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Martin Chuzzlewit

Chapter 21
MORE AMERICAN EXPERIENCES, MARTIN TAKES A PARTNER, AND
MAKES A PURCHASE. SOME ACCOUNT OF EDEN, AS IT APPEARED ON
PAPER. ALSO OF THE BRITISH LION. ALSO OF THE KIND OF SYMPATHY
PROFESSED AND ENTERTAINED BY THE WATERTOAST ASSOCIATION
OF UNITED SYMPATHISERS
The knocking at Mr Pecksniff's door, though loud enough, bore no resemblance
whatever to the noise of an American railway train at full speed. It may be well to
begin the present chapter with this frank admission, lest the reader should
imagine that the sounds now deafening this history's ears have any connection
with the knocker on Mr Pecksniff's door, or with the great amount of agitation
pretty equally divided between that worthy man and Mr Pinch, of which its strong
performance was the cause.
Mr Pecksniff's house is more than a thousand leagues away; and again this
happy chronicle has Liberty and Moral Sensibility for its high companions. Again
it breathes the blessed air of Independence; again it contemplates with pious
awe that moral sense which renders unto Ceasar nothing that is his; again
inhales that sacred atmosphere which was the life of him--oh noble patriot, with
many followers!--who dreamed of Freedom in a slave's embrace, and waking
sold her offspring and his own in public markets.
How the wheels clank and rattle, and the tram-road shakes, as the train rushes
on! And now the engine yells, as it were lashed and tortured like a living labourer,
and writhed in agony. A poor fancy; for steel and iron are of infinitely greater
account, in this commonwealth, than flesh and blood. If the cunning work of man
be urged beyond its power of endurance, it has within it the elements of its own
revenge; whereas the wretched mechanism of the Divine Hand is dangerous with
no such property, but may be tampered with, and crushed, and broken, at the
driver's pleasure. Look at that engine! It shall cost a man more dollars in the way
of penalty and fine, and satisfaction of the outraged law, to deface in wantonness
that senseless mass of metal, than to take the lives of twenty human creatures!
Thus the stars wink upon the bloody stripes; and Liberty pulls down her cap upon
her eyes, and owns Oppression in its vilest aspect, for her sister.
The engine-driver of the train whose noise awoke us to the present chapter was
certainly troubled with no such reflections as these; nor is it very probable that his
mind was disturbed by any reflections at all. He leaned with folded arms and
crossed legs against the side of the carriage, smoking; and, except when he
expressed, by a grunt as short as his pipe, his approval of some particularly
dexterous aim on the part of his colleague, the fireman, who beguiled his leisure
by throwing logs of wood from the tender at the numerous stray cattle on the line,
he preserved a composure so immovable, and an indifference so complete, that
if the locomotive had been a sucking-pig, he could not have been more perfectly
indifferent to its doings. Notwithstanding the tranquil state of this officer, and his
unbroken peace of mind, the train was proceeding with tolerable rapidity; and the
 
 
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