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Martin Chuzzlewit

Chapter 4
FROM WHICH IT WILL APPEAR THAT IF UNION BE STRENGTH, AND
FAMILY AFFECTION BE PLEASANT TO CONTEMPLATE, THE
CHUZZLEWITS WERE THE STRONGEST AND MOST AGREEABLE FAMILY
IN THE WORLD
That worthy man Mr Pecksniff having taken leave of his cousin in the solemn
terms recited in the last chapter, withdrew to his own home, and remained there
three whole days; not so much as going out for a walk beyond the boundaries of
his own garden, lest he should be hastily summoned to the bedside of his
penitent and remorseful relative, whom, in his ample benevolence, he had made
up his mind to forgive unconditionally, and to love on any terms. But such was
the obstinacy and such the bitter nature of that stern old man, that no repentant
summons came; and the fourth day found Mr Pecksniff apparently much farther
from his Christian object than the first.
During the whole of this interval, he haunted the Dragon at all times and seasons
in the day and night, and, returning good for evil evinced the deepest solicitude in
the progress of the obdurate invalid, in so much that Mrs Lupin was fairly melted
by his disinterested anxiety (for he often particularly required her to take notice
that he would do the same by any stranger or pauper in the like condition), and
shed many tears of admiration and delight.
Meantime, old Martin Chuzzlewit remained shut up in his own chamber, and saw
no person but his young companion, saving the hostess of the Blue Dragon, who
was, at certain times, admitted to his presence. So surely as she came into the
room, however, Martin feigned to fall asleep. It was only when he and the young
lady were alone, that he would utter a word, even in answer to the simplest
inquiry; though Mr Pecksniff could make out, by hard listening at the door, that
they two being left together, he was talkative enough.
It happened on the fourth evening, that Mr Pecksniff walking, as usual, into the
bar of the Dragon and finding no Mrs Lupin there, went straight upstairs;
purposing, in the fervour of his affectionate zeal, to apply his ear once more to
the keyhole, and quiet his mind by assuring himself that the hard-hearted patient
was going on well. It happened that Mr Pecksniff, coming softly upon the dark
passage into which a spiral ray of light usually darted through the same keyhole,
was astonished to find no such ray visible; and it happened that Mr Pecksniff,
when he had felt his way to the chamber-door, stooping hurriedly down to
ascertain by personal inspection whether the jealousy of the old man had caused
this keyhole to be stopped on the inside, brought his head into such violent
contact with another head that he could not help uttering in an audible voice the
monosyllable 'Oh!' which was, as it were, sharply unscrewed and jerked out of
him by very anguish. It happened then, and lastly, that Mr Pecksniff found himself
immediately collared by something which smelt like several damp umbrellas, a
barrel of beer, a cask of warm brandy-and-water, and a small parlour-full of stale
tobacco smoke, mixed; and was straightway led downstairs into the bar from
which he had lately come, where he found himself standing opposite to, and in
 
 
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