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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
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 presently.
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
'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
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, half-a-dozen times.
'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 mixture of both, have furnished him with
some other information to that effect, and made him as miserable as
possible. But she had been reared up in a sterner school than the minds
of most young girls are formed in; she had had her nature strengthened
by the hands of hard endurance and necessity; had come out from her
young trials constant, self-denying, earnest, and devoted; had acquired
in her maidenhood--whether happily in the end, for herself or him, is
foreign to our present purpose to inquire--something of that nobler
quality of gentle hearts which is developed often by the sorrows and
struggles of matronly years, but often by their lessons only. Unspoiled,
unpampered in her joys or griefs; with frank and full, and deep
affection for the object of her early love; she saw in him one who for
her sake was an outcast from his home and fortune, and she had no
more idea of bestowing that love upon him in other than cheerful and
sustaining words, full of high hope and grateful trustfulness, than she
had of being unworthy of it, in her lightest thought or deed, for any
base temptation that the world could offer.
'What change is there in YOU, Martin,' she replied; 'for that concerns
me nearest? You look more anxious and more thoughtful than you used.'
'Why, as to that, my love,' said Martin as he drew her waist within his
arm, first looking round to see that there were no observers near,
and beholding Mr Tapley more intent than ever on the fog; 'it would be
strange if I did not; for my life--especially of late--has been a hard
'I know it must have been,' she answered. 'When have I forgotten to
think of it and you?'
'Not often, I hope,' said Martin. 'Not often, I am sure. Not often, I
have some right to expect, Mary; for I have undergone a great deal of
vexation and privation, and I naturally look for that return, you know.'
'A very, very poor return,' she answered with a fainter smile. 'But you
have it, and will have it always. You have paid a dear price for a poor
heart, Martin; but it is at least your own, and a true one.'
'Of course I feel quite certain of that,' said Martin, 'or I shouldn't
have put myself in my present position. And don't say a poor heart,
Mary, for I say a rich one. Now, I am about to break a design to you,
dearest, which will startle you at first, but which is undertaken for
your sake. I am going,' he added slowly, looking far into the deep
wonder of her bright dark eyes, 'abroad.'
'Only to America. See now. How you droop directly!'
'If I do, or, I hope I may say, if I did,' she answered, raising her
head after a short silence, and looking once more into his face, 'it was
for grief to think of what you are resolved to undergo for me. I would
not venture to dissuade you, Martin; but it is a long, long distance;
there is a wide ocean to be crossed; illness and want are sad calamities
in any place, but in a foreign country dreadful to endure. Have you
thought of all this?'
'Thought of it!' cried Martin, abating, in his fondness--and he WAS very
fond of her--hardly an iota of his usual impetuosity. 'What am I to do?
It's very well to say, "Have I thought of it?" my love; but you should
ask me in the same breath, have I thought of starving at home; have I
thought of doing porter's work for a living; have I thought of holding
horses in the streets to earn my roll of bread from day to day? Come,
come,' he added, in a gentler tone, 'do not hang down your head, my
dear, for I need the encouragement that your sweet face alone can give
me. Why, that's well! Now you are brave again.'
'I am endeavouring to be,' she answered, smiling through her tears.
'Endeavouring to be anything that's good, and being it, is, with you,
all one. Don't I know that of old?' cried Martin, gayly. 'So! That's
famous! Now I can tell you all my plans as cheerfully as if you were my
little wife already, Mary.'
She hung more closely on his arm, and looking upwards in his face, bade
him speak on.
'You see,' said Martin, playing with the little hand upon his wrist,
'that my attempts to advance myself at home have been baffled and
rendered abortive. I will not say by whom, Mary, for that would give
pain to us both. But so it is. Have you heard him speak of late of any
relative of mine or his, called Pecksniff? Only tell me what I ask you,
'I have heard, to my surprise, that he is a better man than was
'I thought so,' interrupted Martin.
'And that it is likely we may come to know him, if not to visit and
reside with him and--I think--his daughters. He HAS daughters, has he,
'A pair of them,' Martin answered. 'A precious pair! Gems of the first
'Ah! You are jesting!'
'There is a sort of jesting which is very much in earnest, and includes
some pretty serious disgust,' said Martin. 'I jest in reference to Mr
Pecksniff (at whose house I have been living as his assistant, and at
whose hands I have received insult and injury), in that vein. Whatever
betides, or however closely you may be brought into communication with
this family, never forget that, Mary; and never for an instant,
whatever appearances may seem to contradict me, lose sight of this
assurance--Pecksniff is a scoundrel.'
'In thought, and in deed, and in everything else. A scoundrel from the
topmost hair of his head, to the nethermost atom of his heel. Of his
daughters I will only say that, to the best of my knowledge and belief,
they are dutiful young ladies, and take after their father closely. This
is a digression from the main point, and yet it brings me to what I was
going to say.'
He stopped to look into her eyes again, and seeing, in a hasty glance
over his shoulder, that there was no one near, and that Mark was still
intent upon the fog, not only looked at her lips, too, but kissed them
into the bargain.
'Now I am going to America, with great prospects of doing well, and of
returning home myself very soon; it may be to take you there for a few
years, but, at all events, to claim you for my wife; which, after such
trials, I should do with no fear of your still thinking it a duty to
cleave to him who will not suffer me to live (for this is true), if he
can help it, in my own land. How long I may be absent is, of course,
uncertain; but it shall not be very long. Trust me for that.'
'In the meantime, dear Martin--'
'That's the very thing I am coming to. In the meantime you shall hear,
constantly, of all my goings-on. Thus.'
He paused to take from his pocket the letter he had written overnight,
and then resumed:
'In this fellow's employment, and living in this fellow's house (by
fellow, I mean Mr Pecksniff, of course), there is a certain person of
the name of Pinch. Don't forget; a poor, strange, simple oddity, Mary;
but thoroughly honest and sincere; full of zeal; and with a cordial
regard for me. Which I mean to return one of these days, by setting him
up in life in some way or other.'
'Your old kind nature, Martin!'
'Oh!' said Martin, 'that's not worth speaking of, my love. He's very
grateful and desirous to serve me; and I am more than repaid. Now one
night I told this Pinch my history, and all about myself and you; in
which he was not a little interested, I can tell you, for he knows you!
Aye, you may look surprised--and the longer the better for it becomes
you--but you have heard him play the organ in the church of that village
before now; and he has seen you listening to his music; and has caught
his inspiration from you, too!'
'Was HE the organist?' cried Mary. 'I thank him from my heart!'
'Yes, he was,' said Martin, 'and is, and gets nothing for it either.
There never was such a simple fellow! Quite an infant! But a very good
sort of creature, I assure you.'
'I am sure of that,' she said with great earnestness. 'He must be!'
'Oh, yes, no doubt at all about it,' rejoined Martin, in his usual
careless way. 'He is. Well! It has occurred to me--but stay. If I read
you what I have written and intend sending to him by post to-night
it will explain itself. "My dear Tom Pinch." That's rather familiar
perhaps,' said Martin, suddenly remembering that he was proud when they
had last met, 'but I call him my dear Tom Pinch because he likes it, and
it pleases him.'
'Very right, and very kind,' said Mary.
'Exactly so!' cried Martin. 'It's as well to be kind whenever one can;
and, as I said before, he really is an excellent fellow. "My dear Tom
Pinch--I address this under cover to Mrs Lupin, at the Blue Dragon,
and have begged her in a short note to deliver it to you without saying
anything about it elsewhere; and to do the same with all future letters
she may receive from me. My reason for so doing will be at once apparent
to you"--I don't know that it will be, by the bye,' said Martin,
breaking off, 'for he's slow of comprehension, poor fellow; but he'll
find it out in time. My reason simply is, that I don't want my letters
to be read by other people; and particularly by the scoundrel whom he
thinks an angel.'
'Mr Pecksniff again?' asked Mary.
'The same,' said Martin '--will be at once apparent to you. I have
completed my arrangements for going to America; and you will be
surprised to hear that I am to be accompanied by Mark Tapley, upon whom
I have stumbled strangely in London, and who insists on putting himself
under my protection'--meaning, my love,' said Martin, breaking off
again, 'our friend in the rear, of course.'
She was delighted to hear this, and bestowed a kind glance upon Mark,
which he brought his eyes down from the fog to encounter and received
with immense satisfaction. She said in his hearing, too, that he was a
good soul and a merry creature, and would be faithful, she was certain;
commendations which Mr Tapley inwardly resolved to deserve, from such
lips, if he died for it.
'"Now, my dear Pinch,"' resumed Martin, proceeding with his letter; '"I
am going to repose great trust in you, knowing that I may do so with
perfect reliance on your honour and secrecy, and having nobody else just
now to trust in."'
'I don't think I would say that, Martin.'
'Wouldn't you? Well! I'll take that out. It's perfectly true, though.'
'But it might seem ungracious, perhaps.'
'Oh, I don't mind Pinch,' said Martin. 'There's no occasion to stand on
any ceremony with HIM. However, I'll take it out, as you wish it, and
make the full stop at "secrecy." Very well! "I shall not only"--this is
the letter again, you know.'
'"I shall not only enclose my letters to the young lady of whom I have
told you, to your charge, to be forwarded as she may request; but I most
earnestly commit her, the young lady herself, to your care and regard,
in the event of your meeting in my absence. I have reason to think
that the probabilities of your encountering each other--perhaps very
frequently--are now neither remote nor few; and although in our position
you can do very little to lessen the uneasiness of hers, I trust to you
implicitly to do that much, and so deserve the confidence I have reposed
in you." You see, my dear Mary,' said Martin, 'it will be a great
consolation to you to have anybody, no matter how simple, with whom you
can speak about ME; and the very first time you talk to Pinch, you'll
feel at once that there is no more occasion for any embarrassment or
hesitation in talking to him, than if he were an old woman.'
'However that may be,' she returned, smiling, 'he is your friend, and
that is enough.'
'Oh, yes, he's my friend,' said Martin, 'certainly. In fact, I have told
him in so many words that we'll always take notice of him, and protect
him; and it's a good trait in his character that he's grateful--very
grateful indeed. You'll like him of all things, my love, I know. You'll
observe very much that's comical and old-fashioned about Pinch, but you
needn't mind laughing at him; for he'll not care about it. He'll rather
like it indeed!'
'I don't think I shall put that to the test, Martin.'
'You won't if you can help it, of course,' he said, 'but I think you'll
find him a little too much for your gravity. However, that's neither
here nor there, and it certainly is not the letter; which ends
thus: "Knowing that I need not impress the nature and extent of that
confidence upon you at any greater length, as it is already sufficiently
established in your mind, I will only say, in bidding you farewell and
looking forward to our next meeting, that I shall charge myself from
this time, through all changes for the better, with your advancement and
happiness, as if they were my own. You may rely upon that. And
always believe me, my dear Tom Pinch, faithfully your friend, Martin
Chuzzlewit. P.S.--I enclose the amount which you so kindly"--Oh,' said
Martin, checking himself, and folding up the letter, 'that's nothing!'
At this crisis Mark Tapley interposed, with an apology for remarking
that the clock at the Horse Guards was striking.
'Which I shouldn't have said nothing about, sir,' added Mark, 'if the
young lady hadn't begged me to be particular in mentioning it.'
'I did,' said Mary. 'Thank you. You are quite right. In another minute
I shall be ready to return. We have time for a very few words more, dear
Martin, and although I had much to say, it must remain unsaid until the
happy time of our next meeting. Heaven send it may come speedily and
prosperously! But I have no fear of that.'
'Fear!' cried Martin. 'Why, who has? What are a few months? What is a
whole year? When I come gayly back, with a road through life hewn out
before me, then indeed, looking back upon this parting, it may seem
a dismal one. But now! I swear I wouldn't have it happen under more
favourable auspices, if I could; for then I should be less inclined to
go, and less impressed with the necessity.'
'Yes, yes. I feel that too. When do you go?'
'To-night. We leave for Liverpool to-night. A vessel sails from that
port, as I hear, in three days. In a month, or less, we shall be there.
Why, what's a month! How many months have flown by, since our last
'Long to look back upon,' said Mary, echoing his cheerful tone, 'but
nothing in their course!'
'Nothing at all!' cried Martin. 'I shall have change of scene and change
of place; change of people, change of manners, change of cares and
hopes! Time will wear wings indeed! I can bear anything, so that I have
swift action, Mary.'
Was he thinking solely of her care for him, when he took so little heed
of her share in the separation; of her quiet monotonous endurance,
and her slow anxiety from day to day? Was there nothing jarring and
discordant even in his tone of courage, with this one note 'self' for
ever audible, however high the strain? Not in her ears. It had been
better otherwise, perhaps, but so it was. She heard the same bold spirit
which had flung away as dross all gain and profit for her sake, making
light of peril and privation that she might be calm and happy; and she
heard no more. That heart where self has found no place and raised no
throne, is slow to recognize its ugly presence when it looks upon it.
As one possessed of an evil spirit was held in old time to be alone
conscious of the lurking demon in the breasts of other men, so kindred
vices know each other in their hiding-places every day, when Virtue is
incredulous and blind.
'The quarter's gone!' cried Mr Tapley, in a voice of admonition.
'I shall be ready to return immediately,' she said. 'One thing, dear
Martin, I am bound to tell you. You entreated me a few minutes since
only to answer what you asked me in reference to one theme, but you
should and must know (otherwise I could not be at ease) that since
that separation of which I was the unhappy occasion, he has never once
uttered your name; has never coupled it, or any faint allusion to it,
with passion or reproach; and has never abated in his kindness to me.'
'I thank him for that last act,' said Martin, 'and for nothing else.
Though on consideration I may thank him for his other forbearance also,
inasmuch as I neither expect nor desire that he will mention my name
again. He may once, perhaps--to couple it with reproach--in his will.
Let him, if he please! By the time it reaches me, he will be in his
grave; a satire on his own anger, God help him!'
'Martin! If you would but sometimes, in some quiet hour; beside the
winter fire; in the summer air; when you hear gentle music, or think of
Death, or Home, or Childhood; if you would at such a season resolve to
think, but once a month, or even once a year, of him, or any one who
ever wronged you, you would forgive him in your heart, I know!'
'If I believed that to be true, Mary,' he replied, 'I would resolve at
no such time to bear him in my mind; wishing to spare myself the shame
of such a weakness. I was not born to be the toy and puppet of any man,
far less his; to whose pleasure and caprice, in return for any good he
did me, my whole youth was sacrificed. It became between us two a fair
exchange--a barter--and no more; and there is no such balance against
me that I need throw in a mawkish forgiveness to poise the scale. He has
forbidden all mention of me to you, I know,' he added hastily. 'Come!
Has he not?'
'That was long ago,' she returned; 'immediately after your parting;
before you had left the house. He has never done so since.'
'He has never done so since because he has seen no occasion,' said
Martin; 'but that is of little consequence, one way or other. Let all
allusion to him between you and me be interdicted from this time forth.
And therefore, love'--he drew her quickly to him, for the time of
parting had now come--'in the first letter that you write to me through
the Post Office, addressed to New York; and in all the others that you
send through Pinch; remember he has no existence, but has become to us
as one who is dead. Now, God bless you! This is a strange place for such
a meeting and such a parting; but our next meeting shall be in a better,
and our next and last parting in a worse.'
'One other question, Martin, I must ask. Have you provided money for
'Have I?' cried Martin; it might have been in his pride; it might have
been in his desire to set her mind at ease: 'Have I provided money? Why,
there's a question for an emigrant's wife! How could I move on land or
sea without it, love?'
'I mean, enough.'
'Enough! More than enough. Twenty times more than enough. A pocket-full.
Mark and I, for all essential ends, are quite as rich as if we had the
purse of Fortunatus in our baggage.'
'The half-hour's a-going!' cried Mr Tapley.
'Good-bye a hundred times!' cried Mary, in a trembling voice.
But how cold the comfort in Good-bye! Mark Tapley knew it perfectly.
Perhaps he knew it from his reading, perhaps from his experience,
perhaps from intuition. It is impossible to say; but however he knew
it, his knowledge instinctively suggested to him the wisest course of
proceeding that any man could have adopted under the circumstances. He
was taken with a violent fit of sneezing, and was obliged to turn his
head another way. In doing which, he, in a manner fenced and screened
the lovers into a corner by themselves.
There was a short pause, but Mark had an undefined sensation that it was
a satisfactory one in its way. Then Mary, with her veil lowered, passed
him with a quick step, and beckoned him to follow. She stopped once more
before they lost that corner; looked back; and waved her hand to Martin.
He made a start towards them at the moment as if he had some other
farewell words to say; but she only hurried off the faster, and Mr
Tapley followed as in duty bound.
When he rejoined Martin again in his own chamber, he found that
gentleman seated moodily before the dusty grate, with his two feet on
the fender, his two elbows on his knees, and his chin supported, in a
not very ornamental manner, on the palms of his hands.
'Well, sir,' said Mark, taking a long breath, 'I see the young lady safe
home, and I feel pretty comfortable after it. She sent a lot of kind
words, sir, and this,' handing him a ring, 'for a parting keepsake.'
'Diamonds!' said Martin, kissing it--let us do him justice, it was for
her sake; not for theirs--and putting it on his little finger. 'Splendid
diamonds! My grandfather is a singular character, Mark. He must have
given her this now.'
Mark Tapley knew as well that she had bought it, to the end that that
unconscious speaker might carry some article of sterling value with him
in his necessity; as he knew that it was day, and not night. Though he
had no more acquaintance of his own knowledge with the history of the
glittering trinket on Martin's outspread finger, than Martin himself
had, he was as certain that in its purchase she had expended her whole
stock of hoarded money, as if he had seen it paid down coin by coin. Her
lover's strange obtuseness in relation to this little incident, promptly
suggested to Mark's mind its real cause and root; and from that moment
he had a clear and perfect insight into the one absorbing principle of
'She is worthy of the sacrifices I have made,' said Martin, folding his
arms, and looking at the ashes in the stove, as if in resumption of some
former thoughts. 'Well worthy of them. No riches'--here he stroked his
chin and mused--'could have compensated for the loss of such a nature.
Not to mention that in gaining her affection I have followed the bent
of my own wishes, and baulked the selfish schemes of others who had
no right to form them. She is quite worthy--more than worthy--of the
sacrifices I have made. Yes, she is. No doubt of it.'
These ruminations might or might not have reached Mark Tapley; for
though they were by no means addressed to him, yet they were softly
uttered. In any case, he stood there, watching Martin with an
indescribable and most involved expression on his visage, until that
young man roused himself and looked towards him; when he turned away,
as being suddenly intent upon certain preparations for the journey,
and, without giving vent to any articulate sound, smiled with surpassing
ghastliness, and seemed by a twist of his features and a motion of his
lips, to release himself of this word: