Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
Part 13 out of 20
He bore his good fortune with the utmost moderation. Instead of
being triumphant, he shed more tears than he had ever been known to
shed before; and, sobbing, said:
'Oh! what a day this has been! I can't go back to the office this
afternoon. Oh, what a trying day this has been! Good Gracious!'
FURTHER PROCEEDINGS IN EDEN, AND A PROCEEDING OUT OF IT. MARTIN
MAKES A DISCOVERY OF SOME IMPORTANCE
From Mr Moddle to Eden is an easy and natural transition. Mr
Moddle, living in the atmosphere of Miss Pecksniff's love, dwelt (if
he had but known it) in a terrestrial Paradise. The thriving city
of Eden was also a terrestrial Paradise, upon the showing of its
proprietors. The beautiful Miss Pecksniff might have been
poetically described as a something too good for man in his fallen
and degraded state. That was exactly the character of the thriving
city of Eden, as poetically heightened by Zephaniah Scadder, General
Choke, and other worthies; part and parcel of the talons of that
great American Eagle, which is always airing itself sky-high in
purest aether, and never, no never, never, tumbles down with
draggled wings into the mud.
When Mark Tapley, leaving Martin in the architectural and surveying
offices, had effectually strengthened and encouraged his own spirits
by the contemplation of their joint misfortunes, he proceeded, with
new cheerfulness, in search of help; congratulating himself, as he
went along, on the enviable position to which he had at last
'I used to think, sometimes,' said Mr Tapley, 'as a desolate island
would suit me, but I should only have had myself to provide for
there, and being naturally a easy man to manage, there wouldn't have
been much credit in THAT. Now here I've got my partner to take care
on, and he's something like the sort of man for the purpose. I want
a man as is always a-sliding off his legs when he ought to be on
'em. I want a man as is so low down in the school of life that he's
always a-making figures of one in his copy-book, and can't get no
further. I want a man as is his own great coat and cloak, and is
always a-wrapping himself up in himself. And I have got him too,'
said Mr Tapley, after a moment's silence. 'What a happiness!'
He paused to look round, uncertain to which of the log-houses he
'I don't know which to take,' he observed; 'that's the truth.
They're equally prepossessing outside, and equally commodious, no
doubt, within; being fitted up with every convenience that a
Alligator, in a state of natur', could possibly require. Let me
see! The citizen as turned out last night, lives under water, in the
right hand dog-kennel at the corner. I don't want to trouble him
if I can help it, poor man, for he is a melancholy object; a reg'lar
Settler in every respect. There's house with a winder, but I am
afraid of their being proud. I don't know whether a door ain't too
aristocratic; but here goes for the first one!'
He went up to the nearest cabin, and knocked with his hand. Being
desired to enter, he complied.
'Neighbour,' said Mark; 'for I AM a neighbour, though you don't know
me; I've come a-begging. Hallo! hal--lo! Am I a-bed, and dreaming!'
He made this exclamation on hearing his own name pronounced, and
finding himself clasped about the skirts by two little boys, whose
faces he had often washed, and whose suppers he had often cooked, on
board of that noble and fast-sailing line-of-packet ship, the Screw.
'My eyes is wrong!' said Mark. 'I don't believe 'em. That ain't my
fellow-passenger younder, a-nursing her little girl, who, I am sorry
to see, is so delicate; and that ain't her husband as come to New
York to fetch her. Nor these,' he added, looking down upon the
boys, 'ain't them two young shavers as was so familiar to me; though
they are uncommon like 'em. That I must confess.'
The woman shed tears, in very joy to see him; the man shook both his
hands and would not let them go; the two boys hugged his legs; the
sick child in the mother's arms stretched out her burning little
fingers, and muttered, in her hoarse, dry throat, his well-
It was the same family, sure enough. Altered by the salubrious air
of Eden. But the same.
'This is a new sort of a morning call,' said Mark, drawing a long
breath. 'It strikes one all of a heap. Wait a little bit! I'm a-
coming round fast. That'll do! These gentlemen ain't my friends.
Are they on the visiting list of the house?'
The inquiry referred to certain gaunt pigs, who had walked in after
him, and were much interested in the heels of the family. As they
did not belong to the mansion, they were expelled by the two little
'I ain't superstitious about toads,' said Mark, looking round the
room, 'but if you could prevail upon the two or three I see in
company, to step out at the same time, my young friends, I think
they'd find the open air refreshing. Not that I at all object to
'em. A very handsome animal is a toad,' said Mr Tapley, sitting
down upon a stool; 'very spotted; very like a partickler style of
old gentleman about the throat; very bright-eyed, very cool, and
very slippy. But one sees 'em to the best advantage out of doors
While pretending, with such talk as this, to be perfectly at his
ease, and to be the most indifferent and careless of men, Mark
Tapley had an eye on all around him. The wan and meagre aspect of
the family, the changed looks of the poor mother, the fevered child
she held in her lap, the air of great despondency and little hope on
everything, were plain to him, and made a deep impression on his
mind. He saw it all as clearly and as quickly, as with his bodily
eyes he saw the rough shelves supported by pegs driven between the
logs, of which the house was made; the flour-cask in the corner,
serving also for a table; the blankets, spades, and other articles
against the walls; the damp that blotched the ground; or the crop of
vegetable rottenness in every crevice of the hut.
'How is it that you have come here?' asked the man, when their first
expressions of surprise were over.
'Why, we come by the steamer last night,' replied Mark. 'Our
intention is to make our fortuns with punctuality and dispatch; and
to retire upon our property as soon as ever it's realised. But how
are you all? You're looking noble!'
'We are but sickly now,' said the poor woman, bending over her
child. 'But we shall do better when we are seasoned to the place.'
'There are some here,' thought Mark 'whose seasoning will last for
But he said cheerfully, 'Do better! To be sure you will. We shall
all do better. What we've got to do is, to keep up our spirits, and
be neighbourly. We shall come all right in the end, never fear.
That reminds me, by the bye, that my partner's all wrong just at
present; and that I looked in to beg for him. I wish you'd come and
give me your opinion of him, master.'
That must have been a very unreasonable request on the part of Mark
Tapley, with which, in their gratitude for his kind offices on board
the ship, they would not have complied instantly. The man rose to
accompany him without a moment's delay. Before they went, Mark took
the sick child in his arms, and tried to comfort the mother; but the
hand of death was on it then, he saw.
They found Martin in the house, lying wrapped up in his blanket on
the ground. He was, to all appearance, very ill indeed, and shook
and shivered horribly; not as people do from cold, but in a
frightful kind of spasm or convulsion, that racked his whole body.
Mark's friend pronounced his disease an aggravated kind of fever,
accompanied with ague; which was very common in those parts, and
which he predicted would be worse to-morrow, and for many more
to-morrows. He had had it himself off and on, he said, for a
couple of years or so; but he was thankful that, while so many
he had known had died about him, he had escaped with life.
'And with not too much of that,' thought Mark, surveying his
emaciated form. 'Eden for ever!'
They had some medicine in their chest; and this man of sad
experience showed Mark how and when to administer it, and how he
could best alleviate the sufferings of Martin. His attentions did
not stop there; for he was backwards and forwards constantly, and
rendered Mark good service in all his brisk attempts to make their
situation more endurable. Hope or comfort for the future he could
not bestow. The season was a sickly one; the settlement a grave.
His child died that night; and Mark, keeping the secret from Martin,
helped to bury it, beneath a tree, next day.
With all his various duties of attendance upon Martin (who became
the more exacting in his claims, the worse he grew), Mark worked out
of doors, early and late; and with the assistance of his friend and
others, laboured to do something with their land. Not that he had
the least strength of heart or hope, or steady purpose in so doing,
beyond the habitual cheerfulness of his disposition, and his amazing
power of self-sustainment; for within himself, he looked on their
condition as beyond all hope, and, in his own words, 'came out
strong' in consequence.
'As to coming out as strong as I could wish, sir,' he confided to
Martin in a leisure moment; that is to say, one evening, while he
was washing the linen of the establishment, after a hard day's work,
'that I give up. It's a piece of good fortune as never is to happen
to me, I see!'
'Would you wish for circumstances stronger than these?' Martin
retorted with a groan, from underneath his blanket.
'Why, only see how easy they might have been stronger, sir,' said
Mark, 'if it wasn't for the envy of that uncommon fortun of mine,
which is always after me, and tripping me up. The night we landed
here, I thought things did look pretty jolly. I won't deny it. I
thought they did look pretty jolly.'
'How do they look now?' groaned Martin.
'Ah!' said Mark, 'Ah, to be sure. That's the question. How do they
look now? On the very first morning of my going out, what do I do?
Stumble on a family I know, who are constantly assisting of us in
all sorts of ways, from that time to this! That won't do, you know;
that ain't what I'd a right to expect. If I had stumbled on a
serpent and got bit; or stumbled on a first-rate patriot, and got
bowie-knifed, or stumbled on a lot of Sympathisers with inverted
shirt-collars, and got made a lion of; I might have distinguished
myself, and earned some credit. As it is, the great object of my
voyage is knocked on the head. So it would be, wherever I went.
How do you feel to-night, sir?'
'Worse than ever,' said poor Martin.
'That's something,' returned Mark, 'but not enough. Nothing but
being very bad myself, and jolly to the last, will ever do me
'In Heaven's name, don't talk of that,' said Martin with a thrill
of terror. 'What should I do, Mark, if you were taken ill!'
Mr Tapley's spirits appeared to be stimulated by this remark,
although it was not a very flattering one. He proceeded with his
washing in a brighter mood; and observed 'that his glass was
'There's one good thing in this place, sir,' said Mr Tapley,
scrubbing away at the linen, 'as disposes me to be jolly; and that
is that it's a reg'lar little United States in itself. There's two
or three American settlers left; and they coolly comes over one,
even here, sir, as if it was the wholesomest and loveliest spot in
the world. But they're like the cock that went and hid himself to
save his life, and was found out by the noise he made. They can't
help crowing. They was born to do it, and do it they must, whatever
comes of it.'
Glancing from his work out at the door as he said these words,
Mark's eyes encountered a lean person in a blue frock and a straw
hat, with a short black pipe in his mouth, and a great hickory stick
studded all over with knots, in his hand; who smoking and chewing as
he came along, and spitting frequently, recorded his progress by a
train of decomposed tobacco on the ground.
'Here's one on 'em,' cried Mark, 'Hannibal Chollop.'
'Don't let him in,' said Martin, feebly.
'He won't want any letting in,' replied Mark. 'He'll come in, sir.'
Which turned out to be quite true, for he did. His face was almost
as hard and knobby as his stick; and so were his hands. His head
was like an old black hearth-broom. He sat down on the chest with
his hat on; and crossing his legs and looking up at Mark, said,
without removing his pipe:
'Well, Mr Co.! and how do you git along, sir?'
It may be necessary to observe that Mr Tapley had gravely introduced
himself to all strangers, by that name.
'Pretty well, sir; pretty well,' said Mark.
'If this ain't Mr Chuzzlewit, ain't it!' exclaimed the visitor 'How
do YOU git along, sir?'
Martin shook his head, and drew the blanket over it involuntarily;
for he felt that Hannibal was going to spit; and his eye, as the
song says, was upon him.
'You need not regard me, sir,' observed Mr Chollop, complacently.
'I am fever-proof, and likewise agur.'
'Mine was a more selfish motive,' said Martin, looking out again.
'I was afraid you were going to--'
'I can calc'late my distance, sir,' returned Mr Chollop, 'to an
With a proof of which happy faculty he immediately favoured him.
'I re-quire, sir,' said Hannibal, 'two foot clear in a circ'lar di-
rection, and can engage my-self toe keep within it. I HAVE gone ten
foot, in a circ'lar di-rection, but that was for a wager.'
'I hope you won it, sir,' said Mark.
'Well, sir, I realised the stakes,' said Chollop. 'Yes, sir.'
He was silent for a time, during which he was actively engaged in
the formation of a magic circle round the chest on which he sat.
When it was completed, he began to talk again.
'How do you like our country, sir?' he inquired, looking at Martin.
'Not at all,' was the invalid's reply.
Chollop continued to smoke without the least appearance of emotion,
until he felt disposed to speak again. That time at length
arriving, he took his pipe from his mouth, and said:
'I am not surprised to hear you say so. It re-quires An elevation,
and A preparation of the intellect. The mind of man must be
prepared for Freedom, Mr Co.'
He addressed himself to Mark; because he saw that Martin, who wished
him to go, being already half-mad with feverish irritation, which
the droning voice of this new horror rendered almost insupportable,
had closed his eyes, and turned on his uneasy bed.
'A little bodily preparation wouldn't be amiss, either, would it,
sir,' said Mark, 'in the case of a blessed old swamp like this?'
'Do you con-sider this a swamp, sir?' inquired Chollop gravely.
'Why yes, sir,' returned Mark. 'I haven't a doubt about it myself.'
'The sentiment is quite Europian,' said the major, 'and does not
surprise me; what would your English millions say to such a swamp in
'They'd say it was an uncommon nasty one, I should think, said Mark;
'and that they would rather be inoculated for fever in some other
'Europian!' remarked Chollop, with sardonic pity. 'Quite Europian!'
And there he sat. Silent and cool, as if the house were his;
smoking away like a factory chimney.
Mr Chollop was, of course, one of the most remarkable men in the
country; but he really was a notorious person besides. He was
usually described by his friends, in the South and West, as 'a
splendid sample of our na-tive raw material, sir,' and was much
esteemed for his devotion to rational Liberty; for the better
propagation whereof he usually carried a brace of revolving pistols
in his coat pocket, with seven barrels a-piece. He also carried,
amongst other trinkets, a sword-stick, which he called his
'Tickler.' and a great knife, which (for he was a man of a pleasant
turn of humour) he called 'Ripper,' in allusion to its usefulness as
a means of ventilating the stomach of any adversary in a close
contest. He had used these weapons with distinguished effect in
several instances, all duly chronicled in the newspapers; and was
greatly beloved for the gallant manner in which he had 'jobbed out'
the eye of one gentleman, as he was in the act of knocking at his
Mr Chollop was a man of a roving disposition; and, in any less
advanced community, might have been mistaken for a violent vagabond.
But his fine qualities being perfectly understood and appreciated in
those regions where his lot was cast, and where he had many kindred
spirits to consort with, he may be regarded as having been born
under a fortunate star, which is not always the case with a man so
much before the age in which he lives. Preferring, with a view to
the gratification of his tickling and ripping fancies, to dwell upon
the outskirts of society, and in the more remote towns and cities,
he was in the habit of emigrating from place to place, and
establishing in each some business--usually a newspaper--which he
presently sold; for the most part closing the bargain by challenging,
stabbing, pistolling, or gouging the new editor, before he had quite
taken possession of the property.
He had come to Eden on a speculation of this kind, but had abandoned
it, and was about to leave. He always introduced himself to
strangers as a worshipper of Freedom; was the consistent advocate of
Lynch law, and slavery; and invariably recommended, both in print
and speech, the 'tarring and feathering' of any unpopular person who
differed from himself. He called this 'planting the standard of
civilization in the wilder gardens of My country.'
There is little doubt that Chollop would have planted this standard
in Eden at Mark's expense, in return for his plainness of speech
(for the genuine Freedom is dumb, save when she vaunts herself), but
for the utter desolation and decay prevailing in the settlement, and
his own approaching departure from it. As it was, he contented
himself with showing Mark one of the revolving-pistols, and asking
him what he thought of that weapon.
'It ain't long since I shot a man down with that, sir, in the State
of IllinOY,' observed Chollop.
'Did you, indeed!' said Mark, without the smallest agitation. 'Very
free of you. And very independent!'
'I shot him down, sir,' pursued Chollop, 'for asserting in the
Spartan Portico, a tri-weekly journal, that the ancient Athenians
went a-head of the present Locofoco Ticket.'
'And what's that?' asked Mark.
'Europian not to know,' said Chollop, smoking placidly. 'Europian
After a short devotion to the interests of the magic circle, he
resumed the conversation by observing:
'You won't half feel yourself at home in Eden, now?'
'No,' said Mark, 'I don't.'
'You miss the imposts of your country. You miss the house dues?'
'And the houses--rather,' said Mark.
'No window dues here, sir,' observed Chollop.
'And no windows to put 'em on,' said Mark.
'No stakes, no dungeons, no blocks, no racks, no scaffolds, no
thumbscrews, no pikes, no pillories,' said Chollop.
'Nothing but rewolwers and bowie-knives,' returned Mark. 'And what
are they? Not worth mentioning!'
The man who had met them on the night of their arrival came crawling
up at this juncture, and looked in at the door.
'Well, sir,' said Chollop. 'How do YOU git along?'
He had considerable difficulty in getting along at all, and said as
much in reply.
'Mr Co. And me, sir,' observed Chollop, 'are disputating a piece.
He ought to be slicked up pretty smart to disputate between the Old
World and the New, I do expect?'
'Well!' returned the miserable shadow. 'So he had.'
'I was merely observing, sir,' said Mark, addressing this new
visitor, 'that I looked upon the city in which we have the honour to
live, as being swampy. What's your sentiments?'
'I opinionate it's moist perhaps, at certain times,' returned the
'But not as moist as England, sir?' cried Chollop, with a fierce
expression in his face.
'Oh! Not as moist as England; let alone its Institutions,' said the
'I should hope there ain't a swamp in all Americay, as don't whip
THAT small island into mush and molasses,' observed Chollop,
decisively. 'You bought slick, straight, and right away, of
Scadder, sir?' to Mark.
He answered in the affirmative. Mr Chollop winked at the other
'Scadder is a smart man, sir? He is a rising man? He is a man as
will come up'ards, right side up, sir?' Mr Chollop winked again at
the other citizen.
'He should have his right side very high up, if I had my way,' said
Mark. 'As high up as the top of a good tall gallows, perhaps.'
Mr Chollop was so delighted at the smartness of his excellent
countryman having been too much for the Britisher, and at the
Britisher's resenting it, that he could contain himself no longer,
and broke forth in a shout of delight. But the strangest exposition
of this ruling passion was in the other--the pestilence-stricken,
broken, miserable shadow of a man--who derived so much entertainment
from the circumstance that he seemed to forget his own ruin in
thinking of it, and laughed outright when he said 'that Scadder was
a smart man, and had draw'd a lot of British capital that way, as
sure as sun-up.'
After a full enjoyment of this joke, Mr Hannibal Chollop sat smoking
and improving the circle, without making any attempts either to
converse or to take leave; apparently labouring under the not
uncommon delusion that for a free and enlightened citizen of the
United States to convert another man's house into a spittoon for two
or three hours together, was a delicate attention, full of interest
and politeness, of which nobody could ever tire. At last he rose.
'I am a-going easy,' he observed.
Mark entreated him to take particular care of himself.
'Afore I go,' he said sternly, 'I have got a leetle word to say to
you. You are darnation 'cute, you are.'
Mark thanked him for the compliment.
'But you are much too 'cute to last. I can't con-ceive of any
spotted Painter in the bush, as ever was so riddled through and
through as you will be, I bet.'
'What for?' asked Mark.
'We must be cracked up, sir,' retorted Chollop, in a tone of menace.
'You are not now in A despotic land. We are a model to the airth,
and must be jist cracked-up, I tell you.'
'What! I speak too free, do I?' cried Mark.
'I have draw'd upon A man, and fired upon A man for less,' said
Chollop, frowning. 'I have know'd strong men obleeged to make
themselves uncommon skase for less. I have know'd men Lynched for
less, and beaten into punkin'-sarse for less, by an enlightened
people. We are the intellect and virtue of the airth, the cream of
human natur', and the flower Of moral force. Our backs is easy ris.
We must be cracked-up, or they rises, and we snarls. We shows our
teeth, I tell you, fierce. You'd better crack us up, you had!'
After the delivery of this caution, Mr Chollop departed; with
Ripper, Tickler, and the revolvers, all ready for action on the
'Come out from under the blanket, sir,' said Mark, 'he's gone.
What's this!' he added softly; kneeling down to look into his
partner's face, and taking his hot hand. 'What's come of all that
chattering and swaggering? He's wandering in his mind to-night, and
don't know me!'
Martin indeed was dangerously ill; very near his death. He lay in
that state many days, during which time Mark's poor friends,
regardless of themselves, attended him. Mark, fatigued in mind and
body; working all the day and sitting up at night; worn with hard
living and the unaccustomed toil of his new life; surrounded by
dismal and discouraging circumstances of every kind; never
complained or yielded in the least degree. If ever he had thought
Martin selfish or inconsiderate, or had deemed him energetic only by
fits and starts, and then too passive for their desperate fortunes,
he now forgot it all. He remembered nothing but the better
qualities of his fellow-wanderer, and was devoted to him, heart and
Many weeks elapsed before Martin was strong enough to move about
with the help of a stick and Mark's arm; and even then his recovery,
for want of wholesome air and proper nourishment, was very slow. He
was yet in a feeble and weak condition, when the misfourtune he had
so much dreaded fell upon them. Mark was taken ill.
Mark fought against it; but the malady fought harder, and his
efforts were in vain.
'Floored for the present, sir,' he said one morning, sinking back
upon his bed; 'but jolly!'
Floored indeed, and by a heavy blow! As any one but Martin might
have known beforehand.
If Mark's friends had been kind to Martin (and they had been very),
they were twenty times kinder to Mark. And now it was Martin's turn
to work, and sit beside the bed and watch, and listen through the
long, long nights, to every sound in the gloomy wilderness; and hear
poor Mr Tapley, in his wandering fancy, playing at skittles in the
Dragon, making love-remonstrances to Mrs Lupin, getting his sea-legs
on board the Screw, travelling with old Tom Pinch on English roads,
and burning stumps of trees in Eden, all at once.
But whenever Martin gave him drink or medicine, or tended him in any
way, or came into the house returning from some drudgery without,
the patient Mr Tapley brightened up and cried: 'I'm jolly, sir; 'I'm
Now, when Martin began to think of this, and to look at Mark as he
lay there; never reproaching him by so much as an expression of
regret; never murmuring; always striving to be manful and staunch;
he began to think, how was it that this man who had had so few
advantages, was so much better than he who had had so many? And
attendance upon a sick bed, but especially the sick bed of one whom
we have been accustomed to see in full activity and vigour, being a
great breeder of reflection, he began to ask himself in what they
He was assisted in coming to a conclusion on this head by the
frequent presence of Mark's friend, their fellow-passenger across
the ocean, which suggested to him that in regard to having aided
her, for example, they had differed very much. Somehow he coupled
Tom Pinch with this train of reflection; and thinking that Tom would
be very likely to have struck up the same sort of acquaintance under
similar circumstances, began to think in what respects two people so
extremely different were like each other, and were unlike him. At
first sight there was nothing very distressing in these meditations,
but they did undoubtedly distress him for all that.
Martin's nature was a frank and generous one; but he had been bred
up in his grandfather's house; and it will usually be found that the
meaner domestic vices propagate themselves to be their own
antagonists. Selfishness does this especially; so do suspicion,
cunning, stealth, and covetous propensities. Martin had
unconsciously reasoned as a child, 'My guardian takes so much
thought of himself, that unless I do the like by MYself, I shall be
forgotten.' So he had grown selfish.
But he had never known it. If any one had taxed him with the vice,
he would have indignantly repelled the accusation, and conceived
himself unworthily aspersed. He never would have known it, but that
being newly risen from a bed of dangerous sickness, to watch by such
another couch, he felt how nearly Self had dropped into the grave,
and what a poor dependent, miserable thing it was.
It was natural for him to reflect--he had months to do it in--upon
his own escape, and Mark's extremity. This led him to consider
which of them could be the better spared, and why? Then the curtain
slowly rose a very little way; and Self, Self, Self, was shown
He asked himself, besides, when dreading Mark's decease (as all men
do and must, at such a time), whether he had done his duty by him,
and had deserved and made a good response to his fidelity and zeal.
No. Short as their companionship had been, he felt in many, many
instances, that there was blame against himself; and still inquiring
why, the curtain slowly rose a little more, and Self, Self, Self,
dilated on the scene.
It was long before he fixed the knowledge of himself so firmly in
his mind that he could thoroughly discern the truth; but in the
hideous solitude of that most hideous place, with Hope so far
removed, Ambition quenched, and Death beside him rattling at the
very door, reflection came, as in a plague-beleaguered town; and so
he felt and knew the failing of his life, and saw distinctly what an
ugly spot it was.
Eden was a hard school to learn so hard a lesson in; but there were
teachers in the swamp and thicket, and the pestilential air, who had
a searching method of their own.
He made a solemn resolution that when his strength returned he would
not dispute the point or resist the conviction, but would look upon
it as an established fact, that selfishness was in his breast, and
must be rooted out. He was so doubtful (and with justice) of his
own character, that he determined not to say one word of vain regret
or good resolve to Mark, but steadily to keep his purpose before his
own eyes solely; and there was not a jot of pride in this; nothing
but humility and steadfastness; the best armour he could wear. So
low had Eden brought him down. So high had Eden raised him up.
After a long and lingering illness (in certain forlorn stages of
which, when too far gone to speak, he had feebly written 'jolly!' on
a slate), Mark showed some symptoms of returning health. They came
and went, and flickered for a time; but he began to mend at last
decidedly; and after that continued to improve from day to day.
As soon as he was well enough to talk without fatigue, Martin
consulted him upon a project he had in his mind, and which a few
months back he would have carried into execution without troubling
anybody's head but his own.
'Ours is a desperate case,' said Martin. 'Plainly. The place is
deserted; its failure must have become known; and selling what we
have bought to any one, for anything, is hopeless, even if it were
honest. We left home on a mad enterprise, and have failed. The
only hope left us, the only one end for which we have now to try, is
to quit this settlement for ever, and get back to England. Anyhow!
by any means! only to get back there, Mark.'
'That's all, sir,' returned Mr Tapley, with a significant stress
upon the words; 'only that!'
'Now, upon this side of the water,' said Martin, 'we have but one
friend who can help us, and that is Mr Bevan.'
'I thought of him when you was ill,' said Mark.
'But for the time that would be lost, I would even write to my
grandfather,' Martin went on to say, 'and implore him for money to
free us from this trap into which we were so cruelly decoyed. Shall
I try Mr Bevan first?'
'He's a very pleasant sort of a gentleman,' said Mark. 'I think
'The few goods we brought here, and in which we spent our money,
would produce something if sold,' resumed Martin; 'and whatever they
realise shall be paid him instantly. But they can't be sold here.'
'There's nobody but corpses to buy 'em,' said Mr Tapley, shaking his
head with a rueful air, 'and pigs.'
'Shall I tell him so, and only ask him for money enough to enable us
by the cheapest means to reach New York, or any port from which we
may hope to get a passage home, by serving in any capacity?
Explaining to him at the same time how I am connected, and that I
will endeavour to repay him, even through my grandfather,
immediately on our arrival in England?'
'Why to be sure,' said Mark: 'he can only say no, and he may say
yes. If you don't mind trying him, sir--'
'Mind!' exclaimed Martin. 'I am to blame for coming here, and I
would do anything to get away. I grieve to think of the past. If I
had taken your opinion sooner, Mark, we never should have been here,
I am certain.'
Mr Tapley was very much surprised at this admission, but protested,
with great vehemence, that they would have been there all the same;
and that he had set his heart upon coming to Eden, from the first
word he had ever heard of it.
Martin then read him a letter to Mr Bevan, which he had already
prepared. It was frankly and ingenuously written, and described
their situation without the least concealment; plainly stated the
miseries they had undergone; and preferred their request in modest
but straightforward terms. Mark highly commended it; and they
determined to dispatch it by the next steamboat going the right way,
that might call to take in wood at Eden--where there was plenty of
wood to spare. Not knowing how to address Mr Bevan at his own place
of abode, Martin superscribed it to the care of the memorable Mr
Norris of New York, and wrote upon the cover an entreaty that it
might be forwarded without delay.
More than a week elapsed before a boat appeared; but at length they
were awakened very early one morning by the high-pressure snorting
of the 'Esau Slodge;' named after one of the most remarkable men in
the country, who had been very eminent somewhere. Hurrying down to
the landing-place, they got it safe on board; and waiting anxiously
to see the boat depart, stopped up the gangway; an instance of
neglect which caused the 'Capting' of the Esau Slodge to 'wish he
might be sifted fine as flour, and whittled small as chips; that if
they didn't come off that there fixing right smart too, he'd spill
'em in the drink;' whereby the Capting metaphorically said he'd
throw them in the river.
They were not likely to receive an answer for eight or ten weeks at
the earliest. In the meantime they devoted such strength as they
had to the attempted improvement of their land; to clearing some of
it, and preparing it for useful purposes. Monstrously defective as
their farming was, still it was better than their neighbours'; for
Mark had some practical knowledge of such matters, and Martin
learned of him; whereas the other settlers who remained upon the
putrid swamp (a mere handful, and those withered by disease),
appeared to have wandered there with the idea that husbandry was the
natural gift of all mankind. They helped each other after their own
manner in these struggles, and in all others; but they worked as
hopelessly and sadly as a gang of convicts in a penal settlement.
Often at night when Mark and Martin were alone, and lying down to
sleep, they spoke of home, familiar places, houses, roads, and
people whom they knew; sometimes in the lively hope of seeing them
again, and sometimes with a sorrowful tranquillity, as if that hope
were dead. It was a source of great amazement to Mark Tapley to
find, pervading all these conversations, a singular alteration in
'I don't know what to make of him,' he thought one night, 'he ain't
what I supposed. He don't think of himself half as much. I'll try
him again. Asleep, sir?'
'Thinking of home, sir?'
'So was I, sir. I was wondering how Mr Pinch and Mr Pecksniff gets
'Poor Tom!' said Martin, thoughtfully.
'Weak-minded man, sir,' observed Mr Tapley. 'Plays the organ for
nothing, sir. Takes no care of himself?'
'I wish he took a little more, indeed,' said Martin. 'Though I
don't know why I should. We shouldn't like him half as well,
'He gets put upon, sir,' hinted Mark.
'Yes!' said Martin, after a short silence. 'I know that, Mark.'
He spoke so regretfully that his partner abandoned the theme, and
was silent for a short time until he had thought of another.
'Ah, sir!' said Mark, with a sigh. 'Dear me! You've ventured a good
deal for a young lady's love!'
'I tell you what. I'm not so sure of that, Mark,' was the reply; so
hastily and energetically spoken, that Martin sat up in his bed to
give it. 'I begin to be far from clear upon it. You may depend
upon it she is very unhappy. She has sacrificed her peace of mind;
she has endangered her interests very much; she can't run away from
those who are jealous of her, and opposed to her, as I have done.
She has to endure, Mark; to endure without the possibility of
action, poor girl! I begin to think that she has more to bear than
ever I had. Upon my soul I do!'
Mr Tapley opened his eyes wide in the dark; but did not interrupt.
'And I'll tell you a secret, Mark,' said Martin, 'since we ARE upon
this subject. That ring--'
'Which ring, sir?' Mark inquired, opening his eyes still wider.
'That ring she gave me when we parted, Mark. She bought it; bought
it; knowing I was poor and proud (Heaven help me! Proud!) and wanted
'Who says so, sir?' asked Mark.
'I say so. I know it. I thought of it, my good fellow, hundreds of
times, while you were lying ill. And like a beast, I took it from
her hand, and wore it on my own, and never dreamed of this even at
the moment when I parted with it, when some faint glimmering of the
truth might surely have possessed me! But it's late,' said Martin,
checking himself, 'and you are weak and tired, I know. You only
talk to cheer me up. Good night! God bless you, Mark!'
'God bless you, sir! But I'm reg'larly defrauded,' thought Mr
Tapley, turning round with a happy face. 'It's a swindle. I never
entered for this sort of service. There'll be no credit in being
jolly with HIM!'
The time wore on, and other steamboats coming from the point on
which their hopes were fixed, arrived to take in wood; but still no
answer to the letter. Rain, heat, foul slime, and noxious vapour,
with all the ills and filthy things they bred, prevailed. The
earth, the air, the vegetation, and the water that they drank, all
teemed with deadly properties. Their fellow-passenger had lost two
children long before; and buried now her last. Such things are much
too common to be widely known or cared for. Smart citizens grow
rich, and friendless victims smart and die, and are forgotten. That
At last a boat came panting up the ugly river, and stopped at Eden.
Mark was waiting at the wood hut when it came, and had a letter
handed to him from on board. He bore it off to Martin. They looked
at one another, trembling.
'It feels heavy,' faltered Martin. And opening it a little roll of
dollar-notes fell out upon the ground.
What either of them said, or did, or felt, at first, neither of them
knew. All Mark could ever tell was, that he was at the river's bank
again out of breath, before the boat had gone, inquiring when it
would retrace its track and put in there.
The answer was, in ten or twelve days; notwithstanding which they
began to get their goods together and to tie them up that very
night. When this stage of excitement was passed, each of them
believed (they found this out, in talking of it afterwards) that he
would surely die before the boat returned.
They lived, however, and it came, after the lapse of three long
crawling weeks. At sunrise, on an autumn day, they stood upon her
'Courage! We shall meet again!' cried Martin, waving his hand to two
thin figures on the bank. 'In the Old World!'
'Or in the next one,' added Mark below his breath. 'To see them
standing side by side, so quiet, is a'most the worst of all!'
They looked at one another as the vessel moved away, and then looked
backward at the spot from which it hurried fast. The log-house, with
the open door, and drooping trees about it; the stagnant morning
mist, and red sun, dimly seen beyond; the vapour rising up from land
and river; the quick stream making the loathsome banks it washed
more flat and dull; how often they returned in dreams! How often it
was happiness to wake and find them Shadows that had vanished!
IN WHICH THE TRAVELLERS MOVE HOMEWARD, AND ENCOUNTER SOME
DISTINGUISHED CHARACTERS UPON THE WAY
Among the passengers on board the steamboat, there was a faint
gentleman sitting on a low camp-stool, with his legs on a high
barrel of flour, as if he were looking at the prospect with his
ankles, who attracted their attention speedily.
He had straight black hair, parted up the middle of his head and
hanging down upon his coat; a little fringe of hair upon his chin;
wore no neckcloth; a white hat; a suit of black, long in the sleeves
and short in the legs; soiled brown stockings and laced shoes. His
complexion, naturally muddy, was rendered muddier by too strict an
economy of soap and water; and the same observation will apply to
the washable part of his attire, which he might have changed with
comfort to himself and gratification to his friends. He was about
five and thirty; was crushed and jammed up in a heap, under the
shade of a large green cotton umbrella; and ruminated over his
tobacco-plug like a cow.
He was not singular, to be sure, in these respects; for every
gentleman on board appeared to have had a difference with his
laundress and to have left off washing himself in early youth.
Every gentleman, too, was perfectly stopped up with tight plugging,
and was dislocated in the greater part of his joints. But about
this gentleman there was a peculiar air of sagacity and wisdom,
which convinced Martin that he was no common character; and this
turned out to be the case.
'How do you do sir?' said a voice in Martin's ear
'How do you do sir?' said Martin.
It was a tall thin gentleman who spoke to him, with a carpet-cap on,
and a long loose coat of green baize, ornamented about the pockets
with black velvet.
'You air from Europe, sir?'
'I am,' said Martin.
'You air fortunate, sir.'
Martin thought so too; but he soon discovered that the gentleman and
he attached different meanings to this remark.
'You air fortunate, sir, in having an opportunity of beholding our
Elijah Pogram, sir.'
'Your Elijahpogram!' said Martin, thinking it was all one word, and
a building of some sort.
Martin tried to look as if he understood him, but he couldn't make
'Yes, sir,' repeated the gentleman. 'our Elijah Pogram, sir, is, at
this minute, identically settin' by the en-gine biler.'
The gentleman under the umbrella put his right forefinger to his
eyebrow, as if he were revolving schemes of state.
'That is Elijah Pogram, is it?' said Martin.
'Yes, sir,' replied the other. 'That is Elijah Pogram.'
'Dear me!' said Martin. 'I am astonished.' But he had not the least
idea who this Elijah Pogram was; having never heard the name in all
'If the biler of this vessel was Toe bust, sir,' said his new
acquaintance, 'and Toe bust now, this would be a festival day in the
calendar of despotism; pretty nigh equallin', sir, in its effects
upon the human race, our Fourth of glorious July. Yes, sir, that is
the Honourable Elijah Pogram, Member of Congress; one of the master-
minds of our country, sir. There is a brow, sir, there!'
'Quite remarkable,' said Martin.
'Yes, sir. Our own immortal Chiggle, sir, is said to have observed,
when he made the celebrated Pogram statter in marble, which rose so
much con-test and preju-dice in Europe, that the brow was more than
mortal. This was before the Pogram Defiance, and was, therefore, a
pre-diction, cruel smart.'
'What is the Pogram Defiance?' asked Martin, thinking, perhaps, it
was the sign of a public-house.
'An o-ration, sir,' returned his friend.
'Oh! to be sure,' cried Martin. 'What am I thinking of! It
'It defied the world, sir,' said the other, gravely. 'Defied the
world in general to com-pete with our country upon any hook; and
devellop'd our internal resources for making war upon the universal
airth. You would like to know Elijah Pogram, sir?'
'If you please,' said Martin.
'Mr Pogram,' said the stranger--Mr Pogram having overheard every
word of the dialogue--'this is a gentleman from Europe, sir; from
England, sir. But gen'rous ene-mies may meet upon the neutral sile
of private life, I think.'
The languid Mr Pogram shook hands with Martin, like a clock-work
figure that was just running down. But he made amends by chewing
like one that was just wound up.
'Mr Pogram,' said the introducer, 'is a public servant, sir. When
Congress is recessed, he makes himself acquainted with those free
United States, of which he is the gifted son.'
It occurred to Martin that if the Honourable Elijah Pogram had
stayed at home, and sent his shoes upon a tour, they would have
answered the same purpose; for they were the only part of him in a
situation to see anything.
In course of time, however, Mr Pogram rose; and having ejected
certain plugging consequences which would have impeded his
articulation, took up a position where there was something to lean
against, and began to talk to Martin; shading himself with the green
umbrella all the time.
As he began with the words, 'How do you like--?' Martin took him up
'The country, I presume?'
'Yes, sir,' said Elijah Pogram. A knot of passengers gathered round
to hear what followed; and Martin heard his friend say, as he
whispered to another friend, and rubbed his hands, 'Pogram will
smash him into sky-blue fits, I know!'
'Why,' said Martin, after a moment's hesitation, 'I have learned by
experience, that you take an unfair advantage of a stranger, when
you ask that question. You don't mean it to be answered, except in
one way. Now, I don't choose to answer it in that way, for I cannot
honestly answer it in that way. And therefore, I would rather not
answer it at all.'
But Mr Pogram was going to make a great speech in the next session
about foreign relations, and was going to write strong articles on
the subject; and as he greatly favoured the free and independent
custom (a very harmless and agreeable one) of procuring information
of any sort in any kind of confidence, and afterwards perverting it
publicly in any manner that happened to suit him, he had determined
to get at Martin's opinions somehow or other. For if he could have
got nothing out of him, he would have had to invent it for him, and
that would have been laborious. He made a mental note of his
answer, and went in again.
'You are from Eden, sir? How did you like Eden?'
Martin said what he thought of that part of the country, in pretty
'It is strange,' said Pogram, looking round upon the group, 'this
hatred of our country, and her Institutions! This national antipathy
is deeply rooted in the British mind!'
'Good Heaven, sir,' cried Martin. 'Is the Eden Land Corporation,
with Mr Scadder at its head, and all the misery it has worked, at
its door, an Institution of America? A part of any form of
government that ever was known or heard of?'
'I con-sider the cause of this to be,' said Pogram, looking round
again and taking himself up where Martin had interrupted him,
'partly jealousy and pre-judice, and partly the nat'ral unfitness of
the British people to appreciate the ex-alted Institutions of our
native land. I expect, sir,' turning to Martin again, 'that a
gentleman named Chollop happened in upon you during your lo-cation
in the town of Eden?'
'Yes,' answered Martin; 'but my friend can answer this better than I
can, for I was very ill at the time. Mark! The gentleman is
speaking of Mr Chollop.'
'Oh. Yes, sir. Yes. I see him,' observed Mark.
'A splendid example of our na-tive raw material, sir?' said Pogram,
'Indeed, sir!' cried Mark.
The Honourable Elijah Pogram glanced at his friends as though he
would have said, 'Observe this! See what follows!' and they rendered
tribute to the Pogram genius by a gentle murmur.
'Our fellow-countryman is a model of a man, quite fresh from Natur's
mould!' said Pogram, with enthusiasm. 'He is a true-born child of
this free hemisphere! Verdant as the mountains of our country;
bright and flowing as our mineral Licks; unspiled by withering
conventionalities as air our broad and boundless Perearers! Rough he
may be. So air our Barrs. Wild he may be. So air our Buffalers.
But he is a child of Natur', and a child of Freedom; and his
boastful answer to the Despot and the Tyrant is, that his bright
home is in the Settin Sun.'
Part of this referred to Chollop, and part to a Western postmaster,
who, being a public defaulter not very long before (a character not
at all uncommon in America), had been removed from office; and on
whose behalf Mr Pogram (he voted for Pogram) had thundered the last
sentence from his seat in Congress, at the head of an unpopular
President. It told brilliantly; for the bystanders were delighted,
and one of them said to Martin, 'that he guessed he had now seen
something of the eloquential aspect of our country, and was chawed
up pritty small.'
Mr Pogram waited until his hearers were calm again, before he said
'You do not seem to coincide, sir?'
'Why,' said Mark, 'I didn't like him much; and that's the truth,
sir. I thought he was a bully; and I didn't admire his carryin'
them murderous little persuaders, and being so ready to use 'em.'
'It's singler!' said Pogram, lifting his umbrella high enough to
look all round from under it. 'It's strange! You observe the
settled opposition to our Institutions which pervades the British
'What an extraordinary people you are!' cried Martin. 'Are Mr
Chollop and the class he represents, an Institution here? Are
pistols with revolving barrels, sword-sticks, bowie-knives, and such
things, Institutions on which you pride yourselves? Are bloody
duels, brutal combats, savage assaults, shooting down and stabbing
in the streets, your Institutions! Why, I shall hear next that
Dishonour and Fraud are among the Institutions of the great
The moment the words passed his lips, the Honourable Elijah Pogram
looked round again.
'This morbid hatred of our Institutions,' he observed, 'is quite a
study for the psychological observer. He's alludin' to Repudiation
'Oh! you may make anything an Institution if you like,' said Martin,
laughing, 'and I confess you had me there, for you certainly have
made that one. But the greater part of these things are one
Institution with us, and we call it by the generic name of Old
The bell being rung for dinner at this moment, everybody ran away
into the cabin, whither the Honourable Elijah Pogram fled with such
precipitation that he forgot his umbrella was up, and fixed it so
tightly in the cabin door that it could neither be let down nor got
out. For a minute or so this accident created a perfect rebellion
among the hungry passengers behind, who, seeing the dishes, and
hearing the knives and forks at work, well knew what would happen
unless they got there instantly, and were nearly mad; while several
virtuous citizens at the table were in deadly peril of choking
themselves in their unnatural efforts to get rid of all the meat
before these others came.
They carried the umbrella by storm, however, and rushed in at the
breach. The Honourable Elijah Pogram and Martin found themselves,
after a severe struggle, side by side, as they might have come
together in the pit of a London theatre; and for four whole minutes
afterwards, Pogram was snapping up great blocks of everything he
could get hold of, like a raven. When he had taken this unusually
protracted dinner, he began to talk to Martin; and begged him not to
have the least delicacy in speaking with perfect freedom to him, for
he was a calm philosopher. Which Martin was extremely glad to hear;
for he had begun to speculate on Elijah being a disciple of that
other school of republican philosophy, whose noble sentiments are
carved with knives upon a pupil's body, and written, not with pen
and ink, but tar and feathers.
'What do you think of my countrymen who are present, sir?' inquired
'Oh! very pleasant,' said Martin.
They were a very pleasant party. No man had spoken a word; every
one had been intent, as usual, on his own private gorging; and the
greater part of the company were decidedly dirty feeders.
The Honourable Elijah Pogram looked at Martin as if he thought 'You
don't mean that, I know!' and he was soon confirmed in this opinion.
Sitting opposite to them was a gentleman in a high state of tobacco,
who wore quite a little beard, composed of the overflowing of that
weed, as they had dried about his mouth and chin; so common an
ornament that it would scarcely have attracted Martin's observation,
but that this good citizen, burning to assert his equality against
all comers, sucked his knife for some moments, and made a cut with
it at the butter, just as Martin was in the act of taking some.
There was a juiciness about the deed that might have sickened a
When Elijah Pogram (to whom this was an every-day incident) saw that
Martin put the plate away, and took no butter, he was quite
delighted, and said,
'Well! The morbid hatred of you British to the Institutions of our
country is as-TONishing!'
'Upon my life!' cried Martin, in his turn. 'This is the most
wonderful community that ever existed. A man deliberately makes a
hog of himself, and THAT'S an Institution!'
'We have no time to ac-quire forms, sir,' said Elijah Pogram.
'Acquire!' cried Martin. 'But it's not a question of acquiring
anything. It's a question of losing the natural politeness of a
savage, and that instinctive good breeding which admonishes one man
not to offend and disgust another. Don't you think that man over
the way, for instance, naturally knows better, but considers it a
very fine and independent thing to be a brute in small matters?'
'He is a na-tive of our country, and is nat'rally bright and spry,
of course,' said Mr Pogram.
'Now, observe what this comes to, Mr Pogram,' pursued Martin. 'The
mass of your countrymen begin by stubbornly neglecting little social
observances, which have nothing to do with gentility, custom, usage,
government, or country, but are acts of common, decent, natural,
human politeness. You abet them in this, by resenting all attacks
upon their social offences as if they were a beautiful national
feature. From disregarding small obligations they come in regular
course to disregard great ones; and so refuse to pay their debts.
What they may do, or what they may refuse to do next, I don't know;
but any man may see if he will, that it will be something following
in natural succession, and a part of one great growth, which is
rotten at the root.'
The mind of Mr Pogram was too philosophical to see this; so they
went on deck again, where, resuming his former post, he chewed until
he was in a lethargic state, amounting to insensibility.
After a weary voyage of several days, they came again to that same
wharf where Mark had been so nearly left behind, on the night of
starting for Eden. Captain Kedgick, the landlord, was standing
there, and was greatly surprised to see them coming from the boat.
'Why, what the 'tarnal!' cried the Captain. 'Well! I do admire at
this, I do!'
'We can stay at your house until to-morrow, Captain, I suppose?'
'I reckon you can stay there for a twelvemonth if you like,'
retorted Kedgick coolly. 'But our people won't best like your
'Won't like it, Captain Kedgick!' said Martin.
'They did ex-pect you was a-going to settle,' Kedgick answered, as
he shook his head. 'They've been took in, you can't deny!'
'What do you mean?' cried Martin.
'You didn't ought to have received 'em,' said the Captain. 'No you
'My good friend,' returned Martin, 'did I want to receive them? Was
it any act of mine? Didn't you tell me they would rile up, and that
I should be flayed like a wild cat--and threaten all kinds of
vengeance, if I didn't receive them?'
'I don't know about that,' returned the Captain. 'But when our
people's frills is out, they're starched up pretty stiff, I tell
With that, he fell into the rear to walk with Mark, while Martin and
Elijah Pogram went on to the National.
'We've come back alive, you see!' said Mark.
'It ain't the thing I did expect,' the Captain grumbled. 'A man
ain't got no right to be a public man, unless he meets the public
views. Our fashionable people wouldn't have attended his le-vee, if
they had know'd it.'
Nothing mollified the Captain, who persisted in taking it very ill
that they had not both died in Eden. The boarders at the National
felt strongly on the subject too; but it happened by good fortune
that they had not much time to think about this grievance, for it
was suddenly determined to pounce upon the Honourable Elijah Pogram,
and give HIM a le-vee forthwith.
As the general evening meal of the house was over before the arrival
of the boat, Martin, Mark, and Pogram were taking tea and fixings at
the public table by themselves, when the deputation entered to
announce this honour; consisting of six gentlemen boarders and a
very shrill boy.
'Sir!' said the spokesman.
'Mr Pogram!' cried the shrill boy.
The spokesman thus reminded of the shrill boy's presence, introduced
him. 'Doctor Ginery Dunkle, sir. A gentleman of great poetical
elements. He has recently jined us here, sir, and is an acquisition
to us, sir, I do assure you. Yes, sir. Mr Jodd, sir. Mr Izzard,
sir. Mr Julius Bib, sir.'
'Julius Washington Merryweather Bib,' said the gentleman himself TO
'I beg your pardon, sir. Excuse me. Mr Julius Washington
Merryweather Bib, sir; a gentleman in the lumber line, sir, and much
esteemed. Colonel Groper, sir. Pro-fessor Piper, sir. My own name,
sir, is Oscar Buffum.'
Each man took one slide forward as he was named; butted at the
Honourable Elijah Pogram with his head; shook hands, and slid back
again. The introductions being completed, the spokesman resumed.
'Mr Pogram!' cried the shrill boy.
'Perhaps,' said the spokesman, with a hopeless look, 'you will be so
good, Dr. Ginery Dunkle, as to charge yourself with the execution
of our little office, sir?'
As there was nothing the shrill boy desired more, he immediately
'Mr Pogram! Sir! A handful of your fellow-citizens, sir, hearing
of your arrival at the National Hotel, and feeling the patriotic
character of your public services, wish, sir, to have the
gratification of beholding you, and mixing with you, sir; and
unbending with you, sir, in those moments which--'
'Air,' suggested Buffum.
'Which air so peculiarly the lot, sir, of our great and happy
'Hear!' cried Colonel Grouper, in a loud voice. 'Good! Hear him!
'And therefore, sir,' pursued the Doctor, 'they request; as A mark
Of their respect; the honour of your company at a little le-Vee,
sir, in the ladies' ordinary, at eight o'clock.'
Mr Pogram bowed, and said:
'Good!' cried the Colonel. 'Hear, him! Good!'
Mr Pogram bowed to the Colonel individually, and then resumed.
'Your approbation of My labours in the common cause goes to My
heart. At all times and in all places; in the ladies' ordinary, My
friends, and in the Battle Field--'
'Good, very good! Hear him! Hear him!' said the Colonel.
'The name of Pogram will be proud to jine you. And may it, My
friends, be written on My tomb, "He was a member of the Congress of
our common country, and was ac-Tive in his trust."'
'The Com-mittee, sir,' said the shrill boy, 'will wait upon you at
five minutes afore eight. I take My leave, sir!'
Mr Pogram shook hands with him, and everybody else, once more; and
when they came back again at five minutes before eight, they said,
one by one, in a melancholy voice, 'How do you do, sir?' and shook
hands with Mr Pogram all over again, as if he had been abroad for a
twelvemonth in the meantime, and they met, now, at a funeral.
But by this time Mr Pogram had freshened himself up, and had
composed his hair and features after the Pogram statue, so that any
one with half an eye might cry out, 'There he is! as he delivered
the Defiance!' The Committee were embellished also; and when they
entered the ladies' ordinary in a body, there was much clapping of
hands from ladies and gentlemen, accompanied by cries of 'Pogram!
Pogram!' and some standing up on chairs to see him.
The object of the popular caress looked round the room as he walked
up it, and smiled; at the same time observing to the shrill boy,
that he knew something of the beauty of the daughters of their
common country, but had never seen it in such lustre and perfection
as at that moment. Which the shrill boy put in the paper next day;
to Elijah Pogram's great surprise.
'We will re-quest you, sir, if you please,' said Buffum, laying
hands on Mr Pogram as if he were taking his measure for a coat, 'to
stand up with your back agin the wall right in the furthest corner,
that there may be more room for our fellow cit-izens. If you could
set your back right slap agin that curtain-peg, sir, keeping your
left leg everlastingly behind the stove, we should be fixed quite
Mr Pogram did as he was told, and wedged himself into such a little
corner that the Pogram statue wouldn't have known him.
The entertainments of the evening then began. Gentlemen brought
ladies up, and brought themselves up, and brought each other up; and
asked Elijah Pogram what he thought of this political question, and
what he thought of that; and looked at him, and looked at one
another, and seemed very unhappy indeed. The ladies on the chairs
looked at Elijah Pogram through their glasses, and said audibly, 'I
wish he'd speak. Why don't he speak? Oh, do ask him to speak!' And
Elijah Pogram looked sometimes at the ladies and sometimes
elsewhere, delivering senatorial opinions, as he was asked for them.
But the great end and object of the meeting seemed to be, not to let
Elijah Pogram out of the corner on any account; so there they kept
him, hard and fast.
A great bustle at the door, in the course of the evening, announced
the arrival of some remarkable person; and immediately afterwards an
elderly gentleman, much excited, was seen to precipitate himself
upon the crowd, and battle his way towards the Honourable Elijah
Pogram. Martin, who had found a snug place of observation in a
distant corner, where he stood with Mark beside him (for he did not
so often forget him now as formerly, though he still did sometimes),
thought he knew this gentleman, but had no doubt of it, when he
cried as loud as he could, with his eyes starting out of his head:
'Sir, Mrs Hominy!'
'Lord bless that woman, Mark. She has turned up again!'
'Here she comes, sir,' answered Mr Tapley. 'Pogram knows her. A
public character! Always got her eye upon her country, sir! If that
there lady's husband is of my opinion, what a jolly old gentleman he
A lane was made; and Mrs Hominy, with the aristocratic stalk, the
pocket handkerchief, the clasped hands, and the classical cap, came
slowly up it, in a procession of one. Mr Pogram testified emotions
of delight on seeing her, and a general hush prevailed. For it was
known that when a woman like Mrs Hominy encountered a man like
Pogram, something interesting must be said.
Their first salutations were exchanged in a voice too low to reach
the impatient ears of the throng; but they soon became audible, for
Mrs Hominy felt her position, and knew what was expected of her.
Mrs H. was hard upon him at first; and put him through a rigid
catechism in reference to a certain vote he had given, which she had
found it necessary, as the mother of the modern Gracchi, to
deprecate in a line by itself, set up expressly for the purpose in
German text. But Mr Pogram evading it by a well-timed allusion to
the star-spangled banner, which, it appeared, had the remarkable
peculiarity of flouting the breeze whenever it was hoisted where the
wind blew, she forgave him. They now enlarged on certain questions
of tariff, commercial treaty, boundary, importation and exportation
with great effect. And Mrs Hominy not only talked, as the saying
is, like a book, but actually did talk her own books, word for word.
'My! what is this!' cried Mrs Hominy, opening a little note which
was handed her by her excited gentleman-usher. 'Do tell! oh, well,
now! on'y think!'
And then she read aloud, as follows:
'Two literary ladies present their compliments to the mother of the
modern Gracchi, and claim her kind introduction, as their talented
countrywoman, to the honourable (and distinguished) Elijah Pogram,
whom the two L. L.'s have often contemplated in the speaking marble
of the soul-subduing Chiggle. On a verbal intimation from the
mother of the M. G., that she will comply with the request of the two
L. L.'s, they will have the immediate pleasure of joining the galaxy
assembled to do honour to the patriotic conduct of a Pogram. It may
be another bond of union between the two L. L.'s and the mother of
the M. G. to observe, that the two L. L.'s are Transcendental.'
Mrs Hominy promptly rose, and proceeded to the door, whence she
returned, after a minute's interval, with the two L. L.'s, whom she
led, through the lane in the crowd, with all that stateliness of
deportment which was so remarkably her own, up to the great Elijah
Pogram. It was (as the shrill boy cried out in an ecstasy) quite
the Last Scene from Coriolanus. One of the L. L.'s wore a brown
wig of uncommon size. Sticking on the forehead of the other,
by invisible means, was a massive cameo, in size and shape like
the raspberry tart which is ordinarily sold for a penny,
representing on its front the Capitol at Washington.
'Miss Toppit, and Miss Codger!' said Mrs Hominy.
'Codger's the lady so often mentioned in the English newspapers I
should think, sir,' whispered Mark. 'The oldest inhabitant as never
'To be presented to a Pogram,' said Miss Codger, 'by a Hominy,
indeed, a thrilling moment is it in its impressiveness on what we
call our feelings. But why we call them so, or why impressed they
are, or if impressed they are at all, or if at all we are, or if
there really is, oh gasping one! a Pogram or a Hominy, or any active
principle to which we give those titles, is a topic, Spirit
searching, light abandoned, much too vast to enter on, at this
'Mind and matter,' said the lady in the wig, 'glide swift into the
vortex of immensity. Howls the sublime, and softly sleeps the calm
Ideal, in the whispering chambers of Imagination. To hear it, sweet
it is. But then, outlaughs the stern philosopher, and saith to the
Grotesque, "What ho! arrest for me that Agency. Go, bring it here!"
And so the vision fadeth.'
After this, they both took Mr Pogram by the hand, and pressed it to
their lips, as a patriotic palm. That homage paid, the mother of
the modern Gracchi called for chairs, and the three literary ladies
went to work in earnest, to bring poor Pogram out, and make him show
himself in all his brilliant colours.
How Pogram got out of his depth instantly, and how the three L. L.'s
were never in theirs, is a piece of history not worth recording.
Suffice it, that being all four out of their depths, and all unable
to swim, they splashed up words in all directions, and floundered
about famously. On the whole, it was considered to have been the
severest mental exercise ever heard in the National Hotel. Tears
stood in the shrill boy's eyes several times; and the whole company
observed that their heads ached with the effort--as well they might.
When it at last became necessary to release Elijah Pogram from the
corner, and the Committee saw him safely back again to the next
room, they were fervent in their admiration.
'Which,' said Mr Buffum, 'must have vent, or it will bust. Toe you,
Mr Pogram, I am grateful. Toe-wards you, sir, I am inspired with
lofty veneration, and with deep e-mo-tion. The sentiment Toe which
I would propose to give ex-pression, sir, is this: "May you ever be
as firm, sir, as your marble statter! May it ever be as great a
terror Toe its ene-mies as you."'
There is some reason to suppose that it was rather terrible to its
friends; being a statue of the Elevated or Goblin School, in which
the Honourable Elijah Pogram was represented as in a very high wind,
with his hair all standing on end, and his nostrils blown wide open.
But Mr Pogram thanked his friend and countryman for the aspiration
to which he had given utterance, and the Committee, after another
solemn shaking of hands, retired to bed, except the Doctor; who
immediately repaired to the newspaper-office, and there wrote a
short poem suggested by the events of the evening, beginning with
fourteen stars, and headed, 'A Fragment. Suggested by witnessing
the Honourable Elijah Pogram engaged in a philosophical disputation
with three of Columbia's fairest daughters. By Doctor Ginery
Dunkle. Of Troy.'
If Pogram was as glad to get to bed as Martin was, he must have been
well rewarded for his labours. They started off again next day
(Martin and Mark previously disposing of their goods to the
storekeepers of whom they had purchased them, for anything they
would bring), and were fellow travellers to within a short distance
of New York. When Pogram was about to leave them he grew
thoughtful, and after pondering for some time, took Martin aside.
'We air going to part, sir,' said Pogram.
'Pray don't distress yourself,' said Martin; 'we must bear it.'
'It ain't that, sir,' returned Pogram, 'not at all. But I should
wish you to accept a copy of My oration.'
'Thank you,' said Martin, 'you are very good. I shall be most
'It ain't quite that, sir, neither,' resumed Pogram; 'air you bold
enough to introduce a copy into your country?'
'Certainly,' said Martin. 'Why not?'
'Its sentiments air strong, sir,' hinted Pogram, darkly.
'That makes no difference,' said Martin. 'I'll take a dozen if you
'No, sir,' retorted Pogram. 'Not A dozen. That is more than I
require. If you are content to run the hazard, sir, here is one for
your Lord Chancellor,' producing it, 'and one for Your principal
Secretary of State. I should wish them to see it, sir, as
expressing what my opinions air. That they may not plead ignorance
at a future time. But don't get into danger, sir, on my account!'
'There is not the least danger, I assure you,' said Martin. So he
put the pamphlets in his pocket, and they parted.
Mr Bevan had written in his letter that, at a certain time, which
fell out happily just then, he would be at a certain hotel in the
city, anxiously expecting to see them. To this place they repaired
without a moment's delay. They had the satisfaction of finding him
within; and of being received by their good friend, with his own
warmth and heartiness.
'I am truly sorry and ashamed,' said Martin, 'to have begged of you.
But look at us. See what we are, and judge to what we are reduced!'
'So far from claiming to have done you any service,' returned the
other, 'I reproach myself with having been, unwittingly, the
original cause of your misfortunes. I no more supposed you would go
to Eden on such representations as you received; or, indeed, that
you would do anything but be dispossessed, by the readiest means, of
your idea that fortunes were so easily made here; than I thought of
going to Eden myself.'
'The fact is, I closed with the thing in a mad and sanguine manner,'
said Martin, 'and the less said about it the better for me. Mark,
here, hadn't a voice in the matter.'
'Well! but he hadn't a voice in any other matter, had he?' returned
Mr Bevan; laughing with an air that showed his understanding of Mark
and Martin too.
'Not a very powerful one, I am afraid,' said Martin with a blush.
'But live and learn, Mr Bevan! Nearly die and learn; we learn the
'Now,' said their friend, 'about your plans. You mean to return
home at once?'
'Oh, I think so,' returned Martin hastily, for he turned pale at the
thought of any other suggestion. 'That is your opinion too, I
'Unquestionably. For I don't know why you ever came here; though
it's not such an unusual case, I am sorry to say, that we need go
any farther into that. You don't know that the ship in which you
came over with our friend General Fladdock, is in port, of course?'
'Indeed!' said Martin.
'Yes. And is advertised to sail to-morrow.'
This was tempting news, but tantalising too; for Martin knew that
his getting any employment on board a ship of that class was
hopeless. The money in his pocket would not pay one-fourth of the
sum he had already borrowed, and if it had been enough for their
passage-money, he could hardly have resolved to spend it. He
explained this to Mr Bevan, and stated what their project was.
'Why, that's as wild as Eden every bit,' returned his friend. 'You
must take your passage like a Christian; at least, as like a
Christian as a fore-cabin passenger can; and owe me a few more
dollars than you intend. If Mark will go down to the ship and see
what passengers there are, and finds that you can go in her without
being actually suffocated, my advice is, go! You and I will look
about us in the meantime (we won't call at the Norris's unless you
like), and we will all three dine together in the afternoon.'
Martin had nothing to express but gratitude, and so it was arranged.
But he went out of the room after Mark, and advised him to take
their passage in the Screw, though they lay upon the bare deck;
which Mr Tapley, who needed no entreaty on the subject readily
promised to do.
When he and Martin met again, and were alone, he was in high
spirits, and evidently had something to communicate, in which he
gloried very much.
'I've done Mr Bevan, sir,' said Mark.
'Done Mr Bevan!' repeated Martin.
'The cook of the Screw went and got married yesterday, sir,' said Mr
Martin looked at him for farther explanation.
'And when I got on board, and the word was passed that it was me,'
said Mark, 'the mate he comes and asks me whether I'd engage to take
this said cook's place upon the passage home. "For you're used to
it," he says; "you were always a-cooking for everybody on your
passage out." And so I was,' said Mark, 'although I never cooked
before, I'll take my oath.'
'What did you say?' demanded Martin.
'Say!' cried Mark. 'That I'd take anything I could get. "If that's
so," says the mate, "why, bring a glass of rum;" which they brought
according. And my wages, sir,' said Mark in high glee, 'pays your
passage; and I've put the rolling-pin in your berth to take it (it's
the easy one up in the corner); and there we are, Rule Britannia,
and Britons strike home!'
'There never was such a good fellow as you are!' cried Martin
seizing him by the hand. 'But what do you mean by "doing" Mr Bevan,
'Why, don't you see?' said Mark. 'We don't tell him, you know. We
take his money, but we don't spend it, and we don't keep it. What
we do is, write him a little note, explaining this engagement, and
roll it up, and leave it at the bar, to be given to him after we are
gone. Don't you see?'
Martin's delight in this idea was not inferior to Mark's. It was
all done as he proposed. They passed a cheerful evening; slept at
the hotel; left the letter as arranged; and went off to the ship
betimes next morning, with such light hearts as the weight of their
past miseries engendered.
'Good-bye! a hundred thousand times good-bye!' said Martin to their
friend. 'How shall I remember all your kindness! How shall I ever
'If you ever become a rich man, or a powerful one,' returned his
friend, 'you shall try to make your Government more careful of its
subjects when they roam abroad to live. Tell it what you know of
emigration in your own case, and impress upon it how much suffering
may be prevented with a little pains!'
Cheerily, lads, cheerily! Anchor weighed. Ship in full sail. Her
sturdy bowsprit pointing true to England. America a cloud upon the
sea behind them!
'Why, Cook! what are you thinking of so steadily?' said Martin.
'Why, I was a-thinking, sir,' returned Mark, 'that if I was a
painter and was called upon to paint the American Eagle, how should
I do it?'
'Paint it as like an Eagle as you could, I suppose.'
'No,' said Mark. 'That wouldn't do for me, sir. I should want to
draw it like a Bat, for its short-sightedness; like a Bantam, for
its bragging; like a Magpie, for its honesty; like a Peacock, for
its vanity; like a ostrich, for its putting its head in the mud, and
thinking nobody sees it--'
'And like a Phoenix, for its power of springing from the ashes of
its faults and vices, and soaring up anew into the sky!' said
Martin. 'Well, Mark. Let us hope so.'
ARRIVING IN ENGLAND, MARTIN WITNESSES A CEREMONY, FROM WHICH HE
DERIVES THE CHEERING INFORMATION THAT HE HAS NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN IN
It was mid-day, and high water in the English port for which the
Screw was bound, when, borne in gallantly upon the fullness of the
tide, she let go her anchor in the river.
Bright as the scene was; fresh, and full of motion; airy, free, and
sparkling; it was nothing to the life and exultation in the breasts
of the two travellers, at sight of the old churches, roofs, and
darkened chimney stacks of Home. The distant roar that swelled up
hoarsely from the busy streets, was music in their ears; the lines
of people gazing from the wharves, were friends held dear; the
canopy of smoke that overhung the town was brighter and more
beautiful to them than if the richest silks of Persia had been
waving in the air. And though the water going on its glistening
track, turned, ever and again, aside to dance and sparkle round
great ships, and heave them up; and leaped from off the blades of
oars, a shower of diving diamonds; and wantoned with the idle boats,
and swiftly passed, in many a sportive chase, through obdurate old
iron rings, set deep into the stone-work of the quays; not even it
was half so buoyant, and so restless, as their fluttering hearts,
when yearning to set foot, once more, on native ground.
A year had passed since those same spires and roofs had faded from
their eyes. It seemed to them, a dozen years. Some trifling
changes, here and there, they called to mind; and wondered that they
were so few and slight. In health and fortune, prospect and
resource, they came back poorer men than they had gone away. But it
was home. And though home is a name, a word, it is a strong one;
stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit answered to, in
Being set ashore, with very little money in their pockets, and no
definite plan of operation in their heads, they sought out a cheap
tavern, where they regaled upon a smoking steak, and certain flowing
mugs of beer, as only men just landed from the sea can revel in the
generous dainties of the earth. When they had feasted, as two
grateful-tempered giants might have done, they stirred the fire,
drew back the glowing curtain from the window, and making each a
sofa for himself, by union of the great unwieldy chairs, gazed
blissfully into the street.
Even the street was made a fairy street, by being half hidden in an
atmosphere of steak, and strong, stout, stand-up English beer. For
on the window-glass hung such a mist, that Mr Tapley was obliged to
rise and wipe it with his handkerchief, before the passengers
appeared like common mortals. And even then, a spiral little cloud
went curling up from their two glasses of hot grog, which nearly hid
them from each other.
It was one of those unaccountable little rooms which are never seen
anywhere but in a tavern, and are supposed to have got into taverns
by reason of the facilities afforded to the architect for getting
drunk while engaged in their construction. It had more corners in
it than the brain of an obstinate man; was full of mad closets, into
which nothing could be put that was not specially invented and made
for that purpose; had mysterious shelvings and bulkheads, and
indications of staircases in the ceiling; and was elaborately
provided with a bell that rung in the room itself, about two feet
from the handle, and had no connection whatever with any other part
of the establishment. It was a little below the pavement, and
abutted close upon it; so that passengers grated against the window-
panes with their buttons, and scraped it with their baskets; and
fearful boys suddenly coming between a thoughtful guest and the
light, derided him, or put out their tongues as if he were a
physician; or made white knobs on the ends of their noses by
flattening the same against the glass, and vanished awfully, like
Martin and Mark sat looking at the people as they passed, debating
every now and then what their first step should be.
'We want to see Miss Mary, of course,' said Mark.
'Of course,' said Martin. 'But I don't know where she is. Not
having had the heart to write in our distress--you yourself thought
silence most advisable--and consequently, never having heard from
her since we left New York the first time, I don't know where she
is, my good fellow.'
'My opinion is, sir,' returned Mark, 'that what we've got to do is
to travel straight to the Dragon. There's no need for you to go
there, where you're known, unless you like. You may stop ten mile
short of it. I'll go on. Mrs Lupin will tell me all the news. Mr
Pinch will give me every information that we want; and right glad Mr
Pinch will be to do it. My proposal is: To set off walking this
afternoon. To stop when we are tired. To get a lift when we can.
To walk when we can't. To do it at once, and do it cheap.'
'Unless we do it cheap, we shall have some difficulty in doing it at
all,' said Martin, pulling out the bank, and telling it over in his
'The greater reason for losing no time, sir,' replied Mark.
'Whereas, when you've seen the young lady; and know what state of
mind the old gentleman's in, and all about it; then you'll know what
to do next.'
'No doubt,' said Martin. 'You are quite right.'
They were raising their glasses to their lips, when their hands
stopped midway, and their gaze was arrested by a figure which
slowly, very slowly, and reflectively, passed the window at that
Mr Pecksniff. Placid, calm, but proud. Honestly proud. Dressed
with peculiar care, smiling with even more than usual blandness,
pondering on the beauties of his art with a mild abstraction from
all sordid thoughts, and gently travelling across the disc, as if he
were a figure in a magic lantern.
As Mr Pecksniff passed, a person coming in the opposite direction
stopped to look after him with great interest and respect, almost
with veneration; and the landlord bouncing out of the house, as if
he had seen him too, joined this person, and spoke to him, and shook
his head gravely, and looked after Mr Pecksniff likewise.
Martin and Mark sat staring at each other, as if they could not
believe it; but there stood the landlord, and the other man still.
In spite of the indignation with which this glimpse of Mr Pecksniff
had inspired him, Martin could not help laughing heartily. Neither
'We must inquire into this!' said Martin. 'Ask the landlord in,
Mr Tapley retired for that purpose, and immediately returned with
their large-headed host in safe convoy.
'Pray, landlord!' said Martin, 'who is that gentleman who passed
just now, and whom you were looking after?'
The landlord poked the fire as if, in his desire to make the most of
his answer, he had become indifferent even to the price of coals;
and putting his hands in his pockets, said, after inflating himself
to give still further effect to his reply:
'That, gentlemen, is the great Mr Pecksniff! The celebrated
He looked from one to the other while he said it, as if he were
ready to assist the first man who might be overcome by the
'The great Mr Pecksniff, the celebrated architect, gentlemen.' said
the landlord, 'has come down here, to help to lay the first stone of
a new and splendid public building.'
'Is it to be built from his designs?' asked Martin.
'The great Mr Pecksniff, the celebrated architect, gentlemen,'
returned the landlord, who seemed to have an unspeakable delight in
the repetition of these words, 'carried off the First Premium, and
will erect the building.'
'Who lays the stone?' asked Martin.
'Our member has come down express,' returned the landlord. 'No
scrubs would do for no such a purpose. Nothing less would satisfy
our Directors than our member in the House of Commons, who is
returned upon the Gentlemanly Interest.'
'Which interest is that?' asked Martin.
'What, don't you know!' returned the landlord.
It was quite clear the landlord didn't. They always told him at
election time, that it was the Gentlemanly side, and he immediately
put on his top-boots, and voted for it.
'When does the ceremony take place?' asked Martin.
'This day,' replied the landlord. Then pulling out his watch, he
added, impressively, 'almost this minute.'
Martin hastily inquired whether there was any possibility of getting
in to witness it; and finding that there would be no objection to
the admittance of any decent person, unless indeed the ground were
full, hurried off with Mark, as hard as they could go.
They were fortunate enough to squeeze themselves into a famous
corner on the ground, where they could see all that passed, without
much dread of being beheld by Mr Pecksniff in return. They were not
a minute too soon, for as they were in the act of congratulating
each other, a great noise was heard at some distance, and everybody
looked towards the gate. Several ladies prepared their pocket
handkerchiefs for waving; and a stray teacher belonging to the
charity school being much cheered by mistake, was immensely groaned
at when detected.
'Perhaps he has Tom Pinch with him,' Martin whispered Mr Tapley.
'It would be rather too much of a treat for him, wouldn't it, sir?'
whispered Mr Tapley in return.
There was no time to discuss the probabilities either way, for the
charity school, in clean linen, came filing in two and two, so much
to the self-approval of all the people present who didn't subscribe
to it, that many of them shed tears. A band of music followed, led
by a conscientious drummer who never left off. Then came a great
many gentlemen with wands in their hands, and bows on their breasts,
whose share in the proceedings did not appear to be distinctly laid
down, and who trod upon each other, and blocked up the entry for a
considerable period. These were followed by the Mayor and
Corporation, all clustering round the member for the Gentlemanly
Interest; who had the great Mr Pecksniff, the celebrated architect
on his right hand, and conversed with him familiarly as they came
along. Then the ladies waved their handkerchiefs, and the gentlemen
their hats, and the charity children shrieked, and the member for
the Gentlemanly Interest bowed.
Silence being restored, the member for the Gentlemanly Interest
rubbed his hands, and wagged his head, and looked about him
pleasantly; and there was nothing this member did, at which some
lady or other did not burst into an ecstatic waving of her pocket
handkerchief. When he looked up at the stone, they said how
graceful! when he peeped into the hole, they said how condescending!
when he chatted with the Mayor, they said how easy! when he folded
his arms they cried with one accord, how statesman-like!
Mr Pecksniff was observed too, closely. When he talked to the
Mayor, they said, Oh, really, what a courtly man he was! When he
laid his hand upon the mason's shoulder, giving him directions, how
pleasant his demeanour to the working classes; just the sort of man
who made their toil a pleasure to them, poor dear souls!
But now a silver trowel was brought; and when the member for the
Gentlemanly Interest, tucking up his coat-sleeve, did a little
sleight of hand with the mortar, the air was rent, so loud was the
applause. The workman-like manner in which he did it was amazing.
No one could conceive where such a gentlemanly creature could have
picked the knowledge up.
When he had made a kind of dirt-pie under the direction of the
mason, they brought a little vase containing coins, the which the
member for the Gentlemanly Interest jingled, as if he were going to
conjure. Whereat they said how droll, how cheerful, what a flow of
spirits! This put into its place, an ancient scholar read the
inscription, which was in Latin; not in English; that would never
do. It gave great satisfaction; especially every time there was a
good long substantive in the third declension, ablative case, with
an adjective to match; at which periods the assembly became very
tender, and were much affected.
And now the stone was lowered down into its place, amidst the
shouting of the concourse. When it was firmly fixed, the member for
the Gentlemanly Interest struck upon it thrice with the handle of
the trowel, as if inquiring, with a touch of humour, whether anybody
was at home. Mr Pecksniff then unrolled his Plans (prodigious plans
they were), and people gathered round to look at and admire them.
Martin, who had been fretting himself--quite unnecessarily, as Mark
thought--during the whole of these proceedings, could no longer
restrain his impatience; but stepping forward among several others,
looked straight over the shoulder of the unconscious Mr Pecksniff,
at the designs and plans he had unrolled. He returned to Mark,
boiling with rage.
'Why, what's the matter, sir?' cried Mark.
'Matter! This is MY building.'
'Your building, sir!' said Mark.
'My grammar-school. I invented it. I did it all. He has only put
four windows in, the villain, and spoilt it!'
Mark could hardly believe it at first, but being assured that it was
really so, actually held him to prevent his interference foolishly,
until his temporary heat was past. In the meantime, the member
addressed the company on the gratifying deed which he had just
He said that since he had sat in Parliament to represent the
Gentlemanly Interest of that town; and he might add, the Lady
Interest, he hoped, besides (pocket handkerchiefs); it had been his
pleasant duty to come among them, and to raise his voice on their
behalf in Another Place (pocket handkerchiefs and laughter), often.
But he had never come among them, and had never raised his voice,
with half such pure, such deep, such unalloyed delight, as now.
'The present occasion,' he said, 'will ever be memorable to me; not
only for the reasons I have assigned, but because it has afforded me
an opportunity of becoming personally known to a gentleman--'
Here he pointed the trowel at Mr Pecksniff, who was greeted with
vociferous cheering, and laid his hand upon his heart.
'To a gentleman who, I am happy to believe, will reap both
distinction and profit from this field; whose fame had previously
penetrated to me--as to whose ears has it not!--but whose
intellectual countenance I never had the distinguished honour to
behold until this day, and whose intellectual conversation I had
never before the improving pleasure to enjoy.'
Everybody seemed very glad of this, and applauded more than ever.
'But I hope my Honourable Friend,' said the Gentlemanly member--of
course he added "if he will allow me to call him so," and of course
Mr Pecksniff bowed--'will give me many opportunities of cultivating
the knowledge of him; and that I may have the extraordinary
gratification of reflecting in after-time that I laid on this day
two first stones, both belonging to structures which shall last my
Great cheering again. All this time, Martin was cursing Mr
Pecksniff up hill and down dale.
'My friends!' said Mr Pecksniff, in reply. 'My duty is to build,
not speak; to act, not talk; to deal with marble, stone, and brick;
not language. I am very much affected. God bless you!'
This address, pumped out apparently from Mr Pecksniff's very heart,
brought the enthusiasm to its highest pitch. The pocket
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