Martin Chuzzlewit HTML version

Chapter 8
When Mr Pecksniff and the two young ladies got into the heavy coach at the end
of the lane, they found it empty, which was a great comfort; particularly as the
outside was quite full and the passengers looked very frosty. For as Mr Pecksniff
justly observed --when he and his daughters had burrowed their feet deep in the
straw, wrapped themselves to the chin, and pulled up both windows-- it is always
satisfactory to feel, in keen weather, that many other people are not as warm as
you are. And this, he said, was quite natural, and a very beautiful arrangement;
not confined to coaches, but extending itself into many social ramifications. 'For'
(he observed), 'if every one were warm and well-fed, we should lose the
satisfaction of admiring the fortitude with which certain conditions of men bear
cold and hunger. And if we were no better off than anybody else, what would
become of our sense of gratitude; which,' said Mr Pecksniff with tears in his eyes,
as he shook his fist at a beggar who wanted to get up behind, 'is one of the
holiest feelings of our common nature.'
His children heard with becoming reverence these moral precepts from the lips of
their father, and signified their acquiescence in the same, by smiles. That he
might the better feed and cherish that sacred flame of gratitude in his breast, Mr
Pecksniff remarked that he would trouble his eldest daughter, even in this early
stage of their journey, for the brandy-bottle. And from the narrow neck of that
stone vessel he imbibed a copious refreshment.
'What are we?' said Mr Pecksniff, 'but coaches? Some of us are slow coaches'--
'Goodness, Pa!' cried Charity.
'Some of us, I say,' resumed her parent with increased emphasis, 'are slow
coaches; some of us are fast coaches. Our passions are the horses; and
rampant animals too--!'
'Really, Pa,' cried both the daughters at once. 'How very unpleasant.'
'And rampant animals too' repeated Mr Pecksniff with so much determination,
that he may be said to have exhibited, at the moment a sort of moral rampancy
himself;'--and Virtue is the drag. We start from The Mother's Arms, and we run to
The Dust Shovel.'
When he had said this, Mr Pecksniff, being exhausted, took some further
refreshment. When he had done that, he corked the bottle tight, with the air of a
man who had effectually corked the subject also; and went to sleep for three
The tendency of mankind when it falls asleep in coaches, is to wake up cross; to
find its legs in its way; and its corns an aggravation. Mr Pecksniff not being
exempt from the common lot of humanity found himself, at the end of his nap, so
decidedly the victim of these infirmities, that he had an irresistible inclination to
visit them upon his daughters; which he had already begun to do in the shape of