Martin Chuzzlewit HTML version

Chapter 33
From Mr Moddle to Eden is an easy and natural transition. Mr Moddle, living in
the atmosphere of Miss Pecksniff's love, dwelt (if he had but known it) in a
terrestrial Paradise. The thriving city of Eden was also a terrestrial Paradise,
upon the showing of its proprietors. The beautiful Miss Pecksniff might have been
poetically described as a something too good for man in his fallen and degraded
state. That was exactly the character of the thriving city of Eden, as poetically
heightened by Zephaniah Scadder, General Choke, and other worthies; part and
parcel of the talons of that great American Eagle, which is always airing itself
sky-high in purest aether, and never, no never, never, tumbles down with
draggled wings into the mud.
When Mark Tapley, leaving Martin in the architectural and surveying offices, had
effectually strengthened and encouraged his own spirits by the contemplation of
their joint misfortunes, he proceeded, with new cheerfulness, in search of help;
congratulating himself, as he went along, on the enviable position to which he
had at last attained.
'I used to think, sometimes,' said Mr Tapley, 'as a desolate island would suit me,
but I should only have had myself to provide for there, and being naturally a easy
man to manage, there wouldn't have been much credit in THAT. Now here I've
got my partner to take care on, and he's something like the sort of man for the
purpose. I want a man as is always a-sliding off his legs when he ought to be on
'em. I want a man as is so low down in the school of life that he's always a-
making figures of one in his copy-book, and can't get no further. I want a man as
is his own great coat and cloak, and is always a-wrapping himself up in himself.
And I have got him too,' said Mr Tapley, after a moment's silence. 'What a
He paused to look round, uncertain to which of the log-houses he should repair.
'I don't know which to take,' he observed; 'that's the truth. They're equally
prepossessing outside, and equally commodious, no doubt, within; being fitted up
with every convenience that a Alligator, in a state of natur', could possibly
require. Let me see! The citizen as turned out last night, lives under water, in the
right hand dog-kennel at the corner. I don't want to trouble him if I can help it,
poor man, for he is a melancholy object; a reg'lar Settler in every respect. There's
house with a winder, but I am afraid of their being proud. I don't know whether a
door ain't too aristocratic; but here goes for the first one!'
He went up to the nearest cabin, and knocked with his hand. Being desired to
enter, he complied.
'Neighbour,' said Mark; 'for I AM a neighbour, though you don't know me; I've
come a-begging. Hallo! hal--lo! Am I a-bed, and dreaming!'
He made this exclamation on hearing his own name pronounced, and finding
himself clasped about the skirts by two little boys, whose faces he had often