Martin Chuzzlewit HTML version

Chapter 32
Early on the day next after that on which she bade adieu to the halls of her youth
and the scenes of her childhood, Miss Pecksniff, arriving safely at the coach-
office in London, was there received, and conducted to her peaceful home
beneath the shadow of the Monument, by Mrs Todgers. M. Todgers looked a
little worn by cares of gravy and other such solicitudes arising out of her
establishment, but displayed her usual earnestness and warmth of manner.
'And how, my sweet Miss Pecksniff,' said she, 'how is your princely pa?'
Miss Pecksniff signified (in confidence) that he contemplated the introduction of a
princely ma; and repeated the sentiment that she wasn't blind, and wasn't quite a
fool, and wouldn't bear it.
Mrs Todgers was more shocked by the intelligence than any one could have
expected. She was quite bitter. She said there was no truth in man and that the
warmer he expressed himself, as a general principle, the falser and more
treacherous he was. She foresaw with astonishing clearness that the object of Mr
Pecksniff's attachment was designing, worthless, and wicked; and receiving from
Charity the fullest confirmation of these views, protested with tears in her eyes
that she loved Miss Pecksniff like a sister, and felt her injuries as if they were her
'Your real darling sister, I have not seen her more than once since her marriage,'
said Mrs Todgers, 'and then I thought her looking poorly. My sweet Miss
Pecksniff, I always thought that you was to be the lady?'
'Oh dear no!' cried Cherry, shaking her head. 'Oh no, Mrs Todgers. Thank you.
No! not for any consideration he could offer.'
'I dare say you are right,' said Mrs Todgers with a sigh. 'I feared it all along. But
the misery we have had from that match, here among ourselves, in this house,
my dear Miss Pecksniff, nobody would believe.'
'Lor, Mrs Todgers!'
'Awful, awful!' repeated Mrs Todgers, with strong emphasis. 'You recollect our
youngest gentleman, my dear?'
'Of course I do,' said Cherry.
'You might have observed,' said Mrs Todgers, 'how he used to watch your sister;
and that a kind of stony dumbness came over him whenever she was in
'I am sure I never saw anything of the sort,' said Cherry, in a peevish manner.
'What nonsense, Mrs Todgers!'
'My dear,' returned that lady in a hollow voice, 'I have seen him again and again,
sitting over his pie at dinner, with his spoon a perfect fixture in his mouth, looking
at your sister. I have seen him standing in a corner of our drawing-room, gazing
at her, in such a lonely, melancholy state, that he was more like a Pump than a
man, and might have drawed tears.'