Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Holidays Offer
 

Martin Chuzzlewit

Chapter 25
IS IN PART PROFESSIONAL, AND FURNISHES THE READER WITH SOME
VALUABLE HINTS IN RELATION TO THE MANAGEMENT OF A SICK
CHAMBER
Mr Mould was surrounded by his household gods. He was enjoying the sweets of
domestic repose, and gazing on them with a calm delight. The day being sultry,
and the window open, the legs of Mr Mould were on the window-seat, and his
back reclined against the shutter. Over his shining head a handkerchief was
drawn, to guard his baldness from the flies. The room was fragrant with the smell
of punch, a tumbler of which grateful compound stood upon a small round table,
convenient to the hand of Mr Mould; so deftly mixed that as his eye looked down
into the cool transparent drink, another eye, peering brightly from behind the
crisp lemon-peel, looked up at him, and twinkled like a star.
Deep in the City, and within the ward of Cheap, stood Mr Mould's establishment.
His Harem, or, in other words, the common sitting room of Mrs Mould and family,
was at the back, over the little counting-house behind the shop; abutting on a
churchyard small and shady. In this domestic chamber Mr Mould now sat;
gazing, a placid man, upon his punch and home. If, for a moment at a time, he
sought a wider prospect, whence he might return with freshened zest to these
enjoyments, his moist glance wandered like a sunbeam through a rural screen of
scarlet runners, trained on strings before the window, and he looked down, with
an artist's eye, upon the graves.
The partner of his life, and daughters twain, were Mr Mould's companions. Plump
as any partridge was each Miss Mould, and Mrs M. was plumper than the two
together. So round and chubby were their fair proportions, that they might have
been the bodies once belonging to the angels' faces in the shop below, grown
up, with other heads attached to make them mortal. Even their peachy cheeks
were puffed out and distended, as though they ought of right to be performing on
celestial trumpets. The bodiless cherubs in the shop, who were depicted as
constantly blowing those instruments for ever and ever without any lungs, played,
it is to be presumed, entirely by ear.
Mr Mould looked lovingly at Mrs Mould, who sat hard by, and was a helpmate to
him in his punch as in all other things. Each seraph daughter, too, enjoyed her
share of his regards, and smiled upon him in return. So bountiful were Mr Mould's
possessions, and so large his stock in trade, that even there, within his
household sanctuary, stood a cumbrous press, whose mahogany maw was filled
with shrouds, and winding-sheets, and other furniture of funerals. But, though the
Misses Mould had been brought up, as one may say, beneath his eye, it had cast
no shadow on their timid infancy or blooming youth. Sporting behind the scenes
of death and burial from cradlehood, the Misses Mould knew better. Hat-bands,
to them, were but so many yards of silk or crape; the final robe but such a
quantity of linen. The Misses Mould could idealise a player's habit, or a court-
lady's petticoat, or even an act of parliament. But they were not to be taken in by
palls. They made them sometimes.
 
 
Remove