduction with evident pride, "Mr. JModdle. Where's u
sister ■? "

" Gone, Miss Pecksniff," ]\Irs. Todgers answered. " She 1.
appointed to be home."

" Ah ! " sighed Charity, looking at Tom. " Oh, dear me ! "

" She's greatly altered since she's been Anoth — since she's b i
married, Mrs. Todgers ! " observed Moddle.

"My dear Augustus ! " said Miss Pecksnift", in a low voice, 'I


ly believe you have said that fifty tliousMiMl time.*, in my

'ing. What a Prose you are ! "

rhis was succeeded by some trifling love passages, which

?ared to originate with, if not to be wholly carried on by. Miss

ksnift". At any rate, Mr. Moddle was much slower in his

ouses than is customary with young lovers, and exhibited a

less of spirits which was quite oppressive.

3.6 did not improve at all when Tom an<l he were in the

Bts, but sighed so dismally that it was dreadful to hear liim.

a means of cheering him up, Tom told him that lie wished


' Joy ! " cried Moddle. " Ha, ha ! "

'What an extraordinary young man ! "' thought Tom.

' The Scorner has not set his seal upon you. You care what

>mes of you 1 '' said Moddle.

Pom admitted that it was a subject in wliicli he certainly felt

8 interest.

'I don't," said Mr. Moddle. "The Elemeaits may have me

u they please. I'm ready."

Pom inferred from these, and other expressions of the same

ire, that he was jealous. Therefore he allowed him to take

own course ; which was such a gloomy one, that he felt a load

oved from his mind Avhen they parted company at the gate of

nival's Inn.

[t Avas now a couple of hours past Jolin Westlock's dinner-

i ; and he was walking up and down the room, quite anxious

Tom's safety. The table was spread ; the wine was carefully

uited : and the dinner smelt delicious.

' Why, Tom, old boy, where on earth have yon been ? Your

is liere. Get your boots off instantly, and sit down ! '

'I am sorry to say I can't stay, Joiin," replied Tom Pincli,

I was breathless with the haste he had made in running up


' Can't stay ! "

'If you'll go on with your dinner,'' said Tom, "I'll tell you

reason the while. I mustn't eat myself, or I shall have no

etite for the chops."

'There are no chops here, my good fellow."

'No. But there are, at Islington," said Tom.

Tohn Westlock was perfectly confounded by this reply, and

ed he wnuld not touch a morsel until Tom had explained him-

fully. So Tom sat down, and told him all ; to which lie
?ne(l with the greatest interest.
He knew Tom too well, and respected l:is delicacy U»> much,


to ask him why he had taken these measures without communicat-
ing with him first. He quite concurred in the expediency of Tom's
immediately returning to his sister, as he knew so little of the
place in which he had left her ; and good-humouredly proposed to
ride back with him in a cab, in which he might convey his box.'
Tom's proposition that he should sup with them that night, he
flatly rejected, but made an appointment with him for the morrow.
"And now Tom," he said, as they rode along, "I have a question
to ask you, to which I expect a manly and straightforward answer.
Do you want any money 1 I am pretty sure you do.''

"I don't indeed," said Tom.

"I believe you are deceiving me." '

" No. With many thanks to you, I am quite in earnest," Tom;
replied. " My sister has some money, and so have I. If I had;
nothing else, John, I have a five-pound note, which that good
creature, Mrs. Lupin, of the Dragon, handed up to me outside the
coach, in a letter, begging me to borrow it ; and then drove off &>
hard as she could go."

" And a blessing on every dimple in her handsome face, say 1 1 '
cried John, " though why you should give her the preference ove)
me, I don't know. Never mind. I bide my time, Tom."

" And I hope you'll continue to bide it," returned Tom gaily
'' For I owe you more already, in a hundred other ways, than I cai
ever hope to pay."

They parted at the door of Tom's new residence. John AVest
lock, sitting in the cab, and, catching a glimpse of a blooming litt](
busy creature darting out to kiss Tom and to help him with hi:
box, would not have had the least objection to change place,
with him.

Well ! she ivas a cheerful little thing : and had a quaint, brigh
quietness about her, that was infinitely jileasant. Surely she w;i
the best sauce for chops ever invented. The potatoes seemed t'
take a pleasure in sending up their grateful steam before her ; th
froth upon the pint of porter pouted to attract her notice. But i
was all in vain. She saw nothing but Tom. Tom was the firs
and last thing in the world.

As she sat opposite to Tom at supper, fingering one of Tom''
pet tunes upon the table-cloth, and smiling in his face, he ha-i
never been so hapjjy in his life.




walking from the City with his sentimental friend, Tom

had looked into the face, and brushed against the thread-
leeve, of Mr. Xadgett, man of mystery to the Anglo-Bengalee
■erested Loan and Life Insurance Company. Mr. Nadgett
illy passed away from Tom's remembrance, as he passed
f his view ; for he didn't know him, and liad never heard

, there are a vast number of j^eople in the huge metropolis
igland who rise up every morning, not knowing where their
will rest at night, so there are a multitude who shooting
s over houses as their daily business, never know on whom
fall. Mr. Xadgett might have passed Tom Pinch ten
and times ; might even have been quite familiar witli his
his name, pursuits, and character ; yet never once have
led that Tom had any interest in any act or mystery of his.
might have done the like by him, of course. But the same
;e man out of all the men alive, was in the mind of each
le same moment ; was prominently connected, though in
^rent manner, with the day's adventures of both ; and formed,

they passed each other in the street, tlie one absorbing
of tlieir thoughts.

hy Tom had Jonas Chuzzlewit in his mind requires no ex-
tion. Why Mr. Nadgett should have had Jonas Chuzzlewit
1, is quite another thing.

it somehow or other that amiable and worthy orphan had
36 a part of the mystery of Mr. Nadgett's existence. Mr.
ett took an interest in his lightest proceedings ; and it never
!d or wavered. He watched him in and out of the Insurance
!, where he was now formally installed as a Director ; he
!d his footsteps in the streets ; he stood listening when he
il; he sat in coffee-rooms entering his name in tlie great
it-book, over and over again ; he wrote letters to liimself
; him constantly ; and when he found them in his pocket
hem in the fire, with such distrust and caution tliat he would

down to watch the crumpled tinder wliile it floated upward,
his mind misgave him, that the mystery it had contained
t come out at the chimney-pot.

nd yet all this was quite a secret. Mr. Xadgett kept it to


himself, and kept it close. Jonas had no more idea that J]
Nadgett's e3'es were fixed on him, than he had that he was livii
under the daily inspection and report of a whole order of Jesuii
Indeed Mr. Nadgett's eyes were seldom fixed on any other objec
than the ground, the clock, or the fire ; but every button on 1
coat might have been an eye : he saw so much.

The secret manner of the man disarmed suspicion in this wis
suggesting, not that he was watching any one, but that he thoug
some other man was watching him. He went about so stealthil
and kept himself so wrapped up in himself, that the whole obje
of his life appeared to be, to avoid notice, and preserve his o\
mystery. Jonas sometimes saw him in the street, hovering in t
outer office, waiting at the door for the man who never came,
slinking off with his immoveable face and drooping head, and t,

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 57 of 80)