Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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self, Mr. Chuzzlewit. Shall I give expression to your though
my friend 1 "

"Yes," said old Martin, leaning back in his chair, and looki
at him, half in vacancy and half in admiration, as if he \r(
fascinated by the man. " Speak for me, Pecksniff. Thank yc
You are true to me. Thank you ! "

" Do not unman me. Sir," said Mr. Pecksniff, shaking his ha
vigorously, " or I shall be unequal to the task. It is not agr
able to my feelings, my good Sir, to address the person who
now before us, for when I ejected him from this house, af
hearing of his unnatural conduct from your lips, I renouni
communication with him for ever. But you desire it ; and tl|
is sufficient. Young man ! The door is immediately behind
companion of your infamy. Blusli if you can ; begone withou
blush, if you can't."

Martin looked as steadily at his grandfather as if there had b
a dead silence all this time. The old man looked no less stea(
at Mr. Pecksniff.

" \Yhen I ordered you to leave this house upon the last occa;
of your being dismissed from it with disgrace," said 3Ir. Pecksr
"when, stung and stimulated beyond endurance by your shame
conduct to this extraordinarily noble-minded individual, I exclaii
' Go forth ! ' I told you that I wept for your depravity. Do ,'i
suppose that the tear which stands in my eye at this momenji
shed for you. It is shed for him. Sir. It is shed for him."

Here j\Ir. Pecksniff', accidentally dropping the tear in quesn
on a bald part of 3Ir. Chuzzlewit's head, wiped the place with is
pocket-handkerchief, and begged pardon. ;

"It is shed for him. Sir, whom you seek to make the victi^o:
your arts," said Mr. Pecksniff': "whom you seek to pluudei't<
deceive, and to mislead. It is shed in sympathy with him, v
admiration of him ; not in pity for him, for happily he ki'-v-'
what you are. You shaU not wrong him further, Sir, in any \\ ','
said Mr. Pecksniff, quite transported with enthusiasm, "wh 1
have life. You may bestride my senseless corse, Sir. Thi i-
very likely. I can imagine a mind like yours deriving ;,!ai
satisfaction from any measure of tliat kind. But while I con lUt


be called upon to exist, Sir, j'ou must strike at him through
Ay ! " said Mr. Pecksniff, shaking his head at Martin witli
ignant jocularity : "and in such a cause you will find nu>, my
ng Sir, an Ugly Customer ! "

Still Slartin looked steadily and mildly at his grandfather,
nil you give me no answer," he said at length, "not a wordi "'
" You hear what has been said," replied the old man, without
rting his eyes from the face of Mr. Pecksniff: who nodded

"I have not heard your voice. I have not heard your spirit,"
irned ]\Iartin.

"Tell him again,"" said the old man, still gazing up in Mr.
■ksniff's face.

"I only hear," replied Martin, strong in his purpose from the
t, and stronger in it as he felt how Pecksniff winced and shrank
eath his contempt ; "I only hear wdiat you say to me, grand-

Perhaps it was well fn- Mr. Pecksniff" that his venerable friend
nd in his (Mr. Pecksniff's) features an exclusive and engrossing
ect of contemplation, for if his eyes had gone astray, and he
I compared young Martin's bearing with that of his zealous
ender, the latter disinterested gentleman would scarcely have
wn to greater advantage than on the memorable afternoon when
took Tom Pinch's last receipt in full of all demands. One
lly jnight have thought there w\is some quality in Mr. Pecksnifl"
ui emanation from the brightness and purity within him
haps — which set off and adorned his foes : they looked so
hint and so manly beside him.
" Not a word 1 " said Martin, for the second time.
"I remember that I have a word to say, Pecksniff," observed
old man. " But a word. You spoke of being indebted to the
iritable help of some stranger for the means of returning to
gland. Who is he? And what help, in money, did lie render

Although he asked this question of Martin, he did not look
rards him, but kept his eyes on Mr. Pecksniff as before. It
reared to have become a habit with him, both in a literal and
iirative sense, to look to Mk. Pecksniff alone.
Martin took out his pencil, tore a leaf from his iMnket-book,
1 hastily wrote down the particulars of his debt to Mr. Bcvan.
e old man stretched out liis hand for the paper, and took it ;
t his eyes did not wander from Mr. Pecksniff's face.
"It would be a poor pride and a false humility," said ]\Iartiii,
alow voice, "to say, I do not wish tliat to be paid, or that I


have any present hope of being able to pay it. But I never fe
my poverty so deeply as I feel it now.''

" Read it to me Pecksniff," said the old man.

Mr. Pecksniff, after approaching the perusal of the paper as
it were a manuscript confession of a murder, complied.

" I think, Pecksniff," said old Martin, " I could wish that
be discharged. I should not like the lender, who was abroaoj
who had no opportunity of making inquiry, and who did (as li
thought) a kind action ; to sufier."

" An honourable sentiment, my dear Sir. Your own entire)'
But a dangerous precedent," said Mr. Pecksniff', " permit me ■

"It shall not be a precedent,"' returned the old man. "It
the only recognition of him. But we will talk of it again. Y
shall advise me. There is nothing else 1 "

"Nothing else," said Mr. Pecksniff, buoyantly, "but for you
recover this intrusion : this cowardly and indefensible outrage
your feelings : with all possible dispatch ; and smile again."

"You have nothing more to say?" inquired the old mf
laying his hand with imusual earnestness on Mr. Pecksniff's slee

Mr. Pecksnift' would not say what rose to his lips. P
reproaches, he observed, were useless.

"You have nothing at all to urge? You are sure of that?
you have ; no matter what it is ; speak freely. I will opp(
nothing that you ask of me," said the old man.

The tears rose in such abundance to Mr. Pecksniff's eyes
this proof of unlimited confidence on the part of his friend, tl
he was fain to clasp the bridge of his nose convulsively before
could at all compose himself. When he had the power of utterai
again, he said, with great emotion, that he hoped he shoidd 1
to deserve this ; and added, that he had no other observat
whatever to make.

For a few moments the old man sat looking at him, with tl
blank and motionless expression which is not uncommon in ■
faces of those whose faculties are on the wane, in age. But
rose up firmly too, and walked towards the door, from which M;
withdrew to make way for him.

The obsequious Mr. Pecksniff proffered his arm. The old n
took it. Turning at the door, he said to Martin, waving him ■
with his hand,

"You have heard him. Go away. It is all over. Go!"

Mr. Pecksniff murmured certain cheering expressions ,;f
sympathy and encouragement as they retired ; and Marl;,
awakening from tlie stupor into which the closing portion of f ^


liatl plunged him, to the opportunity aflbixled by tlieir
ture, caught the innocent cause of all in his embrace, and
'd her to his heart.

Dear girl ! " said Martin. " He has not changed you. AVhy,
an impotent and harmless knave the fellow is ! "
Vou have restrained yourself so nobly ! You have borne so

Restrained myself!" cried Martin, cheerfully. ''You were
lid were unchanged, I knew. What more advantage did I
? The sight of me was such bitterness to the dog, that I
my triumph in his being forced to endure it. But tell me,
-for the few hasty words we can exchange now are precious
lat is this which has been rumoured to me ? Is it true that
ire persecuted by this knave's addresses 1 "
I was, dear Martin, and to some extent am now ; but my
source of unhappiness has been anxiety for you. Why did
eave us iu such terrible suspense ? "

Sickness, distance ; the dread of hinting at our real condition,
mpossibility of concealing it except in perfect silence ; the
•ledge that the truth would have pained you infinitely more

uncertainty and doubt," said Martin, hurriedly ; as indeed
'thing else was done and said, in those few hurried moments,
:e the causes of my writing only once. But Pecksniff 1 You
I't fear to tell me the whole tale : for you saw me with him
to face, hearing him speak, and not taking him by the throat :

is the history of his pursuit of you'i^ Is it known to my
Ifather '. "

And he assists him in it 1 "
No," she answered eagerly.

Thank Heaven!" cried Martin, "that it leaves his mind
)uded in that one respect ! "

I do not think," said Mary, "it was known to him at first,
n this man had sutticiently prepared his mind, he revealed it
m by degrees. I think so, but I only know it, from my own
ession : not from anything they told me. Then he spoke to

My grandfather did 1 " said IMartin.
Yes — spoke to me alone, and told me — "

What the hound had said," cried Martin. " Don't repeat it."
■ And said I knew well what qualities he possessed ; that he was
erately rich ; in good repute ; and high in his favour and
idence. But seeing me very much distressed, he said that he
Id not control or force my inclinations, but woidd content



himself with telling me the fact. He would not jiain nie
dwelling on it, or reverting to it : nor has he ever done so sii
but has truly kept his word."

"The man himself? — " asked Martin.

" He has had few opportunities of pursuing his suit. I h
never walked out alone, or remained alone an instant in
presence. Dear Martin, I must tell you," she continued, "t
the kindness of your grandfather to me, remains unchanged,
am his comimnion still. An indescribable tenderness
compassion seem to have mingled themselves with his old rega
and if I were his only child, I could not have a gentler fat
What former fancy or old habit survives in this, when his lieart
turned so cold to you, is a mystery I cannot penetrate ; but it
been, and it is, a happiness to me, that I remained true to li
that if he should wake from his delusion, even at the poin
death, I am here, love, to recall you to his thoughts."

Martin looked with admiration ou her glowing face, and pre
his lips to hers.

"I have sometimes heard, and read," she said, "that t
whose powers had been enfeebled long ago, and whose lives >
faded, as it were, into a dream, have been known to r ■
themselves before death, and inquire for familiar faces once
dear to them ; but forgotten, unrecognised, hated even, in
meantime. Think, if with his old impressions of this man
should suddenly resunae his former self, and find in him his J
friend ! " '

"I would not urge you to abandon him, dearest," said Ma'i
" though I could count the years Ave are to wear out asui .'i
But the influence this fellow exercises over him, has ste;:.l
increased, I fear."

She could not help admitting that. Steadily, impercept.lj
and surely, until now it was i^aramount and supreme. She h( t
had none ; and yet he treated her with more affection than a1 n
previous time. Martin thought the inconsistency a part oMi
weakness and decay.

"Does the influence extend to fear?" said Martin. "11'
timid of asserting his own opinion in the presence of this inf'-M
tion ? I fancied so just now." •

"I have thought so, often. Often when we are sitting fn<
almost as we used to do, and I have been reading a favourite »o-
to him, or he has been talking quite cheerfully, I have obs '&
tliat the entrance of Mr. Pecksnifl" has changed his i ol
demeanour. He has broken oft' immediately, and become Iw
you have seen to-day. AVhen we first came here he hac hi


tuoiis outbreaks, in which it was not easy for Mr. Pecksniff
his utmost plausibility to appease him. But these have long

I dwindled away. He defers to him in everything, and has
pinion upon any question, but that which is forced upon him
Ills treacherous man."

uch was the account ; rapidly furnished in whispers, and
Tupted, brief as it was, by many false alarms of Mr. Pecksnift''s
rn ; which Martin received of his grandfather's decline, and of
good gentleman's ascendancy. He heard of Tom Pinch too,
Jonas too, with not a little about himself into the bargain ;
though lovers are remarkable for leaving a great deal unsaid

II occasions, and very properly desiring to come back and say
ley are remarkable also for a wonderful power of condensation ;
can, in one way or other, give utterance to more language—

iient language — in any given short space of time, than all the
hundred and fifty-eight members in the Commons House of
lament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ;

are strong lovers, no doubt, but of their country only, which
es all the difference ; for in a passion of that kind (which is
always returned), it is the custom to use as many words as
ible, and express nothing whatever.
I caution from Mr. Tapley ; a hasty interchange of farewells,

of something else which the proverb says must not be told of
rwards ; a white hand held out to Mr. Tapley himself, which
dssed with the devotion of a knight-errant ; more farewells,
e something else's ; a parting word from Martin that he would
e from London and would do great things there yet (Heaven
.vs what, but he quite believed it) ; and Mark and he stood
he outside of the Pecksniffian halls.

' A short interview after such an absence ! " said Martin,
jwfully. " But we are well out of the house. We might have
ed ourselves in a false position by remaining there, even so
, Mark."

' I don't know about ourselves. Sir," he returned ; " but
ebody else would have got into a false position, if he had
:)ened to come back again, while we was there. I had the
• all ready, Sir. If Pecksniff had showed his head, or had

80 much as li-stened behind it, I should have caught him like
alnut. He's the sort of man," added Mr, Tapley, musing,

would squeeze soft, I know."

V. [icrson who was evidently going to Mr. Pecksniff's house,
ed them at this moment. He raised his eyes at the mention
lie architect's name ; and when he had gone on a few yards,
I)ed, and gazed at them. ]\Ir. Tapley, also, looked over his


shoulder, and so did Martin ; for the stranger, as he passed, 1
looked very sharply at them.

" Who may that be, I wonder I " said Martin. " The f;
seems familiar to me, but I don't know the man."

" He seems to have a amiable desire that his face should
tolerable familiar to us," said Mr. Tapley, " for he's a staring pre
hard. He'd better not waste his beauty, for he aint got mi
to spare."

Coming in sight of the Dragon, they saw a travelling carrij
at the door.

"And a Salisbury carriage, eh!" said Mr. Tapley. '• Ths
what he came in, depend upon it. What's in the wind now?
new pupil, I shouldn't wonder. P'raps it's a order for anot'
grammar-school, of the same pattern as the last."

Before they coidd enter at the door, Mrs. Lupin came runn
out ; and beckoning them to the carriage showed them a p
manteau with the name of Chuzzlewit upon it.

" Miss Pecksniff's husband that was," said the good womar
Martin. " I didn't know what terms you might be on, and ■
quite in a worry tdl you came back."

" He and I have never interchanged a word yet," obserl
^.lartiu ; " and as I have no wish to be better or worse acquairl
with him, I wiU not put myself in his way. We passed himi
the road, I have no doubt. I am glad he timed his coming ass
did. Upon my word ! Miss Pecksniffs husband travels gaily

*■ A very fine-looking gentleman with him — in the best pj
now," whispered Mrs. Lupin, glancing up at the window as ty
went into the house. " He has ordered everything that cai e
got for dinner; and has the glossiest moustaches and whisi^s
that ever you saw."

"Has he?" cried Martin, "why then we'll endeavour to ad
him too, in the hope that our self-denial may be strong euc li
for the sacrifice. It is only for a few hours," said Martin, drop g
wearily into a chair behind the little screen in the bar. " ir
visit has met with no success, my dear Mrs. Lupin, and I muf.,'0
to London."

" Dear, dear ! " cried the hostess.

" Yes. One foul wind no more makes a winter, than if
swallow makes a summer. — ^I'll try it again. Tom Pinch ii^
succeeded. With his advice to guide me, I may do the same '
took Tom under my protection once, God save the mark ! " '"
Martin, with a melancholy smile ; " and promised I would i k*
his fortune. Perliaps Tom will take me under his protection
and teacli me how to earn my bread."




:thki; continuation of the enterprise of mr. jonas
and his friend.

: was a special qualitj% among the many admirable qualities
ssecl by Mr. Pecksniff, that the more he was found out, the

hypocrisy he practised. Let him be discomfited in one
or, and he refreshed and recompensed himself by carrying the
uto another. If his workings and windings were detected by
I much the greater reason was there for practising without
)f time on B, if it were only to keep his hand in. He had
• been such a saintly and improving spectacle to all about
as after his detection by Thomas Pinch. He had scarcely
been at once so tender in his humanity, and so dignified and
ed ill his virtue, as when young Martin's scorn was fresh and
ipon him.

having this large stock of superfluous sentiment and morality
md which must positively be cleared off at any sacrifice, Mr.
sniff no sooner heard his son-in-law announced, than he
ded him as a kind of wholesale or general order, to be
?diatcly executed. Descending, therefore, swiftly to the
ur, and clasping the young man in his arms, he exclaimed,
looks and gestures that denoted the perturbation of his spirit :
Jonas! My child — she is well? There is nothing the

Wliat you're at it again, are you?" replied his son-in-law.
en with me 1 Get away with you, will you 1 "
Tell me she is well, then," said Mr. Pecksniff. " Tell me she
;11, my boy ! "

She's Avell enough," retorted Jonas, disengaging himself,
ere's nothing the matter with her."

There is notliing the matter with her ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff,
ig down in the nearest chair, and rubbing up his hair. " Fie

my weakness ! I cannot help it, Jonas. Thank you. I am
;r now. How is my other child ; my eldest ; my Cherrywerry-
) 1 " said Mr. Pecksnifi', inventing a playful little name for her,
le restored lightness of his heart.

She's much about the same as usual," returned Mr. Jonas.
6 sticks pretty close to the vinegar-bottle. You know she's got
eetheart, I suppose 1 "


"I "have heard of it," said Mr. Pecksnitt", "from head-quarters
from my child herself. I will not deny that it moved me 1
contemplate the loss of my remaining daughter, Jonas — I ai
afraid we parents are selfish, I am. afraid we are — but it has evi
been the study of my life to qualify them for the domestic heartl
and it is a sphere which Cherry will adorn."

" She need adorn some sphere or other," observed his son-ii
law, witli charming frankness. " For she ain't very ornamental i

" My girls are now provided for," said Mr. Pecksniff. " TIk
are now happily provided for ; and I have not laboured in vain !

This is exactly what Mr. Pecksniff would have said, if one
his daughters had drawn a prize of thirty thousand pounds in tl
lottery, or the other had picked up a valuable purse in the stre(
which nobody appeared to claim. In either of these cases, '.
would have invoked a patriarchal blessing on the fortunate hea
with great solemnity, and would have taken immense credit
himself, as having meant it from the infant's cradle. |

" Suppose we talk about something else, now," observed Jonij
drily; "just for a change. Are you quite agreeable '? "

"Quite," said Mr. Pecksniff. "Ah, you wag, you naugli
wag ! You laugh at poor old fond papa. Well ! He desert
it. And he don't mind it either, for his feelings are their c
reward. You have come to stay with me, Jonas ? "

" No. I've got a friend with me," said Jonas.

" Bring your friend ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff, in a gush
hospitality. " Bring any number of your friends ! "

" This ain't the sort of man to be brought," said Jonas, c
temptuously. "I think I see myself 'bringing' him to yi
house, for a treat ! Thauk'ee all the same ; but lie's a little
near the top of the tree for that, Pecksniff."

The good man pricked up his ears ; his interest was awakeu;
A position near the top of the tree was greatness, virtue, goodni
sense, genius ; or, it should rather be said, a dispensation from '
and in itself something immeasurably better than all ; with Ij.
Pecksniff. A man who was able to look down upon ]\Ir. Pecks';f
could not be looked up at, by tliat gentleman, with too great i
amount of deference, or from a position of too much humility. J
it always is with great sijirits.

" I'll tell you what you may do, if you like," said Jonas : " *•
may come and dine with us at the Dragon. We were forced o
come down to Salisbury last night, on some business, and I ^
him to bring me over here this morning, in his carriage ; at lePi
not his own carriage, for we had a break-down in the night, it


ye liircd instead ; it's all tho same. jMiiid wliat you're about,
know. He's not used to all sorts ; lie only mixes with the
! "

Some young nobleman wlio lias been borrowing money of you
)od interest, eh ? " said Mr. Pecksniff, shaking his forefinger
iously. "I shall be delighted to know the gay sprig."
Borrowing!" echoed Jonas. "Borrowing! When you're a
tieth i^art as rich as he is, you may shut up shop ! We
Id be pretty well off, if we could buy his furniture, and plate,
jictures, by clubbing together. A likely man to borrow : Mr.
;ague ! Why, since I was lucky cnougli (come ! and Til say,
) enough, too) to get a share in the Insurance Office tliat he's
dent of, I've made — never mind what I've made," said Jonas,
ing to recover all at once his usual caution. " You know me
y well, and I don't blab about such things. But, ecod, I've
! a trifle."

Really, my dear Jonas," cried Mr. Pecksniff, with much
ith, "a gentleman like this should receive some attention.
Id he like to see the church ? Or if he has a taste for the
irts — which I have no doubt he has, from the description you
of his circumstances — I can send him down a few portfolios,
biu-y Cathedral, my dear Jonas," said Mr. Pecksniff; the
ion of the portfolios, and his anxiety to display himself to
titage, suggesting his usual phraseology in that regard ; " is
idifice replete with venerable associations, and strikingly
jstive of tlie loftiest emotions. It is here Ave contemplate
vork of bygone ages. It is here we listen to the swelling
1, as we stroll through the reverberating aisles. We have
ings of this celebrated structure from the North, from the
h, from the East, from the West, from the South-East, from

S"or'-West "

'uring this digression, and indeed during the whole dialogue,
s had been rocking on his chair, with his hands in his pockets,
his head thrown cunningly on one side. He looked at Mr.
sniff now with such shrewd meaning twinkling in his eyes,
Mr. Pecksniff stopped, and asked him what he was going to

Ecod 1 " he answered. " Pecksniff, if I knew how you meant
iive your money, I couhl put you in the way of doubling it,
» time. It wouldn't be bad to keep a chance like this snug
e family. But you're such a deep one ! "
Jona.s ! " cried Mr. Pecksniff, much affected, " I am not a
inatical character : my heart is in my hand. By far the
er i)art of the inconsiderable savings I have accumulated in


the course of — I hope — a not dishonourable or useless career,
already given, devised, and bequeathed (correct nie, my d(
Jonas, if I am technically wrong), with expressions of confideii
which I will not repeat ; and in securities which it is unnecessf
to mention ; to a person, whom I cannot, whom I will not, wIk
I need not name." Here he gave the hand of his son-in-lav
fervent squeeze, as if he would have added, " God bless you ;
very careful of it when you get it ! "

Mr. Jonas only shook his head and laughed, and, seeming
think better of what he had had in his mind, said, " No.
would keep his own counsel." But as he observed that he woi
take a walk, Mr. Pecksniff insisted on accompanying him, rema
ing that he could leave a card for Mr. Montague, as they w(
along, by way of gentleman-usher to himself at dinner-tii
Which he did.

In the course of their walk, Mr. Jonas affected to maint
that close reserve which had operated as a timely check upon 1
during the foregoing dialogue. And as lie made no attempt

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 65 of 80)