Charles Dickens.

Life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit online

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this good person paid for the trouble we gave her '? "

"I paid her. Sir," returned Mark Tapley ; "liberal."

"The young man's words is true," said Mrs. Gamp, "a
thank you kindly."

"Then here we will close our acquaintance, Mrs. Gaui]
retorted Mr. Chuzzlewit. "And Mr. Sweedlepipe — is that yo
name 1 "

" That is my name. Sir," replied Poll, accepting with a pi
fusion of gratitude, some chinking pieces which the old m
slipped into his hand.

"Mr. Sweedlepipe, take as much care of your lady-lodger i
you can, and give her a word or two of good advice now and the
Such," said old Martin, looking gravely at the astonished M:
Gamp, " as hinting at the expediency of a little less liquor, and
little more humanity, and a little less regard for herself, and
little more regard for her patients, and perhaps a trifle of a
ditional honesty. Or when Mrs. Gamp gets into trouble, K
Sweedlepipe, it had better not be at a time when I am ne
enough to the Old Bailey, to vohmteer myself as a witness to h
character. Endeavour to impress that upon her at your leisure,
you please."

Mrs. Gamp clasped her hands, turned up her eyes until tli
were quite invisible, threw back her bonnet for the admission
fresh air to her heated brow ; and in the act of saying faintly
" Less liquor ! — Sairey Gamp ! — Bottle on the chimley-piece, a:
let me put my lips to it, when I am so dispoged ! " — fell into o
of the Avalking swoons : in which pitiable state she was conduct
forth by Mr. Sweedlepipe, who, between his two patients, t
swooning Mrs. Gamp and the revolving Bailey, had enough
do, poor fellow.

The old man looked about him, with a smile, until liis t'y
rested on Tom Pinch's sister • when he smiled the more.

"We will all dine here together," he said; "and as you a
Mary have enough to talk of, Martin, you shall keep house for
until the afternoon, with Mr. and Mrs. Tapley. I must see y
lodgings in the meanwhile, Tom."

Tom was quite delighted. So was Ruth. She would go w


'Thank you, my love," said Mr. Cluizzlewit. "But I am

id I must take Tom a little out of the way, on business.

pose you go on first, my dear 1 ''

'retty little Ruth was equally delighted to do that.

'But not alone," said Martin, "not alone. Mr. Westloek, I

: say, will escort you."

Vhy, of course he would : what else had Mr. Westlock in his

1 1 How dull these old men are I

'You are sure you have no engagement?"' he persisted.

Engagement ! As if he could have any engagement !

>o they went off arm in arm. AVheii Tom and I\Ir. Chuzzlewit

fc otf arm in arm a few minutes after them, the latter was still

ing : and really, for a gentleman of his habits, in rather a

ying manner.



Brilliantly the Temple Fountain sparkled in the sun, and
hingly its liquid music played, and merrily the idle drops of
;r danced and danced, and peeping out in sport among the
5, plunged lightly down to hide themselves, as little Ruth and
companion came tow^ards it.

^nd why they came towards the Fountain at all is a mystery ;
;hey had no business there. It was not in their way. It wa.s
B out of their way. Tiiey had no more to do with the Fountain,
5 you, than they had with — with Love, or any out of the way
'i of that sort.

t was all very well for Tom and his sister to make a])point-
ts by the Fountain, but that was quite another afliiir. Because,
)urse, wlien she had to wait a minute or two, it would have
I very awkward for her to have had to wait in any but a toler-
quiet spot ; and that was as quiet a spot, eveiything considered,
ley could choose. But when she had Jolm Westlock to take
of her, and was going home with her arm in his (home being
difierent direction altogether), their coming anywhere near that
atain, was quite extraordinary,
lowever, there they found themselves. And another e.vtra-


ordinary part of the matter was, that they seemed to have (|
there, by a silent understanding. Yet when they got there, ■
were a little confused by being there, which was the strangest
of all ; because there is nothing naturally confusing in a Foun-,
We all know that. ;

What a good old place it was ! John said. With quitej
earnest affection for it. j

" A pleasant place, indeed," said little Ruth. " So shady !i

Oh wicked little Rutli ! '

They came to a stop when John began to praise it. The
was exquisite ; and stopping at all, it was quite natural — not
could be more so — that they should glance down Garden Co
because Garden Court ends in the Garden, and the Garden eni
the River, and that glimpse is very bright and fresh and shiniu
a summer's day. Then, oh little Ruth, why not look boldly a
Why fit that tiny, precious, blessed little foot into the era
corner of an insensible old flagstone in the pavement ; and 1
very anxious to adjust it to a nicety !

If the Fiery-faced matron in the crunched bonnet could
seen them as they walked away, how many years' purchase, ii
Fiery Face have been disposed to take for her situation in Furui
Inn as laundress to Mr. Westlock !

They went away, but not through London's streets ! Thri
some enchanted city, where the pavements were of air ; whci
the rough sounds of a stirring town were softened into gentle nn >
where every thing was happy ; where there was no distance,
no time. There were two good-tempered burly draymen le
down big butts of beer into a cellar, somewhere ; and when ,
helped her — almost lifted her — the lightest, easiest, neatest 1 1
you ever saw — across the rope, they said he owed them a good i
for giving him the chance. Celestial draymen !

Green pastures in the summer tide, deep-littered straw-yan
the winter, no stint of corn and clover, ever, to that noble 1 ■
who tvould dance on the pavement with a gig behind him, and 1
frightened her, and made her clasp his arm with both hands (i(
hands : meeting one upon the other, so endearingly !), and ca|(
her to implore him to take refuge in the pastry-cook's ; and {'3
wards to peep out at the door so shrinkingly ; and then: loc(i:
at him with those eyes : to ask him was he sure — now was he;ii
— they might go safely on ! Oh for a string of rampant hojts
For a lion, for a bear, for a mad bull, for anything to bring the it
hands together on his arm, again ! j

Tliey talked, of course. They talked of Tom, and all ',3!
changes, and the attachment Mr. Chuzzlewit had conceived for !r


the bright prospects he had in such a friend, and a great deal
! to tlie same purjiose. The more they talked, the more afraid
fluttering little Kuth became of any pause ; and sooner tliaii
a pause she would say the same things over again ; and if she
I't courage or presence of mind enough for that (to say the
1 she very seldom had), she was ten thousand times more
jiing and irresistible than she had been before.
Martin will be married very soon now, I suppose," said

he supposed he would. Never did a bewitching little woman
ose anything in such a faint voice as Kuth supposed that.
<ut feeling that another of those alarming pauses was
aaching, she remarked that he would have a beautiful wife.
I't Mr.^'Westlock think sol
Ye — yes," said John ; " oh, yes."

he feared he was rather hard to please, he spoke so coldly.
Kather say already pleased," said John. " I have scarcely
her. I had no care to see her. I had no eyes for hei; this

'h, good gracious 1

t was well they had reached their destination. She never
I have gone any further. It would have been impossible to
in such a tremble.

om had not come in. They entered the triangular parlour
;her, and alone. Fiery Face, Fiery Face, how inany years'
lase 7101': !

lie sat down on the little sofa, and untied her bonnet-strings,
at down by her side, and very near her : very, very near her.
rapid, swelling, bursting little heart, you knew that it would
to this, and hoped it would. Why beat so wildly, heart !
Dear Ruth ! Sweet Ruth ! If I had loved you less, I could
told you that I loved you, long ago. I have loved you from
irst. There never was a creature in the world more truly loved
you, dear Ruth, by me I "

he clasped her little hands before her face. The gushing tears
•y, and pride, and hope, and innocent affection, would not be
ained. Fresh from her full young heart they came to answer

My dear love : If tliis is : I almost dare to hoi)e it i.s, now :
)aiuful or distressing to you, you make me happier than I can
or you imagine. Darling Ruth ! My own good, gentle, win-
Ruth I I hope I know the value of your heart, I hope I know
ivorth of your angel nature. Let me try and show you that I
and you will make me happier, Ruth "


"Not happier," she sobbed, "thau you make me. No one ca
be happier, John, than you make me I ''

Fiery Face, provide yourself! The usual wages, or the usua
warning. It's all over. Fiery Face. We needn't trouble you an

The little hands could meet each other now, without a rampan
horse to urge them. There was no occasion for lions, bears, c
mad bulls. It could all be done, and infinitely better, without thei'
assistance. No burly drayman, or big butts of beer, were wante!
for apologies. No apology at all was wanted. The soft, light touc
fell coyly, but quite naturally, upon the lover's shoulder ; the del
cate waist, the drooping head, the blushing cheek, the beautifi
eyes, the exquisite little mouth itself, were all as natural as possibl'
If all the horses in Araby had run away at once, they couldn't ha\
improved upon it.

They soon began to talk of Tom again.

" I hope he will be glad to hear of it ! " said John, with sparl
ling eyes. _ ■

Ruth drew the little hands a little tighter when he said it, anj
looked up seriously into his face. !

"I am never to leave him, am I, dear? I could never lea^
Tom. I am sure you know that."

" Do you think I would ask you 1" he returned, with a — ^wel
Never mind with what.

"I am sure you never would," she answered, the bright tea
standing in her eyes.

" And I will swear it, Ruth, my darling, if you jjlease. Lea^
Tom ! That would be a strange beginning. Leave Tom, deai
If Tom and we be not inseparable, and Tom (God bless him) ha^
not all honour and all love in our home, my little wife, may th:
home never be ! And that's a strong oath, Ruth."

Shall it be recorded how she thanked him 1 Yes, it shall. 1
all simi)licity and innocence" and purity of heart, yet with a timi'
graceful, half-determined hesitation, she set a little rosy seal upc
the vow, whose colour was reflected in her face, and flashed up
the braiding of her dark brown hair.

"Tom will be so happy, and so proud, and glad," she sar
clasping her little hands. " But so surprised 1 I am sure he h
never thought of such a thing."

Of course John asked her immediately — because you know tli'
were in that foolish state when great allowances must be made
when she had begun to think of such a thing, and this made a litt
diversion in their talk; a charming diversion to them, but not
interesting to us ; at the end of which, they came back to Tom agai


\.h, dear Tom ! " said Ruth. " I suppose I ought to tell you
thing now. I should have no secrets from you. Should I,
love ? "

is of no use saying how that preposterous John answered her,
se he answered in a manner which is untranslatable on paper,
h highly satisfactory in itself. But what he conveyed was,
) no, sweet Ruth ; or sometliing to that effect,
len she told Tom's great secret ; not exactly saying how she
)und it out, but leaving him to understand it if he liked ; and
was sadly grieved to hear it, and was full of sympathy and
7. But they would try, he said, only the more, on this account,
ke him happy, and to beguile him with his favourite pursuits.
;hen, in all the confidence of such a time, he told her how he
capital opportunity of establishing himself in his old profession
country ; and how he had been thinking, in the event of
lappiness coming upon him which had actually come — there
lother slight diversion here — how he had been thinking that
lid afford occupation to Tom, and enable tlieni to live together
: easiest manner, without any sense of dependence on Tom's
and to be as happy as the day was long : and Ruth receiving
dth joy, they went on catering for Tom to that extent that
lad already purchased him a select library and built him an
, on which he was performing with the greatest satisfaction :
they heard him knocking at the door.

lOugh she longed to tell him what had happened, poor little
was greatly agitated by his arrival ■ the more so because she
that Mr. Chuzzlewit was with him. So she said, all in a

SVhat shall I do, dear John ! I can't bear that he should
t from any one but me, and I could not tell him, unless we

Do, my love," said John, " wliatever is natural to you on the
se of the moment, and I am sure it will lie right."
i had hardly time to say thus much, and Ruth had hardly time
List to get a little farther off — upon the sofa, when Tom and
Jhuzzlewit came in. Mr. Chuzzlewit came first, and Tom wan
seconds behind him.

)w Ruth liad hastily resolved tiiat she would beckon Tom up
after a short time, and would tell him in his little bedroom.
pvhen .she saw his dear old face come in, her heart was so
ed that she ran into his arms, and laid her head down on his
;, and sobbed out, "Bless me, Tom ! My dearest brother!"
•m looked up, in surprise, and saw John Westlock close beside
holding out his hand.


" John ! " cried Tom. " John ! "

"Dear Tom," said his friend, "give me your hand. We.
brothers, Tom." ;

Tom wrung it with all his force, embraced his sister ferveni:
and put her in John Westlock's arms.

" Don't speak to me, John. Heaven is very good to us. I —
Tom could find no further utterance, but left the room ; and Rij
went after him. ]

And when they came back, which they did by-and-by, she loci'
more beautiful, and Tom more good and true (if that were possil
than ever. And though Tom could not speak upon the subj
even now : being yet too newly glad : he put both his haud>
both of John's with emphasis sufficient for the best siDcech e

"I am glad you chose to-day," said ]\Ir. Chuzzlewit to Jol
Avith the same knowing smile as when they had left him.
thought you would. I hope Tom and I lingered behind a disn
time. It's so long since I had any practical knowledge of tb
subjects, that I have been anxious, I assure you."

"Your knowledge is still pretty accurate. Sir," returned J(
laughing, "if it led you to foresee what would happen to-day.''

" Why, I am not sure, Mr. Westlock," said tlie old man, " t
any great spirit of prophecy was needed, after seeing you and E
together. Come hither, pretty one. See what Tom and I ]
chased this morning, while you were dealing in exchange with t
young merchant there."

The old man's way of seating her beside him, and humour :
his voice as if she were a child, was whimsical enough, but ful i
tenderness, and not ill adapted, somehow, to charming li^

"See here!" he said, taking a case from his pocket, "wlini
beautiful necklace. Ah ! How it glitters ! Earrings, too, ; I
bracelets, and a zone for your waist. This set is yours, and II
has another like it. Tom couldn't understand why I wanted t
What a short-sighted Tom ! Earrings and bracelets, and a z
for your waist ! Ah ! beautiful ! Let us see how brave they h-
Ask Mr. Westlock to clasp them on."

It was the prettiest thing to see her holding out her rou •
white arm ; and John (oh deep, deep John !) pretending that
bracelet was very hard to fasten ; it was the prettiest thing to
her girding on the precious little zone, and yet obliged to li
assistance because her fingers were in such terrible perplexity J
was the prettiest thing to see her so confused and bashful, with ■(
smiles and blushes playing brightly on her face, like the spark '?


ipon the jewels ; it was the prettiest thing that yoii would
1 the common experiences of a twelvemontli, rely upon it.
.'he set of jewels and the wearer are so well matched," said
d man, "that I don't know which becomes the other most.
*''estlock couhl tell me, I have no doubt ; but FU not ask him,

is bribed. Health to wear them, my dear, and happiness to

you forgetful of them, except as a remembrance from a loving


: patted her upon the cheek, and said to Tom :

must play the part of father here, Tom, also. There are
any fathers who marry two such daughters on the same day ;
e will overlook the improbability for the gratification of an
m's fancy. I may claim that much indulgence," he added,
'. have gratified few fancies enough in my life tending to the
less of others, Heaven knows ! "

ese various proceedings had occupied so much time, and they
ito such a pleasant conversation now, that it was within a
T of an hour of the time appointed for dinner before any of
thought about it. A hackney-coach soon carried them to
jmple, however; and there they found everything prepared
sir reception.

■, Tapley having been furnished with unlimited credentials
'e to the ordering of dinner, had so exerted himself for the
r of the party, that a prodigious banquet was served, under
int direction of himself and his Intended. Mr. Chuzzlewit

have had them of the party, and Martin urgently seconded
sh, but Mark could by no means be persuaded to sit down at
i observing, that in having the honour of attending to their
rts, he felt himself, indeed, the landlord of the Jolly Tapley,
)uld almost delude himself into the belief that the entertain-
was actually being held under the Jolly Tapley's roof
r the better encouragement of himself in this fable, Mr.
Y took it upon him to issue divers general directions to the
•s from the Hotel, relative to the disposal of the dishes and
th; and as they were usually in direct opposition to all
lent, and were always issued in his most facetious form of
ht and speech, they occasioned great merriment among

attendants; in which Mr. Tapley participated, with an
e enjoyment of his OAvn humour. He likewise entertained

with short anecdotes of his travels, ajipropriate to the
on ; and now and then with some comic passage or otlier
en himself and Mrs. Lupin ; so that explosive laughs were
mtly issuing from the sideboard, and from the backs of
; and the head-waiter (who wore powder, and knee-smalls,


and was usually a grave man) got to be a bright scarlet iu i
face, and broke his waistcoat-strings, audibly.

Young Martin sat at the head of the table, and Tom Pine i
the foot ; and if there were a genial face at that board, it
Tom's. They all took their tone from Tom. Everybody di
to him, everybody looked to him, everybody thought of 1
everybody loved him. If he so much as laid down his knife •
fork, somebody put out a hand to shake with him. Martin i
Mary had taken him aside before dinner, and sjDoken to hin
heartily of the time to come : laying such fervent stress upon
trust they had in his completion of their felicity, by his see
and closest friendship : that Tom was positively moved to te
He couldn't bear it. His heart was full, he said, of happiii
And so it was. Tom spoke the honest truth. It was. Larg'
thy heart was, dear Tom Pinch, it had no room that day,
anything but happiness and sympathy !

And there was Fips, old Fips of Austin Friars, present at
dinner, and turning out to be the jolliest old dog that ever
violence to his convivial sentiments by shutting himself up i
dark office. "Where is he !" said Fips, when he came in. .•
then he pounced on Tom, and told him that he wanted to reli
himself of all his old constraint : and in the first {Dlace shook I
by one hand, and in the second place shook him by the other, ;
in the third place nudged him in the waistcoat, and in the foii
place, said, " How are you ! " and in a great many other pi:
did a great many other things to show his friendliness and ,
And he sang songs, did Fips ; and made speeches, did Fips ;
knocked off" his wine pretty handsomely, did Fips ; and, in &h
he was a perfect Trump, was Fips, in all respects.

But ah ! the happiness of strolling home at night — obstiii
little Ptuth, she wouldn't hear of riding ! — as they had done
that dear night, from Furnival's Inn ! The happiness of be
able to talk about it, and to confide their happiness to each otb
The happiness of stating all their little plans to Tom, and see
his bright face grow brighter as they spoke !

When they reached home, Tom left John and his sister in
parlour, and went up stairs into his own room, under pretence
seeking a book. And Tom actually winked to himself, when
got up stairs : he thought it such a deep thing to have done.

"They like to be by themselves, of course," said Tom; "aii'
came away so naturally, that I have no doubt they are expect
me, every moment, to return. That's capital ! "

But he had not sat reading very long, when he heard a tap
his door.


May I come in 1 " said John.
3h, surely ! " Tom replied.

Dou't leave us, Tom. Don't sit hy yourself. Wo want to
you merry ; not melancholy."
My dear friend," said Tom, Avith a cheerful smile.
Brother, Tom. Brother."

\Iy dear brother," said Tom ; " there is no danger of my
melancholy. How can I be melancholy, when I know that
nd Piutli are so blest in each other ! I tl)ink I can find my
e to-night, John," he added, after a moment's pause. "But
er can tell you what unutterable joy this day has given me.
luld be unjust to you to speak of your having chosen a
uless girl, for I feel that you know her worth ; I am sure
:now her worth. Nor will it diminish in your estimation,
; which money might."

tVhich money would, Tom," he returned. " Her worth !
•ho could see her here, and not love her ! Who could know
'om, and not honour her ! Who could ever stand possessed
;h a heart as hers, and grow indiff'erent to the treasure !
could feel the rapture that I feel to-day, and love as I love
'om, without knowing something of her worth ! Your joy
erable ! No, no, Tom. It's mine, it's mine."
's'o, no, John," said Tom. "It's mine, it's mine."
leir friendly contention was brought to a close by little Ruth
f, who came peeping in at the door. And oh, the look, the
us, half-proud, half-timid look she gave Tom, when her lover
her to his side ! As much as to say, " Yes indeed, Tom, he
lo it. But then he has a right, you know. Because I am
)f him, Tom."

to Tom, he was perfectly delighted. He could have sat and
1 at tliem, just as they were, for hours.

. have told Tom, love, as we agreed, that we are not going to
t him to run away, and that we cannot possibly allow it.
3SS of one person, and such a person as Tom, too, out of our
household of three, is not to be endured ; and so I have told

Whether he is considerate, or whether he is only selfisli, I
know. But he needn't be considerate, for he is not the least
int upon us. Is he, dearest Ruth ? "

ell : He really did not seem to be any particular restraint
them. Judging from what ensued.

as it folly in Tom to be so pleased by their remembrance of
it such a time? Was their graceful love a folly, were their
caresses follies, was their lengthened parting folly ? Was it
in him to watch her window from the street, and rate its


scantiest gleam of light above all diamoiuls ; folly in her to bren
his name upon her knees, and pour out her pure heart before t
Being, from whom such hearts and such affections come 1

If these be follies, then Fiery Face go on and prosper ! If t
be not, then Fiery Face avaunt ! But set the crunched bonne
some other single gentleman, in any case, for one is lost to t
for ever ! !



ToDGERs's was in high feather, and mighty preparations ft
late breakfast were astir in its commercial bowers. The blis
morning had arrived when Miss Pecksniff was to be united, in \
matrimony, to Augustus.

Miss Pecksniff was in a frame of mind, equally beconiiiig
herself and the occasion. She was full of clemency and couciliat
She had laid in several chaldrons of live coals, and was prepn
to heap them on the heads of her enemies. She bore no spitt
malice in her heart. Not the least.

Quarrels, Miss Pecksniff said, were dreadful things in famili

Online LibraryCharles DickensLife and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit → online text (page 78 of 80)