Martin Chuzzlewit HTML version
IN WHICH MARTIN BIDS ADIEU TO THE LADY OF HIS LOVE; AND
HONOURS AN OBSCURE INDIVIDUAL WHOSE FORTUNE HE INTENDS TO
MAKE BY COMMENDING HER TO HIS PROTECTION
The letter being duly signed, sealed, and delivered, was handed to Mark Tapley,
for immediate conveyance if possible. And he succeeded so well in his embassy
as to be enabled to return that same night, just as the house was closing, with
the welcome intelligence that he had sent it upstairs to the young lady, enclosed
in a small manuscript of his own, purporting to contain his further petition to be
engaged in Mr Chuzzlewit's service; and that she had herself come down and
told him, in great haste and agitation, that she would meet the gentleman at eight
o'clock to-morrow morning in St. James's Park. It was then agreed between the
new master and the new man, that Mark should be in waiting near the hotel in
good time, to escort the young lady to the place of appointment; and when they
had parted for the night with this understanding, Martin took up his pen again;
and before he went to bed wrote another letter, whereof more will be seen
He was up before daybreak, and came upon the Park with the morning, which
was clad in the least engaging of the three hundred and sixty- five dresses in the
wardrobe of the year. It was raw, damp, dark, and dismal; the clouds were as
muddy as the ground; and the short perspective of every street and avenue was
closed up by the mist as by a filthy curtain.
'Fine weather indeed,' Martin bitterly soliloquised, 'to be wandering up and down
here in, like a thief! Fine weather indeed, for a meeting of lovers in the open air,
and in a public walk! I need be departing, with all speed, for another country; for I
have come to a pretty pass in this!'
He might perhaps have gone on to reflect that of all mornings in the year, it was
not the best calculated for a young lady's coming forth on such an errand, either.
But he was stopped on the road to this reflection, if his thoughts tended that way,
by her appearance at a short distance, on which he hurried forward to meet her.
Her squire, Mr Tapley, at the same time fell discreetly back, and surveyed the fog
above him with an appearance of attentive interest.
'My dear Martin,' said Mary.
'My dear Mary,' said Martin; and lovers are such a singular kind of people that
this is all they did say just then, though Martin took her arm, and her hand too,
and they paced up and down a short walk that was least exposed to observation,
'If you have changed at all, my love, since we parted,' said Martin at length, as he
looked upon her with a proud delight, 'it is only to be more beautiful than ever!'
Had she been of the common metal of love-worn young ladies, she would have
denied this in her most interesting manner; and would have told him that she
knew she had become a perfect fright; or that she had wasted away with
weeping and anxiety; or that she was dwindling gently into an early grave; or that
her mental sufferings were unspeakable; or would, either by tears or words, or a