Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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e, Mark ! "

' am ! What do you consider yourself, Sir 1 "
)h, not half as bad," said his fellow-traveller, with an air ot
vexation. " I told you not to keep on the windy side, Mark,

let us change and change about. The rain has been beating
1, ever since it began."

fou don"t know how it pleases me, Sir," said Mark, after a
silence : " if I may make so bold as say so, to hear you a
on in that there uncommon considerate way of yours ; which
t mean to attend to, never, but winch, ever .since that time
I was floored in Eden, you have showed."
Lh, Mark ! " sighed Martin, " the less we say of that the
. Do I see the light yonder?"

Miat's the light ! " cried Mark. " Lord bless her, what brisk-
he possesses ! Now for it. Sir. Neat wines, good beds, and
ite entertainment for man or beast."

e kitchen fire burnt clear and red, the table was spread out,
;ettle boiled ; the slippers were there, the boot-jack too,

of ham were cooking on the gridiron ; half-a-dozen eggs
rtoaching in the frying-pan ; a plethoric cherry-brandy bottle
■inking at a foaming jug of beer upon the table ; rare provi-
were dangling from the rafters as if you had only to ojicn
mouth, and .something exquisitely ripe and good would bo
»o glad of the excuse for tumbling into it. Utb. Liii»in, who
leir sakes had dislodged the very cook, high priestess of the
e, with her own genial hands was dressing their

was impossible to help it- -a ghost must have hugged her.


The Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea being, in that respect, all oi
Martin hugged her instantly. Mr. Tapley (as if the idea we
quite novel, and had never occurred to him before), followed, wi
much gravity, on the same side.

"Little did I ever think," said Mrs. Lupin, adjusting here;
and laughing heartily ; yes, and blushing too ; " often as I ha
said that Mr. Pecksnitf's young gentlemen were the life and so
of the Dragon, and that without them it would be too dull to li
in — little did I ever think, I am sure, that any one of them won
ever make so free as you, Mr. Martin ! And still less that
shouldn't be angry with him, but shovdd be glad with all i
heart, to be the first to welcome him home from America, wi
Mark Tapley, for his — "

" For his friend, Mrs. Lupin," interposed Martin hastily.

" For his friend," said the hostess, evidently gratified by t
distinction, but at the same time admonishing Mr. Tapley witl
fork, to remain at a respectful distance. " Little did I ever thi
that ! But still less, that I should ever have the changes
relate that I shall have to tell you of, when you have done V'
supper ! "

" Good Heaven ! " cried Martin, changing colour, " W i
changes ? "

'^ She," said the hostess, "is quite well, and now at Mr. Pcl-
sniff''s. Don't be at all alarmed about her. She is everythig
you could wish. It's of no use mincing matters or making seers,
is it 1 " added Mrs. Lupin. " I know all about it, you see ! " '

"My good creature," returned Martin, "you are exactly 'e
person who ought to know all about it. I am delighted to tlik
you do know all about it. But what changes do you hint i-l
Has any death occurred ? " >

"No, no !" said the hostess. "Not so bad as that. Bi.I
declare now that I will not be drawn into saying another word: 11
you have had your supper. If you ask me fifty questions in le
meantime, I won't answer one." '

She was so positive that there was nothing for it but tojet
the supper over as quickly as possible ; and as they had "3ii
walking a great many miles, and had fasted since the midd ot
the day, they did no great violence to their own inclinatioii|iii
falling on it tooth and nail. It took rather longer to get thnjgh
than might have been expected ; for, half-a-dozen times, when jey
thought they had finished, Mrs. Lupin exposed the fallacy of lat
impression triumphantly. But at last, in the course of timeifld
nature, they gave in. Then, sitting with their slippered j^et
stretched out iipon the kitchen hearth (which was wonderlly


forting, for the night liad grown by this time raw and chilly),
looking with involuntary admiration at their dimpled, buxom,
imiiig hostess, as the firelight sjiarkled in her eyes and
unered in her raven hair, they composed tliemselves to listen
ler news.

!ilany were the exclamations of surprise wliich interrupted her,
m she told them of tlie sejiaratiou between Mr. Pecksniti" and
daughters, and between the same good gentleman and Mr.
eh. But these were nothing to the indignant demonstrations
lartiii, when she related, as the common talk of the neighbour-
3, what entire possession he had obtained over the mind and
lou of old Mr. Chuzzlewit, and what high honour he designed
Mary. On receipt of this intelligence, Martin's slippers tlew
u a twinkling, and he began pulling on his wet boots with that
ifinite intention of going somewhere instantly, and doing some-
ig to somebody, which is the first safety-valve of a hot temper.
' He ! " said Martin, " smooth-tongued villain that he is ! He !
e me that other boot, IMark ! "

'Where was you a thinking of going to, Sirl" inquired Mr.
ley, drying the sole at the fire, and looking coolly at it as he
ie, as if it were a slice of toast.

■'Where ! " repeated Martin. "You don't suppose I am going
email! here, do you 1 "

rhe imperturbable J\Iark confessed that he did.
'You do !" retorted Martin angrily. "I am much obliged to
. What do you take me for ? "

'I take you for what you are, Sir," said Mark; "and, con-
leiitly, am quite stu-e that whatever you do, will be right and
'ible. The boot, Sir."

Martin darted an impatient look at him, without taking it, and
ked rapidly up and down the kitchen several times, with one
t and a stocking on. But, mindful of liis Eden resolution, he

already gained many victories over himself when 3Iark was
he case, and he resolved to coucpier now. So he came back to
boot-jack, laid his hand on IMark's .shoulder to steady himself,
led the boot off, picked \ip his slippers, put them on, and sat
•n again. He could not help thrusting his hands to the very
torn of his pockets, and muttering at intervals, " Pecksniff too !
it fellow ! Upon my soul ! In-deed ! What next ? " and so
h : nor could he help occasionally shaking his fist at the
nney, with a very threatening countenance : but this did not

long ; and he heard Mrs. Lupin out, if not with composure, at
events in silence.
"As to Mr. Pecksniff himself," observed the hostess in con-


elusion, spreading out tlie skirts of lier gown with both liancls, ai
nodding her head a great many times as she did so, "I don't kno
what to say. Somebody must liave poisoned his mind, or intlueuc(
him in some extraordinary way. I cannot believe that such a nobl
spoken gentleman would go and do wrong of his own accord ! "

" How many people are there in the world, who, for no betti
reason, uphold their Pecksniffs to the last, and abandon virtuoi
men, when Pecksnifts breathe upon them !

"As to Mr. Pinch," pursued the landlady, " if ever there was
dear, good, pleasant, worthy soul alive, Pinch, and no other,
his name. But how do we know that old Mr. Chuzzlewit liims(
was not the cause of difference arising between him and Jl
Pecksniff? No one but themselves can tell : for Mv. Pinch has
proud spirit, though he has such a quiet way ; and when he l(i
us, and was so sorry to go, he scorned to make his story goc
even to me."

" Poor old Tom ! " said Martin, in a tone that sounded li

" It's a comfort to know," resumed the landlady, "that he 1
his sister living with him, and is doing well. Only yesterday
sent me back, by post, a little " — here the colour came into
cheeks — "a little trifle I Avas bold enough to lend him when.;
went aAvay : saying, Avith many thanks, that he had good eniplj-
ment, and didn't want it. It was the same note; he ha(it
broken it. I never thought I could have been so little iDleasecp
see a bank-note come back to me, as I was to see that." |

" Kindly said, and heartily ! " said Martin. " Is it not, Marl?'

"She can't say anything as does not possess them qualiti!"
returned Mr. Tapley ; " which as much belong to the Dragoiiis
its license. And now that we have got quite cool and fresb-o
the subject again, Sir: Avhat will you do? If you're not prij,
and can make up your mind to go through with what you sj-ce
of, coming along, that's the course for you to take. If you sta,!il
wrong with your grandfather (which, you'll excuse my taking |ie
liberty of saying, appears to have been the case), up with jU)
Sir, and tell him so, and make an appeal to his affections. lii't
staiid out. He's a great deal older tlian you, and if he was h^,
you was hasty too. Give Avay, Sir, give way." j

The eloquence of Mr. Tapley was not without its effecjou
Martin, but he still hesitated, and expressed his reason thus : I

" That's all very true, and jDerfectly correct, Mark ; and • i'
were a mere question of humbling myself before hivi, I wouLiiot
consider it twice. But don't you see, that being wholly uudeijbis
hypocrite's government, and having (if what we hear be truno


d or will of his own, I throw mj^self, in fact, not at his feet,
at the feet of Mr. Pecksuitf? And when I am rejected and
•ued awa3'," said Martin, turning crimson at tlie thouglit, " it
ot hy him : my own blood stirred against me : but by Pecksniti"
•ecksnitt; Mark ! "

' Well, but we know beforehand,"' returned the politic I\Ir.
ley, "that Pecksniff is a wagaboud, a scoundrel, and a Avillaiu."
'A most pernicious villain ! '' said Martin.
'A most pernicious willain. We know that beforehand. Sir;
, consequenth', it's no shame to be defeated by Pecksniff.
w Pecksuitf ! "' cried Mr. Taplej', in the fervour of his eloc^uence.
'ho's he ! It's not in the natur of Pecksniff to shame us, unless
igieed with us, or done us a service ; and, in case he otiered
outdacity of that description, we could express our sentiments
the English language, I hope 1 Pecksniti' ! " repeated Mr.
iley, with inetiable disdain. "What's Pecksniff, who's
ksniff, where's Pecksniff, that he's to be so much considered 1
're not a calculating for ourselves ; " he laid uncommon
)hasi3 on the last syllable of that word, and looked full in
rtin's face ; " we're making a effort for a young lady likewise
has undergone her share ; and whatever little hope we have,
I here Pecksniff is not to stand iu its way, I expect. I never
rd of any Act of Parliament as was made by Pecksnift".
ksniifl Why, I wouldn't see the man myself; I wouldn't
r him ; I wouldn't choose to know he was iu company. Pd
ipe my shoes on the scraper of tlie door, and call that Pecksniflf,
ou liked ; but I wouldn't condescend no further."
The amazement of Mrs. Lupin, and indeed of Mr. Tapley him-
for that matter, at this impassioned flow of language, was
nense. But Martin, after looking thoughtfully at the fire for
liort time, said :

"You are right, Mark. Plight or wrong, it shall be done. I'll

"One word more, Sir," returned Mark. "Only think of him
far, as not to give him a handle against you. Don't you do
•thing secret, that he can report before you get there. Don't
I even see Miss Mary in the morning, but let this here dear
■nd of ours ; " Mr. Tapley bestowed a smile upon the liostes.s ;
irepare her for what's a going to happen, and carry any little
ssage as may be agreeable. She knows how. Don't you 1 "
s. Lupin laughed and tossed her head. " Then you go in, bold
I free as a gentleman should. 'I haven't done nothing under-
ided,' says you. ' I haven't been a skulking about the premises,
•e I am, for-give me, I ask your pardon, God Bless You ! ' "



Martin smiled, but felt that it was good advice uotwithstaudinj
and resolved to act upon it. When tliey had ascertained froi
Mrs. Lupin that Pecksnifi" had already returned from the gre<
ceremonial at which they had beheld liim in his glory ; and whe
they had fully arranged the order of their proceedings ; they Wei
to bad, intent upon the morrow.

In pursuance of their project as agreed upon at this discussio;
Mr. Tapley issued forth next morning, after breakfast, charge
with a letter from Martin to his grandfather, requesting leave ■
wait upon him for a few minutes. And postponing as he wei
along the congratulations of his numerous friends until a mo
convenient season, he soon arrived at Mr. Pecksniff's house, i
that gentleman's door : with a face so immoveable that it wou:
hav^e been next to an impossibility for the most acute phy
ognomist to determine what he was thinking about, or whether
was thinking at all : he straightway knocked.

A person of Mr. Tapley's observation could not long rema
insensible to the fact, that Mr. Pecksniff was making the e
of his nose very blunt against the glass of the parlour windo
in an angular attempt to discover who had knocked at t
door. Nor was Mr. Tapley slow to baffle this movement on t
part of the enemy, by perching himself on the top step, a
presenting the crown of his hat in that direction. But possil
Mr. Pecksniff had already seen him, for Mark soon heard
shoes creaking, as he advanced to open the door wath his o

Mr. Pecksniff was as cheerful as ever, and sang a little soug.
the i^assage.

"How d'ye do, Sirl " said Mark.

" Oh ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff. " Tapley, I believe 1
Prodigal returned ! We don't want any beer, my friend."

"Thankee, Sir," said Mark. "I couldn't accommodate you'f
you did. A letter. Sir. Wait for an answer."

" For me ? " cried Mr. Pecksniff. " And an answer, eh 1 "

" Not for you I think. Sir," said Mark, pointing out «
direction. " (Jluizzlewit, I believe the name is. Sir.''

" Oh ! " returned Mr. Pecksniff". " Thank you. Yes. WVs
it from, my good young man T' i

" The gentleman it comes from, wrote his name inside, £'
returned Mr. Tapley with extreme politeness. " I see him a si-
ing of it at the end, wdiile I was a waitin'."

" And he said he wanted an answer did he ? " asked r.
Pecksniff in his most persuasive manner. ^

Mark rcjilicd in tlie affirmative. ;


He teball have au answer. Certainly," .said Mr. Pecksniff,
ng the letter into small pieces, as mildly as if that were the

flattering attention a correspondent could receive. "Have
;oodiiess to give him that, with my compliments, if you please.
. morning ! " Whereupon, he handed Mark the scraps ;
id ; and shut the door.

[ark thought it prudent to subdue his personal emotions, and
n to Martin, at the Dragon. They were not unprepared for
a reception, and suffered au hour or so to elapse before making
ier attempt. When this interval had gone by, they returned
r. Pecksnitfs house in company. Llartin knocked this time,
3 Mr. Tapley prepared himself to keep the door opeu with his
and shoulder, when anybody came, and by that means secure
uforced parley. But this precaution was needless, for the
int-girl appeared almost immediately. Brushing quickly past
IS he had resolved in such a case to do, Martin (closely followed
is foithful ally) opened the door of that parlour in which he
: a visitor was most likely to be found ; i^assed at once into
•com ; and stood, without a word of notice or announcement,
le presence of his grandfather.

Ir. Pecksniff' also was in the room ; and Mary, In the swift
int of their mutual recognition, JMartin saw the old man droop
;ray head, and hide his face in his hands,
t smote him to the heart. In his most selfish and most
ess day, this lingering remnant of the old man's ancient love,
buttress of a ruined tower he had built up in the time gone by,

so much pride and hope, would have caused a-paug in Martin's
t. But now, changed for the better in his worst respect ;
ing through au altered medium on his former friend, the
dian of his childhood, so broken and bowed down ; resentment,
nness, self-confidence, and pride, were all swept away, before

starting tears upon the witliered cheeks. He could not

to .see them. He could not bear to think they fell at sight
lim. He could not bear to view reflected in them, the
oachful and irrevocable Past.

le hurriedly advanced, to seize the old man's hand in his,
n Mr. Pecksniff interposed himself between tliem.
'No, young man!" said Mr. Pecksniff, striking himself upon
breast, and stretching out his other arm towards his guest as
i were a wing to shelter hhn. "No, Sir. None of that,
ke here, Sir, here ! Launch your arrows at Me, Sir, if you'll
i the goodness ; not at Him ! "

'Grandfather!" cried Martin. "Hear me! I implore you,
ne speak 1 "

^ g^



"Would you, Sir ! Would you ! " said ]\Ir. Pecksniff, dodging
t, so as to keep himself always between them. " Is it not
gh. Sir, that you come into my house like a thief in the night,
should rather say, for we can never be too particular on the
;ct of Truth, like a thief in the day-time ; bringing your
•lute companions with you, to plant themselves with their
s against the insides of parlour doors, and prevent the
mce or issiiiug forth of any of my household ; " Mark had
n up this position, and held it quite unmoved ; " but would
also strike at venerable Virtue i "Would you 1 Know that it
)t defenceless. I will be its shield, young man. Assail me.
e on, Sir. Fire away ! "
■ Pecksnitf," said the old man, in a feeble voice. "Calm your-

Be quiet."
•I can't be calm," cried Mr. Pecksnitf, "and I won't be quiet,
benefactor and my friend ! Shall even my house be no refuge
'our hoary pillow ! "

' Stand aside ! " said the old man, stretching out his hand ;
d let me see what it is, I used to love so dearly."
' It is right that you should see it, my friend," said Mr.
csnitf. " It is well that you should see it, my noble Sir. It
!sirable that you should contemplate it in its true proportions.
M it ! There it is. Sir. There it is ! "

lartin could hardly be a mortal man, and not express in his
somethuig of the anger and disdain, with which Mv. Pecksniff
ired him. But beyond this he evinced no knowledge w'hatever
lat gentleman's presence or existence. True, he had once, and

at tkst, glanced at him involuntarily, and with supreme
empt ; but for any other heed he took of him, there might
J been nothing in his place save empty air.
Ls Mr. Pecksniff withdrew from between them, agreeably to
wish just now expressed (which he did during the delivery of
observations last recorded), old Martin, who had taken I\Iary
barn's hand hi his, and whispered kindly to her, as telling her
had no cause to be alarmed, gently pushed her from him,
nd his chair ; and looked steadily at his grandson.
' And that," he said, " is he. Ah ! that is he ! Say what
wish to say. But come no nearer."

' His sense of justice is so fine," said Mr. PecksniH", " that he
hear even him ; although he knows beforehanil that nothing

come of it. Ingenuous mind ! " Mr. Pecksnitf did not
ress himself immediately to any person in saying this, but
ming the position of the Chonis in a Greek Tragedy,
vered his opinion as a commentary on the proceedings.


" Graudfather ! " said Martin, witli great earnestness. '' Fr
a painful journey, from a hard life, from a sick bed, from privat
and distress, from gloom and disappointment, from almost ho
lessness and despair, I have come back to j'ou."

"Rovers of this sort," observed Mr. Pecksniff as Chor
"very commonly come back when they find they don't meet w
the success they expected in their marauding ravages."

" But for this faithful man," said Martin, turning toAva
Mark, " whom I first knew in this place, and who went away w
me voluntarily, as a servant, but has been, throughout, my zeaL
and devoted friend ; but for him, I must have died abroad. J
from home, far from any help or consolation ; far from the probabi!
even of my wretched fate being ever known to any one who ca
to hear it — oh that you would let me say, of being known
you ! "

The old man looked at Mr. PecksniflF. Mr. Pecksnift' looj
at him. "Did you speak, my worthy Sir?" said Mr. Pecksii
with a smile. The old man answered in the negative. "I ki
what you thought," said Mr. Pecicsniff, with another smile. "
him go on, my friend. The development of self-interest in
human mind is always a curious study. Let him go on, Sir."

"Go on ! " observed the old man ; in a mechanical obedienc i
appeared, to Mr. Pecksniff's suggestion.

"I have been so wretched and so poor," said Martin, "th;
am indebted to the charitable help of a stranger in a lam
strangers, for the means of returning here. All this tells ag;i ~
me in your mind, I know. I have given you cause to thiu
have been driven here wholly by want, and have not been ledic
in any degree, by afiection or regret. When I i)arted from iu
Grandfiither, I deserved that susiiicion, but I do not now. J^l
not now."

The Chorus put its hand in its waistcoat, and smiled. ' ie
him go on, my worthy Sir," it said. "I know what yoUri'
thinking of, but don't express it prematurely." '

Old Martin raised his eyes to Mr. Pecksniff's face, and ap; u
ing to derive renewed instruction from his looks and words, W
once again :

" Go on ! " '

" I have little more to say," returned Martin. "And as .'jia;
it now, with little or no hope. Grandfather ; whatever dawj c
hope I had on entering the room ; believe it to be true. At as
believe it to be true."

" Beautiful Truth ! " exclaimed the Chorus, looking up^rd
" How is your name profaned by vicious persons ! You don' iv


■well, my holy principle, but on the lips of false inaiikiiul.
; hanl to bear with mankind, dear Sir,'' — addressing the elder
Chuzzlewit ; "but let us do so meeklj-. It is our duty so to

Let us be among the Few who do their duty. If," jnirsucd
Chorus, soaring up into a lofty flight, "as the poet informs us,
land expects Every man to do his duty, England is the most
;uinc country on the face of the earth, and will find itself
inually disappointed."
'Upon that subject," said jMartin, looking calmly at the old

as he spnke, but glancing once at Mary, whose Aice was now
ed in her hands, upon the back of his easy-chair: "upon that
ect, which first occasioned a division between us, my mind and
t are incapable of change. Whatever influence they have
?rgone, since that unhappy time, has not been one to weaken
to strengthen me. I cannot profess sorrow for that, nor
;olution in that, nor shame in that. Nor would you wish me,
low. But that I might have trusted to your love, if I had
wn myself manfully upon it ; that I might have won you over

I ease, if I had been more yielding, and more considerate ;
I sliould have best remembered myself in forgetting myself,
recollecting yon ; reflection, solitude, and misery have taught

I came resolved to say this, and to ask your forgiveness :
so much in hope for the future, as in regret for the
: for all that I would ask of you is, that you would aid me to
Help me to get honest work to do, and I would do it. IMy
lition places me at the disadvantage of seeming to have only my
sh ends to serve, but try if that be so, or not. Try if I be
willed, obdurate, and haughty, as I was ; or have been
iplined in a rough school. Let the voice of nature and
elation plead between us, Grandfather; and do not, for one
t, however thankless, quite reject me ! "

b he ceased, the gray head of the old man drooped again ; and
oncealed his face behind his outspread fingers.
'My dear Sir," cried Mr. Pecksniff, bending over him, "you
t not give way to this. It is very natural, and very amiable,
you nnist not allow the shameless conduct of one whom you
■ ago cast off, to move you so far. Rouse yourself. Tliink,'
Mr. Pecksniff, " think of Me, my friend."
'I will," returned old Martin, looking up into his face. "You

II me to myself I will.''

'Why, what," said Mr. PecksniflT, sitting down beside him in
air which he drew up for the purpose, and tapping him play-
r on the arm, "what is the matter with my 8trong-min<lc(l
patriot, if I may venture to take the liberty of calling him by


that endearing expression 1 Shall I have to scold my coadjuti
or to reason with an intellect like his? I think not."

"No, no. There is no occasion," said the old man. "
momentary feeling. Nothing more."

" Indignation,"' observed Mr. Pecksniff, '• will bring the scaldi
tear into the honest eye, I know " — he wiped his own elaborate
" Bnt we have higher duties to perform than that. Eouse yoi

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 64 of 80)