Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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hands has been enough to palsy them. I am not master of ruy:^
while he is within their range. Drag him away ! "

Seeing that he still did not rise, Mr. Tapley, without any d
promise about it, actually did drag him away, and stick him
on the floor, with his back against the oi^posite wall.

" Hear me, rascal ! " said ]Mr. Chuzzlewit. " I have sunnuo
you here to witness your own work. I have summoned you 1
to witness it, because I know it will be gall and wormwood
you ! I have summoned you here to witness it, because I ki
the sight of everybody here must be a dagger in your mean f
heart ! What ! do you know me as I am, at last ! "

Mr. Pecksnifi" had cause to stare at him, for the triumph in
face and speech and figure was a sight to stare at.

" Look there ! " said the old man, pointing at him, and apii
iiig to the rest. " Look there ! And then — come hither, my i
Martin — look here ! here ! here ! " At every repetition of
word he pressed his grandson closer to his breast.

" The passion I felt, Martin, when I dared not do this,"
said, " was in the blow I struck just now. Why did we t
part ! How could we ever part ! How could you ever fly f
me to him ! "

Martin was about to answer, but he stopped him, and went

" The fault was mine no less than yours. JMark has told
so to-day, and I have known it long; though not so long v
might have done. Mary, my love, come here."

As she trembled and was very pale, he sat her in his own cl
and stood beside it with her hand in his ; and Martin standiii;j ,

"The curse of our house," said the old man, looking kii .
down upon her, "has been the love of self; has ever been
love of self. How often have I said so, when I never knew t '
I had wrought it upon others ! "


3c drew one hand through Martin's arm, and standing so,

reen them, proceeded thus :

' You all know how I bred tins orplian up, to tend me. None

ou can know by what degrees I have come to regard her as a

^hter ; for she has won upon me, by her self-forgetfuliicss, her

lerncss, her patience, all the goodness of her nature, when

ven is her witness tliat I took but little pains to draw it forth.

blossomed without cultivation, and it ripened without heat.

nnot find it in my heart to say that I am sorry for it now, or

ler fellow might be holding up his head."

ilr. Pecksniff put his hand into his waistcoat, and slightly

>k that part of him to which allusion had been made : as if to

ify that it was still uppermost.

'There is a kind of selfishness," said Martin : " I have learned

I my own experience of my own breast : which is constantly

1 the watch for selfishness in others ; and holding others at a

jnce by suspicions and distrusts, wonders why they don't

•each, and don't confide, and calls that selfishness in them. Tlius

ce doubted those about me — not without reason in the beginning

ad thus I once doubted you, Martin."

' Not without reason," Martin answered ; " either."

'Listen, hypocrite ! Listen, smooth-tongued, servile, crawling

re ! " said Martin. " Listen, you shallow dog. "What !

en I was seeking him, you had already spread your nets ; you

i already fishing for him, were ye 1 AVhen I lay ill in this

I woman's liouse, and your meek spirit pleaded for my grand-

you had already caught him, had ye 1 Counting on the
oration of the love you knew I bore him, you designed him for

of your two daughters, did ye? Or failing that, you traded
im as a speculation wliich at any rate shoultl blind me with
lustrebf your charity,,and found a claim upon me 1 Wliy, even
I I knew you, and I told you so. Did I tell you that I knew

even then 1"

' I am not angry, Sir," said Mr. Pecksniff, softly. " I caji
• a great deal from you. I will never contradict you, Mr.

'Observe!" said Martin, looking round. "I put my.^elf in
; man's hands on terms as mean and base, and as degrading to
self as I could render them in words. I stated them at length
im, before his own children, syllable by syllaldc, as coar.'^cly an
uld, and with as much offence, and with a.s plain an exposition
ay contempt, as words — not looks and manner merely — could
-ey. If I had only called the angry ])lond into his face, I
Id have wavered in my If I liad only stung him into


being a man for a minute I would have abandoned it. If he i
offered me one word of remonstrance, in favom- of the grand
whom he supposed I had disinherited ; if he liad pleaded with :
though never so faintly, against my appeal to him to abandon 1
to misery and cast him from his house ; I think I could have bo
with him for ever afterwards. But not a word, not a word. Pan(
ing to the worst of human passions was the office of his natii
and faithfully he did his work ! "

" I am not angry," observed Mr. Pecksniff. " I am hurt, '.
Chuzzlewit : wounded in my feelings : but I am not angry,
good Sir."

Mr. Chuzzlewit resumed.

" Once resolved to try him, I was resolute to pursue the t
to the end ; but while I was bent on fathoming the depth of
duplicity, I made a sacred compact with myself that I would j
him credit on the other side for any latent spark of goodn
honour, forbearance — any virtue — that might ghmmer in h
From first to last, there has been no such thing. Not oi
He cannot say I have not given him opportunity. He cannot
I have ever led him on. He cannot say I have not left !
freely to himself in all things ; or that I have not been a pass
instrument in his hands, which he might have used for good
easily as evil. Or if he can, he Lies ! And that's his nature t(

" Mr. Chuzzlewit," interrupted Pecksniff, shedding tears,
am not angry, Sir. I cannot be angry with you. But did
never, my dear Sir, express a desire that the unnatural young i
who by his wicked arts has estranged your good opinion from
for the time being : only for the time being : that your grand:
Mr. Chuzzlewit, should be dismissed my house ? Recollect \'
self, my Christian friend."

" I have said so, have I not 1 " retorted the old man, ster
"I could not tell how far your specious hypocrisy had decei
him, knave ; and knew no better way of opening his eyes than,
presenting you before him in your own servile character.
I did express tliat desire. And you leaped to meet it ; and
met it ; and turning in an instant on the hand you had hcked
beslavered, as only such hounds can, you strengthened, and '
firmed, and justified me in my scheme."

Mr. Pecksniff made a bow ; a submissive, not to say, a gn
ling and an abject bow. If he had been complimented on
practice of the loftiest virtues, he never could have bowed a-
bowed then.

" Tlie wretched man who has been murdered," IMr. Chuzzli
went on to say ; " then passing by the name of "


rigg," suggested Mark.

3f Tigg — brought begging messages to me, on behalf of a
[ of his, and an unworthy relative of mine ; and finding him
1 well enough suited to my purjwse, I employed him to glean
news of you, Martiu, for me. It was from him I learned that
ad taken up yom- abode with yonder fellow. It was he, who
ng you here, in town, one evening — you remember where 1 "
.■^t the pawnbroker's shop," said Martin.
iTes ; watched you to your lodging, and enabled me to send
Bank note."

[ lately thought," said Martin, greatly moved, "that it
;ome from you. I little thought that you were interested

• fate. If I had "

[f you had," returned the old man, sorrowfully, "you would
shown less knowledge of me as I seemed to be, and as I
was. I hoped to bring you back, Martin, penitent and
lied. I hoped to distress you into coming back to me. Much
loved you, I had that to acknowledge which I could not
cile it to myself to avow, then, unless you made submission
', first. Thus it was I lost you. If I have had, indirectly,
ct or part in the fate of that unhappy man, by putting means,
rer small, within his reach ; Heaven forgive me ! I might
^nown, perhaps, that he would misuse money ; that it was
;towed'iTpoh him ; and that sown by Tiis hands, it could
ider mischief only. But I never tliought of him at that
as having the disposition or ability to be a serious impostor,
:herwise than as a thoughtless, idle-humoured, di-ssipated
[thrift, sinning more against himself than others, and
entiug low haunts and indulging vicious tastes, to his own

Beggin' your pardon. Sir," said Mv. Tapley, who had Mrs.
1 on his arm by this time, quite agreeably ; " if I may make
Id as say so, my opinion is, as you was quite correct, and that
med out perfectly nat'ral for all that. There's a surjaisin'
)er of men, Sir, who as long as they've only got their own
and stockings to depend upon, will walk down-hill, along the
rs quiet enough, and by themselves, and not do much harm.
set any on 'em up with a coach and horses. Sir ; and it's
erful what a knowledge of drivin' he'll show, and how ho'U
is wehicle with pa.ssengers, and start off in tlie middU; of the
neck or nothing, to the Devil ! Bless your lieart. Sir, there's
so many Tiggs a passing this here Temple-gate any hour
le day, that only want a chance, to turn out full-blown
:ague8 every one ! "



" Your ignorance, as you call it, Mark," said Mr. Chuzzl
" is wiser than some men's enlightenment, and mine among t
You are right ; not for the first time to-day. Now hear me
my dears. And hear me, you, who, if what I have been to
accurately stated, are Baukriipt in pQ .cke.t. nn Ipsa fhfn h]_^

And when you have heard

leave this place,

poison my sight no more ! "

Mr. Pecksniff laid his hand upon his breast, and bowed ag;

" The penance I have done in his house," said Mr. Chuzzl
"has carried this reflection with it constantly, above all or
That if it had pleased Heaven to visit such infirmity on nv
age as really had reduced me to the state in which I feigned t
I should have brought its misery upon myself. Oh you -u
wealth, like mine, has been a source of continual unhappi
leading you to distrust the nearest and dearest, and to dig yoi
a living grave of suspicion and reserve ; take heed that, b;
cast off all whom you might have bound to you, and tenderly,
do not become in your decay the instrument of such a uia
this, and waken in another world to the knowledge of such wroi
would embitter Heaven itself, if wrong or you could ever reach

And then he told them, how he had sometimes thought, ii
beginning, that love might grow up between Mary and Ma
and how he had jDleased his fancy with the picture of observi
when it was new, and taking them to task, apart, in couuterf
doubt, and then confessing to them that it had been au o
dear to his heart ; and by his sympathy with them, and gein
provision for their young fortunes, establishing a claim on
aftection and regard which nothing should wither, and v
should surround his old age with means of happiness. H<
the first dawn of this design, and when the pleasure of su-
scheme for the happiness of others was new and indistinct w
him, Martin had come to tell him that he had already chose
himself; knowing that he, the old man, had some faint projei
that head, but ignorant whom it concerned. How it was
comfort to him to know that Martin had chosen Her, becau^'
grace of his design was lost, and because, finding that she
returned his love, he tortured himself with the reflection that '
so young, to whom he had been so kind a benefactor, were ahj
like the world, and bent on their own selfish, stealthy ends. !
in the bitterness of this impression, and of his past experiene
had reproached JMartin so harshly (forgetting that he had i
invited his confidence on such a point, and confounding whij;
had meant to do Avith what he had done), that high words sp,
up between them, and they separated in wrath. How he 1


itill, and hoped he would return. How on the night of his
s at the Dragon, he had secretly written tenderly of him,
uade him his heir, and sanctioned his marriage with Mary ;
low, after his interview with Mr. Pecksniff, he had distrusted
igain, and burnt the paper to ashes, and had lain down in his
istracted by suspicions, doubts, and regrets.
ad then he told them how, resolved to probe this Pecksniff,
■0 prove the constancy and truth of INIary (to himself no less
Martin), he had conceived and entered on his plan ; and how,
,th her gentleness and patience, he had softened more and
; still more and more beneath the goodness and simplicity,
onour and the manly faith of Tom. And when he spoke of

he said God bless him ! and the tears were in his eyes ; for
.id that Tom, mistrusted and disliked by him at first, had

like summer rain upon his heart ; and had disposed it to
•e in better things. And Martin took him by the hand, and

too, and John, his old friend, stoutly too ; and Mark, and
Lupin, and his sister, little Ruth. And peace of mind, deep,
nil peace of mind was in Tom's heart.

ie old man then related how nobly j^Ir. Pecksniff had performed
iity in which he stood indebted to society, in the matter of
5 dismissal ; and how, having often heard disparagement of
IVestlock from Pecksniflfian lips, and knowing him to be a
I to Tom, he had used, through his confidential agent and
tor, that little artifice which had kept him in readiness to
■e his unknown friend in London. And he called on Mr.
inifi' (by the name of Scoundrel) to remember that there

he had not trapped him to do evil, but that he had done it
I own free will and agency; nay, that he had cautioned him
st it. And once again he called on ]\Ir. Pecksniff (by the

of Hangdog) to remember that when Martin coming liomo
it, an altered man, had sued for the forgiveness which awaited
he, Pecksniff, had rejected him in language of his own, and
emorselessly stepped in between him and the least touch of
al tenderness. "For which," said the old man, "if the
ng of my finger would remove a halter from your neck, I
In't bend it ! "

Martin," he added, "your rival has not been a dangerous one,
Irs. Lupin here, has played duenna for some weeks ; not so

to watch your love as to watch her lover. I'or that Glioule "

fertility in finding names for ]\Ir. Pecksniff was astonishing —
dd have crawled into her daily walks otherwise, and polluted
resh air. What's this? Her hand is trembling strangely.
' you can hold it."


Hold it ! If he clasped it half as tightly as he did her wai
-Well, well ! That's dangerous.

But it was good in him that even then, in his high fortune a
happiness, with her lips nearly printed on his own, and her pro
young beauty in his close embrace, he had a hand still left
stretch out to Tom Pinch.

" Oh, Tom ! Dear Tom ! I saw you, accidentally, comi
here. Forgive me ! "

"Forgive!" cried Tom. "I'll never forgive you as long a;
live, Martin, if you say another syllable about it. Joy to j
both ! Joy, my dear fellow, fifty thousand times."

Joy ! There is not a blessing on earth that Tom did not w
them. There is not a blessing on earth that Tom would not hi
bestowed upon them, if he could,

" I beg your pardon, Sir," said Mr. Tapley, stepping forwai^
"but you was mentionin', just now, a lady of the name of Lu)

" I was," returned old Martin.

" Yes, Sir. It's a pretty name. Sir ? ''

" A very good name," said Martin.

" It seems a'most a pity to change such a name into Tapl
Don't it. Sir 1 " said Mark.

" That depends upon the lady. What is her opinion ? "

"Why, Sir," said Mr. Tapley, retiring, with a bow, towards
buxom hostess, " her opinion is as the name ain't a change for
better, but the indiwidual may be ; and therefore, if nobody a
acquainted with no jest cause or impediment, et cetrer, the B
Dragon will be con-werted into the Jolly Tapley. A sign of
own inwention, Sir. Wery new, conwivial, and expressive!"

The whole of these proceedings were so agreeable to Mr. Pc
sniff, that he stood with his eyes fixed upon the floor and his ha
clasping one another alternately, as if a host of penal senteii
were being passed upon him. Not only did his figure appear
have shrank, Irat his discomfiture seemed to have extended its
even to his dress. His clothes seemed to have grown shabb
his linen to have turned yellow, his hair to have become lank 1 1
frowsy ; his very boots looked villanous and dim, as if their g!-
had departed with his own.

Feeling, rather than seeing, that the old man now pointed
the door, he raised his eyes, picked up his hat, and thus addres
him :

" Mr. Chuzzlewit, Sir ! you have partaken of my hospitalit}

"And paid for it," he observed.

" Thank you. That savours," said Mr. Pecksniff", taking i'


wcket- handkerchief, "of your old familiar fraiiknei=is. You
paid for it. I was about to make the remark. You have
ved me, Sir. Thauk you again. I am glad of it. To see
in the possession of your health and faculties on any terms,
1 itself, a sufficient recompense. To have been deceived,
,es a trusting nature. Mine is a trusting nature. I am
dvl for it. I would rather have a trusting nature, do you
', Sir, than a doubting one ! "
'ere Mr. Pecksniff, with a sad smile, bowed, and wiped his

There is hardly any person present, Mr. Chuzzlewit," said
suiff, "by whom I have not been deceived. I have forgiven
^ persons on the spot. That was my duty ; and, of course, I
done it. Whether it was worthy of you to partake of my
tahty, and to act the part you did act in my house ; that,
is a question which I leave to your own conscience. And
conscience does not acquit you. No, Sir, no ! "
ronduncing these last words in a loud and solemn voice, Mr.
suiff was not so absolutely lost in his own fervour as to be
ndful of the expediency of getting a little nearer to the door.
I have been struck this day," said Mr. Pecksniff, "with a
ing-stick, which I have every reason to believe has knobs
it : on that delicate and exquisite portion of the human
)my, the brain. Several blows have been inflicted, Sir, with-
. walking-stick, upon that tenderer portion of my frame : my
;. You have mentioned, Sir, my being bankrupt in my jnu-se.
Sir, I am. By an unfortunate speculation, combined with
hery, I find myself reduced to poverty ; at a time, Sir, when
hild of my bosom is widowed, and affliction and disgrace are
y family."

ere Mr. Pecksniff wiped his eyes again, and gave himself two
ree little knocks upon the breast, as if he were answering two
iree other little knocks from within, given by tlie tinkling
ner of his conscience, to express " Cheer up, my boy ! "
I know the human mind, although I trust it. That is my
ness. Do I not know. Sir ; " here he became exceedingly
tive, and was observed to glance towards Tom Pinch ; " that
lisfortunes bring this treatment on me ? Do I not know, Sir,
but for them I never should have heard what I liavc heard
y? Do I not know, that in the silence and the solitude of
:, a little voice will whisper in your ear, Mr. Cluizzlewit,
i was not well This was not well. Sir ! ' Tiiink of this,
if you will have the goodness), remote from the impulses of
DD, and apart from tlie specialities, if I may use that .strong


remark, of pi'ejudice. And if you ever contemplate the si]
tomb, Sir, which you will excuse me for entertaining some do
of your doing, after the conduct into wliich you have allowed yc
self to be betrayed this day ; if you ever contemplate the sil
tomb, Sir, think of me. If you find yourself approacliing to
silent tomb, Sir, think of me. If you should wish to have a
thing inscribed upon your silent tomb. Sir, let it be, tliat I—
my remorseful Sir ! that I — the humble individual who has i
the honour of reproaching you, forgave you. That I forgave
when my injuries were fresh, and when my bosom was ne
wrung. It may be bitterness to you to hear it now. Sir, ^
you will live to seek a consolation in it. May you find a (!
solation in it when you want it, Sir ! Good morning ! " ;

With this sublime address, Mr. Pecksniff departed. But
effect of his departure was much impaired by his being inimedia
afterwards run against, and nearly knocked down by, a monstrou
excited little man in velveteen shorts and a very tall hat ; '
came bursting up the stairs, and straight into the chambers of
Chuzzlewit, as if he were deranged.

" Is there anybody here that knows him ? " cried the little ii
" Is there anybody here that knows him ? Oh, my stars, is tl
anybody here that knows him ! "

They looked at each other for an explanation ; but nol
knew anything more than that here was an excited little i
with a very tall hat on, running in and out of the room as 1 <
as he could go ; making his single pair of bright blue stock :
appear at least a dozen; and constantly repeating, in a s' I
voice, "Is there anybody here that knows him?"

"If your brains is not turned topjyturjey, Mr. Sweedlepipc
exclaimed another voice, "hold that there nige of yourn, I
you. Sir."

At the same time Mrs. Gamp was seen in the doorway; oi j
breatli from coming up so many stairs, and panting fearfully ; 'J
dropping curtseys to the last. I

" Excuge the weakness of the man," said Mrs. Gamp, ey ij
Mr. Sweedlepipe, with great indignation; "and well I mi
expect it, as I should have know'd, and wishin' he was drowi"'
in the Thames afore I had brought him here, which not a blc h
hour ago he nearly shaved the noge off from tlie father of as Ic h
a family as ever, Mr. Chuzzlewit, was bom three sets of twins, h
would have done it, only he see it a goin' in the glass, and doi,3(
the rager. And never, Mr. Sweedlepipes, I do assure you, ir
did I so well know what a misfortun it was to be acquainted tl
you, as now I do, which so I say. Sir, and I don't deceive yc !


'I ask your i)arclon, ladies and geutlenieu all,'' cried the little

ler, taking off his hat, "and j^ours too, Sirs. Gamp. But —

" lie added tliis, halfdaughing- and half-crying, " Is there any-

r here that knows him ! "

Ls the barber said these words, a something iu top-boots, with

lead bandaged up, staggered into the room, and began going

,d and round and round, apparently under the impression that

as walking straight forward.

'Look at him!" cried the excited little barber. "Here he

That'll soon wear off, and then he'll be all right again. He's
iore dead than I am. He's all alive and hearty. Ain't you,

'E — r — reether so, Poll !" replied that gentleman.
'Look here !" cried the little barber, laughing and crying in
same breath. " When I steady him he comes all right. There !
I all right now. Nothing's the matter with him now, except

he's a little shook and rather giddy; is there, Bailey ?"
'R — r — reether shook. Poll — reether so!" said Mr. Bailey,
hat, my lovely Sairey ! There you air ! "
'What a boy he is !" cried the tender-hearted Poll, actually
ing over him. "I never see such a boy! It's all his fun.
i full of it. He shall go into the business along with me. I
determined he shall. We'll make it Sweedlepipe and Bailey,
shall have the sporting branch (what a one lae'll be for the
:hes 1) and me the shavin'. I'll make over the birds to him
)on as ever he's well enough. He shall have the little bull-
1 in the shop, and all. He's sech a boy ! I ask your pardon,
;s and gentlemen, but I thought tlierc might be some one here

know'd him ! "

Irs. Gamp had observed, not witliout jealousy and scorn, that
rourable impression appeared to exist in behalf of Mr. Sweedle-

and his young friend ; and that she had fallen rather into
background iu consequence. She now struggled to the front,
efore, and stated her business.

'Wiiich, ]\Ir. Chuzzlewit," she said, "is well beknown to Mr.s.
lis ius ha-s one sweet infant (though she do not wish it known)
er own family by the mother's side, kep in spirits in a bottle ;

that sweet babe she see at Greenwich Fair, a travelling in
pany with the pink-eyed lady, Prooshan dwarf, and livin'
inton, which judge lier feelins wen the barrel organ jihiyed,

she was showed her own dear sister's child, tin; same not
' expected from the outside picter, where it was painted quite
rairy in a livin' state, a many sizes larger, and performing
itiful upon the Arp, which never did that dear child kn<nv or


do : since breathe it never did, to speak on, in this wale ! A:!
Mrs. Harris, Mr. Ohuzzlewit, has knowed nie many year, and c
give you information that the lady which is widdered can't
better and may do worse, than let me wait upon her, which
hope to do. Permittin' the sweet faces as I see afore me."

"Oh !" said Mr. Chuzzlewit. "Is that your business? W

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 77 of 80)